APPENDIX IV INTRODUCTION TO ORIGINAL EDITION OF “TRUTH AND SCIENCE”
The aim of the following discussions is to reduce the act of cognition, by analysis, to its ultimate elements and thus to discover a correct formulation of the problem of knowledge and a way to its solution. They criticise all theories of knowledge which are based on Kant's line of thought, in order to show that along this road no solution of the problem of knowledge can ever be found. It is, however, due to the fundamental spade-work which Volkelt has done in his thorough examination of the concept of experience,1 to acknowledge that without his preliminary labours the precise determination, which I have here attempted of the concept of the Given would have been very much more difficult. However, we are cherishing the hope that we have laid the foundations for our emancipation from the Subjectivism which attaches to all theories of knowledge that start from Kant. We believe ourselves to have achieved this emancipation through showing that the subjective form, in which the picture of the world presents itself to the act of cognition, prior to its elaboration by science, is nothing but a necessary stage of transition which is overcome in the very process of knowledge itself. For us, experience, so-called, which Positivism and Neo-Kantianism would like to represent as the only thing which is certain, is precisely the most subjective of all. In demonstrating this, we also show that Objective Idealism is the inevitable conclusion of a theory of knowledge which understands itself. It differs from the metaphysical and absolute Idealism of Hegel in this, that it seeks in the subject of knowledge the ground for the diremption of reality into given existence and concept, and that it looks for the reconciliation of this divorce, not in an objective world-dialectic, but in the subjective process of cognition. The present writer has already once before advocated this point of view in print, viz., in the Outlines of a Theory of Knowledge (Berlin and Stuttgart, 1885). However, that book differs essentially in method from the present essay, and it also lacks the analytic reduction of knowledge to its ultimate elements.