“This recollection is, however, not so void of significance for the most critical idealist as is the recollection of a nurse’s tale or a belief of childhood; it plays a wholly peculiar rôle. . . . And this means that the ‘problem’ which arose when it was ‘discovered’ that the perceptions which were caused by the ‘things’ of the earlier (realistic) view are indeed nothing but ideas, and that the ‘things’ too of the earlier view are only ideas, this means that the ‘problem’ which arose by virtue of this discovery has not yet found its final solution by our becoming accustomed to the judgment, everything is my idea, is in my consciousness.
“And why not? Because of the despised naïve realism which always lives anew because it is always being experienced (der immer neu auflebt weil er immer neu erlebt wird). And so the ghost of realism stalks by day in the proud mansion of idealism, and will not be cast forth.”
Whatever those functions are which cause us to believe so instinctively in the outer world, we must assume they are continuously active. The pathological cases mentioned above showed that the sense of reality which attaches to the outer world is a product of natural human functions, and these, unless disorganized, must cause our experience to be characterized as experience in a real independent world of objective facts.
The above considerations show that at least one view of the world seems to have a functional value for the organism, while others are functionally less suitable. If there be one view of the world which surpasses others in functional value, this means that the organism through this Weltbegriff secures an adjustment to its environment and a stability within itself. As a fact, some points of view do seem to have this functional value. We sometimes hear it said, ‘That point of view would turn my world upside down’ or, ‘I could not get ahead on that supposition.’ But whether suggestions like these be worth anything or not, there is evidently a natural view of the world, the only view the ‘plain man’ knows, and which is as deeply rooted in the experience of the critical idealist as in that of any one else. That view is practical naïve realism. As metaphysic, it is of course of the most uncritical type. But it can be a stubborn obstacle in the way of idealism, producing a sense of incongruity, and occasioning that vague discontent with a doctrine which is admitted to be perfectly logical. “I believe,” says Avenarius, “from personal observations that there is a large class of men trained in natural science who are at the same time idealists,
- See meaning of ‘problem’ in above account of Avenarius, pp. 12 and 13.
- ‘Der Menschliche Weltbegriff,’ p. 106.
- L. c., p. 108.