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Title: Reconstruction in Philosophy
Author: Dewey, John, 1859-1952
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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  RECONSTRUCTION IN PHILOSOPHY



  BY
  JOHN DEWEY
  Professor of Philosophy in Columbia University


  [Illustration]


  NEW YORK.
  HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY
  1920



  COPYRIGHT, 1920,
  BY
  HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY


  The Quinn & Boden Company
  BOOK MANUFACTURERS
  RAHWAY  NEW JERSEY



PREFATORY NOTE


Being invited to lecture at the Imperial University of Japan in Tokyo
during February and March of the present year, I attempted an
interpretation of the reconstruction of ideas and ways of thought now
going on in philosophy. While the lectures cannot avoid revealing the
marks of the particular standpoint of their author, the aim is to
exhibit the general contrasts between older and newer types of
philosophic problems rather than to make a partisan plea in behalf of
any one specific solution of these problems. I have tried for the most
part to set forth the forces which make intellectual reconstruction
inevitable and to prefigure some of the lines upon which it must
proceed.

Any one who has enjoyed the unique hospitality of Japan will be
overwhelmed with confusion if he endeavors to make an acknowledgment in
any way commensurate to the kindnesses he received. Yet I must set down
in the barest of black and white my grateful appreciation of them, and
in particular record my ineffaceable impressions of the courtesy and
help of the members of the department of philosophy of Tokyo University,
and of my dear friends Dr. Ono and Dr. Nitobe.

                                                       J. D.

September, 1919.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                                         PAGE

    I CHANGING CONCEPTIONS OF PHILOSOPHY                             1

        Influence of community traditions and authority.
        Simultaneous development of matter-of-fact knowledge.
        Incongruity and conflict of the two types.
        Respective values of each type.... Classic philosophies
        (i) compensatory, (ii) dialectically formal,
        and (iii) concerned with "superior" Reality. Contemporary
        thinking accepts primacy of matter-of-fact
        knowledge and assigns to philosophy a social
        function rather than that of absolute knowledge.

   II SOME HISTORICAL FACTORS IN PHILOSOPHICAL RECONSTRUCTION       28

        Francis Bacon exemplifies the newer spirit....
        He conceived knowledge as power. As dependent
        upon organized cooperative research.... As tested
        by promotion of social progress. The new thought
        reflected actual social changes, industrial, political,
        religious.... The new idealism.

  III THE SCIENTIFIC FACTOR IN RECONSTRUCTION OF PHILOSOPHY         53

        Science has revolutionized our conception of Nature.
        Philosophy has to be transformed because
        no longer depending upon a science which accepts
        a closed, finite world. Or, fixed species. Or,
        superiority or rest to change and motion. Contrast
        of feudal with democratic conceptions. Elimination
        of final causes. Mechanical science and the possibility
        of control of nature. Respect for matter.
        New temper of imagination. Influence thus far
        technical rather than human and moral.

   IV CHANGED CONCEPTIONS OF EXPERIENCE AND REASON                  77

        Traditional conception of nature of experience.
        Limits of ancient civilization.  Effect of classic
        idea on modern empiricism. Why a different conception
        is now possible. Psychological change emphasizes
        vital factor using environment. Effect
        upon traditional ideas of sensation and knowledge.
        Factor of organization. Socially, experience is now
        more inventive and regulative.... Corresponding
        change in idea of Reason. Intelligence is hypothetical
        and inventive. Weakness of historic Rationalism.
        Kantianism. Contrast of German and
        British philosophies. Reconstruction of empirical
        liberalism.

    V CHANGED CONCEPTIONS OF THE IDEAL AND THE REAL                103

        Idealization rooted in aversion to the disagreeable....
        This fact has affected philosophy....
        True reality is ideal, and hence changeless, complete.
        Hence contemplative knowledge is higher
        than experimental. Contrast with the modern practise
        of knowledge.... Significance of change....
        The actual or realistic signifies conditions effecting
        change.... Ideals become methods rather than
        goals. Illustration from elimination of distance.
        Change in conception of philosophy.... The
        significant problems for philosophy.... Social
        understanding and conciliation. The practical problem
        of real and ideal.

   VI THE SIGNIFICANCE OF LOGICAL RECONSTRUCTION                   132

        Present confusion as to logic. Logic is regulative
        and normative because empirical. Illustration from
        mathematics. Origin of thinking in conflicts. Confrontation
        with fact. Response by anticipation or
        prediction. Importance of hypotheses. Impartial
        inquiry. Importance of deductive function. Organization
        and classification. Nature of truth.
        Truth is adverbial, not a thing.

  VII RECONSTRUCTION IN MORAL CONCEPTIONS                          161

        Common factor in traditional theories. Every
        moral situation unique. Supremacy of the specific
        or individualized case. Fallacy of general ends.
        Worth of generalization of ends and rules is intellectual.
        Harmfulness of division of goods into
        intrinsic and instrumental. Into natural and moral.
        Moral worth of natural science. Importance of
        discovery in morals. Abolishing Phariseeism....
        Growth as the end. Optimism and pessimism. Conception
        of happiness. Criticism of utilitarianism.
        All life moral in so far as educative.

  VIII RECONSTRUCTION AS AFFECTING SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY               187

        Defects of current logic of social thought. Neglect
        of specific situations. Defects of organic concept
        of society. Evils of notion of fixed self or
        individual. Doctrine of interests. Moral and institutional
        reform. Moral test of social institutions.
        Social pluralism. Political monism, dogma
        of National State. Primacy of associations. International
        humanism. Organization a subordinate
        conception. Freedom and democracy. Intellectual
        reconstruction when habitual will affect imagination
        and hence poetry and religion.

  INDEX                                                            217



RECONSTRUCTION IN PHILOSOPHY



CHAPTER I

CHANGING CONCEPTIONS OF PHILOSOPHY


Man differs from the lower animals because he preserves his past
experiences. What happened in the past is lived again in memory. About
what goes on today hangs a cloud of thoughts concerning similar things
undergone in bygone days. With the animals, an experience perishes as it
happens, and each new doing or suffering stands alone. But man lives in
a world where each occurrence is charged with echoes and reminiscences
of what has gone before, where each event is a reminder of other things.
Hence he lives not, like the beasts of the field, in a world of merely
physical things but in a world of signs and symbols. A stone is not
merely hard, a thing into which one bumps; but it is a monument of a
deceased ancestor. A flame is not merely something which warms or burns,
but is a symbol of the enduring life of the household, of the abiding
source of cheer, nourishment and shelter to which man returns from his
casual wanderings. Instead of being a quick fork of fire which may sting
and hurt, it is the hearth at which one worships and for which one
fights. And all this which marks the difference between bestiality and
humanity, between culture and merely physical nature, is because man
remembers, preserving and recording his experiences.

The revivals of memory are, however, rarely literal. We naturally
remember what interests us and because it interests us. The past is
recalled not because of itself but because of what it adds to the
present. Thus the primary life of memory is emotional rather than
intellectual and practical. Savage man recalled yesterday's struggle
with an animal not in order to study in a scientific way the qualities
of the animal or for the sake of calculating how better to fight
tomorrow, but to escape from the tedium of today by regaining the thrill
of yesterday. The memory has all the excitement of the combat without
its danger and anxiety. To revive it and revel in it is to enhance the
present moment with a new meaning, a meaning different from that which
actually belongs either to it or to the past. Memory is vicarious
experience in which there is all the emotional values of actual
experience without its strains, vicissitudes and troubles. The triumph
of battle is even more poignant in the memorial war dance than at the
moment of victory; the conscious and truly human experience of the chase
comes when it is talked over and re-enacted by the camp fire. At the
time, attention is taken up with practical details and with the strain
of uncertainty. Only later do the details compose into a story and fuse
into a whole of meaning. At the time of practical experience man exists
from moment to moment, preoccupied with the task of the moment. As he
re-surveys all the moments in thought, a drama emerges with a beginning,
a middle and a movement toward the climax of achievement or defeat.

Since man revives his past experience because of the interest added to
what would otherwise be the emptiness of present leisure, the primitive
life of memory is one of fancy and imagination, rather than of accurate
recollection. After all, it is the story, the drama, which counts. Only
those incidents are selected which have a present emotional value, to
intensify the present tale as it is rehearsed in imagination or told to
an admiring listener. What does not add to the thrill of combat or
contribute to the goal of success or failure is dropped. Incidents are
rearranged till they fit into the temper of the tale. Thus early man
when left to himself, when not actually engaged in the struggle for
existence, lived in a world of memories which was a world of
suggestions. A suggestion differs from a recollection in that no attempt
is made to test its correctness. Its correctness is a matter of relative
indifference. The cloud suggests a camel or a man's face. It could not
suggest these things unless some time there had been an actual, literal
experience of camel and face. But the real likeness is of no account.
The main thing is the emotional interest in tracing the camel or
following the fortunes of the face as it forms and dissolves.

Students of the primitive history of mankind tell of the enormous part
played by animal tales, myths and cults. Sometimes a mystery is made out
of this historical fact, as if it indicated that primitive man was moved
by a different psychology from that which now animates humanity. But the
explanation is, I think, simple. Until agriculture and the higher
industrial arts were developed, long periods of empty leisure alternated
with comparatively short periods of energy put forth to secure food or
safety from attack. Because of our own habits, we tend to think of
people as busy or occupied, if not with doing at least with thinking and
planning. But then men were busy only when engaged in the hunt or
fishing or fighting expedition. Yet the mind when awake must have some
filling; it cannot remain literally vacant because the body is idle. And
what thoughts should crowd into the human mind except experiences with
animals, experiences transformed under the influence of dramatic
interest to make more vivid and coherent the events typical of the
chase? As men in fancy dramatically re-lived the interesting parts of
their actual lives, animals inevitably became themselves dramatized.

They were true _dramatis personæ_ and as such assumed the traits of
persons. They too had desires, hopes and fears, a life of affections,
loves and hates, triumphs and defeats. Moreover, since they were
essential to the support of the community, their activities and
sufferings made them, in the imagination which dramatically revived the
past, true sharers in the life of the community. Although they were
hunted, yet they permitted themselves after all to be caught, and hence
they were friends and allies. They devoted themselves, quite literally,
to the sustenance and well-being of the community group to which they
belonged. Thus were produced not merely the multitude of tales and
legends dwelling affectionately upon the activities and features of
animals, but also those elaborate rites and cults which made animals
ancestors, heroes, tribal figure-heads and divinities.

I hope that I do not seem to you to have gone too far afield from my
topic, the origin of philosophies. For it seems to me that the historic
source of philosophies cannot be understood except as we dwell, at even
greater length and in more detail, upon such considerations as these. We
need to recognize that the ordinary consciousness of the ordinary man
left to himself is a creature of desires rather than of intellectual
study, inquiry or speculation. Man ceases to be primarily actuated by
hopes and fears, loves and hates, only when he is subjected to a
discipline which is foreign to human nature, which is, from the
standpoint of natural man, artificial. Naturally our books, our
scientific and philosophical books, are written by men who have
subjected themselves in a superior degree to intellectual discipline and
culture. Their thoughts are habitually reasonable. They have learned to
check their fancies by facts, and to organize their ideas logically
rather than emotionally and dramatically. When they do indulge in
reverie and day-dreaming--which is probably more of the time than is
conventionally acknowledged--they are aware of what they are doing. They
label these excursions, and do not confuse their results with objective
experiences. We tend to judge others by ourselves, and because
scientific and philosophic books are composed by men in whom the
reasonable, logical and objective habit of mind predominates, a similar
rationality has been attributed by them to the average and ordinary man.
It is then overlooked that both rationality and irrationality are
largely irrelevant and episodical in undisciplined human nature; that
men are governed by memory rather than by thought, and that memory is
not a remembering of actual facts, but is association, suggestion,
dramatic fancy. The standard used to measure the value of the
suggestions that spring up in the mind is not congruity with fact but
emotional congeniality. Do they stimulate and reinforce feeling, and fit
into the dramatic tale? Are they consonant with the prevailing mood, and
can they be rendered into the traditional hopes and fears of the
community? If we are willing to take the word dreams with a certain
liberality, it is hardly too much to say that man, save in his
occasional times of actual work and struggle, lives in a world of
dreams, rather than of facts, and a world of dreams that is organized
about desires whose success and frustration form its stuff.

To treat the early beliefs and traditions of mankind as if they were
attempts at scientific explanation of the world, only erroneous and
absurd attempts, is thus to be guilty of a great mistake. The material
out of which philosophy finally emerges is irrelevant to science and to
explanation. It is figurative, symbolic of fears and hopes, made of
imaginations and suggestions, not significant of a world of objective
fact intellectually confronted. It is poetry and drama, rather than
science, and is apart from scientific truth and falsity, rationality or
absurdity of fact in the same way in which poetry is independent of
these things.

This original material has, however, to pass through at least two stages
before it becomes philosophy proper. One is the stage in which stories
and legends and their accompanying dramatizations are consolidated. At
first the emotionalized records of experiences are largely casual and
transitory. Events that excite the emotions of an individual are seized
upon and lived over in tale and pantomime. But some experiences are so
frequent and recurrent that they concern the group as a whole. They are
socially generalized. The piecemeal adventure of the single individual
is built out till it becomes representative and typical of the emotional
life of the tribe. Certain incidents affect the weal and woe of the
group in its entirety and thereby get an exceptional emphasis and
elevation. A certain texture of tradition is built up; the story becomes
a social heritage and possession; the pantomime develops into the stated
rite. Tradition thus formed becomes a kind of norm to which individual
fancy and suggestion conform. An abiding framework of imagination is
constructed. A communal way of conceiving life grows up into which
individuals are inducted by education. Both unconsciously and by
definite social requirement individual memories are assimilated to group
memory or tradition, and individual fancies are accommodated to the body
of beliefs characteristic of a community. Poetry becomes fixated and
systematized. The story becomes a social norm. The original drama which
re-enacts an emotionally important experience is institutionalized into
a cult. Suggestions previously free are hardened into doctrines.

The systematic and obligatory nature of such doctrines is hastened and
confirmed through conquests and political consolidation. As the area of
a government is extended, there is a definite motive for systematizing
and unifying beliefs once free and floating. Aside from natural
accommodation and assimilation springing from the fact of intercourse
and the needs of common understanding, there is often political
necessity which leads the ruler to centralize traditions and beliefs in
order to extend and strengthen his prestige and authority. Judea,
Greece, Rome, and I presume all other countries having a long history,
present records of a continual working over of earlier local rites and
doctrines in the interests of a wider social unity and a more extensive
political power. I shall ask you to assume with me that in this way the
larger cosmogonies and cosmologies of the race as well as the larger
ethical traditions have arisen. Whether this is literally so or not, it
is not necessary to inquire, much less to demonstrate. It is enough for
our purposes that under social influences there took place a fixing and
organizing of doctrines and cults which gave general traits to the
imagination and general rules to conduct, and that such a consolidation
was a necessary antecedent to the formation of any philosophy as we
understand that term.

Although a necessary antecedent, this organization and generalization of
ideas and principles of belief is not the sole and sufficient generator
of philosophy. There is still lacking the motive for logical system and
intellectual proof. This we may suppose to be furnished by the need of
reconciling the moral rules and ideals embodied in the traditional code
with the matter of fact positivistic knowledge which gradually grows up.
For man can never be wholly the creature of suggestion and fancy. The
requirements of continued existence make indispensable some attention to
the actual facts of the world. Although it is surprising how little
check the environment actually puts upon the formation of ideas, since
no notions are too absurd not to have been accepted by some people, yet
the environment does enforce a certain minimum of correctness under
penalty of extinction. That certain things are foods, that they are to
be found in certain places, that water drowns, fire burns, that sharp
points penetrate and cut, that heavy things fall unless supported, that
there is a certain regularity in the changes of day and night and the
alternation of hot and cold, wet and dry:--such prosaic facts force
themselves upon even primitive attention. Some of them are so obvious
and so important that they have next to no fanciful context. Auguste
Comte says somewhere that he knows of no savage people who had a God of
weight although every other natural quality or force may have been
deified. Gradually there grows up a body of homely generalizations
preserving and transmitting the wisdom of the race about the observed
facts and sequences of nature. This knowledge is especially connected
with industries, arts and crafts where observation of materials and
processes is required for successful action, and where action is so
continuous and regular that spasmodic magic will not suffice.
Extravagantly fantastic notions are eliminated because they are brought
into juxtaposition with what actually happens.

The sailor is more likely to be given to what we now term superstitions
than say the weaver, because his activity is more at the mercy of sudden
change and unforeseen occurrence. But even the sailor while he may
regard the wind as the uncontrollable expression of the caprice of a
great spirit, will still have to become acquainted with some purely
mechanical principles of adjustment of boat, sails and oar to the wind.
Fire may be conceived as a supernatural dragon because some time or
other a swift, bright and devouring flame called before the mind's eye
the quick-moving and dangerous serpent. But the housewife who tends the
fire and the pots wherein food cooks will still be compelled to observe
certain mechanical facts of draft and replenishment, and passage from
wood to ash. Still more will the worker in metals accumulate verifiable
details about the conditions and consequences of the operation of heat.
He may retain for special and ceremonial occasions traditional beliefs,
but everyday familiar use will expel these conceptions for the greater
part of the time, when fire will be to him of uniform and prosaic
behavior, controllable by practical relations of cause and effect. As
the arts and crafts develop and become more elaborate, the body of
positive and tested knowledge enlarges, and the sequences observed
become more complex and of greater scope. Technologies of this kind give
that common-sense knowledge of nature out of which science takes its
origin. They provide not merely a collection of positive facts, but they
give expertness in dealing with materials and tools, and promote the
development of the experimental habit of mind, as soon as an art can be
taken away from the rule of sheer custom.

For a long time the imaginative body of beliefs closely connected with
the moral habits of a community group and with its emotional indulgences
and consolations persists side by side with the growing body of matter
of fact knowledge. Wherever possible they are interlaced. At other
points, their inconsistencies forbid their interweaving, but the two
things are kept apart as if in different compartments. Since one is
merely super-imposed upon the other their incompatibility is not felt,
and there is no need of reconciliation. In most cases, the two kinds of
mental products are kept apart because they become the possession of
separate social classes. The religious and poetic beliefs having
acquired a definite social and political value and function are in the
keeping of a higher class directly associated with the ruling elements
in the society. The workers and craftsmen who possess the prosaic matter
of fact knowledge are likely to occupy a low social status, and their
kind of knowledge is affected by the social disesteem entertained for
the manual worker who engages in activities useful to the body. It
doubtless was this fact in Greece which in spite of the keenness of
observation, the extraordinary power of logical reasoning and the great
freedom of speculation attained by the Athenian, postponed the general
and systematic employment of the experimental method. Since the
industrial craftsman was only just above the slave in social rank, his
type of knowledge and the method upon which it depended lacked prestige
and authority.

Nevertheless, the time came when matter of fact knowledge increased to
such bulk and scope that it came into conflict with not merely the
detail but with the spirit and temper of traditional and imaginative
beliefs. Without going into the vexed question of how and why, there is
no doubt that this is just what happened in what we term the sophistic
movement in Greece, within which originated philosophy proper in the
sense in which the western world understands that term. The fact that
the sophists had a bad name given them by Plato and Aristotle, a name
they have never been able to shake off, is evidence that with the
sophists the strife between the two types of belief was the emphatic
thing, and that the conflict had a disconcerting effect upon the
traditional system of religious beliefs and the moral code of conduct
bound up with it. Although Socrates was doubtless sincerely interested
in the reconciliation of the two sides, yet the fact that he approached
the matter from the side of matter of fact method, giving its canons and
criteria primacy, was enough to bring him to the condemnation of death
as a contemner of the gods and a corrupter of youth.

The fate of Socrates and the ill-fame of the sophists may be used to
suggest some of the striking contrasts between traditional emotionalized
belief on one hand and prosaic matter of fact knowledge on the
other:--the purpose of the comparison being to bring out the point that
while all the advantages of what we call science were on the side of the
latter, the advantages of social esteem and authority, and of intimate
contact with what gives life its deeper lying values were on the side of
traditional belief. To all appearances, the specific and verified
knowledge of the environment had only a limited and technical scope. It
had to do with the arts, and the purpose and good of the artisan after
all did not extend very far. They were subordinate and almost servile.
Who would put the art of the shoemaker on the same plane as the art of
ruling the state? Who would put even the higher art of the physician in
healing the body, upon the level of the art of the priest in healing the
soul? Thus Plato constantly draws the contrast in his dialogues. The
shoemaker is a judge of a good pair of shoes, but he is no judge at all
of the more important question whether and when it is good to wear
shoes; the physician is a good judge of health, but whether it is a good
thing or not to be well or better to die, he knows not. While the
artisan is expert as long as purely limited technical questions arise,
he is helpless when it comes to the only really important questions, the
moral questions as to values. Consequently, his type of knowledge is
inherently inferior and needs to be controlled by a higher kind of
knowledge which will reveal ultimate ends and purposes, and thus put and
keep technical and mechanical knowledge in its proper place. Moreover,
in Plato's pages we find, because of Plato's adequate dramatic sense, a
lively depicting of the impact in particular men of the conflict between
tradition and the new claims of purely intellectual knowledge. The
conservative is shocked beyond measure at the idea of teaching the
military art by abstract rules, by science. One does not just fight, one
fights for one's country. Abstract science cannot convey love and
loyalty, nor can it be a substitute, even upon the more technical side,
for those ways and means of fighting in which devotion to the country
has been traditionally embodied.

The way to learn the fighting art is through association with those who
have themselves learned to defend the country, by becoming saturated
with its ideals and customs; by becoming in short a practical adept in
the Greek tradition as to fighting. To attempt to derive abstract rules
from a comparison of native ways of fighting with the enemies' ways is
to begin to go over to the enemies' traditions and gods: it is to begin
to be false to one's own country.

Such a point of view vividly realized enables us to appreciate the
antagonism aroused by the positivistic point of view when it came into
conflict with the traditional. The latter was deeply rooted in social
habits and loyalties; it was surcharged with the moral aims for which
men lived and the moral rules by which they lived. Hence it was as basic
and as comprehensive as life itself, and palpitated with the warm
glowing colors of the community life in which men realized their own
being. In contrast, the positivistic knowledge was concerned with merely
physical utilities, and lacked the ardent associations of belief
hallowed by sacrifices of ancestors and worship of contemporaries.
Because of its limited and concrete character it was dry, hard, cold.

Yet the more acute and active minds, like that of Plato himself, could
no longer be content to accept, along with the conservative citizen of
the time, the old beliefs in the old way. The growth of positive
knowledge and of the critical, inquiring spirit undermined these in
their old form. The advantages in definiteness, in accuracy, in
verifiability were all on the side of the new knowledge. Tradition was
noble in aim and scope, but uncertain in foundation. The unquestioned
life, said Socrates, was not one fit to be lived by man, who is a
questioning being because he is a rational being. Hence he must search
out the reason of things, and not accept them from custom and political
authority. What was to be done? Develop a method of rational
investigation and proof which should place the essential elements of
traditional belief upon an unshakable basis; develop a method of thought
and knowledge which while purifying tradition should preserve its moral
and social values unimpaired; nay, by purifying them, add to their power
and authority. To put it in a word, that which had rested upon custom
was to be restored, resting no longer upon the habits of the past, but
upon the very metaphysics of Being and the Universe. Metaphysics is a
substitute for custom as the source and guarantor of higher moral and
social values--that is the leading theme of the classic philosophy of
Europe, as evolved by Plato and Aristotle--a philosophy, let us always
recall, renewed and restated by the Christian philosophy of Medieval
Europe.

Out of this situation emerged, if I mistake not, the entire tradition
regarding the function and office of philosophy which till very
recently has controlled the systematic and constructive philosophies of
the western world. If I am right in my main thesis that the origin of
philosophy lay in an attempt to reconcile the two different types of
mental product, then the key is in our hands as to the main traits of
subsequent philosophy so far as that was not of a negative and heterodox
kind. In the first place, philosophy did not develop in an unbiased way
from an open and unprejudiced origin. It had its task cut out for it
from the start. It had a mission to perform, and it was sworn in advance
to that mission. It had to extract the essential moral kernel out of the
threatened traditional beliefs of the past. So far so good; the work was
critical and in the interests of the only true conservatism--that which
will conserve and not waste the values wrought out by humanity. But it
was also precommitted to extracting this moral essence in a spirit
congenial to the spirit of past beliefs. The association with
imagination and with social authority was too intimate to be deeply
disturbed. It was not possible to conceive of the content of social
institutions in any form radically different from that in which they had
existed in the past. It became the work of philosophy to justify on
rational grounds the spirit, though not the form, of accepted beliefs
and traditional customs.

The resulting philosophy seemed radical enough and even dangerous to
the average Athenian because of the difference of form and method. In
the sense of pruning away excrescences and eliminating factors which to
the average citizen were all one with the basic beliefs, it was radical.
But looked at in the perspective of history and in contrast with
different types of thought which developed later in different social
environments, it is now easy to see how profoundly, after all, Plato and
Aristotle reflected the meaning of Greek tradition and habit, so that
their writings remain, with the writings of the great dramatists, the
best introduction of a student into the innermost ideals and aspirations
of distinctively Greek life. Without Greek religion, Greek art, Greek
civic life, their philosophy would have been impossible; while the
effect of that science upon which the philosophers most prided
themselves turns out to have been superficial and negligible. This
apologetic spirit of philosophy is even more apparent when Medieval
Christianity about the twelfth century sought for a systematic rational
presentation of itself and made use of classic philosophy, especially
that of Aristotle, to justify itself to reason. A not unsimilar
occurrence characterizes the chief philosophic systems of Germany in the
early nineteenth century, when Hegel assumed the task of justifying in
the name of rational idealism the doctrines and institutions which were
menaced by the new spirit of science and popular government. The result
has been that the great systems have not been free from party spirit
exercised in behalf of preconceived beliefs. Since they have at the same
time professed complete intellectual independence and rationality, the
result has been too often to impart to philosophy an element of
insincerity, all the more insidious because wholly unconscious on the
part of those who sustained philosophy.

And this brings us to a second trait of philosophy springing from its
origin. Since it aimed at a rational justification of things that had
been previously accepted because of their emotional congeniality and
social prestige, it had to make much of the apparatus of reason and
proof. Because of the lack of intrinsic rationality in the matters with
which it dealt, it leaned over backward, so to speak, in parade of
logical form. In dealing with matters of fact, simpler and rougher ways
of demonstration may be resorted to. It is enough, so to say, to produce
the fact in question and point to it--the fundamental form of all
demonstration. But when it comes to convincing men of the truth of
doctrines which are no longer to be accepted upon the say-so of custom
and social authority, but which also are not capable of empirical
verification, there is no recourse save to magnify the signs of rigorous
thought and rigid demonstration. Thus arises that appearance of abstract
definition and ultra-scientific argumentation which repels so many from
philosophy but which has been one of its chief attractions to its
devotees.

At the worst, this has reduced philosophy to a show of elaborate
terminology, a hair-splitting logic, and a fictitious devotion to the
mere external forms of comprehensive and minute demonstration. Even at
the best, it has tended to produce an overdeveloped attachment to system
for its own sake, and an over-pretentious claim to certainty. Bishop
Butler declared that probability is the guide of life; but few
philosophers have been courageous enough to avow that philosophy can be
satisfied with anything that is merely probable. The customs dictated by
tradition and desire had claimed finality and immutability. They had
claimed to give certain and unvarying laws of conduct. Very early in its
history philosophy made pretension to a similar conclusiveness, and
something of this temper has clung to classic philosophies ever since.
They have insisted that they were more scientific than the
sciences--that, indeed, philosophy was necessary because after all the
special sciences fail in attaining final and complete truth. There have
been a few dissenters who have ventured to assert, as did William James,
that "philosophy is vision" and that its chief function is to free men's
minds from bias and prejudice and to enlarge their perceptions of the
world about them. But in the main philosophy has set up much more
ambitious pretensions. To say frankly that philosophy can proffer
nothing but hypotheses, and that these hypotheses are of value only as
they render men's minds more sensitive to life about them, would seem
like a negation of philosophy itself.

In the third place, the body of beliefs dictated by desire and
imagination and developed under the influence of communal authority into
an authoritative tradition, was pervasive and comprehensive. It was, so
to speak, omnipresent in all the details of the group life. Its pressure
was unremitting and its influence universal. It was then probably
inevitable that the rival principle, reflective thought, should aim at a
similar universality and comprehensiveness. It would be as inclusive and
far-reaching metaphysically as tradition had been socially. Now there
was just one way in which this pretension could be accomplished in
conjunction with a claim of complete logical system and certainty.

All philosophies of the classic type have made a fixed and fundamental
distinction between two realms of existence. One of these corresponds to
the religious and supernatural world of popular tradition, which in its
metaphysical rendering became the world of highest and ultimate reality.
Since the final source and sanction of all important truths and rules of
conduct in community life had been found in superior and unquestioned
religious beliefs, so the absolute and supreme reality of philosophy
afforded the only sure guaranty of truth about empirical matters, and
the sole rational guide to proper social institutions and individual
behavior. Over against this absolute and noumenal reality which could be
apprehended only by the systematic discipline of philosophy itself stood
the ordinary empirical, relatively real, phenomenal world of everyday
experience. It was with this world that the practical affairs and
utilities of men were connected. It was to this imperfect and perishing
world that matter of fact, positivistic science referred.

This is the trait which, in my opinion, has affected most deeply the
classic notion about the nature of philosophy. Philosophy has arrogated
to itself the office of demonstrating the existence of a transcendent,
absolute or inner reality and of revealing to man the nature and
features of this ultimate and higher reality. It has therefore claimed
that it was in possession of a higher organ of knowledge than is
employed by positive science and ordinary practical experience, and that
it is marked by a superior dignity and importance--a claim which is
undeniable _if_ philosophy leads man to proof and intuition of a Reality
beyond that open to day-by-day life and the special sciences.

This claim has, of course, been denied by various philosophers from
time to time. But for the most part these denials have been agnostic and
sceptical. They have contented themselves with asserting that absolute
and ultimate reality is beyond human ken. But they have not ventured to
deny that such Reality would be the appropriate sphere for the exercise
of philosophic knowledge provided only it were within the reach of human
intelligence. Only comparatively recently has another conception of the
proper office of philosophy arisen. This course of lectures will be
devoted to setting forth this different conception of philosophy in some
of its main contrasts to what this lecture has termed the classic
conception. At this point, it can be referred to only by anticipation
and in cursory fashion. It is implied in the account which has been
given of the origin of philosophy out of the background of an
authoritative tradition; a tradition originally dictated by man's
imagination working under the influence of love and hate and in the
interest of emotional excitement and satisfaction. Common frankness
requires that it be stated that this account of the origin of
philosophies claiming to deal with absolute Being in a systematic way
has been given with malice prepense. It seems to me that this genetic
method of approach is a more effective way of undermining this type of
philosophic theorizing than any attempt at logical refutation could be.

If this lecture succeeds in leaving in your minds as a reasonable
hypothesis the idea that philosophy originated not out of intellectual
material, but out of social and emotional material, it will also succeed
in leaving with you a changed attitude toward traditional philosophies.
They will be viewed from a new angle and placed in a new light. New
questions about them will be aroused and new standards for judging them
will be suggested.

If any one will commence without mental reservations to study the
history of philosophy not as an isolated thing but as a chapter in the
development of civilization and culture; if one will connect the story
of philosophy with a study of anthropology, primitive life, the history
of religion, literature and social institutions, it is confidently
asserted that he will reach his own independent judgment as to the worth
of the account which has been presented today. Considered in this way,
the history of philosophy will take on a new significance. What is lost
from the standpoint of would-be science is regained from the standpoint
of humanity. Instead of the disputes of rivals about the nature of
reality, we have the scene of human clash of social purpose and
aspirations. Instead of impossible attempts to transcend experience,
we have the significant record of the efforts of men to formulate
the things of experience to which they are most deeply and
passionately attached. Instead of impersonal and purely speculative
endeavors to contemplate as remote beholders the nature of absolute
things-in-themselves, we have a living picture of the choice of
thoughtful men about what they would have life to be, and to what ends
they would have men shape their intelligent activities.

Any one of you who arrives at such a view of past philosophy will of
necessity be led to entertain a quite definite conception of the scope
and aim of future philosophizing. He will inevitably be committed to the
notion that what philosophy has been unconsciously, without knowing or
intending it, and, so to speak, under cover, it must henceforth be
openly and deliberately. When it is acknowledged that under disguise of
dealing with ultimate reality, philosophy has been occupied with the
precious values embedded in social traditions, that it has sprung from a
clash of social ends and from a conflict of inherited institutions with
incompatible contemporary tendencies, it will be seen that the task of
future philosophy is to clarify men's ideas as to the social and moral
strifes of their own day. Its aim is to become so far as is humanly
possible an organ for dealing with these conflicts. That which may be
pretentiously unreal when it is formulated in metaphysical distinctions
becomes intensely significant when connected with the drama of the
struggle of social beliefs and ideals. Philosophy which surrenders its
somewhat barren monopoly of dealings with Ultimate and Absolute Reality
will find a compensation in enlightening the moral forces which move
mankind and in contributing to the aspirations of men to attain to a
more ordered and intelligent happiness.



CHAPTER II

SOME HISTORICAL FACTORS IN PHILOSOPHICAL RECONSTRUCTION


Francis Bacon of the Elizabethan age is the great forerunner of the
spirit of modern life. Though slight in accomplishment, as a prophet of
new tendencies he is an outstanding figure of the world's intellectual
life. Like many another prophet he suffers from confused intermingling
of old and new. What is most significant in him has been rendered more
or less familiar by the later course of events. But page after page is
filled with matter which belongs to the past from which Bacon thought he
had escaped. Caught between these two sources of easy disparagement,
Bacon hardly receives his due as the real founder of modern thought,
while he is praised for merits which scarcely belong to him, such as an
alleged authorship of the specific methods of induction pursued by
science. What makes Bacon memorable is that breezes blowing from a new
world caught and filled his sails and stirred him to adventure in new
seas. He never himself discovered the land of promise, but he proclaimed
the new goal and by faith he descried its features from afar.

The main traits of his thought put before our mind the larger features
of a new spirit which was at work in causing intellectual
reconstruction. They may suggest the social and historical forces out of
which the new spirit was born. The best known aphorism of Bacon is that
Knowledge is Power. Judged by this pragmatic criterion, he condemned the
great body of learning then extant as _not_-knowledge, as pseudo- and
pretentious-knowledge. For it did not give power. It was otiose, not
operative. In his most extensive discussion he classified the learning
of his day under three heads, delicate, fantastic and contentious. Under
delicate learning, he included the literary learning which through the
influence of the revival of ancient languages and literatures occupied
so important a place in the intellectual life of the Renaissance.
Bacon's condemnation is the more effective because he himself was a
master of the classics and of all the graces and refinements which this
literary study was intended to convey. In substance he anticipated most
of the attacks which educational reformers since his time have made upon
one-sided literary culture. It contributed not to power but to ornament
and decoration. It was ostentatious and luxurious. By fantastic learning
he meant the quasi-magical science that was so rife all over Europe in
the sixteenth century--wild developments of alchemy, astrology, etc.
Upon this he poured his greatest vials of wrath because the corruption
of the good is the worst of evils. Delicate learning was idle and vain,
but fantastic learning aped the form of true knowledge. It laid hold of
the true principle and aim of knowledge--control of natural forces. But
it neglected the conditions and methods by which alone such knowledge
could be obtained, and thus deliberately led men astray.

For our purposes, however, what he says about contentious learning is
the most important. For by this, he means the traditional science which
had come down, in scanty and distorted measure to be sure, from
antiquity through scholasticism. It is called contentious both because
of the logical method used and the end to which it was put. In a certain
sense it aimed at power, but power over other men in the interest of
some class or sect or person, not power over natural forces in the
common interest of all. Bacon's conviction of the quarrelsome,
self-displaying character of the scholarship which had come down from
antiquity was of course not so much due to Greek science itself as to
the degenerate heritage of scholasticism in the fourteenth century, when
philosophy had fallen into the hands of disputatious theologians, full
of hair-splitting argumentativeness and quirks and tricks by which to
win victory over somebody else.

But Bacon also brought his charge against the Aristotelian method
itself. In its rigorous forms it aimed at demonstration, and in its
milder forms at persuasion. But both demonstration and persuasion aim at
conquest of mind rather than of nature. Moreover they both assume that
some one is already in possession of a truth or a belief, and that the
only problem is to convince some one else, or to teach. In contrast, his
new method had an exceedingly slight opinion of the amount of truth
already existent, and a lively sense of the extent and importance of
truths still to be attained. It would be a logic of discovery, not a
logic of argumentation, proof and persuasion. To Bacon, the old logic
even at its best was a logic for teaching the already known, and
teaching meant indoctrination, discipling. It was an axiom of Aristotle
that only that which was already known could be learned, that growth in
knowledge consisted simply in bringing together a universal truth of
reason and a particular truth of sense which had previously been noted
separately. In any case, learning meant _growth_ of knowledge, and
growth belongs in the region of becoming, change, and hence is inferior
to _possession_ of knowledge in the syllogistic self-revolving
manipulation of what was already known--demonstration.

In contrast with this point of view, Bacon eloquently proclaimed the
superiority of discovery of new facts and truths to demonstration of the
old. Now there is only one road to discovery, and that is penetrating
inquiry into the secrets of nature. Scientific principles and laws do
not lie on the surface of nature. They are hidden, and must be wrested
from nature by an active and elaborate technique of inquiry. Neither
logical reasoning nor the passive accumulation of any number of
observations--which the ancients called experience--suffices to lay hold
of them. Active experimentation must force the apparent facts of nature
into forms different to those in which they familiarly present
themselves; and thus make them tell the truth about themselves, as
torture may compel an unwilling witness to reveal what he has been
concealing. Pure reasoning as a means of arriving at truth is like the
spider who spins a web out of himself. The web is orderly and elaborate,
but it is only a trap. The passive accumulation of experiences--the
traditional empirical method--is like the ant who busily runs about and
collects and piles up heaps of raw materials. True method, that which
Bacon would usher in, is comparable to the operations of the bee who,
like the ant, collects material from the external world, but unlike that
industrious creature attacks and modifies the collected stuff in order
to make it yield its hidden treasure.

Along with this contrast between subjugation of nature and subjection of
other minds and the elevation of a method of discovery above a method of
demonstration, went Bacon's sense of progress as the aim and test of
genuine knowledge. According to his criticisms, the classic logic, even
in its Aristotelian form, inevitably played into the hands of inert
conservatism. For in accustoming the mind to think of truth as already
known, it habituated men to fall back on the intellectual attainments of
the past, and to accept them without critical scrutiny. Not merely the
medieval but the renaissance mind tended to look back to antiquity as a
Golden Age of Knowledge, the former relying upon sacred scriptures, the
latter upon secular literatures. And while this attitude could not
fairly be charged up against the classic logic, yet Bacon felt, and with
justice, that any logic which identified the technique of knowing with
demonstration of truths already possessed by the mind, blunts the spirit
of investigation and confines the mind within the circle of traditional
learning.

Such a logic could not avoid having for its salient features definition
of what is already known (or thought to be known), and its
systematization according to recognized canons of orthodoxy. A logic of
discovery on the other hand looks to the future. Received truth it
regards critically as something to be tested by new experiences rather
than as something to be dogmatically taught and obediently received. Its
chief interest in even the most carefully tested ready-made knowledge is
the use which may be made of it in further inquiries and discoveries.
Old truth has its chief value in assisting the detection of new truth.
Bacon's own appreciation of the nature of induction was highly
defective. But his acute sense that science means invasion of the
unknown, rather than repetition in logical form of the already known,
makes him nevertheless the father of induction. Endless and persistent
uncovering of facts and principles not known--such is the true spirit of
induction. Continued progress in knowledge is the only sure way of
protecting old knowledge from degeneration into dogmatic doctrines
received on authority, or from imperceptible decay into superstition and
old wives' tales.

Ever-renewed progress is to Bacon the test as well as the aim of genuine
logic. Where, Bacon constantly demands, where are the works, the fruits,
of the older logic? What has it done to ameliorate the evils of life, to
rectify defects, to improve conditions? Where are the inventions that
justify its claim to be in possession of truth? Beyond the victory of
man over man in law courts, diplomacy and political administration, they
are nil. One had to turn from admired "sciences" to despised arts to
find works, fruits, consequences of value to human kind through power
over natural forces. And progress in the arts was as yet intermittent,
fitful, accidental. A true logic or technique of inquiry would make
advance in the industrial, agricultural and medical arts continuous,
cumulative and deliberately systematic.

If we take into account the supposed body of ready-made knowledge upon
which learned men rested in supine acquiescence and which they recited
in parrot-like chorus, we find it consists of two parts. One of these
parts is made up of the errors of our ancestors, musty with antiquity
and organized into pseudo-science through the use of the classic logic.
Such "truths" are in fact only the systematized mistakes and prejudices
of our ancestors. Many of them originated in accident; many in class
interest and bias, perpetuated by authority for this very reason--a
consideration which later actuated Locke's attack upon the doctrine of
innate ideas. The other portion of accepted beliefs comes from
instinctive tendencies of the human mind that give it a dangerous bias
until counteracted by a conscious and critical logic.

The mind of man spontaneously assumes greater simplicity, uniformity and
unity among phenomena than actually exists. It follows superficial
analogies and jumps to conclusions; it overlooks the variety of details
and the existence of exceptions. Thus it weaves a web of purely internal
origin which it imposes upon nature. What had been termed science in the
past consisted of this humanly constructed and imposed web. Men looked
at the work of their own minds and thought they were seeing realities
in nature. They were worshipping, under the name of science, the idols
of their own making. So-called science and philosophy consisted of these
"anticipations" of nature. And the worst thing that could be said about
traditional logic was that instead of saving man from this natural
source of error, it had, though attributing to nature a false
rationality of unity, simplicity and generality, sanctioned these
sources of delusion. The office of the new logic would be to protect the
mind against itself: to teach it to undergo a patient and prolonged
apprenticeship to fact in its infinite variety and particularity: to
obey nature intellectually in order to command it practically. Such was
the significance of the new logic--the new tool or organon of learning,
so named in express opposition to the organon of Aristotle.

Certain other important oppositions are implied. Aristotle thought of
reason as capable of solitary communion with rational truth. The
counterpart of his celebrated saying that man is a political animal, is
that Intelligence, _Nous_, is neither animal, human nor political. It is
divinely unique and self-enclosed. To Bacon, error had been produced and
perpetuated by social influences, and truth must be discovered by social
agencies organized for that purpose. Left to himself, the individual can
do little or nothing; he is likely to become involved in his own
self-spun web of misconceptions. The great need is the organization of
co-operative research, whereby men attack nature collectively and the
work of inquiry is carried on continuously from generation to
generation. Bacon even aspired to the rather absurd notion of a method
so perfected that differences in natural human ability might be
discounted, and all be put on the same level in production of new facts
and new truths. Yet this absurdity was only the negative side of his
great positive prophecy of a combined and co-operative pursuit of
science such as characterizes our own day. In view of the picture he
draws in his New Atlantis of a State organized for collective inquiry,
we readily forgive him his exaggerations.

Power over nature was not to be individual but collective; the Empire,
as he says, of Man over Nature, substituted for the Empire of Man over
Man. Let us employ Bacon's own words with their variety of picturesque
metaphor: "Men have entered into the desire of learning and
knowledge,... seldom sincerely to give a true account of their gift of
reason, to the benefit and use of men, but as if they sought in
knowledge a couch whereon to rest a searching and wandering spirit; or a
terrace for a wandering and variable mind to walk up and down with a
fair prospect; or a tower for a proud mind to raise itself upon; or a
fort or commanding ground for strife and contention; or a shop for
profit and sale; and not a rich storehouse for the glory of the creator
and the relief of man's estate." When William James called Pragmatism a
New Name for an Old Way of Thinking, I do not know that he was thinking
expressly of Francis Bacon, but so far as concerns the spirit and
atmosphere of the pursuit of knowledge, Bacon may be taken as the
prophet of a pragmatic conception of knowledge. Many misconceptions of
its spirit would be avoided if his emphasis upon the social factor in
both the pursuit and the end of knowledge were carefully observed.

This somewhat over-long résumé of Bacon's ideas has not been gone into
as a matter of historic retrospect. The summary is rather meant to put
before our minds an authentic document of the new philosophy which may
bring into relief the social causes of intellectual revolution. Only a
sketchy account can be here attempted, but it may be of some assistance
even barely to remind you of the direction of that industrial, political
and religious change upon which Europe was entering.

Upon the industrial side, it is impossible, I think, to exaggerate the
influence of travel, exploration and new commerce which fostered a
romantic sense of adventure into novelty; loosened the hold of
traditional beliefs; created a lively sense of new worlds to be
investigated and subdued; produced new methods of manufacture, commerce,
banking and finance; and then reacted everywhere to stimulate invention,
and to introduce positive observation and active experimentation into
science. The Crusades, the revival of the profane learning of antiquity
and even more perhaps, the contact with the advanced learning of the
Mohammedans, the increase of commerce with Asia and Africa, the
introduction of the lens, compass and gunpowder, the finding and opening
up of North and South America--most significantly called The New
World--these are some of the obvious external facts. Contrast between
peoples and races previously isolated is always, I think, most fruitful
and influential for change when psychological and industrial changes
coincide with and reinforce each other. Sometimes people undergo
emotional change, what might almost be called a metaphysical change,
through intercourse. The inner set of the mind, especially in religious
matters, is altered. At other times, there is a lively exchange of
goods, an adoption of foreign tools and devices, an imitation of alien
habits of clothing, habitation and production of commodities. One of
these changes is, so to speak, too internal and the other too external
to bring about a profound intellectual development. But when the
creation of a new mental attitude falls together with extensive material
and economic changes, something significant happens.

This coincidence of two kinds of change was, I take it, characteristic
of the new contacts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Clash of
customs and traditional beliefs dispelled mental inertia and
sluggishness; it aroused a lively curiosity as to different and new
ideas. The actual adventure of travel and exploration purged the mind of
fear of the strange and unknown: as new territories geographically and
commercially speaking were opened up, the mind was opened up. New
contacts promoted the desire for still more contacts; the appetite for
novelty and discovery grew by what it fed upon. Conservative adherence
to old beliefs and methods underwent a steady attrition with every new
voyage into new parts and every new report of foreign ways. The mind
became used to exploration and discovery. It found a delight and
interest in the revelations of the novel and the unusual which it no
longer took in what was old and customary. Moreover, the very act of
exploration, of expedition, the process of enterprising adventure into
the remote, yielded a peculiar joy and thrill.

This psychological change was essential to the birth of the new point of
view in science and philosophy. Yet alone it could hardly have produced
the new method of knowing. But positive changes in the habits and
purposes of life gave objective conformation and support to the mental
change. They also determined the channels in which the new spirit found
exercise. Newfound wealth, the gold from the Americas and new articles
of consumption and enjoyment, tended to wean men from preoccupation
with the metaphysical and theological, and to turn their minds with
newly awakened interest to the joys of nature and this life. New
material resources and new markets in America and India undermined the
old dependence upon household and manual production for a local and
limited market, and generated quantitative, large scale production by
means of steam for foreign and expanding markets. Capitalism, rapid
transit, and production for exchange against money and for profit,
instead of against goods and for consumption, followed.

This cursory and superficial reminder of vast and complicated events may
suggest the mutual interdependence of the scientific revolution and the
industrial revolution. Upon the one hand, modern industry is so much
applied science. No amount of desire to make money, or to enjoy new
commodities, no amount of mere practical energy and enterprise, would
have effected the economic transformation of the last few centuries and
generations. Improvements in mathematical, physical, chemical and
biological science were prerequisites. Business men through engineers of
different sorts, have laid hold of the new insights gained by scientific
men into the hidden energies of nature, and have turned them to account.
The modern mine, factory, railway, steamship, telegraph, all of the
appliances and equipment of production, and transportation, express
scientific knowledge. They would continue unimpaired even if the
ordinary pecuniary accompaniments of economic activity were radically
altered. In short, through the intermediary of invention, Bacon's
watchword that knowledge is power and his dream of continuous empire
over natural forces by means of natural science have been actualized.
The industrial revolution by steam and electricity is the reply to
Bacon's prophecy.

On the other hand, it is equally true that the needs of modern industry
have been tremendous stimuli to scientific investigation. The demands of
progressive production and transportation have set new problems to
inquiry; the processes used in industry have suggested new experimental
appliances and operations in science; the wealth rolled up in business
has to some extent been diverted to endowment of research. The
uninterrupted and pervasive interaction of scientific discovery and
industrial application has fructified both science and industry, and has
brought home to the contemporary mind the fact that the gist of
scientific knowledge is control of natural energies. These four facts,
natural science, experimentation, control and progress have been
inextricably bound up together. That up to the present the application
of the newer methods and results has influenced the means of life rather
than its ends; or, better put, that human aims have so far been affected
in an accidental rather than in an intelligently directed way,
signifies that so far the change has been technical rather than human
and moral, that it has been economic rather than adequately social. Put
in the language of Bacon, this means that while we have been reasonably
successful in obtaining command of nature by means of science, our
science is not yet such that this command is systematically and
pre-eminently applied to the relief of human estate. Such applications
occur and in great numbers, but they are incidental, sporadic and
external. And this limitation defines the specific problem of
philosophical reconstruction at the present time. For it emphasizes the
larger social deficiencies that require intelligent diagnosis, and
projection of aims and methods.

It is hardly necessary to remind you however that marked political
changes have already followed upon the new science and its industrial
applications, and that in so far some directions of social development
have at least been marked out. The growth of the new technique of
industry has everywhere been followed by the fall of feudal
institutions, in which the social pattern was formed in agricultural
occupations and military pursuits. Wherever business in the modern sense
has gone, the tendency has been to transfer power from land to financial
capital, from the country to the city, from the farm to factory, from
social titles based on personal allegiance, service and protection, to
those based on control of labor and exchange of goods. The change in
the political centre of gravity has resulted in emancipating the
individual from bonds of class and custom and in producing a political
organization which depends less upon superior authority and more upon
voluntary choice. Modern states, in other words, are regarded less as
divine, and more as human works than they used to be; less as necessary
manifestations of some supreme and over-ruling principles, and more as
contrivances of men and women to realize their own desires.

The contract theory of the origin of the state is a theory whose falsity
may easily be demonstrated both philosophically and historically.
Nevertheless this theory has had great currency and influence. In form,
it stated that some time in the past men voluntarily got together and
made a compact with one another to observe certain laws and to submit to
certain authority and in that way brought the state and the relation of
ruler and subject into existence. Like many things in philosophy, the
theory, though worthless as a record of fact, is of great worth as a
symptom of the direction of human desire. It testified to a growing
belief that the state existed to satisfy human needs and could be shaped
by human intention and volition. Aristotle's theory that the state
exists by nature failed to satisfy the thought of the seventeenth
century because it seemed by making the state a product of nature to
remove its constitution beyond human choice. Equally significant was
the assumption of the contract theory that individuals by their personal
decisions expressing their personal wishes bring the state into
existence. The rapidity with which the theory gained a hold all over
western Europe showed the extent to which the bonds of customary
institutions had relaxed their grip. It proved that men had been so
liberated from absorption in larger groups that they were conscious of
themselves as individuals having rights and claims on their own account,
not simply as members of a class, guild or social grade.

Side by side with this political individualism went a religious and
moral individualism. The metaphysical doctrine of the superiority of the
species to the individual, of the permanent universal to the changing
particular, was the philosophic support of political and ecclesiastical
institutionalism. The universal church was the ground, end and limit of
the individual's beliefs and acts in spiritual matters, just as the
feudal hierarchical organization was the basis, law and fixed limit of
his behavior in secular affairs. The northern barbarians had never
completely come under the sway of classic ideas and customs. That which
was indigenous where life was primarily derived from Latin sources was
borrowed and more or less externally imposed in Germanic Europe.
Protestantism marked the formal breaking away from the domination of
Roman ideas. It effected liberation of individual conscience and worship
from control by an organized institution claiming to be permanent and
universal. It cannot truly be said that at the outset the new religious
movement went far in promoting freedom of thought and criticism, or in
denying the notion of some supreme authority to which individual
intelligence was absolutely in bonds. Nor at first did it go far in
furthering tolerance or respect for divergency of moral and religious
convictions. But practically it did tend to disintegration of
established institutions. By multiplying sects and churches it
encouraged at least a negative toleration of the right of individuals to
judge ultimate matters for themselves. In time, there developed a
formulated belief in the sacredness of individual conscience and in the
right to freedom of opinion, belief and worship.

It is unnecessary to point out how the spread of this conviction
increased political individualism, or how it accelerated the willingness
of men to question received ideas in science and philosophy--to think
and observe and experiment for themselves. Religious individualism
served to supply a much needed sanction to initiative and independence
of thought in all spheres, even when religious movements officially were
opposed to such freedom when carried beyond a limited point. The
greatest influence of Protestantism was, however, in developing the
idea of the personality of every human being as an end in himself. When
human beings were regarded as capable of direct relationship with God,
without the intermediary of any organization like the Church, and the
drama of sin, redemption and salvation was something enacted within the
innermost soul of individuals rather than in the species of which the
individual was a subordinate part, a fatal blow was struck at all
doctrines which taught the subordination of personality--a blow which
had many political reverberations in promoting democracy. For when in
religion the idea of the intrinsic worth of every soul as such was
proclaimed, it was difficult to keep the idea from spilling over, so to
say, into secular relationships.

The absurdity is obvious of trying in a few paragraphs to summarize
movements in industry, politics and religion whose influence is still
far from exhausted and about which hundreds and thousands of volumes
have been written. But I shall count upon your forbearance to recall
that these matters are alluded to only in order to suggest some of the
forces that operated to mark out the channels in which new ideas ran.
First, there is the transfer of interest from the eternal and universal
to what is changing and specific, concrete--a movement that showed
itself practically in carrying over of attention and thought from
another world to this, from the supernaturalism characteristic of the
Middle Ages to delight in natural science, natural activity and natural
intercourse. Secondly, there is the gradual decay of the authority of
fixed institutions and class distinctions and relations, and a growing
belief in the power of individual minds, guided by methods of
observation, experiment and reflection, to attain the truths needed for
the guidance of life. The operations and results of natural inquiry
gained in prestige and power at the expense of principles dictated from
high authority.

Consequently principles and alleged truths are judged more and more by
criteria of their origin in experience and their consequences of weal
and woe in experience, and less by criteria of sublime origin from
beyond everyday experience and independent of fruits in experience. It
is no longer enough for a principle to be elevated, noble, universal and
hallowed by time. It must present its birth certificate, it must show
under just what conditions of human experience it was generated, and it
must justify itself by its works, present and potential. Such is the
inner meaning of the modern appeal to experience as an ultimate
criterion of value and validity. In the third place, great store is set
upon the idea of progress. The future rather than the past dominates the
imagination. The Golden Age lies ahead of us not behind us. Everywhere
new possibilities beckon and arouse courage and effort. The great
French thinkers of the later eighteenth century borrowed this idea from
Bacon and developed it into the doctrine of the indefinite
perfectibility of mankind on earth. Man is capable, if he will but
exercise the required courage, intelligence and effort, of shaping his
own fate. Physical conditions offer no insurmountable barriers. In the
fourth place, the patient and experimental study of nature, bearing
fruit in inventions which control nature and subdue her forces to social
uses, is the method by which progress is made. Knowledge is power and
knowledge is achieved by sending the mind to school to nature to learn
her processes of change.

In this lecture as in the previous one, I can hardly close better than
by reference to the new responsibilities imposed upon philosophy and the
new opportunities opened to it. Upon the whole, the greatest effect of
these changes up to date has been to substitute an Idealism based on
epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, for the Idealism based on the
metaphysics of classic antiquity.

Earlier modern philosophy (even though unconsciously to itself) had the
problem of reconciling the traditional theory of the rational and ideal
basis, stuff and end of the universe with the new interest in individual
mind and the new confidence in its capacities. It was in a dilemma. On
the one hand, it had no intention of losing itself in a materialism
which subordinated man to physical existence and mind to
matter--especially just at the moment when in actual affairs man and
mind were beginning to achieve genuine rule over nature. On the other
hand, the conception that the world as it stood was an embodiment of a
fixed and comprehensive Mind or Reason was uncongenial to those whose
main concern was with the deficiencies of the world and with an attempt
to remedy them. The effect of the objective theological idealism that
had developed out of classic metaphysical idealism was to make the mind
submissive and acquiescent. The new individualism chafed under the
restrictions imposed upon it by the notion of a universal reason which
had once and for all shaped nature and destiny.

In breaking away from antique and medieval thought, accordingly, early
modern thought continued the older tradition of a Reason that creates
and constitutes the world, but combined it with the notion that this
Reason operates through the human mind, individual or collective. This
is the common note of idealism sounded by all the philosophies of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, whether belonging to the British
school of Locke, Berkeley and Hume or the Continental school of
Descartes. In Kant as everybody knows the two strains came together; and
the theme of the formation of the knowable world by means of a thought
that operated exclusively through the human knower became explicit.
Idealism ceased to be metaphysical and cosmic in order to become
epistemological and personal.

It is evident that this development represents merely a transitional
stage. It tried, after all, to put the new wine in the old bottles. It
did not achieve a free and unbiased formulation of the meaning of the
power to direct nature's forces through knowledge--that is, purposeful,
experimental action acting to reshape beliefs and institutions. The
ancient tradition was still strong enough to project itself
unconsciously into men's ways of thinking, and to hamper and compromise
the expression of the really modern forces and aims. Essential
philosophic reconstruction represents an attempt to state these causes
and results in a way freed from incompatible inherited factors. It will
regard intelligence not as the original shaper and final cause of
things, but as the purposeful energetic re-shaper of those phases of
nature and life that obstruct social well-being. It esteems the
individual not as an exaggeratedly self-sufficient Ego which by some
magic creates the world, but as the agent who is responsible through
initiative, inventiveness and intelligently directed labor for
re-creating the world, transforming it into an instrument and possession
of intelligence.

The train of ideas represented by the Baconian Knowledge is Power thus
failed in getting an emancipated and independent expression. These
become hopelessly entangled in standpoints and prepossessions that
embodied a social, political and scientific tradition with which they
were completely incompatible. The obscurity, the confusion of modern
philosophy is the product of this attempt to combine two things which
cannot possibly be combined either logically or morally. Philosophic
reconstruction for the present is thus the endeavor to undo the
entanglement and to permit the Baconian aspirations to come to a free
and unhindered expression. In succeeding lectures we shall consider the
needed reconstruction as it affects certain classic philosophic
antitheses, like those of experience and reason, the real and the ideal.
But first we shall have to consider the modifying effect exercised upon
philosophy by that changed conception of nature, animate and inanimate,
which we owe to the progress of science.



CHAPTER III

THE SCIENTIFIC FACTOR IN RECONSTRUCTION OF PHILOSOPHY


Philosophy starts from some deep and wide way of responding to the
difficulties life presents, but it grows only when material is at hand
for making this practical response conscious, articulate and
communicable. Accompanying the economic, political and ecclesiastical
changes which were alluded to in an earlier lecture, was a scientific
revolution enormous in scope and leaving unchanged almost no detail of
belief about nature, physical and human. In part this scientific
transformation was produced by just the change in practical attitude and
temper. But as it progressed, it furnished that change an appropriate
vocabulary, congenial to its needs, and made it articulate. The advance
of science in its larger generalizations and in its specific detail of
fact supplied precisely that intellectual equipment of ideas and
concrete fact that was needed in order to formulate, precipitate,
communicate and propagate the new disposition. Today, accordingly, we
shall deal with those contrasting conceptions of the structure and
constitution of Nature, which when they are accepted on the authority
of science (alleged or real), form the intellectual framework of
philosophy.

_Contrasting_ conceptions of ancient and modern science have been
selected. For I see no way in which the truly philosophic import of the
picture of the world painted by modern science can be appreciated except
to exhibit it in contrast with that earlier picture which gave classic
metaphysics its intellectual foundation and confirmation. The world in
which philosophers once put their trust was a closed world, a world
consisting internally of a limited number of fixed forms, and having
definite boundaries externally. The world of modern science is an open
world, a world varying indefinitely without the possibility of
assignable limit in its internal make-up, a world stretching beyond any
assignable bounds externally. Again, the world in which even the most
intelligent men of olden times thought they lived was a fixed world, a
realm where changes went on only within immutable limits of rest and
permanence, and a world where the fixed and unmoving was, as we have
already noted, higher in quality and authority than the moving and
altering. And in the third place, the world which men once saw with
their eyes, portrayed in their imaginations and repeated in their plans
of conduct, was a world of a limited number of classes, kinds, forms,
distinct in quality (as kinds and species must be distinct) and
arranged in a graded order of superiority and inferiority.

It is not easy to recall the image of the universe which was taken for
granted in the world tradition. In spite of its dramatic rendering (as
in Dante), of the dialectical elaborations of Aristotle and St. Thomas,
in spite of the fact that it held men's minds captive until the last
three hundred years, and that its overthrow involved a religious
upheaval, it is already dim, faded and remote. Even as a separate and
abstract thing of theory it is not easy to recover.

As something pervasive, interwoven with all the details of reflection
and observation, with the plans and rules of behavior, it is impossible
to call it back again. Yet, as best we can, we need to put before our
minds a definitely enclosed universe, something which can be called a
universe in a literal and visible sense, having the earth at its fixed
and unchanging centre and at a fixed circumference the heavenly arch of
fixed stars moving in an eternal round of divine ether, hemming in all
things and keeping them forever at one and in order. The earth, though
at the centre, is the coarsest, grossest, most material, least
significant and good (or perfect) of the parts of this closed world. It
is the scene of maximum fluctuation and vicissitude. It is the least
rational, and therefore the least notable, or knowable; it offers the
least to reward contemplation, provoke admiration and govern conduct.
Between this grossly material centre and the immaterial, spiritual and
eternal heavens lie a definite series of regions of moon, planets, sun,
etc., each of which gains in rank, value, rationality and true being as
it is farther from earth and nearer the heavens. Each of these regions
is composed of its own appropriate stuff of earth, water, air, fire in
its own dominant degree, until we reach the heavenly firmament which
transcends all these principles, being constituted, as was just said, of
that immaterial, inalterable energy called ether.

Within this tight and pent in universe, changes take place of course.
But they are only of a small number of fixed kinds; and they operate
only within fixed limits. Each kind of stuff has its own appropriate
motion. It is the nature of earthly things to be heavy, since they are
gross, and hence to move downward. Fire and superior things are light
and hence move upward to their proper place; air rises only to the plane
of the planets, where it then takes its back and forth motion which
naturally belongs to it, as is evident in the winds and in respiration.
Ether being the highest of all physical things has a purely circular
movement. The daily return of the fixed stars is the closest possible
approximation to eternity, and to the self-involved revolution of mind
upon its own ideal axis of reason. Upon the earth in virtue of its
earthly nature--or rather its lack of virtue--is a scene of mere
change. Mere flux, aimless and meaningless, starts at no definite point
and arrives at nothing, amounts to nothing. Mere changes of quantity,
all purely mechanical changes, are of this kind. They are like the
shiftings of the sands by the sea. They may be sensed, but they cannot
be "noted" or understood; they lack fixed limits which govern them. They
are contemptible. They are casual, the sport of accident.

Only changes which lead to some defined or fixed outcome of form are of
any account and can have any account--any _logos_ or reason--made of
them. The growth of plants and animals illustrates the highest kind of
change which is possible in the sublunary or mundane sphere. They go
from one definite fixed form to another. Oaks generate only oaks,
oysters only oysters, man only man. The material factor of mechanical
production enters in, but enters in as accident to prevent the full
consummation of the type of the species, and to bring about the
meaningless variations which diversify various oaks or oysters from one
another; or in extreme cases to produce freaks, sports, monsters,
three-handed or four-toed men. Aside from accidental and undesirable
variations, each individual has a fixed career to pursue, a fixed path
in which to travel. Terms which sound modern, words like potentiality
and development abound in Aristotelian thought, and have misled some
into reading into his thought modern meanings. But the significance of
these words in classic and medieval thought is rigidly determined by
their context. Development holds merely of the course of changes which
takes place within a particular member of the species. It is only a name
for the predetermined movement from the acorn to the oak tree. It takes
place not in things generally but only in some one of the numerically
insignificant members of the oak species. Development, evolution, never
means, as in modern science, origin of new forms, a mutation from an old
species, but only the monotonous traversing of a previously plotted
cycle of change. So potentiality never means, as in modern life, the
possibility of novelty, of invention, of radical deviation, but only
that principle in virtue of which the acorn becomes the oak.
Technically, it is the capacity for movement between opposites. Only the
cold can become hot; only the dry can become wet; only the babe can
become a man; the seed the full-grown wheat and so on. Potentiality
instead of implying the emergence of anything novel means merely the
facility with which a particular thing repeats the recurrent processes
of its kind, and thus becomes a specific case of the eternal forms in
and through which all things are constituted.

In spite of the almost infinite numerical diversity of individuals,
there are only a limited number of species, kinds or sorts. And the
world is essentially a world which falls into sorts; it is pre-arranged
into distinct classes. Moreover, just as we naturally arrange plants and
animals into series, ranks and grades, from the lower to the highest, so
with all things in the universe. The distinct classes to which things
belong by their very nature form a hierarchical order. There are castes
in nature. The universe is constituted on an aristocratic, one can truly
say a feudal, plan. Species, classes do not mix or overlap--except in
cases of accident, and to the result of chaos. Otherwise, everything
belongs in advance to a certain class, and the class has its own fixed
place in the hierarchy of Being. The universe is indeed a tidy spot
whose purity is interfered with only by those irregular changes in
individuals which are due to the presence of an obdurate matter that
refuses to yield itself wholly to rule and form. Otherwise it is a
universe with a fixed place for everything and where everything knows
its place, its station and class, and keeps it. Hence what are known
technically as final and formal causes are supreme, and efficient causes
are relegated to an inferior place. The so-called final cause is just a
name for the fact that there is some fixed form characteristic of a
class or sort of things which governs the changes going on, so that they
tend toward it as their end and goal, the fulfilment of their true
nature. The supralunar region is the end or final cause of the proper
movements of air and fire; the earth of the motions of crass, heavy
things; the oak of the acorn; the mature form in general of the
germinal.

The "efficient cause," that which produces and instigates a movement is
only some external change as it accidentally gives a kind of push to an
immature, imperfect being and starts it moving toward its perfected or
fulfilled form. The final cause is the perfected form regarded as the
_explanation or reason_ of prior changes. When it is not taken in
reference to the changes completed and brought to rest in it, but in
itself it is the "formal cause": The inherent _nature_ or character
which "makes" or constitutes a thing _what it is_ so far as it truly
_is_, namely, what it is so far as it does not change. Logically and
practically all of the traits which have been enumerated cohere. Attack
one and you attack all. When any one is undermined, all go. This is the
reason why the intellectual modification of the last few centuries may
truly be called a revolution. It has substituted a conception of the
world differing at every point. It makes little matter at what point you
commence to trace the difference, you find yourself carried into all
other points.

Instead of a closed universe, science now presents us with one infinite
in space and time, having no limits here or there, at this end, so to
speak, or at that, and as infinitely complex in internal structure as
it is infinite in extent. Hence it is also an open world, an infinitely
variegated one, a world which in the old sense can hardly be called a
universe at all; so multiplex and far-reaching that it cannot be summed
up and grasped in any one formula. And change rather than fixity is now
a measure of "reality" or energy of being; change is omnipresent. The
laws in which the modern man of science is interested are laws of
motion, of generation and consequence. He speaks of law where the
ancients spoke of kind and essence, because what he wants is a
correlation of changes, an ability to detect one change occurring in
correspondence with another. He does not try to define and delimit
something remaining constant _in_ change. He tries to describe a
constant order _of_ change. And while the word "constant" appears in
both statements, the meaning of the word is not the same. In one case,
we are dealing with something constant in _existence_, physical or
metaphysical; in the other case, with something constant in _function_
and operation. One is a form of independent being; the other is a
formula of description and calculation of interdependent changes.

In short, classic thought accepted a feudally arranged order of classes
or kinds, each "holding" from a superior and in turn giving the rule of
conduct and service to an inferior. This trait reflects and parallels
most closely the social situation we were considering at the last hour.
We have a fairly definite notion of society as organized upon the feudal
basis. The family principle, the principle of kinship is strong, and
especially is this true as we ascend in the social scale. At the lower
end, individuals may be lost more or less in the mass. Since all are
parts of the common herd, there is nothing especial to distinguish their
birth. But among the privileged and ruling class the case is quite
different. The tie of kinship at once marks a group off externally and
gives it distinction, and internally holds all its members together.
Kinship, kind, class, genus are synonymous terms, starting from social
and concrete facts and going to the technical and abstract. For kinship
is a sign of a common nature, of something universal and permanent
running through all particular individuals, and giving them a real and
objective unity. Because such and such persons are kin they are
_really_, and not merely conventionally, marked off into a class having
something unique about it. All contemporary members are bound into an
objective unity which includes ancestors and descendants and excludes
all who belong to another kin or kind. Assuredly this parcelling out of
the world into separate kinds, each having its qualitatively distinct
nature in contrast with other species, binding numerically distinct
individuals together, and preventing their diversities from exceeding
fixed bounds, may without exaggeration be called a projection of the
family principle into the world at large.

In a feudally organized society, moreover, each kinship group or species
occupies a definite place. It is marked by the possession of a specific
_rank_ higher or lower with respect to other grades. This position
confers upon it certain privileges, enabling it to enforce certain
claims upon those lower in the scale and entailing upon it certain
services and homage to be rendered to superiors. The relationship of
causation, so to speak, is up and down. Influence, power, proceeds from
above to below; the activities of the inferior are performed with
respect, quite literally, to what is above. Action and reaction are far
from being equal and in opposite directions. All action is of one sort,
of the nature of lordship, and proceeds from the higher to the lower.
Reaction is of the nature of subjection and deference and proceeds from
lower to higher. The classic theory of the constitution of the world
corresponds point by point to this ordering of classes in a scale of
dignity and power.

A third trait assigned by historians to feudalism is that the ordering
of ranks centres about armed service and the relationship of armed
defense and protection. I am afraid that what has already been said
about the parallelism of ancient cosmology with social organization may
seem a fanciful analogy; and if a comparison is also drawn in this last
regard, there will be no doubt in your minds that a metaphor is being
forced. Such is truly the case if we take the comparison too literally.
But not so, if we confine our attention to the notion of rule and
command implied in both. Attention has already been called to the
meaning that is now given the term law--a constant relationship among
changes. Nevertheless, we often hear about laws which "govern" events,
and it often seems to be thought that phenomena would be utterly
disorderly were there not laws to keep them in order. This way of
thinking is a survival of reading social relationships into nature--not
necessarily a feudal relationship, but the relation of ruler and ruled,
sovereign and subject. Law is assimilated to a command or order. If the
factor of personal will is eliminated (as it was in the best Greek
thought) still the idea of law or universal is impregnated with the
sense of a guiding and ruling influence exerted from above on what is
naturally inferior to it. The universal governs as the end and model
which the artisan has in mind "governs" his movements. The Middle Ages
added to this Greek idea of control the idea of a command proceeding
from a superior will; and hence thought of the operations of nature as
if they were a fulfilment of a task set by one who had authority to
direct action.

The traits of the picture of nature drawn by modern science fairly
spring by contrast into high relief. Modern science took its first step
when daring astronomers abolished the distinction of high, sublime and
ideal forces operating in the heavens from lower and material forces
actuating terrestrial events. The supposed heterogeneity of substances
and forces between heaven and earth was denied. It was asserted that the
same laws hold everywhere, that there is homogeneity of material and
process everywhere throughout nature. The remote and esthetically
sublime is to be scientifically described and explained in terms of
homely familiar events and forces. The material of direct handling and
observation is that of which we are surest; it is the better known.
Until we can convert the grosser and more superficial observations of
far-away things in the heavens into elements identical with those of
things directly at hand, they remain blind and not understood. Instead
of presenting superior worth, they present only problems. They are not
means of enlightenment but challenges. The earth is not superior in rank
to sun, moon and stars, but it is equal in dignity, and its occurrences
give the key to the understanding of celestial existences. Being _at_
hand, they are also capable of being brought _under_ our hand; they can
be manipulated, broken up, resolved into elements which can be managed,
combined at will in old and new forms. The net result may be termed, I
think, without any great forcing, the substitution of a democracy of
individual facts equal in rank for the feudal system of an ordered
gradation of general classes of unequal rank.

One important incident of the new science was the destruction of the
idea that the earth is the centre of the universe. When the idea of a
fixed centre went, there went with it the idea of a closed universe and
a circumscribing heavenly boundary. To the Greek sense, just because its
theory of knowing was dominated by esthetic considerations, the finite
was the perfect. Literally, the finite was the finished, the ended, the
completed, that with no ragged edges and unaccountable operations. The
infinite or limitless was lacking in character just because it was
in-finite. Being everything, it was nothing. It was unformed and
chaotic, uncontrolled and unruly, the source of incalculable deviations
and accidents. Our present feeling that associates infinity with
boundless power, with capacity for expansion that knows no end, with the
delight in a progress that has no external limit, would be
incomprehensible were it not that interest has shifted from the esthetic
to the practical; from interest in beholding a harmonious and complete
scene to interest in transforming an inharmonious one. One has only to
read the authors of the transition period, say Giordano Bruno, to
realize what a pent-in, suffocating sensation they associated with a
closed, finite world, and what a feeling of exhilaration, expansion and
boundless possibility was aroused in them by the thought of a world
infinite in stretch of space and time, and composed internally of
infinitesimal infinitely numerous elements. That which the Greeks
withdrew from with repulsion they welcomed with an intoxicated sense of
adventure. The infinite meant, it was true, something forever
untraversed even by thought, and hence something forever unknown--no
matter how great attainment in learning. But this "forever unknown"
instead of being chilling and repelling was now an inspiring challenge
to ever-renewed inquiry, and an assurance of inexhaustible possibilities
of progress.

The student of history knows well that the Greeks made great progress in
the science of mechanics as well as of geometry. At first sight, it
appears strange that with this advance in mechanics so little advance
was made in the direction of modern science. The seeming paradox impels
us to ask why it was that mechanics remained a separate science, why it
was not used in description and explanation of natural phenomena after
the manner of Galileo and Newton. The answer is found in the social
parallelism already mentioned. Socially speaking, machines, tools, were
devices employed by artisans. The science of mechanics had to do with
the kind of things employed by human mechanics, and mechanics were base
fellows. They were at the lower end of the social scale, and how could
light on the heavens, the highest, be derived from them? The application
of considerations of mechanics to natural phenomena would moreover have
implied an interest in the practical control and utilization of
phenomena which was totally incompatible with the importance attached to
final causes as fixed determiners of nature. All the scientific
reformers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries strikingly agree in
regarding the doctrine of final causes as _the_ cause of the failure of
science. Why? Because this doctrine taught that the processes of nature
are held in bondage to certain fixed ends which they must tend to
realize. Nature was kept in leading strings; it was cramped down to
production of a limited number of stereotyped results. Only a
comparatively small number of things could be brought into being, and
these few must be similar to the ends which similar cycles of change had
effected in the past. The scope of inquiry and understanding was limited
to the narrow round of processes eventuating in the fixed ends which the
observed world offered to view. At best, invention and production of new
results by use of machines and tools must be restricted to articles of
transient dignity and bodily, not intellectual, use.

When the rigid clamp of fixed ends was taken off from nature,
observation and imagination were emancipated, and experimental control
for scientific and practical purposes enormously stimulated. Because
natural processes were no longer restricted to a fixed number of
immovable ends or results, anything might conceivably happen. It was
only a question of what elements could be brought into juxtaposition so
that they would work upon one another. Immediately, mechanics ceased to
be a separate science and became an organ for attacking nature. The
mechanics of the lever, wheel, pulley and inclined plane told accurately
what happens when things in space are used to move one another during
definite periods of time. The whole of nature became a scene of pushes
and pulls, of cogs and levers, of motions of parts or elements to which
the formulae of movements produced by well-known machines were directly
applicable.

The banishing of ends and forms from the universe has seemed to many an
ideal and spiritual impoverishment. When nature was regarded as a set of
mechanical interactions, it apparently lost all meaning and purpose. Its
glory departed. Elimination of differences of quality deprived it of
beauty. Denial to nature of all inherent longings and aspiring
tendencies toward ideal ends removed nature and natural science from
contact with poetry, religion and divine things. There seemed to be left
only a harsh, brutal despiritualized exhibition of mechanical forces. As
a consequence, it has seemed to many philosophers that one of their
chief problems was to reconcile the existence of this purely mechanical
world with belief in objective rationality and purpose--to save life
from a degrading materialism. Hence many sought to re-attain by way of
an analysis of the process of knowing, or epistemology, that belief in
the superiority of Ideal Being which had anciently been maintained on
the basis of cosmology. But when it is recognized that the mechanical
view is determined by the requirements of an experimental control of
natural energies, this problem of reconciliation no longer vexes us.
Fixed forms and ends, let us recall, mark fixed limits to change. Hence
they make futile all human efforts to produce and regulate change except
within narrow and unimportant limits. They paralyze constructive human
inventions by a theory which condemns them in advance to failure. Human
activity can conform only to ends already set by nature. It was not till
ends were banished from nature that purposes became important as factors
in human minds capable of reshaping existence. A natural world that does
not subsist for the sake of realizing a fixed set of ends is relatively
malleable and plastic; it may be used for this end _or_ that. That
nature can be known through the application of mechanical formulae is
the prime condition of turning it to human account. Tools, machines are
means to be utilized. Only when nature is regarded as mechanical, is
systematic invention and construction of machines relevant to nature's
activities. Nature is subdued to human purpose because it is no longer
the slave of metaphysical and theological purpose.

Bergson has pointed out that man might well be called _Homo Faber_. He
is distinguished as the tool-making animal. This has held good since man
was man; but till nature was construed in mechanical terms, the making
of tools with which to attack and transform nature was sporadic and
accidental. Under such circumstances it would not have occurred even to
a Bergson that man's tool-making capacity was so important and
fundamental that it could be used to define him. The very things that
make the nature of the mechanical-physical scientist esthetically blank
and dull are the things which render nature amenable to human control.
When qualities were subordinated to quantitative and mathematical
relationships, color, music and form disappeared from the object of the
scientist's inquiry as such. But the remaining properties of weight,
extension, numerable velocity of movement and so on were just the
qualities which lent themselves to the substitution of one thing for
another, to the conversion of one form of energy into another; to the
effecting of transformations. When chemical fertilizers can be used in
place of animal manures, when improved grain and cattle can be
purposefully bred from inferior animals and grasses, when mechanical
energy can be converted into heat and electricity into mechanical
energy, man gains power to manipulate nature. Most of all he gains power
to frame _new_ ends and aims and to proceed in regular system to their
actualization. Only indefinite substitution and convertibility
regardless of quality render nature manageable. The mechanization of
nature is the condition of a practical and progressive idealism in
action.

It thus turns out that the old, old dread and dislike of matter as
something opposed to mind and threatening it, to be kept within the
narrowest bounds of recognition; something to be denied so far as
possible lest it encroach upon ideal purposes and finally exclude them
from the real world, is as absurd practically as it was impotent
intellectually. Judged from the only scientific standpoint, what it does
and how it functions, matter means conditions. To respect matter means
to respect the conditions of achievement; conditions which hinder and
obstruct and which have to be changed, conditions which help and further
and which can be used to modify obstructions and attain ends. Only as
men have learned to pay sincere and persistent regard to matter, to the
conditions upon which depends negatively and positively the success of
all endeavor, have they shown sincere and fruitful respect for ends and
purposes. To profess to have an aim and then neglect the means of its
execution is self-delusion of the most dangerous sort. Education and
morals will begin to find themselves on the same road of advance that
say chemical industry and medicine have found for themselves when they
too learn fully the lesson of wholehearted and unremitting attention to
means and conditions--that is, to what mankind so long despised as
material and mechanical. When we take means for ends we indeed fall into
moral materialism. But when we take ends without regard to means we
degenerate into sentimentalism. In the name of the ideal we fall back
upon mere luck and chance and magic or exhortation and preaching; or
else upon a fanaticism that will force the realization of preconceived
ends at any cost.

I have touched in this lecture upon many things in a cursory way. Yet
there has been but one point in mind. The revolution in our conceptions
of nature and in our methods of knowing it has bred a new temper of
imagination and aspiration. It has confirmed the new attitude generated
by economic and political changes. It has supplied this attitude with
definite intellectual material with which to formulate and justify
itself.

In the first lecture it was noted that in Greek life prosaic matter of
fact or empirical knowledge was at a great disadvantage as compared with
the imaginative beliefs that were bound up with special institutions
and moral habitudes. Now this empirical knowledge has grown till it has
broken its low and limited sphere of application and esteem. It has
itself become an organ of inspiring imagination through introducing
ideas of boundless possibility, indefinite progress, free movement,
equal opportunity irrespective of fixed limits. It has reshaped social
institutions, and in so far developed a new morale. It has achieved
ideal values. It is convertible into creative and constructive
philosophy.

Convertible, however, rather than already converted. When we consider
how deeply embedded in customs of thought and action the classic
philosophy came to be and how congenial it is to man's more spontaneous
beliefs, the throes that attended its birth are not to be wondered at.
We should rather wonder that a view so upsetting, so undermining, made
its way without more persecutions, martyrdoms and disturbances. It
certainly is not surprising that its complete and consistent formulation
in philosophy has been long delayed. The main efforts of thinkers were
inevitably directed to minimizing the shock of change, easing the
strains of transition, mediating and reconciling. When we look back upon
almost all of the thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,
upon all excepting those who were avowedly sceptical and revolutionary,
what strikes us is the amount of traditional subject-matter and method
that is to be found even among those who were regarded as most advanced.
Men cannot easily throw off their old habits of thinking, and never can
throw off all of them at once. In developing, teaching and receiving new
ideas we are compelled to use some of the old ones as tools of
understanding and communication. Only piecemeal, step-by-step, could the
full import of the new science be grasped. Roughly speaking, the
seventeenth century witnessed its application in astronomy and general
cosmology; the eighteenth century in physics and chemistry; the
nineteenth century undertook an application in geology and the
biological sciences.

It was said that it has now become extremely difficult to recover the
view of the world which universally obtained in Europe till the
seventeenth century. Yet after all we need only recur to the science of
plants and animals as it was before Darwin and to the ideas which even
now are dominant in moral and political matters to find the older order
of conceptions in full possession of the popular mind. Until the dogma
of fixed unchangeable types and species, of arrangement in classes of
higher and lower, of subordination of the transitory individual to the
universal or kind had been shaken in its hold upon the science of life,
it was impossible that the new ideas and method should be made at home
in social and moral life. Does it not seem to be the intellectual task
of the twentieth century to take this last step? When this step is taken
the circle of scientific development will be rounded out and the
reconstruction of philosophy be made an accomplished fact.



CHAPTER IV

CHANGED CONCEPTIONS OF EXPERIENCE AND REASON


What is experience and what is Reason, Mind? What is the scope of
experience and what are its limits? How far is it a sure ground of
belief and a safe guide of conduct? Can we trust it in science and in
behavior? Or is it a quagmire as soon as we pass beyond a few low
material interests? Is it so shaky, shifting, and shallow that instead
of affording sure footing, safe paths to fertile fields, it misleads,
betrays, and engulfs? Is a Reason outside experience and above it needed
to supply assured principles to science and conduct? In one sense, these
questions suggest technical problems of abstruse philosophy; in another
sense, they contain the deepest possible questionings regarding the
career of man. They concern the criteria he is to employ in forming his
beliefs; the principles _by_ which he is to direct his life and the ends
_to_ which he is to direct it. Must man transcend experience by some
organ of unique character that carries him into the super-empirical?
Failing this, must he wander sceptical and disillusioned? Or is human
experience itself worth while in its purposes and its methods of
guidance? Can it organize itself into stable courses or must it be
sustained from without?

We know the answers of traditional philosophy. They do not thoroughly
agree among themselves, but they agree that experience never rises above
the level of the particular, the contingent, and the probable. Only a
power transcending in origin and content any and all conceivable
experience can attain to universal, necessary and certain authority and
direction. The empiricists themselves admitted the correctness of these
assertions. They only said that since there is no faculty of Pure Reason
in the possession of mankind, we must put up with what we have,
experience, and make the most possible out of it. They contented
themselves with sceptical attacks upon the transcendentalist, with
indications of the ways in which we might best seize the meaning and
good of the passing moment; or like Locke, asserted that in spite of the
limitation of experience, it affords the light needed to guide men's
footsteps modestly in conduct. They affirmed that the alleged
authoritative guidance by a higher faculty had practically hampered men.

It is the function of this lecture to show how and why it is now
possible to make claims for experience as a guide in science and moral
life which the older empiricists did not and could not make for it.

Curiously enough, the key to the matter may be found in the fact that
the old notion of experience was itself a product of experience--the
only kind of experience which was then open to men. If another
conception of experience is now possible, it is precisely because the
quality of experience as it may now be lived has undergone a profound
social and intellectual change from that of earlier times. The account
of experience which we find in Plato and Aristotle is an account of what
Greek experience actually was. It agrees very closely with what the
modern psychologist knows as the method of learning by trial and error
as distinct from the method of learning by ideas. Men tried certain
acts, they underwent certain sufferings and affections. Each of these in
the time of its occurrence is isolated, particular--its counterpart is
transient appetite and transient sensation. But memory preserves and
accumulates these separate incidents. As they pile up, irregular
variations get cancelled, common features are selected, reinforced and
combined. Gradually a habit of action is built up, and corresponding to
this habit there forms a certain generalized picture of an object or
situation. We come to know or note not merely this particular which as a
particular cannot strictly be known at all (for not being classed it
cannot be characterized and identified) but to recognize it as man,
tree, stone, leather--an individual of a certain kind, marked by a
certain universal form characteristic of a whole species of thing.
Along with the development of this common-sense knowledge, there grows
up a certain regularity of conduct. The particular incidents fuse, and a
_way_ of acting which is general, as far as it goes, builds up. The
skill develops which is shown by the artisan, the shoemaker, the
carpenter, the gymnast, the physician, who have regular ways of handling
cases. This regularity signifies, of course, that the particular case is
not treated as an isolated particular, but as one of a kind, which
therefore demands a _kind_ of action. From the multitude of particular
illnesses encountered, the physician in learning to class some of them
as indigestion learns also to treat the cases of the class in a common
or general way. He forms the rule of recommending a certain diet, and
prescribing a certain remedy. All this forms what we call experience. It
results, as the illustration shows, in a certain general insight and a
certain organized ability in action.

But needless to insist, the generality and the organization are
restricted and fallible. They hold, as Aristotle was fond of pointing
out, usually, in most cases, as a rule, but not universally, of
necessity, or as a principle. The physician is bound to make mistakes,
because individual cases are bound to vary unaccountably: such is their
very nature. The difficulty does not arise in _a_ defective experience
which is capable of remedy in some better experience. Experience
itself, as such, is defective, and hence default is inevitable and
irremediable. The only universality and certainty is in a region above
experience, that of the rational and conceptual. As the particular was a
stepping-stone to image and habit, so the latter may become a
stepping-stone to conceptions and principles. But the latter leave
experience behind, untouched; they do not react to rectify it. Such is
the notion which still lingers in the contrast of "empirical" and
"rational" as when we say that a certain architect or physician is
empirical, not scientific in his procedures. But the difference between
the classic and the modern notion of experience is revealed in the fact
that such a statement is now a charge, a disparaging accusation, brought
against _a_ particular architect or physician. With Plato, Aristotle and
the Scholastic, it was a charge against the callings, since they were
modes of experience. It was an indictment of all practical action in
contrast with conceptual contemplation.

The modern philosopher who has professed himself an empiricist has
usually had a critical purpose in mind. Like Bacon, Locke, Condillac and
Helvetius, he stood face to face with a body of beliefs and a set of
institutions in which he profoundly disbelieved. His problem was the
problem of attack upon so much dead weight carried uselessly by
humanity, crushing and distorting it. His readiest way of undermining
and disintegrating was by appealing to experience as a final test and
criterion. In every case, active reformers were "empiricists" in the
philosophical sense. They made it their business to show that some
current belief or institution that claimed the sanction of innate ideas
or necessary conceptions, or an origin in an authoritative revelation of
reason, had in fact proceeded from a lowly origin in experience, and had
been confirmed by accident, by class interest or by biased authority.

The philosophic empiricism initiated by Locke was thus disintegrative in
intent. It optimistically took it for granted that when the burden of
blind custom, imposed authority, and accidental associations was
removed, progress in science and social organization would spontaneously
take place. Its part was to help in removing the burden. The best way to
liberate men from the burden was through a natural history of the origin
and growth in the mind of the ideas connected with objectionable beliefs
and customs. Santayana justly calls the psychology of this school a
malicious psychology. It tended to identify the history of the formation
of certain ideas with an account of the things to which the ideas
refer--an identification which naturally had an unfavorable effect on
the things. But Mr. Santayana neglects to notice the social zeal and aim
latent in the malice. He fails to point out that this "malice" was
aimed at institutions and traditions which had lost their usefulness; he
fails to point out that to a large extent it was true of them that an
account of their psychological origin was equivalent to a destructive
account of the things themselves. But after Hume with debonair
clarity pointed out that the analysis of beliefs into sensations
and associations left "natural" ideas and institutions in the
same position in which the reformers had placed "artificial" ones,
the situation changed. The rationalists employed the logic of
sensationalistic-empiricism to show that experience, giving only a heap
of chaotic and isolated particulars, is as fatal to science and to moral
laws and obligations as to obnoxious institutions; and concluded that
"Reason" must be resorted to if experience was to be furnished with any
binding and connecting principles. The new rationalistic idealism of
Kant and his successors seemed to be necessitated by the totally
destructive results of the new empirical philosophy.

Two things have rendered possible a new conception of experience and a
new conception of the relation of reason to experience, or, more
accurately, of the place of reason _in_ experience. The primary factor
is the change that has taken place in the actual nature of experience,
its contents and methods, as it is actually lived. The other is the
development of a psychology based upon biology which makes possible a
new scientific formulation of the nature of experience.

Let us begin with the technical side--the change in psychology. We are
only just now commencing to appreciate how completely exploded is the
psychology that dominated philosophy throughout the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries. According to this theory, mental life originated
in sensations which are separately and passively received, and which are
formed, through laws of retention and association, into a mosaic of
images, perceptions, and conceptions. The senses were regarded as
gateways or avenues of knowledge. Except in combining atomic sensations,
the mind was wholly passive and acquiescent in knowing. Volition,
action, emotion, and desire follow in the wake of sensations and images.
The intellectual or cognitive factor comes first and emotional and
volitional life is only a consequent conjunction of ideas with
sensations of pleasure and pain.

The effect of the development of biology has been to reverse the
picture. Wherever there is life, there is behavior, activity. In order
that life may persist, this activity has to be both continuous and
adapted to the environment. This adaptive adjustment, moreover, is not
wholly passive; is not a mere matter of the moulding of the organism by
the environment. Even a clam acts upon the environment and modifies it
to some extent. It selects materials for food and for the shell that
protects it. It does something to the environment as well as has
something done to itself. There is no such thing in a living creature as
mere conformity to conditions, though parasitic forms may approach this
limit. In the interests of the maintenance of life there is
transformation of some elements in the surrounding medium. The higher
the form of life, the more important is the active reconstruction of the
medium. This increased control may be illustrated by the contrast of
savage with civilized man. Suppose the two are living in a wilderness.
With the savage there is the maximum of accommodation to given
conditions; the minimum of what we may call hitting back. The savage
takes things "as they are," and by using caves and roots and occasional
pools leads a meagre and precarious existence. The civilized man goes to
distant mountains and dams streams. He builds reservoirs, digs channels,
and conducts the waters to what had been a desert. He searches the world
to find plants and animals that will thrive. He takes native plants and
by selection and cross-fertilization improves them. He introduces
machinery to till the soil and care for the harvest. By such means he
may succeed in making the wilderness blossom like the rose.

Such transformation scenes are so familiar that we overlook their
meaning. We forget that the inherent power of life is illustrated in
them. Note what a change this point of view entails in the traditional
notions of experience. Experience becomes an affair primarily of doing.
The organism does not stand about, Micawber-like, waiting for something
to turn up. It does not wait passive and inert for something to impress
itself upon it from without. The organism acts in accordance with its
own structure, simple or complex, upon its surroundings. As a
consequence the changes produced in the environment react upon the
organism and its activities. The living creature undergoes, suffers, the
consequences of its own behavior. This close connection between doing
and suffering or undergoing forms what we call experience. Disconnected
doing and disconnected suffering are neither of them experiences.
Suppose fire encroaches upon a man when he is asleep. Part of his body
is burned away. The burn does not perceptibly result from what he has
done. There is nothing which in any instructive way can be named
experience. Or again there is a series of mere activities, like
twitchings of muscles in a spasm. The movements amount to nothing; they
have no consequences for life. Or, if they have, these consequences are
not connected with prior doing. There is no experience, no learning, no
cumulative process. But suppose a busy infant puts his finger in the
fire; the doing is random, aimless, without intention or reflection. But
something happens in consequence. The child undergoes heat, he suffers
pain. The doing and undergoing, the reaching and the burn, are
connected. One comes to suggest and mean the other. Then there is
experience in a vital and significant sense.

Certain important implications for philosophy follow. In the first
place, the interaction of organism and environment, resulting in some
adaptation which secures utilization of the latter, is the primary fact,
the basic category. Knowledge is relegated to a derived position,
secondary in origin, even if its importance, when once it is
established, is overshadowing. Knowledge is not something separate and
self-sufficing, but is involved in the process by which life is
sustained and evolved. The senses lose their place as gateways of
knowing to take their rightful place as stimuli to action. To an animal
an affection of the eye or ear is not an idle piece of information about
something indifferently going on in the world. It is an invitation and
inducement to act in a needed way. It is a clue in behavior, a directive
factor in adaptation of life in its surroundings. It is urgent not
cognitive in quality. The whole controversy between empiricism and
rationalism as to the intellectual worth of sensations is rendered
strangely obsolete. The discussion of sensations belongs under the head
of immediate stimulus and response, not under the head of knowledge.

As a _conscious_ element, a sensation marks an interruption in a course
of action previously entered upon. Many psychologists since the time of
Hobbes have dwelt upon what they call the relativity of sensations. We
_feel_ or sense cold in transition from warmth rather than absolutely;
hardness is sensed upon a background of less resistance; a color in
contrast with pure light or pure dark or in contrast with some other
hue. A continuously unchanged tone or color cannot be attended to or
sensed. What we take to be such monotonously prolonged sensations are in
truth constantly interrupted by incursions of other elements, and
represent a series of excursions back and forth. This fact was, however,
misconstrued into a doctrine about the nature of knowledge. Rationalists
used it to discredit sense as a valid or high mode of knowing things,
since according to it we never get hold of anything _in itself_ or
intrinsically. Sensationalists used it to disparage all pretence at
absolute knowledge.

Properly speaking, however, this fact of the relativity of sensation
does not in the least belong in the sphere of knowing. Sensations of
this sort are emotional and practical rather than cognitive and
intellectual. They are shocks of change, due to interruption of a prior
adjustment. They are signals to redirections of action. Let me take a
trivial illustration. The person who is taking notes has no sensation of
the pressure of his pencil on the paper or on his hand as long as it
functions properly. It operates merely as stimulus to ready and
effective adjustment. The sensory activity incites automatically and
unconsciously its proper motor response. There is a preformed
physiological connection, acquired from habit but ultimately going back
to an original connection in the nervous system. If the pencil-point
gets broken or too blunt and the habit of writing does not operate
smoothly, there is a conscious shock:--the feeling of something the
matter, something gone wrong. This emotional change operates as a
stimulus to a needed change in operation. One looks at his pencil,
sharpens it or takes another pencil from one's pocket. The sensation
operates as a pivot of readjusting behavior. It marks a break in the
prior routine of writing and the beginning of some other mode of action.
Sensations are "relative" in the sense of marking transitions in habits
of behavior from one course to another way of behaving.

The rationalist was thus right in denying that sensations as such are
true elements of knowledge. But the reasons he gave for this conclusion
and the consequences he drew from it were all wrong. Sensations are not
parts of _any_ knowledge, good or bad, superior or inferior, imperfect
or complete. They are rather provocations, incitements, challenges to an
act of inquiry which is to _terminate_ in knowledge. They are not ways
of knowing things inferior in value to reflective ways, to the ways
that require thought and inference, because they are not ways of knowing
at all. They are stimuli to reflection and inference. As interruptions,
they raise the questions: What does this shock mean? What is happening?
What is the matter? How is my relation to the environment disturbed?
What should be done about it? How shall I alter my course of action to
meet the change that has taken place in the surroundings? How shall I
readjust my behavior in response? Sensation is thus, as the
sensationalist claimed, the beginning of knowledge, but only in the
sense that the experienced shock of change is the necessary stimulus to
the investigating and comparing which eventually produce knowledge.

When experience is aligned with the life-process and sensations are seen
to be points of readjustment, the alleged atomism of sensations totally
disappears. With this disappearance is abolished the need for a
synthetic faculty of super-empirical reason to connect them. Philosophy
is not any longer confronted with the hopeless problem of finding a way
in which separate grains of sand may be woven into a strong and coherent
rope--or into the illusion and pretence of one. When the isolated and
simple existences of Locke and Hume are seen not to be truly empirical
at all but to answer to certain demands of their theory of mind, the
necessity ceases for the elaborate Kantian and Post-Kantian machinery
of _a priori_ concepts and categories to synthesize the alleged stuff of
experience. The true "stuff" of experience is recognized to be adaptive
courses of action, habits, active functions, connections of doing and
undergoing; sensori-motor co-ordinations. Experience carries principles
of connection and organization within itself. These principles are none
the worse because they are vital and practical rather than
epistemological. Some degree of organization is indispensable to even
the lowest grade of life. Even an amoeba must have some continuity in
time in its activity and some adaptation to its environment in space.
Its life and experience cannot possibly consist in momentary, atomic,
and self-enclosed sensations. Its activity has reference to its
surroundings and to what goes before and what comes after. This
organization intrinsic to life renders unnecessary a super-natural and
super-empirical synthesis. It affords the basis and material for a
positive evolution of intelligence as an organizing factor within
experience.

Nor is it entirely aside from the subject to point out the extent in
which social as well as biological organization enters into the
formation of human experience. Probably one thing that strengthened the
idea that the mind is passive and receptive in knowing was the
observation of the helplessness of the human infant. But the observation
points in quite another direction. Because of his physical dependence
and impotency, the contacts of the little child with nature are mediated
by other persons. Mother and nurse, father and older children, determine
what experiences the child shall have; they constantly instruct him as
to the meaning of what he does and undergoes. The conceptions that are
socially current and important become the child's principles of
interpretation and estimation long before he attains to personal and
deliberate control of conduct. Things come to him clothed in language,
not in physical nakedness, and this garb of communication makes him a
sharer in the beliefs of those about him. These beliefs coming to him as
so many facts form his mind; they furnish the centres about which his
own personal expeditions and perceptions are ordered. Here we have
"categories" of connection and unification as important as those of
Kant, but empirical not mythological.

From these elementary, if somewhat technical considerations, we turn to
the change which experience itself has undergone in the passage from
ancient and medieval to modern life. To Plato, experience meant
enslavement to the past, to custom. Experience was almost equivalent to
established customs formed not by reason or under intelligent control
but by repetition and blind rule of thumb. Only reason can lift us above
subjection to the accidents of the past. When we come to Bacon and his
successors, we discover a curious reversal. Reason and its bodyguard of
general notions is now the conservative, mind-enslaving factor.
Experience is the liberating power. Experience means the new, that which
calls us away from adherence to the past, that which reveals novel facts
and truths. Faith in experience produces not devotion to custom but
endeavor for progress. This difference in temper is the more significant
because it was so unconsciously taken for granted. Some concrete and
vital change must have occurred in actual experience as that is lived.
For, after all, the thought of experience follows after and is modelled
upon the experience actually undergone.

When mathematics and other rational sciences developed among the Greeks,
scientific truths did not react back into daily experience. They
remained isolated, apart and super-imposed. Medicine was the art in
which perhaps the greatest amount of positive knowledge was obtained,
but it did not reach the dignity of science. It remained an art. In
practical arts, moreover, there was no conscious invention or purposeful
improvement. Workers followed patterns that were handed down to them,
while departure from established standards and models usually resulted
in degenerate productions. Improvements came either from a slow,
gradual, and unacknowledged accumulation of changes or else from some
sudden inspiration, which at once set a new standard. Being the result
of no conscious method, it was fittingly attributed to the gods. In the
social arts, such a radical reformer as Plato felt that existing evils
were due to the absence of such fixed patterns as controlled the
productions of artisans. The ethical purport of philosophy was to
furnish them, and when once they were instituted, they were to be
consecrated by religion, adorned by art, inculcated by education and
enforced by magistrates so that alteration of them would be impossible.

It is unnecessary to repeat what has been so often dwelt upon as to the
effect of experimental science in enabling man to effect a deliberate
control of his environment. But since the impact of this control upon
the traditional notion of experience is often overlooked, we must point
out that when experience ceased to be empirical and became experimental,
something of radical importance occurred. Aforetime man employed the
results of his prior experience only to form customs that henceforth had
to be blindly followed or blindly broken. Now, old experience is used to
suggest aims and methods for developing a new and improved experience.
Consequently experience becomes in so far constructively
self-regulative. What Shakespeare so pregnantly said of nature, it is
"made better by no mean, but nature makes that mean," becomes true of
experience. We do not merely have to repeat the past, or wait for
accidents to force change upon us. We _use_ our past experiences to
construct new and better ones in the future. The very fact of experience
thus includes the process by which it directs itself in its own
betterment.

Science, "reason" is not therefore something laid from above upon
experience. Suggested and tested in experience, it is also employed
through inventions in a thousand ways to expand and enrich experience.
Although, as has been so often repeated, this self-creation and
self-regulation of experience is still largely technological rather than
truly artistic or human, yet what has been achieved contains the
guaranty of the possibility of an intelligent administering of
experience. The limits are moral and intellectual, due to defects in our
good will and knowledge. They are not inherent metaphysically in the
very nature of experience. "Reason" as a faculty separate from
experience, introducing us to a superior region of universal truths
begins now to strike us as remote, uninteresting and unimportant.
Reason, as a Kantian faculty that introduces generality and regularity
into experience, strikes us more and more as superfluous--the
unnecessary creation of men addicted to traditional formalism and to
elaborate terminology. Concrete suggestions arising from past
experiences, developed and matured in the light of the needs and
deficiencies of the present, employed as aims and methods of specific
reconstruction, and tested by success or failure in accomplishing this
task of readjustment, suffice. To such empirical suggestions used in
constructive fashion for new ends the name intelligence is given.

This recognition of the place of active and planning thought within the
very processes of experience radically alters the traditional status of
the technical problems of particular and universal, sense and reason,
perceptual and conceptual. But the alteration is of much more than
technical significance. For reason is experimental intelligence,
conceived after the pattern of science, and used in the creation of
social arts; it has something to do. It liberates man from the bondage
of the past, due to ignorance and accident hardened into custom. It
projects a better future and assists man in its realization. And its
operation is always subject to test in experience. The plans which are
formed, the principles which man projects as guides of reconstructive
action, are not dogmas. They are hypotheses to be worked out in
practice, and to be rejected, corrected and expanded as they fail or
succeed in giving our present experience the guidance it requires. We
may call them programmes of action, but since they are to be used in
making our future acts less blind, more directed, they are flexible.
Intelligence is not something possessed once for all. It is in constant
process of forming, and its retention requires constant alertness in
observing consequences, an open-minded will to learn and courage in
re-adjustment.

In contrast with this experimental and re-adjusting intelligence, it
must be said that Reason as employed by historic rationalism has tended
to carelessness, conceit, irresponsibility, and rigidity--in short
absolutism. A certain school of contemporary psychology uses the term
"rationalization" to denote those mental mechanisms by which we
unconsciously put a better face on our conduct or experience than facts
justify. We excuse ourselves to ourselves by introducing a purpose and
order into that of which we are secretly ashamed. In like fashion,
historic rationalism has often tended to use Reason as an agency of
justification and apologetics. It has taught that the defects and evils
of actual experience disappear in the "rational whole" of things; that
things _appear_ evil merely because of the partial, incomplete nature of
experience. Or, as was noted by Bacon, "reason" assumes a false
simplicity, uniformity and universality, and opens for science a path of
fictitious ease. This course results in intellectual irresponsibility
and neglect:--irresponsibility because rationalism assumes that the
concepts of reason are so self-sufficient and so far above experience
that they need and can secure no confirmation in experience. Neglect,
because this same assumption makes men careless about concrete
observations and experiments. Contempt for experience has had a tragic
revenge _in_ experience; it has cultivated disregard for fact and this
disregard has been paid for in failure, sorrow and war.

The dogmatic rigidity of Rationalism is best seen in the consequences of
Kant's attempt to buttress an otherwise chaotic experience with pure
concepts. He set out with a laudable attempt at restricting the
extravagant pretensions of Reason apart from experience. He called his
philosophy critical. But because he taught that the understanding
employs fixed, _a priori_, concepts, in order to introduce connection
into experience and thereby make known _objects_ possible (stable,
regular relationships of qualities), he developed in German thought a
curious contempt for the living variety of experience and a curious
overestimate of the value of system, order, regularity for their own
sakes. More practical causes were at work in producing the peculiarly
German regard for drill, discipline, "order" and docility.

But Kant's philosophy served to provide an intellectual justification or
"rationalization" of subordination of individuals to fixed and
ready-made universal, "principles," laws. Reason and law were held to be
synonyms. And as reason came into experience from without and above, so
law had to come into life from some external and superior authority.
The practical correlate to absolutism is rigidity, stiffness,
inflexibility of disposition. When Kant taught that some conceptions,
and these the important ones, are _a priori_, that they do not arise in
experience and cannot be verified or tested in experience, that without
such ready-made injections into experience the latter is anarchic and
chaotic, he fostered the spirit of absolutism, even though technically
he denied the possibility of absolutes. His successors were true to his
spirit rather than his letter, and so they taught absolutism
systematically. That the Germans with all their scientific competency
and technological proficiency should have fallen into their tragically
rigid and "superior" style of thought and action (tragic because
involving them in inability to understand the world in which they lived)
is a sufficient lesson of what may be involved in a systematical denial
of the experimental character of intelligence and its conceptions.

By common consent, the effect of English empiricism was sceptical where
that of German rationalism was apologetic; it undermined where the
latter justified. It detected accidental associations formed into
customs under the influence of self- or class-interest where German
rational-idealism discovered profound meanings due to the necessary
evolution of absolute reason. The modern world has suffered because in
so many matters philosophy has offered it only an arbitrary choice
between hard and fast opposities: Disintegrating analysis _or_ rigid
synthesis; complete radicalism neglecting and attacking the historic
past as trivial and harmful, _or_ complete conservatism idealizing
institutions as embodiments of eternal reason; a resolution of
experience into atomic elements that afford no support to stable
organization _or_ a clamping down of all experience by fixed categories
and necessary concepts--these are the alternatives that conflicting
schools have presented.

They are the logical consequences of the traditional opposition of Sense
and Thought, Experience and Reason. Common sense has refused to follow
both theories to their ultimate logic, and has fallen back on faith,
intuition or the exigencies of practical compromise. But common sense
too often has been confused and hampered instead of enlightened and
directed by the philosophies proffered it by professional intellectuals.
Men who are thrown back upon "common sense" when they appeal to
philosophy for some general guidance are likely to fall back on routine,
the force of some personality, strong leadership or on the pressure of
momentary circumstances. It would be difficult to estimate the harm that
has resulted because the liberal and progressive movement of the
eighteenth and earlier nineteenth centuries had no method of
intellectual articulation commensurate with its practical aspirations.
Its heart was in the right place. It was humane and social in
intention. But it had no theoretical instrumentalities of constructive
power. Its head was sadly deficient. Too often the logical import of its
professed doctrines was almost anti-social in their atomistic
individualism, anti-human in devotion to brute sensation. This
deficiency played into the hands of the reactionary and obscurantist.
The strong point of the appeal to fixed principles transcending
experience, to dogmas incapable of experimental verification, the strong
point of reliance upon _a priori_ canons of truth and standards of
morals in opposition to dependence upon fruits and consequences in
experience, has been the unimaginative conception of experience which
professed philosophic empiricists have entertained and taught.

A philosophic reconstruction which should relieve men of having to
choose between an impoverished and truncated experience on one hand and
an artificial and impotent reason on the other would relieve human
effort from the heaviest intellectual burden it has to carry. It would
destroy the division of men of good will into two hostile camps. It
would permit the co-operation of those who respect the past and the
institutionally established with those who are interested in
establishing a freer and happier future. For it would determine the
conditions under which the funded experience of the past and the
contriving intelligence which looks to the future can effectually
interact with each other. It would enable men to glorify the claims of
reason without at the same time falling into a paralyzing worship of
super-empirical authority or into an offensive "rationalization" of
things as they are.



CHAPTER V

CHANGED CONCEPTIONS OF THE IDEAL AND THE REAL


It has been noted that human experience is made human through the
existence of associations and recollections, which are strained through
the mesh of imagination so as to suit the demands of the emotions. A
life that is humanly interesting is, short of the results of discipline,
a life in which the tedium of vacant leisure is filled with images that
excite and satisfy. It is in this sense that poetry preceded prose in
human experience, religion antedated science, and ornamental and
decorative art while it could not take the place of utility early
reached a development out of proportion to the practical arts. In order
to give contentment and delight, in order to feed present emotion and
give the stream of conscious life intensity and color, the suggestions
which spring from past experiences are worked over so as to smooth out
their unpleasantnesses and enhance their enjoyableness. Some
psychologists claim that there is what they call a natural tendency to
obliviscence of the disagreeable--that men turn from the unpleasant in
thought and recollection as they do from the obnoxious in action. Every
serious-minded person knows that a large part of the effort required in
moral discipline consists in the courage needed to acknowledge the
unpleasant consequences of one's past and present acts. We squirm,
dodge, evade, disguise, cover up, find excuses and palliations--anything
to render the mental scene less uncongenial. In short, the tendency of
spontaneous suggestion is to idealize experience, to give it in
consciousness qualities which it does not have in actuality. Time and
memory are true artists; they remould reality nearer to the heart's
desire.

As imagination becomes freer and less controlled by concrete
actualities, the idealizing tendency takes further flights unrestrained
by the rein of the prosaic world. The things most emphasized in
imagination as it reshapes experience are things which are absent in
reality. In the degree in which life is placid and easy, imagination is
sluggish and bovine. In the degree in which life is uneasy and troubled,
fancy is stirred to frame pictures of a contrary state of things. By
reading the characteristic features of any man's castles in the air you
can make a shrewd guess as to his underlying desires which are
frustrated. What is difficulty and disappointment in real life becomes
conspicuous achievement and triumph in revery; what is negative in fact
will be positive in the image drawn by fancy; what is vexation in
conduct will be compensated for in high relief in idealizing
imagination.

These considerations apply beyond mere personal psychology. They are
decisive for one of the most marked traits of classic philosophy:--its
conception of an ultimate supreme Reality which is essentially ideal in
nature. Historians have more than once drawn an instructive parallel
between the developed Olympian Pantheon of Greek religion and the Ideal
Realm of Platonic philosophy. The gods, whatever their origin and
original traits, became idealized projections of the selected and
matured achievements which the Greeks admired among their mortal selves.
The gods were like mortals, but mortals living only the lives which men
would wish to live, with power intensified, beauty perfected, and wisdom
ripened. When Aristotle criticized the theory of Ideas of his master,
Plato, by saying that the Ideas were after all only things of sense
eternalized, he pointed out in effect the parallelism of philosophy with
religion and art to which allusion has just been made. And save for
matters of merely technical import, is it not possible to say of
Aristotle's Forms just what he said of Plato's Ideas? What are they,
these Forms and Essences which so profoundly influenced for centuries
the course of science and theology, save the objects of ordinary
experience with their blemishes removed, their imperfections eliminated,
their lacks rounded out, their suggestions and hints fulfilled? What
are they in short but the objects of familiar life divinized because
reshaped by the idealizing imagination to meet the demands of desire in
just those respects in which actual experience is disappointing?

That Plato, and Aristotle in somewhat different fashion, and Plotinus
and Marcus Aurelius and Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Spinoza and Hegel all
taught that Ultimate Reality is either perfectly Ideal and Rational in
nature, or else has absolute ideality and rationality as its necessary
attribute, are facts well known to the student of philosophy. They need
no exposition here. But it is worth pointing out that these great
systematic philosophies defined perfect Ideality in conceptions that
express the opposite of those things which make life unsatisfactory and
troublesome. What is the chief source of the complaint of poet and
moralist with the goods, the values and satisfactions of experience?
Rarely is the complaint that such things do not exist; it is that
although existing they are momentary, transient, fleeting. They do not
stay; at worst they come only to annoy and tease with their hurried and
disappearing taste of what might be; at best they come only to inspire
and instruct with a passing hint of truer reality. This commonplace of
the poet and moralist as to the impermanence not only of sensuous
enjoyment, but of fame and civic achievements was profoundly reflected
upon by philosophers, especially by Plato and Aristotle. The results of
their thinking have been wrought into the very fabric of western ideas.
Time, change, movement are signs that what the Greeks called Non-Being
somehow infect true Being. The phraseology is now strange, but many a
modern who ridicules the conception of Non-Being repeats the same
thought under the name of the Finite or Imperfect.

Wherever there is change, there is instability, and instability is proof
of something the matter, of absence, deficiency, incompleteness. These
are the ideas common to the connection between change, becoming and
perishing, and Non-Being, finitude and imperfection. Hence complete and
true Reality must be changeless, unalterable, so full of Being that it
always and forever maintains itself in fixed rest and repose. As
Bradley, the most dialectially ingenious Absolutist of our own day,
expresses the doctrine "Nothing that is perfectly real moves." And while
Plato took, comparatively speaking, a pessimistic view of change as mere
lapse and Aristotle a complacent view of it as tendency to realization,
yet Aristotle doubted no more than Plato that the fully realized
reality, the divine and ultimate, is changeless. Though it is called
Activity or Energy, the Activity knew no change, the energy did nothing.
It was the activity of an army forever marking time and never going
anywhere.

From this contrast of the permanent with the transient arise other
features which mark off the Ultimate Reality from the imperfect
realities of practical life. Where there is change, there is of
necessity numerical plurality, multiplicity, and from variety comes
opposition, strife. Change is alteration, or "othering" and this means
diversity. Diversity means division, and division means two sides and
their conflict. The world which is transient _must_ be a world of
discord, for in lacking stability it lacks the government of unity. Did
unity completely rule, these would remain an unchanging totality. What
alters has parts and partialities which, not recognizing the rule of
unity, assert themselves independently and make life a scene of
contention and discord. Ultimate and true Being on the other hand, since
it is changeless is Total, All-Comprehensive and One. Since it is One,
it knows only harmony, and therefore enjoys complete and eternal Good.
It _is_ Perfection.

Degrees of knowledge and truth correspond with degrees of reality point
by point. The higher and more complete the Reality the truer and more
important the knowledge that refers to it. Since the world of becoming,
of origins and perishings, is deficient in true Being, it cannot be
known in the best sense. To know it means to neglect its flux and
alteration and discover some permanent form which limits the processes
that alter in time. The acorn undergoes a series of changes; these are
knowable only in reference to the fixed form of the oak which is the
same in the entire oak species in spite of the numerical diversity of
trees. Moreover, this form limits the flux of growth at both ends, the
acorn coming from the oak as well as passing into it. Where such
unifying and limiting eternal forms cannot be detected, there is mere
aimless variation and fluctuation, and knowledge is out of the question.
On the other hand, as objects are approached in which there is no
movement at all, knowledge becomes really demonstrative, certain,
perfect--truth pure and unalloyed. The heavens can be more truly known
than the earth, God the unmoved mover than the heavens.

From this fact follows the superiority of contemplative to practical
knowledge, of pure theoretical speculation to experimentation, and to
any kind of knowing that depends upon changes in things or that induces
change in them. Pure knowing is pure beholding, viewing, noting. It is
complete in itself. It looks for nothing beyond itself; it lacks nothing
and hence has no aim or purpose. It is most emphatically its own excuse
for being. Indeed, pure contemplative knowing is so much the most truly
self-enclosed and self-sufficient thing in the universe that it is the
highest and indeed the only attribute that can be ascribed to God, the
Highest Being in the scale of Being. Man himself is divine in the rare
moments when he attains to purely self-sufficient theoretical insight.

In contrast with such knowing, the so-called knowing of the artisan is
base. He has to bring about changes in things, in wood and stone, and
this fact is of itself evidence that his material is deficient in Being.
What condemns his knowledge even more is the fact that it is not
disinterestedly for its own sake. It has reference to results to be
attained, food, clothing, shelter, etc. It is concerned with things that
perish, the body and its needs. It thus has an ulterior aim, and one
which itself testifies to imperfection. For want, desire, affection of
every sort, indicate lack. Where there is need and desire--as in the
case of all practical knowledge and activity--there is incompleteness
and insufficiency. While civic or political and moral knowledge rank
higher than do the conceptions of the artisan, yet intrinsically
considered they are a low and untrue type. Moral and political action is
practical; that is, it implies needs and effort to satisfy them. It has
an end beyond itself. Moreover, the very fact of association shows lack
of self-sufficiency; it shows dependence upon others. Pure knowing is
alone solitary, and capable of being carried on in complete,
self-sufficing independence.

In short, the measure of the worth of knowledge according to Aristotle,
whose views are here summarized, is the degree in which it is purely
contemplative. The highest degree is attained in knowing ultimate Ideal
Being, pure Mind. This is Ideal, the Form of Forms, because it has no
lacks, no needs, and experiences no change or variety. It has no desires
because in it all desires are consummated. Since it is perfect Being, it
is perfect Mind and perfect Bliss;--the acme of rationality and
ideality. One point more and the argument is completed. The kind of
knowing that concerns itself with this ultimate reality (which is also
ultimate ideality) is philosophy. Philosophy is therefore the last and
highest term in pure contemplation. Whatever may be said for any other
kind of knowledge, philosophy is self-enclosed. It has nothing to do
beyond itself; it has no aim or purpose or function--except to be
philosophy--that is, pure, self-sufficing beholding of ultimate reality.
There is of course such a thing as philosophic _study_ which falls short
of this perfection. Where there is learning, there is change and
becoming. But the function of study and learning of philosophy is, as
Plato put it, to convert the eye of the soul from dwelling contentedly
upon the images of things, upon the inferior realities that are born and
that decay, and to lead it to the intuition of supernal and eternal
Being. Thus the mind of the knower is transformed. It becomes
assimilated to what it knows.

Through a variety of channels, especially Neo-Platonism and St.
Augustine, these ideas found their way into Christian theology; and
great scholastic thinkers taught that the end of man is to know True
Being, that knowledge is contemplative, that True Being is pure
Immaterial Mind, and to know it is Bliss and Salvation. While this
knowledge cannot be achieved in this stage of life nor without
supernatural aid, yet so far as it is accomplished it assimilates the
human mind to the divine essence and so constitutes salvation. Through
this taking over of the conception of knowledge as Contemplative into
the dominant religion of Europe, multitudes were affected who were
totally innocent of theoretical philosophy. There was bequeathed to
generations of thinkers as an unquestioned axiom the idea that knowledge
is intrinsically a mere beholding or viewing of reality--the spectator
conception of knowledge. So deeply engrained was this idea that it
prevailed for centuries after the actual progress of science had
demonstrated that knowledge is power to transform the world, and
centuries after the practice of effective knowledge had adopted the
method of experimentation.

Let us turn abruptly from this conception of the measure of true
knowledge and the nature of true philosophy to the existing practice of
knowledge. Nowadays if a man, say a physicist or chemist, wants to know
something, the last thing he does is merely to contemplate. He does not
look in however earnest and prolonged way upon the object expecting
that thereby he will detect its fixed and characteristic form. He does
not expect any amount of such aloof scrutiny to reveal to him any
secrets. He proceeds to _do_ something, to bring some energy to bear
upon the substance to see how it reacts; he places it under unusual
conditions in order to induce some change. While the astronomer cannot
change the remote stars, even he no longer merely gazes. If he cannot
change the stars themselves, he can at least by lens and prism change
their light as it reaches the earth; he can lay traps for discovering
changes which would otherwise escape notice. Instead of taking an
antagonistic attitude toward change and denying it to the stars because
of their divinity and perfection, he is on constant and alert watch to
find some change through which he can form an inference as to the
formation of stars and systems of stars.

Change in short is no longer looked upon as a fall from grace, as a
lapse from reality or a sign of imperfection of Being. Modern science no
longer tries to find some fixed form or essence behind each process of
change. Rather, the experimental method tries to break down apparent
fixities and to induce changes. The form that remains unchanged to
sense, the form of seed or tree, is regarded not as the key to knowledge
of the thing, but as a wall, an obstruction to be broken down.
Consequently the scientific man experiments with this and that agency
applied to this and that condition until something begins to happen;
until there is, as we say, something doing. He assumes that there is
change going on all the time, that there is movement within each thing
in seeming repose; and that since the process is veiled from perception
the way to know it is to bring the thing into novel circumstances until
change becomes evident. In short, the thing which is to be accepted and
paid heed to is not what is originally given but that which emerges
after the thing has been set under a great variety of circumstances in
order to see how it behaves.

Now this marks a much more general change in the human attitude than
perhaps appears at first sight. It signifies nothing less than that the
world or any part of it as it presents itself at a given time is
accepted or acquiesced in only as _material_ for change. It is accepted
precisely as the carpenter, say, accepts things as he finds them. If he
took them as things to be observed and noted for their own sake, he
never would be a carpenter. He would observe, describe, record the
structures, forms and changes which things exhibit to him, and leave the
matter there. If perchance some of the changes going on should present
him with a shelter, so much the better. But what makes the carpenter a
_builder_ is the fact that he notes things not just as objects in
themselves, but with reference to what he wants to do to them and with
them; to the end he has in mind. Fitness to effect certain special
changes that he wishes to see accomplished is what concerns him in the
wood and stones and iron which he observes. His attention is directed to
the changes they undergo and the changes they make other things undergo
so that he may select that combination of changes which will yield him
his desired result. It is only by these processes of active manipulation
of things in order to realize his purpose that he discovers what the
properties of things are. If he foregoes his own purpose and in the name
of a meek and humble subscription to things as they "really are" refuses
to bend things as they "are" to his own purpose, he not only never
achieves his purpose but he never learns what the things themselves are.
They _are_ what they can do and what can be done with them,--things that
can be found by deliberate trying.

The outcome of this idea of the right way to know is a profound
modification in man's attitude toward the natural world. Under differing
social conditions, the older or classic conception sometimes bred
resignation and submission; sometimes contempt and desire to escape;
sometimes, notably in the case of the Greeks, a keen esthetic curiosity
which showed itself in acute noting of all the traits of given objects.
In fact, the whole conception of knowledge as beholding and noting is
fundamentally an idea connected with esthetic enjoyment and
appreciation where the environment is beautiful and life is serene, and
with esthetic repulsion and depreciation where life is troubled, nature
morose and hard. But in the degree in which the active conception of
knowledge prevails, and the environment is regarded as something that
has to be changed in order to be truly known, men are imbued with
courage, with what may almost be termed an aggressive attitude toward
nature. The latter becomes plastic, something to be subjected to human
uses. The moral disposition toward change is deeply modified. This loses
its pathos, it ceases to be haunted with melancholy through suggesting
only decay and loss. Change becomes significant of new possibilities and
ends to be attained; it becomes prophetic of a better future. Change is
associated with progress rather than with lapse and fall. Since changes
are going on anyway, the great thing is to learn enough about them so
that we be able to lay hold of them and turn them in the direction of
our desires. Conditions and events are neither to be fled from nor
passively acquiesced in; they are to be utilized and directed. They are
either obstacles to our ends or else means for their accomplishment. In
a profound sense knowing ceases to be contemplative and becomes
practical.

Unfortunately men, educated men, cultivated men in particular, are still
so dominated by the older conception of an aloof and self-sufficing
reason and knowledge that they refuse to perceive the import of this
doctrine. They think they are sustaining the cause of impartial,
thorough-going and disinterested reflection when they maintain the
traditional philosophy of intellectualism--that is, of knowing as
something self-sufficing and self-enclosed. But in truth, historic
intellectualism, the spectator view of knowledge, is a purely
compensatory doctrine which men of an intellectual turn have built up to
console themselves for the actual and social impotency of the calling of
thought to which they are devoted. Forbidden by conditions and held back
by lack of courage from making their knowledge a factor in the
determination of the course of events, they have sought a refuge of
complacency in the notion that knowing is something too sublime to be
contaminated by contact with things of change and practice. They have
transformed knowing into a morally irresponsible estheticism. The true
import of the doctrine of the operative or practical character of
knowing, of intelligence, is objective. It means that the structures and
objects which science and philosophy set up in contrast to the things
and events of concrete daily experience do not constitute a realm apart
in which rational contemplation may rest satisfied; it means that they
represent the selected obstacles, material means and ideal methods of
giving direction to that change which is bound to occur anyway.

This change of human disposition toward the world does not mean that man
ceases to have ideals, or ceases to be primarily a creature of the
imagination. But it does signify a radical change in the character and
function of the ideal realm which man shapes for himself. In the classic
philosophy, the ideal world is essentially a haven in which man finds
rest from the storms of life; it is an asylum in which he takes refuge
from the troubles of existence with the calm assurance that it alone is
supremely real. When the belief that knowledge is active and operative
takes hold of men, the ideal realm is no longer something aloof and
separate; it is rather that collection of imagined possibilities that
stimulates men to new efforts and realizations. It still remains true
that the troubles which men undergo are the forces that lead them to
project pictures of a better state of things. But the picture of the
better is shaped so that it may become an instrumentality of action,
while in the classic view the Idea belongs ready-made in a noumenal
world. Hence, it is only an object of personal aspiration or
consolation, while to the modern, an idea is a suggestion of something
to be done or of a way of doing.

An illustration will, perhaps, make the difference clear. Distance is an
obstacle, a source of trouble. It separates friends and prevents
intercourse. It isolates, and makes contact and mutual understanding
difficult. This state of affairs provokes discontent and restlessness;
it excites the imagination to construct pictures of a state of things
where human intercourse is not injuriously affected by space. Now there
are two ways out. One way is to pass from a mere dream of some heavenly
realm in which distance is abolished and by some magic all friends are
in perpetual transparent communication, to pass, I say, from some idle
castle-building to philosophic reflection. Space, distance, it will then
be argued, is merely phenomenal; or, in a more modern version,
subjective. It is not, metaphysically speaking, real. Hence the
obstruction and trouble it gives is not after all "real" in the
metaphysical sense of reality. Pure minds, pure spirits, do not live in
a space world; for them distance is not. Their relationships in the true
world are not in any way affected by special considerations. Their
intercommunication is direct, fluent, unobstructed.

Does the illustration involve a caricature of ways of philosophizing
with which we are all familiar? But if it is not an absurd caricature,
does it not suggest that much of what philosophies have taught about the
ideal and noumenal or superiorly real world, is after all, only casting
a dream into an elaborate dialectic form through the use of a speciously
scientific terminology? Practically, the difficulty, the trouble,
remains. Practically, however it may be "metaphysically," space is
still real:--it acts in a definite objectionable way. Again, man dreams
of some better state of things. From troublesome fact he takes refuge in
fantasy. But this time, the refuge does not remain a permanent and
remote asylum.

The idea becomes a standpoint from which to examine existing occurrences
and to see if there is not among them something which gives a hint of
how communication at a distance can be effected, something to be
utilized as a medium of speech at long range. The suggestion or fancy
though still ideal is treated as a possibility capable of realization
_in_ the concrete natural world, not as a superior reality apart from
that world. As such, it becomes a platform from which to scrutinize
natural events. Observed from the point of view of this possibility,
things disclose properties hitherto undetected. In the light of these
ascertainments, the idea of some agency for speech at a distance becomes
less vague and floating: it takes on positive form. This action and
reaction goes on. The possibility or idea is employed as a method for
observing actual existence; and in the light of what is discovered the
possibility takes on concrete existence. It becomes less of a mere idea,
a fancy, a wished-for possibility, and more of an actual fact. Invention
proceeds, and at last we have the telegraph, the telephone, first
through wires, and then with no artificial medium. The concrete
environment is transformed in the desired direction; it is idealized in
fact and not merely in fancy. The ideal is realized through its own use
as a tool or method of inspection, experimentation, selection and
combination of concrete natural operations.

Let us pause to take stock of results. The division of the world into
two kinds of Being, one superior, accessible only to reason and ideal in
nature, the other inferior, material, changeable, empirical, accessible
to sense-observation, turns inevitably into the idea that knowledge is
contemplative in nature. It assumes a contrast between theory and
practice which was all to the disadvantage of the latter. But in the
actual course of the development of science, a tremendous change has
come about. When the practice of knowledge ceased to be dialectical and
became experimental, knowing became preoccupied with changes and the
test of knowledge became the ability to bring about certain changes.
Knowing, for the experimental sciences, means a certain kind of
intelligently conducted doing; it ceases to be contemplative and becomes
in a true sense practical. Now this implies that philosophy, unless it
is to undergo a complete break with the authorized spirit of science,
must also alter its nature. It must assume a practical nature; it must
become operative and experimental. And we have pointed out what an
enormous change this transformation of philosophy entails in the two
conceptions which have played the greatest rôle in historic
philosophizing--the conceptions of the "real" and "ideal" respectively.
The former ceases to be something ready-made and final; it becomes that
which has to be accepted as the material of change, as the obstructions
and the means of certain specific desired changes. The ideal and
rational also ceased to be a separate ready-made world incapable of
being used as a lever to transform the actual empirical world, a mere
asylum from empirical deficiencies. They represent intelligently
thought-out possibilities _of_ the existent world which may be used as
methods for making over and improving it.

Philosophically speaking, this is the great difference involved in the
change from knowledge and philosophy as contemplative to operative. The
change does not mean the lowering in dignity of philosophy from a lofty
plane to one of gross utilitarianism. It signifies that the prime
function of philosophy is that of rationalizing the _possibilities_ of
experience, especially collective human experience. The scope of this
change may be realized by considering how far we are from accomplishing
it. In spite of inventions which enable men to use the energies of
nature for their purposes, we are still far from habitually treating
knowledge as the method of active control of nature and of experience.
We tend to think of it after the model of a spectator viewing a finished
picture rather than after that of the artist producing the painting.
Thus there arise all the questions of epistemology with which the
technical student of philosophy is so familiar, and which have made
modern philosophy in especial so remote from the understanding of the
everyday person and from the results and processes of science. For these
questions all spring from the assumption of a merely beholding mind on
one side and a foreign and remote object to be viewed and noted on the
other. They ask how a mind and world, subject and object, so separate
and independent can by any possibility come into such relationship to
each other as to make true knowledge possible. If knowing were
habitually conceived of as active and operative, after the analogy of
experiment guided by hypothesis, or of invention guided by the
imagination of some possibility, it is not too much to say that the
first effect would be to emancipate philosophy from all the
epistemological puzzles which now perplex it. For these all arise from a
conception of the relation of mind and world, subject and object, in
knowing, which assumes that to know is to seize upon what is already in
existence.

Modern philosophic thought has been so preoccupied with these puzzles of
epistemology and the disputes between realist and idealist, between
phenomenalist and absolutist, that many students are at a loss to know
what would be left for philosophy if there were removed both the
metaphysical task of distinguishing between the noumenal and phenomenal
worlds and the epistemological task of telling how a separate subject
can know an independent object. But would not the elimination of these
traditional problems permit philosophy to devote itself to a more
fruitful and more needed task? Would it not encourage philosophy to face
the great social and moral defects and troubles from which humanity
suffers, to concentrate its attention upon clearing up the causes and
exact nature of these evils and upon developing a clear idea of better
social possibilities; in short upon projecting an idea or ideal which,
instead of expressing the notion of another world or some far-away
unrealizable goal, would be used as a method of understanding and
rectifying specific social ills?

This is a vague statement. But note in the first place that such a
conception of the proper province of philosophy where it is released
from vain metaphysics and idle epistemology is in line with the origin
of philosophy sketched in the first hour. And in the second place, note
how contemporary society, the world over, is in need of more general and
fundamental enlightenment and guidance than it now possesses. I have
tried to show that a radical change of the conception of knowledge from
contemplative to active is the inevitable result of the way in which
inquiry and invention are now conducted. But in claiming this, it must
also be conceded, or rather asserted, that so far the change has
influenced for the most part only the more technical side of human life.
The sciences have created new industrial arts. Man's physical command of
natural energies has been indefinitely multiplied. There is control of
the sources of material wealth and prosperity. What would once have been
miracles are now daily performed with steam and coal and electricity and
air, and with the human body. But there are few persons optimistic
enough to declare that any similar command of the forces which control
man's social and moral welfare has been achieved.

Where is the moral progress that corresponds to our economic
accomplishments? The latter is the direct fruit of the revolution that
has been wrought in physical science. But where is there a corresponding
human science and art? Not only has the improvement in the method of
knowing remained so far mainly limited to technical and economic
matters, but this progress has brought with it serious new moral
disturbances. I need only cite the late war, the problem of capital and
labor, the relation of economic classes, the fact that while the new
science has achieved wonders in medicine and surgery, it has also
produced and spread occasions for diseases and weaknesses. These
considerations indicate to us how undeveloped are our politics, how
crude and primitive our education, how passive and inert our morals.
The causes remain which brought philosophy into existence as an attempt
to find an intelligent substitute for blind custom and blind impulse as
guides to life and conduct. The attempt has not been successfully
accomplished. Is there not reason for believing that the release of
philosophy from its burden of sterile metaphysics and sterile
epistemology instead of depriving philosophy of problems and
subject-matter would open a way to questions of the most perplexing and
the most significant sort?

Let me specify one problem quite directly suggested by certain points in
this lecture. It has been pointed out that the really fruitful
application of the contemplative idea was not in science but in the
esthetic field. It is difficult to imagine any high development of the
fine arts except where there is curious and loving interest in forms and
motions of the world quite irrespective of any use to which they may be
put. And it is not too much to say that every people that has attained a
high esthetic development has been a people in which the contemplative
attitude has flourished--as the Greek, the Hindoo, the medieval
Christian. On the other hand, the scientific attitude that has actually
proved itself in scientific progress is, as has been pointed out, a
practical attitude. It takes forms as disguises for hidden processes.
Its interest in change is in what it leads to, what can be done with it,
to what use it can be put. While it has brought nature under control,
there is something hard and aggressive in its attitude toward nature
unfavorable to the esthetic enjoyment of the world. Surely there is no
more significant question before the world than this question of the
possibility and method of reconciliation of the attitudes of practical
science and contemplative esthetic appreciation. Without the former, man
will be the sport and victim of natural forces which he cannot use or
control. Without the latter, mankind might become a race of economic
monsters, restlessly driving hard bargains with nature and with one
another, bored with leisure or capable of putting it to use only in
ostentatious display and extravagant dissipation.

Like other moral questions, this matter is social and even political.
The western peoples advanced earlier on the path of experimental science
and its applications in control of nature than the oriental. It is not,
I suppose wholly fanciful, to believe that the latter have embodied in
their habits of life more of the contemplative, esthetic and
speculatively religious temper, and the former more of the scientific,
industrial and practical. This difference and others which have grown up
around it is one barrier to easy mutual understanding, and one source of
misunderstanding. The philosophy which, then, makes a serious effort to
comprehend these respective attitudes in their relation and due
balance, could hardly fail to promote the capacity of peoples to profit
by one another's experience and to co-operate more effectually with one
another in the tasks of fruitful culture.

Indeed, it is incredible that the question of the relation of the "real"
and the "ideal" should ever have been thought to be a problem belonging
distinctively to philosophy. The very fact that this most serious of all
human issues has been taken possession of by philosophy is only another
proof of the disasters that follow in the wake of regarding knowledge
and intellect as something self-sufficient. Never have the "real" and
the "ideal" been so clamorous, so self-assertive, as at the present
time. And never in the history of the world have they been so far apart.
The world war was carried on for purely ideal ends:--for humanity,
justice and equal liberty for strong and weak alike. And it was carried
on by realistic means of applied science, by high explosives, and
bombing airplanes and blockading marvels of mechanism that reduced the
world well nigh to ruin, so that the serious-minded are concerned for
the perpetuity of those choice values we call civilization. The peace
settlement is loudly proclaimed in the name of the ideals that stir
man's deepest emotions, but with the most realistic attention to details
of economic advantage distributed in proportion to physical power to
create future disturbances.

It is not surprising that some men are brought to regard all idealism as
a mere smoke-screen behind which the search for material profit may be
more effectually carried on, and are converted to the materialistic
interpretation of history. "Reality" is then conceived as physical force
and as sensations of power, profit and enjoyment; any politics that
takes account of other factors, save as elements of clever propaganda
and for control of those human beings who have not become realistically
enlightened, is based on illusions. But others are equally sure that the
real lesson of the war is that humanity took its first great wrong step
when it entered upon a cultivation of physical science and an
application of the fruits of science to the improvement of the
instruments of life--industry and commerce. They will sigh for the
return of the day when, while the great mass died as they were born in
animal fashion, the few elect devoted themselves not to science and the
material decencies and comforts of existence but to "ideal" things, the
things of the spirit.

Yet the most obvious conclusion would seem to be the impotency and the
harmfulness of any and every ideal that is proclaimed wholesale and in
the abstract, that is, as something in itself apart from the detailed
concrete existences whose moving possibilities it embodies. The true
moral would seem to lie in enforcing the tragedy of that idealism which
believes in a spiritual world which exists in and by itself, and the
tragic need for the most realistic study of forces and consequences, a
study conducted in a more scientifically accurate and complete manner
than that of the professed _Real-politik_. For it is not truly realistic
or scientific to take short views, to sacrifice the future to immediate
pressure, to ignore facts and forces that are disagreeable and to
magnify the enduring quality of whatever falls in with immediate desire.
It is false that the evils of the situation arise from absence of
ideals; they spring from wrong ideals. And these wrong ideals have in
turn their foundation in the absence in social matters of that methodic,
systematic, impartial, critical, searching inquiry into "real" and
operative conditions which we call science and which has brought man in
the technical realm to the command of physical energies.

Philosophy, let it be repeated, cannot "solve" the problem of the
relation of the ideal and the real. That is the standing problem of
life. But it can at least lighten the burden of humanity in dealing with
the problem by emancipating mankind from the errors which philosophy has
itself fostered--the existence of conditions which are real apart from
their movement into something new and different, and the existence of
ideals, spirit and reason independent of the possibilities of the
material and physical. For as long as humanity is committed to this
radically false bias, it will walk forward with blinded eyes and bound
limbs. And philosophy can effect, if it will, something more than this
negative task. It can make it easier for mankind to take the right steps
in action by making it clear that a sympathetic and integral
intelligence brought to bear upon the observation and understanding of
concrete social events and forces, can form ideals, that is aims, which
shall not be either illusions or mere emotional compensations.



CHAPTER VI

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF LOGICAL RECONSTRUCTION


Logic--like philosophy itself--suffers from a curious oscillation. It is
elevated into the supreme and legislative science only to fall into the
trivial estate of keeper of such statements as A is A and the scholastic
verses for the syllogistic rules. It claims power to state the laws of
the ultimate structure of the universe, on the ground that it deals with
the laws of thought which are the laws according to which Reason has
formed the world. Then it limits its pretensions to laws of correct
reasoning which is correct even though it leads to no matter of fact, or
even to material falsity. It is regarded by the modern objective
idealist as the adequate substitute for ancient ontological metaphysics;
but others treat it as that branch of rhetoric which teaches proficiency
in argumentation. For a time a superficial compromise equilibrium was
maintained wherein the logic of formal demonstration which the Middle
Ages extracted from Aristotle was supplemented by an inductive logic of
discovery of truth that Mill extracted from the practice of scientific
men. But students of German philosophy, of mathematics, and of
psychology, no matter how much they attacked one another, have made
common cause in attack upon the orthodox logics both of deductive proof
and inductive discovery.

Logical theory presents a scene of chaos. There is little agreement as
to its subject-matter, scope or purpose. This disagreement is not formal
or nominal but affects the treatment of every topic. Take such a
rudimentary matter as the nature of judgment. Reputable authority can be
quoted in behalf of every possible permutation of doctrine. Judgment is
the central thing in logic; and judgment is not logical at all, but
personal and psychological. If logical, it is the primary function to
which both conception and inference are subordinate; and it is an
after-product from them. The distinction of subject and predicate is
necessary, and it is totally irrelevant; or again, though it is found in
some cases, it is not of great importance. Among those who hold that the
subject-predicate relationship is essential, some hold that judgment is
an analysis of something prior into them, and others assert that it is a
synthesis of them into something else. Some hold that reality is always
the subject of judgment, and others that "reality" is logically
irrelevant. Among those who deny that judgment is the attribution of
predicate to subject, who regard it as a relation of elements, some
hold that the relation is "internal," some that it is "external," and
others that it is sometimes one and sometimes the other.

Unless logic is a matter of some practical account, these contrarieties
are so numerous, so extensive, and so irreconcilable that they are
ludicrous. If logic is an affair of practical moment, then these
inconsistencies are serious. They testify to some deep-lying cause of
intellectual disagreement and incoherency. In fact, contemporary logical
theory is the ground upon which all philosophical differences and
disputes are gathered together and focussed. How does the modification
in the traditional conception of the relation of experience and reason,
the real and ideal affect logic?

It affects, in the first place, the nature of logic itself. If thought
or intelligence is the means of intentional reconstruction of
experience, then logic, as an account of the procedure of thought, is
not purely formal. It is not confined to laws of formally correct
reasoning apart from truth of subject-matter. Neither, on the contrary,
is it concerned with the inherent thought structures of the universe, as
Hegel's logic would have it; nor with the successive approaches of human
thought to this objective thought structure as the logic of Lotze,
Bosanquet, and other epistemological logicians would have it. If
thinking is the way in which deliberate reorganization of experience is
secured, then logic is such a clarified and systematized formulation of
the procedures of thinking as will enable the desired reconstruction to
go on more economically and efficiently. In language familiar to
students, logic is both a science and an art; a science so far as it
gives an organized and tested descriptive account of the way in which
thought actually goes on; an art, so far as on the basis of this
description it projects methods by which future thinking shall take
advantage of the operations that lead to success and avoid those which
result in failure.

Thus is answered the dispute whether logic is empirical or normative,
psychological or regulative. It is both. Logic is based on a definite
and executive supply of empirical material. Men have been thinking for
ages. They have observed, inferred, and reasoned in all sorts of ways
and to all kinds of results. Anthropology, the study of the origin of
myth, legend and cult; linguistics and grammar; rhetoric and former
logical compositions all tell us how men have thought and what have been
the purposes and consequences of different kinds of thinking.
Psychology, experimental and pathological, makes important contributions
to our knowledge of how thinking goes on and to what effect. Especially
does the record of the growth of the various sciences afford instruction
in those concrete ways of inquiry and testing which have led men astray
and which have proved efficacious. Each science from mathematics to
history exhibits typical fallacious methods and typical efficacious
methods in special subject-matters. Logical theory has thus a large,
almost inexhaustible field of empirical study.

The conventional statement that experience only tells us how men have
thought or _do_ think, while logic is concerned with norms, with how men
_should_ think, is ludicrously inept. Some sorts of thinking are shown
_by_ experience to have got nowhere, or worse than nowhere--into
systematized delusion and mistake. Others have proved in manifest
experience that they lead to fruitful and enduring discoveries. It is
precisely in experience that the different consequences of different
methods of investigation and ratiocination are convincingly shown. The
parrot-like repetition of the distinction between an empirical
description of what is and a normative account of what should be merely
neglects the most striking fact about thinking as it empirically
is--namely, its flagrant exhibition of cases of failure and
success--that is, of good thinking and bad thinking. Any one who
considers this empirical manifestation will not complain of lack of
material from which to construct a _regulative_ art. The more study that
is given to empirical records of actual thought, the more apparent
becomes the connection between the specific features of thinking which
have produced failure and success. Out of this relationship of cause and
effect as it is empirically ascertained grow the norms and regulations
of an art of thinking.

Mathematics is often cited as an example of purely normative thinking
dependent upon _a priori_ canons and supra-empirical material. But it is
hard to see how the student who approaches the matter historically can
avoid the conclusion that the status of mathematics is as empirical as
that of metallurgy. Men began with counting and measuring things just as
they began with pounding and burning them. One thing, as common speech
profoundly has it, led to another. Certain ways were successful--not
merely in the immediately practical sense, but in the sense of being
interesting, of arousing attention, of exciting attempts at improvement.
The present-day mathematical logician may present the structure of
mathematics as if it had sprung all at once from the brain of a Zeus
whose anatomy is that of pure logic. But, nevertheless, this very
structure is a product of long historic growth, in which all kinds of
experiments have been tried, in which some men have struck out in this
direction and some in that, and in which some exercises and operations
have resulted in confusion and others in triumphant clarifications and
fruitful growths; a history in which matter and methods have been
constantly selected and worked over on the basis of empirical success
and failure.

The structure of alleged normative _a priori_ mathematics is in truth
the crowned result of ages of toilsome experience. The metallurgist who
should write on the most highly developed method of dealing with ores
would not, in truth, proceed any differently. He too selects, refines,
and organizes the methods which in the past have been found to yield the
maximum of achievement. Logic is a matter of profound human importance
precisely because it is empirically founded and experimentally applied.
So considered, the problem of logical theory is none other than the
problem of the possibility of the development and employment of
intelligent method in inquiries concerned with deliberate reconstruction
of experience. And it is only saying again in more specific form what
has been said in general form to add that while such a logic has been
developed in respect to mathematics and physical science, intelligent
method, logic, is still far to seek in moral and political affairs.

Assuming, accordingly, this idea of logic without argument, let us
proceed to discuss some of its chief features. First, light is thrown by
the _origin_ of thinking upon a logic which shall be a method of
intelligent guidance of experience. In line with what has already been
said about experience being a matter primarily of behavior, a
sensori-motor matter, is the fact that thinking takes its departure from
specific conflicts in experience that occasion perplexity and trouble.
Men do not, in their natural estate, think when they have no troubles
to cope with, no difficulties to overcome. A life of ease, of success
without effort, would be a thoughtless life, and so also would a life of
ready omnipotence. Beings who think are beings whose life is so hemmed
in and constricted that they cannot directly carry through a course of
action to victorious consummation. Men also do not tend to think when
their action, when they are amid difficulties, is dictated to them by
authority. Soldiers have difficulties and restrictions in plenty, but
_qua soldiers_ (as Aristotle would say) they are not notorious for being
thinkers. Thinking is done for them, higher up. The same is too true of
most workingmen under present economic conditions. Difficulties occasion
thinking only when thinking is the imperative or urgent way out, only
when it is the indicated road to a solution. Wherever external authority
reigns, thinking is suspected and obnoxious.

Thinking, however, is not the only way in which a personal solution of
difficulties is sought. As we have seen, dreams, reveries, emotional
idealizations are roads which are taken to escape the strain of
perplexity and conflict. According to modern psychology, many
systematized delusions and mental disorders, probably hysteria itself,
originate as devices for getting freedom from troublesome conflicting
factors. Such considerations throw into relief some of the traits
essential to thinking as a way of responding to difficulty. The
short-cut "solutions" alluded to do not get rid of the conflict and
problems; they only get rid of the feeling of it. They cover up
consciousness of it. Because the conflict remains in fact and is evaded
in thought, disorders arise.

The first distinguishing characteristic of thinking then is facing the
facts--inquiry, minute and extensive scrutinizing, observation. Nothing
has done greater harm to the successful conduct of the enterprise of
thinking (and to the logics which reflect and formulate the undertaking)
than the habit of treating observation as something outside of and prior
to thinking, and thinking as something which can go on in the head
without _including_ observation of new facts as part of itself. Every
approximation to such "thinking" is really an approach to the method of
escape and self-delusion just referred to. It substitutes an emotionally
agreeable and rationally self-consistent train of meanings for inquiry
into the features of the situation which cause the trouble. It leads to
that type of Idealism which has well been termed intellectual
somnambulism. It creates a class of "thinkers" who are remote from
practice and hence from testing their thought by application--a socially
superior and irresponsible class. This is the condition causing the
tragic division of theory and practice, and leading to an unreasonable
exaltation of theory on one side and an unreasonable contempt for it on
the other. It confirms current practice in its hard brutalities and dead
routines just because it has transferred thinking and theory to a
separate and nobler region. Thus has the idealist conspired with the
materialist to keep actual life impoverished and inequitable.

The isolation of thinking from confrontation with facts encourages that
kind of observation which merely accumulates brute facts, which occupies
itself laboriously with mere details, but never inquires into their
meaning and consequences--a safe occupation, for it never contemplates
any use to be made of the observed facts in determining a plan for
changing the situation. Thinking which is a method of reconstructing
experience treats observation of facts, on the other hand, as the
indispensable step of defining the problem, of locating the trouble, of
forcing home a definite, instead of a merely vague emotional, sense of
what the difficulty is and where it lies. It is not aimless, random,
miscellaneous, but purposeful, specific and limited by the character of
the trouble undergone. The purpose is so to clarify the disturbed and
confused situation that reasonable ways of dealing with it may be
suggested. When the scientific man appears to observe aimlessly, it is
merely that he is so in love with problems as sources and guides of
inquiry, that he is striving to turn up a problem where none appears on
the surface: he is, as we say, hunting for trouble because of the
satisfaction to be had in coping with it.

Specific and wide observation of concrete fact always, then, corresponds
not only with a sense of a problem or difficulty, but with some vague
sense of the _meaning_ of the difficulty, that is, of what it imports or
signifies in subsequent experience. It is a kind of anticipation or
prediction of what is coming. We speak, very truly, of _impending_
trouble, and in observing the signs of what the trouble is, we are at
the same time expecting, forecasting--in short, framing an _idea_,
becoming aware of meaning. When the trouble is not only impending but
completely actual and present, we are overwhelmed. We do not think, but
give way to depression. The kind of trouble that occasions thinking is
that which is incomplete and developing, and where what is found,
already in existence can be employed as a sign from which to infer what
is likely to come. When we intelligently observe, we are, as we say
apprehensive, as well as apprehending. We are on the alert for something
still to come. Curiosity, inquiry, investigation, are directed quite as
truly into what is going to happen next as into what has happened. An
intelligent interest in the latter is an interest in getting evidence,
indications, symptoms for inferring the former. Observation is diagnosis
and diagnosis implies an interest in anticipation and preparation. It
makes ready in advance an attitude of response so that we shall not be
caught unawares.

That which is not already in existence, that which is only anticipated
and inferred, cannot be observed. It does not have the status of fact,
of something given, a datum, but of a meaning, an idea. So far as ideas
are not fancies, framed by emotionalized memory for escape and refuge,
they are precisely anticipations of something still to come aroused by
looking into the facts of a developing situation. The blacksmith watches
his iron, its color and texture, to get evidence of what it is getting
ready to pass into; the physician observes his patient to detect
symptoms of change in some definite direction; the scientific man keeps
his attention upon his laboratory material to get a clue as to what
_will_ happen under certain conditions. The very fact that observation
is not an end in itself but a search for evidence and signs shows that
along with observation goes inference, anticipatory forecast--in short
an idea, thought or conception.

In a more technical context, it would be worth while to see what light
this logical correspondence of observed fact and projected idea or
meaning throws upon certain traditional philosophical problems and
puzzles, including that of subject and predicate in judgment, object and
subject in knowledge, "real" and "ideal" generally. But at this time,
we must confine ourselves to pointing out that this view of the
correlative origin and function of observed fact and projected idea in
experience, commits us to some very important consequences concerning
the nature of ideas, meanings, conceptions, or whatever word may be
employed to denote the specifically _mental_ function. Because they are
suggestions of something that may happen or eventuate, they are (as we
saw in the case of ideals generally) platforms of response to what
is going on. The man who detects that the cause of his difficulty
is an automobile bearing down upon him is not guaranteed safety;
he may have made his observation-forecast too late. But if his
anticipation-perception comes in season, he has the basis for doing
something which will avert threatening disaster. Because he foresees an
impending result, he may do something that will lead to the situation
eventuating in some other way. All intelligent thinking means an
increment of freedom in action--an emancipation from chance and
fatality. "Thought" represents the suggestion of a way of response that
is different from that which would have been followed if intelligent
observation had not effected an inference as to the future.

Now a method of action, a mode of response, intended to produce a
certain result--that is, to enable the blacksmith to give a certain form
to his hot iron, the physician to treat the patient so as to facilitate
recovery, the scientific experimenter to draw a conclusion which will
apply to other cases,--is by the nature of the case tentative, uncertain
till tested by its results. The significance of this fact for the theory
of truth will be discussed below. Here it is enough to note that
notions, theories, systems, no matter how elaborate and self-consistent
they are, must be regarded as hypotheses. They are to be accepted as
bases of actions which test them, not as finalities. To perceive this
fact is to abolish rigid dogmas from the world. It is to recognize that
conceptions, theories and systems of thought are always open to
development through use. It is to enforce the lesson that we must be on
the lookout quite as much for indications to alter them as for
opportunities to assert them. They are tools. As in the case of all
tools, their value resides not in themselves but in their capacity to
work shown in the consequences of their use.

Nevertheless, inquiry is free only when the interest in knowing is so
developed that thinking carries with it something worth while for
itself, something having its own esthetic and moral interest. Just
because knowing is not self-enclosed and final but is instrumental to
reconstruction of situations, there is always danger that it will be
subordinated to maintaining some preconceived purpose or prejudice. Then
reflection ceases to be complete; it falls short. Being precommitted to
arriving at some special result, it is not sincere. It is one thing to
say that all knowing has an end beyond itself, and another thing, a
thing of a contrary kind, to say that an act of knowing has a particular
end which it is bound, in advance, to reach. Much less is it true that
the instrumental nature of thinking means that it exists for the sake of
attaining some private, one-sided advantage upon which one has set one's
heart. Any limitation whatever of the end means limitation in the
thinking process itself. It signifies that it does not attain its full
growth and movement, but is cramped, impeded, interfered with. The only
situation in which knowing is fully stimulated is one in which the end
is developed in the process of inquiry and testing.

Disinterested and impartial inquiry is then far from meaning that
knowing is self-enclosed and irresponsible. It means that there is no
particular end set up in advance so as to shut in the activities of
observation, forming of ideas, and application. Inquiry is emancipated.
It is encouraged to attend to every fact that is relevant to defining
the problem or need, and to follow up every suggestion that promises a
clue. The barriers to free inquiry are so many and so solid that mankind
is to be congratulated that the very act of investigation is capable of
itself becoming a delightful and absorbing pursuit, capable of enlisting
on its side man's sporting instincts.

Just in the degree in which thought ceases to be held down to ends fixed
by social custom, a social division of labor grows up. Investigation has
become a dominant life occupation for some persons. Only superficially,
however, does this confirm the idea that theory and knowledge are ends
in themselves. They are, relatively speaking, ends in themselves for
some persons. But these persons represent a social division of labor;
and their specialization can be trusted only when such persons are in
unobstructed co-operation with other social occupations, sensitive to
others' problems and transmitting results to them for wider application
in action. When this social relationship of persons particularly engaged
in carrying on the enterprise of knowing is forgotten and the class
becomes isolated, inquiry loses stimulus and purpose. It degenerates
into sterile specialization, a kind of intellectual busy work carried on
by socially absent-minded men. Details are heaped up in the name of
science, and abstruse dialectical developments of systems occur. Then
the occupation is "rationalized" under the lofty name of devotion to
truth for its own sake. But when the path of true science is retaken
these things are brushed aside and forgotten. They turn out to have been
the toyings of vain and irresponsible men. The only guarantee of
impartial, disinterested inquiry is the social sensitiveness of the
inquirer to the needs and problems of those with whom he is associated.

As the instrumental theory is favorable to high esteem for impartial and
disinterested inquiry, so, contrary to the impressions of some critics,
it sets much store upon the apparatus of deduction. It is a strange
notion that because one says that the cognitive value of conceptions,
definitions, generalizations, classifications and the development of
consecutive implications is not self-resident, that therefore one makes
light of the deductive function, or denies its fruitfulness and
necessity. The instrumental theory only attempts to state with some
scrupulousness _where_ the value is found and to prevent its being
sought in the wrong place. It says that knowing begins with specific
observations that define the problem and ends with specific observations
that test a hypothesis for its solution. But that the idea, the meaning,
which the original observations suggest and the final ones test, itself
requires careful scrutiny and prolonged development, the theory would be
the last to deny. To say that a locomotive is an agency, that it is
intermediate between a need in experience and its satisfaction, is not
to depreciate the worth of careful and elaborate construction of the
locomotive, or the need of subsidiary tools and processes that are
devoted to introducing improvements into its structure. One would rather
say that _because_ the locomotive is intermediary in experience, not
primary and not final, it is impossible to devote too much care to its
constructive development.

Such a deductive science as mathematics represents the perfecting of
method. That a method to those concerned with it should present itself
as an end on its own account is no more surprising than that there
should be a distinct business for making any tool. Rarely are those who
invent and perfect a tool those who employ it. There is, indeed, one
marked difference between the physical and the intellectual
instrumentality. The development of the latter runs far beyond any
immediately visible use. The artistic interest in perfecting the method
by itself is strong--as the utensils of civilization may themselves
become works of finest art. But from the practical standpoint this
difference shows that the advantage as an instrumentality is on the side
of the intellectual tool. Just because it is not formed with a special
application in mind, because it is a highly generalized tool, it is the
more flexible in adaptation to unforeseen uses. It can be employed in
dealing with problems that were not anticipated. The mind is prepared in
advance for all sorts of intellectual emergencies, and when the new
problem occurs it does not have to wait till it can get a special
instrument ready.

More definitely, abstraction is indispensable if one experience is to
be applicable in other experiences. Every concrete experience in its
totality is unique; it is itself, non-reduplicable. Taken in its full
concreteness, it yields no instruction, it throws no light. What is
called abstraction means that some phase of it is selected for the sake
of the aid it gives in grasping something else. Taken by itself, it is a
mangled fragment, a poor substitute for the living whole from which it
is extracted. But viewed teleologically or practically, it represents
the only way in which one experience can be made of any value for
another--the only way in which something enlightening can be secured.
What is called false or vicious abstractionism signifies that the
_function_ of the detached fragment is forgotten and neglected, so that
it is esteemed barely in itself as something of a higher order than the
muddy and irregular concrete from which it was wrenched. Looked at
functionally, not structurally and statically, abstraction means that
something has been released from one experience for transfer to another.
Abstraction is liberation. The more theoretical, the more abstract, an
abstraction, or the farther away it is from anything experienced in its
concreteness, the better fitted it is to deal with any one of the
indefinite variety of things that may later present themselves. Ancient
mathematics and physics were much nearer the gross concrete experience
than are modern. For that very reason they were more impotent in
affording any insight into and control over such concretes as present
themselves in new and unexpected forms.

Abstraction and generalization have always been recognized as close kin.
It may be said that they are the negative and positive sides of the same
function. Abstraction sets free some factor so that it may be used.
Generalization is the use. It carries over and extends. It is always in
some sense a leap in the dark. It is an adventure. There can be no
assurance in advance that what is extracted from one concrete can be
fruitfully extended to another individual case. Since these other cases
are individual and concrete they _must_ be dissimilar. The trait of
flying is detached from the concrete bird. This abstraction is then
carried over to the bat, and it is expected in view of the application
of the quality to have some of the other traits of the bird. This
trivial instance indicates the essence of generalization, and also
illustrates the riskiness of the proceeding. It transfers, extends,
applies, a result of some former experience to the reception and
interpretation of a new one. Deductive processes define, delimit, purify
and set in order the conceptions through which this enriching and
directive operation is carried on, but they cannot, however perfect,
guarantee the outcome.

The pragmatic value of organization is so conspicuously enforced in
contemporary life that it hardly seems necessary to dwell upon the
instrumental significance of classification and systematization. When
the existence of qualitative and fixed species was denied to be the
supreme object of knowledge, classification was often regarded,
especially by the empirical school, as merely a linguistic device. It
was convenient for memory and communication to have words that sum up a
number of particulars. Classes were supposed to exist only in speech.
Later, ideas were recognized as a kind of _tertium quid_ between things
and words. Classes were allowed to exist in the mind as purely mental
things. The critical disposition of empiricism is well exemplified here.
To assign any objectivity to classes was to encourage a belief in
eternal species and occult essences and to strengthen the arms of a
decadent and obnoxious science--a point of view well illustrated in
Locke. General _ideas_ are useful in economizing effort, enabling us to
condense particular experiences into simpler and more easily carried
bunches and making it easier to identify new observations.

So far nominalism and conceptualism--the theory that kinds exist only in
words or in ideas--was on the right track. It emphasized the
teleological character of systems and classifications, that they exist
for the sake of economy and efficiency in reaching ends. But this truth
was perverted into a false notion, because the active and doing side of
experience was denied or ignored. Concrete things have _ways_ of acting,
as many ways of acting as they have points of interaction with other
things. One thing is callous, unresponsive, inert in the presence of
some other things; it is alert, eager, and on the aggressive with
respect to other things; in a third case, it is receptive, docile. Now
different ways of behaving, in spite of their endless diversity, may be
classed together in view of common relationship to an end. No sensible
person tries to do everything. He has certain main interests and leading
aims by which he makes his behavior coherent and effective. To have an
aim is to limit, select, concentrate, group. Thus a basis is furnished
for selecting and organizing things according as their ways of acting
are related to carrying forward pursuit. Cherry trees will be
differently grouped by woodworkers, orchardists, artists, scientists and
merry-makers. To the execution of different purposes different ways of
acting and reacting on the part of trees are important. Each
classification may be equally sound when the difference of ends is borne
in mind.

Nevertheless there is a genuine objective standard for the goodness of
special classifications. One will further the cabinetmaker in reaching
his end while another will hamper him. One classification will assist
the botanist in carrying on fruitfully his work of inquiry, and another
will retard and confuse him. The teleological theory of classification
does not therefore commit us to the notion that classes are purely
verbal or purely mental. Organization is no more merely nominal or
mental in any art, including the art of inquiry, than it is in a
department store or railway system. The necessity of execution supplies
objective criteria. Things have to be sorted out and arranged so that
their grouping will promote successful action for ends. Convenience,
economy and efficiency are the bases of classification, but these things
are not restricted to verbal communication with others nor to inner
consciousness; they concern objective action. They must take effect in
the world.

At the same time, a classification is not a bare transcript or duplicate
of some finished and done-for arrangement pre-existing in nature. It is
rather a repertory of weapons for attack upon the future and the
unknown. For success, the details of past knowledge must be reduced from
bare facts to meanings, the fewer, simpler and more extensive the
better. They must be broad enough in scope to prepare inquiry to cope
with any phenomenon however unexpected. They must be arranged so as not
to overlap, for otherwise when they are applied to new events they
interfere and produce confusion. In order that there may be ease and
economy of movement in dealing with the enormous diversity of
occurrences that present themselves, we must be able to move promptly
and definitely from one tool of attack to another. In other words, our
various classes and kinds must be themselves classified in graded series
from the larger to the more specific. There must not only be streets,
but the streets must be laid out with reference to facilitating passage
from any one to any other. Classification transforms a wilderness of
by-ways in experience into a well-ordered system of roads, promoting
transportation and communication in inquiry. As soon as men begin to
take foresight for the future and to prepare themselves in advance to
meet it effectively and prosperously, the deductive operations and their
results gain in importance. In every practical enterprise there are
goods to be produced, and whatever eliminates wasted material and
promotes economy and efficiency of production is precious.

Little time is left to speak of the account of the nature of truth given
by the experimental and functional type of logic. This is less to be
regretted because this account is completely a corollary from the nature
of thinking and ideas. If the view held as to the latter is understood,
the conception of truth follows as a matter of course. If it be not
understood, any attempt to present the theory of truth is bound to be
confusing, and the theory itself to seem arbitrary and absurd. _If_
ideas, meanings, conceptions, notions, theories, systems are
instrumental to an active reorganization of the given environment, to a
removal of some specific trouble and perplexity, then the test of their
validity and value lies in accomplishing this work. If they succeed in
their office, they are reliable, sound, valid, good, true. If they fail
to clear up confusion, to eliminate defects, if they increase confusion,
uncertainty and evil when they are acted upon, then are they false.
Confirmation, corroboration, verification lie in works, consequences.
Handsome is that handsome does. By their fruits shall ye _know_ them.
That which guides us truly is true--demonstrated capacity for such
guidance is precisely what is meant by truth. The adverb "truly" is more
fundamental than either the adjective, true, or the noun, truth. An
adverb expresses a way, a mode of acting. Now an idea or conception is a
claim or injunction or plan to _act_ in a certain way as the way to
arrive at the clearing up of a specific situation. When the claim or
pretension or plan is acted upon _it guides us truly or falsely_; it
leads us to our end or away from it. Its active, dynamic function is the
all-important thing about it, and in the quality of activity induced by
it lies all its truth and falsity. The hypothesis that works is the
_true_ one; and _truth_ is an abstract noun applied to the collection of
cases, actual, foreseen and desired, that receive confirmation in their
works and consequences.

So wholly does the worth of this conception of truth depend upon the
correctness of the prior account of thinking that it is more profitable
to consider why the conception gives offence than to expound it on its
own account. Part of the reason why it has been found so obnoxious is
doubtless its novelty and defects in its statement. Too often, for
example, when truth has been thought of as satisfaction, it has been
thought of as merely emotional satisfaction, a private comfort, a
meeting of purely personal need. But the satisfaction in question means
a satisfaction of the needs and conditions of the problem out of which
the idea, the purpose and method of action, arises. It includes public
and objective conditions. It is not to be manipulated by whim or
personal idiosyncrasy. Again when truth is defined as utility, it is
often thought to mean utility for some purely personal end, some profit
upon which a particular individual has set his heart. So repulsive is a
conception of truth which makes it a mere tool of private ambition and
aggrandizement, that the wonder is that critics have attributed such a
notion to sane men. As matter of fact, truth as utility means service in
making just that contribution to reorganization in experience that the
idea or theory claims to be able to make. The usefulness of a road is
not measured by the degree in which it lends itself to the purposes of a
highwayman. It is measured by whether it actually functions _as_ a road,
as a means of easy and effective public transportation and
communication. And so with the serviceableness of an idea or hypothesis
as a measure of its truth.

Turning from such rather superficial misunderstandings, we find, I
think, the chief obstacle to the reception of this notion of truth in an
inheritance from the classic tradition that has become so deeply
engrained in men's minds. In just the degree in which existence is
divided into two realms, a higher one of perfect being and a lower one
of seeming, phenomenal, deficient reality, truth and falsity are thought
of as fixed, ready-made static properties of things themselves. Supreme
Reality is true Being, inferior and imperfect Reality is false Being. It
makes claims to Reality which it cannot substantiate. It is deceitful,
fraudulent, inherently unworthy of trust and belief. Beliefs are false
not because they mislead us; they are not mistaken ways of thinking.
They are false because they admit and adhere to false existences or
subsistences. Other notions are true because they do have to do with
true Being--with full and ultimate Reality. Such a notion lies at the
back of the head of every one who has, in however an indirect way, been
a recipient of the ancient and medieval tradition. This view is
radically challenged by the pragmatic conception of truth, and the
impossibility of reconciliation or compromise is, I think, the cause of
the shock occasioned by the newer theory.

This contrast, however, constitutes the importance of the new theory as
well as the unconscious obstruction to its acceptance. The older
conception worked out practically to identify truth with authoritative
dogma. A society that chiefly esteems order, that finds growth painful
and change disturbing, inevitably seeks for a fixed body of superior
truths upon which it may depend. It looks backward, to something already
in existence, for the source and sanction of truth. It falls back upon
what is antecedent, prior, original, _a priori_, for assurance. The
thought of looking ahead, toward the eventual, toward consequences,
creates uneasiness and fear. It disturbs the sense of rest that is
attached to the ideas of fixed Truth already in existence. It puts a
heavy burden of responsibility upon us for search, unremitting
observation, scrupulous development of hypotheses and thoroughgoing
testing. In physical matters men have slowly grown accustomed in all
specific beliefs to identifying the true with the verified. But they
still hesitate to recognize the implication of this identification and
to derive the definition of truth from it. For while it is nominally
agreed upon as a commonplace that definitions ought to spring from
concrete and specific cases rather than be invented in the empty air
and imposed upon particulars, there is a strange unwillingness to act
upon the maxim in defining truth. To generalize the recognition that the
true means the verified and means nothing else places upon men the
responsibility for surrendering political and moral dogmas, and
subjecting to the test of consequences their most cherished prejudices.
Such a change involves a great change in the seat of authority and the
methods of decision in society. Some of them, as first fruits of the
newer logic, will be considered in the following lectures.



CHAPTER VII

RECONSTRUCTION IN MORAL CONCEPTIONS


The impact of the alteration in methods of scientific thinking upon
moral ideas is, in general, obvious. Goods, ends are multiplied. Rules
are softened into principles, and principles are modified into methods
of understanding. Ethical theory began among the Greeks as an attempt to
find a regulation for the conduct of life which should have a rational
basis and purpose instead of being derived from custom. But reason as a
substitute for custom was under the obligation of supplying objects and
laws as fixed as those of custom had been. Ethical theory ever since has
been singularly hypnotized by the notion that its business is to
discover some final end or good or some ultimate and supreme law. This
is the common element among the diversity of theories. Some have held
that the end is loyalty or obedience to a higher power or authority; and
they have variously found this higher principle in Divine Will, the will
of the secular ruler, the maintenance of institutions in which the
purpose of superiors is embodied, and the rational consciousness of
duty. But they have differed from one another because there was one
point in which they were agreed: a single and final source of law.
Others have asserted that it is impossible to locate morality in
conformity to law-giving power, and that it must be sought in ends that
are goods. And some have sought the good in self-realization, some in
holiness, some in happiness, some in the greatest possible aggregate of
pleasures. And yet these schools have agreed in the assumption that
there is a single, fixed and final good. They have been able to dispute
with one another only because of their common premise.

The question arises whether the way out of the confusion and conflict is
not to go to the root of the matter by questioning this common element.
Is not the belief in the single, final and ultimate (whether conceived
as good or as authoritative law) an intellectual product of that feudal
organization which is disappearing historically and of that belief in a
bounded, ordered cosmos, wherein rest is higher than motion, which has
disappeared from natural science? It has been repeatedly suggested that
the present limit of intellectual reconstruction lies in the fact that
it has not as yet been seriously applied in the moral and social
disciplines. Would not this further application demand precisely that we
advance to a belief in a plurality of changing, moving, individualized
goods and ends, and to a belief that principles, criteria, laws are
intellectual instruments for analyzing individual or unique situations?

The blunt assertion that every moral situation is a unique situation
having its own irreplaceable good may seem not merely blunt but
preposterous. For the established tradition teaches that it is precisely
the irregularity of special cases which makes necessary the guidance of
conduct by universals, and that the essence of the virtuous disposition
is willingness to subordinate every particular case to adjudication by a
fixed principle. It would then follow that submission of a generic end
and law to determination by the concrete situation entails complete
confusion and unrestrained licentiousness. Let us, however, follow the
pragmatic rule, and in order to discover the meaning of the idea ask for
its consequences. Then it surprisingly turns out that the primary
significance of the unique and morally ultimate character of the
concrete situation is to transfer the weight and burden of morality to
intelligence. It does not destroy responsibility; it only locates it. A
moral situation is one in which judgment and choice are required
antecedently to overt action. The practical meaning of the
situation--that is to say the action needed to satisfy it--is not
self-evident. It has to be searched for. There are conflicting desires
and alternative apparent goods. What is needed is to find the right
course of action, the right good. Hence, inquiry is exacted:
observation of the detailed makeup of the situation; analysis into its
diverse factors; clarification of what is obscure; discounting of the
more insistent and vivid traits; tracing the consequences of the various
modes of action that suggest themselves; regarding the decision reached
as hypothetical and tentative until the anticipated or supposed
consequences which led to its adoption have been squared with actual
consequences. This inquiry is intelligence. Our moral failures go back
to some weakness of disposition, some absence of sympathy, some
one-sided bias that makes us perform the judgment of the concrete case
carelessly or perversely. Wide sympathy, keen sensitiveness, persistence
in the face of the disagreeable, balance of interests enabling us to
undertake the work of analysis and decision intelligently are the
distinctively moral traits--the virtues or moral excellencies.

It is worth noting once more that the underlying issue is, after all,
only the same as that which has been already threshed out in physical
inquiry. There too it long seemed as if rational assurance and
demonstration could be attained only if we began with universal
conceptions and subsumed particular cases under them. The men who
initiated the methods of inquiry that are now everywhere adopted were
denounced in their day (and sincerely) as subverters of truth and foes
of science. If they have won in the end, it is because, as has already
been pointed out, the method of universals confirmed prejudices and
sanctioned ideas that had gained currency irrespective of evidence for
them; while placing the initial and final weight upon the individual
case, stimulated painstaking inquiry into facts and examination of
principles. In the end, loss of eternal truths was more than compensated
for in the accession of quotidian facts. The loss of the system of
superior and fixed definitions and kinds was more than made up for by
the growing system of hypotheses and laws used in classifying facts.
After all, then, we are only pleading for the adoption in moral
reflection of the logic that has been proved to make for security,
stringency and fertility in passing judgments upon physical phenomena.
And the reason is the same. The old method in spite of its nominal and
esthetic worship of reason discouraged reason, because it hindered the
operation of scrupulous and unremitting inquiry.

More definitely, the transfer of the burden of the moral life from
following rules or pursuing fixed ends over to the detection of the ills
that need remedy in a special case and the formation of plans and
methods for dealing with them, eliminates the causes which have kept
moral theory controversial, and which have also kept it remote from
helpful contact with the exigencies of practice. The theory of fixed
ends inevitably leads thought into the bog of disputes that cannot be
settled. If there is one _summum bonum_, one supreme end, what is it? To
consider this problem is to place ourselves in the midst of
controversies that are as acute now as they were two thousand years ago.
Suppose we take a seemingly more empirical view, and say that while
there is not a single end, there also are not as many as there are
specific situations that require amelioration; but there are a number of
such natural goods as health, wealth, honor or good name, friendship,
esthetic appreciation, learning and such moral goods as justice,
temperance, benevolence, etc. What or who is to decide the right of way
when these ends conflict with one another, as they are sure to do? Shall
we resort to the method that once brought such disrepute upon the whole
business of ethics: Casuistry? Or shall we have recourse to what Bentham
well called the _ipse dixit_ method: the arbitrary preference of this or
that person for this or that end? Or shall we be forced to arrange them
all in an order of degrees from the highest good down to the least
precious? Again we find ourselves in the middle of unreconciled disputes
with no indication of the way out.

Meantime, the special moral perplexities where the aid of intelligence
is required go unenlightened. We cannot seek or attain health, wealth,
learning, justice or kindness in general. Action is always specific,
concrete, individualized, unique. And consequently judgments as to acts
to be performed must be similarly specific. To say that a man seeks
health or justice is only to say that he seeks to live healthily or
justly. These things, like truth, are adverbial. They are modifiers of
action in special cases. How to live healthily or justly is a matter
which differs with every person. It varies with his past experience, his
opportunities, his temperamental and acquired weaknesses and abilities.
Not man in general but a particular man suffering from some particular
disability aims to live healthily, and consequently health cannot mean
for him exactly what it means for any other mortal. Healthy living is
not something to be attained by itself apart from other ways of living.
A man needs to be healthy _in_ his life, not apart from it, and what
does life mean except the aggregate of his pursuits and activities? A
man who aims at health as a distinct end becomes a valetudinarian, or a
fanatic, or a mechanical performer of exercises, or an athlete so
one-sided that his pursuit of bodily development injures his heart. When
the endeavor to realize a so-called end does not temper and color all
other activities, life is portioned out into strips and fractions.
Certain acts and times are devoted to getting health, others to
cultivating religion, others to seeking learning, to being a good
citizen, a devotee of fine art and so on. This is the only logical
alternative to subordinating all aims to the accomplishment of one
alone--fanaticism. This is out of fashion at present, but who can say
how much of distraction and dissipation in life, and how much of its
hard and narrow rigidity is the outcome of men's failure to realize that
each situation has its own unique end and that the whole personality
should be concerned with it? Surely, once more, what a man needs is to
live healthily, and this result so affects all the activities of his
life that it cannot be set up as a separate and independent good.

Nevertheless the general notions of health, disease, justice, artistic
culture are of great importance: Not, however, because this or that case
may be brought exhaustively under a single head and its specific traits
shut out, but because generalized science provides a man as physician
and artist and citizen, with questions to ask, investigations to make,
and enables him to understand the meaning of what he sees. Just in the
degree in which a physician is an artist in his work he uses his
science, no matter how extensive and accurate, to furnish him with tools
of inquiry into the individual case, and with methods of forecasting a
method of dealing with it. Just in the degree in which, no matter how
great his learning, he subordinates the individual case to some
classification of diseases and some generic rule of treatment, he sinks
to the level of the routine mechanic. His intelligence and his action
become rigid, dogmatic, instead of free and flexible.

_Moral_ goods and ends exist only when something has to be done. The
fact that something has to be done proves that there are deficiencies,
evils in the existent situation. This ill is just the specific ill that
it is. It never is an exact duplicate of anything else. Consequently the
good of the situation has to be discovered, projected and attained on
the basis of the exact defect and trouble to be rectified. It cannot
intelligently be injected into the situation from without. Yet it is the
part of wisdom to compare different cases, to gather together the ills
from which humanity suffers, and to generalize the corresponding goods
into classes. Health, wealth, industry, temperance, amiability,
courtesy, learning, esthetic capacity, initiative, courage, patience,
enterprise, thoroughness and a multitude of other generalized ends are
acknowledged as goods. But the _value_ of this systematization is
intellectual or analytic. Classifications _suggest_ possible traits to
be on the lookout for in studying a particular case; they suggest
methods of action to be tried in removing the inferred causes of ill.
They are tools of insight; their value is in promoting an individualized
response in the individual situation.

Morals is not a catalogue of acts nor a set of rules to be applied like
drugstore prescriptions or cook-book recipes. The need in morals is for
specific methods of inquiry and of contrivance: Methods of inquiry to
locate difficulties and evils; methods of contrivance to form plans to
be used as working hypotheses in dealing with them. And the pragmatic
import of the logic of individualized situations, each having its own
irreplaceable good and principle, is to transfer the attention of theory
from preoccupation with general conceptions to the problem of developing
effective methods of inquiry.

Two ethical consequences of great moment should be remarked. The belief
in fixed values has bred a division of ends into intrinsic and
instrumental, of those that are really worth while in themselves and
those that are of importance only as means to intrinsic goods. Indeed,
it is often thought to be the very beginning of wisdom, of moral
discrimination, to make this distinction. Dialectically, the distinction
is interesting and seems harmless. But carried into practice it has an
import that is tragic. Historically, it has been the source and
justification of a hard and fast difference between ideal goods on one
side and material goods on the other. At present those who would be
liberal conceive intrinsic goods as esthetic in nature rather than as
exclusively religious or as intellectually contemplative. But the effect
is the same. So-called intrinsic goods, whether religious or esthetic,
are divorced from those interests of daily life which because of their
constancy and urgency form the preoccupation of the great mass.
Aristotle used this distinction to declare that slaves and the working
class though they are necessary _for_ the state--the commonweal--are not
constituents _of_ it. That which is regarded as _merely_ instrumental
must approach drudgery; it cannot command either intellectual, artistic
or moral attention and respect. Anything becomes _unworthy_ whenever it
is thought of as intrinsically lacking worth. So men of "ideal"
interests have chosen for the most part the way of neglect and escape.
The urgency and pressure of "lower" ends have been covered up by polite
conventions. Or, they have been relegated to a baser class of mortals in
order that the few might be free to attend to the goods that are really
or intrinsically worth while. This withdrawal, in the name of higher
ends, has left, for mankind at large and especially for energetic
"practical" people the lower activities in complete command.

No one can possibly estimate how much of the obnoxious materialism and
brutality of our economic life is due to the fact that economic ends
have been regarded as _merely_ instrumental. When they are recognized to
be as intrinsic and final in their place as any others, then it will be
seen that they are capable of idealization, and that if life is to be
worth while, they must acquire ideal and intrinsic value. Esthetic,
religious and other "ideal" ends are now thin and meagre or else idle
and luxurious because of the separation from "instrumental" or economic
ends. Only in connection with the latter can they be woven into the
texture of daily life and made substantial and pervasive. The vanity and
irresponsibility of values that are merely final and not also in turn
means to the enrichment of other occupations of life ought to be
obvious. But now the doctrine of "higher" ends gives aid, comfort and
support to every socially isolated and socially irresponsible scholar,
specialist, esthete and religionist. It protects the vanity and
irresponsibility of his calling from observation by others and by
himself. The moral deficiency of the calling is transformed into a cause
of admiration and gratulation.

The other generic change lies in doing away once for all with the
traditional distinction between moral goods, like the virtues, and
natural goods like health, economic security, art, science and the like.
The point of view under discussion is not the only one which has
deplored this rigid distinction and endeavored to abolish it. Some
schools have even gone so far as to regard moral excellencies, qualities
of character as of value only because they promote natural goods. But
the experimental logic when carried into morals makes every quality that
is judged to be good according as it contributes to amelioration of
existing ills. And in so doing, it enforces the moral meaning of
natural science. When all is said and done in criticism of present
social deficiencies, one may well wonder whether the root difficulty
does not lie in the separation of natural and moral science. When
physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, contribute to the detection of
concrete human woes and to the development of plans for remedying them
and relieving the human estate, they become moral; they become part of
the apparatus of moral inquiry or science. The latter then loses its
peculiar flavor of the didactic and pedantic; its ultra-moralistic and
hortatory tone. It loses its thinness and shrillness as well as its
vagueness. It gains agencies that are efficacious. But the gain is not
confined to the side of moral science. Natural science loses its divorce
from humanity; it becomes itself humanistic in quality. It is something
to be pursued not in a technical and specialized way for what is called
truth for its own sake, but with the sense of its social bearing, its
intellectual indispensableness. It is technical only in the sense that
it provides the technique of social and moral engineering.

When the consciousness of science is fully impregnated with the
consciousness of human value, the greatest dualism which now weighs
humanity down, the split between the material, the mechanical, the
scientific and the moral and ideal will be destroyed. Human forces that
now waver because of this division will be unified and reinforced. As
long as ends are not thought of as individualized according to specific
needs and opportunities, the mind will be content with abstractions, and
the adequate stimulus to the moral or social use of natural science and
historical data will be lacking. But when attention is concentrated upon
the diversified concretes, recourse to all intellectual materials needed
to clear up the special cases will be imperative. At the same time that
morals are made to focus in intelligence, things intellectual are
moralized. The vexatious and wasteful conflict between naturalism and
humanism is terminated.

These general considerations may be amplified. First: Inquiry, discovery
take the same place in morals that they have come to occupy in sciences
of nature. Validation, demonstration become experimental, a matter of
consequences. Reason, always an honorific term in ethics, becomes
actualized in the methods by which the needs and conditions, the
obstacles and resources, of situations are scrutinized in detail, and
intelligent plans of improvement are worked out. Remote and abstract
generalities promote jumping at conclusions, "anticipations of nature."
Bad consequences are then deplored as due to natural perversity and
untoward fate. But shifting the issue to analysis of a specific
situation makes inquiry obligatory and alert observation of consequences
imperative. No past decision nor old principle can ever be wholly
relied upon to justify a course of action. No amount of pains taken in
forming a purpose in a definite case is final; the consequences of its
adoption must be carefully noted, and a purpose held only as a working
hypothesis until results confirm its rightness. Mistakes are no longer
either mere unavoidable accidents to be mourned or moral sins to be
expiated and forgiven. They are lessons in wrong methods of using
intelligence and instructions as to a better course in the future. They
are indications of the need of revision, development, readjustment. Ends
grow, standards of judgment are improved. Man is under just as much
obligation to develop his most advanced standards and ideals as to use
conscientiously those which he already possesses. Moral life is
protected from falling into formalism and rigid repetition. It is
rendered flexible, vital, growing.

In the second place, every case where moral action is required becomes
of equal moral importance and urgency with every other. If the need and
deficiencies of a specific situation indicate improvement of health as
the end and good, then for that situation health is the ultimate and
supreme good. It is no means to something else. It is a final and
intrinsic value. The same thing is true of improvement of economic
status, of making a living, of attending to business and family
demands--all of the things which under the sanction of fixed ends have
been rendered of secondary and merely instrumental value, and so
relatively base and unimportant. Anything that in a given situation is
an end and good at all is of equal worth, rank and dignity with every
other good of any other situation, and deserves the same intelligent
attention.

We note thirdly the effect in destroying the roots of Phariseeism. We
are so accustomed to thinking of this as deliberate hypocrisy that we
overlook its intellectual premises. The conception which looks for the
end of action within the circumstances of the actual situation will not
have the same measure of judgment for all cases. When one factor of the
situation is a person of trained mind and large resources, more will be
expected than with a person of backward mind and uncultured experience.
The absurdity of applying the same standard of moral judgment to savage
peoples that is used with civilized will be apparent. No individual or
group will be judged by whether they come up to or fall short of some
fixed result, but by the direction in which they are moving. The bad man
is the man who no matter how good he _has_ been is beginning to
deteriorate, to grow less good. The good man is the man who no matter
how morally unworthy he _has_ been is moving to become better. Such a
conception makes one severe in judging himself and humane in judging
others. It excludes that arrogance which always accompanies judgment
based on degree of approximation to fixed ends.

In the fourth place, the process of growth, of improvement and progress,
rather than the static outcome and result, becomes the significant
thing. Not health as an end fixed once and for all, but the needed
improvement in health--a continual process--is the end and good. The end
is no longer a terminus or limit to be reached. It is the active process
of transforming the existent situation. Not perfection as a final goal,
but the ever-enduring process of perfecting, maturing, refining is the
aim in living. Honesty, industry, temperance, justice, like health,
wealth and learning, are not goods to be possessed as they would be if
they expressed fixed ends to be attained. They are directions of change
in the quality of experience. Growth itself is the only moral "end."

Although the bearing of this idea upon the problem of evil and the
controversy between optimism and pessimism is too vast to be here
discussed, it may be worth while to touch upon it superficially. The
problem of evil ceases to be a theological and metaphysical one, and is
perceived to be the practical problem of reducing, alleviating, as far
as may be removing, the evils of life. Philosophy is no longer under
obligation to find ingenious methods for proving that evils are only
apparent, not real, or to elaborate schemes for explaining them away
or, worse yet, for justifying them. It assumes another obligation:--That
of contributing in however humble a way to methods that will assist us
in discovering the causes of humanity's ills. Pessimism is a paralyzing
doctrine. In declaring that the world is evil wholesale, it makes futile
all efforts to discover the remediable causes of specific evils and
thereby destroys at the root every attempt to make the world better and
happier. Wholesale optimism, which has been the consequence of the
attempt to explain evil away, is, however, equally an incubus.

After all, the optimism that says that the world is already the best
possible of all worlds might be regarded as the most cynical of
pessimisms. If this is the best possible, what would a world which was
fundamentally bad be like? Meliorism is the belief that the specific
conditions which exist at one moment, be they comparatively bad or
comparatively good, in any event may be bettered. It encourages
intelligence to study the positive means of good and the obstructions to
their realization, and to put forth endeavor for the improvement of
conditions. It arouses confidence and a reasonable hopefulness as
optimism does not. For the latter in declaring that good is already
realized in ultimate reality tends to make us gloss over the evils that
concretely exist. It becomes too readily the creed of those who live at
ease, in comfort, of those who have been successful in obtaining this
world's rewards. Too readily optimism makes the men who hold it callous
and blind to the sufferings of the less fortunate, or ready to find the
cause of troubles of others in their personal viciousness. It thus
co-operates with pessimism, in spite of the extreme nominal differences
between the two, in benumbing sympathetic insight and intelligent effort
in reform. It beckons men away from the world of relativity and change
into the calm of the absolute and eternal.

The import of many of these changes in moral attitude focusses in the
idea of happiness. Happiness has often been made the object of the
moralists' contempt. Yet the most ascetic moralist has usually restored
the idea of happiness under some other name, such as bliss. Goodness
without happiness, valor and virtue without satisfaction, ends without
conscious enjoyment--these things are as intolerable practically as they
are self-contradictory in conception. Happiness is not, however, a bare
possession; it is not a fixed attainment. Such a happiness is either the
unworthy selfishness which moralists have so bitterly condemned, or it
is, even if labelled bliss, an insipid tedium, a millennium of ease in
relief from all struggle and labor. It could satisfy only the most
delicate of molly-coddles. Happiness is found only in success; but
success means succeeding, getting forward, moving in advance. It is an
active process, not a passive outcome. Accordingly it includes the
overcoming of obstacles, the elimination of sources of defect and ill.
Esthetic sensitiveness and enjoyment are a large constituent in any
worthy happiness. But the esthetic appreciation which is totally
separated from renewal of spirit, from re-creation of mind and
purification of emotion is a weak and sickly thing, destined to speedy
death from starvation. That the renewal and re-creation come
unconsciously not by set intention but makes them the more genuine.

Upon the whole, utilitarianism has marked the best in the transition
from the classic theory of ends and goods to that which is now possible.
It had definite merits. It insisted upon getting away from vague
generalities, and down to the specific and concrete. It subordinated law
to human achievement instead of subordinating humanity to external law.
It taught that institutions are made for man and not man for
institutions; it actively promoted all issues of reform. It made moral
good natural, humane, in touch with the natural goods of life. It
opposed unearthly and other worldly morality. Above all, it acclimatized
in human imagination the idea of social welfare as a supreme test. But
it was still profoundly affected in fundamental points by old ways of
thinking. It never questioned the idea of a fixed, final and supreme
end. It only questioned the current notions as to the nature of this
end; and then inserted pleasure and the greatest possible aggregate of
pleasures in the position of the fixed end.

Such a point of view treats concrete activities and specific interests
not as worth while in themselves, or as constituents of happiness, but
as mere external means to getting pleasures. The upholders of the old
tradition could therefore easily accuse utilitarianism of making not
only virtue but art, poetry, religion and the state into mere servile
means of attaining sensuous enjoyments. Since pleasure was an outcome, a
result valuable on its own account independently of the active processes
that achieve it, happiness was a thing to be possessed and held onto.
The acquisitive instincts of man were exaggerated at the expense of the
creative. Production was of importance not because of the intrinsic
worth of invention and reshaping the world, but because its external
results feed pleasure. Like every theory that sets up fixed and final
aims, in making the end passive and possessive, it made all active
operations _mere_ tools. Labor was an unavoidable evil to be minimized.
Security in possession was the chief thing practically. Material comfort
and ease were magnified in contrast with the pains and risk of
experimental creation.

These deficiencies, under certain conceivable conditions, might have
remained merely theoretical. But the disposition of the times and the
interests of those who propagated the utilitarian ideas, endowed them
with power for social harm. In spite of the power of the new ideas in
attacking old social abuses, there were elements in the teaching which
operated or protected to sanction new social abuses. The reforming zeal
was shown in criticism of the evils inherited from the class system of
feudalism, evils economic, legal and political. But the new economic
order of capitalism that was superseding feudalism brought its own
social evils with it, and some of these ills utilitarianism tended to
cover up or defend. The emphasis upon acquisition and possession of
enjoyments took on an untoward color in connection with the contemporary
enormous desire for wealth and the enjoyments it makes possible.

If utilitarianism did not actively promote the new economic materialism,
it had no means of combating it. Its general spirit of subordinating
productive activity to the bare product was indirectly favorable to the
cause of an unadorned commercialism. In spite of its interest in a
thoroughly social aim, utilitarianism fostered a new class interest,
that of the capitalistic property-owning interests, provided only
property was obtained through free competition and not by governmental
favor. The stress that Bentham put on security tended to consecrate the
legal institution of private property provided only certain legal abuses
in connection with its acquisition and transfer were abolished. _Beati
possidentes_--provided possessions had been obtained in accord with the
rules of the competitive game--without, that is, extraneous favors from
government. Thus utilitarianism gave intellectual confirmation to all
those tendencies which make "business" not a means of social service and
an opportunity for personal growth in creative power but a way of
accumulating the means of private enjoyments. Utilitarian ethics thus
afford a remarkable example of the need of philosophic reconstruction
which these lectures have been presenting. Up to a certain point, it
reflected the meaning of modern thought and aspirations. But it was
still tied down by fundamental ideas of that very order which it thought
it had completely left behind: The idea of a fixed and single end lying
beyond the diversity of human needs and acts rendered utilitarianism
incapable of being an adequate representative of the modern spirit. It
has to be reconstructed through emancipation from its inherited
elements.

If a few words are added upon the topic of education, it is only for the
sake of suggesting that the educative process is all one with the moral
process, since the latter is a continuous passage of experience from
worse to better. Education has been traditionally thought of as
preparation: as learning, acquiring certain things because they will
later be useful. The end is remote, and education is getting ready, is a
preliminary to something more important to happen later on. Childhood
is only a preparation for adult life, and adult life for another life.
Always the future, not the present, has been the significant thing in
education: Acquisition of knowledge and skill for future use and
enjoyment; formation of habits required later in life in business, good
citizenship and pursuit of science. Education is thought of also as
something needed by some human beings merely because of their dependence
upon others. We are born ignorant, unversed, unskilled, immature, and
consequently in a state of social dependence. Instruction, training,
moral discipline are processes by which the mature, the adult, gradually
raise the helpless to the point where they can look out for themselves.
The business of childhood is to grow into the independence of adulthood
by means of the guidance of those who have already attained it. Thus the
process of education as the main business of life ends when the young
have arrived at emancipation from social dependence.

These two ideas, generally assumed but rarely explicitly reasoned out,
contravene the conception that growing, or the continuous reconstruction
of experience, is the only end. If at whatever period we choose to take
a person, he is still in process of growth, then education is not, save
as a by-product, a preparation for something coming later. Getting from
the present the degree and kind of growth there is in it is education.
This is a constant function, independent of age. The best thing that can
be said about any special process of education, like that of the formal
school period, is that it renders its subject capable of further
education: more sensitive to conditions of growth and more able to take
advantage of them. Acquisition of skill, possession of knowledge,
attainment of culture are not ends: they are marks of growth and means
to its continuing.

The contrast usually assumed between the period of education as one of
social dependence and of maturity as one of social independence does
harm. We repeat over and over that man is a social animal, and then
confine the significance of this statement to the sphere in which
sociality usually seems least evident, politics. The heart of the
sociality of man is in education. The idea of education as preparation
and of adulthood as a fixed limit of growth are two sides of the same
obnoxious untruth. If the moral business of the adult as well as the
young is a growing and developing experience, then the instruction that
comes from social dependencies and interdependencies are as important
for the adult as for the child. Moral independence for the adult means
arrest of growth, isolation means induration. We exaggerate the
intellectual dependence of childhood so that children are too much kept
in leading strings, and then we exaggerate the independence of adult
life from intimacy of contacts and communication with others. When the
identity of the moral process with the processes of specific growth is
realized, the more conscious and formal education of childhood will be
seen to be the most economical and efficient means of social advance and
reorganization, and it will also be evident that the test of all the
institutions of adult life is their effect in furthering continued
education. Government, business, art, religion, all social institutions
have a meaning, a purpose. That purpose is to set free and to develop
the capacities of human individuals without respect to race, sex, class
or economic status. And this is all one with saying that the test of
their value is the extent to which they educate every individual into
the full stature of his possibility. Democracy has many meanings, but if
it has a moral meaning, it is found in resolving that the supreme test
of all political institutions and industrial arrangements shall be the
contribution they make to the all-around growth of every member of
society.



CHAPTER VIII

RECONSTRUCTION AS AFFECTING SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY


How can philosophic change seriously affect social philosophy? As far as
fundamentals are concerned, every view and combination appears to have
been formulated already. Society is composed of individuals: this
obvious and basic fact no philosophy, whatever its pretensions to
novelty, can question or alter. Hence these three alternatives: Society
must exist for the sake of individuals; or individuals must have their
ends and ways of living set for them by society; or else society and
individuals are correlative, organic, to one another, society requiring
the service and subordination of individuals and at the same time
existing to serve them. Beyond these three views, none seems to be
logically conceivable. Moreover, while each of the three types includes
many subspecies and variations within itself, yet the changes seem to
have been so thoroughly rung that at most only minor variations are now
possible.

Especially would it seem true that the "organic" conception meets all
the objections to the extreme individualistic and extreme socialistic
theories, avoiding the errors alike of Plato and Bentham. Just because
society is composed of individuals, it would seem that individuals and
the associative relations that hold them together must be of coequal
importance. Without strong and competent individuals, the bonds and ties
that form society have nothing to lay hold on. Apart from associations
with one another, individuals are isolated from one another and fade and
wither; or are opposed to one another and their conflicts injure
individual development. Law, state, church, family, friendship,
industrial association, these and other institutions and arrangements
are necessary in order that individuals may grow and find their specific
capacities and functions. Without their aid and support human life is,
as Hobbes said, brutish, solitary, nasty.

We plunge into the heart of the matter, by asserting that these various
theories suffer from a common defect. They are all committed to the
logic of general notions under which specific situations are to be
brought. What we want light upon is this or that group of individuals,
this or that concrete human being, this or that special institution or
social arrangement. For such a logic of inquiry, the traditionally
accepted logic substitutes discussion of the meaning of concepts and
their dialectical relationship to one another. The discussion goes on in
terms of _the_ state, _the_ individual; the nature of institutions as
such, society in general.

We need guidance in dealing with particular perplexities in domestic
life, and are met by dissertations on the Family or by assertions of the
sacredness of individual Personality. We want to know about the worth of
the institution of private property as it operates under given
conditions of definite time and place. We meet with the reply of
Proudhon that property generally is theft, or with that of Hegel that
the realization of will is the end of all institutions, and that private
ownership as the expression of mastery of personality over physical
nature is a necessary element in such realization. Both answers may have
a certain suggestiveness in connection with specific situations. But the
conceptions are not proffered for what they may be worth in connection
with special historic phenomena. They are general answers supposed to
have a universal meaning that covers and dominates all particulars.
Hence they do not assist inquiry. They close it. They are not
instrumentalities to be employed and tested in clarifying concrete
social difficulties. They are ready-made principles to be imposed upon
particulars in order to determine their nature. They tell us about _the_
state when we want to know about _some_ state. But the implication is
that what is said about _the_ state applies to any state that we happen
to wish to know about.

In transferring the issue from concrete situations to definitions and
conceptual deductions, the effect, especially of the organic theory, is
to supply the apparatus for intellectual justification of the
established order. Those most interested in practical social progress
and the emancipation of groups from oppression have turned a cold
shoulder to the organic theory. The effect, if not the intention, of
German idealism as applied in social philosophy was to provide a bulwark
for the maintenance of the political _status quo_ against the tide of
radical ideas coming from revolutionary France. Although Hegel asserted
in explicit form that the end of states and institutions is to further
the realization of the freedom of all, his effect was to consecrate the
Prussian State and to enshrine bureaucratic absolutism. Was this
apologetic tendency accidental, or did it spring from something in the
logic of the notions that were employed?

Surely the latter. If we talk about _the_ state and _the_ individual,
rather than about this or that political organization and this or that
group of needy and suffering human beings, the tendency is to throw the
glamor and prestige, the meaning and value attached to the general
notion, over the concrete situation and thereby to cover up the defects
of the latter and disguise the need of serious reforms. The meanings
which are found in the general notions are injected into the particulars
that come under them. Quite properly so if we once grant the logic of
rigid universals under which the concrete cases have to be subsumed in
order to be understood and explained.

Again, the tendency of the organic point of view is to minimize the
significance of specific conflicts. Since the individual and the state
or social institution are but two sides of the same reality, since they
are already reconciled in principle and conception, the conflict in any
particular case can be but apparent. Since in theory the individual and
the state are reciprocally necessary and helpful to one another, why pay
much attention to the fact that in _this_ state a whole group of
individuals are suffering from oppressive conditions? In "reality" their
interests cannot be in conflict with those of the state to which they
belong; the opposition is only superficial and casual. Capital and labor
cannot "really" conflict because each is an organic necessity to the
other, and both to the organized community as a whole. There cannot
"really" be any sex-problem because men and women are indispensable both
to one another and to the state. In his day, Aristotle could easily
employ the logic of general concepts superior to individuals to show
that the institution of slavery was in the interests both of the state
and of the slave class. Even if the intention is not to justify the
existing order the effect is to divert attention from special
situations. Rationalistic logic formerly made men careless in
observation of the concrete in physical philosophy. It now operates to
depress and retard observation in specific social phenomena. The social
philosopher, dwelling in the region of his concepts, "solves" problems
by showing the relationship of ideas, instead of helping men solve
problems in the concrete by supplying them hypotheses to be used and
tested in projects of reform.

Meanwhile, of course, the concrete troubles and evils remain. They are
not magically waived out of existence because in theory society is
organic. The region of concrete difficulties, where the assistance of
intelligent method for tentative plans for experimentation is urgently
needed, is precisely where intelligence fails to operate. In this region
of the specific and concrete, men are thrown back upon the crudest
empiricism, upon short-sighted opportunism and the matching of brute
forces. In theory, the particulars are all neatly disposed of; they come
under their appropriate heading and category; they are labelled and go
into an orderly pigeon-hole in a systematic filing cabinet, labelled
political science or sociology. But in empirical fact they remain as
perplexing, confused and unorganized as they were before. So they are
dealt with not by even an endeavor at scientific method but by blind
rule of thumb, citation of precedents, considerations of immediate
advantage, smoothing things over, use of coercive force and the clash of
personal ambitions. The world still survives; it has therefore got on
somehow:--so much cannot be denied. The method of trial and error and
competition of selfishnesses has somehow wrought out many improvements.
But social theory nevertheless exists as an idle luxury rather than as a
guiding method of inquiry and planning. In the question of methods
concerned with reconstruction of special situations rather than in any
refinements in the general concepts of institution, individuality,
state, freedom, law, order, progress, etc., lies the true impact of
philosophical reconstruction.

Consider the conception of the individual self. The individualistic
school of England and France in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
was empirical in intent. It based its individualism, philosophically
speaking, upon the belief that individuals are alone real, that classes
and organizations are secondary and derived. They are artificial, while
individuals are natural. In what way then can individualism be said to
come under the animadversions that have been passed? To say the defect
was that this school overlooked those connections with other persons
which are a part of the constitution of every individual is true as far
as it goes; but unfortunately it rarely goes beyond the point of just
that wholesale justification of institutions which has been criticized.

The real difficulty is that the individual is regarded as something
_given_, something already there. Consequently, he can only be
something to be catered to, something whose pleasures are to be
magnified and possessions multiplied. When the individual is taken as
something given already, anything that can be done to him or for him it
can only be by way of external impressions and belongings: sensations of
pleasure and pain, comforts, securities. Now it is true that social
arrangements, laws, institutions are made for man, rather than that man
is made for them; that they are means and agencies of human welfare and
progress. But they are not means for obtaining something for
individuals, not even happiness. They are means of _creating_
individuals. Only in the physical sense of physical bodies that to the
senses are separate is individuality an original datum. Individuality in
a social and moral sense is something to be wrought out. It means
initiative, inventiveness, varied resourcefulness, assumption of
responsibility in choice of belief and conduct. These are not gifts, but
achievements. As achievements, they are not absolute but relative to the
use that is to be made of them. And this use varies with the
environment.

The import of this conception comes out in considering the fortunes of
the idea of self-interest. All members of the empirical school
emphasized this idea. It was the sole motive of mankind. Virtue was to
be attained by making benevolent action profitable to the individual;
social arrangements were to be reformed so that egoism and altruistic
consideration of others would be identified. Moralists of the opposite
school were not backward in pointing out the evils of any theory that
reduced both morals and political science to means of calculating
self-interest. Consequently they threw the whole idea of interest
overboard as obnoxious to morals. The effect of this reaction was to
strengthen the cause of authority and political obscurantism. When the
play of interest is eliminated, what remains? What concrete moving
forces can be found? Those who identified the self with something
ready-made and its interest with acquisition of pleasure and profit took
the most effective means possible to reinstate the logic of abstract
conceptions of law, justice, sovereignty, freedom, etc.--all of those
vague general ideas that for all their seeming rigidity can be
manipulated by any clever politician to cover up his designs and to make
the worse seem the better cause. Interests are specific and dynamic;
they are the natural terms of any concrete social thinking. But they are
damned beyond recovery when they are identified with the things of a
petty selfishness. They can be employed as vital terms only when the
self is seen to be in process, and interest to be a name for whatever is
concerned in furthering its movement.

The same logic applies to the old dispute of whether reform should
start with the individual or with institutions. When the self is
regarded as something complete within itself, then it is readily argued
that only internal moralistic changes are of importance in general
reform. Institutional changes are said to be merely external. They may
add conveniences and comforts to life, but they cannot effect moral
improvements. The result is to throw the burden for social improvement
upon free-will in its most impossible form. Moreover, social and
economic passivity are encouraged. Individuals are led to concentrate in
moral introspection upon their own vices and virtues, and to neglect the
character of the environment. Morals withdraw from active concern with
detailed economic and political conditions. Let us perfect ourselves
within, and in due season changes in society will come of themselves is
the teaching. And while saints are engaged in introspection, burly
sinners run the world. But when self-hood is perceived to be an active
process it is also seen that social modifications are the only means of
the creation of changed personalities. Institutions are viewed in their
educative effect:--with reference to the types of individuals they
foster. The interest in individual moral improvement and the social
interest in objective reform of economic and political conditions are
identified. And inquiry into the meaning of social arrangements gets
definite point and direction. We are led to ask what the specific
stimulating, fostering and nurturing power of each specific social
arrangement may be. The old-time separation between politics and morals
is abolished at its root.

Consequently we cannot be satisfied with the general statement that
society and the state is organic to the individual. The question is one
of specific causations. Just what response does _this_ social
arrangement, political or economic, evoke, and what effect does it have
upon the disposition of those who engage in it? Does it release
capacity? If so, how widely? Among a few, with a corresponding
depression in others, or in an extensive and equitable way? Is the
capacity which is set free also directed in some coherent way, so that
it becomes a power, or its manifestation spasmodic and capricious? Since
responses are of an indefinite diversity of kind, these inquiries have
to be detailed and specific. Are men's senses rendered more delicately
sensitive and appreciative, or are they blunted and dulled by this and
that form of social organization? Are their minds trained so that the
hands are more deft and cunning? Is curiosity awakened or blunted? What
is its quality: is it merely esthetic, dwelling on the forms and
surfaces of things or is it also an intellectual searching into their
meaning? Such questions as these (as well as the more obvious ones about
the qualities conventionally labelled moral), become the starting-points
of inquiries about every institution of the community when it is
recognized that individuality is not originally given but is created
under the influences of associated life. Like utilitarianism, the theory
subjects every form of organization to continual scrutiny and criticism.
But instead of leading us to ask what it does in the way of causing
pains and pleasures to individuals already in existence, it inquires
what is done to release specific capacities and co-ordinate them into
working powers. What sort of individuals are created?

The waste of mental energy due to conducting discussion of social
affairs in terms of conceptual generalities is astonishing. How far
would the biologist and the physician progress if when the subject of
respiration is under consideration, discussion confined itself to
bandying back and forth the concepts of organ and organism:--If for
example one school thought respiration could be known and understood by
insisting upon the fact that it occurs in an individual body and
therefore is an "individual" phenomenon, while an opposite school
insisted that it is simply one function in organic interaction with
others and can be known or understood therefore only by reference to
other functions taken in an equally general or wholesale way? Each
proposition is equally true and equally futile. What is needed is
specific inquiries into a multitude of specific structures and
interactions. Not only does the solemn reiteration of categories of
individual and organic or social whole not further these definite and
detailed inquiries, but it checks them. It detains thought within
pompous and sonorous generalities wherein controversy is as inevitable
as it is incapable of solution. It is true enough that if cells were not
in vital interaction with one another, they could neither conflict nor
co-operate. But the fact of the existence of an "organic" social group,
instead of answering any questions merely marks the fact that questions
exist: Just what conflicts and what co-operations occur, and what are
their specific causes and consequences? But because of the persistence
within social philosophy of the order of ideas that has been expelled
from natural philosophy, even sociologists take conflict or co-operation
as general categories upon which to base their science, and condescend
to empirical facts only for illustrations. As a rule, their chief
"problem" is a purely dialectical one, covered up by a thick quilt of
empirical anthropological and historical citations: How do individuals
unite to form society? How are individuals socially controlled? And the
problem is justly called dialectical because it springs from antecedent
conceptions of "individual" and "social."

Just as "individual" is not one thing, but is a blanket term for the
immense variety of specific reactions, habits, dispositions and powers
of human nature that are evoked, and confirmed under the influences of
associated life, so with the term "social." Society is one word, but
infinitely many things. It covers all the ways in which by associating
together men share their experiences, and build up common interests and
aims; street gangs, schools for burglary, clans, social cliques, trades
unions, joint stock corporations, villages and international alliances.
The new method takes effect in substituting inquiry into these specific,
changing and relative facts (relative to problems and purposes, not
metaphysically relative) for solemn manipulation of general notions.

Strangely enough, the current conception of the state is a case in
point. For one direct influence of the classic order of fixed species
arranged in hierarchical order is the attempt of German political
philosophy in the nineteenth century to enumerate a definite number of
institutions, each having its own essential and immutable meaning; to
arrange them in an order of "evolution" which corresponds with the
dignity and rank of the respective meanings. The National State was
placed at the top as the consummation and culmination, and also the
basis of all other institutions.

Hegel is a striking example of this industry, but he is far from the
only one. Many who have bitterly quarrelled with him, have only differed
as to the details of the "evolution" or as to the particular meaning to
be attributed as essential _Begriff_ to some one of the enumerated
institutions. The quarrel has been bitter only because the underlying
premises were the same. Particularly have many schools of thought,
varying even more widely in respect to method and conclusion, agreed
upon the final consummating position of the state. They may not go as
far as Hegel in making the sole meaning of history to be the evolution
of National Territorial States, each of which embodies more than the
prior form of the essential meaning or conception of _the_ State and
consequently displaces it, until we arrive at that triumph of historical
evolution, the Prussian State. But they do not question the unique and
supreme position of the State in the social hierarchy. Indeed that
conception has hardened into unquestionable dogma under the title of
sovereignty.

There can be no doubt of the tremendously important rôle played by the
modern territorial national state. The formation of these states has
been the centre of modern political history. France, Great Britain,
Spain were the first peoples to attain nationalistic organization, but
in the nineteenth century their example was followed by Japan, Germany
and Italy, to say nothing of a large number of smaller states, Greece,
Servia, Bulgaria, etc. As everybody knows, one of the most important
phases of the recent world war was the struggle to complete the
nationalistic movement, resulting in the erection of Bohemia, Poland,
etc., into independent states, and the accession of Armenia, Palestine,
etc., to the rank of candidates.

The struggle for the supremacy of the State over other forms of
organization was directed against the power of minor districts,
provinces, principalities, against the dispersion of power among feudal
lords as well as, in some countries, against the pretensions of an
ecclesiastic potentate. The "State" represents the conspicuous
culmination of the great movement of social integration and
consolidation taking place in the last few centuries, tremendously
accelerated by the concentrating and combining forces of steam and
electricity. Naturally, inevitably, the students of political science
have been preoccupied with this great historic phenomenon, and their
intellectual activities have been directed to its systematic
formulation. Because the contemporary progressive movement was to
establish the unified state against the inertia of minor social units
and against the ambitions of rivals for power, political theory
developed the dogma of the sovereignty of the national state, internally
and externally.

As the work of integration and consolidation reaches its climax, the
question arises, however, whether the national state, once it is firmly
established and no longer struggling against strong foes, is not just an
instrumentality for promoting and protecting other and more voluntary
forms of association, rather than a supreme end in itself. Two actual
phenomena may be pointed to in support of an affirmative answer. Along
with the development of the larger, more inclusive and more unified
organization of the state has gone the emancipation of individuals from
restrictions and servitudes previously imposed by custom and class
status. But the individuals freed from external and coercive bonds have
not remained isolated. Social molecules have at once recombined in new
associations and organizations. Compulsory associations have been
replaced by voluntary ones; rigid organizations by those more amenable
to human choice and purposes--more directly changeable at will. What
upon one side looks like a movement toward individualism, turns out to
be really a movement toward multiplying all kinds and varieties of
associations: Political parties, industrial corporations, scientific and
artistic organizations, trade unions, churches, schools, clubs and
societies without number, for the cultivation of every conceivable
interest that men have in common. As they develop in number and
importance, the state tends to become more and more a regulator and
adjuster among them; defining the limits of their actions, preventing
and settling conflicts.

Its "supremacy" approximates that of the conductor of an orchestra, who
makes no music himself but who harmonizes the activities of those who in
producing it are doing the thing intrinsically worth while. The state
remains highly important--but its importance consists more and more in
its power to foster and co-ordinate the activities of voluntary
groupings. Only nominally is it in any modern community the end for the
sake of which all the other societies and organizations exist. Groupings
for promoting the diversity of goods that men share have become the real
social units. They occupy the place which traditional theory has claimed
either for mere isolated individuals or for the supreme and single
political organization. Pluralism is well ordained in present political
practice and demands a modification of hierarchical and monistic theory.
Every combination of human forces that adds its own contribution of
value to life has for that reason its own unique and ultimate worth. It
cannot be degraded into a means to glorify the State. One reason for the
increased demoralization of war is that it forces the State into an
abnormally supreme position.

The other concrete fact is the opposition between the claim of
independent sovereignty in behalf of the territorial national state and
the growth of international and what have well been called
trans-national interests. The weal and woe of any modern state is bound
up with that of others. Weakness, disorder, false principles on the part
of any state are not confined within its boundaries. They spread and
infect other states. The same is true of economic, artistic and
scientific advances. Moreover the voluntary associations just spoken of
do not coincide with political boundaries. Associations of
mathematicians, chemists, astronomers; business corporations, labor
organizations, churches are trans-national because the interests they
represent are worldwide. In such ways as these, internationalism is not
an aspiration but a fact, not a sentimental ideal but a force. Yet these
interests are cut across and thrown out of gear by the traditional
doctrine of exclusive national sovereignty. It is the vogue of this
doctrine, or dogma, that presents the strongest barrier to the effective
formation of an international mind which alone agrees with the moving
forces of present-day labor, commerce, science, art and religion.

Society, as was said, is many associations not a single organization.
Society means association; coming together in joint intercourse and
action for the better realization of any form of experience which is
augmented and confirmed by being shared. Hence there are as many
associations as there are goods which are enhanced by being mutually
communicated and participated in. And these are literally indefinite in
number. Indeed, capacity to endure publicity and communication is the
test by which it is decided whether a pretended good is genuine or
spurious. Moralists have always insisted upon the fact that good is
universal, objective, not just private, particular. But too often, like
Plato, they have been content with a metaphysical universality or, like
Kant, with a logical universality. Communication, sharing, joint
participation are the only actual ways of universalizing the moral law
and end. We insisted at the last hour upon the unique character of every
intrinsic good. But the counterpart of this proposition is that the
situation in which a good is consciously realized is not one of
transient sensations or private appetites but one of sharing and
communication--public, social. Even the hermit communes with gods or
spirits; even misery loves company; and the most extreme selfishness
includes a band of followers or some partner to share in the attained
good. Universalization means socialization, the extension of the area
and range of those who share in a good.

The increasing acknowledgment that goods exist and endure only through
being communicated and that association is the means of conjoint sharing
lies back of the modern sense of humanity and democracy. It is the
saving salt in altruism and philanthropy, which without this factor
degenerate into moral condescension and moral interference, taking the
form of trying to regulate the affairs of others under the guise of
doing them good or of conferring upon them some right as if it were a
gift of charity. It follows that organization is never an end in itself.
It is a means of promoting _association_, of multiplying effective
points of contact between persons, directing their intercourse into the
modes of greatest fruitfulness.

The tendency to treat organization as an end in itself is responsible
for all the exaggerated theories in which individuals are subordinated
to some institution to which is given the noble name of society. Society
is the _process_ of associating in such ways that experiences, ideas,
emotions, values are transmitted and made common. To this active
process, both the individual and the institutionally organized may truly
be said to be subordinate. The individual is subordinate because except
in and through communication of experience from and to others, he
remains dumb, merely sentient, a brute animal. Only in association with
fellows does he become a conscious centre of experience. Organization,
which is what traditional theory has generally meant by the term Society
or State, is also subordinate because it becomes static, rigid,
institutionalized whenever it is not employed to facilitate and enrich
the contacts of human beings with one another.

The long-time controversy between rights and duties, law and freedom is
another version of the strife between the Individual and Society as
fixed concepts. Freedom for an individual means growth, ready change
when modification is required.

It signifies an active process, that of release of capacity from
whatever hems it in. But since society can develop only as new resources
are put at its disposal, it is absurd to suppose that freedom has
positive significance for individuality but negative meaning for social
interests. Society is strong, forceful, stable against accident only
when all its members can function to the limit of their capacity. Such
functioning cannot be achieved without allowing a leeway of
experimentation beyond the limits of established and sanctioned custom.
A certain amount of overt confusion and irregularity is likely to
accompany the granting of the margin of liberty without which capacity
cannot find itself. But socially as well as scientifically the great
thing is not to avoid mistakes but to have them take place under
conditions such that they can be utilized to increase intelligence in
the future.

If British liberal social philosophy tended, true to the spirit of its
atomistic empiricism, to make freedom and the exercise of rights ends in
themselves, the remedy is not to be found in recourse to a philosophy of
fixed obligations and authoritative law such as characterized German
political thinking. The latter, as events have demonstrated, is
dangerous because of its implicit menace to the free self-determination
of other social groups. But it is also weak internally when put to the
final test. In its hostility to the free experimentation and power of
choice of the individual in determining social affairs, it limits the
capacity of many or most individuals to share effectively in social
operations, and thereby deprives society of the full contribution of all
its members. The best guarantee of collective efficiency and power is
liberation and use of the diversity of individual capacities in
initiative, planning, foresight, vigor and endurance. Personality must
be educated, and personality cannot be educated by confining its
operations to technical and specialized things, or to the less important
relationships of life. Full education comes only when there is a
responsible share on the part of each person, in proportion to capacity,
in shaping the aims and policies of the social groups to which he
belongs. This fact fixes the significance of democracy. It cannot be
conceived as a sectarian or racial thing nor as a consecration of some
form of government which has already attained constitutional sanction.
It is but a name for the fact that human nature is developed only when
its elements take part in directing things which are common, things for
the sake of which men and women form groups--families, industrial
companies, governments, churches, scientific associations and so on. The
principle holds as much of one form of association, say in industry and
commerce, as it does in government. The identification of democracy with
political democracy which is responsible for most of its failures is,
however, based upon the traditional ideas which make the individual and
the state ready-made entities in themselves.

As the new ideas find adequate expression in social life, they will be
absorbed into a moral background, and will the ideas and beliefs
themselves be deepened and be unconsciously transmitted and sustained.
They will color the imagination and temper the desires and affections.
They will not form a set of ideas to be expounded, reasoned out and
argumentatively supported, but will be a spontaneous way of envisaging
life. Then they will take on religious value. The religious spirit will
be revivified because it will be in harmony with men's unquestioned
scientific beliefs and their ordinary day-by-day social activities. It
will not be obliged to lead a timid, half-concealed and half-apologetic
life because tied to scientific ideas and social creeds that are
continuously eaten into and broken down. But especially will the ideas
and beliefs themselves be deepened and intensified because spontaneously
fed by emotion and translated into imaginative vision and fine art,
while they are now maintained by more or less conscious effort, by
deliberate reflection, by taking thought. They are technical and
abstract just because they are not as yet carried as matter of course by
imagination and feelings.

We began by pointing out that European philosophy arose when
intellectual methods and scientific results moved away from social
traditions which had consolidated and embodied the fruits of spontaneous
desire and fancy. It was pointed out that philosophy had ever since had
the problem of adjusting the dry, thin and meagre scientific standpoint
with the obstinately persisting body of warm and abounding imaginative
beliefs. Conceptions of possibility, progress, free movement and
infinitely diversified opportunity have been suggested by modern
science. But until they have displaced from _imagination_ the heritage
of the immutable and the once-for-all ordered and systematized, the
ideas of mechanism and matter will lie like a dead weight upon the
emotions, paralyzing religion and distorting art. When the liberation of
capacity no longer seems a menace to organization and established
institutions, something that cannot be avoided practically and yet
something that is a threat to conservation of the most precious values
of the past, when the liberating of human capacity operates as a
socially creative force, art will not be a luxury, a stranger to the
daily occupations of making a living. Making a living economically
speaking, will be at one with making a life that is worth living. And
when the emotional force, the mystic force one might say, of
communication, of the miracle of shared life and shared experience is
spontaneously felt, the hardness and crudeness of contemporary life will
be bathed in the light that never was on land or sea.

Poetry, art, religion are precious things. They cannot be maintained by
lingering in the past and futilely wishing to restore what the movement
of events in science, industry and politics has destroyed. They are an
out-flowering of thought and desires that unconsciously converge into a
disposition of imagination as a result of thousands and thousands of
daily episodes and contact. They cannot be willed into existence or
coerced into being. The wind of the spirit bloweth where it listeth and
the kingdom of God in such things does not come with observation. But
while it is impossible to retain and recover by deliberate volition old
sources of religion and art that have been discredited, it is possible
to expedite the development of the vital sources of a religion and art
that are yet to be. Not indeed by action directly aimed at their
production, but by substituting faith in the active tendencies of the
day for dread and dislike of them, and by the courage of intelligence to
follow whither social and scientific changes direct us. We are weak
today in ideal matters because intelligence is divorced from aspiration.
The bare force of circumstance compels us onwards in the daily detail of
our beliefs and acts, but our deeper thoughts and desires turn
backwards. When philosophy shall have co-operated with the course of
events and made clear and coherent the meaning of the daily detail,
science and emotion will interpenetrate, practice and imagination will
embrace. Poetry and religious feeling will be the unforced flowers of
life. To further this articulation and revelation of the meanings of the
current course of events is the task and problem of philosophy in days
of transition.



INDEX


  Absolute reality, 23, 27

  Absolutism, 97, 190;
    Kant and, 99

  Abstract definition, 20

  Abstractions, 149-150, 174

  Absurdities, 10

  Achievements, 194

  Action, kind of, 80

  Adult life, 185, 186

  America, 41

  Amoeba, 91

  Animals, dramatisation in primitive life of man, 4

  Antiquity, 33

  Apprehension, 142

  Aquinas, 55, 106

  Argumentation, 31, 132

  Aristotle, 13, 17, 19, 55;
    Bacon's charge against, 30-31, 36;
    distinction in ends, 171;
    experience, 79, 80;
    forms, 105;
    on change, 107;
    on philosophy as contemplation, 109, 110;
    on slavery, 191;
    theory of the state, 44;
    ultimate reality, 106

  Art, 34, 103, 211, 212

  Artisan, 15;
    knowledge, 110

  Associations, 205;
    voluntary, 203

  Astronomers, 65, 113

  Astronomy, 75

  Athenians, 13, 19

  Augustine, St., 111

  Authority, 48, 139, 195;
    final, 161;
    seat of, 160.
    _See also_ Final good


  Bacon, Francis, 28, 81, 97;
    criticism of the learning of his day, 29-30;
    experience, 97-98;
    "knowledge is power," 29;
    summary of ideas, 29

  Being, perfect, 111

  Being and non-being, 107

  Beliefs and facts, 12

  Bentham, 166, 182, 188

  Bergson, 71

  Berkeley, 50

  Biology, 75, 84

  Bliss, 111, 112

  Bosanquet, 134

  Bradley, 107

  Bruno, 66

  Business, 41, 43, 183

  Butler, Bishop, 21


  Capital, 43

  Capital and labour, 191

  Capitalism, 41, 182

  Castes, material, 59

  Casuistry, 166

  Causation, 63

  Causes, 59, 60

  Certainty, 21, 22

  Change, ancient idea of, 57;
    existing view, 113;
    law of the universe, 61;
    Plato and Aristotle on, 107;
    progress and, 116

  Chemistry, 75

  Child life, 91-92, 184

  Christian mediaeval philosophy, 17, 19

  Christian theology, 111

  Church, 47;
    universal, 45

  Classes, 75, 152, 155;
    in the ancient conception of the world, 59

  Classic conception of philosophy, 17, 22, 24, 74, 105

  Classification, 152, 169

  Common sense, 100

  Communication at a distance, 118, 120

  Comte, Auguste, 10

  Conceptions, 81, 144, 145;
    reconstruction in, moral, 161;
    truth, 156

  Concrete cases, in morals, 161;
    in social philosophy, 188

  Concreteness, 150

  Condillac, 81

  Conduct, 80;
    right course, 163

  Conflict, 108, 138, 140;
  of ends, 166

  Conscience, 46

  Consequences, investigating, 163-164

  Conservatism, 18, 33, 40, 100

  Constant, 61

  Contemplation, 109, 111

  Contract theory of the state, 45

  Control, 42, 64

  Co-operation in research, 37

  Cosmogonies and cosmologies, 9

  Cosmology, 70, 75

  Craftsmen, 12, 13

  Criteria, 77

  Crusades, 39

  Cults, 8;
    consolidation, 9

  Custom, 17, 161


  Dante, 55

  Darwin, 75

  Deduction, 148

  Delusions, 139

  Democracy, 47, 186, 206;
    of facts, 66;
    significance, 209

  Demonstration, 20, 21, 31;
    discovery vs., 32

  Descartes, 50

  Desires, 110, 111;
    frustration, 104

  Details, 141

  Development, Aristotle's use of term, 57, 58

  Diagnosis, 142

  Direction, 176

  Disagreeable, 103

  Discipline, 103, 104, 184

  Discord, 108

  Discovery, contacts of 16th and 17th centuries, 39;
    demonstration vs., 32;
    logic of, 31, 33;
    moral, 174

  Distance, 118-119, 120

  Doctrines, 8;
    consolidation, 9

  Dogma, 145, 159

  Dreams, 119, 120, 139;
    world of, 7

  Dualism, 173

  Duties and rights, 207


  Earth, ancient conception, 55;
    relation to universe, 66

  Economic ends, 171-172

  Education, 125, 183, 209

  Efficient cause, 59, 60

  Emotion, 103, 210

  Empirical and rational, 81, 87

  Empiricists, 78, 82

  Ends, conflicting, 166;
    fixed, 70;
    intrinsic and instrumental, 170, 172-173;
    means and, 72-73;
    values, 175

  English empiricism, 99

  Environment, 10;
    life and, 84

  Epistemology, 49, 70, 123, 126

  Errors, 35

  Esthetic and practical, 66

  Estheticism, 115-116, 117, 180;
    science and, reconciling, 127

  Ether, 55, 56

  Ethical theory, 161

  Europe, nationalistic movement, 201;
    social cause of intellectual revolution in 16th and 17th
          centuries, 38-39

  Evil, problem of, 177

  Evolution, in Aristotle, 58;
    of the state, 200-201

  Existence, two realms, 22

  Experience, 32;
    as a guide in science and moral life, 78;
    basis of old notion of, 79;
    changed conceptions, 77;
    classic notion and modern, 81;
    combined doing and suffering, 86;
    evil result of unimaginative conception of, 100-101;
    Greek, 79;
    modern appeal to, 48;
    new conception, 83;
    Plato, 92;
    principles and, 48;
    self-regulative, 94-95;
    true "stuff" of, 91

  Experimental method, 13

  Experimentation, 42

  Exploration, 39, 40


  Facing facts, 140, 141, 143

  Facts, 10, 98

  Falsity, 158

  Family principle, 189;
    in the world at large, 61-62

  Fanaticism, 168

  Fancy. _See_ Imagination

  Fear, 40

  Feudalism, 43, 45;
    of the universe in ancient conception, 59, 61-62

  Fighting, 15

  Final cause, 59, 60, 68

  Final good, 161-162, 183;
    existence of a single good questioned, 162

  Fine arts, 126

  Finite, 107

  Finite and infinite, 66

  Fire, 11, 56, 86

  Fixed ends, 165

  Flux, 57, 108

  Formal cause, 59, 60

  Forms of Aristotle, 105

  Free will, 196

  Freedom, law and, 207;
    religious, 46

  Future, 48

  Future aim of philosophy, 26


  General notions, in morals, 161;
    in social philosophy, 188

  Generalities, 174;
    social affairs and, 198

  Generalisations, 10, 151

  Geology, 75

  German political philosophy, 200, 208-209

  German rationalism, 99

  Germans, system, order, docility, 98-99

  Germany, 19

  God, 10, 109

  Golden Age, 48

  Good. _See_ Final good

  Goodness, 179

  Greeks, 9, 13, 19, 66, 67, 126;
    ethical theory, 161;
    religion, 105;
    science and arts, 93

  Growth, 184;
    of knowledge, 31;
    moral, 177


  Happiness, 179

  Healthy living, 166, 167, 177

  Heavens, ancient conception, 56

  Hegel, 19, 106, 189, 190;
    conception of the state, 200, 201;
    logic, 134

  Helvetius, 81

  Hierarchical order, 59

  "Higher" ends, 172

  Hindoos, 126

  History, Hegel's conception, 201

  History of philosophy, 25

  Hobbes, 88, 188

  _Homo faber_, 71

  Human aims, 42, 43

  Human life, "real" and "ideal," a live issue, 128

  Humanism and naturalism, 174

  Humanity, 206

  Hume, 50, 83, 89

  Hypotheses, 22, 145

  Hysteria, 139


  Ideal, changed conceptions, 103;
    problem of relation to the real, 130;
    real and, a human issue, 128

  Ideal realm, classic and modern conceptions contrasted, 118

  Idealism, 129;
    epistemological, 49, 51;
    theological, 50;
    tragic kind, 129-130

  Ideality, one with reality, 111;
    philosophic conception, 106

  Ideas of Plato, 105

  Idols, 36

  Ills, 169;
    philosophy and, 177-178

  Imagination, 211;
    empirical knowledge and, 73, 74;
    reshaping power, 103, 106

  Independence, 110;
    social, 185

  India, 41

  Individual, 36, 45, 51;
    concept as something given, 193;
    in social and moral sense, 194;
    social and, 199;
    state and, 190, 191

  Individualism, 50;
    political, 45, 46;
    religious, 46;
    religious and moral, 46

  Induction, 34

  Industrial revolution and scientific revolution, 38, 41

  Industry, movements, 47;
    science and, 38, 41, 42

  Infinite, 66, 67

  Initiative 46, 209

  Innate ideas, 35, 82

  Inquiry, 174;
    free, 146;
    impartial, 147;
    methods in moral ills, 170

  Insincerity, 20

  Instability, 107

  Institutions, 196;
    true starting-points of inquiry about, 197

  Instrumental ends, 171

  Intellect, 6

  Intellectual somnambulism, 140

  Intellectualism, 117

  Intelligence, 36, 51;
    as inquiry into consequences, 163-164;
    definition, 96

  Interest, 194-195

  International interests, 204, 205

  Intrinsic good, 170, 206

  Introspection, 196

  Invention, 39, 42, 49, 122

  Investigation, 147

  _Ipse dixit_ method, 166

  Irresponsibility, 97


  James, William, 21;
    Pragmatism, 38

  Judea, 9

  Judgment, 133;
    moral, 176;
    standards, 175


  Kant, 50, 83, 98, 206;
    his philosophy and German character, 98-99

  Kinship, 62

  Knowledge, conception as beholding, 115;
    degrees, 108;
    empirical as organ of imagination, 73, 74;
    existing practice, 112;
    modern view of right way to get it, 113;
    positive, 12;
    positive vs. tradition, 16;
    practical and operative, 121, 122;
    sensations and, 87, 88, 89;
    spectator conception, 112, 117

  "Knowledge is power," 29, 42, 51


  Law, 61, 64;
    freedom and, 207;
    reason and, 98.
    _See also_ Final good

  Learning, Bacon's three kinds, 29

  Licentiousness, 163

  Life, 167, 211;
    environment and, 84-85

  Literary culture, 39

  Locke, 35, 50, 81, 89, 152;
    philosophic empiricism, 82

  Logic, a science and an art, 135;
    apparatus, 20, 21;
    character, 132, 134;
    importance, 138;
    in morals and politics, 138;
    inconsistencies, 134;
    new, 36;
    of discovery, 33;
    of discovery vs. that of argumentation, 31;
    theory, chaotic state, 133

  Logical system, 9

  Lotze, 134


  Making a living, 211

  Man, perfectibility, 49;
    primitive, 4, 5;
    savage and civilized, 85;
    tool-maker, 71

  Marcus Aurelius, 106

  Materialism, 50, 70, 73, 171, 182

  Mathematics, 137, 149

  Matter, 72, 211

  Means and ends, 72-73

  Mechanics, 67, 69;
    Greeks and, 67

  Mechanism, 211

  Mechanisation of nature, 71-72

  Mediaeval Christianity, 17, 19, 126

  Meliorism, 178

  Memory, 1, 6, 103;
    emotional character, 2;
    individual and group, 8;
    primitive, 3

  Metaphysics, 17, 124, 126

  Methods, 149;
    social philosophy, 193;
    true, 32

  Middle Ages, 47, 64, 132

  Military art, 15

  Mill, J. S., 132

  Mind, pure, 111

  Miracles, 125

  Mistakes, 175

  Modern thought, 52;
    Bacon as founder, 28;
    early, 49, 50.
    _See also_ Thought

  Mohammedans, 39

  Moral ends, 169

  Moral life, 165

  Moral  science. _See  under_ Science

  Morality, pragmatic rule, 163;
    standard of judgment, 176

  Morals, 126, 169;
    politics and, 197


  National state, 200;
    end or instrument, 202-203;
    rôle of the modern, 201

  Nationalistic movement, 201

  Natural Science. _See under_ Science

  Naturalism and humanism, 174

  Nature, contrast of ancient and modern conceptions, 53-54;
    inquiry into, 32, 37, 48, 49;
    loss of poetry when considered as mechanism, 69;
    profound change in man's attitude to, 115;
    value of mechanisation, 71-72;
    web imposed on, 35-36

  Neglect, 97

  Neo-Platonism, 111

  New World, 39

  Non-being, 107

  Noumenal reality, 23

  _Nous_, 36


  Obliviscence of the disagreeable, 103

  Observation, 140

  Optimism, 178

  Opportunity, 211

  Organic society, 187

  Organisms, 86

  Organisation, 206-207

  Oriental nations, 127

  Origin of philosophies, 5, 18, 24, 25


  Pantheon, Greek, 105

  Past, 212

  Perfectibility of mankind, 49

  Perfection, 177

  Personality, 47, 189, 209

  Persuasion, 31

  Pessimism, 178

  Phariseeism, 176

  Phenomenal reality, 23

  Philosophy, emancipation, 123;
    function, 111, 122;
    future aim and scope, 26;
    hard and fast alternatives of English and German schools, 99-100;
    history, 25;
    opportunities, 49;
    origin, 5, 18, 24, 25;
    practical nature, 121;
    proper province, 21, 124;
    work, 18

  Physician, 168

  Physics, 75

  Plato, 13, 14, 17, 19, 188, 205;
    dramatic sense, 15;
    experience, 79, 92;
    ideas, ideal realm, 105;
    on change, 107;
    social arts, 94;
    ultimate reality, 106

  Pleasure, 181

  Plotinus, 106

  Pluralism, 204

  Poetry, 7, 8, 103, 212

  Political changes, 43

  Political organisation, 44

  Politics, 125;
    morals and, 197;
    movements, 47

  Possession of knowledge, 31

  Potentiality, Aristotle's use of term, 57, 58

  Practical and esthetic, 66

  Pragmatism, 38

  Pretensions, 21

  Primitive man, 4

  Principles, 81, 163;
    criteria of experience, 48

  Probability, 21

  Production, 181

  Progress, 42, 48, 116, 211;
    Bacon and, 32, 34;
    economic and moral, contrast, 125

  Proof, 20

  Property, 182, 189

  Protestantism, 46

  Proudhon, 189

  Prussian State, 190, 201

  Psychology, 83, 135;
    change in, 84;
    malicious, 82

  Pure reason, 78


  Questioning, 17. _See also_ Inquiry


  Radicalism, 18, 19, 100

  Rank, 63

  Rationalism, 97;
    rigidity, 98

  Rationalists 87, 88, 89

  Rationalisation, 97, 102

  Real, changed conceptions, 103;
    ideal and, a human issue, 128;
    problem of relation to the ideal, 130

  Reality, 23, 27;
    classic conception, 105;
    nomenal vs. phenomenal, 23;
    ultimate, 106;
    ultimate, one with ideality, 111

  Reason, 83, 174;
    as a faculty separate from experience, 95;
    as re-adjusting intelligence, 96;
    changed conceptions, 77

  Reasoning, 32

  Reconstruction of philosophy, 52;
    essential, 51;
    historical factors, 28;
    in moral conceptions, 161;
    scientific factor, 53;
    social philosophy and, 187;
    specific present problem, 43;
    value of a solution of the dilemma of reason and experience, 101

  Re-creation, 51, 180

  Reform, 179, 180;
    starting-point, 196

  Relativity of sensations, 88

  Religion, 103, 211, 212;
    movements, 47

  Religious freedom, 46

  Religious spirit, 210

  Renaissance, 29

  Research, 42;
    co-operative, 37

  Responsibility, 163

  Revolution of thought, 60

  Rights and duties, 207

  Rome, 9

  Ruler and subject, 44;
    in nature, 64

  Rules of conduct, 165


  Sailors, 11

  Salvation, 112

  Santayana, George, on Locke, 82

  Satisfaction, 157

  Savage, 85, 176

  Scholasticism, 30

  Science, 11, 23;
    advance in, 53;
    co-operative pursuit, 37;
    estheticism and, reconciling, 127;
    human value, 173;
    industry and, 38, 41, 42;
    natural, 42, 48;
    open world of, 61;
    origin, 12;
    picture of universe, 64-65;
    relation to experience, 95;
    separation of natural and moral, 173;
    so-called, 36;
    traditional, 30

  Scientific revolution, 53

  Self-delusion, 140

  Self-interest, 194-195

  Sensations, 84;
    as points of readjustment, 89;
    relativity, 88

  Senses, 84, 87

  Sentimentalism, 73

  Shakespeare, 94

  Slavery, 191

  Social belief, 26

  Social development, 43

  Social evils, 182.
    _See also_ Ills

  Social philosophy, reconstruction, 187;
    reconstructive impact, 193

  Social unit, real, 204

  Social welfare, 180

  Sociality, 185

  Society, 200, 205;
    defect of usual theories about, 188;
    individuals and, three views, 187-188;
    philosophy and, 124

  Socrates, 14, 17

  Soldiers, 139

  Sophists, 13, 14

  Space, 118-119, 120

  Spinoza, 106

  Standards, 175

  State, Aristotle's theory, 44;
    contract theory, 45;
    current conception, 200;
    importance, 204;
    individual and, 190, 191;
    modern, 44;
    origin, 44;
    supremacy, 202, 203

  Subject and ruler, 44;
    in nature, 64

  Success, 179

  Suggestions, 3, 6, 7

  _Summum Bonum._ _See_ Final good

  Supernaturalism, 47

  System, 98, 99


  Telegraph, 120

  Telephone, 120

  Terminology, 21

  Theories, 144, 145;
    validity, 156

  Theory and practice, 140

  Things as they are, 115

  Thinking, habits, 74, 75.
    _See also_ Thought

  Thomas, St. _See_ Aquinas

  Thought, 117;
    good and bad thinking, 136;
    instrumental nature, 145-146;
    its origin in difficulties, 138-139;
    kinds, 135;
    logic and, 134;
    place, 96;
    systems, 145

  Tolerance, 46

  Tradition, 14;
    positive knowledge vs., 16

  Transitoriousness, 106

  Travel, 39, 40

  Trouble, 138, 140

  Truth, as utility, 157;
    defining, 159-160;
    logical conception, 156-157;
    old and new, 33, 34;
    pragmatic conception, 156, 159;
    test of, nature of, 155, 166;
    why the modern conception is offensive, 157, 158


  Unity, 108

  Universal, 64

  Universe, closed conception, 54

  Utilitarianism, defects, 181;
    merit, 180;
    need of reconstruction, 183

  Utility, 157


  Valves, 15

  Verification, 156

  Virtues, 164

  Vision, 21


  War, 204

  War, world, lesson, 129;
    nationalistic phase, 201;
    "real" and "ideal" in, 128

  Wealth, 40, 42, 125

  Wind, 11

  Work, 181

  Workingmen, 139

  World, closed and open conceptions, 54, 60-61;
    modern conception as material for change, 114;
    nomenal and phenomenal, 23



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:


Phrases in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Typos corrected:

  (Chapter III) "Home Faber" to "Homo Faber"
  (Index entry) "Summum Conum" to "Summum Bonum"

The text is in American-English but the Index seems to be done in
British-English. Below are some words in the Index which are different
from the text:

  INDEX              TEXT
  -----              ----
  dramatisation      dramatization
  labour             labor
  mediaeval          medieval
  Generalisations    Generalizations
  mechanisation      mechanization    (2 instances)
  organisation       organization     (2 instances)
  Rationalisation    Rationalization
  nomenal            noumenal         (2 instances)





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