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Title: Creative Intelligence - Essays in the Pragmatic Attitude
Author: Dewey, John, 1859-1952, Moore, Addison W., Brown, Harold Chapman, Mead, George H., Bode, Boyd H., Waldgrave, Henry, James, Stuart, Tufts, Hayden, Kallen, Horace M.
Language: English
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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.

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  COPYRIGHT, 1917,



  Published January, 1917




The Essays which follow represent an attempt at intellectual
coöperation. No effort has been made, however, to attain unanimity of
belief nor to proffer a platform of "planks" on which there is
agreement. The consensus represented lies primarily in outlook, in
conviction of what is most likely to be fruitful in method of approach.
As the title page suggests, the volume presents a unity in attitude
rather than a uniformity in results. Consequently each writer is
definitively responsible only for his own essay. The reader will note
that the Essays endeavor to embody the common attitude in application to
specific fields of inquiry which have been historically associated with
philosophy rather than as a thing by itself. Beginning with philosophy
itself, subsequent contributions discuss its application to logic, to
mathematics, to physical science, to psychology, to ethics, to
economics, and then again to philosophy itself in conjunction with
esthetics and religion. The reader will probably find that the
significant points of agreement have to do with the ideas of the
genuineness of the future, of intelligence as the organ for determining
the quality of that future so far as it can come within human control,
and of a courageously inventive individual as the bearer of a creatively
employed mind. While all the essays are new in the form in which they
are now published, various contributors make their acknowledgments to
the editors of the _Philosophical Review_, the _Psychological Review_,
and the _Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods_ for
use of material which first made its appearance in the pages of these


  THE NEED FOR A RECOVERY OF PHILOSOPHY                              3
    John Dewey, Columbia University.

  REFORMATION OF LOGIC                                              70
    Addison W. Moore, University of Chicago.

  INTELLIGENCE AND MATHEMATICS                                     118
    Harold Chapman Brown, Leland Stanford, Jr., University.

    George H. Mead, University of Chicago.

  CONSCIOUSNESS AND PSYCHOLOGY                                     228
    Boyd H. Bode, University of Illinois.

  THE PHASES OF THE ECONOMIC INTEREST                              282
    Henry Waldgrave Stuart, Leland Stanford, Jr., University.

    James Hayden Tufts, University of Chicago.

    Horace M. Kallen, University of Wisconsin.




Intellectual advance occurs in two ways. At times increase of knowledge
is organized about old conceptions, while these are expanded, elaborated
and refined, but not seriously revised, much less abandoned. At other
times, the increase of knowledge demands qualitative rather than
quantitative change; alteration, not addition. Men's minds grow cold to
their former intellectual concerns; ideas that were burning fade;
interests that were urgent seem remote. Men face in another direction;
their older perplexities are unreal; considerations passed over as
negligible loom up. Former problems may not have been solved, but they
no longer press for solutions.

Philosophy is no exception to the rule. But it is unusually
conservative--not, necessarily, in proffering solutions, but in clinging
to problems. It has been so allied with theology and theological morals
as representatives of men's chief interests, that radical alteration has
been shocking. Men's activities took a decidedly new turn, for example,
in the seventeenth century, and it seems as if philosophy, under the
lead of thinkers like Bacon and Descartes, was to execute an about-face.
But, in spite of the ferment, it turned out that many of the older
problems were but translated from Latin into the vernacular or into the
new terminology furnished by science.

The association of philosophy with academic teaching has reinforced this
intrinsic conservatism. Scholastic philosophy persisted in universities
after men's thoughts outside of the walls of colleges had moved in other
directions. In the last hundred years intellectual advances of science
and politics have in like fashion been crystallized into material of
instruction and now resist further change. I would not say that the
spirit of teaching is hostile to that of liberal inquiry, but a
philosophy which exists largely as something to be taught rather than
wholly as something to be reflected upon is conducive to discussion of
views held by others rather than to immediate response. Philosophy when
taught inevitably magnifies the history of past thought, and leads
professional philosophers to approach their subject-matter through its
formulation in received systems. It tends, also, to emphasize points
upon which men have divided into schools, for these lend themselves to
retrospective definition and elaboration. Consequently, philosophical
discussion is likely to be a dressing out of antithetical traditions,
where criticism of one view is thought to afford proof of the truth of
its opposite (as if formulation of views guaranteed logical exclusives).
Direct preoccupation with contemporary difficulties is left to
literature and politics.

If changing conduct and expanding knowledge ever required a willingness
to surrender not merely old solutions but old problems it is now. I do
not mean that we can turn abruptly away from all traditional issues.
This is impossible; it would be the undoing of the one who attempted it.
Irrespective of the professionalizing of philosophy, the ideas
philosophers discuss are still those in which Western civilization has
been bred. They are in the backs of the heads of educated people. But
what serious-minded men not engaged in the professional business of
philosophy most want to know is what modifications and abandonments of
intellectual inheritance are required by the newer industrial,
political, and scientific movements. They want to know what these newer
movements mean when translated into general ideas. Unless professional
philosophy can mobilize itself sufficiently to assist in this
clarification and redirection of men's thoughts, it is likely to get
more and more sidetracked from the main currents of contemporary life.

This essay may, then, be looked upon as an attempt to forward the
emancipation of philosophy from too intimate and exclusive attachment to
traditional problems. It is not in intent a criticism of various
solutions that have been offered, but raises a question _as to the
genuineness, under the present conditions of science and social life, of
the problems_.

The limited object of my discussion will, doubtless, give an exaggerated
impression of my conviction as to the artificiality of much recent
philosophizing. Not that I have wilfully exaggerated in what I have
said, but that the limitations of my purpose have led me not to say many
things pertinent to a broader purpose. A discussion less restricted
would strive to enforce the genuineness, in their own context, of
questions now discussed mainly because they have been discussed rather
than because contemporary conditions of life suggest them. It would also
be a grateful task to dwell upon the precious contributions made by
philosophic systems which as a whole are impossible. In the course of
the development of unreal premises and the discussion of artificial
problems, points of view have emerged which are indispensable
possessions of culture. The horizon has been widened; ideas of great
fecundity struck out; imagination quickened; a sense of the meaning of
things created. It may even be asked whether these accompaniments of
classic systems have not often been treated as a kind of guarantee of
the systems themselves. But while it is a sign of an illiberal mind to
throw away the fertile and ample ideas of a Spinoza, a Kant, or a Hegel,
because their setting is not logically adequate, is surely a sign of an
undisciplined one to treat their contributions to culture as
confirmations of premises with which they have no necessary connection.


A criticism of current philosophizing from the standpoint of the
traditional quality of its problems must begin somewhere, and the choice
of a beginning is arbitrary. It has appeared to me that the notion of
experience implied in the questions most actively discussed gives a
natural point of departure. For, if I mistake not, it is just the
inherited view of experience common to the empirical school and its
opponents which keeps alive many discussions even of matters that on
their face are quite remote from it, while it is also this view which is
most untenable in the light of existing science and social practice.
Accordingly I set out with a brief statement of some of the chief
contrasts between the orthodox description of experience and that
congenial to present conditions.

(i) In the orthodox view, experience is regarded primarily as a
knowledge-affair. But to eyes not looking through ancient spectacles, it
assuredly appears as an affair of the intercourse of a living being with
its physical and social environment. (ii) According to tradition
experience is (at least primarily) a psychical thing, infected
throughout by "subjectivity." What experience suggests about itself is a
genuinely objective world which enters into the actions and sufferings
of men and undergoes modifications through their responses. (iii) So far
as anything beyond a bare present is recognized by the established
doctrine, the past exclusively counts. Registration of what has taken
place, reference to precedent, is believed to be the essence of
experience. Empiricism is conceived of as tied up to what has been, or
is, "given." But experience in its vital form is experimental, an effort
to change the given; it is characterized by projection, by reaching
forward into the unknown; connexion with a future is its salient trait.
(iv) The empirical tradition is committed to particularism. Connexions
and continuities are supposed to be foreign to experience, to be
by-products of dubious validity. An experience that is an undergoing of
an environment and a striving for its control in new directions is
pregnant with connexions. (v) In the traditional notion experience and
thought are antithetical terms. Inference, so far as it is other than a
revival of what has been given in the past, goes beyond experience;
hence it is either invalid, or else a measure of desperation by which,
using experience as a springboard, we jump out to a world of stable
things and other selves. But experience, taken free of the restrictions
imposed by the older concept, is full of inference. There is,
apparently, no conscious experience without inference; reflection is
native and constant.

These contrasts, with a consideration of the effect of substituting the
account of experience relevant to modern life for the inherited account,
afford the subject-matter of the following discussion.

Suppose we take seriously the contribution made to our idea of
experience by biology,--not that recent biological science discovered
the facts, but that it has so emphasized them that there is no longer an
excuse for ignoring them or treating them as negligible. Any account of
experience must now fit into the consideration that experiencing means
living; and that living goes on in and because of an environing medium,
not in a vacuum. Where there is experience, there is a living being.
Where there is life, there is a double connexion maintained with the
environment. In part, environmental energies constitute organic
functions; they enter into them. Life is not possible without such
direct support by the environment. But while all organic changes depend
upon the natural energies of the environment for their origination and
occurrence, the natural energies sometimes carry the organic functions
prosperously forward, and sometimes act counter to their continuance.
Growth and decay, health and disease, are alike continuous with
activities of the natural surroundings. The difference lies in the
bearing of what happens upon future life-activity. From the standpoint
of this future reference environmental incidents fall into groups: those
favorable to life-activities, and those hostile.

The successful activities of the organism, those within which
environmental assistance is incorporated, react upon the environment to
bring about modifications favorable to their own future. The human being
has upon his hands the problem of responding to what is going on around
him so that these changes will take one turn rather than another,
namely, that required by its own further functioning. While backed in
part by the environment, its life is anything but a peaceful exhalation
of environment. It is obliged to struggle--that is to say, to employ the
direct support given by the environment in order indirectly to effect
changes that would not otherwise occur. In this sense, life goes on by
means of controlling the environment. Its activities must change the
changes going on around it; they must neutralize hostile occurrences;
they must transform neutral events into coöperative factors or into an
efflorescence of new features.

Dialectic developments of the notion of self-preservation, of the
_conatus essendi_, often ignore all the important facts of the actual
process. They argue as if self-control, self-development, went on
directly as a sort of unrolling push from within. But life endures only
in virtue of the support of the environment. And since the environment
is only incompletely enlisted in our behalf, self-preservation--or
self-realization or whatever--is always indirect--always an affair of
the way in which our present activities affect the direction taken by
independent changes in the surroundings. Hindrances must be turned into

We are also given to playing loose with the conception of adjustment, as
if that meant something fixed--a kind of accommodation once for all
(ideally at least) of the organism _to_ an environment. But as life
requires the fitness of the environment to the organic functions,
adjustment to the environment means not passive acceptance of the
latter, but acting so that the environing changes take a certain turn.
The "higher" the type of life, the more adjustment takes the form of an
adjusting of the factors of the environment to one another in the
interest of life; the less the significance of living, the more it
becomes an adjustment to a given environment till at the lower end of
the scale the differences between living and the non-living disappear.

These statements are of an external kind. They are about the conditions
of experience, rather than about experiencing itself. But assuredly
experience as it concretely takes place bears out the statements.
Experience is primarily a process of undergoing: a process of standing
something; of suffering and passion, of affection, in the literal sense
of these words. The organism has to endure, to undergo, the
consequences of its own actions. Experience is no slipping along in a
path fixed by inner consciousness. Private consciousness is an
incidental outcome of experience of a vital objective sort; it is not
its source. Undergoing, however, is never mere passivity. The most
patient patient is more than a receptor. He is also an agent--a reactor,
one trying experiments, one concerned with undergoing in a way which may
influence what is still to happen. Sheer endurance, side-stepping
evasions, are, after all, ways of treating the environment with a view
to what such treatment will accomplish. Even if we shut ourselves up in
the most clam-like fashion, we are doing something; our passivity is an
active attitude, not an extinction of response. Just as there is no
assertive action, no aggressive attack upon things as they are, which is
all action, so there is no undergoing which is not on our part also a
going on and a going through.

Experience, in other words, is a matter of _simultaneous_ doings and
sufferings. Our undergoings are experiments in varying the course of
events; our active tryings are trials and tests of ourselves. This
duplicity of experience shows itself in our happiness and misery, our
successes and failures. Triumphs are dangerous when dwelt upon or lived
off from; successes use themselves up. Any achieved equilibrium of
adjustment with the environment is precarious because we cannot evenly
keep pace with changes in the environment. These are so opposed in
direction that we must choose. We must take the risk of casting in our
lot with one movement or the other. Nothing can eliminate all risk, all
adventure; the one thing doomed to failure is to try to keep even with
the whole environment at once--that is to say, to maintain the happy
moment when all things go our way.

The obstacles which confront us are stimuli to variation, to novel
response, and hence are occasions of progress. If a favor done us by the
environment conceals a threat, so its disfavor is a potential means of
hitherto unexperienced modes of success. To treat misery as anything but
misery, as for example a blessing in disguise or a necessary factor in
good, is disingenuous apologetics. But to say that the progress of the
race has been stimulated by ills undergone, and that men have been moved
by what they suffer to search out new and better courses of action is to
speak veraciously.

The preoccupation of experience with things which are coming (are now
coming, not just to come) is obvious to any one whose interest in
experience is empirical. Since we live forward; since we live in a world
where changes are going on whose issue means our weal or woe; since
every act of ours modifies these changes and hence is fraught with
promise, or charged with hostile energies--what should experience be but
a future implicated in a present! Adjustment is no timeless state; it is
a continuing process. To say that a change takes time may be to say
something about the event which is external and uninstructive. But
adjustment of organism to environment takes time in the pregnant sense;
every step in the process is conditioned by reference to further
changes which it effects. What is going on in the environment is the
concern of the organism; not what is already "there" in accomplished and
finished form. In so far as the issue of what is going on may be
affected by intervention of the organism, the moving event is a
challenge which stretches the agent-patient to meet what is coming.
Experiencing exhibits things in their unterminated aspect moving toward
determinate conclusions. The finished and done with is of import as
affecting the future, not on its own account: in short, because it is
not, really, done with.

Anticipation is therefore more primary than recollection; projection
than summoning of the past; the prospective than the retrospective.
Given a world like that in which we live, a world in which environing
changes are partly favorable and partly callously indifferent, and
experience is bound to be prospective in import; for any control
attainable by the living creature depends upon what is done to alter the
state of things. Success and failure are the primary "categories" of
life; achieving of good and averting of ill are its supreme interests;
hope and anxiety (which are not self-enclosed states of feeling, but
active attitudes of welcome and wariness) are dominant qualities of
experience. Imaginative forecast of the future is this forerunning
quality of behavior rendered available for guidance in the present.
Day-dreaming and castle-building and esthetic realization of what is not
practically achieved are offshoots of this practical trait, or else
practical intelligence is a chastened fantasy. It makes little
difference. Imaginative recovery of the bygone is indispensable to
successful invasion of the future, but its status is that of an
instrument. To ignore its import is the sign of an undisciplined agent;
but to isolate the past, dwelling upon it for its own sake and giving it
the eulogistic name of knowledge, is to substitute the reminiscence of
old-age for effective intelligence. The movement of the agent-patient to
meet the future is partial and passionate; yet detached and impartial
study of the past is the only alternative to luck in assuring success to


This description of experience would be but a rhapsodic celebration of
the commonplace were it not in marked contrast to orthodox philosophical
accounts. The contrast indicates that traditional accounts have not been
empirical, but have been deductions, from unnamed premises, of what
experience _must_ be. Historic empiricism has been empirical in a
technical and controversial sense. It has said, Lord, Lord, Experience,
Experience; but in practice it has served ideas _forced into_
experience, not _gathered from_ it.

The confusion and artificiality thereby introduced into philosophical
thought is nowhere more evident than in the empirical treatment of
relations or dynamic continuities. The experience of a living being
struggling to hold its own and make its way in an environment, physical
and social, partly facilitating and partly obstructing its actions, is
of necessity a matter of ties and connexions, of bearings and uses. The
very point of experience, so to say, is that it doesn't occur in a
vacuum; its agent-patient instead of being insulated and disconnected is
bound up with the movement of things by most intimate and pervasive
bonds. Only because the organism is in and of the world, and its
activities correlated with those of other things in multiple ways, is it
susceptible to undergoing things and capable of trying to reduce objects
to means of securing its good fortune. That these connexions are of
diverse kinds is irresistibly proved by the fluctuations which occur in
its career. Help and hindrance, stimulation and inhibition, success and
failure mean specifically different modes of correlation. Although the
actions of things in the world are taking place in one continuous
stretch of existence, there are all kinds of specific affinities,
repulsions, and relative indifferencies.

Dynamic connexions are qualitatively diverse, just as are the centers of
action. _In this sense_, pluralism, not monism, is an established
empirical fact. The attempt to establish monism from consideration of
the very nature of a relation is a mere piece of dialectics. Equally
dialectical is the effort to establish by a consideration of the nature
of relations an ontological Pluralism of Ultimates: _simple and
independent beings._ To attempt to get results from a consideration of
the "external" nature of relations is of a piece with the attempt to
deduce results from their "internal" character. Some things are
relatively insulated from the influence of other things; some things are
easily invaded by others; some things are fiercely attracted to conjoin
their activities with those of others. Experience exhibits every kind
of connexion[1] from the most intimate to mere external juxtaposition.

Empirically, then, active bonds or continuities of all kinds, together
with static discontinuities, characterize existence. To deny this
qualitative heterogeneity is to reduce the struggles and difficulties of
life, its comedies and tragedies to illusion: to the non-being of the
Greeks or to its modern counterpart, the "subjective." Experience is an
affair of facilitations and checks, of being sustained and disrupted,
being let alone, being helped and troubled, of good fortune and defeat
in all the countless qualitative modes which these words pallidly
suggest. The existence of genuine connexions of all manner of
heterogeneity cannot be doubted. Such words as conjoining, disjoining,
resisting, modifying, saltatory, and ambulatory (to use James'
picturesque term) only hint at their actual heterogeneity.

Among the revisions and surrenders of historic problems demanded by this
feature of empirical situations, those centering in the
rationalistic-empirical controversy may be selected for attention. The
implications of this controversy are twofold: First, that connexions are
as homogeneous in fact as in name; and, secondly, if genuine, are all
due to thought, or, if empirical, are arbitrary by-products of past
particulars. The stubborn particularism of orthodox empiricism is its
outstanding trait; consequently the opposed rationalism found no
justification of bearings, continuities, and ties save to refer them in
gross to the work of a hyper-empirical Reason.

Of course, not all empiricism prior to Hume and Kant was
sensationalistic, pulverizing "experience" into isolated sensory
qualities or simple ideas. It did not all follow Locke's lead in
regarding the entire content of generalization as the "workmanship of
the understanding." On the Continent, prior to Kant, philosophers were
content to draw a line between empirical generalizations regarding
matters of fact and necessary universals applying to truths of reason.
But logical atomism was implicit even in this theory. Statements
referring to empirical fact were mere quantitative summaries of
particular instances. In the sensationalism which sprang from Hume (and
which was left unquestioned by Kant as far as any strictly empirical
element was concerned) the implicit particularism was made explicit. But
the doctrine that sensations and ideas are so many separate existences
was not derived from observation nor from experiment. It was a logical
deduction from a prior unexamined concept of the nature of experience.
From the same concept it followed that the appearance of stable objects
and of general principles of connexion was but an appearance.[2]

Kantianism, then, naturally invoked universal bonds to restore
objectivity. But, in so doing, it accepted the particularism of
experience and proceeded to supplement it from non-empirical sources. A
sensory manifold being all which is really empirical in experience, a
reason which transcends experience must provide synthesis. The net
outcome might have suggested a correct account of experience. For we
have only to forget the apparatus by which the net outcome is arrived
at, to have before us the experience of the plain man--a diversity of
ceaseless changes connected in all kinds of ways, static and dynamic.
This conclusion would deal a deathblow to both empiricism and
rationalism. For, making clear the non-empirical character of the
alleged manifold of unconnected particulars, it would render unnecessary
the appeal to functions of the understanding in order to connect them.
With the downfall of the traditional notion of experience, the appeal to
reason to supplement its defects becomes superfluous.

The tradition was, however, too strongly entrenched; especially as it
furnished the subject-matter of an alleged science of states of mind
which were directly known in their very presence. The historic outcome
was a new crop of artificial puzzles about relations; it fastened upon
philosophy for a long time the quarrel about the _a priori_ and the _a
posteriori_ as its chief issue. The controversy is to-day quiescent. Yet
it is not at all uncommon to find thinkers modern in tone and intent
who regard any philosophy of experience as necessarily committed to
denial of the existence of genuinely general propositions, and who take
empiricism to be inherently averse to the recognition of the importance
of an organizing and constructive intelligence.

The quiescence alluded to is in part due, I think, to sheer weariness.
But it is also due to a change of standpoint introduced by biological
conceptions; and particularly the discovery of biological continuity
from the lower organisms to man. For a short period, Spencerians might
connect the doctrine of evolution with the old problem, and use the long
temporal accumulation of "experiences" to generate something which, for
human experience, is _a priori_. But the tendency of the biological way
of thinking is neither to confirm or negate the Spencerian doctrine, but
to shift the issue. In the orthodox position _a posteriori_ and _a
priori_ were affairs of knowledge. But it soon becomes obvious that
while there is assuredly something _a priori_--that is to say, native,
unlearned, original--in human experience, that something is _not_
knowledge, but is activities made possible by means of established
connexions of neurones. This empirical fact does not solve the orthodox
problem; it dissolves it. It shows that the problem was misconceived,
and solution sought by both parties in the wrong direction.

Organic instincts and organic retention, or habit-forming, are
undeniable factors in actual experience. They are factors which effect
organization and secure continuity. They are among the specific facts
which a description of experience cognizant of the correlation of
organic action with the action of other natural objects will include.
But while fortunately the contribution of biological science to a truly
empirical description of experiencing has outlawed the discussion of the
_a priori_ and _a posteriori_, the transforming effect of the same
contributions upon other issues has gone unnoticed, save as pragmatism
has made an effort to bring them to recognition.


The point seriously at issue in the notion of experience common to both
sides in the older controversy thus turns out to be the place of thought
or intelligence in experience. Does reason have a distinctive office? Is
there a characteristic order of relations contributed by it?

Experience, to return to our positive conception, is primarily what is
undergone in connexion with activities whose import lies in their
objective consequences--their bearing upon future experiences. Organic
functions deal with things as things in course, in operation, in a state
of affairs not yet given or completed. What is done with, what is just
"there," is of concern only in the potentialities which it may indicate.
As ended, as wholly given, it is of no account. But as a sign of what
may come, it becomes an indispensable factor in behavior dealing with
changes, the outcome of which is not yet determined.

The only power the organism possesses to control its own future depends
upon the way its present responses modify changes which are taking place
in its medium. A living being may be comparatively impotent, or
comparatively free. It is all a matter of the way in which its present
reactions to things influence the future reactions of things upon it.
Without regard to its wish or intent every act it performs makes some
difference in the environment. The change may be trivial as respects its
own career and fortune. But it may also be of incalculable importance;
it may import harm, destruction, or it may procure well-being.

Is it possible for a living being to increase its control of welfare and
success? Can it manage, in any degree, to assure its future? Or does the
amount of security depend wholly upon the accidents of the situation?
Can it learn? Can it gain ability to assure its future in the present?
These questions center attention upon the significance of reflective
intelligence in the process of experience. The extent of an agent's
capacity for inference, its power to use a given fact as a sign of
something not yet given, measures the extent of its ability
systematically to enlarge its control of the future.

A being which can use given and finished facts as signs of things to
come; which can take given things as evidences of absent things, can, in
that degree, forecast the future; it can form reasonable expectations.
It is capable of achieving ideas; it is possessed of intelligence. For
use of the given or finished to anticipate the consequence of processes
going on is precisely what is meant by "ideas," by "intelligence."

As we have already noted, the environment is rarely all of a kind in its
bearing upon organic welfare; its most whole-hearted support of
life-activities is precarious and temporary. Some environmental changes
are auspicious; others are menacing. The secret of success--that is, of
the greatest attainable success--is for the organic response to cast in
its lot with present auspicious changes to strengthen them and thus to
avert the consequences flowing from occurrences of ill-omen. Any
reaction is a venture; it involves risk. We always build better or worse
than we can foretell. But the organism's fateful intervention in the
course of events is blind, its choice is random, except as it can employ
what happens to it as a basis of inferring what is likely to happen
later. In the degree in which it can read future results in present
on-goings, its responsive choice, its partiality to this condition or
that, become intelligent. Its bias grows reasonable. It can
deliberately, intentionally, participate in the direction of the course
of affairs. Its foresight of different futures which result according as
this or that present factor predominates in the shaping of affairs
permits it to partake intelligently instead of blindly and fatally in
the consequences its reactions give rise to. Participate it must, and to
its own weal or woe. Inference, the use of what happens, to anticipate
what will--or at least may--happen, makes the difference between
directed and undirected participation. And this capacity for inferring
is precisely the same as that use of natural occurrences for the
discovery and determination of consequences--the formation of new
dynamic connexions--which constitutes knowledge.

The fact that thought is an intrinsic feature of experience is fatal to
the traditional empiricism which makes it an artificial by-product. But
for that same reason it is fatal to the historic rationalisms whose
justification was the secondary and retrospective position assigned to
thought by empirical philosophy. According to the particularism of the
latter, thought was inevitably only a bunching together of hard-and-fast
separate items; thinking was but the gathering together and tying of
items already completely given, or else an equally artificial untying--a
mechanical adding and subtracting of the given. It was but a cumulative
registration, a consolidated merger; generality was a matter of bulk,
not of quality. Thinking was therefore treated as lacking constructive
power; even its organizing capacity was but simulated, being in truth
but arbitrary pigeon-holing. Genuine projection of the novel,
deliberate variation and invention, are idle fictions in such a version
of experience. If there ever was creation, it all took place at a remote
period. Since then the world has only recited lessons.

The value of inventive construction is too precious to be disposed of in
this cavalier way. Its unceremonious denial afforded an opportunity to
assert that in addition to experience the subject has a ready-made
faculty of thought or reason which transcends experience. Rationalism
thus accepted the account of experience given by traditional empiricism,
and introduced reason as extra-empirical. There are still thinkers who
regard any empiricism as necessarily committed to a belief in a
cut-and-dried reliance upon disconnected precedents, and who hold that
all systematic organization of past experiences for new and constructive
purposes is alien to strict empiricism.

Rationalism never explained, however, how a reason extraneous to
experience could enter into helpful relation with concrete experiences.
By definition, reason and experience were antithetical, so that the
concern of reason was not the fruitful expansion and guidance of the
course of experience, but a realm of considerations too sublime to
touch, or be touched by, experience. Discreet rationalists confined
themselves to theology and allied branches of abtruse science, and to
mathematics. Rationalism would have been a doctrine reserved for
academic specialists and abstract formalists had it not assumed the task
of providing an apologetics for traditional morals and theology, thereby
getting into touch with actual human beliefs and concerns. It is
notorious that historic empiricism was strong in criticism and in
demolition of outworn beliefs, but weak for purposes of constructive
social direction. But we frequently overlook the fact that whenever
rationalism cut free from conservative apologetics, it was also simply
an instrumentality for pointing out inconsistencies and absurdities in
existing beliefs--a sphere in which it was immensely useful, as the
Enlightenment shows. Leibniz and Voltaire were contemporary rationalists
in more senses than one.[3]

The recognition that reflection is a genuine factor within experience
and an indispensable factor in that control of the world which secures a
prosperous and significant expansion of experience undermines historic
rationalism as assuredly as it abolishes the foundations of historic
empiricism. The bearing of a correct idea of the place and office of
reflection upon modern idealisms is less obvious, but no less certain.

One of the curiosities of orthodox empiricism is that its outstanding
speculative problem is the existence of an "external world." For in
accordance with the notion that experience is attached to a private
subject as its exclusive possession, a world like the one in which we
appear to live must be "external" to experience instead of being its
subject-matter. I call it a curiosity, for if anything seems adequately
grounded empirically it is the existence of a world which resists the
characteristic functions of the subject of experience; which goes its
way, in some respects, independently of these functions, and which
frustrates our hopes and intentions. Ignorance which is fatal;
disappointment; the need of adjusting means and ends to the course of
nature, would seem to be facts sufficiently characterizing empirical
situations as to render the existence of an external world indubitable.

That the description of experience was arrived at by forcing actual
empirical facts into conformity with dialectic developments from a
concept of a knower outside of the real world of nature is testified to
by the historic alliance of empiricism and idealism.[4] According to the
most logically consistent editions of orthodox empiricism, all that can
be experienced is the fleeting, the momentary, mental state. That alone
is absolutely and indubitably present; therefore, it alone is
cognitively certain. It alone is _knowledge_. The existence of the past
(and of the future), of a decently stable world and of other
selves--indeed, of one's own self--falls outside this datum of
experience. These can be arrived at only by inference which is
"ejective"--a name given to an alleged type of inference that jumps from
experience, as from a springboard, to something beyond experience.

I should not anticipate difficulty in showing that this doctrine is,
dialectically, a mass of inconsistencies. Avowedly it is a doctrine of
desperation, and as such it is cited here to show the desperate straits
to which ignoring empirical facts has reduced a doctrine of experience.
More positively instructive are the objective idealisms which have been
the offspring of the marriage between the "reason" of historic
rationalism and the alleged immediate psychical stuff of historic
empiricism. These idealisms have recognized the genuineness of
connexions and the impotency of "feeling." They have then identified
connexions with logical or rational connexions, and thus treated "the
real World" as a synthesis of sentient consciousness by means of a
rational self-consciousness introducing objectivity: stability and
universality of reference.

Here again, for present purposes, criticism is unnecessary. It suffices
to point out that the value of this theory is bound up with the
genuineness of the problem of which it purports to be a solution. If the
basic concept is a fiction, there is no call for the solution. The more
important point is to perceive how far the "thought" which figures in
objective idealism comes from meeting the empirical demands made upon
actual thought. Idealism is much less formal than historic rationalism.
It treats thought, or reason, as constitutive of experience by means of
uniting and constructive functions, not as just concerned with a realm
of eternal truths apart from experience. On such a view thought
certainly loses its abstractness and remoteness. But, unfortunately, in
thus gaining the whole world it loses its own self. A world already, in
its intrinsic structure, dominated by thought is not a world in which,
save by contradiction of premises, thinking has anything to do.

That the doctrine logically results in making change unreal and error
unaccountable are consequences of importance in the technique of
professional philosophy; in the denial of empirical fact which they
imply they seem to many a _reductio ad absurdum_ of the premises from
which they proceed. But, after all, such consequences are of only
professional import. What is serious, even sinister, is the implied
sophistication regarding the place and office of reflection in the
scheme of things. A doctrine which exalts thought in name while
ignoring its efficacy in fact (that is, its use in bettering life) is a
doctrine which cannot be entertained and taught without serious peril.
Those who are not concerned with professional philosophy but who are
solicitous for intelligence as a factor in the amelioration of actual
conditions can but look askance at any doctrine which holds that the
entire scheme of things is already, if we but acquire the knack of
looking at it aright, fixedly and completely rational. It is a striking
manifestation of the extent in which philosophies have been compensatory
in quality.[5] But the matter cannot be passed over as if it were simply
a question of not grudging a certain amount of consolation to one amid
the irretrievable evils of life. For as to these evils no one knows how
many are retrievable; and a philosophy which proclaims the ability of a
dialectic theory of knowledge to reveal the world as already and
eternally a self-luminous rational whole, contaminates the scope and use
of thought at its very spring. To substitute the otiose insight gained
by manipulation of a formula for the slow coöperative work of a humanity
guided by reflective intelligence is more than a technical blunder of
speculative philosophers.

A practical crisis may throw the relationship of ideas to life into an
exaggerated Brocken-like spectral relief, where exaggeration renders
perceptible features not ordinarily noted. The use of force to secure
narrow because exclusive aims is no novelty in human affairs. The
deploying of all the intelligence at command in order to increase the
effectiveness of the force used is not so common, yet presents nothing
intrinsically remarkable. The identification of force--military,
economic, and administrative--with moral necessity and moral culture is,
however, a phenomenon not likely to exhibit itself on a wide scale
except where intelligence has already been suborned by an idealism which
identifies "the actual with the rational," and thus finds the measure of
reason in the brute event determined by superior force. If we are to
have a philosophy which will intervene between attachment to rule of
thumb muddling and devotion to a systematized subordination of
intelligence to preëxistent ends, it can be found only in a philosophy
which finds the ultimate measure of intelligence in consideration of a
desirable future and in search for the means of bringing it
progressively into existence. When professed idealism turns out to be a
narrow pragmatism--narrow because taking for granted the finality of
ends determined by historic conditions--the time has arrived for a
pragmatism which shall be empirically idealistic, proclaiming the
essential connexion of intelligence with the unachieved future--with
possibilities involving a transfiguration.


Why has the description of experience been so remote from the facts of
empirical situations? To answer this question throws light upon the
submergence of recent philosophizing in epistemology--that is, in
discussions of the nature, possibility, and limits of knowledge in
general, and in the attempt to reach conclusions regarding the ultimate
nature of reality from the answers given to such questions.

The reply to the query regarding the currency of a non-empirical
doctrine of experience (even among professed empiricists) is that the
traditional account is derived from a conception once universally
entertained regarding the subject or bearer or center of experience. The
description of experience has been forced into conformity with this
prior conception; it has been primarily a deduction from it, actual
empirical facts being poured into the moulds of the deductions. The
characteristic feature of this prior notion is the assumption that
experience centers in, or gathers about, or proceeds from a center or
subject which is outside the course of natural existence, and set over
against it:--it being of no importance, for present purposes, whether
this antithetical subject is termed soul, or spirit, or mind, or ego, or
consciousness, or just knower or knowing subject.

There are plausible grounds for thinking that the currency of the idea
in question lies in the form which men's religious preoccupations took
for many centuries. These were deliberately and systematically
other-worldly. They centered about a Fall which was not an event in
nature, but an aboriginal catastrophe that corrupted Nature; about a
redemption made possible by supernatural means; about a life in another
world--essentially, not merely spatially, Other. The supreme drama of
destiny took place in a soul or spirit which, under the circumstances,
could not be conceived other than as non-natural--extra-natural, if not,
strictly speaking, supernatural. When Descartes and others broke away
from medieval interests, they retained as commonplaces its intellectual
apparatus: Such as, knowledge is exercised by a power that is
extra-natural and set over against the world to be known. Even if they
had wished to make a complete break, they had nothing to put as knower
in the place of the soul. It may be doubted whether there was any
available empirical substitute until science worked out the fact that
physical changes are functional correlations of energies, and that man
is continuous with other forms of life, and until social life had
developed an intellectually free and responsible individual as its

But my main point is not dependent upon any particular theory as to the
historic origin of the notion about the bearer of experience. The point
is there on its own account. The essential thing is that the bearer was
conceived as outside of the world; so that experience consisted in the
bearer's being affected through a type of operations not found anywhere
in the world, while knowledge consists in surveying the world, looking
at it, getting the view of a spectator.

The theological problem of attaining knowledge of God as ultimate
reality was transformed in effect into the philosophical problem of the
possibility of attaining knowledge of reality. For how is one to get
beyond the limits of the subject and subjective occurrences? Familiarity
breeds credulity oftener than contempt. How can a problem be artificial
when men have been busy discussing it almost for three hundred years?
But if the assumption that experience is something set over against the
world is contrary to fact, then the problem of how self or mind or
subjective experience or consciousness can reach knowledge of an
external world is assuredly a meaningless problem. Whatever questions
there may be about knowledge, they will not be the kind of problems
which have formed epistemology.

The problem of knowledge as conceived in the industry of epistemology is
the problem of knowledge _in general_--of the possibility, extent, and
validity of knowledge in general. What does this "in general" mean? In
ordinary life there are problems a-plenty of knowledge in particular;
every conclusion we try to reach, theoretical or practical, affords such
a problem. But there is no problem of knowledge in general. I do not
mean, of course, that general statements cannot be made about knowledge,
or that the problem of attaining these general statements is not a
genuine one. On the contrary, specific instances of success and failure
in inquiry exist, and are of such a character that one can discover the
conditions conducing to success and failure. Statement of these
conditions constitutes logic, and is capable of being an important aid
in proper guidance of further attempts at knowing. But this logical
problem of knowledge is at the opposite pole from the epistemological.
Specific problems are about right conclusions to be reached--which
means, in effect, right ways of going about the business of inquiry.
They imply a difference between knowledge and error consequent upon
right and wrong methods of inquiry and testing; not a difference
between experience and the world. The problem of knowledge _überhaupt_
exists because it is assumed that there is a knower in general, who is
outside of the world to be known, and who is defined in terms
antithetical to the traits of the world. With analogous assumptions, we
could invent and discuss a problem of digestion in general. All that
would be required would be to conceive the stomach and food-material as
inhabiting different worlds. Such an assumption would leave on our hands
the question of the possibility, extent, nature, and genuineness of any
transaction between stomach and food.

But because the stomach and food inhabit a continuous stretch of
existence, because digestion is but a correlation of diverse activities
in one world, the problems of digestion are specific and plural: What
are the particular correlations which constitute it? How does it proceed
in different situations? What is favorable and what unfavorable to its
best performance?--and so on. Can one deny that if we were to take our
clue from the present empirical situation, including the scientific
notion of evolution (biological continuity) and the existing arts of
control of nature, subject and object would be treated as occupying the
same natural world as unhesitatingly as we assume the natural
conjunction of an animal and its food? Would it not follow that
knowledge is one way in which natural energies coöperate? Would there be
any problem save discovery of the peculiar structure of this
coöperation, the conditions under which it occurs to best effect, and
the consequences which issue from its occurrence?

It is a commonplace that the chief divisions of modern philosophy,
idealism in its different kinds, realisms of various brands, so-called
common-sense dualism, agnosticism, relativism, phenomenalism, have grown
up around the epistemological problem of the general relation of subject
and object. Problems not openly epistemological, such as whether the
relation of changes in consciousness to physical changes is one of
interaction, parallelism, or automatism have the same origin. What
becomes of philosophy, consisting largely as it does of different
answers to these questions, in case the assumptions which generate the
questions have no empirical standing? Is it not time that philosophers
turned from the attempt to determine the comparative merits of various
replies to the questions to a consideration of the claims of the

When dominating religious ideas were built up about the idea that the
self is a stranger and pilgrim in this world; when morals, falling in
line, found true good only in inner states of a self inaccessible to
anything but its own private introspection; when political theory
assumed the finality of disconnected and mutually exclusive
personalities, the notion that the bearer of experience is antithetical
to the world instead of being in and of it was congenial. It at least
had the warrant of other beliefs and aspirations. But the doctrine of
biological continuity or organic evolution has destroyed the scientific
basis of the conception. Morally, men are now concerned with the
amelioration of the conditions of the common lot in this world. Social
sciences recognize that associated life is not a matter of physical
juxtaposition, but of genuine intercourse--of community of experience in
a non-metaphorical sense of community. Why should we longer try to patch
up and refine and stretch the old solutions till they seem to cover the
change of thought and practice? Why not recognize that the trouble is
with the problem?

A belief in organic evolution which does not extend unreservedly to the
way in which the subject of experience is thought of, and which does not
strive to bring the entire theory of experience and knowing into line
with biological and social facts, is hardly more than Pickwickian. There
are many, for example, who hold that dreams, hallucinations, and errors
cannot be accounted for at all except on the theory that a self (or
"consciousness") exercises a modifying influence upon the "real object."
The logical assumption is that consciousness is outside of the real
object; that it is something different in kind, and therefore has the
power of changing "reality" into appearance, of introducing
"relativities" into things as they are in themselves--in short, of
infecting real things with subjectivity. Such writers seem unaware of
the fact that this assumption makes consciousness supernatural in the
literal sense of the word; and that, to say the least, the conception
can be accepted by one who accepts the doctrine of biological continuity
only after every other way of dealing with the facts has been exhausted.

Realists, of course (at least some of the Neo-realists), deny any such
miraculous intervention of consciousness. But they[6] admit the reality
of the problem; denying only this particular solution, they try to find
some other way out, which will still preserve intact the notion of
knowledge as a relationship of a general sort between subject and

Now dreams and hallucinations, errors, pleasures, and pains, possibly
"secondary" qualities, do not occur save where there are organic centers
of experience. They cluster about a subject. But to treat them as things
which inhere exclusively in the subject; or as posing the problem of a
distortion of _the_ real object by a knower set over against the world,
or as presenting facts to be explained primarily as cases of
contemplative knowledge, is to testify that one has still to learn the
lesson of evolution in its application to the affairs in hand.

If biological development be accepted, the subject of experience is at
least an animal, continuous with other organic forms in a process of
more complex organization. An animal in turn is at least continuous with
chemico-physical processes which, in living things, are so organized as
really to constitute the activities of life with all their defining
traits. And experience is not identical with brain action; it is the
entire organic agent-patient in all its interaction with the
environment, natural and social. The brain is primarily an organ of a
certain kind of behavior, not of knowing the world. And to repeat what
has already been said, experiencing is just certain modes of
interaction, of correlation, of natural objects among which the organism
happens, so to say, to be one. It follows with equal force that
experience means primarily not knowledge, but ways of doing and
suffering. Knowing must be described by discovering what particular
mode--qualitatively unique--of doing and suffering it is. As it is, we
find experience assimilated to a non-empirical concept of knowledge,
derived from an antecedent notion of a spectator outside of the

In short, the epistemological fashion of conceiving dreams, errors,
"relativities," etc., depends upon the isolation of mind from intimate
participation with other changes in the same continuous nexus. Thus it
is like contending that when a bottle bursts, the bottle is, in some
self-contained miraculous way, exclusively responsible. Since it is the
nature of a bottle to be whole so as to retain fluids, bursting is an
abnormal event--comparable to an hallucination. Hence it cannot belong
to the "real" bottle; the "subjectivity" of glass is the cause. It is
obvious that since the breaking of glass is a case of specific
correlation of natural energies, its accidental and abnormal character
has to do with _consequences_, not with causation. Accident is
interference with the consequences for which the bottle is intended. The
bursting considered apart from its bearing on these consequences is on a
plane with any other occurrence in the wide world. But from the
standpoint of a desired future, bursting is an anomaly, an interruption
of the course of events.

The analogy with the occurrence of dreams, hallucinations, etc., seems
to me exact. Dreams are not something outside of the regular course of
events; they are in and of it. They are not cognitive distortions of
real things; they are _more_ real things. There is nothing abnormal in
their existence, any more than there is in the bursting of a bottle.[8]
But they may be abnormal, from the standpoint of their influence, of
their operation as stimuli in calling out responses to modify the
future. Dreams have often been taken as prognostics of what is to
happen; they have modified conduct. A hallucination may lead a man to
consult a doctor; such a consequence is right and proper. But the
consultation indicates that the subject regarded it as an indication of
consequences which he feared: as a symptom of a disturbed life. Or the
hallucination may lead him to anticipate consequences which in fact flow
only from the possession of great wealth. Then the hallucination is a
disturbance of the normal course of events; the occurrence is wrongly
_used_ with reference to eventualities.

To regard reference to use and to desired and intended consequences as
involving a "subjective" factor is to miss the point, for this has
regard to the future. The uses to which a bottle are put are not mental;
they do not consist of physical states; they are further correlations of
natural existences. Consequences in use are genuine natural events; but
they do not occur without the intervention of behavior involving
anticipation of a future. The case is not otherwise with an
hallucination. The differences it makes are in any case differences in
the course of the one continuous world. The important point is whether
they are good or bad differences. To use the hallucination as a sign of
organic lesions that menace health means the beneficial result of seeing
a physician; to respond to it as a sign of consequences such as actually
follow only from being persecuted is to fall into error--to be abnormal.
The persecutors are "unreal"; that is, there are no things which act as
persecutors act; but the hallucination exists. Given its conditions it
is as natural as any other event, and poses only the same kind of
problem as is put by the occurrence of, say, a thunderstorm. The
"unreality" of persecution is not, however, a subjective matter; it
means that conditions do not exist for producing the _future_
consequences which are now anticipated and reacted to. Ability to
anticipate future consequences and to respond to them as stimuli to
present behavior may well _define_ what is meant by a mind or by
"consciousness."[9] But this is only a way of saying just what kind of a
real or natural existence the subject is; it is not to fall back on a
preconception about an unnatural subject in order to characterize the
occurrence of error.

Although the discussion may be already labored, let us take another
example--the occurrence of disease. By definition it is pathological,
abnormal. At one time in human history this abnormality was taken to be
something dwelling in the intrinsic nature of the event--in its
existence irrespective of future consequences. Disease was literally
extra-natural and to be referred to demons, or to magic. No one to-day
questions its naturalness--its place in the order of natural events. Yet
it is abnormal--for it operates to effect results different from those
which follow from health. The difference is a genuine empirical
difference, not a mere mental distinction. From the standpoint of
bearing on a subsequent course of events disease is unnatural, in spite
of the naturalness of its occurrence and origin.

The habit of ignoring reference to the future is responsible for the
assumption that to admit human participation in any form is to admit the
"subjective" in a sense which alters the objective into the phenomenal.
There have been those who, like Spinoza, regarded health and disease,
good and ill, as equally real and equally unreal. However, only a few
consistent materialists have included truth along with error as merely
phenomenal and subjective. But if one does not regard movement toward
possible consequences as genuine, wholesale denial of existential
validity to all these distinctions is the only logical course. To select
truth as objective and error as "subjective" is, on this basis, an
unjustifiably partial procedure. Take everything as fixedly given, and
both truth and error are arbitrary insertions into fact. Admit the
genuineness of changes going on, and capacity for its direction through
organic action based on foresight, and both truth and falsity are alike
existential. It is human to regard the course of events which is in line
with our own efforts as the _regular_ course of events, and
interruptions as abnormal, but this partiality of human desire is itself
a part of what actually takes place.

It is now proposed to take a particular case of the alleged
epistemological predicament for discussion, since the entire ground
cannot be covered. I think, however, the instance chosen is typical, so
that the conclusion reached may be generalized.

The instance is that of so-called relativity in perception. There are
almost endless instances; the stick bent in water; the whistle changing
pitch with change of distance from the ear; objects doubled when the eye
is pushed; the destroyed star still visible, etc., etc. For our
consideration we may take the case of a spherical object that presents
itself to one observer as a flat circle, to another as a somewhat
distorted elliptical surface. This situation gives empirical proof, so
it is argued, of the difference between a real object and mere
appearance. Since there is but one object, the existence of two
_subjects_ is the sole differentiating factor. Hence the two
appearances of the one real object is proof of the intervening
distorting action of the subject. And many of the Neo-realists who deny
the difference in question, admit the case to be one of knowledge and
accordingly to constitute an epistemological problem. They have in
consequence developed wonderfully elaborate schemes of sundry kinds to
maintain "epistemological monism" intact.

Let us try to keep close to empirical facts. In the first place the two
unlike appearances of the one sphere are physically necessary because of
the laws of reaction of light. If the one sphere did _not_ assume these
two appearances under given conditions, we should be confronted with a
hopelessly irreconcilable discrepancy in the behavior of natural energy.
That the result is natural is evidenced by the fact that two cameras--or
other arrangements of apparatus for reflecting light--yield precisely
the same results. Photographs are as genuinely physical existences as
the original sphere; and they exhibit the two geometrical forms.

The statement of these facts makes no impression upon the confirmed
epistemologist; he merely retorts that as long as it is admitted that
the organism is the cause of a sphere being seen, from different points,
as a circular and as an elliptical surface, the essence of his
contention--the modification of the real object by the subject--is
admitted. To the question why the same logic does not apply to
photographic records he makes, as far as I know, no reply at all.

The source of the difficulty is not hard to see. The objection assumes
that the alleged modifications of _the_ real object are cases of
_knowing_ and hence attributable to the influence of a _knower_.
Statements which set forth the doctrine will always be found to refer to
the organic factor, to the eye, as an observer or a percipient. Even
when reference is made to a lens or a mirror, language is sometimes used
which suggests that the writer's naïveté is sufficiently gross to treat
these physical factors as if they were engaged in perceiving the sphere.
But as it is evident that the lens operates as a physical factor in
correlation with other physical factors--notably light--so it ought to
be evident that the intervention of the optical apparatus of the eye is
a purely non-cognitive matter. The relation in question is not one
between a sphere and a would-be knower of it, unfortunately condemned by
the nature of the knowing apparatus to alter the thing he would know; it
is an affair of the dynamic interaction of two physical agents in
producing a third thing, an effect;--an affair of precisely the same
kind as in any physical conjoint action, say the operation of hydrogen
and oxygen in producing water. To regard the eye as primarily a knower,
an observer, of things, is as crass as to assign that function to a
camera. But unless the eye (or optical apparatus, or brain, or organism)
be so regarded, there is absolutely no problem of observation or of
knowledge in the case of the occurrence of elliptical and circular
surfaces. Knowledge does not enter into the affair at all till _after_
these forms of refracted light have been produced. About them there is
nothing unreal. Light is really, physically, existentially, refracted
into these forms. If the same spherical form upon refracting light to
physical objects in two quite different positions produced the same
geometric forms, there would, indeed, be something to marvel at--as
there would be if wax produced the same results in contact
simultaneously with a cold body and with a warm one. Why talk about _the
real_ object in relation to _a knower_ when what is given is one real
thing in dynamic connection with another real thing?

The way of dealing with the case will probably meet with a retort; at
least, it has done so before. It has been said that the account given
above and the account of traditional subjectivism differ only verbally.
The essential thing in both, so it is said, is the admission that an
activity of a self or subject or organism makes a difference in the real
object. Whether the subject makes this difference in the very process of
knowing or makes it prior to the act of knowing is a minor matter; what
is important is that the known thing has, by the time it is known, been

The objection gives a convenient occasion for summarizing the main
points of the argument. On the one hand, the retort of the objector
depends upon talking about _the_ real object. Employ the term "_a_ real
object," and the change produced by the activity characteristic of the
optical apparatus is of just the same kind as that of the camera lens or
that of any other physical agency. Every event in the world marks a
difference made to one existence in active conjunction with some other
existence. And, as for the alleged subjectivity, if subjective is used
merely as an adjective to designate the specific activity of a
particular existence, comparable, say, to the term feral, applied to
tiger, or metallic, applied to iron, then of course reference to
subjective is legitimate. But it is also tautological. It is like saying
that flesh eaters are carnivorous. But the term "subjective" is so
consecrated to other uses, usually implying invidious contrast with
objectivity (while subjective in the sense just suggested means specific
mode _of_ objectivity), that it is difficult to maintain this innocent
sense. Its use in any disparaging way in the situation before us--any
sense implicating contrast with a real object--assumes that the organism
_ought_ not to make any difference when it operates in conjunction with
other things. Thus we run to earth that assumption that the subject is
heterogeneous from every other natural existence; it is to be the one
otiose, inoperative thing in a moving world--our old assumption of the
self as outside of things.[10]

What and where is knowledge in the case we have been considering? Not,
as we have already seen, in the production of forms of light having a
circular and elliptical surface. These forms are natural happenings.
They may enter into knowledge or they may not, according to
circumstances. Countless such refractive changes take place without
being noted.[11] When they become subject-matter for knowledge, the
inquiry they set on foot may take on an indefinite variety of forms. One
may be interested in ascertaining more about the structural
peculiarities of the forms themselves; one may be interested in the
mechanism of their production; one may find problems in projective
geometry, or in drawing and painting--all depending upon the specific
matter-of-fact context. The forms may be _objectives_ of knowledge--of
reflective examination--or they may be means of knowing something else.
It may happen--under some circumstances it does happen--that the
objective of inquiry is the nature of the geometric form which, when
refracting light, gives rise to these other forms. In this case the
sphere is the thing known, and in this case, the forms of light are
signs or evidence of the conclusion to be drawn. There is no more reason
for supposing that they _are_ (mis)knowledges of the sphere--that the
sphere is necessarily and from the start what one is trying to
know--than for supposing that the position of the mercury in the
thermometer tube is a cognitive distortion of atmospheric pressure. In
each case (that of the mercury and that of, say, a circular surface) the
primary datum is a physical happening. In each case it may be used, upon
occasion, as a sign or evidence of the nature of the causes which
brought it about. Given the position in question, the circular form
would be an intrinsically _unreliable_ evidence of the nature and
position of the spherical body only in case it, as the direct datum of
perception, were _not_ what it is--a circular form.

I confess that all this seems so obvious that the reader is entitled to
inquire into the motive for reciting such plain facts. Were it not for
the persistence of the epistemological problem it would be an affront to
the reader's intelligence to dwell upon them. But as long as such facts
as we have been discussing furnish the subject-matter with which
philosophizing is peculiarly concerned, these commonplaces must be urged
and reiterated. They bear out two contentions which are important at the
juncture, although they will lose special significance as soon as these
are habitually recognized: Negatively, a prior and non-empirical notion
of the self is the source of the prevailing belief that experience as
such is primarily cognitional--a knowledge affair; positively,
_knowledge is always a matter of the use that is made of experienced
natural events_, a use in which given things are treated as indications
of what will be experienced under different conditions.

Let us make one effort more to clear up these points. Suppose it is a
question of knowledge of water. The thing to be known does not present
itself primarily as a matter of knowledge-and-ignorance at all. It
occurs as a stimulus to action and as the source of certain undergoings.
It is something to react to:--to drink, to wash with, to put out fire
with, and also something that reacts unexpectedly to our reactions,
that makes us undergo disease, suffocation, drowning. In this twofold
way, water or anything else enters into experience. Such presence in
experience has of itself nothing to do with knowledge or consciousness;
nothing that is in the sense of depending upon them, though it has
everything to do with knowledge and consciousness in the sense that the
latter depends upon prior experience of this non-cognitive sort. Man's
experience is what it is because his response to things (even successful
response) and the reactions of things to his life, are so radically
different from knowledge. The difficulties and tragedies of life, the
stimuli to acquiring knowledge, lie in the radical disparity of
presence-in-experience and presence-in-knowing. Yet the immense
importance of knowledge experience, the fact that turning
presence-in-experience over into presence-in-a-knowledge-experience is
the sole mode of control of nature, has systematically hypnotized
European philosophy since the time of Socrates into thinking that all
experiencing is a mode of knowing, if not good knowledge, then a
low-grade or confused or implicit knowledge.

When water is an adequate stimulus to action or when its reactions
oppress and overwhelm us, it remains outside the scope of knowledge.
When, however, the bare presence of the thing (say, as optical stimulus)
ceases to operate directly as stimulus to response and begins to operate
in connection with a forecast of the consequences it will effect when
responded to, it begins to acquire meaning--to be known, to be an
object. It is noted as something which is wet, fluid, satisfies thirst,
allays uneasiness, etc. The conception that we begin with a known visual
quality which is thereafter enlarged by adding on qualities apprehended
by the other senses does not rest upon experience; it rests upon making
experience conform to the notion that every experience _must_ be a
cognitive noting. As long as the visual stimulus operates as a stimulus
on its own account, there is no apprehension, no noting, of color or
light at all. To much the greater portion of sensory stimuli we react in
precisely this wholly non-cognitive way. In the attitude of suspended
response in which consequences are anticipated, the direct stimulus
becomes a sign or index of something else--and thus matter of noting or
apprehension or acquaintance, or whatever term may be employed. This
difference (together, of course, with the consequences which go with it)
is the difference which the natural event of knowing makes to the
natural event of direct organic stimulation. It is no change of a
reality into an unreality, of an object into something subjective; it is
no secret, illicit, or epistemological transformation; it is a genuine
acquisition of new and distinctive features through entering into
relations with things with which it was not formerly connected--namely,
possible and future things.

But, replies some one so obsessed with the epistemological point of view
that he assumes that the prior account is a rival epistemology in
disguise, all this involves no change in Reality, no difference made to
Reality. Water was all the time all the things it is ever found out to
be. Its real nature has not been altered by knowing it; any such
alteration means a mis-knowing.

In reply let it be said,--once more and finally,--there is no assertion
or implication about _the_ real object or _the_ real world or _the_
reality. Such an assumption goes with that epistemological universe of
discourse which has to be abandoned in an empirical universe of
discourse. The change is of _a_ real object. An incident of the world
operating as a physiologically direct stimulus is assuredly a reality.
Responded to, it produces specific consequences in virtue of the
response. Water is not drunk unless somebody drinks it; it does not
quench thirst unless a thirsty person drinks it--and so on. Consequences
occur whether one is aware of them or not; they are integral facts in
experience. But let one of these consequences be anticipated and let it,
as anticipated, become an indispensable element in the stimulus, and
then there is a known object. It is not that knowing _produces_ a
change, but that it _is_ a change of the specific kind described. A
serial process, the successive portions of which are as such incapable
of simultaneous occurrence, is telescoped and condensed into an object,
a unified inter-reference of contemporaneous properties, most of which
express potentialities rather than completed data.

Because of this change, an _object_ possesses truth or error (which the
physical occurrence as such never has); it is classifiable as fact or
fantasy; it is of a sort or kind, expresses an essence or nature,
possesses implications, etc., etc. That is to say, it is marked by
specifiable _logical_ traits not found in physical occurrences as such.
Because objective idealisms have seized upon these traits as
constituting the very essence of Reality is no reason for proclaiming
that they are ready-made features of physical happenings, and hence for
maintaining that knowing is nothing but an appearance of things on a
stage for which "consciousness" supplies the footlights. For only the
epistemological predicament leads to "presentations" being regarded as
cognitions of things which were previously unpresented. In any empirical
situation of everyday life or of science, knowledge signifies something
stated or inferred of another thing. Visible water is not a more less
erroneous presentation of H_{2}O, but H_{2}O is a knowledge about the
thing we see, drink, wash with, sail on, and use for power.

A further point and the present phase of discussion terminates. Treating
knowledge as a presentative relation between the knower and object makes
it necessary to regard the mechanism of _presentation_ as constituting
the act of knowing. Since things may be presented in sense-perception,
in recollection, in imagination and in conception, and since the
mechanism in every one of these four styles of presentation is
sensory-cerebral the problem of knowing becomes a mind-body problem.[12]
The psychological, or physiological, mechanism of presentation involved
in seeing a chair, remembering what I ate yesterday for luncheon,
imagining the moon the size of a cart wheel, conceiving a mathematical
continuum is identified with the operation of knowing. The evil
consequences are twofold. The problem of the relation of mind and body
has become a part of the problem of the possibility of knowledge in
general, to the further complication of a matter already hopelessly
constrained. Meantime the actual process of knowing, namely, operations
of controlled observation, inference, reasoning, and testing, the only
process with _intellectual_ import, is dismissed as irrelevant to the
theory of knowing. The methods of knowing practised in daily life and
science are excluded from consideration in the philosophical theory of
knowing. Hence the constructions of the latter become more and more
elaborately artificial because there is no definite check upon them. It
would be easy to quote from epistemological writers statements to the
effect that these processes (which supply the only empirically
verifiable facts of knowing) are _merely_ inductive in character, or
even that they are of purely psychological significance. It would be
difficult to find a more complete inversion of the facts than in the
latter statement, since presentation constitutes in fact the
psychological affair. A confusion of logic with physiological physiology
has bred hybrid epistemology, with the amazing result that the technique
of effective inquiry is rendered irrelevant to the theory of knowing,
and those physical events involved in the occurrence of data for knowing
are treated as if they constituted the act of knowing.


What are the bearings of our discussion upon the conception of the
present scope and office of philosophy? What do our conclusions indicate
and demand with reference to philosophy itself? For the philosophy which
reaches such conclusions regarding knowledge and mind must apply them,
sincerely and whole-heartedly, to its idea of its own nature. For
philosophy claims to be one form or mode of knowing. If, then, the
conclusion is reached that knowing is a way of employing empirical
occurrences with respect to increasing power to direct the consequences
which flow from things, the application of the conclusion must be made
to philosophy itself. It, too, becomes not a contemplative survey of
existence nor an analysis of what is past and done with, but an outlook
upon future possibilities with reference to attaining the better and
averting the worse. Philosophy must take, with good grace, its own

It is easier to state the negative results of the changed idea of
philosophy than the positive ones. The point that occurs to mind most
readily is that philosophy will have to surrender all pretension to be
peculiarly concerned with ultimate reality, or with reality as a
complete (i.e., completed) whole: with _the_ real object. The surrender
is not easy of achievement. The philosophic tradition that comes to us
from classic Greek thought and that was reinforced by Christian
philosophy in the Middle Ages discriminates philosophical knowing from
other modes of knowing by means of an alleged peculiarly intimate
concern with supreme, ultimate, true reality. To deny this trait to
philosophy seems to many to be the suicide of philosophy; to be a
systematic adoption of skepticism or agnostic positivism.

The pervasiveness of the tradition is shown in the fact that so vitally
a contemporary thinker as Bergson, who finds a philosophic revolution
involved in abandonment of the traditional identification of the truly
real with the fixed (an identification inherited from Greek thought),
does not find it in his heart to abandon the counterpart identification
of philosophy with search for the truly Real; and hence finds it
necessary to substitute an ultimate and absolute flux for an ultimate
and absolute permanence. Thus his great empirical services in calling
attention to the fundamental importance of considerations of time for
problems of life and mind get compromised with a mystic, non-empirical
"Intuition"; and we find him preoccupied with solving, by means of his
new idea of ultimate reality, the traditional problems of
realities-in-themselves and phenomena, matter and mind, free-will and
determinism, God and the world. Is not that another evidence of the
influence of the classic idea about philosophy?

Even the new realists are not content to take their realism as a plea
for approaching subject-matter directly instead of through the
intervention of epistemological apparatus; they find it necessary first
to determine the status of _the_ real object. Thus they too become
entangled in the problem of the possibility of error, dreams,
hallucinations, etc., in short, the problem of evil. For I take it that
an uncorrupted realism would accept such things as real events, and find
in them no other problems than those attending the consideration of any
real occurrence--namely, problems of structure, origin, and operation.

It is often said that pragmatism, unless it is content to be a
contribution to mere methodology, must develop a theory of Reality. But
the chief characteristic trait of the pragmatic notion of reality is
precisely that no theory of Reality in general, _überhaupt_, is possible
or needed. It occupies the position of an emancipated empiricism or a
thoroughgoing naïve realism. It finds that "reality" is a _denotative_
term, a word used to designate indifferently everything that happens.
Lies, dreams, insanities, deceptions, myths, theories are all of them
just the events which they specifically are. Pragmatism is content to
take its stand with science; for science finds all such events to be
subject-matter of description and inquiry--just like stars and fossils,
mosquitoes and malaria, circulation and vision. It also takes its stand
with daily life, which finds that such things really have to be reckoned
with as they occur interwoven in the texture of events.

The only way in which the term reality can ever become more than a
blanket denotative term is through recourse to specific events in all
their diversity and thatness. Speaking summarily, I find that the
retention by philosophy of the notion of a Reality feudally superior to
the events of everyday occurrence is the chief source of the increasing
isolation of philosophy from common sense and science. For the latter
do not operate in any such region. As with them of old, philosophy in
dealing with real difficulties finds itself still hampered by reference
to realities more real, more ultimate, than those which directly happen.

I have said that identifying the cause of philosophy with the notion of
superior reality is the cause of an _increasing_ isolation from science
and practical life. The phrase reminds us that there was a time when the
enterprise of science and the moral interests of men both moved in a
universe invidiously distinguished from that of ordinary occurrence.
While all that happens is equally real--since it really
happens--happenings are not of equal worth. Their respective
consequences, their import, varies tremendously. Counterfeit money,
although real (or rather _because_ real), is really different from valid
circulatory medium, just as disease is really different from health;
different in specific structure and so different in consequences. In
occidental thought, the Greeks were the first to draw the distinction
between the genuine and the spurious in a generalized fashion and to
formulate and enforce its tremendous significance for the conduct of
life. But since they had at command no technique of experimental
analysis and no adequate technique of mathematical analysis, they were
compelled to treat the difference of the true and the false, the
dependable and the deceptive, as signifying two kinds of existence, the
truly real and the apparently real.

Two points can hardly be asserted with too much emphasis. The Greeks
were wholly right in the feeling that questions of good and ill, as far
as they fall within human control, are bound up with discrimination of
the genuine from the spurious, of "being" from what only pretends to be.
But because they lacked adequate instrumentalities for coping with this
difference in specific situations, they were forced to treat the
difference as a wholesale and rigid one. Science was concerned with
vision of ultimate and true reality; opinion was concerned with getting
along with apparent realities. Each had its appropriate region
permanently marked off. Matters of opinion could never become matters of
science; their intrinsic nature forbade. When the practice of science
went on under such conditions, science and philosophy were one and the
same thing. Both had to do with ultimate reality in its rigid and
insuperable difference from ordinary occurrences.

We have only to refer to the way in which medieval life wrought the
philosophy of an ultimate and supreme reality into the context of
practical life to realize that for centuries political and moral
interests were bound up with the distinction between the absolutely real
and the relatively real. The difference was no matter of a remote
technical philosophy, but one which controlled life from the cradle to
the grave, from the grave to the endless life after death. By means of a
vast institution, which in effect was state as well as church, the
claims of ultimate reality were enforced; means of access to it were
provided. Acknowledgment of The Reality brought security in this world
and salvation in the next. It is not necessary to report the story of
the change which has since taken place. It is enough for our purposes
to note that none of the modern philosophies of a superior reality, or
_the_ real object, idealistic or realistic, holds that its insight makes
a difference like that between sin and holiness, eternal condemnation
and eternal bliss. While in its own context the philosophy of ultimate
reality entered into the vital concerns of men, it now tends to be an
ingenious dialectic exercised in professorial corners by a few who have
retained ancient premises while rejecting their application to the
conduct of life.

The increased isolation from science of any philosophy identified with
the problem of _the_ real is equally marked. For the growth of science
has consisted precisely in the invention of an equipment, a technique of
appliances and procedures, which, accepting all occurrences as
homogeneously real, proceeds to distinguish the authenticated from the
spurious, the true from the false, by specific modes of treatment in
specific situations. The procedures of the trained engineer, of the
competent physician, of the laboratory expert, have turned out to be the
only ways of discriminating the counterfeit from the valid. And they
have revealed that the difference is not one of antecedent fixity of
existence, but one of mode of treatment and of the consequences thereon
attendant. After mankind has learned to put its trust in specific
procedures in order to make its discriminations between the false and
the true, philosophy arrogates to itself the enforcement of the
distinction at its own cost.

More than once, this essay has intimated that the counterpart of the
idea of invidiously real reality is the spectator notion of knowledge.
If the knower, however defined, is set over against the world to be
known, knowing consists in possessing a transcript, more or less
accurate but otiose, of real things. Whether this transcript is
presentative in character (as realists say) or whether it is by means of
states of consciousness which represent things (as subjectivists say),
is a matter of great importance in its own context. But, in another
regard, this difference is negligible in comparison with the point in
which both agree. Knowing is viewing from outside. But if it be true
that the self or subject of experience is part and parcel of the course
of events, it follows that the self _becomes_ a knower. It becomes a
mind in virtue of a distinctive way of partaking in the course of
events. The significant distinction is no longer between the knower
_and_ the world; it is between different ways of being in and of the
movement of things; between a brute physical way and a purposive,
intelligent way.

There is no call to repeat in detail the statements which have been
advanced. Their net purport is that the directive presence of future
possibilities in dealing with existent conditions is what is meant by
knowing; that the self becomes a knower or mind when anticipation of
future consequences operates as its stimulus. What we are now concerned
with is the effect of this conception upon the nature of philosophic

As far as I can judge, popular response to pragmatic philosophy was
moved by two quite different considerations. By some it was thought to
provide a new species of sanctions, a new mode of apologetics, for
certain religious ideas whose standing had been threatened. By others,
it was welcomed because it was taken as a sign that philosophy was about
to surrender its otiose and speculative remoteness; that philosophers
were beginning to recognize that philosophy is of account only if, like
everyday knowing and like science, it affords guidance to action and
thereby makes a difference in the event. It was welcomed as a sign that
philosophers were willing to have the worth of their philosophizing
measured by responsible tests.

I have not seen this point of view emphasized, or hardly recognized, by
professional critics. The difference of attitude can probably be easily
explained. The epistemological universe of discourse is so highly
technical that only those who have been trained in the history of
thought think in terms of it. It did not occur, accordingly, to
non-technical readers to interpret the doctrine that the meaning and
validity of thought are fixed by differences made in consequences and in
satisfactoriness, to mean consequences in personal feelings. Those who
were professionally trained, however, took the statement to mean that
consciousness or mind in the mere act of looking at things modifies
them. It understood the doctrine of test of validity by consequences to
mean that apprehensions and conceptions are true if the modifications
affected by them were of an emotionally desirable tone.

Prior discussion should have made it reasonably clear that the source of
this misunderstanding lies in the neglect of temporal considerations.
The change made in things by the self in knowing is not immediate and,
so to say, cross-sectional. It is longitudinal--in the redirection given
to changes already going on. Its analogue is found in the changes which
take place in the development of, say, iron ore into a watch-spring, not
in those of the miracle of transubstantiation. For the static,
cross-sectional, non-temporal relation of subject and object, the
pragmatic hypothesis substitutes apprehension of a thing in terms of the
results in other things which it is tending to effect. For the unique
epistemological relation, it substitutes a practical relation of a
familiar type:--responsive behavior which changes in time the
subject-matter to which it applies. The unique thing about the
responsive behavior which constitutes knowing is the specific difference
which marks it off from other modes of response, namely, the part played
in it by anticipation and prediction. Knowing is the act, stimulated by
this foresight, of securing and averting consequences. The success of
the achievement measures the standing of the foresight by which response
is directed. The popular impression that pragmatic philosophy means that
philosophy shall develop ideas relevant to the actual crises of life,
ideas influential in dealing with them and tested by the assistance they
afford, is correct.

Reference to practical response suggests, however, another
misapprehension. Many critics have jumped at the obvious association of
the word pragmatic with practical. They have assumed that the intent is
to limit all knowledge, philosophic included, to promoting "action,"
understanding by action either just any bodily movement, or those bodily
movements which conduce to the preservation and grosser well-being of
the body. James' statement, that general conceptions must "cash in" has
been taken (especially by European critics) to mean that the end and
measure of intelligence lies in the narrow and coarse utilities which it
produces. Even an acute American thinker, after first criticizing
pragmatism as a kind of idealistic epistemology, goes on to treat it as
a doctrine which regards intelligence as a lubricating oil facilitating
the workings of the body.

One source of the misunderstanding is suggested by the fact that
"cashing in" to James meant that a general idea must always be capable
of verification in specific existential cases. The notion of "cashing
in" says nothing about the breadth or depth of the specific
consequences. As an empirical doctrine, it could not say anything about
them in general; the specific cases must speak for themselves. If one
conception is verified in terms of eating beefsteak, and another in
terms of a favorable credit balance in the bank, that is not because of
anything in the theory, but because of the specific nature of the
conceptions in question, and because there exist particular events like
hunger and trade. If there are also existences in which the most liberal
esthetic ideas and the most generous moral conceptions can be verified
by specific embodiment, assuredly so much the better. The fact that a
strictly empirical philosophy was taken by so many critics to imply an
_a priori_ dogma about the kind of consequences capable of existence is
evidence, I think, of the inability of many philosophers to think in
concretely empirical terms. Since the critics were themselves accustomed
to get results by manipulating the concepts of "consequences" and of
"practice," they assumed that even a would-be empiricist must be doing
the same sort of thing. It will, I suppose, remain for a long time
incredible to some that a philosopher should really intend to go to
specific experiences to determine of what scope and depth practice
admits, and what sort of consequences the world permits to come into
being. Concepts are so clear; it takes so little time to develop their
implications; experiences are so confused, and it requires so much time
and energy to lay hold of them. And yet these same critics charge
pragmatism with adopting subjective and emotional standards!

As a matter of fact, the pragmatic theory of intelligence means that the
function of mind is to project new and more complex ends--to free
experience from routine and from caprice. Not the use of thought to
accomplish purposes already given either in the mechanism of the body or
in that of the existent state of society, but the use of intelligence to
liberate and liberalize action, is the pragmatic lesson. Action
restricted to given and fixed ends may attain great technical
efficiency; but efficiency is the only quality to which it can lay
claim. Such action is mechanical (or becomes so), no matter what the
scope of the preformed end, be it the Will of God or _Kultur_. But the
doctrine that intelligence develops within the sphere of action for the
sake of possibilities not yet given is the opposite of a doctrine of
mechanical efficiency. Intelligence _as_ intelligence is inherently
forward-looking; only by ignoring its primary function does it become a
mere means for an end already given. The latter _is_ servile, even when
the end is labeled moral, religious, or esthetic. But action directed to
ends to which the agent has not previously been attached inevitably
carries with it a quickened and enlarged spirit. A pragmatic
intelligence is a creative intelligence, not a routine mechanic.

All this may read like a defense of pragmatism by one concerned to make
out for it the best case possible. Such is not, however, the intention.
The purpose is to indicate the extent to which intelligence frees action
from a mechanically instrumental character. Intelligence is, indeed,
instrumental _through_ action to the determination of the qualities of
future experience. But the very fact that the concern of intelligence is
with the future, with the as-yet-unrealized (and with the given and the
established only as conditions of the realization of possibilities),
makes the action in which it takes effect generous and liberal; free of
spirit. Just that action which extends and approves intelligence has an
intrinsic value of its own in being instrumental:--the intrinsic value
of being informed with intelligence in behalf of the enrichment of life.
By the same stroke, intelligence becomes truly liberal: knowing is a
human undertaking, not an esthetic appreciation carried on by a refined
class or a capitalistic possession of a few learned specialists, whether
men of science or of philosophy.

More emphasis has been put upon what philosophy is not than upon what
it may become. But it is not necessary, it is not even desirable, to set
forth philosophy as a scheduled program. There are human difficulties of
an urgent, deep-seated kind which may be clarified by trained
reflection, and whose solution may be forwarded by the careful
development of hypotheses. When it is understood that philosophic
thinking is caught up in the actual course of events, having the office
of guiding them towards a prosperous issue, problems will abundantly
present themselves. Philosophy will not solve these problems; philosophy
is vision, imagination, reflection--and these functions, apart from
action, modify nothing and hence resolve nothing. But in a complicated
and perverse world, action which is not informed with vision,
imagination, and reflection, is more likely to increase confusion and
conflict than to straighten things out. It is not easy for generous and
sustained reflection to become a guiding and illuminating method in
action. Until it frees itself from identification with problems which
are supposed to depend upon Reality as such, or its distinction from a
world of Appearance, or its relation to a Knower as such, the hands of
philosophy are tied. Having no chance to link its fortunes with a
responsible career by suggesting things to be tried, it cannot identify
itself with questions which actually arise in the vicissitudes of life.
Philosophy recovers itself when it ceases to be a device for dealing
with the problems of philosophers and becomes a method, cultivated by
philosophers, for dealing with the problems of men.

Emphasis must vary with the stress and special impact of the troubles
which perplex men. Each age knows its own ills, and seeks its own
remedies. One does not have to forecast a particular program to note
that the central need of any program at the present day is an adequate
conception of the nature of intelligence and its place in action.
Philosophy cannot disavow responsibility for many misconceptions of the
nature of intelligence which now hamper its efficacious operation. It
has at least a negative task imposed upon it. It must take away the
burdens which it has laid upon the intelligence of the common man in
struggling with his difficulties. It must deny and eject that
intelligence which is naught but a distant eye, registering in a remote
and alien medium the spectacle of nature and life. To enforce the fact
that the emergence of imagination and thought is relative to the
connexion of the sufferings of men with their doings is of itself to
illuminate those sufferings and to instruct those doings. To catch mind
in its connexion with the entrance of the novel into the course of the
world is to be on the road to see that intelligence is itself the most
promising of all novelties, the revelation of the meaning of that
transformation of past into future which is the reality of every
present. To reveal intelligence as the organ for the guidance of this
transformation, the sole director of its quality, is to make a
declaration of present untold significance for action. To elaborate
these convictions of the connexion of intelligence with what men undergo
because of their doings and with the emergence and direction of the
creative, the novel, in the world is of itself a program which will keep
philosophers busy until something more worth while is forced upon them.
For the elaboration has to be made through application to all the
disciplines which have an intimate connexion with human conduct:--to
logic, ethics, esthetics, economics, and the procedure of the sciences
formal and natural.

I also believe that there is a genuine sense in which the enforcement of
the pivotal position of intelligence in the world and thereby in control
of human fortunes (so far as they are manageable) is the peculiar
problem in the problems of life which come home most closely to
ourselves--to ourselves living not merely in the early twentieth century
but in the United States. It is easy to be foolish about the connexion
of thought with national life. But I do not see how any one can question
the distinctively national color of English, or French, or German
philosophies. And if of late the history of thought has come under the
domination of the German dogma of an inner evolution of ideas, it
requires but a little inquiry to convince oneself that that dogma itself
testifies to a particularly nationalistic need and origin. I believe
that philosophy in America will be lost between chewing a historic cud
long since reduced to woody fiber, or an apologetics for lost causes
(lost to natural science), or a scholastic, schematic formalism, unless
it can somehow bring to consciousness America's own needs and its own
implicit principle of successful action.

This need and principle, I am convinced, is the necessity of a
deliberate control of policies by the method of intelligence, an
intelligence which is not the faculty of intellect honored in
text-books and neglected elsewhere, but which is the sum-total of
impulses, habits, emotions, records, and discoveries which forecast what
is desirable and undesirable in future possibilities, and which contrive
ingeniously in behalf of imagined good. Our life has no background of
sanctified categories upon which we may fall back; we rely upon
precedent as authority only to our own undoing--for with us there is
such a continuously novel situation that final reliance upon precedent
entails some class interest guiding us by the nose whither it will.
British empiricism, with its appeal to what has been in the past, is,
after all, only a kind of _a priorism_. For it lays down a fixed rule
for future intelligence to follow; and only the immersion of philosophy
in technical learning prevents our seeing that this is the essence of _a

We pride ourselves upon being realistic, desiring a hardheaded
cognizance of facts, and devoted to mastering the means of life. We
pride ourselves upon a practical idealism, a lively and easily moved
faith in possibilities as yet unrealized, in willingness to make
sacrifice for their realization. Idealism easily becomes a sanction of
waste and carefulness, and realism a sanction of legal formalism in
behalf of things as they are--the rights of the possessor. We thus tend
to combine a loose and ineffective optimism with assent to the doctrine
of take who take can: a deification of power. All peoples at all times
have been narrowly realistic in practice and have then employed
idealization to cover up in sentiment and theory their brutalities. But
never, perhaps, has the tendency been so dangerous and so tempting as
with ourselves. Faith in the power of intelligence to imagine a future
which is the projection of the desirable in the present, and to invent
the instrumentalities of its realization, is our salvation. And it is a
faith which must be nurtured and made articulate: surely a sufficiently
large task for our philosophy.




In a general survey of the development of logical theory one is struck
by the similarity, not to say identity, of the indictments which
reformers, since the days of Aristotle, have brought against it. The
most fundamental of these charges are: first, that the theory of logic
has left it formal and with little significance for the advancement of
science and the conduct of society; second, that it has great difficulty
in avoiding the predicament of logical operations that are merely
labored reproductions of non-logical activities and therefore
tautologous and trifling, or of logical operations that are so far
removed from immediate, non-logical experience that they are irrelevant;
third, that logical theory has had trouble in finding room in its own
household for both truth and error; each crowds out the other.

The identity of these indictments regardless of the general
philosophical faith, empiricism, or rationalism, realism, or idealism to
which the reformer or the logic to be reformed has belonged, suggests
that whatever the differences in the doctrines of these various
philosophic traditions, they possess a common ground from which these
common difficulties spring.

It is the conviction of a number who are at present attempting to rid
logic of these ancient disabilities that their common source is to be
found in a lack of continuity between the acts of intelligence (or to
avoid the dangers of hypostasis, intelligent acts) and other acts;
between logical conduct and other conduct. So wide, indeed, is this
breach, that often little remains of the act of knowing but the name. It
may still be called an act, but it has no describable instruments nor
technique of operation. It is an indefinable and often mystical
performance of which only the results can be stated. In recent logical
discussion this techniqueless act of knowing has been properly enough
transformed into an indefinable "external relation" in which an entity
called a knower stands to another entity called the known.

For many centuries this breach between the operations of intelligence
and other operations has been closed by various metaphysical devices
with the result that logic has been a hybrid science,--half logic, half
metaphysics and epistemology. So great has been the momentum of the
metaphysical tradition that long after we have begun to discover the
connection between logical and non-logical operations its methods remain
to plague us. Efforts to heal the breach without a direct appeal to
metaphysical agencies have been made by attempting a complete logicizing
of all operations. But besides requiring additional metaphysics to
effect it, the procedure is as fatal to continuity as is an impassable
disjunction. Continuity demands distinction as well as connection. It
requires the development, the _growth_ of old material and functions
into new forms.

Driven by the difficulties of this complete logicization, which are as
serious as those of isolation, logical theory was obliged to reinstate
some sort of distinction. This it did by resorting to the categories of
"explicit" and "implicit." All so-called non-logical operations were
regarded as "implicitly" logical. And, paradoxically, logical operations
had for their task the transformation of the implicit into the explicit.

An adequate account of the origin and continuance of this isolation of
the conduct of intelligence from other conduct is too long a story to be
told here. Suffice it to recall that in the society in which the
distinction between immediate and reflective experience, between opinion
and science, between percepts and universals was first made,
intelligence was largely the possession of a special and privileged
class removed in great measure from hand-to-hand contact with nature and
with much of society. Because it did not fully participate in the
operations of nature and society intelligence could not become fully
domesticated, i.e., fully naturalized and socialized in its world. It
was a charmed spectator of the cosmic and social drama. Doubtless when
Greek intelligence discovered the distinction between immediate and
reflective experience--possibly the most momentous discovery in
history--"the world," as Kant says of the speculations of Thales, "must
suddenly have appeared in a new light." But not recognizing the full
significance of this discovery, ideas, universals, became but a wondrous
spectacle for the eye of reason. They brought, to be sure, blessed
relief from the bewildering and baffling flux of perception. But it was
the relief of sanctuary, not of victory.

That the brilliant speculations of Greek intelligence were barren
because there was no technique for testing and applying them in detail
is an old story. But it is merely a restatement, not a solution, of the
pertinent question. This is: why did not Greek intelligence develop such
a technique? The answer lies in the fact that the technique of
intelligence is to be found precisely in the details of the operations
of nature and of human conduct from which an aristocratic intelligence
is always in large measure shut off. Intelligence cannot operate
fruitfully in a vacuum. It must be incarnate. It must, as Hegel said,
have "hands and feet." When we turn to the history of modern science the
one thing that stands out is that it was not until the point was reached
where intelligence was ready (continuing the Hegelian figure) to thrust
its hands into the vitals of nature and society that it began to acquire
a real control over its operations.

In default of such controlling technique there was nothing to be done
with this newly found instrument of intelligence--the universal--but to
retain it as an object of contemplation and of worshipful adoration.
This involved, of course, its hypostasis as the metaphysical reality of
supreme importance. With this, the only difference between "opinion" and
"science" became one of the kind of objects known. That universals were
known by reason and particulars by sense was of little more logical
significance than that sounds are known by the ear and smells by the
nose. Particulars and universals were equally given. If the latter
required some abstraction this was regarded as merely auxiliary to the
immediate vision, as sniffing is to the perception of odor. That
universals should or could be conceived as experimental, as hypotheses,
was, when translated into later theology, the sin against the Holy

However, the fact that the particulars in the world of opinion were the
stimuli to the "recollection" of universals and that the latter in turn
were the patterns, the forms, for the particulars, opened the way in
actual practice for the exercise of a great deal of the controlling
function of the universals. But the failure to recognize this control
value of the universal as fundamental, made it necessary for the
universal to exercise its function surreptitiously, in the disguise of a
pattern and in the clumsy garb of imitation and participation.

With perceptions, desires, and impulses relegated to the world of
opinion and shadows, and with the newly discovered instrument of
knowledge turned into an object, the knower was stripped of all his
knowing apparatus and was left an empty, scuttled entity definable and
describable only as "a knower." The knower must know, even if he had
nothing to know with. Hence the mystical almost indefinable character of
the knowing act or relation. I say "almost indefinable"; for as an act
it had, of course, to have some sort of conceptualized form. And this
form vision naturally furnished. "Naturally," because intelligence was
so largely contemplative, and vision so largely immediate, unanalyzed,
and diaphanous. There was, to be sure, the concept of effluxes. But
this was a statement of the fact of vision in terms of its results, not
of the process itself. Thus it was that the whole terminology of knowing
which we still use was moulded and fixed upon a very crude conception of
one of the constituents of its process. There can be no doubt that this
terminology has added much to the inertia against which the advance of
logical theory has worked. It would be interesting to see what would be
the effect upon logical theory of the substitution of an auditory or
olfactory terminology for visual; or of a visual terminology revised to
agree with modern scientific analysis of the _act_ of vision as
determined by its connections with other functions.

With the act of knowing stripped of its technique and left a bare,
unique, indescribable act or relation, the foundations for
epistemological and metaphysical logic were laid. That Greek logic
escaped the ravages of epistemology was due to the saving materialism in
its metaphysical conception of mind and to the steadfastness of the
aristocratic régime. But when medieval theology and Cartesian
metaphysics had destroyed the last remnant of metaphysical connection
between the knowing mind and nature, and when revolutions had torn the
individual from his social moorings, the stage for epistemological logic
was fully set. I do not mean to identify the epistemological situation
with the Cartesian disjunction. That disjunction was but the
metaphysical expression of the one which constitutes the real foundation
of epistemology--the disjunction, namely, between the act of knowing and
other acts.

From this point logic has followed one of two general courses. It has
sought continuity by attempting to reduce non-logical things and
operations to terms of logical operations, i.e., to sensations or
universals or both; or it has attempted to exclude entirely the act of
knowing from logic and to transfer logical distinctions and operations,
and even the attributes of truth and error to objects which,
significantly enough, are still composed of these same hypostatized
logical processes. The first course results in an epistemological logic
of some form of the idealistic tradition, rationalism, sensationalism,
or transcendentalism, depending upon whether universals, or sensations,
or a combination of both, is made fundamental in the constitution of the
object. The second course yields an epistemological logic of the
realistic type,--again, sensational or rationalistic (mathematical), or
a combination of the two--a sort of realistic transcendentalism. Each
type has essentially the same difficulties with the processes of
inference, with the problem of change, with truth and error, and, on the
ethical side, with good and evil.

With the processes of knowing converted into objects, and with the act
of knowing reduced to a unique and external relation between the
despoiled knower and the objects made from its own hypostatized
processes, all knowing becomes in the end immediate. All attempts at an
inference that is anything more than an elaborated and often confused
restatement of non-logical operations break down. The associational
inference of empiricism, the subsumptive inference of rationalism, the
transcendental inference of objective idealism, the analytical
inference of neo-realism--all alike face the dilemma of an inference
that is trifling or miraculous, tautologous or false. Where the knower
and its object are so constituted that the only relation in which the
latter can stand to the former is that of presence or absence, and if to
be present is to be known, how, as Plato asked, can there be any false

For those who accept the foregoing general diagnosis the prescription is
obvious. The present task of logical theory is the restoration of the
continuity of the act and agent of knowing with other acts and agents.
But this is not to be done by merely furnishing the act of knowing with
a body and a nervous system. If the nervous system be regarded as only
an onlooking, beholding nervous system, if no connection be made between
the logical operations of a nervous system and its other operations a
nervous system has no logical advantage over a purely psychical mind.

It was to be expected that this movement toward restoration of
continuity made in the name of "instrumental" or "experimental" logic
would be regarded, alike, by the logics of rationalism and empiricism,
of idealism and of realism, as an attempt to rob intelligence of its own
unique and proper character; to reduce it to a merely "psychological"
and "existential" affair; to leave no place for genuine intellectual
interest and activity; and to make science a series of more or less
respectable adventures. The counter thesis is, that this restoration is
truly a restoration--not a despoliation of the character and rights of
intelligence; that only such a restoration can preserve the unique
function of intelligence, can prevent it from becoming merely
"existential," and can provide a distinct place for intellectual and
scientific interest and activity. It does not, however, promise to
remove the stigma of "adventure" from science. Every experiment is an
adventure; and it is precisely the experimental character of scientific
logic that distinguishes it from scholasticism, medieval or modern.


First it is clear that a reform of logic based upon the restoration of
knowing to its connections with other acts will begin with a chapter
containing an account of these other operations and the general
character of this connection.[13] Logical theory has been truncated. It
has tried to begin and end in the middle, with the result that it has
ended in the air. Logic presents the curious anachronism of a science
which attempts to deal with its subject-matter apart from what it comes
from and what comes from it.

The objection that such a chapter on the conditions and genesis of the
operations of knowing belongs to psychology, only shows how firmly fixed
is the discontinuity we are trying to escape. As we have seen, the
original motive for leaving this account of genesis to psychology was
that the act of knowing was supposed to originate in a purely psychical
mind. Such an origin was of course embarrassing to logic, which aimed
to be scientific. The old opposition between origin and validity was due
to the kind of origin assumed and the kind of validity necessitated by
the origin. One may well be excused for evading the question of how
ideas, originated in a purely psychical mind, can, in Kant's phrase,
"have objective validity," by throwing out the question of origin
altogether. Whatever difficulties remain for validity after this
expulsion could not be greater than those of the task of combining the
objective validity of ideas with their subjective origin.

The whole of this chapter on the connection between logical and
non-logical operations cannot be written here. But its central point
would be that these other acts with which the act of knowing must have
continuity are just the operations of our unreflective conduct. Note
that it is "unreflective," not "unconscious," nor yet merely
"instinctive" conduct. It is our perceptive, remembering, imagining,
desiring, loving, hating conduct. Note also that we do not say
"psychical" or "physical," nor "psycho-physical" conduct. These terms
stand for certain distinctions in logical conduct,[14] and we are here
concerned with the character of non-logical conduct which is to be
distinguished from, and yet kept in closest continuity with, logical

If, here, the metaphysical logician should ask: "Are you not in this
assumption of a world of reflective and unreflective conduct and
affection, and of a world of beings in interaction, begging a whole
system of metaphysics?" the reply is that if it is a metaphysics bad
for logic, it will keep turning up in the course of logical theory as a
constant source of trouble. On the other hand, if logic encounters grave
difficulties when it attempts to get on without it, its assumption, for
the purposes of logic, has all the justification possible.

Again it will be urged that this alleged non-logical conduct, in so far
as it involves perception, memory, and anticipation, is already
cognitive and logical; or if the act of knowing is to be entirely
excluded from logic, then, in so far as what is left involves objective
"terms and relations," it, also, is already logical. And it may be
thought strange that a logic based upon the restoration of continuity
between the act of knowing and other acts should here be insisting on
distinction and separation. The point is fundamental; and must be
disposed of before we go on. First, we must observe that the unity
secured by making all conscious conduct logical turns out, on
examination, to be more nominal than real. As we have already seen, this
attempt at a complete logicizing of all conduct is forced at once to
introduce the distinction of "explicit" and "implicit," of "conscious
and unconscious" or "subconscious" logic. Some cynics have found that
this suggests dividing triangles into explicit and implicit triangles,
or into triangles and sub-triangles.

Doubtless the attempt to make all perceptions, memories, and
anticipations, and even instincts and habits, into implicit or
subconscious inference is an awkward effort to restore the continuity of
logical and non-logical conduct. Its awkwardness consists in attempting
to secure this continuity by the method of subsumptive identity, instead
of finding it in a transitive continuity of function;--instead of seeing
that perception, memory, and anticipation _become_ logical processes
when they are employed in a process of inquiry, whose purpose is to
relieve the difficulties into which these operations in their function
as direct stimuli have fallen. Logical conduct is constituted by the
coöperation of these processes for the improvement of their further
operation. To regard perception, memory, and imagination as implicit
forms or as sub-species of logical operation is much like conceiving the
movements of our fingers and arms as implicit or imperfect species of
painting, or swimming.

Moreover, this doctrine of universal logicism teaches that when that
which is perfect is come, imperfection shall be done away. This should
mean that when painting becomes completely "explicit" and perfect,
fingers and hands shall disappear. Perfect painting will be the pure
essence of painting. And this interpretation is not strained; for this
logic expressly teaches that in the perfected real system all temporal
elements are unessential to logical operations. They are, of course,
_psychologically_ necessary for finite beings, who can never have
perfectly logical experiences. But, from the standpoint of a completely
logicized experience, all finite, temporal processes are accidents, not
essentials, of logical operations.

The fact that the processes of perception, memory, and anticipation are
transformed in their logical operation into sensations and universals,
terms, and relations, and, as such, become the subject-matter of logical
theory, does not mean that they have lost their mediating character, and
have become merely objects of logical contemplation at large. Sensations
or sense-data, and ideas, terms and relations, are the subject-matter of
logical theory for the reason that they sometimes succeed and sometimes
fail in their logical operations. And it is the business of logical
theory to diagnose the conditions of this success and failure. If, in
writing, my pen becomes defective and is made an object of inquiry, it
does not therefore lose all its character as a pen and become merely an
object at large. It is _as_ an instrument of writing that it is
investigated. So, sense-data, universals, terms, and relations as
subject-matter of logic are investigated in their character _as_
mediators of the ambiguities and conflicts, of non-logical experience.

If the operations of habit, instinct, perceptions, memory, and
anticipation _become_ logical, when, instead of operating as direct
stimuli, they are employed in a process of inquiry, we must next ask:
(1) under what conditions do they pass over into this process of
inquiry? (2) what modifications of operation do they undergo, what new
forms do they take, and what new results do they produce in their
logical operations?

If the act of inquiry be not superimposed, it must arise out of some
specific condition in the course of non-logical conduct. Once more, if
the alarm be sounded at this proposal to find the origin of logical in
non-logical operations it must be summarily answered by asking if the
one who raises the cry finds it impossible to imagine that one who is
not hungry, or angry, or patriotic, or wise may become so. Non-logical
conduct is not the abstract formal contradictory of logical conduct any
more than present satiety or foolishness is the contradictory of later
hunger or wisdom, or than anger at one person contradicts cordiality to
another, or to the same person, later. The old bogie of the logical
irrelevance of origin was due to the inability to conceive continuity
except in the form of identity in which there was no place for the
notion of _growth_.

The conditions under which non-logical conduct _becomes_ logical are
familiar to those who have followed the doctrines of experimental logic
as expounded in the discussions of the past few years. The
transformation begins at the point where non-logical processes instead
of operating as direct unambiguous stimuli and response become ambiguous
with consequent inhibition of conduct. But again this does not mean that
at this juncture the non-logical processes quit the field and give place
to a totally new faculty and process called reason. They stay on the
job. But there is a change in the job, which now is to get rid of this
ambiguity. This modification of the task requires, of course,
corresponding modification and adaptation of these operations. They take
on the form of sensations and universals, terms and relations, data and
hypotheses. This modification of function and form constitutes "reason"
or, better, reasoning.

Here some one will ask, "Whence comes this ambiguity? How can a mere
perception or memory as such be ambiguous? Must it not be ambiguous to,
or for, something, or some one?" The point is well taken. But it should
not be taken to imply that the ambiguity is for a merely onlooking,
beholding psychical mind--especially when the perception is itself
regarded as an act of beholding. Nor are we any better off if we suppose
the beholding mind to be equipped with a faculty of reason in the form
of the principle of "contradiction." For this throws no light on the
origin and meaning of ambiguity. And if we seek to make all perceptions
as such ambiguous and contradictory, in order to make room for, and
justify, the operations of reason, other difficulties at once beset us.
When we attempt to remove this specific ambiguity of perceptive conduct
we shall be forced, before we are through, to appeal back to perception,
which we have condemned as inherently contradictory, both for data and
for verification.

However, the insistence that perception must be ambiguous to, or for,
something beyond itself is well grounded. And this was recognized in the
statement that it is equivocal as a stimulus in conduct. There need be
no mystery as to how such equivocation arises. That there is such a
thing as a conduct at all means that there are certain beings who have
acquired definite ways of responding to one another. It is important to
observe that these forms of interaction--instinct and habit, perception,
memory, etc.--are not to be located in either of the interacting beings
but are functions of both. The conception of these operations as the
private functions of an organism is the forerunner of the
epistemological predicament. It results in a conception of knowing as
wholly the act of a knower apart from the known. This is the beginning
of epistemology.

But to whatever extent interacting beings have acquired definite and
specific ways of behavior toward one another it is equally plain--the
theory of external relations notwithstanding--that in this process of
interaction these ways of behavior, of stimulus and response, undergo
modification. If the world consisted of two interacting beings, it is
conceivable that the modifications of behavior might occur in such close
continuity of relation to each of the interacting beings that the
adjustment would be very continuous, and there might be little or no
ambiguity and conflict. But in a world where any two interacting beings
have innumerable interactions with innumerable other beings and in all
these interactions modifications are effected, it is to be expected that
changes in the behavior of each or both will occur, so marked that they
are bound to result in breaks in the continuity of stimulus and
response--even to the point of tragedy. However, the tragedy is seldom
so great that the ambiguity extends to the whole field of conduct.
Except in extreme pathological cases (and in epistemology), complete
skepticism and aboulia do not occur. Ambiguity always falls within a
field or direction of conduct, and though it may extend much further,
and must extend some further than the point at which equivocation
occurs, yet it is never ubiquitous. An ambiguity concerning the action
of gravitation is no less specific than one regarding color or sound;
indeed, the one may be found to involve the other.

Logical conduct is, then, conduct which aims to remove ambiguity and
inhibition in unreflective conduct. The instruments of its operation are
forged from the processes of unreflective conduct by such modification
and adaptation as is required to enable them to accomplish this end.
Since these logical operations sometimes fail and sometimes succeed they
become the subject-matter of logical theory. But the technique of this
second involution of reflection is not supplied by some new and unique
entity. It also is derived from modifications of previous operations of
both reflective and non-reflective conduct.

While emphasizing the continuity between non-logical and logical
operations, we must keep in mind that their distinction is of equal
importance. Confusion at this point is fatal. A case in point is the
confusion between non-logical and logical observation. The results of
non-logical observation, e.g., looking and listening, are direct stimuli
to further conduct. But the purpose and result of _logical_ observation
are to secure data, not as direct stimuli to immediate conduct but as
stimuli to the construction or verification of hypotheses which are the
responses of the _logical_ operation of imagination to the data.
Hypotheses are anticipatory. But they differ from non-logical
anticipation in that they are tentatively, experimentally, i.e.,
logically anticipatory. The non-logical operations of memory and
anticipation lack just this tentative, experimental character. When we
confuse the logical and non-logical operations of these processes the
result is either that logical processes will merely repeat non-logical
operations in which case we have inference that is tautologous and
trifling; or the non-logical will attempt to perform logical operations,
and our inference is miraculous. If we seek to escape by an appeal to
habit, as in empiricism, or to an objective universal, as in idealism
and neo-realism, we are merely disguising, not removing the miracle.

It may be thought that this confusion would be most likely to occur in a
theory which teaches that non-logical processes are carried over into
logical operations. But this overlooks the fact that the theory
recognizes at the same time that these non-logical operations undergo
modification and adaptation to the demands of the logical enterprise. On
the other hand, those who make all perceptions, memory, and
anticipation, not to speak of habit and instinct, logical, have no basis
for the distinction between logical and non-logical results; while those
who refuse to give the operations of perception, memory, etc., any place
in logic can make no connections between logical and non-logical
conduct. Nor are they able to distinguish in a specific case truth from

In all logics that fail to make this connection and distinction between
logical and non-logical operations there is no criterion for data. If
ultimate simplicity is demanded of the data, there is no standard for
simplicity except the _minimum sensibile_ or the _minimum intelligibile_
which have recently been resurrected. On the other hand, where
simplicity is waived, as in the logic of objective idealism, there is
still no criterion of logical adequacy. But if we understand by
_logical_ data not anything that happens to be given, but something
_sought_ as material for an hypothesis, i.e., a proposed solution
(proposition) of an ambiguous object of conduct and affection, then
whatever results of observation meet this requirement are logical data.
And whenever data are found from which an hypothesis is constructed that
succeeds in abolishing the ambiguity, they are simple, adequate, and
true data.

No scientist, not even the mathematician, in the specific investigations
of his field, seeks for ultimate and irreducible data at large. And if
he found them he could not use them. It is only in his metaphysical
personality that he longs for such data. The data which the scientist in
any specific inquiry seeks are the data which suggest a solution of the
question in which the investigation starts. When these data are found
they are the "irreducibles" of that problem. But they are relative to
the question and answer of the investigation. Their simplicity consists
in the fact that they are the data from which a conclusion can be made.
The term "simple data" is tautologous. That one is in need of data more
"simple" means that one is in need of new data from which an hypothesis
can be formed.

It is true that the actual working elements with which the scientist
operates are always complex in the sense that they are always something
more than elements in any specific investigation. They have other
connections and alliances. And this complexity is at once the despair
and the hope of the scientist; his despair, because he cannot be sure
when these other connections will interfere with the allegiance of his
elements to his particular undertaking; his hope, because when these
alliances are revealed they often make the elements more efficient or
exhibit capacities which will make them elements in some other
undertaking for which elements have not been found. A general resolves
his army into so many marching, eating, shooting units; but these
elements are something more than marching, shooting units. They are
husbands and fathers, brothers and lovers, protestants and catholics,
artists and artisans, etc. And the militarist can never be sure at what
point these other activities--I do not say merely external
relationships--may upset his calculations. If he could find units whose
whole and sole nature is to march and shoot, his problem would be, in
some respects, simpler, though in others more complex. As it is, he is
constantly required to ask how far these other functions will support
and at what point they will rebel at the marching and shooting.

Such, in principle, is the situation in every scientific inquiry. When
the failure of the old elements occurs it is common to say that
"simpler" elements are needed. And doubtless in his perplexity the
scientist may long for elements which have no entangling alliances,
whose sole nature and character is to be elements. But what in fact he
actually seeks in every specific investigation are elements whose nature
and functions _will not interfere_ with their serving as units in the
enterprise in hand. But from some other standpoint these new elements
may be vastly more complex than the old, as is the case with the modern
as compared with the ancient atom. When the elements are secured which
operate successfully, the non-interfering connections can be ignored and
the elements can be treated as if they did not have them,--as if they
were metaphysically simple. But there is no criterion for metaphysical
simplicity except operative simplicity. To be simple is to serve as an
element, and to serve as an element is to be simple.

It is scarcely necessary in view of the foregoing to add that the data
of science are not "sense-data," if by sense-data be meant data which
are the result of the operations of sense organs alone. Data are as much
or more the result of operations, first, of the motor system of the
scientist's own organism, and second, of all of the machinery of his
laboratory which he calls to his aid. Whether named after the way they
are obtained, or after the way they are used, data are quite as much
"motor" as "sense." Nor, on the other hand, are there any purely
intellectual data--not even for the mathematician. Some mathematicians
may insist that their symbols and diagrams are merely stimuli to the
platonic operation of pure and given universals. But until mathematics
can get on without these symbols or any substitutes the intuitionist in
mathematics will continue to have his say.

Wherever the discontinuity between logical operations and their acts
persists, all the difficulties with data have their correlative
difficulties with hypotheses. In Mill's logic the account of the origin
of hypotheses oscillates between the view that they are happy guesses
of a mind composed of states of consciousness, and the view that they
are "found in the facts" or are "impressed on the mind by the facts."
The miracle of relevancy required in the first position drives the
theory to the second. And the tautologous, useless nature of the
hypothesis in the second forces the theory back to the first view. In
this predicament, little wonder Mill finds that the easiest way out is
to make hypotheses "auxiliary" and not indigenous to inference. But this
exclusion of hypotheses as essential leaves his account of inference to
oscillate between the association of particulars of nominalism and
scholastic formalism, from both of which Mill, with the dignified zeal
of a prophet, set out to rescue logic.

Mill's rejection of hypotheses formed by a mind whose operations have no
discoverable continuity with the operations of things, or by things
whose actions are independent of the operations of ideas, is forever
sound. But his acceptance of the discontinuity between the acts of
knowing and the operation of things, and the conclusion that these two
conceptions of the origin and nature of hypotheses are the only
alternatives, were the source of most of his difficulties.


The efforts of classic empiricism at the reform of logic have long been
an easy mark for idealistic reformers. But it is interesting to observe
that the idealistic logic from the beginning finds itself in precisely
the same predicament regarding hypotheses;--they are trifling or false.
And in the end they are made, as in Mill, "accidents" of inference.

The part played by Kant's sense-material and the categories is almost
the reverse of those of data and hypothesis in science. Sense material
and the categories are the given elements from which objects are somehow
made; in scientific procedure data and hypothesis are derived through
logical observation and imagination from the content and operations of
immediate experience. In Kant's account of the process by which objects
are constructed we are nowhere in sight of any experimental procedure.
Indeed, the real act of knowing, the selection and application of the
category to the sense matter, is, as Kant in the end had to confess,
"hidden away in the depths of the soul." Made in the presence of the
elaborate machinery of knowing which Kant had constructed, this
confession is almost tragic; and the tragic aspect grows when we find
that the result of the "hidden" operation is merely a phenomenal object.
That this should be the case, however, is not strange. A phenomenal
object is the inevitable correlate of the "hidden" act of knowing
whether in a "transcendental" or in an "empirical" logic. In vain do we
call the act of knowing "constructive" and "synthetic" if its method of
synthesis is hidden. A transcendental unity whose method is indefinable
has no advantage over empirical association.

It was the dream of Kant as of Mill to replace the logics of
sensationalism and rationalism with a "logic of things" and of "truth."
But as Mill's things turned to states of consciousness, so Kant's are
phenomenal. Their common fate proclaims their common failure--the
failure to reëstablish continuity between the conduct of intelligence
and other conduct.

One of the chief counts in Hegel's indictment of Kant's logic is that
"it had no influence on the methods of science."[15] Hegel's explanation
is that Kant's categories have no genesis; they are not constructed in
and as part of logical operations. As given, ready-made, their relevance
is a miracle. But if categories be "generated" in the process of
knowing, says Hegel, they are indigenous, and their fitness is
inevitable. In such statements Hegel raises expectations that we are at
last to have a logic which squares with the procedure of science. But
when we discover that instead of being "generated" out of all the
material involved in the scientific problem Hegel's categories are
derived from each other, misgivings arise. And when we further learn
that this "genesis" is timeless, which means that, after all, the
categories stand related to each other in a closed, eternal system of
implication, we abandon hope of a scientific--i.e., experimental--logic.

Hegel also says it is the business of philosophy "to substitute
categories or in more precise language adequate notions for the several
modes of feeling, perception, desire, and will." The word "substitute"
reveals the point at issue. If "to substitute" means that philosophy is
a complete exchange of the modes of feeling, perception, desire, and
will for a world of categories or notions, then, saying nothing of the
range of values in such a world, the problem of the meaning of
"adequate" is on our hands. What is the notion to be adequate to? But if
"to substitute" means that the modes of feeling, perception, desire, and
will, when in a specific situation of ambiguity and inhibition, go over
into, take on, the modes of data and hypothesis in the effort to get rid
of inhibiting conflict that is quite another matter. Here the "notion,"
as the scientific hypothesis, has a criterion for its adequacy. But if
the notion usurps the place of feeling, perception, desire, and will, as
many find, in the end, it does in Hegel's logic, it thereby loses all
tests for the adequacy of its function and character as a notion.

In the development of the logical doctrines of Kant and Hegel by Lotze,
Green, Sigwart, Bradley, Bosanquet, Royce, and others, there are indeed
differences. But these differences only throw their common ground into
bolder relief. This common ground is that, procedure by hypotheses, by
induction, is, in the language of Professor Bosanquet, "a transient and
external characteristic of inference."[16] And the ground of this
verdict is essentially the same as Mill's, when he rejects hypotheses
"made by the mind," namely, that such hypotheses are too subjective in
their origin and nature to have objective validity. "Objective" idealism
is trying, like Mill, to escape the subjectivism of the purely
individual and "psychical" knower. But, being unable to reconstruct the
finite knower, and being too sophisticated to make what it regards as
Mill's naïve appeal to "hypotheses found in things," it transfers the
real process of inference to the "objective universal," and the process
of all thought, including inference, is now defined as "_the
reproduction, by a universal presented in a content, of contents
distinguished from the presented content which also are differences of
the same universal_."[17]

It need scarcely be said that in inference thus defined there is scant
room for hypotheses. There is nothing "hypothetical," "experimental," or
"tentative" in this process of reproduction by the objective universal
as such. As little is there any possibility of error. If there is
anything hypothetical, or any possibility of error, in inference, it is
due to the temporal, finite human being in which, paradoxically enough,
this process of "reproduction" goes on and to whom, at times, is given
an "infinitesimal" part in the operation, while at other times he is
said merely to "witness" it. But the real inference does not "proceed by
hypotheses"; it is only the finite mind in witnessing the real logical
spectacle or in its "infinitesimal" contribution to it that lamely
proceeds in this manner.

Here, again, we have the same break in continuity between the finite,
human act of knowing and the operations that constitute the real world.
When the logic of the objective universal rejects imputations of
harboring a despoiled psychical knower it has in mind, of course, the
objective universal as knower, not the finite, human act. But, if the
participations of the latter are all accidents of inference, as they are
said to be, its advantage over a purely psychical knower, or "states of
consciousness," is difficult to see. The rejection of metaphysical
dualism is of no consequence if the logical operations of the finite,
human being are only "accidents" of the real logical process. As already
remarked, the metaphysical disjunction is merely a schematism of the
more fundamental, logical disjunction.

As for tautology and miracle, the follower of Mill might well ask: how
an association of particulars, whether mental states or things, could be
more tautologous than a universal reproducing its own differences? And
if the transition from particular to particular is a miracle in which
the grace of God is disguised as "habit," why is not habit as good a
disguise for Providence as universals? Moreover, by what miracle does
the one all-inclusive universal become _a_ universal? And since
perception always presents a number of universals, what determines which
one shall perform the reproduction? Finally, since there are infinite
differences of the universal that might be reproduced, what determines
just which differences shall be reproduced? In this wise the controversy
has gone on ever since the challenge of the old rationalistic logic by
the nominalists launched the issue of empiricism and rationalism. All
the charges which each makes against the other are easily retorted upon
itself. Each side is resistless in attack, but helpless in defense.

In a conception of inference in which both data and hypothesis are
regarded as the tentative, experimental results of the processes of
perception, memory, and constructive imagination engaged in the special
task of removing conflict, ambiguity, and inhibition, and in which these
processes are not conceived as the functions of a private mind nor of an
equally private brain and nervous system, but as functions of
interacting beings,--in such a conception there is no ground for anxiety
concerning the simplicity of data, nor the objectivity of hypotheses.
Simplicity and objectivity do not have to be secured through elaborate
and labored metaphysical construction. The data are simple and the
hypothesis objective in so far as they accomplish the work
where unto they are called--the removal of conflict, ambiguity, and
inhibition in conduct and affection.

In the experimental conception of inference it is clear that the
principles of formal logic must play their rôle wholly inside the course
of logical operations. They do not apply to relations _between_ these
operations and "reality"; nor to "reality" itself. Formal identity and
non-contradiction signify, in experimental logic, the complete
correlativity of data and hypothesis. They mean that _in_ the logical
procedure data must not be shifted without a corresponding change in the
hypothesis and conversely. The doctrine that "theoretically" there may
be any number of hypotheses for "the same facts" is, when these multiple
hypotheses are anything more than different names or symbols, nothing
less than the very essence of formal contradiction. It doubtless makes
little difference whether a disease be attributed to big or little,
black or red, demons or whether the cause be represented by a, b, or c,
etc. But where data and hypotheses are such as are capable of
verification, i.e., of mutually checking up each other, a change in one
without a corresponding modification of the other is the principle of
all formal fallacies.[18]

With this conception of the origin, nature, and functions of logical
operations little remains to be said of their truth and falsity. If the
whole enterprise of logical operation, of the construction and
verification of hypothesis, is in the interest of the removal of
ambiguity, and inhibition in conduct, the only relevant truth or falsity
they can possess must be determined by their success or failure in that
undertaking. The acceptance of this view of truth and error, be it said
again, depends on holding steadfastly to the conception of the
operations of knowing as _real acts_, which, though having a distinct
character and function, are yet in closest continuity with other acts of
which indeed they are but modifications and adaptations in order to meet
the logical demand.

Here, perhaps, is the place for a word on truth and satisfaction. The
satisfaction which marks the truth of logical operations--"intellectual
satisfaction"--is the satisfaction which attends the accomplishment of
their task, viz., the removal of ambiguity in conduct, i.e., in our
interaction with other beings. It does not mean that this satisfaction
is bound to be followed by wholly blissful consequences. All our
troubles are not over when the distress of ambiguity is removed. It may
be indeed that the verdict of the logical operation is that we must face
certain death. Very well, we must have felt it to be "good to know the
worst," or no inquiry would have been started. We should have deemed
ignorance bliss and sat with closed eyes waiting for fate to overtake us
instead of going forward to meet it and in some measure determine it.
Death anticipated and accepted is _realiter_ very different from death
that falls upon us unawares, however we may estimate that difference. If
this distinction in the _foci_ of satisfaction is kept clear it must do
away with a large amount of the hedonistic interpretations of
satisfaction in which many critics have indulged.

But hereupon some one may exclaim, as did a colleague recently: "Welcome
to the ranks of the intellectualists!" If so, the experimentalist is
bound to reply that he is as willing, and as unwilling, to be welcomed
to the ranks of intellectualism as to those of anti-intellectualism. He
wonders, however, how long the welcome would last in either. Among the
intellectualists the welcome would begin to cool as soon as it should be
discovered that the ambiguity to which logical operations are the
response is not regarded by the experimentalist as a purely intellectual
affair. It is an ambiguity in conduct with all the attendant affectional
values that may be at stake.[19] It is, to be sure, the fact of
ambiguity, and the effort to resolve it, that adds the intellectual,
logical character to conduct and to affectional values. But if the
logical interest attempts entirely to detach itself it will soon be
without either subject-matter or criterion. And if it sets itself up as
supreme, we shall be forced to say that our quandaries of affection, our
problems of life and death are merely to furnish occasions and material
for logical operations.

On the other hand, the welcome of the anti-intellectualists is equally
sure to wane when the experimentalist asserts that the doctrine that
logical operations mutilate the wholeness of immediate experience
overlooks the palpable fact that it is precisely these immediate
experiences--the experiences of intuition and instinct--that get into
conflict and inhibit and mutilate one another, and as a consequence are
obliged to go into logical session to patch up the mutilation and
provide new and better methods of coöperation.

At this point the weakness in Bergson's view of logical operations
appears. Bergson, too, is impressed by the break in continuity between
logical operations and the rest of experience. But with Mr. Bradley he
believes this breach to be essentially incurable, because the
mutilations and disjunctions are due to and introduced by logical
operations. Just why the latter are introduced remains in the end a
mystery. Both, to be sure, believe that logical operations are valuable
for "practical" purposes,--for action. But, aside from the question of
_how_ operations essentially mutilative can be valuable for action,
immediate intuitional experience being already in unity with Reality,
why should there be any practical need for logical operations--least of
all such as introduce disjunction and mutilation?

The admission of a demand for logical operations, whether charged to
matter, the devil, or any other metaphysical adversary, is, of course, a
confession that conflict and ambiguity are as fundamental in experience
as unity and immediacy and that logical operations are therefore no less
indigenous. The failure to see this implication is responsible for the
paradox that in the logic of Creative Evolution the operations of
intelligence are neither creative nor evolutional. They not only have no
constructive part but are positively destructive and devolutional.

Since, moreover, these logical operations, like those of the objective
universal, and like Mill's association of particulars, can only
reproduce in fragmentary form what has already been done, it is
difficult to see how they can meet the demands of action. For here no
more than in Mill, or in the logic of idealism, is there any place for
constructive hypotheses or any technique by which they can become
effective. Whatever "Creative Evolution" may be, there is no place in
its logic for "Creative Intelligence."


The prominence in current discussion of the logical reforms proposed by
the "analytic logic" of the neo-realistic movement and the enthusiastic
optimism of its representatives over the prospective results of these
reforms for logic, science, and practical life are the warrant for
devoting a special section to their discussion.

There are indeed some marked differences of opinion among the
expounders of the "new logic" concerning the results which it is
expected to achieve. Some find that it clears away incredible
accumulations of metaphysical lumber; others rejoice that it is to
restore metaphysics, "once the queen of the sciences, to her ancient

But whatever the difference among the representatives of analytical
logic all seem agreed at the outset on two fundamental reforms which the
"new logic" makes. These are: first, that analytic logic gets rid
entirely of the _act_ of knowing, the retention of which has been the
bane of all other logics; second, in its discovery of "terms and
relations," "sense-data and universals" as the simple elements not only
of logic but of the world, it furnishes science at last with the simple
neutral elements at large which it is supposed science so long has
sought, and "mourned because it found them not."

Taking these in order, we are told that "realism frees logic as a study
of objective fact from all accounts of the states and operations of
mind." ... "Logic and mathematics are sciences which can be pursued
quite independently of the study of knowing."[20] "The new logic
believes that it deals with no such entities as thoughts, ideas, or
minds, but with entities that merely are."[20]

The motive for the banishment of the act of knowing from logic is that
as an _act_ knowing is "mental," "psychological," and "subjective."[21]
All other logics have indeed realized this subjective character of the
_act_ of knowing, but have neither dared completely to discard it nor
been able sufficiently to counteract its effects even with such agencies
as the objective universal to prevent it from infecting logic with its
subjectivity. Because logic has tolerated and attempted to compromise
with this subjective act of knowing, say these reformers, it has been
forced constantly into epistemology and has become a hybrid science. Had
logic possessed the courage long ago to throw overboard this subjective
Jonah it would have been spared the storms of epistemology and the reefs
of metaphysics.

Analytic logic is the first attempt in the history of modern logical
theory at a deliberate, sophisticated exclusion of the act of knowing
from logic. Other logics, to be sure, have tried to neutralize the
effects of its presence, but none has had the temerity to cast it bodily
overboard. The experiment, therefore, is highly interesting.

We should note at the outset that in regarding the act of knowing as
incurably "psychical" and "subjective" analytic logic accepts a
fundamental premise of the logics of rationalism, empiricism, and
idealism which it seeks to reform. It is true that it is the bold
proposal of analytic logic to keep logic out of the pit of epistemology
by excluding the act of knowing from logic. Nevertheless analytic logic
still accepts the subjective character of this act; and if it excludes
it from its logic it welcomes it in its psychology. This is a dangerous
situation. Can the analytic logician prevent all osmosis between his
logic and his psychology?[22] If not, and if the psychological act is
subjective, woe then to his logic. Had the new logic begun with a bold
challenge of the psychical character of the act of knowing, the prospect
of a logic free from epistemology would have been much brighter.

With the desire to rid logic of the epistemological taint the
"experimental logic" of the pragmatic movement has the strongest
sympathy. But the proposal to effect this by the excision of the act of
knowing appears to experimental logic to be a case of heroic but fatal
surgery. _Prima facie_ a logic with no act of knowing presents an
uncanny appearance. What sort of logical operations are possible in such
a logic and of what kind of truth and falsity are they capable?

Before taking up these questions in detail it is worth while to note the
character of the entities that "merely are" with which analytic logic
proposes exclusively to deal. In their general form they are "terms" and
"propositions," "sense-data" and universals. We are struck at once by
the fact that these entities bear the names of logical operations. They
are, to be sure, disguised as entities and have been baptised in a
highly dilute solution of objectivity called "subsistence." But this
does not conceal their origin, nor does it obscure the fact that if it
is possible for any entities that "merely are" to have logical character
those made from hypostatized processes of logical operations should be
the most promising. They might be expected to retain some vestiges of
logical character even after they have been torn from the process of
inquiry and converted into "entities that merely are." Also it is not
surprising that having stripped the act of knowing of its constituent
operations analytic logic should feel that it can well dispense with the
empty shell called "mind" and, as Professor Dewey says, "wish it on
psychology." But if the analytic logician be also a philosopher and
perchance a lover of his fellow-man, it is hard to see how he can have a
good conscience over this disposition of the case.

Turning now to the character of inference and of truth and falsity which
are possible in a logic which excludes the operation of knowing and
deals only with "entities that are," all the expounders seem to agree
that in such a logic inference must be purely deductive. All alleged
induction is either disguised deduction or a lucky guess. This raises
apprehension at the start concerning the value of analytic logic for
other sciences. But let us observe what deduction in analytic logic is.

We begin at once with a distinction which involves the whole issue.[23]
We are asked to carefully distinguish "logical" deduction from
"psychological" deduction. The latter is the vulgar meaning of the term,
and is "the thinker's name for his own act of conforming his thought" to
the objective and independent processes that constitute the real logical
process. This act of conforming the mind is a purely "psychological"
affair. It has no logical function whatever. In what the "conforming"
consists is not clear. It seems to be merely the act of turning the
"psychological" eye on the objective logical process. "One beholds it
(the logical process) as one beholds a star, a river, a character in a
play.... The novelist and the dramatist, like the mathematician and
logician, are onlookers at the logical spectacle."[24] On the other
hand, the term "conforming" suggests a task, with the possibilities of
success and failure. Have we, then, two wholly independent possibilities
of error--one merely "psychological," the other "logical"? The same
point may be made even more obviously with reference to the term
"beholding." The term is used as if beholding were a perfectly simple
act, having no problems and no possibilities of mistakes--as if there
could be no mis-beholding.[25]

But fixing our psychological eye on the "logical spectacle," what does
it behold? A universal generating an infinite series of identical
instances of itself--i.e., instances which differ only in "logical
position." If in a world of entities that "merely are" the term
"generation" causes perplexity, the tension is soon relieved; for this
turns out to be a merely subsistential non-temporal generation which,
like Hegel's generation of the categories, in no way compromises a world
of entities that "merely are."

Steering clear of the thicket of metaphysical problems that we here
encounter, let us keep to the logical trail. First it is clear that
logical operations are of the same reproductive repetitive type that we
have found in the associational logic of empiricism, and in the logic of
the objective universal. Indeed, after objective idealism has conceded
that the finite mind merely "witnesses" or at most contributes only in
an "infinitesimal" degree to the logical activity of the objective
universal, what remains of the supposed gulf between absolute idealism
and analytic realism?

It follows, of course, that there can be no place in analytic logic for
"procedure by hypotheses." However, it is to the credit of some analytic
logicians that they see this and frankly accept the situation instead of
attempting to retain hypotheses by making them "accidents" or mere
"auxiliaries" of inference. On the other hand, others find that the
chief glory of analytic logic is precisely that it "gives thought
wings"[26] for the free construction of hypotheses. In his lectures on
"Scientific Methods in Philosophy" Mr. Russell calls some of the most
elemental and sacred entities of analytic logic "convenient fictions."
This retention of hypotheses at the cost of cogency is of course in
order to avoid a break with science. Those who see that there is no
place in analytic logic for hypotheses are equally anxious to preserve
their connections with science. Hence they boldly challenge the
"superstition" that science has anything to do with hypotheses. Newton's
"_Hypotheses non fingo_" should be the motto of every conscientious
scientist who dares "trust his own perceptions and disregard the ukase
of idealism." "The theory of mental construction is the child of
idealism, now put out to service for the support of its parents."
"Theory is no longer regarded in science as an hypothesis added to the
observed facts," but a law which is "found in the facts."[27] The
identity of this with Mill's doctrine of hypotheses as "found in things"
is obvious.

As against the conception of hypotheses as "free," "winged,"
constructions of a psychical, beholding, gossiping mind we may well take
our stand with those who would exclude such hypotheses from science. And
this doubtless was the sort of mind and sort of hypotheses Newton meant
when he said "_Hypotheses non fingo_."[28] But had Newton's mind really
been of the character which he, as a physicist, had learned from
philosophers to suppose it to be, and had he really waited to find his
hypotheses ready-made in the facts, there never would have been any
dispute about who discovered the calculus, and we should never have been
interested in what Newton said about hypotheses or anything else. What
Newton did is a much better source of information on the part hypotheses
play in scientific method than what he said about them. The former
speaks for itself; the latter is the pious repetition of a metaphysical
creed made necessary by the very separation of mind from things
expressed in the statement quoted.

Logically there is little to choose between hypotheses found ready-made
in the facts and those which are the "winged" constructions of a purely
psychical mind. Both are equally useless in logic and in science. One
makes logic and science "trifling," the other makes them "miraculous."
But if hypotheses be conceived not as the output of a cloistered
psychical entity but as the joint product of all the beings and
operations involved in the specific situation in which logical inquiry
originates, and more particularly in all those involved in the
operations of the inquiry itself (including all the experimental
material and apparatus which the inquiry may require), we shall have
sufficient continuity between hypotheses and things to do away with
miracle, and sufficient reconstruction to avoid inference that is

It is, however, the second contribution of analytic logic that is the
basis of the enthusiasm over its prospective value for other sciences.
This is the discovery that terms and propositions, sense-data, and
universals, are not only elements of logical operation but are the
simple, neutral elements at large which science is supposed to have been
seeking. "As the botanist analyzes the structures of the vegetable
organism and finds chemical compounds of which they are built so the
ordinary chemist analyzes these compounds into their elements, but does
not analyze these. The physical chemist analyzes these elemental atoms,
as now appears, into minuter components _which he in turn must leave to
the mathematicians and logicians further to analyze_."[29]

Again it is worth noting that this mutation of logical into ontological
elements seems to differ only "in position" from the universal logicism
of absolute idealism.

What are these simple elements into which the mathematician and logician
are to analyze the crude elements of the laboratory? And how are these
elements to be put into operation in the laboratory? Let us picture an
analytic logician meeting a physical scientist at a moment when the
latter is distressed over the unmanageable complexity of his elements.
Will the logician say to the scientist: "Your difficulty is that you are
trusting too much to your mundane apparatus. The kingdom of truth cometh
not with such things. Forsake your microscopes, test tubes, refractors
and resonators, and follow me, and you shall behold the truly simple
elements of which you have dreamed."? And when the moment of revelation
arrives and the expectant scientist is solemnly told that the "simple
elements" which he has sought so long are "terms and propositions,"
sense-data and universals, is it surprising that he does not seem
impressed? Will he not ask: "What am I to do with these in the specific
difficulties of my laboratory? Shall I say to the crude and complex
elements of my laboratory operations: 'Be ye resolved into terms and
propositions, sense-data and universals'; and will they forthwith obey
this incantation and fall apart so that I may locate and remove the
hidden source of my difficulty? Are you not mocking me and deceiving
yourself with the old ontological argument? Your 'simple' elements--are
they anything but the hypostatized process by which elements may be

The expounders as well as the critics of analytic logic have agreed that
it reaches its most critical junction when it faces the problem of truth
and error. There is no doubt that the logic of objective idealism, in
other respects so similar to analytic logic, has at this point an
advantage; for it retains just enough of the finite operation of
knowing--an "infinitesimal" part will answer--to furnish the culture
germs of error. But analytic logic having completely sterilized itself
against this source of infection is in serious difficulty.

Here again it is Professor Holt who has the courage to follow--or shall
we say "behold"?--his theory as it "generates" the doctrine that error
is a given objective opposition of forces entirely independent of any
such thing as a process of inquiry and all that such a process
presupposes. "All collisions between bodies, all inference between
energies, all process of warming and cooling, of starting and stopping,
of combining and separating, all counterbalancings, as in cantilevers
and gothic vaultings, are contradictory forces which can be stated only
in propositions that manifestly contradict each other."[31] But the
argument proves too much. For in the world of forces to which we have
here appealed there is no force which is not opposed by others and no
particle which is not the center of opposing forces. Hence error is
ubiquitous. In making error objective we have made all objectivity
erroneous. We find ourselves obliged to say that the choir of
Westminster Abbey, the Brooklyn bridge, the heads on our shoulders are
all supported by logical errors!

Following these illustrations of ontological contradictions there is
indeed this interesting statement: "Nature is so full of these mutually
negative processes that we are moved to admiration when a few forces
coöperate long enough to form what we call an organism."[32] The
implication is, apparently, that as an "opposition" of forces is error,
"coöperation" of forces is truth. But what is to distinguish
"opposition" from "coöperation"? In the illustration it is clear that
opposing forces--error--do not interfere with coöperative forces--truth.
Where should we find more counterbalancing, more starting and stopping,
warming and cooling, combining and separating than in an organism? And
if these processes can be stated only in propositions that are
"manifestly contradictory," are we to understand that truth has errors
for its constituent elements? Such paradoxes have always delighted the
soul of absolute idealism. But, as we have seen, only the veil of an
infinitesimal finitude intervenes between the logic of the objective
universal of absolute idealism and the objective logic of analytic

It is, of course, this predicament regarding objective truth and error
that has driven most analytic logicians to recall the exiled
psychological, "mental" act of knowing. It had to be recalled to provide
some basis of distinction between truth and error, but, this act having
already been conceived as incurably "subjective," the result is only an
exchange of dilemmas. For the reinstatement of this act _ipso facto_
reinstates the epistemological predicament to get rid of which it was
first banished from logic.

Earnest efforts to escape this outcome have been made by attaching the
act of knowing to the nervous system, and this is a move in the right
direction. But so far the effort has been fruitless because no
connection has been made between the knowing function of the nervous
system and its other functions. The result is that the cognitive
operation of the nervous system, as of the "psychical" mind, is that of
a mere spectator; and the epistemological problem abides. An onlooking
nervous system has no advantage over an "onlooking" mind. Onlooking,
beholding may indeed be a part of a genuine act of knowing. But in that
act it is always a stimulus or response to other acts. It is one of
them;--never a mere spectator of them. It is when the act of knowing is
cut off from its connection with other acts and finds itself adrift that
it seeks metaphysical lodgings. And this it may find either in an empty
psychical mind or in an equally empty body.[33]

If, in reinstating the act of knowing as a function of the nervous
system, neo-realism had recognized the logical significance of the fact
that the nervous system of which knowing is a function is the same
nervous system of which loving and hating, desiring and striving are
functions and that the transition from these to the operations of
inquiry and knowing is not a capricious jump but a transition motived by
the loving and hating, desiring and striving--if this had been
recognized the logic of neo-realism would have been spared its
embarrassments over the distinction of truth and error. It would have
seen that the passage from loving and hating, desiring and striving to
inquiry and knowing is made in order to renew and reform specific
desires and strivings which, through conflict and consequent
equivocation, have become fruitless and vain; and it must have seen that
the results of the inquiry are true or false as they succeed or fail in
this reformation and renewal.

But once more, it must steadily be kept in view that while the loving
and hating, desiring and striving, which the logical operations are
reforming and renewing, are functions of the nervous system, they are
not functions of the nervous system alone, else the door of subjectivism
again closes upon us. Loving and hating, desiring and striving have
their "objects." Hence any reformation of these functions involves no
less a reformation of their objects. When therefore we say that truth
and error are relevant to desires and strivings, this means relevant to
them as including their objects, not as entitized processes (such are
the pitfalls of language) inclosed in a nervous system or mind. With
this before us the relevance of truth and error to desires and strivings
can never be made the basis for the charge of subjectivism. The
conception of desires as peculiarly individual and subjective is a
survival of the very isolation which is the source of the difficulty
with truth and error. Hence the appeal to this isolation, made alike by
idealism and realism, in charging instrumental logic with subjectivism
is an elementary _petitio_.

Doubtless it will be urged again that the act of knowing is motived
by an independent desire and striving of its own. This is of course
consonant with the neo-realistic atomism, however inconsonant it may be
with the conception of implication which it employs. If we take a small
enough, isolated segment of experience we can find meaning for this
notion, as we may for the idea that the earth is flat and that the sun
moves around the earth. But as consequences accrue we find as great
difficulties with the one as with the other. If the course of events did
not bring us to book, if we could get off with a mere definition of
truth and error we might go on piling up subsistential definitional
logics world without end. But sublime adventurers, logically
unregenerate and uninitiated, will go on sailing westward to the
confusion and confounding of all definitional systems that leave them
out of account.

The conclusion is plain. If logic is to have room in its household for
both truth and error, if it is to avoid the old predicament of knowledge
that is trifling or miraculous, tautologous or false, if it is to have
no fear of the challenge of other sciences or of practical life, it must
be content to take for its subject-matter the operations of intelligence
conceived as real acts on the same metaphysical plane and in strictest
continuity with other acts. Such a logic will not fear the challenge of
science, for it is precisely this continuity that makes possible
experimentation, which is the fundamental characteristic of scientific
procedure. Science without experiment is indeed a strange apparition. It
is a [Greek: logos] with no [Greek: legein], a science with no _scire_;
and this spells dogmatism. How necessary such continuity is to
experimentation is apparent when we recall that there is no limit to the
range of operations of every sort which scientific experiment calls into
play; and that unless there be thoroughgoing continuity between the
logical demand of the experiment and all the materials and devices
employed in the process of the experiment, the operations of the latter
in the experiment will be either miraculous or ruinous.

Finally, if this continuity of the operations of intelligence with
other operations be essential to science, its relation to "practical"
life is _ipso facto_ established. For science is "practical" life
aware of its problems and aware of the part that experimental--i.e.,
creative--intelligence plays in the solution of those problems.



Herbart is said to have given the deathblow to faculty psychology. Man
no longer appears endowed with volition, passion, desire, and reason;
and logic, deprived of its hereditary right to elucidate the operations
of inherent intelligence, has the new problem of investigating forms of
intelligence in the making. This is no inconsequential task. "If man
originally possesses only capacities which after a given amount of
education will produce ideas and judgments" (Thorndike, _Educational
Psychology_, Vol. I, p. 198), and if these ideas and judgments are to be
substituted for a mythical intelligence it follows that tracing their
development and observing their functioning renders clearer our
conception of their nature and value and brings us nearer that exact
knowledge of what we are talking about in which the philosopher at least
aspires to equal the scientist, however much he may fall below his

For contemporary thought concerning the mathematical sciences this
altered point of view generates peculiarly pressing problems.
Mathematicians have weighed the old logic and found it wanting. They
have builded themselves a new logic more adequate to their ends. But
they have not whole-heartedly recognized the change that has come about
in psychology; hence they have retained the faculty of intelligence
knit into certain indefinables such as implication, relation, class,
term, and the like, and have transported the faculty from the human soul
to a mysterious realm of subsistence whence it radiates its ghostly
light upon the realm of existence below. But while they reproach the old
logic, often bitterly, their new logic merely furnishes a more adequate
show-case in which already attained knowledge may be arranged to set off
its charms for the observer in the same way that specimens in a museum
are displayed before an admiring world. This statement is not a sweeping
condemnation, however, for such a setting forth is not useless. It
resembles the classificatory stage of science which, although not itself
in the highest sense creative, often leads to higher stages by bringing
under observation relations and facts that might otherwise have escaped
notice. And in the realm of pure mathematics, the new logic has
undoubtedly contributed in this manner to such discoveries. Danger
appears when the logician attains Cartesian intoxication with the beauty
of logico-mathematical form and tries to infer from the form itself the
real nature of the formed material. The realm of subsistence too often
has armed Indefinables with metaphysical myths whose attack is valiant
when the doors of reflection are opened. It may be possible, however, to
arrive at an understanding of mathematics without entering the kingdom
of these warriors.

It is the essence of science to make prediction possible. The value of
prediction lies in the fact that through this function man can control
his environment, or, at worst, fortify himself to meet its vagaries. To
attain such predictions, however, the world need not be grasped in its
full concreteness. Hence arise processes of abstraction. While all other
symptoms remain unnoticed, the temperature and pulse may mark a disease,
or a barometer-reading the weather. The physicist may work only in terms
of quantity in a world which is equally truly qualitative. All that is
necessary is to select the elements which are most effective for
prediction and control. Such selection gives the principle that
dominates all abstractions. Progress is movement from the less abstract
to the more abstract, but it is progress only because the more abstract
is as genuinely an aspect of the concrete starting-point as anything is.
Moreover, the outcome of progress of this sort cannot be definitely
foreseen at the beginnings. The simple activities of primitive men have
to be spontaneously performed before their value becomes evident. Only
afterwards can they be cultivated for the sake of their value, and then
only can the self-conscious cultivation of a science begin. The process
remains full not only of perplexities, but of surprises; men's
activities lead to goals far other than those which appear at the start.
These goals, however, never deny the method by which the start is made.
Developed intelligence is nothing but skill in using a set of concepts
generated in this manner. In this sense the histories of all human
endeavors run parallel.

Where the empirical bases of a science are continually in the
foreground, as in physics or chemistry, the foregoing formulation of
procedure is intelligible and acceptable to most men. Mathematics seem,
however, to stand peculiarly apart. Many, with Descartes, have delighted
in them "on account of the certitude and evidence of their reasonings"
and recognized their contribution to the advancement of mechanical arts.
But since the days of Kant even this value has become a problem, and
many a young philosophic student has the question laid before him as to
why it is that mathematics, "a purely conceptual science," can tell us
anything about the character of a world which is, apparently at least,
free from the idiosyncrasies of individual mind. It may be that
mathematics began in empirical practice, such philosophers admit, but
they add that, somehow, in its later career, it has escaped its lowly
origin. Now it moves in the higher circles of postulated relations and
arbitrarily defined entities to which its humble progenitors and
relatives are denied the entrée. Parvenus, however, usually bear with
them the mark of history, and in the case of this one, at least, we may
hope that the history will be sufficient to drag it from the
affectations of its newly acquired set and reinstate it in its proper
place in the workaday world. For the sake of this hope, we shall take
the risk of being tedious by citing certain striking moments of
mathematical progress; and then we shall try to interpret its genuine
status in the world of working truths.



The most primitive mathematical activity of man is counting, but here
his first efforts are lost in the obscurity of the past. The lower
races, however, yield us evidence that is not without value. Although
the savage mind is not identical with the mind of primitive man, there
is much in the activities of undeveloped races that can throw light upon
the behavior of peoples more advanced. We must be careful in our
inferences, however. Among the Australians and South Americans there are
peoples whose numerical systems go little, or not at all, beyond the
first two or three numbers. "It has been inferred from this," writes
Professor Boas (_Mind of Primitive Man_, pp. 152-53), "that the people
speaking these languages are not capable of forming the concept of
higher numbers.... People like the South American Indians, ... or like
the Esquimo ... are presumably not in need of higher numerical
expressions, because there are not many objects that they have to count.
On the other hand, just as soon as these same people find themselves in
contact with civilization, and when they acquire standards of value that
have to be counted, they adopt with perfect ease higher numerals from
other languages, and develop a more or less perfect system of
counting.... It must be borne in mind that counting does not become
necessary until objects are considered in such generalized form that
their individualities are entirely lost sight of. For this reason it is
possible that even a person who owns a herd of domesticated animals may
know them by name and by their characteristics, without even desiring to
count them."

And there is one other false interpretation to be avoided. Man does not
feel the need of counting and then develop a system of numerals to meet
the need. Such an assumption is as ridiculous as to assume prehistoric
man thinking to himself: "I must speak," and then inventing voice
culture and grammar to make speaking pleasant and possible. Rather, when
powers of communication are once attained, presumably in their
beginnings also without forethought, man being still more animal than
man, there were gradually dissociated communications of a kind
approaching what numbers mean to us. But the number is not yet a symbol
apart from that of the things numbered. Picture writing, re-representing
the things meant, preceded developmentally any kind of symbolization
representing the number by mere one-one correspondence with
non-particularized symbols. It is plausible, although I have no
anthropological authority for the statement, that the prevalence of
finger words as number symbols (cf. infra) is originally a consequence
of the fact that our organization makes the hand the natural instrument
of pointing.

The difficulty of passing from concrete representations to abstract
symbols has been keenly stated by Conant (_The Number Concept_, pp.
72-73), although his terminology is that of an old psychology and the
limitations implied for the primitive mind are limitations of practice
rather than of capacity as Mr. Conant seems to believe. "An abstract
conception is something quite foreign to the essentially primitive mind,
as missionaries and explorers have found to their chagrin. The savage
can form no mental concept of what civilized man means by such a word as
_soul_; nor would his idea of the abstract number 5 be much clearer.
When he says _five_, he uses, in many cases at least, the same word that
serves him when he wishes to say _hand_; and his mental concept when he
says _five_ is a hand. The concrete idea of a closed fist, of an open
hand with outstretched fingers, is what is uppermost in his mind. He
knows no more and cares no more about the pure number 5 than he does
about the law of conservation of energy. He sees in his mental picture
only the real, material image, and his only comprehension of the number
is, "these objects are as many as the fingers on my hand." Then, in the
lapse of the long interval of centuries which intervene between lowest
barbarism and highest civilization, the abstract and concrete become
slowly dissociated, the one from the other. First the actual hand
picture fades away, and the number is recognized without the original
assistance furnished by the derivation of the word. But the number is
still for a long time a certain number _of objects_, and not an
independent concept."

An excellent fur trader's story, reported to me by Mr. Dewey, suggests a
further impulse to count besides that given by the need of keeping a
tally, namely, the need of making one thing correspond to another in a
business transaction. The Indian laid down one skin and the trader two
dollars; if he proposed to count several skins at once and pay for all
together, the former replied "too much cheatem." The result, however,
demanded a tally either by the fingers, a pebble, or a mark made in the
sand, and as the magnitude of such transactions grows the need of a
specific number symbol becomes ever more acute.

The first obstacle, then, to overcome--and it has already been
successfully passed by many primitive peoples--is the need of fortuitous
attainment of a numerical symbol, which is not the mere repeated symbol
of the things numbered. Significantly, this symbol is usually derived
from the hand, suggesting gestures of tallying, and not from the words
of already developed language. Consequently, number words relate
themselves for the most part to the hand, and written number symbols,
which are among the earliest writings of most peoples, tend to depict it
as soon as they have passed beyond the stage mentioned above of merely
repeating the symbol of the things numbered. W. C. Eells, in writing of
the Number Systems of the North American Indians (_Am. Math. Mo._, Nov.,
1913; pp. 263-72), finds clear linguistic evidence for a digital origin
in about 40% of the languages examined. Of the non-digital instances, 1
was sometimes connected with the first personal pronoun, 2 with roots
meaning separation, 3, rarely, meaning more, or plural as distinguished
from the dual, just as the Greek uses a plural as well as a dual in
nouns and verbs, 4 is often the perfect, complete right. It is often a
sacred number and the base of a quarternary system. Conant (_loc. cit._
p. 98) also gives a classification of the meanings of simple number
words for more advanced languages; and even in them the hand is
constantly in evidence, as in 5, the hand; 10, two hands, half a man,
when fingers and toes are both considered, or a man, when the hands
alone are considered; 20, one man, two feet. The other meanings hang
upon the ideas of existence, piece, group, beginning, for 1; and
repetition, division, and collection for higher numerals.

A peculiar difficulty lies in the fact that when once numbering has
become a self-conscious effort, the collection of things to be numbered
frequently tends to exceed the number of names that have become
available. Sometimes the difficulty is met by using a second man when
the fingers and toes of the first are used up, sometimes by a method of
repetition with the record of the number of the repetition itself added
to the numerical significance of the whole process. Hence arise the
various systems of bases that occur in developed mathematics. But the
inertia to be overcome in the recognition of the base idea is nowhere
more obvious than in the retention by the comparatively developed
Babylonian system of a second base of 60 to supplement the decimal one
for smaller numbers. Among the American Indians (Eells, _loc. cit._) the
system of bases used varies from the cumbersome binary scale, that
exercised such a fascination over Leibniz (_Opera_, _III_, p. 346),
through the rare ternary, and the more common quarternary to the
"natural" quinary, decimal, and vigesimal systems derived from the
use of the fingers and toes in counting. The achievement of a number
base and number words, however, does not always open the way to
further mathematical development. Only too often a complexity of
expression is involved that almost immediately cuts off further
progress. Thus the Youcos of the Amazon cannot get beyond the number
three, for the simplest expression for the idea in their language is
"pzettarrarorincoaroac" (Conant, _loc. cit._, pp. 145, 83, 53). Such
names as "99, tongo solo manani nun solo manani" (i.e., 10, understood,
5 plus 4 times, and 5 plus 4) of the Soussous of Sierra Leone; "399,
caxtolli onnauh poalli ipan caxtolli onnaui" (15 plus 4 times 20 plus 15
plus 4) of the Aztec; "29, wick a chimen ne nompah sam pah nep e chu
wink a" (Sioux), make it easy to understand the proverb of the Yorubas
of Abeokuta, "You may be very clever, but you can't tell 9 times 9."

Almost contemporaneously with the beginnings of counting various
auxiliary devices were introduced to help out the difficult task. In
place of many men, notched sticks, knotted strings, pebbles, or finger
pantomime were used. In the best form, these devices resulted in the
abacus; indeed, it was not until after the introduction of arabic
numerals and well into the Renaissance period that instrumental
arithmetic gave way to graphical in Europe (D. E. Smith, _Rara
Arithmetica_, under "Counters"). "In eastern Europe," say Smith and
Mikami (_Japanese Mathematics_, pp. 18-19), "it"--the abacus--"has never
been replaced, for the tschotü is used everywhere in Russia to-day, and
when one passes over into Persia the same type of abacus is common in
all the bazaars. In China the swan-pan is universally used for the
purposes of computation, and in Japan the soroban is as strongly
entrenched as it was before the invasion of western ideas."

Given, then, the idea of counting, and a mechanical device to aid
computation, it still remains necessary to obtain some notation in which
to record results. At the early dawn of history the Egyptians seem to
have been already possessed of number signs (cf. Cantor, _Gesch. de.
Math._, p. 44) and the Phoenicians either wrote out their number words
or used a few simple signs, vertical, horizontal, and oblique lines, a
process which the Arabians perpetuated up to the beginning of the
eleventh century (Fink, p. 15); the Greeks, as early as 600 B. C., used
the initial letters of words for numbers. But speaking generally,
historical beginnings of European number signs are too obscure to
furnish us good material.

Our Indians have few number symbols other than words, but when they
occur (cf. Eells, _loc. cit._) they usually take the form of pictorial
presentation of some counting device such as strokes, lines dotted to
suggest a knotted cord, etc. Indeed, the smaller Roman numerals were
probably but a pictorial representation of finger symbols. However, a
beautiful concrete instance is furnished us in the Japanese mathematics
(cf. Smith and Mikami, Ch. III). The earliest instrument of reckoning in
Japan seems to have been the rod, Ch'eou, adapted from the Chinese under
the name of Chikusaku (bamboo rods) about 600 A. D. At first relatively
large (measuring rods?), they became reduced to about 12 cm., but from
their tendency to roll were quickly replaced by the sangi (square
prisms, about 7 mm. thick and 5 cm. long) and the number symbols were
evidently derived from the use of these rods:

                           _  __  ___  ____
  |, ||, |||, ||||, |||||, |, ||, |||, ||||.

For the sake of clearness, tens, hundreds, etc., were expressed in the
even place by horizontal instead of vertical lines and vice versa; thus
1267 would be formed

  - || | ||.

The rods were arranged on a sort of chessboard called the swan-pan. Much
later the lines were transferred to paper, and a circle used to denote
the vacant square. The use of squares, however, rendered it unnecessary
to arrange the even places differently from the odd, so numbers like
38057 came to be written

  |       |  ___  |       |       |  __  |
  |  |||  |  |||  |       | ||||| |  ||  |
  |       |       |       |       |      |

instead of

  |       |       |       |       |      |
  |       |       |       |   -   |      |
  |       |   |   |       |   -   |  __  |
  |  |||  |   -   |       |   -   |  ||  |
  |       |   -   |       |   -   |      |
  |       |   -   |       |   -   |      |
  |       |       |       |       |      |

as in the earlier notation.

Somewhere in the course of these early mathematical activities the
process has changed from the more or less spontaneous operating that led
primitive man to the first enunciation of arithmetical ideas, and has
become a self-conscious striving for the solution of problems. This
change had already taken place before the historical origins of
arithmetic are met. Thus, the treatise of Ahmes (2000 B. C.) contains
the curious problem: 7 persons each have 7 cats; each cat eats 7 mice;
each mouse eats 7 ears of barley; from each ear 7 measures of corn may
grow; how much grain has been saved? Such problems are, however, half
play, as appears in a Leonardo of Pisa version some 3000 years later: 7
old women go to Rome; each woman has 7 mules; each mule, 7 sacks; each
sack contains 7 loaves; with each loaf are 7 knives; each knife is in 7
sheaths. Similarly in Diophantus' epitaph (330 A. D.): "Diophantus
passed 1/6 of his life in childhood, 1/12 in youth, and 1/7 more as a
bachelor; 5 years after his marriage, was born a son who died 4 years
before his father at 1/2 his age." Often among peoples such puzzles were
a favorite social amusement. Thus Braymagupta (628 A. D.) reads, "These
problems are proposed simply for pleasure; the wise man can invent a
thousand others, or he can solve the problems of others by the rules
given here. As the sun eclipses the stars by its brilliancy, so the man
of knowledge will eclipse the fame of others in assemblies of the people
if he proposes algebraic problems, and still more if he solves them"
(Cajori, _Hist. of Math._, p. 92).

The limitation of these early methods is that the notation merely
records and does not aid computation. And this is true even of such a
highly developed system as was in use among the Romans. If the reader is
unconvinced, let him attempt some such problem as the multiplication of
CCCXVI by CCCCLXVIII, expressing it and carrying it through in Roman
numerals, and he will long for the abacus to assist his labors. It was
the positional arithmetic of the Arabians, of which the origins are
obscure, that made possible the development of modern technique. Of this
discovery, or rediscovery from the Hindoos, together with the zero
symbol, Cajori (_Hist. of Math._, p. 11) has said "of all mathematical
discoveries, no one has contributed more to the general progress of
intelligence than this." The notation no longer merely records results,
but now assists in performing operations.

The origins of geometry are even more obscure than those of arithmetic.
Not only is geometry as highly developed as arithmetic when it first
appears in occidental civilization, but, in addition, the problems of
primitive peoples seem to have been such that they have developed no
geometrical formulæ striking enough to be recorded by investigators, so
far as I have been able to discover. But just as the commercial life of
the Phoenicians early forced them self-consciously to develop
arithmetical calculation, so environmental conditions seem to have
forced upon the Egyptians a need for geometrical considerations.

It is almost platitudinous to quote Herodotus' remark that the invention
of geometry was necessary because of the floods of the Nile, which
washed away the boundaries and changed the contours of the fields. And
as Proclus Diadochus adds (_Procli Diadochi, in primum Euclidis
elementorum librum commentarii_--quoted Cantor, I, p. 125): "It is not
surprising that the discovery of this as well as other sciences has
sprung from need, because everything in the process of beginning
proceeds from the incomplete to the complete. There takes place a
suitable transition from sensible perception to thoughtful consideration
and rational knowledge. Just as with the Phoenicians, for the sake of
business and commerce, an exact knowledge of numbers had its beginning,
so with the Egyptians, for the above-mentioned reasons, was geometry

The earliest Egyptian mathematical writing that we know is that of Ahmes
(2000 B. C.), but long before this the mural decorations of the temple
wall involved many figures, the construction of which involved a certain
amount of working knowledge of such operations as may be performed with
the aid of a ruler and compass. The fact that these operations did not
earlier lead to geometry, as ruler and compass work seems to have
done in Japan in the nineteenth century (Smith and Mikami, index,
"Geometry"), is probably due to the stage at which the development of
Egyptian intelligence had arrived, feebly advanced on the road to higher
abstract thinking. It is everywhere characteristic of Egyptian genius
that little purely intellectual curiosity is shown. Even astronomical
knowledge was limited to those determinations which had religious or
magically practical significance, and its arithmetic and geometry never
escaped these bounds as with the more imaginative Pythagoreans, where
mystical interpretation seems to have been a consequence of rather than
a stimulus to investigation. An old Egyptian treatise reads (Cantor, p.
63): "I hold the wooden pin (Nebi) and the handle of the mallet (semes),
I hold the line in concurrence with the Goddess S[a.]fech. My glance
follows the course of the stars. When my eye comes to the constellation
of the great bear and the time of the number of the hour determined by
me is fulfilled, I place the corner of the temple." This incantation
method could hardly advance intelligence; but the methods of practical
measuring were more effective. Here the rather happy device of using
knotted cords, carried about by the Harpedonapts, or cord stretchers,
was of some moment. Especially, the fact that the lengths 3, 4, and 5,
brought into triangular form, served for an interesting connection
between arithmetic and the right triangle, was not a little gain, later
making possible the discovery of the Pythagorean theorem, although in
Egypt the theoretical properties of the triangle were never developed.
The triangle obviously must have been practically considered by the
decorators of the temple and its builders, but the cord stretchers
rendered clear its arithmetical significance. However, Ahmes' "Rules for
attaining the knowledge of all dark things ... all secrets that are
contained in objects" (Cantor, _loc. cit._, p. 22) contains merely a
mixture of all sorts of mathematical information of a practical
nature,--"rules for making a round fruit house," "rules for measuring
fields," "rules for making an ornament," etc., but hardly a word of
arithmetical and geometrical processes in themselves, unless it be
certain devices for writing fractions and the like.



A characteristic of Greek social life is responsible both for the next
phase of the development of mathematical thought and for the
misapprehension of its nature by so many moderns. "When Archytas and
Menaechmus employed mechanical instruments for solving certain
geometrical problems, 'Plato,' says Plutarch, 'inveighed against them
with great indignation and persistence as destroying and perverting all
the good that there is in geometry; for the method absconds from
incorporeal and intellectual or sensible things, and besides employs
again such bodies as require much vulgar handicraft: in this way
mechanics was dissimilated and expelled from geometry, and being for a
long time looked down upon by philosophy, became one of the arts of
war.' In fact, manual labor was looked down upon by the Greeks, and a
sharp distinction was drawn between the slaves who performed bodily work
and really observed nature, and the leisured upper classes who
speculated, and often only knew nature by hearsay. This explains much of
the naïve dreamy and hazy character of ancient natural science. Only
seldom did the impulse to make experiments for oneself break through;
but when it did, a great progress resulted, as was the case of Archytas
and Archimedes. Archimedes, like Plato, held that it was undesirable for
a philosopher to seek to apply the results of science to any practical
use; but, whatever might have been his view of what ought to be in the
case, he did actually introduce a large number of new inventions"
(Jourdain, _The Nature of Mathematics_, pp. 18-19). Following the Greek
lead, certain empirically minded modern thinkers construe geometry
wholly from an intellectual point of view. History is read by them as
establishing indubitably the proposition that mathematics is a matter of
purely intellectual operations. But by so construing it, they have, in
geometry, remembered solely the measuring and forgotten the land, and,
in arithmetic, remembered the counting and forgotten the things

Arithmetic experienced little immediate gain from its new association
with geometry, which was destined to be of momentous import in its
latter history, beyond the discovery of irrationals (which, however,
were for centuries not accepted as numbers), and the establishment of
the problem of root-taking by its association with the square, and
interest in negative numbers.

The Greeks had only subtracted smaller numbers from larger, but the
Arabs began to generalize the process and had some acquaintance with
negative results, but it was difficult for them to see that these
results might really have significance. N. Chuquet, in the fifteenth
century, seems to have been the first to interpret the negative numbers,
but he remained a long time without imitators. Michael Stifel, in the
sixteenth century, still calls them "Numeri absurdi" as over against the
"Numeri veri." However, their geometrical interpretation was not
difficult, and they soon won their way into good standing. But the case
of the imaginary is more striking. The need for it was first felt when
it was seen that negative numbers have no square roots. Chuquet had
dealt with second-degree equations involving the roots of negative
numbers in 1484, but says these numbers are "impossible," and Descartes
(_Geom._, 1637) first uses the word "imaginary" to denote them. Their
introduction is due to the Italian algebrists of the sixteenth century.
They knew that the real roots of certain algebraic equations of the
third degree are represented as results of operations effected upon
"impossible" numbers of the form _a_ + _b_ sqrt{-1} (where _a_ and _b_ are
real numbers) without it being possible in general to find an algebraic
expression for the roots containing only real numbers. Cardan calculated
with these "impossibles," using them to get real results
[(5 + sqrt{-15}) (5 - sqrt{-15}) = 25 - (-15) = 40], but adds that it is a
"quantitas quae vere est sophistica" and that the calculus itself "adeo
est subtilis ut est inutilis." In 1629, Girard announced the theorem
that every complete algebraic equation admits of as many roots, real or
imaginary, as there are units in its degree, but Gauss first proved this
in 1799, and finally, in his _Theory of Complex Quantity_, in 1831.

Geometry, however, among the Greeks passed into a stage of abstraction
in which lines, planes, etc., in the sense in which they are understood
in our elementary texts, took the place of actually measured surfaces,
and also took on the deductive form of presentation that has served as a
model for all mathematical presentation since Euclid. Mensuration
smacked too much of the exchange, and before the time of Archimedes is
practically wholly absent. Even such theorems as "that the area of a
triangle equals half the product of its base and its altitude" is
foreign to Euclid (cf. Cajori, p. 39). Lines were merely directions, and
points limitations from which one worked. But there was still dependence
upon the things that one measures. Euclid's elements, "when examined in
the light of strict mathematical logic, ... has been pronounced by C. S.
Peirce to be 'Riddled with fallacies'" (Cajori, p. 37). Not logic, but
observation of the figures drawn, that is, concrete symbolization of
the processes indicated, saves Euclid from error.

Roman practical geometry seems to have come from the Etruscans, but the
Roman here is as little inventive as in his arithmetical ventures,
although the latter were stimulated somewhat by problems of inheritance
and interest reckoning. Indeed, before the entrance of Arabic learning
into Europe and the translation of Euclid from the Arabic in 1120, there
is little or no advance over the Egyptian geometry of 600 B. C. Even the
universities neglected mathematics. At Paris "in 1336 a rule was
introduced that no student should take a degree without attending
lectures on mathematics, and from a commentary on the first six books of
Euclid, dated 1536, it appears that candidates for the degree of A. M.
had to give an oath that they had attended lectures on these books.
Examinations, when held at all, probably did not extend beyond the first
book, as is shown by the nickname 'magister matheseos' applied to the
_Theorem of Pythagoras_, the last in the first book.... At Oxford, in
the middle of the fifteenth century, the first two books of Euclid were
read" (Cajori, _loc. cit._, p. 136). But later geometry dropped out and
not till 1619 was a professorship of geometry instituted at Oxford.
Roger Bacon speaks of Euclid's fifth proposition as "elefuga," and it
also gets the name of "pons asinorum" from its point of transition to
higher learning. As late as the fourteenth century an English manuscript
begins "Nowe sues here a Tretis of Geometri whereby you may knowe the
hegte, depnes, and the brede of most what erthely thynges."

The first significant turning-point lies in the geometry of Descartes.
Viete (1540-1603) and others had already applied algebra to geometry,
but Descartes, by means of coördinate representation, established the
idea of motion in geometry in a fashion destined to react most
fruitfully on algebra, and through this, on arithmetic, as well as
enormously to increase the scope of geometry. These discoveries are not,
however, of first moment for our problem, for the ideas of mathematical
entities remain throughout them the generalized processes that had
appeared in Greece. It is worth noting, however, that in England
mechanics has always been taught as an experimental science, while on
the Continent it has been expanded deductively, as a development of _a
priori_ principles.



To develop the complete history of arithmetic and geometry would be a
task quite beyond the limits of this paper, and of the writer's
knowledge. In arithmetic we were able to observe a stage in which
spontaneous behavior led to the invention of number names and methods of
counting. Then, by certain speculative and "play" impulses, there arose
elementary arithmetical problems which began to be of interest in
themselves. Geometry here also comes into consideration, and, in
connection with positional number symbols, begin those interactions
between arithmetic and geometry that result in the forms of our
contemporary mathematics. The complex quantities represented by number
symbols are no longer merely the necessary results of analyzing
commercial relations or practical measurements, and geometry is no
longer directly based upon the intuitively given line, point, and plane.
If number relations are to be expressed in terms of empirical spatial
positions, it is necessary to construct many imaginary surfaces, as is
done by Riemann in his theory of functions, a construction representing
the type of imagination which Poincaré has called the intuitional in
contradistinction to the logical (_Value of Science_, Ch. I). And
geometry has not only been led to the construction of many non-Euclidian
spaces, but has even, with Peano and his school, been freed from the
bonds of any necessary spatial interpretation whatsoever.

To trace in concrete detail the attainment of modern refinements of
number theory would likewise exhibit nothing new in the building up of
mathematical intelligence. We should find, here, a process carried out
without thought of the consequences, there, an analogy suggesting an
operation that might lead us beyond a difficulty that had blocked
progress; here, a play interest leading to a combination of symbols out
of which a new idea has sprung; there, a painstaking and methodical
effort to overcome a difficulty recognized from the start. It is rather
for us now to ask what it is that has been attained by these means, to
inquire finally what are those things called "number" and "line" in the
broad sense in which the terms are now used.

In so far as the cardinal number at least is concerned, the answer
generally accepted by Dedekind, Peano, Russell, and such writers is
this: the number is a "class of similar classes" (Whitehead and Russell,
_Prin. Math._, Vol. II, p. 4). To the interpretation of this answer, Mr.
Russell, the most self-consciously philosophical of these
mathematicians, has devoted his full dialectic skill. The definition has
at least the merit of being free from certain arbitrary psychologizing
that has vitiated many earlier attempts at the problem. Mr. Russell
claims for it "(1) that the formal properties which we expect cardinal
numbers to have result from it; (2) that unless we adopt this definition
or some more complicated and practically equivalent definition, it is
necessary to regard the cardinal number of a class as indefinable"
(_loc. cit._, p. 4). That the definition's terms, however, are not
without obscurity appears in Mr. Russell's struggles with the zigzag
theory, the no-class theory, etc., and finally in his taking refuge in
the theory of "logical types" (_loc. cit._, Vol. III, Part V. E.),
whereby the contradiction that subverted Frege and drove Mr. Russell
from the standpoint of the _Principles of Mathematics_ is finally

The second of Mr. Russell's claims for his definition adds nothing to
the first, for it merely asserts that unless we adopt some definition of
the cardinal number from which its formal properties result, number is
undefined. Any such definition would be, _ipso facto_, a practical
equivalent of the first. We need only consider whether or not the
formal properties of numbers clearly follow from this definition.

Mr. Russell's own experience makes us hesitate. When he first adopted
this definition from Frege, he was led to make the inference that the
class of all possible classes might furnish a type for a greatest
cardinal number. But this led to nothing but paradox and contradiction.
The obvious conclusion was that something was wrong with the concept of
class, and the obvious way out was to deny the possibility of any such
all-inclusive class. Just why there should be such limitation, except
that it enables one to escape the contradiction, is not clear from Mr.
Russell's analysis (cf. Brown, "The Logic of Mr. Russell," _Journ. of
Phil., Psych., and Sci. Meth._, Vol. VIII, No. 4, pp. 85-89).
Furthermore, to pass to the theory of types on this ground is to give up
the value of the first claim for the definition (quoted above), since
the formal properties of numbers now merely follow from the definition
because the terms of the definition are reinterpreted from the
properties of number, so that these properties will follow from it. The
definition has become circular.

The real difficulty lies in the concept of the class. Dogmatic realism
is prone to find here an entity for which, as it is obviously not a
physical thing, a home must be provided in some region of "being." Hence
arises the realm of subsistence, as for Plato the world of facts
duplicated itself in a world of ideas. But the subsistent realm of the
mathematician is even more astounding than the ideal realm of Plato, for
the latter world is a prototype of the world of things, while the world
of the mathematician is peopled by all sorts of entities that never were
on land or sea. The transfinite numbers of Cantor have, without doubt,
a definite mathematical meaning, but they have no known representatives
in the world of things, nor in the imagination of man, and in spite of
the efforts of philosophers it may even be doubted whether an entity
correlative to the mathematical infinite has ever been or can ever be

Mr. Russell now teaches that "classes are merely symbolic" (_Sci. Meth.
in Phil._, p. 208), but this expression still needs elucidation. It
does, to be sure, avoid the earlier difficulty of admitting "new and
mysterious metaphysical entities" (_loc. cit._, p. 204), but the
"feeling of oddity" that accompanies it seems not without significance.
What can be meant by a merely symbolic class of similar classes
themselves merely symbolical? I do not know, unless it is that we are to
throw overboard the effort aimed at arbitrary and creative definition
and proceed in simple inductive and interpretative fashion. With classes
as entities abandoned, we are left, until we have passed to a new point
of view as to arithmetical entities, in the position of the intelligent
ignoramus who defined a stock market operation as buying what you can't
get with money you never had, and selling what you never owned for more
than it was ever worth.

The situation seems to be that we are now face to face with new
generalizations. Just as number symbols arose to denote operations gone
through in counting things when attention is diverted from the
particular characteristics of the things counted, and remained a symbol
for those operations with things, so now we are becoming self-conscious
of the character of the operations we have been performing and are
developing new symbols to express possible operations with operations.
The infinity of the number series expresses the fact that it is possible
to continue the enumerating process indefinitely, and when we are asked
by certain mathematicians to practise ourselves in such thoughts as that
for infinite series a proper part can be the equal of the whole, where
equality is defined through the establishment of one-one correspondence,
we are really merely informed that among the group of symbols used to
denote the concrete steps of an ever open counting process are groups of
symbols that can be used to indicate operations that are of the same
type as the given one in so far as the characteristic of being an open
series is concerned. If there were anywhere an infinity of things to
count, an unintelligible supposition, it would by no means be true that
any selection of things from that series would be the equivalent of all
things in the series, except in so far as equivalence meant that they
could be arranged in the same type of series as that from which they
were drawn.

Similarly the mathematical conception of the continuum is nothing but a
formulation of the manner in which the cuts of a line or the numbers of
a continuous series must be chosen so that there shall remain no
possible cut or number of which the choice is not indicated.
Correspondence is reached between elements of such series when the
corresponding elements can be reached by an identical process. It seems
to me, however, a mistake to _identify_ the number continuum with the
linear continuum, for the latter must include the irrational numbers,
whereas the irrational number can never represent a spatial position in
a series. For example, the sqrt{2} is by nature a decimal involving an
infinite, i.e., an ever increasing, number of digits to express it and,
by virtue of the infinity of these digits, they can never be looked upon
as all given. It is then truly a number, for it expresses a genuine
numerical operation, but it is not a position, for it cannot be a
determinate magnitude but merely a quantity approaching a determinate
magnitude as closely as one may please. That is, without its complete
expression, which would be analogous to the self-contradictory task of
finding a greatest cardinal number, there can be no cut in the line
which is symbolized by it. But the operations of translating algebraic
expressions into geometrical ones and vice versa (operations which are
so important in physical investigations) are facilitated by the notion
of a one to one correspondence between number and space.

When we pass to the transfinite numbers, we have nothing in the Alephs
but the symbols of certain groupings of operations expressible in
ordinary number series. And the many forms of numbers are all simply the
result of recognizing value in naming definite groups of operations of a
lower level, which may itself be a complication of processes indicated
by the simple numerical signs. To create such symbols is by no means
illegitimate and no paradox results in any forms as long as we remember
that our numbers are not things but are signs of operations that may be
performed directly upon things or upon other operations.

For example, let us consider such a symbol as sqrt{-5}. -5 signifies
the totality of a counting process carried on in an opposite sense from
that denoted by +5. To take the square root is to symbolize a number,
the totality of an operation, such that when the operation denoted by
multiplying it by itself is performed the result is 5. Consequently the
sqrt{-5} is merely the symbol of these processes combined in such a
way that the whole operation is to be considered as opposite in some
sense to that denoted by sqrt{5}. Hence, an easy method for the
representation of such imaginaries is based on the principle of analytic
geometry and a system of co-ordinates.

The nature of this last generalization of mathematics is well shown by
Mr. Whitehead in his monumental _Universal Algebra_. The work begins
with the definition of a calculus as "The art of manipulating
substitutive signs according to fixed rules, and the deduction therefrom
of true propositions" (_loc. cit._, p. 4). The deduction itself is
really a manipulation according to rules, and the truth consists
essentially in the results being actually derived from the premises
according to rule. Following Stout, substitutive signs are characterized
thus: "a word is an instrument for thinking about the meaning which it
expresses; a substitutive sign is a means of not thinking about the
meaning which it symbolizes." Mathematical symbols have, then, become
substitutive signs. But this is only possible because they were at an
early stage of their history expressive signs, and the laws which
connected them were derived from the relations of the things for which
they stood. First it became possible to forget the things in their
concreteness, and now they have become mere terms for the relations that
had been generalized between them. Consequently, the things forgotten
and the terms treated as mere elements of a relational complex, it is
possible to state such relational complexes with the utmost freedom. But
this does not mean that mathematics can be created in a purely arbitrary
fashion. The mark of its origin is upon it in the need of exhibiting
some existing situation through which the non-contradictory character of
its postulates can be verified. The real advantage of the generalization
is that of all generalizations in science, namely, that by looking away
from practical applications (as appears in a historical survey) results
are frequently obtained that would never have been attained if our labor
had been consciously limited merely to those problems where the
advantages of a solution were obvious. So the most fantastic forms of
mathematics, which themselves seem to bear no relation to actual
phenomena, just because the relations involved in them are the relations
that have been derived from dealing with an actual world, may contribute
to the solutions of problems in other forms of calculus, or even to the
creation of new forms of mathematics. And these new forms may stand in a
more intimate connection with aspects of the real world than the
original mathematics.

In 1836-39 there appeared in the _Gelehrte Schriften der Universität
Kasan_, Lobatchewsky's epoch-making "New Elements of Geometry, with a
Complete Theory of Parallels." After proving that "if a straight line
falling on two other straight lines make the alternate angles equal to
one another, the two straight lines shall be parallel to one another,"
Euclid, finding himself unable to prove that in every other case they
were not parallel, assumed it in an axiom. But it had never seemed
obvious. Lobatchewsky's system amounted merely to developing a geometry
on the basis of the contradictory axiom, that through a point outside a
line an indefinite number of lines can be drawn, no one of which shall
cut a given line in that plane. In 1832-33, similar results were
attained by Johann Bolyai in an appendix to his father's "_Tentamen
juventutem studiosam in elementa matheseosos puræ ... introducendi_"
entitled "The Science of Absolute Space." In 1824 the dissertation of
Riemann, under Gauss, introduced the idea of an _n_-ply extended
magnitude, or a study of _n_-dimensional manifolds and a new road was
opened for mathematical intelligence.

At first this new knowledge suggested all sorts of metaphysical
hypotheses. If it is possible to build geometries of _n_-dimensions or
geometries in which the axiom of parallels is no longer true, why may it
not be that the space in which we make our measurements and on which we
base our mechanics is some one of these "non-Euclidian" spaces? And
indeed many experiments were conducted in search of some clue that this
might be the case. Such experiments in relation to "curved spaces"
seemed particularly alluring, but all have turned out to be fruitless in
results. Failure leads to investigation of the causes of failure. If our
space had been some one of these spaces how would it have been possible
for us to know this fact? The traditional definition of a straight line
has never been satisfactory from a physical point of view. To define it
as the shortest distance between two points is to introduce the idea of
distance, and the idea of distance itself has no meaning without the
idea of straight line, and so the definition moves in a vicious circle.
On the metaphysical side, Lotze (_Metaphysik_, p. 249) and others (Merz,
_History of European Thought in the Nineteenth Century_, Vol. II, p.
716) criticized these attempts, on the whole justly, but the best
interpretation of the situation has been given by Poincaré.

Two lines of thought now lead to a recasting of our conceptions of the
fundamental notions of geometry. On the one hand, that very
investigation of postulates that had led to the discovery of the
apparently strange non-Euclidian geometries was easily continued to an
investigation of the simplest basis on which a geometry could be
founded. Then by reaction it was continued with similar methods in
dealing with algebra, and other forms of analysis, with the result that
conceptions of mathematical entities have gradually emerged that
represent a new stage of abstraction in the evolution of mathematics,
soon to be discussed as the dominating conceptions in contemporary
thought. On the other hand, there also developed the problem of the
relations of these geometrical worlds to one another, which has been
primarily significant in helping to clear up the relations of
mathematics in its "pure" and "applied" forms.

Geometry passed through a stage of abstraction like that examined in
connection with arithmetic. Beginning with the discovery of
non-Euclidian geometry, it has been becoming more and more evident that
a line need not be a name for an aspect of a physical object such as the
ridge-pole line of a house and the like, nor even for the more abstract
mechanical characteristic of direction of movement;--although the
persistency with which intuitionally minded geometers have sought to
adapt such illustrations to their needs has somewhat obscured this fact.
However, even a cursory examination of a modern treatise on geometry
makes clear what has taken place. For example, Professor Hilbert begins
his _Grundlagen der Geometrie_, not with definition of points, lines,
and planes, but with the assumption of three different systems of things
(Dinge) of which the first, called points, are denoted A, B, C, etc.,
second, called straight lines (Gerade), are denoted a, b, c, etc., and
the third, called planes, are denoted by [Greek: alpha], [Greek: beta],
[Greek: gamma], etc. The relations between these things then receive
"genaue und vollständige Beschreibung" through the axioms of the
geometry. And the fact that these "things" are called points, lines, and
planes is not to give to them any of the connotations ordinarily
associated with these words further than are determined by the axiom
groups that follow. Indeed, other geometers are even more explicit on
this point. Thus for Peano (_I Principii di Geometria_, 1889) the line
is a mere class of entities, the relations amongst which are no longer
concrete relations but types of relations. The plane is a class of
classes of entities, etc. And an almost unlimited number of examples,
about which the theorems of the geometry will express truths, can be
exhibited, not one of which has any close resemblance to spatial facts
in the ordinary sense.

Philosophers, it seems to me, have been slow to recognize the
significance of the step involved in this last phase of mathematical
thought. We have been so schooled in an arbitrary distinction between
relations and concepts, that while long familiar with general ideas of
concepts, we are not familiar with generalized ideas of relations. Yet
this is exactly what mathematics is everywhere presenting. A transition
has been made from relations to types of relations, so that instead of
speaking in terms of quantitative, spatial and temporal relations,
mathematicians can now talk in terms of symmetrical, asymmetrical,
transitive, intransitive relational types and the like. These present,
however, nothing but the empirical character that is common to such
relations as that of father and son; debtor and creditor; master and
servant; a is to the left of b, b of c; c of d; a is older than b, b
than c, c than d, etc. Hence this is not abandonment of experience but a
generalization of it, which results in a calculus potentially applicable
not only to it but also to other subject-matter of thought. Indeed, if
it were not for the possibility of this generalization, the almost
unlimited applicability of diagrams, so useful in the classroom, to
illustrate everything from the nature of reality to the categorical
imperative, as well as to the more technical usages of the psychological
and social sciences, would not be understandable.

It would be a paradox, however, if starting out from processes of
counting and measuring, generalizations had been attained that no longer
had significance for counting or measuring, and the non-Euclidian
hyper-dimensional geometries seem at first to present this paradox. But,
as the outcome of our second line of thought proves, this is not the
case. The investigation of the relations of different geometrical
systems to each other has shown (cf. Brown, "The Work of H. Poincaré,"
_Journ. of Phil., Psy., and Sci. Meth._, Vol. XI, No. 9, p. 229) that
these different systems have a correspondence with one another so that
for any theorem stated in one of them there is a corresponding theorem
that can be stated in another. In other words, given any factual
situation that can be stated in Euclidian geometry, the aspect treated
as a straight line in the Euclidian exposition will be treated as a
curve in the non-Euclidian, and a situation treated as three-dimensional
by Euclid's methods can be treated as of any number of dimensions when
the proper fundamental element is chosen, and vice versa, although of
course the element will not be the line or plane in our empirical usage
of the term. This is what Poincaré means by saying that our geometry is
a free choice, but not arbitrary (_The Value of Science_, Pt. III, Ch.
X, Sec. 3), for there are many limitations imposed by fact upon the
choice, and usually there is some clear indication of convenience as to
the system chosen, based on the fundamental ideal of simplicity.

It is evident, then, that geometry and arithmetic have been drawing
closer together, and that to-day the distinction between them is
somewhat hard to maintain. The older arithmetic had limited itself
largely to the study of the relations involved in serial orders as
suggested by counting, whereas geometry had concerned itself primarily
with the relations of groups of such series to each other when the
series, or groups of series, are represented as lines or planes. But
partly by interaction in analytic geometry, and partly in the
generalization of their own methods, both have come to recognize the
fundamental character of the relations involved in their thought, and
arithmetic, through the complex number and the algebraic unknown
quantities, has come to consider more complex serial types, while
geometry has approached the analysis of its series through interaction
with number theory. For both, the content of their entities and the
relations involved have been brought to a minimum. And this is true even
of such apparently essentially intuitional fields as projective
geometry, where entities can be substituted for directional lines and
the axioms be turned into relational postulates governing their

Nevertheless, geometry like arithmetic, has remained true to the need
that gave it initial impulse. As in the beginning it was only a method
of dealing with a concrete situation, so in the end it is nothing but
such a method, although, as in the case of arithmetic, from ever closer
contact with the situation in question, it has been led, by refinements
that thoughtful and continual contact bring, to dissect that situation
and give heed to aspects of it which were undreamed of at the initial
moment. In a sense, then, there are no such things as mathematical
entities, as scholastic realism would conceive them. And yet,
mathematics is not dealing with unrealities, for it is everywhere
concerned with real rational types and systems where such types may be
exemplified. Or we can say in a purely practical way that mathematical
entities are constituted by their relations, but this phrase cannot here
be interpreted in the Hegelian ontological sense in which it has played
so great and so pernicious a part in contemporary philosophy. Such
metaphysical interpretation and its consequences are the basis of
paradoxical absolutisms, such as that arrived at by Professor Royce
(_World and the Individual_, Vol. II, Supplementary Essay). The peculiar
character of abstract or pure mathematics seems to be that its own
operations on a lower level constitute material which serves for the
subject-matter with which its later investigations deal. But mathematics
is, after all, not fundamentally different from the other sciences. The
concepts of all sciences alike constitute a special language peculiarly
adapted for dealing with certain experience adjustments, and the
differences in the development of the different sciences merely express
different degrees of success with which such languages have been
formulated with respect to making it possible to predict concerning not
yet realized situations. Some sciences are still seeking their terms and
fundamental concepts, others are formulating their first "grammar," and
mathematics, still inadequate, yearly gains both in vocabulary and

But if we are to conceive mathematical entities as mere terminal points
in a relational system, it is necessary that we should become clear as
to just what is meant by relation, and what is the connection between
relations and quantities. Modern thought has shown a strong tendency to
insist, somewhat arbitrarily, on the "internal" or "external" character
of relations. The former emphasis has been primarily associated with
idealistic ontology, and has often brought with it complex dialectic
questions as to the identity of an individual thing in passing from one
relational situation to another. The latter insistence has meant
primarily that things do not change with changing relations to other
things. It has, however, often implied the independent existence, in
some curiously metaphysical state, of relations that are not relating
anything, and is hardly less paradoxical than the older view. In the
field of physical phenomena, it seems to triumph, while the facts of
social life, on the other hand, lend some countenance to the view of the
"internalists." Like many such discussions, the best way around them is
to forget their arguments, and turn to a fresh and independent
investigation of the facts in question.



As I write, the way is paved for me by Professor Cohen (_Journ. of
Phil., Psy., and Sci. Meth._, Vol. XI, No. 23, Nov. 5, 1914, pp.
623-24), who outlines a theory of relations closely allied to that which
I have in mind. Professor Cohen writes: "Like the distinction between
primary and secondary qualities, the distinction between qualities and
relations seems to me a shifting one because the 'nature' of a thing
changes as the thing shifts from one context to another.... To
Professors Montague and Lovejoy the 'thing' is like an old-fashioned
landowner and the qualities are its immemorial private possessions. A
thing may enter into commercial relations with others, but these
relations are extrinsic. It never parts with its patrimony. To me, the
'nature' of a thing seems not to be so private or fixed. It may consist
entirely of bonds, stocks, franchises, and other ways in which public
credit or the right to certain transactions is represented.... At any
rate, relations or transactions may be regarded as wider or more primary
than qualities or possessions. The latter may be defined as internal
relations, that is, relations _within_ the system that constitutes the
'thing.' The nature of a thing contains an essence, i.e., a group of
characteristics which, in any given system or context, remain invariant,
so that if these are changed the things drop out of our system ... but
the same thing may present different essences in different contexts. As
a thing shifts from one context to another, it acquires new relations
and drops old ones, and in all transformations there is a change or
readjustment of the line between the internal relations which constitute
the essence and the external relations which are outside the inner

Before continuing, however, I wish to make certain interpretations of
these statements for which, of course, Professor Cohen is not
responsible, and with which he would not be wholly in agreement. My
general attitude will be shown by the first comment. Concepts are only
means of denoting fragments of experience directly or indirectly given.
If we then try to speak of a "nature of a thing" two interpretations of
this expression are possible. The "thing" as such is only a bit of
reality which some motive, that without undue extension of the term can
be called practical, has led us to treat as more or less isolable from
the rest of reality. Its nature, then, may consist of either its
relations to other practically isolated realities or things, its actual
effective value in its environment (and hence shift with the environment
as Professor Cohen points out), or may consist of its essence, the
"relations within the system," considered from the point of view of the
potentialities implied by these for various environments. In the first
sense the nature may easily change with change in environment, but if it
changes in the second sense, as Professor Cohen remarks, it "drops out
of our system." This I should interpret as meaning that we no longer
have that thing, but some other thing selected from reality by a
different purpose and point of view. I should not say with Professor
Cohen that "the same thing may present different essences in different
contexts." Every reality is more than one thing--man is an aggregate of
atoms, a living being, an animal, and a thinker, and all of these are
different things in essence, although having certain common
characteristics. All attribution of "thingship" is abstraction, and all
particular things may be said to participate in higher, i.e., more
abstract, levels of thingship. Hence the effort to retain a thingship
through a changing of essence seems to me but the echo of the motive
that has so long deduced ontological monism from the logical fact that
to conceive any two things is at least to throw them into a common
universe of discourse. Consequently I should part company from Professor
Cohen on this one point (which is perhaps largely a matter of
definition, though here not unimportant) and distinguish merely the
nature of a thing as _actual_ and as _potential_. Of these the former
alone changes with the environment, while the latter changes only as the
thing ceases to be by passing into some other thing. In other words, if
the example does not do violence to Professor Cohen's thought, I can
quite understand this paper as a stimulator of criticism, or as a means
of kindling a fire. Professor Cohen would, I suspect, take this to mean
that the same thing--this paper--must be looked upon as having two
different essences in two different contexts, for "the same thing may
possess two different essences in different contexts," whereas I should
prefer to interpret the situation as meaning that there are before me
three (and as many more as may be) different things having three
different essences: first, the paper as a physical object having a
considerable number of definite properties; second, written words,
which are undoubtedly in one sense mere structural modifications of the
physical object paper (i.e., coloring on it by ink, etc.), but whose
reality for my purpose lies in the power of evoking ideas acquired by
things as symbols (things, indeed, but things whose essence lies in the
effects they produce upon a reader rather than in their physical
character); and third, the chemical and combustion producing properties
of the paper. Now it is simpler for me to consider the situation as one
in which three things have a common point in thingship, i.e., an
abstract element in common, than to think of "_a_ thing" shifting
contexts and thereby changing its essence.

But now my divergence from Professor Cohen becomes more marked. He
continues with the following example (p. 622): "Our neighbor M. is tall,
modest, cheerful, and we understand a banker. His tallness, modesty,
cheerfulness, and the fact that he is a banker we usually regard as his
qualities; the fact that he is our neighbor is a relation which he seems
to bear to us. He may move his residence, cease to be our neighbor, and
yet remain the same person with the same qualities. If, however, I
become his tailor, his tallness becomes translated into certain
relations of measurement; if I become his social companion, his modesty
means that he will stand in certain social relations with me, etc." In
other words, we are illustrating the doctrine that "qualities are
reducible to relations" (cf. p. 623). This doctrine I cannot quite
accept without modification, for I cannot tell what it means. Without
any presuppositions as to subjectivity or consciousness (cf. p. 623,
(a).) there are in the world as I know it certain colored objects--let
the expression be taken naïvely to avoid idealistico-realistic
discussion which is here irrelevant. Now it is as unintelligible to me
that the red flowers and green leaves of the geraniums before my windows
should be reducible to mere relations in any existential sense, as it
would be to ask for the square root of their odor, though of course it
is quite intelligible that the physical theory and predictions
concerning green and red surfaces (or odors) should be stated in terms
of atomic distances and ether vibrations of specific lengths. The
scientific conception is, after all, nothing more than an indication of
how to take hold of things and manipulate them to get foreseen results,
and its entities are real things only in the sense that they are the
practically effective keynotes of the complex reality. Accordingly,
instead of reducing qualities to relations, it seems to me a much more
intelligible view to consider relations as abstract ways of taking
qualities in general, as qualities thought of in their function of
bridging a gap or making a transition between two bits of reality that
have previously been taken as separate things. Indeed, it is just
because things are not ontologically independent beings (but rather
selections from genuinely concatenated existence) that relations become
important as indications of the practical significance of qualitative
continuities which have been neglected in the prior isolation of the
thing. Thus, instead of an existential world that is "a network of
relations whose intersections are called terms" (p. 622), I find more
intelligible a qualitatively heterogeneous reality that can be variously
partitioned into things, and that can he abstractly replaced by systems
of terms and relations that are adequate to symbolize their effective
nature in particular respects. There is a tendency for certain
attributes to maintain their concreteness (qualitativeness) in things,
and for others to suggest the connection of things with other things,
and so to emphasize a more abstract aspect of experience. Thus then
arises a temporary and practical distinction that tends to be taken as
opposition between qualities and relations. As spatial and temporal
characteristics possess their chief practical value in the connection of
things, so they, like Professor Cohen's neighbor-character, are
ordinarily assumed abstractly as mere relations, while shapes, colors,
etc., and Professor Cohen's "modesty, tallness, cheerfulness," may be
thought of more easily without emphasis on other things and so tend to
be accepted in their concreteness as qualities, but how slender is the
dividing-line Professor Cohen's easy translation of these things into
relations makes clear.

Taken purely intellectualistically, there would be first a fiction of
separation in what is really already continuous and then another fiction
to bridge the gap thus made. This would, of course, be the falsification
against which Bergson inveighs. But this interpretation is to
misunderstand the nature of abstraction. Abstraction does not substitute
an unreal for a real, but selects from reality a genuine characteristic
of it which is adequate for a particular purpose. Thus to conceive time
as a succession of moments is not to falsify time, but to select from
processes going on in time a characteristic of them through which
predictions can be made, which may be verified and turned into an
instrument for the control of life or environment. A similar
misunderstanding of abstraction, coupled with a fuller appreciation than
Bergson evinces of the value of its results, has led to the
neo-realistic insistence on turning abstractions into existent entities
of which the real world is taken to be an organized composite aggregate.

The practice of turning qualities into merely conscious entities has
done much to obscure the status of scientific knowing, for it has left
mere quantity as the only real character of the actual world. But once
take a realistic standpoint, and quantity is no more real than quality.
For primitive man, the qualitative aspect of reality is probably the
first to which he gives heed, and it is only through efforts to get
along with the world in its qualitative character that its quantitative
side is forced upon the attention. Then so-called "exact" science is
born, but it does not follow that qualities henceforth become
insignificant. They are still the basis of all relations, even of those
that are most directly construed as quantitative. Quality and quantity
are only different aspects of the world which the status of our
practical life leads us to take separately or abstractly. "Thing" is no
less an abstraction, in which we disregard certain continuities with the
rest of the world because we are so constituted that the demands of
living make it expedient to do so. Things once given, further
abstractions become possible, among which are those leading to
mathematical thinking, in which higher abstractions are made, guided
always by the "generating problem" (cf. Karl Schmidt, _Jour. of Phil.,
Psy., and Sci. Meth._, Vol. X, No. 3, 1913, pp. 64-75).



The controlling factors for the progress of scientific thought are
inventions that lead the scientist into closer contact with his data,
and direct attention to complexities which would otherwise have escaped
observation. This end is best fulfilled by conceiving entities that
under some point of view are practically isolable from the context in
which they occur. Only too often philosophic thought has confused this
practical segregation with ontological separation, and so been obliged
to introduce metaphysical and external relations to bring these entities
together again in a real world, when in reality they have never been
separated from one another and hence not from the real world.
Furthermore, the conceptual model, built on the lines of a calculus of
mathematics, is often considered the truth _par excellence_ after the
analogy of a camera's portrait. Progress in science, however, shows that
these models have to be continually rebuilt. Each seems to lead to
further knowledge that necessitates its reconstruction, so that truth
takes on an ideal value as an ultimate but unattained, if not
unattainable, goal, while existing science becomes reduced to working
hypotheses. From a positivistic point of view, however, the goal is not
only practically unattainable, but it is irrational, for there seems to
be every evidence that it expresses something contrary to the nature of
the real. Yet scientific theory is not wholly arbitrary. We cannot
construe nature as constituted of any sorts of entities that may suit
our whim. And this is because science itself recognizes that its
entities are not really isolated, but are endowed with all sorts of
properties that serve to connect them with other entities. They are only
symbols of critical points of reality which, conceived in a certain way,
make the behavior of the whole intelligible. Indeed, the only
significant sense in which they are true for the scientist is that they
indicate real connections that might otherwise have been overlooked, and
this is only possible from the fact that reality has the characteristics
that they present and that, with their relations, they give an
approximate presentation of what is actually presented just as a
successful portrait painter considers the individuality of the eyes,
nose, mouth, etc., although he does not imply that a face is compounded
of these separate features as a house is built of boards.

The atomic theory, for example, has undoubtedly been of the greatest
service to chemistry, and atoms undoubtedly denote a significant
resting-place in the analysis of the physical world. Yet in the light of
electron theories, it is becoming more and more evident that atoms are
not ultimate particles, and are not even all alike (Becker, "Isostasy
and Radioactivity," _Sci._, Jan. 29, 1915) when they represent a single
substance. Again, while there is as yet no evidence to suggest that the
electron must itself be considered as divisible (unless it be the
distinction between the positive and negative electron), there are
suggestions that electrons may themselves arise and pass away (cf.
Moore, _Origin, and Nature of Life_, p. 39). "A wisely positivistic
mind," writes Enriques (_Problems of Science_, p. 34), "can see in the
atomic hypothesis only a subjective representation,"[34] and, we might
add, "in any other hypothesis." He continues (pp. 34-36): "robbing the
atom of the concrete attributes inherent in its image, we find ourselves
regarding it as a mere symbol. The logical value of the atomic theory
depends, then, upon the establishment of a proper correspondence between
the symbols which it contains and the reality which we are trying to

"Now, if we go back to the time when the atomic theory was accepted by
modern chemistry, we see that the plain atomic formulæ contain only the
representation of the invariable relations in the combination of simple
bodies, in weight and volume; these last being taken in relation to a
well-defined gaseous state.

"But, once introduced into science, the atomic phraseology suggested the
extension of the meaning of the symbols, and the search in reality for
facts in correspondence with its more extended conception.

"The theory advances, urged on, as it were, by its metaphysical
nature, or, if you wish, by the association of ideas which the concrete
image of the atom carries with it.

"Thus for the plain formulæ we have substituted, in the chemistry of
carbon compounds, structural formulæ, which come to represent, thanks to
the disposition or grouping of atoms in a molecule, structural relations
of the second degree, that is to say, relations inherent in certain
chemical transformations with respect to which some groups of elements
have in some way an invariant character. And here, because the image of
a simple molecule upon a plane does not suffice to explain, for example,
the facts of isomerism, we must resort to the stereo-chemical
representation of Van't Hoff.

"Must we further recall the kinetic theory of gases, the facts explained
by the breaking up of molecules into ions, the hypothesis suggested, for
example, by Van der Waals by the view that an atom has an actual bulk?
Must we point to a physical phenomenon of quite a different class, for
example, to the coloring of the thin film forming the soap-bubbles which
W. Thomson has taken as the measure of the size of a molecule?

"Such a résumé of results shows plainly that we cannot help the progress
of science by blocking the path of theory and looking only at its
positive aspects, that is to say, at the collection of facts that it
explains. The value of a theory lies rather in the hypothesis which it
can suggest, by means of the psychological representation of the

"We shall not draw from all this the conclusion that the atomic
hypothesis ought to correspond to the extremely subtle sensations of a
being resembling a perfected man. We shall not even reason about the
possibility of those imaginary sensations, in so far as they are
conceived simply as an extension of our own. But we shall repeat, in
regard to the atomic theory, what an illustrious master is said to have
remarked as to the unity of matter: if on first examination a fact seems
possible which contradicts the atomic view of things, there is a strong
probability that such a fact will be disproved by experience.

"Does not such a capacity for adaptation to facts, thus furnishing a
model for them, perhaps denote the _positive_ reality of a theory?"

And the above principles are as true of mathematical concepts as of
chemical. Everywhere it is "capacity of adaptation to facts" that is the
criterion of a branch of mathematics, except, of course, that in
mathematics the facts are not always physical facts. Mathematics has
successfully accomplished a generalization whereby its own methods
furnish the material for higher generalizations. The imaginary number
and the hyper-dimensional or non-Euclidian geometries may be absurd if
measured by the standard of physical reality, but they nevertheless have
something real about them in relation to certain mathematical processes
on a lower level. There is no philosophic paradox about modern
arithmetic or geometry, once it is recognized that they are merely
abstractions of genuine features of simpler and more obviously practical
manipulations that are clearly derived from the dealing of a human
being with genuine realities.

In the light of these considerations, I cannot help feeling that the
frequent attempts of mathematicians with a philosophical turn of mind,
and philosophers who are dipping into mathematics, to derive geometrical
entities from psychological considerations are quite mistaken, and are
but another example of those traditional presuppositions of psychology
which, Professor Dewey has pointed out (_Jour. of Phil., Psy., and Sci.
Meth._, XI, No. 19, p. 508), were "bequeathed by seventeenth-century
philosophy to psychology, instead of originating within psychology" ...
that "were wished upon it by philosophy when it was as yet too immature
to defend itself."

Henri Poincaré (_Science and Hypothesis_, Ch. IV, _The Value of
Science_, Ch. IV) and Enriques (_Problems of Science_, Ch. IV, esp.
B--_The Psychological Acquisition of Geometrical Concepts_) furnish two
of the most familiar examples of this sort of philosophizing. Each
isolates special senses, sight, touch, or motion, and tries to show how
a being merely equipped with one or the other of these senses might
arrive at geometrical conceptions which differ, of course, from space as
represented by our familiar Euclidian geometry. Then comes the question
of fusing these different sorts of experience into a single experience
of which geometry may be an intelligible transcription. Enriques finds a
parallel between the historical development and the psycho-genetic
development of the postulates of geometry (_loc. cit._, p. 214 _seq._).
"The three groups of ideas that are connected with the concepts that
serve as the basis for the theory of continuum (_Analysis situs_), of
metrical, and of projective geometry, may be connected, as to their
psychological origin, with three groups of sensations: with the general
tactile-muscular sensations, with those of special touch, and of sight,
respectively." Poincaré even evokes ancestral experience to make good
his case (_Sci. and Hyp._, Ch. V, end). "It has often been said that if
individual experience could not create geometry, the same is not true of
ancestral experience. But what does that mean? Is it meant that we could
not experimentally demonstrate Euclid's postulate, but that our
ancestors have been able to do it? Not in the least. It is meant that by
natural selection our mind has _adapted_ itself to the conditions of the
external world, that it has adopted the geometry _most advantageous_ to
the species: or in other words, the _most convenient_."

Now undoubtedly there may be a certain modicum of truth in these
statements. As implied by the last quotation from Poincaré, the modern
scientist can hardly doubt that the fact of the adaptation of our
thinking to the world we live in is due to the fact that it is in that
world that we evolved. As is implied by both writers, if one could limit
human contact with the world to a particular form of sense response,
thought about that world would take place in different terms from what
it now does and would presumably be less efficient. But these admissions
do not imply that any light is thrown upon the nature of mathematical
entities by such abstractions. Russell (_Scientific Method in
Philosophy_) is in the curious position of raising arithmetic to a
purely logical status, but playing with geometry and sensation after the
manner of Poincaré, to whom he gives somewhat grudging praise on this

The psychological methods upon which all such investigations are based
are open to all sorts of criticisms. Chiefly, the conceptions on which
they are based, even if correct, are only abstractions. There is not the
least evidence for the existence of organisms with a single
differentiated sense organ, nor the least evidence that there ever was
such an organism. Indeed, according to modern accounts of the evolution
of the nervous system (cf. G. H. Parker, _Pop. Sci. Month._, Feb., 1914)
different senses have arisen through a gradual differentiation of a more
general form of stimulus receptor, and consequently, the possibility of
the detachment of special senses is the latter end of the series and not
the first. But, however this may be, the mathematical concepts that we
are studying have only been grasped by a highly developed organism, man,
but they had already begun to be grasped by him in an early stage of his
career before he had analyzed his experience and connected it with
specific sense organs. It may of course be a pleasant exercise, if one
likes that sort of thing, to assume with most psychologists certain
elementary sensations, and then examine the amount of information each
can give in the light of possible mathematical interpretations, but to
do so is not to show that a being so scantily endowed would ever have
acquired a geometry of the type in question, or any geometry at all.
Inferences of the sort are in the same category with those from
hypothetical children, that used to justify all theories of the
pedagogue and psychologist, or from the economic man, that still, I
fear, play too great a part in the world of social science.



The real nature of intelligence as it appears in the development of
mathematics is something quite other than that of sensory analysis.
Intelligence is fundamentally skill, and although skill may be acquired
in connection with some sort of sensory contact of an organism and
environment, it is only determined by that contact in the sense that if
the sensory conditions were different the needs of the organism might be
different, and the kind and degree of skill it could attain would be
other than under the conditions at first assumed. Whenever the
beginnings of mathematics appear with primitive people, we find a stage
of development that calls for the exercise of skill in dealing with
certain practical situations. Hence we found early in our investigations
that it was impossible to affirm a weak intelligence from limited
achievements in counting, just as it would be absurd to assume the
feeble intelligence of a philosopher from his inability to manipulate a
boomerang. The instance merely suggests a kind of skill that he has
never been led to acquire.

Yet it is possible to distinguish intellectual skill, or better skills,
from physical or athletic prowess. Primarily, it is directed at the
formation and use of concepts, and the concept is only a symbol that can
be substituted for experiences. A well-built concept is a part of a
system of concepts where relations have taken the place of real
connections in such a fashion that, forgetting the actuality, it is
possible to present situations that have never occurred or at least are
not immediately given at the time and place of the presentation, and to
substitute them for actual situations in such a fashion that these may
be expediently met, if or when such situations present themselves. An
isolated concept, that is, one not a part of any system, is as mythical
an entity as any savage ever dreamed. Indeed, it would add much to the
clearness of our thinking if we could limit the use of "intelligence" to
skill in constructing and using different systems of concepts, and speak
concretely of mathematical intelligence, philosophical intelligence,
economic intelligence, historic intelligence, and the like. The problem
of creative intelligence is, after all, the problem of the acquisition
of certain forms of skill, and while the general lines are the same for
all knowledge (because the instruments are everywhere symbolic
presentations, or concepts), in each field the situation studied makes
different types of difficulties to be overcome and suggest different
methods of attaining the object.

In mathematics, the formal impulse to reduce the content of fundamental
concepts to a minimum, and to stress merely relations has been most
successful. We saw its results in such geometries as Hilbert's and
Peano's, where the empty name "entity" supplants the more concrete
"point," and the "1" of arithmetic has the same character. In the social
sciences, however, such examples as the "political" and the "economic"
man are signal failures, while, perhaps, the "atom" and the "electron"
approach the ideal in physics and chemistry. In mathematics, all further
concepts can be defined by collections of these fundamental entities
constituted in certain specified ways. And it is worth noting that both
factually and logically a collection of entities so defined is not a
mere aggregate, but possesses a differentiated character of its own
which, although the resultant of its constitution, is not a property of
any of its elements. A whole number is thus a collection of 1s, but the
properties of the whole number are something quite different from that
of the elements through which it is constituted, just as an atom may be
composed of electrons and yet, in valency, possess a property that is
not the direct analogue of any property possessed by electrons not so

Natural science, however, considers such building up of its fundamental
entities into new entities as a process taking place in time rather than
as consequent upon change of form of the whole rendering new analytic
forms expedient. Hence it points to the occurrence of genuine novelties
in the realm of objective reality. Mathematics, on the other hand,
has generalized its concepts beyond the facts implied in spatial and
temporal observations, so that while significant in both fields by
virtue of the nature of its abstractions, its novelties are the
novelties of new conceptual formations, a distinguishing of previously
unnoted generalizations of relations existent in the realm of facts. But
the fact that time has thus passed beyond its empirical meaning in the
mathematical realm is no ground for giving mathematics an elevated
position as a science of eternal realities, of subsistent beings, or the
like. The generalization of concepts to cover both spatial and temporal
facts does not create new entities for which a home must be provided in
the partition of realities. Metaphysicians should not be the "needy
knife grinders" of M. Anatole France (cf. _Garden of Epicurus_, Ch. "The
Language of the Metaphysicians"). Nevertheless, the success of
abstraction for mathematical intelligence has been immense.

No significant thinking is wholly the work of an individual man. Ideas
are a product of social coöperation in which some have wrested crude
concepts from nature, others have refined them through usage, and still
others have built them into an effective system. The first steps were
undoubtedly taken in an effort to communicate, and progress has been in
part the progress of language. The original nature of man may have as a
part those reactions which we call curiosity, but, as Auguste Comte long
ago pointed out (Lévy-Bruhl, _A. Comte_, p. 67), these reactions are
among the feeblest of our nature and without the pressure of practical
affairs could hardly have advanced the race beyond barbarism. Science
was the plaything of the Greek, the consolation of the Middle Ages, and
only for the modern has it become an instrument in such fashion as to
mark an epoch in the still dawning discovery of mind.

Man is, after all, rational only because through his nervous system he
can hold his immediate responses in check and finally react as a being
that has had experiences and profited by them. Concepts are the medium
through which these experiences are in effect preserved; they express
not merely a fact recorded but also the significance of a fact, not
merely a contact with the world but also an attitude toward the future.
It may be that the mere judgment of fact, a citation of resemblances
and differences, is the basis of scientific knowledge, but before
knowledge is worthy of the name, these facts have undergone an ideal
transformation controlled by the needs of successful prediction and
motivated by that self-conscious realization of the value of control
which has raised man above the beasts of the field.

The realm of mathematics, which we have been examining, is but one
aspect of the growth of intelligence. But in theory, at least, it is
among the most interesting, since in it are reached the highest
abstractions of science, while its empirical beginnings are not lost.
But its processes and their significance are in no way different in
essence from those of the other sciences. It marks one road of
specialization in the discovery of mind. And in these terms we may read
all history. To quote Professor Woodbridge (_Columbia University
Quarterly_, Dec., 1912, p. 10): "We may see man rising from the ground,
startled by the first dim intimation that the things and forces about
him are convertible and controllable. Curiosity excites him, but he is
subdued by an untrained imagination. The things that frighten him, he
tries to frighten in return. The things that bless him, he blesses. He
would scare the earth's shadow from the moon and sacrifice his dearest
to a propitious sky. It avails not. But the little things teach him and
discipline his imagination. He has kicked the stone that bruised him
only to be bruised again. So he converts the stone into a weapon and
begins the subjugation of the world, singing a song of triumph by the
way. Such is his history in epitome--a blunder, a conversion, a
conquest, and a song. That sequence he will repeat in greater things. He
will repeat it yet and rejoice where he now despairs, converting the
chaos of his social, political, industrial, and emotional life into
wholesome force. He will sing again. But the discovery of mind comes
first, and then, the song."



The scientist in the ancient world found his test of reality in the
evidence of the presence of the essence of the object. This evidence
came by way of observation, even to the Platonist. Plato could treat
this evidence as the awaking of memories of the ideal essence of the
object seen in a world beyond the heavens during a former stage of the
existence of the soul. In the language of Theatetus it was the agreement
of fluctuating sensual content with the thought-content imprinted in or
viewed by the soul. In Aristotle it is again the agreement of the
organized sensuous experience with the vision which the mind gets of the
essence of the object through the perceptual experience of a number of
instances. That which gives the stamp of reality is the coincidence of
the percept with a rational content which must in some sense be in the
mind to insure knowledge, as it must be in the cosmos to insure
existence, of the object. The relation of this test of reality to an
analytical method is evident. Our perceptual world is always more
crowded and confused than the ideal contents by which the reality of its
meaning is to be tested. The aim of the analysis varies with the
character of the science. In the case of Aristotle's theoretical
sciences, such as mathematics and metaphysics, where one proceeds by
demonstration from the given existences, analysis isolates such elements
as numbers, points, lines, surfaces, and solids, essences and essential
accidents. Aristotle approaches nature, however, as he approaches the
works of human art. Indeed, he speaks of nature as the artificer par
excellence. In the study of nature, then, as in the study of the
practical and productive arts, it is of the first importance that the
observer should have the idea--the final cause--as the means of
deciphering the nature of living forms. Here analysis proceeds to
isolate characters which are already present in forms whose functions
are assumed to be known. By analogy such identities as that of fish fins
with limbs of other vertebrates are assumed, and some very striking
anticipations of modern biological conceptions and discoveries are
reached. Aristotle recognizes that the theory of the nature of the form
or essence must be supported by observation of the actual individual.
What is lacking is any body of observation which has value apart from
some theory. He tests his theory by the observed individual which is
already an embodied theory, rather than by what we are wont to call the
facts. He refers to other observers to disagree with them. He does not
present their observations apart from their theories as material which
has existential value, independent for the time being of any hypothesis.
And it is consistent with this attitude that he never presents the
observations of others in support of his own doctrine. His analysis
within this field of biological observation does not bring him back to
what, in modern science, are the data, but to general characters which
make up the definition of the form. His induction involves a gathering
of individuals rather than of data. Thus analysis in the theoretical,
the natural, the practical, and the productive sciences, leads back to
universals. This is quite consistent with Aristotle's metaphysical
position that since the matter of natural objects has reality through
its realization in the form, whatever appears without such meaning can
be accounted for only as the expression of the resistance which matter
offers to this realization. This is the field of a blind necessity, not
that of a constructive science.

Continuous advance in science has been possible only when analysis of
the object of knowledge has supplied not elements of meanings as the
objects have been conceived but elements abstracted from those meanings.
That is, scientific advance implies a willingness to remain on terms of
tolerant acceptance of the reality of what cannot be stated in the
accepted doctrine of the time, but what must be stated in the form of
contradiction with these accepted doctrines. The domain of what is
usually connoted by the term facts or data belongs to the field lying
between the old doctrine and the new. This field is not inhabited by the
Aristotelian individual, for the individual is but the realization of
the form or universal essence. When the new theory has displaced the
old, the new individual appears in the place of its predecessor, but
during the period within which the old theory is being dislodged and the
new is arising, a consciously growing science finds itself occupied with
what is on the one hand the débris of the old and on the other the
building material of the new. Obviously, this must find its immediate
_raison d'être_ in something other than the meaning that is gone or the
meaning that is not yet here. It is true that the barest facts do not
lack meaning, though a meaning which has been theirs in the past is
lost. The meaning, however, that is still theirs is confessedly
inadequate, otherwise there would be no scientific problem to be solved.
Thus, when older theories of the spread of infectious diseases lost
their validity because of instances where these explanations could not
be applied, the diagnoses and accounts which could still be given of the
cases of the sickness themselves were no explanation of the spread of
the infection. The facts of the spread of the infection could be brought
neither under a doctrine of contagion which was shattered by actual
events nor under a doctrine of the germ theory of disease, which was as
yet unborn. The logical import of the dependence of these facts upon
observation, and hence upon the individual experience of the scientist,
I shall have occasion to discuss later; what I am referring to here is
that the conscious growth of science is accompanied by the appearance of
this sort of material.

There were two fields of ancient science, those of mathematics and of
astronomy, within which very considerable advance was achieved, a fact
which would seem therefore to offer exception to the statement just
made. The theory of the growth of mathematics is a disputed territory,
but whether mathematical discovery and invention take place by steps
which can be identified with those which mark the advance in the
experimental sciences or not, the individual processes in which the
discoveries and inventions have arisen are almost uniformly lost to view
in the demonstration which presents the results. It would be improper to
state that no new data have arisen in the development of mathematics, in
the face of such innovations as the minus quantity, the irrational, the
imaginary, the infinitesimal, or the transfinite number, and yet the
innovations appear as the recasting of the mathematical theories rather
than as new facts. It is of course true that these advances have
depended upon problems such as those which in the researches of Kepler
and Galileo led to the early concepts of the infinitesimal procedure,
and upon such undertakings as bringing the combined theories of geometry
and algebra to bear upon the experiences of continuous change. For a
century after the formulation of the infinitesimal method men were
occupied in carrying the new tool of analysis into every field where its
use promised advance. The conceptions of the method were uncritical. Its
applications were the center of attention. The next century undertook to
bring order into the concepts, consistency into the doctrine, and rigor
into the reasoning. The dominating trend of this movement was logical
rather than methodological. The development was in the interest of the
foundations of mathematics rather than in the use of mathematics as a
method for solving scientific problems. Of course this has in no way
interfered with the freedom of application of mathematical technique to
the problems of physical science. On the contrary, it was on account of
the richness and variety of the contents which the use of mathematical
methods in the physical sciences imported into the doctrine that this
logical housecleaning became necessary in mathematics. The movement has
been not only logical as distinguished from methodological but logical
as distinguished from metaphysical as well. It has abandoned a Euclidean
space with its axioms as a metaphysical presupposition, and it has
abandoned an Aristotelian subsumptive logic for which definition is a
necessary presupposition. It recognizes that everything cannot be
proved, but it does not undertake to state what the axiomata shall be;
and it also recognizes that not everything can be defined, and does not
undertake to determine what shall be defined implicitly and what
explicitly. Its constants are logical constants, as the proposition, the
class and the relation. With these and their like and with relatively
few primitive ideas, which are represented by symbols, and used
according to certain given postulates, it becomes possible to bring the
whole body of mathematics within a single treatment. The development of
this pure mathematics, which comes to be a logic of the mathematical
sciences, has been made possible by such a generalization of number
theory and theories of the elements of space and time that the rigor of
mathematical reasoning is secured, while the physical scientist is left
the widest freedom in the choice and construction of concepts and
imagery for his hypotheses. The only compulsion is a logical compulsion.
The metaphysical compulsion has disappeared from mathematics and the
sciences whose techniques it provides.

It was just this compulsion which confined ancient science. Euclidian
geometry defined the limits of mathematics. Even mechanics was
cultivated largely as a geometrical field. The metaphysical doctrine
according to which physical objects had their own places and their own
motions determined the limits within which astronomical speculations
could be carried on. Within these limits Greek mathematical genius
achieved marvelous results. The achievements of any period will be
limited by two variables: the type of problem against which science
formulates its methods, and the materials which analysis puts at the
scientist's disposal in attacking the problems. The technical problems
of the trisection of an angle and the duplication of a cube are
illustrations of the problems which characterize a geometrical doctrine
that was finding its technique. There appears also the method of
analysis of the problem into simpler problems, the assumption of the
truth of the conclusion to be proved and the process of arguing from
this to a known truth. The more fundamental problem which appears first
as the squaring of the circle, which becomes that of the determination
of the relation of the circle to its diameter and development of the
method of exhaustion, leads up to the sphere, the regular polyhedra, to
conic sections and the beginnings of trigonometry. Number was not freed
from the relations of geometrical magnitudes, though Archimedes could
conceive of a number greater or smaller than any assignable magnitude.
With the method of exhaustion, with the conceptions of number found in
writings of Archimedes and others, with the beginnings of spherical
geometry and trigonometry, and with the slow growth of algebra finding
its highest expression in that last flaring up of Greek mathematical
creation, the work of Diophantes; there were present all the conceptions
which were necessary for attack upon the problems of velocities and
changing velocities, and the development of the method of analysis which
has been the revolutionary tool of Europe since the Renaissance. But the
problems of a relation between the time and space of a motion that
should change just as a motion, without reference to the essence of the
object in motion, were problems which did not, perhaps could not, arise
to confront the Greek mind. In any case its mathematics was firmly
embedded in a Euclidian space. Though there are indications of some
distrust, even in Greek times, of the parallel axiom, the suggestion
that mathematical reasoning could be made rigorous and comprehensive
independently of the specific content of axiom and definition was an
impossible one for the Greek, because such a suggestion could be made
only on the presupposition of a number theory and an algebra capable of
stating a continuum in terms which are independent of the sensuous
intuition of space and time and of the motion that takes place within
space and time. In the same fashion mechanics came back to fundamental
generalizations of experience with reference to motions which served as
axioms of mechanics, both celestial and terrestrial: the assumptions of
the natural motion of earthly substances to their own places in
straight lines, and of celestial bodies in circles and uniform
velocities, of an equilibrium where equal weights operate at equal
distances from the fulcrum.

The incommensurable of Pythagoras and the paradoxes of Zeno present the
"no thoroughfares" of ancient mathematical thought. Neither the
continuum of space nor of motion could be broken up into ultimate units,
when incommensurable ratios existed which could not be expressed, and
when motion refused to be divided into positions of space or time since
these are functions of motion. It was not until an algebraic theory of
number led mathematicians to the use of expressions for the irrational,
the minus, and the imaginary numbers through the logical development of
generalized expressions, that problems could be formulated in which
these irrational ratios and quantities were involved, though it is also
true that the effort to deal with problems of this character was in no
small degree responsible for the development of the algebra. Fixed
metaphysical assumptions in regard to number, space, time, motion, and
the nature of physical objects determined the limits within which
scientific investigation could take place. Thus though the hypothesis of
Copernicus and in all probability of Tycho Brahe were formulated by
Greek astronomers, their physical doctrine was unable to use them
because they were in flagrant contradiction with the definitions the
ancient world gave to earthly and celestial bodies and their natural
motions. The atomic doctrine with Democritus' thoroughgoing undertaking
to substitute a quantitative for a qualitative conception of matter
with the location of the qualitative aspects of the world in the
experience of the soul appealed only to the Epicurean who used the
theory as an exorcism to drive out of the universe the spirits which
disturbed the calm of the philosopher.

There was only one field in which ancient science seemed to break away
from the fixed assumptions of its metaphysics and from the definitions
of natural objects which were the bases for their scientific inferences,
this was the field of astronomy in the period after Eudoxus. Up to and
including the theories of Eudoxus, physical and mathematical astronomy
went hand in hand. Eudoxus' nests of spheres within spheres hung on
different axes revolving in different uniform periods was the last
attempt of the mathematician philosopher to state the anomalies of the
heavens, and to account for the stations, the retrogressions, and
varying velocities of planetary bodies by a theory resolving all
phenomena of these bodies into motions of uniform velocities in perfect
circles, and also placing these phenomena within a physical theory
consistent with the prevailing conceptions of the science and philosophy
of the time. As a physicist Aristotle felt the necessity of introducing
further spheres between the nests of spheres assigned by Eudoxus to the
planetary bodies, spheres whose peculiar motions should correct the
tendency of the different groups of spheres to pass their motions on to
each other. Since the form of the orbits of heavenly bodies and their
velocities could not be considered to be the results of their masses and
of their relative positions with reference to one another; since it was
not possible to calculate the velocities and orbits from the physical
characters of the bodies, since in a word these physical characters did
not enter into the problem of calculating the positions of the bodies
nor offer explanations for the anomalies which the mathematical
astronomer had to explain, it was not strange that he disinterested
himself from the metaphysical celestial mechanics of his time and
concentrated his attention upon the geometrical hypotheses by means of
which he could hope to resolve into uniform revolutions in circular
orbits the anomalous motions of the planetary bodies. The introduction
of the epicycle with the deferent and the eccentric as working
hypotheses to solve the anomalies of the heavens is to be comprehended
largely in view of the isolation of the mathematical as distinguished
from the physical problem of astronomy. In no sense were these
conceptions working hypotheses of a celestial mechanics. They were the
only means of an age whose mathematics was almost entirely geometrical
for accomplishing what a later generation could accomplish by an
algebraic theory of functions. As has been pointed out, the undertaking
of the ancient mathematical astronomer to resolve the motions of
planetary bodies into circular, uniform, continuous, symmetrical
movements is comparable to the theorem of Fourier which allows the
mathematician to replace any one periodic function by a sum of circular
functions. In other words, the astronomy of the Alexandrian period is a
somewhat cumbrous development of the mathematical technique of the time
to enable the astronomer to bring the anomalies of the planetary bodies,
as they increased under observation, within the axioms of a metaphysical
physics. The genius exhibited in the development of the mathematical
technique places the names of Apollonius of Perga, Hipparchus of Nicaea,
and Ptolemy among the great mathematicians of the world, but they never
felt themselves free to attack by their hypotheses the fundamental
assumptions of the ancient metaphysical doctrine of the universe. Thus
it was said of Hipparchus by Adrastus, a philosopher of the first
century A. D., in explaining his preference for the epicycle to the
eccentric as a means of analyzing the motions of the planetary bodies:
"He preferred and adopted the principle of the epicycle as more probable
to his mind, because it ordered the system of the heavens with more
symmetry and with a more intimate dependence with reference to the
center of the universe. Although he guarded himself from assuming the
rôle of the physicist in devoting himself to the investigations of the
real movements of the stars, and in undertaking to distinguish between
the motions which nature has adopted from those which the appearances
present to our eyes, he assumed that every planet revolved along an
epicycle, the center of which describes a circumference concentric with
the earth." Even mathematical astronomy does not offer an exception to
the scientific method of the ancient world, that of bringing to
consciousness the concepts involved in their world of experience,
organizing these concepts with reference to each, analyzing and
restating them within the limits of their essential accidents, and
assimilating the concrete objects of experience to these typical forms
as more or less complete realizations.

At the beginning of the process of Greek self-conscious reflection and
analysis, the mind ran riot among the concepts and their characters
until the contradictions which arose from these unsystematized
speculations brought the Greek mind up to the problems of criticism and
scientific method. Criticism led to the separation of the many from the
one, the imperfect copy from the perfect type, the sensuous and
passionate from the rational and the intrinsically good, the impermanent
particular from the incorruptible universal. The line of demarcation ran
between the lasting reality that answered to critical objective thought
and the realm of perishing imperfect instances, of partially realized
forms full of unmeaning differences due to distortion and imperfection,
the realm answering to a sensuous passionate unreflective experience. It
would be a quite inexcusable mistake to put all that falls on the wrong
side of the line into a subjective experience, for these characters
belonged not alone to the experience, but also to the passing show, to
the world of imperfectly developed matter which belonged to the
perceptual passionate experience. While it may not then be classed as
subjective, the Greeks of the Sophistic period felt that this phase of
existence was an experience which belongs to the man in his individual
life, that life in which he revolts from the conventions of society, in
which he questions accepted doctrine, in which he differentiates himself
from his fellows. Protagoras seems even to have undertaken to make this
experience of the individual, the stuff of the known world. It is
difficult adequately to assess Protagoras' undertaking. He seems to be
insisting both that the man's experience as his own must be the measure
of reality as known and on the other hand that these experiences present
norms which offer a choice in conduct. If this is true Protagoras
conceived of the individual's experience in its atypical and
revolutionary form as not only real but the possible source of fuller
realities than the world of convention. The undertaking failed both in
philosophic doctrine and in practical politics. It failed in both fields
because the subjectivist, both in theory and practice, did not succeed
in finding a place for the universal character of the object, its
meaning, in the mind of the individual and thus in finding in this
experience the hypothesis for the reconstruction of the real world. In
the ancient world the atypical individual, the revolutionist, the
non-conformist was a self-seeking adventurer or an anarchist, not an
innovator or reformer, and subjectivism in ancient philosophy remained a
skeptical attitude which could destroy but could not build up.

Hippocrates and his school came nearer consciously using the experience
of the individual as the actual material of the object of knowledge. In
the skeptical period in which they flourished they rejected on the one
hand the magic of traditional medicine and on the other the empty
theorizing that had been called out among the physicians by the
philosophers. Their practical tasks held them to immediate experience.
Their functions in the gymnasia gave their medicine an interest in
health as well as in disease, and directed their attention largely
toward diet, exercise, and climate in the treatment even of disease. In
its study they have left the most admirable sets of observations,
including even accounts of acknowledged errors and the results of
different treatments of cases, which ancient science can present. It was
the misfortune of their science that it dealt with a complicated
subject-matter dependent for its successful treatment upon the whole
body of physical, chemical, and biological disciplines as well as the
discovery and invention of complicated techniques. They were forced
after all to adopt a hopelessly inadequate physiological theory--that of
the four humors--with the corresponding doctrine of health and disease
as the proper and improper mixture of these fluids. Their marvelously
fine observation of symptoms led only to the definition of types and a
medical practice which was capable of no consistent progress outside of
certain fields of surgery. Thus even Greek medicine was unable to
develop a different type of scientific method except in so far as it
kept alive an empiricism which played a not unimportant part in
post-Aristotelian philosophy. Within the field of astronomy in
explaining the anomalies of the heavens involved in their metaphysical
assumptions, they built up a marvelously perfect Euclidian geometry, for
here refined and exhaustive definition of all the elements was possible.
The problems involved in propositions to be proved appeared in the
individual experience of the geometrician, but this experience in space
was uniform with that of every one else and took on a universal not an
individual form. The test of the solution was given in a demonstration
which holds for every one living in the same Euclidian space. When the
mathematician found himself carried by his mathematical technique beyond
the assumptions of a metaphysical physics he abandoned the field of
physical astronomy and confined himself to the development of his
mathematical expressions.

In other fields Greek science analyzed with varying success and critical
skill only the conceptions found in the experience of their time and
world. Nor did Greek thought succeed in formulating any adequate method
by which the ultimate concepts in any field of science were to be
determined. It is in Aristotle's statement of induction and the process
of definition that we appreciate most clearly the inadequacy of their
method. This inadequacy lies fundamentally in Aristotle's conception of
observation which, as I have already noted, implies the recognition of
an individual, that is, an object which is an embodied form or idea. The
function of knowledge is to bring out this essence. The mind sees
through the individuals the universal nature. The value of the
observation lies, then, not in the controlled perception of certain data
as observed facts, but in the insight with which he recognizes the
nature of the object. When this nature has been seen it is to be
analyzed into essential characters and thus formulated into the
definition. In Aristotle's methodology there is no procedure by which
the mind can deliberately question the experience of the community and
by a controlled method reconstruct its received world. Thus the natural
sciences were as really fixed by the conceptions of the community as
were the exact sciences by the conceptions of a Euclidian geometry and
the mathematics which the Greeks formulated within it. The individual
within whose peculiar experience arises a contradiction to the
prevailing conceptions of the community and in whose creative
intelligence appears the new hypothesis which makes possible a new
heaven and a new earth could utilize his individual experience only in
destructive skepticism. Subjectivism served in ancient thought to
invalidate knowledge not to enlarge it.

Zeller has sketched a parallelism between the ideal state of Plato and
the social structure of the medieval world. The philosopher-king is
represented by the Pope, below him answering to the warrior class in the
Platonic state stands the warrior class of the Holy Roman Empire, who in
theory enforce the dictates of the Roman curia, while at the bottom in
both communities stand the mass of the people bound to obedience to the
powers above. There is, however, one profound difference between the
two, and that is to be found in the relative positions of the ideal
worlds that dominate each. Plato's ideal world beyond the heavens gives
what reality it has to this through the participation by the world of
becoming in the ideas. Opinion dimly sensed the ideas in the evanescent
objects about it, and though Plato's memory theory of knowledge assumed
that the ideas had been seen in former existence and men could thus
recognize the copies here, the ideal world was not within the mind but
without. In a real sense the Kingdom of Heaven was within men in the
medieval world, as was the Holy Roman Empire. They were ideal
communities that ought to exist on earth, and it was due to the
depravity of men that they did not exist. From time to time men
undertook in various upheavals to realize in some part these spiritual
and political ideals which they carried within them. And men not only
carried within them the ideas of a New Jerusalem in which the interest
of one was the interest of all and of an earthly state ordered by a
divine decree to fulfil this Christian ideal, but the determining causes
of the present condition and the future realization depended also upon
the inner attitudes and experiences of the individuals themselves.

Without carrying the analogy here too far, this relation between the
experience of the individual and the world which may arise through the
realization of his ideas is the basis of the most profound distinction
between the ancient world and the modern. Before the logic of this
attitude could appear in science a long period of intellectual and
social growth was necessary. The most essential part of this growth was
the slow but steady development of psychological doctrine which placed
the objective world in the experience of the individual. It is not of
interest here to bring out the modern epistemological problem that grew
out of this, or to present this in the world of Leibnitzian monads that
had no windows or in the Berkeleyan subjective idealism. What is of
interest is to point out that this attitude established a functional
relationship between even the subjective experience of the individual
and the object of knowledge. A skepticism based upon subjectivism might
thereafter question the justification of the reference of experience
beyond itself; it could not question knowledge and its immediate object.

Kant formalizes the relation of what was subjective and what was
objective by identifying the former with the sensuous content of
experience and the latter with the application of the forms of
sensibility and understanding to this content. The relationship was
formal and dead. Kant recognized no functional relationship between the
nature of the _Mannigfaltigkeit_ of sensuous experience and the forms
into which it was poured. The forms remained external to the content,
but the relationship was one which existed within experience, not
without it, and within this experience could be found the necessity and
universality which had been located in the world independent of
experience. The melting of these fixed Kantian categories came with the
spring floods of the romantic idealism that followed Kant.

The starting-point of this idealism was Kantian. Within experience lay
the object of knowledge. The Idealist's principal undertaking was to
overcome the skepticism that attached to the object of knowledge because
of its reference to what lies outside itself. If, as Kant had undertaken
to prove, the reality which knowledge implies must reach beyond
experience, then, on the Kantian doctrine that knowledge lies within
experience, knowledge itself is infected with skepticism. Kant's
practical bridge from the world of experience to the world of
things-in-themselves, which he walked by faith and not by sight, was
found in the postulates of the conduct of the self as a moral being, as
a personality. The romantic idealists advance by the same road, though
as romanticists not critical philosophers, they fashioned the world of
reality, that transcends experience, out of experience itself, by
centering the self in the absolute self and conceiving the whole
infinite universe as the experience of the absolute self. The
interesting phase of this development is that the form which experience
takes in becoming objective is found in the nature and thought of the
individual, and that this process of epistemological experience becomes
thus a process of nature, if the objective is the natural. In Kant's
terms our minds give laws to nature. But this nature constantly exhibits
its dependence upon underlying noumena that must therefore transcend the
laws given by the understanding. The Romanticist insists that this other
reality must be the same stuff as that of experience, that in experience
arise forms which transcend those which bound the experience in its
earlier phase. If in experience the forms of the objective world are
themselves involved, the process of knowledge sets no limits to itself,
which it may not, does not, by implication transcend. As further
indication of the shift by which thought had passed into possession of
the world of things in themselves stands the antinomy which in Kantian
experience marks the limit of our knowledge while in post-Kantian
idealism it becomes the antithesis that leads to the synthesis upon the
higher plane. Contradiction marks the phase at which the spirit becomes
creative, not simply giving an empty formal law to nature, but creating
the concrete universe in which content and form merge in true actuality.
The relation of the sensuous content to the conceptual form is not dead,
as in Kant's doctrine. It is fused as perception into concept and
carries its immediacy and concreteness of detail into the concrete
universal as the complete organization of stimulation and response pass
into the flexible habit. And yet in the Hegelian logic, the movement is
always away from the perceptual experience toward the higher realm of
the _Idee_. Thought is creative in the movement, but in its ultimate
reality it transcends spatial and temporal experience, the experience
with which the natural and mathematical sciences deal. Thought is not a
means of solving the problems of this world as they arise, but a great
process of realization in which this world is forever transcended. Its
abstract particularities of sensuous detail belong only to the finite
experience of the partial self. This world is, therefore, always
incomplete in its reality and, in so far, always untrue. Truth and full
reality belong not to the field of scientific investigation.

In its metaphysics Romantic Idealism, though it finds a place for
scientific discovery and reconstruction, leaves these disdainfully
behind, as incomplete phases of the ultimate process of reality, as
infected with untruth and deceptive unwarranted claims. The world is
still too much with us. We recognize here three striking results of the
development of reflective consciousness in the modern world:--first, it
is assumed that the objective world of knowledge can be placed within
the experience of the individual without losing thereby its nature as an
object, that all characters of that object can be presented as belonging
to that experience, whether adequately or not is another question; and
second, it is assumed that the contradictions in its nature which are
associated with its inclusion in individual experience, its references
beyond itself when so included, may themselves be the starting-point of
a reconstruction which at least carries that object beyond the
experience within which these contradictions arose; and third, it is
assumed that this growth takes place in a world of reality within which
the incomplete experience of the individual is an essential part of the
process, in which it is not a mere fiction, destroying reality by its
representation, but is a growing-point in that reality itself.

These characters of philosophic interpretation, the inclusion of the
object of knowledge in the individual experience and the turning of the
conflicts in that experience into the occasion for the creation of new
objects transcending these contradictions, are the characters in the
conscious method, of modern science, which most profoundly distinguish
it from the method of ancient science. This, of course, is tantamount to
saying that they are those which mark the experimental method in

That phase of the method upon which I have touched already has been its
occupation with the so-called data or facts as distinguished from
Aristotelian individuals.

Whenever we reduce the objects of scientific investigation to facts and
undertake to record them as such, they become events, happenings, whose
hard factual character lies in the circumstance that they have taken
place, and this quite independently of any explanation of their taking
place. When they are explained they have ceased to be facts and have
become instances of a law, that is, Aristotelian individuals, embodied
theories, and their actuality as events is lost in the necessity of
their occurrence as expressions of the law; with this change their
particularity as events or happenings disappears. They are but the
specific values of the equation when constants are substituted for
variables. Before the equation is known or the law discovered they have
no such ground of existence. Up to this point they find their ground for
existence in their mere occurrence, to which the law which is to explain
them must accommodate itself.

There are here suggested two points of view from which these facts may
be regarded. Considered with reference to a uniformity or law by which
they will be ordered and explained they are the phenomena with which the
positivist deals; as existencies to be identified and localized before
they are placed within such a uniformity they fall within the domain of
the psychological philosopher who can at least place them in their
relation to the other events in the experience of the individual who
observes them. Considered as having a residual meaning apart from the
law to which they have become exceptions, they can become the
subject-matter of the rationalist. It is important that we recognize
that neither the positivist nor the rationalist is able to identify the
nature of the fact or datum to which they refer. I refer to such
stubborn facts as those of the sporadic appearance of infectious
diseases before the germ theory of the disease was discovered. Here was
a fact which contradicted the doctrine of the spread of the infection by
contact. It appeared not as an instance of a law, but as an exception to
a law. As such, its nature is found in its having happened at a given
place and time. If the case had appeared in the midst of an epidemic,
its nature as a case of the infectious disease would have been cared for
in the accepted doctrine, and for its acceptance as an object of
knowledge its location in space and time as an event would not have been
required. Its geographical and historical traits would have followed
from the theory of the infection, as we identify by our calculations the
happy fulfilment of Thales' prophecy. The happening of an instance of a
law is accounted for by the law. Its happening may and in most instances
does escape observation, while as an exception to an accepted law it
captures attention. Its nature as an event is, then, found in its
appearance in the experience of some individual, whose observation is
controlled and recorded as his experience. Without its reference to this
individual's experience it could not appear as a fact for further
scientific consideration.

Now the attitude of the positivist toward this fact is that induced by
its relation to the law which is _subsequently_ discovered. It has then
fallen into place in a series, and his doctrine is that all laws are but
uniformities of such events. He treats the fact when it is an exception
to law as an instance of the new law and assumes that the exception to
the old law and the instance of the new are identical. And this is a
great mistake,--the mistake made also by the neo-realist when he assumes
that the object of knowledge is the same within and without the mind,
that nothing happens to what is to be known when it by chance strays
into the realm of conscious cognition. Any as yet unexplained exception
to an old theory can happen only in the experience of an individual, and
that which has its existence as an event in some one's biography is a
different thing from the future instance which is not beholden to any
one for its existence. Yet there are, as I indicated earlier, meanings
in this exceptional event which, at least for the time, are unaffected
by the exceptional character of the occurrence. For example, certain
clinical symptoms by which an infectious disease is identified have
remained unchanged in diagnosis since the days of Hippocrates. These
characters remain as characters of the instance of the law of
germ-origin when this law has been discovered. This may lead us to say
that the exception which appears for the time being as a unique incident
in a biography is identical with the instance of a germ-induced disease.
Indeed, we are likely to go further and, in the assurance of the new
doctrine, state that former exceptions can (or with adequate
acquaintance with the facts could) be proved to be necessarily an
instance of a disease carried by a germ. The positivist is therefore
confident that the field of scientific knowledge is made up of events
which are instances of uniform series, although under conditions of
inadequate information some of them appear as exceptions to the
statements of uniformities, in truth the latter being no uniformities at

That this is not a true statement of the nature of the exception and of
the instance, it is not difficult to show if we are willing to accept
the accounts which the scientists themselves give of their own
observation, the changing forms which the hypothesis assumes during the
effort to reach a solution and the ultimate reconstruction which attends
the final tested solution. Wherever we are fortunate enough, as in the
biographies of men such as Darwin and Pasteur, to follow a number of the
steps by which they recognized problems and worked out tenable
hypotheses for their solution, we find that the direction which is given
to attention in the early stage of scientific investigation is toward
conflicts between current theories and observed phenomena, and that
since the form which these observations take is determined by the
opposition, it is determined by a statement which itself is later
abandoned. We find that the scope and character of the observations
change at once when the investigator sets about gathering as much of the
material as he can secure, and changes constantly as he formulates
tentative hypotheses for the solution of the problem, which, moreover,
generally changes its form during the investigation. I am aware that
this change in the form of the data will be brushed aside by many as
belonging only to the attitude of mind of the investigator, while it is
assumed that the "facts" themselves, however selected and organized in
his observation and thought, remain identical in their nature
throughout. Indeed, the scientist himself carries with him in the whole
procedure the confidence that the fact-structure of reality is
unchanged, however varied are the forms of the observations which refer
to the same entities.[35]

The analysis of the fact-structure of reality shows in the first place
that the scientist undertakes to form such an hypothesis that all the
data of observation will find their place in the objective world, and in
the second place to bring them into such a structure that future
experience will lead to anticipated results. He does not undertake to
preserve facts in the form in which they existed in experience before
the problem arose nor to construct a world independent of experience or
that will not be subject itself to future reconstructions in experience.
He merely insists that future reconstructions will take into account
the old in re-adjusting it to the new. In such a process it is evident
that the change of the form in the data is not due to a subjective
attitude of the investigator which can be abstracted from the facts.
When Darwin, for instance, found that the marl dressings which farmers
spread over their soil did not sink through the soil by the force of
gravity as was supposed, but that the earthworm castings were thrown up
above these dressings at nearly the same rate at which they disappeared,
he did not correct a subjective attitude of mind. He created in
experience a humus which took the place of a former soil, and justified
itself by fitting it into the whole process of disintegration of the
earth's surface. It would be impossible to separate in the earlier
experiences certain facts and certain attitudes of mind entertained
by men with reference to these facts. Certain objects have replaced
other objects. It is only after the process of analysis, which arose
out of the conflicting observations, has broken up the old object
that what was a part of the object, heavier-things-pushing-their
way-through-soil-of-lighter-texture, can become a mere idea. Earlier it
was an object. Until it could be tested the earthworm as the cause of
the disappearance of the dressings was also Darwin's idea. It became
fact. For science at least it is quite impossible to distinguish between
what in an object must be fact and what may be idea. The distinction
when it is made is dependent upon the form of the problem and is
functional to its solution, not metaphysical. So little can a consistent
line of cleavage between facts and ideas be indicated, that we can
never tell where in our world of observation the problem of science will
arise, or what will be regarded as structure of reality or what
erroneous idea.

There is a strong temptation to lodge these supposititious
fact-structures in a world of conceptual objects, molecules, atoms,
electrons, and the like. For these at least lie beyond the range of
perception by their very definition. They seem to be in a realm of
things-in-themselves. Yet they also are found now in the field of
fact and now in that of ideas. Furthermore, a study of their structure
as they exist in the world of constructive science shows that
their infra-sensible character is due simply to the nature of our
sense-processes, not to a different metaphysical nature. They occupy
space, have measurable dimensions, mass, and are subject to the same
laws of motion as are sensible objects. We even bring them indirectly
into the field of vision and photograph their paths of motion.

The ultimate elements referred to above provide a consistent symbolism
for the finding and formulating of applied mathematical sciences, within
which lies the whole field of physics, including Euclidian geometry as
well. However, they have succeeded in providing nothing more than a
language and logic pruned of the obstinate contradictions, inaccuracies,
and unanalyzed sensuous stuff of earlier mathematical science. Such a
rationalistic doctrine can never present in an unchanged form the
objects with which natural science deals in any of the stages of its
investigation. It can deal only with ultimate elements and forms of
propositions. It is compelled to fall back on a theory of analysis
which reaches ultimate elements and an assumption of inference as an
indefinable. Such an analysis is actually impossible either in the field
of the conceptual objects into which physical science reduces physical
objects, or in the field of sensuous experience. Atoms can be reduced
into positive and negative electrical elements and these may, perhaps
do, imply a structure of ether that again invites further analysis and
so on ad infinitum. None of the hypothetical constructs carry with
themselves the character of being ultimate elements unless they are
purely metaphysical. If they are fashioned to meet the actual problems
of scientific research they will admit of possible further analysis,
because they must be located and defined in the continuity of space and
time. They cannot _be_ the points and instants of modern mathematical
theory. Nor can we reach ultimate elements in sensuous experience, for
this lies also within a continuum. Furthermore, our scientific analyses
are dependent upon the form that our objects assume. There is no general
analysis which research in science has ever used. The assumption that
psychology provides us with an analysis of experience which can be
carried to ultimate elements or facts, and which thereby provides the
elements out of which the objects of our physical world must be
constructed, denies to psychology its rights as a natural science of
which it is so jealous, turning it into a Berkeleyan metaphysics.

This most modern form of rationalism being unable to find ultimate
elements in the field of actual science is compelled to take what it
can find there. Now the results of the analysis of the classical English
psychological school give the impression of being what Mr. Russell calls
"hard facts," i.e., facts which cannot be broken up into others. They
seem to be the data of experience. Moreover, the term hard is not so
uncompromising as is the term element. A fact can be more or less hard,
while an ultimate element cannot be more or less ultimate. Furthermore,
the entirely formal character of the logic enables it to deal with equal
facility with any content. One can operate with the more or less hard
sense-data, putting them in to satisfy the seeming variables of the
propositions, and reach conclusions which are formally correct. There is
no necessity for scrutinizing the data under these circumstances, if one
can only assume that the data are those which science is actually using.
The difficulty is that no scientist ever analyzed his objects into such
sense-data. They exist only in philosophical text-books. Even the
psychologists recognize that these sensations are abstractions which are
not the elements out of which objects of sense are constructed. They are
abstractions made from those objects whose ground for isolation is found
in the peculiar problems of experimental psychology, such as those of
color or tone perception. It would be impossible to make anything in
terms of Berkeleyan sense-data and of symbolic logic out of any
scientific discovery. Research defines its problem by isolating certain
facts which appear for the time being not as the sense-data of a
solipsistic mind, but as experiences of an individual in a highly
organized society, facts which, because they are in conflict with
accepted doctrines, must be described so that they can be experienced by
others under like conditions. The ground for the analysis which leads to
such facts is found in the conflict between the accepted theory and the
experience of the individual scientist. The analysis is strictly _ad
hoc_. As far as possible the exception is stated in terms of accepted
meanings. Only where the meaning is in contradiction with the experience
does the fact appear as the happening to an individual and become a
paragraph out of his biography. But as such an event, whose existence
for science depends upon the acceptance of the description of him to
whom it has happened, it must have all the setting of circumstantial
evidence. Part of this circumstantial evidence is found in so-called
scientific control, that is, the evidence that conditions were such that
similar experiences could happen to others and could be described as
they are described in the account given. Other parts of this evidence
which we call corroborative are found in the statements of others which
bear out details of this peculiar event, though it is important to note
that these details have to be wrenched from their settings to give this
corroborative value. To be most conclusive they must have no intentional
connection with the experience of the scientist. In other words, those
individuals who corroborate the facts are made, in spite of themselves,
experiencers of the same facts. The perfection of this evidence is
attained when the fact can happen to others and the observer simply
details the conditions under which he made the observation, which can
be then so perfectly reproduced that others may repeat the exceptional

This process is not an analysis of a known world into ultimate elements
and their relations. Such an analysis never isolates this particular
exception which constitutes the scientific problems as an individual
experience. The extent to which the analysis is carried depends upon the
exigencies of the problem. It is the indefinite variety of the problems
which accounts for the indefinite variety of the facts. What constitutes
them facts in the sense in which we are using the term is their
_exceptional_ nature; formally they appear as particular judgments,
being denials of universal judgments, whether positive or negative. This
exceptional nature robs the events of a reality which would have
belonged to them as instances of a universal law. It leaves them,
however, with the rest of their meaning. But the value which they have
lost is just that which was essential to give them their place in the
world as it has existed for thought. Banished from that universally
valid structure, their ground for existence is found in the experience
of the puzzled observer. Such an observation was that of the moons of
Jupiter made possible by the primitive telescope of Galileo. For those
who lived in a Ptolemaic cosmos, these could have existence only as
observations of individuals. As moons they had distinct meaning,
circling Jupiter as our moon circles the earth, but being in
contradiction with the Ptolemaic order they could depend for their
existence only on the evidence of the senses, until a Copernican order
could give them a local habitation and a name. Then they were observed
not as the experiences of individuals but as instances of planetary
order in a heliocentric system. It would be palpably absurd to refer to
them as mere sense-data, mere sensations. They are for the time being
inexplicable experiences of certain individuals. They are inexplicable
because they have a meaning which is at variance with the structure of
the whole world to which they belong. They are the phenomena termed
accidental by Aristotle and rejected as full realities by him, but which
have become, in the habitat of individual experience, the headstone of
the structure of modern research of science.

A rationalism which relegates implication to the indefinables cannot
present the process of modern science. Implication is exactly that
process by which these events pass from their individual existence into
that of universal reality, and the scientist is at pains to define it as
the experimental method. It is true that a proposition implies
implication. But the proposition is the statement of the result of the
process by which an object has arisen for knowledge and merely indicates
the structure of the object. In discovery, invention, and research the
escape from the exceptional, from the data of early stages of
observation, is by way of an hypothesis; and every hypothesis so far as
it is tenable and workable in its form is universal. No one would waste
his time with a hypothesis which confessedly was not applicable to all
instances of the problem. An hypothesis may be again and again
abandoned, it may prove to be faulty and contradictory, but in so far as
it is an instrument of research it is assumed to be universal and to
perfect a system which has broken down at the point indicated by the
problem. Implication and more elaborated instances flow from the
structure of this hypothesis. The classical illustration which stands at
the door of modern experimental science is the hypothesis which Galileo
formed of the rate of the velocity of a falling body. He conceived that
this was in proportion to the time elapsed during the fall and then
elaborated the consequences of this hypothesis by working it into the
accepted mathematical doctrines of the physical world, until it led to
an anticipated result which would be actually secured and which would be
so characteristic an instance of a falling body that it would answer to
every other instance as he had defined them. In this fashion he defined
his inference as the anticipation of a result because this result was a
part of the world as he presented it amended by his hypothesis. It is
true that back of the specific implication of this result lay a mass of
other implications, many not even presented specifically in thought and
many others presented by symbols which generalized innumerable
instances. These implications are for the scientist more or less
implicit meanings, but they are meanings each of which may be brought
into question and tested in the same fashion if it should become an
actual problem. Many of them which would not have occurred to Galileo as
possible problems have been questioned since his day. What has remained
after this period of determined questioning of the foundations of
mathematics and the structure of the world of physical science is a
method of agreement with oneself and others, in (a) the identification
of the object of thought, in (b) the accepted values of assent and
denial called truth and falsehood, and in (c) referring to meaning, in
its relation to what is meant. In any case the achievement of symbolic
logic, with its indefinables and axioms has been to reduce this logic to
a statement of the most generalized form of possible consistent thought
intercourse, with entire abstraction from the content of the object to
which it refers. If, however, we abstract from its value in giving a
consistent theory of number, continuity, and infinity, this complete
abstraction from the content has carried the conditions of thinking in
agreement with self and others so far away from the actual problem of
science that symbolic logic has never been used as a research method. It
has indeed emphasized the fact that thinking deals with problems which
have reference to uses to which it can be put, not to a metaphysical
world lying beyond experience. Symbolic logic has to do with the world
of discourse, not with the world of things.

What Russell pushes to one side as a happy guess is the actual process
of implication by which, for example, the minute form in the diseased
human system is identified with unicellular life and the history of the
disease with the life history of this form. This identification implies
reclassification of these forms and a treatment of the disease that
answers to their life history. Having made this identification we
anticipate the result of this treatment, calling it an inference.

Implication belongs to the reconstruction of the object. As long as no
question has arisen, the object is what it means or means what it is. It
does not imply any feature of itself. When through conflict with the
experience of the individual some feature of the object is divorced from
some meaning the relationship between these becomes a false implication.
When a hypothetically reconstructed object finds us anticipating a
result which accords with the nature of such objects we assert an
implication of this meaning. To carry this relation of implication back
into objects which are subject to no criticism or question would of
course resolve the world into elements connected by external relations,
with the added consequence that these elements can have no content,
since every content in the face of such an analysis must be subject to
further analysis. We reach inevitably symbols such as X, Y, and Z, which
can symbolize nothing. Theoretically we can assume an implication
between any elements of an object, but in this abstract assumption the
symbolic logician overlooks the fact that he is also assuming some
content which is not analyzed and which is the ground of the
implication. In other words this logician confuses the scientific
attitude of being ready to question anything with an attitude of being
willing to question everything at once. It is only in an unquestioned
objective world that the exceptional instance appears and it is only in
such a world that an experimental science tests the implications of the
hypothetically reconstructed object.

The guess is happy because it carries with it the consequences which
follow from its fitting into the world, and the guess, in other words
the hypothesis, takes on this happy form solely because of the material
reconstruction which by its nature removes the unhappy contradiction and
promises the successful carrying out of the conflicting attitudes in the
new objective world. There is no such thing as formal implication.

Where no reconstruction of the world is involved in our identification
of objects that belong to it and where, therefore, no readjustment of
conduct is demanded, such a logic symbolizes what takes place in our
direct recognition of objects and our response to them. Then "X is a man
implies X is mortal for all values of X" exactly symbolizes the attitude
toward a man subject to a disease supposedly mortal. But it fails to
symbolize the biological research which starting with inexplicable
sporadic cases of an infectious disease carries over from the study of
the life history of infusoria a hypothetical reconstruction of the
history of disease and then acts upon the result of this assumption.
Research-science presents a world whose form is always universal, but
this universal form is neither a metaphysical assumption nor a fixed
form of the understanding. While the scientist may as a metaphysician
assume the existence of realities which lie beyond a possible
experience, or be a Kantian or Neo-Kantian, neither of these attitudes
is necessary for his research. He may be a positivist--a disciple of
Hume or of John Stuart Mill. He may be a pluralist who conceives, with
William James, that the order which we detect in parts of the universe
is possibly one that is rising out of the chaos and which may never be
as universal as our hypothesis demands. None of these attitudes has any
bearing upon his scientific method. This simplifies his thinking,
enables him to identify the object in which he is interested wherever he
finds it, and to abstract in the world as he conceives it those features
which carry with them the occurrence he is endeavoring to place.
Especially it enables him to make his thought a part of the socially
accepted and socially organized science to which his thought belongs. He
is far too modest to demand that the world be as his inference demands.

He asks that his view of the world be cogent and convincing to all those
whose thinking has made his own possible, and be an acceptable premise
for the conduct of that society to which he belongs. The hypothesis has
no universal and necessary characters except those that belong to the
thought which preserves the same meanings to the same objects, the same
relations between the same relata, the same attributes of assent and
dissent under the same conditions, the same results of the same
combinations of the same things. For scientific research the meanings,
the relations with the relata, the assent and dissent, the combinations
and the things combined are all in the world of experience. Thinking in
its abstractions and identifications and reconstructions undertakes to
preserve the values that it finds, and the necessity of its thinking
lies in its ability to so identify, preserve, and combine what it has
isolated that the thought structure will have an identical import under
like conditions for the thinker with all other thinkers to whom these
instruments of research conduct are addressed. Whatever conclusions the
scientist draws as necessary and universal results from his hypothesis
for a world independent of his thought are due, not to the cogency of
his logic, but to other considerations. For he knows if he reflects that
another problem may arise which will in its solution change the face of
the world built upon the present hypothesis. He will defend the
inexorableness of his reasoning, but the premises may change. Even the
contents of tridimensional space and sensuous time are not essential to
the cogency of that reasoning nor can the unbroken web of the argument
assure the content of the world as invariable. His universals, when
applied to nature, are all hypothetical universals; hence the import of
experiment as the test of an hypothesis. Experience does not rule out
the possible cropping up of a new problem which may shift the values
attained. Experience simply reveals that the new hypothesis fits into
the meanings of the world which are not shaken; it shows that, with the
reconstruction which the hypothesis offers, it is possible for
scientific conduct to proceed.

But if the universal character of the hypothesis and the tested theory
belong to the instrumental character of thought in so reconstructing a
world that has proved to be imperfect, and inadequate to conduct, the
stuff of the world and of the new hypothesis are the same. At least this
is true for the scientist who has no interest in an epistemological
problem that does not affect his scientific undertakings in one way nor
another. I have already pointed out that from the standpoint of logical
and psychological analysis the things with which science deals can be
neither ultimate elements nor sense-data; but that they must be phases
and characters and parts of things in some whole, parts which can only
be isolated because of the conflict between an accepted meaning and some
experience. I have pointed out that an analysis is guided by the
practical demands of a solution of this conflict; that even that which
is individual in its most unique sense in the conflict and in attempts
at its solution does not enter into the field of psychology--which has
its own problems peculiar to its science. Certain psychological problems
belong to the problems of other sciences, as, for example, that of the
personal equation belongs to astronomy or that of color vision to the
theory of light. But they bulk small in these sciences. It cannot be
successfully maintained that a scientific observation of the most unique
sort, one which is accepted for the time being simply as a happening in
this or that scientist's experience, is as such a psychological datum,
for the data in psychological text-books have reference to
_psychological_ problems. Psychology deals with the consciousness of the
individual in its dependence upon the physiological organism and upon
those contents which detach themselves from the objects outside the
individual and which are identified with his inner experience. It deals
with the laws and processes and structures of this consciousness in all
its experiences, not with _exceptional_ experiences. It is necessary to
emphasize again that for science these particular experiences arise
within a world which is in its logical structure organized and
universal. They arise only through the conflict of the individual's
experience with such an accepted structure. For science individual
experience _presupposes_ the organized structure; hence it cannot
provide the material out of which the structure is built up. This is the
error of both the positivist and of the psychological philosopher, if
scientific procedure gives us in any sense a picture of the situation.

A sharp contrast appears between the accepted hypothesis with its
universal form and the experiences which invalidate the earlier theory.
The reality of these experiences lies in their happening. They were
unpredictable. They are not instances of a law. The later theory, the
one which explains these occurrences, changes their character and
status, making them necessary results of the world as that is conceived
under this new doctrine. This new standpoint carries with it a backward
view, which explains the erroneous doctrine, and accounts for the
observations which invalidated it. Every new theory must take up into
itself earlier doctrines and rationalize the earlier exceptions. A
generalization of this attitude places the scientist in the position of
anticipating later reconstructions. He then must conceive of his world
as subject to continuous reconstructions. A familiar interpretation of
his attitude is that the hypothesis is thus approaching nearer and
nearer toward a reality which would never change if it could be
attained, or, from the standpoint of the Hegelian toward a goal at
infinity. The Hegelian also undertakes to make this continuous process
of reconstruction an organic phase in reality and to identify with
nature the process of finding exceptions and of correcting them. The
fundamental difference between this position and that of the scientist
who looks before and after is that the Hegelian undertakes to make the
exception in its exceptional character a part of the reality which
transcends it, while the scientist usually relegates the exception to
the experience of individuals who were simply caught in an error which
later investigation removes.

The error remains as an historical incident explicable perhaps as a
result of the conditions under which it occurred, but in so far as it
was an error, not a part of reality. It is customary to speak of it as
subjective, though this implies that we are putting the man who was
unwittingly in error into the position of the one who has corrected it.
To entertain that error in the face of its correction would be
subjective. A result of this interpretation is that the theories are
abstracted from the world and regarded as something outside it. It is
assumed that the theories are mental or subjective and change while the
facts remain unchanged. Even when it is assumed that theories and facts
agree, men speak of a correspondence or parallelism between idea and the
reality to which it refers. While this attitude seems to be that of
science toward the disproved theories which lie behind it, it is not its
attitude to the theories which it accepts. These are not regarded as
merely parallel to realities, as abstracted from the structure of
things. These meanings go into the makeup of the world. It is true that
the scientist who looks before and after realizes that any specific
meaning which is now accepted may be questioned and discarded. If he
carries his refection far enough he sees that a complete elimination of
all the meanings which might conceivably be so discredited would leave
nothing but logical constants, a world with no facts in any sense. In
this position he may of course take an agnostic attitude and be
satisfied with the attitude of Hume or Mill or Russell. But if he does
so, he will pass into the camp of the psychological philosophers and
will have left the position of the scientist. The scientist always deals
with an _actual_ problem, and even when he looks before and after he
does so in so far as he is facing in inquiry some actual problem. No
actual problem could conceivably take on the form of a conflict
involving the whole world of meaning. The conflict always arises between
an individual experience and certain laws, certain meanings while others
are unaffected. These others form the necessary field without which no
conflict can arise. They give the man of research his ([Greek: pou stô])
upon which he can formulate his problem and undertake its solution. The
possible calling in question of any content, whatever it may be, means
always that there is left a field of unquestioned reality. The attitude
of the scientist never contemplates or could contemplate the possibility
of a world in which there would be no reality by which to test his
hypothetical solution of the problem that arises. Nor does this attitude
when applied to past discarded theories necessarily carry with it the
implication that these older theories were subjective ideas in men's
minds, while the reality lay beside and beyond them unmingled with
ideas. It always finds a standpoint from which these ideas in the
earlier situation are still recognized as reliable, for there are no
scientific data without meanings. There could be no history of science
on any other basis. No history of science goes back to ultimate elements
or sense-data, or to any combination of bare data on one hand and
logical elements on the other. The world of the scientist is always
there as one in which reconstruction is taking place with continual
shifting of problems, but as a real world within which the problems
arise. The errors of the past and present appear as untenable hypotheses
which could not bear the test of experiment if the experience were
sufficiently enlarged and interpreted. But they are not mere errors to
be thrown into the scrap heap. They become a part of a different phase
of reality which a fuller history of the past records or a fuller
account of the present interprets, giving them thereby their proper
place in a real world.[36]

The completion of this program, however, awaits the solution of the
scientific problem of the relation of the psychical and the physical
with the attendant problem of the meaning of the so-called origin of
consciousness in the history of the world. My own feeling is that these
problems must be attacked from the standpoint of the social nature of
so-called consciousness. The clear indications of this I find in the
reference of our logical constants to the structure of thought as a
means of communication, in the explanation of errors in the history of
science by their social determination, and in the interpretation of the
inner field of experience as the importation of social intercourse into
the conscious conduct of the individual. But whatever may be the
solution of these problems, it must carry with it such a treatment of
the experience of the individual that the latter will never be regarded
merely as a subjective state, however inadequate it may have proved
itself as a scientific hypothesis. This seems to me to be involved in
the conception of psychology as a natural science and in any legitimate
carrying out of the Hegelian program of giving reality and creative
import to individual experience. The experience of the individual in its
exceptional character is the growing-point of science, first of all in
the recognition of data upon which the older theories break, and second
in the hypothesis which arises in the individual and is tested by the
experiment which reconstructs the world. A scientific history and a
scientific psychology from which epistemology has been banished must
place these observations and hypotheses together with erroneous
conceptions and mistaken observations _within_ the real world in such a
fashion that their reference to the experience of the individual and to
the world to which he belongs will be comprehensible. As I have
indicated, the scientific theory of the physical and conscious
individual in the world implied in this problem has still to be
adequately developed. But there is implied in the conception of such a
theory such a location of the process of thought in the process of
reality as will give it an import both in the meaning of things and in
the individual's thinking. We have the beginning of such a doctrine in
the conception of a functional value of consciousness in the conduct of
living forms, and the development of reflective thought out of such a
consciousness which puts it within the act and gives it the function of
preparation where adjustment is necessary. Such a process creates the
situation with reference to which the form acts. In all adjustment or
adaptation the result is that the form which is adjusted finds that by
its adjustment it has created an environment. The ancients by their
formulation of the Ptolemaic theory committed themselves to the world in
which the fixed values of the heavenly over against the earthly
obtained. Such a world was the interpretation of the experience involved
in their physical and social attitudes. They could not accept the
hypothesis of Aristarchus because it conflicted with the world which
they had created, with the values which were determining values for
them. The same was true of the hypothesis of Democritus. They could not,
as they conceived the physical world, accept its purely quantitative
character. The conception of a disinterested truth which we have
cherished since the Middle Ages is itself a value that has a social
basis as really as had the dogma of the church. The earliest statement
of it was perhaps that of Francis Bacon. Freeing investigation from the
church dogma and its attendant logic meant to him the freedom to find in
nature what men needed and could use for the amelioration of their
social and physical condition. The full implication of the doctrine has
been recognized as that of freedom, freedom to effect not only values
already recognized, but freedom to attain as well such complete
acquaintance with nature that new and unrecognized uses would be at our
disposal; that is, that progress should be one toward any possible use
to which increased knowledge might lead. The cult of increasing
knowledge, of continually reconstructing the world, took the place both
of the ancient conception of adequately organizing the world as
presented in thought, and of the medieval conception of a systematic
formulation on the basis of the statement in church dogma of social
values. This modern conception proceeds from the standpoint not of
formulating values, but giving society at the moment the largest
possible number of alternatives of conduct, i.e., undertaking to fix
from moment to moment the widest possible field of conduct. The purposes
of conduct are to be determined in the presence of a field of
alternative possibilities of action. The ends of conduct are not to be
determined in advance, but in view of the interests that fuller
knowledge of conditions awaken. So there appears a conception of
determining the field that shall be quite independent of given values. A
real world which consists not of an unchanged universe, but of a
universe which may be continually readjusted according to the problems
arising in the consciousness of the individuals within society. The
seemingly fixed character of such a world is found in the generally
fixed conditions which underlie the type of problems which we find. We
determine the important conditions incident to the working out of the
great problems which face us. Our conception of a given universe is
formed in the effort to mobilize all the material about us in relation
to these problems--the structure of the self, the structure of matter,
the physical process of life, the laws of change and the interrelation
of changes. With reference to these problems certain conditions appear
fixed and become the statement of the world by which we must determine
by experimental test the viability of our hypotheses. There arises then
the conception of a world which is unquestioned over against any
particular problem. While our science continually changes that world, at
least it must be always realized as there. On the other hand, these
conceptions are after all relative to the ends of social conduct which
may be formulated in the presence of any freedom of action.

We postulate freedom of action as the condition of formulating the ends
toward which our conduct shall be directed. Ancient thought assured
itself of its ends of conduct and allowed these to determine the world
which tested its hypothesis. We insist such ends may not be formulated
until we know the field of possible action. The formulation of the ends
is essentially a social undertaking and seems to follow the statement of
the field of possible conduct, while in fact the statement of the
possible field of conduct is actually dependent on the push toward
action. A moving end which is continually reconstructing itself follows
upon the continually enlarging field of opportunities of conduct.

The conception of a world of existence, then, is the result of the
determination at the moment of the conditions of the solution of the
given problems. These problems constitute the conditions of conduct, and
the ends of conduct can only be determined as we realize the
possibilities which changing conditions carry with them. Our world of
reality thus becomes independent of any special ends or purposes and we
reach an entirely disinterested knowledge. And yet the value and import
of this knowledge is found in our conduct and in our continually
changing conditions. Knowledge for its own sake is the slogan of
freedom, for it alone makes possible the continual reconstruction and
enlargement of the ends of conduct.

The individual in his experiences is continually creating a world which
becomes real through his discovery. In so far as new conduct arises
under the conditions made possible by his experience and his hypothesis
the world, which may be made the test of reality, has been modified and

I have endeavored to present the world which is an implication of the
scientific method of discovery with entire abstraction from any
epistemological or metaphysical presuppositions or complications.
Scientific method is indifferent to a world of things-in-themselves, or
to the previous condition of philosophic servitude of those to whom its
teachings are addressed. It is a method not of knowing the unchangeable
but of determining the form of the world within which we live as it
changes from moment to moment. It undertakes to tell us what we may
expect to happen when we act in such or such a fashion. It has become a
matter of serious consideration for a philosophy which is interested in
a world of things-in-themselves, and the epistemological problem. For
the cherished structures of the metaphysical world, having ceased to
house the values of mankind, provide good working materials in the
hypothetical structures of science, on condition of surrendering their
metaphysical reality; and the epistemological problem, having seemingly
died of inanition, has been found to be at bottom a problem of method or
logic. My attempt has been to present what seems to me to be two capital
instances of these transformations. Science always has a world of
reality by which to test its hypotheses, but this world is not a world
independent of scientific experience, but the immediate world
surrounding us within which we must act. Our next action may find these
conditions seriously changed, and then science will formulate this world
so that in view of this problem we may logically construct our next plan
of action. The plan of action should be made self-consistent and
universal in its form, not that we may thus approach nearer to a
self-consistent and universal reality which is independent of our
conduct, but because our plan of action needs to be intelligent and
generally applicable. Again science advances by the experiences of
individuals, experiences which are different from the world in which
they have arisen and which refer to a world which is not yet in
existence, so far as scientific experience is concerned. But this
relation to the old and new is not that of a subjective world to an
objective universe, but is a process of logical reconstruction by which
out of exceptions the new law arises to replace a structure that has
become inadequate.

In both of these processes, that of determining the structure of
experience which will test by experiment the legitimacy of the new
hypothesis, and that of formulating the problem and the hypothesis for
its solution, the individual functions in his full particularity, and
yet in organic relationship with the society that is responsible for
him. It is the import for scientific method of this relationship that
promises most for the interpretation of the philosophic problems



If it is true that misery loves company, those persons who feel
despondent over the present situation in philosophy may console
themselves with the reflection that things are not so bad as they might
be. Our friends, the psychologists, are afflicted even as we are. The
disagreements of experts as to both the subject-matter and the method of
psychology are as fundamental as anything that philosophy can show. A
spirit of revolt is abroad in the land, and psychology is once more on
trial. The compact which provided that psychology should be admitted to
the rank of a natural science, on condition that it surrender its
pretension to be the science of the soul and confine itself to the study
of consciousness, is no longer considered binding. The suspicion is
growing that consciousness is nothing more nor less than an attenuated
form of the soul that it pretends to displace. Consequently the
psychology without a soul to which we have just become accustomed is now
attacked on behalf of a psychology without a consciousness, on the
ground that this latter standpoint alone can give assurance against
entangling alliances between psychology and metaphysics.

From the side of philosophy this situation is interesting, not only to
such as may crave the comfort that springs from the spectacle of
distress, but also to those who take a more hopeful view of present-day
tendencies. The question that is at issue is fundamentally the question
of the nature of consciousness, which is quite as important to
philosophy as to psychology. On the one hand it is maintained that
psychology has to do with consciousness and that its distinctive method
is the method of introspection. On the other hand it is urged that
psychology is nothing more nor less than a study of behavior, that it is
not a science at all, unless the existence of consciousness is denied or
at least ignored, and that the method of introspection is a delusion and
a snare. The two standpoints are not always clearly formulated, nor can
we say that every system of psychology is true to type. It is, in fact,
the lack of clearness in the fundamental concepts that makes the status
of psychology a matter of so much uncertainty.

The situation presents an apparent anomaly. Both parties profess to deal
with facts of observation, yet the claim of the introspectionist that he
observes facts of consciousness is met by the assertion of his rival
that there is no consciousness to be observed. How can this be, unless
we assume that introspection presupposes an esoteric principle, like the
principle of grace in religion? It seems evident that we have to do here
with some deep-seated misconception regarding the facts that are
supposed to constitute the subject-matter for observation and

A common procedure on the part of introspectionism is to assert the
existence of consciousness as something which is indeed indefinable, but
which admits of observation and description. But this procedure is no
longer justified. In the first place, the assertion that consciousness
exists is not the statement of a fact but the designation of a problem.
What is the nature of the fact that we call consciousness? If the
common-sense individual, who assents so readily to the proposition that
we all know consciousness, be asked to differentiate between
consciousness and the objects of consciousness, he is dazed and
helpless. And, secondly, the assertion of indefinability involves us in
a difficulty. The indefinability of consciousness has sometimes been
likened to that of space, but in this latter case we find no such
confusion between space and the objects in space. It is clear, however,
that if consciousness is not something distinguishable from objects,
there is no need to discuss consciousness, and if it is distinguishable,
it must be distinguished before we are entitled to proceed with
observation and description. Definition is indispensable, at least to
the extent of circumscribing the facts that are to be investigated.
Moreover, if consciousness cannot be defined, neither can it be
described. What is definition, after all, but a form of description? To
assert, in effect, that consciousness is indefinable because it is
indescribable, and that for this reason we must be content with
description, is both a flagrant disregard of consistency and an
unwarranted abuse of our good nature.

This difficulty leads on to another, for doubts, like lies, have a
singular propensity to breed more of their kind. If consciousness is
something that everybody knows, why should it be necessary to look to
the psychologist for a description of it? if the study of consciousness
brings to light any new fact, that fact by definition is not a conscious
fact at all, and consequently is not the kind of thing that we set out
to describe. Consciousness, in short, cannot be analyzed; it cannot be
resolved into elements or constituents. It is precisely what it is and
not some product of our after-thought that we are pleased to substitute
for it.

These familiar considerations do not, indeed, decide the issue between
the rival theories of psychology, but they serve to suggest that our
introspective psychology has been too easily satisfied in the conception
of its specific problem or subject-matter. As a matter of fact, the work
that has been done in the name of psychology has been peculiarly barren
of results, so far as a consciousness _an sich_ is concerned, although
it has led to a wealth of material pertaining to adaptive behavior. Its
solid achievements lie in the domain, not of consciousness, but of
instinctive, habitual, and intelligent adaptation. It teaches us little
that has to do unequivocally with consciousness as distinct from things,
but it teaches us much concerning stimulus and response, attention and
habit, conflict and adjustment. The doctrine that psychology is a
science of behavior is justified at least to the extent that it
emphasizes a factor, the importance of which introspectionism has
consistently refused to recognize. Whatever conclusion we may ultimately
reach regarding the nature of consciousness, the whole drift of
psychological and biological investigation seems to indicate that an
adequate conception of consciousness and of the distinctive problem of
psychology can be attained only on the basis of a painstaking reflection
on the facts of behavior.


It is evident that the attempt to ascertain the nature of consciousness
and of psychology from the standpoint of behavior is committed to the
assumption that the behavior in question is of a distinctive kind. The
justification of this assumption will enable us to formulate the
definitions which we seek. Discussions of conscious behavior ordinarily
emphasize the similarity between conscious and reflex behavior rather
than the difference. An attitude of expectancy, for example, is usually
conceived as a sort of temporary reflex. Certain nervous connections are
organized for the occasion, so that, when a given stimulus arrives, it
will induce its appropriate response. This situation is best
exemplified, perhaps, in simple reaction-experiments, in which the
subject makes a certain predetermined response upon presentation of the
stimulus. The process is supposed to be of the reflex type throughout,
the only difference being that ordinary reflexes are relatively
permanent and unvarying, whereas a prearranged response to a stimulus
has to do with a reflex that is made to order so as to meet the
exigencies of the moment.

For certain purposes such a description of conscious behavior is no
doubt sufficiently accurate. Our present concern, however, is with the
differences between these temporary organizations and ordinary
reflexes. In order to bring out these differences, let us introduce a
slight complication into our reaction-experiment and suppose that the
subject is to make one of two alternative responses, according to the
nature of the stimulus. His state of expectancy is accompanied by a
certain bodily "set" or preparedness for the coming event, although the
precise nature of the event is a matter of uncertainty. His nervous
system is in readiness to respond this way or that, or rather, it has
already started to act in both of the alternative ways. If the subject
is to respond with the right hand to one stimulus and with the left hand
to the other, both hands are in a state of activity before the stimulus
appears. The organization of the temporary reflex through the agency of
the cerebral cortex could not be achieved were it not for the fact that
all the movements entering into the organization are nascently aroused
before the spring is touched which permits the act to unroll itself in
orderly sequence.

The various successive movements, then, which make up our temporary
reflex achieve their relationship to one another from the fact that they
are started simultaneously, and this peculiarity constitutes a
distinctive feature. Apparently this feature is absent from true
reflexes. An act of swallowing, performed unconsciously, may start the
complicated processes of digestion, but it is merely the first act of a
series. There is no evidence that the movements of the stomach and of
the other organs concerned in digestion must be presupposed before the
act of swallowing can take place. The swallowing may start the other
processes, but we cannot say that these other processes react back upon
the first act and make it one of swallowing rather than something else.
Yet this "back stroke" is precisely what is necessary in our
reaction-experiment, for it is by virtue of this fact that the
organization of the temporary reflex becomes a possibility. The first
response cannot take place until the last is provided for. Thus the
immediate act of looking has embodied in it the activity that is to
follow later. The looking is not simply with the eye, but with the hands
that are to complete the response. The optical response is a response
which, in the language of Bergson, prefigures or sketches out the act of
a later moment. The nervous system is enabled to act as a unit, because
the movements that are to occur at a later time are represented in the
first stage of the complete act. The first stage, accordingly, does not
occur independently, but _as_ a preliminary to the second. With an
imperfect organization of the entire response, it may happen that the
subsequent movements are not suppressed until their proper moment
arrives, but appear in advance of their scheduled time. In writing, for
example, we frequently omit words or add to a word the final letter of
some word that belongs to a subsequent part of the sentence. An error of
this sort could hardly occur so readily in the course of an act that
belongs to the type of the true reflex.

Lest the reader suspect that this is _a priori_ physiology, I may quote
the following from a prominent neurologist: "No simple sensory impulse
can, under ordinary circumstances, reach the cerebral cortex without
first being influenced by subcortical association centers, within which
complex reflex combinations may be effected and various automatisms set
off in accordance with their preformed structure. These subcortical
systems are to some extent modifiable by racial and individual
experience, but their reactions are chiefly of the determinate or
stereotyped character, with a relatively limited range of possible
reaction types for any given stimulus complex.

"It is shown by the lower vertebrates, which lack the cerebral cortex,
that these subcortical mechanisms are adequate for all of the ordinary
simple processes of life, including some degree of associative memory.
But here, when emergencies arise which involve situations too complex to
be resolved by these mechanisms, the animal will pay the inevitable
penalty of failure--perhaps the loss of his dinner, or even of his life.

"In the higher mammals with well-developed cortex the automatisms and
simple associations are likewise performed mainly by the subcortical
apparatus, but the inadequacy of this apparatus in any particular
situation presents not the certainty of failure, but rather a dilemma.
The rapid preformed automatisms fail to give relief, or perhaps the
situation presents so many complex sensory excitations as to cause
mutual interference and inhibition of all reaction. There is a stasis in
the subcortical centers. Meanwhile the higher neural resistance of the
cortical pathways has been overcome by summation of stimuli and the
cortex is excited to function. Here is a mechanism adapted, not for a
limited number of predetermined and immediate responses, but for a much
greater range of combination of the afferent impressions with each other
and with memory vestiges of previous reactions and a much larger range
of possible modes of response to any given set of afferent impressions.
By a process of trial and error, perhaps, the elements necessary to
effect the adaptive response may be assembled and the problem solved.

"It is evident here that the physiological factors in the dilemma or
problem as this is presented to the cortex are by no means simple
sensory impressions, but definitely organized systems of neural
discharge, each of which is a physiological resultant of the reflexes,
automatisms, impulses, and inhibitions characteristic of its appropriate
subcortical centers. The precise form which these subcortical
combinations will assume in response to any particular excitation is in
large measure determined by the structural connections _inter se_....

"From the standpoint of the cerebral cortex considered as an essential
part of the mechanism of higher conscious acts, every afferent stimulus,
as we have seen, is to some extent affected by its passage through
various subcortical association centers (i.e., it carries a quale of
central origin). But this same afferent impulse in its passage through
the spinal cord and brain stem may, before reaching the cortex,
discharge collateral impulses into the lower centers of reflex
coördination, from which incipient (or even actually consummated) motor
responses are discharged previous to the cortical reaction. These motor
discharges may, through the 'back stroke' action, in turn exert an
influence upon the slower cortical reaction. Thus the lower reflex
response may in a literal physiological sense act _into_ the cortical
stimulus complex and become an integral part of it."[37]

It seems clear, then, that conscious behavior involves a certain
_process_ of organization which constitutes a differential. The units
entering into this process are "definitely organized systems of neural
discharge," the antecedent organization of these several systems being
due either to the inherited or to the acquired structure of the nervous
system. Given a certain amount of plasticity, the nervous system builds
up specific forms of response for certain objects or situations, and
these forms of response subsequently become the material from which new
organizations or new modes of response are constructed. The achievements
of the past, accordingly, become stepping-stones to new achievement. The
new organization, moreover, is not determined by a mechanism
antecedently provided, but has a peculiar flexibility, so as to meet the
demands of a new situation. That is, a new mode of procedure is adopted.
Instead of being a purely mechanical reaction, the response that results
from the situation is tentative or experimental in character, and "by a
process of trial and error, perhaps, the elements necessary to effect
the adaptive response may be assembled and the problem solved."

We may add at once that the reorganization which is required to
constitute conscious behavior varies a great deal in extent. In an act
that is more or less habitual, a comparatively slight modification of
the corresponding organized system of neural discharge will suffice to
harmonize the conflicting elements, whereas on other occasions a more
extensive modification is required. But in any case it appears that
there is a certain impropriety in describing conscious behavior in terms
of a temporary reflex, since the study of this behavior is concerned
with the organization of the discordant elements, not as a result, but
primarily as a process. In a reflex act we may suppose that the stimulus
which evokes the first stage in the response is like the first in a row
of upstanding bricks, which in falling knocks down another. That is, the
reflex arc is built up by agencies that are quite independent of the
subsequent act. The arc is all set up and ready for use by the time the
reflex act appears upon the scene. In the case of conscious activity, on
the other hand, we find a very different state of affairs. The arc is
not first constructed and then used, but is constructed as the act
proceeds; and this progressive organization is, in the end, what is
meant by conscious behavior. If the course of a reflex act may be
compared with traveling in a railroad train, the progress of a conscious
act is more like that of a band of explorers, who hew their path and
build their bridges as they go along. The direction of the act is not
determined from without but from within; the end is internal to the

This process of organization and purposive direction is exemplified in
every act of attention. Is that noise, for example, a horse in the
street, or is it the rain on the roof? What we find in such a situation
is not a paralysis of activity, but a redirection. The incompatibility
of responses is purely relative. There is indeed a mutual inhibition of
the responses for hoof-beats and rain respectively, in the sense that
neither has undisputed possession of the field; but this very inhibition
sets free the process of attention, in which the various responses
participate and coöperate. There is no static balancing of forces, but
rather a process in which the conflict is simply a condition for an
activity of a different kind. If I am near a window facing the street,
my eye turns thither for a clue; if the appeal to vision be eliminated,
the eye becomes unseeing and coöperates with the ear by excluding all
that is irrelevant to the matter in hand. In this process the nervous
system functions as a unit, with reference to the task of determining
the source and character of the sound. This task or problem dominates
the situation. A voice in an adjoining room may break in, but only as
something to be ignored and shut out; whereas a voice in the street may
become all-absorbing as possibly indicating the driver of the
hypothetical horse. That is, the reason why the conflict of responses
does not end in a deadlock, but in a redirection, is that a certain
selectiveness of response comes into play. Out of the mass of more or
less inchoate activities a certain response is selected as a
rallying-point for the rest, and this selection is of a purposive
character. The selection is determined by reference to the task in hand,
which is to restore a certain harmony of response. Accordingly, that
response is selected which gives promise of forwarding the business of
the moment. By virtue of this selective character, one of the
constituents of the total activity becomes exalted among its fellows and
is entrusted with the function of determining further behavior.

The purpose of the discussion, up to this point, is to put forward this
selective or teleological character as the fundamental and
differentiating trait of conscious behavior; and our task, accordingly,
is to give an account of the nature and _modus operandi_ of this
purposive control. This control, it is evident, consists in giving
direction to behavior with reference to results that are still in the
future. The basis for this anticipation of the future is furnished by
the nascent responses which foreshadow further activity, even while they
are still under the thraldom of the inhibitions which hold them back.
These suppressed activities furnish a sort of diagram or sketch of
further possible behavior, and the problem of consciousness is the
problem of making the result or outcome of these incipient responses
effective in the control of behavior. Future results or consequences
must be converted into present stimuli; and the accomplishment of this
conversion is the miracle of consciousness. To be conscious is to
have a future possible result of present behavior embodied as a present
existence functioning as a stimulus to further behavior. Thus the
qualities of a perceptual experience may be interpreted, without
exception, as anticipations of the results of activities which are
as yet in an embryonic stage. The results of the activity that is
as yet partly suppressed are already expressed or anticipated in the
perception. The present experience may, as James says, "shoot its
perspective far before it, irradiating in advance the regions in
which lie the thoughts as yet unborn."[38] A baseball player, for
example, who is all "set" to field a ball as a preliminary to a further
play, sees the ball, not simply as an approaching object, but as
ball-to-be-caught-and-then-thrown-to-first-base. Moreover, the ball,
while still on the way, is a ball-that-may-bound-to-the-right-or-
to-the-left. The corresponding movements of the player to the right or
left, and the act of throwing, although present only as inhibited or
incipient acts, are nevertheless embodied in the visual experience.
Similarly my couch looks soft and inviting, because the optical
stimulation suggests or prompts, not only the act of lying down, but
also the kind of relaxation that is made possible by a comfortable bed.
So likewise the tiger's jaws and claws look cruel and horrible, because
in that perception are reflected the incipient movements of defense and
recoil which are going on in the body of the observer. Perception, like
our air-castles, or like dreams in the Freudian theory, presents what is
at best but a suggestion or program in the guise of accomplished fact.

This projection, however, of our submerged activities into our
perceptions requires a more precise statement. According to the
foregoing contention, the appearance, for example, of a razor's edge as
sharp is the sensory correlate of an incipient response which, if it
were to attain full-blown perfection, would be the reaction to a cut.
By hypothesis, however, the response is inhibited, and it is this
inhibition which calls forth the perception of the object. If the
response encountered no obstruction, adaptation would be complete and
perception would not occur. Since there is a blocking of the response,
nature resorts to a special device in order to overcome the difficulty,
and this device consists in furnishing the organism with a new type of
stimulus. The razor as perceived does not actually cut just now, but it
bodies forth the quality 'will cut,' i.e., the perceived attribute
derives its character from what the object will, or may, do at a future
time. That is, a perceived object is a stimulus which controls or
directs the organism by results which have not yet occurred, but which
will, or may, occur in the future. The uniqueness of such a stimulus
lies in the fact that a contingent result somehow becomes operative as a
present fact; the future is transferred into the present so as to become
effective in the guidance of behavior.

This control by a future that is made present is what constitutes
consciousness. A living body may respond to an actual cut by a knife on
purely mechanical or reflex principles; but to respond to a cut by
anticipation, i.e., to behave with reference to a merely possible or
future injury, is manifestly an exhibition of intelligence. Not that
there need be any conscious reference to the future as future in the
act. Merely to see the object as "sharp" is sufficient to give
direction to conduct. But "sharp" is equivalent to "will cut"; the
quality of sharpness is a translation of future possibility into terms
of present fact, and as thus translated the future possibility becomes a
factor in the control of behavior. Perception, therefore, is a point
where present and future coincide. What the object _will_ do is, in
itself, just a contingency, an abstract possibility, but in perception
this possibility clothes itself in the garments of present, concrete
fact and thus provides the organism with a different environment. The
environment provides a new stimulus by undergoing a certain kind of
change, i.e., by exercising a peculiar function of control. This control
is seeing, and the whole mystery of consciousness is just this rendering
of future stimulations or results into terms of present existence.
Consciousness, accordingly, is a name for a certain change that takes
place in the stimulus; or, more specifically, it is a name for the
control of conduct by future results or consequences.

To acquire such a stimulus and to become conscious are one and the same
thing. As was indicated previously, the conscious stimulus is correlated
with the various inherited and acquired motor tendencies which have been
set off and which are struggling for expression, and the uniqueness of
the stimulus lies in the fact that the adaptive value of these nascent
motor tendencies becomes operative as the determining principle in the
organization of the response. The response, for example, to "sharp" or
"will cut" is reminiscent of an earlier reaction in which the organism
engaged in certain defensive movements as the result of an actual
injury. That is, the response to "sharp" is a nascent or incipient form
of a response which at the time of its first occurrence was the
expression of a maladaptation. The response that is induced when an
object is seen as sharp would be biologically bad, if it were completed,
and the fact that the object is seen as sharp means that this result is
foreshadowed and operates as a stimulus to prevent such maladaptation.
Similarly the couch which meets my weary eye becomes a stimulus to
repose because the nascent activity which is aroused would be
biologically good if completed. In any case the character of the
stimulus is determined by the adaptive value which the incipient
activity would have if it were carried out. Consciousness, accordingly,
is just a future adaptation that has been set to work so as to bring
about its own realization. The future thus becomes operative in the
present, in much the same way as the prospects for next year's crop may
be converted by the farmer into ready money with which to secure the
tools for its production.

To justify this conclusion by a detailed and extensive application of
this interpretation to every form of quality and relation would carry us
beyond the limits of the present undertaking. It is a view, however,
which offers possibilities that have not as yet been properly
recognized. Certain considerations, besides those already discussed, may
be mentioned as giving it an antecedent plausibility. As regards simple
sense-qualities, there is abundant reason for believing that Locke's
doctrine of "simple ideas" is a violent perversion of the facts. To
assume that the last results of analysis are the first things in
experience is to give a fatal twist to psychology and to commit us to
the fruitless agonies of epistemology. The original "blooming, buzzing
confusion" with which experience starts becomes differentiated into
specific qualities only to the extent that certain typical and organized
forms of response are built up within the body. Sense-qualities, in
other words, are functionally not simple but extremely complex; they owe
their distinctiveness or individuality to the fact that each of them
embodies a specific set of cues or anticipations, with reference to
further experiences. The difference between a quality like "sharpness"
and a quality like "red" lies in the fact that the former is a
translation of a relatively simple possibility, viz., "will cut,"
whereas the latter embodies a greater variety of anticipations. The
perception of red, being the outcome of many comparisons and
associations, presupposes a complex physical response which contains
multitudinous tendencies to reinstate former responses; and the combined
effect of these suppressed tendencies is the perception of a color which
offers possibilities of control over behavior in such directions as
reminiscences, idle associations, or perhaps scrutiny and investigation.
A similar explanation evidently applies to abstract ideas, which neither
admit of reduction to "revived sensations" nor compel the adoption of a
peculiarly "spiritual" or "psychic" existence in the form of
unanalyzable meanings. Here again a complex mode of response must be
assumed, having as its correlate an experience describable only in
terms of its functioning, which is such as to enable the organism to act
intelligently, i.e., with reference to future results, which are
sufficiently embodied in the experience to secure appropriate behavior.
Again, this point of view offers a satisfactory solution for the
time-worn puzzle of relativity. If perception is just the translation of
future possible stimulations into present fact, there is assuredly no
justification for the notion that perception distorts the facts or that
discrepancies among different perceptions prove their "subjectivity."
There remains but one test by which the correctness or validity of
perception may be judged, viz., whether the perceived object proves to
be the kind of stimulus which is reported or anticipated in the present

So far our discussion has emphasized the anticipatory character of the
conscious stimulus. Future consequences come into the present as
_conditions_ for further behavior. These anticipations are based,
indeed, upon previous happenings, but they enter into the present
situation as conditions that must be taken into account. But to take
them into account means that the conscious situation is essentially
incomplete and in process of transformation or reconstruction. This
peculiar incompleteness or contingency stands out prominently when the
situation rises to the level of uncertainty and perplexity. To borrow
the classical illustration of the child and the candle, the child is in
a state of uncertainty because the neural activity of the moment
comprises two incompatible systems of discharge, the one being a
grasping and holding, the other a withdrawal and such further movements
as may be induced by contact with fire. Hence the candle has the
seductiveness of a prize, but at the same time carries the suggestion of
burning the fingers. That is, the perceived object has a unique
character of uncertainty, which inheres in it as a present positive
quality. We are here confronted with genuine contingency, such as is
encountered nowhere else. Other modes of behavior may be uncertain in
the sense that the incoming stimulation finds no fixed line of discharge
laid down for itself within the organism. In seeking to convert itself
into response it may either sweep away the obstructions in its path or
work itself out along lines of less resistance, in ways that no man can
foretell. There may be moments of equilibrium, moments when it remains
to be seen where the dam will break and the current rush through. Such
uncertainty, however, is the uncertainty of the bystander who attempts
to forecast what will happen next. It is not the uncertainty that
figures as an integral part of conscious behavior.

This inherent uncertainty means that conscious behavior, as contrasted
with the mechanical character of the reflexes, is essentially
experimental. The uncertainty exists precisely because an effort is
under way to clear up the uncertainty. The resort to eye or ear or to
reflective thinking is suggested by the corresponding nascent responses
and is an endeavor to secure something which is still to seek, but
which, when found, will meet the requirements of the situation.
Translating this process into terms of stimulus and response, we may
say that the conscious stimulus of the moment induces the investigation
or scrutiny which presently results in the arrival of a stimulus that is
adequate to the situation. The stimulus, in other words, provides for
its own successor; or we may say that the process as a whole is a
self-directing, self-determining activity. Stimulus and response are not
successive stages or moments, but rather simultaneous functions or
phases of the total process. Within this process the given situation is
the stimulus because it is that aspect or function which guides the
subsequent course of the activity, while the bodily movements are the
response because they already embody the activity that is to follow. The
significant circumstance here is that stimulus and response resist the
temporal separation that we find in a purely reflex act; stimulus and
response are bound together as correlated functions in a unitary,
self-directing process, so that these twain are one flesh.

Situations of uncertainty and expectancy, as exemplified by the familiar
child-candle incident, are of interest, because they emphasize both the
anticipatory character of experience and the peculiar reconstruction of
the stimulus. These situations, however, differ merely in degree, not in
kind, from other experiences; their merit is that in them the
distinctive character of conscious life is writ large. To say that they
are conscious situations is to say that they are so constituted that the
possibilities of a subsequent moment are embodied in them as a positive
quality. In them the present moment embodies a future that is
contingent. And similarly the response has neither the predetermined
organization of the reflex nor the aimless character of a response that
issues in a set of random movements. It is, so to speak, of a
generalized character, like the paleontological specimens that
foreshadow in their structure the advent of both fish and reptile. This
form of organization, however, while exemplified most strikingly in
situations of uncertainty, pertains to all conscious behavior. In
uttering a sentence, for example, we know in advance what we are going
to say, yet the sentence shapes itself into definite form only as we
proceed; or perhaps we get "stuck," and by hemming and hawing bear
witness that a struggle for a certain kind of organization is going on.
The same word in different contexts is a different word in each
instance, by virtue of the coloring that it takes on from what is to
follow after. And this is equally true of our most casual experiences.
The auditory or visual object that we happen to notice and immediately
afterwards ignore is apprehended with reference to the possibility of
warranting further attention, or else it presents itself as an intruder
that is to be excluded in order that we may go on with the concern of
the moment. All experience is a kind of intelligence, a control of
present behavior with reference to future adjustment. To be in
experience at all is to have the future operate in the present.

This reference to the future may be in the nature of an end or goal that
controls a series of activities or it may be of a momentary and casual
kind. In any case the character of the stimulus changes with the
progress of the act. The book on the table must become successively
book-to-be-reached-for, book-to-be-picked-up, and book-to-be-opened,
unless the process is to drop back to the type of reflex. This
development of the stimulus gives genuine continuity, since every moment
in the process comes as a fulfilment of its predecessor and as a
transition-point to its successor. In a purely mechanical act response
follows stimulus like the successive strokes of a clock. It is a
touch-and-go affair; the stimulus presses the button and then subsides,
while the neural organization does the rest. In conscious behavior, on
the other hand, stimulus and response keep step with each other. A mere
succession of stimuli would reduce conscious behavior to a series of
explosive jerks, on the principle of the gasoline engine. To be
conscious at all is to duplicate in principle the agility of the
tight-rope performer, who continuously establishes new co-ordinations
according to the exigencies of the moment and with constant reference to
the controlling consideration of keeping right side up. The sensory
stimulus provides continuously for its own rehabilitation or appropriate
transformation, and in a similar way the neural organization is never a
finished thing, but is in constant process of readjustment to meet the
demands of an adaptation that still lies in the future.

It is this relationship of present response to the response of the next
moment that constitutes the distinctive trait of conscious behavior. The
relatively unorganized responses of the present moment, in becoming
reflected in the experienced object, reveal their outcome or meaning
before they have become overt, and thus provide the conditions of
intelligent action. In other words, future consequences become
transformed into a stimulus for further behavior. We are confronted here
with a distinctive mode of operation, which must be properly recognized,
if we are to give a consistent and intelligent account of conscious
behavior. On the other hand, if we refuse to recognize the advent here
of a new category, intelligence becomes an anomaly and mystery deepens
into contradiction. Since intelligence or consciousness must be provided
for somehow, we are forced back upon either interactionism or else
epiphenomenalism, more or less disguised under a euphonious name, such
as psycho-physical parallelism or the double-aspect theory. That is, the
relation of stimulus and response is either reduced to plain cause and
effect or else is rejected altogether and supplanted by a bare
concomitance of the physical and mental series. In either case conscious
behavior is reduced to the type of reflex action, the only issue between
the two doctrines being the question whether or not it is necessary or
permissible to interpolate mental links in the causal chain.

According to the doctrine of parallelism, conscious behavior is nothing
more than a complicated form of reflex, which goes on without any
interference on the part of mind or intelligence. Intelligence adds
nothing to the situation except itself; it carries no implications or
new significance with regard to conduct. The psychic correlate is
permitted to tag along, but the explanations of response remain the same
in kind as they were before they reached the level of consciousness.
"Mere complexity should not becloud the issue. Every brain process, like
every reflex activity, is presumably the result of physico-chemical
processes. The assumption of a mysterious intuition or 'psychic force'
adds nothing to the mechanistic explanation, even when the latter is
most fragmentary. The interactionists go out of their way unnecessarily
in assuming a special activity of consciousness to account for the
dislocation of reactions from sensations. The nervous organization
suffices to explain it. Distant-stimuli and central stimuli co-operate
to bring about anticipatory reactions; foresight is but the conscious
side of this process. The phenomenon is _both_ physical and mental."[39]

The passage just quoted is fairly typical. Since the mental is an aspect
or concomitant of the physical it is clearly entitled to an occasional
honorable mention, but the fact remains that the explanation of behavior
is to be given wholly in terms of neural organization. The mental is
quite literally an "also ran." To say that a physico-chemical process is
also mental is of no particular significance as long as it is implied
that the end or goal of the process plays no part in shaping the course
of events. The mental simply gives dignity to the occasion, like the
sedan chair with no bottom, in which the Irishman's admirers, according
to James's story, ran him along to the place of banquet and which
prompted the hero to remark: "Faith, if it wasn't for the honor of the
thing, I might as well have come on foot."

It is this empty show of respect which the interactionists seek to
avoid when they make the mental a distinct link in the causal sequence.
The physical first causes the mental, and the mental in turn brings
about a change in the physical. In this way a certain importance is
indeed secured to mental facts, but it appears that, so far as purposive
action is concerned, we are no better off than we were before. The
mental is simply another kind of cause; it has as little option
regarding its physical effect as the physical cause has with regard to
its mental effect. Non-mechanical behavior is again ruled out, or else a
vain attempt is made to secure a place for it through the introduction
of an independent psychic agency.

It is true, indeed, that we are under no antecedent obligation to
maintain the existence of an activity that is not entirely reducible to
the type of everyday cause and effect. But neither does scientific zeal
and incorruptibility require us to do violence to the facts in order to
secure this uniformity of type. Not to speak at all of the difficulties
inherent in this dualism, it seems undeniable that some facts
persistently refuse to conform to the type of mechanism, unless they are
previously clubbed into submission. Foresight and the sense of
obligation, for example, must learn to regard themselves as nothing more
than an interesting indication of the way in which the neural machinery
is operating before they will fit into the scheme. And similarly the
progress of an argument is no way controlled or directed by the end in
view, or by considerations of logical coherence, but by the impact of
causation. Ideas lose their power to guide conduct by prevision of the
future, and truth and error consequently lose their significance, save
perhaps as manifestations of cerebral operations. Since reasoning
involves association, it must be reducible to bare association; the
sequence of the process is just sequence and nothing more. A description
of this kind is on a par with the celebrated opinion that violin music
is just a case of scraping horse-hair on catgut. Everything that is
distinctive in the facts is left out of account, and we are forced to
the conclusion that no conclusion has any logical significance or value.

In the end these difficulties, and in fact most of our philosophic ills,
may be traced back to the prejudice that experience or knowing is a
process in which the objects concerned do not participate and have no
share. This assumption commits us at once to various corollaries and
thus breeds a set of abstractions that pass themselves off as entities
and add themselves to the world of our experience as demonstrable facts.
In philosophy, as in the financial world, there is a constant temptation
to do business on a basis of fictitious capitalization. Our abstract
physico-chemical processes, with their correlates, such as passive,
independent objects, souls, minds, or absolutes, do not represent actual
working capital, but watered stock, and their inevitable tendency is to
convert the legitimate business of philosophy into a campaign of
exploitation, which is none the less exploitation because it is
frequently done in the interests of what are supposed to be the
spiritual values of man. A careful inventory of our assets brings to
light no such entities as those which have been placed to our credit.
We do not find body and object _and_ consciousness, but only body and
object. We do not find objects that remain indifferent to the
experiential process, but rather objects that exhibit a flexibility and
mobility which defy all description. We do not find a self-sufficient
environment or absolute _to_ which intelligence must needs adjust
itself, but an environment that is at odds with itself and struggling in
the throes of a reconstruction. The process of intelligence is something
that goes on, not in our minds, but in things; it is not photographic,
but creative. From the simplest perception to the most ideal aspiration
or the wildest hallucination, our human experience is reality engaged in
the guidance or control of behavior. Things undergo a change in becoming
experienced, but the change consists in a doing, in the assumption of a
certain task or duty. The experiential object hence varies with the
response; the situation and the motor activity fit together like the
sections of a broken bowl.

The bearing of this standpoint on the interpretation of psychology is
readily apparent. If it be granted that consciousness is just a name for
behavior that is guided by the results of acts not yet performed but
reflected beforehand in the objects of experience, it follows that this
behavior is the peculiar subject-matter of psychology. It is only by
reference to behavior that a distinctive field can be marked off for
psychological enterprise. When we say that the flame is hot, the stone
hard, and the ice cold and slippery, we are describing objects and
nothing more. These qualities are, indeed, anticipations of future
possibilities, but this means simply that the objects are described in
terms of their properties or capacities as stimuli of the organism. Such
an account leaves out of consideration certain changes which things
undergo when they exercise the function of controlling or directing
changes in the adjustment of the body. A quality, such as "sharp" or
"hot," is not mental or constituted by consciousness, but the function
of the quality in giving direction to behavior through certain changes
which it undergoes is consciousness. The changes that take place in
things as a result of association, attention, or memory, are changes
that have no significance, save with regard to their function as stimuli
to new adjustments. Psychology, therefore, is properly a study of the
conditions which determine the change or development of stimuli; more
specifically it is a study of the conditions which govern such processes
as those by which problems are solved, lessons are memorized, habits and
attitudes are built up, and decisions are reached. To call such study
"applied" psychology is to misunderstand the proper scope and purpose of
the subject. Psychology frequently has occasion to draw extensively upon
physics and physiology, but it has its own problem and its own method of

That this view of conscious behavior should involve an extensive
reinterpretation of familiar facts is altogether natural and inevitable.
If consciousness is a form of control, the question, for example, what
is "in" consciousness and what is not must be interpreted with reference
to this function of control. In a sense we perceive many things to
which we are not paying attention, such as the light in the room or the
familiar chairs and bookcases. These are perceived "marginally," as we
say, in the sense that the presence of these objects affects the total
adjustment of the moment in such a way that the experience _would_
become a clue to these objects if they were withdrawn. And similarly we
may speak of marginal sensations of strain or movement, to indicate
possible clues to certain bodily activities which are factors in the
process. These marginal perceptions or images are not actual existences,
but are symbols and nothing more. The significance of these symbols is
that they point to certain conditions by which the experiences in
question are determined. Thus the question whether a given experience
involves certain "sensations" is just a question whether certain bodily
or extra-bodily conditions are involved in the experience. If this
reference to conditions is ignored and experience is explained in terms
of sensory material that blends and fuses and otherwise disposes itself,
the explanation is no longer science but sleight-of-hand. Psychology has
no proper concern with such mythical constituents of consciousness; its
business is with things as related to conduct, which is to say that
psychology is a science of behavior.


According to the standpoint set forth in the preceding discussion, the
key to a consistent and fruitful interpretation of consciousness and
psychology lies in behavior. If we turn now to the psychology of
introspection, which has been dominant so many years, we find a
standpoint and mode of procedure which, on the surface at least, is of a
radically different kind. It behooves us, therefore, to consider this
standpoint in some detail in order to justify the attempt to reinterpret
and "evaluate" it in the light of our own doctrine.

The point of departure for introspective psychology is to be found, so
it seems, not in the facts of behavior, but in the distinction between
focal and marginal experience. It is on this distinction that the
introspective psychologist bases the attempt to give a psychological
analysis and description of the contents of experience. To analyze and
describe the facts of consciousness is to bring the marginal
constituents of experience into the white light of attention. Analysis
and description are possible just because experience is so largely a
welter of elements that disguise their identity and character. In some
way these unrecognized and unidentified elements are constituents of the
total experience. To borrow the language of a writer quoted by James,
"However deeply we may suppose the attention to be engaged by any
thought, any considerable alteration of the surrounding phenomena would
still be perceived; the most abstruse demonstration in this room would
not prevent a listener, however absorbed, from noticing the sudden
extinction of the lights."[40] Or, as James remarks: "It is just like
the overtones in music. Different instruments give the 'same note,'
namely, various upper harmonics of it which differ from one instrument
to another. They are not separately heard by the ear; they blend with
the fundamental note and suffuse it, and alter it."[41] Let the
attention be directed to these overtones, however, and they at once
detach themselves from their surroundings and step forth into the light
of day. Even so the ticking of the clock may pass unnoticed in the sense
that it is an undiscriminated element in the background of our
consciousness; but if the ticking comes to a sudden stop, the feeling of
a void in our consciousness proclaims the fact that something has gone
out from it.

The observation and description of the facts of consciousness, then, is
based directly on the fact that experience, as the psychologist deals
with it, possesses a focus and margin. Nature as conceived by the
physical sciences presents no such distinction. The facts are what they
are, and their character as focal or marginal, as clear or obscure,
depends altogether upon their relation to an intelligence. Or we may say
that if the facts of experience were always focal and never marginal, it
would never occur to us to speak of consciousness as we do at present.
As long as we confine ourselves to a given color, shape or temperature,
as experienced focally, we are not dealing with consciousness, but with
objects. An analysis of such facts that does not bring in the marginal
is not an analysis of consciousness, but an analysis of physical
reality. Even if we consider non-physical objects, such as mathematical
or economic concepts, we find that our analysis is not psychological
as long as the marginal is left out. The consideration of the margin,
however, brings us into the presence of facts which are of a distinctive
kind and which warrant a new science. Let the margin be eliminated and
psychology disappears at the same time.

The psychological doctrine of focus and margin, then, is a matter of
fundamental importance. On the interpretation of this doctrine depend
our systems of psychology and of philosophy. What, then, is meant by
focus and margin? If we turn to our psychologies, we seem to be
confronted once more with something that everybody knows and nobody can
define. But since we have to do with a distinction, the obligation to
differentiate cannot be wholly ignored. Consciousness is sometimes
likened to a visual field and sometimes to the waves of the sea. Like
the visual field it has a foreground and a background, a near and a
remote, a center and a margin or periphery. The contents of
consciousness are vivid or clear in the center of this field and fade
away into vagueness or obscureness in proportion to their approach to
the periphery. Or, to take the other comparison, the focus may be
represented by the crest of a wave and the margin by what we may call
its base. This illustration has the advantage that it indicates the
difference between higher and lower degrees of concentration. As
concentration increases, the crest of the wave rises higher and its
width decreases, while the reverse is true where the concentration of
attention is less intense. All consciousness possesses the distinction
of focus and margin in some degree; however much we may be absorbed in
an object or topic, there is always an indirect mental vision that
informs us of other facts, which for the time being are in the
background of our consciousness.

For purposes of description a metaphor is at best a clumsy device. It
has a tendency to substitute itself for the thing to be described and
thus to conceal its limitations and inaccuracies. The present case is no
exception. I am forced to think that the visual field in particular is a
thoroughly vicious metaphor when employed to body forth the distinction
of focus and margin. Whatever this distinction may in the end turn out
to be, it is not such as this comparison would lead one to suppose.
Objects seen in indirect vision appear obscure and blurred precisely
because they are in the focus of consciousness. We get pretty much the
same sort of obscureness or blur on a printed page when we look at it in
indirect vision as we do when we look at it from a distance that is just
too great to make out the words or characters. What the illustration
shows is that things look different according as the circumstances under
which we see them are different, but what bearing this has on marginal
consciousness is not at all obvious to an unsophisticated intelligence.

When we speak of a focus and margin in consciousness, we are presumably
dealing with conscious fact. Now this illustration of the visual field
does not represent conscious fact. Ordinary perception carries with it
no sense of obscureness at all, and when it does we have exactly the
same kind of situation as when an object is too distant or in some other
way inaccessible to satisfactory perception. That is, the object
perceived is in the 'focus' and not in the margin. The obscureness of
objects when seen with the margin of the retina has no more to do with
the margin of consciousness than the obscureness caused by an attack of
dizziness or by a morning fog.

It will be said, perhaps, that consciousness may be unclear even though
there be no sense of unclearness, that there is such a thing as
intrinsic clearness, quite apart from obstacles and problems. In other
words, the same sensation is capable of realizing various degrees of
clearness. It is not at all obvious, however, why the different
experiences that are concerned in such a comparison should be called the
same sensation. As long as we abstract from objective reference, each
sensation is just what it is and there is no opportunity to make
comparisons on the basis of clearness. A sensation as such--if we are
bound to speak of sensations--can by no possibility be an obscure
sensation, for the trait that we call obscureness or vagueness
constitutes the intrinsic being of that sensation. If we permit
ourselves to speak of clearness at all, we should rather say that it
possesses a maximum of clearness, since it has managed to express or
present its whole nature with not one trait or feature lacking. What
more could be demanded, in the way of clearness, of any conscious fact
than that it should body forth every detail that it possesses?

If sensations or states of consciousness possess degrees of clearness,
it seems to follow that we may scrutinize them for the purpose of
discovering characteristics that were present though scarcely
perceived, in much the same way that the polishing of old furniture
brings out the grain in the wood. But such a parallel, I submit, is
plain nonsense. The supposition that consciousness is something that in
due time and with good fortune may attain consciousness is too absurd
for discussion, even though it is a supposition that plays a
considerable rôle in present-day psychology.

The purpose of the discussion, up to this point, has not been to deny
the validity of the distinction between focus and margin, but to insist
upon the necessity of reconsidering the meaning of this distinction, if
we are to attain to a workable definition of consciousness and a
fruitful or even intelligible conception of the problem of psychology. I
have endeavored to show, in the first place, that the doctrine of focus
and margin involves the _raison d'être_ of psychology. Apart from this
doctrine we have no task or problem that psychology can claim as its
distinctive possession. The analysis of what is in the focus of
consciousness is adequately provided for in the other sciences; it is
only with the introduction of what is called the margin that an
enterprise of a different kind becomes necessary. But, secondly, this
distinction of focus and margin cannot be drawn on the basis of the
experienced contrast between clearness and obscureness. The very fact
that anything is experienced as obscure means that it is an object of
attention, or, in other words, that it is in the focus of consciousness
and not in the margin. The comparison of focus and margin with direct
and indirect vision is misleading, because it suggests that experiences
are marginal in proportion as they are felt as obscure. And, thirdly, if
we undertake to distinguish between focus and margin on the basis of a
difference in clearness or vividness of which no note is taken at the
time, we encounter the difficulty that experience or consciousness,
taken abstractly, does not admit of such variations in degree, and so
this criterion likewise goes by the board.

The situation is indeed peculiar. That there is a realm of psychological
fact is universally conceded. As a consequence of this conviction a
great body of fact and of doctrine has been built up. It would be folly
to deny either the distinctiveness or the significance of this
achievement. And yet James's description of psychology as "a string of
raw facts; a little gossip and wrangle about opinions; a little
classification and generalization on the mere descriptive level; a
strong prejudice that we _have_ states of mind and that our brain
conditions them,"[42] is not wholly untrue even today. It is even
possible for a present-day critic to outdo James and maintain that the
legitimacy of psychology as a separate inquiry is a matter of faith
rather than of sight. The 'raw facts' of which James speaks resolve
themselves into physical and physiological material on the one hand and
metaphysical dogmas on the other; the gossip and wrangle are largely
over fictitious problems; the classifications and generalizations as a
rule involve trespassing on other fields; the prejudice that we have
states of mind has less standing-ground today than it had twenty years
ago. In other words, there is still plausible ground for James's
pessimistic comment: "This is no science, it is only the hope of a
science." A situation such as this carries with it the insistent
suggestion that the trouble lies, not primarily in the nature of the
subject-matter, but in our conception of the problem. "The matter of a
science," as James says, "is with us." And if the distinction of focus
and margin constitutes the starting-point and justification for a
science of psychology, a better understanding of this distinction will
mean a more adequate appreciation of the problem with which psychology
has to deal.

As a starting-point for a reconsideration of focus and margin, we may
take those experiences in which the distinction of clearness and
obscureness is presented as an experienced fact. Let us then turn once
more to the familiar illustration of the visual field. "When we look at
a printed page, there is always some one portion of it, perhaps a word,
which we see more clearly than we do the rest; and out beyond the margin
of the page we are still conscious of objects which we see only in a
very imperfect way."[43] That is, we appreciate the distinction between
what lies in the center of our visual field and what is more remote,
just because in this experiment we are trying to see what lies beyond
the center without turning our eyes in that direction. We set ourselves
the task of seeing what is on the page, and at the same time we
interpose an artificial obstacle. Hence the sense of effort, and the
contrast between what is clear and what is obscure. The present
experience is obscure, not inherently, but only with reference to a
certain problem or question. It is inadequate as an anticipation of
further experience. The contrast between clear and obscure is created by
our attempt to overcome the difficulty, and is therefore absent from
ordinary, unobstructed visual perception.

The situation described in the following familiar quotation from James
is an illustration of the same thing: "Suppose we try to recall a
forgotten name. The state of our consciousness is peculiar. There is a
gap therein; but no mere gap. It is a gap that is intensely active. A
sort of wraith of the name is in it, beckoning us in a given direction,
making us at moments tingle with the sense of our closeness, and then
letting us sink back without the longed-for term."[44]

'I met this man on the train, and later at the reception; but what is
his name?' The struggle rends our consciousness in twain. The occasions
of our meeting, his appearance, his conversation, are solid fact, yet
all suffused with the pervasive, evanscent "wraith" that tantalizes us
with glimpses which half reveal and half conceal the name we seek to

To account for such experiences simply in terms of half-submerged
"sensations" and "images" is to do violence to all the requirements for
clear thinking. If we rule out explanations of this kind, we are
evidently forced to the conclusion that these experiences are obscure,
not in themselves or in the abstract, but with reference to the function
of putting us in possession of the name to which they are inadequate
clues. It is the subsequent, satisfactory experience of the name which
furnishes our standard for clearness; in other words, the implications
of obscureness are of a functional, and not of a static or structural,
kind. The marginal character of an experience is simply a reference to
its function as a clue or cue to some further experience, i.e., a
reference to its character as a changing stimulus. Or we may say that
the distinction between focus and margin is just another aspect of the
distinction between the conditions for further activity and the
incompleteness which leads to further adjustment. The transfer of the
future into the present gives us a fact, here and now, and in this
respect the experience is entirely focal in character, and as such it is
subject-matter for the various sciences. Whatever the nature of the
experience, it is just what it is, and not something else. With respect
to the further experience, however, which it conditions or for which it
prepares the way, the present experience is entirely marginal, i.e., in
its character as a changing stimulus it is subject-matter for
psychology. The distinction of focus and margin, then, is based
ultimately upon the function of experience in the control of behavior.
The given situation is a present fact and is in functional change; or,
in terms of our present discussion, it has both a focus and a margin. As
present fact it is a reality which requires recognition in the form of
adjustment; as in functional change it provides opportunity for bringing
the adjustment to fruition. That is, the experience both sets a task or
makes a demand and it points the way. The distinction is a distinction
of function, not of static existence, and it is this distinction which
is represented by the contrast of focus and margin.

If we compare this interpretation of focus and margin with that of
traditional psychology, we find that the latter construes the relation
of the present to the future experience wholly in static terms, the
functional relation being left out of account. The later experience is
read back into its predecessor in the form of dim or marginal images,
which need but show themselves more completely to make the two
identical. If these sensations were intended only as symbols of a
functional relationship, it would perhaps be scarcely worth while to
enter a protest against them. But when the functional relationship is
quite overlooked, the explanation that is given becomes exceedingly
dubious. The ticking of the clock, for example, that is present, though
unnoticed, the overtones of the note that suffuse the whole without
diverting attention to their individual qualities,--in what precise way
are facts of this kind concerned in the description of the experience
which they modify? A study of the clock or of the overtones can hardly
pass as an analysis of consciousness; it is too obviously an affair of
physics. Such a study becomes merely an excuse for repeating the
analyses of physics and reading them off in terms of sensations and
images. Moreover, the transfer of all this material to consciousness
looks suspiciously like a transaction in mental chemistry. Where, then,
is psychology to gain a foothold? What is the meaning of these uncanny
sensations and images, which nobody experiences, unless it be their
character as symbols of adjustment? They have no legitimate status, and
psychology, by consequence, has no legitimate problem, except in so far
as they represent those possible acts of adaptation which are the sole
and proper concern of psychology.

It remains to point out briefly the bearing of these results on what is
called "the method of introspection." We are sometimes assured that
introspection has discarded the belief in a separate mental stuff or
subject-matter, but there is ground for the suspicion that such
protestations are made in the same spirit that we affirm our belief in
the Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule, with no thought of being taken
seriously. At all events, without a literal "looking within" it seems to
become exceedingly difficult to differentiate introspection from
ordinary observation as practised in the other sciences. The reason for
this difficulty is that there is nothing left in introspection by which
it can be differentiated. The term introspection properly designates,
not a method but a problem; the problem, namely, of interpreting given
facts with reference to their function in the control of behavior. If
psychology is to justify its claim to the status of a science, it is in
duty bound to secure for itself both an objective criterion for the
adjudication of disputes which otherwise are of necessity interminable,
and a subject-matter that is not simply a heritage of metaphysical
prejudice, but a realm of fact that is attested by everyday observation
and experience.


Within recent years the doctrine that psychology is a science of
behavior has acquired a certain prominence. It is presupposed, of
course, that the behavior with which psychology is concerned is of a
distinctive sort; but the differentia is unfortunately the very thing
that the "behaviorist" has hitherto left out of account. In his revolt
against introspectionism, which has been accustomed to give to its
subject-matter a subjectivistic and "psychic" interpretation, he goes to
the other extreme and relies on behavior pure and simple. Being without
a serviceable differentia, he is unable to mark off the field of
psychology from contiguous territory. The selection of certain problems
within the general range of behavior, with no recognition of any
distinctive trait to guide and justify the selection, is hardly enough
to warrant a new science. Even an arbitrary principle of selection is
better than none, and it would, therefore, be quite as reasonable to
subdivide the field of botany in the interests of a new science, and
group together for separate botanical study those flowers which have
enabled poets to give symbolic expression to the beauty of women.

That the principle of selection is, in the end, the ability to modify
behavior through the anticipation of possible consequences, appears from
the fact that the category of stimulus and response is otherwise found
to be unworkable. It is true that in the simpler forms of behavior
stimulus and response may be correlated without practical difficulty.
But when we deal with what has been called "delayed overt response,"
the matter becomes more complicated and the theoretical difficulty
becomes more prominent. The behaviorist would not seriously undertake to
record everything that happens between stimulus and response. He
proceeds selectively, taking the relation of stimulus and response as
his clue. He is properly interested in the movements which result from
the application of the stimulus only in so far as they constitute
response. Otherwise his study is not a study of behavior, but a study of
movements. But when does a movement constitute a response? Do we label
as stimulus the spoken word which results in overt action a week later,
or the visual perception which sets a complicated and long-drawn-out
problem, for no other reason than that it appears somewhere as an
antecedent in the causal chain of events? If so, there is no obvious
reason why the event which occurred just before or immediately after the
_soi-disant_ stimulus should not be regarded as the true stimulus.
Unless a satisfactory reason is forthcoming, it would seem better to
substitute cause and effect for stimulus and response and to drop the
term behavior from our vocabulary. Psychology then becomes a study of
certain causal relationships, but is still without a principle for the
selection of those causal events which are supposed to constitute its
peculiar subject-matter.

Even if we manage to become reconciled to this situation, however, our
troubles are not yet at an end. There still remains the difficulty in
certain cases of showing that the event which is selected as stimulus or
cause bears any significant relationship to the event which figures in
our scheme as the response. The stimulus is supposed to have a causal
connection with the response, but how are we to know that this is the
fact? How are we to know that the engineer who solves a problem for me
at my request might not have done so anyway? No behaviorist can possibly
show that the air waves set in motion by my vocalization were an
indispensable stimulus. We doubtless believe that the spoken word was in
fact the spark which lit the fuse and finally exploded the mine, but
this belief involves a complication of causes which it is wholly beyond
our power to control or to verify.

It is true, of course, that we are able, as a matter of fact, to
correlate stimulus and response. I know that it was the spoken word
which caused the commission to be executed, for the expert reminds me of
the fact and presents a bill. But neither of us makes any pretense that
his belief is derived from a scrutiny of the causal sequence. Memory
furnishes us with a shortcut to the result. While our present acts are
doubtless connected with the past through causation, we do not regard
them as simply the effects of antecedent causes. They are rather
responses to present stimuli. The expert presents his bill, being moved
thereto by a stimulus which may be indicated by saying that it is the
to-compensation. That is, the stimulus cannot be pushed back and
anchored at a fixed point in the past, but is a present factor at the
moment of response and is operative by virtue of its anticipation of
future events.

If, then, psychology is to be regarded as a study of behavior, it is
plainly necessary to reinterpret the category of behavior. For example,
a purely mechanical response to a light-stimulus may properly be viewed
as response to the ether-vibration or wave-length upon which it follows
in temporal sequence. But if this stimulation results in what is
commonly called consciousness, a different kind of response ensues. The
light-stimulus becomes a cause or occasion for the act of looking. But
why look, unless it be to secure a new stimulus for further response? We
stop to look, precisely because the first stimulus does not run smoothly
off the reel. The response will not go forward, but is halted and
expends itself in the effort to secure a further stimulus. This is the
moment of attention, in which the stimulus undergoes a process of
transformation, concomitantly with the process of reorganization in the
motor responses, and in the direction of ends or results that are
foreshadowed in it. This change in the stimulus takes place under
certain specifiable conditions, and the study of these conditions is a
study of such processes as perceiving, attending, remembering, and
deliberating, which are distinctively psychological in their nature.
Processes of this kind, if taken as changes in stimuli, find an
objective criterion in the adaptive behavior for the sake of which they
occur, and they provide psychology with a distinctive task and

As against the introspectionist, then, the behaviorist is justified in
his contention that psychological procedure must be objective and
experimental in character. The danger to which he has exposed himself
is the failure to differentiate his problem from that of physiology and
physics. It is only by a proper recognition of both the objective and
the distinctive character of conscious behavior that psychology can free
itself of the reproach which is heaped upon it by members of its own
household and take the place that rightfully belongs to it in the
community of the sciences.


According to the preceding exposition, the current psychological
doctrine of focus and margin is an attempt to reduce the changes in the
stimulus to terms of static entities denominated sensations and images.
By abstracting from change we convert the new stimulus that is already
on the way into inert sensory material, which lends itself to purely
analytic treatment. In this way the suggested hardness of the rock
becomes a "centrally aroused sensation" of a stubbed toe, the heat of
the candle becomes an image of a burn, etc. As was said before, the
sensations are not existences, but representatives or symbols of our
nascent activities; they are the static equivalents of this
foreshadowing or reference to the future. The explanation of experience
that we find in James and Bergson approximates this view so closely in
one respect and departs from it so widely in another as to warrant a
brief discussion.

A prominent characteristic of the doctrine advocated by James and
Bergson is the emphasis given to the foreshadowings or anticipations of
the future. Experiences of conflict, such as the struggle to recall a
name, take on their peculiar coloring, so these writers contend, from
their relationship to a beyond, to something which is yet to be. If we
are to understand experience as it really is, we must guard against the
besetting temptation to translate everything into spatial equivalents.
This forward reference is usually read off as a distinction and contrast
between simultaneously existing components. Some constituent is first
set apart as the nucleus or focus and is then enveloped with an elusive,
intangible wraith of meaning, which is called the margin. We have been
taught to think of the focus as made up of sensory material of some sort
and silhouetted against a background lit up by the fitful,
inconsequential heat-lightning of meaning. But this is a perversion of
the facts. When we are engaged in a problem it is precisely these
unformed meanings that are of interest and importance. They are in the
focus of consciousness, in so far as we can speak of a focus at all.
They absorb our attention and direct our energies. They inform us of a
margin, not by refusing to compete for our attention with more important
or more interesting facts, but by bodying forth the _unfinished_
character of the situation. Hence this beckoning, this tingling with the
sense of closeness, this sinking back when our efforts meet with defeat.
Focus and margin, in short, have to do with movement, with transition,
and not with a static field. These situations are felt as inherently
unstable and in process of reconstruction. There is a peculiar sense of
activity, of "something doing," of a future knocking on the door of the
present. What is thus on its way to the present we can designate only in
terms of the object as it is after it has arrived. To call it marginal
is to immerse the object in this temporal flux, which embodies perfectly
the characteristics of Bergsonian duration.

But this is only a first step. If we turn now to those experiences from
which this inner diremption of fact and meaning is absent, we find a
process that is essentially the same in kind. They likewise constitute a
temporal flow, even though there be no sense of duration or of change as
such. The different moments of these experiences are not mechanically
juxtaposed, but blend together in much the same way as when the process
is experienced as a process. In principle we have the same transition,
the same becoming, the same growth from less to more, the same activity
of continuous reconstruction. Conscious life, we find, is a continuous
adjustment; each of its moments is a "transitive state." The more evenly
flowing experiences are likewise endowed with a focus and margin, not in
the form of static elements, but as a dynamic relationship of what is
with what is to be.

Such an interpretation of experience, moreover, opens the way for a
proper valuation of the psychologist's procedure. The concept of
sensation is methodology pure and simple. Granted that focus and margin
are such as was indicated a moment ago, how are they to be described,
unless we resort to some _Hilfsbegriff_ such as sensations? James's
description of the effort to recall a forgotten name is not description
at all in a scientific sense, since the "wraith of the name" that we are
trying to recover is of too unearthly a fabric to be weighed and
measured by accepted scientific standards. It makes us "tingle," it lets
us "sink back," but such portrayal is literature rather than science.
Our first step must be to resolve our material into components. These
components we identify with genuine elements if we can, with pious
fictions if we must; but until this is done there can be no exact
description. There can be no precision in our statement of the facts and
no formulation of the laws that govern their changes.

This view undeniably has a certain plausibility. As long as the results
are attained which the psychologist sets out to reach, we need not be
hypersensitive on the score of methods. In the field of natural science,
at all events, this Jesuitical principle is not incompatible with
respectability. If it be true, however, that sensation is but a tool or
artifact, a means to an end, what is the end that is to be attained by
this device? It is at this point that we come to the parting of the
ways. According to the view previously elaborated, the anticipations of
the future have to do with the results of our possible acts, and
sensations are simply symbols for the various elements in our complex
motor responses. In the case of Bergson and James, however, the clue
that is furnished by response is discarded. The reference to the future,
being dissociated from behavior, is taken as evidence of an abstract or
metaphysical duration, so that experience is somehow other than it
seems; and sensation is regarded as the translation of duration into
the language of space. Associationism is justified in its belief that
reality is different from its appearance in our experience, but is
criticized for attempting to interpret the real in terms of space rather
than time. In both cases the lead of the subject-matter is abandoned in
favor of an explanation that is derived from a fourth-dimensional plane
of existence.

The suspicion that these two positions have a deep-seated affinity is
strengthened if we call to mind that the concept of sensation was
originated, not in the interests of methodology, but as the expression
of a historic preconception that mistook fiction for fact. The
fundamental error back of it was the preposterous notion that
consciousness consists of subconscious or unconscious constituents,
which by their mechanical or chemical combinations make our experience
what it is. The question which it raises and which has afflicted us even
to the present day is not primarily the question of fact, but the
question of intelligibility, as the controversy over mindstuff
abundantly attests. Whether we regard experience as made up of sensory
material, however, or as constituted in a Bergsonian fashion, is a
matter of detail; the primary question is whether a distinction between
consciousness as it appears and as it "really" is has any meaning. In so
far as this distinction is maintained, we are beating the thin air of
mythology, despite our reinterpretations and justifications. True
conversion does not consist in a renaming of old gods, but demands a
humble and a contrite heart. To call sensation an artifact, a
methodological device, without a surrender of the metaphysical
assumption that lies back of Associationism is not to correct the evil,
but is more likely to be treated as an indulgence for sins that are yet
to be committed.

This fundamental identity is presumably the reason for certain other
similarities, which would perhaps not be readily anticipated. Both
doctrines undertake to tell us what is going on behind the scenes, what
consciousness or experience "really" is. The descriptions present an
astonishing difference of vocabulary, but if we take care not to be
misled by superficial differences, we find an equally astonishing
agreement as to content. From the one side consciousness is explained as
a juxtaposition of elements; from the other as an interpenetration of
elements so complete that the parts can be neither isolated nor
distinguished from the whole. On the one hand we find a multiplicity
without unity, on the other a unity without multiplicity. In the one
account the temporal unit is a sensation devoid of internal temporal
diversity; in the other duration as such is a unity in which past,
present, and future blend into an undifferentiated whole. The one
position gathers its facts by a mystifying process called introspection;
the other obtains its results from a mystical faculty of intuition. The
difference in language remains, but both accounts lead us away into a
twilight region where words substitute themselves for facts.

As was suggested a moment ago, the contrast between ordinary experience
and something else of which it is the appearance is the result of the
failure to give proper recognition to the facts of behavior. If we
connect the forward reference of experience with the operations of our
nascent activities, we have no need of a pure duration or of bridging
the gulf between reality and its appearances. In the same way, if we
construe sensations as just symbols of our responses, we rid ourselves
of problems that are insoluble because they are unintelligible. Such
problems constitute metaphysics in the bad sense of the word, whether
they show themselves in the domain of science or of philosophy. To
describe experience by reference to such a real is to explain what we
know in terms of what we do not know. The question what is real is
absolutely sterile. Our descriptions and explanations must remain on the
same plane as the experiences with which they deal, and not seek after a
real of a different order. If we are to have an explanation of
consciousness at all, the explanation must not take us back to
hypothetical sensations that are almost but not quite experienced, nor
to a duration in which all distinctions are swallowed up, but must be
rendered in terms of other facts that dwell in the light of common day.

By way of conclusion I venture to urge once more that a proper
consideration of the facts of behavior will furnish us with a key that
will unlock many a door. The conception of stimulus and response gives
us a differentia for experience and also enables us to distinguish
within experience between consciousness and object. If, however, we
disregard behavior, we are bound to lose our way. The distinction
between the experienced and the unexperienced is either wiped out or
else is permitted to convert itself into a distinction between
appearance and reality that leads nowhere and explains nothing. The
significance of truth as the successful guidance of behavior, in
accordance with the program laid down in the organization of stimulus
and response, is lost to sight and recourse is had to a
fourth-dimensional truth or reality for the miracle of breathing life
into the dead bones of our philosophic abstractions. The study of
behavior constitutes a mode of approach that holds out the hope of
deliverance from questions that should never have been asked. We are on
a different and, let us hope, a higher level when we cease to ask how
consciousness can lay hold of passive objects, or how knowledge
_überhaupt_ is possible, and concern ourselves rather with the wondrous
activity whereby this plastic dance of circumstance that we call the
universe transcends the domain of mechanism and embodies itself in the
values of conscious life.



§ 1. In the logic of Instrumentalism, truth has been identified with
usefulness and the good with the satisfactory. Classifying critics have
seen in this the damaging mark of Utilitarianism, certain of them
deeming "Amerikanismus" an even shrewder and more specific diagnosis.
The association of these terms together and the aptness of either to
express what the critics have in mind are matters of small interest. It
is of more importance to discover, behind the reproach implied, the
assumptions which may have made the reproach seem pertinent. One cannot,
of course, suppose it to express a sheer general aversion to the useful
or an ascetic abhorrence of all satisfaction on principle. Puritanism,
æstheticism, and pedantry should be last resorts in any search for an
interpretative clue.

The distrust of Utilitarianism need be ascribed to none of these. It
comes instead from a conception of the true Utilitarian as a dull and
dogmatic being with no interests beyond the range of his own uninquiring
vision, no aspiration beyond the complacent survey of his own
perfections and no standards beyond the inventory of his own _bourgeois_
tastes and prejudices. The type is indeed not yet extinct in our day:
but is it plausible to charge a "new" philosophy with conspiring to
perpetuate it? Is Instrumentalism only philistinism called by a more
descriptive name? It professes at least to be a logic of hypothesis and
experiment, whereas for the perfect philistine there are no ultimate
problems and hence no logic but the logic of self-evidence. When
Instrumentalism speaks of needs and interests in its analysis of truth
and goodness does it then mean the needs and interests that define the
individual in what is sometimes invidiously termed a "biological"
sense--interests that control him before his conduct becomes in any way
a problem for himself? Quite as a matter of course, just this has been
the assumption. The satisfactoriness of prompt and cogent classification
has had a hand in the vindication of truth's supremacy over
satisfaction. In the view of instrumentalism this ready interpretation
of its meaning is nothing less than the thinking of the unthinkable and
the bodying-forth of what is not. The man who has solved a problem
simply _is_ not the man he was before--if his problem was a genuine one
and it was he who solved it. He cannot measure and judge the outcome by
his earlier demands for the very good reason that the outcome of real
deliberation empties these earlier demands of their interest and
authority for him.

Can the conception thus suggested of personal growth through exercise of
creative or constructive intelligence be in any measure verified by a
general survey of the economic side of life? Has it any important
bearings upon any parts of economic theory? These are the questions to
which this essay is addressed.


§ 2. How have the real or fancied needs of the average person of today
come to be what they are? For all sorts and conditions of men, the ways
and means of living have, during the past century or two--even during
the past decade or two--undergone revolutionary changes. It is true that
many of these changes have been relatively superficial, touching only
certain externalities and entering in no important way into life's
underlying and dominant motives. Others, no doubt, may fairly be held to
confuse and disperse the energies of men, instead of making for
wholeness, sanity and development of human interest and power. And
critics of industrial and social progress who have felt the need for
reservations of this sort fall easily into a certain mood of historic
homesickness for the supposed "simplicity" of an earlier age. But our
interest, in this discussion, is in the genesis, the actual process of
becoming, of our present "standards of living," not their value as rated
by any critical (or uncritical) standard. And accordingly we shall take
it for a fact that on the whole the average person of today is
reasonably, perhaps unreasonably, well satisfied with his telephone, his
typewriter, and his motor-car; with his swift and easy journeyings over
land and sea; with his increasingly scientific medical attendance and
public sanitation; with his virtually free supplies of literature and
information, new and old, and with his electric light or his midnight
oil (triple distilled) to aid in the perusal. More than this, he is so
well satisfied with all these modern inventions that, historical or
æsthetical or other "holidays" apart, he would never for a moment
dispense with any one of them as a matter of free choice. Grossly
material and humbly instrumental though they are, these things and their
like constitute the framework sustaining the whole system of spiritual
functions that make up the life we live today, as a society and as
individuals. And our present problem simply is the way in which they
were first received by those who were to use them, and passed into their
present common acceptance. To put the matter in general terms, how is it
that novel means of action or enjoyment, despite their novelty, are able
to command fair scrutiny and hearing and can contrive to make their way,
often very speedily, into a position of importance for industry and

There is an easy and not unnatural way of thinking of this process as we
see it going on about us that may keep us long unmindful of even the
possibility of such a question. In every field of action, we habitually
look back upon accomplished changes from some present well-secured
vantage-point, and as we trace the steps by which they have come to pass
it is almost inevitable that we should first see the sequence as an
approach, direct or devious but always sure, to the stage on which we
happen to have taken our stand. It seems clear to us that what we have
attained is better than aught that has gone before--if it were not
distinctly satisfactory on its own merits we should not now be taking it
as the standpoint for a survey. But once it is so taken, our recognition
of its appreciable and satisfying superiority passes over insensibly
into metaphysics. What we now find good we find ourselves perceiving to
have been all the while predestined in the eternal scheme of things! We
pause in retrospect like the wayfarer who has reached the turning of a
mountain road or the man of middle age who for the first time feels that
his professional position is assured. This, we say, justifies the effort
it has cost, _this_ at last is really living! And the next step in
retrospective reconstruction follows easily; this was my true goal from
the first, the dim and inexpressible hope of which would not let me
pause and kept me until now dissatisfied. The end was present in the
beginning, provoking the first groping efforts and affording
progressively the test and measure by which their results were found
ever wanting.

This retrospective logic may explain the presence and perennial charm of
those panoramic pages in our encyclopædias purporting to show forth the
gradual perfecting of great instrumentalities upon which our modern life
depends. We survey the "evolution" of printing, for example, from the
wooden blocks of the Chinese or of Laurens Coster down to the Hoe press,
the stereotype plate, and the linotype machine. Or we see the forms of
written record from pictured papyrus, cuneiform brick, and manuscript
scroll down to the printed book and the typewritten page; the means of
carriage by land from the ox-cart of the patriarchs to the stage-coach,
the Cannonball Limited, the motor-truck, and the twelve-cylinder
touring-car. And as one contemplates these cheerfully colored exhibits
there is in each case an almost irresistible suggestion of a constant
and compelling need of "universal man" seeking in more and more
marvellously ingenious ways an adequate expression and satisfaction.
This need seems never to have lapsed or changed its nature. All along
both driving power and direction, it has been the one fixed factor in a
long process in which all else has been fluctuating, contingent, and
imperfect--all else except the nature of the materials and the
principles of mechanics, which, too, are seen in the end to have been
mutely conspiring toward the result. Essential human nature, it seems
clear, does not and happily cannot change. Spiritual progress, in this
ultimate optimism, means simply clearer vision, completer knowledge, and
a less petulant and self-assertive habit of insistence upon the details
of particular purposes as individual "impulse" and "idiosyncrasy" define
them. We fortunate beings of today have available, in the various
departments of our life, certain instrumentalities, and to these our
interests attach. These interests of ours in their proportional strength
(so the argument runs) express our native and generic constitution in so
far as this constitution has been able as yet to achieve outward
expression and embodiment. And accordingly, in interpreting the long
history of technological evolution, we take what we conceive ourselves
now to be as normative and essential. We project back into the lives of
primitive man, of our own racial ancestors, or of our grandfathers, the
habits and requirements which we acknowledge in ourselves today and we
conceive the men of the past to have been driven forward on the ways of
progress by the identical discontent that would presumably beset
ourselves if we were to be suddenly carried back to their scale and
manner of existence.

§ 3. Whatever else may be thought of it, there is at least this to be
said for the cult of historic homesickness to which reference has just
been made: it happens to be at one with modern ethnology and history in
suggesting that earlier cultures were on the whole not less content and
self-satisfied in their condition than our own. It is primitive man, not
the modern, who is slow to move and is satisfied, as a matter of course,
with the manner of life in which he fancies his people to have lived
from time immemorial. Change in early social groups is tragic when it is
not insensible. It comes through conquest and enslavement by outsiders
or through stress of the dread of these, or by gradual adaptation of
custom to failing environmental resources or to increasing wealth.
Assent to change is in general grudging or tacit at best and is commonly
veiled by some more or less transparent fiction.

And our suspicion of fallacy lurking somewhere in the type of
retrospective Idealism we have been considering is strengthened when we
come to look a little closely to details. To take a commonplace
example--can it be held that the difference between using a typewriter
and "writing by hand" is purely and simply a matter of degree--that the
machine serves the same purpose and accomplishes the same _kind_ of
result as the pen, but simply does the work more easily, rapidly, and
neatly? Undoubtedly some such impression may easily be gathered from an
external survey of the ways that men have used at different times for
putting their ideas on record. But it ignores important aspects of the
case. For one thing, the modern invention effects a saving of the
writer's time which can be used in further investigation or in more
careful revision or in some way wholly unrelated to literary work, and
if the machine makes any part of the writer's task less irksome, or the
task as a whole less engrossing, the whole matter of literary effort
becomes less forbidding and its place and influence as a social or a
personal function may for better or for worse be altered. The difference
brought to pass transcends mere technical facility--it ramifies into a
manifold of differences affecting the entire qualitative character and
meaning of the literary function. And only by an arbitrary
sophistication of the facts can this complexity of new outcome be
thought of as implicit and dynamic in the earlier stage.

In the same way precisely, the motor-car, as every one knows, has
"vanquished distance" and has "revolutionized suburban life." In England
it is said to have made acute the issue of plural voting. In America it
is hailed by the optimistic as the solution of the vexed problem of
urban concentration and the decline of agriculture. Even as a means of
recreation it is said by the initiated to transform the whole meaning of
one's physical environment, exploiting new values in sky and air and the
green earth, which pass the utmost possibilities of family "carry-all"
or coach and four. Or consider the ocean steamship and its influence:
today we travel freely over the world, for all manner of reasons,
sufficient or otherwise. A hundred years ago distant journeyings by sea
or land were arduous and full of peril, undertaken only by the most
adventurous or the most curious or for urgent need. Now commodities of
every sort can be transported to virtually every quarter of the
globe--rails and locomotives, cement and structural steel, machinery of
all kinds from the motor and the dynamo to the printing press and the
cinematograph, in a word whatever is necessary to recreate the waste
places of the earth and to make life in these regions humanly liveable.
The sheer scale and magnitude of such operations lifts them above the
level of the international trade of five hundred or even a hundred years
ago. And their far-reaching results of every sort in the lives of
nations and of individuals the world over can in no intelligible sense
be understood as mere homogeneous multiples of what trade meant before
our age of steam, iron, and electricity. Finally, we may think of modern
developments in printing as compared, for example, with the state of the
craft in the days when the New England Primer served to induct juvenile
America into the pleasant paths of "art and literature." And it is clear
that the mechanical art that makes books and reading both widely
inviting and easily possible of enjoyment today is not merely a more
perfect substitute for the quill and ink-horn of the mediæval scribe or
even for the printing press of Caxton or of Benjamin Franklin. The
enormously and variously heightened "efficiency" of the mechanical
instrumentalities nowadays available has for good and for evil carried
forward the whole function of printing and publication into relations
and effects which are qualitatively new and beyond the possible
conception of the earlier inventors and readers.

§ 4. The real evolution in such cases of the coming of a new commodity
or a new instrument into common and established use is an evolution of a
more radical, more distinctly epigenetic type than the pictured stories
of the encyclopædia-maker serve to suggest. At each forward step the
novelty makes possible not merely satisfactions more adequate as
measured by existing requirements or more economical in terms of cost,
but new satisfactions also for which no demand or desire before existed
or could possibly exist--satisfactions which, once become habitual, make
the contentment of former times in the lack of them hard to understand
or credit. And indeed the story is perhaps never quite one-sided; the
gain we reckon is perhaps never absolutely unmixed. There may be,
perhaps must in principle be, not only gain but loss. The books we read
have lost something of the charm of the illuminated manuscript; our
compositors and linotypers, it may be, have forgotten something of the
piety and devotion of the mediæval scribe and copyist. So everywhere in
industry the machine depreciates and pushes out the skilled artisan and
craftsman, summoning into his place the hired operative whose business
is to feed and serve instead of to conceive and execute. For cheapness
and abundance, for convenience of repair and replacement we everywhere
sacrifice something of artistic quality in the instrumentalities of life
and action and something of freedom and self-expression in the
processes of manufacture. Thus again, to change the venue, there are
those who miss in democratic government or in an ethical type of
religion the poignant and exalting spiritual quality of devotion to a
personal sovereign or a personal God. Whatever one's judgment may be in
particular cases, there can be no reason for disputing that in
epigenetic or creative evolution there is, in a sense, loss as well as
gain. There is no more reason for supposing that all that was wholesome
or ennobling or beautiful in an earlier function _must_ somehow have its
specific compensation in kind infallibly present in the new than for
supposing that all that is desirable in the new must surely have been
present discernibly or indiscernibly in the old.

If we are on the whole satisfied with the new on its intrinsic merits as
a present complex fact, we have therein sufficient ground for saying
that it marks a stage in progress. This, in fact, is what such a
proposition means. And the old then appears more or less widely
discontinuous with the new--not merely that it shows, in units of
measure, less of the acceptable quality or qualities which the _new_
fact or situation is found to possess, but that it belongs for us to a
qualitatively different level and order of existence. How, we wonder,
could our ancestors have found life tolerable in their undrained and
imperfectly heated dwellings, without the telephone, the morning's news
of the world by cable, and the phonograph? How, again, could feudal
homage and fealty have ever been the foundation of social order in
countries where today every elector is wont to think and to act in his
public relations no longer as a subject but as a citizen. And how, in
still a different sphere, could the father or the mother of a happy
family of children ever have found the freedom and irresponsibility of
bachelorhood endurable? Shall we say that in changes like these we have
to do simply with the quantitative increase of some quality, present in
small measure in the earlier stages and in larger measure in the later?
Or shall we evade the issue with the general admission that _of course_,
as every schoolboy knows, there are in this world many differences of
degree that somehow "amount to differences of kind"? As a matter of fact
what has happened in every case like these is an actual change of
standard, a new construction in the growing system of one's norms of
value and behavior. Provisionally, though hopefully, a step has been
taken--a real event in personal and in social history has been given
place and date. From some source beyond the scope and nature of the
earlier function a suggestion or an impulsion has come by which the
agent has endeavored to move forward. The change wrought is a
transcendence of the earlier level of experience and valuation, not a
widening and clarification of vision on that level. And the standards
which govern on the new level serve not so much to condemn the old as to
seal its consignment to disuse and oblivion. Least of all can a judgment
or appraisal of the old from the standpoint of the new be taken for a
transcript of the motives which led to the transition.

We must confine ourselves more closely, however, to the sphere of
material goods and their uses. And in this sphere objection to the view
proposed will run in some such terms as the following: Take our
ancestors, for example, and their household arrangements to which
invidious reference has been made: why should we suppose that their
seeming contentment was anything more (or less) than a dignified
composure in which we might well imitate them--an attitude in no way
precluding a definite sense of specific discomforts and embarrassments
and a distinct determination to be rid of them as soon as might be? And,
in fact, if they were satisfied with what they had why did they receive
the new when it was offered? If, on the other hand, they were not
satisfied, how is the fact intelligible except upon the assumption that
they had distinct and definite wants not yet supplied, and were wishing
(but patiently) for conveniences and comforts of a sort not yet
existent. And this latter hypothesis, it will be urged, is precisely
what the foregoing argument has sought to discredit as an account of the
moving springs in the evolution of consumption.

§ 5. Any adequate discussion of the central issue thus presented would
fall into two parts. In the first place, before a consumption good can
come into general acceptance and currency it must have been in some way
discovered, suggested or invented, and the psychology of invention is
undoubtedly a matter of very great complexity and difficulty. But for
the purposes of the present inquiry all this may be passed over. The
other branch of a full discussion of our problem has to do with the
reception of the newly invented commodity or process into wider and
wider use--and this again is a social phenomenon not less complex than
the other. It is this phenomenon of increasing extension and vogue, of
widening propagation from person to person, that is directly of present
concern for us--and in particular the individual person's attitude
toward the new thing and the nature of the interest he takes in it.

It has recently been argued by a learned and acute investigator of
economic origins that "invention is the mother of necessity," and not
the child.[45] Such a complete reversal of all our ordinary thought
about the matter seems at first sheer paradox. What, one may ask, can
ever suggest an invention and what can give it welcome and currency but
an existing need--which, if it happens to be for the time being latent
and unconscious, needs only the presentation of its appropriate means of
satisfaction to "arouse" and "awaken" it fully into action? But this
paradox as to invention is at all events not more paradoxical than the
view as to the reception of new commodities and the rise of new desires
that has been above suggested. What it appears to imply is in principle
identical with what has seemed, from our consideration of the other
aspect of the general situation, to be the simple empirical fact;
neither the existence of the new commodity nor our interest in it when
it is presented admits of explanation as an effect on each particular
occasion of a preëxisting unsatisfied desire for it. What both sides of
the problem bring to view is a certain original bent or constitutive
character of human nature--a predisposition, an _élan vital_ perhaps,
which we must recognize as nothing less than perfectly general and
comprehensive--finding expression in inventive effort and likewise in
the readiness with which the individual meets a new commodity halfway
and gives it opportunity to become for him, if it can, a new necessity
and the source of a new type of satisfaction.

From the point of view of "logic," as William James might have said,
such a version of psychological fact may seem essentially
self-contradictory. Unless, it may be argued, a novelty when presented
excites some manner of desire for itself in the beholder, the beholder
will make no effort towards it and thus take no step away from his
existing system of life to a new system in which a new desire and a new
commodity shall have a place. So much would seem clear enough but the
question immediately follows: How can a thing that is new arouse desire?
In so far as it is new it must _ex vi termini_ be unknown and wanting
definition in terms of remembered past experiences; and how can a thing
unknown make that connection with the present character of the
individual which must be deemed necessary to the arousal of desire in
him? A new thing would seem, then, from this point of view, to be able
to arouse desire only in so far as it is able to conceal or subordinate
its aspects of novelty and appear as known and well-accredited--either
this or there must be in the individual some definite instinctive
mechanism ready to be set in action by the thing's presentment. And on
neither of these suppositions can having to do with the new thing
effect any fundamental or radical difference in the individual--it can
serve at most only to "bring out" what was already "there" in him in a
"latent" or "implicit" status. Whatever new developments of power or
desire may be attained and organized into the individual's character
through his commerce with the novelty must be new in only a superficial
sense--they will be new only as occurrences, only as the striking of the
hour by the clock and the resulting abrasion of the bell and hammer are
new events. But the clock was made to strike; it is the nature of metal
to wear away and likewise these changes in the individual are in deeper
truth not new at all but only a disclosure of the agent's character, a
further fulfilment along preëstablished and unalterable lines which all
along was making headway in the agent's earlier quests and efforts and

There is a sense, no doubt, in which some such version of the facts as
this is unanswerable, but controversial advantage is paid for, here as
elsewhere in the logic of absolute idealism, at the cost of tangible
meaning and practical importance. Just what does the contention come to?
Let us say, for example, that one has learned to use a typewriter. What
has happened is like an illiterate person's learning to read and write.
Correspondence with one's friends begins to take on new meaning and to
acquire new value; one begins to find a new pleasure and stimulation
taking the place of the ineffectual drivings of an uneasy conscience.
All this, let us say, has come from the moderate outlay for a superior
mechanical instrument. And now let it be granted that it would not have
come if the fortunate individual had not been "what he was." If it has
come it is because the individual and the rest of the world were "of
such a sort" that the revival and new growth of interest _could_ take
its rise with the provision of the new instrumentality. But what,
precisely, does such a statement mean? What sort of verification does it
admit of? What fruitful insight into the concrete facts of the case does
it convey? Of _what_ sort, prior to the event, does it show the
individual to have been?

The truth is, of course, that he was of _no_ sort, then and there and
with reference to the purchase--he was of no sort decisively. He was
neither purchaser nor rejector. He was neither a convinced "typist" nor
piously confirmed in his predilection for writing "by hand." He was
neither wholly weary of his correspondence nor fully cognizant of the
importance of intercourse with his friends for his soul's good. He may
have been dissatisfied and rebellious or he may have been comfortably
persuaded that letter-writing, though an irksome labor, was even at that
sufficiently worth while. The most that can be said is simply that he
must have been willing and desirous to try the experiment for the sake
of any good, imaginable or beyond present imagination, that might come
of it. But being of "such a sort" as this could not prejudge the
issue--although, undoubtedly, in willingness to raise an issue there
lies always the possibility of change. All the plausibility of the dogma
we are here considering comes from its hasty inclusion of this general
attitude of constructively experimental inquiry and effort, this
essential character of creative intelligence, as _one among_ the
concrete interests which constitute and define our particular problems
in their inception. To say _ex post facto_ that the individual must have
been "of such a sort" as to do what he has in fact done is a purely
verbal comment which, whatever may be its uses, can assuredly be of no
use whatever in suggesting either solution or method for the next
situation to arise. It may be comfortably reassuring afterwards, but it
is an empty oracle beforehand.

§ 6. If then "logic" is unable to express the nature of our forward
looking interest in the unexperienced and unpredictable, perhaps the
empirical fact will speak for itself. We call things new; we recognize
their novelty and their novelty excites our interest. But just as we are
sometimes told that we can only _know_ the new in terms of its
resemblances to what we have known before, so it may be held that in the
end we can _desire_ it only on the like condition. Are we, then, to
conclude that the seeming novelty of things new is an illusion, or shall
we hold, on the contrary, that novelty need not be explained away and
that a spontaneous constructive interest stands more or less constantly
ready in us to go out to meet it and possess it?

Unquestionably, let us say the latter. Any new commodity will, of
course, resemble in part or in a general way some old one. It is said
that bath-tubs are sometimes used in "model tenements" as coal-bins. Old
uses persist unchanged in the presence of new possibilities. But in
general new possibilities invite interest and effort because our
experimental and constructive bent contrives on the whole to make head
against habituation and routine. We recognize the new as new. And if it
be contended that novelty in its own right cannot be a ground of
interest, that novelty must first get restatement as the old with
certain "accidents" externally adhering, the answer is that the
"accidents" interest us nevertheless. They may prove their right to
stand as the very essence of some new "kind" that one may wish to let
take form and character for him. Instead of the chips and shavings, they
are in fact the raw material of the logical process. For if we can know
the new _as new_, if we can know the "accident" _as accidental_ in a
commodity before us, the fact betrays an incipient interest in the
quality or aspect that its novelty or contingency at least does not
thwart. And is this quite all? Will it be disputed that a _relation_ of
a quality or feature to ourselves which we can know, name, and
recognize--like "novelty"--must be known, as anything else is known,
through an interest of which it is the appropriate terminus?[46]

And there is no difficulty in pointing to instances in which the
character of novelty seems fundamental. Consider, for example, the
interest one feels in spending a day with a friend or in making a new
acquaintance or, say, in entering on the cares of parenthood. Or again,
take the impulse toward research, artistic creation, or artistic study
and appreciation. Or again, take the interest in topography and
exploration. That there is in such phenomena as these a certain
essentially and irreducibly forward look, a certain residual freedom of
our interest and effort from dependence on the detail of prior
experience down to date, probably few persons without ulterior
philosophical prepossessions will dispute. If we call these phenomena
instinctive we are using the term in a far more loose and general sense
than it seems to have in the best usage of animal psychology. If we call
them attitudes or dispositions, such a term has at least the negative
merit of setting them apart from the class of instinctive acts, but it
may carry with it a connotation of fixity and unconsciousness that
after all surrenders the essential distinction. It will suffice to look
at a single one of these instances.

In friendship, for example, there is undoubtedly strongly operative a
desire for the mere recurrence, in our further friendly intercourse, of
certain values that have become habitual and familiar. We may have long
known and become attached to a friend's tones of voice, peculiarities of
manner and external appearance, turns of speech and thought and the
like, which we miss in absence and which give us pleasure when we meet
the friend again. But if the friendship is not one of "pleasure" or
"utility" simply, but of "virtue"[47] as well, there is also present on
both sides a constructive or progressive or creative interest. And this
interest, stated on its self-regarding and introspective side, is more
than a desire for the mere grateful recurrence of the old looks and
words "recoined at the old mint." It is an interest looking into the
"undone vast," an interest in an indefinite prolongation, an infinite
series, of joint experiences the end of which cannot and need not be
foreseen and the nature of which neither can nor need be forecasted. And
there is the same characteristic in all the other instances mentioned in
this connection. It is not a desire for recurrent satisfactions of a
determinate type, but an interest in the active development of
unexperienced and indeterminate possibilities. If finally the question
be pressed, how there can be an interest of this seemingly
self-contradictory type in human nature, the answer can only be that we
must take the facts as we find them. Is such a conception inherently
more difficult than the view that all ramifications and developments of
human interest are concretely predetermined and implicit _a priori_? To
ignore or deny palpable fact because it eludes the reach of a current
type of conceptual analysis is to part company with both science and
philosophy. We are in fact here dealing with the essential mark and
trait of what is called self-conscious process. If there are ultimates
and indefinables in this world of ours, self-consciousness may as fairly
claim the dignity or avow the discredit as any other of the list.

§ 7. Does our interest in economic goods on occasion exhibit the trait
of which we are here speaking? Precisely this is our present contention.
And yet it seems not too much to say that virtually all economic theory,
whether the classical or the present dominant type that has drawn its
terminology and working concepts from the ostensible psychology of the
Austrian School, is founded upon the contradictory assumption. The
economic interest, our desire and esteem for solid and matter-of-fact
things like market commodities and standardized market services, has
been conceived as nothing visionary and speculative, as no peering into
the infinite or outreaching of an inexpressible discontent, but an
intelligent, clear-eyed grasping and holding of known satisfactions for
measured and acknowledged desires. Art and religion, friendship and
love, sport and adventure, morality and legislation, these all may be
fields for the free play and constructive experimentation of human
faculty, but in our economic efforts and relations we are supposed to
tread the solid ground of fact. Business is business. Waste not, want
not. First a living, then (perhaps) a "good life."[48] And we are
assured one need not recoil from the hard logic of such maxims, for they
do not dispute the existence of spacious (and well-shaded) suburban
regions fringing the busy areas of industry and commerce.

Such is the assumption. We have said that it precludes the admission of
speculation as an economic factor. Speculation for economic theory is a
purely commercial phenomenon, a hazarding of capital on the supposition
that desires will be found ready and waiting for the commodity
produced--with a sufficient offering of purchasing power to afford a
profit. And the "creation of demand," where this is part of the program
of speculative enterprise, means the arousal of a "dormant" or implicit
desire, in the sense above discussed--there is nothing, at all events,
in other parts of current theory to indicate a different conception. The
economist will probably contend that what the process of the creation of
demand may _be_ is not his but the psychologist's affair; that his
professional concern is only whether or not the economic demand, as an
objective market fact, be actually forthcoming. But what we here contend
for as a fact of economic experience is a speculation that is in the
nature of personal adventure and not simply an "adventuring of stock."

§ 8. For what is the nature of the economic "experience" or situation,
considered as a certain type of juncture in the life of an individual?
It may be shortly described as the process of determining how much of
one's time, strength, or external resources of any sort shall be
expended for whatever one is thinking of doing or acquiring. Two general
motives enter here to govern the estimate and each may show the routine
or the innovative phase. In any work there is possible, first, more or
less of the workman's interest--an interest not merely in a conventional
standard of excellence in the finished result but also in betterment of
the standard and in a corresponding heightened excellence of technique
and spirit in the execution.[49] These interests, without reference to
the useful result and "for their own sake" (i.e., for the workman's
sake, in ways not specifiable in advance), may command a share of one's
available time, strength, and resources. In the second place, any work
or effort or offer to give in exchange has a nameable result of some
kind in view--a crop of wheat, a coat, a musical rendition, or the
education of a child. Why are such things "produced" or sought for?
Verbally and platitudinously one may answer: For the sake of the
"satisfactions" they are expected to afford. But such an answer ignores
the contrast of attitudes that both workmanship and productive or
acquisitive effort in the ordinary sense display. As the workman may
conform to his standard or may be ambitious to surpass it, so the
intending consumer may be counting on known satisfactions or hoping for
satisfactions of a kind that he has never known before. Both sorts of
effort may be of either the routine or the innovative type. In neither
workmanship nor acquisition can one fix upon routine as the "normal"
type, hoping to derive or to explain away the inevitable residue of
"outstanding cases." For as a matter of fact the outstanding cases prove
to be our only clue to a knowledge of how routine is made.[50]

The above formula will apply, with the appropriate changes of emphasis,
to buyers and sellers in an organized market, as well as to the parties
to a simple transaction of barter. Two main empirical characteristics of
the economic situation are suggested in putting the statement in just
these terms. In the first place, the primary problem in such a situation
is that of "exchange valuation," the fixation of a "subjective" (or
better, a "personal") price ratio between what the agent wishes to
acquire and whatever it is that he offers in exchange. The agent thus is
engaged in determining what shall be the relative importance for himself
of _two_ commodities or exchangeable goods. And in the second place
these goods get their values determined together and in relation to each
other, never singly and with a view to _subsequent_ comparison. These
values when they have been determined will be measured in terms of
marginal utility in accordance with familiar principles, but the
marginal utilities that are to express the attained and accepted ratio
at which exchange eventually takes place are not known quantities at all
in the inception of the process of comparison. If these dogmatic
statements seem to issue in hopeless paradox or worse, then let us not
fear to face the paradox and fix its lines with all possible
distinctness. Can a man decide to offer so much of one commodity for so
much of another unless he _first_ has settled what each is worth to him
in some intelligible terms or other? And is not this latter in point of
fact the real decision--at all events clearly more than half the battle?
Does not the exchange ratio to which one can agree "leap to the eyes,"
in fact, as soon as the absolute values in the case have been once
isolated and given numerical expression?

In a single word we here join issue. For the comparison in such a case
is _constructive comparison_, not a mechanical measuring of fixed
magnitudes, as the above objection tacitly assumes. And constructive
comparison is essentially a transitive or inductive operation whereby
the agent moves from one level to another, altering his standard of
living in some more or less important way, embarking upon a new
interest, entering upon the formation of a new habit or upon a new
accession of power or effectiveness--making or seeking to make, in
short, some transformation in his environment and in himself that shall
give his life as an entire system a changed tenor and perspective. The
term "constructive comparison" is thus intended, among other things, to
suggest that the process is in the nature of adventure, not calculation,
and, on the other hand, that though adventurous it is not sheer hazard
uncontrolled. And the motive dominant throughout the process--the
economic motive in its constructive phase--is neither more nor less than
a supposition, on the agent's part, that there may be forthcoming for
him in the given case in hand just such an "epigenetic" development of
new significance and value as we have found actual history to disclose
as a normal result of economic innovation. It is the gist of hedonism,
in economic theory as in its other expressions, that inevitably the
agent's interests and motives are restricted in every case to the
precise range and scope of his existing tendencies and desires; he can
be provoked to act only by the hope of just those particular future
pleasures or means of pleasure which the present constitution of his
nature enables him to enjoy. Idealism assumes that the emergent new
interest of the present was wrapped up or "implied," in some sense, in
the interests of the remote and immediate past--interests of which the
agent at the time could of course be but "imperfectly" aware. Such
differences as one can discern between the two interpretations seem
small indeed--like many others to which idealism has been wont to point
in disparagement of the hedonistic world view. For in both philosophies
the agent is without initiative and effect; he is in principle but the
convergence of impersonal motive powers which it is, in the one view,
absurdly futile, in the other misguidedly presumptuous, to try to alter
or control.

§ 9. A commodity sought or encountered may then be of interest to us for
reasons of the following three general sorts. In the first place it may
simply be the normal and appropriate object of some established desire
of ours. We may be seeking the commodity because this desire has first
become active, or encountering the commodity in the market may have
suddenly awakened the desire. Illustration seems superfluous; tobacco
for the habitual smoker, clothing of most sorts for the ordinary person,
regular supplies of the household staples--these will suffice. This is
the province within which a hedonistic account of the economic motive
holds good with a cogency that anti-hedonistic criticism has not been
able to dissolve. Our outlays for such things as these may as a rule be
held in their due and proper relation to each other--at all events in
their established or "normal" relation--simply by recalling at critical
times our relative marginal likes and dislikes for them. That these
likes and dislikes are not self-explanatory, that they are concrete
expectations and not abstract affective elements, does not seem greatly
to matter where the issue lies between maintaining or renouncing an
existing schedule of consumption. And in this same classification belong
also industrial and commercial expenditures of a similarly routine sort.
Even where the scale of operations is being enlarged, expenditures for
machines, fuel, raw materials, and labor may have been so carefully
planned in advance with reference to the desired increase of output or
pecuniary profit that no special problem of motivation attaches
directly to them. And these outlays are so important in industry and
commerce that the impression comes easily to prevail that all business
undertaking, and then all consumption of finished goods, fall under the
simple hedonistic type.

But if we keep to the plane of final consumption, there appears a second
sort of situation. Our interest in the commodity before us may be due to
a suggestion of some sort that prompts us to take a step beyond the
limits that our present formed desires mark out. The suggestion may be
given by adroit advertising, by fashion, by the habits of another class
to which one may aspire or by a person to whom one may look as guide,
philosopher, and friend. An authority of one sort or another invites or
constrains us to take the merits of the article on trust. Actual trial
and use may show, not so much that it can minister to a latent desire as
that we have been able through its use to form a habit that constitutes
a settled need.

And, finally, in the third place, there is a more spontaneous and
intrinsically personal type of interest which is very largely
independent of suggestion or authority. A thing of beauty, a new author,
a new acquaintance, a new sport or game, a new convenience or mechanical
device may challenge one's curiosity and powers of appreciation, may
seem to offer a new facility in action or some unimagined release from
labor or restriction. The adventure of marriage and parenthood, the
intimate attraction of great music, the mystery of an unknown language
or a forbidden country, the disdainful aloofness of a mountain peak
dominating a landscape are conspicuous instances inviting a more
spontaneous type of constructive interest that finds abundant expression
also in the more commonplace situations and emergencies of everyday
life. It is sheer play upon words to speak in such cases of a pleasure
of adventurousness, a pleasure of discovery, a pleasure of conquest and
mastery, assigning this as the motive in order to bring these interests
to the type that fits addiction to one's particular old coat or
easy-chair. The specific "pleasure" alleged could not exist were the
tendency not active beforehand. While the same is true in a sense for
habitual concrete pleasures in relation to their corresponding habits,
the irreducible difference in constructive interest as a type lies in
the _transition_ which this type of interest purposes and effects from
one level of concrete or substantive desire and pleasure to another.
Here one consciously looks to a result that he cannot foresee or
foretell; in the other type his interest as interest goes straight to
its mark, sustained by a confident forecast.[51]

§ 10. But constructive interests, whether provoked by suggestion or of
the more freely imaginative type, may, as has been said, be held to lie
outside the scope of economic theory. How a desire for a certain thing
has come to get expression may seem quite immaterial--economically
speaking. Economics has no concern with human folly as such or human
imitativeness, or human aspiration high or low or any other of the
multitude of motives that have to do with secular changes in the
"standard of living" and in the ideals of life at large. It has no
concern with anything that lies behind the fact that I am in the market
with my mind made up to buy or sell a thing at a certain price. And the
answer to this contention must be that it first reverses and then
distorts the true perspective of our economic experience. Let it be
admitted freely--indeed, let it be insisted on--that the definition of a
science must be determined by the pragmatic test. If an economist elects
to concern himself with the problems of what has been called the "loose
mechanics of trade" there can be no question of his right to do so or of
the importance of the services he may render thereby, both to theory and
to practice. But on the other hand economic theory cannot be therefore,
once and for all, made a matter of accounting--to the effacement of all
problems and aspects of problems of which the accountant has no
professional cognizance. Just this, apparently, is what it means to
level down all types of interest to the hedonistic, leaving aside as
"extra-economic" those that too palpably resist the operation. It is
acknowledged that freshly suggested modes of consumption and ends of
effort require expenditure and sacrifice no less than the habitual, that
the exploration of Tibet or of the Polar Seas affects the market for
supplies not less certainly than the scheduled voyages of oceanic
liners. Moreover, behind these scheduled voyages there are all the
varied motives that induce people to travel and the desires that lead to
the shipment of goods. Shall it be said that all of these motives and
desires must be traceable back to settled habits of behavior and
consumption? And if this cannot be maintained is it not hazardous to
assume that such general problems of economic theory as the
determination of market values or of the shares in distribution require
no recognition of the other empirical types of interest? These types, if
they are genuine, are surely important; they may well prove to be, in
many ways, fundamentally important. For a commodity that has become
habitual must once have been new and untried.

§ 11. The economic demands which make up the budget of a particular
person at a particular time are clearly interdependent. A man's income
or the greater part of it is usually distributed among various channels
of expenditure in a certain fairly constant way. In proportion to the
definiteness of this distribution and the resoluteness with which it is
maintained does the impression gain strength that the man is carrying
out a consistent plan of some sort. Such a regular plan of expenditure
may be drawn out into a schedule, setting forth the amounts required at
a certain price for the unit of each kind. And such a schedule is an
expression in detail, in terms of ways and means, of the type of life
one has elected to lead. For virtually any income above the level of
bare physical subsistence, there will be an indefinite number of
alternative budgets possible. A little less may be spent for household
conveniences and adornments and a little more for food. Some recreations
may be sacrificed for an occasional book or magazine. One may build a
house or purchase a motor-car instead of going abroad. And whichever
choice is made, related expenditures must be made in consequence for
which, on the assumption of a definite amount of income, compensation
must be made by curtailment of outlay at other points. What seems clear
in general is that one's total budget is relative to the general plan
and manner of life one deems for him the best possible and that this
plan, more or less definitely formulated, more or less steadily
operative, is what really determines how far expenditure shall go in
this direction and in that. The budget as a whole will define for the
individual an equilibrium among his various recognized wants; if the
work of calculating it has been carefully done there will be for the
time being no tendency to change in any item.

If, then, we choose to say in such a case that the individual carries
his expenditure along each line to the precise point at which the last
or marginal utility enjoyed is precisely equal to the marginal utility
on every other line, it seems not difficult to grasp what such a
statement means. Quite harmlessly, all that it can mean is that the
individual has planned precisely what he has planned and is not sorry
for it, and for the time being does not think he can improve upon it. As
there is one earth drawing toward its center each billiard ball of the
dozen in equilibrium in a bowl, so there is behind the budget of the
individual one complex personal conception of a way of life that fixes
more or less certainly and clearly the kinds and intensities of his
wants and assigns to each its share of purchasing power. That the units
or elements in equilibrium hold their positions with reference to each
other for reasons capable of separate statement for each unit seems a
supposition no less impossible in the one case than in the other. To
think of each kind of want in the individual's nature as holding
separately in fee simple and clamoring for full and separate
"satisfaction" in its separate kind, is the characteristic illusion of a
purely formal type of analysis. The permanence of a budget and its
carrying out no doubt require the due and precise realization of each
plotted marginal utility--to go further than this along any one line
would inevitably mean getting not so far along certain others, and thus
a distorted and disappointing total attainment in the end. But to say
that one actually plans and controls his expenditures along various
lines by the ultimate aim of attaining equivalent terminal utilities on
each is quite another story. It is much like saying that the square
inches of canvas assigned in a picture to sky and sea and crannied wall
are arranged upon the principle of identical and equal effects for
artist or beholder from the last inches painted of each kind. The
formula of the equality of marginal effects is no constructive
principle; it is only a concise if indeed somewhat grotesque way of
phrasing the essential fact that no change of the qualitative whole is
going to be made, because no imperfection in it as a whole is felt.[52]

§ 12. We come, then, to the problem of the individual's encounter with a
new commodity. In general, a purchase in such a case must amount to more
or less of a departure from the scheme of life in force and a transition
over to a different one. And a new commodity (in the sense in which the
term has been used above) is apt to be initially more tempting than an
addition along some line of expenditure already represented in the
budget. The latter, supposing there has been no change of price and no
increase of income, is usually a mere irregularity, an insurgent
departure from some one specification of a total plan without
preliminary compensating adjustment or appropriate change at other
points. The erratic outlay, if considerable, will result in sheer
disorder and extravagance--indefensible and self-condemned on the
principles of the individual's own economy. But with a new commodity the
case stands differently. It is more interesting to consider a really new
proposal than to reopen a case once closed when no evidence distinctly
new is offered. A sheer "temptation" or an isolated impulse toward new
outlay along a line already measured in one's scheme has the force of
habit and a presumption of un-wisdom to overcome. If the case is one not
of temptation but of "being urged" one is apt to answer, "No, I can make
no use of any more of _that_." But a new commodity has the charm of its
novelty, a charm consisting in the promise, in positive fashion, of new
qualitative values about which a new entire schedule will have to be
organized. Partly its strength of appeal lies in its radicalism; it
gains ready attention not only by its promise but by its boldness.
"Preparedness" gains a more ready acclaim than better schools or the
extirpation of disease. The automobile and the "moving picture" probably
have a vogue today far surpassing any use of earlier "equivalents" that
a mere general augmentation of incomes could have brought about. Indeed,
the economic danger of the middle classes in present-day society lies
not in mere occasional excess at certain points but in heedless
commitment to a showy and thinned-out scheme of life in which the
elements are ill-chosen and ill-proportioned and from which, as a whole,
abiding satisfaction cannot be drawn. It is where real and thoroughgoing
change in the manner of life is hopeless that irregular intemperance of
various sorts appears to bulk relatively largest as an economic evil.

Shall we not say, however, that the superior attraction of the new in
competition with established lines of expenditure only indicates the
greater "satiation" of the wants the latter represent and the
comparative freshness of the wants the novelty will satisfy? On the
contrary the latter wants are in the full sense not yet existent, the
new satisfactions are untried and unmeasured; the older wants have the
advantage of position, and if satiated today, will reassert themselves
with a predictable strength tomorrow. The new wants, it is true, if they
are acquired, will be part of a new system, but the present fact remains
that their full meaning cannot be known in advance of trial and the
further outlines of the new scheme of uses and values cannot be drawn up
until this meaning has been learned. If, then, the new commodity is
taken, it is not because the promised satisfaction and the sum of known
utilities to be sacrificed are found equal, nor again because the new
commodity will fit neatly into a place in the existing schedule that can
be vacated for it. This latter is the case of substitution. Such an
interpretation of the facts is retrospective only; it is a formal
declaration that the exchange has been deemed on the whole worth while,
but the reasons for this outcome such a formula is powerless to suggest.

In general the new commodity and the habits it engenders could not
remain without effect upon a system into which they might be
mechanically introduced. Certain items in the schedule, associated in
use with those dispensed with for the new, must be rendered obsolete by
the change. The new interests called into play will draw to themselves
and to their further development attention which may be in large measure
diverted from the interests of older standing. And in the new system all
interests remaining over from the old will accordingly stand in a new
light and their objects will be valued, will be held important, for
reasons that will need fresh statement.[53]

In similar fashion it might be argued that the commodities or uses which
one sacrifices for the sake of a new venture are inevitably more than a
simple deduction that curtails one's schedule in a certain kind and
amount. Such a deduction or excision must leave the remaining lines of
the original complex hanging at loose ends. The catching-up of these
and their coördination with the new interest must in any event amount,
as has been contended, to a thoroughgoing reorganization. What must
really happen then, in the event of action, is in principle nothing less
than the disappearance of the whole from which the sacrificed uses are
dissevered. These latter, therefore, stand in the process of decision as
a symbol for the existing personal economy as a whole. The old order and
the new confront each other as an accepted view of fact and a plausible
hypothesis everywhere confront each other and the issue for the
individual is the practical issue of making the transition to a new
working level. To declare that the salient elements of the confronting
complexes are quantitatively equivalent is only to announce in symbolic
terms that the transition has been effected, the die cast.[54]

§ 13. The statement thus given has been purposely made, for many
transactions of the sort referred to, something of an over-statement. If
I contemplate purchasing a typewriter or a book on an unfamiliar but
inviting subject it may well seem somewhat extravagant to describe the
situation as an opposition between two schemes of life. Is the issue so
momentous; is the act so revolutionary? But the purpose of our
over-statement was simply to make clear the type of situation without
regard to the magnitudes involved. No novelty that carries one in any
respect beyond the range of existing habits can be wholly without its
collateral effects nor can its proximate and proper significance be
measured in advance. This is in principle as true of a relatively slight
innovation as of a considerable one. And our present conscious
exaggeration departs less widely from the truth than the alternative
usual preoccupation of economic theory with the logic of routine desire
and demand. For the phenomena of routine and habit are thereby made a
standard by which all others, if indeed recognized as real at all, must
be judged "exceptional." And, as we shall see, to do this introduces
difficulty into certain parts of substantive economic theory.

Again, objection may attach to the view that equivalence of the "salient
members" of the opposing systems is only another name for the
comprehensive fact of the novelty's acceptance. For if we hesitate in
such a case, is this not because we judge the price too high? What can
this signify but that the service or satisfaction we expect from the
novelty falls short of sufficing to convince us? And unless we are
dealing with measured quantities, how can we come to this conclusion?
Moreover, if the novel commodity is divided into units we may take a
smaller quantity when the price demanded is "high" than if the price
were lower. And does this not suggest predetermined value-magnitudes as
data? But if one takes thus a smaller amount, as the argument contends,
it is because there is a presumption of being able to make some
important total use of it and there is no general reason apparent for
supposing that this will be merely a fractional part of a larger but
like significance that might be hoped for from a larger quantity. And on
the other hand, the prospect simply may not tempt at all; the smaller
quantity may be deemed an improbable support for a really promising
total program and the present program will hold its ground, not
seriously shaken. The total demand of a market for a given commodity is
no doubt in some sort a mathematical function of the price. The lower
the price the greater in some ratio will be the number of persons who
will buy and in general the greater the number of units taken by those
who are already buyers. But that such a proposition admits of
statistical proof from the observation of a series of price changes in a
market affords no presumption concerning the nature of the reasons that
move any individual person to his action. The theoretical temptation is
strong, here as elsewhere, in passing from the study of markets to the
personal economy of the individual forthwith to find this also a
trafficking in unit-quantities and marginal satisfactions to which the
concepts and notation of market analysis will readily apply.

It remains to consider certain implications of this view of economic
desire and demand.


§ 14. It is evident that the issue finally at stake in any economic
problem of constructive comparison, is an ethical issue. Two immediate
alternatives are before one--to expend a sum of money in some new and
interesting way, or to keep it devoted to the uses of one's established
plan. Upon the choice, one recognizes, hinge consequences of larger and
more comprehensive importance than the mere present enjoyment or
non-enjoyment of the new commodity.[55] And these "more important"
consequences _are_ important because there appears to lie in them the
possibility of a type of personal character divergent from the present
type and from any present point of view incommensurable with it.[56] The
ethical urgency of such a problem will impress one in the measure in
which one can see that such an issue really does depend upon his present
action and irretrievably depends. And we are able now to see what that
economic quality is that attaches to ethical problems at a certain stage
of their development and calls for a supplementary type of treatment.

Let us first consider certain types of juncture in conduct that will be
recognized at once as ethical and in which any economic aspect is
relatively inconspicuous. Temperance or intemperance, truth or
falsehood, idleness or industry, honesty or fraud, social justice or
class-interest--these will serve. What makes such problems as these
ethical is their demand for creative intelligence. In each, alternative
types of character or manners of life stand initially opposed. If the
concrete issue is really problematical, if there is no rule that one can
follow in the case with full assurance, constructive comparison, whether
covertly or openly, must come into play. How long, then, will a problem
of temperance or intemperance, idleness or industry, preserve its
obviously ethical character without admixture? Just so long, apparently,
as the modes of conduct that come into view as possible solutions are
considered and valued with regard to their _directly physiological and
psychological_ consequences alone. Any given sort of conduct, that is
to say, makes inevitably for the formation of certain habits of mind or
muscle, weakening, or precluding the formation of, certain others.
Attention is engrossed that is thereby not available elsewhere, time and
strength are expended, discriminations are dulled and sharpened,
sympathies and sensitivities are narrowed and broadened, every trait and
bent of character is directly or indirectly affected in some way by
every resolve concluded and every action embarked upon. If one moves a
certain way along a certain line he can never return to the
starting-point and set out unchanged along any other. If one does one
thing one cannot do another. And when the sufficient reasons for this
mutual exclusion lie in the structure and organization of the human mind
and body our deliberation as between the two alternatives, our
constructive comparison of them remains upon the ethical plane.

If one does one thing one cannot do another. If we substitute the
well-worn saying "one cannot eat his cake and have it" we indicate the
economic plane of constructive comparison with all needful clearness.

This is in fact the situation that has been already under discussion at
such length above and the economic quality of which we are just now in
quest arises from neither more nor less than the fact of our dependence
in the working out of our personal problems upon limited external
resources. The eventual solution sought under these circumstances
remains ethical as before. But to reach it, it is necessary to bring
into consideration not only such other interests and ends as the
psycho-physical structure of human nature and the laws of
character-development show to be involved, but a still wider range of
interests less intimately or "internally" related to the focal interest
of the occasion but imperatively requiring to be heard. If my
acquisition of a phonograph turns upon the direct psychological bearing
of the new interest upon my other interests, its probable effects
whether good or bad upon my musical tastes and the diplomatic
complications with my neighbors in which the possession of the
instrument may involve me, the problem of its purchase remains clearly
in the ethical phase. But when I count the cost in terms of sacrifices
which the purchase price makes necessary, from literature down to food
and fuel, and must draw this whole range of fact also into the
adjustment if I can, the economic phase is reached. In principle two
entire and very concrete schemes of life now stand opposed. Just _what_
concrete sacrifices I shall make I do not know--this, in fact, is one
way of stating my problem. Nor, conversely, do I know just what I shall
be able to make the phonograph worth to me. It is my task to come to a
conclusion in the case that shall be explicit and clear enough to enable
me to judge in _the event_ whether my expectation has been realized and
I have acted wisely or unwisely. Thus a problem is economic when the
fact of the limitation of my external resources must be eventually and
frankly faced. The characteristic quality of a problem grown economic is
a certain vexatiousness and seeming irrationality in the ill-assorted
array of nevertheless indisputable interests, prosaic and ideal, that
have to be reduced to order.

It is perhaps this characteristic emotional quality of economic problems
that has insensibly inclined economists to favor a simpler and more
clear-cut analysis. As for ethical problems--they have been left to
"conscience" or to the jurisdiction of a "greatest happiness" principle
in which the ordinary individual or legislator has somehow come to take
an interest. That they arise and become urgent in us of course does
human nature unimpeachable credit and economics must by all means wait
respectfully upon their settlement. So much is conceded. But economics
is economics, when all is said and done. What we mean by the economic
interest is an interest in the direct and several satisfactions that a
man can get from the several things he shrewdly finds it worth his while
to pay for. And shrewdness means nicety of calculation, accuracy of
measurement in the determination of tangible loss and gain. Here, then,
is no field for ethics but a field of fact. Thus ethics on her side must
also wait until the case is fully ready for her praise or blame. Such is
the _modus vivendi_. But its simplicity is oversimple and unreal. It
pictures the "economic man" as bound in the chains of a perfunctory
deference that he would throw off if he could. For the theory of
constructive comparison or creative intelligence, on the other hand,
instead of a seeker and recipient of "psychic income" and a calculator
of gain and loss, he is a personal agent maintaining continuity of
action in a life of discontinuously changing levels of interest and
experience. His measure of attainment lies not in an accelerating rate
of "psychic income," but in an increasing sense of personal
effectiveness and an increasing readiness and confidence before new

The possession and use of commodities are, then, not in themselves and
directly economic facts at all. As material things commodities serve
certain purposes and effect certain results. They are means to ends and
their serving so is a matter of technology. But do I seriously want
their services? This is a matter of my ethical point of view. Do I want
them at the price demanded or at what price and how many? This is the
economic question and it obviously is a question wholly ethical in
import--more broadly and inclusively ethical, in fact, than the ethical
question in its earlier and more humanly inviting form. And what we have
now to see is the fact that no consideration that has a bearing upon the
problem in its ethical phase can lose its importance and relevance in
the subsequent phase.

There can be no restriction of the economic interest, for example, to
egoism. If on general principles I would really rather use goods
produced in safe and cleanly factories or produced by "union labor,"
there is no possible reason why this should not incline me to pay the
higher prices that such goods may cost and make the needful readjustment
in my budget. Is there reason why my valuation of these goods should
_not_ thus be the decisive act that takes me out of one relation to
industrial workers and sets me in another--can anything else, indeed,
quite so distinctly do this? For economic valuation is only the fixation
of a purchase price, or an exchange relation in terms of price and
quantity, upon which two schemes of life, two differing perspectives of
social contact and relationship converge--the scheme of life from which
I am departing and the one upon which I have resolved to make my hazard.
It is this election, this transition, that the purchase price
expresses--drawing all the strands of interest and action into a knot so
that a single grasp may seize them. The only essential egoism in the
case lies in the "subjectivism" of the fact that inevitably the
emergency and the act are mine and not another's. This is the
"egocentric predicament" in its ethical aspect. And the egocentric
predicament proves Hobbes and La Rochefoucauld as little as it proves
Berkeley or Karl Pearson. No social interest, no objective interest of
any sort, is shown ungenuine by my remembering in season that if I
cannot fill my coal-bin I shall freeze.[57]

§ 15. This logical and psychological continuity of the ethical and
economic problems suggests certain general considerations of some
practical interest. In the first place as to "egoism." I am, let us say,
an employer. If I am interested in procuring just "labor," in the sense
of foot-pounds of energy, then undoubtedly labor performed under safe
and healthful conditions is worth no more to me than other labor
(provided it does not prove more efficient). But is this attitude of
interest in just foot-pounds of energy the attitude _par excellence_ or
solely entitled to be called economic? And just this may be asserted for
the reason that an exclusive interest in just _labor_ is the only
interest in the case that men of business, or at least many of them, can
entertain without going speedily to the wall. If, then, I do _in fact_
pay more than I must in wages or if I expend more than a bare minimum
for conveniences and safety-guards this is not because of the valuation
I put upon _labor_, but only because I take pleasure in the contentment
and well-being of others. And this is not "business" but "uplift"--or
else a subtle form of emotional self-indulgence. Suppose, however, that
by legislation similar working conditions have been made mandatory for
the entire industry and suppose that the community approves the law,
even to the extent of cheerfully paying so much of the additional cost
thereby imposed as may be shifted upon them.

Shall we say that this is an ethical intrusion into the sphere of
economics or shall we say that the former economic demand for labor "as
such" has given place to an economic demand for labor better
circumstanced or better paid? The community at all events is paying the
increase of price or a part of the increase. It seems arbitrary to
insist that the old price is still the _economic_ price of the commodity
and the increase only the price of a quiet conscience. The notion of a
strictly economic demand for labor pure and simple seems in fact a
concept of accounting. To meet the community's demand for the commodity
a number of producers were required. The least capable of these could
make both ends meet at the prevailing price only by ignoring all but the
severely impersonal aspects of the process. Taking these costs as a
base, other more capable or more fortunate producers may have been able
to make additional expenditures of the sort in question, charging these
perhaps to "welfare" account. The law then intervenes, making labor in
effect more expensive for all by requiring the superior conveniences or
by compelling employers' insurance against accidents to workmen or by
enforcing outright a higher minimum wage. The old basic labor cost
becomes thus obsolete. And without prejudging as to the expediency of
such legislation in particular industrial or business situations may we
not protest against _a priori_ and wholesale condemnation of such
legislation as merely irresponsibly "ethical" and "unscientific"? Is it
not, rather, economically experimental and constructive, amounting in
substance to a simple insistence that henceforth the hiring and paying
of labor shall express a wider range of social interests--shall
signalize a more clearly self-validating level of comprehension, on the
part of employers and consumers, of the social significance of industry
than the old? And may we not protest also, as a matter of sheer logic,
against carrying over a _producer's_ distinction of accounting between
"labor" cost and "welfare" cost into the _consumer's_ valuation of the
article? How and to what end shall a distinction be drawn between _his_
"esteem" for the trimmed and isolated article and _his_ esteem for the
men who made it--which, taken together, dispose him to pay a certain
undivided price for it?

For the egoism of men is no fixed and unalterable fact. Taking it as a
postulate, a mathematical theory of market phenomena may be erected upon
it, but such a postulate is purely formal, taking no note of the reasons
which at any given time lie behind the individuals' "demand" or "supply
schedules." It amounts simply to an assumption that these schedules will
not change during the lapse of time contemplated in the problem in hand.
And it therefore cannot serve as the basis for a social science. As an
actual social phenomenon egoism is merely a disclosure of a certain
present narrowness and inertness in the nature of the individual which
may or may not be definitive for him. It is precisely on a par with
anemia, dyspepsia or fatigue, or any other like unhappy fact of personal

§ 16. There is another suggestion of ethical and economic continuity
that may be briefly indicated. If our view of this relation is correct,
a problem, by becoming economic, may lose something in dramatic interest
and grandiosity but gains in precision and complexity. In the economic
phase an issue becomes sensibly crucial. It is in this phase that are
chiefly developed those qualities of clear-headedness, temperateness of
thought and action, and well-founded self-reliance that are the
foundation of all genuine personal morality and social effectiveness.
And one may question therefore the ethical consequences of such measures
as old age, sickness, and industrial accident insurance or insurance
against unemployment. In proportion as these measures are effective they
amount to a constant virtual addition to the individual's income from
year to year without corresponding effort and forethought on his part.
They may accordingly be condemned as systematic pauperization--the
"endowment of the unfit." There is evidently a fundamental problem here
at issue, apart from all administrative difficulties. Clearly this type
of criticism assumes a permanent incapacity in "human nature" or in most
actual beings therewith endowed, to recognize as seriously important
other interests than those upon which hinge physical life and death. The
ordinary man, it is believed, is held back from moral Quixotism as from
material extravagance by the fear of starvation alone; and it is assumed
that there are no other interests in the "normal" man that can or ever
will be so wholesomely effective to these ends. And two remarks in
answer appear not without a measure of pertinence. First, if what is
alleged be true (and there is evidence in Malthus' _Essay_ and elsewhere
to support it) it seems less a proof of original sin and
"inperfectibility" than a reproach to a social order whose collective
tenor and institutions leave the mass untouched and unawakened above the
level of animal reproduction and whose inequalities of opportunity
prevent awakened life from growing strong. And second, the democratic
society of the future, if it exempts the individual in part or wholly
from the dread of premature physical extinction must leave him on higher
levels of interest similarly dependent for success or failure upon his
ultimate personal discretion. And is it inconceivable that on higher
levels there should ever genuinely be such a persisting type of issue
for the multitude of men?[58]

§ 17. We have held constructive comparison in its economic phase to be a
reciprocal evaluating of the "salient members" of two budgets. The
respective budgets in such a case express in the outcome (1) the plane
of life to which one is to move and (2) the plane one is forsaking. It
was the salient member of the former that presented the problem at the
outset. In the course of the process its associates were _gathered
about_ it in their due proportions and perspective. The salient member
of the latter (i.e., whatever the purchase is to oblige one to do
without), it was the business of constructive comparison to _single out_
from among its associates and designate for sacrifice. In any case at
all departing from the type of substitution pure and simple, the
commodities sacrificed will come to have a certain "value in exchange"
that clearly is a new fact, a new judgment, in experience. This value in
exchange, this "subjective" or "personal" exchange value, may fittingly
be termed a "value for transition." The transition once made, the
exchange once concluded, I shall deem the motor-car, for example, that I
have _not_ bought to replace one used-up, to be worth less than the
piano I _have_ bought instead. This indeed (in no disparaging sense) is
a tautology. But does this lesser relative value equal or exceed or fall
short of the value the car would have had if no question of a piano had
been raised at all and I had bought it in replacement of the old one as
a matter of course? How can one say? The question seems unmeaning, for
the levels of value referred to are different and discontinuous and the
magnitudes belong to different orders. In a word, because a "value for
transition" marks a resolve and succinctly describes an act, it cannot
be broken in two and expressed as an equating of two magnitudes
independently definable apart from the relation. The motor-car _had_ its
value as a member of the old system--the piano _has_ its value as a
member of the new. "The piano is worth more than the car"; "the car is
worth less than the piano"--these are the prospective and retrospective
views across a gulf that separates two "specious presents," not
judgments of static inequality in terms of a common measure.

Is value, then, absolute or relative? Is value or price the prior
notion? Was the classical English economics superficial in its
predilection for the relative conception of value? Or is the reigning
Austrian economics profound in its reliance upon marginal utility? By
way of answer let us ask--What in our world can be more absolute a fact
than a man's transition from one level of experience and action to
another? Can the flight of time be stayed or turned backward? And if not
can the acts by whose intrinsic uniqueness and successiveness time
becomes filled for me and by which I feel time's sensible passage as
swift or slow, lose their individuality? But it is not by a mere empiric
temporalism alone that the sufficient absoluteness of the present act is
attested. My transition from phase to phase of "finitude" is a thing so
absolute that Idealism itself has deemed an Absolute indispensable to
assure its safe and sane achievement. And with all Idealism's distrust
of immediate experience for every evidential use, the Idealist does not
scruple to cite the "higher obviousness" of personal effort, attainment,
and fruition as the best of evidence for his most momentous truth of
all.[59] And accordingly (in sharp descent) we need not hesitate to
regard value in exchange as a primary fact in its own right, standing in
no need of resolution into marginal pseudo-absolutes. A price agreed to
and paid marks a real transition to another level. There are both
marginal valuation and _Werthaltung_ on this level, but they are
subordinate incidents to this level's mapping and the conservation of
its resources. On this level every marginal utility is relative, as we
have seen, to every other through their common relation to the complex
plan of organization as a whole.[60]

§ 18. In conclusion one more question closely related to the foregoing
may be briefly touched upon. We have held that the individual's attitude
toward a commodity is in the first instance one of putting a
price-estimate upon it and only secondarily that of holding it in a
provisionally settled marginal esteem. If this principle of the
priority of price-estimation or exchange value is true, it seems evident
that there can be no line of demarcation drawn (except for doubtfully
expedient pedagogical purposes) between (1) "Subjective valuations" with
which individuals are conceived to come to a market and (2) a mechanical
equilibration of demand and supply which it is the distinctive and sole
function of market concourse to effect. In such a view the market
process in strict logic must be timeless as it is spaceless; a
superposition of the two curves is effected and they are seen to cross
in a common point which their shapes geometrically predetermine.
Discussion, in any proper sense, can be no inherent part of a market
process thus conceived. Once in the market, buyers and sellers can only
declare their "subjective exchange valuations" of the commodity and
await the outcome with a dispassionate certainty that whoever may gain
by exchanging at the price to be determined, those who cannot exchange
will at all events not lose. But considered as a typical likeness of men
who have seen a thing they want and are seeking to possess it, this
picture of mingled hope and resignation is not convincing. Most actual
offering of goods for sale that one observes suggests less the
dispassionate manner of the physiologist or psychologist taking the
measure of his subject's reactions, sensibilities, and preferences than
the more masterful procedure of the physician or the hypnotist who seeks
to uproot or modify or reconstruct them. This is the process known in
economic writing since Adam Smith as "the higgling and bargaining of the

In fact, the individual's ante-market valuation, when there temporarily
is one, is an exchange valuation of the constructive or experimental and
therefore (in any significant sense of the word) perfectly objective
type, and the market process into which this enters is only a perfectly
homogeneous temporal continuation of it that carries the individual
forward to decisive action. There is no more reason for a separation
here than for sundering the ante-experimental sketching out of an
hypothesis in any branch of research from the work of putting the
hypothesis to experimental test. The results of experiment may serve in
a marked way in both sorts of process to elucidate or reconstruct the

The "higgling and bargaining of the market" has been accorded but scant
attention by economists. It has apparently been regarded as a kind of
irrelevance--a comedy part, at best, in the serious drama of industry
and trade, never for a moment hindering the significant movement and
outcome of the major action. As if to excuse the incompetence of this
treatment (or as another phase of it) theory has tended to lay stress
upon, and mildly to deplore, certain of the less amiable and engaging
aspects of the process. The very term indeed as used by Adam Smith,
imported a certain æsthetic disesteem, albeit tempered with indulgent
approbation on other grounds. In Böhm-Bawerk's more modern account this
approbation has given place to a neutral tolerance. A certain buyer, he
says (in his discussion of simple "isolated" exchange), will give as
much as thirty pounds for a horse; the horse's owner will take as
little as ten pounds--these are predetermined and fixed valuations
brought to the exchange negotiations and nothing that happens in the
game of wits is conceived to modify them. The price will then be fixed
somewhere between these limits. But how? "Here ..." we read, "is room
for any amount of 'higgling.' According as in the conduct of the
transaction the buyer or the seller shows the greater dexterity,
cunning, obstinacy, power-of-persuasion, or such like, will the price be
forced either to its lower or to its upper limit."[61] But the higgling
cannot touch the underlying attitudes. Even "power of persuasion" is
only one part of "skill in bargaining," with all the rest and like all
the rest; if it were more than this there would be for Böhm-Bawerk no
theoretically grounded price limits to define the range of accidental
settlement and the whole explanation, as a theory of price, would reduce
to nullity.[62]

With this, then, appears to fall away all ground for a one-sided, or
even a sharply two-sided, conception of the process of fixation of
market-values. A "marginal utility" theory and a "cost of production"
theory of market price alike assume that the factor chosen as the
ultimate determinant is a fixed fact defined by conditions which the
actual spatial and temporal meeting-together of buyers and sellers in
the market cannot affect. In this logical sense, the chosen determinant
is in each case an ante-market or extra-market fact and the same is true
of the blades of Marshall's famous pair of scissors.

The price of a certain article let us say is $5. According to the
current type of analysis this is the price because, intending buyers'
and sellers' valuations of the article being just what they are, it is
at this figure that the largest number of exchanges can occur. Were the
price higher there would be more persons willing to sell than to buy;
were it lower there would be more persons willing to buy than to sell.
At $5 no buyer or seller who means what he says about his valuation when
he enters the market goes away disappointed or dissatisfied. With this
price established all sellers whose costs of production prevent their
conforming to it must drop out of the market; so must all buyers whose
desire for the article does not warrant their paying so much. More
fundamentally then, Why is $5 the price? Is it because intending buyers
and the marginal buyer in particular do not desire the article more
strongly? Or is it because conditions of production, all things
considered, do not permit a lower marginal unit cost? The argument might
seem hopeless. But the advantage is claimed for the principle of demand.
Without demand arising out of desires expressive of wants there would
simply _be_ no value, no production, and no price. Demand evokes
production and sanctions cost. But cost expended can give no value to a
product that no one wants.

Does it follow, however, that the cost of a commodity in which on its
general merits I have come to take a hypothetical interest can in no
wise affect my actual price-offer for it? Can it contribute nothing to
the preciser definition of my interest which is eventually to be
expressed in a price offer? If the answer is "No, for how can this
external fact affect the strength of your desire for the object?"--then
the reason given begs the question at issue. _Is_ my interest in the
object an interest in the object alone? And _is_ the cost of the object
a fact for me external and indifferent? It is, at all events, not
uncommon to be assured that an article "cannot be produced for less,"
that one or another of its elements of cost is higher than would be
natural to suppose. Not always scientifically accurate, such assurances
express an evident confidence that they will not be without effect upon
a hesitant but fair-minded purchaser. And in other ways as well, the
position of sellers in the market is not so defenseless as a strict
utility theory of price conceives--apart from the standpoint of an
abstract "normality" that can never contrive to get itself realized in
empirical fact.[63] It is true that, in general, one tends to purchase
an article of a given familiar kind where its price, all things
considered, is lowest. In consequence the less "capable" producers or
sellers must go to the wall. But the fact seems mainly "regulative" and
of subordinate importance. Is it equally certain that as between
branches of expenditure, such as clothing, food, and shelter, children,
books, and "social" intercourse, the shares of income we expend upon
them or the marginal prices we are content to pay express the original
strength of separate and unmodified extra-market interests? On the
contrary we have paid in the past what we have had to pay, what we have
deemed just and reasonable, what we have been willing experimentally to
hazard upon the possibility of the outlay's proving to have been worth
while. In these twilight-zones of indetermination, cost as well as
other factors of supply have had their opportunity. Shall we
nevertheless insist that our "demands" are _ideally_ fixed, even though
in fallible human fact they are more or less indistinct, yielding and
modifiable? On the contrary they are "in principle and for the most
part" indeterminate and expectant of suggested experimental shaping from
the supply side of the market. It is less in theory than in fact that
they have a salutary tendency (none too dependable) toward rigidity.


§ 19. The argument may now be summarily reviewed.

I. How are we to understand the acquisition, by an individual, of what
are called new economic needs and interests? Except by a fairly obvious
fallacy of retrospection we cannot regard this phenomenon as a mere
arousal of so-called latent or implicit desires. New products and new
means of production afford "satisfactions" and bring about objective
results which are unimaginable and therefore unpredictable, in any
descriptive fashion, in advance. In a realistic or empirical view of the
matter, these constitute genuinely new developments of personality and
of social function, not mere unfoldings of a preformed logical or vital
system. "Human nature" is modifiable and economic choice and action are
factors in this indivisible process (§§ 2-4). Now "logically" it would
seem clear that unless a new commodity is an object of desire it will
not be made or paid for. On the other hand, with equal "logic," a _new_
commodity, it would seem, _cannot_ be an object of desire because all
desire must be for what we already know. We seem confronted with a
complete _impasse_ (§ 5). But the _impasse_ is conceptual only. We have
simply to acknowledge the patent fact of our recognition of the new as
novel and our interest in the new in its outstanding character of
novelty. We need only express and interpret this fact, instead of
fancying ourselves bound to explain it away. It is an interest not less
genuine and significant in economic experience than elsewhere (§§ 6, 7).
Its importance lies in the fact that it obliges us to regard what is
called economic choice not as a balancing of utilities, marginal or
otherwise, but as a process of "constructive comparison." The new
commodity and its purchase price are in reality symbols for
alternatively possible systems of life and action. Can the old be
relinquished for the new? Before this question is answered each system
may be criticized and interpreted from the standpoint of the other, each
may be supplemented by suggestion, by dictate of tradition and by
impulsive prompting, by inference, and by conjecture. Finally in
experimental fashion an election must be made. The system as accepted
may or may not be, in terms, identical with one of the initial
alternatives; it can never be identical in full meaning and perspective
with either one. And in the end we have not chosen the new because its
value, as seen beforehand, measured more than the value of the old, but
we now declare the old, seen in retrospect, to have been worth less (§§
8-12). There are apparently no valid objections to this view to be
drawn from the current logical type of marginal-utility analysis (§ 13).

II. Because so-called economic "choice" is in reality "constructive
comparison" it must be regarded as essentially ethical in import. Ethics
and economic theory, instead of dealing with separate problems of
conduct, deal with distinguishable but inseparable stages belonging to
the complete analysis of most, if not all, problems (§ 14). This view
suggests, (_a_) that no reasons in experience or in logic exist for
identifying the economic interest with an attitude of exclusive or
particularistic egoism (§ 15), and (_b_) that social reformers are
justified in their assumption of a certain "perfectibility" in human
nature--a constructive responsiveness instead of an insensate and
stubborn inertia (§ 16). Again, in the process of constructive
comparison in its economic phase, Price or Exchange Value is, in
apparent accord with the English classical tradition, the fundamental
working conception. Value as "absolute" is essentially a subordinate and
"conservative" conception, belonging to a status of system and routine,
and is "absolute" in a purely functional sense (§ 17). And finally
constructive comparison, with price or exchange value as its dominant
conception, is clearly nothing if not a market process. In the nature of
the case, then, there can be no such ante-market definiteness and
rigidity of demand schedules as a strictly marginal-utility theory of
market prices logically must require (§ 18).

§ 20. In at least two respects the argument falls short of what might be
desired. No account is given of the actual procedure of constructive
comparison and nothing like a complete survey of the leading ideas and
problems of economic theory is undertaken by way of verification. But to
have supplied the former in any satisfactory way would have required an
unduly extended discussion of the more general, or ethical, phases of
constructive comparison. The other deficiency is less regrettable, since
the task in question is one that could only be hopefully undertaken and
convincingly carried through by a professional economist.

For the present purpose, it is perhaps enough to have found in our
economic experience and behavior the same interest in novelty that is so
manifest in other departments of life, and the same attainment of new
self-validating levels of power and interest, through the acquisition
and exploitation of the novel. In our economic experience, no more than
elsewhere, is satisfaction an ultimate and self-explanatory term.
Satisfaction carries with it always a reference to the level of power
and interest that makes it possible and on which it must be measured. To
seek satisfaction for its own sake or to hinge one's interest in science
or art upon their ability to serve the palpable needs of the present
moment--these, together, make up the meaning of what is called
Utilitarianism. And Utilitarianism in this sense (which is far less what
Mill meant by the term than a tradition he could never, with all his
striving, quite get free of), this type of Utilitarianism spells
routine. It is the surrender of initiative and control, in the quest for
ends in life, for a philistine pleased acceptance of the ends that
Nature, assisted by the advertisement-writers, sets before us. But this
type of Utilitarianism is less frequent in actual occurrence than its
vogue in popular literature and elsewhere may appear to indicate. As a
matter of fact, we more often look to satisfaction, not as an end of
effort or a condition to be preserved, but as the evidence that an
experimental venture has been justified in its event. And this is a
widely different matter, for in this there is no inherent implication of
a habit-bound or egoistic narrowness of interest in the conceiving or
the launching of the venture.

The economic interest, as a function of intelligence, finds its proper
expression in a valuation set upon one thing in terms of another--a
valuation that is either a step in a settled plan of spending and
consumption or marks the passing of an old plan and our embarkation on a
new. From such a view it must follow that the economic betterment of an
individual or a society can consist neither in the accumulation of
material wealth alone nor in a more diversified technical knowledge and
skill. For the individual or for a collectivist state there must be
added to these things alertness and imagination in the personal quest
and discovery of values and a broad and critical intelligence in making
the actual trial of them. Without a commensurate gain in these qualities
it will avail little to make technical training and industrial
opportunity more free or even to make the rewards of effort more
equitable and secure. But it has been one of the purposes of this
discussion to suggest that just this growth in outlook and intelligence
may in the long run be counted on--not indeed as a direct and simple
consequence of increasing material abundance but as an expression of an
inherent creativeness in man that responds to discipline and education
and will not fail to recognize the opportunity it seeks.

Real economic progress is ethical in aim and outcome. We cannot think of
the economic interest as restricted in its exercise to a certain sphere
or level of effort--such as "the ordinary business of life" or the
gaining of a "livelihood" or the satisfaction of our so-called
"material" wants, or the pursuit of an enlightened, or an unenlightened,
self-regard. Economics has no special relation to "material" or even to
commonplace ends. Its materialism lies not in its aim and tendency but
in its problem and method. It has no bias toward a lower order of
mundane values. It only takes note of the ways and degrees of dependence
upon mundane resources and conditions that values of every order must
acknowledge. It reminds us that morality and culture, if they are
genuine, must know not only what they intend but what they cost. They
must understand not only the direct but the indirect and accidental
bearing of their purposes upon all of our interests, private and social,
that they are likely to affect. The detachment of the economic interest
from any particular level or class of values is only the obverse aspect
of the special kind of concern it has with values of every sort. The
very generality of the economic interest, and the abstractness of the
ideas by which it maintains routine or safeguards change in our
experience, are what make it unmistakably ethical. Without specific ends
of its own, it affords no ground for dogmatism or apologetics. And this
indicates as the appropriate task of economic theory not the arrest and
thwarting but the steadying and shaping of social change.



Writing about ethics has tended to take one of two directions. On the
one hand we have description of conduct in terms of psychology, or
anthropology. On the other a study of the concepts right and wrong, good
and bad, duty and freedom. If we follow the first line we may attempt to
explain conduct psychologically by showing the simple ideas or feelings
and the causal connections or laws of habit and association out of which
actions arise. Or anthropologically we may show the successive stages of
custom and taboo, or the family, religious, political, legal, and social
institutions from which morality has emerged. But we meet at once a
difficulty if we ask what is the bearing of this description and
analysis. Will it aid me in the practical judgment "What shall I do?" In
physics there is no corresponding difficulty. To analyze gravity enables
us to compute an orbit, or aim a gun; to analyze electric action is to
have the basis for lighting streets and carrying messages. It assumes
the uniformity of nature and takes no responsibility as to whether we
shall aim guns or whether our messages shall be of war or of peace.
Whereas in ethics it is claimed that the elements are so changed by
their combination--that the _process_ is so essential a factor--that no
prediction is certain. And it is also claimed that the ends themselves
are perhaps to be changed as well as the means. Stated otherwise,
suppose that mankind has passed through various stages, can mere
observation of these tell me what next? Perhaps I don't care to repeat
the past; how can I plan for a better future? Or grant that I may
discover instinct and emotion, habit and association in my thinking and
willing, how will this guide me to direct my thinking and willing to
right ends?

The second method has tended to examine concepts. Good is an eternal,
changeless pattern; it is to be discovered by a vision; or right and
good are but other terms for nature's or reason's universal laws which
are timeless and wholly unaffected by human desires or passions; moral
nature is soul, and soul is created not built up of elements,--such were
some of the older absolutisms. Right and good are unique concepts not to
be resolved or explained in terms of anything else,--this is a more
modern thesis which on the face of it may appear to discourage analysis.
The ethical world is a world of "eternal values." Philosophy "by taking
part in empirical questions sinks both itself and them." These doctrines
bring high claims, but are they more valuable for human guidance than
the empirical method?[65]

"The knowledge that is superhuman only is ridiculous in man." No man can
ever find his way home with the pure circle unless he has also the art
of the impure. It is the conviction of this paper that in ethics, as in
knowledge, thoughts without contents are empty; percepts without
concepts are blind. Description of what has been--empiricism--is futile
in itself to project and criticize. Intuitions and deductions a priori
are empty. The "thoughts" of ethics are of course the terms right, good,
ought, worth, and their kin. The "percepts" are the instincts and
emotions, the desires and aspirations, the conditions of time and place,
of nature, and institutions.

Yet it is misleading to say that in studying the history of morals we
are merely empiricists, and can hope to find no criterion. This would be
the case if we were studying non-moral beings. But moral beings have to
some degree guided life by judgments and not merely followed impulse or
habit. Early judgments as to taboos, customs, and conduct may be crude
and in need of correction; they are none the less judgments. Over and
over we find them reshaped to meet change from hunting to agriculture,
from want to plenty, from war to peace, from small to large groupings.
Much more clearly when we consider civilized peoples, the interaction
between reflection and impulse becomes patent. To study this interaction
can be regarded as futile for the future only if we discredit all past
moral achievement.

Those writers who have based their ethics upon concepts have frequently
expressed the conviction that the security of morality depends upon the
question whether good and right are absolute and eternal essences
independent of human opinion or volition. A different source of
standards which to some offers more promise for the future is the fact
of the moral life _as_ a constant process of forming and reshaping
ideals and of bringing these to bear upon conditions of existence. To
construct a right and good is at least a process tending to
responsibility, if this construction is to be for the real world in
which we must live and not merely for a world of fancy or caprice. It is
not the aim of this paper to give a comprehensive outline of ethical
method. Four factors in the moral life will be pointed out and this
analysis will be used to emphasize especially certain social and
constructive aspects of our concepts of right and good.


The four factors which it is proposed to emphasize are these:

(1) Life as a biological process involving relation to nature, with all
that this signifies in the equipment of instincts, emotions, and
selective activity by which life maintains itself.

(2) Interrelation with other human beings, including on the one hand
associating, grouping, mating, communicating, coöperating, commanding,
obeying, worshiping, adjudicating, and on the psychological side the
various instincts, emotions, susceptibilities to personal stimulation
and appropriate responses in language and behavior which underlie or are
evoked by the life in common.

(3) Intelligence and reason, through which experience is interrelated,
viewed as a whole, enlarged in imagination.

(4) The process of judgment and choice, in which different elements are
brought together, considered in one conscious universe, evaluated or
measured, thereby giving rise reciprocally to a self on the one hand and
to approved or chosen objects on the other.

(1) Life. Life is at least the raw material of all values, even if it is
not in itself entitled to be called good without qualification. For in
the process of nourishing and protecting itself, the plant or animal
selects and in the case of higher animals, manipulates; it adapts itself
to nature and adapts nature to itself; it shows reciprocal relation of
means to end, of whole to part. It foreshadows the conscious processes
in so many ways that men have always been trying to read back some
degree of consciousness. And life in the animal, at least, is regarded
as having experiences of pleasure and pain, and emotions of fear, anger,
shame, and sex, which are an inseparable aspect of values. If it is not
the supreme or only good, if men freely sacrifice it for other ends, it
is none the less an inevitable factor. Pessimistic theories indeed have
contended that life is evil and have sought to place good in a will-less
Nirvana. Yet such theories make limited appeal. Their protest is
ultimately not against life as life but against life as painful. And
their refutation is rather to be intrusted to the constructive
possibilities of freer life than to an analysis of concepts.

Another class of theories which omit life from the good is that which
holds to abstractly ontological concepts of good as an eternal essence
or form. It must be remembered, however, that the idea of good was not
merely a fixed essence. It was also for Plato the self-moving and the
cause of all motion. And further, Plato evidently believed that life,
the very nature of the soul, was itself in the class of supreme values
along with God and the good. The prize of immortality was [Greek: kalon]
and the hope great. And with Aristotle and his followers the good of
contemplation no less truly than the good of action had elements of
value derived from the vital process. Such a mystic as Spinoza, who
finds good in the understanding values this because in it man is
"active," and would unite himself with the All because in God is Power
and Freedom. The Hebrew prophet found a word capable of evoking great
ethical values when he urged his countrymen to "choose life," and
Christian teaching found in the conception of "eternal life" an ideal of
profound appeal. It is not surprising that with his biological interests
Spencer should have set up life of greatest length and breadth as a

The struggle of the present war emphasizes tremendously two aspects of
this factor of life. National life is an ideal which gets its emotional
backing largely from the imagery of our physical life. For any one of
the small nations involved to give up its national life--whatever the
possibilities of better organized industry or more comfortable material
conditions--seems to it a desperate alternative. Self-defense is
regarded by the various powers at war as a complete justification not
merely for armed resistance or attack but for ruthless acts. And if we
are tempted to say that the war involves a prodigal waste of individual
life on a scale never known before, we are at the same time compelled to
recognize that never before has the bare destruction of life aroused
such horror.

For never before has peace set its forces so determinedly to protect
life. The span of human life has been lengthened: the wastefulness of
accident and disease has been magnified. The dumb acquiescence with
which former generations accepted the death of infants and children and
those in the prime of life has given way to active and increasingly
successful efforts to preserve. The enormous increase in scientific
study of biology, including eugenics, reflects not only an advance of
science but a trend in morality. It is scarcely conceivable that it
should grow less in absolute importance, whatever crises may temporarily
cause its depreciation relatively to other values.

One exception to the growing appreciation calls for notice--the interest
in immortality appears to be less rather than greater. The strong belief
in life beyond the grave which since the days of ancient Egypt has
prevailed in the main stream of Western culture seems not only to be
affected by the scientific temper of the day, but also to be subject to
a shift in interest. This may be in part a reaction from
other-worldliness. In part it may be due to loss of fervor for a
theological picture of a future heaven of a rather monotonous sort and
may signify not so much loss of interest in life as desire for a more
vital kind of continuance. It is not true that all that a man hath will
he give for his life, yet it is true that no valuing process is
intelligible that leaves out life with its impulses, emotions, and
desires as the first factor to be reckoned with.

(2) The second factor is the life in common, with its system of
relations, and its corresponding instincts, emotions, and desires.

So much has been written in recent years on the social nature of man
that it seems unnecessary to elaborate the obvious. Protest has even
been raised against the exaggeration of the social. But I believe that
in certain points at least we have not yet penetrated to the heart of
the social factor, and its significance for morals.

So far as the moral aspect is concerned I know nothing more significant
than the attitude of the Common Law as set forth by Professor Pound.[66]
This has sought to base its system of duties on relations. The relation
which was prominent in the Middle Ages was that of landlord and tenant;
other relations are those of principal and agent, of trustee, etc. An
older relation was that of kinship. The kin was held for the wergeld;
the goël must avenge his next of kin; the father must provide for
prospective parents-in-law; the child must serve the parents. Duty was
the legal term for the relation. In all this there is no romanticism, no
exaggeration of the social; there is a fair statement of the facts which
men have recognized and acted upon the world over and in all times.
Individualistic times or peoples have modified certain phases. The
Roman law sought to ground many of its duties in the contract, the will
of the parties. But covenants by no means exhaust duties. And according
to Professor Pound the whole course of English and American law today is
belying the generalization of Sir Henry Maine, that the evolution of law
is a progress from status to contract. We are shaping law of insurance,
of public service companies, not by contract but by the relation of
insurer and insured, of public utility and patron.

Psychologically, the correlate of the system of relations is the set of
instincts and emotions, of capacity for stimulation and response, which
presuppose society for their exercise and in turn make society possible.
There can be no question as to the reality and strength of these in both
animals and men. The bear will fight for her young more savagely than
for her life. The human mother's thoughts center far more intensely upon
her offspring than upon her own person. The man who is cut dead by all
his acquaintance suffers more than he would from hunger or physical
fear. The passion of sex frequently overmasters every instinct of
individual prudence. The majority of men face poverty and live in want;
relatively few prefer physical comfort to family ties. Aristotle's
[Greek: philia] is the oftenest quoted recognition of the emotional
basis of common life, but a statement of Kant's earlier years is
particularly happy. "The point to which the lines of direction of our
impulses converge is thus not only in ourselves, but there are besides
powers moving us in the will of others outside of ourselves. Hence arise
the moral impulses which often carry us away to the discomfiture of
selfishness, the strong law of duty, and the weaker of benevolence. Both
of these wring from us many a sacrifice, and although selfish
inclinations now and then preponderate over both, these still never fail
to assert their reality in human nature. Thus we recognize that in our
most secret motives, we are dependent upon the rule of the general

The "law of duty," and I believe we may add, the conception of right, do
arise objectively in the social relations as the common law assumes and
subjectively in the social instincts, emotions, and the more intimate
social consciousness which had not been worked out in the time of Kant
as it has been by recent authors. This point will receive further
treatment later, but I desire to point out in anticipation that if right
and duty have their origin in this social factor there is at least a
presumption against their being subordinate ethically to the conception
of good as we find them in certain writers. If they have independent
origin and are the outgrowth of a special aspect of life it is at least
probable that they are not to be subordinated to the good unless the
very notion of good is itself reciprocally modified by right in a way
that is not usually recognized in teleological systems.

(3) Intelligence and reason imply (_a_) considering the proposed act or
the actually performed act as a whole and in its relations. Especially
they mean considering consequences. In order to foresee consequences
there is required not only empirical observation of past experience,
not only deduction from already formulated concepts--as when we say that
injustice will cause hard feelings and revolt--but that rarer quality
which in the presence of a situation discerns a meaning not obvious,
suggests an idea, "injustice," to interpret the situation. Situations
are neither already labeled "unjust," nor are they obviously unjust to
the ordinary mind. Analysis into elements and rearrangement of the
elements into a new synthesis are required. This is eminently a
synthetic or "creative" activity. Further it is evident that the
activity of intelligence in considering consequences implies not only
what we call reasoning in the narrower sense but imagination and
feeling. For the consequences of an act which are of importance
ethically are consequences which are not merely to be described but are
to be imagined so vividly as to be felt, whether they are consequences
that affect ourselves or affect others.

(_b_) But it would be a very narrow intelligence that should attempt to
consider only consequences of a single proposed act without considering
also other possible acts and their consequences. The second important
characteristic of intelligence is that it considers either other means
of reaching a given end, or other ends, and by working out the
consequences of these also has the basis for deliberation and choice.
The method of "multiple working hypotheses," urged as highly important
in scientific investigation, is no less essential in the moral field. To
bring several ends into the field of consideration is the characteristic
of the intelligent, or as we often say, the open-minded man. Such
consideration as this widens the capacity of the agent and marks him
off from the creature of habit, of prejudice, or of instinct.

(_c_) Intelligence implies considering in two senses all persons
involved, that is, it means taking into account not only how an act will
affect others but also how others look at it. It is scarcely necessary
to say that this activity of intelligence cannot be cut off from its
roots in social intercourse. It is by the processes of give and take, of
stimulus and response, in a social medium that this possibility of
looking at things from a different angle is secured. And once more this
different angle is not gained by what in the strict sense could be
called a purely intellectual operation, although it has come to be so
well recognized as the necessary equipment for dealing successfully with
conditions that we commonly characterize the person as stupid who does
not take account of what others think and feel and how they will react
to a projected line of conduct. This social element in intelligence is
to a considerable degree implied in the term "reasonable," which
signifies not merely that a man is logical in his processes but also
that he is ready to listen to what others say and to look at things from
their point of view whether he finally accepts it or not.

The broad grounds on which it is better to use the word intelligence
than the word reason in the analysis with which we are concerned are
two. (1) It is not a question-begging term which tends to commit us at
the outset to a specific doctrine as to the source of our judgments. (2)
The activity of intelligence which is now most significant for ethical
progress is not suggested by the term reason, for unless we arbitrarily
smuggle in under the term practical reason the whole activity of the
moral consciousness without inquiry as to the propriety of the name we
shall be likely to omit the constructive and creative efforts to promote
morality by positive supplying of enlarged education, new sources of
interest, and more open fields for development, by replacing haunting
fears of misery with positive hopes, and by suggesting new imagery, new
ambitions in the place of sodden indifference or sensuality. The term
reason as used by the Stoics and by Kant meant control of the passions
by some "law"--some authority cosmic or logical. It prepared for the
inevitable; it forbade the private point of view. But as thus presenting
a negative aspect the law was long ago characterized by a profound moral
genius as "weak." It has its value as a schoolmaster, but it is not in
itself capable of supplying the new life which dissolves the old
sentiment, breaks up the settled evil habit, and supplies both larger
ends and effective motives.

If we state human progress in objective fashion we may say that although
men today are still as in earlier times engaged in getting a living, in
mating, in rearing of offspring, in fighting and adventure, in play, and
in art, they are also engaged in science and invention, interested in
the news of other human activities all over the world; they are
adjusting differences by judicial processes, coöperating to promote
general welfare, enjoying refined and more permanent friendships and
affections, and viewing life in its tragedy and comedy with enhanced
emotion and broader sympathy. Leaving out of consideration the work of
the religious or artistic genius as not in question here, the great
objective agencies in bringing about these changes have been on the one
hand the growth of invention, scientific method, and education, and on
the other the increase in human intercourse and communication. Reason
plays its part in both of these in freeing the mind from wasteful
superstitious methods and in analyzing situations and testing
hypotheses, but the term is inadequate to do justice to that creative
element in the formation of hypotheses which finds the new, and it tends
to leave out of account the social point of view involved in the
widening of the area of human intercourse. More will be said upon this
point in connection with the discussion of rationalism.

(4) The process of judgment and choice. The elements are not the sum.
The moral consciousness is not just the urge of life, plus the social
relations, plus intelligence. The _process_ of moral deliberation,
evaluation, judgment, and choice is itself essential. In this process
are born the concepts and standards good and right, and likewise the
moral self which utters the judgment. It is in this twofold respect
synthetic, creative. It is as an interpretation of this process that the
concept of freedom arises. Four aspects of the process may be noted.

(_a_) The process involves holding possibilities of action, or objects
for valuation, or ends for choice, in consciousness and measuring them
one against another in a simultaneous field--or in a field of
alternating objects, any of which can be continually recalled. One
possibility after another may be tried out in anticipation and its
relations successively considered, but the comparison is essential to
the complete moral consciousness.

(_b_) The process yields a universe of valued _objects_ as distinguished
from a subjective consciousness of desires and feelings. We say, "This
is right," "That is good." Every "is" in such judgments may be denied by
an "is not" and we hold one alternative to be true, the other false. As
the market or the stock exchange or board of trade fixes values by a
meeting of buyers and sellers and settles the price of wheat accurately
enough to enable farmers to decide how much land to seed for the next
season, so the world of men and women who must live together and
coöperate, or fight and perish, forces upon consciousness the necessity
of adjustment. The preliminary approaches are usually hesitant and
subjective--like the offers or bids in the market--e.g., "I should like
to go to college; I believe that is a good thing"; "My parents need my
help; it does not seem right to leave them." The judgments finally
emerge. "A college education is good;" "It is wrong to leave my
parents"--both seemingly objective yet conflicting, and unless I can
secure both I must seemingly forego actual objective good, or commit
actual wrong.

(_c_) The process may be described also as one of "universalizing" the
judging consciousness. For it is a counterpart of the objective
implication of a judgment that it is not an affirmation as to any
individual's opinion. This negative characterization of the judgment is
commonly converted into the positive doctrine that any one who is
unprejudiced and equally well informed would make the same judgment.
Strictly speaking the judgment itself represents in its completed form
the elimination of the private attitude rather than the express
inclusion of other judges. But in the making of the judgment it is
probable that this elimination of the private is reached by a mental
reference to other persons and their attitudes, if not by an actual
conversation with another. It is dubious whether an individual that had
never communicated with another would get the distinction between a
private subjective attitude and the "general" or objective.

Moreover, one form of the moral judgment: "This is right," speaks the
language of law--of the collective judgment, or of the judge who hears
both sides but is neither. This generalizing or universalizing is
frequently supposed to be the characteristic activity of "reason." I
believe that a comparison with the kindred value judgments in economics
supports the doctrine that in judgments as to the good as well as in
those as to right, there is no product of any simple faculty, but rather
a synthetic process in which the social factor is prominent. A
compelling motive toward an objective and universal judgment is found in
the practical conditions of moral judgments. Unless men agree on such
fundamental things as killing, stealing, and sex relations they cannot
get on together. Not that when I say, "Killing is wrong," I mean to
affirm "I agree with you in objecting to it"; but that the necessity (a)
of acting as if I either do or do not approve it, and (b) of either
making my attitude agree with yours, or yours agree with mine, or of
fighting it out with you or with the whole force of organized society,
compels me to put my attitude into objective terms, to meet you and
society on a common platform. This is a _synthesis_, an achievement. To
attribute the synthesis to any faculty of "practical reason," adds
nothing to our information, but tends rather to obscure the facts.

(_d_) The process is thus a reciprocal process of valuing objects and of
constructing and reconstructing a self. The object as first imaged or
anticipated undergoes enlargement and change as it is put into relations
to other objects and as the consequences of adoption or rejection are
tried in anticipation. The self by reflecting and by enlarging its scope
is similarly enlarged. It is the _resulting_ self which is the final
valuer. The values of most objects are at first fixed for us by instinct
or they are suggested by the ethos and mores of our groups--family,
society, national religions, and "reign under the appearance of habitual
self-suggested tendencies." The self is constituted accordingly.
Collisions with other selves, conflicts between group valuations and
standards and individual impulses or desires, failure of old standards
as applied to new situations, bring about a more conscious definition of
purposes. The agent identifies himself with these purposes, and values
objects with reference to them. In this process of revaluing and
defining, of comparing and anticipation, freedom is found if anywhere.
For if the process is a real one the elements do not remain unaffected
by their relation to each other and to the whole. The act is not
determined by any single antecedent or by the sum of antecedents. It is
determined by the process. The self is not made wholly by heredity, or
environment. _It is itself creating for each of its elements a new
environment_, viz., the process of reflection and choice. And if man can
change the heredity of pigeons and race horses by suitable selection, if
every scientific experiment is a varying of conditions, it is at least
plausible that man can guide his own acts by intelligence, and revise
his values by criticism.

The self is itself creating for each of its elements a new
environment--this is a fact which if kept in mind will enable us to see
the abstractness and fallacies not merely of libertarianism and
determinism, but of subjectivism and objectivism. Subjective or "inward"
theories have sought standards in the self; but in regarding the self as
an entity independent of such a process as we have described they have
exposed themselves to the criticism of providing only private, variable,
accidental, unauthoritative sources of standards--instincts, or
emotions, or intuitions. The self of the full moral consciousness,
however,--the only one which can claim acceptance or authority--is born
only in the process of considering real conditions, of weighing and
choosing between alternatives of action in a real world of nature and
persons. Its judgments are more than subjective. Objectivism in its
absolutist and abstract forms assumes a standard--nature, essence,
law--independent of process. Such a standard is easily shown to be free
from anything individual, private, or changing. It is universal,
consistent, and eternal, in fact it has many good mathematical
characteristics, but unfortunately it is not moral. As mathematical,
logical, biological, or what not, it offers no standard that appeals to
the moral nature as authoritative or that can help us to find our way


If we are dissatisfied with custom and habit and seek to take philosophy
for the guide of life we have two possibilities: (1) we may look for the
good, and treat right and duty as subordinate concepts which indicate
the way to the good, that is, consider them as good as a means, or (2)
we may seek first to do right irrespective of consequences, in the
belief that in willing to do right we are already in possession of the
highest good. In either case we may consider our standards and values
either as in some sense fixed or as in the making.[68] We may suppose
that good is objective and absolute, that right is discovered by a
rational faculty, or we may consider that in regarding good as objective
we have not made it independent of the valuing process and that in
treating right as a standard we have not thereby made it a fixed concept
to be discovered by the pure intellect. The position of this paper will
be (1) that good while objective is yet objective as a value and not as
an essence or physical fact; (2) that a social factor in value throws
light upon the relation between moral and other values; (3) that right
is not merely a means to the good but has an independent place in the
moral consciousness; (4) that right while signifying order does not
necessarily involve a timeless, eternal order since it refers to an
order of personal relations; (5) that the conception of right instead of
being a matter for pure reason or even the "cognitive faculty" shows an
intimate blending of the emotional and intellectual and that this
appears particularly in the conception of the reasonable.

(1) We begin with the question of the synthetic and objective character
of the good. With G. E. Moore as with the utilitarians the good is the
ultimate concept. Right and duty are means to the good. Moore and
Rashdall also follow Sidgwick in regarding good as unique, that is, as
"synthetic." Sidgwick emphasized in this especially the point that moral
value cannot be decided by physical existence or the course of
evolution, nor can the good be regarded as meaning the pleasant. Moore
and Russell reinforce this. However true it may be that pleasure is one
among other good things or that life is one among other good things,
good does not mean either pleasure or survival. Good means just "good."

A similar thought underlies Croce's division of the Practical into the
two spheres of the Economic and the Ethical. "The economic activity is
that which wills and effects only what corresponds to the conditions of
fact in which a man finds himself; the ethical activity is that which,
although it correspond to these conditions, also refers to something
that transcends them. To the first correspond what are called
individual ends, to the second universal ends; the one gives rise to the
judgment concerning the greater or less coherence of the action taken in
itself, the other to that concerning its greater or less coherence in
respect to the universal end, which transcends the individual.[69]
Utilitarianism is according to Croce an attempt to reduce the Ethical to
the Economic form, although the utilitarians as men attempt in various
ways to make a place for that distinction which as philosophers they
would suppress. "Man is not a consumer of pleasures. He is a creator of
life." With this claim of the distinctive, synthetic, character of the
moral consciousness and of the impossibility of testing the worth of
ideals by cosmic laws, or by gratification of particular wants as
measured by pleasure, I have no issue. The analysis of the moral
judgment made above points out just how it is that good is synthetic. It
is synthetic in that it represents a measuring and valuing of
ends--instinctive and imagined, individual and social--against each
other and as part of a whole to which a growing self corresponds. It is
synthetic in that it represents not merely a process of evaluating ends
which match actually defined desires, but also a process in which the
growing self, dissatisfied with any ends already in view, gropes for
some new definition of ends that shall better respond to its living,
creative capacity, its active synthetic character. Good is the concept
for just this valuing process as carried on by a conscious being that is
not content to take its desire as ready made by its present
construction, but is reaching out for ends that shall respond to a
growing, expanding, inclusive, social, self. It expresses value _as_

Value _as value!_ not as being; nor as independent essence; nor as
anything static and fixed. For a synthetic self, a living personality,
could find no supreme value in the complete absence of valuing, in the
cessation of life, in the negation of that very activity of projection,
adventure, construction, and synthesis in which it has struck out the
concept good. A theory of ethics which upholds the synthetic character
of the good may be criticized as being not synthetic enough if it fails
to see that on the basis of the mutual determination of percepts and
concepts, of self and objects, the synthetic character of the process
must be reflected in the ultimate meaning of the category which
symbolizes and incorporates the process.

(2) We may find some light upon the question how moral value gets its
distinctive and unique character, and how it comes to be more
"objective" than economic value if we consider some of the social
factors in the moral judgment. For although the concept good is rooted
in the life process with its selective activity and attending emotions
it involves a subtle social element, as well as the more commonly
recognized factors of intelligence.

Within the fundamental selective process two types of behavior tend to
differentiate in response to two general sorts of stimulation. One sort
is simpler, more monotonous, more easily analyzable. Response to such
stimulation, or treatment of objects which may be described under these
terms of simple, analyzable, etc., is easily organized into a habit. It
calls for no great shifts in attention, no sudden readjustments. There
is nothing mysterious about it. As satisfying various wants it has a
certain kind of value. It, however, evokes no consciousness of self.
Toward the more variable, complex sort of stimuli, greater attention,
constant adjustment and readjustment, are necessary.

Objects of the first sort are treated as things, in the sense that they
do not call out any respect from us or have any intrinsic value. We
understand them through and through, manipulate them, consume them,
throw them away. We regard them as valuable only with reference to our
wants. On the other hand, objects of the second sort take their place in
a bi-focal situation. Our attention shifts alternately to their behavior
and to our response, or, conversely, from our act to their response.
This back and forth movement of attention in the case of certain of
these objects is reinforced by the fact that certain stimuli from them
or from the organism, find peculiar responses already prepared in social
instincts; gesture and language play their part. Such a bi-focal
situation as this, when completely developed, involves persons. In its
earlier stages it is the quasi-personal attitude which is found in
certain savage religious attitudes, in certain æsthetic attitudes, and
in the emotional attitudes which we all have toward many of the objects
of daily life.

Economic values arise in connection with attitudes toward things. We buy
things, we sell them. They have value just in that they gratify our
wants, but they do not compel any revision or change in wants or in the
self which wants. They represent a partial interest--or if they become
the total interest we regard them as now in the moral sphere. Values of
personal affection arise as we find a constant rapport in thought,
feeling, purpose, between the two members of our social consciousness.
The attitude is that of going along with another and thereby extending
and enriching our experiences. We enter into his ideas, range with his
imagination, kindle at his enthusiasms, sympathize with his joys or
sorrows. We may disagree with our friend's opinions, but we do not
maintain a critical attitude toward _him_, that is, toward his
fundamental convictions and attitudes. If "home is the place where, when
you have to go there, they have to take you in," as Frost puts it, a
friend is one who, when you go to him, has to accept you.

Moral values also arise in a social or personal relation--not in
relation to things. This is on the surface in the form of judgment; "He
is a good man," "That is a good act." If it is less obvious in the
practical judgment, "This is the better course of action," i.e., the
course which leads to the greater good, or to the good, this is because
we fail to discern that the good in these cases is a something with
which I can identify myself, not a something which I merely possess and
keep separate from my personality. It is something I shall be rather
than have. Or if I speak of a share or participation it is a sharing in
the sense of entering into a kindred life. It is an ideal, and an ideal
for a conscious personal being can hardly be other than conscious. It
may be objected that however personal the ideal it is not on this
account necessarily social. It embodies what I would be, but does not
necessarily imply response to any other personality. This, however,
would be to overlook the analyses which recent psychology has made of
the personal. The ideal does not develop in a vacuum. It implies for one
thing individuality which is conceivable only as other individuals are
distinguished. It implies the definition of purposes, and such
definition is scarcely if ever attempted except as a possible world of
purposes is envisaged.

Æsthetic valuation is in certain respects intermediate between the
valuation of things on the one hand and the moral evaluation of acts of
persons or conscious states on the other. Æsthetic objects are in many
cases seemingly things and yet even as things they are quasi-personal;
they are viewed with a certain sympathy quite different from that which
we feel for a purely economic object. If it is a work of art the artist
has embodied his thought and feeling and the observer finds it there.
The experience is that of _Einfühlung_. Yet we do not expect the kind of
response which we look for in friendship, nor do we take the object as
merely a factor for the guidance or control of our own action as in the
practical judgment of morality. The æsthetic becomes the object of
contemplation, not of response; of embodied meaning, not of
individuality. It is so far personal that no one of æsthetic sensibility
likes to see a thing of beauty destroyed or mistreated. The situation
in which we recognize in an object meaning and embodied feeling, or at
least find sources of stimulation which appeal to our emotions, develops
an æsthetic enhancement of conscious experience. The æsthetic value
predicate is the outcome of this peculiar enhancement.

It seems that the social nature of the judgment plays a part also in the
varying objectivity of values. It is undoubtedly true that some values
are treated as belonging to objects. If we cannot explain this fully we
may get some light upon the situation by noticing the degree to which
this is true in the cases of the kinds of values already described.

Economic values are dubiously objective. We use both forms of
expression. We say on the one hand, "I want wheat," "There is a demand
for wheat," or, on the other, "Wheat is worth one dollar a bushel."
Conversely, "There is no demand for the old-fashioned high-framed
bicycle" or "It is worthless." The Middle Ages regarded economic value
as completely objective. A thing had a _real value_. The retailer could
not add to it. The mediæval economist believed in the externality of
relations; he prosecuted for the offenses of forestalling and regrating
the man who would make a profit by merely changing things in place. He
condemned usury. We have definitely abandoned this theory. We recognize
that it is the want which makes the value. To make exchange possible and
socialize to some degree the scale of prices we depend upon a public
market or a stock exchange.

In values of personal affection we may begin with a purely individual
attitude, "I love or esteem my friend." If I put it more objectively I
may say, "He is an honored and valued friend." Perhaps still more
objectively, we--especially if we are feminine--may say "Is not X dear?"
We may then go on to seek a social standard. We perhaps look for
reinforcement in a small group of like-minded. We are a little perplexed
and, it may be, aggrieved if other members of the circle do not love the
one whom we love. In such a group judgment of a common friend there is
doubtless greater objectivity than in the economic judgment. The value
of a friend does not depend upon his adjustment to our wants. As
Aristotle pointed out, true friendship is for its own sake. Its value is
"disinterested." If a man does not care for an economic good it does not
reflect upon him. He may be careless of futures, neglectful of corn,
indifferent to steel. It lessens the demand, lowers the values of these
goods, an infinitesimal, but does not write him down an inferior person.
To fail to prize a possible friend is a reflection upon us. However the
fact that in the very nature of the case one can scarcely be a personal
friend to a large, not to say a universal group, operates to limit the

In the æsthetic and moral attitudes we incorporate value in the object
decisively. We do not like to think that beauty can be changed with
shifting fashions or to affirm that the firmament was ever anything but
sublime. It seems to belong to the very essence of right that it is
something to which the self can commit itself in absolute loyalty and
finality. And, as for good, we may say with Moore in judgments of
intrinsic value, at least, "we judge concerning a particular state of
things that it would be worth while--would be a good thing--that that
state of things should exist, even if nothing else were to exist

With regard to this problem of objectivity it is significant in the
first place that the kind of situation out of which this object value is
affirmed in æsthetic and moral judgments is a social situation. It
contrasts in this respect with the economic situation. The economic is
indeed social in so far as it sets exchange values, but the object
valued is not a social object. The æsthetic and moral object is such an
object. Not only is there no contradiction in giving to the symbolic
form or the moral act intrinsic value: there is entire plausibility in
doing so. For in so far as the situation is really personal, _either
member is fundamentally equal to the other and may be treated as
embodying all the value of the situation_. The value which rises to
consciousness in the situation is made more complete by eliminating from
consideration the originating factors, the plural agents of admiration
or approval, and incorporating the whole product abstractly in the
object. In thus calling attention to the social or personal character of
the æsthetic or moral object it is not intended to minimize that factor
in the judgment which we properly speak of as the universalizing
activity of thought, much less to overlook the importance of the
judgmental process itself. The intention is to point out some of the
reasons why in one case the thinking process does universalize while in
the other it does not, why in one case the judgment is completely
objective while in the other it is not. In both æsthetic and moral
judgments social art, social action, social judgments, through
collective decisions prepare the way for the general non-personal,
objective form. It is probable that man would not say, "This is right,"
using the word as an adjective, if he had not first said, as member of a
judicially acting group, "This is right," using the word as a noun. And
finally whatever we may claim as to the "cognitive" nature of the
æsthetic and moral judgment, the only test for the beauty of an object
is that persons of taste discover it. The only test for the rightness of
an act is that persons of good character approve it. The only test for
goodness is that good persons on reflection approve and choose it--just
as the test for good persons is that they choose and do the good.

(3) Right is not merely a means to good but has a place of its own in
the moral consciousness. Many of our moral choices or judgments do not
take the form of choice between right and wrong, or between duty and its
opposite; they appear to be choices between goods. That is, we do not
always consider our value as crystallized into a present standard or
feel a tension between a resisting and an authoritative self. But when
they do emerge they signify a distinct factor. What Moore says of good
may be said also of right. Right means just "right," nothing else. That
is, we mean that acts so characterized correspond exactly to a self in a
peculiar attitude, viz., one of adequate standardizing and adjustment,
of equilibrium, in view of all relations. The concept signifies that in
finding our way into a moral world into which we are born in the process
of valuing and judging, we take along the imagery of social judgment in
which through language and behavior the individual is constantly
adjusting himself, not only to the social institutions, and group
organization but far more subtly and unconsciously to the social
consciousness and attitudes.

This conception of an order to which the act must refer has usually been
regarded as peculiarly a "rational" factor. It is, however, rather an
order of social elements, of a nature of persons, than of a "nature of
things." In savage life the position of father, wife, child, guest, or
other members of the household, is one of the most prominent facts of
the situation. The relationship of various totem groups and
inter-marrying groups is the very focus of moral consciousness. Even in
the case of such a cosmic conception of order as Dike and Themis, Rita
and Tao, the "Way" is not impersonal cosmos. It is at least
quasi-personal. And if we say such primitive myth has no bearing on what
the "nature" of right or the "true" meaning of right is, it is pertinent
to repeat that concepts without percepts are empty; that the term means
nothing except the conceptual interpretation of a unique synthetic
process in which an act placed in relation to a standard is thereby
given new meaning. So long as custom or law forms the only or the
dominant factor in the process, we have little development of the ideal
concept right as distinct from a factual standard. But when reason and
intelligence enter, particularly when that creative activity of
intelligence enters which attempts a new construction of ends, a new
ordering of possible experience, then the standardizing process is set
free; a new self with new possibilities of relation seeks expression.
The concept "right" reflects the standardizing, valuing process of a
synthetic order and a synthetic self. Duty born similarly in the world
of social relations and reflecting especially the tension between the
individual and the larger whole is likewise given full moral
significance when it becomes a tension within the synthetic self. And as
thus reflecting the immediate attitudes of the self to an ideal social
order both right and duty are not to be treated merely as means to any
value which does not include as integrant factors just what these

This view is contrary to that of Moore, for whom "right does and can
mean nothing but 'cause of a good result,' and is thus identical with
useful."[70] The right act is that which has the best consequences.[71]
Similarly duty is that action which will cause more good to exist in the
Universe than any possible alternative. It is evident that this makes it
impossible for any finite mind to assert confidently that any act is
right or a duty. "Accordingly it follows that we never have any reason
to suppose that an action is our duty: we can never be sure that any
action will produce the greatest value possible.[72]

Whatever the convenience of such a definition of right and duty for a
simplified ethics it can hardly be claimed to accord with the moral
consciousness, for men have notoriously supposed certain acts to be
duty. To say that a parent has no reason to suppose that it is his duty
to care for his child is more than paradox. And a still greater
contradiction to the morality of common sense inheres in the doctrine
that the right act is that which has the best consequences. Considering
all the good to literature and free inquiry which has resulted from the
condemnation of Socrates it is highly probable--or at least it is
arguable--that the condemnation had better results than an acquittal
would have yielded. But it would be contrary to our ordinary use of
language to maintain that this made the act right. Or to take a more
recent case: the present war may conceivably lead to a more permanent
peace. The "severities," practised by one party, may stir the other to
greater indignation and lead ultimately to triumph of the latter. Will
the acts in question be termed right by the second party if they
actually have this effect? On this hypothesis the more outrageous an act
and the greater the reaction against it, the better the consequences are
likely to be and hence the more reason to call the act right and a duty.
The paradox results from omitting from right the elements of the
immediate situation and considering only consequences. The very meaning
of the concept right, implies focussing attention upon the present
rather than upon the future. It suggests a cross-section of life in its
relations. If the time process were to be arrested immediately after our
act I think we might still speak of it as right or wrong. In trying to
judge a proposed act we doubtless try to discover what it will mean,
that is, we look at consequences. But these consequences are looked upon
as giving us the meaning of the present act and we do not on this
account subordinate the present act to these consequences. Especially we
do not mean to eliminate the significance of this very process of
judgment. It is significant that in considering what are the intrinsic
goods Moore enumerates personal affection and the appreciation of
beauty, and with less positiveness, true belief, but does not include
any mention of the valuing or choosing or creative consciousness.

(4) If we regard right as the concept which reflects the judgment of
standardizing our acts by some ideal order, questions arise as to the
objectivity of this order and the fixed or moving character of the
implied standard. Rashdall lays great stress upon the importance of
objectivity: "Assuredly there is no scientific problem upon which so
much depends as upon the answer we give to the question whether the
distinction which we are accustomed to draw between right and wrong
belongs to the region of objective truth like the laws of mathematics
and of physical science, or whether it is based upon an actual emotional
constitution of individual human beings."[73] The appraisement of the
various desires and impulses by myself and other men is "a piece of
insight into the true nature of things."[74] While these statements are
primarily intended to oppose the moral sense view of the judgment, they
also bear upon the question whether right is something fixed. The
phrase "insight into the true nature of things" suggests at once the
view that the nature of things is quite independent of any attitude of
human beings toward it. It is something which the seeker for moral truth
may discover but nothing which he can in any way modify. It is urged
that if we are to have any science of ethics at all what was once right
must be conceived as always right in the same circumstances.[75]

I hold no brief for the position--if any one holds the position--that in
saying "this is right" I am making an assertion about my own feelings or
those of any one else. As already stated the function of the judging
process is to determine objects, with reference to which we say "is" or
"is not." The emotional theory of the moral consciousness does not give
adequate recognition to this. But just as little as the process of the
moral consciousness is satisfied by an emotional theory of the judgment
does it sanction any conception of objectivity which requires that
values are here or there once for all; that they are fixed entities or
"a nature of things" upon which the moral consciousness may look for its
information but upon which it exercises no influence. The process of
attempting to give--or discover--moral values is a process of mutual
determination of object and agent. We have to do in morals not with a
nature of things but with natures of persons. The very characteristic of
a person as we have understood it is that he is synthetic, is actually
creating something new by organizing experiences and purposes, by
judging and choosing. Objectivity does not necessarily imply

Whether right is a term of fixed and changeless character depends upon
whether the agents are fixed units, either in fact or in ideal. If, as
we maintain, right is the correlate of a self confronting a world of
other persons conceived as all related in an order, the vital question
is whether this order is a fixed or a moving order. "Straight" is a term
of fixed content just because we conceive space in timeless terms; it is
by its very meaning a cross-section of a static order. But a world of
living intelligent agents in social relations is in its very
presuppositions a world of activity, of mutual understanding and
adjustment. Rationalistic theory, led astray by geometrical conceptions,
conceived that a universal criterion must be like a straight line, a
fixed and timeless--or eternal--entity. But in such an order of fixed
units there could be no selection, no adjustment to other changing
agents, no adventure upon the new untested possibility which marks the
advance of every great moral idea, in a word, no morality of the
positive and constructive sort. And if it be objected that the predicate
of a judgment must be timeless whatever the subject, that the word "is"
as Plato insists cannot be used if all flows, we reply that if right=the
correlate of a moving order, of living social intelligent beings, it is
quite possible to affirm "This is according to that law." If our logic
provides no form of judgment for the analysis of such a situation it is
inadequate for the facts which it would interpret. But in truth
mankind's moral judgments have never committed themselves to any such
implication. We recognize the futility of attempting to answer simply
any such questions as whether the Israelites did right to conquer Canaan
or Hamlet to avenge his father.

(5) The category of right has usually been closely connected, if not
identified, with reason or "cognitive" activity as contrasted with
emotion. Professor Dewey on the contrary has pointed out clearly[76] the
impossibility of separating emotion and thought. "To put ourselves in
the place of another ... is the surest way to attain universality and
objectivity of moral knowledge." "The only truly general, the reasonable
as distinct from the merely shrewd or clever thought, is the _generous_
thought." But in the case of certain judgments such as those approving
fairness and the general good Sidgwick finds a rational intuition. "The
principle of impartiality is obtained by considering the similarity of
the individuals that make up a Logical Whole or Genus."[77] Rashdall
challenges any but a rationalistic ethics to explain fairness as
contrasted with partiality of affection.

There is without question a properly rational or intellectual element in
the judgment of impartiality, namely, analysis of the situation and
comparison of the units. But what we shall set up as our units--whether
we shall treat the gentile or the barbarian or negro as a person, as end
and not merely means, or not, depends on something quite other than
reason. And this other factor is not covered by the term "practical
reason." In fact no ethical principle shows better the subtle blending
of the emotional and social factors with the rational. For the student
of the history of justice is aware that only an extraordinarily
ingenious exegesis could regard justice as having ever been governed by
a mathematical logic. The logic of justice has been the logic of a
we-group gradually expanding its area. Or it has been the logic of a
Magna Charta--a document of special privileges wrested from a superior
by a strong group, and gradually widening its benefits with the
admission of others into the favored class. Or it has been the logic of
class, in which those of the same level are treated alike but those of
different levels of birth or wealth are treated proportionately. Yet it
would seem far-fetched to maintain that the countrymen of Euclid and
Aristotle were deficient in the ability to perform so simple a reasoning
process as the judgment one equals one, or that men who developed the
Roman Law, or built the cathedrals of the Middle Ages, were similarly
lacking in elementary analysis. Inequality rather than equality has been
the rule in the world's justice. It has not only been the practice but
the approved principle. It still is in regard to great areas of life. In
the United States there is no general disapproval of the great
inequalities in opportunity for children, to say nothing of inequalities
in distribution of wealth. In England higher education is for the
classes rather than for the masses. In Prussia the inequality in voting
strength of different groups and the practical immunity of the military
class from the constraints of civil law seem to an American unfair. The
western states of the Union think it unfair to restrict the suffrage to
males and give women no voice in the determination of matters of such
vital interest to them as the law of divorce, the guardianship of
children, the regulation of women's labor, the sale of alcoholic
liquors, the protection of milk and food supply. Are all these
differences of practice and conviction due to the fact that some people
use reason while others do not? Of course in every case excellent
reasons can be given for the inequality. The gentile should not be
treated as a Jew because he is not a Jew. The slave should not be
treated as a free citizen because he is not a free citizen. The churl
should not have the same wergeld as the thane because he is lowborn. The
more able should possess more goods. The woman should not vote because
she is not a man. The reasoning is clear and unimpeachable if you accept
the premises, but what gives the premises? In every case cited the
premise is determined largely if not exclusively by social or emotional
factors. If reason can then prescribe equally well that the slave should
be given rights because he is a man of similar traits or denied rights
because he has different traits from his master, if the Jew may either
be given his place of equality because he hath eyes, hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions, or denied equality because he
differs in descent, if a woman is equal as regards taxpaying but unequal
as regards voting, it is at least evident that reason is no unambiguous
source of morality. The devil can quote Scripture and it is a very poor
reasoner who cannot find a reason for anything that he wishes to do. A
partiality that is more or less consistently partial to certain sets or
classes is perhaps as near impartiality as man has yet come, whether by
a rational faculty or any other.

Is it, then, the intent of this argument merely to reiterate that reason
is and ought to be the slave of the passions? On the contrary, the
intent is to substitute for such blanket words as reason and passions a
more adequate analysis. And what difference will this make? As regards
the particular point in controversy it will make this difference: the
rationalist having smuggled in under the cover of reason the whole moral
consciousness then proceeds to assume that because two and two are
always four, or the relations of a straight line are timeless, therefore
ethics is similarly a matter of fixed standards and timeless goods. A
legal friend told me that he once spent a year trying to decide whether
a corporation was or was not a person and then concluded that the
question was immaterial. But when the supreme court decided that a
corporation was a person in the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment it
thereby made the corporation heir to the rights established primarily
for the negro. Can the moral consciousness by taking the name "reason"
become heir to all the privileges of the absolute idea and to the
timelessness of space and number?

Suppose I am to divide an apple between my two children--two children,
two pieces--this is an analysis of the situation which is obvious and
may well be called the analytic activity of reason. But shall I give to
each an equal share on the ground that both are equally my children or
shall I reason that as John is older or larger or hungrier or mentally
keener or more generous or is a male, he shall have a larger piece than
Jane? To settle this it may be said that we ought to see whether there
is any connection between the size of the piece and the particular
quality of John which is considered, or that by a somewhat different use
of reason we should look at the whole situation and see how we shall
best promote family harmony and mutual affection. To settle the first of
these problems, that of the connection between the size of the piece and
the size of the hunger or the sex of the child, is seemingly again a
question of analysis, of finding identical units, but a moment's thought
shows that the case is not so simple; that the larger child should have
the larger piece is by no means self-evident. This is in principle
doubtless the logic, to him that hath shall be given. It is the logic of
the survival of the strong, but over against that the moral
consciousness has always set another logic which says that the smaller
child should have the larger piece if thereby intelligent sympathy can
contribute toward evening up the lot of the smaller. Now it is precisely
this attitude of the moral consciousness which is not suggested by the
term reason, for it is quite different from the analytic and identifying
activity. This analytical and identifying activity may very well rule
out of court the hypothesis that I should give John the larger piece
because he has already eaten too much or because he has just found a
penny or because he has red hair; it has undoubtedly helped in
abolishing such practices as that of testing innocence by the ordeal.
But before the crucial question of justice which divides modern society,
namely, whether we shall lay emphasis upon adjustment of rewards to
previous abilities, habits, possessions, character, or shall lay stress
upon needs, and the possibility of bringing about a greater measure of
equality, the doctrine which would find its standard in an _a priori_
reason is helpless.

If we look at the second test suggested, namely, that of considering the
situation as a whole with a view to the harmony of the children and the
mutual affection within the family, there can be even less question that
this is no mere logical problem of the individuals in a logical genus.
It is the social problem of individuals who have feelings and emotions
as well as thought and will. The problem of distributing the apple
fairly is then a complex in which at least the following processes
enter. (1) Analysis of the situation to show all the relevant factors
with the full bearing of each; (2) putting yourself in the place of each
one to be considered and experiencing to the full the claims, the
difficulties and the purposes of each person involved; (3) considering
all of these _as_ members of the situation so that no individual is
given rights or allowed claims except in so far as he represents a point
of view which is comprehensive and sympathetic. This I take it is the
force of President Wilson's utterance which has commanded such wide
acceptance: "America asks nothing for herself except what she has a
right to ask in the name of humanity." Kant aimed to express a high and
democratic ideal of justice in his doctrine that we should treat every
rational being as end. The defect in his statement is that the rational
process as such has never treated and so far as can be foreseen never
will treat _human_ beings as ends. To treat a human being as an end it
is necessary to put oneself into his place in his whole nature and not
simply in his universalizing, and legislative aspects: Kant's principle
is profound and noble, but his label for it is misleading and leaves a
door open for appalling disregard of other people's feelings,
sympathies, and moral sentiments, as Professor Dewey has indicated in
his recent lectures on "German Philosophy and Politics."

The term "reasonable," which is frequently used in law and common life
as a criterion of right, seems to imply that reason is a standard. As
already stated, common life understands by the reasonable man one who
not only uses his own thinking powers but is willing to listen to reason
as presented by some one else. He makes allowance for frailties in human
nature. To be reasonable means, very nearly, taking into account all
factors of the case not only as I see them but as men of varying
capacities and interests regard them. The type of the "unreasonable"
employer is the man who refuses to talk over things with the laborers;
to put himself in their place; or to look at matters from the point of
view of society as a whole.

Just as little does the term reasonable as used in law permit a purely
intellectualistic view of the process or an _a priori_ standard. The
question as to what is reasonable care or a reasonable price is often
declared to be a matter not for the court but for the jury to decide,
i.e., it is not to be deduced from any settled principle but is a
question of what the average thoughtful man, who considers other people
as well as himself, would do under the circumstances. A glance at some
of the judicial definitions of such phrases as "reasonable care,"
"reasonable doubt," "reasonable law," as brought together in _Words and
Phrases Judicially Defined_, illustrates this view. We get a picture not
of any definite standard but of such a process as we have described in
our analysis, namely, a process into which the existing social
tradition, the mutual adjustments of a changing society and the
intelligent consideration of all facts, enter. The courts have variously
defined the reasonable (1) as the customary, or ordinary, or legal, or
(2) as according with the existing state of knowledge in some special
field, or (3) as proceeding on due consideration of all the facts, or
(4) as offering sufficient basis for action. For example, (1) reasonable
care means "according to the usages, habits, and ordinary risks of the
business," (2) "surgeons should keep up with the latest advances in
medical science," (3) a reasonable price "is such a price as the jury
would under all the circumstances decide to be reasonable." "If, after
an impartial comparison and consideration the jury can say candidly they
are not satisfied with the defendant's guilt they have a reasonable
doubt." Under (4) falls one of various definitions of "beyond reasonable
doubt." "The evidence must be such as to produce in the minds of prudent
men such certainty that they would act without hesitation in their own
most important affairs." There is evidently ground for the statement of
one judge that "reasonable" (he was speaking the phrase "reasonable
care," but his words would seem to apply to other cases) "cannot be
measured by any fixed or inflexible standard." Professor Freund
characterizes "reasonable" as "the negation of precision." In the
development of judicial interpretation as applied to the Sherman Law the
tendency is to hold that the "rule of reason" will regard as forbidden
by the statute (_a_) such combinations as have historically been
prohibited and (_b_) such as seem to work some definite injury.


The above view of the function of intelligence, and of the synthetic
character of the conscious process may be further defined in certain
aspects by comparison with the view of Professor Fite, who likewise
develops the significance of consciousness and particularly of
intelligence for our ethical concepts and social program.

Professor Fite insists that in contrast with the "functional psychology"
which would make consciousness merely a means to the preservation of the
organic individual in mechanical working order, the whole value of life
from the standpoint of the conscious agent consists in its being
conscious. Creative moments in which there is complete conscious control
of materials and technique represent high and unique individuality.
Extension of range of consciousness makes the agent "a larger and more
inclusive being," for he is living in the future and past as well as in
the present. Consciousness means that a new and original force is
inserted into the economy of the social and the physical world."[78] On
the basis of the importance of consciousness Professor Fite would ground
his justification of rights, his conception of justice, and his social
program. The individual derives his rights simply from the fact that he
knows what he is doing, hence as individuals differ in intelligence they
differ in rights. The problem of justice is that of according to each a
degree of recognition proportioned to his intelligence, that is, treat
others as ends so far as they are intelligent; so far as they are
ignorant treat them as means.[79] "The conscious individual when dealing
with other conscious individuals will take account of their aims, as of
other factors in his situation. This will involve 'adjustment,' but not
abandonment of ends, i.e., self-sacrifice. Obligation to consider these
ends of others is based on 'the same logic that binds me to get out of
the way of an approaching train.'"[80]

The point in which the conception of rights and justice and the implied
social program advocated in this paper differs as I view it from that of
Professor Fite is briefly this. I regard both the individual and his
rights as essentially synthetic and in constant process of
reconstruction. Therefore what is due to any individual at a moment is
not measured by his present stage of consciousness. It is measured
rather by his possibilities than his actualities. This does not mean
that the actual is to be ignored, but it does mean that if we take our
stand upon the actual we are committed to a program with little place
for imagination, with an emphasis all on the side of giving people what
they deserve rather than of making them capable of deserving more.
Professor Fite's position I regard as conceiving consciousness itself
too largely in the category of the identical and the static rather than
in the more "conscious" categories of constant reconstruction. When by
virtue of consciousness you conceive new ends in addition to your former
particular ideas of present good the problem is, he says, "to secure
perfect fulfilment of each of them." The "usefulness" or "advantage" or
"profitableness" of entering into social relations is the central
category for measuring their value and their obligation.

Now the conception of securing perfect fulfilment of all one's aims by
means of society rather than of putting one's own aims into the process
for reciprocal modification and adjustment with the aims of others and
of the new social whole involves a view of these ends as fixed, an
essentially mechanical view. The same is the implication in considering
society from the point of view of use and profit. As previously
suggested these economic terms apply appropriately to things rather than
to intrinsic values. To consider the uses of a fellow-being is to
measure him in terms of some other end than his own intrinsic personal
worth. To consider family life or society as profitable implies in
ordinary language that such life is a means for securing ends already
established rather than that it _proves_ a good to the man who invests
in it and thereby becomes himself a new individual with a new standard
of values. Any object to be chosen must of course have value to the
chooser. But it is one thing to be valued because it appeals to the
actual chooser as already constituted; it is another thing to be valued
because it appeals to a moving self which adventures upon this new
unproved objective. This second is the distinction of taking an interest
instead of being interested.

The second point of divergence is that Professor Fite lays greater
stress upon the intellectual side of intelligence, whereas I should deny
that the intellectual activity in itself is adequate to give either a
basis for obligation or a method of dealing with the social problem. The
primary fact, as Professor Fite well states it, is "that men are
conscious beings and therefore know themselves and one another." It
involves "a mutual recognition of personal ends." "That very knowledge
which shows the individual himself shows him also that he is living in a
world with other persons and other things whose mode of behavior and
whose interests determine for him the conditions through which his own
interests are to be realized."

What kind of "knowledge" is it "which shows the individual himself"?
Professor Fite has two quite different ways of referring to this. He
uses one set of terms when he would contrast his view with the
sentimental, or the "Oriental," or justify exploitation by those who
know better what they are about than the exploited. He uses another set
of terms to characterize it when he wishes to commend his view as human,
and fraternal, and as affording the only firm basis for social reform.
In the first case he speaks of "mere knowing"; of intelligence as
"clear," and "far-sighted," of higher degrees of consciousness as simply
"more in one." "Our test of intelligence would be breadth of vision (in
a coherent view), fineness and keenness of insight."[81]

In the second case it is "generous," it will show an "intelligent
sympathy"; it seeks "fellowship," and would not "elect to live in a
social environment in which the distinction of 'inferiors' were an
essential part of the idea."[82] The type of intelligence is found not
in the man seeking wealth or power, nor in the legal acumen which
forecasts all discoverable consequences and devises means to carry out
purposes, but in literature and art.[83]

The terms which cover both these meanings are the words "consider" and
"considerate." "Breadth of consideration" gives the basis for rights.
The selfish man is the "inconsiderate."[84] This term plays the part of
the _amor intellectualis_ in the system of Spinoza, which enables him at
once to discard all emotion and yet to keep it. For "consideration" is
used in common life, and defined in the dictionaries, as meaning both
"examination," "careful thought," and "appreciative or sympathetic
regard." The ambiguity in the term may well have served to disguise from
the author himself the double rôle which intelligence is made to play.
The broader use is the only one that does justice to the moral
consciousness, but we cannot include sympathy and still maintain that
"mere knowing" covers the whole. The insistence at times upon the "mere
knowing" is a mechanical element which needs to be removed before the
ethical implications can be accepted.

Once more, how does one know himself and others? Is it the same process
precisely as knowing a mechanical object? Thoughts without percepts are
empty, and what are the "percepts" in the two cases? In the first case,
that of knowing things, the percepts are colors, sounds, resistances; in
the case of persons the percepts are impulses, feelings, desires,
passions, as well as images, purposes, and the reflective process
itself. In the former case we construct objects dehumanized; in the
latter we keep them more or less concrete. But now, just as primitive
man did not so thoroughly de-personalize nature, but left in it an
element of personal aim, so science may view human beings as objects
whose purposes and even feelings may be predicted, and hence may, as
Professor Fite well puts it, view them mechanically. What he fails to
note is that just this mechanical point of view is the view of "mere
knowing"--if "mere" has any significance at all, it is meant to shut out
"sentiment." And this mechanical view is entirely equal to the
adjectives of "clear," "far-sighted," and even "broad" so far as this
means "more in one." For it is not essential to a mechanical point of
view that we consider men in masses or study them by statistics. I may
calculate the purposes and actions, yes, and the emotions and values of
one, or of a thousand, and be increasingly clear, and far-sighted, and
broad, but if it is "mere" knowing--scientific information--it is still
"mechanical," i.e., external. On the other hand, if it is to be a
knowledge that has the qualities of humaneness, or "intelligent
sympathy," it must have some of the stuff of feeling, even as in the
realm of things an artist's forest will differ from that of the most
"far-sighted," "clear," and "broad" statistician, by being rich with
color and moving line.

And this leads to a statement of the way in which my fellow-beings will
find place in "my" self. I grant that if they are there I shall take
some account of them. But they may be there in all sorts of ways. They
may be there as "population" if I am a statistician, or as "consumers,"
or as rivals, or as enemies, or as fellows, or as friends. They will
have a "value" in each case, but it will sometimes be a positive value,
and sometimes a negative value. Which it will be, and how great it will
be, depends not on the mere fact of these objects being "in
consciousness" but on the capacity in which they are there. And this
capacity depends on the dominant interest and not on mere knowing. The
trouble with the selfish man, says Professor Fite, is that he "fails to
consider," "he fails to take account of me."[85] Well, then, _why_ does
he fail? _Why_ does he not take account of me? He probably does
"consider" me in several of the ways that are possible and in the ways
that it suits him to consider me. I call him selfish because he does not
consider me in the one particular way in which I wish to be considered.
And what will get me into his consideration from this point of view? In
some cases it may be that I can speak: "Sir, you are standing on my
toe," and as the message encounters no obstacle in any fixed purpose or
temperamental bent the idea has no difficulty in penetrating his mind.
In other cases it may interfere with his desire to raise himself as high
as possible, but I may convince him by the same logic as that of an
"approaching railway train"--that he must regard me. In still other
cases--and it is these that always test Individualism--I am not myself
aware of the injury, or I am too faint to protest. How shall those who
have no voice to speak get "consideration"? Only by "intelligent
sympathy," and by just those emotions rooted in instinctive social
tendencies which an intellectualistic Individualism excludes or


What practical conclusion, if any, follows from this interpretation of
the moral consciousness and its categories? Moral progress involves both
the formation of better ideals and the adoption of such ideals as actual
standards and guides of life. If our view is correct we can construct
better ideals neither by logical deduction nor solely by insight into
the nature of things--if by this we mean things as they are. We must
rather take as our starting-point the conviction that moral life is a
process involving physical life, social intercourse, measuring and
constructive intelligence. We shall endeavor to further each of these
factors with the conviction that thus we are most likely to reconstruct
our standards and find a fuller good.[86]

Physical life, which has often been depreciated from the moral point of
view, is not indeed by itself supreme, but it is certain that much evil
charged to a bad will is due to morbid or defective conditions of the
physical organism. One would be ashamed to write such a truism were it
not that our juvenile courts and our prison investigations show how far
we are from having sensed it in the past. And our present labor
conditions show how far our organization of industry is from any decent
provision for a healthy, sound, vigorous life of all the people. This
war is shocking in its destruction, but it is doubtful if it can do the
harm to Great Britain that her factory system has done. And if life is
in one respect less than ideals, in another respect it is greater; for
it provides the possibility not only of carrying out existing ideals but
of the birth of new and higher ideals.

Social interaction likewise has been much discussed but is still very
inadequately realized. The great possibilities of coöperation have long
been utilized in war. With the factory and commercial organization of
the past century we have hints of their economic power. Our schools,
books, newspapers, are removing some of the barriers. But how far
different social classes are from any knowledge, not to say
appreciation, of each other! How far different races are apart! How easy
to inculcate national hatred and distrust! The fourth great problem
which baffles Wells's hero in the _Research Magnificent_ is yet far
from solution. The great danger to morality in America lies not in any
theory as to the subjectivity of the moral judgment, but in the conflict
of classes and races.

Intelligence and reason are in certain respects advancing. The social
sciences are finding tools and methods. We are learning to think of much
of our moral inertia, our waste of life, our narrowness, our muddling
and blundering in social arrangements, as stupid--we do not like to be
called stupid even if we scorn the imputation of claiming to be "good."
But we do not organize peace as effectively as war. We shrink before the
thought of expending for scientific investigation sums comparable with
those used for military purposes. And is scholarship entitled to shift
the blame entirely upon other interests? Perhaps if it conceived its
tasks in greater terms and addressed itself to them more energetically
it would find greater support.

And finally the process of judgment and appraisal, of examination and
revaluation. To judge for the sake of judging, to analyze and evaluate
for the sake of the process hardly seems worth while. But if we supply
the process with the new factors of increased life, physical, social,
intelligent, we shall be compelled to new valuations. Such has been the
course of moral development; we may expect this to be repeated. The
great war and the changes that emerge ought to set new tasks for ethical
students. As medievalism, the century of enlightenment, and the century
of industrial revolution, each had its ethics, so the century that
follows ought to have its ethics, roused by the problem of dealing
fundamentally with economic, social, racial, and national relations, and
using the resources of better scientific method than belonged to the
ethical systems which served well their time.

Only wilful misinterpretation will suppose that the method here set
forth is that of taking every want or desire as itself a final
justification, or of making morality a matter of arbitrary caprice. But
some may in all sincerity raise the question: "Is morality then after
all simply the shifting mores of groups stumbling forward--or backward,
or sidewise--with no fixed standards of right and good? If this is so
how can we have any confidence in our present judgments, to say nothing
of calling others to an account or of reasoning with them?" What we have
aimed to present as a moral method is essentially this: to take into our
reckoning all the factors in the situation, to take into account the
other persons involved, to put ourselves into their places by sympathy
as well as conceptually, to face collisions and difficulties not merely
in terms of fixed concepts of what is good or fair, and what the right
of each party concerned may be, but with the conviction that we need new
definitions of the ideal life, and of the social order, and thus
reciprocally of personality. Thus harmonized, free, and responsible,
life may well find new meaning also in the older intrinsic goods of
friendship, æsthetic appreciation and true belief. And it is not likely
to omit the satisfaction in actively constructing new ideals and working
for their fulfilment.

Frankly, if we do not accept this method what remains? Can any one by
pure reason discover a single forward step in the treatment of the
social situation or a single new value in the moral ideal? Can any
analysis of the pure concept of right and good teach us anything? In the
last analysis the moral judgment is not analytic but synthetic. The
moral life is not natural but spiritual. And spirit is creative.



He who assiduously compares the profound and the commonplace will find
their difference to turn merely on the manner of their expression; a
profundity is a commonplace formulated in strange or otherwise obscure
and unintelligible terms. This must be my excuse for beginning with the
trite remark that the world we live in is not one which was made for us,
but one in which we happened and grew. I am much aware that there exists
a large and influential class of persons who do not think so; and I
offer this remark with all deference to devotees of idealism, and to
other such pietists who persist in arguing that the trouble which we do
encounter in this vale of tears springs from the inwardness of our own
natures and not from that of the world. I wish, indeed, that I could
agree with them, but unhappily their very arguments prevent me, since,
if the world were actually as they think it, they could not think it as
they do. In fact, they could not think. Thinking--worse luck!--came into
being as response to discomfort, to pain, to uncertainty, to problems,
such as could not exist in a world truly made for us; while from time
immemorial _pure_ as distinct from human consciousness has been
identified with absolute certainty, with self-absorption and
self-sufficiency; as a god, a goal to attain, not a fact to rest in. It
is notable that those who believe the world actually to have been made
for us devote most of their thinking to explaining away the experiences
which have made all men feel that the world was actually not made for
us. Their chief business, after proving the world to be all good, is
solving "the problem of evil." Yet, had there really been no evil, this
evil consequence could not have ensued: existence would have emerged as
beatitude and not as adjustment; thinking might in truth have been
self-absorbed contemplation, blissful intuition, not painful learning by
the method of trial and error.

Alas that what "might have been" cannot come into being by force of
discursive demonstration! If it could, goodness alone would have existed
and been real, and evil would have been non-existence, unreality, and
appearance--all by the force of the Word. As it is, the appearance of
evil is in so far forth no less an evil than its reality; in truth, it
is reality and its best witnesses are the historic attempts to explain
it away. For even as "appearance" it has a definite and inexpugnable
character of its own which cannot be destroyed by subsumption under the
"standpoint of the whole," "the absolute good," the "over-individual
values." Nor, since only sticks and stones break bones and names never
hurt, can it be abolished by the epithet "appearance." To deny reality
to evil is to multiply the evil. It is to make two "problems" grow where
only one grew before, to add to the "problem of evil" the "problem of
appearance" without serving any end toward the solution of the real
problem how evil can be effectively abolished.

I may then, in view of these reflections, hold myself safe in assuming
that the world we live in was not made for us; that, humanly speaking,
it is open to improvement in a great many directions. It will be
comparatively innocuous to assume also, as a corollary, that in so far
as the world was made for mind, it has been made so by man, that
civilization is the adaptation of nature to human nature. And as a
second corollary it may be safely assumed that the world does not stay
made; civilization has brought its own problems and peculiar evils.

I realize that, in the light of my title, much of what I have written
above must seem irrelevant, since the "problem of evil" has not, within
the philosophic tradition, been considered part of a "problem of values"
as such. If I dwell on it, I do so to indicate that the "problem of
evil" can perhaps be best understood in the light of another problem:
the problem, namely, of why men have created the "problem of evil." For
obviously, evil can be problematic only in an absolutely good world, and
the idea that the world is absolutely good is not a generalization
_upon_ experience, but a contradiction _of_ experience. If there exists
a metaphysical "problem of evil," hence, it arises out of this
generalization; it is secondary, not primary; and the primary problem
requires solution before the secondary one can be understood. And what
else, under the circumstances, can the primary one be than this: "Why do
men contradict their own experience?"


So put, the problem suggests its own solution. It indicates, first of
all, that nature and human nature are not completely compatible, that
consequently, conclusions are being forced by nature on human nature
which human nature resents and rejects, and that traits are being
assigned to nature by human nature which nature does not possess, but
which, if possessed, would make her congenial to human needs. All this
is so platitudinous that I feel ashamed to write it; but then, how can
one avoid platitudes without avoiding truth? And truth here is the
obvious fact that since human nature is the point of existence to which
good and evil refer, what is called value has its seat necessarily in
human nature, and what is called existence has its seat necessarily in
the nature of which human nature is a part and apart. Value, in so far
forth, is a content of nature, having its roots in her conditions and
its life in her force, while the converse is not true. All nature and
all existence is not spontaneously and intrinsically a content of value.
Only that portion of it which is human is such. Humanly speaking,
non-human existences become valuable by their efficacious bearing on
humanity, by their propitious or their disastrous relations to human
consciousness. It is these relations which delimit the substance of our
goods and evils, and these, at bottom, are indistinguishable from
consciousness. They do not, need not, and cannot connect all existence
with human life. They are inevitably implicated only with those which
make human life possible at all. Of the environment, they pertain only
to that portion which is fit by the implicated conditions of life
itself. It may therefore be said that natural existence produces and
sustains some values,--at least the minimal value which is identical
with the bare existence of mankind--on its own account, but no more. The
residual environment remains--irrelevant and menacing, wider than
consciousness and independent of it. Value, hence, is a specific kind of
natural existence among other existences. To say that it is non-existent
in nature, is to say that value is not coincident and coexistent with
other existences, just as when it is said that a thing is not red, the
meaning is that red is not copresent with other qualities. Conversely,
to say that value exists in nature is to say that nature and human
nature, things and thoughts, are in some respect harmonious or
identical. Hence, what human nature tries to force upon nature must be,
by implication, non-existent in nature but actual in mind, so that the
nature of value must be held inseparable from the nature of mind.[87]

It follows that value is, in origin and character, completely
irrational. At the foundations of our existence it is relation of their
conditions and objects to our major instincts, our appetites, our
feelings, our desires, our ambitions--most clearly, to the
self-regarding instinct and the instincts of nutrition, reproduction,
and gregariousness. Concerning those, as William James writes, "Science
may come and consider their ways and find that most of them are useful.
But it is not for the sake of their utility that they are followed,
but because at the moment of following them we feel that it is the only
appropriate and natural thing to do. Not a man in a billion when taking
his dinner, ever thinks of utility. He eats because the food tastes good
and makes him want more. If you ask him why he should want to eat more
of what tastes like that, instead of revering you as a philosopher,
he will probably laugh at you for a fool. The connection between
the savory sensation and the act it awakens is for him absolute and
_selbstverständlich_, an _a priori_ synthesis of the most perfect sort,
needing no proof but its own evidence.... To the metaphysician alone can
such questions occur as 'Why do we smile when pleased, and not scowl?
Why are we unable to talk to a crowd as we talk to a single friend? Why
does a particular maiden turn our wits upside down?' The common man can
only say '_of course_ we smile, _of course_ our heart palpitates at the
sight of a crowd, _of course_ we love the maiden, that beautiful soul
clad in that perfect form, so palpably and flagrantly made from all
eternity to be loved.' And so, probably, does each animal feel about
the particular things it tends to do in the presence of particular
objects.... To the broody hen the notion would probably seem
monstrous that there should be a creature in the world to whom
a nestful of eggs was not the utterly fascinating and precious and
never-to-be-too-much-set-upon object it is to her." In sum, fundamental
values are relations, responses, attitudes, immediate, simple,
subjectively obvious, and irrational. But everything else becomes
valuable or rational only by reference to them.

Study them or others empirically,[88] and they appear as types of
specific behavior, simple or complicated, consisting of a given motor
"set" of the organism, strong emotional tone, and aggregates of
connected ideas, more or less systematized. In the slang of the new
medical psychology which has done so much to uncover their method and
mechanism, they are called "complexes"; ethics has called them
interests, and that designation will do well enough. They are the
primary and morally ultimate efficacious units of which human nature is
compounded, and it is in terms of the world's bearing upon their destiny
that we evaluate nature and judge her significance and worth.

Now in interest, the important delimiting quality is emotional tone.
Whatever else is sharable, that is not. It is the very stuff of our
attitudes, of our acceptances and rejections of the world and its
contents, the very essence of the relations we bear to these. That these
relations shall be identical for any two human beings requires that the
two shall be identical: two persons cannot hold the same relation to the
same or different objects any more than two objects can occupy
absolutely the same space at the same time. Hence, all our differences
and disagreements. However socially-minded we may be, mere numerical
diversity compels us to act as separate centers, to value things with
reference to separate interests, to orient our worlds severally, and
with ourselves as centers. This orienting is the relating of the
environment to our interests, the establishment of our worlds of
appreciation, the creation of our orders of value. However much these
cross and interpenetrate, coincide they never can.

Our interests, furthermore, are possibly as numerous as our reflex arcs.
Each may, and most do, constitute distinct and independent valuations of
their objects, to which they respond, and each, with these objects,
remains an irreducible system. But reflex arcs and interests do not act
alone. They act like armies; they compound and are integrated, and when
so integrated their valuations fuse and constitute the more complex and
massive feelings, pleasures and pains, the emotions of anger, of fear,
of love; the sentiments of respect, of admiration, of sympathy. They
remain, through all degrees of complexity, appraisements of the
environment, reactions upon it, behavior toward it, as subject to
empirical examination by the psychologist as the environment itself by
the physicist.

With a difference, however, a fundamental difference. When you have an
emotion you cannot yourself examine it. Effectively as the mind may work
in sections, it cannot with sanity be divided against itself nor long
remain so. A feeling cannot be had and examined in the same time. And
though the investigator who studies the nature of red does not become
red, the investigator who studies the actual emotion of anger does tend
to become angry. Emotion is infectious; anger begets anger; fear, fear;
love, love; hate, hate; actions, relations, attitudes, when actual,
integrate and fuse; as feelings, they constitute the sense of behavior,
varying according to a changing and unstable equilibrium of factors
_within_ the organism; they are actually underneath the skin, and
consequently, to know them alive is to have them. On the other hand, to
know _things_ is simply to have a relation to them. The same thing may
be both loved and hated, desired or spurned, by different minds at the
same time or by the same mind at different times. One, for example,
values whiskey positively, approaches, absorbs it, aims to increase its
quantity and sale; another apprehends it negatively, turns from it,
strives to oust it from the world. Then, according to these direct and
immediate valuations of whiskey, its place in the common world of the
two minds will be determined. To save or destroy it, they may seek to
destroy each other. Even similar positive valuations of the object might
imply this mutual repugnance and destruction. Thus, rivals in love: they
enhance and glorify the same woman, but as she is not otherwise
sharable, they strive to eliminate each other. Throughout the world of
values the numerical distinctness of the seats or centers of value,
whatever their identity otherwise, keeps them ultimately inimical. They
may terminate in the common object, but they originate in different
souls and they are related to the object like two magnets of like
polarity to the same piece of iron that lies between them. Most of what
is orderly in society and in science is the outcome of the adjustment of
just such oppositions: our civilization is an unstable equilibrium of
objects, through the coöperation, antipathy, and fusion of

Individuals are no better off; personality is constructed in the same
way. If, indeed, the world had been made for us, we might have been
spared this warfare to man upon earth. Life might have been the obvious
irrational flow of bliss so vividly described by William James; nature
and human nature would have been one; bridging the gulf between them
would never have been the task of the tender-minded among philosophers.
Unfortunately our mere numerical difference, the mere numerical
difference of the interests which compose our egos, makes the trouble,
so that we are compelled to devote most of our lives to converting the
different into the same. The major part of our instincts serve this
function recognizably, e.g., nutrition, and the "higher powers" do so no
less, if not so obviously. Generalization is nothing more, thinking
nothing else. It is the assimilation of many instances into one form,
law, or purpose; the preservation of established contents of value, just
as nutrition is the preservation of life by means of the conversion of
foreign matter into the form and substance of the body. By bowels and by
brain, what is necessary, what will feed the irrationally given
interest, is preserved and consumed: the rest is cast off as waste, as
irrelevance, as contradiction.

The relation may, of course, also reverse itself. Face to face with the
immovable and inexorable, the mind may accept it with due resignation,
or it may challenge its tyranny and exclude it from its world. It may
seek or create or discover a substitute that it is content to accept,
though this will in turn alter the course and character of the interest
which in such an instance defines the mind's action. Thus, a way out
for one of the lovers of the same girl might be to become a depressed
and yearning bachelor, realizing his potential sexuality in the
vicarious reproduction of reverie and sentiment; another might be to
divert the stream of his affections to another girl, reorganizing his
life about a different center and acquiring a new system of practical
values determined by this center; a third might be a complete
redirection of his sexual energies upon objects the interest in which we
would call, abnormal and anti-social in one case, and in another lofty
and spiritual. In the latter case sexuality would have been
depersonalized; it would have changed into poetic and humanitarian
passion; it would have become love as Plato means us to take the word.
But each of these processes would have been a conversion, through the
need defined by an identical instinct, of the _same into the different_;
the human nature which existed at the beginning of the change would be
deeply other than the human nature in which the change culminated. In
each case a condition thrust upon the spirit by its environment would
have occasioned the creation and maintenance of an environment demanded
by the spirit. Yet in so far as it was not truly _the same_ as that
envisaged in the primitive demand, it would still imply the tragedy of
the world not made for us and the "problem of evil," in which the life
of the spirit is persistently a salvage of one of two always
incompatible goods, a saving by surrender.

And this is all that a mind is--an affair of saving and rejecting, of
valuing with a system of objects of which a living body and its desires
and operations, its interests, are focal and the objects marginal, for
its standard. Mind, thus, is neither simple, nor immutable, nor stable;
it is a thing to be "changed," "confused," "cleared," "made-up,"
"trained." One body, I have written elsewhere,[89] "in the course of its
lifetime, has many minds, only partially united. Men are all too often
"of two minds." The unity of a mind depends on its consistent pursuit of
_one_ interest, although we then call it narrow; or on the coöperation
and harmony of its many interests. Frequently, two or more minds may
struggle for the possession of the same body; that is, the body may be
divided by two elaborately systematized tendencies to act. The beginning
of such division occurs wherever there is a difficulty in deciding
between alternative modes of behavior; the end is to be observed in
those cases of dual or multiple personality in which the body has
ordered a great collection of objects and systematized so large a
collection of interests in such typically distinct ways as to have set
up for itself different and opposed "minds." On the other hand, two or
fifty or a million bodies may be "of the same mind."

Unhappily, difference of mind, diversity and conflict of interests is
quite as fundamental, if not more so, as sameness of mind, coöperation
and unity of interests. This the philosophical tradition sufficiently
attests. To Plato man is at once a protean beast, a lion, and an
intellect; the last having for its proper task to rule the first and
to regulate the second, which is always rebellious and irruptive.[90]
According to the Christian tradition man is at once flesh and spirit,
eternally in conflict with one another, and the former is to be
mortified that the latter may have eternal life. Common sense divides us
into head and heart, never quite at peace with one another. There is no
need of piling up citations. Add to the inward disharmonies of mind its
incompatibilities with the environment, and you perceive at once how
completely it is, from moment to moment, a theater and its life a drama
of which the interests that compose it are at once protagonists and
directors. The catastrophe of this unceasing drama is always that one or
more of the players is driven from the stage of conscious existence. It
may be that the environment--social conditions, commercial necessity,
intellectual urgency, allies of other interests--will drive it off; it
may be that its own intrinsic unpleasantness will banish it, will put it
out of mind; whatever the cause, it is put out. Putting it out does not,
however, end the drama; putting it out serves to complicate the drama.
For the "new psychology"[91] shows that whenever an interest or a desire
or impulsion is put out of the mind, it is really, if not extirpated,
put into the mind; it is driven from the conscious level of existence to
the unconscious. It retains its force and direction, only its work now
lies underground. Its life henceforward consists partly in a direct
oppugnance to the inhibitions that keep it down, partly in burrowing
beneath and around them and seeking out unwonted channels of escape.
Since life is long, repressions accumulate, the mass of existence of
feeling and desire tends to become composed entirely of these
repressions, layer upon layer, with every interest in the aggregate
striving to attain place in the daylight of consciousness.

Now, empirically and metaphysically, no one interest is more excellent
than any other. Repressed or patent, each is, whether in a completely
favorable environment or in a completely indifferent universe, or before
the bar of an absolute justice, or under the domination of an absolute
and universal good, entitled to its free fulfilment and perfect
maintenance. Each is a form of the good; the essential content of each
is good. That any are not fulfilled, but repressed, is a fact to be
recorded, not an appearance to be explained away. And it may turn out
that the existence of the fact may explain the effort to explain it
away. For where interests are in conflict with each other or with
reality, and where the loser is not extirpated, its revenge may be just
this self-fulfilment in unreality, in idea, which philosophies of
absolute values offer it. Dreams, some of the arts, religion, and
philosophy may indeed be considered as such fulfilments, worlds of
luxuriant self-realization of all that part of our nature which the
harsh conjunctions with the environment overthrow and suppress.
Sometimes abortive self-expressions of frustrated desires, sometimes
ideal compensations for the shortcomings of existence, they are always
equally ideal reconstructions of the surrounding evil of the world into
forms of the good. And because they are compensations in idea, they are
substituted for existence, appraised as "true," and "good," and
"beautiful," and "real," while the experiences which have suppressed the
desires they realize are condemned as illusory and unreal. In them
humanity has its freest play and amplest expression.


This has been, and still to a very great extent remains, most
specifically true of philosophy. The environment with which philosophy
concerns itself is nothing less than the whole universe; its content is,
within the history of its dominant tradition, absolutely general and
abstract; it is, of all great human enterprises, even religion, least
constrained by the direction and march of events or the mandate of
circumstance. Like music, it expresses most truly the immediate and
intrinsic interests of the mind, its native bias and its inward goal. It
has been constituted, for this reason, of the so-called "normative"
sciences, envisaging the non-existent as real, forcing upon nature pure
values, forms of the spirit incident to the total life of this world,
unmixed with baser matter. To formulate ultimate standards, to be
completely and utterly lyrical has been the prerogative of philosophy
alone. Since these standards reappear in all other reconstructions of
the environment and most clearly in art and in religion, it is pertinent
to enumerate them, and to indicate briefly their bearing on existence.

The foremost outstanding is perhaps "the unity of the world."
Confronted by the perplexing menace of the variation of experience, the
dichotomies and oppositions of thoughts and things, the fusion and
diversifications of many things into one and one into many, mankind has,
from the moment it became reflective, felt in the relation of the One
and the Many the presence of a riddle that engendered and sustained
uneasiness, a mystery that concealed a threat. The mind's own
preference, given the physiological processes that condition its
existence, constitution, and operation, could hardly come to rest in a
more fundamental normation than Unity. A world which is _one_ is easier
to live in and with; initial adjustment therein is final adjustment; in
its substance there exists nothing sudden and in its character nothing
uncontrollable. It guarantees whatever vital equilibrium the organism
has achieved in it, ill or good. It secures life in attainment and
possession, insuring it repose, simplicity, and spaciousness. A world
which is many complicates existence: it demands watchful consideration
of irreducible discrete individualities: it necessitates the integration
and humanization in a common system of adjustment of entities which in
the last analysis refuse all ordering and reject all subordination,
consequently keeping the mind on an everlasting jump, compelling it to
pay with eternal vigilance the price of being. The preference for unity,
then, is almost inevitable, and the history of philosophy, from the
Vedas to the Brahma Somaj and from Thales to Bergson, is significantly
unanimous in its attempts to prove that the world is, somehow, through
and through one. That the oneness requires _proof_ is _prima facie_
evidence that it is a value, a desiderate, not an existence. And how
valuable it is may be seen merely in the fact that it derealizes the
inner conflict of interests, the incompatibilities between nature and
man, the uncertainties of knowledge, and the certainties of evil, and
substitutes therefore the ultimate happy unison which "the identity of
the different" compels.

Unity is the common desiderate of philosophic systems of all
metaphysical types--neutral, materialistic, idealistic. But the dominant
tradition has tended to think this unity in terms of _interest_, of
_spirit_, of _mentality_. It has tended, in a word, to assimilate nature
to human nature, to identify things with the _values_ of things, to
envisage the world in the image of man. To it, the world is all spirit,
ego, or idea; and if not such through and through, then entirely
subservient, in its unhumanized parts, to the purposes and interests of
ego, idea, or spirit. Why, is obvious. A world of which the One
substance is such constitutes a totality of interest and purpose which
faces no conflict and has no enemy. It is fulfilment even before it is
need, and need, indeed, is only illusion. Even when its number is many,
the world is a better world if the stuff of these many is the _same_
stuff as the spirit of man. For mind is more at home with mind than with
things; the pathetic fallacy is the most inevitable and most general.
Although the totality of spirit is conceived as good, that is, as
actualizing all our desiderates and ideals, it would still be felt that,
even if the totality were evil, and not God, but the Devil ruled the
roost, the world so constituted must be better than one utterly
non-spiritual. We can understand and be at home with malevolence: it
offers at least the benefits of similarity, of companionship, of
intimateness, of consubstantiality with _will_; its behavior may be
foreseen and its intentions influenced; but no horror can be greater
than that of utter aliency. How much of religion turns with a persistent
tropism to the consideration of the devil and his works, and how much it
has fought his elimination from the cosmic scheme! Yet never because it
loved the devil. The deep-lying reason is the fact that the humanization
of Evil into Devil mitigates Evil and improves the world. Philosophy has
been least free from this corrective and spiritizing bias. Though it has
cared less for the devil, it has predominantly repudiated aliency, has
sought to prove spirit the cause and substance of the world, and in that
degree, to transmute the aliency of nature into sameness with human

With unity and spirituality, _eternity_ makes a third. This norm is a
fundamental attribute of the One God himself, and interchangeable with
his ineffable name: the Lord is Eternal, and the Eternal, even more than
the One, receives the eulogium of exclusive realness. To the
philosophical tradition it is the most real. Once more the reason should
be obvious. The underlying urge which pushes the mind to think the world
as a unity pushes it even more inexorably to think the world as
timeless. For unity is asserted only against the perplexities of a
manyness which may be static and unchanging, and hence comparatively
simple. But eternity is asserted and set against mutability: it is the
negation of change, of time, of novelty, of the suddenness and
slaughter of the flux of life itself, which consumes what it generates,
undermines what it builds and sweeps to destruction what it founds to
endure. Change is the arch-enemy of a life which struggles for
self-_preservation_, of an intellect which operates spontaneously by the
logic of identity, of a will which seeks to convert others into sames.
It substitutes a different self for the old, it falsifies systems of
thought and deteriorates systems of life. It makes unity impossible and
manyness inevitable. It upsets every actual equilibrium that life
attains. It opens the doors and windows of every closed and comfortable
cosmos to all transcosmic winds that blow, with whatever they carry of
possible danger and possible ill. It is the very soul of chaos in which
the pleasant, ordered world is such a little helpless thing. Of this
change eternity is by primary intention the negation, as its
philological form shows. It is _not-time_, without positive intrinsic
content, and in its secondary significances, i.e., in those
significances which appear in metaphysical dialectic, without meaning;
since it is there a pure negation, intrinsically affirming nothing, of
the same character as "not-man" or "not-donkey," standing for a nature
altogether unspecific and indeterminable in the residual universe. By a
sort of obverse implication it does, however, possess, in the
philosophic tradition, a positive content which accrues to it by virtue
of what it denies. This content makes it a designation for the
persistence and perdurability of desiderated quality--from metaphysical
unity and spirituality to the happy hunting-grounds or a woman's
affection. At bottom it means the assurance that the contents of value
cannot and will not be altered or destroyed, that their natures and
their relations to man do not undergo change. There is no recorded
attempt to prove that evil is eternal: eternity is _eternity of the good

Unity, spirituality, and eternity, then, are the forms which contents of
value receive under the shaping hands of the philosophic tradition, to
which they owe their metaphysical designation and of which the business
has so largely and uniquely been to _prove_ them the foundations and
ontological roots of universal nature. But "the problem of evil" does
not come to complete solution with these. Even in a single,
metaphysically spiritual and unchanging world, man himself may still be
less than a metaphysical absolute and his proper individuality doomed to
absorption, his wishes to obstruction and frustration. Of man,
therefore, the tradition posits _immortality_ and _freedom_, and even
the materialistic systems have sought to keep somehow room for some form
of these goods.

To turn first to immortality. Its source and matrix is less the love of
life than the fear of death--that fear which Lucretius, dour poet of
disillusion, so nobly deplored. That he had ever himself been possessed
of it is not clear, but it is perfectly clear that his altogether sound
arguments against it have not abolished its operation, nor its effect
upon human character, society, and imagination. Fear which made the
gods, made also the immortality of man, the denial of death. What the
fear's unmistakable traits may be has never been articulately said,
perhaps never can be said. Most of us never may undergo the fear of
death; we undergo comfort and discomfort, joy and sorrow, intoxication
and reaction, love and disgust; we aim to preserve the one and to
abolish the other, but we do not knowingly undergo the fear of death.
Indeed, it is logically impossible that we should, since to do so would
be to acquire an experience of death such that we should be conscious of
being unconscious, sensible of being insensible, aware of being unaware.
We should be required to be and not to be at the same instant, in view
of which Lucretius both logically and wisely advises us to remember that
when death is, we are not; and when we are, death is not.

Experience and feeling are, however, neither logical nor wise, and to
these death is far from the mere non-being which the poet would have us
think it. To these it has a positive reality which makes the fear of it
a genuine cause of conduct in individuals and in groups, with a basis in
knowledge such as is realized in the diminishing of consciousness under
anæsthetic, in dreams of certain types, and most generally in the
nascent imitation of the _rigor mortis_ which makes looking upon the
dead such a horror to most of us. Even then, however, something is
lacking toward the complete realization of death, and children and
primitive peoples never realize it at all. Its full meaning comes out as
_an unsatisfied hunger in the living_ rather than as a condition of the
dead, who, alive, would have satisfied this hunger. And the realization
of this meaning requires sophistication, requires a lengthy corporate
memory and the disillusions which civilization engenders. Primitive
peoples ask for no proof of immortality because they have no notion of
mortality; civilized thinking has largely concerned itself about the
proof of immortality because its assurance of life has been shaken by
the realization of death through the gnawing of desire which only the
dead could still. The _proof_ which in the history of thought is offered
again and again, be it noted, is not of the reality of life, but of the
unreality and inefficacy of death. Immortality is like eternity, a
negative term; it is _im_mortality. The experienced fact is mortality;
and the fear of it is only an inversion of the desire which it
frustrates, just as frustrated love becomes hatred. The doctrine of
immortality, hence, springs from the fear of death, not from the love of
life, and immortality is a value-form, not an existence. Now, although
fear of death and love of life are in constant play in character and
conduct, neither constitutes the original, innocent urge of life within
us. "Will to live," "will to power," "struggle for existence," and other
Germanic hypostases of experienced events which the great civil war in
Europe is just now giving such an airing, hardly deserve, as natural
data, the high metaphysical status that Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and
company have given them. They follow in fact upon a more primary type of
living, acting form, a type to which the "pathetic fallacy" or any other
manner of psychologizing may not apply. The most that can be said about
this type is that its earlier stages are related to its later ones as
potential is to kinetic energy. If, since we are discussing a
metaphysical issue, we must mythologize, we might call it the "will to
self-expression." Had this "will" chanced to happen in a world which was
made for it, or had it itself been the substance of the world, "struggle
for existence," "will to live," and "will to power," never could have
supervened. All three of these expressions designate data which require
an opposite, a counter-will, to give them meaning. There can be a
struggle for existence only when there are obstacles thereto, a will to
live only when there are obstructions to life, a will to power only when
there is a resistance against which power may be exercised. Expression
alone is self-implying and self-sufficient, and in an altogether
favorable environment we might have realized our instincts, impulses,
interests, appetites and desires, expressed and actualized our
potentialities, and when our day is done, have ceased, as unconcerned
about going on as about starting.

Metchnikoff speaks somewhere of an instinct toward death and the
euphoria which accompanies its realization. He cites, I think, no more
than two or three cases. To most of us the mere notion of the existence
and operation of such an instinct seems fanciful and uncanny. Yet from
the standpoint of biology nothing should be more natural. Each living
thing has its span, which consists of a cycle from birth through
maturation and senescence to dissolution, and the latter half of the
process is as "fateful" and "inevitable" as the former! Dying is itself
the inexpugnable conclusion of that setting free of organic
potentialities which we call life, and if dying seems horrid and
unnatural, it seems so because for most of us death is violent, because
its occasion is a shock from without, not the realization of a tendency
from within. In a completely favorable environment we should not
struggle to exist, we should simply exist; we should not will to live,
we should simply live, i.e., we should actualize our potentialities and

But, once more alas, our environment is not completely favorable, and
there's the rub. That disorderly constellation of instincts and
appetites and interests which constitutes the personality of the best of
us does not work itself out evenly. At the most favorable, our
self-realizations are lopsided and distorted. For every capacity of ours
in full play, there are a score at least mutilated, sometimes
extirpated, always repressed. They never attain the free fullness of
expression which is consciousness, or when they do, they find themselves
confronted with an opponent which neutralizes their maturation at every
point. Hence, as I have already indicated, they remain in, or revert to,
the subterranean regions of our lives, and govern the making of our
biographies from their seats below. What they fail to attain in fact
they succeed in generating in imagination to compensate for the failure;
they realize themselves vicariously. The doctrine of immortality is the
generic form of such vicarious self-realization, as frequently by means
of dead friends and relatives to whose absolute non-being the mind will
not assent, as by means of the everlasting heaven in which the mind may
forever disport itself amid those delights it had to forego on earth.
Much of the underlying motive of the doctrine is a _sehnsucht_ and
nostalgia after the absent dead; little a concern for the continuity of
the visible living. And often this passion is so intense that system
after system in the philosophic tradition is constructed to satisfy it,
and even the most disillusioned of systems--for example, Spinoza's--will
preserve its form if not its substance.

That the "freedom of the will" shall be a particularized compensatory
desiderate like the immortality of the soul, the unity, the
spirituality, and the eternity of the world is a perversion worked upon
this ideal by the historic accident we call Christianity. The
assumptions of that theory concerning the nature of the universe and the
destiny of man, being through and through compensatory, changed freedom
from the possible fact and actual hope of Hellenic systems into the
"problem" of the Christian ones. The consequent controversy over
"free-will," the casuistic entanglement of this ideal with the notion of
responsibility, its theological development in the problem of the
relation of an omnipotent God to a recalcitrant creature, have
completely obscured its primal significance. For the ancients, the free
man and the "wise man" were identical, and the wise man was one who all
in all had so mastered the secrets of the universe that there was no
desire of his that was not actually realized, no wish the satisfaction
of which was obstructed. His way in the world was a way without let or
hindrance. Now freedom and wisdom in this sense is never a fact and ever
a value. Its attainment ensues upon created distinctions between
appearance and reality, upon the postulation of the metaphysical
existence of the value-forms of the unity, spirituality, and the
eternity of the world, in the realization of which the wise man founded
his wisdom and gained his freedom. Freedom, then, is an ideal that could
have arisen only in the face of _obstruction to action directed toward
the fulfilling and satisfying of interests_. It is the assurance of the
smooth and uninterrupted flow of behavior; the flow of desire into
fulfilment, of thought into deed, of act into fact. It is perhaps the
most pervasive and fundamental of all desiderates, and in a definite way
the others may be said to derive from it and to realize it. For the
soul's immortality, the world's unity and spirituality and eternity, are
but conditions which facilitate and assure the flow of life without
obstruction. They define a world in which danger, evil, and frustration
are non-existent; they so reconstitute our actual environment that the
obstructions it offers to the course of life are abolished. They make
the world "rational," and in the great philosophic tradition the freedom
of man is held to be a function of the rationality of the world. Thus,
even deterministic solutions of the "problem of freedom" are at bottom
no more than the rationalization of natural existence by the dialectical
removal of obstructions to human existence. Once more, Spinoza's
solution is typical, and its form is that of all idealisms as well. It
ensues by way of identification of the obstruction's interest with those
of the obstructee: the world becomes ego or the ego the world, with
nothing outside to hinder or to interfere. In the absolute, existence is
declared to be value _de facto_; in fact, _de jure_. And by virtue of
this compensating reciprocity the course of life runs free.

Is any proof necessary that these value-forms are not the contents of
the daily life? If there be, why this unvarying succession of attempts
to _prove_ that they are the contents of daily life that goes by the
name of history of philosophy? In fact, experience as it comes from
moment to moment is not one, harmonious and orderly, but multifold,
discordant, and chaotic. Its stuff is not spirit, but stones and railway
wrecks and volcanoes and Mexico and submarines, and trenches, and
frightfulness, and Germany, and disease, and waters, and trees, and
stars, and mud. It is not eternal, but changes from instant to instant
and from season to season. Actually, men do not live forever; death is a
fact, and immortality is literally as well as in philosophic discourse
not so much an aspiration for the continuity of life as an aspiration
for the elimination of death, purely _im_mortality. Actually the will is
not free, each interest encounters obstruction, no interest is
completely satisfied, all are ultimately cut off by death.

Such are the general features of all human experience, by age
unwithered, and with infinite variety forever unstaled. The traditional
philosophic treatment of them is to deny their reality, and to call them
appearance, and to satisfy the generic human interest which they oppose
and repress by means of the historical reconstruction in imaginative
dialectic of a world constituted by these most generalized value-forms
and then to eulogize the reconstruction with the epithet "reality."
When, in the course of human events, such reconstruction becomes limited
to the biography of particular individuals, is an expression of their
concrete and unique interest, is lived and acted on, it is called
paranoia. The difference is not one of kind, but of concreteness,
application, and individuality. Such a philosophy applied universally in
the daily life is a madness, like Christian Science: kept in its proper
sphere, it is a fine art, the finest and most human of the arts, a
reconstruction in discourse of the whole universe, in the image of the
free human spirit. Philosophy has been reasonable because it is so
unpersonal, abstract, and general, like music; because, in spite of its
labels, its reconstructions remain pure desiderates and value-forms,
never to be confused with and substituted for existence. But
philosophers even to this day often have the delusion that the
substitutions are actually made.[92]


It is the purity of the value-forms imagined in philosophy that makes
philosophy "normative." The arts, which it judges, have an identical
origin and an indistinguishable intent, but they are properly its
subordinates because they have not its purity. They, too, aim at
remodeling discordant nature into harmony with human nature. They, too,
are dominated by value-forms which shall satisfy as nearly as possible
all interests, shall liberate and fulfil all repressions, and shall
supply to our lives that unity, eternity, spirituality, and freedom
which are the exfoliations of our central desire--the desire to live.
But where philosophy has merely negated the concrete stuff of experience
and defined its reality in terms of desire alone, the arts acknowledge
the reality of immediate experience, accept it as it comes, eliminating,
adding, molding, until the values desiderated become existent in the
concrete immediacies of experience as such. Art does not substitute
values for existence by changing their rôles and calling one appearance
and the other reality: art converts values into existences, it realizes
values, injecting them into nature as far as may be. It creates truth
and beauty and goodness. But it does not claim for its results greater
reality than nature's. It claims for its results greater immediate
harmony with human interests than nature. The propitious reality of the
philosopher is the unseen: the harmonious reality of the artist must be
sensible. Philosophy says that apparent actual evil is merely apparent:
art compels potential apparent good actually to appear. Philosophy
realizes fundamental values transcendentally beyond experience: art
realizes them within experience. Thus, men cherish no illusions
concerning the contents of a novel, a picture, a play, a musical
composition. They are taken for what they are, and are enjoyed for what
they are. The shopgirl, organizing her life on the basis of eight
dollars a week, wears flimsy for broadcloth and the tail feather of a
rooster for an ostrich plume. She is as capable of wearing and enjoying
broadcloth and ostrich plume as My Lady, whose income is eight dollars
a minute. But she has not them, and in all likelihood, without a social
revolution she never will have them. In the novels of Mr. Robert
Chambers, however, or of Miss Jean Libbey, which she religiously reads
in the street-car on her way to the shop; in the motion picture theater
which she visits for ten cents after her supper of corned beef, cabbage,
and cream puffs, she comes into possession of them forthwith,
vicariously, and of all My Lady's proper perquisites--the Prince
Charming, the motor-car, the Chinese pug, the flowers, and the costly
bonbons. For the time being her life is liberated, new avenues of
experience are actually opened to her, all sorts of unsatisfied desires
are satisfied, all sorts of potentialities realized. All that she might
have been and is not, she becomes through art, here and now, and
_continuously with_ the drab workaday life which is her lot, and she
becomes this without any compensatory derealization of that life,
without any transcendentalism, without any loss of grip on the
necessities of her experience: strengthened, on the contrary, and
emboldened, to meet them as they are.

I might multiply examples: for every object of fine art has the same
intention, and if adequate, accomplishes the same end--from the
sculptures of Phidias and the dramas of Euripides, to the sky-scrapers
of Sullivan and the dances of Pavlowa. But there is need only to
consider the multitude of abstract descriptions of the æsthetic
encounter. The artist's business is to create the other object in the
encounter, and this object, in Miss Puffer's words, which are completely
representative and typical, is such that "the organism is in a
condition of repose and of the highest possible tone, functional
efficiency, enhanced life. The personality is brought into a state of
unity and self-completeness." The object, when apprehended, awakens the
active functioning of the whole organism directly and harmoniously with
itself, cuts it off from the surrounding world, shuts that world out for
the time being, and forms a complete, harmonious, and self-sufficient
system, peculiar and unique in the fact that there is no passing from
this deed into further adaptation with the object. Struggle and aliency
are at end, and whatever activity now goes on feels self-conserving,
spontaneous, free. The need of readjustment has disappeared, and with it
the feeling of strain, obstruction, and resistance, which is its sign.
There is nothing but the object, and that is possessed completely,
satisfying, and as if forever. Art, in a word, supplies an environment
from which strife, foreignness, obstruction, and death are eliminated.
It actualizes unity, spirituality, and eternity in the environment; it
frees and enhances the life of the self. To the environment which art
successfully creates, the mind finds itself completely and harmoniously
adapted by the initial act of perception.

In the world of art, value and existence are one.


If art may be said to create values, religion has been said to conserve
them. But the values conserved are not those created: they are the
values postulated by philosophy as metaphysical reality. Whereas,
however, philosophy substitutes these values for the world of
experience, religion makes them continuous with the world of experience.
For religion value and existence are on the same level, but value is
more potent and environs existence, directing it for its own ends. The
unique content of religion, hence, is a specific imaginative extension
of the environment with value-forms: the visible world is extended at
either end by heaven and hell; the world of minds, by God, Satan,
angels, demons, saints, and so on. But where philosophy imaginatively
abolishes existence in behalf of value, where art realizes value in
existence, religion tends to control and to escape the environment which
exists by means of the environment which is postulated. The aim of
religion is salvation from sin. Salvation is the escape from experience
to heaven and the bosom of God; while hell is the compensatory
readjustment of inner quality to outer condition for the alien and the
enemy, without the knowledge of whose existence life in heaven could not
be complete.

In religion, hence, the conversion of the repressed array of interests
into ideal value-forms is less radical and abstract than in philosophy,
and less checked by fusion with existence than in art. Religion is,
therefore, at one and the same time more carnal and less reasonable than
philosophy and art. Its history and protagonists exhibit a closer
kinship to what is called insanity[93]--that being, in essence, the
substitution in actual life of the creatures of the imagination which
satisfy repressed needs for those of reality which repress them. It is
a somnambulism which intensifies rather than abolishes the contrast
between what is desired and what must be accepted. It offers itself
ultimately rather as a refuge from reality than a control of it, and its
development as an institution has turned on the creation and use of
devices to make this escape feasible. For religion, therefore, the
perception that the actual world, whatever its history, is now _not_
adapted to human nature, is the true point of departure. Thus religion
takes more account of experience than compensatory philosophy; it does
not de-realize existent evil. The outer conflict between human nature
and nature, primitively articulated in consciousness and conduct by the
distress engendered through the fact that the food supply depends upon
the march of the seasons,[94] becomes later assimilated to the inner
conflict between opposing interests, wishes, and desires. Finally, the
whole so constituted gets expressed in the idea of sin. That idea makes
outward prosperity dependent upon inward purity, although it often
transfers the locus of the prosperity to another world. Through its
operation fortune becomes a function of conscience and the one desire of
religious thinking and religious practice becomes to bring the two to a
happy outcome, to abolish the conflicts. This desiderated abolition is
salvation. It is expressed in the ideas of a fall, or a separation from
heaven and reunion therewith. The machinery of this reunion of the
divided, the reconversion of the differentiated into the same, consists
of the furniture of religious symbols and ceremonials--myths, baptisms,
sacraments, prayers, and sacrifices: and all these are at the same time
instruments and expressions of desires. God is literally "the
conservation of values."[95] "God's life in eternity," writes Aristotle,
who here dominates the earlier tradition, "is that which we enjoy in our
best moments, but are unable to possess permanently: its very being is
delight. And as actual being is delight, so the various functions of
waking, perceiving, thinking, are to us the pleasantest parts of our
life. Perfect and absolute thought is just this absolute vision of

Even the least somnambulistic of the transcendental philosophies has
repeated, not improved upon Aristotle. "The highest conceptions that I
get from experience of what goodness and beauty are," Royce declares,
"the noblest life that I can imagine, the completest blessedness that I
can think, all these are but faint suggestions of a truth that is
infinitely realized in the Divine, that knows all truth. Whatever
perfection there is suggested in these things, that he must fully know
and experience."

But this æsthetic excellence, this maximum of ideality is in and by
itself inadequate. God, to be God, must _work_. He is first of all the
invisible socius, the ever-living witness, in whose eyes the
disharmonies and injustices of this life are enregistered, and who in
the life everlasting redresses the balances and adjusts the account.
Even his grace is not unconditional; it requires a return, in deed or
faith; a payment by which the fact of his salvation is made visible. But
this payment is made identical by the great religions of disillusion
with nothing other than the concrete condition from which the faithful
are to be saved. If the self is not impoverished, unkempt, and hungry,
in fact, it is made so. Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but
self-defilement is godliness; sainthood, if we are to trust the lives of
saints, whether in Asia or in Europe, is coincident with insanitation;
saintly virtues are depressed virtues,--humility, hope, meekness, pity;
and such conditions of life which define the holy ones are
unwholesome--poverty, asceticism, squalor, filth. Hence, by an ironic
inversion, religions of disillusion, being other-worldly, identify
escape from an actual unpropitious environment with submergence in it;
that being the visible and indispensable sign of an operative grace. So
the beatitudes: the blessed are the poor, the mourners, the meek.
Beginning as a correction of the evils of existence, religion ends by
offering an infallible avenue of escape from them through postulating a
desiderated type of existence which operates to gather the spirit to
itself. For this reason the value-forms of the spirituality or spiritual
control of the universe and of the immortality of the soul have been
very largely the practical concern of religion alone, since these are
the instruments indispensable to the attainment of salvation. In so far
forth religion has been an art and its institutional association with
the arts has been made one of its conspicuous justifications. So far,
however, as it has declared values to be operative without making them
actually existent it has been only a black art, a magic. It has ignored
the actual causes in the nature and history of things, and has
substituted for them non-existent desirable causes, ultimately reducible
to a single, eternal, beneficent spirit, omnipotent and free. To convert
these into existence, an operation which is the obvious intent of much
contemporary thinking in religion,[97] it must, however, give up the
assumption that they already exist _qua_ spirit. But when religion gives
up this assumption, religion gives up the ghost.

What it demands of the ghost, and of all hypostatized or
anthropomorphized ultimate value-forms, is that they shall work, and its
life as an institution depends upon making them work. Christian Science
becomes a refuge from the failure of science, magic from mechanism, and
by means of them and their kind, blissful immortality, complete
self-fulfilment is to be attained--after death. There is a "beautiful
land of somewhere," a happy life beyond, but it is beyond life. In fact,
although religion confuses value and existence, it localizes the great
value-forms outside of existence. Its history has been an epic of the
retreat and decimation of the gods from the world, a movement from
animism and pluralism to transcendentalism and monism; and
concomitantly, of an elaboration and extension of institutional devices
by which the saving value-forms are to be made and kept operative in the


Let us consider this history a little.

Consciousness of feeling, psychologists are agreed, is prior to
consciousness of the objects of feeling. The will's inward strain,
intense throbs of sensation, pangs and pulses of pleasure and pain make
up the bulk of the undifferentiated primal sum of sentience. The soul is
aware of herself before she is aware of her world. A childish or
primeval mind, face to face with an environment actual, dreamt, or
remembered, does not distinguish from its privacy the objective or the
common. All is shot through with the pathos and triumph which come
unaccountably as desired good or evaded evil; all has the same tensions
and effects ends in the same manner as the laboring, straining,
volitional life within. These feelings, residuary qualities, the last
floating, unattached sediment of a world organized by association and
classified by activity, these subtlest of all its beings, finally termed
mind and self, at first suffuse and dominate the whole. Even when
objects are distinguished and their places determined these are not
absent; and the so-called pre-animistic faiths are not the less suffused
with spirit because the spiritual has not yet received a local
habitation and name. They differ from animism in this only, not in that
their objects are characterized by lack of animation and vital tonality.
And this is necessary. For religion must be anthropopathic before it
becomes anthropomorphic; since feeling, eloquent of good and evil, is
the first and deepest essence of consciousness, and only by its
wandering from home are forms distinguished and man's nature separated
from that of things and beasts.

When practice has coördinated activity, and reflection distinguished
places, animism proper arises. First the environment is felt as the
soul's kindred; then its operations are fancied in terms dramatic and
personal. The world becomes almost instinctively defined as a hegemony
of spirits similar to man, with powers and passions like his, and
directed for his destruction or conservation, but chiefly for their own
glory and self-maintenance. The vast "pathetic fallacy" makes religion
of the whole of life. It is at this point indistinguishable from science
or ethics. It is, in fact, the pregnant matrix of all subsequent
discourse about the universe. Its character is such that it becomes the
determinating factor of human adaptations to the conditions imposed by
the environment, by envisaging the enduring and efficacious elements
among these conditions as persons. The satisfaction of felt needs is
rendered thereby inevitably social; and in a like manner fear of their
frustration cannot be unsocial. Life is conceived and acted out as a
miraculous traffic with the universe; and the universe as a band of
spirits who monopolize the good and make free gifts of evil, who can be
feared, threatened, worshiped, scolded, wheedled, coaxed, bribed,
deceived, enslaved, held in awe, and above all, used for the prosecution
of desiderated ends and the fulfilment of instinctive desires. The first
recorded cognized order is a moral order in which fragmentary feelings,
instinctive impulsions, and spontaneous imaginings are hypostatized,
ideas are identified with their causes, all the contents of the
immature, sudden, primitive, blundering consciousness receive a vital
figure and a proper name. So man makes himself more at home in the world
without,--that world which enslaves the spirit so fearfully and with
such strangeness, and which just as miraculously yields such ecstasy,
such power, such unaccountable good! In this immediate sense the soul
controls the world by becoming symbolic of it; it is the world's first
language. It is, however, an inarticulate, blundering, incoherent thing
and the cues which it furnishes to the nature of the environment are as
often as not dangerous and misleading. When bows and arrows, crystals
and caves, clouds and waters, dung and dew, mountains and trees, beasts
and visions, are treated as chiefs and men must be treated, then the
moral regimen initiated, taking little account of the barest real
qualities manifested by these things, and attributing the maximum
importance to the characters postulated and foreign, is successful
neither in allaying evil nor in extending good. Its benefits are
adventitious and its malfeasance constant. Food buried with the dead was
food lost; blood smeared upon the bow to make it shoot better served
only to make the hands unskilful by impeding their activity. Initiation,
ceremony, sacrificial ritual, fasting, and isolation involved
privations for which no adequate return was recovered, even by the
medicine-man whose absolute and ephemeral power needed only the betrayal
of circumstances for its own destruction, taking him along with it,
oftener than not, to disgrace or death.

As the cumulus of experience on experience grew greater, chance
violations of tradition, or custom, or ritual, or formula achieving for
the violator a mastery or stability which performance and obedience
failed to achieve, the new heresy became the later orthodoxy, for in
religion, as in all other matters human, nothing succeeds like success.
An impotent god has no divinity; a disused potency means a dying life
among the immortals as on the earth. And as the gods themselves seemed
often to give their worshipers the lie, the futility of the personal and
dramatic definitions of the immediate environment became slowly
recognized, the recognition varying in extent, and clearer in practice
than in discourse.

Accordingly the most primitive of the animisms underwent a necessary
modification. The plasticity of objects under destructive treatment, the
impotence of _taboo_ before elementary needs, the adequate satisfactions
which violations of the divine law brought,--these killed many gods and
drove others from their homes in the hearts of things. The objects so
purged became matters of accurate knowledge. Where animation is denied
the _whole_ environment, wisdom begins to distinguish between
spirit-haunted matter and the purely material; knowledge of person and
knowledge of things differentiate, and science, the impersonal and more
potent knowledge of the environment, properly begins. Familiarity leads
to control, control to contempt, and for the unreflective mind,
personality is not, as for the sophisticated, an attribute of the
contemptible. The incalculable appearance of thunder, the magic greed of
fire, the malice, the spontaneity, the thresh and pulse as of life which
seems to characterize whatever is capricious or impenetrable or
uncontrollable are too much like the felt throbs of consciousness to
become dehumanized. To the variable alone, therefore, is transcendent
animation attributed. Not the seasonal variation of the sun's heat, but
the joy and the sorrow of which his heat is the occasion made him
divine. When the gods appear, to take the place of the immanent spirits
immediately present in things, they appear, therefore, as already
transcendent, with habitations just beyond the well-known: on high
mountains, in the skies, in dark forests, in caves, in all regions
feared or unexplored. But chiefly the gods inhabit those spaces whence
issue the power of darkness and destruction, particularly the heaven, a
word whose meaning is now, as it was primitively, identical with
divinity. The savage becomes a pagan by giving concrete personality to
the dreadful unknown. Thence it is that the ancient poet assigns the
gods a lineage of fear; and fear may truly be said to have made the
gods, in so far as the gods personify the fear which made them.

The moral level of these figments alters with the level of their
habitation; their power varies with their remoteness; Zeus lives in the
highest heaven and is arbiter of the destiny of both gods and man. To
him and to his like there cannot be the relation of equality which is
sustained between men and spirits of the lower order. His very love is
blasting; interchange of commodities, good for good and evil for evil is
not possible where he is concerned. Gods of the higher order he
exemplifies, even all the gods of Olympus, of the Himalayas, of
Valhalla, are literally beings invoked and implored, as well as dwellers
in heaven. To them man pays a toll on all excellence he gains or finds;
libations and burnt-offerings, the fat and the first fruits: he exists
by their sufferance and serves their caprice. He is their toy, born for
their pleasure, and living by their need.

But just because men conceive themselves to be play-things of the gods,
they define in the gods the ideals of mankind. For the divine power is
power to live forever, and the sum of human desire is just the desire to
maintain its humanity in freedom and happiness endlessly. And exactly
those capacities and instruments of self-maintenance,--all that is
beauty, or truth, or goodness, the very essence of value in any of its
forms,--the gods are conceived to possess and to control: these they may
grant, withhold, destroy. They are as eternal as their habitations, the
mountains; as ruthless as their element, the sea; as omnipresent as the
heavens, their home. To become like the gods, therefore, the masters and
fathers of men, is to remain eternally and absolutely human: so that who
is most like them on earth takes his place beside them in heaven.
Hercules and Elias and Krishna, Çaka-Muni and Ishvara, Jesus and Baha
Ullah. Nay, they are the very gods themselves, manifest as men! The
history of the gods thus presents a double aspect: it is first a
characterization of the important objects and processes of nature and
their survival-values,--the sun, thunder, rain, and earthquakes;
dissolution, rebirth, and love; and again it is the narration of
activities native and delightful to mankind. Zeus is a promiscuous lover
as well as a wielder of thunderbolts; Apollo not only drives the chariot
of the sun; he plays and dances, discourses melody and herds sheep.

But while the portrait of the heart's desire in fictitious adventures of
divinity endears the gods to the spirit, the exploration of the elements
in the environment whose natures they dramatically express, destroys
their force, reduces their number, and drives them still further into
the unknown. Olympus is surrendered for the planets and the fixed stars.
With remoteness of location comes transmutation of character. The forces
of the environment which were the divinity are now conceived as
instrumental to its uses. Its power is more subtly described; its nature
becomes a more purely ideal expression of human aspiration. Physical
remoteness and metaphysical ultimacy are akin. God among the stars is
better than God on Olympus. If, as with the Parsees, the unfavorable
character of the environment is expressed in another and equal
being,--the devil, then the god of good must, in the symbolic struggle,
become the ultimate victor and remain the more potent director of man's
destiny. In religion, therefore, when the mind grows at all by
experience, monism develops spontaneously. For the character of the god
becomes increasingly more relevant to hope than to the conditions of
hope's satisfaction. And what man first of all and beyond all aspires
to, is that single, undivided good,--the free flow of his unitary life,
stable, complete, eternal. There is hence always to be found a chief and
father among the gods who, as mankind gain in wisdom and in material
power, consumes his mates and his children like Kronos or Jahweh,
inherits their attributes and performs their functions. The chief
divinity becomes the only divinity; a god becomes God. But divinity, in
becoming one and unique, becomes also transcendent. Monotheism pushes
God altogether beyond the sensible environment. Personality, instead of
being the nature of the world, has become its ground and cause, and all
that mankind loves is conserved, in order that man, whom God loves, may
have his desire and live forever. Life is eternal and happiness
necessary, beyond nature,--in heaven. Finally, in transcendental
idealism, the poles meet; what has been put eternally apart is eternally
united; the immaterial, impalpable, transcendent heaven is made one and
continuous with the gross and unhappy natural world. One _is_ the other;
the other the one. God _is_ the world and transcends it; _is_ the evil
and the good which conquers and consumes that evil. The environment
becomes thus described as a single, eternal, conscious unity, in which
all the actual but transitory values of the actual but transitory life
are conserved and eternalized. In a description of God such as Royce's
or Aristotle's the environment is the eternity of all its constituents
that are dearest to man. Religion, which began as a definition of the
environment as it moved and controlled mankind, ends by describing it
as mankind desires it to be. The environment is now the aforementioned
ideal socius or self which satisfies perfectly all human requirements.
Pluralistic and quarrelsome animism has become monistic and harmonious
spiritism. Forces have turned to excellences and needs to satisfactions.
Necessity has been transmuted to Providence, sin has been identified
with salvation, value with existence, and existence with impotence and
illusion before Providence, salvation, and value.


With this is completed the reply to the question: Why do men contradict
their own experience? Experience is, as Spinoza says, passion and
action, both inextricably mingled and coincident, with the good and evil
of them as interwoven as they. That piecemeal conquest of the evil which
we call civilization has not even the promise of finality. It is a
Penelope's web, always needing to be woven anew. Now, in experience
desire anticipates and outleaps action and fact rebuffs desire. Desire
realizes itself, consequently, in ideas objectified by the power of
speech into independent and autonomous subjects of discourse, whereby
experience is One, Eternal, a Spirit or Spiritually Controlled, wherein
man has Freedom and Immortality. These, the constantly desiderated
traits of a perfect universe, are in fact the limits of what adequacy
environmental satisfactions can attain, ideas hypostatized, normative of
existence, but not constituting it. With them, in philosophy and
religion, the mind confronts the experiences of death and obstruction,
of manifoldness, change and materiality, and denies them, as Peter
denied Jesus. The visible world, being not as we want it, we imagine an
unseen one that satisfies our want, declaring the visible one an
illusion by its side. So we work a radical substitution of desiderates
for actualities, of ideals for facts, of values for existences. Art
alone acknowledges the actual relations between these contrasting pairs.
Art alone so operates as in fact to convert their oppugnance into
identity. Intrinsically, its whole purpose and technique consists of
transmutation of values into existences, in the incarnation the
realization of values. The philosophy and religion of tradition, on the
contrary, consists intrinsically in the flat denial of reality, or at
least, co-reality, to existence, and the transfer of that eulogium to
value-forms as such.

Metaphysics, theology, ethics, logic, æsthetics, dialectic developments
as they are of "norms" or "realities" which themselves can have no
meaning without the "apparent," changing world they measure and belie,
assume consequently a detachment and self-sufficiency they do not
actually possess. Their historians have treated them as if they had no
context, as if the elaboration of the ideal tendencies of the successive
systems explained their origin, character, and significance. But in fact
they are unendowed with this pure intrinsicality, and their development
is not to be accounted for as exteriorization of innate motive or an
unfoldment of inward implications. They have a context; they are crossed
and interpenetrated by outer interests and extraneous considerations.
Their meaning, in so far as it is not merely æsthetic, is _nil_ apart
from these interests and considerations of which they are sometimes
expressions, sometimes reconstructions, and from which they are
persistently refuges.

Philosophy and religion are, in a word, no less than art, social facts.
They are responses to group situations without which they cannot be
understood. Although analysis has shown them to be rooted in certain
persistent motives and conditions of human nature by whose virtue they
issue in definite contours and significances, they acquire individuality
and specific importance only through interaction with the constantly
varying social situations in which they arise, on which they operate,
and by which they are in turn operated on. Philosophy has perhaps
suffered most of all from nescience of those and from devoting itself,
at a minimum, to the satisfaction of that passion for oneness, for
"logical consistency" without which philosophic "systems" would never
arise, nor the metaphysical distinction between "appearance" and
"reality"; and with which the same systems have made up a historic
aggregate of strikingly repugnant and quarrelsome units. It is this
pursuit of consistency as against correctness which has resulted in the
irrelevance of philosophy that the philosopher, unconscious of his
motives and roots, or naïvely identifying, through the instrumentality
of an elaborate dialectic, his instinctive and responsive valuations of
existence with its categoric essences, confuses with inward autonomy and
the vision of the "real." Consequently, the systems of tradition begin
as attempts to transvalue social situations whose existence is
troublesome and end as utterances of which the specific bearing, save to
the system of an opponent, is undiscoverable. The attempt to correct the
environment in fact concludes as an abolition of it in words. The
philosophic system becomes a solipsism, a pure lyric expression of the
appetites of human nature.

For this perversity of the philosophic tradition Plato is perhaps, more
than any one else, answerable. He is the first explicitly to have
reduplicated the world, to have set existences over against values, to
have made them dependent upon values, to have assigned absolute reality
to the compensatory ideals, and to have identified philosophy with
preoccupation with these ideals. Behind his theory of life lay far from
agreeable personal experience of the attitude of political power toward
philosophic ideas. Its ripening was coincident with the most distressing
period of the history of his country. The Peloponnesian War was the
confrontation of two social systems, radically opposed in form, method,
and outlook. Democracy, in Athens, had become synonymous with
demagoguery, corruption, inefficiency, injustice and unscrupulousness in
every aspect of public affairs. The government had no consistent policy
and no centralized responsibility; divided counsel led to continual
disaster without, and party politics rotted the strength within. Beside
Athens, Sparta, a communistic oligarchy, was a tower of strength and
effectiveness. The Spartans made mistakes; they were slow, inept, rude,
and tyrannical, but they were a unit on the war, their policy was
consistent, responsibilities were adequately centered, good order and
loyalty designated the aims and habits of life.[98] The Republic is the
response to the confrontation of Spartan and Athenian; the attempt to
find an adequate solution of the great social problem this confrontation
expressed. The successful state becomes in it the model for the
metaphysical one, and the difference between fact and ideal is amended
by dialectically forcing the implications of existence in the direction
of desire. Neither Athens nor Sparta presented a completely satisfactory
social organization. There must therefore exist a type of social
organization which is so satisfying. It must have existed from eternity,
and must be in essence identical with eternal good, identical with that
oneness and spirituality, lacking which, nothing is important. This
archetypal social organization whose essence is excellence, it is the
congenital vocation of the philosopher to contemplate and to realize.
Philosophers are hence the paragons among animals, lovers of truth,
haters of falsehood and of multiplicity, spectators of all time and all
existence. In them the power to govern should be vested. Their nature is
of the same stuff as the Highest Good with which it concerns itself, but
being such, it appears, merely "appears" alas! irrelevant to the actual
situations of the daily life. The philosopher is hence opposed and
expelled by that arch-sophist, Public Opinion: the man on the street,
failing to understand him, dubs him prater, star-gazer,
good-for-nothing.[99] He becomes an ineffectual stranger, an outlaw, in
a world in which he should be master.

Plato's description of the philosopher and philosophy is, it will be
seen, at once an apology and a program. But it is a program which has
been petrified into a compensatory ideal. The confession of impotence,
the abandonment of the programmatic intent is due to identification of
the ideal with metaphysical fact, to the hypostasis of the ideal. With
Christianism, that being a philosophy operating as a religion,
world-weariness made the apology unnecessary and converted the
hypostasis into the basis of that program of complete surrender of the
attempt to master the problems of existence upon which ensued the arrest
of science and civilization for a thousand years. The Greeks were not
world-weary, and consequently, their joy in life and existence
contributed a minimum of relevance to their other-worldly dreams. Need it
be reasserted that the whole Platonic system, at its richest and best in
the Republic, is both an expression of and a compensation for a concrete
social situation? Once it was formulated it became a part of that
situation, altered it, served as another among the actual causes which
determined the subsequent history of philosophy. Its historic and
efficacious significance is defined by that situation, but philosophers
ignore the situation and accept the system as painters accept a
landscape--as the thing in itself.

Now, the æsthetic aspect of the philosophic system, its autonomy, and
consequent irrelevancy, are undeniable. Once it comes to be, its
intrinsic excellence may constitute its infallible justification for
existence, with no more to be said; and if its defenders or proponents
claimed nothing more for it than this immediate satisfactoriness, there
would be no quarrel with them. There is, however, present in their minds
a sense of the other bearings of their systems. They claim them, in any
event, to be _true_, that is, to be relevant to a situation regarded as
more important because more lastingly determinative of conduct, more
"real" than the situation of which they are born. Their systems are
offered, hence, as maps of life, as guides to the everlasting. That they
intend to define some method for the conservation of life eternally, is
clear enough from their initial motivation and formal issue: all the
Socratics, with their minds fixed on happiness or salvation according to
the prevalence of disillusionment among them; the Christian systems,
still Socratic, but as resolutely other-worldly as disillusioned
Buddhists; the systems of Spinoza, of Kant, the whole subsequent horde
of idealisms, up to the contemporary Germanoid and German idealistic
soliloquies,--they all declare that the vanity and multiplicity of life
as it is leads them to seek for the permanent and the meaningful, and
they each find it according to the idiosyncrasies of the particular
impulses and terms they start with. That their Snark turns out in every
case to be a Boojum is another story.

Yet this story is what gives philosophy, like religion, its social
significance. If its roots, as its actual biography shows, did not reach
deep in the soil of events, if its issues had no fruitage in events made
over by its being, it would never have been so closely identified with
intelligence and its systematic hypostasis would never have ensued. The
fact is that philosophy, like all forms of creative intelligence, is a
tool before it is a perfection. Its autonomy supervenes on its
efficaciousness; it does not precede its efficaciousness. Men
philosophize in order to live before they live in order to philosophize.
Aristotle's description of the self-sufficiency of theory is possible
only for a life wherein theory had already earned this self-sufficiency
as practice, in a life, that is, which is itself an art, organized by
the application of value-forms to its existent psycho-physical processes
in such a way that its existence incarnates the values it desiderates
and the values perfect the existence that embodies them.

The biography of philosophy, hence, reveals it to have the same
possibilities and the same fate that all other ideas have. Today ideas
are the patent of our humanity, the stuff and form of intelligence, the
differentiæ between us and the beasts. In so far forth, they express the
surplusage of vitality over need, the creative freedom of life at play.
This is the thing we see in the imaginings and fantasies of childhood,
whose environment is by social intent formed to favor and sustain its
being. The capacity for spontaneity of idea appears to decrease with
maturity, and the few favored healthy mortals with whom it remains are
called men of genius. William James was such a man, and there are a few
still among the philosophers. But in the mass and in the long run, ideas
are not a primary confirmation of our humanity; in the mass and long
they are warnings of menace to it, a sign of its disintegration. Even so
radical an intellectualist as Mr. Santayana cherishes this observation
to the degree of almost suggesting it as the dogma that all ideas have
their origin in inner or outer maladjustment.[100] However this may be,
that the dominant philosophic ideas arise out of radical disharmonies
between nature and human nature need not be here reiterated, while the
provocative character of minor maladjustments is to be inferred from the
fertility of ideas in unstable minds, of whatever type, from the
neurasthenic to the mad. Ideas represent in these cases the limits of
vital elasticity, the attempt of the organism to maintain its organic
balance; it is as if a balloon, compressed on one side, bulged on the

Ideas, then, bear three types of relations to organic life, relations
socially incarnated in traditional art, religion, and philosophy. First
of all they may be an expression of innate capacities, the very essence
of the freedom of life. In certain arts, such as music, they are just
this. In the opposite case they may be the effect of the compression of
innate capacities, an outcome of obstruction to the free low of life.
They are then compensatory. Where expressive ideas are confluent with
existence, compensatory ideas diverge from existence; they become pure
value-forms whose paramount realization is traditional philosophy. Their
rise and motivation in both these forms is unconscious. They are ideas,
but not yet intelligence. The third instance falls between these
original two. The idea is neither merely a free expression of innate
capacities, nor a compensation for their obstruction or compression.
Arising as the effect of a disharmony, it develops as an enchannelment
of organic powers directed to the conversion of the disharmony into an
adjustment. It does not _use up_ vital energies like the expressive
idea, it is not an abortion of them, like the compensatory idea. It uses
them, and is aware that it uses them--that is, it is a program of action
upon the environment, of conversion of values into existences. Such an
idea has the differentia of intelligence. It is creative; it actually
converts nature into forms appropriate to human nature. It abolishes the
Otherworld of the compensatory tradition in philosophy by incarnating it
in this world; it abolishes the Otherworld of the religionist, rendered
important by belittling the actual one, by restoring the working
relationships between thoughts and things. This restoration develops as
reconstruction of the world in fact. It consists specifically of the art
and science which compose the efficacious enterprises of history and of
which the actual web of our civilization is spun.

Manifest in its purity in art, it attends unconsciously both religion
and philosophy, for the strands of life keep interweaving, and whatever
is, in our collective being, changes and is changed by whatever else may
be, that is in reach. The life of reason is initially unconscious
because it can learn only by living to seek a reason for life. Once it
discovers that it can become self-maintaining alone through relevance to
its ground and conditions, the control which this relevance yields makes
it so infectious that it tends to permeate every human institution, even
religion and philosophy. Philosophy, it is true, has lagged behind even
religion in relevancy, but the lagging has been due not to the
intention of the philosopher but to the inherent character of the task
he assumed. Both art and religion, we have seen, possess an immediacy
and concreteness which philosophy lacks. Art reconstructs correlative
portions of the environment for the eye, the ear, the hopes and fears of
the daily life. Religion extends this reconstruction beyond the actual
environment, but applies its saving technique at the critical points in
the career of the group or the individual; to control the food-supply,
to protect in birth, pubescence, marriage, and death. All its motives
are grounded in specific instincts and needs, all its reconstructions
and compensations culminate with reference to these. Philosophy, on the
other hand, deals with the _whole_ nature of man and his _whole_
environment. It seeks primaries and ultimates. Its traditional task is
so to define the universe as to articulate thereby a theory of life and
eternal salvation. It establishes contact with reality at no individual,
specific point: its reals are "real in general." It aims, in a word, to
be relevant to all nature, and to express the whole soul of man. The
consequence is inevitable: it forfeits relevance to everything natural;
touching nothing actual, it reconstructs nothing actual. Its concretest
incarnation is a dialectic design woven of words. The systems of
tradition, hence, are works of art, to be contemplated, enjoyed, and
believed in, but not to be acted on. For, since action is always
concrete and specific, always determined to time, place, and occasion,
we cannot in fact adapt ourselves to the aggregate infinitude of the
environment, or that to ourselves. Something always stands out,
recalcitrant, invincible, defiant. But it is just such an adaptation
that philosophy intends, and the futility of the intention is evinced by
the fact that the systems of tradition continue side by side with the
realities they deny, and live unmixed in one and the same mind, as a
picture of the ocean on the wall of a dining room in an inland town. Our
operative relations to them tend always to be essentially æsthetic. We
may and do believe in them in spite of life and experience, because
belief in them, involving no action, involves no practical risk. Where
action is a consequence of a philosophic system, the system seems to
dichotomize into art and religion. It becomes particularized into a
technique of living or the dogma of a sect, and so particularized it
becomes radically self-conscious and an aspect of creative intelligence.

So particularized, it is, however, no longer philosophy, and philosophy
has (I hope I may say this without professional bias) an inalienable
place in the life of reason. This place is rationally defined for it by
the discovery of its ground and function in the making of civilization;
and by the perfection of its possibilities through the definition of its
natural relationships. Thus, it is, in its essential historic character
at least, as fine an art as music, the most inward and human of all
arts. It may be, and human nature being what it is, undoubtedly will
continue to be, an added item to the creations wherewith man makes his
world a better place to live in, precious in that it envisages and
projects the excellences and perfections his heart desires and his
imagination therefore defines. So taken, it is not a substitution for
the world, but an addition to it, a refraction of it through the medium
of human nature, as a landscape painting by Whistler or Turner is not a
substitution for the actual landscape, but an interpretation and
imaginative perfection of it, more suitable to the eye of man. A system
like Bergson's is such a work, and its æsthetic adequacy, its beauty,
may be measured by the acknowledgment it receives and the influence it
exercises. Choosing one of the items of experience as its medium, and
this item the most precious in the mind's eye which the history of
philosophy reveals, it proceeds to fabricate a dialectical image of
experience in which all the compensatory desiderates are expressed and
realized. It entices minds of all orders, and they are happy to dwell in
it, for the nonce realizing in the perception of the system the values
it utters. By abandoning all pretense to be true, philosophic systems of
the traditional sort may attain the simple but supreme excellence of
beauty, and rest content therewith.

The philosophic ideal, however, is traditionally not beauty but truth:
the function of a philosophic system is not presentative, but
_re_presentative and causal, and that the systems of tradition have had
and still have consequences as well as character, is obvious enough. It
is, however, to be noted that these consequences have issued out of the
fact that the systems have been specific items of existence among other
equally and even more specific items, thought by particular men, at
particular times and in particular places. As such they have been
programs for meeting events and incarnating values; operative ideals
aiming to recreate the world according to determined standards. They
have looked forward rather than backward, have tacitly acknowledged the
reality of change, the irreducible pluralism of nature, and the
genuineness of the activities, oppugnant or harmonizing, between the
items of the Cosmic. Many they ostensibly negate. The truth, in a word,
has been experimental and prospective; the desiderates they uttered
operated actually as such and not as already existing. Historians of
philosophy, treating it as if it had no context, have denied or ignored
this rôle of philosophy in human events, but historians of the events
themselves could not avoid observing and enregistering it.

Only within very recent years, as an effect of the concept of evolution
in the field of the sciences, have philosophers as such envisaged this
non-æsthetic aspect of philosophy's ground and function in the making of
civilization and have made it the basis for a sober vision which may or
may not have beauty, but which cannot have finality. Such a vision is
again nothing more than traditional philosophy become conscious of its
character and limitations and shorn of its pretense. It is a program to
execute rather than a metaphysic to rest in. Its procedure is the
procedure of all the arts and sciences. It frankly acknowledges the
realities of immediate experience, the turbulence and complexity of the
flux, the interpenetrative confusion of orders, the inward
self-diversification of even the simplest thing, which "change" means,
and the continual emergence of novel entities, unforeseen and
unprevisible, from the reciprocal action of the older aggregate. This
perceptual reality it aims to remould according to the heart's desire.
Accordingly it drops the pretense of envisaging the universe and devotes
itself to its more modest task of applying its standards to a particular
item that needs to be remade. It is believed in, but no longer without
risk, for, without becoming a dogma, it still subjects itself to the
tests of action. So it acknowledges that it must and will itself undergo
constant modification through the process of action, in which it uses
events, in their meanings rather than in their natures, to map out the
future and to make it amenable to human nature. Philosophy so used is,
as John Dewey somewhere says, a mode and organ of experience among many
others. In a world the very core of which is change, it is directed upon
that which is not yet, to previse and to form its character and to map
out the way of life within it. Its aim is the liberation and enlargement
of human capacities, the enfranchisement of man by the actual
realization of values. In its integrate character therefore, it
envisages the life of reason and realizes it as the art of life. Where
it is successful, beauty and use are confluent and identical in it. It
converts sight into insight. It infuses existence with value, making
them one. It is the concrete incarnation of Creative Intelligence.


[1] The word relation suffers from ambiguity. I am speaking here of
_connexion_, dynamic and functional interaction. "Relation" is a term
used also to express logical reference. I suspect that much of the
controversy about internal and external relations is due to this
ambiguity. One passes at will from existential connexions of things to
logical relationship of terms. Such an identification of existences with
_terms_ is congenial to idealism, but is paradoxical in a professed

[2] There is some gain in substituting a doctrine of flux and
interpenetration of psychical states, _à la_ Bergson, for that of rigid
discontinuity. But the substitution leaves untouched the fundamental
misstatement of experience, the conception of experience as directly and
primarily "inner" and psychical.

[3] Mathematical science in its formal aspects, or as a branch of formal
logic, has been the empirical stronghold of rationalism. But an
empirical empiricism, in contrast with orthodox deductive empiricism,
has no difficulty in establishing its jurisdiction as to deductive

[4] It is a shame to devote the word idealism, with its latent moral,
practical connotations, to a doctrine whose tenets are the denial of the
existence of a physical world, and the psychical character of all
objects--at least as far as they are knowable. But I am following usage,
not attempting to make it.

[5] See Dr. Kallen's essay, below.

[6] The "they" means the "some" of the prior sentence--those whose
realism is epistemological, instead of being a plea for taking the facts
of experience as we find them without refraction through epistemological

[7] It is interesting to note that some of the realists who have
assimilated the cognitive relation to other existential relations in the
world (instead of treating it as an unique or epistemological relation)
have been forced in support of their conception of knowledge as a
"presentative" or spectatorial affair to extend the defining features of
the latter to all relations among things, and hence to make all the
"real" things in the world pure "simples," wholly independent of one
another. So conceived the doctrine of external relations appears to be
rather the doctrine of complete externality of _things_. Aside from this
point, the doctrine is interesting for its dialectical ingenuity and for
the elegant development of assumed premises, rather than convincing on
account of empirical evidence supporting it.

[8] In other words, there is a general "problem of error" only because
there is a general problem of evil, concerning which see Dr. Kallen's
essay, below.

[9] Compare the paper by Professor Bode.

[10] As the attempt to retain the epistemological problem and yet to
reject idealistic and relativistic solutions has forced some
Neo-realists into the doctrine of isolated and independent simples, so
it has also led to a doctrine of Eleatic pluralism. In order to maintain
the doctrine the subject makes no difference to anything else, it is
held that _no_ ultimate real makes any difference to anything else--all
this rather than surrender once for all the genuineness of the problem
and to follow the lead of empirical subject-matter.

[11] There is almost no end to the various dialectic developments of the
epistemological situation. When it is held that all the relations of the
type in question are cognitive, and yet it is recognized (as it must be)
that many such "transformations" go unremarked, the theory is
supplemented by introducing "unconscious" psychical modifications.

[12] Conception-presentation has, of course, been made by many in the
history of speculation an exception to this statement; "pure" memory is
also made an exception by Bergson. To take cognizance of this matter
would, of course, accentuate, not relieve, the difficulty remarked upon
in the text.

[13] Cf. _Studies in Logical Theory_, Chs. I and II, by Dewey; also
"Epistemology and Mental States," Tufts, _Phil. Rev._, Vol. VI, which
deserves to rank as one of the early documents of the "experimental"

[14] Cf. "The Definition of the Psychical," G. H. Mead, _Decennial
Publications of the University of Chicago_.

[15] Cf. _The Logic of Hegel-Wallace_, p. 117.

[16] _Bosanquet's Logic_, 2nd Ed., p. 171. The identification of
induction and procedure by hypothesis occurs on p. 156.

[17] _Ibid._, p. 14 (italics mine).

[18] Perhaps the most complete exhibition of the breakdown of formal
logic considered as an account of the operation of thought apart from
its subject-matter is to be found in Schiller's _Formal Logic_.

[19] Cf. Stuart on "Valuation as a Logical Process" in _Studies in
Logical Theory_.

[20] _The New Realism_, pp. 40-41.

[21] Cf. Montague, pp. 256-57; also Russell, _The Problems of_
_Philosophy_, pp. 27-65-66, _et passim_; and Holt's _Concept of
Consciousness_, pp. 14ff., discussed below.

[22] Cf. Angell, "Relations of Psychology to Philosophy," _Decennial
Publications of University of Chicago_, Vol. III; also Castro, "The
Respective Standpoints of Psychology and Logic," _Philosophic Studies,
University of Chicago_, No. 4.

[23] I am here following, in the main, Professor Holt because he alone
appears to have had the courage to develop the full consequences of the
premises of analytic logic.

[24] _The Concept of Consciousness_, pp. 14-15.

[25] It is interesting to compare this onlooking act with the account of
consciousness further on. As "psychological" this act of onlooking must
be an act of consciousness. But consciousness is a cross-section or a
projection of things made by their interaction with a nervous system.
Here consciousness is a function of all the interacting factors. It is
in the play. It _is_ the play. It is not in a spectator's box. How can
consciousness be a function of all the things put into the cross-section
and yet be a mere beholder of the process? Moreover, what is it that
makes any particular, spectacle, or cross-section "logical"? If it be
said all are "logical" what significance has the term?

[26] Cf. Russell's _Scientific Methods in Philosophy_, p. 59.

[27] Holt, _op. cit._, pp. 128-30.

[28] In fact, Newton, in all probability, had the Cartesian pure notions
in mind.

[29] Holt, _op. cit._, p. 118 (italics mine). Cf. also Perry's _Present
Philosophical Tendencies_, pp. 108 and 311.

[30] The character of elements and the nature of simplicity have been
discussed in the preceding section.

[31] _Ibid._, p. 275.

[32] _Ibid._, p. 275.

[33] This lack of continuity between the cognitive function of the
nervous system and its other functions accounts for the strange paradox
in the logic of neo-realism of an act of knowing which is "subjective"
and yet is the act of so palpably an objective affair as a nervous
system. The explanation is that the essence of all deprecated
subjectivity is, as before pointed out, functional isolation. That this
sort of subjectivity should be identified with the "psychical" is not
strange, since a living organism is very difficult to isolate, while the
term "psychical," in its metaphysical sense, seems to stand for little
else than just this complete isolation. Having once appealed to the
nervous system it seems incredible that the physiological continuity of
its functions with each other and with its environment should not have
suggested the logical corollary. Only the force of the prepossession of
mathematical atomism in analytic logic can account for its failure to do

[34] But it would be better to use the term "logically-practical"
instead of "subjective" with the psychical implications of that term.

[35] An analysis which has been many times carried out has made it clear
that scientific data never do more than approximate the laws and
entities upon which our science rests. It is equally evident that the
forms of these laws and entities themselves shift in the reconstructions
of incessant research, or where they seem most secure could consistently
be changed, or at least could be fundamentally different were our
psychological structure or even our conventions of thought different. I
need only refer to the _Science et Hypothèse_ of Poincaré and the
_Problems of Science_ of Enriques. The positivist who undertakes to
carry the structure of the world back to the data of observation, and
the uniformities appearing in the accepted hypotheses of growing
sciences cannot maintain that we ever succeed in isolating data which
must remain the same in the kaleidoscope of our research science; nor
are we better served if we retreat to the ultimate elements of points
and instants which our pure mathematics assumes and implicitly defines,
and in connection with which it has worked out the modern theory of the
number and continuous series, its statements of continuity and infinity.

[36] In other words, science assumes that every error is _ex post facto_
explicable as a function of the real conditions under which it really
arose. Hence, "consciousness," set over against Reality, was not its

[37] C. Judson Herrick, "Some Reflections on the Origin and Significance
of the Cerebral Cortex," _Journal of Animal Behavior_, Vol. III, pp.

[38] _Psychology_, Vol. I, p. 256.

[39] H. C. Warren, _Psychological Review_, Vol. XXI, Page 93.

[40] _Principles of Psychology_, I, p. 241, note.

[41] _Ibid._, p. 258.

[42] _Psychology. Briefer Course._ P. 468.

[43] Angell, _Psychology_, p. 65.

[44] _Psychology_, Vol. I, p. 251.

[45] Thorstein Veblen: _The Instinct of Workmanship_, p. 316.

[46] It may still be argued that we must depend upon analogy in our
acceptance or rejection of a new commodity. For any element of novelty
must surely suggest something to us, must _mean_ something to us, if it
is to attract or repel. Thus, the motor-car will whirl us rapidly over
the country, the motor-boat will dart over the water without effort on
our part. And in such measure as we have had them hitherto, we have
always enjoyed experiences of rapid motion. These new instruments simply
promise a perfectly well-known _sort_ of experience in fuller measure.
So the argument may run. And our mental process in such a case may
accordingly be held to be nothing more mysterious than a passing by
analogy from the _old_ ways in which we got rapid motion in the past to
the _new_ way which now promises more of the same. And more of the same
is what we want.

"More of the same" means here intensive magnitude and in this connection
at all events it begs the question. Bergson's polemic seems perfectly
valid against such a use of the notion. But kept in logical terms the
case seems clearer. It is said that we reason in such a case by
"analogy." We do, indeed; but what is analogy? The term explains nothing
until the real process behind the term is clearly and realistically
conceived. What I shall here suggest holds true, I think, as an account
of analogical inference generally and not simply for the economic type
of case we have here to do with. Reasoning is too often thought of as
proceeding from given independent premises--as here (1) the fact that
hitherto the driving we have most enjoyed and the sailing we have most
enjoyed have been _fast_ and (2) the fact that the motor-car is _fast_.
But do we accept the conclusion because the premises suggest it in a way
we cannot resist? On the contrary, stated thus, the premises clearly do
_not_ warrant the conclusion that the motor-car will be enjoyable. Such
a statement of the premises is wholly formal and _ex post facto_. What,
then, is our actual mental process in the case? The truth is, I think,
that we simply--yes, "psychologically"--wish to try _that promised
unheard-of rate of speed_! That comes first and foremost. But we mean to
be reasonably prudent on the whole, although we are avowedly adventurous
just now in this particular direction! We, therefore, ransack our memory
for _other fast things_ we have known, to see whether they have
encouragement to give us. We try to supply ourselves with a major
premise because the new proposal in its own right interests us--instead
of having the major premise already there to coerce us by a purely
"logical" compulsion as soon as we invade its sphere of influence. And
confessedly, in point of "logic," there is no such compulsion in the
second figure: there is only a timid and vexatious neutrality, a mere
"not proven."

Why, then, do we in fact take the much admired "inductive leap," in
seeming defiance of strict logic? Why do we close our eyes to logic,
turn our back upon logic, behave as if logic were not and had never
been? In point of fact, we do nothing of the sort. The "inductive leap"
is no leap away from logic, but the impulsion of logic's mainspring seen
only in its legitimate event. Because we have not taken care to see the
impulse coming, it surprises us and we are frightened. And we look about
for an illusive assurance in some "law of thought," or some
question-begging "universal premise" of Nature's "uniformity." We do not
see that we were already conditionally committed to the "leap" by our
initial interest. Getting our premises together is no hurried forging of
a chain to save us from our own madness in the nick of time. We are only
hoping to rid ourselves of an excess of conservative ballast. To reason
by analogy is not to repress or to dispense with the interest in the
radically novel, but to give methodical and intelligent expression to
that interest.

[47] Aristotle's _Nicomachaean Ethics_ (Welldon's transl.), Book VIII.

[48] Cf. Aristotle's _Politics_ (Jowett's trans.) III. 9. §6 ff. and
elsewhere; _Nicom. Ethics_, I, Chap. III (end).

[49] Cf. Veblen: _op. cit._

[50] W. McDougall in his _Social Psychology_ (Ed. 1912, pp. 358 ff.)
recognizes "incomplete anticipation of the end of action" as a genuine
type of preliminary situation in human behavior, but appears to regard
this as in so far a levelling-down of man to the blindness of the
"brutes." But "incompleteness" is a highly ambiguous term and seems here
to beg the question. "Incompleteness" may be given an emphasis in which
it imports conjecture and hypothesis--almost anything, in fact, but
blindness. Rather do the brutes get levelled up to man by such facts as
those McDougall cites.

[51] take _routine_ to be the essence and meaning of hedonism. There are
two fundamental types of conduct--routine and constructiveness.
Reference may be made here to Böhm-Bawerk's pronouncement on hedonism in
_Kapital und Kapitalzins_, 1912 (II-2, pp. 310 ff.): "What people love
and hate, strive towards or fight off--whether only pleasure and pain or
other 'lovable' and 'hatable' things as well,--is a matter of entire
indifference to the economist. The only thing important is that they do
love and hate certain things.... The deductions of marginal utility
theory lose no whit of their cogency even if certain ends (dependent for
their realization upon a supply of goods inadequate to the fulfillment
of all ends without limit) are held to have the character not of
pleasure but of something else. The marginal utility may be a least
pleasure or a competing least utility of some other sort...." (p. 317).
This is a not uncommon view. As W. C. Mitchell has suggested, it is too
obvious to be wholly convincing. (_Journ. Pol. Ec._, Vol. XVIII. "The
Rationality of Economic Activity.") Veblen has made it perfectly clear
that particular matters of theory are affected by the presupposition of
hedonism. (_Journ. Pol. Ec._, Vol. XVII, _Quart. Journ. Econ._, Vol.
XXII, p. 147 ff.) The matter is too complex for a footnote, but I think
it of little consequence whether "pleasure" be in any case regarded as
substantively the end of desire or not. This is largely a matter of
words. What is important is the practical question whether a thing is
_so habitual with me that when the issue arises I cannot or will not
give it up and take an interest in something new_ the "utility" of which
I cannot as yet be cognizant of because it partly rests with me to
create it. If this is the fact it will surely look as if pleasure or the
avoidance of pain were my end in the case. Hedonism and egoism are in
the end convertible terms. There is conduct wearing the outward aspect
of altruism that is egotistic in fact--not because it was from the first
insincere or self-delusive, but because it has become habitual and may
in a crisis be held to for the sake of the satisfaction it affords.
Genuine altruism, on the other hand, is a form of constructiveness.

[52] Until after this essay was finished I had not seen John A. Hobson's
book entitled _Work and Wealth, A Human Valuation_ (London, 1914). My
attention was first definitely called to this work by a friend among the
economists who read my finished MS. late in 1915, and referred me in
particular to the concluding chapter on "Social Science and Social Art."
On now tardily reading this chapter I find that, as any reader will
readily perceive, it distinctly anticipates, almost _verbatim_ in parts,
what I have tried, with far less success, to say in the foregoing two
paragraphs above. Hobson argues, with characteristic clearness and
effect, for the qualitative uniqueness and the integral character of
personal budgets, holding that the logic of marginality is "an entirely
illusory account of the psychical process by which a man lays out his
money, or his time, or his energy" (p. 331). "So far as it is true that
the last sovereign of my expenditure in bread equals in utility the last
sovereign of my expenditure in books, that fact proceeds not from a
comparison, conscious, or unconscious, of these separate items at this
margin, but from the parts assigned respectively to bread and books in
the organic plan of my life. Quantitative analysis, inherently incapable
of comprehending qualitative unity or qualitative differences, can only
pretend to reduce the latter to quantitative differences. What it
actually does is to ignore alike the unity of the whole and the
qualitativeness of the parts" (p. 334). Hobson not only uses the analogy
of the artist and the picture (p. 330) precisely as I have done, but
offers still other illustrations of the principle that seem to me even
more apt and telling. Though not indebted to him for what I have put
into the above paragraphs, I am glad to be able to cite the authority of
so distinguished an economist and sociologist for conclusions to which I
found my own way. Other parts as well _of Work and Wealth_ (e.g.,
Chapter IV, on "The Creative Factor in Production") seem to have a close
relation to the main theme of the present discussion.

[53] It may be worth while to glance here for the sake of illustration
at an ethical view of preference parallel with the economic logic above
contested. "The act which is right in that it promotes one interest, is,
by the same principle," writes R. B. Perry, "wrong in that it injures
another interest. There is no contradiction in this fact ... simply
because it is possible for the same thing to possess several relations,
the question of their compatibility or incompatibility being in each
case a question of empirical fact. Now ... an act ... may be doubly
right in that it conduces to the fulfillment of two interests. Hence
arises the conception of comparative goodness. If the fulfillment of one
interest is good, the fulfillment of two is better; and the fulfillment
of all interests is best.... Morality, then, is _such performance as
under the circumstances, and in view of all the interests affected,
conduces to most goodness_. In other words, that act is morally right
which is most right." (_Present Philosophical Tendencies_, p. 334. Cf.
also _The Moral Economy_). It is evident that constructive change in the
underlying system (or aggregate?) of the agent's interests gets no
recognition here as a matter of moral concern or as a fact of the
agent's moral experience. Thus Perry understands the meaning of freedom
to lie in the fact that "_interests operate_," i.e., that interests
exist as a certain class of operative factors in the universe along with
factors of _other_ sorts. "I can and do, within limits, _act as I will_.
Action, in other words, is governed by desires and intentions." (pp. 342
ff.). The cosmical heroics of Bertrand Russell are thus not quite the
last word in Ethics (p. 346). Nevertheless, the "free man," in Perry's
view, apparently must get on with the interests that once for all
initially defined him as a "moral constant" (p. 343).

[54] In a recent interesting discussion of "Self-interest" (T. N.
Carver, _Essays in Social Justice_, 1915, Chap. III) occurs the
following: "We may conclude ... that even after we eliminate from our
consideration all other beings than self, there is yet a possible
distinction between one's present and one's future self. It is always,
of course, the present self which esteems or appreciates all interests
whether they be present or future. And the present self estimates or
appreciates present interests somewhat more highly than it does future
interests. In this respect the present self appreciates the interests of
the future self according to a law quite analogous to, if indeed it be
not the same law as that according to which it appreciates the interests
of others" (p. 71). This bit of "subjective analysis" (p. 60), a
procedure rather scornfully condemned as "subjective quibbling" on the
following page, must be counted a fortunate lapse. It could be bettered,
I think, in only one point. Must the future self "of course" and
"always" get license to live by meeting the standards of the present
self? Has the present self no modesty, no curiosity, no "sense of
humor"? If it is so stupidly hard and fast, how can a self new and
qualitatively different ever get upon its feet in a man? In some men no
such thing can happen--but must it be in all men impossible and
impossible "of course"? And what of the other self? Carver has not
applied the "methods of subjective analysis" to _change_ from self _to_
self or from interest in self _to_ interest in others. The present tense
of formal logic governs fundamentally throughout the whole account.

If this essay were a volume I should try to consider, from the point of
view of constructive intelligence, the explanation of interest as due to
the undervaluation of future goods.

[55] Fite, _Introductory Study of Ethics_, pp. 3-8.

[56] Dewey and Tufts, _Ethics_, pp. 205-11.

[57] The term "egocentric predicament" (cf. R. B. Perry: _Present
Philosophical Tendencies_, p. 129 ff.) has had, for a philosophic term,
a remarkable literary success. But at best it conveys a partial view of
the situation it purports to describe. The "egocentricity" of our
experience, viewed in its relation to action, seems, rightly considered,
less a "predicament" than an opportunity, a responsibility and an
immunity. For in relation to _action_, it means (1) that an objective
complex situation has become, in various of its aspects, a matter of my
cognizance in terms significant to me. That so many of its aspects have
come into relations of conflict or reënforcement significant _for me_ is
_my_ opportunity for reconstructive effort if I choose to avail myself
of it. Because, again, I am thus "on hand myself" (_op. cit._, p. 129)
and am thus able to "report" upon the situation, I am (2) responsible,
in the measure of my advantages, for the adequacy of my performance. And
finally (3) I cannot be held to account for failure to reckon with such
aspects of the situation as I cannot get hold of in the guise of "ideas,
objects of knowledge or experiences" (_Ibid._). Our egocentricity is,
then, a predicament only so long as one stubbornly insists, to no
obvious positive purpose, on thinking of knowledge as a self-sufficing
entitative complex, like a vision suddenly appearing full-blown out of
the blue, and as inviting judgment in that isolated character on the
representative adequacy which it is supposed to claim (cf. A. W. Moore,
"Isolated Knowledge," _Journ. of Philos., etc._, Vol. XI). The way out
of the predicament for Perry and his colleagues is to attack the
traditional subjective and representative aspects of knowledge. But,
this carried out, what remains of knowledge is a "cross-section of
neutral entities" which _still_ retains all the original
unaccountability, genetically speaking, and the original intrinsic and
isolated self-sufficiency traditionally supposed to belong to knowledge.
The ostensible gain achieved for knowledge is an alleged proof of its
ultimate self-validation or the meaninglessness of any suspicion of its
validity (because there is no uncontrolled and distorting intermediation
of "consciousness" in the case). But to wage strenuous war on
subjectivism and representationism and still to have on hand a problem
calling for the invention _ad hoc_ of an entire new theory of mind and
knowledge seems a waste of good ammunition on rather unimportant
outworks. They might have been circumvented.

But what concerns us here is the ethical parallel. The egocentric
predicament in this aspect purports to compel the admission by the
"altruist" that since whatever he chooses to do must be his act and is
obviously done because he wishes, for good and sufficient reasons of his
own, to do it, therefore he is an egoist after all--perhaps in spite of
himself and then again perhaps not. The ethical realism of G. E. Moore
(_Principia Ethica_, 1903) breaks out of the predicament by declaring
Good independent of all desire, wish or human interest and
_indefinable_, and by supplying a partial list of things thus
independently good. What I do, I do because it seems likely to put me in
possession of objective _Good_, not because it accords with some habit
or whim of mine (although my own pleasure is undoubtedly _one_ of the
good things). It is noteworthy that Perry declines to follow Moore in
this (_op. cit._, p. 331 ff.). Now such an ethical objectivism can give
no account of the motivation, or the process, of the individual's
efforts to attain, for guidance in any case, a "more adequate"
apprehension of what things are good than he may already possess, just
as the objectivist theory of consciousness ( = knowledge) can supply no
clue as to how or whether a _more_ or a _less_ comprehensive or a
qualitatively _different_ "cross-section of entities" can or should be
got into one's "mind" as warrant or guidance ("stimulus") for a
contemplated response that is to meet a present emergency (cf. John
Dewey, "The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology," _Psychol. Rev._, Vol.
IV). Thus neither sort of deliverance out of the alleged predicament of
egocentricity abates in the least the only serious inconvenience or
danger threatened by subjectivism.

[58] Cf. W. Jethro Brown, _The Underlying Principles of Modern
Legislation_ (3d ed., London, 1914), pp. 165-68.

[59] Bosanquet: _Principle of Individuality and Value_, pp. 13, 15, 20,
24, 27, 30.

[60] The case against the Austrian explanation of market-price in terms
of marginal utility has been well summed up and re-enforced by B. M.
Anderson in his monograph, _Social Value_ (Boston, 1911). Anderson finds
the fatal flaw in the Austrian account to consist in the psychological
particularism of the marginal utility theory. The only way, he holds, to
provide an adequate foundation for a non-circular theory of price is to
understand the marginal estimates people put upon goods as resultants of
the entire moral, legal, institutional, scientific, æsthetical, and
religious state of society at the time. This total and therefore
absolute state of affairs, if I understand the argument, is to be
regarded as focussed to a unique point in the estimate each man puts
upon a commodity. Thus, presumably, the values which come together,
summed up in the total demand and supply schedules for a commodity in
the market, are "social values" and the resultant market-price is a
"social price." This cross-sectional social totality of conditions is
strongly suggestive of an idealistic Absolute. The individual is a mere
focussing of impersonal strains and stresses in the Absolute. But the
real society is a radically temporal process. The real centers of
initiation in it are creatively intelligent individuals whose economic
character as such expresses itself not in "absolute" marginal
registrations but in price estimates.

On the priority of price to value I venture to claim the support of A.
A. Young, "Some Limitations of the Value Concept," _Quart. Journ.
Econ._, Vol. XXV, p. 409 (esp. pp. 417-19). Incidentally, I suspect the
attempt to reconstruct ethical theory as a branch of what is called
_Werttheorie_ to be a mistake and likely to result only in useless and
misleading terminology.

[61] _Positive Theory of Capital_ (Eng. trans.). Bk. IV, Ch. II. The
passage is unchanged in the author's latest edition (1912).

[62] It is pointed out (e.g., by Davenport in his _Economics of
Enterprise_, pp. 53-54) that, mathematically, in a market where large
numbers of buyers and sellers confront each other with their respective
maximum and minimum valuations on the commodity this interval within
which price must fall becomes indefinitely small to the point of
vanishing. This is doubtless in accord with the law of probability, but
it would be an obvious fallacy to see in this any manner of proof or
presumption that therefore the assumptions as to the nature of the
individual valuations upon which such analysis proceeds _are true_. In a
large market where this interval is supposed to be a vanishing quantity
is there more or less higgling and bargaining than in a small market
where the interval is admittedly perceptible? And if there _is_ higgling
and bargaining (_op. cit._, pp. 96-97), what is it doing that is of
price-fixing importance unless there be supposed to be a critical
interval for it to work in? Such a use of probability-theory is a good
example of the way in which mathematics may be used to cover the false
assumptions which have to be made in order to make a mathematical
treatment of certain sorts of subject-matter initially plausible as
description of concrete fact.

[63] As I have elsewhere argued ("Subjective and Exchange Value,"
_Journ. Pol. Econ._, Vol. IV, pp. 227-30). By the same token, I confess
skepticism of the classical English doctrine that cost can affect price
only through its effect upon quantity produced. "If all the commodities
used by man," wrote Senior (quoted by Davenport, _op. cit._, p. 58),
"were supplied by nature without any interference whatever of human
labor, but were supplied in precisely the same amounts that they now
are, there is no reason to suppose either that they would cease to be
valuable or would exchange at any other than the present proportions."
But is this inductive evidence or illustrative rhetoric? One wonders,
indeed, whether private property would ever have developed or how long
modern society would tolerate it if all wealth were the gift of nature
instead of only some of it (that part, of course, which requires no use
of produced capital goods for its appropriation).

[64] Certain points in this discussion have been raised in two papers,
entitled, "The Present Task of Ethical Theory," _Int. Jour. of Ethics_,
XX, and "Ethical Value," _Jour. of Phil., Psy., and Scientific Methods_,
V, p. 517.

[65] Cf. also John Dewey, _Influence of Darwin upon Philosophy_, and
Dewey and Tufts, _Ethics_, Ch. XVI.

[66] _International Journal of Ethics_, XXV, 1914, pp. 1-24.

[67]_ Dreams of a Spirit Seer._

[68] Cf. A. W. Moore, _Pragmatism and Its Critics_, 257-78.

[69] Croce, _Philosophy of the Practical_, pp. 312 f.

[70] G. E. Moore, _Principia Ethica_, p. 147.

[71] _Ethics_, ch. V.

[72] G. E. Moore, _Principia Ethica_, p. 149.

[73] Rashdall, _Is Conscience an Emotion?_ pp. 199 f.

[74] _Ibid._, 177.

[75] G.E. Moore, _Ethics_, Ch. III.

[76] Dewey and Tufts, _Ethics_, pp. 334 f.

[77] _Methods of Ethics_, p. 380.

[78] _Individualism_, 55, 61, 62.

[79] Lectures III and IV, especially 175, 176, 235-39.

[80] Pp. 111 ff., 172-75, 329 ff.

[81] Pp. 73, 186, 236, 261 f., 267, 269.

[82] 124, 182, 301.

[83] 263 ff., 123.

[84] Pp. 180, 241.

[85] P. 180.

[86] Art and religion have doubtless their important parts in embodying
values, or in adding the consciousness of membership in a larger union
of spirits, or of relation to a cosmic order conceived as ethical, but
the limits of our discussion do not permit treatment of these factors.

[87] Cf. my paper, "Goodness, Cognition, and Beauty," _Journal of
Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods_, Vol. IX, p. 253.

[88] Cf. Thorndike, _The Original Nature of Man_; S. Freud, _Die
Traumdeutung_, _Psychopathologie des Alltagsleben_, etc.; McDougall,
_Social Psychology_.

[89] _The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods_,
Vol. IX, p. 256.

[90] Cf. Plato, _Republic_, IX, 571, 572, for an explicit anticipation
of Freud.

[91] This "new psychology" is not so very new.

[92] Cf. Hocking, _The Meaning of God in Human Experience_, for the most
recent of these somnambulisms. But any idealistic system will do, from
Plato to Bradley.

[93] Cf. James, _The Varieties of Religious Experience_.

[94] Cf. Jane Harrison, _Ancient Art and Ritual_.

[95] Cf. my paper, "Is Belief Essential in Religion?", _International
Journal of Ethics_, October, 1910.

[96] "Metaphysics," _Book Lambda_.

[97] This is accomplished usually by ignoring the differentia of the
term of religion, and using it simply as an adjective of eulogy, as in
the common practice the term "Christian" is made coextensive with the
denotation of "good," or "social." For example, a "Christian gentleman"
can differ in no discernible way from a gentleman not so qualified save
by believing in certain theological propositions. But in usage, the
adjective is simply tautologous. Compare R. B. Perry, _The Moral
Economy_; E. S. Ames, _The Psychology of Religious Experience_; J. H.
Leuba, _A Psychological Study of Religion_; H. M. Kallen, _Is Belief
Essential in Religion?_

[98] The condition of England and Germany in the present civil war in
Europe echoes this situation.

[99] Cf. _Republic_, Books V and VI.

[100] Cf. _Winds of Doctrine_ and _Reason in Common Sense_.


1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. Punctuation has been normalized. As well as obvious misprints have
been corrected.

3. The original text includes Greek characters. For this text version
these letters have been replaced with transliterations.

4. The word "Phoenicians" uses an "oe" ligature in the original.

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