Book I: Metaphysics of Knowledge.

Chapter I: The Spiritual Principle in Knowledge and in Nature.

§ 9.

The question, Can the knowledge of nature be itself a part or product of nature? must not be confused with that commonly supposed to be at issue between the spiritualists and the materialists. It is one which equally remains to be put, in whatever way we understand the relation between body and mind. We may have admitted most unreservedly that all the so-called functions of the soul are materially conditioned, but the question how there come to be for us those objects of consciousness, called matter and motion, on which we suppose the operations of sense and desire and thought to be dependent, will still remain to be answered. If it could be admitted that matter and motion had an existence in themselves, or otherwise than as related to a consciousness, it would still not be by such matter and motion, but by the matter and motion which we know, that the functions of the soul, or anything else, can for us be explained. Nothing can be known by help of reference to the unknown. But matter and motion, just so far as known, consist in, or are determined by, relations between the objects of that connected consciousness which we call experience. If we take any definition of matter, any account of its necessary qualities, and abstract from it all that consists in a statement of relations between facts in the way of feeling, or between objects that we present to ourselves as sources of feeling, we shall find that there is nothing left. Motion, in like manner, has no meaning except such as is derived from a synthesis of the different positions successively held by one and the same body; and we shall try in vain to render an account to ourselves of position or succession, of a body or its identity, except as expressing relations of what is contained in experience, through which alone that content possesses a definite character and becomes a connected whole. (§ 9 ¶ 1)

What then is the source of these relations, as relations of the experienced, in other words, of that which exists for consciousness? What is the principle of union which renders them possible? Clearly it cannot itself be conditioned by any of the relations which result from its combining and unifying action. Being that which so organises experience that the relations expressed by our definitions of matter and motion arise therein, it cannot itself be determined by those relations. It cannot be a matter or motion. However rigidly, therefore, we may exclude from our explanations of phenomena all causes that are not reducible to matter and motion, however fully we may admit that the nature which we know or may know is knowable only under strictly physial laws, we are none the less in effect asserting the existence of something which, as the source of a connected experience, renders both the nature that we know and our knowledge of it possible, but is not itself physically conditioned. We may decide all the questions that have been debated between materialists and spiritualists as to the explanation of particular facts in favour of the former, but the possibility of explaining them at all will still remain to be explained. We shall still be logically bound to admit that in a man who can know a nature—for whom there is a cosmos of experience—there is a principle which is not natural and which cannot without a ὕστερον πρότερον be explained as we explain the facts of nature. (§ 9 ¶ 2)

§ 9, n. 1: I borrow the phrase from Mr. G. H. Lewes.

§ 10.

There are certain accepted doctrines of modern philosophy—e.g., that knowledge is only of phenomena, not of anything unrelated to consciousness, and that object and subject are correlative—from which this conclusion seems to follow so inevitably, that any one who has adopted it must enquire anxiously why it is not more generally recognised. If nothing can enter into knowledge that is unrelated to consciousness; if relation to a subject is necessary to make an object, so that an object which no consciousness presented to itself would not be an object at all; it is as difficult to see how the principle of unity, through which phenomena become the connected system called the world of experience, can be found elsewhere than in consciousness, as it is to see how the consciousness exercising such a function can be a part of the world which it thus at least co-operates in making; how it can be a phenomenon among the phenomena which it unites into a knowledge. Why then do our most enlightened interpreters of nature take it as a matter of course that the principle of unity in the world of our experience is something which, whatever else it is—and they can say nothing else of it—is at any rate the negation of consiousness, and that consiousness itself is a phenomenon or group of phenomena in which this nature exhibits itself or results? And why is it that, when we have professedly discarded this doctrine, we still find it to a great extent controlling our ordinary thoughts? There must be reasons for this inconsistency, whih should be duly considered if we would understand what we are about in maintaining that there is a sense in which man is related to nature as its author, as well as one in which he is related to it as its child. (§ 10 ¶ 1)

§ 11.

The reader is probably acquainted with Kant’s dictum that the understanding makes nature. It gives no doubt a somewhat startling expression to the revolution in philosophy which Kant believed himself to have introduced, and which he compared to the Copernican theory in men’s conception of the relative positions of the earth and the sun. When we enquire, however, into the precise sense in which Kant used the expression, we find that its meaning is subject to a qualification which testifies to the difficulty experienced by Kant himself in carrying out the doctrine which the words seemed to convey. Macht zwar der Verstand die Natur, aber er schafft sie nicht. The understanding makes nature, but out of a material which it does not make. That material, according to Kant, consists in phenomena or data of sensibility, given under the so-called forms of intuition, space and time. This apparent ascription of nature to a twofold origin—an origin in understanding in respect of its form as a nature, as a single system of experience; an origin elsewhere in respect of the matter which through the action of understanding becomes a nature—cannot but strike us as unsatisfactory. Perhaps it may not be a doctrine in which we can permanently acquiesce, but meanwhile it represents fairly enough on its two sides the considerations which on the one hand lead us to regard nature as existing only in relation to thought, and those on the other which seem obstinately opposed to such a view. (§ 11 ¶ 1)

§ 12.

To say with Kant that the understanding is the principle of objectivity, that only through understanding is there for us an objective world, is sure to seem at first sight the extreme of perversity. We have come to think of the understanding as specially an agency of our own, and of the objective world as specially that which is presented to us independently of any such agency; as that which we find and do not make, and by which we have to correct the fictions of our own minds. When we ask, however, whether any impression is or represents anything real and objective, what exactly does the question mean, and how do we set about answering it? It is not equivalent to a question whether a feeling is felt. Some feeling must be felt in order to the possibility of the question being raised at all. It is a question whether a given feeling is what it is taken to be; or, in other words, whether it is related as it seems to be related. It may be objected indeed that, though some feeling or other must be felt in order to give any meaning to the question as to the objectivity of the impression or its correspondence with reality, yet still this question may and often does mean merely whether a particular feeling is felt. This is true; but a particular feeling is a feeling related in a certain way, and the question whether a particular feeling is really felt is always translatable into the form given—Is a feeling, which is undoubtedly felt, really related as some one thinking about it takes it to be? If an engine-driver, under certain conditions, permanent with him or temporary, sees a signal wrong, as we say, his disordered vision has its own reality just as much as if he saw right. There are relations between combinations of moving particles on the one side and his visual organs on the other, between the present state of the latter and certain determining conditions, between the immediate sensible effect and the secondary impressions which it in turn excites, as full and definite—with sufficient enquiry and opportunity, as ascertainable—as in any case of normal vision. There is as much reality in the one case as in the other, but it is not the same reality: i.e., it does not consist in the same relations. The engine-driver mistakes the effect of one set of relations for that of another, one reality for another, and hence his error in action. He may be quite innocent of a scientific theory of vision, but he objectifies his sensations. He interprets them as related in a certain way, and as always the same in the same relations; or, to use an equivalent but more familiar expressions, as signs of objects from which he distinguishes his feelings and by which he explains them. Were this not the case, his vision might be normal or abnormal, but he would be incapable of mistaking one kind of reality for another, since he would have no conception of reality at all. (§ 12 ¶ 1)

§ 13.

The terms real and objective, then, have no meaning except for a consciousness which presents its experiences to itself as determined by relations, and at the same time conceives a single and unalterable order of relations determining them, with which its temporary presentation, as each experience occurs, of the relations determining it may be contrasted. For such a consciousness, perpetually altering its views of the relations determining any experience under the necessity of combining them in one system with other recognised relations, and for such a consciousness only, there is significance in the judgment that any experience seems to be so and so, i.e., to be related in a certain way, but really is otherwise related. We shall have afterwards [§ 19 and foll.] to consider the question whether the consciousness, for which alone this contrast of the real and the apparent is possible, has anything to do with the establishment of the relations in which it conceives reality to consist—whether the conception of reality has any identity with the act by which reality is constituted. But even if this latter question is waived or answered in the negative, there will still be an important sense in which understanding, or consciousness as acting in the manner described, may be said to be the principle of objectivity. It will be through it that there is for us an objective world; through it that we conceive an order of nature, with the unity of which we must reconcile our interpretations of phenomena, if they are to be other than subjective illusions. (§ 13 ¶ 1)

§ 14.

Of course it may very well be that many a man would disclaim any such conception, who is yet constantly acting upon the distinction between what he believes to be mere appearance and what he believes to be reality. But want of familiarity with the abstract expression of a conception, want of ability to analyse it, is no evidence that the conception is inoperative upon the experience of the person who, from this want of familiarity or ability, would say, if he were asked, that he had it not or knew not what it meant. The proof of the necessity of certain ideas has never been supposed, by any one who knew what he was about, to rest upon the fact that every one was aware of having them. Such a proof, to say nothing of the well-worked appeal to savages or the uneducated, would be at the mercy of every lively gentleman who was pleased to say that he searched his breast for such ideas in vain. The necessity of a conception, as distinct from the logical (or rather rhetorical) necessity of a conclusion contained in premises already conceded, means that it is necessary to the experience without which there would not for us be a world at all; and there can be neither proof nor disproof of such necessity as is claimed for any conception, but through analysis of the conditions which render this experience possible. Unless the accuracy or sufficiency of the analysis can be disputed, the necessary character of the ideas which it exhibits as operative in the formation of experience, is unaffected by the inability of any one to recognise them in that abstract form to which the analysis reduces them, but which, just because they are operative in concrete experience, is not the form of their familiar use. (§ 14 ¶ 1)

Thus a man who is quite at home with the distinction between facts and fancies may think it strange to be told that the distinction implies a conception of the world as a single system of relations; that this is the conception on the strength of which he constantly sets aside as fancy what he had taken to be fact, because he finds that the supposed relations, which for him formed the nature of the fact, are not such as can be combined with others that he recognises in one intelligible system. Such language may convey no meaning to him, but the question will still remain whether upon reflection the distinction can be otherwise accounted for. When we analyse our idea of matter of fact, can we express it except as an idea of a relation which is always the same between the same objects; or our idea of an object except as that which is always the same in the same relations? And does not each expression imply the idea of a world as a single and eternal system of related elements, which may be related with endless diversity but must be related still? If we may properly call the consciousness which yields this idea understanding, are we not entitled to say that understanding is the source of there being for us an objective world, that it is the principle of objectivity? (§ 14 ¶ 2)

§ 15.

So far we have only reached the conclusion that a conception, to which understanding is related as faculty to function, is the condition of our ability to distinguish a real from the unreal, matter of fact from illusion. It will be said perhaps that so much pains need not have been spent on establishing a proposition which in effect merely tells us that without a conception of an order of nature we could not conceive an order of nature. Is not this, it may be asked, either an identical proposition or untrue—an identical proposition, if understood strictly as thus put; untrue, if taken to mean that the conception of an order of nature does not admit of being generated out of materials other than itself? Now it is just the difficulties in the way of explaining the origin of the conception in question out of anything else than judgments which presuppose it, that we wish to exhibit. They are the difficulties which beset any theory that would treat the knowledge of nature as itself the result of natural processes. It is through experience that every such theory must suppose the resulting knowledge to be produced. But experience, as most students of philosophy must now be aware, is a term used in very different senses. In this case an experience which is to yield the required result must not be merely an experience in the sense in which, for instance, a plant might be said to experience a succession of atmospheric or chemical changes, or in which we ourselves pass through a definite physical experience during sleep or in respect of the numberless events which affect us but of which we are not aware. Such an experience may no doubt gradually alter to any extent the mode in which the physical organism reacts upon stimulus. It may be the condition of its becoming organic to intellectual processes, but between it and experience of the kind which is to yield a knowledge of nature there is a chasm which no one, except by confusion of speech, has attempted to fill. Or to speak more precisely, between the two senses of experience there is all the difference that exists between change and consciousness of change. (§ 15 ¶ 1)

§ 16.

Experience of the latter kind must be experience of matters of fact recognised as such. It is possible, no doubt, to imagine a psychological history of this experience, and to trace it back to a stage in whichthe distinction between fact and fancy is not yet formally recognised. But there is a limit to this process. An experience which distinguishes fact from fancy cannot be developed out of one which is not, in some form or other, a consciousness of events as related or as a series of changes. It has commonly, and with much probability, been held that the occurrence of the unexpected, by exciting distrust in previously established associations of ideas, has at any rate a large share in generating the distinction of what seems from what is. But the shock of surprise is one thing, the correction of a belief quite another. Unless there were already a consciousness alike of the events, of which the ideas have become associated, as a related series, and of the newly observed event as a member of the same, the unfamiliar event might cause a disturbance of the nerves or the psychoplasm, but there would neither be an incorrect belief as to an order of events to be corrected by it, nor any such correlation of the newly observed event with what had been observed before as could suggest a correction. But a consciousness of events as a related series—experience in the most elementary form in which it can be the beginning of knowledge—has not any element of identity with, and therefore cannot properly be said to be developed out of, a mere series of related events, of successive modifications of body or soul, such as is experience in the former of the senses spoken of. No one and no number of a series of related events can be the consciousness of the series as related. Nor can any product of the series be so either. Even if this product could be anything else than a further event, it could at any rate only be something that supervenes at a certain stage upon such of the events as have so far elapsed. But a consciousness of certain events cannot be anything that thus succeeds them. It must be equally present to all the events of which it is the consciousness. For this reason an intelligent experience, or experience as the source of knowledge, can neither be constituted by events of which it is the experience, nor be a product of them. (§ 16 ¶ 1)

§ 17.

Perhaps not, it may be replied, but may it not be a product of previous events? If it is so, a series of events of which there is no conscious experience must be supposed to produce a consciousness of another series. On any other supposition the difficulty is only postponed. For if the series of events which produces a certain consciousness of other events is one of which there is a consciousness, this consciousness, not being explicable as the product of the events of which it is the consciousness, will have in turn to be referred to a prior series of events; and ultimately there will be no alternative between the admission of a consciousness which is not a product of a series of events at all and the supposition stated—the supposition that the primary consciousness of events results from a series of events of which there is no consciousness. But this supposition, when we think of it, turns out to be a concatenation of words to which no possible connexion of ideas corresponds. It asserts a relation of cause and effect, in which the supposed cause lacks all the characteristics of a cause. It may be questioned whether we can admit anything as a cause which does not explain its supposed effect, or is not equivalent to the conditions into which the effect can be analysed. But granting that we may, a cause must at least be that to which experience testifies as the uniform antecedent of the effect. Now a series of events of which there is no consciousness is certainly not a set of conditions into which consciousness can be analysed. And as little can it be an antecedent uniformly associated with consciousness in experience, for events of which there is no consciousness cannot be within experience at all. (§ 17 ¶ 1)

§ 18.

It seems necessary, then, to admit that experience, in the sense of a consciousness of events as a related series—and in no other sense can it help to account for the knowledge of an order of nature—cannot be explained by any natural history, properly so called. It is not a product of a series of events. It does not arise out of materials other than itself. It is not developed by a natural process out of other forms of natural existence. Given such a consciousness, the scientific conception of nature, no less than the every-day distinction between fact and fancy, between objective reality and subjective illusion, can be exhibited as a development of it, for there is an assignable element of identity between the two. But between the consciousness itself on the one hand, and on the other anything determined by the relations under which a nature is presented to consciousness, no process of development, because no community, can really be traced. Nature, with all that belongs to it, is a process of change: change on a uniform method, no doubt, but change still. All the relations under which we know it are relations in the way of change or by which change is determined. But neither can any process of change yield a consciousness of itself, which, in order to be a consciousness of the change, must be equally present to all stages of the change; nor can any consciousness of change, since the whole of it must be present at once, be itself a process of change. There may be a change into a state of consciousness of change, and a change out of it, on the part of this man or that; but within the consciousness itself there can be no change, because no relation of before and after, of here and there, between its constituent members—between the presentation, for instance, of point A and that of point B in the process which forms the object of the consciousness. (§ 18 ¶ 1)

§ 19.

From the above considerations thus much at any rate would seem to follow: that a form of consciousness, which we cannot explain as of natural origin, is necessary to our conceiving an order of nature, an objective world of fact from which illusion may be distinguished. In other words, an understanding—for that term seems as fit as any other to denote the principle of consciousness in question—irreducible to anything else, makes nature for us, in the sense of enabling us to conceive that there is such a thing. Now that which the understanding thus presents to itself consists, as we have seen, in certain relations regarded as forming a single system. The next question, then, will be whether understanding can be held to make nature in the further sense that it is the source, or at any rate a condition, of there being these relations. If it cannot, we are left in the awkward position of having to suppose that, while the conception of an order of nature on the one side, and that order itself on the other, are of different and independent origins, there is yet some unaccountable pre-established harmony through which there comes to be such an order corresponding to our conception of it. This indeed might be urged as a reason for seeking some way of escape from the conclusion at which we have just arrived. But before we renew an attempt which has often been made and failed, let us see whether the objections to the other alternative—to the view that the understanding which presents an order of nature to us is in principle one with an understanding which constitutes that order itself—have really the cogency which common-sense seems to ascribe to them. (§ 19 ¶ 1)

§ 20.

The traditional philosophy of common-sense, we shall find, speaks upon the point with an ambiguity which affords a presumption of its involving more difficulty than might at first sight appear. No one is more emphatic than Locke in opposing what is real to what we make for ourselves, the work of nature to the work of the mind. Simple ideas or sensations we certainly do not make for ourselves. They therefore and the matter supposed to cause them are, according to Locke, real. But relations are neither simple ideas nor their material archetypes. They therefore, as Locke explicitly holds, fall under the head of the work of the mind, which is opposed to the real. But if we take him at his word and exclude from what we have considered real all qualities constituted by relation, we find that none are left. Without relation any simple idea would be undistinguished from other simple ideas, undetermined by its surroundings in the cosmos of experience. It would thus be unqualified itself, and consequently could afford no qualification of the material archetype, which yet according to Locke we only know through it or, if otherwise, as the subject of those primary qualities which demonstrably consist in relations. In short, the admission of the antithesis between the real and the work of the mind, and the admission that relation is the work of the mind, put together, involve the conclusion that nothing is real of which anything can be said. (§ 20 ¶ 1)

Our ordinary way out of the difficulty consists in keeping the two admissions apart, without, however, surrendering either. We maintain the opposition between the real and the work of the mind exactly as it was asserted by Locke; and if we are less explicit in accounting relations to be the work of the mind, it is not because we have any theory of the real which more logically admits them than Locke's. Yet we have no scruple in accepted duly verified knowledge as representing reality, though what is known consists in nothing else than relations. We neither ask ourselves how it can be that a knowledge of relations should be a knowledge of reality, if the real is genuinely simple sensation or that which copies itself in simple sensation, nor what other account we can give of the real without qualifying the antithesis between the work of the mind and it. It is in fact from our adoption of this antithesis that we come to accept that identification of the real with simple sensation or its archetype which, as Locke was aware, implies the unreality of relations. But when in our processes of knowledge we have virtually recognised-relations as constituting the very essence of reality, we do not reconsider our definition of the real in light of this recognition. We do not lay our procedure in what we regard as knowledge of the real alongside Locke's view of the real, which is also ours, so as to ask whether they are consistent with each other. And hence we are not led to call in question the antithesis on which that view depends. (§ 20 ¶ 2)

§ 20, n. 1: Essay concerning Human Understanding, II. viii. 15 and 23; xxx. 2.

§ 21.

As it is a serious matter, however, to accept a view of the real which such a thinker as Locke could not reconcile with the reality of relations, and which logically implies that knowledge is not of the real; and as on the other hand there is something in the opposition between the real and the work of the mind which seems to satisfy an imperative demand of common-sense; it becomes important to enquire whether we interpret that demand aright. Is there not a conception of the real behind the opposition in question, which seems to require us to accept it, but which in truth we misinterpret in doing so? (§ 21 ¶ 1)

We constantly find Locke falling back on the consideration that of simple ideas we cannot make one to ourselves. They force themselves upon us whether we will or no. It is this which entitles them in his eyes to be accounted real. The work of the mind, on the other hand, he considers arbitrary. A man has but to think, and he can make ideas of relation for himself as he pleases. Locke thus indicates what we may call the operative conception—operative as governing the action of our intelligence—which underlies the opposition between the real and the work of the mind. This is the conception which we have described already as that of a single and unalterable system of relations. It is not the work of the mind, as such, that we instinctively oppose to the real, but the work of the mind as assumed to be arbitrary and irregularly changeable. (§ 21 ¶ 2)

§ 22.

In truth, however, there is no such thing. The very question, What is the real?—which we seem to answer by help of this opposition—is a misleading one, so far as it implies that there is something else from which the real can be distinguished. We are apt to make merry over the crude logic of Plato in supposing that there are objects, described as μὴ ὄντα, which stands in the same relation to ignorance as τὰ ὄντα to knowledge, and other objects, described as τὰ μεταξύ, which stand in a corresponding relation to mere opinion. Of this fallacy, as of most others that are to be found in him, Plato himself supplies the correction, but much of our language about the real suggests that we are ourselves its victims. If there is a valid opposition between the work of the mind and something else which is not the work of the mind, the one must still be just as real as the other. Of two alternatives, one. Either the work of the mind is a name for nothing, expressing a mere privation or indeterminateness, a mere absence of qualities—in which case nothing is conveyed by the proposition which opposes the real or anything else to it: or, on the other hand, if it has qualities and relations of its own, then it is just as real as anything else. Through not understanding the relations which determine the one kind of object—that ascribed to the work of the mind—as distinct from those which determine the other—that ascribed to some other agency—we may confuse the two kinds of object. We may take what is really of the one kind to be really of the other. But this is not a confusion of the real with the unreal. The very confusion itself, the mistake of supposing what is related in one way to be related in another, has its own reality. It has its history, its place in the development of man’s mind, its causes and effects; and, as so determined, it is as real as anything else. (§ 22 ¶ 1)

§ 23.

It is thus in vain that we seek to define the real by finding, either in the work of the mind or elsewhere, an unreal to which it may be opposed. Is there, then, no meaning in an opposition which is constantly on our tongues? Undoubtedly that which any event seems to us to be may be—nay always is—more or less different from what it really is. The relations by which we judge it to be determined are not, or at any rate fall short of, those by which it is really determined. But this is a distinction between one particular reality and another; not between a real, as such or as a whole, and an unreal, as such or as a whole. The illusive appearance, as opposed to the reality, of any event is what that event really is not; but at the same time it really is something. It is real, not indeed with the particular reality which the subject of the illusion ascribes to it, but with a reality which a superior intelligence might understand. The relations by which, in a false belief as to a matter of fact, we suppose the event to be determined, are not non-existent. They are really objects of a conceiving consciousness. As arising out of the action of such a consciousness, as constituents of a world which it presents to itself, they are no less real than are the actual conditions of the event which is thought to be, but is not really, determined by them. It is when we reflect on the judgments in which we are perpetually deciding that what has previously been taken to be the reality of a particular event is a mere appearance, i.e., not the reality of that particular event—or rather when we reflect on the language in which those judgments have been expressed—that we come to speak of the real, as an abstract universal, in contrast with another abstract universal, the unreal. Thus for a contrast which is in truth a contrast between two acts of judgment—the act of judging an event to be determined by certain relations which, according to the order of the universe, do determine it, and that of judging it to be determined by relations other than these—we substitute another, which exists merely in words, but to which we fancy that we give a meaning by identifying the unreal with the work of the mind, as opposed to a real which has some other origin, we cannot say what. (§ 23 ¶ 1)

§ 24.

What we have so far sought to show has been (1), generally, that an attempt to define the real by distinction from anything else is necessarily futile—the result of a false abstracton from the distinction between the real nature of one event or object and that of another—and (2) specially, that the antithesis between the real and the work of the mind is invalid, not because the real is the work of the mind—whether it is so or not we have yet to enquire—but because the work of the mind is real. The mere idea of a hundred thalers, to use the familiar instance, is no doubt quite different from the possession of them, not beause it is unreal, but because the relations which form the real nature of the idea are different from those which form the real nature of the possession. (§ 24 ¶ 1)

So much it was necessary to show, in order that the enquiry, whether it is due to understanding not merely that we are able to conceive a nature but that there is such a thing as nature at all, might not be prejudiced by a preconception which would make it seem equivalent to an enquiry whether the real could be the work of the unreal. If now from the futile question, What is the real? which we can only answer by saying the real is everything, we pass to one more hopeful—How do we decide whether any particular event or object is really what it seems to be, or whether our belief about it is true?—the answer must be that we do so by testing the unalterableness of the qualities which we ascribe to it, or which form its apparent nature. A certain hill appears to-day to be near: yesterday under different conditions of the atmosphere it appeared to be remote. But the real nature of the event which took place in yesterday’s appearance cannot, we judge, thus change. What it was really, it was unalterably. There may have been a change from that appearance to another, but not a change of or in whatever was the reality of the appearance. The event of yesterday’s appearance, then, must have been determined by conditions other than those which determine to-day’s. But if both appearances depended solely on the position of the hill, they would be determined by the same conditions. Therefore we must have been wrong in believing the hill to be so remote as we believed it to be yesterday, or in believing it to be so near as we believed it to be to-day, or in both beliefs: wrong in respect of the relation which we supposed to exist between the several appearances and the distance of the hill. (§ 24 ¶ 2)

§ 25.

With sufficient time and command of detail it would not be difficult to show how the conviction here illustrated, that whatever anything is really it is unalterably, regulates equally our most primitive and our most developed judgments of reality—the every-day supposition of there being a multitude of separate things which remain the same in themselves while their appearances to us alter, and the scientific quest for uniformity or unalterableness in a law of universal change. Through a slight confusion of thought and expression, this conviction may issue either in the sensational atomism of Locke or in the material atomism of popular science. A sensation is the unalterable effect of its conditions, whatever those conditions may be. It is unalterably related to other sensations. Our opinion about its conditions or relations may vary, but not the conditions or relations themselves, or the sensation determined by them. Hence when a man looks into his breast, as Locke bids him do, simple feelings—feelings apart from intellectual interpretations and combinations of them—seem alone unalterable in contrast with our judgments about them. In truth the unalterableness belongs not to any simple feeling, for our feelings change every moment upon us, but, as we have said, to the relation between it and its conditions or between it and other feelings; and such a relation is neither itself a feeling nor represented in our consciousness by a feeling. This distinction, however, is overlooked. The unalterableness of the fact that a certain feeling is felt under certain conditions, is ascribed to the simple feeling, or simple idea, as such: and unalterableness being the test by which we ascertain whether what we have believed to be the nature of any event is really so or not, the simple feeling, which by itself cannot properly be said to be really anything, comes to be regarded either as alone real, according to the ideal form of sensationalism, or as alone representing an external reality, according to the materialistic form of the same doctrine. (§ 25 ¶ 1)

On the other hand, reflection upon the perpetual flux of sensation suggests the view that it is not real in the same sense as its material conditions. The old dictum ascribed to Democritus—νόμῳ γλυκὺ καὶ νόμῳ πικρόν, νόμῳ θερμόν, νόμῳ ψυχρόν, νόμῳ χροίν· ἐτεῇ δὲ ἄτομα καὶ κενόν—expresses a way of thinking into which we often fall. The reality which in truth lies in the relations, according to the one law or system of relation, between feelings and their material conditions—not in the material conditions abstracted from the feelings any more than in the feelings abstracted from their material conditions—we are apt to ascribe exclusively to the latter. We think obscurely of matter and motion as real in some way in which nothing else is. Nor do we stop here. The demand for unalterableness in what we believe to be real, when once we are off the right track of seeking it in a uniform law of change, leads us to suppose that the reality of things is only reached when we have penetrated to atoms which in all changes of their motion and distribution remain intrinsically the same. (§ 25 ¶ 2)

§ 26.

Let us consider now how we stand. We have rejected the question, What constitutes the real? as intrinsically unmeaning, because it could only be answered by a distinction which would imply that there was something unreal. The question arises, we have seen, out of an abstraction from our constant enquiry into the real nature of this or that particular appearance or event—an enquiry in which we always seek for an unchanging relation between the appearance and its conditions, or again for an unchanging relation between these and certain other conditions. The complete determination of an event it may be impossible for our intelligence to arrive at. There may always remain unascertained conditions which may render the relation between an appearance and such conditions of it as we know, liable to change. But that there is an unalterable order of relations, if we could only find it out, is the presupposition of all our enquiry into the real nature of appearances; and such unalterableness implies their inclusion in one system which leaves nothing outside itself. Are we then entitled to ask—and if so, are we able to answer—the further question, What is implied in there being such a single, all-inclusive, system of relations? or, What is the condition of its possibility? If this question can be answered, the condition ascertained will be the condition of there being a nature and of anything being real, in the only intelligible sense that we can attach to the words nature and real. It would no doubt still be open to the sceptic, should this result be attained, to suggest that the validity of our conclusion, on our own showing, depends upon there really being such an order of nature as our quest of knowledge supposes there to be, which remains unproven. But as the sceptic, in order to give his language a meaning, must necessarily make the same supposition—as he can give no meaning to reality but the one explained—his suggestion that there really may not be such an order of nature is one that conveys nothing at all. (§ 26 ¶ 1)

§ 27.

First, then, is there any meaning in the question just put? Having set aside as unmeaning the question, What is the real? can we be entitled to ask, What is implied in there being a nature of things? If the former question would have been only answerable on the self-contradictory supposition of there really being something other than the real from which it could be distinguished, will not the latter in like manner be only answerable on the equally impossible supposition of there being something outside the nature of things, outside the one all-inclusive system of relations, by reference to which this nature or system can be explained? To this we reply that the question stated is or is not one that can be fitly asked, according as the conception of nature, of a single all-inclusive system of relations, is or is not one that can stand alone, is or is not one that requires something else to render it intelligible. To suppose that this something else, if nature were found unthinkable without it, is related to those conditions, of which the relation to each other forms the system of nature, in the same way in which these are related to each other, would no doubt be in contradiction with our account of this system as one and all-inclusive. It could not therefore be held to be related to them as, for instance, an invariable antecedent to an invariable sequent, or as one body to another outside it. But there would be no contradiction in admitting a principle which renders all relations possible, and is itself determined by none of them, if, on consideration of what is needed to constitute a system of relations, we found such a principle to be requisite. (§ 27 ¶ 1)

§ 28.

This, then, is the consideration which we have now to undertake. Relation is to us such a familiar fact that we are apt to forget that it involves all the mystery, if it be a mystery, of the existence of many in one. Whether we say that a related thing is one in itself, manifold in respect of its relations, or that there is one relation between manifold things, e.g., the relation of mutual attraction between bodies—and one expression or the other we must employ in stating the simplest facts—we are equally affirming the unity of the manifold. Abstract the many relations from the one thing, and there is nothing. They, being many, determine or constitute its definite unity. It is not the case that it first exists in its unity, and then is brought into various relations. Without the relations it would not exist at all. In like manner the one relation is a unity of the many things. They, in their manifold being, make the one relation. If these relations really exist, there is a real unity of the manifold, a real multiplicity of that which is one. But a plurality of things cannot of themselves unite in one relation, nor can a single thing of itself bring itself into a multitude of relations. It is true, as we have said, that the single things are nothing except as determined by relations which are the negation of their singleness, but they do not therefore cease to be single things. Their common being is not something into which their several existences disappear. On the contrary, if they did not survive in their singleness, there could be no relation between them—nothing but a blank featureless identity. There must, then, be something other than the manifold things themselves, which combines them without effacing their severalty. (§ 28 ¶ 1)

§ 29.

With such a combining agency we are familiar as our intelligence. It is through it that the sensation of the present moment takes a character from comparison with the sensation of a moment ago, and that the occurrence, consisting in the transition from one to the other, is presented to us. It is essential to the comparison and to the character which the sensations acquire from the comparison, essential, too, to their forming an observable event or succession, that one should not be fused with the other, that the distinct being of each should be maintained. On the other hand, in the relation to which their distinctness is thus necessary they are at the same time united. But if it were not for the action of something which is not either of them or both together, there would be no alternative between their separateness and their fusion. One might give place to the other, or both together might be combined into a third; but a unity in which their distinctness is preserved could not be constituted without the relating act of an intelligence which does not blend with either. (§ 29 ¶ 1)

The above is an instance of relation between sensations which, as brought into relation by intelligence, become sensible objects or events. But the same or an analogous action is necessary to account for any relation whatever—for a relation between material atoms as much as any other. Either then we must deny the reality of relations altogether and treat them as fictions of our combining intelligence; or we must hold that, being the product of our combining intelligence, they are yet empirically real on the ground that our intelligence is a factor in the real of experience; or if we suppose them to be real otherwise than merely as for us, otherwise than in the cosmos of our experience, we must recognise as the condition of this reality the action of some unifying principle analogous to that of our understanding. (§ 29 ¶ 2)

§ 30.

As we have seen, the first of these alternative views, if consistently carried out, will not allow us to regard anything as real of which anything can be said, since all predication is founded on relation of some kind. It therefore naturally leads to the second. All that we in fact count real turns out to be determined by relations. Feeling may be the revelation or the test of the real, but it must be feeling in certain relations, or it neither reveals nor tests anything. Thus we are obliged to recognise a reality, at least of that kind which in our every-day knowledge and action we distinguish from illusion, in what is yet the work of the mind, or at any rate must be held to be so until relations can be accounted for without a relating act or that act referred to something else than the mind. Hence with those who adhere to the opposition between the real and the work of the mind, and who at the same time cannot ignore the work of the mind in the constitution of relations, there arises a distinction between reality in some absolute sense—the reality of things-in-themselves, which are supposed to be wholly exempt from any qualification through relating acts of the mind, but of which, for that reason, nothing can be known or said—and the empirical reality of that which we distinguish from illusion, as standing in definite relations to the universe of our experience. (§ 30 ¶ 1)

§ 31.

This distinction governs the theory of Kant. It is more easy to point out the embarassments and inconsistencies into which it leads him, than to get rid of the distinction itself. Ordinary criticism of Kant, indeed, has not taken much heed of the distinction or of its perplexing results. It has been too busy in refuting his doctrine that laws of nature are derived from the understanding, to enquire closely into his view of the relation between nature, in his sense of the term, and things-in-themselves. It has been gaining apparent triumphs, due to a misunderstanding of the question at issue, over the strongest part of his system, while it has left the weakest unassailed. There have been abundant proofs of what was not in dispute, that our knowledge of laws of nature is the result of experience; but the question whether phenomena could be so related as to constitute the nature which is the object of our experience without the unifying action of understanding is seldom even touched. Given an experience of phenomena related to each other in one system—so related that, whatever an object is really, or according to the fulness of its relations, it is unalterably—it is easy to show that our knowledge of laws of nature is derived from it. Such experience in its most elementary form is already implicitly a knowledge that there are laws of nature, and only needs to be reflected on in order to become so explicitly. When it has become so explicitly, the development of the experience—through cognisance of relations of which there has previously been no experience, or of which the experience has not been reflected on—becomes a growing knowledge of what the laws of nature in particular are. (§ 31 ¶ 1)

But the derivation of knowledge from an experience of unalterably related phenomena is its derivation from objcts unalterably related in consciousness. If the relation of the objects were not a relation of them in consciousness, there would be no experience of it. The question then arises how a succession of feelings becomes such a relation of objects in consciousness. If a relation of objects existed or could be known to exist otherwise than for consciousness, this would not help to account for what has to be accounted for, which is wholly a process of consciousness. The feelings which succeed each other are no doubt due to certain related conditions, which are not feelings. But granting for the moment that these conditions and their relation exist independently of consciousness, in accounting for a multitude of feelings they do not account for the experience of related objects. Of two objects which form the terms of a relation one cannot exist as so related without the other, and therefore cannot exist before or after the other. For this reason the objects between which a relation subsists, even relation of succession, are, just so far as related, not successive. In other words, a succession always implies something else than the terms of the succession, and that a something else which can simultaneously present to itself objects as existing not simultaneously but one before the other. (§ 31 ¶ 2)

§ 32.

Thus, in order that successive feelings may be related objects of experience, even objects related in the way of succession, there must be in consciousness an agent which distinguishes itself from the feelings, uniting them in their severalty, making them equally present in their succession. And so far from this agent being reducible to, or derivable from, a succession of feelings, it is the condition of the existence of that relation between feelings, as also of those other relations which are not indeed relations between feelings, but which, if they are matter of experience, must have their being in consciousness. If there is such a thing as a connected experience of related objects, there must be operative in consciousness a unifying principle, which not only presents related objects to itself, but at once renders them objects and unites them in relation to each other by this act of presentation; and which is single throughout the experience. The unity of this principle must be correlative to the unity of the experience. If all possible experience of related objects—the experience of a thousand years ago and the experience of to-day, the experience which I have here and that which I might have in any other region of space—forms a single system; if there can be no such thing as an experience of unrelated objects; then there must be a corresponding singleness in that principle of consciousness which forms the bond of relation between the objects. (§ 32 ¶ 1)

§ 33.

It is such a principle that Kant speaks of sometimes as the synthetic unity of apperception, sometimes simply as understanding. For the reasons stated there seems no way of escape from the admission that it is, as he says, the basis of the necessary regularity of all phenomena in an experience: the basis, that is to say, not merely of our knowledge of uniform relations between phenomena, but of there being those uniform relations. The source of the relations, and the source of our knowledge of them, is one and the same. The question, how it is that the order of nature answers to our conception of it—or, as it is sometimes put, the question, whether nature really has, or having, will continue to have, the uniformity which belongs to it in our conception—is answered by recognition of the fact that our conception of an order of nature, and the relations which form that order, have a common spiritual source. The uniformity of nature does not mean that its constituents are everywhere the same, but that they are everywhere related; not that the thing which has been is that which shall be, but that whatever occurs is determined by relation to all that has occurred, and contributes to determine all that will occur. If nature means the system of objects of possible experience, such uniformity necessarily arises in it from the action of the same principle which is implied in there being any relation between the objects of experience at all. A relation not related to all other relations of which there can be experience, is an impossibility. It cannot exist except as constituted by the unifying subject of all experienced relations, and this condition of its possibility implies its connexion with all other relations that are, or come to be, so constituted. Every real relation, therefore, that is also knowable, is a necessary or objective or unalterable relation. It is a fact of which the existence is due to the action of that single subject of experience which is equally, and in the same way, the condition of all facts that can be experienced; a fact which thus, through that subject, stands in definite and unchangeable connexion with the universe of those facts, at once determining and determined by them. (§ 33 ¶ 1)

§ 33, n. 1: Kant's Werke, ed. Rosenkranz, II. p. 114; ed. Hartenstein (1867), III. p. 585.

§ 34.

The result of this view is to overcome the separation, which in our ordinary thinking we assume, between the faculty or capacity or subjective process of experience on the one side and the facts experienced on the other. In first reflecting on our knowledge of a world, we always regard the facts known as existing quite independently of the activity by means of which they are known. Since it is obvious that the facts of the world do not come into existence when this or that person becomes acquainted with them, so long as we conceive of no intellectual action but that which this or that person exercises, we necessarily regard the existence or occurrence of the facts as independent of intellectual action. Hence arises the antithesis between the known or knowable world and the subject capable of knowing it, as between two existences independent of each other, or of which the former is at any rate independent of the latter. The mind is supposed to derive its materials from, and to act only in response to, the action of the world upon it; but the relations which it establishes between the materials, so derived, in its processes of distinction and comparison, of conception, judgment, and discourse, are supposed to be quite different, and to have a different source, from the relations between things or matters of fact in the world known. Upon further reflection, however, the untenableness of this view becomes apparent. It renders knowledge, as of fact or reality, inexplicable. It leaves us without an answer to the question, how the order of relations, which the mind sets up, comes to reproduce those relations of the material world which are assumed to be of a wholly different origin and nature. Nor, as we pursue the analysis of the operations involved in the simplest perception of fact, are we able to detect any residuary phenomenon amounting to a fact at all, that can be held to be given independently of a combining and relating activity, which, if the antithesis between the work of the mind and the work of things be accepted, must be ascribed to the former. (§ 34 ¶ 1)

§ 35.

The necessity, therefore, of getting rid of the antithesis in question forces itself upon us: and it is natural that the way of doing so, which at first sight most commends itself to us, should consist in treating the mind and its work as a secondary result of what had previously been opposed to it as operations of nature. The weakness of such a method is twofold. In the first place there is the objection upon which we have already dwelt and which may be put summarily thus: that nature is a process of change, and that the derivation of a consciousness of change from such a process is impossible. Secondly, such an explanation of the work of the mind, if nothing is known of it otherwise, is an explanation of it by the inexplicable. It is taking nature for granted, and at the same time treating that as a result of nature which is necessary to explain the possibility of there being such a thing as nature. For nature, as a process of continuous change, implies something which is other than the changes and to which they are relative. As a system of related elements it implies a unity, through relation to which the elements are related to each other. But with the reduction of thought or spirit or self-consciousness to a result of nature, if such reduction were possible, we should be eliminating the only agent that we know as maintaining an identity with itself throughout a series of changes, or as a principle that can unite a manifold without cancelling its multiplicity. In so explaining the spirit we should be rendering the basis of our explanation itself inexplicable. (§ 35 ¶ 1)

§ 36.

From the Kantian point of view, the dualism of nature and knowledge is disposed of in a different way. They are not identified but treated as forming an indivisible whole, which results from the activity of a single principle. It is not that first there is nature, and that then there comes to be an experience and knowledge of it. Intelligence, experience, knowledge, are no more a result of nature than nature of them. If it is true that there would be no intelligence without nature, it is equally true that there would be no nature without intelligence. Nature is the system of related appearances, and related appearances are impossible apart from the action of an intelligence. They are not indeed the same as intelligence; it is not reducible to them nor they to it, any more than one of us is reducible to the series of his actions or that series to him; but without it they would not be, nor except in the activity which constitutes them has it any real existence. Does this then imply the absurdity that nature comes into existence in the process by which this person or that begins to think? Not at all, unless it is necessary to suppose that intelligence first comes into existence when this or that person begins to understand--a supposition not only not necessary, but which, on examination, will be found to involve impossibilities analogous to those which prevent us from supposing that nature so comes into existence. (§ 36 ¶ 1)

The difference between what may be called broadly the Kantian view and the ordinary view is this, that whereas, according to the latter, it is a world in which thought is no necessary factor that is prior to, and independent of, the process by which this or that individual becomes acquainted with it, according to the former it is a world already determined by thought, and existing only in relation to thought, that is thus prior to, and conditions, our individual acquaintence with it. The growth of knowledge on our part is regarded not as a process in which facts or objects, in themselves unrelated to thought, by some inexplicable means gradually produce intelligible counterparts of themselves in thought. The true account of it is held to be that the concrete whole, which may be described indifferently as an eternal intelligence realised in the related facts of the world, or as a system of related facts rendered possible by such an intelligence, partially and gradually reproduces itself in us, communicating piece meal, but in inseparable correlation, understanding and the facts understood, experience and the experienced world. (§ 36 ¶ 2)

§ 37.

There are difficulties enough, no doubt, in the way of accepting such a form of idealism, but they need not be aggravated by misunderstanding. It is simply misunderstood if it is taken to imply either the reduction of facts to feelings--impressions and ideas, in Hume's terminology--or the obliteration of the distinction between illusion and reality. The reduction of facts to relations is the very reverse of their reduction to feelings. No feeling, as such or as felt, is a relation. We can only suppose it to be so through confusion between it and its conditions, or between it and that fact of its occurrence which is no doubt related to other facts, but, as so related, is not felt. Even a relation between feelings is not itself a feeling or felt. A feeling can only be felt as successive to another feeling, but the terms of a relation, as we have seen, even though the relation be one of succession, do not succeed one another. In order to constitute the relation they must be present together; so that, to constitute a relation between feelings, there must be something other than the feelings for which they are equally present. The relation between the feelings is not felt, because it is only for something that distinguishes itself from feelings that it can subsist. It is our cognisance of the successiveness or transitoriness of feelings that makes us object intuitively to any idealism which is understood to imply an identification of the realities of the world with the feelings of men. Facts, we are sure, are in some way permanent. They are not like the bubble on the fountain, a moment here, then gone, and for ever. But if they were feelings as we feel them, they would be so. They would not be stubborn things; for as each was felt it would be done with. They would not form a world to which we have to adapt ourselves; for in order to make a world they must coexist, which feelings, as we feel them, do not. (§ 37 ¶ 1)

But the idealism which interprets facts as relations, and can only understand relations as constituted by a single spiritual principle, is chargeable with no such outrage on common-sense. On the contrary, its very basis is the consciousness of objectivity. Its whole aim is to articulate coherently the conviction of there being a world of abiding realities other than, and determining, the endless flow of our feelings. The source of its differences from ordinary realism lies in its being less easily satisfied in its analysis of what the existence of such a world implies. The mere statement that facts are not feelings, that things are not ideas, that we can neither feel nor think except contingently upon certain functions of matter and motion being fulfilled, does not help us to understand what facts and things, what matter and motion, are. It does not enable us, when we seek to understand these expressions, to give them any meaning except such as is derived from experience, and, if from experience, then from relations that have their being only for an intelligent consciousness. (§ 37 ¶ 2)

§ 38.

So far we have been following the lead of Kant in enquiring what is necessary to constitute, what is implied in there being, a world of experience--an objective world, if by that is meant a world of ascertainable laws, as distinguished from a world of unknowable things-in-themselves. We have followed him also, as we believe every one must who has once faced the question, in maintaining that a single active self-conscious principle, by whatever name it be called, is necessary to constitute such a world, as the condition under which alone phenomena, i.e. appearances to consciousness, can be related to each other in a single universe. This is the irrefragable truth involved in the proposition that the understanding makes nature. But so soon as we have been brought to the acceptance of that proposition, Kant's leading fails us. We might be forward, from the work thus assigned to understanding in the constitution of nature, to infer something as to the spirituality of the real world. But from any such inference Kantwould at once withhold us. He would not only remind us that the work assigned to understanding is a work merely among and upon phenomena; that the nature which it constitutes is merely a unity in the relations of phenomena; and that any conclusion we arrive at in regard to nature in this sense has no application to things in themselves. He insists, further, on a distinction between the form and matter of nature itself, and, having assigned to its form an origin in understanding, ascribes the matter to an unknown but alien source, in a way which seems to cancel the significance of his own declarations in regard to the intellectual principle necessary to constitute its form. We do not essentially misrepresent him in saying that by the form of nature or, as he sometimes phrases it natura formaliter spectata, he means the relations by which phenomena are connected in the one world of experience; by its matter, or natura materialiter spectata, the mere phenomena or sensations undetermined by those relations. Natura formaliter spectata is the work of the understanding; but natura materialiter spectata is the work of unknown things-in-themselves, acting in unknown ways upon us. (§ 38 ¶ 1)

§ 38, n. 1: Kant's Werke, ed. Rosenkranz, II. p. 755; ed. Hartenstein (1867), III. p. 133.

§ 39.

Now, if the distinction, thus drawn, between the form and matter of the world of experience were necessary or even admissible, the effect of tracing those relations between phenomena, which form the laws of nature as we know it, to the action of a spiritual principle, would simply have been to bring us to a dead-lock. The distinction implies that phenomena have a real nature as effects of things-in-themselves other than that which they have as related to each other in the universe of our experience: and not only so, it puts the two natures in a position towards each other of mere negation and separation, of such a kind that any correspondence between them, any dependence of one upon the other, is impossible. As effects of things-in-themselves, phenomena are supposed to have a nature of their own, but they cannot, according to Kant's doctrine, be supposed to carry any of that nature with them into experience. All the nature which they have in experience belongs to them in virtue of relations to each other which the action of the intellectual principle, expressly opposed to the action of things-in-themselves, brings about. The nature which a sensation is supposed to possess materialiter spectata, as the appearance of a thing-in-itself, must not be confused with its nature as conditioned by a particular mode of matter and motion--the nature which the man of science investigates. It is probably from this confusion that Kant's doctrine of the relation between phenomena and things-in-themselves derives any plausibility which it may have for most of his readers: but, after what has been said above, a moment's consideration will show how unwarrantable according to his principles it is. The nature of a sensation, as dependent upon any motion or configuration of molecules, is still a nature determined by its relation to other data of experience--a relation which (like every other relation within, or capable of coming within, experience) the single self-distinguishing principle, which Kant calls understanding, is needed to constitute. It is not such a nature, but one to which no experience or interrogation of experience brings us any the nearer, that we must suppose to belong to the phenomenon as an appearance of a thing-in-itself, if Kant's antithesis is to be maintained. (§ 39 ¶ 1)

And if phenomena, as materialiter spectata, have such another nature, it will follow--not indeed that all our knowledge is an illusion in the ordinary sense of the term, for that implies a possibility of correction by true knowledge--but that there is no ground for that conviction of there being some unity and totality in things, from which the quest for knowledge proceeds. The cosmos of our experience, and the order of things-in-themselves, will be two wholly unrelated worlds, of which, however, each determines the same sensations. All that determination of a sensible occurrence which can be the object of possible experience or inferred as an explanation of experience--its simple position of antecedence or sequence in time to other occurrences, as well as its relation to conditions which regulate that position and determine its sensible nature--will belong to one world of which a unifying self-consciousness is the organising principle: while the very same occurrence, as an effect of things-in-themselves, will belong to another world, will be subject to a wholly different order of determinations, which may have--and indeed, in being so described, is assumed to have--some principle of unity of its own, but of which, because it is a world of things-in-themselves, the principle must be taken to be the pure negation of that which determines the world of experience. If this be so, the conception of a universe is a delusive one. Man weaves a web of his own and calls it a universe; but if the principle of this universe is neither one with, nor dependent on, that of things-in-themselves, there is in truth no universe at all, nor does there seem to be any reason why there should not be any number of such independent creations. We have asserted the unity of the world of our experience only to transfer that world to a larger chaos. (§ 39 ¶ 2)

§ 40.

A tempting but misleading way out of the difficulty is to reduce the world of experience to dependence on that of things-in-themselves by taking the intellectual principle, which, in the sense explained, makes the world of experience, to be not, as Kant considered it, an independent thing-in-itself, but itself a product of things-in-themselves. Our readiness to confuse things-in-themselves, as just pointed out, with the material conditions of sensation, may easily bring us to put the case in this way to ourselves. Certain combinations of moving matter, we are ready to believe, issue, by processes yet to be ascertained, in those living organisms which again, in reaction upon certain modes of motion, yield sensation; and the sensitive subject, under a continuance of like physical influences, somehow grows into the intellectual subject of which the action is admitted to be necessary to constitute the cosmos of our experience. But we have learnt Kant's lesson to very little purpose if we do not understand that the terms, which in such psychogenesis are taken to stand for independent agents, are in fact names for substantiated relations between phenomena; relations to which an existence on their own account is fictitiously ascribed, but which in truth only exist for, o through the action of, the unifying and self-distinguishing spiritual subject which they are taken to account for. If this subject is to be dependent on things-in-themselves, something else must be understood by these things than any objects that we know or can know; for in the existence of such objects its action is already implied. (§ 40 ¶ 1)

The question then arises whether, when we have excluded from things-in-themselves every kind of qualification arising from determination by, or relation to, an intelligent subject, any meaning is left in the assertion of a dependence of this subject upon them. Does not any significant assertion of that dependence, either as a fact or even as a mere possibility, imply a removal of the things-in-themselves from the region of the purely unknowable, and their qualification by an understood relation to the intelligent subject said to be dependent on them? But if this is so, and if it is impossible for such a relation, any more than any other, to exist except through the unifying action of spirit, what becomes of the independence of the things-in-themselves? Are they not being determined by a spiritual action exactly of that kind which is being alleged to depend on them, and their exclusion of which is the one point expressed by their designation as things-in-themselves? (§ 40 ¶ 2)

§ 41.

These considerations seem to preclude us, when once we have recognised the ground of distinction between a world of experience and a world of things-in-themselves, from any attempt to overcome that absolute separation between the two worlds, which Kant's doctrine implies, by treating the organising subject of the world of experience as in any sense a product of things-in-themselves. Kant himself lends no countenance to any such attempt; but on further reflectionwe may begin to question whether the view, which Kant himself gives, of the relation between things-in-themselves and the matter of experience, or natura materialiter spectata--the view out of which the whole difficulty arises--is not itself open to the same charge of inconsistency as that method of escape from its consequences which we have examined. When we say that sensations, or phenomena in respect of their mere matter, are effects of things-in-themselves, we may exclude as carefully as possible all confusion of the things-in-themselves with the ascertainable material conditions, or formal causes, of feeling, but we cannot assert such a relation of cause and effect between the things and sensation without making the former a member of a relation which, as Kant himself on occasion would be ready to remind us, we have no warrant for extending beyond the world of experience, or for considering as independent of the intellectual principle of unity which is the condition of there being such a world. Causation has no meaning except as an unalterable connexion between changes in the world of our experience--an unalterableness of which the basis is the relation of that world throughout, with all its changes, to a single subject. That sensations therefore, the matter of our experience, should be connected as effects with things-in-themselves, of which all that can be said is that they belong to a world other than the world of our experience and are not relative to the subject to which it is relative, is a statement self-contradictory or at best unmeaning. (§ 41 ¶ 1)

That Kant should not have seen this merely goes to show that his own doctrine, being the gradual conquest of his later years, had not obtained full possession of his mind. The antithesis between the real and the work of thought had still such command over him that, after he had himself traced the agency of thought in all that gives the world of experience a definite character, h still could not help ascribing to this world, in terms of the knowable, a relation to an unknowable opposite; though that very relation, if it existed, would according to his own showing bring this unknowable opposite within that world (dependent on an intelligent subject) from which it is expressly excluded. (§ 41 ¶ 2)

§ 42.

At this point we may probably anticipate a rejoinder to some such effect as the following. It appears to be impossible to take the matter of experience to be the effect of things-in-themselves, since these things, if they are to be things-in-themselves, cannot be supposed to exist in a relation which only holds for the world of experience, as determined by an intelligent subject. But it must be equally impossible to consider it a product of the intelligent subject, to which, when we have allowed every function that can be claimed for it in the way of uniting in a related system the manifold material of sensation, we must still deny the function of generating that material. Yet we cannot ignore sensation. We cannot reduce the world of experience to a web of relations in which nothing is related, as it would be if everything were erased from it which we cannot refer to the action of a combining intelligence. After all our protests against Dualism, then, are we not at last left with an unaccountable residuum--an essential element of the real world of experience, which we cannot trace to what we regard as the organising principle of that world, but which is as necessary to make the world what it is as that principle itself? What do we gain by excluding other ways of accounting for it, if it is finally irreducible to the only agency by which we can explain the order of the world? Does it not remain a thing-in-itself, alien and opposite to anything that we can explain as the construction of intelligence, just as much as if it were admitted to be the product of an unknowable power? (§ 42 ¶ 1)

§ 43.

The best hope of answering these questions lies in considering further how they arise. they are due to the abstraction of the matter from the form of experience. This abstraction we inevitably make in reflecting on the process by which we obtain such knowledge as we have, but it deceives us when we make it a ground for supposing a like separation of elements in the world of experience. It is true indeed, according to the doctrine previously stated, that the principle which enables us to know that there is a world, and to set about learning its nature, is identical with that which is the condition of there being a world; but it is not therefore to be imagined that all the distinctions and relations, which we present to ourselves--and necessarily present to ourselves--in the process of learning to know, have counterparts in the real world. Our presentation of them, as a part of our mental history, is a fact definitely related and conditioned in the reality of the world; but the distinctions presented may exist only for us, in whom the intellectual principle realises itself under special conditions, not in the world as it is in itself or for a perfect intelligence. (§ 43 ¶ 1)

The distinction between the form and matter of experience is a distinction of this kind. In reflecting on the process by which we have come to know anything, we find that, at any stage we may recall, it consists in a further qualification of a given material by the consideration of the material under relations hitherto unconsidered. Thus as constrasted with, and abstracted from, the further formation which upon continued observation and attention it may acquire, any perception, any piece of knowledge, may be regarded as an unformed matter. On the other hand, when we look at what the given perception or piece of knowledge is in itself, we find that it is already formed, in more complex than we can disentangle, by the synthesis of less determinate data. But there is a point at which the individual's retrospective analysis of the knowledge which he finds himself to possess necessarily stops. Antecedently to any of the formative intellectual processes which he can trace, it would seem that something must have been given for those processes to begin upon. This something is taken to be feeling, pure and simple. When all accretions of form, due to the intellectual establishment of relations, have been stripped off, there seem to remain the mere sensations without which the intellectual activity would have had nothing to deal with or operate upon. These then must be in an absolute sense the matter--the matter excluding all form--of experience. (§ 43 ¶ 2)

§ 44.

Now it is evident that the ground on which we make this statement, that mere sensations form the matter of experience, warrants us in making it, if at all, only as a statement in regard to the mental history of the individual. Even in this reference it can scarcely be accepted. There is no positive basis for it but the fact that, so far as memory goes, we always find ourselves manipulating some data of consciousness, themselves independent of any intellectual manipulation which we can remember applying to them. But on the strength of this to assume that there are such data in the history of our experience, consisting in mere sensations, antecedently to any action of the intellect, is not really an intelligible inference from the fact stated. It is an abstraction which may be put into words, but to which no real meaning can be attached. For a sensation can only form an object of experience in being determined by an intelligent subject which distinguishes it from itself and contemplates it in relation to other sensations; so that to suppose a primary datum or matter of the individual's experience, wholly void of intellectual determination, is to suppose such experience to begin with what could not belong to or be an object of experience at all. (§ 44 ¶ 1)

§ 45.

But the question we are here concerned with is not whether any such thing as mere sensation, a matter wholly unformed by intelligence, exists as a stage in the process by which the individual becomes acquainted with the world; it is the question whether there is any such element in the world of knowable facts. Has nature--the system of connected phenomena, or facts related to consciousness, which forms the object of experience--a reality of that kind which Kant describes as natura materialiter spectata; a reality consisting of mere sensations, or sensations of which the qualities, whatever they may be, are independent of such determination as arises from the action of a unifying and self-distinguishing subject? Or has it in any other sense a matter which does not depend on a combining intelligence for being what it is, as much as does the relation between my experience of to-day and that of my previous life? (§ 45 ¶ 1)

Phenomena are facts related to consciousness. Thus, when we enquire whether there is such a thing in the world of phenomena as sensation undetermined by thought, the question may be considered in relation either to the facts, as such, or to the consciousness for which the facts exist. It may be put either thus--Among the facts that form the object of possible experience, are there sensations which do not depend on thought for being what they are? or thus--Is sensation as unqualified by thought, an element in the consciousness which is necessary to there being such a thing as the world of phenomena? (§ 45 ¶ 2)

§ 46.

After what has been already said, the answer to these questions need not detain us long. If it is admitted that we know of no other medium but a thinking or self-distinguishing consciousness, in and through which that unification of the manifold can take place which is necessary to constitute relation, it follows that a sensation apart from thought--not determined or acted on by thought--would be an unrelated sensation; and an unrelated sensation cannot amount to a fact. Mere sensation is in truth a phrase that represents no reality. It is the result of a process of abstraction; but having got the phrase we give a confused meaning to it, we fill up the shell which our abstraction has left, by reintroducing the qualification which we assumed ourselves to have got rid of. We present the mere sensations to ourselves as determined by relation in a way that would be impossible in the absence of that connecting action which we assume to be absent in designating them mere sensations. The minimum of qualification which we mentally ascribe to the sensation in thus speaking of it, is generally such as implies sequence and degree. A feeling not characterised either by its connexion with previous feeling or by its own intensity we must admit to be nothing at all, but at first sight we take it for granted that the character thus given to a feeling would belong to it just the same, though there were no such thing as thought in the world. It certainly does not depend on ourselves--on any power which we can suppose it rests with our will to exert or withhold--whether sensations shall occur to us in this or that order of succession, with this or that degree of intensity. But the question is whether the relation of time between one sensation and another, or that relation between a sensation and other possible modes of itself which is implied in its having a degree, could exist if there were not a subject for which the several sensations, or modes of the same sensation, were equally present and equally distinguished from itself. If it is granted that these relations, which constitute the minimum determination of sensible fact, only exist through the action of a subject, it follows that thought is the necessary condition of the existence of sensible facts, and that mere sensation, in the sense supposed, is not a possible constituent in the realm of facts. (§ 46 ¶ 1)

§ 47.

Or, if the consequence be disputed, the dispute can only turn on a secondary question as to the fitness of the term thought to represent a function of which the essential nature is admitted. If by thought is necessarily understood a faculty which is born and dies with each man; which is exhausted by labour and refreshed by repose; which is exhibited in the construction of chains of reasoning, but not in the common ideas which make mankind and its experience one; on which the great thinker may plume himself as the athelete on the strength of his muscles; then to say that the agency which makes sensible facts what they are can only be that of a thinking subject, is an absurd impropriety. But if it appears that a function in the way of self-consciousness is implied in the existence of relations, and therefore of determinate facts--a function identical in principle with that which enables the individual to look before and after, and which renders his experience a connected system--then it is more reasonable to modify some of our habitual notions of thought as exercised by ourselves than, on the strength of these notions, to refuse to recognise an essential identity between the subject which forms the unifying principle of the experienced world, and that which, as in us, qualifies us for an experience of it. It becomes time to consider whether the characteristics of thought, even as exercised by us, are not rather to be sought in the unity of its object as presented to all men, and in the continuity of all experience in regard to that object, than in the incidents of an individual life which is but for a day, or in abilities of which any man can boast that he has more than his neighbour. (§ 47 ¶ 1)

§ 48.

Our question, then, in the first of the two forms suggested, must be answered in the negative. A fact consisting of mere feeling, in the sense supposed, is a contradiction, an impossibility. This does not of course mean that no being can feel which does not also think. We are not called on here to enquire whether there are really animals which feel but have not the capacity of thinking. All that the present argument would lead us to maintain would be that, so far as they feel without thinking, their feelings are not facts for them--for their consciousness. Their feelings are facts; but they are facts only so far as determined by relations, which exist only for a thinking consciousness and otherwise could not exist. And, in like manner, that large part of our own sensitive life which goes on without being affected by conceptions, is a series of facts with the determination of which, indeed, thought, as ours or in us, has nothing to do, but which not the less depends for its existence as a series of facts on the action of the same subject which, in another mode of its action, enables us to know them. But in saying this, it may be objected, we have already admitted that there is such a thing as a merely feeling consciousness; and, in the presence of this admission, what becomes of the denial to feeling of any separate or independent reality? The answer is that the distinction of the merely feeling consciousness is just this, that what it is really it is not consciously--that the relations by which it is really determined do not exist for it, but for the thinking consciousness on which it and they alike depend for being what they are. Its very characteristics as a merely feeling consciousness depend on conditions, in the universe of things, by which it would not be conditioned if it were really no more than it feels itself to be; if it were not relative to, and had not its existence for, another form of consciousness which comprehends it and its conditions. (§ 48 ¶ 1)

§ 49.

In the second of the forms in which the question before us admits of being presented--Can sensation exist as an independent element in a consciousness to which facts can appear?--it has been virtually answered in being answered in the first. To that thinking subject, whose action is the universal bond of relation that renders facts what they are, their existence and their appearance must be one and the same. their appearance, their presence to it, is their existence. Feeling can no more be an independent element in that subject, as the subject to which they appear, than it can be an independent element in it, as the subject through whose action they exist. It is true on the one hand, as has just been admitted, that in a great part of our lives we feel without thinking and without any qualification of our feelings by our thoughts; while yet, on the other hand, we are subjects to whom facts can appear, who are capable of conceiving a word of phenomena. But just so far as we feel without thinking, no world of phenomena exists for us. The suspension of thought in us means also the suspension of fact or reality for us. We do not cease to be facts, but facts cease to exist for our consciousness. However then we may explain the merely temporary and interrupted character of the action of thought upon feeling in us, that temporary character affords no reason why we should hesitate to deny that feeling unqualified by thought can be an element in the consciousness which is necessary to there being such a thing as a world of phenomena. (§ 49 ¶ 1)

§ 50.

Mere feeling, then, as a matter unformed by thought, has no place in the world of facts, in the cosmos of possible experience. any obstacle which it seemed to present to a monistic view of that world may be allowed to disappear. We may give up the assumption that it needs to be accounted for as a product of things-in-themselves; or that, if not accounted for in this way, it still remains an unaccountable opposite to thought and its work. Feeling and thought are inseparable and mutually dependent in the consciousness for which the world of experience exists, inseparable and mutually dependent in the constitution of the facts which form the object of that consciousness. Each in its full reality includes the other. It is one and the same living world of experience which, considered as the manifold object presented by a self-distinguishing subject to itself, may be called feeling, and, considered as the subject presenting such an object to itself, may be called thought. Neither is the product of the other. It is only when by a process of abstraction we have reduced either to something which is not itself, that we can treat either as the product of anything, or apply the category of cause and effect to it at all. For that category is itself their product. Or rather, it represents one form of the activity of the consciousness which in inseparable union they constitute. The connexion between a phenomenon and its conditions is one that only obtains in and for that consciousness. No such connexion can obtain between that consciousness and anything else; which means that the consciousness itself, whether considered as feeling or considered as thought, being that by means of which everything is accounted for, does not in turn admit of being accounted for, in the sense that any whence or why can be assigned for it. (§ 50 ¶ 1)

Any constituent of the world of possible experience we can account for by exhibiting its relation to other constituents of the same world; but this is not to account for the world itself. We may and do explore the conditions under which a sentient organism is formed, and the various forms of molecular action by which particular sensations on the part of such an organism are elicited. We may ascertain uniformities in the sequence of one feeling upon anothe. In the life of the individual and the race we may trace regular histories of hte manner in which a particular way of thinking has been affected by an earlier, and has in turn affected a later way; of the determination of certain ideas by certain emotions, and of certain emotions by certain ideas. But in all this we are connecting phenomena with phenomena within a world, not connecting the world of phenomena with anything other than itself. We are doing nothing to account for the all-uniting consciousness which alone can render these sequences and connexions possible, for which alone they exist, and of which the action in us alone enables us to know them. We can indeed show the contradictions involved in supposing a world of phenomena to exist otherwise than in and for consciousness, and upon analysis can discern what must be the formal characteristic of a consciousness for which a system of related phenomena exists. So far we can give an account of what the world as a whole must be, and of what the spirit that constitutes it does. But just because all that we can experience is included in this one world, and all our inferences and explanations relate only to its details, neither it as a whole, nor the one consciousness which constitutes it, can be accounted for in the ordinary sense of the word. They cannot be accounted for by what they include, and being all-inclusive--at any rate so far as possible experience goes--there remains nothing else by which they can be accounted for. And this is equally true of consciousness as feeling and of consciousness as thought, for each in its reality involves the other. (§ 50 ¶ 2)

§ 51.

We are now in a position to reconsider the restriction which Kant puts on the interpretation of his own dictum that understanding makes nature. This with him means that understanding, as the unifying principle which is the source of relations, acts formatively upon feelings as upon a material given to it from an opposite source called things-in-themselves, rendering them into one system of phenomena called nature, which is the sole object of experience, and to which all judgments as to matters of fact relate. We demur to the independent reality, or reality as determined by something else than thought, which is thus ascribed to feeling. It is not that we would claim any larger function for thought than Kant claims for understanding as separate from feeling, supposing that separation to be once admitted. It is the separation itself that is in question. We do not dispute the validity of Locke's challenge to a man by any amount of thinking to produce a single simple idea to himself. We admit that mere thought can no more produce the facts of feeling, than mere feeling can generate thought. But we deny that there is really such a thing as mere feeling or mere thought. We hold that these phrases represent abstractions to which no reality corresponds, either in the facts of the world or in the consciousness to which those facts are relative. We can attach no meaning to reality, as applied to the world of phenomena, but that of existence under definite and unalterable relations; and we find that it is only for a thinking consciousness that such relations can subsist. Reality of feeling, abstracted from thought, is abstracted from the condition of its being a reality. That great part of our sensitive life is not determined by our thought, that the sensitive life of innumerable beings is wholly undetermined by any thought of theirs or in them, is not in dispute: but this proves nothing as to what that sensitive life really is in nature or in the cosmos of possible experience. It has no place in nature, except as determined by relations which can only exist for a thinking consciousness. For the consciousness which constitutes reality and makes the world one it exists, not in that separateness which belongs to it as an attribute of beings that think only at times or not at all, but as conditioned by a whole which thought in turn conditions. (§ 51 ¶ 1)

As to what consciousness in itself or in its completeness is, we can only make negative statements. That there is such a consciousness is implied in the existence of the world; but what it is we only know through its so far acting in us as to enable us, however partially and interruptedly, to have knowledge of a world or an intelligent experience. In such knowledge or experience there is no mere thought or mere feeling. No feeling enters into it except as qualifying, and qualified by, an interrelated order of which a self-distinguishing subject forms the unifying bond. Thought has no function in it except as constantly co-ordinating ever new appearances in virtue of their presence to that one subject. And we are warranted in holding that, as a mutual independence of thought and feeling has no place in any consciousness on our part, which is capable of apprehending a world or for which a world exists, so it has none in the world-consciousness of which ours is a limited mode. (§ 51 ¶ 2)

§ 52.

The purpose of this long discussion has been to arrive at some conclusion in regard to the relation between man and nature, a conclusion which must be arrived at before we can be sure that any theory of ethics, in the distinctive sense of the term, is other than wasted labour. If by nature we mean the object of possible experience, the connected order of knowable facts or phenomena--and this is what our men of science mean by it when they trace the natural genesis of human character--then nature implies something other than itself, as the condition of its being what it is. Of that something else we are entitled to say, positively, that it is a self-distinguishing consciousness; because the function which it must fulfil in order to render the relations of phenomena, and with them nature, possible, is one which, on however limited a scale, we ourselves exercise in the acquisition of experience, and exercise only by means of such a consciousness. We are further entitled to say of it, negatively, that the relations by which, through its action, phenomena are determined are not relations of it--not relations by which it is itself determined. They arise out of its presence to phenomena, or the presence of phenomena to it, but the very condition of their thus arising is that the unifying consciousness which constitutes them should not itself be one of the objects so related. The relation of events to each other as in time implies their equal presence to a subject which is not in time. There could be no such thing as time if there were not a self-consciousness which is not in time. As little could there be a relation of objects as outside each other, or in space, if they were not equally related to a subject which they are not outside; a subject of which outsideness to anything is not a possible attribute; which by its synthetic action constitutes that relation, but is not itself determined by it. The same is true of those relations which we are apt to treat as independent entities under the names matter and motion. They are relations existing for a consciousness which they do not so condition as that it should itself either move or be material. (§ 52 ¶ 1)

§ 53.

If objection is taken to the interpretation of matter as consisting in certain relations, if its character as substance is insisted on, it remains to ask what is meant by substance. It is not denied that there are material substances, but their qualification both as substances and as material will be found to depend on relations. By a substance we mean that which is persistent throughout certain appearances. It represents that identical element throughout the appearances, that permanent element throughout the times of their appearance, in virtue of which they are not merely so many different appearances, but connected changes. A material substance is that which remains the same with itself in respect of some of the qualities which we include in our definition of matter--qualities all consisting in some kind of relation--while in other respects it changes. Its character as a substance depends on that relation of appearances to each other in a single order which renders them changes. It is not that first there is a substance, and that then certain changes of it ensue. The substance is the implication of the changes, and has no existence otherwise. Apart from the changes no substance, any more than apart from effects a cause. If we choose to say then that matter exists as a substance, we merely substitute for the designation of it as consisting in relations, a designation of it as a certain correlatum of a certain kind of relation. Its existence as a substance depends on the action of the same self-consciousness upon which the connexion of phenomena by means of that relation depends. (§ 53 ¶ 1)

And the subject, of which the action is implied in the connexion of phenomena in one system of nature by means of this correlatum of change, is one that can itself be as little identified with that correlatum--with any kind of substance--as with the change to which substance is relative. It has already been pointed out that a consciousness, to which events are to appear as changes, cannot itself consist in those events. Its self-distinction from them all is necessary to its holding them all together as related to each other in the way of change. And, for the same reason, that connexion of all phenomena as changes of one world which is implied in the unity of intelligent experience, cannot be the work of anything which is the substance qualified by those changes. Its self-distinction from them, which is the condition of their appearance to it under the relation of change, is incompatible with being so qualified. Even if we allow it to be possible that a subject, which connects certain appearances as changes, should itself be qualified by--should be the substance persistent in--certain other changes, it is plainly impossible that a subject which so connects all the appearances of nature should be related in the way of substance to any or all of them. (§ 53 ¶ 2)

§ 54.

We may express the conclusion to which we are thus brought by saying that nature in its reality, or in order to be what it is, implies a principle which is not natural. By calling the principle not natural we mean that it is neither included among the phenomena which through its presence to them form a nature, nor consists in their series, nor is itself determined by any of the relations which it constitutes among them. In saying more than this of it we must be careful not to fall into confusion. We are most safe in calling it spiritual, because, for reasons given, we are warranted in thinking of it as a self-distinguishing consciousness. In calling it supernatural we run the risk of misleading and being misled, for we suggest a relation between it and nature of a kind which has really no place except within nature, as a relation of phenomenon to phenomenon. We convey the notion that it is above or beyond or before nature, that it is a cause of which nature is the effect, a substance of which the changing modes constitute nature; while in truth all the relations so expressed are relations which, indeed, but for the non-natural self-conscious subject would not exist, but which are not predicable of it. If we employ language about it in which, strictly taken, they are implied, it must only be on a clear understanding of its metaphorical character. (§ 54 ¶ 1)

On the other hand, there is no imperative reason why we should limit nature to the restricted sense in which we have been supposing it to be used, if only the same sense can be covered by another term. If we like, we may employ the term nature to represent the one whole which includes both the system of related phenomena and the principle, other than itself, which that system implies. But in that case, if we would avoid confusion, we must find some other term than nature to represent the system of phenomena as such, or as considered without inclusion of the spiritual principle which it implies, and some other term than natural to represent that which this system contains. We are pretty sure, however, to fail in this, and nature in consequence becomes a term that is played fast and loose with in philosophical writing. It is spoken of as an independent agent; a certain completeness and self-containedness are ascribed to it; and to this there is no objection so long as we understand it to include the spiritual principle, neither in time nor in space, immaterial and immovable, eternally one with itself, which is necessary to the possibility of a world of phenomena. But it is otherwise if nature is at the same time thought of, as it almost inevitably is, under attributes only applicable to the world of phenomena, and thus as excluding the spiritual principle which that world indeed implies, but implies as other than itself. In that case, to ascribe independence or self-consciousness to it--if for a moment the use of theological language may be allowed which it is generally desirable to avoid--is to deify nature while we cancel its title to deification. It is to speak of nature without God in a manner only appropriate to nature as it is in God. Or--to employ language less liable to misleading associations--it is to involve ourselves in perpetual confusion by seeking for a completeness in the world of phenomena, the world existing under conditions of space and time, which, just because it exists under those conditions, is not to be found there. The result of the confusion will generally be that, being unable to discover any perfection or totality or independent agency among the matters of fact which we know, and having ignored the implication by those facts of a spiritual principle other than themselves, we come to assume that no perfect or self-determined being exists at all, or at any rate in any relation to us. (§ 54 ¶ 2)