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Title: Reformed Logic - A System Based on Berkeley's Philosophy with an Entirely New Method of Dialectic
Author: McLachlan, D. B.
Language: English
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Horace Hart, Printer to the University


A System Based on Berkeley's Philosophy
with an Entirely New Method of Dialectic



 'SPIRITS are active, indivisible substances; IDEAS [objects]
 are inert, fleeting, dependent things, which subsist not
 by themselves, but are supported by, or exist in minds or
 spiritual substances.... The cause of Ideas is an incorporeal
 active SUBSTANCE or Spirit.'


Swan Sonnenschein & Co.
Paternoster Square

[All rights reserved]

    '_Looking to the chaotic state of logic text-books at the
    present time, one would be inclined to say that there does
    not exist anywhere a recognised, currently-received body of
    speculation to which the title Logic can be unambiguously
    assigned, and that we must therefore resign the hope of
    attaining by any empirical consideration of the received
    doctrine, a precise determination of the nature and limits of
    logical theory._'

      _Encyc. Brit._, Art., LOGIC.


The object of the following treatise is to give an intelligible
account of the principal facts of Mind, with a method for the right
expression and criticism of Reasoning. It is based on principles not
before applied to such a purpose. The current systems of Metaphysic
are obscure and difficult simply because they start from false
premises, not because the nature and operations of Mind cannot, if
properly understood, be made as comprehensible to beginners as other
branches of knowledge. The rules of Dialectic are quite within the
capacity of any intelligent schoolboy, and should be an essential part
of early education, like Arithmetic.

Let not the student be repelled at finding a philosophy reputed to
be one of the most difficult taken as the basis of this work. It is
Berkeleyism considerably modified. Also it is to be borne in mind that
a philosophy is not to be judged by its _primâ facie_ probability, but
by its power of explaining many facts in a coherent and lucid way. A
theory that does this should not be rejected for a seeming paradox at
the outset.

Most of the theoretical and all the dialectical parts of this work can
be adapted to Realistic thinking, by treating the judgments of the two
Berkeleyan categories as intuitions instead of inferences.



  PREFACE                                                            v



  I Division of Philosophies into Ideal and
  Substantial--Substantial subdivided into Mental and
  Material--Berkeley's philosophy a Mental Substantialism            1

  II Ontological principles essential to logical
  theory--Mind consists of (at least) Self and a Plastic
  Substance--Functions of each--Perception of Inorganic
  things discussed--Berkeley's view on this point
  rejected--Body to be considered an apparatus of Perception         4

  III Current Metaphysic is Ideal and therefore
  incoherent--Substantial alone has a connecting
  principle--Importance of Categories in Substantialism--Its
  doctrine of Reason totally different from the Academic             8


  IV Origin of Intellect--Its use--Difference
  between Sentimental and Intellectual
  consciousness--Intellect not the governing intelligence
  of Man--Moral education the most important                        11

  V Truth, its various meanings--Veracity--Correct
  Ideation--Correct Inference--No absolute standard of
  Truth--_Nisi utile est, quod novimus, stulta est
  Sapentia_--Schopenhauer on the function of Intellect              14

  VI Standard of Truth relating to Bodily welfare
  different from that relating to Mental welfare--Realism
  the theory of Perception under the former standard--Its
  main dogmas--Cause why it is superseded--Superstition
  of One Truth--Realism and Substantialism both true and
  yet contradictory                                                 18


  VII Defined, according to Substantial
  not excited by Objects, but Objects accompany
  Sentiments--Subject not passive in
  Perception--ATTENTION--Kant's opinion on the
  inconceivability of Noumena refuted--Difficulty of
  overcoming Realistic prejudices--Science of little use
  in Philosophy                                                     23


  VIII How produced--Hume's notion untenable--No
  innate Ideas--but Sentiment is innate--Division of
  Ideas into Particular, General, and Imaginary                     27

  preserved and how lost--Good Memory not necessarily
  advantageous--Recovery of the apparently Forgotten--Sudden
  extinction of Ideas--'Decay of the mind' in
  old age--Memory inexplicable on any theory but the
  Substantial--John Stuart Mill's confession--Memory the
  chief fact of Mental Science                                      28

  X Sentiments may be remembered--Feelings and
  Emotions--No detailed analysis of Sentiments possible
  or necessary--Spinoza's list--Can sentiments be
  noumenally excited without objects?                               34

  XI Analysis of Comparison--It is the principle
  of Generalisation and Imagination                                 36


  XII Purpose of Generalisation--Objects
  classified must be similar and have similar
  utilities--Inferiority of general
  ideas acquired by definition--Names not essential to
  general thought--Generalisation resembles composite
  photography--Classification on mere objective
  resemblance--neat but superficial--Conceptualism                  38

  XIII MATTER the most general notion derived
  from Objects--Belief in Real Matter a form of Mysticism--A
  material basis for phenomena unnecessary                          43

  XIV NOMINALISM--Berkeley's Nominalism, and
  objections thereto--Concrete Thought expressed in general
  terms                                                             46

  XV Generalisation the bane of European
  philosophy--Plato's theories on General Ideas--Aristotle's
  'Essence'--Classification a means, not the end of Reason--The
  explanatory Unity a unity of service--Evolution a concrete
  Platonism                                                         58


  XVI How distinguished from Recollection and
  Reverie--Imagination by Simple
  Combination--By Transfusion--Artistic Imagination--Rational
  Imagination--Wrong views of Metaphysicians                        63


  XVII Recapitulation of the genealogy of Reason--It
  is the art of conceiving the Future and Unknown--Dialectic
  the science of Reason--Division of theorems into
  Arguments and Fallacies--Method of Dialectic                      68

  Conclusions are never certain--Essential parts of an
  Argument--Rules of Parallel--False conclusions cannot
  be destroyed but may be stigmatised--In what
  circumstances we may reason concerning a known fact               74

  XIX Hypothetical Arguments--Current errors
  with respect to these--Dilemma                                    80

  XX DEBATE is extra-dialectic--How a
  valid argument may be criticised                                  87


  XXI Natural--Realistic--Scientific--Philosophical
  --Categories of Pythagoreans--of Aristotle--of Kant, etc.         92

  XXII Category of Inherence--It is a metaphysical
  analysis of objects--Examples of Judgment and Argument--Use
  of Standards for Mediate Comparison                               97

  XXIII Category of Association
  defined--Position--Examples of Judgment and
  Argument--Movement--Number--Flat Space                           103

  XXIV Perspection or Depth in groups--Perspective
  degradation--Redintegration, real and ideal--This groupment
  as a fixed Precedent--Standard of Depth--Sky Perspection         108

  XXV Concretion of Cubic ideas from flat
  objects--Backs of things--Resistance--Dr. Johnson on
  Idealism--Danger of trifling with Idealists, illustrated from
  the Dabistán--Geographical Concretion--Its superiority to mere
  Recollection--Sphericity of the Earth, what it means             118

  XXVI Material Sequence defined, with
  examples--TIME the interval between objects in
  Sequence--Eternity--Scientific confusion of Sequence with
  Causation                                                        126

  XXVII CAUSATION--Its peculiarities--How
  distinguished from Sequence--Effects are never
  causes--Cause consists of Motive, Plan, and
  Power--Generation not causation--Atoms not
  causes--Sub-categories of Causation--'Conservation'
  of Energy discussed--Note on DREAMS                              130


  XXVIII Language not naturally an instrument of
  Argument--How to adapt it to this purpose--Negative
  words--Partitive words--Redaction does not extend to the
  correction of faulty observation--Syllogistic Conversion
  not necessary on the Substantial method                          151


  XXIX Of Equivocation--Of Imperfect Observation                   157

  XXX Of Parallel Arrangement--Suppressed
  Precedent--Inferring a negative from Contrast--False
  Analogy--Doubtful Precedent--Of Accident--Of Division--Of
  Composition--Dialectical Tautology--Cross
  Reasoning--Fallacy of No Case--Of Inversion--Suppressed
  Conclusion--Of No Application--Of Irrelevant Conclusion          161


  XXXI Various notions of Reason entertained by
  Syllogists--One only true, Analogy                               175

  XXXII 'Immediate Inference' is not Argument,
  but explicitness and emphasis in language                        176

  XXXIII Arithmetic, what it is--The Real and the
  Symbolic--Reasoning enters only into the Real--The Symbolic
  a kind of expression                                             177

  XXXIV Geometrical Demonstration not a form of
  Reasoning--The so-called 'deductive reasoning' of Geometry
  a graduated series of lessons in perception                      182

  XXXV Induction not a special kind of reasoning,
  but a deduction with suppressed precedent--Other meanings
  of the word                                                      185

  XXXVI Aristotle's Dictum explained and refuted                   187

  XXXVII Mediate Comparison not Argument                           189

  XXXVIII Syllogism analysed--It is not
  Argument--Doctrine of the Predicate--Moods of the
  Syllogism discussed--All moods reducible to One                  191


  XXXIX Additional examples to illustrate the
  Dialectic of Substantialism                                      205



Philosophies are either Ideal or Substantial. The ideal are those
which resolve all things, actual and possible, into thought or
consciousness. They seek to find in consciousness the reason and
meaning of itself, or, if this be impossible, to account for each item
in consciousness by defining its relation to some other item, or to
some general mass of consciousness. This type of philosophy includes
German transcendentalism and idealism, and some species of Buddhist
and Persian metaphysic. European idealists are seldom consistent, for
at the basis of their philosophies (or at the apex) they place GOD,
who is not an item of human consciousness, actual or potential, and
who therefore occupies, whether it be admitted or not, the relation of
substance to human thought.

Substantial philosophies affirm that thought invariably inheres in
some sort of Substance, for whose service it exists. It is incapable
of independent being, and cannot be understood abstracted from its
substance. It is intermittent, called up when wanted, and is liable to
variation and aberration.

Substantialists differ however as to what the substance of human
intelligence is. Some hold that it is the human body. Consciousness
exists, they argue, for the use of the body and varies with its
condition. This class of philosophers may be subdivided into
Materialists and Metaphysicians (including logicians).

Materialists believe that consciousness is a product of the physical
body--has therefore no existence before the body is formed or after it
is dissolved. It is really as physical as the teeth or hair.

In metaphysic the intelligence is supposed to have a principle of
existence apart from the body, and does not, or need not, share the
fate of the body. The body is nevertheless regarded as the substance
or superior fact during the union of the two. This is an eminently
inconsistent philosophy, for if consciousness has an existence apart
from body it must be in some other substance, and if so its relations
to that substance are more important than its relations to the body,
and should be the first object of inquiry. Metaphysic is in its
development an idealism, since the connection admitted between body
and thought is too slight to afford a sufficient explanation of
intelligence, and no other substantial relation is known.

The notion that an invisible immaterial substance may underlie
consciousness has occurred to some philosophers, among others to
the illustrious BERKELEY. His theory of Vision, which has never been
refuted or even weakened, is founded on this hypothesis.

Berkeleyan substantialism combines the characteristic features of
the other theories, and affords an easy solution of many difficult
problems in philosophy. It has in common with idealism--whence it is
sometimes, but erroneously, called by that name--that it regards all
_material_ bodies and things as facts or items of consciousness.
It agrees with materialism that a substance is essential to
consciousness, and that the consciousness of man serves the needs of
his body, though that is not the highest use to which it can be put.
It confirms the metaphysical view that intelligence is not, in its
abstract or essential character, dependent on the body, and may
therefore survive the body.

This is the theory on which the following logic is based: I shall
refer to it briefly as Substantialism.


Substantialism has two main divisions--Ontology, which treats of the
mental substance in itself, and Logic or Metaphysic, which deals
with its consciousness. The present essay is specially concerned with
logic, but certain ontological premises must be assumed to render
the logic intelligible. This follows from the subordinate relation of
consciousness to substance.

The substantial mind consists of two principal parts--a SELF and a
PLASMA--the Atman and Aka['s]a of Sanscrit philosophers.

Self is the seat of Energy and Consciousness. The plasma is inert
and unconscious; it protects the Self and receives, communicates,
and retains impressions of experience, both the external and the

The Self would be conscious though isolated from other minds, at least
from those of its own grade of being. It would feel the fluctuations
of its energy. But the experience called 'external' depends on the
mutual action of minds. It is the form into which their consciousness
is thrown when they come in contact. It lasts no longer than the
contact, and so has only a casual existence.

The constitution of the mind is not given by Berkeley, and on other
points also we must supplement and correct his philosophy. He was
wrong as regards the mental cause of the perception of the Inorganic
or Dead.

Since external experience implies that another mind is operating
upon ours, what mind is operating when we perceive an object that is
apparently mindless? Berkeley replies that it is the supreme mind that
is then acting upon us.

Many objections can be urged against this view. I will mention only
one, which seems to me conclusive. By every canon of judgment we
possess, the living or organised is better--more important and
significant--than the lifeless and elemental; so if Berkeley's
reasoning be valid the phenomena excited by finite and created beings
are superior to those excited by their Creator. The movements of a
living man are referred to a human mind--a putrescent carcase is a
vision immediately induced by the Deity.

The beauty of the starry sky is irrelevant to the question. Apart from
the finite life and thought that may be associated with the stars,
they have no more philosophical importance than a spadeful of sand.

A more reasonable account of the inorganic is found in several ancient
philosophies. Gnostics and Neo-Platonists referred the elemental to
a cosmic mind (_Demiurgos_) intermediate between human beings and the
Supreme. The demiurgic mind is inconceivably greater and more powerful
than the human, but is not necessarily better in quality. It is the
origin of all natural forces, and its organic processes are what
we term 'physical laws.' This is the explanation of inorganic
consciousness which I feel disposed to adopt, but to discuss it fully
would carry us too far from the subject of this work.

The next point relates to the body. What is its function in
substantialism? The brain, says Berkeley, is an idea in the mind, and
he ridicules the notion that one idea should generate all other
ideas. This is an argument against materialism. No doubt he would have
admitted, though he does not say so, that the body-idea facilitates,
or at least must precede, the experience of other ideas. He would not
have denied that it is an _instrumental_ idea.

Since his time an important discovery has been made with reference to
the constitution of the body. I allude to the Cell theory. It is no
longer possible to regard the body either as a self-moving machine (if
this is not a contradiction in terms), or as a lump of 'dead matter'
animated by the mind. It is a society of minute animals[2], each
having a certain degree of independent energy and liberty of movement.
They are organised and governed by the human or animal mind with which
they are associated. In short, the relation of the cell to the man is
analogous to, if not quite the same as, the relation of the man to the
cosmic being.

This discovery complicates the problem of 'external' consciousness,
without however affecting the principles on which a substantialist
would endeavour to solve it. Instead of conceiving human minds as
coming into immediate contact in perception, we have to conceive the
cellular systems of each as forming a medium between the two. We
do not perceive the other mind immediately or intuitively; what we
perceive intuitively is certain affections in our own organism, which
we must first refer to the other body, and then to the mind behind
that body. Our knowledge of other human beings is thus altogether

The cellular medium explains why we are not generally aware of
the substantial constitution of other minds; it is veiled by the
intervening organisms.

The relation of body to mind, the reason of embodiment, and so forth,
are questions of prime importance in ontology, but in logic we are
concerned only with the object in consciousness, without reference to
the apparatus of perception. The instrument of intellectual perception
may in its proper character be ignored.


All the current academic metaphysic is ideal. Materialists, when they
attempt to explain thought, fail to attach it properly to the body,
or to account for that large and important division of mental activity
which has no bearing, direct or indirect, on bodily welfare. They drop
their materialism at an early stage of their enquiry and continue on
the metaphysical method.

Hence in none of the current systems is there any true principle of
arrangement in the treatment of logical phenomena. Unless we know the
use of a thing we cannot describe it, let alone explain it. We
know not the relative importance of its parts, and we arrange them
according to superficial resemblances, or on some arbitrary principle
which conceals instead of revealing their meaning.

Substantial philosophy alone possesses a principle of coherence. The
facts of consciousness are determined by anterior facts of substance,
and there can be only one true mode in which to present them--they
must follow and reflect the substantial order. They will thus appear
as a consecutive and coherent system of ideas, no one of which could
be otherwise placed without damage to the whole. This is perhaps the
most important respect in which substantial logic differs from others.

The doctrine of Categories has to receive full development in order
to elucidate the genesis of the 'material world.' Except to a
substantialist the categories have no particular value, and so they
are barely mentioned in the academic systems.

The theory of Reasoning or Dialectic (logic in the narrower sense)
given in the following chapters, will be found totally different from
the academic. It does not merely state in other words or metaphors the
doctrines laid down in works of the Aristotelian type,--it declares
that the theory of reasoning taught in these works is altogether
false. Our argumentation is not conducted in syllogisms, either tacit
or explicit. This has been suspected by several critics of logic,
but no attempt has been made to substitute a more correct theory and
method. Of course logicians do not always reason wrongly, and true
arguments may be stated in the syllogistic form. What I mean is
that logicians nowhere tell us in what right reasoning essentially
consists, and for want of a distinct notion on the subject they all of
them occasionally admit as valid, arguments that are not so.

The main dogma of substantialism should be kept in view in reading the
following pages. It is mind alone that is conceived as having solidity
and energy: material things are temporary forms of our consciousness;
they have length and breadth but no depth, and they are without
energy, even passive resistance. If an object cannot be removed at
pleasure, what resists us is the other mind causing that object, not
the object itself.

As far as possible I have utilised the existing logical terminology.
But substantialism has notions which require special technical words,
and I have not hesitated to invent such when necessary. On the other
hand, I have rejected the latinisms of current logic, which have never
been assimilated by modern languages. The English language is good
enough for all the purposes of logic.

    [Footnote 1: The mental substance is the _fifth essence_ of
    the initiate Greeks and of Alchemists. They also called it
    _chaos_ and _first matter_. 'Man was made of that very
    matter and chaos whereof all the world was made, and all the
    creatures in it: which is a most high mystery to understand,
    and must, nay is altogether necessary to be known of him that
    expecteth good from this art, being the ground of the wisdom
    thereof. Foolish men, nay they that the world holds for great
    doctors, say and tell it for truth, that God made man of a
    piece of mud, or clay, or dust of the earth, which is false;
    it was no such matter, but a Quintessential Matter which is
    called earth, but is no earth.'--_De Manna Benedicto._]

    [Footnote 2: See Stricker's _Manual of Histology_; _Bioplasm_,
    and other works, by Dr. Lionel S. Beale, M.B., F.R.S.; and an
    article on the New Psychology, by A. Fouillé, in the _Revue
    des Deux Mondes_ for October 15th, 1891.]



The mind has at physical birth one uniform quality of plasma and
consciousness. By education and experience a portion of the plasma is
gradually changed, and the consciousness excited by this portion is
what we call INTELLECT. The word may also stand for the plasma so

The consciousness pertaining to the plasma left in its primitive state
is SENTIMENT, which generally corresponds to what is termed the moral
nature of man.

Intellect is a temporary condition arising out of the need to preserve
the Self from hostile and inharmonious surroundings. The adaptation is
artificial, and may therefore be well-done, or ill-done, or over-done.
It is over-done when too much of the plasma and mental energy is
devoted to intellectual purposes--when the individual has, to use
a common expression, more head than heart. In this case the end is
sacrificed to the means.

I conceive the intellect as a hardening of the plasma in its
superficies, the formation of a sort of rind capable of receiving
finer, sharper, and more enduring impressions than the plasma of
sentiment; and, being harder, it is better able than the latter to
resist enfeebling influences. Its duty is to challenge and inspect
vibrations before permitting them to pass inwards to the region of
sentiment. Yet the intellectual consciousness is itself a degree
of sentiment, and in intellects not sufficiently trained it may be
impossible to distinguish thoughts that are purely intellectual, from
thoughts that are also to some extent sentimental. Upon minds of this
sort the best-prepared arguments have no hold; they must be mixed with
oratory and poetry to receive any attention. It need not be said
that a mind which responds only to 'persuasive' language is feeble
of intellect. It lives in the present only, and is incapable of
far-reaching designs. It is to the intellect we owe the power of
conceiving the past and future, and of laying plans for the future.

A mind properly intellectualised is, of its kind, strong and
self-controlled. With the intellect defective the man exhibits
passion, undue excitement and demonstrativeness. He responds to
the least stimulus, like an exposed nerve; his energy is wasted
in explosions. Sentiment is the inmost nerve of man--intellect its
protecting sheath. The most carefully trained intellect is liable at
times to be carried by assault or stratagem; then follows a feeling
of emptiness occasioned by loss of energy. On the other hand an
appearance of self-command may be really due to apathy,--the mind
is of a low type and callous to influences that usually affect its
species. If it is bad to be explosive, it is perhaps worse to be
incapable of exploding.

Intellect is not the supreme or ruling intelligence of man. It
initiates nothing. It is a light to direct our steps, but we do not
walk where the light happens to fall--we make it fall where we
desire to walk. Hence the diversity of occupation and intellectual
accomplishments in men. Each acquires the sort of intellect he
thinks will be sentimentally most serviceable to him; and on matters
concerning which he has not learnt to reason he consults other men.
We are not born rational beings; we are in no sense rational on all
subjects; we are rational only on those few which we have mastered.

Men pretend to act from reason only, and perhaps they do on matters to
which they are indifferent. But in general their rationality consists
in finding pretexts for what on sentimental grounds they have already
resolved to do, and in finding ways and means to carry out their
resolves. Sentiment is the moving spring of conduct: intellect is
the executive faculty. Those historical philosophers are mistaken who
suppose the progress of mankind results from intellectual discoveries
and inventions. These are effects, not causes, of progress--effects of
_sentimental_ disagreement with previous conditions.

Intellect is little more than an extension inwards of our senses.
It is an epitome and rearrangement of their observations, and is as
instrumental as they. We are not necessarily improved by a development
of the intellect forced upon us from without. Education is sometimes
a dagger put into the hands of an assassin. The best education is
largely sentimental (moral), for that is not confined to preserving
the mind we have--it gives us another and a better mind, and so
indirectly improves the intellect.


This word has several meanings which it may be well to notice.

As _veracity_ it means an agreement between our thoughts and our
language. It supposes that we take reasonable pains to learn the
conventional laws upon which language is founded, and then endeavour
as far as possible to bring our speech in conformity with these laws.
Since language is an art (like music) it may be acquired well or ill,
so that a mistake in the use of a phrase or term is not regarded as
untruth. There must be deliberate abuse of language to constitute a

Agreement between an idea of memory and the actual experience--correct
recollection--is another meaning of truth.

Also truth may signify agreement between an inferential thought
and the fact to which it refers, although the fact has not yet been
observed. In this sense truth must be construed liberally. We never
foresee a future fact exactly as it will take place. Our anticipations
are vague and our preparations for them general, but that on the whole
is enough for our purposes. At least it is all that reason affords us.
If we are absolutely certain of a future fact and can figure it in the
mind precisely as it will take place, that means that it has already
occurred so often that we are virtually using our memory, not our

An inference may be considered true if it is the best we can draw from
the information at our command, though in point of fact it may prove
to be very incorrect.

There is no mass of speculative Truth which everybody ought to
possess on pain of being considered foolish or miscreant. This notion,
formerly so prevalent, betrays gross ignorance of the nature and
function of intellect. It makes intellectual speculation an end in
itself. Our ideas must be such as serve the uses of our sentimental or
inner soul, and since the sentiments (tastes) of men vary widely,
so ought also their intellectual ideas. Though change of sentiment
modifies ideas, change of ideas does not modify sentiment. There is
therefore no sort of good in uniformity of belief in itself. It is
creditable to modern times that men have shaken off the procrustean
beliefs of the Middle Ages, and are free to adapt their intellects
to their real sentimental needs. The numerous sections into which
speculative thought is now broken up, and the frequent changes of
theory, are signs of healthy and active sentiment.

In matters of social policy, where large bodies of men have to carry
out a single design, uniformity must be attained by persuasion or
compromise. But such matters relate only to physical well-being, into
which philosophical truth can hardly be said to enter.

This relative and, in the widest sense, utilitarian view of
intellectual truth applies both to quantity and quality of ideas. We
should not learn what we do not sentimentally require. That is waste
of power. Useless knowledge is folly, said both Plato and Aristotle.
To mistake knowledge to be the pursuit of man is to confuse the means
with the end, says the author of the Bhagavad Gita.

The quality of our ideas must not be good beyond our necessities.
If they are, we shall suffer by acting on them. They will land us in
circumstances for which our nature is not fully prepared.

If there were an abstract or standard truth, it would be good for
every species of being, and no doubt the thoughts of a man are nearer
to it than the thoughts of a horse. Therefore a horse ought to be
improved by receiving a human intellect. But if we could insinuate
into a horse's mind the knowledge possessed by an educated man, we
should spoil what may have been a good horse and produce a monstrous
and horrible man. So is it with ourselves. If we could receive
knowledge far in advance of our requirements or out of relation to
them, it would drive us mad or be itself madness. Our constitution and
necessities determine what we can know and what we ought to know.
Not all possible knowledge is good, and what is good for some may be
useless or bad for others. Schopenhauer says well[3]: 'The faculty of
Knowing ... has only arisen for the purpose of self-preservation,
and therefore stands in a precise relation, admitting of countless
gradations, to the requirements of each animal species.'


If our interests were single and uniform, one consistent scheme of
intellectual knowledge would suffice. We need never be in fundamental
contradiction with ourselves. Every advance in knowledge would
illustrate and confirm what we had already learned.

But we are not of this simple constitution. We are first and
essentially minds, we are next and temporarily embodied minds, and
in each of these characters we have distinct and, to a great extent,
conflicting interests. Hence we have to acquire different species of
knowledge and admit different standards of truth. The ideas that serve
the interests of the embodied man are false to the same man considered
apart from his embodiment, and contrariwise--false, in the sense of
being useless and perhaps misleading.

Hence the existence of Common-sense for the embodied interests,
and Philosophy for the purely mental interests. Science is common
knowledge carried to its utmost perfection, but not partaking in the
least of the philosophical character.

_Realism_ is the notion of perception that is acquired with our common
knowledge. It is seldom explicitly defined or defended, for in order
to this a comparison with philosophic theories would have to be made,
and the defects of realism would be apparent. The realistic view is so
named by philosophers to distinguish it from their own views.

For corporeal purposes it is useful to believe, and it is therefore
relatively true, that there is a real space which would exist although
all objects were removed from it. Objects are real solid things
stored in space like casks in a cellar. They have fixed dimensions
notwithstanding that they appear to contract and dilate as we leave or
approach them. It is quite 'natural' they should appear smaller at a
distance. Distant perception is conceivable, therefore it is possible,
and since calculations based on this assumption are verified by
experience, it must and does take place. Time also is as real as
space, and would exist by itself though space and its contents were
annihilated. It is a sort of stream.

All these propositions are true for certain necessary purposes. We
begin to form such ideas from the moment we are born, and during the
years of infancy we are doing nothing else intellectually but working
out the notions of space, time, magnitude, distance. Most of our
school education is of the same kind. By the time we reach maturity
realism has become so rooted in our intellect that--as regards the
majority of men--no sceptical considerations are strong enough
to unsettle them. For why? They enable the natural man to provide
sufficiently well for his bodily needs and other needs depending
therefrom, and he has therefore no motive for doubting his realism or
for acquiring any other sort of ideas. He is quite right to abide by
those which have answered his purposes.

It is not from without but from within that doubts arise as to
realistic truth. They arise when the mind has acquired power over and
above what is needed for bodily uses, and begins to think on its own
account. Sentiments are felt which do not depend on or refer to bodily
life, and a new intellect has to be formed to explain and protect
these sentiments. This new intellect is Philosophy. It is the science
and practical conduct of mind considered as abstracted from body.

Much of the obscurity of philosophy is traceable to the superstition
of a fixed standard of truth which must be recognised universally.
We are reluctant to accept philosophical hints and inferences
because they conflict with truths that have been physically verified.
Or--which is more common--we take up a few philosophical propositions
and tack on to them all the science we know, believing they make a
homogeneous whole, because truth must be self-consistent.

Time and labour would be spared if we could be told at the right
moment that truth is expedience[4], and that there is no need to
harmonise philosophy and science. We are each of us two men in one,
and each of these men must be allowed to think for himself. There is
no reason why they should quarrel; there is no reason why they should
even argue. The science in our mind should not be ousted to make room
for the philosophy; let them exist together and work alternately. When
the mariner is at sea he must mind his ship and study the weather;
when he is on shore he may neglect both. So when we are navigating
the body we have to think in categories proper to its safety; as
philosophers we dismiss the realistic categories and think in other
forms, but we need not then call the realism false or foolish. In its
proper place it is right and true[5].

Between realism and substantialism there is therefore no necessary
conflict or competition. They are each indispensable. It is absurd
to carry realism into philosophy, and no less absurd to carry
substantialism into common affairs, or to reproach a substantialist
because he acts and speaks occasionally like other people. It
is probable however that in a community largely composed of
substantialists the realism of common action would be less stringent
than is now found necessary.

    [Footnote 3: _Will in Nature_, 'Physiology of Plants.']

    [Footnote 4: This does not apply to truth in the sense of

    [Footnote 5: Greek philosophers never understood the dual
    standard of Truth, and insisted that philosophy was the best
    preparation for every sort of employment. The people, though
    generally unwise in political matters, had sense enough not to
    entrust the care of their temporal interests to philosophers,
    and so the universal utility of philosophy had few
    opportunities of being tested. A Macedonian king committed the
    custody of Corinth and its citadel to a philosopher, Persaeus,
    who was promptly expelled by Aratus--a mere soldier. Persaeus
    frequented the schools again, and on the well-worn theme that
    'none but a wise man is fit to be a general' being brought up
    for discussion, he said, 'It is true, and the gods know it,
    that this maxim of Zeno once pleased me more than all the
    rest; but I have changed my opinion since I was taught better
    by the young Sicyonian.'--Plutarch's _Life of Aratus_.]



Perception has already been partially defined. So-called 'external
objects' are forms excited in our consciousness by pressure of other
minds. The great permanent 'world' is due to the action of a cosmic
mind with which we are intimately associated throughout our physical

Objects have a totally different sort of existence from minds, for
whereas the latter are--at least relative to objects--self-existent,
the former have no existence except during the act of perception. If
minds could be all moved asunder from each other the whole objective
world would disappear, yet the universe would be as full as before,
for sensation occupies no room.

The appearances we interpret as distance are due to variations in the
pressure or stimulus producing the object.

It will be convenient to call the more active mind _Noumenon_, the
perceiving mind _Subject_. The mind that is subject on one occasion
may be noumenon at another, and conversely. The true antithesis to
subject is not object, but noumenon. Object has no antithesis, unless
it be nonentity.

It is specially to be noticed that an object is not the _cause_ of a
sentiment. The knife we see or handle is not the cause of the pain it
may inflict if driven into our flesh. Pains and pleasures signify that
the noumenal action is powerful enough not only to excite objects in
the intellect, but to penetrate inwards and excite sentiments also. It
is the noumenon that causes both object and sentiment, as far as
the energy exerted is concerned, but the variation of plasma in the
subject is also essential to the distinction of object and sentiment.

The subject is not quite passive in perception. No consciousness
takes place unless the subject is charged with energy. Further, since
consciousness is confined to the Self and not inherent in the plasma,
we perceive only such vibrations as reach the Self. If the Self is
absorbed in one part of the mind, vibrations may take place in other
parts without being noticed. The more energy we concentrate at the
point or surface of contact (Attention), or otherwise bring to bear on
the plasmic vibration, the more vivid is the object.

The fixing or circumscribing of attention so as to break up our
experience into distinct things or objects is an acquired art, whence
we may infer that the intellectual experience of infancy is a vague
whitish surface, not clearly distinguished by colour or movement.

Kant and other philosophers admit that objects are caused by noumena,
but insist that we can never know or conceive what a noumenon is.

Why not? Each of us knows himself to be the noumenon of many
phenomena; he has no doubt that many other phenomena are caused by
minds like himself, and it is easy to extend this principle to all
phenomena whatever. They are all caused by minds more or less like
human minds. This is a useful conclusion, although we are not able to
imagine very accurately the mind of an insect or of a being of cosmic
dimensions. It is not necessary we should, but the most general
inference of this sort is better than none at all, and better than the
notion that phenomena are self-existent and self-moving.

Although simple and intelligible when stated in the abstract,
perception is difficult to work out in detail. Objections start up on
every side, and it requires the utmost patience to reduce them to
what they are--_inferences_ from the realism we are supposed to have
discarded. It is only when we try to dislodge realism wholly and
consistently that we find how fast its hold upon our intellect is.
Critics who profess to treat Berkeley's substantialism seriously and
sympathetically, constantly bring up against it arguments of the most
naively realistic kind. They have no adequate conception how enormous
is the revolution in thought involved in substituting substantialism
for realism. It is a complete dissolution of the natural thought and
belief; it means the construction of a new heaven and a new earth with
laws to which we have been hitherto unaccustomed. The old science is
of little or no use to us as substantialists.

Philosophy is not an advance or correction of science. In so far
as the latter claims to be absolutely or philosophically true,
substantialism abolishes it in dispensing with the notions of real
matter and real space. Hence it is quite irrelevant to point out that
substantialism is inconsistent with (say) the doctrine of physical
evolution. This theory, though so new, is now often referred to as
axiomatically true, whereas it is an inference, the evidence for
which, even to many realists, is far from conclusive. Whether it be
considered true or not in science, physical evolution is quite untrue
in philosophy.



An imprint or mould of the object is generally left in the plasma of
the subject. The imprint is deep, clear and lasting in proportion to
the strength of the exciting cause and the degree of energy assigned
to the perception. When the noumenon withdraws the object does not at
once disappear, for if the energy of attention remain the mould
left by the noumenon serves to excite a consciousness similar to the
object, and this is what we call an IDEA.

What Hume says as to an object differing from an idea in nothing
but vividness is evidently incorrect. Objects are generally, but not
always, more vivid than ideas, and when an object is present we
have an indefeasible conviction of being acted on by something not
ourselves, which conviction is not present in recollection. We may not
be able to give a satisfactory reason for the conviction--if we are
arguing idealistically we certainly shall not--but the fact that it is
there serves to mark off objects as a class of consciousness distinct
from ideas, irrespective of their vividness. If an object were once
seen clearly and so remembered, and were afterwards seen indistinctly
through a mist, the latter consciousness would (according to Hume) be
the idea and the former the object. Such an application of words would
be an abuse of language.

There are of course no innate ideas of _objects_. There is innate
consciousness--the sentimental.

Ideas are of three kinds--Particular Ideas, General Ideas,
Imaginary Ideas--corresponding to the so-called faculties of Memory,
Generalisation or Classification, and Imagination.


When the energy of attention is exhausted or withdrawn the idea also
disappears, but it may be revived by bringing the energised Self in
contact with the imprint again, and this operation can be repeated
indefinitely. The power of exciting ideas of past experience is
Memory; any particular exercise of memory is Recollection.

The imprint of an object is not absolutely permanent and is probably
never quite true. It begins to lose sharpness at once, but if the
object be frequently observed and much remembered, it will retain
its general character for years. The exercise of memory, instead of
wearing out the imprint as would be the case with a material negative
or engraved plate, keeps the channels open[6]. Persons of little
experience remember well, for their energy of attention is not
distributed over many different ideas; it travels continuously round
a small circuit. One hears ignorant persons recounting events that
happened years ago, with as much detail and with almost as much
sentiment as if they had taken place the day before. A 'good
memory' is no proof that the quality of mind or thought is good. All
experience is not worth remembering. One of the most difficult things
in moral culture is to get rid of the imprints of ideas that are out
of harmony with our improved sentiment.

Although the imprints in our mind may close up and leave scarce a
cicatrice, the part that has been once disturbed is never the same as
the virgin plasm. It remains a little more tender. It may not reopen
to ordinary stimuli, but an extra agitation of the plasm will rip up
the closed furrows, and give us back scenes in our life that had long
ceased to be recollected. A great agitation in all parts of the mind
may revive what appears to be the whole of our past experience in a
simultaneous recollection. So I explain the extraordinary lucidity
that sometimes occurs in fevers and in moments of extreme terror.

It is also conceivable that the egoistic energy may be so strong as
to destroy outright the moulds of thought, as a flood sweeps away the
banks of a river. 'We sometimes find a disease quite strip the mind
of all its ideas, and the flames of a fever in a few days calcine all
those images to dust and confusion which seemed to be as lasting as if
graved in marble'[7].

What is called 'decay of the mind' in old age is merely the loss of
the plasmic images. Since intellect would not have been formed in the
first instance if it had not been wanted, it is to be expected that it
will fade out of the mind when it is no longer wanted. So far as the
realistic intellect is concerned, we return to 'second childhood' and
the uniform sensibility we had at birth.

No philosophy but the substantial explains memory. Idealists and
metaphysicians, who recognise only consciousness, are utterly unable
to account for the revival of a shadowy sort of objects in the absence
of their original causes. Here is the melancholy confession of John
Stuart Mill on the subject:--

    'If we speak of the Mind as a series of feelings, we are
    obliged to complete the statement by calling it a series of
    feelings which is aware of itself as past and future: and we
    are reduced to the alternative of believing that the Mind, or
    Ego, is something different from any series of feelings,
    or possibilities of them, or of accepting the paradox that
    something which _ex hypothesi_ is but a series of feelings,
    can be aware of itself as a series.

    'The truth is that we are here face to face with that final
    inexplicability at which, as Sir W. Hamilton observes, we
    inevitably arrive when we reach ultimate facts; and in general
    one mode of stating it only appears more incomprehensible than
    another, because the whole of human language is accommodated
    to the one, and is so incongruous with the other, that it
    cannot be expressed in any terms which do not deny its truth.
    The real stumbling-block is perhaps not in any theory of the
    fact, but in the fact itself. The true incomprehensibility
    perhaps is, that something which has ceased, or is not yet in
    existence, can still be, in a manner, present: that a series
    of feelings, the infinitely greater part of which is past or
    future, can be gathered up as it were into a single present
    conception, accompanied by a belief of reality. I think, by
    far the wisest thing we can do is to accept the inexplicable
    fact, without any theory of how it takes place; and when we
    are obliged to speak of it in terms which assume a theory, to
    use them with a reservation as to their meaning[8].'

Memory an ultimate fact! It is the first that stares us in the face on
beginning to philosophise, and it haunts us through all our subsequent
speculations. It is the 'dweller on the threshold' of philosophy,
which unless we overcome will overcome us, and frustrate our magic.

The passage quoted does not show Mill's usual candour and consistency.
His philosophy has broken down on an essential point, and he is
reluctant to admit it. He tries to throw the blame on other things,
and recommends that those who think with him should maintain a
discreet silence on the subject of memory, or if obliged to speak
of it do so in ambiguous language. That is hardly honest, and is bad
philosophical practice. What we know or think we know we may leave
alone--it will not run away; it is what we are conscious of not
knowing that should receive our persistent attention.

Materialism presents at first sight the data out of which to construct
a theory of memory, for it recognises the dependent character of
consciousness and takes body to be its substance. Does the body show
any marks or traces of thought that may serve to revive ideas in the
absence of objects? None have yet been discovered. Nerves are used in
objective observation, but they do not appear to be essential either
to recollection in general or to any of the more elaborate forms of
internal thought. The brain is used only when giving expression to

Memory is noticed by everyone, even the least metaphysical. Persons
who are incapable of understanding the difference between object and
subject or general and particular, are yet perfectly well aware of the
difference between remembering and forgetting. The phrases relating
to this distinction are the commonest in every language. Memory is
conspicuous--notorious--palpable. It is the pivot on which the whole
mental system revolves. It cannot be gainsaid or ignored. There is no
profit in boycotting it in the manner recommended by Mill--it must be
faced and explained. 'How do you account for memory?' should be the
first question addressed to one who pretends to have a science of
mind. If he has no plausible answer to give, his system is not
worth discussion. A philosophy without a theory of memory is like an
astronomy without gravitation.


Sentiments are remembered and recollected like objects. For instance,
a boy is punished for doing wrong and has _pain_; he does wrong again
and is haunted with the _fear_ of being punished again, which is
the recollected and anticipated pain. We have thus two species of
sentiment corresponding exactly to object and idea. The word 'feeling'
is appropriate to the first, 'emotion' to the second. 'Passion' is a
strong degree of either.

Objects that are associated with feelings are better remembered than
those that merely affect the intellect, for there is a double memory
at work--one in the core and one on the surface of our mind.

Sentiments are not susceptible of the same degree of analysis as
objects. The inner matrix is more fluid and does not keep details.
Apart from the objects associated with feelings, there is not much
opportunity or need for classifying them. We are happy, wretched, or
indifferent--that sums up the sentimental experience.

No two moral philosophers give the same list of sentiments. Some
are satisfied with two--pain and pleasure. Spinoza gives a list of
forty-seven[9] sentiments, which includes luxury and drunkenness. It
is evident that luxury is a general term which covers many different
forms of feeling, and if the feeling of intoxication by alcohol is
worth mentioning, so also must be the intoxications by opium and
tobacco; and if these are included we must admit the feeling of
nausea, which brings us to the sentiments associated with all diseased
conditions of body or mind. Such distinctions are superfluous, for if
the sentiment is purely personal and not associated with an external
object, it is not of any general interest; if associated with an
object and common to many persons it is best defined by reference to
the object--as the pleasure of smelling a _rose_.

We have sometimes feelings of elation and depression for which we
cannot find an internal reason nor yet an objective sign. Many of
the so-called religious experiences are of this sort. So also are the
sudden sympathies and aversions we feel towards certain people and
places. Here there is an object, but we cannot find anything in the
object that can be taken as specially significant of the feeling. We
are said not to be able to 'analyse' our feeling, that is, assign it
an object as cause.

These abnormal feelings may be explained by supposing that some
external influences succeed in reaching our sentiment without exciting
our intellect. Considering that intellect is artificial and may be
very imperfect, and also that its efficiency depends to some extent
on its being less sensitive than the original mental nature, it is
reasonable to conclude that subtle emanations from our surroundings
may occasionally affect us without exciting the intellectual
consciousness. Panic, inspiration, mesmerism, and other 'occult'
influences are probably due to this cause. If we further assume that
sentiments so excited may then, by association, excite appropriate
_ideas_ in the intellect of the recipient, we have a likely
explanation of what is called 'thought-transference.' Since ideas
excite emotions, it is reasonable to suppose that feelings may excite
ideas, or even the illusion that objects are being perceived.


Most ideas, except the particular (which are copies of single
objects), are associated with a consciousness of resemblance and
difference which arises in the following manner.

When new experience simply revives the imprint of a former experience
we call it the _same_ object or objects, though it is not numerically
the same, being different at least in time. If a totally new imprint
is made in the mind the experience is quite novel or _strange_, but we
do not call it different.

Experience is usually neither quite the same as before nor quite
strange, which means that the present noumenon has partially revived
an old imprint and made a partially new one.

In this case we have a quadruple consciousness. There is first
the present object; next the recollection of the object originally
associated with the same imprint; thirdly, a consciousness of
_resemblance_ between the new and the old (the present object and the
recollected idea) in so far as the imprints coincide, and (fourthly)
a sense of _difference_ in so far as they disagree. The limitation
of resemblance gives rise to the sense of difference--a negative
consciousness--and the shock of difference emphasises the resemblance.
This is Comparison, the common basis of Generalisation and

    [Footnote 6: As if the image had the form of a stencil.]

    [Footnote 7: Locke, _Essay on the Understanding_, ii. x. 5.]

    [Footnote 8: _Exam. of Hamilton's Philosophy_, p. 212-3.]

    [Footnote 9: I append Spinoza's list, and print in italics the
    sentiments that appear to me to be emotions as
    distinguished from feelings.
    Pollock's _Spinoza_, ch. vii.]



General Ideas are formed by the coincident imprint of several objects
in some respects different, but which have all a resemblance as
objects, and are besides the signs of the same sentimental effect.
If the effects are different the confusion of the objects occasions
practical error, as when we mistake one man for another whom he
closely resembles. Though the sentimental utilities should be the
same, the object cannot be reduced to a common idea if they are quite
dissimilar: for example, a sand-glass and a watch have similar uses,
but they cannot be generalized. The value of generalisation to a
thinker is that it economises memory and recollection by making one
common or average idea do duty for many particular ideas. Let us
follow the process in detail.

The first perception of an object leaves an imprint in the substance
of the intellect. A second perception partially resembling the first
revives the first to the extent at least of the resemblance. Supposing
this is done by a hundred similar objects it is plain that the
resembling properties will have been experienced a hundred times,
whereas the distinguishing attributes may have been felt a few times
only, in some cases only once. Unless we have special reasons for
observing the differences and so deepening the impressions of them,
they will fade from our memory at a rate corresponding to the paucity
of experiences. The most general idea will last longest because
_there_ the impression has been very deep. Our idea of Man or Animal
will on this principle, as it is found to do in fact, outlast our
memory of many concrete men and animals.

The objects that contribute to form a general idea or Class are
commonly said to 'belong to,' or to 'inhere in,' or to be 'brought
under' the idea or class. All these metaphors are wrong and occasion
mistakes. Generalisation is nothing but condensed or epitomised
recollection; it is practised by ourselves for our own convenience,
and does not imply any essential or extra-personal relation between
the objects. We are free to classify things in any order we find
useful. A farmer's classification of some animals into cattle, game,
fowls, birds, and vermin, is perfectly legitimate, for each species is
based on a different utility for him.

We should distinguish general ideas which we ourselves have drawn from
our primary experience, from the ideas suggested by verbal definitions
of general ideas formed by other minds. Supposing the objects in
question to be quite unknown to us, the definitional idea is more like
a particular or imaginary idea than a general idea. It is a single
thin rigid idea, utterly unlike the flexible suggestive thought
evolved from a large mass of personal experience. Definitional general
ideas are as unsatisfactory as described objects, but we are sometimes
compelled to use both when personal experience is totally wanting.

It is a common error to suppose that general ideas cannot exist in the
intellect without words by which to name them. Words and other modes
of marking ideas are useful in all departments of thought, but
not more necessary in general thought than in any other. An active
intellect makes thousands of observations and scores of general ideas
which it may have no means or wish to express in language.

Generalisation is very like the operation called composite
photography. A number of persons are posed in the same attitude and
partially photographed on the same plate. The result is an average
or mean likeness of the whole group, but not an exact portrait of
any individual. So general ideas are 'means' or 'averages' of many
resembling but slightly differing objects.

There are other things in the photographic art remarkably similar to
intellectual thinking. The gelatine film behaves very like the mental
plasma: only one other physical object (so far as I am aware) is a
better image of the plasm.

In theory the object or phenomenon has no importance. Even when it
has the quality we call 'beauty,' that is not a property of the
bare object, for it is not seen by every person or animal with good
eyesight; it is a sentimental effect associated with the object. Hence
we might, if it were possible, ignore all objects except those which
have value to us as signs of sentimental effects.

But in practice we cannot do this. Objects are thrust upon our notice
which we cannot avoid, and which have no sentimental interest for us.
These objects are necessarily classified according to their phenomenal
appearance only, and such ideas lack an essential characteristic of
true general ideas. But we cannot prevent their formation in the
mind, for generalisation is merely a kind of abbreviated memory, and,
objects being once perceived, their recollection is to a great extent
beyond our control.

Artificial and adventitious utilities produce the same kind of
one-sided generalisation. If society pays a man in fame or money to
observe and describe certain things, his classification of them will
be purely phenomenal. He will classify dogs with wolves and nightshade
with potato, and will lump together the whole population of a country
in one class, although it consists of the most divers elements--fools
and philosophers, rogues and righteous, saints and sinners, patricians
and plebeians. These are differences much more important than sameness
of nationality, colour, race, or language.

This practice, no doubt, gives symmetrical classifications. The
greater classes are subdivided into subordinate classes, and these
again into lower classes in a many-stepped series. Gradation occurs
also in true generalisation, but not to the same extent.

If we confine our observation to things that are much like each other,
the average idea will not be greatly different from a particular idea:
this is called _lowness_ in generality. If we run together quadrupeds,
bipeds and fishes, we shall have a much higher general idea: the
average will be very unlike any concrete animal. The higher we
generalise the smaller becomes the content of the idea, but the wider
its extension, that is, the realm of objects from which it has been
drawn, or which it is considered to represent. The usual practice is
to generalise by fine gradations. Get the general idea of sheep, then
of cow, then of horse; then average the averages. The result is much
the same if we run all the objects together and average them in
one operation, but the slower process gives the neater results. The
gradations of generality are distinguished by names such as (beginning
from below) variety, species, genus, class, family, kingdom.

'Conceptualism' is the metaphysical doctrine now prevalent with
respect to general ideas. They are regarded not as objects nor as
essences, but as forms of consciousness depending more or less on
our own mental activity. This is true enough so far as it goes, but
without a substantial plasm to hold the 'concept' its formation and
endurance are quite inexplicable.


Matter is the name given to the most general idea we can form of
objects. It is supposed to cover all of them. In other words, the
content or 'essence' of the idea is the attribute or attributes
common to all objects without exception. It is the universal objective
minimum--the least objective experience consistent with the experience
being objective. Some have attempted to define this general idea more
precisely by identifying it with some _abstract_ property such as
extension, resistance, etc. An object may be material without offering
any resistance to human energy, as a beam of light. A material object
may also be without extension, as a sound or smell. The only quality
left to matter is bare objectivity, namely, that it is a form of
consciousness excited in a mind by some other mind, not occurring
spontaneously. This seems to me the only true connotation of matter.

Matter is not the antithesis of mind; it is a mere affection of mind.
The two are not in any proper sense co-ordinate or equipollent. They
are to each other somewhat in the relation of a mirror to an
image reflected from it. Mind is to each of us a concrete primary
experience--the feeling of personal power and identity. Matter is a
general idea arising from the comparison of objects in consciousness.
No two things could well be more diverse.

Since general ideas are products of our own mental energy, and matter
the most general of all, it is the farthest removed from the concrete
objective condition, and so it is literally true that we never
objectively perceive matter though we constantly perceive material
objects. It is as impossible to see, touch, or taste matter as it
is to ride the general idea _Equus_ or dine off the general idea
_nourishment_. In denying the objectivity of matter we do not deny the
objective reality of things: we merely decline to confound a general
idea with the objects that have contributed to form it. We decline to
be _mystics_, in the sense defined by J. S. Mill[10]. The belief in
the external existence of matter is a form of mysticism; the Hindus
call it _maya_, meaning illusion.

Some metaphysicians argue that since phenomena appear only in
conjunction, we are compelled by the constitution of our nature
to think of them conjoined in and by something, and this imaginary
foundation and cement is another meaning of the word 'matter.'

For myself I feel no such compulsion. When things are complex I
recollect the several properties as cohering together, and when I
abstract one or some for special consideration, I sometimes think of
the others as forming a 'substance' in which the abstracted properties
inhere. But I cannot discover any inherence or coherence except the
mutual, and the notion of an invisible material setting which
holds all the parts of a thing together seems to me superfluous
and unwarranted. If it existed it would not be, as logicians argue,
something superior and antithetical to phenomena; it would be simply
an inferred or latent phenomenon like the luminiferous ether of
science. The material substance is evidently a groping of the mind
after the noumenal (mental) substance which causes the appearance of


Nominalists deny the existence of general ideas as distinct from
particular ideas. Most of them affirm that we employ general or common
words to signify the common properties of similar things, but that we
are incapable of thinking of these common properties apart from the
other properties that accompany them.

Why we should wish to use signs of things we cannot think about,
or how a word can be a 'sign' when we are incapable of attaching a
definite meaning to it, are points not satisfactorily cleared up by

Considering how well Berkeley's principle, combined with the plasmic
theory, accounts for generalisation, and how inevitable it is that
there should be general ideas distinguishable from particular ideas
by superior brilliancy and endurance, it is surprising to find in
Berkeley one of the most convinced and eloquent of nominalists. His
views on the subject have so much weight with philosophers that I must
examine them at length.

    'It is agreed on all hands,' he writes in the Introduction to
    his _Principles_, 'that the qualities or modes of things do
    never really exist each of them apart by itself, and separated
    from all others, but are mixed, as it were, and blended
    together, several in the same object. But, we are told, the
    mind being able to consider each quality singly, or abstracted
    from those other qualities with which it is united, does by
    that means frame to itself abstract ideas. For example, there
    is perceived by sight an object extended, coloured, and moved:
    this mixed or compound idea the mind resolving into its simple
    constituent parts, and viewing each by itself, exclusive of
    the rest, does frame the abstract ideas of extension, colour,
    and motion. Not that it is possible for colour or motion to
    exist without extension; but only that the mind can frame
    to itself by _abstraction_ the idea of colour exclusive
    of extension, and of motion exclusive of both colour and

Abstract ideas do not form a fourth class of ideas but are fractions
of particular, general, or imaginary ideas, and may (as Berkeley,
reporting the metaphysical doctrine, says) be single or partial
properties mentally detached from the collective properties forming an
object. In this case they are abstracted properties, not ideas. Since
general ideas are less complete than the particular ideas from which
they were drawn, they are abstract ideas in so far as they are partial
ideas; but all abstract ideas are not general ideas. Berkeley's
nominalism is based on the supposed impossibility of forming any sort
of partial idea, and he now proceeds to reproduce the metaphysical
account of the general abstract idea.

    'And as the mind frames to itself abstract ideas of qualities
    or modes, so does it, by the same precision or mental
    separation, attain abstract ideas [general ideas] of the more
    compounded beings which include several co-existent qualities.
    For example, the mind having observed that Peter, James, and
    John resemble each other in certain common agreements of shape
    and other qualities, leaves out of the complex or compounded
    idea it has of Peter, James, and any other particular man,
    that which is peculiar to each, retaining only what is common
    to all, and so makes an abstract [general] idea wherein all
    the particulars equally partake--abstracting entirely from and
    cutting off those circumstances and differences which might
    determine it to any particular existence. And after this
    manner it is said we come by the abstract [general] idea of
    man, or, if you please, humanity or human nature; wherein it
    is true there is included colour, because there is no man but
    has some colour, but then it can be neither white, nor black,
    nor any particular colour, because there is no one particular
    colour wherein all men partake. So likewise there is included
    stature, but then it is neither tall stature, nor low stature,
    nor yet middle stature, but something abstracted from all
    these. And so of the rest. Moreover, there being a great
    variety of other creatures that partake of some parts, but not
    all, of the complex idea of man, the mind, leaving out those
    parts which are peculiar to men, and retaining those only
    which are common to all the living creatures, frames the idea
    of _animal_, which abstracts not only from all particular
    men, but also all birds, beasts, fishes and insects. The
    constituent parts of the abstract idea of animal are body,
    life, sense, and spontaneous motion. By _body_ is meant body
    without any particular shape or figure, there being no one
    shape or figure common to all animals, without covering either
    of hair, or feathers, or scales, &c., nor yet naked: hair,
    feathers, scales, and nakedness being the distinguishing
    properties of particular animals, and for that reason left out
    of the _abstract_ [general] _idea_. Upon the same account the
    spontaneous motion must be neither walking, nor flying, nor
    creeping; it is nevertheless a motion, but what that motion is
    it is not easy to conceive.'

This is a fair paraphrase of the accounts given by metaphysicians of
the manner of forming general ideas. It is also in itself a perfectly
correct account of the process, considered simply as a manifestation
of consciousness or a succession of states of consciousness, that is,
apart from the substantial plasmic operation of which it is merely the
symptom. Berkeley however denies that it is a true statement of what
takes place in the mind of consciousness.

    'Whether others have this wonderful faculty of abstracting
    their ideas, they best can tell; for myself, I find indeed
    I have a faculty of imagining or representing to myself, the
    ideas of those particular things I have perceived, and of
    variously compounding and dividing them. I can imagine a man
    with two heads, or the upper parts of a man joined to the body
    of a horse. I can consider the hand, the eye, the nose each by
    itself abstracted or separated from the rest of the body.
    But then, whatever hand or eye I imagine, it must have some
    particular shape or colour. Likewise the idea of man that I
    frame to myself must be either of a white, or a black, or
    a tawny, a straight, or a crooked, a tall, or a low, or a
    middle-sized man. I cannot by any effort of thought conceive
    the abstract idea above described. And it is equally
    impossible for me to form the abstract idea of motion distinct
    from the body moving, and which is neither swift nor slow,
    curvilinear nor rectilinear; and the like may be said of all
    other abstract general ideas whatsoever. To be plain, I own
    myself able to abstract in one sense, as when I consider
    some particular parts or qualities separated from others,
    and which, though they are united in some object, yet it is
    possible they may really exist without them. But I deny that
    I can abstract from one another, or conceive separately, those
    qualities which it is impossible should exist so separated;
    or that I can form a general notion, by abstracting from
    particulars in the manner aforesaid--which last are the two
    proper acceptations of _abstraction_. And there is ground to
    think most men will acknowledge themselves to be in my case.
    The generality of men which are simple and illiterate never
    pretend to _abstract notions_ [general ideas]. It is said they
    are difficult and not to be attained without pains and study;
    we may therefore reasonably conclude that, if such there be,
    they are confined only to the learned.'

It is quite true that 'the simple and illiterate never _pretend_ to
abstract notions,' for the sufficient reason that they do not know
the names of their mental operations, even if they are capable of
discriminating them. For the same reason they do not pretend to talk
prose or to be realists.

The practice of every profession and craft, even the humblest,
involves abstraction and generalisation. The objective properties
associated with a given utility have to be abstracted from those which
are indifferent, and this is what enables men of experience in
any branch of industry or art to form a speedy judgment on matters
touching their special affairs. It is in part what distinguishes the
'professional' from the 'amateur.'

Berkeley's disclaimer of any power in himself to form general ideas
is no doubt sincere, and he is justified in reasoning from himself to
others. But the point at issue is, whether Berkeley in this instance
correctly analysed his own mental processes. The fact that he was
correct in some points of great importance does not preclude us from
surmising that he may have been wrong in others of less importance.
In comparison with his discovery of the substantiality of mind, his
oversight on the subject of abstraction is a bagatelle.

He explains the existence of general words on the theory that they are
names of particular ideas which we use to represent all similar ideas.

    '... an idea which, considered in itself, is particular,
    becomes general by being made to represent or stand for all
    other particular ideas of the same sort. To make this plain by
    an example, suppose a geometrician is demonstrating the method
    of cutting a line in two equal parts. He draws, for instance,
    a black line of one inch in length: this, which in itself is
    a particular line, is nevertheless with regard to its
    signification general, since, as it is there used, it
    represents all particular lines whatsoever; so that what is
    demonstrated of it is demonstrated of all lines, or, in other
    words, of a line in general. And, as _that particular line_
    becomes general by being made a sign, so the _name_ "line,"
    which taken absolutely is particular, by being a sign is made
    general. And as the former owes its generality not to its
    being the sign of an abstract or general line, but of all
    particular right lines that may possibly exist, so the latter
    must be thought to derive its generality from the same cause,
    namely, the various particular lines which it indifferently

These extracts will suffice to show what was Berkeley's doctrine on
the subject of general ideas.

With respect to the analogy supposed to exist between the generality
of a name and the generality of a general idea, it has to be observed
that a name owes its generality solely to its being the sign of a
general idea. It is an imputed or conventional generality,--in its
proper character a general name is concrete and individual. Also it
does not resemble the thing it signifies (the general idea), nor the
concrete things from which that has been derived.

The generality of a general idea, on the other hand, depends
altogether on its _resemblance_ to many particular things. It is
independent of convention. Hence there is no real analogy between the
two generalities.

Considering that Berkeley professes himself unable to imagine abstract
properties, it is surprising how easily and naturally he writes about
geometrical lines--which are abstract properties. Probably he means
concrete _strokes_.

What sort of representation can subsist between one concrete stroke
and every other concrete stroke? If it is straight it will not
correctly represent a curve; if it is curved it will not represent
a straight stroke. A stroke an inch long cannot stand for a stroke a
hundred miles long; a black stroke does not properly represent a red
stroke. So it is incorrect to say that 'what is demonstrated of _it_
is demonstrated of all strokes, or, in other words, of a stroke
in general.' A particular object can stand only for itself, and
if general words stand for many things it is not by direct
representation, but because they first suggest general ideas, which
are the true substitutes of many particular things.

A reference to geometrical objects, themselves so abstract, is a
doubtful mode of showing how well one concrete thing can represent
others. Had Berkeley taken a more complex object as his general
representative he would have seen the weakness of his argument.
Suppose a biologist has to discourse on a province of animal life
comprising many species, and takes an individual of one species as a
representative of the whole. His sample is perhaps a hare, but he
has to treat of birds and fishes. What is to prevent his hearers from
concluding that birds are furred animals and fishes quadrupeds? Are
they to be expected to see in the hare only the properties common to
all the animals reviewed? If so they have the power denied them
by nominalists of forming a pure general idea, and the hare is
superfluous. The common properties could have been defined and
imagined without a concrete specimen, with irrelevant attributes,
being brought into the discourse.

All nominalists insist that if we think long on a general idea it
becomes particular, and from this they argue that it is not, and never
has been, a general idea[11].

The experiments of this sort proposed by logicians are misleading,
because we are without the ordinary motives for thinking generally.
In practical thought we have some sufficient reason for attending to
a fraction of consciousness and excluding the rest, and the irrelevant
qualities are distinctly less charged with attention than the
principal quality.

The power of abstracting thought is a matter of education. It is that
ruling of the spirit which is more difficult than the capture of a
city. We have to master the restless energic Self and fix it down on a
particular plasmic figure, or a mere point or edge of one, preventing
the energy from spreading to adjacent images. That is irksome and
fatiguing, but it is only a high degree of the faculty everyone
possesses of distinguishing particular objects from each other. Some
minds are so flaccid that you cannot hold them to one subject, even
the most particular and obvious, for five minutes at a time. Training
enables us to bring into the focus of attention just what we wish to
observe or think about, and leave the rest in the background, however
closely it may be connected with the matter that immediately interests
us. But for this power much of our energy would be expended to no
purpose. Abstraction is simply attention of a minute and concentrated
kind--a bringing of our energy of observation or recollection to a
fine point.

When abstraction need not be prolonged--when we are free to pass
rapidly from one general or abstract idea to another--there is no
difficulty in partial thinking. We skim over the plasmic imprints,
lightly brushing the surface of each where it is most prominent and
therefore most general, but not pausing to recollect particulars. It
is this rapid delicate touch we oftenest use in actual thought; but
when for purposes of experiment we come down heavily on an imprint,
then the Self overflows to adjacent channels and particular memories
are stirred up, in spite of every effort to limit our attention.

So common and easy is rapid general thought that it is constantly
used as a substitute for concrete thought, when a sketchy treatment of
things is all that is wanted.

'A bird has alighted on the fence.' The speaker saw a particular
concrete bird, and might have tried to describe it in the concrete.
But the attributes that rendered it concrete are supposed not to be
of present importance, and the hearer is consequently invited to think
only of bird in general. Would a nominalist affirm that in such a case
the words are meaningless unless the idea is concreted--unless the
general sketch is filled out in detail?

Take another example. 'The man sat by the window overlooking the river
that flowed towards the city.'

Here all the nouns are general, but the picture is individual and
concrete. It is also quite intelligible, as a sketch. We can think of
a man without assigning to him any particular type of face, or colour
of hair, or stature, or age, or clothing. Our idea is the general idea
_man_ used as a sketch of a particular man. He is in a house because
he is looking through a window, but we do not stay to imagine the
house as cottage, inn, or mansion. We call up the general idea
_house_, which is definite enough for our purpose, and we cannot doubt
for a moment that we have such a general idea. The river may be wide
or narrow, straight or crooked, navigable or not, but we think only
of the general idea _river_, which is water flowing between banks. And
surely we can imagine a general _city_ without giving it any definite
size, or form, or nationality, or number of inhabitants!

These considerations clearly demonstrate that we have general ideas,
which are not merely concrete ideas used as examples, and if we can
employ them in the manner just indicated, where a light superficial
recollection is all that is necessary, we can equally well use them
in their more legitimate character, as signs of certain general


Generalisation has been the bane of European philosophy. It has
monopolised well-nigh the whole metaphysical attention. It has been
considered the radical fact of mind from which all others have grown,
whereas it is no more than a method for abbreviating recollection.
It neither reveals to us new things, nor reduces the multiplicity of
things actually existing.

Plato insisted on the importance of general thought as against the
fluctional idealism of Heraclitus, but he was wholly mistaken as
to the nature of general ideas. He thought they were external
objects--also types and causes of primary objects. But patterns are
not causes, and general ideas are quite obviously suggested by things,
not things derived from general ideas. The notion that the general
idea is either the cause, or an image and revelation of the cause, of
things is an error of perennial recurrence. In some form or other it
is always with us.

Plato also taught that general ideas are recollections of knowledge
acquired in the condition prior to embodiment, which the objective
experience of this life serves to revive. These several doctrines are
somewhat inconsistent with each other. The last is interesting but
lacks confirmation.

Aristotle admitted the superiority of general over particular ideas,
and thought that the former corresponded to some specially important
part of objects called the 'essence.'

This is nearer the truth. The essence of an object is that part of
it, which being present, a given sentimental result follows, or may be
expected to follow, or may be made to follow. A certain experience of
things is necessary before we can know what is the objective minimum
consistent with some sentimental utility. If things are classified
with due regard to their utilities, the essence will be the same as
the general idea. It is however not true that the essence or any other
part of the object causes the sentimental effect (VII).

A common form of the generalistic superstition is to suppose that a
thing is explained or sufficiently accounted for by classifying it.

In all philosophies of Greek derivation--the Asiatic seem to be free
from this defect--reason is considered to be 'the bringing of a thing
under a class-notion,' and when this is done we are supposed to know
the thing completely. An elaborate and utterly false dialectic has
been erected on this foundation.

No doubt our first attempt at explaining a thing is to refer it to a
general idea--to classify it. This usually suggests something to add
to the bare phenomenon by way of explanation or hypothesis. But only
if we have a prior knowledge of the general idea, derived from things
better known than the present phenomenon. The general idea is simply
a short formula of that prior knowledge. Suppose we thoroughly know
a body of similar things _a_, _b_, _c_, and also reduce them to the
general image X; then on seeing _d_ and noticing that it is like
_a_, _b_, _c_, we briefly think, 'Oh, it is X,' which excuses us from
studying it further. We at once transfer to _d_ our whole knowledge
of _a_, _b_, _c_, and in this ideal transfer the explanation
consists--not in the classification. The transfer is often tacit--if
explicit it is an 'argument.'

If there has been no better known _a_, _b_, _c_, it is evident that
the mere generalisation of new facts _d_, _e_, _f_, will not add
anything to our knowledge of _them_. In deduction we should only
return to them the knowledge just extracted from them. We should be
explaining things by themselves--reasoning in a circle[12].

The _unity_, which explains is not the general idea. It is a unity of
function or service, and may include things utterly heterogeneous, and
therefore incapable of being reduced to a common idea. The pen in my
hand consists of wood and metal; if I generalise them into Matter--the
nearest class that includes both--I do not thereby explain the pen.
But it is explained by the unity of service: the wood and metal
contribute to form one instrument for writing.

The best results of modern science are discoveries of utilities
(inventions); discoveries of the relations of sequence among objects,
which enable us to predict their arrival years in advance; of
coexistences on the great cosmic scale (geographical and stellar
exploration); of co-inherence of properties in individual objects
(chemistry). Yet science is still too generalistic. It runs too much
to classification and nomenclature, which is nothing but _memoria
technica_. Modern biology presents a curious return of Platonism. The
general idea is not indeed put forward as the cause of individuals,
but a particular concrete animal is found who closely resembles the
general idea, and it is imagined that an animal like him was the
original cause of all animals of his species. When it happens--as
it occasionally must in a thorough-going system of phenomenal
classification--that the average or general idea falls between two
species, no individual can be found to represent it with the desired
exactness. In this case it is supposed by evolutionists that the
intermediate animal has existed but is now extinct. These are the
'missing links' so badly wanted to complete the evolutionary scheme.

    [Footnote 10: 'Mysticism is neither more nor less than
    ascribing objective existence to the subjective creations
    of our own faculties, to ideas or feelings of the
    mind.'--_Logic_, chapter on 'Fallacies.']

    [Footnote 11: With equal plausibility it might be argued that
    we have no particular ideas, because it is difficult if not
    impossible to observe and remember all the details of any
    object. Our most particular ideas are slightly abstract,
    and in the process of forgetting they become more and more
    abstract, until they disappear altogether.]

    [Footnote 12: Mill's nominalistic tendencies led him to the
    same conclusion: 'Our general ideas contain nothing but what
    has been put into them, either by our passive experience, or
    by our active habits of thought; and the metaphysicians in all
    ages, who have attempted to construct the laws of the universe
    by reasoning from our supposed necessities of thought, have
    always proceeded, and only could proceed, by laboriously
    finding in their own minds what they themselves had formerly
    put there, and evolving from their ideas of things what they
    had first involved in those ideas.'--_Logic_, Bk. V. c. 3. §



This faculty or habit consists essentially in combining ideas
(particular or general), or objects and ideas, so as to form systems
different from those occurring in actual experience. The whole has
never been perceived, though all its elements have been perceived.

Any association of ideas may be called imaginary if it occurs in an
order different from the order of experience. But the term Imagination
is properly confined to novel combinations deliberately and
consciously formed to serve some utility. It is thus distinguished
from Reverie, in which no choice or control enters into the

We control our ideal associations by means of comparison, which is
therefore what distinguishes imagination from reverie. For instance,
if I see a vase from which the handle has been broken off, I can
imagine the handle restored, but to do this I must be able to compare
the broken vase with a similar whole vase, or with the general idea
'whole vase.' The combination I form is novel, for I have never
seen this particular vase in a whole state; if I had I should not be
imagining it but recollecting it.

There are two principal distinctions to be noticed in imagination; one
relates to the mode of forming the imaginary idea, the other to its

In the above case we form the whole by mechanical extension or
addition. The process is as simple as nailing one piece of wood to
another. But suppose the broken vase is of porcelain and the whole one
of bronze, the restoration can still be made, but it is no mechanical
junction of two previous ideas. It is a fusion of the material
supplied by one idea with a form supplied by another. On the same
principle a vase may be wholly designed from hints supplied by a score
or more of vases, differing in material, in size, colour, decoration,
and so forth. In these cases the new idea may be said to be totally
different throughout its length from any other and from any object.
Yet it is a combination of previous ideas. We do not create any
absolutely new idea. This may be called imagination by _transfusion_.
The elements may be so well mixed that it is impossible to trace each
back to its origin.

Transfusion may be further complicated by recompounding ideas already
compound. This occurs, as we shall see, in forming the 'external
world' of materialists and realists.

The two uses to which imaginary ideas are put are the Artistic and the

We have seen (X) that emotions may be excited by objects or ideas.
Hence, agreeable emotions may be excited by suggesting the objects
associated with the original agreeable feelings; and novel emotions
may be excited by novel combinations of the ideas of experienced
objects that have been signs of feelings. From this possibility has
arisen that extensive province of activity called ART, which consists
in imagining novel combinations of things capable of exciting novel
and pleasurable emotions (not feelings), and in finding means of
suggesting such ideas to others. Some of these combinations are so
subtle, and the emotions they excite so exquisite, that we value the
artistic work at a great price, and rank the man who imagined it among
the benefactors of his species.

REASON, or the Rational Imagination, does not appeal directly to the
emotions. It serves the uses of life by enabling us to imagine what we
have not yet experienced but may have to experience, and the quality
aimed at is accuracy of intellectual ideation, not emotional pleasure.
It is found by experience that an intellect well furnished with ideas
may learn to combine them into pictures or preconceptions of the
future, and the indirect utility of this accomplishment is very great.
If it does not, like art, give immediate sentimental pleasure,
it often enables us so to control events that we are brought into
conditions affording more lasting satisfaction than many expensive
works of art. Reason, then, is the imaginative faculty applied to the
purpose of acquiring ideas of experience that has not yet taken place,
and it is good in proportion to the similarity of the idea to the
anticipated or unknown experience.

Although imagination is more important than generalisation, it has
received little attention from metaphysicians. Their treatment of it
is not uniform, but it generally exhibits two fundamental defects.
They consider it an independent or ultimate faculty, that is, one
incapable of resolution into anything more simple. We have seen that
it is an application of comparison, and comparison depends on the
coincidence of particular ideas.

Then they regard imagination only in its artistic uses, not
perceiving that it is also the basis of reason. Reason they treat
as generalisation--a vice that pervades all their systems. They put
reason and art in essential opposition, whereas the difference between
them is only specific--a difference of use.

Some metaphysicians confound imagination with mere recollection. 'It
is,' says one of them, 'the faculty representative of the phenomena
both of the external and internal worlds.' But there is a great
difference between the representation of what we have experienced
actually, and the representation of a future and perhaps impossible
event: the latter only is imaginative. 'There is no train of ideas,'
says another, 'to which the term imagination may not be applied.' If a
man at the end of the day calls to mind all the events of the day in
a train of ideas, that is recollection, and would be very
inappropriately termed imagination. According to a third, imagination
has for its object the concrete as opposed to abstractions and
generalities. This also is inexact. A traveller may describe in
general the qualities of a foreign country or tribe of men, and we
shall imagine that generality without a concrete picture. The power of
imagining generalities and abstractions necessarily follows from the
power of forming them in the first instance.



The derivation of Reason as given in the preceding sections may be
summed up thus:--the meeting of Minds gives Perception or primary
experience; Attention selects therefrom objects of special interest
to the observer; Memory retains impressions of these in the mental
plasma, by which ideas of them are recollected though the originating
mind be not present; community with divergence of imprint gives rise
to Comparison; from this are derived Imagination and Generalisation;
from imagination emerge Reason and Art.

Generalisation is thus only a collateral relation of reason, not
its immediate parent nor in the direct line of descent. It is not
essential to reason, but may enter as a subsidiary process into an
argument. If the things we argue about are numerous it will be more
correct to generalise them and then argue from the general idea,
than to argue from one concrete object to another. But innumerable
inferences are drawn from one particular thing to another, and these
involve no generalisation.

Reason is chiefly the art of predicting by means of the intellect what
will occur to us in the future. Its use is to enable us to prepare
for future events in so far as our resources permit. We never predict
quite accurately, but general preconceptions are better than none
at all. The same process by which we preconceive the future can be
applied to the conception of what is actually taking place but not
within our ken--as at the antipodes--and can be applied also to events
that took place in the past and will never be experienced by us. It
might be objected that as regards the past we can have no motive in
imagining it, seeing we can never experience it. But a conception of
the past is often a necessary condition of our conceiving the future,
and is artistically interesting. It awakens pleasing emotions to be
able to picture to ourselves, even imperfectly, states of the world
and of society that have long been obsolete.

An investigation of the manner in which reason supplies us with ideas
of the unknown, involves the consideration and arrangement of so
many details that it may be regarded as a small science in

A dialectician (logician in the narrower sense) is neither a
grammarian nor an encyclopedia of the best information on every
subject. His office consists in deciding whether certain theorems
are arguments or not. An ARGUMENT is an act or product of rational
imagination. Theorems which purport to be arguments, but are not, are

A fallacy is not merely a _bad_ argument--it is no argument at all.
Quite apart from fallacy there is a goodness and badness in arguments,
but with this discrimination the dialectician (as such) has nothing
to do. Only persons experienced in the matter are competent to decide
between good and bad arguments. Hence when the quality of an argument
is in question the dialectician takes no part in the debate: he is
neither combatant nor umpire. He is at most an impartial president
whose chief duty is to see that people do not debate about mere words
and foregone conclusions. Granting that a theorem has the qualities
of an argument, the dialectician is not competent to say that it is
improper or too trivial to be discussed. He is not a judge of what
people ought to be interested in.

From his better knowledge of what constitutes rational prediction, a
dialectician may offer his services to disentangle and render explicit
involved and partial arguments. Many people reason well who are yet
unable to express themselves coherently. A dialectician should be able
to reconstruct an argument from the slightest hint, as a naturalist
imagines an animal from a single bone. In ordinary reasoning the
arguments are seldom fully expressed, and the reasoners themselves are
not always quite conscious of the premises from which they argue. All
such suppressed and overlooked assumptions should be brought to light
by dialectic, the aim of which is to render reason as self-conscious
as possible.

Though a dialectician need not be an expert in any department of
knowledge, he must know the facts on which an argument is built,
otherwise he may be deceived by equivocal language. Reverting to the
instance of the vase--the dialectician must have seen both the whole
vase and the broken vase, but he need not have any opinion as to
whether the proposed handle is the most suitable, or not. That must
be left to those who are familiar with vases and who are interested in
the restoration of the one in question.

The definition here given of the scope and office of dialectic may
appear to some too modest. But in reality there is a great deal
involved in it. Philosophers have been discussing Reason for twenty
centuries or more, and have not produced a satisfactory definition
of it. Consequently they cannot decide with any confidence whether a
theorem is an argument or a fallacy. The cleverest of them give
their sanction to theorems that are demonstrably fallacies. They are
evidently judging more by ear than by rule. All this causes confusion
of mind and waste of energy.

Dialectic takes its general idea of reason from the higher analysis
of logic, and brings the general idea to bear on concrete arguments.
A dialectician makes a collection of theorems for study just as
a botanist makes a collection of plants. He sorts them out into
convenient classes, separates the valid or useful from the erroneous
and misleading, studies the relation of language to argument and the
influence for good or ill that words have upon rational thought.

From the example of the vase cited above it will be seen that in
every act of reason two principal things are requisite. There must
be something wholly known (or comparatively well known) and something
less well known, and the reasoning or argument consists in ideally
completing the latter on the model of the former. If we would predict
the coming of a future season of the year we must have a picture in
the mind of all the seasons in the order in which they occur. If we
would go straight to a place on the surface of the earth we must have
a plan of the way in our imagination. If we would predict the effect
of a drug on an animal body we must have previously noticed the effect
it has produced--and so on. Neither the mind nor intellect supplies
spontaneously any of these models; they are all formed out of actual
experience remembered and recollected. When they have been refined
into extremely general ideas they are apt to be taken for innate
tendencies of the intellect, as Kant erroneously thought. They are not
so; all we know of the intellect is consistent with the belief that
it begins with pure plasm without a trace of idea, and is absolutely
indifferent to the imprints it may receive. Doctrines of innate
ideas--innate forms of thought or categories--innate 'principles' of
various kinds--are devices of metaphysicians to cover the weakness of
their theories.

The two main parts of an argument divide naturally into four
subdivisions. There is the thing argued about (corresponding to the
broken vase); there is the ideal extension or restoration; in the
model we reason from there are the parts corresponding to each of
these. I propose to take terms for these four parts from one of the
most important, formal and correct modes of reasoning--the application
of a precedent or statute to a case in Law.


Every argument, whatever be the matter of it, consists in bringing
a _Case_ under a _Precedent_, and applying to the case ideally the
better knowledge possessed of the precedent. The _Conclusion_ (also
called Inference or Deduction) is the result of this application, and
is always an addition to our stock of ideas.

A conclusion has never the same reality as actual experience. It is
not 'true' in that sense, though it may be 'morally' true, that is,
we are ready to act upon it without hesitation--to stake our life or
fortune on it. As regards actual or experienced fact there can be no
argument, since it is useless to 'predict' what we already know.

Academical logicians have a doctrine the reverse of this. They assert
that their syllogisms yield conclusions that are always as certain as
the premises. Grant their premises and you are obliged to accept their
conclusions. This is so, because a regular syllogistic conclusion is
simply a restating in other words of the information, or part of the
information, already contained in the premises. If the syllogism has
any use at all, it is merely as an aid to recollection; no new idea
is generated by it. It is needless to insist on a fact so notorious as
that ordinary rational conclusions--those that form the staple of our
daily thought--are not by any means so certain as the data from which
they are drawn. For example, the sky is red and lowering this evening,
and we conclude therefrom that the weather will be bad to-morrow.
There is no doubt about the present aspect of the sky, but much doubt
about the inference.

The form of an act of reasoning or argumentation may be rendered
plainer by a diagram.

    S   A
   --- ---
    C  _I_
   --- ---

S A represents the precedent. S is the Subject or body of the
precedent; A (the _Applicate_) is one property, or a part, or a
relation of S abstracted from the rest to illustrate a case. C is the
case; _I_ is the conclusion (or inference). _I_ results from imagining
C to be associated with a property or relation similar to A. The sum
of our _I_'s constitutes what we know of the world and man before
we were born, of what is taking place in other parts of the world or
universe, of what may take place in the future, and of the concealed
and inaccessible parts of present objects. This is true not only
of the results of our own reasoning but of what we have learned as
verified knowledge from others, for the interpretation of language is,
in the last analysis, a rational conclusion.

All the parts of an argument exist in the mind, but they are not
always expressed in language. When treated dialectically the implicit
members are expressed, and the terms arranged so as to show as clearly
as possible the nature of the argument. The following are the
points most necessary to be observed in constructing or analysing an

(1) C must resemble S, for that is the basis of the argument. If C
is not felt to be like S, or (as sometimes happens) is explicitly
declared to be unlike S, there can be no conclusion. The precedent is
not applicable to the case. A may, or may not, be associated with S;
that is to say, a verbal negation may appear in the statement of the
relation of S to A, but there must be no negation with respect to the
relation of C to S.

The resemblance of C to S may, however, vary in degree from the
faintest analogy to community of species. The difference between them
may far outweigh their resemblance. There may even be no material
likeness, but only a similarity of function, or position, or of any
the most trivial attribute. Only it is to be observed that the kind
and degree of resemblance between S and C determine the kind
and degree of resemblance between A and _I_. We must not infer
specifically unless the case is specifically like the precedent.
In all other instances we can only infer proportionally or by

(2) None of the antecedents must be a verbal or identical proposition,
that is, a proposition which merely substitutes one name or nominal
phrase for another; nor must the case be merely the precedent
expressed in other words, or the precedent a paraphrase of the case.
In any of these circumstances one of the elements of the argument is
wanting; we have two names for one thing or two propositions giving
the same information.

(3) The precedent may (as has been already remarked) be a general
idea, or may be an individual idea or object. If S A has occurred
frequently it is certain to be generalised, and so may form a maxim,
a law, a rule, an induction, &c. But one well-observed precedent is
enough to suggest a conclusion, if there has been no experience to the
contrary. There is therefore no dialectical difference between arguing
from a general idea (class notion) to an individual or subordinate
idea, and arguing from one individual to another. Comparison and
inference occur in both.

(4) After separating A from S care should be taken that it is A and
not S that is used to generate _I_. Examples are plentiful of theorems
in which S and A change parts, which invalidates the conclusion. Other
errors in stating theorems intended to be arguments will be noticed
under the head of 'Fallacies.'

The following is an argument conformable to the above rules.

  Tyrants             | deserve death
  Caesar was a tyrant | _no doubt he deserved death_

This square mode of stating the argument is adapted from the general
type, and brings out the mutual relations of the compared parts better
than the three-lined arrangement. The word 'therefore,' which usually
introduces a logical conclusion, is ambiguous. It may mean that the
antecedents are the causes of the fact mentioned in the conclusion,
or merely that the antecedents are the reasons why we believe the
conclusion. The former is the scientific 'therefore,' the latter is
the purely dialectical. I shall generally omit the illative word, and
print conclusions in italics, besides entering them invariably in the
fourth compartment of the parallel when this arrangement is adopted.

An idea once generated in the intellect is not to be erased at
pleasure. It can be obliterated only by the process of forgetting. If
after we have formed a dialectical conclusion we meet with evidence
that contradicts it, the only result of that evidence is to affix
a mark of falsity to the conclusion, so that as often as it is
recollected the stigma is recollected too, and neutralises the effect
of the idea. A negative or destructive argument is thus, plasmically
speaking, a positive addition to the idea it seeks to efface. For the
time being it renders the idea more conspicuous, as the word CANCELLED
stamped in large letters across a document makes it more evident than
it was before; but no doubt the stigmatising of an idea hastens the
process of oblivion, for we thenceforth bestow less attention upon it.
Stigmatic arguments are not another species, but merely the ordinary
constructive arguments used for a particular purpose.

Suppose we have inferred from the general resemblance of the earth to
the moon that the latter is inhabited, we stigmatise this belief by
such an argument as--

  Without air                 | animals cannot live
  There is no air in the moon | _there can be no life in the moon_

There is an exception to the rule that argument is superfluous when
the speaker has already verified the conclusion. It is when he is
addressing a person who has not had the same experience as himself and
who doubts his word. The speaker may then resort to arguments drawn
from antecedents recognised by the hearer, if any such are applicable
to the subject. But a fact may be truly reported though neither the
witness nor a sceptical hearer can find dialectical antecedents to
prove it, for there may be no relation between the fact in question
and any prior knowledge they possess, or they may not be able to find
the relation.

This brings us again to that view of the intellect which represents
it as artificial and limited by experience. Man is rational only
on matters familiar to him; in utterly novel circumstances he is
irrational, and must fall back for guidance on his general mental
sentiment, or the advice of persons more experienced than himself.


It is allowable to imagine ourselves placed in circumstances not yet
realised, or in possession of information not yet acquired, and
to anticipate or rehearse the reasoning we should employ under the
supposed conditions. Such arguments take in language a conditional or
hypothetical phraseology.

The case may be entirely fictitious, but I cannot find a valid
instance of a whole precedent being fictitious. Its dubiety turns on
our knowledge or ignorance of the applicate. Has a subject such or
such an attribute? Then it may be applied to illustrate a certain
case. 'If it is true that Damon and Pythias are inseparable, _then
Pythias must be in town_, for I have just seen Damon.'

It is more often the case that is dubious. 'If Caius is a European _he
is white_, for all Europeans are white.' 'If Damon is in town _Pythias
is in town_, for they are inseparable.' 'If I were you _I should
defer the voyage to the summer season_, as I have always found winter
travelling disagreeable.' But the word 'if' does not always mark a
hypothetical thought. In the proposition, 'if children are neglected
they will grow up ignorant,' we have a dogmatic or assertorial
judgment--'neglected children grow up ignorant.' (Bain.)

The precedent may be suppressed in hypothetical as in dogmatic
argument. 'If the crops are good, corn will be cheap' implies the
unspoken precedent, 'good crops have been invariably followed by cheap
corn.' 'If logic is useless it deserves to be neglected,' carries the
mind to the more general thesis, 'all useless studies deserve to be
neglected.' 'If Great Britain should be invaded the volunteers will be
called out,' rests on the precedent judgment, 'it is the duty of the
volunteer army to repel invaders.'

Arguments in which both applicate and case are hypothetical are so
very dubious that they cannot be considered of any practical use.
'_If_ opium is poisonous, and _if_ this substance is opium, you will
be poisoned by taking this substance.'

The Aristotelian hypothetical is almost invariably a fallacy,
sometimes on more than one account. It usually consists of--first, a
conditional or doubtful statement; next, a solution of the doubt by
means of positive information; finally and by way of inference the
first statement is given without the doubt. Here is an example from
Jevons: 'If the barometer is falling, bad weather is coming; but the
barometer is falling; therefore bad weather is coming.'

Where did the information that the barometer is falling come from? If
we knew it before uttering the first proposition, we were affecting
an ignorance that did not exist. The second proposition takes away all
occasion for argument; it is an amendment of the first proposition,
and what we get from the theorem as a whole is a _case_, followed by
a prediction for which there is no precedent justification. We are
arguing in a circle.

'If Aristotle is right, slavery is a proper form of society; but
slavery is not a proper form of society; therefore Aristotle is not
right.' If we knew for certain (as the second proposition indicates)
that slavery is not a proper form of society, what is the use or
meaning of treating the question as hypothetical (as is done in
the first)? If we acquired the information after uttering the first
proposition, there was no occasion to go on with the argument; we
should have said simply, 'Slavery is not a proper form of society,
though Aristotle said it was.' It is needless, except for verbal
completeness, to say 'he was not right'--we have _logically_ said so.

When two or more alternative data are presented, of which only one
is valid or relevant to a proposed argument, but we know not at
first which the valid datum is, we have the _dilemma_ (_trilemma_,
_tetralemma_, &c.) of logicians. In such conditions we have a double
process to go through; we must first settle by observation or by an
auxiliary argument which of the alternative data to select, and then
work out the principal argument in the regular dogmatic form.

Suppose we have to determine dialectically the specific gravity of a
piece of metal, but do not know whether it is gold or gun-metal. It is
evident we must first somehow make up our mind as to its identity, and
then proceed on the usual method of argumentation. The 'making up
our mind' is probably itself an argument, and might be of this
character--'A piece of yellow metal stamped with what appears to be
a hall-mark, is more likely to be gold than gun-metal; this piece of
metal has traces of such a stamp; so I conclude _it is gold_.' Then
we proceed to the principal question--'The specific gravity of gold is
19·26; I have concluded that this object is gold; I conclude further
that _it has a specific gravity of_ 19·26.'

We may work out all the alternative conclusions first and fix on a
datum afterwards, as in deciding how we shall invest our money. 'If
I put my money in Consols I shall have a small return with good
security; if I buy Patagonian bonds I may have a large interest for a
time, but the security is bad.' The next thing to settle is whether
in our experience or on accepted principles small profit with good
security is, or is not, to be preferred to large profit and bad
security: having decided in favour of the former alternative, we now
choose our investment dogmatically--'A good security with small
profit is to be preferred; Consols are of this character; _they are a
suitable investment for me_.'

We may be unable to decide for any of the alternative data, but we
work out all the possible arguments as hypotheses, and so are prepared
in a degree for all the possible events. A person is seen approaching
our residence, but we cannot discern whether it is A. B., who is
a bore, or C. D., who is an entertaining companion. We argue
rapidly--'If it is A. B. _I shall have a bad half-hour_, for he always
wearies me; if it is C. D. _I shall have an agreeable distraction_,
for he is very amusing.'

According to the syllogists, the dilemmatic premises are a statement
of alternative data and the choice of one of them, and the inference
is the rejection of the remainder: or the rejection may be given as
matter of fact and the selection as conclusion. In neither case have
we argument.

From the moment we select a datum the remaining data are of no import
to us, and they need not be mentioned. The selection of one datum
is logically identical with the rejection of the rest, and this
is therefore not a conclusion from that.--'Do you take tea or
coffee?'--'Tea, please.'--'Then I conclude you do not take coffee.'--A
person who would 'conclude' in this fashion would be justly deemed
irrational. The choice of the tea is a fact, and the rejection of the
coffee is the same fact otherwise expressed, so that the rejection
cannot be a rational conclusion.--'My doctor sends me off every
winter to Nice, Algiers, or Egypt; but I never go to Algiers or
Egypt.'--There is no occasion to say, 'therefore you go to Nice'; that
has been already announced as a matter of fact and is not susceptible
of inference. For the sake of verbal emphasis we might remark, 'So it
is to Nice you go', but this is not logically requisite.

Whately's examples of this kind of theorem are exactly of the model
just given.--'Either the earth is eternal, or the work of chance, or
the work of an intelligent Being; it is not eternal, nor the work of
chance, _therefore_ it is the work of an intelligent Being.' This is
put forward in all gravity as a specimen of reasoning. It is plain
that if we know the premises as matters of fact, we also know the
proposed conclusion as a matter of fact. There is no occasion to
reason about it.

The Aristotelian hypothetical can be reduced to arithmetical
subtraction. Suppose we put five balls into a bag and afterwards take
out three without seeing the remainder: is the judgment that two balls
remain in the bag a logical inference? No--it is matter of fact. Since
we last perceived the objects they have undergone diminution, but that
does not confer on what is left of them the imaginary character proper
to a rational conclusion. What remains is as much fact--recollected
but not imaginary fact--as before the subtraction.

Whately's next example is--'It is either spring, summer, autumn, or
winter; but it is neither spring nor summer; therefore it is either
autumn or winter.' This is aggravated fallacy. Not only is it mere
subtraction, but the remainder is _perceived_--not recollected, as in
the preceding case. The actual season of the year is a known fact, and
is not rendered more certain by an inference drawn from the absence
of some other season. Arguments have no validity as against matters
of fact, and add nothing to their authority. Fact is above, and
independent of, argument. The example just cited may be paralleled
thus--'The cards in my hand are either spades, hearts, clubs,
or diamonds; but they are neither spades nor hearts; therefore
they are either clubs or diamonds'.--I _see_ that they are
either clubs or diamonds: the perceptual judgment renders the
rational--imaginary--judgment superfluous. Reason is intended to
supplement experience--not to supersede it.


The purpose of debate is to determine the goodness or badness of an
argument by general logical criticism and knowledge of the matter.
This is not dialectic, but takes place after the dialectician
has declared that a given theorem is valid argument. If then its
conclusion is repugnant to us we may seek to stigmatise it--or remove
a stigma as the case may be--by going behind the argument to the
composition of the judgments that enter into it.

Let us take the case of Caesar being proved to be a tyrant in a
society that punishes tyranny with death. There are two ways in which
he may be saved or his punishment mitigated.

We are not bound to take the first precedent that is offered from
which to generate a conclusion. We grant that Caesar resembles the
general notion 'tyrant,' but we ask if he does not resemble in an
equal or greater degree some other person or class in regard to
whom capital punishment is no just treatment. Does he resemble a
'successful and patriotic general'--a 'benevolent monarch'--a 'wise
legislator'--a 'virtuous man'? All these resemblances are compatible
with his being a tyrant in some senses of the word. Let us not condemn
Caesar for what may be a merely technical offence--the usurpation
of authority--if in other respects he is an admirable man. So an
opportunity must be given to Caesar or his advocate to suggest other
precedents, yielding a different conclusion, by which to complete our
imperfect knowledge of the case. Socrates, when he was brought under
the class 'perverters of youth'--which also yielded the conclusion
'death'--suggested as an amendment that he should be classed under
'national benefactors,' with the conclusion 'maintenance for life at
the public expense.'

It is not enough that we can say of a case that it 'is' this or that,
and so proceed to draw the conclusion bound up in that classification.
'Is' in the case means likeness to the precedent, and one 'is' is good
only when no better can be found.

If after having weighed the alternative precedents it appears clear
that Caesar resembles tyrants more than any other class of persons,
the prospect looks bad for him. But there is still a chance of
escaping the worst penalty. It turns on the meaning of the word
'all,' which in logic generally introduces a proposition to which no
exception has been found--the misnamed and misleading 'universal.'

Logicians do not hesitate to say that in this connection it means 'all
possible, known or unknown, past or future individuals of the class.'
They suppose, or talk as if they supposed, that at some fixed date in
our life we enter into possession of our general ideas, and that no
subsequent experience can modify them. Hence the moment it is admitted
that Caesar is a tyrant, he is supposed to come under the rule of a
stereotyped general idea with inflexible consequences.

This is not quite so. 'All' does not mean 'all possible' but
'all known up to the present time, _exclusive of the case under
discussion_.' Our general or average ideas are the plasmic product of
the individuals we have actually known--not a unit more. And as that
idea is liable to be modified by every new individual examined, it
is possible that on examining Caesar we may find reason to change our
general idea, to the extent at least of dividing it into two species,
the tyrants who deserve death and the tyrants who deserve some milder
punishment, and that we shall resolve to bring Caesar under the latter
species. Thus if the idea threatens to hang Caesar, on the other hand
Caesar may burst the idea, and his case establish itself as a new
precedent. That is how general ideas multiply--by a sort of fission.

In the proposition 'tyrants deserve death' as first proposed, we are
dealing with the old general idea, and--as regards all individuals
except those from which it was drawn--the proposition is little
more than a hypothesis. The idea is itself on trial. Until Caesar is
examined we do not fully know how the general tyrant is in future to
be defined. Our examination of Caesar is a part of our education on
the subject of tyrants. In judging we learn, and the general idea
which remains _after Caesar is examined_ is that by which he is to be

If our idea of tyrant remains unshaken after the trial of Caesar, and
if he is found to resemble that class more than any other, then--and
not till then--are we compelled to pass on him the judgment associated
with the definition of tyrant.

An argument based on a particular or solitary precedent is criticised
on the same principles. We seek to prove either that the case is not
sufficiently like the precedent to justify the application, or that
the applicate is not a property of the precedent. If we make good
either of these propositions, we prevent the suggested conclusion from
being fastened on the case.

The syllogistic dialecticians do not admit alternative precedents
or reconstruction of general ideas: their terms and figures are not
adapted to express such notions. Hence they cannot evade a conclusion
whose premises are correctly given. They have an axiom to the effect
that a judgment must be absolutely true or absolutely false--a door
must be open or shut, it cannot be ajar; every colour is white
or black, it cannot be green or grey, and so on. Now in practical
reasoning we may and constantly do admit premises and reject the
conclusions they dialectically involve. We look at the question 'from
another point of view.' This means that while admitting there is some
ground for bringing a case under a certain precedent, we contend that
on the whole it is preferable to bring it under another precedent
with a different conclusion. The proposed handle _may_ fit the vase
somehow, but we think another sort of handle will suit it better.
Or--rather than accept an objectionable conclusion--we will divide our
idea. This is degree in truth. And that is the elastic method on which
we reason in actual affairs. Logicians give a false account of reason,
and so their systems are neglected and their authority is never
recognised in real debates.



A Category is primarily a class of Judgments. Since arguments are
composed of judgments, a category is also a class of arguments; that
is to say, the argument follows the classification of the judgment.
This is not the practice of syllogists, who have categories for
judgments only, the arguments being classified according to verbal

I distinguish six categories--two Natural and four Artificial. The
judgments of a natural category concern experience presented in
a synthesis whose composition is due to the noumenal mind; the
categories corresponding to this definition are--


An artificial category is so called because the synthesis is formed by
the subjective mind.

The first category of this kind is


which is an artificial arrangement of objects according to a
figurative interpretation of certain appearances they present.

The second artificial category I will call


as it is an ideal cohesion of experiences never wholly perceived
at once. These two categories are those chiefly responsible for the
realistic mode of thought.

The third artificial category is that which is called in science
causation, but it is only


that is, a series of phenomena sufficiently coherent to afford a basis
for inference, but not necessarily or energically connected. Hume and
others have conclusively proved that such phenomena are not causally

Finally there is


in the proper sense of the word, that is, the relation between energic
mind and its effects. This is the category of human affairs generally,
and of all the Cosmic that we explain by analogy with the Human. It is
the only exhaustive explanation of phenomena, and so is the category
which philosophy would substitute for the rest. When we can truly
resolve things into effects analogous to human actions, we have
reached the highest standpoint from which they can be viewed.
_Realistic_ anthropomorphism is the first and rudest explanation of
things: _idealistic_ anthropomorphism is the last and most refined.

The artificial categories are all formed on analogies supplied by
the natural, since the intellect is incapable of imagining anything
absolutely original.

Each category may include judgments of other categories in a
subordinate relation. Inherence and concretion enter to some extent as
auxiliaries into all the others. A group category may be treated as an
individual object for certain purposes, and an individual as a group
of properties. In the one case a fictitious unity is created, in the
other a real unity is imaginatively dissolved. But in general the
categories are sufficiently distinct and may be considered as mutually
exclusive. They will be separately analysed and exemplified.

The term category is used in common logic to signify the final classes
into which _judgments_ can be arranged. To this minor use only is
the category applied. It does not either denote a classification of
_arguments_ or a distinct province of ideas whose origin and validity
should be a matter of investigation. In Greek and modern logic
arguments are distinguished solely by their verbal expression--never
by the character of the judgment that enters into them. Treated in
this superficial and haphazard way, the categories necessarily play a
quite insignificant part in philosophy.

The oldest known set of categories is that quoted by Aristotle in his
Metaphysic as being held by a sect of Pythagoreans. It consists of the
following series of contraries--

  Bound.    Infinity.
  Odd.      Even.
  Unity.    Plurality.
  Right.    Left.
  Male.     Female.
  Rest.     Motion.
  Straight. Crooked.
  Light.    Darkness.
  Good.     Bad.
  Square.   Oblong.

Aristotle's own categories are the following:--

  (1)  _Essence_ or _Substance_, as man, horse:
  (2)  _Quantity_, as two cubits long:
  (3)  _Quality_, as white, erudite:
  (4)  _Relation_, as double, half, greater:
  (5)  _Place_, as in the Agora:
  (6)  _Time_, as yesterday:
  (7)  _Posture_, as standing, sitting:
  (8)  _Having_ (Condition?), as to be shod, armed:
  (9)  _Action_, as he is cutting, burning:
  (10) _Passion_, as he is being cut.

This list can be reduced to one half the number. Quantity, Quality,
Posture, Condition are kinds of _Attribute_ or _Property_ of the
Substance. Place and Time are valid. Action and Passion are both
referable to causation. Non-causal sequence or consecution (as day
following night)--one of the commonest judgments--is not mentioned.

The Stoics reduced Aristotle's ten categories to four--Substratum or
Substance, the Essential Quality, Manner of being, and Relation.

Ka[n.]áda, a Hindu philosopher, has six categories--Substance,
Quality, Action, Genus, Individuality, and Concretion or Co-inherence.

Plotinus was acquainted with the Aristotelian and Stoic lists and
offers as his own:--(1) Fundamental forms of the _Ideal_--Being,
Rest, Motion, Identity, Difference; (2) Categories of the
_Sensible_--Substance, Relation, Quality, Quantity, Motion.

Descartes recognised but two final categories, the Absolute and the

Kant has an elaborate scheme of categories, which he considered to be,
not merely classes of judgments, but innate power of the mind by which
we are moved to form the judgments. They are the following:--

  I.  _Of Quantity._  Unity, Plurality, Totality.
  II.  _Of Quality._   Reality, Negation, Limitation.
  III.  _Of Relation._  Of Inherence and Subsistence
  (_substantia et accidens_).
  Of Causality and Dependence
  (cause and effect).
  Of Community (reciprocity between
  the active and the passive).
  IV.  _Of Modality._  Possibility, Impossibility, Existence,
  Non-existence, Necessity,

Sir William Hamilton's categories were Being, Being by itself, and
Being by accident.

Categories have also been proposed by Spinoza, Locke, Wolff, Leibnitz,
Herbart, Mill, and others. No two of them are alike. They are not
formed on any definite principle, but are individual opinions as to
the most convenient way to classify judgments[13].


An object being given by perception we develop our knowledge of it,
first by narrowing our focus of attention so as to perceive parts and
single attributes of the object; next by widening our attention so as
to include several objects in one view. The first process is Analysis
or Abstraction; it informs us what attributes co-inhere to constitute
the object. The second is Synthesis or Grouping, by which we learn
the relations of one thing to others. These operations comprise all we
know about a thing, for it can have no attributes which are not either
internal or external.

Practical analysis means cutting a thing to pieces or dissolving it,
and this has a certain value because it multiplies objects. But it
does not increase our knowledge of the first thing. On the contrary,
by destroying a thing we render a knowledge of it impossible. The
analysis which gives knowledge is Metaphysical Abstraction--an
attention concentrated on the parts of a thing without destroying
their connection with the other inherent parts. The metaphysical
elements may be quite different from the mechanically divisible parts.
They are generally a species of things which could not exist alone,
such as red, blue, straight, curved, square, round, acid, sweet,
insipid, fragrant, sharp, hot, heavy, dull, loud, bright, and a
multitude of properties of that abstract kind.

For many of these--at least for the description of them--a comparison
of two or more things is essential. A sound is heard to be loud by
comparison with another which is low or soft; a knife is known to
be blunt by experience of another more sharp, or the same knife in
a sharper condition. But comparison does not alter the essential
character of abstract attention--it serves merely as an incitement to
it. Difference between qualities otherwise alike whets our attention
to a finer discrimination.

The properties recognised by each sense are easily distinguished in
the bulk from those of another sense. Colour is distinct from Figure
in a more marked degree than red from blue or square from circular.
Fine degrees of Sound may be difficult to discriminate, but not the
difference between a sound and a smell or a taste.

Still broader contrasts give rise to an artificial but sometimes
useful kind of attribution--the negative. When we do not know much
concerning the positive characteristics of a thing, it is something
to know that it has _not_ this or that property. What Thought is,
positively, few people know, but they are able to say (with a little
prompting) that it is un-extended, im-material, im-ponderable, and so
forth. This comparison re-acts on the thing better known, and so we
call visual objects 'extended' from their dissimilarity to thoughts.
But for that there would have been no occasion to notice the abstract
extension of visual objects. The term 'visual object' would have
tacitly included extension. There must be great and general ignorance
of a thing to excuse the negative attribution: it is not allowable
to speak of plants as non-metals, or sheep as non-horses, but a large
class of animals is called in-vertebrate. In this case the negative
property serves to bar a possible inference that all animals are
vertebrate, since those we know best are so.

The judgment in this category is a consciousness of the attributes
making up a thing, or so much of it as interests us. 'Cleopatra's
Needle is an obelisk of granite, about sixty-eight feet high, and is
carved with hieroglyphics.' If we go on to say that it stands on the
Thames Embankment, we shift into the category of association. The
relation of an object to its place is different from that of one
inherent attribute of the object to another, or to the whole.

The properties of a general idea are defined in this category. The
synthesis is natural or noumenal, the artificiality of the idea
consisting merely in the omission of some of the concrete properties.
'Garden rhubarb [in general] has broadly cordate leaves, strongly
veined beneath; the footstalks are long, thick, and fleshy, with a
channel above; its growth is exceedingly rapid.' These are properties
inherent in a unity not of our making. The botanist changes into the
category of sequence when he says, 'the stalks are used for tarts and
made into jam.'

In a complicated object or general idea some of the judgments we treat
as inherent may be inferences in other categories used subordinately.
'The ancient Persians had remarkably thin and weak skulls. They were
good horsemen and archers, courageous and spirited in battle. They
wore a tunic and trousers of leather.... They were quick and
lively, keen-witted, capable of repartee, ingenious, and--for
Orientals--far-sighted. They had fancy and imagination, a relish for
poetry and art, and they were not without a certain power of political
combination.' Some of these properties might have been perceived
objectively, but not the possession of fancy and imagination, which
could only be known by inference in causation--here used to complete
a coherent unity. The historian employs causation as a principal
category when he tells us that 'their bards did not touch the chords
which rouse what is noblest and highest in our nature.' The thought
implied in touching chords--the notion of will directing action--is
a different judgment from the perception of an inherent permanent

The argument in this category consists in ideally completing an
imperfect object by comparison with a similar object, or the idea of a
similar object. Suppose we have studied thoroughly one or more rhubarb
plants, and then see a plant with broadly cordate leaves, footstalks
long, thick, and fleshy, and having a channel above. In the time at
our disposal we cannot ascertain if its growth is exceedingly rapid,
but we are justified in inferring that it is, and that the plant
we are examining is in all other respects rhubarb. If the Egyptian
obelisks we have seen were sculptured with hieroglyphics throughout
their length, and we see an obelisk part of which is underground, it
is a rational inference that that part also is sculptured.

We have proved that certain samples of aluminium have a specific
gravity of 2·6, and then see a metal--of specific gravity
unknown--which has all the other properties of aluminium: we may
confidently infer that this metal also would, if tested, show a
specific gravity of 2·6.

For purposes of reason it may be necessary to compare things that
cannot be brought physically together. When this happens we generally
compare them in _idea_, or the idea of one with the other as object.
When great accuracy is required and the idea--which is always rather
vague--cannot be relied on, we have recourse to mediate comparison.
_Standards_ are employed. These are manageable or portable objects
with which principal things are separately compared by way of
effecting indirectly a comparison between them. Standards can only
mediate comparisons between _abstract_ properties, for if they
contained all the concrete properties of the compared objects they
would, by supposition, be as unmanageable as the latter. We have
standards for length in rules, scales, tapes, chains; the balance is
a standard for weight. There are also scales for pitch of sound,
varieties of colour, degree of light, heat, atmospheric pressure, and
probably some others for special purposes.

Indirect comparison is not in itself inference; or if inference it is
subordinate and preparatory to some more important conclusion. A coin
is weighed and concluded to be _light_, but this is only a datum in
determining the more important question whether it is a forged coin or


In this category we widen the attention so as to include several
objects in one act of perception.

The first result of this diffusion of attention is to lessen the
brilliancy of objects. Our attention is a light which is intensified
when narrowed and concentrated--enfeebled when dispersed over several
objects. The observation of a group amounts practically to observing
the objects in rapid succession. At a given moment we perceive only
one thing well, or it may be only a small part of a thing, but we have
a dull sense of other things adjacent, which we have just seen and
may immediately see again in any order we please. That is all that is
meant by perception of a group.

To distinguish this category properly from the next we must consider
the group of objects as divested of depth or distance outwards. It
is to be regarded as a flat surface standing a few feet from us, the
objects in it having absolutely the dimensions they appear to
have. This is in fact their _real_ magnitude, for the supposed real
magnitude is a matter of theory, and means the perceptual magnitude
taken under certain conditions of observation. The real magnitude is
constantly changing, so for practical convenience in determining size,
etc., we refer all objects to one condition of observation--that in
which they can be touched as well as seen.

In metaphysic we are not obliged to recognise this convention. If an
object a mile off appears to be an inch high, it is an inch high
as really as if it were in a photograph or picture and materially
represented of that height. The mystery of the change of size in
objects is not explained or reasoned away by any device for overcoming
some of its practical inconveniences. It depends on the degree of
energy with which minds affect each other.

A group has properties which an object has not; or, if this be not
strictly the case, we may say that the properties we look for in a
group are not those we distinguish in a single object. The special
properties of a group are _positions_. It is unnecessary to say
'relative' positions, for position cannot be otherwise than relative.
Position cannot be defined by reference to anything more simple. What
is meant is intuitively known to everybody. But let us take a concrete
example--a man with a horse and cart standing on a bridge. Each object
in this group has a position towards the other objects. The bridge is
_over_ the river and _under_ the cart; the cart is _upon_ the bridge
and _behind_ the horse; the man is _in_ the cart; the horse is
_before_ and _outside_ of the cart, it is _near_ one end of the
bridge, _far_ from the other, and _between_ the two extremities. These
are the principal positions in a natural group or association,
by which is meant the objects we can see (or are supposed to see)
simultaneously, and whose mutual positions we are considering.

The use of observing positions is the same as that which moves us to
all rational study, namely, its value in prediction. We can reason
from one object to another in a group just as we reason from one
property to another in an object.

Suppose our perception of a landscape is interrupted for a moment,
and when we next endeavour to perceive it we find we only perceive a
portion of it, the rest being 'hidden' by an intervening object. As
far as we are concerned the hidden part has been annihilated. We only
remember what was there. But this recollection is also a preconception
of what we may be able to cause to appear again, either by removing
the obstructing object, by waiting till it has been removed, or by
walking round and standing between it and the landscape.

If this be too close to mere recollection, we have pure reasoning
when from the general appearance of a group we imagine generally some
concealed part of it not before seen. A procession of people dressed
in mourning is usually accompanied by a hearse: from perceiving the
people only on a certain occasion we predict the hearse. The sound of
a steam-whistle enables us to imagine a train in a certain locality,
though fog or other obstruction may prevent our seeing it. The scent
of flowers prepares us for finding them somewhere near us. From smoke
we predict the nearness of a chimney. The trail of an animal is a clue
to his position.

The judgment in this category is therefore a consciousness of
position, such as those mentioned above. The argument is a completion
of one association by comparison with another--the expectation of
similarity in groups.

_Movement._ All judgments as to _change_ of position in objects come
under this category. It takes at least two things arranged in a group
to produce the perception of movement. If there were but one thing in
our field of observation we could not say whether it moved or not, for
there would be nothing which it would pass, or leave, or approach. It
would appear to stand still. There is, however, more in movement than
depends on mere perception.

All movement is due to energy either in the observer or in the other
mind acting upon his. Energy is not a generalisation of moving things,
nor a property, nor a relation, though all these may be signs of
energy. The most abstract idea of movement is _Motion_. It may be
defined as a series of positions.

_Number._ If we treat a group as a large loose object we shall
perceive in it certain properties not strictly positional. Number is
one of these.

A group of three coins has not the same practical value as a group
of six or sixty, and we are thus obliged to notice the difference and
distinguish degrees of this property by names--hence Arithmetic.

_Flat Space_ or space of two dimensions is another property of a
group. Grouped objects have frequently intervals between them.
Such intervals are negations of perception--interruptions or
discontinuities of experience. But by abstraction we can reduce the
objects bounding an interval to a geometrical line, and so give a sort
of positive existence to the interval. Thus we talk of a hole or of
darkness as if they were true objects, and measure them by standards
of length.

If we abstract the boundary lines from a space we get the idea
'intervalness,' which is the right name for two-dimensioned space.
This abstract idea is nearly the same as abstract size. Space is
interval without bounds--size is object without contents. Space and
size are equally _nothing_ intrinsically or in their own right,
but they have been reached by different modes of refining away the
positive qualities associated with them, and this difference of origin
is slightly suggested by their names. Spaces have a use in perception
similar to _rests_ in music--they relieve the attention and give
contrast and vigour to the next positive object.


This is the first of the artificial categories. It is an ideal
treatment of an associated group to facilitate a certain kind of

Reason--let me repeat--is the imaginary extension of experience
by comparison with more complete experience of a similar kind. By
reasoning in inherence we complete single objects; by inference in
association we complete groups. These two categories demonstrate that
a natural group consists of fragments of objects, and fragments of
other natural groups which are possible but not yet developed. A hill
is partly concealed by a house, the house partly concealed by a tree,
the tree by a stone fence, the fence by a growth of ivy. A river
disappears at a curve and is lost to view; we know from experience of
other rivers that under certain conditions we might perceive the river
further on as a feature in several more landscapes. As we gaze at an
association of objects these possible completions occur to us--not
fully or definitely but sufficiently to convince us that the group
might be developed into many other groups, and into a multitude of
objects of forms different from those we actually perceive. By our
hypothesis the observer has always been stationary, the objects have
moved to and fro but not from near to far. Their real dimensions have
remained unaltered, and nothing has occurred to suggest that they
ever appear of other dimensions. In short we are gazing on a piece of

But there is another element in perception. We and all other real
(mental) beings are part of the cosmic force. We are co-creators of
what we perceive--limited gods, not machine-men as the scientific
people would have us believe. But for our power of affecting each
other and our readiness to receive impressions from other minds, there
would be no perception--no material objects. We (that is, all
sentient beings) could, by unanimous resolution, annul the material
creation--blot out the universe of objective things in a moment.
United to and implied in this general power is the particular power
of modifying our world without destroying it. We can redistribute the
active and passive forces so as to produce other perceptual effects
than those present at a given moment. And we habitually do this to
some extent. Within a limited scope our world is plastic as dough,
and we knead it to any form we please. For example, we exert energy
to change our place, and immediately the group before us breaks up
and undergoes metamorphosis. Some objects disappear altogether, and
entirely new objects present themselves. Some become smaller, others
larger; some fractional forms fill out to completion, some integers
undergo curtailment, others separate into several distinct objects. In
a few minutes the first group has dissolved into a second, which may
merge into a third, and so on indefinitely.

In contemplating these phenomena we discern a third form of
completeness and incompleteness, distinct from those that enter into
inherence and association. Hence a new type of reasoning--another
category: the Perspective.

It will be convenient to suppose that the modifications to which it
refers are solely due to the observing mind, as the most conspicuous
and comprehensive really are, but some of the minor perspective
changes are due to the noumenon of the object.

We have first to get a criterion of perspective perfection. What this
shall be is to some extent a matter of convention. The standard I
shall adopt is, that an object of a nature to be perceptible to all
the senses would be most perfect if within reach of touch. If it can
be heard it is then heard at its loudest--this is correct enough for
our purpose,--if it can be seen it is then seen at its largest and
brightest. This is Perspective Completeness at the Tactual Range. It
means the closest contact of noumenon and subject, compatible with
clear definition in perception.

Now let us exert energy and disarrange a group. Those things that were
or might have been tangible in the former position, are no longer so,
but they may still be seen, heard, or even smelt. The bright colours
have however somewhat faded, the size has shrunk, some of the details
are lost. Here is a lapse from perspective completeness. It is
indicated, not as in the first two categories by mechanical cutting
away of mass and circumstance, but by deterioration all over the
object. We seem to be thrown out of focus in relation to it, and the
perspective degradation may increase until the object has dwindled to
a speck and finally disappears altogether.

The judgment in this category consists in observing the kind and
degree of degradation to which things are liable in perspection. In
addition to change in size, brightness, detail and loudness, which
have been already mentioned, occultation as in the second category
can be used as an indirect datum. An object which eclipses another is
invariably more perfect perspectively than the object eclipsed.
The motion of objects has also to be taken into account. As objects
degrade their movements slacken, and recover power as the objects are

By attending to all these indications and checking each by the rest,
we have the elements of a fairly accurate inference as to comparative
perspective condition. We have constant practice in this sort of
thought with frequent opportunities of verifying our conclusions;
penalties are annexed to failure and rewards to success. It is no
wonder then that in the course of years we become expert in judging of
perspective condition, so that when confronted with a natural group
we can estimate almost instantly the degree in which each object falls
short of perspective integrity.

The result of this practice is that on perceiving a natural group
of many objects, we graduate them according to the perspective
deterioration which each exhibits, and for greater precision we figure
the perspective difference as an interval between the objects--an
imaginary interval modelled on the true interval of association. The
object on a distant horizon is visually as near as the ground we can
touch by stooping, but in this imaginary group the former is placed
at the far end of the line and the latter at the near end, and between
them are ranged the other objects each at a point corresponding
to what we suppose to be its perspective distance. That is how a
landscape acquires depth. Space outwards is an ideal imitation of
real lateral interval. It is the measure and expression of perspective

From what has been said it follows that the near objects will be
relatively large, clear, and lively in motion, while the far will
be small, dull, and slow, but this rule is liable to many exceptions
which can only be learnt by experience.

On the analogy of the other forms of inference--which consist in
completing imperfect things by reference to others more perfect--the
essence of an argument in perspection is the power to imagine an
object which is perspectively defective, brought up to the tactual
range and displaying all the qualities it would possess in that
position. This is done by comparing it with the idea of the same or
a similar object experienced at the tactual range; and is done for an
ulterior purpose, like all other intellectual operations. A great part
of our material happiness consists in the exercise of the short senses
(taste, touch and smell), and the chief use of perspective reasoning
is to enable us to judge of the energy required to bring a distant
object near for close perception. We have therefore to observe our
energic fluctuations in conjunction with perspective change, if we
would extract the utmost practical benefit from this category. The
perspective inferences are none the less useful after we discover that
they are not intuitions, and that the completeness we imaginatively
assign to distant objects has no existence until we exert the
corresponding energy.

A landscape being rendered perspective we can determine the
perspective state of any new object that may enter it, by reference to
the objects adjoining it, and this though the object be of a species
quite unknown to us and which therefore, by itself, would afford no
clue to its perspective distance.

The imaginary interval we place between objects of different
perspective effacement, can be expressed in terms of exact lateral
measurement. This is done by developing and measuring the associative
groups represented in the perspective group. Supposing we wish to
get an exact definition of the perspective condition of a mountain
relative to a certain station, we can, from that station, develop
all the natural groups up to the mountain (walk over the ground)
and measure the lateral intervals and masses disclosed. The total
measurements will be a definition of the mountain's perspective
distance in terms of true associative distance. That is what we mean
by saying a mountain is ten miles off. It is not _really_ ten miles
off--it is not an inch off. But to render it tactually perfect we
should have to expend an amount of energy equal to 17,600 times the
energy required to move from one associative object to another a
yard apart from it laterally. If we practise the mileage scale in
conjunction with the perspective indications, we may acquire the art
of expressing in miles, though not measured, the distance of objects
estimated from purely perspective data, but few can do this with any
near approach to exactness[14].

The realistic three-dimensioned space is a combination of the true
interval of association and the false interval of perspection. This
generates an idea resembling the capacity or vacancy in a room
or vessel, and thus it is supposed that objects occupy a sort of
universal room without walls, floor, or ceiling. It is however the
enclosing objects which make a room, and when they are abstracted
there remains nothing. The universal room is therefore nothing--a
myth. It is a useful working theory for common purposes, but in
philosophy it is superfluous and obstructive.

In the definitions of geometry no difference is made between the depth
of a landscape and the 'third dimension' of any small cubic object.
They are both called 'third dimension' or 'cubic dimension.' Yet
they are inferences of different categories, and neither is real.
The former, as we have just seen, is the imagined redintegration of
objects perspectively shrunk and defaced. The latter is the imaginary
completion of a thing having many surfaces or facets, only one of
which can be shown at a time.

_Sky Perspection._ The effect produced on our mind by the observation
of celestial objects, reveals at once the artificiality of cubic
space. Clouds in their form and movements are somewhat like earthly
things--vapour or mountains,--and so we conceive them partially
graduated in distance and floating in a concavity. But whether they
are a mile off, or twenty miles off, few of us can tell.

When we contemplate the sun, moon and stars, our realism is completely
at fault. These we cannot modify at will, and they move too slowly and
present too uniform an aspect to cause the perspective effect. Since
we have never seen them at the tactual range we know not to what
degree they are perspectively incomplete; hence they appear without
relative distance--distance being simply a metaphor of perspective
effacement. If 'cubic space' is real, let the realists tell us why we
do not see it in the sky--why we do not arrange the stars behind
each other according to their calculated distances. This question
is unanswerable realistically, but idealistically it presents no
difficulty. The sky is not spaced, because the conditions are wanting
under which the illusion of terrestrial space is formed in the

By close instrumental attention to the moon and planets a slight
parallax is observable, and on the analogy of terrestrial parallax
astronomers are able to calculate what they call the distance of these
bodies. Perhaps their calculations are right, but the magnitudes are
not conceivable as associative distance, being so much greater than we
have any experience of. We take them to mean that the heavenly bodies
are extremely degraded, perspectively speaking. Their noumena are in
contact with our minds, for this is essential to perception, but
if astronomical calculations are correct the contact is infinitely
slight, compared with what it would be, supposing--to speak
realistically--we could go to the stars or they could be brought to

Berkeley's _Theory of Vision_ and _Dialogues_ are occupied with the
analysis of perspection. The arguments he uses to show that distance
outwards is not real are in the main those given in this section.


If we take a cricket-ball in the hand and turn it round we shall
perceive a series of discs. Only one of these can be seen at a time,
but if we perceive and remember the whole series we shall be able to
infer all from the perception of one in a similar object. The same
occurs with other cubical or solid objects. This is a form of ideal
construction different from any we have yet considered. It differs
from inherence in that the object which we conceptually put together
is never objectively perceived as a whole. It is an imaginary whole
constructed in the intellect out of fragmentary experience. It differs
from association on the same grounds; the latter can be all perceived
at once in forming the judgment. It differs from perspection in that
the imperfection of experience is due to curtailment, not to general
deterioration. What we actually see may be perspectively perfect. It
differs also from the next category in that the series of perceptions
can occur in various orders of succession.

_The 'backs' of Things._ We talk of the back of a thing, but nobody
has ever seen a back. Things have no backs in the popular sense of the
word. When we turn round a back to perceive it, it is then a front.
Everything is a flat upright surface, and its appearance of solidity
can be imitated on a surface known to be flat, and with nearly the
same illusive completeness as in the original object. In turning
things round we merely change the surface; we are exercising our power
to alter primary consciousness.

When two persons perceive the 'same' object from contrary directions,
the sameness means that the two objects proceed from the same cause,
or can be reduced to the same general idea. But the objects are
numerically distinct. By a similar turn of speech we say that A
and _a_ are the same _letter_, but they are evidently distinct and
dissimilar objects. If we hold a thing before a mirror and see what is
termed its back, we produce a new object resembling the first in some
respects but without its resistance.

Resistance is a negative term signifying the limit of our power to
alter primary experience. Where our power ceases resistance is said to
begin, and we meet with resistance when we apply a power inadequate to
the desired effect.

Dr. Johnson's solitary experiment in idealistic philosophy has been
often related. He struck a post, and because it did not disappear he
thought he had disproved Berkeley's statement that material objects
exist only in the perceiving mind. The experiment merely showed that
all means are not adequate to change all primary experience. Had he
shut his eyes, or turned a corner, or occupied his attention with
other matters, the post would have vanished. He chose improper means
and therefore met with 'resistance.' No idealist believes we can
change our primary experience by any capricious and frivolous

_Geographical Concretion._ The knowledge of large geographical areas
is an artificial construction without objective reality.

Our experience is, literally and exactly, a series or sequence--a flux
or stream. It is composed of objects or of groups, according to the
width of our attention. If we travel over a large tract of country
the experience is a train of objects or views, which follow each other
continuously but for interruptions in attention. If we were bound to
think of things in the order in which they were experienced, we should
have to imagine our topographical consciousness as a long ribbon of
views, like the pictures of a panorama. Supposing we travelled hither
and thither over one county, it would appear to us as a straight
strip of land which might be several hundred miles long. If we again
traversed the ground, but in another order, we should have another
strip resembling the first, but also differing from it, and it would
be necessary to keep the two from being confused in our mind. If
several persons traversed the same ground but in divers directions,
they would each retain a different recollection of it, and it would
be extremely hard for any two of them to agree as to the order in
succession of any portion of the ground traversed.

Our experience of the natural group suggests a mode of treating our
geographical experience which overcomes many of these inconveniences.
We find that we can traverse (either bodily or by the eye) a single
landscape in a thousand directions, and retain a memory of it without
any reference to these directions. What we remember is the mutual
positions of the objects, not the order in which they were observed.
As this greatly facilitates the memory of one group, we apply the
same principle of synthesis to the succession of groups composing
our geographical experience. We dismiss from our minds the order of
observation, and construct instead an imaginary group of associated
objects or places having mutual positions. It is imaginary, for no one
has ever seen as a co-existent synthesis the objects of a county,
not to speak of a country or continent. Substituting for memory of
succession, a memory of position, there grows up in our mind a large
co-existent image of a country on the model of a single group, which
affords all the advantages as regards economy of energy which we
enjoy by virtue of comprehending a natural group in one act of

Take an instance of this economy. Suppose a man travelled from London
to Oxford, then to Exeter, then to Portsmouth, then to Brighton, and
afterwards desired to return to London. If he, acting on a mistaken
conception of truth and disdaining instruction from others, persisted
in remembering the objects perceived on his journey as--what they
no doubt literally were--a continuous series, he would be unable to
imagine any way of returning to London except by reversing the order
of his journey. If on the other hand he carried in his mind an image
of the ground in question, with the mutual position of the places,
it would enable him to _foresee_ that London was to be reached by
journeying northward from Brighton, in far less time and at far less
cost than by returning the way he came. Thus does conceptual position,
when it is correctly imagined, prove its superiority to the order of
experience. And we say that the ideal picture is truer than the crude
memory,--not that it is really so if natural order is a test of truth,
but because it is the least onerous, which is our practical standard
of truth. The only object of knowledge being the wise management of
energy, that sort of knowledge must be considered truest that enables
us to have the feelings we desire at the least cost. In one sense
truth means the quickest and easiest way of passing from one state of
consciousness to another preconceived state.

It may be objected to the above example as a valid deduction from an
imaginary synthesis, that the relation of London to Brighton is now a
certainty, whereas an inference can be no more than a probability. The
reply is, that if a man has already traversed the route in question,
it is to him an actual experience and his idea of it is ever
afterwards a memory, not an inference. But until it is actually
perceived it must be imaginary, and therefore slightly problematical.
Although a man is convinced that others are not deceiving him in
saying a place is to be reached in a certain way, he cannot be
absolutely sure that he fully understands the directions given,
in other words, that his image of the route corresponds to their
perception of it. There probably never is exact similarity between one
man's primary experience and another man's idea of it. It may even
be doubted whether there is ever exact similarity between a man's own
primary experience and his subsequent idea of it.

The geographical synthesis is founded on actual exploration
supplemented by inference. The mutual position of some important
places are determined and serve as precedents for a multitude of minor
positional deductions. _A_ is twenty miles north of London, _B_ is
ten miles south of London, hence _A_ is thirty miles north of _B_.
The mileage is determined by imagining the synthesis developed into
natural groups and measured laterally. Other scales are the time
spent in travelling between the places, or the money it costs, or the
distance delineated on a map.

Though the geographical concretion may be modelled on the association,
we cannot treat it perspectively, for the places being purely
ideal (except the one we are at), the ideal image is not liable to
deterioration by weakened perception. It may suffer degradation by
forgetfulness, but that has nothing to do with perspection.

_Sphericity of the Earth._ The geographical synthesis is not always
formed on the pattern of a natural association. That is the first and
most obvious shape to give it, and for thousands of years it
appears to have answered the topographical needs of mankind. But as
exploration extended it was found that the associative theory did not
in some cases afford true preconception. If we travel far enough
in any fixed direction we shall return to the point from which we
started. This could not have been predicted from a synthesis formed
on the model of a landscape. Such a return however takes place in the
objects denominated spheres, and so the spherical instead of the flat
form has been conceptually given to the geographical concretion. That
is all that is meant by saying that the world is round. There is
no world, as the mystical realist--projecting outwards his mental
synthesis--imagines. There is only a scheme of spherical positions
in the intellect, which facilitates the recollection of places and
enables us to foresee the shortest and easiest way of reaching--_i.e._
experiencing places. The concretion is true inasmuch as the prediction
is found to coincide with real experience. But that by no means
implies that the places exist except when perceived in minds.


Sequence is a series most resembling a procession of objects in a
natural group (second category). It differs therefrom in that the
objects cannot be seen together. It differs from concretion in that
the order in which the objects appear cannot be altered, or if they
are human and alterable we cease to treat them as a sequence. They
no longer have the predictive value which moves us to form artificial
groups of objects.

Satisfactory examples of reasoning in sequence are less numerous than
might be supposed. It is a poor category for argument. Series either
occur with perfect regularity, like the seasons of the year, phases
of the moon, &c., and then they rapidly become mere recollections and
lose the problematical character essential to a true inference, or
the connection between the objects is too casual for argumentative
purposes. Darwin's theory of the formation of coral atolls is a fine
argument in sequence, but the application of this theory to reefs not
examined by him is hardly uncertain enough to be an argument. It is
the first sequential inference that is valid--the rest are foregone

Geology supplies some good sequences. It has been noticed, for
instance, that the sea leaves ripple-marks on sandy beaches, and
stones with similar marks have been found at a distance from the sea;
it is a valid sequential inference that the marks in the latter case
have also been formed by the action of the waves. Here the difference
in locality between the two compared series--the modern complete
and the ancient incomplete--supplies that slight element of doubt
essential to an argument.

So as regards the mode of making ancient flint tools: it has been
found that tools exactly similar to the ancient can now be made with
the simplest possible means, and it is a true argument to infer that
the ancient implements were made by these means. The conclusion is
highly probable without being infallibly certain, and that is what a
dialectical conclusion ought to be.

We may admit that some of the astronomical sequences are forms of
reasoning, for they were such to their first discoverers, and to minds
not thoroughly conversant with them they are still in the nature of
predictions that might fail of accomplishment. Political, financial,
and sporting forecasts are sequential arguments, and we may also
include speculations on the future states of all growing organisms and
developing institutions.

_Time._ The intervals between the objects of a sequence are imagined
after the model of lateral intervals in association. This is Time.
Like space it is mere blanks in experience, though treated by realists
as external and self-subsisting. It can be measured by reference to
objects on whose sequential recurrence we have the most reliance, such
as the phases of the moon, the positions of the sun in the ecliptic,
the movements of the hands of a clock or the chiming of its bells.
Abstract or unbounded time is called 'eternity'; like abstract space
it is a refined form of nothing. Time and space are usually coupled
together as if co-ordinate, but eternity is the co-ordinate of space.
Time is divided sequence and would correspond to materially divided
space, that is, space with objects in it at regular intervals.

Matter, space, and time are the three pillars of the realistic world.
We have now seen what they are made of. Matter is a general idea
compiled by ourselves from phenomenal consciousness. It is no
substance--only an average. Space has even less reality. It is first
the interval between two objects in association; then this interval
is used metaphorically as an expression and measure of perspective
decadence. Time is an application of the same associative interval
to express the blanks between objects in sequence. Space and time
are thus pure nullities--negatives with positive names. These three
notions being exploded as entities, there remain as a residuum of true
fact and the starting-point of philosophy--_minds_, their _energies_,
and their _consciousness_. This is a very ancient triad.

Science constantly confounds sequence and causation. We are told that
the moon _causes_ eclipses of the sun, that heat _causes_ objects to
expand, that a seal _causes_ an imprint. This is a metaphor from human
causation, and the expression is now so rooted in language that it
would hardly be possible to introduce a more correct phraseology. Yet
it is as incorrect as to say that one o'clock causes two o'clock, or
that daylight causes darkness. The confusion has arisen from the fact
that both sequence and causation deal with fixed inconvertible series,
but only in the latter is there real power exerted to produce the
effect. Material things and their apparent effects are due to a cause
lying behind both.


Causation differs from all other categories in that one of its
elements is mental. It is a series beginning in the mind--in this
relation denominated _cause_--and developing into objective phenomena
called _effects_ or an effect. The series being known by judgment
we can infer similar causes from perception of similar effects. The
commonest causation is the use and interpretation of language. Because
we utter words from a certain motive we infer that all who utter
the same words do so from the same motive. That is the reason of the
intelligibility of words.

This category is peculiar from the extremely narrow range of the
experience which supplies the judgments. We never perceive any mind
but one--our own--and this has to supply all the judgments by which we
reason concerning other minds. There is therefore no category in which
correct reasoning is so difficult and so rare. No amount of experience
entirely overcomes this defect, for if we are ignorant we cannot
understand the wise, and if we are wise we cannot conceive the motives
of the ignorant and vicious. Only those persons who are mentally very
like each other are mutually comprehensible.

This category has a further peculiarity. In all the rest the inference
relates to objective experience, and this being due to interaction of
minds we are justified in saying that until it is perceived it has no
existence. But in causation we are inferring something with reference
to a mind, and this exists though we never can perceive it. We know
that minds exist without perception because we know that our own
exists though no one perceives us--though we are in total darkness and
silence and cannot ourselves perceive our bodies. As already stated,
Existence has not the same meaning when applied to objects and
to minds, objects being merely temporary conditions of minds. The
non-existence of inferred but unperceived objects does not follow from
any defect in the faculty of inference, but depends on the essential
character of objects. They are created by mutual contact of minds
and cannot exist without that condition, however clearly they may be
inferred and however correctly their appearance may be predicted.

Causation is confounded with sequence because both are series. Let
me illustrate the difference between them by an example. I turn the
stop-cock of a pipe, and water flows from the open end of the pipe.
In popular and even scientific language it would be said that I caused
the water to flow. But this is incorrect. All I caused was the turning
of the tap; that alone was wholly due to my energy and intelligence.
There followed as a sequence the outflow of water, but that was due
partly to cosmic force and partly to the previous human causation (not
mine) implied in making and laying down the pipe so as to utilise the
cosmic force. I merely removed an obstacle that prevented the further
development of the force in a particular direction. My relation to the
outflow was sequence, not causation.

In observation sequence registers fixed or probable series of
_objects_ without regard to their causes. It is sufficient if they
occur regularly enough to justify prediction. Causation, on the other
hand, pays no regard to physical connection of any sort, but seeks
out the being or beings who supplied the energy producing an effect or
series of effects. The speculations in causation pass quite beyond the
domain of objectivity, over into the realm of true creation.

When we read that 'the succession of events is an endless chain of
effects which are in their turn causes of new effects,' what is meant
is sequence, and for 'cause' and 'effect' the terms 'antecedent' and
'consequent' should have been employed. Sequences may be 'chains' and
may be long, but if so their links have been forged by independent
causes acting _across_ the chain; as when a line of soldiers fire
in succession at regular intervals, or as in the case of the moon's
quarters. In these instances the objects, although forming a series,
has each a cause of its own.

Certainly a causation is a series, for the cause precedes the effect.
But an effect is never the cause of a succeeding effect. When this
appears to be the case the explanation is that the energy was not
exhausted in producing the immediate simple effect, but has produced
a complicated effect in which a series may be discovered. An
objective effect, being a mere flash of consciousness--a shadow on a
window-blind--is incapable of causing anything.

_Analysis of Cause._ Cause is mind in action. It consists of at
least energy and a sentimental _motive_--energy exerted to gratify
sentiment. If the mind is intellectualised there will probably be
an ideal element in the cause--in this connection called _plan_
or _design_--for the better direction of the energy. Normal human
causation consists of an effort of mind directed towards the objective
realisation of a plan, for the gratification of a sentiment. This is
the same as WILL.

All three elements of cause may be furnished by the same
individual--or any two of them--or only one. For instance, the man who
wants a house supplies the motive, the architect provides the design,
the builder finds the energy.

One plan may use up an indefinite number of separate stores of energy.
Even in an individual the realisation of a plan exhausts the powers
of millions of organic cells. A military campaign illustrates the
relation of plan to power. The design may have been formed by one man,
and then communicated wholly or partially to a hundred thousand, and
the energies of these may be devoted to its realisation. The soldier
fights with his own energy, but he is directed by his commander's
idea, or so much of it as has been confided to him. The design may
stretch from the commander to the soldier, but not the energy. In
order that the commander should be termed the 'cause' of his private's
activity, it would be necessary to eliminate the notion of exerted
energy from causation, and reduce it to bare communication of design,
which would be absurd.

The stretching of one design over many relays of energy has no
doubt helped to confirm the notion that causation is a long chain of
alternate causes and effects. The truth is that energy can act only
at short range, and has to be incessantly renewed. The world is in a
constant state of creation and dissolution, say the Kabbalists. It is
absurd to speak of anything that existed a thousand or even a hundred
years ago as the _cause_ of anything existing to-day. The design may
intellectually survive, but the energy is long since dissipated. We
have never more than about a day's supply of energy in store at once.

If sentiment, power, and design are supplied by different individuals,
no single one of them can be called the cause of the effect. The
relation of each to the result is sequence. When we have traced
an effect to the mind or minds that supplied the three or the two
necessary elements--supposing the design is sometimes omitted and
the act what we call _instinctive_--we have obtained a complete
explanation of the effect. Our curiosity is then absolutely satisfied.
We have reached a true beginning.

It is the want of this thorough explanation that renders material
science so disappointing. We are put off with a mere physical
antecedent, which itself needs explanation as much as its consequent.
It does not make the antecedent more significant to place it far back
in time, for time by itself is not a cause--it is merely a name given
to intervals of experience. A thing is never truly explained until we
see that its production either caused pleasure to something else, or
was expected to cause pleasure. Behind everything must be Sentiment.

One generation of beings is not the cause of the following generation,
else the former would have perished in begetting the latter. More
particularly, a man is not the _effect_ of his parents or remoter
ancestors, though they stood to him in an antecedent relation. The
seed of his body was taken from theirs, but his energy is his
own, drawn direct from the universal source. If he resembles them
corporeally it is because he previously resembled them mentally,
not because the cells of his body have hereditary tendencies to
take particular forms. Hence the Darwinian genealogy of men and
animals--supposing it were correct--does not explain them. It is
a phenomenal schematism based on or implying an erroneous
assumption--that generation is causation.

Atomism--the theory of Democritus--is founded on another false view
of causation. The physical parts of a thing are conceived to be
the causes of the thing, and so the least conceivable particles of
'matter' are considered the first causes and true explanation of all
things. This notion appears to be useful in chemistry, but it cannot
be accepted as philosophy. If our senses were sharpened to perceive
atoms these would simply be small phenomena, and it would still be
necessary to inquire what motive and power produced them. It has been
suggested that atoms may be inherently sentient and dynamic: if
so they are minute animals or cells, and we are still without
an explanation of their occurrence in organised masses. It is
inconceivable that they should spontaneously enter into intricate
combinations, whose evident purpose has only an indirect and partial
bearing on their welfare.

Though advocated by men of undoubted ability, Atomism and Evolution
are nothing more than forms of the ordinary realistic belief, that
things are caused by their physical antecedents. The two theories are
supposed to be complementary, but in reality they are contradictory.
If an animal body is caused by its parents it cannot be caused by its
own atoms, and _vice versâ_.

_Varieties of Causation._ Abstract causation--the category--consists
of a cause and an effect. The former, as we have seen, is complicated,
the latter may comprise several objects. Ignoring the complications
involved in the use of an organism--which comes between the mind and
the final effect--we distinguish four or five varieties of causation.


The cause C produces from its own energy the series of effects
_e_^1--_e_^4, like the rebounding of a missile from the surface of
ground or water. This may be called 'ricochet.'

Effects, each having an independent cause, sometimes form a series
like a ladder:

  _e_^1  _e_^2  _e_^3  _e_^4  _e_^5
  |      |      |      |      |
  C      C      C      C      C

This is the species illustrated by a successive discharge of musketry.
The causation of science consists of the _effects_ in this species
considered apart from the causes.

In the 'gamut' the effects are in sequence, but they have all the same
physical antecedent.

  _e_^1  _e_^2  _e_^3  _e_^4  _e_^5
  |      |      |      |      |

The successive acts of the same man or animal are of this kind.

In each of these species the effects are in series and may be treated
as a sequence, but the cause or causes lie outside the sequence. Far
from mere regularity of succession being a proof of causation between
the objects, it may very easily be itself a part of the causal design.

In the 'capstan' several partial causes contribute to produce one
effect, as when a gang of men manipulate one engine.

  C   C
  \ /
  / \
  C   C

The 'star' or 'fountain' is the converse of the last. A single cause
produces several simultaneous partial

  _e_ _e_
  \ /
  / \
  _e_ _e_

effects, as when we strike our open hand smartly on the surface of

These sub-categories enable us, if we so wish, to define an energic
series somewhat more precisely than by calling it a causation in the
most abstract sense. Possibly also the figures delineated represent
the primitive forms which energy takes when emerging into the
phenomenal. The 'star' is a most characteristic form. The dendritic
shape so frequently met with in objects is a star springing from a
ray of a preceding star. Perhaps each vegetable bud has an independent
cause; if not they are 'ricochets' from the general plant life. In the
combinations of these elementary effects we have a likely explanation
of plant and crystal formation.

_'Conservation' of Energy._ Energy is annihilated in the using. It
emanates from a great universal centre, and at a short distance from
that centre is completely and irrecoverably dissipated. The apparent
fixity of things is purely formal--like the fixity of a water-fall,
which renews its substance every few seconds. That is the meaning
of saying that the world is in a constant state of formation and

Physical theorists represent energy under the figure of substance, but
they suppose it is fixed in _quantity_ though constantly undergoing
change of _form_--the scientific view, here as elsewhere, being just
the opposite of the philosophical.

Observe--say the conservationists--the case of a man raising a heavy
stone from the earth. He fatigues himself but he does not destroy
energy; he acquires command over the energy-in-position of the stone,
and in using it to crack a cocoa-nut or drive a post he receives back
his own energy undiminished in quantity.

That seems reasonable at first sight. A quantity of energy is taken
from the man and put into the stone; it is taken from the stone and
put into the driven post. To be sure, if the man undrives the post he
does not thereby disfatigue himself, as the theory would lead us to
expect--he fatigues himself the more.

The same 'law,' we are told, holds good in building a dam across a
stream and utilising the force of water to drive a mill. The energy
apparently lost in the construction is recovered in the superior ease
with which we grind our corn or saw our timber. There is a confusion
in the terminology here: to save energy that would otherwise be lost
is not identical with recovering energy that has once been used.

We make a gun, load it, and discharge a bullet against a target. What
has become of the force expended? It has been transformed into heat,
say the conservationists. And when the target and flattened bullet
have cooled down? The energy has gone to raise the general temperature
of the universe!

That is a conclusion hard to believe and impossible to verify.
But--granting that the individual explosions of a gun may be the
'conservation' of some antecedent power--how do we recover the initial
expense of the instrument? And if not recoverable, where at least
and in what form does it exist? Prior to the explosions that are
represented by heated targets and the like, energy was spent in
inventing and making the gun, making the ammunition, loading and
aiming the piece. All these were essential to the effect--and what has
become of them? Have they also gone to warm the universe?

Instead of raising a stone to a height, let us carry it along
horizontally till we feel the same degree of fatigue. If energy in
the using is merely transformed but not lost, we should now be in
possession of some power equivalent to the energy expended. But we are
not--we have nothing to show for our trouble.

If we construct a water-mill and fix it high and dry in the middle of
a plain, instead of under a fall of water, we get no return for the
energy expended. By such a law as the conservation of energy, and
with the usefulness of a properly placed mill as the measure of
compensation, we should receive an equivalent return no matter where
the mill is placed. What has _place_ to do with the action of a
universal law?

Instead of raising the stone or carrying it horizontally, let us
find it near the edge of a precipice and roll it over. There is no
proportion between the push that launched the stone, and the force it
exhibits on reaching the foot of the precipice. How is the equivalence
of energy maintained in this case? It will be replied that the force
now at work is gravitation. If so, it was gravitation that brought
down the first stone on the post--not any energy transferred from us
to the stone. The raising of the stone put us in a position to use the
force of gravity, just as climbing the precipice put us in a position
to roll the stone over the edge of it.

Such considerations as these make this 'law' incredible to me. But
when I pass from the explanation to the concrete facts, I have no
difficulty in understanding them. It is the law that is obscure--not
the facts.

There exists nothing but living minds of different degrees of energy.
We men are small beings associated with a cosmical creature whose
force is immeasurably greater than ours, and we have intelligence
enough to utilise part of this force to supplement our own. That is
the meaning of _mechanism_. Some efforts to control the cosmic forces
are profitable, but there is no transmutation of our energy into
the result, nor any necessary equivalence between the labour and
the result. We may stumble upon an available cosmic force almost by
accident--we may waste a life-time over a mechanical problem and fail
to solve it.

The utilisation of cosmic force by man is best explained by comparing
it with animal slavery. Trap a wild elephant and train him to draw and
carry--you have constructed an engine. There are of course important
differences between the two kinds of instrument, due to the enormous
disproportion between the magnitude and power of the respective
entities. In the case of the animal the whole life comes under our
control: in the case of the cosmos we can utilise only a minute
fraction of it, and that rather by putting ourselves in its way than
by making it obey us. The animal we have to feed: the cosmic being
does not draw upon us for its nourishment. We can direct the animal
through his sensibility: the cosmic sensibility appears to be beyond
our power of irritation.

Apart from these differences the general laws of the one kind of tool
are those of the other also. We have not transferred power to the
raised stone, or the coiled spring, or the loaded gun, or the embanked
river--any more than to the tamed and harnessed horse. There is no
fixed ratio between the fatigue of catching and training an animal,
and the energy saved by making him work for us. The animal's work
is not our own energy given back to us--neither is the machine's. A
plough is useless without cattle to draw it--so is a turbine without
water to drive it. When coal is burned to 'generate' electricity,
that is the cosmic equivalent of exhausting or killing one animal
to overpower or to feed another: the energy of combustion is utterly
destroyed--not transformed into the electricity.

The question can be more accurately stated and brought to a plain
issue if we use the terms and forms of dialectic.

A theory is an argument--when it is not a fallacy--and an argument,
we have seen, consists of two parts. There is the matter of fact
requiring explanation, and the antecedent knowledge which is used to
illustrate it. Of these the precedent is the more important, and it is
no valid objection to a criticism that the person who offers it
knows less about the _case_ than the theorist. The critic may be in
possession of a better precedent, which the theorist has failed to
notice, perhaps from a too exclusive attention to the case.

In the question before us the case is Mechanical or Inorganic Energy.
It is not an object, but an inference from the knowledge of our
personal mental energy. This latter is the only energy we really
perceive. But we find in objects, or associated with the perception of
them, a power capable of assisting or of opposing our efforts--hence
we conclude it is something of the same nature as our own power. We
cannot well avoid that inference, and there is no apparent reason why
we should try to avoid it.

So far science and philosophy are at one, but here they part company.
Philosophy consistently endows Nature with sentiency also, for we
never--to our certain knowledge--meet with energy without sentiency,
and we have no right to transfer one attribute without the other.

Although science is indebted to the assimilation of organic and
inorganic--Nature explained by Man--for the first notion of external
energy, no sooner is the notion formed than the argument is discarded,
and external energy is declared to be entirely destitute of an organic
and mental character. How then is it to be further explained? To what
shall it now be likened?

In the materialistic scheme all things are supposed to be resolved
into matter and force. Matter is conceived as a self-existent
substance, indestructible, &c. It is better known than force, for
material things can be directly perceived whereas force is imaginary
all the time. Under these circumstances it is natural though illogical
to treat force as a species of matter. With only two things left in
the universe, the better known of the two will be used to explain the
less known, if an explanation is considered indispensable. Force is
accordingly brought as a 'case' under matter as a 'precedent,' and
is concluded to be indestructible because matter is believed to be
indestructible; and when energy appears to be wasted the inference is
that it has simply withdrawn from view, like an object that has ceased
to be perceived and may be perceived again. That seems to be the
evolution of the scientific notion of inorganic energy.

This theorem is fallacious in two respects. There is no such matter
as science imagines. Matter is a general idea formed by the study
of material objects, which are states of consciousness excited by
noumenal contact. It is the average object--a mere affection or
formation of the observing mind. _We_ are the makers of matter.
Such an idea cannot be said to be indestructible: in a sense it is
destroyed in an individual when it is forgotten or inactive; it
would certainly be destroyed if all minds ceased to form it. Thus the
precedent in the scientific theory of force is itself false.

Then energy is not in the least like matter--either the matter of
science or that of philosophy. The energy we really know is a unique
experience--not a general idea, nor anything analogous to a phenomenal
object; so that even if the proposed precedent were true in itself, it
is not applicable to the case. To complete our knowledge of external
energy we must go back to that comparison which first suggested to us
that there is external energy, namely, the comparison of living man
with living nature.

If this is not a correct account of the derivation of the notion that
cosmic energy is indestructible, let conservationists tell us what is
the parallel on which they are arguing. Here is a blank theorem for

          _x_        | is indestructible
  Cosmic energy is a | _it must therefore be considered
  sort of _x_        | indestructible_

Matter, as we have seen, is not _x_. Human energy is not _x_. Our
individual power--so far as experience informs us--is destroyed in
the using. A day's work exhausts us, and we have to pass into the
condition called sleep to be refilled. It is sleep, not food, that
refreshes the mind. Food restores the bodily tool we have been working
with--puts a fresh edge on the chisel,--but it does not recuperate the
power that wields the tool.

What then is _x_?


    If dreams could be studied with our waking consciousness they
    would throw much light on our mental nature. Being a poor
    dreamer myself I am not competent to discuss this phase of
    psychology as it deserves. I think however the bulk of our
    dreams can be reduced to two principles. There is first
    the simple lowering of the mental energy, which weakens the
    attention and dissolves the artificial categories, thus making
    ordinary reason impossible. There is just enough energy left
    to revive a few scattered ideas, which blend together
    without control or regard to precedent. Hence the singular
    combinations they sometimes form.

    In the waking state the objective and intellectual
    experience are generally more vivid and engrossing than the
    sentimental--at least in masculine persons. (I deliberately
    avoid the phrase 'masculine mind,' because there is manifestly
    no sex in mind.) In dreams the converse of this is the case.
    The objects we appear to see are dull and indistinct, being
    ideas mistaken for objects, whilst the feelings are evidently
    genuine and sometimes of great intensity. This may be
    explained on the occult principle alluded to in section X.

    What I understand by occult influence is this. In ordinary
    experience the object is first perceived, then a sentiment may
    be excited either by the same noumenon or by recollection. In
    the occult procedure this order is reversed. The sentiment is
    first secretly reached through the chinks of our intellectual
    armour, and the intellect is not excited at all or only by
    association. During sleep, when the Self is nearly exhausted
    of power, it is likely we are more exposed than usual to such
    influences. They invade our mind and excite our sentiment
    without awaking the intellect. Whatever ideas accompany the
    sentiments are generally inadequate to explain them, the stock
    of available ideas being now reduced.

    The conversations we hold in dreams, and the apparent
    communication of knowledge that takes place, are referred by
    Du Prel to a division of the ego into two or more individuals
    who talk together. This notion appears to me forced and
    unthinkable. Under what image is the ego figured that
    it should be capable of division? In the waking state we
    sometimes ask ourselves questions, and on consideration find
    answers to them. We cannot recall a name, a word, or date,
    though we know it is somewhere in our memory, and we pause and
    search till we succeed in exciting the latent image. When this
    takes place in a dream the information is assumed to come from
    another individual by an easy dramatisation.

    A disturbance in the body during sleep may constitute--like
    all bodily suffering--a drain upon our mental energy, which
    will be felt as a sentiment and may excite ideas by sympathy.
    No doubt many dreams are caused in this manner.

    Since our waking consciousness is highly artificial and
    imaginary, we may infer that whilst dreaming we are nearer to
    the natural, primitive state of the mind, but in a weakened

    [Footnote 13: Ueberweg's _Logic_, Fleming's _Vocabulary_, and
    Dickenson's _Dict. of Philosophy_.]

    [Footnote 14: When the perspective object is accurately
    measured by instrument at a known distance from the eye, and
    the tactual size of the object is also known, the associative
    distance can be calculated by simple proportion. Multiply the
    measuring distance by the tactual size and divide the product
    by the perspective size--the quotient is the distance. The
    perspective size of objects is greatly exaggerated in realism.
    Most people think they see a man at his full stature for a
    distance of fifty yards or so. At that distance the tallest
    man does not measure half an inch in height. At twenty feet a
    six-foot man measures 3·6 inches--at ten feet 7·2 inches.
    The people assembled in a room forty feet long range in
    real--perspective--height from seven inches to two inches.
    When a man is nearer than ten feet we do not perceive him in
    one operation--we observe him in parts which we put together
    in the mind.]

    [Footnote 15: Probably Dr. Johnson meant to be humorous in his
    way. The principles of Idealism are apt to excite mirth in the
    unphilosophical, but the laugh is not always on the side of
    the scoffer. A member of the Persian philosophical sect
    called Samradians once said to his steward: 'The world and
    its inhabitants have no actual existence; they have merely
    an ideal being.' The servant on hearing this took the first
    favourable opportunity to conceal his master's horse, and
    when he was about to ride brought him an ass with the horse's
    saddle. When the Samradian asked, 'Where is the horse?'--the
    servant replied, 'Thou hast been thinking of an idea; there
    was no horse in being.' The master answered, 'It is true';
    he then mounted the ass, and after riding for some time he
    suddenly dismounted and taking the saddle off the ass's back
    placed it on the servant's, drawing the girths tightly; and
    having forced the bridle into his mouth, he mounted him and
    flogged him along vigorously. The servant in piteous accents
    exclaimed, 'What is the meaning of this treatment?'--to which
    the Samradian replied, 'There is no such thing as a whip; it
    is merely ideal; thou art only thinking of some illusion.'
    After which the steward repented and restored the horse.

    Another Samradian--or perhaps the same individual--having
    married the daughter of a rich man, she, on finding out
    her husband's creed, proposed to have some amusement at his
    expense. One day the Samradian brought in a bottle of pure
    wine, which during his absence she emptied of its contents and
    filled with water. When the time for taking wine arrived she
    poured out water instead of wine, into a gold cup which was
    her own property. The Samradian having observed, 'Thou hast
    given me water instead of wine,'--she answered, 'It is only
    ideal; there was no wine in existence.' The husband then said,
    'Thou hast spoken well; hand me the cup that I may go to
    a neighbour's house and bring it back full of wine.' He
    thereupon took out the gold cup, which he sold, and instead
    of it brought back an earthen vessel full of wine. The wife on
    seeing this said, 'What hast thou done with the golden cup?'
    He replied, 'Thou art surely thinking of some ideal
    golden cup'--on which the woman greatly regretted her
    witticism.--_Dabistán_, v. i. p. 199-200.]



A clever man has said that the use of language is to conceal thought.
Its primary use is certainly not to reveal thought, but to enable
one person to produce an effect on the mind of another or of others,
either for their or his own advantage. In the course of using
speech as an instrument of command, entreaty, persuasion, menace, or
fustigation, it may happen that the movements of the speaker's mind
are revealed to some extent, but this is a mere incident, not the main
purpose of the speech.

Grammar is the system of rules which govern the use of language in its
primary and ordinary capacity.

It follows from this that language is in no sense a revelation of the
reasoning processes, nor do the rules of grammar coincide with the
laws of intellect. It is just as reasonable to expect to find the
metaphysic of thought revealed in any of the industrial and fine arts,
as to look for it in the structure of speech. Aristotle drew his logic
from the composition of the Greek sentence--he might as well have
sought for logic in the constitution of the Greek buskin.[16]

Even when men begin to reason aloud and seek to render their logical
movements as evident as possible, they are so hampered by the ordinary
habits and rules of speech that their meaning is often difficult or
impossible of comprehension. Whence arises the necessity, if we would
reason aloud to any purpose, of redacting or translating language from
the vernacular into a dialect more indicative of the logical processes
that take place when we reason.

This redaction consists mainly in distinguishing clearly the four
parts composing an argument, namely, the Subject of the Precedent; the
Case which is brought under it for judgment; the Applicate or part of
the precedent bearing on the case; the Conclusion, which is the ideal
judgment concerning the case. When these four parts are expressed and
clearly understood we have a perfect argument, so far as argumentation
depends on language. But probably we have spoiled the language from
the grammatical and rhetorical point of view. We may have had
to supply much that would be redundant and unsightly in ordinary
conversation or writing, and to take away much that is appropriate to
colloquial discourse. We are diverting language to a use for which
it was not designed, and we need not be surprised if the result is
ungraceful. This cannot be helped since there exists no other means
than language by which to express our concrete reasoning.

I have already shown practically how an argument can be arranged so
as to indicate the logical relations subsisting between its parts. A
Greek cross is drawn, and in the four angles thus made the four parts
of the argument are written, or the principal words of each. Begin
with the conclusion, for that is generally the most explicitly given;
then find or supply the part of the precedent that agrees or logically
rhymes with it; next place the subject in the first compartment, and
the case under it. These relative positions should not be varied. When
this has been practiced for a while it enables one to dismember the
most intricate argument with ease and exactness.

The redaction or re-writing of the language can be abbreviated by
regarding the horizontal line as equivalent to a declaration of
resemblance between case and precedent-subject, and (by application)
between the illustrative abstraction and conclusion. If there is an
argument at all there must be this resemblance, and the right-hand
parts must have one of the six categorical relations to the left-hand
parts. The contents of the angles may be cut down to a word or two,

  Tyrants | death
  Caesar  | _death_

If the category be further indicated by a numeral over the upright
line, we have the essential parts of the argument in a very compact
form. The cross and categorical numeral may be regarded as a
sufficient substitute for grammatical syntax and punctuation.

The negative word that generally occurs in stigmatic arguments
requires special attention. It should always be put in the second
angle, and when it may read so as to negative the subject it should
be hyphened to the predicate, thus giving it the value of _non_, _un_,
_im_, or other negative prefix. To say colloquially that 'all Russians
are not angels' leaves room to believe that some Russians are angels,
the 'not' applying to 'all' instead of to 'angels.' By linking 'not'
to 'angels' we get a term equivalent to non-angelic, which expresses
the meaning intended--that no Russians are angels.

Caution should be observed with partitive words like 'some,' 'many,'
'a few,' &c. There is little danger of ambiguity when they occur in
the case, for that means that we bring only a portion of a group
of things to judgment, which we are manifestly entitled to do. The
conclusion however applies only to the portion in question, not to
the rest of the group. 'Honest men deserve respect; some Negroes are
honest men; _these particular Negroes deserve respect_.'

In the precedent, partitive words imply that only some of the subject
have the applicate. If that portion is a dialectical 'all'--that is,
if there has been no exception in the course of our experience--we
may, though that experience has been limited, venture to treat the
applicate as universal and ground a conclusion upon it. If the subject
is really partitive--if we know for certain that some subjects have
the applicate and others have it not--the conclusion must follow the
greater probability. If the number and character of the observed cases
is known we can express the probability arithmetically; it is the
number of occurrences of a given character divided by the total

Redaction must not be used to correct original errors of observation;
its purpose is to render explicit in language what is implicit in
thought, not what might have been thought supposing the thinker had
been more intelligent or industrious than he was.

'Conversion' is a process admitted or required in the artificial
methods of syllogistic dialectic. It consists mainly in transposing
the subject and predicate of a proposition, as 'some Europeans are
Mohammedans'--'some Mohammedans are Europeans,' This operation
never takes place in real argument, or is merely the emendation of a
proposition at first awkwardly expressed. Conversion can take place
only when the predicate is a class, hence the categorical propositions
cannot be converted.

    [Footnote 16: Though evidently suggested by language, the
    form which the syllogistic logic finally assumed is so unlike
    anything grammatical, that it is easily convertible into
    symbols having no resemblance to language. It has been
    put into literal symbols with algebraic values, and into
    geometrical diagrams. A logical machine has even been invented
    by Professor Jevons, 'worked by keys like a pianoforte,' which
    returns 'infallible answers'--of the Aristotelian sort--to
    every kind of question. That is sufficiently unlike both
    reason and language.]



Fallacies are counterfeit or sham arguments. They may fail to be
arguments--(1) because their antecedents are false; (2) because the
antecedents though true are not arranged dialectically, and do not
suggest the right conclusion; (3) because the language is equivocal.

To take the last first. So many things are called by the same name,
and so many different names may be applied to the same thing, that if
we attempt to argue from words alone, without any personal knowledge
of the things or judgments that are in question, we shall certainly
make mistakes. The only security against this sort of fallacy is much
experience, and the self-denial necessary to relinquish argument and
the criticism of arguments, when we have no sufficient knowledge of
the data.

The degree of imperfection in observation which should be considered
to render the theorem fallacious, is no easy matter to determine. One
class of logicians (the Formal) get over the difficulty by declaring
that dialectic is not concerned with concrete knowledge at all,[17]
but only with its general properties (as conceived by Aristotle),
and they have set up as a standard of logical truth the capability of
being imagined. A centaur is to them as true a fact as a horse, and
they would accept as valid such a theorem as this: 'All centaurs
object to be shod with iron; Gryneus is a centaur; therefore we may
conclude that he would resist being shod with iron.' No amount of
conceivability or formal coherence can make this other than nonsense.

J. S. Mill and his followers go to the opposite extreme. They
study all the sciences and endeavour to master their methods of
reasoning--which is well; but they do so with the prepossession that
there exists some absolute standard of knowledge to fail in attaining
which involves fallacy. They thus condemn as false all theorems based
on superseded notions of nature and man. Only modern thinkers can
argue rationally--the ancients were all and habitually victims of
fallacy,--and of the moderns only the few are rational who have
mastered the latest theories on every subject. This is the principle
of Mill's doctrine on the fallacies of observation; we can see that
he regarded all beliefs as fallacious which he had himself outgrown
or did not feel a need of. 'Truth' was simply the facts and judgments
that happened to suit Mill's mental constitution.

From the Substantial point of view this is an untenable position.

No degree of observation is intrinsically defective if it serve
the purpose of intellect, which is to protect the mind. There is no
intellectual truth as a thing in itself. The thoughts of a sparrow or
a child are as perfect as those of a man, if they afford the necessary
defence to the individual's sentiment. As we change our inner mental
character, new intellectual ideas have to be acquired and the old
are discarded, perhaps completely forgotten. They appear now to be
ignorances and fallacies--mal-observation and bad reasoning. The
new seem to be so much truer--perhaps infallibly true. All that is
illusion. We make another advance, and the thoughts that a week before
were as stable as rocks are now cast aside as absurd. Perhaps the
belief in the certainty of present judgments is a condition of our
making the best use of them; if so they should not be shaken until we
are ready to enter on the next stage of knowledge.

It is quite true that one man may know more than another, but the
ground on which the more intellectual is generally considered to be
superior to the latter is not the right one. He is not better for his
intellectual acquirements, but he is better if his mind, being of a
finer sort, required a superior intellect to defend it. At bottom,
then, the general cause of mal-observation--there are particular
causes which interfere with the general rule--is inferiority of
sentimental character. We do not see what we do not need to see, and
we see imperfectly what is not essential to our well-being. That we
should be ignorant or reason badly about what does not concern us is
not in itself a defect.

It is inconsistent with these views on the function of intellect
to admit that any sort of non-observation or mal-observation can be
always and for all alike fallacious. If there are things which
we habitually ignore, the presumption is that they do not concern
us--that the knowledge they would confer is not essential to our
welfare and would be intellectual lumber.

I should therefore abstain from condemning as fallacies theorems
drawn in good faith from facts believed to be true, and which serve as
motives of conduct. They are sophisms only when the reasoners have not
taken ordinary pains to verify their data, or, knowing the antecedents
to be false, pretend to believe them for some immoral purpose.


There is no fault of perversion, mutilation, or entanglement in the
statement of an argument that we do not meet with in actual reasoning.
Even in the writings of educated and honest thinkers it is rare to
meet with an argument the parts of which are clearly distinguished by
the author himself, and expressed so as to show the precise degree of
force they ought to carry. Reasoning is still only a semi-conscious
process directed by rule-of-thumb. We make certain statements and find
they have a power of moving others, so we continue to make them.
But whether the result is due to the rationality of the discourse or
merely to the docility of the hearers, we do not know, and--so long as
the desired result follows--we do not care to inquire.

For this state of things logicians are to a great extent responsible.
They are uncritical imitators of the Greek philosophers, whose notions
on dialectic were quite wrong. The Greeks and their medieval and
modern followers have squandered attention on a mental process which
is not reason, mistaking it for reason, so that practically there has
never been a science of dialectic. However much reasoners may have
wished to present their thoughts coherently, they have not been
provided with a method or notation adapted to the purpose. With an
instinctive sense of the futility of the Syllogism, they have ignored
it completely. I cannot call to mind a single controversial work that
has been presented in syllogistic form, nor do even trained logicians
use it overtly in argument.[18] Yet if it were what it professes to
be, it would be as natural and convenient to express our arguments in
syllogism as it is to put down on paper a sum in arithmetic. We are,
as regards the expression of reasoning, in the position of numerical
thinkers before the invention of figures and the elaboration of
arithmetical rules. We have to do all our arguments 'in our head,' and
so we do them badly. We can seldom be sure of the correctness of
our own reasonings, and we are constantly being misled by sophistry.
Nothing indeed will enable us to reason well or to detect false
reasoning on a subject of which we are entirely ignorant, but a large
measure of protection would be afforded by the adoption of a uniform
system of presenting arguments, by which all the assumptions they
involve are rendered explicit.

One of the commonest omissions in argumentation is to take the
precedent for granted. This is allowable when it is a fact universally
known or believed. 'If you let the glass fall it will be broken,'--the
omitted precedent is the known consequences of letting brittle
things fall to the ground. 'Caius is a liar, therefore he is a
coward'--presupposes that every liar is a coward.

This liberty of suppression is sometimes used sophistically. The
tacit precedent is not universally known or accepted, but if it is
questioned the sophist is ready with an exclamation of surprise
or contempt at our supposed ignorance. Persons who are afraid of
appearing singular in their beliefs are liable to be deceived by this

    'It frequently happens,' says Whately, 'in the case of a
    fallacy [of omitted precedent] that the hearers are left to
    the alternative of supplying either a premiss which is not
    true, or else one which does not prove the conclusion: _e.g._
    if a man expatiates on the distress of the country, and thence
    argues that the government is tyrannical, we must suppose him
    to assume either that "every distressed country is under a
    tyranny," which is a manifest falsehood, or merely that "every
    country under a tyranny is distressed," which, however true,
    proves nothing, the Middle Term being undistributed.... Which
    are we to suppose the speaker meant us to understand? Surely
    just whichever each of his hearers might happen to prefer:
    some might assent to the false premiss; others allow the
    unsound syllogism; to the sophist himself it is indifferent,
    as long as they can be brought to admit the conclusion.'

We sometimes attempt to reason from _Contrast_ instead of resemblance,
with a confused notion that things which differ in some respects must
differ also in others. 'Who spareth the rod hateth the child; the
parent who loveth his child must _therefore_ spare not the rod.' The
fallacy of this becomes apparent when we complete the theorem in the
parallel form.

  The hating parent              | spares the rod
  The loving parent differs from | [_No Conclusion_]
  the hating parent              |

The following has often been presented as a valid argument--'What is
universally believed must be true; the belief in God's existence is
not universal; it is therefore not true.'

  What is universally believed | is true
  The existence of God is not  | _N. C._
  universally believed

To establish the conclusion aimed at, it would be necessary to lay
down as precedent--'What is not universally believed is not true.'

These theorems from contrast are on a par with the following--

  Cows               | are four-footed
  Sheep are not cows | _sheep are not four-footed_

This is the fallacy called in the quaint language of the syllogists
'Illicit Process of the Major Term.'

In _False Analogy_ the resemblance is so slight that the application
is untrustworthy, or a conclusion is drawn in excess of the
resemblance. If from the habit of calling a deep bay or salt-water
loch an 'arm' of the sea from its analogy to a human arm, we conclude
that the sea has elbows and wrists, we commit this fallacy. The earth
is like an orange, but we must not think that it is pulpy inside.

Akin to this is the fallacy of _False Generality_ or _Doubtful
Precedent_. It consists in carelessly or perversely using bad
antecedents when better are available. This applies to such current
prejudices as that all Frenchmen are frivolous, all Germans mystical,
all Jews dishonest, all Carthaginians faithless, all rich people
purseproud, all nobles haughty, and so on. Even if all the
Carthaginians we personally knew had proved faithless, our general
knowledge of mankind should keep us from inferring that a whole
nation should be faithless. The most we should conclude is that _some_
Carthaginians are faithless, but we are free to exercise caution in
future dealings with members of that race. All these generalities
are grounded on this prior argument: 'when a known portion of a class
exhibits certain qualities, we are justified in inferring that the
whole class possess these qualities'--which is only occasionally true.

The fallacy of _Accident_ occurs when the precedent is so defined
as not to exclude exceptions, and the case happens to be one of
the exceptions. 'What gives pain should be abstained from; surgical
operations give pain; they should therefore be abstained from.' The
painful things that should be universally abstained from are those
which give needless or useless pain, not the sort that give less pain
than they remove. Falstaff committed this fallacy when he supposed
that the King would be a boon companion like the Prince. So did the
colonists who introduced rabbits and water-cress into Australia, on
the supposition that they would there have the same function or value
as in Great Britain. In consequence of the Accidental change the
rabbits have developed into a pest, and the water-cress obstructs

If the applicate is a property of the subject only when the latter is
taken collectively, it will not yield a true conclusion when the parts
or individuals of the subject are taken separately. All the angles of
a triangle are equal to two right angles, but it does not follow that
one of them--though it resembles the triangle to some extent--is equal
to two right angles. In this instance we should render the meaning
clear by saying 'collectively equal,' when no argument follows and no
mistake is made. This is called the fallacy of _Division_.

The fallacy of _Composition_ is the converse of this. What is true
of several singulars may not be true of all of them taken together.
Because each of the witnesses in a law case is liable to error, it
does not follow that the concurrent testimony of many is not to be
credited. (Jevons.)

_Circular_ or _Tautological_ theorems (_Petitio Principii_ Begging the
Question) are a breach of rule 2, section XVIII. This fallacy often
consists in proposing as a precedent the case, or information drawn
from the case and stated in other words. 'To allow every man an
unbounded freedom of speech must always be, on the whole, advantageous
to the State; for it is highly conducive to the interests of the
Community that each individual should enjoy a liberty perfectly
unlimited of expressing his sentiments.' (Whately.)

  It is conducive    | that each individual should enjoy
  It is advantageous | to allow

There may be tautology in a single word--the 'question-begging
epithet.' We undertake to prove something, but get no further than
the use of metaphors implying the point in dispute. For example, some
scientific writers are anxious to promote the belief that animal life
is a combination of natural forces--that there is no individual life
distinct from cosmic life,--but all their proof consists in calling a
man or beast a 'machine,' and calling machines 'creatures.' This might
be mistaken for the Substantialist doctrine on the same subject, but
the two are radically different. Substantialism asserts that man and
nature have _similar_ lives--materialism teaches that they have only
one life in common, and that the coarse, mindless life of the cosmos
as conceived realistically.

Conclusions may be used as precedents before verification, but it is
not lawful to assume a hypothetical precedent on the understanding
that it is to be proved in the course of the argument, and then use
the conclusion so obtained to prove its own precedent. This is also
dialectical tautology, but the circle includes two or more theorems.
When naturalists tell us that in the struggle for life the fittest
only survive, and when asked how we know which are the fittest they
reply that the fittest are known by the fact of their surviving, we
have a tautological argument.

  Animals that survive | are the fittest  | Fittest animals | survive
  A particular animal  | _hence it is the | This animal is  | _which is the
  has survived         | fittest of its   | the fittest of  | reason it has
                       | species_         | its species.    | survived_

Survival under competitive conditions is first assumed, and from it
is deduced the superiority of the existing type of animal; then this
inferential superiority is offered to justify the previously imagined
competitive survival. The two hypotheses waltz round each other
without making any rational advance.

When a book is quoted to prove its own authenticity we have
this fallacy; or when the precedent is as unknown as the
conclusion,--'Paradise was in Armenia, therefore Gihon is an Asiatic

The academical syllogism as defined--not always as presented--contains
two fallacies, one of which is tautology. 'ALL Europeans are white;
Caius is a European; therefore he is white.' If, as logicians say, the
'all' is absolute and includes Caius even before he is mentioned, then
it is clear that the theorem amounts to saying, 'All Europeans are
white, and one of them is Caius.' 'Both the twins are fair-haired;
Caius is one of the twins; therefore he is fair-haired':--the
pretended conclusion is merely a naming of a part of the precedent.
The first of these theorems may be interpreted so as to give a valid
conclusion. We are informed that an unknown person called Caius is a
European; we are not told, and we do not know, what is the colour of
his skin; but because all the Europeans we have known have been white,
we infer--pending actual knowledge--that Caius is white. Logicians
interpret the syllogism otherwise, for they have a notion that reason
should give infallible certainty.

After the precedent has been divided into subject and applicate,
the former is sometimes used as applicate and so generates a wrong
conclusion. This may be called _Cross Reasoning_ or _Diagonal
Reasoning_--the fallacy termed by logicians 'Undistributed Middle.'

  Manx cats            | have no tails
  This cat has no tail | _it must be a Manx cat_

De Morgan has this example--'His imbecility of character might have
been inferred from his proneness to favourites; for all weak princes
have this failing.'

  All weak princes | are prone
  He was prone     | _he must have been weak_

Statements are sometimes put forward as reasoning which contain no
case, either expressed or understood. This will seem hardly
credible seeing that the illustration of a case is the purpose of
argumentation. Not only does it occur, but a certain form of it is
regarded by some logicians as valid reasoning. It is the 'particular'
syllogism of the Third Figure.

  _Socrates was poor;
  Socrates was wise._

From these premises no conclusion can be extracted, unless it be the
verbal summary--'Socrates was both poor and wise.' But logicians draw
from it the dialectic conclusion--

  _Therefore some men have been poor and wise_,
  _Therefore one man has been poor and wise_.

Both these conclusions are inadmissible. It is because they are
empirically true that we are apt to think their truth depends on the
antecedent information. If we wish to extend the qualities of Socrates
to 'some men' we must make them a case with 'Socrates is poor and
wise' for a precedent, but I fail to see how it is to be done. If we
add to the premises, 'One man was Socrates, therefore one man was poor
and wise,' we have a tautological fallacy.

J. S. Mill notices a fallacy which amounts to an _Inversion_ of the
Parallel: the conclusion is known or believed and the truth of the
antecedents is inferred backwards.

    'People continually think and express themselves as if they
    believed that the premises cannot be false if the conclusion
    is true. The truth, or supposed truth, of the inferences which
    follow from a doctrine, often enables it to find acceptance
    in spite of gross absurdities in it. How many philosophical
    systems which had scarcely any intrinsic recommendation have
    been received by thoughtful men because they were supposed to
    lend additional support to religion, morality, some favourite
    view of politics, or some other cherished persuasion; not
    merely because their wishes were thereby enlisted on its side,
    but because its leading to what they deemed sound conclusions
    appeared to them a strong presumption in favour of its
    truth, though the presumption, when viewed in its true light,
    amounted only to the absence of that particular evidence
    of falsehood which would have resulted from its leading by
    correct inference to something already known to be false.'[19]

The conclusion of an argument may sometimes be left unexpressed. If
the antecedents are strong and the conclusion obvious it weakens the
argument to state the conclusion in full, besides reflecting on the
capacity of the reader or hearer to draw the conclusion for himself.
Hence we find at the end of controversial and indignant writings such
expressions as--'Comment is superfluous'--'We leave the reader to draw
his own conclusions,'--or simply a point of exclamation is appended.

Sophistical insinuations are suggested in this manner. A train of
ideas is laid that generates a conclusion which the speaker is afraid
or ashamed to put into words.

The second fault of the syllogism as defined may be called the fallacy
of _No Application_. It consists in arranging propositions so as to
end in a classification, but no applicate is detached and no rational
conclusion is drawn. 'Jones is a Welshman; all Welshmen are Britons;
therefore Jones is a Briton.' If in actual thinking it were ever
desired to establish by argument that Jones is a Briton, it would be
with the object of applying to him some quality connoted by Briton,
but the presence of which in Jones is a matter of doubt. This would be
a conclusion--but not the mere classification.

_Irrelevant Conclusion_--the fallacy called by Aristotelians
_Ignoratio elenchi_--is an attempt to substitute a better argument
for the one proposed, but which proves something which has not been
denied, or stigmatises something that has not been asserted. It
frequently arises from honest ignorance of the question at issue, as
in the objections usually made to the Berkeleyan Substantialism. It
can also be used as a weapon of sophistry, by confusing the matter in
dispute or diverting attention to side issues. It is irrelevant to
the truth of a conclusion to point out that he who now supports it
formerly opposed it, or that his conduct is inconsistent with a belief
in it. Appeals to passion--to reverence for authority--to popular
belief--are instances of this fallacy.

The best protection against Fallacy--next to a thorough knowledge of
the matter--is a clear notion of the properties of a valid argument;
it is useful however to be able to distinguish and name the faulty
theorems one constantly meets in controversial speeches and writings.

    [Footnote 17: One fault of observation is noticed by formal
    logicians; it is that of assigning an improper cause, _Non
    causa pro causâ_ or _Post hoc ergo propter hoc_. It is evident
    that defects in every other category have an equal light to be

    [Footnote 18: Whately complains of the disinclination shown
    by logicians to put their rules into practice. 'Whenever they
    have to treat of anything that is beyond the mere elements of
    Logic, they totally lay aside all reference to the principles
    they have been occupied in establishing and explaining, and
    have recourse to a loose, vague, and popular kind of language;
    such as would be best suited indeed to an exoterical discourse
    but seems strangely incongruous in a professed logical
    treatise.... Surely it affords but too much plausibility to
    the cavils of those who scoff at Logic altogether, that the
    very writers who profess to teach it should never themselves
    make any application of, or reference to, its principles,
    when, and _when only_, such application and reference are
    to be expected.' _Logic_, Book III. Introd. The fact here
    admitted proves that even logicians do not find their method
    of any practical use. But what is the meaning of the emphatic
    'when only'? Why should a logical method be unsuitable for
    every sort of subject except those matters of logic that are
    beyond the mere elements?]

    [Footnote 19: _Logic_, 'Fallacies,' c. 6.]



Logicians of Greek inspiration apply the term reasoning or argument
to at least eight different intellectual operations, some of them
important indeed but only one of them argument. This is Analogy--which
receives but little notice from logicians because it does not give
certain conclusions. The operations mistaken for argument are:

  Immediate Inference--
  Arithmetical Calculation--
  Geometrical Demonstration--
  Aristotle's Dictum--
  Mediate Comparison--


Some logicians maintain that it is possible to draw a kind of
conclusions from one judgment alone. These pretended conclusions are
of two species.

The first is a restatement in different words of the whole or part
of the single idea, and it is preceded by 'therefore' to give it
the appearance of an argument. 'All men suffer, therefore some men
suffer.' 'John is a man, therefore he is a living creature.' 'This
weighs that down, therefore it is heavier.' These are all obvious
tautologisms. It is not an inference to deny the opposite of what we
have asserted, as 'The weather is warm, therefore it is not cold.'
The conditional and dilemmatic examples of logicians abound in such
'inferences.' We cannot entirely avoid these locutions, as they give
point and clearness to speech, but they are not argument, even when
introduced by 'therefore.'

The other species of spurious conclusions arises out of what is
technically called Conversion. This is a process permitted in
Syllogistic in order to render propositions more explicit. The subject
may change places with the predicate, a 'some' may be inserted, an
'all' suppressed, or a 'not' may be made to qualify one word instead
of another. In all this there must be no change in the meaning of the
proposition, and therefore there can be no inference. If the second
proposition means something more or different from the first,
another premise is unconsciously taken for granted, or the supposed
interpretation amounts to interpolation. The reasoner may have
inadvertently or sophistically added something to the original datum.
Here is an example of inference by conversion--'All cabbages are
plants, therefore _some_ plants are cabbages.' If it is not understood
from the terms of the first proposition that plants are limited to
such as are cabbages, the 'some' of the converted proposition is an
interpolation supplied from the reasoner's knowledge of the matter. In
this case the 'quantification' of plants is not a valid inference from
the original information.


Arithmetic is first a manipulation of symbols called 'figures.' There
are ten of these, and they are capable of many species of combination,
and an indefinite number of individual operations under each species.
Certain rules govern each sort of operation, and when the rules are
properly understood and recollected the operations can be performed
with absolute certainty. Although the figures have names relating to
number, and the problems given for exercise make mention of acres,
pounds, tons, miles, and all sorts of concrete objects, the symbolic
calculations of books have no necessary relation to real things,
numbers, or quantities. They are a purely conventional treatment
of arbitrary marks that may mean anything or nothing. That is the
arithmetic of the 'schools.' There is no trace of reasoning or
argument in it--it is mere rule and recollection.

There is however real Number and there is real Quantity. Number is
that quality in which a group of three things (for instance) is seen
to differ from a group of four or seven, even when the things are
otherwise quite similar. We begin by distinguishing ten primary
degrees of this difference, and then consider other degrees as
multiples or parts of these primary degrees.

Quantity is degree in size, and is a property quite different from
number. But, for convenience, we assume that quantities are all units
or fractions of certain standard quantities, and we are thus enabled
to use the same terms for both number and quantity.

The names which written language provides for the numerical degrees
and their combinations are inconvenient to use, and so a set of
symbols was devised exclusively for numerical designation. These
are the figures of arithmetic. They are the technical vocabulary of
number, and of quantity considered as number.

Number and quantity admit of but two kinds of variation--increase and
diminution. These variations can be denoted so correctly by figures,
that any combination we first make in figures according to rule can be
reproduced in real objects, provided the objects are in other respects
possible. The result of this perfection of technical nomenclature is
that our study of number and quantity has been transferred from real
objects to figures. It has become symbolic and indirect, and most of
us never go beyond the symbols; that is, what we call arithmetic is
an affair of figures, not of true quantities and numbers. We talk
of miles, tons, and pounds sterling, but we do not _think_ of miles,
tons, and pounds sterling--we think of _figures_. A thousand shillings
is to us, when arithmetically stated, '1000_s._,' just as it is here
represented on paper; we do not think of silver coins, and we could
not if we tried imagine a thousand things of any sort. There is in
reality an enormous difference between '0001_s._' and '1000_s._,'
but to the arithmetician the only objective difference is one of
arrangement in figures.

From these considerations it follows that there are two sciences of
number. There is the true science which deals with quantities really
seen in objects and imagined in the mind, and an artificial science
dealing with figures which have only a historical connection with real
quantity. Of the latter, unfortunately, our arithmetical education
chiefly consists. We are never taught to distinguish number and size
in things by the 'eye,' that is, by reason. The symbolism that was
originally intended to assist real arithmetical thought has ended by
supplanting it. An ignorant shepherd, bricklayer, or carpenter, who is
accustomed to make a rapid estimate of the number of things in a
mass, or the area of planking in a log, has a better training in real
arithmetical science than some mathematicians. If we are obliged to
practise genuine arithmetical thought in engineering, astronomy, and
other professions, our scholastic symbolism gets realised to some
extent, and is a great assistance in arithmetical estimation. But
without this it has no more reference to number and quantity than a
musical education, based entirely on the printed or written notation,
has to the appreciation of musical sounds. A book arithmetician is in
the position of a person thoroughly acquainted with theoretical music,
and who can even compose music _according to rule_, but who is unable
to distinguish a high note from a low one or harmony from discord in
actual sound.

It will thus be seen that it is only in the real arithmetic that
reasoning can enter. The judgment in free arithmetical observation is
the counting of actual groups and the measurement of actual surfaces,
and the argument consists in estimating the number of individuals
in other groups, and the size of other surfaces, without counting or
measurement. But this exercise never enters into symbolic arithmetic.
All the apparent conclusions of book arithmetic are tautological; they
consist in repeating in one combination of symbols the whole or
part of what has been already given in another combination. It is an
exercise in expression--nothing more.

Arithmetical ratio has a resemblance to the rational parallel.
3:5::9:15 might be arranged thus--

  5 | 15
  3 |  9

This is not argument, for two reasons. (1) The apparent conclusion
is not an effort of rational imagination; it is a figure that can
be obtained with infallible certainty by treating the other figures
according to a rule, which has only to be recollected and applied. (2)
The relation between the left-hand figures and the right-hand figures
is not a categorical judgment; it is a form of resemblance, and so it
cannot yield a valid conclusion.


This exercise is regarded by logicians as one of the purest forms
of argument. It is nothing more than an aid to a certain kind of

Take, for instance, the fifth proposition of the first book of
Euclid--'The angles at the base of an isosceles triangle are equal,
and if the equal sides be produced the angles on the other side shall
also be equal.' The proposition is accompanied by a diagram of an
isosceles triangle with the equal sides already produced, so that
the conditional phrasing of the proposition does not mean that the
production of the sides, and what results therefrom, are future
or possible events which neither Euclid nor anybody else has yet
experienced, and the probability of which is an argumentative

What the proposition means is this: an isosceles triangle of which the
equal sides have been produced, has equal angles on the same side of
the base both within and without the triangle. It is an affirmation of
what is, not of what we must believe to be for reasons to be given.

The truth of the proposition is seen at once from simple inspection of
the diagram. It is an association of properties related in a certain
manner. It has many relations which the geometer does not mention in
this proposition, but those which he mentions are seen to be correctly
described as soon as we direct attention to them. If we have any doubt
on the subject we remove it by measuring the angles.

Euclid however does not appeal to the powers of inspection we can
exercise in this case, and he ignores our facilities for measurement.
He appeals to simpler and easier kinds of perception expressed in
his axioms, which he began by assuming we were capable of exercising
without demonstration. They constitute what he considers the minimum
power of relational perception, which if a man have not he cannot be
taught geometry. Euclid also in this proposition refers to the result
of a prior demonstration, the relation in which he supposes we have
seized. By means of these antecedents he _prompts_ our perceptive
faculty up to the point of seeing the relations expressed in this
proposition. If we saw them without the prompting, the latter is
superfluous; if the relations do not stand the test of measurement,
the prompting goes for nothing.

All Euclid's demonstrations are of this sort. They are pointings-out
of what can be seen by inspection and sufficient attention. He is
not bringing a case under a precedent--he is describing relations in
things, that may serve as precedents in concrete or applied geometry.
The service he performs is that of a connoisseur who points out the
beauties of a picture or landscape to a careless or uninterested
spectator. Relations are sometimes difficult to see--much more
difficult than colours or masses--and there is a legitimate sphere of
usefulness for people who point out what others are apt to overlook.
There is no prediction in this. We are not asked to conceive anything
that is not before us. Geometrical demonstration thus assists
perception, but does not imply reasoning. Euclid does not argue--he

Those who maintain that Euclid is syllogistic do so on the ground
that the axioms are generalisations, and that as often as one is cited
there occurs the subsumption of an object under a class-notion. That
would not be argument; but let us suppose it means bringing a
case under a precedent. Then if the axioms be precedents and the
demonstration an application of them to new cases, the theorem is a
fallacy--a useless argument written to prove a foregone certainty,
for the conclusion can be and generally is perfectly known without
reference to the demonstration.

It appears to me more true to regard the axioms as the simplest
relations, which everybody may be supposed capable of perceiving,
and that geometrical demonstration consists in showing that other
relations not so apparent are really varieties or combinations of the
simpler relations. By using in concert with the axioms the relations
already demonstrated, we are enabled to grasp relations that would not
have been at all obvious on first beginning the geometrical praxis.
Euclid's geometry is thus a series of graduated lessons in a special
sort of observation, not a system of deductive arguments.

The educational theory that geometry is exceptionally good training
for the reason--apart from its practical utility in mechanics--is thus
evidently a mistake. Abstract geometry may induce habits of minute
observation and exact definition, but reason nowhere enters into the
study. As a rational gymnastic there is nothing better than the game
of chess.


Those who contend that there is a kind of argument called Inductive
different from the Deductive, illustrate their view by some such
example as the following:--'This, that, and the other magnet' [that
is, all the magnets we know] 'attract iron; therefore all possible
magnets attract iron.' They say there is an irresistible compulsion
in the mind to draw such a conclusion from information of the kind
exemplified, and they contrast that type of thought with a deductive
argument like--'All magnets attract iron; this object is a magnet;
therefore it attracts iron.' They figure the former as a progress
upwards, the latter as a regress downwards.

That is Induction as understood by J. S. Mill and Sir William
Hamilton; on this point these philosophers happen to agree.

The first of those arguments is a deduction with the precedent
omitted. Expressed in full it amounts to this--'Any relation
observed several times to subsist between two classes of objects, and
concerning which no exception has ever been observed, may be taken as
universal; there is such a relation between known magnets and known
iron; therefore it may be regarded as universal.' The precedent is not
a mental compulsion, but a result of experience. Induction as above
defined is therefore only a species of deductive conclusions.

Most logicians take the word Induction in its etymological sense, as
meaning systematic observation carried on with a view to obtaining
a general idea of some class of objects; or of establishing a
categorical relation between one object or class and another, by
eliminating all the alternative correlatives. In neither operation
would Induction be argument.

In science a 'perfect induction' is one in which all existing objects
of a class, or all objects related in a certain manner, have been
perceived, so that there is no other object concerning which a
conclusion can be drawn. In such cases, says Mill, there is no
induction--only a summary of experience. He evidently regarded the
conclusion with respect to unknown cases as the essence of induction,
whereas in the scientific sense the induction is the positive content
of the idea, or the abstract relation--the unknown cases are ignored,
or there may be none. In scientific writings induction sometimes means
the _method_ of observation rather than the result--the method of
correcting inferences by perception, wherever possible.


This is usually put into English thus--'Whatever is affirmed or denied
of a class, may be affirmed or denied of any part of that class,'
and such an affirmation or denial is supposed to be an act of reason.
Archbishop Whately expounds the Dictum in analysing the following
theorem--Whatever exhibits marks of design had an intelligent author;
the world exhibits marks of design; therefore the world had an
intelligent author.

    'In the first of these premises,' he says, 'we find it assumed
    universally of the _class_ of "things which exhibit marks of
    design," that they had an intelligent author; and in the other
    premise, "the world" is referred to that class as comprehended
    in it: now it is evident that whatever is said of the whole of
    a class, may be said of anything comprehended in that class:
    so that we are thus authorised to say of the world, that "it
    had an intelligent author." Again, if we examine a syllogism
    with a negative conclusion, as, _e.g._ "nothing which exhibits
    marks of design could have been produced by chance; the
    world exhibits, &c.; therefore the world could not have been
    produced by chance:" the process of Reasoning will be found
    to be the same; since it is evident, that whatever is _denied_
    universally of any class may be denied of anything that is
    comprehended in that class. On further examination it will be
    found, that all valid arguments whatever may be easily reduced
    to such a form as that of the foregoing syllogisms; and that
    consequently the principle on which they are constructed is
    the UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE of Reasoning.'[20]

The examples given by Whately are perfectly valid; the first is a
constructive argument in the Sixth Category, the second a stigmatic
in the Fifth. I have in several places admitted that the arguments
adduced by syllogists are sometimes correct, the fault complained of
being in the mode in which such correct arguments are interpreted.
They are interpreted wrongly, and then other theorems are found or
made agreeing with the _interpretation_, and the admitted soundness
of the first theorems is used to procure acceptance for the second.
Things brought under the same definition ought to be essentially
alike, but they are not so when the utmost latitude is taken to
'assume' that predicates have properties which they obviously have

The objections we make to the Dictum as above interpreted are--(1)
that in reasoning the precedent (major premise) need not be a class;
(2) if it is a class, it consists of all _known_ things of a similar
kind, not of all _possible_ things of a similar kind. When interpreted
in the latter sense the Dictum becomes dialectically tautological, as
has been often observed.


A few pages further on Whately gives a totally different account of
reasoning, without being aware of his inconsistency.

    'Every syllogism has three, and only three terms: viz. the
    middle term and the two terms (or extremes, as they are
    commonly called) of the Conclusion or Question. Of these,
    first, the subject of the conclusion is called the _minor_
    term; second, its predicate, the _major_ term; and third, the
    _middle_ term, (called by the older logicians "Argumentum") is
    that with which each of them is separately compared, in order
    to judge of their agreement or disagreement with each other.
    If therefore there were two middle terms, the extremes or
    terms of conclusion not being both compared to the same, could
    not be conclusively compared to each other.'[21]

Here reasoning is made to consist in comparing two things by
reference to a third which both resemble. There is not a word about
classification, which is declared just before--in loud capitals--to be
the universal principle of reasoning!

  On this definition we remark--

(1) Comparison by mediation is untrustworthy, unless the qualities
compared be rigidly defined or restricted, as in geometry and the use
of standards (XXII). In geometry the only two qualities recognised
are figure and magnitude. The axiom of mediate comparison means that
things having the same magnitude as a third thing are to be considered
equal, though they may have different outlines. But the axiom is
liable to be untrue in things of three or more qualities. Add colour.
Then a white sphere may resemble a white cube on the one side, and a
black sphere on the other, but the white cube does not at all resemble
the black sphere. This axiom is therefore inadmissible or at
least extremely risky in logic, which treats of things having many

(2) Comparison, however correctly performed, is never the end, but
only a means, of reasoning.


We have already had two distinct definitions of syllogism. According
to the first it is the application of class-attributes to individuals
known to belong to the class; according to the second it is the
comparison of two things or terms by reference to a third which both
resemble. When we arrive at the chapters in logic books devoted to the
exposition of the syllogism in detail, we find that the theorems there
discussed do not conform to either of those definitions. The only
sort of syllogism that can be 'converted' is one consisting of two
classifications, and a conclusion which predicates a classification,
as thus--

  _All Englishmen are Europeans;
  John Smith is an Englishman;
  therefore John Smith is a European._

Observe the difference between this theorem and that adduced in
illustration of the Dictum (XXXVI). In the latter the first premise
is a categorical judgment and so therefore is the conclusion; in the
theorem just given the first premise is a classification, and the
conclusion is necessarily a classification.

We first remark that such an 'argument' is never met with in
real spontaneous thinking--it occurs only in logic books. It is
manufactured exclusively for Peripatetic consumption. The reason it
is not to be found is simple--the conclusion it yields is a
classification, and that is not enough for valid argument.
In reasoning we may introduce a classification as the _minor
premise_--that is, the proposition which brings the case under the
precedent--but the applicate is never a general or class idea. It is
one or more properties abstracted from the subject (whether the latter
be a single object or general idea), and applied to the case. Merely
to classify a case and so leave it would answer no rational purpose.

Logicians urge in recommendation of this syllogism that it gives a
certain conclusion. The premises being correct, the conclusion is
infallibly true.

No doubt it is, for in contemplating a thing we can mentally enter it
into all the classes to which it appears to belong, whatever be their
generality. Knowing the class European and the individual John Smith,
we see at once that the latter is contained in the former, and we can
do this without putting him first in the minor class English. It is
like saying, 'The pavilion is in the garden, John Smith is in the
pavilion, therefore he is in the garden.' Of course he is! The minor
premise of a double classification is superfluous. The fact that
such conclusions are certain, shows how nugatory they are. We are
not certain of anything till it has been experienced. In legitimate
reasoning the conclusion is never more than probable. The certainty of
these double classifications shows that we are stating what we already
know--not imagining an ideal addition to our positive knowledge.

_Doctrine of the Predicate._ So long as logicians are permitted to
fabricate their own examples, all is plain sailing with the syllogism.
But they are sometimes obliged to deal with genuine arguments. In
this case what they do is to assume that _for logical purposes_ every
predicate of the precedent--that is, the applicate--is a general or
class term. Even when an argument is good they spoil it with a bad

Sir William Hamilton states that up to his time logicians recognised
but one type of proposition--that called by him the proposition 'in
extension,' which means the classifying of the subject. He announced
that he intended to introduce a proposition 'in comprehension,'
meaning a judgment in the category of inherence--as for instance, 'man
is responsible.' He further said that he recognised a third type of
proposition, that concerning 'cause and effect.'

But in the course of working out these logical novelties he seems to
have discovered that they were irreconcilable with conversion, and so
he dropped them. The judgment in comprehension, he then declared, was
to all intents and purposes the same as one in extension, and as to
causation--why, a cause is a class, and an effect is an individual
belonging to that class![22]

Let us see what is the result of treating applicates as general ideas.
Take an example in each of the categories.

'The paper is white.' This means that the paper has the property or
attribute of whiteness. In logic it is interpreted to mean that paper
is an individual of the class _white_. This is wrong, for there is no
such class. No sane person would form a class out of salt, snow, milk,
china, silver, the moon, and other white things; for though they have
a common property it is not the sign of a common human utility.

The confusing a single property with a class is not always owing to
exigencies of syllogism. It pervades the writings of most Western
metaphysicians, and may be accounted for in this manner.

General ideas and abstract properties or ideas have in common that
they are _partial_ recognitions of what we perceive (XIV). The
partition in each is however made in a different way, and for a
different purpose. In generalisation the selection is done almost
mechanically. We see many things that have some common relation,
function, or utility for us, and we remember only so much of them
as appears to be necessary for the recognition of that relation or
utility--just so much of the Intellectual experience as has always
accompanied the Sentimental experience. The process is very like that
of putting a piece of wood or ivory in a turning-lathe, and whittling
off all that we do not want. A general idea is the useful core of
a multitude of superposed observations, each of which had something
irrelevant--something which it is better to forget. We whittle this
off and remember only the core.

Abstraction, on the other hand, is a conscious and deliberate
operation from beginning to end. It consists in distinguishing one by
one the properties of a thing, and even treating each property as if
it had an independent existence. For this exercise it is not
necessary to observe many things: we can analyse one alone, though an
acquaintance with other cognate objects is sometimes necessary to call
our attention to single properties. We need the shock of difference to
be able to distinguish well a fine abstraction--the difference between
shades of colours, for example. Abstraction is thus a minute
attention to individuals, and need not for a moment be confounded with

Another cause of the confusion in question can be traced to the use of
the verb 'is' to represent both the relation of a thing to the general
idea it has contributed to form, and the relation of a single property
to the thing in which it inheres. We say 'The man _is_ a British
subject'--classifying him; we say also 'The man _is_ cold'--mentioning
one of his attributes. There is no class of cold men, and the two
relations have nothing in common. A class does not inhere in a man as
cold inheres in him. There is no _object_ corresponding to class--it
is a conceptual creation.

The ambiguity of 'is' favours the syllogistic doctrine of predication,
and there is a rule to the effect that in syllogising propositions,
all verbs are to be converted into 'is' (or its conjugates) with a
participle or noun, so that if they were not before statements
of classification they now become such. 'He walks' is clearly no
classification; but 'he is walking' is assimilated by false analogy
to such a classification as 'he is human,' and so is treated as a
classification by those who reason according to the Letter.

The substantive verb has no positive and uniform meaning. As an
auxiliary it is a mere sign of tense, and in other positions it is an
indefinite mark of relationship, the precise meaning of which must
be determined by the subject and the context. It may sometimes be
dispensed with in classification, as 'Victoria Regina'--'Phillips,

In the second category we have such propositions as 'the book lies on
the table.' In syllogistic this is first altered to 'the book is lying
on the table,' and it is feigned that 'lying on the table' is a class
or general idea, and 'book' an individual of that class. To interpret
'the groom stands by the horse' a class has to be created, composed of
the persons who happen to be standing by horses.

'The mountain is ten miles off' is a judgment in perspection.
Syllogistically we are asked to believe that a class of things exists
having the common property of being ten miles off, and that the
mountain is entered in that class. The absurdity of this doctrine is

In the remaining categories the reduction to 'is' has, if possible, a
worse effect. In changing 'Canada lies west of Ireland' into
'Canada is a country lying west of Ireland,' we lose the relation
in concretion, and express instead a verbal definition. Instead of
affirming a position we explain a name. In such a proposition as 'the
town of A lies 100 miles due north of B,' it is plain the predicate
cannot be a class, for only one place has the quality expressed.

In the fifth category we have such a proposition as 'water freezes
when the temperature falls to zero Centigrade.' This is turned into a
substantive sentence by saying 'water is that liquid which freezes,'
&c., which is a verbal or identical proposition.

'Cecrops founded Athens' is a judgment in causation. In turning it
into 'Cecrops was (or is) the founder of Athens,' we emphasise the
man's name, but the relation signified by 'founded' is slurred over
or lost sight of. Boole converts 'Caesar conquered the Gauls' into
'Caesar is he who conquered the Gauls,'[23] and this he interpreted
as classification. We need not be surprised that he should suppose
a class could be formed by one individual, for he elsewhere tells us
that _Nothing_ is a class.[24]

Classification is not judgment of any sort--it is a variety of
recollection. Logicians imagine it is the only judgment, and so far as
they can they degrade true judgments to that spurious form.

_Moods of the Syllogism._ Having persuaded themselves that
classification is the beginning, middle, and end of reasoning,
logicians next proceed to divide the matter of their science.

Modern logicians who have some acquaintance with real thinking as
exemplified in works of physical science, can, if acting according
to their natural intelligence, lay down correct rules for dividing a
subject. These are simple and obvious: divide according to fundamental
resemblance--let each division correspond to some definite human
utility--let the more important properties take precedence of the less
important, and so forth: the merest common sense.

But in the division of their own subject they follow Aristotle, and so
lose their way.

It is plain that an act of reasoning is a mental thing in the first
place, and only when uttered, and thus in a secondary sense, is it
a material object. The classification of arguments should therefore
follow mental characteristics. Logicians make it follow the material
characteristics of the terms in which the arguments are uttered. Their
moods of the syllogism are mere varieties of expression, not varieties
of reason.

The number of these moods is accidental, depending on flexibility
of language and ingenuity in inventing varieties of syntax. Mere
transposition of premises constitutes a difference of mood. Logicians
however pretend to base their numeration on a more general necessity.
They calculate from the distinctive parts of the three propositions
forming a syllogism, varied by negation, &c., that there _ought to be_
sixty-four moods. Experience proves that in spite of their free and
easy method of multiplying syllogistic varieties they cannot produce
anything like that number. One logician has thirty-six moods, another
thirty-two, a third eleven; the more orthodox fix the number at
nineteen. But they all admit that every argument can be reduced to
one of four fundamental types--the moods of the First Figure. Why then
have more classes than these four? Because, says Whately, it would be
'occasionally tedious' to reduce every argument to the first figure.

If the 11, 19, 32, or 36 classes were natural arguments taken
down untouched from men's lips, and it was found to be useless and
troublesome to reduce them to four artificial forms, the plea might
be admitted. But the so-called valid syllogisms are themselves
artificial, and just as tedious to make as the moods of the first
figure. Not only so, but an elaborate system of mnemonic rules is
provided for reducing the valid moods to the fundamental moods, thus
admitting that the former are only intermediate halting places between
the natural speech and the fundamental moods. It is _expected_ that
the intermediates should be reduced to the first figure.

Is there anything analogous to this sort of division in any science or
branch of practical thought? Would logicians themselves sanction such
a classification in a natural science? If a zoologist, for example,
were to determine beforehand how many classes of animals there
ought to be, would they not say he was acting improperly? If, after
discovering that he had five times as many classes as he could find
animals to put into them, he still retained his classification and
required his pupils to write out the names or symbols of all the
useless classes--would not logicians be apt to call him a pedant? Yet
in a modern work on logic such a task is prescribed for students:--

    'Write out the sixty-four moods of the syllogism, _and strike
    out the fifty-three invalid ones_.'

We might have excused the existence of a merely verbal classification
in logic, if it were accompanied by and subordinated to a
classification of theorems considered as mental facts. But in
syllogistic the verbal is the dominant classification, and we have
seen from the procedure of Sir William Hamilton--in dropping his
categorical judgments--that when the two principles of division
conflict, it is the mental which has to give way. The Letter is
allowed to kill the Spirit.

_All the Moods reducible to One._ Syllogists appear not to know their
own schematism very well. They say there are four ultimate moods,
which it is impossible to reduce to any lower number. But since each
of the four is, mentally, a double classification, it must be possible
to reflect this common property in the mode of expression. The
difference between them can only be verbal. Let us adopt another than
the ordinary symbolism.

Cut a card into three triangular pieces of unequal size, and call
them by the letters A, B, C, beginning with the largest. These are the
terms of the syllogism.

         A                 A
        /\B               /\                B
       / /\C             /  \              /\C
      / / /\            /    \            / /\
     / / /  \          /      \          / /  \
    / / /    \        /        \        / /    \
   / / /      \      /          \      / /      \
  +------------+    +------------+    +----------+
  _Barbara._                  _Celarent._

         A                    A
        /\B                 /\               B
       / /\    C           /  \             /\   C
      / /  \  :           /    \           /  \  :
     / /    \: :         /      \         /    \: :
    / /     /\  :       /        \       /     /\  :
   / /     /  \  :     /          \     /     /  \  :
  +------------+...   +------------+   +----------+...
  _Darii._                    _Ferio._

The first mood _Barbara_ is formed by placing the cards on top of each
other, so that B is within the margin of A, and C within the margin of
B. This is the syllogism, 'All B is A, all C is B, therefore all C is

Next let B and C be as above, but let A be wholly apart from both.
This is _Celarent_: 'No B is A, all C is B, therefore no C is A.'

In _Darii_ the whole of B is in A, but only a part of C coincides with
B. The syllogism is: 'All B is A, some C is B, therefore some C is A.'

In _Ferio_ A is again wholly separated from the others, and C is only
partially in B. Argument: 'No B is A, some C is B, therefore some C is
not A.'

It is to be remembered that all the other figures and moods are
reducible to the above figure of four moods, so that the reduction
applicable to the latter is equally applicable to the former.

To reduce _Darii_ to _Barbara_ all that is necessary is to ignore the
dotted part of C. That is suggested by the use of the word 'some,'
which has a correlative 'all' or 'others.' But the correlative
quantity does not enter into the syllogism, and we know nothing about
it. It may not even exist. We are therefore at liberty to substitute
for 'some C' the name D, and consider it an integer instead of a
fraction. Then we have the _Barbara_ syllogism: 'All B is A, all D (=
some C) is B, therefore all D is A.' The phrase 'all of some' is quite
allowable: 'I met some firemen, all of whom wore brass helmets.'

_Ferio_ in the same manner is reduced to _Celarent_. The dotted part
of C is cut away, and the part really significant in the syllogism is
called E. Then 'No B is A, all E is B, no E is A.'

Finally _Celarent_ can be reduced to _Barbara_. B cannot indeed be
enclosed in A, but we assume the existence of a whole having all the
characters which A has _not_, or having none of the characters which
A has. This is the whole F = Not-A. Then _Celarent_ becomes _Barbara_
thus: 'All B is F, all C is B, therefore all C is F.'

This demonstrates that there is only one fundamental operation where
syllogists suppose there are at least four. The difference is wholly a
matter of language, and disappears on changing the names of the terms
and ignoring irrelevant suggestions. But the syllogism, I repeat, does
not represent the act of reasoning, and its moods and figures are fit
only to be a game for children.

    [Footnote 20: _Logic_, Book I. § 3.]

    [Footnote 21: _Logic_, Book II. c. 3. § 2.]

    [Footnote 22: _Lectures_, iii. pp. 287 and 356. The
    impossibility of reconciling their definitions and rules to
    real thinking and argument is the despair of logicians. Most
    of them take to symbols, which are more accommodating than
    real experience, having just such properties as their makers
    choose to put in them. Sir William Hamilton had the courage to
    declare that a logician might use arguments of a concrete or
    real form, but that it is not necessary they should agree with
    real fact. 'The logician has a right to suppose any material
    impossibility, any material falsity; he takes no account of
    what is objectively impossible or false, he has a right to
    assume what premises he please, provided that they do not
    involve a contradiction in terms.'--_Id._ 322. That means
    in plain English that a logician may misrepresent matters of
    fact, if he cannot otherwise establish his theory!]

    [Footnote 23: _Laws of Thought_, p. 35.]

    [Footnote 24: _Ibid._ p. 47.]



The theorems given for practice in logic books are useful dialectic
material, but they do not fully illustrate all the categories.
Logicians have no definite categories, and in selecting examples they
are unconsciously biassed in favour of those that can be most easily
interpreted to signify classification. The really generalistic
examples are rare; the most are judgments of inherence, admitted in
virtue of the assumption that inherent properties can--when it
is needful to preserve the traditional notion of predication--be
considered class-ideas. Theorems in perspection and concretion we do
not expect to find in logic books, for these, in so far as they are
distinct from association, are categories peculiar to the Berkeleyan

Whately has the following example in association--'Lias lies above red
sandstone; red sandstone lies above coal; therefore lias lies above
coal.' No doubt Whately would, in syllogising this, have changed the
propositions to 'Red sandstone is lying,' &c., and have assumed that
'lying above coal' is a class to which red sandstone belongs.


Here are examples of arguments in inherence--

A hot skin, quick pulse, intense thirst have invariably in my
experience coexisted with fever; the person now examined exhibits
these symptoms, so I infer that he has a fever.

Great width of skull between the ears is invariably found united with
a destructive temperament; this animal's skull is very wide between
the ears; hence it may be concluded that he has a destructive

Cloven feet belong universally--_i.e._ as far as our experience
goes--to horned animals; we may conclude that this fossil animal,
since it appears to have had cloven feet, was horned.

  Cloven feet              | inhere with horns
  Fossil animal appears to | _it is probable he
  have had cloven feet     |  had horns_

When an architect, contemplating the fragments of a building, restores
it in imagination after the analogy of similar buildings, we have an
argument in inherence. Such speculations are generally too long and
complex for analysis, but an instructive example occurs in Canon
Rawlinson's _Seventh Oriental Monarchy_, which I will venture to
quote, marking the phrases that introduce or express the rational
idea. Observe the difference of style between this, which is real
practical reasoning, and the trivial certainties of Syllogistic.

    'What remains of this massive erection [the Takht-i-Khosru,
    or palace of Chosroës Anushirwan, at Ctesiphon] is a mere
    fragment, which, _to judge from the other extant Sassanian
    ruins_, cannot have formed so much as one fourth part of
    the original edifice. Nothing has come down to our day but a
    single vaulted hall on the grandest scale, together with the
    mere outer wall of what no doubt constituted the main facade
    of the building. The apartments, which, _according to all
    analogy_, must have existed at the two sides, and in the rear,
    of the great hall, some of which _should_ have been vaulted,
    have wholly perished. _Imagination may supply_ them from the
    Firuzabad, or the Mashita palace; but not a trace, even of
    their foundations, is extant; and the details consequently are
    uncertain, though the general plan can scarcely be doubted. At
    each side of the great hall _were probably_ two lateral ones,
    communicating with each other, and capable of being entered
    either from the hall or from the outer air. Beyond the great
    hall _was probably_ a domed chamber equalling it in width,
    and opening upon a court, round which were a number of
    moderate-sized apartments. The entire building _was no doubt_
    an oblong square, of which the shorter sides seem to have
    measured 370 feet. It had at least three, and _may not
    improbably have had_ a larger number of entrances, since it
    belongs to tranquil times and a secure locality.'


The most notable argument in the category of concretion is undoubtedly
the inference as to the sphericity of the earth. Next is the
sub-inference by Columbus that China could be reached by sailing
westward from Portugal. If the syllogistic opinion were valid--that a
conclusion must be absolutely true or absolutely false--the expedition
of Columbus was based on a fallacy. Most people think it was eminently

No one has seen the north or the south poles, and the conviction that
they could be realised, if certain difficulties of transport were
overcome, is a sub-inference of the same character.

Here is a common type of inference in perspection--

  That church         | is 100 yards off
  A man appears on    | _he is_ 100 _ys. off_
  the roof of the ch. |

And this--

  That distant house          | is 60 ft. high
  It appears to be scaffolded | _the scaffold is about_
  to a third of its height    | 20 _feet high_

In these cases we have not seen the man or the scaffolding before,
and have not measured the latter or the distance to the former: the
conclusions are imaginary judgments fairly drawn from known premises.


The deciphering of hieroglyphics, cuneiform inscriptions, and remains
of other dead and forgotten languages, is argument in causation.
Examples cannot conveniently be quoted even in a condensed form, but
this kind of reasoning is most interesting dialectically from the
slightness of the analogies that are nevertheless found to give valid


This is considered argument by Whately--

  Louis                  | is a good king
  The governor of France | _therefore the g. of F. is
  is Louis               | a good king_

The supposed case is a verbal proposition, serving to rename the
subject of precedent. There is no reasoning. If we already know that
Louis is a good king and is also the governor of France (the given
matters of fact), there is no rational imagination involved in
rearranging these data as in the proposed conclusion.


'He who calls you a man speaks truly; he who calls you a fool calls
you a man; therefore he who calls you a fool speaks truly.'--A fallacy
of cross reasoning, and the predicate is a class.

  All fools     | are men
  You are a man | _N. C._


'Nothing is heavier than platina; feathers are heavier than nothing;
therefore feathers are heavier than platina.'--A trivial equivoque.

The following is more subtle. 'Theft is a crime; theft was encouraged
by the laws of Sparta; therefore the laws of Sparta encouraged
crime.'--At most the laws of Sparta encouraged one crime; but there
is a fallacy of equivocation. Taking things surreptitiously from
the person in whose possession they may be, is not a crime--is not
theft--in a society so communistic as the Spartan. There it was
encouraged as an exercise in adroitness. This example shows the
necessity of knowing the matter of the argument.


    'Warm countries alone produce wine; Spain is a warm country;
    therefore Spain produces wine.'

  Wine               | is p. in w. countries
  Spain is a warm c. | _N. C._


'Meat and drink are necessaries of life; the revenues of Vitellius
were spent in meat and drink; therefore the revenues of Vitellius were
spent on the necessaries of life.'--Fallacy of composition: meat and
drink in moderate quantities are necessaries of one life, but not food
of every kind and in excessive quantities.


'He who is most hungry eats most; he who eats least is most hungry;
therefore he who eats least eats most.'--A fallacy of accident: he who
eats least does not _at the same time_ eat most.


'Whatever body is in motion must move either in the place where it
is, or in the place where it is not; neither of these is possible;
therefore there is no such thing as motion.'--It is an abuse of reason
to attempt to disprove matters of fact. The conclusion of an argument
being always problematical, it can have no force against actual
experience. We experience motion, therefore it cannot be disproved.


'A wise lawgiver must either recognise the rewards and punishments
of a future state, or he must be able to appeal to an extraordinary
Providence, dispensing them regularly in this life; Moses did not do
the former, therefore he must have done the latter'--(Warburton, from
Whately).--The reasoner omitted to establish that Moses was a wise
lawgiver, so that the precedent does not apply to his case, except by


'That man is independent of the caprices of fortune who places
his chief happiness in moral and intellectual excellence; a true
philosopher is independent of the caprices of fortune; therefore a
true philosopher is one who places his chief happiness in moral and
intellectual excellence.' An instance of cross reasoning.

  He who places              | is independent
  Philosopher is independent | _N. C._


    'For those who are bent on cultivating their minds by diligent
    study, the incitement of academical honours is unnecessary;
    and for the idle it is ineffectual, for such are indifferent
    to mental improvement; therefore the incitement of academical
    honours is either unnecessary or ineffectual.'

A fallacy of doubtful precedent: because two kinds of students are not
benefited by the hope of honours it is prematurely concluded that no
others exist who may be so benefited.


    'He who bears arms at the command of the magistrate does what
    is lawful for a Christian; the Swiss in the French service,
    and the British in the American service, bore arms at the
    command of the magistrate; therefore they did what is lawful
    for a Christian.'

The conclusion is valid so far as the information given enables us to
judge. If we know from other sources that the Swiss and British
who are referred to, committed atrocities at the command of the
magistrate, the conclusion is a fallacy of accident. In general it is
lawful to obey a magistrate, but there may be particular cases when it
is not.


'Anyone who is candid will refrain from condemning a book without
reading it; some reviewers do not refrain from this; therefore some
reviewers are not candid.'--This is cross reasoning and invalid. It
is one thing to say that the uncandid do not refrain, and another that
all who do not refrain are uncandid. The conclusion is taken from the
latter proposition, which is not asserted.


    'Everyone desires happiness; virtue is happiness; therefore
    everyone desires virtue.'

  Whoever desires an effect      | desires the cause of that effect
  Everyone desires the happiness | _everyone desires virtue_
  which is caused by virtue      |

The case is manifestly untrue.


    'He who has a confirmed habit of any kind of action exercises
    no self-denial in the practice of that action; a good man
    has a confirmed habit of virtue; therefore he who exercises
    self-denial in the practice of virtue is not a good
    man.'--(Arist. _Eth._ Bk. II., from Whately.)

                   VI.                                          I.
  He who has a      | exercises no       || He who exercises no | is good
  habit, &c.        | self-denial        || self-denial in the  |
                    |                    || practice of virtue  |
  A good man has    | _He exercises no   || He who _does_       | _N. C._
  this habit with   | self-denial with   || exercise &c.        |
  respect to virtue | respect to virtue_ ||                     |

The conclusion drawn is fallacious, the second theorem being based on


    'According to theologians, a man must possess faith to be
    acceptable to the Deity; now he who believes all the fables
    of heathen mythology must possess faith; therefore such a one
    must, according to theologians, be acceptable to the Deity.'

'Faith' is ambiguous, meaning in the precedent, spiritual aspiration,
and in the case ignorant credulity.


'No evil should be allowed that good may come of it; all punishment is
an evil; therefore no punishment should be allowed that good may come
of it.'--'Evil' is ambiguous, meaning wrong-doing in the precedent and
pain in the case; the conclusion is therefore fallacious.


'The principles of justice are variable; the appointments of
nature are invariable; therefore the principles of justice are no
appointments of nature.'--(Arist. _Eth._ Bk. V., from Whately.) The
terms 'principles of justice' and 'nature' require to be defined. It
might be said that justice is one principle, everywhere and always the
same, and that only its embodiments in law and custom are variable.


'What happens every day is not improbable; some things, against which
the chances are many thousands to one, happen every day; therefore
some things against which the chances are many thousands to one, are
not improbable.'--A fallacy of division: that improbable things in
general happen every day does not render the occurrence of any one a
probable event.


'Protection from punishment is plainly due to the innocent; therefore,
as you maintain that this person ought not to be punished, it
appears that you are convinced of his innocence.'--A fallacy of cross

  Innocent persons                | deserve  protection
  This person deserves protection | _N. C._


'He who cannot possibly act otherwise than he does, has neither
merit nor demerit in his action; a liberal and benevolent man cannot
possibly act otherwise than he does in relieving the poor; therefore
such a man has neither merit nor demerit in his action.'--To 'have
merit in an action' is scarcely intelligible. A man's merit is in his
character, and his actions are effects and signs of character.


    'All the fish that the net inclosed were an indiscriminate
    mixture of various kinds; those that were set aside and saved
    as valuable were fish that the net inclosed; therefore
    those that were set aside and saved as valuable were an
    indiscriminate mixture of various kinds.'

An instance of the fallacy of division: what is true of the whole
contents of the net is not necessarily true of a portion of the


'A desire to gain by another's loss is a violation of the tenth
commandment; all gaming, therefore, since it implies a desire to
profit at the expense of another, involves a breach of the tenth
commandment.'--A valid argument in inherence.

  All desire to gain by, &c.          | violates
  Gaming involves this kind of desire | _it violates_


'He that destroys a man who usurps despotic power in a free country,
deserves well of his countrymen; Brutus destroyed Caesar, who usurped
despotic power in Rome; therefore he deserved well of the Romans.'--If
Rome was 'a free country' the conclusion is valid.


    'No fish suckles its young; the whale suckles its young; the
    whale is therefore no fish.'

  What suckles  | is no-fish
  Whale suckles | _it is no-fish_


    'This explosion must have been occasioned by gunpowder, for
    nothing else would have possessed sufficient force.'

  Explosions of a certain | can only be occasioned by
  destructiveness         | gunpowder
  This explosion has that | _it must have been
  destructiveness         | occasioned by gunpowder_


    'Every man should be moderate, for excess will cause disease.'

  To avoid disease       | moderation is requisite
  Every man should avoid | _every man should
  disease                | be moderate_


    'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.'

  To obtain mercy      | is blessed
  Those who show mercy | _they must be
  obtain mercy         | considered blessed_


    'Some speculative men are unworthy of trust; for they are
    unwise, and no unwise man can be trusted.'

  Unwise men           | are not to be trusted
  Some speculative men | _they are not to be trusted_
  are unwise


    'No idle person can be a successful writer of history;
    therefore Hume, Macaulay, Hallam and Grote must have been

  Successful historians  | are not idle persons
  Hume and the rest were | _they cannot have
  successful historians  | been idle persons_


'Lithium is an element; for it is an alkali-producing substance, which
is a metal, which is an element.'--Fallacy of no-application.

  Every alk.   | is a metal      || Every metal   | is an element
  prod. subst. |                 ||               |
  L. is alk.   | _it is a metal_ || L. is a metal | _it is an element_
  p. subst.    |                 ||               |


    'Rational beings are accountable for their actions; brutes not
    being rational, are therefore exempt from responsibility.'

  Rational beings     | are accountable
  Brutes not rational | _N. C._


    'Whatever tends to withdraw the mind from pursuits of a low
    nature deserves to be promoted; classical learning does
    this, since it gives us a taste for intellectual enjoyments;
    therefore it deserves to be promoted.'

                 V.                   I.
  Whatever gives | tends      || Whatever tends | deserves
  Learning gives | _it tends_ || Learning tends | _it deserves_


'Bacon was a great lawyer and statesman; and as he was also a
philosopher, we may infer that any philosopher may be a great
lawyer and statesman.'--The theorem infers the general inherence of
philosophy with eminence in law and politics, from the single instance
of Bacon: it is evidently a fallacy of doubtful precedent.


    'Snowdon is the highest mountain in England and Wales. Snowdon
    is not so high as Ben Nevis. Therefore the highest mountain in
    England and Wales is not so high as Ben Nevis.'

This means: 'the highest mountain in England and Wales is called
Snowdon, and it is not so high as Ben Nevis.' The apparent conclusion
merely repeats a part of the information given already. There is no
case. The following is a theorem of the same kind--

    'Lithium is the lightest metal known. Lithium is the metal
    indicated by one bright line in the spectrum. Therefore the
    lightest metal known is the metal indicated by a spectrum of
    one bright line.'


    'If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of

  Abraham's children      | do his works
  If ye were his children | _ye would do his works_


'Since all metals are elements, the most rare of all the metals
must be the most rare of all the elements.'--There is a suppressed
precedent to the effect that the most rare individual of a species
must be the most rare of its genus, which may or may not be true.


    'All vice is odious; but avarice is a vice; for it makes men
    slaves; therefore avarice is odious.'

                    V.                                    I.
  Whatever enslaves | is a vice      || All vice          | is odious
  Avarice enslaves  | _it is a vice_ || Avarice is a vice | _it is odious_


    'Bucephalus is a horse; a horse is a quadruped; a quadruped is
    an animal; an animal is a substance; therefore Bucephalus is a

  All horses |are quads.|| Quads.    | animals   ||   Animal | substance
  Bu. is a h.|_he is q._||B. is quad.|_he is an._||Bu. is an.|_he is

This is what logicians call a _Sorites_. There may be a chain of valid
arguments, in which the conclusion of one is precedent or case of the
next; but the propositions just quoted do not make an argument, being
merely a string of classifications. If we know what Bucephalus and
substance mean, we know by perception that Bucephalus is a substance.


    'Every being is then happy when it acquires the proper
    perfection of its nature; and consequently all vital beings
    are capable of receiving felicity that are capable of arriving
    at the perfection of their nature.'

  Every being that acquires | is happy
  All vital beings capable  | _must be capable of receiving
  of acquiring              | felicity_

This is perilously near tautology; it can be saved only by assuming
that 'every being capable of happiness' is a more extensive class
than 'all vital beings capable of arriving at the perfection of their


    'The soul's debility is not owing to her lapse into matter;
    for as this lapse is voluntary, the soul must have sinned
    prior to her descent.'

  Voluntary lapse    | proves prior sin
  Soul's lapse is v. | _her debility must have been
                       antecedent to lapse_


  _Cogito ergo sum._--

  Whatever thinks | is
  I think         | _I must believe that I am_

That we exist is the most certain fact we know: it cannot be
strengthened by any argumentation. If we can doubt that we _are_, we
can with better reason doubt that we think.


Here is Hamilton's example of a disjunctive syllogism, which he
considered a valid argument--'The hope of immortality is either a
rational expectation or an illusion; but the hope of immortality is
a rational expectation; therefore the hope of immortality is not an
illusion.' It is a flagrant tautologism.


    'If man be not a morally responsible being, he must want
    either the power of recognising moral good (as an intelligent
    agent), or the power of willing it (as a free agent); but
    man wants neither of these powers; therefore man is a morally
    responsible being.'

Adopted by Hamilton from Krug and given as valid. It is first a
fallacy of contrast, and if amended in this respect it would still be
a fallacy of tautology.

  If m. lacked certain pp.     | he would be irresp.
  He does _not_ lack these pp. | _N. C._


'If Aeschines joined in the public rejoicings, he is inconsistent; if
he did not, he is unpatriotic; but he either joined, or not, therefore
he is either inconsistent or unpatriotic.'--An excellent specimen of
logicians' logic: on a par with this--If it is fine weather, I go;
if it rains, I stay; it must either rain or be fine, therefore I must
either go or stay.


    'If the world were eternal, the most useful arts, such as
    painting, &c. would be of unknown antiquity: and on the same
    supposition there would be records long prior to the Mosaic;
    and likewise the sea and land in all parts of the globe might
    be expected to maintain the same relative situations now as
    formerly: but none of these is the fact: therefore the world
    is not eternal.'

  If some things were different | the w. would be eternal
  from what they are            |
  They are _not_ different      | _N. C._


    'If the world existed from eternity, there would be records
    prior to the Mosaic; and if it were produced by chance, it
    would not bear marks of design: there are no records prior to
    the Mosaic, and the world does bear marks of design: therefore
    it neither existed from eternity, nor is it the work of

Two theorems are here mixed together, both fallacies of contrast--

  Existence of records | would prove the w. etern.
  Records do not exist | the w. is non-eternal

  Non-existence of marks | wd. pr. w. made by chance
  The marks exist        | w. was not made by chance


    'If this man were wise, he would not speak irreverently of
    Scripture in jest; and if he were good he would not do so in
    earnest; but he does it, either in jest or earnest; therefore
    he is either not wise or not good.'

As it stands this is quite circular, but it might be rendered valid by

  To speak irrev. of Scr. in | indicates that a man is not
  jest or earnest            |  wise or not good
  This man does it           | we must infer that _he is not
                             | w. or not g._


'If virtue were a habit worth acquiring, it must ensure either power,
or wealth, or honour, or pleasure; but virtue ensures none of
these; therefore virtue is not a habit worth attaining.' Fallacy of

  What ensures       | is worth
  V. does not ensure | _N. C._


'If men are not likely to be influenced in the performance of a known
duty by taking an oath to perform it, the oaths commonly administered
are superfluous; if they are likely to be so influenced, everyone
should be made to take an oath to behave rightly throughout his
life; but one or other must be the case; _therefore_ either the oaths
commonly administered are superfluous, or everyone should be made to
take an oath to behave rightly throughout his life.'--This will be
more intelligible if contracted thus: If oaths fail to influence they
are superfluous; if they influence they should be obligatory; but they
either influence or do not; therefore they are either superfluous
or should be obligatory. There is no argument; the alternative
conclusions merely repeat the alternative precedents.


'If virtue is voluntary, vice is voluntary; but virtue is voluntary;
therefore so is vice.' (Arist. _Eth._ Bk. III. quoted by Whately.)
This is a circular way of saying that we believe it to be a fact that
vice is voluntary. The argumentative form is probably supposed to
give the assertion greater weight than it would have if expressed as a
perceptual judgment.


This is valid argument, according to Hamilton--'If man were suited to
live out of society, he would either be a god or a beast; but man is
neither a god nor a beast; therefore he is not suited to live out of
society.'--It has faults of contrast and tautology.

  Only gods and beasts     | are suited
  Man is neither g. nor b. | _N. C._


'If iron is impure, it is brittle; but this iron is impure; therefore
it is brittle.'--A valid dogmatic argument.

  Impure iron       | is brittle
  This iron is imp. | _it must be br._


'If the weather is fine, we shall go into the country; now the weather
is fine, therefore we shall go into the country.'--We never get beyond
the simple judgment that our going into the country is associated with
fine weather.


The following is valid:--'As often as the weather is fine, my
brother has a habit of going into the country; if the weather be fine
to-morrow I infer that he will go into the country.' Here a particular
hypothetical case is illustrated by reference to a general habit.


'As often as the weather is fine my brother goes into the country;
if it be not fine to-morrow I conclude that he will not go into
the country.'--A fallacy of contrast: we are not informed in the
antecedents what the brother does on wet days.


    'If there are sharpers in the company we ought not to gamble;
    but there are no sharpers in the company; therefore we ought
    to gamble.'

  Presence of sh. | forbids to gamble
  Absence of sh.  | _N. C._


'Logic as it was cultivated by the schoolmen proved a fruitless study;
therefore logic as it is cultivated at the present day must be a
fruitless study likewise.'--We must take the conclusion as valid,
until we know in what respects modern logic is superior to scholastic


    'Few treatises of science convey important truths, without
    any admixture of error, in a perspicuous and interesting form:
    therefore though a treatise would deserve much attention which
    should possess such excellence, it is plain that few treatises
    of science do deserve much attention.'

This means no more than that treatises of a certain excellence
would deserve attention, and that there are few of them. There is no


    'Some objects of great beauty answer no other purpose but to
    gratify the sight: many flowers have great beauty; and many of
    them accordingly answer no other purpose than to gratify the

  Some obj. which answer  | are beautiful
  Many flowers are beaut. | _N. C._


    'None but Whites are civilised; the ancient Germans were
    Whites; therefore they were civilised.'

  All civilised nations | are Whites
  Anc. Ger. were Wh.    | _N. C._


    'Wilkes was a favourite with the populace; he who is a
    favourite with the populace must understand how to manage
    them; he who understands how to manage them must be well
    acquainted with their character; he who is well acquainted
    with their character must hold them in contempt; therefore
    Wilkes must have held the populace in contempt.'

  Favourites    | must kn. how to       || He who kn. how | must be
                | manage                || to  manage     | acquainted
  W. was a fav. | _he knew how to man._ || W. knew        | _he was acq._

  He who is acq. | must despise
  W. was acq.    | _he must have desp._


    'Something has existed from eternity. For since something now
    is, it is manifest that something always was. Otherwise the
    things that now are must have risen out of nothing, absolutely
    and without cause. Which is a plain contradiction in terms.
    For to say a thing is produced, and yet that there is no
    cause at all of that production, is to say that something is
    effected when it is effected by nothing, that is, at the same
    time when it is not effected at all. Whatever exists has a
    cause of its existence, either in the necessity of its own
    nature, and then it must have been of itself eternal: or in
    the will of some other being, and then that other being must,
    at least in the order of nature and causality, have existed
    before it.'

In this theorem we have a case--'Something is'; and a
conclusion--'Something has existed from eternity.' The reasoner
seeks a credible or conceivable precedent by which to connect that
conclusion with the case.

We are offered a choice of two theorems. The first is untenable, for
we have never had the experience that is given as precedent; it is
also tautological, as the 'something' of the case is the 'whatever' of
the precedent.

  Whatever exists in the necessity    | has existed from eternity
  of its own nature                   |
  'Something' exists in the necessity | _it has existed from eternity_
  of its own nature

It is not inconceivable that something should be self-existent, but we
know nothing as to its being eternal. We are not familiar enough with
self-existent things and eternal things to warrant us in asserting
dogmatically that where the first quality is, there also must be the

The next theorem is that everything must be caused, and that causation
involves a _regressum ad infinitum_. On this principle there must
have been things for an eternity backwards. According to the theory of
causation given in section XXVII, a true beginning is reached when we
discover the motive, design and power that produced an effect. It is
not necessary to ask next what caused that motive, design and power.
The infinite regress is applicable only to _material sequence_, in
which there is no proper beginning or end. The author of the above
argument seems to be trying to combine the notion of causation by
_will_ with that of infinite regress. But his language is too obscure
to make it certain what he means exactly.


The three following theorems--in a diluted form--occur in an otherwise
excellent work on the politics and social life of the ancient Greeks.

'The Athenians who opposed the union of Greece and Macedonia were old
men, and the result was mischievous; other similar instances are
found in history; therefore the government of old men is always
mischievous.'--A fallacy of false generality. Everybody knows that
some old men have been wise governors. Cicero, from his experience,
drew the opposite conclusion--that the only safe rulers were old men.

'All old political leaders are mischievous; Gladstone is old;
therefore he is to be considered politically mischievous.'--Even were
the precedent not false the argument is superfluous, for the effect of
Gladstone's politics is now matter of fact or history.

'Gladstone is politically mischievous; he advocates Home Rule for
Ireland; therefore Irish Home Rule must be mischievous.'--A fallacy
of division: a political leader might on the whole be mischievous,
but his measures need not on that account be each and every one

If dialectic were taught generally and on a rational method, a
responsible author would avoid bad reasoning of this sort as carefully
as he avoids bad grammar, vulgar imagery, or faulty arithmetic.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

Punctuation has been corrected without comment.

The spelling in this book is that found in the Oxford English
 Dictionary (OED).

Page 78: 'comformable' corrected to 'conformable'

 "The following is an argument conformable to the above rules."

Page 99: "un-extended, im-material, im-ponderable"

The author used hyphens in the above words for emphasis.
Other instances of hyphens used for emphasis occur in the book.
Other instances of hyphenated and unhyphenated words occur in the book.

Page 164: 'premiss' is a variant of 'premise' (OED), which occurs more
 frequently in the book.

Page 216: 'inclose is a variant of 'enclose' (OED).

 "All the fish that the net inclosed were an indiscriminate...."

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