Page:Avenarius and the Standpoint of Pure Experience.djvu/40

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attitudes. Doubt about the outer world may express a theory, a theory that is true, perhaps, but it does not describe the fundamental character of experience.

Let me summarize briefly.

There is what we may call a natural view of the world, by which we express our organic adjustment to it. That view asserts that a real transcendent outer world and real fellow beings are objects of experience. It asserts this, not so much in the form of a doctrine as in the form of a spontaneous attitude. It is not to be assumed, however, that either realism or idealism is therefore true. This natural view of the world accepts the world as being really what it seems to be, so far as it can be observed, and not the illusory appearance of a fundamentally different reality. The work of observing the world is natural science. This natural view of the world is shared more or less unreflectively by all normal human beings. On this point I would not be dogmatic, but I believe the proposition is substantially correct. Some of us, however, have elaborated a doctrine which declares that the world as observed and as observable is appearance and illusion, and that reality is something quite different. This doctrine may be true, but it makes no difference to experience whether it is or not. Knowledge is a type of experience; it is experience with the cognitive character. Error is the relation in which one cognitive experience stands to a subsequent one which contradicts it. Any cognitive experience may be contradicted by a subsequent cognitive experience. There is nothing about experience which prevents such things as a personal devil or the Real Presence being objects of Knowledge. There may be insight into the future without, of course, implying that the future is going to conform itself to the insight. Always the question has been, How is experience characterized? and never, Is there a transcendent object of knowledge? But it has been pointed out that it makes no difference to experience whether there is a transcendent object or not. Experience has independent objects which it characterizes as transcendent, and it could not possibly have any more. But this conclusion involves solipsistic possibilities. These too, however, make no difference to experience, for a solipsistic doctrine is a very different thing from a solipsistic experience. Experience, whether it be one or many in the world, is such a vital, stubborn thing that it resists any and all consequences of theory. Where it seems to be affected, the theory is the product of the experience, not experience the product of the theory. We do escape from solipsism in theory, but we do so by casting it out of court. So that if I have to say why I am convinced, in theory, of the reality of my fellows, I can only say it is on the basis of the natural view of the world. But the