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Title: Essays in Experimental Logic
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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[Transcriber's Note:

On P. 435, there are four instances of "2" in brackets. {2} indicates a
subscript 2. ^{2} indicates a superscript 2.

[+] in Footnote 69 indicates a larger than normal plus sign.

Remaining transcriber's notes are at the end of the text.]

               ESSAYS IN


              JOHN DEWEY


           COPYRIGHT 1916 BY

          All Rights Reserved

          Published June 1916
       Second Impression May 1918
      Third Impression October 1920

        Composed and Printed By
    The University of Chicago Press
       Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.


In 1903 a volume was published by the University of Chicago Press,
entitled _Studies in Logical Theory_, as a part of the "Decennial
Publications" of the University. The volume contained contributions by
Drs. Thompson (now Mrs. Woolley), McLennan, Ashley, Gore, Heidel,
Stuart, and Moore, in addition to four essays by the present writer
who was also general editor of the volume. The edition of the
_Studies_ being recently exhausted, the Director of the Press
suggested that my own essays be reprinted, together with other studies
of mine in the same field. The various contributors to the original
volume cordially gave assent, and the present volume is the outcome.
Chaps. ii-v, inclusive, represent (with editorial revisions, mostly
omissions) the essays taken from the old volume. The first and
introductory chapter has been especially written for the volume. The
other essays are in part reprinted and in part rewritten, with
additions, from various contributions to philosophical periodicals. I
should like to point out that the essay on "Some Stages of Logical
Thought" antedates the essays taken from the volume of _Studies_,
having been published in 1900; the other essays have been written
since then. I should also like to point out that the essays in their
psychological phases are written from the standpoint of what is now
termed a behavioristic psychology, though some of them antedate the
use of that term as a descriptive epithet.

                                                       J. D.
       April 3, 1916



       I. INTRODUCTION                                            1



      IV. DATA AND MEANINGS                                     136

       V. THE OBJECTS OF THOUGHT                                157

      VI. SOME STAGES OF LOGICAL THOUGHT                        183

     VII. THE LOGICAL CHARACTER OF IDEAS                        220

    VIII. THE CONTROL OF IDEAS BY FACTS                         230


            OF THE KNOWLEDGE RELATION                           264


     XII. WHAT PRAGMATISM MEANS BY PRACTICAL                    303

    XIII. AN ADDED NOTE AS TO THE "PRACTICAL"                   330

     XIV. THE LOGIC OF JUDGMENTS OF PRACTICE                    335

    Index                                                       443



The key to understanding the doctrine of the essays which are herewith
reprinted lies in the passages regarding the temporal development of
experience. Setting out from a conviction (more current at the time
when the essays were written than it now is) that knowledge implies
judgment (and hence, thinking) the essays try to show (1) that such
terms as "thinking," "reflection," "judgment" denote inquiries or the
results of inquiry, and (2) that inquiry occupies an intermediate and
mediating place in the development of an experience. If this be
granted, it follows at once that a philosophical discussion of the
distinctions and relations which figure most largely in logical
theories depends upon a proper placing of them in their temporal
context; and that in default of such placing we are prone to transfer
the traits of the subject-matter of one phase to that of another--with
a confusing outcome.


1. An intermediary stage for knowledge (that is, for knowledge
comprising reflection and having a distinctively intellectual quality)
implies a prior stage of a different kind, a kind variously
characterized in the essays as social, affectional, technological,
aesthetic, etc. It may most easily be described from a negative point
of view: it is a type of experience which cannot be called a knowledge
experience without doing violence to the term "knowledge" and to
experience. It may contain knowledge resulting from prior inquiries;
it may include thinking within itself; but not so that they dominate
the situation and give it its peculiar flavor. Positively, anyone
recognizes the difference between an experience of quenching thirst
where the perception of water is a mere incident, and an experience of
water where knowledge of what water is, is the controlling interest;
or between the enjoyment of social converse among friends and a study
deliberately made of the character of one of the participants; between
aesthetic appreciation of a picture and an examination of it by a
connoisseur to establish the artist, or by a dealer who has a
commercial interest in determining its probable selling value. The
distinction between the two types of experience is evident to anyone
who will take the trouble to recall what he does most of the time when
not engaged in meditation or inquiry.

But since one does not think about knowledge except when he is
_thinking_, except, that is, when the intellectual or cognitional
interest is dominant, the professional philosopher is only too prone
to think of all experiences as if they were of the type he is
specially engaged in, and hence unconsciously or intentionally to
project _its_ traits into experiences to which they are alien. Unless
he takes the simple precaution of holding before his mind contrasting
experiences like those just mentioned, he generally forms a habit of
supposing that no qualities or things at all are present in experience
except as objects of some kind of apprehension or awareness.
Overlooking, and afterward denying, that things and qualities are
present to most men most of the time as things and qualities in
situations of prizing and aversion, of seeking and finding, of
converse, enjoyment and suffering, of production and employment, of
manipulation and destruction, he thinks of things as either totally
absent from experience or else there as objects of "consciousness" or
knowing. This habit is a tribute to the _importance_ of reflection and
of the knowledge which accrues from it. But a discussion of knowledge
perverted at the outset by such a misconception is not likely to
proceed prosperously.

All this is not to deny that some element of reflection or inference
may be required in any situation to which the term "experience" is
applicable in any way which contrasts with, say, the "experience" of
an oyster or a growing bean vine. Men experience illness. What they
experience is certainly something very different from an object of
apprehension, yet it is quite possible that what makes an illness into
a _conscious_ experience is precisely the intellectual elements which
intervene--a certain taking of some things as representative of other
things. My thesis about the primary character of non-reflectional
experience is not intended to preclude this hypothesis--which appears
to me a highly plausible one. But it is indispensable to note that,
even in such cases, the intellectual element is set in a context which
is non-cognitive and which holds within it in suspense a vast complex
of other qualities and things that in the experience itself are
objects of esteem or aversion, of decision, of use, of suffering, of
endeavor and revolt, not of knowledge. When, in a subsequent
reflective experience, we look back and find these things and
qualities (quales would be a better word, or values, if the latter word
were not so open to misconstruction), we are only too prone to suppose
that they were then what they are now--objects of a cognitive regard,
themes of an intellectual gesture. Hence, the erroneous conclusion
that things are either just out of experience, or else are (more or
less badly) known objects.

In any case the best way to study the character of those cognitional
factors which are merely incidental in so many of our experiences is
to study them in the type of experience where they are most prominent,
where they dominate; where knowing, in short, is the prime concern.
Such study will also, by a reflex reference, throw into greater relief
the contrasted characteristic traits of the non-reflectional types of
experience. In such contrast the significant traits of the latter are
seen to be internal organization: (1) the factors and qualities hang
together; there is a great variety of them but they are saturated with
a pervasive quality. Being ill with the grippe is an experience which
includes an immense diversity of factors, but none the less is the one
qualitatively unique experience which it is. Philosophers in their
exclusively intellectual preoccupation with analytic knowing are only
too much given to overlooking the primary import of the term "thing":
namely, _res_, an affair, an occupation, a "cause"; something which is
similar to having the grippe, or conducting a political campaign, or
getting rid of an overstock of canned tomatoes, or going to school, or
paying attention to a young woman:--in short, just what is meant in
non-philosophic discourse by "an experience." Noting things only as if
they were objects--that is, objects of knowledge--continuity is
rendered a mystery; qualitative, pervasive unity is too often regarded
as a subjective state injected into an object which does not possess
it, as a mental "construct," or else as a trait of being to be
attained to only by recourse to some curious organ of knowledge termed
intuition. In like fashion, organization is thought of as the achieved
outcome of a highly scientific knowledge, or as the result of
transcendental rational synthesis, or as a fiction superinduced by
association, upon elements each of which in its own right "is a
separate existence." One advantage of an excursion by one who
philosophizes upon knowledge into primary non-reflectional experience
is that the excursion serves to remind him that every empirical
situation has its own organization of a direct, non-logical character.

(2) Another trait of every _res_ is that it has focus and context:
brilliancy and obscurity, conspicuousness or apparency, and
concealment or reserve, with a constant movement of redistribution.
Movement about an axis persists, but what is in focus constantly
changes. "Consciousness," in other words, is only a very small and
shifting portion of experience. The scope and content of the focused
apparency have immediate dynamic connections with portions of
experience not at the time obvious. The word which I have just written
is momentarily focal; around it there shade off into vagueness my
typewriter, the desk, the room, the building, the campus, the town,
and so on. _In_ the experience, and in it in such a way as to
_qualify_ even what is shiningly apparent, are all the physical
features of the environment extending out into space no one can say
how far, and all the habits and interests extending backward and
forward in time, of the organism which uses the typewriter and which
notes the written form of the word only as temporary focus in a vast
and changing scene. I shall not dwell upon the import of this fact in
its critical bearings upon theories of experience which have been
current. I shall only point out that when the word "experience" is
employed in the text it means just such an immense and operative world
of diverse and interacting elements.

It might seem wiser, in view of the fact that the term "experience" is
so frequently used by philosophers to denote something very different
from such a world, to use an acknowledgedly objective term: to talk
about the typewriter, for example. But experience in ordinary usage
(as distinct from its technical use in psychology and philosophy)
expressly denotes something which a specific term like "typewriter"
does _not_ designate: namely, the indefinite range of context in which
the typewriter is _actually_ set, its spatial and temporal
environment, including the habitudes, plans, and activities of its
operator. And if we are asked why not then use a general objective
term like "world," or "environment," the answer is that the word
"experience" suggests something indispensable which these terms omit:
namely, an actual focusing of the world at one point in a focus of
immediate shining apparency. In other words, in its ordinary human
usage, the term "experience" was invented and employed previously
because of the necessity of having some way to refer peremptorily to
what is indicated in only a roundabout and divided way by such terms
as "organism" and "environment," "subject" and "object," "persons"
and "things," "mind" and "nature," and so on.[1]


Had this background of the essays been more explicitly depicted, I do
not know whether they would have met with more acceptance, but it is
likely that they would not have met with so many misunderstandings.
But the essays, save for slight incidental references, took this
background for granted in the allusions to the universe of
non-reflectional experience of our doings, sufferings, enjoyments of
the world and of one another. It was their purpose to point out that
reflection (and, hence, knowledge having logical properties) arises
because of the appearance of incompatible factors within the empirical
situation just pointed at: incompatible not in a mere structural or
static sense, but in an active and progressive sense. Then opposed
responses are provoked which cannot be taken simultaneously in overt
action, and which accordingly can be dealt with, whether
simultaneously or successively, only after they have been brought into
a plan of organized action by means of analytic resolution and
synthetic imaginative conspectus; in short, by means of being taken
cognizance of. In other words, reflection appears as the dominant
trait of a situation when there is something seriously the matter,
some trouble, due to active discordance, dissentiency, conflict among
the factors of a prior non-intellectual experience; when, in the
phraseology of the essays, a situation becomes tensional.[2]

Given such a situation, it is obvious that the meaning of the
situation as a whole is uncertain. Through calling out two opposed
modes of behavior, it presents itself as meaning two incompatible
things. The only way out is through careful inspection of the
situation, involving resolution into elements, and a going out beyond
what is found upon such inspection to be given, to something else to
get a leverage for understanding it. That is, we have (_a_) to locate
the difficulty, and (_b_) to devise a method of coping with it. Any
such way of looking at thinking demands moreover that the difficulty
be located _in_ the situation in question (very literally in
question). Knowing always has a _particular_ purpose, and its solution
must be a function of its conditions in connection with _additional_
ones which are brought to bear. Every reflective knowledge, in other
words, has a specific task which is set by a concrete and empirical
situation, so that it can perform that task only by detecting and
remaining faithful to the conditions in the situation in which the
difficulty arises, while its purpose is a reorganization of its
factors in order to get unity.

So far, however, there is no accomplished knowledge, but only knowledge
coming to be--learning, in the classic Greek conception. Thinking gets
no farther, as _thinking_, than a statement of elements constituting
the difficulty at hand and a statement--a propounding, a
proposition--of a method for resolving them. In fixing the framework of
every reflective situation, this state of affairs also determines the
further step which is needed if there is to be knowledge--knowledge in
the eulogistic sense, as distinct from opinion, dogma, and guesswork,
or from what casually passes current as knowledge. Overt action is
demanded if the worth or validity of the reflective considerations is
to be determined. Otherwise, we have, at most, only a hypothesis that
the conditions of the difficulty are such and such, and that the way to
go at them so as to get over or through them is thus and so. This way
must be tried in action; it must be applied, physically, in the
situation. By finding out what then happens, we test our intellectual
findings--our logical terms or projected metes and bounds. If the
required reorganization is effected, they are confirmed, and reflection
(on that topic) ceases; if not, there is frustration, and inquiry
continues. That all knowledge, as issuing from reflection, is
experimental (in the literal physical sense of experimental) is then a
constituent proposition of this doctrine.

Upon this view, thinking, or knowledge-getting, is far from being the
armchair thing it is often supposed to be. The reason it is not an
armchair thing is that it is not an event going on exclusively within
the cortex or the cortex and vocal organs. It involves the
explorations by which relevant data are procured and the physical
analyses by which they are refined and made precise; it comprises the
readings by which information is got hold of, the words which are
experimented with, and the calculations by which the significance of
entertained conceptions or hypotheses is elaborated. Hands and feet,
apparatus and appliances of all kinds are as much a part of it as
changes in the brain. Since these physical operations (including the
cerebral events) and equipments are a part of thinking, thinking is
mental, not because of a peculiar stuff which enters into it or of
peculiar non-natural activities which constitute it, but because of
what physical acts and appliances _do_: the distinctive purpose for
which they are employed and the distinctive results which they

That reflection terminates, through a definitive overt act,[3] in
another non-reflectional situation, within which incompatible
responses may again in time be aroused, and so another problem in
reflection be set, goes without saying. Certain things about this
situation, however, do not at the present time speak for themselves
and need to be set forth. Let me in the first place call attention to
an ambiguity in the term "knowledge." The statement that all
knowledge involves reflection--or, more concretely, that it denotes
an inference from evidence--gives offense to many; it seems a
departure from fact as well as a wilful limitation of the word
"knowledge." I have in this Introduction endeavored to mitigate the
obnoxiousness of the doctrine by referring to "knowledge which is
intellectual or logical in character." Lest this expression be
regarded as a futile evasion of a real issue, I shall now be more
explicit. (1) It may well be admitted that there is a real sense in
which knowledge (as distinct from thinking or inquiring with a guess
attached) does not come into existence till thinking has terminated in
the experimental act which fulfils the specifications set forth in
thinking. But what is also true is that the object thus determined is
an object of _knowledge_ only because of the thinking which has
preceded it and to which it sets a happy term. To run against a hard
and painful stone is not of itself, I should say, an act of knowing;
but if running into a hard and painful thing is an outcome predicted
after inspection of data and elaboration of a hypothesis, then the
hardness and the painful bruise which define the thing as a stone also
constitute it emphatically an object of knowledge. In short, the
object of knowledge in the strict sense is its objective; and this
objective is not constituted till it is reached. Now this
conclusion--as the word denotes--is thinking brought to a close, done
with. If the reader does not find this statement satisfactory, he
may, pending further discussion, at least recognize that the doctrine
set forth has no difficulty in connecting knowledge with inference,
and at the same time admitting that knowledge in the emphatic sense
does not exist till inference has ceased. Seen from this point of
view, so-called immediate knowledge or simple apprehension or
acquaintance-knowledge represents a critical skill, a certainty of
response which has accrued in consequence of reflection. A like
sureness of footing apart from prior investigations and testings is
found in instinct and habit. I do not deny that these may be better
than knowing, but I see no reason for complicating an already too
confused situation by giving them the name "knowledge" with its usual
intellectual implications. From this point of view, the subject-matter
of knowledge is precisely that which we do _not_ think of, or mentally
refer to in any way, being that which is taken as matter of course,
but it is nevertheless knowledge in virtue of the inquiry which has
led up to it.

(2) Definiteness, depth, and variety of meaning attach to the objects
of an experience just in the degree in which they have been previously
thought about, even when present in an experience in which they do not
evoke inferential procedures at all. Such terms as "meaning,"
"significance," "value," have a double sense. Sometimes they mean a
function: the office of one thing representing another, or pointing to
it as implied; the operation, in short, of serving as sign. In the
word "symbol" this meaning is practically exhaustive. But the terms
also sometimes mean an inherent quality, a quality intrinsically
characterizing the thing experienced and making it worth while. The
word "sense," as in the phrase "sense of a thing" (and non-sense) is
devoted to this use as definitely as are the words "sign" and "symbol"
to the other. In such a pair as "import" and "importance," the first
tends to select the reference to another thing while the second names
an intrinsic content. In reflection, the extrinsic reference is always
primary. The height of the mercury means rain; the color of the flame
means sodium; the form of the curve means factors distributed
accidentally. In the situation which follows upon reflection, meanings
are intrinsic; they have no instrumental or subservient office,
because they have no office at all. They are as much qualities of the
objects in the situation as are red and black, hard and soft, square
and round. And every reflective experience adds new shades of such
intrinsic qualifications. In other words, while reflective knowing is
instrumental to gaining control in a troubled situation (and thus has
a practical or utilitarian force), it is also instrumental to the
enrichment of the immediate significance of subsequent experiences.
And it may well be that this by-product, this gift of the gods, is
incomparably more valuable for living a life than is the primary and
intended result of control, essential as is that control to having a
life to live. Words are treacherous in this field; there are no
accepted criteria for assigning or measuring their meanings; but if
one use the term "consciousness" to denote immediate values of
objects, then it is certainly true that "consciousness is a lyric cry
even in the midst of business." But it is equally true that if someone
else understands by consciousness the function of effective
reflection, then consciousness is a business--even in the midst of
writing or singing lyrics. But the statement remains inadequate until
we add that knowing as a business, inquiry and invention as
enterprises, as practical acts, become themselves charged with the
meaning of what they accomplish as _their_ own immediate quality.
There exists no disjunction between aesthetic qualities which are
final yet idle, and acts which are practical or instrumental. The
latter have their own delights and sorrows.


Speaking, then, from the standpoint of temporal order, we find
reflection, or thought, occupying an intermediate and reconstructive
position. It comes between a temporally prior situation (an organized
interaction of factors) of active and appreciative experience, wherein
some of the factors have become discordant and incompatible, and a
later situation, which has been constituted out of the first
situation by means of acting on the findings of reflective inquiry.
This final situation therefore has a richness of meaning, as well as a
controlled character lacking to its original. By it is fixed the
logical validity or intellectual force of the terms and relations
distinguished by reflection. Owing to the continuity of experience
(the overlapping and recurrence of like problems), these logical
fixations become of the greatest assistance to subsequent inquiries;
they are its working means. In such further uses, they get further
tested, defined, and elaborated, until the vast and refined systems of
the technical objects and formulae of the sciences come into
existence--a point to which we shall return later.

Owing to circumstances upon which it is unnecessary to dwell, the
position thus sketched was not developed primarily upon its own
independent account, but rather in the course of a criticism of
another type of logic, the idealistic logic found in Lotze. It is
obvious that the theory in question has critical bearings. According
to it, reflection in its distinctions and processes can be understood
only when placed in its intermediate pivotal temporal position--as a
process of control, through reorganization, of material alogical in
character. It intimates that thinking would not exist, and hence
knowledge would not be found, in a world which presented no troubles
or where there are no "problems of evil"; and on the other hand that a
reflective method is the only sure way of dealing with these
troubles. It intimates that while the results of reflection, because
of the continuity of experience, may be of wider scope than the
situation which calls out a particular inquiry and invention,
reflection itself is always specific in origin and aim; it always has
something special to cope with. For troubles are concretely specific.
It intimates also that thinking and reflective knowledge are never an
end-all, never their own purpose nor justification, but that they pass
naturally into a more direct and vital type of experience, whether
technological or appreciative or social. This doctrine implies,
moreover, that logical theory in its usual sense is essentially a
descriptive study; that it is an account of the processes and tools
which have actually been found effective in inquiry, comprising in the
term "inquiry" both deliberate discovery and deliberate invention.

Since the doctrine was propounded in an intellectual environment where
such statements were not commonplaces, where in fact a logic was
reigning which challenged these convictions at every point, it is not
surprising that it was put forth with a controversial coloring, being
directed particularly at the dominant idealistic logic. The point of
contact and hence the point of conflict between the logic set forth
and the idealistic logic are not far to seek. The logic based on
idealism had, as a matter of fact, treated knowledge from the
standpoint of an account of thought--of thought in the sense of
conception, judgment, and inferential reasoning. But while it had
inherited this view from the older rationalism, it had also learned
from Hume, via Kant, that direct sense or perceptual material must be
taken into account. Hence it had, in effect, formulated the problem of
logic as the problem of the connection of logical thought with
sense-material, and had attempted to set forth a metaphysics of
reality based upon various ascending stages of the completeness of the
rationalization or idealization of given, brute, fragmentary sense
material by synthetic activity of thought. While considerations of a
much less formal kind were chiefly influential in bringing idealism to
its modern vogue, such as the conciliation of a scientific with a
religious and moral point of view and the need of rationalizing social
and historic institutions so as to explain their cultural effect, yet
this logic constituted the _technique_ of idealism--its strictly
intellectual claim for acceptance.

The point of contact, and hence of conflict, between it and such a
doctrine of logic and reflective thought as is set forth above is, I
repeat, fairly obvious. Both fix upon thinking as the key to the
situation. I still believe (what I believed when I wrote the essays)
that under the influence of idealism valuable analyses and
formulations of the work of reflective thought, in its relation to
securing knowledge of objects, were executed. But--and the but is one
of exceptional gravity--the idealistic logic started from the
distinction between immediate plural data and unifying, rationalizing
meanings as a distinction ready-made in experience, and it set up as
the goal of knowledge (and hence as the definition of true reality) a
complete, exhaustive, comprehensive, and eternal system in which
plural and immediate data are forever woven into a fabric and pattern
of self-luminous meaning. In short, it ignored the temporally
intermediate and instrumental place of reflection; and because it
ignored and denied this place, it overlooked its essential feature:
control of the environment in behalf of human progress and well-being,
the effort at control being stimulated by the needs, the defects, the
troubles, which accrue when the environment coerces and suppresses man
or when man endeavors in ignorance to override the environment. Hence
it misconstrued the criterion of the work of intelligence; it set up
as its criterion an Absolute and Non-temporal reality at large,
instead of using the criterion of specific temporal achievement of
consequences through a control supplied by reflection. And with this
outcome, it proved faithless to the cause which had generated it and
given it its reason for being: the magnification of the work of
intelligence in our actual physical and social world. For a theory
which ends by declaring that everything is, really and eternally,
thoroughly ideal and rational, cuts the nerve of the specific demand
and work of intelligence.

From this general statement, let me descend to the technical point
upon which turns the criticism of idealistic logic by the essays.
Grant, for a moment, as a hypothesis, that thinking starts neither
from an implicit force of rationality desiring to realize itself
completely in and through and against the limitations which are
imposed upon it by the conditions of our human experience (as all
idealisms have taught), nor from the fact that in each human being is
a "mind" whose business it is just to "know"--to theorize in the
Aristotelian sense; but, rather, that it starts from an effort to get
out of some trouble, actual or menacing. It is quite clear that the
human race has tried many another way out besides reflective inquiry.
Its favorite resort has been a combination of magic and poetry, the
former to get the needed relief and control; the latter to import into
imagination, and hence into emotional consummation, the realizations
denied in fact. But as far as reflection does emerge and gets a
working foothold, the nature of its job is set for it. On the one
hand, it must discover, it must find out, it must detect; it must
inventory what is there. All this, or else it will never know what the
matter is; the human being will not find out what "struck him," and
hence will have no idea of where to seek for a remedy--for the needed
control. On the other hand, it must invent, it must project, it must
bring to bear upon the given situation what is not, as it exists,
given as a part of it.

This seems to be quite empirical and quite evident. The essays
submitted the thesis that this simple dichotomization of the practical
situation of power and enjoyment, when menaced, into what is there
(whether as obstacle or as resource), and into suggested
inventions--projections of something else to be brought to bear upon
it, ways of dealing with it--is the explanation of the time-honored
logical determinations of brute fact, datum and meaning or ideal
quality; of (in more psychological terminology) sense-perception and
conception; of particulars (parts, fragments) and universals-generics;
and also of whatever there is of intrinsic significance in the
traditional subject-predicate scheme of logic. It held, less formally,
that this view explained the eulogistic connotations always attaching
to "reason" and to the work of reason in effecting unity, harmony,
comprehension, or synthesis, and to the traditional combination of a
depreciatory attitude toward brute facts with a grudging concession of
the necessity which thought is under of accepting them and taking them
for its own subject-matter and checks. More specifically, it is held
that this view supplied (and I should venture to say for the first
time) an explanation of the traditional theory of truth as a
correspondence or agreement of existence and mind or thought. It showed
that the correspondence or agreement was like that between an invention
and the conditions which the invention is intended to meet. Thereby a
lot of epistemological hangers-on to logic were eliminated; for the
distinctions which epistemology had misunderstood were located where
they belong:--in the art of inquiry, considered as a joint process of
ascertainment and invention, projection, or "hypothesizing"--of which
more below.


The essays were published in 1903. At that time (as has been noted)
idealism was in practical command of the philosophic field in both
England and this country; the logics in vogue were profoundly
influenced by Kantian and post-Kantian thought. Empirical logics,
those conceived under the influence of Mill, still existed, but their
light was dimmed by the radiance of the regnant idealism. Moreover,
from the standpoint of the doctrine expounded in the essays, the
empirical logic committed the same logical fault as did the
idealistic, in taking sense-data to be primitive (instead of being
resolutions of the _things_ of prior experiences into elements for the
aim of securing evidence); while it had no recognition of the specific
service rendered by intelligence in the development of new meanings
and plans of new actions. This state of things may explain the
controversial nature of the essays, and their selection in particular
of an idealistic logic for animadversion.

Since the essays were written, there has been an impressive revival of
realism, and also a development of a type of logical theory--the
so-called Analytic Logic--corresponding to the philosophical
aspirations of the new realism. This marked alteration of intellectual
environment subjects the doctrine of the essays to a test not
contemplated when they were written. It is one thing to develop a
hypothesis in view of a particular situation; it is another to test
its worth in view of procedures and results having a radically
different motivation and direction. It is, of course, impossible to
discuss the analytic logic in this place. A consideration of how some
of its main tenets compare with the conclusions outlined above will,
however, throw some light upon the meaning and the worth of the
latter. Although this was formulated with the idealistic and
sensationalistic logics in mind, the hypothesis that knowledge can be
rightly understood only in connection with considerations of time and
temporal position is a general one. If it is valid, it should be
readily applicable to a critical placing of any theory which ignores
and denies such temporal considerations. And while I have learned much
from the realistic movement about the full force of the position
sketched in the essays when adequately developed; and while later
discussions have made it clear that the language employed in the
essays was sometimes unnecessarily (though naturally) infected by the
subjectivism of the positions against which it was directed, I find
that the analytic logic is also guilty of the fault of temporal

In one respect, idealistic logic takes cognizance of a temporal
contrast; indeed, it may fairly be said to be based upon it. It seizes
upon the contrast in intellectual force, consistency, and
comprehensiveness between the crude or raw data with which science
sets out and the defined, ordered, and systematic totality at which it
aims--and which in part it achieves. This difference is a genuine
empirical difference. Idealism noted that the difference may properly
be ascribed to the intervention of thinking--that thought is what
makes the difference. Now since the outcome of science is of higher
intellectual rank than its data, and since the intellectualistic
tradition in philosophy has always identified degrees of logical
adequacy with degrees of reality, the conclusion was naturally drawn
that _the_ real world--absolute reality--was an ideal or
thought-world, and that the sense-world, the commonsense-world, the
world of actual and historic experience, is simply a phenomenal world
presenting a fragmentary manifestation of that thought which the
process of human thinking makes progressively explicit and articulate.

This perception of the intellectual superiority of objects which are
constituted at the conclusion of thinking over those which formed its
data may fairly be termed the empirical factor in the idealistic
logic. The essence of the realistic reaction, on its logical side, is
exceedingly simple. It starts from those objects with which science,
approved science, ends. Since they are the objects which are _known_,
which are true, they are the real objects. That they are also objects
for intervening thinking is an interesting enough historical and
psychological fact, but one quite irrelevant to their natures, which
are precisely what knowledge finds them to be. In the biography of
human beings it may hold good that apprehension of objects is arrived
at only through certain wanderings, endeavors, exercises, experiments;
possibly acts called sensation, memory, reflection may be needed by
men in reaching a grasp of the objects. But such things denote facts
about the history of the knower, not about the nature of the known
object. Analysis will show, moreover, that any intelligible account of
this history, any verified statement of the psychology of knowing
assumes objects which are unaffected by the knowing--otherwise the
pretended history is merely pretense and not to be trusted. The
history of the process of knowing, moreover, implies also the terms
and propositions--truths--of logic. That logic must therefore be
assumed as a science of objects real and true, quite apart from any
process of thinking them. In short, the requirement is that we shall
think things as they are themselves, not make them into objects
constructed by thinking.

This revival of realism coincided also with an important movement in
mathematics and logic: the attempt to treat logical distinctions by
mathematical methods; while at the same time mathematical
subject-matter had become so generalized that it was a theory of types
and orders of terms and propositions--in short, a logic. Certain minds
have always found mathematics the type of knowledge, because of its
definiteness, order, and comprehensiveness. The wonderful
accomplishments of modern mathematics, including its development into
a type of highly generalized logic, was not calculated to lessen the
tendency. And while prior philosophers have generally played their
admiration of mathematics into the hands of idealism (regarding
mathematical subject-matter as the embodiment or manifestation of pure
thought), the new philosophy insisted that the terms and types of
order constituting mathematical and logical subject-matter were real
in their own right, and (at most) merely led up to and discovered by
thinking--an operation, moreover, itself subjected (as has been
pointed out) to the entities and relationships set forth by logic.

The inadequacy of this summary account may be pardoned in view of the
fact that no adequate exposition is intended; all that is wanted is
such a statement of the general relationship of idealism to realism as
may serve as the point of departure for a comparison with the
instrumentalism of the essays. In bare outline, it is obvious that the
two latter agree in regarding thinking as instrumental, not as
constitutive. But this agreement turns out to be a formal matter in
contrast with a disagreement concerning that _to which_ thinking is
instrumental. The new realism finds that it is instrumental simply to
knowledge of objects. From this it infers (with perfect correctness and
inevitableness) that thinking (including all the operations of discovery
and testing as they might be set forth in an inductive logic) is a mere
psychological preliminary, utterly irrelevant to any conclusions
regarding the nature of objects known. The thesis of the essays is that
thinking is instrumental to a control of the environment, a control
effected through acts which would not be undertaken without the prior
resolution of a complex situation into assured elements and an
accompanying projection of possibilities--without, that is to say,

Such an instrumentalism seems to analytic realism but a variant of
idealism. For it asserts that processes of reflective inquiry play a
part in shaping the objects--namely, terms and propositions--which
constitute the bodies of scientific knowledge. Now it must not only be
admitted but proclaimed that the doctrine of the essays holds that
intelligence is not an otiose affair, nor yet a mere preliminary to a
spectator-like apprehension of terms and propositions. In so far as it
is idealistic to hold that objects of knowledge _in their capacity of
distinctive objects of knowledge_ are determined by intelligence, it
is idealistic. It believes that faith in the constructive, the
creative, competency of intelligence was the redeeming element in
historic idealisms. Lest, however, we be misled by general terms, the
scope and limits of this "idealism" must be formulated.

(1) Its distinguishing trait is that it defines thought or
intelligence by function, by work done, by consequences effected. It
does not start with a power, an entity or substance or activity which
is ready-made thought or reason and which as such constitutes the
world. Thought, intelligence, is to it just a name for the events and
acts which make up the processes of analytic inspection and projected
invention and testing which have been described. These events, these
acts, are wholly natural; they are "realistic"; they comprise the
sticks and stones, the bread and butter, the trees and horses, the
eyes and ears, the lovers and haters, the sighs and delights of
ordinary experience. Thinking is what some of the actual existences
_do_. _They_ are in no sense constituted by thinking; on the contrary,
the problems of thought are set by _their_ difficulties and its
resources are furnished by _their_ efficacies; its acts are _their_
doings adapted to a distinctive end.

(2) The reorganization, the modification, effected by thinking is, by
this hypothesis, a physical one. Thinking ends in experiment and
experiment is an _actual_ alteration of a physically antecedent
situation in those details or respects which called for thought in
order to do away with some evil. To suffer a disease and to try to do
something for it is a primal experience; to look into the disease, to
try and find out just what makes it a disease, to invent--or
hypothecate--remedies is a reflective experience; to try the suggested
remedy and see whether the disease is helped is the act which
transforms the data and the intended remedy into _knowledge objects_.
And this transformation into knowledge objects is also effected by
changing physical things by physical means.

Speaking from this point of view, the decisive consideration as
between instrumentalism and analytic realism is whether the operation
of experimentation is or is not necessary to knowledge. The
instrumental theory holds that it is; analytic realism holds that even
though it were essential in _getting_ knowledge (or in learning), it
has nothing to do with knowledge itself, and hence nothing to do with
the known object: that it makes a change only in the knower, not in
what is to be known. And for precisely the same reason,
instrumentalism holds that an object as a knowledge-object is never a
whole; that it is surrounded with and inclosed by things which are
quite other than objects of knowledge, so that knowledge cannot be
understood in isolation or when taken as mere beholding or grasping of
objects. That is to say, while it is making the sick man better or
worse (or leaving him just the same) which determines the
knowledge-value of certain findings of fact and certain conceptions as
to mode of treatment (so that by the treatment they become definitely
knowledge-objects), yet improvement or deterioration of the patient is
other than an object of cognitive apprehension. Its knowledge-object
phase is a selection in reference to prior reflections. So the
laboratory experiment of a chemist which brings to a head a long
reflective inquiry and settles the intellectual status of its findings
and theorizings (thereby making them into cognitive concerns or terms
and propositions) is itself much more than a knowledge of terms and
propositions, and only by virtue of this surplusage is it even
contemplative knowledge. He knows, say, tin, when he has made tin into
an outcome of his investigating procedures, but tin is much more than
a term of knowledge.

Putting the matter in a slightly different way, logical (as distinct
from naïve) realism confuses means of knowledge with objects of
knowledge. The means are twofold: they are (_a_) the data of a
particular inquiry so far as they are significant because of prior
experimental inquiries; and (_b_) they are the meanings which have
been settled in consequence of prior intellectual undertakings: on the
one hand, particular things or qualities as signs; on the other,
general meanings as possibilities of what is signified by given data.
Our physician has in advance a technique for telling that certain
particular traits, if he finds them, are symptoms, signs; and he has a
store of diseases and remedies in mind which may possibly be meant in
any given case. From prior reflective experiments he has learned to
look for temperature, for rate of heartbeats, for sore spots in
certain places; to take specimens of blood, sputum, of membrane, and
subject them to cultures, microscopic examination, etc. He has
acquired certain habits, in other words, in virtue of which certain
physical qualities and events are more than physical, in virtue of
which they are signs or indications of something else.

On the other hand, this something else is a somewhat not physically
present at the time: it is a series of events still to happen. It is
suggested by what is given, but is no part of the given. Now, in the
degree in which the physician comes to the examination of what is
there with a large and comprehensive stock of such possibilities or
meanings in mind, he will be intellectually resourceful in dealing
with a particular case. They (the concepts or universals of the
situation) are (together with the sign-capacity of the data) the
_means_ of knowing the case in hand; they are the agencies of
transforming it, through the actions which they call for, into an
object--an object of knowledge, a truth to be stated in propositions.
But since the professional (as distinct from the human) knower is
particularly concerned with the elaboration of these tools, the
professional knower--of which the class philosopher presents of course
one case--ungenerously drops from sight the situation in its integrity
and treats these instrumentalities of knowledge as objects of
knowledge. Each of these aspects--signs and things signified--is
sufficiently important to deserve a section on its own account.


The position taken in the essays is frankly realistic in acknowledging
that certain brute existences, detected or laid bare by thinking but
in no way constituted out of thought or any mental process, set every
problem for reflection and hence serve to test its otherwise merely
speculative results. It is simply insisted that as a matter of fact
these brute existences are equivalent neither to the objective content
of the situations, technological or artistic or social, in which
thinking originates, nor to the things to be known--to the objects of
knowledge. Let us take the sequence of mineral rock in place, pig iron
and the manufactured article, comparing the raw material in its
undisturbed place in nature to the original _res_ of experience,
compare the manufactured article to the objective and object of
knowledge, and the brute datum to the metal undergoing extraction from
raw ore for the sake of being wrought into a useful thing. And we
should add that just as the manufacturer always has a lot of already
extracted ore on hand for use in machine processes as it is wanted, so
every person of any maturity, especially if he lives in an environment
affected by previous scientific work, has a lot of extracted data--or,
what comes to the same thing, of ready-made tools of extraction--for
use in inference as they are required. We go about with a disposition
to identify certain shapes as tables, certain sounds as words of the
French language, certain cries as evidences of distress, certain
massed colors as woods in the distance, certain empty spaces as
buttonholes, and so on indefinitely. The examples are trivial enough.
But if more complicated matters were taken, it would be seen that a
large part of the technique of science (all of science which is
specifically "inductive" in character) consists of methods of finding
out just what qualities are unambiguous, economical, and dependable
signs of those other things which cannot be got at as directly as can
the sign-bearing elements. And if we started from the more obscure and
complex difficulties of identification and diagnosis with which the
sciences of physiology, botany, astronomy, chemistry, etc., deal, we
should be forced to recognize that the identifications of everyday
life--our "perceptions" of chairs, tables, trees, friends--differ only
in presenting questions much easier of solution.

In every case, it is a matter of fixing some given physical existence
as a sign of some other existences not given in the same way as is
that which serves as a sign. These words of Mill might well be made
the motto of every logic: "To draw inferences has been said to be the
great business of life. Everyone has daily, hourly, and momentary need
of ascertaining facts which he has not directly observed.... It is
the only occupation in which the mind never ceases to be engaged."
Such being the case, the indispensable condition of doing the business
well is the careful determination of the sign-force of specific things
in experience. And this condition can never be fulfilled as long as a
thing is presented to us, so to say, in bulk. The complex
organizations which are the subject-matter of our direct activities
and enjoyments are grossly unfit to serve as intellectual indications
or evidence. Their testimony is almost worthless, they speak so many
languages. In their complexity, they point equally in all directions;
in their unity, they run in a groove and point to whatever is most
customary. To break up the complexity, to resolve it into a number of
independent variables each as irreducible as it is possible to make
it, is the only way of getting secure pointers as to what is indicated
by the occurrence of the situation in question. The "objects" of
ordinary life, stones, plants, cats, rocks, moon, etc., are neither
the data of science nor the objects at which science arrives.

We are here face to face with a crucial point in analytic realism.
Realism argues that we have no alternative except either to regard
analysis as falsifying (à la Bergson), and thus commit ourselves to
distrust of science as an organ of knowledge, or else to admit that
something eulogistically termed Reality (especially as _Existence_,
Being as subject to space and time determinations) is but a complex
made up of fixed, mutually independent simples: viz., that Reality is
truly conceived only under the caption of whole and parts, where the
parts are independent of each other and consequently of the whole. For
instrumentalism, however, the alleged dilemma simply does not exist.
The results of abstraction and analysis are perfectly real; but they
are real, like everything else, _where_ they are real: that is to say,
in some _particular_ _co_existence in the situation where they
originate and operate.

The remark is perhaps more cryptic than enlightening. Its intent is
that reflection is an actual occurrence as much so as a thunderstorm
or a growing plant, and as an actual existence it is characterized by
specific existential traits uniquely belonging to it: the entities of
simple data as such. It is in control of the evidential function that
irreducible and independent simples or elements exist. They certainly
are found there; as we have seen they _are_ "common-sense" objects
broken up into expeditious and unambiguous signs of conclusions to be
drawn, conclusions about other things with which they--the
elements--are continuous in some respects, although discrete[4] with
respect to their sensory conditions. But there is no more reason for
supposing that they exist _elsewhere_ in the same manner than there is
for supposing that centaurs coexist along with domestic horses and
cows because they coexist with the material of folk-tales or rites, or
for supposing that pigs of iron pre-existed as pigs in the mine. There
is no falsifying in analysis _because_ the analysis is carried on
within a situation which controls it. The fallacy and falsifying is on
the part of the philosopher who ignores the contextual situation and
who transfers the properties which things have as dependable
evidential signs over to things in other modes of behavior.

It is no reply to this position to say that the "elements" or simples
were there prior to inquiry and to analysis and abstraction. Of course
their subject-matter was in some sense "there"; and, being there, was
found, discovered, or detected--hit upon. I am not questioning this
statement; rather, I have been asserting it. But I am asking for
patience and industry to consider the matter somewhat further. I would
ask the man who takes the terms of logical analysis (physical
resolution for the sake of getting assured evidential indications of
objects as yet unknown) to be things which coexist with the things of
a non-inferential situation, to inquire _in what way_ his independent
given ultimates were there prior to analysis. I would point out that
in any case they did _not_ pre-exist _as_ signs. (_a_) Consequently,
whatever traits or properties they possess as signs must at least be
referred exclusively to the reflective situation. And they must
possess some distinguishing traits _as_ signs; otherwise they would
be indistinguishable from anything else which happens to be thought
of, and could not be employed as evidence: could not be, in short,
what they are. If the reader will seriously ask just what traits data
do possess as signs, or evidence, I shall be quite content to leave
the issue to the results of his own inquiries. (_b_) Any inquiry as to
_how_ the data antecedently exist will, I am confident, show that they
do not exist in the same purity, the same external exclusiveness and
internal homogeneity, which they present within the situation of
inference, any more than the iron which pre-existed in the rocks in
the mountains was just the same as the fluxed and extracted ore. Hence
they did not exist in the same isolated simplicity. I have not the
slightest interest in exaggerating the scope of this difference. The
important matter is not its extent or range, but what such a
change--however small--indicates: namely, that the material is
entering into a new environment, and has been subjected to the changes
which will make it useful and effective in that environment. It is
trivial to suppose that the sole or even the primary difficulty which
an analytic realism has to face is the occurrence of error and
illusions, of "secondary" qualities, etc. The difficulty resides in
the contrast of the world of a naïve, say Aristotelian, realism with
that of a highly intellectualized and analytic disintegration of the
everyday world of things. If realism is generous enough to have a
place _within_ its world (as a _res_ having social and temporal
qualities as well as spatial ones) for data in process of construction
of _new_ objects, the outlook is radically different from the case
where, in the interests of a theory, a realism insists that analytic
determinations are the sole real things.[5]

If it be not only conceded but asserted that the subject-matter
generating the data of scientific procedure antedates the procedure,
it may be asked: what is the point of insisting so much upon the fact
that data exist only within the procedure? Is not the statement either
a trivial tautology or else an attempt to inject, _sub rosa_, a
certain idealistic dependence upon thought into even brute facts? The
question is a fair one. And the clew to the reply may be found in the
consideration that it was not historically an easy matter to reduce
the iron of the rocks to the iron which could freely and effectively
be used in the manufacture of articles. It involved hitting upon a
highly complicated art, but an art, nevertheless, which anyone with
the necessary capital and education can command today as a matter of
course, giving no thought to the fact that one is using an art
constructed originally with vast pains. Similarly it is by art, by a
carefully determined technique, that the things of our primary
experience are resolved into unquestioned and irreducible data,
lacking in inner complexity and hence unambiguous. There is no call
for the scientific man in the pursuit of his calling to take account
of this fact, any more than the manufacturer need reckon with the arts
which are required to deliver him his material. But a logician, a
philosopher, is supposed to take a somewhat broader survey; and for
his purposes the fact which the scientific inquirer can leave out of
account, because it is no part of his business, may be the important
fact. For the logician, it would seem, is concerned not with the
significance of these or those data, but with the significance of
there being such things as data, with their traits of irreducibleness,
bruteness, simplicity, etc. Now, as the special scientific inquirer
answers the question as to the significance of his special brute facts
by discovering other facts with which they are connected, so it would
seem that the logician can find out the significance of the existence
of data (the fact which concerns him) only by finding out the other
facts with which _they_ coexist--their significance being their
factual continuities. And the first step in the search for these other
facts which supply significance is the recognition that they have been
extracted for a purpose--for the purpose of guiding inference. It is
this purposeful situation of inquiry which supplies the _other_ facts
which give the existence of brute data their significance. And unless
there is such a discovery (or some better one), the logician will
inevitably fail in conceiving the import of the existence of brute
data. And this misconception is, I repeat, just the defect from which
an analytic presentative realism suffers. To perceive that the brute
data laid bare in scientific proceedings are always traits of an
extensive situation, and of that situation as one which needs control
and which is to undergo modification in some respects, is to be
protected from any temptation to turn logical specification into
metaphysical atomism. The need for the protection is sufficiently
great to justify spending some energy in pointing out that the brute
objective facts of scientific discovery are discovered facts,
discovered by physical manipulations which detach them from their
ordinary setting.

We have stated that, strictly speaking, data (as the immediate
considerations from which controlled inference proceeds) are not
objects but means, instrumentalities, of knowledge: things by which we
know rather than things known. It is by the color stain that we know a
cellular structure; it is by marks on a page that we know what some
man believes; it is by the height of the barometer that we know the
probability of rain; it is by the scratches on the rock that we know
that ice was once there; it is by qualities detected in chemical and
microscopic examination that we know that a thing is human blood and
not paint. Just what the realist asserts about so-called mental states
of sensations, images, and ideas, namely, that they are not the
subject-matter of knowledge but its agencies, holds of the chairs and
tables to which he appeals in support of his doctrine of an immediate
cognitive presentation, apart from any problem and any reflection. And
there is very solid ground for instituting the comparison: the
sensations, images, etc., of the idealist are nothing but the chairs,
tables, etc., of the realist in their ultimate irreducible
qualities.[6] The problem in which the realist appeals to the
immediate apprehension of the table is the epistemological problem,
and he appeals to the table not as an object of knowledge (as he
thinks he does), but as evidence, as a means of knowing his
conclusion--his real _object_ of knowledge. He has only to examine his
own evidence to see that it is evidence, and hence a term in a
reflective inquiry, while the nature of knowledge is the _object_ of
his knowledge.

Again, the question may be asked: Since instrumentalism admits that
the table is really "there," why make such a fuss about whether it is
there as a means or as an object of knowledge? Is not the distinction
mere hair-splitting unless it is a way of smuggling in a
quasi-idealistic dependence upon thought? The reply will, I hope,
clinch the significance of the distinction, whether or no it makes it
acceptable. Respect for knowledge and its object is the ground for
insisting upon the distinction. The object of knowledge is, so to
speak, a more dignified, a more complete, sufficient, and
self-sufficing thing than any datum can be. To transfer the traits of
the object as known to the datum of reaching it, is a material, not a
merely verbal, affair. It is precisely this shift which leads the
presentative realist to substitute for irreducibility and unambiguity
of logical function (use in inference) physical and metaphysical
isolation and elementariness. It is this shift which generates the
need of reconciling the deliverances of science with the structure and
qualities of the world in which we directly live, since it sets up a
rivalry between the claims of the data, of common-sense objects, and
of scientific objects (the results of adequate inquiry). Above all it
commits us to a view that change is in some sense unreal, since
ultimate and primary entities, being simple, do not permit of change.
No; whatever is to be said about the validity of the distinction
contended for, it cannot be said to be insignificant. A theory which
commits us to the conception of a world of Eleatic fixities as primary
and which regards alteration and organization as secondary has such
profound consequences for thought and conduct that a detection of its
motivating fallacy makes a substantial difference. No more fundamental
question can be raised than the range and force of the applicability
to nature, life, and society of the whole-and-part conception. And if
we confuse our premises by taking the existential instrumentalities of
knowledge for its real objects, all distinctions and relations in
nature, life, and society are thereby requisitioned to be really only
cases of the whole-and-part nature of things.


The instrumental theory acknowledges the objectivity of _meanings_ as
well as of data. They are referred to and employed in reflective
inquiry with the confidence attached to the hard facts of sense.
Pragmatic, as distinct from sensational, empiricism may claim to have
antedated neo-realism in criticism of resolution of meanings into
states or acts of consciousness. As previously noted, meanings are
indispensable instrumentalities of reflection, strictly coincident
with and correlative to what is analytically detected to be given, or
irremovably there. Data in their fragmentary character pose a problem;
they also define it. They suggest possible meanings. Whether they
_indicate_ them as well as suggest them is a question to be resolved.
But the meanings suggested are genuinely and existentially suggested,
and the problem described by the data cannot be solved without their
acknowledgment and use. That this instrumental necessity has led to a
metaphysical hypostatizing of meanings into essences or subsistences
having some sort of mysterious being apart from qualitative things
and changes is a source of regret; it is hardly an occasion for

To be sure of our footing, let us return to empirical ground. It is as
certain an empirical fact that one thing suggests another as that fire
alters the thing burned. The suggesting thing has to be there or
given; something has to be there to do the suggesting. The suggested
thing is obviously not "there" in the same way as that which suggests;
if it were, it would not have to be suggested. A suggestion tends, in
the natural man, to excite action, to operate as a stimulus. I may
respond more readily and energetically to a suggested fire than to the
thing from which the suggestion sprang: that is, the thing by itself
may leave me cold, the thing as suggesting something else may move me
vigorously. The response if effected has all the force of a belief or
conviction. It is _as if_ we believed, on intellectual grounds, that
the thing _is_ a fire. But it is discovered that not all suggestions
are indications, or signifiers. The whale suggested by the cloud form
does not stand on the same level as the fire suggested by smoke, and
the suggested fire does not always turn out fire in fact. We are led
to examine the original point of departure and we find out that it was
not really smoke. In a world where skim-milk and cream suggestions,
acted upon, have respectively different consequences, and where a
thing suggests one as readily as the other (or skim-milk masquerades
as cream), the importance of examination of the thing exercising the
suggestive force prior to acting upon what it suggests is obvious.
Hence the act of response naturally stimulated is turned into channels
of inspection and experimental (physical) analysis. We move our body
to get a better hold on it, and we pick it to pieces to see what it

This is the operation which we have been discussing in the last
section. But experience also testifies that the thing suggested is
worth attention on its own account. Perhaps we cannot get very readily
at the thing which, suggesting flame, suggests fire. It may be that
reflection upon the meaning (or conception), "fire," will help us.
Fire--here, there, or anywhere, the "essence" fire--means thus and so;
_if_ this thing really means fire, it will have certain traits,
certain attributes. Are they there? There are "flames" on the stage as
part of the scenery. Do they really indicate fire? Fire would mean
danger; but it is not possible that such a risk would be taken with an
audience (other meanings, risk, audience, danger, being brought in).
It must be something else. Well, it is probably colored tissue-paper
in strips rapidly blown about. This meaning leads us to closer
inspection; it directs our observations to hunt for corroborations or
negations. If conditions permitted, it would lead us to walk up and
get at the thing in close quarters. In short, devotion to a
suggestion, prior to accepting it as stimulus, leads first to other
suggestions which may be more applicable; and, secondly, it affords
the standpoint and the procedure of a physical experimentation to
detect those elements which are the more reliable signs, indicators
(evidence). _Suggestions thus treated are precisely what constitute
meanings, subsistences, essences_, etc. Without such development and
handling of what is suggested, the process of analyzing the situation
to get at its hard facts, and especially to get at just those which
have a right to determine inference, is haphazard--ineffectively done.
In the actual stress of any such needed determination it is of the
greatest importance to have a large stock of possible meanings to draw
on, and to have them ordered in such a way that we can develop each
promptly and accurately, and move quickly from one to another. It is
not to be wondered at then that we not only conserve such suggestions
as have been previously converted successfully into meanings, but also
that we (or some men at least) turn professional inquirers and
thinkers; that meanings are elaborated and ordered in related systems
quite apart from any immediately urgent situation; or that a realm of
"essences" is built up apart from that of existences.

That suggestion occurs is doubtless a mystery, but so is it a mystery
that hydrogen and oxygen make water. It is one of the hard, brute
facts that we have to take account of. We can investigate the
conditions under which the happening takes place, we can trace the
consequences which flow from the happening. By these means we can so
control the happening that it will take place in a more secure and
fruitful manner. But all this depends upon the hearty acceptance of
the happening as fact. Suggestion does not of itself yield meanings;
it yields only suggested things. But the moment we take a suggested
thing and develop it in connection with other meanings and employ it
as a guide of investigation (a method of inquiry), that moment we have
a full-fledged meaning on our hands, possessing all the verifiable
features which have been imported at any time to ideas, forms,
species, essences, subsistences. This empirical identification of
meaning by means of the specific fact of suggestion cuts deep--if
Occam's razor still cuts.

A suggestion lies between adequate stimulation and logical indication.
A cry of fire may start us running without reflection; we may have
learned, as children are taught in school, to react without
questioning. There is overt stimulation, but no suggesting. But if the
response is held off or postponed, it may persist as suggestion: the
cry suggests fire and suggests the advisability of flight. We may, in
a sense we must, call suggestion "mental." But it is important to note
what is meant by this term. Fire, running, getting burned, are not
mental; they are physical. But in their status of being suggested they
may be called mental when we recognize this distinctive status. This
means no more than that they are implicated in a specific way in a
reflective situation, in virtue of which they are susceptible of
certain modes of treatment. Their status as suggested by certain
features of the actual situation (and possibly meant or indicated as
well as suggested) may be definitely fixed; then we get meanings,
logical terms--determinations.[7]

Words are of course the agencies of fixation chiefly employed, though
any kind of physical existence--a gesture, a muscular contraction in
the finger or leg or chest--under ready command may be used. What is
essential is that there be a specific physical existence at hand which
may be used to concrete and hold on to the suggestion, so that the
latter may be handled on its own account. Until thus detached and
refixed there are things suggested, but hardly _a_ suggestion; things
meant, but hardly a meaning; things ideated, but hardly an idea. And
the suggested thing until detached is still too literal, too tied up
with other things, to be further developed or to be successfully used
as a method of experimentation in new directions so as to bring to
light new traits.

As data are signs which _indicate_ other existences, so meanings are
signs which _imply_ other meanings.[8] I am doubtful, for example,
whether _this_ is a man or not; that is, I am doubtful as to some given
traits when they are taken as signs or evidences, but I am inclined to
the hypothesis of a man. Having such a tentative or conceptual object
in mind, I am enabled to explore economically and effectively, instead
of at random, what is present, _provided_ I can elaborate the
implications of the term "man." To develop its implications is all one
with telling its meaning in connection with other meanings. Being a man
means, for example, speaking when spoken to--another meaning which need
have been no part of "man" as originally suggested. This meaning of
"answering questions" will then suggest a procedure which the term
"man" in its first meaning did not possess; it is an implication or
implied meaning which puts me in a new and possibly more fruitful
relation to the thing. (The process of developing implications is
usually termed "discourse" or ratiocination.) Now, be it noted,
replying to questions is no part of the _definition_ of man; it would
not be now an implication of Plato or of the Russian Czar for me. In
other words, there is something in the actual situation which suggests
_inquiring_ as well as _man_; and it is the interaction between these
two suggestions which is fruitful. There is consequently no mystery
about the fruitfulness of deduction--though this fruitfulness has been
urged as though it offered an insuperable objection to instrumentalism.
On the contrary, instrumentalism is the only theory to which deduction
is not a mystery. If a variety of wheels and cams and rods which have
been invented with reference to doing a given task are put together,
one expects from the assembled parts a result which could not have been
got from any one of them separately or from all of them together in a
heap. Because they are independent and unlike structures, working on
one another, something new happens. The same is true of terms in
relation to one another. When these are brought to bear upon one
another, something new, something quite unexpected happens, quite as
when one tries an acid with which he is not familiar upon a rock with
which he is unfamiliar--that is, unfamiliar in such a conjunction, in
spite of intimate acquaintance elsewhere. A definition may fix a
certain modicum of meaning in the abstract, as we say; it is a
specification of a minimum which gives the point of departure in every
interaction of a term with other terms. But nothing follows from the
definition by itself or in isolation. It is explicit (boringly so) and
has no implications. But bring it in connection with another term with
which it has not previously interacted and it may behave in the most
delightful or in the most disgustingly disappointing way. The
necessity for independent terms is made obvious in the modern theory of
axioms. It escapes attention in much of the contemporary logic of
transitive and non-transitive, symmetrical and non-symmetrical relations,
because the terms are so loaded that there are no propositions at all,
but only discriminations of orders of terms. The terms which figure
in the discussions, in other words, are correlatives--"brother,"
"parent," "up," "to the right of," "like," "greater," "after."
Such terms are not logical terms; they are _halves_ of such terms as
"brother-other-offspring-of-the-same-parents"; "parent-child";
"up-down"; "right-left"; "thing-similar-to-another-thing";
"greater-less"; "after-before." They express positions in a
_determined_ situation; they are _relatives_, not relations. They lack
implications, being explicit. But a man who is a brother and also a
rival in love, and a poorer man than his rival brother, expresses an
interaction of different terms from which something might happen: terms
with implications, terms constituting a proposition, which a
correlative term never does--till brought into conjunction with a term
of which it is not a relative. To have called a thing "up" or "brother"
is to have already solved its import in some situation. It is dead till
set to work in some _other_ situation.

Experience shows, moreover, that certain qualities of things are much
more fruitful and much more controllable than others when taken as
meanings to be used in drawing conclusions. The term must be of a
nature to develop a method of behavior by which to test whether it is
the meaning of the situation. Since it is desirable to have a stock of
meanings on hand which are so connected that we can move readily from
one to another in any direction, the stock is effective in just the
degree in which it has been worked into a system--a comprehensive and
orderly arrangement. Hence, while all meanings are derived from things
which antedate suggestion--or thinking or "consciousness"--not all
qualities are equally fitted to be meanings of a wide efficiency, and
it is a work of art to select the proper qualities for doing the work.
This corresponds to the working over of raw material into an effective
tool. A spade or a watchspring is made out of antecedent material, but
does not pre-exist as a ready-made tool; and, the more delicate and
complicated the work which it has to do, the more art intervenes.
These summary remarks will have to pass muster as indicating what a
more extensive treatment of a mathematical system of terms would show.
Man began by working such qualities as hate and love and fear and
beauty into the meanings by which to interpret and control the
perplexities of life. When they demonstrated their inefficacy, he had
recourse to such qualities as heavy and light, wet and dry, making
them into natural essences or explanatory and regulatory meanings.
That Greek mediaeval science did not get very far on these lines is a
commonplace. Scientific progress and practical control as systematic
and deliberate matters date from the century of Galileo, when
qualities which lend themselves to mathematical treatment were seized
upon. "The most promising of these ideal systems at first were of
course the richer ones, the sentimental ones. The baldest and least
promising ones were the mathematical ones; but the history of the
latter's application is a history of steadily advancing successes,
while that of the sentimentally richer ones is one of relative
sterility and failure."[9]

There is no problem of why and how the plow fits, or applies to, the
garden, or the watchspring to time-keeping. They were made for those
respective purposes; the question is how well they do their work, and
how they can be reshaped to do it better. Yet they were made out of
physical material; men used ready limbs or roots of trees with which
to plow before they used metal. We do not measure the worth or reality
of the tool by its closeness to its natural prototype, but by its
efficiency in doing its work--which connotes a great deal of
intervening art. The theory proposed for mathematical distinctions and
relations is precisely analogous. They are not the creations of mind
except in the sense in which a telephone is a creation of mind. They
fit nature because they are derived from natural conditions. Things
naturally bulge, so to speak, and naturally alter. To seize upon
these qualities, to develop them into keys for discovering the
meanings of brute, isolated events, and to accomplish this
effectively, to develop and order them till they become economical
tools (and tools upon tools) for making an unknown and uncertain
situation into a known and certain one, is the recorded triumph of
human intelligence. The terms and propositions of mathematics are not
fictions; they are not called into being by that particular act of
mind in which they are used. No more is a self-binding reaper a
figment, nor is it called momentarily into being by the man who wants
to harvest his grain. But both alike are works of art, constructed for
a purpose in doing the things which have to be done.

We may say of terms what Santayana so happily said of expression:
"Expression is a misleading term which suggests that something
previously known is imitated or rendered; whereas the expression is
itself an original fact, the values of which are then referred to the
thing expressed, much as the honors of a Chinese mandarin are
attributed retroactively to his parents." The natural history of
imputation of virtue should prove to the philosopher a profitable
theme. Even in its most superstitious forms (perhaps more _obviously_
in them than elsewhere) it testifies to the sense of a service to be
performed and to a demand for application. The superstition lies in
making the application to antecedents and to ancestors, where it is
but a shroud, instead of to descendants, where it is a generating

Every reflection leaves behind it a double effect. Its immediate
outcome is (as I tried to show earlier) the direct reorganization of a
situation, a reorganization which confers upon its contents new
increments of intrinsic meaning. Its indirect and intellectual product
is the defining of a meaning which (when fixed by a suitable
existence) is a resource in subsequent investigations. I would not
despise the assistance lent by the words "term" and "proposition." As
slang has it, a pitched baseball is to the batter a "proposition"; it
states, or makes explicit, what he has to deal with next amid all the
surrounding and momentarily irrelevant circumstance. Every statement
extracts and sets forth the net result of reflection up to date as a
condition of subsequent reflection. This extraction of the kernel of
past reflections makes possible a throwing to one side of all the
consequences of prior false and futile steps; it enables one to
dispense with the experiences themselves and to deal only with their
_net_ profit. In a favorite phrase of realism, it gives an object "as
if there were no experience." It is unnecessary to descant upon the
economy of this procedure. It eliminates everything which in spite of
its immediate urgency, or vividness, or weight of past authority, is
rubbish for the purpose in hand. It enables one to get down to
business with just that which (presumably) is of importance in
subsequent procedure. It is no wonder that these logical kernels have
been elevated into metaphysical essences.

The word "term" suggests the limiting condition of every process of
reflection. It sets a fence beyond which it is, presumably, a waste to
wander--an error. It sets forth that which _must_ be taken into
account--a limit which is inescapable, something which is to
ratiocination what the brute datum is to observation. In classic
phrase, it is a notion, that is, a _noting_, of the distinctions which
have been fixed for the purposes of the kind of inquiry now engaged
in. One has only to compare the terms of present scientific discourse
with those of, say, Aristotle, to see that the importance of terms as
instruments of a proper survey of and attack upon existential
situations is such that the terms resulting naturally and
spontaneously from reflection have been dropped and more effective
ones substituted. In one sense, they are all equally objective;
aquosity is as genuine, as well as more obvious, a notion as the
present chemical conception. But the latter is able to enter a much
wider scope of inquiries and to figure in them more prosperously.

As a special class of scientific inquirers develops, terms that were
originally _by-products_ of reflection become primary objects for the
intellectual class. The "troubles" which occasion reflection are then
_intellectual_ troubles, discrepancies within some current scheme of
propositions and terms. The situation which undergoes reorganization
and increase of comprised significance is that of the subject-matter
of specialized investigation. Nevertheless the same general method
recurs within it, and the resulting objects--the terms and
propositions--are for all, except those who produce them, instruments,
not terminal objects. The objection to analytic realism as a
metaphysics of existence is not so much an undue formalism as its
affront to the commonsense-world of action, appreciation, and
affection. The affront, due to hypostatizing terms into objects, is as
great as that of idealism. A naïve realism withstands both affronts.

My interest, however, is not to animadvert upon analytic realism. It
is to show how the main tenets of instrumental logic stand in relation
to considerations which, although ignored by the idealism which was
current when the theory received its first formulation, demand
attention: the objective status of data and terms with respect to
states of mind or acts of awareness. I have tried to show that the
theory, without mutilation or torturing, makes provision for these
considerations. They are not objections to it; they are considerations
which are involved in it. There are questions at issue, but they
concern not matters of logic but matters of fact. They are questions
of the _existential_ setting of certain logical distinctions and
relations. As to the comparative merits of the two schemes, I have
nothing to say beyond what has been said, save that the tendency of
the analytic realism is inevitably to treat a difference between the
logic of inquiry and of dialectic as if it were itself a matter to be
settled by the logic of dialectic. I confess to some fear that a
philosophy which fails to identify science with terms and propositions
about things which are not terms and propositions, will first
exaggerate and then misconstrue the function of dialectics, and land
philosophy in a formalism like unto the scholasticism from which the
older empiricism with all its defects emancipated those who took it to


Return with me, if you please, to fundamentals. The word "experience"
is used freely in the essays and without much explanation. In view of
the currency of subjectivistic interpretations of that term, the chief
wonder is probably that the doctrine of the essays was not more
misunderstood than was actually the case. I have already said
something designed to clarify the sense in which the term was used. I
now come back to the matter. What is the reason for using the term at
all in philosophy? The history of philosophy supplies, I think, the
answer. No matter how subjective a turn was given to the word by Hume
and Kant, we have only to go to an earlier period to see that the
appeal to experience in philosophy was coincident with the
emancipation of science from occult essences and causes, and with the
substitution of methods of observation, controlled by experimentation
and employing mathematical considerations, for methods of mere
dialectic definition and classification. The appeal to experience was
the cry of the man from Missouri--the demand to be shown. It sprang
from the desire to command nature by observing her, instead of
anticipating her in order to deck her with aesthetic garlands and hold
her with theological chains. The significance of experience was not
that sun and moon, stick and stone, are creatures of the senses, but
that men would not put their trust any longer in things which are
said, however authoritatively, to exist, unless these things are
capable of entering into specifiable connections with the organism and
the organism with them. It was an emphatic assertion that until men
could see _how_ things got into belief, and what they did when they
got there, intellectual acceptance would be withheld.

Has not the lesson, however, been so well learned that we can drop
reference to experience? Would that such were the case. But the time
does not seem to have come. Some things enter by way of the
imagination, stimulated by emotional preferences and biases. For
_certain_ purposes, they are not the worse for having entered by that
gate, instead of through sensory-motor adjustments. Or they may have
entered because of the love of man for logical form and symmetry and
system, and because of the emotional satisfaction which harmony
awakens in a sensitive soul. They too need not be any worse for all
that. But surely it is among the businesses of philosophy to
discriminate between the kinds of goodness possessed by different
kinds of things. And how can it discriminate unless by telling by what
road they got into our experience and what they do after they get
there? Assuredly the difference is not in _intrinsic_ content. It is
not because of self-obvious and self-contained traits of the immediate
terms that Dante's world belongs to poetry and Newton's to scientific
astronomy. No amount of pure inspection and excogitation could decide
which belongs to which world. The difference in status and claim is
made by what we call experience: by the place of the two systems in
experience with respect to their generation and consequences. And
assuredly any philosophy which takes science to be not an _account_ of
the world (which it is), but a literal and exhaustive apprehension of
it in its full reality, a philosophy which therefore has no place for
poetry or possibilities, still needs a theory of experience.

If a scientific man be asked what is truth, he will reply--if he frame
his reply in terms of his practice and not of some convention--that
which is accepted upon adequate evidence. And if he is asked for a
description of adequacy of evidence, he certainly will refer to
matters of observation and experiment. It is not the self-inclosed
character of the terms and propositions nor their systematic ordering
which settles the case for him; it is the way they were obtained and
what he can do with them in getting other things. And when a
mathematician or logician asks philosophy to abandon this method, then
is just the time to be most vigorous in insisting upon the necessity
of reference to "experience" in order to fix the import of
mathematical and logical pretensions. When students influenced by the
symmetry and system of mathematics cease building up their
philosophies in terms of traits of mathematical subject-matter in
isolation, then empirical philosophers will have less call to mention
experience. Meantime, I know of no way of fixing the scope and claims
of mathematics in philosophy save to try to point out just at what
juncture it enters experience and what work it does after it has got
entrance. I have made such an attempt in my account of the fixation
and handling of suggestions as meanings. It is defective enough, but
the defects are to be remedied by a better empirical account and not
by setting up against experience the claims of a logic aloof from

The objection then to a logic which rules out knowledge getting, and
which bases logic exclusively upon the traits of known objects, is
that it is self-contradictory. There is no way to know what are the
traits of known objects, as distinct from imaginary objects, or
objects of opinion, or objects of unanalytic common-sense, save by
referring to the operations of getting, using, and testing
evidence--the processes of knowledge getting. I am making no appeal
for skepticism at large; I am not questioning the right of the
physicist, the mathematician, or the symbolic logicist to go ahead
with accepted objects and do what he can with them. I am pointing out
that anyone who professes to be concerned with finding out what
knowledge _is_, has for his primary work the job of finding out why it
is so much safer to proceed with just these objects, than with those,
say, of Aristotelian science. Aristotle was not lacking in acuteness
nor in learning. To him it was clear that objects of knowledge are the
things of ordinary perception, so far as they are referred to a form
which comparison of perceived things, in the light of a final cause,
makes evident. If this view of the objects of knowledge has gone into
the discard, if quite other objects of knowledge are now received and
employed, it is because the methods of _getting_ knowledge have been
transformed, till, for the working scientist, "objects of knowledge"
mean precisely the objects which have been obtained by approved
processes of inquiry. To exclude consideration of these processes is
thus to throw away the key to understanding knowledge and its objects.
There is a certain ironical humor in taking advantage of all the
improved methods of experimental inquiry with respect to all objects
of knowledge--save one, knowledge itself; in denying their relevancy
to knowing knowledge, and falling back upon the method everywhere else
disavowed--the method of relying upon isolated, self-contained
properties of subject-matter.

One of the points which gave much offense in the essays was the
reference to genetic method--to a natural history of knowledge. I hope
what has now been said makes clearer the nature of that reference. I
was to blame for not making the point more explicit; but I cannot
altogether blame myself for my naïveté in supposing that others
understood by a natural history of knowledge what I understood by it.
It had not occurred to me that anyone would think that the history by
which human ignorance, error, dogma, and superstition had been
transformed, even in its present degree of transformation, into
knowledge was something which had gone on exclusively inside of men's
heads, or in an inner consciousness. I thought of it as something
going on in the world, in the observatory and the laboratory, and in
the application of laboratory results to the control of human health,
well-being, and progress. When a biologist says that the way to
understand an organ, or the sociologist that the way to know an
institution, resides in its genesis and history, he is understood to
mean _its_ history. I took the same liberty for knowledge, that is,
for science. The accusation of "subjectivisim" taken in this light
appears as a depressing revelation of what the current opinion about
the processes of knowledge is. To stumble on a stone need not be a
process of knowledge; to hit it with a hammer, to pour acid upon it,
to put pieces in the crucible, to subject things to heat and pressure
to see if one can make a similar stone, _are_ processes of knowledge.
So is fixing suggestions by attaching names, and so is devising ways
of putting these terms together so that new suggestions will arise, or
so that suggestions may be transferred from one situation to another.
But not one of these processes is "subjective" in any sense which puts
subjectivity in opposition to the public out-of-doors world of nature
and human companionship. To set genesis in opposition to analysis is
merely to overlook the fact that the sciences of existence have found
that considerations of genesis afford their most effective methods of

The same kind of consideration applies to the favorable view taken of
psychology. If reference to modes and ways of experience--to
experiencing--is important for understanding the things with which
philosophy deals, then psychology is useful as a matter of course. For
what is meant by psychology is  precisely a discrimination of the
acts and attitudes of the organism which have a bearing upon
respective subject-matters and which have accordingly to be taken
account of before the subject-matters can be properly discriminated.
The matter was especially striking in the case of Lotze. He protested
constantly against the use of psychology, and yet his own data and
procedures were infected at every turn by psychology, and, if I am at
all correct, by a false psychology. The particular separation which he
made between psychology and logic rested indeed upon a particular
psychological assumption. The question is worth asking: Is not the
marked aversion on the part of some philosophers to any reference to
psychology a Freudian symptom?

A word more upon the place assigned by the essays to _need_ and
_purpose_ and the humanistic factor generally. To save time I may
quote a sentence from an early review which attributes to the essays
the following doctrine: "If the plan turns out to be useful for our
need, it is correct--the judgment is true. The real-ideal distinction
is that between stimulus of environment and plan of action or
tentative response. Both real and ideal are equally experiences of the
individual man." These words can be interpreted either so as to convey
the position fairly, or so as radically to misconceive it; the latter
course is a little easier, as the words stand. That "real and ideal"
are experiences of the individual man in the sense that they actually
present themselves as specifications which can be studied by any man
who desires to study them is true enough. That such a study is as much
required for determining their characters as it is for determining
those of carbon dioxide or of the constitution of Great Britain is
also the contention of the paper. But if the words quoted suggest to
anyone that the real or even the ideal are somehow possessions of an
individual man, things secreted somewhere about him and then ejected,
I can only say that I cannot understand the doctrine. I know of no
ready-made and antecedent conception of "the individual man." Instead
of telling about the nature of experience by means of a prior
conception of individual man, I find it necessary to go to experience
to find out what is meant by "individual" and by "man"; and also by
"the." Consequently even in such an expression as "my experience," I
should wish not to contradict this idea of method by using the term
"my" to swallow up the term "experience," any more than if I said "my
house," or "my country." On the contrary, I should expect that any
intelligible and definite use of such phrases would throw much more
light upon "me" than upon "house" or "country"--or "experience."

The possible misunderstanding is, I think, actual in the reference to
"our needs" as a criterion of the correctness of truth of an idea or
plan. According to the essays, it is the needs of a _situation_ which
are determinative. They evoke thought and the need of knowing, and it
is only within the situation that the identification of the needs with
a self occurs; and it is only by reflection upon the place of the
agent in the encompassing situation that the nature of _his_ needs can
be determined. In fact, the actual occurrence of a disturbed,
incomplete, and needy _situation_ indicates that _my_ present need is
precisely to investigate, to explore, to hunt, to pull apart things
now tied together, to project, to plan, to invent, and then to test
the outcome by seeing how it works as a method of dealing with hard
facts. One source of the demand, in short, for reference to experience
as the encompassing universe of discourse is to keep us from taking
such terms as "self," "my," "need," "satisfaction," etc., as terms
whose meanings can be accepted and proved either by themselves or by
even the most extensive dialectic reference to other terms.

Terms like "real" and "ideal," "individual," "man," "my," certainly
allow of profitable dialectic (or purely prepositional) clarification
and elaboration. But nothing is settled until these discursive
findings have been applied, through action, to things, and an
experience has been effected, which either meets or evades the
specification conceptually laid down. To suppose, for example, that
the import of the term "ideal" can be settled apart from exhibiting
in experience some specific affair, is to maintain in philosophy that
belief in the occult essence and hidden cause which science had to get
rid of before it got on the right track. The idealistic misconception
of experience is no reason for throwing away its significant point of
contact with modern science and for having recourse then to objects
distinguished from old-fashioned _Dinge an Sich_ only because they
involve just that reference to those experiences by which they were
established and to which they are applied that propositional or
analytic realism professedly and elaborately ignores. In revenge, this
ignoring leaves on our hands the "me," or knowing self, as a separate
thing within which experience falls (instead of its falling in a
specifiable place within experience), and generates the insoluble
problem of how a subjective experience can beget objective knowledge.

In concluding, let me say that reference to experience seems at
present to be the easiest way of realizing the continuities among
subject-matters that are always getting split up into dualisms. A
creation of a world of subsistences or essences which are quite other
than the world of natural existences (which are other than natural
existences adapted to the successful performance of inference) is in
itself a technical matter, though a discouraging one to a philosopher
expertly acquainted with all the difficulties which that view has
generated from the time of Plato down. But the assistance which such
a philosophy lends to the practical and current divorce of the
"ideal" from the natural world makes it a thing to be dreaded for
other than professional reasons. God only knows how many of the
sufferings of life are due to a belief that the natural scene and
operations of our life are lacking in ideal import, and to the
consequent tendency to flee for the lacking ideal factors to some
other world inhabited exclusively by ideals. That such a cut-off,
ideal world is impotent for direction and control and change of the
natural world follows as a matter of course. It is a luxury; it
belongs to the "genteel tradition" of life, the persistence of an
"upper" class given to a detached and parasitic life. Moreover, it
places the scientific inquirer within that irresponsible class. If
philosophers could aid in making it clear to a troubled humanity that
ideals are continuous with natural events, that they but represent
their possibilities, and that recognized possibilities form methods
for a conduct which may realize them in fact, philosophers would
enforce the sense of a social calling and responsibility. I do not say
that pointing out the continuity and interaction of various attitudes
and interests in experience is the only way of effecting this
consummation. But for a large number of persons today it is the
readiest way.

Much may be said about that other great rupture of continuity which
analytic realism would maintain: that between the world and the knower
as something outside of it, engaged in an otiose contemplative survey
of it. I can understand the social conditions which generated this
conception of an aloof knower. I can see how it protected the growth
of responsible inquiry which takes effect in change of the
environment, by cultivating a sense of the innocuousness of knowing,
and thus lulling to sleep the animosity of those who, being in
control, had no desire to permit reflection which had practical
import. I can see how specialists at any time, professional knowers,
so to speak, find in this doctrine a salve for conscience--a solace
which all thinkers need as long as an effective share in the conduct
of affairs is not permitted them. Above all, I can see how seclusion
and the absence of the pressure of immediate action developed a more
varied curiosity, greater impartiality, and a more generous outlook.
But all this is no reason for continuing the idealization of a remote
and separate mind or knower now that the method of intelligence is
perfected, and changed social conditions not only permit but demand
that intelligence be placed within the procession of events. An
intellectual integrity, an impartiality and detachment, which is
maintained only in seclusion is unpleasantly reminiscent of other
identifications of virtue with the innocence of ignorance. To place
knowledge where it arises and operates in experience is to know that,
as it arose because of the troubles of man, it is confirmed in
reconstructing the conditions which occasioned those troubles.
Genuine intellectual integrity is found in experimental knowing. Until
this lesson is fully learned, it is not safe to dissociate knowledge
from experiment nor experiment from experience.


[1] I am indebted to an unpublished manuscript of Mr. S. Klyce of
Winchester, Massachusetts, for the significance of the fact that our
words divide into _terms_ (of which more in the sequel) and into names
which are not (strictly speaking) terms at all, but which serve to
remind us of the vast and vague continuum, select portions of which
only are designated by words as _terms_. He calls such words "infinity
and zero" words. The word "experience" is a typical instance of an
"infinity word." Mr. Klyce has brought out very clearly that a direct
situation of experience ("situation" as I employ it is another such
word) has no need of any word for itself, the thing to which the word
would point being so egregiously there on its own behalf. But when
communication about it takes place (as it does, not only in converse
with others, but when a man attempts a mutual reference of different
periods of his own life) a word is needed to remind both parties of
this taken-for-granted whole (another infinity term), while confusion
arises if explicit attention is not called to the fact that it is a
very different sort of word from the definite terms of discourse which
denote distinctions and their relations to one another. In the text,
attention is called to the fact that the business man wrestling with a
difficulty or a scientific man engaged in an inquiry finds his checks
and control specifically in the situation in which he is employed,
while the theorizer at large leaves out these checks and limits, and
so loses his clews. Well, the words "experience," "situation," etc.,
are used to _remind_ the thinker of the need of reversion to precisely
something which never can be one of the terms of his reflection but
which nevertheless furnishes the existential meaning and status of
them all. "Intuition," mysticism, philosophized or sophisticated
monism, are all of them aberrant ways of protesting against the
consequences which result from failing to note what is conveyed by
words which are not terms. Were I rewriting these essays _in toto_ I
should try to take advantage of these and other indispensable
considerations advanced by Mr. Klyce; but as the essays must stand
substantially as they were originally written, and as an Introduction
to them must, in order to be intelligible, be stated in not
incongruous phraseology, I wish simply to ask the reader to bear in
mind this radical difference between such words as "experience,"
"reality," "universe," "situation," and such terms as "typewriter,"
"me," "consciousness," "existence," when used (as they must be used if
they are to be terms) in a differential sense. The term "reality" is
particularly treacherous, for the careless tradition of philosophy (a
carelessness fostered, I am sure, by failure to make verbally explicit
the distinction to which Mr. Klyce has called attention) uses
"reality" both as a term of indifferent reference, equivalent to
everything taken together or referred to _en masse_ as over against
some discrimination, and also as a discriminative term with a highly
eulogistic flavor: as _real_ money in distinction from counterfeit
money. Then, although every inquiry in daily life, whether
technological or scientific, asks _whether_ a thing is real only in
the sense of asking _what_ thing is real, philosophy concludes to a
wholesale distinction between the real and the unreal, the real and
the apparent, and so creates a wholly artificial problem.

If the philosopher, whether idealistic or realistic, who holds that it
is self-contradictory to criticize purely intellectualistic
conceptions of the world, because the criticism itself goes on
intellectualistic terms, so that its validity depends upon
intellectual (or cognitive) conditions, will but think of the very
brute doings in which a chemist engages to fix the meanings of his
terms and to test his theories and conceptions, he will perceive that
all intellectual knowing is but a method for conducting an experiment,
and that arguments and objections are but stimuli to induce somebody
to try a certain experiment--to have recourse, that is, to a
non-logical non-intellectual affair. Or again, the argument is an
invitation to him to note that at the very time in which he is
thinking, his thinking is set in a continuum which is not an object of
thought. The importance attached to the word "experience," then, both
in the essays and in this Introduction, is to be understood as an
invitation to employ thought and discriminative knowledge as a means
of plunging into something which no argument and no term can express;
or rather as an invitation to note the fact that no plunge is needed,
since one's own thinking and explicit knowledge are already
constituted by and within something which does not need to be
expressed or made explicit. And finally, there is nothing mystical
about this, though mysticism doubtless roots in this fact. Its import
is only to call notice to the meaning of, say, formulae communicated
by a chemist to others as the result of his experiment. All that can
be communicated or expressed is that one believes such and such a
thing. The communication has scientific instead of merely social
significance because the communicated formula is a direction to other
chemists to try certain procedures and see what they get. The
_direction_ is capable of expression; the result of the experiment,
the experience, to which the propositions refer and by which they are
tested, is not expressible. (Poetry, of course, is a more competent
organ of suggesting it than scientific prose.) The word "experience"
is, I repeat, a notation of an inexpressible as that which decides the
ultimate status of all which is expressed; inexpressible not because
it is so remote and transcendent, but because it is so immediately
engrossing and matter of course.

[2] There are certain points of similarity between this doctrine and
that of Holt regarding contradictions and that of Montague regarding
"consciousness" as a case of potential energy. But the latter doctrine
seems to me to suffer, first, from an isolation of the brain from the
organism, which leads to ignoring the active doing, and, secondly,
from an isolation of the "moment" of reduction of actual to potential
energy. It appears as a curiously isolated and self-sufficient event,
instead of as the focus of readjustment in an organized activity at
the pivotal point of maximum "tension"--that is, of greatest
inhibition in connection with greatest tendency to discharge. And
while I think Holt is wholly right in connecting the possibility of
error with objectively plural and conflicting forces, I should hardly
regard it as linguistically expedient to call counterbalancing forces
"contradictory." The counterbalancing forces of the vaulting do not
seem to me contradictory in the arch. But if their presence led me to
attempt to say "up" and "down" at the same time there would be
contradiction. But even admitting that contradictory propositions are
merely about forces which are contradictory--heating and cooling--it
is still a long way to error. For propositions about such
"contradictions" are obviously true propositions. It is only when we
make that reaction to one factor which is appropriate to dealing with
the other that there is error; and this can happen where there are no
contradictory forces at all beyond the fact that the _agent_ is pulled
two incompatible and opposed ways at the same time.

[3] For emphasis I am here exaggerating by condensing into a single
decisive act an operation which is continuously going on.

[4] I would remark in passing that a recognition that a thing may be
continuous in one respect and discrete in another would obviate a good
many difficulties.

[5] In effect, the fallacy is the same as that of an idealistic theory
which holds that all objects are "really" associations of sensations.

[6] This statement is meant literally. The "sensations" of color,
sound, etc., to which appeal is made in a scientific inquiry are
nothing mental in structure or stuff; they are actual, extra-organic
things analyzed down to what is so indubitably there that it may
safely be taken as a basis of inference.

[7] A term is not of course a mere word; a mere word is non-sense, for
a sound by itself is not a word at all. Nor is it a mere meaning,
which is not even natural non-sense, being (if it be at all)
supernatural or transcendental nonsense. "Terms" signify that certain
absent existences are indicated by certain given existences, in the
respect that they are abstracted and fixed for intellectual use by
some physically convenient means, such as a sound or a muscular
contraction of the vocal organs.

[8] This distinction of indication as existential and implication as
conceptual or essential, I owe to Mr. Alfred Sidgwick. See his
_Fallacies_, p. 50.

[9] James, _Psychology_, II, 665.

[10] I have even seen, in a criticism of the essays, the method of
genesis opposed to the method of experimentation--as if
experimentation were anything but the generation of some special



No one doubts that thought, at least reflective as distinct from what
is sometimes called constitutive thought, is derivative and secondary.
It comes after something and out of something, and for the sake of
something. No one doubts that the thinking of everyday practical life
and of science is of this reflective type. We think about; we reflect
over. If we ask what it is which is primary and radical to thought; if
we ask what is the final objective for the sake of which thought
intervenes; if we ask in what sense we are to understand thought as a
derived procedure, we are plunging ourselves into the very heart of
the logical problem: the relation of thought to its empirical
antecedents and to its consequent, truth, and the relation of truth to

Yet from the naïve point of view no difficulty attaches to these
questions. The antecedents of thought are our universe of life and
love; of appreciation and struggle. We think about anything and
everything: snow on the ground; the alternating clanks and thuds that
rise from below; the relation of the Monroe Doctrine to the embroglio
in Venezuela; the relation of art to industry; the poetic quality of
a painting by Botticelli; the battle of Marathon; the economic
interpretation of history; the proper definition of cause; the best
method of reducing expenses; whether and how to renew the ties of a
broken friendship; the interpretation of an equation in hydrodynamics,

Through the madness of this miscellaneous citation there appears so
much of method: anything--event, act, value, ideal, person, or
place--may be an object of thought. Reflection busies itself alike
with physical nature, the record of social achievement, and the
endeavors of social aspiration. It is with reference to _such_ affairs
that thought is derivative; it is with reference to them that it
intervenes or mediates. Taking some part of the universe of action, of
affection, of social construction, under its special charge, and
having busied itself therewith sufficiently to meet the special
difficulty presented, thought releases that topic and enters into
further more direct experience.

Sticking for a moment to this naïve standpoint, we recognize a certain
rhythm of direct practice and derived theory; of primary construction
and of secondary criticism; of living appreciation and of abstract
description; of active endeavor and of pale reflection. We find that
every more direct primary attitude passes upon occasion into its
secondary deliberative and discursive counterpart. We find that when
the latter has done its work it passes away and passes on. From the
naïve standpoint such rhythm is taken as a matter of course. There is
no attempt either to state the nature of the occasion which demands
the thinking attitude, or to formulate a theory of the standard by
which is judged its success. No general theory is propounded as to the
exact relationship between thinking and what antecedes and succeeds
it. Much less do we ask how empirical circumstances can generate
rationality of thought; nor how it is possible for reflection to lay
claim to power of determining truth and thereby of constructing
further reality.

If we were to ask the thinking of naïve life to present, with a
minimum of theoretical elaboration, its conception of its own
practice, we should get an answer running not unlike this: Thinking is
a kind of activity which we perform at specific need, just as at other
need we engage in other sorts of activity: as converse with a friend;
draw a plan for a house; take a walk; eat a dinner; purchase a suit of
clothes, etc. In general, its material is anything in the wide
universe which seems to be relevant to this need--anything which may
serve as a resource in defining the difficulty or in suggesting modes
of dealing effectively with it. The measure of its success, the
standard of its validity, is precisely the degree in which the
thinking actually disposes of the difficulty and allows us to proceed
with more direct modes of experiencing, that are forthwith possessed
of more assured and deepened value.

If we inquire why the naïve attitude does not go on to elaborate these
implications of its own practice into a systematic theory, the answer,
on its own basis, is obvious. Thought arises in response to its own
occasion. And this occasion is so exacting that there is time, as
there is need, only to do the thinking which is needed in that
occasion--not to reflect upon the thinking itself. Reflection follows
so naturally upon its appropriate cue, its issue is so obvious, so
practical, the entire relationship is so organic, that once grant the
position that thought arises in reaction to specific demand, and there
is not the particular type of thinking called logical theory because
there is not the practical demand for reflection of that sort. Our
attention is taken up with particular questions and specific answers.
What we have to reckon with is not the problem of, How can I think
_überhaupt_? but, How shall I think right _here and now_? Not what is
the test of thought at large, but what validates and confirms _this_

In conformity with this view, it follows that a generic account of our
thinking behavior, the generic account termed logical theory, arises
at historic periods in which the situation has lost the organic
character above described. The general theory of reflection, as over
against its concrete exercise, appears when occasions for reflection
are so overwhelming and so mutually conflicting that specific adequate
response in thought is blocked. Again, it shows itself when practical
affairs are so multifarious, complicated, and remote from control that
thinking is held off from successful passage into them.

Anyhow (sticking to the naïve standpoint), it is true that the
stimulus to that particular form of reflective thinking termed logical
theory is found when circumstances require the act of thinking and
nevertheless impede clear and coherent thinking in detail; or when
they occasion thought and then prevent the results of thinking from
exercising directive influence upon the immediate concerns of life.
Under these conditions we get such questions as the following: What is
the relation of rational thought to crude or unreflective experience?
What is the relation of thought to reality? What is the barrier which
prevents reason from complete penetration into the world of truth?
What is it that makes us live alternately in a concrete world of
experience in which thought as such finds not satisfaction, and in a
world of ordered thought which is yet only abstract and ideal?

It is not my intention here to pursue the line of historical inquiry
thus suggested. Indeed, the point would not be mentioned did it not
serve to fix attention upon the nature of the logical problem.

It is in dealing with this latter type of question that logical theory
has taken a turn which separates it widely from the theoretical
implications of practical deliberation and of scientific research.
The two latter, however much they differ from each other in detail,
agree in a fundamental principle. They both assume that every
reflective problem and operation arises with reference to some
_specific_ situation, and has to subserve a _specific_ purpose
dependent upon its own occasion. They assume and observe distinct
limits--limits from which and to which. There is the limit of origin
in the needs of the particular situation which evokes reflection.
There is the limit of terminus in successful dealing with the
particular problem presented--or in retiring, baffled, to take up some
other question. The query that at once faces us regarding the nature
of logical theory is whether reflection upon reflection shall
recognize these limits, endeavoring to formulate them more exactly and
to define their relationships to each other more adequately; or shall
it abolish limits, do away with the matter of specific conditions and
specific aims of thought, and discuss thought and its relation to
empirical antecedents and rational consequents (truth) at large?

At first blush, it might seem as if the very nature of logical theory
as generalization of the reflective process must of necessity
disregard the matter of particular conditions and particular results
as irrelevant. How, the implication runs, could reflection become
generalized save by elimination of details as irrelevant? Such a
conception in fixing the central problem of logic fixes once for all
its future career and material. The essential business of logic is
henceforth to discuss the relation of thought as such to reality as
such. It may, indeed, involve much psychological material,
particularly in the discussion of the processes which antecede
thinking and which call it out. It may involve much discussion of the
concrete methods of investigation and verification employed in the
various sciences. It may busily concern itself with the
differentiation of various types and forms of thought--different modes
of conceiving, various conformations of judgment, various types of
inferential reasoning. But it concerns itself with any and all of
these three fields, not on their own account or as ultimate, but as
subsidiary to the main problem: the relation of thought as such, or at
large, to reality as such, or at large. Some of the detailed
considerations referred to may throw light upon the terms under which
thought transacts its business with reality; upon, say, certain
peculiar limitations it has to submit to as best it may. Other
considerations throw light upon the ways in which thought gets at
reality. Still other considerations throw light upon the forms which
thought assumes in attacking and apprehending reality. But in the end
all this is incidental. In the end the one problem holds: How do the
specifications of thought as such hold good of reality as such? In
fine, logic is supposed to grow out of the epistemological inquiry and
to lead up to its solution.

From this point of view various aspects of logical theory are well
stated by an author whom later on we shall consider in some detail.
Lotze[11] refers to "universal forms and principles of thought which
hold good everywhere both in judging of reality and in weighing
possibility, _irrespective of any difference in the objects_." This
defines the business of _pure_ logic. This is clearly the question of
thought as such--of thought at large or in general. Then we have the
question "of how far the most complete structure of thought ... can
claim to be an adequate account of that which we seem compelled to
assume as the object and occasion of our ideas." This is clearly the
question of the relation of thought at large to reality at large. It
is epistemology. Then comes "applied logic," having to do with the
actual employment of concrete forms of thought with reference to
investigation of specific topics and subjects. This "applied" logic
would, if the standpoint of practical deliberation and of scientific
research were adopted, be the sole genuine logic. But the existence of
thought _in itself_ having been agreed upon, we have in this "applied"
logic only an incidental inquiry of how the particular resistances and
oppositions which "pure" thought meets from particular matters may
best be discounted. It is concerned with methods of investigation
which obviate defects in the relationship of thought at large to
reality at large, as these present themselves under the limitations
of human experience. It deals merely with hindrances, and with devices
for overcoming them; it is directed by considerations of utility. When
we reflect that this field includes the entire procedure of practical
deliberation and of concrete scientific research, we begin to realize
something of the significance of the theory of logic which regards the
limitations of specific origination and specific outcome as irrelevant
to its main problem, which assumes an activity of thought "pure" or
"in itself," that is, "irrespective of any difference in its objects."

This suggests, by contrast, the opposite mode of stating the problem
of logical theory. Generalization of the nature of the reflective
process certainly involves elimination of much of the specific
material and contents of the thought-situations of daily life and of
critical science. Quite compatible with this, however, is the notion
that it seizes upon _certain_ specific conditions and factors, and
aims to bring them to clear consciousness--not to abolish them. While
eliminating the particular material of particular practical and
scientific pursuits, (1) it may strive to hit upon the common
denominator in the various situations which are antecedent or primary
to thought and which evoke it; (2) it may attempt to show how typical
features in the specific antecedents of thought call out diverse
typical modes of thought-reaction; (3) it may attempt to state the
nature of the specific consequences in which thought fulfils its

(1) It does not eliminate dependence upon specific occasions as
provocative of thought, but endeavors to define _what_ in the various
occasions renders them thought-provoking. The specific occasion is not
eliminated, but insisted upon and brought into the foreground.
Consequently, empirical considerations are not subsidiary incidents,
but are of essential importance so far as they enable us to trace the
generation of the thought-situation. (2) From this point of view the
various types and modes of conceiving, judging, and inference are
treated, not as qualifications of thought _per se_ or at large, but of
reflection engaged in its specific, most economic, effective response
to its own particular occasion; they are adaptations for control of
stimuli. The distinctions and classifications that have been
accumulated in "formal" logic are relevant data; but they demand
interpretation from the standpoint of use as organs of adjustment to
material antecedents and stimuli. (3) Finally the question of
validity, or ultimate objective of thought, is relevant; but relevant
as a matter of the specific issue of the specific career of a
thought-function. All the typical investigatory and verificatory
procedures of the various sciences indicate the ways in which thought
actually brings to successful fulfilment its dealing with various
types of problems.

While the epistemological type of logic may, as we have seen, leave
(under the name of applied logic) a subsidiary place open for the
instrumental type, the type which deals with thinking as a specific
procedure relative to a specific antecedent occasion and to a
subsequent specific fulfilment is not able to reciprocate the favor.
From its point of view, an attempt to discuss the antecedents, data,
forms, and objectives of thought, apart from reference to particular
position occupied and particular part played in the growth of
experience, is to reach results which are not so much either true or
false as they are radically meaningless--because they are considered
apart from limits. Its results are not only abstractions (for all
theorizing ends in abstractions), but abstractions without possible
reference or bearing. From this point of view, the taking of something
(whether that something be a thinking activity, its empirical
stimulus, or its objective goal), apart from the limits of a historic
or developing situation, is the essence of _metaphysical_
procedure--in that sense of metaphysics which makes a gulf between it
and science.

As the reader has doubtless anticipated, it is the object of this
chapter to present the problem and industry of reflective thought from
the standpoint of naïve experience, using the term in a sense wide
enough to cover both practical procedure and concrete scientific
research. I resume by saying that this point of view knows no fixed
distinction between the empirical things and values of unreflective
life and the most abstract process of rational thought. It knows no
fixed gulf between the highest flight of theory and a control of the
details of practical construction and behavior. It passes, according
to the occasion and opportunity of the moment, from the attitude of
loving and struggling and doing to that of thinking and the reverse.
Its contents or material shift their values back and forth from
technological or utilitarian to aesthetic, ethical, or affectional. It
utilizes data of perception, of meaning or of discursive ideation as
need calls, just as an inventor now utilizes heat, now mechanical
strain, now electricity, according to the demands set by his aim.
Anything from past experience may be taken which appears to be an
element in either the statement or the solution of the present
problem. Thus we understand the coexistence, without contradiction, of
an indeterminate possible field and a limited actual field. The
undefined range of possible materials becomes specific through
reference to an end.

In all this, there is no difference of kind between the methods of
science and those of the plain man. The difference is the greater
control by science of the statement of the problem, and of the
selection and use of relevant material, both sensible and conceptual.
The two are related to each other just as the hit-or-miss,
trial-and-error inventions of uncivilized man stand to the deliberate
and consecutively persistent efforts of a modern inventor to produce
a certain complicated device for doing a comprehensive piece of work.
Neither the plain man nor the scientific inquirer is aware, as he
engages in his reflective activity, of any transition from one sphere
of existence to another. He knows no two fixed worlds--reality on one
side and mere subjective ideas on the other; he is aware of no gulf to
cross. He assumes uninterrupted, free, and fluid passage from ordinary
experience to abstract thinking, from thought to fact, from things to
theories and back again. Observation passes into development of
hypothesis; deductive methods pass into use in description of the
particular; inference passes into action, all with no sense of
difficulty save those found in the particular task in question. The
fundamental assumption is _continuity_.

This does not mean that fact is confused with idea, or observed datum
with voluntary hypothesis, theory with doing, any more than a traveler
confuses land and water when he journeys from one to the other. It
simply means that each is placed and used with reference to service
rendered the other, and with reference to the future use of the other.

Only the epistemological spectator of traditional controversies is
aware of the fact that the everyday man and the scientific man in this
free and easy intercourse are rashly assuming the right to glide over
a cleft in the very structure of reality. This fact raises a query not
favorable to the epistemologist. Why is it that the scientific man,
who is constantly plying his venturous traffic of exchange of facts
for ideas, of theories for laws, of real things for hypotheses, should
be so wholly unaware of the radical and generic (as distinct from
specific) difficulty of the undertakings in which he is engaged? We
thus come afresh to our inquiry: Does not the epistemological logician
unwittingly transfer the specific difficulty which always faces the
scientific man--the difficulty in detail of correct and adequate
translation back and forth of _this_ set of facts and _this_ group of
reflective consideration--into a totally different problem of the
wholesale relation of thought at large to reality in general? If such
be the case, it is clear that the very way in which the
epistemological type of logic states the problem of thinking, in
relation both to empirical antecedents and to objective truth, makes
that problem insoluble. Working terms, terms which as working are
flexible and historic, relative and methodological, are transformed
into absolute, fixed, and predetermined properties of being.

We come a little closer to the problem when we recognize that every
scientific inquiry passes historically through at least four stages.
(_a_) The first of these stages is, if I may be allowed the bull, that
in which scientific inquiry does not take place at all, because no
problem or difficulty in the quality of the experience presents itself
to provoke reflection. We have only to cast our eye back from the
existing status of any science, or back from the status of any
particular topic in any science, to discover a time when no reflective
or critical thinking busied itself with the matter--when the facts and
relations were taken for granted and thus were lost and absorbed in
the net meaning which accrued from the experience. (_b_) After the
dawning of the problem there comes a period of occupation with
relatively crude and unorganized facts--hunting for, locating, and
collecting raw material. This is the empiric stage, which no existing
science, however proud in its attained rationality, can disavow as its
own progenitor. (_c_) Then there is also a speculative stage: a period
of guessing, of making hypotheses, of framing ideas which later on are
labeled and condemned as only ideas. There is a period of
distinction-making and classification-making which later on is
regarded as only mentally gymnastic in character. And no science,
however proud in its present security of experimental assurance, can
disavow a scholastic ancestor. (_d_) Finally, there comes a period of
fruitful interaction between the mere ideas and the mere facts: a
period when observation is determined by experimental conditions
depending upon the use of certain guiding conceptions; when reflection
is directed and checked at every point by the use of experimental
data, and by the necessity of finding such a form for itself as will
enable it to serve in a deduction leading to evolution of new
meanings, and ultimately to experimental inquiry which brings to
light new facts. In the emerging of a more orderly and significant
region of fact, and of a more coherent and self-luminous system of
meaning, we have the natural limit of evolution of the logic of a
given science.

But consider what has happened in this historic record. Unanalyzed
experience has broken up into distinctions of facts and ideas; the
factual side has been developed by indefinite and almost miscellaneous
descriptions and cumulative listings; the conceptual side has been
developed by unchecked and speculative elaboration of definitions,
classifications, etc. Then there has been a relegation of accepted
meanings to the limbo of mere ideas; there has been a passage of some
of the accepted facts into the region of mere hypothesis and opinion.
Conversely, there has been a continued issuing of ideas from the
region of hypotheses and theories into that of facts, of accepted
objective and meaningful objects. Out of a world of only _seeming_
facts, and of only _doubtful_ ideas, there emerges a world continually
growing in definiteness, order, and luminosity.

This progress, verified in every record of science, is an absolute
monstrosity from the standpoint of the epistemology which assumes a
thought in general, on one side, and a reality in general, on the
other. The reason that it does not present itself as such a monster
and miracle to those actually concerned with it is because
_continuity_ of reference and of use controls all diversities in the
modes of existence specified and the types of significance assigned.
The distinction of meaning and fact is treated in the growth of a
science, or of any particular scientific problem, as an _induced_ and
_intentional_ practical division of labor; as assignments of relative
position with reference to performance of a task; as deliberate
distribution of forces at command for their more economic use. The
absorption of bald fact and hypothetical idea into the formation of a
single world of scientific apprehension and comprehension is but the
successful achieving of the aim on account of which the distinctions
in question were instituted.

Thus we come back to the problem of logical theory. To take the
distinctions of thought and fact, etc., as ontological, as inherently
fixed in the makeup of the structure of being, results in treating the
actual technique of scientific inquiry and scientific control as a
mere subsidiary topic--ultimately of only utilitarian worth. It also
states the terms upon which thought and being transact business in a
way so totally alien to concrete experience that it creates a problem
which can be discussed only in terms of itself--not in terms of the
conduct of life. As against this, the logic which aligns itself with
the origin and employ of reflective thought in everyday life and
critical science follows the natural history of thinking as a
life-process having its own generating antecedents and stimuli, its
own states and career, and its own specific objective or limit.

This point of view makes it possible for logical theory to come to
terms with psychology. When logic is considered as having to do with
the wholesale activity of thought _per se_, the question of the
historic process by which this or that particular thought came to be,
of how its object happens to present itself as sensory, or perceptual,
or conceptual, is quite irrelevant. These things are mere temporal
accidents. The psychologist (not lifting his gaze from the realm of
the changeable) may find in them matters of interest. His whole
industry is just with natural history--to trace events as they
mutually excite and inhibit one another. But the logician, we are
told, has a deeper problem and an outlook of more unbounded horizon.
He deals with the question of the eternal nature of thought and its
eternal validity in relation to an eternal reality. He is concerned,
not with genesis, but with value, not with a historic cycle, but with
absolute entities and relations.

Still the query haunts us: Is this so in truth? Or has the logician of
a certain type arbitrarily made it so by taking his terms apart from
reference to the specific occasions in which they arise and situations
in which they function? If the latter, then the very denial of
historic relationship, the denial of the significance of historic
method, is indicative of the unreal character of his own abstraction.
It means in effect that the affairs under consideration have been
isolated from the conditions in which alone they have determinable
meaning and assignable worth. It is astonishing that, in the face of
the advance of the evolutionary method in natural science, any
logician can persist in the assertion of a rigid difference between
the problem of origin and of nature; between genesis and analysis;
between history and validity. Such assertion simply reiterates as
final a distinction which grew up and had meaning in pre-evolutionary
science. It asserts, against the most marked advance which scientific
method has yet made, a survival of a crude period of logical
scientific procedure. We have no choice save either to conceive of
thinking as a response to a specific stimulus, or else to regard it as
something "in itself," having just in and of itself certain traits,
elements, and laws. If we give up the last view, we must take the
former. In this case it will still possess distinctive traits, but
they will be traits of a specific response to a specific stimulus.

The significance of the evolutionary method in biology and social
history is that every distinct organ, structure, or formation, every
grouping of cells or elements, is to be treated as an instrument of
adjustment or adaptation to a particular environing situation. Its
meaning, its character, its force, is known when, and only when, it is
considered as an arrangement for meeting the conditions involved in
some specific situation. This analysis is carried out by tracing
successive stages of development--by endeavoring to locate the
particular situation in which each structure has its origin, and by
tracing the successive modifications through which, in response to
changing media, it has reached its present conformation.[12] To
persist in condemning natural history from the standpoint of what
natural history meant before it identified itself with an evolutionary
process is not so much to exclude the natural-history standpoint from
philosophic consideration as it is to evince ignorance of what it

Psychology as the natural history of the various attitudes and
structures through which experiencing passes, as an account of the
conditions under which this or that attitude emerges, and of the way
in which it influences, by stimulation or inhibition, production of
other states or conformations of reflection, is indispensable to
logical evaluation the moment we treat logical theory as an account of
thinking as a response to its own generating conditions, and
consequently judge its validity by reference to its efficiency in
meeting its problems. The historical point of view describes the
sequence; the normative follows the history to its conclusion, and
then turns back and judges each historical step by viewing it in
reference to its own outcome.

In the course of changing experience we keep our balance in moving
from situations of an affectional quality to those which are
practical or appreciative or reflective, because we bear constantly in
mind the context in which any particular distinction presents itself.
As we submit each characteristic function and situation of experience
to our gaze, we find it has a dual aspect. Wherever there is striving
there are obstacles; wherever there is affection there are persons who
are attached; wherever there is doing there is accomplishment;
wherever there is appreciation there is value; wherever there is
thinking there is material-in-question. We keep our footing as we move
from one attitude to another, from one characteristic quality to
another, because of the position occupied in the whole movement by the
particular function in which we are engaged.

The distinction _between_ each attitude and function and its
predecessor and successor is serial, dynamic, operative. The
distinctions _within_ any given operation or function are structural,
contemporaneous, and distributive. Thinking follows, we will say,
striving, and doing follows thinking. Each in the fulfilment of its
own function inevitably calls out its successor. But coincident,
simultaneous, and correspondent _within_ doing is the distinction of
doer and of deed; _within_ the function of thought, of thinking and
material thought upon; within the function of striving, of obstacle
and aim, of means and end. We keep our paths straight because we do
not confuse the sequential and functional relationship of types of
experience with the contemporaneous and structural distinctions of
elements within a given function. In the seeming maze of endless
confusion and unlimited shiftings, we find our way by the means of the
stimulations and checks occurring within the process in which we are
actually engaged. Operating within empirical situations we do not
contrast or confuse a condition which is an element in the formation
of one operation with the status which is one of the distributive
terms of another function. When we ignore these specific empirical
clues and limitations, we have at once an insoluble, because
meaningless, problem upon our hands.

Now the epistemological logician deliberately shuts himself off from
those cues and checks upon which the plain man instinctively relies,
and which the scientific man deliberately searches for and adopts as
constituting his technique. Consequently he is likely to set the
attitude which has place and significance only in one of the serial
functional situations of experience over against the active attitude
which describes part of the structural constitution of another
situation; or with equal lack of justification to assimilate materials
characteristic of different stages to one another. He sets the agent,
as he is found in the intimacy of love or appreciation, over against
the externality of the fact, as that is defined within the reflective
process. He takes the material which thought selects as its
problematic data as identical with the significant content which
results from successful pursuit of inquiry; and this in turn he
regards as the material which was presented before thinking began,
whose peculiarities were the means of awakening thought. He identifies
the final deposit of the thought-function with its own generating
antecedent, and then disposes of the resulting surd by reference to
some metaphysical consideration, which remains when logical inquiry,
when science (as interpreted by him), has done its work. He does this,
not because he prefers confusion to order, or error to truth, but
simply because, when the chain of historic sequence is cut, the vessel
of thought is afloat to veer upon a sea without soundings or moorings.
There are but two alternatives: either there is an object "in itself"
of mind "in itself," or else there are a series of situations where
elements vary with the varying functions to which they belong. If the
latter, the only way in which the characteristic terms of situations
can be defined is by discriminating the functions to which they
belong. And the epistemological logician, in choosing to take his
question as one of thought which has its own form just as "thought,"
apart from the limits of the special work it has to do, has deprived
himself of these supports and stays.

The problem of logic has a more general and a more specific phase. In
its generic form, it deals with this question: How does one type of
functional situation and attitude in experience pass out of and into
another; for example, the technological or utilitarian into the
aesthetic, the aesthetic into the religious, the religious into the
scientific, and this into the socio-ethical and so on? The more
specific question is: How does the particular functional situation
termed the reflective behave? How shall we describe it? What in detail
are its diverse contemporaneous distinctions, or divisions of labor,
its correspondent _statuses_; in what specific ways do these operate
with reference to each other so as to effect the specific aim which is
proposed by the needs of the affair?

This chapter may be brought to conclusion by reference to the more
ultimate value of the logic of experience, of logic taken in its wider
sense; that is, as an account of the sequence of the various typical
functions or situations of experience in their determining relations
to one another. Philosophy, defined as such a logic, makes no pretense
to be an account of a closed and finished universe. Its business is
not to secure or guarantee any particular reality or value. _Per
contra_, it gets the significance of a method. The right relationship
and adjustment of the various typical phases of experience to one
another is a problem felt in every department of life. Intellectual
rectification and control of these adjustments cannot fail to reflect
itself in an added clearness and security on the practical side. It
may be that general logic cannot become an instrument in the immediate
direction of the activities of science or art or industry; but it is
of value in criticizing and organizing tools of immediate research.
It also has direct significance in the valuation for social or
life-purposes of results achieved in particular branches. Much of the
immediate business of life is badly done because we do not know the
genesis and outcome of the work that occupies us. The manner and
degree of appropriation of the goods achieved in various departments
of social interest and vocation are partial and faulty because we are
not clear as to the due rights and responsibilities of one function of
experience in reference to others.

The value of research for social progress; the bearing of psychology
upon educational procedure; the mutual relations of fine and
industrial art; the question of the extent and nature of
specialization in science in comparison with the claims of applied
science; the adjustment of religious aspirations to scientific
statements; the justification of a refined culture for a few in face
of economic insufficiency for the mass; the relation of organization
to individuality--such are a few of the many social questions whose
answer depends upon the possession and use of a general logic of
experience as a method of inquiry and interpretation. I do not say
that headway cannot be made in such questions apart from the method
indicated: a logic of experience. But unless we have a critical and
assured view of the juncture in which and with reference to which a
given attitude or interest arises, unless we know the service it is
thereby called upon to perform, and hence the organs or methods by
which it best functions in that service, our progress is impeded and
irregular. We take a part for a whole, a means for an end; or we
attack wholesale some interest because it interferes with the deified
sway of the one we have selected as ultimate. A clear and
comprehensive consensus of social conviction and a consequent
concentrated and economical direction of effort are assured only as
there is some way of locating the position and rôle of each typical
interest and occupation. The domain of opinion is one of conflict; its
rule is arbitrary and costly. Only intellectual method affords a
substitute for opinion. A general logic of experience alone can do for
social qualities and aims what the natural sciences after centuries of
struggle are doing for activity in the physical realm.

This does not mean that systems of philosophy which have attempted to
state the nature of thought and of reality at large, apart from limits
of particular situations in the movement of experience, have been
worthless--though it does mean that their industry has been somewhat
misapplied. The unfolding of metaphysical theory has made large
contributions to positive evaluations of the typical situations and
relationships of experience--even when its conscious intention has
been quite otherwise. Every system of philosophy is itself a mode of
reflection; consequently (if our main contention be true), it too has
been evoked out of specific social antecedents, and has had its use
as a response to them. It has effected something in modifying the
situation within which it found its origin. It may not have solved the
problem which it consciously put itself; in many cases we may freely
admit that the question put has been found afterward to be so wrongly
put as to be insoluble. Yet exactly the same thing is true, in
precisely the same sense, in the history of science. For this reason,
if for no other, it is impossible for the scientific man to cast the
first stone at the philosopher.

The progress of science in any branch continually brings with it a
realization that problems in their previous form of statement are
insoluble because put in terms of unreal conditions; because the
real conditions have been mixed up with mental artifacts or
misconstructions. Every science is continually learning that its
supposed solutions are only apparent because the "solution" solves, not
the actual problem, but one which has been made up. But the very
putting of the question, the very giving of the wrong answer, induces
modification of existing intellectual habits, standpoints, and aims.
Wrestling with the problem, there is evolution of new technique to
control inquiry, there is search for new facts, institution of new
types of experimentation; there is gain in the methodic control of
experience. And all this is progress. It is only the worn-out cynic,
the de-vitalized sensualist, and the fanatical dogmatist who interpret
the continuous change of science as proving that, since each successive
statement is wrong, the whole record is error and folly; and that the
present truth is only the error not yet found out. Such draw the moral
of caring naught for all these things, or of flying to some external
authority which will deliver once for all the fixed and unchangeable
truth. But historic philosophy even in its aberrant forms has proved a
factor in the valuation of experience; it has brought problems to
light, it has provoked intellectual conflicts without which values are
only nominal; even through its would-be absolutistic isolations it has
secured recognition of mutual dependencies and reciprocal
reinforcements. Yet if it can define its work more clearly, it can
concentrate its energy upon its own characteristic problem: the genesis
and functioning in experience of various typical interests and
occupations with reference to one another.


[11] _Logic_ (translation, Oxford, 1888), I, 10, 11. Italics mine.

[12] See _Philosophical Review_, XI, 117-20.



We have discriminated logic in its wider sense--concerned with the
sequence of characteristic functions and attitudes in experience--from
logic in its stricter meaning, concerned with the function of
reflective thought. We must avoid yielding to the temptation of
identifying logic with either of these to the exclusion of the other;
or of supposing that it is possible to isolate one finally from the
other. The more detailed treatment of the organs and methods of
reflection cannot be carried on with security save as we have a
correct idea of the position of reflection amid the typical functions
of experience. Yet it is impossible to determine this larger placing,
save as we have a defined and analytic, as distinct from a merely
vague and gross, view of what we mean by reflection--what is its
actual constitution. It is necessary to work back and forth between
the larger and the narrower fields, transforming every increment upon
one side into a method of work upon the other, and thereby testing it.
The evident confusion of existing logical theory, its uncertainty as
to its own bounds and limits, its tendency to oscillate from larger
questions of the meaning of judgment and the validity of inference
over to details of scientific technique, and to translate distinctions
of formal logic into acts in an investigatory or verificatory process,
are indications of the need of this double movement.

In the next three chapters it is proposed to take up some of the
considerations that lie on the borderland between the larger and the
narrower conceptions of logical theory. I shall discuss the _locus_ of
the function of thought in experience so far as such _locus_ enables
us to characterize some of the most fundamental distinctions, or
divisions of labor, within the reflective process. In taking up the
problem of the subject-matter of thought, I shall try to make clear
that it assumes three quite distinct forms according to the epochal
moment reached in control of experience. I shall attempt to show that
we must consider subject-matter from the standpoint, first, of the
_antecedents_ or conditions that evoke thought; secondly, of the
_datum_ or _immediate material_ presented to thought; and, thirdly, of
the _proper objective_ of thought. Of these three distinctions the
first, that of antecedent and stimulus, clearly refers to the
situation that is immediately prior to the thought-function as such.
The second, that of datum or immediately given matter, refers to a
distinction which is made within the thought-process as a part of and
for the sake of its own _modus operandi_. It is a status in the scheme
of thinking. The third, that of content or object, refers to the
progress actually made in any thought-function; material which is
organized by inquiry so far as inquiry has fulfilled its purpose. This
chapter will get at the matter of preliminary conditions of thought
indirectly rather than directly, by indicating the contradictory
positions into which one of the most vigorous and acute of modern
logicians, Lotze, has been forced through failing to define logical
distinctions in terms of the history of readjustment and control of
things in experience, and being thereby compelled to interpret certain
notions as absolute instead of as historic and methodological.

Before passing directly to the exposition and criticism of Lotze, it
will be well, however, to take the matter in a somewhat freer way. We
cannot approach logical inquiry in a wholly direct and uncompromised
manner. Of necessity we bring to it certain distinctions--distinctions
partly the outcome of concrete experience; partly due to the logical
theory which has got embodied in ordinary language and in current
intellectual habits; partly results of deliberate scientific and
philosophic inquiry. These more or less ready-made results are
resources; they are the only weapons with which we can attack the new
problem. Yet they are full of unexamined assumptions; they commit us
to all sorts of logically predetermined conclusions. In one sense our
study of the new subject-matter, let us say logical theory, is in
truth only a review, a retesting and criticizing of the intellectual
standpoints and methods which we bring with us to the study.

Nowadays everyone comes with certain distinctions already made between
the subjective and the objective, between the physical and the mental,
between the intellectual and the factual. (1) We have learned to
regard the region of emotional disturbance, of uncertainty and
aspiration, as belonging peculiarly to ourselves; we have learned to
set over against this the world of observation and of valid thought as
something unaffected by our moods, hopes, fears, and opinions. (2) We
have also come to distinguish between what is immediately present in
our experience and the past and the future; we contrast the realms of
memory and anticipation with that of sense perception; more generally
we contrast the given with the inferential. (3) We are confirmed in a
habit of distinguishing between what we call actual fact and our
mental attitude toward that fact--the attitude of surmise or wonder or
reflective investigation. While one of the aims of logical theory is
precisely to make us critically conscious of the significance and
bearing of these various distinctions, to change them from ready-made
assumptions into controlled conceptions, our mental habits are so set
that they tend to have their own way with us; we read into logical
theory conceptions that were formed before we had even dreamed of the
logical undertaking which after all has for its business to assign to
the terms in question their proper meaning. Our conclusions are thus
controlled by the very notions which need criticism and revision.

We find in Lotze an unusually explicit inventory of these various
preliminary distinctions, and an unusually serious effort to deal with
the problems which arise from introducing them into the structure of
logical theory. (1) He expressly separates the matter of logical worth
from that of psychological genesis. He consequently abstracts the
subject-matter of logic as such wholly from the question of historic
_locus_ and _situs_. (2) He agrees with common-sense in holding that
logical thought is reflective and thus presupposes a given material.
He occupies himself with the nature of the antecedent conditions. (3)
He wrestles with the problem of how a material formed prior to thought
and irrespective of it can yet afford stuff upon which thought may
exercise itself. (4) He expressly raises the question of how thought
working independently and from without upon a foreign material can
shape the latter into results which are valid--that is, objective.

If this discussion is successful; if Lotze can provide the
intermediaries which span the gulf between the exercise of logical
functions by thought upon a material wholly external to it; if he can
show that the question of the origin of subject-matter of thought and
of thought-activity is irrelevant to the question of its meaning and
validity, we shall have to surrender the position already taken. But
if we find that Lotze's elaborations only elaborate the fundamental
difficulty, presenting it now in this light and now in that, but
always presenting the problem as if it were its own solution, we shall
be confirmed in our idea of the need of considering logical questions
from a different point of view. If we find that, whatever his formal
treatment, he always, as a matter of fact, falls back upon some
organized situation or function as the source of both the material and
the process of inquiry, we shall have in so far an elucidation and
even a corroboration of our theory.

We begin with the question of the material antecedents of
thought--antecedents which condition reflection, and which call it out
as reaction or response, by giving its cue. Lotze differs from many
logicians of the same type in furnishing an explicit account of these

1. The ultimate material antecedents of thought are found in
impressions which are due to external objects as stimuli. Taken in
themselves, these impressions are mere psychical states or events.
They exist in us side by side, or one after the other, according as
the objects which excite them operate simultaneously or successively.
The occurrence of these various psychical states is not, however,
entirely dependent upon the presence of the exciting thing. After a
state has once been excited, it gets the power of reawakening other
states which have accompanied it or followed it. The associative
mechanism of revival plays a part. If we had a complete knowledge of
both the stimulating object and its effects, and of the details of the
associative mechanism, we should be able from given data to predict
the whole course of any given train or current of ideas (for the
impressions as conjoined simultaneously or successively become ideas
and a current of ideas).

Taken in itself, a sensation or impression is nothing but a "state of
our consciousness, a mood of ourselves." Any given current of ideas is
a necessary sequence of existences (just as necessary as any
succession of material events), happening in some particular sensitive
soul or organism. "Just because, under their respective conditions,
every such series of ideas hangs together by the same necessity and
law as every other, there would be no ground for making any such
distinction of value as that between truth and untruth, thus placing
one group in opposition to all the others."[13]

2. Thus far, as the last quotation clearly indicates, there is no
question of reflective thought, and hence no question of logical
theory. But further examination reveals a peculiar property of the
current of ideas. Some ideas are merely coincident, while others may
be termed coherent. That is to say, the exciting causes of some of
our simultaneous and successive ideas really belong together; while in
other cases they simply happen to act at the same time, without there
being a real connection between them. By the associative mechanism,
however, both the coherent and the merely coincident combinations
recur. The first type of recurrence supplies positive material for
knowledge; the second gives occasion for error.

3. It is a peculiar mixture of the coincident and the coherent which
sets the peculiar problem of reflective thought. The business of
thought is to recover and confirm the coherent, the really connected,
adding to its reinstatement an accessory justifying notion of the real
ground of coherence, while it eliminates the coincident as such. While
the mere current of ideas is something which just happens within us,
the process of elimination and of confirmation by means of statement
of real ground and basis of connection is an activity which mind, as
such, exercises. This distinction marks off thought as activity from
any psychical event and from the associative mechanism as mere
happenings. One is concerned with mere _de facto_ coexistences and
sequences; the other with the cognitive _worth_ of these

Consideration of the peculiar work of thought in going over, sorting
out, and determining various ideas according to a standard of value
will occupy us in our next chapter. Here we are concerned with the
material antecedents of thought as they are described by Lotze. At
first glance, he seems to propound a satisfactory theory. He avoids
the extravagancies of transcendental logic, which assumes that all the
matter of experience is determined from the very start by rational
thought; and he also avoids the pitfall of purely empirical logic,
which makes no distinction between the mere occurrence and association
of ideas and the real worth and validity of the various conjunctions
thus produced. He allows unreflective experience, defined in terms of
sensations and their combinations, to provide material conditions for
thinking, while he reserves for thought a distinctive work and dignity
of its own. Sense experience furnishes the antecedents; thought has to
introduce and develop systematic connection--rationality.

A further analysis of Lotze's treatment may, however, lead us to
believe that his statement is riddled through and through with
inconsistencies and self-contradictions; that, indeed, any one part of
it can be maintained only by the denial of some other portion.

1. The impression is the ultimate antecedent in its purest or crudest
form (according to the angle from which one views it). It is that
which has never felt, for good or for bad, the influence of thought.
Combined into ideas, these impressions stimulate or arouse the
activities of thought, which are forthwith directed upon them. As the
recipient of the activity which they have excited and brought to bear
upon themselves, they furnish also the material content of
thought--its actual stuff. As Lotze says over and over again: "It is
the relations themselves already subsisting between impressions, when
we become conscious of them, by which the action of thought which is
never anything but reaction, is attracted; and this action consists
merely in interpreting relations which we find existing between our
passive impressions into aspects of the matter of impressions."[15]
And again: "Thought can make no difference where it finds none already
in the matter of the impressions."[16] And again: "The possibility and
the success of thought's procedure depends upon this original
constitution and organization of the whole world of ideas, a
constitution which, though not necessary in thought, is all the more
necessary to make thinking possible."[17]

The impressions and ideas thus play a versatile rôle; they now assume
the part of ultimate antecedents and provocative conditions; of crude
material; and somehow, when arranged, of content for thought. This
very versatility awakens suspicion.

While the impression is merely subjective and a bare state of our own
consciousness, yet it is determined, both as to its existence and as
to its relation to other similar existences, by external objects as
stimuli, if not as causes. It is also determined by a psychical
mechanism so thoroughly objective or regular in its workings as to
give the same necessary character to the current of ideas that is
possessed by any physical sequence. Thus that which is "nothing but a
state of our consciousness" turns out straightway to be a specifically
determined objective fact in a system of facts.

That this absolute transformation is a contradiction is no clearer
than that just such a contradiction is indispensable to Lotze. If
impressions were nothing but states of consciousness, moods of
ourselves, bare psychical existences, it is sure enough that we should
never even know them to be such, to say nothing of conserving them as
adequate conditions and material for thought. It is only by treating
them as real facts in a real world, and only by carrying over into
them, in some assumed and unexplained way, the capacity of
representing the cosmic facts which cause them, that impressions or
ideas come in any sense within the scope of thought. But if the
antecedents are really impressions-in-their-objective-setting, then
Lotze's whole way of distinguishing thought-worth from _mere_
existence or event without objective significance must be radically

The implication that impressions have actually a quality or meaning of
their own becomes explicit when we refer to Lotze's theory that the
immediate antecedent of thought is found in the _matter_ of ideas.
When thought is said to "take cognizance of _relations_ which its own
activity does not originate, but which have been prepared for it by
the unconscious mechanism of the psychic states,"[18] the attribution
of objective content, of reference and meaning to ideas, is
unambiguous. The idea forms a most convenient halfway house for Lotze.
On one hand, as absolutely prior to thought, as material antecedent
condition, it is merely psychical, bald subjective event. But as
subject-matter for thought, as antecedent which affords stuff for
thought's exercise, it characteristically qualifies content.

Although we have been told that the impression is a mere receptive
irritation without participation of mental activity, we are not
surprised, in view of this capacity of ideas, to learn that the mind
actually has a determining share in both the reception of stimuli and
in their further associative combinations. The subject always enters
into the presentation of any mental object, even the sensational, to
say nothing of the perceptional and the imaged. The perception of a
given state of things is possible only on the assumption that "the
perceiving subject is at once enabled and compelled by its own nature
to combine the excitations which reach it from objects into those
forms which it is to perceive in the objects, and which it supposes
itself simply to _receive_ from them."[19]

It is only by continual transition from impression and ideas as mental
states and events to ideas as logical _objects or contents_, that
Lotze bridges the gulf from bare exciting antecedent to concrete
material conditions of thought. This contradiction, again, is
necessary to Lotze's standpoint. To set out frankly with objects as
antecedents would demand reconsideration of the whole viewpoint, which
supposes that the difference between the logical and its antecedent is
a matter of the difference between _worth_ and mere _existence_ or
_occurrence_. It would indicate that since meaning or value is already
there, the task of thought must be that of the transformation or
_reconstruction of meaning_ through an intermediary process. On the
other hand, to stick by the standpoint of _mere_ existence is not to
get anything which can be called even antecedent of thought.

2. Why is there a task of transformation? Consideration of the
material in its function of evoking thought, giving it its cue, will
serve to complete the picture of the contradiction and of the real
facts. It is the conflict between ideas as merely coincident and ideas
as coherent which constitutes the need that provokes the response of
thought. Here Lotze vibrates (_a_) between considering both
coincidence and coherence as psychical events; (_b_) considering
coincidence as purely psychical and coherence as at least
quasi-logical, and (_c_) making them both determinations within the
sphere of reflective thought. In strict accordance with his own
premises, coincidence and coherence ought both to be mere
peculiarities of the current of ideas as events within ourselves. But
so taken the distinction becomes absolutely meaningless. Events do not
cohere; at the most certain sets of them happen more or less
frequently than other sets; the only intelligible difference is one of
frequency of coincidence. And even this attributes to an event the
supernatural trait of reappearing after it has disappeared. Even
coincidence has to be defined in terms of relation of the _objects_
which are supposed to excite the psychical events that happen

As recent psychological discussion has made clear enough, it is
the matter, meaning, or content of ideas that is associated,
not the ideas as states or existences. Take such an idea as
sun-revolving-about-earth. We may _say_ it means the conjunction of
various sense impressions, but it is connection, or mutual reference,
of _attributes_ that we have in mind in the assertion. It is
absolutely certain that our psychical image of the sun is not
psychically engaged in revolving about our psychical image of the
earth. It would be amusing if such were the case; theaters and all
dramatic representations would be at a discount. But in truth,
sun-revolving-about-earth is a single meaning or intellectual object;
it is a unified subject-matter within which certain distinctions of
reference appear. It is concerned with what we intend when we think
earth and sun, and think them in their relation to each other. It is a
rule, specification, or direction of how to think when we have
occasion to think a certain subject-matter. To treat this mutual
reference as if it were simply a case of conjunction of mental events
produced by psycho-physical irritation and association is a profound
case of the psychological fallacy. We may, indeed, analyze an
experience involving belief in an object of a certain kind and find
that it had its origin in certain conditions of the sensitive
organism, in certain peculiarities of perception and of association,
and hence conclude that the belief involved in it was not justified by
the facts themselves. But the significance of the belief in
sun-revolving-about-earth by those who held it, consisted precisely in
the fact that it was taken not as a mere association of feelings, but
as a definite portion of the whole structure of objective experience,
guaranteed by other parts of the fabric, and lending its support and
giving its tone to them. It was to them part of the experienced frame
of things--of the real world.

Put the other way, if such an instance meant a mere conjunction of
psychical states, there would be in it absolutely nothing to evoke
thought. Each idea as event, as Lotze himself points out (I, 2), may
be regarded as adequately and necessarily determined to the place it
occupies. There is absolutely no question on the side of events of
mere coincidence _versus_ genuine connection. As event, it is there
and it belongs there. We cannot treat something as at once a bare fact
of existence and a problematic subject-matter of logical inquiry. To
take the reflective point of view is to consider the matter in a
totally new light; as Lotze says, it is to raise the question of
rightful claims to a position or relation.

The point becomes clearer when we contrast coincidence with
connection. To consider coincidence as simply psychical, and coherence
as at least quasi-logical, is to put the two on such different bases
that no question of contrasting them can arise. The coincidence which
precedes a valid or grounded coherence (the conjunction which as
coexistence of objects and sequence of acts is perfectly adequate)
never is, as antecedent, the coincidence which is set over against
coherence. The side-by-sideness of books on my bookshelf, the
succession of noises that rise through my window, do not trouble me
logically. They do not appear as errors or even as problems. One
coexistence is just as good as any other until some new point of view,
or new end, presents itself. If it is a question of the convenience of
arrangement of books, then the value of their present collocation
becomes a problem. Then I contrast their present state as bare
conjunction over against another scheme as one which is coherent. If I
regard the sequence of noises as a case of articulate speech, their
order becomes important--it is a problem to be determined. The inquiry
whether a given combination presents apparent or real connection shows
that reflective inquiry is already going on. Does this phase of the
moon really mean rain, or does it just happen that the rain-storm
comes when the moon has reached this phase? To ask such questions
shows that a certain portion of the universe of objective experience
is subjected to critical analysis for purposes of definitive
restatement. The tendency to regard some combination as mere
coincidence is absolutely a _part_ of the movement of mind in its
search for the real connection.

If coexistence as such is to be set against coherence as such, as the
non-logical against the logical, then, since our whole spatial
universe is one of collocation, and since thought in this universe can
never get farther than substituting one collocation for another, the
whole realm of space-experience is condemned offhand and in perpetuity
to anti-rationality. But, in truth, coincidence as over against
coherence, conjunction as over against connection, is just _suspected_
coherence, one which is under the fire of active inquiry. The
distinction is one which arises only within the logical or reflective

3. This brings us explicitly to the fact that there is neither
coincidence nor coherence in terms of the elements or meanings
contained in any couple or pair of ideas taken by itself. It is only
when they are co-factors in a situation or function which includes
more than either the "coincident" or the "coherent" and more than the
arithmetical sum of the two, that thought's activity can be evoked.
Lotze is continually in this dilemma: Thought either shapes its own
material or else just accepts it. In the first case (since Lotze
cannot rid himself of the presumption that thought must have a fixed
ready-made antecedent) its activity can only alter this stuff and thus
lead the mind farther away from reality. But if thought just accepts
its material, how can there be any distinctive aim or activity of
thought at all? As we have seen, Lotze endeavors to escape this
dilemma by supposing that, while thought receives its material yet
checks it up, it eliminates certain portions of it and reinstates
others, plus the stamp and seal of its own validity.

Lotze objects most strenuously to the Kantian notion that thought
awaits its subject-matter with certain ready-made modes of
apprehension. This notion would raise the insoluble question of how
thought contrives to bring the matter of each impression under that
particular form which is appropriate to it (I, 24). But he has not
avoided the difficulty. How does thought know which of the
combinations are merely coincident and which are merely coherent? How
does it know which to eliminate as irrelevant and which to confirm as
grounded? Either this evaluation is an imposition of its own, or else
gets its cue and clue from the subject-matter. Now, if the coincident
and the coherent taken in and of themselves are competent to give this
direction, they are already labeled. The further work of thought is
one of supererogation. It has at most barely to note and seal the
material combinations that are already there. Such a view clearly
renders thought's work as unnecessary in form as it is futile in

But there is no alternative except to recognize that an entire
situation or environment, within which exist both that which is
afterward found to be mere coincidence and that found to be real
connection, actually provokes thought. It is only as an experience
previously accepted comes up in its wholeness against another one
equally integral; and only as some larger experience dawns which
requires each as a part of itself and yet within which the required
factors show themselves mutually incompatible, that thought arises. It
is not bare coincidence, or bare connection, or bare addition of one
to the other, that excites thought. The stimulus is a situation which
is organized or constituted as a whole, and yet which is falling to
pieces in its parts--a situation which is in conflict within
itself--that arouses the search to find what really goes together, and
a correspondent effort to shut out what only seemingly goes together.
And real coherence means precisely capacity to exist within the
comprehending whole. To read back into the preliminary situation
those distinctions of mere conjunction of material and of valid
coherence which get existence, to say nothing of fixation, only within
the process of inquiry is a fallacy.

We must not leave this phase of the discussion, however, until it is
quite clear that our objection is not to Lotze's position that
reflective thought arises from an antecedent which is not reflectional
in character; nor yet to his idea that this antecedent has a certain
structure and content of its own setting the peculiar problem of
thought, giving the cue to its specific activities and determining its
object. On the contrary, it is this latter point upon which we would
insist; so as (by insisting) to point out, negatively, that this view
is absolutely inconsistent with Lotze's theory that psychical
impressions and ideas are the true antecedents of thought; and,
positively, to show that it is the _situation as a whole_, and not any
one isolated part of it, or distinction within it, that calls forth
and directs thinking. We must beware the fallacy of assuming that some
one element in the prior situation in isolation or detachment induces
the reflection which in reality comes forth only from the whole
disturbed situation. On the negative side, characterizations of
impression and idea are distinctions which arise only within
reflection upon that situation which is the genuine antecedent of
thought. Positively, it is the whole dynamic experience with its
qualitative and pervasive continuity, and its inner active
distraction, its elements at odds with each other, in tension against
each other, each contending for its proper placing and relationship,
which generates the thought-situation.

From this point of view, at this period of development, the
distinctions of objective and subjective have a characteristic
meaning. The antecedent, to repeat, is a situation in which the
various factors are actively incompatible with each other, and yet in
and through the striving tend to a re-formation of the whole and to a
restatement of the parts. This situation as such is clearly
'objective.' It is there; it is there as a whole; the various parts
are there; and their active incompatibility with one another is there.
Nothing is conveyed at this point by asserting that any particular
part of the situation is illusory or subjective, or mere appearance;
or that any other is truly real. The experience exists as one of vital
and active confusion and conflict among its elements. The conflict is
not only objective in a _de facto_ sense (that is, really existent),
but is objective in a logical sense as well; it is just this conflict
which effects a transition into the thought-situation--this, in turn,
being only a constant movement toward a defined equilibrium. The
conflict has objective worth because it is the antecedent condition
and cue of thought. Deny an organization of things within which
competing incompatible tendencies appear and thinking becomes merely

Every reflective attitude and function, whether of naïve life,
deliberate invention, or controlled scientific research, has risen
through the medium of some such total objective situation. The
abstract logician may tell us that sensations or impressions, or
associated ideas, or bare physical things, or conventional symbols,
are antecedent conditions. But such statements cannot be verified by
reference to a single instance of thought in connection with actual
practice or actual scientific research. Of course, by extreme
mediation symbols may become conditions of evoking thought. They get
to be objects in an active experience. But they are stimuli to
thinking only in case their manipulation to form a new whole occasions
resistance, and thus reciprocal tension. Symbols and their definitions
develop to a point where dealing with them becomes itself an
experience, having its own identity; just as the handling of
commercial commodities, or arrangement of parts of an invention, is a
specific experience.

There is always as antecedent to thought an experience of
subject-matter of the physical or social world, or the previously
organized intellectual world, whose parts are actively at war with
each other--so much so that they threaten to disrupt the situation,
which accordingly for its own maintenance requires deliberate
redefinition and re-relation of its tensional parts. This redefining
and re-relating is the constructive process termed thinking: the
reconstructive situation, with its parts in tension and in such
movement toward each other as tends to a unified arrangement of
things, is the thought-situation.

This at once suggests the subjective phase. The situation, the
experience as such, is objective. There is an experience of the
confused and conflicting tendencies. But just _what in particular_ is
objective, just _what_ form the situation shall take as an organized
harmonious whole, is unknown; that is the problem. It is the
uncertainty as to the _what_ of the experience together with the
certainty _that_ there is such an experience, that evokes the
thought-function. Viewed from this standpoint of uncertainty, the
situation as a whole is subjective. No particular content or reference
can be asserted offhand. Definite assertion is expressly reserved--it
is to be the outcome of the procedure of reflective inquiry now
undertaken. This holding off of contents from definitely asserted
position, this viewing them as candidates for reform, is what we mean,
at this stage of the natural history of thought, by the subjective.

We have followed Lotze through his tortuous course of inconsistencies.
It is better, perhaps, to run the risk of vain repetition than that of
leaving the impression that these are _mere_ dialectical
contradictions. It is an idle task to expose contradictions unless we
realize them in relation to the fundamental assumption which breeds
them. Lotze is bound to differentiate thought from its antecedents. He
is intent upon doing this, however, through a preconception that
marks off the thought-situation radically from its predecessor,
through a difference that is complete, fixed and absolute, or at
large. It is a total contrast of thought as such to something else as
such that he requires, not a contrast within experience of one
temporal phase of a process, one period of a rhythm, from others.

This complete and rigid difference Lotze finds in the difference
between an experience which is _mere existence_ or occurrence, and one
which has to do with worth, truth, right relationship. Now things have
connection, organization, value or force, practical and aesthetic
meaning, on their own account. The same is true of deeds, affections,
etc. Only states of feelings, bare impressions, etc., seem to fulfil
the prerequisite of being given as existence, and yet without
qualification as to worth, etc. Then the current of ideas offers
itself, a ready-made stream of events, of existences, which can be
characterized as wholly innocent of reflective determination, and as
the natural predecessor of thought.

But this stream of existences is no sooner regarded than its total
incapacity to officiate as material condition and cue of thought
appears. It is about as relevant to thinking as are changes that may
be happening on the other side of the moon. So, one by one, the whole
series of determinations of force and worth already traced are
introduced _into_ the very make-up, the inner structure, of what was
to be _mere_ existence: viz., (1) things of whose spatial and temporal
relations the mere impressions are somehow _representative_; (2)
_meaning_--the idea as significant, possessed of quality, and not a
mere event; (3) distinguished traits of coincidence and coherence
within the stream. All these features are explicitly asserted, as we
have seen; underlying and running through them all is the recognition
of the supreme value of a situation which has been organized as a
whole, yet is now conflicting in its inner constitution.

These contradictions all arise in the attempt to put thought's work,
as concerned with objective validity, over against experience as a
mere antecedent happening, or occurrence. This contrast arises because
of the attempt to consider thought as an independent somewhat in
general which nevertheless, in _our_ experience, is dependent upon a
raw material of mere impressions given to it. Hence the sole radical
avoidance of the contradictions can be secured only when thinking is
seen to be a specific event in the movement of experienced things,
having its own specific occasion or demand, and its own specific

The nature of the organization and force that the antecedent
conditions of the thought-function possess is too large a question
here to enter upon in detail. Lotze himself suggests the answer. He
speaks of the current of ideas, just as a current, supplying us with
the "mass of well-grounded information which _regulates daily life_"
(I, 4). It gives rise to "useful combinations," "correct
expectations," "seasonable reactions" (I, 7). He speaks of it, indeed,
as if it were just the ordinary world of naïve experience, the
so-called empirical world, as distinct from the world as critically
revised and rationalized in scientific and philosophic inquiry. The
contradiction between this interpretation and that of a mere stream of
psychical impressions is only another instance of the difficulty
already discussed. But the phraseology suggests the real state of
things. The unreflective world is a world of practical things; of ends
and means, of their effective adaptations; of control and regulation
of conduct in view of results. The world of uncritical experience also
is a world of social aims and means, involving at every turn the goods
and objects of affection and attachment, of competition and
co-operation. It has incorporate also in its own being the surprise of
aesthetic values--the sudden joy of light, the gracious wonder of tone
and form.

I do not mean that this holds in gross of the unreflective world of
experience over against the critical thought-situation--such a
contrast implies the very wholesale, at large, consideration of
thought which I am striving to avoid. Doubtless many and many an act
of thought has intervened in effecting the organization of our
commonest practical-affectional-aesthetic environment. I only mean to
indicate that thought does take place _in_ such a world; not _after_
a world of bare existences; and that while the more systematic
reflection we call organized science may, in some fair sense, be said
to come _after_, it comes after affectional, artistic, and
technological interests which have found realization.

Having entered so far upon a suggestion which cannot be followed out,
I venture one other digression. The notion that value or significance
as distinct from mere existentiality is the product of thought or
reason, and that the source of Lotze's contradictions lies in the
effort to find _any_ situation prior or antecedent to thought, is a
familiar one--it is even possible that my criticisms of Lotze have
been interpreted by some readers in this sense.[20] This is the
position frequently called neo-Hegelian (though, I think, with
questionable accuracy), and has been developed by many writers in
criticizing Kant. This position and that taken in this chapter do
indeed agree in certain general regards. They are at one in denial of
the factuality and the possibility of developing fruitful reflection
out of antecedent bare existence or mere events. They unite in denying
that there is or can be any such thing as _mere_ existence--phenomenon
unqualified as respects organization and force, whether such
phenomenon be psychic or cosmic. They agree that reflective thought
grows organically out of an experience which is already organized, and
that it functions within such an organism. But they part company when
a fundamental question is raised: Is all organized meaning the work of
thought? Does it therefore follow that the organization out of which
reflective thought grows is the work of thought of some other type--of
Pure Thought, Creative or Constitutive Thought, Intuitive Reason,
etc.? I shall indicate briefly the reasons for divergence at this

To cover all the practical-social-aesthetic objects involved, the term
"thought" has to be so stretched that the situation might as well be
called by any other name that describes a typical form of experience.
More specifically, when the difference is minimized between the
organized and arranged scheme out of which reflective inquiry
proceeds, and reflective inquiry itself (and there can be no other
reason for insisting that the antecedent of reflective thought is
itself somehow thought), exactly the same type of problem recurs
which presents itself when the distinction is exaggerated into one
between bare existences and rational coherent meanings.

For the more one insists that the antecedent situation is constituted
by thought, the more one has to wonder why another type of thought is
required; what need arouses it, and how it is possible for it to
improve upon the work of previous constitutive thought. This
difficulty at once forces idealists from a logic of experience as it
is concretely experienced into a metaphysic of a purely hypothetical
experience. Constitutive thought precedes _our_ conscious
thought-operations; hence it must be the working of some absolute
universal thought which, unconsciously to our reflection, builds up an
organized world. But this recourse only deepens the difficulty. How
does it happen that the absolute constitutive and intuitive Thought
does such a poor and bungling job that it requires a finite discursive
activity to patch up its products? Here more metaphysic is called for:
The Absolute Reason is now supposed to work under limiting conditions
of finitude, of a sensitive and temporal organism. The antecedents of
reflective thought are not, therefore, determinations of thought pure
and undefiled, but of what thought can do when it stoops to assume the
yoke of change and of feeling. I pass by the metaphysical problem left
unsolved by this flight: Why and how should a perfect, absolute,
complete, finished thought find it necessary to submit to alien,
disturbing, and corrupting conditions in order, in the end, to recover
through reflective thought in a partial, piecemeal, wholly inadequate
way what it possessed at the outset in a much more satisfactory way?

I confine myself to the logical difficulty. How can thought relate
itself to the fragmentary sensations, impressions, feelings, which, in
their contrast with and disparity from the workings of constitutive
thought, mark it off from the latter; and which in their connection
with its products give the cue to reflective thinking? _Here we have
again exactly the problem with which Lotze has been wrestling_: we
have the same insoluble question of the reference of thought-activity
to a wholly indeterminate unrationalized, independent, prior
existence. The absolute idealist who takes up the problem at this
point will find himself forced into the same continuous seesaw, the
same scheme of alternate rude robbery and gratuitous gift, that Lotze
engaged in. The simple fact is that here _is_ just where Lotze began;
he saw that previous transcendental logicians had left untouched the
specific question of relation of _our_ supposedly finite, reflective
thought to its own antecedents, and he set out to make good the
defect. If reflective thought is required because constitutive thought
works under externally limiting conditions of sense, then we have some
elements which are, after all, mere existences, events, etc. Or, if
they have organization from some other source than thought, and
induce reflective thought not as bare impressions, etc., but through
their place in some whole, then we have admitted the possibility of
organization in experience, apart from Reason, and the ground for
assuming Pure Constitutive Thought is abandoned.

The contradiction appears equally when viewed from the side of
thought-activity and its characteristic forms. All our knowledge,
after all, of thought as constitutive is gained by consideration of
the operations of reflective thought. The perfect system of thought is
so perfect that it is a luminous, harmonious whole, without definite
parts or distinctions--or, if there are such, it is only reflection
that brings them out. The categories and methods of constitutive
thought itself must therefore be characterized in terms of the _modus
operandi_ of reflective thought. Yet the latter takes place just
because of the peculiar problem of the peculiar conditions under which
it arises. Its work is progressive, reformatory, reconstructive,
synthetic, in the terminology made familiar by Kant. We are not only
_not_ justified, accordingly, in transferring its determinations over
to "constitutive" thought, but are prohibited from attempting any such
transfer. To identify logical processes, states, devices, results
which are conditioned upon the primary fact of resistance to thought
as constitutive with the structure of constitutive thought is as
complete an instance of the fallacy of recourse from one genus to
another as could well be found. Constitutive and reflective thought
are, first, defined in terms of their dissimilarity and even
opposition, and then without more ado the forms of the description of
the latter are carried over bodily to the former!

This is not a merely controversial criticism. It points positively
toward the fundamental thesis of these chapters: All the distinctions
discovered within thinking, of conception as over against sense
perception, of various modes and forms of judgment, of inference in
its vast diversity of operation--all these distinctions come within
the thought-situation as growing out of a characteristic antecedent
typical formation of experience; and have for their purpose the
solution of the peculiar problem with respect to which the
thought-function is generated or evolved: the restoration of a
deliberately integrated experience from the inherent conflict into
which it has fallen.

The failure of transcendental logic has the same origin as the failure
of the empiristic (whether taken pure or in the mixed form in which
Lotze presents it). It makes into absolute and fixed distinctions of
existence and meaning, and of one kind of meaning and another kind,
things which are historic or temporal in their origin and their
significance. It views thought as attempting to represent or state
reality once for all, instead of trying to determine some phases or
contents of it with reference to their more effective and significant
employ--instead of as reconstructive. The rock against which every
such logic splits is that either existence already has the statement
which thought is endeavoring to give it, or else it has not. In the
former case, thought is futilely reiterative; in the latter, it is

The significance of Lotze for critical purposes is that his peculiar
effort to combine a transcendental view of thought (i.e., of Thought
as active in forms of its own, pure in and of themselves) with certain
obvious facts of the dependence of our thought upon specific empirical
antecedents, brings to light fundamental defects in both the
empiristic and the transcendental logics. We discover a common failure
in both: the failure to view logical terms and distinctions with
respect to their necessary function in the redintegration of


[13] Lotze, _Logic_ (translation, Oxford, 1888), I, 2. For the
preceding exposition see I, 1, 2, 13, 14, 37, 38; also _Microkosmus_,
Book V, chap. iv.

[14] Lotze, _Logic_, I, 6, 7.

[15] Lotze, _Logic_ (translation, Oxford, 1888), I, 25.

[16] _Ibid._, 36.

[17] _Ibid._

[18] _Microkosmus_, Book V, chap. iv.

[19] _Logic_, II, 235; see the whole discussion, §§ 325-327.

[20] We have a most acute and valuable criticism of Lotze from this
point of view in Professor Henry Jones, _Philosophy of Lotze_, 1895.
My specific criticisms agree in the main with his, and I am glad to
acknowledge my indebtedness. But I cannot agree in the belief that the
business of thought is to qualify reality as such; its occupation
appears to me to be determining the reconstruction of some aspect or
portion of reality, and to fall within the course of reality itself;
being, indeed, the characteristic medium of its activity. And I cannot
agree that reality as such, with increasing fulness of knowledge,
presents itself as a thought-system, though, as just indicated, I have
no doubt that practical existence presents itself in its temporal
course as thought-specifications, just as it does as affectional and
aesthetic and the rest of them.



We have reached the point of conflict in the matters of an experience.
It is _in_ this conflict and because of it that the matters, or
significant quales, stand out _as_ matters. As long as the sun
revolves about earth without question, this "content" is not in any
way abstracted. Its distinction from the form or mode of experience as
its matter is the work of reflection. The same conflict makes other
experiences assume discriminated objectification; they, too, cease to
be ways of living, and become distinct objects of observation and
consideration. The movements of planets, eclipses, etc., are cases in
point.[21] The maintenance of a unified experience has become a
problem, an end, for it is no longer secure. But this involves such
restatement of the conflicting elements as will enable them to take a
place somewhere in the world of the new experience; they must be
disposed of somehow, and they can be disposed of finally only as they
are provided for. That is, they cannot be simply denied or excluded or
eliminated; they must be taken into the fold. But such introduction
clearly demands more or less modification or transformation on their
part. The thought-situation is the deliberate maintenance of an
organization in experience, with a critical consideration of the
claims of the various conflicting contents to a place, and a final
assignment of position.

The conflicting situation inevitably polarizes or dichotomizes itself.
There is somewhat which is untouched in the contention of
incompatibles. There is something which remains secure, unquestioned.
On the other hand, there are elements which are doubtful and
precarious. This gives the framework of the general distribution of
the field into "facts," the given, the presented, the Datum; and
ideas, the _Quaesitum_, the conceived, the Inferential.

_a_) There is always something unquestioned in any problematic
situation at any stage of its process,[22] even if it be only the
fact of conflict or tension. For this is never _mere_ tension at
large. It is thoroughly qualified, or characteristically toned and
colored, by the particular elements which are in strife. Hence it is
_this_ conflict, unique and irreplaceable. That it comes now means
precisely that it has never come before; that it is now passed in
review and some sort of a settlement reached, means that just _this_
conflict will never recur. In a word, the conflict is immediately of
just this and no other sort, and this immediately given quality is an
irreducible datum. _It_ is fact, even if all else be _doubtful_. As it
is subjected to examination, it loses vagueness and assumes more
definite form.

Only in very extreme cases, however, does the assured, unquestioned
element reduce to terms as low as we have here imagined. Certain
things come to stand forth as facts, no matter what else may be
doubted. There are certain _apparent_ diurnal changes of the sun;
there is a certain annual course or track. There are certain nocturnal
changes in the planets, and certain seasonal rhythmic paths. The
significance of these may be doubted: Do they _mean_ real change in
the sun or in the earth? But change, and change of a certain definite
and numerically determinate character, is there. It is clear that
such out-standing facts (ex-istences) constitute the data, the given
or presented, in the thought-function.

_b_) It is obvious that this is only one correspondent, or status, in
the total situation. With the consciousness of _this_ as certain, as
given to be reckoned with, goes the consciousness of uncertainty as to
_what it means_--of how it is to be understood or interpreted, that
is, of its reference and connection. The facts qua presentations or
existences are sure; _qua_ meanings (position and relationship in an
experience yet to be secured) they are doubtful. Yet doubt does not
preclude memory or anticipation. Indeed, it is possible only through
them. The memory of past experience makes sun-revolving-about-earth an
object of attentive regard. The recollection of certain other
experiences suggests the idea of earth-rotating-daily-on-axis and
revolving-annually-about-sun. These contents are as much present as is
the observation of change, but as respects connection they are only
possibilities. Accordingly, they are categorized or disposed of as
ideas, meanings, thoughts, ways of conceiving, comprehending,
interpreting facts.

Correspondence of reference here is as obvious as correlation of
existence. In the logical process, the datum is not just external
existence, and the idea mere psychical existence. Both are modes of
existence--one of _given_ existence, the other of _possible_, of
inferred existence. And if the latter is regarded, from the standpoint
of the unified experience aimed at, as having only _possible_
existence, the datum also is regarded as incomplete and unassured. Or,
as we commonly put it, while the ideas are impressions, suggestions,
guesses, theories, estimates, etc., facts are crude, raw, unorganized,
brute. They lack relationship, that is, assured place; they are
deficient as to continuity. Mere change of relative position of sun,
which is absolutely unquestioned as datum, is a sheer abstraction from
the standpoint either of the organized experience left behind, or of
the reorganized experience which is the end--the objective. It is
impossible as a persistent object. In other words, datum and ideatum
are divisions of labor, co-operative instrumentalities, for economical
dealing with the problem of the maintenance of the integrity of

Once more, and briefly, both datum and ideatum may (and positively,
veritably, do) break up, each for itself, into physical and mental. In
so far as the conviction gains ground that the earth revolves about
the sun, the old fact is broken up into a new cosmic existence, and a
new psychological condition--the recognition of a process in virtue of
which movements of smaller bodies in relation to very remote larger
bodies are interpreted in a reverse sense. We do not just eliminate
the source of error in the old content. We reinterpret it as valid in
its own place, viz., a case of the psychology of perception, although
invalid as a matter of cosmic structure. Until we have detected the
source of error as itself a perfectly genuine existence, we are not,
scientifically, satisfied. If we decide that the snake is but a
hallucination, our reflection is not, in purport, complete until we
have found some fact just as existential as the snake would have been
had it been there, which accounts for the hallucination. We never
stop, except temporarily, with a reference to the mind or knower as
source of an error. We hunt for a specific existence. In other words,
with increasing accuracy of determination of the given, there comes a
distinction, for methodological purposes, between the _quality_ or
matter of the sense experience and its _form_--the sense perceiving,
as itself a psychological fact, having its own place and laws or
relations. Moreover, the old experience, that of sun-revolving,
abides. But it is regarded as belonging to "me"--to this experiencing
individual rather than to the cosmic world.

Here, then, _within_ the growth of the thought-situation and as a part
of the process of determining _specific_ truth under _specific_
conditions, we get for the first time the clue to that distinction
with which, as ready-made and prior to all thinking, Lotze started
out, namely, the separation of the matter of impression from
impression as a personal event. The separation which, taken at large,
engenders an insoluble problem, appears within a particular reflective
inquiry, as an inevitable differentiation of a scheme of existence.

The same sort of thing occurs on the side of thought, or meaning. The
meaning or idea which is growing in acceptance, which is gaining ground
as meaning-of-datum, gets logical or intellectual or objective force;
that which is losing standing, which is increasingly doubtful, gets
qualified as just a notion, a fancy, a prejudice, misconception--or
finally just an error, a mental slip.

Evaluated as fanciful in _validity_ it becomes a mere fancy in its
existence.[23] It is not eliminated, but receives a new reference or
meaning. Thus the distinction between subjectivity and objectivity is
not one between meaning as such and datum as such. It is a
specification that emerges, correspondently, in _both_ datum and
ideatum. That which is left behind in the evolution of accepted
meaning is still characterized as real, but real now in relation only
to a way of experiencing--to a peculiarity of the organism. That which
is moved toward is regarded as real in a cosmic or extra-organic

1. _The data of thought._--When we turn to Lotze, we find that he
makes a clear distinction between the presented material of thought,
its datum, and the typical characteristic modes of thinking in virtue
of which the datum gets organization or system. It is interesting to
note also that he states the datum in terms different from those in
which the antecedents of thought are defined. From the point of view
of the data or material upon which ideas exercise themselves, it is
not coincidence, collocation, or succession that counts, but gradation
of degrees in a scale. It is not things in spatial or temporal
arrangement that are emphasized, but qualities as mutually
distinguished, yet resembling and classed. There is no inherent
inconceivability in the idea that every impression should be as
incomparably different from every other as sweet is from warm. But by
a remarkable circumstance such is not the case. We have series, and
networks of series. We have diversity of a common--diverse colors,
sounds, smells, tastes, etc. In other words, the data are sense
qualities which, fortunately for thought, are given arranged as
shades, degrees, variations, or qualities of somewhat that is

All this is given, presented, to our ideational activities. Even the
universal, the common color which runs through the various qualities
of blue, green, white, etc., is not a product of thought, but
something which thought finds already in existence. It conditions
comparison and reciprocal distinction. Particularly all mathematical
determinations, whether of counting (number), degree (more or less),
and quantity (greatness and smallness), come back to this peculiarity
of the datum. Here Lotze dwells at considerable length upon the fact
that the very possibility, as well as the success, of thought is due
to this peculiar universalization or _prima facie_ ordering with which
its material is given to it. Such pre-established fitness in the
meeting of two things that have nothing to do with each other is
certainly cause enough for wonder and congratulation.

It should not be difficult to see why Lotze uses different categories
in describing the material of thought from those employed in
describing its antecedent conditions, even though, according to him,
the two are absolutely the same.[25] He has different _functions_ in
mind. In one case, the material must be characterized as evoking, as
incentive, as stimulus--from this point of view the peculiar feature
of spatial and temporal arrangement in contrast with coherence or
connection is emphasized. But in the other case the material must be
characterized as affording stuff, actual subject-matter. Data are not
only what is given _to_ thought, but they are also the food, the raw
material, _of_ thought. They must be described as, on the one hand,
wholly outside of thought. This clearly puts them into the region of
sense perception. They are matters of _sensation_ given free from all
inferring, judging, relating influence. Sensation is just what is
_not_ called up in memory or in anticipated projection--it is the
immediate, the irreducible. On the other hand, sensory-_matter_ is
qualitative, and quales are made up on a common basis. They are
degrees or grades of a common quality. Thus they have a certain
ready-made setting of mutual distinction and reference which is
already almost, if not quite, the effect of comparing, of relating,
effects which are the express traits of thinking.

It is easy to interpret this miraculous gift of grace in the light of
what has been said. The data are in truth precisely that which is
selected and set aside as present, as immediate. Thus they are _given_
to _further_ thought. But the selection has occurred in view of the
need for thought; it is a listing of the capital in the way of the
undisturbed, the undiscussed, which thought can count upon in this
particular problem. Hence it is not strange that it has a peculiar
fitness of adaptation for thought's further work. Having been selected
with precisely that end in view, the wonder would be if it were not so
fitted. A man may coin counterfeit money for use upon others, but
hardly with the intent of passing it off upon himself.

Our only difficulty here is that the mind flies away from the logical
interpretation of sense datum to a ready-made notion of it brought
over from abstract psychological inquiry. The belief in isolated
sensory quales which are somehow forced upon us, and forced upon us at
large, and thus conditioning thought wholly _ab extra_, instead of
determining it as instrumentalities or elements selected from
experienced things for that very purpose, is too fixed. Sensory
qualities _are_ forced upon us, but _not_ at large. The sensory data
of experience always come _in a context_; they always appear as
variations in a continuum. Even the thunder which breaks in upon me
(to take the extreme of apparent discontinuity and irrelevancy)
disturbs me because it is taken as thunder: as a part of the same
space-world as that in which my chair and room and house are located;
and it is taken as an influence which interrupts and disturbs,
_because_ it is part of a common world of causes and effects. The
solution of continuity is itself practical or teleological, and thus
presupposes and affects continuity of purpose, occupations, and means
in a life-process. It is not metaphysics, it is biology which enforces
the idea that actual sensation is not only determined as an event in a
world of events,[26] but is an occurrence occurring at a certain
period in the control and use of stimuli.[27]

2. _Forms of thinking data._--As sensory datum is material set for
work of thought, so the ideational forms with which thought does its
work are apt and prompt to meet the needs of the material. The
"accessory"[28] notion of ground of coherence turns out, in truth, not
to be a formal, or external, addition to the data, but a
requalification of them. Thought is accessory as accomplice, not as
addendum. "Thought" is to eliminate mere coincidence, and to assert
grounded coherence. Lotze makes it clear that he does not at bottom
conceive of "thought" as an activity "in itself" imposing a form of
coherence; but that the organizing work of "thought" is only the
progressive realization of an inherent unity, or system, in the
material experienced. The specific modes in which thought brings its
"accessory" power to bear--names, conception, judgment, and
inference--are successive stages in the adequate organization of the
matter which comes to us first as data; they are successive stages of
the effort to overcome the original defects of the data. Conception
starts from the universal (the common element) of sense. Yet (and this
is the significant point) it does not simply abstract this common
element, and consciously generalize it over against its own
differences. Such a "universal" is _not_ coherence just because it
does not _include_ and dominate the temporal and local heterogeneity.
The _true_ concept (see I, 38) is a system of attributes, held
together on the basis of some ground, or determining, dominating
principle--a ground which so controls all its own instances as to make
them into an inwardly connected whole, and which so specifies its own
limits as to be exclusive of all else. If we abstract color as the
common element of various colors, the result is not a scientific idea
or concept. Discovery of a process of light-waves whose various rates
constitute the various colors of the spectrum gives the concept. And
when we get such a concept, the former mere temporal abruptness of
color experiences gives way to ordered parts of a color system. The
logical product--the concept, in other words--is not a formal seal or
stamp; it is a thoroughgoing connection of data in a dynamic
continuity of existence.

The form or mode of thought which marks the continued transformation
of the data and the idea in reference to each other is judgment.
Judgment makes explicit the assumption of a principle which determines
connection within an individualized whole. It definitely states red as
_this_ case or instance of the law or process of color, and thus
further overcomes the defect in _subject-matter_ or data still left by
conception.[29] Now judgment logically terminates in disjunction. It
gives a universal which may determine any one of a number of
alternative defined particulars, but which is arbitrary as to _what_
one is selected. Systematic _inference_ brings to light the material
conditions under which the law, or dominating universal, applies to
this, rather than that alternative particular, and so completes the
ideal organization of the subject-matter. If this act were complete,
we should finally have present to us a whole on which we should know
the determining and effective or authorizing elements, and the order
of development or hierarchy of dependence, in which others follow from

In this account by Lotze of the operations of the forms of thought,
there is clearly put before us the picture of a continuous correlative
determination of datum on one side and of idea or meaning on the
other, till experience is again integral, data being thoroughly
defined and connected, and ideas being the relevant meanings of
subject-matter. That we have here in outline a description of what
actually occurs there can be no doubt. But there is as little doubt
that the description is thoroughly inconsistent with Lotze's
supposition that the material or data of thought is precisely the same
as the antecedent of thought; or that ideas, conceptions, are purely
mental somewhats extraneously brought to bear, as the sole essential
characteristics of thought, upon a material provided ready-made. It
means but one thing: The maintenance of unity and wholeness in
experience through conflicting contents occurs by means of a strictly
correspondent setting apart of facts to be accurately described and
properly related, and meanings to be adequately construed and properly
referred. The datum is given _in_ the thought-situation, and _to_
further qualification of ideas or meanings. But even in this aspect
it presents a problem. To find out _what is_ given is an inquiry which
taxes reflection to the uttermost. Every important advance in
scientific method means better agencies, more skilled technique for
simply detaching and describing what is barely there, or given. To be
able to find out what can safely be taken as _there_, as given in any
particular inquiry, and hence be taken as material for orderly and
verifiable inference, for fruitful hypothesis-making, for entertaining
of explanatory and interpretative ideas, is one phase of the effort of
systematic scientific inquiry. It marks its inductive phase. To take
what is discovered to be reliable evidence within a more complex
_situation_ as if it were given absolutely and in isolation, or apart
from a particular historic situs and context, is the fallacy of
empiricism as a logical theory. To regard the thought-forms of
conception, judgment, and inference as qualifications of "pure
thought, apart from any difference in objects," instead of as
successive dispositions in the progressive organization of the
material (or objects), is the fallacy of rationalism. Lotze, like
Kant, attempts to combine the two, thinking thereby to correct each by
the other.

Lotze recognizes the futility of thought if the sense data as data are
final, if they alone are real, the truly existent, self-justificatory
and valid. He sees that, if the empiricist were right in his
assumption as to the real worth of the given data, thinking would be a
ridiculous pretender, either toilfully and poorly doing over again
what needs no doing, or making a wilful departure from truth. He
realizes that thought is evoked because it is needed; and that it has
a work to do which is not merely formal, but which effects a
modification of the subject-matter of experience. Consequently he
assumes a thought-in-itself, with certain forms and modes of action of
its own, a realm of meaning possessed of a directive and normative
worth of its own--the root-fallacy of rationalism. His attempted
compromise between the two turns out to be based on the assumption of
the indefensible ideas of both--the notion of an independent matter
given to thought, on one side, and of an independent worth or force of
thought-forms, on the other.

This pointing out of inconsistencies becomes stale and unprofitable
save as we bring them back into connection with their root-origin--the
erection of distinctions that are genetic and historic, and working or
instrumental divisions of labor, into rigid and ready-made structural
differences of reality. Lotze clearly recognizes that thought's nature
is dependent upon its aim, its aim upon its problem, and this upon the
situation in which it finds its incentive and excuse. Its work is cut
out for it. It does not what it would, but what it must. As Lotze puts
it, "Logic has to do with thought, not as it would be under
hypothetical conditions, but as it is" (I, 33), and this statement is
made in explicit combination with statements to the effect that the
peculiarity of the material of thought conditions its activity.
Similarly he says, in a passage already referred to: "The possibility
and the success of thought's production in general depends upon this
original constitution and organization of the whole world of ideas, a
constitution which, though not necessary in thought, is all the more
necessary to make thought possible."[31]

As we have seen, the essential nature of conception, judgment, and
inference is dependent upon peculiarities of the propounded material,
they being forms dependent for their significance upon the stage of
organization in which they begin.

From this only one conclusion is possible. If thought's nature is
dependent upon its actual conditions and circumstances, the primary
logical problem is to study thought-in-its-conditioning; it is to
detect the crisis within which thought and its subject-matter present
themselves in their mutual distinction and cross-reference. But Lotze
is so thoroughly committed to a ready-made antecedent of some sort,
that this genetic consideration is of no account to him. The historic
method is a mere matter of psychology, and has no logical worth (I,
2). We must presuppose a psychological mechanism and psychological
material, but logic is concerned not with origin or history, but with
authority, worth, value (I, 10). Again: "Logic is not concerned with
the manner in which the elements utilized by thought come into
existence, but their value _after_ they have somehow come into
existence, for the carrying out of intellectual operations" (I, 34).
And finally: "I have maintained throughout my work that logic cannot
derive any serious advantage from a discussion of _the conditions
under which thought as a psychological process comes about_. The
significance of logical forms ... is to be found in the utterances of
thought, the laws which it imposes, after or during the act of
thinking, not in the conditions which lie back of any which produce

Lotze, in truth, represents a halting-stage in the evolution of
logical theory. He is too far along to be contented with the
reiteration of the purely formal distinctions of a merely formal
thought-by-itself. He recognizes that thought as formal is the form of
some matter, and has its worth only as organizing that matter to meet
the ideal demands of reason; and that "reason" is in truth only an
adequate systematization of the matter or content. Consequently he has
to open the door to admit "psychical processes" which furnish this
material. Having let in the material, he is bound to shut the door
again in the face of the processes from which the material
proceeded--to dismiss them as impertinent intruders. If thought gets
its data in such a surreptitious manner, there is no occasion for
wonder that the legitimacy of its dealings with the material remains
an open question. Logical theory, like every branch of the philosophic
disciplines, waits upon a surrender of the obstinate conviction that,
while the work and aim of thought is conditioned by the material
supplied to it, yet the _worth_ of its performances is something to be
passed upon in complete abstraction from conditions of origin and


[21] This is but to say that the presentation of objects as
specifically different things in experience is the work of reflection,
and that the discrimination of something experienc_ed_ from modes of
experienc_ing_ is also the work of reflection. The latter statement
is, of course, but a particular case of the first; for an act of
experiencing is one object, among others, which may be discriminated
out of the original experience. When so discriminated, it has exactly
the same existential status as any other discriminated object; seeing
and thing seen stand on the same level of existentiality. But primary
experience is innocent of the discrimination of the _what_ experienced
and the _how_, or mode, of experiencing. We are not in it aware of the
seeing, nor yet of objects _as_ something seen. Any experience in all
of its non-reflective phases is innocent of any discrimination of
subject and object. It involves within itself what may be reflectively
discriminated into objects located outside the organism and objects
referred to the organism. [Note added in revision.]

[22] Of course, this very element may be the precarious, the ideal,
and possibly fanciful of some other situation. But it is to change the
historic into the absolute to conclude that therefore everything is
uncertain, all at once, or as such. This gives metaphysical skepticism
as distinct from the working skepticism which is an inherent factor in
all reflection and scientific inquiry.

[23] But this is a slow progress within reflection. Plato, who was
influential in bringing this general distinction to consciousness,
still thought and wrote as if "image" were itself a queer sort of
objective existence; it was only gradually that it was disposed of as
a phase of personal experiencing.

[24] I, 28-34.

[25] It is interesting to see how explicitly Lotze is compelled
finally to differentiate two aspects in the antecedents of thoughts,
one of which is necessary in order that there may be anything to call
out thought (a lack, or problem); the other in order that when thought
is evoked it may find data at hand--that is, material in shape to
receive and respond to its exercise. "The manifold matter of ideas is
brought before us, not only in the _systematic order of its
qualitative relationships_, but in the rich _variety of local and
temporal combinations_.... The _combinations of heterogeneous ideas_
... form the _problems_, in connection with which the efforts of
thought to reduce coexistence to coherence will _subsequently_ be
made. The _homogeneous or similar_ ideas, on the other hand, give
occasion to separate, to connect, and to count their repetitions" (I,
33, 34; italics mine). Without the heterogeneous variety of the local
and temporal juxtapositions there would be nothing to excite thought.
Without the systematic arrangement of quality there would be nothing
to meet thought and reward it for its efforts. The homogeneity of
qualitative relationships, _in the pre-thought material_, gives the
tools or instruments by which thought is enabled successfully to
tackle the heterogeneity of collocations and conjunctions also found
in the same material! One would suppose that when Lotze reached this
point he might have been led to suspect that in his remarkable
adjustment of thought-stimuli, thought-material, and thought-tools to
one another, he must after all be dealing, not with something prior to
the thought-function, but with the necessary structures and tools of
the thought-situation.

[26] _Supra_, p. 113.

[27] For the identity of sensory experience with the point of greatest
strain and stress in conflicting or tensional experience, see "The
Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology," _Psychological Review_, III, 57.

[28] For the "accessory" character of thought, see Lotze, I, 7, 25-27,
61, etc.

[29] Bosanquet (_Logic_, I, 30-34) and Jones (_Philosophy of Lotze_,
1895, chap. iv) have called attention to a curious inconsistency in
Lotze's treatment of judgment. On one hand, the statement is as given
above. Judgment grows out of conception in making explicit the
determining relation of universal to its own particular, implied in
conception. But, on the other hand, judgment grows not out of
conception at all, but out of the question of determining connection
in change. Lotze's nominal reason for this latter view is that the
conceptual world is purely static; since the actual world is one of
change, we need to pass upon what really goes together (is causal) in
the change as distinct from such as are merely coincident. But, as
Jones clearly shows, it is also connected with the fact that, while
Lotze nominally asserts that judgment grows out of conception, he
treats conception as the result of judgment since the first view makes
judgment a mere explication of the content of an idea, and hence
merely expository or analytic (in the Kantian sense) and so of more
than doubtful applicability to reality. The affair is too large to
discuss here, and I will content myself with referring to the
oscillation between conflicting contents and gradation of sensory
qualities already discussed (p. 144, note). It is judgment which grows
out of the former, because judgment is the whole situation as such;
conception is referable to the latter because it _is_ one abstraction
within the whole (the solution of possible meanings of the data) just
as the datum is another. In truth, since the sensory datum is not
absolute, but comes in a historical context, the qualities apprehended
as constituting the datum simply define the locus of conflict in the
entire situation. They are attributives of the contents-in-tension of
the colliding things, not calm untroubled ultimates. On pp. 33 and 34
of Vol. I, Lotze recognizes (as we have just seen) that, as matter of
fact, it is both sensory qualities in their systematic grading, or
quantitative determinations (see I, 43, for the recognition of the
necessary place of the quantitative in the true concept), and the
"rich variety of local and temporal combinations," that provoke
thought and supply it with material. But, as usual, he treats this
simply as a historical accident, not as furnishing the key to the
whole matter. In fine, while the heterogeneous collocations and
successions constitute the problematic element that stimulates
thought, quantitative determination of the sensory quality furnishes
one of the two chief means through which thought deals with the
problem. It is a reduction of the original colliding contents to a
form in which the effort at redintegration gets maximum efficiency.
The concept, as ideal meaning, is of course the other partner to the
transaction. It is getting the various possible meanings-of-the-data
into such shape as to make them most useful in construing the data.
The bearing of this upon the subject and predicate of judgment cannot
be discussed here.

[30] See I, 38, 59, 61, 105, 129, 197, for Lotze's treatment of these

[31] I, 36; see also II, 290, 291.

[32] II, 246; the same is reiterated in II, 250, where the question of
origin is referred to as a corruption in logic. Certain psychical acts
are necessary as "conditions and occasions" of logical operations, but
the "deep gulf between psychical mechanism and thought remains



In the foregoing discussion, particularly in the last chapter, we were
repeatedly led to recognize that thought has its own distinctive
objects. At times Lotze gives way to the tendency to define thought
entirely in terms of modes and forms of activity which are exercised
by it upon a strictly foreign material. But two motives continually
push him in the other direction. (1) Thought has a distinctive work to
do, one which involves a qualitative transformation of (at least) the
_relationships_ of the presented matter; as fast as it accomplishes
this work, the subject-matter becomes somehow thought's
subject-matter. As we have just seen, the data are progressively
organized to meet thought's ideal of a complete whole, with its
members interconnected according to a determining principle. Such
progressive organization throws backward doubt upon the assumption of
the original total irrelevancy of the data and thought-forms to each
other. (2) A like motive operates from the side of the subject-matter.
As merely foreign and external, it is too heterogeneous to lend itself
to thought's exercise and influence. The idea, as we saw in the first
chapter, is the convenient medium through which Lotze passes from the
purely heterogeneous psychical impression or event, which is totally
irrelevant to thought's purpose and working, over to a state of
affairs which can reward thought. Idea as meaning forms the bridge
over from the brute factuality of the psychical impression to the
coherent value of thought's own content.

We have, in this chapter, to consider the question of the idea or
content of thought from two points of view: first the _possibility_ of
such a content--its consistency with Lotze's fundamental premises;
secondly, its _objective_ character--its validity and test.

I. The question of the possibility of a specific content of thought is
the question of the nature of the idea as meaning. _Meaning_ is the
characteristic object of thought. We have thus far left unquestioned
Lotze's continual assumption of meaning as a sort of thought-unit; the
building-stone of thought's construction. In his treatment of meaning,
Lotze's contradictions regarding the antecedents, data, and content of
thought reach their full conclusion. He expressly makes meaning to be
the product of thought's activity and also the unreflective material
out of which thought's operations grow.

This contradiction has been worked out in accurate and complete detail
by Professor Jones.[33] He summarizes it as follows (p. 99): "No other
way was left to him [Lotze] excepting this of first attributing all
to sense and afterwards attributing all to thought, and, finally, of
attributing it to thought only because it was already in its material.
This _seesaw_ is essential to his theory; the elements of knowledge as
he describes them can subsist only by the alternate robbery of each
other." We have already seen how strenuously Lotze insists upon the
fact that the given subject-matter of thought is to be regarded wholly
as the work of a physical mechanism, "without any action of
thought."[34] But Lotze also states that if the products of the
psychical mechanism "are to admit of combination in the definite form
of a _thought_, they each require some previous shaping to make them
into logical building-stones and to convert them from _impressions_
into _ideas_. Nothing is really more familiar to us than this first
operation of thought; the only reason why we usually overlook it is
that in the language which we inherit, it is already carried out, and
it seems, therefore, to belong to the self-evident presuppositions of
thought, _not to its own specific work_."[35] And again (I, 23),
judgments "can consist of nothing but combinations of ideas which are
no longer mere impressions: every such idea must have undergone at
least the simple formation mentioned above." Such ideas are, Lotze
goes on to urge, already rudimentary concepts--that is to say, logical

The obviousness of the logical contradiction of attributing to a
preliminary specific work of thought exactly the condition of affairs
which is elsewhere explicitly attributed to a psychical mechanism
prior to any thought-activity, should not blind us to its import and
relative necessity. The impression, it will be recalled, is a mere
state of our own consciousness--a mood of ourselves. As such it has
simply _de facto_ relations as an event to other similar events. But
reflective thought is concerned with the relationship of a content or
matter to other contents. Hence the impression must have a matter
before it can come at all within the sphere of thought's exercise. How
shall it secure this? Why, by a preliminary activity of thought which
objectifies the impression. Blue as a mere sensuous irritation or
feeling is given a quality, the meaning "blue"--blueness; the sense
impression is objectified; it is presented "no longer as a condition
which we undergo, but as a something which has its being and its
meaning in itself, and which continues to be what it is, and to mean
what it means whether we are conscious of it or not. It is easy to see
here the _necessary beginning of that activity which we above
appropriated to thought as such_: it has not yet got so far as
converting coexistence into coherence. It has first to perform the
previous task of investing each single impression with an independent
validity, without which the later opposition of their real coherence
to mere coexistence could not be made in any intelligible sense."[36]

This objectification, which converts a sensitive state into a sensible
matter to which the sensitive state is referred, also gives this
matter "position," a certain typical character. It is not objectified
in a merely general way, but is given a specific sort of objectivity.
Of these sorts of objectivity there are three mentioned: that of a
substantive content; that of an attached dependent content; that of an
active relationship connecting the various contents with each other.
In short, we have the types of meaning embodied in language in the
form of nouns, adjectives, and verbs. It is through this preliminary
formative activity of thought that reflective or _logical_ thought has
presented to it a world of meanings ranged in an order of relative
independence and dependence, and arranged as elements in a complex of
meanings whose various constituent parts mutually influence one
another's meanings.[37]

As usual, Lotze mediates the contradiction between material
constituted _by_ thought and the same material just presented _to_
thought, by a further position so disparate to each that, taken in
connection with each by turns, it seems to bridge the gulf. After
describing the prior constitutive work of thought as above, he goes on
to discuss a _second_ phase of thought which is intermediary between
this and the third phase, viz., reflective thought proper. This second
activity is that of arranging experienced quales in series and
groups, thus ascribing a sort of universal or common somewhat to
various instances (as already described; see p. 144). On one hand, it
is clearly stated that this second phase of thought's activity is in
reality the _same_ as the first phase: since all objectification
involves positing, since positing involves distinction of one matter
from others, and since this involves placing it in a series or group
in which each is measurably marked off, as to the degree and nature of
its diversity, from every other. We are told that we are only
considering "a really inseparable operation" of thought from two
different sides: first, as to the effect which objectifying thought
has upon the matter as set over against the feeling _subject_;
secondly, the effect which this objectification has upon the matter in
relation to _other matters_.[38] Afterward, however, these two
operations are declared to be radically different in type and nature.
The first is determinant and formative; it gives ideas "the shape
without which the logical spirit could not accept them." In a way it
dictates "its own laws to its object-matter."[39] The second activity
of thought is rather passive and receptive. It simply recognizes what
is already there. "Thought can make no difference where it finds none
already in the matter of impressions."[40] "The first universal, as we
saw, can only be experienced in immediate sensation. It is no product
of thought, but something that thought finds already in

The obviousness of this further contradiction is paralleled only by
its inevitableness. Thought is in the air, is arbitrary and wild in
dealing with meanings, unless it gets its start and cue from actual
experience. Hence the necessity of insisting upon thought's activity
as just recognizing the contents already given. But, on the other
hand, prior to the work of thought there is to Lotze no content or
meaning. It requires a work of thought to detach anything from the
flux of sense irritations and invest it with a meaning of its own.
This dilemma is inevitable to any writer who declines to consider as
correlative the nature of thought-activity and thought-content from
the standpoint of their generating conditions in the movement of
experience. Viewed from such a standpoint the principle of solution is
clear enough. As we have already seen (p. 121), the internal
dissension of an experience leads to detaching certain factors
previously integrated in the concrete experience as aspects of its own
qualitative coloring, and to relegating them, for the time being
(pending integration into further immediate qualities of a
reconstituted experience), into a world of bare meanings, a sphere
qualified as ideal throughout. These meanings then become the tools of
thought in interpreting the data, just as the sense qualities which
define the presented situation are the immediate matter for thought.
The two _as mutually referred_ are content. That is, the datum and the
meaning as reciprocally qualified by each other constitute the
objective of thought.

To reach this unification is thought's objective or goal. Every
successive cross-section of reflective inquiry presents what may be
taken for granted as the outcome of previous thinking, and as the
determinant of further reflective procedure. Taken as defining the
point reached in the thought-function and serving as constituent unit
in further thought, it is content or logical object. Lotze's instinct
is sure in identifying and setting over against each other the
material given to thought and the content which is thought's own
"building-stone." His contradictions arise simply from the fact that
his absolute, non-historic method does not permit him to interpret
this joint identity and distinction in a working, and hence relative,

II. The question of how the existence of meanings, or
thought-contents, is to be understood merges imperceptibly into the
question of the real objectivity or validity of such contents. The
difficulty for Lotze is the now familiar one: So far as his logic
compels him to insist that these meanings are the possession and
product of thought (since thought is an independent activity), the
ideas are merely ideas; there is no test of objectivity beyond the
thoroughly unsatisfactory and formal one of their own mutual
consistency. In reaction from this Lotze is thrown back upon the idea
of these contents as the original matter given in the impressions
themselves. Here there seems to be an objective or external test by
which the reality of thought's operations may be tried; a given idea
is verified or found false according to its measure of correspondence
with the matter of experience as such. But now we are no better off.
The original independence and heterogeneity of impressions and of
thought is so great that there is no way to compare the results of the
latter with the former. We cannot compare or contrast distinctions of
worth with bare differences of factual existence (I, 2). The standard
or test of objectivity is so thoroughly external that by original
definition it is wholly outside the realm of thought. How can thought
compare meanings with existences?

Or again, the given material of experience apart from thought is
precisely the relatively chaotic and unorganized; it even reduces
itself to a mere sequence of psychical events. What sense is there in
directing us to compare the highest results of scientific inquiry with
the bare sequence of our own states of feeling; or even with the
original data whose fragmentary and uncertain character was the exact
motive for entering upon scientific inquiry? How can the former in any
sense give a check or test of the value of the latter? This is
professedly to test the validity of a system of meanings by comparison
with that whose defects call forth the construction of the system of

Our subsequent inquiry simply consists in tracing some of the phases
of the characteristic seesaw from one to the other of the two horns of
the now familiar dilemma: either thought is separate from the matter
of experience, and then its validity is wholly its own private
business, or else the objective results of thought are already in the
antecedent material, and then thought is either unnecessary or else
has no way of checking its own performances.

1. Lotze assumes, as we have seen, a certain independent validity in
each meaning or qualified content, taken in and of itself. "Blue" has
a certain meaning, in and of itself; it is an _object_ for
consciousness as such, not merely its state or mood. After the
original sense irritation through which it was mediated has entirely
disappeared, it persists as a valid meaning. Moreover, it is an object
or content of thought for others as well. Thus it has a double mark
of validity: in the comparison of one part of my own experience with
another, and in the comparison of my experience as a whole with that
of others. Here we have a sort of validity which does not raise at all
the question of _metaphysical_ reality (I, 14, 15). Lotze thus seems
to have escaped from the necessity of employing as check or test for
the validity of ideas any reference to a real outside the sphere of
thought itself. Such terms as "conjunction," "franchise,"
"constitution," "algebraic zero," etc., claim to possess objective
validity. Yet none of these professes to refer to a reality beyond
thought. Generalizing this point of view, validity or objectivity of
meaning means simply that which is "identical for all consciousness"
(I, 3); "it is quite indifferent whether certain parts of the world of
thought indicate something which has beside an independent reality
outside of thinking minds, or whether all that it contains exists only
in the thoughts of those who think it, but with equal validity for
them all" (I, 16).

So far it seems clear sailing. Difficulties, however, show themselves
the moment we inquire what is meant by a self-identical content for
all thought. Is this to be taken in a static or in a dynamic way? That
is to say: Does it express the fact that a given content or meaning is
_de facto_ presented to the consciousness of all alike? Does this
coequal presence guarantee an objectivity? Or does validity attach to
a given meaning or content in the sense that it directs and controls
the further exercise of thinking, and thus the formation of further
_new_ objects of knowledge?

The former interpretation is alone consistent with Lotze's notion that
the independent idea as such is invested with a certain validity or
objectivity. It alone is consistent with his assertion that concepts
precede judgments. It alone, that is to say, is consistent with the
notion that reflective thinking has a sphere of ideas or meanings
supplied to it at the outset. But it is impossible to entertain this
belief. The stimulus which, according to Lotze, goads thought on from
ideas or concepts to judgments and inferences is in truth simply the
lack of validity, of objectivity in its original independent meanings
or contents. A meaning as independent is precisely that which is not
invested with validity, but which is a mere idea, a "notion," a fancy,
at best a surmise which may turn out to be valid (and of course this
indicates possible reference); a standpoint to have its value
determined by its further active use. "Blue" as a mere detached
floating meaning, an idea at large, would not gain in validity simply
by being entertained continuously in a given consciousness, or by
being made at one and the same time the persistent object of attentive
regard by all human consciousnesses. If this were all that were
required, the chimera, the centaur, or any other subjective
construction could easily gain validity. "Christian Science" has made
just this notion the basis of its philosophy.

The simple fact is that in such illustrations as "blue," "franchise,"
"conjunction," Lotze instinctively takes cases which are not mere
independent and detached meanings, but which involve reference to a
_region_ of experience, to a region of mutually determining social
activities. The conception that reference to a _social_ activity does
not involve the same sort of reference of a meaning beyond itself that
is found in physical matters, and hence may be taken quite innocent
and free of the problem of reference to existence beyond meaning, is
one of the strangest that has ever found lodgment in human thinking.
Either both physical and social reference or neither is logical; if
neither, then it is because the meaning functions, as it originates,
in a specific situation which carries with it its own tests (see p.
96). Lotze's conception is made possible only by unconsciously
substituting the idea of an object as a content of thought for a large
number of persons (or a _de facto_ somewhat for every consciousness),
for the genuine definition of object as a _determinant_ in a scheme of
activity. The former is consistent with Lotze's conception of thought,
but wholly indeterminate as to validity or intent. The latter is the
test used experimentally in all concrete thinking, but involves a
radical transformation of all Lotze's assumptions. A given idea of
the conjunction of the franchise, or of blue, is valid, not because
everybody happens to entertain it, but because it expresses the factor
of control or direction in a given movement of experience. The test of
validity of idea[42] is its functional or instrumental use in
effecting the transition from a relatively conflicting experience to a
relatively integrated one. If Lotze's view were correct, "blue" valid
once would be valid always--even when red or green were actually
called for to fulfil specific conditions. This is to say validity
really refers to rightfulness or adequacy of performance in an
asserting of connection--not to a meaning as contemplated in

If we refer again to the fact that the genuine antecedent of thought
is a situation which is disorganized in its structural elements, we
can easily understand how certain contents may be detached and _held_
apart as meanings or references, actual or possible. We can understand
how such detached contents may be of use in effecting a review of the
entire experience, and as affording standpoints and methods of a
reconstruction which will maintain the integrity of behavior. We can
understand how validity of meaning is measured by reference to
something which is not mere meaning; by reference to something which
lies beyond it as such--viz., the reconstitution of an experience
into which it enters as method of control. That paradox of ordinary
experience and of scientific inquiry by which objectivity is given
alike to matter of perception and to conceived relations--to facts and
to laws--affords no peculiar difficulty because the test of
objectivity is everywhere the same: anything is objective in so far
as, through the medium of conflict, it controls the movement of
experience in its reconstructive transition. There is not first an
object, whether of sense perception or of conception, which afterward
somehow exercises this controlling influence; but the objective is
_any_ existence exercising the function of control. It may only
control the act of inquiry; it may only set on foot doubt, but this is
direction of subsequent experience, and, in so far, is a token of
objectivity. It has to be reckoned with.

So much for the thought-content or meaning as having a validity of its
own. It does not have it as isolated or given or static; it has it in
its dynamic reference, its use in determining further movement of
experience. In other words, the "meaning," having been selected and
made up with reference to performing a certain office in the evolution
of a unified experience, can be tested in no other way than by
discovering whether it does what it was intended to do and what it
purports to do.[43]

2. Lotze has to wrestle with this question of validity in a further
respect: What constitutes the objectivity of thinking as a total
attitude, activity, or function? According to his own statement, the
meanings or valid ideas are after all only building-stones for logical
thought. Validity is thus not a property of them in their independent
existences, but of their mutual reference to each other. Thinking is
the process of instituting these mutual references; of building up the
various scattered and independent building-stones into the coherent
system of thought. What is the validity of the various forms of
thinking which find expression in the various types of judgment and in
the various forms of inference? Categorical, hypothetical, disjunctive
judgment; inference by induction, by analogy, by mathematical
equation; classification, theory of explanation--all these are
processes of reflection by which connection in an organized whole is
given to the fragmentary meanings with which thought sets out. What
shall we say of the validity of such processes?

On one point Lotze is quite clear. These various logical acts do not
really enter into the constitution of the valid world. The logical
forms as such are maintained _only_ in the process of thinking. The
world of valid truth does not undergo a series of contortions and
evolutions, paralleling in any way the successive steps and missteps,
the succession of tentative trials, withdrawals, and retracings, which
mark the course of our own thinking.[44]

Lotze is explicit upon the point that only the thought-content in
which the process of thinking issues has objective validity; the act
of thinking is "purely and simply an inner movement of our own minds,
made necessary to us by reason of the constitution of our nature and
of our place in the world" (II, 279).

Here the problem of validity presents itself as the problem of the
relation of the act of thinking to its own product. In his solution
Lotze uses two metaphors: one derived from building operations, the
other from traveling. The construction of a building requires of
necessity certain tools and extraneous constructions, stagings,
scaffoldings, etc., which are necessary to effect the final
construction, but which do not enter into the building as such. The
activity has an instrumental, though not a constitutive, value as
regards its product. Similarly, in order to get a view from the top of
a mountain--this view being the objective--the traveler has to go
through preliminary movements along devious courses. These again are
antecedent prerequisites, but do not constitute a portion of the
attained view.

The problem of thought as activity, as distinct from thought as
content, opens up altogether too large a question to receive complete
consideration at this point. Fortunately, however, the previous
discussion enables us to narrow the point which is in issue just here.
The question is whether the activity of thought is to be regarded as
an independent function supervening entirely from without upon
antecedents, and directed from without upon data, or whether it marks
the phase of the transformation which the course of experience
(whether practical, or artistic, or socially affectional or whatever)
undergoes for the sake of its deliberate control. If it be the latter,
a thoroughly intelligent sense can be given to the proposition that
the activity of thinking is instrumental, and that its worth is found,
not in its own successive states as such, but in the result in which
it comes to conclusion. But the conception of thinking as an
independent activity somehow occurring after an independent
antecedent, playing upon an independent subject-matter, and finally
effecting an independent result, presents us with just one miracle
the more.

I do not question the strictly instrumental character of thinking.
The problem lies not here, but in the interpretation of the nature
of the instrument. The difficulty with Lotze's position is that it
forces us into the assumption of a means and an end which are simply
and only external to each other, and yet necessarily dependent upon
each other--a position which, whenever found, is thoroughly
self-contradictory. Lotze vibrates between the notion of thought as a
tool in the external sense, a mere scaffolding to a finished building
in which it has no part nor lot, and the notion of thought as an
immanent tool, as a scaffolding which is an integral part of the very
operation of building, and which is set up for the sake of the
building-activity which is carried on effectively only with and through
a scaffolding. Only in the former case can the scaffolding be
considered as a _mere_ tool. In the latter case the external
scaffolding is _not_ the instrumentality; the actual tool is the
_action_ of erecting the building, and this action involves the
scaffolding as a constituent part of itself. The work of building is
not set over against the completed building as mere means to an end; it
_is_ the end taken in process or historically, longitudinally,
temporally viewed. The scaffolding, moreover, is not an external means
to the process of erecting, but an organic member of it. It is no mere
accident of language that "building" has a double sense--meaning at
once the process and the finished product. The outcome of thought is
the thinking activity carried on to its own completion; the activity,
on the other hand, _is_ the outcome taken anywhere short of its own
realization, and thereby still going on.

The only consideration which prevents easy and immediate acceptance of
this view is the notion of thinking as something purely formal. It is
strange that the empiricist does not see that his insistence upon a
matter accidentally given to thought only strengthens the hands of the
rationalist with his claim of thinking as an independent activity,
separate from the actual make-up of the affairs of experience.
Thinking as a merely formal activity exercised upon certain sensations
or images or objects sets forth an absolutely meaningless proposition.
The psychological identification of thinking with the process of
association is much nearer the truth. It is, indeed, on the way to the
truth. We need only to recognize that association is of matters or
meanings, not of ideas as existences or events; and that the type of
association we call thinking differs from casual fancy and revery by
control in reference to an end, to apprehend how completely thinking
is a reconstructive movement of actual contents of experience in
relation to each other.

There is no miracle in the fact that tool and material are adapted to
each other in the process of reaching a valid conclusion. Were they
external in origin to each other and to the result, the whole affair
would, indeed, present an insoluble problem--so insoluble that, if
this were the true condition of affairs, we never should even know
that there was a problem. But, in truth, both material and tool have
been secured and determined with reference to economy and efficiency
in effecting the end desired--the maintenance of a harmonious
experience. The builder has discovered that his building means
building tools, and also building material. Each has been slowly
evolved with reference to its fit employ in the entire function; and
this evolution has been checked at every point by reference to its own
correspondent. The carpenter has not thought at large on his building
and then constructed tools at large, but has thought of his building
in terms of the material which enters into it, and through that medium
has come to the consideration of the tools which are helpful.

This is not a formal question, but one of the place and relations of
the matters actually entering into experience. And they in turn
determine the taking up of just those mental attitudes, and the
employing of just those intellectual operations which most effectively
handle and organize the material. Thinking is adaptation _to_ an end
_through_ the adjustment of particular objective contents.

The thinker, like the carpenter, is at once stimulated and checked in
every stage of his procedure by the particular situation which
confronts him. A person is at the stage of wanting a new house: well,
then, his materials are available resources, the price of labor, the
cost of building, the state and needs of his family, profession, etc.;
his tools are paper and pencil and compass, or possibly the bank as a
credit instrumentality, etc. Again, the work is beginning. The
foundations are laid. This in turn determines its own specific
materials and tools. Again, the building is almost ready for
occupancy. The concrete process is that of taking away the
scaffolding, clearing up the grounds, furnishing and decorating rooms,
etc. This specific operation again determines its own fit or relevant
materials and tools. It defines the time and mode and manner of
beginning and ceasing to use them. Logical theory will get along as
well as does the practice of knowing when it sticks close by and
observes the directions and checks inherent in each successive phase
of the evolution of the cycle of experience. The problem in general of
validity of the thinking process as distinct from the validity of this
or that process arises only when thinking is isolated from its
historic position and its material context (see _ante_, p. 95).

3. But Lotze is not yet done with the problem of validity, even from
his own standpoint. The ground shifts again under his feet. It is no
longer a question of the validity of the idea or meaning with which
thought is supposed to set out; it is no longer a question of the
validity of the process of thinking in reference to its own product;
it is the question of the validity of the product. Supposing, after
all, that the final meaning, or logical idea, is thoroughly coherent
and organized; supposing it is an object for all consciousness as
such. Once more arises the question: What is the validity of even the
most coherent and complete idea?--a question which arises and will not
down. We may reconstruct the notion of the chimera until it ceases to
be an independent idea and becomes a part of the system of Greek
mythology. Has it gained in validity in ceasing to be an independent
myth, in becoming an element in systematized myth? Myth it was and
myth it remains. Mythology does not get validity by growing bigger.
How do we know the same is not the case with the ideas which are the
product of our most deliberate and extended scientific inquiry? The
reference again to the content as the self-identical object of all
consciousness proves nothing; the subject-matter of a hallucination
does not gain validity in proportion to its social contagiousness.

According to Lotze, the final product is, after all, still thought.
Now, Lotze is committed once for all to the notion that thought, in
any form, is directed by and at an outside reality. The ghost haunts
him to the last. How, after all, does even the ideally perfect valid
thought apply or refer to reality? Its genuine subject is still beyond
itself. At the last Lotze can dispose of this question only by
regarding it as a metaphysical, not a logical, problem (II, 281, 282).
In other words, _logically_ speaking, we are at the end just exactly
where we were at the beginning--in the sphere of ideas, and of ideas
only, plus a consciousness of the necessity of referring these ideas
to a reality which is beyond them, which is utterly inaccessible to
them, which is out of reach of any influence which they may exercise,
and which transcends any possible comparison with their results. "It
is vain," says Lotze, "to shrink from acknowledging the circle here
involved ... all we know of the external world depends upon the ideas
of it which are within us" (II, 185). "It is then this varied world of
ideas within us which forms the sole material directly given to us"
(II, 186). As it is the only material given to us, so it is the only
material with which thought can end. To talk about knowing the
external world through ideas which are merely within us is to talk of
an inherent self-contradiction. There is no common ground in which the
external world and our ideas can meet. In other words, the original
separation between an independent thought-material and an independent
thought-function and purpose lands us inevitably in the metaphysics of
subjective idealism, plus a belief in an unknown reality beyond, which
although unknowable is yet taken as the ultimate test of the value of
our ideas. At the end, after all our maneuvering we are where we
began: with two separate disparates, one of meaning, but no existence,
the other of existence, but no meaning.

The other aspect of Lotze's contradiction which completes the circle
is clear when we refer to his original propositions, and recall that
at the outset he was compelled to regard the origination and
conjunctions of the impressions, the elements of ideas, as themselves
the effects exercised by a world of things already in existence (see
p. 31). He sets up an independent world of thought, and yet has to
confess that both at its origin and at its termination it points with
absolute necessity to a world beyond itself. Only the stubborn refusal
to take this initial and terminal reference of thought beyond itself
as having a _historic_ or temporal meaning, indicating a particular
place of generation and a particular point of fulfilment, compels
Lotze to give such objective references a transcendental turn.

When Lotze goes on to say (II, 191) that the measure of truth of
particular parts of experience is found in asking whether, when judged
by thought, they are in harmony with other parts of experience; when
he goes on to say that there is no sense in trying to compare the
entire world of ideas with a reality which is non-existent (excepting
as it itself should become an idea), he lands where he might better
have frankly commenced.[45] He saves himself from utter skepticism
only by claiming that the explicit assumption of skepticism--the need
of agreement of a ready-made idea as such with an extraneous
ready-made material as such--is meaningless. He defines correctly the
work of thought as consisting in harmonizing the various portions of
experience with each other. In this case the test of thought is the
harmony or unity of experience actually effected. The test of validity
of thought is beyond thought, just as at the other limit thought
originates out of a situation which is not dependent upon thought.
Interpret this before and beyond in a historic sense, as an affair of
the place occupied and rôle played by thinking as a function in
experience in relation to other non-intellectual experiences of
things, and then the intermediate and instrumental character of
thought, its dependence upon unreflective antecedents for its
existence, and upon a consequent experience for its final test,
becomes significant and necessary. Taken at large, apart from temporal
development and control, it plunges us in the depths of a hopelessly
complicated and self-revolving metaphysic.


[33] _Philosophy of Lotze_, chap. iii, "Thought and the Preliminary
Process of Experience."

[34] I, 38.

[35] I, 13; last italics mine.

[36] I, 14; italics mine.

[37] See I, 16-20. On p. 22 this work is declared to be not only the
first but the most indispensable of all thought's operations.

[38] I, 26.

[39] I, 35.

[40] I, 36; see the strong statements already quoted, p. 112. What if
this canon were applied in the first act of thought referred to above:
the original objectification which transforms the mere state into an
abiding quality or meaning? Suppose, that is, it were said that the
first objectifying act cannot make a substantial (or attached) quale
out of a mere state of feeling; it must _find_ the distinction it
makes there already! It is clear we should at once get a _regressus ad
infinitum_. We here find Lotze face to face with this fundamental
dilemma: thought either arbitrarily forces in its own distinctions, or
else just repeats what is already there--is either falsifying or
futile. This same contradiction, so far as it affects the impression,
has already been discussed. See p. 114.

[41] I, 31.

[42] As we have already seen, the concept, the meaning as such, is
always a factor or status in a reflective situation; it is always a
predicate of judgment, in use in interpreting and developing the
logical subject, or datum of perception.

[43] Royce, in his _World and Individual_, I, chaps. vi and vii, has
criticized the conception of meaning as valid, but in a way which
implies that there is a difference between validity and reality, in
the sense that the meaning or content of the valid idea becomes real
only when it is experienced in direct _feeling_. The foregoing
implies, of course, a difference between validity and reality, but
finds the test of validity in exercise of the function of direction or
control to which the idea makes pretension or claim. The same point of
view would profoundly modify Royce's interpretation of what he terms
"inner" and "outer" meaning. See Moore, _University of Chicago
Decennial Publications_, III, on "Existence, Meaning, and Reality."

[44] II, 257, 265, and in general Book III, chap. iv. It is
significant that thought itself, appearing as an act of thinking over
against its own content, is here treated as psychical rather than as
logical. Consequently, as we see in the text, it gives him one more
difficulty to wrestle with: how a process which is ex officio purely
psychical and subjective can yet yield results which are valid in a
logical, to say nothing of an ontological, sense.

[45] Lotze even goes so far in this connection as to say that the
antithesis between our ideas and the objects to which they are
directed is itself a part of the world of ideas (II, 192). Barring the
phrase "world of _ideas_" (as against world of continuous experience),
he need only have commenced at this point to have traveled straight
and arrived somewhere. But it is absolutely impossible to hold both
this view and that of the original independent existence of something
given to and in thought and an independent existence of a
thought-activity, thought-forms, and thought-contents.



The man in the street, when asked what he thinks about a certain
matter, often replies that he does not think at all; he knows. The
suggestion is that thinking is a case of active uncertainty set over
against conviction or unquestioning assurance. When he adds that he
does not have to think, but knows, the further implication is that
thinking, when needed, leads to knowledge; that its purpose or object
is to secure stable equilibrium. It is the purpose of this paper to
show some of the main stages through which thinking, understood in
this way, actually passes in its attempt to reach its most effective
working; that is, the maximum of reasonable certainty.

I wish to show how a variety of modes of thinking, easily recognizable
in the progress of both the race and the individual, may be identified
and arranged as successive species of the relationship which doubting
bears to assurance; as various ratios, so to speak, which the vigor of
doubting bears to mere acquiescence. The presumption is that the
function of questioning is one which has continually grown in
intensity and range, that doubt is continually chased back, and, being
cornered, fights more desperately, and thus clears the ground more
thoroughly. Its successive stations or arrests constitute stages of
thinking. Or to change the metaphor, just in the degree that what has
been accepted as fact--the object of assurance--loses stable
equilibrium, the tension involved in the questioning attitude
increases, until a readjustment gives a new and less easily shaken

The natural tendency of man is not to press home a doubt, but to cut
inquiry as short as possible. The practical man's impatience with
theory has become a proverb; it expresses just the feeling that, since
the thinking process is of use only in substituting certainty for
doubt, any apparent prolongation of it is useless speculation, wasting
time and diverting the mind from important issues. To follow the line
of least resistance is to cut short the stay in the sphere of doubts
and suggestions, and to make the speediest return into the world where
one can act. The result, of course, is that difficulties are evaded or
surmounted rather than really disposed of. Hence, in spite of the
opposition of the would-be practical man, the needs of practice, of
economy, and of efficiency have themselves compelled a continual
deepening of doubt and widening of the area of investigation.

It is within this evolution that we have to find our stages of
thinking. The initial stage is where the doubt is hardly endured but
not entertained; it is no welcome guest but an intruder, to be got rid
of as speedily as possible. Development of alternative and competitive
suggestions, the forming of suppositions (of ideas), goes but a little
way. The mind seizes upon the nearest or most convenient instrument of
dismissing doubt and reattaining security. At the other end is the
definitive and conscious search for problems, and the development of
elaborate and systematized methods of investigation--the industry and
technique of science. Between these limits come processes which have
started out upon the path of doubt and inquiry, and then halted by the

In the first stage of the journey, beliefs are treated as something
fixed and static. To those who are using them they are simply another
kind of fact. They are used to settle doubts, but the doubts are
treated as arising quite outside the ideas themselves. Nothing is
further from recognition than that ideas themselves are open to doubt,
or need criticism and revision. Indeed, the one who uses static
meanings is not even aware that they originated and have been
elaborated for the sake of dealing with conflicts and problems. The
ideas are just "there," and they may be used like any providential
dispensation to help men out of the troubles into which they have

Words are generally held responsible for this fixation of the idea,
for this substantiation of it into a kind of thing. A long line of
critics has made us familiar with the invincible habit "of supposing
that wherever there is a name there is some reality corresponding to
it"; of supposing that general and abstract words have their
equivalent objects somewhere _in rerum natura_, as have also singular
and proper names. We know with what simplicity of self-confidence the
English empirical school has accounted for the ontological speculation
of Plato. Words tend to fix intellectual contents, and give them a
certain air of independence and individuality. That some truth is here
expressed there can be no question. Indeed, the attitude of mind of
which we are speaking is well illustrated in the person who goes to
the dictionary in order to settle some problem in morals, politics, or
science; who would end some discussion regarding a material point by
learning what meaning is attached to terms by the dictionary as
authority. The question is taken as lying outside of the sphere of
science or intellectual inquiry, since the meaning of the word--the
idea--is unquestionable and fixed.

But this petrifying influence of words is after all only a superficial
explanation. There must be some meaning present or the word could not
fix it; there must be something which accounts for the disposition to
use names as a medium of fossilization. There is, in truth, a certain
real fact--an existent reality--behind both the word and the meaning
it stands for. This reality is social usage. The person who consults a
dictionary is getting an established fact when he turns there for the
definition of a term. He finds the sense in which the word is
currently used. Social customs are no less real than physical events.
It is not possible to dispose of this fact of common usage by
reference to mere convention, or any other arbitrary device. A form of
social usage is no more an express invention than any other social
institution. It embodies the permanent attitude, the habit taken
toward certain recurring difficulties or problems in experience.
Ideas, or meanings fixed in terms, show the scheme of values which the
community uses in appraising matters that need consideration and which
are indeterminate or unassured. They are held up as standards for all
its members to follow. Here is the solution of the paradox. The fixed
or static idea is a fact expressing an established social attitude, a
custom. It is not merely verbal, because it denotes a force which
operates, as all customs do, in controlling particular cases. But
since it marks a mode of interpretation, a scheme for assigning
values, a way of dealing with doubtful cases, it falls within the
sphere of ideas. Or, coming to the life of the individual, the fixed
meaning represents, not a state of consciousness fixed by a name, but
a recognition of a habitual way of belief: a habit of understanding.

We find an apt illustration of fixed ideas in the rules prevalent in
primitive communities, rules which minutely determine all acts in
which the community as a whole is felt to have an interest. These
rules are facts because they express customs, and carry with them
certain sanctions. Their meaning does not cease with judicial
utterance. They are made valid at once in a practical way against
anyone who departs from them. Yet as rules they are ideas, for they
express general ways of defining doubtful matters in experience and of
re-establishing certainty. An individual may fail in acknowledgment of
them and explicit reference is then necessary. For one who has lost
himself in the notion that ideas are psychical and subjective, I know
of no better way to appreciate the significance of an idea than to
consider that a social rule of judgment is nothing but a certain way
of viewing or interpreting facts; as such it is an idea.

The point that is of special interest to us here, however, is that
these ideas are taken as fixed and unquestionable, and that the cases
to which they are to apply are regarded as in themselves equally
fixed. So far as concerns the attitude of those who employ this sort
of ideas, the doubt is simply as to what idea should be in a
particular case. Even the Athenian Greeks, for instance, long kept up
the form of indicting and trying a tree or implement through which
some individual had been killed. There was a rule--a fixed idea--for
dealing with all who offended against the community by destroying one
of its citizens. The fact that an inanimate object, a thing without
intention or volition, offended was not a material circumstance. It
made no difference in the case; that is, there was no doubt as to the
nature of the fact. It was as fixed as was the rule.

With advance in the complexity of life, however, rules accumulate, and
discrimination--that is, a certain degree of inquiring and critical
attitude--enters in. Inquiry takes effect, however, in seeking among a
collection of fixed ideas just the one to be used, rather than in
directing suspicion against any rule or idea as such, or in an attempt
to discover or constitute a new one. It is hardly necessary to refer
to the development of casuistry, or to the multiplication of
distinctions within dogmas, or to the growth of ceremonial law in
cumbrous detail, to indicate what the outcome of this logical stage is
likely to be. The essential thing is that doubt and inquiry are
directed neither at the nature of the intrinsic fact itself, nor at
the value of the idea as such, but simply at the manner in which one
is attached to the other. Thinking falls outside both fact and idea,
and into the sphere of their external connection. It is still a
fiction of judicial procedure that there is already in existence some
custom or law under which every possible dispute--that is, every
doubtful or unassured case--falls, and that the judge only declares
which law is applicable in the particular case. This point of view has
tremendously affected the theory of logic in its historic development.

One of the chief, perhaps the most important, instrumentalities in
developing and maintaining fixed ideas is the need of instruction and
the way in which it is given. If ideas were called into play only
when doubtful cases actually arise, they could not help retaining a
certain amount of vitality and flexibility; but the community always
instructs its new members as to its way of disposing of these cases
before they present themselves. Ideas are proffered, in other words,
separated from present doubt and remote from application, in order to
escape future difficulties and the need of any thinking. In primitive
communities this is the main purport of instruction, and it remains
such to a very considerable degree. There is a prejudgment rather than
judgment proper. When the community uses its resources to fix certain
ideas in the mind--that is, certain ways of interpreting and regarding
experience--ideas are necessarily formulated so as to assume a rigid
and independent form. They are doubly removed from the sphere of
doubt. The attitude is uncritical and dogmatic in the extreme--so much
so that one might question whether it is to be properly designated as
a stage of thinking.

In this form ideas become the chief instruments of social
conservation. Judicial decision and penal correction are restricted
and ineffective methods of maintaining social institutions unchanged,
compared with instilling in advance uniform ideas--fixed modes of
appraising all social questions and issues. These set ideas thus
become the embodiment of the values which any group has realized and
intends to perpetuate. The fixation supports them against dissipation
through attrition of circumstance, and against destruction through
hostile attack. It would be interesting to follow out the ways in
which such values are put under the protection of the gods and of
religious rites, or themselves erected into quasi-divinities--as among
the Romans. This, however, would hardly add anything to the logic of
the discussion, although it would indicate the importance attached to
the fixation of ideas, and the thoroughgoing character of the means
used to secure immobilization.

The conserving value of the dogmatic attitude, the point of view which
takes ideas as fixed, is not to be ignored. When society has no methods
of science for protecting and perpetuating its achieved values, there
is practically no other resort than such crystallization. Moreover,
with any possible scientific progress, some equivalent of the fixed
idea must remain. The nearer we get to the needs of action the greater
absoluteness must attach to ideas. The necessities of action do not
await our convenience. Emergencies continually present themselves where
the fixity required for successful activity cannot be attained through
the medium of investigation. The alternative to vacillation, confusion,
and futility of action is importation to ideas of a positive and
secured character, not in strict logic belonging to them. It is this
sort of determination that Hegel seems to have in mind in what he terms
_Verstand_--the understanding. "Apart from _Verstand_," he says,
"there is no fixity or accuracy in the region either of theory or
practice"; and, again, "_Verstand_ sticks to fixity of characters and
their distinctions from one another; it treats every meaning as having
a subsistence of its own." In technical terminology, also, this is what
is meant by "positing" ideas--hardening meanings.

In recognizing, however, that fixation of intellectual content is a
precondition of effective action, we must not overlook the
modification that comes with the advance of thinking into more
critical forms. At the outset fixity is taken as the rightful
possession of the ideas themselves; it belongs to them and is their
"essence." As the scientific spirit develops, we see that it is we who
lend fixity to the ideas, and that this loan is for a purpose to which
the meaning of the ideas is accommodated. Fixity ceases to be a matter
of intrinsic structure of ideas, and becomes an affair of security in
using them. Hence the important thing is the _way_ in which we fix the
idea--the manner of the inquiry which results in definition. We _take_
the idea as if it were fixed, in order to secure the necessary
stability of action. The crisis past, the idea drops its borrowed
investiture, and reappears as surmise.

When we substitute for ideas as uniform rules by which to decide
doubtful cases that making over of ideas which is requisite to make
them fit, the quality of thought alters. We may fairly say that we
have come into another stage. The idea is now regarded as essentially
subject to change, as a manufactured article needing to be made ready
for use. To determine the conditions of this transition lies beyond my
purpose, since I have in mind only a descriptive setting forth of the
periods through which, as a matter of fact, thought has passed in the
development of the inquiry function, without raising the problem of
its "why" and "how." At this point we shall not do more than note
that, as the scheduled stock of fixed ideas grows larger, their
application to specific questions becomes more difficult, prolonged,
and roundabout. There has to be a definite hunting for the specific
idea which is appropriate; there has to be comparison of it with other
ideas. This comes to involve a certain amount of mutual compromise and
modification before selection is possible. The idea thus gets somewhat
shaken. It has to be made over so that it may harmonize with other
ideas possessing equal worth. Often the very accumulation of fixed
ideas commands this reconstruction. The dead weight of the material
becomes so great that it cannot sustain itself without a readjustment
of the center of gravity. Simplification and systematization are
required, and these call for reflection. Critical cases come up in
which the fiction of an idea or rule already in existence cannot be
maintained. It is impossible to conceal that old ideas have to be
radically modified before the situation can be dealt with. The
friction of circumstance melts away their congealed fixity. Judgment
becomes legislative.

Seeking illustrations at large, we find this change typified in Hebrew
history in the growing importance of the prophet over the judge, in
the transition from a justification of conduct through bringing
particular cases into conformity with existent laws, into that
effected by personal right-mindedness enabling the individual to see
the law in each case for himself. Profoundly as this changed
conception of the relation between law and particular case affected
moral life, it did not, among Semites, directly influence the logical
sphere. With the Greeks, however, we find a continuous and marked
departure from positive declaration of custom. We have assemblies
meeting to discuss and dispute, and finally, upon the basis of the
considerations thus brought to view, to decide. The man of counsel is
set side by side with the man of deed. Odysseus was much experienced,
not only because he knew the customs and ways of old, but even more
because from the richness of his experience he could make the pregnant
suggestion to meet the new crisis. It is hardly too much to say that
it was the emphasis put by the Greek mind upon discussion--at first as
preliminary to decision, and afterward to legislation--which generated
logical theory.

Discussion is thus an apt name for this attitude of thought. It is
bringing various beliefs together; shaking one against another and
tearing down their rigidity. It is conversation of thoughts; it is
dialogue--the mother of dialectic in more than the etymological sense.
No process is more recurrent in history than the transfer of
operations carried on between different persons into the arena of the
individual's own consciousness. The discussion which at first took
place by bringing ideas from different persons into contact, by
introducing them into the forum of competition, and by subjecting them
to critical comparison and selective decision, finally became a habit
of the individual with himself. He became a miniature social
assemblage, in which pros and cons were brought into play struggling
for the mastery--for final conclusion. In some such way we conceive
reflection to be born.

It is evident that discussion, the agitation of ideas, if judged from
the standpoint of the older fixed ideas, is a destructive process.
Ideas are not only shaken together and apart, they are so shaken in
themselves that their whole validity becomes doubtful. Mind, and not
merely beliefs, becomes uncertain. The attempt to harmonize different
ideas means that in themselves they are discrepant. The search for a
conclusion means that accepted ideas are only points of view, and
hence personal affairs. Needless to say it was the Sophists who
emphasized and generalized this negative aspect--this presupposition
of loss of assurance, of inconsistency, of "subjectivity." They took
it as applying not only to this, that, and the other idea, but to
ideas as ideas. Since ideas are no longer fixed contents, they are
just expressions of an individual's way of thinking. Lacking inherent
value, they merely express the interests that induce the individual to
look this way rather than that. They are made by the individual's
point of view, and hence will be unmade if he can be led to change his
point of view. Where all was fixity, now all is instability: where all
was certitude, nothing now exists save opinion based on prejudice,
interest, or arbitrary choice.

The modern point of view, while condemning sophistry, yet often agrees
with it in limiting the reflective attitude as such to self-involution
and self-conceit. From Bacon down, the appeal is to observation, to
attention to facts, to concern with the external world. The sole
genuine guaranty of truth is taken to be appeal to facts, and thinking
as such is something different. If reflection is not considered to be
merely variable matter, it is considered to be at least an endless
mulling over of things. It is the futile attempt to spin truth out of
inner consciousness. It is introspection, and theorizing, and mere

Such wholesale depreciation ignores the value inherent even in the
most subjective reflection, for it takes the settled estate which is
proof that thought is not needed, or that it has done its work, as if
it supplied the standard for the occasions in which problems are hard
upon us, and doubt is rife. It takes the conditions which come about
after and because we have thought to measure the conditions which call
out thinking. Whenever we really need to reflect, we cannot appeal
directly to the "fact," for the adequate reason that the stimulus to
thinking arises just because "facts" have slipped away from us. The
fallacy is neatly committed by Mill in his discussion of Whewell's
account of the need of mental conception or hypothesis in
"colligating" facts. He insists that the conception is "obtained" from
the "facts" in which "it exists," is "impressed upon us from without,"
and also that it is the "darkness and confusion" of the facts that
make us want the conception in order to create "light and order."[46]

Reflection involves running over various ideas, sorting them out,
comparing one with another, trying to get one which will unite in
itself the strength of two, searching for new points of view,
developing new suggestions; guessing, suggesting, selecting, and
rejecting. The greater the problem, and the greater the shock of doubt
and resultant confusion and uncertainty, the more prolonged and more
necessary is the process of "mere thinking." It is a more obvious
phase of biology than of physics, of sociology than of chemistry; but
it persists in established sciences. If we take even a mathematical
proposition, not _after_ it has been demonstrated--and is thus capable
of statement in adequate logical form--but while in process of
discovery and proof, the operation of this subjective phase is
manifest, so much so, indeed, that a distinguished modern
mathematician has said that the paths which the mathematical inquirer
traverses in any new field are more akin to those of the
experimentalist, and even to those of the poet and artist, than to
those of the Euclidean geometer.

What makes the essential difference between modern research and the
reflection of, say, the Greeks, is not the absence of "mere thinking,"
but the presence of conditions for testing its results; the elaborate
system of checks and balances found in the technique of modern
experimentation. The thinking process does not now go on endlessly in
terms of itself, but seeks outlet through reference to particular
experiences. It is tested by this reference; not, however, as if a
theory could be tested by directly comparing it with facts--an obvious
impossibility--but through use in facilitating commerce with facts. It
is tested as glasses are tested; things are looked at through the
medium of specific meanings to see if thereby they assume a more
orderly and clearer aspect, if they are less blurred and obscure.

The reaction of the Socratic school against the Sophistic may serve to
illustrate the third stage of thinking. This movement was not
interested in the _de facto_ shaking of received ideas and a
discrediting of all thinking. It was concerned rather with the
virtual appeal to a common denominator involved in bringing different
ideas into relation with one another. In their comparison and mutual
modification it saw evidence of the operation of a standard permanent
meaning passing judgment upon their conflict, and revealing a common
principle and standard of reference. It dealt not with the shaking and
dissolution, but with a comprehensive permanent Idea finally to
emerge. Controversy and discussion among different individuals may
result in extending doubt, manifesting the incoherency of accepted
ideas, and so throwing an individual into an attitude of distrust. But
it also involves an appeal to a single thought to be accepted by both
parties, thus putting an end to the dispute. This appeal to a higher
court, this possibility of attaining a total and abiding intellectual
object, which should bring into relief the agreeing elements in
contending thoughts, and banish the incompatible factors, animated the
Socratic search for the concept, the elaboration of the Platonic
hierarchy of Ideas in which the higher substantiate the lower, and the
Aristotelian exposition of the systematized methods by which general
truths may be employed to prove propositions otherwise doubtful. At
least, this historic development will serve to illustrate what is
involved in the transition from the second to the third stage; the
transformation of discussion into reasoning, of subjective reflection
into method of proof.

Discussion, whether with ourselves or others, goes on by suggestion of
clues, as the uppermost object of interest opens a way here or there.
It is discursive and haphazard. This gives it the devious tendency
indicated in Plato's remark that it needs to be tied to the post of
reason. It needs, that is, to have the ground or basis of its various
component statements brought to consciousness in such a way as to
define the exact value of each. The Socratic contention is the need of
compelling the common denominator, the common subject, underlying the
diversity of views to exhibit itself. It alone gives a sure standard
by which the claims of all assertions may be measured. Until this need
is met, discussion is a self-deceiving play with unjudged, unexamined
matters, which, confused and shifting, impose themselves upon us.

We are familiar enough with the theory that the Socratic universal,
the Platonic idea, was generated by an ignorant transformation of
psychological abstractions into self-existent entities. To insist upon
this as the key to the Socratic logic is mere caricature. The
objectivity of the universal stood for the sense of something decisive
and controlling in all reflection, which otherwise is just
manipulation of personal prejudices. This sense is as active in modern
science as it was in the Platonic dialectic. What Socrates felt was
the opinionated, conceited quality of the terms used in the moral and
political discussion of his day, as that contrasted with the
subject-matter, which, if rightly grasped, would put an end to mere
views and argumentations.

By Aristotle's time the interest was not so much in the existence of
standards of decision in cases of doubt and dispute as in the
technique of their use. The judge was firmly seated on the bench. The
parties in controversy recognized his jurisdiction, and their
respective claims were submitted for adjudicature. The need was for
rules of procedure by which the judge might, in an obvious and
impartial way, bring the recognized universal or decisive law to bear
upon particular matters. Hence the elaboration of those rules of
evidence, those canons of demonstrative force, which are the backbone
of the Aristotelian logic. There was a code by which to decide upon
the admissibility and value of proffered testimony--the rules of the
syllogism. The figures and terms of the syllogism provided a scheme
for deciding upon the exact bearing of every statement propounded. The
plan of arrangement of major and minor premises, of major, minor, and
middle terms, furnished a manifesto of the exact procedure to be
followed in determining the probative force of each element in
reasoning. The judge knew what testimony to permit, when and how it
should be introduced, how it could be impeached or have its competence
lessened, and how the evidence was to be arranged so that a summary
would also be an exhibit of its value in establishing a conclusion.

This means that there now is a distinctive type of thinking marked off
from mere discussion and reflection. It may be called either reasoning
or proof. It is reasoning when we think of the regularity of the
method for getting at and employing the unquestioned grounds which
give validity to other statements. It is proof as regards the degree
of logical desert thereby measured out to such propositions. Proof is
the acceptance or rejection justified through the reasoning. To quote
from Mill: "To give credence to a proposition as a conclusion from
something else is to reason in the most extensive sense of the term.
We say of a fact or statement, it is proved, when we believe its truth
by reason of some other fact or statement from which it is said to
follow."[47] Reasoning is marshaling a series of terms and
propositions until we can bind some doubtful fact firmly to an
unquestioned, although remote, truth; it is the regular way in which a
certain proposition is brought to bear on a precarious one, clothing
the latter with something of the peremptory quality of the former. So
far as we reach this result, and so far as we can exhibit each step in
the nexus and be sure it has been rightly performed, we have proof.

But questions still face us. How about that truth upon which we fall
back as guaranteeing the credibility of other statements--how about
our major premise? Whence does it derive its guaranty? _Quis custodes

We may, of course, in turn subsume it under some further major
premise, but an infinite regress is impossible, and on this track we
are finally left hanging in the air. For _practical_ purposes the
unquestioned principle may be taken as signifying mutual concession or
agreement--it denotes that as a matter of fact its truth is not called
in question by the parties concerned. This does admirably for settling
arguments and controversies. It is a good way of amicably arranging
matters among those already friends and fellow-citizens. But
scientifically the widespread acceptance of an idea seems to testify
to custom rather than to truth; prejudice is strengthened in
influence, but hardly in value, by the number who share it; conceit is
none the less self-conceit because it turns the heads of many.

Great interest was indeed afterward taken in the range of persons who
hold truths in common. The _quod semper ubique omnibus_ became of
great importance. This, however, was not, in theory at least, because
common agreement was supposed to constitute the major premise, but
because it afforded confirmatory evidence of its self-evident and
universal character.

Hence the Aristotelian logic necessarily assumes certain first or
fundamental truths unquestioned and unquestionable, self-evident and
self-evidencing, neither established nor modified by thought, but
standing firm in their own right. This assumption was not, as modern
dealers in formal logic would sometimes have it, an external
psychological or metaphysical attachment to the theory of reasoning,
to be omitted at will from logic as such. It was an essential factor
of knowledge that there should be necessary propositions directly
apprehended by reason and particular ones directly apprehended by
sense. Reasoning could then join them. Without the truths we have only
the play of subjective, arbitrary, futile opinion. _Judgment_ has not
taken place, and assertion is without warrant. Hence the scheduling of
first truths is an organic part of any reasoning which is occupied
with securing demonstration, surety of assent, or valid conviction. To
deny the necessary place of ultimate truths in the logical system of
Aristotle and his followers is to make them players in a game of
social convention. It is to overlook, to invert, the fact that they
were sincerely concerned with the question of attaining the grounds
and process of assurance. Hence they were obliged to assume primary
intuitions, metaphysical, physical, moral, and mathematical axioms, in
order to get the pegs of certainty to which to tie the bundles of
otherwise contingent propositions.

It would be going too far to claim that the regard for the authority
of the church, of the fathers, of the Scriptures, of ancient writers,
of Aristotle himself, so characteristic of the Middle Ages, was the
direct outcome of this presupposition of truths fixed and
unquestionable in themselves. But the logical connection is sure. The
supply of absolute premises that Aristotle was able to proffer was
scant. In his own generation and situation this paucity made
comparatively little difference; for to the mass of men the great bulk
of values was still carried by custom, by religious belief, and social
institution. It was only in the comparatively small sphere of persons
who had come under the philosophic influence that need for the logical
mode of confirmation was felt. In the mediaeval period, however, all
important beliefs required to be concentrated by some fixed principle
giving them stay and power, for they were contrary to obvious
common-sense and natural tradition. The situation was exactly such as
to call into active use the Aristotelian scheme of thought. Authority
supplemented the meagerness of the store of universals known by direct
intuition, the Aristotelian plan of reasoning afforded the precise
instrumentality through which the vague and chaotic details of life
could be reduced to order by subjecting them to authoritative rules.

It is not enough, however, to account for the ultimate major premises,
for the unconditioned grounds upon which credibility is assigned. We
have also to report where the other side comes from: matters so
uncertain in themselves as to require that they have their grounds
supplied from outside. The answer in the Aristotelian scheme is an
obvious one. It is the very nature of sense, of ordinary experience,
to supply us with matters which in themselves are only contingent.
There is a certain portion of the intellectual sphere, that derived
from experience, which is infected throughout by its unworthy origin.
It stands forever condemned to be merely empirical--particular, more
or less accidental, inherently irrational. You cannot make gold from
dross, and the best that can be done for and with material of this
sort is to bring it under the protection of truth which has warrant
and weight in itself.

We may now characterize this stage of thinking with reference to our
original remark that different stages denote various degrees in the
evolution of the doubt-inquiry function. As compared with the period
of fixed ideas, doubt is awake, and inquiry is active, but in itself
it is rigidly limited. On one side it is bounded by fixed ultimate
truths, whose very nature is that they cannot be doubted, which are
not products or functions in inquiry, but bases that investigation
fortunately rests upon. In the other direction all "matters of fact,"
all "empirical truths" belong to a particular sphere or kind of
existence, and one intrinsically open to suspicion. The region is
condemned in a wholesale way. In itself it exhales doubt; it cannot be
reformed; it is to be shunned, or, if this is not possible, to be
escaped from by climbing up a ladder of intermediate terms until we
lay hold on the universal. The very way in which doubt is objectified,
taken all in a piece, marks its lack of vitality. It is arrested and
cooped up in a particular place. As with any doubtful character, the
less of its company the better. Uncertainty is not realized as a
necessary instrument in compelling experienced matters to reveal their
meaning and inherent order.

This limitation upon inquiry settles the interpretation to be given
thought at this stage--it is of necessity merely connective, merely
mediating. It goes between the first principles--themselves, as to
their validity, outside the province of thought--and the particulars
of sense--also, as to their status and worth, beyond the dominion of
thought. Thinking is subsumption--just placing a particular
proposition under its universal. It is inclusion, finding a place for
some questioned matter within a region taken as more certain. It is
use of general truths to afford support to things otherwise shaky--an
application that improves their standing, while leaving their content
unchanged. This means that thought has only a formal value. It is of
service in exhibiting and arranging grounds upon which any particular
proposition may be acquitted or condemned, upon which anything already
current may be assented to, or upon which belief may reasonably be

The metaphor of the law court is apt. There is assumed some matter to
be either proved or disproved. As matter, as content, it is
furnished. It is not to be found out. In the law court it is not a
question of discovering what a man specifically is, but simply of
finding reasons for regarding him as guilty or innocent. There is no
all-around play of thought directed to the institution of something as
fact, but a question of whether grounds can be adduced justifying
acceptance of some proposition already set forth. The significance of
such an attitude comes into relief when we contrast it with what is
done in the laboratory. In the laboratory there is no question of
proving that things are just thus and so, or that we must accept or
reject a given statement; there is simply an interest in finding out
what sort of things we are dealing with. Any quality or change that
presents itself may be an object of investigation, or may suggest a
conclusion; for it is judged, not by reference to pre-existent truths,
but by its suggestiveness, by what it may lead to. The mind is open to
inquiry in any direction. Or we may illustrate by the difference
between the auditor and an actuary in an insurance company. One simply
passes and rejects, issues vouchers, compares and balances statements
already made out. The other investigates any one of the items of
expense or receipt; inquires how it comes to be what it is, what
facts, as regards, say, length of life, condition of money market,
activity of agents, are involved, and what further researches and
activities are indicated.

The illustrations of the laboratory and the expert remind us of
another attitude of thought in which investigation attacks matters
hitherto reserved. The growth, for example, of freedom of thought
during the Renaissance was a revelation of the intrinsic momentum of
the thought-process itself. It was not a mere reaction from and
against mediaeval scholasticism. It was the continued operation of the
machinery which the scholastics had set a-going. Doubt and inquiry
were extended into the region of particulars, of matters of fact, with
the view of reconstituting them through discovery of their own
structure, no longer with the intention of leaving that unchanged
while transforming their claim to credence by connecting them with
some authoritative principles. Thought no longer found satisfaction in
appraising them in a scale of values according to their nearness to,
or remoteness from, fixed truths. Such work had been done to a nicety,
and it was futile to repeat it. Thinking must find a new outlet. It
was out of employment, and set to discover new lands. Galileo and
Copernicus were travelers--as much so as the crusader, Marco Polo, and

Hence the fourth stage--covering what is popularly known as inductive
and empirical science. Thought takes the form of inference instead of
proof. Proof, as we have already seen, is accepting or rejecting a
given proposition on the ground of its connection or lack of
connection with some other proposition conceded or established. But
inference does not terminate in any given proposition; it is after
precisely those not given. It wants more facts, different facts.
Thinking in the mode of inference insists upon terminating in an
intellectual advance, in a consciousness of truths hitherto escaping
us. Our thinking must not now "pass" certain propositions after
challenging them, must not admit them because they exhibit certain
credentials, showing a right to be received into the upper circle of
intellectual society. Thinking endeavors to compel things as they
present themselves, to yield up something hitherto obscure or
concealed. This advance and extension of knowledge through thinking
seems to be well designated by the term "inference." It does not
certify what is otherwise doubtful, but "goes from the known to the
unknown." It aims at pushing out the frontiers of knowledge, not at
marking those already attained with signposts. Its technique is not a
scheme for assigning status to beliefs already possessed, but is a
method for making friends with facts and ideas hitherto alien.
Inference reaches out, fills in gaps. Its work is measured not by the
patents of standing it issues, but by the material increments of
knowledge it yields. _Inventio_ is more important than _judicium_,
discovery than "proof."

With the development of empirical research, uncertainty or contingency
is no longer regarded as infecting in a wholesale way an entire
region, discrediting it save as it can be brought under the
protecting aegis of universal truths as major premises. Uncertainty is
now a matter of detail. It is the question whether the particular fact
is really what it has been taken to be. It involves contrast, not of a
fact as a fixed particular over against some fixed universal, but of
the existing mode of apprehension with another possible better

From the standpoint of reasoning and proof the intellectual field is
absolutely measured out in advance. Certainty is located in one part,
intellectual indeterminateness or uncertainty in another. But when
thinking becomes research, when the doubt-inquiry function comes to
its own, the problem is just: What is the fact?

Hence the extreme interest in details as such; in observing,
collecting, and comparing particular causes, in analysis of structure
down to its constituent elements, interest in atoms, cells, and in all
matters of arrangement in space and time. The microscope, telescope,
and spectroscope, the scalpel and microtome, the kymograph and the
camera are not mere material appendages to thinking; they are as
integral parts of investigative thought as were _Barbara_, _Celarent_,
etc., of the logic of reasoning. Facts must be discovered, and to
accomplish this, apparent "facts" must be resolved into their
elements. Things must be readjusted in order to be held free from
intrusion of impertinent circumstance and misleading suggestion.
Instrumentalities of extending and rectifying research are, therefore,
of themselves organs of thinking. The specialization of the sciences,
the almost daily birth of a new science, is a logical necessity--not a
mere historical episode. Every phase of experience must be
investigated, and each characteristic aspect presents its own peculiar
problems which demand, therefore, their own technique of
investigation. The discovery of difficulties, the substitution of
doubt for quiescent acceptance, are more important than the
sanctioning of belief through proof. Hence the importance of noting
apparent exceptions, negative instances, extreme cases, anomalies. The
interest is in the discrepant because that stimulates inquiry, not in
the fixed universal which would terminate it once for all. Hence the
roaming over the earth and through the skies for new facts which may
be incompatible with old theories, and which may suggest new points of

To illustrate these matters in detail would be to write the history of
every modern science. The interest in multiplying phenomena, in
increasing the area of facts, in developing new distinctions of
quantity, structure, and form, is obviously characteristic of modern
science. But we do not always heed its logical significance--that it
makes thinking to consist in the extension and control of contact with
new material so as to lead regularly to the development of new

The elevation of the region of facts--the formerly condemned region of
the inherently contingent and variable--to something that invites and
rewards inquiry, defines the import, therefore, of the larger aspects
of modern science. This spirit prides itself upon being
positivistic--it deals with the observed and the observable. It will
have naught to do with ideas that cannot verify themselves by showing
themselves _in propria persona_. It is not enough to present
credentials from more sovereign truths. These are hardly acceptable
even as letters of introduction. Refutation of Newton's claim, that he
did not make hypotheses, by pointing out that no one was busier in
this direction than he, and that scientific power is generally in
direct ratio to ability to imagine possibilities, is as easy as it is
irrelevant. The hypotheses, the thoughts, that Newton employed were of
and about fact; they were for the sake of exacting and extending what
can be apprehended. Instead of being sacrosanct truths affording a
redemption by grace to facts otherwise ambiguous, they were the
articulating of ordinary facts. Hence the notion of law changes. It is
no longer something governing things and events from on high; it is
the statement of their own order.

Thus the exiling of occult forces and qualities is not so much a
specific achievement as it is a demand of the changed attitude. When
thinking consists in the detection and determination of observable
detail, forces, forms, qualities at large, are thrown out of
employment. They are not so much proved non-existent as rendered
nugatory. Disuse breeds their degeneration. When the universal is but
the order of the facts themselves, the mediating machinery disappears
along with the essences. There is substituted for the hierarchical
world in which each degree in the scale has its righteousness imputed
from above a world homogeneous in structure and in the scheme of its
parts; the same in heaven, earth, and the uttermost parts of the sea.
The ladder of values from the sublunary world with its irregular,
extravagant, imperfect motion up to the stellar universe, with its
self-returning perfect order, corresponded to the middle terms of the
older logic. The steps were graduated, ascending from the
indeterminate, unassured matter of sense up to the eternal,
unquestionable truths of rational perception. But when interest is
occupied in finding out what anything and everything is, any fact is
just as good as its fellow. The observable world is a democracy. The
difference which makes a fact what it is is not an exclusive
distinction, but a matter of position and quantity, an affair of
locality and aggregation, traits which place all facts upon the same
level, since all other observable facts also possess them and are,
indeed, conjointly responsible for them. Laws are not edicts of a
sovereign binding a world of subjects otherwise lawless; they are the
agreements, the compacts of facts themselves, or, in the familiar
language of Mill, the common attributes, the resemblances.

The emphasis of modern science upon control flows from the same
source. Interest is in the new, in extension, in discovery. Inference
is the advance into the unknown, the use of the established to win new
worlds from the void. This requires and employs regulation--that is,
method--in procedure. There cannot be a blind attack. A plan of
campaign is needed. Hence the so-called practical applications of
science, the Baconian "knowledge is power," the Comteian "science is
prevision," are not extra-logical addenda or supererogatory benefits.
They are intrinsic to the logical method itself, which is just the
orderly way of approaching new experiences so as to grasp and hold

The attitude of research is necessarily toward the future. The
application of science to the practical affairs of life, as in the
stationary engine, or telephone, does not differ in principle from the
determination of wave-lengths of light through the experimental
control of the laboratory. Science lives only in arranging for new
contacts, new insights. The school of Kant agrees with that of Mill in
asserting that judgment must, in order to be judgment, be synthetic or
instructive; it must extend, inform, and purvey. When we recognize
that this service of judgment in effecting growth of experience is not
accidental, but that judgment means exactly the devising and using of
suitable instrumentalities for this end, we remark that the so-called
practical uses of science are only the further and freer play of the
intrinsic movement of discovery itself.

       *       *       *       *       *

We began with the assumption that thought is to be interpreted as a
doubt-inquiry function, conducted for the purpose of arriving at that
mental equilibrium known as assurance or knowledge. We assumed that
various stages of thinking could be marked out according to the amount
of play which they give to doubt, and the consequent sincerity with
which thinking is identified with free inquiry. Modern scientific
procedure, as just set forth, seems to define the ideal or limit of
this process. It is inquiry emancipated, universalized, whose sole aim
and criterion is discovery, and hence it marks the terminus of our
description. It is idle to conceal from ourselves, however, that
scientific procedure as a practical undertaking, has not as yet
reflected itself into any coherent and generally accepted theory of
thinking, into any accepted doctrine of logic which is comparable to
the Aristotelian. Kant's conviction that logic is a "complete and
settled" science, which with absolutely "certain boundaries has gained
nothing and lost nothing since Aristotle," is startlingly contradicted
by the existing state of discussion of logical doctrine. The simple
fact of the case is that there are at least three rival theories on
the ground, each claiming to furnish the sole proper interpretation of
the actual procedure of thought.

The Aristotelian logic is far from having withdrawn its claim. It
still offers its framework as that into which the merely "empirical"
results of observation and experimental inquiry must be fitted if they
are to be regarded as really "proved." Another school of logicians,
starting professedly from modern psychology, discredits the whole
traditional industry and reverses the Aristotelian theory of validity;
it holds that only particular facts are self-supporting, and that the
authority allowed to general principles is derivative and second hand.
A third school of philosophy claims, by analysis of science and
experience, to justify the conclusion that the universe itself is a
construction of thought, giving evidence throughout of the pervasive
and constitutive action of reason, and holds, consequently, that our
logical processes are simply the reading off or coming to
consciousness of the inherently rational structure already possessed
by the universe in virtue of the presence within it of this pervasive
and constitutive action of thought. It thus denies both the claim of
the traditional logic, that matters of experienced fact are mere
particulars having their rationality in an external ground, and the
claim of the empirical logic, that thought is just a gymnastic by
which we vault from one presented fact to another remote in space and

Which of the three doctrines is to be regarded as the legitimate
exponent of the procedure of thought manifested in modern science?
While the Aristotelian logic is willing to waive a claim to be
regarded as expounder of the actual procedure, it still insists upon
its right to be regarded as the sole ultimate umpire of the validity
or _proved_ character of the results reached. But the empirical and
transcendental logics stand face to face as rivals, each asserting
that it alone tells the story of what science does and how it does it.

With the consciousness of this conflict my discussion in its present,
or descriptive, phase must cease. Its close, however, suggests a
further question. In so far as we adopt the conception that thinking
is itself a doubt-inquiry process, must we not deny the claims of all
of the three doctrines to be the articulate voicing of the methods of
experimental science? Do they not all agree in setting up something
fixed outside inquiry, supplying both its material and its limit? That
the first principle and the empirical matters of fact of the
Aristotelian logic fall outside the thinking process, and condemn the
latter to a purely external and go-between agency, has been already
sufficiently descanted upon. But it is also true that the fixed
particulars, given facts, or sensations--whatever the empirical
logician starts from--are material given ready-made to the
thought-process, and externally limiting inquiry, instead of being
distinctions arising within and because of search for truth. Nor, as
regards this point, is the transcendental in any position to throw
stones at the empirical logic. Thought "in itself" is so far from a
process of inquiry that it is taken to be the eternal, fixed structure
of the universe; _our_ thinking, involving doubt and investigation, is
due wholly to our "finite," imperfect character, which condemns us to
the task of merely imitating and reinstating "thought" in itself, once
and forever complete, ready-made, fixed.

The practical procedure and practical assumptions of modern
experimental science, since they make thinking essentially and not
merely accidentally a process of discovery, seem irreconcilable with
both the empirical and transcendental interpretations. At all events
there is here sufficient discrepancy to give occasion for further
search: Does not an account of thinking, basing itself on modern
scientific procedure, demand a statement in which all the distinctions
and terms of thought--judgment, concept, inference, subject,
predicate, and copula of judgment, etc., _ad infinitum_--shall be
interpreted simply and entirely as distinctive functions or divisions
of labor within the doubt-inquiry process?


[46] _Logic_, Book IV, chap. ii, § 2.

[47] _Logic_, Book II, chap. i, § 1. I have changed the order of the
sentences quoted, and have omitted some phrases.



Said John Stuart Mill: "To draw inferences has been said to be the
great business of life.... It is the only occupation in which the mind
never ceases to be engaged." If this be so, it seems a pity that Mill
did not recognize that this business identifies what we mean when we
say "mind." If he had recognized this, he would have cast the weight
of his immense influence not only against the conception that mind is
a substance, but also against the conception that it is a collection
of existential states or attributes without any substance in which to
inhere; and he would thereby have done much to free logic from
epistemological metaphysics. In any case, an account of intellectual
operations and conditions from the standpoint of the rôle played and
position occupied by them in the business of drawing inferences is a
different sort of thing from an account of them as having an existence
_per se_, from treating them as making up some sort of existential
material distinct from the _things_ which figure in inference-drawing.
This latter type of treatment is that which underlies the psychology
which itself has adopted uncritically the remnants of the metaphysics
of soul substance: the idea of accidents without the substance.[48]
This assumption from metaphysical psychology--the assumption of
consciousness as an existent stuff or existent process--is then
carried over into an examination of knowledge, so as to make the
theory of knowledge not logic (an account of the ways in which valid
inferences or conclusions from things to other things are made), but

We have, therefore, the result (so unfortunate for logic) that logic
is not free to go its own way, but is compromised by the assumption
that knowledge goes on not in terms of things (I use "things" in the
broadest sense, as equaling _res_, and covering affairs, concerns,
acts, as well as "things" in the narrower sense), but in terms of a
relation _between_ things and a peculiar existence made up of
consciousness, or else between things and functional operations of
this existence. If it could be shown that psychology is essentially
not a science of states of consciousness, but of behavior, conceived
as a process of continuous readjustment, then the undoubted facts
which go by the name of sensation, perception, image, emotion,
concept, would be interpreted to mean peculiar (i.e., specifically
qualitative) epochs, phases, and crises in the scheme of behavior. The
supposedly scientific basis for the belief that states of
consciousness inherently define a separate type of existence would be
done away with. Inferential knowledge, knowledge involving reflection,
_psychologically_ viewed, would be assimilated to a certain mode of
readaptation of functions, involving shock and the need of control;
'knowledge' in the sense of direct non-reflective presence of things
would be identified (psychologically) with relatively stable or
completed adjustments. I can not profess to speak for psychologists,
but it is an obvious characteristic of the contemporary status of
psychology that one school (the so-called functional or dynamic)
operates with nothing more than a conventional and perfunctory
reference to "states of consciousness"; while the orthodox school
makes constant concessions to ideas of the behavior type. It
introduces the conceptions of fatigue, practice, and habituation. It
makes its fundamental classifications on the basis of physiological
distinctions (e.g., the centrally initiated and the peripherally
initiated), which, from a biological standpoint, are certainly
distinctions of structures involved in the performance of acts.

One of the aims of the _Studies in Logical Theory_ was to show, on the
negative or critical side, that the type of logical theory which
professedly starts its account of knowledge from mere states of
consciousness is compelled at every crucial juncture to assume
_things_, and to define its so-called mental states in terms of
things;[49] and, on the positive side, to show that, logically
considered, such distinctions as sensation, image, etc., mark
instruments and crises in the development of controlled judgment,
i.e., of inferential conclusions. It was perhaps not surprising that
this effort should have been criticized not on its own merits, but on
the assumption that this correspondence of the (functional)
psychological and the logical points of view was intended in terms of
the psychology which obtained in the _critic's_ mind--to wit, the
psychology based on the assumption of consciousness as a separate
existence or process.

These considerations suggest that before we can intelligently raise
the question of the truth of ideas we must consider their status in
judgment, judgment being regarded as the typical expression of the
inferential operation. (1) Do ideas present themselves except in
situations which are doubtful and inquired into? Do they exist side by
side with the facts when the facts are themselves known? Do they exist
except when judgment is in suspense? (2) Are "ideas" anything else
except the suggestions, conjectures, hypotheses, theories (I use an
ascending scale of terms) tentatively entertained during a suspended
conclusion? (3) Do they have any part to play in the conduct of
inquiry? Do they serve to direct observation, colligate data, and
guide experimentation, or are they otiose?[50] (4) If the ideas have a
function in directing the reflective process (expressed in judgment),
does success in performing the function (that is, in directing to a
conclusion which is stable) have anything to do with the logical worth
or validity of the ideas? (5) And, finally, does validity have
anything to do with truth? Does "truth" mean something inherently
different from the fact that the conclusion of one judgment (the known
fact, previously unknown, in which judging terminates) is itself
applicable in further situations of doubt and inquiry? And is judgment
properly more than tentative save as it terminates in a known fact,
i.e., a fact present without the intermediary of reflection?

When these questions--I mean, of course, questions which are
exemplified in these queries--are answered, we shall, perhaps, have
gone as far as it is possible to go with reference to the _logical_
character of ideas. The question may then recur as to whether the
"ideas" of the epistemologist (that is, existences in a purely
"private stream of consciousness") remain as something over and above,
not yet accounted for; or whether they are perversions and
misrepresentations of logical characters. I propose to give a brief
dogmatic reply in the latter sense. Where, and in so far as, there are
unquestioned objects, there is no "consciousness." There are just
things. When there is uncertainty, there are dubious, suspected
objects--things hinted at, guessed at. Such objects have a distinct
status, and it is the part of good sense to give them, as occupying
that status, a distinct caption. "Consciousness" is a term often used
for this purpose; and I see no objection to that term, _provided_ it
is recognized to mean such objects as are problematic, plus the fact
that in their problematic character they may be used, as effectively
as accredited objects, to direct observations and experiments which
finally relieve the doubtful features of the situation. Such "objects"
may turn out to be valid, or they may not. But, in any case, they may
be used. They may be internally manipulated and developed through
ratiocination into explicit statement of their implications; they may
be employed as standpoints for selecting and arranging data, and as
methods for conducting experiments. In short, they are not merely
hypothetical; they are _working_ hypotheses. Meanwhile, their
aloofness from accredited objectivity may lead us to characterize them
as merely ideas, or even as "mental states," provided once more we
mean by mental state just this logical status.

We have examples of such ideas in symbols. A symbol, I take it, is
always itself, existentially, a particular object. A word, an
algebraic sign, is just as much a concrete existence as is a horse, a
fire-engine, or a flyspeck. But its value resides in its
representative character: in its suggestive and directive force for
operations that when performed lead us to non-symbolic objects, which
without symbolic operations would not be apprehended, or at least
would not be so easily apprehended. It is, I think, worth noting that
the capacity (_a_) for regarding objects as mere symbols and (_b_) for
employing symbols instrumentally furnishes the only safeguard against
dogmatism, i.e., uncritical acceptance of any suggestion that comes to
us vividly; and also that it furnishes the only basis for
intelligently controlled experiments.

I do not think, however, that we should have the tendency to regard
ideas as _private_, as personal, if we stopped short at this point. If
we had only words or other symbols uttered by others, or written, or
printed, we might call them, when in objective suspense, mere ideas.
But we should hardly think of these ideas as our own. Such
extra-organic stimuli, however, are not adequate logical devices. They
are too rigid, too "objective" in their own existential status. Their
meaning and character are too definitely fixed. For effective
discovery we need things which are more easily manipulated, which are
more transitive, more easily dropped and changed. Intra-organic
events, adjustments _within_ the organism, that is, adjustments of the
organism considered not with reference to the environment but with
reference to one another, are much better suited to stand as
representatives of genuinely dubious objects. An object which is
_really_ doubted is by its nature precarious and inchoate, vague. What
_is_ a thing when it is not yet discovered and yet is tentatively
entertained and tested?

Ancient logic never got beyond the conception of an object whose
logical _place_, whose subsumptive position as a particular with
reference to some universal, was doubtful. It never got to the point
where it could search for particulars which in themselves as
particulars are doubtful. Hence it was a logic of proof, of deduction,
not of inquiry, of discovery, and of induction. It was hard up against
its own dilemma: How can a man inquire? For either he knows that for
which he seeks, and hence does not seek: or he does not know, in which
case he can not seek, nor could he tell if he found. The
individualistic movement of modern life detached, as it were, the
individual, and allowed personal (i.e., intra-organic) events to have,
transitively and temporarily, a worth of their own. These events are
continuous with extra-organic events (in origin and eventual
outcome); but they may be considered in temporary displacement as
uniquely existential. In this capacity they serve as means for the
elaboration of a delayed but more adequate response in a radically
different direction. So treated, they are tentative, dubious but
experimental, anticipations of an object. They are "subjective" (i.e.,
individualistic) surrogates of public, cosmic things, which may be so
manipulated and elaborated as to terminate in public things which
without them would not exist as empirical objects.[51]

The recognition then of intra-organic events, which are not merely
effects nor distorted refractions of cosmic objects, but inchoate
_future_ cosmic objects in process of experimental construction,
resolves, to my mind, the paradox of so-called subjective and private
things that have objective and universal reference, and that operate
so as to lead to objective consequences which test their own value.
When a man can say: This color is not necessarily the color of the
glass nor the picture nor even of an object reflected but is at least
an event in my nervous system, an event which I may refer to my
organism till I get _surety of other reference_--he is for the first
time emancipated from the dogmatism of unquestioned reference, and is
set upon a path of experimental inquiry.

I am not here concerned with trying to demonstrate that this is the
correct mode of interpretation. I am only concerned with pointing out
its radical difference from the view of a critic who, holding to the
two-world theory of existences which from the start are divided into
the fixedly objective and the fixedly psychical, interprets in terms
of his own theory the view that the distinction between the objective
and the subjective is a logical-practical distinction. Whether the
logical, as against the ontological, theory be true or false, it can
hardly be fruitfully discussed without a preliminary apprehension of
it as a logical conception.


[48] This conception of "consciousness" as a sort of reduplicate world
of things comes to us, I think, chiefly from Hume's conception that
the "_mind_ is nothing but a heap, a collection of different
perceptions, united together by certain relations."--_Treatise of
Human Nature_, Book I, Part IV, sec. 2. For the evolution of this sort
of notion out of the immaterial substance notion, see Bush, "A Factor
in the Genesis of Idealism," in the James _Festschrift_.

[49] See, for example, p. 113. "Thus that which is 'nothing but a
state of our consciousness' turns out straightway to be a specifically
determined objective fact in a system of facts," and, p. 147, "actual
sensation is determined as an event in a world of events."

[50] When it is said that an idea is a "plan of action," it must be
remembered that the term "plan of action" is a formal term. It throws
no light upon _what_ the action is with respect to which an idea is
the plan. It may be chopping down a tree, finding a trail, or
conducting a scientific research in mathematics, history, or

[51] I owe this idea, both in its historical and in its logical
aspects, to my former colleague, Professor Mead, of the University of




There is something a little baffling in much of the current discussion
regarding the reference of ideas to facts. The not uncommon assumption
is that there was a satisfactory and consistent theory of their
relation in existence prior to the somewhat impertinent intrusion of a
functional and practical interpretation of them. The way the
instrumental logician has been turned upon by both idealist and
realist is suggestive of the way in which the outsider who intervenes
in a family jar is proverbially treated by both husband and wife, who
manifest their unity by berating the third party.

I feel that the situation is due partly to various misapprehensions,
inevitable perhaps in the first presentation of a new point of
view[52] and multiplied in this instance by the coincidence of the
presentation of this logical point of view with that of the larger
philosophical movements, humanism and pragmatism. I wish here to
undertake a summary statement of the logical view on its own account,
hoping it may receive clearer understanding on its own merits.

In the first place it was (apart from the frightful confusion of
logical theories) precisely the lack of an adequate and generally
accepted theory of the nature of fact and idea, and of the kind of
agreement or correspondence between them which constitutes the truth
of the idea, that led to the development of a functional theory of
logic. A brief statement of the difficulties in the traditional views
may therefore be pertinent. That fruitful thinking--thought that
terminates in valid knowledge--goes on in terms of the distinction of
facts and judgment, and that valid knowledge is precisely genuine
correspondence or agreement, _of some sort_, of fact and judgment, is
the common and undeniable assumption. But the discussions are largely
carried on in terms of an epistemological dualism, rendering the
solution of the problem impossible in virtue of the very terms in
which it is stated. The distinction is at once identified with that
between mind and matter, consciousness and objects, the psychical and
the physical, where each of these terms is supposed to refer to some
fixed order of existence, a world in itself. Then, of course, there
comes up the question of the nature of the agreement, and of the
recognition of it. What is the experience in which the survey of both
idea and existence is made and their agreement recognized? Is it an
idea? Is the agreement ultimately a matter of self-consistency of
ideas? Then what has become of the postulate that truth is agreement
of idea with existence beyond idea? Is it an absolute which
transcends and absorbs the difference? Then, once more, what is the
test of any specific judgment? What has become of the correspondence
of fact and thought? Or, more urgently, since the pressing problem of
life, of practice and of science, is the discrimination of the
_relative_, or _superior_, validity of this or that theory, plan, or
interpretation, what is the criterion of truth within present
non-absolutistic experience, where the distinction between factual
conditions and thoughts and the necessity of some working adjustment

Putting the problem in yet another way, either both fact and idea are
present all the time or else only one of them is present. But if the
former, why should there be an idea at all, and why should it have to
be tested by the fact? When we already have what we want, namely,
existence, reality, why should we take up the wholly supernumerary
task of forming more or less imperfect ideas of those facts, and then
engage in the idle performance of testing them by what we already know
to be? But if only ideas are present, it is idle to speak of comparing
an idea with facts and testing its validity by its agreement. The
elaboration and refinement of ideas to the uttermost still leaves us
with an idea, and while a self-consistent idea stands a show of being
true in a way in which an incoherent one does not, a self-consistent
idea is still but a hypothesis, a candidate for truth. Ideas are not
made true by getting bigger. But if only 'facts' are present, the
whole conception of agreement is once more given up--not to mention
that such a situation is one in which there is by definition no
thinking or reflective factor at all.

This suggests that a strictly monistic epistemology, whether
idealistic or realistic, does not get rid of the problem. Suppose for
example we take a sensationalistic idealism. It does away with the
ontological gulf between ideas and facts, and by reducing both terms
to a common denominator seems to facilitate fruitful discussion of the
problem. But the problem of the distinction and reference (agreement,
correspondence) of two types or sorts of sensations still persists. If
I say the box there is square, and call "box" one of a group of ideas
or sensations and "square" another sensation or "idea," the old
question comes up: Is "square" already a part of the "facts" of the
box, or is it not? If it is, it is a supernumerary, an idle thing,
both as an idea and as an assertion of fact; if it is not, how can we
compare the two ideas, and what on earth or in heaven does their
agreement or correspondence mean? If it means simply that we
experience the two "sensations" in juxtaposition, then the same is
true, of course, of any casual association or hallucination. On the
sensational basis, accordingly, there is still a distinction of
something "given," "there," brutally factual, the box, and something
else which stands on a different level, ideal, absent, intended,
demanded, the "square," which is asserted to hold good or be true of
the thing "box." The fact that both are sensations throws no light on
the logical validity of any proposition or belief, because by theory a
like statement holds of every possible proposition.[53]

The same problem recurs on a realistic basis. For example, there has
recently been propounded[54] the doctrine of the distinction between
relations of space and time and relations of meaning or significance,
as a key to the problem of knowledge. Things exist in their own
characters, in their temporal and spatial relations. When knowledge
intervenes, there is nothing new of a subjective or psychical sort,
but simply a new relation of the things--the suggesting or signifying
of one thing by another. Now this seems to be an excellent way of
stating the logical problem, but, I take it, it states and does not
solve. For the characteristic of such situations, claiming to
terminate in knowledge, is precisely that the meaning-relation is
predicated _of_ the other relations; it is referred to them; it is not
simply a supervention existing side by side with them, like casual
suggestions or the play of phantasy. It is something which the facts,
the qualitative space and time things, must bear the burden of, must
accept and take unto themselves as part of themselves. Until this
happens, we have only "thinking," not accomplished knowledge. Hence,
logically, the existential relations play the rôle of fact, and the
relation of signification that of idea,[55] distinguished from fact
and yet, if valid, to hold _of_ fact.

This appears quite clearly in the following quotation: "It is the ice
which means that it will cool the water, just as much as it is the ice
which does cool the water when put into it." There is, however, a
possible ambiguity in the statement, to which we shall return later.
That the "ice" (the thing regarded as ice) _suggests_ cooling is as
real as is a case of actual cooling. But, of course, not every
suggestion is valid. The "ice" may be a crystal, and it will not cool
water at all. So far as it is already certain that this _is_ ice, and
also certain that ice, under all circumstances, cools water, the
meaning-relation stands on the same level as the physical, being not
merely suggested, but part of the facts ascertained. It is not a
meaning-relation as such at all. We already have truth; the entire
work of knowing as logical is done; we have no longer the relation
characteristic of reflective situations. Here again the implication of
the thinking situation is of some "correspondence" or "agreement"
between two sets of distinguished relations; the problem of valid
determination remains the central question of any theory of knowing in
its relation to facts and truth.[56]


I hope this statement of the difficulty, however inadequate, will
serve at least to indicate that a functional logic inherits the
problem in question and does not create it; that it has never for a
moment denied the prima facie working distinction between "ideas,"
"thoughts," "meanings," and "facts," "existences," "the environment,"
nor the necessity of a control of meaning by facts. It is concerned
not with denying, but with understanding. What is denied is not the
genuineness of the problem of the terms in which it is stated, but
the reality and value of the orthodox interpretation. What is insisted
upon is the relative, instrumental, or working character of the
distinction--that it _is_ a _logical_ distinction, instituted and
maintained in the interests of intelligence, with all that
intelligence imports in the exercise of the life functions. To this
positive side I now turn.

In the analysis it may prove convenient to take an illustration of a
man lost in the woods, taking this case as typical of any reflective
situation in so far as it involves perplexity--a problem to be solved.
The problem is to find a correct idea of the way home--a practical
idea or plan of action which will lead to success, or the realization
of the purpose to get home. Now the critics of the experimental theory
of logic make the point that this practical idea, the truth of which
is evidenced in the successful meeting of a need, is dependent for its
success upon a purely presentative idea, that of the existent
environment, whose validity has nothing to do with success but depends
on agreement with the given state of affairs. It is said that what
makes a man's idea of his environment true is its agreement with the
actual environment, and "generally a true idea in any situation
consists in its agreement with reality." I have already indicated my
acceptance of this formula. But it was long my misfortune not to be
possessed offhand of those perfectly clear notions of just what is
meant in this formula by the terms "idea," "existence," and
"agreement" which are possessed by other writers on epistemology; and
when I analyzed these notions I found the distinction between the
practical idea and the theoretical not fixed nor final, and I found a
somewhat startling similarity between the notions of "success" and

Just what is the environment of which an idea is to be formed: i.e.,
what is the intellectual content or objective detail to be assigned to
the term "environment"? It can hardly mean the actual visible
environment--the trees, rocks, etc., which a man is actually looking
at. These things are there and it seems superfluous to form an idea of
them; moreover, the wayfaring man, though lost, would have to be an
unusually perverse fool if under such circumstances he were unable to
form an idea (supposing he chose to engage in this luxury) in agreement
with these facts. The environment must be a larger environment than the
visible facts; it must include things not within the direct ken of the
lost man; it must, for instance, extend from where he is now to his
home, or to the point from which he started. It must include
unperceived elements in their contrast with the perceived. Otherwise
the man would not be lost. Now we are at once struck with the facts
that the lost man has no alternative except either to wander aimlessly
or else to _conceive_ this inclusive environment; and that this
conception is just what is meant by idea. It is not some little
psychical entity or piece of consciousness-stuff, but is _the
interpretation of the locally present environment in reference to its
absent portion_, that part to which it is referred as another part so
as to give a view of a whole. Just how such an idea would differ from
one's plan of action in finding one's way, I do not know. For one's
plan (if it be really a plan, a method) is a conception of what is
given in its hypothetical relations to what is not given, employed as a
guide to that act which results in the absent being also given. It is a
map constructed with one's self lost and one's self found, whether at
starting or at home again, as its two limits. If this map in its
specific character is not also the only guide to the way home, one's
only plan of action, then I hope I may never be lost. It is the
_practical_ facts of being lost and desiring to be found which
constitute the limits and the content of the "environment."

Then comes the test of _agreement_ of the idea and the environment.
Supposing the individual stands still and attempts to compare his idea
with the reality, with what reality is he to compare it? Not with the
presented reality, for _that_ reality is the reality of himself lost;
not with the complete reality, for at this stage of proceedings he has
only the idea to stand for the complete theory. What kind of
comparison is possible or desirable then, save to treat the mental
layout of the whole situation as a working hypothesis, as a plan of
action, and proceed to _act_ upon it, to use it as a director and
controller of one's divagations instead of stumbling blindly around
until one is either exhausted or accidentally gets out? Now suppose
one uses the idea--that is to say, the present facts projected into a
whole in the light of absent facts--as a guide of action. Suppose, by
means of its specifications, one works one's way along until one comes
upon familiar ground--finds one's self. _Now_, one may say, my idea
was right, it was in accord with facts; it agrees with reality. That
is, acted upon sincerely, it has led to the desired conclusion; it
has, _through action_, worked out the state of things which it
contemplated or intended. The agreement, correspondence, is between
purpose, plan, and its own execution, fulfillment; between a map of a
course constructed for the sake of guiding behavior and the result
attained in acting upon the indications of the map. Just how does such
agreement differ from success?


If we exclude acting upon the idea, no conceivable amount or kind of
intellectualistic procedure can confirm or refute an idea, or throw
any light upon its validity. How does the non-pragmatic view consider
that verification takes place? Does it suppose that we first look a
long while at the facts and then a long time at the idea, until by
some magical process the degree and kind of their agreement become
visible? Unless there is some such conception as this, what conception
of agreement is possible except the experimental or practical one? And
if it be admitted that verification involves action, how can that
action be relevant to the truth of an idea, unless the idea is itself
already relevant to action? If by acting in accordance with the
experimental definition of facts, viz., as obstacles and conditions,
and the experimental definition of the end or intent, viz., as plan
and method of action, a harmonized situation effectually presents
itself, we have the adequate and the only conceivable verification of
the intellectual factors. If the action indicated be carried out and
the disordered or disturbed situation persists, then we have not
merely confuted the tentative positions of intelligence, but we have
in the very process of acting introduced new data and eliminated some
of the old ones, and thus afforded an opportunity for the resurvey of
the facts and the revision of the plan of action. By acting faithfully
upon an inadequate reflective presentation, we have at least secured
the elements for its improvement. This, of course, gives no absolute
guaranty that the reflection will at any time be so performed as to
prove its validity in fact. But the self-rectification of intellectual
content through acting upon it in good faith is the "absolute" of
knowledge, loyalty to which is the religion of intellect.

The intellectual definition or delimitation assigned to the "given" is
thus as tentative and experimental as that ascribed to the idea. In
form both are categorical, and in content both are hypothetical. Facts
really exist just as facts, and meanings exist as meanings. One is no
more superfluous, more subjective, or less necessitated than the
other. In and of themselves as existences both are equally realistic
and compulsive. But on the basis of existence, there is no element in
either which may be strictly described as intellectual or cognitional.
There is only a practical situation in its brute and unrationalized
form. What is uncertain about the facts as given at any moment is
whether the right exclusions and selections have been made. Since that
is a question which can be decided finally only by the experimental
issue, this ascription of character is itself tentative and
experimental. If it works, the characterization and delineation are
found to be proper ones; but every admission prior to inquiry, of
unquestioned, categorical, rigid objectivity, compromises the
probability that it will work. The character assigned to the datum
must be taken as hypothetically as possible in order to preserve the
elasticity needed for easy and prompt reconsideration. Any other
procedure virtually insists that all facts and details anywhere
happening to exist and happening to present themselves (all being
equally real) must all be given equal status and equal weight, and
that their outer ramifications and internal complexities must be
indefinitely followed up. The worthlessness of this sheer accumulation
of realities, its total irrelevancy, the lack of any way of judging
the significance of the accumulations, are good proofs of the fallacy
of any theory which ascribes objective logical content to facts wholly
apart from the needs and possibilities of a situation.

The more stubbornly one maintains the _full_ reality of either his
facts or his ideas, just as they stand, the more accidental is the
discovery of relevantly significant facts and of valid ideas--the more
accidental, the less rational, is the issue of the knowledge
situation. Due progress is reasonably probable in just the degree in
which the meaning, categorical in its existing imperativeness, and the
fact, equally categorical in its brute coerciveness, are assigned only
a provisional and tentative nature with reference to control of the
situation. That this surrender of a rigid and final character for the
content of knowledge on the sides both of fact and of meaning, in
favor of experimental and functioning estimations, is precisely the
change which has marked the development of modern from mediaeval and
Greek science, seems undoubted. To learn the lesson one has only to
contrast the rigidity of phenomena and conceptions in Greek thought
(Platonic ideas, Aristotelian forms) with the modern experimental
selection and determining of facts and experimental employment of
hypotheses. The former have ceased to be ultimate realities of a
nondescript sort and have become provisional data; the latter have
ceased to be eternal meanings and have become working theories. The
fruitful application of mathematics and the evolution of a technique
of experimental inquiry have coincided with this change. That
realities exist independently of their use as intellectual data, and
that meanings exist apart from their utilization as hypotheses, are
the permanent truths of Greek realism as against the exaggerated
subjectivism of modern philosophy; but the conception that this
existence is to be defined in the same way as are contents of
knowledge, so that perfect being is object of perfect knowledge and
imperfect being object of imperfect knowledge, is the fallacy which
Greek thought projected into modern. Science has advanced in its
methods in just the degree in which it has ceased to assume that prior
realities and prior meanings retain fixedly and finally, when entering
into reflective situations, the characters they had prior to this
entrance, and in which it has realized that their very presence within
the knowledge situation signifies that they have to be redefined and
revalued from the standpoint of the new situation.


This conception does not, however, commit us to the view that there is
any conscious situation which is totally non-reflective. It may be
true that any experience which can properly be termed such comprises
something which is _meant_ over and against what is given or there.
But there are many situations into which the rational factor--the
mutual distinction and mutual reference of fact and meaning--enters
only incidentally and is slurred, not accentuated. Many disturbances
are relatively trivial and induce only a slight and superficial
redefinition of contents. This passing tension of facts against
meaning may suffice to call up and carry a wide range of meaningful
facts which are quite irrelevant to the intellectual problem. Such is
the case where the individual is finding his way through any field
which is upon the whole familiar, and which, accordingly, requires
only an occasional resurvey and revaluation at moments of slight
perplexity. We may call these situations, if we will, knowledge
situations (for the reflective function characteristic of knowledge is
present), but so denominating them does not do away with their sharp
difference from those situations in which the critical qualification
of facts and definition of meanings constitute the main business. To
speak of the passing attention which a traveler has occasionally to
give to the indications of his proper path in a fairly familiar and
beaten highway as knowledge, in just the same sense in which the
deliberate inquiry of a mathematician or a chemist or a logician is
knowledge, is as confusing to the real issue involved as would be the
denial to it of _any_ reflective factor. If, then, one bears in mind
these two considerations--(1) the unique problem and purpose of every
reflective situation, and (2) the difference as to range and
thoroughness of logical function in different types of reflective
situations--one need have no difficulty with the doctrine that the
great obstacle in the development of scientific knowing is that facts
and meanings enter such situations with stubborn and alien
characteristics imported from other situations.

This affords an opportunity to speak again of the logical problem to
which reference and promise of return were made earlier in this paper.
Facts may be regarded as existing qualitatively and in certain spatial
and temporal relations; when there is knowledge another relation is
added, that of one thing meaning or signifying another. Water exists,
for example, as water, in a certain place, in a certain temporal
sequence. But it may signify the quenching of thirst; and this
signification-relation constitutes knowledge.[57] This statement may
be taken in a way congruous with the account developed in this paper.
But it may also be taken in another sense, consideration of which will
serve to enforce the point regarding the tentative nature of the
characterization of the given, as distinct from the intended and
absent. Water means quenching thirst; it is drunk, and death follows.
It was not water, but a poison which "looked like" water. Or it is
drunk, and is water, but does not quench thirst, for the drinker is in
an abnormal condition and drinking water only intensifies the thirst.
Or it is drunk and quenches thirst; but it also brings on typhoid
fever, being not merely water, but water plus germs. Now all these
events demonstrate that error may appertain quite as much to the
characterization of existing things, suggesting or suggested, as to
the suggestion _qua_ suggestion. There is no ground for giving the
"things" any superior reality. In these cases, indeed, it may fairly
be said that the mistake is made because qualitative thing and
suggested or meaning-relation were _not_ discriminated. The
"signifying" force was regarded as a part of the direct quality of the
given fact, quite as much as its color, liquidity, etc.; it is only in
another situation that it is discriminated as a relation instead of
being regarded as an element.

It is quite as true to say that a thing is called water because it
suggests thirst-quenching as to say that it suggests thirst-quenching
because it is characterized as water. _The knowledge function becomes
prominent or dominant in the degree in which there is a conscious
discrimination between the fact-relations and the meaning-relations._
And this inevitably means that the "water" ceases to be _surely_
water, just as it becomes doubtful or hypothetical whether this thing,
whatever it is, really means thirst-quenching. If it really means
thirst-quenching, it is water; so far as it may not mean it, it
perhaps is not water. It is now just as much a question _what_ this
_is_ as what it means. Whatever will resolve one question will resolve
the other. In just the degree, then, in which an existence or thing
gets intellectualized force or function, it becomes a fragmentary and
dubious thing, to be circumscribed and described for the sake of
operating as _sign_, or clue of a _future_ reality to be realized
through action. Only as "reality" is reduced to a sign, and questions
of its nature as sign are considered, does it get intellectual or
cognitional status. The bearing of this upon the question of practical
character of the distinctions of fact and idea is obvious. No one, I
take it, would deny that action of some sort _does_ follow upon
judgment; no one would deny that this action _does_ somehow serve to
test the value of the intellectual operations upon which it follows.
But if this subsequent action is _merely_ subsequent, if the
intellectual categories, operations, and distinctions are complete in
themselves, without inherent reference to it, what guaranty is there
that they pass into relevant action, and by what miracle does the
action manage to test the worth of the idea? But if the intellectual
identification and description of the thing are as tentative and
instrumental as is the ascription of significance, then the
exigencies of the active situation are operative in all the categories
of the knowledge situation. Action is not a more or less accidental
appendage or afterthought, but is undergoing development and giving
direction in the entire knowledge function.

In conclusion, I remark that the ease with which the practical
character of these fundamental logical categories, fact, meaning, and
agreement, may be overlooked or denied is due to the organic way in
which practical import is incarnate in them. It can be overlooked
because it is so involved in the terms themselves that it is assumed
at every turn. The pragmatist is in the position of one who is charged
with denying the existence of something because, in pointing out a
certain fundamental feature of it, he puts it in a strange light. Such
confusion always occurs when the familiar is brought to definition.
The difficulties are more psychological--difficulties of orientation
and mental adjustment--than logical, and in the long run will be done
away with by our getting used to the different viewpoint, rather than
by argument.


[52] _Studies in Logical Theory_, University of Chicago Press, 1903.

[53] Mill's doctrine of the ambiguity of the copula (_Logic_, Book I,
chap. IV, § 1) is an instance of one typical way of evading the
problem. After insisting with proper force and clearness upon the
objective character of our intellectual beliefs and propositions,
viz., that when we say fire causes heat we mean actual phenomena, not
our ideas of fire and heat (Book I, chap. II and chap. XI, § 1, and
chap. V, § 1), he thinks to dispose of the whole problem of the "is"
in judgment by saying that it is only a sign of affirmation (chap. I,
§ 2, and chap. IV, § 1). Of course it is. But unless the affirmation
(the sign of thought) "agrees" or "corresponds with" the relations of
the phenomena, what becomes of the doctrine of the objective import of
propositions? How otherwise shall we maintain with Mill (and with
common-sense and science) the difference between asserting "a fact of
external nature" and "a fact in my mental history"?

[54] _Studies in Philosophy and Psychology_, article by Woodbridge on
"The Problem of Consciousness," especially pp. 159-60.

[55] In other words, "ideas" is a term capable of assuming any
definition which is logically appropriate--say, meaning. It need not
have anything to do with the conception of little subjective entities
or psychical stuffs.

[56] Of course, the monistic epistemologies have an advantage in the
statement of the problem over the dualistic--they do not state it in
terms which presuppose the impossibility of the solution.

[57] This view was originally advanced in the discussion of quite
another problem than the one here discussed, viz., the problem of
consciousness; and it may not be quite just to dissever it from that
context. But as a formula for knowledge it has enough similarity with
the one brought out in this paper to suggest further treatment; it is
not intended that the results reached here shall apply to the problem
of consciousness as such.




In spite of the elucidations of contemporary realists, a number of
idealists continue to adduce in behalf of idealism certain facts
having an obvious physical nature and explanation. The visible
convergence of the railway tracks, for example, is cited as evidence
that what is seen is a mental "content." Yet this convergence follows
from the physical properties of light and a lens, and is physically
demonstrated in a camera. Is the photograph, then, to be conceived as
a psychical somewhat? That the time of the visibility of a light does
not coincide with the time at which a distant body emitted the light
is employed to support a similar idealistic conclusion, in spite of
the fact that the exact difference in time may be deduced from a
physical property of light--its rate. The dislocation in space of the
light seen and the astronomical star is used as evidence of the mental
nature of the former, though the exact angular difference is a matter
of simple computation from purely physical data. The doubling of
images of, say, the finger when the eyeball is pressed, is frequently
proffered as a clincher. Yet it is a simple matter to take any body
that reflects light, and by a suitable arrangement of lenses to
produce not only two but many images, projected into space. If the
fact that under definite _physical_ conditions (misplacement of
lenses), a finger yields two images proves the psychical character of
the latter, then the fact that under certain conditions a sounding
body yields one or more echoes is, by parity of reasoning, proof that
the echo is made of mental stuff.[59]

If, once more, the differences in form and color of a table to
different observers, occupying different physical positions, is proof
that what each sees is a psychical, private, isolated somewhat, then
the fact that one and the same physical body has different effects
upon, or relations with, different physical media is proof of the
mental nature of these effects. Take a lump of wax and subject it to
the same heat, located at different positions; now the wax is solid,
now liquid--it might even be gaseous. How "psychical" these phenomena!
It almost seems as if the transformation of the physical into the
mental in the cases cited exemplifies an interesting psychological
phenomenon. In each case the beginning is with a real and physical
existence. Taking "the real object," the astronomical star, on the
basis of its physical reality, the idealist concludes to a psychical
object, radically different! Taking the _single_ object, the finger,
from the premise of its real singleness, he concludes to a double
mental content, which then takes the place of the original single
thing! Taking one-and-the-same-object, the table, presenting _its_
different surfaces and reflections of light to different real
organisms, he eliminates the one-table-in-its-different-relations in
behalf of a multiplicity of totally separate psychical tables! The
logic reminds us of the story of the countryman who, after gazing at
the giraffe, remarked, "There ain't no such animal." It almost seems,
I repeat, as if this self-contradiction in the argument creates in
some minds the impression that the object--not the argument--is
undergoing the extraordinary reversal of form.

However this may be, the problem indicated in the foregoing cases is
simply the good old problem of the many in one, or, less cryptically,
the problem of the maintenance of a continuity of process throughout
differences. I do not pretend that this situation, though the most
familiar thing in life, is wholly without difficulties. But its
difficulty is not one of epistemology, that is, of the relation of
known to a knower; to take it as such, and then to use it as proof of
the psychical nature of a final term, is also to prove that the trail
the rocket stick leaves behind is psychical, or that the flower which
comes in a continuity of process from a seed is mental.


Contemporary realists have so frequently and clearly expounded the
physical explanation of such cases as have been cited that one is at a
loss as to why idealists go on repeating the cases without even
alluding to the realistic explanation. One is moved to wonder whether
this neglect is just one of those circumstances which persistently dog
philosophical discussions, or whether something in the realistic
position gives ground (from at least an _ad hominem_ point of view)
for the neglect. There is a reason for adopting the latter
alternative. Many realists, in offering the type of explanation
adduced above, have treated the cases of seen light, doubled imagery,
as perception in a way that ascribes to perception an inherent
cognitive status. They have treated the perceptions as _cases of
knowledge_, instead of as simply natural events having, in themselves
(apart from a _use_ that may be made of them), no more knowledge
status or worth than, say, a shower or a fever. What I intend to show
is that if "perceptions" are regarded as cases of knowledge, the gate
is opened to the idealistic interpretation. The physical explanation
holds of them as long as they are regarded simply as natural events--a
doctrine I shall call naïve realism; it does not hold of them
considered as cases of knowledge--the view I call presentative

The idealists attribute to the realists the doctrine that "the
perceived object is the real object." Please note the wording; it
assumes that there is _the_ real object, something which stands in a
contrasting relation with objects not real or else less real. Since it
is easily demonstrable that there is a numerical duplicity between the
astronomical star and its effect of visible light, between the single
finger and the doubled images, the latter evidently, when the former
is dubbed "_the_" real object, stands in disparaging contrast to its
reality. _If_ it is a case of knowledge, the knowledge refers to the
star; and yet not the star, but something more or less unreal (that
is, if the star be "the" real object), is known.

Consider how simply the matter stands in what I have called naïve
realism. The astronomical star is _a_ real object, but not "the" real
object; the visible light is another real object, found, when
knowledge supervenes, to be an occurrence standing in a process
continuous with the star. Since the seen light is an event within a
continuous process, there is no point of view from which its
"reality" contrasts with that of the star.

But suppose that the realist accepts the traditionary psychology
according to which every event in the way of a perception is also a
case of knowing something. Is the way out now so simple? In the case
of the doubled fingers or the seen light, the thing known in
perception contrasts with the physical source and cause of the
knowledge. There _is_ a numerical duplicity. Moreover the thing known
by perception is by this hypothesis in relation to a knower, while the
physical cause is not. Is not the most plausible account of the
difference between the physical cause of the perceptive knowledge and
what the latter presents precisely this latter difference--namely,
presentation to a knower? If perception is a case of knowing, it must
be a case of knowing the star; but since the "real" star is not known
in the perception, the knowledge relation must somehow have changed
the "object" into a "content." Thus when the realist conceives the
perceptual occurrence as an intrinsic case of knowledge or of
presentation to a mind or knower, he lets the nose of the idealist
camel into the tent. He has then no great cause for surprise when the
camel comes in--and devours the tent.

Perhaps it will seem as if in this last paragraph I had gone back on
what I said earlier regarding the physical explanation of the
difference between the visible light and the astronomical star. On
the contrary, my point is that this explanation, though wholly
adequate as long as we conceive the perception to be itself simply a
natural event, is not at all available when we conceive it to be an
attempt at knowing its cause. In the former case, we are dealing with
a relation between natural events. In the latter case, we are dealing
with the difference between an object as a cause of knowledge and an
object as known, and hence in relation to mind. By the "method of
difference" the sole explanation of the difference between the two
objects is then the absence or presence of relation to a knower.

In the case of the seen light,[60] reference to the velocity of light
is quite adequate to account for its time and space differences from
the star. But viewed as a case of what is known (on the supposition
that perception is knowing), reference to it only increases the
contrast between the real object and the object known in perception.
For, being just as much a part of the object that causes the
perception as is the star itself, it (the velocity of light) _ought_
logically to be part of what is known in the perception, while it is
not. Since the velocity of light is a constituent element in the
star, it should be known in the perception; since it is not so known,
reference to it only increases the discrepancy between the object of
the perception--the seen light--and the real, astronomical star. The
same is true of any physical condition that might be referred to: _The
very things that, from the standpoint of perception as a natural
event, are conditions that account for its happening are, from the
standpoint of perception as a case of knowledge, part of the object
which, if knowledge is to be valid, ought to be known, but is not._

In this fact we have, perhaps, the ground of the idealist's disregard
of the oft-proffered physical explanation of the difference between
the perceptual event and _the_ (so-called) real object. And it is
quite possible that some realists who read these lines will feel that
in my last paragraphs I have been making a covert argument for
idealism. Not so, I repeat; they are an argument for a truly naïve
realism. The presentative realist, in his appeal to "common-sense" and
the "plain man," first sophisticates the umpire and then appeals. He
stops a good way short of a genuine naïveté. The plain man, for a
surety, does not regard noises heard, lights seen, etc., as mental
existences; but neither does he regard them as things _known_. That
they are just things is good enough for him. That they are in relation
to mind, or in relation to mind as their "knower," no more occurs to
him than that they are mental. By this I mean much more than that the
formulae of epistemology are foreign to him; I mean that his attitude
to these things _as_ things involves their _not_ being in relation to
him as a mind or a knower. He is in the attitude of a liker or hater,
a doer or an appreciator. When he takes the attitude of a knower he
begins to inquire. Once depart from thorough naïveté, and substitute
for it the psychological theory that perception is a cognitive
presentation to a mind of a causal object, and the first step is taken
on the road which ends in an idealistic system.


For simplicity's sake, I have written as if my main problem were to
show how, in the face of a supposed difficulty, a strictly realistic
theory of the perceptual event may be maintained. But my interest is
primarily in the facts, and in the theory only because of the facts it
formulates. The significance of the facts of the case may, perhaps, be
indicated by a consideration which has thus far been ignored. In
regarding a perception as a case of knowledge, the presentative
realist does more than shove into it a relation to mind which then,
naturally and inevitably, becomes the explanation of any differences
that exist between its subject-matter and some causal object with
which it contrasts. In many cases--very important cases, too, in the
physical sciences--the contrasting "real object" becomes known by a
logical process, by inference--as the contemporary position of the
star is determined by calculations from data, not by perception. This,
then, is the situation of the presentative realist: If perception is
knowledge of its cause, it stands in unfavorable contrast with another
indirect mode of knowledge; _its_ object is less valid than the object
of inference. I do not adduce these considerations as showing that the
case is hopeless for the presentative realist;[61] I am willing to
concede he can find a satisfactory way out. But the difficulty exists;
and in existing it calls emphatic attention to a case which is
certainly and indisputably a case of knowledge--namely, propositions
arrived at through inference, judgments as logical assertions.

With relation to the unquestionable case of knowledge, the logical or
inferential case, perceptions occupy a unique status, one which
readily accounts for their being regarded as cases of knowledge,
although in themselves they are natural events. (1) They are the sole
ultimate data, the sole media, of inference to all natural objects and
processes. While we do not, in any intelligible or verifiable sense,
know _them_, we know all things that we do know _with_ or _by_ them.
They furnish the only ultimate evidence of the existence and nature
of the objects which we infer, and they are the sole ultimate checks
and tests of the inferences. The visible light is a necessary part of
the evidence on the basis of which we infer the existence, place, and
structure of the astronomical star, and some other perception is the
verifying check on the value of the inference. Because of this
characteristic use of perceptions, the perceptions themselves acquire,
by "second intention," a knowledge status. They _become_ objects of
minute, accurate, and experimental scrutiny. Since the body of
propositions that forms natural science hangs upon them, _for
scientific purposes_ their nature _as_ evidence, _as_ signs, entirely
overshadows their natural status, that of being simply natural events.
The scientific man, as scientific, cares for perceptions not in
themselves, but as they throw light upon the nature of some object
reached by evidence. And since every such inference tries to terminate
in a further perception (as its test of validity), the value of
inferential knowing depends on perception. (2) Independently of
science, daily life uses perceptions as signs of other perceptions.
When a perception of a certain kind frequently recurs and is
constantly used as evidence of some other impending perceptual event,
the function of habit (a natural function, be it noted, not a
psychical or epistemological function) often brings it about that the
perception loses its original quality in acquiring a sign-value.
Language is, of course, the typical case. Noises, in themselves mere
natural events, through habitual use as signs of other natural events
become integrated with what they mean. What they stand for is
telescoped, as it were, into what they are. This happens also with
other natural events, colors, tastes, etc. Thus, _for practical
purposes_, many perceptual events are cases of knowledge; that is,
they have been _used_ as such so often that the habit of so using them
is established or automatic.

In this brief reference to facts that are perfectly familiar, I have
tried to suggest three points of crucial importance for a naïve
realism: first, that inferential or evidential knowledge (that
involving logical relation) is in the field as an obvious and
undisputed case of knowledge; second, that this function, although
embodying the logical relation, is itself a natural and specifically
detectable process among natural things--it is not a non-natural or
epistemological relation; third, that the _use_, practical and
scientific, of perceptual events in the evidential or inferential
function is such as to make them _become_ objects of inquiry and
limits of knowledge, and to such a degree that this acquired
characteristic quite overshadows, in many cases, their primary nature.

If we add to what has been said the fact that, like every natural
function, the inferential function turns out better in some cases and
worse in others, we get a naturalistic or naïvely realistic conception
of the "_problem_ of knowledge": Control of the conditions of
inference--the only type of knowledge detectable in direct
existence--so as to guide it toward better conclusions.


I do not flatter myself that I will receive much gratitude from
realists for attempting to rescue them from that error of fact which
exposes their doctrine to an idealistic interpretation. The
superstition, growing up in a false physics and physiology and
perpetuated by psychology, that sensations-perceptions are cases of
knowledge, is too ingrained. But--_crede experto_--let them try the
experiment of conceiving perceptions as pure natural events, not as
cases of awareness or apprehension, and they will be surprised to see
how little they miss--save the burden of carrying traditionary
problems. Meantime, while philosophic argument, such as this, will do
little to change the state of belief regarding perceptions, the
development of biology and the refinement of physiology will, in due
season, do the work.

In concluding my article, I ought to refer, in order to guard against
misapprehension, to a reply that the presentative realist might make
to my objection. He might say that while the seen light is a case of
knowledge or presentative awareness, it is not a case of knowledge of
the star, but simply of the seen light, just as it is. In this case
the appeal to the physical explanations of the difference of the seen
light from its objective source is quite legitimate. At first sight,
such a position seems innocent and tenable. Even if innocent, it
would, however, be ungrounded, since there is no evidence of the
existence of a knower, and of its relation to the seen light. But
further consideration will reveal that there is a most fundamental
objection. If the notion of perception as a case of adequate knowledge
of its own object-matter be accepted, the knowledge relation is
absolutely ubiquitous; it is an all-inclusive net. The "ego-centric
predicament" is inevitable. This result of making perception a case of
knowing will now occupy us.


[58] I am indebted to Dr. Bush's article on "Knowledge and
Perception," _Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific
Methods_, Vol. VI, p. 393, and to Professor Woodbridge's article on
"Perception and Epistemology" in the _James Memorial Volume_, as well
as to his paper on "Sensations," read at the 1910 meeting of the
American Philosophical Association. Since my point of departure and
aim are somewhat different, I make this general acknowledgment in lieu
of more specific references.

[59] Plato's use of shadows, of reflections in the water, and other
"images" or "imitations" to prove the presence in nature of non-being
was, considering the state of physical science in his day, a much more
sensible conclusion than the modern use of certain images as proof
that the object in perception is a psychical content. Hobbes expressly
treats all images as physical, as on the same plane as reflections in
the water and echoes; the comparison is his.

[60] It is impossible, in this brief treatment, to forestall every
misapprehension and objection. Yet to many the use of the term "seen"
will appear to be an admission that a case of knowledge is involved.
But is smelling a case of knowledge? Or (if the superstition persists
as to smell) is gnawing or poking a case of knowledge? My point, of
course, is that "seen" involves a relation to organic activity, not to
a knower, or mind.

[61] This is the phase of the matter, of course, which the
rationalistic or objective realist, the realist of the type of T. H.
Green, emphasizes. Put in terms of systems, the difficulty is that in
escaping the subjectivism latent in treating perception as a case of
knowledge, the realist runs into the waiting arms of the objective



I have pointed out that if perception be treated as a case of
knowledge, knowledge of every form and kind must be treated as a case
of a presentation to a knower. The alleged discipline of epistemology
is then inevitable. In common usage, the term "knowledge" tends to be
employed eulogistically; its meaning approaches the connotation of the
term "science." More loosely, it is used, of course, to designate all
beliefs and propositions that are held with assurance, especially with
the implication that the assurance is reasonable, or grounded. In its
practical sense, it is used as the equivalent of "knowing _how_," of
skill or ability involving such acquaintance with things and persons
as enables one to anticipate how they behave under certain conditions
and to take steps accordingly. Such usages of the term are all
differential; they all involve definite contrasts--with ungrounded
conviction, or with doubt and mere guesswork, or with the inexpertness
that accompanies lack of familiarity. In its epistemological use, the
term "knowledge" has a blanket value which is absolutely unknown in
common life. It covers any and every "presentation" of any and every
thing to a knower, to an "awarer," if I may coin a word for the sake
of avoiding some of the pitfalls of the term "consciousness." And, I
repeat, this indiscriminate use of the term "knowledge," so foreign to
science and daily life, is absolutely unavoidable if perception be
regarded as, in itself, a mode of knowledge. And then--and only
then--the problem of "the possibility, nature, and extent of knowledge
_in general_" is also inevitable. I hope I shall not be regarded as
offensively pragmatic if I suggest that this undesirable consequence
is a good reason for not accepting the premise from which it follows,
unless that premise be absolutely forced upon us.

At all events, upon the supposition of the ubiquity of the knowledge
relation in respect to a self, presentative realism is compelled to
accept the genuineness of the epistemological problem, and thus to
convert itself into an epistemological realism, getting one more step
away from both naïve and naturalistic realism. The problem is
especially acute for a presentative realism because idealism has made
precisely this ubiquity of relationship its axiom, its short-cut. One
sample is as good as a thousand. Says Bain: "There is no possible
knowledge of a world except in relation to our minds. Knowledge means
a state of mind; the notion of material things is a mental fact. We
are incapable even of discussing the existence of an independent
material world; the very act is a contradiction. We can speak only of
a world presented to our own minds."

On the supposition of the ubiquity of the relation, realism and
idealism exhaust the alternatives; if the ubiquity of the relation is
a myth, both doctrines are unreal, because there is no problem of
which they are the solution. My first step in indicating the unreality
of both "solutions" is formal. I shall try to show that _if_ the
knowledge relation of things to a self is the exhaustive and inclusive
relation, there is no intelligible point at issue between idealism and
realism; the differences between them are either verbal or else due to
a failure on the part of one or the other to stick to their _common_


To my mind, Professor Perry rendered philosophic discussion a real
service when he coined the phrase "ego-centric predicament." The
phrase designated something which, whether or no it be real in itself,
is very real in current discussion, and designating it rendered it
more accessible to examination. In terming the alleged uniform
complicity of a knower a predicament, it is intended, I take it, to
suggest, among other things, that we have here a difficulty with which
all schools of thought alike must reckon, so that it is a difficulty
that cannot be used as an argument in behalf of one school and against
another. If the relation be ubiquitous, it affects alike every view,
every theory, every object experienced; it is no respecter of persons,
no respecter of doctrines. Since it cannot make any difference to any
particular object, to any particular logical assertion, or to any
particular theory, it does not support an idealistic as against a
realistic theory. Being a universal common denominator of all
theories, it cancels out of all of them alike. It leaves the issue one
of _subject-matter_, to be decided on the basis of that
subject-matter, not on the basis of an unescapable attendant
consideration that the subject-matter must be known in order to be
discussed. In short, the moral is quite literally, "Forget it," or
"Cut it out."

But the idealist may be imagined to reply somewhat as follows: "If the
ubiquity were of any kind other than precisely the kind it is, the
advice to disregard it as a mere attendant circumstance of discussion
would be relevant. Thus, for example, we disregard gravitation when we
are considering a particular chemical reaction; there is no ground for
supposing that it affects a reaction in any way that modifies it as a
chemical reaction. And if the 'ego-centric' relation were cited when
the point at issue is something about one group of facts in
distinction from another group, it ought certainly to be canceled from
any statement about them. But since the point at issue is precisely
the most universally defining trait of existence as known, the
invitation deliberately to disregard the most universal trait is
nothing more or less than an invitation to philosophic suicide."

If the idealist I have imagined as making the foregoing retort were up
in recent realistic literature, he might add the following argument
_ad hominem_: "You, my realistic opponent, say that the doctrine of
the external relation of terms expresses a ubiquitous mark of every
genuine proposition or relational complex, and that this ubiquity is a
strong presumption in favor of realism. Why so uneven, so partial, in
your attitude toward ubiquitous relations? Is it perchance that you
were so uneasy at our possession of a ubiquitous relation that gives a
short cut to idealism that you felt you must also have a short cut to

If I terminate the controversy at this point, it is not because I
think the realist is unable to "come back." On the contrary, I stop
here because I believe (for reasons that will come out shortly) that
both realist and idealist, having the same primary assumption, can
come back at each other indefinitely. Consequently, I wish to employ
the existence of this _tu quoque_ controversy to raise the question:
Under what conditions is the relation of knower to known an
intelligible question? And I wish to show that it is _not_
intelligible, if the knowledge relation be ubiquitous and homogeneous.

The controversy back and forth is in fact a warning of each side by
the other not to depart from their _common_ premise. If the idealist
begins to argue (as he constantly does) as if the relation to "mind"
or to "consciousness" made some difference of a specific sort, like
that between error and fact, or between sound perception and
hallucination, he may be reminded that, since this relation is
uniform, it substantiates and nullifies all things alike. And the
realist is quite within the common premise when he points out that
every special fact must be admitted for what it is specifically known
to be; no idealistic doctrine can turn the edge of the fact that
knowledge has evolved historically out of a state in which there was
no mind, or of the fact that knowledge is even now dependent on the
brain, provided that specific evidence shows these to be facts. The
realist, on the other hand, must admit that, after all, the entire
body of known facts, or of science, including such facts as the above,
is held fast and tight in the net of relation to a mind or
consciousness. In specific cases this relation may be ignored, but the
exact ground for such an ignoring is precisely that the relation is
not a specific fact, but a uniform relation of facts. And to call it
an external relation makes no practical difference if it is universal
and uniform. So the idealist might reply.

Imagine a situation like the following: The sole relation an organism
bears to things is that of eater; the sole relation the environment
bears to the organism is that of food, that is, things-to-eat. This
relation, then, is exhaustive. It defines, or identifies, each term in
relation to the other. But this means that there are not, as respects
organism and environment, two terms at all. Eater-of-food and
food-being-eaten are two names for one and the same situation. Could
there be imagined a greater absurdity than to set to work to discuss
the relation _of_ eater _to_ food, _of_ organism _to_ the environment,
or to argue as to whether one modifies the other or not? Given the
premise, the statements in such a discussion could have only a verbal
difference from one another.

Suppose, however, the discussion has somehow got under way. Sides have
been taken; the philosophical world is divided into two great camps,
"foodists" and "eaterists." The eaterists (idealists) contend that no
object exists except in relation to eating; hence that everything is
constituted a thing by its relation to eating. Special sciences exist
indeed which discuss the nature of various sorts of things in relation
to _one another_, and hence in legitimate abstraction from the fact
that they are all foods. But the discussion of their nature _an sich_
depends upon "eatology," which deals primarily with the problem of the
possibility, nature, and extent (or limits) of eating food in general,
and thereby determines what food in general, _überhaupt_, is and

Nay, replies the foodist (realist). Since the eating relation is
uniform, it is negligible. All propositions which have any
intelligible meaning are about objects just as they are, and in the
relations they bear to one another. Foods pass in and out of the
relation to eater with no change in their own traits. Moreover, the
position of the eaterists is self-contradictory. How can a thing be
eaten unless it is, in and of itself, a food? To suppose that a food
is constituted by eating is to presuppose that eating eats eating, and
so on in infinite regress. In short, to be an eater is to be an eater
of food; take away the independent existence of foods, and you deny
the existence and the possibility of an eater.

I respectfully submit that there is no terminus to such a discussion.
For either both sides are saying the same thing in different words, or
else both of them depart from their common premise, and unwittingly
smuggle in some relations between the organism and environment other
than that of food-eater. If to be an eater means that an organism
which is more and other than an eater is doing something
_distinctive_, because contrasting with its other functions, in eating
then, and then only, is there an issue. In this latter case, the thing
which is food may, of course, be _proved_ to be something besides
food, because of some different relation to the organism than that of
eating. But if both stick consistently to their common premise, we get
the following trivial situation. The idealist says: "Every philosophy
purports to be knowledge, knowledge of objects; all knowledge implies
relation to mind; therefore every object with which philosophy deals
is object-in-relation-to-mind." The realist says: "To be a mind is to
be a knower; to be a knower is to be a knower-of-objects. Without the
objects to be known, mind, the knower, is and means nothing."

The difficulties attending the discussion of epistemology are in no
way attendant upon the special subject-matter of "epistemology." They
are found wherever any reciprocal relation is taken to define,
exclusively and exhaustively, all the connections between any pair of
things. If there are two things that stand solely as buyer and seller
to each other, or as husband and wife, then that relation is "unique,"
and undefinable; to discuss the relation _of_ the relation _to_ the
terms of which it is the relation, is an obvious absurdity; to assert
that the relation does _not_ modify the "seller," the "wife," or the
"object known," is to discuss the relation _of_ the relation just as
much as to assert the opposite. The only reason, I think, why anyone
has ever supposed the case of knower-known to differ from any case of
an alleged exhaustive and exclusive correlation is that while the
knower is only one--just knower--the objects known are obviously many,
and sustain many relations to one another which vary independently of
their relation to the knower. This is the undoubted fact at the bottom
of epistemological realism. But the idealist is entitled to reply that
the objects in their variable relations to one another nevertheless
fall within a relation to a knower, _as long as_ that relation is
regarded by both as exhaustive or ubiquitous.


Nevertheless, I do not conceive that the realistic assertion and the
idealistic assertion in this dilemma stand on the same level, or have
the same value. The fact that objects vary in relation to one another
independently of their relation to the "knower" _is_ a fact, and a
fact recognized by all schools. The idealistic assertion rests simply
upon the presupposition of the ubiquity of the knowledge relation, and
consequently has only an _ad hominem_ force, that is a force as
against epistemological realists--against those who admit that the
sole and exhaustive relation of the "self" or "ego" to objects is that
of knower of them.[62] The relation of buyer and seller is a
discussable relation; for buyer does not exhaust one party and seller
does not exhaust the other. Each is a man or a woman, a consumer or a
producer or a middleman, a green-grocer or a dry-goods merchant, a
taxpayer or a voter, and so on indefinitely. Nor is it true that such
additional relations are borne merely to _other_ things; the
buyer-sellers are more than and other than buyer-seller to _each
other_. They may be fellow-clubmen, belong to opposite political
parties, dislike each other's looks, and be second cousins. Hence the
buyer-seller relation stands in intelligent connection and contrast
with other relations, so that it can be discriminated, defined,
analyzed. Moreover, there are specific differences _in_ the
buying-selling relation. Because it is not ubiquitous, it is not
homogeneous. If wealthy and a householder, the one who buys is a
different buyer--i.e., buys differently--than if poor and a boarder.
Consequently, the seller sells differently, has more or less goods
left to sell, more or less income to expend on other things, and so on
indefinitely. Moreover, in order to be a buyer the man has to _have
been_ other things; i.e., he is not a buyer _per se_, but _becomes_ a
buyer because he is an eater, wears clothes, is married, etc.

It is also quite clear that the organism is something else than an
eater, or something in relation to food alone. I will not again call
the roll of perfectly familiar facts; I will lessen my appeal to the
reader's patience by confining my reiteration to one point. Even in
relation to the things that are food, the organism is something more
than their eater. He is their acquirer, their pursuer, their
cultivator, their beholder, taster, etc.; he _becomes_ their eater
_only_ because he is so many other things, and his becoming an eater
is a natural episode in the natural unfolding of these other things.

Precisely the same sort of assertions may be made about the
knower-known relation. If the one who is knower is something else and
more than the knower of objects, and if objects are, _in relation to
the one who knows them_, something else and other than things in a
knowledge relation, there is somewhat to define and discuss; otherwise
we are raising, as we have already seen, the quite foolish question as
to what is the relation of a relation to itself, or the equally
foolish question of whether being a thing modifies the thing that it
is. And, moreover, epistemological realism and idealism both say the
same thing: realism that a thing does not modify itself, idealism
that, since the thing is what it is, it stands in the relation that it
does stand in.

There are many facts which, prima facie, support the claim that
knowing is a connection of things which depends upon other and more
primary connections between a self and things; a connection which
grows out of these more fundamental connections and which operates in
their interests at specifiable crises. I will not repeat what is so
generally admitted and so little taken into account, that knowing is,
biologically, a differentiation of organic behavior, but will cite
some facts that are even more obvious and even more neglected.

1. If we take a case of perception, we find upon analysis that, so far
as a self or organism is concerned in it at all, the self is, so to
say, inside of it rather than outside of it. It would be much more
correct to say that a self is contained in a perception than that a
perception is presented to a self. That is to say, the organism is
involved in the occurrence of the perception in the same sort of way
that hydrogen is involved in the happening--producing--of water. We
might about as well talk of the production of a specimen of water as a
presentation of water to hydrogen as talk in the way we are only too
accustomed to talk about perceptions and the organism. When we
consider a perception as a case of "apperception," the same thing
holds good. Habits enter into the _constitution_ of the situation;
they are in and of it, not, so far as it is concerned, something
outside of it. Here, if you please, is a unique relation of self and
things, but it is unique not in being wholly incomparable to all
natural relations among events, but in the sense of being distinctive
or just the relation that it is.

2. Taking the many cases where the self may be said, in an
intelligible sense, to lie _outside_ a thing and hence to have
dealings with it, we find that they are extensively and primarily
cases where the self is agent-patient, doer, sufferer, and enjoyer.
This means, of course, that things, the things that later come to be
known, are primarily not objects of awareness, but causes of weal and
woe, things to get and things to avoid, means and obstacles, tools and
results. To a naïve spectator, the ordinary assumption that a thing is
"in" experience only when it is an object of awareness (or even only
when a perception), is nothing less than extraordinary. The self
experiences whatever it undergoes, and there is no fact about life
more assured or more tragic than that what we are aware of is
determined by things that we are undergoing but of which we are not
conscious and which we cannot be conscious of under the particular

3. So far as the question of the relation of the self to known objects
is concerned, knowing is but one special case of the agent-patient, of
the behaver-enjoyer-sufferer situation. It is, however, the case
constantly increasing in relative importance. The connections of the
self with things by way of weal or woe are progressively found to
depend upon the connections established in knowing things; on the
other hand, the progress, the advance, of science is found to depend
more and more upon the courage and patience of the agent in making the
widening and buttressing of knowledge a business.

It is impossible to overstate the significance, the reality, of the
relation of self as knower to things when it is thought of as a
_moral_ relation, a deliberate and responsible undertaking of a self.
Ultimately the modern insistence upon the self in reference to
knowledge (in contrast with the classic Greek view) will be found to
reside precisely here.

My purpose in citing the foregoing facts is not to prove a positive
point, viz., that there are many relations of self and things, of
which knowing is but one differentiated case. It concerns something
less obvious: viz., showing what is meant by saying that the problems
at issue concern matters of fact, and are not matters to be decided by
assumption, definition, and deduction. I mean also to suggest what
kind of matters of fact would naturally be adduced as evidential in
such a discussion. Negatively put, my point is that the whole question
of the relation of knower to known is radically misconceived in what
passes as epistemology, because of an underlying unexamined
assumption, an assumption which, moreover, when examined, makes the
controversy verbal or absurd. Positively put, my point is that since,
prima facie, plenty of connections other than the knower-known one
exist between self and things, there is a context in which the
"problem" of their relation concerns matters of fact capable of
empirical determination by matter-of-fact inquiry. The point about a
difference being made (or rather making) in things when known is
precisely of this sort.


That question is not, _save upon the assumption of the ubiquity of the
knowledge relation_, the absurd question of whether knowledge makes
any difference to things already known or to things _as_
knowledge-objects, _as_ facts or truths. Until the epistemological
realists have seriously considered the main propositions of the
pragmatic realists, viz., that knowing is something that happens to
things in the natural course of their career, not the sudden
introduction of a "unique" non-natural type of relation--that to a
mind or consciousness--they are hardly in a position to discuss the
second and derived pragmatic proposition that, in this natural
continuity, things in becoming known undergo a specific and detectable
qualitative change.

I had occasion earlier to remark that if one identifies "knowledge"
with situations involving the function of inference, the _problem_ of
knowledge means the art of guiding this function most effectively.
That statement holds when we take knowledge as a relation of the
things _in_ the knowledge situation. If we are once convinced of the
artificiality of the notion that the knowledge relation is ubiquitous,
there will be an existential problem as to the self and knowledge; but
it will be a radically different problem from that discussed in
epistemology. The relation of knowing to existence will be recognized
to form the subject-matter of no problem, because involving an
ungrounded and even absurd preconception. But the problem of the
relation of an existence in the way of knowing to other existences--or
events--with which it forms a continuous process will then be seen to
be a natural problem to be attacked by natural methods.


[62] Professor Perry says (_The New Realism_, p. 115): "Professor
Dewey is mistaken in supposing that realism assumes 'the _ubiquity of
the knowledge-relation_.' Realism does not argue from the 'ego-centric
predicament,' i.e., from the bare presence of the knowledge-relation
in all cases of knowledge." If the text has not made my point clear,
it is probably too much to expect that a footnote will do so. But I
have not accused the realist of arguing from the ego-centric
predicament. I have said that _if_ any realist holds that the sole and
exclusive relation of the one who is knower to things is that of being
their knower, then the realist cannot _escape_ the impact of the
predicament. But if the one who knows things also stands in other
connections with them, then it is possible to make an intelligible
contrast between things as known and things as loved or hated or
appreciated, or seen or heard or whatever. The argument, it should be
noted, stands in connection with that of the last section as to
whether hearing a sound and seeing a color are of themselves (apart
from the use made of them in inference) cases of knowledge. It is
significant that Perry holds (_New Realism_, p. 150) that "sensing" is
_per se_ a case of knowing. Hence it must be in relation to a knower;
it must fall within the "predicament," for "it makes the mind aware of
a characteristic of the environment." That it is _used_ (or may be
used) to make us aware of some characteristic of the environment, I of
course hold. To say that it _is_ an awareness by the mind of a
characteristic of the environment is at once to involve a philosopher
immediately in the discussion of whether red qualities, or only
certain vibrations, are "really" characteristics of the environment.
Then, when the authority of physics is invoked in behalf of the latter
proposition, the epistemologist (however realistic in his intention)
is forced to consider color as a misapprehension of the environment, a
case of error or illusion, while the idealist triumphantly flourishes
it as a case of the transformative or constitutive efficacy of "mind"
in knowing. But if the color is simply a natural event, and if "mind"
does not enter except when color is made the basis of inference to
some characteristic of the environment, then there is no predicament;
and there is no problem of error save as a false inference is made.
Moreover, since errors in inference are an undoubted fact, the
principle that entities are not to be multiplied beyond need gives a
prima facie superiority to any theory which connects all error with
inference till adequate evidence to the contrary is produced.



Of the two parts of this paper the first is a study in formal analysis.
It attempts to show that there is no problem, logically speaking, of
the existence of an external world. Its point is to show that the very
attempt to state the problem involves a self-contradiction: that the
terms cannot be stated so as to generate a problem without assuming
what is professedly brought into question. The second part is a summary
endeavor to state the actual question which has given rise to the
unreal problem and the conditions which have led to its being
misconstrued. So far as subject-matter is concerned, it supplements the
first part; but the argument of the first part in no way depends upon
anything said in the second. The latter may be false and its falsity
have no implications for the first.


There are many ways of stating the problem of the existence of an
external world. I shall make that of Mr. Bertrand Russell the basis of
my examinations, as it is set forth in his recent book _Our Knowledge
of the External World as a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy_.
I do this both because his statement is one recently made in a book
of commanding importance, and because it seems to me to be a more
careful statement than most of those in vogue. If my point can be made
out for his statement, it will apply, a fortiori, to other statements.
Even if there be those to whom this does not seem to be the case, it
will be admitted that my analysis must begin somewhere. I cannot take
the space to repeat the analysis in application to differing modes of
statement with a view to showing that the method employed will yield
like results in all cases. But I take the liberty of throwing the
burden upon the reader and asking him to show cause why it does not so

After rejecting certain familiar formulations of the question because
they employ the not easily definable notions of the self and
independence, Mr. Russell makes the following formulation: Can we
"know that objects of sense ... exist at times when we are not
perceiving them?" (_op. cit._, p. 75). Or, in another mode of
statement: "Can the existence of anything other than our own[63] hard
data be inferred from the existence of those data?" (pp. 73 and 83).

I shall try to show that identification of the "data of sense" as the
sort of term which will generate the problem involves an affirmative
answer to the question--that it must have been answered in the
affirmative before the question can be asked. And this, I take it, is
to say that it is not a question at all. A point of departure may be
found in the following passage: "I think it must be admitted as
probable that the immediate objects of sense depend for their
existence upon physiological conditions in ourselves, and that, for
example, the colored surfaces which we see cease to exist when we shut
our eyes" (p. 64). I have not quoted the passage for the sake of
gaining an easy victory by pointing out that this statement involves
the existence of physiological conditions. For Mr. Russell himself
affirms that fact. As he points out, such arguments assume precisely
the "common sense world of stable objects" professedly put in doubt
(p. 85). My purpose is to ask what justification there is for calling
immediate data "objects of sense." Statements of this type always call
color visual, sound auditory, and so on. If it were merely a matter of
making certain admissions for the sake of being able to play a certain
game, there would be no objection. But if we are concerned with a
matter of serious analysis, one is bound to ask, Whence come these
adjectives? That color is visual in the sense of being an object of
vision is certainly admitted in the common-sense world, but this is
the world we have left. That color is visual is a proposition about
color and it is a proposition which color itself does not utter.
Visible or visual color is already a "synthetic" proposition, not a
term nor an analysis of a single term. That color is seen, or is
visible, I do not call in question; but I insist that fact already
assumes an answer to the question which Mr. Russell has put. It
presupposes existence beyond the color itself. To call the color a
"sensory" object involves another assumption of the same kind but even
more complex--involving, that is, even more existence beyond the

I see no reply to this statement except to urge that the terms
"visual" and "sensory" as applied to the object are pieces of verbal
supererogation having no force in the statement. This supposititious
answer brings the matter to a focus. Is it possible to institute even
a preliminary disparaging contrast between immediate objects and a
world external to them unless the term "sensory" has a definite effect
upon the meaning assigned to immediate data or objects? Before taking
up this question I shall, however, call attention to another
implication of the passage quoted. It appears to be implied that
existence of color and "being seen" are equivalent terms. At all
events, in similar arguments the identification is frequently made.
But by description all that is required for the existence of color is
certain physiological conditions. They may be present and color exist
and yet not be seen. Things constantly act upon the optical apparatus
in a way which fulfils the conditions of the existence of color
without color being seen. This statement does not involve any dubious
psychology about an act of attention. I only mean that the argument
implies over and above the existence of color something called seeing
or perceiving--noting is perhaps a convenient neutral term. And this
clearly involves an assumption of something beyond the existence of
the datum--and this datum is by definition an external world. Without
this assumption the term "immediate" could not be introduced. Is the
_object_ immediate or is it the object of an immediate noting? If the
latter, then the hard datum already stands in connection with
something beyond itself.

And this brings us to a further point. The sense objects are
repeatedly spoken of as "known." For example: "It is obvious that
since the senses give knowledge of the latter kind [believed on their
own account, without the support of any outside evidence] the
immediate facts perceived by sight or touch or hearing do not need to
be proved by argument but are completely self-evident" (p. 68). Again,
they are spoken of as "facts of sense"[64] (p. 70), and as facts going
along, for knowledge, with the laws of logic (p. 72). I do not know
what belief or knowledge means here: nor do I understand what is meant
by a _fact_ being evidence for itself.[65] But obviously Mr. Russell
knows, and knows their application to the sense object. And here is a
further assumption of what, by definition, is a world external to the
datum. Again, we have assumed in getting a question stated just what
is professedly called into question. And the assumption is not made
the less simple in that Mr. Russell has defined belief as a case of a
triadic relation, and said that without the recognition of the
three-term relation the difference between perception and belief is
inexplicable (p. 50).

We come to the question passed over. Can such terms as "visual,"
"sensory," be neglected without modifying the force of the
question--that is, without affecting the implications which give it
the force of a problem? Can we "know that objects of sense, or very
similar objects, exist at times when we are not perceiving them?
Secondly, if this cannot be known, can we know that other objects,
inferable from objects of sense but not necessarily resembling them,
exist either when we are perceiving the objects of sense or at any
other time" (p. 75)?

I think a little reflection will make it clear that without the
limitation of the term "perceiving" by the term "sense" no _problem_
as to existence _at other times_ can possibly arise. For neither
(_a_) reference to time nor (_b_) limitation to a particular time is
given either in the fact of existence of color or of perceiving color.
Mr. Russell, for example, makes allusion to "a patch of color which is
momentarily seen" (p. 76). This is the sort of thing that may pass
without challenge in the common-sense world, but hardly in an analysis
which professes to call that world in question. Mr. Russell makes the
allusion in connection with discriminating between sensation as
signifying "the mental event of our being aware" and the sensation as
object of which we are aware--the sense object. He can hardly be
guilty, then, in the immediate context, of proceeding to identify the
momentariness of the event with the momentariness of the object. There
must be some grounds for assuming the temporal quality of the
object--and that "immediateness" belongs to it in any other way than
as an object of immediate seeing. What are these grounds?

How is it, moreover, that even the act of being aware is describable
as "momentary"? I know of no way of so identifying it except by
discovering that it is delimited in a time continuum. And if this be
the case, it is surely superfluous to bother about _inference_ to
"other times." They are assumed in stating the question--which thus
turns out again to be no question. It may be only a trivial matter
that Mr. Russell speaks of "that patch of color which is momentarily
seen when we _look at the table_" (p. 76, italics mine). I would not
attach undue importance to such phrases. But the frequency with which
they present themselves in discussions of this type suggests the
question whether as matter of fact "the patch of color" is not
determined by reference to an object--the table--and not vice versa.
As we shall see later, there is good ground for thinking that Mr.
Russell is really engaged, not in bringing into question the existence
of an object beyond the datum, but in _re_defining the nature of an
object, and that the reference to the patch of color as something more
primitive than the table is really relevant to this reconstruction of
traditional metaphysics. In other words, it is relevant to defining an
object as a constant correlation of variations in qualities, instead
of defining it as a substance in which attributes inhere--or a subject
of predicates.

_a_) If anything is an eternal essence, it is surely such a thing as
color taken by itself, as by definition it must be taken in the
statement of the question by Mr. Russell. Anything more simple,
timeless, and absolute than a red can hardly be thought of. One might
question the eternal character of the received statement of, say, the
law of gravitation on the ground that it is so complex that it may
depend upon conditions not yet discovered and the discovery of which
would involve an alteration in the statement. If 2 plus 2 equal 4 be
taken as an isolated statement, it might be conceived to depend upon
hidden conditions and to be alterable with them. But by conception we
are dealing in the case of the colored surface with an ultimate,
simple datum. It can have no implications beyond itself, no concealed
dependencies. How then can its existence, even if its perception be
but momentary, raise a question of "other times" at all?

_b_) Suppose a perceived blue surface to be replaced by a perceived
red surface--and it will be conceded that the change, or replacement,
is also perceived. There is still no ground for a belief in the
temporally limited duration of either the red or the blue surface.
Anything that leads to this conclusion would lead to the conclusion
that the number two ceases when we turn to think of an atom. There is
no way then of escaping the conclusion that the adjective "sense" in
the term "sense object" is not taken innocently. It is taken as
qualifying (for the purposes of statement of the problem) the nature
of the object. Aside from reference to the momentariness of the
_mental_ event--a reference which is expressly ruled out--there is no
way of introducing delimited temporal existence into the object save
by reference to one and the same object which is perceived at
different times to have different qualities. If the same
object--however object be defined--is perceived to be of one color at
one time and of another color at another time, then as a matter of
course the color-datum of either the earlier or later time is
identified as of transitory duration. But equally, of course, there is
no question of _inference_ to "other times." Other times have already
been used to describe, define, and delimit _this_ (brief) time. A
moderate amount of unbiased reflection will, I am confident, convince
anyone that apart from a reference to the same existence perduring
through different times while changing in _some_ respect, no temporal
delimitation of the existence of such a thing as sound or color can be
made. Even Plato never doubted the eternal nature of red; he only
argued from the fact that a _thing_ is red at one time and blue at
another to the unstable, and hence phenomenal, character of the
_thing_. Or, put in a different way, we can know that a red is a
momentary or transitory existence only if we know of other things
which determine its beginning and cessation.

Mr. Russell gives a specific illustration of what he takes to be the
correct way of stating the question in an account of what, in the
common-sense universe of discourse, would be termed walking around a
table. If we exclude considerations to which we have (apart from
assuming just the things which are doubtful) no right, the datum turns
out to be something to be stated as follows: "What is really known[66]
is a correlation of muscular and other bodily sensations with changes
in visual sensations" (p. 77). By "sensations" must be meant sensible
objects, not mental events. This statement repeats the point already
dealt with: "muscular," "visual," and "other bodily" are all terms
which are indispensable and which also assume the very thing
professedly brought into question: the external world as that was
defined. "Really known" assumes both noting and belief, with whatever
complex implications they may involve--implications which, for all
that appears to the contrary, may be indefinitely complex, and which,
by Mr. Russell's own statement, involve relationship to at least two
other terms besides the datum. But in addition there appears the new
term "correlation." I cannot avoid the conclusion that this term
involves an _explicit_ acknowledgment of the external world.

Note, in the first place, that the correlation in question is not
simple: it is threefold, being a correlation of correlations. The
"changes in visual sensations" (objects) must be correlated in a
temporal continuum; the "muscular and other bodily sensations"
(objects) must also constitute a connected series. One set of changes
belongs to the serial class "visual"; the other set to the serial
class "muscular." And these two classes sustain a point-to-point
correspondence to each other--they are correlated.

I am not raising the old question of how such complex correlations can
be said to be either "given" or "known" in sense, though it is worth a
passing notice that it was on account of this sort of phenomenon that
Kant postulated his threefold intellectual synthesis of apprehension,
reproduction, and recognition in conception; and that it is upon the
basis of necessity for such correlations that the rationalists have
always criticized sensationalist empiricism. Personally I agree that
temporal and spatial qualities are quite as much given in experience
as are particulars--in fact, as I have been trying to show,
particulars can be identified _as_ particulars only in a relational
complex. My point is rather (i) that any such given is already
precisely what is meant by the "world"; and (ii) that such a highly
specified correlation as Mr. Russell here sets forth is in no case a
psychological, or historical, primitive, but is a _logical_ primitive
arrived at by an analysis of an empirical complex.

(i) The statement involves the assumption of two temporal "spreads"
which, moreover, are determinately specified as to their constituent
elements and as to their order. And these sustain to each other a
correlation, element to element. The elements, moreover, are all
specifically qualitative and some of them, at least, are spatial. How
this differs from the external world of common-sense I am totally
unable to see. It may not be a very big external world, but having
begged a small external world, I do not see why one should be too
squeamish about extending it over the edges. The reply, I suppose, is
that this complex defined and ordered object is by conception the
object of a single perception, so that the question remains as to the
possibility of inferring from it to something beyond.[67] But the
reply only throws us back upon the point previously made. A particular
or single event of perceptual awareness can be _determined_ as to its
ingredients and structure only in a continuum of objects. That is, the
series of changes in color and shape can be determined as just such and
such an ordered series of specific elements, with a determinate
beginning and end, only in respect to a temporal continuum of things
anteceding and succeeding. Moreover, the determination involves an
analysis which disentangles qualities and shapes from contemporaneously
given objects which are irrelevant. In a word, Mr. Russell's object
already extends beyond itself; it already belongs to a larger world.

(ii) A sensible object which can be described as a correlation of an
ordered series of shapes and colors with an ordered series of muscular
and other bodily objects presents a definition of an object, not a
psychological datum. What is stated is the definition of an object, of
any object in the world. Barring ambiguities[68] in the terms
"muscular" and "bodily," it seems to be an excellent definition. But
good definition or poor, it states what a datum is _known_ to be as an
object in a known system; viz., definite correlations of specified and
ordered elements. As a definition, it is general. It is not made from
the standpoint of any particular percipient. It says: _If_ there be
any percipient at a specified position in a space continuum, _then_
the object may be perceived as such and such. And this implies that a
percipient at any _other_ position in the space continuum can deduce
from the known system of correlations just what the series of shapes
and colors will be from another position. For, as we have seen, the
correlation of the series of changes of shape assumes a spatial
continuum; hence one perspective projection may be correlated with
that of any position in the continuum.

I have no direct concern with Mr. Russell's solution of his problem.
But if the prior analysis is correct, one may anticipate in advance
that it will consist simply in making explicit the assumptions which
have tacitly been made in stating the problem--subject to the
conditions involved in failure to recognize that they have been made.
And I think an analytic reading of the solution will bear out the
following statement. His various "peculiar," "private" points of view
and their perspectives are nothing but names for the positions and
projectional perspectives of the ordinary space of the public worlds.
Their correlation by likeness is nothing but the explicit recognition
that they are all defined and located, from the start, in one common
spatial continuum. One quotation must suffice. "If two men are sitting
in a room, two somewhat similar worlds are perceived by them; if a
third man enters and sits between them, a third world, intermediate
between the two others, begins to be perceived" (pp. 87-88). Pray what
is this room and what defines the position (standpoint and
perspective) of the two men and the standpoint "intermediate" between
them? If the room and all the positions and perspectives which they
determine are only within, say, Mr. Russell's private world, that
private world is interestingly complex, but it gives only the original
problem over again, not a "solution" of it. It is a long way from
likenesses _within_ a private world to likenesses _between_ private
worlds. And if the worlds are all private, pray who judges their
likeness or unlikeness? This sort of thing makes one conclude that Mr.
Russell's actual procedure is the reverse of his professed one. He
really starts with one room as a spatial continuum within which
different positions and projections are determined, and which are
readily correlated with one another just because they are projections
from positions within one and the same space-room. Having employed
this, he, then, can assign different positions to different
percipients and institute a comparison between what each perceives and
pass upon the extent of the likeness which exists between them.

What is the bearing of this account upon the "empirical datum"? Just
this: The correlation of correlative series of changes which defines
the object of sense perception is in no sense an original historic or
psychologic datum. It signifies the result of an analysis of the usual
crude empirical data, and an analysis which is made possible only by a
very complex knowledge of the world. It marks not a primitive
psychologic datum but an outcome, a limit, of analysis of a vast
amount of empirical objects. The definition of an object as a
correlation of various subcorrelations of changes represents a great
advance--so it seems to me--over the definition of an object as a
number of adjectives stuck into a substantive; but it represents an
improved definition made possible by the advance of scientific
knowledge about the common-sense world. It is a definition not only
wholly independent of the context in which Mr. Russell arrives at it,
but is one which (once more and finally) assumes extensive and
accurate knowledge of just the world professedly called into question.


I have come to the point of transition to the other part of my paper.
A formal analysis is necessarily dialectical in character. As an
empiricist I share in the dissatisfaction which even the most correct
dialectical discussion is likely to arouse when brought to bear on
matters of fact. I do not doubt that readers will feel that some
_fact_ of an important character in Mr. Russell's statement has been
left untouched by the previous analysis--even upon the supposition
that the criticisms are just. Particularly will it be felt, I think,
that psychology affords to his statement of the problem a support of
fact not affected by any logical treatment. For this reason I append a
summary statement as to the facts which are misconstrued by any
statement which makes the existence of the world problematic.

I do not believe a psychologist would go as far as to admit that a
definite correlation of elements as specific and ordered as that of
Mr. Russell's statement is a primitive psychological datum. Many would
doubtless hold that patches of colored extensity, sounds, kinaesthetic
qualities, etc., are psychologically much more primitive than, say, a
table, to say nothing of a group of objects in space or a series of
events in time; they would say, accordingly, that there is a real
problem as to how we infer or construct the latter on the basis of the
former. At the same time I do not believe that they would deny that
their own knowledge of the existence and nature of the ultimate and
irreducible qualities of sense is the product of a long, careful, and
elaborate analysis to which the sciences of physiology, anatomy, and
controlled processes of experimental observation have contributed. The
ordinary method of reconciling these two seemingly inconsistent
positions is to assume that the original sensible data of experience,
as they occurred in infancy, have been overlaid by all kinds of
associations and inferential constructions so that it is now a work of
intellectual art to recover them in their innocent purity.

Now I might urge that as matter of fact the reconstruction of the
experience of infancy is itself an inference from present experience
of an objective world, and hence cannot be employed to make a problem
out of the knowledge of the existence of that world. But such a retort
involves just the dialectic excursus which I am here anxious to avoid.
I am on matter-of-fact ground when I point out that the assumption
that even infancy begins with such highly discriminated particulars as
those enumerated is not only highly dubious but has been challenged by
eminent psychologists. According to Mr. James, for example, the
original datum is large but confused, and specific sensible qualities
represent the result of discriminations. In this case, the elementary
data, instead of being primitive empirical data, are the last terms,
the limits, of the discriminations we have been able to make. That
knowledge grows from a confusedly experienced external world to a
world experienced as ordered and specified would then be the teaching
of psychological science, but at no point would the mind be confronted
with the problem of inferring a world. Into the arguments in behalf of
such a psychology of original experience I shall not go, beyond
pointing out the extreme improbability (in view of what is known about
instincts and about the nervous system) that the starting-point is a
quality corresponding to the functioning of a single sense organ, much
less of a single neuronic unit of a sense organ. If one adds, as a
hypothesis, that even the most rudimentary conscious experience
contains within itself the element of suggestion or expectation, it
will be granted that the object of conscious experience even with an
infant is homogeneous with the world of the adult. One may be
unwilling to concede the hypothesis. But no one can deny that
inference from one thing to another is itself an empirical event, and
that just as soon as such inference occurs, even in the simplest form
of anticipation and prevision, a world exists like in kind to that of
the adult.

I cannot think that it is a trivial coincidence that psychological
analysis of sense perception came into existence along with that
method of experimentally controlled observation which marks the
beginning of modern science. Modern science did not begin with
discovery of any new kind of inference. It began with the recognition
of the need of different data if inference is to proceed safely. It
was contended that starting with the ordinary--or customary--objects
of perception hopelessly compromised in advance the work of inference
and classification. Hence the demand for an experimental resolution of
the common-sense objects in order to get data less ambiguous, more
minute, and more extensive. Increasing knowledge of the structure of
the nervous system fell in with increased knowledge of other objects
to make possible a discrimination of specific qualities in all their
diversity; it brought to light that habits, individual and social
(through influence on the formation of individual habits), were large
factors in determining the accepted or current system of objects. It
was brought to light, in other words, that factors of chance, habit,
and other non-rational factors were greater influences than
intellectual inquiry in determining what men currently believed about
the world. What psychological analysis contributed was, then, not
primitive historic data out of which a world had somehow to be
extracted, but an analysis of the world which had been previously
thought of and believed in, into data making possible better
inferences and beliefs about the world. Analysis of the influences
customarily determining belief and inference was a powerful force in
the movement to improve knowledge of the world.

This statement of matters of fact bears out, it will be observed, the
conclusions of the dialectical analysis. That brought out the fact
that the ultimate and elementary data of sense perception are
identified and described as limiting elements in a complex world. What
is now added is that such an identification of elements marks a
significant addition to the resources of the technique of inquiry
devoted to improving knowledge of the world. When these data are
isolated from their logical status and office, they are inevitably
treated as self-sufficient, and they leave upon our hands the
insoluble, because self-contradictory, problem of deriving from them
the world of common-sense and science. Taken for what they really are,
they are elements detected _in_ the world and serving to guide and
check our inferences about it. They are never self-inclosed
particulars; they are always--even as crudely given--connected with
other things in experience. But analysis gets them in the form where
they are keys to much more significant relations. In short, the
particulars of perception, taken as complete and independent, make
nonsense. Taken as objects discriminated for the purposes of
improving, reorganizing, and testing knowledge of the world they are
invaluable assets. The material fallacy lying behind the formal
fallacy which the first part of this paper noted is the failure to
recognize that what is doubtful is not the existence of the world but
the validity of certain customary yet inferential beliefs about things
in it. It is not the common-sense _world_ which is doubtful, or which
is inferential, but _common-sense_ as a complex of beliefs about
specific things and relations _in_ the world. Hence never in any
actual procedure of inquiry do we throw the existence of the world
into doubt, nor can we do so without self-contradiction. We doubt some
received piece of "knowledge" about some specific thing of that world,
and then set to work, as best we can, to rectify it. The contribution
of psychological science to determining unambiguous data and
eliminating the irrelevant influences of passion and habit which
control the inferences of common-sense is an important aid in the
technique of such rectifications.


[63] I shall pass over the terms "our own" so far as specific
reference is concerned, but the method employed applies equally to
them. Who are the "we," and what does "own" mean, and how is ownership

[64] Contrast the statement: "When I speak of a fact, I do not mean
one of the simple things of the world, I mean that a certain thing has
a certain quality, or that certain things have a certain relation" (p.

[65] In view of the assumption, shared by Mr. Russell, that there is
such a thing as non-inferential knowledge, the conception that a thing
offers evidence for itself needs analysis. Self-evidence is merely a
convenient term for disguising the difference between the indubitably
given and the believed in. Hypotheses, for example, are self-evident
sometimes, that is, obviously present for just what they are, but they
are still hypotheses, and to offer their self-evident character as
"evidence" would expose one to ridicule. Meanings may be self-evident
(the Cartesian "clear and distinct") and truth dubious.

[66] "Really known" is an ambiguous term. It may signify _understood_,
or it may signify known to be _there_ or _given_. Either meaning
implies reference beyond.

[67] The reply implies that the exhaustive, all-at-once perception of
the entire universe assumed by some idealistic writers does not
involve any external world. I do not make this remark for the sake of
identifying myself with this school of thinkers, but to suggest that
the limited character of empirical data is what occasions inference.
But it is a fallacy to suppose that the nature of the limitations is
psychologically given. On the contrary, they have to be determined by
descriptive identifications which involve reference to the more
extensive world. Hence no matter how "self-evident" the existence of
the data may be, it is never self-evident that they are rightly
delimited with respect to the specific inference in process of making.

[68] The ambiguities reside in the possibility of treating the
"muscular and other bodily sensations" as meaning something other than
data of motion and corporealness--however these be defined. Muscular
sensation may be an awareness of motion of the muscles, but the phrase
"of the muscles" does not alter the nature of motion as motion; it
only specifies _what_ motion is involved. And the long controversy
about the existence of immediate "muscular sensations" testifies to
what a complex cognitive determination we are here dealing with.
Anatomical directions and long experimentation were required to answer
the question. Were they psychologically primitive data no such
questions could ever have arisen.



Pragmatism, according to Mr. James, is a temper of mind, an attitude;
it is also a theory of the nature of ideas and truth; and, finally, it
is a theory about reality. It is pragmatism as method which is
emphasized, I take it, in the subtitle, "a new name for some old ways
of thinking."[69] It is this aspect which I suppose to be uppermost in
Mr. James's own mind; one frequently gets the impression that he
conceives the discussion of the other two points to be illustrative
material, more or less hypothetical, of the method. The briefest and
at the same time the most comprehensive formula for the method is:
"The attitude of looking away from first things, principles,
'categories,' supposed necessities; and of looking towards last
things, fruits, consequences, facts" (pp. 54-55). And as the attitude
looked "away from" is the rationalistic, perhaps the chief aim of the
lectures is to exemplify some typical differences resulting from
taking one outlook or the other.

But pragmatism is "used in a still wider sense, as meaning also a
certain theory of truth" (p. 55); it is "a genetic theory of what is
meant by truth" (p. 65). Truth means, as a matter of course,
agreement, correspondence, of idea and fact (p. 198), but what do
agreement, correspondence, mean? With rationalism they mean "a static,
inert relation," which is so ultimate that of it nothing more can be
said. With pragmatism they signify the guiding or leading power of
ideas by which we "dip into the particulars of experience again," and
if by its aid we set up the arrangements and connections among
experienced objects which the idea intends, the idea is verified; it
corresponds with the things it means to square with (pp. 205-6). The
idea is true which works in leading us to what it purports (p.
80).[70] Or, "any idea that will carry us prosperously from any one
part of experience to any other part, linking things satisfactorily,
working securely, simplifying, saving labor, is true for just so much,
true in so far forth" (p. 58). This notion presupposes that ideas are
essentially intentions (plans and methods), and that what they, as
ideas, ultimately intend is _prospective_--certain changes in prior
existing things. This contrasts again with rationalism, with its copy
theory, where ideas, _as_ ideas, are ineffective and impotent, since
they mean only to mirror a reality (p. 69) complete without them. Thus
we are led to the third aspect of pragmatism. The alternative between
rationalism and pragmatism "concerns the structure of the universe
itself" (p. 258). "The essential contrast is that reality ... for
pragmatism is still in the making" (p. 257). And in a recent number of
the _Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods_,[71]
he says: "I was primarily concerned in my lectures with contrasting
the belief that the world is still in the process of making with the
belief that there is an eternal edition of it ready-made and


It will be following Mr. James's example, I think, if we here regard
pragmatism as primarily a method, and treat the account of ideas and
their truth and of reality somewhat incidentally so far as the
discussion of them serves to exemplify or enforce the method.
Regarding the attitude of orientation which looks to outcomes and
consequences, one readily sees that it has, as Mr. James points out,
points of contact with historic empiricism, nominalism, and
utilitarianism. It insists that general notions shall "cash in" as
particular objects and qualities in experience; that "principles" are
ultimately subsumed under facts, rather than the reverse; that the
empirical consequence rather than the a priori basis is the
sanctioning and warranting factor. But all of these ideas are colored
and transformed by the dominant influence of experimental science: the
method of treating conceptions, theories, etc., as working hypotheses,
as directors for certain experiments and experimental observations.
Pragmatism as attitude represents what Mr. Peirce has happily termed
the "laboratory habit of mind" extended into every area where inquiry
may fruitfully be carried on. A scientist would, I think, wonder not
so much at the method as at the lateness of philosophy's conversion to
what has made science what it is. Nevertheless it is impossible to
forecast the intellectual change that would proceed from carrying the
method sincerely and unreservedly into all fields of inquiry. Leaving
philosophy out of account, what a change would be wrought in the
historical and social sciences--in the conceptions of politics and law
and political economy! Mr. James does not claim too much when he says:
"The center of gravity of philosophy must alter its place. The earth
of things, long thrown into shadow by the glories of the upper ether,
must resume its rights.... It will be an alteration in the 'seat of
authority' that reminds one almost of the Protestant Reformation" (p.

I can imagine that many would not accept this method in philosophy for
very diverse reasons, perhaps among the most potent of which is lack
of faith in the power of the elements and processes of experience and
life to guarantee their own security and prosperity; because, that is,
of the feeling that the world of experience is so unstable, mistaken,
and fragmentary that it must have an absolutely permanent, true, and
complete ground. I cannot imagine, however, that so much uncertainty
and controversy as actually exists should arise about the content and
import of the doctrine on the basis of the general formula. It is when
the method is applied to special points that questions arise. Mr.
James reminds us in his preface that the pragmatic movement has found
expression "from so many points of view, that much unconcerted
statement has resulted." And speaking of his lectures he goes on to
say: "I have sought to unify the picture as it presents itself to my
own eyes, dealing in broad strokes." The "different points of view"
here spoken of have concerned themselves with viewing pragmatically a
number of different things. And it is, I think, Mr. James's effort to
combine them, as they stand, which occasions misunderstanding among
Mr. James's readers. Mr. James himself applied it, for example, in
1898 to philosophic controversies to indicate what they mean in terms
of practical issues at stake. Before that, Mr. Peirce himself (in
1878) had applied the method to the proper way of _conceiving_ and
defining objects. Then it has been applied to _ideas_ in order to find
out what they mean in terms of what they intend, and what and how they
must intend in order to be true. Again, it has been applied to
_beliefs_, to what men actually accept, hold to, and affirm. Indeed,
it lies in the nature of pragmatism that it should be applied as
widely as possible; and to things as diverse as controversies,
beliefs, truths, ideas, and objects. But yet the situations and
problems _are_ diverse; so much so that, while the meaning of each may
be told on the basis of "last things," "fruits," "consequences,"
"facts," _it is quite certain that the specific last things and facts
will be very different in the diverse cases, and that very different
types of meaning will stand out_. "Meaning" will itself _mean_
something quite different in the case of "objects" from what it will
mean in the case of "ideas," and for "ideas" something different from
"truths." Now the explanation to which I have been led of the
unsatisfactory condition of contemporary pragmatic discussion is that
in composing these "different points of view" into a single pictorial
whole, the distinct type of consequence and hence of meaning of
"practical" appropriate to each has not been sufficiently emphasized.

1. When we consider separately the subjects to which the pragmatic
method has been applied, we find that Mr. James has provided the
necessary formula for each--with his never-failing instinct for the
concrete. We take first the question of the significance of an object:
the meaning which should properly be contained in its conception or
definition. "To attain perfect clearness in our thoughts of an object,
then, we need only consider what conceivable effects of a practical
kind the object may involve--what sensations we are to expect from it
and what reactions we must prepare" (pp. 46-47). Or, more shortly, as
it is quoted from Ostwald, "All realities influence our practice, and
that influence is their meaning for us" (p. 48). Here it will be noted
that the start is from objects already empirically given or presented,
existentially vouched for, and the question is as to their proper
conception--What is the proper meaning, or idea, of an object? And the
meaning is the effects _these given objects produce_. One might doubt
the correctness of this theory, but I do not see how one could doubt
its import, or could accuse it of subjectivism or idealism, since the
object with its power to produce effects is assumed. Meaning is
expressly distinguished from objects, not confused with them (as in
idealism), and is said to consist in the practical reactions objects
exact of us or impose upon us. When, then, it is a question of an
object, "meaning" signifies its _conceptual content or connotation,
and "practical" means the future responses which an object requires of
us or commits us to_.

2. But we may also start from a given idea, and ask what the _idea_
means. Pragmatism will, of course, look to future consequences, but
they will clearly be of a different sort when we start from an idea as
idea, than when we start from an object. For what an idea as idea
means, is precisely that an object is _not_ given. The pragmatic
procedure here is to set the idea "at work within the stream of
experience. It appears less as a solution than as a program for more
work, and particularly as an indication of the ways in which existing
realities may be changed. Theories, thus, become instruments.... We
don't lie back on them, we move forward, and, on occasion, make nature
over again by their aid" (p. 53). In other words, an idea is a draft
drawn upon existing things, and intention to act so as to arrange them
in a certain way. From which it follows that if the draft is honored,
if existences, following upon the actions, rearrange or readjust
themselves in the way the idea intends, the idea is true. When, then,
it is a question of an idea, it is the idea itself which is practical
(being an intent) and its _meaning_ resides in the existences which,
as changed, it intends. While the meaning of an object is the changes
it requires in our attitude,[72] the meaning of an idea is the changes
it, as our attitude, effects in objects.

3. Then we have another formula, applicable not to objects nor ideas
as objects and ideas, but to _truths_--to things, that is, where the
meaning of the object and of the idea is assumed to be already
ascertained. It reads: "What difference would it practically make to
anyone if this notion rather than that notion were true? If no
practical difference whatever can be traced, then the alternatives
mean practically the same thing, and all dispute is idle" (p. 45).
There can be "no difference in abstract truth that doesn't express
itself in a difference in concrete fact, and in conduct consequent
upon the fact, imposed on somebody" (p. 50).[73] Now when we start
with something which is already a truth (or taken to be truth), and
ask for its meaning in terms of its consequences, it is implied that
the conception, or conceptual significance, is already clear, and that
the existences it refers to are already in hand. Meaning here, then,
can be neither the connotative nor denotative reference of a term;
they are covered by the two prior formulae. Meaning here means
_value_, importance. The practical factor is, then, the worth
character of these consequences: they are good or bad; desirable or
undesirable; or merely _nil_, indifferent, in which latter case belief
is idle, the controversy a vain and conventional, or verbal, one.

The term "meaning" and the term "practical" taken in isolation, and
without explicit definition from their specific context and problem,
are triply ambiguous. The meaning may be the conception or definition
of an _object_; it may be the denotative existential reference of an
_idea_; it may be actual value or _importance_. So practical in the
corresponding cases may mean the attitudes and conduct exacted of us
by objects; or the capacity and tendency of an idea to effect changes
in prior existences; or the desirable and undesirable quality of
certain ends. The general pragmatic attitude, none the less, is
applied in all cases.

If the differing problems and the correlative diverse significations
of the terms "meaning" and "practical" are borne in mind, not all will
be converted to pragmatism, but the present uncertainty as to what
pragmatism is, anyway, and the present constant complaints on both
sides of misunderstanding will, I think, be minimized. At all events,
I have reached the conclusion that what the pragmatic movement just
now wants is a clear and consistent bearing in mind of these different
problems and of what is meant by practical in each. Accordingly the
rest of this paper is an endeavor to elucidate from the standpoint of
pragmatic method the importance of enforcing these distinctions.


First, as to the problems of philosophy when pragmatically approached,
Mr. James says: "The whole function of philosophy ought to be to find
out what definite difference it will make to you and me, at definite
instants of our life, if this world-formula or that world-formula be
true" (p. 50). Here the world-formula is assumed as already given; it
is there, defined and constituted, and the question is as to its
import if believed. But from the second standpoint, that of idea as
working hypothesis, the chief function of philosophy is not to find
out what difference ready-made formulae make, _if true_, but to
arrive at and to clarify their _meaning as programs of behavior for
modifying the existent world_. From this standpoint, the meaning of a
world-formula is practical and moral, not merely in the consequences
which flow from accepting a certain conceptual content as true, but as
regards that content itself. And thus at the very outset we are
compelled to face this question: Does Mr. James employ the pragmatic
method to discover the value in terms of consequences in life of some
formula which has its logical content already fixed; or does he employ
it to criticize and revise and, ultimately, to constitute the meaning
of that formula? If it is the first, there is danger that the
pragmatic method will be employed only to vivify, if not validate,
doctrines which in themselves are pieces of rationalistic metaphysics,
not inherently pragmatic. If the last, there is danger that some
readers will think old notions are being confirmed, when in truth they
are being translated into new and inconsistent notions.

Consider the case of design. Mr. James begins with accepting a
ready-made notion, to which he then applies the pragmatic criterion.
The traditional notion is that of a "seeing force that runs things."
This is rationalistically and retrospectively empty; its being there
makes no difference. (This seems to overlook the fact that the past
world may be just what it is in virtue of the difference which a blind
force or a seeing force has already made in it. A pragmatist as well
as a rationalist may reply that it makes no difference retrospectively
only because we leave out the most important retrospective
difference). But "returning with it into experience, we gain a more
confiding outlook on the future. If not a blind force, but a seeing
force, runs things, we may reasonably expect better issues. _This
vague confidence in the future is the sole pragmatic meaning at
present discernible in the terms design and designer_" (p. 115,
italics mine). Now is this meaning intended to _replace_ the meaning
of a "seeing force which runs things"? Or is it intended to superadd a
pragmatic value and validation to that concept of a seeing force? Or
does it mean that, irrespective of the existence of any such object, a
belief in it has that value? Strict pragmatism would seem to require
the first interpretation.

The same difficulties arise in the discussion of spiritualistic theism
_versus_ materialism. Compare the two following statements: "The
notion of God ... guarantees an ideal order that shall be permanently
preserved" (p. 106). "Here, then, in these different emotional and
practical appeals, in these adjustments of our attitudes of hope and
expectation, and all the delicate consequences which their differences
entail, _lie the real meanings of materialism and spiritualism_" (p.
107, italics mine). Does the latter method of determining the meaning
of, say, a spiritual God afford the substitute for the conception of
him as a "superhuman power" effecting the eternal preservation of
something; does it, that is, define God, supply the content for our
notion of God? Or does it merely superadd a value to a meaning already
fixed? And, if the latter, does the object, God as defined, or the
notion, or the belief (the acceptance of the notion) effect these
consequent values? In either of the latter alternatives, the good or
valuable consequences cannot clarify the meaning or conception of God;
for, by the argument, they proceed from a prior definition of God.
They cannot prove, or render more probable, the existence of such a
being, for, by the argument, these desirable consequences depend upon
accepting such an existence; and not even pragmatism can prove an
existence from desirable consequences which themselves exist only when
and if that other existence is there. On the other hand, if the
pragmatic method is not applied simply to tell the value of a belief
or controversy, but to fix the meaning of the terms involved in the
belief, resulting consequences would serve to constitute the entire
meaning, intellectual as well as practical, of the terms; and hence
the pragmatic method would simply abolish the meaning of an antecedent
power which will perpetuate eternally some existence. For that
consequence flows not from the belief or idea, but from the existence,
the power. It is not pragmatic at all.

Accordingly, when Mr. James says: "Other than this _practical_
significance, the words God, free will, design, _have none_. Yet dark
though they be in themselves, or intellectualistically taken, when we
bear them on to life's thicket with us, the darkness then grows light
about us" (p. 121, italics mine), what is meant? Is it meant that when
we take the intellectualistic notion and employ it, it gets value in
the way of results, and hence then has some value of its own; or is it
meant that the intellectual content itself must be determined in terms
of the changes effected in the ordering of life's thicket? An explicit
declaration on this point would settle, I think, not merely a point
interesting in itself, but one essential to the determination of what
is pragmatic method. For myself, I have no hesitation in saying that
it seems unpragmatic for pragmatism to content itself with finding out
the value of a conception whose own inherent significance pragmatism
has not first determined; a fact which entails that it be taken not as
a truth but simply as a working hypothesis. In the particular case in
question, moreover, it is difficult to see how the pragmatic method
could possibly be applied to a notion of "eternal perpetuation,"
which, by its nature, can never be empirically verified, or cashed in
any particular case.

This brings us to the question of truth. The problem here is also
ambiguous in advance of definition. Does the problem of what is truth
refer to discovering the "true meaning" of something; or to
discovering what an idea has to effect, and how, in order to be true;
or to discovering what the value of truth is when it is an existent
and accomplished fact? (1) We may, of course, find the "true meaning"
of a thing, as distinct from its incorrect interpretation, without
thereby establishing the truth of the "true meaning"--as we may
dispute about the "true meaning" of a passage in the classics
concerning Centaurs, without the determination of its true sense
establishing the truth of the notion that there are Centaurs.
Occasionally this "true meaning" seems to be what Mr. James has in
mind, as when, after the passage upon design already quoted, he goes
on: "But if cosmic confidence is right, not wrong, better, not worse,
that [vague confidence in the future] is a most important meaning.
That much at least of possible 'truth' the terms will then have in
them" (p. 115). "Truth" here seems to mean that design has a genuine,
not merely conventional or verbal, meaning: that something is at
stake. And there are frequently points where "truth" seems to mean
just meaning that is genuine as distinct from empty or verbal. (2) But
the problem of the meaning of truth may also refer to the meaning or
value of truths that already exist as truths. We have them; they
exist; now what do they mean? The answer is: "True ideas lead us into
useful verbal and conceptual quarters as well as directly up to useful
sensible termini. They lead to consistency, stability, and flowing
human intercourse" (p. 215). This, referring to things already true, I
do not suppose the most case-hardened rationalist would question; and
even if he questions the pragmatic contention that these consequences
define the meaning of truth, he should see that here is not given an
account of what it means for an idea to _become true_, but only of
what it means _after_ it has become true, truth as _fait accompli_. It
is the meaning of truth as _fait accompli_ which is here defined.

Bearing this in mind, I do not know why a mild-tempered rationalist
should object to the doctrine that truth is valuable not _per se_, but
because, when given, it leads to desirable consequences. "The true
thought is useful here because the home which is its object is useful.
The practical value of true ideas is thus primarily derived from the
practical importance of their objects to us" (p. 203). And many
besides confirmed pragmatists, any utilitarian, for example, would be
willing to say that our duty to pursue "truth" is conditioned upon its
leading to objects which upon the whole are valuable. "The concrete
benefits we gain are what we mean by calling the pursuit a duty" (p.
231, compare p. 76). (3) Difficulties have arisen chiefly because Mr.
James is charged with converting simply the foregoing proposition, and
arguing that since true ideas are good, any idea if good in any way is
true. Certainly transition from one of these conceptions to the other
is facilitated by the fact that ideas are tested as to their validity
by a certain goodness, viz., whether they are good for accomplishing
what they intend, for what they claim to be good for, that is,
certain modifications in prior given existences. In this case, it is
the idea which is practical, since it is essentially an intent and
plan of altering prior existences in a specific situation, which is
indicated to be unsatisfactory by the very fact that it needs or
suggests a specific modification. Then arises the theory that ideas as
ideas are always working hypotheses concerning the attaining of
particular empirical results, and are tentative programs (or sketches
of method) for attaining them. If we stick consistently to this notion
of ideas, only _consequences which are actually produced by the
working of the idea in co-operation with, or application to, prior
existences are good consequences in the specific sense of good which
is relevant to establishing the truth of an idea_. This is, at times,
unequivocally recognized by Mr. James. (See, for example, the
reference to veri-_fication_, on p. 201; the acceptance of the idea
that verification means the advent of the object intended, on p. 205.)

But at other times any good which flows from acceptance of a belief is
treated as if it were an evidence, _in so far_, of the truth of the
idea. This holds particularly when theological notions are under
consideration. Light would be thrown upon how Mr. James conceives this
matter by statements on such points as these: If ideas terminate in
good consequences, but yet the goodness of the consequences was no
part of the intention of an idea, does the goodness have any verifying
force? If the goodness of consequences arises from the context of the
idea in belief rather than from the idea itself, does it have any
verifying force?[74] If an idea leads to consequences which are good
in the _one_ respect only of fulfilling the intent of the idea (as
when one drinks a liquid to test the idea that it is a poison), does
the badness of the consequences in every other respect detract from
the verifying force of consequences?

Since Mr. James has referred to me as saying "truth is what gives
satisfaction" (p. 234), I may remark (apart from the fact that I do
not think I ever said that truth is what _gives_ satisfaction) that I
have never identified any satisfaction with the truth of an idea, save
_that_ satisfaction which arises when the idea as working hypothesis
or tentative method is applied to prior existences in such a way as to
fulfil what it intends.

My final impression (which I cannot adequately prove) is that upon the
whole Mr. James is most concerned to enforce, as against rationalism,
two conclusions about the character of truths as _faits accomplis_:
namely, that they are made, not a priori, or eternally in
existence,[75] and that their value or importance is not static, but
dynamic and practical. The special question of _how_ truths are made
is not particularly relevant to this anti-rationalistic crusade, while
it is the chief question of interest to many. Because of this conflict
of problems, what Mr. James says about the value of truth when
accomplished is likely to be interpreted by some as a criterion of the
truth of ideas; while, on the other hand, Mr. James himself is likely
to pass lightly from the consequences that determine the worth of a
belief to those which decide the worth of an idea. When Mr. James says
the function of giving "satisfaction in marrying previous parts of
experience with newer parts" is necessary in order to establish truth,
the doctrine is unambiguous. The satisfactory character of
consequences is itself measured and defined by the conditions which
led up to it; the inherently satisfactory quality of results is not
taken as validating the antecedent intellectual operations. But when
he says (not of his own position, but of an opponent's[76]) of the
idea of an absolute, "so far as it affords such comfort it surely is
not sterile, it has that amount of value; it performs a concrete
function. As a good pragmatist I myself ought to call the absolute
true _in so far forth_ then; and I unhesitatingly now do so" (p. 73),
the doctrine seems to be as unambiguous in the other direction: that
any good, consequent upon acceptance of a belief is, in so far
forth,[77] a warrant of truth. In such passages as the following
(which are of the common type) the two notions seem blended together:
"Ideas become true just in so far as they help us to get into
satisfactory relations with other parts of our experience" (p. 58);
and, again, on the same page: "Any idea that will carry us
_prosperously_ from any one part of our experience to any other part,
linking things _satisfactorily_, working securely, simplifying, saving
labor, is true for just so much" (italics mine). An explicit statement
as to whether the carrying function, the linking of things, is
satisfactory and prosperous and hence true in so far as it executes
the intent of an idea; or whether the satisfaction and prosperity
reside in the material consequences on their own account and in that
aspect make the idea true, would, I am sure, locate the point at issue
and economize and fructify future discussion. At present pragmatism is
accepted by those whose own notions are thoroughly rationalistic in
make-up as a means of refurbishing, galvanizing, and justifying those
very notions. It is rejected by non-rationalists (empiricists and
naturalistic idealists) because it seems to them identified with the
notion that pragmatism holds that the desirability of certain beliefs
overrides the question of the meaning of the ideas involved in them
and the existence of objects denoted by them. Others (like myself),
who believe thoroughly in pragmatism as a method of orientation, as
defined by Mr. James, and who would apply the method to the
determination of the meaning of objects, the intent and worth of ideas
as ideas, and to the human and moral value of beliefs, when these
various problems are carefully distinguished from one another, do not
know whether they are pragmatists in some other sense, because they
are not sure whether the practical, in the sense of desirable facts
which define the worth of a belief, is confused with the practical as
an attitude imposed by objects, and with the practical as a power and
function of ideas to effect changes in prior existences. Hence the
importance of knowing which one of the three senses of practical is
conveyed in any given passage.

It would do Mr. James an injustice, however, to stop here. His real
doctrine is that a belief is true when it satisfies both personal
needs and the requirements of objective things. Speaking of
pragmatism, he says, "Her only test of probable truth is what works
best in the way of _leading us_, what fits every part of life best and
_combines with the collectivity of experience's demands_, nothing
being omitted" (p. 80, italics mine). And again, "That new idea is
truest which performs most felicitously its function of satisfying
_our double urgency_" (p. 64). It does not appear certain from the
context that this "double urgency" is that of the personal and the
objective demands, respectively, but it is probable (see, also, p.
217, where "consistency with previous truth and novel fact" is said to
be "always the most imperious claimant"). On this basis, the "in so
far forth" of the truth of the absolute because of the comfort it
supplies, means that one of the two conditions which need to be
satisfied has been met, so that if the idea of the absolute met the
other one also, it would be quite true. I have no doubt this is Mr.
James's meaning, and it sufficiently safeguards him from the charge
that pragmatism means that anything which is agreeable is true. At the
same time, I do not think, in logical strictness, that satisfying one
of two tests, when satisfaction of both is required, can be said to
constitute a belief true even "in so far forth."


At all events this raises a question not touched so far: the place of
the personal in the determination of truth. Mr. James, for example,
emphasizes the doctrine suggested in the following words: "We say this
theory solves it [the problem] more satisfactorily than that theory;
but that means more satisfactorily _to ourselves_, and individuals will
emphasize their points of satisfaction differently" (p. 61, italics
mine). This opens out into a question which, in its larger aspects--the
place of the personal factor in the constitution of knowledge systems
and of reality--I cannot here enter upon, save to say that a synthetic
pragmatism such as Mr. James has ventured upon will take a very
different form according as the point of view of what he calls the
"Chicago School" or that of humanism is taken as a basis for
interpreting the nature of the personal. According to the latter view,
the personal appears to be ultimate and unanalyzable, the
metaphysically real. Associations with idealism, moreover, give
it an idealistic turn, a translation, in effect, of monistic
intellectualistic idealism into pluralistic, voluntaristic idealism.
But, according to the former, the personal is not ultimate, but is to
be analyzed and defined, biologically on its genetic side, ethically on
its prospective and functioning side.

There is, however, one phase of the teaching illustrated by the
quotation which is directly relevant here. Because Mr. James
recognizes that the personal element enters into judgments passed upon
whether a problem has or has not been satisfactorily solved, he is
charged with extreme subjectivism, with encouraging the element of
personal preference to run rough-shod over all objective controls. Now
the question raised in the quotation is primarily one of fact, not of
doctrine. Is or is not a personal factor found in truth evaluations?
If it is, pragmatism is not responsible for introducing it. If it is
not, it ought to be possible to refute pragmatism by appeal to
empirical fact, rather than by reviling it for subjectivism. Now it is
an old story that philosophers, in common with theologians and social
theorists, are as sure that personal habits and interests shape their
opponents' doctrines as they are that their own beliefs are
"absolutely" universal and objective in quality. Hence arises that
dishonesty, that insincerity characteristic of philosophic discussion.
As Mr. James says (p. 8), "The most potential of all our premises is
never mentioned." Now the moment the complicity of the personal
factor in our philosophic valuations is recognized, is recognized
fully, frankly, and generally, that moment a new era in philosophy
will begin. We shall have to discover the personal factors that now
influence us unconsciously, and begin to accept a new and moral
responsibility for them, a responsibility for judging and testing them
by their consequences. So long as we ignore this factor, its deeds
will be largely evil, not because _it_ is evil, but because,
flourishing in the dark, it is without responsibility and without
check. The only way to control it is by recognizing it. And while I
would not prophesy of pragmatism's future, I would say that this
element which is now so generally condemned as intellectual dishonesty
(perhaps because of an uneasy, instinctive recognition of the
searching of hearts its acceptance would involve) will in the future
be accounted unto philosophy for righteousness' sake.

So much in general. In particular cases, it is possible that Mr.
James's language occasionally leaves the impression that the fact of
the inevitable involution of the personal factor in every belief gives
some special sanction to some special belief. Mr. James says that his
essay on the _right_ to believe was unluckily entitled the "_Will_ to
believe" (p. 258). Well, even the term "right" is unfortunate, if the
personal or belief factor is inevitable--unfortunate because it seems
to indicate a privilege which might be exercised in special cases, in
religion, for example, though not in science; or, because it suggests
to some minds that the fact of the personal complicity involved in
belief is a warrant for this or that special personal attitude,
instead of being a warning to locate and define it so as to accept
responsibility for it. If we mean by "will" not something deliberate
and consciously intentional (much less, something insincere), but an
active personal participation, then belief _as_ will, rather than
either the right or the will to believe seems to phrase the matter

I have attempted to review not so much Mr. James's book as the present
status of the pragmatic movement which is expressed in the book; and I
have selected only those points which seem to bear directly upon
matters of contemporary controversy. Even as an account of this
limited field, the foregoing pages do an injustice to Mr. James, save
as it is recognized that his lectures were "popular lectures," as the
title-page advises us. We cannot expect in such lectures the kind of
explicitness which would satisfy the professional and technical
interests that have inspired this review. Moreover, it is inevitable
that the attempt to compose different points of view, hitherto
unco-ordinated, into a single whole should give rise to problems
foreign to any one factor of the synthesis, left to itself. The need
and possibility of the discrimination of various elements in the
pragmatic meaning of "practical," attempted in this review, would
hardly have been recognized by me were it not for by-products of
perplexity and confusion which Mr. James's combination has effected.
Mr. James has given so many evidences of the sincerity of his
intellectual aims, that I trust to his pardon for the injustice which
the character of my review may have done _him_, in view of whatever
service it may render in clarifying the problem to which he is

As for the book itself, it is in any case beyond a critic's praise or
blame. It is more likely to take place as a philosophical classic than
any other writing of our day. A critic who should attempt to appraise
it would probably give one more illustration of the sterility of
criticism compared with the productiveness of creative genius. Even
those who dislike pragmatism can hardly fail to find much of profit in
the exhibition of Mr. James's instinct for concrete facts, the breadth
of his sympathies, and his illuminating insights. Unreserved
frankness, lucid imagination, varied contacts with life digested into
summary and trenchant conclusions, keen perceptions of human nature in
the concrete, a constant sense of the subordination of philosophy to
life, capacity to put things into an English which projects ideas as
if bodily into space till they are solid things to walk around and
survey from different sides--these things are not so common in
philosophy that they may not smell sweet even by the name of


[69] William James, _Pragmatism. A New Name for Some Old Ways of
Thinking._ (Popular Lectures on Philosophy.) New York: Longmans,
Green, & Co., 1907. Pp. xiii[+]309.

[70] Certain aspects of the doctrine are here purposely omitted, and
will meet us later.

[71] Vol. IV, p. 547.

[72] Only those who have already lost in the idealistic confusion of
existence and meaning will take this to mean that the object is those
changes in our reactions.

[73] I assume that the reader is sufficiently familiar with Mr.
James's book not to be misled by the text into thinking that Mr. James
himself discriminates as I have done these three types of problems
from one another. He does not; but, none the less, the three formulae
for the three situations are there.

[74] The idea of immortality, or the traditional theistic idea of God,
for example, may produce its good consequences, not in virtue of the
idea as idea, but from the character of the person who entertains the
belief; or it may be the idea of the supreme value of ideal
considerations, rather than that of their temporal duration, which

[75] "Eternal truth" is one of the most ambiguous phrases that
philosophers trip over. It may mean eternally in existence; or that a
statement which is ever true is always true (if it is true a fly is
buzzing, it is eternally true that just now a fly buzzed); or it may
mean that some truths, _in so far as wholly conceptual_, are
irrelevant to any particular time determination, since they are
non-existential in import--e.g., the truth of geometry dialectically
taken--that is, without asking whether any particular existence
exemplifies them.

[76] Such statements, it ought in fairness to be said, generally come
when Mr. James is speaking of a doctrine which he does not himself
believe, and arise, I think, in that fairness and frankness of Mr.
James, so unusual in philosophers, which cause him to lean over
backward--unpragmatically, it seems to me. As to the claim of his own
doctrine, he consistently sticks to his statement: "Pent in, as the
pragmatist, more than any one, sees himself to be, between the whole
body of funded truths squeezed from the past and the coercions of the
world of sense about him, who, so well as he, feels the immense
pressure of objective control under which our minds perform their
operations? If anyone imagines that this law is lax, let him keep its
commandments one day, says Emerson" (p. 233).

[77] Of course, Mr. James holds that this "in so far" goes a very
small way. See pp. 77-79. But even the slightest concession is, I
think, non-pragmatic unless the satisfaction is relevant to the idea
as intent. Now the satisfaction in question comes not from the idea as
_idea_, but from its acceptance as _true_. Can a satisfaction
dependent on an assumption that an idea is already true be relevant to
testing the truth of an idea? And can an idea, like that of the
absolute, which, if true, "absolutely" precludes any appeal to
consequences as test of truth, be confirmed by use of the pragmatic
test without sheer self-contradiction? In other words, we have a
confusion of the test of an idea as idea, with that of the value of a
belief as belief. On the other hand, it is quite possible that all Mr.
James intends by truth here is true (i.e., genuine) meaning at stake
in the issue--true not as distinct from false, but from meaningless or



It is easier to start a legend than to prevent its continued
circulation. No misconception of the instrumental logic has been more
persistent than the belief that it makes knowledge merely a means to a
practical end, or to the satisfaction of practical needs--practical
being taking to signify some quite definite utilities of a material or
bread-and-butter type. Habitual associations aroused by the word
"pragmatic" have been stronger than the most explicit and emphatic
statements which any pragmatist has been able to make. But I again
affirm that the term "pragmatic" means only the rule of referring all
thinking, all reflective considerations, to _consequences_ for final
meaning and test. Nothing is said about the nature of the
consequences; they may be aesthetic, or moral, or political, or
religious in quality--anything you please. All that the theory
requires is that they be in some way consequences of thinking; not,
indeed, of it alone, but of it acted upon in connection with other
things. This is no after-thought inserted to lessen the force of
objections. Mr. Peirce explained that he took the term "pragmatic"
from Kant, in order to denote empirical consequences. When he refers
to their practical character it is only to indicate a criterion by
which to avoid purely verbal disputes. Different consequences are
alleged to constitute rival meanings of a term. Is a difference more
than merely one of formulation? The way to get an answer is to ask
whether, if realized, these consequences would exact of us different
modes of behavior. If they do not make such a difference in conduct
the difference between them is conventional. It is not that
consequences are themselves practical, but that practical consequences
from them may at times be appealed to in order to decide the specific
question of whether two proposed meanings differ save in words. Mr.
James says expressly that what is important is that the consequences
should be specific, not that they should be active. When he said that
general notions must "cash in," he meant of course that they must be
translatable into verifiable specific things. But the words "cash in"
were enough for some of his critics, who pride themselves upon a
logical rigor unattainable by mere pragmatists.

In the logical version of pragmatism termed instrumentalism, action or
practice does indeed play a fundamental rôle. But it concerns not the
nature of consequences but the nature of knowing. To use a term which
is now more fashionable (and surely to some extent in consequence of
pragmatism) than it was earlier, instrumentalism means a behaviorist
theory of thinking and knowing. It means that knowing is literally
something which we do; that analysis is ultimately physical and
active; that meanings in their logical quality are standpoints,
attitudes, and methods of behaving toward facts, and that active
experimentation is essential to verification. Put in another way it
holds that thinking does not mean any transcendent states or acts
suddenly introduced into a previously natural scene, but that the
operations of knowing are (or are artfully derived from) natural
responses of the organism, which constitute knowing in virtue of the
situation of doubt in which they arise and in virtue of the uses of
inquiry, reconstruction, and control to which they are put. There is
no warrant in the doctrine for carrying over _this_ practical quality
into the consequences in which action culminates, and by which it is
tested and corrected. A knowing as an act is instrumental to the
resultant controlled and more significant situation; this does not
imply anything about the intrinsic or the instrumental character of
the consequent situation. That is whatever it may be in a given case.

There is nothing novel nor heterodox in the notion that thinking is
instrumental. The very word is redolent of an _Organum_--whether
_novum_ or _veterum_. The term "instrumentality," applied to thinking,
raises at once, however, the question of whether thinking as a tool
falls within or without the subject-matter which it shapes into
knowledge. The answer of formal logic (adopted moreover by Kant and
followed in some way by all neo-Kantian logics) is unambiguous. To
call logic "formal" means precisely that mind or thought supplies
forms foreign to the original subject-matter, but yet required in
order that it should have the appropriate form of knowledge. In this
regard it deviates from the Aristotelian _Organon_ which it professes
to follow. For according to Aristotle, the processes of knowing--of
teaching and learning--which lead up to knowledge are but the
actualization through the potentialities of the human body of the
_same_ forms or natures which are previously actualized in Nature
through the potentialities of extra-organic bodies. Thinking which is
not instrumental to truth, which is merely formal in the modern sense,
would have been a monstrosity inconceivable to him. But the discarding
of the metaphysics of form and matter, of cyclic actualizations and
eternal species, deprived the Aristotelian "thought" of any place
within the scheme of things, and left it an activity with forms alien
to subject-matter. To conceive of thinking as instrumental to truth or
knowledge, and as a tool shaped out of the same subject-matter as that
to which it is applied, is but to return to the Aristotelian tradition
about logic. That the practice of science has in the meantime
substituted a logic of experimental discovery (of which definition and
classification are themselves but auxiliary tools) for a logic of
arrangement and exposition of what is already known, necessitates,
however, a very different sort of _Organon_. It makes necessary the
conception that the object of knowledge is not something with which
thinking sets out, but something with which it ends: something which
the processes of inquiry and testing, that constitute thinking,
themselves produce. Thus the object of knowledge is practical in the
sense that it depends upon a specific kind of practice for its
existence--for its existence as an object of knowledge. How practical
it may be in any other sense than this is quite another story. The
_object of knowledge_ marks an achieved triumph, a secured
control--that holds by the very nature of knowledge. What other uses
it may have depends upon its own inherent character, not upon anything
in the nature of knowledge. We do not know the origin and nature and
the cure of malaria till we can both produce and eliminate malaria;
the _value_ of either the production or the removal depends upon the
character of malaria in relation to other things. And so it is with
mathematical knowledge, or with knowledge of politics or art. Their
respective objects are not known till they are made in course of the
process of experimental thinking. Their usefulness when made is
whatever, from infinity to zero, experience may subsequently determine
it to be.




In introducing the discussion, I shall first say a word to avoid
possible misunderstandings. It may be objected that such a term as
"practical judgment" is misleading; that the term "practical judgment"
is a misnomer, and a dangerous one, since all judgments by their very
nature are intellectual or theoretical. Consequently, there is a
danger that the term will lead us to treat as judgment and knowledge
something which is not really knowledge at all and thus start us on
the road which ends in mysticism or obscurantism. All this is
admitted. I do not mean by practical judgment a type of judgment
having a different organ and source from other judgments. I mean
simply a kind of judgment having a specific type of subject-matter.
Propositions exist relating to _agenda_--to things to do or be done,
judgments of a situation demanding action. There are, for example,
propositions of the form: M. N. should do thus and so; it is better,
wiser, more prudent, right, advisable, opportune, expedient, etc., to
act thus and so. And this is the type of judgment I denote practical.

It may also be objected that this type of subject-matter is not
distinctive; that there is no ground for marking it off from
judgments of the form _SP_, or _mRn_. I am willing, again, to admit
that such may turn out to be the fact. But meanwhile the prima facie
difference is worth considering, if only for the sake of reaching a
conclusion as to whether or no there is a kind of subject-matter so
distinctive as to imply a distinctive logical form. To assume in
advance that the subject-matter of practical judgments _must_ be
reducible to the form _SP_ or _mRn_ is assuredly as gratuitous as the
contrary assumption. It begs one of the most important questions about
the world which can be asked: the nature of time. Moreover, current
discussion exhibits, if not a complete void, at least a decided lacuna
as to propositions of this type. Mr. Russell has recently said that of
the two parts of logic the first enumerates or inventories the
different kinds or forms of propositions.[78] It is noticeable that he
does not even mention this kind as a possible kind. Yet it is
conceivable that this omission seriously compromises the discussion of
other kinds.

Additional specimens of practical judgments may be given: He had
better consult a physician; it would not be advisable for you to
invest in those bonds; the United States should either modify its
Monroe Doctrine or else make more efficient military preparations;
this is a good time to build a house; if I do that I shall be doing
wrong, etc. It is silly to dwell upon the practical importance of
judgments of this sort, but not wholly silly to say that their
practical importance arouses suspicion as to the grounds of their
neglect in discussion of logical forms in general. Regarding them, we
may say:

1. Their subject-matter implies an incomplete situation. This
incompleteness is not psychical. Something is "there," but what is
there does not constitute the entire objective situation. _As_ there,
it requires something else. Only after this something else has been
supplied will the given coincide with the full subject-matter. This
consideration has an important bearing upon the conception of the
indeterminate and contingent. It is sometimes assumed (both by
adherents and by opponents) that the validity of these notions entails
that the _given_ is itself indeterminate--which appears to be
nonsense. The logical implication is that of a subject-matter as yet
_unterminated_, unfinished, or not wholly given. The implication is of
future things. Moreover, the incompleteness is not personal. I mean by
this that the situation is not confined _within_ the one making the
judgment; the practical judgment is neither exclusively nor primarily
about one's self. On the contrary, it is a judgment about one's self
only as it is a judgment about the situation in which one is included,
and in which a multitude of other factors external to self are
included. The contrary assumption is so constantly made about moral
judgments that this statement must appear dogmatic. But surely the
prima facie case is that when I judge that I should not give money to
the street beggar I am judging the nature of an objective situation,
and that the conclusion about myself is governed by the proposition
about the situation in which I happen to be included. The full,
complex proposition includes the beggar, social conditions and
consequences, a charity organization society, etc., on exactly the
same footing as it contains myself. Aside from the fact that it seems
impossible to defend the "objectivity" of moral propositions on any
other ground, we may at least point to the fact that judgments of
policy, whether made about ourselves or some other agent, are
certainly judgments of a _situation_ which is temporarily unfinished.
"Now is a good time for me to buy certain railway bonds" is a judgment
about myself only because it is primarily a judgment about hundreds of
factors wholly external to myself. If the genuine existence of such
propositions be admitted, the only question about moral judgments is
whether or no they are cases of practical judgments as the latter have
been defined--a question of utmost importance for moral theory, but
not of crucial import for our logical discussion.

2. Their subject-matter implies that the proposition is itself a
factor in the completion of the situation, carrying it forward to its
conclusion. According as the judgment is that this or that should be
done, the situation will, when completed, have this or that
subject-matter. The proposition that it is well to do this is a
proposition to treat the given in a certain way. Since the way is
established by the proposition, the proposition is _a_ determining
factor in the outcome. As a proposition about the supplementation of
the given, it is a factor _in_ the supplementation--and this not as an
extraneous matter, something subsequent to the proposition, but in its
own logical force. Here is found, prima facie at least, a marked
distinction of the practical proposition from descriptive and
narrative propositions, from the familiar _SP_ propositions and from
those of pure mathematics. The latter imply that the proposition does
not enter into the constitution of the subject-matter of the
proposition. There also is a distinction from another kind of
contingent proposition, namely, that which has the form: "He has
started for your house"; "The house is still burning"; "It will
probably rain." The unfinishedness of the given is implied in these
propositions, but it is not implied that the proposition is a factor
in determining their completion.

3. The subject-matter implies that it makes a difference how the given
is terminated: that one outcome is better than another, and that the
proposition is to be a factor in securing (as far as may be) the
better. In other words, there is something objectively at stake in the
forming of the proposition. A right or wrong _descriptive_ judgment (a
judgment confined to the given, whether temporal, spatial, or
subsistent) does not affect its subject-matter; it does not help or
hinder its development, for by hypothesis it has no development. But a
practical proposition affects the subject-matter for better or worse,
for it is a judgment as to the condition (the thing to be done) of the
existence of the complete subject-matter.[79]

4. A practical proposition is binary. It is a judgment that the given
is to be treated in a specified way; it is also a judgment that the
given admits of such treatment, that it admits of a specified
objective termination. It is a judgment, at the same stroke, of
end--the result to be brought about--and of means. Ethical theories
which disconnect the discussion of ends--as so many of them do--from
determination of means, thereby take discussion of ends out of the
region of judgment. If there be such ends, they have no intellectual

To judge that I should see a physician implies that the given elements
of the situation should be completed in a specific way and also that
they afford the conditions which make the proposed completion
practicable. The proposition concerns both resources and
obstacles--intellectual determination of elements lying in the way of,
say, proper vigor, and of elements which can be utilized to get around
or surmount these obstacles. The judgment regarding the need of a
physician implies the existence of hindrances in the pursuit of the
normal occupations of life, but it equally implies the existence of
positive factors which may be set in motion to surmount the hindrances
and reinstate normal pursuits.

It is worth while to call attention to the reciprocal character of the
practical judgment in its bearing upon the statement of means. From the
side of the end, the reciprocal nature locates and condemns utopianism
and romanticism: what is sometimes called idealism. From the side of
means, it locates and condemns materialism and predeterminism: what is
sometimes called mechanism. By materialism I mean the conception that
the given contains exhaustively the entire subject-matter of practical
judgment: that the facts in their givenness are all "there is to it."
The given is undoubtedly just what it is; it is determinate throughout.
But it is the given _of_ something to be done. The survey and inventory
of present conditions (of facts) are not something complete in
themselves; they exist for the sake of an intelligent determination of
what is to be done, of what is required to complete the given. To
conceive the given in any such way, then, as to imply that it negates
in its given character the possibility of any doing, of any
modification, is self-contradictory. As a part of a practical judgment,
the discovery that a man is suffering from an illness is not a
discovery that he must suffer, or that the subsequent course of events
is determined by his illness; it is the indication of a needed and a
possible course by which to restore health. Even the discovery that the
illness is hopeless falls within this principle. It is an indication
not to waste time and money on certain fruitless endeavors, to prepare
affairs with respect to death, etc. It is also an indication of search
for conditions which will render in the future similar cases
remediable, not hopeless. The whole case for the genuineness of
practical judgments stands or falls with this principle. It is open to
question. But decision as to its validity must rest upon empirical
evidence. It cannot be ruled out of court by a dialectic development of
the implications of propositions about what is already given or what
has already happened. That is, its invalidity cannot be deduced from an
assertion that the character of the scientific judgment as a discovery
and statement of what is forbids it, much less from an analysis of
mathematical propositions. For this method only begs the question.
Unless the facts are complicated by the surreptitious introduction of
some preconception, the prima facie empirical case is that the
scientific judgment--the determinate diagnosis--favors instead of
forbidding the doctrine of a possibility of change of the given. To
overthrow this presumption means, I repeat, to discover specific
evidence which makes it impossible. And in view of the immense body of
empirical evidence showing that we add to control of what is given (the
subject-matter of scientific judgment) by means of scientific judgment,
the likelihood of any such discovery seems slight.

These considerations throw light upon the proper meaning of
(practical) idealism and of mechanism. Idealism in action does not
seem to be anything except an explicit recognition of just the
implications we have been considering. It signifies a recognition that
the given is given _as_ obstacles to one course of active development
or completion and _as_ resources for another course by which
development of the situation directly blocked may be indirectly
secured. It is not a blind instinct of hopefulness or that
miscellaneous obscurantist emotionalism often called optimism, any
more than it is utopianism. It is recognition of the increased
liberation and redirection of the course of events achieved through
accurate discovery. Or, more specifically, it is this recognition
operating as a ruling motive in extending the work of discovery and
utilizing its results.

"Mechanism" means the reciprocal recognition on the side of means. It
is the recognition of the import within the practical judgment, of the
given, of fact, in its determinate character. The facts in their
isolation, taken as complete in themselves, are not mechanistic. At
most, they just are, and that is the end of them. They are mechanistic
as indicating the mechanism, the means, of accomplishing the
possibilities which they indicate. Apart from a forward look (the
anticipation of the future movement of affairs) mechanism is a
meaningless conception. There is no sense in applying the conception
to a finished world, to any scene which is simply and only done with.
Propositions regarding a past world, just as past (not as furnishing
the conditions of what is to be done), might be complete and accurate,
but they would be of the nature of a complex catalogue. To introduce,
in addition, the conception of mechanism is to introduce the
implication of possibilities of future accomplishment.[80]

5. The judgment of what is to be done implies, as we have just seen, a
statement of what the given facts of the situation are, taken as
indications of the course to pursue and of the means to be employed in
its pursuit. Such a statement demands accuracy. Completeness is not so
much an additional requirement as it is a condition of accuracy. For
accuracy depends fundamentally upon relevancy to the determination of
what is to be done. Completeness does not mean exhaustiveness _per
se_, but adequacy as respects end and its means. To include too much,
or what is irrelevant, is a violation of the demand for accuracy quite
as well as to leave out--to fail to discover--what is important.

Clear recognition of this fact will enable one to avoid certain
dialectic confusions. It has been argued that a judgment of given
existence, or fact, cannot be hypothetical; that factuality and
hypothetical character are contradictions in terms. They would be if
the two qualifications were used in the same respect. But they are
not. The hypothesis is that the facts which constitute the terms of
the proposition of the given are relevant and adequate for the purpose
in hand--the determination of a possibility to be accomplished in
action. The data may be as factual, as absolute as you please, and yet
in no way guarantee that they are the data _of_ this particular
judgment. Suppose the thing to be done is the formation of a
prediction regarding the return of a comet. The prime difficulty is
not in making observations, or in the mathematical calculations based
upon them--difficult as these things may be. It is making sure that we
have taken as data the observations really implicated in the doing
rightly of this particular thing: that we have not left out something
which is relevant, or included something which has nothing to do with
the further movement of the comet. Darwin's hypothesis of natural
selection does not stand or fall with the correctness of his
propositions regarding breeding of animals in domestication. The facts
of artificial selection may be as stated--in themselves there may be
nothing hypothetical about them. But their bearing upon the origin of
species _is_ a hypothesis. Logically, any factual proposition is a
hypothetical proposition when it is made the basis of any inference.

6. The bearing of this remark upon the nature of the truth of practical
judgments (including the judgment of what is given) is obvious. Their
truth or falsity is constituted by the issue. The determination of
end-means (constituting the terms and relations of the practical
proposition) is hypothetical until the course of action indicated has
been tried. The event or issue of such action _is_ the truth or falsity
of the judgment. This is an immediate conclusion from the fact that
only the issue gives the complete subject-matter. In this case, at
least, verification and truth completely coincide--unless there is some
serious error in the prior analysis.

This completes the account, preliminary to a consideration of other
matters. But the account suggests another and independent question
with respect to which I shall make an excursus. How far is it possible
and legitimate to extend or generalize the results reached to apply to
all propositions of facts? That is to say, is it possible and
legitimate to treat all scientific or descriptive statements of
matters of fact as implying indirectly if not directly, something to
be done, future possibilities to be realized in action? The question
as to legitimacy is too complicated to be discussed in an incidental
way. But it cannot be denied that there is a possibility of such
application, nor that the possibility is worth careful examination. We
may frame at least a hypothesis that all judgments of fact have
reference to a determination of courses of action to be tried and to
the discovery of means for their realization. In the sense already
explained all propositions which state discoveries or ascertainments,
all categorical propositions, would be hypothetical, and their truth
would coincide with their tested consequences effected by intelligent

This theory may be called pragmatism. But it is a type of pragmatism
quite free from dependence upon a voluntaristic psychology. It is not
complicated by reference to emotional satisfactions or the play of

I am not arguing the point. But possibly critics of pragmatism would
get a new light upon its meaning were they to set out with an
analysis of ordinary practical judgments and then proceed to consider
the bearing of its result upon judgments of facts and essences. Mr.
Bertrand Russell has remarked[81] that pragmatism originated as a
theory about the truth of theories, but ignored the "truths of fact"
upon which theories rest and by which they are tested. I am not
concerned to question this so far as the origin of pragmatism is
concerned. Philosophy, at least, has been mainly a matter of theories;
and Mr. James was conscientious enough to be troubled about the way in
which the meaning of such theories is to be settled and the way in
which they are to be tested. His pragmatism was in effect (as Mr.
Russell recognizes) a statement of the need of applying to philosophic
theories the same kinds of test as are used in the theories of the
inductive sciences. But this does not preclude the application of a
like method to dealing with so-called "truths of fact." Facts may be
facts, and yet not be the facts _of_ the inquiry in hand. In all
scientific inquiry, however, to call them facts or data or truths of
fact signifies that they are taken as the _relevant_ facts of the
inference to be made. _If_ (as this would seem to indicate) they are
then implicated however indirectly in a proposition about what is to
be done, they are themselves theoretical in logical quality. Accuracy
of statement and correctness of reasoning would then be factors in
truth, but so also would be verification. Truth would be a triadic
relation, but of a different sort from that expounded by Mr. Russell.
For accuracy and correctness would both be functions of verifiability.



It is my purpose to apply the conclusions previously drawn as to the
implications of practical judgment to the subject of judgments of
value. First, I shall try to clear away some sources of

Unfortunately, however, there is a deep-seated ambiguity which makes
it difficult to dismiss the matter of value summarily. The
_experience_ of a good and the _judgment_ that something is a value of
a certain kind and amount have been almost inextricably confused. The
confusion has a long history. It is found in mediaeval thought; it is
revived by Descartes; recent psychology has given it a new career. The
senses were regarded as modes of knowledge of greater or less
adequacy, and the feelings were regarded as modes of sense, and hence
as modes of cognitive apprehension. Descartes was interested in
showing, for scientific purposes, that the senses are not organs of
apprehending the qualities of bodies as such, but only of apprehending
their relation to the well-being of the sentient organism. Sensations
of pleasure and pain, along with those of hunger, thirst, etc., most
easily lent themselves to this treatment; colors, tones, etc., were
them assimilated. Of them all he says: "These perceptions of sense
have been placed within me by nature for the purpose of _signifying_
what things are beneficial or harmful."[82] Thus it was possible to
identify the real properties of bodies with their geometrical ones,
without exposing himself to the conclusion that God (or nature)
deceives us in the perception of color, sound, etc. These perceptions
are only intended to teach us what things to pursue and avoid, and as
_such_ apprehensions they are adequate. His identification of any and
every experience of good with a judgment or cognitive apprehension is
clear in the following words: "When we are given news the mind first
judges of it and if it is good it rejoices."[83]

This is a survival of the scholastic psychology of the _vis
aestimativa_. Lotze's theory that the emotions, as involving pleasure
and pain, are organs of value judgments, or in more recent
terminology, that they are cognitive appreciations of worth
(corresponding to immediate apprehensions of sensory qualities)
presents the same tradition in a new terminology.

As against all this, the present paper takes its stand with the
position stated by Hume, in the following words: "A passion is an
original existence, or, if you will, modification of existence; and
contains not any representative quality, which renders it a copy of
any other existence or modification. When I am angry I am actually
possest with the passion, and in that emotion have no more a reference
to any other object, than when I am thirsty, or sick, or more than
five feet high."[84] In so doing, I may seem to some to be begging the
question at issue. But such is surely the prima facie fact of the
matter. Only a prior dogma to the effect that every conscious
experience _is_, _ipso facto_, a form of cognition leads to any
obscuration of the fact, and the burden of proof is upon those who
uphold the dogma.[85]

A further word upon "appreciation" seems specially called for in view
of the currency of the doctrine that "appreciation" is a peculiar kind
of knowledge, or cognitive revelation of reality: peculiar in having a
distinct type of reality for its object and in having for its organ a
peculiar mental condition differing from the intelligence of everyday
knowledge and of science. Actually, there do not seem to be any
grounds for regarding appreciation as anything but an intentionally
enhanced or intensified experience of an object. Its opposite is not
descriptive or explanatory knowledge, but _de_preciation--a degraded
realization of an object. A man may climb a mountain to get a better
realization of a landscape; he may travel to Greece to get a
realization of the Parthenon more full than that which he has had from
pictures. Intelligence, knowledge, may be involved in the steps taken
to get the enhanced experience, but that does not make the landscape
or the Parthenon as fully savored a cognitive object. So the fulness
of a musical experience may depend upon prior critical analysis, but
that does not necessarily make the hearing of music a kind of
non-analytic cognitive act. Either appreciation means just an
intensified experience, or it means a kind of criticism, and then it
falls within the sphere of ordinary judgment, differing in being
applied to a work of art instead of to some other subject-matter. The
same mode of analysis may be applied to the older but cognate term
"intuition." The terms "acquaintance" and "familiarity" and
"recognition" (acknowledgment) are full of like pitfalls of ambiguity.

In contemporary discussion of value-judgments, however, appreciation
is a peculiarly treacherous term. It is first asserted (or assumed)
that all experiences of good are modes of knowing: that good is a
term of a proposition. Then when experience forces home the immense
difference between evaluation as a critical process (a process of
inquiry for the determination of a good precisely similar to that
which is undertaken in science in the determination of the nature of
an event) and ordinary experience of good and evil, appeal is made to
the difference between direct apprehension and indirect or inferential
knowledge, and "appreciation" is called in to play the convenient rôle
of an immediate cognitive apprehension. Thus a second error is used to
cover up and protect a primary one. To savor a thing fully--as Arnold
Bennett's heroines are wont to do--is no more a knowing than is the
chance savoring which arises when things smelled are found good, or
than is being angry or thirsty or more than five feet high. All the
language which we can employ is charged with a force acquired through
reflection. Even when I speak of a direct experience of a good or bad,
one is only too likely to read in traits characterizing a thing which
is found in consequence of thinking, to be good; one has to use
language simply to stimulate a recourse to a direct experiencing in
which language is not depended upon. If one is willing to make such an
imaginative excursion--no one can be compelled--he will note that
_finding_ a thing good apart from reflective judgment means simply
treating the thing in a certain way, hanging on to it, dwelling upon
it, welcoming it and acting to perpetuate its presence, taking delight
in it. It is a way of behaving toward it, a mode of organic reaction.
A psychologist may, indeed, bring in the emotions, but if his
contribution is relevant it will be because the emotions which figure
in his account are just part of the primary organic reaction to the
object. In contrary fashion, to find a thing bad (in a direct
experience as distinct from the result of a reflective examination) is
to be moved to reject it, to try to get away from it, to destroy or at
least to displace it. It connotes not an act of apprehension but an
act of repugning, of repelling. To term the thing good or evil is to
state the fact (noted in recollection) that it was actually involved
in a situation of organic acceptance or rejection, with whatever
qualities specifically characterize the act.

All this is said because I am convinced that contemporary discussion
of values and valuation suffers from confusion of the two radically
different attitudes--that of direct, active, non-cognitive experience
of goods and bads and that of valuation, the latter being simply a
mode of judgment like any other form of judgment, differing in that
its subject-matter happens to be a good or a bad instead of a horse or
planet or curve. But unfortunately for discussions, "to value" means
two radically different things: to prize and appraise; to esteem and
to estimate: to find good in the sense described above, and to judge
it to be good, to _know_ it as good. I call them radically different
because to prize names a practical, non-intellectual attitude, and to
appraise names a judgment. That men love and hold things dear, that
they cherish and care for some things, and neglect and contemn other
things, is an undoubted fact. To call these things values is just to
repeat that they are loved and cherished; it is not to give a reason
for their being loved and cherished. To call them values and then
import into them the traits of objects of valuation; or to import into
values, meaning valuated objects, the traits which things possess as
held dear, is to confuse the theory of judgments of value past all

And before coming to the more technical discussion, the currency of
the confusion and the bad result consequences may justify dwelling
upon the matter. The distinction may be compared to that between
eating something and investigating the food properties of the thing
eaten. A man eats something; it may be said that his very eating
implies that he _took_ it to be food, that he judged it, or regarded
it cognitively, and that the question is just whether he judged truly
or made a false proposition. Now if anybody will condescend to a
concrete experience he will perceive how often a man eats _without_
thinking; that he puts into his mouth what is set before him from
habit, as an infant does from instinct. An onlooker or anyone who
reflects is justified in saying that he _acts as if_ he judged the
material to be food. He is not justified in saying that any judgment
or intellectual determination has entered in. He has acted; he has
behaved toward something as food: that is only to say that he has put
it in his mouth and swallowed it instead of spewing it forth. The
object may then be called food. But this does not mean either that it
_is_ food (namely, digestible and nourishing material) or that the
eater judged it to be food and so formed a proposition which is true
or false. The proposition would arise only in case he is in some
doubt, or if he reflects that in spite of his immediate attitude of
aversion the thing is wholesome and his system needs recuperation,
etc. Or later, if the man is ill, a physician may inquire what he ate,
and pronounce that something not food at all, but poison.

In the illustration employed, there is no danger of any harm arising
from using the retroactive term "food"; there is no likelihood of
confusing the two senses "actually eaten" and "nourishing article."
But with the terms "value" and "good" there is a standing danger of
just such a confusion. Overlooking the fact that good and bad as
_reasonable_ terms involve a _relationship to other things_ (exactly
similar to that implied in calling a particular article food or
poison), we suppose that when we are reflecting upon or inquiring into
the good or value of some act or object, we are dealing with something
as simple, as self-inclosed, as the simple act of immediate prizing or
welcoming or cherishing performed without rhyme or reason, from
instinct or habit. In truth just as determining a thing _to be_ food
means considering its relations to digestive organs, to its
distribution and ultimate destination in the system, so determining a
thing found good (namely, treated in a certain way) _to be_ good means
precisely ceasing to look at it as a direct, self-sufficient thing and
considering it in its consequences--that is, in its relations to a
large set of other things. If the man in eating consciously implies
that what he eats is food, he anticipates or predicts certain
consequences, with more or less adequate grounds for so doing. He
passes a judgment or apprehends or knows--truly or falsely. So a man
may not only enjoy a thing, but he may judge the thing enjoyed to be
good, to be a value. But in so doing he is going beyond the thing
immediately present and making an inference to other things, which, he
implies, are connected with it. The thing taken into the mouth and
stomach _has_ consequences whether a man thinks of them or not. But he
does not _know_ the thing he eats--he does not make it a term of a
certain character--unless he thinks of the consequences and connects
them with the thing he eats. If he just stops and says "Oh, how good
this is," he is not saying anything about the object except the fact
that he enjoys eating it. We may if we choose regard this exclamation
as a reflection or judgment. But if it is intellectual, it is asserted
for the sake of enhancing the enjoyment; it is a means to an end. A
very hungry man will generally satisfy his appetite to some extent
before he indulges in even such rudimentary propositions.[86]


But we must return to a placing of our problem in this context. My
theme is that a judgment of value is simply a case of a practical
judgment, a judgment about the doing of something. This conflicts with
the assumption that it is a judgment about a particular kind of
existence independent of action, concerning which the main problem is
whether it is subjective or objective. It conflicts with every
tendency to make the determination of the right or wrong course of
action (whether in morals, technology, or scientific inquiry)
dependent upon an independent determination of some ghostly things
called value-objects--whether their ghostly character is attributed to
their existing in some transcendental eternal realm or in some realm
called states of mind. It asserts that value-objects mean simply
objects as judged to possess a certain _force_ within a situation
temporally developing toward a determinate result. To _find_ a thing
good is, I repeat, to attribute or impute nothing to it. It is just to
do something to it. But to consider _whether_ it is good and how good
it is, is to ask how it, _as if acted upon_, will operate in promoting
a course of action.

Hence the great contrast which may exist between a good or an
immediate experience and an evaluated or judged good. The rain may be
most uncomfortable (just _be_ it, as a man is more than five feet
tall) and yet be "good" for growing crops--that is, favor or promote
their movement in a given direction. This does not mean that two
contrasting judgments of value are passed. It means that _no_ judgment
has yet taken place. If, however, I am moved to pass a value-judgment
I should probably say that in spite of the disagreeableness of getting
wet, the shower is a good thing. I am now judging it as a _means_ in
two contrasting situations, as a means with respect to two ends. I
compare my discomfort as a _consequence_ of the rain with the
prospective crops as another consequence, and say "let the latter
consequence be." I identify myself as agent with it, rather than with
the immediate discomfort of the wetting. It is quite true that in this
case I cannot do anything about it; my identification is, so to speak,
sentimental rather than practical so far as stopping the rain or
growing the crops is concerned. But in effect it is an assertion that
one would not on account of the discomfort of the rain stop it; that
one would, if one could, encourage its continuance. Go it, rain, one

The specific intervention of action is obvious enough in plenty of
other cases. It occurs to me that this agreeable "food" which I am
eating isn't a food for me; it brings on indigestion. It functions no
longer as an _immediate_ good; as something to be accepted. If I
continue eating, it will be after I have deliberated. I have
considered it as a means to two conflicting possible consequences, the
present enjoyment of eating and the later state of health. One or
other is possible, not both--though of course I may "solve" the
problem by persuading myself that in this instance they are congruent.
The value-object now means thing judged to be a means of procuring
this or that end. As prizing, esteeming, holding dear denote ways of
acting, so valuing denotes a passing judgment upon such acts with
reference to their connection with other acts, or with respect to the
continuum of behavior in which they fall. Valuation means change of
mode of behavior from direct acceptance and welcoming to doubting and
looking into--acts which involve postponement of direct (or so-called
overt) action and which imply a future act having a different
_meaning_ from that just now occurring--for even if one decides to
continue in the previous act its meaning-content is different when it
is chosen after reflective examination.

A practical judgment has been defined as a judgment of what to do, or
what is to be done: a judgment respecting the future termination of an
incomplete and in so far indeterminate situation. To say that
judgments of value fall within this field is to say two things: one,
that the judgment of value is never complete in itself, but always in
behalf of determining what is to be done; the other, that judgments of
value (as distinct from the direct experience of something as good)
imply that value is not anything previously given, but is something to
be given by future action, itself conditioned upon (varying with) the
judgment. This statement may appear to contradict the recent assertion
that a value-object for knowledge means one investigated as a means to
competing ends. For such a means it already is; the lobster _will_
give me present enjoyment and future indigestion _if_ I eat it. But as
long as I judge, _value_ is indeterminate. The question is not what
the thing will do--I may be quite clear about that: it is whether to
perform the act which will actualize its potentiality. What will I
have the situation _become_ as between alternatives? And that means
what force shall the thing as means be given? Shall I take it as means
to present enjoyment, or as a (negative) condition of future health?
When its status in these respects is determined, its value is
determined; judgment ceases, action goes on.

Practical judgments do not therefore primarily concern themselves with
the value of _objects_; but with the course of action demanded to
carry an incomplete situation to its fulfilment. The adequate control
of such judgments may, however, be facilitated by judgment of the
worth of objects which enter as ends and means into the action
contemplated. For example, my primary (and ultimate) judgment has to
do, say, with buying a suit of clothes: whether to buy and, if so,
what? The question is of better and worse with respect to alternative
courses of action, not with respect to various objects. But the
judgment will be a judgment (and not a chance reaction) in the degree
in which it takes for its intervening subject-matter the value-status
of various objects. What are the prices of given suits? What are their
styles in respect to current fashion? How do their patterns compare?
What about their durability? How about their respective adaptability
to the chief wearing use I have in mind? Relative, or comparative,
durability, cheapness, suitability, style, aesthetic attractiveness
constitute value traits. They are traits of objects not _per se_, but
_as entering into a possible and foreseen completing of the
situation_. Their value is their force in precisely this function. The
decision of better and worse is the determination of their respective
capacities and intensities _in this regard_. Apart from their status
in this office, they have no traits of value for knowledge. A
determination of better value as found in some one suit is equivalent
to (has the force of) a decision as to what it is better to do. It
provided the lacking stimulus so that action occurs, or passes from
its indeterminate-indecisive-state into decision.

Reference to the terms "subjective" and "objective" will, perhaps,
raise a cloud of ambiguities. But for this very reason it may be worth
while to point out the ambiguous nature of the term objective as
applied to valuations. Objective may be identified, quite erroneously,
with qualities existing outside of and independently of the situation
in which a decision as to a future course of action has to be reached.
Or, objective may denote the status of qualities of an object _in
respect_ to the situation to be completed through judgment.
Independently of the situation requiring practical judgment, clothes
already have a given price, durability, pattern, etc. These traits are
not affected by the judgment. They exist; they are given. But as given
they are _not_ determinate values. They are not _objects_ of
valuation; they are _data for_ a valuation. We may have to take pains
to discover that these given qualities are, but their discovery is in
order that there may be a subsequent judgment of value. Were they
already definite values, they would not be estimated; they would be
stimuli to direct response. If a man had already decided that
cheapness constituted value, he would simply take the cheapest suit
offered. What he judges is the value of cheapness, and this depends
upon its weight or importance in the situation requiring action, as
compared with durability, style, adaptability, etc. Discovery of
shoddy would not affect the _de facto_ durability of the goods, but it
would affect the value of cheapness--that is, _the weight assigned
that trait in influencing judgment_--which it would not do, if
cheapness already had a definite value. A value, in short, means a
_consideration_, and a consideration does not mean an existence
merely, but an existence having a claim upon judgment. Value judged is
not existential quality noted, but is the influence attached by
judgment to a given existential quality in determining judgment.

The conclusion is not that value is subjective, but that it is
practical. The situation in which judgment of value is required is not
mental, much less fanciful. I can but think that much of the recent
discussion of the objectivity of value and of value-judgments rests
upon a false psychological theory. It rests upon giving certain terms
meanings that flow from an introspective psychology which accepts a
realm of purely private states of consciousness, private not in a
social sense (a sense implying courtesy or mayhap secrecy toward
others), but existential independence and separateness. To refer value
to choice or desire, for example, is in that case to say that value is
subjectively conditioned. Quite otherwise, if we have steered clear
from such a psychology. Choice, decision, means primarily a certain
act, a piece of behavior on the part of a particular thing. That a
horse chooses to eat hay means only that it eats hay; that the man
chooses to steal means (at least) that he tries to steal. This trial
may come, however, _after_ an intervening act of reflection. It then
has a certain intellectual or cognitive quality. But it may mean
simply the bare fact of an action which is retrospectively called a
choice: as a man, in spite of all temptation to belong to another
nation, chooses to be born an Englishman, which, if it has any sense
at all, signifies a choice to continue in a line adopted without
choice. Taken in this latter sense (in which case, terms like choice
and desire refer to ways of behavior), their use is only a
specification of the general doctrine that all valuation has to do
with the determination of a course of action. Choice, preference, is
originally only a bias in a given direction, a bias which is no more
subjective or psychical than is the fact that a ball thrown is
swerving in a particular direction rather than in some other curve. It
is just a name for the differential character of the action. But let
continuance in a certain line of action become questionable, let, that
is to say, it be regarded as a means to a future consequence, which
consequence has alternatives, and then choice gets a logical or
intellectual sense; a _mental_ status if the term "mental" is reserved
for acts having this intellectualized quality. Choice still means the
fixing of a course of action; it means at least a _set_ to be released
as soon as physically possible. Otherwise man has not chosen, but has
quieted himself into a belief that he has chosen in order to relieve
himself of the strain of suspense.

Exactly the same analysis applies to desire. Diverse anticipated ends
may provoke divided and competing present reactions; the organism may
be torn between different courses, each interfering with the
completion of the other. This intra-organic pulling and hauling, this
strife of active tendencies, is a genuine phenomenon. The pull in a
given direction measures the immediate hold of an anticipated
termination or end upon us, as compared with that of some other. If
one asked after the mechanism of the valuing process, I have no doubt
that the answer would be in terms of desires thus conceived. But
unless everything relating to the activity of a highly organized being
is to be denominated subjective, I see no ground for calling it
subjective. So far as I can make out, the emphasis upon a
psychological treatment of value and valuation in a subjective sense
is but a highly awkward and negative way of maintaining a positive
truth: that value and valuation fall within the universe of _action_:
that as welcoming, accepting, is an act, so valuation is a present act
determining an act _to be_ done, a present act taking place because
the future act is uncertain and incomplete.

It does follow from this fact that valuation is not simply a
_recognition_ of the force or efficiency of a means with respect to
continuing a process. For unless there is _question_ about its
continuation, about its termination, valuation will not occur. And
there is no question save where activity is hesitant in direction
because of conflict within it. Metaphorically we may say that rain is
good to lay the dust, identifying force or efficiency with value. I do
not believe that valuations occur and values are brought into being
save in a continuing situation where things have potency for carrying
forward processes. There is a close relationship between prevailing,
valiancy, valency, and value. But the term "value" is not a mere
reduplication of the term "efficiency": it adds something. When we are
moving toward a result and at the same time are stimulated to move
toward something else which is incompatible with it (as in the case of
the lobster as a cause of both enjoyment and indigestion), a thing has
a dual potency. Not until the end has been established is the value of
the lobster settled, although there need be no doubt about its
efficiencies. As was pointed out earlier, the practical judgment
determines means and end at the same time. How then can value be
given, as efficiency is given, until the end is chosen? The rain is
(metaphorically) valuable for laying dust. Whether it is valuable for
us to have the dust laid--and if so, how valuable--we shall never know
until some activity of our own which is a factor in dust-laying comes
into conflict with an incompatible activity. Its value is its force,
indeed, but it is its force in moving us to one end _rather_ than to
another. Not every potency, in other words, but potency with the
specific qualification of falling within judgment about future action,
means value or valuable thing. Consequently there is no value save in
situations where desires and the need of deliberation in order to
choose are found, and yet this fact gives no excuse for regarding
desire and deliberation and decision as subjective phenomena.

To use an Irish bull, as long as a man _knows_ what he desires there
is no desire; there is movement or endeavor in a given direction.
Desire is desires, and simultaneous desires are incompatible; they
mark, as we have noted, competing activities, movements in directions,
which cannot both be extended. Reflection is a process of finding out
what we want, what, as we say, we _really_ want, and this means the
formation of new desire, a new direction of action. In this process,
things _get_ values--something they did not possess before, although
they had their efficiencies.

At whatever risk of shock, this doctrine should be exposed in all its
nakedness. To judge value is to engage in instituting a determinate
value where none is given. It is not necessary that antecedently given
values should be the data of the valuation; and where they are given
data they are only terms in the determination of a not yet existing
value. When a man is ill and after deliberation concludes that it be
well to see a doctor, the doctor doubtless exists antecedently. But
it is not the doctor who is judged to be the good of the situation,
but the _seeing_ of the doctor: a thing which, by description, exists
only because of an act dependent upon a judgment. Nor is the health
the man antecedently possessed (or which somebody has) the thing which
he judges to be a value; the thing judged to be a value is the
restoring of health--something by description not yet existing. The
results flowing from his past health will doubtless influence him in
reaching his judgment that it will be a good to have restored health,
but they do not constitute the good which forms his subject-matter and
object of his judgment. He may judge that they _were_ good without
judging that they are now good, for to be judged now good means to be
judged to be the object of a course of action still to be undertaken.
And to _judge_ that they were good (as distinct from merely recalling
certain benefits which accrued from health) is to judge that _if_ the
situation had required a reflective determination of a course of
action one would have judged health an existence to be attained or
preserved by action. There are dialectic difficulties which may be
raised about judgments of this sort. For they imply the seeming
paradox of a judgment whose proper subject-matter is its own
determinate formation. But nothing is gained by obscuring the fact
that such is the nature of the practical judgment: it is a judgment of
what and how to judge--of the weight to be assigned to various
factors in the determination of judgment. It would be interesting to
inquire into the question whether this peculiarity may not throw light
upon the nature of "consciousness," but into that field we cannot now


From what has been said, it immediately follows, of course, that a
determinate value is instituted as a decisive factor with respect to
what is to be done. Wherever a determinate good exists, there is an
adequate stimulus to action, and no judgment of what is to be done or
of the value of an object is called for. It is frequently assumed,
however, that valuation is a process of applying some fixed or
determinate value to the various competing goods of a situation; that
valuation implies a prior standard of value and consists in comparing
various goods with the standard as the supreme value. This assumption
requires examination. If it is sound it deprives the position which
has been taken of any validity. For it renders the judgment of what to
do a matter of applying a value existing ready-made, instead of
making--as we have done--the valuation a determination within the
practical judgment. The argument would run this way: Every practical
judgment depends upon a judgment of the value of the end to be
attained; this end may be such only proximately, but that implies
something else judged to be good, and so, logically, till we have
arrived at the judgment of a supreme good, a final end or _summum
bonum_. If this statement correctly describes the state of the case
there can be no doubt that a practical judgment depends upon a prior
recognition of value; consequently the hypothesis upon which we have
been proceeding reverses the actual facts.

The first thing by way of critical comment is to point out the
ambiguity in the term "end." I should like to fall back upon what was
said earlier about the thoroughly reciprocal character of means and
end in the practical judgment. If this be admitted it is also admitted
that only by a judgment of means--things having value in the carrying
of an indeterminate situation to a completion--is the end
determinately made out in judgment. But I fear I cannot count upon
this as granted. So I will point out that "end" may mean either the
_de facto_ limit to judgment, which by definition does not enter into
judgment at all, or it may mean the last and completing object of
judgment, the conception of that object in which a transitive
incompletely given situation would come to rest. Of end in the first
sense, it is to be said that it is not a value at all; of end in the
second sense, that it is identical with a finale of the kind we have
just been discussing or that it is determined in judgment, not a value
given by which to control the judgment. It may be asserted that in the
illustration used some typical suit of clothes is the value which
affords the standard of valuation of all the suits which are offered
to the buyer; that he passes judgment on their value as compared with
the standard suit as an end and supreme value. This statement brings
out the ambiguity just referred to. The need of something to wear is
the _stimulus_ to the judgment of the value of suits offered, and
possession of a suit puts an end _to_ judgment. It is an end _of_
judgment in the objective, not in the possessive, sense of the
preposition "of"; it is an end not in the sense of aim, but in the
sense of a terminating limit. When possession begins, judgment has
already ceased. And if argument _ad verucundiam_ has any weight I may
point out that this is the doctrine of Aristotle when he says we never
deliberate about ends, but only about means. That is to say, in all
deliberation (or practical judgment or inquiry) there is always
something outside of judgment which fixes its beginning and end or
terminus. And I would add that, according to Aristotle, deliberation
always ceases when we have come to the "first link in the chain of
causes, which is last in the order of discovery," and this means "when
we have traced back the chain of causes [means] to ourselves." In
other words, the last end-in-view is always that which operates as the
direct or immediate means of setting our own powers in operation. The
end-in-view upon which judgment of action settles down is simply the
adequate or complete means to the doing of something.

We do deliberate, however, about _aims_, about ends-in-view--a fact
which shows their radically different nature from ends as limits to
deliberation. The aim in the present instance is not the suit of
clothes, but the _getting of a proper_ suit. That is what is precisely
estimated or valuated; and I think I may claim to have shown that the
determination of this aim is identical with the determination of the
value of a suit through comparison of the values of cheapness,
durability, style, pattern of different suits offered. Value is not
determined by comparing various suits with an ideal model, but by
comparing various suits with respect to cheapness, durability,
adaptability _with one another_--involving, of course, reference also
to length of purse, suits already possessed, etc., and other specific
elements in the situation which demands that something be done. The
purchaser may, of course, have settled upon something which serves as
a model before he goes to buy; but that only means that his judging
has been done beforehand; the model does not then function in
judgment, but in his act as stimulus to immediate action. And there is
a consideration here involved of the utmost importance as to practical
judgments of the moral type: The more completely the notion of the
model is formed outside and irrespective of the specific conditions
which the situation of action presents, the less intelligent is the
act. Most men might have their ideals of the model changed somewhat in
the face of the actual offering, even in the case of buying clothes.
The man who is not accessible to such change in the case of moral
situations has ceased to be a moral agent and become a reacting
machine. In short, the standard of valuation is formed in the process
of practical judgment or valuation. It is not something taken from
outside and applied within it--such application means there is no


Nothing has been said thus far about a standard. Yet the conception of
a standard, or a measure, is so closely connected with valuation that
its consideration affords a test of the conclusions reached. It must
be admitted that the concepts of the nature of a standard pointed to
by the course of the prior discussion is not in conformity with
current conceptions. For the argument points to a standard which is
determined within the process of valuation, not outside of it, and
hence not capable of being employed ready-made, therefore, to settle
the valuing process. To many persons, this will seem absurd to the
point of self-contradiction. The prevailing conception, however, has
been adopted without examination; it is a preconception. If accepted,
it deprives judgment and knowledge of all significant import in
connection with moral action. If the standard is already given, all
that remains is its mechanical application to the case in hand--as one
would apply a yard rule to dry-goods. Genuine moral uncertainty is
then impossible; where it seems to exist, it is only a name for a
moral unwillingness, due to inherent viciousness, to recognize and
apply the rules already made and provided, or else for a moral
corruption which has enfeebled man's power of moral apprehension. When
the doctrine of standards prior to and independent of moral judgments
is accompanied by these other doctrines of original sin and
corruption, one must respect the thoroughgoing logic of the doctrine.
Such is not, however, the case with the modern theories which make the
same assumption of standards preceding instead of resulting from moral
judgments, and which ignore the question of uncertainty and error in
their apprehension. Such considerations do not, indeed, decide
anything, but they may serve to get a more unprejudiced hearing for a
hypothesis which runs counter to current theories, since it but
formulates the trend of current practices in their increasing tendency
to make the act of intelligence the central factor in morals.

Let us, accordingly, consider the alternatives to regarding the
standard of value as something evolved in the process of reflective
valuation. How can such a standard be known? Either by an a priori
method of intuition, or by abstraction from prior cases. The latter
conception throws us into the arms of hedonism. For the hedonistic
theory of the standard of value derives its logical efficiency from
the consideration that the notion of a prior and fixed standard (one
which is not determined within the situation by reflection) forces us
back upon antecedent irreducible pleasures and pains which alone are
values definite and certain enough to supply standards. They alone are
simple enough to be independent and ultimate. The apparently
common-sense alternative would be to take the "value" of prior
situations _in toto_, say, the value of an act of kindness to a
sufferer. But any such good is a function of the total unanalyzed
situation; it has, consequently, no application to a new situation
unless the new exactly repeats the old one. Only when the "good" is
resolved into simple and unalterable units, in terms of which old
situations can be equated to new ones on the basis of the number of
units contained, can an unambiguous standard be found.

The logic is unimpeachable, and points to irreducible pleasures and
pains as the standard of valuation. The difficulty is not in the logic
but in empirical facts, facts which verify our prior contention.
Conceding, for the sake of argument, that there are definite
existences such as are called pleasures and pains, they are _not_
value-objects, but are only things to be valued. Exactly the same
pleasure or pain, as an existence, has different values at different
times according to the way in which it is judged. What is the value of
the pleasure of eating the lobster as compared with the pains of
indigestion? The rule tells us, of course, to break up the pleasure
and pain into elementary units and count.[87] Such ultimate simple
units seem, however, to be about as much within the reach of ordinary
knowledge as atoms or electrons are within the grasp of the man of the
street. Their resemblance to the ultimate, neutral units which
analytic psychologists have postulated as a methodological necessity
is evident. Since the value of even such a definite entity as a
toothache varies according to the organization constructed and
presented in reflection, it is clear that ordinary empirical pleasures
and pains are highly complex.

This difficulty, however, may be waived. We may even waive the fact
that a theory which set out to be ultra-empirical is now enmeshed in
the need for making empirical facts meet dialectical requirements.
Another difficulty is too insuperable to be waived. In any case the
quantity of elementary existences which constitutes the criterion of
measurement is dependent upon the very judgment which is assumed to be
regulated by it. The standard of valuation is the units which will
_result_ from an act; they are future consequences. Now the character
of the agent judging is one of the conditions of the production of
these consequences. A callous person not only will not foresee certain
consequences, and will not be able to give them proper weight, but he
does not afford the same condition of their occurrence which is
constituted by a sensitive man. It is quite possible to employ
judgment so as to produce acts which will increase this organic
callousness. The analytic conception of the moral criterion
provides--logically--for deliberate blunting of susceptibilities. If
the matter at issue is simply one of number of units of pleasure over
pain, arrange matters so that certain pains will not, as matter of
fact, be felt. While this result may be achieved by manipulation of
extra-organic conditions, it may also be effected by rendering the
organism insensitive. Persistence in a course which in the short run
yields uneasiness and sympathetic pangs, will in the long run
eliminate these pains and leave a net pleasure balance.

This is a time-honored criticism of hedonism. My present concern with
it is purely logical. It shows that the attempt to bring over from
past objects the elements of a standard for valuing future
consequences is a hopeless one. The express object of a
valuation-judgment is to release factors which being new, cannot be
measured on the basis of the past alone. This discussion of the
analytic logic as applied in morals would, however, probably not be
worth while did it not serve to throw into relief the significance of
any appeal to fulfilment of a system or organization as _the_ moral
good--the standard. Such an appeal, if it is wary, is an appeal to the
present situation as _undergoing that reorganization that will confer
upon it the unification which it lacks_; to organization as something
to be brought about, to be made. And it is clear that this appeal
meets all the specifications of judgments of practice as they have
been described. The organization which is to be fulfilled through
action is an organization which, at the time of judging, is present in
conception, in idea--in, that is, reflective inquiry as a phase of
reorganizing activity. And since its presence in conception is both a
condition of the organization aimed at _and_ a function of the
adequacy of the reflective inquiry, it is evident that there is here a
confirmation of our statement that the practical judgment is a
judgment of what and how to judge as an integral part of the
completion of an incomplete temporal situation. More specifically, it
also appears that the standard is a rule for conducting inquiry to its
completion: it is a counsel to make examination of the operative
factors complete, a warning against suppressing recognition of any of
them. However a man may impose upon himself or upon others, a man's
real measure of value is exhibited in what he _does_, not in what he
consciously thinks or says. For the doing is the _actual_ choice. It
is the completed reflection.

It is comparatively easy at the present time in moral theory to slam
both hedonism and apriorism. It is not so easy to see the logical
implications of the alternative to them. The conception of an
organization of interests or tendencies is often treated as if it were
a conception which is definite in subject-matter as well as clear-cut
in form. It is taken not as a rule for procedure in inquiry, a
direction and a warning (which it is), but as something all of whose
constituents are already given for _knowledge_, even though not given
in fact. The act of fulfilling or realizing must then be treated as
devoid of intellectual import. It is a mere doing, not a learning and
a testing. But how can a situation which is incomplete in fact be
completely known until it _is_ complete? Short of the fulfilment of a
conceived organization, how can the conception of the proposed
organization be anything more than a working hypothesis, a method of
treating the given elements in order to see what happens? Does not
every notion which implies the possibility of an apprehension of
knowledge of the end to be reached[88] also imply either an a priori
revelation of the nature of that end, or else that organization is
nothing but a whole composed of elementary parts already given--the
logic of hedonism?

The logic of subsumption in the physical sciences meant that a given
state of things could be compared with a ready-made concept as a
model--the phenomena of the heavens with the implications of, say, the
circle. The methods of experimental science broke down this motion;
they substituted for an alleged regulative model a formula which was
the integrated function of the particular phenomena themselves, a
formula to be used as a method of further observations and experiments
and thereby tested and developed. The unwillingness to believe that,
in a similar fashion, moral standards or models can be trusted to
develop out of the specific situations of action shows how little the
general logical force of the method of science has been grasped.
Physical knowledge did not as matter of fact advance till the dogma of
models or forms as standards of knowledge had been ousted. Yet we hang
tenaciously to a like doctrine in morals for fear of moral chaos. It
once seemed to be impossible that the disordered phenomena of
perception could generate a knowledge of law and order; it was
supposed that independent principles of order must be supplied and the
phenomena measured by approach to or deviation from the fixed models.
The ordinary conception of a standard in practical affairs is a
precise analogue. Physical knowledge started on a secure career when
men had courage to start from the irregular scene and to treat the
suggestions to which it gave rise as methods for instituting new
observations and experiences. Acting upon the suggested conceptions
analyzed, extended, and ordered phenomena and thus made improved
conceptions--methods of inquiry--possible. It is reasonable to believe
that what holds moral knowledge back is above all the conception that
there are standards of good given to knowledge apart from the work of
reflection in constructing methods of action. As the bringer of bad
news gets a bad name, being made to share in the production of the
evil which he reports, so honest acknowledgment of the uncertainty of
the moral situation and of the hypothetical character of all rules of
moral mensuration prior to acting upon them, is treated as if it
originated the uncertainty and created the skepticism.

It may be contended, however, that all this does not justify the
earlier statement that the limiting situation which occasions and cuts
off judgment is not itself a value. Why, it will be asked, does a man
buy a suit of clothes unless that is a value, or at least a proximate
means to a further value? The answer is short and simple: Because he
has to; because the situation in which he lives demands it. The
answer probably seems too summary. But it may suggest that while a man
lives, he never is called upon to judge whether he shall act, but
simply _how_ he shall act. A decision not to act is a decision to act
in a certain way; it is never a judgment not to act, unqualifiedly. It
is a judgment to do something else--to wait, for example. A judgment
that the best thing to do is to retire from active life, to become a
Simon Stylites, is a judgment to act in a certain way, conditioned
upon the necessity that, irrespective of judging, a man will have to
act somehow anyway. A decision to commit suicide is not a decision to
be dead; it is a decision to perform a certain act. The act may depend
upon reaching the conclusion that life is not worth living. But as a
judgment, this is a conclusion to act in a way to terminate the
possibility of further situations requiring judgment and action. And
it does not imply that a judgment about life as a supreme value and
standard underlies all judgments as to how to live. More specifically,
it is not a judgment upon the value of life _per se_, but a judgment
that one does not find at hand the specific means of making life worth
while. As an act to be done, it falls within and assumes life. As a
judgment upon the value of life, by definition it evades the issue. No
one ever influenced a person considering committing suicide by
arguments concerning the value of life, but only by suggesting or
supplying conditions and means which make life worth living; in other
words, by furnishing _direct_ stimuli to living.

However, I fear that all this argument may only obscure a point
obvious without argument, namely, that all deliberation upon what to
do is concerned with the completion and determination of a situation
in some respect incomplete and so indeterminate. Every such situation
is specific; it is not _merely_ incomplete; the incompleteness is _of_
a specific situation. Hence the situation sets limits to the
reflective process; what is judged has reference to it and that which
limits never is judged in the particular situation in which it is
limiting. Now we have in ordinary speech a word which expresses the
nature of the conditions which limit the judgments of value. It is the
word "invaluable." The word does not mean something of supreme value
as compared with other things any more than it means something of zero
value. It means something out of the scope of valuation--something out
of the range of judgment; whatever in the situation at hand is not and
cannot be any part of the subject-matter of judgment and which yet
instigates and cuts short the judgment. It means, in short, that
judgment at some point runs against the brute act of holding something
dear as its limit.


The statement that values are determined in the process of judgment of
what to do (that is, in situations where preference depends upon
reflection upon the conditions and possibilities of a situation
requiring action) will be met by the objection that our practical
deliberations usually assume precedent specific values and also a
certain order or grade among them. There is a sense in which I am not
concerned to deny this. Our deliberate choices go on in situations
more or less like those in which we have previously chosen. When
deliberation has reached a valuation, and action has confirmed or
verified the conclusion, the result remains. Situations overlap. The
_m_ which is judged better than _n_ in one situation is found worse
than _l_ in another, and so on; thus a certain order of precedence is
established. And we have to broaden the field to cover the habitual
order of reflective preferences in the community to which we belong.
The valu-eds or valuables thus constituted present themselves as facts
in subsequent situations. Moreover, by the same kind of operation, the
dominating objects of past valuations present themselves as
standardized values.

But we have to note that such value-standards are only presumptive.
Their status depends, on one hand, upon the extent in which the
present situation is like the past. In a progressive or rapidly
altering social life, the presumption of identical present value is
weakened. And while it would be foolish not to avail one's self of the
assistance in present valuations of the valuables established in other
situations, we have to remember that habit operates to make us
overlook differences and presume identity where it does not exist--to
the misleading of judgment. On the other hand, the contributory worth
of past determinations of value is dependent upon the extent in which
_they_ were critically made; especially upon the extent in which the
consequences brought about through acting upon them have been
carefully noted. In other words, the presumptive force of a past value
in present judgment depends upon the pains taken with its

In any case, so far as judgment takes place (instead of the
reminiscence of a prior good operating as a direct stimulus to present
action) all valuation is in some degree a revaluation. Nietzsche would
probably not have made so much of a sensation, but he would have been
within the limits of wisdom, if he had confined himself to the
assertion that all judgment, in the degree in which it is critically
intelligent, is a transvaluation of prior values. I cannot escape
recognition that any allusion to modification or transformation of an
object through judgment arouses partisan suspicion and hostility. To
many it appears to be a survival of an idealistic epistemology. But I
see only three alternatives. Either there are no practical
judgments--as judgments they are wholly illusory; or the future is
bound to be but a repetition of the past or a reproduction of
something eternally existent in some transcendent realm (which is the
same thing logically),[89] or the object of a practical judgment is
some change, some alteration, to be brought about in the given, the
nature of the change depending upon the judgment and yet constituting
its subject-matter. Unless the epistemological realist accepts one of
the two first alternatives, he seems bound, in accepting the third, to
admit not merely that practical judgments make a difference in things
as an after-effect (this he seems ready enough to admit), but that the
import and validity of judgments is a matter of the difference thus
made. One may, of course, hold that this is just what marks the
distinction of the practical judgment from the scientific judgment.
But one who admits this fact as respects a practical judgment can no
longer claim that it is fatal to the very idea of judgment to suppose
that its proper object is some difference to be brought about in
things, and that the truth of the judgment is constituted by the
differences in consequences actually made. And a logical realist who
takes seriously the notion that moral good is a fulfilment of an
organization or integration must admit that any proposition about such
an object is prospective (for it is something _to be_ attained through
action), and that the proposition is made for the sake of furthering
the fulfilment. Let one start at this point and carry back the
conception into a consideration of other kinds of propositions, and
one will have, I think, the readiest means of apprehending the intent
of the theory that all propositions are but the propoundings of
possible knowledge, not knowledge itself. For unless one marks off the
judgment of good from other judgment by means of an arbitrary division
of the organism from the environment, or of the subjective from the
objective, no ground for any sharp line of division in the
propositional-continuum will appear.

But (to obviate misunderstanding) this does not mean that some psychic
state or act makes the difference in things. In the first place, the
subject-matter of the judgment is a change to be brought about; and,
in the second place, this subject-matter does not become an _object_
until the judgment has issued in act. It is the act which makes the
difference, but nevertheless the act is but the complete object of
judgment and the judgment is complete as a judgment only in the act.
The anti-pragmatists have been asked (notably by Professor A. W.
Moore) how they sharply distinguish between judgment--or
knowledge--and act and yet freely admit and insist that knowledge
makes a difference in action and hence in existence. This is the crux
of the whole matter. And it is a logical question. It is not a query
(as it seems to have been considered) as to how the mental can
influence a physical thing like action--a variant of the old question
of how the mind affects the body. On the contrary, the implication is
that the relation of knowledge to action becomes a problem of the
action of a mental (or logical) entity upon a physical one only when
the logical import of judgment has been misconceived. The positive
contention is that the realm of logical propositions presents in a
realm of _possibility_ the specific rearrangement of things which
overt action presents in actuality. Hence the passage of a proposition
into action is not a miracle, but the realization of its own
character--its own meaning as logical. I do not profess, of course, to
have shown that such is the case for _all_ propositions; that is a
matter which I have not discussed. But in showing the tenability of
the hypothesis that practical judgments are of that nature, I have at
least ruled out any purely dialectic proof that the _nature_ of
knowledge as such forbids entertaining the hypothesis that the
import--indirect if not direct--of all logical propositions is some
difference to be brought about. The road is at least cleared for a
more unprejudiced consideration of this hypothesis on its own merits.


I mentioned incidentally in the first section that it is conceivable
that failure to give adequate consideration to practical judgments may
have a compromising effect upon the consideration of other types. I
now intend to develop this remark with regard to sense perception as a
form of knowledge. The topic is so bound up with a multitude of
perplexing psychological and epistemological traditions that I have
first to make it reasonably clear what it is and what it is not which
I propose to discuss. I endeavored in an earlier series of papers[90]
to point out that the question of the _material_ of sense perception
is not, as such, a problem of the theory of knowledge at all, but
simply a problem of the occurrence of a certain material--a problem of
causal conditions and consequences. That is to say, the problem
presented by an image[91] of a bent stick, or by a dream, or by
"secondary" sensory qualities is properly a problem of physics--of
conditions of occurrence, and not of logic, of truth or falsity, fact
or fiction. That the existence of a red _quale_ is dependent upon
disturbances of a certain velocity of a medium in connection with
certain changes of the organism is not to be confused with the notion
that red is a way of knowing, in some more or less adequate fashion,
some more "real" object or else of knowing itself. The fact of
causation--or functional dependence--no more makes the _quale_ an
"appearance" to the mind of something more real than itself or of
itself than it makes bubbles on the water a real fish transferred by
some cognitive distortion into a region of appearance. With a little
stretching we may use the term appearance in either case, but the term
only means that the red _quale_ or the water-bubble is an _obvious_ or
conspicuous thing from which we infer something else not so obvious.

This position thus freely resumed here needs to be adequately guarded
on all sides. It implies that the question of the existence or
presence of the _subject-matter_ of even a complex sense perception
may be treated as a question of physics. It also implies that the
_existence_ of a sense perception may be treated as a problem of
physics. But the position is not that _all_ the problems of sense
perception are thereby exhausted. There is still, on the contrary, the
problem of the cognitive status of sense perception. So far from
denying this fact, I mean rather to emphasize it in holding that this
knowledge aspect is not to be identified--as it has been in both
realistic and idealistic epistemologies--with the simple _occurrence_
of presented subject-matter and with the _occurrence_ of a perceptive
act. It is often stated, for example, that primitive sense objects
when they are stripped of all inferential material cannot possibly be
false--but with the implication that they, therefore, must be true.
Well, I meant to go this statement one better--to state that they are
neither true nor false--that is, that the distinction of true-or-false
is as irrelevant and inapplicable as to any other existence, as it is,
say, to being more than five feet high or having a low blood pressure.
This position when taken leaves over the question of sense perception
as knowledge, as capable of truth or falsity. It is this question,
then, which I intend to discuss in this paper.


My first point is that some sense perceptions at least (as matter of
fact the great bulk of them), are without any doubt forms of practical
judgment--or, more accurately, are terms in practical judgments as
propositions of what to do. When in walking down a street I see a sign
on the lamp-post at the corner, I assuredly see a sign. Now in
ordinary context (I do not say always or necessarily) this is a sign
of what to do--to continue walking or to turn. The other term of the
proposition may not be stated or it may be; it is probably more often
tacit. Of course, I have taken the case of the sign purposely. But the
case may be extended. The lamp-post as perceived is to a lamp-lighter
a sign of something else than a turn, but still a sign of something to
be done. To another man, it may be a sign of a possible support. I am
anxious not to force the scope of cases of this class beyond what
would be accepted by an unbiased person, but I wish to point out that
certain features of the perceived object, as a cognitive term, which
do not seem at first sight to fall within this conception of the
object, as, an intellectual sign of what to do, turn out upon analysis
to be covered by it. It may be said, for example, that our supposed
pedestrian perceives much besides that which serves as evidence of the
thing to be done. He perceives the lamp-_post_, for example, and
possibly the carbons of the arc. And these assuredly do not enter into
the indication of what to do or how to do it.

The reply is threefold. In the first place, it is easy--and usual--to
read back into the sense perception more than was actually in it. It
is easy to _recall_ the familiar features of the lamp-post; it is
practically impossible--or at least very unusual--to recall what was
actually perceived. So we read the former into the latter. The
_tendency_ is for actual perception to limit itself to the minimum
which will serve as sign. But, in the second place, since it is never
wholly so limited, since there is always a surplusage of perceived
object, the fact stated in the objection is admitted. But it is
precisely this surplusage which has not _cognitive_ status. It does
not serve as a sign, but neither is it _known_, or a term in
knowledge. A child, walking by his father's side, with no aim and
hence no reason for securing indications of what to do, will probably
see more in his idle curiosity than his parent. He will have more
presented material. But this does not mean that he is making more
propositions, but only that he is getting more material for possible
propositions. It means, in short, that he is in an aesthetic attitude
of realization rather than in a cognitive attitude. But even the most
economical observer has some aesthetic, non-cognitive surplusage.[92]
In the third place, surplusage is necessary for the operation of the
signifying function. Independently of the fact that surplusage may be
required to render the sign specific, action is free (its variation is
under control) in the degree in which _alternatives_ are present. The
pedestrian has probably the two alternatives in mind: to go straight
on or to turn. The perceived object might indicate to him another
alternative--to stop and inquire of a passer-by. And, as is obvious in
a more complicated case, it is the extent of the perceived object
which both multiplies alternative ways of acting and gives the grounds
for selecting among them. A physician, for example, deliberately
avoids such hard-and-fast alternatives as have been postulated in our
instance. He does not observe simply to get an indication of whether
the man is well or ill; but in order to determine what to do he
extends his explorations over a wide field. Much of his perceived
object field is immaterial to what he finally does; that is, does not
serve as sign. But it is all relevant to _judging_ what he is to do.
Sense perception as a term in practical judgment _must_ include more
than the element which finally serves as sign. If it did not, there
would be no perception, but only a direct stimulus to action.[93]

The conclusion that such perceptions as we have been considering are
terms in an inference is to be carefully discriminated from the loose
statement that sense perceptions are unconscious inferences. There is
a great difference between saying that the perception of a shape
affords an indication for an inference and saying that the perception
of shape is itself an inference. That definite shapes would not be
perceived, were it not for neural changes brought about in prior
inferences, is a possibility; it may be, for aught I know, an
ascertained fact. Such telescoping of a perceived object with the
object inferred from it may be a constant function; but in any case
the telescoping is not a matter of a present inference going on
unconsciously, but is the result of an organic modification which has
occurred in consequence of prior inferences. In similar fashion, to
say that to see a table is to get an indication of something to write
on is in no way to say that the perception of a table is an inference
from sensory data. To say that certain earlier perceived objects not
having as perceived the character of a table have now "fused" with the
results of inferences drawn from them is not to say that the
perception of the table is now an inference. Suppose we say that the
first perception was of colored patches; that we inferred from this
the possibility of reaching and touching, and that on performing these
acts we secured certain qualities of hardness, smoothness, etc., and
that these are now all fused with the color-patches. At most this only
signifies that certain _previously_ inferred qualities have now become
consolidated with qualities from which they were formerly inferred.
And such fusion or consolidation is precisely _not inference_. As
matter of fact, such "fusion" of qualities, given and _formerly_
inferred, is but a matter of speaking. What has really happened is
that _brain_ processes which formerly happened successively now happen
simultaneously. What we are dealing with is not a fact of cognition,
but a fact of the organic conditions of the occurrence of an act of

Let us apply the results to the question of sense "illusions." The
bent reed in the water comes naturally to mind. Purely physical
considerations account for the refraction of the light which produces
an optical image of a bent stick. This has nothing to do with
knowledge or with sense perception--with seeing. It is simply and
wholly a matter of the properties of light and a lens. Such
refractions are constantly produced without our noting them. In the
past, however, light refracted and unrefracted has been a constant
stimulus to responsive actions. It is a matter of the native
constitution of the organism that light stimulates the eyes to follow
and the arms to reach and the hands to clutch and handle. As a
consequence, certain arrangements of reflected and refracted light
have become a sign to perform certain specific acts of handling and
touching. As a rule, stimuli and reactions occur in an approximately
homogeneous medium--the air. The system of signs or indexes of action
set up has been based upon this fact and accommodated to it. A habit
or bias in favor of a certain kind of inference has been set up. We
infer from a bent ray of light that the hand, in touching the
reflecting object, will, at a certain point, have to change its
direction. This habit is carried over to a medium in which the
conclusion does not hold. Instead of saying that light is bent--which
it is--we _infer_ that the stick is bent: we infer that the hand could
not protract a straight course in handling the object. But an expert
fisherman never makes such an error in spearing fish. Reacting in
media of different refractive capacities, he bases his signs and
inferences upon the conditions and results of his media. I see no
difference between these cases and that of a man who can read his own
tongue. He sees the word "pain" and infers it means a certain physical
discomfort. As matter of fact, the thing perceived exists in an
unfamiliar medium and signifies bread. To the one accustomed to the
French language the right inference occurs.[94] There is neither error
nor truth in the optical image: It just exists physically. But we take
it for something else, we behave to it as if it were something else.
We _mis_-take it.


So far as I can see, the pronounced tendency to regard the perceived
object as itself the object of a peculiar kind of knowledge instead of
as a term in knowledge of the practical kind has two causes. One is
the confirmed habit of neglecting the wide scope and import of
practical judgments. This leads to overlooking the responsive act as
the other term indicated by the perception, and to taking the
perceived object as the whole of the situation just by itself. The
other cause is the fact that because perceived objects are constantly
employed as evidence of what is to be done--or how to do
something--they themselves become the objects of prolonged and
careful scrutiny. We pass naturally and inevitably from recognition to
_observation_. Inference will usually take care of itself if the datum
is properly determined. At the present day, a skilled physician will
have little difficulty in inferring typhoid instead of malaria from
certain symptoms provided he can make certain observations--that is,
secure certain data from which to infer. The labor of intelligence is
thus transferred from inference to the determination of data, the data
being determined, however, in the interests of inference and as parts
of an inference.

At this point, a significant complication enters in. The ordinary
assumption in the discussion of the relation of perceived objects to
knowledge is that "the" object--the real object--of knowledge in
perception is the thing which _caused_ the qualities which are given.
It is assumed, that is, that the other term of a proposition in which
a sense datum is one term must be the thing which produced it. Since
this producing object does not for the most part appear in ordinary
sense perception, we have on our hands perception as an
epistemological problem--the relation of an appearance to some reality
which it, somehow, conceals rather than indicates. Hence also the
difficulties of "reconciling" scientific knowledge in physics where
these causes are the terms of the propositions with "empirical" or
sense perception knowledge where they do not even appear. Here is
where the primary advantage of recognizing that ordinary sense
perceptions are forms of practical judgment comes in. In practical
judgments, the other term is as open and aboveboard as is the sensory
quality: it is the thing to be done, the response to be selected. To
borrow an illustration of Professor Woodbridge's: A certain sound
indicates to the mother that her baby needs attention. If she turns
out to be in error, it is not because sound ought to mean so many
vibrations of the air, and as matter of fact doesn't even suggest air
vibrations, but because there is wrong inference as to the act to be

I imagine that if error never occurred in inferences of this practical
sort the human race would have gone on quite contented with them.
However that may be, errors _do_ occur and the endeavor to control
inference as to consequences (so as to reduce their likelihood of
error) leads to propositions where the knowledge-object of the
perceived thing is not something to be done, but the cause which
produced it. The mother finds her baby peacefully sleeping and says
the baby didn't _make_ the noise. She investigates and decides a
swinging door _made_ it. Instead of inferring a consequence, she
infers a cause. If she had identified the noise in the first place,
she would have concluded that the hinges needed oiling.

Now where does the argument stand? The proper control of inference in
specific cases is found (_a_) to lie in the proper identification of
the datum. If the perception is of a certain kind, the inference
takes place as a matter of course; or else inference can be suspended
until more adequate data are found, and thus error is avoided even if
truth be not found. Furthermore (_b_) it is discovered that the most
effective way of identifying datum (and securing adequate data) is by
inference to its cause. The mother stops short with the baby and the
door as causes. But the same motives which made her transfer her
inference from consequences to conditions are the motives which lead
others to inferring from sounds to vibrations of air. Hence our
scientific propositions about sensory data. They are not, as such,
about things to do, but about things which have been done, have
happened--"facts." But they have reference, nevertheless, to
inferences regarding consequences to be effected. They are the means
of securing data which will prevent errors which would otherwise
occur, and which facilitate an entirely new crop of inferences as to
possibilities--means and ends--of action. That scientific men should
be conscious of this reference or even interested in it is not at all
necessary, for I am talking about the logic of propositions, not about
biography nor psychology. If I reverted to psychology, it would be to
point out that there is no reason in the world why the practical
activity of some men should not be predominantly directed into the
pursuits connected with discovery. The extent in which they actually
are so directed depends upon social conditions.


We are brought to a consideration of the notion of "primitive" sense
data. It was long customary to treat the attempt to define true
knowledge in terms derived from sense data as a confusion of
psychology--or the history of the growth of knowledge--with logic, the
theory of the character of knowledge as knowledge. As matter of fact,
there _is_ confusion, but in the opposite direction. The attempt
involved a confusion of logic with psychology--that is, it treated a
phase of the technique of inference as if it were a natural history of
the growth of ideas and beliefs.

The chief source of error in ordinary inference is an unrecognized
complexity of data. Perception which is not experimentally controlled
fails to present sufficiently wide data to secure differentia of
possible inferences, and it fails to present, even in what is given,
lines of cleavage which are important for proper inference. This is
only an elaborate way of saying what scientific inquiry has made
clear, that, for purposes of inference as to conditions of production
of what is present, _ordinary_ sense perception is too narrow, too
confused, too vivid as to some _quales_ and too blurred as to some
others. Let us confine our attention for the moment to confusion. It
has often been pointed out that sense qualities being just what they
are, it is illegitimate to introduce such notions as obscurity or
confusion into them: a slightly illuminated color is just as
irretrievably what it is, as clearly itself, as an object in the broad
glare of noonday. But the case stands otherwise when the _quale_ is
taken as a datum for inference. It is not so easy to identify a
perceived object _for purposes of inference_ in the dusk as in bright
light. From the standpoint of an inference to be effected, the
confusion is the same as an unjustifiable simplification. This
over-simplification has the effect of making the _quale_, as a term of
inference, ambiguous. To infer from it is to subject ourselves to the
danger of all fallacies of ambiguity which are expounded in the
textbooks. The remedy is clearly the resolution, by experimental
means, of what seems to be a simple datum into its "elements." This is
a case of analysis; it differs from other modes of analysis only in
the subject-matter upon which it is directed, viz., something which
had been previously accepted as a simple whole. The result of this
analysis is the existence as objects of perception of isolated
qualities like the colors of the spectrum scientifically determined,
the tones of the scale in all their varying intensities, etc., in
short, the "sensations" or sense qualities of contemporary psychology
textbooks or the "simple ideas" of sensation of Locke or the "objects
of sense" of Russell. They are the material of sense perception
discriminated for the purpose of better inferences.

Note that these simple data or elements are not original,
psychologically or historically; they are _logical_ primitives--that
is, irreducible for purposes of inference. They are simply the most
unambiguous and best defined objects of perception which can be
secured to serve as _signs_. They are experimentally determined, with
great art, precisely because the naturally given, the customary,
objects in perception have been ambiguous or confused terms in
inference. Hence they are replaced, through experimental means
involving the use of wide scientific knowledge deductively employed,
by simpler sense objects. Stated in current phraseology, "sensations"
(i.e., qualities present to sense) are not the elements out of which
perceptions are composed, constituted, or constructed; they are the
finest, most carefully discriminated objects of perception. We do not
first perceive a single, thoroughly defined shade, a tint and hue of
red; its perception is the last refinement of observation. Such things
are the limits of perception, but they are final, not initial, limits.
They are what is perceived to be given under the most favorable
possible conditions; conditions, moreover, which do not present
themselves accidentally, but which have to be intentionally and
experimentally established, and detection of which exacts the use of a
vast body of scientific propositions.

I hope it is now evident what was meant by saying that current logic
presents us not with a confusion of psychology with logic, but with a
wholesale mistaking of logical determinations for facts of
psychology. The confusion was begun by Locke--or rather made
completely current through the enormous influence exercised by
Locke--and some reference to Locke may be of aid in clearing up the
point. Locke's conception of knowledge was logical, not psychological.
He meant by knowledge thoroughly justified beliefs or propositions,
"certainty," and carefully distinguished it from what passed current
as knowledge at a given time. The latter he called "assent," opinion,
belief, or judgment. Moreover, his interest in the latter was logical.
He was after an art of controlling the proper degree of assent to be
given in matters of probability. In short, his sole aim was to
determine certainty where certainty is possible and to determine the
due degree of probability in the much vaster range of cases where only
probability is attainable. A natural history of the growth of
"knowledge" in the sense of what happens to pass for knowledge was the
last of his interests. But he was completely under the domination of
the ruling idea of his time; namely, that _Nature_ is the norm of
truth. Now the earliest period of human life presents the "work of
nature" in its pure and unadulterated form. The normal is the
original, and the original is the normative. Nature is both beneficent
and truthful in its work; it retains all the properties of the Supreme
Being whose vice-regent it is. To get the logical ultimates we have
only, therefore, to get back to the natural primitives. Under the
influence of such deistic ideas, Locke writes a mythology of the
history of knowledge, starting from clear and distinct meanings, each
simple, well defined, sharply and unambiguously just what it is on its
face, without concealments and complications, and proceeds by
"natural" compoundings up to the store of complex ideas, and to the
perception of simple relations of agreement among ideas: a perception
always certain if the ideas are simple, and always controllable in the
case of complex ideas if we consider the simple ideas and their
compoundings. Thus he established the habit of taking logical
discriminations as historical or psychological primitives--as
"sources" of beliefs and knowledge instead of as checks upon inference
and as means of knowing.

I hope reference to Locke will not make a scapegoat. I should not have
mentioned him if it were not that this way of looking at things found
its way over into orthodox psychology and then back again into the
foundations of logical theory. It may be said to be the stock in trade
of the school of empiricist logicians, and (what is even more
important) of the other schools of logic whenever they are dealing
with propositions of perception and observation: _vide_ Russell's
trusting confidence in "atomic" propositions as psychological
primitives. It led to the supposition that there is a kind of
_knowledge_ or simple apprehension (or sense acquaintance) implying no
inference and yet basic to inference. Note, if you please, the
multitude of problems generated by thinking of whatever is present in
experience (as sensory qualities are present) as if it were
intrinsically and apart from the use made of its subject-matter of

_a_) The mind-body problem becomes an integral part of the problem of
knowledge. Sense organs, neurones, and neuronic connections are
certainly involved in the occurrence of a sense quality. If the
occurrence of the latter is in and of itself a mode of knowledge, it
becomes a matter of utmost importance to determine just how the sense
organs take part in it. If one is an idealist he responds with joy to
any intimation that the "process of apprehension" (that is, speaking
truly, the physical conditions of the occurrence of the sensory datum)
transforms the extra-organic stimulus: the alteration is testimony
somehow to the constitutive nature of mind! But if he is a realist he
conceives himself under obligation to show that the external stimulus
is transmitted without any alteration and is apprehended just as it
is; color must be shown to be simply, after all, a compacting of
vibrations--or else the validity of knowledge is impugned! Recognize
that knowledge is something _about_ the color, whether about its
conditions or causes or consequences or whatever, and that we don't
have to identify color itself with a mode of knowing, and the
situation changes. We know a color when we understand, just as we know
a thunder-storm when we understand. More generally speaking, the
relation of brain-change to consciousness is thought to be an
essential part of the problem of knowledge. But if the brain is
involved in knowing simply as part of the mechanism of acting, as the
mechanism for co-ordinating partial and competing stimuli into a
single scheme of response, as part of the mechanism of actual
experimental inquiry, there is no miracle about the participation of
the brain in knowing. One might as well make a problem of the fact
that it takes a hammer to drive a nail and takes a hand to hold the
hammer as to make a problem out of the fact that it also requires a
physical structure to discover and to adapt the particular acts of
holding and striking which are needed.

_b_) The propositions of physical science are not found among the data
of apprehension. Mathematical propositions may be disposed of by
making them purely a priori; propositions about sense objects by
making them purely a posteriori.[95] But physical propositions, such
as make up physics, chemistry, biology, to say nothing of propositions
of history, anthropology, and society, are neither one nor the other.
I cannot state the case better than Mr. Russell has stated it,
although, I am bound to add, the stating did not arouse in Mr. Russell
any suspicion of the premises with which he was operating. "Men of
science, for the most part, are willing to condemn immediate data as
'merely subjective,' while yet maintaining the truth of the physics
inferred from those data. But such an attitude, though it may be
_capable_ of justification, obviously stands in need of it; and the
only justification possible must be one which exhibits matter as a
logical construction from sense data.... It is therefore necessary to
find some way of bridging the gulf between the world of physics and
the world of sense."[96] I do not see how anyone familiar with the
two-world schemes which have played such a part in the history of
humanity can read this statement without depression. And if it
occurred to one that the sole generating condition of _these_ two
worlds is the assumption that sense objects are modes of apprehension
or knowledge (are so intrinsically and not in the use made of them),
he might think it a small price to pay to inquire into the standing of
this assumption. For it was precisely the fact that sense perception
and physical science appeared historically (in the seventeenth
century) as rival modes of knowing the same world which led to the
conception of sense objects as "subjective"--since they were so
different from the objects of science. Unless sense and science had
both first been thought of as modes of knowing and then as modes of
knowing the same things, there would not have been the slightest
reason for regarding immediate data, as "merely subjective." They
would have been natural phenomena, like any other. That they are
phenomena which involve the interaction of an organism with other
things is just an important discovery about them, as is also a
discovery about starch in plants.

Physical science is the _knowledge_ of the world by their means. It is
a rival, not of them, but of the medley of prior dogmas,
superstitions, and chance opinions about the world--a medley which
grew up and nourished precisely because of absence of a will to
explore and of a technique for detecting unambiguous data. That Mr.
Russell, who is a professed realist, can do no better with the problem
(once committed to the notion that sense objects are of themselves
_objects_ of knowledge) than to hold that although the world of
physics is not a legitimate inference from sense data, it is a
permissible logical construction from them--permissible in that it
involves no logical inconsistencies--suggests that the pragmatic
difference between idealist and realist--of this type--is not very
great. From necessary ideal constructions to permissible logical
constructions involves considerable difference in technique but no
perceptible practical difference. And the point of this family
likeness is that both views spring from regarding sense perception and
science as ways of knowing the same objects, and hence as rivals until
some scheme of conciliation has been devised.

_c_) It is but a variant of this problem to pass to what may be called
either the ego-centric predicament or the private-public problem.
Sense data differ from individual to individual. If they are
recognized to be natural events, this variation is no more significant
than any change depending upon variation of generating conditions. One
does not expect two lumps of wax at different distances from a hot
body to be affected exactly alike; the upsetting thing would be if
they were. Neither does one expect cast-iron to react exactly as does
steel. That organisms, because of different positions or different
internal structures, should introduce differences in the phenomena
which they respectively have a share in producing is a fact of the
same nature. But make the sense qualities thus produced not natural
events (which may then be made either objects of inquiry or means of
inquiry into something else) but modes of knowing, and every such
deviation marks a departure from true knowing: it constitutes an
anomaly. Taken _en masse_ the deviations are so marked as to lead to
the conclusion (even on the part of a realist like Mr. Russell) that
they constitute a world of private existences, which, however, may be
correlated without logical inconsistency with other such worlds. Not
all realists are Leibnizian monadists as is Mr. Russell; I do not wish
to leave the impression that all come to just this solution. But all
who regard sense data as apprehensions have on their hands in some
form the problem of the seemingly distorting action exercised by the
individual knower upon a public or common thing known or believed in.


I am not trying to discuss or solve these problems. On the contrary, I
am trying to show that these problems exist only because of the
identification of a datum determined with reference to control of
inference with a self-sufficient knowledge-object. As against this
assumption I point to the following facts. What is actually given as
matter of empirical fact may be indefinitely complicated and diffused.
As empirically existent, perceived objects never constitute the whole
scope of the given; they have a context of indefinite extent in which
they are set. To control inference it is necessary to analyze this
complex situation--to determine what is data for inference and what is
irrelevant. This analysis involves discriminative resolution into more
ultimate simples. The resources of experimentation, all sorts of
microscopic, telescopic, and registering apparatus, are called in to
perform that analysis. As a result we differentiate not merely visual
data from auditory--a discrimination effected by experiments within
the reach of everybody--but a vast multitude of visual and auditory
data. Physics and physiology and anatomy all play a part in the
analysis. We even carry the analysis to the point of regarding, say, a
color as a self-included object unreferred to any other object. We may
avoid a false inference by conceiving it, not as a quality of any
object, but as merely a product of a nervous stimulation and
reaction. Instead of referring it to a ribbon or piece of paper we may
refer it to the organism. But this is only as a part of the technique
of suspended inference. We avoid some habitual inference in order to
make a more careful inference.

Thus we escape, by a straightening out of our logic (by avoiding
erecting a system of logical distinctions and checks into a
mythological natural history), the epistemological problems. We also
avoid the contradiction which haunts every epistemological scheme so
far propounded. As matter of fact every proposition regarding what is
"given" to sensation or perception is dependent upon the assumption of
a vast amount of scientific knowledge which is the result of a
multitude of prior analyses, verifications, and inferences. What a
combination of Tantalus and Sisyphus we get when we fancy that we have
cleared the slate of all these material implications, fancy that we
have really started with simple and independent givens, and then try
to show how from these original givens we can arrive at the very
knowledge which we have all the time employed in the discovery and
fixation of the simple sense data![97]


No one will deny that, as seen from one angle science is a pursuit, an
enterprise--a mode of practice. It is at least that, no matter how
much more or else it is. In course of the practice of knowing
distinctive practical judgments will then naturally be made.
Especially does this hold good when an intellectual class is
developed, when there is a body of persons working at knowing as
another body is working at farming or engineering. Moreover, the
instrumentalities of this inquiring class gain in importance for all
classes in the degree in which it is realized that success in the
conduct of the practice of farming or engineering or medicine depends
upon use of the successes achieved in the business of knowing. The
importance of the latter is thrown into relief from another angle if
we consider the enterprises, like diplomacy, politics, and, to a
considerable extent, morals, which do not acknowledge a thoroughgoing
and constant dependence upon the practice of science. As Hobbes was
wont to say, the advantages of a science of morals are most obvious in
the evils which we suffer from its lack.

To say that something is to be learned, is to be found out, is to be
ascertained or proved or believed, is to say that something is to be
done. Every such proposition in the concrete is a practical
proposition. Every such proposition of inquiry, discovery and testing
will have then the traits assigned to the class of practical
propositions. They imply an incomplete situation going forward to
completion, and the proposition as a specific organ of carrying on the
movement. I have not the intention of dwelling at length upon this
theme. I wish to raise in as definite and emphatic a way as possible a
certain question. Suppose that the propositions arising within the
_practice_ of knowing and functioning as agencies in its conduct could
be shown to present all the distinctions and relations characteristic
of the subject-matter of logic: what would be the conclusion? To an
unbiased mind the question probably answers itself: All purely logical
terms and propositions fall within the scope of the class of
propositions of inquiry as a special form of propositions of practice.
My further remarks are not aimed at _proving_ that the case accords
with the hypothesis propounded, but are intended to procure
hospitality for the hypothesis.

If thinking is the art by which knowledge is practiced, then the
materials with which thinking deals may be supposed, by analogy with
the other arts, to take on in consequence special shapes. The man who
is making a boat will give wood a form which it did not have, in order
that it may serve the purposes to which it is to be put. Thinking may
then be supposed to give its material the form which will make it
amenable to its purpose--attaining knowledge, or, as it is ordinarily
put, going from the unknown to the known. That physical analysis and
synthesis are included in the processes of investigation of natural
objects makes them a part of the practice of knowing. And it makes any
general traits which result in consequence of such treatment
characters of _objects as they are involved in knowledge-getting_.
That is to say, if there are any features which natural existences
assume in order that inference may be more fertile and more safe than
it would otherwise be, those features correspond to the special traits
which would be given to wood in process of constructing a boat. They
are manufactured, without being any worse because of it. The question
which I raised in the last paragraph may then be restated in this
fashion: Are there such features? If there are, are they like those
characters which books on logic talk about?

Comparison with language may help us. Language--I confine myself for
convenience to spoken language--consists of sounds. But it does not
consist simply of those sounds which issue from the human organs prior
to the attempt to communicate. It has been said that an American baby
before talking makes almost every sound found in any language. But
elimination takes place. And so does intensification. Certain sounds
originally slurred over are made prominent; the baby has to work for
them and the work is one which he neither undertakes nor accomplishes
except under the incitation of others. Language is chiefly marked off,
however, by articulation; by the arrangement of what is selected into
an orderly sequence of vowels and consonants with certain rules of
stress, etc. It may fairly be said that speech is a manufactured
article: it consists of natural ebullitions of sound which have been
shaped for the sake of being effective instrumentalities of a purpose.
For the most part the making has gone on under the stress of the
necessities of communication with little deliberate control. Works on
phonetics, dictionaries, grammars, rhetorics, etc., mark some
participation of deliberate intention in the process of manufacture.
If we bring written language into the account, we should find the
conscious factor extended somewhat. But making, shaping for an end,
there is, whether with or without conscious control.

Now while there is something in the antecedent properties of sound
which enters into the determination of speech, the _worth_ of speech
is in no way measured by faithfulness to these antecedent properties.
It is measured only by its efficiency and economy in realizing the
special results for which it is constructed. Written language need not
look like sounds any more than sounds look like objects. It must
_represent_ articulate sounds, but faithful representation is wholly a
matter of carrying the mind to the same outcome, of exercising the
same function, not of resemblance or copying. Original structure
_limits_ what may be made out of anything: one cannot (at least at
present) make a silk purse out of pigs' bristles. But this
conditioning relationship is very different from one in which the
antecedent existences are a model or prototype to which the
consequent must be servilely faithful. The boatmaker must take account
of the grain and strength of his wood. To take account of, to reckon
with, is a very different matter, however, from repetition or literal
loyalty. The measure is found in the consequences for which existences
are used.

I wish, of course, to suggest that logical traits are just features of
original existences as they have been worked over for use in
inference, as the traits of manufactured articles are qualities of
crude materials modified for specific purposes. Upon the whole, past
theories have vibrated between treating logical traits as
"subjective," something resident in "mind" (mind being thought of as
an immaterial or psychical existence independent of natural things and
events), and ascribing ontological pre-existence to them. Thus far in
the history of thought, each method has flourished awhile and then
called out a reaction to its opposite. The reification (I use the word
here without prejudice) of logical traits has taken both an Idealistic
form (because of emphasis upon their spiritual or ideal nature and
stuff) and a Realistic one, due to emphasis upon their immediate
apprehension and givenness. That mathematics have been from Plato to
Descartes and contemporary analytic realism the great provocative of
Realistic Idealisms is a familiar fact. The hypothesis here propounded
is a _via media_. What has been overlooked is the reality and
importance of art and its works. The tools and works of art are
neither mental, subjective things, nor are they antecedent entities
like crude or raw material. They are the latter shaped for a purpose.
It is impossible to overstate their objectivity from the standpoint of
their existence and their efficacy within the operations in question;
nor their objectivity in the sense of their dependence upon prior
natural existences whose traits have to be taken account of, or
reckoned with, by the operations of art. In the case of the art of
inference, the art securely of going from the given to the absent, the
dependence of mind upon inference, the fact that wherever inference
occurs we have a conscious agent--one who recognizes, plans, invents,
seeks out, deliberates, anticipates, and who, reacting to
anticipations, fears, hates, desires, etc.--explains the theories
which, because of misconception of the nature of mind and
consciousness, have labeled logical distinctions psychical and
subjective. In short, the theory shows why logical features have been
made into ontological entities and into mental states.

To elaborate this thesis would be to repeat what has been said in all
the essays of this volume. I wish only to call attention to certain
considerations which may focus other discussions upon this hypothesis.

1. The existence of inference is a fact, a fact as certain and
unquestioned as the existence of eyes or ears or the growth of plants,
or the circulation of the blood. One observes it taking place
everywhere where human beings exist. A student of the history of man
finds that history is composed of beliefs, institutions, and customs
which are inexplicable without acts of inference. This fact of
inference is as much a datum--a hard fact--for logical theory as any
sensory quality whatsoever. It is something men do as they walk, chew,
or jump. There is nothing a priori or ideological about it. It is just
a brute empirically observable event.

2. Its importance is almost as conspicuous as its existence. Every act
of human life, not springing from instinct or mechanical habit,
contains it; most habits are dependent upon some amount of it for
their formation, as they are dependent upon it for their readaptation
to novel circumstances. From the humblest act of daily life to the
most intricate calculations of science and the determination and
execution of social, legal, and political policies, things are used as
signs, indications, or evidence from which one proceeds to something
else not yet directly given.

3. The act of inferring takes place naturally, i.e., without
intention. It is at first something we do, not something which we
_mean_ to do. We do it as we breathe or walk or gesture. Only after it
is done do we notice it and reflect upon it--and the great mass of men
no more reflect upon it after its occurrence than they reflect upon
the process of walking and try to discover its conditions and
mechanism. That an individual, an animal organism, a man or a woman
performs the acts is to say something capable of direct proof through
appeal to observation; to say that something called mind, or
consciousness does it is itself to employ inference and dubious
inference. The fact of inference is much surer, in other words, than
that of a particular inference, such as that to something called
reason or consciousness, in connection with it; save as mind is but
another word for the fact of inference, in which case of course it
cannot be re-referred to as its cause, source, or author. Moreover, by
all principles of science, inference cannot be referred to mind or
consciousness as its condition, unless there is _independent_ proof of
the existence of that mind to which it is referred. Prima facie we are
conscious or aware _of_ inference precisely as we are of anything
else, not by introspection of something within the very consciousness
which is supposed to be its source, but by observation of something
taking place in the world--as we are conscious of walking _after_ we
have walked. After it has been done naturally--or "unconsciously"--it
may be done "consciously," that is, with intent or on purpose. But
this means that it is done _with_ consciousness (whatever
consciousness may be discovered to mean), not that it is done _by_
consciousness. Now if other natural events characteristic only (so far
as can be ascertained) of highly organized beings are marked by unique
or by distinctive traits, there is good ground for the assumption
that inference will be so marked. As we do not find the circulation of
blood or the stimulation of nerves in a stone, and as we expect as a
matter of course to find peculiar conditions, qualities, and
consequences in the being where such operations occur, so we do not
find the act of inference in a stone, and we expect peculiar
conditions, qualities, and consequences in whatever beings perform the
act. Unless, in other words, all the ordinary canons of inquiry are
suspended, inference is not an isolated nor a merely formal event. As
against the latter, it has its own distinctive structure and
properties; as against the former, it has specific generating
conditions and specific results.

4. Possibly all this seems too obvious for mention. But there is often
a virtual conspiracy in philosophy, not to mention obvious things nor
to dwell upon them: otherwise remote speculations might be brought to
a sudden halt. The point of these commonplaces resides in the push
they may give anyone to engage in a search for _distinctive features
in the act of inference_. The search may perhaps be best initiated by
noting the seeming inconsistency between what has been said about
inference as an art and inference as a natural, unpremeditated
occurrence. The obvious function of spontaneous inference is to bring
before an agent absent considerations to which he may respond as he
otherwise responds to the stimulating force of the given situation. To
infer rain is to enable one to behave _now_ as given conditions would
not otherwise enable him to conduct himself. This instigation to
behave toward the remote in space or time is the primary trait of the
inferential act; descriptively speaking, the act consists in taking up
an attitude of response to an absent thing as if it were present. But
just because the thing is absent, the attitude taken may be either
irrelevant and positively harmful or extremely pertinent and
advantageous. We may infer rain when rain is not going to happen, and
acting upon the inference be worse off than if there had been no
inference. Or we may make preparations, which we would not otherwise
have made; the rain may come, and the inference save our lives--as the
ark saved Noah. Inference brings, in short, truth and falsity into the
world, just as definitely as the circulation of the blood brings its
distinctive consequences, both advantages and liabilities into the
world, or as the existence of banking brings with it consequences of
business extension and of bankruptcy not previously existent. If the
reader objects to the introduction of the terms "truth" and "falsity",
I am perfectly willing to leave the choice of words to him, provided
the fact is recognized that through inference men are capable of a
kind of success and exposed to a kind of failure not otherwise
possible: dependent upon the fact that inference takes absent things
as being in a certain real continuum with present things, so that our
attitude toward the latter is bound up with our reaction to the
former as parts of the same situation. And in any event, I wish to
protest against a possible objection to the introduction of the terms
"false" and "true." It may be said that inference is not responsible
for the occurrence of errors and truths, because these accompany
simple apprehensions where there is no inference: as when I see a
snake which isn't there--or any other case which may appear to the
objector to afford an illustration of his point. The objection
illustrates my point. To affirm a snake is to affirm potentialities
going beyond what is actually given; it says that what is given is
_going_ to do something--the doing characteristic of a snake, so that
we are to react to the given as to a snake. Or if we take the case of
a face in the cloud recognized as a phantasy; then (to say nothing of
"in the cloud" which involves reference beyond the given) "phantasy,"
"dream," equally means a reference to objects and considerations _not_
given as the actual datum is given.

We have not got very far with our question of distinctive, unique
traits called into existence by inference, but we have got far enough
to have light upon what is called the "transcendence" of knowledge.
All inference is a _going beyond_ the assuredly present to an absent.
Hence it is a more or less precarious journey. It is transcending
limits of security of immediate response. The stone which reacts only
to stimuli of the present, not of the future, cannot make the
mistakes which a being reacting to a future taken to be connected with
the present is sure to make. But it is important to note just what
this transcendence consists in. It has nothing to do with transcending
mental states to arrive at an external object. _It is behaving to the
given situation as involving something not given._ It is Robinson
Crusoe going from a seen foot to an unseen man, not from a mental
state to something unmental.

5. The mistakes and failures resulting from inference constitute the
ground for transition from natural spontaneous performance to a
technique or deliberate art of inference. There is something humorous
about the discussion of the problem of error as if it were a rare or
exceptional thing--an anomaly--when the barest glance at human history
shows that mistakes have been the rule, and that truth lies at the
bottom of a well. As to inferences bound up with barely keeping alive,
man has had to effect a considerable balance of good guesses over bad.
Aside from this somewhat narrow field, the original appearance of
inference upon the scene probably added to the interest of life rather
than to its efficiency. If the classic definition of man as a rational
animal means simply an inferring or guessing animal, it applies to the
natural man, for it allows for the guesses being mostly wrong. If it
is used with its customary eulogistic connotations, it applies only to
man chastened to the use of a hardly won and toilsome art. If it
alleges that man has any natural preference for a reasonable inference
or that the rationality of an inference is a measure of its hold upon
him, it is grotesquely wrong. To propagate this error is to encourage
man in his most baleful illusion, and to postpone the day of an
effective and widespread adoption of a perfected art of knowing.

Summarily put, the waste and loss consequent upon the natural
happening of inference led man, slowly and grudgingly, to the adoption
of safeguards in its performance. In some part, the scope of which is
easily exaggerated, man has come to attribute many of the ills from
which he suffers to his own premature, inept, and unguarded performing
of inference, instead of to fate, bad luck, and accident. In some
things, and to some extent in all things, he has invented and
perfected an art of inquiry: a system of checks and tests to be used
before the conclusion of inference is categorically affirmed. Its
nature has been considered in many other places in these pages, but it
may prove instructive to restate it in this context.

_a_) Nothing is less adapted to a successful accomplishing of an
inference than the subject-matter from which it ordinarily fares
forth. That subject-matter is a nest of obscurities and ambiguities.
The ordinary warnings against trusting to imagination, the bad name
which has come intellectually to attach to fancy, are evidences that
anything may suggest anything. Regarding most of the important
happenings in life no inference has been too extravagant to obtain
followers and influence action, because subject-matter was so
variegated and complex that any objects which it suggested had a prima
facie plausibility. That every advance in knowledge has been effected
by using agencies which break up a complex subject-matter into
independent variables (from each of which a distinct inference may be
drawn), and by attacking each one of these things by every conceivable
tool for further resolution so as to make sure we are dealing with
something so simple as to be unambiguous, is the report of the history
of science. It is sometimes held that knowledge comes ultimately to a
necessity of belief, or acceptance, which is the equivalent of an
incapacity to think otherwise than so and so. Well, even in the case
of such an apparently simple "self-evident" thing as a red, this
inability, if it is worth anything, is a residuum from experimental
analysis. We do not believe in the thing as red (whenever there is a
need of scientific testing) till we have exhausted all kinds of active
attack and find the red still resisting and persisting. Ordinarily we
move the head; we shade the eyes; we turn the thing over; we take it
to a different light. The use of lens, prism, or whatever device, is
simply carrying farther the use of like methods as of physical
resolution. Whatever endures all these active (not mental) attacks, we
accept--pending invention of more effective weapons. To make sure
that a given fact _is_ just and such a shade of red is, one may say, a
final triumph of scientific method. To turn around and treat it as
something naturally or psychologically given is a monstrous

When assured, such a simple datum is for the sake of guarding the act
of inference. Color may mean a lot of things; any red may mean a lot
of things; such things are ambiguous; they afford unreliable evidence
or signs. To get the color down to the last touch of possible
discrimination is to limit its range of testimony; ideally, it is to
secure a voice which says but one thing and says that unmistakably.
Its simplicity is not identical with isolation, but with _specified_
relationship. Thus the hard "facts," the brute data, the simple
qualities or ideas, the sense elements of traditional and of
contemporary logic, get placed and identified within the art of
controlling inference. The allied terms "self-evident," "sensory
truths," "simple apprehensions" have their meanings unambiguously
determined in this same context; while apart from it they are the
source of all kinds of error. They are no longer notions to conjure
with. They express the last results attainable by present physical
methods of discriminative analysis employed in the search for
dependable data for inference. Improve the physical means of
experimentation, improve the microscope or the registering apparatus
or the chemical reagent, and they may be replaced tomorrow by new,
simple apprehensions of simple and ultimate data.

_b_) Natural or spontaneous inference depends very largely upon the
habits of the individual in whom inferring takes place. These habits
depend in turn very largely upon the customs of the social group in
which he has been brought up. An eclipse suggests very different
things according to the rites, ceremonies, legends, traditions, etc.,
of the group to which the spectator belongs. The average layman in a
civilized group may have no more personal science than an Australian
Bushman, but the legends which determine his reactions are different.
His inference is better, neither because of superior intellectual
capacity, nor because of more careful personal methods of knowing, but
because his instruction has been superior. The instruction of a
scientific inquirer in the best scientific knowledge of his day is
just as much a part of the control (or art) of inference as is the
technique of observational analysis which he uses. As the bulk of
prior ascertainments increases, the tendency is to identify this stock
of learning, this store of achieved truth, with knowledge. There is no
objection to this identification save as it leads the logician or
epistemologist to ignore that which _made_ it "knowledge" (that which
gives it a right to the title), and as a consequence to fall into two
errors: one, overlooking its function in the guidance and handling of
future inferences; the other, confusing the mere act of reference to
what is known (known so far as it has accrued from prior tested
inquiries) with knowing. To remind myself of what is known as to the
topic with which I am dealing is an indispensable performance, but to
call this reminder "knowing" (as the presentative realist usually
does) is to confuse a psychological event with a logical achievement.
It is from misconception of this act of reminding one's self of what
is known, as a check in some actual inquiry, that arise most of the
fallacies about simple acquaintance, mere apprehension, etc.--the
fallacies which eliminate inquiry and inferring from knowledge.

_c_) The art of inference gives rise to specific features
characterizing the _inferred_ thing. The natural man reacts to the
suggested thing as he would to something present. That is, he tends to
accept it uncritically. The man called up by the footprint on the sand
is just as real a man as the footprint is a real footprint. It is a
_man_, not the idea of a man, which is indicated. What a thing means
is another _thing_; it doesn't mean a meaning. The only difference is
that the thing indicated is farther off, or more concealed, and hence
(probably) more mysterious, more powerful and awesome, on that
account. The man indicated to Crusoe by the footprints was like a man
of menacing powers seen at a distance through a telescope. Things
naturally inferred are accepted, in other words, by the natural man on
altogether too realistic a basis for adequate control; they impose
themselves too directly and irretrievably. There are no alternatives
save either acceptance or rejection _in toto_. What is needed for
control is some device by which they can be treated for just what they
are, namely, _inferred_ objects which, however assured as objects of
_prior_ experiences, are uncertain as to their existence in connection
with the object from which present inference sets out. While more
careful inspection of the given object--to see if it be really a
footprint, how fresh, etc.--may do much for safe-guarding inference;
and while forays into whatever else is known may help, there is still
need for something else. We need some method of freely examining and
handling the object in its status as an inferred object. This means
some way of detaching it, as it were, from the particular act of
inference in which it presents itself. Without some such detachment,
Crusoe can never get into a free and effective relation with the man
indicated by the footprint. He can only, so to speak, go on repeating,
with continuously increasing fright, "There's a man about, there's a
man about." The "man" needs to be treated, not as man, but as
something having a merely inferred and hence potential status; as a
meaning or thought, or "idea." There is a great difference between
meaning and _a_ meaning. Meaning is simply a function of the
situation: this thing means that thing: meaning is this relationship.
A meaning is something quite different; it is not a function, but a
specific entity, a peculiar thing, namely the man _as_ suggested.

Words are the great instrument of translating a relation of inference
existing between two things into a new kind of thing which can be
operated with on its own account; the term of discourse or reflection
is the solution of the requirement for greater flexibility and
liberation. Let me repeat: Crusoe's inquiry can play freely around and
about the man inferred from the footprint only as he can, so to say,
get away from the immediate suggestive force of the footprint. As it
originally stands, the man suggested is on the same coercive level as
the suggestive footprint. They are related, tied together. But a
gesture, a sound, may be used as a _substitute_ for the thing
inferred. It exists independently of the footprint and may therefore
be thought about and ideally experimented with irrespective of the
footprint. It at once preserves the meaning-force of the situation and
detaches it from the immediacy of the situation. It is a meaning, an

Here we have, I submit, the explanation of notions, forms, essences,
terms, subsistences, ideas, meanings, etc. They are surrogates of the
objects of inference of such a character that they may be elaborated
and manipulated exactly as primary things may be, so far as inference
is concerned. They can be brought into relation with one another,
quite irrespective of the things which originally suggested them.
Without such free play reflective inquiry is mockery, and control of
inference an impossibility. When a speck of light suggests to the
astronomer a comet, he would have nothing to do but either to accept
the inferred object as a real one, or to reject it as a mere fancy
unless he could treat "comet" for the time being not as a thing at
all, but as a meaning, a conception; a meaning having, moreover, by
connection with other meanings, implications--meanings consequent from
it. Unless a meaning is an inferred object, detached and fixed as a
term capable of independent development, what sort of a ghostly Being
is it? Except on the basis stated, what is the transition from the
function of meaning to _a_ meaning as an entity in reasoning? And,
once more, unless there is such a transition, is reasoning possible?

Cats have claws and teeth and fur. They do not have implications. No
physical thing has implications. The _term_ "cat" has implications.
How can this difference be explained? On the ground that we cannot use
the "cat" object inferred from given indications in such a way as will
test the inference and make it fruitful, helpful, unless we can detach
it from its existential dependence upon the particular things which
suggest it. We need to know what a cat would be _if_ it were there;
what other things would also be indicated if the cat is really
indicated. We therefore create a _new_ object: we take something to
stand for the cat-in-its-status-as-inferred in contrast with the cat
as a live thing. A sound or a visible mark is the ordinary mechanism
for producing such a new object. Whatever the physical means employed,
we now have a new object; a term, a meaning, a notion, an essence, a
form or species, according to the terminology which may be in vogue.
It is as much a specific existence as any sound or mark is. But it is
a mark which notes, concentrates, and records an outcome of an
inference which is not yet accepted and affirmed. That is to say, it
designates an object which is _not yet_ to be reacted to as one reacts
to the given stimulus, but which is an object of further examination
and inquiry, a medium of a postponed conclusion and of investigation
continued till better grounds for affirming an object (making a
definite, unified response) are given. _A term is an object so far as
that object is undergoing shaping in a directed act of inquiry._ It
may be called a possible object or a hypothetical object. Such objects
do not walk or bite or scratch, but they are nevertheless actually
present as the vital agencies of reflection. If we but forget where
they live and operate--within the event of controlled inference--we
have on our hands all the mysteries of the double world of existence
and essence, particular and universal, thing and idea, ordinary life
and science. For the world of science, especially of mathematical
science, is the world of considerations which have approved themselves
to be effectively regulative of the operations of inference. It is
easier to wash with ordinary water than with H{2}O, and there is a
marked difference between falling off a building and 1/2_gt_^{2}. But
H{2}O and 1/2_gt_^{2} are as potent for the distinctive act of
inference--as genuine and distinctive an act as washing the hands or
rolling down hill--as ordinary water and falling are impotent.

Scientific men can handle these things-of-inference precisely as the
blacksmith handles his tools. They are not thoughts as they are
ordinarily used, not even in the logical sense of thought. They are
rather things whose manipulation (as the blacksmith manipulates his
tools) yield knowledge--or methods of knowledge--with a minimum of
recourse to thinking and a maximum of efficiency. When one considers
the importance of the enterprise of knowledge, it is not surprising
that appropriate tools have been devised for carrying it on, and that
these tools have no prototypes in pre-existent materials. They are
real objects, but they are just the real objects which they are and
not some other objects.


Our last paragraphs have touched upon the nature of science. They
contain, by way of intimation, an explanation of the distance which
lies between the things of daily intercourse and the terms of science.
Controlled inference is science, and science is, accordingly, a highly
specialized industry. It is such a specialized mode of practice that
it does not appear to be a mode of practice at all. This high
specialization is part of the reason for the current antithesis of
theory and practice, knowledge and conduct, the other part being the
survival of the ancient conception of knowledge as intuitive and
dialectical--the conception which is set forth in the Aristotelian

Starting from the hypothesis that the art of controlled inference
requires for its efficient exercise specially adapted entities, it
follows that the various sciences are the various forms which the
industry of controlled inquiry assumes. It follows that the
conceptions and formulations of the sciences--physical and
mathematical--concern things which have been reshaped in view of the
exigencies of regulated and fertile inference. To get things into the
estate where such inference is practicable, many qualities of the
water and air, cats and dogs, stones and stars, of daily intercourse
with the world have been dropped or depressed. Much that was trivial
or remote has been elevated and exaggerated. Neither the omissions nor
the accentuations are arbitrary. They are purposeful. They represent
the changes in the things of ordinary life which are needed to
safeguard the important business of inference.

There is then a great difference between the entities of science and
the things of daily life. This may be fully acknowledged. But unless
the admission is accompanied by an ignoring of the function of
inference, it creates no problem of conciliation, no need of
apologizing for either one or the other. It generates no problem of
the real and the apparent. The "real" or "true" objects of science are
those which best fulfil the demands of secure and fertile inference.
To arrive at them is such a difficult operation, there are so many
specious candidates clamoring for the office, that it is no wonder
that when the objects suitable for inference are constituted, they
tend to impose themselves as _the_ real objects, in comparison with
which the things of ordinary life are but impressions made upon us
(according to much modern thought), or defective samples of
Being--according to much of ancient thought. But one has only to note
that their genuinely characteristic feature is fitness for the aims of
inference to awaken from the nightmare of all such problems. They
differ from the things of the common world of action and association
as the means and ends of one occupation differ from those of another.
The difference is not that which exists between reality and
appearance, but is that between the subject-matter of crude
occupations and of a highly specialized and difficult art, upon the
success of which (so it is discovered) the progress of other
occupations ultimately depends.

The entities of science are not only _from_ the scientist; they are
also _for_ him. They express, that is, not only the outcome of
reflective inquiries, but express them in the particular form in
which they can enter most directly and efficiently into subsequent
inquiries. The fact that they are sustained within the universe of
inquiry accounts for their remoteness from the things of daily life,
the latter being promptly precipitated out of suspense in such
solutions. That most of the immediate qualities of things (including
the so-called secondary qualities) are dropped signifies that such
qualities have not turned out to be fruitful for inference. That
mathematical, mechanical, and "primary" distinctions and relations
have come to constitute the proper subject-matter of science signifies
that they represent such qualities of original things as are most
manipular for knowledge-getting or assured and extensive inference.
Consider what a hard time the scientific man had in getting away from
other qualities, and how the more immediate qualities have been
pressed upon him from all quarters, and it is not surprising that he
inclines to think of the intellectually useful properties as alone
"real" and to relegate all others to a quasi-illusory field. But his
victory is now sufficiently achieved so that this tension may well
relax; it may be acknowledged that the difference between scientific
entities and ordinary things is one of function, the former being
selected and arranged for the successful conduct of inferential

I conclude with an attempt to show how bootless the ordinary
antithesis between knowledge (or theory) and practice becomes when we
recognize that it really involves only a contrast between the kinds of
judgments appropriate to ordinary modes of practice and those
appropriate to the specialized industry of knowledge-getting.

It is not true that to insist that scientific propositions fall within
the domain of practice is to depreciate them. On its face, the
insistence means simply that all knowledge involves experimentation,
with whatever appliances are suited to the problem in hand, of an
active and physical type. Instead of this doctrine leading to a low
estimate of knowledge, the contrary is the case. This art of
experimental thinking turns out to give the key to the control and
development of other modes of practice. I have touched elsewhere in
these essays upon the way in which knowledge is the instrument of
regulation of our human undertakings, and I have also pointed out that
intrinsic increments of meaning accrue in consequence of thinking. I
wish here to point how that mode of practice which is called
theorizing emancipates experience--how it makes for steady progress.
No matter how much specialized skill improves, we are restricted in
the degree in which our ends remain constant or fixed. Significant
progress, progress which is more than technical, depends upon ability
to foresee new and different results and to arrange conditions for
their effectuation. Science is the instrument of increasing our
technique in attaining results already known and cherished. More
important yet, it is the method of emancipating us from enslavement to
customary ends, the ends established in the past.

Let me borrow from political philosophy a kind of caricature of the
facts. As social philosophers used to say that the state came into
existence when individuals agreed to surrender some of their native
personal rights for the sake of getting the advantages of
non-interference and aid from others who made a like surrender, so we
might say that science began when men gave up the claim to form the
structure of knowledge each from himself as a center and measure of
meaning--when there was an agreement to take an impersonal standpoint.
Non-scientific modes of practice, left to their natural growth,
represent, in other words, arrangements of objects which cluster about
the self, and which are closely tied down to the habits of the self.
Science or theory means a system of objects detached from any
particular personal standpoint, and therefore available for any and
every possible personal standpoint. Even the exigencies of ordinary
social life require a slight amount of such detachment or abstraction.
I must neglect my own peculiar ends enough to take some account of my
neighbor if I am going to be intelligible to him. I must at least find
common ground. Science systematizes and indefinitely extends this
principle. It takes its stand, not with what is common with some
particular neighbor living at this especial date in this particular
village, but with any possible neighbor in the wide stretches of time
and space. And it does so by the mere fact that it is continually
reshaping its peculiar objects with an eye single to availability in
inference. The more abstract, the more impersonal, the more
impartially objective are _its_ objects, the greater the variety and
scope of inference made possible. Every street of experience which is
laid out by science has its tracks for transportation, and every line
issues transfer checks to every other line. You and I may keep running
in certain particular ruts, but conditions are provided for somebody
else to foresee--or infer--new combinations and new results. The
depersonalizing of the things of everyday practice becomes the chief
agency of their repersonalizing in new and more fruitful modes of
practice. The paradox of theory and practice is that theory is with
respect to all other modes of practice the most practical of all
things, and the more impartial and impersonal it is, the more truly
practical it is. And this is the sole paradox.

But lest the man of science, the man of dominantly reflective habits,
be puffed up with his own conceits, he must bear in mind that
practical application--that is, experiment--is a condition of his own
calling, that it is indispensable to the institution of knowledge or
truth. Consequently, in order that he keep his own balance, it is
needed that his findings be everywhere applied. The more their
application is confined within his own special calling, the less
meaning do the conceptions possess, and the more exposed they are to
error. The widest possible range of application is the means of the
deepest verification. As long as the specialist hugs his own results
they are vague in meaning and unsafe in content. That individuals in
every branch of human endeavor should be experimentalists engaged in
testing the findings of the theorist is the sole final guaranty for
the sanity of the theorist.


[78] _Scientific Method in Philosophy_, p. 57.

[79] The analytic realists have shown a peculiar disinclination to
discuss the nature of future consequences as terms of propositions.
They certainly are not identical with the mental act of referring to
them; they are "objective" to it. Do they, therefore, already subsist
in some realm of subsistence? Or is subsistence but a name for the
fact of logical reference, leaving the determination of the meaning of
"subsistence" dependent upon a determination of the meaning of
"logical"? More generally, what is the position of analytic realism
about the future?

[80] Supposing the question to be that of some molten state of the
earth in past geologic ages. Taken as the complete subject-matter of a
proposition--or science--the facts discovered cannot be regarded as
causative of, or a mechanism of, the appearance of life. For by
definition they form a closed system; to introduce reference to a
future event is to deny the definition. Contrariwise, a statement of
that past condition of the earth as a mechanical condition of the
later emergence of life means that that past stage is taken not merely
as past, but as in process of transition to its future, as in process
of alteration in the direction of life. Change in this direction is an
integral part of a statement of the early stage of the earth's
history. A purely geologic statement may be quite accurate in its own
universe of discourse and yet quite incomplete and hence inaccurate in
another universe of discourse. That is to say, a geologist's
propositions may accurately set forth a prior state of things, while
ignoring any reference to a later state entailed by them. But a
would-be philosophy may not ignore the implied future.

[81] _Philosophical Essays_, pp. 104, 105.

[82] _Sixth Meditation._

[83] _Principles of Philosophy_, p. 90.

[84] _Treatise of Human Nature_, Part III, sec. iii.

[85] It is perhaps poor tactics on my part to complicate this matter
with anything else. But it is evident that "passions" and pains and
pleasures may be used as _evidences_ of something beyond themselves
(as may the fact of being more than five feet high) and so get a
representative or cognitive status. Is there not also a prima facie
presumption that all sensory qualities are of themselves bare
existences or occurrences without cognitive pretension, and that they
acquire the latter status as signs or evidence of something else?
Epistemological idealists or realists who admit the non-cognitive
character of pleasure and pain would seem to be under special
obligations carefully to consider the thesis of the non-cognitive
nature of all sensory qualities except as they are employed as
indications or indexes of some other thing. This recognition frees
logic from the epistemological discussion of secondary qualities.

[86] To readers who have grasped the thought of my argument, it may
not be meaningless to say that the typical idealistic fallacy is to
import into the direct experience the results of the intellectual or
reflective examination, while that of realism is to treat the
reflective operation as dealing with precisely the same subject-matter
as the original act was concerned with--taking the good of "reason"
and the good of immediate behavior to be the same sort of things. And
both fallacies will result from any assimilation of two different acts
to one another through giving them both the title "knowledge," and
hence treating the difference between them as simply the difference
between a direct apprehension and a mediated one.

[87] Analytic realism ought to be favorable to such a hedonism; the
fact that present-day analytic realists are not favorable would seem
to indicate that they have not taken their logic seriously enough, but
have been restrained, by practical motives, from applying it
thoroughly. To say that the moral life presents a high degree of
organization and integration is to say something which is true, but is
also to say something which by the analytic logic calls for its
resolution into ultimate and independent simples. Unless they accept
the pleasures and pains of Bentham as such ultimates, they are bound
to present acceptable substitutes. But here they tend to shift their
logic and to make the fulfilment of some _organization_ (variously
defined) the standard good. Consistency would then admit the
hypothesis that in _all_ cases an eventual organization rather than
antecedent simples supply the standard of knowledge. Meanwhile the
term "fulfilment" (or any similar term) stands as an acknowledgment
that the organization in question is not something ontologically prior
but is one yet to be achieved.

[88] It must not be overlooked that a mere reminder of an end
previously settled upon may operate as a sufficient stimulus to
action. It is probably this act of calling the end to mind which the
realist confuses with knowledge, and therefore terms apprehension. But
there is nothing cognitive about it, any more than there is in
pressing a button to give the signal for an act already decided upon.

[89] Upholders of this view generally disguise the assumption of
repetition by the notion that what is judged is progress in the
direction of approximation to an eternal value. But as matter of fact,
progress is never judged (as I have had repeated occasion to point
out) by reference to a transcendent eternal value, but in reference to
the success of the end-in-view in meeting the needs and conditions of
the specific situation--a surrender of the doctrine in favor of the
one set forth in the text. Logically, the notion of progress as
approximation has no place. The thesis should read that we always try
to repeat a given value, but always fail as a matter of fact. And
constant failure is a queer name for progress.

[90] See IX and X _ante_.

[91] I use the term "image" in the sense of optics, not of psychology.

[92] That something of the cognitive, something of the sign or term
function, enters in as a catalyzer, so to speak, in even the most
aesthetic experiences, seems to be altogether probable, but that
question it is not necessary to raise here.

[93] The superstition that whatever influences the action of a
conscious being must be an unconscious sensation or perception, if it
is not a conscious one, should be summarily dismissed. We are active
beings from the start and are naturally, wholly apart from
consciousness, engaged in redirecting our action in response to
changes in our surroundings. _Alternative_ possibilities, and hence an
indeterminate situation, change direct response into a response
mediated by a perception as a sign of possibilities, that is, a
physiological stimulus into a perceived quality: a sensory datum.

[94] Compare Woodbridge, _Journal of Philosophy and Psychology_, X, 5.

[95] See Russell, _Scientific Method in Philosophy_, p. 53.

[96] _Ibid._, p. 101.

[97] See the essay on _The Existence of the World as a Logical


    Analysis, 37 ff., 426 ff. _See also_ Data; Sensations.

    Appreciation, 351 ff., 394.

    Apprehension, simple (also Acquaintance), 15, 352, 380, 408, 420,
      430. _See also_ Inference; Perception; Presentationalism.

    Behavior, 221, 313, 354. _See also_ Consequences; Practical.

    Bosanquet, B., 149 n.

    Bush, W. T., 221 n., 250 n.

    Conflict, as stimulus to thinking, 10 ff., 20, 24, III, 136 ff.,
      163, 245, 341. _See also_ Practical.

    Consciousness, 18, 221, 222, 234, 246.

    Consequences, 31, 213, 308, 321 ff., 330 ff.

    Constitutive thought, 130.

    Data, 42 ff., 87, IV, VIII, XI, 345, 401, 427. _See also_ Sensations.

    Deduction, 53, 435 ff.

    Descartes, 350.

    Design, 314 ff.

    Desire, 364 ff.

    Dialectic, 216.

    Doubt, 184, 189, 195, 206, 212, 216, 248. _See also_ Conflict.

    Ego-centric predicament, 263, 266, 410. _See also_ Subjectivity.

    Ends and means, 340 ff., 367 ff., 371 ff.

    Error, 398 ff.

    Essence, 49, 58, 71, 288, 431 ff. _See also_ Meaning.

    Evidence, 36, 39 ff., 226, 260, 392, 403. _See also_ Inference.

    Experience, 2 ff., 10 n., 61 ff., 71 ff., 79, 122, 136 n., 241, 298,
      334, 349, 412.

    Experiment. _See_ Experience.

    Facts. _See_ Data.

    Genetic, 66, 92, 153.

    Hedonism, 375 ff.

    Hegel, 191.

    Holt, E. B., 11 n.

    Hume, 221 n., 350.

    Hypothesis. _See_ Idea; Meaning.

    Idea, 112, 116, 139, 179, 185 ff., VII, VIII, 239 ff., 304, 431.
      _See also_ Meaning.

    Idealism, 20 ff., 130 ff., 233 ff., 267 ff., 343, 358 n.

    Illusions, 396 ff.

    Image, 142 n., 251, 390.

    Implication, 52 n., 433. _See also_ Inference.

    Indeterminate, 334.

    Inference, 36, 209 ff., 220, 259, 274 n., 280, 299, 402-13, 419 ff.,
      423. _See also_ Data; Evidence; Ideas; Thinking.

    Instrumentalism, 17, 30, 32, 38, 44, 85, 175, 230, 331.

    Invaluable, 384.

    James, William, 56, XII, 331, 348.

    Jones, H., 129 n., 158, 159 n.

    Klyce, S., 8-10 n.

    Knowledge, 15 ff., 33, 64 ff., V, 222, 254 ff., 382, 429, 437 ff.
      _See also_ Apprehension; Perception; Thinking.

    Language, 51, 186, 416, 431, 434.

    Locke, 433 ff.

    Logical theory, 78, 81 ff., 97 ff., 134, 178, 201, 222, 336, 415.

    Lotze, II-V, 350.

    Mathematics, 29, 56, 64, 418, 434.

    Mead, G. H., 228.

    Meaning, 16 ff., 33, 46, 48, 55, 90, 115, IV, 158 ff., 199, 234,
      309, 431 ff. _See also_ Essence; Idea.

    Mechanism, 343.

    Montague, W. P., 11 n.

    Moore, A. W., 388.

    Mill, J. S., 36, 197, 202, 220, 234 n.

    Nature as norm, 405.

    Organization, 5, 127, 293, 380.

    Peirce, C. S., 306, 330.

    Perception, 254 ff., 349, 390-413.

    Perry, R. B., 266, 273 n.

    Philosophy, 98 ff.

    Practical, XII, XIII, XIV.

    Pragmatism, XII, 346. _See also_ Conflict; Consequences; Purpose.

    Presentationalism, IX.

    Privacy, 228, 295. _See also_ Subjectivity.

    Psychology, 67, 92, 94, 140, 155, 221, 296 ff., 404. _See also_
      Logical theory.

    Purpose, 12, 20, 42, 68 ff., 77.

    Realism, 26 ff., 39 ff., 60, 72, 234, IX, X, 358, 377 n.

    Reality, 437 ff.

    Royce, J., 172 n.

    Russell, B., XI, 336, 348, 403 ff.

    Santayana, G., 18, 57.

    Self. _See_ Subjectivity.

    Sensation, 145 ff., 160 ff., 233, XI, 402 ff., 428. _See also_ Data.

    Sidgwick, A., 52 n.

    Sign. _See_ Evidence.

    Subjectivity, 66 ff., 106, 112, 125, 142, 197, 226, 278, 325, 337,

    Suggestion, 47 ff., 437 ff.

    Temporal place, 1, 19, 27, 95 ff., 182, 337 ff., 343.

    Terms, 51 ff., 434 ff.

    Thinking, 1 ff., 13, 31 ff., 75 ff., 128, 183, 235, II-VI.

    Transcendence, 424.

    Truth, 24, 63, 181, 224, 231, 240, 304, 310, 316, 346, 387, 392, 423.

    Two worlds, 409, 434.

    Value, 349-89.

    Woodbridge, F. J. E., 234 n., 250 n., 398 n., 400.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious printer's errors were repaired. Otherwise retained spellings
and punctuation (including hypenation variations) as in the original.

P. 156: "philosophic disciplines"; original reads "philosophic

P. 354: "(in a direct experience"; original reads "in direct a
experience." Transposition corrected.

Ten cases of lettered paragraph labels with closing but no opening
parentheses were retained--"a)" on P. 137, 288, 407 and 426, "b)" on P.
139, 289, 408 and 429, and "c)" on P. 410 and 430.

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