Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/104

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

it would have been wholly acceptable to the wise; and its appeal to faith would have been nothing but an expression of natural vitality and courage, just as its criticism of knowledge would have been nothing but a better acquaintance with self. This faith would have called the forces of impulse and passion to reason’s support, not to its betrayal. Faith would have meant faith in the intellect, a faith naturally expressing man’s practical and ideal nature, and the only faith yet sanctioned by its fruits.

Side by side with this reinstatement of reason, however, which was not absent from Kant’s system in its critical phase and in its application to science, there lurked in his substitution of faith for knowledge another and sinister intention. He wished to blast as insignificant, because “subjective,” the whole structure of human intelligence, with all the lessons of experience and all the triumphs of human skill, and to attach absolute validity instead to certain echoes of his rigoristic religious education. These notions were surely just as subjective, and far more local and transitory, than the common machinery of thought; and it was actually proclaimed to be an evidence of their sublimity that they remained entirely without practical sanction in the form of success or of happiness. The “categorical imperative” was a shadow of the ten commandments; the postulates of practical reason were the minimal tenets of the most abstract