RB 65

According to Hägerström’s analysis, the transcendental solution to the problem of objective knowledge also revealed itself to be indefensible.58 The problem for Hägerström was that according to the transcendentalist view of knowledge there exist only one thing directly cognitively accessible: consciousness, the subject itself.59 However, this view disregards its own implicit assumption, namely that the concept of consciousness itself must include the inclusion of an object when determining knowledge of the subject, namely the subject as an object of cognition. By definition, this object must be something other than consciousness itself. However, if this is the case, then knowledge is only possible provided that consciousness is able to know its own determinations. In other words, the transcendentalist understanding of knowledge is possible to maintain only on the condition that the consciousness itself is allowed to know its own objective features, features as an object. Consequently, the subject cannot know anything of any object other than the subject’s own characteristic features, which amounts to pure solipsism. One unexpected consequence of transcendentalism is that consciousness itself never can gain knowledge of itself, not even by analysis of its own objective features and determinations. The reason is that transcendentalism denies the possibility of object knowledge, which on the other hand a valid analysis of the subject requires. Hägerström contends that in any analysis of consciousness, the subject would have to function as the object of study, thus making the determination of its objective features and determinations impossible, as consciousness would then have to extend its reach beyond itself.60 Thus, the only possible field of knowledge relates to the innermost parts of all consciousness, of which the subject can attain apodictically certain cognition. However, objective knowledge is then restricted to p a r t i 1 , c h a p t e r 1 52 58 Ibid., pp. 3-5. 59 Ibid., pp. 1-2. 60 Ibid., p. 4.