Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/109

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fact that organ and stimulus are both necessary to sensation. That experience is the substance or matter of nature, which is a construction in thought, is Kant’s conclusion, based on intrinsic logical analysis. Here experience is evidently viewed as something uncaused and without conditions, being itself the source and condition of all thinkable objects. The relation between the transcendental function of experience and its empirical causes Kant never understood. The transcendentalism which—if we have it at all—must be fundamental, he made derivative; and the realism, which must then be derivative, he made absolute. Therefore his metaphysics remained fabulous and his idealism sceptical or malicious.

Ask what can be meant by “conditions of experience” and Kant’s bewildering puzzle solves itself at the word. Condition, like cause, is a term that covers a confusion between dialectical and natural connections. The conditions of experience, in the dialectical sense, are the characteristics a thing must have to deserve the name of experience; in other words, its conditions are its nominal essence. If experience be used in a loose sense to mean any given fact or consciousness in general, the condition of experience is merely immediacy. If it be used, as it often is in empirical writers, for the shock of sense, its conditions are two: a sensitive organ and an object capable of stimulating it. If finally experience be given its