Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/184

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dependent on the application of general concepts to experience; for he lives by instinct.

The Life of Reason, the comprehension of causes and pursuit of aims, begins precisely where instinctive operation ceases to be merely such by becoming conscious of its purposes and representative of its conditions. Logical forms of thought impregnate and constitute practical intellect. The shock of experience can indeed correct, disappoint, or inhibit rational expectation, but it cannot take its place. The very first lesson that experience should again teach us after our disappointment would be a rebirth of reason in the soul. Reason has the indomitable persistence of all natural tendencies; it returns to the attack as waves beat on the shore. To observe its defeat is already to give it a new embodiment. Prudence itself is a vague science, and science, when it contains real knowledge, is but a clarified prudence, a description of experience and a guide to life. Speculative reason, if it is not also practical, is not reason at all. Propositions irrelevant to experience may be correct in form, the method they are reached by may parody scientific method, but they cannot be true in substance, because they refer to nothing. Like music, they have no object. They merely flow, and please those whose unattached sensibility they somehow flatter.

Hume, in this respect more radical and satisfactory than Kant himself, saw with perfect clearness that reason was an ideal expression of in-