|Abstract: ||The work illustrates a state of epistemological disputes concerning the problem of object of cognition, which took place in the crucial period for philosophy, at the time when the character of philosophy of the 20th century was being shaped. For the European philosophy the turn of the previous centuries was something more than turning over leaves of a calendar. At that time new types of intellectual culture: critical, pluralistic, and characterized by moderate skepticism in relation to claims of the mind towards absolute veracity of cognizance and objectiveness of knowledge, were born. Skepticism and relativism had many ardent critics in the 20lh century, whereas an ideal of objective knowledge many defenders. On the other hand, however, strong arguments, difficult to confute were presented what resulted in forming pluralistic consensus - sometimes leading to an extreme form, e.g. Feyerabend's thesis of the methodological anarchism: anything goes.
However, before it happened, a struggle, deciding about further ups and downs of philosophical self-knowledge, had taken place in the field of the epistemology: a controversy concerning an object of cognition. The essence of this dispute is illustrated best by ponderable questions asked by Heinrich Rickert in - having the utmost importance for the course of that polemics - his work: Gegenstand der Erkenntnis. Rickert's questions were: what is it what we get to know? and: what does our cognizance owe its objectiveness to? You can say that two most classical (and at the same time the most extreme) types of standpoints, represented in the controversy in question, are inspired by the mode of thinking of two modem philosophers: J. Locke and G.W. Leibniz. There is a direct confrontation between a realistic attitude - based on the conviction that the human cognizance powers enable an adequate access to an objective system (order) of substantial matters, namely objects of reality transcendent to the mind (it was Alois Riehl who defended expressis verbis this point of view) - and different variants of transcendental idealism, originating from the conviction that our cognizance does not have a character of a "pointwise convergent" representation of particular elements of the ranscendent world, achieved by methods of visual insight into the structure of a real being, but it must be done "without windows" open to transcendence. It does not mean that objective reality is unknowable, but only that our knowledge about it cannot be recognized as a faithful copy of the real world built point by point.A detailed review of attitudes and arguments concentrating around three central figures (Brentano, Rickert, Husserl) is described in three successive parts of monograph.
Part I starts with presenting following two ways of dealing with a fundamental epistemological question, presented by Franz Brentano - one of the most peculiar thinkers of the turn of the centuries. Reasons and results of the transition from a phenomenalistic attitude characteristic of Brentano's work Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunk t to a radical reism in the later period of his production are considered. The relation between Brentano's reism and his divergence from the adequate conception of the truth and representative
theory of language is shown. Finally, ontological consequences of the Brentano's conception of obviousness and reduction of the notion of truth to "a valid judgment” are considered. The following chapter is devoted to the theory of an object presented in the Kazimierz Twardowski's work Zur Lehre vom Inhalt und Gegenstand der Vorstellung. A precursory character of studies of the Polish philosopher in the field which became quickly formally isolated and widely studied discipline (namely the general object theory) was emphasized. The role of fundamental metaphysical intuition, present implicite in the Twardowski's considerations on "the object in general", which always let the object differentiate from the immanent content of a psychic act of representation, was pointed out. However, this intuition did not protect him against a reproof - formulated by Husserl in (unpublished during his life) the treatise Intentionale Gegenstände - concerning too far fetching detachment from reality. Husserl contrast Twardowski with his own point of view of that time, based on the conviction that each psychic act refers to an ideal logical content, which represents objective knowledge about the transcendent object. However, as we already know, the Husserl's standpoint underwent far reaching modification later on. The last two chapters of the first part present the most important planes of controversy concerning status of matters of logical judgments which took place between Alexius Meinong and Bertrand Russell. In a series of his works Meinong formed Gegenstandstheorie as a precisely isolated area of interdisciplinary studies, having its own formal matter and a set of specific methods, and then in this area he
formulated many theses describing formal properties of the object in the general sense of this notion. Russell - moving a dispute to a plane of semantic considerations more convenient for him - attacked, first of all, logical incoherence of Meinong's arguments, pointing out his numerous paradoxes and contradictions.
However, this dispute cannot be reduced only to the semantic level; taking ontological and epistemological context into account, one will realize that Russell's objections - considering mainly the linguistic aspect of Meinong's theory (in fact created with unconcern) - do not solve the problem of correctness of determining the
denotation of Meinong's categories. This problem requires different tools from those proposed by the author of On denoting. In the opinion of the contemporary researchers the Meinong's conception should be, at least partially, rehabilitated.
Part II presents three standpoints originating from the neo-Kant trend. The central figure here - presented in the last chapter of this part - is Heinrich Rickert, the author of the coherent and considered thoroughly conception of transcendental epistemology, from which a specific modification of an idealistic solution of the
problem of object of cognition emerges. A factor deciding about cognizance objectiveness is - in accordance with this conception - logical necessity, which obliges a subject to accept some judgments and reject others. Transcendent obligation appears to be a determinant of the truth; the truth itself is a value requiring recognition
from the subject part - in accordance with the fundamental postulate of axiological theory coming from H.R. Lotze, which claims that values are obligatory (gelten). Rickert, aiming consistently at forming a coherent system of theorems, refers polemically to views of two - famous at his times - representatives of the neo-Kant
movement: Alois Riehl and Johannes Volkelt. The matter of the criticism in Gegenstand der Erkenntnis is, firstly, an idea of the transcendent minimum propagated by Riehl as the indispensable point of the beginning of the modern philosophical criticism, and secondly - the Volkelt's conception of the transsubjective minimum. In order to have an impartial opinion about the thinkers criticized by Rickert, first two chapters of this part present those conceptions, with showing their weak points too, but at the same time pointing out what is revealing about them and what deserves positive evaluation. Part III concentrates on an the analysis of Edmund Husserl's standpoint (in the phase of his views in which he was closest to the critical realism) on the background of attitudes of those thinkers from closer and further millieu, whose opinions were known to Husserl and made him assume a well-defined standpoint. Therefore,
at first we shall take a look at traces of inspirations and polemics, which are recorded in the work Logische Untersuchungen. Then, we shall discuss a Husserl's standing as a professor in Getting from the point of view of relations which he had with some important figures of the local university society: D. Hilbert, G.E. Müller and L. Nelson. Then, complex relations between Husserl's standpoint and standpoints of thinkers connected (through work or studies) with the Munich center, will be discussed. They are: T. Lipps, J. Daubert, A. Reinach, H. Plessner and H. Conrad-Martius, although other names will appear in the background. Two areas of polemics seem to be worthwhile presenting: one connected with a detailed and reliable - but not completed with any permanent results - confrontation of standpoints of Husserl and Lipps, studying of which enables to get a thorough insight into the main principles of intellectual systems of both polemicists; and the second one, throwing light on the problem of the Husserl's approach to the thesis of epistemological realism, connected with the discussion about the notion of die wirkliche Wirklichkeit introduced by Conrad-Martius.
The work finishes with Epilogue, the main aim of which being, firstly, to emphasize the basic characteristics of the process of philosophical self-identity transformation, which took place on the turn of centuries, secondly to make a demarcation line between those matters of reflection, which - discussed fiercely and evoking the highest excitement at that time - ceased and became outdated quickly, and those, which - as José Ortega y Gasset wrote - pulsate in darkness of history like eternally beating hearts.|