In this volume I attempt to give a critical account of Lotze sexposition of the nature of thought. That exposition forms, for Lotze, a part of a laier undertaking. Before he could proceed to his main endeavour, and give a metaphysical account of the nature of Reality, it seemed to him necessary to clear the ground of false pretensions set up for thought, partly by the scientific men of his day but mainly by Hegel and his followers. For these writers, as he understood them, had identified thought with reality, and converted the rich and living world of concrete facts into a fixed system of abstract categories. Lotze, therefore, subjects thought to a most searching analysis, with a view of discovering what in reality is its nature and what, if any, are the limits of its powers.
He finds, in the first place, that thought is not an ontological principle. It does not constitute reality, but represents it more or less inaccurately.