Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Dictionary of philosophy and psychology including many of the principal conceptions of ethics, logics, aesthetics ... and giving a terminology in English, French, German and Italian, vol. 1 [a-laws]
Baldwin, James Mark
different conceptions. Kant’s table of the cate¬ 
gories and Hegel’s Logik are contributions to 
such a Kategorienlehre, or immanent criticism 
of thought. In more recent times, epistemo¬ 
logy finds perhaps its most important func¬ 
tion in a criticism of the assumptions involved 
in the methods and fundamental conceptions 
of the different sciences. Ward has more 
than once urged that this is ‘ the chief business 
of philosophy’ (cf. Mind, O.S., viii. 153 and 
xv. 213). The general result of such a philo¬ 
sophical criticism of science must necessarily 
be to show that the accounts given of the 
world by the different sciences are essentially 
dependent on the abstractions or assumptions 
on which these sciences proceed. And in 
proportion as this insight is reached, these 
accounts are forced to surrender their pre¬ 
tensions to final or absolute truth ; they 
are seen to be only aspects of experience, 
possessing relative truth in a greater or less 
[Such procedure was made explicitly the 
method of metaphysics by Herbart — his 
‘ rectification of conceptions ’—and was em¬ 
ployed with great force by Lotze. Cf. Heb- 
BAKTIANTSM. (j.m.b.)] 
Epistemology requires to be distinguished 
from the psychology of cognition, and it is 
also commonly distinguished from metaphysics 
or ontology and from logic. A few words 
on these distinctions may serve to give greater 
precision to the foregoing account of the scope 
and function of epistemology. 
The distinction between psychology and 
epistemology is embodied in the Cartesian 
distinction between the esse formale sen pro¬ 
prium of an idea, regarded only as a specific 
mode of consciousness, and its esse obiectivum 
sive vicarium, when it is taken in its repre¬ 
sentative capacity, as standing for some object 
thought of. The psychologist deals with 
psychical events merely as such—as facts 
connected with and dependent on other facts. 
The interconnections of this factual world— 
the laws of the happening of psychical events— 
are what the psychologist has to investigate. 
In perception, for example, he is concerned, 
as Sully puts it, ‘ with the genesis and 
development of our perceptions as subjec¬ 
tive or psychical processes having certain 
physiological concomitants,’ but not with ‘ the 
objective import and validity of the result.’ 
Croom Kobertson suggested (Mind, O.S., 
viii. 15) that, in view of this difference 
of standpoint, the word knowledge might be 
conveniently banished from psychology, and 
its place taken by the more colourless term 
intellection; just as Ward says that the 
traditional ‘ Cartesio-Lockian idea,’ which 
is essentially an epistemological term, might 
be replaced in psychology by the phrase 
state of consciousness. In brief, psychology, 
although dealing in popular parlance with 
the subjective, treats these subjective facts, 
like any natural science, as an objective world 
in which it traces causal connections, con¬ 
comitances, or sequences, and the evolution of 
the more complex from simpler formations. 
But it does not analyse the subject-object 
relation which constitutes knowledge as such, 
and which is the presupposition of psychology 
as well as of every other science. To analyse 
this relation and its implications is the specific 
task of epistemology. 
Epistemology is usually distinguished from 
ontology or metaphysics in the narrower 
sense of that term. Philosophy, in other 
words, is defined as ‘ a theory of knowing and 
being,’ and epistemology and ontology are 
regarded as the two complementary inquiries 
into which it falls. The two inquiries are, 
however, so closely allied that it is impossible 
to carry on either independently and (for 
example) to treat epistemology, as Locke 
apparently intended, as entirely ‘ preliminary ’ 
to metaphysics. Some, accordingly, have 
refused to make any distinction between the 
two. But the analysis of knowledge, though 
involving fundamental ontological conclusions, 
cannot give us all that is included under 
metaphysics or ontology, regarded as a 
synthetic statement in ultimate terms of the 
nature of reality. This statement must be 
based not only upon the structure of know¬ 
ledge, but upon ethical and aesthetic con¬ 
siderations, upon our notions of value, and the 
relation of our ideals to the ultimate ground 
of reality. 
The variations of current usage in regard 
to the scope of logic make it difficult to for¬ 
mulate any generally recognized distinction 
between logic and epistemology. Some 
would identify the two, while others would 
prefer to include epistemology as a branch of 
logic in a generalized sense. It is certainly 
true that the best logical treatises of the 
present day, such as those of Sigwart, Lotze, 
Bradley, Bosanquet, Wundt, contain a great 
deal of properly epistemological matter. But 
although the traditional logic of the textbooks 
cannot claim the unity of an independent 
science—being, in fact, an amalgam of ele¬ 
ments from different sources, such as grammar, 


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