Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/98

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the mind out of the data of experience. Obviously the rival and critical theory will make the same tacit claim as the other to absolute validity. If all our ideas and perceptions conspire to reinforce the new hypothesis, this will become inevitable and necessary to us. We shall then condemn the other hypothesis, not indeed for having been a hypothesis, which is the common fate of all rational and interpretative thought, but for having been a hypothesis artificial, misleading, and false; one not following necessarily nor intelligibly out of the facts, nor leading to a satisfactory reaction upon them, either in contemplation or in practice.

Now this is in truth exactly the conviction which those malicious psychologists secretly harboured. Their critical scruples and transcendental qualms covered a robust rebellion against being fooled by authority. They rose to abate abuses among which, as Hobbes said, “the frequency of insignificant speech is one.” Their psychology was not merely a cathartic, but a gospel. Their young criticism was sent into the world to make straight the path of a new positivism, as now, in its old age, it is invoked to keep open the door to superstition. Some of those reformers, like Hobbes and Locke, had at heart the interests of a physical and political mechanism, which they wished to substitute for the cumbrous and irritating constraints of tradition. Their criticism stopped at the frontiers of their practical discontent; they did not care to ask