Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/84

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

juices. The result is that what ordinarily remains in memory is no representative of particular moments or shocks—though sensation, as in dreams, may be incidentally recreated from within—but rather a logical possession, a sense of acquaintance with a certain field of reality, in a word, a consciousness of knowledge.

But what, we may ask, is this reality, which we boast to know? May not the sceptic justly contend that nothing is so unknown and indeed unknowable as this pretended object of knowledge? The sensations which reason treats so cavalierly were at least something actual while they lasted and made good their momentary claim to our interest; but what is this new ideal figment, unseizable yet ever present, invisible but indispensable, unknowable yet alone interesting or important? Strange that the only possible object or theme of our knowledge should be something we cannot know.

An answer to these doubts will perhaps appear if we ask ourselves what sort of contact with reality would satisfy us, and in what terms we expect or desire to possess the subject-matter of our thoughts. Is it simply corroboration that we look for? Is it a verification of truth in sense? It would be unreasonable, in that case, after all the evidence we demand has been gathered, to complain that the ideal term thus concurrently suggested, the super-sensible substance, reality, or independent object,