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subjective forms. The positions and relations of things in
our subjective space are independent of our volition ; and
their spatial changes take place without any consent of ours.
The source of their movement and the ground of their rela-
tive arrangement are not in us alone. The subjective image
of things in space at any point and time is a fixed one. We
cannot exchange the right for the left, the up for the down,
the far for the near. Least of all can we eliminate the idea
of distance from our subjective space, and think of things
as equidistant from ourselves or from one another. The
same thing has happened with the subjectivity of space as
with the subjectivity of sense-qualities. It is very common,
when the beginner in psychology has learned rather than
mastered the latter doctrine, to hear him affirming that they
are nothing but mental affections, in complete ignorance of
the fact that, while subjective effects, they still have an ob-
jective cause, which, though not like them, nevertheless de-
termines them. In affirming the subjectivity of space we
have equally to admit something beyond ourselves which is
a determining factor in our spatial experience.

This objective factor may be conceived in two ways.
We may regard it as a non-spatial system with which we
are in interaction ; or we may regard it as God himself, who
is reproducing in finite thought the order which exists in
his infinite thought. In the former case we can affirm the
subjectivity of space only in the following form. The re-
lation of things to us is such that when they strike upon
our senses they produce certain sensations of light, heat,
and sound. These sensations, however, are not copies of
anything objective, but are the subjective symbol, or trans-
lation, of certain phases of the object. Now in the same
way things and their unpicturable interactions are such
that they produce in perceptive beings an intuition of space,


which intuition, again, is not a copy of anything objective,
but only the subjective symbol or translation into the forms
of sense -intuition of unpicturable realities beyond them.
The intuition, however, is not independent of the realities,
but for each change in the latter there is a definite change
in the former. Just as a rise or fall in the rate of vibra-
tion is attended by a rise or fall of the tone heard, or the
color seen, so any change in the metaphysical interactions of
things is attended by a corresponding change in the appar-
ent space-relations. Or as the dark ether tides flash into a
sphere of light when they strike upon an eye, so the ineffa-
ble tides of cosmic causality, when they strike the soul,
appear as a world of things in space and space-relations.
The subjective intuition has its objective ground ; but that
ground, though unlike its mental translation, yet stands in
certain definite relations to it, so that a given state of the
object allows only one space-translation, just as a given rate
of vibration can be heard only as one tone. This fixed con-
nection between reality and its spatial phenomena allows
us to deal with the latter as if they were real objects, and
to predict their course with as much certainty as if they
were things in themselves. It produces the same reign of
law among phenomena and the same possibility of prevision
which would exist if phenomena were things. Mechanics
and astronomy run no risk of being falsified or displaced
by the subjectivity of space.

This is a possible view of the subjectivity of space, but
it cannot be regarded as adequate in this form. There is
in it an assumption of impersonal finite agents, and this we
have come to regard as a great heresy. The view arises
from approaching the subject from the side of causality
before we have raised causality to the volitional and intel-
lectual form. For us, apart from the finite spirit, there is
nothing but the infinite mind and its activities; and the


objective determining ground of our space order must be
sought here rather than in any unpicturable finite exist-
ence. In this view the impersonal and non- spatial finite
falls away entirely as a reality by itself, and leaves only
the infinite agency and the phenomena it produces. This
gives an entirely different aspect to the whole question, as
will appear in the discussion of the next objection.

A second misconception is that this view makes space a
delusion, and thus destroys all confidence in the mind. This
error has several roots. The first is the failure to distin-
guish between phenomenal and ontological reality ; and a
second is the confounding of subjectivity with delusion.
The first point has been sufficiently referred to already.
No one proposes to deny the phenomenal reality of space
or its universal validity in our experience. Doubt attaches
only to that ontological space of traditional dogmatism ;
and on this point experience can decide nothing.

The second confusion rests upon an easy oversight of
spontaneous thought concerning the relation of mind to
reality. In all of our objective knowing we seem to be
dealing with a reality which was there before we thought
about it, and which is quite independent of our thought.
Thus we are easily led to think of mind as non-essential to
reality, as adding and constituting nothing, and as at best
only copying a reality which would exist just the same, if
all mind were away. The theistic realist would of course
admit that the reality had its origin in the divine thought,
but he would find no present function for that thought be-
yond knowing things existing in their own right beyond it.

But while the origin of this notion is obvious, and while
spontaneous thought should not be blamed for resting in it,
it becomes an uncritical prejudice when advanced as a spec-
ulative dogma. It has long been one of the great questions
of philosophy whether mind can be viewed as thus super-


fluous, or whether, on the contrary, reality can have its
full existence anywhere but in mind. Epistemology shows
that nothing can exist for mind which does not have its
root in mind. And logic shows that reality is unintelligible
and impossible except with reference to mind. Every def-
inition of reality which is not reality for mind either shat-
ters on the rocks of the Eleatic Scylla or is ingulfed in the
whirlpools of the Heraclitic Charybdis. The conception
of extra-mental existence is simply a shadow of our convic-
tion that our objects are not created by us ; and this inde-
pendence of our mind is mistaken for an independence
of all mind a notion which destroys itself. We conclude,
then, that subjectivity, in the sense of dependence on
mind, is universal; and that objectivity, in the sense of
non-dependence on mind, is a fiction, a shadow of crude

Now from this point of view the subjectivity of space is
far enough from making space a delusion. For sponta-
neous thought all our objects are real in an extra -mental
sense. The confused synthesis of experiences which makes
up the world -view of common-sense is regarded as alike
real and as real in the same sense. And when criticism be-
gins, the true question is not whether this mass of raw
material be real, but what kind of reality it possesses, and
whether different parts have not different kinds of reality.
And the inquiry once started, we soon find ourselves com-
pelled to disturb the uncritical rest of common-sense. The
entire world of sense-qualities is first discovered to have no
extra-mental and ontological existence, but only a phenom-
enal reality. They do not thereby become unreal and de-
lusive ; for all that was ever true of them remains true of
them still. Their nature and relations are undisturbed ;
and their immense significance for our practical life is as
undeniable as ever. "We have learned not that they are un-


real, but that they have their reality only in and for mind.
And this reality for mind is not only a very important kind
of reality, but when we look closely into the matter we find
ourselves somewhat at a loss to discover anything more
real this side of the spiritual causality on which all finite
reality depends.

In the same manner, when we come to consider the spatial
order of things, we discover not that it is unreal, but that
it is real only for mind. But it does not therefore become
a delusion. Space is still the form of our objective experi-
ence, and is as law-giving for that experience as ever. It is
not then a delusion ; for all that was ever true of space and
space -relations, and of objects in space -relations, remains
true still. We have merely discovered that there is some-
thing deeper than space, and that spatial phenomena are
nothing in which we can rest as ontologically ultimate, or
as existing apart from mind. Apparent reality exists spa-
tially ; but proper ontological reality exists spacelessly and
without spatial predicates. And this conclusion is not
forced upon us against reason, but by reason itself. We
do not deny the truth of appearances as appearing. They
furnish the starting-point but not the stopping-point; for
we find in the appearances themselves the necessity of go-
ing behind them to something which, though their ground,
is still without the predicates of the appearances. Whoever
will bear in mind that reality as it exists for reason does
not contradict reality as it appears will see that there is
nothing sceptical in the conclusion, provided it be solidly
deduced. On the contrary, the refusal to go where thought
points is the true and only scepticism.

Well, then, is the real world spatial or non-spatial ? That
depends altogether on what we mean by the real world. If
we mean the world of experience, it most certainly is spatial.
If we mean a world of ontological substances other than


spiritual existences, it certainly is not spatial. But it is per-
mitted to doubt whether such a world exists. Experience
reveals the apparent world, and reflection shows its phe-
nomenal character ; but reflection also shows that for the
explanation of this world we do not need a noumenal world,
but rather the infinite and its unpicturable causality. The
noumenal world behind the apparent world, trying to peer
through it but hopelessly masked by it, is something for
which speculation has no longer any use. Nor may we call
the causality on which the apparent world depends the real
world ; for that causality finds its meaning only in the ap-
parent world which it founds. In abstraction from this
effect which it realizes, we can make nothing of it whatever.
And thus, in a very important sense, it appears that the
apparent is the reality of the non-apparent.

The source of these paradoxes, which we seem to have
been heaping up without conscience or remorse, lies in the
attempt to define reality without reference to intelligence.
The real world, we fancy, is not the apparent world, for
that is phenomenal and exists only for intelligence. The
real world, then, is the noumenal world of impersonal things
in unpicturable relations of interaction. Into this world we
cannot enter by any spatial intuition ; only the pure reason
can gain admission here. Luckily, the pure reason, before
seeking admission, bethinks itself to examine the notion of
this world ; and then it turns out that this world, if it ex-
ists, does so only in and for intelligence. All such reality
is constituted by intelligence, and has no meaning apart
from intelligence. In this sense this noumenal world is
phenomenal, and yet, unfortunately, it is not phenomenal
to any assignable percipients. From this stand-point the
so-called noumenal world begins to take on a fictitious look,
while the phenomenal world is as undeniable as ever. And


indeed, as soon as we see the impossibility of defining the
reality of things except with relation to a constituent idea
and a constituting intelligence, phenomenal reality is all we
are permitted to look for in the world of things. Thus the
apparent world becomes the only world there is, and is just
as real as it proves itself to be. To be sure, it has not onto-
logical existence, but it is the seat and substance of prac-
tical experience. And when we aim to explain it we are
not to look for a fictitious noumenal world, but rather for
its substantial cause and ground ; and this cause must be

These considerations go a long way towards saving the
truth of appearances. We are not in a world of illusions
and fictions ; we are rather in the world of mind. And in
this world the space order has its place and value. More-
over, the demand to think of ontological reality as without
relation to space is, after all, not so foreign to our thought.
We have only to reflect upon our own existence to see that
in any case space applies only to the objects of sense-in-
tuition. It never occurs to us, at least when thought is
fairly critical, to give the inner life spatial predicates. We
think of our thoughts as neither in the soul nor out of it,
but only as dependent upon it. We do not think of them
as to the right or the left, above or below one another, but
only as co-existent and sequent in logical relations. In the
same way we think of the fundamental being which we
have been forced to posit, as without form of any kind ; and
we think of the finite, spatial and non-spatial alike, as ex-
isting in it as non-spatially as our thoughts and feeling ex-
ist in the mind. And as the soul and its products cannot
be pictured in their proper existence, so the infinite and its
products cannot be pictured in their proper existence. In
thinking in this field we must use concepts and not images.
We also point out once more that if we do view space as


ontologically real, the infinite itself must be viewed as spa-
tial, and thus would disappear altogether. There is no way
of maintaining the unity and reality of the infinite apart
from the essential phenomenality of space. On this point
popular thought has attained to no consistent conception.
Once in a while a speculator can be found who maintains
that all things, finite and infinite, material and spiritual,
are in space ; but in general the tendency has been to limit
space to material things only. But there has been little
effort to reconcile the non-spatiality of spiritual existence
with the ontological reality of space. Indeed, their incom-
patibility is the unsuspected source of most of our material-
istic speculation.

Shall we say, then, that space is the form under which
we intuite objects ? There is no objection, provided we do
not conceive the objects as something apart from the intui-
tion and as warped by the intuition into forms foreign, .to
their true nature. These " things in themselves " are myths
engendered by the Kantian epistemology, which still held
the fancy that there can be reality which is not reality for
intelligence. This fancy, combined with the phenomenality
of space, gave the unknowable noumena as a matter of
course. The phrase proposed becomes less misleading if we
change it to read that space is the form of objective intui-
tion, or the form of objective experience. At the same time
we maintain its strict phenomenality. Neither the mind
nor things are in space; we have experience under the
spatial form. And this spatial experience, considered as a
mental event or form of psychical activity, is non-spatial.
To ascribe spatial properties to it would be as absurd as to
say that the thought of length must itself be long or the
thought of fire must be hot.

When we are considering the space world as object we
are not to view it as a translation of reality into forms of


appearance. It is simply what we find it to be. But when
we consider it from the epistemological stand-point, then it
is permitted to use this metaphor of translation. For the
knowledge of space arises in the mind through a spaceless
reaction against spaceless affections of the sensibility. More-
over, the world itself as product rests continually upon the
producing energy of the infinite. In this system of activity
we have our place; and in the inductive sense we are in
interaction with it. And out of this unpicturable dynamic
relation arises the stimulus to all objective knowing. Space
itself is not a translation, but our knowledge of. space is not
improperly called a translation of dynamic relations into
forms of appearance.

Some final misconceptions may soon be warded off. It
is not to be expected that daily language should be modified
to suit this view ; indeed, if it were, it would almost cer-
tainly be false ; for daily life deals only with things in in-
tuition, and space is a form of intuition. It is only when
we pass into the ontological realm that we must drop our
space-conceptions. It would be absurd pedantry to refuse
to say that the sun rises and sets, and yet when it comes to
an ultimate explanation we must forsake the phenomenal
stand-point and put ourselves at the centre. It would be
excessively tedious and stupid if, instead of calling a thing
red or green, we should say that it emits vibrations of a
certain length. When dealing with phenomena, phenome-
nal language only is in place. Yet even here it is at times
necessary to drop our phenomenal expressions and deal with
the fact in thought-terms. So also in metaphysics we use
and must use the language of space in dealing with phenom-
ena ; but when we seek for an ultimate explanation we are
forced to abandon this language as having only phenomenal

Yet, after all, it will be urged, this view is totally foreign


to the appearance. Of course it is, and no one denies it.
Space as the form of appearance can never be emptied out
of appearance. It is a complete misconception of our aim
to suppose that we are trying to intuite things out of space.
Any attempt to construe the doctrine to the imagination
must necessarily fail; for space is the form of the imagina-
tion. All such attempts are excluded by the terms of the
doctrine, and hence involve a misunderstanding of it. We
cannot, therefore, pierce behind space by the imagination
which is limited to the forms of space, and tell how the non-
spatial realities look in their non-spatial existence. They
do not look at all. Pure thought only can enter that un-
imaginable realm, and with its non-spatial categories deter-
mine how we shall think of the unpicturable reality which
founds all relations and all appearances. When, then, one
asks, Are all things together in space? or when I seem to
be moving am I really sitting still? he shows thereby that
he has not grasped the doctrine, and he even awakens the
suspicion that he may not be entitled to any opinion in this

It will be further urged that this is not the impression
which experience makes on spontaneous thought. But what
of that ? Spontaneous thought is busied only with things
as they appear; and space is real in appearance. More-
over, there is scarcely a single doctrine of science, from
the theory of matter to the theory of astronomy, which
agrees with the impressions of spontaneous thought. If our
senses rightly report to us the phenomenal world, and make
a platform on which life can go on, we can excuse them
if they do not give us the ultimate metaphysical truth. For
practical purposes they give us something a great deal bet-
ter; and sane metaphysics when it comes does not dis-
credit the senses, but only the hasty inferences based upon
them. In truth, it is not a case of sense against reason, but


of one system of metaphysics against another; both of
which must find their raw material in sense itself.

A final objection is drawn from epistemology. Subject
and object, it may be said, form a necessary antithesis in
thought ; and the object is external to the subject. And
what do we mean by the external world, a phrase which
the idealist himself is compelled to use, but a world out-
side of the subject ? The subject is here, the world is there,
yonder, all about us. No amount of speculative hasheesh
can long blind us to this fact; and so long as this fact re-
mains, the subjectivity of space can never be more than
an idol of the speculative den.

The objector is earnest, but, however full of sweetness, is
somewhat lacking in light. To begin with, he seems to
confuse his body with himself; and as he finds the body
to exist in spatial relations to other bodies, all of which as
spatial are mutually external, he apparently fancies that
objects are spatially outside of the subject. This concep-
tion, if it were valid, would make knowledge altogether
impossible. The truth is, the relation of subject and object
is absolutely unique and can only be experienced. It ad-
mits of no spatial representation.

As to what we mean by the external world, the ideal-
ist has an easy answer. It may mean the order which is
independent of our thought. It is the not -self, not in the
sense of existing apart from all mind, but in the sense of
being independent of us. Or it may mean, and in this con-
nection it would mean, those factors of our experience to
which we give space relations. Some elements of experi-
ence have the spatial form, and some have only the tem-
poral form. It is this fact which underlies the distinction
of internal and external in psychology ; but we reach noth-
ing extra-mental in this way.

There is a deep - lying mystery here whose implicit but


unconscious presence is the source of much of our uneasi-
ness in this matter. Without a common-to-all, knowledge
breaks up into self-destructive individualism ; and to found
this common-to-all, we seem to need a common object. And
then, in order to secure its identity in itself and its exist-
ence for all, nothing seems so promising as to plant it in
one space where everybody may have free access to it.
Thus the identity and community of the object are secured
and insured, and knowledge is made possible.

This view is clear because it admits of being pictured;
and its hopeless absurdity is revealed only to critical reflec-
tion. And reflection has nothing to put into its place which
will compare with it for easy understanding. The world is
one only for and in the divine thought ; and the world has
its place, not in space, but in the divine mind. And our
theory of knowledge must ultimately run back to the di-
vine thought and will for its definition of reality, for the
unity and identity of the object, and for the possibility of
knowledge in general. Thus we are introduced to a world
of unpicturable relations and of impenetrable mystery, in
comparison with which the sense-view is sun-clear and self-
evident ; that is, in advance of reflection. And yet, after
all, this difficult view turns out to represent the line of log-
ical least resistance, when thought becomes critical and re-
flective. And if it seems to suggest Malebranche and the
vision of all things in God, it is none the worse for that.

And now that the question is raised, it seems well to
come to some definite understanding on this matter of phe-
nomenal knowledge. From the stand -point of the sense-
bound philosopher, phenomenal knowledge can hardly seem
to be knowledge at all, but only a recitation of individual
experiences. Phenomena as such are only in the mind;
and when many persons perceive the same phenomena there
is no more objectivity than when many persons dream the


same dream. "We might possibly get on with the phenom-
enality of sense -qualities, because, though subjective, they
may be related to real and common objects in space. But
when these objects are also made phenomenal, then all re-
ality, community, and identity of the object disappear ; and
nothing is left but a multitude of individual dreams, more
or less overlapping and coincident perhaps, but having no
other connection. To this failure and overthrow of real
knowledge the phenomenal doctrine must come.

We touch here upon a real difficulty and a profound mys-
tery. At first sight the objections urged seem conclu-
sive ; and there appears to be no way out, except to put the
real objects back into real space, and let every one come
forward and know them as they are. Only thus can the
reality and identity of the object be secured.

So it undoubtedly seems, but the matter grows obscure
upon reflection. In the first place, the phenomenality of
sense-qualities is not so easily conceived, and yet it must be
admitted. The notion that, apart from eyes and ears, the

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