Three different sciences are engaged in the study of knowledge: the theory of knowledge (or gnoseology), the psychology of knowledge and logic. And this is not surprising: knowledge is a very complex subject, and in different sciences not all the content of this subject is examined, but only this or that side of it.
The theory of knowledge is the theory of truth. It explores knowledge from the side of truth. It explores the relationship between knowledge and the subject of knowledge, i.e. between the subject of knowledge and being about which knowledge expresses. It studies the question of relative or absolute truth and considers such properties of truth as, for example, general obligatoriness and its necessity. This is a study of the meaning of knowledge. In other words, the circle of interests of the theory of knowledge can be defined as follows: it studies the objective (logical) side of knowledge.
The theory of knowledge in order to build a theory of truth must conduct a preparatory study consisting in analyzing the composition of knowledge, and since all knowledge is carried out in consciousness, it also has to be engaged in general analysis of the composition of consciousness and develop some teaching about the structure of consciousness.
So, for example, with the help of analysis, it can be established that knowledge (judgment) is related to an object, that it belongs to a knowing object, that it contains such heterogeneous Elements as, on the one hand, “sensations,” and, on the other hand, a causal relationship connections, identities, unity, etc. Evaluation of the role of these heterogeneous elements and their relationship to each other is of great importance in the construction of knowledge theories. Different theories of knowledge call them quite different names.
So, some call these elements of knowledge (sensations, on the one hand, and relations of causality, unity, multitude, etc., on the other hand) – sensual and insensible, others call them apostorial and a priori, third – the content and form of knowledge, and the fourth – changeable and constant elements of knowledge. Under different names there are very different teachings about the properties of these elements of knowledge, and hence there are also differences in the teachings about the properties of truth.
Having recognized that the analysis of the composition of knowledge serves as a preparatory work for the construction of a theory of truth, it is easy to come to the conclusion that this theory should be based on one more preparatory work, namely the study of the origin of knowledge. Indeed, the theory of knowledge before Kant was in most cases based on the theory of the origin of knowledge, i.e. had a genetic character. Only in our time is the conviction that the properties of truth are not at all dependent on the origin of knowledge, and the science of the origin of knowledge to the same extent cannot serve as the basis for the theory of truth in which linguistics cannot serve as the basis for mechanics. .
In order to understand why many modern gnoseologists consider the question of the origin of knowledge as irrelevant to the theory of knowledge, it is necessary to define precisely what is meant here by the word origin.
To investigate the origin of any object is to find the causes of its occurrence. Nowadays it is customary to understand the whole set of conditions, the cash of which is necessary for the creation of an object.
Of course, since the study of the composition of knowledge is already in the broad sense of the word an indication of its origin, gnoseology does not refuse to study the origin of knowledge. It fights only against theories of truth, built on the study of the origin in the narrow and exact sense of the word, i.e. on the study of the dependence of knowledge on factors outside its composition and determining its actual process of causing.
But knowledge is caused not only by its composition, but also by factors outside of its composition and actually causing it, for example, anatomical and physiological conditions. Knowledge is a complex phenomenon: the truth is in its composition, and besides, the processes necessary for achieving truth, but not forming it. It is not difficult to imagine that the study of the origin of knowledge is important only for the study of these related and previous circumstances, but not for finding out the properties of truth.
One can prove the thesis in a general form, namely, any attempt to construct a genetic theory of knowledge, i.e. to build a theory of truth, based on the origin of knowledge in the narrow sense of the word, leads to contradictions.
In fact, the genetic theory of knowledge explains the properties of truth by the actual process of causation. Therefore, she looks at the truth, i.e. on the objective side of knowledge, as an event taking place in time. Now we will determine more precisely where exactly genetic gnoseology is looking for the reasons for the objective side of knowledge. It can be assumed that the actual process of causation, which determines the objective side of knowledge, consists entirely of factors outside the cognizing individual as a psycho-physical whole, so that some trans-subjective A (outside the cognitive subject) also causes a trans-subjective or subjective B. and this B becomes the objective side of knowledge for the individual G, who contemplates that B, therefore, enters with this B into a non-causal relation. In this case, the subject of knowledge is B, not A, and although A was the cause of event B, the question of the truth of knowledge about B, like B, does not require an investigation of the dependence of B on A, i.e. does not require genetic research. From this it follows that genetic research becomes necessary only if it is assumed that the cause of the objective side of knowledge is at least partly located in the cognizing individual, as a psychological or psychophysical whole, so truth is an event played out in a cognizing individual, as action, partly due to the properties of the soul or body of the individual. Such a doctrine of truth can be called naturalism, if it is understood by this term the direction in science, which considers all the objects of its research exclusively as a set of events occurring in time and causally causing each other in time, i.e. he finds in them only the same relations and real factors that physics, physiology, or, for example, the psychology of emotional life means.
In the theory of knowledge, as can be seen from the preceding, naturalism has a psychological or psycho-physiological character, i.e. generally biological. But whatever this naturalism, it is like naturalism, unable to explain some obvious properties of truth, the denial of which is impossible because their very denial contains in a hidden form their recognition. To the number of such properties of truth first of all belongs its universality. (cognizers of one reality must assert the same judgment, in other words, truth is independent of the cognizing individual). But genetic theory leads to the theory of the relativity of truth, i.e. to a teaching called relativism.
The mysterious properties of truth, the independence of its content from the cognizing individual, its triumph and eternity, indicate that when building a theory of knowledge one cannot rely only on those factors and relationships that physics, physiology, etc. have in mind. In the study of such an object as truth, deeply different from the objects of natural science, one has to expect in advance that it will be necessary to allow the existence in the world of factors and relations that are not taken into account by natural science and which can be called ideal (belonging to the timeless world).
Claiming that the theory of knowledge does not have the right to take parcels from other sciences, it is necessary, in addition, to pose the following question: whether the theory of knowledge should do without any assumptions or it can proceed from assumptions, however, not borrowed from other sciences put to it , but still not justified by the theory of truth? This question is one of the most difficult and least explained in the theory of knowledge.
Hearing about the requirement to build a theory of truth on the analysis of the facts of consciousness, many will think that this is equivalent to a demand to rely solely on considering the facts of psychological life, i.e. the requirement of a theory to rely on psychology. Such an understanding of the theory of knowledge is erroneous; it is based on such ideas of consciousness and psychic life, which are abandoned in many modern theories of knowledge. These theories do not at all consider consciousness to consist solely of psychological processes and not only do not rely on psychology in constructing the theory of truth, but even resolutely struggle with any psychologism in epistemology. This striving to sharply limit epistemological research from psychological is highly characteristic of the current state of the theory of knowledge.
The fight against psychologism is imperative in the case when the object under study has not only psychological composition and is subject not only to psychological laws. For example, in the philosophy of religion a decisive struggle is waged with psychologism by any philosopher who is convinced that the phenomena of religious life are conditioned not only by the laws of man’s psychic life, but also by the existence of a genuine, living God in the world.
At first glance, it seems certain that knowledge, along with the truth contained in it, is a psychological fact from beginning to end. Especially if the anatomical and physical conditions of knowledge are excluded from the scope of research, what remains? – only facts of consciousness: judgments, conclusions, representations. Apparently, there can be no doubt that these are entirely mental facts, therefore, they must be subject to laws, and the theory based on their consideration must be psychological. Thus, the psychologism in the theory of knowledge seems to be quite legitimate, and at first it is impossible even to imagine how one could object to it. Meanwhile, nowadays, these objections are heard more and more often; modern theories of knowledge are increasingly seeking to get rid of psychologism.
We indicate one of the possible ways of liberation from psychologism. There is no doubt that every fact of knowledge is a fact of consciousness. But both knowledge and consciousness in general, there is always something complicated, and one can doubt that this complex has always consisted only of mental elements. It is possible that although knowledge always has a psychic side in its composition, its other sides may not be psychic. In fact, it is possible that the old teachings on consciousness and spiritual life are still erroneous, which are still widespread in psychology textbooks, but already beginning to disappear in epistemology, the teachings according to which such facts of consciousness as the statement “I feel pleasure” and rolls down a mountain, ”equally composed entirely of psychic phenomena, since the representation of a“ stone rolling down a mountain ”is the mental state of the cognizing individual. In contrast to this statement, one can defend the idea that such a representation is feasible in consciousness only if there are three different sides in consciousness:
1) I, remaining identical despite the change of ideas and, therefore, not belonging to the temporary real world (like the ideas of Plato);
2) the rolling of a stone from a mountain is a material process, an event that takes place in time;
3) I activities, such as, for example, attention directed at the material process of stone movement; these activities are psychological events that take place in time and are based on the relationship between the self and the movement of the stone, by virtue of which the material process of movement of the stone itself becomes the content of knowledge. The profound heterogeneity of these three sides, consisting in the consciousness (and knowledge) of the movement of the stone is obvious, if you pay attention to the fact that one of these sides (s) is not an event, but the other two are the essence of the event, but belong to different worlds – to the world the material (movement of the stone) and the psychological world (attention).
The mental activity of the self involved in the process of knowledge can be called an act of knowledge, and what it is directed at (the stone) and what is learned through it (the movement of the stone) can be called the subject and content of knowledge. In this example, the vision, presentation, attention, etc. constitute an act of knowledge, and the object and content of knowledge are the visible and the present, the attention to which is directed — the stone and its movement. Although the act of knowledge is always mental, the content of knowledge does not necessarily have to be mental, except in cases where the subject of knowledge is mental life (for example, in the judgment “the feeling I experience is not envy, but disappointment”).
Despite the profound heterogeneity of the act of knowledge, on the one hand, and its subject matter and content, on the other hand, it is very difficult to mentally isolate these two sides of knowledge, because they always exist together, and it is not surprising that, seeing the psychological side in knowledge, we imagine as if all knowledge consists of mental processes. Due to the insufficient distinction between us of the different sides of knowledge (and consciousness), the language also did not produce enough everyday words to designate them; the most common words for consciousness and knowledge, such as representation, perception, memory, judgment, concept, etc. they have two meanings, namely, they indicate the act, then the content: thus, the word representation represents the representation, then presented, the word perception – perception and perceived, the word memory – the activity of memory and the most reproduced image, the word consciousness – consciousness and conscious and t .P.
For the theory of knowledge and logic, of course, not the act, but the content of knowledge (for example, not the act of attention, but what the attention is directed to, not the act of representation, but the presented image, etc.) is essential. And if the content of knowledge does not need to be mental (strictly speaking, only in rare cases it is mental), then the statement that the theory of knowledge and logic is not the essence of science based on psychology becomes particularly clear and understandable.
In conclusion, let us explain by comparing how the theory of knowledge can and should be built without studying the psychological and physiological side of knowledge. Suppose that the object of the study is the crystal of salt. This subject is complex and therefore subject to research in several very different sciences, examining its different aspects. Considering a crystal, you can completely distract from its substance, and then before the scientist’s gaze there will be a crystal just like a geometric body, a cube – its study is a problem of mathematics.
Similarly, human consciousness, which has truth, is complex and its various aspects must be the subject of research of various sciences: the processes in the nerve centers, accompanying the discretion of truth, are the subject of physiology research; the subjective psychological side of consciousness (for example, attention), aimed at the discretion of truth, is subject to the study of psychology; but besides the physiological (physical) and subjective-mental (mental) side in this complex whole there is also an objective, not mental side, and it is from it that the basic properties of truth depend, therefore it is the subject of the study of the theory of knowledge. A scientist who does not discriminate in the subjective consciousness, individually-mental processes.
Therefore, he considers it necessary to base the theory of knowledge, i.e. theory of truth, on psychology. His mistake is similar to the delusion of the man who, taking up the study of the cube of salt from a mathematical point of view, instead began to study its physical properties. Replacing the mathematical point of view of the physical is a monstrous delusion; the mistake of a scientist who mixes an epistemological study of knowledge with a psychological one is no less enormous.
The features listed in brief, characteristic of the majority of modern theories of knowledge, the struggle against naturalism, genetism, dogmatic premises and psychologism, clearly show how sharply the theory of knowledge differs from the special sciences, from physics, physiology, history, etc.