Page:Avenarius and the Standpoint of Pure Experience.djvu/38

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certainty forces me to conclude that in that experience I cognize something that experience itself can not reach.”[1]

This is a frank statement of the situation. It is an appeal to pure experience to tell something about facts which it confessedly can not touch. Suppose experience does her best to comply; in that case we have experience characterized in one way or another, in such a way, in fact, as to satisfy us. As Avenarius would say, our new experience is ‘deproblematized.’

The principle by which Volkelt thinks we gain a knowledge of transubjective things is the necessity one is under to make a particular judgment and not any other, if one wishes to tell the truth about a fact with which one is acquainted. He testifies to a constraint, a Zwang, which lies in the very nature of the case, a demand that the ideas be related so and not otherwise.[2]

One understands at once what is meant, although such terms as constraint and demand are a little misleading. When one has the insight that constitutes perfect knowledge one can, of course, report it only one way. If it is an insight which one would have been glad to avoid, there may be some sense of compulsion about it, but unless the observer has an emotional antipathy to the truth which he perceives, that truth is simply a part of his world of fact, but it can not be said to assault him with any kind of imperative. There are judgments, however, judgments of insight, which claim to have a perfectly obvious objective validity. There is a test of such validity, the test of social agreement. Volkelt tries to explain that it is this social agreement which he means by the objective validity of judgments. But so long as the success of a judgment depends upon its reporting correctly the facts about a transubjective object, social agreement may be the test of such judgments, but it is not equivalent to their validity, except in a purely practical way. If we are to accept social agreement as validity, we must throw overboard the transcendent object. This, however, will be a mere matter of theory;—the independent objects of experience will, many of them at least, continue to be characterized as transcendent.

Volkelt tries to describe a kind of transcendental ‘Must.’ Rickert, with a much less realistic attitude, argues for a ‘transcendental Ought.’[3] His argument is somewhat as follows: Suppose I see a tree, and I perceive it to be a green tree. That perception includes the judgment, the tree is green. It would certainly be false to say that no judgment occurs until I happen to put it into words. But having perceived the green tree I am not now at liberty to de-

  1. ‘Erfahrung und Denken,’ p. 135.
  2. L. c., p. 140.
  3. ‘Der Gegenstand der Erkenntniss,’ Freiburg i. B., 1892, p. 66.