A perception of something
IT IS IN THE EMPIRICIST development, as we know, the new psychology, which was required as a relate to pure natural science when the latter was separated off, is brought to its initial concrete execution. Thus it is concerned with investigations of introspective psychology in the specialty of the soul, which has now been separated in the body, as well as with physiological and psychophysical explanations. On the other hand, this psychology is of service to a concept of knowledge which, compared with the Cartesian one, is completely brand new and quite differently worked out. In Locke’s great job this is the actual intent from the start. It offers itself as a fresh attempt to accomplish exactly what Descartes’s Meditations supposed to accomplish: an epistemological grounding of the objectivity of the objective sciences. The sceptical position of the intent is evident from the start in questions such as those of the extent, the scope, and the degrees of certainty of human knowledge. Locke senses nothing of the depths of the Cartesian epoché [review ] and of this reduction to the ego. He simply takes over the self as soul, which becomes recognizable, at the self-evidence of self-experience, with its internal states, acts, and capacities. Just what internal self-experience shows, just our own”thoughts,” are instantly, self-evidently given. Everything in the outside world is inferred.
What comes first, then, is the internal-psychological analysis purely on the basis of this internal experience — where use is made, very naively, of their adventures of other human beings as well as the conception itself experience as what goes to me one human being among human beings; that is, the objective validity of inferences to other people is used; as, in general, the whole investigation continues as a goal psychological one, really has recourse to the bodily — when it is exactly all this objectivity, after all, which can be in question.
The actual problem of Descartes, that of surpassing egological (interpreted as internal-psychological) validities, including all manners of inference of interest to the outside world, the question of the way these, that are, after all, themselves cogitationes in the encapsuled soul, can justify assertions about extrapsychic being — those problems disappear in Locke or flip into the problem of the psychological genesis of the real experiences of validity or of the faculties belonging to these. That sense-data, extracted from the arbitrariness of their production, are affections from the outside and announce bodies in the external world, is not a problem for him something taken for granted.
Especially portentous for prospective psychology and theory of understanding is the fact that Locke makes no use of the Cartesian first debut of the cogitatio because cogitatio of cogitata — that is, intentionality; he does not recognise it as a topic of investigation (really the very authentic subject of this foundation-laying investigations). He is blind to the total distinction. The soul is something self explanatory and actual by itself, as is a human body; in naive naturalism the spirit is currently taken to be like an isolated space, like a writing tablet, in his famous simile, on which psychic information come and go. This data-sensationalism, together with the philosophy of outer and inner awareness, dominates psychology and the concept of understanding for centuries, even up to the present day; and in spite of the familiar struggle against”psychic atomism,” the simple sense of the doctrine does not change. Of course one speaks quite unavoidably, even at the Lockean language, of perceptions,representations”of all” items, or of believing”in something,” willing”something,” and so on. However, no consideration is given to the fact that in the senses, in the adventures of consciousness themselves, what we are aware is comprised as such — that the understanding is in itself a perception of something, of”this tree.”
What’s the life of the soul, that is through and through a life of awareness, the intentional life of the self, which has things of which it is aware, deals together through understanding, valuing, etc. — how is it supposed to be seriously researched if intentionality is overlooked? How can the issues of reason be attacked at all? Can they be attacked at all as psychological problems? In the long run, behind the psychological-epistemological troubles, do we not find the problems of the”ego” of the Cartesian epoché, touched upon but not grasped by Descartes? Perhaps these aren’t insignificant questions, which give a direction in advance to the reader who thinks for themself. In any case they’re an indication of what will become a critical problem in later sections of this work, or instead will function as a way to a doctrine which can truly be accomplished”without bias,” a doctrine with the most radical grounding in its own setting of problems, in its procedure, and in work which is systematically realized.
It’s also of interest that the Lockean scepticism in respect to the rational ideal of science, and also its restriction of the reach of the sciences (which are assumed to keep their validity), leads to some new sort of agnosticism. It isn’t that the potential for science is totally refused, as in early scepticism, although again unknowable things-in-themselves are supposed. However, our human science is dependent exclusively on our representations and conceptformations; with these we can, naturally, make inferences extending to what is transpiring; but in principle we can’t obtain actual representations of this things-in-themselves, representations which adequately express the proper nature of those things. We have adequate representations and comprehension only of what is in our own soul. The foundation is still sensationalism and what appears to be obvious, i.e., the only indubitable ground of knowledge is self-experience and its realm of immanent data. Starting from here, Berkeley reduces the physiological things which appear in natural encounter to the complexes of sense-data themselves throughout which they appear. No inference is thinkable, based on Berkeley, through which decisions could be drawn out of these sense-data about anything but other such information. It could only be inductive inference, i.e., inference growing out of the association of ideas. It is also important that at exactly the exact same time he dissolves the manner in which rational all-natural science builds concepts and transforms it into a sensationalistic critique of knowledge. In this direction, Hume goes on towards the end. All types of objectivity — the scientific ones through which an object, extrapsychic planet is thought in scientific life, along with the prescientific ones through that it is thought in everyday life — are fictions. To come the mathematical theories: amount, magnitude, continuum, geometrical figure, etc.. We’d state they are methodically necessary idealisations of what’s given . For Hume, nevertheless, they are fictions; and the exact same is correct, consequently, of the whole of supposedly apodictic math. The source of those fictions can be explained perfectly well psychologically (i.e., regarding immanent sensationalism), namely, through the immanent lawfulness of the associations and the relations between ideas. But the categories of the prescientific world, of this straightforwardly intuited planet — those of corporeity (i.e., the identity of persisting bodies supposedly found in immediate, undergoing instinct ),as well as the allegedly experienced identity of the individual — are only fictions. We say, for instance,”that” tree over there, and distinguish from it its changing manners of emerging. However, immanently, psychically, there’s nothing there but these”ways of emerging.” These are complexes of data, and again and other complexes of data “bound together,” regulated, to be sure, by institution, which clarifies why the illusion of having something equivalent. The same is true of the person: an identical”I” is not a datum but a ceaselessly changing bundle of data. Identity is a psychological fiction.To the fictions of this sort also belongs causality, or necessary succession. Immanent experience exhibits only a post hoc. The propter hoc, the necessity of this succession, is a fictive misconstruction. Therefore, in Hume’s Treatise, the planet in general, nature, the world of identical bodies, the sphere of identical persons,and accordingly also aim science, which understands these in their objective truth, are transformed into fiction.To be consistent, we have to state: motive, knowledge, including that of true worth, of pure ideals of every type, including the moral — all this is fiction.This is really, subsequently, a bankruptcy of objective knowledge. For how could inferences from information to other data reach beyond the immanent world? Of course, Hume did not ask the question, or at least did not mention a word, regarding the condition of the reason — Hume’s — which established this theory as reality, which carried out these investigations of their soul and attested these laws of association. How do rules of associative ordering”bind”? Even when we knew about them, wouldn’t that understanding itself be another datum on the pill? Astounding as Hume’s genius is, it is the more regrettable that a correspondingly great philosophical ethos isn’t combined with it. This is evident in the fact that Hume takes care, throughout his whole demonstration, blandly to disguise or interpret as harmless his absurd effects, though he does paint a picture (at the final chapter of Volume I of the Treatise) of this immense embarrassment in which the theoretical philosopher becomes involved. Instead of taking up the battle against absurdity, instead of unmasking those allegedly obvious views upon this sensationalism, and psychologism generally, rests, so as to penetrate to some coherent selfunderstanding and a real theory of comprehension, he stays in the comfy and very impressive role of instructional scepticism. Through this attitude he’s become the father of a still powerful, unhealthy positivism that hedges before philosophical abysses, or insures them on the outside, and comforts itself with the successes of the positive sciences and their psychologistic elucidation. Why does Hume’s Treatise (in comparison to which the Essay Concerning Human Understanding is badly watered down) signify such a great historical event? What happened ? The Cartesian radicalism of presuppositionlessness, with the objective of tracing real scientific knowledge back to the eventual sources of validity and of course it entirely upon them, required reflections led toward the topic, demanded the regression to the understanding self in his immanence. No matter how little one may have approved of Descartes’s epistemological process, one could no longer escape the requirement of this requirement. However, was it possible to improve upon Descartes’s process? Was his goal, which of grounding completely the new philosophical rationalism, nevertheless attainable following the sceptical strikes? Speaking in favour of the from the start was the huge force of discoveries in math and natural science that were moving at breakneck speed. And so those took part in these sciences through research or study were already convinced that its precision, its own method, bore the stamp of finality and exemplariness. And today empiricist scepticism brings to light what had been present from the Cartesian basic investigation but was not exercised, namely, that knowledge of the world, that the prescientific as well as the scientific, is an enormous enigma. It was easy to follow Descartes, if he went back to the apodictic self love, in interpreting the latter as soul, in taking the primal self-evidence to function as selfevidence of”inner perception” And what was much more logical than the way in which Locke exemplified the reality of the detached soul and the history running its course inside, its internal genesis, by means of this”white paper” and thus naturalised this reality? But now, could the”idealism” of Berkeley and Hume, and eventually scepticism with all its absurdity, be avoided? What a paradox! Nothing can cripple the peculiar force of this quickly growing and, in their accomplishments, unassailable exact sciences or the belief in their own reality. And as soon as one took into consideration that they are the achievements of their consciousness of knowing topics, their self-evidence and clarity were changed into incomprehensible absurdity. No offence has been taken in the event, in Descartes, immanent sensibility engendered pictures of the world; however in Berkeley this sensibility engendered the world of figures itself; and in Hume the entire soul, with its own”impressions” and”ideas,” the forces belonging to it, imagined by analogy to physical forces, its own laws of institution (as parallels to the law of gravity! ) ) , engendered the whole Earth, the world itself, not just something such as a film — though, to be certain, this item was only a fiction, a rendering set together inwardly which was really quite vague. And this is the case of this entire world of the logical sciences in addition to that of experientia vaga.
Was there not, here, despite the absurdity which might have been because of certain facets of the presuppositions, a hidden and inevitable fact to be sensed? Was this not the sin of a completely new way of analyzing the objectivity of the world and its entire ontic meaning and, correlatively, that of the objective sciences, a method which didn’t assault their own validity but did strike their philosophical or metaphysical claim, that of complete truth? At last it was possible and essential to become conscious of the truth — which had stayed completely unconsidered in these sciences — that the life of consciousness is a life of accomplishment: the accomplishment, right or wrong, of ontic significance, actually sensibly intuited meaning, and all the longer of scientific meaning. Descartes hadn’t pondered the fact that, in the same way the sensible world, that of regular life, is the cogitatum of sensing cogitationes, so the scientific universe would be the cogitatum of scientific cogitationes; and he hadn’t noticed the circle where he had been involved when he presupposed, in his evidence of the existence of God, the possibility of inferences transcending the self, when this chance, after all,was supposed to be recognized only through this proof. The idea was distant from him that the entire world could be a cogitatum stemming from the universal synthesis of the flowing cogitationes and that, on a higher degree, the rational accomplishment of the scientific cogitationes, built upon the prior ones, could be constitutive of the scientific universe. But was this thought not suggested, now, by Berkeley and Hume — under the presupposition that the absurdity of their empiricism lay just in a belief that was allegedly clear, by which immanent motive had been driven out in advance? This is true not only of the mathematising objectivism, so inspiring to individuals of the time, which actually ascribed to the world itself a mathematical-rational in-itself (that we replicate, so to speak, better and better at our more or less flawless theories); it was also true of the general objectivism which had been outstanding for millennia.