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§38 Psychologism in all its forms is a relativism

Our two forms of relativism are special cases of relativism in the widest sense of the word, as a doctrine which somehow derives the pure principles of logic from facts. Facts are ‘contingent’: they might very well not have been the case, they might have been different. If the facts then differ, logical principles also will differ; they will also be contingent, with a being relative to the facts on which they are founded. I do not wish to counter this by merely bringing in the apodeictic inner evidence of logical laws, points argued for in former chapters: I wish to bring in another point which is more important in this context (cf. §32 of the present chapter). Anyone can see from my statements up to this point that for me the pure truths of logic are all the ideal laws which have their whole foundation in the ‘sense’, the ‘essence’ or the ‘content’, of the concepts of Truth, Proposition, Object, Property, Relation, Combination, Law, Fact etc. More generally stated, they have their whole foundation in the sense of the concepts which make up the heritage of all science, which represent the categories of constituents out of which science as such is essentially constituted. Laws of this sort should not be violated by any theoretical assertion, proof or theory, not because such a thing would render the latter false – so would conflict with any truth – but because it would render them inherently absurd. An assertion, e.g., whose content quarrels with the principles whose roots lie in the sense of truth as such, is self-cancelling. For to assert, is to maintain the truth of this or that content. A proof whose content quarrels with the principles rooted in the sense of the relation of ground and consequent, is selfcancelling. For to prove, is to state that there is such and such a relation of ground and consequent etc. That an assertion is ‘self-cancelling’, is ‘logically absurd’, means that its particular content (sense, meaning) contradicts the general demands of its own, pertinent meaning-categories, contradicts what has its general root in the general meaning of those categories. It is now clear that, in this pregnant sense, any theory is logically absurd which deduces logical principles from any matters of fact. To do so is at variance with the general sense of the concepts of ‘logical principle’ and ‘fact’, or, to speak more precisely and more generally, of the concepts of ‘truth based on the mere content of concepts’ and ‘truth concerning individual existence’. It is easy to see that the objections against the above discussed relativistic theory are, in the main, objections to relativism in the most general sense.