Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original hardcover edition for your reading pleasure. (Worth every penny!)
an excerpt from the beginning of:
PART II - THE METAPHYSIC OF EMPIRICISM AND ITS SELF-ANNIHILATION
§ 1. The Metaphysic Of Empiricism.
We have so far seen German philosophy, empirical, neo-Kantian and psychological, developing with varying success a single fundamental theme: immediate consciousness. But in doing so, it has almost always avoided a central group of problems which remind it too closely of the metaphysics it abhors, namely God, the soul, the world—in fact, the ultimate reality of things. Yet in its boycott of these problems we have a stronger proof of the radical insufficiency of its procedure than in its affected contempt of metaphysics. It is at times, indeed, tempted to lift the veil inscribed with the mystic words keine Metaphysik mehr; and on these occasions we have indisputable proof that beyond the region to which it confines itself there lies a void which is barely concealed by some label designating it as the world of faith or of poetry.
The thinkers, on the other hand, whom we are now going to consider are far more courageous, and, armed with the same weapons, have tried to attack these "ultimate" problems. In studying their work we shall have the opportunity of observing how this empiricism which moved with such certainty in the field of immediate consciousness, but yet was unable to attain to the point of view of science as defined by the Analytic of Pure Reason, finally arrived, in a state of absolute exhaustion and collapse, in sight of the problems that we are wont to call metaphysical.
Wundt, the most distinguished exponent of this movement, starts from the general assumption of empiricism, the identity of subject and object in immediate consciousness. Our representations are, in the first instance, the objects themselves. Space and time, far from being a priori forms, belong to the data of perception and are, so to speak, embedded in it.1 The distinction between a form and a content of consciousness only comes later: after a time, out of the homogeneous mass of the life of representation, some elements detach themselves and disappear, while others are found to be more permanent; and thus gradually arises the distinction between a variable and transient matter (sensation) and a permanent form (space and time). Any further elaboration of the given, by which it is systematized and fixed in conceptual forms, is the work of thought. The organon of thought is abstraction; its incentive to action is the contradiction latent in the given. This contradiction, becoming manifest, necessitates a co-ordination through which the given frees itself and enters again into a harmonious and coherent system.