Page:Avenarius and the Standpoint of Pure Experience.djvu/37

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
29
APPRECIATIONS OF EXPERIENCE

logically impossible, but that that does not disturb one. One does not say that solipsism as a logical possibility is inconsistent in such and such respects. One says it is absurd and revolting; that is, one substitutes esthetic categories for logical ones.

I have raised the question about solipsism in order to bring out the way in which the experience of all of us is superior to logic. We all draw the line with great emphasis at the fellow being. His reality must not be brought into question. We can perhaps discuss it as a problem, but we know that it will not be a real problem. We know that our experience is characterized in a social way and that this social character is all-important in our world of values. The fact that a character of experience is simply a character of experience and can in no way turn into a transcendent thing is not allowed to make any difference.

IX

Realists do not take kindly to considerations like the preceding. Such discussion sounds like argument for subjectivism. The realistic prejudice already referred to demands the transcendent object. What I have called the independent object is not enough. A few attempts to support this demand may be here briefly reviewed.

Volkelt writes as follows: "If pure experience were the only source of knowledge we should have to give up all claim to objective knowledge, and content ourselves with mere enumeration and description of our own processes in consciousness. Every attempt to formulate knowledge must end in failure."[1]

Here we have the initial assumption in the word 'knowledge' which solves a problem in advance by a mere fiat. If pure experience be the only source of knowledge, then pure experience is a good enough basis for all the science we have, for it has no other basis, and we can continue our scientific undertakings on that one. In the statement quoted, the idea of an experience valid from a certain point of view seems to get in the way of a frank description of actual experience as such. It is felt that because a point of view seems so subjective, therefore the experience described must feel equally subjective. But this is pure assumption.

If, however, knowledge is to be a cognition of the real transcendent, and since knowledge we must have, some way has got to be found to lead from pure experience over into the transubjective region. Accordingly, Volkelt continues as follows: "The new principle is to secure me a knowledge of the transubjective region which is closed to experience. The certainty of this principle must, however, be grounded in experience, must find an experience in which subjective


  1. 'Erfahrung und Denken,' p. 133.