The Copernican Revolution in Philosophy


Creighton, J. E. “The Copernican Revolution in Philosophy.” The Philosophical Review 22, no. 2 (1913): 133. https://doi.org/10.2307/2178367


IT is a commonplace of our philosophical tradition that Kant marks a turning point in the history of modern thought. The Kantian and post-Kantian systems are forces with which we have to reckon at the present day, if only by way of attack and criticism, while the earlier theories of the modern period, though not lacking in suggestion, are generally taken to represent standpoints and methods which have been definitely transcended and are now chiefly valuable for the light which they shed upon the subsequent development of philosophy. Kant himself was so impressed with the importance of the new principle which he introduced into philosophy that the spoke of it as a revolution comparable to that which Copernicus had brought about in astronomy. And, in spite of occasional dissenting voices, this verdict seems to have been generally accepted, not only by his immediate successors, but also by philosophers of the present-day. We all know to what an extent the Critical philosophy absorbed the thought of Germany during the past generation, and how largely it has influenced there the most various departments of thought. In the other countries of Europe and amongst ourselves, Kant's thought has been an important influence, though nowhere has its authority been so great as in the country of its birth. Just now Kant seems to be paying the penalty for the infallibility which the very letter of his system was in some quarters supposed to possess; and particularly in the English-speaking world there have of late been a good many writers who call in question the traditional estimate of his philosophy and deny that his method leads to any significant results. Has the Critical philosophy really become antiquated? Has its method no longer any importance for the problems of the present day? It will, I think, contribute something to the answer to these questions if we endeavor to define in general terms the nature of the new principle which it introduced into philosophy.


Kant's own statement of the nature of the change which he had brought about is well known. Whereas previous philosophy had proceeded on the assumption that the mind is determined in the process of knowledge by an object external to itself, his philosophy is the proof that the object must conform to the conditions prescribed by the knowing mind. Thus, the centre of the philosophical universe is changed from the object to the knowing subject: we have to recognize that the understanding gives laws to nature. Now, if Kant is himself the final authority regarding the meaning of his philosophy, and if this statement is to be taken literally as complete and final, then one would be justified in feeling that his new principle is of questionable validity. Indeed, if this is the sum and substance of the Critical philosophy, we may fairly ask, what real advance in method it represents. The 'mind' in the sense of the older philosophy, has no advantage as a principle of explanation over the merely external object. Mere subjectivism is no advance on mere objectivism: they rest on the same fundamental assumptions and have so much in common that their differences are almost negligible. That the subject constructs its object, or that the mind makes nature, is not a formula which can claim to yield any fundamentally new insight or, so long as words are employed in their usual sense, which makes any real contribution to our understanding of the nature of experience. One may well hesitate, however, to accept this off-hand statement from Kant as an adequate representation of the central doctrine of his system. In truth, it seems quite evident that he himself never fully realized the extent of the revolution which he inaugurated, or how complete a revision of the old assumptions the results of his method necessitated. To understand Kant’s thought we have to go beyond his isolated statements and try to catch the drift of his logic as a whole. If we confine ourselves to a citation of passages it is easy to prove almost anything, we wish certainly a very simple matter to convict Kant of absurdities and inconsistencies. …


Kant begins clearly enough with the ordinary dualism, which was common to both the earlier schools of modern philosophy; and at first, he appears to be bringing together in a merely mechanical way elements derived from these historical sources. Experience appears as a compound, made up by the union of sensational and rational elements. Then, since the form of experience is more important than its matter, the form-giving element, the mind, becomes for Kant the all-important factor. The professed object of the inquiry then comes to be to discover the transcendental elements which the mind contributes to experience. But, as one can see through the perspective afforded by the intervening time, the significance of the Critical philosophy is not dependent upon its success in carrying out this program but is due to the fact that the logic of its procedure transformed the standpoint from which this problem had been formulated, and thus revealed that the problem itself was not a genuine one. It is doubtless always difficult for anyone who has reached a new and fruitful conception to clearly see its full bearing or significance, and to estimate objectively the relative importance of the various elements contained in it. In Kant's case, moreover, this difficulty was intensified by certain personal characteristics: by natural caution and conservatism, and by a certain love for machinery and for analytic distinctions which often confute rather than aid the progress of his thought. It is as If there were two Kant’s, the mechanically minded, pedantic Konigsberg professor, who as Fichte remarked, was only a 'drei-viertel Kopf, ‘and the bearer of the world-transforming thought, Kant, 'derails Zermalmender.' It is of course with the latter that the history of philosophy is concerned; and this implies that it must direct attention to the spirit rather than to the letter of the system, often emphasizing what is suggested, rather than what is asserted explicitly and everywhere.

…. That method is concerned with the problem of showing how experience is constructed by the application of the universal forms and categories of the mind to an unrelated manifold of sensation, though of course abundant justification for this interpretation can be found in Kant. His real method of procedure, however, i. e., the procedure by means of which he obtained fruitful results, assumes knowledge and its organization, and proceeds by reflective analysis to bring to light the assumptions which are involved in it as constructive principles. The method implies quite a different logic from that based on the old laws of thought which were presupposed alike by both empiricists and rationalists. The analysis that both these schools regarded as the only valid procedure of thought was a mechanical process of division, an analysis that based itself on the doctrine of external relations and was therefore unable consistently to recognize any synthesis. The reflective analysis which Kant employs recognizes the presence and operation of synthetic principles and is concerned to bring these to expression and to determine their significance and function.


The critical method, then, does not attempt to construct knowledge or to prove its existence, but to formulate and systematize its necessary assumptions. Kant took his stand on the science of his time, on the mathematics and physics, which seemed to him to offer results that were both definite and certain. He saw that these sciences rest upon certain synthetic principles, which are a priori in the sense that, as general assumptions, they determine the form and method of the whole procedure of knowledge. These a priori principles are justified by the function they perform; they are seen to be indispensable conditions of a rational experience. It is true that the old Adam in Kant leads him to make heroic attempts to ascribe a priority in the old rationalistic sense to these principles, as pure rational concepts, and judgments, valid quite apart from any application to empirical fact. But all such attempts to ascribe some kind of peculiar sanctity to these principles, to make them absolute, is fundamentally opposed to the logic of the critical method. The transcendental method, which confines itself to an analysis of experience, knows nothing of these absolute distinctions of kind betweenane species of truth and another, and is therefore not called upon to furnish a metaphysical theory to support the claims of certain propositions to possess absolute certainty and necessity in their own right. The only kind of justification it can afford is derived from experience; the only kind of necessity it can discover is hypothetical in character. Since a rational experience such as physics presents to us real and genuine knowledge, the principles which underlie it must also be valid categories of reason. It will be noted that on this point also the critical method marks the beginning of a profound revolution regarding the nature of truth. The older view is that certain privileged experiences (necessary conceptions or judgments, clear and distinct ideas, etc.) have truth, as it were a quality, attaching to them in their own right and in their individual character. This truth is, of course, absolute, in the sense that it does not depend upon anything else and is once for all contained in the starting point. Inquiry is supposed to set out from such centers of absolute certainty, proceeding, as we have seen, by analysis, to the discovery of new truth. Now the critical method in Kant's hands brushes aside that view of truth, substituting for it the conception of a hypothetical working body of truth that becomes more complete and concrete with the progress of inquiry. There are no propositions which are true in themselves or necessary in themselves. Knowing is essentially a process of trying out assumptions in actually dealing with reality. The categories are simply the most general assumptions of all rational experience, the principles of synthesis which are universal in their application. They are necessary in the sense that they are indispensable, a priori in the sense of being basal presuppositions which determine the form and character of our concrete experience. Moreover, it follows that if the categories are justified only by their results, they are not beyond criticism: they must be capable of being criticised by their results. When the old a priori view of truth is abandoned, the language of the old dispensation regarding the immutability of principles is simply an anachronism. From the standpoint of the critical method, the category cannot be regarded as a dead and unyielding form, which is once for all there and admits of no expansion or modification. The category of causality, for example, is not an immutable principle which has remained unaltered from generation to generation; or something that can be transferred unmodified from one realm of factor another. It is a principle that has undergone constant redefinition in the reflective advance of inquiry; and, although called by the same name, it takes on a new form and a new significance in the various sciences. It is essential to the advance of knowledge, then, that there should go hand in hand with construction a process of criticism by means of which the nature of the functioning category is not merely brought to consciousness, but through which it is modified, reconstructed, adapted progressively to the facts with which it has to deal. This critical movement of thought is not limited to what we call philosophy: it must function also within the inquiries of the special sciences if these methods of investigation are to be prevented from becoming mechanical and unfruitful.


The critical method, then, has the task not only of discovering the categories but also of criticising and reconstituting them. Or, rather, these two processes are inseparably joined in the one critical movement. Kant, however, never recognized this necessary consequence of his own method. For him the categories set down in his own table formed as it were a kind of rigid framework of the understanding, furnishing the final and complete expression of the conditions of possible experience. This limitation in view seems to be the result, at least in part, of the seriousness with which he took the science of his time. He assumed as unquestionable that physics afforded the final and complete account of phenomena in space and time, and that accordingly all that criticism could do was to recognize in its assumptions the total system of rational principles. Like some contemporary philosophers, he identified the standpoint of a special science with logical procedure in general. Consequently, it seemed possible to him to give a fixed list of categories which should mark off the definite boundaries of the island of the knowable.


But the figure of knowledge as an island has no applications as soon as it is recognized that the categories are neither absolute nor immutable, but hypothetical principles which undergo modification in the development of experience. Only if the twelve apostolic categories left no genuine problems unsolved, could we suppose that they exhaust the possibilities of experience. Kant himself recognized that there are problems left over: beyond the understanding is the reason. It is true that he is primarily occupied in criticising reason as a faculty of illusion; but he also gives to reason a valid function and use within the field of experience. This function is regulative, not constitutive; it reveals the incompleteness of the solutions offered by the understanding, and thus suggests new problems and lines of advance. If the regulative use of reason does not for Kant extend so far as to suggest new categories, this is because he is already convinced that the number of categories cannot exceed twelve. It remains true, however, that in this conception of reason as functioning within the field of experience we have at least a hint of that immanent dialectic of thought in virtue of which it strives to organize its experience in terms of more and more adequate categories.


Philosophy, accordingly, finds its place and functions as a criticism of the categories. As we have already seen, the critical movement is not something peculiar to philosophy as a distinct mode of inquiry: it is organically involved in all science. The difference between the critical procedure of philosophy and the special sciences is one of degree, not one of kind. In the first place, these sciences are more frequently occupied in employing and applying their principles than in criticising them; criticism of categories is usually an incident for them, not their main undertaking. But for philosophy criticism is a deliberate and self-conscious method. This is not to assert that philosophy is not called upon to construct, but rather that it constructs through criticism. It presupposes the constructions of ordinary thought and of the sciences and undertakes by means of criticism to reconstruct and carry the work of interpretation further. And, secondly, philosophy is able to carry forward the work of criticism, and thus to differentiate itself from the special sciences, by generalizing the problem of criticism, and thus freeing it from the restrictions and limitations which belong to the special point of view. It seeks to understand the fundamental organizing principles of experience and of reality in their systematic interrelations as they exist in the ordinary beliefs of mankind, and, in a more explicit and clearly defined form, in the systems of the various sciences, and to construct as best it may, some kind of a systematic view which will bring these various functions and phases of experience into relation to each other. To the extent that philosophy succeeds in generalizing the problem of knowledge it can claim the right to criticise the assumptions of any particular science. This is not a question regarding the claims of 'science' and’ ‘philosophy', taken as two distinct species of knowledge; it is simply a statement that if one studies the systematic relations of knowledge one may rightfully claim to have learned something which will have a bearing and application in a particular case.


I cannot refrain from remarking that philosophers are as a rule too modest regarding the results and achievements of their own subject. It has become the fashion to emphasize in a kind of low-spirited mood the failures of philosophy; and in the same breath to sigh for the kind of results that are attained by science. Or, again, we propose to remedy our ills by following the example of science. Is it not possible that at least some of this complaint is based on a misunderstanding of the kind of results which we have right to expect from philosophy? And is it not also possible that we fail to appreciate fully the service which philosophy has rendered and is rendering to science in the broadest sense of that term? This is too broad a subject to be discussed here; but I should like to relate this digression to the main subject of my paper by saying that the process of criticism and transformation of view which is now so active within the special sciences may fairly, I think, be described as the application of conceptions and points of view whose genesis we have been following in the Kantian philosophy. Perhaps its most essential feature is seen in the recognition by scientific men that they have been employing categories which are not absolute in character, but which must be subjected to reflection and criticism.


In assigning to philosophy the task of criticizing the general categories of experience one must guard against the suggestion of subjectivity which the word 'experience' seems to carry with it. But it is surely only an antiquated theory of experience which prevents us from recognizing that categories are not subjective thoughts but enter as constituting principles into the nature of things. Moreover, the new theory of logic carries with it a new view of reality. Leibniz had pointed out that individual things are not isolated particulars, simple or bare identities, but that their individuality is just the expression of their place in a system. Now realities of this relational, representing type can only be known through a category, or rather through a developing system of categories. Kant's doctrine of categories is thus the complement and the proof of Leibniz's insight. Taken together, they imply that reality is not an aggregation of things in themselves, but an organization of possible objects of experience. Neither concrete things, nor any real elements into which they can be analyzed, are simple unrelated reals, which might be defined in their immediacy and isolation without committing oneself to anything further. Since the real is what stands in relations, the process of knowledge must consist in developing these relations. It must therefore be essentially synthetic in character. But, since the individual thing has many sides, or aspects, to attempt to deal with these without analysis would only bring confusion. In the development of knowledge, then, analysis and synthesis must constantly supplement each other; or rather they are only complementary sides of the one movement of experience. In order to understand anything, one must follow its detail in different directions, everywhere drawing distinctions and taking account of parts. But if this process is anything more than mechanicalize., if it is an intelligent effort to understand, the analysis will be guided throughout by an idea of a whole of some sort, the more precise nature of which is progressively defined as the work of understanding advances.


One must accordingly recognize that in order to know it is necessary to adopt some point of view, to interpret the nature and connections of things in terms of some conception or category. But the category, regarded as the form under which we know, does not construct the object, or introduce into the real-world relations which are foreign to its real nature. The point of view of individual experience presupposes the organized world of real objects; and the development of rational life, both in the individual and the race, is the progressive recognition of the nature of that organization. But it is necessary to add that this recognition of a rational order without us is not attained through mere contemplation. To advance towards an understanding of the objective order involves an active process of interpretation and requires the systematic coordination of data afforded by all our methods of seeking and experimenting, both practical and theoretical. The determination of the real is an enterprise of genuine discovery, affected by the employment of a systematic and progressive method of inquiry. This involves the continuous transformation of the system of related objects from which the inquiry at any time sets out. The transformation, however, is not an external modification which obscures the nature of the real. It is the self-revelation of the real. One may say either that the real progressively reveals itself to the systematic method of inquiry pursued by intelligence, or that the latter is enabled to penetrate into the real world and give expression to its constitution in terms of a new principle of organization. Just because objects are not things-in-themselves, but possible objects of experience, the category in terms of which the results of our thinking are provisionally expressed is not an abstract label or arbitrary rubric which obscures rather than reveals their real nature. The process of thought retains the real object as the center of its knowing and does riot float away to a shadowy realm of abstract universals. The critical method exhibits the emptiness of abstract thinking: it teaches that real thought is always in relation to a real world of objects. In proportions thinking is genuine thinking, and not a mere playing with forms, its results will always be to some degree a revelation of the real, a stage in the self-revelation of the real world.


In emphasizing the fact that experience is a process of determining the nature of objects, one must not forget that, as a conscious movement, experience also reveals the laws and principles of intelligence. The mind and the object are reciprocally determining factors within experience. In discovering the nature of the objective order, the mind comes to a consciousness of the principles of its own procedure: in recognizing the interrelation and unity of the parts of the outer world it becomes aware of the systematic connection and unity of its own life. The unity which is found in each presupposes the unity of the other: the unity of the world is the condition of the unity of the empirical consciousness and is in turn conditioned by the latter.


Moreover, Kant carries his critical inquiry one step further, and in his doctrine of the transcendental ego adopts a principle which definitely goes beyond the categories of natural science. It is true that he himself did not succeed in bringing this principle into organic relation with his table of categories, as the highest function of synthesis of which the categories are particular phases, but always represented it as an analytic, static unity, ampere point of reference outside of experience. The doctrine of the transcendental ego or Reason, as it might better be called in order to escape subjective implications as the supreme dynamic principle of synthesis within experience, is, however, suggested so directly by Kant's method that it was at once seized upon and developed by his successors. Now, I know this doctrine seems antiquated to many of my colleagues; and I myself confess that I am not able to accept the form of absoluteness which some idealists have given to it. Nevertheless, I believe that Kant's principle is of fundamental importance for contemporary problems, and that its consideration may help to bring to a focus some of our discussions. The notion of a synthetic unity, functioning within experience, simply brings to expression the ultimate presupposition of the system of objective idealism which I have been attempting to outline. It must not for a moment be regarded as a substance or a cause beyond or above the concrete system of reality. But the concept emphasizes at once both the unity and the concrete differences and individualities within that system and provides a principle which renders these two aspects comprehensible. The notion of reason as supreme synthetic principle is the necessary presupposition of: (I) the complementary character of inner and outer experience, what Kant called the affinity of the mind and objects; and (2) the fact that the categories, as they are found both in the mind and in the world, form a system of mutually related and conditioning principles, instead of simply a succession or plurality of instrumental concepts. It is at this point, I think, that objective idealism parts company from instrumentalism, with which it has much in common, and to which it is indebted for much suggestive criticism. Instrumentalism may give us a succession of categories, but it fails to provide any basis for an objective system of categories. It is just because experience requires for its adequate description some account of the systematically progressive character which belongs to it, that idealism regards the idea of Reason as indispensable. It may be asked, why bring in Reason in general, why not rest in the functional relations which are expressible in terms of the categories of natural science? The answer, it seems to me, is, just because the categories of naturalism are not adequate to furnish expression to the kind of functional relationship that experience presupposes. For example, the conception of 'evolving life,' which is perhaps the highest category of naturalism, serves to correlate a good many facts, just because life is itself so far rational. When taken with a strictly naturalistic connotation, however, it leaves unexpressed what we are accustomed to regard as the distinctive values of reason. On the other hand, if we read Reason into the evolving process of life, as we certainly have a right to do, we have gone beyond naturalism, in that we have reinterpreted the facts as correlated by natural science in terms of a new category.


I confess my personal sympathy with the recent demands fora philosophy that shall free itself from transcendentalism and become frankly naturalistic. This is, I take it, the present-day formula of progressivism, the protest against taking refuge in principles which arrogate to themselves some superior sanctity, but are at bottom nothing but abstractions, a procedure which is the besetting sin, not only of philosophy, but of every kind of technical inquiry, in every age of the world. But, after all, what is in the fullest sense natural and concrete? If we employ the notion of evolution, as I think we must, to bridge the seeming gulf between mind and nature, letting consciousness arise by natural stages of development out of a preexisting physical order, we have accounted for the 'naturalness' of consciousness, but have still to explain the 'rationality' of objects, the fact, that is, that they are not things-in-themselves but possible objects of experience. To explain both sides one must make an assumption that is not necessary for the purposes of science, in the narrower sense of that term, the assumption of a ‘rational evolving process.' It seems to me that we are driven on, by the necessity of a real problem, to employ a new category or series of categories, which may here be described by the term 'reason.' This conception emphasizes the logical continuity of the process which leads up to the new meanings and values that are expressed in conscious experience. Without ignoring distinctions or denying the advance to something genuinely new, it maintains at once the 'naturalness' of reason as the goal and expression of nature and the 'rationality' of the natural process which leads up to this result. It seems to me that instrumentalism abandons the logic of its own method when it refuses to advance beyond the categories of natural science to a genuinely objective teleology. Since philosophy recognizes problems which do not concern natural science, no fear of transcendental principles should deter it from following the critical method in attempting to solve them.


At the present stage of philosophical inquiry, the classification of different thinkers under the old names of ‘idealist' and 'realist' has little significance. It is not difficult to recognize in recent attempts to define consciousness in terms of the relations of objects, on the part of some of the members of this Association who call themselves 'realists’ a movement away from the old rationalistic conception of consciousness as a special kind of independent entity, described as a substance, a cause, or whatnot. This effort to see consciousness in its concrete and natural setting, not as a kind of thing-in-itself, or the place of inner states, but as a function genuinely involved in the objective order, is wholly akin in spirit and method to the philosophy which proceeds from Kant and is fundamentally opposed to the type of realism that bases itself on the pre-critical logic of external relations. The ideal which evidently guides the thought of Professors Woodbridge and McGilvary, for example, is to obtain some conception which will avoid the 'external relation' view of object and consciousness, exhibiting the two sides rather as complementary and essential to each other. This purpose does not appear to have been materially advanced, however, by calling consciousness a relation among objects, though perhaps the term 'relation' carries one further in the right direction than 'substance' or 'cause.' But it is as impossible to define consciousness merely in terms of the relations of objects as it is to define it solely in terms of the relations of inner 'states of consciousness.' What it is essential that the definition shall bring out is the fact that the consciousness of the individual is implicitly reason: that is, that consciousness not only exists in individualized entrées, but that it is a function that carries the individual beyond the limits of his particular mode of existence and reveals to him his place as a member of an objective order.


On the other hand, the neo-realists who accept as their guiding principles the method of analysis and the doctrine of external relations are facing in a direction quite opposed to Kantianism and the philosophy which has been developed from it. Indeed, if it is intended that these principles are to be taken literally, one can only recognize in neorealism another example of a reversal to a type of thought that has repeatedly exhibited in the history of thought the impasse to which its principles lead. As will be obvious from the earlier part of this paper, I not only agree with Professor Marvin in regarding neorealism, in so far as it is based on these principles, as a return to dogmatism, but I hold that it has not turned its back merely upon Kant, but upon the whole drift of modern thought. Former analysis and external relations are the principles of a static and absolutistic logic that both the history of philosophy and the history of the special sciences show to be no longer the working assumptions of modern thought. Modern thought, both philosophical and scientific, involves criticism of categories; neorealism eschews both categories and criticism, aligning itself somewhat proudly with the convictions of the plain man. The fundamental likeness of this standpoint, in its conception of the nature of truth and of method, to the thought of the seventeenth and eighteenth century is shown even in the external form of theme-realist writings. While it claims to introduce a more strictly scientific method of procedure than that generally obtaining in contemporary discussion, formal logic and its maxims seem to live again in its pages. One cannot help being impressed by the logical apparatus: the definitions, the elaborate divisions, the formal array of 'idealist' arguments, classified, labeled, awaiting refutation in due order, all this seems strange in our day and generation. The justification for dwelling on the strangeness of this dialectical form is that it appears to be symptomatic of real affiliation in spirit on the part of the 'new realism' withhold rationalism. This is perhaps shown most strikingly in the assumption that philosophical doctrines can be 'demonstrated ‘or 'refuted' by formal processes of argument. Now I have been insisting that modern philosophy has substituted for these formal 'demonstrations' the criticism of categories. The only way to prove a principle in philosophy is to show what it leads to, to work out its implications in definite fields of concrete fact. Idealism, e.g., cannot be overcome by refuting certain formal arguments which are supposed to demonstrate it. It has at least worked out the consequences of its principles in a somewhat systematic way and can be criticised fruitfully only by exhibiting the inadequacies and failures of the explanatory principles which it employs. So, too, the real disproof of the doctrine of external relations does not consist in the fact that it has been formally ‘refuted,' or shown to involve a reductio ad absurdum, but has come about through the historical exhibition of its inadequacy and unfruitfulness as a principle of explanation. It has not been so much refuted as superseded. What a contemporary critic of this position does is to point out that modern investigation is actually proceeding by employing quite a different method and assumptions.


Along with this pre-critical logic, the ' new ' realism also shows its relation to the eighteenth century by its lack of appreciation of the history of philosophy. It is not by accident, or merely in an external way, that these two positions are conjoined. The attitude toward history is nothing more than the necessary corollary and complement of the rationalistic logic. If one begins by adopting analysis and external relations as axioms, one has no need of genesis: if the mechanical categories are regarded as ultimate, the genetic categories are ipso facto excluded. The history of philosophy, as a serious and fruitful field of investigation, came into existence as a consequence and an expression of the evolutionary logic to which Kant's 'Copernican revolution 'gave rise. The slight value which the neo-realists attach to the history of philosophy is, accordingly, quite in harmony with their principles of procedure, and furnishes an interesting confirmation of Professor Marvin's contention that the movement represents return to dogmatism.1 For criticism is historical analysis, dogmatism is 'rational' analysis.


It does not seem to me, however, that the so-called neo-realist movement is fairly or adequately represented by the logical principles which it has begun by emphasizing. Like Kant, it seems to have been guided by an instinct that is sounder than the logical method to which it appeals. At least, I find myself in sympathy with many of its contentions while rejecting its principles and method. The insistence on the part of realism upon the genuinely objective character of experience is in line with the best traditions of idealism and repeats a protest that is found in Schelling and Hegel. It is interesting to note that in our own day Edward Caird thought it necessary to utter a warning against the subjective implications of the language employed by certain idealists. Then, again, realism has rendered valuable service in calling attention to the fact that not all relations can be interpreted in terms of the subsumptive theory of the relation existing between the subject and predicate of a proposition. It has thus again acted as an ally of concrete idealism in criticising a certain neo-Platonic tendency towards an abstract form of monism which has frequently shown itself in the history of philosophy, and from which contemporary philosophy is not free. Still another characteristic of neorealism, which commends it to those who derive their principles from Kant and share his dislike for Schwdrmerei, is its vigorous defence of the claims of logic to deal with philosophical problems. For it definitely sets its face in the direction of science, choosing, as Hegel says, 'the hard labor of the notion,' and resisting the promises of faith and intuition to open up a way to a higher truth that is independent of the intellect. All this makes one regret the more that this school, if one may call it a school, has been attracted by the ideal of the old mathematical method. That method, as has been stated, showed its total bankruptcy both in the hands of Hume and in the procedure of the later rationalists. From the time of Leibniz until our own day, as I read the history of thought, the modern movement has been away from the notion of simple independent realities, of external relations, preformation, and the method of mere analysis, away in short from the logic of deductive demonstration, towards a more and more complete recognition of what is implied in the logic of the critical method.


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