Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/113

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they are inferred illegitimately since the “subjective” ones are dialectical characters turned into antecedents, while the thing-in-itself is a natural object without a natural function. Experience alone being given, it is the ground from which its conditions are inferred: its conditions, therefore, are empirical. The secondary position of nature goes with the secondary position of all causes, objects, conditions, and ideals. To have made the conditions of experience metaphysical, and prior in the order of knowledge to experience itself, was simply a piece of surviving Platonism. The form was hypostasised into an agent, and mythical machinery was imagined to impress that form on whatever happened to have it.

All this was opposed to Kant’s own discovery and to his critical doctrine which showed that the world (which is the complex of those conditions which experience assigns to itself as it develops and progresses in knowledge) is not before experience in the order of knowledge, but after it. His fundamental oversight and contradiction lay in not seeing that the concept of a set of conditions was the precise and exact concept of nature, which he consequently reduplicated, having one nature before experience and another after. The first thus became mythical and the second illusory: for the first, said to condition experience, was a set of verbal ghosts, while the second, which alone could be observed or discovered scientifically, was declared fictitious. The truth is that the single