help us to decide whether the truth lies in either of these extremes or in some higher view in which the opposition between them is transcended.
Now, we have already seen how Aristotle was led to his view of the primacy of the contemplative life. The opposite view, which has been much favoured in recent speculations on the nature of religion, finds its foremost representative in Kant It was the aim of the Critique of Pwre Reason to show that the objective world—the only world of which we can have scientific knowledge—is a thorough-going system of necessity, a system of objects represented as existing in space and time, and reacting upon each other according to fixed laws which are altogether independent of our •will. Of this objective system we, as natural beings, are parts, and in it we find the satisfaction of our immediate impulses; but there is nothing in it or in ourselves as parts of it, which could suggest the existence of any principle either within or without or above us other than the necessity of nature, the necessity that connects all objects with each other. When, however, we reflect on the conditions of our knowledge of this world of externally related phenomena, we see that such knowledge is possible only through the unity of the self within us and by the thorough-going synthesis of phenomena according to the principles of the understanding. For, in order
TO REASON OR TO WILL? 353
that objects may exist for us, it is necessary that the intelligence should combine the data, given in sense under the forms of time and space, by the aid of the principles of causality, reciprocity, and the other principles of the understanding, so as to produce a connected experience—an experience which can be referred to one self. But this, again, leads to a further step in the analysis of knowledge; for, when we realise what is meant this reference of experience to the unity of one self, we see that it involves certain ideas or ideals of reason, by which we are guided in applying the principles of the understanding. The conscious self in all its constructive activity—in its endeavour to constate its own life, in its endeavour to determine the connexion of outward phenomena, and finally in its effort to bring together in one both these forms of experience—is guided and stimulated by the ideas of the self, the world and God; and of each of these it thinks as a systematic whole which is absolutely one with itself through all its differences. Of these ideas it cannot get rid, yet neither is it possible for it to realise or verify them in experience. The ultimate verdict of the Critique in relation to them is, therefore, an open one. To reason in its theoretical use, they must always remain problematical, that is, they must remain ideals which it can and must aim at in the development of its vol* h %
Was this article helpful?