Berkeley's idealism denies an objective reality

 

6. Freedom and Necessity | Content | 2. How the "empirical symbolist" Yushkevich made fun of the "empirical critic" Chernov

 


CHAPTER IV
THE PHILOSOPHICAL IDEALISTS
AS PARTIES AND SUCCESSORS
OF EMPIRIOCRITICISM

So far we have looked at empirical criticism in isolation. Let us now consider it in its historical development, in its context and in its interrelationship with other philosophical directions. The first question that arises here is the relationship between Mach and Avenarius and Kant.

1. The critique of Kantianism from the left and from the right

Both Mach and Avenarius entered the philosophical arena in the seventies of the last century, when the call “Back to Kant!” Became fashionable in German professorships. The two founders of empiricist criticism then started out from Kant in their philosophical development. "His" (Kant's) "critical idealism," writes Mach, "was, as I acknowledge with the greatest gratitude, the starting point of all my critical thinking. But it was impossible for me to maintain it. Rather, I very soon approached Berkeley's views again "and then" I came to conceptions related to Humean ... Even today I have to regard Berkeley and Hume as the far more consistent thinkers compared to Kant. "(" Analysis of Sensations ", p. 292 [p. 299].)

Mach therefore expressly admits that, starting from Kant, he followed the line of Berkeley and Hume. Let us now turn to Avenarius.

In his "Prolegomena to a" Critique of Pure Experience "(1876), Avenarius notes in the preface that the expression" Critique of Pure Experience "refers to its relation to Kant's" Critique of Pure


Reason "indicates," and of course (on) an opposing one "(p. IV, ed. 1876). What is this contrast between Avenarius and Kant? In the fact that, according to Avenarius, Kant did not sufficiently "purify experience". Avenarius also treats this "purification of experience" in his "Prolegomena" (§§ 56, 72 and many others). From what, Avenarius "cleanses" the Kantian doctrine of the Experience? First, from apriorism. "On the other hand, the question", he says in § 56, "whether the ingredient of the 'a priori understanding concepts' should be removed from the content of what has been experienced, and thus the κατ'ἑξοχἠν" (preferably) "pure experience should and can be produced, herewith, As far as I know, for the first time to be posed as such. "We have already seen that in this way Avenarius" purified "Kantianism from the recognition of necessity and causality.

Second, it purifies Kantianism from the assumption of substance (§ 95), i. H. of the thing-in-itself which, according to Avenarius, "is not given in the material of what is actually experienced, but is only put into it through the thinking of the experiencer".

We shall soon see that this Avenariusian definition of his philosophical line coincides perfectly with Mach's and differs from it only in the pomposity of the expression. First of all, however, it must be noted that it is a direct falsehood when Avenarius says that in 1876 he first asked the question of the "purification of experience", that is, of the purification of the Kantian doctrine from a priorism and from the assumption of In reality, the development of German classical philosophy immediately after Kant gave rise to a critique of Kantianism that moved in the same direction as that of Avenarius, which is represented in German classical philosophy by Aenesidem-Schulze, a follower of Humean agnosticism, and JG Fichte, a supporter of Berkeleyanism, ie of subjective idealism. Aenesidem-Schulze criticized Kant in 1792 - especially for his apriorism (lc, pp. 56, 141, etc.) and the acceptance of the thing in itself. We skeptics or Hume's followers, said Schulze, reject the thing-in-itself as that which lies "outside of all experience" (p. 57). We deny objective knowledge (25); we deny that space and time really exist outside of us (100); we deny the existence of the emergency


agility (112) of causality, power, etc. in experience (113). No “reality other than human imaginations” should be ascribed to them (114). Kant proves the a priori “dogmatically” by asserting that since we cannot think otherwise, a law of thinking must exist a priori. This conclusion, counters Schulze Kant, "has always been used in philosophy to determine the objective nature of that which exists outside our ideas" (141). In conclusion, one could ascribe causality to things in themselves (142 ). "That the effectiveness of objective objects on us produces ideas, [we never find out]", and Kant has by no means proven that" this something "(which is outside of reason)" is for one of that [Mind] different thing must be held in itself. But now the mind can also be thought of as the sole ground of all our knowledge. "(265) The Kantian Critique of Pure Reason" bases its speculations on the principle that all knowledge through the effectiveness of objective objects on the [mind] begin and later deny the truth and reality of this proposition "(266). Kant had in no way refuted the idealist Berkeley (268-272).

From this it can be seen that the Humeist Schulze rejects the Kantian doctrine of the thing-in-itself as an inconsistent concession to materialism; H. to the "dogmatic" assertion that objective reality is given to us in sensation, or in other words, that our ideas are generated by the action of objective (independent of our consciousness) objects on our sense organs. The agnostic Schulze makes the agnostic Kant the reproach that the assumption of the thing in itself contradicts agnosticism and leads to materialism. Likewise - only more decisively - Kant is criticized by the subjective idealist Fichte, who thinks that Kant's assumption of the thing in itself independent of our ego is "realism" was (Werke, I, p. 483) and that Kant “does not make a clear distinction” between “realism” and “idealism.” Fichte sees in Kant and the Kantians a blatant inconsistency in the fact that they consider a thing in itself as the “ground of objective Reality "(480) and thereby come into contradiction to critical idealism. "Your globe rests on the big elephant," calls out Fichte to the realistic interpreters of Kant,


“And the big elephant - rests on the globe. Their thing in itself, which is a mere thought, is to act on the I! "(483.)

Avenarius was thus caught in a great error when he imagined that he had "for the first time" undertaken a "purification of experience" from a priorism and from the thing-in-itself with Kant and thus created a "new" direction in philosophy In reality he continued the old line of Hume and Berkeley, of Aenesidem-Schulze and JG Fichte. Avenarius imagined that he was "purifying experience" in general. In reality he only purged agnosticism from Kantianism. He did not fight against Kant's agnosticism (agnosticism is the denial of the objective reality given to us in the sensation), but for a purer agnosticism, for the elimination of that assumption, which contradicts Kant's agnosticism, that there is a thing in itself, even if an unknowable one, intelligible, otherworldly, there is necessity and causality, even if only a priori, only in thinking and not in objective reality. He did not fight Kant from the left, as the materialists did, but from the right, like the skeptics and idealists. He formed a sense of going forward, while in reality he was going back to that program of Kant's criticism, which Kuno Fischer, speaking of Aenesidem-Schulze, aptly expressed in the words: "The criticism of pure reason after the deduction of pure reason" (ie, apriorism ) "Is skepticism. The criticism of pure reason after subtracting the thing-in-itself is Berkeleyian idealism." ("History of modern philosophy", German edition 1869, vol. V, p. 115.)

Here we come to one of the strangest episodes of our entire "Machiad," the entire campaign of the Russian Machists against Engels and Marx. The latest discovery by Bogdanov and Basarow, Yushkevich and Walentinov, which they trumpet in a thousand variations, is that Plekhanov undertook this "Unfortunate attempt to reconcile Engels with Kant with the help of a compromising, just yet recognizable thing in itself" ("Contributions", p. 67 and many others). This discovery of our Machists reveals to us a truly bottomless abyss of the most hopeless confusion, both in the most monstrous lack of understanding in relation to Kant as well as in relation to the whole development of German classical philosophy.


The main feature of Kant's philosophy is the reconciliation of materialism with idealism, a compromise between the two, a combination of different, contradicting philosophical directions into one system. When Kant admits that something outside of us, some thing in itself, corresponds to our ideas, then he is a materialist in this regard. If he declares this thing in itself unknowable, transcendent, otherworldly, he appears as an idealist. By recognizing experience as the sole source of our knowledge, Kant gives his philosophy the direction towards sensualism and, through sensualism, under certain conditions also towards materialism. By speaking out in favor of the a priori of space, time, causality, etc., Kant steers his philosophy on the side of idealism. Because of this half-measure of Kant, both the consistent materialists and the consistent idealists (and also the "pure" agnostics, the Humeists) waged a ruthless struggle against him. The materialists reproached Kant for his idealism, they refuted the idealistic features of his system, they proved that the thing in itself is knowable, this worldly, that there is no fundamental difference between it and the appearance and that causality, etc., cannot be derived from a priori laws of thought but from objective reality. The agnostics and idealists made Kant his assumption of the thing-in-itself as a concession to materialism, "realism" or "naive realism" as a reproach, whereby the agnostics also rejected the thing-in-itself as well as the a priorism, while the idealists the consequent derivation not only of the a priori forms of intuition, but of the all over the world demanded from pure thinking (i By expanding human thinking to an abstract I or to an "absolute idea" or to a universal will, etc., etc.). Our machists, who had "overlooked" the fact that they had chosen people as teachers who criticized Kant from the standpoint of skepticism and idealism, now began to tear their robes and throw ashes on their heads when they did so on such monstrous people who criticized Kant from a diametrically opposite standpoint, who rejected the very slightest elements of agnosticism (skepticism) and idealism in the Kantian system and demonstrated that the thing in itself objectively real, very


well recognizable, this world, differs in principle in no way from the appearance, is transformed into an appearance at every step of the development of the individual consciousness of man and of the collective consciousness of mankind. Screeching and murder! they shouted, that is an unauthorized mixture of materialism and Kantianism!

When I read the assurances of our Machists that their criticism of Kant is much more consistent and decisive than that of any outdated materialists, I always feel as if Purishkevich has lost his way into our society and screams: My criticism of the Cadets73 is much more consistent and decisive than yours, you gentlemen Marxists! Certainly, Mr Purishkevich, people who are politically consistent can and will always criticize the Cadets from diametrically opposed points of view, but one must not forget that you criticized the Cadets because they are too much for you to be democrats, but we because they are are not sufficient. The Machists criticize Kant because he is too much of a materialist for them, but we criticize him because he is not enough materialist. The Machists criticize Kant from the right, we from the left.

Humeist Schulze and the subjective idealist Fichte can serve as prime examples of the first kind of criticism in the history of classical German philosophy. As we have already seen, they endeavor to eradicate the "realistic" elements of Kantianism. Just as Kant himself was criticized by Schulze and Fichte, the German Neo-Kantians were in the second half of the 19th century by the humanistic empirical critics and the subjective- idealistic immanence philosopher criticized. The same line by Hume and Berkeley appeared in a somewhat refreshed linguistic shell. Mach and Avenarius reproached Kant not because he did not understand the thing in itself sufficiently realistically, not sufficiently materialistically, but because he did not understand the existence of such a thing allows - not because he refuses to derive causality and natural necessity from objective reality, but because he allows any kind of causality and necessity (unless the purely "logical"). The immanence philosophers were in agreement with the empiric critics in that they also started out from Kant from the humanistic and Berkeleyan point of view


criticized. For example, in 1879, in the same work in which he praised Mach as an important philosopher, Leclair accused Kant of “inconsistency and [Consistency] on the side of realism ", which finds its expression in the concept of the" thing in itself, "this" nominal [Residuals] of vulgar realism "(" Der Real. der mod. Nat. etc. ", p. 9). Leclair describes materialism as vulgar realism; - to say it more “peppered”. “In our opinion,” wrote Leclair, “all components of the Kantian theory which gravitate in the direction of realism vulgaris must be considered inconsistent and [Hermaphrodite] Products are overcome and resolved from the idealistic standpoint. "(41.)" The inconsistencies and contradictions "in Kant's teaching emerge" from the [Amalgamation] of idealistic criticism with unresolved residuals of realistic dogmatics. "(170.) Leclair describes materialism as realistic dogmatics.

Another immanence philosopher, Johannes Rehmke, accused Kant of realistically delimiting himself from Berkeley by the thing-in-itself. (Johannes Rehmke, "The world as perception and concept", Berlin 1880, p. 9.) "Kant's philosophical activity was essentially polemical; with the thing in itself he turned against German rationalism" (ie against the old fideism of the 18th century), "with the pure intuition against English empiricism." (25.) "I would like to compare the Kantian thing in itself to the movable flap over a pitfall: the thing looks so innocent and safe, one dares to climb it and suddenly one sinks into the βυϑός "(the abyss)," into the world itself. "(27.) That is why the fighters of Mach and Avenarius, the immanence philosophers, do not like Kant: because he is here and as the "abyss" of materialism is approaching!

And now a few samples of Kant's criticism from the left. Feuerbach accuses Kant not of "realism" but of idealism; he describes his system as "idealism from the standpoint of empiricism" (Werke, 11.296).

Here is a particularly important consideration by Feuerbach about Kant: “Kant says: 'If we regard the objects of the senses as mere phenomena, as it is fair, we thereby at the same time admit that they are


Thing in itself is the basis, whether we do not have the same thing as it is in itself, but only its appearance, i.e. i. the way our senses of this unknown something [affected] will know. Understanding therefore, precisely by accepting appearances, also admits the existence of things in itself, and to this extent we can say that the idea of ​​such beings on which appearances are based, i.e. mere intellectual beings, is not only permissible, but also inevitable... '"Feuerbach chooses a passage in Kant in which the thing in itself is viewed as a mere thought thing, as an intellectual being, and not as reality, and directs all his criticism against it." ... The objects of the senses, the Experience ", he says," are therefore mere appearance for the understanding, not a truth ... "" And yet the intellectual beings should not be real objects for the understanding! Kantian philosophy is the contradiction of subject and object, essence and existence, Thought and being. The essence here falls into the intellect, existence into the senses. Existence without essence "(ie the existence of appearances without objective reality)" is a mere appearance - these are the sensible things - the essence without existence is more mere Thought - these are the mind beings who Noumena; they are thought, but they lack existence - at least existence for us - objectivity; they are the things in themselves, the real things, only they are not real things. .. But what a contradiction, to separate the truth from the reality, the reality from the truth! "(Werke, II, p. 302/303.) Feuerbach does not reproach Kant for accepting things in themselves, but for accepting them their reality, that is, their objective reality, does not admit that he regards them as mere thoughts, as "intellectual beings" and not as "beings that have existence", that is, are real, really exist Materialism differs.

"The Kantian philosophy is a contradiction", Feuerbach wrote to Bolin on March 26, 1858, it "inevitably leads to Fichte's idealism or to sensualism." The first consequence "belongs to the past", the second "to the present and future" (Grün, 1. c., II, 49). We have already seen that Feuerbach promotes objective sensualism, i. H. materialism, defended. The new turn from Kant to agnosticism and idealism, to Hume


and Berkeley is undoubtedly reactionary, even from Feuerbach's standpoint. And the enthusiastic supporter of Feuerbach, Albrecht Rau, who with the virtues of Feuerbach also took over his weaknesses that Marx and Engels had overcome, criticized Kant in the spirit of his master. “The Kantian philosophy is an amphibolism” (ambiguity), “it is both materialism and idealism, and in this dual nature lies the key to its essence. As a materialist or empiricist, Kant cannot avoid things outside of us [Entity] award. As an idealist, however, he was unable to free himself from the prejudice that the soul is a being totally different from sensual things. So there are real things and a human mind that understands those things. But how does this spirit approach things that are entirely different from it? The way out is this: the spirit has certain a priori knowledge, by virtue of which things must appear as they appear to it. So that we understand things as we understand them: that is our creation. Because the spirit living in us is nothing else than the spirit of God, and just as it created the world out of nothing, so the spirit of man makes something out of things that these things are not in and of themselves. Real things are guaranteed to be 'things in themselves'. But Kant needed the soul because immortality was a moral postulate to him. The 'thing in itself', gentlemen "(this is how Rau addresses the Neo-Kantians in general and the confused A. Lange who falsified the" history of materialism "in particular)" is therefore the thing through which Kantian idealism differs from Berkeley's: it forms the bridge from idealism to materialism. - That is my criticism of Kant's philosophy, and overturn it if you can ... For the materialist, the distinction between a priori knowledge and the 'thing in itself' is absolutely superfluous, because since it does not interrupt the continuity of nature anywhere, there for him matter and spirit are not two fundamentally different things, but only the two sides of one and the same thing, so he does not need any special artifacts to bring the spirit to things. "*

Furthermore, as we have seen, Engels reproaches Kant that


* Albrecht Rau, "Ludwig Feuerbach's Philosophy, Natural Research and the Philosophical Criticism of the Present", Leipzig 1882, pp. 87-89.


he is agnostic, but not that he deviates from consistent agnosticism. A pupil of Engels, Lafargue, polemicized in 1900 against the Kantians (to which Charles Rappoport belonged at the time) as follows:

“... At the beginning of the 19th century, after finishing the work of revolutionary destruction, our bourgeoisie began to deny its Voltairian and free-thinking philosophy; Catholicism, which the decorator Chateaubriand painted in romantic colors (peinturlurait), was made fashionable again, and Sébastien Mercier imported Kantian idealism in order to give the coup de grace to the materialism of the encyclopedists, whose heralds had been guillotined by Robespierre.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the century of the bourgeoisie, as history will call it, the intellectuals tried to use the Kantian philosophy to destroy the materialism of Marx and Engels. This reactionary movement began in Germany - regardless of our integral socialists, who would like to have the full honor of the founder of their school, Malon, awarded. Malon himself does not come from any other school than that of Höchberg's, Bernstein's and other students of Dühring, who began to reform Marxism in Zurich. "(Lafargue speaks of the well-known ideological current in German socialism in the second half of the 1970s.74) “It is to be expected that Jaurès, Fournière and our intellectuals will also present Kant to us after they have become accustomed to his terminology ... Rappoport is mistaken when he assures that for Marx, the identity of idea and reality exist '. Above all, we never use such metaphysical phraseology. The idea is just as real as the object whose reflection in the brain it is ... In order to please a little (récréer) the comrades who are compelled to get to know bourgeois philosophy, I want to explain what this famous problem consists of so preoccupied spiritualistic spirits ...

A worker who eats a sausage and earns five francs a day knows very well that he is being robbed by the employer and that he is eating pork; he knows that his entrepreneur is a thief, that the sausage has a pleasant taste and is nutritious for the body. Nothing


The same thing, says the bourgeois sophist, regardless of whether his name is Pyrrhon, Hume or Kant, the worker's opinion of these things is his personal, that is to say. H. subjective opinion; He could just as well think that the entrepreneur is his benefactor and that the sausage is made of hashed skin, because: he cannot know the thing in itself ...

The whole difficulty lies in the fact that the question is posed incorrectly ... In order to recognize the object, a person must first make sure that his senses are not deceiving him ... The chemists have gone further, they have gone inside Bodies penetrated, analyzed them, disassembled them into their elements, then carried out the reverse procedure, i. H. one synthesis, they reassembled the bodies from their elements; From the moment when a person is able to produce things for his use from these elements, he can - as Engels says - claim that he knows the things in themselves. The God of Christians, if he had existed and created the world, would no longer know about it either. "*

We have taken the liberty of spending this long excerpt to show how Lafargue understood Engels and how he criticized Kant from the left, not because of those aspects of Kantianism that distinguish it from Humeism, but because of those that Kant and Hume have in common; not because of the assumption of the thing in itself, but because of the insufficiently materialistic conception of it.

Finally, in his Ethics, K. Kautsky also criticized Kant from a standpoint diametrically opposed to Humeism and Berkeleyanism: “That I see green and red and white,” he writes against Kant's epistemology, “is based on my ability to see. But that the green is something different from the red, that testifies to something that lies outside of me, real differences of things ... The relationships and differences of the things themselves, which are indicated to me by the individual conceptions of space and time ..., are real relationships and differences in the outside world, they are not conditioned by the nature of my cognitive faculties. .. that would be


* Paul Lafargue, "Le matérialisme de Marx et l'idéalisme de Kant" [The materialism of Marx and the idealism of Kant] in "Le Socialiste"75 dated February 25, 1900.


really so "(if the Kantian doctrine of the ideality of space and time were correct)," then we could not know anything about the world except ourselves, not even that it exists. " (Pp. 33/34 of the Russian translation.76)

So, the whole school of Feuerbach, Marx and Engels went from Kant to the left, to the complete rejection of all idealism and all agnosticism. Our Machists, however, followed the reactionary direction in philosophy, followed Mach and Avenarius, who criticized Kant from the standpoint of Hume and Berkeley. Every citizen and especially every intellectual has, of course, the sacred right to follow any ideological reactionary at will. But when people who have broken radically with the most elementary foundations of Marxism in philosophy begin to squirm, confuse speech, make excuses, assure that they are "also" Marxists in philosophy, that they " almost "agree with Marx and would have" supplemented "him only a little bit - it is quite an embarrassing spectacle.



Date of the last change: Jena, 03.04.2013