Leipzig: Leopold Voss, 1855.
1st Edition. Soft cover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003349
8vo (222 x 148 mm). 42,  pp. including final advert leaf. Original printed wrappers (minor repair to fold and edges, soiled and spotted). Text somewhat browned and spotted, two pages with old ink markings, one page with annotation in contemporary hand. Provenance: Inscribed by Helmholtz on front wrapper "Dem wirkl. Geheimen Ob. Reg. Rathe Herrn J. Schulze ehrerbietig und dankbar, der Verfasser" ----
Poggendorff I, 1059; DSB VI, p.247-248. FIRST AND ONLY EDITION. "Helmholtz often asserted that the task of modern philosophy is wholly epistemological, and he evinced a dislike for metaphysics. Kantianism exercised a strong influence on his thought as is obvious in his earliest papers. Later, through his physiological study, Helmholtz became convinced that sensory physiology, by revealing the processes of perception, was actually verifying and extending Kant's epistemological analysis. In Müller's law of specific nerve energies he recognized the great principle which explained the role of sense organs in transforming abstract, external stimuli into something wholly different: the immediate sensations of consciousness. Helmholtz' problem was to explain how, despite this radical transformation, we nevertheless have knowledge of the external world. Helmholtz followed Kant in insisting that the law of causality is transcendental and a priori. In 1855 he asserted that the causal law underlies our belief in external objects, a proposition which prompted charges of plagiarism from Schopenhauer and hence cemented Helmholtz' distaste for metaphysicians. We have immediate experience, he observed, that changes occur in our sensations independent of our volitions. In order that this effect may have a cause, we postulate objects external to ourselves, which can be further analyzed into two categories: matter and force. Whether such objects actually exist must remain a metaphysical question, for both idealism and realism are wholly consistent systems. That the properties of matter and force are constant depends upon our assumption of the lawfulness of nature, which, in turn, rests upon the a priori status of the causal law. In our perception of the world, though, the conclusions we draw about the existence of external objects and forces and their interrelations do not depend upon reflection; they are instantaneous and unconscious. These highly controversial 'unconscious conclusions' . . . underlie all of Helmholtz' epistemology and reveal its debt to English associationist psychology." (DSB). - Visit our website to see more images!
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