Book I: Metaphysics of Knowledge.

Chapter I: The Spiritual Principle in Knowledge and Nature.

§ 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)