Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/110

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highest and most pregnant import and mean a fund of knowledge gathered by living, the condition of experience is intelligence. Taking the word in this last sense, Kant showed in a confused but essentially conclusive fashion that only by the application of categories to immediate data could knowledge of an ordered universe arise; or, in other language, that knowledge is a vista, that it has a perspective, since it is the presence to a given thought of a diffused and articulated landscape. The categories are the principles of interpretation by which the flat datum acquires this perspective in thought and becomes representative of a whole system of successive or collateral existences.

The circumstance that experience, in the second sense, is a term reserved for what has certain natural conditions, namely, for the spark flying from the contact of stimulus and organ, led Kant to shift his point of view, and to talk half the time about conditions in the sense of natural causes or needful antecedents. Intelligence is not an antecedent of thought and knowledge but their character and logical energy. Synthesis is not a natural but only a dialectical condition of pregnant experience; it does not introduce such experience but constitutes it. Nevertheless, the whole skeleton and dialectical mould of experience came to figure, in Kant’s mythology, as machinery behind the scenes, as a system of non-natural efficient forces, as a partner in a marriage