Edmund Husserl (1937)

The Crisis of European Sciences

Source: The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (1954) publ. Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 1970. Sections 22 - 25 and 57 - 68, 53 pages in all.

Part II: Clarification of the Origin of the Modern Opposition between Physicalistic Objectivism and Transcendental Subjectivism. ...

§ 22. Locke's naturalistic-epistemological psychology.

IT IS IN THE EMPIRICIST development, as we know, that the new psychology, which was required as a correlate to pure natural science when the latter was separated off, is brought to its first concrete execution, Thus it is concerned with investigations of introspective psychology in the field of the soul, which has now been separated from the body, as well as with physiological and psychophysical explanations. On the other hand, this psychology is of service to a theory of knowledge which, compared with the Cartesian one, is completely new and very differently worked out. In Locke's great work this is the actual intent from the start. It offers itself as a new attempt to accomplish precisely what Descartes's Meditations intended to accomplish: an epistemological grounding of the objectivity of the objective sciences. The sceptical posture of this intent is evident from the beginning in questions like those of the scope, the extent, and the degrees of certainty of human knowledge. Locke senses nothing of the depths of the Cartesian epoche [critique] and of the reduction to the ego. He simply takes over the ego as soul, which becomes acquainted, in the self-evidence of self-experience, with its inner states, acts, and capacities. Only what inner self-experience shows, only our own "ideas," are immediately, self-evidently given. Everything in the external world is inferred.

What comes first, then, is the internal-psychological analysis purely on the basis of the inner experience - whereby use is made, quite naively, of the experiences of other human beings and of the conception of self experience as what belongs to me one human being among human beings; that is, the objective validity of inferences to others is used; just as, in general, the whole investigation proceeds as an objective psychological one, indeed even has recourse to the physiological - when it is precisely all this objectivity, after all, which is in question.

The actual problem of Descartes, that of transcending egological (interpreted as internal-psychological) validities, including all manners of inference pertaining to the external world, the question of how these, which are, after all, themselves cogitationes in the encapsuled soul, are able to justify assertions about extrapsychic being - these problems disappear in Locke or turn into the problem of the psychological genesis of the real experiences of validity or of the faculties belonging to them. 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 but something taken for granted.

Especially portentous for future psychology and theory of knowledge is the fact that Locke makes no use of the Cartesian first introduction of the cogitatio as cogitatio of cogitata - that is, intentionality; he does not recognise it as a subject of investigation (indeed the most authentic subject of the foundation-laying investigations) . He is blind to the whole distinction. The soul is something self-contained and real by itself, as is a body; in naive naturalism the soul is now taken to be like an isolated space, like a writing tablet, in his famous simile, on which psychic data come and go. This data-sensationalism, together with the doctrine of outer and inner sense, dominates psychology and the theory of knowledge for centuries, even up to the present day; and in spite of the familiar struggle against "psychic atomism," the basic sense of this doctrine does not change. Of course one speaks quite unavoidably, even in the Lockean terminology, of perceptions, representations "of" things, or of believing "in something," willing "something," and the like. But no consideration is given to the fact that in the perceptions, in the experiences of consciousness themselves, that of which we are conscious is included as such - that the perception is in itself a perception of something, of "this tree."

How is the life of the soul, which is through and through a life of consciousness, the intentional life of the ego, which has objects of which it is conscious, deals with them through knowing, valuing, etc. - how is it supposed to be seriously investigated if intentionality is overlooked? How can the problems of reason be attacked at all? Can they be attacked at all as psychological problems? In the end, behind the psychological-epistemological problems, do we not find the problems of the "ego" of the Cartesian epoche, touched upon but not grasped by Descartes? Perhaps these are not unimportant questions, which give a direction in advance to the reader who thinks for himself. In any case they are an indication of what will become a serious problem in later parts of this work, or rather will serve as a way to a philosophy which can really be carried through "without prejudice," a philosophy with the most radical grounding in its setting of problems, in its method, and in work which is systematically accomplished.

It is also of interest that the Lockean scepticism in respect to the rational ideal of science, and its limitation of the scope of the new sciences (which are supposed to retain their validity), leads to a new sort of agnosticism. It is not that the possibility of science is completely denied, as in ancient scepticism, although again unknowable things-in-themselves are assumed. But our human science depends exclusively on our representations and concept-formations; by means of these we may, of course, make inferences extending to what is transcendent; but in principle we cannot obtain actual representations of the things-in-themselves, representations which adequately express the proper essence of these things. We have adequate representations and knowledge only of what is in our own soul.

§ 23. Berkeley. David Hume's psychology as fictionalistic theory of knowledge: the "bankruptcy" of philosophy and science.

LOCKE'S NAÏVETÉS and inconsistencies lead to a rapid further development of his empiricism, which pushes toward a paradoxical idealism and finally ends in a consummated absurdity. The foundation continues to be sensationalism and what appears to be obvious, i.e., that the sole indubitable ground of all knowledge is self-experience and its realm of immanent data. Starting from here, Berkeley reduces the bodily things which appear in natural experience to the complexes of sense-data themselves through which they appear. No inference is thinkable, according to Berkeley, through which conclusions could be drawn from these sense-data about anything but other such data. It could only be inductive inference, i.e., inference growing out of the association of ideas. Matter existing in itself, a je ne sais quoi, according to Locke, is for Berkeley a philosophical invention. It is also significant that at the same time he dissolves the manner in which rational natural science builds concepts and transforms it into a sensationalistic critique of knowledge.

In this direction, Hume goes on to the end. All categories of objectivity - the scientific ones through which an objective, extrapsychic world is thought in scientific life, and the prescientific ones through which it is thought in everyday life - are fictions. First come the mathematical concepts: number, magnitude, continuum, geometrical figure, etc. We would say that they are methodically necessary idealisations of what is given intuitively. For Hume, however, they are fictions; and the same is true, accordingly, of the whole of supposedly apodictic mathematics. The origin of these fictions can be explained perfectly well psychologically (i.e., in terms of immanent sensationalism), namely, through the immanent lawfulness of the associations and the relations between ideas. But even the categories of the prescientific world, of the straightforwardly intuited world - those of corporeity (i.e., the identity of persisting bodies supposedly found in immediate, experiencing intuition), as well as the supposedly experienced identity of the person - are nothing but fictions. We say, for example, "that" tree over there, and distinguish from it its changing manners of appearing. But immanently, psychically, there is nothing there but these "manners of appearing." These are complexes of data, and again and again other complexes of data - "bound together," regulated, to be sure, by association, which explains the illusion of experiencing something identical. 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 the succession, is a fictive misconstruction. Thus, in Hume's Treatise, the world in general, nature, the universe of identical bodies, the world of identical persons, and accordingly also objective science, which knows these in their objective truth, are transformed into fiction. To be consistent, we must say: reason, knowledge, including that of true values, of pure ideals of every sort, including the ethical - all this is fiction. This is indeed, then, a bankruptcy of objective knowledge. Hume ends up, basically, in a solipsism. For how could inferences from data to other data ever reach beyond the immanent sphere? Of course, Hume did not ask the question, or at least did not say a word, about the status of the reason - Hume's - which established this theory as truth, which carried out these analyses of the soul and demonstrated these laws of association. How do rules of associative ordering "bind"? Even if we knew about them, would not that knowledge itself be another datum on the tablet?

Like all scepticism, all irrationalism, the Humean sort cancels itself out. Astounding as Hume's genius is, it is the more regrettable that a correspondingly great philosophical ethos is not joined with it. This is evident in the fact that Hume takes care, throughout his whole presentation, blandly to disguise or interpret as harmless his absurd results, though he does paint a picture (in the final chapter of Volume I of the Treatise) of the immense embarrassment in which the consistent theoretical philosopher gets involved. Instead of taking up the struggle against absurdity, instead of unmasking those supposedly obvious views upon which this sensationalism, and psychologism in general, rests, in order to penetrate to a coherent self-understanding and a genuine theory of knowledge, he remains in the comfortable and very impressive role of academic scepticism. Through this attitude he has become the father of a still effective, unhealthy positivism which hedges before philosophical abysses, or covers them over on the surface, and comforts itself with the successes of the positive sciences and their psychologistic elucidation.

§ 24. The genuine philosophical motif hidden in the absurdity of Hume's scepticism: the shaking of objectivism.

LET US STOP FOR A MOMENT. Why does Hume's Treatise (in comparison to which the Essay Concerning Human Understanding is badly watered down) represent such a great historical event? What happened there? The Cartesian radicalism of presuppositionlessness, with the goal of tracing genuine scientific knowledge back to the ultimate sources of validity and of grounding it absolutely upon them, required reflections directed toward the subject, required the regression to the knowing ego in his immanence. No matter how little one may have approved of Descartes's epistemological procedure, one could no longer escape the necessity of this requirement. But was it possible to improve upon Descartes's procedure? Was his goal, that of grounding absolutely the new philosophical rationalism, still attainable after the sceptical attacks? Speaking in favour of this from the start was the immense force of discoveries in mathematics and natural science that were proceeding at breakneck speed. And so all who themselves took part in these sciences through research or study were already certain that its truth, its method, bore the stamp of finality and exemplariness. And now empiricist scepticism brings to light what was already present in the Cartesian fundamental investigation but was not worked out, namely, that all knowledge of the world, the prescientific as well as the scientific, is an enormous enigma. It was easy to follow Descartes, when he went back to the apodictic ego, in interpreting the latter as soul, in taking the primal self-evidence to be the self-evidence of "inner perception." And what was more plausible than the way in which Locke illustrated the reality of the detached soul and the history running its course within it, its internal genesis, by means of the "white paper" and thus naturalised this reality? But now, could the "idealism" of Berkeley and Hume, and finally scepticism with all its absurdity, be avoided? What a paradox! Nothing could cripple the peculiar force of the rapidly growing and, in their own accomplishments, unassailable exact sciences or the belief in their truth. And yet, as soon as one took into account that they are the accomplishments of the consciousness of knowing subjects, their self-evidence and clarity were transformed into incomprehensible absurdity. No offence was taken if, in Descartes, immanent sensibility engendered pictures of the world; but in Berkeley this sensibility engendered the world of bodies itself; and in Hume the entire soul, with its "impressions" and "ideas," the forces belonging to it, conceived of by analogy to physical forces, its laws of association (as parallels to the law of gravity!), engendered the whole world, the world itself, not merely something like a picture - though, to be sure, this product was merely a fiction, a representation put together inwardly which was actually quite vague. And this is true of the world of the rational sciences as well as that of experientia vaga.

Was there not, here, in spite of the absurdity which may have been due to particular aspects of the presuppositions, a hidden and unavoidable truth to be felt? Was this not the revelation of a completely new way of assessing the objectivity of the world and its whole ontic meaning and, correlatively, that of the objective sciences, a way which did not attack their own validity but did attack their philosophical or metaphysical claim, that of absolute truth? Now at last it was possible and necessary to become aware of the fact - which had remained completely unconsidered in these sciences - that the life of consciousness is a life of accomplishment: the accomplishment, right or wrong, of ontic meaning, even sensibly intuited meaning, and all the more of scientific meaning. Descartes had not pondered the fact that, just as the sensible world, that of everyday life, is the cogitatum of sensing cogitationes, so the scientific world is the cogitatum of scientific cogitationes; and he had not noticed the circle in which he was involved when he presupposed, in his proof of the existence of God, the possibility of inferences transcending the ego, when this possibility, after all, was supposed to be established only through this proof. The thought was quite remote from him that the whole world could itself be a cogitatum arising out of the universal synthesis of the variously flowing cogitationes and that, on a higher level, the rational accomplishment of the scientific cogitationes, built upon the former ones, could be constitutive of the scientific world. But was this thought not suggested, now, by Berkeley and Hume - under the presupposition that the absurdity of their empiricism lay only in a belief that was supposedly obvious, through which immanent reason had been driven out in advance? Through Berkeley's and Hume's revival and radicalisation of the Cartesian fundamental problem, "dogmatic" objectivism was, from the point of view of our critical presentation, shaken to the foundations. This is true not only of the mathematising objectivism, so inspiring to people of the time, which actually ascribed to the world itself a mathematical-rational in-itself (which we copy, so to speak, better and better in our more or less perfect theories); it was also true of the general objectivism which had been dominant for millennia.

§ 25. The "transcendental" motif in rationalism: Kant's conception of a transcendental philosophy.

AS IS KNOWN, Hume has a particular place in history also because of the turn he brought about in the development of Kant's thinking. Kant himself says, in the much-quoted words, that Hume roused him from his dogmatic slumbers and gave his investigations in the field of speculative philosophy a different direction. Was it, then, the historical mission of Kant to experience the shaking of objectivism, of which I just spoke, and to undertake in his transcendental philosophy the solution of the task before which Hume drew back? The answer must be negative. It is a new sort of transcendental subjectivism which begins with Kant and changes into new forms in the systems of German idealism. Kant does not belong to the development which expands in a continuous line from Descartes through Locke, and he is not the successor of Hume. His interpretation of the Humean scepticism and the way in which he reacts against it are determined by his own provenance in the Wolffian school. The "revolution of the way of thinking" motivated by Hume's impulse is not directed against empiricism but against post-Cartesian rationalism's way of thinking, whose great consummator was Leibniz and which was given its systematic textbook-like presentation, its most effective and by far most convincing form, by Christian Wolff.

First of all, what is the meaning of the "dogmatism," taken quite generally, that Kant uproots? Although the Meditations continued to have their effect on post-Cartesian philosophy, the passionate radicalism which drove them was not passed on to Descartes's successors. They were quite prepared to accept what Descartes only wished to establish, and found so hard to establish, by inquiring back into the ultimate source of all knowledge: namely, the absolute metaphysical validity of the objective sciences, or, taking these together, of philosophy as the one objective universal science; or, what comes to the same thing, the right of the knowing ego to let its rational constructs, in virtue of the self-evidences occurring in its mens, count as nature with a meaning transcending this ego. The new conception of the world of bodies, self-enclosed as nature, and the natural sciences related to them, the correlative conception of the self-enclosed souls and the task, related to them, of a new psychology with a rational method according to the mathematical model - all this had established itself. In every direction rational philosophy was under construction; of primary interest were discoveries, theories, the rigour of their inferences, and correspondingly the general problem of method and its perfection. Thus knowledge was very much discussed, and from a scientifically general point of view. This reflection on knowledge, however, was not transcendental reflection but rather a reflection on the praxis of knowledge and was thus similar to the reflection carried out by one who works in any other practical sphere of interest, the kind which is expressed in the general propositions of a technology. It is a matter of what we are accustomed to call logic, though in a traditional, very narrow, and limited sense. Thus we can say quite correctly (broadening the meaning): it is a matter of a logic as a theory of norms and a technology with the fullest universality, to the end of attaining a universal philosophy.

The thematic direction was thus twofold: on the one hand, toward a systematic universe of "logical laws," the theoretical totality of the truths destined to function as norms for all judgments which shall be capable of being objectively true - and to this belongs, in addition to the old formal logic, also arithmetic, all of pure analytic mathematics, i.e., the mathesis universalis of Leibniz, and in general everything that is purely a priori.

On the other hand, the thematic direction was toward general considerations about those who make judgments as those striving for objective truth: how they are to make normative use of those laws so that the self-evidence through which a judgment is certified as objectively true can appear, and similarly about the ways and temptations of failure, etc.

Now clearly, in all the laws which are in the broader sense "logical," beginning with the principle of non-contradiction, metaphysical truth was contained eo ipso. The systematically worked-out theory of these laws had, of itself, the meaning of a general ontology. What happened here scientifically was the work of pure reason operating exclusively with concepts innate in the knowing soul. That these concepts, that logical laws, that pure rational lawfulness in general contained metaphysical-objective truth was "obvious." Occasionally appeal was made to God as a guarantee, in remembrance of Descartes, with little concern for the fact that it was rational metaphysics which first had to establish God's existence.

Over against the faculty of pure a priori thinking, that of pure reason, stood that of sensibility, the faculty of outer and inner experience. The subject, affected in outer experience from "outside," thereby becomes certain of affecting objects, but in order to know them in their truth he needs pure reason, i.e., the system of norms in which reason displays itself, as the 'logic" for all true knowledge of the objective world. Such is the typical rationalist conception.

As for Kant, who had been influenced by empiricist psychology: Hume had made him sensitive to the fact that between the pure truths of reason and metaphysical objectivity there remained a gulf of incomprehensibility, namely, as to how precisely these truths of reason could really guarantee the knowledge of things. Even the model rationality of the mathematical natural sciences was transformed into an enigma. That it owed its rationality, which was in fact quite indubitable - that is, its method - to the normative a priori of pure logico-mathematical reason, and that the latter, in its disciplines, exhibited an unassailable pure rationality, remained unquestioned. Natural science is, to be sure, not purely rational insofar as it has need of outer experience, sensibility; but everything in it that is rational it owes to pure reason and its setting of norms; only through them can there be rationalised experience. As for sensibility, on the other hand, it had generally been assumed that it gives rise to the merely sensible data, precisely as a result of affection from the outside. And yet one acted as if the experiential world of the prescientific man - the world not yet logicised by mathematics - was the world pre-given by mere sensibility.

Hume had shown that we naively read causality into this world and think that we grasp necessary succession in intuition. The same is true of everything that makes the body of the everyday surrounding world into an identical thing with identical properties, relations, etc. ( and Hume had in fact worked this out in detail in the Treatise, which was unknown to Kant). Data and complexes of data come and go, but the thing, presumed to be simply experienced sensibly, is not something sensible which persists through this alteration. The sensationalist thus declares it to be a fiction.

He is substituting, we shall say, mere sense-data for perception, which after all places things (everyday things) before our eyes. In other words, he overlooks the fact that mere sensibility, related to mere data of sense, cannot account for objects of experience. Thus he overlooks the fact that these objects of experience point to a hidden mental accomplishment and to the problem of what kind of an accomplishment this can be. From the very start, after all, it must be a kind which enables the objects of prescientific experience, through logic, mathematics, mathematical natural science, to be knowable with objective validity, i.e., with a necessity which can be accepted by and is binding for everyone.

But Kant says to himself: undoubtedly things appear, but only because the sense-data, already brought together in certain ways, in concealment, through a priori forms, are made logical in the course of their alteration - without any appeal to reason as manifested in logic and mathematics, without its being brought into normative function. Now is this quasi-logical function something that is psychologically accidental? If we think of it as absent, can a mathematics, a logic of nature, ever have the possibility of knowing objects through mere sense-data?

These are, if I am not mistaken, the inwardly guiding thoughts of Kant. Kant now undertakes, in fact, to show, through a regressive procedure, that if common experience is really to be experience of objects of nature, objects which can really be knowable with objective truth, i.e., scientifically, in respect to their being and non-being, their being-such and being-otherwise, then the intuitively appearing world must already be a construct of the faculties of "pure intuition" and "pure reason," the same faculties that express themselves in explicit thinking in mathematics and logic.

In other words, reason has a twofold way of functioning and showing itself. One way is its systematic self-exposition, self-revelation in free and pure mathematising, in the practice of the pure mathematical sciences. Here it presupposes the forming character of "pure intuition," which belongs to sensibility itself. The objective result of both faculties is pure mathematics as theory. The other way is that of reason constantly functioning in concealment, reason ceaselessly rationalising sense-data and always having them as already rationalised. Its objective result is the sensibly intuited world of objects - the empirical presupposition of all natural-scientific thinking, i.e., the thinking which, through manifest mathematical reason, consciously gives norms to the experience of the surrounding world. Like the intuited world of bodies, the whole world of natural science ( and with it the dualistic world which can be known scientifically ) is a subjective construct of our intellect, only the material of the sense-data arises from a transcendent affection by "things in themselves." The latter are in principle inaccessible to objective scientific knowledge. For according to this theory, man's science, as an accomplishment bound by the interplay of the subjective faculties "sensibility" and "reason" (or, as Kant says here, "understanding"), cannot explain the origin, the "cause," of the factual manifolds of sense-data. The ultimate presuppositions of the possibility and actuality of objective knowledge cannot be objectively knowable.

Whereas natural science had pretended to be a branch of philosophy, the ultimate science of what is, and had believed itself capable of knowing, through its rationality, what is in itself, beyond the subjectivity of the factualities of knowledge, for Kant, now, objective science, as an accomplishment remaining within subjectivity, is separated off from his philosophical theory. The latter, as a theory of the accomplishments necessarily carried out within subjectivity, and thus as a theory of the possibility and scope of objective knowledge, reveals the naivete of the supposed rational philosophy of nature-in-itself.

We know how this critique is for Kant nevertheless the beginning of a philosophy in the old sense, for the universe of being, thus extending even to the rationally unknowable in-itself - how, under the titles "critique of practical reason" and "critique of judgment," he not only limits philosophical claims but also believes he is capable of opening ways toward the "scientifically" unknowable in-itself. Here we shall not go into this. What interests us now is - speaking in formal generality - that Kant, reacting against the data-positivism of Hume ( as he understands it) outlines a great, systematically constructed, and in a new way still scientific philosophy in which the Cartesian turn to conscious subjectivity works itself out in the form of a transcendental subjectivism.

Irrespective of the truth of the Kantian philosophy, about which we need not pass judgment here, we must not pass over the fact that Hume, as he is understood by Kant, is not the real Hume.

Kant speaks of the "Humean problem." What is the actual problem, the one which drives Hume himself? We find it when we transform Hume's sceptical theory, his total claim, back into his problem, extending it to those consequences which do not quite find their complete expression in the theory - although it is difficult to suppose that a genius with a spirit like Hume's did not see these consequences, which are not expressly drawn and not theoretically treated. If we proceed in this way, we find nothing less than this universal problem:

How is the naive obviousness of the certainty of the world, the certainty in which we live - and, what is more, the certainty of the everyday world as well as that of the sophisticated theoretical constructions built upon this everyday world - to be made comprehensible?

What is, in respect to sense and validity, the "objective world," objectively true being, and also the objective truth of science, once we have seen universally with Hume (and in respect to nature even with Berkeley) that "world" is a validity which has sprung up within subjectivity, indeed - speaking from my point of view, who am now philosophising - one which has sprung up within my subjectivity, with all the content it ever counts as having for me?

The naivete of speaking about "objectivity" without ever considering subjectivity as experiencing, knowing, and actually concretely accomplishing, the naivete of the scientist of nature or of the world in general, who is blind to the fact that all the truths he attains as objective truths and the objective world itself as the substratum of his formulae (the everyday world of experience as well as the higher-level conceptual world of knowledge) are his own life-construct developed within himself - this naivete is naturally no longer possible as soon as life becomes the point of focus. And must this liberation not come to anyone who seriously immerses himself in the Treatise and, after unmasking Hume's naturalistic presuppositions, becomes conscious of the power of his motivation?

But how is this most radical subjectivism, which subjectivises the world itself, comprehensible? The world-enigma in the deepest and most ultimate sense, the enigma of a world whose being is being through subjective accomplishment, and this with the self-evidence that another world cannot be at all conceivable - that, and nothing else, is Hume's problem.

Kant, however, for whom, as can easily be seen, so many presuppositions are "obviously" valid, presuppositions which in the Humean sense are included within this world-enigma, never penetrated to the enigma itself. For his set of problems stands on the ground of the rationalism extending from Descartes through Leibniz to Wolff.

In this way, through the problem of rational natural science which primarily guides and determines Kant's thinking, we seek to make understandable Kant's position, so difficult to interpret, in relation to his historical setting. What particularly interests us now - speaking first in formal generality - is the fact that in reaction to the Humean data-positivism, which in his fictionalism gives up philosophy as a science, a great and systematically constructed scientific philosophy appears for the first time since Descartes - a philosophy which must be called transcendental subjectivism.

§ 26. Preliminary discussion of the concept of the "transcendental" which guides us here.

I SHOULD LIKE TO NOTE the following right away: the expression "transcendental philosophy" has been much used since Kant, even as a general title for universal philosophies whose concepts are oriented toward those of the Kantian type. I myself use the word "transcendental" in the broadest sense for the original motif, discussed in detail above, which through Descartes confers meaning upon all modern philosophies, the motif which, in all of them, seeks to come to itself, so to speak - seeks to attain the genuine and pure form of its task and its systematic development. It is the motif of inquiring back into the ultimate source of all the formations of knowledge, the motif of the knower's reflecting upon himself and his knowing life in which all the scientific structures that are valid for him occur purposefully, are stored up as acquisitions, and have become and continue to become freely available. Working itself out radically, it is the motif of a universal philosophy which is grounded purely in this source and thus ultimately grounded. This source bears the title I-myself, with all of my actual and possible knowing life and, ultimately, my concrete life in general. The whole transcendental set of problems circles around the relation of this, my "I" - the "ego" - to what it is at first taken for granted to be - my soul - and, again, around the relation of this ego and my conscious life to the world of which I am conscious and whose true being I know through my own cognitive structures.

Of course this most general concept of the "transcendental" cannot be supported by documents; it is not to be gained through the internal exposition and comparison of the individual systems. Rather, it is a concept acquired by pondering the coherent history of the entire philosophical modern period: the concept of its task which is demonstrable only in this way, lying within it as the driving force of its development, striving forward from vague dynamis towards its energeia.

This is only a preliminary indication, which has already been prepared to a certain extent by our historical analysis up to this point; our subsequent presentations are to establish the justification for our kind of "teleological" approach to history and its methodical function for the definitive construction of a transcendental philosophy which satisfies its most proper meaning. This preliminary indication of a radical transcendental subjectivism will naturally seem strange and arouse scepticism. I welcome this, if this scepticism bespeaks, not the prior resolve of rejection, but rather a free withholding of any judgment.

§ 27. The philosophy of Kant and his followers seen from the perspective of our guiding concept of the "transcendental." The task of taking a critical position.

RETURNING AGAIN TO KANT: his system can certainly be characterised, in the general sense defined, as one of "transcendental philosophy," although it is far from accomplishing a truly radical grounding of philosophy, the totality of all sciences. Kant never permitted himself to enter the vast depths of the Cartesian fundamental investigation, and his own set of problems never caused him to seek in these depths for ultimate groundings and decisions. Should I, in the following presentations, succeed - as I hope - in awakening the insight that a transcendental philosophy is the more genuine, and better fulfils its vocation as philosophy, the more radical it is and, finally, that it comes to its actual and true existence, to its actual and true beginning, only when the philosopher has penetrated to a clear understanding of himself as the subjectivity functioning as primal source, we should still have to recognise, on the other hand, that Kant's philosophy is on the way to this, that it is in accord with the formal, general sense of a transcendental philosophy in our definition. It is a philosophy which, in opposition to prescientific and scientific objectivism, goes back to knowing subjectivity as the primal locus of all objective formations of sense and ontic validities, undertakes to understand the existing world as a structure of sense and validity, and in this way seeks to set in motion an essentially new type of scientific attitude and a new type of philosophy. In fact, if we do not count the negativistic, sceptical philosophy of a Hume, the Kantian system is the first attempt, and one carried out with impressive scientific seriousness, at a truly universal transcendental philosophy meant to be a rigorous science in a sense of scientific rigour which has only now been discovered and which is the only genuine sense.

Something similar holds, we can say in advance, for the great continuations and revisions of Kantian transcendentalism in the great systems of German Idealism. They all share the basic conviction that the objective sciences (no matter how much they, and particularly the exact sciences, may consider themselves, in virtue of their obvious theoretical and practical accomplishments, to be in possession of the only true method and to be treasure houses of ultimate truths) are not seriously sciences at all, not cognitions ultimately grounded, i.e., not ultimately, theoretically responsible for themselves - and that they are not, then, cognitions of what exists in ultimate truth. This can be accomplished according to German Idealism only by a transcendental-subjective method and, carried through as a system, transcendental philosophy. As was already the case with Kant, the opinion is not that the self-evidence of the positive-scientific method is an illusion and its accomplishment an illusory accomplishment but rather that this self-evidence is itself a problem; that the objective-scientific method rests upon a never questioned, deeply concealed subjective ground whose philosophical elucidation will for the first time reveal the true meaning of the accomplishments of positive science and, correlatively, the true ontic meaning of the objective world - precisely as a transcendental-subjective meaning.

Now in order to be able to understand the position of Kant and of the systems of transcendental idealism proceeding from him, within modern philosophy's teleological unity of meaning, and thus to make progress in our own self-understanding, it is necessary to critically get closer to the style of Kant's scientific attitude and to clarify the lack of radicalism we are attacking in his philosophising. It is with good reason that we pause over Kant, a significant turning point in modern history. The critique to be directed against him will reflect back and elucidate all earlier philosophical history, namely, in respect to the general meaning of scientific discipline which all earlier philosophies strove to realize - as the only meaning which lay and could possibly lie within their spiritual horizon. Precisely in this way a more profound concept - the most important of all - of "objectivism" will come to the fore (more important than the one we were able to define earlier), and with it the genuinely radical meaning of the opposition between objectivism and transcendentalism.

Yet, over and above this, the more concrete critical analyses of the conceptual structures of the Kantian turn, and the contrast between it and the Cartesian turn, will set in motion our own concurrent thinking in such a way as to place us, gradually and of its own accord, before the final turn and the final decisions. We ourselves shall be drawn into an inner transformation through which we shall come face to face with, to direct experience of, the long-felt but constantly concealed dimension of the "transcendental." The ground of experience, opened up in its infinity, will then become the fertile soil of a methodical working philosophy, with the self-evidence, furthermore, that all conceivable philosophical and scientific problems of the past are to be posed and decided by starting from this ground.