Avenarius and the Standpoint of Pure Experience

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Avenarius and the Standpoint of Pure Experience  (1905) 
by Wendell T. Bush
Doctoral dissertation, 1905.
CONTENTS

    page
  INTRODUCTION 1
     
  APPRECIATIONS OF EXPERIENCE  
I. 
The independent outer world is an object not of reasoned belief but of spontaneous experience which philosophical theory has no power to alter. To say, however, that the independent existence of the outer world is a characteristic feature of normal human experience is to say nothing whatever about its real metaphysical independence
5
II. 
An object of experience need not be of the sort that can be presented to sense-perception
7
III. 
Avenarius: his way of describing the experience of knowing something. Knowledge is experience with the cognitive character
9
IV. 
This definition of knowledge is not self-contradictory, since it makes no metaphysical assumption to contradict. It is not a question-begging term
14
V. 
Two meanings of the word experience. The word is used here to mean direct cognition of fact
15
VI. 
There is a natural (not necessarily true) view of the world. This is naïve realism
16
VII. 
Distinction between the Independent and the Transcendent. Independence is a character of objects within the field of experience. Transcendence means existence without necessary reference to any field of experience. The outer world and my fellow men are evidently independent, and they are characterized in normal human experience as transcendent also
22
VIII. 
Solipsism can not be logically refuted, but this makes no difference to experience
25
IX. 
A review of some attempts to show that experience guarantees the transcendent object. The attempts fail. Summary of the discussion thus far
29
     
  THE DESCRIPTION OF EXPERIENCE  
I. 
We can seek to give a psychophysical account of pure cognitive experience and this will not be a metaphysical undertaking, for the concepts will not be used with a metaphysical purpose
34
II. 
The concept of psychophysical parallelism is employed in the interest not of ultimate explanation but of description
35
III. 
The theories of Avenarius are not concerned with metaphysical problems
38
IV. 
Science seeks to discover the ‘How’ of experience. Metaphysics seeks to discover the ‘Why’ of experience. The experience which science describes and metaphysics explains is experience characterized by the natural view of the world
56
     
  THE EXPLANATION OF EXPERIENCE  
I. 
Explanation in metaphysics differs from scientific description in that the former attaches the predicate of existence to its concept of reality. The demand for the existential predicate is an emotional demand
60
II. 
The new epistemology of science will bring it to pass that reputable philosophy will not seek reality behind and different from the world of concrete experience
61
     
  SUGGESTIONS TOWARD A CONCEPT OF EXPERIENCE  
 
The concept suggested is that of the historical process which, starting from animism, has led to the modem concept of nature elaborated by the special sciences. The concept is suggested in the interest of history
71
     
  AN EMPIRICAL DEFINITION OF CONSCIOUSNESS  
 
Consciousness means experience that can belong to only one observer. Consciousness thus defined ceases to be a basis for idealism. There remains the natural view of the world
73


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1941, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.