Page:Avenarius and the Standpoint of Pure Experience.djvu/27

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Helmholtz[1] thinks to solve the problem by applying his doctrine of unconscious inferences, and in this opinion he is followed by Zeller.[2] Dilthey, in the article from which I have quoted, argues that the subject meets stubborn resisting facts which are thereby characterized as other than self. The subject gets segmented off, as it were, from the rest of the world. Cornelius explains the idea by the ‘principle of economy.’[3]

Of these various efforts, that of Dilthey is decidedly the best,—but however that may be, all I wish to insist upon here is that experience is characterized by laws of its own in a profoundly realistic way, a way which may be of the greatest consequence for the actual fate of metaphysical theories. By no amount of intellectual discipline can we rid our world in experience of its realistic character. We may be fully convinced that this character is a vicious illusion, but the character remains. Dr. Johnson did not refute Berkeley’s metaphysic, but he did testify to the character of experience which is common to sane humanity. The lecturer who is going to present to his class a refutation of realism at least takes naïvely for granted that his lecture-room is waiting for him in quite a realistic way. Realism of this unreflective sort describes our adjustment to our world of experience. It is our natural organic attitude toward our outer world. And the student of philosophy who has this same natural attitude along with the rest of his fellows may, indeed, vigorously repudiate any charge of being a realist in his philosophy, but he and his fellows will have a world of common objective reference, much of which will have a material character, and which, emotional values being neglected, seems pretty much the same for all observers. As a philosopher, he will hardly be so sure about his doctrine as the unreflective man is about the world of his experience. But although he may pass through crises of critical philosophy, he has to reflect about a world that persistently retains its realistic character. It may indeed become more or less ambiguous in certain respects, it will alter with regard to the emotional values in it, but these changes do not affect the outer substantial reality as a characteristic of experience. Such realism as this can hardly be called a metaphysical realism. It is certainly quite independent of any metaphysical doctrine. It is an organic experiential realism that seems a great deal more fundamental than realism or idealism in critical philosophy.

In presenting this point, the chief difficulty I have to contend against is its character of extreme commonplace. The habit, how-

  1. ‘Physiologische Optik,’ Leipzig, 1867, p. 447.
  2. ‘Vorträge und Abhandlungen,’ III., p. 253.
  3. ‘Psychologie als Erfahrungswissenschaft,’ p. 114.