By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: An Introduction to Philosophy
Author: Fullerton, George Stuart
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Introduction to Philosophy" ***




Professor of Philosophy in Columbia University
New York

New York
The MacMillan Company
London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd.


Norwood Press
J. S. Cushing Co.--Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.


As there cannot be said to be a beaten path in philosophy, and as
"Introductions" to the subject differ widely from one another, it is
proper that I should give an indication of the scope of the present

It undertakes:--

1.  To point out what the word "philosophy" is made to cover in our
universities and colleges at the present day, and to show why it is
given this meaning.

2.  To explain the nature of reflective or philosophical thinking, and
to show how it differs from common thought and from science.

3.  To give a general view of the main problems with which philosophers
have felt called upon to deal.

4.  To give an account of some of the more important types of
philosophical doctrine which have arisen out of the consideration of
such problems.

5.  To indicate the relation of philosophy to the so-called
philosophical sciences, and to the other sciences.

6.  To show, finally, that the study of philosophy is of value to us
all, and to give some practical admonitions on spirit and method.  Had
these admonitions been impressed upon me at a time when I was in
especial need of guidance, I feel that they would have spared me no
little anxiety and confusion of mind.  For this reason, I recommend
them to the attention of the reader.

Such is the scope of my book.  It aims to tell what philosophy is.  It
is not its chief object to advocate a particular type of doctrine.  At
the same time, as it is impossible to treat of the problems of
philosophy except from some point of view, it will be found that, in
Chapters III to XI, a doctrine is presented.  It is the same as that
presented much more in detail, and with a greater wealth of reference,
in my "System of Metaphysics," which was published a short time ago.
In the Notes in the back of this volume, the reader will find
references to those parts of the larger work which treat of the
subjects more briefly discussed here.  It will be helpful to the
teacher to keep the larger work on hand, and to use more or less of the
material there presented as his undergraduate classes discuss the
chapters of this one.  Other references are also given in the Notes,
and it may be profitable to direct the attention of students to them.

The present book has been made as clear and simple as possible, that no
unnecessary difficulties may be placed in the path of those who enter
upon the thorny road of philosophical reflection.  The subjects treated
are deep enough to demand the serious attention of any one; and they
are subjects of fascinating interest.  That they are treated simply and
clearly does not mean that they are treated superficially.  Indeed,
when a doctrine is presented in outline and in a brief and simple
statement, its meaning may be more readily apparent than when it is
treated more exhaustively.  For this reason, I especially recommend,
even to those who are well acquainted with philosophy, the account of
the external world contained in Chapter IV.

For the doctrine I advocate I am inclined to ask especial consideration
on the ground that it is, on the whole, a justification of the attitude
taken by the plain man toward the world in which he finds himself.  The
experience of the race is not a thing that we may treat lightly.

Thus, it is maintained that there is a real external world presented in
our experience--not a world which we have a right to regard as the
sensations or ideas of any mind.  It is maintained that we have
evidence that there are minds in certain relations to that world, and
that we can, within certain limits, determine these relations.  It is
pointed out that the plain man's belief in the activity of his mind and
his notion of the significance of purposes and ends are not without
justification.  It is indicated that theism is a reasonable doctrine,
and it is held that the human will is free in the only proper sense of
the word "freedom."  Throughout it is taken for granted that the
philosopher has no private system of weights and measures, but must
reason as other men reason, and must prove his conclusions in the same
sober way.

I have written in hopes that the book may be of use to undergraduate
students.  They are often repelled by philosophy, and I cannot but
think that this is in part due to the dry and abstract form in which
philosophers have too often seen fit to express their thoughts.  The
same thoughts can be set forth in plain language, and their
significance illustrated by a constant reference to experiences which
we all have--experiences which must serve as the foundation to every
theory of the mind and the world worthy of serious consideration.

But there are many persons who cannot attend formal courses of
instruction, and who, nevertheless, are interested in philosophy.
These, also, I have had in mind; and I have tried to be so clear that
they could read the work with profit in the absence of a teacher.

Lastly, I invite the more learned, if they have found my "System of
Metaphysics" difficult to understand in any part, to follow the simple
statement contained in the chapters above alluded to, and then to
return, if they will, to the more bulky volume.


New York, 1906.






   1.  The Beginnings of Philosophy.
   2.  The Greek Philosophy at its Height.
   3.  Philosophy as a Guide to Life.
   4.  Philosophy in the Middle Ages.
   5.  The Modern Philosophy.
   6.  What Philosophy means in our Time.



   7.  Common Thought.
   8.  Scientific Knowledge.
   9.  Mathematics.
  10.  The Science of Psychology.
  11.  Reflective Thought.





  12.  How the Plain Man thinks he knows the World.
  13.  The Psychologist and the External World.
  14.  The "Telephone Exchange."



  15.  Sense and Imagination.
  16.  May we call "Things" Groups of Sensations?
  17.  The Distinction between Sensations and "Things."
  18.  The Existence of Material Things.



  19.  Things and their Appearances.
  20.  Real Things.
  21.  Ultimate Real Things.
  22.  The Bugbear of the "Unknowable".



  23.  What we are supposed to know about It.
  24.  Space as Necessary and Space as Infinite.
  25.  Space as Infinitely Divisible.
  26.  What is Real Space?



  27.  Time as Necessary, Infinite, and Infinitely Divisible.
  28.  The Problem of Past, Present, and Future.
  29.  What is Real Time?





  30.  Primitive Notions of Mind.
  31.  The Mind as Immaterial.
  32.  Modern Common Sense Notions of the Mind.
  33.  The Psychologist and the Mind.
  34.  The Metaphysician and the Mind.



  35.  Is the Mind in the Body?
  36.  The Doctrine of the Interactionist.
  37.  The Doctrine of the Parallelist.
  38.  In what Sense Mental Phenomena have a Time and Place.
  39.  Objections to Parallelism.



  40.  Is it Certain that we know It?
  41.  The Argument for Other Minds.
  42.  What Other Minds are there?
  43.  The Doctrine of Mind-stuff.



  44.  Is the Material World a Mechanism?
  45.  The Place of Mind in Nature.
  46.  The Order of Nature and "Free-will."
  47.  The Physical World and the Moral World.





  48.  The Doctrine of Representative Perception.
  49.  The Step to Idealism.
  50.  The Revolt of "Common Sense."
  51.  The Critical Philosophy.



  52.  Realism.
  53.  Idealism.



  54.  The Meaning of the Words.
  55.  Materialism.
  56.  Spiritualism.
  57.  The Doctrine of the One Substance.
  58.  Dualism.
  59.  Singularism and Pluralism.



  60.  Rationalism.
  61.  Empiricism.
  62.  Criticism.
  63.  Critical Empiricism.
  64.  Pragmatism.





  65.  Introductory; the Philosophical Sciences.
  66.  The Traditional Logic.
  67.  The "Modern" Logic.
  68.  Logic and Philosophy.



  69.  Psychology and Philosophy.
  70.  The Double Affiliation of Psychology.



  71.  Common Sense Ethics.
  72.  Ethics and Philosophy.
  73.  Aesthetics.



  74.  What is Metaphysics?
  75.  Epistemology.



  76.  Religion and Reflection.
  77.  The Philosophy of Religion.



  78.  The Philosophical and the Non-philosophical Sciences.
  79.  The study of Scientific Principles and Methods.





  80.  The Question of Practical Utility.
  81.  Why Philosophical Studies are Useful.
  82.  Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Religion.



  83.  The Prominence given to the Subject.
  84.  The Especial Importance of Historical Studies to Reflective Thought.
  85.  The Value of Different Points of View.
  86.  Philosophy as Poetry and Philosophy as Science.
  87.  How to read the History of Philosophy.



  88.  Be prepared to enter upon a New Way of Looking at Things.
  89.  Be willing to consider Possibilities which at first strike one
       as Absurd.
  90.  Do not have too much Respect for Authority.
  91.  Remember that Ordinary Rules of Evidence Apply.
  92.  Aim at Clearness and Simplicity.
  93.  Do not hastily accept a Doctrine.






I must warn the reader at the outset that the title of this chapter
seems to promise a great deal more than he will find carried out in the
chapter itself.  To tell all that philosophy has meant in the past, and
all that it means to various classes of men in the present, would be a
task of no small magnitude, and one quite beyond the scope of such a
volume as this.  But it is not impossible to give within small compass
a brief indication, at least, of what the word once signified, to show
how its signification has undergone changes, and to point out to what
sort of a discipline or group of disciplines educated men are apt to
apply the word, notwithstanding their differences of opinion as to the
truth or falsity of this or that particular doctrine.  Why certain
subjects of investigation have come to be grouped together and to be
regarded as falling within the province of the philosopher, rather than
certain other subjects, will, I hope, be made clear in the body of the
work.  Only an indication can be given in this chapter.

1. THE BEGINNINGS OF PHILOSOPHY.--The Greek historian Herodotus
(484-424 B.C.) appears to have been the first to use the verb "to
philosophize."  He makes Croesus tell Solon how he has heard that he
"from a desire of knowledge has, philosophizing, journeyed through many
lands."  The word "philosophizing" seems to indicate that Solon pursued
knowledge for its own sake, and was what we call an investigator.  As
for the word "philosopher" (etymologically, a lover of wisdom), a
certain somewhat unreliable tradition traces it back to Pythagoras
(about 582-500 B.C.).  As told by Cicero, the story is that, in a
conversation with Leon, the ruler of Phlius, in the Peloponnesus, he
described himself as a philosopher, and said that his business was an
investigation into the nature of things.

At any rate, both the words "philosopher" and "philosophy" are freely
used in the writings of the disciples of Socrates (470-399 B.C.), and
it is possible that he was the first to make use of them.  The seeming
modesty of the title philosopher--for etymologically it is a modest
one, though it has managed to gather a very different signification
with the lapse of time--the modesty of the title would naturally appeal
to a man who claimed so much ignorance, as Socrates; and Plato
represents him as distinguishing between the lover of wisdom and the
wise, on the ground that God alone may be called wise.  From that date
to this the word "philosopher" has remained with us, and it has meant
many things to many men.  But for centuries the philosopher has not
been simply the investigator, nor has he been simply the lover of

An investigation into the origin of words, however interesting in
itself, can tell us little of the uses to which words are put after
they have come into being.  If we turn from etymology to history, and
review the labors of the men whom the world has agreed to call
philosophers, we are struck by the fact that those who head the list
chronologically appear to have been occupied with crude physical
speculations, with attempts to guess what the world is made out of,
rather than with that somewhat vague something that we call philosophy

Students of the history of philosophy usually begin their studies with
the speculations of the Greek philosopher Thales (b. 624 B.C.).  We are
told that he assumed water to be the universal principle out of which
all things are made, and that he maintained that "all things are full
of gods."  We find that Anaximander, the next in the list, assumed as
the source out of which all things proceed and that to which they all
return "the infinite and indeterminate"; and that Anaximenes, who was
perhaps his pupil, took as his principle the all-embracing air.

This trio constitutes the Ionian school of philosophy, the earliest of
the Greek schools; and one who reads for the first time the few vague
statements which seem to constitute the sum of their contributions to
human knowledge is impelled to wonder that so much has been made of the

This wonder disappears, however, when one realizes that the appearance
of these thinkers was really a momentous thing.  For these men turned
their faces away from the poetical and mythologic way of accounting for
things, which had obtained up to their time, and set their faces toward
Science.  Aristotle shows us how Thales may have been led to the
formulation of his main thesis by an observation of the phenomena of
nature.  Anaximander saw in the world in which he lived the result of a
process of evolution.  Anaximenes explains the coming into being of
fire, wind, clouds, water, and earth, as due to a condensation and
expansion of the universal principle, air.  The boldness of their
speculations we may explain as due to a courage born of ignorance, but
the explanations they offer are scientific in spirit, at least.

Moreover, these men do not stand alone.  They are the advance guard of
an army whose latest representatives are the men who are enlightening
the world at the present day.  The evolution of science--taking that
word in the broad sense to mean organized and systematized
knowledge--must be traced in the works of the Greek philosophers from
Thales down.  Here we have the source and the rivulet to which we can
trace back the mighty stream which is flowing past our own doors.
Apparently insignificant in its beginnings, it must still for a while
seem insignificant to the man who follows with an unreflective eye the
course of the current.

It would take me too far afield to give an account of the Greek schools
which immediately succeeded the Ionic: to tell of the Pythagoreans, who
held that all things were constituted by numbers; of the Eleatics, who
held that "only Being is," and denied the possibility of change,
thereby reducing the shifting panorama of the things about us to a mere
delusive world of appearances; of Heraclitus, who was so impressed by
the constant flux of things that he summed up his view of nature in the
words: "Everything flows"; of Empedocles, who found his explanation of
the world in the combination of the four elements, since become
traditional, earth, water, fire, and air; of Democritus, who developed
a materialistic atomism which reminds one strongly of the doctrine of
atoms as it has appeared in modern science; of Anaxagoras, who traced
the system of things to the setting in order of an infinite
multiplicity of different elements,--"seeds of things,"--which setting
in order was due to the activity of the finest of things, Mind.

It is a delight to discover the illuminating thoughts which came to the
minds of these men; and, on the other hand, it is amusing to see how
recklessly they launched themselves on boundless seas when they were
unprovided with chart and compass.  They were like brilliant children,
who know little of the dangers of the great world, but are ready to
undertake anything.  These philosophers regarded all knowledge as their
province, and did not despair of governing so great a realm.  They were
ready to explain the whole world and everything in it.  Of course, this
can only mean that they had little conception of how much there is to
explain, and of what is meant by scientific explanation.

It is characteristic of this series of philosophers that their
attention was directed very largely upon the external world.  It was
natural that this should be so.  Both in the history of the race and in
that of the individual, we find that the attention is seized first by
material things, and that it is long before a clear conception of the
mind and of its knowledge is arrived at.  Observation precedes
reflection.  When we come to think definitely about the mind, we are
all apt to make use of notions which we have derived from our
experience of external things.  The very words we use to denote mental
operations are in many instances taken from this outer realm.  We
"direct" the attention; we speak of "apprehension," of "conception," of
"intuition."  Our knowledge is "clear" or "obscure"; an oration is
"brilliant"; an emotion is "sweet" or "bitter."  What wonder that, as
we read over the fragments that have come down to us from the
Pre-Socratic philosophers, we should be struck by the fact that they
sometimes leave out altogether and sometimes touch lightly upon a
number of those things that we regard to-day as peculiarly within the
province of the philosopher.  They busied themselves with the world as
they saw it, and certain things had hardly as yet come definitely
within their horizon.

2. THE GREEK PHILOSOPHY AT ITS HEIGHT.--The next succeeding period sees
certain classes of questions emerge into prominence which had attracted
comparatively little attention from the men of an earlier day.
Democritus of Abdera, to whom reference has been made above, belongs
chronologically to this latter period, but his way of thinking makes us
class him with the earlier philosophers.  It was characteristic of
these latter that they assumed rather naïvely that man can look upon
the world and can know it, and can by thinking about it succeed in
giving a reasonable account of it.  That there may be a difference
between the world as it really is and the world as it appears to man,
and that it may be impossible for man to attain to a knowledge of the
absolute truth of things, does not seem to have occurred to them.

The fifth century before Christ was, in Greece, a time of intense
intellectual ferment.  One is reminded, in reading of it, of the
splendid years of the Renaissance in Italy, of the awakening of the
human mind to a vigorous life which cast off the bonds of tradition and
insisted upon the right of free and unfettered development.  Athens was
the center of this intellectual activity.

In this century arose the Sophists, public teachers who busied
themselves with all departments of human knowledge, but seemed to lay
no little emphasis upon certain questions that touched very nearly the
life of man.  Can man attain to truth at all--to a truth that is more
than a mere truth to him, a seeming truth?  Whence do the laws derive
their authority?  Is there such a thing as justice, as right?  It was
with such questions as these that the Sophists occupied themselves, and
such questions as these have held the attention of mankind ever since.
When they make their appearance in the life of a people or of an
individual man, it means that there has been a rebirth, a birth into
the life of reflection.

When Socrates, that greatest of teachers, felt called upon to refute
the arguments of these men, he met them, so to speak, on their own
ground, recognizing that the subjects of which they discoursed were,
indeed, matter for scientific investigation.  His attitude seemed to
many conservative persons in his day a dangerous one; he was regarded
as an innovator; he taught men to think and to raise questions where,
before, the traditions of the fathers had seemed a sufficient guide to
men's actions.

And, indeed, he could not do otherwise.  Men had learned to reflect,
and there had come into existence at least the beginnings of what we
now sometimes rather loosely call the mental and moral sciences.  In
the works of Socrates' disciple Plato (428-347 B.C.) and in those of
Plato's disciple Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), abundant justice is done to
these fields of human activity.  These two, the greatest among the
Greek philosophers, differ from each other in many things, but it is
worthy of remark that they both seem to regard the whole sphere of
human knowledge as their province.

Plato is much more interested in the moral sciences than in the
physical, but he, nevertheless, feels called upon to give an account of
how the world was made and out of what sort of elements.  He evidently
does not take his own account very seriously, and recognizes that he is
on uncertain ground.  But he does not consider the matter beyond his

As for Aristotle, that wonderful man seems to have found it possible to
represent worthily every science known to his time, and to have marked
out several new fields for his successors to cultivate.  His philosophy
covers physics, cosmology, zoölogy, logic, metaphysics, ethics,
psychology, politics and economics, rhetoric and poetics.

Thus we see that the task of the philosopher was much the same at the
period of the highest development of the Greek philosophy that it had
been earlier.  He was supposed to give an account of the system of
things.  But the notion of what it means to give an account of the
system of things had necessarily undergone some change.  The
philosopher had to be something more than a natural philosopher.

3. PHILOSOPHY AS A GUIDE TO LIFE.--At the close of the fourth century
before Christ there arose the schools of the Stoics, the Epicureans,
and the Skeptics.  In them we seem to find a somewhat new conception of
philosophy--philosophy appears as chiefly a guide to life.  The Stoic
emphasizes the necessity of living "according to nature," and dwells
upon the character of the wise man; the Epicurean furnishes certain
selfish maxims for getting through life as pleasantly as possible; the
Skeptic counsels apathy, an indifference to all things,--blessed is he
who expects nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.

And yet, when we examine more closely these systems, we find a
conception of philosophy not really so very different from that which
had obtained before.  We do not find, it is true, that disinterested
passion for the attainment of truth which is the glory of science.  Man
seems quite too much concerned with the problem of his own happiness or
unhappiness; he has grown morbid.  Nevertheless, the practical maxims
which obtain in each of these systems are based upon a certain view of
the system of things as a whole.

The Stoic tells us of what the world consists; what was the beginning
and what will be the end of things; what is the relation of the system
of things to God.  He develops a physics and a logic as well as a
system of ethics.  The Epicurean informs us that the world originated
in a rain of atoms through space; he examines into the foundations of
human knowledge; and he proceeds to make himself comfortable in a world
from which he has removed those disturbing elements, the gods.  The
Skeptic decides that there is no such thing as truth, before he
enunciates the dogma that it is not worth while to worry about
anything.  The philosophy of each school includes a view of the system
of things as a whole.  The philosopher still regarded the universe of
knowledge as his province.

4. PHILOSOPHY IN THE MIDDLE AGES.--I cannot do more than mention
Neo-Platonism, that half Greek and half Oriental system of doctrine
which arose in the third century after Christ, the first system of
importance after the schools mentioned above.  But I must not pass it
by without pointing out that the Neo-Platonic philosopher undertook to
give an account of the origin, development, and end of the whole system
of things.

In the Middle Ages there gradually grew up rather a sharp distinction
between those things that can be known through the unaided reason and
those things that can only be known through a supernatural revelation.
The term "philosophy" came to be synonymous with knowledge attained by
the natural light of reason.  This seems to imply some sort of a
limitation to the task of the philosopher.  Philosophy is not
synonymous with all knowledge.

But we must not forget to take note of the fact that philosophy, even
with this limitation, constitutes a pretty wide field.  It covers both
the physical and the moral sciences.  Nor should we omit to notice that
the scholastic philosopher was at the same time a theologian.  Albert
the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas, the famous scholastics of the
thirteenth century, had to write a "_Summa Theologiae_," or system of
theology, as well as to treat of the other departments of human

Why were these men not overwhelmed with the task set them by the
tradition of their time?  It was because the task was not, after all,
so great as a modern man might conceive it to be.  Gil Blas, in Le
Sage's famous romance, finds it possible to become a skilled physician
in the twinkling of an eye, when Dr. Sangrado has imparted to him the
secret that the remedy for all diseases is to be found in bleeding the
patient and in making him drink copiously of hot water.  When little is
known about things, it does not seem impossible for one man to learn
that little.  During the Middle Ages and the centuries preceding, the
physical sciences had a long sleep.  Men were much more concerned in
the thirteenth century to find out what Aristotle had said than they
were to address questions to nature.  The special sciences, as we now
know them, had not been called into existence.

5. THE MODERN PHILOSOPHY.--The submission of men's minds to the
authority of Aristotle and of the church gradually gave way.  A revival
of learning set in.  Men turned first of all to a more independent
choice of authorities, and then rose to the conception of a philosophy
independent of authority, of a science based upon an observation of
nature, of a science at first hand.  The special sciences came into

But the old tradition of philosophy as universal knowledge remained.
If we pass over the men of the transition period and turn our attention
to Francis Bacon (1561-1626) and Rene Descartes (1596-1650), the two
who are commonly regarded as heading the list of the modern
philosophers, we find both of them assigning to the philosopher an
almost unlimited field.

Bacon holds that philosophy has for its objects God, man, and nature,
and he regards it as within his province to treat of "_philosophia
prima_" (a sort of metaphysics, though he does not call it by this
name), of logic, of physics and astronomy, of anthropology, in which he
includes psychology, of ethics, and of politics.  In short, he attempts
to map out the whole field of human knowledge, and to tell those who
work in this corner of it or in that how they should set about their

As for Descartes, he writes of the trustworthiness of human knowledge,
of the existence of God, of the existence of an external world, of the
human soul and its nature, of mathematics, physics, cosmology,
physiology, and, in short, of nearly everything discussed by the men of
his day.  No man can accuse this extraordinary Frenchman of a lack of
appreciation of the special sciences which were growing up.  No one in
his time had a better right to be called a scientist in the modern
sense of the term.  But it was not enough for him to be a mere
mathematician, or even a worker in the physical sciences generally.  He
must be all that has been mentioned above.

The conception of philosophy as of a something that embraces all
departments of human knowledge has not wholly passed away even in our
day.  I shall not dwell upon Spinoza (1632-1677), who believed it
possible to deduce a world _a priori_ with mathematical precision; upon
Christian Wolff (1679-1754), who defined philosophy as the knowledge of
the causes of what is or comes into being; upon Fichte (1762-1814), who
believed that the philosopher, by mere thinking, could lay down the
laws of all possible future experience; upon Schelling (1775-1854),
who, without knowing anything worth mentioning about natural science,
had the courage to develop a system of natural philosophy, and to
condemn such investigators as Boyle and Newton; upon Hegel (1770-1831),
who undertakes to construct the whole system of reality out of
concepts, and who, with his immediate predecessors, brought philosophy
for a while into more or less disrepute with men of a scientific turn
of mind.  I shall come down quite to our own times, and consider a man
whose conception of philosophy has had and still has a good deal of
influence, especially with the general public--with those to whom
philosophy is a thing to be taken up in moments of leisure, and cannot
be the serious pursuit of a life.

"Knowledge of the lowest kind," says Herbert Spencer, "is _un-unified_
knowledge; Science is _partially-unified_ knowledge; Philosophy is
_completely-unified_ knowledge." [1]  Science, he argues, means merely
the family of the Sciences--stands for nothing more than the sum of
knowledge formed of their contributions.  Philosophy is the fusion of
these contributions into a whole; it is knowledge of the greatest
generality.  In harmony with this notion Spencer produced a system of
philosophy which includes the following: A volume entitled "First
Principles," which undertakes to show what man can and what man cannot
know; a treatise on the principles of biology; another on the
principles of psychology; still another on the principles of sociology;
and finally one on the principles of morality.  To complete the scheme
it would have been necessary to give an account of inorganic nature
before going on to the phenomena of life, but our philosopher found the
task too great and left this out.

Now, Spencer was a man of genius, and one finds in his works many
illuminating thoughts.  But it is worthy of remark that those who
praise his work in this or in that field are almost always men who have
themselves worked in some other field and have an imperfect
acquaintance with the particular field that they happen to be praising.
The metaphysician finds the reasonings of the "First Principles" rather
loose and inconclusive; the biologist pays little heed to the
"Principles of Biology"; the sociologist finds Spencer not particularly
accurate or careful in the field of his predilection.  He has tried to
be a professor of all the sciences, and it is too late in the world's
history for him or for any man to cope with such a task.  In the days
of Plato a man might have hoped to accomplish it.

6. WHAT PHILOSOPHY MEANS IN OUR TIME.--It savors of temerity to write
down such a title as that which heads the present section.  There are
men living to-day to whom philosophy means little else than the
doctrine of Kant, or of Hegel, or of the brothers Caird, or of Herbert
Spencer, or even of St. Thomas Aquinas, for we must not forget that
many of the seminaries of learning in Europe and some in America still
hold to the mediaeval church philosophy.

But let me gather up in a few words the purport of what has been said
above.  Philosophy once meant the whole body of scientific knowledge.
Afterward it came to mean the whole body of knowledge which could be
attained by the mere light of human reason, unaided by revelation.  The
several special sciences sprang up, and a multitude of men have for a
long time past devoted themselves to definite limited fields of
investigation with little attention to what has been done in other
fields.  Nevertheless, there has persisted the notion of a discipline
which somehow concerns itself with the whole system of things, rather
than with any limited division of that broad field.  It is a notion not
peculiar to the disciples of Spencer.  There are many to whom
philosophy is a "_Weltweisheit_," a world-wisdom.  Shall we say that
this is the meaning of the word philosophy now?  And if we do, how
shall we draw a line between philosophy and the body of the special

Perhaps the most just way to get a preliminary idea of what philosophy
means to the men of our time is to turn away for the time being from
the definition of any one man or group of men, and to ask ourselves
what a professor of philosophy in an American or European university is
actually supposed to teach.

It is quite clear that he is not supposed to be an Aristotle.  He does
not represent all the sciences, and no one expects him to lecture on
mathematics, mechanics, physics, chemistry, zoölogy, botany, economics,
politics, and various other disciplines.  There was a time when he
might have been expected to teach all that men could know, but that
time is long past.

Nevertheless, there is quite a group of sciences which are regarded as
belonging especially to his province; and although a man may devote a
large part of his attention to some one portion of the field, he would
certainly be thought remiss if he wholly neglected the rest.  This
group of sciences includes logic, psychology, ethics and aesthetics,
metaphysics, and the history of philosophy.  I have not included
epistemology or the "theory of knowledge" as a separate discipline, for
reasons which will appear later (Chapter XIX); and I have included the
history of philosophy, because, whether we care to call this a special
science or not, it constitutes a very important part of the work of the
teacher of philosophy in our day.

Of this group of subjects the student who goes to the university to
study philosophy is supposed to know something before he leaves its
walls, whatever else he may or may not know.

It should be remarked, again, that there is commonly supposed to be a
peculiarly close relation between philosophy and religion.  Certainly,
if any one about a university undertakes to give a course of lectures
on theism, it is much more apt to be the professor of philosophy than
the professor of mathematics or of chemistry.  The man who has written
an "Introduction to Philosophy," a "Psychology," a "Logic," and an
"Outlines of Metaphysics" is very apt to regard it as his duty to add
to the list a "Philosophy of Religion."  The students in the
theological seminaries of Europe and America are usually encouraged, if
not compelled, to attend courses in philosophy.

Finally, it appears to be definitely accepted that even the disciplines
that we never think of classing among the philosophical sciences are
not wholly cut off from a connection with philosophy.  When we are
occupied, not with adding to the stock of knowledge embraced within the
sphere of any special science, but with an examination of the methods
of the science, with, so to speak, a criticism of the foundations upon
which the science rests, our work is generally recognized as
philosophical.  It strikes no one as odd in our day that there should
be established a "Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific
Methods," but we should think it strange if some one announced the
intention to publish a "Journal of Philosophy and Comparative Anatomy."
It is not without its significance that, when Mach, who had been
professor of physics at Prague, was called (in 1895) to the University
of Vienna to lecture on the history and theory of the inductive
sciences, he was made, not professor of physics, but professor of

The case, then, stands thus: a certain group of disciplines is regarded
as falling peculiarly within the province of the professor of
philosophy, and the sciences which constitute it are frequently called
the philosophical sciences; moreover, it is regarded as quite proper
that the teacher of philosophy should concern himself with the problems
of religion, and should pry into the methods and fundamental
assumptions of special sciences in all of which it is impossible that
he should be an adept.  The question naturally arises: Why has his task
come to be circumscribed as it is?  Why should he teach just these
things and no others?

To this question certain persons are at once ready to give an answer.
There was a time, they argue, when it seemed possible for one man to
embrace the whole field of human knowledge.  But human knowledge grew;
the special sciences were born; each concerned itself with a definite
class of facts and developed its own methods.  It became possible and
necessary for a man to be, not a scientist at large, but a chemist, a
physicist, a biologist, an economist.  But in certain portions of the
great field men have met with peculiar difficulties; here it cannot be
said that we have sciences, but rather that we have attempts at
science.  The philosopher is the man to whom is committed what is left
when we have taken away what has been definitely established or is
undergoing investigation according to approved scientific methods.  He
is Lord of the Uncleared Ground, and may wander through it in his
compassless, irresponsible way, never feeling that he is lost, for he
has never had any definite bearings to lose.

Those who argue in this way support their case by pointing to the lack
of a general consensus of opinion which obtains in many parts of the
field which the philosopher regards as his own; and also by pointing
out that, even within this field, there is a growing tendency on the
part of certain sciences to separate themselves from philosophy and
become independent.  Thus the psychologist and the logician are
sometimes very anxious to have it understood that they belong among the
scientists and not among the philosophers.

Now, this answer to the question that we have raised undoubtedly
contains some truth.  As we have seen from the sketch contained in the
preceding pages, the word philosophy was once a synonym for the whole
sum of the sciences or what stood for such; gradually the several
sciences have become independent and the field of the philosopher has
been circumscribed.  We must admit, moreover, that there is to be found
in a number of the special sciences a body of accepted facts which is
without its analogue in philosophy.  In much of his work the
philosopher certainly seems to be walking upon more uncertain ground
than his neighbors; and if he is unaware of that fact, it must be
either because he has not a very nice sense of what constitutes
scientific evidence, or because he is carried away by his enthusiasm
for some particular form of doctrine.

Nevertheless, it is just to maintain that the answer we are discussing
is not a satisfactory one.  For one thing, we find in it no indication
of the reason why the particular group of disciplines with which the
philosopher occupies himself has been left to him, when so many
sciences have announced their independence.  Why have not these, also,
separated off and set up for themselves?  Is it more difficult to work
in these fields than in others? and, if so, what reason can be assigned
for the fact?

Take psychology as an instance.  How does it happen that the physicist
calmly develops his doctrine without finding it necessary to make his
bow to philosophy at all, while the psychologist is at pains to explain
that his book is to treat psychology as "a natural science," and will
avoid metaphysics as much as possible?  For centuries men have been
interested in the phenomena of the human mind.  Can anything be more
open to observation than what passes in a man's own consciousness?
Why, then, should the science of psychology lag behind? and why these
endless disputes as to whether it can really be treated as a "natural
science" at all?

Again.  May we assume that, because certain disciplines have taken a
position of relative independence, therefore all the rest of the field
will surely come to be divided up in the same way, and that there will
be many special sciences, but no such thing as philosophy?  It is hasty
to assume this on no better evidence than that which has so far been
presented.  Before making up one's mind upon this point, one should
take a careful look at the problems with which the philosopher occupies

A complete answer to the questions raised above can only be given in
the course of the book, where the main problems of philosophy are
discussed, and the several philosophical sciences are taken up and
examined.  But I may say, in anticipation, as much as this:--

(1) Philosophy is reflective knowledge.  What is meant by reflective
knowledge will be explained at length in the next chapter.

(2) The sciences which are grouped together as philosophical are those
in which we are forced back upon the problems of reflective thought,
and cannot simply put them aside.

(3) The peculiar difficulties of reflective thought may account for the
fact that these sciences are, more than others, a field in which we may
expect to find disputes and differences of opinion.

(4) We need not be afraid that the whole field of human knowledge will
come to be so divided up into special sciences that philosophy will
disappear.  The problems with which the philosopher occupies himself
are real problems, which present themselves unavoidably to the
thoughtful mind, and it is not convenient to divide these up among the
several sciences.  This will become clearer as we proceed.

[1] "First Principles," Part II, section 37.



7. COMMON THOUGHT.--Those who have given little attention to the study
of the human mind are apt to suppose that, when the infant opens its
eyes upon the new world of objects surrounding its small body, it sees
things much as they do themselves.  They are ready to admit that it
does not know much _about_ things, but it strikes them as absurd for
any one to go so far as to say that it does not see things--the things
out there in space before its eyes.

Nevertheless, the psychologist tells us that it requires quite a course
of education to enable us to see things--not to have vague and
unmeaning sensations, but to see things, things that are known to be
touchable as well as seeable, things that are recognized as having size
and shape and position in space.  And he aims a still severer blow at
our respect for the infant when he goes on to inform us that the little
creature is as ignorant of itself as it is of things; that in its small
world of as yet unorganized experiences there is no self that is
distinguished from other things; that it may cry vociferously without
knowing who is uncomfortable, and may stop its noise without knowing
who has been taken up into the nurse's arms and has experienced an
agreeable change.

This chaotic little world of the dawning life is not our world, the
world of common thought, the world in which we all live and move in
maturer years; nor can we go back to it on the wings of memory.  We
seem to ourselves to have always lived in a world of things,--things in
time and space, material things.  Among these things there is one of
peculiar interest, and which we have not placed upon a par with the
rest, our own body, which sees, tastes, touches, other things.  We
cannot remember a time when we did not know that with this body are
somehow bound up many experiences which interest us acutely; for
example, experiences of pleasure and pain.  Moreover, we seem always to
have known that certain of the bodies which surround our own rather
resemble our own, and are in important particulars to be distinguished
from the general mass of bodies.

Thus, we seem always to have been living in a world of _things_ and to
have recognized in that world the existence of ourselves and of other
people.  When we now think of "ourselves" and of "other people," we
think of each of the objects referred to as possessing a _mind_.  May
we say that, as far back as we can remember, we have thought of
ourselves and of other persons as possessing minds?

Hardly.  The young child does not seem to distinguish between mind and
body, and, in the vague and fragmentary pictures which come back to us
from our early life, certainly this distinction does not stand out.
The child may be the completest of egoists, it may be absorbed in
itself and all that directly concerns this particular self, and yet it
may make no conscious distinction between a bodily self and a mental,
between mind and body.  It does not explicitly recognize its world as a
world that contains minds as well as bodies.

But, however it may be with the child in the earlier stages of its
development, we must all admit that the mature man does consciously
recognize that the world in which he finds himself is a world that
contains minds as well as bodies.  It never occurs to him to doubt that
there are bodies, and it never occurs to him to doubt that there are

Does he not perceive that he has a body and a mind?  Has he not
abundant evidence that his mind is intimately related to his body?
When he shuts his eyes, he no longer sees, and when he stops his ears,
he no longer hears; when his body is bruised, he feels pain; when he
wills to raise his hand, his body carries out the mental decree.  Other
men act very much as he does; they walk and they talk, they laugh and
they cry, they work and they play, just as he does.  In short, they act
precisely as though they had minds like his own.  What more natural
than to assume that, as he himself gives expression, by the actions of
his body, to the thoughts and emotions in his mind, so his neighbor
does the same?

We must not allow ourselves to underrate the plain man's knowledge
either of bodies or of minds.  It seems, when one reflects upon it, a
sufficiently wonderful thing that a few fragmentary sensations should
automatically receive an interpretation which conjures up before the
mind a world of real things; that, for example, the little patch of
color sensation which I experience when I turn my eyes toward the
window should seem to introduce me at once to a world of material
objects lying in space, clearly defined in magnitude, distance, and
direction; that an experience no more complex should be the key which
should unlock for me the secret storehouse of another mind, and lay
before me a wealth of thoughts and emotions not my own.  From the poor,
bare, meaningless world of the dawning intelligence to the world of
common thought, a world in which real things with their manifold
properties, things material and things mental, bear their part, is
indeed a long step.

And we should never forget that he who would go farther, he who would
strive to gain a better knowledge of matter and of mind by the aid of
science and of philosophical reflection, must begin his labors on this
foundation which is common to us all.  How else can he begin than by
accepting and more critically examining the world as it seems revealed
in the experience of the race?

8. SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE.--Still, the knowledge of the world which we
have been discussing is rather indefinite, inaccurate, and
unsystematic.  It is a sufficient guide for common life, but its
deficiencies may be made apparent.  He who wishes to know matter and
mind better cannot afford to neglect the sciences.

Now, it is important to observe that although, when the plain man grows
scientific, great changes take place in his knowledge of things, yet
his way of looking at the mind and the world remains in general much
what it was before.  To prevent this statement from being
misunderstood, I must explain it at some length.

Let us suppose that the man in question takes up the study of botany.
Need he do anything very different from what is done more imperfectly
by every intelligent man who interests himself in plants?  There in the
real material world before him are the same plants that he observed
somewhat carelessly before.  He must collect his information more
systematically and must arrange it more critically, but his task is not
so much to do something different as it is to do the same thing much

The same is evidently true of various other sciences, such as geology,
zoölogy, physiology, sociology.  Some men have much accurate
information regarding rocks, animals, the functions of the bodily
organs, the development of a given form of society, and other things of
the sort, and other men have but little; and yet it is usually not
difficult for the man who knows much to make the man who knows little
understand, at least, what he is talking about.  He is busying himself
with _things_--the same things that interest the plain man, and of
which the plain man knows something.  He has collected information
touching their properties, their changes, their relationships; but to
him, as to his less scientific neighbor, they are the same things they
always were,--things that he has known from the days of childhood.

Perhaps it will be admitted that this is true of such sciences as those
above indicated, but doubted whether it is true of all the sciences,
even of all the sciences which are directly concerned with _things_ of
_some_ sort.  For example, to the plain man the world of material
things consists of things that can be seen and touched.  Many of these
seem to fill space continuously.  They may be divided, but the parts
into which they may be divided are conceived as fragments of the
things, and as of the same general nature as the wholes of which they
are parts.  Yet the chemist and the physicist tell us that these same
extended things are not really continuous, as they seem to us to be,
but consist of swarms of imperceptible atoms, in rapid motion, at
considerable distances from one another in space, and grouped in
various ways.

What has now become of the world of realities to which the plain man
pinned his faith?  It has come to be looked upon as a world of
appearances, of phenomena, of manifestations, under which the real
things, themselves imperceptible, make their presence evident to our
senses.  Is this new, real world the world of things in which the plain
man finds himself, and in which he has felt so much at home?

A closer scrutiny reveals that the world of atoms and molecules into
which the man of science resolves the system of material things is not,
after all, so very different in kind from the world to which the plain
man is accustomed.  He can understand without difficulty the language
in which it is described to him, and he can readily see how a man may
be led to assume its existence.

The atom is not, it is true, directly perceivable by sense, but it is
conceived as though it and its motions were thus perceivable.  The
plain man has long known that things consist of parts which remain,
under some circumstances, invisible.  When he approaches an object from
a distance, he sees parts which he could not see before; and what
appears to the naked eye a mere speck without perceptible parts is
found under the microscope to be an insect with its full complement of
members.  Moreover, he has often observed that objects which appear
continuous when seen from a distance are evidently far from continuous
when seen close at hand.  As we walk toward a tree we can see the
indefinite mass of color break up into discontinuous patches; a fabric,
which presents the appearance of an unbroken surface when viewed in
certain ways may be seen to be riddled with holes when held between the
eye and the light.  There is no man who has not some acquaintance with
the distinction between appearance and reality, and who does not make
use of the distinction in common life.

Nor can it seem a surprising fact that different combinations of atoms
should exhibit different properties.  Have we not always known that
things in combination are apt to have different properties from the
same things taken separately?  He who does not know so much as this is
not fit even to be a cook.

No, the imperceptible world of atoms and molecules is not by any means
totally different from the world of things in which the plain man
lives.  These little objects and groups of objects are discussed very
much as we discuss the larger objects and groups of objects to which we
are accustomed.  We are still concerned with _things_ which exist in
space and move about in space; and even if these things are small and
are not very familiarly known, no intellectual revolution is demanded
to enable a man to understand the words of the scientist who is talking
about them, and to understand as well the sort of reasonings upon which
the doctrine is based.

9. MATHEMATICS.--Let us now turn to take a glance at the mathematical
sciences.  Of course, these have to do with things sooner or later, for
our mathematical reasonings would be absolutely useless to us if they
could not be applied to the world of things; but in mathematical
reasonings we abstract from things for the time being, confident that
we can come back to them when we want to do so, and can make use of the
results obtained in our operations.

Now, every civilized man who is not mentally deficient can perform the
fundamental operations of arithmetic.  He can add and subtract,
multiply and divide.  In other words, he can use _numbers_.  The man
who has become an accomplished mathematician can use numbers much
better; but if we are capable of following intelligently the intricate
series of operations that he carries out on the paper before us, and
can see the significance of the system of signs which he uses as an
aid, we shall realize that he is only doing in more complicated ways
what we have been accustomed to do almost from our childhood.

If we are interested, not so much in performing the operations, as in
inquiring into what really takes place in a mind when several units are
grasped together and made into a new unit,--for example, when twelve
units are thought as one dozen,--the mathematician has a right to say:
I leave all that to the psychologist or to the metaphysician; every one
knows in a general way what is meant by a unit, and knows that units
can be added and subtracted, grouped and separated; I only undertake to
show how one may avoid error in doing these things.

It is with geometry as it is with arithmetic.  No man is wholly
ignorant of points, lines, surfaces, and solids.  We are all aware that
a short line is not a point, a narrow surface is not a line, and a thin
solid is not a mere surface.  A door so thin as to have only one side
would be repudiated by every man of sense as a monstrosity.  When the
geometrician defines for us the point, the line, the surface, and the
solid, and when he sets before us an array of axioms, or self-evident
truths, we follow him with confidence because he seems to be telling us
things that we can directly see to be reasonable; indeed, to be telling
us things that we have always known.

The truth is that the geometrician does not introduce us to a new world
at all.  He merely gives us a fuller and a more exact account than was
before within our reach of the space relations which obtain in the
world of external objects, a world we already know pretty well.

Suppose that we say to him: You have spent many years in dividing up
space and in scrutinizing the relations that are to be discovered in
that realm; now tell us, what is space?  Is it real?  Is it a thing, or
a quality of a thing, or merely a relation between things?  And how can
any man think space, when the ideas through which he must think it are
supposed to be themselves non-extended?  The space itself is not
supposed to be in the mind; how can a collection of non-extended ideas
give any inkling of what is meant by extension?

Would any teacher of mathematics dream of discussing these questions
with his class before proceeding to the proof of his propositions?  It
is generally admitted that, if such questions are to be answered at
all, it is not with the aid of geometrical reasonings that they will be

10. THE SCIENCE OF PSYCHOLOGY.--Now let us come back to a science which
has to do directly with things.  We have seen that the plain man has
some knowledge of minds as well as of material things.  Every one
admits that the psychologist knows minds better.  May we say that his
knowledge of minds differs from that of the plain man about as the
knowledge of plants possessed by the botanist differs from that of all
intelligent persons who have cared to notice them?  Or is it a
knowledge of a quite different kind?

Those who are familiar with the development of the sciences within
recent years have had occasion to remark the fact that psychology has
been coming more and more to take its place as an independent science.
Formerly it was regarded as part of the duty of the philosopher to
treat of the mind and its knowledge; but the psychologist who pretends
to be no more than a psychologist is a product of recent times.  This
tendency toward specialization is a natural thing, and is quite in line
with what has taken place in other fields of investigation.

When any science becomes an independent discipline, it is recognized
that it is a more or less limited field in which work of a certain kind
is done in a certain way.  Other fields and other kinds of work are to
some extent ignored.  But it is quite to be expected that there should
be some dispute, especially at first, as to what does or does not
properly fall within the limits of a given science.  Where these limits
shall be placed is, after all, a matter of convenience; and sometimes
it is not well to be too strict in marking off one field from another.
It is well to watch the actual development of a science, and to note
the direction instinctively taken by investigators in that particular

If we compare the psychology of a generation or so ago with that of the
present day, we cannot but be struck with the fact that there is an
increasing tendency to treat psychology as a _natural science_.  By
this is not meant, of course, that there is no difference between
psychology and the sciences that concern themselves with the world of
material things--psychology has to do primarily with minds and not with
bodies.  But it is meant that, as the other sciences improve upon the
knowledge of the plain man without wholly recasting it, as they accept
the world in which he finds himself and merely attempt to give us a
better account of it, so the psychologist may accept the world of
matter and of minds recognized by common thought, and may devote
himself to the study of minds, without attempting to solve a class of
problems discussed by the metaphysician.  For example, he may refuse to
discuss the question whether the mind can really know that there is an
external world with which it stands in relation, and from which it
receives messages along the avenues of the senses.  He may claim that
it is no more his business to treat of this than it is the business of
the mathematician to treat of the ultimate nature of space.

Thus the psychologist assumes without question the existence of an
external real world, a world of matter and motion.  He finds in this
world certain organized bodies that present phenomena which he regards
as indicative of the presence of minds.  He accepts it as a fact that
each mind knows its own states directly, and knows everything else by
inference from those states, receiving messages from the outer world
along one set of nerves and reacting along another set.  He conceives
of minds as wholly dependent upon messages thus conveyed to them from
without.  He tells us how a mind, by the aid of such messages,
gradually builds up for itself the notion of the external world and of
the other minds which are connected with bodies to be found in that

We may fairly say that all this is merely a development of and an
improvement upon the plain man's knowledge of minds and of bodies.
There is no normal man who does not know that his mind is more
intimately related to his body than it is to other bodies.  We all
distinguish between our ideas of things and the external things they
represent, and we believe that our knowledge of things comes to us
through the avenues of the senses.  Must we not open our eyes to see,
and unstop our ears to hear?  We all know that we do not perceive other
minds directly, but must infer their contents from what takes place in
the bodies to which they are referred--from words and actions.
Moreover, we know that a knowledge of the outer world and of other
minds is built up gradually, and we never think of an infant as knowing
what a man knows, much as we are inclined to overrate the minds of

The fact that the plain man and the psychologist do not greatly differ
in their point of view must impress every one who is charged with the
task of introducing students to the study of psychology and philosophy.
It is rather an easy thing to make them follow the reasonings of the
psychologist, so long as he avoids metaphysical reflections.  The
assumptions which he makes seem to them not unreasonable; and, as for
his methods of investigation, there is no one of them which they have
not already employed themselves in a more or less blundering way.  They
have had recourse to _introspection_, _i.e._ they have noticed the
phenomena of their own minds; they have made use of the _objective
method_, i.e. they have observed the signs of mind exhibited by other
persons and by the brutes; they have sometimes _experimented_--this is
done by the schoolgirl who tries to find out how best to tease her
roommate, and by the boy who covers and uncovers his ears in church to
make the preacher sing a tune.

It may not be easy to make men good psychologists, but it is certainly
not difficult to make them understand what the psychologist is doing
and to make them realize the value of his work.  He, like the workers
in the other natural sciences, takes for granted the world of the plain
man, the world of material things in space and time and of minds
related to those material things.  But when it is a question of
introducing the student to the reflections of the philosophers the case
is very different.  We seem to be enticing him into a new and a strange
world, and he is apt to be filled with suspicion and distrust.  The
most familiar things take on an unfamiliar aspect, and questions are
raised which it strikes the unreflective man as highly absurd even to
propose.  Of this world of reflective thought I shall say just a word
in what follows.

11. REFLECTIVE THOUGHT.--If we ask our neighbor to meet us somewhere at
a given hour, he has no difficulty in understanding what we have
requested him to do.  If he wishes to do so, he can be on the spot at
the proper moment.  He may never have asked himself in his whole life
what he means by space and by time.  He may be quite ignorant that
thoughtful men have disputed concerning the nature of these for
centuries past.

And a man may go through the world avoiding disaster year after year by
distinguishing with some success between what is real and what is not
real, and yet he may be quite unable to tell us what, in general, it
means for a thing to be real.  Some things are real and some are not;
as a rule he seems to be able to discover the difference; of his method
of procedure he has never tried to give an account to himself.

That he has a mind he cannot doubt, and he has some idea of the
difference between it and certain other minds; but even the most ardent
champion of the plain man must admit that he has the most hazy of
notions touching the nature of his mind.  He seems to be more doubtful
concerning the nature of the mind and its knowledge than he is
concerning the nature of external things.  Certainly he appears to be
more willing to admit his ignorance in this realm.

And yet the man can hold his own in the world of real things.  He can
distinguish between this thing and that, this place and that, this time
and that.  He can think out a plan and carry it into execution; he can
guess at the contents of other minds and allow this knowledge to find
its place in his plan.

All of which proves that our knowledge is not necessarily useless
because it is rather dim and vague.  It is one thing to use a mental
state; it is another to have a clear comprehension of just what it is
and of what elements it may be made up.  The plain man does much of his
thinking as we all tie our shoes and button our buttons.  It would be
difficult for us to describe these operations, but we may perform them
very easily nevertheless.  When we say that we _know_ how to tie our
shoes, we only mean that we can tie them.

Now, enough has been said in the preceding sections to make clear that
the vagueness which characterizes many notions which constantly recur
in common thought is not wholly dispelled by the study of the several
sciences.  The man of science, like the plain man, may be able to use
very well for certain purposes concepts which he is not able to analyze
satisfactorily.  For example, he speaks of space and time, cause and
effect, substance and qualities, matter and mind, reality and
unreality.  He certainly is in a position to add to our knowledge of
the things covered by these terms.  But we should never overlook the
fact that the new knowledge which he gives us is a knowledge of the
same kind as that which we had before.  He measures for us spaces and
times; he does not tell us what space and time are.  He points out the
causes of a multitude of occurrences; he does not tell us what we mean
whenever we use the word "cause."  He informs us what we should accept
as real and what we should repudiate as unreal; he does not try to show
us what it is to be real and what it is to be unreal.

In other words, the man of science _extends_ our knowledge and makes it
more accurate; he does not _analyze_ certain fundamental conceptions,
which we all use, but of which we can usually give a very poor account.

On the other hand, it is the task of _reflective thought_, not in the
first instance, to extend the limits of our knowledge of the world of
matter and of minds, but rather _to make us more clearly conscious of
what that knowledge really is_.  Philosophical reflection takes up and
tries to analyze complex thoughts that men use daily without caring to
analyze them, indeed, without even realizing that they may be subjected
to analysis.

It is to be expected that it should impress many of those who are
introduced to it for the first time as rather a fantastic creation of
problems that do not present themselves naturally to the healthy mind.
There is no thoughtful man who does not reflect sometimes and about
some things; but there are few who feel impelled to go over the whole
edifice of their knowledge and examine it with a critical eye from its
turrets to its foundations.  In a sense, we may say that philosophical
thought is not natural, for he who is examining the assumptions upon
which all our ordinary thought about the world rests is no longer in
the world of the plain man.  He is treating things as men do not
commonly treat them, and it is perhaps natural that it should appear to
some that, in the solvent which he uses, the real world in which we all
rejoice should seem to dissolve and disappear.

I have said that it is not the task of reflective thought, _in the
first instance_, to extend the limits of our knowledge of the world of
matter and of minds.  This is true.  But this does not mean that, as a
result of a careful reflective analysis, some errors which may creep
into the thought both of the plain man and of the scientist may not be
exploded; nor does it mean that some new extensions of our knowledge
may not be suggested.

In the chapters to follow I shall take up and examine some of the
problems of reflective thought.  And I shall consider first those
problems that present themselves to those who try to subject to a
careful scrutiny our knowledge of the external world.  It is well to
begin with this, for, even in our common experience, it seems to be
revealed that the knowledge of material things is a something less
vague and indefinite than the knowledge of minds.




enjoyed Cicero's joke at the expense of the "minute philosophers."
They denied the immortality of the soul; he affirmed it; and he
congratulated himself upon the fact that, if they were right, they
would not survive to discover it and to triumph over him.

At the close of the seventeenth century the philosopher John Locke was
guilty of a joke of somewhat the same kind.  "I think," said he,
"nobody can, in earnest, be so skeptical as to be uncertain of the
existence of those things which he sees and feels.  At least, he that
can doubt so far (whatever he may have with his own thoughts) will
never have any controversy with me; since he can never be sure I say
anything contrary to his own opinion."

Now, in this chapter and in certain chapters to follow, I am going to
take up and turn over, so that we may get a good look at them, some of
the problems that have presented themselves to those who have reflected
upon the world and the mind as they seem given in our experience.  I
shall begin by asking whether it is not possible to doubt that there is
an external world at all.

The question cannot best be answered by a jest.  It may, of course, be
absurd to maintain that there is no external world; but surely he, too,
is in an absurd position who maintains dogmatically that there is one,
and is yet quite unable to find any flaw in the reasonings of the man
who seems to be able to show that this belief has no solid foundation.
And we must not forget that the men who have thought it worth while to
raise just such questions as this, during the last twenty centuries,
have been among the most brilliant intellects of the race.  We must not
assume too hastily that they have occupied themselves with mere

Since, therefore, so many thoughtful men have found it worth while to
ask themselves seriously whether there is an external world, or, at
least, how we can know that there is an external world, it is not
unreasonable to expect that, by looking for it, we may find in our
common experience or in science some difficulty sufficient to suggest
the doubt which at first strikes the average man as preposterous.  In
what can such a doubt take its rise?  Let us see.

I think it is scarcely too much to say that the plain man believes that
he _does not_ directly perceive an external world, and that he, at the
same time, believes that he _does_ directly perceive one.  It is quite
possible to believe contradictory things, when one's thought of them is
somewhat vague, and when one does not consciously bring them together.

As to the first-mentioned belief.  Does not the plain man distinguish
between his ideas of things and the things themselves?  Does he not
believe that his ideas come to him through the avenues of the senses?
Is he not aware of the fact that, when a sense is disordered, the thing
as he perceives it is not like the thing "as it is"?  A blind man does
not see things when they are there; a color-blind man sees them as
others do not see them; a man suffering under certain abnormal
conditions of the nervous system sees things when they are not there at
all, _i.e._ he has hallucinations.  The thing itself, as it seems, is
not in the man's mind; it is the idea that is in the man's mind, and
that represents the thing.  Sometimes it appears to give a true account
of it; sometimes it seems to give a garbled account; sometimes it is a
false representative throughout--there is no reality behind it.  It is,
then, the _idea_ that is immediately known, and not the _thing_; the
thing is merely _inferred_ to exist.

I do not mean to say that the plain man is conscious of drawing this
conclusion.  I only maintain that it seems a natural conclusion to draw
from the facts which he recognizes, and that sometimes he seems to draw
the conclusion half-consciously.

On the other hand, we must all admit that when the plain man is not
thinking about the distinction between ideas and things, but is looking
at some material object before him, is touching it with his fingers and
turning it about to get a good look at it, it never occurs to him that
he is not directly conscious of the thing itself.

He seems to himself to perceive the thing immediately; to perceive it
_as_ it is and _where_ it is; to perceive it as a really extended
thing, out there in space before his body.  He does not think of
himself as occupied with mere images, representations of the object.
He may be willing to admit that his mind is in his head, but he cannot
think that what he sees is in his head.  Is not the object _there_?
does he not _see_ and _feel_ it?  Why doubt such evidence as this?  He
who tells him that the external world does not exist seems to be
denying what is immediately given in his experience.

The man who looks at things in this way assumes, of course, that the
external object is known directly, and is not a something merely
inferred to exist from the presence of a representative image.  May one
embrace this belief and abandon the other one?  If we elect to do this,
we appear to be in difficulties at once.  All the considerations which
made us distinguish so carefully between our ideas of things and the
things themselves crowd in upon us.  Can it be that we know things
independently of the avenues of the senses?  Would a man with different
senses know things just as we do?  How can any man suffer from an
hallucination, if things are not inferred from images, but are known

The difficulties encountered appear sufficiently serious even if we
keep to that knowledge of things which seems to be given in common
experience.  But even the plain man has heard of atoms and molecules;
and if he accepts the extension of knowledge offered him by the man of
science, he must admit that, whatever this apparently immediately
perceived external thing may be, it cannot be the external thing that
science assures him is out there in space beyond his body, and which
must be a very different sort of thing from the thing he seems to
perceive.  The thing he perceives must, then, be _appearance_; and
where can that appearance be if not in his own mind?

The man who has made no study of philosophy at all does not usually
think these things out; but surely there are interrogation marks
written up all over his experience, and he misses them only because he
does not see clearly.  By judiciously asking questions one may often
lead him either to affirm or to deny that he has an immediate knowledge
of the external world, pretty much as one pleases.  If he affirms it,
his position does not seem to be a wholly satisfactory one, as we have
seen; and if he denies it, he makes the existence of the external world
wholly a matter of inference from the presence of ideas in the mind,
and he must stand ready to justify this inference.

To many men it has seemed that the inference is not an easy one to
justify.  One may say: We could have no ideas of things, no sensations,
if real things did not exist and make an impression upon our senses.
But to this it may be answered: How is that statement to be proved?  Is
it to be proved by observing that, when things are present and affect
the senses, there come into being ideas which represent the things?
Evidently such a proof as this is out of the question, for, if it is
true that we know external things only by inference and never
immediately, then we can never prove by observation that ideas and
things are thus connected.  And if it is not to be proved by
observation, how shall it be proved?  Shall we just assume it
dogmatically and pass on to something else?  Surely there is enough in
the experience of the plain man to justify him in raising the question
whether he can certainly know that there is an external world.

that the doubt regarding the existence of the world seems to have its
root in the familiar distinction between ideas and things, appearances
and the realities which they are supposed to represent.  The
psychologist has much to say about ideas; and if sharpening and making
clear this distinction has anything to do with stirring up doubts, it
is natural to suppose that they should become more insistent when one
has exchanged the ignorance of everyday life for the knowledge of the

Now, when the psychologist asks how a given mind comes to have a
knowledge of any external thing, he finds his answer in the messages
which have been brought to the mind by means of the bodily senses.  He
describes the sense-organs and the nervous connections between these
and the brain, and tells us that when certain nervous impulses have
traveled, let us say, from the eye or the ear to the brain, one has
sensations of sight or sound.

He describes for us in detail how, out of such sensations and the
memories of such sensations, we frame mental images of external things.
Between the mental image and the thing that it represents he
distinguishes sharply, and he informs us that the mind knows no more
about the external thing than is contained in such images.  That a
thing is present can be known only by the fact that a message from the
thing is sent along the nerves, and what the thing is must be
determined from the character of the message.  Given the image in the
absence of the thing,--that is to say, an hallucination,--the mind will
naturally suppose that the thing is present.  This false supposition
cannot be corrected by a direct inspection of the thing, for such a
direct inspection of things is out of the question.  The only way in
which the mind concerned can discover that the thing is absent is by
referring to its other experiences.  This image is compared with other
images and is discovered to be in some way abnormal.  We decide that it
is a false representative and has no corresponding reality behind it.

This doctrine taken as it stands seems to cut the mind off from the
external world very completely; and the most curious thing about it is
that it seems to be built up on the assumption that it is not really
true.  How can one know certainly that there is a world of material
things, including human bodies with their sense-organs and nerves, if
no mind has ever been able to inspect directly anything of the sort?
How can we tell that a sensation arises when a nervous impulse has been
carried along a sensory nerve and has reached the brain, if every mind
is shut up to the charmed circle of its own ideas?  The anatomist and
the physiologist give us very detailed accounts of the sense-organs and
of the brain; the physiologist even undertakes to measure the speed
with which the impulse passes along a nerve; the psychologist accepts
and uses the results of their labors.  But can all this be done in the
absence of any first-hand knowledge of the things of which one is
talking?  Remember that, if the psychologist is right, any external
object, eye, ear, nerve, or brain, which we can perceive directly, is a
mental complex, a something in the mind and not external at all.  How
shall we prove that there are objects, ears, eyes, nerves, and
brains,--in short, all the requisite mechanism for the calling into
existence of sensations,--in an outer world which is not immediately
perceived but is only inferred to exist?

I do not wish to be regarded as impugning the right of the psychologist
to make the assumptions which he does, and to work as he does.  He has
a right to assume, with the plain man, that there is an external world
and that we know it.  But a very little reflection must make it
manifest that he seems, at least, to be guilty of an inconsistency, and
that he who wishes to think clearly should strive to see just where the
trouble lies.

So much, at least, is evident: the man who is inclined to doubt whether
there is, after all, any real external world, appears to find in the
psychologist's distinction between ideas and things something like an
excuse for his doubt.  To get to the bottom of the matter and to
dissipate his doubt one has to go rather deeply into metaphysics.  I
merely wish to show just here that the doubt is not a gratuitous one,
but is really suggested to the thoughtful mind by a reflection upon our
experience of things.  And, as we are all apt to think that the man of
science is less given to busying himself with useless subtleties than
is the philosopher, I shall, before closing this chapter, present some
paragraphs upon the subject from the pen of a professor of mathematics
and mechanics.

14. THE "TELEPHONE EXCHANGE."--"We are accustomed to talk," writes
Professor Karl Pearson,[1] "of the 'external world,' of the 'reality'
outside us.  We speak of individual objects having an existence
independent of our own.  The store of past sense-impressions, our
thoughts and memories, although most probably they have beside their
psychical element a close correspondence with some physical change or
impress in the brain, are yet spoken of as _inside_ ourselves.  On the
other hand, although if a sensory nerve be divided anywhere short of
the brain, we lose the corresponding class of sense impression, we yet
speak of many sense-impressions, such as form and texture, as existing
outside ourselves.  How close then can we actually get to this supposed
world outside ourselves?  Just as near but no nearer than the brain
terminals of the sensory nerves.  We are like the clerk in the central
telephone exchange who cannot get nearer to his customers than his end
of the telephone wires.  We are indeed worse off than the clerk, for to
carry out the analogy properly we must suppose him _never to have been
outside the telephone exchange, never to have seen a customer or any
one like a customer--in short, never, except through the telephone
wire, to have come in contact with the outside universe_.  Of that
'real' universe outside himself he would be able to form no direct
impression; the real universe for him would be the aggregate of his
constructs from the messages which were caused by the telephone wires
in his office.  About those messages and the ideas raised in his mind
by them he might reason and draw his inferences; and his conclusions
would be correct--for what?  For the world of telephonic messages, for
the type of messages that go through the telephone.  Something definite
and valuable he might know with regard to the spheres of action and of
thought of his telephonic subscribers, but outside those spheres he
could have no experience.  Pent up in his office he could never have
seen or touched even a telephonic subscriber _in himself_.  Very much
in the position of such a telephone clerk is the conscious _ego_ of
each one of us seated at the brain terminals of the sensory nerves.
Not a step nearer than those terminals can the _ego_ get to the 'outer
world,' and what in and for themselves are the subscribers to its nerve
exchange it has no means of ascertaining.  Messages in the form of
sense-impressions come flowing in from that 'outside world,' and these
we analyze, classify, store up, and reason about.  But of the nature of
'things-in-themselves,' of what may exist at the other end of our
system of telephone wires, we know nothing at all.

"But the reader, perhaps, remarks, 'I not only see an object, but I can
_touch_ it.  I can trace the nerve from the tip of my finger to the
brain.  I am not like the telephone clerk, I can follow my network of
wires to their terminals and find what is at the other end of them.'
Can you, reader?  Think for a moment whether your _ego_ has for one
moment got away from his brain exchange.  The sense-impression that you
call touch was just as much as sight felt only at the brain end of a
sensory nerve.  What has told you also of the nerve from the tip of
your finger to your brain?  Why, sense-impressions also, messages
conveyed along optic or tactile sensory nerves.  In truth, all you have
been doing is to employ one subscriber to your telephone exchange to
tell you about the wire that goes to a second, but you are just as far
as ever from tracing out for yourself the telephone wires to the
individual subscriber and ascertaining what his nature is in and for
himself.  The immediate sense-impression is just as far removed from
what you term the 'outside world' as the store of impresses.  If our
telephone clerk had recorded by aid of a phonograph certain of the
messages from the outside world on past occasions, then if any
telephonic message on its receipt set several phonographs repeating
past messages, we have an image analogous to what goes on in the brain.
Both telephone and phonograph are equally removed from what the clerk
might call the 'real outside world,' but they enable him through their
sounds to construct a universe; he projects those sounds, which are
really inside his office, outside his office, and speaks of them as the
external universe.  This outside world is constructed by him from the
contents of the inside sounds, which differ as widely from
things-in-themselves as language, the symbol, must always differ from
the thing it symbolizes.  For our telephone clerk sounds would be the
real world, and yet we can see how conditioned and limited it would be
by the range of his particular telephone subscribers and by the
contents of their messages.

"So it is with our brain; the sounds from telephone and phonograph
correspond to immediate and stored sense-impressions.  These
sense-impressions we project as it were outwards and term the real
world outside ourselves.  But the things-in-themselves which the
sense-impressions symbolize, the 'reality,' as the metaphysicians wish
to call it, at the other end of the nerve, remains unknown and is
unknowable.  Reality of the external world lies for science and for us
in combinations of form and color and touch--sense-impressions as
widely divergent from the thing 'at the other end of the nerve' as the
sound of the telephone from the subscriber at the other end of the
wire.  We are cribbed and confined in this world of sense-impressions
like the exchange clerk in his world of sounds, and not a step beyond
can we get.  As his world is conditioned and limited by his particular
network of wires, so ours is conditioned by our nervous system, by our
organs of sense.  Their peculiarities determine what is the nature of
the outside world which we construct.  It is the similarity in the
organs of sense and in the perceptive faculty of all normal human
beings which makes the outside world the same, or _practically_ the
same, for them all.  To return to the old analogy, it is as if two
telephone exchanges had very nearly identical groups of subscribers.
In this case a wire between the two exchanges would soon convince the
imprisoned clerks that they had something in common and peculiar to
themselves.  That conviction corresponds in our comparison to the
recognition of other consciousness."

I suggest that this extract be read over carefully, not once but
several times, and that the reader try to make quite clear to himself
the position of the clerk in the telephone exchange, _i.e._ the
position of the mind in the body, as depicted by Professor Pearson,
before recourse is had to the criticisms of any one else.  One cannot
find anywhere better material for critical philosophical reflection.

As has been seen, our author accepts without question, the
psychological doctrine that the mind is shut up within the circle of
the messages that are conducted to it along the sensory nerves, and
that it cannot directly perceive anything truly external.  He carries
his doctrine out to the bitter end in the conclusion that, since we
have never had experience of anything beyond sense-impressions, and
have no ground for an inference to anything beyond, we must recognize
that the only external world of which we know anything is an external
world built up out of sense-impressions.  It is, thus, in the mind, and
is not external at all; it is only "projected outwards," _thought of_
as though it were beyond us.  Shall we leave the inconsistent position
of the plain man and of the psychologist and take our refuge in this
world of projected mental constructs?

Before the reader makes up his mind to do this, I beg him to consider
the following:--

(1) If the only external world of which we have a right to speak at all
is a construct in the mind or _ego_, we may certainly affirm that the
world is in the _ego_, but does it sound sensible to say that the _ego_
is somewhere in the world?

(2) If all external things are really inside the mind, and are only
"projected" outwards, of course our own bodies, sense-organs, nerves,
and brains, are really inside and are merely projected outwards.  Now,
do the sense-impressions of which everything is to be constructed "come
flowing in" along these nerves that are really inside?

(3) Can we say, when a nerve lies entirely within the mind or _ego_,
that this same mind or _ego_ is nearer to one end of the nerve than it
is to the other?  How shall we picture to ourselves "the conscious
_ego_ of each one of us seated at the brain terminals of the sensory
nerves"?  How can the _ego_ place the whole of itself at the end of a
nerve which it has constructed within itself?  And why is it more
difficult for it to get to one end of a nerve like this than it is to
get to the other?

(4) Why should the thing "at the other end of the nerve" remain unknown
and unknowable?  Since the nerve is entirely in the mind, is purely a
mental construct, can anything whatever be at the end of it without
being in the mind?  And if the thing in question is not in the mind,
how are we going to prove that it is any nearer to one end of a nerve
which is inside the mind than it is to the other?  If it may really be
said to be at the end of the nerve, why may we not know it quite as
well as we do the end of the nerve, or any other mental construct?

It must be clear to the careful reader of Professor Pearson's
paragraphs, that he does not confine himself strictly to the world of
mere "projections," to an outer world which is really _inner_.  If he
did this, the distinction between inner and outer would disappear.  Let
us consider for a moment the imprisoned clerk.  He is in a telephone
exchange, about him are wires and subscribers.  He gets only sounds and
must build up his whole universe of things out of sounds.  Now we are
supposing him to be in a telephone exchange, to be receiving messages,
to be building up a world out of these messages.  Do we for a moment
think of him as building up, out of the messages which came along the
wires, those identical wires which carried the messages and the
subscribers which sent them?  Never! we distinguish between the
exchange, with its wires and subscribers, and the messages received and
worked up into a world.  In picturing to ourselves the telephone
exchange, we are doing what the plain man and the psychologist do when
they distinguish between mind and body,--they never suppose that the
messages which come through the senses are identical with the senses
through which they come.

But suppose we maintain that there is no such thing as a telephone
exchange, with its wires and subscribers, which is not to be found
within some clerk.  Suppose the real external world is something
_inner_ and only "projected" without, mistakenly supposed by the
unthinking to be without.  Suppose it is nonsense to speak of a wire
which is not in the mind of a clerk.  May we under such circumstances
describe any clerk as _in a telephone exchange_? as _receiving
messages_? as _no nearer_ to his subscribers than his end of the wire?
May we say that sense-impressions _come flowing in_ to him?  The whole
figure of the telephone exchange becomes an absurdity when we have once
placed the exchange within the clerk.  Nor can we think of two clerks
as connected by a wire, when it is affirmed that every wire must
"really" be in some clerk.

The truth is, that, in the extracts which I have given above and in
many other passages in the same volume, the real external world, the
world which does not exist in the mind but _without_ it, is much
discredited, and is yet not actually discarded.  The ego is placed at
the brain terminals of the sensory nerves, and it receives messages
which _flow in_; _i.e._ the clerk is actually placed in an exchange.
That the existence of the exchange is afterward denied in so many words
does not mean that it has not played and does not continue to play an
important part in the thought of the author.

It is interesting to see how a man of science, whose reflections compel
him to deny the existence of the external world that we all seem to
perceive and that we somehow recognize as distinct from anything in our
minds, is _nevertheless compelled to admit the existence of this world
at every turn_.

But if we do admit it, what shall we make of it?  Shall we deny the
truth of what the psychologist has to tell us about a knowledge of
things only through the sensations to which they give rise?  We cannot,
surely, do that.  Shall we affirm that we know the external world
directly, and at the same time that we do not know it directly, but
only indirectly, and through the images which arise in our minds?  That
seems inconsistent.  Certainly there is material for reflection here.

Nevertheless the more we reflect on that material, the more evident
does it become that the plain man cannot be wrong in believing in the
external world which seems revealed in his experiences.  We find that
all attempts to discredit it rest upon the implicit assumption of its
existence, and fall to the ground when that existence is honestly
denied.  So our problem changes its form.  We no longer ask: Is there
an external world?  but rather: _What_ is the external world, and how
does it differ from the world of mere ideas?

[1] "The Grammar of Science," 2d Ed., London, 1900, pp. 60-63.



15. SENSE AND IMAGINATION.--Every one distinguishes between things
perceived and things only imagined.  With open eyes I see the desk
before me; with eyes closed, I can imagine it.  I lay my hand on it and
feel it; I can, without laying my hand on it, imagine that I feel it.
I raise my eyes, and see the pictures on the wall opposite me; I can
sit here and call before my mind the image of the door by which the
house is entered.

What is the difference between sense and imagination?  It must be a
difference of which we are all somehow conscious, for we unhesitatingly
distinguish between the things we perceive and the things we merely

It is well to remember at the outset that the two classes of
experiences are not wholly different.  The blue color that I imagine
seems blue.  It does not lose this quality because it is only
imaginary.  The horse that I imagine seems to have four legs, like a
horse perceived.  As I call it before my mind, it seems as large as the
real horse.  Neither the color, nor the size, nor the distribution of
parts, nor any other attribute of the sort appears to be different in
the imaginary object from what it is in the object as given in

The two experiences are, nevertheless, not the same; and every one
knows that they are not the same.  One difference that roughly marks
out the two classes of experiences from one another is that, as a rule,
our sense-experiences are more vivid than are the images that exist in
the imagination.

I say, as a rule, for we cannot always remark this difference.
Sensations may be very clear and unmistakable, but they may also be
very faint and indefinite.  When a man lays his hand firmly on my
shoulder, I may be in little doubt whether I feel a sensation or do
not; but when he touches my back very lightly, I may easily be in
doubt, and may ask myself in perplexity whether I have really been
touched or whether I have merely imagined it.  As a vessel recedes and
becomes a mere speck upon the horizon, I may well wonder, before I feel
sure that it is really quite out of sight, whether I still see the dim
little point, or whether I merely imagine that I see it.

On the other hand, things merely imagined may sometimes be very vivid
and insistent.  To some persons, what exists in the imagination is dim
and indefinite in the extreme.  Others imagine things vividly, and can
describe what is present only to the imagination almost as though it
were something seen.  Finally, we know that an image may become so
vivid and insistent as to be mistaken for an external thing.  That is
to say, there are such things as hallucinations.

The criterion of vividness will not, therefore, always serve to
distinguish between what is given in the sense and what is only
imagined.  And, indeed, it becomes evident, upon reflection, that we do
not actually make it our ultimate test.  We may be quite willing to
admit that faint sensations may come to be confused with what is
imagined, with "ideas," but we always regard such a confusion as
somebody's error.  We are not ready to admit that things perceived
faintly are things imagined, or that vivid "ideas" are things perceived
by sense.

Let us come back to the illustrations with which we started.  How do I
know that I perceive the desk before me; and how do I know that,
sitting here, I imagine, and do not see, the front door of the house?

My criterion is this: when I have the experience I call "seeing my
desk," the bit of experience which presents itself as my desk is in a
certain setting.  That is to say, the desk seen must be in a certain
relation to my body, and this body, as I know it, also consists of
experiences.  Thus, if I am to know that I see the desk, I must realize
that my eyes are open, that the object is in front of me and not behind
me, etc.

The desk as seen varies with the relation to the body in certain ways
that we regard as natural and explicable.  When I am near it, the
visual experience is not just what it is when I recede from it.  But
how can I know that I am near the desk or far from it?  What do these
expressions mean?  Their full meaning will become clearer in the next
chapter, but here I may say that nearness and remoteness must be
measured for me in experiences of some sort, or I would never know
anything as near to or far from my body.

Thus, all our sensory experiences are experiences that fall into a
certain system or order.  It is a system which we all recognize
implicitly, for we all reject as merely imaginary those experiences
which lack this setting.  If my eyes are shut--I am speaking now of the
eyes as experienced, as felt or perceived, as given in sensation--I
never say; "I see my desk," no matter how vivid the image of the
object.  Those who believe in "second sight" sometimes talk of seeing
things not in this setting, but the very name they give to the supposed
experience indicates that there is something abnormal about it.  No one
thinks it remarkable that I see the desk before which I perceive myself
to be sitting with open eyes.  Every one would think it strange if I
could see and describe the table in the next room, now shut away from
me.  When a man thinks he hears his name pronounced, and, turning his
head, seeks in vain for the speaker, he sets his experience down as a
hallucination.  He says, I did not really hear that; I merely imagined

May one not, with open eyes, have a hallucination of vision, just as
one may seem to hear one's name pronounced when no one is by?
Certainly.  But in each case the experience may be proved to be a
hallucination, nevertheless.  It may be recognized that the sensory
setting is incomplete, though it may not, at first, seem so.  Thus the
unreal object which seems to be seen may be found to be a thing that
cannot be touched.  Or, when one has attained to a relatively complete
knowledge of the system of experiences recognized as sensory, one may
make use of roundabout methods of ascertaining that the experience in
question does not really have the right setting.  Thus, the ghost which
is seen by the terrified peasant at midnight, but which cannot be
photographed, we may unhesitatingly set down as something imagined and
not really seen.

All our sensations are, therefore, experiences which take their place
in a certain setting.  This is our ultimate criterion.  We need not
take the word of the philosopher for it.  We need only reflect, and ask
ourselves how we know that, in a given case, we are seeing or hearing
or touching something, and are not merely imagining it.  In every case,
we shall find that we come back to the same test.  In common life, we
apply the test instinctively, and with little realization of what we
are doing.

And if we turn to the psychologist, whose business it is to be more
exact and scientific, we find that he gives us only a refinement of
this same criterion.  It is important to him to distinguish between
what is given in sensation and what is furnished by memory or
imagination, and he tells us that sensation is the result of a message
conducted along a sensory nerve to the brain.

Here we see emphasized the relation to the body which has been
mentioned above.  If we ask the psychologist how he knows that the body
he is talking about is a real body, and not merely an imagined one, he
has to fall back upon the test which is common to us all.  A real hand
is one which we see with the eyes open, and which we touch with the
other hand.  If our experiences of our own body had not the setting
which marks all sensory experiences, we could never say: I _perceive_
that my body is near the desk.  When we call our body real, as
contrasted with things imaginary, we recognize that this group of
experiences belongs to the class described; it is given in sensation,
and is not merely thought of.

It will be observed that, in distinguishing between sensations and
things imaginary, we never go beyond the circle of our experiences.  We
do not reach out to a something _beyond_ or _behind_ experiences, and
say: When such a reality is present, we may affirm that we have a
sensation, and when it is not, we may call the experience imaginary.
If there were such a reality as this, it would do us little good, for
since it is not supposed to be perceived directly, we should have to
depend upon the sensations to prove the presence of the reality, and
could not turn to the reality and ask it whether we were or were not
experiencing a sensation.  The distinction between sensations and what
is imaginary is an _observed_ distinction.  It can be _proved_ that
some experiences are sensory and that some are not.  This means that,
in drawing the distinction, we remain within the circle of our

There has been much unnecessary mystification touching this supposed
reality behind experiences.  In the next chapter we shall see in what
senses the word "reality" may properly be used, and in what sense it
may not.  There is a danger in using it loosely and vaguely.

16. MAY WE CALL "THINGS" GROUPS OF SENSATIONS?--Now, the external world
seems to the plain man to be directly given in his sense experiences.
He is willing to admit that the table in the next room, of which he is
merely thinking, is known at one remove, so to speak.  But this desk
here before him: is it not known directly?  Not the mental image, the
mere representative, but the desk itself, a something that is physical
and not mental?

And the psychologist, whatever his theory of the relation between the
mind and the world, seems to support him, at least, in so far as to
maintain that in sensation the external world is known as directly as
it is possible for the external world to be known, and that one can get
no more of it than is presented in sensation.  If a sense is lacking,
an aspect of the world as given is also lacking; if a sense is
defective, as in the color-blind, the defect is reflected in the world
upon which one gazes.

Such considerations, especially when taken together with what has been
said at the close of the last section about the futility of looking for
a reality behind our sensations, may easily suggest rather a startling
possibility.  May it not be, if we really are shut up to the circle of
our experiences, that the physical things, which we have been
accustomed to look upon as non-mental, are nothing more than complexes
of sensations?  Granted that there seems to be presented in our
experience a material world as well as a mind, may it not be that this
material world is a mental thing of a certain kind--a mental thing
contrasted with other mental things, such as imaginary things?

This question has always been answered in the affirmative by the
idealists, who claim that all existence must be regarded as psychical
existence.  Their doctrine we shall consider later (sections 49 and
53).  It will be noticed that we seem to be back again with Professor
Pearson in the last chapter.

To this question I make the following answer: In the first place, I
remark that even the plain man distinguishes somehow between his
sensations and external things.  He thinks that he has reason to
believe that things do not cease to exist when he no longer has
sensations.  Moreover, he believes that things do not always appear to
his senses as they really are.  If we tell him that his sensations
_are_ the things, it shocks his common sense.  He answers: Do you mean
to tell me that complexes of sensation can be on a shelf or in a
drawer? can be cut with a knife or broken with the hands?  He feels
that there must be some real distinction between sensations and the
things without him.

Now, the notions of the plain man on such matters as these are not very
clear, and what he says about sensations and things is not always
edifying.  But it is clear that he feels strongly that the man who
would identify them is obliterating a distinction to which his
experience testifies unequivocally.  We must not hastily disregard his
protest.  He is sometimes right in his feeling that things are not
identical, even when he cannot prove it.

In the second place, I remark that, in this instance, the plain man is
in the right, and can be shown to be in the right.  "Things" are not
groups of sensations.  The distinction between them will be explained
in the next section.

stand in my study and look at the fire in the grate.  I am experiencing
sensations, and am not busied merely with an imaginary fire.  But may
my whole experience of the fire be summed up as an experience of
sensations and their changes?  Let us see.

If I shut my eyes, the fire disappears.  Does any one suppose that the
fire has been annihilated?  No.  We say, I no longer see it, but
nothing has happened to the fire.

Again, I may keep my eyes open, and simply turn my head.  The fire
disappears once more.  Does any one suppose that my turning my head has
done anything to the fire?  We say unhesitatingly, my sensations have
changed, but the fire has remained as it was.

Still, again, I may withdraw from the fire.  Its heat seems to be
diminished.  Has the fire really grown less hot?  And if I could
withdraw to a sufficient distance, I know that the fire would appear to
me smaller and less bright.  Could I get far enough away to make it
seem the faintest speck in the field of vision, would I be tempted to
claim that the fire shrunk and grew faint merely because I walked away
from it?  Surely not.

Now, suppose that I stand on the same spot and look at the fire without
turning my head.  The stick at which I am gazing catches the flame,
blazes up, turns red, and finally falls together, a little mass of gray
ashes.  Shall I describe this by saying that my sensations have
changed, or may I say that the fire itself has changed?  The plain man
and the philosopher alike use the latter expression in such a case as

Let us take another illustration.  I walk towards the distant house on
the plain before me.  What I see as my goal seems to grow larger and
brighter.  It does not occur to me to maintain that the house changes
as I advance.  But, at a given instant, changes of a different sort
make their appearance.  Smoke arises, and flames burst from the roof.
Now I have no hesitation in saying that changes are taking place in the
house.  It would seem foolish to describe the occurrence as a mere
change in my sensations.  Before it was my sensations that changed; now
it is the house itself.

We are drawing this distinction between changes in our sensations and
changes in things at every hour in the day.  I cannot move without
making things appear and disappear.  If I wag my head, the furniture
seems to dance, and I regard it as a mere seeming.  I count on the
clock's going when I no longer look upon its face.  It would be absurd
to hold that the distinction is a mere blunder, and has no foundation
in our experience.  The rôle it plays is too important for that.  If we
obliterate it, the real world of material things which seems to be
revealed in our experience melts into a chaos of fantastic experiences
whose appearances and disappearances seem to be subject to no law.

And it is worthy of remark that it is not merely in common life that
the distinction is drawn.  Every man of science must give heed to it.
The psychologist does, it is true, pay much attention to sensations;
but even he distinguishes between the sensations which he is studying
and the material things to which he relates them, such as brains and
sense-organs.  And those who cultivate the physical sciences strive,
when they give an account of things and their behavior, to lay before
us a history of changes analogous to the burning of the stick and of
the house, excluding mere changes in sensations.

There is no physicist or botanist or zoölogist who has not our common
experience that things as perceived by us--our experiences of
things--appear or disappear or change their character when we open or
shut our eyes or move about.  But nothing of all this appears in their
books.  What they are concerned with is things and their changes, and
they do not consider such matters as these as falling within their
province.  If a botanist could not distinguish between the changes
which take place in a plant, and the changes which take place in his
sensations as he is occupied in studying the plant, but should tell us
that the plant grows smaller as one recedes from it, we should set him
down as weak-minded.

That the distinction is everywhere drawn, and that we must not
obliterate it, is very evident.  But we are in the presence of what has
seemed to many men a grave difficulty.  Are not things presented in our
experience only as we have sensations?  what is it to perceive a thing?
is it not to have sensations? how, then, _can_ we distinguish between
sensations and things?  We certainly do so all the time, in spite of
the protest of the philosopher; but many of us do so with a haunting
sense that our behavior can scarcely be justified by the reason.

Our difficulty, however, springs out of an error of our own.  Grasping
imperfectly the full significance of the word "sensation," we extend
its use beyond what is legitimate, and we call by that name experiences
which are not sensations at all.  Thus the external world comes to seem
to us to be not really a something contrasted with the mental, but a
part of the mental world.  We accord to it the attributes of the
latter, and rob it of those distinguishing attributes which belong to
it by right.  When we have done this, we may feel impelled to say, as
did Professor Pearson, that things are not really "outside" of us, as
they seem to be, but are merely "projected" outside--thought of as if
they were "outside."  All this I must explain at length.

Let us come back to the first of the illustrations given above, the
case of the fire in my study.  As I stand and look at it, what shall I
call the red glow which I observe?  Shall I call it a _quality of a
thing_, or shall I call it a _sensation_?

To this I answer: _I may call it either the one or the other, according
to its setting among other experiences_.

We have seen (section 15) that sensations and things merely imaginary
are distinguished from one another by their setting.  With open eyes we
see things; with our eyes closed we can imagine them: we see what is
before us; we imagine what lies behind our backs.  If we confine our
attention to the bit of experience itself, we have no means of
determining whether it is sensory or imaginary.  Only its setting can
decide that point.  Here, we have come to another distinction of much
the same sort.  That red glow, that bit of experience, taken by itself
and abstracted from all other experiences, cannot be called either a
sensation or the quality of a thing.  Only its context can give us the
right to call it the one or the other.

This ought to become clear when we reflect upon the illustration of the
fire.  We have seen that one whole series of changes has been
unhesitatingly described as a series of changes in my sensations.  Why
was this?  Because it was observed to depend upon changes in the
relations of my body, my senses (a certain group of experiences), to
the bit of experience I call the fire.  Another series was described as
a series of changes in the fire.  Why?  Because, the relation to my
senses remaining unchanged, changes still took place, and had to be
accounted for in other ways.

It is a matter of common knowledge that they can be accounted for in
other ways.  This is not a discovery of the philosopher.  He can only
invite us to think over the matter and see what the unlearned and the
learned are doing at every moment.  Sometimes they are noticing that
experiences change as they turn their heads or walk toward or away from
objects; sometimes they abstract from this, and consider the series of
changes that take place independently of this.

That bit of experience, that red glow, is not related only to my body.
Such experiences are related also to each other; they stand in a vast
independent system of relations, which, as we have seen, the man of
science can study without troubling himself to consider sensations at
all.  This system is the external world--the external world as known or
as knowable, the only external world that it means anything for us to
talk about.  As having its place in this system, a bit of experience is
not a sensation, but is a quality or aspect of a thing.

Sensations, then, to be sensations, must be bits of experience
considered in their relation to some organ of sense.  They should never
be confused with qualities of things, which are experiences in a
different setting.  It is as unpardonable to confound the two as it is
to confound sensations with things imaginary.

We may not, therefore, say that "things" are groups of sensations.  We
may, if we please, describe them as complexes of qualities.  And we may
not say that the "things" we perceive are really "inside" of us and are
merely "projected outside."

What can "inside" and "outside" mean?  Only this.  We recognize in our
experience two distinct orders, the _objective order_, the system of
phenomena which constitutes the material world, and the _subjective
order_, the order of things mental, to which belong sensations and
"ideas."  That is "outside" which belongs to the objective order.  The
word has no other meaning when used in this connection.  That is
"inside" which belongs to the subjective order, and is contrasted with
the former.

If we deny that there is an objective order, an external world, and say
that everything is "inside," we lose our distinction, and even the word
"inside" becomes meaningless.  It indicates no contrast.  When men fall
into the error of talking in this way, what they do is to _keep_ the
external world and gain the distinction, and at the same time to _deny_
the existence of the world which has furnished it.  In other words,
they put the clerk into a telephone exchange, and then tell us that the
exchange does not really exist.  He is inside--of what?  He is inside
of nothing.  Then, can he really be inside?

We see, thus, that the plain man and the man of science are quite right
in accepting the external world.  The objective order is known as
directly as is the subjective order.  Both are orders of experiences;
they are open to observation, and we have, in general, little
difficulty in distinguishing between them, as the illustrations given
above amply prove.

18. THE EXISTENCE OF MATERIAL THINGS.--One difficulty seems to remain
and to call for a solution.  We all believe that material things exist
when we no longer perceive them.  We believe that they existed before
they came within the field of our observation.

In these positions the man of science supports us.  The astronomer has
no hesitation in saying that the comet, which has sailed away through
space, exists, and will return.  The geologist describes for us the
world as it was in past ages, when no eye was opened upon it.

But has it not been stated above that the material world is an order of
_experiences_? and can there be such a thing as an experience that is
not _experienced_ by somebody?  In other words, can the world exist,
except as it is _perceived to exist_?

This seeming difficulty has occasioned much trouble to philosophers in
the past.  Bishop Berkeley (1684-1753) said, "To exist is to be
perceived."  There are those who agree with him at the present day.

Their difficulty would have disappeared had they examined with
sufficient care the meaning of the word "exist."  We have no right to
pass over the actual uses of such words, and to give them a meaning of
our own.  If one thing seems as certain as any other, it is that
material things exist when we do not perceive them.  On what ground may
the philosopher combat the universal opinion, the dictum of common
sense and of science?  When we look into his reasonings, we find that
he is influenced by the error discussed at length in the last
section--he has confused the phenomena of the two orders of experience.

I have said that, when we concern ourselves with the objective order,
we abstract or should abstract, from the relations which things bear to
our senses.  We account for phenomena by referring to other phenomena
which we have reason to accept as their physical conditions or causes.
We do not consider that a physical cause is effective only while we
perceive it.  When we come back to this notion of our perceiving a
thing or not perceiving it, we have left the objective order and passed
over to the subjective.  We have left the consideration of "things" and
have turned to sensations.

There is no reason why we should do this.  The physical order is an
independent order, as we have seen.  The man of science, when he is
endeavoring to discover whether some thing or quality of a thing really
existed at some time in the past, is not in the least concerned to
establish the fact that some one saw it.  No one ever saw the primitive
fire-mist from which, as we are told, the world came into being.  But
the scientist cares little for that.  He is concerned only to prove
that the phenomena he is investigating really have a place in the
objective order.  If he decides that they have, he is satisfied; he has
proved something to exist.  _To belong to the objective order is to
exist as a physical thing or quality_.

When the plain man and the man of science maintain that a physical
thing exists, they use the word in precisely the same sense.  The
meaning they give to it is the proper meaning of the word.  It is
justified by immemorial usage, and it marks a real distinction.  Shall
we allow the philosopher to tell us that we must not use it in this
sense, but must say that only sensations and ideas exist?  Surely not.
This would mean that we permit him to obliterate for us the distinction
between the external world and what is mental.

But is it right to use the word "experience" to indicate the phenomena
which have a place in the objective order?  Can an experience be
anything but mental?

There can be no doubt that the suggestions of the word are
unfortunate--it has what we may call a subjective flavor.  It suggests
that, after all, the things we perceive are sensations or percepts, and
must, to exist at all, exist in a mind.  As we have seen, this is an
error, and an error which we all avoid in actual practice.  We do not
take sensations for things, and we recognize clearly enough that it is
one thing for a material object to exist and another for it to be

Why, then, use the word "experience"?  Simply because we have no better
word.  We must use it, and not be misled by the associations which
cling to it.  The word has this great advantage: it brings out clearly
the fact that all our knowledge of the external world rests ultimately
upon those phenomena which, when we consider them in relation to our
senses, we recognize as sensations.  We cannot start out from mere
imaginings to discover what the world was like in the ages past.

It is this truth that is recognized by the plain man, when he maintains
that, in the last resort, we can know things only in so far as we see,
touch, hear, taste, and smell them; and by the psychologist, when he
tells us that, in sensation, the external world is revealed as directly
as it is possible that it could be revealed.  But it is a travesty on
this truth to say that we do not know things, but know only our
sensations of sight, touch, taste, hearing, and the like.[1]

[1] See the note on this chapter at the close of the volume.



19. THINGS AND THEIR APPEARANCES.--We have seen in the last chapter
that there is an external world and that it is given in our experience.
There is an objective order, and we are all capable of distinguishing
between it and the subjective.  He who says that we perceive only
sensations and ideas flies in the face of the common experience of

But we are not yet through with the subject.  We all make a distinction
between things as they _appear_ and things as they _really are_.

If we ask the plain man, What is the real external world? the first
answer that seems to present itself to his mind is this: Whatever we
can see, hear, touch, taste, or smell may be regarded as belonging to
the real world.  What we merely imagine does not belong to it.

That this answer is not a very satisfactory one occurred to men's minds
very early in the history of reflective thought.  The ancient skeptic
said to himself: The colors of objects vary according to the light, and
according to the position and distance of the objects; can we say that
any object has a real color of its own?  A staff stuck into water looks
bent, but feels straight to the touch; why believe the testimony of one
sense rather than that of another?

Such questionings led to far-reaching consequences.  They resulted in a
forlorn distrust of the testimony of the senses, and to  a doubt as to
our ability to know anything as it really is.

Now, the distinction between appearances and realities exists for us as
well as for the ancient skeptic, and without being tempted to make such
extravagant statements as that there is no such thing as truth, and
that every appearance is as real as any other, we may admit that it is
not very easy to see the full significance of the distinction, although
we are referring to it constantly.

For example, we look from our window and see, as we say, a tree at a
distance.  What we are conscious of is a small bluish patch of color.
Now, a small bluish patch of color is not, strictly speaking, a tree;
but for us it represents the tree.  Suppose that we walk toward the
tree.  Do we continue to see what we saw before?  Of course, we say
that we continue to see the same tree; but it is plain that what we
immediately perceive, what is given in consciousness, does not remain
the same as we move.  Our blue patch of color grows larger and larger;
it ceases to be blue and faint; at the last it has been replaced by an
expanse of vivid green, and we see the tree just before us.

During our whole walk we have been seeing the tree.  This appears to
mean that we have been having a whole series of visual experiences, no
two of which were just alike, and each of which was taken as a
representative of the tree.  Which of these representatives is most
like the tree?  Is the tree _really_ a faint blue, or is it _really_ a
vivid green?  Or is it of some intermediate color?

Probably most persons will be inclined to maintain that the tree only
seems blue at a distance, but that it really is green, as it appears
when one is close to it.  In a sense, the statement is just; yet some
of those who make it would be puzzled to tell by what right they pick
out of the whole series of experiences, each of which represents the
tree as seen from some particular position, one individual experience,
which they claim not only represents the tree as seen from a given
point but also represents it as it is.  Does this particular experience
bear some peculiar earmark which tells us that it is like the real tree
while the others are unlike it?

20. REAL THINGS.--And what is this _real tree_ that we are supposed to
see as it is when we are close to it?

About two hundred years ago the philosopher Berkeley pointed out that
the distinction commonly made between things as they look, the
apparent, and things as they are, the real, is at bottom the
distinction between things as presented to the sense of sight and
things as presented to the sense of touch.  The acute analysis which he
made has held its own ever since.

We have seen that, in walking towards the tree, we have a long series
of visual experiences, each of which differs more or less from all of
the others.  Nevertheless, from the beginning of our progress to the
end, we say that we are looking at the same tree.  The images change
color and grow larger.  We do not say that the tree changes color and
grows larger.  Why do we speak as we do?  It is because, all along the
line, we mean by the real tree, not what is given to the sense of
sight, but something for which this stands as a sign.  This something
must be given in our experience somewhere, we must be able to perceive
it under some circumstances or other, or it would never occur to us to
recognize the visual experiences as _signs_, and we should never say
that in being conscious of them in succession we are looking at the
same tree.  They are certainly not the same with each other; how can we
know that they all stand for the same thing, unless we have had
experience of a connection of the whole series with one thing?

This thing for which so many different visual experiences may serve as
signs is the thing revealed in experiences of touch.  When we ask: In
what direction is the tree?  How far away is the tree?  How big is the
tree? we are always referring to the tree revealed in touch.  It is
nonsense to say that _what we see_ is far away, if by what we see we
mean the visual experience itself.  As soon as we move we lose that
visual experience and get another, and to recover the one we lost we
must go back where we were before.  When we say we see a tree at a
distance, we must mean, then, that we know from certain visual
experiences which we have that by moving a certain distance we will be
able to touch a tree.  And what does it mean to move a certain
distance?  In the last analysis it means to us to have a certain
quantity of movement sensations.

Thus the real world of things, for which experiences of sight serve as
signs, is a world revealed in experiences of touch and movement, and
when we speak of real positions, distances, and magnitudes, we are
always referring to this world.  But this is a world revealed in our
experience, and it does not seem a hopeless task to discover what may
properly be called real and what should be described as merely
apparent, when both the real and the apparent are open to our

Can we not find in this analysis a satisfactory explanation of the
plain man's claim that under certain circumstances he sees the tree as
it is and under others he does not?  What he is really asserting is
that one visual experience gives him better information regarding the
real thing, the touch thing, than does another.

But what shall we say of his claim that the tree is really green, and
only looks blue under certain circumstances?  Is it not just as true
that the tree only looks green under certain circumstances?  Is color
any part of the touch thing?  Is it ever more than a sign of the touch
thing?  How can one color be more real than another?

Now, we may hold to Berkeley's analysis and maintain that, in general,
the real world, as contrasted with the apparent, means to us the world
that is revealed in experiences of touch and movement; and yet we may
admit that the word "real" is sometimes used in rather different senses.

It does not seem absurd for a woman to Say: This piece of silk really
is yellow; it only looks white under this light.  We all admit that a
white house may look pink under the rays of the setting sun, and we
never call it a pink house.  We have seen that it is not unnatural to
say: That tree is really green; it is only its distance that makes it
look blue.

When one reflects upon these uses of the word "real," one recognizes
the fact that, among all the experiences in which things are revealed
to us, certain experiences impress us as being more prominent or
important or serviceable than certain others, and they come to be
called _real_.  Things are not commonly seen by artificial light; the
sun is not always setting; the tree looks green when it is seen most
satisfactorily.  In each case, the real color of the thing is the color
that it has under circumstances that strike us as normal or as
important.  We cannot say that we always regard as most real that
aspect under which we most commonly perceive things, for if a more
unusual experience is more serviceable and really gives us more
information about the thing, we give the preference to that.  Thus we
look with the naked eye at a moving speck on the table before us, and
we are unable to distinguish its parts.  We place a microscope over the
speck and perceive an insect with all its members.  The second
experience is the more unusual one, but would not every one say: Now we
perceive the thing _as it is_?

21. ULTIMATE REAL THINGS.--Let us turn away from the senses of the word
"real," which recognize one color or taste or odor as more real than
another, and come back to the real world of things presented in
sensations of touch.  All other classes of sensations may be regarded
as related to this as the series of visual experiences above mentioned
was related to the one tree which was spoken of as revealed in them
all, the touch tree of which they gave information.

Can we say that this world is always to be regarded as reality and
never as appearance?  We have already seen (section 8) that science
does not regard as anything more than appearance the real things which
seem to be directly presented in our experience.

This pen that I hold in my hand seems, as I pass my fingers over it, to
be continuously extended.  It does not appear to present an alternation
of filled spaces and empty spaces.  I am told that it is composed of
molecules in rapid motion and at considerable distances from one
another.  I am further told that each molecule is composed of atoms,
and is, in its turn, not a continuous thing, but, so to speak, a group
of little things.

If I accept this doctrine, as it seems I must, am I not forced to
conclude that the reality which is given in my experience, the reality
with which I have contrasted appearances and to which I have referred
them, is, after all, itself only an appearance?  The touch things which
I have hitherto regarded as the real things that make up the external
world, the touch things for which all my visual experiences have served
as signs, are, then, not themselves real external things, but only the
appearances under which real external things, themselves imperceptible,
manifest themselves to me.

It seems, then, that I do not directly perceive any real thing, or, at
least, anything that can be regarded as more than an appearance.  What,
then, is the external world?  What are things really like?  Can we give
any true account of them, or are we forced to say with the skeptics
that we only know how things seem to us, and must abandon the attempt
to tell what they are really like?

Now, before one sets out to answer a question it is well to find out
whether it is a sensible question to ask and a sensible question to try
to answer.  He who asks: Where is the middle of an infinite line?  When
did all time begin?  Where is space as a whole? does not deserve a
serious answer to his questions.  And it is well to remember that he
who asks: What is the external world like? must keep his question a
significant one, if he is to retain his right to look for an answer at
all.  He has manifestly no right to ask us: How does the external world
look when no one is looking?  How do things feel when no one feels
them?  How shall I think of things, not as I think of them, but as they

If we are to give an account of the external world at all, it must
evidently be _an account_ of the external world; _i.e._ it must be
given in terms of our experience of things.  The only legitimate
problem is to give a true account instead of a false one, to
distinguish between what only appears and is not real and what both
appears and is real.

Bearing this in mind, let us come back to the plain man's experience of
the world.  He certainly seems to himself to perceive a real world of
things, and he constantly distinguishes, in a way very serviceable to
himself, between the merely apparent and the real.  There is, of
course, a sense in which every experience is real; it is, at least, an
experience; but when he contrasts real and apparent he means something
more than this.  Experiences are not relegated to this class or to that
merely at random, but the final decision is the outcome of a long
experience of the differences which characterize different individual
experiences and is an expression of the relations which are observed to
hold between them.  Certain experiences are accepted as signs, and
certain others come to take the more dignified position of thing
signified; the mind rests in them and regards them as the real.

We have seen above that the world of real things in which the plain man
finds himself is a world of objects revealed in experiences of touch.
When he asks regarding anything: How far away is it?  How big is it?
In what direction is it? it is always the touch thing that interests
him.  What is given to the other senses is only a sign of this.

We have also seen (section 8) that the world of atoms and molecules of
which the man of science tells us is nothing more than a further
development of the world of the plain man.  The real things with which
science concerns itself are, after all, only minute touch things,
conceived just as are the things with which the plain man is familiar.
They exist in space and move about in space, as the things about us are
perceived to exist in space and move about in space.  They have size
and position, and are separated by distances.  We do not _perceive_
them, it is true; but we _conceive_ them after the analogy of the
things that we do perceive, and it is not inconceivable that, if our
senses were vastly more acute, we might perceive them directly.

Now, when we conclude that the things directly perceptible to the sense
of touch are to be regarded as appearances, as signs of the presence of
these minuter things, do we draw such a conclusion arbitrarily?  By no
means.  The distinction between appearance and reality is drawn here
just as it is drawn in the world of our common everyday experiences.
The great majority of the touch things about us we are not actually
touching at any given moment.  We only _see_ the things, _i.e._ we have
certain _signs_ of their presence.  None the less we believe that the
things exist all the time.  And in the same way the man of science does
not doubt the existence of the real things of which he speaks; he
perceives their _signs_.  That certain experiences are to be taken as
signs of such realities he has established by innumerable observations
and careful deductions from those observations.  To see the full force
of his reasonings one must read some work setting forth the history of
the atomic theory.

If, then, we ask the question: What is the real external world?  it is
clear that we cannot answer it satisfactorily without taking into
consideration the somewhat shifting senses of the word "real."  What is
the real external world to the plain man?  It is the world of touch
things, of objects upon which he can lay his hands.  What is the real
external world to the man of science?  It is the world of atoms and
molecules, of minuter touch things that he cannot actually touch, but
which he conceives as though he could touch them.

It should be observed that the man of science has no right to deny the
real world which is revealed in the experience of the plain man.  In
all his dealings with the things which interest him in common life, he
refers to this world just as the plain man does.  He sees a tree and
walks towards it, and distinguishes between its real and its apparent
color, its real and its apparent size.  He talks about seeing things as
they are, or not seeing things as they are.  These distinctions in his
experience of things remain even after he has come to believe in atoms
and molecules.

Thus, the touch object, the tree as he feels it under his hand, may
come to be regarded as the sign of the presence of those entities that
science seems, at present, to regard as ultimate.  Does this prevent it
from being the object which has stood as the interpreter of all those
diverse visual sensations that we have called different views of the
tree?  They are still the appearances, and it, relatively to them, is
the reality.  Now we find that it, in its turn, can be used as a sign
of something else, can be regarded as an appearance of a reality more
ultimate.  It is clear, then, that the same thing may be regarded both
as appearance and as reality--appearance as contrasted with one thing,
and reality as contrasted with another.

But suppose one says: _I do not want to know what the real external
world is to this man or to that man; I want to know what the real
external world is_.  What shall we say to such a demand?

There is a sense in which such a demand is not purely meaningless,
though it may not be a very sensible demand to make.  We have seen that
an increase of knowledge about things compels a man to pass from the
real things of common life to the real things of science, and to look
upon the former as appearance.  Now, a man may arbitrarily decide that
he will use the word "reality" to indicate only that which can never in
its turn be regarded as appearance, a reality which must remain an
ultimate reality; and he may insist upon our telling him about that.
How a man not a soothsayer can tell when he has come to ultimate
reality, it is not easy to see.

Suppose, however, that we could give any one such information.  We
should then be telling him about things _as they are_, it is true, but
his knowledge of things would not be different in _kind_ from what it
was before.  The only difference between such a knowledge of things and
a knowledge of things not known to be ultimate would be that, in the
former case, it would be recognized that no further extension of
knowledge was possible.  The distinction between appearance and reality
would remain just what it was in the experience of the plain man.

22. THE BUGBEAR OF THE "UNKNOWABLE."--It is very important to recognize
that we must not go on talking about appearance and reality, as if our
words really meant something, when we have quite turned our backs upon
our experience of appearances and the realities which they represent.

That appearances and realities are connected we know very well, for we
perceive them to be connected.  What we see, we can touch.  And we not
only know that appearances and realities are connected, but we know
with much detail what appearances are to be taken as signs of what
realities.  The visual experience which I call the house as seen from a
distance I never think of taking for a representative of the hat which
I hold in my hand.  This visual experience I refer to its own
appropriate touch thing, and not to another.  If what _looks like_ a
beefsteak could _really be_ a fork or a mountain or a kitten
indifferently,--but I must not even finish the sentence, for the words
"look like" and "could really be" lose all significance when we loosen
the bond between appearances and the realities to which they are
properly referred.

Each appearance, then, must be referred to some particular real thing
and not to any other.  This is true of the appearances which we
recognize as such in common life, and it is equally true of the
appearances recognized as such in science.  The pen which I feel
between my fingers I may regard as appearance and refer to a swarm of
moving atoms.  But it would be silly for me to refer it to atoms "in
general."  The reality to which I refer the appearance in question is a
particular group of atoms existing at a particular point in space.  The
chemist never supposes that the atoms within the walls of his test-tube
are identical with those in the vial on the shelf.  Neither in common
life nor in science would the distinction between appearances and real
things be of the smallest service were it not possible to distinguish
between this appearance and that, and this reality and that, and to
refer each appearance to its appropriate reality.  Indeed, it is
inconceivable that, under such circumstances, the distinction should
have been drawn at all.

These points ought to be strongly insisted upon, for we find certain
philosophic writers falling constantly into a very curious abuse of the
distinction and making much capital of it.  It is argued that what we
see, what we touch, what we conceive as a result of scientific
observation and reflection--all is, in the last analysis, material
which is given us in sensation.  The various senses furnish us with
different classes of sensations; we work these up into certain
complexes.  But sensations are only the impressions which something
outside of us makes upon us.  Hence, although we seem to ourselves to
know the external world as it is, our knowledge can never extend beyond
the impressions made upon us.  Thus, we are absolutely shut up to
_appearances_, and can know nothing about the _reality_ to which they
must be referred.

Touching this matter Herbert Spencer writes[1] as follows: "When we are
taught that a piece of matter, regarded by us as existing externally,
cannot be really known, but that we can know only certain impressions
produced on us, we are yet, by the relativity of thought, compelled to
think of these in relation to a cause--the notion of a real existence
which generated these impressions becomes nascent.  If it be proved
that every notion of a real existence which we can frame is
inconsistent with itself,--that matter, however conceived by us, cannot
be matter as it actually is,--our conception, though transfigured, is
not destroyed: there remains the sense of reality, dissociated as far
as possible from those special forms under which it was before
represented in thought."

This means, in plain language, that we must regard everything we know
and can know as appearance and must refer it to an unknown reality.
Sometimes Mr. Spencer calls this reality the Unknowable, sometimes he
calls it the Absolute, and sometimes he allows it to pass by a variety
of other names, such as Power, Cause, etc.  He wishes us to think of it
as "lying behind appearances" or as "underlying appearances."

Probably it has already been remarked that this Unknowable has brought
us around again to that amusing "telephone exchange" discussed in the
third chapter.  But if the reader feels within himself the least
weakness for the Unknowable, I beg him to consider carefully, before he
pins his faith to it, the following:--

(1) If we do perceive external bodies, our own bodies and others, then
it is conceivable that we may have evidence from observation to the
effect that other bodies affecting our bodies may give rise to
sensations.  In this case we cannot say that we know nothing but
sensations; we know real bodies as well as sensations, and we may refer
the sensations to the real bodies.

(2) If we do not perceive that we have bodies, and that our bodies are
acted upon by others, we have no evidence that what we call our
sensations are due to messages which come from "external things" and
are conducted along the nerves.  It is then, absurd to talk of such
"external things" as though they existed, and to call them the reality
to which sensations, as appearances, must be referred,

(3) In other words, if there is perceived to be a telephone exchange
with its wires and subscribers, we may refer the messages received to
the subscribers, and call this, if we choose, a reference of appearance
to reality.

But if there is perceived no telephone exchange, and if it is concluded
that any wires or subscribers of which it means anything to speak must
be composed of what we have heretofore called "messages," then it is
palpably absurd to refer the "messages" as a whole to subscribers not
supposed to be composed of "messages"; and it is a blunder to go on
calling the things that we know "messages," as though we had evidence
that they came from, and must be referred to, something beyond

We must recognize that, with the general demolition of the exchange, we
lose not only known subscribers, but the very notion of a subscriber.
It will not do to try to save from this wreck some "unknowable"
subscriber, and still pin our faith to him.

(4) We have seen that the relation of appearance to reality is that of
certain experiences to certain other experiences.  When we take the
liberty of calling the Unknowable a _reality_, we blunder in our use of
the word.  The Unknowable cannot be an experience either actual,
possible, or conceived as possible, and it cannot possibly hold the
relation to any of our experiences that a real thing of any kind holds
to the appearances that stand as its signs.

(5) Finally, no man has ever made an assumption more perfectly useless
and purposeless than the assumption of the Unknowable.  We have seen
that the distinction between appearance and reality is a serviceable
one, and it has been pointed out that it would be of no service
whatever if it were not possible to refer particular appearances to
their own appropriate realities.  The realities to which we actually
refer appearances serve to explain them.  Thus, when I ask: Why do I
perceive that tree now as faint and blue and now as vivid and green?
the answer to the question is found in the notion of distance and
position in space; it is found, in other words, in a reference to the
real world of touch things, for which visual experiences serve as
signs.  Under certain circumstances, the mountain _ought_ to be robed
in its azure hue, and, under certain circumstances, it _ought not_.
The circumstances in each case are open to investigation.

Now, let us substitute for the real world of touch things, which
furnishes the explanation of given visual experiences, that philosophic
fiction, that pseudo-real nonentity, the Unknowable.  Now I perceive a
tree as faint and blue, now as bright and green; will a reference to
the Unknowable explain why the experiences differed?  Was the
Unknowable in the one instance farther off in an unknowable space, and
in the other nearer?  This, even if it means anything, must remain
unknowable.  And when the chemist puts together a volume of chlorine
gas and a volume of hydrogen gas to get two volumes of hydrochloric
acid gas, shall we explain the change which has taken place by a
reference to the Unknowable, or shall we turn to the doctrine of atoms
and their combinations?

The fact is that no man in his senses tries to account for any
individual fact by turning for an explanation to the Unknowable.  It is
a life-preserver by which some set great store, but which no man dreams
of using when he really falls into the water.

If, then, we have any reason to believe that there is a real external
world at all, we have reason to believe that we know what it is.  That
some know it imperfectly, that others know it better, and that we may
hope that some day it will be known still more perfectly, is surely no
good reason for concluding that we do not know it at all.

[1] "First Principles," Part I, Chapter IV, section 26.



23. WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW ABOUT IT.--The plain man may admit
that he is not ready to hazard a definition of space, but he is
certainly not willing to admit that he is wholly ignorant of space and
of its attributes.  He knows that it is something in which material
objects have position and in which they move about; he knows that it
has not merely length, like a line, nor length and breadth, like a
surface, but has the three dimensions of length, breadth, and depth; he
knows that, except in the one circumstance of its position, every part
of space is exactly like every other part, and that, although objects
may move about in space, it is incredible that the spaces themselves
should be shifted about.

Those who are familiar with the literature of the subject know that it
has long been customary to make regarding space certain other
statements to which the plain man does not usually make serious
objection when he is introduced to them.  Thus it is said:--

(1) The idea of space is _necessary_.  We can think of objects in space
as annihilated, but we cannot conceive space to be annihilated.  We can
clear space of things, but we cannot clear away space itself, even in

(2) Space must be _infinite_.  We cannot conceive that we should come
to the end of space.

(3) Every space, however small, is _infinitely divisible_.  That is to
say, even the most minute space must be composed of spaces.  We cannot,
even theoretically, split a solid into mere surfaces, a surface into
mere lines, or a line into mere points.

Against such statements the plain man is not impelled to rise in
rebellion, for he can see that there seems to be some ground for making
them.  He can conceive of any particular material object as
annihilated, and of the place which it occupied as standing empty; but
he cannot go on and conceive of the annihilation of this bit of empty
space.  Its annihilation would not leave a gap, for a gap means a bit
of empty space; nor could it bring the surrounding spaces into
juxtaposition, for one cannot shift spaces, and, in any case, a
shifting that is not a shifting through space is an absurdity.

Again, he cannot conceive of any journey that would bring him to the
end of space.  There is no more reason for stopping at one point than
at another; why not go on?  What could end space?

As to the infinite divisibility of space, have we not, in addition to
the seeming reasonableness of the doctrine, the testimony of all the
mathematicians?  Does any one of them ever dream of a line so short
that it cannot be divided into two shorter lines, or of an angle so
small that it cannot be bisected?

about space contain truth one should not be in haste to deny.  It seems
silly to say that space can be annihilated, or that one can travel
"over the mountains of the moon" in the hope of reaching the end of it.
And certainly no prudent man wishes to quarrel with that coldly
rational creature the mathematician.

But it is well worth while to examine the statements carefully and to
see whether there is not some danger that they may be understood in
such a way as to lead to error.  Let us begin with the doctrine that
space is necessary and cannot be "thought away."

As we have seen above, it is manifestly impossible to annihilate in
thought a certain portion of space and leave the other portions intact.
There are many things in the same case.  We cannot annihilate in
thought one side of a door and leave the other side; we cannot rob a
man of the outside of his hat and leave him the inside.  But we can
conceive of a whole door as annihilated, and of a man as losing a whole
hat.  May we or may we not conceive of space as a whole as nonexistent?

I do not say, be it observed, can we conceive of something as attacking
and annihilating space?  Whatever space may be, we none of us think of
it as a something that may be threatened and demolished.  I only say,
may we not think of a system of things--not a world such as ours, of
course, but still a system of things of some sort--in which space
relations have no part?  May we not conceive such to be possible?

It should be remarked that space relations are by no means the only
ones in which we think of things as existing.  We attribute to them
time relations as well.  Now, when we think of occurrences as related
to each other in time, we do, in so far as we concentrate our attention
upon these relations, turn our attention away from space and
contemplate another aspect of the system of things.  Space is not such
a necessity of thought that we must keep thinking of space when we have
turned our attention to something else.  And is it, indeed,
inconceivable that there should be a system of things (not extended
things in space, of course), characterized by time relations and
perhaps other relations, but not by space relations?

It goes without saying that we cannot go on thinking of space and at
the same time not think of space.  Those who keep insisting upon space
as a necessity of thought seem to set us such a task as this, and to
found their conclusion upon our failure to accomplish it.  "We can
never represent to ourselves the nonexistence of space," says the
German philosopher Kant (1724-1804), "although we can easily conceive
that there are no objects in space."

It would, perhaps, be fairer to translate the first half of this
sentence as follows: "We can never picture to ourselves the
nonexistence of space."  Kant says we cannot make of it a
_Vorstellung_, a representation.  This we may freely admit, for what
does one try to do when one makes the effort to imagine the
nonexistence of space?  Does not one first clear space of objects, and
then try to clear space of space in much the same way?  We try to
"think space away," _i.e. to remove it from the place where it was and
yet keep that place_.

What does it mean to imagine or represent to oneself the nonexistence
of material objects?  Is it not to represent to oneself the objects as
no longer in space, _i.e._ to imagine the space as empty, as cleared of
the objects?  It means something in this case to speak of a
_Vorstellung_, or representation.  We can call before our minds the
empty space.  But if we are to think of space as nonexistent, what
shall we call before our minds?  Our procedure must not be analogous to
what it was before; we must not try to picture to our minds _the
absence of space_, as though that were in itself a something that could
be pictured; we must turn our attention to other relations, such as
time relations, and ask whether it is not conceivable that such should
be the only relations obtaining within a given system.

Those who insist upon the fact that we cannot but conceive space as
infinite employ a very similar argument to prove their point.  They set
us a self-contradictory task, and regard our failure to accomplish it
as proof of their position.  Thus, Sir William Hamilton (1788-1856)
argues: "We are altogether unable to conceive space as bounded--as
finite; that is, as a whole beyond which there is no further space."
And Herbert Spencer echoes approvingly: "We find ourselves totally
unable to imagine bounds beyond which there is no space."

Now, whatever one may be inclined to think about the infinity of space,
it is clear that this argument is an absurd one.  Let me write it out
more at length: "We are altogether unable to conceive space as
bounded--as finite; that is, as a whole _in the space_ beyond which
there is no further space."  "We find ourselves totally unable to
imagine bounds, _in the space_ beyond which there is no further space."
The words which I have added were already present implicitly.  What can
the word "beyond" mean if it does not signify space beyond?  What Sir
William and Mr. Spencer have asked us to do is to imagine a limited
space with a _beyond_ and yet _no beyond_.

There is undoubtedly some reason why men are so ready to affirm that
space is infinite, even while they admit that they do not know that the
world of material things is infinite.  To this we shall come back again
later.  But if one wishes to affirm it, it is better to do so without
giving a reason than it is to present such arguments as the above.

25. SPACE AS INFINITELY DIVISIBLE.--For more than two thousand years
men have been aware that certain very grave difficulties seem to attach
to the idea of motion, when we once admit that space is infinitely
divisible.  To maintain that we can divide any portion of space up into
ultimate elements which are not themselves spaces, and which have no
extension, seems repugnant to the idea we all have of space.  And if we
refuse to admit this possibility there seems to be nothing left to us
but to hold that every space, however small, may theoretically be
divided up into smaller spaces, and that there is no limit whatever to
the possible subdivision of spaces.  Nevertheless, if we take this most
natural position, we appear to find ourselves plunged into the most
hopeless of labyrinths, every turn of which brings us face to face with
a flat self-contradiction.

To bring the difficulties referred to clearly before our minds, let us
suppose a point to move uniformly over a line an inch long, and to
accomplish its journey in a second.  At first glance, there appears to
be nothing abnormal about this proceeding.  But if we admit that this
line is infinitely divisible, and reflect upon this property of the
line, the ground seems to sink from beneath our feet at once.

For it is possible to argue that, under the conditions given, the point
must move over one half of the line in half a second; over one half of
the remainder, or one fourth of the line, in one fourth of a second;
over one eighth of the line, in one eighth of a second, etc.  Thus the
portions of line moved over successively by the point may be
represented by the descending series:

1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, . . . [Greek omicron symbol]

Now, it is quite true that the motion of the point can be described in
a number of different ways; but the important thing to remark here is
that, if the motion really is uniform, and if the line really is
infinitely divisible, this series must, as satisfactorily as any other,
describe the motion of the point.  And it would be absurd to maintain
that _a part_ of the series can describe the whole motion.  We cannot
say, for example, that, when the point has moved over one half, one
fourth, and one eighth of the line, it has completed its motion.  If
even a single member of the series is left out, the whole line has not
been passed over; and this is equally true whether the omitted member
represent a large bit of line or a small one.

The whole series, then, represents the whole line, as definite parts of
the series represent definite parts of the line.  The line can only be
completed when the series is completed.  But when and how can this
series be completed?  In general, a series is completed when we reach
the final term, but here there appears to be no final term.  We cannot
make zero the final term, for it does not belong to the series at all.
It does not obey the law of the series, for it is not one half as large
as the term preceding it--what space is so small that dividing it by 2
gives us [omicron]?  On the other hand, some term just before zero
cannot be the final term; for if it really represents a little bit of
the line, however small, it must, by hypothesis, be made up of lesser
bits, and a smaller term must be conceivable.  There can, then, be no
last term to the series; _i.e._ what the point is doing at the very
last is absolutely indescribable; it is inconceivable that there should
be a _very last_.

It was pointed out many centuries ago that it is equally inconceivable
that there should be a _very first_.  How can a point even begin to
move along an infinitely divisible line?  Must it not before it can
move over any distance, however short, first move over half that
distance?  And before it can move over that half, must it not move over
the half of that?  Can it find something to move over that has no
halves?  And if not, how shall it even start to move?  To move at all,
it must begin somewhere; it cannot begin with what has no halves, for
then it is not moving over any part of the line, as all parts have
halves; and it cannot begin with what has halves, for that is not the
beginning.  _What does the point do first?_ that is the question.
Those who tell us about points and lines usually leave us to call upon
gentle echo for an answer.

The perplexities of this moving point seem to grow worse and worse the
longer one reflects upon them.  They do not harass it merely at the
beginning and at the end of its journey.  This is admirably brought out
by Professor W. K. Clifford (1845-1879), an excellent mathematician,
who never had the faintest intention of denying the possibility of
motion, and who did not desire to magnify the perplexities in the path
of a moving point.  He writes:--

"When a point moves along a line, we know that between any two
positions of it there is an infinite number . . . of intermediate
positions.  That is because the motion is continuous.  Each of those
positions is where the point was at some instant or other.  Between the
two end positions on the line, the point where the motion began and the
point where it stopped, there is no point of the line which does not
belong to that series.  We have thus an infinite series of successive
positions of a continuously moving point, and in that series are
included all the points of a certain piece of line-room." [1]

Thus, we are told that, when a point moves along a line, between any
two positions of it there is an infinite number of intermediate
positions.  Clifford does not play with the word "infinite"; he takes
it seriously and tells us that it means without any end: "_Infinite_;
it is a dreadful word, I know, until you find out that you are familiar
with the thing which it expresses.  In this place it means that between
any two positions there is some intermediate position; between that and
either of the others, again, there is some other intermediate; and so
on _without any end_.  Infinite means without any end."

But really, if the case is as stated, the point in question must be at
a desperate pass.  I beg the reader to consider the following, and ask
himself whether he would like to change places with it:--

(1) If the series of positions is really endless, the point must
complete one by one the members of an endless series, and reach a
nonexistent final term, for a really endless series cannot have a final

(2) The series of positions is supposed to be "an infinite series of
successive positions."  The moving point must take them one after
another.  But how can it?  _Between any two positions of the point
there is an infinite number of intermediate positions_.  That is to
say, no two of these successive positions must be regarded as _next to_
each other; every position is separated from every other by an infinite
number of intermediate ones.  How, then, shall the point move?  It
cannot possibly move from one position to the next, for there is no
next.  Shall it move first to some position that is not the next?  Or
shall it in despair refuse to move at all?

Evidently there is either something wrong with this doctrine of the
infinite divisibility of space, or there is something wrong with our
understanding of it, if such absurdities as these refuse to be cleared
away.  Let us see where the trouble lies.

26. WHAT IS REAL SPACE?--It is plain that men are willing to make a
number of statements about space, the ground for making which is not at
once apparent.  It is a bold man who will undertake to say that the
universe of matter is infinite in extent.  We feel that we have the
right to ask him how he knows that it is.  But most men are ready
enough to affirm that space is and must be infinite.  How do they know
that it is?  They certainly do not directly perceive all space, and
such arguments as the one offered by Hamilton and Spencer are easily
seen to be poor proofs.

Men are equally ready to affirm that space is infinitely divisible.
Has any man ever looked upon a line and perceived directly that it has
an infinite number of parts?  Did any one ever succeed in dividing a
space up infinitely?  When we try to make clear to ourselves how a
point moves along an infinitely divisible line, do we not seem to land
in sheer absurdities?  On what sort of evidence does a man base his
statements regarding space?  They are certainly very bold statements.

A careful reflection reveals the fact that men do not speak as they do
about space for no reason at all.  When they are properly understood,
their statements can be seen to be justified, and it can be seen also
that the difficulties which we have been considering can be avoided.
The subject is a deep one, and it can scarcely be discussed
exhaustively in an introductory volume of this sort, but one can, at
least, indicate the direction in which it seems most reasonable to look
for an answer to the questions which have been raised.  How do we come
to a knowledge of space, and what do we mean by space?  This is the
problem to solve; and if we can solve this, we have the key which will
unlock many doors.

Now, we saw in the last chapter that we have reason to believe that we
know what the real external world is.  It is a world of things which we
perceive, or can perceive, or, not arbitrarily but as a result of
careful observation and deductions therefrom, conceive as though we did
perceive it--a world, say, of atoms and molecules.  It is not an
Unknowable behind or beyond everything that we perceive, or can
perceive, or conceive in the manner stated.

And the space with which we are concerned is real space, the space in
which real things exist and move about, the real things which we can
directly know or of which we can definitely know something.  In some
sense it must be given in our experience, if the things which are in
it, and are known to be in it, are given in our experience.  How must
we think of this real space?

Suppose we look at a tree at a distance.  We are conscious of a certain
complex of color.  We can distinguish the kind of color; in this case,
we call it blue.  But the quality of the color is not the only thing
that we can distinguish in the experience.  In two experiences of color
the quality may be the same, and yet the experiences may be different
from each other.  In the one case we may have more of the same
color--we may, so to speak, be conscious of a larger patch; but even if
there is not actually more of it, there may be such a difference that
we can know from the visual experience alone that the touch object
before us is, in the one case, of the one shape, and, in the other
case, of another.  Thus we may distinguish between the _stuff_ given in
our experience and the _arrangement_ of that stuff.  This is the
distinction which philosophers have marked as that between "matter" and
"form."  It is, of course, understood that both of these words, so
used, have a special sense not to be confounded with their usual one.

This distinction between "matter" and "form" obtains in all our
experiences.  I have spoken just above of the shape of the touch object
for which our visual experiences stand as signs.  What do we mean by
its shape?  To the plain man real things are the touch things of which
he has experience, and these touch things are very clearly
distinguishable from one another in shape, in size, in position, nor
are the different parts| of the things to be confounded with each
other.  Suppose that, as we pass our hand over a table, all the
sensations of touch and movement which we experience fused into an
undistinguishable mass.  Would we have any notion of size or shape?  It
is because our experiences of touch and movement do not fuse, but
remain distinguishable from each other, and we are conscious of them as
_arranged_, as constituting a system, that we can distinguish between
this part of a thing and that, this thing and that.

This arrangement, this order, of what is revealed by touch and
movement, we may call the "form" of the touch world.  Leaving out of
consideration, for the present, time relations, we may say that the
"form" of the touch world is the whole system of actual and possible
relations of arrangement between the elements which make it up.  It is
because there is such a system of relations that we can speak of things
as of this shape or of that, as great or small, as near or far, as here
or there.

Now, I ask, is there any reason to believe that, when the plain man
speaks of _space_, the word means to him anything more than this system
of actual and possible relations of arrangement among the touch things
that constitute his real world?  He may talk sometimes as though space
were some kind of a _thing_, but he does not really think of it as a

This is evident from the mere fact that he is so ready to make about it
affirmations that he would not venture to make about things.  It does
not strike him as inconceivable that a given material object should be
annihilated; it does strike him as inconceivable that a portion of
space should be blotted out of existence.  Why this difference?  Is it
not explained when we recognize that space is but a name for all the
actual and possible relations of arrangement in which things in the
touch world may stand?  We cannot drop out some of these relations and
yet keep _space_, _i.e._ the system of relations which we had before.
That this is what space means, the plain man may not recognize
explicitly, but he certainly seems to recognize it implicitly in what
he says about space.  Men are rarely inclined to admit that space is a
_thing_ of any kind, nor are they much more inclined to regard it as a
quality of a thing.  Of what could it be the quality?

And if space really were a thing of any sort, would it not be the
height of presumption for a man, in the absence of any direct evidence
from observation, to say how much there is of it--to declare it
infinite?  Men do not hesitate to say that space must be infinite.  But
when we realize that we do not mean by space merely the actual
relations which exist between the touch things that make up the world,
but also the _possible_ relations, _i.e._ that we mean the whole _plan_
of the world system, we can see that it is not unreasonable to speak of
space as infinite.

The material universe may, for aught we know, be limited in extent.
The actual space relations in which things stand to each other may not
be limitless.  But these actual space relations taken alone do not
constitute space.  Men have often asked themselves whether they should
conceive of the universe as limited and surrounded by void space.  It
is not nonsense to speak of such a state of things.  It would, indeed,
appear to be nonsense to say that, if the universe is limited, it does
not lie in void space.  What can we mean by void space but the system
of possible relations in which things, if they exist, must stand?  To
say that, beyond a certain point, no further relations are possible,
seems absurd.

Hence, when a man has come to understand what we have a right to mean
by space, it does not imply a boundless conceit on his part to hazard
the statement that space is infinite.  When he has said this, he has
said very little.  What shall we say to the statement that space is
infinitely divisible?

To understand the significance of this statement we must come back to
the distinction between appearances and the real things for which they
stand as signs, the distinction discussed at length in the last chapter.

When I see a tree from a distance, the visual experience which I have
is, as we have seen, not an indivisible unit, but is a complex
experience; it has parts, and these parts are related to each other; in
other words, it has both "matter" and "form."  It is, however, one
thing to say that this experience has parts, and it is another to say
that it has an infinite number of parts.  No man is conscious of
perceiving an infinite number of parts in the patch of color which
represents to him a tree at a distance; to say that it is constituted
of such strikes us in our moments of sober reflection as a monstrous

Now, this visual experience is to us the sign of the reality, the real
tree; it is not taken as the tree itself.  When we speak of the size,
the shape, the number of parts, of the tree, we do not have in mind the
size, the shape, the number of parts, of just this experience.  We pass
from the sign to the thing signified, and we may lay our hand upon this
thing, thus gaining a direct experience of the size and shape of the
touch object.

We must recognize, however, that just as no man is conscious of an
infinite number of parts in what he sees, so no man is conscious of an
infinite number of parts in what he touches.  He who tells me that,
when I pass my finger along my paper cutter, _what I perceive_ has an
infinite number of parts, tells me what seems palpably untrue.  When an
object is very small, I can see it, and I cannot see that it is
composed of parts; similarly, when an object is very small, I can feel
it with my finger, but I cannot distinguish its parts by the sense of
touch.  There seem to be limits beyond which I cannot go in either case.

Nevertheless, men often speak of thousandths of an inch, or of
millionths of an inch, or of distances even shorter.  Have such
fractions of the magnitudes that we do know and can perceive any real
existence?  The touch world of real things as it is revealed in our
experience does not appear to be divisible into such; it does not
appear to be divisible even so far, and much less does it appear to be
infinitely divisible.

But have we not seen that the touch world given in our experience must
be taken by the thoughtful man as itself the sign or appearance of a
reality more ultimate?  The speck which appears to the naked eye to
have no parts is seen under the microscope to have parts; that is to
say, an experience apparently not extended has become the sign of
something that is seen to have part out of part.  We have as yet
invented no instrument that will make directly perceptible to the
finger tip an atom of hydrogen or of oxygen, but the man of science
conceives of these little things as though they could be perceived.
They and the space in which they move--the system of actual and
possible relations between them--seem to be related to the world
revealed in touch very much as the space revealed in the field of the
microscope is related to the space of the speck looked at with the
naked eye.

Thus, when the thoughtful man speaks of _real space_, he cannot mean by
the word only the actual and possible relations of arrangement among
the things and the parts of things directly revealed to his sense of
touch.  He may speak of real things too small to be thus perceived, and
of their motion as through spaces too small to be perceptible at all.
What limit shall he set to the possible subdivision of _real_ things?
Unless he can find an ultimate reality which cannot in its turn become
the appearance or sign of a further reality, it seems absurd to speak
of a limit at all.

We may, then, say that real space is infinitely divisible.  By this
statement we should mean that certain experiences may be represented by
others, and that we may carry on our division in the case of the
latter, when a further subdivision of the former seems out of the
question.  But it should not mean that any single experience furnished
us by any sense, or anything that we can represent in the imagination,
is composed of an infinite number of parts.

When we realize this, do we not free ourselves from the difficulties
which seemed to make the motion of a point over a line an impossible
absurdity?  The line as revealed in a single experience either of sight
or of touch is not composed of an infinite number of parts.  It is
composed of points seen or touched--least experiences of sight or
touch, _minima sensibilia_.  These are next to each other, and the
point, in moving, takes them one by one.

But such a single experience is not what we call a line.  It is but one
experience of a line.  Though the experience is not infinitely
divisible, the line may be.  This only means that the visual or tactual
point of the single experience may stand for, may represent, what is
not a mere point but has parts, and is, hence, divisible.  Who can set
a limit to such possible substitutions? in other words, who can set a
limit to the divisibility of a _real line_?

It is only when we confuse the single experience with the real line
that we fall into absurdities.  What the mathematician tells us about
real points and real lines has no bearing on the constitution of the
single experience and its parts.  Thus, when he tells us that between
any two points on a line there are an infinite number of other points,
he only means that we may expand the line indefinitely by the system of
substitutions described above.  We do this for ourselves within limits
every time that we approach from a distance a line drawn on a
blackboard.  The mathematician has generalized our experience for us,
and that is all he has done.  We should try to get at his real meaning,
and not quote him as supporting an absurdity.

[1] "Seeing and Thinking," p. 149.



all know something about time; we know it as past, present, and future;
we know it as divisible into parts, all of which are successive; we know
that whatever happens must happen in time.  Those who have thought a good
deal about the matter are apt to tell us that time is a necessity of
thought, we cannot but think it; that time is and must be infinite; and
that it is infinitely divisible.

These are the same statements that were made regarding space, and, as
they have to be criticised in just the same way, it is not necessary to
dwell upon them at great length.  However, we must not pass them over

As to the statement that time is a _necessary_ idea, we may freely admit
that we cannot in thought _annihilate_ time, or _think it away_.  It does
not seem to mean anything to attempt such a task.  Whatever time may be,
it does not appear to be a something of such a nature that we can
demolish it or clear it away from something else.  But is it necessarily
absurd to speak of a system of things--not, of course, a system of things
in which there is change, succession, an earlier and a later, but still a
system of things of some sort--in which there obtain no time relations?
The problem is, to be sure, one of theoretical interest merely, for such
a system of things is not the world we know.

And as for the infinity of time, may we not ask on what ground any one
ventures to assert that time is infinite?  No man can say that infinite
time is directly given in his experience.  If one does not directly
perceive it to be infinite, must one not seek for some proof of the fact?
The only proof which appears to be offered us is contained in the
statement that we cannot conceive of a time before which there was no
time, nor of a time after which there will be no time; a proof which is
no proof, for written out at length it reads as follows: we cannot
conceive of a time _in the time_ before which there was no time, nor of a
time _in the time_ after which there will be no time.  As well say: We
cannot conceive of a number the number before which was no number, nor of
a number the number after which will be no number.  Whatever may be said
for the conclusion arrived at, the argument is a very poor one.

When we turn to the consideration of time as infinitely divisible, we
seem to find ourselves confronted with the same difficulties which
presented themselves when we thought of space as infinitely divisible.
Certainly no man was immediately conscious of an infinite number of parts
in the minute which just slipped by.  Shall he assert that it did,
nevertheless, contain an infinite number of parts?  Then how did it
succeed in passing? how did it even _begin_ to pass away?  It is
infinitely divisible, that is, there is no end to the number of parts
into which it may be divided; those parts and parts of parts are all
successive, no two can pass at once, they must all do it in a certain
order, one after the other.

Thus, something must pass _first_.  What can it be?  If that something
has parts, is divisible, the whole of it cannot pass first.  It must
itself pass bit by bit, as must the whole minute; and if it is infinitely
divisible we have precisely the problem that we had at the outset.
Whatever passes first cannot, then, have parts.

Let us assume that it has no parts, and bid it Godspeed!  Has the minute
begun?  Our minute is, by hypothesis, infinitely divisible; it is
composed of parts, and those parts of other parts, and so on without end.
We cannot by subdivision come to any part which is itself not composed of
smaller parts.  The partless thing that passed, then, is no part of the
minute.  That is all still waiting at the gate, and no member of its
troop can prove that it has a right to lead the rest.  In the same outer
darkness is waiting the point on the line that misbehaved itself in the
last chapter.

28. THE PROBLEM OF PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE.--It seems bad enough to
have on our hands a minute which must pass away in successive bits, and
to discover that no bit of it can possibly pass first.  But if we follow
with approval the reflections of certain thinkers, we may find ourselves
at such a pass that we would be glad to be able to prove that we may have
on our hands a minute of any sort.  Men sometimes are so bold as to
maintain that they know time to be infinite; would it not be well for
them to prove first that they can know time at all?

The trouble is this; as was pointed out long ago by Saint Augustine
(354-430) in his famous "Confessions," [1] the parts of time are
successive, and of the three divisions, past, present, and future, only
one can be regarded as existing: "Those two times, past and future, how
can they be, when the past is not now, and the future is not yet?"  The
present is, it seems, the only existent; how long is the present?

"Even a single hour passes in fleeting moments; as much of it as has
taken flight is past, what remains is future.  If we can comprehend any
time that is divisible into no parts at all, or perhaps into the minutest
parts of moments, this alone let us call present; yet this speeds so
hurriedly from the future to the past that it does not endure even for a
little space.  If it has duration, it is divided into a past and a
future; but the present has no duration.

"Where, then, is the time that we may call long?  Is it future?  We do
not say of the future: it _is_ long; for as yet there exists nothing to
be long.  We say: it _will be_ long.  But when?  If while yet future it
will not be long, for nothing will yet exist to be long.  And if it will
be long, when, from a future as yet nonexistent, it has become a present,
and has begun to be, that it may be something that is long, then present
time cries out in the words of the preceding paragraph that it cannot be

Augustine's way of presenting the difficulty is a quaint one, but the
problem is as real at the beginning of the twentieth century as it was at
the beginning of the fifth.  Past time does not exist now, future time
does not exist yet, and present time, it seems, has no duration.  Can a
man be said to be conscious of time as past, present, and future?  Who
can be conscious of the nonexistent?  And the existent is not _time_, it
has no duration, there is no before and after in a mere limiting point.

Augustine's way out of the difficulty is the suggestion that, although we
cannot, strictly speaking, measure time, we can measure _memory_ and
_expectation_.  Before he begins to repeat a psalm, his expectation
extends over the whole of it.  After a little a part of it must be
referred to expectation and a part of it to memory.  Finally, the whole
psalm is "extended along" the memory.  We can measure this, at least.

But how is the psalm in question "extended along" the memory or the
expectation?  Are the parts of it successive, or do they thus exist
simultaneously?  If everything in the memory image exists at once, if all
belongs to the punctual present, to the mere point that divides past from
future, how can a man get from it a consciousness of time, of a something
whose parts cannot exist together but must follow each other?

Augustine appears to overlook the fact that on his own hypothesis, the
present, the only existent, the only thing a man can be conscious of, is
an indivisible instant.  In such there can be no change; the man who is
shut up to such cannot be aware that the past is growing and the future
diminishing.  Any such change as this implies at least two instants, an
earlier and a later.  He who has never experienced a change of any sort,
who has never been conscious of the relation of earlier and later, of
succession, cannot think of the varied content of memory as of _that
which has been present_.  It cannot mean to him what memory certainly
means to us; he cannot be conscious of a past, a present, and a future.
To extract the notion of time, of past, present, and future, from an
experience which contains no element of succession, from an indivisible
instant, is as hopeless a task as to extract a line from a mathematical

It appears, then, that, if we are to be conscious of time at all, if we
are to have the least conception of it, we must have some direct
experience of change.  We cannot really be shut up to that punctual
present, that mere point or limit between past and future, that the
present has been described as being.  But does this not imply that we can
be directly conscious of what is not present, that we can _now_ perceive
what does _not now_ exist?  How is this possible?

It is not easy for one whose reading has been somewhat limited in any
given field to see the full significance of the problems which present
themselves in that field.  Those who read much in the history of modern
philosophy will see that this ancient difficulty touching our
consciousness of time has given rise to some exceedingly curious
speculations, and some strange conclusions touching the nature of the

Thus, it has been argued that, since the experience of each moment is
something quite distinct from the experience of the next, a something
that passes away to give place to its successor, we cannot explain the
consciousness of time, of a whole in which successive moments are
recognized as having their appropriate place, unless we assume a
something that knows each moment and knits it, so to speak, to its
successor.  This something is the self or consciousness, which is
independent of time, and does not exist in time, as do the various
experiences that fill the successive moments.  It is assumed to be
_timelessly_ present _at all times_, and thus to connect the nonexistent
past with the existent present.

I do not ask the reader to try to make clear to himself how anything can
be timelessly present at all times, for I do not believe that the words
can be made to represent any clear thought whatever.  Nor do I ask him to
try to conceive how this timeless something can join past and present.  I
merely wish to point out that these modern speculations, which still
influence the minds of many distinguished men, have their origin in a
difficulty which suggested itself early in the history of reflective
thought, and are by no means to be regarded as a gratuitous and useless
exercise of the ingenuity.  They are serious attempts to solve a real
problem, though they may be unsuccessful ones, and they are worthy of
attention even from those who incline to a different solution.

29. WHAT IS REAL TIME?--From the thin air of such speculations as we have
been discussing let us come back to the world of the plain man, the world
in which we all habitually live.  It is from this that we must start out
upon all our journeys, and it is good to come back to it from time to
time to make sure of our bearings.

We have seen (Chapter V) that we distinguish between the real and the
apparent, and that we recognize as the real world the objects revealed to
the sense of touch.  These objects stand to each other in certain
relations of arrangement; that is to say, they exist in space.  And just
as we may distinguish between the object as it appears and the object as
it is, so we may distinguish between apparent space and real space,
_i.e._ between the relations of arrangement, actual and possible, which
obtain among the parts of the object as it appears, and those which
obtain among the parts of the object as it really is.

But our experience does not present us only with objects in space
relations; it presents us with a succession of changes in those objects.
And if we will reason about those changes as we have reasoned about space
relations, many of our difficulties regarding the nature of time may, as
it seems, be made to disappear.

Thus we may recognize that we are directly conscious of duration, of
succession, and may yet hold that this crude and immediate experience of
duration is not what we mean by real time.  Every one distinguishes
between apparent time and real time now and then.  We all know that a
sermon may _seem _long and not _be_ long; that the ten years that we live
over in a dream are not ten real years; that the swallowing of certain
drugs may be followed by the illusion of the lapse of vast spaces of
time, when really very little time has elapsed.  What is this _real_ time?

It is nothing else than the order of the changes which take place or may
take place in real things.  In the last chapter I spoke of space as the
"form" of the real world; it would be better to call it _a_ "form" of the
real world, and to give the same name also to time.

It is very clear that, when we inquire concerning the real time of any
occurrence, or ask how long a series of such lasted, we always look for
our answer to something that has happened in the external world.  The
passage of a star over the meridian, the position of the sun above the
horizon, the arc which the moon has described since our last observation,
the movement of the hands of a clock, the amount of sand which has fallen
in the hourglass, these things and such as these are the indicators of
real time.  There may be indicators of a different sort; we may decide
that it is noon because we are hungry, or midnight because we are tired;
we may argue that the preacher must have spoken more than an hour because
he quite wore out the patience of the congregation.  These are more or
less uncertain signs of the lapse of time, but they cannot be regarded as
experiences of the passing of time either apparent or real.

Thus, we see that real space and real time are the _plan_ of the world
system.  They are not _things_ of any sort, and they should not be
mistaken for things.  They are not known independently of things, though,
when we have once had an experience of things and their changes, we can
by abstraction from the things themselves fix our attention upon their
arrangement and upon the order of their changes.  We can divide and
subdivide spaces and times without much reference to the things.  But we
should never forget that it would never have occurred to us to do this,
indeed, that the whole procedure would be absolutely meaningless to us,
were not a real world revealed in our experience as it is.

He who has attained to this insight into the nature of time is in a
position to offer what seem to be satisfactory solutions to the problems
which have been brought forward above.

(1) He can see, thus, why it is absurd to speak of any portion of time as
becoming nonexistent.  Time is nothing else than an order, a great system
of relations.  One cannot drop out certain of these and leave the rest
unchanged, for the latter imply the former.  Day-after-to-morrow would
not be day-after-to-morrow, if to-morrow did not lie between it and
to-day.  To speak of dropping out to-morrow and leaving it the time it
was conceived to be is mere nonsense.

(2) He can see why it does not indicate a measureless conceit for a man
to be willing to say that time is infinite.  One who says this need not
be supposed to be acquainted with the whole past and future history of
the real world, of which time is an aspect.  We constantly abstract from
things, and consider only the order of their changes, and in this order
itself there is no reason why one should set a limit at some point;
indeed, to set such a limit seems a gratuitous absurdity.  He who says
that time is infinite does not say much; he is not affirming the
existence of some sort of a thing; he is merely affirming a theoretical
possibility, and is it not a theoretical possibility that there may be an
endless succession of real changes in a real world?

(3) It is evident, furthermore, that, when one has grasped firmly the
significance of the distinction between apparent time and real time, one
may with a clear conscience speak of time as infinitely divisible.  Of
course, the time directly given in any single experience, the minute or
the second of which we are conscious as it passes, cannot be regarded as
composed of an infinite number of parts.  We are not directly conscious
of these subdivisions, and it is a monstrous assumption to maintain that
they must be present in the minute or second as perceived.

But no such single experience of duration constitutes what we mean by
real time.  We have seen that real time is the time occupied by the
changes in real things, and the question is, How far can one go in the
subdivision of this time?

Now, the touch thing which usually is for us in common life the real
thing is not the real thing for science; it is the appearance under which
the real world of atoms and molecules reveals itself.  The atom is not
directly perceivable, and we may assign to its motions a space so small
that no one could possibly perceive it as space, as a something with part
out of part, a something with a here and a there.  But, as has been
before pointed out (section 26), this does not prevent us from believing
the atom and the space in which it moves to be real, and we can
_represent_ them to ourselves as we can the things and the spaces with
which we have to do in common life.

It is with time just as it is with space.  We can perceive an inch to
have parts; we cannot perceive a thousandth of an inch to have parts, if
we can perceive it at all; but we can represent it to ourselves as
extended, that is, we can let an experience which is extended stand for
it, and can dwell upon the parts of that.  We can perceive a second to
have duration; we cannot perceive a thousandth of a second to have
duration; but we can conceive it as having duration, _i.e._ we can let
some experience of duration stand for it and serve as its representative.

It is, then, reasonable to speak of the space covered by the vibration of
an atom, and it is equally reasonable to speak of the time taken up by
its vibration.  It is not necessary to believe that the duration that we
actually experience as a second must itself be capable of being divided
up into the number of parts indicated by the denominator of the fraction
that we use in indicating such a time, and that each of these parts must
be perceived as duration.

There is, then, a sense in which we may affirm that time is infinitely
divisible.  But we must remember that apparent time--the time presented
in any single experience of duration--is never infinitely divisible; and
that real time, in any save a relative sense of the word, is not a single
experience of duration at all.  It is a recognition of the fact that
experiences of duration may be substituted for each other without
assignable limit.

(4) But what shall we say to the last problem--to the question how we can
be conscious of time at all, when the parts of time are all successive?
How can we even have a consciousness of "crude" time, of apparent time,
of duration in any sense of the word, when duration must be made up of
moments no two of which can exist together and no one of which alone can
constitute time?  The past is not now, the future is not yet, the present
is a mere point, as we are told, and cannot have parts.  If we are
conscious of time as past, present, and future, must we not be conscious
of a series as a series when every member of it save one is nonexistent?
Can a man be conscious of the nonexistent?

The difficulty does seem a serious one, and yet I venture to affirm that,
if we examine it carefully, we shall see that it is a difficulty of our
own devising.  The argument quietly makes an assumption--and makes it
gratuitously--with which any consciousness of duration is incompatible,
and then asks us how there can be such a thing as a consciousness of

The assumption is that _we can be conscious only of the existent_, and
this, written out a little more at length, reads as follows: _we can be
conscious only of the now existent_, or, in other words _of the present_.
Of course, this determines from the outset that we cannot be conscious of
the past and the future, of duration.

The past and the future are, to be sure, nonexistent from the point of
view of the present; but it should be remarked as well that the present
is nonexistent from the point of view of the past or the future.  If we
are talking of time at all we are talking of that no two parts of which
are simultaneous; it would be absurd to speak of a past that existed
simultaneously with the present, just as it would be absurd to speak of a
present existing simultaneously with the past.  But we should not deny to
past, present, and future, respectively, their appropriate existence; nor
is it by any means self-evident that there cannot be a consciousness of
past, present, and future as such.

We fall in with the assumption, it seems, because we know very well that
we are not directly conscious of a remote past and a remote future.  We
represent these to ourselves by means of some proxy--we have present
memories of times long past and present anticipations of what will be in
the time to come.  Moreover, we use the word "present" very loosely; we
say the present year, the present day, the present hour, the present
minute, or the present second.  When we use the word thus loosely, there
seems no reason for believing that there should be such a thing as a
direct consciousness that extends beyond the present.  It appears
reasonable to say: No one can be conscious save of the present.

It should be remembered, however, that the generous present of common
discourse is by no means identical with the ideal point between past and
future dealt with in the argument under discussion.  We all say: I now
see that the cloud is moving; I now see that the snow is falling.  But
there can be no moving, no falling, no change, in the timeless "now" with
which we have been concerned.  Is there any evidence whatever that we are
shut up, for all our immediate knowledge, to such a "now"?  There is none

The fact is that this timeless "now" is a product of reflective thought
and not a something of which we are directly conscious.  It is an ideal
point in the real time of which this chapter has treated, the time that
is in a certain sense infinitely divisible.  It is first cousin to the
ideal mathematical point, the mere limit between two lines, a something
not perceptible to any sense.  We have a tendency to carry over to it
what we recognize to be true of the very different present of common
discourse, a present which we distinguish from past and future in a
somewhat loose way, but a present in which there certainly is the
consciousness of change, of duration.  And when we do this, we dig for
ourselves a pit into which we proceed to fall.

We may, then, conclude that we are directly conscious of more than the
present, in the sense in which Augustine used the word.  We are conscious
of _time_, of "crude" time, and from this we can pass to a knowledge of
real time, and can determine its parts with precision.

[1] Book XI, Chapters 14 and 15.




30. PRIMITIVE NOTIONS OF MIND.--The soul or mind, that something to
which we refer sensations and ideas of all sorts, is an object that men
do not seem to know very clearly and definitely, though they feel so
sure of its existence that they regard it as the height of folly to
call it in question.  That he has a mind, no man doubts; what his mind
is, he may be quite unable to say.

We have seen (section 7) that children, when quite young, can hardly be
said to recognize that they have minds at all.  This does not mean that
what is mental is not given in their experience.  They know that they
must open their eyes to see things, and must lay their hands upon them
to feel them; they have had pains and pleasures, memories and fancies.
In short, they have within their reach all the materials needed in
framing a conception of the mind, and in drawing clearly the
distinction between their minds and external things.  Nevertheless,
they are incapable of using these materials; their attention is
engrossed with what is physical,--with their own bodies and the bodies
of others, with the things that they can eat, with the toys with which
they can play, and the like.  It is only later that there emerges even
a tolerably clear conception of a self or mind different from the
physical and contrasted with it.

Primitive man is almost as material in his thinking as is the young
child.  Of this we have traces in many of the words which have come to
be applied to the mind.  Our word "spirit" is from the Latin
_spiritus_, originally a breeze.  The Latin word for the soul, the word
used by the great philosophers all through the Middle Ages, _anima_
(Greek, anemos), has the same significance.  In the Greek New
Testament, the word used for spirit (pneuma) carries a similar
suggestion.  When we are told in the Book of Genesis that "man became a
living soul," we may read the word literally "a breath."

What more natural than that the man who is just awakening to a
consciousness of that elusive entity the mind should confuse it with
that breath which is the most striking outward and visible sign that
distinguishes a living man from a dead one?

That those who first tried to give some scientific account of the soul
or mind conceived it as a material thing, and that it was sufficiently
common to identify it with the breath, we know from direct evidence.  A
glance at the Greek philosophy, to which we owe so much that is of
value in our intellectual life, is sufficient to disclose how difficult
it was for thinking men to attain to a higher conception.

Thus, Anaximenes of Miletus, who lived in the sixth century before
Christ, says that "our soul, which is air, rules us."  A little later,
Heraclitus, a man much admired for the depth of his reflections,
maintains that the soul is a fiery vapor, evidently identifying it with
the warm breath of the living creature.  In the fifth century, B.C.,
Anaxagoras, who accounts for the ordering of the elements into a system
of things by referring to the activity of Mind or Reason, calls mind
"the finest of things," and it seems clear that he did not conceive of
it as very different in nature from the other elements which enter into
the constitution of the world.

Democritus of Abdera (between 460 and 360 B.C.), that great
investigator of nature and brilliant writer, developed a materialistic
doctrine that admits the existence of nothing save atoms and empty
space.  He conceived the soul to consist of fine, smooth, round atoms,
which are also atoms of fire.  These atoms are distributed through the
whole body, but function differently in different places--in the brain
they give us thought, in the heart, anger, and in the liver, desire.
Life lasts just so long as we breathe in and breathe out such atoms.

The doctrine of Democritus was taken up by Epicurus, who founded his
school three hundred years before Christ--a school which lived and
prospered for a very long time.  Those who are interested in seeing how
a materialistic psychology can be carried out in detail by an ingenious
mind should read the curious account of the mind presented in his great
poem, "On Nature," by the Roman poet Lucretius, an ardent Epicurean,
who wrote in the first century B.C.

The school which we commonly think of contrasting with the Epicurean,
and one which was founded at about the same time, is that of the
Stoics.  Certainly the Stoics differed in many things from the
Epicureans; their view of the world, and of the life of man, was a much
nobler one; but they were uncompromising materialists, nevertheless,
and identified the soul with the warm breath that animates man.

31. THE MIND AS IMMATERIAL.--It is scarcely too much to say that the
Greek philosophy as a whole impresses the modern mind as representing
the thought of a people to whom it was not unnatural to think of the
mind as being a breath, a fire, a collection of atoms, a something
material.  To be sure, we cannot accuse those twin stars that must ever
remain the glory of literature and science, Plato and Aristotle, of
being materialists.  Plato (427-347, B.C.) distributes, it is true, the
three-fold soul, which he allows man, in various parts of the human
body, in a way that at least suggests the Democritean distribution of
mind-atoms.  The lowest soul is confined beneath the diaphragm; the one
next in rank has its seat in the chest; and the highest, the rational
soul, is enthroned in the head.  However, he has said quite enough
about this last to indicate clearly that he conceived it to be free
from all taint of materiality.

As for Aristotle (384-322, B.C.),  who also distinguished between the
lower psychical functions and the higher, we find him sometimes
speaking of soul and body in such a way as to lead men to ask
themselves whether he is really speaking of two things at all; but when
he specifically treats of the _nous_ or reason, he insists upon its
complete detachment from everything material.  Man's reason is not
subjected to the fate of the lower psychical functions, which, as the
"form" of the body, perish with the body; it enters from without, and
it endures after the body has passed away.  It is interesting to note,
however, an occasional lapse even in Aristotle.  When he comes to speak
of the relation to the world of the Divine Mind, the First Cause of
Motion, which he conceives as pure Reason, he represents it as
_touching_ the world, although it remains itself _untouched_.  We seem
to find here just a flavor--an inconsistent one--of the material.

Such reflections as those of Plato and Aristotle bore fruit in later
ages.  When we come down to Plotinus the Neo-Platonist (204-269, A.D.),
we have left the conception of the soul as a warm breath, or as
composed of fine round atoms, far behind.  It has become curiously
abstract and incomprehensible.  It is described as an immaterial
substance  This substance is, in a sense, in the body, or, at least, it
is present to the body.  But it is not in the body as material things
are in this place or in that.  _It is as a whole in the whole body, and
it is as a whole in every part of the body_.  Thus the soul may be
regarded as divisible, since it is distributed throughout the body; but
it must also be regarded as indivisible, since it is wholly in every

Let the man to whom such sentences as these mean anything rejoice in
the meaning that he is able to read into them!  If he can go as far as
Plotinus, perhaps he can go as far as Cassiodorus (477-570, A.D.), and
maintain that the soul is not merely as a whole in every part of the
body, but is wholly in each of its own parts.

Upon reading such statements one's first impulse is to exclaim: How is
it possible that men of sense should be led to speak in this
irresponsible way? and when they do speak thus, is it conceivable that
other men should seriously occupy themselves with what they say?

But if one has the historic sense, and knows something of the setting
in which such doctrines come to the birth, one cannot regard it as
remarkable that men of sense should urge them.  No one coins them
independently out of his own brain; little by little men are impelled
along the path that leads to such conclusions.  Plotinus was a careful
student of the philosophers that preceded him.  He saw that mind must
be distinguished from matter, and he saw that what is given a location
in space, in the usual sense of the words, is treated like a material
thing.  On the other hand, he had the common experience that we all
have of a relation between mind and body.  How do justice to this
relation, and yet not materialize mind?

What he tried to do is clear, and it seems equally clear that he had
good reason for trying to do it.  But it appears to us now that what he
actually did was to make of the mind or soul a something very like an
inconsistent bit of matter, that is somehow in space, and yet not
exactly in space, a something that can be in two places at once, a
logical monstrosity.  That his doctrine did not meet with instant
rejection was due to the fact, already alluded to, that our experience
of the mind is something rather dim and elusive.  It is not easy for a
man to say what it is, and, hence, it is not easy for a man to say what
it is not.

The doctrine of Plotinus passed over to Saint Augustine, and from him
it passed to the philosophers of the Middle Ages.  How extremely
difficult it has been for the world to get away from it at all, is made
clearly evident in the writings of that remarkable man Descartes.

Descartes wrote in the seventeenth century.  The long sleep of the
Middle Ages was past, and the several sciences had sprung into a
vigorous and independent life.  It was not enough for Descartes to
describe the relation of mind and body in the loose terms that had
prevailed up to his time.  He had made a careful study of anatomy, and
he realized that the brain is a central organ to which messages are
carried by the nerves from all parts of the body.  He knew that an
injury to the nerve might prevent the receipt of a message, _i.e._ he
knew that a conscious sensation did not come into being until something
happened in the brain.

Nor was he content merely to refer the mind to the brain in a general
way.  He found the "little pineal gland" in the midst of the brain to
be in what he regarded as an admirable position to serve as the seat of
the soul.  To this convenient little central office he relegated it;
and he describes in a way that may to-day well provoke a smile the
movements that the soul imparts to the pineal gland, making it incline
itself in this direction and in that, and making it push the "animal
spirits," the fluid contained in the cavities of the brain, towards
various "pores."

Thus he writes:[1] "Let us, then, conceive of the soul as having her
chief seat in the little gland that is in the middle of the brain,
whence she radiates to all the rest of the body by means of the
spirits, the nerves, and even the blood, which, participating in the
impressions of the spirits, can carry them through the arteries to all
the members."  And again: "Thus, when the soul wills to call anything
to remembrance, this volition brings it about that the gland, inclining
itself successively in different directions, pushes the spirits towards
divers parts of the brain, until they find the part which has the
traces that the object which one wishes to recollect has left there."

We must admit that Descartes' scientific studies led him to make this
mind that sits in the little pineal gland something very material.  It
is spoken of as though it pushed the gland about; it is affected by the
motions of the gland, as though it were a bit of matter.  It seems to
be a less inconsistent thing than the "all in the whole body" soul of
Plotinus; but it appears to have purchased its comprehensibility at the
expense of its immateriality.

Shall we say that Descartes frankly repudiated the doctrine that had
obtained for so many centuries?  We cannot say that; he still held to
it.  But how could he?  The reader has perhaps remarked above that he
speaks of the soul as having her _chief_ seat in the pineal gland.  It
seems odd that he should do so, but he still held, even after he had
come to his definite conclusions as to the soul's seat, to the ancient
doctrine that the soul is united to all the parts of the body
"conjointly."  He could not wholly repudiate a venerable tradition.

We have seen, thus, that men first conceived of the mind as material
and later came to rebel against such a conception.  But we have seen,
also, that the attempt to conceive it as immaterial was not wholly
successful.  It resulted in a something that we may describe as
inconsistently material rather than as not material at all.

32. MODERN COMMON SENSE NOTIONS OF THE MIND.--Under this heading I mean
to sum up the opinions as to the nature of the mind usually held by the
intelligent persons about us to-day who make no claim to be regarded as
philosophers.  Is it not true that a great many of them believe:--

(1) That the mind is in the body?

(2) That it acts and reacts with matter?

(3) That it is a substance with attributes?

(4) That it is nonextended and immaterial?

I must remark at the outset that this collection of opinions is by no
means something gathered by the plain man from his own experience.
These opinions are the echoes of old philosophies.  They are a heritage
from the past, and have become the common property of all intelligent
persons who are even moderately well-educated.  Their sources have been
indicated in the preceding sections; but most persons who cherish them
have no idea of their origin.

Men are apt to suppose that these opinions seem reasonable to them
merely for the reason that they find in their own experience evidence
of their truth.  But this is not so.

Have we not seen above how long it took men to discover that they must
not think of the mind as being a breath, or a flame, or a collection of
material atoms?  The men who erred in this way were abler than most of
us can pretend to be, and they gave much thought to the matter.  And
when at last it came to be realized that mind must not thus be
conceived as material, those who endeavored to conceive it as something
else gave, after their best efforts, a very queer account of it indeed.

Is it in the face of such facts reasonable to suppose that our friends
and acquaintances, who strike us as having reflective powers in nowise
remarkable, have independently arrived at the conception that the mind
is a nonextended and immaterial substance?  Surely they have not
thought all this out for themselves.  They have taken up and
appropriated unconsciously notions which were in the air, so to speak.
They have inherited their doctrines, not created them.  It is well to
remember this, for it may make us the more willing to take up and
examine impartially what we have uncritically turned into articles of

The first two articles, namely, that the mind is in the body and that
it acts upon, and is acted upon by, material things, I shall discuss at
length in the next chapter.  Here I pause only to point out that the
plain man does not put the mind into the body quite unequivocally.  I
think it would surprise him to be told that a line might be drawn
through two heads in such a way as to transfix two minds.  And I
remark, further, that he has no clear idea of what it means for mind to
act upon body or body to act upon mind.  How does an immaterial thing
set a material thing in motion?  Can it touch it?  Can it push it?
Then what does it do?

But let us pass on to the last two articles of faith mentioned above.

We all draw the distinction between _substance_ and its _attributes_ or
_qualities_.  The distinction was remarked and discussed many centuries
ago, and much has been written upon it.  I take up the ruler on my
desk; it is recognized at once as a bit of wood.  How?  It has such and
such qualities.  My paper-knife is of silver.  How do I know it?  It
has certain other qualities.  I speak of my mind.  How do I know that I
have a mind?  I have sensations and ideas.  If I experienced no mental
phenomena of any sort, evidence of the existence of a mind would be

Now, whether I am concerned with the ruler, with the paper-knife, or
with the mind, have I direct evidence of the existence of anything more
than the whole group of qualities?  Do I ever perceive the substance?

In the older philosophy, the substance (_substantia_) was conceived to
be a something not directly perceived, but only inferred to exist--a
something underlying the qualities of things and, as it were, holding
them together.  It was believed in by philosophers who were quite ready
to admit that they could not tell anything about it.  For example, John
Locke (1632-1704), the English philosopher, holds to it stoutly, and
yet describes it as a mere "we know not what," whose function it is to
hold together the bundles of qualities that constitute the things we

In the modern philosophy men still distinguish between substance and
qualities.  It is a useful distinction, and we could scarcely get on
without it.  But an increasing number of thoughtful persons repudiate
the old notion of substance altogether.

We may, they say, understand by the word "substance" the whole group of
qualities _as a group_--not merely the qualities that are revealed at a
given time, but all those that we have reason to believe a fuller
knowledge would reveal.  In short, we may understand by it just what is
left when the "we know not what" of the Lockian has been discarded.

This notion of substance we may call the more modern one; yet we can
hardly say that it is the notion of the plain man.  He does not make
very clear to himself just what is in his thought, but I think we do
him no injustice in maintaining that he is something of a Lockian, even
if he has never heard of Locke.  The Lockian substance is, as the
reader has seen, a sort of "unknowable."

And now for the doctrine that the mind is nonextended and immaterial.
With these affirmations we may heartily agree; but we must admit that
the plain man enunciates them without having a very definite idea of
what the mind is.

He regards as in his mind all his sensations and ideas, all his
perceptions and mental images of things.  Now, suppose I close my eyes
and picture to myself a barber's pole.  Where is the image?  We say, in
the mind.  Is it extended?  We feel impelled to answer, No.  But it
certainly _seems_ to be extended; the white and the red upon it appear
undeniably side by side.  May I assert that this mental image has no
extension whatever?  Must I deny to it _parts_, or assert that its
parts are not side by side?

It seems odd to maintain that a something as devoid of parts as is a
mathematical point should yet appear to have parts and to be extended.
On the other hand, if we allow the image to be extended, how can we
refer it to a nonextended mind?

To such questions as these, I do not think that the plain man has an
answer.  That they can be answered, I shall try to show in the last
section of this chapter.  But one cannot answer them until one has
attained to rather a clear conception of what is meant by the mind.

And until one has attained to such a conception, the statement that the
mind is immaterial must remain rather vague and indefinite.  As we saw
above, even the Plotinic soul was inconsistently material rather than
immaterial.  It was not excluded from space; it was referred to space
in an absurd way.  The mind as common sense conceives it, is the
successor of this Plotinic soul, and seems to keep a flavor of what is
material after all.  This will come out in the next chapter, where we
shall discuss mind and body.

33. THE PSYCHOLOGIST AND THE MIND.--When we ask how the psychologist
conceives of the mind, we must not forget that psychologists are many
and that they differ more or less from each other in their opinions.
When we say "the psychologist" believes this or that, we mean usually
no more than that the opinion referred to is prevalent among men of
that class, or that it is the opinion of those whom we regard as its
more enlightened members.

Taking the words in this somewhat loose sense, I shall ask what the
psychologist's opinion is touching the four points set forth in the
preceding section.  How far does he agree with the plain man?

(1) There can be no doubt that he refers the mind to the body in some
way, although he may shake his head over the use of the word "in."

(2) As to whether the mind acts and reacts with matter, in any sense of
the words analogous to that in which they are commonly used, there is a
division in the camp.  Some affirm such interaction; some deny it.  The
matter will be discussed in the next chapter.

(3) The psychologist--the more modern one--inclines to repudiate any
substance or substratum of the sort accepted in the Middle Ages and
believed in by many men now.  To him the mind is the whole complex of
mental phenomena in their interrelations.  In other words, the mind is
not an unknown and indescribable something that is merely inferred; it
is something revealed in consciousness and open to observation.

(4) The psychologist is certainly not inclined to regard the mind or
any idea belonging to it as material or as extended.  But he does
recognize implicitly, if not explicitly, that ideas are composite.  To
him, as to the plain man, the image held in the memory or imagination
_seems_ to be extended, and he can distinguish its parts.  He does not
do much towards clearing away the difficulty alluded to at the close of
the last section.  It remains for the metaphysician to do what he can
with it, and to him we must turn if we wish light upon this obscure

34. THE METAPHYSICIAN AND THE MIND.--I have reserved for the next
chapter the first two points mentioned as belonging to the plain man's
doctrine of the mind.  In what sense the mind may be said to be in the
body, and how it may be conceived to be related to the body, are topics
that deserve to be treated by themselves in a chapter on "Mind and
Body."  Here I shall consider what the metaphysician has to say about
the mind as substance, and about the mind as nonextended and immaterial.

It has been said that the Lockian substance is really an "unknowable."
No one pretends to have experience of it; it is revealed to no sense;
it is, indeed, a name for a mere nothing, for when we abstract from a
thing, in thought, every single quality, we find that there is left to
us nothing whatever.

We cannot say that the substance, in this sense of the word, is the
_reality_ of which the qualities are _appearances_.  In Chapter V we
saw just what we may legitimately mean by realities and appearances,
and it was made clear that an unknowable of any sort cannot possibly be
the reality to which this or that appearance is referred.  Appearances
and realities are experiences which are observed to be related in
certain ways.  That which is not open to observation at all, that of
which we have, and can have, no experience, we have no reason to call
the reality of anything.  We have, in truth, no reason to talk about it
at all, for we know nothing whatever about it; and when we do talk
about it, it is because we are laboring under a delusion.

This is equally true whether we are concerned with the substance of
material things or with the substance of minds.  An "unknowable" is an
"unknowable" in any case, and we may simply discard it.  We lose
nothing by so doing, for one cannot lose what one has never had, and
what, by hypothesis, one can never have.  The loss of a mere word
should occasion us no regret.

Now, we have seen that we do not lose the world of real material things
in rejecting the "Unknowable" (Chapter V).  The things are complexes of
qualities, of physical phenomena; and the more we know about these, the
more do we know about real things.

But we have also seen (Chapter IV) that physical phenomena are not the
only phenomena of which we have experience.  We are conscious of mental
phenomena as well, of the phenomena of the subjective order, of
sensations and ideas.  Why not admit that these _constitute_ the mind,
as physical phenomena constitute the things which belong to the
external world?

He who says this says no more than that the mind is known and is
knowable.  It is what it is perceived to be; and the more we know of
mental phenomena, the more do we know of the mind.  Shall we call the
mind as thus known a _substance_?  That depends on the significance
which we give to this word.  It is better, perhaps, to avoid it, for it
is fatally easy to slip into the old use of the word, and then to say,
as men have said, that we do not know the mind as it is, but only as it
appears to us to be--that we do not know the reality, but only its

And if we keep clearly before us the view of the mind which I am
advocating, we shall find an easy way out of the difficulties that seem
to confront us when we consider it as nonextended and immaterial.

Certain complexes of mental phenomena--for example, the barber's pole
above alluded to--certainly appear to be extended.  Are they really
extended?  If I imagine a tree a hundred feet high, is it really a
hundred feet high?  Has it any real size at all?

Our problem melts away when we realize what we mean by this "real
size."  In Chapter V, I have distinguished between apparent space and
real space.  Real space is, as was pointed out, the "plan" of the real
physical world.  To occupy any portion of real space, a thing must be a
real external thing; that is, the experiences constituting it must
belong to the objective order, they must not be of the class called
mental.  We all recognize this, in a way.  We know that a real material
foot rule cannot be applied to an imaginary tree.  We say, How big did
the tree seen in a dream _seem_; we do not say, How big was it
_really_?  If we did ask such a question, we should be puzzled to know
where to look for an answer.

And this for a very good reason.  He who asks: How big was that
imaginary tree really? asks, in effect: How much real space did the
unreal tree fill?  The question is a foolish one.  It assumes that
phenomena not in the objective order are in the objective order.  As
well ask how a color smells or how a sound looks.  When we are dealing
with the material we are not dealing with the mental, and we must never
forget this.

The tree imagined or seen in a dream seems extended.  Its extension is
_apparent_ extension, and this apparent extension has no place in the
external world whatever.  But we must not confound this apparent
extension with a real mathematical point, and call the tree nonextended
in this sense.  If we do this we are still in the old error--we have
not gotten away from real space, but have substituted position in that
space for extension in that space.  Nothing mental can have even a
position in real space.  To do that it would have to be a real thing in
the sense indicated.

Let us, then, agree with the plain man in affirming that the mind is
nonextended, but let us avoid misconception.  The mind is constituted
of experiences of the subjective order.  None of these are in
space--real space.  But some of them have apparent extension, and we
must not overlook all that this implies.

Now for the mind as immaterial.  We need not delay long over this
point.  If we mean by the mind the phenomena of the subjective order,
and by what is material the phenomena of the objective order, surely we
may and must say that the mind is immaterial.  The two classes of
phenomena separate themselves out at once.

[1] "The Passions," Articles 34 and 42.



35. IS THE MIND IN THE BODY?--There was a time, as we have seen in the
last chapter (section 30), when it did not seem at all out of the way
to think of the mind as in the body, and very literally in the body.
He who believes the mind to be a breath, or a something composed of
material atoms, can conceive it as being in the body as unequivocally
as chairs can be in a room.  Breath can be inhaled and exhaled; atoms
can be in the head, or in the chest, or the heart, or anywhere else in
the animal economy.  There is nothing dubious about this sense of the
preposition "in."

But we have also seen (section 31) that, as soon as men began to
realize that the mind is not material, the question of its presence in
the body became a serious problem.  If I say that a chair is in a room,
I say what is comprehensible to every one.  It is assumed that it is in
a particular place in the room and is not in some other place.  If,
however, I say that the chair is, as a whole, in every part of the room
at once, I seem to talk nonsense.  This is what Plotinus and those who
came after him said about the mind.  Are their statements any the less
nonsensical because they are talking about minds?  When one speaks
about things mental, one must not take leave of good sense and utter
unmeaning phrases.

If minds are enough like material things to be in anything, they must
be in things in some intelligible sense of the word.  It will not do to
say: I use the word "in," but I do not really mean _in_.  If the
meaning has disappeared, why continue to use the word?  It can only
lead to mystification.

Descartes seemed to come back to something like an intelligible meaning
when he put the mind in the pineal gland in the brain.  Yet, as we have
seen, he clung to the old conception.  He could not go back to the
frank materialization of mind.

And the plain man to-day labors under the same difficulty.  He puts the
mind in the body, in the brain, but he does not put it there frankly
and unequivocally.  It is in the brain and yet not exactly in the
brain.  Let us see if this is not the case.

If we ask him: Does the man who wags his head move his mind about? does
he who mounts a step raise his mind some inches? does he who sits down
on a chair lower his mind?  I think we shall find that he hesitates in
his answers.  And if we go on to say: Could a line be so drawn as to
pass through your image of me and my image of you, and to measure their
distance from one another?  I think he will say, No.  He does not
regard minds and their ideas as existing in space in this fashion.

Furthermore, it would not strike the plain man as absurd if we said to
him: Were our senses far more acute than they are, it is conceivable
that we should be able to perceive every atom in a given human body,
and all its motions.  But would he be willing to admit that an increase
in the sharpness of sense would reveal to us directly the mind
connected with such a body?  It is not, then, in the body as the atoms
are.  It cannot be seen or touched under any conceivable circumstances.
What can it mean, hence, to say that it is _there_?  Evidently, the
word is used in a peculiar sense, and the plain man cannot help us to a
clear understanding of it.

His position becomes intelligible to us when we realize that he has
inherited the doctrine that the mind is immaterial, and that he
struggles, at the same time, with the tendency so natural to man to
conceive it after the analogy of things material.  He thinks of it as
in the body, and, nevertheless, tries to dematerialize this "in."  His
thought is sufficiently vague, and is inconsistent, as might be

If we will bear in mind what was said in the closing section of the
last chapter, we can help him over his difficulty.  That mind and body
are related there can be no doubt.  But should we use the word "in" to
express this relation?

The body is a certain group of phenomena in the objective order; that
is, it is a part of the external world.  The mind consists of
experiences in the subjective order.  We have seen that no mental
phenomenon can occupy space--real space, the space of the external
world--and that it cannot even have a position in space (section 34).
As mental, it is excluded from the objective order altogether.  The
mind is not, then, strictly speaking, _in_ the body, although it is
related to it.  It remains, of course, to ask ourselves how we ought to
conceive the relation.  This we shall do later in the present chapter.

But, it may be said, it would sound odd to deny that the mind is in the
body.  Does not every one use the expression?  What can we substitute
for it?  I answer: If it is convenient to use the expression let us
continue to do so.  Men must talk so as to be understood.  But let us
not perpetuate error, and, as occasion demands it, let us make clear to
ourselves and to others what we have a right to understand by this _in_
when we use it.

36. THE DOCTRINE OF THE INTERACTIONIST.--There is no man who does not
know that his mind is related to his body as it is not to other
material things.  We open our eyes, and we see things; we stretch out
our hand, and we feel them; our body receives a blow, and we feel pain;
we wish to move, and the muscles are set in motion.

These things are matters of common experience.  We all perceive, in
other words, that there is an interaction, in some sense of the term,
between mind and body.

But it is important to realize that one may be quite well aware of all
such facts, and yet may have very vague notions of what one means by
body and by mind, and may have no definite theory at all of the sort of
relation that obtains between them.  The philosopher tries to attain to
a clearer conception of these things.  His task, be it remembered, is
to analyze and explain, not to deny, the experiences which are the
common property of mankind.

In the present day the two theories of the relation of mind and body
that divide the field between them and stand opposed to each other are
_interactionism_ and _parallelism_.  I have used the word "interaction"
a little above in a loose sense to indicate our common experience of
the fact that we become conscious of certain changes brought about in
our body, and that our purposes realize themselves in action.  But
every one who accepts this fact is not necessarily an interactionist.
The latter is a man who holds a certain more or less definite theory as
to what is implied by the fact.  Let us take a look at his doctrine.

Physical things interact.  A billiard ball in motion strikes one which
has been at rest; the former loses its motion, the latter begins to
roll away.  We explain the occurrence by a reference to the laws of
mechanics; that is to say, we point out that it is merely an instance
of the uniform behavior of matter in motion under such and such
circumstances.  We distinguish between the state of things at one
instant and the state of things at the next, and we call the former
_cause_ and the latter _effect_.

It should be observed that both cause and effect here belong to the one
order, the objective order.  They have their place in the external
world.  Both the balls are material things; their motion, and the space
in which they move, are aspects of the external world.

If the balls did not exist in the same space, if the motion of the one
could not be towards or away from the other, if contact were
impossible, we would manifestly have no interaction _in the sense of
the word employed above_.  As it is, the interaction of physical things
is something that we can describe with a good deal of definiteness.
Things interact in that they stand in certain physical relations, and
undergo changes of relations according to certain laws.

Now, to one who conceives the mind in a grossly material way, the
relation of mind and body can scarcely seem to be a peculiar problem,
different from the problem of the relation of one physical thing to
another.  If my mind consists of atoms disseminated through my body,
its presence in the body appears as unequivocal as the presence of a
dinner in a man who has just risen from the table.  Nor can the
interaction of mind and matter present any unusual difficulties, for
mind is matter.  Atoms may be conceived to approach each other, to
clash, to rearrange themselves.  Interaction of mind and body is
nothing else than an interaction of bodies.  One is not forced to give
a new meaning to the word.

When, however, one begins to think of the mind as immaterial, the case
is very different.  How shall we conceive an immaterial thing to be
related to a material one?

Descartes placed the mind in the pineal gland, and in so far he seemed
to make its relation to the gland similar to that between two material
things.  When he tells us that the soul brings it about that the gland
bends in different directions, we incline to view the occurrence as
very natural--is not the soul in the gland?

But, on the other hand, Descartes also taught that the essence of mind
is _thought_ and the essence of body is _extension_.  He made the two
natures so different from each other that men began to ask themselves
how the two things could interact at all.  The mind wills, said one
philosopher, but that volition does not set matter in motion; when the
mind wills, God brings about the appropriate change in material things.
The mind perceives things, said another, but that is not because they
affect it directly; it sees things in God.  Ideas and things, said a
third, constitute two independent series; no idea can cause a change in
things, and no thing can cause a change in ideas.

The interactionist is a man who refuses to take any such turn as these
philosophers.  His doctrine is much nearer to that of Descartes than it
is to any of theirs.  He uses the one word "interaction" to describe
the relation between material things and also the relation between mind
and body, nor does he dwell upon the difference between the two.  He
insists that mind and matter stand in the one causal nexus; that a
change in the outside world may be the _cause_ of a perception coming
into being in a mind, and that a volition may be the _cause_ of changes
in matter.

What shall we call the plain man?  I think we may call him an
interactionist in embryo.  The stick in his hand knocks an apple off of
the tree; his hand seems to him to be set in motion because he wills
it.  The relation between his volition and the motion of his hand
appears to him to be of much the same sort as that between the motion
of the stick and the fall of the apple.  In each case he thinks he has
to do with the relation of cause and effect.

The opponent of the interactionist insists, however, that the plain man
is satisfied with this view of the matter only because he has not
completely stripped off the tendency to conceive the mind as a material
thing.  And he accuses the interactionist of having fallen a prey to
the same weakness.

Certainly, it is not difficult to show that the interactionists write
as though the mind were material, and could be somewhere in space.  The
late Dr. McCosh fairly represents the thought of many, and he was
capable of expressing himself as follows;[1] "It may be difficult to
ascertain the exact point or surface at which the mind and body come
together and influence each other, in particular, how far into the body
(Descartes without proof thought it to be in the pineal gland), but it
is certain, that when they do meet mind knows body as having its
essential properties of extension and resisting energy."

How can an immaterial thing be located at some point or surface within
the body?  How can a material thing and an immaterial thing "come
together" at a point or surface?  And if they cannot come together,
what have we in mind when we say they interact?

The parallelist, for it is he who opposes interactionism, insists that
we must not forget that mental phenomena do not belong to the same
order as physical phenomena.  He points out that, when we make the word
"interaction" cover the relations of mental phenomena to physical
phenomena as well as the relations of the latter to each other, we are
assimilating heedlessly facts of two different kinds and are
obliterating an important distinction.  He makes the same objection to
calling the relations between mental phenomena and physical phenomena
_causal_.  If the relation of a volition to the movement of the arm is
not the same as that of a physical cause to its physical effect, why,
he argues, do you disguise the difference by calling them by the same

37. THE DOCTRINE OF THE PARALLELIST.--Thus, the parallelist is a man
who is so impressed by the gulf between physical facts and mental facts
that he refuses to regard them as parts of the one order of causes and
effects.  You cannot, he claims, make a single chain out of links so

Some part of a human body receives a blow; a message is carried along a
sensory nerve and reaches the brain; from the brain a message is sent
out along a motor nerve to a group of muscles; the muscles contract,
and a limb is set in motion.  The immediate effects of the blow, the
ingoing message, the changes in the brain, the outgoing message, the
contraction of the muscles--all these are physical facts.  One and all
may be described as motions in matter.

But the man who received the blow becomes conscious that he was struck,
and both interactionist and parallelist regard him as becoming
conscious of it when the incoming message reaches some part of the
brain.  What shall be done with this consciousness?  The interactionist
insists that it must be regarded as a link in the physical chain of
causes and effects--he breaks the chain to insert it.  The parallelist
maintains that it is inconceivable that such an insertion should be
made.  He regards the physical series as complete in itself, and he
places the consciousness, as it were, on a _parallel_ line.

It must not be supposed that he takes this figure literally.  It is his
effort to avoid materializing the mind that forces him to hold the
position which he does.  To put the mind in the brain is to make of it
a material thing; to make it parallel to the brain, in the literal
sense of the word, would be just as bad.  All that we may understand
him to mean is that mental phenomena and physical, although they are
related, cannot be built into the one series of causes and effects.  He
is apt to speak of them as _concomitant_.

We must not forget that neither parallelist nor interactionist ever
dreams of repudiating our common experiences of the relations of mental
phenomena and physical.  Neither one will, if he is a man of sense,
abandon the usual ways of describing such experiences.  Whatever his
theory, he will still say: I am suffering because I struck my hand
against that table; I sat down because I chose to do so.  His doctrine
is not supposed to deny the truth contained in such statements; it is
supposed only to give a fuller understanding of it.  Hence, we cannot
condemn either doctrine simply by an uncritical appeal to such
statements and to the experiences they represent.  We must look much

Now, what can the parallelist mean by _referring_ sensations and ideas
to the brain and yet denying that they are _in_ the brain?  What is
this reference?

Let us come back to the experiences of the physical and the mental as
they present themselves to the plain man.  They have been discussed at
length in Chapter IV.  It was there pointed out that every one
distinguishes without difficulty between sensations and things, and
that every one recognizes explicitly or implicitly that a sensation is
an experience referred in a certain way to the body.

When the eyes are open, we _see_; when the ears are open, we _hear_;
when the hand is laid on things, we _feel_.  How do we know that we are
experiencing sensations?  The setting tells us that.  The experience in
question is given together with an experience of the body.  This is
_concomitance of the mental and the physical_ as it appears in the
experience of us all; and from such experiences as these the
philosopher who speaks of the concomitance of physical and mental
phenomena must draw the whole meaning of the word.

Let us here sharpen a little the distinction between sensations and
things.  Standing at some distance from the tree, I see an apple fall
to the ground.  Were I only half as far away, my experience would not
be exactly the same--I should have somewhat different sensations.  As
we have seen (section 17), the apparent sizes of things vary as we
move, and this means that the quantity of sensation, when I observe the
apple from a nearer point, is greater.  The man of science tells me
that the image which the object looked at projects upon the retina of
the eye grows larger as we approach objects.  The thing, then, may
remain unchanged; our sensations will vary according to the impression
which is made upon our body.

Again.  When I have learned something of physics, I am ready to admit
that, although light travels with almost inconceivable rapidity, still,
its journey through space does take time.  Hence the impression made
upon my eye by the falling apple is not simultaneous with the fall
itself; and if I stand far away it is made a little later than when I
am near.  In the case in point the difference is so slight as to pass
unnoticed, but there are cases in which it seems apparent even to the
unlearned that sensations arise later than the occurrences of which we
take them to be the report.

Thus, I stand on a hill and watch a laborer striking with his sledge
upon the distant railway.  I hear the sound of the blow while I see his
tool raised above his head.  I account for this by saying that it has
taken some time for the sound-waves to reach my ear, and I regard my
sensation as arising only when this has been accomplished.

But this conclusion is not judged sufficiently accurate by the man of
science.  The investigations of the physiologist and the psychologist
have revealed that the brain holds a peculiar place in the economy of
the body.  If the nerve which connects the sense organ with the brain
be severed, the sensation does not arise.  Injuries to the brain affect
the mental life as injuries to other parts of the body do not.  Hence,
it is concluded that, to get the real time of the emergence of a
sensation, we must not inquire merely when an impression was made upon
the organ of sense, but must determine when the message sent along the
nerve has reached some part of the brain.  The resulting brain change
is regarded as the true concomitant of the sensation.  If there is a
brain change of a certain kind, there is the corresponding sensation.
It need hardly be said that no one knows as yet much about the brain
motions which are supposed to be concomitants of sensations, although a
good deal is said about them.

It is very important to remark that in all this no new meaning has been
given to the word "concomitance."  The plain man remarks that
sensations and their changes must be referred to the body.  With the
body disposed in a certain way, he has sensations of a certain kind;
with changes in the body, the sensations change.  He does not perceive
the sensations to be in the body.  As I recede from a house I have a
whole series of visual experiences differing from each other and ending
in a faint speck which bears little resemblance to the experience with
which I started.  I have had, as we say, a series of sensations, or
groups of such.  Did any single group, did the experience which I had
at any single moment, seem to me to be _in my body_?  Surely not.  Its
relation to my body is other than that.

And when the man of science, instead of referring sensations vaguely to
the body, refers them to the brain, the reference is of precisely the
same nature.  From our common experience of the relation of the
physical and the mental he starts out.  He has no other ground on which
to stand.  He can only mark the reference with greater exactitude.

I have been speaking of the relation of sensations to the brain.  It is
scarcely necessary for me to show that all other mental phenomena must
be referred to the brain as well, and that the reference must be of the
same nature.  The considerations which lead us to refer ideas to the
brain are set forth in our physiologies and psychologies.  The effects
of cerebral disease, injuries to the brain, etc., are too well known to
need mention; and it is palpably as absurd to put ideas in the brain as
it is to put sensations there.

Now, the parallelist, if he be a wise man, will not attempt to
_explain_ the reference of mental phenomena to the brain--to _explain_
the relation between mind and matter.  The relation appears to be
unique.  Certainly it is not identical with the relation between two
material things.  We explain things, in the common acceptation of the
word, when we show that a case under consideration is an
exemplification of some general law--when we show, in other words, that
it does not stand alone.  But this does stand alone, and is admitted to
stand alone.  We admit as much when we say that the mind is immaterial,
and yet hold that it is related to the body.  We cannot, then, ask for
an _explanation_ of the relation.

But this does not mean that the reference of mental phenomena to the
body is a meaningless expression.  We can point to those experiences of
concomitance that we all have, distinguish them carefully from
relations of another kind, and say: This is what the word means,
whether it be used by the plain man or by the man of science.

I have said above: "If there is a brain change of a certain kind, there
is the corresponding sensation."  Perhaps the reader will feel inclined
to say here: If you can say as much as this, why can you not go a
little farther and call the brain change the _cause_ of the sensation?

But he who speaks thus, forgets what has been said above about the
uniqueness of the relation.  In the objective order of our experiences,
in the external world, we can distinguish between antecedents and
consequents, between causes and their effects.  The causes and their
effects belong to the one order, they stand in the same series.  The
relation of the physical to the mental is, as we have seen, a different
relation.  Hence, the parallelist seems justified in objecting to the
assimilation of the two.  He prefers the word "concomitance," just
because it marks the difference.  He does not mean to indicate that the
relation is any the less uniform or dependable when he denies that it
is causal.

in Chapters VI and VII what space and time--real space and time--are.
They are the plan of the real external world and its changes; they are
aspects of the objective order of experience.

To this order no mental phenomenon can belong.  It cannot, as we have
seen (section 35), occupy any portion of space or even have a location
in space.  It is equally true that no series of mental changes can
occupy any portion of time, real time, or even fill a single moment in
the stream of time.  There are many persons to whom this latter
statement will seem difficult of acceptance; but the relation of mental
phenomena to space and to time is of the same sort, and we can consider
the two together.

Psychologists speak unhesitatingly of the localization of sensations in
the brain, and they talk as readily of the moment at which a sensation
arises and of the duration of the sensation.  What can they mean by
such expressions?

We have seen that sensations are not in the brain, and their
localization means only the determination of their concomitant physical
phenomena, of the corresponding brain-change.  And it ought to be clear
even from what has been said above that, in determining the moment at
which a sensation arises, we are determining only the time of the
concomitant brain process.  Why do we say that a sensation arises later
than the moment at which an impression is made upon the organ of sense
and earlier than the resulting movement of some group of muscles?
Because the change in the brain, to which we refer the sensation,
occurs later than the one and earlier than the other.  This has a place
in real time, it belongs to that series of world changes whose
succession constitutes real time.  If we ask _when_ anything happened,
we always refer to this series of changes.  We try to determine its
place in the world order.

Thus, we ask: When was Julius Caesar born?  We are given a year and a
day.  How is the time which has elapsed since measured?  By changes in
the physical world, by revolutions of the earth about the sun.  We ask:
When did he conceive the plan of writing his Commentaries?  If we get
an answer at all, it must be an answer of the same kind--some point in
the series of physical changes which occur in real time must be
indicated.  Where else should we look for an answer?  In point of fact,
we never do look elsewhere.

Again.  We have distinguished between apparent space and real space
(section 34).  We have seen that, when we deny that a mental image can
occupy any portion of space, we need not think of it as losing its
parts and shrivelling to a point.  We may still attribute to it
apparent space; may affirm that it seems extended.  Let us mark the
same distinction when we consider time.  The psychologist speaks of the
duration of a sensation.  Has it real duration?  It is not in time at
all, and, of course, it cannot, strictly speaking, occupy a portion of
time.  But we can try to measure the duration of the physical
concomitant, and call this the real duration of the sensation.

We all distinguish between the real time of mental phenomena, in the
sense indicated just above, and the apparent time.  We know very well
that the one may give us no true measure of the other.  A sermon
_seems_ long; was it _really_ long?  There is only one way of measuring
its real length.  We must refer to the clock, to the sun, to some
change in the physical world.  We _seem_ to live years in a dream; was
the dream _really_ a long one?  The real length can only be determined,
if at all, by a physical reference.  Those apparent years of the dream
have no place in the real time which is measured by the clock.  We do
not have to cut it and insert them somewhere.  They belong to a
different order, and cannot be inserted any more than the thought of a
patch can be inserted in a rent in a real coat.

We see, thus, when we reflect upon the matter, that mental phenomena
cannot, strictly speaking, be said to have a time and place.  He who
attributes these to them materializes them.  But their physical
concomitants have a time and place, and mental phenomena can be
ordered by a reference to these.  They can be assigned a time and
place of existing in a special sense of the words not to be confounded
with the sense in which we use them when we speak of the time and place
of material things.  This makes it possible to relate every mental
phenomenon to the world system in a definite way, and to distinguish it
clearly from every other, however similar.

We need not, when we come to understand this, change our usual modes of
speech.  We may still say: The pain I had two years ago is like the
pain I have to-day; my sensation came into being at such a moment; my
regret lasted two days.  We speak that we may be understood; and such
phrases express a truth, even if they are rather loose and inaccurate.
But we must not be deceived by such phrases, and assume that they mean
what they have no right to mean.

39. OBJECTIONS TO PARALLELISM.--What objections can be brought against
parallelism?  It is sometimes objected by the interactionist that it
abandons the plain man's notion of the mind as a substance with its
attributes, and makes of it a mere collection of mental phenomena.  It
must be admitted that the parallelist usually holds a view which
differs rather widely from that of the unlearned.

But even supposing this objection well taken, it can no longer be
regarded as an objection specifically to the doctrine of parallelism,
for the view of the mind in question is becoming increasingly popular,
and it is now held by influential interactionists as well as by
parallelists.  One may believe that the mind consists of ideas, and may
still hold that ideas can cause motions in matter.

There is, however, another objection that predisposes many thoughtful
persons to reject parallelism uncompromisingly.  It is this.  If we
admit that the chain of physical causes and effects, from a blow given
to the body to the resulting muscular movements made in self-defense,
is an unbroken one, what part can we assign to the mind in the whole
transaction?  Has it _done_ anything?  Is it not reduced to the
position of a passive spectator?  Must we not regard man as "a physical
automaton with parallel psychical states"?

Such an account of man cannot fail to strike one as repugnant; and yet
it is the parallelist himself whom we must thank for introducing us to
it.  The account is not a caricature from the pen of an opponent.  "An
automaton," writes Professor Clifford,[2] "is a thing that goes by
itself when it is wound up, and we go by ourselves when we have had
food.  Excepting the fact that other men are conscious, there is no
reason why we should not regard the human body as merely an exceedingly
complicated machine which is wound up by putting food into the mouth.
But it is not _merely_ a machine, because consciousness goes with it.
The mind, then, is to be regarded as a stream of feelings which runs
parallel to, and simultaneous with, a certain part of the action of the
body, that is to say, that particular part of the action of the brain
in which the cerebrum and the sensory tracts are excited."

The saving statement that the body is not _merely_ a machine, because
consciousness goes with it, does not impress one as being sufficient to
redeem the illustration.  Who wants to be an automaton with an
accompanying consciousness?  Who cares to regard his mind as an
"epiphenomenon"--a thing that exists, but whose existence or
nonexistence makes no difference to the course of affairs?

The plain man's objection to such an account of himself seems to be
abundantly justified.  As I have said earlier in this chapter, neither
interactionist nor parallelist has the intention of repudiating the
experience of world and mind common to us all.  We surely have evidence
enough to prove that minds count for something.  No house was ever
built, no book was ever written, by a creature without a mind; and the
better the house or book, the better the mind.  _That_ there is a fixed
and absolutely dependable relation between the planning mind and the
thing accomplished, no man of any school has the right to deny.  The
only legitimate question is: _What is the nature_ of the relation?  Is
it _causal_, or should it be conceived to be _something else_?

The whole matter will be more fully discussed in Chapter XI.  This
chapter I shall close with a brief summary of the points which the
reader will do well to bear in mind when he occupies himself with

(1) Parallelism is a protest against the interactionist's tendency to
materialize the mind.

(2) The name is a figurative expression, and must not be taken
literally.  The true relation between mental phenomena and physical is
given in certain common experiences that have been indicated, and it is
a unique relation.

(3) It is a fixed and absolutely dependable relation.  It is impossible
that there should be a particular mental fact without its corresponding
physical fact; and it is impossible that this physical fact should
occur without its corresponding mental fact.

(4) The parallelist objects to calling this relation _causal_, because
this obscures the distinction between it and the relation between facts
both of which are physical.  He prefers the word "concomitance."

(5) Such objections to parallelism as that cited above assume that the
concomitance of which the parallelist speaks is analogous to physical
concomitance.  The chemist puts together a volume of hydrogen gas and a
volume of chlorine gas, and the result is two volumes of hydrochloric
acid gas.  We regard it as essential to the result that there should be
the two gases and that they should be brought together.  But the fact
that the chemist has red hair we rightly look upon as a concomitant
phenomenon of no importance.  The result would be the same if he had
black hair or were bald.  But this is not the concomitance that
interests the parallelist.  The two sorts of concomitance are alike
only in the one point.  Some phenomenon is regarded as excluded from
the series of causes and effects under discussion.  On the other hand,
the difference between the two is all-important; in the one case, the
concomitant phenomenon is an accidental circumstance that might just as
well be absent; in the other, it is nothing of the sort; it _cannot_ be
absent--the mental fact _must_ exist if the brain-change in question

It is quite possible that, on reading this list of points, one may be
inclined to make two protests.

First: Is a parallelism so carefully guarded as this properly called
_parallelism_ at all?  To this I answer: The name matters little.  I
have used it because I have no better term.  Certainly, it is not the
parallelism which is sometimes brought forward, and which peeps out
from the citation from Clifford.  It is nothing more than an insistence
upon the truth that we should not treat the mind as though it were a
material thing.  If any one wishes to take the doctrine and discard the
name, I have no objection.  As so guarded, the doctrine is, I think,

Second: If it is desirable to avoid the word "cause," in speaking of
the relation of the mental and the physical, on the ground that
otherwise we give the word a double sense, why is it not desirable to
avoid the word "concomitance"?  Have we not seen that the word is
ambiguous?  I admit the inconsistency and plead in excuse only that I
have chosen the lesser of two evils.  It is fatally easy to slip into
the error of thinking of the mind as though it were material and had a
place in the physical world.  In using the word "concomitance" I enter
a protest against this.  But I have, of course, no right to use it
without showing just what kind of concomitance I mean.

[1] "First and Fundamental Truths," Book I, Part II, Chapter II.  New
York, 1889.

[2] "Lectures and Essays," Vol. II, p. 57.  London, 1879.



40. IS IT CERTAIN THAT WE KNOW IT?--I suppose there is no man in his
sober senses who seriously believes that no other mind than his own
exists.  There is, to be sure, an imaginary being more or less
discussed by those interested in philosophy, a creature called the
Solipsist, who is credited with this doctrine.  But men do not become
solipsists, though they certainly say things now and then that other
men think logically lead to some such unnatural view of things; and
more rarely they say things that sound as if the speaker, in some
moods, at least, might actually harbor such a view.

Thus the philosopher Fichte (1762-1814) talks in certain of his
writings as though he believed himself to be the universe, and his
words cause Jean Paul Richter, the inimitable, to break out in his
characteristic way: "The very worst of it all is the lazy, aimless,
aristocratic, insular life that a god must lead; he has no one to go
with.  If I am not to sit still for all time and eternity, if I let
myself down as well as I can and make myself finite, that I may have
something in the way of society, still I have, like petty princes, only
my own creatures to echo my words. . . .  Every being, even the highest
Being, wishes something to love and to honor.  But the Fichtean
doctrine that I am my own body-maker leaves me with nothing
whatever--with not so much as the beggar's dog or the prisoner's
spider. . . .  Truly I wish that there were men, and that I were one of
them. . . .  If there exists, as I very much fear, no one but myself,
unlucky dog that I am, then there is no one at such a pass as I."

Just how much Fichte's words meant to the man who wrote them may be a
matter for dispute.  Certainly no one has shown a greater moral
earnestness or a greater regard for his fellowmen than this
philosopher, and we must not hastily accuse any one of being a
solipsist.  But that to certain men, and, indeed, to many men, there
have come thoughts that have seemed to point in this direction--that
not a few have had doubts as to their ability to _prove_ the existence
of other minds--this we must admit.

It appears somewhat easier for a man to have doubts upon this subject
when he has fallen into the idealistic error of regarding the material
world, which seems to be revealed to him, as nothing else than his
"ideas" or "sensations" or "impressions."  If we will draw the whole
"telephone exchange" into the clerk, there seems little reason for not
including all the subscribers as well.  If other men's bodies are my
sensations, may not other men's minds be my imaginings?  But doubts may
be felt also by those who are willing to admit a real external world.
How do we know that our inference to the existence of other minds is a
justifiable inference?  Can there be such a thing as _verification_ in
this field?

For we must remember that no man is directly conscious of any mind
except his own.  Men cannot exhibit their minds to their neighbors as
they exhibit their wigs.  However close may seem to us to be our
intercourse with those about us, do we ever attain to anything more
than our ideas of the contents of their minds?  We do not experience
these contents; we picture them, we represent them by certain proxies.
To be sure, we believe that the originals exist, but can we be quite
sure of it?  Can there be a _proof_ of this right to make the leap from
one consciousness to another?  We seem to assume that we can make it,
and then we make it again and again; but suppose, after all, that there
were nothing there.  Could we ever find out our error?  And in a field
where it is impossible to prove error, must it not be equally
impossible to prove truth?

The doubt has seemed by no means a gratuitous one to certain very
sensible practical men.  "It is wholly impossible," writes Professor
Huxley,[1] "absolutely to prove the presence or absence of
consciousness in anything but one's own brain, though by analogy, we
are justified in assuming its existence in other men."  "The existence
of my conception of you in my consciousness," says Clifford,[2]
"carries with it a belief in the existence of you outside of my
consciousness. . . .  How this inference is justified, how
consciousness can testify to the existence of anything outside of
itself, I do not pretend to say: I need not untie a knot which the
world has cut for me long ago.  It may very well be that I myself am
the only existence, but it is simply ridiculous to suppose that anybody
else is.  The position of absolute idealism may, therefore, be left out
of count, although each individual may be unable to justify his dissent
from it."

These are writers belonging to our own modern age, and they are men of
science.  Both of them deny that the existence of other minds is a
thing that can be _proved_; but the one tells us that we are "justified
in assuming" their existence, and the other informs us that, although
"it may very well be" that no other mind exists, we may leave that
possibility out of count.

Neither position seems a sensible one.  Are we justified in assuming
what cannot be proved? or is the argument "from analogy" really a proof
of some sort?  Is it right to close our eyes to what "may very well
be," just because we choose to do so?  The fact is that both of these
writers had the conviction, shared by us all, that there are other
minds, and that we know something about them; and yet neither of them
could see that the conviction rested upon an unshakable foundation.

Now, I have no desire to awake in the mind of any one a doubt of the
existence of other minds.  But I think we must all admit that the man
who recognizes that such minds are not directly perceived, and who
harbors doubts as to the nature of the inference which leads to their
assumption, may, perhaps, be able to say that _he feels certain_ that
there are other minds; but must we not at the same time admit that he
is scarcely in a position to say: _it is certain_ that there are other
minds?  The question will keep coming back again: May there not, after
all, be a legitimate doubt on the subject?

To set this question at rest there seems to be only one way, and that
is this: to ascertain the nature of the inference which is made, and to
see clearly what can be meant by _proof_ when one is concerned with
such matters as these.  If it turns out that we have proof, in the only
sense of the word in which it is reasonable to ask for proof, our doubt
falls away of itself.

41. THE ARGUMENT FOR OTHER MINDS.--I have said early in this volume
(section 7) that the plain man perceives that other men act very much
as he does, and that he attributes to them minds more or less like his
own.  He reasons from like to like--other bodies present phenomena
which, in the case of his own body, he perceives to be indicative of
mind, and he accepts them as indicative of mind there also.  The
psychologist makes constant use of this inference; indeed, he could not
develop his science without it.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), whom it is always a pleasure to read
because he is so clear and straightforward, presents this argument in
the following form:[3]--

"By what evidence do I know, or by what considerations am I led to
believe, that there exist other sentient creatures; that the walking
and speaking figures which I see and hear, have sensations and
thoughts, or, in other words, possess Minds?  The most strenuous
Intuitionist does not include this among the things that I know by
direct intuition.  I conclude it from certain things, which my
experience of my own states of feeling proves to me to be marks of it.
These marks are of two kinds, antecedent and subsequent; the previous
conditions requisite for feeling, and the effects or consequences of
it.  I conclude that other human beings have feelings like me, because,
first, they have bodies like me, which I know, in my own case, to be
the antecedent condition of feelings; and because, secondly, they
exhibit the acts, and other outward signs, which in my own case I know
by experience to be caused by feelings.  I am conscious in myself of a
series of facts connected by a uniform sequence, of which the beginning
is modifications of my body, the middle is feelings, the end is outward
demeanor.  In the case of other human beings I have the evidence of my
senses for the first and last links of the series, but not for the
intermediate link.  I find, however, that the sequence between the
first and last is as regular and constant in those other cases as it is
in mine.  In my own case I know that the first link produces the last
through the intermediate link, and could not produce it without.
Experience, therefore, obliges me to conclude that there must be an
intermediate link; which must either be the same in others as in
myself, or a different one.  I must either believe them to be alive, or
to be automatons; and by believing them to be alive, that is, by
supposing the link to be of the same nature as in the case of which I
have experience, and which is in all respects similar, I bring other
human beings, as phenomena, under the same generalizations which I know
by experience to be the true theory of my own existence.  And in doing
so I conform to the legitimate rules of experimental inquiry.  The
process is exactly parallel to that by which Newton proved that the
force which keeps the planets in their orbits is identical with that by
which an apple falls to the ground.  It was not incumbent on Newton to
prove the impossibility of its being any other force; he was thought to
have made out his point when he had simply shown that no other force
need be supposed.  We know the existence of other beings by
generalization from the knowledge of our own; the generalization merely
postulates that what experience shows to be a mark of the existence of
something within the sphere of our consciousness, may be concluded to
be a mark of the same thing beyond that sphere."

Now, the plain man accepts the argument from analogy, here insisted
upon, every day of his life.  He is continually forming an opinion as
to the contents of other minds on a basis of the bodily manifestations
presented to his view.  The process of inference is so natural and
instinctive that we are tempted to say that it hardly deserves to be
called an inference.  Certainly the man is not conscious of distinct
steps in the process; he perceives certain phenomena, and they are at
once illuminated by their interpretation.  He reads other men as we
read a book--the signs on the paper are scarcely attended to, our whole
thought is absorbed in that for which they stand.  As I have said
above, the psychologist accepts the argument, and founds his
conclusions upon it.

Upon what ground can one urge that this inference to other minds is a
doubtful one?  It is made universally.  We have seen that even those
who have theoretic objections against it, do not hesitate to draw it,
as a matter of fact.  It appears unnatural in the extreme to reject it.
What can induce men to regard it with suspicion?

I think the answer to this question is rather clearly suggested in the
sentence already quoted from Professor Huxley:  "It is wholly
impossible absolutely to prove the presence or absence of consciousness
in anything but one's own brain, though, by analogy, we are justified
in assuming its existence in other men."

Here Professor Huxley admits that we have something like a proof, for
he regards the inference as _justified_.  But he does not think that we
have _absolute proof_--the best that we can attain to appears to be a
degree of probability falling short of the certainty which we should
like to have.

Now, it should be remarked that the discredit cast upon the argument
for other minds has its source in the fact that it does not satisfy a
certain assumed standard.  What is that standard?  It is the standard
of proof which we may look for and do look for where we are concerned
to establish the existence of material things with the highest degree
of certainty.

There are all sorts of indirect ways of proving the existence of
material things.  We may read about them in a newspaper, and regard
them as highly doubtful; we may have the word of a man whom, on the
whole, we regard as veracious; we may infer their existence, because we
perceive that certain other things exist, and are to be accounted for.
Under certain circumstances, however, we may have proof of a different
kind: we may see and touch the things themselves.  Material things are
open to direct inspection.  Such a direct inspection constitutes
_absolute proof_, so far as material things are concerned.

But we have no right to set this up as our standard of absolute proof,
when we are talking about other minds.  In this field it is not proof
at all.  Anything that can be directly inspected is not another mind.
We cannot cast a doubt upon the existence of colors by pointing to the
fact that we cannot smell them.  If they could be smelt, they would not
be colors.  We must in each case seek a proof of the appropriate kind.

What have we a right to regard as absolute proof of the existence of
another mind?  Only this: the analogy upon which we depend in making
our inference must be a very close one.  As we shall see in the next
section, the analogy is sometimes very remote, and we draw the
inference with much hesitation, or, perhaps, refuse to draw it at all.
It is not, however, the _kind of inference_ that makes the trouble; it
is the lack of detailed information that may serve as a basis for
inference.  Our inference to other minds is unsatisfactory only in so
far as we are ignorant of our own minds and bodies and of other bodies.
Were our knowledge in these fields complete, we should know without
fail the signs of mind, and should know whether an inference were or
were not justified.

And _justified_ here means proved--proved in the only sense in which we
have a right to ask for proof.  No single fact is known that can
discredit such a proof.  Our doubt is, then, gratuitous and can be
dismissed.  We may claim that we have _verification_ of the existence
of other minds.  Such verification, however, must consist in showing
that, in any given instance, the signs of mind really are present.  It
cannot consist in presenting minds for inspection as though they were
material things.

One more matter remains to be touched upon in this section.  It has
doubtless been observed that Mill, in the extract given above, seems to
place "feelings," in other words, mental phenomena, between one set of
bodily motions and another.  He makes them the middle link in a chain
whose first and third links are material.  The parallelist cannot treat
mind in this way.  He claims that to make mental phenomena effects or
causes of bodily motions is to make them material.

Must, then, the parallelist abandon the argument for other minds?  Not
at all.  The force of the argument lies in interpreting the phenomena
presented by other bodies as one knows by experience the phenomena of
one's own body must be interpreted.  He who concludes that the relation
between his own mind and his own body can best be described as a
"parallelism," must judge that other men's minds are related to their
bodies in the same way.  He must treat his neighbor as he treats
himself.  The argument from analogy remains the same.

42. WHAT OTHER MINDS ARE THERE?--That other men have minds nobody
really doubts, as we have seen above.  They resemble us so closely,
their actions are so analogous to our own, that, although we sometimes
give ourselves a good deal of trouble to ascertain what sort of minds
they have, we never think of asking ourselves whether they have minds.

Nor does it ever occur to the man who owns a dog, or who drives a
horse, to ask himself whether the creature has a mind.  He may complain
that it has not much of a mind, or he may marvel at its
intelligence--his attitude will depend upon the expectations which he
has been led to form.  But regard the animal as he would regard a
bicycle or an automobile, he will not.  The brute is not precisely like
us, but its actions bear an unmistakable analogy to our own; pleasure
and pain, hope and fear, desire and aversion, are so plainly to be read
into them that we feel that a man must be "high gravel blind" not to
see their significance.

Nevertheless, it has been possible for man, under the prepossession of
a mistaken philosophical theory, to assume the whole brute creation to
be without consciousness.  When Descartes had learned something of the
mechanism of the human body, and had placed the human soul--_hospes
comesque corporis_--in the little pineal gland in the midst of the
brain, the conception in his mind was not unlike that which we have
when we picture to ourselves a locomotive engine with an engineer in
its cab.  The man gives intelligent direction; but, under some
circumstances, the machine can do a good deal in the absence of the
man; if it is started, it can run of itself, and to do this, it must go
through a series of complicated motions.

Descartes knew that many of the actions performed by the human body are
not the result of conscious choice, and that some of them are in direct
contravention of the will's commands.  The eye protects itself by
dropping its lid, when the hand is brought suddenly before it; the foot
jerks away from the heated object which it has accidentally touched.
The body was seen to be a mechanism relatively independent of the mind,
and one rather complete in itself.  Joined with a soul, the circle of
its functions was conceived to be widened; but even without the
assistance of the soul, it was thought that it could keep itself busy,
and could do many things that the unreflective might be inclined to
attribute to the efficiency of the mind.

The bodies of the brutes Descartes regarded as mechanisms of the same
general nature as the human body.  He was unwilling to allow a soul to
any creature below man, so nothing seemed left to him save to maintain
that the brutes are machines without consciousness, and that their
apparently purposive actions are to be classed with such human
movements as the sudden closing of the eye when it is threatened with
the hand.  The melancholy results of this doctrine made themselves
evident among his followers.  Even the mild and pious Malebranche could
be brutal to a dog which fawned upon him, under the mistaken notion
that it did not really hurt a dog to kick it.

All this reasoning men have long ago set aside.  For one thing, it has
come to be recognized that there may be consciousness, perhaps rather
dim, blind, and fugitive, but still consciousness, which does not get
itself recognized as do our clearly conscious purposes and volitions.
Many of the actions of man which Descartes was inclined to regard as
unaccompanied by consciousness may not, in fact, be really unconscious.
And, in the second place, it has come to be realized that we have no
right to class all the actions of the brutes with those reflex actions
in man which we are accustomed to regard as automatic.

The belief in animal automatism has passed away, it is to be hoped,
never to return.  That lower animals have minds we must believe.  But
what sort of minds have they?

It is hard enough to gain an accurate notion of what is going on in a
human mind.  Men resemble each other more or less closely, but no two
are precisely alike, and no two have had exactly the same training.  I
may misunderstand even the man who lives in the same house with me and
is nearly related to me.  Does he really suffer and enjoy as acutely as
he seems to? or must his words and actions be accepted with a discount?
The greater the difference between us, the more danger that I shall
misjudge him.  It is to be expected that men should misunderstand
women; that men and women should misunderstand children; that those who
differ in social station, in education, in traditions and habits of
life, should be in danger of reading each other as one reads a book in
a tongue imperfectly mastered.  When these differences are very great,
the task is an extremely difficult one.  What are the emotions, if he
has any, of the Chinaman in the laundry near by?  His face seems as
difficult of interpretation as are the hieroglyphics that he has pasted
up on his window.

When we come to the brutes, the case is distinctly worse.  We think
that we can attain to some notion of the minds to be attributed to such
animals as the ape, the dog, the cat, the horse, and it is not nonsense
to speak of an animal psychology.  But who will undertake to tell us
anything definite of the mind of a fly, a grasshopper, a snail, or a
cuttlefish?  That they have minds, or something like minds, we must
believe; what their minds are like, a prudent man scarcely even
attempts to say.  In our distribution of minds may we stop short of
even the very lowest animal organisms?  It seems arbitrary to do so.

More than that; some thoughtful men have been led by the analogy
between plant life and animal life to believe that something more or
less remotely like the consciousness which we attribute to animals must
be attributed also to plants.  Upon this belief I shall not dwell, for
here we are evidently at the limit of our knowledge, and are making the
vaguest of guesses.  No one pretends that we have even the beginnings
of a plant psychology.  At the same time, we must admit that organisms
of all sorts do bear some analogy to each other, even if it be a remote
one; and we must admit also that we cannot _prove_ plants to be wholly
devoid of a rudimentary consciousness of some sort.

As we begin with man and descend the scale of beings, we seem, in the
upper part of the series, to be in no doubt that minds exist.  Our only
question is as to the precise contents of those minds.  Further down we
begin to ask ourselves whether anything like mind is revealed at all.
That this should be so is to be expected.  Our argument for other minds
is the argument from analogy, and as we move down the scale our analogy
grows more and more remote until it seems to fade out altogether.  He
who harbors doubts as to whether the plants enjoy some sort of psychic
life, may well find those doubts intensified when he turns to study the
crystal; and when he contemplates inorganic matter he should admit that
the thread of his argument has become so attenuated that he cannot find
it at all.

43. THE DOCTRINE OF MIND-STUFF.--Nevertheless, there have been those
who have attributed something like consciousness even to inorganic
matter.  If the doctrine of evolution be true, argues Professor
Clifford,[4] "we shall have along the line of the human pedigree a
series of imperceptible steps connecting inorganic matter with
ourselves.  To the later members of that series we must undoubtedly
ascribe consciousness, although it must, of course, have been simpler
than our own.  But where are we to stop?  In the case of organisms of a
certain complexity, consciousness is inferred.  As we go back along the
line, the complexity of the organism and of its nerve-action insensibly
diminishes; and for the first part of our course we see reason to think
that the complexity of consciousness insensibly diminishes also.  But
if we make a jump, say to the tunicate mollusks, we see no reason there
to infer the existence of consciousness at all.  Yet not only is it
impossible to point out a place where any sudden break takes place, but
it is contrary to all the natural training of our minds to suppose a
breach of continuity so great."

We must not, says Clifford, admit any breach of continuity.  We must
assume that consciousness is a complex of elementary feelings, "or
rather of those remoter elements which cannot even be felt, but of
which the simplest feeling is built up."  We must assume that such
elementary facts go along with the action of every organism, however
simple; but we must assume also that it is only when the organism has
reached a certain complexity of nervous structure that the complex of
psychic facts reaches the degree of complication that we call

So much for the assumption of something like mind in the mollusk, where
Clifford cannot find direct evidence of mind.  But the argument does
not stop here: "As the line of ascent is unbroken, and must end at last
in inorganic matter, we have no choice but to admit that every motion
of matter is simultaneous with some . . . fact or event which might be
part of a consciousness."

Of the universal distribution of the elementary constituents of mind
Clifford writes as follows: "That element of which, as we have seen,
even the simplest feeling is a complex, I shall call _Mind-stuff_.  A
moving molecule of inorganic matter does not possess mind or
consciousness; but it possesses a small piece of mind-stuff.  When
molecules are so combined together as to form the film on the under
side of a jellyfish, the elements of mind-stuff which go along with
them are so combined as to form the faint beginnings of Sentience.
When the molecules are so combined as to form the brain and nervous
system of a vertebrate, the corresponding elements of mind-stuff are so
combined as to form some kind of consciousness; that is to say, changes
in the complex which take place at the same time get so linked together
that the repetition of one implies the repetition of the other.  When
matter takes the complex form of a living human brain, the
corresponding mind-stuff takes the form of a human consciousness,
having intelligence and volition."

This is the famous mind-stuff doctrine.  It is not a scientific
doctrine, for it rests on wholly unproved assumptions.  It is a play of
the speculative fancy, and has its source in the author's strong desire
to fit mental phenomena into some general evolutionary scheme.  As he
is a parallelist, and cannot make of physical phenomena and of mental
one single series of causes and effects, he must attain his end by
making the mental series complete and independent in itself.  To do
this, he is forced to make several very startling assumptions:--

(1) We have seen that there is evidence that there is consciousness
somewhere--it is revealed by certain bodies.  Clifford assumes
consciousness, or rather its raw material, _mind-stuff_, to be
everywhere.  For this assumption we have not a whit of evidence.

(2) To make of the stuff thus attained a satisfactory evolutionary
series, he is compelled to assume that mental phenomena are related to
each other much as physical phenomena are related to each other.  This
notion he had from Spinoza, who held that, just as all that takes place
in the physical world must be accounted for by a reference to physical
causes, so all happenings in the world of ideas must be accounted for
by a reference to mental causes, _i.e._ to ideas.  For this assumption
there is no more evidence than for the former.

(3) Finally, to bring the mental phenomena we are familiar with,
sensations of color, sound, touch, taste, etc., into this evolutionary
scheme, he is forced to assume that all such mental phenomena are made
up of elements which do not belong to these classes at all, of
something that "cannot even be felt."  For this assumption there is as
little evidence as there is for the other two.

The fact is that the _mind-stuff_ doctrine is a castle in the air.  It
is too fanciful and arbitrary to take seriously.  It is much better to
come back to a more sober view of things, and to hold that there is
evidence that other minds exist, but no evidence that every material
thing is animated.  If we cannot fit this into our evolutionary scheme,
perhaps it is well to reexamine our evolutionary scheme, and to see
whether some misconception may not attach to that.

[1] "Collected Essays," Vol. I, p. 219, New York, 1902.

[2] "On the Nature of Things-in-Themselves," in "Lectures and Essays,"
Vol. II.

[3] "Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy," Chapter XII.

[4] "On the Nature of Things-in-Themselves."



44. IS THE MATERIAL WORLD A MECHANISM?--So far we have concerned
ourselves with certain leading problems touching the external world and
the mind,--problems which seem to present themselves unavoidably to those
who enter upon the path of reflection.  And we have seen, I hope, that
there is much truth, as well as some misconception, contained in the
rather vague opinions of the plain man.

But the problems that we have taken up by no means exhaust the series of
those that present themselves to one who thinks with patience and
persistency.  When we have decided that men are not mistaken in believing
that an external world is presented in their experience; when we have
corrected our first crude notions of what this world is, and have cleared
away some confusions from our conceptions of space and time; when we have
attained to a reasonably clear view of the nature of the mind, and of the
nature of its connection with the body; when we have escaped from a
tumble into the absurd doctrine that no mind exists save our own, and
have turned our backs upon the rash speculations of the adherents of
"mind-stuff"; there still remain many points upon which we should like to
have definite information.

In the present chapter I shall take up and turn over a few of these, but
it must not be supposed that one can get more than a glimpse of them
within such narrow limits.  First of all we will raise the question
whether it is permissible to regard the material world, which we accept,
as through and through a mechanism.

There can be little doubt that there is a tendency on the part of men of
science at the present day so to regard it.  It should, of course, be
frankly admitted that no one is in a position to prove that, from the
cosmic mist, in which we grope for the beginnings of our universe, to the
organized whole in which vegetable and animal bodies have their place,
there is an unbroken series of changes all of which are explicable by a
reference to mechanical laws.  Chemistry, physics, and biology are still
separate and distinct realms, and it is at present impossible to find for
them a common basis in mechanics.  The belief of the man of science must,
hence, be regarded as a faith; the doctrine of the mechanism of nature is
a working hypothesis, and it is unscientific to assume that it is
anything more.

There can be no objection to a frank admission that we are not here
walking in the light of established knowledge.  But it does seem to savor
of dogmatism for a man to insist that no increase in our knowledge can
ever reveal that the physical world is an orderly system throughout, and
that all the changes in material things are explicable in terms of the
one unified science.  Earnest objections have, however, been made to the
tendency to regard nature as a mechanism.  To one of the most curious of
them we have been treated lately by Dr. Ward in his book on "Naturalism
and Agnosticism."

It is there ingeniously argued that, when we examine with care the
fundamental concepts of the science of mechanics, we find them to be
self-contradictory and absurd.  It follows that we are not justified in
turning to them for an explanation of the order of nature.

The defense of the concepts of mechanics we may safely leave to the man
of science; remembering, of course, that, when a science is in the
making, it is to be expected that the concepts of which it makes use
should undergo revision from time to time.  But there is one general
consideration that it is not well to leave out of view when we are
contemplating such an assault upon the notion of the world as mechanism
as is made by Dr. Ward.  It is this.

Such attacks upon the conception of mechanism are not purely destructive
in their aim.  The man who makes them wishes to destroy one view of the
system of things in order that he may set up another.  If the changes in
the system of material things cannot be accounted for mechanically, it is
argued, we are compelled to turn for our explanation to the action and
interaction of minds.  This seems to give mind a very important place in
the universe, and is believed to make for a view of things that
guarantees the satisfaction of the highest hopes and aspirations of man.

That a recognition of the mechanical order of nature is incompatible with
such a view of things as is just above indicated, I should be the last to
admit.  The notion that it is so is, I believe, a dangerous error.  It is
an error that tends to put a man out of sympathy with the efforts of
science to discover that the world is an orderly whole, and tempts him to
rejoice in the contemplation of human ignorance.

But the error is rather a common one; and see to what injustice it may
lead one.  It is concluded that the conception of _matter_ is an obscure
one; that we do not know clearly what we mean when we speak of the _mass_
of a body; that there are disputes as to proper significance to be given
to the words _cause_ and _effect_; that the _laws of motion_, as they are
at present formulated, do not seem to account satisfactorily for the
behavior of all material particles.  From this it is inferred that we
must give up the attempt to explain mechanically the order of physical

Now, suppose that it were considered a dangerous and heterodox doctrine,
that the changes in the system of things are due to the activities of
minds.  Would not those who now love to point out the shortcomings of the
science of mechanics discover a fine field for their destructive
criticism?  Are there no disputes as to the ultimate nature of mind?  Are
men agreed touching the relations of mind and matter?  What science even
attempts to tell us how a mind, by an act of volition, sets material
particles in motion or changes the direction of their motion?  How does
one mind act upon another, and what does it mean for one mind to act upon

If the science of mechanics is not in all respects as complete a science
as it is desirable that it should be, surely we must admit that when we
turn to the field of mind we are not dealing with what is clear and free
from difficulties.  Only a strong emotional bias can lead a man to dwell
with emphasis upon the difficulties to be met with in the one field, and
to pass lightly over those with which one meets in the other.

One may, however, refuse to admit that the order of nature is throughout
mechanical, without taking any such unreasonable position as this.  One
may hold that many of the changes in material things do not _appear_ to
be mechanical, and that it is too much of an assumption to maintain that
they are such, even as an article of faith.  Thus, when we pass from the
world of the inorganic to that of organic life, we seem to make an
immense step.  No one has even begun to show us that the changes that
take place in vegetable and animal organisms are all mechanical changes.
How can we dare to assume that they are?

With one who reasons thus we may certainly feel a sympathy.  The most
ardent advocate of mechanism must admit that his doctrine is a working
hypothesis, and not _proved_ to be true.  Its acceptance would, however,
be a genuine convenience from the point of view of science, for it does
introduce, at least provisionally, a certain order into a vast number of
facts, and gives a direction to investigation.  Perhaps the wisest thing
to do is, not to combat the doctrine, but to accept it tentatively and to
examine carefully what conclusions it may seem to carry with it--how it
may affect our outlook upon the world as a whole.

45. THE PLACE OF MIND IN NATURE.--One of the very first questions which
we think of asking when we contemplate the possibility that the physical
world is throughout a mechanical system is this: How can we conceive
minds to be related to such a system?  That minds, and many minds, do
exist, it is not reasonable to doubt.  What shall we do with them?

One must not misunderstand the mechanical view of things.  When we use
the word "machine," we call before our minds certain gross and relatively
simple mechanisms constructed by man.  Between such and a flower, a
butterfly, and a human body, the difference is enormous.  He who elects
to bring the latter under the title of mechanism cannot mean that he
discerns no difference between them and a steam engine or a printing
press.  He can only mean that he believes he might, could he attain to a
glimpse into their infinite complexity, find an explanation of the
physical changes which take place in them, by a reference to certain
general laws which describe the behavior of material particles everywhere.

And the man who, having extended his notion of mechanism, is inclined to
overlook the fact that animals and men have minds, that thought and
feeling, plan and purpose, have their place in the world, may justly be
accused of a headlong and heedless enthusiasm.  Whatever may be our
opinion on the subject of the mechanism of nature, we have no right to
minimize the significance of thought and feeling and will.  Between that
which has no mind and that which has a mind there is a difference which
cannot be obliterated by bringing both under the concept of mechanism.
It is a difference which furnishes the material for the sciences of
psychology and ethics, and gives rise to a whole world of distinctions
which find no place in the realm of the merely physical.

There are, then, minds as well as bodies; what place shall we assign to
these minds in the system of nature?

Several centuries ago it occurred to the man of science that the material
world should be regarded as a system in which there is constant
transformation, but in which nothing is created.  This way of looking at
things expressed itself formerly in the statement that, through all the
changes that take place in the world, the quantity of matter and motion
remains the same.  To-day the same idea is better expressed in the
doctrine of the eternity of mass and the conservation of energy.  In
plain language, this doctrine teaches that every change in every part of
the physical world, every motion in matter, must be preceded by physical
conditions which may be regarded as the equivalent of the change in

But this makes the physical world a closed system, a something complete
in itself.  Where is there room in such a system for minds?

It does indeed seem hard to find in such a system a place for minds, if
one conceives of minds as does the interactionist.  We have seen (section
36) that the interactionist makes the mind act upon matter very much as
one particle of matter is supposed to act upon another.  Between the
physical and the mental he assumes that there are _causal_ relations;
_i.e._ physical changes must be referred to mental causes sometimes, and
mental changes to physical.  This means that he finds a place for mental
facts by inserting them as links in the one chain of causes and effects
with physical facts.  If he is not allowed to break the chain and insert
them, he does not know what to do with them.

The parallelist has not the same difficulty to face.  He who holds that
mental phenomena must not be built into the one series of causes and
effects with physical phenomena may freely admit that physical phenomena
form a closed series, an orderly system of their own, and he may yet find
a place in the world for minds.  He refuses to regard them as a part of
the world-mechanism, but he _relates_ them to physical things, conceiving
them as _parallel to_ the physical in the sense described (sections
37-39).  He insists that, even if we hold that there are gaps in the
physical order of causes and effects, we cannot conceive these gaps to be
filled by mental phenomena, simply because they are mental phenomena.
They belong to an order of their own.  Hence, the assumption that the
physical series is unbroken does not seem to him to crowd mental
phenomena out of their place in the world at all.  They must, in any
case, occupy the place that is appropriate to them (section 38).

It will be noticed that this doctrine that the chain of physical causes
and effects is nowhere broken, and that mental phenomena are related to
it as the parallelist conceives them to be, makes the world-system a very
orderly one.  Every phenomenon has its place in it, and can be accounted
for, whether it be physical or mental.  To some, the thought that the
world is such an orderly thing is in the highest degree repugnant.  They
object that, in such a world, there is no room for _free-will_; and they
object, further, that there is no room for the _activity of minds_.  Both
of these objections I shall consider in this chapter.

But first, I must say a few words about a type of doctrine lately
insisted upon,[1] which bears some resemblance to interactionism as we
usually meet with it, and, nevertheless, tries to hold on to the doctrine
of the conservation of energy.  It is this:--

The concept of energy is stretched in such a way as to make it cover
mental phenomena as well as physical.  It is claimed that mental
phenomena and physical phenomena are alike "manifestations of energy,"
and that the coming into being of a consciousness is a mere
"transformation," a something to be accounted for by the disappearance
from the physical world of a certain equivalent--perhaps of some motion.
It will be noticed that this is one rather subtle way of obliterating the
distinction between mental phenomena and physical.  In so far it
resembles the interactionist's doctrine.

In criticism of it we may say that he who accepts it has wandered away
from a rather widely recognized scientific hypothesis, and has
substituted for it a very doubtful speculation for which there seems to
be no whit of evidence.  It is, moreover, a speculation repugnant to the
scientific mind, when its significance is grasped.  Shall we assume
without evidence that, when a man wakes in the morning and enjoys a
mental life suspended or diminished during the night, his thoughts and
feelings have come into being at the expense of his body?  Shall we
assume that the mass of his body has been slightly diminished, or that
motions have disappeared in a way that cannot be accounted for by a
reference to the laws of matter in motion?  This seems an extraordinary
assumption, and one little in harmony with the doctrine of the eternity
of mass and the conservation of energy as commonly understood.  We need
not take it seriously so long as it is quite unsupported by evidence.

46. THE ORDER OF NATURE AND "FREE-WILL."--In a world as orderly as, in
the previous section, this world is conceived to be, is there any room
for freedom?  What if the man of science is right in suspecting that the
series of physical causes and effects is nowhere broken?  Must we then
conclude that we are never free?

To many persons it has seemed that we are forced to draw this conclusion,
and it is not surprising that they view the doctrine with dismay.  They
argue: Mental phenomena are made parallel with physical, and the order of
physical phenomena seems to be determined throughout, for nothing can
happen in the world of matter unless there is some adequate cause of its
happening.  If, then, I choose to raise my finger, that movement must be
admitted to have physical causes, and those causes other causes, and so
on without end.  If such a movement must always have its place in a
causal series of this kind, how can it be regarded as a free movement?
It is determined, and not free.

Now, it is far from a pleasant thing to watch the man of science busily
at work trying to prove that the physical world is an orderly system, and
all the while to feel in one's heart that the success of his efforts
condemns one to slavery.  It can hardly fail to make one's attitude
towards science that of alarm and antagonism.  From this I shall try to
free the reader by showing that our freedom is not in the least danger,
and that we may look on unconcerned.

When we approach that venerable dispute touching the freedom of the will,
which has inspired men to such endless discussions, and upon which they
have written with such warmth and even acrimony, the very first thing to
do is to discover what we have a right to mean when we call a man _free_.
As long as the meaning of the word is in doubt, the very subject of the
dispute is in doubt.  When may we, then, properly call a man free?  What
is the normal application of the term?

I raise my finger.  Every man of sense must admit that, under normal
conditions, I can raise my finger or keep it down, _as I please_.  There
is no ground for a difference of opinion so far.  But there is a further
point upon which men differ.  One holds that my "pleasing" and the
brain-change that corresponds to it have their place in the world-order;
that is, he maintains that every volition can be _accounted for_.
Another holds that, under precisely the same circumstances, one may
"please" or not "please"; which means that the "pleasing" cannot be
wholly accounted for by anything that has preceded.  The first man is a
_determinist_, and the second a "_free-willist_."  I beg the reader to
observe that the word "free-willist" is in quotation marks, and not to
suppose that it means simply a believer in the freedom of the will.

When in common life we speak of a man as free, what do we understand by
the word?  Usually we mean that he is free from external compulsion.  If
my finger is held by another, I am not free to raise it.  But I may be
free in this sense, and yet one may demur to the statement that I am a
free man.  If a pistol be held to my head with the remark, "Hands up!" my
finger will mount very quickly, and the bystanders will maintain that I
had no choice.

We speak in somewhat the same way of men under the influence of
intoxicants, of men crazed by some passion and unable to take into
consideration the consequences of their acts, and of men bound by the
spell of hypnotic suggestion.  Indeed, whenever a man is in such a
condition that he is glaringly incapable of leading a normal human life
and of being influenced by the motives that commonly move men, we are
inclined to say that he is not free.

But does it ever occur to us to maintain that, in general, the possession
of a character and the capacity of being influenced by considerations
make it impossible for a man to be free?  Surely not.  If I am a prudent
man, I will invest my money in good securities.  Is it sensible to say
that I cannot have been free in refusing a twenty per cent investment,
_because I am by nature prudent_?  Am I a slave _because I eat when I am
hungry_, and can I partake of a meal freely, only when there is no reason
why I should eat at all?

He who calls me free only when my acts do violence to my nature or cannot
be justified by a reference to anything whatever has strange notions of
freedom.  Patriots, poets, moralists, have had much to say of freedom;
men have lived for it, and have died for it; men love it as they love
their own souls.  Is the object of all this adoration the metaphysical
absurdity indicated above?

To insist that a man is free only in so far as his actions are
unaccountable is to do violence to the meaning of a word in very common
use, and to mislead men by perverting it to strange and unwholesome uses.
Yet this is done by the "free-willist."  He keeps insisting that man is
free, and then goes on to maintain that he cannot be free unless he is
"free."  He does not, unfortunately, supply the quotation marks, and he
profits by the natural mistake in identity.  As he defines freedom it
becomes "freedom," which is a very different thing.

What is this "freedom"?  It is not freedom from external constraint.  It
is not freedom from overpowering passion.  It is freedom from all the
motives, good as well as bad, that we can conceive of as influencing man,
and freedom also from oneself.

It is well to get this quite clear.  The "free-willist" maintains that,
_in so far as a man is "free,"_ his actions cannot be accounted for by a
reference to the order of causes at all--not by a reference to his
character, hereditary or acquired; not by a reference to his
surroundings.  "Free" actions, in so far as they are "free," have, so to
speak, sprung into being out of the void.  What follows from such a
doctrine?  Listen:--

(1) It follows that, in so far as I am "free," I am not the author of
what appear to be my acts; who can be the cause of causeless actions?

(2) It follows that no amount of effort on my part can prevent the
appearance of "free" acts of the most deplorable kind.  If one can
condition their appearance or non-appearance, they are not "free" acts.

(3) It follows that there is no reason to believe that there will be any
congruity between my character and my "free" acts.  I may be a saint by
nature, and "freely" act like a scoundrel.

(4) It follows that I can deserve no credit for "free" acts.  I am not
their author.

(5) It follows that, in so far as I am "free," it is useless to praise
me, to blame me, to punish me, to endeavor to persuade me.  I must be
given over to unaccountable sainthood or to a reprobate mind, as it
happens to happen.  I am quite beyond the pale of society, for my
neighbor cannot influence my "free" acts any more than I can.

(6) It follows that, in so far as I am "free," I am in something very
like a state of slavery; and yet, curiously enough, it is a slavery
without a master.  In the old stories of Fate, men were represented as
puppets in the hand of a power outside themselves.  Here I am a puppet in
no hand; but I am a puppet just the same, for I am the passive spectator
of what appear to be my acts.  I do not do the things I seem to do.  They
are done for me or in me--or, rather, they are not done, but just happen.

Such "freedom" is a wretched thing to offer to a man who longs for
freedom; for the freedom to act out his own impulses, to guide his life
according to his own ideals.  It is a mere travesty on freedom, a fiction
of the philosophers, which inspires respect only so long as one has not
pierced the disguise of its respectable name.  True freedom is not a
thing to be sought in a disorderly and chaotic world, in a world in which
actions are inexplicable and character does not count.  Let us rinse our
minds free of misleading verbal associations, and let us realize that a
"free-will" neighbor would certainly not be to us an object of respect.
He would be as offensive an object to have in our vicinity as a
"free-will" gun or a "free-will" pocketknife.  He would not be a rational

Our only concern need be for freedom, and this is in no danger in an
orderly world.  We all recognize this truth, in a way.  We hold that a
man of good character freely chooses the good, and a man of evil
character freely chooses evil.  Is not this a recognition of the fact
that the choice is a thing to be accounted for, and is, nevertheless, a
free choice?

I have been considering above the world as it is conceived to be by the
parallelist, but, to the reader who may not incline towards parallelism,
I wish to point out that these reasonings touching the freedom of the
will concern the interactionist just as closely.  They have no necessary
connection with parallelism.  The interactionist, as well as the
parallelist, may be a determinist, a believer in freedom, or he may be a

He regards mental phenomena and physical phenomena as links in the one
chain of causes and effects.  Shall he hold that certain mental links are
"free-will" links, that they are wholly unaccountable?  If he does, all
that has been said above about the "free-willist" applies to him.  He
believes in a disorderly world, and he should accept the consequences of
his doctrine.

47. THE PHYSICAL WORLD AND THE MORAL WORLD.--I have said a little way
back that, when we think of bodies as having minds, we are introduced to
a world of distinctions which have no place in the realm of the merely
physical.  One of the objections made to the orderly world of the
parallelist was that in it there is no room for the activity of minds.
Before we pass judgment on this matter, we should try to get some clear
notion of what we may mean by the word "activity."  The science of ethics
must go by the board, if we cannot think of men as _doing_ anything, as
acting rightly or acting wrongly.

Let us conceive a billiard ball in motion to come into collision with one
at rest.  We commonly speak of the first ball as active, and of the
second as the passive subject upon which it exercises its activity.  Are
we justified in thus speaking?

In one sense, of course, we are.  As I have several times had occasion to
remark, we are, in common life, justified in using words rather loosely,
provided that it is convenient to do so, and that it does not give rise
to misunderstandings.

But, in a stricter sense, we are not justified in thus speaking, for in
doing so we are carrying over into the sphere of the merely physical a
distinction which does not properly belong there, but has its place in
another realm.  The student of mechanics tells us that the second ball
has affected the first quite as much as the first has affected the
second.  We cannot simply regard the first as cause and the second as
effect, nor may we regard the motion of the first as cause and the
subsequent motion of the second as its effect alone.  _The whole
situation at the one instant_--both balls, their relative positions and
their motion and rest--must be taken as the cause of _the whole situation
at the next instant_, and in this whole situation the condition of the
second ball has its place as well as that of the first.

If, then, we insist that to have causal efficiency is the same thing as
to be active, we should also admit that the second ball was active, and
quite as active as the first.  It has certainly had as much to do with
the total result.  But it offends us to speak of it in this way.  We
prefer to say that the first was active and the second was acted upon.
What is the source of this distinction?

Its original source is to be found in the judgments we pass upon
conscious beings, bodies with minds; and it could never have been drawn
if men had not taken into consideration the relations of minds to the
changes in the physical world.  As carried over to inanimate things it is
a transferred distinction; and its transference to this field is not
strictly justifiable, as has been indicated above.

I must make this clear by an illustration.  I hurry along a street
towards the university, because the hour for my lecture is approaching.
I am struck down by a falling tile.  In my advance up the street I am
regarded as active; in my fall to the ground I am regarded as passive.

Now, looking at both occurrences from the purely physical point of view,
we have nothing before us but a series of changes in the space relations
of certain masses of matter; and in all those changes both my body and
its environment are concerned.  As I advance, my body cannot be regarded
as the sole cause of the changes which are taking place.  My progress
would be impossible without the aid of the ground upon which I tread.
Nor can I accuse the tile of being the sole cause of my demolition.  Had
I not been what I was and where I was, the tile would have fallen in
vain.  I must be regarded as a concurrent cause of my own disaster, and
my unhappy state is attributable to me as truly as it is to the tile.

Why, then, am I in the one case regarded as active and in the other as
passive?  In each case I am a cause of the result.  How does it happen
that, in the first instance, I seem to most men to be _the_ cause, and in
the second to be not a cause at all?  The rapidity of my motion in the
first instance cannot account for this judgment.  He who rides in the
police van and he who is thrown from the car of a balloon may move with
great rapidity and yet be regarded as passive.

Men speak as they do because they are not content to point out the
physical antecedents of this and that occurrence and stop with that.
They recognize that, between my advance up the street and my fall to the
ground there is one very important difference.  In the first case what is
happening _may be referred to an idea in my mind_.  Were the idea not
there, I should not do what I am doing.  In the second case, what has
happened _cannot be referred to an idea in my mind_.

Here we have come to the recognition that there are such things as
_purposes_ and _ends_; that an idea and some change in the external world
may be related as _plan_ and _accomplishment_.  In other words, we have
been brought face to face with what has been given the somewhat
misleading name of _final cause_.  In so far as that in the bringing
about of which I have had a share is my _end_, I am _active_; in so far
as it is not my end, but comes upon me as something not planned, I am
_passive_.  The enormous importance of the distinction may readily be
seen; it is only in so far as I am a creature who can have purposes, that
_desire_ and _will_, _foresight_ and _prudence_, _right_ and _wrong_, can
have a significance for me.

I have dwelt upon the meaning of the words "activity" and "passivity,"
and have been at pains to distinguish them from cause and effect, because
the two pairs of terms have often been confounded with each other, and
this confusion has given rise to a peculiarly unfortunate error.  It is
this error that lies at the foundation of the objection referred to at
the beginning of this section.

We have seen that certain men of science are inclined to look upon the
physical world as a great system, all the changes in which may be
accounted for by an appeal to physical causes.  And we have seen that the
parallelist regards ideas, not as links in this chain, but as parallel
with physical changes.

It is argued by some that, if this is a true view of things, we must
embrace the conclusion that _the mind cannot be active at all_, that it
can _accomplish nothing_.  We must look upon the mind as an
"epiphenomenon," a useless decoration; and must regard man as "a physical
automaton with parallel psychical states."

Such abuse of one's fellow-man seems unchristian, and it is wholly
uncalled for on any hypothesis.  Our first answer to it is that it seems
to be sufficiently refuted by the experiences of common life.  We have
abundant evidence that men's minds do count for something.  I conclude
that I want a coat, and I order one of my tailor; he believes that I will
pay for it, he wants the money, and he makes the coat; his man desires to
earn his wages and he delivers it.  If I had not wanted the coat, if the
tailor had not wanted my money, if the man had not wanted to earn his
wages, the end would not have been attained.  No philosopher has the
right to deny these facts.

Ah! but, it may be answered, these three "wants" are not supposed to be
the _causes_ of the motions in matter which result in my appearing
well-dressed on Sunday.  They are only _concomitant phenomena_.

To this I reply: What of that?  We must not forget what is meant by such
concomitance (section 39).  We are dealing with a fixed and necessary
relation, not with an accidental one.  If these "wants" had been lacking,
there would have been no coat.  So my second answer to the objector is,
that, on the hypothesis of the parallelist, the relations between mental
phenomena and physical phenomena are just as dependable as that relation
between physical phenomena which we call that of cause and effect.
Moreover, since activity and causality are not the same thing, there is
no ground for asserting that the mind cannot be active, merely because it
is not material and, hence, cannot be, strictly speaking, a cause of
motions in matter.

The plain man is entirely in the right in thinking that minds are active.
The truth is that _nothing can be active except as it has a mind_.  The
relation of purpose and end is the one we have in view when we speak of
the activity of minds.

It is, thus, highly unjust to a man to tell him that he is "a physical
automaton with parallel psychical states," and that he is wound up by
putting food into his mouth.  He who hears this may be excused if he
feels it his duty to emit steam, walk with a jerk, and repudiate all
responsibility for his actions.  Creatures that think, form plans, and
_act_, are not what we call automata.  It is an abuse of language to call
them such, and it misleads us into looking upon them as we have no right
to look upon them.  If men really were automata in the proper sense of
the word, we could not look upon them as wise or unwise, good or bad; in
short, the whole world of moral distinctions would vanish.

Perhaps, in spite of all that has been said in this and in the preceding
section, some will feel a certain repugnance to being assigned a place in
a world as orderly as our world is in this chapter conceived to be--a
world in which every phenomenon, whether physical or mental, has its
definite place, and all are subject to law.  But I suppose our content or
discontent will not be independent of our conception of what sort of a
world we conceive ourselves to be inhabiting.

If we conclude that we are in a world in which God is revealed, if the
orderliness of it is but another name for Divine Providence, we can
scarcely feel the same as we would if we discovered in the world nothing
of the Divine.  I have in the last few pages been discussing the doctrine
of purposes and ends, teleology, but I have said nothing of the
significance of that doctrine for Theism.  The reader can easily see that
it lies at the very foundation of our belief in God.  The only arguments
for theism that have had much weight with mankind have been those which
have maintained there are revealed in the world generally evidences of a
plan and purpose at least analogous to what we discover when we
scrutinize the actions of our fellow-man.  Such arguments are not at the
mercy of either interactionist or parallelist.  On either hypothesis they
stand unshaken.

With this brief survey of some of the most interesting problems that
confront the philosopher, I must content myself here.  Now let us turn
and see how some of the fundamental problems treated in previous chapters
have been approached by men belonging to certain well-recognized schools
of thought.

And since it is peculiarly true in philosophy that, to understand the
present, one must know something of the past, we shall begin by taking a
look at the historical background of the types of philosophical doctrine
to which reference is constantly made in the books and journals of the

[1] Ostwald, "Vorlesungen über Naturphilosophie," s. 396.  Leipzig, 1902.




II that it seems to the plain man abundantly evident that he really is
surrounded by material things and that he directly perceives such
things.  This has always been the opinion of the plain man and it seems
probable that it always will be.  It is only when he begins to reflect
upon things and upon his knowledge of them that it occurs to him to
call it in question.

Very early in the history of speculative thought it occurred to men,
however, to ask how it is that we know things, and whether we are sure
we do know them.  The problems of reflection started into life, and
various solutions were suggested.  To tell over the whole list would
take us far afield, and we need not, for the purpose we have in view,
go back farther than Descartes, with whom philosophy took a relatively
new start, and may be said to have become, in spirit and method, at
least, modern.

I have said (section 31) that Descartes (1596-1650) was fairly well
acquainted with the functioning of the nervous system, and has much to
say of the messages which pass along the nerves to the brain.  The same
sort of reasoning that leads the modern psychologist to maintain that
we know only so much of the external world as is reflected in our
sensations led him to maintain that the mind is directly aware of the
ideas through which an external world is represented, but can know the
world itself only indirectly and through these ideas.

Descartes was put to sore straits to prove the existence of an external
world, when he had once thus placed it at one remove from us.  If we
accept his doctrine, we seem to be shut up within the circle of our
ideas, and can find no door that will lead us to a world outside.  The
question will keep coming back: How do we _know_ that, corresponding to
our ideas, there are material things, if we have never perceived, in
any single instance, a material thing?  And the doubt here suggested
may be reinforced by the reflection that the very expression "a
material thing" ought to be meaningless to a man who, having never had
experience of one, is compelled to represent it by the aid of something
so different from it as ideas are supposed to be.  Can material things
really be to such a creature anything more than some complex of ideas?

The difficulties presented by any philosophical doctrine are not always
evident at once.  Descartes made no scruple of accepting the existence
of an external world, and his example has been followed by a very large
number of those who agree with his initial assumption that the mind
knows immediately only its own ideas.

Preëminent among such we must regard John Locke, the English
philosopher (1632-1704), whose classic work, "An Essay concerning Human
Understanding," should not be wholly unknown to any one who pretends to
an interest in the English literature.

Admirably does Locke represent the position of what very many have
regarded as the prudent and sensible man,--the man who recognizes that
ideas are not external things, and that things must be known through
ideas, and yet holds on to the existence of a material world which we
assuredly know.

He recognizes, it is true, that some one may find a possible opening
for the expression of a doubt, but he regards the doubt as gratuitous;
"I think nobody can, in earnest, be so skeptical as to be uncertain of
the existence of those things which he sees and feels."  As we have
seen (section 12), he meets the doubt with a jest.

Nevertheless, those who read with attention Locke's admirably clear
pages must notice that he does not succeed in really setting to rest
the doubt that has suggested itself.  It becomes clear that Locke felt
so sure of the existence of the external world because he now and then
slipped into the inconsistent doctrine that he perceived it
immediately, and not merely through his ideas.  Are those things "which
he sees and feels" _external_ things?  Does he see and feel them
directly, or must he infer from his ideas that he sees and feels them?
If the latter, why may one not still doubt?  Evidently the appeal is to
a direct experience of material things, and Locke has forgotten that he
must be a Lockian.

"I have often remarked, in many instances," writes Descartes, "that
there is a great difference between an object and its idea."  How could
the man possibly have remarked this, when he had never in his life
perceived the object corresponding to any idea, but had been altogether
shut up to ideas?  "Thus I see, whilst I write this," says Locke,[1] "I
can change the appearance of the paper, and by designing the letters
tell beforehand what new idea it shall exhibit the very next moment, by
barely drawing my pen over it, which will neither appear (let me fancy
as much as I will), if my hand stands still, or though I move my pen,
if my eyes be shut; nor, when those characters are once made on the
paper, can I choose afterward but see them as they are; that is, have
the ideas of such letters as I have made.  Whence it is manifest, that
they are not barely the sport and play of my own imagination, when I
find that the characters that were made at the pleasure of my own
thought do not obey them; nor yet cease to be, whenever I shall fancy
it; but continue to affect the senses constantly and regularly,
according to the figures I made them."

Locke is as bad as Descartes.  Evidently he regards himself as able to
turn to the external world and perceive the relation that things hold
to ideas.  Such an inconsistency may escape the writer who has been
guilty of it, but it is not likely to escape the notice of all those
who come after him.  Some one is sure to draw the consequences of a
doctrine more rigorously, and to come to conclusions, it may be, very
unpalatable to the man who propounded the doctrine in the first

The type of doctrine represented by Descartes and Locke is that of
_Representative Perception_.  It holds that we know real external
things only through their mental representatives.  It has also been
called _Hypothetical Realism_, because it accepts the existence of a
real world, but bases our knowledge of it upon an inference from our
sensations or ideas.

49. THE STEP TO IDEALISM.--The admirable clearness with which Locke
writes makes it the easier for his reader to detect the untenability of
his position.  He uses simple language, and he never takes refuge in
vague and ambiguous phrases.  When he tells us that the mind is wholly
shut up to its ideas, and then later assumes that it is not shut up to
its ideas, but can perceive external things, we see plainly that there
must be a blunder somewhere.

George Berkeley (1684-1753), Bishop of Cloyne, followed out more
rigorously the consequences to be deduced from the assumption that all
our direct knowledge is of ideas; and in a youthful work of the highest
genius entitled "The Principles of Human Knowledge," he maintained that
there is no material world at all.

When we examine with care the objects of sense, the "things" which
present themselves to us, he argues, we find that they resolve
themselves into sensations, or "ideas of sense."  What can we mean by
the word "apple," if we do not mean the group of experiences in which
alone an apple is presented to us?  The word is nothing else than a
name for this group as a group.  Take away the color, the hardness, the
odor, the taste; what have we left?  And color, hardness, odor, taste,
and anything else that may be referred to any object as a quality, can
exist, he claims, only in a perceiving mind; for such things are
nothing else than sensations, and how can there be an unperceived

The things which we perceive, then, he calls complexes of ideas.  Have
we any reason to believe that these ideas, which exist in the mind, are
to be accepted as representatives of things of a different kind, which
are not mental at all?  Not a shadow of a reason, says Berkeley; there
is simply no basis for inference at all, and we cannot even make clear
what it is that we are setting out to infer under the name of matter.
We need not, therefore, grieve over the loss of the material world, for
we have suffered no loss; one cannot lose what one has never had.

Thus, the objects of human knowledge, the only things of which it means
anything to speak, are: (1) Ideas of Sense; (2) Ideas of Memory and
Imagination; (3) The Passions and Operations of the Mind; and (4) The
Self that perceives all These.

From Locke's position to that of Berkeley was a bold step, and it was
much criticised, as well it might be.  It was felt then, as it has been
felt by many down to our own time, that, when we discard an external
world distinct from our ideas, and admit only the world revealed in our
ideas, we really do lose.

It is legitimate to criticise Berkeley, but it is not legitimate to
misunderstand him; and yet the history of his doctrine may almost be
called a chronicle of misconceptions.  It has been assumed that he drew
no distinction between real things and imaginary things, that he made
the world no better than a dream, etc.  Arbuthnot, Swift, and a host of
the greater and lesser lights in literature, from his time to ours,
have made merry over the supposed unrealities in the midst of which the
Berkeleian must live.

But it should be remembered that Berkeley tried hard to do full justice
to the world of things in which we actually find ourselves; not a
hypothetical, inferred, unperceived world, but the world of the things
we actually perceive.  He distinguished carefully between what is real
and what is merely imaginary, though he called both "ideas"; and he
recognized something like a system of nature.  And, by the argument
from analogy which we have already examined (section 41), he inferred
the existence of other finite minds and of a Divine Mind.

But just as John Locke had not completely thought out the consequences
which might be deduced from his own doctrines, so Berkeley left, in his
turn, an opening for a successor.  It was possible for that acutest of
analysts, David Hume (1711-1776), to treat him somewhat as he had
treated Locke.

Among the objects of human knowledge Berkeley had included the _self_
that perceives things.  He never succeeded in making at all clear what
he meant by this object; but he regarded it as a substance, and
believed it to be a cause of changes in ideas, and quite different in
its nature from all the ideas attributed to it.  But Hume maintained
that when he tried to get a good look at this self, to catch it, so to
speak, and to hold it up to inspection, he could not find anything
whatever save perceptions, memories, and other things of that kind.
The self is, he said, "but a bundle or collection of different
perceptions which succeed each other with inconceivable rapidity, and
are in a perpetual flux and movement."

As for the objects of sense, our own bodies, the chairs upon which we
sit, the tables at which we write, and all the rest--these, argues
Hume, we are impelled by nature to think of as existing continuously,
but we have no evidence whatever to prove that they do thus exist.  Are
not the objects of sense, after all, only sensations or impressions?
Do we not experience these sensations or impressions interruptedly?
Who sees or feels a table continuously day after day?  If the table is
but a name for the experiences in question, if we have no right to
infer material things behind and distinct from such experiences, are we
not forced to conclude that the existence of the things that we see and
feel is an interrupted one?

Hume certainly succeeded in raising more questions than he succeeded in
answering.  We are compelled to admire the wonderful clearness and
simplicity of his style, and the acuteness of his intellect, in every
chapter.  But we cannot help feeling that he does injustice to the
world in which we live, even when we cannot quite see what is wrong.
Does it not seem certain to science and to common sense that there is
an order of nature in some sense independent of our perceptions, so
that objects may be assumed to exist whether we do or do not perceive

When we read Hume we have a sense that we are robbed of our real
external world; and his account of the mind makes us feel as a badly
tied sheaf of wheat may be conceived to feel--in danger of falling
apart at any moment.  Berkeley we unhesitatingly call an _Idealist_,
but whether we shall apply the name to Hume depends upon the extension
we are willing to give to it.  His world is a world of what we may
broadly call _ideas_; but the tendencies of his philosophy have led
some to call it a _Skepticism_.

50. THE REVOLT OF "COMMON SENSE."--Hume's reasonings were too important
to be ignored, and his conclusions too unpalatable to satisfy those who
came after him.  It seemed necessary to seek a way of escape out of
this world of mere ideas, which appeared to be so unsatisfactory a
world.  One of the most famous of such attempts was that made by the
Scotchman Thomas Reid (1710-1796).

At one time Reid regarded himself as the disciple of Berkeley, but the
consequences which Hume deduced from the principles laid down by the
former led Reid to feel that he must build upon some wholly different
foundation.  He came to the conclusion that the line of philosophers
from Descartes to Hume had made one capital error in assuming "that
nothing is perceived but what is in the mind that perceives it."

Once admit, says Reid, that the mind perceives nothing save ideas, and
we must also admit that it is impossible to prove the existence either
of an external world or of a mind different from "a bundle of
perceptions."  Hence, Reid maintains that we perceive--not infer, but
perceive--_things_ external to the mind.  He writes:[2]--

"Let a man press his hand against the table--_he feels it hard_.  But
what is the meaning of this?  The meaning undoubtedly is, that he hath
a certain feeling of touch, from which he concludes, without any
reasoning, or comparing ideas, that there is something external really
existing, whose parts stick so firmly together that they cannot be
displaced without considerable force.

"There is here a feeling, and a conclusion drawn from it, or some way
suggested by it.  In order to compare these, we must view them
separately, and then consider by what tie they are connected, and
wherein they resemble one another.  The hardness of the table is the
conclusion, the feeling is the medium by which we are led to that
conclusion.  Let a man attend distinctly to this medium, and to the
conclusion, and he will perceive them to be as unlike as any two things
in nature.  The one is a sensation of the mind, which can have no
existence but in a sentient being; nor can it exist one moment longer
than it is felt; the other is in the table, and we conclude, without
any difficulty, that it was in the table before it was felt, and
continues after the feeling is over.  The one implies no kind of
extension, nor parts, nor cohesion; the other implies all these.  Both,
indeed, admit of degrees, and the feeling, beyond a certain degree, is
a species of pain; but adamantine hardness does not imply the least

"And as the feeling hath no similitude to hardness, so neither can our
reason perceive the least tie or connection between them; nor will the
logician ever be able to show a reason why we should conclude hardness
from this feeling, rather than softness, or any other quality
whatsoever.  But, in reality, all mankind are led by their constitution
to conclude hardness from this feeling."

It is well worth while to read this extract several times, and to ask
oneself what Reid meant to say, and what he actually said.  He is
objecting, be it remembered, to the doctrine that the mind perceives
immediately only its own ideas or sensations and must infer all else.
His contention is that we _perceive_ external things.

Does he say this?  He says that we have feelings of touch _from which
we conclude_ that there is something external; that there is a feeling,
"_and a conclusion drawn from it, or some way suggested by it_;" that
"the hardness of the table is the _conclusion_, and the feeling is the
_medium_ by which we are _led to the conclusion_."

Could Descartes or Locke have more plainly supported the doctrine of
representative perception?  How could Reid imagine he was combatting
that doctrine when he wrote thus?  The point in which he differs from
them is this: he maintains that we draw the conclusion in question
without any reasoning, and, indeed, in the absence of any conceivable
reason why we should draw it.  We do it instinctively; we are led by
the constitution of our nature.

In effect Reid says to us: When you lay your hand on the table, you
have a sensation, it is true, but you also know the table is hard.  How
do you know it?  I cannot tell you; you simply know it, and cannot help
knowing it; and that is the end of the matter.

Reid's doctrine was not without its effect upon other philosophers.
Among them we must place Sir William Hamilton (1788-1856), whose
writings had no little influence upon British philosophy in the last
half of the last century.

Hamilton complained that Reid did not succeed in being a very good
_Natural Realist_, and that he slipped unconsciously into the position
he was concerned to condemn.  Sir William tried to eliminate this
error, but the careful reader of his works will find to his amusement
that this learned author gets his feet upon the same slippery descent.
And much the same thing may be said of the doctrine of Herbert Spencer
(1820-1903), who claims that, when we have a sensation, we know
directly that there is an external thing, and then manages to sublimate
that external thing into an Unknowable, which we not only do not know
directly, but even do not know at all.

All of these men were anxious to avoid what they regarded as the perils
of Idealism, and yet they seem quite unable to retain a foothold upon
the position which they consider the safer one.

Reid called his doctrine the philosophy of "Common Sense," and he
thought he was coming back from the subtleties of the metaphysicians to
the standpoint of the plain man.  That he should fall into difficulties
and inconsistencies is by no means surprising.  As we have seen
(section 12), the thought of the plain man is far from clear.  He
certainly believes that we perceive an external world of things, and
the inconsistent way in which Descartes and Locke appeal from ideas to
the things themselves does not strike him as unnatural.  Why should not
a man test his ideas by turning to things and comparing the former with
the latter?  On the other hand, he knows that to perceive things we
must have sense organs and sensations, and he cannot quarrel with the
psychologists for saying that we know things only in so far as they are
revealed to us through our sensations.  How does he reconcile these two
positions?  He does not reconcile them.  He accepts them as they stand.

Reid and various other philosophers have tried to come back to "Common
Sense" and to stay there.  Now, it is a good position to come back to
for the purpose of starting out again.  The experience of the plain
man, the truths which he recognizes as truths, these are not things to
be despised.  Many a man whose mind has been, as Berkeley expresses it,
"debauched by learning," has gotten away from them to his detriment,
and has said very unreasonable things.  But "Common Sense" cannot be
the ultimate refuge of the philosopher; it can only serve him as
material for investigation.  The scholar whose thought is as vague and
inconsistent as that of the plain man has little profit in the fact
that the apparatus of his learning has made it possible for him to be
ponderously and unintelligibly vague and inconsistent.

Hence, we may have the utmost sympathy with Reid's protest against the
doctrine of representative perception, and we may, nevertheless,
complain that he has done little to explain how it is that we directly
know external things and yet cannot be said to know things except in so
far as we have sensations or ideas.

51. THE CRITICAL PHILOSOPHY.--The German philosopher, Immanuel Kant
(1724-1804), was moved, by the skeptical conclusions to which Hume's
philosophy seemed to lead, to seek a way of escape, somewhat as Reid
was.  But he did not take refuge in "Common Sense"; he developed an
ingenious doctrine which has had an enormous influence in the
philosophical world, and has given rise to a Kantian literature of such
proportions that no man can hope to read all of it, even if he devotes
his life to it.  In Germany and out of it, it has for a hundred years
and more simply rained books, pamphlets, and articles on Kant and his
philosophy, some of them good, many of them far from clear and far from
original.  Hundreds of German university students have taken Kant as
the subject of the dissertation by which they hoped to win the degree
of Doctor of Philosophy;--I was lately offered two hundred and
seventy-four such dissertations in one bunch;--and no student is
supposed to have even a moderate knowledge of philosophy who has not an
acquaintance with that famous work, the "Critique of Pure Reason."

It is to be expected from the outset that, where so many have found so
much to say, there should reign abundant differences of opinion.  There
are differences of opinion touching the interpretation of Kant, and
touching the criticisms which may be made upon, and the development
which should be given to, his doctrine.  It is, of course, impossible
to go into all these things here; and I shall do no more than indicate,
in untechnical language and in briefest outline, what he offers us in
place of the philosophy of Hume.

Kant did not try to refute, as did Reid, the doctrine, urged by
Descartes and by his successors, that all those things which the mind
directly perceives are to be regarded as complexes of ideas.  On the
contrary, he accepted it, and he has made the words "phenomenon" and
"noumenon" household words in philosophy.

The world which seems to be spread out before us in space and time is,
he tells us, a world of things _as they are revealed to our senses and
our intelligence_; it is a world of manifestations, of phenomena.  What
things-in-themselves are like we have no means of knowing; we know only
things as they appear to us.  We may, to be sure, talk of a something
distinct from phenomena, a something not revealed to the senses, but
thought of, a _noumenon_; but we should not forget that this is a
negative conception; there is nothing in our experience that can give
it a filling, for our experience is only of phenomena.  The reader will
find an unmistakable echo of this doctrine in Herbert Spencer's
doctrine of the "Unknowable" and its "manifestations."

Now, Berkeley had called all the things we immediately perceive
_ideas_.  As we have seen, he distinguished between "ideas of sense"
and "ideas of memory and imagination."  Hume preferred to give to these
two classes different names--he called the first _impressions_ and the
second _ideas_.

The associations of the word "impression" are not to be mistaken.
Locke had taught that between ideas in the memory and genuine
sensations there is the difference that the latter are due to the
"brisk acting" of objects without us.  Objects impress us, and we have
sensations or impressions.  To be sure, Hume, after employing the word
"impression," goes on to argue that we have no evidence that there are
external objects, which cause impressions.  But he retains the word
"impression," nevertheless, and his use of it perceptibly colors his

In Kant's distinction between phenomena and noumena we have the lineal
descendant of the old distinction between the circle of our ideas and
the something outside of them that causes them and of which they are
supposed to give information.  Hume said we have no reason to believe
such a thing exists, but are impelled by our nature to believe in it.
Kant is not so much concerned to prove the nonexistence of noumena,
things-in-themselves, as he is to prove that the very conception is an
empty one.  His reasonings seem to result in the conclusion that we can
make no intelligible statement about things so cut off from our
experience as noumena are supposed to be; and one would imagine that he
would have felt impelled to go on to the frank declaration that we have
no reason to believe in noumena at all, and had better throw away
altogether so meaningless and useless a notion.  But he was a
conservative creature, and he did not go quite so far.

So far there is little choice between Kant and Hume.  Certainly the
former does not appear to have rehabilitated the external world which
had suffered from the assaults of his predecessors.  What important
difference is there between his doctrine and that of the man whose
skeptical tendencies he wished to combat?

The difference is this: Descartes and Locke had accounted for our
knowledge of things by maintaining that things act upon us, and make an
impression or sensation--that their action, so to speak, begets ideas.
This is a very ancient doctrine as well as a very modern one; it is the
doctrine that most men find reasonable even before they devote
themselves to the study of philosophy.  The totality of such
impressions received from the external world, they are accustomed to
regard as our _experience_ of external things; and they are inclined to
think that any knowledge of external things not founded upon experience
can hardly deserve the name of knowledge.

Now, Hume, when he cast doubt upon the existence of external things,
did not, as I have said above, divest himself of the suggestions of the
word "impression."  He insists strenuously that all our knowledge is
founded upon experience; and he holds that no experience can give us
knowledge that is necessary and universal.  We know things as they are
revealed to us in our experience; but who can guarantee that we may not
have new experiences of a quite different kind, and which flatly
contradict the notions which we have so far attained of what is
possible and impossible, true and untrue.

It is here that Kant takes issue with Hume.  A survey of our knowledge
makes clear, he thinks, that we are in the possession of a great deal
of information that is not of the unsatisfactory kind that, according
to Hume, all our knowledge of things must be.  There, for example, are
all the truths of mathematics.  When we enunciate a truth regarding the
relations of the lines and angles of a triangle, we are not merely
unfolding in the predicate of our proposition what was implicitly
contained in the subject.  There are propositions that do no more than
this; they are _analytical_, _i.e._ they merely analyze the subject.
Thus, when we say: Man is a rational animal, we may merely be defining
the word "man"--unpacking it, so to speak.  But a _synthetic_ judgment
is one in which the predicate is not contained in the subject; it adds
to one's information.  The mathematical truths are of this character.
So also is the truth that everything that happens must have a cause.

Do we connect things with one another in this way merely because we
have had _experience_ that they are thus connected?  Is it because they
are _given_ to us connected in this way?  That cannot be the case, Kant
argues, for what is taken up as mere experienced act cannot be known as
universally and necessarily true.  We perceive that these things _must_
be so connected.  How shall we explain this necessity?

We can only explain it, said Kant, in this way: We must assume that
what is given us from without is merely the raw material of sensation,
the _matter_ of our experience; and that the ordering of this matter,
the arranging it into a world of phenomena, the furnishing of _form_,
is the work of the mind.  Thus, we must think of space, time,
causality, and of all other relations which obtain between the elements
of our experience, as due to the nature of the mind.  It perceives the
world of phenomena that it does, because it _constructs_ that world.
Its knowledge of things is stable and dependable because it cannot know
any phenomenon which does not conform to its laws.  The water poured
into a cup must take the shape of the cup; and the raw materials poured
into a mind must take the form of an orderly world, spread out in space
and time.

Kant thought that with this turn he had placed human knowledge upon a
satisfactory basis, and had, at the same time, indicated the
limitations of human knowledge.  If the world we perceive is a world
which we make; if the forms of thought furnished by the mind have no
other function than the ordering of the materials furnished by sense;
then what can we say of that which may be beyond phenomena?  What of

It seems clear that, on Kant's principles, we ought not to be able to
say anything whatever of _noumena_.  To say that such may exist appears
absurd.  All conceivable connection between them and existing things as
we know them is cut off.  We cannot think of a noumenon as a
_substance_, for the notions of substance and quality have been
declared to be only a scheme for the ordering of phenomena.  Nor can we
think of one as a cause of the sensations that we unite into a world,
for just the same reason.  We are shut up logically to the world of
phenomena, and that world of phenomena is, after all, the successor of
the world of ideas advocated by Berkeley.

This is not the place to discuss at length the value of Kant's
contribution to philosophy.[3]  There is something terrifying in the
prodigious length at which it seems possible for men to discuss it.
Kant called his doctrine "Criticism," because it undertook to establish
the nature and limits of our knowledge.  By some he has been hailed as
a great enlightener, and by others he has been accused of being as
dogmatic in his assumptions as those whom he disapproved.

But one thing he certainly has accomplished.  He has made the words
"phenomena" and "noumena" familiar to us all, and he has induced a vast
number of men to accept it as established fact that it is not worth
while to try to extend our knowledge beyond phenomena.  One sees his
influence in the writings of men who differ most widely from one

[1] "Essay," Book IV, Chapter XI, section 7.

[2] "An Inquiry into the Human Mind," Chapter V, section 5.

[3] The reader will find a criticism of the Critical Philosophy in
Chapter XV.



52. REALISM.--The plain man is a realist.  That is to say, he believes
in a world which is not to be identified with his own ideas or those of
any other mind.  At the same time, as we have seen (section 12), the
distinction between the mind and the world is by no means clear to him.
It is not difficult, by judicious questioning, to set his feet upon the
slippery descent that shoots a man into idealism.

The vague realism of the plain man may be called _Naïve_ or
_Unreflective Realism_.  It has been called by some _Natural Realism_,
but the latter term is an unfortunate one.  It is, of course, natural
for the unreflective man to be unreflective, but, on the other hand, it
is also natural for the reflective man to be reflective.  Besides, in
dubbing any doctrine "natural," we are apt to assume that doctrines
contrasted with it may properly be called "unnatural" or "artificial."
It is an ancient rhetorical device, to obtain sympathy for a cause in
which one may happen to be interested by giving it a taking name; but
it is a device frowned upon by logic and by good sense.

One kind of realism is, then, naïve realism.  It is the position from
which we all set out, when we begin to reflect upon the system of
things.  It is the position to which some try to come back, when their
reflections appear to be leading them into strange or unwelcome paths.

We have seen how Thomas Reid (section 50) recoiled from the conclusions
to which the reasonings of the philosophers had brought him, and tried
to return to the position of the plain man.  The attempt was a failure,
and was necessarily a failure, for Reid tried to come back to the
position of the plain man _and still be a philosopher_.  He tried to
live in a cloud and, nevertheless, to see clearly--a task not easy to

It should be remarked, however, that he tried, at least, to insist that
we know the external world _directly_.  We may divide realists into two
broad classes, those who hold to this view, and those who maintain that
we know it only indirectly and through our ideas.

The plain man belongs, of course, to the first class, if it is just to
speak of a man who says inconsistent things as being wholly in any one
class.  Certainly he is willing to assert that the ground upon which he
stands and the staff in his hand are perceived by him directly.

But we are compelled to recognize that there are subdivisions in this
first class of realists.  Reid tried to place himself beside the plain
man and failed to do so.  Hamilton (section 50) tried also, and he is
not to be classed precisely either with the plain man or with Reid.  He
informs us that the object as it appears to us is a composite something
to the building up of which the knowing mind contributes its share, the
medium through which the object is perceived its share, and the object
in itself its share.  He suggests, by way of illustration, that the
external object may contribute one third.  This seems to make, at
least, _something_ external directly known.  But, on the other hand, he
maintains that the mind knows immediately only what is in immediate
contact with the bodily organ--with the eyes, with the hands, etc.; and
he believes it knows this immediately because it is actually present in
all parts of the body.  And, further, in distinguishing as he does
between existence "as it is in itself" and existence "as it is revealed
to us," and in shutting us up to the latter, he seems to rob us even of
the modicum of externality that he has granted us.

I have already mentioned Herbert Spencer (section 50) as a man not
without sympathy for the attempt to rehabilitate the external world.
He is very severe with the "insanities" of idealism.  He is not willing
even to take the first step toward it.

He writes:[1] "The postulate with which metaphysical reasoning sets out
is that we are primarily conscious only of our sensations--that we
certainly know we have these, and that if there be anything beyond
these serving as cause for them, it can be known only by inference from

"I shall give much surprise to the metaphysical reader if I call in
question this postulate; and the surprise will rise into astonishment
if I distinctly deny it.  Yet I must do this.  Limiting the proposition
to those epiperipheral feelings produced in us by external objects (for
these are alone in question), I see no alternative but to affirm that
the thing primarily known is not that a sensation has been experienced,
but that there exists an outer object."

According to this, the outer object is not known through an inference;
it is known directly.  But do not be in haste to class Spencer with the
plain man, or with Reid.  Listen to a citation once before made
(section 22), but worth repeating in this connection: "When we are
taught that a piece of matter, regarded by us as existing externally,
cannot be really known, but that we can know only certain impressions
produced on us, we are yet, by the relativity of thought, compelled to
think of these in relation to a cause--the notion of a real existence
which generated these impressions becomes nascent.  If it be proved
that every notion of a real existence which we can frame is
inconsistent with itself,--that matter, however conceived by us, cannot
be matter as it actually is,--our conception, though transfigured, is
not destroyed: there remains the sense of reality, dissociated as far
as possible from those special forms under which it was before
represented in thought."

It is interesting to place the two extracts side by side.  In the one,
we are told that we do not know external objects by an inference from
our sensations; in the other we are taught that the piece of matter
which we regard as existing externally cannot be really known; that we
can know only certain impressions produced on us, and must refer them
to a cause; that this cause cannot be what we think it.  It is
difficult for the man who reads such statements not to forget that
Spencer regarded himself as a realist who held to a direct knowledge of
something external.

There are, as it is evident, many sorts of realists that may be
gathered into the first class mentioned above--men who, however
inconsistent they may be, try, at least, to maintain that our knowledge
of the external world is a direct one.  And it is equally true that
there are various sorts of realists that may be put into the second

These men have been called _Hypothetical Realists_.  In the last
chapter it was pointed out that Descartes and Locke belong to this
class.  Both of these men believed in an external world, but believed
that its existence is a thing to be inferred.

Now, when a man has persuaded himself that the mind can know directly
only its own ideas, and must infer the world which they are supposed to
represent, he may conceive of that external world in three different

(1) He may believe that what corresponds to his idea of a material
object, for example, an apple, is in very many respects like the idea
in his mind.  Thus, he may believe that the odor, taste, color,
hardness, etc., that he perceives directly, or as ideas, have
corresponding to them real external odor, taste, color, hardness, etc.
It is not easy for a man to hold to this position, for a very little
reflection seems to make it untenable; but it is theoretically possible
for one to take it, and probably many persons have inclined to the view
when they have first been tempted to believe that the mind perceives
directly only its ideas.

(2) He may believe that such things as colors, tastes, and odors cannot
be qualities of external bodies at all, but are only effects, produced
upon our minds by something very different in kind.  We seem to
perceive bodies, he may argue, to be colored, to have taste, and to be
odorous; but what we thus perceive is not the external thing; the
external thing that produces these appearances cannot be regarded as
having anything more than "solidity, extension, figure, motion or rest,
and number."  Thus did Locke reason.  To him the external world as it
really exists, is, so to speak, a paler copy of the external world as
we seem to perceive it.  It is a world with fewer qualities, but,
still, a world with qualities of some kind.

(3) But one may go farther than this.  One may say: How can I know that
even the extension, number, and motion of the things which I directly
perceive have corresponding to them extension, number, and motion, in
an outer world?  If what is not colored can cause me to perceive color,
why may not that which is not extended cause me to perceive extension?
And, moved by such reflections, one may maintain that there exists
outside of us that which we can only characterize as an Unknown Cause,
a Reality which we cannot more nearly define.

This last position resembles very closely one side of Spencer's
doctrine--that represented in the last of the two citations, as the
reader can easily see.  It is the position of the follower of Immanuel
Kant who has not yet repudiated the noumenon or thing-in-itself
discussed in the last chapter (section 51).

I am not concerned to defend any one of the varieties of Direct or of
Hypothetical Realism portrayed above.  But I wish to point out that
they all have some sort of claim to the title _Realism_, and to remind
the reader that, when we call a man a realist, we do not do very much
in the way of defining his position.  I may add that the account of the
external world contained in Chapter IV is a sort of realism also.

If this last variety, which I advocate, _must_ be classified, let it be
placed in the first broad class, for it teaches that we know the
external world directly.  But I sincerely hope that it will not be
judged wholly by the company it keeps, and that no one will assign to
it either virtues or defects to which it can lay no just claim.

Before leaving the subject of realism it is right that I should utter a
note of warning touching one very common source of error.  It is
fatally easy for men to be misled by the names which are applied to
things.  Sir William Hamilton invented for a certain type of
metaphysical doctrine the offensive epithet "nihilism."  It is a type
which appeals to many inoffensive and pious men at the present day,
some of whom prefer to call themselves idealists.  Many have been
induced to become "free-willists" because the name has suggested to
them a proper regard for that freedom which is justly dear to all men.
We can scarcely approach with an open mind an account of ideas and
sensations which we hear described as "sensationalism," or worse yet,
as "sensualism."  When a given type of philosophy is set down as
"dogmatism," we involuntarily feel a prejudice against it.

He who reads as reflectively as he should will soon find out that
philosophers "call names" much as other men do, and that one should
always be on one's guard.  "Every form of phenomenalism," asseverated a
learned and energetic old gentleman, who for many years occupied a
chair in one of our leading institutions of learning, "necessarily
leads to atheism."  He inspired a considerable number of students with
such a horror for "phenomenalism" that they never took pains to find
out what it was.

I mention these things in this connection, because I suspect that not a
few in our own day are unduly influenced by the associations which
cling to the words "realism" and "idealism."  Realism in literature, as
many persons understand it, means the degradation of literature to the
portrayal of what is coarse and degrading, in a coarse and offensive
way.  Realism in painting often means the laborious representation upon
canvas of things from which we would gladly avert our eyes if we met
them in real life.  With the word "idealism," on the other hand, we are
apt to connect the possession of ideals, a regard for what is best and
noblest in life and literature.

The reader must have seen that realism in the philosophic sense of the
word has nothing whatever to do with realism in the senses just
mentioned.  The word is given a special meaning, and it is a weakness
to allow associations drawn from other senses of the word to color our
judgment when we use it.

And it should be carefully held in view that the word "idealism" is
given a special sense when it is used to indicate a type of doctrine
contrasted with the doctrine of the realist.  Some forms of
philosophical idealism have undoubtedly been inspiring; but some have
been, and are, far from inspiring.  They should not be allowed to
posture as saints merely because they are cloaked with an ambiguous

53. IDEALISM.--Idealism we may broadly define as the doctrine that all
existence is mental existence.  So far from regarding the external
world as beyond and independent of mind, it maintains that it can have
its being only in consciousness.

We have seen (section 49) how men were led to take the step to
idealism.  It is not a step which the plain man is impelled to take
without preparation.  To say that the real world of things in which we
perceive ourselves to live and move is a something that exists only in
the mind strikes him as little better than insane.  He who becomes an
idealist usually does so, I think, after weighing the arguments
presented by the hypothetical realist, and finding that they seem to
carry one farther than the latter appears to recognize.

The type of idealism represented by Berkeley has been called
_Subjective Idealism_.  Ordinarily our use of the words "subjective"
and "objective" is to call attention to the distinction between what
belongs to the mind and what belongs to the external order of things.
My sensations are subjective, they are referred to my mind, and it is
assumed that they can have no existence except in my mind; the
qualities of things are regarded as objective, that is, it is commonly
believed that they exist independently of my perception of them.

Of course, when a man becomes an idealist, he cannot keep just this
distinction.  The question may, then, fairly be raised: How can he be a
_subjective idealist_?  Has not the word "subjective" lost its

To this one has to answer: It has, and it has not.  The man who, with
strict consistency, makes the desk at which he sits as much his "idea"
as is the pain in his finger or his memory of yesterday, cannot keep
hold of the distinction of subjective and objective.  But men are not
always as consistent as this.  Remember the illustration of the
"telephone exchange" (section 14).  The mind is represented as situated
at the brain terminals of the sensory nerves; and then brain, nerves,
and all else are turned into ideas in this mind, which are merely
"projected outwards."

Now, in placing the mind at a definite location in the world, and
contrasting it with the world, we retain the distinction between
subjective and objective--what is in the mind can be distinguished from
what is beyond it.  On the other hand, in making the whole system of
external things a complex of ideas in the mind, we become idealists,
and repudiate realism.  The position is an inconsistent one, of course,
but it is possible for men to take it, for men have taken it often

The idealism of Professor Pearson (section 14) is more palpably
subjective than that of Berkeley, for the latter never puts the mind in
a "telephone exchange."  Nevertheless, he names the objects of sense,
which other men call material things, "ideas," and he evidently
assimilates them to what we commonly call ideas and contrast with
things.  Moreover, he holds them in some of the contempt which men
reserve for "mere ideas," for he believes that idolaters might be
induced to give over worshiping the heavenly bodies could they be
persuaded that these are nothing more than their own ideas.

With the various forms of subjective idealism it is usual to contrast
the doctrine of _Objective Idealism_.  This does not maintain that the
world which I perceive is my "idea"; it maintains that the world is

It is rather a nice question, and one which no man should decide
without a careful examination of the whole matter, whether we have any
right to retain the word "idea" when we have rubbed out the distinction
which is usually drawn between ideas and external things.  If we
maintain that all men are always necessarily selfish, we stretch the
meaning of the word quite beyond what is customary, and selfishness
becomes a thing we have no reason to disapprove, since it characterizes
saint and sinner alike.  Similarly, if we decide to name "idea," not
only what the plain man and the realist admit to have a right to that
name, but also the great system which these men call an external
material world, it seems right to ask; Why use the word "idea" at all?
What does it serve to indicate?  Not a distinction, surely, for the
word seems to be applicable to all things without distinction.

Such considerations as these lead me to object to the expression
"objective idealism": if the doctrine is really _objective_, _i.e._ if
it recognizes a system of things different and distinct from what men
commonly call ideas, it scarcely seems to have a right to the title
_idealism_; and if it is really _idealism_, and does not rob the word
idea of all significance, it can scarcely be _objective_ in any proper
sense of the word.

Manifestly, there is need of a very careful analysis of the meaning of
the word "idea," and of the proper significance of the terms
"subjective" and "objective," if error is to be avoided and language
used soberly and accurately.  Those who are not in sympathy with the
doctrine of the objective idealists think that in such careful analysis
and accurate statement they are rather conspicuously lacking.

We think of Hegel (1770-1831) as the typical objective idealist.  It is
not easy to give an accurate account of his doctrine, for he is far
from a clear writer, and he has made it possible for his many admirers
to understand him in many ways.  But he seems to have accepted the
system of things that most men call the real external world, and to
have regarded it as the Divine Reason in its self-development.  And
most of those whom we would to-day be inclined to gather together under
the title of objective idealists appear to have been much influenced,
directly or indirectly, by his philosophy.  There are, however, great
differences of opinion among them, and no man should be made
responsible for the opinions of the class as a class.

I have said a few pages back that some forms of idealism are inspiring,
and that some are not.

Bishop Berkeley called the objects of sense ideas.  He regarded all
ideas as inactive, and thought that all changes in ideas--and this
includes all the changes that take place in nature--must be referred to
the activity of minds.  Some of those changes he could refer to finite
minds, his own and others.  Most of them he could not, and he felt
impelled to refer them to a Divine Mind.  Hence, the world became to
him a constant revelation of God; and he uses the word "God" in no
equivocal sense.  It does not signify to him the system of things as a
whole, or an Unknowable, or anything of the sort.  It signifies a
spirit akin to his own, but without its limitations.  He writes:[2]--

"A human spirit or person is not perceived by sense, as not being an
idea; when, therefore, we see the color, size, figure, and motions of a
man, we perceive only certain sensations or ideas excited in our own
minds; and these being exhibited to our view in sundry distinct
collections serve to mark out unto us the existence of finite and
created spirits like ourselves.  Hence, it is plain we do not see a
man,--if by _man_ is meant that which lives, moves, perceives, and
thinks as we do,--but only such a certain collection of ideas as
directs us to think there is a distinct principle of thought and
motion, like to ourselves, accompanying and represented by it.  And
after the same manner we see God; all the difference is that, whereas
some one finite and narrow assemblage of ideas denotes a particular
human mind, whithersoever we direct our view, we do at all times and in
all places perceive manifest tokens of the Divinity--everything we see,
hear, feel, or any wise perceive by sense, being a sign or effect of
the power of God; as is our perception of those very motions which are
produced by men."

With Berkeley's view of the world as a constant revelation of God, many
men will sympathize who have little liking for his idealism as
idealism.  They may criticise in detail his arguments to prove the
nonexistence of a genuinely external world, but they will be ready to
admit that his doctrine is an inspiring one in the view that it takes
of the world and of man.

With this I wish to contrast the doctrine of another idealist, Mr.
Bradley, whose work, "Appearance and Reality," has been much discussed
in the last few years, in order that the reader may see how widely
different forms of idealism may differ from each other, and how absurd
it is to praise or blame a man's philosophy merely on the ground that
it is idealistic.

Mr. Bradley holds that those aspects of our experience which we are
accustomed to regard as real--qualities of things, the relations
between things, the things themselves, space, time, motion, causation,
activity, the self--turn out when carefully examined to be
self-contradictory and absurd.  They are not real; they are
unrealities, mere appearances.

But these appearances exist, and, hence, must belong to reality.  This
reality must be sentient, for "there is no being or fact outside of
that which is commonly called psychical existence."

Now, what is this reality with which appearances--the whole world of
things which seem to be given in our experience--are contrasted?  Mr.
Bradley calls it the Absolute, and indicates that it is what other men
recognize as the Deity.  How shall we conceive it?

We are told that we are to conceive it as consisting of the contents of
finite minds, or "centers of experience," subjected to "an
all-pervasive transfusion with a reblending of all material."  In the
Absolute, finite things are "transmuted" and lose "their individual

What does this mean in plain language?  It means that there are many
finite minds of a higher and of a lower order, "centers of experience,"
and that the contents of these are unreal appearances.  There is not a
God or Absolute outside of and distinct from these, but rather one that
in some sense _is their reality_.  This mass of unrealities transfused
and transmuted so that no one of them retains its individual nature is
the Absolute.  That is to say, time must become indistinguishable from
space, space from motion, motion from the self, the self from the
qualities of things, etc., before they are fit to become constituents
of the Absolute and to be regarded as real.

As the reader has seen, this Absolute has nothing in common with the
God in which Berkeley believed, and in which the plain man usually
believes.  It is the night in which all cats are gray, and there
appears to be no reason why any one should harbor toward it the least
sentiment of awe or veneration.

Whether such reasonings as Mr. Bradley's should be accepted as valid or
should not, must be decided after a careful examination into the
foundations upon which they rest and the consistency with which
inferences are drawn from premises.  I do not wish to prejudge the
matter.  But it is worth while to set forth the conclusions at which he
arrives, that it may be clearly realized that the associations which
often hang about the word "idealism" should be carefully stripped away
when we are forming our estimate of this or that philosophical doctrine.

[1] "Principles of Psychology," Part VII, Chapter VI, section 404.

[2] "Principles," section 148.



54. THE MEANING OF THE WORDS.--In common life men distinguish between
minds and material things, thus dividing the things, which taken
together make up the world as we know it, into two broad classes.  They
think of minds as being very different from material objects, and of
the latter as being very different from minds.  It does not occur to
them to find in the one class room for the other, nor does it occur to
them to think of both classes as "manifestations" or "aspects" of some
one "underlying reality."  In other words, the plain man to-day is a

In the last chapter (section 52) I have called him a Naïve Realist; and
here I shall call him a _Naïve Dualist_, for a man may regard mind and
matter as quite distinct kinds of things, without trying to elevate his
opinion, through reflection, into a philosophical doctrine.  The
reflective man may stand by the opinion of the plain man, merely trying
to make less vague and indefinite the notions of matter and of mind.
He then becomes a _Philosophical Dualist_.  There are several varieties
of this doctrine, and I shall consider them a little later (section 58).

But it is possible for one to be less profoundly impressed by the
differences which characterize matter and mind.  One may feel inclined
to refer mental phenomena to matter, and to deny them the prominence
accorded them by the dualist.  On the other hand, one may be led by
one's reflections to resolve material objects into mere ideas, and to
claim that they can have no existence except in a mind.  Finally, it is
possible to hold that both minds and material things, as we know them,
are only manifestations, phenomena, and that they must be referred to
an ulterior "reality" or "substance."  One may claim that they are
"aspects" of the one reality, which is neither matter nor mind.

These doctrines are different forms of _Monism_.  In whatever else they
differ from one another, they agree in maintaining that the universe
does not contain two kinds of things fundamentally different.  Out of
the duality of things as it seems to be revealed to the plain man they
try to make some kind of a unity.

35. MATERIALISM.--The first of the forms of monism above mentioned is
_Materialism_.  It is not a doctrine to which the first impulse of the
plain man leads him at the present time.  Even those who have done no
reading in philosophy have inherited many of their ways of looking at
things from the thinkers who lived in the ages past, and whose opinions
have become the common property of civilized men.  For more than two
thousand years the world and the mind have been discussed, and it is
impossible for any of us to escape from the influence of those
discussions and to look at things with the primitive simplicity of the
wholly untutored.

But it was not always so.  There was a time when men who were not
savages, but possessed great intellectual vigor and much cultivation,
found it easy and natural to be materialists.  This I have spoken of
before (section 30), but it will repay us to take up again a little
more at length the clearest of the ancient forms of materialism, that
of the Atomists, and to see what may be said for and against it.

Democritus of Abdera taught that nothing exists except atoms and empty
space.  The atoms, he maintained, differ from one another in size,
shape, and position.  In other respects they are alike.  They have
always been in motion.  Perhaps he conceived of that motion as
originally a fall through space, but there seems to be uncertainty upon
this point.  However, the atoms in motion collide with one another, and
these collisions result in mechanical combinations from which spring
into being world-systems.

According to this doctrine, nothing comes from nothing, and nothing can
become nonexistent.  All the changes which have ever taken place in the
world are only changes in the position of material particles--they are
regroupings of atoms.  We cannot directly perceive them to be such, for
our senses are too dull to make such fine observations, but our reason
tells us that such is the case.

Where, in such a world as this, is there room for mind, and what can we
mean by mind?  Democritus finds a place for mind by conceiving it to
consist of fine, smooth, round atoms, which are the same as the atoms
which constitute fire.  These are distributed through the whole body,
and lie among the other atoms which compose it.  They are inhaled with
and exhaled into the outer air.  While they are in the body their
functions are different according as they are located in this organ or
in that.  In the brain they give rise to thought, in the heart to
anger, and in the liver to desire.

I suppose no one would care, at the present time, to become a
Democritean.  The "Reason," which tells us that the mind consists of
fine, round atoms, appears to have nothing but its bare word to offer
us.  But, apart from this, a peculiar difficulty seems to face us; even
supposing there are atoms of fire in the brain, the heart, and the
liver, what are the _thought_, _anger_, and _desire_, of which mention
is made?

Shall we conceive of these last as atoms, as void space, or as the
motion of atoms?  There really seems to be no place in the world for
them, and _these are the mind so far as the mind appears to be
revealed_--they are _mental phenomena_.  It does not seem that they are
to be identified with anything that the Atomistic doctrine admits as
existing.  They are simply overlooked.

Is the modern materialism more satisfactory?  About half a century ago
there was in the scientific world something like a revival of
materialistic thinking.  It did not occur to any one to maintain that
the mind consists of fine atoms disseminated through the body, but
statements almost as crude were made.  It was said, for example, that
the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile.

It seems a gratuitous labor to criticise such statements as these in
detail.  There are no glands the secretions of which are not as
unequivocally material as are the glands themselves.  This means that
such secretions can be captured and analyzed; the chemical elements of
which they are composed can be enumerated.  They are open to inspection
in precisely the same way as are the glands which secrete them.

Does it seem reasonable to maintain that thoughts and feelings are
related to brains in this way?  Does the chemist ever dream of
collecting them in a test tube, and of drawing up for us a list of
their constituent elements?  When the brain is active, there are, to be
sure, certain material products which pass into the blood and are
finally eliminated from the body; but among these products no one would
be more surprised than the materialist to discover pains and pleasures,
memories and anticipations, desires and volitions.  This talk of
thought as a "secretion" we can afford to set aside.

Nor need we take much more seriously the seemingly more sober statement
that thought is a "function" of the brain.  There is, of course, a
sense in which we all admit the statement; minds are not disembodied,
and we have reason to believe that mind and brain are most intimately
related.  But the word "function" is used in a very broad and loose
sense when it serves to indicate this relation; and one may employ it
in this way without being a materialist at all.  In a stricter sense of
the word, the brain has no functions that may not be conceived as
mechanical changes,--as the motion of atoms in space,--and to identify
mental phenomena with these is inexcusable.  It is not theoretically
inconceivable that, with finer senses, we might directly perceive the
motions of the atoms in another man's brain; it is inconceivable that
we should thus directly perceive his melancholy or his joy; they belong
to another world.

56. SPIRITUALISM.--The name _Spiritualism_ is sometimes given to the
doctrine that there is no existence which we may not properly call mind
or spirit.  It errs in the one direction as materialism errs in the

One must not confound with this doctrine that very different one,
Spiritism, which teaches that a certain favored class of persons called
mediums may bring back the spirits of the departed and enable us to
hold communication with them.  Such beliefs have always existed among
the common people, but they have rarely interested philosophers.  I
shall have nothing to say of them in this book.

There have been various kinds of spiritualists.  The name may be
applied to the idealists, from Berkeley down to those of our day; at
some of the varieties of their doctrine we have taken a glance
(sections 49, 53).  To these we need not recur; but there is one type
of spiritualistic doctrine which is much discussed at the present day
and which appears to appeal strongly to a number of scientific men.  We
must consider it for a moment.

We have examined Professor Clifford's doctrine of Mind-stuff (section
43).  Clifford maintained that all the material things we perceive are
our perceptions--they are in our consciousness, and are not properly
external at all.  But, believing, as he did, that all nature is
animated, he held that every material thing, every perception, may be
taken as a revelation of something not in our consciousness, of a mind
or, at least, of a certain amount of mind-stuff.  How shall we conceive
the relation between what is in our mind and the something
corresponding to it not in our mind?

We must, says Clifford, regard the latter as the _reality_ of which the
former is the _appearance_ or _manifestation_.  "What I perceive as
your brain is really in itself your consciousness, is You; but then
that which I call your brain, the material fact, is merely my

This doctrine is _Panpsychism_, in the form in which it is usually
brought to our attention.  It holds that the only real existences are
minds, and that physical phenomena must be regarded as the
manifestations under which these real existences make us aware of their
presence.  The term panpsychism may, it is true, be used in a somewhat
different sense.  It may be employed merely to indicate the doctrine
that all nature is animated, and without implying a theory as to the
relation between bodies perceived and the minds supposed to accompany

What shall we say to panpsychism of the type represented by Clifford?
It is, I think, sufficiently answered in the earlier chapters of this

(1) If I call material facts my perceptions, I do an injustice to the
distinction between the physical and the mental (Chapter IV).

(2) If I say that all nature is animated, I extend illegitimately the
argument for other minds (Chapter X).

(3) If I say that mind is the reality of which the brain is the
appearance, I misconceive what is meant by the distinction between
appearance and reality (Chapter V).

57. THE DOCTRINE OF THE ONE SUBSTANCE.--In the seventeenth century
Descartes maintained that, although mind and matter may justly be
regarded as two substances, yet it should be recognized that they are
not really independent substances in the strictest sense of the word,
but that there is only one substance, in this sense, and mind and
matter are, as it were, its attributes.

His thought was that by attribute we mean that which is not
independent, but must be referred to something else; by substance, we
mean that which exists independently and is not referred to any other
thing.  It seemed to follow that there could be only one substance.

Spinoza modified Descartes' doctrine in that he refused to regard mind
and matter as substances at all.  He made them unequivocally attributes
of the one and only substance, which he called God.

The thought which influenced Spinoza had impressed many minds before
his time, and it has influenced many since.  One need not follow him in
naming the unitary something to which mind and matter are referred
substance.  One may call it Being, or Reality, or the Unknowable, or
Energy, or the Absolute, or, perhaps, still something else.  The
doctrine has taken many forms, but he who reads with discrimination
will see that the various forms have much in common.

They agree in maintaining that matter and mind, as they are revealed in
our experience, are not to be regarded as, in the last analysis, two
distinct kinds of thing.  They are, rather, modes or manifestations of
one and the same thing, and this is not to be confounded with either.

Those who incline to this doctrine take issue with the materialist, who
assimilates mental phenomena to physical; and they oppose the idealist,
who assimilates physical phenomena to mental, and calls material things
"ideas."  We have no right, they argue, to call that of which ideas and
things are manifestations either mind or matter.  It is to be
distinguished from both.

To this doctrine the title of _Monism_ is often appropriated.  In this
chapter I have used the term in a broader sense, for both the
materialist and the spiritualist maintain that there is in the universe
but one kind of thing.  Nevertheless, when we hear a man called a
monist without qualification, we may, perhaps, be justified in
assuming, in the absence of further information, that he holds to some
one of the forms of doctrine indicated above.  There may be no logical
justification for thus narrowing the use of the term, but logical
justification goes for little in such matters.

Various considerations have moved men to become monists in this sense
of the word.  Some have been influenced by the assumption--one which
men felt impelled to make early in the history of speculative
thought--that the whole universe must be the expression of some unitary
principle.  A rather different argument is well illustrated in the
writings of Professor Höffding, a learned and acute writer of our own
time.  It has influenced so many that it is worth while to delay upon

Professor Höffding holds that mental phenomena and physical phenomena
must be regarded as parallel (see Chapter IX), and that we must not
conceive of ideas and material things as interacting.  He writes:[1]--

"If it is contrary to the doctrine of the persistence of physical
energy to suppose a transition from the one province to the other, and
if, nevertheless, the two provinces exist in our experience as
distinct, then the two sets of phenomena must be unfolded
simultaneously, each according to its laws, so that for every
phenomenon in the world of consciousness there is a corresponding
phenomenon in the world of matter, and conversely (so far as there is
reason to suppose that conscious life is correlated with material
phenomena).  The parallels already drawn point directly to such a
relation; it would be an amazing accident, if, while the characteristic
marks repeated themselves in this way, there were not at the foundation
an inner connection.  Both the _parallelism_ and the _proportionality_
between the activity of consciousness and cerebral activity point to an
_identity_ at bottom.  The difference which remains in spite of the
points of agreement compels us to suppose that one and the same
principle has found its expression in a double form.  We have no right
to take mind and body for two beings or substances in reciprocal
interaction.  We are, on the contrary, impelled to conceive the
material interaction between the elements composing the brain and
nervous system _as an outer form of the inner ideal unity of
consciousness_.  What we in our inner experience become conscious of as
thought, feeling, and resolution, is thus represented in the material
world by certain material processes of the brain, which as such are
subject to the law of the persistence of energy, although this law
cannot be applied to the relation between cerebral and conscious
processes.  It is as though the same thing were said in two languages."

Some monists are in the habit of speaking of the one Being to which
they refer phenomena of all sorts as the "Absolute."  The word is a
vague one, and means very different things in different philosophies.
It has been somewhat broadly defined as "the ultimate principle of
explanation of the universe."  He who turns to one principle of
explanation will conceive the Absolute in one way, and he who turns to
another will, naturally, understand something else by the word.

Thus, the idealist may conceive of the Absolute as an all-inclusive
Mind, of which finite minds are parts.  To Spencer, it is the
Unknowable, a something behind the veil of phenomena.  Sometimes it
means to a writer much the same thing that the word God means to other
men; sometimes it has a significance at the farthest remove from this
(section 53).  Indeed, the word is so vague and ambiguous, and has
proved itself the mother of so many confusions, that it would seem a
desirable thing to drop it out of philosophy altogether, and to
substitute for it some less ambiguous expression.

It seems clear from the preceding pages, that, before one either
accepts or rejects monism, one should very carefully determine just
what one means by the word, and should scrutinize the considerations
which may be urged in favor of the particular doctrine in question.
There are all sorts of monism, and men embrace them for all sorts of
reasons.  Let me beg the reader to bear in mind;--

(1) The monist may be a materialist; he may be an idealist; he may be
neither.  In the last case, he may, with Spinoza, call the one
Substance God; that is, he may be a Pantheist.  On the other hand, he
may, with Spencer, call it the Unknowable, and be an Agnostic.  Other
shades of opinion are open to him, if he cares to choose them.

(2) It does not seem wise to assent hastily to such statements as; "The
universe is the manifestation of one unitary Being"; or: "Mind and
matter are the expression of one and the same principle."  We find
revealed in our experience mental phenomena and physical phenomena.  In
what sense they are one, or whether they are one in any sense,--this is
something to be determined by an examination of the phenomena and of
the relations in which we find them.  It may turn out that the universe
is one only in the sense that all phenomena belong to the one orderly
system.  If we find that this is the case, we may still, if we choose,
call our doctrine monism, but we should carefully distinguish such a
monism from those represented by Höffding and Spencer and many others.
There seems little reason to use the word, when the doctrine has been
so far modified.

58. DUALISM.--The plain man finds himself in a world of physical things
and of minds, and it seems to him that his experience directly
testifies to the existence of both.  This means that the things of
which he has experience appear to belong to two distinct classes.

It does not mean, of course, that he has only two kinds of experiences.
The phenomena which are revealed to us are indefinitely varied; all
physical phenomena are not just alike, and all mental phenomena are not
just alike.

Nevertheless, amid all the bewildering variety that forces itself upon
our attention, there stands out one broad distinction, that of the
physical and the mental.  It is a distinction that the man who has done
no reading in the philosophers is scarcely tempted to obliterate; to
him the world consists of two kinds of things widely different from
each other; minds are not material things and material things are not
minds.  We are justified in regarding this as the opinion of the plain
man even when we recognize that, in his endeavor to make clear to
himself what he means by minds, he sometimes speaks as though he were
talking about something material or semi-material.

Now, the materialist allows these two classes to run together; so does
the idealist.  The one says that everything is matter; the other, that
everything is mind.  It would be foolish to maintain that nothing can
be said for either doctrine, for men of ability have embraced each.
But one may at least say that both seem to be refuted by our common
experience of the world, an experience which, so far as it is permitted
to testify at all, lifts up its voice in favor of _Dualism_.

Dualism is sometimes defined as the doctrine that there are in the
world two kinds of substances, matter and mind, which are different in
kind and should be kept distinct.  There are dualists who prefer to
avoid the use of the word substance, and to say that the world of our
experiences consists of physical phenomena and of mental phenomena, and
that these two classes of facts should be kept separate.

The dualist may maintain that we have a direct knowledge of matter and
of mind, and he may content himself with such a statement, doing little
to make clear what we mean by matter and by mind.  In this case, his
position is little different from that of the plain man who does not
attempt to philosophize.  Thomas Reid (section 50) belongs to this

On the other hand, the dualist may attempt to make clear, through
philosophical reflection, what we mean by the matter and mind which
experience seems to give us.  He may conclude:--

(1) That he must hold, as did Sir William Hamilton, that we perceive
directly only physical and mental phenomena, but are justified in
inferring that, since the phenomena are different, there must be two
kinds of underlying substances to which the phenomena are referred.
Thus, he may distinguish between the two substances and their
manifestations, as some monists distinguish between the one substance
and its manifestations.

(2) Or he may conclude that it is futile to search for substances or
realities of any sort _behind_ phenomena, arguing that such realities
are never revealed in experience, and that no sound reason for their
assumption can be adduced.  In this case, he may try to make plain what
mind and matter are, by simply analyzing our experiences of mind and
matter and coming to a clearer comprehension of their nature.

As the reader has probably remarked, the philosophy presented in the
earlier chapters of this book (Chapters III to XI) is _dualistic_ as
well as _realistic_.  That is to say, it refuses to rub out the
distinction between physical phenomena and mental phenomena, either by
dissolving the material world into ideas; by calling ideas secretions
or functions of the brain; or by declaring them one in a fictitious
entity behind the veil and not supposed to be exactly identical with
either.  And as it teaches that the only reality that it means anything
to talk about must be found in experience, it is a dualism of the type
described in the paragraph which immediately precedes.

Such a philosophy does not seem to do violence to the common experience
of minds and of physical things shared by us all, whether we are
philosophers or are not.  It only tries to make clear what we all know
dimly and vaguely.  This is, I think, a point in its favor.  However,
men of great ability and of much learning have inclined to doctrines
very different; and we have no right to make up our minds on such a
subject as this without trying to give them an attentive and an
impartial hearing.

59. SINGULARISM AND PLURALISM.--There are those who apply to the
various forms of monism the title _Singularism_, and who contrast with
this _Pluralism_, a word which is meant to cover the various doctrines
which maintain that there is more than one ultimate principle or being
in the universe.

It is argued that we should have some word under which we may bring
such a doctrine, for example, as that of the Greek philosopher
Empedocles (born about 490 B.C.).  This thinker made earth, water,
fire, and air the four material principles or "roots" of things.  He
was not a monist, and we can certainly not call him a dualist.

Again.  The term pluralism has been used to indicate the doctrine that
individual finite minds are not parts or manifestations of one
all-embracing Mind,--of God or the Absolute,--but are relatively
independent beings.  This doctrine has been urged in our own time, with
eloquence and feeling, by Professor Howison.[2]  Here we have a
pluralism which is idealistic, for it admits in the universe but one
_kind_ of thing, minds; and yet refuses to call itself monistic.  It
will readily be seen that in this paragraph and in the one preceding
the word is used in different senses.

I have added the above sentences to this chapter that the reader may
have an explanation of the meaning of a word sometimes met with.  But
the title of the chapter is "Monism and Dualism," and it is of this
contrast that it is especially important to grasp the significance.

[1] "Outlines of Psychology," pp. 64-65, English translation, 1891.

[2] "The Limits of Evolution, and Other Essays," revised edition.  New
York, 1905.



60. RATIONALISM.--As the content of a philosophical doctrine must be
determined by the _initial assumptions_ which a philosopher makes and
by the _method_ which he adopts in his reasonings, it is well to
examine with some care certain broad differences in this respect which
characterize different philosophers, and which help to explain how it
is that the results of their reflections are so startlingly different.

I shall first speak of _Rationalism_, which I may somewhat loosely
define as the doctrine that the reason can attain truths independently
of observation--can go beyond experienced fact and the deductions which
experience seems to justify us in making from experienced fact.  The
definition cannot mean much to us until it is interpreted by a concrete
example, and I shall turn to such.  It must, however, be borne in mind
that the word "rationalism" is meant to cover a great variety of
opinions, and we have said comparatively little about him when we have
called a man a rationalist in philosophy.  Men may agree in believing
that the reason can go beyond experienced fact, and yet may differ
regarding the particular truths which may be thus attained.

Now, when Descartes found himself discontented with the philosophy that
he and others had inherited from the Middle Ages, and undertook a
reconstruction, he found it necessary to throw over a vast amount of
what had passed as truth, if only with a view to building up again upon
a firmer foundation.  It appeared to him that much was uncritically
accepted as true in philosophy and in the sciences which a little
reflection revealed to be either false or highly doubtful.
Accordingly, he decided to clear the ground by a sweeping doubt, and to
begin his task quite independently.

In accordance with this principle, he rejected the testimony of the
senses touching the existence of a world of external things.  Do not
the senses sometimes deceive us?  And, since men seem to be liable to
error in their reasonings, even in a field so secure as that of
mathematical demonstration, he resolved further to repudiate all the
reasonings he had heretofore accepted.  He would not even assume
himself to be in his right mind and awake; might he not be the victim
of a diseased fancy, or a man deluded by dreams?

Could anything whatever escape this all-devouring doubt?  One truth
seemed unshakable: his own existence, at least, emerged from this sea
of uncertainties.  I may be deceived in thinking that there is an
external world, and that I am awake and really perceive things; but I
surely cannot be deceived unless I exist.  _Cogito, ergo sum_--I think,
hence I exist; this truth Descartes accepted as the first principle of
the new and sounder philosophy which he sought.

As we read farther in Descartes we discover that he takes back again a
great many of those things that he had at the outset rejected as
uncertain.  Thus, he accepts an external world of material things.  How
does he establish its existence?  He cannot do it as the empiricist
does it, by a reference to experienced fact, for he does not believe
that the external world is directly given in our experience.  He thinks
we are directly conscious only of our _ideas_ of it, and must somehow
prove that it exists over against our ideas.

By his principles, Descartes is compelled to fall back upon a curious
roundabout argument to prove that there is a world.  He must first
prove that God exists, and then argue that God would not deceive us
into thinking that it exists when it does not.

Now, when we come to examine Descartes' reasonings in detail we find
what appear to us some very uncritical assumptions.  Thus, he proves
the existence of God by the following argument:--

I exist, and I find in me the idea of God; of this idea I cannot be the
author, for it represents something much greater than I, and its cause
must be as great as the reality it represents.  In other words, nothing
less than God can be the cause of the idea of God which I find in me,
and, hence, I may infer that God exists.

Where did Descartes get this notion that every idea must have a cause
which contains as much external reality as the idea does represented
reality?  How does he prove his assumption?  He simply appeals to what
he calls "the natural light," which is for him a source of all sorts of
information which cannot be derived from experience.  This "natural
light" furnishes him with a vast number of "eternal truths", these he
has not brought under the sickle of his sweeping doubt, and these help
him to build up again the world he has overthrown, beginning with the
one indubitable fact discussed above.

To the men of a later time many of Descartes' eternal truths are simply
inherited philosophical prejudices, the results of the reflections of
earlier thinkers, and in sad need of revision.  I shall not criticise
them in detail.  The important point for us to notice is that we have
here a type of philosophy which depends upon truths revealed by the
reason, independently of experience, to carry one beyond the sphere of

I again remind the reader that there are all sorts of rationalists, in
the philosophical sense of the word.  Some trust the power of the
unaided reason without reserve.  Thus Spinoza, the pantheist, made the
magnificent but misguided attempt to deduce the whole system of things
physical and things mental from what he called the attributes of God,
Extension and Thought.

On the other hand, one may be a good deal of an empiricist, and yet
something of a rationalist, too.  Thus Professor Strong, in his recent
brilliant book, "Why the Mind has a Body," maintains that we know
intuitively that other minds than our own exist; know it without
gathering our information from experience, and without having to
establish the fact in any way.  This seems, at least, akin to the
doctrine of the "natural light," and yet no one can say that Professor
Strong does not, in general, believe in a philosophy of observation and

61. EMPIRICISM.--I suppose every one who has done some reading in the
history of philosophy will, if his mother tongue be English, think of
the name of John Locke when empiricism is mentioned.

Locke, in his "Essay concerning Human Understanding," undertakes "to
inquire into the original, certainty, and extent of human knowledge,
together with the grounds and degrees of belief, opinion, and assent."
His sober and cautious work, which was first published in 1690, was
peculiarly English in character; and the spirit which it exemplifies
animates also Locke's famous successors, George Berkeley (1684-1753),
David Hume (1711-1776), and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873).  Although
Locke was a realist, Berkeley an idealist, Hume a skeptic, and Mill
what has been called a sensationalist; yet all were empiricists of a
sort, and emphasized the necessity of founding our knowledge upon

Now, Locke was familiar with the writings of Descartes, whose work he
admired, but whose rationalism offended him.  The first book of the
"Essay" is devoted to the proof that there are in the mind of man no
"innate ideas" and no "innate principles."  That is to say, Locke tries
to show that one must not seek, in the "natural light" to which
Descartes turned, a distinct and independent source of information,

"Let us, then," he continues, "suppose the mind to be, as we say, white
paper, void of all characters, without any ideas; how comes it to be
furnished?  Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and
boundless fancy of man has painted on it, with an almost endless
variety?  Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge?  To
this I answer in one word, from experience; in that all our knowledge
is founded, and from that it ultimately derives itself.  Our
observation, employed either about external sensible objects, or about
the internal operations of our minds, perceived and reflected on by
ourselves, is that which supplies our understandings with all the
materials of thinking.  These two are the fountains of knowledge, from
whence all the ideas we have, or can naturally have, do spring." [1]

Thus, all we know and all we ever shall know of the world of matter and
of minds must rest ultimately upon observation,--observation of
external things and of our own mind.  We must clip the erratic wing of
a "reason" which seeks to soar beyond such knowledge; which leaves the
solid earth, and hangs suspended in the void.

"But hold," exclaims the critical reader; "have we not seen that Locke,
as well as Descartes (section 48), claims to know what he cannot prove
by direct observation or even by a legitimate inference from what has
been directly observed?  Does he not maintain that the mind has an
immediate knowledge or experience only of its own ideas?  How can he
prove that there are material extended things outside causing these
ideas?  And if he cannot prove it by an appeal to experience, to direct
observation, is he not, in accepting the existence of the external
world at all, just as truly as Descartes, a rationalist?"

The objection is well taken.  On his own principles, Locke had no right
to believe in an external world.  He has stolen his world, so to speak;
he has taken it by violence.  Nevertheless, as I pointed out in the
section above referred to, Locke is not a rationalist of _malice
prepense_.  He _tries_ to be an empiricist.  He believes in the
external world because he thinks it is directly revealed to the
senses--he inconsistently refers to experience as evidence of its

It has often been claimed by those who do not sympathize with
empiricism that the empiricists make assumptions much as others do, but
have not the grace to admit it.  I think we must frankly confess that a
man may try hard to be an empiricist and may not be wholly successful.
Moreover, reflection forces us to the conclusion that when we have
defined empiricism as a doctrine which rests throughout upon an appeal
to "experience" we have not said anything very definite.

What is _experience_?  What may we accept as directly revealed fact?
The answer to such questions is far from an easy one to give.  It is a
harder matter to discuss intelligently than any one can at all realize
until he has spent some years in following the efforts of the
philosophers to determine what is "revealed fact."  We are supposed to
have experience of our own minds, of space, of time, of matter.  What
are these things as revealed in our experience?  We have seen in the
earlier chapters of this book that one cannot answer such questions

62.  CRITICISM.--I have in another chapter (section 51) given a brief
account of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.  He called his doctrine
"Criticism," and he distinguished it from "Dogmatism" and "Empiricism."

Every philosophy that transcends experience, without first critically
examining our faculty of knowledge and determining its right to spread
its wings in this way, Kant calls "dogmatism."  The word seems rather
an offensive one, in its usual signification, at least; and it is as
well not to use it.  As Kant used the word, Descartes was a dogmatist;
but let us rather call him a rationalist.  He certainly had no
intention of proceeding uncritically, as we shall see a little later.
If we call him a dogmatist we seem to condemn him in advance, by
applying to him an abusive epithet.

Empiricism, according to Kant, confines human knowledge to experience,
and thus avoids the errors which beset the dogmatist.  But then, as
Hume seemed to have shown, empiricism must run out into skepticism.  If
all our knowledge has its foundations in experience, how can we expect
to find in our possession any universal or necessary truths?  May not a
later experience contradict an earlier?  How can we be sure that what
has been will be?  Can we _know_ that there is anything fixed and
certain in our world?

Skepticism seemed a forlorn doctrine, and, casting about for a way of
escape from it, Kant hit upon the expedient which I have described.  So
long as we maintain that our knowledge has no other source than the
experiences which the world imprints upon us, so to speak, from
without, we are without the power of prediction, for new experiences
may annihilate any generalizations we have founded upon those already
vouchsafed us; but if we assume that the world upon which we gaze, the
world of phenomena, is made what it is by the mind that perceives it,
are we not in a different position?

Suppose, for example, we take the statement that there must be an
adequate cause of all the changes that take place in the world.  Can a
mere experience of what has been in the past guarantee that this law
will hold good in the future?  But, when we realize that the world of
which we are speaking is nothing more than a world of phenomena, of
experiences, and realize further that this whole world is constructed
by the mind out of the raw materials furnished by the senses, may we
not have a greater confidence in our law?  If it is the nature of the
mind to connect the phenomena presented to it with one another as cause
and effect, may we not maintain that no phenomenon can possibly make
its appearance that defies the law in question?  How could it appear
except under the conditions laid upon all phenomena?  If it is our
nature to think the world as an orderly one, and if we can know no
world save the one we construct ourselves, the orderliness of all the
things we can know seems to be guaranteed to us.

It will be noticed that Kant's doctrine has a negative side.  He limits
our knowledge to phenomena, to experiences, and he is himself, in so
far, an empiricist.  But in that he finds in experience an order, an
arrangement of things, not derived from experience in the usual sense
of the word, he is not an empiricist.  He has paid his own doctrine the
compliment of calling it "criticism," as I have said.

Now, I beg the reader to be here, as elsewhere, on his guard against
the associations which attach to words.  In calling Kant's doctrine
"the critical philosophy," we are in some danger of uncritically
assuming and leading others to believe uncritically that it is free
from such defects as may be expected to attach to "dogmatism" and to
empiricism.  Such a position should not be taken until one has made a
most careful examination of each of the three types of doctrine, of the
assumptions which it makes, and of the rigor with which it draws
inferences upon the basis of such assumptions.  That we may be the
better able to withstand "undue influence," I call attention to the
following points:--

(1) We must bear in mind that the attempt to make a critical
examination into the foundations of our knowledge, and to determine its
scope, is by no means a new thing.  Among the Greeks, Plato, Aristotle,
the Stoics, the Epicureans, and the Skeptics, all attacked the problem.
It did not, of course, present itself to these men in the precise form
in which it presented itself to Kant, but each and all were concerned
to find an answer to the question: Can we know anything with certainty;
and, if so, what?  They may have failed to be thoroughly critical, but
they certainly made the attempt.

I shall omit mention of the long series of others, who, since that
time, have carried on the tradition, and shall speak only of Descartes
and Locke, whom I have above brought forward as representatives of the
two types of doctrine that Kant contrasts with his own.

To see how strenuously Descartes endeavored to subject his knowledge to
a critical scrutiny and to avoid unjustifiable assumptions of any sort,
one has only to read that charming little work of genius, the
"Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason."

In his youth Descartes was, as he informs us, an eager student; but,
when he had finished the whole course of education usually prescribed,
he found himself so full of doubts and errors that he did not feel that
he had advanced in learning at all.  Yet he had been well tutored, and
was considered as bright in mind as others.  He was led to judge his
neighbor by himself, and to conclude that there existed no such certain
science as he had been taught to suppose.

Having ripened with years and experience, Descartes set about the task
of which I have spoken above, the task of sweeping away the whole body
of his opinions and of attempting a general and systematic
reconstruction.  So important a work should be, he thought, approached
with circumspection; hence, he formulated certain Rules of Method.

"The first," he writes, "was never to accept anything for true which I
did not clearly know to be such; that is, carefully to avoid haste and
prejudice, and to include nothing more in my judgments than what was
presented to my mind so clearly and distinctly as to exclude all reason
for doubt."

Such was our philosopher's design, and such the spirit in which he set
about it.  We have seen the result above.  It is as if Descartes had
decided that a certain room full of people did not appear to be free
from suspicious characters, and had cleared out every one, afterwards
posting himself at the door to readmit only those who proved themselves
worthy.  When we examine those who succeeded in passing muster, we
discover he has favored all his old friends.  He simply _cannot_ doubt
them; are they not vouched for by the "natural light"?  Nevertheless,
we must not forget that Descartes sifted his congregation with much
travail of spirit.  He did try to be critical.

As for John Locke, he reveals in the "Epistle to the Reader," which
stands as a preface to the "Essay," the critical spirit in which his
work was taken up.  "Were it fit to trouble thee," he writes, "with the
history of this Essay, I should tell thee, that five or six friends
meeting at my chamber, and discoursing on a subject very remote from
this, found themselves quickly at a stand, by the difficulties that
rose on every side.  After we had a while puzzled ourselves, without
coming any nearer a resolution of those doubts which perplexed us, it
came into my thoughts, that we took a wrong course; and that before we
set ourselves upon inquiries of that nature, it was necessary to
examine our own abilities, and to see what objects our understandings
were, or were not, fitted to deal with."

This problem, proposed by himself to his little circle of friends,
Locke attacked with earnestness, and as a result he brought out many
years later the work which has since become so famous.  The book is
literally a critique of the reason, although a very different critique
from that worked out by Kant.

"If, by this inquiry into the nature of the understanding," says Locke,
"I can discover the powers thereof, how far they reach, to what things
they are in any degree proportionate, and where they fail us; I suppose
it may be of use to prevail with the busy mind of man to be more
cautious in meddling with things exceeding its comprehension; to stop
when it is at the utmost extent of its tether; and to sit down in a
quiet ignorance of those things which upon examination are found to be
beyond the reach of our capacities." [2]

To the difficulties of the task our author is fully alive: "The
understanding, like the eye, whilst it makes us see and perceive all
other things, takes no notice of itself; and it requires art and pains
to set it at a distance, and make it its own object.  But whatever be
the difficulties that lie in the way of this inquiry, whatever it be
that keeps us so much in the dark to ourselves, sure I am that all the
light we can let in upon our own minds, all the acquaintance we can
make with our own understandings, will not only be very pleasant, but
bring us great advantage, in directing our thoughts in the search, of
other things." [3]

(2) Thus, many men have attempted to produce a critical philosophy, and
in much the same sense as that in which Kant uses the words.  Those who
have come after them have decided that they were not sufficiently
critical, that they have made unjustifiable assumptions.  When we come
to read Kant, we will, if we have read the history of philosophy with
profit, not forget to ask ourselves if he has not sinned in the same

For example, we will ask;--

(a) Was Kant right in maintaining that we find in experience synthetic
judgments (section 51) that are not founded upon experience, but yield
such information as is beyond the reach of the empiricist?  There are
those who think that the judgments to which he alludes in evidence of
his contention--the mathematical, for instance--are not of this

(b) Was he justified in assuming that all the ordering of our world is
due to the activity of mind, and that merely the raw material is
"given" us through the senses?  There are many who demur against such a
statement, and hold that it is, if not in all senses untrue, at least
highly misleading, since it seems to argue that there is no really
external world at all.  Moreover, they claim that the doctrine is
neither self-evident nor susceptible of proper proof.

(c) Was Kant justified in assuming that, even if we attribute the
"form" or arrangement of the world we know to the native activity of
the mind, the necessity and universality of our knowledge is assured?
Let us grant that the proposition, whatever happens must have an
adequate cause, is a "form of thought."  What guarantee have we that
the "forms of thought" must ever remain changeless?  If it is an
assumption for the empiricist to declare that what has been true in the
past will be true in the future, that earlier experiences of the world
will not be contradicted by later; what is it for the Kantian to
maintain that the order which he finds in his experience will
necessarily and always be the order of all future experiences?
Transferring an assumption to the field of mind does not make it less
of an assumption.

Thus, it does not seem unreasonable to charge Kant with being a good
deal of a rationalist.  He tried to confine our knowledge to the field
of experience, it is true; but he made a number of assumptions as to
the nature of experience which certainly do not shine by their own
light, and which many thoughtful persons regard as incapable of

Kant's famous successors in the German philosophy, Fichte (1762-1814),
Schelling (1775-1854), Hegel (1770-1831), and Schopenhauer (1788-1860),
all received their impulse from the "critical philosophy," and yet each
developed his doctrine in a relatively independent way.

I cannot here take the space to characterize the systems of these men;
I may merely remark that all of them contrast strongly in doctrine and
method with the British philosophers mentioned in the last section,
Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Mill.  They are _un-empirical_, if one may
use such a word; and, to one accustomed to reading the English
philosophy, they seem ever ready to spread their wings and hazard the
boldest of flights without a proper realization of the thinness of the
atmosphere in which they must support themselves.

However, no matter what may be one's opinion of the actual results
attained by these German philosophers, one must frankly admit that no
one who wishes to understand clearly the development of speculative
thought can afford to dispense with a careful reading of them.  Much
even of the English philosophy of our own day must remain obscure to
those who have not looked into their pages.  Thus, the thought of Kant
and Hegel molded the thought of Thomas Hill Green (1836-1882) and of
the brothers Caird; and their influence has made itself widely felt
both in England and in America.  One cannot criticise intelligently
books written from their standpoint, unless one knows how the authors
came by their doctrine and out of what it has been developed.

63. CRITICAL EMPIRICISM.--We have seen that the trouble with the
rationalists seemed to be that they made an appeal to "eternal truths,"
which those who followed them could not admit to be eternal truths at
all.  They proceeded on a basis of assumptions the validity of which
was at once called in question.

Locke, the empiricist, repudiated all this, and then also made
assumptions which others could not, and cannot, approve.  Kant did
something of much the same sort; we cannot regard his "criticism" as
wholly critical.

How can we avoid such errors?  How walk cautiously, and go around the
pit into which, as it seems to us, others have fallen?  I may as well
tell the reader frankly that he sets his hope too high if he expects to
avoid all error and to work out for himself a philosophy in all
respects unassailable.  The difficulties of reflective thought are very
great, and we should carry with us a consciousness of that fact and a
willingness to revise our most cherished conclusions.

Our initial difficulty seems to be that we must begin by assuming
_something_, if only as material upon which to work.  We must begin our
philosophizing _somewhere_.  Where shall we begin?  May we not fall
into error at the very outset?

The doctrine set forth in the earlier chapters of this volume maintains
that we must accept as our material the revelation of the mind and the
world which seems to be made in our common experience, and which is
extended and systematized in the sciences.  But it insists that we must
regard such an acceptance as merely provisional, must subject our
concepts to a careful criticism, and must always be on our guard
against hasty assumptions.

It emphasizes the value of the light which historical study casts upon
the real meaning of the concepts which we all use and must use, but
which have so often proved to be stones of stumbling in the path of
those who have employed them.  Its watchword is analysis, always
analysis; and a settled distrust of what have so often passed as
"self-evident" truths.  It regards it as its task to analyze
experience, while maintaining that only the satisfactory carrying out
of such an analysis can reveal what experience really is, and clear our
notions of it from misinterpretations.

No such attempt to give an account of experience can be regarded as
fundamentally new in its method.  Every philosopher, in his own way,
criticises experience, and seeks its interpretation.  But one may,
warned by the example of one's predecessors, lay emphasis upon the
danger of half-analyses and hasty assumptions, and counsel the
observance of sobriety and caution.

For convenience, I have called the doctrine _Critical Empiricism_.  I
warn the reader against the seductive title, and advise him not to
allow it to influence him unduly in his judgment of the doctrine.

64. PRAGMATISM.--It seems right that I should, before closing this
chapter, say a few words about Pragmatism, which has been so much
discussed in the last few years.

In 1878 Mr. Charles S. Peirce wrote an article for the _Popular Science
Monthly_ in which he proposed as a maxim for the attainment of
clearness of apprehension the following: "Consider what effects, which
might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of
our conception to have.  Then, our conception of these effects is the
whole of our conception of the object."

This thought has been taken up by others and given a development which
Mr. Peirce regards with some suspicion.  He refers[4] especially to the
development it has received at the hands of Professor William James, in
his two essays, "The Will to Believe" and "Philosophical Conceptions
and Practical Results." [5]  Professor James is often regarded as
foremost among the pragmatists.

I shall not attempt to define pragmatism, for I do not believe that the
doctrine has yet attained to that definiteness of formulation which
warrants a definition.  We seem to have to do not so much with a
clear-cut doctrine, the limits and consequences of which have been
worked out in detail, as with a tendency which makes itself apparent in
the works of various writers under somewhat different forms.

I may roughly describe it as the tendency to take that to be _true_
which is _useful_ or _serviceable_.  It is well illustrated in the two
essays to which reference is made above.

Thus, Professor James dwells upon the unsatisfactoriness and
uncertainty of philosophical and scientific knowledge: "Objective
evidence and certitude are doubtless very fine ideals to play with, but
where on this moonlit and dream-visited planet are they found?"

Now, among those things regarding which it appears impossible to attain
to intellectual certitude, there are matters of great practical moment,
and which affect deeply the conduct of life; for example, the doctrines
of religion.  Here a merely skeptical attitude seems intolerable.

In such cases, argues Professor James, "we have the right to believe at
our own risk any hypothesis that is live enough to tempt our will."

It is important to notice that there is no question here of a logical
right.  We are concerned with matters regarding which, according to
Professor James, we cannot look for intellectual evidence.  It is
assumed that we believe simply because we choose to believe--we believe

It is further important to notice that what is a "live" hypothesis to
one man need not tempt the will of another man at all.  As our author
points out, a Turk would naturally will to believe one thing and a
Christian would will to believe another.  Each would will to believe
what struck him as a satisfactory thing to believe.

What shall we say to this doctrine?  I think we must say that it is
clearly not a philosophical _method of attaining to truth_.  Hence, it
has not properly a place in this chapter among the attempts which have
been made to attain to the truth of things.

It is, in fact, not concerned with truths, but with assumptions, and
with assumptions which are supposed to be made on the basis of no
evidence.  It is concerned with "seemings."

The distinction is a very important one.  Our Turk cannot, by willing
to believe it, make his hypothesis true; but he can make it _seem_
true.  Why should he wish to make it seem true whether it is true or
not?  Why should he strive to attain to a feeling of subjective
certainty, not by logically resolving his doubts, but by ignoring them?

The answer is given us by our author.  He who lives in the midst of
doubts, and refuses to cut his knot with the sword of belief, misses
the good of life.  This is a practical problem, and one of no small
moment.  In the last section of this book I have tried to indicate what
it is wise for a man to do when he is confronted by doubts which he
cannot resolve.

Into the general question whether even a false belief may not, under
some circumstances, be more serviceable than no belief at all, I shall
not enter.  The point I wish to emphasize is that there is all the
difference in the world between _producing a belief_ and _proving a

We are compelled to accept it as a fact that men, under the influence
of feeling, can believe in the absence of evidence, or, for that
matter, can believe in spite of evidence.  But a truth cannot be
established in the absence of evidence or in the face of adverse
evidence.  And there is a very wide field in which it is made very
clear to us that beliefs adopted in the absence of evidence are in
danger of being false beliefs.

The pragmatist would join with the rest of us in condemning the Turk or
the Christian who would simply will to believe in the rise or the fall
of stocks, and would refuse to consult the state of the market.  Some
hypotheses are, in the ordinary course of events, put to the test of
verification.  We are then made painfully aware that beliefs and truths
are quite distinct things, and may not be in harmony.

Now, the pragmatist does not apply his principle to this field.  He
confines it to what may not inaptly be called the field of the
unverifiable.  The Turk, who wills to believe in the hypothesis that
appeals to him as a pious Turk, is in no such danger of a rude
awakening as is the man who wills to believe that stocks will go up or
down.  But mark what this means: it means that _he is not in danger of
finding out what the truth really is_.  It does not mean that he is in
possession of the truth.

So I say, the doctrine which we are discussing is not a method of
attaining to truth.  What it really attempts to do is to point out to
us how it is prudent for us to act when we cannot discover what the
truth is.[6]

[1] "An Essay concerning Human Understanding," Book II, Chapter I,
section 2.

[2] Book I, Chapter I, section 4.

[3] Book I, Chapter I, section 1.

[4] "Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology," article "Pragmatism."

[5] Published in 1897 and 1898.

[6] For references to later developments of pragmatism, see the note on
page 312.




chapter of this book (section 6) that there is quite a group of
sciences that are regarded as belonging peculiarly to the province of
the teacher of philosophy to-day.  Having, in the chapters preceding,
given some account of the nature of reflective thought, of the problems
touching the world and the mind which present themselves to those who
reflect, and of some types of philosophical theory which have their
origin in such reflection, I turn to a brief consideration of the
philosophical sciences.

Among these I included logic, psychology, ethics, and aesthetics,
metaphysics, and the history of philosophy.  I did not include
epistemology or "the theory of knowledge" as a separate discipline, and
my reasons for this will appear in Chapter XIX.  I remarked that, to
complete the list, we should have to add the philosophy of religion and
an investigation into the principles and methods of the sciences

Why, it was asked, should this group of disciplines be regarded as the
field of the philosopher, when others are excluded?  The answer to this
question which finds the explanation of the fact to lie in a mere
historical accident was declared unsatisfactory, and it was maintained
that the philosophical sciences are those in which we find ourselves
carried back to the problems of reflective thought.

With a view to showing the truth of this opinion, I shall take up one
by one the philosophical sciences.  Of the history of philosophy I
shall not speak in this part of the work, but shall treat of it in
Chapter XXIII.

66. THE TRADITIONAL LOGIC.--Most of us begin our acquaintance with
logic in the study of some such elementary manual as Jevons' "Lessons
in Logic."

In such books we are shown how terms represent things and classes of
things or their attributes, and how we unite them into propositions or
statements.  It is indicated at length what statements may be made on a
basis of certain other statements and what may not; and emphasis is
laid upon the dangers which arise out of a misunderstanding of the
language in which we are forced to express our thoughts.  Finally,
there are described for us the experimental methods by which the
workers in the sciences have attained to the general information about
the world which has become our heritage.

Such books are useful.  It is surely no small profit for a student to
gain the habit of scrutinizing the steps by which he has come into the
possession of a certain bit of information, and to have a quick eye for
loose and inconsistent reasonings.

But it is worthy of remark that one may study such a book as this and
yet remain pretty consistently on what may be called the plane of the
common understanding.  One seems to make the assumptions made in all
the special sciences, _e.g._ the assumption that there is a world of
real things and that we can know them and reason about them.  We are
not introduced to such problems as: What _is_ truth?  and Is _any_
knowledge valid?  Nor does it seem at once apparent that the man who is
studying logic in this way is busying himself with a philosophical

67. THE "MODERN LOGIC."--It is very puzzling for the student to turn
from such a text-book as the one above mentioned to certain others
which profess to be occupied with the same science, and which, yet,
appear to treat of quite different things.

Thus, in Dr. Bosanquet's little work on "The Essentials of Logic," the
reader is at once plunged into such questions as the nature of
knowledge, and what is meant by the real world.  We seem to be dealing
with metaphysics, and not with logic, as we have learned to understand
the term.  How is it that the logician comes to regard these things as
within his province?

A multitude of writers at the present day are treating logic in this
way, and in some great prominence is given to problems which the
philosopher recognizes as indisputably his own.  The term "modern
logic" is often employed to denote a logic of this type; one which does
not, after the fashion of the natural sciences generally, proceed on
the basis of certain assumptions, and leave deeper questions to some
other discipline, but tries to get to the bottom of things for itself.
The tendency to run into metaphysics is peculiarly marked in those
writers who have been influenced by the work of the philosopher Hegel.

I shall not here ask why those who belong to one school are more
inclined to be metaphysical than are those who belong to another, but
shall approach the broader question why the logicians generally are
inclined to be more metaphysical than those who work in certain other
special sciences, such as mathematics, for example.  Of the general
tendency there can be no question.  The only problem is: Why does this
tendency exist?

68. LOGIC AND PHILOSOPHY.--Let us contrast the science of arithmetic
with logic; and let us notice, regarding it, the following points:--

It is, like logic, a _general_ science, in that the things treated of
in many sciences may be numbered.  It considers only a certain aspect
of the things.

Now, that things may be counted, added together, subtracted, etc., is
guaranteed by the experience of the plain man; and the methods of
determining the numerical relations of things are gradually developed
before his eyes, beginning with operations of great simplicity.
Moreover, verification is possible, and within certain limits
verification by direct inspection.

To this we may add, that there has gradually been built up a fine
system of unambiguous symbols, and it is possible for a man to know
just what he is dealing with.

Thus, a certain beaten path has been attained, and a man may travel
this very well without having forced on his attention the problems of
reflective thought.  The knowledge of numbers with which he starts is
sufficient equipment with which to undertake the journey.  That one is
on the right road is proved by the results one obtains.  As a rule,
disputes can be settled by well-tried mathematical methods.

There is, then, a common agreement as to initial assumptions and
methods of work, and useful results are attained which seem to justify
both.  Here we have the normal characteristics of a special science.

We must not forget, however, that, even in the mathematical sciences,
before a beaten path was attained, disputes as to the significance of
numbers and the cogency of proofs were sufficiently common.  And we
must bear in mind that even to-day, where the beaten path does not seem
wholly satisfactory, men seem to be driven to reflect upon the
significance of their assumptions and the nature of their method.

Thus, we find it not unnatural that a man should be led to ask; What is
a minus quantity really?  Can anything be less than nothing? or that he
should raise the questions: Can one rightly speak of an infinite
number?  Can one infinite number be greater than another, and, if so,
what can greater mean?  What are infinitesimals? and what can be meant
by different orders of infinitesimals?

He who has interested himself in such questions as these has betaken
himself to philosophical reflection.  They are not answered by
employing mathematical methods.

Let us now turn to logic.  And let us notice, to begin with, that it is
broader in its application than the mathematical sciences.  It is
concerned to discover what constitutes _evidence_ in every field of

There is, it is true, a part of logic that may be developed somewhat
after the fashion of mathematics.  Thus, we may examine the two
statements: All men are mortal, and Caesar is a man; and we may see
clearly that, given the truth of these, we must admit that Caesar is
mortal.  We may make a list of possible inferences of this kind, and
point out under what circumstances the truth of two statements implies
the truth of a third, and under what circumstances the inference cannot
be made.  Our results can be set forth in a system of symbols.  As in
mathematics, we may abstract from the particular things reasoned about,
and concern ourselves only with the forms of reasoning.  This gives us
the theory of the _syllogism_; it is a part of logic in which the
mathematician is apt to feel very much at home.

But this is by no means all of logic.  Let us consider the following

(1) We are not concerned to know only what statements may be made on
the basis of certain other statements.  We want to know what is true
and what is false.  We must ask: Has a man the right to set up these
particular statements and to reason from them?  That some men accept as
true premises which are repudiated by others is an undoubted fact.
Thus, it is maintained by certain philosophers that we may assume that
any view of the universe which is repellant to our nature cannot be
true.  Shall we allow this to pass unchallenged?  And in ethics, some
have held that it is under all circumstances wrong to lie; others have
denied this, and have held that in certain cases--for example, to save
life or to prevent great and unmerited suffering--lying is permissible.
Shall we interest ourselves only in the deductions that each man makes
from his assumed premises, and pay no attention to the truth of the
premises themselves?

(2) Again.  The vast mass of the reasonings that interest men are
expressed in the language that we all use and not in special symbols.
But language is a very imperfect instrument, and all sorts of
misunderstandings are possible to those who express their thoughts in

Few men know exactly how much is implied in what they are saying.  If I
say: All men are mortal, and an angel is not a man; therefore, an angel
is not mortal; it is not at once apparent to every one in what respect
my argument is defective.  He who argues: Feathers are light; light is
contrary to darkness; hence, feathers are contrary to darkness; is
convicted of error without difficulty.  But arguments of the same kind,
and quite as bad, are to be found in learned works on matters less
familiar to us, and we often fail to detect the fallacy.

Thus, Herbert Spencer argues, in effect, in the fourth and fifth
chapters of his "First Principles," as follows:--

  We are conscious of the Unknowable,
  The Unknowable lies behind the veil of phenomena,
  Hence, we are conscious of what lies behind the veil of phenomena.

It is only the critical reader who notices that the Unknowable in the
first line is the "raw material of consciousness," and the Unknowable
in the second is something not in consciousness at all.  The two senses
of the word "light" are not more different from one another.  Such
apparent arguments abound, and it often requires much acuteness to be
able to detect their fallacious character.

When we take into consideration the two points indicated above, we see
that the logician is at every turn forced to reflect upon our knowledge
as men do not ordinarily reflect.  He is led to ask: What is truth?  He
cannot accept uncritically the assumptions which men make; and he must
endeavor to become very clearly conscious of the real meaning and the
whole meaning of statements expressed in words.  Even in the simple
logic with which we usually begin our studies, we learn to scrutinize
statements in a reflective way; and when we go deeper, we are at once
in contact with philosophical problems.  It is evidently our task to
attain to a clearer insight into the nature of our experience and the
meaning of proof than is attainable by the unreflective.

Logic, then, is a reflective science, and it is not surprising that it
has held its place as one of the philosophical sciences.



69. PSYCHOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY.--I think I have said enough in Chapter
II (section 10) about what we mean when we speak of psychology as a
natural science and as an independent discipline.  Certainly there are
many psychologists who would not care to be confused with the
philosophers, and there are some that regard philosophy with suspicion.

Nevertheless, psychology is commonly regarded as belonging to the
philosophical group.  That this is the case can scarcely be thought
surprising when we see how the psychologist himself speaks of the
relation of his science to philosophy.

"I have kept," writes Professor James[1] in that delightful book which
has become the common property of us all, "close to the point of view
of natural science throughout the book.  Every natural science assumes
certain data uncritically, and declines to challenge the elements
between which its own 'laws' obtain, and from which its own deductions
are carried on.  Psychology, the science of finite individual minds,
assumes as its data (1) _thoughts and feelings_, and (2) _a physical
world_ in time and space with which they coexist, and which (3) _they
know_.  Of course, these data themselves are discussable; but the
discussion of them (as of other elements) is called metaphysics and
falls outside the province of this book."

This is an admirable statement of the scope of psychology as a natural
science, and also of the relations of metaphysics to the sciences.  But
it would not be fair to Professor James to take this sentence alone,
and to assume that, in his opinion, it is easy to separate psychology
altogether from philosophy.  "The reader," he tells us in the next
paragraph, "will in vain seek for any closed system in the book.  It is
mainly a mass of descriptive details, running out into queries which
only a metaphysics alive to the weight of her task can hope
successfully to deal with."  And in the opening sentence of the preface
he informs us that some of his chapters are more "metaphysical" than is
suitable for students going over the subject for the first time.

That the author is right in maintaining that it is not easy to draw a
clear line between philosophy and psychology, and to declare the latter
wholly independent, I think we must concede.  An independent science
should be sure of the things with which it is dealing.  Where these are
vague and indefinite, and are the subject of constant dispute, it
cannot march forward with assurance.  One is rather forced to go back
and examine the data themselves.  The beaten track of the special
science has not been satisfactorily constructed.

We are forced to admit that the science of psychology has not yet
emerged from the state in which a critical examination of its
foundations is necessary, and that the construction of the beaten path
is still in progress.  This I shall try to make clear by illustrations.

The psychologist studies the mind, and his ultimate appeal must be to
introspection, to a direct observation of mental phenomena, and of
their relations to external things.  Now, if the observation of mental
phenomena were a simple and an easy thing; if the mere fact that we are
conscious of sensations and ideas implied that we are _clearly_
conscious of them and are in a position to describe them with accuracy,
psychology would be a much more satisfactory science than it is.

But we are not thus conscious of our mental life.  We can and do use
our mental states without being able to describe them accurately.  In a
sense, we are conscious of what is there, but our consciousness is
rather dim and vague, and in our attempts to give an account of it we
are in no little danger of giving a false account.

Thus, the psychologist assumes that we perceive both physical phenomena
and mental--the external world and the mind.  He takes it for granted
that we perceive mental phenomena to be related to physical.  He is
hardly in a position to make this assumption, and then to set it aside
as a thing he need not further consider.  Does he not tell us, as a
result of his investigations, that we can know the external world only
as it is reflected in our sensations, and thus seem to shut the mind up
within the circle of mental phenomena merely, cutting off absolutely a
direct knowledge of what is extra-mental?  If we can know only mental
phenomena, the representatives of things, at first hand, how can we
tell that they are representatives? and what becomes of the assumption
that we _perceive_ that mind is related to an external world?

It may be said, this problem the psychologist may leave to the
metaphysician.  Certainly, it is one of those problems that the
metaphysician discusses; it has been treated in Chapter IV.  But my
contention is, that he who has given no thought to the matter may
easily fall into error as to the very nature of mental phenomena.

For example, when we approach or recede from a physical object we have
a series of experiences which are recognized as sensational.  When we
imagine a tree or a house we are also experiencing a mental phenomenon.
All these experiences _seem_ plainly to have extension in some sense of
the word.  We appear to perceive plainly part out of part.  In so far,
these mental things seem to resemble the physical things which we
contrast with what is mental.  Shall we say that, because these things
are mental and not physical, their apparent extension is a delusion?
Shall we say that they really have no parts?  Such considerations have
impelled psychologists of eminence to maintain, in flat contradiction
to what seems to be the unequivocal testimony of direct introspection,
that the total content of consciousness at any moment must be looked
upon as an indivisible, part-less unit.

We cannot, then, depend merely on direct introspection.  It is too
uncertain in its deliverances.  If we would make clear to ourselves
what mental phenomena really are, and how they | differ from physical
phenomena, we must fall back upon the reflective analysis of our
experience which occupies the metaphysician (section 34).  Until we
have done this, we are in great danger of error.  We are actually
uncertain of our materials.

Again.  The psychologist speaks of the relation of mind and body.  Some
psychologists incline to be parallelists, some are warm advocates of
interactionism.  Now, any theory of the relation of mind to body must
depend on observation ultimately.  If we had not direct experience of a
relation between the physical and the mental somewhere, no hypothesis
on the subject would ever have emerged.

But our experiences are not perfectly clear and unequivocal to us.
Their significance does not seem to be easily grasped.  To comprehend
it one is forced to that reflective examination of experience which is
characteristic of the philosopher (Chapter IX).

Here it may again be said: Leave the matter to the meta-physician and
go on with your psychological work.  I answer: The psychologist is not
in the same position as the botanist or the zoölogist.  He is studying
mind in its relation to body.  It cannot but be unsatisfactory to him
to leave that relation wholly vague; and, as a matter of fact, he
usually takes up with one theory or another.  We have seen (section 36)
that he may easily adopt a theory that leads him to overlook the great
difference between physical phenomena and mental phenomena, and to
treat them as though they were the same.  This one may do in spite of
all that introspection has to say about the gulf that separates them.

Psychology is, then, very properly classed among the philosophical
sciences.  The psychologist is not sufficiently sure of his materials
to be able to dispense with reflective thought, in many parts of his
field.  Some day there may come to be a consensus of opinion touching
fundamental facts, and the science may become more independent.  A
beaten track may be attained; but that has not yet been done.

70. THE DOUBLE AFFILIATION OF PSYCHOLOGY.--In spite of what has been
said above, we must not forget that psychology is a _relatively_
independent science.  One may be a useful psychologist without knowing
much about philosophy.

As in logic it is possible to write a text-book not greatly different
in spirit and method from text-books concerned with the sciences not
classed as philosophical, so it is possible to make a useful study of
mental phenomena without entering upon metaphysical analyses.  In
science, as in common life, we can _use_ concepts without subjecting
them to careful analysis.

Thus, our common experience reveals that mind and body are connected.
We may, for a specific purpose, leave the _nature_ of this connection
vague, and may pay careful attention to the physiological conditions of
mental phenomena, studying in detail the senses and the nervous system.
We may, further, endeavor to render our knowledge of mental phenomena
more full and accurate by experimentation.  In doing this we may be
compelled to make use of elaborate apparatus.  Of such mechanical aids
to investigation our psychological laboratories are full.

It is to such work as this that we owe what is called the
"physiological" and the "experimental" psychology.  One can carry on
such investigations without being a metaphysician.  But one can
scarcely carry them on without having a good knowledge of certain
sciences not commonly supposed to be closely related to psychology at
all.  Thus, one should be trained in chemistry and physics and
physiology, and should have a working knowledge of laboratory methods.
Moreover, it is desirable to have a sufficient knowledge of mathematics
to enable one to handle experimental data.

The consideration of such facts as these sometimes leads men to raise
the question: Should psychology affiliate with philosophy or with the
physical sciences?  The issue is an illegitimate one.  Psychology is
one of the philosophical sciences, and cannot dispense with reflection;
but that is no reason why it should not acknowledge a close relation to
certain physical sciences as well.  Parts of the field can be isolated,
and one may work as one works in the natural sciences generally; but if
one does nothing more, one's concepts remain unanalyzed, and, as we
have seen in the previous section, there is some danger of actual

[1] "Psychology," Preface.



71. COMMON SENSE ETHICS.--We may, if we choose, study the actions of
men merely with a view to ascertaining what they are and describing
them accurately.  Something like this is done by the anthropologist,
who gives us an account of the manners and customs of the various races
of mankind; he tells us _what is_; he may not regard it as within his
province at all to inform us regarding _what ought to be_.

But men do not merely act; they judge their actions in the light of
some norm or standard, and they distinguish between them as right and
wrong.  The systematic study of actions as right and wrong yields us
the science of ethics.

Like psychology, ethics is a special science.  It is concerned with a
somewhat limited field of investigation, and is not to be confounded
with other sciences.  It has a definite aim distinct from theirs.  And,
also like psychology, ethics is classed as one of the philosophical
sciences, and its relation to philosophy is supposed to be closer than
that of such sciences as physics and mathematics.  It is fair to ask
why this is so.  Why cannot ethics proceed on the basis of certain
assumptions independently, and leave to some other discipline the whole
question of an inquiry into the nature and validity of those

About half a century ago Dr. William Whewell, one of the most learned
of English scholars, wrote a work entitled "The Elements of Morality,"
in which he attempted to treat the science of ethics as it is generally
admitted that one may treat the science of geometry.  The book was
rather widely read a generation since, but we meet with few references
to it in our time.

"Morality and the philosophy of morality," argues the author, "differ
in the same manner and in the same degree as geometry and the
philosophy of geometry.  Of these two subjects, geometry consists of a
series of positive and definite propositions, deduced one from another,
in succession, by rigorous reasoning, and all resting upon certain
definitions and self-evident axioms.  The philosophy of geometry is
quite a different subject; it includes such inquiries as these: Whence
is the cogency of geometrical proof?  What is the evidence of the
axioms and definitions?  What are the faculties by which we become
aware of their truth? and the like.  The two kinds of speculation have
been pursued, for the most part, by two different classes of
persons,--the geometers and the metaphysicians; for it has been far
more the occupation of metaphysicians than of geometers to discuss such
questions as I have stated, the nature of geometrical proofs,
geometrical axioms, the geometrical faculty, and the like.  And if we
construct a complete system of geometry, it will be almost exactly the
same, whatever be the views which we take on these metaphysical
questions." [1]

Such a system Dr. Whewell wishes to construct in the field of ethics.
His aim is to give us a view of morality in which moral propositions
are "deduced from axioms, by successive steps of reasoning, so far as
to form a connected system of moral truth."  Such a "sure and connected
knowledge of the duties of man" would, he thinks, be of the greatest

In accordance with this purpose, Dr. Whewell assumes that humanity,
justice, truth, purity, order, earnestness, and moral purpose are
fundamental principles of human action; and he thinks that all who
admit as much as this will be able to go on with him in his development
of a system of moral rules to govern the life of man.

It would hardly be worth while for me to speak at length of a way of
treating ethics so little likely to be urged upon the attention of the
reader who busies himself with the books which are appearing in our own
day, were it not that we have here an admirable illustration of the
attempt to teach ethics as though it were such a science as geometry.
The shortcomings of the method become very evident to one who reads the
work attentively.

Thus, we are forced to ask ourselves, have we really a collection of
ultimate moral principles which are analogous to the axioms of
geometry?  For example, to take but a single instance, Dr. Whewell
formulates the Principle of Truth as follows: "We must conform to the
universal understanding among men which the use of language
implies";[2] and he remarks later; "The rules: _Lie not_, Perform your
promise, are of universal validity; and the conceptions of _lie_ and of
_promise_ are so simple and distinct that, in general, the rules may be
directly and easily applied." [3]

Now, we are struck by the fact that this affirmation of the universal
validity of the principle of truth is made in a chapter on "Cases of
Conscience," in a chapter concerned with what seem to be conflicts
between duties; and this chapter is followed by one which treats of
"Cases of Necessity," _i.e._ cases in which a man is to be regarded as
justified in violating common rules when there seems to be urgent
reason for so doing.  We are told that the moralist cannot say: Lie
not, except in great emergencies; but must say: Lie not at all.  But we
are also told that he must grant that there are cases of necessity in
which transgressions of moral rules are excusable; and this looks very
much as if he said: Go on and do the thing while I close my eyes.

This hardly seems to give us a "sure and connected knowledge of the
duties of man" deduced from axiomatic principles.  On what authority
shall we suspend for the time being this axiomatic principle or that?
Is there some deeper principle which lends to each of them its
authority, and which may, for cause, withdraw it?  There is no hint of
such in the treatment of ethics which we are considering, and we seem
to have on our hands, not so much a science, as a collection of
practical rules, of the scope of which we are more or less in the dark.

The interesting thing to notice is that this view of ethics is very
closely akin to that adapted unconsciously by the majority of the
persons we meet who have not interested themselves much in ethics as a

By the time that we have reached years of discretion we are all in
possession of a considerable number of moral maxims.  We consider it
wrong to steal, to lie, to injure our neighbor.  Such maxims lie in our
minds side by side, and we do not commonly think of criticising them.
But now and then we face a situation in which one maxim seems to urge
one course of action and another maxim a contrary one.  Shall we tell
the truth and the whole truth, when so doing will bring grave
misfortune upon an innocent person?  And now and then we are brought to
the realization that all men do not admit the validity of all our
maxims.  Judgments differ as to what is right and what is wrong.  Who
shall be the arbiter?  Not infrequently a rough decision is arrived at
in the assumption that we have only to interrogate "conscience"--in the
assumption, in other words, that we carry a watch which can be counted
upon to give the correct time, even if the timepieces of our neighbors
are not to be depended upon.

The common sense ethics cannot be regarded as very systematic and
consistent, or as very profound.  It is a collection of working rules,
of practical maxims; and, although it is impossible to overestimate its
value as a guide to life, its deficiencies, when it is looked at
critically, become evident, I think, even to thoughtful persons who are
not scientific at all.

Many writers on ethics have simply tried to turn this collection of
working rules into a science, somewhat as Dr. Whewell has done.  This
is the peculiar weakness of those who have been called the
"intuitionalists"--though I must warn the reader against assuming that
this term has but the one meaning, and that all those to whom it has
been applied should be placed in the same class.  Here it is used to
indicate those who maintain that we are directly aware of the validity
of certain moral principles, must accept them as ultimate, and need
only concern ourselves with the problem of their application.

72. ETHICS AND PHILOSOPHY.--When John Locke maintained that there are
no "innate practical principles," or innate moral maxims, he pointed in
evidence to the "enormities practiced without remorse" in different
ages and by different peoples.  The list he draws up is a curious and
an interesting one.[4]

In our day it has pretty generally come to be recognized by thoughtful
men that a man's judgments as to right and wrong reflect the phase of
civilization, or the lack of it, which he represents, and that their
significance cannot be understood when we consider them apart from
their historic setting.  This means that no man's conscience is set up
as an ultimate standard, but that every man's conscience is regarded as
furnishing material which the science of ethics must take into account.

May we, broadening the basis upon which we are to build, and studying
the manners, customs, and moral judgments of all sorts and conditions
of men, develop an empirical science of ethics which will be
independent of philosophy?

It does not seem that we can do this.  We are concerned with
psychological phenomena, and their nature and significance are by no
means beyond dispute.  For example, there is the feeling of moral
obligation, of which ethics has so much to say.  What is this feeling,
and what is its authority?  Is it a thing to be explained?  Can it
impel a man, let us say, a bigot, to do wrong?  And what can we mean by
credit and discredit, by responsibility and free choice, and other
concepts of the sort?  All this must remain very vague to one who has
not submitted his ethical concepts to reflective analysis of the sort
that we have a right to call philosophical.

Furthermore, it does not seem possible to decide what a man should or
should not do, without taking into consideration the circumstances in
which he is placed.  The same act may be regarded as benevolent or the
reverse according to its context.  If we will but grant the validity of
the premises from which the medieval churchman reasoned, we may well
ask whether, in laying hands violently upon those who dared to form
independent judgments in matters of religion, he was not
conscientiously doing his best for his fellow-man.  He tried by all
means to save some, and to what he regarded as a most dangerous malady
he applied a drastic remedy.  By what standard shall we judge him?

There can be no doubt that our doctrine of the whole duty of man must
be conditioned by our view of the nature of the world in which man
lives and of man's place in the world.  Has ethics nothing to do with
religion?  If we do not believe in God, and if we think that man's life
ends with the death of the body, it is quite possible that we shall set
for him an ethical standard which we should have to modify if we
adopted other beliefs.  The relation of ethics to religion is a problem
that the student of ethics can scarcely set aside.  It seems, then,
that the study of ethics necessarily carries us back to world problems
which cannot be approached except by the path of philosophical
reflection.  We shall see in Chapter XX that the theistic problem
certainly belongs to this class.

It is worthy of our consideration that the vast majority of writers on
ethics have felt strongly that their science runs out into metaphysics.
We can scarcely afford to treat their testimony lightly.  Certainly it
is not possible for one who has no knowledge of philosophy to
understand the significance of the ethical systems which have appeared
in the past.  The history of ethics may be looked upon as a part of the
history of philosophy.  Only on the basis of some general view as to
nature and man have men decided what man ought to do.  As we have seen
above, this appears sufficiently reasonable.

73. AESTHETICS.--Of aesthetics, or the science of the beautiful, I
shall say little.  There is somewhat the same reason for including it
among the philosophical sciences that there is for including ethics.

Those who have paid little attention to science or to philosophy are
apt to dogmatize about what is and what is not beautiful just as they
dogmatize about what is and what is not right.  They say
unhesitatingly; This object is beautiful, and that one is ugly.  It is
as if they said: This one is round, and that one square.

Often it quite escapes their attention that what they now regard as
beautiful struck them as unattractive a short time before; and will,
perhaps, when the ceaseless change of the fashions has driven it out of
vogue, seem strange and unattractive once more.  Nor do they reflect
upon the fact that others, who seem to have as good a right to an
opinion as they, do not agree with them in their judgments; nor upon
the further fact that the standard of beauty is a thing that has varied
from age to age, differs widely in different countries, and presents
minor variations in different classes even in the same community.

The dogmatic utterances of those who are keenly susceptible to the
aesthetic aspects of things but are not given to reflection stand in
striking contrast to the epitome of the popular wisdom expressed in the
skeptical adage that there is no disputing about tastes.

We cannot interpret this adage broadly and take it literally, for then
we should have to admit that men's judgments as to the beautiful cannot
constitute the material of a science at all, and that there can be no
such thing as progress in the fine arts.  The notion of progress
implies a standard, and an approximation to an ideal.  Few would dare
to deny that there has been progress in such arts as painting and
music; and when one has admitted so much as this, one has virtually
admitted that a science of aesthetics is, at least, possible.

The science studies the facts of the aesthetic life as ethics studies
the facts of the moral life.  It can take no man's taste as furnishing
a standard: it must take every man's taste as a fact of significance.
It is driven to reflective analysis--to such questions as, what is
beauty? and what is meant by aesthetic progress?  It deals with elusive
psychological facts the significance of which is not easily grasped.
It is a philosophical science, and is by no means in a position to
follow a beaten path, dispensing with a reflective analysis of its

[1] Preface.

[2] section 269.

[3] section 376.

[4] "Essay concerning Human Understanding," Book I, Chapter III.



74. WHAT IS METAPHYSICS?--The reader has probably already remarked that
in some of the preceding chapters the adjectives "metaphysical" and
"philosophical" have been used as if they were interchangeable, in
certain connections, at least.  This is justified by common usage; and
in the present chapter I shall be expected by no one, I think, to prove
that metaphysics is a philosophical discipline.  My task will rather be
to show how far the words "metaphysics" and "philosophy" have a
different meaning.

In Chapters III to XI, I have given a general view of the problems
which present themselves to reflective thought, and I have indicated
that they are not problems which can conveniently be distributed among
the several special sciences.  Is there an external world?  What is it?
What are space and time?  What is the mind?  How are mind and body
related?  How do we know that there are other minds than ours? etc.
These have been presented as _philosophical_ problems; and when we turn
back to the history of speculative thought we find that they are just
the problems with which the men whom we agree to call philosophers have
chiefly occupied themselves.

But when we turn to our treatises on _metaphysics_, we also find that
these are the problems there discussed.  Such treatises differ much
among themselves, and the problems are not presented in the same form
or in the same order; but one who can look beneath the surface will
find that the authors are busied with much the same thing--with some or
all of the problems above mentioned.

How, then, does metaphysics differ from philosophy?  The difference
becomes clear to us when we realize that the word philosophy has a
broader and looser signification, and that metaphysics is, so to speak,
the core, the citadel, of philosophy.

We have seen (Chapter II) that the world and the mind, as they seem to
be presented in the experience of the plain man, do not stand forth
with such clearness and distinctness that he is able to answer
intelligently the questions we wish to ask him regarding their nature.
It is not merely that his information is limited; it is vague and
indefinite as well.  And we have seen, too, that, however the special
sciences may increase and systematize his information, they do not
clear away such vagueness.  The man still uses such concepts as "inner"
and "outer," "reality," "the mind," "space," and "time," with no very
definite notion of what they mean.

Now, the attempt to clear away this vagueness by the systematic
analysis of such concepts--in other words, the attempt to make a
thorough analysis of our experience--is metaphysics.  The metaphysician
strives to limit his task as well as he may, and to avoid unnecessary
excursions into the fields occupied by the special sciences, even those
which lie nearest to his own, such as psychology and ethics.  There is
a sense in which he may be said to be working in the field of a special
science, though he is using as the material for his investigations
concepts which are employed in many sciences; but it is clear that his
discipline is not a special science in the same sense in which geometry
and physics are special sciences.

Nevertheless, the special sciences stand, as we have already seen in
the case of several of them, very near to his own.  If he broadens his
view, and deliberately determines to take a survey of the field of
human knowledge as illuminated by the analyses that he has made, he
becomes something more than a _metaphysician_; he becomes a

This does not in the least mean that he becomes a storehouse of
miscellaneous information, and an authority on all the sciences.
Sometimes the philosophers have attempted to describe the world of
matter and of mind as though they possessed some mysterious power of
knowing things that absolved them from the duty of traveling the weary
road of observation and experiment that has ended in the sciences as we
have them.  When they have done this, they have mistaken the
significance of their calling.  A philosopher has no more right than
another man to create information out of nothing.

But it is possible, even for one who is not acquainted with the whole
body of facts presented in a science, to take careful note of the
assumptions upon which that science rests, to analyze the concepts of
which it makes use, to mark the methods which it employs, and to gain a
fair idea of its scope and of its relation to other sciences.  Such a
reflection upon our scientific knowledge is philosophical reflection,
and it may result in a classification of the sciences, and in a general
view of human knowledge as a whole.  Such a view may be illuminating in
the extreme; it can only be harmful when its significance is

But, it may be argued, why may not the man of science do all this for
himself?  Why should he leave it to the philosopher, who is presumably
less intimately acquainted with the sciences than he is?

To this I answer: The work should, of course, be done by the man who
will do it best.  All our subdivision of labor should be dictated by
convenience.  But I add, that experience has shown that the workers in
the special sciences have not as a rule been very successful when they
have tried to philosophize.

Science is an imperious mistress; she demands one's utmost efforts; and
when a man turns to philosophical reflection merely "by the way," and
in the scraps of time at his disposal after the day's work is done, his
philosophical work is apt to be rather superficial.  Moreover, it does
not follow that, because a man is a good mathematician or chemist or
physicist, he is gifted with the power of reflective analysis.  Then,
too, such men are apt to be imperfectly acquainted with what has been
done in the past; and those who are familiar with the history of
philosophy often have occasion to remark that what is laid before them,
in ignorance of the fact that it is neither new nor original, is a
doctrine which has already made its appearance in many forms and has
been discussed at prodigious length in the centuries gone by.

In certain sciences it seems possible to ignore the past, to a great
extent, at least.  What is worth keeping has been kept, and there is a
solid foundation on which to build for the future.  But with reflective
thought it is not so.  There is no accepted body of doctrine which we
have the right to regard as unassailable.  We should take it as a safe
maxim that the reflections of men long dead _may_ be profounder and
more worthy of our study than those urged upon our attention by the men
of our day.

And this leads me to make a remark upon the titles given to works on
metaphysics.  It seems somewhat misleading to label them: "Outlines of
Metaphysics" or "Elements of Metaphysics."  Such titles suggest that we
are dealing with a body of doctrine which has met with general
acceptance, and may be compared with that found in handbooks on the
special sciences.  But we should realize that, when we are concerned
with the profounder investigations into the nature of our experience,
we tread upon uncertain ground and many differences of opinion obtain.
We should, if possible, avoid a false semblance of authority.

75. EPISTEMOLOGY.--We hear a great deal at the present day of
Epistemology, or the Theory of Knowledge.  I have not classed it as a
distinct philosophical science, for reasons which will appear below.

We have seen in Chapter XVI that it is possible to treat of logic in a
simple way without growing very metaphysical; but we have also seen
that when we go deeply into questions touching the nature of evidence
and what is meant by truth and falsity, we are carried back to
philosophical reflection at once.

We may, for convenience, group together these deeper questions
regarding the nature of knowledge and its scope, and call the subject
of our study "Epistemology."

But it should be remarked, in the first place, that, when we work in
this field, we are exercising a reflective analysis of precisely the
type employed in making the metaphysical analyses contained in the
earlier chapters of this book.  We are treating our experience as it is
not treated in common thought and in science.

And it should be remarked, in the second place, that the investigation
of our knowledge inevitably runs together with an investigation into
the nature of things known, of the mind and the world.  Suppose that I
give the titles of the chapters in Part III of Mr. Hobhouse's able work
on "The Theory of Knowledge."  They are as follows: Validity; the
Validity of Knowledge; the Conception of External Reality; Substance;
the Conception of Self; Reality as a System; Knowledge and Reality; the
Grounds of Knowledge and Belief.

Are not these topics metaphysical?  Let us ask ourselves how it would
affect our views of the validity and of the limits of our knowledge, if
we were converted to the metaphysical doctrines of John Locke, or of
Bishop Berkeley, or of David Hume, or of Thomas Reid, or of Immanuel

We may, then, regard epistemology as a part of logic--the metaphysical
part--or as a part of metaphysics; it does not much matter which we
call it, since we mean the same thing.  But its relation to metaphysics
is such that it does not seem worth while to call it a separate

Before leaving this subject there is one more point upon which I should
touch, if only to obviate a possible misunderstanding.

We find in Professor Cornelius's clear little book, "An Introduction to
Philosophy" (Leipzig, 1903; it has unhappily not yet been translated
into English), that metaphysics is repudiated altogether, and
epistemology is set in its place.  But this rejection of metaphysics
does not necessarily imply the denial of the value of such an analysis
of our experience as I have in this work called metaphysical.
Metaphysics is taken to mean, not an analysis of experience, but a
groping behind the veil of phenomena for some reality not given in
experience.  In other words, what Professor Cornelius condemns is what
many of the rest of us also condemn under another name.  What he calls
metaphysics, we call bad metaphysics; and what he calls epistemology,
we call metaphysics.  The dispute is really a dispute touching the
proper name to apply to reflective analysis of a certain kind.

As it is the fashion in certain quarters to abuse metaphysics, I set
the reader on his guard.  Some kinds of metaphysics certainly ought to
be repudiated under whatever name they may be presented to us.



76. RELIGION AND REFLECTION.--A man may be through and through ethical
in his thought and feeling, and yet know nothing of the science of
ethics.  He may be possessed of the finest aesthetic taste, and yet may
know nothing of the science of aesthetics.  It is one thing to be good,
and another to know clearly what goodness means; it is one thing to
love the beautiful, and another to know how to define it.

Just so a man may be thoroughly religious, and may, nevertheless, have
reflected very little upon his religious belief and the foundations
upon which it rests.  This does not mean that his belief is without
foundation.  It may have a firm basis or it may not.  But whatever the
case may be, he is not in a position to say much about it.  He _feels_
that he is right, but he cannot prove it.  The man is, I think we must
admit, rather blind as to the full significance of his position, and he
is, in consequence, rather helpless.

Such a man is menaced by certain dangers.  We have seen in the chapter
on ethics that men are by no means at one in their judgments as to the
rightness or wrongness of given actions.  And it requires a very little
reflection to teach us that men are not at one in their religious
notions.  God and His nature, the relation of God to man, what the
religious life should be, these things are the subject of much dispute;
and some men hold opinions regarded by others as not merely erroneous
but highly pernicious in their influence.

Shall a man simply assume that the opinions which he happens to hold
are correct, and that all who differ with him are in error?  He has not
framed his opinions quite independently for himself.  We are all
influenced by what we have inherited from the past, and what we inherit
may be partly erroneous, even if we be right in the main.  Moreover, we
are all liable to prejudices, and he who has no means of distinguishing
such from sober truths may admit into his creed many errors.  The
lesson of history is very instructive upon this point.  The fact is
that a man's religious notions reflect the position which he occupies
in the development of civilization very much as do his ethical notions.

Again.  Even supposing that a man has enlightened notions and is living
a religious life that the most instructed must approve; if he has never
reflected, and has never tried to make clear to himself just what he
really does believe and upon what grounds he believes it, how will it
be with him when his position is attacked by another?  Men are, as I
have said, not at one in these matters, and there are few or none of
the doctrines put forward as religions that have not been attacked
again and again.

Now, those who depend only upon an instinctive feeling may be placed in
the very painful position of seeing no answer to the objections brought
against them.  What is said may seem plausible; it may even seem true,
and is it right for a man to oppose what appears to be the truth?  One
may be shocked and pained, and may feel that he who makes the assault
_cannot_ be right, and yet may be forced to admit that a relentless
logic, or what presents itself as such, has every appearance of
establishing the repellent truth that robs one of one's dearest
possession.  The situation is an unendurable one; it is that of the man
who guards a treasure and recognizes that there is no lock on the door.

Surely, if there is error mixed with truth in our religious beliefs, it
is desirable that we should have some way of distinguishing between the
truth and the error.  And if our beliefs really have a foundation, it
is desirable that we should know what that foundation is, and should
not be at the mercy of every passer-by who takes the notion to throw a
stone at us.  But these desirable ends, it seems clear, cannot be
attained without reflection.

77. THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION.--The reflection that busies itself with
these things results in what is called the philosophy of religion.  To
show that the name is an appropriate one and that we are concerned with
a philosophical discipline, I shall take up for a moment the idea of
God, which most men will admit has a very important place in our
conception of religion.

Does God exist?  We may feel very sure that He does, and yet be forced
to admit that the evidence of His existence is not so clear and
undeniable as to compel the assent of every one.  We do not try to
prove the existence of the men we meet and who talk to us.  No one
thinks of denying their existence; it is taken for granted.  Even the
metaphysician, when he takes up and discusses the question whether we
can prove the existence of any mind beyond our own, does not seriously
doubt whether there are other minds or not.  It is not so much what we
know, as how we know it, that interests him.

But with the existence of God it is different.  That men do not think
that an examination of the evidence can be dispensed with is evident
from the books that are written and lectures that are delivered year
after year.  There seem to be honest differences of opinion, and we
feel compelled to offer men proofs--to show that belief is reasonable.

How shall we determine whether this world in which we live is such a
world that we may take it as a revelation of God?  And of what sort of
a Being are we speaking when we use the word "God"?  The question is
not an idle one, for men's conceptions have differed widely.  There is
the savage, with a conception that strikes the modern civilized man as
altogether inadequate; there is the thoughtful man of our day, who has
inherited the reflections of those who have lived in the ages gone by.

And there is the philosopher, or, perhaps, I should rather say, there
are the philosophers.  Have they not conceived of God as a group of
abstract notions, or as a something that may best be described as the
Unknowable, or as the Substance which is the identity of thought and
extension, or as the external world itself?  All have not sinned in
this way, but some have, and they are not men whom we can ignore.

If we turn from all such notions and, in harmony with the faith of the
great body of religious men in the ages past, some of whom were
philosophers but most of whom were not, cling close to the notion that
God is a mind or spirit, and must be conceived according to the
analogy, at least, of the human mind, the mind we most directly
know--if we do this, we are still confronted by problems to which the
thoughtful man cannot refuse attention.

What do we mean by a mind?  This is a question to which one can
scarcely give an intelligent answer unless one has exercised one's
faculty of philosophic reflection.  And upon what sort of evidence does
one depend in establishing the existence of minds other than one's own?
This has been discussed at length in Chapter X, and the problem is
certainly a metaphysical one.  And if we believe that the Divine Mind
is not subject to the limitations which confine the human, how shall we
conceive it?  The question is an important one.  Some of the
philosophers and theologians who have tried to free the Divine Mind
from such limitations have taken away every positive mark by which we
recognize a mind to be such, and have left us a naked "Absolute" which
is no better than a labeled vacuum.

Moreover, we cannot refuse to consider the question of God's relation
to the world.  This seems to lead back to the broader question: How are
we to conceive of any mind as related to the world?  What is the
relation between mind and matter?  If any subject of inquiry may
properly be called metaphysical, surely this may be.

We see, then, that there is little wonder that the thoughtful
consideration of the facts and doctrines of religion has taken its
place among the philosophical sciences.  Aesthetics has been called
applied psychology; and I think it is scarcely too much to say that we
are here concerned with applied metaphysics, with the attempt to obtain
a clear understanding of the significance of the facts of religion in
the light of those ultimate analyses which reveal to us the real nature
of the world of matter and of minds.



the preceding chapters that certain of the sciences can scarcely be
cultivated successfully in complete separation from philosophy.  It has
also been indicated in various places that the relation of other
sciences to philosophy is not so close.

Thus, the sciences of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry may be
successfully prosecuted by a man who has reflected little upon the
nature of numbers and who has never asked himself seriously what he
means by space.  The assumptions which he is justified in making, and
the kind of operations which he has the right to perform, do not seem,
as a rule, to be in doubt.

So it is also in the sciences of chemistry and physics.  There is
nothing to prevent the chemist or the physicist from being a
philosopher, but he is not compelled to be one.  He may push forward
the investigations proper to his profession regardless of the type of
philosophy which it pleases him to adopt.  Whether he be a realist or
an idealist, a dualist or a monist, he should, as chemist or physicist,
treat the same sort of facts in the same sort of a way.  His path
appears to be laid out for him, and he can do work the value of which
is undisputed by traveling quietly along it, and without stopping to
consider consciously what kind of a path it is.  There are many who
work in this way, and they succeed in making important contributions to
human knowledge.

Such sciences as these I call the non-philosophical sciences to
distinguish them from the group of sciences I have been discussing at
length.  What marks them out is, that the facts with which the
investigator has to deal are known by him with sufficient clearness to
leave him usually in little doubt as to the use which he can make of
them.  His knowledge is clear enough for the purpose in hand, and his
work is justified by its results.  What is the relation of such
sciences as these to philosophy?

have the instinct of the investigator and to be able to feel one's way
along the road that leads to new knowledge of a given kind, and it is
another thing to have the reflective turn of mind that makes one
clearly conscious of just what one has been doing and how one has been
doing it.  Men reasoned before there was a science of logic, and the
sciences made their appearance before what may be called the logic of
the sciences had its birth.

"It may be truly asserted," writes Professor Jevons,[1] "that the rapid
progress of the physical sciences during the last three centuries has
not been accompanied by a corresponding advance in the theory of
reasoning.  Physicists speak familiarly of Scientific Method, but they
could not readily describe what they mean by that expression.
Profoundly engaged in the study of particular classes of natural
phenomena, they are usually too much engrossed in the immense and ever
accumulating details of their special sciences to generalize upon the
methods of reasoning which they unconsciously employ.  Yet few will
deny that these methods of reasoning ought to be studied, especially by
those who endeavor to introduce scientific order into less successful
and methodical branches of knowledge."

Professor Jevons suggests that it is lack of time and attention that
prevents the scientific investigator from attaining to a clear
conception of what is meant by scientific method.  This has something
to do with it, but I think we may also maintain that the work of the
investigator and that of the critic are somewhat different in kind, and
require somewhat different powers of mind.  We find a parallel to this
elsewhere.  Both in literature and in art men may be in the best sense
productive, and yet may be poor critics.  We are often wofully
disappointed when we attend a lecture on poetry by a poet, or one on
painting by an artist.

It may be said: If what is maintained above regarding the possibility
of prosecuting scientific researches without having recourse to
reflective thought is true, why should the man of science care whether
the principles and methods of the non-philosophical sciences are
investigated or are merely taken for granted?

I answer: It should be observed that the statements made in the last
section were somewhat guarded.  I have used the expressions "as a rule"
and "usually."  I have spoken thus because one can work in the way
described, without danger of error, only where a beaten track has been
attained and is followed.  In Chapter XVI it was pointed out that even
in the mathematical sciences one may be forced to reflect upon the
significance of one's symbols.  As I write this, a pamphlet comes to
hand which is concerned to prove that "every cause is potentially
capable of producing several effects," and proves it by claiming that
the square root of four ([square root symbol]4) is a _cause_ which may
have as _effect_ either two (2) or minus two (-2).

Is this mathematical reasoning?  Are mathematical relations ever those
of cause and effect?  And may one on the basis of such reasonings claim
that in nature the relation of cause and effect is not a fixed and
invariable one?

Even where there is a beaten track, there is some danger that men may
wander from it.  And on the confines of our knowledge there are fields
in which the accepted road is yet to be established.  Science makes
constant use of hypotheses as an aid to investigation.  What hypotheses
may one frame, and what are inadmissible?  How important an
investigation of this question may be to the worker in certain branches
of science will be clear to one who will read with attention Professor
Poincaré's brilliant little work on "Science and Hypothesis." [2]

There is no field in art, literature, or science in which the work of
the critic is wholly superfluous.  "There are periods in the growth of
science," writes Professor Pearson in his deservedly popular work, "The
Grammar of Science," [3] "when it is well to turn our attention from
its imposing superstructure and to examine carefully its foundations.
The present book is primarily intended as a criticism of the
fundamental concepts of modern science, and as such finds its
justification in the motto placed upon its title-page."  The motto in
question is a quotation from the French philosopher Cousin: "Criticism
is the life of science."

We have seen in Chapter XVI that a work on logic may be a comparatively
simple thing.  It may describe the ways in which men reason when they
reason correctly, and may not go deep into metaphysical questions.  On
the other hand, it may be deeply metaphysical.

When we approach the part of logic which deals with the principles and
methods of the sciences, this difference is forced upon our attention.
One may set forth the assumptions upon which a science rests, and may
describe the methods of investigation employed, without going much
below the plane of common thought.  As a type of such works I may
mention the useful treatise by Professor Jevons cited earlier in this

On the other hand, our investigations may be more profound, and we may
scrutinize the very foundations upon which a science rests.  Both the
other works referred to illustrate this method of procedure.

For example, in "The Grammar of Science," we find our author
discussing, under the title "The Facts of Science," such problems as
the following: the Reality of Things; Sense-impressions and
Consciousness; the Nature of Thought; the External Universe; Sensations
as the Ultimate Source of the Materials of Knowledge; and the Futility
of "Things-in-themselves."  The philosophical character of such
discussions does not need to be pointed out at length.

[1] "The Principles Of Science," London, 1874, Preface.

[2] English translation, New York, 1905.

[3] Second edition, London, 1900.




80. THE QUESTION OF PRACTICAL UTILITY.--Why should men study
philosophy?  The question is a natural one, for man is a rational
being, and when the worth of a thing is not at once evident to him, he
usually calls for proof of its worth.  Our professional schools, with
the exception of schools of theology, usually pay little attention to
philosophical studies; but such studies occupy a strong position in our
colleges, and a vast number of persons not students in the technical
sense think it worth while to occupy themselves with them more or less.
Wherever liberal studies are prosecuted they have their place, and it
is an honored place.  Is this as it should be?

Before we ask whether any given study is of practical value, it is wise
to determine what the word "practical" shall be taken to mean.  Shall
we say that we may call practical only such learning as can be turned
to direct account in earning money later?  If we restrict the meaning
of the word in this way, we seem to strike a blow at liberal studies in

Thus, no one would think of maintaining that the study of mathematics
is not of practical value--sometimes and to some persons.  The
physicist and the engineer need to know a good deal about mathematics.
But how is it with the merchant, the lawyer, the clergyman, the
physician?  How much of their algebra, geometry, and trigonometry do
these remember after they have become absorbed in the practice of their
several callings, and how often do they find it necessary to use
anything beyond certain simple rules of arithmetic?

Sometimes we are tempted to condemn the study of the classics as
unpractical, and to turn instead to the modern languages and to the
physical sciences.  Now, it is, of course, a fair question to ask what
should and what should not be regarded as forming part of a liberal
education, and I shall make no effort to decide the question here.  But
it should be borne well in mind that one cannot decide it by
determining what studies are practical in the sense of the word under

If we keep strictly to this sense, the modern languages are to the
majority of Americans of little more practical value than are the Latin
and Greek.  We scarcely need them except when we travel abroad, and
when we do that we find that the concierge and the waiter use English
with surprising fluency.  As for the sciences, those who expect to earn
a living through a knowledge of them, seek, as a rule, that knowledge
in a technical or professional school, and the rest of us can enjoy the
fruit of their labors without sharing them.  It is a popular fallacy
that because certain studies have a practical value to the world at
large, they must necessarily have a practical value to every one, and
can be recommended to the individual on that account.  It is worth
while to sit down quietly and ask oneself how many of the bits of
information acquired during the course of a liberal education are
directly used in the carrying on of a given business or in the practice
of a given profession.

Nevertheless, we all believe that liberal education is a good thing for
the individual and for the race.  One must not too much restrict the
meaning of the word "practical."  A civilized state composed of men who
know nothing save what has a direct bearing upon their especial work in
life is an absurdity; it cannot exist.  There must be a good deal of
general enlightenment and there must be a considerable number of
individuals who have enjoyed a high measure of enlightenment.

This becomes clear if we consider the part played in the life of the
state by the humblest tradesman.  If he is to be successful, he must be
able to read, write, and keep his accounts, and make, let us say,
shoes.  But when we have said this, we have summed him up as a workman,
but not as a man, and he is also a man.  He may marry, and make a good
or a bad husband, and a good or a bad father.  He stands in relations
to his neighborhood, to the school, and to the church; and he is not
without his influence.  He may be temperate or intemperate, frugal or
extravagant, law-abiding or the reverse.  He has his share, and no
small share, in the government of his city and of his state.  His
influence is indeed far-reaching, and that it may be an influence for
good, he is in need of all the intellectual and moral enlightenment
that we can give him.  It is of the utmost practical utility to the
state that he should know a vast number of things which have no direct
bearing upon the making and mending of shoes.

And if this is true in the case of the tradesman, it is scarcely
necessary to point out that the physician, the lawyer, the clergyman,
and the whole army of those whom we regard as the leaders of men and
the molders of public opinion have spheres of non-professional activity
of great importance to the state.  They cannot be mere specialists if
they would.  They must influence society for good or ill; and if they
are ignorant and unenlightened, their influence cannot be good.

When we consider the life of man in a broad way, we see how essential
it is that many men should be brought to have a share in what has been
gained by the long travail of the centuries past.  It will not do to
ask at every step whether they can put to direct professional use every
bit of information gained.  Literature and science, sweetness and
light, beauty and truth, these are the heritage of the modern world;
and unless these permeate its very being, society must undergo
degeneration.  It is this conviction that has led to the high
appreciation accorded by intelligent men to courses of liberal study,
and among such courses those which we have recognized as philosophical
must take their place.

81. WHY PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES ARE USEFUL.--But let us ask a little more
specifically what is to be gained by pursuing distinctively
philosophical studies.  Why should those who go to college, or
intelligent persons who cannot go to college, care to interest
themselves in logic and ethics, psychology and metaphysics?  Are not
these studies rather dry, in the first place, and rather profitless, in
the second?

As to the first point, I should stoutly maintain that if they are dry,
it is somebody's fault.  The most sensational of novels would be dry if
couched in the language which some philosophers have seen fit to use in
expressing their thoughts.  He who defines "existence" as "the still
and simple precipitate of the oscillation between beginning to be and
ceasing to be" has done his best to alienate our affections from the
subject of his predilection.

But it is not in the least necessary to talk in this way about matters
philosophical.  He who is not a slave to tradition can use plain and
simple language.  To be sure, there are some subjects, especially in
the field of metaphysics, into which the student cannot expect to see
very deeply at the outset of his studies.  Men do not expect to
understand the more difficult problems of mathematics without making a
good deal of preparation; but, unhappily, they sometimes expect to have
the profoundest problems of metaphysics made luminous to them in one or
two popular lectures.

Philosophical studies are not dry, when men are properly taught, and
are in a position to understand what is said.  They deal with the most
fascinating of problems.  It is only necessary to pierce through the
husk of words which conceals the thoughts of the philosopher, and we
shall find the kernel palatable, indeed.  Nor are such studies
profitless, to take up our second point.  Let us see what we may gain
from them.

Let us begin with logic--the traditional logic commonly taught to
beginners.  Is it worth while to study this?  Surely it is.  No one who
has not tried to introduce the average under-graduate to logic can
realize how blindly he uses his reasoning powers, how unconscious he is
of the full meaning of the sentences he employs, how easily he may be
entrapped by fallacious reasonings where he is not set on his guard by
some preposterous conclusion touching matters with which he is familiar.

And he is not merely unconscious of the lapses in his processes of
reasoning, and of his imperfect comprehension of the significance of
his statements; he is unconscious also of the mass of inherited and
acquired prejudices, often quite indefensible, which he unquestioningly
employs as premises.

He fairly represents the larger world beyond the walls of the college.
It is a world in which prejudices are assumed as premises, and loose
reasonings pass current and are unchallenged until they beget some
unpalatable conclusion.  It is a world in which men take little pains
to think carefully and accurately unless they are dealing with
something touching which it is practically inconvenient to make a

He who studies logic in the proper way is not filling his mind with
useless facts; he is simply turning the light upon his own thinking
mind, and realizing more clearly what he has always done rather blindly
and blunderingly.  He may completely forget the

  "Barbara, Celarent, Darii, Ferioque prioris,"

and he may be quite unable to give an account of the moods and figures
of the syllogism; but he cannot lose the critical habit if he once has
acquired it, and he cannot but be on his guard against himself as well
as against others.

There is a keen pleasure in gaining such insight.  It gives a feeling
of freedom and power, and rids one of that horrid sense that, although
this or that bit of reasoning is certainly bad, it is impossible to
tell just what is the matter with it.  And as for its practical
utility, if it is desirable to get rid of prejudice and confusion, and
to possess a clear and reasonable mind, then anything that makes for
this must be of value.

Of the desirability that all who can afford the luxury of a liberal
education should do some serious reading in ethics, it seems hardly
necessary to speak.  The deficiencies of the ethics of the unreflective
have already been touched upon in Chapter XVIII.

But I cannot forbear dwelling upon it again.  What thoughtful man is
not struck with the variety of ethical standards which obtain in the
same community?  The clergyman who has a strong sense of responsibility
for the welfare of his flock is sometimes accused of not sufficiently
realizing the importance of a frank expression of the whole truth about
things; the man of science, whose duty it seems to be to peer into the
mysteries of the universe, and to tell what he sees or what he guesses,
is accused of an indifference to the effect which his utterances may
have upon the less enlightened who hear him speak; many criticise the
lawyer for a devotion to the interests of his client which is at times
in doubtful harmony with the interests of justice in the larger sense;
in the business world commercial integrity is exalted, and lapses from
the ethical code which do not assail this cardinal virtue are not
always regarded with equal seriousness.

It is as though men elected to worship at the shrine of a particular
saint, and were inclined to overlook the claims of others.  For all
this there is, of course, a reason; such things are never to be looked
upon as mere accident.  But this does not mean that these more or less
conflicting standards are all to be accepted as satisfactory and as
ultimate.  It is inevitable that those who study ethics seriously, who
really reflect upon ethical problems, should sometimes criticise the
judgments of their fellow-men rather unfavorably.

Of such independent criticism many persons have a strong distrust.  I
am reminded here of an eminent mathematician who maintained that the
study of ethics has a tendency to distort the student's judgments as to
what is right and what is wrong.  He had observed that there is apt to
be some divergence of opinion between those who think seriously upon
morals and those who do not, and he gave the preference to the
unthinking majority.

Now, there is undoubtedly danger that the independent thinker may be
betrayed into eccentricities of opinion which are unjustifiable and are
even dangerous.  But it seems a strange doctrine that it is, on the
whole, safer not to think, but rather to drift on the stream of public
opinion.  In other fields we are not inclined to believe that the
ignorant man, who has given no especial attention to a subject, is the
one likely to be right.  Why should it be so in morals?

That the youth who goes to college to seek a liberal education has a
need of ethical studies becomes very plain when we come to a
realization of the curious limitations of his ethical training as
picked up from his previous experience of the world.  He has some very
definite notions as to right and wrong.  He is as ready to maintain the
desirability of benevolence, justice, and veracity, as was Bishop
Butler, who wrote the famous "Analogy "; although, to be sure, he is
most inarticulate when called upon to explain what constitutes
benevolence, justice, or veracity.  But the strangest thing is, that he
seems to place some of the most important decisions of his whole life
quite outside the realm of right and wrong.

He may admit that a man should not undertake to be a clergyman, unless
he possesses certain qualifications of mind and character which
evidently qualify him for that profession.  But he does not see why he
has not the right to become a wearisome professor or an incompetent
physician, if he chooses to enter upon such a career.  Is a man not
free to take up what profession he pleases?  He must take the risk, of
course; but if he fails, he fails.

And when he is asked to consider from the point of view of ethics the
question of marriage and its responsibilities, he is at first inclined
to consider the whole subject as rather a matter for jest.  Has a man
not the right to marry or remain single exactly as he pleases?  And is
he not free to marry any one whom he can persuade to accept him?  To be
sure, he should be a little careful about marrying quite out of his
class, and he should not be hopelessly careless about money matters.
Thus, a decision, which may affect his whole life as much as any other
that he can be called upon to make, which may practically make it or
mar it, is treated as though it were not a matter of grave concern, but
a private affair, entailing no serious consequences to any one and
calling for no reflection.

I wish it could be said that the world outside of the college regarded
these matters in another light.  But the student faithfully represents
the opinions current in the community from which he comes.  And he
represents, unhappily, the teachings of the stage and of the world of
current fiction.  The influence of these is too often on the side of
inconsiderate passion, which stirs our sympathy and which lends itself
to dramatic effect.  With the writers of romance the ethical
philosophers have an ancient quarrel.

It may be said: But the world gets along very well as it is, and
without brooding too much upon ethical problems.  To this we may
answer: Does the world get along so very well, after all?  Are there no
evils that foresight and some firmness of character might have
obviated?  And when we concern ourselves with the educated classes, at
least, the weight of whose influence is enormous, is it too much to
maintain that they should do some reading and thinking in the field of
ethics? should strive to attain to clear vision and correct judgment on
the whole subject of man's duties?

Just at the present time, when psychological studies have so great a
vogue, one scarcely feels compelled to make any sort of an apology for
them.  It is assumed on all hands that it is desirable to study
psychology, and courses of lectures are multiplied in all quarters.

Probably some of this interest has its root in the fallacy touched upon
earlier in this chapter.  The science of psychology has revolutionized
educational theory.  When those of us who have arrived at middle life
look back and survey the tedious and toilsome path along which we were
unwillingly driven in our schoolboy days, and then see how smooth and
pleasant it has been made since, we are impelled to honor all who have
contributed to this result.  Moreover, it seems very clear that
teachers of all grades should have some acquaintance with the nature of
the minds that they are laboring to develop, and that they should not
be left to pick up their information for themselves--a task
sufficiently difficult to an unobservant person.

These considerations furnish a sufficient ground for extolling the
science of psychology, and for insisting that studies in it should form
some part of the education of a teacher.  But why should the rest of us
care for such studies?

To this one may answer, in the first place, that nearly all of us have,
or ought to have, some responsibility for the education of children;
and, in the second, that we deal with the minds of others every day in
every walk in life, and it can certainly do no harm to have our
attention called to the way in which minds function.  To be sure, some
men are by nature tactful, and instinctively conscious of how things
strike the minds of those about them.  But even such persons may gain
helpful suggestions, and, at least, have the habit of attention to the
mental processes of others confirmed in them.  How often we are
impressed at church, at the public lecture, and in private
conversations, with the fact that the speaker lives in blissful
unconsciousness of what can be understood by or can possibly interest
his hearers!  For the confirmed bore, there is, perhaps, no cure; but
it seems as though something might be done for those who are afflicted
to a minor degree.

And this brings me to another consideration, which is that a proper
study of psychology ought to be of service in revealing to a man his
own nature.  It should show him what he is, and this is surely a first
step toward becoming something better.  It is wonderful how blind men
may be with regard to what passes in their own minds and with regard to
their own peculiarities.  When they learn to reflect, they come to a
clearer consciousness of themselves--it is as though a lamp were
lighted within them.  One may, it is true, study psychology without
attaining to any of the good results suggested above; but, for that
matter, there is no study which may not be pursued in a profitless way,
if the teacher be sufficiently unskilled and the pupil sufficiently

For such philosophical studies as the above a good defense may perhaps
be made, but can one defend in the same way the plunge into the
obscurities of metaphysics?  In this field no two men seem to be wholly
agreed, and if they were, what would it signify?  Whether we call
ourselves monists or dualists, idealists or realists, Lockians or
Kantians, must we not live and deal with the things about us in much
the same way?

Those who have dipped into metaphysical studies deeply enough to see
what the problems discussed really are; who have been able to reach the
ideas concealed, too often, under a rather forbidding terminology; who
are not of the dogmatic turn of mind which insists upon unquestioned
authority and is repelled by the uncertainties which must confront
those who give themselves to reflective thought,--these will hardly
need to be persuaded that it is desirable to give some attention to the
question: What sort of a world, after all, is this world in which we
live?  What is its meaning?

To many men the impulse to peer into these things is over-powering, and
the pleasure of feeling their insight deepen is extremely keen.  What
deters us in most instances is not the conviction that such
investigations are not, or should not be, interesting, but rather the
difficulty of the approach.  It is not easy to follow the path which
leads from the world of common thought into the world of philosophical
reflection.  One becomes bewildered and discouraged at the outset.
Sometimes, after listening to the directions of guides who disagree
among themselves, we are tempted to believe that there can be no
certain path to the goal which we have before us.

But, whatever the difficulties and uncertainties of our task, a little
reflection must show that it is not one which has no significance for
human life.

Men can, it is true, eat and sleep and go through the routine of the
day, without giving thought to science or religion or philosophy, but
few will defend such an existence.  As a matter of fact, those who have
attained to some measure of intellectual and moral development do
assume, consciously or unconsciously, some rather definite attitude
toward life, and this is not independent of their conviction as to what
the world is and means.

Metaphysical speculations run out into the philosophy of religion; and,
on the other hand, religious emotions and ideals have again and again
prompted men to metaphysical construction.  A glance at history shows
that it is natural to man to embrace some attitude toward the system of
things, and to try to justify this by reasoning.  Vigorous and
independent minds have given birth to theories, and these have been
adopted by others.  The influence of such theories upon the evolution
of humanity has been enormous.

Ideas have ruled and still rule the world, some of them very abstract
ideas.  It does not follow that one is uninfluenced by them, when one
has no knowledge of their source or of their original setting.  They
become part of the intellectual heritage of us all, and we sometimes
suppose that we are responsible for them ourselves.  Has not the fact
that an idealistic or a materialistic type of thought has been current
at a particular time influenced the outlook on life of many who have
themselves devoted little attention to philosophy?  It would be
interesting to know how many, to whom Spencer is but a name, have felt
the influence of the agnosticism of which he was the apostle.

I say this without meaning to criticise here any of the types of
doctrine referred to.  My thesis is only that philosophy and life go
hand in hand, and that the prying into the deeper mysteries of the
universe cannot be regarded as a matter of no practical moment.  Its
importance ought to be admitted even by the man who has little hope
that he will himself be able to attain to a doctrine wholly
satisfactory and wholly unshakable.

For, if the study of the problems of metaphysics does nothing else for
a given individual, it, at least, enables him to comprehend and
criticise intelligently the doctrines which are presented for his
acceptance by others.  It is a painful thing to feel quite helpless in
the face of plausible reasonings which may threaten to rob us of our
most cherished hopes, or may tend to persuade us of the vanity of what
we have been accustomed to regard as of highest worth.  If we are quite
unskilled in the examination of such doctrines, we may be captured by
the loosest of arguments--witness the influence of Spencer's argument
for the "Unknowable," in the "First Principles"; and if we are ignorant
of the history of speculative thought, we may be carried away by old
and exploded notions which pose as modern and impressive only because
they have been given a modern dress.

We can, of course, refuse to listen to those who would talk with us.
But this savors of bigotry, and the world will certainly not grow
wiser, if men generally cultivate a blind adherence to the opinions in
which they happen to be brought up.  A cautious conservatism is one
thing, and blind obstinacy is another.  To the educated man (and it is
probable that others will have to depend on opinions taken at second
hand) a better way of avoiding error is open.

Finally, it will not do to overlook the broadening influence of such
studies as we are discussing.  How dogmatically men are in the habit of
expressing themselves upon those obscure and difficult problems which
deal with matters that lie on the confines of human knowledge!  Such an
assumption of knowledge cannot but make us uncomprehending and

There are many subjects upon which, if we hold an opinion at all, we
should hold it tentatively, waiting for more light, and retaining a
willingness to be enlightened.  Many a bitter and fruitless quarrel
might be avoided, if more persons found it possible to maintain this
philosophical attitude of mind.  Philosophy is, after all, reflection,
and the reflective man must realize that he is probably as liable to
error as are other men.  He is not infallible, nor has the limit of
human knowledge been attained in his day and generation.  He who
realizes this will not assume that his neighbor is always wrong, and he
will come to have that wide, conscientious tolerance, which is not
indifference, but which is at the farthest remove from the zeal of mere



83. THE PROMINENCE GIVEN TO THE SUBJECT.--When one reflects upon the
number of lecture courses given every year at our universities and
colleges on the history of philosophy, one is struck by the fact that
philosophy is not treated as are most other subjects with which the
student is brought into contact.

If we study mathematics, or chemistry, or physics, or physiology, or
biology, the effort is made to lay before us in a convenient form the
latest results which have been attained in those sciences.  Of their
history very little is said; and, indeed, as we have seen (section 6),
lectures on the history of the inductive sciences are apt to be
regarded as philosophical in their character and aims rather than as
merely scientific.

The interest in the history of philosophy is certainly not a
diminishing one.  Text-books covering the whole field or a part of it
are multiplied; extensive studies are made and published covering the
work of individual philosophers; innumerable historical discussions
make their appearance in the pages of current philosophical journals.
No student is regarded as fairly acquainted with philosophy who knows
nothing of Plato and Aristotle, Descartes and Spinoza, Berkeley and
Hume, Kant and Hegel, and the rest.  We should look upon him as having
a very restricted outlook if he had read only the works of the thinkers
of our own day; indeed, we should not expect him to have a proper
comprehension even of these, for their chapters must remain blind and
meaningless to one who has no knowledge of what preceded them and has
given birth to the doctrines there set forth.

It is a fair question to ask: Why is philosophy so bound up with the
study of the past?  Why may we not content ourselves with what has up
to the present been attained, and omit a survey of the road along which
our predecessors have traveled?

THOUGHT.--In some of the preceding chapters dealing with the various
philosophical sciences, it has been indicated that, in the sciences we
do not regard as philosophical, men may work on the basis of certain
commonly accepted assumptions and employ methods which are generally
regarded as trustworthy within the given field.  The value both of the
fundamental assumptions and of the methods of investigation appear to
be guaranteed by the results attained.  There are not merely
observation and hypothesis; there is also verification, and where this
is lacking, men either abandon their position or reserve their judgment.

Thus, a certain body of interrelated facts is built up, the
significance of which, in many fields at least, is apparent even to the
layman.  Nor is it wholly beyond him to judge whether the results of
scientific investigations can be verified.  An eclipse, calculated by
methods which he is quite unable to follow, may occur at the appointed
hour and confirm his respect for the astronomer.  The efficacy of a
serum in the cure of diseases may convince him that work done in the
laboratory is not labor lost.

It seems evident that the several sciences do really rise on stepping
stones of their dead selves, and that those selves of the past are
really dead and superseded.  Who would now think of going back for his
science to Plato's "Timaeus," or would accept the description of the
physical world contained in the works of Aristotle?  What chemist or
physicist need busy himself with the doctrine of atoms and their
clashings presented in the magnificent poem of Lucretius?  Who can
forbear a smile--a sympathetic one--when he turns over the pages of
Augustine's "City of God," and sees what sort of a world this
remarkable man believed himself to inhabit?

It is the historic and human interest that carries us back to these
things.  We say: What ingenuity! what a happy guess! how well that was
reasoned in the light of what was actually known about the world in
those days!  But we never forget that what compels our admiration does
so because it makes us realize that we stand in the presence of a great
mind, and not because it is a foundation-stone in the great edifice
which science has erected.

But it is not so in philosophy.  It is not possible to regard the
philosophical reflections of Plato and of Aristotle as superseded in
the same sense in which we may so regard their science.  The reason for
this lies in the difference between scientific thought and reflective

The two have been contrasted in Chapter II of this volume.  It was
there pointed out that the sort of thinking demanded in the special
sciences is not so very different from that with which we are all
familiar in common life.  Science is more accurate and systematic, it
has a broader outlook, and it is free from the imperfections which
vitiate the uncritical and fragmentary knowledge which experience of
the world yields the unscientific.  But, after all, the world is much
the same sort of a world to the man of science and to his uncritical
neighbor.  The latter can, as we have seen, understand what, in
general, the former is doing, and can appropriate many of his results.

On the other hand, it often happens that the man who has not, with
pains and labor, learned to reflect, cannot even see that the
philosopher has a genuine problem before him.  Thus, the plain man
accepts the fact that he has a mind and that it knows the world.  That
both mental phenomena and physical phenomena should be carefully
observed and classified he may be ready to admit.  But that the very
conceptions of mind and of what it means to know a world are vague and
indefinite in the extreme, and stand in need of careful analysis, he
does not realize.

In other words, he sees that our knowledge needs to be extended and
rendered more accurate and reliable, but he does not see that, if we
are to think clearly and consciously, all our knowledge needs to be
gone over in a different way.  In common life it is quite possible to
use in the attainment of practical ends knowledge which has not been
analyzed and of the full meaning of which we are ignorant.  I hope it
has become evident in the course of this volume that something closely
analogous is true in the field of science.  The man of science may
measure space and time, and may study the phenomena of the human mind,
without even attempting to answer all the questions which may be raised
as to what is meant, in the last analysis, by such concepts as space,
time, and the mind.

That such concepts should be analyzed has, I hope, been made clear, if
only that erroneous and misleading notions as to these things should be
avoided.  But when a man with a genius for metaphysical analysis
addresses himself to this task, he cannot simply hand the results
attained by his reflections over to his less reflective fellow-man.
His words are not understood; he seems to be dealing with shadows, with
unrealities; he has passed from the real world of common thought into
another world which appears to have little relation to the former.

Nor can verification, indubitable proof, be demanded and furnished as
it can in many parts of the field cultivated by the special sciences.
We may judge science fairly well without ourselves being scientists,
but it is not possible to judge philosophy without being to some extent
a philosopher.

In other words, the conclusions of reflective thought must be judged by
following the process and discovering its cogency or the reverse.
Thus, when the philosopher lays before us an argument to prove that we
must regard the only ultimate reality in the world as unknowable, and
must abandon our theistic convictions, how shall we make a decision as
to whether he is right or is wrong?  May we expect that the day will
come when he will be justified or condemned as is the astronomer on the
day predicted for an eclipse?  Neither the philosophy of Locke, nor
that of Descartes, nor that of Kant, can be vindicated as can a
prediction touching an eclipse of the sun.  To judge these men, we must
learn to think with them, to survey the road by which they travel; and
this we cannot do until we have learned the art.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we must admit, if we are
fair-minded and intelligent, that philosophy cannot speak with the same
authority as science, where science has been able to verify its
results.  There are, of course, scientific hypotheses and speculations
which should be regarded as being quite as uncertain as anything
brought forward by the philosophers.  But, admitting this, the fact
remains that there is a difference between the two fields as a whole,
and that the philosopher should learn not to speak with an assumption
of authority.  No final philosophy has been attained, so palpably firm
in its foundation, and so admittedly trustworthy in its construction,
that we are justified in saying: Now we need never go back to the past
unless to gratify the historic interest.  It is a weakness of young
men, and of older men of partisan temper, to feel very sure of matters
which, in the nature of things, must remain uncertain.

Since these things are so, and since men possess the power of
reflection in very varying degree, it is not surprising that we find it
worth while to turn back and study the thoughts of those who have had a
genius for reflection, even though they lived at a time when modern
science was awaiting its birth.  Some things cannot be known until
other things are known; often there must be a vast collection of
individual facts before the generalizations of science can come into
being.  But many of the problems with which reflective thought is still
struggling have not been furthered in the least by information which
has been collected during the centuries which have elapsed since they
were attacked by the early Greek philosophers.

Thus, we are still discussing the distinction between "appearance" and
"reality," and many and varied are the opinions at which philosophers
arrive.  But Thales, who heads the list of the Greek philosophers, had
quite enough material, given in his own experience, to enable him to
solve this problem as well as any modern philosopher, had he been able
to use the material.  He who is familiar with the history of philosophy
will recognize that, although one may smile at Augustine's accounts of
the races of men, and of the spontaneous generation of small animals,
no one has a right to despise his profound reflections upon the nature
of time and the problems which arise out of its character as past,
present, and future.

The fact is that metaphysics does not lag behind because of our lack of
material to work with.  The difficulties we have to face are nothing
else than the difficulties of reflective thought.  Why can we not tell
clearly what we mean when we use the word "self," or speak of
"knowledge," or insist that we know an "external world"?  Are we not
concerned with the most familiar of experiences?  To be sure we
are--with experiences familiarly, but vaguely and unanalytically, known
and, hence, only half known.  All these experiences the great men of
the past had as well as we; and if they had greater powers of
reflection, perhaps they saw more deeply into them than we do.  At any
rate, we cannot afford to assume that they did not.

One thing, however, I must not omit to mention.  Although one man
cannot turn over bodily the results of his reflection to another, it by
no means follows that he cannot give the other a helping hand, or warn
him of dangers by himself stumbling into pitfalls, as the case may be.
We have an indefinite advantage over the solitary thinkers who opened
up the paths of reflection, for we have the benefit of their teaching.
And this brings me to a consideration which I must discuss in the next

85. THE VALUE OF DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW.--The man who has not read is
like the man who has not traveled--he is not an intelligent critic, for
he has nothing with which to compare what falls within the little
circle of his experiences.  That the prevailing architecture of a town
is ugly can scarcely impress one who is acquainted with no other town.
If we live in a community in which men's manners are not good, and
their standard of living not the highest, our attention does not dwell
much upon the fact, unless some contrasted experience wakes within us a
clear consciousness of the difference.  That to which we are accustomed
we accept uncritically and unreflectively.  It is difficult for us to
see it somewhat as one might see it to whom it came as a new experience.

Of course, there may be in the one town buildings of more and of less
architectural beauty; and there may be in the one community differences
of opinion that furnish intellectual stimulus and keep awake the
critical spirit.  Still, there is such a thing as a prevalent type of
architecture, and there is such a thing as the spirit of the times.  He
who is carried along by the spirit of the age may easily conclude that
what is, is right, because he hears few raise their voices in protest.

To estimate justly the type of thought in which he has been brought up,
he must have something with which to compare it.  He must stand at a
distance, and try to judge it as he would judge a type of doctrine
presented to him for the first rime.  And in the accomplishment of this
task he can find no greater aid than the study of the history of

It is at first something of a shock to a man to discover that
assumptions which he has been accustomed to make without question have
been frankly repudiated by men quite as clever as he, and, perhaps,
more critical.  It opens the eyes to see that his standards of worth
have been weighed by others and have been found wanting.  It may well
incline him to reexamine reasonings in which he has detected no flaw,
when he finds that acute minds have tried them before, and have
declared them faulty.

Nor can it be without its influence upon his judgment of the
significance of a doctrine, when it becomes plain to him that this
significance can scarcely be fully comprehended until the history of
the doctrine is known.  For example, he thinks of the mind as somehow
in the body, as interacting with it, as a substance, and as immaterial.
In the course of his reading it begins to dawn upon his consciousness
that he has not thought all this out for himself; he has taken these
notions from others, who in turn have had them from their predecessors.
He begins to realize that he is not resting upon evidence independently
found in his own experience, but has upon his hands a sheaf of opinions
which are the echoes of old philosophies, and whose rise and
development can be traced over the stretch of the centuries.  Can he
help asking himself, when he sees this, whether the opinions in
question express the truth and the whole truth?  Is he not forced to
take the critical attitude toward them?

And when he views the succession of systems which pass in review before
him, noting how a truth may be dimly seen by one writer, denied by
another, taken up again and made clearer by a third, and so on, how can
he avoid the reflection that, as there was some error mixed with the
truth presented in earlier systems, so there probably is some error in
whatever may happen to be the form of doctrine generally received in
his own time?  The evolution of humanity is not yet at an end; men
still struggle to see clearly, and fall short of the ideal; it must be
a good thing to be freed from the dogmatic assumption of finality
natural to the man of limited outlook.  In studying the history of
philosophy sympathetically we are not merely calling to our aid critics
who possess the advantage of seeing things from a different point of
view, but we are reminding ourselves that we, too, are human and

of the truth that the problems of reflection do not admit of easy
solution and that verification can scarcely be expected as it can in
the fields of the special sciences, need not, even when it is brought
home to us, as it is apt to be, by the study of the history of
philosophy, lead us to believe that philosophies are like the fashions,
a something gotten up to suit the taste of the day, and to be dismissed
without regret as soon as that taste changes.

Philosophy is sometimes compared with poetry.  It is argued that each
age must have its own poetry, even though it be inferior to that which
it has inherited from the past.  Just so, it is said, each age must
have its own philosophy, and the philosophy of an earlier age will not
satisfy its demands.  The implication is that in dealing with
philosophy we are not concerned with what is true or untrue in itself
considered, but with what is satisfying to us or the reverse.

Now, it would sound absurd to say that each age must have its own
geometry or its own physics.  The fact that it has long been known that
the sum of the interior angles of a plane triangle is equal to two
right angles, does not warrant me in repudiating that truth; nor am I
justified in doing so, and in believing the opposite, merely because I
find the statement uninteresting or distasteful.  When we are dealing
with such matters as these, we recognize that truth is truth, and that,
if we mistake it or refuse to recognize it, so much the worse for us.

Is it otherwise in philosophy?  Is it a perfectly proper thing that, in
one age, men should be idealists, and in another, materialists; in one,
theists, and in another, agnostics?  Is the distinction between true
and false nothing else than the distinction between what is in harmony
with the spirit of the times and what is not?

That it is natural that there should be such fluctuations of opinion,
we may freely admit.  Many things influence a man to embrace a given
type of doctrine, and, as we have seen, verification is a difficult
problem.  But have we here, any more than in other fields, the right to
assume that a doctrine was true at a given time merely because it
_seemed_ to men true at that time, or because they found it pleasing?
The history of science reveals that many things have long been believed
to be true, and, indeed, to be bound up with what were regarded as the
highest interests of man, and that these same things have later been
discovered to be false--not false merely for a later age, but false for
all time; as false when they were believed in as when they were
exploded and known to be exploded.  No man of sense believes that the
Ptolemaic system was true for a while, and that then the Copernican
became true.  We say that the former only _seemed_ true, and that the
enthusiasm of its adherents was a mistaken enthusiasm.

It is well to remember that philosophies are brought forward because it
is believed or hoped that they are true.  A fairy tale may be recited
and may be approved, although no one dreams of attaching faith to the
events narrated in it.  But a philosophy attempts to give us some
account of the nature of the world in which we live.  If the
philosopher frankly abandons the attempt to tell us what is true, and
with a Celtic generosity addresses himself to the task of saying what
will be agreeable to us, he loses his right to the title.  It is not
enough that he stirs our emotions, and works up his unrealities into
something resembling a poem.  It is not primarily his task to please,
as it is not the task of the serious worker in science to please those
whom he is called upon to instruct.  Truth is truth, whether it be
scientific truth or philosophical truth.  And error, no matter how
agreeable or how nicely adjusted to the temper of the times, is always
error.  If it is error in a field in which the detection and exposure
of error is difficult, it is the more dangerous, and the more should we
be on our guard against it.

We may, then, accept the lesson of the history of philosophy, to wit,
that we have no right to regard any given doctrine as final in such a
sense that it need no longer be held tentatively and as subject to
possible revision; but we need not, on that account, deny that
philosophy is, what it has in the past been believed to be, an earnest
search for truth.  A philosophy that did not even profess to be this
would not be listened to at all.  It would be regarded as too trivial
to merit serious attention.  If we take the word "science" in the broad
sense to indicate a knowledge of the truth more exact and satisfactory
than that which obtains in common life, we may say that every
philosophy worthy of the name is, at least, an attempt at scientific
knowledge.  Of course, this sense of the word "science" should not be
confused with that in which it has been used elsewhere in this volume.

87. HOW TO READ THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY.--He who takes up the history
of philosophy for the first time is apt to be impressed with the fact
that he is reading something that might not inaptly be called the
history of human error.

It begins with crude and, to the superficial spectator, seemingly
childish attempts in the field of physical science.  There are clever
guesses at the nature of the physical world, but the boldest of
speculations are entered upon with no apparent recognition of the
difficulty of the task undertaken, and with no realization of the need
for caution.  Somewhat later a different class of problems makes its
appearance--the problems which have to do with the mind and with the
nature of knowledge, reflective problems which scarcely seem to have
come fairly within the horizon of the earliest thinkers.

These problems even the beginner may be willing to recognize as
philosophical; but he may conscientiously harbor a doubt as to the
desirability of spending time upon the solutions which are offered.
System rises after system, and confronts him with what appear to be new
questions and new answers.  It seems as though each philosopher were
constructing a world for himself independently, and commanding him to
accept it, without first convincing him of his right to assume this
tone of authority and to set up for an oracle.  In all this conflict of
opinions where shall we seek for truth?  Why should we accept one man
as a teacher rather than another?  Is not the lesson to be gathered
from the whole procession of systems best summed up in the dictum of
Protagoras: "Man is the measure of all things"--each has his own truth,
and this need not be truth to another?

This, I say, is a first impression and a natural one.  I hasten to add:
this should not be the last impression of those who read with
thoughtful attention.

One thing should be emphasized at the outset: nothing will so often
bear rereading as the history of philosophy.  When we go over the
ground after we have obtained a first acquaintance with the teachings
of the different philosophers, we begin to realize that what we have in
our hands is, in a sense, a connected whole.  We see that if Plato and
Aristotle had not lived, we could not have had the philosophy which
passed current in the Middle Ages and furnished a foundation for the
teachings of the Church.  We realize that without this latter we could
not have had Descartes, and without Descartes we could not have had
Locke and Berkeley and Hume.  And had not these lived, we should not
have had Kant and his successors.  Other philosophies we should
undoubtedly have had, for the busy mind of man must produce something.
But whatever glimpses at the truth these men have vouchsafed us have
been guaranteed by the order of development in which they have stood.
They could not independently have written the books that have come down
to us.

This should be evident from what has been said earlier in this chapter
and elsewhere in this book.  Let us bear in mind that a philosopher
draws his material from two sources.  First of all, he has the
experience of the mind and the world which is the common property of us
all.  But it is, as we have seen, by no means easy to use this
material.  It is vastly difficult to reflect.  It is fatally easy to
misconceive what presents itself in our experience.  With the most
earnest effort to describe what lies before us, we give a false
description, and we mislead ourselves and others.

In the second place, the philosopher has the interpretations of
experience which he has inherited from his predecessors.  The influence
of these is enormous.  Each age has, to a large extent, its problems
already formulated or half formulated for it.  Every man must have
ancestors, of some sort, if he is to appear upon this earthly stage at
all; and a wholly independent philosopher is as impossible a creature
as an ancestorless man.  We have seen how Descartes (section 60) tried
to repudiate his debt to the past, and how little successful he was in
doing so.

Now, we make a mistake if we overlook the genius of the individual
thinker.  The history of speculative thought has many times taken a
turn which can only be accounted for by taking into consideration the
genius for reflective thought possessed by some great mind.  In the
crucible of such an intellect, old truths take on a new aspect,
familiar facts acquire a new and a richer meaning.  But we also make a
mistake if we fail to see in the writings of such a man one of the
stages which has been reached in the gradual evolution of human
thought, if we fail to realize that each philosophy is to a great
extent the product of the past.

When one comes to understand these things, the history of philosophy no
longer presents itself as a mere agglomeration of arbitrary and
independent systems.  And an attentive reading gives us a further key
to the interpretation of what seemed inexplicable.  We find that there
may be distinct and different streams of thought, which, for a while,
run parallel without commingling their waters.  For centuries the
Epicurean followed his own tradition, and walked in the footsteps of
his own master.  The Stoic was of sterner stuff, and he chose to travel
another path.  To this day there are adherents of the old church
philosophy, Neo-Scholastics, whose ways of thinking can only be
understood when we have some knowledge of Aristotle and of his
influence upon men during the Middle Ages.  We ourselves may be
Kantians or Hegelians, and the man at our elbow may recognize as his
spiritual father Comte or Spencer.

It does not follow that, because one system follows another in
chronological order, it is its lineal descendant.  But some ancestor a
system always has, and if we have the requisite learning and ingenuity,
we need not find it impossible to explain why this thinker or that was
influenced to give his thought the peculiar turn that characterizes it.
Sometimes many influences have conspired to attain the result, and it
is no small pleasure to address oneself to the task of disentangling
the threads which enter into the fabric.

Moreover, as we read thus with discrimination, we begin to see that the
great men of the past have not spoken without appearing to have
sufficient reason for their utterances in the light of the times in
which they lived.  We may make it a rule that, when they seem to be
speaking arbitrarily, to be laying before us reasonings that are not
reasonings, dogmas for which no excuse seems to be offered, the fault
lies in our lack of comprehension.  Until we can understand how a man,
living in a certain century, and breathing a certain moral and
intellectual atmosphere, could have said what he did, we should assume
that we have read his words, but not his real thought.  For the latter
there is always a psychological, if not a logical, justification.

And this brings me to the question of the language in which the
philosophers have expressed their thoughts.  The more attentively one
reads the history of philosophy, the clearer it becomes that the number
of problems with which the philosophers have occupied themselves is not
overwhelmingly great.  If each philosophy which confronts us seems to
us quite new and strange, it is because we have not arrived at the
stage at which it is possible for us to recognize old friends with new
faces.  The same old problems, the problems which must ever present
themselves to reflective thought, recur again and again.  The form is
more or less changed, and the answers which are given to them are not,
of course, always the same.  Each age expresses itself in a somewhat
different way.  But sometimes the solution proposed for a given problem
is almost the same in substance, even when the two thinkers we are
contrasting belong to centuries which lie far apart.  In this case,
only our own inability to strip off the husk and reach the fruit itself
prevents us from seeing that we have before us nothing really new.

Thus, if we read the history of philosophy with patience and with
discrimination, it grows luminous.  We come to feel nearer to the men
of the past.  We see that we may learn from their successes and from
their failures; and if we are capable of drawing a moral at all, we
apply the lesson to ourselves.



seen that reflective thought tries to analyze experience and to attain
to a clear view of the elements that make it up--to realize vividly
what is the very texture of the known world, and what is the nature of
knowledge.  It is possible to live to old age, as many do, without even
a suspicion that there may be such a knowledge as this, and
nevertheless to possess a large measure of rather vague but very
serviceable information about both minds and bodies.

It is something of a shock to learn that a multitude of questions may
be asked touching the most familiar things in our experience, and that
our comprehension of those things may be so vague that we grope in vain
for an answer.  Space, time, matter, minds, realities,--with these
things we have to do every day.  Can it be that we do not know what
they are?  Then we must be blind, indeed.  How shall we set about
enlightening our ignorance?

Not as we have enlightened our ignorance heretofore.  We have added
fact to fact; but our task now is to gain a new light on all facts, to
see them from a different point of view; not so much to extend our
knowledge as to deepen it.

It seems scarcely necessary to point out that our world, when looked at
for the first time in this new way, may seem to be a new and strange
world.  The real things of our experience may appear to melt away, to
be dissolved by reflection into mere shadows and unrealities.  Well do
I remember the consternation with which, when almost a schoolboy, I
first made my acquaintance with John Stuart Mill's doctrine that the
things about us are "permanent possibilities of sensation."  To Mill,
of course, chairs and tables were still chairs and tables, but to me
they became ghosts, inhabitants of a phantom world, to find oneself in
which was a matter of the gravest concern.

I suspect that this sense of the unreality of things comes often to
those who have entered upon the path of reflection, It may be a comfort
to such to realize that it is rather a thing to be expected.  How can
one feel at home in a world which one has entered for the first time?
One cannot become a philosopher and remain exactly the man that one was
before.  Men have tried to do it,--Thomas Reid is a notable instance
(section 50); but the result is that one simply does not become a
philosopher.  It is not possible to gain a new and a deeper insight
into the nature of things, and yet to see things just as one saw them
before one attained to this.

If, then, we are willing to study philosophy at all, we must be willing
to embrace new views of the world, if there seem to be good reasons for
so doing.  And if at first we suffer from a sense of bewilderment, we
must have patience, and must wait to see whether time and practice may
not do something toward removing our distress.  It may be that we have
only half understood what has been revealed to us.

ABSURD.--It must be confessed that the philosophers have sometimes
brought forward doctrines which seem repellent to good sense, and
little in harmony with the experience of the world which we have all
our lives enjoyed.  Shall we on this account turn our backs upon them
and refuse them an impartial hearing?

Thus, the idealist maintains that there is no existence save psychical
existence; that the material things about us are really mental things.
One of the forms taken by this doctrine is that alluded to above, that
things are permanent possibilities of sensation.

I think it can hardly be denied that this sounds out of harmony with
the common opinion of mankind.  Men do not hesitate to distinguish
between minds and material things, nor do they believe that material
things exist only in minds.  That dreams and hallucinations exist only
in minds they are very willing to admit; but they will not admit that
this is true of such things as real chairs and tables.  And if we ask
them why they take such a position, they fall back upon what seems
given in experience.

Now, as the reader of the earlier chapters has seen, I think that the
plain man is more nearly right in his opinion touching the existence of
a world of non-mental things than is the idealistic philosopher.  The
latter has seen a truth and misconceived it, thus losing some truth
that he had before he began to reflect.  The former has not seen the
truth which has impressed the idealist, and he has held on to that
vague recognition that there are two orders of things given in our
experience, the physical and the mental, which seems to us so
unmistakable a fact until we fall into the hands of the philosophers.

But all this does not prove that we have a right simply to fall back
upon "common sense," and refuse to listen to the idealist.  The
deliverances of unreflective common sense are vague in the extreme; and
though it may seem to assure us that there is a world of things
non-mental, its account of that world is confused and incoherent.  He
who must depend on common sense alone can find no answer to the
idealists; he refuses to follow them, but he cannot refute them.  He is
reduced to dogmatic denial.

This is in itself an uncomfortable position.  And when we add to this
the reflection that such a man loses the truth which the idealist
emphasizes, the truth that the external world of which we speak must
be, if we are to know it at all, a world revealed to our senses, a
world given in our experience, we see that he who stops his ears
remains in ignorance.  The fact is that the man who has never weighed
the evidence that impresses the idealist is not able to see clearly
what is meant by that external world in which we all incline to put
such faith.  We may say that he _feels_ a truth blindly, but does not
see it.

Let us take another illustration.  If there is one thing that we feel
to be as sure as the existence of the external world, it is that there
are other minds more or less resembling our own.  The solipsist may try
to persuade us that the evidence for such minds is untrustworthy.  We
may see no flaw in his argument, but he cannot convince us.  May we
ignore him, and refuse to consider the matter at all?

Surely not, if we wish to substitute clear thinking for vague and
indefinite opinion.  We should listen with attention, strive to
understand all the reasonings laid before us, and then, if they seem to
lead to conclusions really not in harmony with our experience, go
carefully over the ground and try to discover the flaw in them.  It is
only by doing something like this that we can come to see clearly what
is meant when we speak of two or more minds and the relation between
them.  The solipsist can help us, and we should let him do it.

We should, therefore, be willing to consider seriously all sorts of
doctrines which may at first strike us as unreasonable.  I have chosen
two which I believe to contain error.  But the man who approaches a
doctrine which impresses him as strange has no right to assume at the
outset that it contains error.  We have seen again and again how easy
it is to misapprehend what is given in experience.  The philosopher may
be in the right, and what he says may repel us because we have become
accustomed to certain erroneous notions, and they have come to seem
self-evident truths.

to refuse to listen to the philosopher, it is surely no less an error
to accord him an authority above what he has a right to demand.  Bear
in mind what was said in the last chapter about the difference between
the special sciences and philosophy.  There is in the latter field no
body of doctrine that we may justly regard as authoritative.  There are
"schools" of philosophy, and their adherents fall into the very human
error of feeling very sure that they and those who agree with them are
right; and the emphasis with which they speak is apt to mislead those
who are not well informed.  I shall say a few words about the dangers
of the "school."

If we look about us, we are impressed by the fact that there are
"schools" of philosophy, somewhat as there are religious sects and
political parties.  An impressive teacher sets the mark of his
personality and of his preferences upon those who come under his
influence.  They are not at an age to be very critical, and, indeed,
they have not as yet the requisite learning to enable them to be
critical.  They keep the trend which has been given them early in life,
and, when they become teachers, they pass on the type of thought with
which they have been inoculated, and the circle widens.  "Schools" may
arise, of course, in a different way.  An epoch-making book may sweep
men off of their feet and make of them passionate adherents.  But he
who has watched the development of the American universities during the
last twenty-five years must be impressed with the enormous influence
which certain teachers have had in giving a direction to the
philosophic thought of those who have come in contact with them.  We
expect the pupils of a given master to have a given shade of opinion,
and very often we are not disappointed in our guess.

It is entirely natural that this should be so.  Those who betake
themselves to the study of philosophy are men like other men.  They
have the same feelings, and the bending of the twig has the same
significance in their case that it has in that of others.  It is no
small compliment to a teacher that he can thus spread his influence,
and leave his proxies even when he passes away.

But, when we strive to "put off humanity" and to look at the whole
matter under the cold light of reason, we may well ask ourselves,
whether he who unconsciously accepts his philosophy, in whole or in
part, because it has been the philosophy of his teacher, is not doing
what is done by those persons whose politics and whose religion take
their color from such accidental circumstances as birth in a given
class or family traditions?

I am far from saying that it is, in general, a bad thing for the world
that men should be influenced in this way by one another.  I say only
that, when we look at the facts of the case, we must admit that even
our teachers of philosophy do not always become representatives of the
peculiar type of thought for which they stand, merely through a
deliberate choice from the wealth of material which the history of
speculative thought lays before them.  They are influenced by others to
take what they do take, and the traces of this influence are apt to
remain with them through life.  He who wishes to be entirely impartial
must be on his guard against such influences as these, and must
distrust prejudices for or against certain doctrines, when he finds
that he imbibed them at an uncritical age and has remained under their
influence ever since.  Some do appear to be able to emancipate
themselves, and to outgrow what they first learned.

It is, as I have said, natural that there should be a tendency to form
"schools" in philosophy.  And there are certain things that make this
somewhat uncritical acceptance of a doctrine very attractive.

In the first place, if we are willing to take a system of any sort as a
whole, it saves us a vast amount of trouble.  We seem to have a
citadel, a point of vantage from which we can look out upon life and
interpret it.  If the house we live in is not in all respects ideal, at
least it is a house, and we are not homeless.  There is nothing more
intolerable to most men than the having of no opinions.  They will
change one opinion for another, but they will rarely consent to do
without altogether.  It is something to have an answer to offer to
those who persist in asking questions; and it is something to have some
sort of ground under one's feet, even if it be not very solid ground.

Again.  Man is a social creature, and he is greatly fortified in his
opinions by the consciousness that others share them with him.  If we
become adherents of a "school," we have the agreeable consciousness
that we are not walking alone through the maze of speculations that
confronts those who reflect.  There appears to be a traveled way in
which we may have some confidence.  Are we not following the crowd, or,
at least, a goodly number of the pilgrims who are seeking the same goal
with ourselves?  Under such circumstances we are not so often impelled
to inquire anxiously whether we are after all upon the right road.  We
assume that we have made no mistake.

Under such circumstances we are apt to forget that there are many such
roads, and that these have been traveled in ages past by troops very
much like our own, who also cherished the hope that they were upon the
one and only highway.  In other words, we are apt to forget the lesson
of the history of philosophy.  This is a serious mistake.

And what intensifies our danger, if we belong to a school which happens
to be dominant and to have active representatives, is that we get very
little real criticism.  The books that we write are usually criticised
by those who view our positions sympathetically, and who are more
inclined to praise than to blame.  He who looks back upon the past is
struck with the fact that books which have been lauded to the skies in
one age have often been subjected to searching criticism and to a good
deal of condemnation in the next.  Something very like this is to be
expected of books written in our own time.  It is, however, a pity that
we should have to wait so long for impartial criticism.

This leads me to say a word of the reviews which fill our philosophical
journals, and which we must read, for it is impossible to read all the
books that come out, and yet we wish to know something about them.

To the novice it is something of a surprise to find that books by men
whom he knows to be eminent for their ingenuity and their learning are
condemned in very offhand fashion by quite young men, who as yet have
attained to little learning and to no eminence at all.  One sometimes
is tempted to wonder that men admittedly remarkable should have
fathered such poor productions as we are given to understand them to
be, and should have offered them to a public that has a right to be

Now, there can be no doubt that, in philosophy, a cat has the right to
look at a king, and has also a right to point out his misdoings, if
such there be.  But it seems just to indicate that, in this matter,
certain cautions should be observed.

If a great man has been guilty of an error in reasoning, there is no
reason why it should not be pointed out by any one who is capable of
detecting it.  The authority of the critic is a matter of no moment
where the evidence is given.  In such a case, we take a suggestion and
we do the criticising for ourselves.  But where the evidence is not
given, where the justice of the criticism is not proved, the case is
different.  Here we must take into consideration the authority of the
critic, and, if we follow him at all, we must follow him blindly.  Is
it safe to do this?

It is never safe in philosophy, or, at any rate, it is safe so seldom
that the exceptions are not worth taking into account.  Men write from
the standpoint of some school of opinion; and, until we know their
prepossessions, their statements that this is good, that is bad, the
third thing is profound, are of no significance whatever.  We should
simply set them aside, and try to find out from our reviewer what is
contained in the book under criticism.

One of the evils arising out of the bias I am discussing is, that books
and authors are praised or condemned indiscriminately because of their
point of view, and little discrimination is made between good books and
poor books.  There is all the difference in the world between a work
which can be condemned only on the ground that it is realistic or
idealistic in its standpoint, and those feeble productions which are to
be condemned from every point of view.  If we consistently carry out
the principle that we may condemn all those who are not of our party,
we must give short shrift to a majority of the great men of the past.

So I say, beware of authority in philosophy, and, above all, beware of
that most insidious form of authority, the spirit of the "school."  It
cannot but narrow our sympathies and restrict our outlook.

say in this section is closely related to what has been said just
above.  To the disinterested observer it may seem rather amusing that
one should think it worth while to try to show that we have not the
right to use a special set of weights and measures when we are dealing
with things philosophical.  There was a time when men held that a given
doctrine could be philosophically false, and, at the same time,
theologically true; but surely the day of such twists and turnings is

I am by no means sure that it is past.  With the lapse of time, old
doctrines take on new aspects, and come to be couched in a language
that suits the temper of the later age.  Sometimes the doctrine is
veiled and rendered less startling, but remains essentially what it was
before, and may be criticised in much the same way.

I suppose we may say that every one who is animated by the party spirit
discussed above, and who holds to a group of philosophical tenets with
a warmth of conviction out of proportion to the authority of the actual
evidence which may be claimed for them, is tacitly assuming that the
truth or falsity of philosophical dogmas is not wholly a matter of
evidence, but that the desires of the philosopher may also be taken
into account.

This position is often taken unconsciously.  Thus, when, instead of
proving to others that a given doctrine is false, we try to show them
that it is a dangerous doctrine, and leads to unpalatable consequences,
we assume that what seems distasteful cannot be true, and we count on
the fact that men incline to believe what they like to believe.

May we give this position the dignity of a philosophical doctrine and
hold that, in the somewhat nebulous realm inhabited by the philosopher,
men are not bound by the same rules of evidence that obtain elsewhere?
That this is actually done, those who read much in the field of modern
philosophy are well aware.  Several excellent writers have maintained
that we need not, even if there seems to be evidence for them, accept
views of the universe which do not satisfy "our whole nature."

We should not confuse with this position the very different one which
maintains that we have a right to hold tentatively, and with a
willingness to abandon them should evidence against them be
forthcoming, views which we are not able completely to establish, but
which seem reasonable.  One may do this with perfect sincerity, and
without holding that philosophical truth is in any way different from
scientific truth.  But the other position goes beyond this; it assumes
that man must be satisfied, and that only that can be true which
satisfies him.

I ask, is it not significant that such an assumption should be made
only in the realm of the unverifiable?  No man dreams of maintaining
that the rise and fall of stocks will be such as to satisfy the whole
nature even of the elect, or that the future history of man on this
planet is a thing to be determined by some philosopher who decides for
us what would or would not be desirable.

Surely all truths of election--those truths that we simply choose to
have true--are something much less august than that Truth of Evidence
which sometimes seems little to fall in with our desires, and in the
face of which we are humble listeners, not dictators.  Before the
latter we are modest; we obey, lest we be confounded.  And if, in the
philosophic realm, we believe that we may order Truth about, and make
her our slave, is it not because we have a secret consciousness that we
are not dealing with Truth at all, but with Opinion, and with Opinion
that has grown insolent because she cannot be drawn from her obscurity
and be shown to be what she is?

Sometimes it is suddenly revealed to a man that he has been accepting
two orders of truth.  I once walked and talked with a good scholar who
discoursed of high themes and defended warmly certain theses.  I said
to him: If you could go into the house opposite, and discover
unmistakably whether you are in the right or in the wrong,--discover it
as unmistakably as you can discover whether there is or is not
furniture in the drawing-room,--would you go?  He thought over the
matter for a while, and then answered frankly; No! I should not go; I
should stay out here and argue it out.

92. AIM AT CLEARNESS AND SIMPLICITY.--There is no department of
investigation in which it is not desirable to cultivate clearness and
simplicity in thinking, speaking, and writing.  But there are certain
reasons why we should be especially on our guard in philosophy against
the danger of employing a tongue "not understanded of the people."
There are dangerous pitfalls concealed under the use of technical words
and phrases.

The value of technical expressions in the special sciences must be
conceded.  They are supposed to be more exact and less ambiguous than
terms in ordinary use, and they mark an advance in our knowledge of the
subject.  The distinctions which they indicate have been carefully
drawn, and appear to be of such authority that they should be generally
accepted.  Sometimes, as, for example, in mathematics, a conventional
set of symbols may quite usurp the function of ordinary language, and
may enormously curtail the labor of setting forth the processes and
results of investigation.

But we must never forget that we have not in philosophy an
authoritative body of truth which we have the right to impose upon all
who enter that field.  A multitude of distinctions have been made and
are made; but the representatives of different schools of thought are
not at one touching the value and significance of these distinctions.
If we coin a word or a phrase to mark such, there is some danger that
we fall into the habit of using such words or phrases, as we use the
coins in our purse, without closely examining them, and with the ready
assumption that they must pass current everywhere.

Thus, there is always a possibility that our technical expressions may
be nothing less than crystallized error.  Against this we should surely
be on our guard.

Again.  When we translate the language of common life into the dialect
of the learned, there is danger that we may fall into the error of
supposing that we are adding to our knowledge, even though we are doing
nothing save to exchange one set of words for another.  Thus, we all
know very well that one mind can communicate with another.  One does
not have to be a scholar to be aware of this.  If we choose to call
this "intersubjective intercourse," we have given the thing a sounding
name; but we know no more about it than we did before.  The problem of
the relation between minds, and the way in which they are to be
conceived as influencing each other, remains just what it was.  So,
also, we recognize the everyday fact that we know both ourselves and
what is not ourselves.  Shall we call this knowledge of something not
ourselves "self-transcendence"?  We may do so if we wish, but we ought
to realize that this bestowal of a title makes no whit clearer what is
meant by knowledge.

Unhappily, men too often believe that, when they have come into the
possession of a new word or phrase, they have gained a new thought.
The danger is great in proportion to the breadth of the gulf which
separates the new dialect from the old language of common life in which
we are accustomed to estimate things.  Many a philosopher would be
bereft, indeed, were he robbed of his vocabulary and compelled to
express his thoughts in ordinary speech.  The theories which are
implicit in certain recurring expressions would be forced to come out
into the open, and stand criticism without disguise.

But can one write philosophical books without using words which are not
in common use among the unphilosophic?  I doubt it.  Some such words it
seems impossible to avoid.  However, it does seem possible to bear in
mind the dangers of a special philosophical terminology and to reduce
such words to a minimum.

Finally, we may appeal to the humanity of the philosopher.  The path to
reflection is a sufficiently difficult one as it is; why should he roll
rocks upon it and compel those who come after him to climb over them?
If truths are no truer for being expressed in a repellent form, why
should he trick them out in a fantastic garb?  What we want is the
naked truth, and we lose time and patience in freeing our mummy from
the wrappings in which learned men have seen fit to encase it.

93. DO NOT HASTILY ACCEPT A DOCTRINE.--This brings me to the last of
the maxims which I urge upon the attention of the reader.  All that has
been said so far may be regarded as leading up to it.

The difficulty that confronts us is this: On the one hand, we must
recognize the uncertainty that reigns in this field of investigation.
We must ever weigh probabilities and possibilities; we do not find
ourselves in the presence of indubitable truths which all competent
persons stand ready to admit.  This seems to argue that we should learn
to suspend judgment, and should be most wary in our acceptance of one
philosophical doctrine and our rejection of another.

On the other hand, philosophy is not a mere matter of intellectual
curiosity.  It has an intimate connection with life.  As a man thinks,
so is he, to a great extent, at least.  How, then, can one afford to
remain critical and negative?  To counsel this seems equivalent to
advising that one abandon the helm and consent to float at the mercy of
wind and tide.

The difficulty is a very real one.  It presents itself insistently to
those who have attained to that degree of intellectual development at
which one begins to ask oneself questions and to reflect upon the worth
and meaning of life.  An unreflective adherence to tradition no longer
satisfies such persons.  They wish to know why they should believe in
this or that doctrine, and why they should rule their lives in harmony
with this or that maxim.  Shall we advise them to lay hold without
delay of a set of philosophical tenets, as we might advise a disabled
man to aid himself with any staff that happens to come to hand?  Or
shall we urge them to close their eyes to the light, and to go back
again to the old unreflective life?

Neither of these counsels seems satisfactory, for both assume tacitly
that it does not much matter what the _truth_ is, and that we can
afford to disregard it.

Perhaps we may take a suggestion from that prudent man and acute
philosopher, Descartes.  Discontented with the teachings of the schools
as they had been presented to him, he resolved to set out upon an
independent voyage of discovery, and to look for a philosophy of his
own.  It seemed necessary to him to doubt, provisionally at least, all
that he had received from the past.  But in what house should he live
while he was reconstructing his old habitation?  Without principles of
some sort he could not live, and without reasonable principles he could
not live well.  So he framed a set of provisional rules, which should
guide his life until he had new ground beneath his feet.

When we examine these rules, we find that, on the whole, they are such
as the experience of mankind has found prudent and serviceable.  In
other words, we discover that Descartes, until he was in a position to
see clearly for himself, was willing to be led by others.  He was a
unit in the social order, and he recognized that truth.

It does not seem out of place to recall this fact to the consciousness
of those who are entering upon the reflective life.  Those who are
rather new to reflection upon philosophical matters are apt to seize
single truths, which are too often half-truths, and to deduce their
consequences remorselessly.  They do not always realize the extreme
complexity of society, or see the full meaning of the relations in
which they stand to the state and to the church.  Breadth of view can
only come with an increase of knowledge and with the exercise of

For this reason I advise patience, and a willingness to accept the
established order of things until one is very sure that one has
attained to some truth--some real truth, not a mere truth of
election--which may serve as the basis of a reconstruction.  The first
glimpses of truth cannot be depended upon to furnish such a foundation.

Thus, we may suspend judgment, and, nevertheless, be ready to act.  But
is not this a mere compromise?  Certainly.  All life is a compromise;
and in the present instance it means only that we should keep our eyes
open to the light, whatever its source, and yet should nourish that
wholesome self-distrust that prevents a man from being an erratic and
revolutionary creature, unmindful of his own limitations.  Prudent men
in all walks in life make this compromise, and the world is the better
for it.


CHAPTER I, sections 1-5.  If the student will take a good history of
philosophy, and look over the accounts of the different systems
referred to, he will see the justice of the position taken in the text,
namely, that philosophy was formerly synonymous with universal
knowledge.  It is not necessary, of course, to read the whole history
of philosophy to attain this end.  One may take such a text-book as
Ueberweg's "History of Philosophy," and run over the summaries
contained in the large print.  To see how the conception of what
constitutes universal knowledge changed in successive ages, compare
Thales, the Sophists, Aristotle, the Schoolmen, Bacon, and Descartes.
For the ancient philosophy one may consult Windelband's "History of the
Ancient Philosophy," a clear and entertaining little work (English
translation, N.Y., 1899).

In Professor Paulsen's "Introduction to Philosophy" (English
translation, N.Y., 1895), there is an interesting introductory chapter
on "The Nature and Import of Philosophy" (pp. 1-41).  The author pleads
for the old notion of philosophy as universal knowledge, though he does
not, of course, mean that the philosopher must be familiar with all the
details of all the sciences.

Section 6.  In justification of the meaning given to the word
"philosophy" in this section, I ask the reader to look over the list of
courses in philosophy advertised in the catalogues of our leading
universities at home and abroad.  There is a certain consensus of
opinion as to what properly comes under the title, even among those who
differ widely as to what is the proper definition of philosophy.

CHAPTER II, sections 7-10.  Read the chapter on "The Mind and the World
in Common Thought and in Science" (Chapter I) in my "System of
Metaphysics," N.Y., 1904.

One can be brought to a vivid realization of the fact that the sciences
proceed upon a basis of assumptions which they do not attempt to
analyze and justify, if one will take some elementary work on
arithmetic or geometry or psychology and examine the first few
chapters, bearing in mind what philosophical problems may be drawn from
the materials there treated.  Section 11.  The task of reflective
thought and its difficulties are treated in the chapter entitled "How
Things are Given in Consciousness" (Chapter III), in my "System of

CHAPTER III, sections 12-13.  Read "The Inadequacy of the Psychological
Standpoint," "System of Metaphysics," Chapter II.  I call especial
attention to the illustration of "the man in the cell" (pp. 18 ff.).
It would be a good thing to read these pages with the class, and to
impress upon the students the fact that those who have doubted or
denied the existence of the external material world have, if they have
fallen into error, fallen into a very natural error, and are not
without some excuse.

Section 14.  See "The Metaphysics of the Telephone Exchange," "System
of Metaphysics," Chapter XXII, where Professor Pearson's doctrine is
examined at length, with quotations and references.

It is interesting to notice that a doubt of the external world has
always rested upon some sort of a "telephone exchange" argument;
naturally, it could not pass by that name before the invention of the
telephone, but the reasoning is the same.  It puts the world at one
remove, shutting the mind up to the circle of its ideas; and then it
doubts or denies the world, or, at least, holds that its existence must
be proved in some roundabout way.  Compare Descartes, "Of the Existence
of Material Things," "Meditations," VI.

CHAPTER IV, sections 15-18.  See Chapters VI and VII, "What we mean by
the External World," and "Sensations and 'Things,'" in my "System of
Metaphysics."  In that work the discussion of the distinction between
the objective order of experience and the subjective order is completed
in Chapter XXIII, "The Distinction between the World and the Mind."
This was done that the subjective order might be treated in the part of
the book which discusses the mind and its relation to matter.

As it is possible that the reader may be puzzled by differences of
expression which obtain in the two books, a word of explanation is not
out of place.

In the "Metaphysics," for example, it is said that sensations so
connect themselves together as to form what we call the system of
material things (p. 105).  It is intimated in a footnote that this is a
provisional statement and the reader is referred to later chapters.
Now, in the present book (sections 16-17), it is taught that we may not
call material things groups of sensations.

The apparent contradiction is due to the fact that, in this volume, the
full meaning of the word "sensation" is exhibited at the outset, and
sensations, as phenomena of the subjective order, are distinguished
from the phenomena of the objective order which constitute the external
world.  In the earlier work the word "sensation" was for a while used
loosely to cover all our experiences that do not belong to the class
called imaginary, and the distinction between the subjective and
objective in this realm was drawn later (Chapter XXIII).

I think the present arrangement is the better one, as it avoids from
the outset the suggestion that the real world is something
subjective--our sensations or ideas--and thus escapes the idealistic
flavor which almost inevitably attaches to the other treatment, until
the discussion is completed, at least.

CHAPTER V, sections 10-21.  See Chapters VIII and IX, "System of
Metaphysics," "The Distinction between Appearance and Reality" and "The
Significance of the Distinction."

Section 22.  See Chapter XXVI, "The World as Unperceived, and the
'Unknowable,'" where Spencer's doctrine is examined at length, and
references are given.  I think it is very important that the student
should realize that the "Unknowable" is a perfectly useless assumption
in philosophy, and can serve no purpose whatever.

CHAPTER VI, sections 23-25.  See Chapters X and XI, "System of
Metaphysics," "The Kantian Doctrine of Space" and "Difficulties
connected with the Kantian Doctrine of Space."

It would be an excellent thing for the student, after he has read the
above chapters, to take up Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason," and read
and analyze the argument of Antinomies I and II, with the Observations
appended.  One can understand these arguments without being familiar
with the "Critique" as a whole; at any rate, the account of Kant's
philosophy contained in section 51 of this book will serve to explain
his use of certain terms, such as "the laws of our sensibility."

Kant's reasonings are very curious and interesting in this part of his
book.  It seems to be proved that the world must be endless in space
and without a beginning or end in time, and just as plausibly proved
that it cannot be either.  It seems to be proved that finite spaces and
times are infinitely divisible, and at the same time that they cannot
be infinitely divisible.  The situation is an amusing one, and rendered
not the less amusing by the seriousness with which the mutually
destructive arguments are taken.

When the student meets such a tangle in the writings of any
philosopher, I ask him to believe that it is not the human reason that
is at fault--at least, let him not assume that it is.  The fault
probably lies with a human reason.

Section 26.  See Chapter XII, "The Berkeleian Doctrine of Space," in my
"System of Metaphysics."  The argument ought not to be difficult to one
who has mastered Chapter V of this volume.

CHAPTER VII, sections 27-29.  Compare Chapter XIII, "System of
Metaphysics," "Of Time."

With the chapters on Space and Time it would be well for the student to
read Chapter XIV, "The Real World in Space and Time," where it is made
clear why we have no hesitation in declaring space and time to be
infinite, although we recognize that it seems to be an assumption of
knowledge to declare the material world infinite.

CHAPTER VIII, sections 30-32.  Read, in the "System of Metaphysics,"
Chapters V and XVII, "The Self or Knower" and "The Atomic Self."

Section 33.  The suggestions, touching the attitude of the psychologist
toward the mind, contained in the preface to Professor William James's
"Psychology" are very interesting and instructive.

CHAPTER IX, sections 35-36.  For a strong argument in favor of
interactionism see James's "Psychology," Chapter V.  I wish the student
would, in reading it, bear in mind what is said in my chapter on "The
Atomic Self," above referred to.  The subject should be approached with
an open mind, and one should suspend judgment until both sides have
been heard from.

Section 37.  Descartes held that the lower animals are automata and
that their actions are not indicative of consciousness; he regarded
their bodies as machines lacking the soul in the "little pineal gland."
Professor Huxley revived the doctrine of animal automatism and extended
it so as to include man.  He regarded consciousness as a "collateral
product" of the working of the body, related to it somewhat as is the
steam-whistle of a locomotive engine to the working of the machine.  He
made it an effect, but not a cause, of motions.  See "System of
Metaphysics," Chapter XVIII, "The Automaton Theory: its Genesis."

We owe the doctrine of parallelism, in its original form, to Spinoza.
It was elaborated by W. K. Clifford, and to him the modern interest in
the subject is largely due.  The whole subject is discussed at length
in my "System of Metaphysics," Chapters XIX-XXI.  The titles are: "The
Automaton Theory: Parallelism," "What is Parallelism?" and "The Man and
the Candlestick."  Clifford's doctrine is presented in a new form in
Professor Strong's recent brilliant work, "Why the Mind has a Body"
N.Y., 1903.

Section 38.  See "System of Metaphysics," Chapter XXIV, "The Time and
Place of Sensations and Ideas."

CHAPTER X, sections 40-42.  See "System of Metaphysics," Chapters XXVII
and XXVIII, "The Existence of Other Minds," and "The Distribution of

Writers seem to be divided into three camps on this question of other

(1) I have treated our knowledge of other minds as due to an inference.
This is the position usually taken.

(2) We have seen that Huxley and Clifford cast doubts upon the validity
of the inference, but, nevertheless, made it.  Professor Strong, in the
work mentioned in the notes to the previous chapter, maintains that it
is not an inference, and that we do not directly perceive other minds,
but that we are assured of their existence just the same.  He makes our
knowledge an "intuition" in the old-fashioned sense of the word, a
something to be accepted but not to be accounted for.

(3) Writers who have been influenced more or less by the Neo-Kantian or
Neo-Hegelian doctrine are apt to speak as though we had the same direct
evidence of the existence of other minds that we have of the existence
of our own.  I have never seen a systematic and detailed exposition of
this doctrine.  It appears rather in the form of hints dropped in
passing.  A number of such are to be found in Taylor's "Elements of

Section 43. The "Mind-stuff" doctrine is examined at length and its
origin discussed in Chapter XXXI of the "System of Metaphysics,"
"Mental Phenomena and the Causal Nexus."  It is well worth while for
the student to read the whole of Clifford's essay "On the Nature of
Things-in-themselves," even if he is pressed for time.

CHAPTER XI, section 44.  See "System of Metaphysics," Chapter XV, "The
World as Mechanism."

Section 45.  See Chapter XXXI, "The Place of Mind in Nature."

Section 46.  For a definition of Fatalism, and a description of its
difference from the scientific doctrine of Determinism, see Chapter
XXXIII, "Fatalism, 'Freewill' and Determinism."  For a vigorous defense
of "Freewill" (which is not, in my opinion, free will at all, in the
common acceptation of the word) see Professor James's Essay on "The
Dilemma of the Determinist," in his volume, "The Will to Believe."

Fatalism and Determinism are constantly confused, and much of the
opposition to Determinism is attributable to this confusion.

Section 47.  See Chapter XXXII, "Mechanism and Teleology."

CHAPTER XII, section 48.  The notes to Chapter III (see above) are in
point here.  It is well worth the student's while to read the whole of
Chapter XI, Book IV, of Locke's "Essay."  It is entitled "Of our
Knowledge of the Existence of Other Things."  Notice the headings of
some of his sections:--

Section 1.  "It is to be had only by sensation."

Section 2.  "Instance whiteness of this paper."

Section 3.  "This, though not so certain as demonstration, yet may be
called 'Knowledge,' and proves the existence of things without us."

Locke's argument proceeds, as we have seen, on the assumption that we
perceive external things directly,--an assumption into which he slips
unawares,--and yet he cannot allow that we really do perceive directly
what is external.  This makes him uncomfortably conscious that he has
not absolute proof, after all.  The section that closes the discussion
is entitled: "Folly to expect demonstration in everything."

Section 49.  I wish that I could believe that every one of my readers
would sometime give himself the pleasure of reading through Berkeley's
"Principles of Human Knowledge" and his "Three Dialogues between Hylas
and Philonous."  Clearness of thought, beauty of style, and elevation
of sentiment characterize them throughout.

The "Principles" is a systematic treatise.  If one has not time to read
it all, one can get a good idea of the doctrine by running through the
first forty-one sections.  For brief readings in class, to illustrate
Berkeley's reasoning, one may take sections 1-3, 14, 18-20, and 38.

The "Dialogues" is a more popular work.  As the etymology of the names
in the title suggests, we have in it a dispute between a man who pins
his faith to matter and an idealist.  The aim of the book is to confute
skeptics and atheists from the standpoint of idealism.

For Hume's treatment of the external world, see his "Treatise of Human
Nature," Part IV, section 2.  For his treatment of the mind, see Part
IV, section 6.

Section 50.  Reid repeats himself a great deal, for he gives us
asseveration rather than proof.  One can get the gist of his argument
by reading carefully a few of his sections.  It would be a good
exercise to read in class, if time permitted, the two sections of his
"Inquiry" entitled "Of Extension" (Chapter V, section 5), and "Of
Perception in General" (Chapter VI, section 20).

Section 51.  For an account of the critical Philosophy, see
Falckenberg's "History of Modern Philosophy" (English translation,
N.Y., 1893).  Compare with this the accounts in the histories of
philosophy by Ueberweg and Höffding (English translation of the latter,
London, 1900).  Full bibliographies are to be found especially in

It is well to look at the philosophy of Kant through more than one pair
of eyes.  Thus, if one reads Morris's "Kant's Critique of Pure Reason"
(Chicago, 1882), one should read also Sidgwick's "Lectures on the
Philosophy of Kant" (N.Y., 1905).

CHAPTER XIII, section 52.  It is difficult to see how Hamilton could
regard himself as a "natural" realist (the word is employed by him).
See his "Lectures on Metaphysics," VIII, where he develops his
doctrine.  He seems to teach, in spite of himself, that we can know
directly only the impressions that things make on us, and must infer
all else: "Our whole knowledge of mind and matter is, thus, only
relative; of existence, absolutely and in itself, we know nothing."

Whom may we regard as representing the three kinds of "hypothetical
realism" described in the text?  Perhaps we may put the plain man, who
has not begun to reflect, in the first class.  John Locke is a good
representative of the second; see the "Essay concerning Human
Understanding," Book II, Chapter VIII.  Herbert Spencer belonged to the
third while he wrote Chapter V of his "First Principles of Philosophy."

Section 53.  I have said enough of the Berkeleian idealism in the notes
on Chapter XII.  As a good illustration of objective idealism in one of
its forms I may take the doctrine of Professor Royce; see his address,
"The Conception of God" (N.Y., 1902).

Mr. Bradley's doctrine is criticised in Chapter XXXIV (entitled "Of
God"), "System of Metaphysics."

CHAPTER XIV, section 55.  See "System of Metaphysics," Chapter XVI,
"The Insufficiency of Materialism."

Section 56.  Professor Strong's volume, "Why the Mind has a Body"
(N.Y., 1903), advocates a panpsychism much like that of Clifford.  It
is very clearly written, and with Clifford's essay on "The Nature of
Things-in-themselves," ought to give one a good idea of the
considerations that impel some able men to become panpsychists.

Section 57.  The pantheistic monism of Spinoza is of such importance
historically that it is desirable to obtain a clear notion of its
meaning.  I have discussed this at length in two earlier works: "The
Philosophy of Spinoza" (N.Y., 1894) and "On Spinozistic Immortality."
The student is referred to the account of Spinoza's "God or Substance"
contained in these.  See, especially, the "Introductory Note" in the
back of the first-mentioned volume.

Professor Royce is a good illustration of the idealistic monist; see
the volume referred to in the note above (section 53).  His "Absolute,"
or God, is conceived to be an all-inclusive mind of which our finite
minds are parts.

Section 58.  Sir William Hamilton's dualism is developed in his
"Lectures on Metaphysics," VIII.  He writes: "Mind and matter, as known
or knowable, are only two different series of phenomena or qualities;
as unknown and unknowable, they are the two substances in which these
two different series of phenomena or qualities are supposed to inhere.
The existence of an unknown substance is only an inference we are
compelled to make, from the existence of known phenomena; and the
distinction of two substances is only inferred from the seeming
incompatibility of the two series of phenomena to coinhere in one."

CHAPTER XV, section 60.  The reader will find Descartes's path traced
in the "Meditations."  In I, we have his sweeping doubt; in II, his
doctrine as to the mind; in III, the existence of God is established;
in VI, he gets around to the existence of the external world.  We find
a good deal of the "natural light" in the first part of his "Principles
of Philosophy."

Section 61.  We have an excellent illustration of Locke's inconsistency
in violating his own principles and going beyond experience, in his
treatment of "Substance."  Read, in his "Essay," Book I, Chapter IV,
section 18, and Book II, Chapter XXIII, section 4.  These sections are
not long, and might well be read and analyzed in class.

Section 62.  See the note to section 51.

Section 64.  I write this note (in 1908) to give the reader some idea
of later developments of the doctrine called pragmatism.  There has
been a vast amount printed upon the subject in the last two or three
years, but I am not able to say even yet that we have to do with "a
clear-cut doctrine, the limits and consequences of which have been
worked out in detail."  Hence, I prefer to leave section 64 as I first
wrote it, merely supplementing it here.

We may fairly consider the three leaders of the pragmatic movement to
be Professor William James, Dr. F. C. S. Schiller, and Professor John
Dewey.  The first has developed his doctrine at length in his volume
entitled "Pragmatism" (London, 1907); the second, who calls his
doctrine "Humanism," but declares himself a pragmatist, and in
essential agreement with Professor James, has published two volumes of
philosophical essays entitled "Humanism" (London, 1903) and "Studies in
Humanism" (London, 1907); the third has developed his position in the
first four chapters of the "Studies in Logical Theory" (Chicago, 1903).

Professor James, in his "Pragmatism" (Lecture II), says that
pragmatism, at the outset, at least, stands for no particular results.
It has no dogmas, and no doctrines save its method.  This method means:

"The attitude of looking away from first things, principles,
'categories,' supposed necessities; and of looking towards last things,
fruits, consequences, facts."  He remarks further, however, that
pragmatism has come to be used also in a wider sense, as signifying a
certain theory of truth (pp. 54-55).  This theory is brought forward in
Lecture VI.

The theory maintains that: "True ideas are those that we can
assimilate, validate, corroborate, and verify.  False ideas are those
that we can not" (p. 201).  This sounds as though Professor James
abandoned his doctrine touching the Turk and the Christian mentioned in
section 64.

But what do the words "verification" and "validation" pragmatically
mean?  We are told that they signify certain practical consequences of
the verified and validated idea.  Our ideas may be said to "agree" with
reality when they lead us, through acts and other ideas which they
instigate, up to or towards other parts of experience with which we
feel that the original ideas remain in agreement.  "The connections and
transitions come to us from point to point as being progressive,
harmonious, satisfactory.  This function of agreeable leading is what
we mean by an idea's verification" (p. 202).

Thus, we do not seem to be concerned with verification in the sense in
which the word has usually been employed heretofore.  The tendency to
take as true what is useful or serviceable has not been abandoned.
That Professor James does not really leave his Turk in the lurch
becomes clear to any one who will read his book attentively and note
his reasons for taking the various pragmatic attitudes which he does
take.  See, for example, his pragmatic argument for "free-will."  The
doctrine is simply assumed as a doctrine of "relief" (pp. 110-121).

Briefly stated, Dr. Schiller's doctrine is that truths are man-made,
and that it is right for man to consult his desires in making them.  It
is in substantial harmony with the pragmatism of Professor James, and I
shall not dwell upon it.  Dr. Schiller's essays are very entertainingly

Professor Dewey's pragmatism seems to me sufficiently different from
the above to merit another title.  In the "Journal of Philosophy,
Psychology, and Scientific Methods," Volume IV, No. 4, Professor Dewey
brings out the distinction between his own position and that of
Professor James.

To the periodical literature on pragmatism I cannot refer in detail.
Professor James defends his position against misconceptions in the
"Philosophical Review," Volume XVII, No. 1.  See, on the other side,
Professor Perry, in the "Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and
Scientific Methods," Volume IV, pp. 365 and 421; Professor Hibben,
"Philosophical Review," XVII, 4; and Dr. Carus, "The Monist," July,

CHAPTER XVI, sections 65-68.  To see how the logicians have regarded
their science and its relation to philosophy, see; Keynes's "Formal
Logic" (London, 1894), Introduction; Hobhouse's "Theory of Knowledge"
(London, 1896), Introduction; Aikins's "The Principles of Logic" (N.Y.,
1902), Introduction; and Creighton's "Introductory Logic" (N.Y., 1898),

Professor Aikins writes: "Thus, in so far as logic tries to make us
reason correctly by giving us correct conceptions of things and the way
in which their relations involve each other, it is a kind of simple
metaphysics studied for a practical end."

Professor Creighton says, "Although in treating the syllogistic logic I
have followed to a large extent the ordinary mode of presentation, I
have both here, and when dealing with the inductive methods, endeavored
to interpret the traditional doctrines in a philosophical way, and to
prepare for the theoretical discussions of the third part of the book."

John Stuart Mill tried not to be metaphysical; but let the reader
examine, say, his third chapter, "Of the Things denoted by Names," or
look over Book VI, in his "System of Logic."

Professor Sigwart's great work, "Logik" (Freiburg, 2d edition, Volume
I, 1889, Volume II, 1893), may almost be called a philosophy of logic.

CHAPTER XVII, section 69.  Compare with Professor James's account of
the scope of psychology the following from Professor Baldwin: "The
question of the relation of psychology to metaphysics, over which a
fierce warfare has been waged in recent years, is now fairly settled by
the adjustment of mutual claims. . . .  The terms of the adjustment of
which I speak are briefly these: on the one hand, empirical
investigation must precede rational interpretation, and this empirical
investigation must be absolutely unhampered by fetters of dogmatism and
preconception; on the other hand, rational interpretation must be
equally free in its own province, since progress from the individual to
the general, from the detached fact to its universal meaning, can be
secured only by the judicious use of hypotheses, both metaphysical and
speculative.  Starting from the empirical we run out at every step into
the metempirical."  "Handbook of Psychology," Preface, pp. iii and iv.

CHAPTER XVIII, section 71.  The teacher might very profitably take
extracts from the two chapters of Whewell's "Elements of Morality"
referred to in the text, and read them with the class.  It is
significant of the weakness of Whewell's position that he can give us
advice as long as we do not need it, but, when we come to the
cross-roads, he is compelled to leave the matter to the individual
conscience, and gives us no hint of a general principle that may guide

Section 72.  Wundt, in his volume "The Facts of the Moral Life" (N.Y.,
1897), tries to develop an empirical science of ethics independent of
metaphysics; see the Preface.

Compare with this: Martineau's "Types of Ethical Theory" (London,
1885), Preface; T. H. Green's "Prolegomena to Ethics," Introduction;
Muirhead's "The Elements of Ethics" (N.Y., 1892); Mackenzie's "A Manual
of Ethics" (London, 1893); Jodl's "Gesduchte der Ethik" (Stuttgart,
1882), Preface.  I give but a few references, but they will serve to
illustrate how close, in the opinion of ethical writers, is the
relation between ethics and philosophy.

CHAPTER XIX, section 74.  The student who turns over the pages of
several works on metaphysics may be misled by a certain superficial
similarity that is apt to obtain among them.  One sees the field mapped
out into Ontology (the science of Being or Reality), Rational
Cosmology, and Rational Psychology.  These titles are mediaeval
landmarks which have been left standing.  I may as well warn the reader
that two men who discourse of Ontology may not be talking about the
same thing at all.  Bear in mind what was said in section 57 of the
different ways of conceiving the "One Substance"; and bear in mind also
what was said in Chapter V of the proper meaning of the word "reality."

I have discarded the above titles in my "System of Metaphysics,"
because I think it is better and less misleading to use plain and
unambiguous language.

Section 75.  See the note to Chapter XVI.

CHAPTER XX, sections 76-77.  One can get an idea of the problems with
which the philosophy of religion has to deal by turning to my "System
of Metaphysics" and reading the two chapters entitled "Of God," at the
close of the book.  It would be interesting to read and criticise in
class some of the theistic arguments that philosophers have brought
forward.  Quotations and references are given in Chapter XXXIV.

CHAPTER XXI, sections 78-79.  What is said of the science of logic, in
Chapter XVI, has, of course, a bearing upon these sections.  I suggest
that the student examine a few chapters of "The Grammar of Science";
the book is very readable.

CHAPTER XXII, sections 80-82.  The reader will find in lectures I and
II in Sir William Hamilton's "Lectures on Metaphysics" a discussion of
the utility of philosophy.  It has a pleasant, old-fashioned flavor,
and contains some good thoughts.  What is said in Chapters XVI-XXI of
the present volume has a good deal of bearing upon the subject.  See
especially what is said in the chapters on logic, ethics, and the
philosophy of religion.

CHAPTER XXIII, sections 83-87.  There is a rather brief but good and
thoughtful discussion of the importance of historical study to the
comprehension of philosophical doctrines in Falckenberg's "History of
Modern Philosophy" (English translation, N.Y., 1893); see the

We have a good illustration of the fact that there may be parallel
streams of philosophic thought (section 87) when we turn to the Stoics
and the Epicureans.  Zeno and Epicurus were contemporaries, but they
were men of very dissimilar character, and the schools they founded
differed widely in spirit.  Zeno went back for his view of the physical
world to Heraclitus, and for his ethics to the Cynics.  Epicurus
borrowed his fundamental thoughts from Democritus.

On the other hand, philosophers may sometimes be regarded as links in
the one chain.  Witness the series of German thinkers: Kant, Fichte,
Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer; or the series of British thinkers:
Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Mill.  Herbert Spencer represents a confluence
of the streams.  The spirit of his doctrine is predominantly British;
but he got his "Unknowable" from Kant, through Hamilton and Mansel.

At any point in a given stream there may be a division.  Thus, Kant was
awakened to his creative effort by Hume.  But Mill is also the
successor of Hume, and more truly the successor, for he carries on the
traditional way of approaching philosophical problems, while Kant
rebels against it, and heads a new line.

CHAPTER XXIV, sections 88-93.  I hardly think it is necessary for me to
comment upon this chapter.  The recommendations amount to this: that a
man should be fair-minded and reasonable, free from partisanship,
cautious, and able to suspend judgment where the evidence is not clear;
also that where the light of reason does not seem to him to shine
brightly and to illumine his path as he could wish, he should be
influenced in his actions by the reflection that he has his place in
the social order, and must meet the obligations laid upon him by this
fact.  When the pragmatist emphasizes the necessity of accepting ideals
and living by them, he is doing us a service.  But we must see to it
that he does not lead us into making arbitrary decisions and feeling
that we are released from the duty of seeking for evidence.  Read
together sections 64, 91, and 93.


  Absolute, The: Spencer's doctrine of, 70;
    Bradley's, 191-192;
    meanings of the word, 201;
    reference, 312.
  Activity and Passivity: meaning of, 159-161;
    confused with cause and effect, 159-161;
    activity of mind, 162-163.
  Aesthetics:  a philosophical discipline, 242-243.
  Agnosticism: 202.
  Aikins: 314.
  Albert the Great: scope of his labors, 9.
  Analytical Judgments: defined, 178.
  Anaxagoras: his doctrine, 4; on the soul, 101.
  Anaximander: his doctrine, 3.
  Anaximenes: his doctrine, 3; on the soul, 101.
  Appearances: doubt of their objectivity, 35;
    realities and, 59 ff.;
    apparent and real space, 80-87;
    apparent and real time, 93-99;
    apparent and real extension, 113;
    measurement of apparent time, 128;
    appearance and reality, Bradley's  doctrine, 191-192.
  Aristotle: reference to Thales, 3;
    scope of his philosophy, 7;
    authority in the Middle Ages, 9;
    on the soul, 102-103.
  Arithmetic: compared with logic, 225-226.
  Atoms: nature of our knowledge of, 22-23; also, 65-67;
    doctrine of Democritus, 194-195.
  Augustine: on time as past, present, and future, 90 ff.;
    on soul and body, 104;
    as scientist and as philosopher, 278.
  Authority: in philosophy, 291-296.
  Automatism: the automaton theory, 129-130;
    animal automatism, 141-142;
    activity of mind and automatism, 162;
    references, 308-309.
  Automaton: see Automatism.

  Bacon, Francis:  his conception of philosophy, 10.
  Baldwin:  on psychology and metaphysics, 314.
  Berkeley: referred to, 56;
    on appearance and reality, 61-63;
    his idealism, 168-170;
    his theism, 190-191;
    references to his works, 310.
  Body and Mind: see Mind and Body.
  Bosanquet: his logic, 235.
  Bradley: his "Absolute," 191-192; reference given, 311.
  Breath: mind conceived to be, 101.

  Cassiodorus: on soul and body, 103-104.
  Cause and Effect; meaning of words, 118-120;
    relation of mental and material not causal, 121-126;
      see also, 132;
    cause and effect, activity and passivity, 159 ff.
  Child: its knowledge of the world, 18-19.
  Cicero: Pythagoras' use of word "philosopher," 2; on immortality, 32.
  Clifford, W. K.: on infinite divisibility of space, 79-80;
    on other minds, 135;
    on mind-stuff, 144-146;
    his panpsychism, 197-198;
    his parallelism, 308-309;
    references on mind-stuff, 309.
  Common Sense: notions of mind and body, 106 ff.;
    Reid's doctrine, 171-174;
    common sense ethics, 236-240.
  Common Thought: what it is, 18-20.
  Concomitance: see Mind and Body.
  Copernican System: 282.
  Cornelius: on metaphysics, 249.
  Creighton: 314.
  Critical Empiricism: the doctrine, 218-219.
  Critical Philosophy: outlined, 175-180;
    criticised, 211-218;
    references, 311.
  Croesus: 1.

  Democritus: doctrine referred to, 4;
    his place in the history of philosophy, 5;
    on the soul, 101-102;
    his materialism examined, 194-195.
  Descartes: conception of philosophy, 10;
    on mind and body, 105-106; also, 119;
    on animal automatism, 141-142;
    on the external world, 163-168;
    on substance, 198;
    his rationalism, 206-209;
    the "natural light," 208;
    his attempt at a critical philosophy, 214;
    his rules of method, 214;
    provisional rules of life, 301-302;
    reference given, 306;
    reference to his automatism, 308;
    references to the "Meditations," 312.
  Determinism: 155-159; references, 309-310.
  Dewey, John: 312-314.
  Dogmatism: Kant's use of term, 211-212.
  Dualism: what, 193;
    varieties of, 202-204;
    the present volume dualistic, 204;
    Hamilton's, 312.

  Eleatics: their doctrine, 4.
  Empedocles: his doctrine, 4; a pluralist, 205.
  Empiricism: the doctrine, 209-211;
    Kant on, 212;
    critical empiricism, 218-219.
  Energy: conservation of, 151-154.
  Epicureans: their view of philosophy, 7-8; their materialism, 102.
  Epiphenomenon: the mind as, 162.
  Epistemology: its place among the philosophical sciences, 247-249.
  Ethics: and the mechanism of nature, 159-164;
    common sense ethics, 236-240;
    Whewell criticised, 238-240;
    philosophy and, 240-242;
    utility of, 265-267;
    references, 315.
  Evidence: in philosophy, 296-298.
  Existence: of material things, 56-58; also, 165-192.
  Experience: suggestions of the word, 58;
    Hume's doctrine of what it yields, 170-171;
    Descartes and Locke, 178;
    Kant's view of, 179;
    empiricism, 209-211;
    critical empiricism, 218-219.
  Experimental Psychology: its scope, 234-235.
  Explanation: of relation of mind and body, 125-126.
  External World: its existence, 32 ff.;
    plain man's knowledge of, 32-36;
    psychologist's attitude, 36-38;
    the "telephone exchange," 38-44;
    what the external world is, 45-58;
    its existence discussed, 56-58;
    a mechanism, 147-150;
    knowledge of, theories, 165-180;
    Descartes on, 207-208;
    psychologist's attitude discussed, 230-234.
  Falckenberg: 311, 316.
  Fate: 158; literature on fatalism, 309-310.
  Fichte: on philosophic method, 10; solipsistic utterances, 133.
  Final Cause: what, 161.
  "Form" and "Matter": the distinction between, 82-83;
    space as "form," 82-84;
    time as "form," 94;
    Kant's doctrine of "forms," 179;
    the same criticised, 216-217.
  Free-will: and the order of nature, 154-159;
    determinism and "free-will-ism," 155-159;
    literature referred to, 309-310.

  God: revealed in the world, 163-164;
    Berkeley on argument for, 190-191;
    Spinoza on God or substance, 199;
    Descartes' argument for, 208;
    influence of belief on ethics, 241;
    conceptions of, 252-253;
    relation to the world, 253-254;
    monistic conception of, 312;
    references, 314.
  Greek Philosophy: Pre-Socratic characterized, 2-5;
    conception of philosophy from Sophists to Aristotle, 5-7;
    the Stoics, Epicureans, and Skeptics, 7-8.
  Green, T. H.: 218, 315.

  Hamilton, Sir W.: on space, 76;
    on the external world, 174; also, 182;
    reference, 311;
    his dualism, 312;
    on utility of philosophy, 316.
  Hegel: his conception of philosophy, 11;
    an objective idealist, 190.
  Heraclitus: his doctrine, 4; on the soul, 101.
  Herodotus: 1-2.
  History of Philosophy: much studied, 273-274;
    its importance, 274-281;
    how to read it, 281-287;
    references, 316.
  Hobhouse: on theory of knowledge, 248; reference, 312.
  Höffding: his monism, 200-201; his history of philosophy, 311.
  Howison: on pluralism, 205.
  Humanism: 312-313.
  Hume: his doctrine, 170-171;
    use of word "impression," 177;
    influence on Kant, 177-178.
  Huxley: on other minds, 135, 138; on automatism, 308.
  Hypothetical Realism: see Realism.

  Idealism: in Berkeley and Hume, 168-171;
    general discussion of the varieties of, 187-192;
    proper attitude toward, 289-291.
  Ideas: distinguished from things, 33-36;
    in psychology, 36-38;
    Berkeley's use of the word, 168-170;
    Hume's use of the word, 177.
  Imagination: contrasted with sense, 45-49;
    extension of imagined things, 113.
  Immateriality: of mind, see Plotinus, and Mind.
  Impression: Hume's use of word, 177.
  Infinity: infinity and infinite divisibility of space, 73-80;
    of time, 88-90; also, 95-97;
    mathematics and, 226.
  Inside: meaning of word, 55.
  Interactionism: see Mind and Body.
  Intuitionalists; defined, 240.
  Ionian School: 3.

  James, W.: on pragmatism, 220-222 and 312-313;
    on psychology and metaphysics, 230-231;
    on interactionism, reference, 308;
    on "free-will," 309-310.
  Jevons: his logic, 224; on study of scientific method, 256.
  Jodl: 315.

  Kant: on space, 75;
    his critical philosophy, 175-180;
    his philosophy criticised, 211-218;
    references to, 307, 311.
  Keynes: 314.

  Localisation: of sensations, what, 127.
  Locke, John: on doubt of external world, 32;
    on substance, 108;
    on perception of external world, 166-168;
    his empiricism, 209-210;
    his attempt at a critical philosophy, 215-216;
    on innate moral principles, 240;
    reference to "Essay," 310;
    his hypothetical realism, 311;
    treatment of substance, references, 312.
  Logic; the traditional, 224;
    "modern" logic, 224-225;
    Jevons and Bosanquet referred to, 224-225;
    philosophy and, 225-229;
    compared with arithmetic, 225-227;
    deeper problems of, 227;
    Spencer cited, 228;
    utility of, 264-265;
    references, 314.
  Lucretius: his materialistic psychology, 102.

  Mach: 14.
  Mackenzie: 315.
  Malebranche: referred to, 142.
  Martineau: 315.
  Materialism: primitive man's notion of mind, 100-101;
    materialism in the Greek philosophy, 101-102;
    refutation of, 111-132;
    general account of, 194-197.
  Mathematics: nature of mathematical knowledge, 23-25;
    arithmetic compared with logic, 225-226;
    mathematical relations and cause and effect, 257;
    mathematical methods, 256-257.
  Matter: what is meant by material things, 51-58;
    the material world a mechanism, 147-150.
  "Matter" and "Form": see "Form" and "Matter."
  McCosh: on mind and body, 120.
  Mechanism: the material world a, 147-150;
    objections to the doctrine, 148-150;
    mind and mechanism, 151-154;
    mechanism and morals, 159-164;
    mechanism and teleology, reference, 310.
  Metaphysician: on the mind, 111 ff.
  Metaphysics: psychology and, 230-234;
    distinguished from philosophy, 244-245;
    uncertainty of, 247;
    utility of, 269-272;
    traditional divisions of, 315.
  Method: scientific method, 256-259.
  Middle Ages: view of philosophy in, 8-9.
  Mill, J. S.: the argument for other minds, 136-138;
    on permanent possibilities of sensation, 289;
    his logic, 314.
  Mind: the child's notion of, 100;
    regarded as breath, 101;
    suggestions of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew words for mind or
      soul, 101;
    materialistic views of, in Greek philosophy, 101-102;
    Plato and Aristotle on nature of, 102-103;
    doctrine of Plotinus, 103;
    of Cassiodorus, 103;
    of Augustine, 104;
    of Descartes, 105-106;
    modern common sense notions of mind, 106-110;
    mind as substance, Locke quoted, 108-109;
    psychologist's notion of, 110-111;
    what the mind is, 111-114;
    place of mind in nature, 151-154;
    minds active, 162-163;
    see also, Mind and Body, and Other Minds.
  Mind and Body: is the mind in the body, 115-117;
    plain man's notion of, 116;
    interactionism, 117-121;
    doctrine of Descartes and his successors, 119-120;
    plain man as interactionist, 120;
    McCosh quoted, 120-121;
    objection to interactionism, 121;
    parallelism, 121-126;
    its foundation in experience, 123-124;
    meaning of word "concomitance," 123-125;
    time and place of mental phenomena, 126-129;
    objections to parallelism, 129-132;
    Clifford's parallelism criticised, 130;
    mental phenomena and causality, 129;
    double sense of word "concomitance," 131-132;
    mind and the mechanism of the world, 151-154;
    mechanism and morals, 159-164;
    "concomitant phenomena" and attainment of ends, 162;
    references given on other minds and mind-stuff, 309;
    see also, Other Minds.
  Mind-stuff: see Other Minds.
  Minima Sensibilia: 87.
  Modern Philosophy: conception of philosophy in, 9-12.
  Monism: what, 193-194;
    varieties of, 194-202;
    narrower sense of word, 198-202.
  Moral Distinctions: their foundation, 159-164.
  Muirhead: 315.

  Naïve Realism: 181.
  "Natural Light": term used by Descartes, 208.
  Natural Realism: see Realism.
  Nature: place of mind in, 151-154;
    order of nature and "free-will," 154-159.
  Neo-Platonism: referred to, 8; on the soul as immaterial, 103.
  Nihilism: word used by Hamilton, 186.
  Noumena: see Phenomena.

  Objective Idealism: 189-190; reference to Royce, 311.
  Objective Order:  contrasted with the subjective, 55.
  Ontology: what, 315.
  Orders of Experience: the subjective and the objective, 55;
    see also, 114.
  Other Minds: their existence, 133-136;
    Fichte referred to, 133;
    Richter quoted, 133;
    Huxley and Clifford on proof of, 135;
    the argument for, 136-140;
    Mill quoted, 136-138;
    Huxley criticised, 138-140;
    what minds are there? 140-144;
    Descartes quoted, 141-142;
    Malebranche, 142;
    the limits of psychic life, 142-144;
    mind-stuff, 144-146;
    proper attitude toward solipsism, 291.
  Outside: meaning of word, 55.

  Panpsychism: the doctrine, 198; references given, 311.
  Pantheism: 202.
  Parallelism: see Mind and Body.
  Paulsen: on nature of philosophy, 305.
  Pearson: the "telephone exchange," 38 ff.;
    on scientific principles and method, 258-259;
    reference given, 306.
  Peirce, C. S.: on pragmatism, 219-220.
  Perception: see Representative  Perception.
  Phenomena and Noumena: Kant's distinction between, 176-180.
  Philosophical Sciences: enumerated, 13;
    why grouped together, 13-17;
    examined in detail, 223-259.
  Philosophy: meaning of word, and history of its use, 1 ff.;
    what the word now covers, 12-17;
    problems of, 32-164;
    historical background of modern philosophy, 165-180;
    types of, 181-222;
    logic and, 225-229;
    psychology and, 230-234;
    ethics and, 240-242;
    aesthetics and, 242-243;
    metaphysics distinguished from, 244-245;
    religion and, 250-254;
    the non-philosophical sciences and, 255-259;
    utility of, 263-272;
    history of, 273-287;
    verification in, 276-277;
    as poetry and as science, 281-283;
    how systems arise, 283-287;
    practical admonitions, 288-303;
    authority in, 291-296;
    ordinary rules of evidence in, 296-298.
  Physiological Psychology: what it is, 234.
  Pineal Gland; as seat of the soul, 105.
  Place: of mental phenomena, see Space.
  Plain Man: his knowledge of the world, 19-20; also, 32-36;
    his knowledge of space, 73;
    on mind and body, 106-110;
    his interactionism, 120.
  Plants: psychic life in, 143.
  Plato: use of word "philosopher," 2;
    scope of his philosophy, 6-7;
    on the soul, 102-103.
  Plotinus: the soul as immaterial, 103.
  Pluralism and Singularism: described, 204-205.
  Poetry and Philosophy: 281-283.
  Poincaré: referred to, 258.
  Pragmatism: the doctrine, 219-222;
    see also, 296-298, 300-303, and 312-314;
    will to believe, references, 310, 312.
  Present: meaning of "the present," 97-99.
  Psychology:  psychological knowledge characterized, 25-28;
    attitude of psychologist toward external world, 36-38;
    toward mind, 110-111;
    philosophy and, 230-234;
    double affiliation of, 234-235;
    utility of, 268-269;
    metaphysics and, 313;
    "rational," 315.
  Ptolemaic System; 282.
  Pythagoras: the word "philosopher," 2.
  Pythagoreans: their doctrine, 4.

  Qualities of Things: contrasted with sensations, 51-56.

  Rational Cosmology: 315.
  Rationalism: the doctrine, 206-209.
  Rational Psychology: 315.
  Real: see Reality.
  Realism: hypothetical realism, 168;
    "natural" realism, 174;
    general discussion of realism and its varieties, 181-187;
    ambiguity of the word, 186-187.
  Reality: contrasted with appearance, 35;
    in psychology, 36-38;
    the "telephone exchange" and, 38 ff.;
    things and their appearances, 59-61;
    real things, 61-63;
    ultimate real things, 63-68;
    the "Unknowable" as Reality, 68-72;
    real space, 80-87;
    real time, 93-99;
    substance as reality, 111;
    real and apparent extension, 113-114;
    measurement of apparent time, 128;
    Bradley's doctrine of reality, 191-192;
    Clifford's panpsychism and reality, 197-198.

  Reflective Thought: its nature, 28-31.
  Reid, Thomas: doctrine of "common sense," 171-174;
    references, 310.
  Religion: philosophy and, 250-254;
    conceptions of God, 252-253;
    God and the world, 253-254; see God.
  Representative Perception: plain man's position, 32-36;
    the psychologist, 36-38;
    "telephone exchange" doctrine, 38-44;
    the true distinction between sensations and things, 45-58;
    the doctrine of, 165-168;
    Descartes and Locke quoted, 165-168.
  Richter, Jean Paul: on the solipsist, 133.
  Royce: an objective idealist, 311; a monist, 312.

  Schelling: attitude toward natural philosophy, 10.
  Schiller: on "Humanism," 312-313.
  "Schools": in philosophy, 291-296.
  Science:  philosophy and the special sciences, 12-17;
    the philosophical sciences, 13 ff.;
    nature of scientific knowledge, 21-28;
    compared with reflective thought, 29-31;
    science and the world as mechanism, 148;
    the conservation of energy, 151-154;
    philosophical sciences examined in detail, 223-259;
    science and metaphysical analysis, 246-247;
    the non-philosophical sciences and philosophy, 255-259;
    study of scientific principles, 256-259;
    verification in science and in philosophy, 275-277;
    philosophy as science, 281-283.
  Scientific Knowledge: see Science.
  Sensations: knowledge of things through, 33-44;
    sense and imagination contrasted, 45-49;
    are "things" groups of, 49-51;
    distinction between things and, 51-56;
    use of the word in this volume and in the
      "System of Metaphysics," 306-307.
  Sidgwick: on Kant, 311.
  Sigwart: 314.
  Singularism and Pluralism: described, 204-205.
  Skeptics: their view of philosophy, 7-8;
    their doubt of reality, 59;
    Hume's skepticism, 171.
  Socrates: use of words "philosopher" and "philosophy," 2;
    attitude toward sophism, 6.
  Solipsism: see Other Minds.
  Solon: 1.
  Sophists: characterized, 6.
  Soul: see Mind.
  Space: plain man's knowledge of, 73;
    said to be necessary, infinite and infinitely divisible, 73-74;
    discussion of it as necessary and as infinite, 74-77;
    Kant, Hamilton, and Spencer quoted, 75-77;
    as infinitely divisible, the moving point, 77-80;
    Clifford quoted, 79-80;
    real space and apparent, 80-87;
    "matter" and "form," 82-84;
    extension of imaginary things, 113;
    place of mental phenomena, 115-117, also, 126-129.
  Spencer, Herbert: his  definition  of philosophy, 11;
    his work criticised, 11-12;
    on the "Unknowable" as ultimate Reality, 69-70;
    Spencer as "natural" realist, 174;
    influenced by Kant's doctrine, 176;
    his inconsistent doctrine of the external world, 183-184;
    defective logic, 228;
    influence of agnosticism, 271;
    references given, 307, 311.
  Spinoza: his _a priori_ method, 10;
    on God or substance, 199;
    his rationalism, 208;
    his parallelism, 308;
    references, 311-312.
  Spiritualism: the doctrine, 197-198.
  Stoics: their view of philosophy, 7-8; their materialism, 102.
  Strong: on other minds, 209; references to, 309, 311.
  Subjective Idealism: 187-188.
  Subjective Order: contrasted with objective, 55.
  Substance: meaning of word, 108;
    Locke on, 108;
    mind as substance, 111-112;
    doctrine of the One Substance, 198-202.
  Synthetic Judgments: defined, 179.
  Systems of Philosophy: their relations to each other, 283-287.

  Taylor: on other minds, 309.
  Teleology: what, 163; reference, 310.
  "Telephone Exchange": doctrine of the external world
    as "messages," 38-44.
  Thales: his doctrine, 3.
  Theism: see God.
  Theory of Knowledge: see Epistemology.
  Things: our knowledge of, 18-23;
    contrast of ideas and, 33-36;
    same contrast in psychology, 36-38;
    sensations and things, 45 ff.;
    existence of, 56-58;
    contrasted with appearances, 59 ff.;
    real things, 61 ff.;
    the space of real things, 80-87.
  Thomas Aquinas: scope of his labors, 9.
  Time: as necessary, infinite, and infinitely divisible, 88-90;
    problem of knowing past, present, and future, 90-93;
    Augustine quoted, 90-91;
    timeless self criticised, 92-93;
    real time and apparent, 93-99;
    real time as necessary, infinite, and infinitely divisible, 95-97;
    consciousness of time, 97-99;
    mental phenomena and time, 126-129.
  Timeless Self: 92-93.
  Touch: the real world revealed in experiences of, 61-63.
  Truth: pragmatism and, 219-222 and 312-314;
    Whewell on veracity, 238-239;
    criterion of truth in philosophy, 296-298;
    also, 300-303.

  Ueberweg: 305, 311.
  Ultimate Reality: see Reality.
  "Unknowable": as Reality, 68-72; see Spencer.
  Utility: of liberal studies, 260-263; of philosophy, 363-272.

  Verification: in science and in philosophy, 275-277.

  Ward, James: on concepts of mechanics, 148.
  "Weltweisheit": philosophy as, 12.
  Whewell: his common sense ethics, 236-240; referred to, 315.
  Will: see Free-will.
  Will to Believe: see Pragmatism.
  Windelband: 305.
  Wolff, Christian: definition of philosophy, 10.
  World: see External World.
  Wundt: ethics referred to, 315.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Introduction to Philosophy" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files. We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's search system for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.