Mach’s Post-Kantian Empiricism. For a New Concept of Givenness

  • Alexandre Couture-Mingheras
Part of the Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook book series (VCIY, volume 22)


Mach’s positivism shares with Husserl’s phenomenology the anti-metaphysical requirement to debunk experience from the categories we have projected in it. However, when it comes to determine its content, are raised issues that, even today, we strive to tackle. Whether Mach is blamed for renewing with the empirical myth of atomically impressions, or he is praised for anticipating the Gestaltpsychologie, it seems to us that the essential point was missed. A contrario, we would like to insist on the radical subversion of the Kantian concept of givenness (Gegebenheit). In the first place, he distances himself from the representational conception of givenness and frees it from a double myth (subject and object). In the second place, Mach dissociates givenness from transcendental philosophy and liberates it from the problem of objectivity and of constitution. This deconstruction of the hylemorphic schema enables Mach to deliver a new concept of givenness, construed as the irreducible experience of what happens (events): thus his post-Kantian empiricism turns out to be singular in the history of occidental philosophy. Neither logical givenness (Marburg School) nor operative concept, the meaning of which depends on the global context (logical positivism), for Mach givennness can only be restored once categorically neutralized.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandre Couture-Mingheras
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BonnBonnGermany

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