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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/422

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

there externally exist no Sun and no motion at all, he would have done what idealists do; and his arguments would have been equally-powerless against the intuition of Common-Sense. But he does nothing of the kind. He accepts the intuition of Common-Sense respecting the reality of the Sun and the motion; but replaces the old interpretation of it by a new interpretation reconcilable with all the facts.

Just in the same way that, here, acceptance of the inexpugnable element in the Common-Sense judgment by no means involves acceptance of the accompanying judgments, so, in the case of Crude Realism, it does not follow that, while against the consciousness of an objective reality the arguments of Anti-Realism are utterly futile, they are therefore futile against the conceptions which Crude Realism forms of the objective reality. If Anti-Realism can show that, granting an objective reality, the interpretation of Crude Realism contains insuperable difficulties, the process is quite legitimate. And, its primordial intuition remaining unshaken, Realism may, on reconsideration, be enabled to frame a new conception which harmonizes with all the facts.

To show that there is not here the "mazy inconsistency" alleged, let us take the case of sound as interpreted by Crude Realism, and as reinterpreted by Transfigured Realism. Crude Realism assumes the sound present in consciousness to exist as such beyond consciousness. Anti-Realism proves the inadmissibility of this assumption in sundry ways (all of which, however, set out by talking of sounding bodies beyond consciousness, just as Realism talks of them); and then AntiRealism concludes that we know of no existence save the sound as a mode of consciousness: which conclusion and all kindred conclusions, I contend, are vicious—first, because all the words used connote an objective activity; second, because the arguments are impossible without postulating at the outset an objective activity; and third, because no one of the intuitions, out of which the arguments are built, is of equal validity with the single intuition of Realism that an objective activity exists. But, now, the Transfigured Realism which Mr. Sidgwick thinks "has all the serious incongruity of an intense metaphysical dream" neither affirms the untenable conception of Crude Realism, nor, like Anti-Realism, draws unthinkable conclusions by suicidal arguments; but, accepting that which is essential in Crude Realism, and admitting the difficulties which Anti-Realism insists upon, reconciles matters by a reinterpretation analogous to that which an astronomer makes of the solar motion. Continuing all along to recognize an objective activity which Crude Realism calls sound, it shows that the sensation is produced by a succession of separate impacts which, if made slowly, may be separately identified, and which will, if progressively increased in rapidity, produce tones higher and higher in pitch. It shows by other experiments that sounding