Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/96

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hypothesis about the causes of perception can only be discarded when a better hypothesis on the same subject has been supplied. To be better such a hypothesis would have to meet the multiplicity of phenomena and their mutations with a more intelligible scheme of comprehension and a more useful instrument of control.

Scepticism is always possible while it is partial. It will remain the privilege and resource of a free mind that has elasticity enough to disintegrate its own formations and to approach its experience from a variety of sides and with more than a single method. But the method chosen must be coherent in itself and the point of view assumed must be adhered to during that survey; so that whatever reconstruction the novel view may produce in science will be science still, and will involve assumptions and dogmas which must challenge comparison with the dogmas and assumptions they would supplant. People speak of dogmatism as if it were a method to be altogether outgrown and something for which some non-assertive philosophy could furnish a substitute. But dogmatism is merely a matter of degree. Some thinkers and some systems retreat further than others into the stratum beneath current conventions and make us more conscious of the complex machinery which, working silently in the soul, makes possible all the rapid and facile operations of reason. The deeper this retrospective glance the less dogmatic the philosophy. A