object of metaphysics is to find a general view which will satisfy the intellect, and I have assumed that whatever succeeds in doing this is real and true, and that whatever fails is neither. This is a doctrine which, so far as I see, can neither be proved nor questioned. The proof or the question, it seems to me, must imply the truth of the doctrine, and, if that is not assumed, both vanish. And I see no advantage in dwelling further on this point.
III. But with this we come against the great problem of the relation of Thought to Reality. For if we decline (as I think wrongly) to affirm that all truth is thought, yet we certainly cannot deny this of a great deal of truth, and we can hardly deny that truth satisfies the intellect. But, if so, truth therefore, as we have seen, is real. And to hold that truth is real, not because it is true but because also it is something else, seems untenable; for, if so, the something else left outside would make incomplete and would hence falsify the truth. But then, on the other hand, can thought, however complete, be the same as reality, the same altogether, I mean, and with no difference between them? This is a question to which I could never give an affirmative reply. It is useless here to seek to prove that the real involves thought as its sine quâ non, for that much, when proved, does not carry the conclusion. And it is useless again to urge that thought is so inseparable from every mode of experience that in the end it may be said to cover all the ground. That is, it seems to me, once more merely the inconclusive argument from the sine quâ non, or else the conclusion is vitiated from another side by the undue extension of thought’s meaning. Thought has now been taken, that is, to include so much more than truth in the narrow sense, that the old question as to how truth in this sense stands to reality, must break out more or less within thought itself. Nor again does it seem clear why we must term this whole ‘thought,’ and not ‘feeling,’ or ‘will,’ unless we can show that these really are modes of thought while thought cannot fall under them. For otherwise our conclusion seems but verbal and arbitrary; and again an argument drawn from the mere hegemony of thought could not prove the required conclusion.
But with this we are left, it appears, in a dilemma. There is a difference between on the one side truth or thought (it will be convenient now to identify these), and on the other side reality. But to assert this difference seems impossible without somehow transcending thought or bringing the difference into thought, and these phrases seem meaningless. Thus reality appears to be an Other different from truth and yet not able to be truly taken as different; and this dilemma to myself was long a main cause of perplexity and doubt. We indeed do something to solve it
- On the subject of the order of thought in my work I further refer the reader to Note A in this Appendix.