Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/114

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nature or set of conditions for experience which the intellect constructs is the object of our thoughts and perceptions ideally completed. This is neither mythical nor illusory. It is, strictly speaking, in its system and in many of its parts, hypothetical; but the hypothesis is absolutely safe. At whatever point we test it, we find the experience we expect, and the inferences thence made by the intellect are verified in sense at every moment of existence.

The ambiguity in Kant’s doctrine makes him a confusing representative of that criticism of perception which malicious psychology has to offer. When the mind has made its great discovery; when it has recognised independent objects, and thus taken a first step in its rational life, we need to know unequivocally whether this step is a false or a true one. If it be false, reason is itself misleading, since a hypothesis indispensable in the intellectual mastery of experience is a false hypothesis and the detail of experience has no substructure. Now Kant’s answer was that the discovery of objects was a true and valid discovery in the field of experience; there were, scientifically speaking, causes for perception which could be inferred from perception by thought. But this inference was not true absolutely or metaphysically because there was a real world beyond possible experience, and there were oracles, not intellectual, by which knowledge of that unrealisable world might be ob-