Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/94

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wits and historians of his day, until the clock struck twelve and the party was over. Even in Kant, though the mood was more cramped and earnest, the mystical sophistication was quite the same. Kant, too, imagined that the bottom had been knocked out of the world; that in comparison with some unutterable sort of truth empirical truth was falsehood, and that validity for all possible experience was weak validity, in comparison with validity of some other and unmentionable sort. Since space and time could not repel the accusation of being the necessary forms of perception, space and time were not to be much thought of; and when the sad truth was disclosed that causality and the categories were instruments by which the idea of nature had to be constructed, if such an idea was to exist at all, then nature and causality shrivelled up and were dishonoured together; so that, the soul’s occupation being gone, she must needs appeal to some mysterious oracle, some abstract and irrelevant omen within the breast, and muster up all the stern courage of an accepted despair to carry her through this world of mathematical illusion into some green and infantile paradise beyond.

What idea, we may well ask ourselves, did these modern philosophers entertain regarding the pretensions of ancient and mediaeval metaphysics? What understanding had they of the spirit in which the natural organs of reason had been exercised and