Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/146

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ground and intelligible object of experience. Something constant, omnipresent, infinitely fertile is needed to support and connect the given chaos. Just these properties, however, are actually attributed to one of the minds supposed to confront the thinker, namely, the mind of God. The divine mind has therefore always constituted in philosophy either the alternative to nature or her other name: it is par excellence the seat of all potentiality and, as Spinoza said, the refuge of all ignorance.

Speculative problems would be greatly clarified, and what is genuine in them would be more easily distinguished from what is artificial, if we could gather together again the original sources for the belief in separate minds and compare these sources with those we have already assigned to the conception of nature. But speculative problems are not alone concerned, for in all social life we envisage fellow-creatures conceived to share the same thoughts and passions and to be similarly affected by events. What is the basis of this conviction? What are the forms it takes, and in what sense is it a part or an expression of reason?

This question is difficult, and in broaching it we cannot expect much aid from what philosophers have hitherto said on the subject. For the most part, indeed, they have said nothing, as by nature’s kindly disposition most questions which it is beyond a man’s power to answer do not occur to him at all. The suggestions which have actually