In the preceding chapter I (The Epistemological Approach To The Supra-Rational Absolute. Section I. Introductory) endeavoured to develop the epis-temological argument for the 'Supra-rational' Reality. We shall still be concerned mainly with epistemological matters in this and the succeeding chapter. Before taking up the argument again, however, I should like to remind the reader of what was said in the Preface about the structure of the present study. I do not base my conviction that Reality is supra-rational solely (perhaps not even chiefly) upon the highly abstract and specialised considerations drawn from the analysis of knowledge. If there did not appear to me to be extremely cogent evidence in support of this position from other quarters, I confess that, even if unable to discern my error, I should entertain pretty strong suspicions that somewhere I had been guilty of fallacy. But the required confirmation does exist, and each of the later chapters will, in its own particular way, add its quota of support. In Chapters IV. and V. I shall take up the problem of freedom, and try to show that freedom, in a meaning of it which is compatible only with a non-intelligible Reality, is as indubitable a fact as anything in human experience. In Chapter VI (The Reality Of Moral Obligation. Section 1. Absolute Idealism And The Status Of Morality). I shall present a similar argument with regard to the 'moral ought,' urging that moral obligation is also an indubitable fact of experience, and is likewise compatible only with a non-intelligible Reality. In Chapter VII (The Principle Of Moral Valuation. Section 1. Moral Valuation And 'The Moral End'). I shall consider the criterion of moral appraisement, and argue that the onlv criterion which is true to moral experience is one which presupposes the non-intelligible character of Reality. And in the final chapter I (The Epistemological Approach To The Supra-Rational Absolute. Section I. Introductory) shall attempt to enlist the religious consciousness too in the service of our theory: arguing that certain constituents of religious experience commonly admitted to be fundamental to it show themselves on reflection to be in crass contradiction with one another save on the hypothesis that the Whole is supra-rational.
It may very well be, of course, that every one of these lines of argument is mistaken. But this brief explanation of my programme is inserted here because I should not wish to seem to be adopting a scepticism even more radical than Bradley's own - out-Heroding Herod, as it were - on the frail basis of a far from comprehensive epistemological discussion. I venture to hope that the reader who is acutely antipathetic to the point of view of the latter will consent to suspend judgment until he has traversed the remaining arguments.
In the present chapter I (The Epistemological Approach To The Supra-Rational Absolute. Section I. Introductory) shall, in the first place, endeavour to bring out what precisely is implied in characterising Reality as 'supra-rational.' I shall then proceed to examine the applicability to our doctrine of the arguments most commonly levelled against metaphysical scepticism.