Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/88

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tion that knowledge reaches reality when it touches its ideal goal. Reality is known when, as in mathematics, a stable and unequivocal object is developed by thinking. The locus or material embodiment of such a reality is no longer in view; these questions seem to the logician irrelevant. If necessary ideas find no illustration in sense, he deems the fact an argument against the importance and validity of sensation, not in the least a disproof of his ideal knowledge. If no site be found on earth for the Platonic city, its constitution is none the less recorded and enshrined in heaven; nor is that the only true ideal that has not where to lay its head. What in the sensualistic or mystical system was called reality will now be termed appearance, and what there figured as an imaginary construction borne by the conscious moment will now appear to be a prototype for all existence and an eternal standard for its estimation.

It is this rationalistic or Platonic system (little as most men may suspect the fact) that finds a first expression in ordinary perception. When you distinguish your sensations from their cause and laugh at the idealist (as this kind of sceptic is called) who says that chairs and tables exist only in your mind, you are treating a figment of reason as a deeper and truer thing than the moments of life whose blind experience that reason has come to illumine. What you call the evidence of sense is pure confidence in reason. You will