RB 65

Hägerström’s problems were of a similar nature to those of Copernicus and Kant. Hägerström, who started out as a loyal follower of Kant and the post-Kantian tradition,110 soon discovered that Kant’s rationalism was contradictory.111 What Hägerström questioned was Kant’s ability to establish secure synthetic knowledge, which Kant held to be possible to obtain by the subject abstracting itself from everything but the subject itself, thus emptying the judgment of any objective, material content - making the reality judgment merely formal and relational.112 Kant, who sought to establish a secure foundation for knowledge irrespective of type, decided that the inability of earlier philosophy to establish a system of necessary synthetic truths was due to its choice of the object as the epistemological standard. In order to circumvent this problem Kant instituted a reversal of epistemological causality. If the object, in both its forms of noumenon and phenomenon, failed to provide cognition with the specific kind of material needed for the establishment of knowledgea priori, then it became necessary to turn the tables, and let the subject serve as both the cause and standard for a priori cognition. In addition, Kant argued that if the subject was allowed to systematize the objects in accordance with the subject’s own faculties, instead of systematizing the objects and knowledge thereof in accordance with the inherent (and by definition subjectively inaccessible)qualities of the object in itself, then, and only then, it would become possible to establish absolutely certain synthetic knowledge.113 This was “die kopernikanische Umwälzung” of philosophy, hence metaphysics had to formalize its conceptual a ca l l f o r s c i e n t i f i c p u r i t y 69 2 . 5 contradict ions in immanue l kant ’s rat ional i sm 110 For Hägerström’s own description of his relations to Kant’s philosophy see, e.g., Hägerström, Kants Ethik, pp. iii-xii and 823-828; Stat och rätt, pp. i-ix; Selbstdarstellungen, pp. 1-5. See also Fries for an analysis of Hägerström’s Kantian influences. Fries, Verklighetsbegreppet, pp. 188-223. 111 Hägerström, Selbstdarstellungen, pp. 1-9. 112 Ibid., pp. 1-5. 113 Kant, Cr. P. R., pp. B xv-xix.