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Full text of "EXISTENTIAL METAPHYSICS"

1 09 352 



EXISTENTIAL 
METAPHYSICS 

by Alvin Thalheimer 




PHILOSOPHICAL LIBRARY 
New York 



Copyright, I960, by 

Philosophical Library, Inc. 

15 East 4Oth Street, New York, N. Y. 

AH rights reserved, 

Library of Congress Catalog Card. Number: 6O- 15963 
Printed in the United States of America 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Chapter I 
Chapter II 

Chapter III 
Chapter IV 

Chapter V 
Chapter VI 
Chapter VII 
Chapter VIII 
Chapter IX 
Chapter X 
Chapter XI 

Chapter XII 
Chapter XIII 

Chapter XIV 
Chapter XV 

Chapter XVI 
Chapter XVII 
Chapter XVIII 



The Existential Method 

Towards Determining the Meaning of 
"Existence" 

How We Shall Use the Terms: Existence 
and R^jdijJ ^ 

Towards Determining the Meaning of 
"Truth" 



35 



94 
131 
158 
190 
223 
258 
289 



More About True and False Propositions 
Does Thinking Exist? 
Minds and Bodies 
Thinking, Object and Idea 
Percept, Memory and Concept 
Feeling, Believing and Knowing 

Spatial Relations among Contemporaneous 

Entities 325 

Date, Duration and Interval 360 

Spatial Relations Among Non- 
Contemporaneous Entities; Motion 393 

Unity and Substance 422 

The Qualities and Relations of an 

Individual Substance 460 

Universal Substance and Universal Quality 499 
Meaning, Explanation, Definition 539 

Mathematical Concepts: To What Extent 

Are They Real? 578 

v 



Chapter XIX 
Chapter XX 
Chapter XXI 
Chapter XXII 
Chapter XXIII 
Chapter XXIV 
Chapter XXV 



Mass, Force and Energy 

The Efficient Cause 

Possibility and Potentiality 

Inference and Implication 

Purpose 

Chance and Probability 

The Content of Reality 

Notes 

Index of Terms Explained 

Index of Authors 



583 
584 
589 
592 
596 
597 
599 
601 
629 
631 



PREFACE 

Probably every book reaches the reader before it is completely 
satisfactory to its author. For, despite the changes that suggest 
themselves at each reading of the manuscript, the point is reached 
at which it seems probable that further emendations and additions 
will not warrant the delay in publication which, they would in- 
,volve. 

The book before you is, however, in a less finished state than 
most. Eight of the projected twenty-five chapters appear only as 
titles in the table of contents. Nevertheless, the guiding principle 
the methodhas been rather fully developed. And it has been 
applied to a sufficient number of problems to indicate to the 
reader what my attitude would in general be with respect to 
those subjects which I have not had an opportunity to* discuss. The 
listing by titles of the unwritten chapters serves the purpose of 
pointing to those subjects which in my opinion should have been 
discussed to make this treatise a well-rounded system of meta- 
physics. 

A second mark of the incompleteness of this treatise is the place 
left open at the end of Chapter Three, for an enumeration of 
certain existent and certain non-existent entities. It will be obvious 
that lists of this sort could only have been developed as the treatise 
developed. Whereas for purposes of exposition, to give the treatise 
a deductive form, such lists belong in the place left open for them, 
I have not intended the reader to believe that these lists were fully 
developed in my thought before I had considered specific meta- 
physical problems. Deduction is after all a method of exposition 
rather than a complete account of the processes of cogitation. And 
the omission of die lists, no matter how essential they are for 
deductive purposes, emphasizes their ad hoc character. 

Further study of the manuscript, I may also point out, may well 
have resulted in a more consistent use of such terms as "same/' 
"many," ''cause" and the like. In the course of this treatise various 

vii 



of rushing confidently into the midst of things, it seems that W6 
should first devote painstaking consideration to the selection of 
a fruitful plan of attack. Instead of beginning with a discussion 
of specific problems of metaphysics, it seems that we should first 
select with great care a method which may perchance furnish the 
correct approach to these problems and for want of which so 
many eminent minds may have failed. "He who enters the 
labyrinth/' says Descartes, 3 "must follow the thread which guided 
Theseus." And he who hopes successfully to penetrate the maze 
of metaphysical problems must come prepared with a method 
which will enable him to cope with the perplexities he is to en- 
counter. 

It is perhaps to the great thinkers of the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries that we are most indebted for what depth 
and clarity there is in our metaphysics today. It is therefore 
highly significant that many of these philosophers felt the selec- 
tion of a fruitful method to be among the most important tasks 
confronting them. "It were far better/' says Descartes, 4 "never to 
think of investigating truth at all than to do so without a method. 
... As well might a man burning with an unintelligent desire to find 
treasure continuously roam the streets seeking to find something 
that a passer-by might have chanced to drop." "I do not deny/' 
he continues, "that sometimes in these wanderings" those who 
philosophize in this manner "are lucky enough to find something 
true . . . But I do not allow that this argues greater industry on 
their part, but only greater luck." The beginning of metaphysical 
wisdom, for Descartes as well as for many of his contemporaries 
and successors, comes with the choice of a correct method. To 
succeed, they hold, one must proceed along the proper path; an 
advance in some other direction, with some other method, is 
really no advance at all. Indeed, as Bacon puts it, "the lame . . . 
in the path outstrip the swift who wander from it, and it is clear 
that the very skill and swiftness of him who runs not in the right 
direction must increase his aberration/' 5 

Bacon's own contribution to the selection of a proper method 
is chiefly a word of caution. We must avoid all hasty generaliza- 
tions; only after prolonged and intimate acquaintance with 
particulars through sense-experience and experiment may we 
permit ourselves gradually to consider universals of wider and 



wider significance. 6 Among the English philosophers of the period, 
Bacon is undoubtedly the better known. Thomas Hobbes of 
Malmesbury is however a more acute thinker whose excellent 
style fittingly indicates the clarity and profundity of his thought. 
Hobbes too felt the need to rebuild our metaphysics upon the 
basis of a new method. He emphasizes the importance of a pre- 
cise terminology. Like many thinkers as far back as Leonardo da 
Vinci and possibly further, he feels that metaphysicians may 
learn much from a consideration of the method used so success- 
fully in mathematics. Leonardo had written: 7 "There is no 
certainty where one can neither apply any of the mathematical 
sciences nor any of those which are based on the mathematical 
sciences." And Hobbes, selecting one feature for emulation in 
metaphysics, writes: "A man that seeketh precise truth hath need 
to remember what every name he uses stands for, and to place it 
accordingly . . . And therefore in geometry, which is the only 
science that it hath pleased God hitherto to bestow on mankind, 
men begin at settling the significations of their words." 8 Proposi- 
tions explaining words that represent our fundamental concepts 
are, Hobbes holds, of indubitable truth. With these as a basis, he 
holds, we should in teaching philosophy demonstrate those things 
"which immediately succeed to universal definitions"; 9 and so 
on down to less general propositions, affirming nothing "which 
hath not good coherence" 10 with the definitions previously set 
forth. 

Descartes' contributions to the methodology of metaphysics 
are likewise traceable to a desire to emulate the successes of 
^mathematics. "Archimedes, in order that he might draw the 
^terrestrial globe out of its plane and transport it elsewhere, de- 
manded only that one point should be fixed and immovable; in 
the same way," writes Descartes, 11 "I shall have the right to con- 
ceive high hopes if I am happy enough to discover one thing only 
which is certain and indubitable." It is not sufficient, however, to 
have a fundamental proposition which is free from all doubt. 
We must at all times, Descartes insists, eschew vague thinking and 
doubtful ideas. In following out the implications of our funda- 
mental proposition, we must use scrupulous care to assure our- 
selves that our ideas are at all stages "clear and distinct." To reach 
our goal, we must make use of the deductive method so success- 



fill in mathematics; and we must continually guard ourselves 
against vague and indistinct ideas. Moreover, we must not dis- 
cuss metaphysical problems in whatever sequence they happen to 
come to our attention. On the contrary, we must pay careful 
attention to the order in which various subjects are considered, 
not attempting to resolve complex problems before we have the 
answers to the simpler problems which logically precede them. 
"Those long chains of reasoning/' says Descartes, 12 "simple and 
easy as they are, of which geometricians make use in order to 
arrive at the most difficult demonstrations, had caused me to 
imagine that all those things which fall under the cognizance 
of man might very likely be mutually related in the same fash- 
ion; and that, provided only that we abstain from receiving any- 
thing as true which is not so, and always retain the order which is 
necessary in order to deduce the one conclusion from the other, 
there can be nothing so remote that we can not reach to it, nor 
so recondite that we can not discover it." 

In the "Essay concerning Human Understanding," Locke, 
like many of his predecessors, stresses the importance of a care- 
fully examined terminology. "I must confess," he says, 18 "that 
when I first began this discourse of the understanding, and a 
good while after, I had not the least thought that any considera- 
tion of words was at all necessary to it. But when, having passed 
over the original and composition of our ideas, I began to ex- 
amine the extent and certainty of our knowledge, I found it had 
so near a connexion with words, that unless their force and man- 
ner of signification were first well observed, there could be very 
little said clearly and pertinently concerning knowledge." "I am 
apt to imagine," he continues, "that, were the imperfections of 
language . . . more thoroughly weighed, a great many of the con- 
troversies that make such a noise in the world would of them- 
selves cease; and the way to knowledge, and perhaps peace too, 
lie a great deal opener than it does." "Some gross and confused 
conceptions men indeed ordinarily have, to which they apply the 
common words of their language; and such a loose use of their 
words serves them well enough in their ordinary discourses or 
affairs. But this is not sufficient for philosophical inquiries," Be- 
sides stressing the importance of clarity in thought and language, 
Locke calls our attention to the desirability of determining the 



limits beyond which our minds can not engage in fruitful dis- 
cussions. "If we can find out how far the understanding can ex- 
tend its view, how far it has faculties to attain certainty, and in 
what cases it can only judge and guess, we may learn to content 
ourselves with what is attainable by us in this state." 14 

^The need to determine the limits within which the human 
understanding must operate is emphasized -mese strongly by 
Immanuel Kant. Beyond the limits of possible experience, Kant 
holds, no knowledge is possible. "I had to remove knowledge/ 9 
he writes, 15 "in order to make room for belief," Yet in marking 
such a frontier, Kant was al0 motivated by a desire to determine 
a region within which there can be developed a metaphysics and 
a science having absolute certainty) Within the limits of possible 
experience we can develop a metaphysics that will not be proble- 
matical but apodictic. We can develop such a metaphysics, Kant 
holds, if we allow reason to "move forward with the principles of 
her judgments according to fixed law" and allow her to "compel 
nature to answer her questions." 16 These principles with which 
the mind operates are not, to be sure, divorced from experience, 
since they are discovered only through attending to the mind in 
action. Yet, with them as a basis, we must make use of the deduc- 
tive method that has already been so successfully employed in 
mathematics and in physics. 

These references to certain philosophers of the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries constitute of course only a small portion of 
the voluminous material on the subject of method. Incomplete as 
they are, however, they recall to us certain suggestions that have 
been made time and again, suggestions as to what is needed for 
the development of a successful metaphysics. Time and again our 
attention is called to the necessity of clear thinking and an un- 
ambiguous terminology. One writer urges us to cling to clear 
and distinct ideas, another insists on determinate ideas, and a 
third advises determining the significations of our terms. In one 
form or another we are told that a successful metaphysics can be 
developed only if we know exactly what we are thinking about 
and just what our terms represent. We also find ourselves urged 
to confine our thinking to subjects with which the human in- 
tellect is competent to cope. For it is felt that, unless we know 
what kind of problem can be handled with a prospect of sue- 



cessful solution, much effort will be wasted in unprofitable dis- 
cussion. Finally, we meet repeatedly with the warning that we 
must proceed slowly and cautiously. At each stage in the develop- 
ment of our thought we must guard against the temptation to 
jump to the consideration of problems for which we are not yet 
sufficiently prepared. 

Let us seek to adhere in this treatise to the methodological 
prescriptions which we have just discussed. Let us endeavor, that 
is to say, (1) to make our thinking and the terminology through 
which we express ourselves clear and precise, (2) to take up the 
philosophical problems with which we shall deal in an orderly 
manner and (3) to limit our attention to those matters which are 
within the limits of human knowledge. 

First, then, how are we to make our thinking and the ter- 
minology through which we express ourselves clear and pre- 
cise? The two, it would appear, are so interrelated that clear 
thinking is well-nigh impossible without a carefully chosen ter- 
minology. It seems to be the fate of words that, like machines, 
they are capable of doing only a certain amount of work be- 
fore they are in need of repair and rehabilitation. In the course 
of an extensive use, words acquire secondary significations and 
collateral meanings. They come to refer to no definite and pre- 
cise entity, but rather to a composite something composed of 
various concepts not clearly distinguished from one another. If 
then we are to restrict ourselves to words that have definite 
significations, such words as have, in the course of an extensive 
use, come to have vague and indefinite meanings must either be 
banned or rehabilitated. 

Consider, for example, the word "idea." If we use the word 
"idea" without first asking ourselves what definite entity we are 
using it to represent, we shall almost unavoidably be using this 
word to represent now one and now another portion of a vaguely 
demarcated field of more or less related entities. Such an un- 
critical use of the word "idea" on the part of others will make it 
well-nigh impossible for us to understand and to evaluate their 
pronouncements. If an author who uses "idea" without explana- 
tion puts before us an argument whose pretended conclusion is 
that ideas are necessarily involved in our thinking, or that ideas 
are the sole objects of our thought, we shall find ourselves un- 



able to determine whether or not his argument is sound and 
his conclusion true. For before a proposition may be accepted or 
rejected, it must first be understood. And a proposition in which 
the word "idea" has the vague meaning that this word commonly 
has is so lacking in exact reference as to be almost unintelligible. 

The situation which obtains with respect to the word "idea" 
obtains also, we hold, with respect to the word "existence." The 
word "existence" has been held to represent what is permanent 
and independent of our thought; and it has also been held to 
represent what is given in sense-perception and is inseparable 
from our thought. In the course of an extensive use, the significa- 
tions of the word "existence" have become so various, so ramified 
and so vague that the word as it comes to us out of the vocab- 
ulary of current usage seems to have hardly any meaning at 
all. It follows then that we can not use this word as it is commonly 
used without becoming involved in vagueness and obscurity. If 
we are to make a determined effort to keep our metaphysics 
free from vagueness and ambiguity, we must in our construc- 
tive efforts avoid the use of the word "existence" unless we 
explain it. How, moreover, are we to understand the writings 
of others in which the word "existence" occurs? The realist who 
is an epistemological monist tells us that ideas do not exist; the 
atheist tells us that God does not exist; some behaviorists tell us 
that consciousness does not exist. But if, when such assertions are 
made, we are not able to understand the word "existence" as it is 
used, we shall be unable to determine whether what is being con- 
sidered with respect to ideas, God and consciousness is their 
intelligibility, their perceptibility, their inclusion in a systematic 
whole, or some vague combination of all of these characteristics. 
We shall gather that something is being denied of ideas, God or 
consciousness; but we shall be unable to determine precisely 
what it is that is being denied of them. 

When we meet with the sentence: "Ideas exist," we are fre- 
quently unable to determine whether existence is being pre- 
dicated of mental content or of universals. And, in view of the 
various senses in which "existence" has been used, we are fre- 
quently unable to determine whether what is being predicated 
of ideas is membership in some organic whole or perceptibility 
or freedom from dependence on any conscious subject. The 



situation is similar when we meet with the sentence: "Conscious- 
ness exists." On the one hand, we may be unable to determine 
whether existence is being predicated of a certain sort of mental 
activity or whether it is being predicated of the field of objects. 
And, on the other hand, it may be one of several characteristics 
that the author is attributing to the entity he calls "consciousness." 
There is the sentence: "Ideas exist" (or do not exist) and the 
sentence: "Consciousness exists" (or does not exist). But we also 
meet with the sentences: "Evil exists" and "Electrons exist^ and 
"Centaurs exist." Existence or non-existence may be predicated 
of anything. If, then, the signification of "existence" is left vague 
and indeterminate, we have on our hands, as it were, a general 
and blanket ambiguity which overspreads the more limited 
ambiguities arising from the indeterminate use of one or another 
of such words as "evil" or "consciousness" or "idea." We have on 
our hands this all-pervasive ambiguity, that is to say, unless either 
we use "existence" more sparingly than it is used or implied in 
ordinary speech, or unless we select for this word a determinate 
meaning. 

It may be said, however, that the use of "existence" is by no 
means so widespread as we have suggested. It may be said that 
common speech uses "existence" but sparingly and that we can 
well forego any detailed consideration of the meaning of this 
term. Is not the term "existence" after all a scholastic and aca- 
demic one and the question whether an entity "exists" an 
artificial one? In the ordinary business of life, it is said, we are 
not confronted with the problem whether an alleged entity exists 
but only with the practical problem: what entities are we con- 
fronted by to which we must give consideration? 17 Yet when we 
ask what entities are we confronted by that deserve consideration, 
we are asking a question which might in common speech be ex- 
pressed as: "What entities are real?" And to ask what entities 
are real is to ask whether this or that apparent, alleged, subsistent 
entity is really existent or merely illusory and specious. 18 Ques- 
tions involving "existence" seem thus to be not merely artificial 
and academic, but to be deeply imbedded in our practical life 
and in our customary conversation. Indeed when a sentence used 
in our ordinary discourse does not explicitly contain the term 
"existence," it may frequently be replaced by a sentence synony- 



mous with it in which some grammatical form of this term occurs, 
a sentence synonymous with it in the sense that we would ordi- 
narily take the two sentences to have the same meaning. 19 The 
"Some men are bald" of common speech is synonymous in this sense 
with: "Some bald men exist." The "Some men are not patriotic" 
of common speech is synonymous in this sense with: "Some un- 
patriotic men exist." And since these are typical particular cate- 
gorical propositions, it would seem that all propositions of this 
form occurring in common speech are synonymous with exist- 
ential propositions. It would seem, that is to say, that no particular 
categorical proposition of common speech is free from vague- 
ness so long as "existence" has but an indeterminate meaning. 
With respect to this class of propositions, at any rate, it would 
seem that ordinary discourse is tainted by vagueness and points 
up the need for a renewed consideration of the meaning of 
"existence." 

The existential import of universal categorical propositions 
used in common speech is not so obvious. Yet if "All men are 
mortal" is not synonymous with "Mortal men exist," it would 
seem that, keeping upon the level of ordinary discourse, a con- 
siderable part of what is expressed in "All men are mortal" may 
likewise be expressed in the sentence: "Immortal men do not 
exist." Similarly, the "No stone is alive" of common speech seems 
to be synonymous with "Living stones do not exist/' 20 Thus those 
categorical propositions of common speech that are universal 
seem, like those that are particular, to be not wholly free from 
vagueness so long as "existence" is ambiguous. To the extent to 
which common speech is made up of categorical propositions, it 
would seem that even when "existence" does not occur explicitly, 
it may be said to occur implicitly, resulting in a vagueness and 
inaccuracy that can only be remedied by a careful determination 
of the meaning of this term. 

It may be argued that common speech is not a reliable guide 
for the metaphysician in search of terminological exactitude. 
Though it may be agreed that common speech is thoroughly in- 
fected with a reference to "existence," it may be maintained that 
this fact points to the desirability, not of re-examining the mean- 
ing of "existence," but rather of developing a terminology in which 
the word "existence" has no place. In the development of such a 



terminology, modern mathematics, it may be felt, points out the 
way for us to follow. For, it may be held, the modern mathemati- 
cian makes no legitimate and essential use of "existence." If per- 
chance he speaks of the existence of certain roots, he is making 
an unfortunate and inappropriate use of the word. Generally 
speaking, he does not begin his task, it is held, by predicating 
existence of a certain space or of certain numbers. On the con- 
trary, he takes this space and these numbers as subsistents, as 
postulated entities. And he proceeds to develop their implications 
while remaining entirely within the realm of subsistents. The 
mathematician, on this view, is not concerned whether, for ex- 
ample, Euclidean space exists or not. It is his task merely to point 
out that Euclidean space determines the sum of the interior angles 
of a plane triangle to a certain particular total. 

So, it may be felt, we can develop a metaphysics in which the 
term "existence" has no place. The metaphysician too, it may be 
held, can begin with entities which are merely presented as sub- 
sistents. And he too can limit himself to developing the implications 
obtaining among these subsistents. His results, that is to say, may 
all take the form: "A implies B." Does A exist? Does B exist? Such 
questions, he may say, do not concern him as a metaphysician. 
Rather, he may hold, it is for practical experience and common 
usage to determine which entities are to be called "existent"; and 
it is for the theologian to determine which entities are worthy of 
being called "real." 

Let us consider however the results that may be arrived at in a 
metaphysics of this type. We conclude, let us suppose, that the sub- 
sistent A implies the subsistent B. We assert: "A implies B"; and we 
do not assert that A implies the absence of B, do not assert: "A im- 
plies non-B." Yet when we have before us the two propositions: 
"A implies B" and "A implies non-B," on what basis can the 
metaphysician reject the latter and assert the former? Must he not 
hold that A and B are really linked together in a way in which 
A and non-B are not? Must he not be tacitly assuming that some 
such entity as is generally called "reality" is so constituted as to 
require the connection between A and B and to reject that be- 
tween A and non-B? For if we make no such tacit assumption, if, 
on the contrary, we constantly remind ourselves that we are dealing 
with all subsistents, we must realize that the A that implies non-B 

10 



is a subsistent as well as the A that implies B. Without some 
limitation based upon some distinction between the real and the 
unreal, Euclidean space will be a subsistent and the Euclidean 
space which involves 180 as the sum of the interior angles of a 
plane triangle will be a subsistent. However, the Euclidean space 
which involves a total of 90 for such a sum will be a subsistent 
also. If we are merely discussing subsistents, in short, we may be 
justified in stating: "A implies B." But we would be equally 
justified in stating: "A implies non-B." We have no greater 
justification for making the one statement than for making the 
other; for all positive subsistential statements are on the same 
footing. 

The metaphysician who would avoid "existence" holds at times 
that he is dealing only with what, for his purposes, may be mere 
subsistents. And he holds at times that he is dealing only with 
what, so far as he is concerned, may be mere postulates. It may 
not be inappropriate, consequently, to point out two senses in 
which the term "postulate" is used. In one sense an entity is 
postulated when its existence is neither asserted nor denied, when 
we seem to have it before us as a mere subsistent to be discussed. 
In another sense a proposition, one which we should hold to be 
explicitly or implicitly existential, will be said to be a postulate. 
Such a proposition is a postulate in the sense that it functions as 
a premise although unproved, although, that is to say, there are 
no other propositions from which it has been deduced. In the 
former sense God is a postulated entity in so far as God is regarded 
merely as a subsistent. In the latter sense the proposition: "God 
exists" may be regarded as a postulate; for this proposition may 
be held to be one which is not deduced from other propositions 
which are its premises. 

The classic geometry brings before us the so-called postu- 
late of parallels: through a given point there is only one 
line parallel to a given line. The assertion here can hardly 
be that there is only one such line that subsists. For every 
thing that appears to be presented to us as an object subsists. And 
unless a second parallel through the given point did at least appear 
to be presented to us, non-Euclidean geometry would be incon- 
ceivable and there would be no occasion for the postulate. The 
so-called postulate of parallels must therefore be the existential 

11 



proposition: Through a given point there exists but one line 
having certain characteristics. This proposition, it is obvious, is 
a postulate in the second of the two senses we have distinguished 
and not in the first. Since we are talking about an allegedly exist- 
ing line, we are not holding this line before us merely as a subsis- 
tent. One may, to be sure, use an existential proposition as a 
postulate without accepting it. But to make use of an existen- 
tial proposition is to concern one's self with 'existence/ It is 
likely then that the metaphysician who would avoid the term 
"existence/* and who takes the works of geometers as his guide, 
has misread his mathematics. Generally speaking, mathematicians 
put before us existential propositions of which they make use in 
spite of the fact that these propositions are unproved. But they do 
not put before us entities whose existential status is left entirely 
out of consideration. They do not put before us the mere subsis- 
tents to which the metaphysicians whose views we are considering 
assign so important a role. 

There is a further comment to be made on the doctrine that 
metaphysics should avoid "existence" and should deal largely 
with the relations obtaining among subsistents. As we have 
seen, a considerable part of what is ordinarily meant by: "All 
men are mortal' 1 may be expressed in the sentence: "Immortal 
men do not exist/' By analogy, it would seem that much of 
what is commonly expressed in "A implies B" might instead 
be expressed in the sentence: "The A does not imply B does 
not exist/ 1 If then a writer, believing that he is avoiding "exist- 
ence" and that he is merely discussing subsistents, writes: "The 
subsistent A implies the subsistent B," it would seem that he is 
implicitly saying that a certain sort of A the A, namely, that 
does not imply B- does not exist. It would seem, that is to say, 
that he is referring to 'existence' after all. 

"To the extent to which common speech is made up of cate- 
gorical propositions/' we have seen, 21 it would seem that even 
when "existence" does not occur explicitly, it may be said to 
occur implicitly, resulting in a vagueness and inaccuracy that can 
only be remedied by a careful determination of the meaning of 
this term. And to the extent to which mathematical logicians fall 
back upon implication and hypothetical propositions, a redetcr- 
mination of the meaning of "existence" is, it would seem, likewise 



12 



indicated. It is true, that, when we assert: "If A is B, C is D," we 
do not assert that A is B. But we are not justified in disregarding 
the fact that we are asserting a connection between A being B and 
C being D, a connection that in some sense we are asserting to 
exist. 

It would seem then that the ambiguities of "existence" as com- 
monly used can not be avoided merely by the use of some alter- 
native term, merely by concerning ourselves, for example, with 
"implication" instead. For he who would develop a metaphysics 
concerned merely with implications, must, if possible, describe 
"implication" so that no reference to existence is involved; and 
he must find a basis for rejecting: "A implies non-B" while he 
asserts: "A implies B." 

It appears then to be no easy task to develop a metaphysics from 
which the term "existence" is excluded. Let us therefore acquiesce 
in the continued use of "existence." Let us indeed bring into the 
open the reference to existence that is so often implicit in our 
assertions. And in the development of a metaphysics in which 
"existence" has a prominent place, let us agree to make the effort 
involved in a reconsideration of the meaning of this term. Indeed, 
by continuing to use "existence," we shall be using a term exten- 
sively employed in common parlance. And we shall be employing 
a term which common parlance seems to regard as peculiarly 
appropriate in metaphysics. For what, after all, is commonly 
regarded as the proper field for metaphysical speculations? Is it 
not commonly felt that the task of the metaphysician is to deter- 
mine in a general way the nature of existence, the nature of real- 
ity? And if this be the case, if, roughly speaking, the metaphy- 
sician has the task of determining the general characteristics of 
.existence so far as they may be determined without experiment, 
surely it is inappropriate for him to avoid all mention of the 
term "existence." 

Words that in the course of an extensive use have "come to 
have vague and indefinite meanings must," we have said, 22 
"either be banned or rehabilitated." It has been our decision not 
to avoid all mention of "existence." And so it remains for us 
to set about rehabilitating this term. To assign "existence" a 
definite signification is however to assign it a meaning which 
does not coincide with the vague something to which "exist- 

13 



ence" commonly refers. A determinate signification can not be 
interchangeable with an indeterminate signification. Our task 
then will not be to arrive at some statement: "This is what 'exist- 
ence* usually means"; but rather to arrive at some statement: 
"This is what 'existence* means for us/' 

Is it however permissible to assign a meaning to "existence" 
as we might assign a meaning to "piety" or to "school"? It may 
be agreed that I may assign "piety" whatever meaning I please 
so long as I am consistent in my use of that word. But existence, 
it may be held, is what it is. The word "existence," it may be held, 
can be used to represent nothing else. 

An objection of this sort seems to stem from the belief that 
directly or indirectly we are aware of various entities, but not of 
existence which somehow attaches itself to some of our objects 
without being an object itself. If, however, existence characterized 
certain objects without itself being an object, then the distinc- 
tion between existence and non-existence would be unintelligible 
to us. This however seems not to be the case. We do seem to be 
aware of certain entities which in some sense of the word we 
take to be existent and of certain entities which we take to be 
non-existent. Directly or indirectly, therefore, existence must be 
presented to us as a characteristic of certain objects. This charac- 
teristic, some modification of it, or, indeed, any entity among 
those of which we seem to be aware may, it would seem, be 
represented by the word: "existence." "Existence," it follows, 
may be used to represent a vague characteristic or a definite 
characteristic among the entities of which we are somehow aware. 
"Existence" may be given a definite meaning. And if "existence" 
is to occur in our vocabulary at all, to express ourselves under- 
standably we must give it a rather definite meaning. 

The motive impelling us to redetermine the significations of 
various words is the desire to establish for these words precise 
and unambiguous meanings. If then we were to vary the senses 
in which we use these words or were to shift from one signification 
to another, our purpose would be thwarted and our redetermina- 
tion of the meanings of these words would be in vain. Let us 
bear such considerations in mind in redetermining the significa- 
tion of "existence." Although we can not accept the suggestion 
that we leave all concern with existence out of our terminological 

14 



discussions, there is a sense in which we can not play fast and 
loose with "existence." When once the meaning of "existence" 
has been even partially determined, all future use of that term 
must agree with the signification previously chosen. We can not 
continue to attach "existence" at random to whatever entities we 
please. On the contrary, we are required to adhere in all strictness 
to the meaning already selected. But before "existence" has had its 
signification redetermined, existence is by no means a concept 
that is sacred and untouchable. At such a stage it is not only 
possible but highly desirable that we give "existence" a determi- 
nate meaning. 

Our initial discussion of method led us to three resolves, the 
first of which was to make our thinking and the terminology 
through which we express ourselves clear and precise. 28 This 
clarity and precision we shall attempt to attain by giving precise 
and determinate meanings to all important terms, the term "ex- 
istence" being first in importance. A second conclusion to which 
we were led by our discussion of method is that we must consider 
metaphysical problems in their proper order, lest we attempt to 
discuss matters for which we are not yet sufficiently prepared. 
What, however, are these matters that we are called upon to dis- 
cuss? The various questions which require resolution are for the 
most part existential questions. We are called upon to decide, for 
example, whether consciousness exists, whether a soul exists that 
is able to outlive the death of the body, whether unperceived 
entities exist, whether infinite collections exist, whether mental 
content exists mediating between the subject and the object. The 
resolution of each of these questions, it would appear, will be 
affected by the decision we make as to the meaning of "existence." 
For, the specific entities which exist and which together constitute 
the world of existent entities will vary with the signification given 
the term "existence." Not only may the determination of the 
meaning of this term put before us the distinguishing character- 
istics of existence as we are to use "existence"; it will also deter- 
mine in large part the particular entities which exist. Only after 
the signification of "existence" has been determined are we in a 
position to resolve such questions as whether or not consciousness 
exists, whether or not unperceived entities exist, whether or not 
infinite collections exist. It behooves us, then, first to deter- 

15 



mine the signification of "existence"; and only after the meaning 
of "existence" has been determined, to concern ourselves with 
particular existential problems in the solution of which our deci- 
sions as to the meaning of "existence" may be applied. 

The writers whose discussions of method we have examined 
have in the main emphasized three points. 24 They have urged 
clear thinking and an accurate terminology; they have urged an 
orderly procedure; and they have urged recognition of the limits 
beyond which there can be no fruitful thinking. Clarity of thought 
and accuracy in expression we shall attempt to attain through a 
close regard for the significations of our important terms. Indeed 
we shall seek a greater precision than has usually been attained 
through a very careful attention to the signification of the almost 
ubiquitous term: "existence." The order of procedure indicated 
for us to follow is, first, the determination of the meaning of 
"existence" and, second, the consideration of those existential 
problems which this determined signification can aid us in solv- 
ing. What remains to be asked is how we can avoid the considera- 
tion of questions which in view of our equipment and resources 
must be unanswerable. 

As has already been pointed out, "the various questions which 
require resolution are for the most part existential ques- 
tions." 25 And so it would seem that when once "existence" has 
been given a definite meaning that can readily be applied, 
most questions put before us will be questions that we are pre- 
pared to attack. An entity whose existence is in question may not 
be clearly and unambiguously described. Or we may not be sup- 
plied with all of the data necessary to determine whether or not a 
given entity exists in our sense of "existence." But there will be 
no existential questions in the face of which we shall be unable 
to proceed, no entities to which the distinction between the real 
and the unreal will not apply. When, however, "existence" has 
no definite and unambiguous signification, then, to be sure, an 
existential problem may well be unanswerable. 26 To determine 
whether God exists, using "existence" in its usual indefinite sense, 
that indeed may be beyond our powers. But when once the signi- 
fication of "existence" has been determined, it is not unexperi- 
enced entities that we shall avoid and not Kantian things-in- 
themselves. Rather it is questions involving an indefinite and 

16 



unexplained "existence" that we shall neglect in order to avoid 
the wasted effort that the consideration of an unanswerable ques- 
tion involves. 

In accordance with the procedure which we have outlined, the 
determination of the signification of "existence" is to be the 
foundation stone in our metaphysical structure. What then, we 
ask ourselves, is the precise and definite entity which we should 
use the term "existence" to represent? What is the clear and un- 
ambiguous meaning which we should assign this most impor- 
tant of terms? As we have already had occasion to observe, cur- 
rent usage is, with respect to it, most indefinite. 27 So much so that, 
when we assert that an entity exists, we may seem to be doing no 
more than calling that entity to our hearer's attention. A hundred 
real dollars, it has been said, contain not a penny more than a 
hundred imaginary dollars. The assertion that the hundred 
dollars exist, it may seem, tells us nothing about the hundred dol- 
lars, joins no meaningful predicate to the subject term with which 
it is linked. 

Nevertheless, the term "existence," as ordinarily used, seems 
to have some meaning. The assertion, for example, that God does 
not exist is commonly regarded as quite different from the asser- 
tion that God does exist, sufficiently different, in fact, to warrant 
the most extreme measures. And if there is a difference, if, rather, 
there is a difference of which we seem to be aware, that difference 
must be between the object apparently presented to us that seems 
to exist and the object apparently presented to us that seems not 
to exist. Seeming to have as an object a hundred real dollars is 
not identical with seeming to have as an object a hundred imagi- 
nary dollars. What in the former case seems to be added to the 
hundred dollars that is our object is not an additional quantity 
of pennies but some vague quality of being important. It is to 
be our task to substitute for this vague referend something more 
precise that our term "existence" is to mean. 

We are at liberty, of course, to determine upon one definite 
and unambiguous meaning for our term "existence." Or we may 
determine upon two or more distinct meanings, each of them 
being definite and free from ambiguity. In the latter case, 
for example, we may give "existence" a certain meaning when 
"existence" is predicated of mathematical entities. And we may 

17 



give it a different meaning when it is predicated of characters 
occurring in a novel. We may determine the signification of 
"existence" so that one definite sense of this term is in question 
when the existence of the number two is being considered; and 
so that a different sense of this term is in question when the 
existence of Hamlet or of Ivanhoe is being considered. We like- 
wise are free to give "existence" and "reality" either the same or 
different meanings. Ordinary usage is equivocal in this respect, 
the terms often being used interchangeably, but sometimes not. 

Common usage being indecisive, let us make the choice that 
will make our task simplest and our procedure the most direct. 
Let us agree to treat "existence" and "reality" as synonymous 
terms. In this way, we shall be concentrating our attention upon 
but a single task. Moreover, we shall find our language less mo- 
notonous in that we shall be able to refer to the entity that exists 
now by one of these terms and now by the other. Similarly let us 
determine for our term "existence" but a single unambiguous 
meaning. Let us agree to use "existence" in but one sense, no 
matter what the context and no matter what the entities are whose 
existence is being considered. By so doing, we shall be able to 
concentrate our attention upon the determination of a single 
definite and precise meaning. And we shall be spared the necessity 
of explaining in each context just which sense of "existence" is 
in question. 

To be sure, we may commonly say of a lunatic that his million 
dollars exist in his head. We may commonly say that Zeus exists 
in Greek mythology but not in the physical world. And it may 
not be altogether at variance with common usage to say that the 
number two exists in the world of abstractions but not in the 
world of concrete entities. 28 

Yet in our ordinary speech we also recognize an existence that 
is absolute existence. If we ask the man in the street whether the 
lunatic's million dollars exist, he will answer immediately that 
they do not exist. He will not ask us to specify which realm of 
existence we are discussing. It appears then that when we com- 
monly ask whether an entity exists, we are for the most part asking 
whether it exists in the universe of real objects; existence that is 
merely existence in thought or in the world of abstractions does 
not concern us. And it is to be noticed that when we insist upon 

18 



taking into account various realms of existence, upon utilizing 
various significations of "existence," the task of rendering the 
meaning of "existence" precise has not been accomplished, but 
has instead been replaced by a host of new and equally ardu- 
ous tasks. We have now to ask what "existence" means when 
it is predicated of physical entities, what when it is predicated of 
mathematical entities, what when predicated of mental entities, 
and what when predicated of the entities of science. Let us conse- 
quently concentrate our attention upon the task of determining 
a single signification. For if we do otherwise, we disperse our 
attention and are likely to content ourselves with specious dis- 
tinctions which do not make for real clarity but merely cover up 
the difficulty. 29 

We shall then select a definite signification which is to be the 
signification of "existence," no matter what the context, and 
which is likewise to be the signification of "reality." The propo- 
sition or group of propositions with which we shall conclude 
this part of our task will, let us suppose, be of the form: "An 
existent is an entity which is such and such." Our proposition 
obviously will not be one that we arrive at as a result of formal 
argument and strict proof. It will, on the contrary, be a postulate, 
an unproved assertion to be used as a premise in later discussion. 
It is however one thing to postulate the Euclidean character of 
perceptual space or the uniformity of nature; and it is another 
thing to start with the premise: "An existent, in the sense in 
which we use the term 'existence/ is an entity which is such and 
such." In the former case the reader may feel that he is in pos- 
session of some reason or of some experience which warrants 
his rejection of the postulate. But in the case of "the existent is 
the such and such," since we are merely presenting the meaning 
which the term "existence" is to have in our writings, the reader 
can have no reason for refusing us this terminological liberty. 

We shall thus begin the construction of our metaphysical sys- 
tem by attempting to assign to "existence" a precise and unam- 
biguous meaning. The propositions in which this meaning is set 
forth will be a postulate, a postulate, so to speak, which the reader 
can have no reason for not granting. And with this postulate as 
a basis, we shall, it is to be hoped, find ourselves in possession of 
a premise from which we can determine the existence or non- 
19 



existence in our sense of the term "existencesof God, of con- 
sciousness, and of unperceived entities. 

When we come to consider particular existential problems, it 
is desirable, we have agreed, that we take them up in the proper 
order. In dealing with certain of these problems, to be sure, order 
may be a matter of indifference. It may be, for example, that the 
existence of individual substances can be considered as readily 
after the existence of universals as before. However, we must be 
on the watch for existential problems so related that the solu- 
tion of one may reasonably be expected to aid us in the so- 
lution of the other. Moreover, in dealing with the particular 
existential problems which are subsequent to the determina- 
tion of the meaning of "existence," order is not the sole con- 
sideration to which our discussion of method commits us. It 
is desirable that we assign a definite and unambiguous signifi- 
cation, not only to the term "existence," but also to the other 
important terms of which we are to make use. "Consciousness," 
"idea," "infinity," if these terms are to be used, they too must 
represent definite entities if our thinking is to be clear, and if, 
consequently, our metaphysical speculations are to result in 
sound conclusions. When then we come to consider the exist- 
ence or non-existence of consciousness, it is not sufficient that 
we come to the task with an already determined definite signifi- 
cation for "existence." We must now distinguish the various con- 
cepts which the term "consciousness" has been used to represent. 
We must bring out one or more definite and unambiguous mean- 
ings which have been, or may be, assigned to this term. Only 
then shall we find ourselves in a position to determine whether 
consciousness in this sense, or in these senses, may be said to exist. 
Having determined upon a definite meaning for "existence/* 
we must bring into play whatever inventiveness and circumspec- 
tion we are capable of in order to bring before us the entities 
whose existence it is the task of the metaphysician to consider. We 
must clarify the concepts thus brought before us so that in all 
cases our thinking is clear, so that in all cases our important terms 
have definite and unambiguous meanings. Finally, we must 
bring the definite entities with which our analyses furnish us into 
relation with our propositions determining the signification of 
"existence." We must make use of our fundamental proposition 

20 



or group of propositions in determining the existence or non 
existence in our sense of the term "existence" of these definite 
entities. 

A metaphysics which is developed in the manner which we have 
outlined we shall take the liberty of calling an existential meta- 
physics. And the method which we have outlined and determined 
upon is, we shall say, the existential method as applied to the 
solution of metaphysical problems. 30 A metaphysics that is exist- 
ential will be based upon the realization that the term "existence" 
is of fundamental importance. It will be based upon the realiza- 
tion that this term needs a precise and unambiguous signification; 
and upon the conviction that common usage furnishes us with 
no signification of this sort. The metaphysician who makes use 
of the existential method will consequently begin his constructive 
labors by assigning to "existence" a definite, though to some ex- 
tent an arbitrary, meaning. His first important propositions will 
be those which, taken together, render explicit the significa- 
tion that this term has for him. And these propositions, taken 
together, will constitute the unfounded but unquestionable prem- 
ise, the pou sto, of his metaphysical system. It is this existential 
method which we shall attempt to apply in the present treatise. 

We shall consequently determine upon a precise signification 
which is to be the meaning that "existence" is to have in our 
writings. What we are calling the "existential" method does not 
however require the choice of the particular signification which 
we shall select for "existence." The existential method does not 
require us to replace the indefinite and general predicate in the 
group of propositions which we may for the present summarize 
as: "the existent is the such and such" with one particular and 
unambiguous group of words rather than with another. Yet, how- 
ever the predicate of this primary proposition is filled in, ex- 
panded, or revised, the metaphysician who makes use of the 
method which we are calling "existential" will regard the propo- 
sitions in which the signification of "existence" is determined 
the foundation stone of his metaphysical structure. He will utilize 
this primary proposition as a premise from which he may partially 
determine the existence or non-existence of various entities. The 
content of the world of existents will vary, we have seen, with 
the meaning that is chosen for the term: "existence." 81 Two 

21 



metaphysicians starting from different meanings may arrive at 
different conclusions with respect to the existence or non- 
existence of some particular entity. Since however they may both 
be following the method which we are calling "existential/' it 
follows that existential metaphysics does not involve any par- 
ticular set of conclusions with respect to the content of the 
world of reality. Existential metaphysics, in short, derives its name 
from the existential method; and the system which is to be built 
up in the following pages is but one of the ways in which that 
method may be applied, is but one of the forms that an existential 
metaphysics may take. 

Descartes begins his "Meditations" by calling into question 
practically all of our usual beliefs. He feels that in order to 
develop a metaphysical structure that is firmly established, it 
is first necessary to clear the ground. He resolves to "reject as 
absolutely false everything as to which" he can "imagine the least 
ground of doubt." 82 And so he concedes to the admirers of Mon- 
taigne the invalidity of almost every proposition that has been 
accepted as true. This task accomplished, Descartes undertakes to 
find an indubitable proposition which will serve as a foun- 
dation stone for a truly valid metaphysical structure. "Archi- 
medes, in order that he might draw the terrestrial globe out of 
its plane and transport it elsewhere, demanded only that one 
point should be fixed and immovable; in the same way," says 
Descartes, "I shall have the right to conceive high hopes if I am 
happy enough to discover one thing only which is certain and 
indubitable." 83 The proposition: "I exist as a being who is now 
thinking" is for Descartes an indubitable truth of this sort. It is 
a proposition which is shown to be true by the fact that its 
denial is a self-contradiction. Not only, however, is this proposi- 
tion indubitably true and in this sense clear; it also has, accord- 
ing to Descartes, the second characteristic which is essential in a 
first principle. "First, ... the principles must be very clear, and 
. . . second" they must be such "that from them we may deduce 
all other things." 34 Paying close attention to order, Descartes 
proceeds, consequently, to deduce some of the implications of his 
fundamental proposition. And so he arrives at the existence of 
God, and, subsequently, at certain propositions "pertaining to cor- 
poreal nature in so far as it is the object of pure mathematics." 88 

22 



Obviously, this procedure which Descartes employs has some 
resemblance to that which we have determined upon. Just as 
the Cartesian method begins by endeavoring to clear the ground, 
so does the method which we are calling "existential." Whereas 
Descartes holds that almost all pre-Cartesian assertions lack valid- 
ity and a firm foundation, in a corresponding fashion it has been 
our thesis that almost all previous assertions explicitly or im- 
plicitly make use of a term which is vague and ambiguous. It is 
our contention that in view of their overt or implied use of 
"existence," these assertions, if not false, are vague and unin- 
telligible. And, like Descartes, we too hold that they lack foun- 
dation. For they make use of a term for which no precise sig- 
nification has as yet been established. In the matter of the 
foundation stone upon which the metaphysical structure is to 
be based, here too there is a resemblance between the Carte- 
sian method and that which we are calling "existential." In the 
one method the structure is erected upon the "Cogito ergo sum," 
in the other upon a proposition or group of propositions in which 
the determinate signification to be assigned "existence" is laid 
down. There is a profound difference however in the grounds on 
which these propositions are found valid. The fundamental 
proposition of an existential metaphysics is in the nature of a 
postulate; its validity lies neither in self-evidence nor yet in proof, 
but rather in the liberty we have to develop a terminology which 
is in some sense our own. Yet when the fundamental proposition 
is once granted, an existential metaphysics develops in a manner 
similar to that in which Descartes intended his metaphysics to 
develop. 

Let us however consider the possibility of arriving at a funda- 
mental proposition in the Cartesian manner. Suppose I refuse to 
accept the existence of all those entities whose existence is usually 
granted. I am now doubting the existence of trees, of stones, of 
men and of God. From this it follows, according to Descartes, 
that I exist as an entity who is doubting these things. Such a con- 
clusion follows, however, only because of the implicit use of 
"existence" in the proposition which is made to serve as a prem- 
ise. Just as, using the language of common parlance, "some men 
are bald" appears to be equivalent to "some bald men exist," se 
so the proposition: "I am doubting various things" appears to be 

23 



equivalent to the proposition: "I, as a doubter of various things, 
exist/' It is this latter proposition which must then be regarded 
as the foundation stone in the Cartesian system. And yet, on what 
basis, we may ask, can the validity of this proposition be asserted? 
Must we not say that the only justification this proposition can 
have lies in the fact that in it the term "existence" is assigned a 
signification in accordance with which "existence" denotes, among 
other things, me the doubter? Descartes' fundamental proposition, 
it would seem, turns out to be a sentence partially describing in 
a denotative fashion the signification which "existence" has in his 
writings. 

Perhaps, however, we have misinterpreted Descartes. Perhaps 
no reference to existence is to be read into the description of his 
doubtings. Perhaps instead of asserting the existence of his doubt- 
ing, he is merely refraining from attributing existence to the 
various entities which appear to be his objects. Trees and men 
and God, let us assume, are now merely subsistent entities. And 
his doubting which also comes before him as an entity to be 
considered, this too, let us suppose, is to be regarded as a sub- 
sistent whose existence is neither asserted nor denied. But then the 
absence of doubting in his mind seems also to come before him 
as a subsistent. Yet in this situation, if we may so interpret Des- 
cartes, he finds himself perforce considering the former object, 
namely, the presence of doubting in his mind. He finds himself 
in short considering two contradictory entities, the presence of 
doubting and the absence of doubting, both of which, however, 
are to be regarded merely as appearances, as subsistents. But surely 
from this situation involving merely two subsistents, no conclu- 
sion can be drawn with respect to reality. It is a matter of com- 
mon agreement that we can not find a term in our conclusion 
which does not occur in any of our premises. If then we are to 
conclude that one of these mutually contradictory subsistents is 
real, we must be tacitly assuming as a premise some proposition 
which contains the term "real." We must be tacitly making use 
as a premise of some such proposition as this: "If an entity insists 
on coming before us when its contradictory comes before us, 
then the former is a subsistent which is real." Again we find our- 
selves brought back to a fundamental proposition in which there 
is an assertion of existence. And here too, it appears, the validity 

24 



of our fundamental proposition must lie in the fact that it gives 
existence a certain character, that in it the term "existence" is 
being assigned a meaning. 

An existential metaphysics, like the Cartesian philosophy, makes 
use of a fundamental proposition from which subsequent truths 
are deduced. With respect, however, to the justification of this 
fundamental proposition, we find ourselves in accord, not so 
much with Descartes, as with his English contemporary Hobbes. 
"Primary propositions," writes Hobbes, 87 "are nothing but defini- 
tions or parts of definitions, and these only are the principles of 
demonstration, being truths constituted arbitrarily by the inven- 
tors of speech, and therefore not to be demonstrated/' 
(jDescartes and Hobbes were in a sense innovators who set op- 
timistically to work to rebuild philosophy upon a new and firmer 
basis. With the erudition and circumspection of Leibniz comes 
a more sympathetic appreciation of the past. Formal logic and 
the syllogism\ Leibniz holds, deserve a respectful place in our 
philosophizing. Merely by developing the implications of certain 
premises in strict logical form, we can, Leibniz holds, uncover the 
self-contradictory character of certain propositions and of certain 
notions. Thus 'swiftest motion/ he maintains, must be unreal 
since logical analysis shows it to be self-contradictory. And the 
eternal truths of mathematics and logic are known to be true 
once it is shown that their contradictories involve self-contradic- 
tion. (According to Leibniz, tfegn, mere logical analysis reveals to 
us the non-existence of certain entities and the truth or falsity 
of many propositions A There remain, however, many propositions 
whose truth or falsity can not be determined by logical analysis. 
These are the propositions with respect to which logical analysis 
can uncover no self-contradiction either in them or in their con- 
tradictories. If then we are to determine, for example, whether 
there is ever a vacuum or whether, on the contrary, each place 
contains some body, we need, Leibniz holds, some other tool in 
addition to logical analysis, some other principle in addition to 
the principle of contradiction. "This simple principle (the prin- 
ciple of contradiction) is sufficient to demonstrate every part of 
arithmetic and geometry" . . . But, Leibniz holds, 88 "in order to 
proceed from mathematics to natural philosophy, another prin- 
ciple is requisite." 

25; 



It is from a consideration of God's nature that Leibniz dis- 
covers the second principle needed to distinguish reality from 
unreality in those situations in which two contradictories are each 
free from self-contradiction. God in the act of creation could not 
have brought self-contradictory entities into existence. But in so 
far as he was confronted by alternative systems of entities, each free 
from internal contradiction, His nature, Leibniz holds, must have 
impelled Him to bring into being that system and those en- 
tities compatible with it that would result in the maximum of 
reality. If we are confronted by two contradictory entities each 
free from self-contradiction, we know, says Leibniz, that that one 
must have been brought into existence which accords with God's 
plan to bring into being the greatest possible number of com- 
patible entities. We also know, he holds, that it would be incon- 
sistent with God's nature for the act of creation to be in any 
particular the exercise of an arbitrary and irrational choice. And 
so if one of two contradictory propositions, each of which is free 
from self-contradiction, points back to an irrational choice in 
creation, we know that proposition to be false and its contra- 
dictory true. It is these deductions from our knowledge of God 
which, according to Leibniz, permit us to distinguish the real 
from the unreal in certain cases in which logical analysis fails to 
reveal any self-contradiction. A vacuum is not self-contradictory; 
but since it does not accord with the fullness of being which fol- 
lows from God's nature, it is unreal. A situation in which two 
identically constituted substances are located at different places 
is not self-contradictory; but since such a situation points back to 
an irrational act in placing one here and one there rather than 
vice versa, this situation too is unreal. 

This distinction made by Leibniz between the principle of 
contradiction and the principle of sufficient reason bears no re- 
semblance to anything in Descartes' procedure. Yet here too there 
is a resemblance to the existential method. The meaning of "exist- 
ence" as developed in an existential metaphysics, may be regarded 
as having two components. First, there is the vague and indeter- 
minate signification of common usage. And, second, there is the 
definite but uncommon signification into which the former is 
transmuted through the terminological labors of the existen- 
tial metaphysician. The former, the rough diamond furnished 

26 



by common usage, may be regarded as supplying us with the 
principle of contradiction. And the more definite form added 
by the existential metaphysician may be regarded as supplying 
us with what may be called a principle of sufficient reason. Vague 
and conflicting as are the significations generally attached to 
"existence," it is generally agreed that the world of existent en- 
tities contains no contradictions within itself, that the term ' 'exist- 
ent" is not to be used to point to self-contradictory entities. This 
characteristic of existence, however, which may be regarded as 
implicit in the vague current meaning of "existence," does not 
by itself furnish us with a complete and definite signification. 
Whereas a law of contradiction may enable us to call certain self- 
contradictory entities "unreal," we must make use of some second 
principle if we are to be able more closely to delimit the real. 
The proposition in which a definite but perhaps uncommon sig- 
nification is assigned "existence" is, it follows, that element in an 
existential metaphysics which is analogous to Leibniz's law of 
sufficient reason. For it is this further, more precise element in 
the signification of "existence" that must be brought into play if 
we are to determine whether or not the term "existent" is prop- 
erly to be applied to given entities which, without it, do not ap- 
pear self-contradictory. 

Our discussion of the "Cogito ergo sum" of Descartes has shown 
us that the "Cogito" taken as the foundation stone of a metaphysi- 
cal structure is in fact merely a proposition in which a signification 
is being assigned "existence." 39 In short, the Cartesian method 
turns out to be but a halting, partial, and unintended use of the 
method which we are calling "existential." In a similar fashion 
it is not difficult to show that Leibniz's principle of sufficient 
reason is but an unfounded determination of the meaning of 
"existence." What proof, for example, can be offered for the 
proposition that God has chosen the maximum of existence? Does 
not the validity of this proposition really lie in the fact that we 
are, in laying down this proposition, giving "existence" a signifi- 
cation in accordance with which it denotes the members of that 
system which contains the maximum of compatible entities? 

It turns out then that the validity of the law of sufficient rea- 
son lies neither in self-evidence nor in proof. Like the "Cogito 
ergo sum," and indeed like any proposition determining the 

27 



meaning of "existence," its validity, we hold, lies merely in 
the freedom we have to develop a terminology which is in some 
sense our own. The justification which Leibniz had given for 
the law of sufficient reason was clearly unsatisfactory. And so 
some of his immediate successors in Germany set themselves to 
the task of establishing this law on what seemed to them a firmer 
basis. These eighteenth-century philosophers whose erudition and 
subtlety have not always been sufficiently appreciated, have left 
us with arguments purporting to show that a denial of the law of 
sufficient reason involves us in self-contradictions. Yet when Kant 
begins his labors, the gap between the two principles is still un- 
bridged. On the one hand there is the law of contradiction, 
marking self-contradictory entities as unreal. And on the other 
hand, there is a second and independent principle which must 
be invoked, if we are not to accept all non-self-contradictory enti- 
ties as real. 

In the "Critique of Pure Reason" the distinction between these 
two principles is crystallized in the distinction between analytic 
judgments and synthetic judgments. "All analytic judgments," 
according to Kant, 40 "depend whoUy on the law of contradiction." 
Synthetic judgments, whether a posteriori or a priori, agree, he 
holds, in this: "that they can not possibly spring solely from the 
principle of analysis, the law of contradiction." 41 "They require 
a quite different principle. From whatever they may be deduced, 
the deduction must, it is true, always be in accordance with the 
principle of contradiction. For this principle must never be vio- 
lated. But at the same time everything can not be deduced from 
it." To be sure, the body of knowledge we may acquire solely 
through the use of the law of contradiction is for Kant more 
meagre than it is for Leibniz. 42 For Leibniz all mathematical 
propositions derive their truth solely from the principle of con- 
tradiction, whereas for Kant "seven plus five equals twelve" is 
a synthetic proposition. 43 Nevertheless, in the writings of both 
philosophers there is a distinction between two groups of truths; 
and it is recognized that we need some principle other than that 
of contradiction to give validity to what Kant calls our synthetic 
judgments. 

One of the most important judgments which Kant holds to be 
synthetic is the judgment that all of our experience forms a uni- 

28 



fied whole. "Without . . . a unity which rests on a rule a priori 
and subjects all phenomena to itself, no permanent and general 
and therefore necessary unity of consciousness would be formed in 
the manifold of our perceptions. Such perceptions would then 
belong to no experience at all, they would be without an object, 
a blind play of representations, less even than a dream." ** Kant 
however seems determined that our perceptions shall not lack 
objective reference, that they shall not be a blind play of repre- 
sentations. And in order that they may be said to constitute 
"knowledge" and that the entities to which they refer may be 
said to be "real," Kant lays down the synthetic judgment upon 
which, he holds, this consequence depends. The validity of the 
proposition that our experience forms a unified whole seems thus 
to be based merely upon the fact that this proposition enables us 
to call the objects of our perceptions "real." This proposition, 
which, in Kant's terminology, is not analytic, seems thus to be 
merely an implicit determination of the content of reality and 
hence of the meaning of the term "real." We advance beyond 
the knowledge furnished us by the law of contradiction only by 
adding a proposition which is in the nature of an explanation 
further determining the signification of "reality." 

The situation is very similar when we consider the synthetic 
proposition advanced by Kant that each event has a cause. "If 
we supposed that nothing precedes an event upon which such 
event must follow according to rule, all succession of perception 
would then exist in apprehension only, that is, subjectively . . . 
I could not say of the object that it followed, because the follow- 
ing in my apprehension only, without being determined by rule 
in reference to what precedes, would not justify us in admitting 
an objective following." 45 Kant however seems determined that 
reality shall include objective and necessary sequences. He seems 
to call such sequences "real" and to accept the causal law for 
the sole reason that it justifies us in giving these sequences such a 
designation. The proposition that each event has a cause seems thus 
to be valid merely in the sense that it determines the sequences 
we experience to be properly called "real." In laying down the 
causal law. Kant is in effect determining the meaning of "ex- 
istence" in such a way that this term will be applied to these 
sequences. The validity which Kant finds for the causal law, that 

29 



is to say, is only the validity which attaches to a proposition de- 
termining the meaning of a term. And so we add to the knowl- 
edge furnished us by the law of contradiction by making use of a 
proposition which implicitly determines somewhat further the 
meaning of "existence." 46 

The proposition that each event has a cause is not what Kant 
terms analytic. For, analyze as much as we like, "we shall never 
arrive from one object and its existence at the existence of an- 
other/' 47 "There remained," Kant writes, "the possibility of 
experience as that knowledge in which all objects must in the 
end be capable of being given to us if their representation is to 
have any objective reality for us." There remained, he should have 
said, the promulgation of propositions determining the signifi- 
cation of "reality" in such a way that our possible experience 
would perforce be designated "real." "It was," quoting again 
from Kant, "because people were ignorant of this method and 
imagined that they could prove dogmatically synthetical propo- 
sitions which the empirical use of the understanding follows as 
its principles that so many and always unsuccessful attempts have 
been made to prove the proposition of the 'sufficient reason/ " 

In the foregoing discussion of Kant, we have been considering 
the reality of possible experience and the validity of the synthetic 
propositions which Kant holds apply to possible experience. Pos- 
sible experience, however, Kant holds, is not the realm in which 
lie all of the entities to which our thought is directed. Beyond 
the "Herculean columns which nature herself has erected" lies 
"a boundless ocean which, after deceiving us again and again, 
makes us in the end cease all our laborious and tedious endeavors 
as perfectly hopeless." 48 This is the realm of "rationalizing or 
sophistical propositions which can neither hope for confirmation 
nor need fear refutation from experience." 49 This is the realm 
of vain, dogmatic metaphysics, and yet, to some extent also, of 
justifiable faith. It was the denial of metaphysics, the denial of 
knowledge o things-in-themselves that particularly impressed 
Kant's early critics. 50 And Kant was subsequently much concerned 
to refute the imputation that he had reduced everything to 
illusion. 

Without following Kant in his specific replies, let us consider 
how such a criticism might well have been answered. "I confess 

30 



most humbly," Kant might have repeated, 61 that it "is entirely 
beyond my power ... to extend human knowledge beyond the 
limits of all possible experience." "My denial of a transcendent 
metaphysics," he might have continued, "is based on the obvious 
absurdity in attempting to go beyond experience with concepts 
bound up with experience, and, more especially, on the various 
absurdities into which, as I have shown in my Antinomies, an 
attempt at transcendent metaphysics leads us. I also call your 
attention," he might have continued, "to other sections of my 
Dialectic in which I point out the invalidity of the principal 
arguments of rational theology and of the major propositions with 
which rational psychology is held to furnish us. If now you are 
not going to content yourself with the remark that my negative 
conclusions are displeasing to you, you must point out specific 
errors in these passages of mine." 

"Moreover," Kant might have reminded his critics, "I have 
not contented myself with denying transcendent metaphysics. 
Having shown that there is 'no rational psychology as a doctrine 
furnishing any addition to our self-knowledge/ let me remark 
that 'this refusal of our reason to give a satisfactory answer to 
such curious questions which reach beyond the limits of this life' 
should be taken 'as a hint to turn our self-knowledge away from 
fruitless speculations to a fruitful practical use a use which' 
... is 'directed always to objects of experience only/" 52 And, 
he might have continued, "Before we venture beyond possible 
experience, let us ask ourselves first whether we might not be 
content with what possible experience contains." 53 "I suggest 
therefore," he might have replied, "that you turn your attention 
away from a transcendent metaphysics which I have shown to be 
impossible to an immanent metaphysics, accepting my new point 
of view that 'only in experience is there truth/ 54 I offer this sug- 
gestion without misgivings," he might have said, "for what things 
may be by themselves we know not, nor need we care to know, 
because after all a thing can never come before me otherwise than 
as a phenomenon." 55 "You may say," he might have added, "that 
you are not interested in experience-for-us, that you are con- 
cerned only about things in themselves. If, however, the argu- 
ments of my Antinomies are sound, you must be convinced that 
this hankering after transcendent metaphysics is but baying at 

31 



the moon. And I am hopeful that a careful study of my Analytic 
will persuade you that the theses and problems of immanent meta- 
physics which I there discuss will worthily replace in your atten- 
tion the transcendent metaphysics which you must in any case 
forego/' 

Our doctrine that the correct method for metaphysics is to 
develop the implications of propositions determining the signifi- 
cation that the term "existence" has for us seems naturally to 
evoke a criticism analogous to that which met Kant's * 'Critique 
of Pure Reason/' "What we are interested in," our critic will tell 
us, "is the nature of reality as it objectively is in itself, not the 
nature of what you happen to choose to call 'real/ What we want 
to know is whether or not God, consciousness and ideas are ob- 
jectively real. It will not satisfy us to be told that you have de- 
fined reality in such a way that in your terminology the word 
'real* is properly to be linked with one or two of these entities 
but not with the third. For all we care, you may tell us that 
mermaids are real in the sense in which you choose to use the 
word 'real/ and that, as you use this word, the King of England 
is unreal/' "Our interest/' we shall be told, "lies in a realm 
beyond mere terminology. Our concern is not with the word 
'real' but with the world of reality itself which is independent 
of any choice of words." 

Just as this criticism is in some way analogous to that which 
met the Critique of Pure Reason, so it points to a reply analogous 
to the reply which, we have suggested, Kant might have made. 
Just as Kant might have referred his critic to passages in which 
he had in his opinion disproved the possibility of transcendent 
metaphysics, so we may recall what has been said on the unintel- 
ligibility of any discussion of reality which is divorced from a 
consideration of the signification of the term "real/' 56 If what we 
have said is sound, then must our critic realize what nonsense it 
is to ask for a reality which is independent of any choice of words. 
Moreover, we follow Kant further in not contenting ourselves 
with negative conclusions. We invite our critic to engage with 
us in a metaphysics which limits itself to the development of the 
implications which may be drawn from propositions determining 
the signification of our term "existence/' And we are hopeful 
that a closer contact with such a metaphysics will show it to be 



a richer and more enticing field than it may at first appear to be. 
We are hopeful that, after our critic has been convinced of the 
absurdity of baying at the moon, a closer acquaintance with a 
metaphysics which applies the method which we call "existential" 
will persuade him to shift his attention and his endeavors to this 
more modest field. The inconclusiveness of a discussion of reality 
which is divorced from a consideration of the signification of the 
term "rear, this is a matter for argument and conviction. But 
just as Kant could not by logic have forced his reader to become 
interested in what is merely experience-for-us, so we can only 
hope to evoke an interest in a metaphysics which is founded upon 
an explanation of a term. Such a happy outcome, we are confident, 
will result from a careful study of the theses and problems of an 
existential metaphysics. And, to quote Descartes, 57 "it appears 
to me that I can not do better than cause this to be established 
by experience, that is to say, by inviting my readers to peruse this 
book." 



Summary 

/In philosophy and indeed in most of our statements we are 
-^implicitly, if not explicitly asserting or denying the existence 
of some entity or other. The propositions through which we do 
this can not be understood or evaluated unless the meaning of 
our term "existence" is clear. Since "existence" has been used in 
various senses, our meaning will not be clear unless we make it 
so, unless we point out the specific sense in which we are using 
this term. 

The propositions in which we do point out how we are using 
the term "existence" can not be overthrown by argument. Never- 
theless, they are not trivial propositions. On the contrary, they 
will serve as a major premise in a syllogism leading to the de- 
termination of what exists and what does not exist in our sense 
of "existence/) 

Even this may seem trivial. But whether it seems so or no, it 
is as far as any one can go. If the proposition "X exists" attempts 
to make some assertion beyond "X exists in the sense in which I 
am using the term 'existence/ " it is meaningless. 

33 



The program of this treatise will be to point out the meaning 
our term "existence" has; to identify various entities whose 
existence or non-existence customarily concerns philosophers (dis- 
tinguishing these entities in certain cases from others with which 
they may be confused) ; and then to determine whether or not 
these entities exist in our sense of "existence." 



Chapter 11 

TOWARDS DETERMINING THE MEANING 
OF "EXISTENCE" 



If a proposition is to be a definition, its subject-term and its 
predicate-term must, let us agree, represent co-extensive entities. 
If, for example, 'man* is to be defined as 'rational animal/ it 
must be true that there is no man who is not a rational animal; 
and it must be true that there is no rational animal who is not a 
man. 

Now our task is to determine the meaning of our term "exist- 
ence," to define, if possible, the entity that our term "existence" 
js to represent. What we seek is some proposition of the form: 
''The existent is the such and such" or of the form: "To exist is 
equivalent to being an A." And to accept as a definition a prop- 
osition of the form: "To exist is to be an A," we must be willing 
to accept both the proposition: "No entity exists which is not an 
A" and the proposition: "There is no A which does not exist." 

But what about: "There is no A which does not exist?" If 
there is no A which does not exist, then all A's exist, and if "All 
A's exist" is true, then there is at least one universal affirmative 
^existential proposition which is true. Thus in order that our term 
"existence" may be explained by means of a definition having 
the form: "the existent is the such and such," there must be some 
universal affirmative existential proposition which is true. 

We have already had occasion to refer to certain existential 

propositions which are extensively used or implied in ordinary 

Discourse. 1 We have found that the categorical propositions of 

common speech are to a considerable extent synonymous with 

existential propositions similar in form to: "Some bald men 

55 



exist" or similar in form to: "Immortal men do not exist." Ot 
the two existential propositions just stated, one, it is to be noted, 
is a particular affirmative proposition and the other a universal 
negative proposition. We have not found ordinary discourse 
making use of, or implying, existential propositions which are 
both universal and affirmative. We have not found ordinary dis- 
course making use of that species of existential proposition of 
which one instance must be true if our term "existence" is to be 
explained by means of a definition having the form: "The exist- 
ent is the such and such." 

"All men exist" is a typical universal affirmative existential 
proposition. But in what sense is it true that all men exist? All 
real men, such as Socrates, Napoleon, you and I, do, let us agree, 
exist. But if, in asserting that all men exist, we are asserting 
merely that all existing men exist, our assertion conveys little 
information. If the universal affirmative existential proposition: 
"All A's exist" is synonymous with: "All existing A's exist," 
then the universal affirmative existential proposition is of little 
use. 

Let us see then what the situation is when our subject-term in- 
tends to denote, not merely existing A's, but also A's which may 
be alleged to exist. Let us suppose that, when we say "All men 
exist," our subject-term intends to denote every individual, real 
or fictitious, who may be alleged to be a man. The subject-term of 
our existential proposition now seems to denote, not only So- 
crates and Napoleon, but also Ivanhoe and the man whom I 
imagine walking on my ceiling. But if our proposition is under- 
stood in this sense, it is a proposition which, using "existence" in 
any usual sense, is false. 

We run into a similar difficulty whatever term we choose as 
the subject of our universal affirmative existential proposition. If 
we say that all spatial entities exist, intending to assert that all real 
entities having spatial position exist, our proposition is not very 
informative. And if, on the other hand, we are intending to assert 
that all entities which may be alleged to have spatial position are 
real, then we are apparently asserting the existence of the gods 
on Mount Olympus and of the dragons who roam the woods* 

When I assert that all A's exist, my predicament, to put it 
briefly, is this. If I am discussing all conceivable, imaginable, 



subsistent A's, my proposition, using "existence" in any usual 
sense, is false. To be sure, since we may give "existence" any 
meaning we please, "All subsistent A's exist" might be held to be 
true. But if it is to be true that all subsistent A's exist, if it is to be 
true that any A which I choose to imagine is an existent entity, 
the world of existent entities must be regarded as a world that 
can be populated at will. If, for example, all subsistent spatial 
entities exist, I have merely to think of an entity as occurring 
somewhere and, presto, it becomes real. Either then all uni- 
versal affirmative existential propositions are either false or of 
little value. Or, if we insist upon holding that there is some uni- 
versal affirmative existential proposition which is both true and 
useful as a definition, then we must be willing to use "existence" 
in a sense from which it will follow that the world of existent 
entities can be populated at wilL 

Although "existence" as commonly used has a signification 
which is extremely vague and inchoate, there are nevertheless two 
or three propositions that may b laid down with respect to exist- 
ence even before we refine upon the signification of this term. 
"Existent," as commonly used, seems to be predicable only of 
entities which are free from self-contradiction. 2 And "existence," 
as commonly used, seems to refer to a realm of entities which can 
not be populated at will. Whereas we have agreed to redeter- 
mine the signification of "existence," we also find it desirable to 
retain whatever is definite and clear in the signification of this 
term as it comes to us out of common speech. The rough diamond 
with which ordinary discourse furnishes us is not to be cast aside; 
it is to be treasured and cut and polished. If then "existence" as 
commonly used seems to refer to a realm of entities which can 
not be populated at will, let us agree to give our term "exist- 
ence" a signification from which a similar consequence will 
follow. 

If we admit -universal affirmative existential propositions that 
are both true and useful as definitions, the world of existent 
entities will be one that can be populated at will. Since however 
we have agreed to determine for our term "existence" a significa- 
tion such that the world of existent entities will not be one that 
can be populated at will, we must hold that there are no uni- 
versal affirmative existential propositions that are both true and 

37 



useful as definitions. We must hold, that is to say, that, using 
"existence" in the sense in which we are to use it, any proposi- 
tion of the form: "All A's exist" is either false or of little value in 
describing existence. 

Our methodological discussions in the preceding chapter have 
led us to determine to give to the term "existence" a signification 
which is in some sense our own. We have supposed that we would 
be able to assign a precise signification to "existence" by laying 
down some proposition reading: "The existent is the such and 
such." 3 We have supposed that we would be able to say that the 
existent, in the sense in which we are to use the term "existence," 
has such and such a characteristic; and that the entity having this 
characteristic exists in our sense of "existence." We have, in 
short, anticipated being able to say that all entities that are such 
and such, and that no entities that are not such and such, exist; 
and we have supposed that such a statement would make clear 
the signification we are assigning the term "existence." Since, 
however, we have agreed that the world of existent entities, in 
our sense of "existence," shall not be one that can be populated 
at will, we can not lay down a truly universal proposition of the 
form: "All subsistent entities having such and such a character- 
istic exist." If we are to make use of a universal affirmative 
existential proposition that is to be true at all, we must assert 
merely that all existing entities having such and such a character- 
istic exist. Yet, if our purpose is to make clear the signification 
which we are assigning "existence," a proposition of this latter 
form will be of little service. 

It appears then that we can not very well explain our term 
"existence" by stating that all entities having such and such a 
characteristic exist in our sense of "existence." And so we are 
left with but one-half of the statement which we had supposed 
would explain our term "existence." We are left, that is to say, 
with the proposition: "All existents have such and such a 
characteristic," or with the proposition which follows from it, the 
proposition: "No entity lacking such and such a characteristic 
exists." 

If we lay down the proposition: "No non-spatial entities exist," 
we give the reader considerable information as to the meaning 
which we are assigning to our term "existence." We are inform- 

38 



ing him that "existence/ 1 in our sense of that term, is not a 
characteristic of a non-spatial God, of ideas that are presented as 
being in no place, or of universals regarded as not in their in- 
stances. Thus propositions of the form: "No entities with such 
and such a characteristic are real" are not to be disdained as 
a means of conveying information as to the meaning which is 
being assigned the term "real." If we say that no A's exist, the 
reader is informed that each subsistent A is a non-existent entity. 
Furthermore, the proposition which we thus put before the 
reader has what may be called deductive power. There may sub- 
sist X, Y and Z, entities whose existence is in question. But if X 
and Z appear with the quality A, the non-existence of X and Z is 
to be deduced directly from our initial proposition. 

Whereas the proposition: "No subsisting such and such exists" 
can, as we have just seen, be of much service to us, nevertheless 
we can not be entirely satisfied with this proposition alone. If we 
wish to explain the word "man," we can hardly content our- 
selves with the proposition: "No finny creatures are men." The 
reader is informed that to be a man is to be lacking fins; but he 
does not have put before him other qualitites which belong to 
man. The logical intension of 'man* is only partially revealed. 
The logical extension of 'man* is less than that of 'non-finny 
creature/ We come closer to our objective when we add the 
proposition: "No invertebrates are men" or the proposition: 
"No quadrupeds are men." Similarly, when "existence" is the 
term to be explained. If we merely say that no subsisting A's 
exist, we leave the intension of 'existence' too meagre and its 
extension too large. But our failure is less marked when we add 
the proposition: "No B's exist" and the proposition: "No C's 
exist." In general, the more entities A, B, C ... we refer to in 
this fashion in attempting to explain our word "existence," the 
more fully we describe existence and the more numerous the 
entities which are definitely marked out as non-existent. 

With all this, however, we do not fully succeed in describing 
the signification which we are assigning the term "existence." 
Even when we say that no existent, as we use the term "existence," 
is either an A, a B, a C, or a D, our task has not been satisfac- 
torily completed. For I may, it seems, imagine a man under my 
chair; and I may imagine this man as being a sense-datum, in- 

39 



dependent of my thinking, causally related to other entities, and 
so on. We can not rule out this man who is to be ruled out, since 
we have agreed that the world of existents, in our sense of "exist- 
ence," is not to be one that can be populated at will merely by 
specifying some additional characteristic that an entity must lack 
if it is to be an existent. No matter how comprehensive and 
how varied the characteristics we make use of in our proposition: 
"No existent is an A or a B or a C ..." we shall still fail to dis- 
tinguish the subsistent non-A's, non-B's and non-C's which are 
unreal, and which merely appear to be non-A's, non-B's, and non- 
C's, from the subsistent non-A's, non-B's and non-C's which are 
non-A's and non-B's and non-C's and which consequently are 
real. 

The proposition: "All existents are non-A's" or "No A's exist" 
assigns certain entities to the realm of non-existence. But in order 
that we may more fully describe the signification which we are 
assigning the term "existence," we need some proposition of 
another type. We can not complete our task by using only nega- 
tive existential propositions. We have seen moreover that uni- 
versal affirmative existential propositions can be of little service. 
And so we are forced to make use of singular or particular ex- 
istential propositions* We can not fully explain the signification 
which we are assigning "existence" merely by laying down the 
proposition: "No A's exist." We can not make use of the addi- 
tional proposition: "All X's exist." And so we must supplement 
our proposition: "No A's or B's or C's exist" with the proposi- 
tion: "Some X's exist" or "Xj. and X 2 exist" and possibly with the 
proposition: "Some Y's do not exist" or '% and Y 2 are non-exist- 
ents." 

It appears then that the task of explaining "existence" will not 
be so simple as we had supposed. We shall be able to tell the 
reader that the subsistents that are real are neither A's nor B's nor 
C's nor D's. The more characteristics we make use of in this fash- 
ion, the more fully will we be describing the signification which 
we are assigning "existence." At the same time by making use of 
more and more such characteristics, we increase the deductive 
power of our explanation of "existence" with respect to sub- 
sequent metaphysical discussions. For with each additional charac- 
teristic, we may be assumed definitely to be assigning additional 

40 



entities to the realm of non-existence. To make our explanation 
still more complete, however, we shall also have to make use of 
propositions having the form: "Xi and X 2 exist*' and of proposi- 
tions having the form: "Yi and Y 2 do not exist/' We shall have 
to state that this particular entity and that particular entity are 
to be called "existent" in our sense of "existence" and that this 
particular entity and that particular entity are to be called "non- 
existent" in our sense of "existence." In short, our explanation of 
the term "existence" will have to fall into two parts. On the one 
hand, we shall be making use of universal negative existential 
propositions, marking out classes of entities that are unreal and 
characteristics which definitely determine their possessors to be 
non-existent. And on the other hand we shall be making use of 
singular or particular existential propositions, pointing out defi- 
nite entities to be included in the denotation of "existence" and 
definite entities to be excluded from the denotation of "exist- 
ence." 

We shall thus attempt to explain our term "existence" through 
the combined use of some such propositions as: "No non-spatial 
entities exist," "The King of England exists" and "The immortal 
Barbarossa does not exist." But it is necessary to point out some of 
the results that propositions of these three types will, and some of 
the results that they will not, accomplish. Let me suppose a sub- 
sistent King of England alleged to be non-spatial. Since my sub- 
sistent appears with the characteristic of non-spatiality, it will 
follow, it may be said, that the King of England does not exist. 
In determining non-spatial subsistents to be unreal, I rule out of 
existence, it may be held, not merely unreal subsistents, but 
along with them certain subsistents which are real. It may seem 
that I have only in thought to give an existent the characteristic 
of non-spatiality and, presto, it becomes unreal. Let us however 
consider the singular negative proposition: "The immortal Bar- 
barossa does not exist." From this proposition we can not con- 
clude that there was no Barbarossa at all. We must, it would ap- 
pear, distinguish between two different subsistents on the one 
hand, Barbarossa with the qualities assigned him by the historian; 
on the other hand, Barbarossa with the qualities assigned him by 
legend. "The immortal Barbarossa does not exist" marks out 
one clearly described and readily identified subsistent as unreal. 

41 



It is not to be understood as carrying over into the realm of the 
non-existent other subsistent Barbarossas, among them the sub- 
sistent Barbarossa discussed by the historian. Similarly with the 
King of England. We must distinguish between the King of Eng- 
land thought of as residing in Buckingham Palace and the King 
of England thought of as non-spatial. "No non-spatial subsistents 
are real" marks out the latter as unreal. But it leaves the King o 
England residing in Buckingham Palace untouched. "No sub- 
sistent A's are real" marks out as non-existent all entities appear- 
ing with the quality A. But there may be some similar subsistent 
appearing without the quality A which is real. In short our singu- 
lar affirmative existential propositions and our singular nega- 
tive existential propositions determine the existential status of 
only those definitely described and readily identified subsistents 
which are represented by the subject terms of our singular prop- 
ositions. 

The narrow limits within which our existential propositions 
operate are also to be borne in mind when our propositions are 
universal and negative. "No non-spatial subsistents are real" 
disposes of subsistents appearing as non-spatial. But the world of 
subsistents also, let us suppose, contains subsistents appearing as 
extra-spatial and subsistents appearing as supra-spatial. It is as 
fecund as the Hydra which Hercules had to encounter. Just as 
Hercules struck off one head only to see two others appear, so we 
assign one characteristic to the world of non-existence only to have 
left confronting us other characteristics closely resembling what 
we have just disposed of. When we dispose of non-spatial sub- 
sistents, we dispose at the same time of extra-spatial subsist- 
ents appearing as non-spatial. After elaborating a description of 
extra-spatial subsistents, some of these subsistents no doubt appear 
as non-spatial. But there is a residue which does not. Extra-spatial 
subsistents, we may say, "resemble" or "are implied by" non- 
spatial subsistents. But it is conceivable for them not to appear to 
resemble, not to appear to be implied by, non-spatial subsistents. 
We may eliminate whatever appears to resemble non-spatiality. 
And by specifically eliminating, for example, supra-spatial sub- 
sistents, we may dispose of some particular group of subsistents 
whether they appear to resemble non-spatial entities or not. But 
there is a residue of resembling or implied subsistents which no 

42 



negative existential proposition, either universal or singular, can 
reach. 

Not every subsistent is real, however, that a negative existential 
proposition does not mark out as unreal. It is the entities repre- 
sented by the subjects of our singular or particular affirmative 
existential propositions that alone are definite members of the 
world of existents. An extra-spatial subsistent that does not appear 
as non-spatial is not unreal as a consequence of the proposition: 
"No non-spatial subsistents are real." But it is not definitely 
marked out as real unless it is enumerated among our Xi, X 2 , X s , 
. . . We can then determine not to enumerate among our exist- 
ents any subsistent which appears as extra-spatial but not as non- 
spatial. Having made use of the proposition: "No subsistent A's 
are real/' we shall not list as real any subsistent which "ought" to 
appear as resembling A or implied by A, but does not. 

Whatever existential proposition we make use of in determi- 
ning the signification of "existence," whether it be singular or uni- 
versal, affirmative or negative, it determines the existential status 
of those subsistents only which it definitely describes and identi- 
fies. Unless we adopt this attitude with respect to negative exist- 
ential propositions, the world of unreality has no obvious limits. 
And unless we adopt this attitude with respect to singular affirma- 
tive existential propositions, the world of reality can be populated 
at will. If "The King of England exists" has the consequence 
that the King of England thought of with whatever character- 
istics we please exists, then the King of England who died at St. 
Helena is real and the King of England who wrote the "Critique 
of Pure Reason." We hold consequently that the subject of our 
singular affirmative existential proposition is not the King of 
England with whatever qualities he might be assigned. The 
subject of our proposition is the King of England with his 
qualities those which do in fact belong to him fully noted. 
Or rather, since this is impossible, it is the King of England so 
described as to leave no doubt as to which subsistent our term 
"existence" is being used to denote. If then I am presented with 
the King of England thought of with various characteristics, I 
must distinguish between the various Kings of England presented 
to me. The subsistent King of England who lives in Buckingham 
Palace is represented by the subject of my affirmative existential 

43 



proposition. This King of England, consequently, exists. The non- 
spatial King of England on the other hand, and the philosophical 
King of England, are not represented by the subject of my affirma- 
tive existential proposition. Consequently this proposition of 
mine does not imply the existence of these merely imaginary 
Kings of England. 

There is a difference between the singular affirmative exist- 
ential proposition and the universal affirmative existential prop- 
osition. If we say: ''All subsisting non-A's exist," the world of 
existent entities comes to be one that may be populated at will. 
If we say: "X!, thought of with whatever characteristics we please, 
exists," the world of existent entities is again one that may be pop- 
ulated at will. But in order that the universal proposition may 
be true, it must be emasculated to: "All existent non-A's exist/' 
On the other hand, in order that the singular proposition may 
be true, it need merely be reduced to: "Xi, described as such 
and such a subsistent, appearing with this and that characteristic, 
exists." The singular proposition, thus reduced, is not tautological. 
We are not saying that the existing Xi exists. We are pointing 
out an individual in such a manner that there is no doubt which 
subsistent individual we are pointing to; and we are saying that 
this subsistent individual is included in the denotation of "exist- 
ence." The universal proposition, on the other hand, can not 
fail to be tautological so long as it remains universal. If we are 
to describe the existing non-A's without using the term "exist- 
ence," our only recourse is to enumerate them, that is to say, to 
replace our universal proposition with a collection of singular 
propositions. 

In order to describe the signification which we are assigning 
"existence," it appears then that we are to lay down the universal 
negative existential propositions: "No A's or B's or C's exist/' 
and the singular or particular existential propositions: "X* and X 2 
and X 8 exist" and '% and Y 2 and Y 8 do not exist." If we mention 
various characteristics A, B, C, and point to a sufficient num- 
ber of individuals Xi, X 2 , X 8 , . . . Y x , Y 2 , Y 8 , . . . the signification 
of our term "existence" will, it is to be hoped, be clear. And we 
shall, it is to be hoped, find ourselves in possession of a premise 
that will be of service in the solution of particular existential 
problems. In order to determine whether a given entity that 

44 



comes up for discussion is real or unreal, we shall have to apply 
our propositions determining the signification of "existence/' We 
shall first have to ask ourselves if the given entity subsists with 
the characteristics A, B, or C. And if it appears that this entity is 
presented to us as an A or as a B or as a C, then our task is com- 
pleted. The given entity, presented to us in this manner, is un- 
real. If, on the other hand, the given entity whose existence or 
non-existence is to be determined does not subsist as an A or as a 
B or as a C, then is our task not yet completed. We have still to 
bring into play the singular or particular existential propositions 
in which certain entities denoted by our term "existence" and 
certain entities denoted by our term "non-existence" are pointed 
out. If the entity under consideration is enumerated in the list 
of entities which are specifically excluded from the denotation of 
"existence," then, even though this entity lacks the characteristics 
A, B and C, it is unreal. And, on the other hand, if, in addition to 
lacking the characteristics A, B and C, it is listed among the 
entities which are specifically included in the denotation of 
"existence," then it is real. 

We have agreed to lay down the universal negative existential 
propositions: "No A's exist" and "No B's exist" and "No C's 
exist." From these propositions, we have seen, it will follow that 
any subsistent presented with characteristics A, B, or C is unreal. 
There subsist, however, many subsistents lacking the character- 
istics: A, B, C. Some of these entities will be enumerated in the 
list which we are to draw up of entities specifically included in 
the denotation of "existence." Others of them will be enumerated 
in the list which we are to draw up of entities specifically ex- 
cluded from the denotation of "existence." But no matter how 
lengthy we make these two lists, many subsistents lacking charac- 
teristics A, B and C will appear on neither list. Our propositions: 
"Xi exists" and "X 2 exists" and "X 3 exists" and our propositions: 
"Yi does not exist" and "Y 2 does not exist" and "Y 8 does not 
exist" will by no means account for all of the subsistents appear- 
ing without characteristics A, B and C. With respect to the enti- 
ties thus unaccounted for, we can not determine from the sort 
of explanation of "existence" that we have decided to give, 
whether in our sense of "existence" they are existent or non- 
existent. The sort of explanation of "existence" that we have 

45 



decided to give is thus not a complete definition. 

Our interest in this treatise, it is to be remembered, is primarily 
in the problems that are regarded as metaphysical. Were our 
interest in some other field, our list of entities included in the 
denotation of "existence" and our list of entities excluded from 
the denotation of "existence" would both of them have to men- 
tion entities that our lists will pass by. And were we attempting 
in this treatise to deduce a complete system of knowledge and 
not merely a system of metaphysics, our lists would have to be 
much more encyclopedic, or, what is saying the same thing, our 
singular affirmative existential propositions and our singular 
negative existential propositions would have to be much more 
numerous. Since, however, our interest in this treatise is primarily 
in metaphysics, our lists will not have to mention the North Star 
or the bee on yonder flower or the city of Bangkok. For we shall 
not be called upon in this treatise to determine the existence or 
non-existence of individual stars or bees or cities. We shall attempt 
to draw up our lists so that our explanation of "existence" will 
be available as a premise from which to deduce the existence or 
non-existence of those entities whose ontological status is generally 
regarded as a matter of concern to the metaphysician. If we suc- 
ceed in doing this, then, for the limited subject-matter discussed 
in this treatise, our explanation of "existence" will be the touch- 
stone we require. 

We have rejected the universal affirmative existential proposi- 
tion: All men exist. We have agreed to make use of the singular 
affirmative existential proposition: Xj exists or Socrates exists. 
But what about the proposition: "The universal 'man' described 
in such and such a manner, exists"? In asserting such a proposi- 
tion, it is to be noted, we are not asserting that any entity that 
is thought of as being a man exists. We are saying that the univer- 
sal 'man/ considered as an idea in the mind of God, exists. Or 
we are saying that the universal 'man/ considered as an entity 
that is exemplified in certain individuals, such as Socrates and 
Plato, exists. The proposition: "The universal 'man/ described 
in such and such a manner, exists" does not, it seems, suffer from 
the disabilities which affect the proposition: "All men exist." 
For we are attributing 'existence' not to each real man nor to each 
subsisting man, but to a certain subsistent that we describe and call 

46 



the universal: 'man/ We can not, we hold, make effective use o 
the proposition: "All universals exist." But "The universal 'man/ 
described in such and such a manner, exists/' is a proposition 
that may be both true and informative. The universal 'man* may 
consequently be given a place on our list of entities denoted by 
"existence" along with Socrates and Plato. So far as our present 
discussion has carried us, our list may mention individual sub- 
stances and individual qualities and individual relations. And it 
may mention universal substances and universal qualities and 
universal relations, whenever there is a suppositio individualis. 

It is to be one of our tasks to draw up a list of entities, each of 
which is denoted by our term "existence." And it is to be another 
of our tasks to draw up a list of entities, each of which is excluded 
from the denotation of our term "existence." For the drawing up 
of these two lists we require no further discussion. A place is 
reserved for these two lists at the end of the following chapter. 4 
Taken together, they will, as we have said, partially describe the 
signification we are assigning "existence." 

When we partially determine the meaning of "existence" by 
means of a singular existential proposition, we fix the existential 
status of one particular entity. We do this, at least, provided the 
subject-term of our singular existential proposition is so phrased 
that there is no doubt as to which the entity is to which it refers. 
When we partially determine the meaning of "existence" by 
means of a universal negative existential proposition, we assign 
to the realm of non-existents an entire class of entities. Here, too, 
however, it is necessary that the subject-term of our proposition 
be so phrased that there is not a complete uncertainty as to what 
entities are apparently denoted by it. For if we say that all A's are 
non-existents, and if the reader can not at all tell which entities 
are presented as A's, then there are no entities that are definitely 
being assigned to the realm of non-existents and our universal 
negative existential proposition is not explaining, even partially, 
our term: "existence." A universal negative existential proposition 
asserts that no entities having such and such a characteristic exist. 
It asserts that to exist is to be free from this or that characteristic. 
Yet if this characteristic is vague and indefinite, if in learning that 
existence is free from this characteristic we learn little about exist- 
ence, then our universal negative existential proposition will 

47 



scarcely help one to understand our term "existence." It follows, 
consequently, that our universal negative existential propositions 
should be so chosen that they mark out fairly definite groups of 
entities that are being assigned to the realm of non-existence. 

Our task is to assign to the term "existence" a signification 
more precise than that which this term ordinarily bears. The 
"existence" of common speech is quite vague and ambiguous; 
nevertheless, we have seen, it has, even as commonly used, some 
meaning. To the extent to which the "existence" of common 
speech has a precise signification, we have agreed that it will be 
desirable to attach that signification to our term "existence." And 
where the "existence" of common speech is vague, we want our 
term "existence" to be more precise. If the "existence" of common 
speech is precise in so far as it makes freedom from self-contradic- 
tion a characteristic of existence, we want to explain our term 
"existence" also so that all self-contradictory subsistents will fall 
within the realm of the non-existent. We have agreed to explain 
our term "existence" in part by means of universal negative exist- 
ential propositions. Each such proposition, it is expected, will 
assign to existence the property of being free from a certain char- 
acteristic; and it will assign a group of subsistent entities to the 
realm of the non-existent. We want to choose our universal nega- 
tive existential propositions, consequently, in such a manner that 
we do not assign to the realm of non-existence entities which 
common speech definitely marks out as existent; and we do not 
want to leave out of the realm of non-existence entities which 
common speech definitely marks out as unreal. 

We are at liberty to assign to our term "existence" any signifi- 
cation we please. And so, as a partial explanation of the significa- 
tion we are assigning "existence," we are as much at liberty to lay 
down one universal negative existential proposition as we are to 
lay down another. One universal negative existential proposition, 
however, will assign to existence freedom from a richer, a more 
definite, characteristic than another. One will assign to the realm 
of the non-existent a more definite group of entities than another. 
And one will assign to our term "existence" a signification more 
in accord than another with the ordinary signification of "exist- 
ence" in so far as that signification is precise. Whereas then any 
universal negative existential proposition that is to be used in 

48 



assigning a signification to "existence*' is in the nature of a postu- 
late without premises from which it can be deduced, one universal 
negative existential proposition will enable us to carry out our 
purpose more readily than another. Whereas there are no logical 
grounds that force us to select one universal negative existential 
proposition and to reject another, there are grounds of expediency 
that permit us to prefer one universal negative existential propo- 
sition to another. Thus we are left with certain criticisms that we 
may bring, albeit no logical criticisms, against some of the univer- 
sal negative existential propositions which may suggest themselves 
to us as propositions to be used in partially describing the signi- 
fication to be assigned to the term "existence." 

For the remainder of this chapter then, let us call to mind 
some of the universal negative existential propositions that might 
be used in partially describing the meaning to be assigned 
"existence." And, in view of the discussion of the preceding pages, 
let us see which of these propositions it will, without more de- 
tailed consideration later, be inexpedient to accept. In order to 
obtain the material to which our considerations of expediency are 
to be applied, let us review some of the philosophical writings 
of the past. We must remember however that the philosophers 
whom we are about to consider did not lay down universal nega- 
tive existential propositions with the overt purpose of explaining 
the term "existence." They may have mentioned "existence" only 
casually; or they may have given assent to some universal affirma- 
tive existential proposition. It is not our primary purpose at this 
point to make an historical survey of the use of the term "exist- 
ence" in the writings of various philosophers. Our task is to glance 
through the history of philosophy in order to put before us 
universal negative existential propositions from which to choose. 

No question in Occidental philosophy, so far as we know, is 
older than the question: What is it to be real? When the Milesians 
found themselves confronted by a world of great variety and 
ceaseless change, they asked themselves what the "nature" of 
things is. "As Anaximandros and most of the physicists say," 
writes Aristotle, 5 the fundamental reality is something which "is 
immortal and indestructible." And so we may elicit the doctrine 
that only the permanent is real. This proposition, namely, that 
whatever is impermanent is non-existent, is not to be extracted 

49 



merely from what has come down to us from the Milesians. From 
Pannenides to Anaxagoras the real is that which persists un- 
changed, unaffected by the lapse of time. There is disagreement 
as to the number of such permanent entities and the qualities 
that these entities possess, but among many Greek philosophers 
there seems to be agreement that whatever is impermanent is 
unreal. Indeed we find echoes of this doctrine as recent as Herbert 
Spencer. "The most conspicuous contrast," writes Spencer, 6 "is 
the contrast between that which perpetually changes and that 
which does not change, between each ever-varying cluster of vivid 
states and their unvarying nexus. This transcendent distinction 
needs a name. I must use some mark to imply this duration as 
distinguished from this transitoriness this permanence in the 
midst of that which has no permanence. And the word 'existence/ 
as applied to the unknown nexus, has no other meaning. It ex- 
presses nothing beyond this primordial fact in my experience." 

Shall we partially describe the meaning which we are to 
assign the term "existence" by means of the proposition: imper- 
manent subsistents are unreal? If we take the term "permanence" 
as it comes to us out of our everyday discourse, the typical sub- 
sistents appearing as impermanent are such entities as flashes of 
lightning. We choose, however, not to make use, unless there are 
special considerations, of a universal negative existential proposi- 
tion that will assign to the realm of non-existence entities which 
common speech unhesitatingly marks out as existent. Surely, 
there is no tendency in common speech to call mountains "real" 
rather than sunsets, and Gothic cathedrals "real" rather than 
soap bubbles. Common speech seems definitely to assign some 
sunsets and some flashes of lightning to the realm of existent 
entities. And so, unless permanence is used in some special sense, 
the proposition: "Impermanent subsistents are unreal" would give 
our term "reality" a meaning out of accord with common usage. 

Fairly early in Greek thought the conviction developed that 
the material things with which we commonly deal in our every- 
day life are unimportant and unreal. Emphasis was shifted to 
numbers, to forms, to universals, to ideals, and to scientific gen- 
eralizations as the only realities. It is reason, the eyes of the mind, 
that, it was said, puts us in touch with reality, not the senses which 
are the eyes of the body. Among the Pythagoreans, then by Soc- 

50 



rates and by Plato, the world of intelligible entities was more 
and more intensively explored, became richer and richer in con- 
tent. And the conviction grew that whatever is merely mundane, 
whatever is altogether a part of the spatial world, whatever is 
given to us in sense perception only, is unworthy, unstable and 
unreal. The Platonic dialogues are the great source of inspira- 
tion for this identification of the real with the intelligible. There 
we find in abundance passages in which the objects of the intel- 
lect, the Ideas, are eulogized and called "real/' and in which 
entities which are merely objects for the senses are called "un- 
real." 7 

With the intensification of religious interest and the spread 
of Christianity, the conviction remains that only that is real 
which is intelligible and not essentially sensible. The world of 
intelligible entities is regarded somewhat differently. It is now 
not so much the realm of secular generalizations and of moral 
ideals that are independent of religious import as it is the realm 
of spiritual truths, the realm of God, His Word, and His ideas. 
The mind, says St. Augustine, 8 "is disabled by besotting and 
inveterate vices not merely from delighting and abiding in, but 
even from tolerating, His unchangeable light, until it has been 
gradually healed, and renewed, and made capable of such felic- 
ity." Man is naturally sinful; he usually is occupied with material 
things, with the world of sense which is the world of illusion and 
unreality. The world of sense, it is felt, has no existence per se. 
It has only a shadowy and reflected importance in so far as it is 
connected with, and derived from, the spiritual Word of God. 
Material things "are known in one way by the angels in the 
Word of God, in which are seen the eternally abiding causes and 
reasons according to which these things are made; and in an- 
other way in which these things are seen as they are in them- 
selves. In the former way, they are known with a clearer knowl- 
edge; in the latter they are known with a dimmer knowledge, 
a knowledge rather of the bare works than of the design." 9 Scat- 
tered through the Middle Ages we find marks of this other-world- 
liness. That "in which there is any mutable element," says St. 
Anselm, 10 "is not altogether what it is. ... And what has a past 
existence which is no longer or a future existence which is not 
yet, this does not properly and absolutely exist." 

51 



With the great scientific generalizations formulated in the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries, the world of intelligible en- 
tities finds new inhabitants. The world of intelligible entities 
is still a world of spiritual truths. But the ideas of God are clear 
and distinct ideas, truths of reason, in a word, mathematical for- 
mulae. The world of mere sense is still unimportant and unreal. 
Material things have no reality except in so far as they exemplify 
mathematical formulae. And we have no real knowledge of mun- 
dane things except in so far as we can subject them to number 
and see their behavior as the fulfillment of some mathematical 
law. 

A tremendously important line of philosophers thus presents 
us with a doctrine from which we may derive the proposition: 
Subsistents appearing as merely sensible are unreal. We have 
agreed not to make use, unless there are special considerations, of 
a universal negative existential proposition that would assign to 
our term "existence" a signification out of accord with common 
usage where common usage is precise and definite. If now we 
were partially to explain the meaning of our term "existence" by 
means of the proposition: "All sensible subsistents are unreal," 
we should be assigning to the realm of the non-existent, not 
merely sunsets and soap bubbles as these subsistents are com- 
monly presented to us, but also ancient trees and Gothic cathe- 
drals. If, then, we found the proposition: "Whatever subsists as 
impermanent is unreal" unacceptable because of its divergence 
from common usage, there is all the more reason for us to reject 
the proposition which we are now considering. 

However, "All sensible subsistents are unreal" is to be dis- 
tinguished from "all merely sensible subsistents are unreal." Sun- 
sets and soap bubbles and Gothic cathedrals may be subsistents 
appearing as sensible; but they may not appear as merely sen- 
sible. Consequently in assigning the merely sensible to the realm 
of the non-existent, we may be leaving the door open for sunsets, 
soap bubbles and cathedrals, appearing with the characteristics 
with which they normally appear. Is there any respect, however, 
in which a subsisting Gothic cathedral appears to be connected 
with the eternal truths and some other subsisting sensible entity 
not connected? The cathedral appears with the characteristic of 
having been built in accordance with the formulae of physics; 

52 



its behavior exemplifies the law of gravitation. Yet, unless we are 
told just what the eternal truths are and what sort of connection 
with them is demanded, we have no basis upon which to dis- 
tinguish the ontological status of a Gothic cathedral from that of 
any other alleged sensible entity. Practically every sensible entity 
appears connected, in some sense of the word "connection." 
with the realm of intelligible truths. The proposition: "Merely 
sensible subsistents are unreal" is ostensibly assigning to the 
realm of the non-existent certain sensible subsistents. Yet with- 
out a more detailed description of the intelligible and of the 
nature of the connection that is demanded, none of the sensible 
subsistents normally considered is indicated as falling within the 
class of the merely sensible. A universal negative existential prop- 
osition is effective in explaining the signification being assigned 
"existence" in so far as it assigns a definite characteristic to 'exist- 
ence' and in so far as it assigns entities to the realm of the non- 
existent. It is hardly informative to be told that existence has the 
characteristic of being somehow intelligible. And in assigning the 
merely sensible to the realm of the non-existent, it turns out that 
we are, in the absence of further propositions, leaving the realm 
of the non-existent without any obvious inhabitants. It appears 
then that: "All sensible subsistents are unreal" will not assign to 
"existence" the sort of signification we seek to give it. And it 
appears that: "All merely sensible subsistents are unreal" will not, 
taken by itself, give "existence" a definite meaning. 

At the beginning of Greek philosophy we meet with the doc- 
trine that the impermanent is unreal. For many writers it is the 
world of sense which is impermanent. And so we have arrived 
at the doctrine that the sensible, or the merely sensible, is unreal. 
Instead, however, of opposing to the merely sensible that which 
is intelligible, there may be opposed to the merely sensible that 
which is independent of sense-perception, that which persists 
either unsensed or regardless of whether it is sensed or not. In- 
dependence of sense perception has grown into independence of 
any mental activity. We come thus to the doctrine known as 
realism, the doctrine that whatever is merely or essentially mental 
content is unreal, the doctrine that whatever is real is independ- 
ent of any mind. A realism of this sort does not find very definite 
expression in writings prior to the eighteenth century. It was 

53 



probably accepted by earlier writers. But the explicit statement 
of it seems first to have been called forth by the exposition of 
epistemological idealism. It has during the past century been 
advocated by many eminent writers. And there is no doubt but 
that the proposition: "Essentially mental subsistents are unreal" 
establishes a partial signification for the term "existence" which 
accords very well with current popular usage. 

When we partially explain the signification being assigned 
"existence" by means of the universal negative existential propo- 
sition: "All essentially mental subsistents are unreal," we are 
definitely assigning to the realm of the non-existent subsistents 
appearing as dream objects, and we are definitely assigning to the 
realm of the non-existent subsistents appearing as members of a 
Berkeleian or Kantian world of experience. Moreover, we are 
definitely assigning to the realm of the non-existent the ideas 
which certain epistemological dualists hold are in all cases the 
immediate objects of our consciousness. For these ideas, as con- 
trasted with the ulterior realities to which they refer, are nor- 
mally thought of as having no life outside of the conscious states 
whose immediate objects they are. It follows then, if we may in- 
dulge in a digression, that one can hardly be an epistemological 
dualist proclaiming the existence of such ideas, if one is partially 
to explain the signification of "existence" by means of the propo- 
sition: "All essentially mental subsistents are unreal." 

If, in partially explaining the signification which we are as- 
signing to "existence," we make use of the proposition: "Whatever 
is essentially mental is unreal," we shall not be running counter 
to common usage. And we shall not be failing to give our term 
"existence" any definite meaning at all. We have already com- 
mitted ourselves however to the acceptance of the proposition: 
"Self-contradictory subsistents are unreal." And we shall dis- 
cover later that the entity that is in no sense an object of con- 
sciousness is self-contradictory. 11 If then we may assume that our 
later finding will be correct, the entity that is in no sense an 
object of consciousness is an entity that we shall find presented 
to us as self-contradictory. It is an entity, consequently, which our 
propositions setting forth the meaning of "existence" definitely 
will assign to the realm of the non-existent. If, then, in partially 
determining the signification of "existence," we were to make 

54 



use of the proposition: "All essentially mental subsistents are un- 
real/' we should find assigned to the world of non-existence both 
the subsistent that is in no sense an object of consciousness and 
the subsistent that is essentially mental. We should be placing 
practically all subsistents among the unreals and should have 
nothing for the term "existent" to denote. 

Whereas we have found many writers holding that the merely 
sensible is unimportant and unreal, there is a distinguished group 
of philosophers who take what is, generally speaking, an opposite 
point of view. "Reality and the evidence of sensation," 12 says 
Diogenes Laertius in expounding the Epicurean philosophy, 
"establish the certainty of the senses; for the impressions of the 
sight and hearing are just as real, just as evident, as pain." It is 
the entities with which we become acquainted through sense per- 
ception which are for these writers most certainly known to be 
real. Entities which are merely entities of thought are known less 
directly, less surely. In becoming acquainted with them the mind 
follows a more tortuous path and is more likely to be led astray. 
"Let men please themselves as they will," says Francis Bacon, 13 "in 
admiring and almost adoring the human mind, this is certain: 
that as an uneven mirror distorts the rays of objects according to 
its own figure and section, so the mind, when it receives impres- 
sions of objects through the sense, can not be trusted to report 
them truly, but in forming its notions mixes up its own nature 
with the nature of things." And so Bacon arrives at the position: 
"The evidence of the sense, helped and guarded by a certain 
process of correction, I retain. But the mental operation which 
follows the act of sense I for the most part reject." 14 

This acceptance of the reality of entities given to us in sense 
perception and this sceptical attitude towards entities not di- 
rectly bound up with sense perception finds expression in many 
passages in Locke, Berkeley and Hume. "The ideas of sense," 
says Berkeley 15 for example, "are allowed to have more reality 
in them . . . than the creatures of the mind." A similar attitude 
is frequently expressed by Kant. "What is real in external phe- 
nomena," says Kant, 16 "is real in perception only, and can not 
be given in any other way." "From such perceptions, whether by 
mere play of fancy or by experience, knowledge of objects can 
be produced, and here no doubt deceptive representations may 

55 



arise without truly corresponding objects". . . "In order to 
escape from these false appearances, one has to follow the rule 
that whatever is connected according to empirical laws with a 
perception is real." 

"The postulate concerning our knowledge of the reality of 
things requires perception, therefore sensation and the con- 
sciousness of it, not, indeed, immediately of the object itself, the 
existence of which is to be known, but yet of a connection be- 
tween it and some real perception according to the analogies of 
experience which determine in general all real combinations in 
experience. . . . But if we do not begin with experience or do not 
proceed according to the laws of the empirical connection of 
phenomena, we are only making a vain display as if we could guess 
and discover the existence of anything/' 17 

It is unnecessary to trace this doctrine, which may be called 
"empiricism/' down to our own day. It is the doctrine with so 
many recent exponents, the doctrine that entities given to us in 
sense perception are real, that entities connected with the objects 
of perception, objects of possible but not of actual experience, are 
less directly and less surely known to be real, and that entities 
not properly connected with sense experiences are unreal. In 
view of our discussion of the universal affirmative existential 
proposition, we are not interested in the proposition: "All objects 
of possible experience are real." But the proposition: "Subsistents 
appearing as not properly connected with sense experience are 
unreal" is a proposition of which we are at liberty to make use 
in partially explaining the signification to be attached to our 
terms: "reality" and "existence." 

A universal negative existential proposition, let us remind 
ourselves again, will be effective in assigning a meaning to 
"existence" to the extent to which it definitely assigns entities to 
the realm of the non-existent. Which, then, are the entities that 
appear as not properly connected with sense experience? Unless 
the universal negative existential proposition with which we 
are dealing is expanded and the nature of a proper connection 
defined, there are no entities which will obviously fall within 
the realm of the unreal. Universals generally appear as the arche- 
types of the objects of sense experience. God appears with the 
characteristic of being implied by the objects of sense experience. 

56 



Even dream objects when recognized as dream objects frequently 
appear as caused by something in the world of sense-experience. 
Almost all entities, in short, are subsistents which appear as hav- 
ing some sort of connection with the objects of sense-experience. 
We can give the world of the non-existent some definite content 
and thus more effectively explain "existence" if we disregard the 
notion of a proper connection. If we lay down the proposition: 
"All subsistents not appearing as percepts are unreal/ 1 God, and 
the law of gravitation, and the other side of the moon, are at once 
marked out as subsistents that, as they usually appear, do not exist. 
Such a proposition, however, would assign to the term "existence" 
a signification out of accord both with common usage and with 
philosophical precedent. 

Let us consider, then, the possibility of limiting reality to 
entities given to us as having a certain definite kind of con- 
nection with sense experience. The entity that seems merely to 
be implied by sense experience is not, we may say, properly con- 
nected with it. The only entities that are properly connected with 
the actual objects of sense experience, we may say, are those that 
are possible objects of sense experience, those entities that would 
be perceived if we were at a different place or had senses suffi- 
ciently acute. We thus arrive at the universal negative existential 
proposition: Whatever appears with the characteristic of being 
non-spatial is unreal. And we may in a similar fashion arrive at 
the proposition: All timeless subsistents are unreal. 

At least as far back as Plato we meet with the doctrine that 
whatever is real must have a date. Against the timeless Being 
of Parmenides, the objection is raised that such an alleged being 
is unreal because it is not in time as an entity must be if it is to 
be real. 18 An entity that does not participate in time, it is held, 
does not participate in being. When we come down to Hobbes, 
we find a similar attitude clearly expressed with respect to spatial 
position. "If the triangle exists nowhere at all," Hobbes writes, 19 
"I do not understand how it can have any nature; for that which 
exists nowhere does not exist." Sometimes it is required of a real 
entity only that it have a date, sometimes only that it have spatial 
position. But quite frequently the two requirements are joined. 
Reality is regarded as something that is limited to those subsist- 
ents appearing with both a date and a spatial position. As Crusius, 

57 



one of the philosophers who wrote shortly before Kant, puts it, 
to give an entity that is merely thoughtthat is, an entity that in 
his terminology is merely possible a date and a spatial position 
is to give it existence. 20 "If a substance is to exist, it must exist 
immediately in some place and at some time." 21 For Kant, space 
and time are transcendentally ideal but empirically real. Every 
external entity that is empirically real that is to say, real as a 
phenomenon must be in time and in space. And all real phe- 
nomena without exception must be in time. Only events, some 
recent writers seem to hold, are real. And an event, it is indicated, 
is an entity that has a date and a position in a four-dimensional 
spatio-temporal continuum. 

If we partially explain "existence" by means of the proposition: 
"Whatever appears as lacking a date or a spatial position is un- 
real," there are various subsistents that our proposition definitely 
assigns to the realm of the non-existent. Such a proposition clas- 
sifies as unreal mental processes and mental content presented as 
occurring nowhere, universals and scientific generalizations ap- 
pearing as eternal, God appearing as a supra-spatial Deity. More- 
over with such a proposition we assign to existence the char- 
acter of being free from utter non-spatiality and the character 
of being free from utter timelessness. Thus it can not be objected 
that the proposition which we are considering gives no meaning 
to "existence." Nor does this proposition definitely assign to the 
realm of non-existence entities which common usage unhesitat- 
ingly calls "real." A preliminary and somewhat casual discussion, 
in short, fails to eliminate from further consideration: "What- 
ever appears as lacking a date or a spatial position is unreal." To 
be sure, there are such questions as: date with respect to what? 
and spatial position with respect to what? In order to determine 
which subsistents are unreal because of their lack of spatio-tem- 
poral characteristics, a further discussion of space, time, and of 
time-space is indicated. If the signification of "existence" is to 
be as precise as possible, the realm of non-existence must contain 
more entities than merely those which appear as totally undated 
and existence must have a more definite characteristic than free- 
dom from utter timelessness. In order to make the meaning of 
our term "existence" as precise as possible, we shall later mark 
out as unreal all subsistents appearing a? undated, or as lacking 

58 



a spatial position, with respect to a certain type of entity. 22 And 
we shall mark out as unreal subsistents appearing as not having 
a certain kind of date and position with respect to such an entity. 
But in view of this preliminary discussion and pending such 
modifications as our search for precision may later lead us to 
make, we may at this point agree in explaining "existence" to 
make use of the proposition: "Whatever appears as lacking a date 
or as having no spatial position is unreal." 

It is frequently felt that existent entities are related to one 
another in that each of them is in some place and each of them 
at some time. It is felt that existent entities taken together form 
a system of entities that is bound up with a system of places or 
Space and with a system of dates or Time. The non-existent, it 
may be felt, is what does not belong to this system, what does 
not fit into this one Space and this one Time. With some writers, 
however, membership in this one Space and this one Time does 
not seem to be the outstanding determinant of membership in 
the system of existent entities. To exist is to be a member of a 
system of related entities; but membership in this system is not 
primarily a matter of place and time. Existence is evidenced by 
a wealth of relations of all sorts with various other entities. The 
non-existent is that which subsists disjoined from most other en- 
tities and unconnected with them. 

It is the consideration of fables and dream objects that is likely 
to lead us to distinguish the existent from the non-existent in 
this fashion. "And I ought," says Descartes at the end of his 
"Meditations," "to set aside all the doubts of these past few days 
as hyperbolical and ridiculous, especially that very common un- 
certainty respecting sleep, which I could not distinguish from the 
waking state; for at present I find a very notable difference be- 
tween the two, inasmuch as our memory can never connect our 
dreams one with the other, or with the whole course of our lives, 
as it unites events which happen to us while we are awake. And, 
as a matter of fact, if some one, while I was awake, quite sud- 
denly appeared to me and disappeared as fast as do the images 
which I see in sleep, so that I could not know from whence the 
form came nor whither it went, it would not be without reason 
that I should deem it a spectre or a phantom formed by my 
brain (and similar to those which I form in sleep) rather than a 

59 



real man/' Similarly, Christian Wolff 23 holds that "in a dream 
while you look at some one, he suddenly changes into some one 
else or he vanishes straight-way and no one comes back to take 
his place." Things behave in a strange, haphazard, and unrea- 
sonable manner. And it is this that distinguishes them from real 
entities and marks them as dreams. There is thus suggested to 
us another manner in which we might partially describe the sig- 
nification o our term "existence." We can not make effective use 
of a universal affirmative existential proposition. And so we may 
pass by the proposition: Whatever has many points of contact 
with our usual experience is real. But perhaps in partially ex- 
plaining the signification of "existence" it will be well for us to 
make use of the proposition: Whatever appears as out of accord 
with our usual experience, as having few points of contact with 
the entities of which we are normally aware, is unreal. 

Our usual experience reveals to us stones that are mute. A 
subsistent stone that talks of its own accord differs from most of 
its fellow subsisting stones. It appears as something surprising and 
unusual, as something that could not be predicted or accounted 
for, as a phenomenon having few points of contact with our 
normal experience. If then in explaining "existence" we were 
to make use of the proposition: "Subsis tents having few points 
of contact with our normal experience are unreal," it would be 
the unusual and extraordinary phenomenon, the rara avis, as it 
were, that we would be assigning to the realm of the non-exist- 
ent. What, however, is usual, and what is unusual? Conversations 
with the Virgin Mary were not at all unusual in the Middle Ages; 
nor were witches unusual in the New England of Cotton Mather. 
The universal negative existential proposition which we are con- 
sidering would not definitely and unambiguously assign to the 
realm of the non-existent either visions of the Virgin Mary or 
women riding on broom-sticks. Again, substances that give off 
emanations are unusual in our experience, though pieces of 
radium that give off such emanations are not rare. Consequently, 
if we start from the consideration of all substances rather than 
from the consideration merely of radium, our proposition seems 
to assign to the realm of non-existence all substances alleged to 
give off emanations. In general, we may say that the instances 
of any species are few in number, and that this species is rare, 

60 



if we start with a genus that is sufficiently extensive. Rarity in 
short is a relative thing. And so if mere rarity implies unreality, 
membership in the realm of non-existence becomes relative and 
indeterminate. 

The proposition: "Subsistents having few points of contact 
with our normal experience are unreal" does not definitely and 
unambiguously point out a limited group of entities as unreal. 
Nearly every phenomena is usual, if we take into consideration 
the experience of some special group of subjects. And nearly 
every phenomenon is rare, when we consider it an instance of an 
extremely extensive genus. If we describe more closely the notion 
of having many points of contact with normal experience, per- 
haps we can arrive at a proposition that will definitely and un- 
ambiguously assign a limited group of entities to the realm of the 
unreal. Perhaps this can be accomplished by identifying the 
phenomenon that is unusual with the phenomenon whose be- 
havior is unpredictable. Perhaps it can be accomplished by iden- 
tifying the phenomenon that is unusual with the phenomenon 
that is observed by but a single subject. If we partially explain 
"existence" by limiting reality to entities presented as having 
been perceived by more than one subject, we rule out of existence 
the fall of the tree of which I am the sole observer. We mark out 
as "non-existent/' in our sense of the word "existence," an entity 
that common usage obviously calls "real." And if we say that the 
unpredictable is unreal, we meet with a problem akin to that 
into which we run when we limit reality, not to what is experi- 
enced, but merely to objects of possible experience. When is an 
entity that is not actually experienced an object of possible ex- 
perience? We found this a question to be answered only through 
the introduction of other concepts than that of experience, 
through the introduction, for example, of the concepts of time 
and place. So it is with the question: When is a phenomenon that 
is not actually predicted one that might have been predicted? 
If we limit reality to what is actually predicted, we mark out as 
unreal many entities that common usage calls "real." And if we 
limit reality merely to what might be predicted, we are forced 
to examine other concepts if we would have our universal nega- 
tive existential proposition one that definitely and unambiguously 
assigns a limited group of entities to the realm of non-existence. 

61 



A phenomenon is out o accord with our usual experience 
when it is rare, exceptional, and surprising. In a more special 
sense, however, a phenomenon may be held to be out of accord 
with our usual experience when it fails to conform with the vari- 
ous scientific generalizations that are valid for the objects of our 
normal experience. There are, it may be held, various laws which 
all real phenomena obey. There are, it may be held, various truths 
of reason which constitute the form of reality. A phenomenon is 
real, it may be said, when it conforms with these intelligible laws, 
when its behavior presents material for which these truths of 
reason can furnish a supplementing form. And a phenomenon is 
unreal, it may be held, when it appears inconsistent with these 
intelligible truths. A phenomenon is out of accord with our 
usual experience, has few points of contact with the system of 
existent entities, it may be said, when it disobeys the laws which 
constitute the form of reality. 

Leibniz is an outstanding advocate of the doctrine that all 
existent entities are intimately bound up with one another 
through membership in a systematic network of relations. Each 
monad, to be sure, is its own cause; but the monads, taken to- 
gether, form an organic system in which each bit is essential. 
The world of real entities is, he holds, a system of interrelated 
compossible entities. An entity is real if it belongs in the system, 
if it sustains the relations that all real entities do sustain towards 
one another. And a phenomenon is unreal if it appears to us as 
coming without antecedents and as going without consequents, 
as a stranger that has no connection with the interrelated world 
formed by most subsistents. In passages in which he alludes to 
the difference between the real and the unreal, Leibniz suggests 
some of the doctrines that we have just been discussing. An entity 
is real and belongs in the system of interrelated entities only 
if it harmonizes with our normal experiences. He uses such 
phrases as "agreement with the whole course of life" 24 and al- 
ludes to the phenomenon of "future things" being "in a certain 
degree . . . foreseen from past things." 25 There also appears how- 
ever the more special doctrine that real entities are those which 
conform with certain truths of reason, with certain intelligible 
laws. "The basis of the truth of contingent and singular things," 26 
he writes, "is in the succession which causes these phenomena of 

62 



the senses to be rightly united as the intelligible truths demand/' 
We thus elicit the universal negative existential proposition: 
Subsistents appearing as inconsistent with this, or with that, in- 
telligible law are unreal. If we accept as an intelligible law the 
proposition that every event has a cause, then any subsistent 
appearing as an uncaused event is, in accordance with the propo- 
sition which we are considering, marked out forthwith as unreal. 
Our proposition does not fail to assign a definite group of en- 
tities to the realm of the non-existent. It marks out as unreal a 
group of entities that will be definite in proportion as our intel- 
ligible laws are expressed with precision; and it marks out as 
unreal a group of subsistents that will vary with the particular 
propositions that are accepted and laid down as intelligible laws. 
Nor, if our intelligible laws are carefully chosen, does it appear 
that the universal negative existential proposition which we are 
considering will assign to the realm of the non-existent any en- 
tities which common usage unhesitatingly calls "real." The prob- 
lem we run into, however, is the problem: Which propositions 
are to be regarded as together constituting the intelligible laws? 
The proposition: "Every entity has a date and a spatial position" 
may be regarded as an intelligible law. And the proposition: 
"Every entity is self-consistent" may be regarded as an intelligible 
law. To the extent to which these propositions constitute the 
system of intelligible laws, we have already committed ourselves 
to the acceptance of the proposition: "Whatever is inconsistent 
with the intelligible laws is unreal." For this proposition now 
reduces to the proposition: "Whatever appears as lacking date 
or spatial position is unreal" and to the proposition: "Whatever 
subsists as self-contradictory is unreal." 

When, in partially describing the signification to be attached 
to the term "existence," we choose to make use of the proposi- 
tion: "Whatever subsists as inconsistent with the intelligible laws 
is unreal," there is one consequence which ensues which I should 
like to point out. The entity which subsists as inconsistent with 
some intelligible law is by our proposition forthwith assigned to 
the realm of the non-existent. If the proposition: "The quantity 
of matter is always constant" is regarded as an intelligible law, 
then any phenomenon involving an increase or a decrease in the 
quantity of matter is forthwith marked out as an unreal and il- 

63 



lusory phenomenon. Our intelligible laws, consequently, turn 
out to be immune to overthrow by what are known as negative 
instances. For the negative instance, instead of weakening or 
destroying the validity of the intelligible law, is itself immedi- 
ately ruled out as an illusory and unreal phenomenon. 

These remarks apply with especial force to Kant, in whose 
writings the intelligible truths are developed in some detail. The 
most important of what we may call the intelligible laws seem 
for Kant to be the propositions discussed in the Analogies of 
Experience. In order to be real, a phenomenon must be given to 
us as consistent with the intelligible laws; and we are not left 
entirely in the dark as to what these intelligible laws are. For one 
thing, in order that a given phenomenon may be real, it must not 
in its behavior contradict the proposition that the quantity of 
substance is constant. For another thing, it must not contradict 
the proposition that every event has a cause. And for still another 
thing, it must not contradict the proposition that there is dynam- 
ical interaction between contemporaneous entities. These three 
propositions discussed in the Analogies of Experience constitute 
for Kant a part, though not the whole, of what we may call the 
intelligible laws. And if we have these propositions in mind when, 
in partially explaining "existence/* we make use of the proposi- 
tion: "Whatever subsists as inconsistent with the intelligible laws 
is unreal/' then the phenomenon that appears, for example, as 
uncaused is immediately marked out as a phenomenon that is un- 
real. The proposition that every event has a cause comes to be a 
proposition whose validity does not rest upon experience. It 
comes to be a proposition which can not be over-thrown by any 
experience; for any phenomenon seeming to contradict it that 
might be presented to us would immediately be marked out as 
illusory and unreal. The causal law, in a word, comes to be a 
presupposition of experience. But it comes to be a presupposi- 
tion of valid experience only in the sense that it is being taken as 
one of the intelligible laws to which we refer when, in partially 
explaining "existence/* we say that whatever is given to us as in- 
consistent with the intelligible laws is unreal. We come thus, by a 
somewhat different route, to a position that has already been ex- 
pressed in the previous chapter. "In laying down the causal law, 
Kant is implicitly determining the signification of 'existence/ " 

64 



And so it appears "that the validity which Kant finds for the 
causal law ... is only the validity which attaches to a proposition 
determining the meaning of a term." 27 

We might go on to consider a number of universal negative 
existential propositions that we have not yet discussed in detail. 
With respect to each of them, we might ask whether it assigns a 
definite group of entities to the realm of the unreal and attaches 
to existence freedom from some clearly described characteristic. 
With respect to each of them we might also ask whether it defi- 
nitely assigns to the realm of the non-existent entities which com- 
mon usage unhesitatingly calls "real." In short, we might bring 
up for consideration universal negative existential propositions 
ad nauseam. And with respect to each of them we might ask 
whether it is the sort of proposition of which we can well make 
use in partially describing what we are to call "existence." We 
have however already met with some positive results. We have 
agreed to make use of the proposition: "Self-contradictory sub- 
sistents are unreal." And we have agreed to make use of the prop- 
osition: "Subsistents appearing as lacking a date or as lacking a 
spatial position are unreal." Perhaps then we can forego a more 
extended survey of the writings of the past. Perhaps we can fill 
out for ourselves the group of universal negative existential prop- 
ositions of which we are to make use in partially explaining our 
term "existence." 

With respect to logical self-consistency, one universal negative 
existential proposition is as suitable as another to the task of ex- 
plaining "existence." Our selection of one universal negative 
existential proposition in preference to another is a matter of 
choice and not a matter of logical compulsion. We have stated 
however the considerations on which our choice will be based. 28 
And, on the basis of these considerations, there are certain prop- 
ositions of which we have already agreed to make use. 

Universal negative existential propositions, we have seen, can 
not by themselves completely determine for the term "existence" 
a meaning that will be sufficiently precise. We must in addi- 
tion make use of individual affirmative existential propositions 
and of individual negative existential propositions. However, 
other things being equal, the greater the number of universal 
negative existential propositions of which we make use, the more 

65 



precise does the meaning of our term "existence" become. We 
have consequently the task of joining additional universal nega- 
tive existential propositions to the proposition: "Self-contradictory 
subsistents are unreal" and to the proposition: "Subsistents ap- 
pearing as lacking all date or all position are unreal/' 

Moreover, we have the task of assuring ourselves that the uni- 
versal negative existential propositions of which we have already 
agreed to make use are sufficiently unambiguous and clear. 

In a general way, however, we are at this point ready to 
enumerate the propositions which taken together will explain 
the meaning which "existence" is to have in the constructive 
parts of this treatise. We are ready to set ourselves to the task of 
laying down a number of universal negative existential proposi- 
tions, each as clear in its expression and as unambiguous in its 
reference as possible; and to the task of supplementing these prop- 
ositions with singular or particular existential propositions both 
affirmative and negative, with lists, that is to say, both of some of 
the entities that are included in, and of some of the entities that 
are excluded from, the denotation of "existence" in our sense 
of that term. We are ready in short to address ourselves in earnest 
to the task of laying down the group of existential propositions, 
which, taken together, are to occupy in our metaphysics a posi- 
tion similar to that which Descartes intended for his: "Cogito 
ergo sum." 



Summary 

We are at liberty to determine what meaning we are going to 
attach to our term "existence." Still we want the meaning we 
choose to conform with the common meaning of "existence" in 
so far as the latter can be determined and applied in such a way 
as to mark out definite groups of entities as existent and definite 
groups as non-existent. 

One feature of the common meaning of "existence" is the 
'hardness' of facts, the imperviousness of reality to expansion or 
contraction through mere thinking. In order that what we call 
"existence" may have this characteristic, our propositions explain- 

66 



ing our term "existence" must be limited to universal negative 
ones, supplemented by individual or particular propositions. 

Which universal negative propositions shall we use in our 
explanation? Various possibilities are considered from two angles: 
(1) would they determine for our term "existence" a meaning 
somewhat in accord with what "existence" commonly means- 
realizing of course that the common meaning is hazy; and (2) 
would they determine for our term "existence" a meaning from 
which it will follow that certain entities, but not all entities, are 
definitely marked out as unreal. 

None of these considerations are binding. They merely incline 
us to give our term "existence" one meaning rather than another. 



Chapter III 

HOW WE SHALL USE THE TERMS: EXISTENCE 
AND REALITY 



There is no entity that is not what we are calling a "subsistent." 
The world of subsistents includes the man walking on my ceil- 
ing, God, everything, goodness, greater-than, mathematics. It 
includes everything that can be mentioned and everything that 
can not be mentioned, my alleged objects, your alleged objects, 
and entities alleged to be objects for no one. It is this unlimited 
field, including all entities that may be held to be real and all 
entities that may be held to be unreal, that forms our universe 
of discourse and is to be dichotomized into the real and the un- 
real. It is difficult to refer to this unlimited field of subsistents 
without appearing to hold that its members exist. If we say that 
the man walking on my ceiling is a subsistent, the use of the 
word "is" may create the impression that this subsisting man 
exists. And a similar impression may be created by the remark 
that this man has the characteristic of walking on my ceiling. 
This danger of misinterpretation can not be completely overcome. 
We shall refer to the man on my ceiling as a subsistent or an ap- 
pearance. And instead of saying that he has a certain character- 
istic, we shall, for the most part, say that he appears with this 
characteristic or is presented with this characteristic. But it is not 
to be assumed that a subsistent which appears is an appearance of 
something which is real. Nor is it at this point to be assumed that 
to appear is to appear to some conscious subject. Entities appear- 
ing with the characteristic of being objects for no one are sub- 
sistents. They too will be called "appearances." They too are 

68 



included in the unlimited field which it is our task to dichoto- 
mize into the real and the unreal. 

Some of the subsistents that are to be called "real" and some 
of the subsistents that we are to call "unreal" may be dismissed 
from our attention until we come to the end of this chapter. 
There we shall enumerate certain real, subsistents and certain 
unreal subsistents. For we have planned to deal with certain mem- 
bers of our universe of discourse individually. The existential 
status of these subsistents will be determined, and our term 
"existence" explained in so far as it applies to them, by means of 
singular or particular existential propositions, some positive and 
some negative. 

In determining the meaning of our term "existence," we have 
agreed to make use of such propositions as "Xi exists" and 
"X 2 exists": and we have agreed to make use of such propositions 
as "Yi does not exist" and "Y 2 does not exist." But we have also 
agreed to make use of universal negative existential propositions, 
of propositions of the type: "No A's exist." Indeed, proposition 
for proposition, our universal negative existential propositions 
will describe the signification we are assigning "existence" more 
fully than will our singular existential propositions. And so it is 
to the selection of certain universal negative existential propo- 
sitions that we turn. 

There is one such proposition that we have already agreed to 
use, namely, "No self-contradictory subsistents are real." Self- 
contradictory subsistents, however, are subsistents which appear 
as self-contradictory. The King of England who resides in Buck- 
ingham Palace is a self-contradictory subsistent in so far as I 
think of him as self-contradictory. And a square circle is not a 
self-contradictory subsistent when its alleged squareness and its 
alleged circularity do not appear as mutually contradictory. The 
proposition: "No self-contradictory subsistents are real" marks out 
as unreal the King of England who appears as self-contradictory 
and the square circle which appears as self-contradictory. But it 
does not determine the existential status of either the subsisting 
King of England who does not appear as self-contradictory or of 
the subsisting square circle which does not appear as self-con- 
tradictory. Whatever appears as self-contradictory is, however, we 

69 



say, unreal. Existence, as we describe it, is characterized by free- 
dom from explicit self-contradiction. 

There is the subsistent which appears as round and not-round. 
And there is the subsistent which appears as real and unreal. If 
we partially determine the signification of "existence" by means 
of the singular proposition: "X a exists," then Xi, let us suppose, 
appears as real. But Xi may have been presented as, and may 
appear as, a self-contradictory or unreal subsistent. One might 
choose to use "real" in such a way that entities enumerated as 
real are in all cases real. One might hold, that is to say, that 
singular affirmative existential propositions used in determining 
the signification of "existence" are a court of final authority, that 
unreal appearances and self-contradictory appearances are real if 
they are enumerated as real. Let us however choose the opposite 
path. Let us hold that self-contradictory appearances and unreal 
appearances are unreal even though they are enumerated as real. 
Or, rather, let us agree to enumerate as real no subsistents which 
appear as unreal and no subsistents which appear as self-contra- 
dictory. If we partially determine the signification of "existence" 
by means of the proposition: "No A's exist," let us agree to limit 
the entities represented by the subject-terms of our singular af- 
firmative existential propositions to "Xi not appearing as an A," 
"X 2 not appearing as an A," etc. 1 

Self-contradictory appearances are in all cases unreal. Whatever 
appears as round and not-round, and hence as self-contradictory, 
does not exist. But what about the subsistent which appears as 
round and square? Round and not-round are explicitly A and 
non-A, round and square less explicitly so. To be sure, each 
square subsistent that I consider readily takes on the appearance 
of not-roundness. As soon as the quality of being not-round is 
suggested to me, I recognize this quality as being an additional 
characteristic with which my subsistent is appearing. The subsist- 
ent under discussion is a subsistent appearing as square which 
enlarges itself to be a subsistent appearing as square and appear- 
ing as not-round. With respect to subsistents which thus enlarge 
themselves, we may say that there are implicit characteristics with 
which they appear. The subsistent which I am considering ap- 
pears explicitly, let us suppose, as round and as square; and it 

70 



appears implicitly as not-round and as self-contradictory. Such 
subsistents which appear implicitly as self-contradictory are, let 
us say, unreal. Whereas we have already assigned to the realm of 
-non-existence the subsistent appearing explicitly as round and 
as not-round and as self-contradictory, let us also assign to this 
realm the subsistent appearing explicitly as round and as square 
and only implicitly as self-contradictory. Let us, that is to say, lay 
down the additional proposition: "Whatever appears implicitly 
self-contradictory is unreal.' 1 Or, to put it another way, no sub- 
sistent is real whose explicit and implicit appearances appear to 
contradict one another. 

This disposes of the round square subsistent which enlarges 
itself to become a round, square, not-round, self-contradictory 
subsistent. But, whereas the subsistent which we have been dis- 
cussing grows from a subsistent appearing as square to a subsistent 
appearing as not-round, the unlimited world of subsistents con- 
tains round square subsistents which do not thus enlarge them- 
selves. It is conceivable, for example, for some one to hold that 
round squares are not self-contradictory. The subsistent which he 
considers, or can be imagined to consider, does not grow. As we 
have already in effect noticed, there is no universal negative 
existential proposition that will eliminate from reality the round 
square subsistents which neither explicitly nor implicitly appear 
as self-contradictory. 2 But we can agree not to enumerate as 
real any of these non-growing round squares which do not, 
even implicitly, appear as self-contradictory. Our procedure must 
be to trace the growth of a subsistent from round and square to 
round, square, not-round and self-contradictory; and then to de- 
termine to enumerate as real no other subsistent which appears as 
round and as square. No A's, we may say, are real; and no sub- 
sistents implicitly appearing as A's. We may trace some subsistent 
S to the point where it appears as an A. We may, that is to say, 
point out some S which implicitly appears as an A. But all S's are 
unreal only in so far as we thereupon resolve to enumerate no 
S's among the entities we call existents. Subsistents which im- 
plicitly appear as self-contradictory are unreal. And when we 3 
show one subsistent to appear as implicitly self-contradictory, all 
subsistents differing from it merely in that they do not appear as 



self-contradictory are likewise unreal. For we have resolved not 
to enumerate such resembling subsistents among the entities we 
call ''real/' We may point out some S which implicitly appears 
as an A. Therefore, we may say, no S is real. But this will be but 
a short-hand and condensed way of assuming that our resolve to 
enumerate no S's among our existents will be carried out. 

Some subsistent appearing as round and square appears with 
explicit and implicit characteristics which appear to contradict 
one another. So too with the Cretan who appears as truly asserting 
that no Cretan ever speaks the truth. My subsistent is a Cretan 
making a certain true assertion. As an outgrowth of my original 
object, I am led to consider an alleged situation in which no 
Cretan ever speaks the truth. I come to consider various alleged 
mendacious Cretans, among them my Cretan informant. Indeed I 
come to consider my Cretan informant in the act of falsely as- 
serting that no Cretan ever speaks truly. My subsistent is a Cretan 
appearing explicitly with the characteristic of having just made a 
certain true assertion. And this subsistent has grown to be a 
Cretan appearing with the characteristic of having just made a cer- 
tain untrue assertion. It implicitly appears as self-contradictory. The 
Cretan that I am discussing is consequently unreal. And all sub- 
sisting Cretans who appear to be truly asserting that no Cretan 
ever speaks the truth, all such Cretans, whether they appear as 
self-contradictory or not, will be eliminated from our lists of 
real entities. 

Obviously veracious Cretan does not enlarge itself to become 
mendacious Cretan and self-contradictory Cretan as readily as 
round square enlarges itself to become round, not-round, self- 
contradictory square. There are intermediate subsistents to be 
presented and these intermediate subsistents may not spontane- 
ously offer themselves for discussion. Veracious Cretan not appear- 
ing as implicitly self-contradictory is a more common subsistent 
than round square not appearing as implicitly self-contradictory. 
But it is all subsistents, whether they be common or uncommon, 
that are to be dichotomized into the real and the unreal. It is a 
veracious Cretan asserting that no Cretan ever speaks the truth 
who implicitly appears as self-contradictory. Remaining in the 
unlimited universe of subsistents which is prior to the distinc- 
tion between the real and the unreal, one may perhaps describe 

72 



this Cretan as developing into a self-contradictory Cretan. But it 
'Veracious Cretan is implicitly self-contradictory Cretan" is to 
apply to the veracious Cretan who does not appear self-contra- 
dictory as well as to the Cretan who does so appear, it will not 
suffice to trace the growth or enlargement of a given subsistent. 4 
In this treatise the growth or development of certain subsistents 
is traced and the implicit appearances of these subsistents re- 
vealed. Similar subsistents which do not so develop the opinions, 
we may say, of those who do not agree with the developments we 
trace are disposed of through our determination not to list as 
real any subsistents similar to those which, as we develop them, 
are implicitly unreal. 

We have so determined the signification of our term "exist- 
ence" that all round, not-round subsistents are unreal. We have 
so determined the signification of "existence" that round squares 
are unreal. And we have so determined the signification of "exist- 
ence" that any Cretan appearing as truly asserting that no Cretan 
ever speaks the truth is also unreal. No entity will be called "real" 
that, except for its development, is indistinguishable from a sub- 
sistent which our discussion reveals to us as self-contradictory. 

How is it now, we may ask, with respect to the subsistent ap- 
pearing as in no sense an object of consciousness? The thesis that 
only ideas exist is frequently regarded as the doctrine on which 
modern idealism is founded. Many idealists assert that only ideas 
exist, holding that entities not ideas and entities not objects of 
consciousness are self-contradictory. Let us then examine this 
alleged contradiction at this point. Let us see if 'entity appearing 
as in no sense an object of consciousness* develops into 'entity 
appearing as self-contradictory/ 

"How say you, Hylas," asks Philonous, 5 "can you see a thing 
which is at the same time unseen?" "No," answers Hylas, "that 
were a contradiction." "Is it not as great a contradiction to talk 
of conceiving a thing which is unconceived?" "It is," admits 
Hylas. And he continues: "As I was thinking of a tree in a solitary 
place where no one was present to see it, methought that was to 
conceive a tree as existing unperceived or unthought of: not con- 
sidering that I myself conceived it all the while." As Berkeley 6 
explains it, "the mind, taking no notice of itself, is deluded to 
think it can and does conceive bodies existing unthought of, , . , 

73 



though at the same time they are apprehended by ... itself." 

During the present century as realism has renewed its vigor in 
Great Britain and in America, the fundamental doctrines of 
idealism have been re-examined. "No thinker to whom one may 
appeal/' admits Perry, 7 "is able to mention a thing that is not idea 
for the obvious and simple reason that in mentioning it he makes 
it an idea." Consequently, we are unable to discover what things 
are as unknown. "In order to discover if possible exactly how a 
thing is modified by the cognitive relationship, I look for instances 
of things out of this relationship in order that I may compare 
them with instances of things in this relationship. But I can find 
no such instances, because 'finding' is a variety of the very relation- 
ship that I am trying to eliminate." 8 There is this barrier, which 
Perry calls the "ego-centric predicament," which prevents me 
from using ordinary methods to discover what difference know- 
ing makes to objects. But this predicament, Perry holds, does 
not justify me in concluding that knowing makes all the difference 
between existing and not existing. "Every mentioned thing is an 
idea . . . But what the idealist requires is a proposition to the 
effect that everything is an idea or that only ideas exist." 9 

"We can not be aware of an entity that is not in some sense an 
object. Therefore the entity that is not in some sense an object 
does not exist." Here there is an obvious non-sequitur. If this 
were the best argument the idealist could put forth, Perry would 
be justified in regarding the ego-centric predicament as a method- 
ological difficulty without ontological implications. But the real 
point of the idealist's proper argument is not that the entity that 
is in no sense an object of consciousness is undiscoverable. His 
real point is that this entity appears self-contradictory. Indeed, 
in some sense, the entity that is in no sense an object of con- 
sciousness can be discovered, can be mentioned, can be thought 
of. For we seem in the present paragraph to be discussing, men- 
tioning and considering: 'the entity that is in no sense an object 
of consciousness/ If this entity were not a subsistent at all, we in- 
deed could not conclude that this entity is non-existent. We 
would be in the predicament of not being able to assert that this 
entity exists or that it does not exist. But the idealist asserts that 
it does not exist; and the realist asserts that it may exist. In mak- 
ing such assertions they claim to be discussing the entity that is 

74 



in no sense an object of consciousness. Their assertions exemplify 
the fact that the entity that is in no sense an object of conscious- 
ness can to some degree be discussed and considered. 10 

There seems to be given to me, as a subsistent whose ontologi- 
cal status is to be discussed, 'the entity that is in no sense an ob- 
ject of consciousness/ Indeed at the present moment it is this 
subsistent that I am considering. This entity appears as in no sense 
an object of consciousness. And yet, as soon as the characteristic 
of being in some sense an object suggests itself, I recognize this 
characteristic as an additional appearance of the subsistent that I 
am considering. Implicitly my subsistent appears as an entity that 
I am considering, as in some sense an object of consciousness. The 
entity that is in no sense an object of consciousness explicitly ap- 
pears with the characteristic of being in no' sense an object of 
consciousness. And implicitly it appears with the characteristic 
of being in some sense an object of consciousness and hence with 
the characteristic of being self-contradictory. However, "what- 
ever appears implicitly self-contradictory is unreal." 11 We hold, 
therefore, that the subsistent which we have been considering, 
the entity that appears as in no sense an object of consciousness, 
is unreal. And we resolve to list as real no 'entity that is in no 
sense an object of consciousness' even if it does not appear as 
self-contradictory. 

The subsistent which we have been considering develops, it 
may be agreed, into a subsistent which appears as self-contra- 
dictory. But, it may be held, there are subsistents which no one 
considers. The subsistent which no one considers is, however, 
the very subsistent whose development we have just traced. The 
subsistent which no one considers is the entity which is in no 
sense an object of consciousness. I may refer to each member of 
the world of subsistents. And when I talk about all subsistents, 
there is no subsistent that as I trace its development does not 
take on the characteristic of being in some sense an object of con- 
sciousness. It is no ego-centric predicament which makes non-ob- 
jects unreal. If non-objects could not be discussed, they could 
not be asserted to be unreal. Rather, neither their reality nor 
their unreality could be discussed. But the very fact that the 
realist holds that some of these non-objects may be real is evidence 
that these non-objects are not outside what we call the world of 

75 



subsistents. Non-objects appear both as non-objects and as objects. 
And they are unreal because self-contradictory subsistents are 
unreal. The self-contradictory subsistent which appears self-con- 
tradictory is unreal because of the universal negative existential 
proposition which partially determines the signification of our 
term "existence." And the self-contradictory subsistent which does 
not appear self-contradictory, the entity in no sense an object of 
consciousness, for example, which, as it was apparently presented 
to Perry, does not develop the appearance of self-contradictoriness, 
this entity is unreal because of our resolve not to list it as real. 

Whatever appears implicitly contradictory is unreal. And, we 
may add, whatever appears, explicitly or implicitly, as in no sense 
an object is unreal. The world of reality is free of subsistents ap- 
pearing as non-objects. It contains no entities precluded from 
appearing as objects. It is by no means to be concluded however 
that each real entity is an immediate datum or object for some 
conscious subject. The proposition that no subsistents are real 
which appear as in no sense objects does not imply the non-exist- 
ence of indirect objects or of entities referred to but not im- 
mediately given. For the entity that is in some fashion referred 
to is not an entity that is in no sense an object. The entity that is 
in some fashion referred to can develop the appearance of being 
in some sense an object without developing the appearance of 
self-contradictoriness. Likewise it is not to be concluded that each 
real entity is definitely and fully presented. Perhaps no one knows 
whether Descartes' great-great-grandfather was tall or short. Per- 
haps Descartes' great-great-grandfather is a subsistent which ap- 
pears with few characteristics. It is a subsistent, let us suppose, 
which appears with the characteristic of being one of Descartes' 
ancestors, but without name, nationality or size. Nevertheless this 
subsistent can develop the appearance of being in some sense an 
object without developing the appearance of self-contradictori- 
ness. I may refer to each member of the unlimited world of sub- 
sistents. But this is very different from cataloging and describing 
each subsistent. Subsistents appearing as in no sense objects are 
unreal. But, so far as we have yet seen, subsistents appearing with 
vague and barren characteristics may or may not be real. 

"I know that there are Chinamen, but I know no individual 
Chinamen. ... I may be able to think the universe, but may 

76 



know little of its details. It is therefore evident," says Spaulding, 12 
"that there are two kinds of knowing." There is the full, detailed 
and explicit manner in which the pen with which I am writing 
appears as a subsistent. There is the vague indefinite and unde- 
tailed manner in which 'everything' appears. Indeed there are 
shades of definiteness, of fulness of content, between and at either 
end. A centaur is a subsistent which I consider when I seem to 
think of an animal with the body of a horse and the head of a 
man. The same subsistent appears more vaguely when I seem to 
think of a certain fabulous creature; and still more vaguely when 
I seem to think of a given subsistent. Whatever appears with the 
characteristic of being in no sense an object of consciousness is 
unreal. But up to this point we have not excluded from the world 
of existents, as we are to use the term "existence/* either 'a 
certain fabulous creature* or 'a given subsistent/ 

There is the subsistent which appears simply as a fabulous 
creature. And there is the subsistent which is less vague, which 
appears with more detailed characteristics, the subsistent which 
appears as the centaur who attempted to carry off Dejanira, the 
wife of Hercules. It is no doubt possible for these subsistents to 
be distinguished from one another and to be regarded as two. 
Nevertheless as there suggest themselves the characteristic of 
having the head of a man, the characteristic of having the body of 
a horse and the characteristic of having attempted to carry off 
Dejanira, I recognize these characteristics as implicit appearances 
of the 'certain fabulous creature* that I was already considering. 
'A certain fabulous creature* has developed into 'the centaur who 
attempted to carry off Dejanira' just as 'round square* may de- 
velop into 'round, not-round, self-contradictory square/ 18 We 
have, to be sure, distinguished the Barbarossa who appears to 
have died in Asia Minor from the Barbarossa who appears to be 
now asleep in a cave. 14 When I begin by considering a Barbarossa 
who died in Asia Minor and then come to consider a Barbarossa 
now asleep in a cave, I find that a characteristic of my former 
subsistent has been wiped out; I find that my subsistent has not 
developed but has, on the contrary, been displaced by another 
subsistent. A Barbarossa dead in Asia Minor which develops into, 
which implicitly appears as, Barbarossa now asleep in a cave is, 
let us suppose, unreal. But a Barbarossa dead in Asia Minor which 



does not so develop is, let us suppose, real, and is to be dis- 
tinguished from Barbarossa appearing as asleep in a cave. 

The fabulous creature which develops into the centaur who 
attempted to carry off Dejanira is not unreal because of any lack 
of definite characteristics. But what shall we say with respect to a 
subsistent described as 'a fabulous creature* which does not 
so develop? It too the universal negative existential propositions 
thus far adopted do not determine to be unreal. For, whereas this 
fabulous creature appears neither explicitly nor implicitly with 
definite characteristics, it does not develop the characteristic of 
being in no sense an object of consciousness and does not im- 
plicitly appear as self-contradictory. There is the fabulous crea- 
ture which implicitly appears as the centaur who attempted to 
carry off Dejanira. And there is the fabulous creature which does 
not have any explicit definite appearances. But creatures which do 
not have any explicit definite appearances may again be divided. 
There is the fabulous creature of this sort which has, or develops, 
the characteristic of being definitely presented to no conscious 
subject. And there is the fabulous creature which, whereas it 
does not develop any definite characteristics as we continue to 
consider it, develops the appearance of appearing with definite 
characteristics to some one. When I think of paleontology, for 
example, I think of nothing definite. And, since I know no 
paleontology, as I continue to consider paleontology my 
subsistent continues without definite appearances. But my sub- 
sistent takes on the characteristic of appearing with more details 
to paleontologists. On the other hand, as I consider the millionth 
digit in the square root of two, not only does my subsistent not 
take on the characteristic of being, let us say, an eight or a nine, 
but, since it seems to me that no one will carry the square root of 
two out to a million places, my subsistent takes on the character- 
istic of appearing to no one as a definite number. 

In holding self-contradictory subsistents to be unreal and in 
holding subsistents appearing as non-objects to be unreal, we do 
not mark those subsistents as unreal which appear with the 
characteristic of being definite appearances for no one. We are at 
liberty to determine the signification of ' Existence' ' in any man- 
ner that we find convenient. But to permit those subsistents to be 
real which appear to be definite appearances for no one is to make 

78 



no attempt to exclude from the world of reality those 'given en- 
tities' and 'certain subsistents' which seem to be thoroughly use- 
less. Let us then determine the signification of "existence" in such 
a manner that it will follow that subsistents with merely vague 
and undetailed appearances may in some cases be real. But let 
us hold that subsistents appearing with the characteristic of ap- 
pearing to no one in a detailed manner are unreal. Indeed, let 
us rule out of existence, not merely those subsistents which ori- 
ginally appear as detailed appearances for no one, but also those 
subsistents which take on this characteristic when it suggests it- 
self. Let us partially determine the signification of "existence/* 
that is to say, by laying down the universal negative existential 
proposition: "Subsistents explicitly or implicitly appearing as 
definite appearances for no one are unreal." And let us resolve to 
list as real no subsistent which, except for its development, is 
indistinguishable from a subsistent which we find taking on the 
characteristic of being a definite appearance for no one. 

We have in the preceding chapter adopted the rule that "our 
universal negative existential propositions should be so chosen 
that they mark out fairly definite groups of entities that are being 
assigned to the realm of non-existence." 15 In view of the fact, 
however, that there are so many shades of vagueness with which a 
subsistent may appear, the universal negative existential prop- 
osition which we have just laid down does not seem entirely satis- 
factory. Is the subsistent that is unreal the subsistent which appears 
with the characteristic of appearing to no one with as many as 
four details or is it the subsistent which appears with the charac- 
teristic of appearing to no one with as many as forty-four details? 
I believe that, without attempting at this point further to refine 
the distinction between vague appearances and detailed appear- 
ances, the universal negative existential proposition just laid down 
will be found to mark out some subsistents as unreal and to give 
some characteristic to 'reality/ We shall to some extent determine 
what is vague and what detailed as various subsistents are con- 
sidered in the course of this treatise. We shall, that is to say, point 
out certain subsistents that appear with the characteristic of ap- 
pearing to no one in a sufficiently detailed manner, subsistents 
that, we shall hold, the proposition just laid down marks out as 
unreal. 

79 



Appearing with the characteristic of appearing definitely to no 
one is to be distinguished from appearing without the character- 
istic of appearing definitely to some one. A subsistent is not un- 
real because it appears without a given characteristic. A sub- 
sistent is unreal when explicitly or implicitly it appears with the 
characteristic of being in no sense an object, with the character- 
istic, that is to say, of appearing to no one. And a subsistent is 
unreal when explicitly or implicitly it appears with the character- 
istic of appearing definitely to no one. But the subsistent which 
does not have or develop such an appearance, or the appearance 
of being self-contradictory, this subsistent, considering the impli- 
cations that may be deduced from the universal negative exist- 
ential propositions thus far adopted, need not be unreal. Likewise 
the subsistents which do not resemble one that we find developing 
the appearance of self-contradictoriness or the appearance of be- 
ing no one's definite object, these too, so far as our present re- 
solutions carry us, may be listed among existing entities. 

The universal negative existential propositions that we have 
thus far laid down in partially determining the meaning of our 
term "existence" have in one way or another suggested them- 
selves to us as a consequence of our interest in the self-contra- 
dictory. In the previous chapter we agreed to take as one starting 
point the proposition: "Self-contradictory subsistents are unreal." 
We also agreed, however, to make use of the proposition: "What- 
ever appears as lacking a date or as having no spatial position is 
unreal." From this latter proposition it follows that subsistents 
appearing as lacking any date or position are unreal along with 
subsistents appearing as self-contradictory, subsistents appearing 
as non-objects, and subsistents appearing as definite appearances 
for no one. Let us also lay down the proposition that subsistents 
developing the appearance of utter non-spatiality or the appear- 
ance of utter non-temporality are non-existent. And let us re- 
solve to list as real no subsistents, which, except for their develop- 
ment, are indistinguishable from those which in this treatise we 
find takiog on the appearance of utter non-temporality or the ap- 
pearance of utter non-spatiality. 

No subsistents are real that explicitly or implicitly appear as 
lacking all spatial position. No subsistents are real that explicitly 
or implicitly appear as utterly undated. What shall we say, how- 

80 



ever, with respect to the entity that explicitly or implicitly ap- 
pears dated with respect to one entity but not with respect to 
another? Cinderella left for the ball before she lost her slipper. 
The loss of the slipper is presented as occurring after the depar- 
ture for the ball. But it is presented, let us assume, as having 
neither preceded nor followed the fall of Constantinople. The 
fall of Constantinople, we likewise suppose, appears as having 
neither preceded nor followed the loss of the slipper. But whereas 
the fall of Constantinople appearing as not temporally related to 
the loss of the slipper appears without the claim that the loss of 
the slipper is nevertheless real, the loss of the slipper, appearing as 
not temporally related to the fall of Constantinople, does, we sup- 
pose, appear with the claim that the fall of Constantinople is 
nevertheless real. The fall of Constantinople presented in this 
fashion may, we hold, be real. The loss of the slipper we hold to 
be unreal. We mark out as unreal that entity which explicitly or 
implicitly appears as utterly undated, as undated with respect to 
any entity. And we also mark out as unreal that entity which ex- 
plicitly or implicitly appears as undated with respect to some other 
entity while appearing explicitly or implicitly with the claim that 
that other entity is nevertheless real. 

It is one thing to appear with the characteristic of lacking any 
date. It is another thing to appear without the characteristic of 
having a date. As we use the term "existence," an entity is not 
unreal in so far as it appears without a given characteristic. It is 
unreal if it appears, explicitly or implicitly, with a given charac- 
teristic, with, for example, the characteristic of having no date 
with respect to any entity, or with the characteristic of having no 
date with respect to some other entity and with the claim that 
this other entity is real. The entity that appears without the 
characteristic of having a date and without the characteristic of 
having no date may be real just as may the entity that appears 
with the characteristic of having a date. It is the entity that appears 
with the characteristic of having no date that is unreal; and the 
entity that appears with the characteristic of having no date with 
respect to an entity that appears real. 

Without forgetting that the subsistent may be real that appears 
without the characteristic of having a date and without the 
characteristic of having no date, let us consider a subsistent that 

81 



appears with the characteristic of having a date. A subsisting 
Socrates, let us suppose, appears with the characteristic of having 
a date with respect to Plato. And a phase of Socrates' life appears 
with the characteristic of being present, rather than past or fu- 
ture, with respect to a phase of Plato's life. The phase of So- 
crates' life which appears with the characteristic of being present 
with respect to a phase of Plato's life may appear with the charac- 
teristic of having a spatial position with respect to that phase of 
Plato's life or with the characteristic of having no spatial posi- 
tion with respect to that phase of Plato's life; or it may appear 
without either characteristic. But if it appears with the character- 
istic of having no spatial position with respect to an entity which 
appears real and with respect to which it appears to be present, 
then, let us say, it is unreal. As we use the term "reality," if we 
may be permitted to sum up the connections that have up to this 
point been brought out between existence, time and space, a sub- 
sistent is unreal if it appears with the characteristic of having no 
position with respect to any entity or with the characteristic of 
having no date with respect to any entity. Moreover it is unreal 
if it appears with the characteristic of having no date with respect 
to an entity that appears real; or if it appears with the character- 
istic of having no position with respect to an entity which appears 
real and with respect to which it appears present. 

An entity is unreal if it appears both real and unreal and hence 
as implicitly self-contradictory, or if it appears temporally un- 
related to an entity that appears real. It would of course be mere 
tautology to say that an entity is unreal if it is unreal. And it 
would be circular to say that an entity is unreal if it appears 
temporally unrelated to an entity that is real. But the world of 
subsistence which we are attempting to dichotomize includes, 
among other subsistents, some subsistents appearing as real and 
some subsistents appearing as unreal. It is, I believe, not tautologi- 
cal to eliminate those appearing as unreal; and not circular to 
eliminate those appearing temporally unrelated to subsistents 
appearing as real. 

We are attempting to attach a signification to "existence" that 
will definitely assign certain subsistents to the realm of unreality. 
And we are attempting to attach a signification to "existence" 
that will not assign to the realm of unreality fcubsistents which 

82 



common usage seems to be agreed in calling "real." These are 
resolves which we have adopted, although it is not logical con- 
siderations which have compelled us to adopt them. We are, I 
believe, carrying out these resolves in marking out as unreal the 
loss of Cinderella's slipper which appears undatable with respect 
to the fall of Constantinople that appears real; and the castles 
which some novelist may present to us as being present with re- 
spect to allegedly real events, with respect, let us say, to the wars 
of Charlemagne, and yet as lacking spatial position with respect 
to them. 

If, however, we were to mark out as unreal subsistents appear- 
ing to lack position with respect to entities alleged to be real 
and earlier, or if we were to mark out as unreal subsistents 
appearing to lack position with respect to entities alleged to be 
real and later, we might be assigning to the realm of unreality 
certain subsistents which are commonly called "real." The phase 
of Socrates' life in which he was about to drink the cup of hem- 
lock appears real, let us suppose; and it appears earlier than my 
present writing. I may consider however that at different times 
the earth has different positions with respect to the sun and that 
whereas, taking the earth as at rest, I am a certain distance from 
the place where Socrates was, taking the sun as at rest I am a much 
greater distance from the place where the hemlock drinking oc- 
curred. I may consider, that is to say, that Socrates^ position may 
be projected into the present in various ways and that it is only by 
taking one of these present positions as the "same" as Socrates' 
that I have position with respect to the hemlock drinking. I may 
hold that I have position primarily only with respect to present 
entities and that my position with respect to past entities is at the 
best ambiguous and is a position at all only in the sense that it is 
a position with respect to some present entity held to be in the 
"same" place. To hold then that my present writing has no un- 
ambiguous position and no direct position with respect to the 
hemlock drinking which appears both real and past might be to 
have my present writing appear as lacking position with respect to 
an entity appearing as real and with respect to which my present 
writing appears to be temporally related. And so, whereas we are, 
logically speaking, as much at liberty to mark out as unreal the 
subsistent appearing as lacking position with respect to an entity 

83 



that appears real as we are to mark out as unreal the subsistent 
appearing as lacking date with respect to an entity that appears 
real, we choose in this connection to mark out as unreal merely 
that subsistent which appears as lacking position with respect to an 
entity that appears real and with respect to which it also appears 
present. 

Certain subsistents, we say, are unreal that appear with the 
characteristic of being temporally unrelated to certain other sub- 
sistents. And certain subsistents, we say, are unreal that appear 
with the characteristic of being spatially unrelated to certain still 
other subsistents. The fall of Constantinople that appears tempo- 
rally unrelated to the loss of Cinderella's slipper that appears real 
is itself unreal. But the fall of Constantinople that appears tempo- 
rally unrelated to the loss of Cinderella's slipper that appears un- 
real, this is a different subsistent which, so far as we have yet seen, 
may be an existent entity. 

It is then certain subsistents appearing with the characteristic 
of being temporally unrelated to certain other subsistents that 
are unreal; and certain subsistents appearing with the character- 
istic of being spatially unrelated to certain still other subsistents. 
What is it however to appear temporally or spatially unrelated to 
a given entity? The entity that appears as having several dates or 
several positions with respect to a given entity does not, we hold, 
appear spatially or temporally unrelated to that entity. If Julius 
Caesar appears real and the universal 'man* appears both with the 
past date with respect to Caesar that is commonly attributed to 
Alexander the Great and the future date with respect to Caesar 
that is commonly attributed to Napoleon, then the universal 'man' 
is not appearing temporally unrelated to an entity that appears 
real. To appear temporally unrelated to a given entity is not the 
same as appearing with the characteristic of having several dates, 
or with the characteristic of having no single date, with respect 
to that entity. A universal may be real if it appears as having 
several dates and not a single date with respect to a subsistent 
that appears real; or if it appears as having several positions and 
not a single position with respect to a subsistent that appears 
real ajid with respect to which some of its instances appear to be 
present. But the universal that appears to have no one date and 
no several dates, no one position and no several positions, such a 

84 



universal is unreal in the sense in which we choose to use the term 
"real." 

A subsistent is unreal if it appears with the characteristic of 
having no date with respect to any entity or with the character- 
istic of having no date with respect to an entity that appears real. 
Also a subsistent is unreal if it appears with the characteristic of 
having no position with respect to any entity or with the character- 
istic of having no position with respect to an entity that appears 
real and with respect to which it appears present. What appears 
nowhere appears with the characteristic of having no position with 
respect to any entity. What appears everywhere appears, taken 
distributively, with the characteristic of having many positions 
and, taken collectively, with the characteristic of having one very 
vague position with respect to any entity with respect to which 
it appears present. The subsistent appearing to be everywhere, 
taken distributively, may, it would seem, be real. The subsistent 
appearing to be nowhere is, as we use "existence/* unreal. But 
what shall we say with respect to the subsistent appearing to be 
everywhere, taken collectively? Shall we say that the cosmos, Space, 
Time, etc., appearing as each having a single indefinite date with 
respect to each entity that appears real may themselves be real? 
Or shall we mark out as unreal not only those entities appearing 
as having no date but also those appearing as having only an in- 
definite date? 

A subsistent, we have seen, may appear with many or with few 
characteristics. 16 There are various degrees of accuracy or of vague- 
ness with which it may be described and with which it may appear. 
Similarly there are degrees of accuracy, we may say, with which a 
subsistent may appear dated. With respect to the death of Napo- 
leon, the Roman republic, the life of Cicero and the delivery 
of the first oration against Catiline all appear earlier. But the de- 
livery of the first oration against Catiline appears with a more 
definite date with respect to the death of Napoleon than does the 
Roman republic. With respect to Napoleon's death, one subsistent 
may appear much earlier, another slightly earlier. But one may 
also appear as rather definitely dated, another as not so definitely 
dated. In determining the signification of our term "existence," 
we choose to make no use of the distinction between the sub- 
sistent appearing as much earlier and the subsistent appearing as 

85 



slightly earlier, or the distinction between the subsistent appear- 
ing as earlier, the subsistent appearing as present and the subsist- 
ent appearing as later. But in order to eliminate from the world of 
reality subsistents that seem to be vague and unmanageable, 17 let 
us mark out as unreal certain subsistents appearing with indefinite 
dates. A subsistent is unreal, we have said, if it appears with the 
characteristic of having no date with respect to any entity or with 
the characteristic of having no date with respect to an entity that 
appears real. A subsistent is also unreal, let us add, if it appears 
with the characteristic of having only a very indefinite date with 
respect to an entity that appears real. If, that is to say, the death 
of Napoleon appears real and the Cosmos or the time continuum 
as a whole appears with the characteristic of having only a very 
indefinite date with respect to Napoleon's death, then, as we use 
the term "existence," the subsisting Cosmos or the subsisting time 
continuum, appearing in this fashion, is unreal. 

Similarly with position. A subsistent is unreal, we have said, 
if it appears with the characteristic of having no position with re- 
spect to any entity or with the characteristic of having no position 
with respect to an entity which appears real and with respect to 
which it appears present. A subsistent is also unreal, let us add, 
if it appears with the characteristic of having only a very indefi- 
nite position with respect to an entity which appears real and with 
respect to which it appears present. We may again take the Cosmos 
as our example, or, better, that instantaneous phase of the Cos- 
mos which may be alleged to have been the state of the Cosmos 
when Napoleon died. If Napoleon dying at St. Helena appears 
real and this state of the Cosmos appears both with the character- 
istic of being present with respect to the dying Napoleon and with 
the characteristic of having only a very indefinite position with 
respect to him, then this state of the Cosmos is appearing with 
characteristics which, as we use "existence," mark it as unreal. 

An everlasting subsistent, taken collectively, is unreal in so far 
as it appears, explicitly or implicitly, with the characteristic of 
having only a very indefinite date with respect to an entity that 
appears real. An instantaneous but unlimited Space, as dis- 
tinguished from limited portions of it, is unreal in so far as it 
appears, explicitly or implicitly, with the characteristic of having 
only a very indefinite position with respect to an entity which 

86 



appears real and with respect to which it appears present. An ever- 
lasting subsistent or an unlimited Space that appears without 
these characteristics is not ruled out of existence by the universal 
negative existential propositions which we have thus far adopted. 
It is ruled out only in so far as we take up for consideration some 
individual subsistent alleged to be everlasting or some individual 
subsistent described as an unlimited Space, find it unreal in ac- 
cordance witth the universal negative existential proposition 
just accepted, and thereupon resolve to list no similar subsistents 
among those we call "real." 18 

Whac is it, however, to appear with the characteristic of having 
only a very indefinite date? The time continuum taken as a 
whole appears, we say, at least implicitly, with the characteristic 
of having only a very indefinite date with respect to the death of 
Napoleon that appears real. The delivery of the first oration 
against Catiline appears with a rather definite date, the Roman 
republic with a less definite date, with respect to the same entity. 
But just how vaguely, it may be asked, must an entity be dated for 
it to appear with the characteristic of having only a very indefi- 
nite date? In discussing the proposition that whatever appears with 
the characteristic of being a definite appearance for no one is un- 
real, we made no attempt to mark out any clear line of separation 
between the vague and the detailed, between definite appearances 
and indefinite appearances. 19 Similarly at this point we shall not 
attempt accurately to determine which dates are fairly definite 
and which are so indefinite that subsistents appearing to have 
them are unreal. The subsisting Cosmos that I am now consider- 
ing appears with the characteristic of having only a very indefinite 
date with respect to the death of Napoleon that appears real. The 
Roman republic that I am now considering appears with the 
characteristic of having a not very definite date with respect to 
the death of Napoleon that appears real. But neither explicitly 
nor implicitly does it appear with the characteristic of having 
a date of such indefiniteness that our existential proposition 
marks it out as unreal. In short, somewhere between the Cosmos 
on the one hand and the Roman republic or the Middle Ages on 
the other, there is a line to be drawn between the subsistent appear- 
ing with a characteristic that marks it out as unreal and the sub- 
sistent with a characteristic that does not mark it out as unreal. 

87 



Since however we are determining the meaning of "existence" 
only in order that we may determine the ontological status of such 
entities as are to be considered in this treatise, we shall not at- 
tempt to place this line more accurately until occasion, if ever, 
requires it. 

Whatever explicitly or implicitly appears as self-contradictory 
or as not an object or as a definite appearance for no one is un- 
real. Whatever explicitly or implicitly appears as lacking any date 
or as having no date with respect to an entity that appears real or 
as having only a very indefinite date with respect to an entity that 
appears real, that too is unreal. And so is the subsistent that ex- 
plicitly or implicitly appears as lacking any position; the subsistent 
that explicitly or implicitly appears as having no position with 
respect to an entity which appears real and with respect to which 
it appears present; and the subsistent that explicitly or implicitly 
appears as having only a very indefinite position with respect to 
an entity which appears real and with respect to which it appears 
present. These are propositions which partially determine the 
meaning being assigned our term "existence." Together they 
assign to the realm of the non-existent many subsistents and they 
attribute to 'existence' the characteristic of freedom from self- 
contradiction, freedom from utter non-spatiality, freedom from 
this, and freedom from that. Our studies in the preceding chapter 
left us with the resolve to examine and to utilize in our proposi- 
tions explaining "existence** the notions of self-contradiction, of 
time, and of space. The propositions with which this paragraph 
begins are the result. 

We already know that the propositions thus far accepted will 
not suffice to give our term "existence" a precise meaning. We 
already know that in the end our universal negative existential 
propositions will have to be supplemented by singular or particu- 
lar existential propositions, both affirmative and negative. But 
before we resort to singular existential propositions, let us at- 
tempt to develop additional universal negative propositions. Leav- 
ing self-contradiction and space and time behind, let us attempt to 
3&ark out some additional subsisting entities as unreal. The un- 
limited space which appears as having only an indefinite position 
with respect to the dying Napoleon who appears real and with 
respect to whom thi$ unlimited space appears present, the eternal 

8S 



verity which appears utterly timeless and the square circle which 
appears self-contradictory, these subsistents are already marked 
out as unreal. But before we resort to individual existential prop- 
ositions, let us attempt to eliminate the phlogiston that does not 
appear self-contradictory, the present King of France who does 
not appear to lack position with respect to me, and the sleeping 
Barbarossa who does not appear undated. 

When I think of the King of England I seem to have a feeling 
of acceptance or assent or belief. No feeling of hesitation or of 
disbelief seems to intervene. But when I press my eyeball and seem 
to see a second rose in the vase on my desk, or when I try to im- 
agine a man walking upside down on my ceiling, I may become 
aware of a feeling of hesitation, a feeling of dissent or rejection 
or disbelief. The King of England that I am now considering 
appears with the characteristic of being in some sense an object. 
And it appears with the characteristic of being an object such that 
the apparent awareness of it is generally accompanied by a feeling 
of belief. The man on my ceiling that I am now considering also 
appears with the characteristic of being in some sense an object. 
But it appears with the characteristic of being an object such that 
the apparent awareness of it is generally accompanied by a feel- 
ing of disbelief. The subsisting man on my ceiling and the sub- 
sisting second rose in the vase on my desk, unlike the King of Eng- 
land whom I am considering, appear with the characteristic of 
being generally discredited. They are therefore, let us say, unreal. 
Let us lay down the universal negative existential proposition that 
whatever explicitly or implicitly appears as generally discredited 
is unreal. And when a subsistent, as we develop it, takes on the 
characteristic of appearing generally discredited, let us resolve to 
list as real no subsistent which, except for its development, is in- 
distinguishable from it. 

The man on my ceiling, the second rose in the vase on my desk, 
phlogiston, and the sleeping Barbarossa, all of these subsistents, 
as we develop them, implicitly appear with the characteristic of 
being generally discredited. These subsistents are therefore un- 
real. And no other subsisting men on my ceiling, phlogistons, or 
sleeping Barbarossas will be listed among the entities we are to 
enumerate as real. Some subsisting King of England does, we may 
suppose, develop the appearance of being generally discredited, 

89 



and is likewise unreal. But since the subsisting King of England 
which we are considering does not develop this appearance, this 
subsisting King of England, and other subsisting Kings of England 
which, like it, do not develop the appearance of being generally 
discredited, may very well be real. 

No subsistent is real which appears with the characteristic of 
being generally discredited, with the characteristic of lacking all 
position, or with any one of various other characteristics. Repre- 
senting that which appears with the characteristic of being self- 
contradictory by the letter A, that which appears with the char- 
acteristic of being generally discredited by the letter J, and so 
on, we may say that no subsisting A's or B's or ... or J's are real. 
To exist is at the least to be free from A-ness and B-ness . . . and 
J-ness. But the subsistents that do not appears as A's or B's or as 
J's, the subsistents that neither explicitly nor implicitly appear 
with the characteristic of being self-contradictory or with the 
characteristic of being generally discredited are some of them 
real and some of them unreal. To exist is not merely to be free 
from A-ness, from B-ness, from . . . and from J-ness. To exist is in 
addition to be enumerated as real in one of our individual affir- 
mative existential propositions. Some of the subsistents which do 
not appear as A's or B's or ... or J's we have agreed not so to 
enumerate. We have agreed not to enumerate as real any sub- 
sistent, which, except for its development, is indistinguishable 
from one which, as we develop it, implicitly appears as an A or 
a B or ... or a J. Since the subsisting phlogiston which we are 
now considering appears with the characteristic of being generally 
discredited, we resolve not to enumerate as real any subsisting 
phlogiston. But 'the fiftieth President of the United States, a So- 
cialist named Jones' appears neither self-contradictory nor gen- 
erally discredited; and, considering this subsistent as an individ- 
ual subsistent, we have no rule to guide us and to determine us 
to list this subsistent as real rather than as unreal. It is not all 
subsistents not appearing as self-contradictory, etc., which are 
real; not even all subsistents not appearing to resemble one which, 
as we develop it, appears as self-contradictory. Reality is limited 
to those subsistents really free from self-contradictoriness. And 
those entities that are really free from self-contradictoriness can 
be further described only by enumerating some of them. 

90 



No subsistent is real which explicitly or implicitly appears as an 
A, a B, or ... or a J. With respect to the subsistent which neither 
explicitly nor implicitly appears as an A, a B, or ... or a J, it is 
real if listed below as X if X 2 , or ... or X n , unreal if listed below 
as YI, Y 2 , or ... or Y a . To exist is to appear free from A-ness, B- 
ness, . . . J~ness and to be enumerated as an X. To be unreal is to 
appear explicitly or implicitly as an A, a B, or ... or a J; or to be 
enumerated as a Y. In so far as a subsistent does not appear as an 
A or ... or a J and is not enumerated as an X or as a Y, its existen- 
tial status is left undetermined and the significations of our terms 
"existence" and "non-existence" are left with some vagueness. It 
will be found however that our universal negative existential 
propositions: "No subsistent appearing as an A exists," etc., taken 
in conjunction with our existential propositions: "Xi, etc. exists," 
"Yi, etc. does not exist," determine with reasonable precision the 
characteristics of 'existence* and 'non-existence* and will enable 
us to determine the existential status of most of the subsistents 
presented to us in the course of this treatise. When we have with 
a similar precision determined what it is to be true, we shall, I 
believe, be in a position to investigate various problems of con- 
cern to the metaphysician with a well-founded hope of being able 
to determine which of the entities discussed in these problems are 
real, and with a well-founded hope of being able to determine 
which of the propositions in which attitudes towards these prob- 
lems may be expressed are true. 

And so, before we turn from the distinction between the real 
and the unreal to the distinction between the true and the false, 
we have only to give the following recapitulation of the character- 
istics for which A, B, etc. stand and the following lists of X's and 
Y's. 

A Self-contradictory. 

B In no sense an object of consciousness. 

C A definite appearance for no subject. 

D Lacking all date. 

E Having no date with respect to an entity that 
appears real. 

F Having only a very indefinite date with respect 
to an entity that appears real. 

G Lacking all position. 

91 



H Having no position with respect to an entity 
which appears real and with respect to which it 
appears present. 

I Having only a very indefinite position with re- 
spect to an entity which appears real and with 
respect to which it appears present. 
J Generally discredited. 



APPENDIX 

A List of Certain Subsistents A List of Certain Subsistents 

which, appearing neither ex- which, even when they appear 

plicitly nor implicitly as self- neither explicitly nor iniplic- 

contradictory, undated, etc., are itly as self-contradictory, un- 

real. dated, etc., are nevertheless 

Xi unreal. 

X 2 - Y x - 

Xa- Y 2 - 

X 4 - Y 8 - 



(I ask the reader to assume that there have just been enumerated 
each of the entities that will later be referred to as having been 
listed in this appendix) 



Summary 

We explain our term "existence" fairly adequately through 
singular existential propositions and the following universal prop- 
ositions: 

1. No entity is real which is presented as self-contradictory. 

2. No entity is real which is presented as in no sense an object 
of consciousness. 

3. No entity is real which is presented as a definite appearance 
for no subject. 

4. No entity is real which is presented as lacking all date. 

92 



5. No entity is real which is presented as having no date with 
respect to an entity that appears real. 

6. No entity is real which is presented as having only a very 
indefinite date with respect to an entity that appears real. 

7. No entity is real which is presented as lacking all position. 

8. No entity is real which is presented as having no position 
with respect to an entity which appears real and contempo- 
raneous with it. 

9. No entity is real which is presented as having only a very 
indefinite position with respect to an entity which appears 
real and contemporaneous with it. 

10. No entity is real which is presented as generally discredited. 

Propositions 1, 4 and 7 seem to give our term "existence" a 
meaning in accord with common usage. But they leave the exis- 
tential status of various subsistents undetermined to a greater 
extent than is desirable. By considering 1, 4 and 7 in turn, we 
are led to choose to supplement them with 2 and then with 3, 
with 5 and 6, and with 8 and 9. Proposition 10 is added in an 
effort to enlarge the content of the world of non-existing entities 
in our sense of "existence" and to reduce the reliance that has to 
be placed on individual existential propositions. 

The discussion of proposition 2 is probably of greatest general 
interest. The position taken is that the entity in no sense an 
object of consciousness appears with the characteristic of being 
implicitly self-contradictory and hence is unreal. 



93 



Chapter IV 
TOWARDS DETERMINING THE MEANING OF "TRUTH" 



At this point in our story the meaning of our term "existence" 
has been more or less determined. At this point we have agreed 
that certain entities YI, Y 2 , Y 8 , even when appearing neither ex- 
plicitly nor implicitly as self-contradictory, as undated, etc., are 
unreal. And we have agreed that certain entities Xi, X 2 , X 3 , when 
appearing neither explicitly nor implicitly as self-contradictory or 
as undated, etc., are real in the sense in which we are using the 
term "reality." Now, among the entities which are real in our sense 
of "reality/' among the entities Xi, X 2 , X 3 , are certain words. The 
word "Socrates," occurring in the copy of Plato's "Republic" that 
is in my library and appearing neither explicitly nor implicitly as 
self-contradictory, etc., is a real entity. And the word "Ivanhoe" 
appearing with the characteristic of being in my copy of Scott's 
novel is likewise a real entity. 

Each entity that can be discussed is a subsistent. Some of these 
subsistents, as, for example, the words "Socrates" and "Ivanhoe" 
to which we have just pointed, are real entities. And^omeVtf these 
subsistents are entities which, in our sense of the term "existence," 
are unreal entities. Without stopping to enquire whether they are 
real or unreal, let us note that within the world of subsistents there 
appear the entities: 'Socrates, the Athenian philosopher' and 'Ivan- 
hoe, the medieval knight/ Thus we seem to have before us the sub- 
sistent 'Socrates, the Athenian philosopher' whose ontological 
status we may for the present leave undetermined, and an instance 
of the word "Socrates" which is real; the subsistent 'Ivanhoe, the 
medieval knight', whose ontological status we may for the present 
leave undetermined, and an instance of the word "Ivanhoe" which 

94 



is real. Obviously there is a certain connection or a certain pseudo- 
connection between the real word "Socrates" and the subsistent: 
'Socrates, the Athenian philosopher/ between the real word 
"Ivanhoe" and the subsistent: Ivanhoe, the medieval knight/ 
To put it briefly, the word "Socrates" represents or intends to. 
represent the Athenian philosopher and the word "Ivanhoe" 
represents or intends to represent the medieval knight. It would 
carry us too far afield to attempt at this stage in our exposition to 
analyze what this representation or this intention to represent 
consists in. 1 Let us note simply that certain words are real and that 
by virtue of their being words they seem to intend, to point to, or 
to represent, certain other subsistents which may or may not be 
real. 

The wc5rd "Socrates," occurring in my copy of Plato's "Repub- 
lic" is real; and the word "Ivanhoe" occurring in my copy of 
Scott's novel is real. In a similar fashion the words "man" and N 
"large" appearing with the characteristic of occurring on this page 
are each of them subsistents which are'real. Wherea^, however, 
the words "Socrates" and "Ivanhoe" represent or intffod to repre- 
sent Subsistents which, if real, are individual substances, "man" 
and "large^ represent or intend to represent subsistents which, 
if real, arean the one case a universal substance^and in the other 
case a universal quality. Nonetheless, the instances of "man" and 
"large" to which reference has just been made are words which 
are real, words which are to be kept in view along with "Socrates" 
and "Ivanhoe." Indeed, we may enlarge the domain of real en- 
tities to which we are attending by pointing to the words: "walk- 
ing quickly down the street" and to the words: "President of the 
United States." Each of these word groups subsisting with the 
characteristic of occurring on this page is real and each of them 
represents or intends to represent a subsistent which if real is 
a quality or substance outside of this page. There is then one 
instance of the word "Socrates" which is real, one instance of 
"Ivanhoe," one instance of "man/' one instance of "large," one 
instance of "walking quickly down the street" and one instance of 
"President of the United States." Without further ado we may 
say at once that many words and word groups are real, and that 
many sentences are real. We may agree, for example, that each 
of the preceding sentences in your copy of this book, appearing 

95 



neither explicitly nor implicitly as undated, etc. is a real sen- 
tence. And we may agree that each of these sentences contains 
words, word groups and phrases which severally represent, or 
intend to represent, subsistents which may or may not be real. 

We are working in this chapter towards the determination of 
the significations to be assigned the terms "truth" and "falsity." 
And we have come to have before us for our consideration various 
real sentences, as, for example, the preceding sentences in your 
copy of this book, in order that we may apply the distinction be- 
tween the true and the false somewhere within the realm of real 
sentences. It may be well therefore at this point to note that the 
adjectives "true" and "false" as they occur in common speech 
are by no means exclusively associated with such entities as sent- 
ences. We commonly speak of true sentences, true propositions, 
true judgments, true pictures, true ideas, true beliefs and true 
friends. And so we ask ourselves whether, when we attempt to 
determine the signification of "truth" by applying the distinction 
between the true and the false somewhere within the realm of real 
sentences, we are maintaining the contact with ordinary usage 
that we wish to maintain. In so far as truth is commonly predi- 
cated of such entities as propositions and judgments, we need 
not be disturbed. For our concern with words, terms and sentences 
will guide our attention to propositions and to judgments and 
will enable us to point out certain entities to be called true prop- 
ositions, certain entities to be called true judgments and certain 
entities to be called false propositions. But the signification of 
"truth" which we are developing will not enable us to apply the 
distinction between the true and the false to friends or to pictures, 
to beliefs or to ideas. 

What we commonly call a true friend is, I suppose, a devoted 
friend, a real friend; what we commonly call a false friend an 
apparent friend who is not a friend. The distinction between the 
real on the one hand and the unreal on the other is, it appears, 
involved in the distinction between the so-called true friend and 
the so-called false friend. Let us not use "true" and "false" to 
point to the very distinction to which the contrast between the 
real and the unreal points. And so let us not determine the sig- 
nification of our term "truth" in such a way that there will be 
true friends and false friends. 

96 



Just as it is the distinction between the real and the unreal 
rather than the distinction between the true and the false that, 
we shall say, applies to friends, so it is the distinction between 
knowledge and error rather than the distinction between the 
true and the false that applies, in our terminology, to such psy- 
chological or epistemological entities as may be called ideas, 
opinions, or beliefs. In a later chapter we shall deal at some length 
with the distinction between knowledge and error. 2 And so we 
are not permanently neglecting this important distinction when 
we leave beliefs, ideas and opinions out of consideration in con- 
cerning ourselves with the notion of truth and with the distinction 
between the true and the false. 

The words, word groups and phrases that occur in sentences 
represent, as we have seen, 3 or intend to represent, subsistent 
entities other than themselves. And the truth or falsity of these 
sentences depends, we shall hold, upon the ontological status of 
these subsistent entities that are intended to be represented. There 
is a sense then in which sentences look beyond themselves and in 
which their truth or falsity depends upon their correspondence 
with entities beyond themselves. What more natural, then, than 
that pictures should be called true or false and that their truth 
or falsity should be held to depend upon their correspondence or 
lack of correspondence with the objects they intend to portray? 
Despite the similarity between words and pictures, however, I 
believe we are not violating the ordinary usage of words in dis- 
tinguishing between words and pictures, and in making the 
distinction between truth and falsity one which does not apply 
to pictures but, rather, applies exclusively to words and their 
derivatives, to sentences, propositions and judgments. 

It is within the realm of real sentences that we shall first at- 
tempt to apply. the distinction between the true and the false. 
And yet it is not each real sentence that we shall hold is either 
true or false. There is the real sentence: "Where are you going?" 
and the real sentence: "Shut the door"; but "Where are you go- 
ing?" is not true and "Shut the door" not false. It is: "You seem 
to be going some place" that may be true, "I desire you to shut 
the door" that may be false. The distinction between the true 
and the false, in short, is to be applied only to real sentences that 
are declarative, not to real sentences that are interrogations or 

97 



commands. 

Just as "Shut the door" is neither true nor false, so it is, as we 
shall use the terms "truth" and "falsity," with the sentence: 
"Take as your alleged object a subsisting Socrates." A subsisting 
Socrates is presented as a datum; but the mere presentation in- 
volves no assertion to be concurred in or denied. Similarly with 
the sentence: 'Socrates is (i.e., appears as) a subsistent." "Socrates 
subsists" expresses no real assertion, adds nothing to the datum 
that "Subsisting Socrates" seems to present. Nor have we arrived 
at a real assertion when the subsisting Socrates as a subsistent is 
said to appear with various characteristics. For "Socrates appears 
or subsists as a Greek and as a philosopher" still merely presents 
an alleged datum and expresses no attitude with respect to this 
datum that can be concurred in or denied. It is, one might say, 
synonymous with: "Let Socrates be a Greek philosopher." Only 
declarative sentences, we have said, are true or false. But sentences 
of the type: "X subsists" or "X does not subsist" or "X subsists 
with characteristic A," although declarative in form, are rather to 
be classed with interrogations and commands than with the 
declarative sentences to which we shall apply the distinction be- 
tween the true and the false. 

The only sentences that we shall call true or false are declara- 
tive sentences, declarative sentences which are real and which 
contain words, word groups or phrases which severally represent 
or intend to represent subsistent entities. Among these declara- 
tive sentences which we have before us, however, there are some 
which do not conform to the grammar of the language in which 
they are expressed. The English sentence "Green is or" is ungram- 
matical and so is "We am here." It is desirable that we put such 
sentences aside in working towards the determination of the 
signification of "truth"; for without such an elimination we have 
the task of applying the distinction between the true and the 
false to many sentences which are incomprehensible or ambigu- 
ous. The rules of grammar are many and vary from language to 
language. They are however rather definite and are fairly gen- 
erally understood. With respect to any given sentence it is usu- 
ally obvious that it does, or that it does not, conform to the 
grammar of the language in which it is expressed. It is generally 
agreed, for example, that each English declarative sentence must 

98 



have a verb and a subject. And so it is clear that a given sentence 
which contains no subject is a sentence to which, in the sense in 
which we are using the terms "truth" and "falsity," the distinc- 
tion between the true and the false does not apply. It may like- 
wise be said to be a rule of English grammar that the subject 
must be a noun or pronoun. And so, if "Green is a color" is to 
be held to be a sentence to which the distinction between the 
true and the false applies, the word "green" as it occurs in this 
sentence must be held to be a noun. Let us hold that in our 
sentence "Green is a color" the word "green" is indeed a noun. 
Let us hold that this instance of the word "green" represents a 
substance whose important and outstanding quality is its green- 
ness. Let us, consequently, agree to use "truth" and "falsity" in 
such a manner that the distinction between the true and the false 
applies to our sentence: "Green is a color." It is only with respect 
to some few sentences"Green is a color" is one of them that 
their conformity or lack of conformity to the rules of grammar 
is disputable. And so it is only a few sentences and a few grammat- 
ical rules that we need discuss in order to make clear which sen- 
tences we are eliminating from further consideration in working 
towards the determination of the signification of "truth." 

The subject of a grammatical English declarative sentence must 
be a noun or a pronoun. Our sentence: "Green is a color" is 
grammatically correct in that "green" is in this instance a noun. 
Our sentence: "White is always serviceable" is grammatically 
correct in that "white" in this instance modifies some such noun 
as "clothing" which has been elided. Not only, however, must the 
subject of a grammatical English declarative sentence be a noun 
or pronoun; with certain predicates, abstract nouns are ruled out 
as possible subjects of grammatical English declarative sentences. 
"Brightness is fire" is not grammatically correct. It is a sentence 
to which, as we employ "truth," the distinction between truth and 
falsity does not apply. There is, to be sure, the grammatically 
correct sentence: "Brightness is cheerful" and the grammatically 
correct sentence: "Charity is godliness." 4 But a sentence whose 
subject-term is an abstract noun is never grammatically correct, 
we hold, when this subject-term is copulated with a concrete noun 
or when the predicate-term is a cognate verb. "Brightness is fire" 
is, we hold, ungrammatical; and so is "Motion moves." "Bright- 

99 



ness is fire" and "Motion moves" are both sentences, we hold, 
that lie outside the distinction between the true and the false. 
They are sentences to be eliminated from our further considera- 
tion along with "Green is or" and "We am here" in so far as we 
are working towards the determination of the signification of 
"truth." 

At this point we have before us sentences which are real, sent- 
ences containing words, word-groups and phrases which severally 
represent, or intend to represent, subsistents, sentences which 
are declarative, which do not merely predicate subsistence, and 
which conform to the grammatical rules of the language in which 
they are expressed. These sentences which we have before us are, 
let us say, propositions. And so we may say that sentences which 
are not propositions are neither true nor false; and we may say 
that, with respect to sentences, it is within the realm of proposi- 
tions that the distinction between the true and the false is to 
be applied. 

Among the propositions which we have before us, let us pick 
out for special consideration those sentences of ours which are 
singular affirmative existential propositions. There is, for exam- 
ple, the proposition: "Socrates, the Athenian philosopher, exists" 
and there is the proposition: "Ivanhoe, the medieval knight, 
exists." It is with respect to propositions having this form that 
we shall find it simplest to apply the distinction between the 
true and the false and thus partially to explain our term "truth." 
Our sentence: "Socrates exists" is a true proposition, we shall say, 
if, and only if, in our sense of "existence," the entity exists which 
the word "Socrates" as it occurs in this sentence intends to repre- 
sent. And our sentence: "Ivanhoe exists" is a true proposition 
as we use the term "truth" if, and only if, in our sense of "exist- 
ence," the entity exists which the word "Ivanhoe" as it occurs in 
this sentence intends to represent. Since Socrates, the Athenian 
philosopher, appearing neither explicitly nor implicitly as self- 
contradictory or as undated, etc., is real in the sense in which 
we are using the term "reality," the real proposition: "Socrates 
exists" which occurs on this page is true in the sense in which 
we are using the term "truth." And since Ivanhoe the medieval 
knight, even when he appears neither explicitly nor implicitly as 
contradictory or as undated, is unreal, our sentence: "Ivanhoe 

100 



exists" is in our terminology an untrue or false proposition. We 
have thus certain real propositions definitely marked out as true 
in our sense of "truth" and certain real propositions definitely 
marked out as false in our sense of "falsity." We have thus made 
a beginning in determining the meaning of our term "truth." 

It is a simple matter to go on to determine the truth or falsity 
of our negative singular existential propositions. Our sentence: 
"Socrates does not exist" is false, let us say, if the entity exists 
that the word "Socrates" as used in this sentence intends to repre- 
sent; true if this entity does not exist. We are in a position, it 
follows, to determine the truth or falsity of any singular existen- 
tial proposition of ours. If the individual exists that our word X 
intends to represent, "X exists" is true and "X does not exist" 
false. And if the individual that our word X intends to represent 
does not exist, "X exists" is false and "X does not exist" true. In 
their application to singular existential propositions of ours, the 
significations which we are assigning to the terms "truth" and 
"falsity" have thus been determined. 

To the extent to which we have thus far determined the signi- 
fications of "truth" and "falsity," we have done so by referring 
back to the distinction between the real and the unreal. Roughly 
speaking, we have made the distinction between the real and the 
unreal prior to the distinction between the true and the false; 
and we have explained "truth" in terms of "reality." There are 
those however who would object to the treatment of reality and 
truth in this order. Truth, according to Bertrand Russell, 5 is 
prior to reality, not reality prior to truth. When we discuss reality, 
we do so'by means of propositions. And our discussion of reality 
has validity, it is held, only in so far as our propositions referring 
to reality are true. "When I say: this paper exists, I must," says 
Moore, 6 "require that this proposition be true." If I am to make 
valid remarks about reality, I must, it is held, already know what 
constitutes validity, I must already understand the term "truth." 
Do we however avoid such objections when we begin with a dis- 
cussion of truth and proceed thence to a discussion of reality? The 
distinction between truth and falsity, after it has once been put 
before us, applies to all propositions including those in which 
"reality" is explained. Similarly, however, the distinction between 
the real and the unreal, after it has once been put before us, 

101 



applies to all entities including the sentences in which the mean- 
ing of "truth" is discussed. Unless these sentences are real, 
they can neither be true nor determine for us the meaning 
of "truth." A discussion of truth presupposes the reality of the 
sentences in which truth is discussed just as a discussion of reality 
presupposes the truth of the propositions in which reality is dis- 
cusssed. In a sense, then, truth presupposes reality; and reality 
presupposes truth. Wherever we begin we find ourselves in a circle 
rather than at the beginning of a linear chain. Indeed this circle 
is even narrower than we have yet indicated. Not only does truth 
in a sense presuppose reality, and reality truth; but reality in a 
sense presupposes reality and truth presupposes truth. Just as the 
sentences are real in which we determine the meaning of "truth," 
so the sentences are real in which we determine the meaning 
of "reality." And just as some of the propositions are true 
in which we discuss reality, so some of the propositions are true 
in which we discuss truth. In a sense we can not discuss reality 
unless we make use of real sentences and we can not make valid 
propositions referring to truth unless these propositions are them- 
selves valid and true, unless, it may be said, we already know what 
validity and truth are. 

It would be absurd to hold that such observations prevent us 
from ever properly discussing either truth or reality. When we 
attend to a concept with the purpose of discussing, analyzing and 
defining it, we are not always introducing a term which has no 
relevance to anything that has gone before. Rather we clarify a 
concept so that as a result of the discussion the application of the 
concept will be clear both with respect to what has preceded and 
with respect to what is to follow. The sentences in the first chap- 
ter of your copy of this book are real, but we did not know them 
to be real until we had determined the signification of "reality." 
The propositions in which we determine the significations of 
"truth" and "falsity" are true; but we do not know them to be 
true until we shall have determined the signification of "truth." 
Without knowing a given sentence to be real or true we can 
gather from it the signification that is being assigned "truth" or 
"reality." And so a valid discussion of either truth or reality takes 
place through the medium of propositions which are true and 
of entities which are real, although these propositions are not 

102 



revealed as true and these entities are not revealed as real until the 
discussion has been completed. Obviously the distinction between 
the real and the unreal applies to all entities and, limiting our 
attention to propositions occurring in this treatise, the distinction 
between the true and the false applies, we shall hold, 7 to all 
propositions. If this is the case, then we can not discuss either 
'truth' or 'reality* by means of propositions without making use 
of entities to which these distinctions which are in the course of 
being elucidated already apply. But we can, we hold, and in many 
cases must, analyze and define concepts whose application is not 
limited to what is to follow. With both 'truth' and 'reality/ this 
is the case; and it is as much the case with the one as with the 
other. In exposition, we hold, we are at liberty to begin with 
either concept and then to proceed to the other. Our difficulties 
are just as great, or, we should hold, just as unimportant, whether 
we begin with reality and proceed to a discussion of truth or 
whether we begin with truth and proceed to a discussion of 
reality. 

It has been our decision to begin with a discussion of "reality " 
and to explain "truth" in terms of 'reality/ If the argument of the 
preceding paragraph is sound, there is no logical reason to com- 
pel us to alter this decision and to begin instead with a discus- 
sion of "truth/' But, we may ask, are there not motives of ex- 
pediency that may determine us to alter our decision? Before we 
proceed to explain "truth" in terms of reality, will it not be well 
for us to consider the possibility of explaining "reality" in terms 
of 'truth' or at least of explaining "truth" without referring back 
to a previous discussion of 'reality'? To explain "truth" in terms 
of reality is not logically unsound, but it may be inexpedient. 
And explaining "truth" without referring back to a previous dis- 
cussion of reality, whereas it is not logically necessary, may make 
for greater simplicity in exposition. 

There are those, we have seen, 8 who hold that truth is prior to 
reality. A proposition or judgment is true or false, it may be said, 
not according as the entities intended to be represented by its 
terms are real or unreal, but rather according as it has or lacks 
intrinsic marks which directly determine it to be true. Certain 
judgments, it may be said, come before our minds with an insist- 
ence and a claim that forces us to recognize them as true; and 

103 



certain judgments come before our minds, it may be said, with a 
weakness and a logical unattractiveness that forces us to reject 
them as false. Thus "two and two are four," it may be said, is 
true, not because of anything concerning the ontological status 
of 'two' and 'four/ but because "two and two are four" has an 
intrinsic vitality and claim which we are bound to recognize. 
"The recognition of the claim of a judgment/' says Rickert, 9 
"constitutes its truth." In no other way, he holds, is truth to be 
defined. For, he continues, "truth can only be defined as the 
peculiar value that judgments have." There is here an attempt to 
discuss truth without reference to reality. And since we may 
begin with either concept, since, moreover, we are at liberty to 
assign to terms whatever significations we please, there is no logi- 
cal objection that can be raised against this procedure. We may 
introduce the term "truth" without referring to a previous dis- 
cussion of "reality." And we may subsequently introduce the term 
"reality" by saying that an entity is real when the judgment that it 
is real has the validity, the claim upon us, that characterizes true 
judgments. But whereas there are no logical objections that can 
be raised against this procedure, we may question whether a pro- 
cedure of this sort explains with any success either "truth" or 
"reality." And we may question whether a procedure of this sort 
assists us in any way in applying the distinction between the true 
and the false to individual propositions and judgments. If we are 
in doubt as to the truth of an instance of "Ivanhoe exists," it will 
not help us to be told that "Ivanhoe exists" is true if it has a 
claim upon us. For, we may ask with James, 10 "What do you mean 
by 'claim' here?" But it will help us to be told that our sentence 
"Ivanhoe exists" is true if Ivanhoe the medieval knight is a real 
entity; and then to be referred back to the rather full discussion 
of reality in chapter three. 

Just as it may be said that a judgment is true if intrinsically 
it has a claim upon us, so it may be said that a judgment is true 
if intrinsically it is clear and distinct. "I am certain that I am a 
thing which thinks," says Descartes; 11 "but do I not then likewise 
know what is requisite to render me certain of a truth? Certainly 
in this first knowledge there is nothing that assures me of its 
truth, excepting the clear and distinct perception of that which 
I state." This clear and distinct perception would not "assure 

104 



me that what I say is true, if it could ever happen that a thing 
which I conceived so clearly and distinctly could be false; and 
accordingly it seems to me that already I can establish as a general 
rule that all things which I perceive very clearly and very distinctly 
are true." In this passage, to be sure, Descartes is not holding 
that only those judgments are true which are clear and distinct. 
But just as it may be held that a true judgment is one which has 
validity and a logical claim upon us, so it may be held that a 
true judgment is one which is clear and distinct. With either 
explanation of "truth/' however, we have little to guide us in 
applying the distinction between the true and the false to indi- 
vidual propositions and judgments. To make either explanation 
serviceable, there would be required a rather complete account 
in the one case of 'claim' or Validity* and in the other case of 
'clear and distinct/ There would be required indeed something 
of an enumeration of the propositions or judgments that have a 
claim or are clear and distinct. And so we should explain "truth" 
prior to "reality" only by putting something analogous to the 
appendix to our third chapter into our explanation of "truth" 
instead of into our explanation of "reality." 

Let us then proceed in the direction in which we have started. 
Let us work towards determining the meaning of "truth" by 
continuing to refer back to our explanation of "reality." If 
the individual exists that our term X intends to represent, then 
our real sentence: "X exists/' let us continue to say, 12 is true 
and our real sentence: "X does not exist" false. And if the indi- 
vidual that our term X intends to represent does not exist, then 
our real sentence: "X exists," let us continue to say, is false and 
our real sentence: "X does not exist" true. We are proceeding 
thus from reality to truth, from reality to truth in so far as truth 
is a characteristic of the real sentences that we call propositions. 

But although it may be acceptable to proceed from reality to 
truth rather than vice versa, it may seem strange that we leap at 
one bound from reality to that aspect of the notion of truth in 
which truth is considered a characteristic of the sentences that we 
call propositions. "Just one moment!", we may be told; "Truth is 
primarily a characteristic of judgments. It has application to the 
sentences that you call propositions, sentences occurring on this 
page and on that page, only secondarily, only in so far as these 

105 



sentences represent or express or symbolize true judgments." 
Indeed there are those who hold that the distinction between the 
true and the false is never properly applied to sentences occurring 
on this page and on that page, that it applies only to judgments 
which are outside of the printed or spoken word. It is from this 
point of view that Leibniz finds fault with Locke's discussion of 
truth. "What I find least to my taste in your definition of truth," 
says Leibniz, 13 "is that you seek truth in words. Thus the same 
sense expressed in Latin, German, English, French, will not be 
the same truth. . . . We shall then have also literal truths which 
may be distinguished as truths upon paper or parchment, of 
ordinary black ink or of printer's ink." Is there however any 
reductio ad absurdam in this conclusion? Sentences exist that are 
on this page or on that page. Some of them are of ordinary black 
ink and some of them are of printer's ink; some of them in Latin 
and some in French. Among these real sentences which are here 
and there, of various kinds of ink and in various languages, there 
are some which, in the sense in which we are using the terms 
"truth" and "falsity," are true and some which are false. We are 
at liberty to determine the meaning of "truth" in such a manner 
that the distinction between the true and the false applies to cer- 
tain real sentences. And we are exercising this liberty in a manner 
not altogether at variance with common usage when we call 
certain sentences propositions and call some propositions true and 
some false. 

It is obvious however that certain sentences which are true in 
our sense of "truth" have a common point of reference. There is 
the sentence: "Socrates exists" which occurs on one page of my 
copy of this book; and there is the sentence: "Socrates exists" 
which occurs on a corresponding page in your copy of this book. 
There is the sentence: "Socrates exists" which occurs on another 
page of my copy of this book; there is the sentence: "Socrates 
exists" which occurs in my manuscript; and there is the sentence; 
"Socrates est" which occurs, let us suppose, in some Latin manu- 
script. Each of these sentences is true and each of them, we may 
suppose, refers to the same fact. Ought we not then seek truth 
in this fact, in this common point of reference? In concentrating 
our attention upon sentences made by ink or by pencil, we are 
dealing, it would seem, with mere shadows, with entities whose 

106 



truth or falsity is merely a reflection of the truth or falsity of 
some objective situation outside these sentences. 

What however is the fact which several sentences, each reading: 
"Socrates exists," have as their common point of reference? When 
I write the word "Socrates," there is something in my mind. And 
so the word "Socrates" is somehow related to some act of cogni- 
tion or to some idea of mine. At the same time, however, the 
word "Socrates" is somehow related, directly or indirectly, to an 
objective subsistent which is alleged to be outside of me and 
outside of the word "Socrates." As we have seen, 1 * the word 
"Socrates" represents or intends to represent Socrates the Athenian 
philosopher who scorned the Sophists and died in jail. In the 
case of the word "Socrates" there is thus what we may roughly 
contrast as a subjective reference and an objective reference. 
When we turn from the word "Socrates" to the sentence: "Soc- 
rates exists," there is, it would seem, a similar dual reference. 
There is on the one hand an act of judgment, or an asserting, 
taking place in my mind; or the copulation of mental ideas that 
we may call a mental judgment. And, on the other hand, there 
may be some objective fact, some situation involving Socrates 
himself, to which the sentence: "Socrates exists" may be said to 
refer. Now the former of these entities, the act of judgment taking 
place in my mind, or the copulation of mental ideas that we may 
call a mental judgment, belongs within the realm of psychological 
or epistemological entities to which we have agreed to apply the 
distinction between knowledge and error rather than the distinc- 
tion between the true and the false. 15 It may be a common refer- 
ence to some such mental judgment that links together an in- 
stance of the sentence: "Socrates exists" and an instance of the 
sentence "Socrates est." Nevertheless let us turn our attention 
to the investigation of the possibility of these two sentences being 
linked together, not by a common subjective reference, but by a 
common objective reference, by a common reference, that is to 
say, to some objective situation involving Socrates himself. 

What, however, is the objective fact which we may call a judg- 
ment and to which we may say that the sentence: "Socrates exists" 
intends to refer? It is not the substance Socrates himself, for this 
substance the simple word "Socrates" represents or intends to 
represent. Nor, we shall say, is the objective fact which might be 

107 



called a judgment some non-temporal fact having its habitat in 
a world of objective but disembodied entities. For we choose to 
deal primarily with real entities; and, in the sense in which we 
are using the term "reality," any entity that appears as utterly 
non-spatial is unreal. 16 The entity related to the sentence "Soc- 
rates exists'* that we shall call a judgment or fact is some situation 
involving Socrates himself; and yet it is not the substance Socrates. 
It is, let us say, the existence of Socrates; that is to say, existence 
appearing as an alleged quality of the subsistent Socrates. When 
I utter the word "Socrates" or the word "Ivanhoe," I am appar- 
ently making no assertion. My expression intends to refer to 
a subsistent which may or may not be real. But if I say "Socrates 
exists/ 1 there seems to be something that I am asserting, namely, 
the existence of Socrates. If then we call such entities as 'the 
existence of Socrates' judgments, our use of the word "judgment" 
will permit us to say that a judgment is something that may 
be asserted. Let us then call the existence of Socrates a fact or 
judgment; and, since Socrates exists, let us furthermore call it 
a true judgment. In the 'existence of Socrates/ we hold, we have 
an instance of a judgment which is an objective situation, a 
situation to which various sentences each reading: "Socrates 
exists" may be said to refer. Not only, however, is the existence 
of Socrates an objective judgment to which various propositions 
each reading: "Socrates exists" may be said to refer. It is likewise 
a true judgment; and its truth may be thought of as determining 
the truth of the propositions which refer to it. Truth may be 
thought of, in short, as belonging primarily to the judgment: 
'the existence of Socrates' and as belonging secondarily and by 
reflection, as it were, to the proposition: "Socrates exists" which 
occurs on this page and to the proposition: "Socrates est" which 
occurs in some Latin manuscript. 

Socrates the Athenian philosopher is a subsistent. Appearing 
neither as self-contradictory nor as undated, etc., this subsistent 
is real. Likewise the quality of being an Athenian is a subsistent, 
a subsistent which, appearing as a quality of Socrates, is real. 
Similarly with the quality of existence, appearing as a quality of 
Socrates. The existence of Socrates is a real subsistent, or, what 
is the same thing, the true judgment 'the existence of Socrates' 
is a real entity. How is it however with respect to non-existence 

108 



subsisting as a quality of Socrates? If Socrates appears as unreal, 
both this subsistent and its alleged quality of non-existence are 
unreal. Even the Socrates that appears both as real and as unreal 
is unreal; and the non-existence of Socrates alleged to inhere in 
it unreal. For the subsistent which I am considering appears as 
self-contradictory. 17 There is, we conclude, no real objective 
situation different from, but analogous to, the existence of Soc- 
rates to which the proposition: "Socrates does not exist" refers. 
There is no real non-existence of Socrates that might be called a 
judgment. And so, whereas we have been successful in identifying 
a real objective situation that is a true judgment and to which 
various true propositions reading: "Socrates exists" may be said 
to refer, we have been unsuccessful in our search for another real 
objective situation that might be called a judgment and to which 
various false propositions reading: "Socrates does not exist" might 
similarly be said to refer. 

The judgment 'the existence of Socrates/ appearing neither as 
self-contradictory nor as undated, etc., is real. And 'the non- 
existence of Socrates' is unreal. What, however, about the reality 
or unreality of 'the existence of Ivanhoe'? If Ivanhoe appears with 
the characteristic of being generally discredited, Ivanhoe is unreal 
and the qualities that are alleged to inhere in such an Ivanhoe 
are unreal. It would seem that if my subsistent is an existing 
Ivanhoe, I am apparently thinking about an Ivanhoe that, by 
hypothesis, is real and about the real judgment: the existence of 
Ivanhoe. But if I appear to be thinking about an Ivanhoe that 
subsists both as real and as generally discredited, my subsistent 
appears as implicitly self-contradictory and, in the sense in which 
we are using the term "reality," is unreal. 18 If Ivanhoe appears 
as generally discredited, this Ivanhoe is unreal and each of the 
qualities inhering in this Ivanhoe is unreal. 'The existence of 
Ivanhoe 1 is unreal; and 'the non-existence of Ivanhoe' is unreal. 
Just as there is no real 'non-existence of Socrates' that might be 
called a judgment, so there is no real 'existence of Ivanhoe' and 
no real 'non-existence of Ivanhoe' that might serve as real judg- 
ments. 

It appears then that the only real objective judgment involved 
in a singular existential proposition is that directly referred to 
by a true affirmative singular existential proposition, namely, 

109 



existence appearing as a quality of some real entity. The proposi- 
tion: "Socrates exists*' which appears on this page and the propo- 
sition: "Socrates est" which appears in some Latin manuscript 
both refer to a common judgment which is real and true. Both 
of these propositions may be regarded as deriving their truth 
from the truth of the judgment: the existence of Socrates. But 
the 'existence of Ivanhoe' to which two sentences each reading: 
"Ivanhoe exists" might be held to refer is not a real judgment 
at all. And so there is no real objective judgment which these 
* wo sentences have as their common reference, no real objective 
judgment whose falsity determines the falsity of these two propo- 
sitions, no fact to which these two false propositions are directly 
related. 

Our desire then to determine the truth or falsity of groups of 
propositions by first determining the truth or falsity of objective 
judgments to which they refer has been only partially carried out. 
If various false propositions reading: "Socrates does not exist" 
are to be regarded as having a common reference to a real objec- 
tive situation, the reference which they may be regarded as hav- 
ing in common is what we might call a contra-reference to the 
true judgment: 'the existence of Socrates.' And even this sort of 
common contra-reference is lacking as a common characteristic of 
various true propositions each reading: "Ivanhoe does not exist." 

It appears then that we can not describe truth and falsity merely 
with respect to objective judgments or facts and expect the dis- 
tinction between truth and falsity thus determined within the 
domain of judgments to indicate to us where falsity ends and 
wh^ere truth begins within the entire domain of propositions, or 
even within the entire domain of singular categorical existential 
propositions. The truth of our sentence: "X exists" and the falsity 
of our sentence: "X does not exist" may be said to be corollaries 
of the truth of the judgment: the existence of X. But the truth of 
our sentence: "Y does not exist" and the falsity of our sentence: 
"Y exists" are laid down as partial explanations of "truth" applied 
directly to the domain of sentences or propositions. 

At this point we have behind us the determination of the 
signification of "truth" with respect to certain entities that we 
call "judgments." And we have behind us the determination of the 
significations of both "truth" and "falsity" with respect to singu- 

110 



lar categorical existential propositions o ours. How is it, however, 
xvith respect to categorical existential propositions that are not 
singular? How is it with respect to our sentences: "All men exist," 
"Some men exist/' "No men exist" and "Some men do not exist"? 
The universal 'man* it will be remembered, 19 "may ... be given 
a place on our list of entities denoted by 'existence* along with 
Socrates and Plato." Just as the alleged individual Socrates may 
be real and the alleged individual Ivanhoe unreal, so the alleged 
universal 'man* may be real and the alleged universal 'centaur' 
unreal. Just as we hold that, when the alleged individual X is 
real, our proposition: "X exists" is true and our proposition: "X 
does not exist" false, so let us hold that, when the alleged univer- 
sal U is real, our proposition: "Some U's exist" is true and our 
proposition: "No U's exist" false. And just as we hold that when 
the alleged individual X is unreal, our proposition: "X exists" 
is false and our proposition: "X does not exist" true, so let us 
hold that, when the alleged universal U is unreal, our proposition: 
"Some U's exist" is false and our proposition: "No U's exist" 
true. If, then, the alleged universal 'centaur' is unreal in our 
sense of "reality," our sentence: "Some centaurs exist" is false as 
we explain our term "falsity" and our sentence: "No centaurs 
exist" true as we explain our term "truth." And if the alleged 
universal 'man' is real in our sense of "reality," our sentence: 
"Some men exist" is true and our sentence: "No men exist" false. 
There is, to be sure, the proposition: "Some men do not exist" 
as well as the proposition: "Some men exist," the proposition: 
"All men exist" as well as the proposition: "No men exist." As 
has already been pointed out, however, "all men" as it occurs in 
an existential proposition, is synonymous either with "All exist- 
ing men" or with "All subsisting men." 20 But: "All subsisting 
men exist" is, let us say, false. And I can think of no assertion 
expressed in: "All existing men exist" that is not expressed in: 
"Some men exist." As "All men exist" is synonymous either 
with: "All existing men exist" or with: "All subsisting men exist," 
so: "Some centaurs do not exist" is, it would seem, synonymous 
either with: "Some subsisting centaurs do not exist" or with: 
"Some existing centaurs do not exist." But our sentence: "Some 
subsisting centaurs do not exist" is, let us say, true. And if: "Some 
existing centaurs do not exist" is to be considered at all, I can 

111 



think of no assertion expressed in it that is not expressed in: "No 
centaurs exist." Since our sentences: "Some men exist" and: "No 
centaurs exist" have both been determined to be true in our sense 
of "truth," our sentence: "All existing men exist" is, we hold, 
true; and our sentence: "Some existing centaurs do not exist" 
true. And since our sentences: "No men exist" and: "Some cen- 
taurs exist" have both been determined to be false in our sense 
of "falsity," "Some existing men do not exist," which seems to be 
synonymous with the former, is, we hold, false, and: "All existing 
centaurs exist," which seems to be synonymous with the latter, 
likewise false. 

We may then formalize as follows our explanations of "truth" 
and "falsity" with respect to such categorical existential proposi- 
tions of ours as: "Some U's do not exist" and: "All U's exist." 
If the alleged universal U is real, "All subsisting U's exist" is 
false and "All existing U's exist" true, "Some subsisting U's do 
not exist" true and "Some existing U's do not exist" false. And 
if the alleged universal U is unreal, then "All subsisting U's exist" 
and "All existing U's exist" are both false, "Some subsisting U's do 
not exist" and "Some existing U's do not exist" both true. 

A categorical existential proposition of ours may express an 
assertion with respect to alleged existing entities or with respect 
to alleged subsisting entities; it may be affirmative or negative; it 
may be a singular proposition, a particular proposition or a uni- 
versal proposition. In any case it is true or false according as the 
individual or universal whose existence is asserted is real or un- 
real; true or false according as the individual or universal whose 
non-existence is asserted is unreal or real. It is thus some entity's 
reality or unreality in our sense of "reality" that determines the 
truth or falsity-as we explain "truth" and "falsity"-of each cate- 
gorical existential proposition of ours. 

But what about the categorical existential propositions of 
others? Since "existence" as used by others may not have the 
meaning we have assigned that term, the: "Socrates exists" of 
some other writer may not express an assertion with respect to 
Socrates which is identical with the assertion expressed in our: 
"Socrates exists." Shall we say that his: "Socrates exists" is true if 
Socrates exists in the sense in which he is using "existence," in a 
sense of "existence" which is perhaps vague and indefinite? Or 

112 



shall we say that his: "Socrates exists" is true if Socrates exists 
in the sense in which we have explained "existence"? The former 
course leads to as many meanings o "truth" as there are meanings 
of "reality." For, taking such a course, the: "Socrates exists" of 
one writer would be true, if the Socrates presented complied with 
one set of qualifications; the: "Socrates exists" of another writer 
true, if the Socrates presented complied with another set of quali- 
fications. No author's: "Socrates exists" is true, let us say, unless 
Socrates exists in the sense in which we have explained "exist- 
ence." But no author's: "Socrates exists" is true, let us also say, 
if it is a statement that we should express in "Socrates subsists." 21 
Since our sentence: "Socrates subsists" expresses no assertion 22 
and is, we hold, neither true nor false, the: "Socrates exists" of 
some other writer that is synonymous with it likewise expresses no 
assertion and is likewise, let us hold, neither true nor false. The 
proposition that is true is our: "Socrates exists." And the propo- 
sition that is true is the proposition of some other writer that is 
synonymous with it, whatever form it may take. The: "Socrates 
exists" of some other author is true, let us say, if it is synonymous 
with a proposition which, in the form in which it would be ex- 
pressed by us, is true. The: "Socrates exists" of some other author 
is false, let us say, if it is synonymous with a proposition which, 
in the form in which it would be expressed by us, is false. 
And the: "Socrates exists" of some other author which is synony- 
mous with no proposition as it would be used by us is, let us say, 
neither true nor false. 

Our terms "truth" and "falsity" have been explained with re- 
spect to categorical existential propositions of ours and with re- 
spect to propositions of others that are synonymous with them. 
Each such proposition is true or false according as some entity is 
real or unreal. Indeed it is the reality or unreality of some entity 
or of some entities using "reality" in our sense of that word that, 
we hold, determines the truth or falsity of each sentence of ours 
that is a proposition. For each real declarative sentence of ours 
which does not merely predicate subsistence, which conforms to 
the grammatical rules of the language in which it is expressed, 
and which contains words, word-groups and phrases representing 
or intending to represent subsistents, 23 each such sentence of ours 
is, we hold, synonymous with one or more of our categorical exist- 

113 



ential propositions. The explanation of our terms "truth" and 
"falsity" in their application to propositions of ours which are not 
categorical existential propositions is thus to be accomplished 
through the reduction of such propositions to the categorical 
existential propositions of ours with which, we hold, they are 
synonymous. 

To say that proposition B as it occurs in this treatise is synony- 
mous with our existential proposition A is to say that A and B 
express similar mental attitudes of mine. Since A, being a categori- 
cal existential proposition, is true or false according as some al- 
leged entity is real or unreal in our sense of "reality," the reader 
is enabled to determine the alleged entity upon whose reality the 
truth or falsity of our proposition B depends. It would seem to 
require only patience and circumspection to designate categorical 
existential propositions of ours synonymous-for-me with each 
proposition as it might be used by me; and thus to support the 
assertion that each proposition as it might be used by me is 
synonymous with one or more of our categorical existential prop- 
ositions. Moreover, the designation of synonymous propositions 
sufficient to enable our terms "truth" and "falsity" to be applied 
to each of the propositions in this treatise will be a fairly adequate 
explanation of our terms "truth" and "falsity." 

Let us however not lose sight of those sentences outside of this 
treatise that do not have the form of categorical existential propo- 
sitions. There are sentences outside of this treatise which do not 
express an assertion either of existence or of non-existence in our 
sense of "existence" and which consequently are neither true nor 
false as we use "truth" and "falsity." But there is the sentence A 
of some other writer which has the form of a categorical exist- 
ential proposition and which expresses an assertion of existence or 
of non-existence in some other sense of "existence." And there is 
that writer's sentence B which, whereas it does not have the form 
of a categorical existential proposition, expresses a mental attitude 
of its author's identical with that expressed by his proposition A. 
From the point of view of its author, B, that is to say, is synony- 
mous with A. From the point of view of its author, there is ex- 
pressed in B an assertion of existence in the very sense of "exist- 
ence" in which there is an assertion of existence expressed in A. 
The proposition B occurring in this treatise, and the existential 

114 



proposition A of ours to which it will be reduced, they both, we 
assume, express an assertion of existence in a sense of "existence" 
different from his. But in choosing the categorical existential 
proposition A of ours to which our proposition B is to be reduced, 
let us not lose sight of the A of some other author with which that 
author's B seems to be synonymous. If some other author's: 
"There is no Socrates" seems to be synonymous with his: "So- 
crates does not exist," then, even though it is another sense of 
"existence" that is involved, let us say that our: "There is no So- 
crates" and our: "Socrates does not exist" are synonymous with 
one other, that our: "There is no Socrates" expresses an assertion 
of existence identical with that expressed in our: "Socrates does 
not exist," that our: "There is no Socrates" is true or false accord- 
ing as Socrates is unreal or real in our sense of "reality." Let us in 
short attempt to conform with general usage in reducing to cate- 
gorical existential propositions those propositions of ours which 
are not categorical existential propositions, even though in our 
case "existence" is used in one sense and in the case of general 
usage in some other sense. 

There is moreover, let us suppose, the categorical existential 
proposition A outside of this treatise which expresses an asser- 
tion of existence or of non-existence in our sense of "existence." 
And there is the proposition B outside of this treatise which does 
not have the form of a categorical existential proposition, but 
which likewise expresses an assertion of existence or of non- 
existence in our sense of "existence." The sentence outside of 
this treatise which expresses no assertion of existence or of non- 
existence in our sense of "existence" is, we have said, 24 as we use 
"truth" and "falsity," neither true nor false. But our terms "truth" 
and "falsity" are to be applied to propositions in which there are 
expressed assertions of existence or of non-existence in our sense 
of "existence," whether these propositions be propositions of ours 
or propositions of others. And yet in order that our terms "truth" 
and "falsity" may be applied to these propositions of others that 
do not have the form of categorical existential propositions, we 
must determine the categorical existential propositions of ours 
with which these propositions, as used by their authors, are 
synonymous. 

The reduction of propositions that are not existential in form 

115 



to the categorical existential propositions of ours with which they 
are synonymous is thus to be considered from two points of view. 
On the one hand, we have the task of explaining our terms "truth" 
and "falsity" in their application to propositions, not categorical 
existential propositions, as they occur in this treatise or as they 
might be used by me. And on the other hand, we have the task 
of explaining our terms "truth" and "falsity" in their application 
to those propositions of others which are not categorical existen- 
tial propositions but which may perhaps be synonymous with 
categorical existential propositions of ours. With respect to the 
former task we can speak with assurance. For, although we choose 
to be guided by general usage in determining the existential 
propositions with which a proposition of a given form as used by 
us is to be synonymous, it is our usage that is being set forth, it 
is what is synonymous for me that is being stated. With respect 
to the latter task, however, we can not speak with assurance. For 
even though it should be existence in our sense of "existence" that 
is asserted in categorical existential propositions of others, one 
writer's proposition that is not a categorical existential proposi- 
tion may be synonymous with a certain categorical existential 
proposition of ours, another writer's synonymous with another of 
our categorical existential propositions, a third writer's synony- 
mous with none of our categorical existential propositions at all. 
We can but point out the existential proposition of ours with 
which some such writer's proposition, not explicitly existential, 
may be presumed to be synonymous, point out the entity or 
entities whose existence or non-existence in our sense of "exist- 
ence" may be presumed to determine the truth or falsity of his 
proposition. And we can on occasion point out alternative cate- 
gorical existential propositions of ours with which his proposition 
may be synonymous, point out alternative entities whose existence 
or non-existence in our sense of "existence" may determine the 
truth or falsity of his proposition. The meaning of our terms 
"truth" and "falsity" in their application to propositions of 
various forms as they might be used by me can, in short, be 
adequately set forth. But even where "existence" has the meaning 
that it has in our writings, the application of our terms "truth" 
and "falsity" to propositions of others will vary with the asser- 
tions of existence or of non-existence that a proposition of a given 

116 



form is used to express. 

There is our singular affirmative categorical existential prop- 
osition: "This large house exists"; and there is the proposition: 
"This house is large," which is synonymous with it. Similarly, 
it would seem that, as generally used, and certainly as it occurs 
in this treatise, "Socrates, the author of the Critique of Pure 
Reason, exists" is synonymous with: "Socrates is the author of 
the Critique of Pure Reason." So with: "The man Socrates 
exists" and: "Socrates is a man." And so with: "A prince named 
Orion who had seven daughters and lived at some past date 
exists" and: "Once upon a time there lived a prince named Orion 
who had seven daughters." Both in the sense of being synonymous- 
for-me and in the sense of being synonymous as generally used, 
the singular affirmative proposition: "Si is P" is, we hold, synony- 
mous with some singular existential proposition: "SiP exists." 
This large house is, we assume, a real entity, the man Socrates a 
real entity. Our proposition: "This large house exists" is, then, 
true and: "The man Socrates exists" true. And so our proposi- 
tion: "This house is large" is true and our proposition: "Socrates 
is a man" true. On the other hand, Socrates, the author of the 
Critique of Pure Reason, is, we assume, an unreal entity and 
Prince Orion with seven daughters an unreal entity. And so it 
follows that, as we explain "falsity," "Socrates, the author of 
the Critique of Pure Reason, exists" is false and "A prince named 
Orion who had seven daughters and lived at some past date 
exists" false; hence "Socrates is the author of the Critique of Pure 
Reason" false and "Once upon a time there lived a prince named 
Orion who had seven daughters" false. 

"This house is large" is, we assume, a true proposition. We 
assume, that is to say, that this large house is a real entity, that 
this house, considered as a unit enduring from its construction 
to its demolition, has the quality of largeness inhering in it. But 
what about: "Caesar crossed the Rubicon"? The quality of cross- 
ing the Rubicon was not a quality of that phase of Caesar's life 
in which he was combatting Vercingetorix or of that phase of 
his life in which he was consorting with Catiline. Strictly speak- 
ing, the quality of crossing the Rubicon does not inhere in Caesar 
taken as a substance enduring from birth to death; rather, it may 
be held to inhere in a brief phase of Caesar's life, ia the transitory 

117 



substance which is Caesar at a momentous instant in his career. 25 
If: ' 'Caesar crossed the Rubicon" is synonymous with: "A Caesar 
crossing the Rubicon throughout his career exists/' then our: 
"Caesar crossed the Rubicon" is false. It is our existential propo- 
sition: "Caesar-at-moment-M, having the quality of crossing the 
Rubicon, exists" that is, we may say, true. And it is only if it is 
synonymous with this latter proposition that: "Caesar crossed the 
Rubicon" is true. Generalizing from the example: "This house 
is large," it may seem that any proposition: "Si is P" is to be 
reduced to a corresponding existential proposition of the form: 
"SiP exists." But, both generally and perhaps in this treatise too, 
we on occasion refer to some part or related substance by using 
words which, if used out of context, would refer to the whole. We 
may use the term "France" to refer to the government of France, 
may say: "Virgil is difficult to translate" in place of: "The poems 
of Virgil are difficult to translate." "Si is P" is, we hold, both 
generally and in this treatise, synonymous with some existential 
proposition of the form "SiP exists." But the Si occurring in 
"SiP exists" may not refer exactly to the entity which our original 
subject-term, taken out of context, would normally represent. 
"Caesar crossed the Rubicon" is, it would seem, synonymous with 
the existential proposition: "Caesar-at-moment-M, having the 
quality of crossing the Rubicon, exists," not with the existential 
proposition: "A Caesar crossing the Rubicon throughout his 
career exists." And "Washington crossed the Hellespont" is, it 
would seem, synonymous with the existential proposition: "Wash- 
ington-at-some-moment-M, having the quality of crossing the 
Hellespont, exists," not with the existential proposition: "A 
Washington crossing the Hellespont throughout his career exists." 
It is because the former proposition of ours is false, not because 
the latter is false, that our: "Washington crossed the Hellespont" 
is false. 

The question has been asked how the entity represented by the 
subject-term of a proposition can be the entity represented by 
the predicate-term. 26 It may seem that for S to be P, for "S is P" 
to be true, "S" and "P" must refer to the same entity and express 
identical mental attitudes. For S, it may be held, can only be S; 
it cannot be P in addition. And P, it may be held, can only be 
P. As we explain "truth," however, it is not necessary, in order 

118 



for: "This house is large" to be true, that this house be identical 
with largeness. "This house" may express one mental attitude, 
"large" another. "This house" may represent a substance and 
"large" a quality of that substance. What is necessary, in order 
that: "This house is large" may be true as we explain "truth," 
is that this large house exist in our sense of "existence." And this 
large house can exist only if there are instances of a quality in- 
hering in a substance. Similarly, since: "Socrates is a man" is 
synonymous with: "The man Socrates exists," "Socrates is a man" 
can be true only if there are individuals that are instances of uni- 
versals. Problems concerning substance and quality and prob- 
lems concerning the universal and its individual instances will, 
however, engage our attention further on in this treatise. 27 It is 
in later sections of this treatise that we shall arrive at conclusions 
from which it will follow that the S P that is an alleged substance 
with its quality, or an alleged universal instanced in an individual, 
may be real. And it is our explanation of "truth" in the present 
chapter that determines that, when SiP is real in our sense of 
"reality," our "Si is P" is true; and that, when SiP is unreal in 
our sense of "unreality," our "Si is P" is false. 

The singular affirmative proposition: "Socrates is mortal" re- 
duces, we hold, to the existential proposition: "Mortal Socrates 
exists"; the singular affirmative proposition: "Socrates is im- 
mortal" to the existential proposition: "Immortal Socrates exists." 
But what shall we say with respect to the singular negative propo- 
sition: "Socrates is not mortal"? Let us assume that a mortal 
Socrates exists and that a non-mortal or immortal Socrates does 
not exist. Whether, then, "Socrates is not mortal" reduces to the 
existential proposition: "Mortal Socrates does not exist" or to 
the existential proposition: "non-mortal Socrates exists," it is, 
when our sense of reality is involved, a proposition which, as we 
explain "falsity," is false. But if: "The present King of France 
is not bald" is synonymous with our: "The not-bald present King 
of France exists/' it is a proposition which is false; whereas if it 
is synonymous with our: "The bald present King of France does 
not exist," it is a proposition which is true. In either case, "The 
present King of France is not bald" seems to be synonymous with 
an existential proposition, seems to be true according as some 
alleged entity is real or unreal, false according as some alleged 

119 



entity is unreal or real. In the field in which we can speak with 
certainty, in the field of what is synonymous-for-me, "The present 
King of France is not bald/' let us say, reduces to: "The present 
non-bald King of France exists"; and "Si is not P" reduces to: 
"Si: not-P exists/' Whether the: "Si is not P" of some other 
writer reduces to one existential proposition of ours or another 
or to no existential proposition of ours at all, the: "Si is not P" 
that occurs in this treatise is true or false, as we explain "truth" 
and "falsity," according as S a : not-P is real or unreal. 

As we explain "truth" and "falsity," "Socrates is not mortal," as 
it occurs in this treatise, is true or false according as a not-mortal 
Socrates is real or unreal, "Socrates is not a man" true or false 
according as a Socrates who is not a man is real or unreal. But "A 
Socrates who is not a man" is not synonymous with "A man who 
is not Socrates." As we explain "truth" and "falsity," "Si is not 
P," as it occurs in this treatise, is true or false, that is to say, not 
as PI: not-S is real or unreal, but as Si: not-P is real or unreal. 

Both in the sense of being synonymous-for-me and in the sense 
of being synonymous as generally used, the singular affirmative 
proposition: "Si is P" is, we hold, synonymous with some singular 
existential proposition: "SiP exists." 28 And both in the sense of 
being synonymous-for-me and in the sense of being synonymous 
as generally used, the particular affirmative proposition: "Some 
S is P" is, it would seem, synonymous with some particular exis- 
tential proposition: "Some SP's exist." Our: "Some men are mor- 
tal" reduces to: "Some mortal men exist" and is, let us say, true or 
false according as 'mortal man' is real or unreal. Our: "Some 
men are black" reduces to: "Some black men exist" and is, let 
us say, true or false according as 'black man* is real or unreal. 
But just as some instances of: "The present King of France is not 
bald" express the assertion that there is no bald present King 
of France rather than the assertion that a not-bald present King 
of France exists, so some instance of: "Some centaurs are not in- 
telligent" may express the assertion that some alleged intelligent 
centaurs do not exist rather than the assertion that unintelligent 
centaurs exist. However uncertain the existential import of some 
instance of: "Some centaurs are not intelligent," the instance that 
is an expression of ours reduces to: "Some unintelligent centaurs 
exist" and is, let us say, true or false according as 'unintelligent 

120 



centaur' is real or unreal. Just as our "Si is not P" reduces to: 
"Si: not-P exists" and is true or false according as the alleged in- 
dividual Si: not P is real or unreal in our sense of "reality," so 
our: "Some S is not P," let us say, reduces to: "Some S: not-P's 
exist" and is true or false according as the alleged universal S: 
not-P is real or unreal. 

"This house is large" reduces to, and is synonymous with, the 
existential proposition: "This large house exists." "Some men 
are mortal" reduces to, and is synonymous with: "Some mortal 
men exist." And at least in a sense of synonymity lacking univer- 
sality in its application, "This house is not large" reduces to: 
"This not-large house exists" and: "Some men are not mortal" 
to: "Some immortal men exist." It may be one or another existen- 
tial proposition with which some singular negative proposition is 
synonymous. It may be one or another existential proposition 
with which some particular negative proposition is synonymous. 
But there appears to be no similar ambiguity with respect to the 
universal negative proposition. The universal negative proposi- 
tion: "No men are immortal" seems to reduce to the existential 
proposition: "No immortal men exist," the universal negative 
proposition: "No stone is alive" to the existential proposition: 
"Living stones do not exist." 29 There may, to be sure, be in- 
stances of "No stone is alive" in which more is asserted than the 
non-existence of 'living stone.' Some one may use the sentence: 
"No stone is alive" to assert in addition the existence of 'stone/ 
the existence of lifeless stones. In the uncertain field of general 
usage, "No S is P" may be synonymous with the single existential 
proposition: "No SP exists" or with the two existential proposi- 
tions: "No SP exists" and "S exists," asserted jointly. In the more 
limited but more certain field where we explain our terms "truth" 
and "falsity" with respect to propositions as they would be used 
by me, "No stone is alive" is, let us say, synonymous with the 
single existential proposition: "Living stones do not exist" and 
is true or false according as the alleged universal living stone' 
is unreal or real in our sense of "reality." There are propositions 
singular, particular and universal in which the predicate-term 
is not "mortal" or "immortal" or "alive," but, rather, "real" or 
"unreal" or "true" or "false." Propositions with predicate-terms 
of the latter group require special consideration. But with these 

121 



terms excepted, using "P" here and indeed throughout this 
chapter to stand for any predicate-term other than "real," "un- 
real," "true" or "false," the universal negative proposition: "No 
S is P," as it occurs in this treatise, reduces to "No SP exists" and 
is true or false according as the alleged universal SP is unreal or 
real in our sense of "reality." 

There is the universal negative proposition: "No stone is alive." 
And there is the universal affirmative proposition: "All men are 
mortal." Some instances of "No stone is alive" are synonymous 
with instances of the existential proposition: "Living stones do 
not exist," some instances of "All men are mortal" synonymous 
with instances of the existential proposition: "Immortal men do 
not exist." 80 There may, we have seen, 31 be instances of "No 
stone is alive" in which more is asserted than the non-existence 
of 'living stone/ And there may be instances of "All men are 
mortal" in which more is asserted than the non-existence of 'im- 
mortal man/ It is probable that the land-owner whose sign 
reads: "All trespassers will be punished" is merely asserting the 
non-existence of unpunished trespassers. 32 It is not probable that 
he is asserting in addition that there will be trespassers. But just 
as "No stone is alive" may be synonymous, not merely with "Liv- 
ing stones do not exist," but may in addition express a belief in 
the existence of 'stone/ of lifeless stones; so "All men are mortal" 
may be synonymous, not merely with "Immortal men do not 
exist," but may in addition express a belief in the existence of 
'man/ in the existence of men who are mortal. "In the uncertain 
field of general usage, "No S is P" may be synonymous with the 
single existential proposition: "No SP exists" or with the two 
existential propositions: "No SP exists" and "S exists," asserted 
jointly." ss And in the uncertain field of general usage, "All S 
is P" may be synonymous with the single existential proposition: 
"No S: not-P exists" or with the two existential propositions: "No 
S: not-P exists" and "S exists," asserted jointly. We have partially 
explained our terms "truth" and "falsity" in their application 
to propositions occurring in this treatise by reducing "No S is 
P" as it occurs in this treatise to: "No SP exists" and by calling it 
"true" or "false" according as SP is unreal or real in our sense of 
"reality." Let us further explain our terms "truth" and "falsity" 
in their application to propositions occurring in this treatise by 

122 



holding "All men are mortar* synonymous-for-me with "Immortal 
men do not exist" and with "Some mortal men exist," asserted 
jointly. The proposition: "All S is P" that occurs in this treatise 
is true, that is to say, if SP is real and S: not-P unreal; the propo- 
sition: "All S is P" that occurs in this treatise is false if SP is 
unreal or if S: not-P is real. 

"All men are mortal," as it occurs in this treatise, is synonymous 
with "Immortal men do not exist" and "Some mortal men exist/' 
asserted jointly. Our universal affirmative proposition: "All S is 
P," that is to say, reduces to a universal negative existential propo- 
sition plus a particular affirmative existential proposition. But 
our: "All existing men exist" has not been described as synony- 
mous with a corresponding pair of existential propositions. Our 
"All existing men exist" has been described as synonymous with 
"Some men exist," 84 not with: "Non-existing existing men do not 
exist" plus "Some existing men exist." It reduces, that is to say, 
to a particular affirmative existential proposition and thus is no 
instance of our universal affirmative proposition: "All S is P." 

Just as in our "All men exist" the word "all" is not the mark 
of what we call a universal affirmative proposition, so in the un- 
certain field of general usage the word "all" may occur in proposi- 
tions which are not universal propositions. "All the books in the 
British Museum would fit into Westminster Abbey" is, it would 
seem, a singular proposition. 85 And so is the nursery rhyme: "All 
the King's horses and all the King's men could not put Humpty 
Dumpty together again." For the latter proposition, despite its 
use of "all," appears synonymous with a singular existential prop- 
osition of the form: "The individual army exists which is made 
up of such and such members and which has the quality: inability 
to perform such and such a feat." 

Just as the word "all" may occur in a proposition which is 
singular rather than universal, so the word "all" may occur in 
what seems to be an enumerative proposition rather than a uni- 
versal proposition. Unlike the instance of the universal propo- 
sition: "All men are mortal" which, as it occurs in this treatise, 
expresses a belief in the existence of the universal 'mortal man/ 
there are propositions of the form: "All S is P" which seem to 
express a belief in the existence of various individual SP's. Vari- 
ous instances of "All of the pieces of furniture in this room are 

123 



old" for example, seem not so much to express belief in the 
reality of the universal: 'piece of furniture in this room that is 
old' and belief in the unreality of the universal: 'piece of furniture 
in this room that is not old'; they seem rather to express belief 
in the existence of various individuals each of which is presented 
as an old piece of furniture in this room. There is, in short, the 
instance of "All S is P" which is an enumerative proposition and 
which may be read: "Each S is P." And whereas the universal 
affirmative proposition as it occurs in this treatise is true if the 
universal S: not P is unreal, and the universal SP real, the enu- 
merative proposition: "Each S is P" is, let us say, synonymous 
with a group of singular propositions, being true if each of them 
is true, false if one of them is false. "Each S is P" is true, that is 
to say, only if the individuals SiP, S 2 P, S 3 P, . . . exist; "Each S is 
not P" true only if the individuals Si: not-P, S 2 : not-P, S 3 : not-P, 
. . . exist. 

Therels then the universal proposition: "All S is P" and the 
enumerative proposition which, whereas it on occasion may also 
have the form: "All S is P," is less ambiguous in the form: "Each 
S is P." The distinction between them, it is often held, is based, 
not so much upon the use of the word "each" in the one case and 
the use of the word "all" in the other, as upon the fact that in the 
one case each S could be enumerated by the author of the propo- 
sition, in the other case not. As it occurs in this treatise, "All men 
are mortal" is a universal proposition, not merely because it 
makes use of the word "all," but because it expresses an assertion 
with respect to the universal 'mortal man' rather than an asser- 
tion with respect to individual men. Can it not be, however, that 
an author who writes: "All men are mortal" is making an asser- 
tion with respect to each individual man? Admittedly, he is not 
definitely aware of each individual man. But may he not pri- 
marily be holding, not that there are some mortal men, not that 
'mortal man' exists, but rather that each individual man is 
mortal? "A true proposition," says Hobbes, 86 "is that whose 
predicate contains or comprehends its subject or whose predicate 
is the name of every thing of which the subject is the name. As, 
man is a living creature is therefore a true proposition because 
whatever is called man, the same is also called "living creature." 
To think of the subject as being included in the predicate is, 

124 



however, to think of one group of entities as being included 
within another group of entities. It is to think of groups, of 
classes; in short, it involves taking what is represented by the 
subject-term distributively. The fact that the truth of "All S 
is P" is held by some writers to be a matter of inclusion, of classes 
within classes, evidences the fact that "All S is P" is sometimes 
taken distributively, that "All S is P" is sometimes the expression 
of an assertion that might have been expressed as "Each S is P." 

There are, to be sure, propositions occurring in this treatise 
which conform with no one of the categorical forms thus far dis- 
cussed. We have still to point out the entities upon whose reality 
or unreality the truth or falsity of hypothetical and disjunctive 
propositions occurring in this treatise depends. And since "P" as 
it occurs in this chapter does not cover the predicate-terms "real," 
"unreal," "true" and "false," 37 we have not yet discussed the 
truth or falsity of such propositions as: "This proposition is false" 
and "Each of the propositions in this book is true." With these 
exceptions, however, our terms "truth" and "falsity," in their 
application to propositions occurring in this treatise or as they 
might be used by me, have at this point, we hold, been explained. 
Propositions are true or false, as we explain our terms "truth" 
and "falsity," according as some entity or entities are real or un- 
real in our sense of "reality." And each proposition as it occurs in 
this treatise or as it might be used by me expresses an assertion of 
the reality or unrealityin our sense of "reality" of some entity 
or entities. 

We have moreover explained our terms "truth" and "falsity" 
in their application to various propositions of others who use the 
term "existence" as we do. To be sure, the conditions under 
which such a writer's: "All S is P" is true may not be the condi- 
tions under which our: "All S is P" is true. His "All S is P" may be 
true whenever S:not P is unreal, whereas our "All S is P" is true 
only if S:not-P is unreal and S P real. 88 And his "Si is not P" may be 
true when Si P is unreal, whereas our "Si is not P" is true when 
Si: not-P is real. 39 "Even though it should be existence in our sense 
of "existence" that is asserted in categorical existential propositions 
of others, one writer's proposition that is not a categorical existen- 
tial proposition may be synonymous with a certain categorical exist- 
ential proposition of ours, another writer's synonymous with an- 

125 



other of our categorical existential propositions, a third writer's 
synonymous with none of our categorical existential propositions 
at all/' 40 Our "Ivanhoe is Ivanhoe" is a proposition of the form 
"Si is P" and, as "truth" and "falsity" have been explained in 
their application to propositions of ours, is true only if Si P is 
real, only if an Ivanhoe who is an Ivanhoe is real. But the "Ivan- 
hoe is Ivanhoe" of some other writer, even if he uses "existence" as 
we do, may be synonymous with no existential proposition at all, 
may express no assertion of existence in our sense of "existence" 
and may consequently, as we explain "truth" and "falsity," be 
neither true nor false. 

Since Ivanhoe does not exist, our proposition: "Ivanhoe is Ivan- 
hoe" is false. And since the alleged universal 'centaur* does not 
exist, our proposition: "All centaurs are centaurs" is false. Our 
proposition :"A is A" is true if A exists, false if A does not exist. 
As we explain "truth" and "falsity" and as we reduce propo- 
sitions to categorical existential propositions, it follows that 
"A is A" is not always true. " 'A is A' is always true" is, it may 
be held, a formulation of the law of identity. But "A is A' is al- 
ways true" has as its predicate-term the word "true." And whether 
or not "A is A" is true depends upon the meaning of "truth." The 
word "truth" may be assigned a meaning such that it will follow 
that "A is A" is always true. Or, as in this chapter, the word 
"truth" may be assigned a meaning such that it will not follow 
that "A is A" is always true. The law of identity, in short, at least, 
the law of identity that may be formulated as: " 'A is A* is always 
true" is thus dependent upon, and not independent of, the mean- 
ing of "truth." Apart from whatever meaning may be assigned 
"truth," it is neither a law of thought nor a law of things. It is 
within the framework of our explanation of "reality" that there 
is the law of things: A real A is real. And it is within the frame- 
work of our explanation of "truth" that, when A is real, our prop- 
osition "A is A" is true. 

Of any pair of propositions: "Si is P" and Si is not P," at 
least one is false. Of any pair of propositions: "All S is P" and 
"Some S is not P," at least one is false. Of any pair of propositions: 
"No S is P" and "Some S is P," at least one is false. These three 
sentences taken together may be said to constitute the law of con- 
tradiction. But since the word "false" is the predicate-term in: 

126 



"One of a given pair of propositions is false/' whether or not one 
of a given pair of propositions is false will depend upon the 
meaning of "falsity." What, then, is the situation with respect to 
our propositions, let us ask, when "falsity" has the meaning 
assigned it in this chapter? Can we say that, in our sense of 
"falsity," of any pair of our propositions: "Si is P" and "Si is not 
P," at least one is false; that of any pair of our propositions: "All 
S is P" and "Some S is not P," at least one is false; that of any 
pair of our propositions: "No S is P" and "Some S is P," at least 
one is false? 

In order that our "Si is P" may be true in our sense of "truth," 
Si P must be a real entity. And in order that our "Si is not P" may 
be true in our sense of "truth," S x : not-P must be a real entity. Si 
P and Si: not-P can not both, however, be real entities. For Si P 
and Si: not-P could both be real only if the self-contradictory en- 
tity Si: P-and-not-P were real, only if an entity were real that, in 
the course of our explanation of "reality," was marked out as 
unreal. 41 Again, in order that our "All S is P" may be true in our 
sense of "truth," S: not-P must be unreal. And in order that our 
"Some S is not P" may be true in our sense of "truth," S: not P 
must be real. But S: not-P can not be real when it appears un- 
real. For as we have explained "reality," the entity that appears 
both real and unreal has been marked out as unreal. Similarly 
with our: "No S is P" and our: "Some S is P." Our "No S is P" 
is true in our sense of "truth" only if SP is unreal, our "Some S is 
P" only if SP is real. It follows then that as we explain "truth" and 
"falsity" at least one of our corresponding propositions: "Si is P" 
and "Si is not P" must be false, at least one of our corresponding 
propositions: "All S is P" and "Some S is not P" false, at least 
one of our corresponding propositions: "No S is P" and "Some S 
is P" false. For each new meaning of the term "falsity," a new 
validation of the law of contradiction is, it would appear, re- 
quired. What has just been shown is that, in our sense of "falsity" 
and with respect to propositions of ours, at least one of each pair 
of what are commonly called contradictory propositions is false. 

There are the contradictory propositions: "All S is P" and 
"Some S is not P," the contradictory propositions: "No S is P" and 
"Some S is P." And there subsists the self-contradictory entity A: 
not-A and the self-contradictory entity S: P-and-not-P. As words 

127 



are commonly used, "contradictory propositions" is no doubt a more 
familiar and a less awkward expression than "self-contradictory en- 
tities." An object that appears round and not round is unreal, it 
may appear, because "This object is round" and "This object is not 
"round" are contradictory; not "This object is round" and "This 
object is not round" contradictory because a round, not-round ob- 
ject is a self-contradictory entity. There are those, we have seen, 
who regard truth as prior to reality. 42 And a discussion of truth and 
reality that permits "reality" to be explained by a reference back to 
'truth' has the advantage of permitting the more familiar expres- 
sion: "contradictory propositions" to be introduced before 'the 
more awkward expression: "self-contradictory entities." It has 
been our choice, however, to discuss reality before discussing 
truth, hence to introduce the expression: "self-contradictory en- 
tity" before introducing the expression: "contradictory propo- 
sitions." 4S But the introduction of our term: "self-contradictory 
entity" prior to a discussion of contradictory propositions does 
not, I hope, detract from the understanding of our expres- 
sion: "self-contradictory entity." There subsists the alleged entity 
which appears both straight and not-straight, the alleged entity 
which appears both round and not-round. And we do, I hope, 
succeed in partially explaining our terms "reality" and "un- 
reality" when, even prior to a discussion of contradictory propo- 
sitions, we mark out such self-contradictory entities as unreal. 

Of our propositions "Si is P" and "Si is not P," at least one, we 
have seen, 44 is false in our sense of "falsity." We can not conclude, 
however, that, of our propositions "Si is P" and Si is not P," at least 
one is true in our sense of "truth." Our proposition: "The pres- 
ent King of France is bald" is true only if a bald present King of 
France exists; our proposition: "The present King of France 
is not bald" only if a not-bald present King of France exists. If, 
however, there is no present King of France, a bald present King 
of France is unreal and a not-bald present King of France unreal, 
hence our proposition: "The present King of France is bald" 
false and our proposition: "The present King of France is not 
bald" false. When the alleged entity Si is unreal, both our propo- 
sition: "Si is P" and our proposition: "Si is not P" are false. In- 
deed even when Si is real, "Si is P" and "Si is not P" may both be 

128 



false. This good deed alleged to be yellow may be unreal and this 
good deed alleged to be not-yellow may be unreal. Si, in short, may 
be real and yet, having regard to the deductions our explanation 
of "reality" permits us to make, Si P may be unreal and S^ not-P 
unreal. 

Similarly with our contradictory propositions: "All S is P" and 
"Some S is not P." Our proposition: "All centaurs are intelligent" 
is false in that the alleged universal 'intelligent centaur' is un- 
real; our proposition "Some centaurs are not intelligent" false in 
that the alleged universal 'unintelligent centaur* is unreal. And 
just as the alleged individual: 'this good deed* may be unreal both 
when presented as yellow and when presented as not-yellow, so 
the alleged universal 'good deed' may be unreal both when pre- 
sented as yellow and when presented as not-yellow. 

Since the word "false" is the predicate-term in "One of a given 
pair of propositions is false," it follows that whether or not one 
of a given pair of propositions is false will depend upon the 
meaning of "falsity." 45 And since the word "true" is the predi- 
cate-term in "One of a given pair of propositions is true," whether 
or not one of a given pair of propositions is true will depend upon 
the meaning of "truth." "In our sense of 'falsity' and with respect 
to propositions of ours, at least one of each pair of what are com- 
monly called contradictory propositions is false." 46 But, except 
for propositions of the forms "No S is P" and "Some S is P," it 
does not follow from our explanation of "truth" that, with re- 
spect to propositions of ours, at least one of each pair of what are 
commonly called contradictory propositions is true in our sense 
of "truth." Within the framework of our explanations of "reality" 
and "truth," the law of contradiction in at least one formulation of 
it has been deduced as valid with respect to propositions of ours. 
Within the framework of our explanations of "reality" and 
"truth," the law of identity in at least one formulation of it has 
been deduced as valid with respect to propositions of oursbut 
only provided the subject-term represents an existent entity. But 
it is only within much narrower limits that the law of excluded 
middle in at least one formulation of it can be found to be valid 
within the framework of our explanations of "reality" and 
"truth/' 

129 



Summary 

1 X exists in our sense of "existence," then our proposition 
"X exists" is true in our sense of "truth" and our proposition 
"X does not exist" false in our sense of "falsity." Thus the ex- 
planation of our terms "truth" and "falsity" utilizes and refefs 
back to the explanation of our term "existence." Various types 
of categorical propositions are considered and the entities pointed 
out whose existence or non-existence in our sense of "existence" 
determine these propositions to be true or false as we explain our 
terms "truth" and "falsity." 

The so-called laws of thought are statements about what must 
be true or must be false. But we can not say what must be true 
or must be false until we know what "truth" and "falsity" mean. 
"Truth" and "falsity," like "existence" and "non-existence," are 
capable of various meanings. It is only after the meanings of 
"truth" and "falsity" have been determined that we are in a posi- 
tion to consider the validity of the so-called laws of thought. 
When "truth" and "falsity" have the meanings we assign those 
terms, the law of contradiction is true, the other so-called laws 
of thought only qualifiedly true. 



130 



Chapter V 
MORE ABOUT TRUE AND FALSE PROPOSITIONS 



We have at this point agreed that various sentences are real in 
our sense of "reality/* some of them being sentences of ours, 
some of them sentences of others. Those propositions of others 
which express no assertion of existence or of non-existence in our 
sense of "existence" are, to be sure, real. But, as we explain our 
terms "truth" and "falsity," they are neither true nor false. 1 Ex- 
cept for judgments or facts that may be called "true," it is to sen- 
tences expressing assertions of existence or of non-existence in 
our sense of "existence" that we are limiting the application of 
our terms "truth" and "falsity," to sentences expressing asser- 
tions of existence or of non-existence in our sense of "existence," 
whether these sentences be propositions of ours or propositions of 
others. It is however only in their application to some of these 
sentences that we have thus far explained our terms "truth" and 
"falsity." Categorical propositions occurring in this treatise, 
whether singular, particular or universal, whether affirmative or 
negative, are, provided the predicate-term is not "true," "false," 
"real" or "unreal," true or false according as some entity or en- 
tities are real or unreal. Categorical existential propositions oc- 
curring in this treatise are likewise true or false according as some 
entity is real or unreal. And those propositions of others which are 
synonymous with one or more categorical existential proposi- 
tions as they might be used by me are true or false according as 
all of the categorical existential propositions of ours to which they 
may be reduced are true or one of them false. 

In explaining our terms "truth" and "falsity" as applied to 
propositions of others, little more need be said. It remains, how- 

131 



ever for us to determine the categorical existential propositions 
of ours, if any, to which our non-categorical propositions may be 
reduced. And it remains for us to determine whether any of 
our propositions can not be reduced to categorical existential 
propositions, whether any of our propositions express no assertion 
of existence or of non-existence in our sense of "existence," 
whether, consequently, any of our propositions, in accordance 
with our explanations of "truth" and "falsity," are neither true 
nor false. 

Within the framework of our explanations of "truth" and 
"falsity" as thus far stated, it may seem that our sentence: "This 
proposition is true" may be true, false, or neither true nor false. 
For "This proposition is true" is not an explicitly existential 
proposition like "Socrates exists" nor, since "P" has been said not 
to cover the predicate-terms "true" and "false," 2 an instance of "Si 
is P." The only sentences which are neither true nor false, how- 
ever, are those which are not propositions and those which express 
no assertions of existence or of non-existence in our sense of 
"existence." Our sentence: "This proposition is true" is what we 
call a "proposition"; 3 it does not express an assertion of mere sub- 
sistence; it is not synonymous with: "This true proposition sub- 
sists." Rather it expresses an assertion that 'this true proposition* 
exists; it is, as we explain "truth," true or false according as 'this 
true proposition' is real or unreal. 

Let us take as our alleged object: 'the sentence "This proposi- 
tion is true," apparently presented as false/ What we seem to have 
before us is then a 'this proposition' with the characteristic of be- 
ing true and with the characteristic of being false. What we seem 
to have before us is a subsisting 'this proposition' which appears 
self-contradictory, a subsisting 'this proposition' which conse- 
quently is unreal. 'This proposition' is real when presented as 
true but not false, unreal when presented as both true and false. 
And since "This proposition is true," when not presented as false, 
exists, "This proposition is true" is itself, let us say, a proposition 
which is true. 

Just as our sentence: "This proposition is true" exists when 
presented as true and not false, so our sentence: "This proposi- 
tion is false" exists when presented as false and not true. Since 
'this true-false proposition' does not exist, "This proposition is 

132 



false" is not true. And yet, -since 'this false proposition' exists, a 
sentence which expresses an assertion of the existence of 'this false 
proposition* does not express an assertion of mere subsistence and 
is consequently either true or false. 'This proposition is false'* is, 
it follows, false. To be sure, when the predicate-term is not "real," 
"unreal," "true" or "false," then, when Si P exists, our proposi- 
tion: "Si is P" is true. 4 And if "This proposition is false" were to 
be treated as an instance of "Si is P," then, since 'this false propo- 
sition* exists, "This proposition is false" would be true. But "This 
proposition is false" is, as we have just seen, not true. And so it 
follows that the conditions determining the truth or falsity of a 
proposition of ours whose predicate-term is the word "false" are 
not always the conditions determining the truth or falsity of a 
proposition of ours whose predicate-term is neither "true" nor 
"false" nor "real" nor "unreal/* It is some entity's existence or 
non-existence which determines a proposition to be true or false, 
in our sense of these terms, rather than neither true nor false. But 
in one case where an entity exists, a proposition asserting the 
existence of that entity is true; in another case where an entity 
exists, a proposition asserting the existence of that entity is false. 

Our sentence: "This proposition is true'* is a proposition which 
is true, our sentence: "This proposition is false** is a proposition 
which is false. But whereas our proposition: "This proposition is 
true*' is in all instances true, our proposition: "Proposition A, 
which is not this proposition, is true*' is, it would seem, true or 
false according as proposition A is true or not. And whereas our 
proposition: "This proposition is false*' is in all instances false, 
our proposition: "Proposition B, which is not this proposition, is 
false" is, it would seem, true or false according as proposition B is 
false or not. 

There exist, let us agree, propositions whose subject terms are 
propositions; there exist propositions whose subject-terms are 
propositions which in turn have propositions as their subject- 
terms. There exist, that is to say, what we may call the first-order 
proposition A, what we may call the second order proposition: 
"Proposition A is false," what we may call the third-order propo- 
sition: "It is true that proposition A is false.** Generalizing, we 
may say that a proposition of the (n+l)th order in which the 
predicate-term is the word "true" is true or false according as the 

133 



proposition of the n th order, which is its subject-term, and not 
identical with it, is true or not. And we may say that a proposition 
of the (n-fl)th order in which the predicate-term is the word 
"false" is true or false according as the proposition of the n th 
order which is its subject-term, and not identical with it, is false 
or not. We thus elaborate the explanation of our terms "truth" 
and "falsity" with respect to propositions of ours of higher and 
higher order. But no questions concerning propositions of an 
allegedly infinite order are involved. For the most complex propo- 
sition whose truth or falsity is to be determined will, however 
complex, be a proposition definitely presented to us, a proposi- 
tion which is real and of a finite order. 

There is our singular proposition: "The proposition 'All men 
are mortar occurring on this page is a true proposition." And 
there is our enumerative proposition: "Each proposition occurring 
on this page is true." There is our singular proposition: "The 
proposition 'All centaurs are animals' occurring on this page is a 
false proposition." And there is our enumerative proposition: 
"Each proposition occurring on this page is false." But, as we use 
it, "Each proposition occurring on this page is true" is, let us say, 
synonymous with "This proposition is true" and "Each remain- 
ing proposition on this page is true." And, as we use it, "Each 
proposition occurring on this page is false" is, let us say, synony- 
mous with "This proposition is false" and "Each remaining propo- 
sition on this page is false." Since our proposition: "This proposi- 
tion is true" is always true, our proposition "Each proposition 
occurring on this page is true" is true if each remaining proposi- 
sition on this page is true. And since "This proposition is false" is 
always false, our proposition "Each proposition occurring on this 
page is false" is never true. If Lucian had been using "existence" 
in our sense of "existence" and if he had ended his "True History" 
with the statement: "Each of the propositions in this book is 
false," his final proposition would have been false in the sense in 
which we are using the terms "falsity" and "truth." 

"Given any set of objects such that, if we suppose the set to have 
a total, it will contain members which presuppose this total, then," 
say Whitehead and Russell, "such a set can not have a total" and 
"no significant statement can be made about all its members." 5 
But our statement: "Each proposition occurring on this page is 

134 



false*' is not without meaning in the sense in which the statement: 
"Eeny meeny miny mo" is without meaning. Indeed it expresses an 
assertion of the existence of various false propositions and, since it 
itself exists as a false proposition, it is a proposition which is false. 
It is itself, we hold, a proposition; and hence adds to the number 
of propositions on this page. And so if it is the last proposition on 
a page containing twenty others, that page, it would seem, con- 
tains twenty-one propositions and not propositions having no 
total at all. 

If Si P exists, our proposition "Si is P" is true; whereas if 'this 
false proposition' exists, our proposition: "This proposition is 
false" is false. To this extent there is a difference between "truth" 
as we explain it in its application to certain propositions of the 
first order and "truth" as we explain it in its application to cer- 
tain propositions of a higher order. It may seem to be a matter 
merely of the choice of words whether, as with Whitehead and 
Russell, the distinction is said to be between "truth of the first 
order" and "truth of a higher order" or whether, as with us, the 
distinction is said to be between the conditions under which cer- 
tain propositions of the first order are true or are false, and the 
conditions under which certain propositions of a higher order 
are true or are false. No doubt, some theory of types, though not 
Whitehead and Russell's, might distinguish as we do the condi- 
tions under which certain propositions of the first order are true 
or are false from the conditions under which certain propositions 
of a higher order are true or are false. It is to be pointed out, how- 
ever, that it is not the order of a proposition alone that determines 
the conditions under which a proposition is true or false as we ex- 
plain "truth" and "falsity." The conditions determining the truth 
or falsity of our second-order proposition: "This proposition is 
false" are, to be sure, not the conditions determining the truth or 
falsity of a first-order proposition of the form: Si is P. But the con- 
ditions determining the truth or falsity of our first-order propo- 
sition "Si is unreal" are likewise not the conditions determining 
the truth or falsity of our "Si is P." For our "Si is unreal" is true, 
not if an unreal Si exists, but if Si is unreal. And our "Si is unreal" 
is false, not if an unreal Si does not exist, but if Si is *;eal. The con- 
ditions under which propositions of ours are true or false vary with 
the f<r m of proposition in which assertions of existence or of non- 

135 



existence are expressed. But it is always the existence or non-exist- 
ence of some entity or entities in our sense of "existence" that 
determines a proposition's truth or falsity. It is not existence in 
one sense that characterizes entities whose existence is asserted in 
first-order propositions, existence in another sense that character- 
izes entities whose existence is asserted in second-order proposi- 
tions. And it is to this extent not truth in one sense that character- 
izes first-order propositions, truth in another sense that character- 
izes second-order propositions. 

There are second-order propositions whose subject-terms are 
first order propositions; there are propositions, that is to say, which 
are about propositions. And as there are propositions about prop- 
ositions, so there subsist relations between relations, qualities of 
qualities, classes whose members are classes. Alleged situations of 
these various types may present us with difficulties, with apparent 
contradictions. Where such contradictions appear, "the appear- 
ance of contradiction/' it has been held, 6 "is produced by the 
presence of some word which has systematic ambiguity of type, 
such as truth, falsehood, function, property, class, relation, cardi- 
nal, ordinal, name, definition." Indeed, as these apparent contra- 
dictions may elicit similar diagnoses, so, it may be held, they call 
for similar solutions. And so what is said about propositions about 
propositions, it may be held, indicates what is to be said about 
alleged relations between relations, about alleged qualities of 
qualities, about alleged classes whose members are classes. No 
doubt apparent contradictions apparently presented to us in con- 
nection with alleged qualities of qualities or in connection with 
alleged classes whose members are classes require our attention at 
some point. It is however in connection with our discussion of 
qualities and relations that we shall consider the alleged quality 
of being a quality. 7 It is in connection with our discussion of uni- 
versals that we shall consider the alleged universal whose instances 
are univeisals. 8 And it is in connection with our discussion of 
meanings that we shall consider an ambiguity in the term "name." 
Let us at this point limit our attention to propositions varying 
in form and to the conditions under which propositions varying 
in form are true or false as we explain our terms "truth" and 
"falsity." 

Ever since Aristotle, many logicians hold, propositions of the 

136 



subject-predicate type have occupied our attention too exclusively. 
It is felt that many of the sentences in which we normally express 
ourselves fall into the subject-predicate form only by an artificial 
and unnatural treatment. "King James was King Charles's son," 
for example, is to be symbolized, it is felt, by "A r B" rather than 
by "Si is P." Moreover, it has been pointed out, our neglect of 
"A r B" has led us to neglect various valid implications, as, for 
example, the implications which are valid when "r" is a transitive 
relation. We need, however, merely note these criticisms and pass 
on. For our task is not to catalog and discuss the implications 
that are valid with respect to propositions of various forms. Nor 
is our task to catalog the forms in which we normally express 
ourselves. No doubt through the existential proposition: "Anne 
exists with the quality of having Ruth as her sister and with the 
quality of having Mary as her sister," attention is directed to Anne 
as it is not directed to her through the relational proposition: 
"Ruth, Mary and Anne are sisters." But the various existential 
propositions of ours which are synonymous with our: "Ruth, 
Mary and Anne are sisters" need no pointing out. Our task at this 
point is to explain our terms "truth" and "falsity" in their applica- 
tion to propositions of ours, however these propositions may 
vary in form. But the conditions under which our relational prop- 
ositions are true or false are, it would seem, clear. For with what- 
ever shift in emphasis the reduction of them to existential propo- 
sitions may be carried out, however inelegantly the existential 
propositions to which they are reduced may have to be expressed, 
the existential propositions with which they are synonymous are, 
it would seem, clear; hence the conditions under which they are 
true or false are clear. 

Sentences of others which express no assertions of existence or 
of non-existence in our sense of "existence" are, we have said, 10 
neither true nor false. There are writers whose term "existence" 
has a meaning different from that which our term "existence" has. 
And there are perhaps sentencesand certainly clauses which 
express no assertion of existence or of non-existence in any sense 
of "existence." In the hypothetical sentence: "If A is B, C is D," 
the clause: "If A is B" expresses no assertion that there exists, in 
any sense of "existence," an A that is B. There is, for example, 
the hypothetical sentence: "If it rains tomorrow, the ground will 

137 



be wet/' And yet, as this sentence is commonly used, whatever 
meaning "existence" has for its author, this sentence's initial 
clause expresses doubt, rather that belief, in the occurrence of 
rain tomorrow. The statement however is: "If it rains tomor- 
row, the ground will be wet," not "If it rains tomorrow, the 
ground will be dry." If there is any sense of "truth," any sense of 
"falsity," in which the former proposition is true and the latter 
false, there would seem to be a corresponding sense of "existence" 
in which rain is wet and not dry, a corresponding sense of "exist- 
ence" in which rain exists with the quality of causing the ground 
to be wet, not with the quality of causing the ground to be 
dry. Some other author's: "If A is B, C is D" may express no as- 
sertion of existence or of non-existence in our sense of "existence"; 
his sentence may be neither true nor false in our sense of "truth" 
and in our sense of "falsity." Nevertheless there would appear to 
be some entity whose existence in his sense of "existence" he is 
asserting, some entity which from his point of view is an existent 
and supports the statement: "If A is B, C is D" rather than the 
statement: "If A is B, C is not D." 1X 

There is likewise some entity whose existence or non-existence 
in our sense of "existence" determines the truth or falsity in our 
sense of "truth" and "falsity" of a hypothetical proposition of 
ours. And it is by pointing out the entities whose existence or 
non-existence determines the truth or falsity of a hypothetical 
proposition of ours that we explain our terms "truth" and "fal- 
sity" in their application to that proposition of ours. 

A hypothetical proposition of ours is, generally speaking, a 
proposition having the form: "If A is B, C is D." But "If it rains 
tomorrow" is synonymous with: "If rain tomorrow should exist"; 12 
"If some men have six legs" synonymous with: "If the universal 
'six-legged man' should exist." 1S And so with our "C is D." There 
is the hypothetical proposition: "If rain tomorrow should exist, 
then wet grounds tomorrow would exist" and the hypothetical 
proposition: "If 'six-legged man' should exist, then 'six-legged 
animal' would exist." Many of our hypothetical propositions, that 
is to say, may be reduced to instances of: "If entity E should exist, 
then entity F would exist," may be said to be true or false accord- 
ing as the corresponding instance of: "If E should exist, then F 
would exist" is true or false. 

138 



Our proposition: "If rain tomorrow should exist, then wet 
grounds tomorrow would exist" does not express an assertion that 
rain tomorrow will exist nor an assertion that there will be wet 
grounds tomorrow. Our proposition: "If 'six-legged man' should 
exist, then 'six-legged animal' would exist" does not express an 
assertion that 'six-legged man* exists nor an assertion that 'six- 
legged animal' exists. There are however two-legged men; and 
'two-legged man' implies 'two-legged animal/ And there are six- 
legged insects; and 'six-legged insect' implies 'six-legged animal.' 
Likewise there was rain yesterday which caused wet grounds and 
rain a month ago which caused wet grounds. If what may be said 
to be analogous to rain tomorrow does not cause what is corre- 
spondingly analogous to wet grounds tomorrow, then our propo- 
sition: "If rain tomorrow should exist, then wet grounds tomorrow 
would exist" is false. And if what may be said to be analogous to 
'six-legged man* does not imply what is correspondingly analogous 
to 'six-legged animal,' then our proposition: "If 'six-legged man' 
should exist, then 'six-legged animal' would exist" is false. E may 
not exist and F may not exist. But in order for our proposition: 
"If E should exist, F would exist" to be true in our sense of 
"truth," some entity in some sense analogous to E must exist in 
our sense of "existence"; and some entity correspondingly analo- 
gous to F must exist. Indeed, the entity or entities that may be 
said to resemble E must really cause the entity or entities that 
seem correspondingly to resemble F, must really imply the entity 
or entities that seem correspondingly to resemble F, or must really 
be synchronous and concomitant with the entity or entities that 
seem correspondingly to resemble F. Our proposition: "If E should 
exist, F would exist," that is to say, expresses an assertion that 
entities in some sense resembling E exist; indeed, that they exist 
when presented as entering into certain relational situations with 
entities seeming to resemble F. Unless these entities thus pre- 
sented are real, our hypothetical proposition, let us say, is false. 
Provided these entities thus presented are real, our hypothetical 
proposition, let us say, may be true. 

There is, moreover, not only an assertion of existence expressed 
in our proposition: "If E should exist, F would exist"; there is 
also an assertion of non-existence. There may or may not be rain 
tomorrow, But an alleged rain tomorrow presented as not caus- 

139 



ing, or not being concomitant with, wet grounds tomorrow is as- 
serted not to exist. 'Six-legged man' may or may not be real. But 
'six-legged man/ presented as not implying 'six-legged animal/ 
is asserted not to be real. Only if E presented as not causing, not 
implying and not being concomitant with F is unreal, and only 
if entities in some sense resembling E presented as entering into 
certain relational situations with entities in some sense resembling 
F are real, then and only then is our proposition: "If E should 
exist, F would exist" true. 

"If it rains tomorrow/' we have said, 1 * is synonymous with "If 
rain tomorrow should exist"; "If some men have six legs" synony- 
mous with "If 'six-legged man* should exist." Since, however, our 
proposition: "No men are immortal" has been reduced to: "Im- 
mortal men do not exist," 15 it follows that "If no men are im- 
mortal" is synonymous with: "If immortal man should not exist." 
There is thus not only our hypothetical proposition: "If E should 
exist, then F would exist"; there is our hypothetical proposition: 
"If E should not exist, then F would exist," our hypothetical 
proposition: "If E should exist and E' not exist, then F would 
exist"; our hypothetical proposition: "If E should not exist, then 
F would not exist." There is, for example, not only our propo- 
sition: "If six-legged man should exist, then six-legged animal 
would exist," but also our proposition: "If 'animal' should not 
exist, then 'man' would not exist." And there is not only our 
proposition: "If rain tomorrow should exist, then wet grounds 
tomorrow would exist," but also our proposition: "If there should 
be no fire, there would be no smoke." 

Our proposition: "If it should rain tomorrow, the ground would 
be wet" expresses an assertion that rain tomorrow not concomit- 
ant with wet grounds will not exist. And our proposition: "If 
there should be no fire, there would be no smoke," we may ten- 
tatively say, expresses an assertion that the absence of fire con- 
comitant with smoke does not exist. But what is this absence of 
fire that is asserted not to exist when presented as concomitant 
with smoke? Where there is no fire, there is, let us assume, matter 
at a temperature below the point of combustion. It is non-com- 
busting matter presented as concomitant with smoke that, it 
would appear, we are asserting to be unreal. And it is what might 
be alleged to exist on a planet where there are no animals that, 

140 



it would appear, we are asserting to be unreal when presented 
as concomitant with man. In order that our proposition: "If E 
should not exist, F would not exist" may be true, what may be 
alleged to exist in the absence of E must be unreal when pre- 
sented as concomitant with F, must be unreal when presented as 
not concomitant with what is alleged to exist in the absence of F. 

But when we say: "If E should not exist, F would not exist," is 
there anything that we are asserting does exist? Are we asserting 
that something does exist in the absence of E and is concomitant 
with what exists in the absence of F? Are we asserting at least 
that something exists which seems to resemble what might exist in 
the absence of E and that this entity is concomitant with an entity 
that seems to resemble what might exist in the absence of F? Or 
does our: "If E should not exist, F would not exist" merely ex- 
press an assertion of non-existence, express no assertion of exist- 
ence at all? With respect to that with respect to which we can 
speak with certainty, with respect to propositions that are ex- 
pressions of mine, let us adopt the last and simplest course. Let us 
say that our: "If E should not exist, F would not exist" expresses 
no assertion not expressed in: "What is alleged to exist in the 
absence of E is unreal when presented as concomitant with F." Let 
us consequently say that our proposition: "If there should be no fire, 
there would be no smoke" is true or false, in our sense of "truth" 
and "falsity," according as non-combusting matter alleged to be 
concomitant with smoke is unreal or real. And let us say that our 
proposition: "If there should be no animals there would be no 
men" is true or false according as there is not, or is, a world 
containing men but not animals. 

There is our categorical proposition: "All centaurs are animals" 
and there is our hypothetical proposition: "If centaurs should 
exist, animals would exist." Just as our proposition: "All men 
are mortal" is true, as we explain "truth," only if immortal men 
do not exist, so "All centaurs are animals" is true only if cen- 
taurs who are not animals do not exist. 16 "If centaurs should 
exist, animals would exist" is likewise true only if centaurs who 
are not animals do not exist. For our proposition: "If E should 
exist, F would exist" is true "only if E presented as not causing, 
not implying and being concomitant with F is unreal." 1T The two 
propositions which we are comparing, one categorical and one 

141 



hypothetical, both, to be true, require the non-existence of cen- 
taurs who are not animals. But they differ in the entities that 
must exist, if they are to be true. In order for: "If centaurs should 
exist, animals would exist" to be true, there need be no centaurs, 
only entities analogous to centaurs whose existence causes or 
implies or is concomitant with the existence of animals. But in 
order for: "All centaurs are animals" to be true, there must be 
some centaur that is an animal. Our categorical proposition: "All 
centaurs are animals," it follows, is not synonymous with our 
hypothetical proposition: "If centaurs should exist, animals would 
exist." For with horses, which may be said to be analogous to 
centaurs, being real and being animals, and with centaurs not 
being real and not being animals, the hypothetical proposition is 
true and the categorical proposition false. 

"A hypothetical proposition of ours," we have said, 18 "is, gen- 
erally speaking, a proposition having the form: "If A is B, C is 
D." But along with the assertions expressed in: "If A is B, C is D," 
there may be the assertions expressed in: "A is not B" as when 
we say: "If A were B or had been B, C would be or would have 
been D." And along with the assertions expressed in "If A is 
B, C is D" and expressed in "A is not B," there may be the as- 
sertions expressed in: "C is D." We may be asserting that C is 
D but that A is not B; and we may also be asserting that A being 
B would cause or imply C being D. We may in short assert that 
C is D as though or as if A were B. 

In the writings of Vaihinger and others much importance is 
attached to fictions. There is the fiction: "All of the sun's mass 
is concentrated at the centre." And there is the fictitious or "as 
if" proposition: "The earth revolves about the sun in an elliptical 
path exactly as if all of the sun's mass were concentrated at the 
centre." The fiction itself the proposition, for example: "All of 
the sun's mass is concentrated at the centre," may be a proposi- 
tion that the physicist finds useful to consider. The mental attitude 
which has as its apparent object an alleged sun whose mass is con- 
centrated at the centre may lead to other mental attitudes di- 
rected upon the behavior of the sun as it actually exists. But when 
we assert that C is D as if A were B, we are asserting that A is not 
B. We are asserting that A is not B; that C is D; that if A should be 
B, G would be D. We are asserting for example: "If the sun's 

142 



mass should be concentrated at its centre, the earth would revolve 
in an elliptical orbit about it." And whereas, in order that this 
latter proposition may be true, the sun's mass need not be con- 
centrated at the centre, there must be something analogous 
to a sun whose mass is concentrated at the centre; and this 
analogous entity that is real must really imply, or must really 
be concomitant with, an entity analogous to an earth that follows 
an elliptical path. It is true, let us suppose, that a laboratory ap- 
proximation of a body alleged to have its mass concentrated at 
its centre does exist, a body, for example, with a dense core. And 
it is true, let us suppose, that the satellite of such a body follows 
an elliptical path. If, then, among other assumptions we assume 
that the earth's orbit is indeed an ellipse, then the fictitious propo- 
sition: "The earth revolves about the earth in an elliptical path 
exactly as if all of the sun's mass were concentrated at the centre" 
is a proposition which is true; whereas the fiction: "All of the 
sun's mass is concentrated at the centre" is a proposition which 

is false. tl 

Vaihinger distinguishes, however, between what he calls real 
fictions" and what he calls "semi-fictions." "Semi-fictions," he 
holds," "assume the unreal, real fictions the impossible." But if a 
real fiction is to be symbolized by: "The self-contradictory entity 
E exists," then the fictitious or "as if proposition that is based 
upon it becomes, let us suppose: "F exists as if the self-contra- 
dictory entity E existed." "F exists as if the self-contradictory 
entity E existed" is, however, true -at least this proposition as it 
might be used by me is true,-only if an entity in some sense 
analogous to the self-contradictory E is real and only if this 
analogous entity really causes, really implies, or is really syn- 
chronous and concomitant with, an entity analogous to F. Is 
there then, we may ask, a real entity that may be said to be 
analogous to the E that is presented as self-contradictory? It 
each entity presented as analogous to E appears as self-contradic- 
tory as E itself, then no entity analogous to E exists and the 
fictitious proposition based upon what Vaihinger calls a real 
fiction is false. And if a real entity may be said to approximate and 
resemble a self-contradictory one, if a many-sided polygon, for 
example may be said to be analogous to a circle bounded by 
straight lines, then real fictions and semi-fictions seem to require 

143 



no separate treatment. For in that case the fictions are equally 
false and the fictitious propositions based upon them are equally 
likely to be true; in that case, whether our alleged E be self- 
contradictory or not, there is a real entity that may be said to be 
analogous to it, a real entity whose participation in a particular 
relational situation is asserted. 

There may be no circle bounded by straight lines. But if there 
is a many-sided polygon that may be said to be analogous to such 
an alleged circle, then the hypothetical proposition that begins 
with the clause: "If a circle were bounded by straight lines" may 
be true. There may be no men with six legs. But if 'two-legged 
man' may be said to be analogous to such an alleged 'six-legged 
man/ then the hypothetical proposition that begins with the 
clause: "If some men had six legs" may be true. It may not have 
rained last Tuesday. But if there have been other instances of 
rain all followed by wet grounds, then the hypothetical propo- 
sition: "If it had rained last Tuesday, the ground would then have 
been wet" may be true. My alcoholic friend may not be seeing 
a snake. But if people have seen snakes and have jumped, my 
proposition: "He is jumping as though he were seeing a snake" 
may be true. 

But if other people have really seen snakes, how can their 
experiences which are real be really analogous to an alleged 
snake-seeing experience which is unreal? How can yesterday's 
rain which was real have the real quality of being analogous to 
an alleged but non-existent rain last Tuesday? Real entities, it 
would seem, can have only real qualities. Unreal entities, it 
would seem, can have only unreal qualities. Last Tuesday's rain 
is unreal no matter how it is presented. It is unreal; and its al- 
leged quality of being analogous to yesterday's rain is unreal. 
And yesterday's rain is real only when presented with qualities 
that it really has. The quality of resembling an unreal entity is 
unreal. And the yesterday's rain that is presented as resembling 
an unreal rain is an unreal subsistent, a subsistent other than the 
subsisting yesterday's rain which is real. 20 

A real entity, we must agree, can not really resemble an unreal 
one. But unreal entities may be presented as apparent objects. 
And real entities, which to be sure do not really resemble them, 
may subsequently be selected as our objects. There are the real 

144 



words: "Last Tuesday's rain." And after having these real words 
before us, we may subsequently select as our object the real en- 
tity: yesterday's rain. There may be no entities really resembling 
an unreal E. But our term: "Entities resembling an unreal E" is 
real; and this term may suggest other terms which not only are 
real but which have real meanings. "If E should exist, F would 
exist" is a proposition of ours which is real and which may be 
true or may be false. A condition of its truth, we now find, is 
not that entities really resembling E enter into relational situa- 
tions with entities really resembling F, but rather that the real 
entity E 1 , suggested by our real phrase "entities resembling E" 
enter into relational situations with the real entity F 1 suggested 
by our real phrase: "Entities resembling F." 

There is our hypothetical proposition: "If A is B, C is D"; and 
there is our alternative proposition: "A is B or G is D." Both in 
general usage and as an expression of ours, " A is B or C is D or 
E is F" is called true if "A is B" is a true proposition or "C 
is D" a true proposition or "E is F" a true proposition. And if 
each of the included propositions is false, then the alternative 
proposition which includes them is called "false." No matter how 
disparate the entities whose existence is asserted or denied in "A 
is B" and in "C is D," the alternative proposition: "A is B or C is 
D," it would seem, may be true. Thus, since both "Caesar crossed 
the Rubicon" and "No centaurs are animals" are true in our sense 
of "truth," our alternative proposition: "Caesar crossed the Rubi- 
con or no centaurs are animals," let us say, is likewise true in our 
sense of "truth." Since our proposition: "All men are mortal" is 
true in our sense of "truth," our alternative proposition: "All 
men are mortal or Washington crossed the Hellespont" is true 
in our sense of "truth." And as we explain our term "falsity" 
in its application to alternative propositions of ours, since "The 
present King of France is a married man" and "This proposition 
is false" are both false, our alternative proposition: "The present 
King of France is a married man or this proposition is false" is 
false. Our alternative proposition is thus a proposition about 
propositions, a proposition that resembles: "At least one of the 
propositions on yonder page is true." In its simplest form it is 
what we have called a proposition of the second order rather than 
a first-order proposition like: "All men are mortal" or like: "If it 

145 



should rain tomorrow, the ground would be wet/' 21 

Let us assume that we have before us a true hypothetical propo- 
sition that is, or may be reduced to, an instance of: "If E should 
exist, then F would exist." Among the various assertions that this 
proposition expresses, there is the assertion that E, presented as 
not concomitant with F and presented as neither causing nor im- 
plying F, does not exist. 22 Since the hypothetical proposition which 
we are considering is assumed to be true, the entity whose non- 
existence is asserted in it does not exist. And since an E presented 
as not concomitant with F and presented as neither causing nor 
implying F does not exist, it follows that an E presented as not 
even co-existent with F does not exist. If, that is to say, E does not 
exist unless it causes, implies or is concomitant with F, then E 
does not exist unless it co-exists with F. Either E does not exist at 
all or F is also an existent. Thus at least one of two propositions is 
true. Either "E does not exist" is true or "F exists" is true. In 
short, if our hypothetical proposition: "If E should exist, then F 
would exist" is true, then our alternative proposition: "Either E 
does not exist or F exists" is true. 

If our hypothetical proposition: "If E should exist, then F 
would exist" is true, then our alternative proposition: "Either E 
does not exist or F exists" is true. It is not to be concluded how- 
ever that if our alternative proposition: "Either E does not exist 
or F exists" is true, then our hypothetical proposition: "If E 
should exist, then F would exist" is true. Our hypothetical propo- 
sition: "If E should exist, then F would exist" expresses an asser- 
tion of existence as well as an assertion of non-existence. And even 
the assertion of non-existence expressed in it is not the assertion 
of the non-existence of an E that is alleged merely not to co-exist 
with F. It is an E, alleged not to enter into a particular relational 
situation with F, which is asserted to be unreal and which, since 
our proposition is assumed to be true, is unreal. E does not 
merely not exist without F existing; E does not exist without im- 
plying F, or without causing F, or without being synchronous and 
concomitant with F. 28 A Caesar who crossed the Rubicon existed; 
and rain yesterday existed. The two events co-exist in the sense 
that the one is not an existent and the other a non-existent. But 
Caesar's crossing the Rubicon did not cause yesterday's rain, did 
not imply yesterday's rain, was not synchronous with yesterday's 

146 



rain. As we explain our terms "truth" and "falsity" in their appli- 
cation to propositions of ours, our alternative proposition: "Either 
Caesar did not cross the Rubicon or it rained yesterday" is true; 
our hypothetical proposition: "If Caesar crossed the Rubicon, 
then it rained yesterday" is false. 

"It rained yesterday" is a true proposition. There is however 
a difference between: "It rained yesterday" being presented as 
a true proposition and rain yesterday being presented as an 
existent entity, a difference between: "Either it rained yester- 
day or Caesar did not cross the Rubicon" being presented as a 
true proposition and 'rain yesterday or Caesar not crossing the 
Rubicon* being presented as an existent entity. There is no real 
entity: 'Rain yesterday or Caesar not crossing the Rubicon.' And 
the real entity 'rain yesterday* does not really imply 'rain yester- 
day or Caesar not crossing the Rubicon/ The implication in short 
is from one true proposition to another, not from the existent re- 
ferred to in one proposition to the existent referred to in another. 
It is the true proposition P which implies the true proposition: P 
or Q; not the entity whose existence is asserted in P which implies 
some entity described as "E or F" whose existence might be said to 
be asserted in 'P or Q.' There are implications between proposi- 
tions, that is to say, which can not be reduced to implications be- 
tween the entities that seem to be referred to in these propositions. 
There are true hypothetical propositions about propositions, 
true hypothetical propositions of the second order, that have no 
true hypothetical propositions of the first order corresponding to 
them. 

It is beyond the scope of this chapter to point out the bearing, if 
any, which the remarks of the last few pages have upon proposi- 
tions advanced in treatises on symbolic logic. "Existence" may 
be assigned various meanings; "truth" may be assigned various 
meanings; "implication" may be assigned various meanings. And 
the relevance of the distinctions to which we have just alluded will 
vary with the meanings selected. Our primary task has been to ex- 
plain our terms "truth" and "falsity" in their application to 
categorical propositions of ours and to alternative propositions 
of ours, to hypothetical propositions of the first order and to hy- 
pothetical propositions of the second order. And at this point this 
part of our task has, it would seem, been accomplished. 

147 



Let us however not take leave of the alternative proposition 
without some discussion of the dilemma, without some discussion 
of the situation in which we are alleged to be confronted by two 
equally unsatisfactory alternatives. Consider, for example, the 
plight of the ship's barber who has agreed to shave each man on 
board ship who does not shave himself and no man on board ship 
who does shave himself. 24 The barber is himself a member of the 
ship's personnel. If he shaves himself, he is breaking his agree- 
ment; since he has agreed to shave no one on board ship who 
shaves himself. And if he does not shave himself, he is failing to 
shave each man on board ship who does not shave himself. The 
barber appearing with the characteristic of shaving all non-shavers 
and with the characteristic of shaving only non-shavers, like the 
Cretan appearing with the characteristic of making the true asser- 
tion that no Cretan ever expresses himself in a true proposition 25 
is a subsistent implicitly appearing as self-contradictory, a sub- 
sistent that is unreal. Of the two statements the barber may be sup- 
posed to have made before entering upon his duties, one is false. 
Either "I shall shave each man on board who does not shave him- 
self" is false or "I shall shave no man on board who shaves him- 
self" is false. The sentence: "Either the proposition 'I shall shave 
each man on board who does not shave himself is false or the 
proposition 1 shall shave no man on board who shaves himself is 
false" is, however, not without meaning in the sense in which the 
statement: "Eeeny meeny miny mo" is without meaning. 26 Our 
alternative proposition expresses an assertion that, of two alleged 
false propositions, one presented as false exists. It expresses an 
assertion of existence and, as we explain our term "truth," is 
true rather than neither true nor false. 27 

There is likewise the dilemma that may be supposed to have 
been presented to the court in the hypothetical case of Prota- 
goras versus Euathlus. 28 Euathlus is supposed to have agreed to 
complete payment for the training he had received only after 
winning his first case. When his teacher Protagoras sued him for 
the unpaid balance and thus forced upon Euathlus his first and 
last case, Euathlus is imagined to have proposed to the court a 
dilemma. "Either I shall win this case, in which event the court 
will have decided that the balance is voided; or I shall lose this 
case, in which event I shall never have won my first case." An 

148 



alleged correct decision in favor of Euathlus is implicitly pre- 
sented with contradictory consequences and is unreal. An alleged 
correct decision in favor of Protagoras is implicitly presented with 
contradictory consequences and is unreal. The agreement to pay 
after the first case no matter what the first case might be, and to 
pay only after the first case, like the agreement to shave each 
non-shaver and no shavers, turns out to have been an agreement 
that cannot be kept. Either our proposition: "Protagoras will re- 
ceive payment only after Euathlus wins his first case" is false; or 
our proposition: "Euathlus will pay after winning his first case" 
is false. Unless the case of Protagoras versus Euathlus was implic- 
itly excepted, there was no real agreement at all and judgment 
must be rendered on the basis that there was no agreement. 

There is our alternative proposition: "A is B or C is D." 29 "A 
is B" may be positive or negative, singular, particular or universal. 
So with "C is D"; and so with any other propositions that are in- 
cluded in our alternative proposition. "A" may moreover be 
identical with "C," or "B" may be identical with "D." But how- 
ever one alternative proposition of ours may differ from another, 
despite the multiplicity of types, nevertheless not every proposi- 
tion containing the words "or" or "nor" is an instance of "A is B 
or C is D." "All animals are vertebrates or invertebrates," for ex- 
ample, is not synonymous with "All animals are vertebrates or all 
animals are invertebrates," but, as generally used, seems, among 
other assertions, to express the assertion that no animal is both 
non-vertebrate and non-invertebrate. And "Neither Taft nor 
Wilson is now President" seems, as generally used, to be synony- 
mous with: "Taft is not now President; and Wilson is not now 
President." It is in short our alternative proposition that we have 
been discussing, not every proposition containing the word "or" 
or the word "nor." 

When we turn to the apodeictic proposition, it is likewise not 
each proposition containing the word "necessary" or the word 
"must" that concerns us. "S must be P" or "S must exist" may 
simply express in more emphatic form what would be expressed 
in "S is P" or in "S exists"; "S can not be P" or "S can not exist" 
may simply express in more emphatic form what would be ex- 
pressed in "S is not P" or in "S does not exist." "S must be P" or 
"S can not be P" may simply point to the deep conviction with 

149 



which "S is P" or "S is not P" is asserted. "I am thoroughly con- 
vinced that S is P" is, however, no apodeictic proposition, and "I 
am thoroughly convinced that S is not P" no apodeictic proposi- 
tion. 

Whether they be positive or negative, singular, particular or 
universal, existential or not explicitly existential, our categorical 
propositions, we have said, express assertions of existence, asser- 
tions of non-existence, or assertions of the existence of one entity 
and of the non-existence of another. They may each be reduced, 
let us say, to an instance of: "F exists," to an instance of: "F does 
not exist" or to an instance of: "F exists; and F 1 does not exist." 
Likewise each of our apodeictic propositions, let us say, expresses 
an assertion that some entity must exist; an assertion that some 
entity can not exist; or an assertion that it is necessary that one 
entity exist and impossible that another exist. Each apodeictic 
proposition of ours, that is to say, may be reduced to an instance 
of: "F must exist" or to an instance of: "F can not exist" or to 
an instance of: "F must exist; and F 1 can not exist." What, how- 
ever, is asserted in our proposition: "F must exist" that is not 
asserted in our proposition: "F exists"? And what is asserted in 
our proposition: "F can not exist" that is not asserted in our 
proposition: "F does not exist"? 

As we have explained our terms "reality" and "unreality," 
those subsistents are unreal which appear as self-contradictory, 
those subsistents unreal which appear as lacking any date, those 
subsistents unreal which appear with various other character- 
istics. 30 A distinction suggests itself between those unreal sub- 
sistents which explicitly or implicitly appear as self-contradictory 
and those unreal subsistents which neither explicitly nor implic- 
itly appear as self-contradictory. Perhaps we should call sub- 
sistents appearing as self-contradictory "impossible subsistents," 
and should call unreal subsistents not appearing as self-contra- 
dictory "unreal subsistents" but not "impossible subsistents." We 
might then give "truth" and "falsity" significations from which 
it follows that "F can not exist" is to be called "true" if F appears 
self-contradictory. The sentences: "F appears self-contradictory" 
and "F does not appear self-contradictory," however, merely pre- 
sent us with subsistents. They seem to put before us an F appearing 
as self-contradictory or an F appearing without the characteristic of 

150 



being self-contradictory. They express no assertions of existence or 
of non-existence, are not what we call propositions and hence, as 
we have agreed to use the terms, "truth" and "falsity/' are not true 
or false at all. 81 Within the statement: "F appears self-contradictory; 
therefore F is unreal," it is not the sentence: "F appears self-contra- 
dictory" that is true or false, but only the sentence: "F is unreal." 

Moreover the alleged distinction between that which appears 
self-contradictory and that which does not even implicitly appear 
self-contradictory becomes, with further consideration, less clear- 
cut. There is the subsistent which appears with the characteristic 
of lacking any date. As we explain our term "reality," this sub- 
sistent is unreal. But if, in rejecting this subsistent, it is an alleged 
real entity appearing as lacking any date that we are rejecting, 
then it is an entity implicitly appearing as self-contradictory that 
we are rejecting. For the alleged real entity appearing as lacking 
any date implicitly appears as real and as unreal, implicitly appears 
with characteristics which seem to contradict one another. 

The entity appearing as self-contradictory is unreal; the entity 
appearing as lacking any date is unreal; the entity appearing as 
generally discredited is unreal. But it is not as mutually exclusive 
groups of non-existent entities that we have presented these 
subsistents. The entity appearing as lacking any date may appear 
as generally discredited; the entity appearing as generally dis- 
credited may appear as self-contradictory. It is any entity appear- 
ing with any characteristic listed in the closing pages of Chapter 
Three that is unreal; and any entity listed among the Y's in the 
appendix to that chapter. 82 On the other hand, it is only the entity 
not appearing with any of these characteristics that is real, only 
the entity not appearing with any of these characteristics that, 
explicitly or implicitly, is listed among the X's in that appendix. 
Among the entities which are real, however, among the entities 
not appearing with certain characteristics and listed among the 
X's enumerated in the appendix to chapter three, our proposi- 
tions explaining our terms "existence" and "reality" do not per- 
mit us to point to some as more real and to others as less real. As 
we explain our terms "existence" and "reality" there are no 
degrees of reality. There are not some entities which merely 
exist and others which have a more exclusive kind of existence 
to be called "necessary existence." Thus an alleged distinction 

151 



between merely existing entities and necessary entities is, one 
might say, more repugnant to our explanation of ' 'existence" than 
an alleged distinction between merely non-existing entities and 
impossible entities. 

As we explain our term "existence," there are not existing en- 
tities and, among them, entities with a kind of existence called 
"necessary existence." And as we express ourselves in the proposi- 
tion: "F must exist/' "F must exist" does not express an assertion 
that F has a kind of existence not asserted in our proposition: "F 
exists." Our proposition: "F must exist," let us say, expresses an 
assertion that F exists and is implied by some entity E. Our 
proposition: "Some animals must exist" is synonymous with the 
proposition: "Some entity exists, as, for example, the universal 
'man,' which implies that some animals exist." Our: "F must 
exist" expresses what might be expressed in: "Therefore F exists." 
For, like "Therefore F exists," it refers back to some entity whose 
existence has previously been asserted or whose existence has 
implicitly been asserted in the context. Our "F must exist" is true 
if F exists and is implied by the E thus referred to. Our "F must 
exist" is false if F does not exist or is not implied by this E. And 
if we are unable to determine which the alleged entity E is that 
is alleged to imply F, then we are unable to understand "F must 
exist," unable to determine whether it is true or false. 

There is our hypothetical proposition: "If E should exist, then 
F would exist"; and there is our apodeictic proposition: "F must 
exist." They differ, to be sure, in that in the former the term "E" 
occurs within the proposition itself, whereas in the latter it is 
neighboring sentences that explicitly or implicitly supply the re- 
ference to E. They also differ in that, whereas our apodeictic 
proposition asserts the existence of some implication, our hy- 
pothetical proposition asserts the existence of some relational 
situation which may be one of simultaneity or of cause and effect 
rather then one of implication. In spite of the rain yesterday, "The 
grounds must have been wet" may not be a true apodeictic propo- 
sitkmu For yesterday's rain, it may be said, caused yesterday's wet 
grounds, but did not imply them. In view of various instances of 
rain followed by wet grounds, including yesterday's sequence, in 
view furthermore of the non-existence of rain not followed by wet 
grounds, the proposition: "If it should rain tomorrow, the 

152 



ground would be wet" is true. Nevertheless, unless there is an 
implication from rain to wet grounds, the proposition: "The 
grounds yesterday had to be wet'* is false. 88 

Our hypothetical proposition and our apodeictic proposition 
differ, moreover, with respect to the assertion of the existence of 
F and with respect to the assertion of the existence of E. "F must 
exist" is true only if F exists and only if F is implied by E. And 
F is really implied by E only if there is a real E to imply it. If 
it is the existence of man that enables us to express ourselves in 
the true apodeictic proposition: "There must be some animals/' 
'man* must exist, 'animal' must exist, and 'man' must imply 
'animal.' But 'man' need not exist in order for: "If there should 
be men, then there would be animals" to be true, any more than 
'centaur' need exist in order for: "If there should be centaurs, 
then there would be animals" to be true. It is the existence of an 
entity in some sense analogous to man or in some sense analogous 
to centaur that is required if our hypothetical proposition is to 
be true. It is an entity in some sense analogous to E that must 
exist and that must enter into a certain relational situation with 
an entity in some sense analogous to F. 84 

The apodeictic proposition that we have thus far discussed is 
our apodeictic proposition: "F must exist," "F has to exist," "It is 
necessary that F exist." What about our apodeictic proposition: 
"F can not exist," our apodeictic proposition: "It is impossible 
that F exist"? We may say, to be sure, that it is only when F is un- 
real that our proposition "F can not exist" is true. But when F is 
unreal, this alleged F, with whatever characteristics it may seem to 
be presented to us, is unreal. An unreal F is not really implied by 
any entity E. 85 The unreality of F is not really implied by any 
entity E. The proposition: "Some entity E implies the unreality 
of F" is always false. If, then, in explaining our terms "truth" and 
"falsity" in their application to our proposition: "F can not exist," 
we were to say that "F can not exist" is true only when "F does 
not exist" is true and only when in addition "Some entity E im- 
plies the unreality of F" is true, then it would follow that our 
proposition "F can not exist" is never true. If F is unreal, it is 
some entity that is alleged to exist in the absence of F that may 
be real, some entity alleged to exist in the absence of F that may 
really be implied by E. 86 Or it is the proposition: "F is unreal" 

153 



that exists as a true proposition and it is the true proposition: "F 
is unreal" that may really be implied by E. Our proposition: "F 
can not exist" is true, let us say, if F is unreal and if some entity E 
implies what exists in the absence of F or implies the true propo- 
sition: "F does not exist." And our proposition: "F can not exist" 
is false, let us say, if F is real or if there is no entity E which either 
implies what exists in the absence of F or implies the true propo- 
sition: "F does not exist." "Men can not be immortal" is true, for 
example, in our sense of "truth," if what exists in the absence of 
immortal animals implies what exists in the absence of immortal 
men or if our true proposition: "No animals are immortal" im- 
plies our true proposition: "No men are immortal." 

There are the apodeictic propositions: "F must exist" and "F 
can not exist." And there are the problematic propositions: "F 
may exist" and "It may be that F does not exist." There are the 
apodeictic propositions: "It is necessary that F exist" and "It is im- 
possible that F exist"; and there are the problematic propositions: 
"It is possible that F exists" and "It is possible that F does not 
exist." Just as it is not all propositions containing the word "neces- 
sary" or the word "must" that are apodeictic propositions, so it is 
not all propositions containing the word "possible" or the word 
"may" that are problematic propositions. 87 The: "That may be 
John" which is synonymous with: "I rather think but am not sure 
that that is John" is not what we shall call a problematic proposi- 
tion. And tie: "Oranges may be seedless" which is synonymous 
with: "Some oranges are seedless" is no problematic proposition. 

When F does not exist, there exists the true proposition: "F 
does not exist." And there may, in addition, be some entity which 
exists in the absence of F. Our proposition "F may exist" is false, 
let us say, if some entity E, referred to in the context in which 
"F may exist" occurs, really implies the true proposition: "F does 
not exist," or really implies what exists in the absence of F. My 
hat being in this room implies the true proposition: "My hat, 
presented as being in some other room, does not exist." Within a 
context which informs us that my hat is in this room, our proposi- 
tion: "My hat may be in some other room" is false. If, on the 
other hand, there is no true proposition: "F does not exist," or if, 
"F does not exist" being true, there is no entity referred to in the 
context that really implies it, then, let us say, our proposition: "F 

154 



may exist" is true. If my hat is in this room, if, that is to say, there 
is no true proposition: "My hat, presented as being in this room, 
does not exist," then: "My hat may be in this room" is true. And 
"My hat may be in this room" may be true even if my hat is in fact 
not in this room, even if: "My hat, presented as being in this room, 
does not exist" is true. "My hat may be in this room" is true, 
provided there is no entity referred to in the context that implies 
the true proposition: "My hat, presented as being in this room, 
does not exist." "My hat may be in this room" is true, for ex- 
ample, if the context informs me only that my hat is not outside 
this house. The "F may exist" that is an expression of ours is, in 
short, synonymous with: "Either F exists or, if F does not exist, 
the proposition 'F does not exist* is not really implied by E." As 
we explain our term "truth" in its application to it, "F may 
exist" is true if F is real or if, F being unreal, the proposition "F 
is unreal," presented as implied by E, is unreal. 

It is in an analogous manner that we explain our terms "truth" 
and falsity in their application to our problematic proposition: "It 
may be that F does not exist." Assuming that our context tells us 
that some men are mortal and assuming that 'mortal man' implies 
'mortal animal/ then our problematic proposition: "It may be 
that mortal animal does not exist" or: "It is possible that no 
animal is mortal" is, let us say, false. Assuming, on the other 
hand, that our context tells us merely that some plants are mortal, 
and assuming that 'mortal plant* does not imply 'mortal animal/ 
then, even though 'mortal animal' is real, "It is possible that no 
animal is mortal" is, let us say, true. And if 'mortal animal' is 
unreal, then, no matter what the context, "It is possible that no 
animal is mortal" is likewise true. 

"As we explain our term 'existence/ there are not existing en- 
tities and, among them, entities with a kind of existence called 
'necessary existence.' 88 And as we explain our term "truth," no 
sentence is true which merely distinguishes those subsistents which 
appear self-contradictory from those subsistents which do not ap- 
pear self-contradictory. If our sentence: "Whatever is, is possible" 
is to be regarded as a true proposition, this sentence is to be re- 
garded as expressing, not the assertion that existent entities, in 
addition to being real, have a kind of existence called "possible 
existence," but rather the assertion that, if an entity exists, then 

155 



the proposition that it is possible for it to exist is true. It is in 
connection with propositions rather than in connection with en- 
tities, intended to be represented by the terms of a proposition, 
that the word "possibility" has been considered. And it is in con- 
nection with propositions rather than in connection with entities 
intended to be represented by the terms of a proposition that the 
word "necessity" has been considered. Whatever must be, it may 
be said, exists. But what is true is not that entities having a spe- 
cial kind of existence also have an existence of a more general 
kind. What is true, rather, is that, if the proposition: "S must 
exist" is true, then: "S exists" is true. 

The world of existent entities has on occasion been described 
as something of a hierarchy, with effects pointing up to causes and 
with conclusions pointing up to premises until at the apex a First 
Cause is reached whose existence is not contingent but necessary. 
Contingent existents, on such a view, presuppose other existents; 
they presuppose, finally, an entity that presupposes nothing out- 
side itself, an entity that has necessary existence. As we use the 
term "necessity," however, there is, as has been pointed out, no 
kind of existence to be called "necessary existence." And as we 
have explained our term "truth" in its application to apodeictic 
propositions of ours, the proposition "F must exist" is not true 
unless F is implied by some entity E. 89 If the alleged Being pre- 
sented to us is a Being which appears with the characteristic of 
not being implied by anything referred to in the context, then, 
as we have explained our term "falsity," the proposition express- 
ing an assertion that this Being must exist is false. 

It is often a difficult matter to determine whether an entity is 
real or unreal. And it is often a difficult matter to determine 
whether a sentence placed before us is true or false or, perhaps, 
neither true nor false. Whatever the other difficulties, it is a prime 
requisite that we recognize the 'reality' and the 'truth* that are in 
question. We have, to be sure, not found it possible to attach to 
our terms "reality" and "unreality" a signification which is in 
accord with every author's use of these terms. And we have not 
found it possible to explain our terms "truth" and "falsity" in 
their application to categorical propositions, to hypothetical 
propositions, to various other propositions varying in form, in 
such a way as to conform with the usage of every logician. But 

166 



the explanations of our terms "reality" and "truth," now com- 
pleted, present a reality and a truth. They place before us the 
formal conditions under which an entity is real in one sense of 
"reality," the formal conditions under which a proposition is true 
in one sense of "truth." In order to determine whether or not con- 
sciousness exists, we must understand the term "consciousness" 
as well as the term "existence." 40 In order to determine whether 
or not the sentence: "Some collections are infinite" is true, we 
must understand the term "infinite collection" as well as the term 
"truth." With the 'reality' before us that our term "reality" repre- 
sents and with the 'truth* before us that our term "truth" repre- 
sents, we are, we hold, 41 prepared to turn to what, by contrast, 
may be called the less purely formal problems of metaphysics. We 
are, we hold, prepared to consider the extent to which entities 
discussed by metaphysicians are, in our sense of the word, "real"; 
and the extent to which propositions which assert the existence or 
the non-existence of these entities are, in our sense of the word, 
"true." 



Summary 

Chapter Five continues the explanation of our terms "truth" 
and "falsity." It asks: Is the proposition: 'This proposition is 
false' true or false in the sense in which we are using the terms 
"truth" and "falsity"? And it attempts to point out the entities 
whose existence or non-existence determines the truth or falsity, 
in our sense of "truth" and "falsity," of various types of proposi- 
tions of ours not considered in Chapter Four. 

The discussion of "This proposition is false" leads to com- 
ments on the theory of types. The discussion of the "as if* propo- 
sition has implications for the discussion of the problem of error 
in Chapter Eight. 



157 



Chapter VI 
DOES THINKING EXIST? 



"I was then in Germany to which country I had been attracted 
by the wars which are not yet at an end. And as I was returning 
from the coronation of the Emperor to join the army, the setting 
in of winter detained me in a quarter where, since I found no 
society to divert me, while fortunately I had also no cares or 
passions to trouble me, I remained the whole day shut up alone 
in a stove-heated room where I had complete leisure to occupy 
myself with my own thoughts. One of the first considerations 
that occurred to me was . . ." 

These opening lines from Part Two of Descartes' "Discourse 
on Method" seem to introduce to us a situation in which there 
was an instance of thinking. This thinking is alleged to have 
occurred in Germany, in a stove-heated room, and in winter; 
and presumably it was about man, God and the universe. In this 
chapter, however, our primary interest is not in determining the 
existence or non-existence of Germany, of winter, or of the stove- 
heated room. Nor are we at this point interested in determining 
whether or not there exists the 'man,' the God or the universe 
about which Descartes may be held to have been thinking. Our 
present problem is to determine whether or not thinking exists. 
To the extent feasible, let us then at this point disregard prob- 
lems concerning the existence of brains which may be held to be 
the vehicles of thinking; let us disregard problems concerning 
the existence of particular settings in which various instances of 
thinking may be held to occur; and let us disregard problems 
concerning the existence of objects towards which instances of 
thinking may be held to be directed. 

158 



Let us disregard vehicle, setting and object to the extent to 
which we can disregard them. But if we are to concentrate our 
discussion upon some specific instance of alleged thinking, as, for 
example, that suggested by the lines quoted from Descartes, we 
must already have passed over the thinking alleged to be alone 
in the world, the thinking that is held to be without vehicle, set- 
ting, or object. And if we are to discuss the existence of some 
specific instance of thinking in a simple and straight-forward 
manner, we must already have acknowledged the existence of 
some of the features of the setting in which that instance of think- 
ing is alleged to have occurred. Our query must be: Granting 
that Descartes had a brain and was in a stove-heated room, was 
he thinking? For, with the reality of brain, room and thinking all 
in question, we should find ourselves confronted by a host of 
questions all clamoring at once for solution and all having to be 
answered before the reality of Descartes' thinking could be ac- 
knowledged. 

To be sure, what we have before us when the meaning of our 
term ' 'existence" has been determined is, it may seem, merely an 
empty canvas. The method we have agreed to employ, it may be 
held, imposes upon us the task of filling in this canvas bit by bit. 
In considering whether or not Descartes' thinking belongs on this 
as yet empty canvas, our method, it may be said, requires us to 
assume the non-existence of everything else. But such candidates 
for existence as a thinking alleged to be alone in the world 
without vehicle, setting or object are, we find, presented as gen- 
erally discredited and are unreal. And such candidates for exist- 
ence as the thinking of Descartes' that is presented as having a 
vehicle and a setting can be discussed in fewer words and in a less 
complicated fashion when, instead of regarding thinking, vehicle 
and setting as all mere subsistents, we accept the premise that 
vehicle and setting are real. We are the less constrained to regard 
vehicle, setting and thinking as all mere subsistents, we are the 
less reluctant to make use of the premise that vehicle and setting 
are real, in that Descartes' brain and the stove-heated room have 
already been listed as existents in the appendix to Chapter Three. 
As we begin this chapter, we have thus no empty canvas before 
us, but rather a canvas containing all of the entities previously 
listed as reaL 

159 



Yet if this be true, our deduction ends with the appendix to 
Chapter Three and all the rest of this treatise is mere commentary. 
What then becomes of our decision to discuss particular existen- 
tial problems "in the proper order"? What becomes of our deci- 
sion to "be on the watch for existential problems so related that 
the solution of one may reasonably be expected to aid us in the 
solution of the other"? 1 We must, I think, distinguish between 
logical objection on the one hand and puzzlement and lack of 
concurrence on the other. The reader who has read the appendix 
to Chapter Three will agree that the entities there listed as real 
are real in the sense in which we have explained our term "real- 
ity." But he may feel that some of these entities are listed without 
due consideration or that our term "reality" has been assigned 
a strange and unacceptable meaning. It is in the effort to dissolve 
such objections that an analysis of one entity and a discussion 
resulting in the reaffirmation of its reality may aid in the analysis 
of some other entity and may be utilized in the discussion result- 
ing in the reaffirmation of the latter's reality. Except to the extent 
to which the listings in the appendix to Chapter Three are too 
enigmatic to be understood and require elaboration, the remain- 
der of this treatise is not needed. But it does not follow that the 
remaining chapters contain no reasoned arguments and that they 
appeal merely for psychological concurrence. A conclusion ar- 
rived at from one set of premises may again be arrived at from 
similar premises or from other premises. A conclusion arrived 
at on a second occasion may be redundant, but it is a logical 
conclusion nonetheless. It is then as analysis and argument rather 
than as rhetoric that the remainder of this treatise is presented. 

Indeed it is only within the framework of some explanation of 
the term "truth," only after some such section as is incorporated 
in Chapter Four, that there is valid argument that may be recog- 
nized as valid, and true conclusions that may be recognized as 
true. For just as "A is A" may be true in one sense of "truth" but 
not in another, 2 so "A implies B" may be true in one sense of 
"truth" but not in another. The existential conclusions to be 
arrived at in the remainder of this treatise thus not only describe 
the entities whose existence is asserted in greater detail than was 
possible at the end of Chapter Three, but, in contrast to the con- 
clusions of Chapter Three, they follow as conclusions that can be 

160 



recognized as validly deduced. It is not then an empty canvas 
that confronts us as we begin this chapter but rather a canvas 
which, although well-filled, requires minute criticism and re- 
affirmation. It is not as the painter putting on the initial daubs 
of oil that we approach the canvas; but rather as the painter- 
critic who concentrates his attention on minute sections of his 
work in turn, at each point regarding the rest of the work as un- 
questioned and making such adjustments as the section under 
consideration requires. 

It is then with the premise that there are such entities as brains 
and rooms that we inquire whether thinking exists. Yet our ques- 
tion is not whether all subsisting instances of thinking exist. For 
just as: "All subsisting men exist" is false as we have explained 
''truth" and "falsity," so: "All subsisting instances of thinking 
exist" is false. 3 And "some subsisting instances of thinking exist" 
is true only if there are some such installs as the thinking that 
is alleged to have characterized Ooft&rtOG as he paced up and 
down the stove-heated room and pondered, or seemed to ponder, 
the existence of man, God and the universe. We choose as our 
question then whether the instance of thinking that allegedly 
characterized Descartes was real. Granted the existence of Des- 
cartes' brain rather than the existence of brains generally, and 
granted the existence of Descartes* stove-heated room rather than 
the existence of settings of all sorts, our query is: Was Descartes 
thinking? 

Yet, whereas we have what may be described as an individual 
situation as our apparent object, it is not clear at this point what 
element in this alleged situation is being called: "Descartes' 
thinking." There are various alleged entities that need to be 
untangled. There is the alleged public object, such as God him- 
self, to which Descartes' thinking may be alleged ultimately to 
refer. There is an alleged mental attitude which is not in the first 
instance content, but said to be directed upon content. And there 
is allegedly private content, such as Descartes' idea of God, which 
may be held to refer beyond itself to some such public object as 
God himself. But it is not the public object that we choose to 
call "Descartes' thinking" and not private content. Tfce thinking 
whose existence we are primarily questioning in thio chapter J 
mental attitude rather thail priVaW ttHlttHtit. It is some such entity 

161 



as Bsageptes-*- alleged mental activity rather than any image or 
picture or obiect. it is, in a word, thinking rather than whatTs 
thought. 

At first sight the distinction between what is alleged to be 
mental attitude and what is alleged to be content, whether pri- 
; vate or public, seems clear. And yet this distinction becomes less 
clear-cut when we attempt to introspect and to make mental atti- 
tude a part of content. fopr mypart," says Hume, 4 "when I enter 
most intimately into whafl call rriyself, I always stumble on some 
particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, 
love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any 
time without a perception, and never can observe anything but 
the perception.'/" Or, as Lovejoy 5 puts it, "what I seem to discover 
when perception occurs is not a perceiving, but a certain complex 
of content which is subject to conscious change/* On the other 
hand, there are those who hold that what we call "mental atti- 
tude" may be introspe'ctecf. And there are others who hold that 
mental attitude is an object to be inferred, an object to be in- 
ferred even from the circumstances reported by Lovejoy and 
Hume. Let us not at this point exclude from the denotation of 
"mental attitude" the alleged mental attitude which is presented 
as on occasion being an object. So far as we have yet seen, it may 
be that, if what we call "thinking" exists, it can be apprehended 
by a second act of thinking. It may be that, with respect to such 
a second act of thinking, thinking is revealed as content of one 
sort or another. And since thinking may be held to be revealed 
in introspection or otherwise given as an object, this thinking 
whose existence we are to consider is not to be described as some- 
thing that is never content. It is rather to be described as some- 
thing that, if given as content, is given as attitude, attitude that 
is perhaps directed towards other content. 

Indeed the possibility of thinking, if it exists, becoming content 
is not the only consideration that blurs our initial distinction 
between thinking on the one hand and the object of thought on 
the other. When we distinguish between thinking or mental 
attitude or mental activity on the one hand and object of thought 
or private jgtfitent or what is pre^nted as a datum on the other, 
we makaaise^f .such terms as "activity" and "passivity," terms 
which, it would seem, apply to things which move or are moved, 


162 



things which attack or are attacked, rather than to such alleged 
entities as Descartes' thinking on the one hand and Descartes' 
idea of God on the other. We do very little to clarify the distinc- 
tion between the mental attitude whose existence we are to con- 
sider and the idea of God whose existence we are not at this 
point to consider by calling the former "active" and the latter 
"passive/' To be sure, Descartes* alleged thinking is not presented 
as a mental picture or image, not presented as passive in the way 
in which a picture or image is usually passive. But it need j^ot be 
presented as manipulating its content in the way in which an 
active organism may be held to bring about changes in entities 
in its environment. The distinction between what we call "think- 
ing" and wihat we call "private content" must at this point remain 
a bit blurred. What we call "mental attitude" may by some be 
included in what they would call "private content/ 1 Yet what we 
call "mental attitude" is presented as not a mental picture or 
image and it is presented as not being content except in so far 
as it is the object upon which it or some further mental attitude 
is directed. 

Our problem is whether or not thinking exists. More specifi- 
cally, our problem is whether or not, as Descartes paced up and 
down his stove-heated room, there existed a mental attitude 
apparently directed upon man, God and the universe. We have 
at this stage made it clear that we are not in this chapter con- 
cerned with the existence of the stove which is in Descartes' 
environment, with the existence of God, upon whom Descartes' 
thinking is alleged to be directed, or with the existence of a pic- 
ture or description of God which may be alleged to be part of 
the private content of Descartes* mind. It remains for us to dis- 
tinguish what we call Descartes' thinking from certain physical 
activities in which Descartes was engaged. Descartes, let us say, was 
pacing up and down the room, knitting his brows, staring past 
the furniture that was around him. These, to be sure, were phy- 
sical activities, whereas his alleged thinking may be said to be a 
mental activity. But the thinking whose existence we are ques- 
tioning is not at this point being presented as non-physical. Our 
query is as to the existence of Descartes' mental attitude, whether 
it be non-physical or an aspect of his total bodily reactions. The 
mere words "mental" and "physical" do not at this point point 

163 



to mutually exclusive entities, do not at this point mark off Des- 
cartes' alleged thinking from what is roughly called his behavior. 

It may be held, to be sure, that what we call Descartes' thinking 
is presented as subject to observation by none but Descartes him- 
self. Whereas Descartes' behavior may be an object for others, 
his thinking, it may be said, is, if it exists, an object for him alone. 
We might well make use of this difference, it may be held, to 
distinguish the mental attitude whose existence we are to con- 
sider from the behavior whose existence we in this chapter as- 
sume.jWe may, however, say at once that Descartes' thinking, if 
it exists, is not an object for Descartes alone. It is Descartes' 
alleged thinking that you and I are now considering, an instance 
of thinking, consequently, that, at least implicitly, is presented 
as apparently an object for you and for me. 6 Indeed it is only 
the thinking, not presented as an object for Descartes alone, that 
is presented as free from self-contradiction; only the thinking, 
not presented as an object for Descartes alone, that may be real. 
Hence it is not in being an object for Descartes alone that Des- 
cartes' thinking, if it is real, differs from Descartes' behavior. 

But being an object, it may be said, is one characteristic; being 
an object which is sensed another. And whereas Descartes' think- 
ing and Descartes' behavior are both presented as objects for you 
as well as for Descartes, Descartes' thinking, it may be said, is 
presented as not only an object for Descartes, but as sensed by 
Descartes. However, we do not care to restrict our attention to 
an alleged thinking that is presented as having been sensed by 
Descartes; or to an alleged thinking that is presented as an entity 
that Descartes might have sensed. We do not care to exclude from 
our consideration the alleged instance of thinking that may be 
alleged not to have been sensed by Descartes. What we are to 
consider is a mental attitude of Descartes' that he may or may 
not have sensed, a mental attitude that he may or may not have 
been able to sense. And with this latitude in the entity which we 
are to consider, we can not distinguish Descartes' alleged thinking 
from his behavior by a reference to the manner in which that 
thinking was apprehended by Descartes. 

Is there not a difference, however, between the manner in 
which Descartes' contemporaries apprehended his behavior and 
the manner in which, if they apprehended it at all, they appre- 

164 



hended his thinking? His behavior, it may be held, is something 
which they saw, his thinking something which they inferred from 
what they saw. We have agreed not to limit the entity tinder 
consideration to the mental attitude alleged to have been sensed 
by Descartes. But shall we not at least describe the entity under 
consideration as a mental attitude that is not sensed by others? 
Here however we run into the difficulty of distinguishing what is 
a sense-datum from what is inferred. "When looking from a win- 
dow and saying I see men who pass in the street, I really do not 
see them, but infer that what I see are men. . . . What do I see 
from the window," asks Descartes, 7 "but hats and coats which may 
cover automatic machines? Yet I judge these to be men/' Our 
inference however, if it be called inference, is so inseparable from 
our apprehension of what is sensed, that we are at once aware of 
men. We see two converging tracks with our experienced eyes 
and we see the distance. We look at a picture of a landscape and 
we see, not a two-dimensional manifold, but a scene which goes 
back from foreground to horizon. As Bode says, 8 "we do not first 
observe and then supply a context, but we observe by seeing 
things as existing in a context/' So, if Descartes' thinking exists, 
the contemporary observer may be held to have seen not only Des- 
cartes' knitted brow and distant stare, but also the thinking im- 
plicit in his total behavior. When we look at Rodin's "Thinker," 
we seem to be aware at once of the alleged thinking; just as we 
seem to be aware of depth as soon as we look at a landscape paint- 
ing. In both cases it is, one might say, when we attend to the 
artist's technique that we distinguish the sense-datum from what 
then appears to us to have been inferred. The thinking of Des- 
cartes' that we are to consider is presented as likely to be given 
to an outside observer as soon as is Descartes' knitted brow or 
distant stare. Whether it be physical or non-physical, Descartes' 
thinking, if it exists, is as an object so commingled with his other 
behavior that any study of his total behavior must include a study 
of what we call his thinking. 

The distinction between total behavior and thinking is, as we 
choose to describe it, not so much the distinction between the 
immediately given and the subsequently inferred, as it is the dis- 
tinction between the unanalyzed whole and an alleged selection 
from this whole. Given the pacing, the staring and the alleged 

165 



thinking which characterize Descartes, we can say that the pacing 
is not the entity whose existence we are to examine; and that the 
staring is not this entity either. We may pass from a consideration 
of Descartes' total behavior to a consideration of his knitted brow 
or distant stare. Or we may pass to a consideration of his alleged 
thinking. Indeed, if we accept a suggestion of Alexander's, 9 we 
will agree that thinking is normally presented to us as an object 
before the knitted brow and the distant stare. It is by separating 
out of Descartes' total behavior his alleged interest in man, God 
and the universe, it is by concentrating our attention upon one 
alleged element in his total behavior, that we come to have as 
our apparent object the alleged entity that we call Descartes' 
thinking. For whether Descartes' thinking is in his body or merely 
associated with his body, it is, if it exists, so intimately associated 
with his body that, in having Descartes before us as an unanalyzed 
whole, his alleged thinking is within, rather than outside, the 
entity before us. 

The thinking of Descartes' that may be real may be presented 
as a characteristic of Descartes' body like his knitted brow or 
distant stare. Or the thinking of Descartes' that may be real, where- 
as alleged to be an element abstracted as an object from his total 
behavior, may be presented as an entity that is merely associated 
with his body, may be presented as an entity that in itself lacks 
position and extension. Whereas we may be led to consider Des- 
cartes' alleged thinking through having Descartes' total behavior, 
Descartes as an unanalyzed whole, as our apparent object, the 
alleged thinking that we come finally to consider is, it may be 
held, an entity that has no position within Descartes' body and 
no position anywhere else, but is rather an entity that is non- 
spatial and merely associated with Descartes' body. 

We find no clearer exposition of the view that thinking is 
immaterial and non-spatial, and merely associated with the body, 
than in the writings of Descartes himself. Thinking is for him 
the sole attribute of a thinking substance. And this substance 
whose sole attribute is thinking and with it the thinking that 
is presented to him as inhering in a substance which has no 
position and no extension is real, he holds, 10 "because, on the 
one side, I have a clear and distinct idea of myself inasmuch as I 
am only a thinking and unextended thing, and as, on the other, 

166 



I possess a distinct idea of body inasmuch as it is only an extended 
and unthinking thing/* 

Now we shall not deny that an instance of thinking with no 
position and no extension is an apparent object. For it is such 
an apparent object, such a subsistent, whose claim to reality we 
are here attempting to evaluate. Something may, to be sure, be 
said with respect to its clarity and distinctness. As Arnauld pointed 
out, 11 we appear to apprehend a right triangle clearly and dis- 
tinctly even when we do not apprehend the fact that the square 
on its hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares on its other 
sides. Nevertheless we do not conclude from this that the right 
triangle exists without the square on its hypotenuse being equal 
to the sum of the squares on its sides; and, he holds, we should 
not conclude that thinking is unextended, merely because we 
seem clearly and distinctly to apprehend it without extension. 
It appears however to be Descartes' more matured opinion that it 
is only when two substances art clearly and distinctly appre- 
hended without either of them being presented with the essential 
qualities of the other, it is only then that we can conclude that 
these entities exist as they appear to us. If we could apprehend 
the substance 'right triangle* clearly and distinctly without appre- 
hending the substance 'triangle the square on whose hypotenuse 
is equal to the sum of the squares on its sides' and if we could 
likewise apprehend clearly and distinctly the substance 'triangle 
the square on whose hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares 
on its sides' without apprehending the substance 'right triangle/ 
only then, Descartes would seem to hold, could we conclude that 
right triangles exist without this ratio obtaining between their 
sides and hypotenuse. 

But even with this emendation, even if we limit ourselves to the 
cases in which two entities are presented as substances and each 
appears without the attributes of the other, how can we "conclude 
that the substances are really distinct one from the other from the 
sole fact that we can conceive the one clearly and distinctly with- 
out the other?" 12 To arrive at a valid conclusion which expresses 
an assertion of existence, there must be a reference to existence in 
our premises. The validity of Descartes* conclusion depends upon 
the validity of some implicit premise which ties together exist- 
ence and alleged entities that are clearly and distinctly appre- 

167 



hended. It is an essential pan of his argument that "God can 
carry into effect" (i.e., into existence) "all that of which we have a 
distinct idea." And so we find Descartes' argument for the im- 
materiality of the soul, his argument for the inextendedness of 
thinking, resting upon what in a previous chapter we decided was 
an implicit determination of the meaning of the term "exist- 
ence." 18 

It would ill become us to speak slightingly of an argument be- 
cause it makes use of a proposition determining the meaning of 
the term "existence." For it has been our thesis that any valid ex- 
istential proposition must point back to some proposition in which 
the term "existence" is explained. We make no reference to the 
'clear and distinct" in our own explanation of "existence." And so 
we find Descartes' argument, culminating in the conclusion that 
thinking is concomitant with no extension, without relevance to 
our own problem. What this suggests, however, is that we turn to 
our own explanation of "existence" to determine the existence or 
non-existence, in our sense of "existence," of a thinking that is 
presented as non-spatial. And when we recall that, for an entity 
to be real in our sense of "reality," it may not be presented as 
lacking all position, we realize that the alleged instance of think- 
ing which is presented as non-spatial is, in our sense of the term, 
"unreal." Descartes' alleged thinking as he paced up and down 
the stove-heated room may or may not exist. But if it exists, it is 
not an entity that is utterly non-spatial. 

In rejecting the mental attitude which is presented as non- 
spatial however, perhaps we eliminate the possibility of Descartes' 
alleged mental attitude being real, however presented. Perhaps the 
alternative an alleged mental attitude presented as being spatial, 
as having position is so absurd that the unreality of non-spatial 
thinking involves the unreality of thinking of any sort. What is 
presented as mental, it may be said, is presented as quite different 
from what is presented as spatial. It is presented as so different, 
it may be said, that any instance of thinking presented as having 
position is implicitly presented as generally discredited. Such a 
spatial thinking, it may consequently be held, is just as unreal in 
our sense of "reality" as the non-spatial thinking which we have 
already eliminated. 

For one thing, it may be said, there are inorganic phenomena 

168 



to which scientific formulae apply; and there are organic phenom- 
ena to which these formulae do not apply with equal force. There 
are organic phenomena, it may be said, which are wayward and 
unpredictable and which point to the existence of some entity 
whose activities do not fall within the scope of scientific formulae. 
It is the waywardness and unpredictability of organic phenomena 
which point back, it may be held, to a mental attitude that is non- 
spatial and which make incredible a mental attitude that is alleged 
to have position with respect to the spatial entities that are its 
contemporaries. 

So long as we focus our attention upon some alleged mental 
attitude presented to us and disregard the organic and inorganic 
phenomena that are alleged to be its contemporaries, we can not 
come to grips with such a doctrine. Let us then in this chapter 
agree that there exist organic phenomena and inorganic phenom- 
ena, and that the scientific formulae that have come to be accepted 
can on the whole be applied more readily and more satisfactorily 
to the latter than to the former. Each organism, let us agree, seems 
to have a structure and to develop along the lines that its nature 
determines for it. It seems to maintain its own course of develop- 
ment with a persistency which is not altogether at the mercy of the 
environment. The motions of inorganic bodies, on the other hand, 
let us agree, seem to be completely dependent upon the forces 
which act upon them. They seem to be such that similar actions 
call forth similar reactions; whereas, in the case of organisms, 
'learning' takes place and the reaction to a stimulus applied a 
second time may not be identical with the first reaction. 

With this much common ground established, let us consider 
the status of the scientific formulae which, we have agreed, can on 
the whole be applied to inorganic phenomena more readily and 
more satisfactorily than to organic phenomena. In so far as a 
formula is valid, it is, it would seem, both a generalization and a 
tool enabling prediction. But, both as a generalization and as a 
tool for prediction, it applies, it would seem, not so much to be- 
havior as a whole as to qualities which are numbered qualities. 
It is not the concrete behavior of an entity that some scientific 
formula enables us to predict, but rather, it would seem, some 
particular measurable characteristic, as, for example, the number 
that is to characterize that entity's speed or the number of de- 

169 



grees that is to characterize its heat. The admission then that 
scientific formulae can be applied to inorganic phenomena more 
readily and more satifactorily than to organic phenomena turns 
out to be the admission that numbered qualities to which scien- 
tific formulae apply are to be found among inorganic phenomena 
to a greater extent than among organic phenomena. The mental 
attitude which we are to consider is presented as manifested 
in organic phenomena which are poor in numbered character- 
istics to which scientific formulae apply. The question is whether 
a mental attitude so presented may be presented as spatial with- 
out being presented as generally discredited. 

Organic phenomena are to be called "wayward," it would seem, 
if they have characteristics which are numbered and to which 
scientific formulae are ready to be applied, and if, nevertheless, 
they fail to conform to these formulae. There seems, however, to 
be no specific scientific law ready to be applied to organic behavior 
that is in fact violated by the apparently teleological behavior of 
organisms, no specific scientific law ready to be applied to organic 
behavior that 'learning' violates. The disorder that is implicit in 
waywardness, as we have described waywardness, seems not to be a 
fact. And so, with waywardness described as we have described it, 
the mental attitude which is alleged to give rise to wayward 
organic phenomena comes to be presented as discredited and un- 
real. Just as Descartes' alleged mental attitude does not exist 
when presented as non-spatial, so Descartes' alleged mental atti- 
tude does not exist when presented as giving rise to organic 
phenomena which in our sense are wayward. The mental attitude 
which we are to consider is the mental attitude alleged to be mani- 
fested in organic phenomena which are poor in numbered quali- 
ties. Or it is the mental attitude alleged to be spatial and to be 
manifested in organic phenomena which have numbered qualities, 
qualities, however, to which, in large part, scientific formula do 
not apply or are not ready to be applied. But the mental attitude, 
alleged to contravene specific scientific formulae applicable to it, 
we at this point reject as discredited and unreal. 

Neither the absence of numbered qualities nor the absence of 
scientific formulae applying to what numbered qualities there 
are, seems to point to an entity that is non-spatial. Before there 
were thermometers to measure heat, when heat was presented as 

170 



an unnumbered quality, heat was not generally presented as non- 
spatial or as the manifestation of something non-spatial. And when 
heat is presented as a quality that can be measured and assigned a 
number, and yet no scientific formula presented which is applic- 
able to the relation between the heat of one day and the heat of 
another, we still do not think of heat as the manifestation of 
something non-spatial. For, the quality that is not numbered, 
we seem generally to hold, may perhaps be numbered. And the 
qualities which are presented without some scientific formula 
which applies to them need not be presented as incapable of 
having such a formula apply to them. The mental attitude which 
is presented as manifested in organic phenomena which are poor 
in numbered qualities is not presented as generally discredited, 
we find, when presented as spatial. And neither is the mental 
attitude which is presented as manifested in organic phenomena 
having numbered qualities to which, in large part, scientific for- 
mulae are not ready to be applied. 

There is a distinction to be made, however, between the entity 
alleged to be poor in numbered qualities and the entity which, it 
is alleged, cannot have numbered qualities; a distinction to be 
made between the entity presented as having numbered qualities 
to which scientific formulae are not ready to be applied and the 
entity presented as having numbered qualities to which scien- 
tific formulae cannot be applied. We read in McDougalPs "Body 
and Mind" that "the soul has not the essential attributes of 
matter, namely, extension (or the attribute of occupying space) 
and ponderability or mass"; for, says he, 14 "if it had these attri- 
butes it would be subject to the laws of mechanism, and it is just 
because we have found that mental and vital processes can not be 
completely described and explained in terms of mechanism that 
we are compelled to believe in the cooperation of some non- 
mechanical teleological factor." But when, as with McDougall, 
the phrase is "can not be described" rather than "is not de- 
scribed," the inference would seem to be from what is non-spatial 
to what is not subject-matter for scientific formulae rather than 
vice versa. The mental attitude which is alleged to have mani- 
festations to which no scientific formula could ever be applied is, 
we find, already presented as non-spatial. It is in view of the non- 
spatiality with which it is implicitly presented that the mental 

171 



attitude, alleged to have manifestations to which no scientific 
formulae could be applied, is presented as discredited when also 
presented as spatial. 

The mental attitude is unreal which is alleged to be spatial 
and also alleged to be non-spatial. So is the mental attitude which 
is alleged to be spatial and implicitly alleged to be non-spatial, 
the mental attitude, for example, which is alleged to be spatial and 
also alleged to be manifested in phenomena to which scientific 
formulae cannot be applied. Not only however is the mental atti- 
tude unreal which is alleged to be both spatial and non-spatial; 
"the alleged instance of thinking which is presented as non- 
spatial" is, we have found, likewise unreal. 15 There remains as 
an entity that, so far as we have yet seen, may be real the mental 
attitude which is alleged to be spatial and not alleged to be non- 
spatial. There remains the mental attitude which is alleged to 
be spatial and not alleged to be manifested in phenomena to 
which scientific formulae cannot be applied. And this mental 
attitude may be real whether it be presented as having or lacking 
manifestations which are in fact numbered, whether it be pre- 
sented as having or lacking manifestations to which scientific 
formulae are in fact or will in fact be applied. 

The mental attitude which may be real is the mental attitude 
which explicitly or implicitly is alleged to have position with re- 
spect to the spatial entities that are its contemporaries. The men- 
tal attitude of Descartes' which may be real is the mental attitude 
of his which is not merely associated with his body but is alleged 
to have position with respect to the phase of his brain and the 
phase of the stove that are its contemporaries. Position, to be sure, 
may be definite position, position of a sort that a point is alleged 
to have; or it may be indefinite position, position of a sort that an 
extended entity is alleged to have. Let us however dismiss at once 
the mental attitude which is alleged to be at a point. Let us mark 
out as unreal the mental attitude of Descartes' which is alleged 
to have position with respect to brain and stove, but no extension. 
We thus find ourselves considering the mental attitude which is 
alleged to have not only position with respect to its contempo- 
raries but also extension. We thus find ourselves holding that, if 
Descartes had any mental attitude at all as he paced up and down 

172 



the stove-heated room, that mental attitude had, or was concomit- 
ant with, an extension. 

Is however an -extended mental attitude at all plausible? Is not 
a mental attitude or instance of thinking that is alleged to be 
extended presented as discredited and unreal? There are, let 
us agree, distinguishable mental attitudes which form an inte- 
grated whole and which can not be separated one from the other 
as my foot can be severed from the rest of my body. Does it how- 
ever follow that "there is a great difference between mind and 
body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible and the 
mind is entirely indivisible"? 16 To be sure, the bolt of blue cloth 
or the gallon of water that is presented as extended is implicitly 
presented as in some sense divisible. And the mental attitude or 
complex of mental attitudes that is presented as extended is like- 
wise implicitly presented as in some sense divisible. There is 
however a sense in which an extended substance is divisible and 
the quality of an extended substance likewise divisible. And there 
is another sense in which a quality, without regard to the sub- 
stance in which it inheres, is, or is not, divisible. The gallon of 
water can be divided into four quarts of water, the bolt of blue 
cloth into small pieces of blue cloth. The blueness of the bolt of 
cloth is divisible in the sense that the bolt of doth in which it 
inheres is divisible. And if thinking or mental attitude is a qual- 
ity of an extended substance, dunking is divisible in the sense 
that the substance in which it inheres is divisible. 

It may however well be another sense of divisibility that is 
suggested when we say that blue is a primary color, purple not; or 
when we say that some complex of mental attitudes is divisible or 
indivisible. The assertion that blue is a primary color is generally 
the assertion that blue can not be analyzed or reduced to other 
colors, not the assertion that bolts of blue cloth can not be sepa- 
rated into parts. And the assertion that thinking is indivisible may 
well be the assertion that thinking is not to be analyzed rather 
than the assertion that thinking does not inhere in an extended 
substance. Whether blue be alleged to be capable of analysis or 
not, the blueness that is alleged to be the quality of an extended 
and divisible substance is, I find, not presented as incredible and 
unreal. And whether the mental attitude of Descartes' that we are 

173 



considering be alleged to be capable of analysis or not, this en- 
tity, alleged to be the quality of an extended and divisible sub- 
stance, is, I find, likewise not presented as incredible and unreal. 

It may, to be sure, be pointed out that whereas the segments 
into which a bolt of blue cloth is cut are all blue, the segments 
of some extended substance in which thinking is alleged to in- 
here are substances in which no mental attitudes inhere at all. 
Yet a round plate may be circular, it would seem, without any of 
the fragments into which it is broken being circular. And a mole- 
cule may have properties which none of its constituent atoms 
have. The alleged circularity of a round plate is not presented as 
incredible when the segments are alleged not to be circular. And 
the thinking that is alleged to be a quality of some extended brain 
or nerve-fibre is not presented as incredible when a segment of 
that brain or nerve-fibre is alleged not to be thinking, alleged 
not to have a mental attitude inhering in it as a quality. 

But if thinking is extended, or the quality of an extended sub- 
stance, then the extension of the substance that thinks about a 
gallon of water, it may be said, must be four times the extension 
of the substance that thinks about a quart of water. If thinking is 
extended at all, it may be held, the extension with which it is 
concomitant must be proportionate to the extension of the object 
upon which it is directed. Thinking about a house would then 
have to have the shape of a house, thinking about the moon the 
shape of the moon; and a mental attitude apparently directed 
upon an inextended object would have to be inextended, and 
thus be both extended and inextended at once. If the thinking 
that we are considering, the thinking that is alleged to be ex- 
tended, had such implicit characteristics as these, it would, to be 
sure, be presented as discredited and unreal. But if my uncle is 
twice as big as yours, it does not follow that I am twice as big 
as you. And if my uncle is twice as big as yours and yet I not 
twice as big as you, it does not follow that neither you nor I are 
extended at all. Two entities may both be extended and yet the 
ratio between their extensions not be equal to the ratio between 
the extensions of the entities to which they are respectively re- 
lated. And two thinking substances may both be extended and 
yet, assuming that they have objects, the ratio between their 
extensions not be equal to the ratio between the extensions of 

174 



their respective objects. The mental attitude o Descartes' that 
we are considering is alleged to be concomitant with an extension; 
and it is alleged to be the quality of an extended substance whose 
extension does not depend upon the extension of the object, if 
any, upon which the mental attitude is apparently directed. The 
mental attitude that we are considering is not presented with the 
implicit characteristics just considered; it is not, so far as we have 
yet seen, presented as discredited and unreal. 

In order that we might have a suitably limited framework 
within which to consider the reality of Descartes' alleged mental 
attitude, we have in this chapter agreed that Descartes' brain is 
real and his stove-heated room real. 17 Let us likewise agree that 
there is some real entity distant from Descartes' body upon which 
his alleged mental attitude is alleged to be directed. And let us 
agree that there is some real entity distant from Descartes' body 
that is alleged to be causally related to his alleged mental atti- 
tude. Whether or not the moon is really the object of a mental 
attitude of Descartes,' and whether or not the moon really brings 
about the mental attitude that may be alleged to be directed 
upon it, the moon, let us in this chapter agree, is real and really 
distant from Descartes' body. Yet if the moon is real and distant 
from Descartes' body, how can a mental attitude which is con- 
comitant with an extension within Descartes' body be either 
affected by the moon or aware of it? Given a real moon that is 
there and an alleged mental attitude that is alleged to be extended 
and here, any alleged relational situation, whether of cause and 
effect or of subject and object, is so incomprehensible, it may 
be said, that the mental attitude, which is presented as extended 
and here, comes to be presented as incredible and unreal. 

The statement that the distant moon affects a thinking sub- 
stance which is extended and here would seem to be less per- 
plexing than the statement that the distant moon affects a think- 
ing substance which is here but at a point. And the statement 
that the moon affects a thinking substance which is at a point 
would seem to be less perplexing than the statement that it 
affects a thinking substance which has no position at all. The al- 
leged influence of one extended substance upon another extended 
substance, distant from it, has the advantage of seeming some- 
what analogous to the generally credited influence of the moon 

175 



Upon the tides, or to the generally credited influence of the sun 
upon vegetation on the earth. Similarly, an alleged situation in 
which there is a subject-object relation between a thinking sub- 
stance which is extended and a substance which, although distant, 
is likewise extended has the advantage of seeming somewhat analo- 
gous to the generally credited situation in which two extended 
substances have the relation of being distant from one another or 
in which two extended substances, although distant, are like one 
another. 

We may, to be sure, wonder how any substance can influence 
another, distant from it. We may wonder through what media a 
distant entity comes to affect a substance that is characterized by 
a mental attitude; and to what extent the mental attitude is due 
to the media rather than to the distant entity itself. We may 
likewise wonder how the mental attitude can, figuratively speak- 
ing, reach to the distant substance and have it as an object. And 
we may perhaps conclude that a mental attitude can not have a 
distant entity as its object, that it either has no object at all or 
only an object that is where it itself is. These however, are ques- 
tions for subsequent chapters. In this chapter our question is 
whether Descartes was thinking, not whether that thinking had 
an object, much less how thinking and the distant entity, al- 
leged to be the cause of that thinking, come to be related. What 
we are considering is the alleged mental attitude of Descartes' 
that seems to be directed upon man, God and the universe; or 
that seems to be directed upon the moon. The mental attitude 
of Descartes' that we are considering is presented with the char- 
acteristic of seeming to be directed upon the moon, whether or 
not it is presented in addition as having the real moon as its 
object. In a later chapter the mental attitude, seeming to be 
directed upon the moon, that is alleged to have the real moon 
as its object, may be found to be presented as incredible. Or the 
subsistent then found to be presented as incredible may be the 
mental attitude, seeming to be directed upon the moon, that is 
alleged to be directed only upon private content; or the mental 
attitude, seeming to be directed upon the moon, that is alleged 
to have no object at all. At this point the mental attitude under 
consideration is presented without any claim as to what, if any- 
thing, is its real cause or what, if anything, its real object. Our 

176 



subsistent is the mental attitude which pretends to be directed 
upon the moon. And this subsistent presented with no claim as 
to its real cause or real object need not, so far as we have yet 
seen, be presented as incredible. 

Our subsistent has been Descartes' mental attitude as he paced 
up and down his stove-heated room and seemed to be thinking 
about the moon or as he "seemed to ponder the existence of man, 
God and the universe." 1S But it is no longer this alleged entity 
presented as non-spatial which has been found to be unreal 
that we have to consider; 19 nor is it this alleged entity presented 
as having position, but not extension. 20 Our subsistent is Des- 
cartes' mental attitude presented, not as itself an extended sub- 
stance, but as the quality of an extended substance such as Des- 
cartes' body or such as the brain, the cortex or a nerve-fibre within 
Descartes' body. On the view which seems to remain before us for 
our consideration, Descartes' body, or part of his body, has such 
qualities as extension, weight and color, qualities which may be 
called "non-mental." And it is to such qualities that our atten- 
tion is directed when the substance in which these qualities inhere 
is called "Descartes' body" or "Descartes' cortex." But the sub- 
stance in which these qualities inhere is also, on the view which 
we are examining, the substance in which Descartes' thinking 
inheres as a quality. For Descartes' thinking, on this view, "is an 
event and not a thing or stuff; and it is an event adjectival to the 
brain." 21 In order to think of Descartes' brain or Descartes' body 
as a substance in which not only non-mental qualities but also 
thinking inheres, we must, says Sellars, "enlarge our conception 
of a cerebral state over that which physiology gives." 22 And to 
give recognition to the differing types of qualities which, on this 
view, this substance has inhering in it, this substance may be 
called, not Descartes' brain or Descartes' nerve-fibre, but rather 
Descartes' mind-brain or Descartes' mind-nerve-fibre. It is this 
mind-brain or mind-nerve-fibre which, on this view, thinks. And 
since this mind-brain or mind-nerve-fibre is extended, Descartes' 
thinking is concomitant with the quality of extension and may 
to this extent be said itself to be extended. 

When it is alleged that there is a substance to be called Des- 
cartes' brain or Descartes' mind-brain, a substance in which think- 
ing and extension inhere as qualities, there are various questions 

177 



that may be raised with respect to substances in general and with 
respect to qualities in general. It may be asked what "substance" 
means and what "quality" means. And it may be asked how a 
substance can have qualities inhering in it, how a substance, for 
example, can be thinking or can be extended. To discuss such 
questions at this point would, however, carry us far afield. Des- 
cartes' alleged mental attitude "presented as having a vehicle and 
a setting can be discussed in fewer words and in a less complicated 
fashion when, instead of regarding thinking, vehicle and setting 
as all mere subsistents, we accept the premise that vehicle and 
setting are real." 23 And Descartes 1 alleged mental attitude, pre- 
sented as the quality of an extended substance, can be dis- 
cussed in fewer words and in a less complicated fashion when 
we assume that there are substances and that an instance of 
thinking and an instance of extension can, if real, each be 
the quality of a substance. "It is not as the painter putting on 
the initial daubs of oil that we approach the canvas, but rather 
as the painter-critic who concentrates his attention on minute 
sections of his work in turn, at each point regarding the rest of 
the work as unquestioned." 24 In our present discussion, let us 
then make use of the fact that certain substances are listed as real 
in the appendix to Chapter Three; and certain qualities. And let 
us reserve for subsequent chapters discussions that deal with 
substance in general rather than with Descartes* alleged mind- 
brain or mind-nerve-fibre and discussions that deal with quality 
in general rather than with Descartes' alleged mental attitude. 
Let us in this chapter agree that Descartes' brain is a real sub- 
stance and extension a real quality inhering in it. Indeed let us 
agree that there are some qualities of the sort that are generally 
called "secondary qualities." Let us agree that a certain piece of 
metal is a real substance which is really hot and really red. And 
let us agree that the electric bulb on the desk before me is really 
bright and incandescent. Let us further agree that on some occa- 
sion before our piece of metal was placed in a furnace, it was not 
yet red; and that, after I have turned the switch, the bulb is no 
longer incandescent. It is in some such fashion as this that the 
alleged mental attitude of Descartes' that remains for our con- 
sideration may be held to qualify the substance in which it in- 
heres. Just as redness may be held to be a quality of the metal 

178 



which, before it was heated, was not red, and just as incandescence 
may be held to be a quality of the bulb which, after I turn the 
switch, is no longer incandescent, so Descartes' alleged thinking, 
on the view that remains for our consideration, is presented as a 
quality of an extended mind-brain or mind-nerve-fibre which in 
some earlier phase may not have been thinking and in some later 
phase may again not be thinking. So far as we have yet seen, the 
mental attitude of Descartes' may be unreal that is alleged to be 
the quality of an extended substance and alleged to be the quality 
of a substance which in other phases is not thinking. But if this 
subsistent is unreal, it is not unreal in so far as it is presented as 
a quality concomitant with extension or in so far as it is presented 
as the quality of one phase of a substance but not of another. 

Descartes' alleged, mental attitude is not presented as incredible* 
in so far as it is presented as a quality concomitant with extension. 
For there are qualities concomitant with extension. But this 
alleged mental attitude, it may be said, is a peculiar quality, un- 
like redness or incandescence. And, it may be held, whereas in- 
stances of redness and of extension inhering in the same substance 
are plausible, alleged instances of thinking and of extension in- 
hering in the same substance are not. Descartes' brain and its ex- 
tension, it may be said, were objects for Descartes' contemporaries 
but not for Descartes; whereas his mental attitude was an object 
for him alone. With the piece of metal and its extension on the 
one hand and that metal's redness on the other, or with the con- 
cave side of an arc on the one hand and its convex side on the 
other, the situation, it may be said, is different. For, both the 
metal and its redness can be objects for the same observer. And 
"when two percipients observe different sides of the same thing, 
like the hasty knights in the fable, they can," as Ward says, 25 
"change places and each connect the two aspects in one experience 
of an object." 

We have in effect agreed, however, that, if Descartes' alleged 
mental attitude is real, it and the mind-brain ^in which it is al- 
leged to inhere may be objects for the same observer. It is Des- 
cartes' alleged mind-brain that you and I are now considering and 
Descartes' alleged mental attitude that you and I are now discuss- 
ing. 26 To this extent each of us may be said to connect a substance, 
its extension and its alleged thinking in one experience, just as 

179 



we connect the metal, its extension and its redness in one experi- 
ence, and just as each knight connects the two sides of the arc 
in one experience. It may still be pointed out, however, that, even 
if a substance, its extension and its alleged thinking are apparent 
objects for the same observer, the substance and its extension 
seem to be apprehended in one way, its alleged thinking in an- 
other. By Descartes, it may be said, his thinking is sensed, his 
brain and its extension inferred; by others, it may be said, Des- 
cartes' brain and its extension may be sensed, but his thinking 
must be inferred. But in spite of the fact that we see the metal and 
its redness and do not see but feel its heat, we do not^eem to dis- 
believe that the metal is both red and hot. And when we do not 
feel the heat but only infer it from what we see, we likewise do 
not seem to disbelieve that the metal is both red and hot. Qualities 
are generally believed, to inhere in the same substance, even when 
they are perceived through different senses, and even when one 
is sensed and the other inferred. And an instance of thinking and 
an instance of extension alleged to inhere in the same substance 
need not be presented as incredible when they are presented as 
being apprehended in different ways or when they are presented 
as one being a sense-datum, the other an object which is inferred. 
The mental attitude which is alleged to be a quality inhering 
in a mind-brain or mind-nerve-fibre need not be presented as 
incredible in that mental attitude and nerve-fibre are presented 
as being apprehended in different ways. But such an alleged 
mental attitude is presented as incredible, it may be said, in that 
mental attitudes and nerve-fibres appear totally incommensurate 
with one another. "If we know so little what we mean by a 'nerve- 
process' that it may turn out ... to be an emotion or a tooth-ache," 
then, says J. B. Pratt, 27 "we have no business to use the term 
'nerve-process' at all/* When, however, Descartes' thinking is pre- 
sented as a quality of his nerve-process, it need not be presented as 
itself the iferve process. In order for a nerve-process to have the 
quality of thinking, the terms "thinking" and "nerve process" 
need be no more synonymous than the terms "redness" and "piece 
of metal" or the terms "incandescence" and "electric bulb." It 
may be held, to be sure, that "thinking nerve-fibre" is a perplex- 
ing combination of terms, that "thinking" and "nerve-fibre" 
joined together seem to represent no apparent object at all. It is 

180 



however such an apparent object, such a subsistent, that we have 
through several paragraphs been describing. Having eliminated 
as unreal Descartes' thinking appearing with the characteristic 
of being utterly non-spatial, Descartes' thinking appearing as 
having position but not extension, and Descartes' thinking ap- 
pearing as itself an extended substance, the subsistent remaining 
for our consideration is: Descartes' mental attitude seemingly 
directed towards man, God and the universe, a quality of, and 
abstractable from, all or part of the breathing, reacting, extended 
substance that may be called Descartes' mind-body. Although 
perhaps perplexing, this subsistent, so far as we have yet seen, need 
not be presented as generally discredited. So far as we have yet 
seen, this alleged mental attitude of Descartes' may be real. 

We have agreed that qualities exist; and substances in which 
they inhere. Let us further agree that, when a quality inheres in 
a substance, there is a sort of parallelism between them. When an 
electric bulb is destroyed, its incandescence disappears. And when 
its incandescence disappears, the electric bulb is different from 
what it was before, if only in that it no longer has the quality of 
incandescence. The view which we are considering, the view that 
thinking is a quality of an extended mind-brain or mind-nerve- 
fibre which thinks, has implicit in it the view that, as thinking 
changes, there is some change in the extended substance which 
thinks. The change in the substance may be merely the change 
from a phase which has a given mental attitude inhering in it to 
a phase which has no mental attitude or a different mental attitude 
inhering in it. Or there may be held to be other qualities of this 
substance, non-mental qualities, that change when its thinking 
changes. If however a change in the thinking extended substance 
parallels a change in its mental attitude, then a change in mental 
attitude need be no more dependent on a change in the substance 
in which it inheres than a change in that substance need be de- 
pendent on a change in its mental attitude. 

We may ask how an outside stimulus causes both a change in 
thinking and a change in the substance which thinks. And we may 
ask whether thinking and certain non-mental qualities inhering 
in the same substance change together. But the view which we are 
considering involves no epiphenomenalism. On the view which we 
are considering, there may be changes in non-mental qualities just 

181 



prior to a change in mental attitude; so that an examination of 
non-mental qualities may enable us to predict mental attitudes. 
There may likewise be a change in mental attitude just prior to 
changes in certain non-mental qualities; so that an examination of 
mental attitudes may enable us to predict non-mental qualities. 
But in so far as mental attitude, substance and non-mental quali- 
ties change simultaneously, they are, on the view which we are 
considering, presented as interdependent. "Take away the neural 
process/' says Hodgson, 28 "and there is no sensation. Take away 
the sensation it can not be done save by taking away the neural 
process. There is therefore," he continues, "dependence of the sen- 
sation on the concomitant neural process but not vice-versa." But 
if thinking and neural process are concomitant, we do not take 
away the neural process and then take away the thinking. If we 
take away the neural process, we take away simultaneously the 
thinking and whatever non-mental qualities inhere in this sub- 
stance. If we take away, not the substance, but those of its non- 
mental qualities, if any, that occur only when its thinking occurs, 
we take away its thinking. Similarly, however, if we take away its 
thinking, we take away those of the substance's non-mental quali- 
ties that occur only when thinking occurs; and we change the 
substance in which both they and the thinking concomitant with 
them formerly inhered. 

Even if we disregard those non-mental qualities inhering in the 
thinking substance that may be alleged to change before or after 
there is a change in mental attitude, even if we restrict our atten- 
tion to those non-mental qualities, if any, in which a change is 
alleged to occur simultaneously with a change in mental attitude, 
we may, to be sure, find it convenient to explore what happens 
to non-mental qualities more intensively than we explore what 
happens to thinking. Let us assume that, when light disappears 
from an electric bulb, the bulb simultaneously ceases to have an 
electric current running through it. Let us assume that the qual- 
ity of being lighted and the quality of being affected by an 
electric current are interdependent; that the occurrence of the 
quality of being lighted does not precede, and does not enable us 
to predict, a subsequent occurrence of the quality of being affected 
by an electric current; and that the occurrence of the quality of 
being affected by an electric current does not precede, and does 

182 



not enable us to predict, a subsequent occurrence of the quality 
of being lighted. We may nevertheless, it would seem, find it con- 
venient to explore the onset and disappearance of electric cur- 
rents more intensively than we explore the onset and disappear- 
ance of the quality of being lighted, a quality that is concomitant 
with it. Such priority, however, as under these circumstances we 
might give to the quality of being affected by an electric current 
over the quality of being lighted would be a priority in attention 
and would not imply that one quality is temporally prior to the 
other or that one quality is real and the other unreal. In a 
similar fashion, it would seem, priority in attention may be given 
to certain non-mental qualities of a thinking, extended substance 
rather than to the mental attitude which is alleged to vary with 
them. Descartes' mental attitude seemingly directed upon man, 
God and the universe may be presented as the quality of an ex- 
tended thinking substance. And other qualities of this substance, 
non-mental qualities, may be presented as varying with this 
attitude, as being present when it is present, absent when it is 
absent. But these alleged other qualities may be presented as be- 
ing more promising to investigate without being presented as 
being temporally prior to the mental attitude seemingly directed 
upon man, God and the universe. And they may be presented as 
more promising to investigate without this alleged mental attitude 
being presented as unreal. 

Certain non-mental qualities, let us agree, offer a more fruit- 
ful field for investigation than the mental attitudes which, if they 
exist, are concomitant with them. These non-mental qualities 
along with others, which all together may be said to constitute an 
organism's behavior, have been the subject of much study on the 
part of behaviorists. Organisms have been confronted by various 
stimuli and the organisms' responses noted. "The desire in all 
such work/' says Watson, 29 "is to gain an accurate knowledge of 
adjustments and the stimuli calling them forth. The reason for 
this is to learn general and particular methods by which behavior 
may be controlled. The goal is not the description and explana- 
tion of conscious states as such." As a result of such work, how- 
ever, one may come to hold that we can disregard mental atti- 
tudes even if they exist, that information with respect to be- 
havior alone will teach us all that we can know that might en- 

183 



able us to predict and control what organisms will do. If a men- 
tal attitude exists and is concomitant with some non-mental qual- 
ity, a given stimulus may be said to bring about both the non- 
mental quality and the mental attitude; and a given response may 
be said to be due both to the non-mental quality and the mental 
attitude. But if a study of the causal relation from stimulus to 
mental attitude to response gives us no ability to predict and con- 
trol not given us by a study of the causal relation from stimulus 
to non-mental quality to response, then the alleged mental atti- 
tude, it may be said, is, like LaPlace's God, an unnecessary 
hypothesis. 

The mental attitude which is alleged to be the quality of an 
extended mind-brain or mind-nerve-fibre need not be presented 
as incredible, we have seen, when it is presented as less promising 
to investigate than the non-mental qualities with which it is 
alleged to be concomitant. But is it not presented as incredible 
when it is presented as unnecessary for prediction and control? 
We may imagine two worlds before us, only one of which is the 
world of real entities. In the one, an organism is stimulated; the 
stimuli bring about non-mental qualities in the brain; and these 
non-mental qualities lead the organism to make characteristic re- 
sponses. In this imagined world, however, organisms are like 
robots; there are no mental attitudes. In the other, organisms 
behave just as they behave in the world just described. But, in- 
tervening between stimulus and response there are not only the 
brain's non-mental qualities, but the brain's mental attitudes, 
its thinking, as well. Entities, according to the dictum attributed 
to William of Occam, are not to be multiplied beyond what are 
necessary. Admitting, then, that mental attitudes, if they exist, 
are not needed to enable us to predict and control what organisms 
will do, should we not accept the world with fewer entities and 
reject the other? In view of its being presented as not needed, do 
we not find the mental attitude alleged to be an additional quality 
inhering in an extended brain or extended nerve-fibre presented 
as incredible and as generally disbelieved? 

Let us first remark that, whereas one writer may hold that en- 
tities are not to be multiplied beyond what are necessary, an- 
other may hold that all entities are real that can be real, all en- 
tities, that is to say, that are not inconsistent with some entity 

184 



that is real. Both assertions ascribe characteristics to what is taken 
to be "reality." Each assertion, we hold, depends for its truth upon 
the signification that is assigned the term "real." As we have 
explained our term "reality," the world o real entities, so far as 
we have yet seen, need be neither a world with the maximum 
number of compossible entities nor a world with the minimum 
number needed for prediction and control. As an element in the 
explanation of our term "reality," we have, however, said that 
"whatever explicitly or implicitly appears as generally discredited 
is unreal." 30 Consequently, it remains for us to determine whether 
an entity may be presented as not needed for prediction and con- 
trol; and yet not be presented as generally discredited. 

There is a distinction to be made, let us suggest, between the 
entity which is proposed in order that we may organize our 
knowledge, in order that the facts that we know may be known to 
be related, or in order that we may predict and control future 
events, and the entity which is not proposed with the purpose of 
accomplishing any of these objectives. When facts are puzzling and 
hypotheses proposed in order that we may become aware of re- 
lations between these facts, it would seem that, on the whole, 
we accept the simpler hypothesis, the hypothesis which introduces 
and proposes fewer entities; and that we reject the more compli- 
cated hypothesis, the hypothesis which introduces and proposes a 
greater number of entities. When there are similar objectives 
and when alternative hypotheses are proposed, we likewise seem 
on the whole to accept the hypothesis which accounts for a large 
number of facts and to reject the hypothesis which accounts for a 
lesser number of facts. But these observations do not apply to the 
entity that is not introduced in order that we may predict and con- 
trol, not introduced in order that we may become aware of other 
entities as mutually related. An alleged God may be proposed, not 
after miracles have been experienced and found puzzling, but as 
an entity that is itself experienced. The suggestion that my electric 
bulb is bright may be made, not to suggest a cause for the waves 
that travel out from the bulb, the electric current running 
through the bulb may already have been accepted as such a cause, 
but the suggestion may be made on the basis of other evidence, 
on the basis of independent belief. Whatever may be the situation 
with respect to entities that are proposed in order that we may 

185 



become aware of other entities as mutually related, entities that 
are not proposed and introduced with such a purpose need not, we 
hold, be presented as incredible when they are alleged not to be 
needed in order that we may become aware of other entities as 
mutually related. The alleged brightness of my electric bulb need 
not be presented as incredible when it is alleged not to be needed 
in order that we may become aware of a cause of the waves travel- 
ling out from the bulb. And the mental attitude that is alleged to 
be a quality of an extended substance need not be presented as in- 
credible when it is alleged not to be needed to enable us to pre- 
dict and control the organism's responses. 

The subsistent that seems to be before us is Descartes' mental 
attitude seemingly directed upon man, God and the universe, a 
mental attitude which is alleged to be the quality of an extended 
mind-brain or extended mind-nerve-fibre. It is a mental attitude 
which, along with such concomitant non-mental qualities as vary 
with it, is alleged to be a result of certain stimuli and a cause of 
certain responses; a mental attitude, nevertheless, which is alleged 
to offer a less promising field for investigation than the non-men- 
tal qualities which accompany it; and a mental attitude which is 
alleged not to have been proposed in order that we might be able 
to predict and control Descartes' responses. Such an alleged men- 
tal attitude need not be presented as incredible. And yet, since 
there are certain behaviorists who reject it, this alleged mental 
attitude is presented as being in some quarters disbelieved. 

To what extent, however, do behaviorists disbelieve in the par- 
ticular subsistent that we are considering? A behaviorist may assert 
that there are no entities which lack position altogether. He may 
assert that he disbelieves in an entity which is alleged not to in- 
here in any extended substance. He may hold that nothing exists 
outside what we have called "total behavior." 81 And he may sum 
up his position by stating that thinking is behavior. The state- 
ment, however, that thinking is behavior may not be incon- 
sistent with the statement that thinking and non-mental qualities 
inhere in the same substance, with the statement that thinking and 
certain non-mental qualities which are concomitant with that 
thinking vary together. And the statement that there is no ob- 
servable object outside total behavior may not be inconsistent 
with the statement that, "in having Descartes before us as an un- 

186 



analyzed whole, his alleged thinking is within, rather than out- 
side, the entity before us." 32 There are, let us agree, behaviorists 
who seem to disbelieve in the subsistent that appears to be before 
us. There are behaviorists who find that, when they attempt to 
abstract thinking, mental attitude, mental activity, from Des- 
cartes' mind-brain or mind-nerve-fibre or total behavior, there is 
an irruption of disbelief similar to that which breaks in upon us 
when we attempt to abstract from this rectangular desk its al- 
leged roundness. To a considerable extent, however, it is some 
other subsistent, and not the subsistent which we are considering, 
that seems to be the object of their disbelief. The subsistent which 
we are considering is presented as seemingly disbelieved by some 
behaviorists, but not as generally disbelieved by behaviorists. 

Some behaviorists seem to disbelieve in the alleged mental 
attitude which we are considering. And some epistemologists who 
assert the existence of ideas seem likewise to disbelieve in this 
subsistent. Such epistemologists may agree that, in addition to 
Descartes' non-mental behavior, there is a real mental entity to be 
abstracted or to be inferred from his mind-brain or from his mind- 
nerve-fibre or from his total behavior. But they may hold that 
whatever mental entity is thus to be really abstracted or inferred 
is what they would call "content" or "idea," not what they would 
call "mental attitude" or "mental activity" or "thinking." Just, 
however, as the behaviorist who asserts that thinking is behavior 
may not disbelieve in the alleged mental attitude which we are 
considering, so the epistemologist who denies the existence of 
mental entities other than what he calls "ideas" may not dis- 
believe in the alleged mental attitude which we are considering. 
For "what we call 'mental attitude' may by some be included in 
what they would call 'private content.'" 33 To be sure, what we 
call "mental attitude" has not been presented as private content, 
as an object for Descartes alone. 3 * But it has been presented as an 
entity that may be held to be sensed by Descartes alone. And 
whereas what we call mental attitude has been presented as 
think-mg rather than as what is thought, it has been presented as 
an entity that may be held to be an object "upon which it or some 
further mental attitude is directed." 38 The epistemologist who 
holds that there are no mental entities that are not pictures or 
images disbelieves, we may say, in what we are calling "mental 

187 



attitudes." But what is alleged to be an idea and not alleged to be 
a picture or image may be what we should call a mental attitude 
presented as an object for some further mental attitude. 

The alleged mental attitude which we are considering is pre- 
sented as seemingly disbelieved by some behaviorists, but not as 
generally disbelieved by behaviorists. And it is presented as 
seemingly disbelieved by some epistemologists who assert the 
existence of ideas, but not as generally disbelieved by epistemolo- 
gists who assert the existence of ideas. Indeed when we turn from 
the opinions of behaviorists and epistemologists to the opinions of 
men generally, we seem to note a general belief that men are 
not robots and that their mental life is not made up of pictures 
and images. In addition to the -words "idea" and "thought/* there 
are in common use the words "thinker" and "thinking"; and the 
statement that there are thinkers who think would seem to ex- 
press a belief in entities that are not pictures or images but are 
rather what we in this chapter have called mental attitudes. In 
any case the particular mental attitude which we have been con- 
sidering, and which we are now considering, is not presented as 
generally discredited. And this alleged mental attitude is listed as 
real in the appendix to Chapter Three. As Descartes paced up and 
down his stove-heated room, he was, we conclude, thinking. He 
had a mental attitude which seemed to be directed upon man, God 
and the universe, and which was a quality inhering, along with 
extension and other non-mental qualities, in his mind-brain or 
mind-cortex or mind-nerve-fibre. 



Summary 

Positive statements about what exists in our sense of "existence" 
should, according to our program, be statements about individual 
subsistents carefully identified. In this chapter we select an alleged 
instance of thinking what we call a "mental attitude" distin- 
guishing it from object, from mental content and from non- 
mental behavior. 

Such an instance of thinking may be presented as spatial or as 
non-spatial. Presented as non-spfettial it is unreal. Presented as 

188 



spatial it may be real; for the arguments which have been ad- 
vanced against spatial and extended thinking are unconvincing. 

The entity we present is an instance of thinking that is a quality 
of an extended substance. Even though this entity is presented as 
something that need not be considered in investigations into be- 
havior, it is not presented as generally discredited and is real. 



189 



Chapter VII 
MINDS AND BODIES 



We begin this chapter with the reality of one instance of think- 
ing established. As Descartes paced up and down his stove-heated 
room, he had a mental attitude which seemed to be directed upon 
man, God and the universe, a mental attitude which was a qual- 
ity inhering, along with extension and other non-mental quali- 
ties, in his mind-brain or mind-cortex or mind-nerve-fibre.* With- 
out discussions that would repeat or parallel the discussion in the 
preceding chapter, we shall, I am sure, be permitted to conclude 
that there are similar instances of thinking that are likewise real. 
Thinking, alleged to be a quality of Plato lecturing in the 
Academy, is, let us say, real in the sense in which we are using the 
term "reality." The thinking is likewise real that is alleged to be a 
quality of a mind-nerve-fibre of yours as you read this page. And 
the thinking is real that is alleged to be the quality of a clerk who, 
as he sits at his desk with a ledger before him, is engaged in tran- 
scribing figures to a statement which he is preparing to mail out. 

But whereas there are various instances of thinking that are 
real, let us, on the basis of the appendix to Chapter Three, agree 
that there are also certain substances which do not have the qual- 
ity of thinking. 2 In the sense in which we have explained our 
terms "existence" and "reality," there is a ledger which does not 
think and a statement on which figures are being jotted down 
which likewise does not think. It is, in short, the ledger clerk who 
thinks, not the ledger or the statement. The mind-cortex or mind- 
nerve-fibre of the ledger clerk who thinks has, like the mind-nerve- 
fibre of Descartes', not only the quality of thinking, but also such 
non-mental qualities as extension, weight and color. 3 It follows 

190 



that there is no motion from this mind-nerve-fibre's extension to 
its thinking; or from its thinking to its weight. For these quali- 
ties are qualities of the same substance. And surely entities that 
are alleged to be concomitant, and also alleged to enter into a re- 
lational situation in which there is motion from one to the other, 
are entities presented with implicitly contradictory character- 
istics, entities which are unreal. 

But what about an alleged motion to the thinking nerve-fibre, 
not from that nerve-fibre's extension, but from the unthinking 
ledger in front of which the ledger clerk sits? And what about an 
alleged motion from the thinking nerve-fibre, not to that nerve- 
fibre's weight, but to the statement on which figures are being 
jotted down? Can the ledger which is not thinking affect or bring 
about our clerk's mental attitude? And can our clerk's mental 
attitude be the cause of the figures that are jotted down on the 
unthinking statement? 

According to Descartes, mind thinks but is unextended, where- 
as matter is extended and unthinking. Between entities so un- 
like, some of his successors found interaction incredible. There is 
difficulty enough, some of them hold, in accepting a causal inter- 
action between two unthinking bodies. "Those that suppose that 
bodies necessarily and by themselves communicate their motion 
to each other," says Malebranche, 4 "make but a probable supposi- 
tion." But, he continues, "the mind and body are two sorts of 
being so opposite that those who think that the commotions of 
the soul necessarily follow upon the motion of the blood and 
animal spirits do it without the least probability." There is more- 
over a simple experiment which reenforces Malebranche's con- 
viction that there is no causal relation between entities so disparate 
as mind and matter. My mind, he holds, can not cause my arm to 
be raised since it is not even aware of the means that must be used 
to bring about the raising. "Most men," Malebranche finds, 5 
"know not so much as that they have spirits, nerves and muscles, 
and yet move their arms with as much and more dexterity than 
the most skilful anatomists. Men therefore will the moving of their 
arms, but," Malebranche's conclusion is, "t'is God that is able 
and knows how to do it." 

If, however, to be a cause, an entity had to be aware of the 
means by which its results are effected, one billiard ball could 

191 



not cause the motion of another without being aware of the laws 
of motion. Chemical substances would have to be chemists and 
bacteria bacteriologists. The word "cause" may, to be sure, be 
used in various senses. But there is no sense in which we shall use 
the word "cause," and no sense in which "cause" is commonly 
used, where "A causes B" implies "A is aware of the means by 
which A causes B." It is the thinking substance C that is alleged 
to be aware of the causal relatiofi between A and B. And where- 
as C may be A itself or B itself, there is no self-contradictory sub- 
sistent before us when we present to ourselves a C that is com- 
pletely outside the relational situation involving A and B. 

An alleged causal relation flowing from ledger to mind-nerve- 
fibre is not presented as self-contradictory when this ledger is pre- 
sented as unaware of the means by which it affects the ledger 
clerk's mind. Nor do we find an alleged causal relation flowing 
from ledger to mind-nerve-fibre presented as incredible when the 
mind-nerve-fibre is presented as thinking, but the ledger pre- 
sented as unthinking. A causal relation between mind and matter 
has been held incredible in that the former thinks and is un- 
extended whereas the latter is unthinking and extended. 6 But 
whereas the ledger and the mind-nerve-fibre that we are consider- 
ing are presented as unlike in that one is unthinking and the 
other thinking, they are not presented as unlike with respect to 
extension or the lack of extension. It is an extended mind-nerve- 
fibre that we have found real and that is presented to us as affected 
by the ledger; an extended mind-nerve-fibre that we have found 
real and that is presented to us as the cause of the figures on the 
statement. An alleged causal relation between two entities which 
are presented as unlike in that one is presented as thinking and 
the other as unthinking is not, we find, presented as incredible 
when, along with this difference, both entities are presented as ex- 
tended. So far as we have yet seen, the ledger may be the cause of 
our clerk's mental attitude; and our clerk's mental attitude may 
be the cause of the figures on the statement. 

There is, let us say, a motion from the ledger to our clerk's 
mind-nerve-fibre, to the mind-nerve-fibre which has a mental atti- 
tude apparently directed upon the figures in this ledger. For, 
such an alleged motion subsists without any of the characteristics 
that tvould mark it out as unreal; and such an alleged motion is 

192 



listed as real in the appendix to Chapter Three. The mind-nerve- 
fibre to which this motion flows is a substance with non-mental 
qualities and with a mental attitude as well. Hence the motion 
that flows from the ledger flows to the thinking, flows to the ex- 
tension that is concomitant with that thinking, and flows to the 
substance in which thinking and extension inhere. But whereas the 
substance, its thinking and its extension are equally end-points of 
the motion that flows from the ledger, are they all to be called 
"results" caused by the ledger? And whereas the substance, its 
thinking and its extension are equally originating points for the 
motion that flows to the statement, are they all to be called 
"causes" of the figures that appear upon the statement? 

There are, let us suppose, other instances of motion flowing 
from other ledgers to other mind-nerve-fibres. And on the basis 
of many instances, it may be found that there are certain limited 
characteristics which ledgers always have when the mind-nerve- 
fibres, in which motions from them terminate, are identical with 
our ledger clerk's. Or it may be found that, given motions from 
many identical ledgers, the mind-nerve-fibres to which these mo- 
tions severally flow are identical in some respects but not in all 
respects. On the basis of many instances, it may be decided that, 
not the ledger, but some particular quality of the ledger, is to be 
called the "cause." And it may be decided that, not the mind- 
nerve-fibre which is a substance, but some quality of it, some 
non-mental quality, some type of thinking, or both, is to be 
called the "result." We may use "cause" and "result" in such a 
way that not every entity at the source of motion is a cause and 
not every entity at the terminus a result. But pending a determina- 
tion that there is a sine qua non at the source and pending a de- 
termination that there is a constant or inevitable quality at the 
terminus ad quern, let us not attempt to distinguish among the 
various entities at the source or among the various entities at the 
terminus ad quern. Let us hold that our clerk's mind-nerve-fibre 
and its non-mental qualities and its thinking are affected by the 
ledger. Let us hold that our clerk's mind-nerve-fibre and its non- 
mental qualities and its thinking affect the statement that he is 
preparing to mail out. 

The assertion that the ledger affects our clerk's thinking and 
that our clerk's thinking in turn affects the statement he makes 

193 



out may be said to be an assertion that mind and matter interact. 
Our doctrine consequently may be held to be a denial of paral- 
lelism. Yet it is not every form of parallelism that is in conflict 
with the particular form of interactionism that we have pro- 
pounded. Our clerk's thinking, we have held, acts, not upon the 
non-mental qualities which inhere in the very mind-nerve-fibre in 
which it inheres, but upon such entities as statements that are 
separated from it and have positions different from its position. 7 
"The view that thinking is a quality of an extended mind-brain or 
mind-nerve fibre which thinks has implicit in it the view that, as 
thinking changes, there is some change in the extended substance 
which thinks. The change in the substance may be merely the 
change from a phase which has a given mental attitude inhering 
in it to a phase which has no mental attitude or a different men- 
tal attitude inhering in it. Or there may be held to be other quali- 
ties of this substance, non-mental qualities, that change when its 
thinking changes." 8 A change in thinking may thus be held to 
parallel a change in certain non-mental qualities that inhere with 
it in the same substance; nonetheless, this thinking and these non- 
mental qualities may be held to act upon other entities situated 
elsewhere. 

Indeed it is not only a parallelism between thinking and non- 
mental qualities inhering in the same substance that is con- 
sistent with the particular form of interactionism which we have 
propounded. If various ledger pages are the sources of motions 
flowing to various mind-nerve-fibres, if for each page there is a 
mind-nerve-fibre that it acts upon, a mental attitude of which it 
is in some sense the cause, then it may be found that the series of 
acting ledger pages has a one-to-one correspondence with the 
series of resultant mental attitudes. Not, to be sure, that each 
element in the series of causes will, in such case, be simultaneous 
with its corresponding result; or that it will resemble the result- 
ing entity that corresponds to it. But the assertion that a given 
non-mental entity which is a cause has a resulting mental attitude 
which corresponds to it, or the assertion that a given mental 
attitude which is a cause has a resulting non-mental entity which 
corresponds to it, may be said to be the assertion of a sort of 
parallelism. It is the assertion of that sort of parallelism that is 
asserted to obtain between the heat of the sun and the heat of the 

194 



earth when we hold that the heat of the earth varies with the heat 
of that phase of the sun which acts upon it. 

Yet the parallelism which we have just considered, a parallelism 
which we have found consistent with the particular form of inter- 
actionism that we have propounded, is a parallelism between such 
entities as ledgers or statements on the one hand and mental atti- 
tudes or mind-nerve-fibres on the other. It is a parallelism between 
causes and results and a parallelism between external things and 
mental attitudes, not a parallelism between external things and 
private contents or ideas. We have attempted to distinguish 
what we call "mental attitude" from what we call "private con- 
tent" or "idea." What we call "mental attitude" is "presented as 
not a picture or image and it is presented as not being content ex- 
cept in so far as it is the object upon which it or some further 
mental attitude is directed." 9 Corresponding to the distinction 
between mental attitude and idea, there is a distinction to be 
made between an alleged correspondence or parallelism be- 
tween a series of ledger pages and a series of resultant mental 
attitudes on the one hand and, on the other hand, an alleged cor- 
respondence or parallelism between a series of ledger pages and a 
series of private ideas of ledger pages. "The order and connection 
of ideas,". says Spinoza, 10 "is the same as the order and connection 
of things." The parallelism between ideas and things that this 
proposition is used to assert may be an alleged parallelism be- 
tween a series of ledger pages and a series of mental contents, a 
series of private ideas of ledger pages. Such an alleged parallelism 
differs both from the parallelism which may obtain between the 
thinking and the non-mental qualities that inhere in the same 
mind-nerve-fibre; and from the parallelism or correspondence 
which may obtain between a series of external entities and a 
series of mental attitudes. It is a form of parallelism that does not 
exist unless private ideas, as distinguished from mental attitudes, 
exist. And whereas we have agreed that various mental attitudes 
exist, we have not yet agreed .that there are any real instances of 
what we call "private contents" 'or "ideas." 

Various substances that have mental attitudes exist. Among 
them there is the mind-nerve-fibre within Descartes' body as he 
paced up and down his stove-heated room, the mind-nerve-fibre 
with a mental attitude apparently directed upon man, God and 

.195 



the universe. Among them, as Descartes paced up and down his 
stove-heated room, there is also, let us say, a mind-nerve-fibre of 
his with a mental attitude apparently directed upon the stove. 
Descartes, we might say, seemed not only to be thinking about 
man, God and the universe, but he seemed also to be aware of the 
stove. Let us then consider an alleged substance that includes 
both of these mind-nerve-fibres. Let us consider an alleged com- 
posite substance that has these extended thinking mind-nerve- 
fibres of Descartes' as its parts. This alleged composite substance 
is presented as composed of extended, thinking mind-nerve-fibres 
that are its parts, just as a chair may be said to be composed of 
seat, back and legs; and just as a French flag may be said to have 
three parts, one red, one white and one blue. 

It may, to be sure, be said that there are no substances that are 
parts of other substances. It may be said that, if the chair is real, 
tifie leg of the chair, taken by itself, is unreal. Or it may be said 
that, if the blue strip of a French flag is real, the flag, taken as a 
whole, is unreal. We have however found that Descartes' alleged 
mental attitude "presented as having a vehicle and a setting can 
be discussed in fewer words and in a less complicated fashion 
when, instead of regarding thinking, vehicle and setting as all 
mere subsistents, we accept the premise that vehicle and setting 
are real." ia And in the previous chapter, instead of discussing the 
reality of substances as such and the reality of qualities as such, 
we have made use of "the fact that certain substances are listed as 
real in the appendix to Chapter Three; and certain qualities." 12 
At this point let us similarly agree that there are situations in 
which some composite substance is real and substances which are 
its parts likewise real. Let us agree, for example, that this chair is 
real and each of its legs real, that a given French flag is real and 
the blue strip which is a part of it likewise real. Let us also agree 
that the composite substance and the substance which is a part 
of it may each have qualities which are real; and that the quality 
which inheres in a partial substance may not be identical with the 
corresponding quality which inheres in the including substance. 
Just as a plate may be circular "without any of the fragments into 
which it is broken beiilg circular/' 13 so, let us agree, a chair may 
have a size greater thaii the size that is the quality of one of its 
legs. And wheiieas one of the strips that is a part of our French 

196 



flag has the quality of being blue, the flag as a whole, let us say, 
has, not the quality of being blue, but the quality of being tri- 
colored. With these examples before us, the entity that we are 
considering, the substance that is alleged to include several of 
Descartes' thinking, extended mind-nerve-fibres, comes to be 
presented as having an extension that may be greater than the 
extension of one of its parts. And it comes to be presented with 
the quality of apparently thinking about various things rather than 
with the quality of having a mental attitude apparently directed 
upon the stove. 

It is certain mind-nerve-fibres of Descartes' as he paced up and 
down his stove-heated room that are alleged to be parts of the 
including substance that we have been proposing. Let us however 
enlarge this alleged including substance. Let us consider an 
alleged substance that has among its parts, not only the mind- 
nerve-fibre with a mental attitude apparently directed upon man, 
God and the universe, and not only the mind-nerve-fibre with a 
mental attitude apparently directed upon the stove, but also the 
earlier mind-nerve-fibre of Descartes' with a mental attitude ap- 
parently directed upon some teacher standing in front of him at 
La Fleche, and the later mind-nerve-fibre of his with a mental 
attitude apparently directed upon Queen Christina. Let us in 
short consider a substance alleged to have duration, a substance 
alleged to have the substance proposed in the preceding para- 
graph as one of its momentary phases. This substance is presented 
as having the quality of thinking, but as having the quality of 
thinking now about one thing and now about another, rather 
than as having a mental attitude apparently directed upon the 
stove. It is likewise presented as extended in the sense that it is 
presented as having momentary phases which are extended. And it 
is further, let us say, presented as in some degree a system of 
parts rather than as a haphazard aggregation of parts. That is to 
say, the mind-nerve-fibre with a mental attitude apparently 
directed upon man, God and the universe and the mind-nerve- 
fibre with a mental attitude apparently directed upon the stove 
are presented as in some sense affecting one another, as being 
parts of what might be called a "natural" unit. And parts such as 
these that are earlier are presented as affecting certain parts that 
occur later. Descartes' mind-nerve-fibre with a mental attitude 
apparently directed upon Queen Christina, for example, is pre- 
sented as affected by previous mind-nerve-fibres, previous mental 



197 



attitudes, of his. In short, the composite substance which we are 
considering is presented, not only as including parts some of which 
are earlier and some later, but as including parts which are in some 
sense held together so as to constitute a system. 

Now some such entity as has just been proposed does, we con- 
clude, exist. For, the various mind-nerve-fibres of Descartes' that 
have been alleged to be its parts exist. And just as certain com- 
posite substances, such as this chair and the French flag, exist 
along with the partial substances which they include, so some 
such entity as we have been considering, composed of mind-nerve- 
fibres of Descartes', is presented without any of the characteristics 
that would mark it as unreal and is indeed listed as real in the 
appendix to Chapter Three. 

To be sure, the mind-nerve-fibre of Descartes' with a mental 
attitude apparently directed upon man, God and the universe is a 
pan of several composite substances which are real. The moon 
and the earth, we may say, constitute a system, a composite sub- 
stance, which is real. The solar system is a more extended com- 
posite substance which is real and which likewise includes the 
earth as one of its parts. And so with the galaxy which includes 
our solar system and of which the earth is again a part. In an 
analogous manner we may say that there is a composite substance 
which includes Descartes' mind-nerve-fibre with a mental atti- 
tude apparently directed upon man, God and the universe and 
which also includes other mind-nerve-fibres of his at various 
periods of his life when he seemed to be thinking about philo- 
sophical subjects; a composite substance, however, which does not 
include such mind-nerve-fibres of Descartes' as have mental atti- 
tudes apparently directed upon non-philosophical subjects. But 
there is also, we may agree, a composite substance which includes 
every mind-nerve-fibre which ever occurred within Descartes' 
body. There are in short systems within systems. There is one 
real composite substance composed of thinking, extended mind- 
nerve-fibres of Descartes' which has a greater duration and in- 
stantaneous phases with a greater extension. And there is another 
real composite substance composed of thinking, extended mind- 
nerve-fibres of Descartes' which has a lesser duration and in- 
stantaneous phases with a lesser extension. The latter may have, 
not the quality that one of its parts has, not the quality of having 

198 



a mental attitude apparently directed upon man, God and the 
universe, but the quality of thinking philosophically. The former 
may have, not the quality that one of its parts has, not the qual- 
ity of having a mental attitude apparently directed upon the stove, 
but the quality of now and then being more or less aware. 

There are then various composite substances that are real, 
one more inclusive than another, but each having thinking, ex- 
tended mind-nerve-fibres of Descartes' among its parts. There 
is in particular a composite substance, which on the one hand has 
no parts outside Descartes' body, but which on the other hand may 
not include every thinking extended nerve-fibre that is within his 
body. The mind-nerve-fibres, if any, which, although within Des- 
cartes' body, are not parts of this particular composite substance, 
are those which we shall say are not parts of a single "person." 
There are, we are told, divided personalities. And if one group of 
Descartes' mind-nerve-fibres holds together to form a Mr. Hyde 
whereas another group holds together to form a Dr. Jekyll, then 
it is only one of these two groups that furnishes parts for the 
particular composite substance which we are describing. The 
mind-nerve-fibres which constitute the particular composite sub- 
stance that we are describing have in short a special type of coher- 
ence. The particular composite substance which they compose we 
call a "person." And whereas one of a person's component mind- 
nerve-fibres may have a mental attitude that we describe as ap- 
parently directed upon the stove or as apparently directed upon 
Queen Christina, the person taken as a whole has a mental qual- 
ity that we may call its "personality." 

There are, we have agreed, various groups of Descartes' think- 
ing extended mind-nerve-fibres which are real. There exists the 
group which, taken together, we call Descartes' person. And there 
exists the mental quality which this composite substance has, its 
personality. Similarly there exists the substance that is my person 
and the substance that is your person, the quality that is my per- 
sonality and the quality that is your personality. In this treatise 
we have, to be sure, discussed the existence of Descartes' person 
after having agreed to the existence of a particular mind-nerve- 
fibre of his, have discussed the existence of his personality after 
having agreed to the existence of his mental attitude apparently 
directed upon man, God and the universe. But it is not to be con- 

199 



eluded that wholes and parts are generally presented in this order. 
I may first seem to be aware of a chair and may subsequently dis- 
criminate within this chair its seat, its back and its legs. Similarly I 
may first seem to be aware of a person as a whole, a person which 
has some duration as well as extension; and I may subsequently 
seem to be aware of some phase or of some part of this person, of 
some mind-nerve-fibre or mind-nerve-fibres that have a lesser dura- 
tion or a lesser extension. Thus it is not to be concluded from the 
order in which they are presented in this treatise that mind-nerve- 
fibres with their mental attitudes have a greater reality than what 
we call "persons" with their personalities, or that the former are 
normally presented as apparent objects before the latter. 

Indeed if we begin with a person as a whole as our apparent 
object, there is, it would seem, no fixed number of parts or phases 
to be discriminated within that person. One thinker may, figura- 
tively speaking, break an apparent object up into fifteen parts 
where another breaks it up into ten parts. For, as we shall later 
find occasion to observe, "unity, duality and multiplicity are, it 
seems, relative qualities.'* 14 The composite substance which we 
call Descartes' "person" is, it will be remembered, but one sub- 
stance in a series of "systems within systems/ 1 15 The mind-nerve- 
fibres which are its parts have a special type of coherence. 16 There 
may thus be mind-nerve-fibres within Descartes' body which do 
not have this coherence arid which consequently are not parts of 
his person. But with such noncoherent mind-nerve-fibres ex- 
cluded, Descartes' person does not have an absolute, rather than a 
relative, number of parts. It has many parts or few parts, many 
phases or few phases, according as the person taken as a whole is 
discriminated into many parts or into few parts, into many phases 
or into few phases. 

There exist various persons with their personalities, various 
parts of persons with their mental attitudes. "We must look outside 
this chapter to justify the conclusion that persons and personali- 
ties, parts of persons and mental attitudes, are not only in some 
instances real, but in some instances real objects for thinking sub- 
jects. Assuming however that there are situations in which a sub- 
ject has first an including substance as his real object and sub- 
sequently one of its partial substances as his real object, let us call 
the sequence an instance of "discrimination." And assuming that 

200 



there are situations in which a subject has first a substance as his 
real object and subsequently a quality of that substance as his real 
object, let us call the sequence an instance of "abstraction." We 
are thus discriminating when we turn our attention from Des- 
cartes' person to one of his mind-nerve-fibres, abstracting when we 
turn our attention from his person to his personality or from a 
mind-nerve-fibre of his to the mental attitude which that mind- 
nerve-fibre has as a quality. It is not Descartes' person, but one of 
his mind-nerve-fibres, that has a mental attitude. And yet if we 
say, as we shall, that "Descartes had a mental attitude," our propo- 
sition is true in the sense in which "Caesar crossed the Rubicon" 
is true. "Caesar crossed the Rubicon" is true in so far as it is 
synonymous with our existential proposition: "Caesar-aMnoment- 
M, having the quality of crossing the Rubicon, exists." 17 And 
"Descartes had a mental attitude apparently directed upon man, 
God and the universe" is true in so far as it is synonymous with 
our existential proposition: "A mind-nerye-fibre that was a part 
of Descartes' person, a mind-nerve-fibre with a mental attitude 
apparently directed upon man, God and the universe, exists." 

The mind-nerve-fibres, that taken together are Descartes' per- 
son, constitute, let us repeat, but one of several systems within 
systems. In constituting the particular system that they do con- 
stitute, they exhibit a special type of coherence. But what is this 
special type of coherence? What makes Descartes' mental attitude 
apparently directed upon the stove and Descartes' mental attitude 
apparently directed upon Queen Christina qualities that inhere 
in parts of one person? What common characteristics, if any, do 
these mental attitudes have? And what holds together and unifies 
the partial substances in which they inhere? 

What we seek is some further description of the special type 
of coherence that holds together mental attitudes inhering in parts 
of the same person, As an answer it may be suggested that, where 
this coherence exists, the cohering mental attitudes are all ap- 
parent objects for the same subject. Mental attitudes, however, 
are to be distinguished from what we call "private contents" or 
"ideas." 18 Hence it is one thing to suggest that certain mental 
attitudes are held together and exhibit a special type of coher- 
ence in so far as they are apparent objects for die same subject. 
And it is another thing to suggest that alleged private contents or 

201 



ideas are held together by being apparent objects for the same 
subject. "I myself/' says Berkeley, 19 "am not my ideas but ... a 
thinking active principle that perceives, knows, wills and operates 
about ideas. I know that I, one and the same self, perceive both 
colors and sounds: that a color can not perceive a sound, nor a 
sound a color: that I am therefore one individual principle, 
distinct from color and sound; and for the same reason from all 
other sensible things and inert ideas." The entities however that 
we in this chapter have found cohering are, not an idea of color 
and an idea of sound, but such entities as Berkeley's mental atti- 
tude apparently directed upon a color and Berkeley's mental atti- 
tude apparently directed upon a sound. If ideas exist and are in- 
ert, they may be held to imply a thinking substance that in some 
figurative sense is active, an entity that is or has what we have 
called a mental attitude. But if it is to be held that Berkeley's 
mental attitude apparently directed upon a color and Berkeley's 
mental attitude apparently directed upon a sound require some 
further entity that is apparently directed upon both of these 
mental attitudes, then the observation that a color can not perceive 
a sound is irrelevant. Even, however, if Berkeley's arguments do 
not all apply when the subject-matter is altered, it may still be 
maintained so far as we have yet seenthat Berkeley's mental 
attitude apparently directed upon a color and Berkeley's mental 
attitude apparently directed upon a sound are each apparent 
objects for the same entity, that their coherence is due to the fact 
that "one and the same self" is aware of them both. 

There exist, let us agree, certain mental attitudes which are 
apparently directed upon other mental attitudes. For just as 
Descartes' mental attitude apparently directed upon the stove is 
real, so, let us say, there is a real mental attitude of yours that is 
apparently directed upon Descartes' mental attitude. There like- 
wise exist, let us say, certain mental attitudes which are apparently 
directed upon mental attitudes of one's own. For just as my pres- 
ent mental attitude is real that is apparently directed upon the 
mental attitude inhering in one of Descartes' mind-nerve-fibres as 
he paced up and down his stove-heated room, so my present men- 
tal attitude is real that is apparently directed upon a mental atti- 
tude I had last night when I was looking at the moon. To go one 
step further, there are, let us say, certain mental attitudes which 

202 



are apparently directed upon themselves. For it is such a mental 
attitude that one of my present mind-nerve-fibres has when I now 
say: "Let me think about the mental attitude which inheres in 
the mind-nerve-fibre of mine that is now thinking." 

Your mental attitude apparently directed upon a mental atti- 
tude of Descartes' is, we hold, real; my mental attitude apparently 
directed upon a mental attitude that I had last night real; my 
mental attitude apparently directed upon itself real. We are not 
at this point asserting that these mental attitudes which we hold to 
be real do in fact reach to the entities that seem to be presented 
to them. We are not at this point asserting, that is to say, that 
these mental attitudes have apparent objects which are their real 
objects. Nor are we asserting that their apparent objects are per- 
cepts with respect to them. A mental attitude that Descartes had 
may be neither a sense datum nor a percept with respect to the 
mental attitude of yours that is apparently directed upon it. 20 And 
my present mental attitude may not be a percept with respect to 
itself,with respect, that is to say, to the mental attitude of mine 
that is apparently directed upon itself. If the sort of perceiving 
called "introspecting" exists, it would seem to involve a relation 
between a slightly later mind-nerve-fibre which introspects and a 
slightly earlier mind-nerve-fibre within the same body which is 
introspected. Assuming, however, that it is not presented as an 
instance of introspecting as thus described, your alleged mental 
attitude, presented as apparently directed upon a mental attitude 
of Descartes', is, we hold, real. Aiid assuming that it likewise is not 
presented as an instance of introspecting as thus described, my 
mental attitude, presented as apparently directed upon itself, is 
also real. 

Thus Descartes' mental attitude apparently directed upon the 
stove may have itself or another mental attitude apparently di- 
rected upon it. And Descartes' mental attitude apparently di- 
rected upon Queen Christina may have itself or another mental 
attitude apparently directed upon it. But in so far as the mental 
attitude apparently directed upon the stove is apparently directed 
upoA itself, and the mental attitude apparently directed upon 
Queen Christina apparently directed upon *-self, what we seem 
to have before us are separated mental attitudes which need not 
be parts of one person. We are presented with various mental 

203 



attitudes of Descartes' each aware of itself; not with various 
mental attitudes of Descartes' each belonging to his self. 

What, then, about some one persisting entity that has each 
of Descartes' mental attitudes as its apparent object? Is the 
coherence between Descartes' mental attitude apparently directed 
upon the stove and Descartes' mental attitude apparently directed 
upon Queen Christina a coherence that points back to some per- 
sisting entity to be called Descartes' "self," some persisting entity 
that is aware of both of these mental attitudes? There is, to be 
sure, the composite substance which we call Descartes' "person." 
But Descartes' person, we find, has the mind-nerve-fibre with a 
mental attitude apparently directed upon the stove and the mind- 
nerve-fibre with a mental attitude apparently directed upon Queen 
Christina, not as its objects, but as its parts. Descartes' person, 
we have seen, had a mental attitude apparently directed upon 
man, God and the universe in the sense that such a mental atti- 
tude inhered in a mind-nerve-fibre which was one of its parts. 21 
But, whereas Descartes' mental attitude apparently directed upon 
the stove and his mental attitude apparently directed upon Queen 
Christina may have been apparent objects for themselves or for 
other mental attitudes of his, they were not, let us agree, apparent 
objects for his enduring person taken as a whole. We say, to be 
sure, that Descartes "had" various mental attitudes or that vari- 
ous mental attitudes were "his." But the system which we call 
"Descartes' person" does not possess mental attitudes except in 
the sense in which a French flag possesses the blueness which in- 
heres in one of its parts. 22 And Descartes' person taken as a whole 
was not aware of mental attitudes; although our language, in 
calling mental attitudes "his/* may seem to assert the existence 
of a "he" that is outside his attitudes. 23 

It is not the person taken as a whole which is aware of each 
of Descartes' mental attitudes. There is no entity outside Des- 
cartes' person, no entity, at any rate, which endures while his 
person endures, which either possesses, or is aware of, these men- 
tal attitudes. And there is likewise no transcendental Ego, pre- 
sented as having no date at all, which possesses or is aware of them. 
"No knowledge can take place in us," says Kant, 24 "no conjunc- 
tion or unity of one kind of knowledge with another, without 
that unity of consciousness which precedes all data of intuition." 

204 



But an empirical Ego, presented as an entity which is hot the 
person, but presented as an entity which persists unchanged dur- 
ing the life of the person, is, we find, presented as generally dis- 
credited and is unreal. And a transcendental Ego, presented as 
having no date, is presented with a timelessness that marks it out 
as unreal in our sense of "reality." Except in the sense in which 
every object implies a subject, the coherence exhibited by mental 
attitudes inhering in parts of one person does not point to an 
entity outside these mental attitudes taken collectively. This 
coherence may, to be sure, be called a "unity of consciousness" 
or a "unity of apperception/* But if neither the person taken as 
a whole nor any entity outside the person, if neither an empirical 
Ego nor a transcendental Ego, is definitely aware of each of the 
mental attitudes inhering in a part of the person, then it is diffi- 
cult to see what the phrase "unity of apperception" adds to the 
phrase: "special type of coherence." 

There is one sense in which "unity of apperception" may 
be used in which this phrase seems to represent an entity other 
than that represented by our phrase: "special type of coherence." 
There were mental attitudes of Descartes' which had other mental 
attitudes of his apparently directed upon them. Just as the various 
mental attitudes inhering in parts of Descartes' person may be 
said to have cohered in a system, so the mental attitudes of his 
which had other attitudes of his directed upon them may be 
said to have cohered in a more limited system of their own. 
But if the one system is more limited than the other, if not every 
mental attitude of Descartes' had another mental attitude of his 
apparently directed upon it, then the coherence of the more lim- 
ited system is riot the coherence of the more inclusive system. 
Each mental attitude of Descartes' that was introspected, or that 
had some other mental attitude of his directed upon it, has the 
characteristic of having been introspected or the characteristic 
of having had some other mental attitude of his directed upon it. 
And in using the term "unity of apperception/* we may be refer- 
ring to the characteristic which these introspected mental atti- 
tudes had in common. There were, however, real mental attitudes 
of Descartes' which were not introspected by him. There were, let 
us agree, real mental attitudes, inhering in parts of the system that 
we call Descartes' person, upon which no other mental attitudes of 

205 



his were definitely directed. It is as qualities of parts of a more 
inclusive system that these non-introspected mental attitudes co- 
here; as qualities of parts of the person, not as qualities of parts of 
a system from which non-introspected mental attitudes are ex- 
cluded. Their coherence is not the sort of unity of apperception 
that would imply that each cohering mental attitude has been 
introspected. Theirs is a special type of coherence exhibited by 
various mental attitudes of Descartes', some of which may have 
been introspected and some of which were not introspected. It is 
this special type of coherence exhibited by mental attitudes in- 
hering in parts of a person that we seek to describe in other 
terms, in terms that are more informative. 

What we call a special type of coherence is not commensurate 
with introspectedness. But is it not commensurate with intro- 
spectability? The mental attitude which I had last night when I 
was looking at the moon inheres in a part of my person even 
though I did not introspect it. But does it not inhere in a part 
of my person in that I might have introspected it? Where diffi- 
culty arises is in distinguishing non-introspected mental attitudes 
that might have been introspected from non-introspected mental 
attitudes that could not have been introspected. If the term "in- 
trospecting" represents the sort of perceiving which involves a 
relation between a slightly earlier mind-nerve-fibre that is intro- 
spected and a slightly later mind-nerve-fibre that introspects, 25 
then no mental attitude of mine today and no future mental atti- 
tude of mine can introspect the mental attitude which I failed 
to introspect last night. I may assert that the mental attitude 
which I failed to introspect last night might have been introspected 
by a mental attitude occurring slightly later last night. But such 
an assertion adds nothing to the assertion that the mental atti- 
tude which I failed to introspect inheres in a part of my person 
and coheres with other mental attitudes of mine. For the belief 
in such a coherence is the only basis I have for the assertion that 
last night's mental attitude might have been introspected. 

Let us then turn from the introspecting, which, if it exists, is 
a sort of perceiving, to the mental attitude which has another 
mental attitude, not necessarily as its percept, but in any case as 
its apparent object. It may be suggested that last night's mental 
attitude inhered in a part of my person in that a present mental 



attitude of mine may apparently be directed upon it. But Des- 
cartes' mental attitude was not yours, even though your present 
mental attitude is apparently directed upon that attitude of Des- 
cartes.' Last night's mental attitude inhered in a part of my 
person, it would seem, not in that my present mental attitude is 
apparently directed upon it, but in that my present mental atti- 
tude asserts it to have been mine. The proposition which we are 
to consider comes thus to be this: "Two mental attitudes cohere 
with what we have called a 'special type of coherence' when one 
of these mental attitudes believes and asserts that they so cohere." 
But I am not describing coherence in other terms when I say 
that two mental attitudes cohere when one of them asserts that 
they cohere. Furthermore, it would seem that my present mental 
attitude and last night's mental attitude may not have inhered 
in parts of the same person even though my present mental 
attitude asserts that they did. If my mind is deranged, I may 
believe myself to be Napoleon, may assert that his mental atti- 
tude at Waterloo inhered in a pan of my person. And even if my 
mind is not deranged, I may seem to remember, may seem to have 
as an apparent object, some mental attitude which I never had. 
Two mental attitudes cohere with what we have called a special 
type of coherence, two mental attitudes inhere in parts of the 
same person, not, let us say, whenever one of these mental atti- 
tudes asserts that they cohere, but whenever their alleged coher- 
ence is presented as not generally discredited and is real. To be 
sure, the statement: "Two mental attitudes cohere when their 
alleged coherence is presented as not generally discredited and is 
real" is no more an explanation of "coherence" than is the state- 
ment: "Two mental attitudes cohere when one of them believes 
and asserts that they cohere." But perhaps our search for some 
further general description of what we call a "special type of 
coherence" can fail; and our term "special type of coherence" 
nevertheless be understood. Taken by itself, the proposition: 
"Two mental attitudes cohere when one of them believes and 
asserts that they cohere" fails to explain "coherence." But, in 
addition, it is false. Taken by itself, the proposition: "Two men- 
tal attitudes cohere when their alleged coherence is presented 
as not generally discredited and is real" likewise fails to explain 
"coherence." But it is, we hold, true. And it will lead us to point 

207 



to individual situations serving to distinguish the coherent from 
the incoherent. 

Let us suppose that Napoleon had certain mental attitudes at 
the battle of Waterloo and that a patient at St. Elizabeth's in 
Washington asserts that these attitudes were his. His statement 
asserting the coherence of mental attitudes at Waterloo with men- 
tal attitudes at Washington seems to be generally understood. But 
the alleged coherence that the seems to be asserting is presented 
as generally discredited and is therefore unreal. I may likewise 
assert that a mental attitude last night when I was looking at the 
moon coheres with my present mental attitudes. Again the state- 
ment asserting coherence seems to be generally understood. And 
in this instance the alleged coherence that is asserted is not pre- 
sented as generally discredited and is real. When the body has 
not changed fundamentally, testimony that there is coherence, 
coming from a mental attitude inhering in a part of that body, 
seems generally, though not always, to meet with general accept- 
ance. And so there are many instances in which, when coherence 
has been asserted between some earlier mental attitude and some 
later mental attitude, and when the speaker's body has undergone 
no fundamental change, that alleged coherence is not presented 
as generally discredited and is real. As we have explained "exist- 
ence" and "reality/' general credence or discredence is a consid- 
eration of greater relevance than the speaker's beliefs. The Spar- 
row may assert, and may seem to believe, that he never had an 
intention to kill Cock Robin. But if coherence between such an 
intention and a later mental attitude of the Sparrow's is not 
presented as generally discredited, such an alleged coherence may 
very well be real. 

Your mental attitude does not cohere with a mental attitude 
of Descartes' even though you seem to be aware of that mental 
attitude of Descartes'. The mental attitude of the patient at St. 
Elizabeth's does not cohere with Napoleon's mental attitude at 
Waterloo even though the patient at St. Elizabeth's seems to be 
aware of Napoleon at Waterloo. A contemporary of mine may 
be aware of what happened to some one at a distant place or in 
a bygone era. And if we find no normal channel through which 
his knowledge may have been acquired, we may be led to believe 
in telepathy or in some impulse, delayed in transmission, that 

208 



originated in some past mental attitude and is now affecting my 
contemporary. But such puzzling phenomena as may be due to 
telepathy do not, I find, lead to the general belief that two men- 
tal attitudes, distant from one another, cohere in parts of the 
same person. And if a contemporary of mine, without having 
studied Greek history or the Greek language, should think and 
speak as Plato did, this likewise, we hold, would not lead to the 
general belief that his mental attitudes and Plato's cohere in parts 
of one person, or to the belief that Plato's person has a phase 
existing now. Not only would the method of transmission not 
be resolved by the mere assertion of coherence, but coherence, we 
find, when it is alleged to hold between mental attitudes not in 
the same body, is presented as generally discredited and is unreal. 
There is no coherence of the special type which we have been 
discussing where there is the sort of discontinuity that there is 
between Descartes 1 body and yours or between Plato's body and 
the entities that exist today. In this sense there is no transmigra- 
tion of souls and no person that endures subsequent to the dis- 
integration of its body. 

Is there then no force in the classic arguments for the immor- 
tality of the soul? "The compound or composite may be supposed 
to be naturally capable of being dissolved in like manner as of 
being compounded; but that which is uncompounded," we read 
in the Phaedo** must be indissoluble if anything is indissoluble." 
To what extent, however, is a mind-nerve-fibre uncompounded 
or its mental attitude uncompounded, a person uncompounded 
or its personality uncompounded? Both the mind-nerve-fibre and 
the composite substance which we call a "person" have extension. 
Both are divisible in the sense in which a bolt of blue cloth is 
divisible. 'Mental attitude' and 'personality' are, to be sure, quali- 
ties. And just as it may be held that blue is a primary color, but 
purple not, so it may be held that 'mental attitude' is indivisible 
in the sense of not being analyzable into other qualities. But just 
as the blueness of a bolt of cloth is divisible in the sense that the 
bolt of cloth in which it inheres is divisible, so mental attitudes 
and personalities are divisible in the sense that the extended 
substances in which they inhere are divisible. 27 It may, to be sure, 
be held that mental attitudes and personalities, mind-nerve-fibres 
and persons, are not the only entities to be considered. Mind- 

209 



nerve-fibres with their mental attitudes have dates; persons with 
their personalities have dates. There is however, it may be held, 
some soul or self or ego which has no date. And what has no 
date, it may be argued, can not be subject to so temporal a hap- 
pening as perishing. As we have explained "existence," however, 
there is no soul which has no date. A transcendental Ego which is 
presented as having no date is unreal. 28 And any soul or self 
which is presented as having no date is unreal. There are real 
mind-nerve-fibres and real mental attitudes, real persons and real 
personalities. And each of them has a final phase which is tem- 
poral. There is no entity which has no date, hence no entity 
which, in addition to having no date, is neither a mind-nerve-fibre 
nor a mental attitude, neither a person nor a personality. 

It will be remembered that the system which we call "Des- 
cartes' person" is one of several systems within systems, and that 
what we call a "special type of coherence" is the coherence ex- 
hibited by mental attitudes inhering in parts of the same person. 29 
There are systems, however, which are not persons. And the 
mental attitudes inhering in parts of a system that is not a person 
may exhibit a coherence which is not an instance of what we have 
called a "special type of coherence." There is "no person that en- 
dures subsequent to the disintegration of its body." 80 And no en- 
tity is real that is presented as having no date. Provided, however, 
that it is not presented as timeless and not presented as a person, 
there may, so far as we have yet seen, be some system of thinking 
substances which does not perish with the disintegration of a body 
with which it has been associated. Provided that it is not presented 
as timeless and not presented as a person, such a system, so far as 
we have yet seen, may in some sense be immortal, and may be 
composed of thinking substances exhibiting some sort of coher- 
ence. 

There can be no causal relation, it may be held, between two 
entities one of which is thinking and the other unthinking. 81 But 
mental attitudes do exist. They point back to earlier entities 
which caused them; and they bring about subsequent entities 
which are their effects. From such premises the alleged conclusion 
may be drawn that mental attitudes point back only to other 
mental attitudes which are their causes and issue only into other 
mental attitudes which are their effects. Thus we are presented 

210 



with an alleged causal chain of mental attitudes, the last of which 
may be subsequent to the disintegration of a given body and the 
first of which may have antedated that body. 82 We are presented 
with a chain of thinking substances that constitutes a system, a 
chain of thinking substances which is not a person, but which 
may be held to exhibit some coherence, though not the special 
type of coherence which we have examined. 

It is, to be sure, not true that there can be no causal relation 
between thinking entities and unthinking entities. 83 And if the 
chain of thinking substances that is presented to us is alleged to 
have earlier and earlier phases without any beginning, and later 
and later phases without any end, then this chain or system is 
presented with so indefinite a date that it is marked out as unreal. 
For a subsistent is unreal, we have said, 8 * "if it appears with the 
characteristic of having only a very indefinite date with respect 
to an entity that appears real." The argument recounted in the 
preceding paragraph does not imply that a chain of successive 
mental attitudes must be real. And such a chain presented as ever- 
lasting, or presented as so enduring that it is presented as having 
only a very indefinite date, can not be real. Presented however 
as having a date that is not too indefinite, presented nevertheless 
as enduring subsequent to the disintegration of some body with 
which it has been associated, such a chain of successive mental 
attitudes may be real. The system, in which these mental attitudes, 
taken together, inhere, is one of the systems that "may in some 
sense be immortal," is one of the systems that "may be composed 
of thinking substances exhibiting some sort of coherence." 85 

Persons are not the only systems of thinking substances ex- 
hibiting some sort of coherence. The coherence characteristic of 
a person is not identical with the coherence exhibited by a system 
of thinking substances which has parts or phases in different 
bodies. And the coherence characteristic of a person may not be 
identical with the coherence exhibited by a system of thinking 
substances composed of all the thinking substances within my 
body. "There are, we are told, divided personalities," 86 that is to 
say, two or more persons within one body. It may be that various 
cells scattered through my body have mental qualities of some 
sort and yet are not parts of my person. And it may be that bac- 
teria for whom my body is host, or that leucocytes within my 

211 



blood-stream, have some rudimentary form of mental life. Should 
such alleged thinking substances be real, or should there be both a 
Dr. Jekyll and a Mr. Hyde within my body, the composite sub- 
stance composed of all the thinking substances within my body 
might well have phases more extended than that composite sub- 
stance which I call my "person." Each phase of the composite 
substance composed of all the thinking substances within my 
body might, that is to say, be co-extensive with my body, each 
phase of my person limited to my cortex. 37 Nevertheless there is 
a substance from which none of the thinking substances within 
my body are excluded. Such a substance, even though it is not 
a person, may be called a "system." Such a system, even though it 
does not exhibit a coherence of the special type that a person 
exhibits, may be said to be held together in some way, may be 
said to exhibit a coherence of some sort. 

There are thinking substances which are parts of my person, 
some of which may be introspected and some of which are not 
introspected. There are, let us agree, substances within my body 
which have no mental attitudes. And there may be substances 
within my body which have mental attitudes, but which are not 
parts of my person. If to be conscious is to be thinking, to have 
mental attitudes, then it is only those substances within my body 
which have 720 mental attitudes that, literally speaking, constitute 
my "unconscious." If, on the other hand, we extend the denota- 
tion of "unconscious" to include whatever is not introspected, 
then the mental attitude of mine which I failed to introspect 
last night, the mental attitude of which I now seem to be aware 
and which I now claim coheres with other mental attitudes of 
mine, inheres in a part of my unconscious. The word "uncon- 
scious," it would appear, is used in various senses. Some instances 
of this word may refer to mental attitudes which inhere in parts 
of my body, but not in parts of my person. And some instances 
may refer to substances which shift, so to speak, from one group 
to another. It may be held, for example, that there are substances 
within my body that have successive phases; and it may be held 
that, witih respect to a substance of this sort, there may be an 
earlier phase which has a mental attitude and a later phase which 
does not, or an earlier phase which thinks and inheres in a part 
of my person and a later phase which thinks but does not inhere 

212 



in a part of my person. With such facts assumed, it may be the 
unthinking phase, of what in some other phase thinks, that is said 
to be a part of the unconscious. Or with such facts assumed, the 
entity said to be a part of the unconscious may be the phase, not 
a part of my person, of what in some other phase is a part of my 
person. 

Let us agree that there are some substances within my body 
with respect to which thinking phases alternate with unthinking 
phases. Let us further agree that there are some substances whose 
phases that are parts of my person alternate with phases that are 
not parts of my person. Finally, let us agree that there may be 
phases of my body when there are no phases of my person. Let 
us agree, that is to say, that my person may be discontinuous, 
that each of the nerve-fibres, which today constitute my person, 
may last night have lacked mental attitudes exhibiting what we 
call a "special type of coherence." It may be pointed out that 
criminal courts seem to find relevant the defense that, when a 
given crime was committed, the accused was not "himself." 38 
And last night when I was asleep, whereas there were thinking 
substances within my body, it seems plausible to hold that none 
of them had mental attitudes exhibiting a coherence of the 
special type that would have determined them to inhere in parts 
of my person. In short, a person alleged to be discontinuous need 
not be presented as generally discredited; and some allegedly 
discontinuous person, not presented as generally discredited, is, I 
find, real. 39 

Thus the thinking substances which have phases that are parts 
of my person bear some resemblance, we may say, to a group of 
bulbs on an instrument board. Just at it may be one set of these 
bulbs that is now shining and now another set, so my person may 
now have certain nerve-fibres as its parts and now others. And just 
as occasionally all of the lights on an instrument board may be 
out, so my person may be discontinuous. Just, that is to say, as 
there may be no lights shining, so there may on occasion be no 
phase of my person. Even, however, if my person is discontinuous, 
there is a sense in which it may be said to be "one." Even if many 
phases may be discriminated within it, phases between which 
entities that are not parts of my person intervene, nevertheless 
my person need not be presented as a collection of units rather 

213 



than as itself a unit. A net may be said to be one even though 
there are interstices between the strands that compose it. And the 
light from a light-house may be said to have shone through the 
night, although intermittently. 40 

The system of thinking substances that we call my "person" is, 
we hold, discontinuous. But what constitutes an interruption of 
my person may not constitute an interruption of some other sys- 
tem of thinking substances exhibiting some other type of co- 
herence. If the leucocytes within my blood-stream have some 
rudimentary form of mental life, 41 if they are parts of a composite 
substance composed of all the thinking substances within my 
body, then, whereas my person was interrupted last night, some 
more inclusive system of thinking substances may not have been. 
Moreover, there may be intermediate systems of thinking sub- 
stances, systems more inclusive than my person but less inclusive 
than that which is composed of all the thinking substances within 
my body. We would, to be sure, be hard put to describe the 
coherence that characterizes each system in such a series of systems 
within systems. And we would be hard put to determine with 
which system discontinuity ends and with which more inclusive 
system continuity begins. The boundaries between one system 
and another seem too fluid to permit us to describe with accuracy 
the type of coherence that characterizes any one of them. The 
system that we call my person has however been described with a 
fair degree of definiteness; and so has the system that we call the 
substance composed of all the thinking substances within my 
body. 

Yet whatever systems are distinguished and placed before us, 
it is still a problem to determine in which systems a given 
mental attitude is to be included and from which systems it is 
to be excluded. Does a given mental attitude inhere in a part 
of my person; or does it not? Does it exhibit, or fail to exhibit, a 
coherence of the sort that characterizes the particular system in 
which it may be alleged to be included? A mental attitude of 
Napoleon's at Waterloo and a mental attitude of a patient at 
St. Elizabeth's in Washington may be alleged to exhibit the type 
of coherence that would determine them to inhere in parts of 
the same person. But if these mental attitudes, so presented, are 
presented as generally discredited, then they do not have a co- 

214 



herence of the type ascribed to them. 42 Similarly with mental 
attitudes alleged to inhere in leucocytes within my blood-stream. 
If these leucocytes are presented as generally believed to have no 
mental attitudes at all, if, consequently, any type of coherence 
exemplified by mental attitudes is presented as generally believed 
not to obtain between leucocytes and other thinking substances, 
then these leucocytes do not think; and no coherence of any 
type obtains between them and substances within iny body that 
really think. In short, for any special type of coherence to charac- 
terize a given mental attitude, that mental attitude, presented as 
exhibiting a coherence of that type, must be presented as not 
generally discredited. Just as an entity, alleged to have a mental 
attitude, really has that mental attitude only if, presented as 
having it, it is not presented as generally discredited, so a mental 
attitude, alleged to be included in a particular system, really is 
included in that system only if, presented as being included in 
that system, it is not presented as generally discredited. 

"There are behlviorists," we have said, 48 "who find that, when they 
attempt to abstract thinking, mental attitude, mental activity, from 
Descartes' mind-brain or mind-nerve-fibre or total behavior, there is 
an irruption of disbelief similar to that which breaks in upon us 
when we attempt to abstract from this rectangular desk its alleged 
roundness." A Descartes who not only behaves but also thinks is pre- 
sented as seemingly disbelieved by some behaviorists, but not as 
generally disbelieved. A Descartes who not only behaves but also 
thinks is not presented as generally discredited and is, we have 
found, real. Similarly with my dog Fido presented as having with- 
in his body substances with mental attitudes. Mental attitudes 
attributed to substances within Fido's body and alleged to be 
apparently directed upon man, God and the universe are, to be 
sure, presented as generally discredited; and so are alleged intro- 
specting mental attitudes of Fido's. But alleged mental attitudes 
of Fido's apparently directed upon Kitty or apparently directed 
upon dog biscuits are not. Aside from Descartes and a few mod- 
erns, everyone, says Fechner, 44 "takes the nightingale singing in 
the tree and the lion roaring in the desert to be something more 
than acoustic machines." Thus various mental attitudes, alleged 
to inhere in substances that are parts of animals, seem to be 
presented as not generally discredited. Various mental attitudes, 

215 



alleged to inhere in substances that are parts of animals, not only 
may be listed as real, but, let us assume, are listed as real. 

Let us then hold that not only was Descartes' mental attitude ap- 
parently directed upon man, God and the universe real, but also 
Fido's mental attitude apparently directed upon Kitty. And let us 
hold that not only was Descartes' mental attitude apparently di- 
rected upon Queen Christina real, but also the mental attitude 
alleged to inhere in one of the leucocytes within my blood-stream. 
In holding, however, that various animals have mental attitudes, 
we are not precluded from holding that mental attitudes of a 
certain type are restricted to men. "Thinking" and "having a 
mental attitude" are, as we use these words, generic terms. And 
just as a green substance may be pea-green or emerald green, so 
a thinking substance may be conceiving or introspecting or feel- 
ing. It may be that none but men conceive, that none but men 
introspect. But whereas a mental attitude apparently directed 
towards man, God and the universe, which Fido is alleged to have, 
is, I find, presented as generally discredited and is unreal, never- 
theless a mental attitude that is an instance of fearing, which some 
non-human animal is alleged to have is, I find, not presented as 
generally discredited and is real. 

There are behaviorists, let us repeat, who disbelieve in the 
mental attitude which is alleged to inhere in one of Descartes' 
mind-nerve-fibres. But the alleged mental attitude of Descartes' 
which we finally considered was not presented as generally dis- 
credited and was, we found, real. There are, as Fechner says, 
"Descartes and a few moderns" who disbelieve in the mental 
attitude which is alleged to inhere in some part of Fido's body or 
in a leucocyte's. But some of these alleged mental attitudes are 
likewise, we find, not presented as generally discredited, and are 
likewise, we find, real. When, however, we turn to the thinking 
substance which is alleged to be embodied in, or to animate, a 
rolling ball or the sun or wind, we find disbelief more general. 
It is not only certain behaviorists, but most of us, who find that 
when we attempt to abstract its alleged mental attitude from a 
rolling ball "there is an irruption of disbelief similar to that 
which breaks in upon us when we attempt to abstract from this 
rectangular desk its alleged roundness/' 45 The alleged mental 
attitude which we are considering, the mental attitude which is 

216 



alleged to inhere in inorganic matter, is, let us say, presented 
as generally discredited. And any mental attitude which is alleged 
to inhere in inorganic matter is, let us say, unreal. 

The world of real entities, as we have explained "reality," 
includes mental attitudes inhering in substances to be found 
within the bodies of animals, but no mental attitudes to be found 
in inorganic matter. What shall we say, however, with respect to 
plants? Plants live; they reproduce themselves; and, like animals, 
they grow through intussusception. Shall we say that, just as con- 
ceiving, introspecting and feeling are species of mental attitudes, 
so there is a species of mental attitude that is indistinguishable 
from life, from reproduction and from growth through intussus- 
ception? Or shall we say that, despite the fact that mental atti- 
tudes are of various species, there is no species of mental attitude 
that is implied merely by life, by reproduction, and by growth 
through intussusception? Aristotle, writers of the Renaissance, 
Leibniz and others put before us such terms as "psyche," "anima," 
"soul," "entelechy," "monad" terms which frequently seem to 
represent Vital principle* as well as 'mental attitude/ And if 
our term "mental attitude" had a similar meaning, if our term 
"mental attitude" were to represent a vital principle manifested 
wherever there is life, there would of course be some species of 
mental attitude, instances of which would be qualities of living 
plants. 

As we use "mental attitude," however, "mental attitude" and 
"vital principle" are not synonymous. "We may pass from a 
consideration of Descartes' total behavior," we have said, 46 "to a 
consideration of his knitted brow or distant stare." "Or," we have 
said, "we may pass to a consideration of his alleged thinking." His 
thinking is distinguishable from his staring; and it is likewise 
distinguishable from his living. There are, to be sure, species of 
mental attitude that are exemplified in qualities inhering in 
mind-nerve-fibres of Descartes', and not exemplified in qualities 
inhering in a leucocyte. But those qualities inhering in a leuco- 
cyte which we call "mental attitudes" are distinguishable from 
the leucocyte's quality of being alive or from the leucocyte's vital 
principle; just as the quality that we call "Descartes' mental atti- 
tude" is distinguishable from the quality of being alive that 
accompanies it. As we use "mental attitude," a plant's alleged 

217 



mental attitude is not presented as identical with the plant's 
quality of being alive. If our term "a plant's mental attitude" 
represents anything, it represents something comparable to an 
instance of feeling rather than something implied by the fact 
that the plant lives, reproduces, and grows through intussuscep- 
tion. 

What then shall we say with respect to the existence or non- 
existence of a mental attitude, comparable to a feeling, that a 
plant may be alleged to have? The subsistent that I seem to be 
considering is presented as not a feeling, but as comparable to a 
feeling, as mental life of a rudimentary form, but as mental life 
that is not of any of the forms with which I am familiar. This 
alleged mental attitude appears, I find, in the undetailed manner 
in which 'everything* appears. 47 And it likewise appears with the 
characteristic of appearing in a detailed manner to no one. It is, 
in short, one of those subsistents, "explicitly or implicitly appear- 
ing as definite appearances for no one," which are unreal. 48 Thus 
the subsistent which I seem to be considering is unreal; and so 
are other alleged thinking plants. As we have explained "exist- 
ence" and "reality/' plants, consequently, do not think, do not 
have mental attitudes. 

But if the transition from one form of life to another is gradual, 
how can we draw a line so that on one side there will be animals 
having mental attitudes of various types and on the other side 
plants having no mental attitudes at all? There are, we must 
agree, borderline cases; just as there are borderline cases between 
a tent and a house, between work and play, between neighboring 
colors in a spectrum. Such cases, however, do not force us to 
abandon all 'distinctions, do not lead us to say that whatever is a 
tent is a house and that whatever is a house is a tent. It may 
depend upon the system of classification used whether some 
borderline organism is a plant or an animal. Hence the denota- 
tion, and even the meaning, of the term "plant" will vary accord- 
ing as one system of classification is used or another. And to the 
extent to which the meaning of the term "plant" is unclear, so is 
the meaning of the proposition in which it is asserted that plants 
do not think. Without a drawing of lines between plants on the 
one side and animals on the other, the assertion that plants do 
not think is not, we must admit, completely definite. It does not 

218 



follow, however, that the attempt to distinguish between plants 
and animals must be abandoned altogether, or the attempt to 
distinguish between organisms which may think and organisms 
which do not. 

It still may be asked, however, why the distinction between 
organisms which may think, on the one hand, and organisms 
which do not, an the other, coincides with the distinction be- 
tween animals and plants. The term "plant" may be assigned 
various meanings in that the line between plants and animals may 
be drawn at one point or at another. Yet there are not fewer organ- 
isms which think, it may be said, when "plant" has a more exten- 
sive denotation; nor are there more organisms which think, when 
''plant" has a narrower denotation. Now, we must agree that the 
proposition that only animals think is true only when "animal" 
and "plant" each have meanings which fall within a narrow 
range. Yet, within such a range of meanings, our terminology 
does seem to be a factor in determining whether or not a given 
borderline organism may have a mental attitude. Thinking exists 
only in such organisms as are not presented as generally dis- 
credited when presented as thinking organisms. And, with respect 
to certain borderline organisms, I find' that mental attitudes 
attributed to them tend to be presented as generally discredited 
when these organisms are called "plants," whereas certain mental 
attitudes attributed to these borderline organisms are not pre- 
sented as generally discredited when these organisms are called 
"animals." 

We may grade the mental attitudes which are real, may present 
to ourselves an ordered series of mental attitudes, each mental 
attitude being of a different type. Thus we may have as an ap- 
parent object a series of mental attitudes, ordered in such a way 
that near one end of the series there is some instance of feeling 
inhering in a simple animal, near the other end an instance of 
conceiving inhering in some mind-nerve-fibre of a man. Such a 
series of mental attitudes, however, is not to be confused with a 
series of systems within systems. The series of mental attitudes 
which has as one of its initial members a feeling, as a subsequent 
member an instance of perceiving, and as a still later member an 
instance of conceiving, is not to be confused with a series of 
systems of mental attitudes which has as an earlier member a 

219 



substance including only those of my mind-nerve-fibres which 
have mental attitudes apparently directed upon philosophical 
subjects, as a later member the more inclusive substance which 
we call my "person," and as a still later member the substance 
including all parts of my body which have any mental attitudes 
at all. The one series may be alleged to have as a member, subse- 
quent to the instance of conceiving that inheres in some mind- 
nerve-fibre of a man, an instance of some allegedly higher type 
of mental life inhering in some part of what is said to be an angel. 
The other series may be alleged to have as a member, subsequent 
to the substance including all thinking substances within my 
body, a substance which includes all thinking substances which 
are in or on the earth. But the coherence exhibited by mental 
attitudes inhering in parts of the composite substance which 
includes all thinking substances within my body is not itself an 
instance of conceiving. And the coherence exhibited by mental 
attitudes inhering in parts of the composite substance which in- 
cludes all thinking substances on the earth is not itself an in- 
stance of some allegedly higher type of mental life. 

There are in Fechner's writings some curious and perhaps edify- 
ing statements allegedly referring to the angel of the earth and to a 
heaven "filled with hosts of angels instead of with a system of dead 
bowling balls/' 49 But if the substance composed of all the think- 
ing substances on earth is to be called an "angel/* it is an angel 
which feels, perceives and conceives only in so far as its parts 
feel, perceive and conceive; and the coherence exhibited by the 
mental attitudes inhering in its parts is a coherence quite differ- 
ent from that exhibited by mental attitudes inhering in parts of 
my person. It is a coherence much closer to that which charac- 
terizes the composite substance composed of all thinking sub- 
stances within my body than it is to the coherence which charac- 
terizes my person. 

There are mental attitudes which vary in type and systems of 
mental attitudes which vary in inclusiveness. We may group to- 
gether mental attitudes characteristic of a certain epoch and may 
speak of the Romantic mind or of the spirit of Romanticism. But 
the coherence that relates mental attitudes of Schelling and 
mental attitudes of Schleiermacher is not the coherence that re- 
lates mental attitudes inhering in parts of the same person. We 

220 



may agree that the mental attitudes of one person are affected by 
the mental attitudes of those with whom he is associated. But no 
society, no corporation and no State, has a mental attitude of a 
special type which is coordinate with feeling, with perceiving and 
with conceiving. And no society, no corporation and no State, is 
characterized by a coherence of the type that we have found char- 
acterizing a person. 



Summary 

Is our doctrine interactionism or parallelism? The position 
taken is a form of interactionism in that mental attitudes, quali- 
ties of nerve-fibers, are held to affect, and to be affected by, sub- 
stances in the environment. But this is not inconsistent with 
certain doctrines that might be called parallelist. There is a) con- 
comitant variation between the series of mental attitudes and the 
series of non-mental characteristics of the nerve-fiber in which 
these mental attitudes inhere, b) correspondence between a series 
of mental attitudes and a series of external stimuli, but c) no 
parallelism of the sort Spinoza is often held to urge, i.e., no 
parallelism between mental content and objects referred to by 
that content. 

Mental attitudes inhere in mind-nerve-fibers. A systematic se- 
ries of mind-nerve-fibers constitutes a person. What we call "per- 
sonality" inheres in a person just as a mental attitude inheres 
in a mind-nerve-fiber that is a part of (and "discriminated" from) 
that person. 

"What is it that holds certain mind-nerve-fibers together and 
makes them parts of one person? Various mental attitudes are 
not 'mine* because I claim they are mine or claim to be able to 
introspect them. Various mind-nerve-fibers constitute one person 
when they are generally believed to constitute one person. 

The term 'the unconscious' may refer to mind-nerve-fibers 
which at the moment have no mental attitudes; or it may refer 
to thinking mind-nerve-fibers which are not parts of my person. 

There are various grades of mental attitudes, conceiving, per- 
ceiving and so on down to the sort of mental attitude that char- 
acterizes leucocytes in the blood stream. Not to be confused with 

221 



this classification is the fact that there are systems within systems 
of cohering mental attitudes. The system that we call a person 
is neither the most exclusive nor the most comprehensive. What 
we call a person has definite temporal limits (that is, it is not 
immortal). It is like the set of lit-up bulbs on an instrument 
board, where some bulbs are now lit up and at other times others. 



222 



Chapter VIII 
THINKING, OBJECT AND IDEA 



Two chapters back we directed our attention to certain mental 
attitudes which Descartes had, when, returning from the corona- 
tion of the Emperor, he found himself in a stove-heated room. 
Let us begin this chapter by turning back to the coronation it- 
self. Let us take as our apparent object the ceremonies in which 
the Emperor and the Bishop of Mayence were among the actors 
and at which Descartes was an interested spectator. For our con- 
cern at this point is with the Emperor and Descartes in relation 
to one another; our concern is with certain relational situations 
within which Descartes and the Emperor may be alleged to have 
been terms. 

For one thing, the Emperor may appear as the source of mo- 
tions which flowed to Descartes, as the source of motions which 
affected Descartes' thinking and Descartes' behavior. Just as we 
have found 1 a ledger clerk's mind-nerve-fibre, its non-mental 
qualities and its thinking affected by the ledger from which this 
clerk was transcribing his figures, so Descartes' mind-nerve-fibre, 
its non-mental qualities and its thinking may appear as having 
been affected by the Emperor. With Descartes or his behavior 
or his thinking presented as result or as terminus ad quern, and 
with the Emperor presented as source or as cause, our apparent 
object may be an alleged causal relation flowing from the Emperor 
to Descartes. Our apparent object may be the alleged relational 
situation: Descartes-here-ajffected-by-Emperor-there or Emperor- 
there-affecting-Descartes here. 

Instead, however, of our apparent object being what in some 

223 



sense may be called a causal relation, our apparent object may 
be an alleged relational situation within which one term is char- 
acterized by a response adapted to the other. If I say: "Come to 
dinner," then, as we use the words "adapted to/' my auditor's 
response is, let us say, adapted to the meal that is about to be 
eaten. And if I hurl a ball and the dog at my feet starts after it, his 
response, let us say, is adapted to the ball that is about to fall to the 
ground some distance away. The alleged relational situation that 
we call "A-making-a-response-adapted-to-B" is thus distinguish- 
able from the alleged relational situation that we call "A-affected- 
by-B." For, whereas it is to a future phase of the ball that my 
dog's response may be held to be adapted, it is the ball leaving 
my hand that may be said to bring about my dog's behavior. And 
whereas my words "Come to dinner" may be said to be the stimu- 
lus which leads my auditor to start for the table, it is to the meal 
about to be eaten that his response may be said to be adapted. 

There is then the alleged relational situation Descartes-affected- 
by-the-Emperor and the alleged relational situation which we call 
"Descartes-making-a-response-adapted-to-the-Emperor." These al- 
leged relational situations are presented as distinguishable from 
one another but not as requiring different terms. So far as we 
have yet seen, Descartes' response alleged to be adapted to the 
Emperor need not be presented as having been brought about by 
a neighbor's: "Here comes the Emperor!" It may be presented as 
having been brought about by the Emperor himself. Nor need it 
be one phase of the Emperor that is presented as the cause of 
Descartes' response, a later phase of the Emperor to which Des- 
cartes' response is presented as being adapted. To be sure, it is to 
a future phase of the ball that my dog's response has been pre- 
sented as being adapted, to a meal about to be eaten that my din- 
ner companion's response has been presented as being adapted. 
But if sunlight comes to me in a straight line from where the sun 
was rather than from where the sun now is, then, when I look 
at the sun, my response may be held to be adapted to a past phase 
of the sun rather than to the sun's present phase. As we use the 
expression "adapted to," A's response that is alleged to be adapted 
to B is presented as having a certain direction, as directed, as it 
were, to a certain focus, But that focus need not be presented as 
future rather than as present or past. Descartes' response may 

224 



be presented as adapted to a past phase of the Emperor, may be 
presented as adapted to the very phase of the Emperor that is 
alleged to have brought about his response. In short, Descartes- 
making-a-response-brought-about-by-the-Emperor and Descartes- 
making-a-response-adapted-to-the-Emperor are presented as dis- 
tinguishable relational situations. And yet they are not presented 
as relational situations such that the terms of the one can not 
coincide with the terms of the other. 

There is yet another alleged relational situation to be con- 
sidered, a relational situation within which Descartes and the 
Emperor are again alleged to be terms. It is as a terminus of mo- 
tions flowing towards him that Descartes or his mind-nerve-fibre 
is a term in the alleged relational situation: Descartes-affected-by- 
the-Emperor. And it is as an organism whose behavior has a direc- 
tion that Descartes is a term in the alleged relational situa- 
tion: Descartes-making-a-response-adapted-to-the-Emperor. Des- 
cartes' mind-nerve-fibre however has mental qualities as well as 
non-mental qualities. 2 And as an element within Descartes' total 
behavior there is Descartes' mental attitude. 3 Thus we may di- 
rect our attention to an alleged relational situation into which 
Descartes enters, not by virtue of his total behavior, but by virtue 
of his mental attitude. We may take as our apparent object, 
not the alleged relational situation: Descartes-making-a-response- 
adapted-to-the-Emperor, but rather the alleged relational sit- 
uation : Descartes-having-a-mental-attitude-which-reaches-the-Em- 
peror-as-its-ultimate-object. 

Descartes, let us say, is making a certain response, is character- 
ized by a certain behavior. And when we are presented with the 
alleged relational situation: Descartes-making-a-response-adapted- 
to-the-Emperor, this behavior that characterizes one term is, let us 
say, presented as being directed and adapted to a certain entity. 
Descartes or Descartes' mind-nerve-fibre is likewise alleged to have 
a mental attitude, a mental attitude which we may describe as 
seeming to be directed towards the Emperor. And when we are 
presented with the alleged relational situation: Descartes-having- 
a-mental-attitude-which-reaches-the-Emperor-as-its-ultimate-object, 
this mental attitude is, let us say, presented, not only as seeming 
to be directed towards the Emperor, but as reaching the Emperor 
as its ultimate object. Manifesting a certain behavior and having 

225 



a mental attitude which seems to be directed towards the Em- 
peror, these, in short, are being presented as intrinsic qualities 
by virtue of which Descartes may be related to the Emperor. But 
our apparent object may not be a Descartes that, it is alleged, has 
a quality which permits him to be related to the Emperor; our 
apparent object may rather be a Descartes that, it is alleged, is 
related to the Emperor. Our apparent object may not be Des- 
cartes' intrinsic quality of behaving, but his alleged quality of 
manifesting a behavior that is adapted to the Emperor. Our ap- 
parent object may not be his intrinsic quality of having a mental 
attitude which seems to be directed towards the Emperor, but his 
alleged quality of having a mental attitude which reaches the 
Emperor as its ultimate object. 

There subsists then the quality: Descartes' mental attitude 
reaching the Emperor as its ultimate object. And there subsists 
the relational situation: Descartes-having-a-mental-attitude-which- 
reaches-the-Emperor-as-its-ultimate-object or the-Emperor-reached- 
as-an-ultimate-object-by-Descartes'-thinking. Indeed there are sev- 
eral subsistents, distinguishable subsistents, each of which may 
seem to be represented by our expression: "The Emperor reached 
as an ultimate object by Descartes' thinking." The thinking Des- 
cartes, for example, may be held to have as an immediate object 
an idea of the Emperor, an idea which succeeds in referring be- 
yond itself to the Emperor and which thus makes the Emperor 
the ultimate object of Descartes' thinking. Or the Emperor him- 
self may be held to be, not merely the objective reached by Des- 
cartes' thinking, but also the immediate object of that thinking. 
The expression: "the Emperor reached as an ultimate object by 
Descartes' thinking" may seem to represent an allegedly unmedi- 
ated relational situation within which Descartes appears as think- 
ing subject and the Emperor himself as immediate object. Or 
this expression may seem to represent a relational situation with- 
in which we are presented not merely with an ultimate object 
and a thinking subject, but with an idea of the Emperor as well. 

At this point, however, let us not differentiate between the al- 
leged relational situation that is presented as direct and unmedi- 
ated and the alleged relational situation that is presented as in- 
direct and mediated by an idea. It may be that one of these 
alleged relational situations is real, the other not. But at this 

226 



point we choose to ask whether Emperor-reached-as-ultimate-ob- 
ject-by-Descartes'-thinking is real at all, however it may be 
particularized, whatever more definite characteristics may be 
ascribed to it. Also we present to ourselves the alleged relational 
situation: Descartes-here-affected-by-Emperor-there; and we pre- 
sent to ourselves the alleged relational situation: Descartes-mak- 
ing-a-response-adapted-to-the-Emperor. To whatever extent each 
of these subsistents may be in need of further differentiation, we 
turn first to the question whether or not in some form they are 
real. 

Let us begin by agreeing that Descartes and the Emperor are 
each real. Each appears with the characteristic of being in Frank- 
furt in 1619; neither appears as generally discredited; and each is 
listed as real in the appendix to Chapter Three. Let us likewise 
agree that various intrinsic qualities of Descartes' are real; and 
various intrinsic qualities of the Emperor's. Just as we have agreed 
that Descartes in the stove-heated room was "knitting his brows" 
and "staring past the furniture that was around him/' * so let us 
agree that Descartes in Frankfurt had an air of eagerness and at- 
cention. And just as we have agreed that Descartes in the stove- 
heated room had "a mental attitude which seemed to be directed 
apon man, God and the universe/' 5 so let us agree that Descartes 
in Frankfurt had a mental attitude which seemed to be directed 
towards the Emperor. Whether or not Descartes manifested a be- 
havior that was adapted to the Emperor, he was, let us agree, be- 
having. And his mind-nerve-fibre had a mental attitude which 
seemed to be directed towards the Emperor, whether or not that 
mental attitude reached the Emperor as its ultimate object. 6 

But whereas Descartes and the Emperor were each real, there 
was, it may be said, no real link between them, no real relational 
situation within which Descartes and the Emperor were terms. A 
may be real, and B may be real; but, it may be said, A-r-B is in all 
cases unreal. Hannibal and Napoleon, for example, may be 
acknowledged to be real, but not the similarity that is alleged to 
obtain between them. Socrates and Xanthippe may each be ac- 
knowledged to be real, but not 'being married to/ 

Our primary concern at this point, it is to be pointed out, is 
with such alleged relational situations as Descartes-making-a-re- 
sponse-adapted-to-the-Emperor and Descartes-having-a-mental-at- 

227 



titude-which-reaches-the-Emperor-as-its-ultimate-object. Were we 
at this point to discuss the reality of relations in general, we should 
find ourselves delayed in coming to close quarters with the alleged 
relational situations which in this chapter are our primary con- 
cern. On the basis of the explanation of "existence" already laid 
down, let us then assert that, in the sense in which we use the term 
"reality," some alleged relational situations are real. The marriage 
relation in which Socrates and Xanthippe are alleged to participate 
as terms appears dated and placed in the Athens of the second half 
of the fifth century B.C. It appears neither explicitly nor im- 
plicitly as generally discredited. And it is listed among the exist- 
ents enumerated in the Appendix to Chapter Three. There is, let 
us agree, the real relational situation: Socrates-married-to-Xan- 
thippe and the real relational situation: Hannibal-like-Napoleon. 
There is likewise, let us agree, the real relational situation: Des- 
cartes-younger-than-the-Emperor and the real relational situation: 
Descartes-near-the-Emperor. Let us in short defer to a later chap- 
ter 7 such remarks as are to be made with respect to A-r-B. And let 
us in this chapter agree that, if Emperor-reached-as-an-ultimate- 
object-by-Descartes'-thinking is unreal, it is not its being presented 
as a relational situation that makes it so. 

There is the real relational situation: Descartes-near-the-Em- 
peror; and there is the real relational situation: Descartes-affected- 
by-the-Emperor. For, just as there is a motion flowing to a ledger- 
clerk's mind-nerve-fibre from the ledger in front of him, 8 so there 
is a motion flowing from the Emperor to Descartes. The clerk's 
"mind-nerve-fibre and its non-mental qualities and its thinking 
are affected by the ledger/' 9 And Descartes, his behavior and his 
mental attitude are affected by the Emperor. One may, to be sure, 
be puzzled that, when motions terminate in Descartes, qualities 
should appear which are not themselves motions, but, rather, are 
such qualities as behaving and thinking. It may seem less puzzling 
for one billiard ball on receiving impulses from another to be itself 
set in motion than for a piece of metal on receiving heat waves to 
be set glowing or for Descartes on being affected by the Emperor 
to be set thinking and behaving. For we may see no reason for the 
connection between the reception of motions, waves or impulses 
on the one hand and the origination of glowing or thinking or be- 
having on the other. Such problems however lead us to seek a rea- 

228 



son through a closer study of the structure of the entity which is 
heated and glows, of the entity which is affected from outside and 
thinks. Or we may be led to abandon such problems as specious 
ones. But whether we pursue these problems or abandon them, we 
do not, it seems, deny the glowing, the thinking or the behaving. 

We have agreed that a "certain piece of metal is a real substance 
which is really hot and really red." 10 And we have agreed that 
Descartes in the stove-heated room had a mental attitude which 
seemed to be directed upon man, God and the universe. Our 
piece of metal's alleged glowing is not presented as generally dis- 
credited, even though the transformation, as it were, of heat waves 
into glowing is presented as puzzling. Nor is Descartes' mental 
attitude seemingly directed upon the Emperor presented as 
generally discredited, even though its occurrence just when Des- 
cartes is affected by the Emperor is presented as puzzling. Des- 
cartes was behaving, and his behavior was affected by the Emperor, 
whether or not his behavior was adapted to the Emperor. He had 
a mental attitude seemingly directed upon the Emperor and this 
mental attitude was affected by the Emperor, whether or not this 
mental attitude reached the Emperor as its ultimate object. 

There is however a difference between the metal which on being 
affected by heat waves glows and the behavior which on being af- 
fected by in-coming motions is held to be adapted to something 
outside it. In the latter instance there is not only a transformation, 
as it were, from motion to what is not motion; the quality which 
arises at the terminus ad quern is presented as having direction 
also. This again however is not a respect in which thinking and 
behaving are presented as unique. The needle of a compass, on 
being affected by a magnet, is presented as having direction. And 
this needle, presented as related to the magnetic pole of the earth, 
is not presented as generally discredited even when the entity pre- 
sented as impinging upon it is presented as adjacent to it. With 
the needle's behavior, Descartes' behavior and Descartes' .mental 
attitude all alleged to be brought about by entities which im- 
pinge upon them, the relational situation: Needle-related-to-the- 
magnetic-pole-of-the-earth is, we hold, real and the alleged rela- 
tional situations: Descartes-making-a-response-adapted-to-the-Em- 
peror and Descartes-having-a-mental-attitude-which-reaches-the- 
Emperor-as-its-ultimate-object need not be presented as incredible 

229 



and unreal. 

When a needle, however, is related to the magnetic pole of the 
earth, it is also related to intervening entities in the magnetic 
field which stretches from it to the pole. A needle which is related 
to the magnetic pole is, it may be admitted, real. But a needle al- 
leged to be related to the pole and also alleged not to be similarly 
related to intervening entities, such a needle, it may be said, is 
presented as generally discredited and is unreal. Descartes' be- 
havior may, so far as we have yet seen, be adapted to the Emperor; 
but only, it may be said, if it is also adapted to the entities through 
which the motions originating in the Emperor have passed. It is 
only by going back step by step, as it were, over the path through 
which its behavior was affected that the needle, it may be said, 
comes to be related to the magnetic pole of the earth. And it 
would only be by going back step by step, as it were, over the path 
through which Descartes' mental attitude was brought about, that 
that mental attitude, it may be said, might come to reach the 
Emperor as its ultimate object. 

When there exists the relational situation: A-grandson-of-C, 
there also exists the relational situation: A-son-of-B. And when a 
compass needle points in the direction of the magnetic pole of the 
earth, it also points in the direction of some intervening entity. 
But not all relational situations are similar. A butterfly may be 
like a butterfly ancestor, but not like the larva and caterpillar that 
intervene. And the sounds that come out of my telephone re- 
ceiver may be like the sounds spoken into another instrument 
some distance away, but not like the intervening telephone wires. 
The alleged relational situation A-like-C need not be presented as 
generally discredited when A-like-intervening-B is presented as un- 
real. And the alleged relational situation: Descartes-having-a-men- 
tal-attitude-which-reaches-the-Emperor-as-its-ultimate-object need 
not, we hold, be presented as unreal when Descartes-having-a- 
mental-attitude-which-reaches-intervening-air-waves-as-objects is 
presented as unreal. So far as we have yet seen, Descartes' be- 
havior may not only be brought about by the Emperor but also 
adapted to the Emperor. And it may be adapted to the Emperor 
even though it is not adapted to Descartes' own ears, to the ears 
through which the Emperor's voice has affected Descartes' be- 
havior. 

230 



The Emperor, alleged to be both the cause and the ultimate 
object reached by Descartes' thinking, need not be presented as 
unreal when intervening entities are presented as nearer causes, 
but not nearer objects, of Descartes' thinking. Nor need the Em- 
peror alleged to be both the cause of Descartes' behavior and the 
entity to which that behavior is adapted, be presented as unreal 
when intervening entities are presented as causes but not as en- 
tities to which Descartes' behavior is likewise adapted. But the 
Emperor whom we are considering, it may be said, is not pre- 
sented as what is properly to be called a ''cause" at all. The Em- 
peror, or parts of the Emperor, may be at the sources of light 
waves and sound waves which terminate in Descartes. In this 
sense the Emperor may be said to affect Descartes' thinking and 
Descartes' behavior. But it is not "every entity at the source of 
motion," 13 - it may be said, that is properly to be called a "cause." 
And for A's behavior to be adapted to B without being caused by 
B, this, it may be said, is incredible. When Descartes' behavior is 
presented as not having been caused by the Emperor, the alleged 
relational situation: Descartes-making-a-response-adapted-to-the- 
Emperor is, it may be said, presented as incredible and is unreal. 

It is, it may be said, certain vibrations of the Emperor's larynx 
that are, properly speaking, the cause of Descartes' behavior, cer- 
tain vibrations of the Emperor's larynx and certain points on the 
surface of the Emperor's body from which light waves of different 
wave-lengths emanate. Strictly speaking, it may be said, it is not 
the Emperor himself or the Emperor's beard or the Emperor's 
piety which is the "cause" of Descartes' behavior. Indeed it is not 
the Emperor's size and not the spatial relation between one point 
on the surface of the Emperor's body and another. For "the con- 
nection of anything manifold," it has been held, "can never enter 
into us through the senses." 12 But if none of these entities are 
causes of Descartes' behavior or of Descartes' thinking, how can 
they be entities to which his behavior is adapted or entities 
reached by his thinking as ultimate objects? An Emperor's piety, 
alleged to be the entity reached as an ultimate object by Descartes' 
thinking but alleged not to be the cause of Descartes' thinking, is, 
it may be said, incredible and unreal. And the Emperor himself, 
alleged to be the entity to which Descartes' behavior is adapted 
but alleged not to be the cause of that behavior, such an entity 

231 



likewise, it may be said, is incredible and unreal. 

To be sure, the Emperor's piety and the Emperor himself are, 
if they exist, at the source from which motions flow to Descartes' 
thinking and to Descartes' behavior. But they may, let us in this 
chapter grant, not be sine quibus non with respect to Descartes' 
thinking or behavior. As we use the verb "to affect," 18 such en- 
tities, if they exist, affected Descartes' behavior, although, in some 
sense of "cause," they may not have caused that behavior. But is it 
not possible for Descartes' behavior to be adapted to the Emperor 
without the Emperor having caused that behavior? Indeed is it 
not possible for Descartes' behavior to be adapted to the Emperor 
without the Emperor being at the source of motions terminating 
in that behavior? 

It would seem that some relational situation A-r-B may be real 
when B is presented as not the cause of A. And it would seem that 
some relational situation A-r-B may be real when B is presented 
as not having affected A. No waves or impulses, let us agree, 
flowed from Confucius to Socrates. And yet when we are presented 
with the alleged relational situations Socrates-later-than-Confucius 
or Socrates-thinner-than-Confucius, we do not ask: How can Soc- 
rates have been later or thinner than Confucius when Confucius 
was at the source of no motions flowing to him? Some instances of 
A-r-B, it would appear, are not presented as generally discredited, 
need not be unreal, when B is presented as not having affected A. 

Let us turn however to an instance of the alleged relational 
situation: A-like-B. If we are told that two primitive peoples in 
different parts of the world have identical ceremonies or speak 
similar languages, we look for some mutual influence or for some 
common ancestry. We expect to find the relational situation A- 
like-B supplemented by some additional relational situation in 
which A and B are likewise terms. Similarly, it may be said, when 
Descartes' behavior is alleged to be adapted to the Emperor or 
Descartes' mental attitude alleged to reach the Emperor as its ulti- 
mate object, we look for some additional relation uniting the 
Emperor to Descartes. In the absence of a causal relation of some 
sort, it may be said, Descartes' behavior allegedly adapted to the 
Emperor and Descartes' mental attitude allegedly reaching the 
Emperor as an ultimate object are presented as generally dis- 
credited and are unreal. 

232 



What, however, is the situation with respect to the two primi- 
tive peoples alleged to have similar customs? We do not, it would 
seem, withhold belief in the alleged similarity until some mutual 
influence or common ancestry has been tracked down. Indeed, 
assuming that after investigation any mutual influence or com- 
mon ancestry has been ruled out, nevertheless the alleged fact of 
similarity still remains, is still an entity that need not be pre- 
sented as generally discredited. "One may," we have noted, 14 "be 
puzzled that, when motions terminate in Descartes, qualities 
should appear which are not themselves motions, but, rather, are 
such qualities as behaving and thinking/' And one may likewise 
be puzzled that peoples should be similar despite a lack of mutual 
influence or common ancestry. In the former instance, however, 
we do not, we have found, reject the thinking itself, do not find 
the behaving itself presented as discredited. Similarly we need 
not, in the present instance, reject the existence of a similarity. 
A "piece of metal's alleged glowing is not presented as generally 
discredited even though the transformation, as it were, of heat 
waves into glowing is presented as puzzling." 15 And a similarity 
between two peoples need not be presented as generally discred- 
ited even though such a similarity unaccompanied by mutual 
influence or common ancestry is likewise presented as puzzling. 

Presented as unaccompanied by a causal relation, the alleged 
relational situation: Socrates-thinner-than-Confucius need not be 
unreal. Presented as unaccompanied by a causal relation, the 
alleged relational situation: this-primitive-people-like-that-primi- 
tive-people need not be unreal. And, so far as we have yet seen, 
presented as unaccompanied by a causal relation, the alleged rela- 
tional situation: Descartes'-behavior-adapted-to-the-Emperor need 
not be unreal. 16 The Emperor is real, Descartes real and Descartes' 
behavior real. Descartes'-behavior-adapted-to-the-Emperor need 
not be presented as generally discredited. And the subsisting Des- 
cartes'-behavior-adapted-to-the-Emperor which we are considering 
is not presented as generally discredited. Some subsisting rela- 
tional situation which we call "Descartes making a response 
adapted to the Emperor" is, we hold, real. The Emperor has the 
real quality of being that to which Descartes' response is adapted. 
And Descartes has the real quality of making a response adapted 
to the Emperor. 

233 



How is it, however, with respect to Descartes-having-a-mental-at- 
titude-which-reaches-the-Emperor-as-i ts-ultimate-ob j ect? There are, 
to be sure, several subsis tents, "each of which may seem to be 
represented by our expression: 'The Emperor reached as an ul- 
timate object by Descartes' thinking/ " 17 But the Emperor is real, 
Descartes real, and Descartes' mental attitude seemingly directed 
towards the Emperor real. 18 The alleged relational situation: Des- 
cartes-having-a-mental-attitude-which-reaches-the-Emperor-as-its-ul- 
timate-object need not be presented as generally discredited. And 
whereas the relational situation which we are considering the 
relational situation which we call "Descartes-having-a-mental atti- 
tude-which-r eaches-the-Emperor-as-its-ultimate-ob j ect' 'is indefi- 
nite in that it is not definitely presented as an unmediated relation 
and not definitely presented as a relation that is mediated by an 
idea, nevertheless this relational situation is not presented as gen- 
erally discredited. Some subsisting Descartes-having-a-mental-atti- 
tude-which-reaches-the-Emperor-as-i ts-ultimate-ob j ect is, we hold, 
real. Whether or not he be the immediate object, the Emperor has 
the real quality of being reached as an ultimate object by Des- 
cartes' thinking. And whatever its immediate object may be, the 
mental attitude of Descartes which seems to be directed towards 
the Emperor really reaches the Emperor as its ultimate object. 

There is a real relational situation: Descartes-in-Frankfurt-hav- 
ing-a-mental-attitude-which-reaches-the-Emperor-as-its-ultimate-ob- 
ject. And there is a real relational situation: Descartes-in-Frank- 
furt-making-a-response-adapted-to-the-Emperor. There is a real re- 
lational situation: My-dinner-companion-making-a-response-adapt- 
ed-to-the-meal-about-to-be-eaten. 19 And there is a real relation- 
al situation: Descartes-en-route-to-Frankfurt-making-a-response- 
adapted-to-the-ceremony-about-to-be-witnessed. There is likewise, 
let us say, a real relational situation: Descartes-en-route-to-Frank- 
furt-having-a-mental-attitude-which-reaches-as-its-ultimate-object- 
the-Emperor-about-to-be-witnessed-in-Frankfurt. And, taking it for 
granted that, in reading this chapter, you have had a thinking 
mind-nerve-fibre with the intrinsic quality of seeming to be di- 
rected upon the Emperor, there is, let us say, a real relational 
situation: Your-having-a-mental-attitude-which-reaches-the-Emper- 
or-in-Frankfurt-as-its-ultimate-object. The Emperor has the real 
quality of being reached as an ultimate object by a mental atti- 

234 



tude belonging to Descartes at Frankfurt, the real quality of being 
reached as an ultimate object by a mental attitude belonging to 
Descartes en route to Frankfurt, and the real quality of being 
reached as an ultimate object by a mental attitude of yours. Some 
thinking mind-nerve-fibre of Descartes' en route to Frankfurt 
did not only have the intrinsic quality of seeming to be directed 
upon the Emperor; it also had the quality of reaching the Em- 
peror as an ultimate object. And so with some thinking mind- 
nerve-fibre of yours as you were reading this chapter. 

One of the alleged relational situations which seem to be repre- 
sented by "Descartes at Frankfurt having a mental attitude which 
reached the Emperor as an ultimate object" is real. But is this 
relational situation which is real an unmediated relation; or is it 
a relation in which an idea of the Emperor intervenes? The Des- 
cartes en route to Frankfurt had the real quality of having a men- 
tal attitude which reached the Emperor as an ultimate object. 
But is this real quality of Descartes' or of Descartes' mind-nerve- 
fibre the quality of being aware of the Emperor as an immediate 
object? Or is it the quality of being aware of "an idea which suc- 
ceeds in referring beyond itself to the Emperor"? 20 The Emperor 
has the real quality of being reached by a mental attitude which 
you had as you were reading this chapter. But is this real quality 
of the Emperor's the quality of being the entity of which you were 
immediately aware? Or is it the quality of being referred to by an 
idea of which you were aware? 

Our problem at this point is whether or not an idea of the 
Emperor intervenes in the relational situation within which the 
Emperor is one term and you, or Descartes en route to Frankfurt, 
or Descartes at Frankfurt, another term. But what is it to inter- 
vene? Your mental attitude directed upon the Emperor at his 
coronation may have been preceded by a mental attitude of yours 
directed upon some other episode in the Emperor's life. This 
other episode in the Emperor's life, which was an object for a 
previous mental attitude of yours, is, let us agree, related to that 
phase of the Emperor's life in which he was being crowned. And 
it may deserve mention in an account of the genesis of your pres- 
ent mental attitude directed upon the coronation. But if this 
object for a previous mental attitude is no longer an object of 
yours, then it does not, let us say, intervene in the relational situ- 

235 



ation within which your present mind-nerve-fibre with its present 
mental attitudes is a term. Being an immediate object, being an 
idea, is not, in short, merely being an object for some previous 
mental attitude. 

There is the proposition "The world exists"; and there is the 
proposition: "God exists/' It may be held that the existence of the 
world implies the existence of God, that the proposition "God 
exists" may be deduced from other propositions. Or it may be 
held either that God is known intuitively or that His existence 
is to be accepted as a postulate, that the proposition "God exists" 
is not to be "deduced from other propositions which are its prem- 
ises/' 21 There is a distinction, that is to say, between the entity 
whose existence we accept, or in whose existence we believe, 
without proof; and the entity in whose existence we believe as the 
result of proof. This distinction, however, is not the distinction 
between an unmediated subject-object relation and a subject- 
object relation in which an idea intervenes. For, just as objects 
for previous mental attitudes of yours, in so far as they are merely 
objects for previous mental attitudes, need not intervene "in the 
relational situation within which your present mind-nerve-fibre 
with its present mental attitudes is a term," 22 so, if I am really 
aware of God and really believing in His existence, the relation 
between me and the proposition "God exists" may be unmediated, 
whether or not some previous mental attitude of mine reached as 
its ultimate object the proposition: "The world exists." "I cannot 
demonstrate" says Thomas Reid, 23 "that two quantities which are 
equal to the same quantity are equal to each other; neither can I 
demonstrate that the tree which I perceive exists. But, by the 
constitution of my nature," Reid continues, "my belief is irresis- 
tibly carried along by my apprehension of the axiom"; and it is 
"no less irresistibly carried along by my perception of the tree." 
But if, contrary to Reid's opinion, there are other entities such 
that a belief in their existence leads to a belief in the existence of 
the tree, nevertheless the relational situation which exists when 
Reid's mental attitude reaches the tree as its ultimate object need 
not be mediated by an idea. And if, on the other hand, a belief 
in the existence of the tree is intuitive and the proposition: "This 
tree exists" accepted without proof, there may nevertheless be an 
idea of the tree which is Reid's immediate object, an idea of the 

236 



tree which intervenes when Reid's thinking reaches the tree as its 
ultimate object. 

As we use "intervene/* an entity does not, by being an object 
for a previous mental attitude, intervene in the relation between 
thinking subject and ultimate object. And as we use "idea/* an 
entity is not an intervening idea when it is indistinguishable from 
the subject's thinking. Descatrtes had a mental attitude which 
seemed to be directed upon the Emperor. And if this mental 
attitude, as a mental attitude, were to be called an "idea," then 
of course the real relational situation: Emperor-reached-as-an-ulti- 
mate-object-by-Descartes'-thinking would imply the existence of 
an idea in one of its terms. If it is a type of thinking, a mental 
attitude, that we call a "perception/* then "it is clearer than the 
day that we are able to see, perceive and know" ultimate objects 
"only by the perceptions that we have of them." 24 The relational 
situation, however, which is alleged to involve only the Emperor 
and Descartes' mental attitude is, let us say, presented as an un- 
mediated relation, not as a relation in which an idea of the 
Emperor intervenes. The relation between thinking subject and 
ultimate object is mediated by what we call an "idea," only if 
some entity exists which is distinguishable from the subject's 
thinking and which refers beyond itself to the ultimate object. 

What we call "mental attitude" may, to be sure, be called 
"idea" in some other terminology. 25 Hence, the relational situa- 
tion which we should say is presented as "unmediated by an idea" 
might by others be said to be presented as "involving an idea." It 
is not to be concluded, however, that the question whether or not 
the subject-object relation is mediated by an idea resolves itself 
into a question as to how we are to use the term "idea." Whatever 
meaning is assigned the term "idea," there are several subsisting 
relational situations each of which may seem to be represented by 
our expression: "Descartes having a mental attitude which reaches 
the Emperor as an ultimate object." There is on the one hand the 
alleged relational situation within which there is alleged to be a 
mental picture of the Emperor. And since what we call "mental 
attitude" is "presented as not a mental picture or image," 26 the 
relational situation which is alleged to include a mental picture 
presents an entity distinguishable from the mental attitude which 
we have found real. On the other hand, there is the relational 

237 



situation alleged to include no mental picture, the relational 
situation in which the Emperor is alleged to be the direct object 
of Descartes' thinking and alleged to be referred to by no entity 
distinguishable from that thinking. Descartes' mental attitude is 
real and reaches the Emperor as its ultimate object. The question 
is whether the Emperor is a direct object of what is not a mental 
picture or whether he is referred to by an entity distinguishable 
from the mental attitude that has been found real. 

In order for the relation between thinking subject and ultimate 
object to be mediated by what we call an "idea/* some entity must 
be real, and involved in the relation, which is distinguishable 
from what we have described as the subject's thinking. The entity 
which is alleged to be an intervening idea need not be presented 
as differing in date or position from the thinking subject. Think- 
ing and idea, for example, mental attitude and immediate object, 
may be presented as qualities inhering in the same substance. On 
the other hand, an entity may be called an "idea," let us say, if 
it is real and has a date or position different from that of the 
mental attitude itself. The idea of the Emperor, alleged to be 
distinguishable from Descartes' thinking, may be alleged to be 
where Descartes' thinking is or where the Emperor is; it may be 
alleged to have a position which is neither Descartes' nor the 
Emperor's; or it may be alleged to have no position at all. 

To be sure, if the idea alleged to intervene is nothing but the 
Emperor himself, then the relation said to be mediated by an 
idea is the very relation that we should describe as unmediated. 
But what about a quality of the Emperor's presented as the inter- 
vening idea? The relational situation: Descartes-having-a-mental- 
attitude-which-reaches-the-Emperor-as-ultimate-object may be pre- 
sented as a situation in which Descartes' immediate object is a 
quality of the Emperor's, a quality of the Emperor's which points 
to the Emperor in which that quality inheres. Just as it may be 
said 27 that it is a quality of the Emperor's, rather than the Em- 
peror himself, that is the sine qua non of the mental attitude of 
Descartes' which reaches the Emperor as an ultimate object, so it 
may be said that it is a quality of the Emperor's which is Des- 
cartes' immediate object, a quality of the Emperor's which refers 
to the Emperor as ultimate object. 

Let us agree that, whereas one phase of the thinking Descartes 

238 



may have reached the Emperor as an ultimate object, a previous 
phase or a subsequent phase may have reached as an ultimate 
object a given quality of the Emperor's. When this quality is the 
ultimate object, the immediate object, it may be said, is the ulti- 
mate object and the subject-object relation an unmediated one. 
But when a mental attitude which reaches this quality is succeeded 
by a mental attitude which reaches the Emperor himself, then the 
immediate object, it may be said, although intrinsically unaltered, 
acquires a reference. And when this quality is abstracted 28 from 
its substance, this immediate object, it may be said, although 
intrinsically unaltered, loses its reference and becomes the ulti- 
mate object also. 

But why should the relation between Emperor and thinking 
Descartes, in which a quality of Emperor's is alleged to intervene 
as immediate object, be presented as real; and the relation be- 
tween them, in which it is alleged that no entity intervenes, be 
presented as incredible? It may be that, with respect to the causal 
relation flowing from the Emperor to Descartes, some quality of 
the Emperor's, rather than the Emperor himself, is the sine qua 
non of Descartes' mental attitude. 29 The relation between think- 
ing subject and ultimate object is, however, distinguishable from 
the relation between cause and effect. The Emperor, presented 
as ultimate object, need not be presented as generally discredited 
when it is a quality of the Emperor's, rather than the Emperor 
himself, that is alleged to be the cause of Descartes' thinking. And 
a quality of the Emperor's which is alleged to be the cause of 
Descartes' thinking need not be presented as an intervening idea. 
The Emperor himself, that is to say, need not be presented as 
generally discredited when he is presented as not the cause, but 
nevertheless the immediate object, of the thinking directed upon 
him. Moreover, if a mental attitude may reach a quality of the 
Emperor's without the intervention of an idea, another mental 
attitude, it would seem, may likewise reach the Emperor himself 
without the intervention of an idea. A quality which is reached 
directly and a substance which is reached indirectly this com- 
bination is not impossible. But it is not a combination that we 
find necessary. In order not to be presented as generally discred- 
ited, the Emperor himself, so far as we have yet seen, need not be 
presented as an ultimate object which is not an immediate object, 

239 



need not be presented as an ultimate object with respect to which 
a quality of die Emperor's is an intervening idea. 

The quality of the Emperor's, whose function as intervening 
idea we have been considering, appears as an individual quality 
having the position and date that inhere in the Emperor himself. 
It is some such entity as the Emperor's color or the Emperor's 
quality of being the source of certain vibrations. But there also 
subsist such entities as color in general, universal qualities which 
are held to be in some manner exemplified or instanced in the 
Emperor's color or in the Emperor's being the source of vibrations. 
And it may be held that, when Descartes' mental attitude reaches 
the Emperor as ultimate object, it is color in general that is the 
intervening idea rather than the Emperor's color, a universal rather 
than that quality of the Emperor's which is the cause of Des- 
cartes' thinking. The subsisting relational situation with which 
we are presented may be Descartes-aware-of-universal-which-refers- 
to-the-Emperor rather than Descartes-aware-of-a-quality-of-the-Em- 
peror's-which-ref ers-to-the-Emperor. But the universal, whose func- 
tion as an intervening idea we are now to consider, subsists, let us 
say, either as in its instances or as not in its instances. Color in gen- 
eral is presented as being where various colored things are, as 
having, along with other dates and positions, the date and posi- 
tion of the Emperor's color. Or color in general is presented as 
merely being realized in the Emperor's color, as being in itself 
without any dates or any positions. Yet if, when the Emperor is 
presented as ultimate object, it is not required that his color be 
presented as intervening idea, it would not seem to be required 
that the color, which is where he is and where other colored things 
are, be presented as intervening idea. If, in order not to be pre- 
sented as generally discredited, the Emperor need not be presented 
as "an ultimate object with respect to which a quality of the 
Emperor's is an intervening idea," 80 then, in order not to be pre- 
sented as generally discredited, he need not be presented as an 
ultimate object with respect to which a universal, alleged to be in 
its various instances, is an intervening idea. 

But what shall we say with respect to the universal which is 
alleged merely to be realized in entities having dates and posi- 
tions, the universal which in itself is alleged to be non-temporal 
and non-spatial? "Whatever appears as lacking a date or as having 

240 



no spatial position" is, we have said, 31 unreal. Hence the alleged 
relational situation with which we are presented is one in which a 
real thinking subject is alleged to be aware of an unreal immedi- 
ate object and this unreal immediate object alleged to refer to a 
real ultimate object. But the entity which is presented as unreal 
is unreal. And the entity which is unreal has no real qualities, 
inheres in no real substance and is a term in no real relational 
situation. The universal which is unreal refers to no real Emperor, 
is the immediate object of no real mental attitude, intervenes in 
no real subject-object relation. The relational situation in which 
only an unreal universal intervenes is a relational situation in 
which there is no intervening idea. "Some subsisting Descartes- 
having-a-mental-attitude-which-reaches-the-Emperor-as-its-ultimate- 
object is, we hold, real." S2 So far as we have yet seen, this subsistent 
may be Descartes-aware-of-an-intervening-idea-which-refers-to-the- 
Emperor. But it is not Descartes-aware-of-a-non-temporal-and-non- 
spatial-universal-which-refers-to-the-Emperor. 

The relation between thinking subject and ultimate object may, 
so far as we have yet seen, be a mediated relation. And it may, so 
far as we have yet seen, be an unmediated relation. But if Descartes 
is here and the Emperor there, is it not necessary that there be an 
intervening idea, an immediate object which is here and hence 
distinct from the ultimate object? The mind, it is said, does not 
travel out to interact with its ultimate objects in the places where 
they are. "We see the sun, the stars and an infinity of objects out- 
side of us." But, as Malebranche ss puts it, "it is not likely that the 
soul leaves the body and goes, so to speak, to wander through the 
heavens to contemplate all these objects there." Nor is there an 
interaction which somehow occurs both where the subject is and 
where his ultimate object is. "If I do not perceive the effects of 
the fixed stars, remaining all the while here upon the earth," then, 
says Montague, "I and they must interact at a distance, that is, 
must be in two places at once." 34 

Now, we have agreed that "Descartes, his behavior and his men- 
tal attitude are affected by the Emperor." 85 They are affected in 
such a way that what finally impinges on Descartes' thinking is 
here where his thinking is, not there where the Emperor is. But 
the last cause need not be the first object. That which finally im- 
pinges on Descartes' thinking and is here may be no object for 

241 



Descartes at all. It is one thing to be a cause, whether last cause 
or distant source. And it is another thing to be an object, whether 
immediate object or ultimate object. "The Emperor, alleged 
to be both the cause and the ultimate object reached by Des- 
cartes' thinking, need not be presented as unreal when intervening 
entities are presented as nearer causes, but not nearer objects, 
of Descartes* thinking." 86 And the Emperor need not be presented 
as unreal when he is alleged to be the immediate object of Des- 
cartes' thinking as well. For, if it is not incredible for intervening 
entities to be causes but not objects, then it is not incredible for 
the Emperor to be the nearest object, hence the immediate ob- 
ject. Whereas the thinking and its last cause are here, the immedi- 
ate object of that thinking may, so far as we have yet seen, be 
there. The mind-nerve-fibre which is here may have concomitant 
with it no mental picture, no mental quality distinguishable from 
its mental attitude, no characteristic, in short, which, as we have 
explained our term "idea/' 37 is an idea of the Emperor. 

There exists a relational situation represented by our expres- 
sion: "Descartes in Frankfurt having a mental attitude which 
reaches the Emperor as its ultimate object," a relational situation 
in which the subject is here and the ultimate object there. But 
there also exists a relational situation represented by our expres- 
sion: "Your having a mental attitude which reaches the Emperor 
in Frankfurt as its ultimate object/' 88 a relational situation in 
which the subject is now and the ultimate object then. In the in- 
stance in which the subject is here and the ultimate object there, 
the entity which is the ultimate object may, so far as we have yet 
seen, be the immediate object as well. But may the ultimate ob- 
ject also be the immediate object in the instance in which the sub- 
ject is now and the ultimate object then? Your present mental atti- 
tude, it may be said, can not have as its immediate object the Em- 
peror in Frankfurt who is past. "The present awareness," as Love- 
joy puts it, 89 "manifestly has, and must have, a compresent con- 
tent." For if your only object were the Emperor who is your ulti- 
mate object, your attention, it may be said, would be directed en- 
tirely to the past and you would not be aware of the Emperor as 
past with respect to your present thinking. To think of the past, 
it is held, is in part to think of the present with respect to which 
the past is past. It is, it is said, to have a contemporary immediate 

242 



object which refers beyond itself to an ultimate object which is 
past. 

Now when your present mental attitude reaches the past Em- 
peror in Frankfurt as its ultimate object, there is, to be sure, one 
sense in which your immediate object is present. Your immediate 
object is "present" in the sense that it is given or presented to the 
mental attitude directed upon it. But it is one thing to be pre- 
sented to your present mental attitude, another thing to be con- 
temporaneous with your present mental attitude. Whatever the 
date of your immediate object, your ultimate object, in the in- 
stance we are now considering, is past with respect to your present 
thinking, past with respect to Napoleon Bonaparte, future with 
respect to Julius Caesar. It would appear that you may be aware 
of the Emperor in Frankfurt as past with respect to Napoleon 
without being aware of him as past with respect to any present im- 
mediate object of yours. And it would likewise appear that you 
may be aware of this Emperor as past with respect to what is now 
happening without being aware of him as past with respect to a 
present idea. For the entities with respect to which the Emperor 
is dated, the entities which are objects of yours along with the past 
Emperor, may be the events chronicled in today's newspaper, or 
they may be your present mental attitudes, rather than some pres- 
ent idea of the Emperor. In order to think of the Emperor as past, 
it is, we conclude, not necessary that your immediate object be a 
present idea of him. Your immediate objects may, on the one hand, 
be contemporaneous events which are not ideas, and, on the 
other hand, the Emperor himself who is your ultimate object. 

"When I think of my grandfather's time, I do not think in 
my grandfather's time." 40 And if your present mental attitude 
reaches the Emperor in Frankfurt, not only as its ultimate 
object but as its immediate object as well, then subject and 
immediate object are not contemporaneous with one another. 
It is, however, no more incredible for a subject to be now and 
its immediate object then than it is for one end of this couch 
to be here and the other end there. The couch taken as a whole is 
presented as having an indefinite rather than a punctual position. 
And the relational situation, within which your mental attitude is 
now and the Emperor who is your immediate object then, is pre- 
sented as having an indefinite rather than a momentary date. It is 

243 



presented, that is to say, as having a date no more definite than 
that of an entity which has endured since 1619. The alleged re- 
lational situation which is thus presented with an indefinite date 
need not however be presented as unreal, need not be discarded in 
favor of an alleged relational situation in which subject and im- 
mediate object are presented as contemporaneous with one an- 
other. 

So far as we have yet seen, the relation between subject and ulti- 
mate object need not be mediated by an idea. Indeed such a rela- 
tion can be mediated by an idea only if the idea which is alleged to 
intervene is real. Now, the idea which is alleged to be the im- 
mediate object, and alleged to refer beyond itself to the ultimate 
object, is frequently held to be an entity which is non-spatial. 
Thinking itself is held to be non-spatial, incapable of entering in- 
to causal relations with extended entities. And in view of the lack 
of "proportion" 41 between an inextended thinking and extended 
ultimate objects, the immediate object of such a thinking, it may 
be held, must be an idea which, like thinking itself, is inextended 
and non-spatial. Were such an argument acceptable, we should 
likewise have to agree, it would seem, that there is no proportion 
between the inextended idea and the extended ultimate object. 
We should have to reject the alleged relation between inextended 
idea and extended ultimate object. And we should likewise have 
to reject the alleged relation between inextended thinking and ex- 
tended ultimate object. We should in short find ourselves consider- 
ing an alleged extended object presented as not referred to by an 
intervening idea and presented as not reached as an ultimate ob- 
ject by the inextended thinking said to be directed upon it. 

It has been our conclusion, however, that the thinking which 
appears as non-spatial is unreal; 42 that thinking presented as spatial 
is in some instances real; 48 and that some instances of a thinking 
which is spatial reach the ultimate objects upon which they are 
directed. 44 As we use the term "reality," whatever appears as non- 
spatial is unreal. Hence the subsistent which appears as a non- 
spatial idea does not exist and does not intervene as an immediate 
object. In the real relational situation in which Descartes' mental 
attitude reaches the Emperor as its ultimate object, the immediate 
object may be the Emperor himself, but cannot be an alleged non- 
spatial idea of the Emperor. So far as we have yet seen, it is simi- 

244 



larly possible for the immediate object to be a quality of the ulti- 
mate object or a universal which exists in the ultimate object. But 
it can be no "essence," 45 no universal, no logical entity, which ap- 
pears as having no date and no position. 

There subsists the intervening idea which is presented as having 
no position. And there subsists the intervening idea which is pre- 
sented as having position, but only with respect to other ideas. An 
idea of the sun may be presented as having no position. Or an idea 
of the sun may be presented as being to the right of an ideal Venus 
and beyond an ideal mountain, but as lacking position with re- 
spect to Venus, the mountain and the sun which are, let us 
agree, real ultimate objects. An idea however which appears as 
having no spatial position with respect to entities which appear 
real, and with respect to which it appears present, is itself unreal. 46 
And so alleged ideas are unreal and cannot function as immediate 
objects, either if they appear as non-spatial, or if, appearing as 
located with respect to other ideas, they appear as not in the same 
spatial world as real ultimate objects contemporaneous with them. 

There is also to be considered the idea which is held to be an ob- 
ject for but a single subject. There may be held to exist: Descartes' 
idea of the Emperor presented only to Descartes, your idea of the 
Emperor presented only to you, and the Emperor who is an ulti- 
mate object both for your mental attitude and for Descartes', the 
Emperor, that is to say, to whom both your idea and Descartes* 
idea are alleged to refer. But the idea of the Emperor that is al- 
leged to be an object for Descartes alone is a subsistent implicitly 
presented as an entity which you and I are now considering. 47 Des- 
cartes' idea of the Emperor subsists explicitly with the character- 
istic of being an object for Descartes alone and implicitly with the 
characteristic of being an object for others also. Descartes' alleged 
idea of the Emperor appears free from self-contradiction only when 
Descartes' alleged exclusive awareness of it is limited to an aware- 
ness of some special kind, only when, for example, Descartes' idea 
of the Emperor is presented as being an immediate object for 
Descartes alone, or is presented as being presented in detail to Des- 
cartes alone. 

We turn then to the idea which is alleged to have position with 
respect to ultimate objects and alleged to be an object of some 
sort for various subjects. There is for example the idea of the 

245 



moon which is alleged to be my immediate object, presented in 
detail to me alone, but which is alleged to be here with respect 
to my mental attitude and to be there with respect to the moon 
which is my ultimate object. The alleged idea of the moon which 
is presented to me in detail, but presented in some sense to you 
also, is presented, let us say, not only as being in my head, but as 
having certain intrinsic characteristics also. It is, let us say, pre- 
sented as silver in color and shaped like a crescent. But along with 
the alleged silver crescent in my head, I find myself considering 
another subsistent, namely, an alleged silver crescent in the sky. 
And I find that what is presented as my immediate object is an al- 
leged silver crescent in the sky rather than an alleged silver crescent 
in my head. The silver crescent in my head when alleged to be 
my immediate object is presented as disbelieved and is unreal. 
And the alleged silver crescent in the sky is unreal and cannot 
be my immediate object. Nor is there an idea of the moon in 
my head which is not silver and not a crescent. For whatever in 
my head is not silver and not a crescent appears as no object of 
mine in the situation in which the moon is my ultimate object. 
My mental attitude is real and the moon real which is its ultimate 
object. Descartes' mental attitude is real and the Emperor real 
which is his ultimate object. But when Descartes' mental attitude 
reaches the Emperor as its ultimate object, his immediate object 
is not his thinking itself and it is not an alleged idea that has 
approximately the same position as that thinking. 

When a mental attitude reaches an entity outside it as its ulti- 
mate object, no idea need intervene which is distinguishable from 
thinking itself and distinct from the ultimate object. Indeed the 
immediate object is not an idea when that idea is held to be non- 
spatial, held not to be spatially related to ultimate objects contem- 
poraneous with it, held not to be an object for other subjects, or 
held to be adjacent to thinking itself. It would seem that in order 
for the immediate object to be an idea distinct from the ultimate 
object, it must, in the case of non-introspective thinking, be some 
public object distinct from the ultimate object but related to it in 
some such fashion as a sign is related to that towards which it 
points. Either Descartes' immediate object is the Emperor himself 
or it is some symbol, picture, description, or what not, that refers 
beyond itself to the real Emperor. But if the immediate object has 

246 



spatial position with respect to the real Emperor, if it is not adja- 
cent to the thinking which has it as an object and if it is in 
some sense an object for all of us, then it is not plausible for the 
Emperor himself to be held incapable of being an immediate 
object. Just as the admission that a quality of the Emperor's may 
be an immediate object seems to carry with it the admission that 
the Emperor himself need not be an indirect object, 48 so does the 
admission that the immediate object may be a picture of the 
Emperor which is spatially related to the Emperor and not ad- 
jacent to Descartes' thinking. For the picture then simply takes 
the place of the Emperor. The unmediated subject-object relation 
between the thinking subject and the picture is to be classified, it 
would seem, with the alleged unmediated relation between sub- 
ject and ultimate object rather than with the relation in which an 
idea is alleged to intervene. 

What indeed is the function of a sign, of a description, of a pic- 
ture? An arrow succeeds in being a sign pointing to some place of 
interest in so far as mental attitudes directed upon the arrow are 
followed by mental attitudes directed upon the place of interest 
to which the arrow refers. I may have before me a picture of the 
Emperor. But if my attention is not directed exclusively to colors 
on a flat surface in front of me, my attention turns to other objects, 
to the seventeenth-century individual, for example, whose picture 
is before me. In being aware of the Emperor or of the place of in- 
terest, the arrow or the picture may no longer be an object of mine. 
And if arrow and picture are no longer objects, then, as we use 
"intervene," they do not intervene in the relational situation with- 
in which the Emperor or the place of interest is my ultimate ob- 
ject. For, "being an immediate object, being an idea, is not/' we 
have said, 49 "merely being an object for some previous mental 
attitude." 

It may be however that, simultaneous with the mental 
attitude directed upon the picture, there is a mental attitude 
directed upon the Emperor. I may, as it were, see through the 
picture to the Emperor; or see around the arrow to the place of in- 
terest. But this is to see picture and Emperor together, to be aware 
of the relational situation picture-of-Emperor or of the relational 
situation: arrow-pointing-to-place-of-interest. Yet if arrow-point- 
ing-to place-of-interest is an immediate object, it would seem that 

247 



a component within that relational situation may be, and on oc- 
casion is, an immediate object also. If one of Descartes' mind-nerve- 
fibres has as its immediate object picture-pointing-to-the-Emperor, 
another of his mind-nerve-fibres may have, and at least one of them 
we hold does have, the Emperor as its immediate object. 

Some relational situation is real, we have said, 50 which is repre- 
sented by our expression: "Descartes in Frankfurt having a mental 
attitude which reaches the Emperor as its ultimate object/' What 
we are now concluding is that the expression representing this 
real relational situation may be spelled out as: "Descartes in Frank- 
furt having a mental attitude which reaches the Emperor both as 
its ultimate object and as its immediate object." There exists a 
relational situation in which no idea intervenes, a relational situa- 
tion in which the thinking Descartes is one term and the Emperor 
the other term. And there likewise exists an unmediated subject- 
object relation in which your mind-nerve-fibre is one term and the 
Emperor the other term. The Emperor, we hold, is not only the 
ultimate object, but also the immediate object, reached by a men- 
tal attitude belonging to Descartes at Frankfurt, reached by a men- 
tal attitude belonging to Descartes en route to Frankfurt, and also 
reached by a mental attitude of yours. 

Up to this point, however, we have failed to consider the situa- 
tion in which a mental attitude fails to reach an ultimate object. A 
straight stick may be real and in one of its phases may be half 
under water, half above. I may have been looking at the partially 
submerged stick; but my mental attitude may have failed to reach 
the straight stick as its object. I was, let us agree, aware of no 
straight stick, but seemed, rather, to be aware of a bent stick. Since, 
however, there was no bent stick in the water in front of me, what 
was the entity, it may be asked, to which my thinking mind-nerve- 
fibre was joined in a subject-object relation? In one of the rela- 
tional situations which we have been considering, in the relational 
situation in which your mental attitude reached the Emperor as 
its ultimate object, it was the Emperor himself, we have con- 
cluded, and not an idea, that was your immediate object. But 
was not my immediate object an idea, we now ask, or an entity 
analogous to an idea in the situation in which my mental attitude 
failed to reach the straight stick in front of me, in the situation 
in which I seemed to be aware of a bent stick? 

248 



Let us begin by agreeing that the straight stick partially sub- 
merged was the source of vibrations reaching my mind-nerve-fibre 
and affecting my thinking. Light waves, reaching me from that part 
of the stick which was under water, followed a path not parallel to 
that followed by light waves coming from that part of the stick 
which was above water. Hence, it may be agreed, my mental atti- 
tude had the intrinsic quality of seeming to be directed upon a 
bent stick rather than the intrinsic quality of seeming to be di- 
rected upon a straight stick. Our problem, however, is not with 
respect to the cause of the mental attitude of mine which we are 
considering, but with respect to the object, if any, that this mental 
attitude had. 

Now just as the straight stick that is real was no object for this 
mental attitude of mine, so there is no bent stick that is real and 
that was its object. There are, to be sure, bent sticks which are real, 
bent sticks in the forest and elsewhere. But when I was looking at 
the stick in the water in front of me, it was not such sticks that 
were my objects. Presented with the characteristic of having been 
my objects, that is to say, such other bent sticks are presented as 
discredited and are unreal. A bent stick alleged to have been in my 
head and to have been my object is likewise presented as dis- 
credited and is unreal. For along with the bent stick alleged to 
have been in my head, "I find myself considering another sub- 
sistent," 51 namely, an alleged bent stick in the water. And I 
find that what is presented as having been my object is an alleged 
bent stick in the water, not the bent stick alleged to have been in 
my head. I find, that is to say, that the bent stick in my head, pre- 
sented with the characteristic of having been an object for the 
mental attitude which we are considering, is presented as disbe- 
lieved and is unreal. 

My past mental attitude had as its object no bent stick in the 
forest and no bent stick in my head. And it had as its object no 
bent stick in the water and no non-spatial bent stick. There exists 
no bent stick in the water and no stick which is non-spatial. "And 
the entity which is unreal has no real qualities, inheres in no real 
substance and is a term in no real relational situation." 52 If I 
have no sister, if all my alleged sisters are unreal, then there is no 
real sister-brother relation in which I participate as a term. And 
just as there is no real relational situation joining me to an 

249 



imaginary sister Mary, so there is no real relational situation join- 
ing a mental attitude of mine to a bent stick that is unreal. When 
I was looking at the stick in the water in front of me, I was behav- 
ing and I was thinking. But since there was no bent stick in the 
water in front of me, my behavior was not adapted to a bent 
stick in front of me. And since there was no bent stick that was my 
object, no bent stick was either the ultimate object or the im- 
mediate object of my mental attitude. My behavior was real; but 
there was nothing to which it was directed and adapted. My think- 
ing was real; but it had no object. 

Now it may be agreed that my behavior can not have been 
adapted to a bent stick that didn't exist, that my mind-nerve-fibre 
cannot have been aware of a bent stick that wasn't real. But what 
do our words mean, we may be asked, when we say that I was 
thinking, but that my thinking had no object, when we say that 
I was aware, but not aware of anything? To be aware, it may be 
said, is to be aware of something. The phrase "being aware, but 
not aware of anything" is, it may be said, a phrase which is un- 
intelligible. 

There is, let us recall, a distinction to be made between Des- 
cartes' "intrinsic quality of having a mental attitude which seems 
to be directed towards the Emperor" and "his alleged quality of 
having a mental attitude which reaches the Emperor as its ulti- 
mate object"; and there is a distinction to be made between "Des- 
cartes' intrinsic quality of behaving" and "his alleged quality of 
manifesting a behavior that is adapted to the Emperor." 53 There 
are similar distinctions to be made when, confronted by a menac- 
ing dog, Kitty is characterized by a certain mental attitude and a 
certain behavior. It is by virtue of Kitty's tenseness and arched 
back, by virtue of her behavior, that Kitty enters as a term into 
the relational situation: Kitty-manifesting-a-behavior-that-is- 
adapted-to-the-menacing-dog. But Kitty might be tense, might 
have her back arched, and might fix her eyes on some spot in 
front of her, even if there were no dog there. Were this the situa- 
tion, Kitty would, let us say, have the intrinsic quality of behav- 
ing, but not the quality of manifesting a behavior adapted to a 
menacing dog in front of her. She would, we may say, be "respond- 
ing," but not "responding-to." 

It is in a similar fashion, we hold, that a mind-nerve-fibre may 

250 



be aware, but not aware-of. There is an intrinsic quality which 
Descartes' mind-nerve-fibre has when it reaches the Emperor as 
both its ultimate and immediate object, an intrinsic quality which 
we describe as Descartes' mental attitude seemingly directed upon 
the Emperor. A similar intrinsic quality may have been present, 
we hold, on a different occasion, may have been present in a situa- 
tion in which Descartes' mind-nerve-fibre failed to reach the Em- 
peror as its object. If such a situation existed, Descartes was then 
aware, but not aware-of. And when I was looking at the stick in 
the water in front of me, I likewise was aware, but not aware-of. My 
mind-nerve-fibre had the intrinsic quality of having a mental atti- 
tude seemingly directed upon a bent stick, but not the quality of 
being joined in a relational situation to any ultimate object or to 
any immediate object. 

Even if it is agreed however that there was an intrinsic quality 
which I had when I was looking at the stick in the water in front 
of me, it may be said to be confusing to call this quality an instance 
of "thinking" or an instance of "being aware" and also to de- 
scribe this quality as "having a mental attitude seemingly directed 
upon a bent stick." There is, it may be said, no quality that the 
reader recognizes as being called to his attention by the term "be- 
ing aware." And when, on the other hand, we describe the men- 
tal attitude as "seemingly directed upon a bent stick," we refer to 
an entity external to the mental attitude and thus, it may be said, 
belie the assertion that we are describing an intrinsic quality. In 
order to identify the mental attitude which we hold to be real and 
which we hold has no immediate object, we use the expression 
"seemingly directed upon a bent stick," an expression which has 
meaning, it may be said, only if the mental attitude has an im- 
mediate object. 

Since it had no immediate object, it is not altogether unobjec- 
tionable, let us admit, to describe as "seemingly directed upon the 
Emperor" the mental attitude which Descartes had when his 
mind-nerve-fibre failed to reach the Emperor. And it is not al- 
together unobjectionable to describe as "seemingly directed upon 
a bent stick" the mental attitude which / had when, looking at the 
stick in the water in front of me, my mental attitude had neither a 
straight stick nor a bent stick as its immediate object. In the situa- 
tion in which there is no menacing dog in front of Kitty, it is 

251 



equally objectionable, it would seem, to describe Kitty's behavior 
as "seemingly adapted to a menacing dog." For if it is objection- 
able to use the expression "seemingly directed upon a bent stick" in 
connection with a situation in which I was aware but not aware-of, 
it is equally objectionable to use the expression "seemingly 
adapted to a menacing dog" in connection with a situation in 
which Kitty was responding, but not responding-to. In an effort to 
avoid any reference to this unreal menacing dog, we may, to be 
sure, say that Kitty was tense, that she had her back arched, and 
that she was staring at a spot in front of her. And in an effort to 
avoid any reference to a bent stick, we may describe my mental 
attitude as an entity that was not a mental picture and, further 
to identify it, may describe the non-mental behavior which ac- 
companied it. We may perhaps point to the fact that I uttered the 
sounds "bent stick" or to the fact that I indicated with my fingers 
two lines at an angle. Yet when we attempt to avoid any reference 
to menacing dogs or to bent sticks in pointing to the intrinsic 
quality of behaving that Kitty manifested or in pointing to the in- 
trinsic quality of being aware that / had, then our expressions are 
awkward and will in many instances fail to direct the reader's at- 
tention to the qualities we wish to describe. 

Kitty's behavior was not adapted to anything. We may point to 
her behavior by saying that she had her back arched and was star- 
ing at a spot in front of her. But we may also point to her behavior 
by saying that she was behaving as though her behavior were 
adapted to a menacing dog. Similarly, I was aware; but my men- 
tal attitude had no ultimate object and no immediate object. We 
may point to the mental attitude which I had by saying that it 
was an instance of thinking, not a mental picture, and by saying 
that it was an element in a total behavior in which I indicated with 
my fingers two lines at an angle. But we may also point to this 
mental attitude of mine by saying that I was aware as though I 
were aware of a bent stick. 

For let us recall the conditions under which the proposition is 
true which has the form: "C is D as though A were B." Our propo- 
sition: "C is D as though A were B" is true, we have indicated, 54 
when "C is D" is true, "A is not B" true and "If A should be B, 
C would be D" true. There is the proposition: "Kitty has her back 
arched and is staring at a spot in front of hei* as though her be- 

252 



havior were adapted to a menacing dog." And this proposition is 
true, as we have explained our term "truth," if Kitty has her back 
arched, if her behavior is not adapted to a menacing dog, and if it 
is true that, if Kitty's behavior should be adapted to a menacing 
dog, her back would be arched and she would be staring at a 
spot in front of her. Advancing another step, the proposition: 
"If Kitty's behavior should be adapted to a menacing dog, her 
back would be arched and she would be staring at a spot in 
front of her" is an instance of: "If A should be B, C would 
be D." And in order that this instance of: "If A should be B, 
C would be D" may be true, there must be instances of behavior 
analogous to Kitty's arched back and there must be relational 
situations in some sense analogous to the alleged but unreal 
situation: this - Kitty's - behavior- being - adapted - to a - menac- 
ing-dog-in-front-of-her. There must, that is to say, be some other 
cat, or this cat on some other occasion, whose behavior is adapted 
to a menacing dog. There must be some instance of adapted be- 
havior which, if not really analogous to the unreal: this-Kitty's- 
behavior-being-adapted-to-a-menacing-dog-in-front-of-her, is at 
least suggested by our real words: "Analogous to Kitty's behavior 
being adapted to a menacing dog in front of her." 55 Further, the 
cat whose behavior is adapted must have that adapted behavior 
accompanied by a back arched as Kitty's is and not unaccompanied 
by a back arched as Kitty's is. 56 These conditions however are ful- 
filled. The propositions are true which determine the "as if" propo- 
sition before us to be true. And just as it is true that Kitty has her 
back arched and is staring at a spot in front of her as though her be- 
havior were adapted to a menacing dog, so it is true that I had a 
mental attitude as though I were aware of a bent stick. I had a 
mental attitude. I was not aware of a bent stick. But other subjects 
have been aware of bent sticks; and in such real subject-object re- 
lational situations, the subjects have been characterized by mental 
attitudes which, considered as intrinsic qualities, resemble mine. 

There is thus at least one sense, in which the proposition: "I had 
a mental attitude seemingly directed upon a bent stick" may be 
used, in which this proposition does not imply that there was a 
bent stick in front of me and does not imply that my mental atti- 
tude had an object. When "A had a mental attitude seemingly di- 
rected upon B" is used in a sense in which it is synonymous with 

253 



our proposition: "A had a mental attitude as if he were aware of 
B," what is asserted is that A was not aware of B but that some 
subject A 1 had some entity B 1 as an object. Not every instance of 
"A had a mental attitude seemingly directed upon B" is, however, 
synonymous with an instance of "A had a mental attitude as if 
he were aware of B." For, some instances of our proposition: "Des- 
cartes had a mental attitude seemingly directed upon man, God 
and the universe" do not express an assertion that some other sub- 
ject was aware of man, God and the universe and that Descartes 
was not. 57 And some instances of our proposition: "I had a men- 
tal attitude seemingly directed upon a bent stick" do not express 
an assertion that other subjects have been aware of bent sticks. 58 
Some instances of our proposition: "A had a mental attitude 
seemingly directed upon B" are synonymous with: "A had a cer- 
tain attitude, an intrinsic quality which the phrase 'seemingly di- 
rected upon B' may help to identify." When: "A had a mental atti- 
tude seemingly directed upon B" is used in the latter sense it sub- 
stitutes for a proposition which points to intrinsic qualities alone. 69 
Used in either sense, however, "I had a mental attitude seem- 
ingly directed upon a bent stick" is, we hold, true. I had a certain 
mental attitude, a mental attitude which the phrase "seemingly 
directed upon a bent stick" serves to identify. And in view of 
the fact that others have been aware of bent sticks, I had a mental 
attitude as though I were aware of a bent stick. 

Others have been aware of bent sticks. But no one, let us agree, 
has really been aware of a unicorn. In the situation in which one 
seems to be aware of a unicorn, is there then no real subject-object 
relation analogous to that in which some other subject is really 
aware of a bent stick; no real subject-object relation in view of 
which "I had a mental attitude as though I were aware of a uni- 
corn" may be just as true as: "I had a mental attitude as though I 
were aware of a bent stick"? There have been instances, let us as- 
sume, in which a horse has been dressed up with a horn; and there 
have been instances in which a mental attitude has had such a 
horse as an object. Considered as an intrinsic quality, the mental 
attitude which participated in such a subject-object relation re- 
sembles the mental attitude of mine which I describe by saying 
that it was seemingly directed upon a unicorn. Based on such facts 
as these, "I had a mental attitude as though I were aware of a uni- 

254 



corn" may, we hold, be true and "I had a mental attitude as 
though I were aware of a griffin" may be true. Neither the atti- 
tude seemingly directed upon a unicorn nor the attitude seemingly 
directed upon a griffin had an object. They can not be distin- 
guished from one another by a reference to the objects that they 
respectively had. And when we attempt to distinguish between 
them by pointing to intrinsic qualities alone, our words may fail 
to identify either of these mental attitudes and may fail to call 
the reader's attention to the difference between them. But there is 
a real subject-object relation in which there is a mental attitude 
analogous to the one; and a real subject-object relation in which 
there is a mental attitude analogous to the other. There are in each 
case real entities which are objects for resembling mental attitudes; 
and the differences between these real objects may serve to distin- 
guish one mental attitude which has no object from another. 60 

There is no unicorn, no griffin, no bent stick that was my object. 
What, then, becomes of the bent stick that was alleged to have been 
my object? This bent stick, to be sure, subsists. It subsists with 
whatever characteristics it may be alleged to have. There is a sub- 
sisting bent stick which appears as the immediate object of my 
thinking. There is a subsisting bent stick which appears as in- 
dependent of all thinking, unaffected by the mental attitudes 
which are alleged to direct themselves towards it. But "when the 
alleged entity Si is unreal, both our proposition: 'Si is F and our 
proposition: 'Si is not P' are false." 61 "The bent stick in yonder 
pool is independent of my thinking" is false; and "the bent stick 
in yonder pool is not independent of my thinking" is false. For 
these propositions resemble "the present King of France is bald" 
and "the present King of France is not bald." The only true propo- 
sitions that can be asserted with respect to the bent stick are those 
in which non-existence is predicated of it. A bent stick subsists with 
the characteristic of being bent at an angle of 5. And a bent stick 
subsists with the characteristic of being bent at an angle of 55. 
The one subsists as well as the other. The one is no more real than 
the other. 

But surely, it may be said, the bent stick which I seem to see, the 
bent stick which appears to be one inch in diameter and bent at 
an angle of 5, has more reality than a purely imaginary stick, a 
stick which I imagine to be bent at an angle of 55. Similarly when 

255 



I look towards the moon, a silver crescent in the sky, although un- 
real, has, it may be said, more substance and more reality than, for 
example, a black dwarf in the sky. But if all unreals are equally 
unreal, what can be the basis for such alleged distinctions? Since 
Ivanhoe was unreal, "Ivanhoe married Rowena" and "Ivanhoe 
married Rebecca" are both false propositions. There may, to be 
sure, be more instances of the real proposition: "Ivanhoe married 
Rowena/ 1 fewer instances of the real proposition: "Ivanhoe mar- 
ried Rebecca." Again, there is a real mental attitude which is as 
though it were directed upon a silver crescent in the sky; and a 
real mental attitude which is as though it were directed upon a 
black dwarf in the sky. But there may be more mental attitudes 
which, considered as intrinsic qualities, resemble the former 
than resemble the latter. There may be more mental attitudes 
which are as though they were directed upon a stick bent at 
an angle of 5 than there are that are as though they were directed 
upon a stick bent at an angle of 55. And finally, there is the dis- 
tinction that may be made between an hallucinatory experience 
and an illusory experience. Some attitudes, which merely seem to 
be directed upon objects, are caused, or at least are affected, by 
entities which exist where the alleged object is alleged to be; 
whereas others are not. When I look at the moon, there is a round 
moon which brings about the mental attitude of mine which is as 
though it were directed upon a silver crescent in the sky. But 
when, sitting at my desk, I have a mental attitude which is as 
though it were directed upon a black dwarf in the sky, this round 
moon is not at the source of light waves which travel uninter- 
ruptedly to my mind-nerve-fibre and which thus affect my think- 
ing. Nevertheless, black dwarf and silver crescent, stick bent at an 
angle of 5 and stick bent at an angle of 55, all are equally unreal. 
The mental attitudes which seemingly are directed upon them are 
equally without objects. 

It is, we may say, only real entities that can be objects for real 
mental attitudes. The world of real entities is, as it were, closed 
off from the world of merely subsisting, unreal entities. As Par- 
menides held in the early days of Greek philosophy, Being is and 
Non-Being is not. And Being is not related to Non-Being. 



256 



Summary 

Descartes is said to have witnessed the coronation of the Em- 
peror. In this situation we distinguish three relational situa- 
tions in which Descartes and the Emperor are terms, namely, 
a) Descartes-affected-by-the-Emperor, b) Descartes-responding-to- 
the-Emperor, c) Descartes-aware-of-the-Emperor. Corresponding 
to the relational situation: Descartes-responding-to-the-Emperor 
there is an intrinsic quality of Descartes', the quality of behaving 
or responding in a certain direction. And corresponding to the 
relational situation: Descartes-aware-of-the-Emperor there is Des- 
cartes' intrinsic quality of being aware as if of the Emperor. All 
of these entities are real, (In the main body of this chapter, we 
assert first the reality of the intrinsic qualities and then, after 
various objections are disposed of, the reality of the relational sit- 
uations: Descartes-responding-to-the-Emperor and Descartes-aware- 
of-the-Emperor.) 

But is Descartes-aware-of-the-Emperor an unmediated relational 
situation or one in which ideas mediate between Descartes and 
the Emperor? We consider various entities that may be proposed 
as intervening ideas and conclude that, generally speaking, there 
is no intervening idea. Generally speaking, the subject-object 
relation is an unmediated one. 

How can this be so when there is the phenomenon of error? 
Where there is error, there is a mental attitude which is as if it 
had an object; but there is no object, hence no subject-object 
relation. The mental attitude is real and can be described, but 
it is not the term of a subject-object relation. 



257 



Chapter IX 
PERCEPT, MEMORY AND CONCEPT 



There are, we have seen, instances in which mental attitudes 
are affected by entities in their environment. And there are in- 
stances in which mental attitudes reach entities in their environ- 
ment as their ultimate objects. While Descartes was witnessing 
the coronation ceremonies at Frankfurt, light and sound waves 
originating in the Emperor were flowing to Descartes' mind-nerve- 
fibres and were affecting his thinking. 1 And the thinking thus 
brought about reached the Emperor as its ultimate object. There 
was, that is to say, not only the real relational situation: Descartes- 
affected-by-the-Emperor, but also the real relational situation: 
Descartes-in-Frankfurt-having-a-mental-attitude-which-reached-the- 
Emperor-as-its-ultimate-object. 2 Similarly with the ledger clerk 
mentioned in a previous chapter, the ledger clerk concerned with 
figures on a ledger page in front of him. On the one hand, this 
clerk's mind-nerve-fibre, its non-mental qualities and its thinking 
were affected by the figures on the page in front of him. 3 And on 
the other hand, before turning to the statement which he was 
about to prepare, he was aware of the figures which had affected 
him. It is within such situations that there are what we shall call 
"percepts" and what we shall call "instances of perceiving." A 
mental attitude is an instance of perceiving, let us say, when it 
reaches as its object an entity which is at the source of motions 
flowing uninterruptedly to it and affecting it. And an entity is a 
percept, let us say, when it is at the source of motions flowing 
uninterruptedly to the mental attitude directed upon it and 
reaching it as an object. As we use the words "percept" and "per- 

258 



ceiving," Descartes at Frankfurt was perceiving and the Emperor 
was his percept. 

We have, to be sure, suggested a distinction between the entity 
merely at the source of motions terminating in a given mind- 
nerve-fibre and the entity at the source, in the absence of which 
the mind-nerve-fibre would not have been affected as it was. "We 
may use 'cause' and 'effect' in such a way that not every entity at 
the source of motion is a cause and not every entity at the termi- 
nus a result/'* As we use the terms "percept" and "perceiving," 
however, no strict sense of "cause," and no strict sense of "result," 
is involved. An entity which is real, which is the object reached 
by a given mental attitude, and which is at the source of motions 
flowing uninterruptedly to that mental attitude, such an entity 
is in our terminology a "percept" whether or not it be a sine 
qua non with respect to the mental attitude directed upon it. 
And a mental attitude which is real, and which reaches as its 
ultimate object an entity at the source of motions flowing un- 
interruptedly to it, is, in our terminology, an "instance of per- 
ceiving," whether the entity which it reaches as an object merely 
has affected it or, in some strict sense of "cause," has caused it. 
If the Emperor presented as a substance was real and if the Em- 
peror was really pious, then Descartes at Frankfurt, in being 
aware of the Emperor or of his piety, was perceiving. The Em- 
peror and his piety were percepts, even if it should be true that, 
in a strict sense of "cause," it was not the Emperor but some 
. quality of his, and not the Emperor's piety but some other quality 
of his, that caused Descartes' thinking. 5 

Descartes at Frankfurt was aware of the Emperor in front of 
him. Descartes was perceiving and the Emperor was his percept. 
You too, we have agreed, 6 are aware of the Emperor. And yet, as 
we have explained our term "perceiving," your mental attitude 
directed upon the Emperor is not an instance of perceiving. For, 
whereas the Emperor was at the source of motions flowing un- 
interruptedly to Descartes' mental attitude, he was, let us agree, 
not at the source of motions flowing uninterruptedly to your 
mental attitude. The Emperor, it follows, was a percept with re- 
spect to one thinking mind-nerve-fibre reaching him as an ulti- 
mate object, but not a percept with respect to another mind-nerve- 
fibre reaching him as an ultimate object. 

259 



The Emperor was real, a percept with respect to one mind- 
nerve-fibre but not with respect to another. The mere fact that 
a given mental attitude reached the Emperor as an object does 
not determine whether that- mental attitude was, or was not, an 
instance of perceiving. And the mere fact that the Emperor was 
real, plus the fact that he was an object for some mental attitudes 
which were instances of perceiving and for some mental attitudes 
which >3 frere not, does not determine whether a given mind-nerve- 
fibre was aware of him or was not aware of him. The Emperor's 
being real, in short, does not imply that Descartes was perceiving 
him or even that Descartes was aware of him. And we may express 
our rejection of such alleged implications by asserting that the 
Emperor might have been real if Descartes had not perceived 
him and might have been real if Descartes had not been aware 
of him. 

The Emperor in Frankfurt, although an entity reached as an 
object by your mental attitude, is not a percept with respect to 
your mental attitude. And the other side of the moon, although 
reached as an object by various mental attitudes, is not a percept 
with respect to any of the mental attitudes reaching it as an 
object. Just as your mental attitude reaches the Emperor as an 
object but is not at the terminus of motions originating in the 
Emperor and flowing uninterruptedly to this mental attitude 
of yours, so various mental attitudes reach the other side of 
the moon as an object but are not at the termini of motions 
originating in the other side of the moon and flowing unin- 
terruptedly to them. Nevertheless, the other side of the moon 
is real just as the Emperor is real. Just as the Emperor is not 
presented with the characteristic of lacking date or position 
or with the characteristic of being generally discredited, so the 
other side of the moon is not presented with the characteristic 
of lacking date or position or with the characteristic of being 
generally discredited. And just as the Emperor, presented with- 
out certain characteristics that would mark him out as unreal, 
is listed as real in the appendix to Chapter Three, so is the other 
side df * the 1 moon. As we have explained our term "reality," 
the characteristic of not being a percept with respect to any 
mental attitude' is not a mark of unreality. An entity presented 
with the characteristic of not being a percept with respect to any 

260 



mental attitude need not be unreal. And the other side o the 
moon, so presented, is, we find, real. 

There is a fallen tree in the woods which is real and which is 
a percept of mine. And there was a prior phase of this tree, a 
phase in which the tree was falling, which, although real, was, let 
us agree, a percept for no one. Since one entity which is real is a 
percept with respect to some mental attitudes and another entity 
which is real a percept with respect to no mental attitudes, the 
mere fact that the fallen tree is real does not determine whether 
it was some one's percept or no one's percept. Just as the Em- 
peror's being real "does not imply that Descartes was perceiving 
him," 7 so the fallen tree's being real does not imply that the 
fallen tree was some one's percept. Just as in the one case we may 
express our rejection of an alleged implication by asserting that 
the Emperor might have been real if Descartes had not perceived 
him, so in the other case we may express our rejection of an 
alleged implication by asserting that the fallen tree might have 
been real if no one had perceived it. 

Descartes however was perceiving the Emperor; and I, simi- 
larly, am perceiving the fallen tree. An Emperor presented as 
perceived by Descartes and presented as not perceived by Des- 
cartes is presented as self-contradictory and is unreal. And an 
Emperor presented as in no sense an object of consciousness is 
presented with a characteristic which likewise marks out the 
Emperor so presented as unreal. 8 Similarly with the fallen tree. 
The fallen tree presented as some one's percept and no one's per- 
cept is unreal; and the fallen tree presented as no one's object is 
unreal. Thus in a context which informs us that the Emperor 
was Descartes' percept, it is not possible, as we have explained 
the term "truth" in its application to problematic propositions, 
for Descartes not to, have perceived the Emperor. 9 And in a con- 
text which informs us that the fallen tree was some one's percept, 
it is not possible for the fallen tree to have been no one's, percept. 
In a more limited context, however, in a context which informs 
us merely that the Emperor was real and the fallen tree real, we 
may say that the Emperor may have been real, though unper- 
ceived by Descartes; and we may say that the fallen tree may be 
real though unperceived by anyone. But even within so limited 
a context, the proposition: "The Emperor may have been real, 

261 



though an object for no one*' is false, and the proposition: "The 
fallen tree may have been real, though an object for no one" is 
likewise false. There is a sense, we have seen, in which it may be 
asserted that the fallen tree might have been real if no one had 
perceived it. But the proposition is false in which we express the 
assertion that the fallen tree might have been real if no one had 
been aware of it. The fallen tree's being real, in short, does not 
imply that this tree was some one's percept, but it does imply that 
this tree was some one's object ojr, more precisely, that it did not 
have the characteristic of being no one's object. 

The Emperor was a percept of Descartes'. And lawyer Jones, 
who stands before me, is a percept of mine. There was, however, 
some previous occasion on which I first saw lawyer Jones and 
was about to be introduced to him. And on that occasion, let us 
agree, I was at first not aware that the man before me was a law- 
yer or that his name was Jones. The lawyer Jones who now 
stands before me had, in short, a prior phase, a phase which 
affected my thinking and which led me to be aware, not of lawyer 
Jones, but of Mr. X. Let us then abstract from the lawyer Jones 
who stands before me his quality of being a lawyer and his qual- 
ity of being named Jones. And let us seek within my present per- 
cept for some residual element to correspond to what my object 
was when lawyer Jones first affected my thinking. Indeed, let us 
seek to disregard or to neutralize not only the mental attitudes 
which I have directed upon lawyer Jones since that first meeting, 
but various other mental attitudes as well. When I first met law- 
yer Jones, I was aware of him as being a man. "What do I see," 
we have, however, found Descartes asking, 10 "but hats and coats 
which may cover automatic machines?" When a baby is first con- 
fronted by a man, he is, let us agree, no more aware of his percept 
as being a man than I was of lawyer Jones as being a lawyer 
named Jones. Just as my present mental attitude aware of lawyer 
Jones' name and profession points back not only to what I first 
saw but to what I later learned, so the baby's mental attitude 
which is aware of a man as being a man points back not only to 
what he was aware of when first confronted by a man but to other 
experiences of his as welL 

It is the alleged residual element within a given percept that 
we shall call a "sense-datum." A sense-datum, that is to say, is, if 

262 



% 

it is real, that real quality of a percept, or that real element within 
a percept, which corresponds to the object of some previous in- 
stance of perceiving unaffected by experience. To be sure, when 
today I am confronted by lawyer Jones, I do not, let us agree, 
first perceive a sense-datum or even a Mr. X. While I am looking 
at lawyer Jones, there need be no particular succession of mental 
attitudes, no mental attitude directed upon a sense-datum fol- 
lowed by a mental attitude directed upon lawyer Jones, his name 
and his profession. Indeed if there is any element within my 
percept which is to be called a "sense-datum" as we have ex- 
plained that term, it may be that I today am aware of it only 
after a process of analysis and abstraction. When confronted by 
Rodin's "Thinker" or by a landscape painting, "it is, one might 
say, when we attend to the artist's technique that we distinguish 
the sense-datum from what then appears to us to have been in- 
ferred." 11 And if there is a sense-datum within the lawyer Jones 
who is the object of my present perceiving, it is perhaps only 
after reflecting upon the meaning of "sense-datum" that I today 
come to be aware of it. The prior instance of perceiving, to whose 
object the sense-datum included in my present percept corre- 
sponds, need not then be the earliest in the series of mental atti- 
tudes that I today direct upon lawyer Jones. The prior instance 
of perceiving to whose object a sense-datum corresponds is al- 
legedly a mental attitude with a real object but a mental attitude 
unaffected by experience. And the search for such a mental atti- 
tude may lead us to think of mental attitudes much earlier in the 
history of the individual or in the history of the race. 

A sense-datum, if real, is that element within a percept which 
corresponds to the object of some previous instance of perceiv- 
ing unaffected by experience. But as I look at lawyer Jones, 
my mental attitude is an instance of perceiving, whether I am 
aware of a lawyer named Jones, whether I am aware of my 
object as Mr. X., or whether I am aware of a sense-datum that 
is a real quality or element in lawyer Jones. As we use the terms 
"percept" and "sense-datum," a sense^datum, if it is real, may 
be a percept; and an element in the object before me, an ele- 
ment not a sense-datum, may likewise be a percept. If there 
is a quality of the lawyer Jones who stands before me that is a 
sense-datum, and if I am aware of it, then that quality is at the 

263 



source of motions which flow uninterruptedly to me and which lead 
me to be aware of it. But the quality of being a lawyer named Jones 
is likewise at the source of motions which flow uninterruptedly to 
me and which lead me to be aware of a lawyer named Jones. In 
either instance I am perceiving. For whether it be a substance 
or a quality, a residual element or some less elementary object, so 
long as the entity of which I am aware is at the source of motions 
flowing uninterruptedly to me and leading me to be aware of it, 
that entity is a percept of mine and my mental attitude an instance 
of perceiving. 12 

As we use the term "percept," lawyer Jones' quality of being a 
lawyer is a percept of mine and the Emperor's piety was a percept 
of Descartes'. But whereas lawyer Jones' quality of being a lawyer 
is at the source of motions flowing uninterruptedly to me and 
leading me to be aware of this quality, there may be some other 
quality inhering in lawyer Jones without which I would not be 
affected as I am. Some other quality inhering in lawyer Jones may 
be that without which I would not be aware of Jones as a lawyer; 
and some quality other than the Emperor's piety may be that 
without which Descartes would not have been aware of the Em- 
peror as pious. 13 Although Jones' quality of being a lawyer affected 
my thinking, and although the Emperor's piety affected Descartes' 
thinking, there may be some strict sense of "cause" in which Jones' 
quality of being a lawyer does not cause my thinking nor the Em- 
peror's piety Descartes' thinking. 14 As we use the term "percept," 
the Emperor's piety was a percept with respect to Descartes' think- 
ing whether or not it was a sense-datum with respect to that think- 
ing. And as we use the term "percept," the Emperor's piety was a 
percept with respect to Descartes' thinking, whether it merely 
affected that thinking or whether, in a strict sense of "cause," it 
was the cause of that thinking. 16 

Nevertheless, the distinction which we have sought to make 
between the percept which is a sense-datum and the percept which 
is not a sense^datum is not to be confused with the distinction which 
we have sought to make between the entity at the source, which 
merely affects the instance of perceiving directed upon it, nd the 
entity at the source, which, in a strict Sense of "cause/' is the cause of 
that instance of perceiving. A mental attitude which is an instance 
of perceiving has been affected by its percept; it also reaches its per- 

264 



cept as its ultimate object. In the search for sense-data we concern 
ourselves with the relational situation involving mental attitude 
and object and are led to consider relational situations involving 
earlier mental attitudes and earlier objects. But in the search for 
entities at the source without which a given instance of perceiving 
would not be affected as it is, we concern ourselves with relational 
situations involving motions flowing to terminus from source. 
We are led to consider, not earlier mental attitudes with real 
objects but unaffected by experience, and not residual objects, but 
rather a group of mental attitudes, some similar and some dissimi- 
lar and a group of sources, some similar and some dissimilar. On 
the one hand, if any entities exist which are denoted by our term 
"sense-data," they are, it would seem, such vague entities as some- 
thing - making - a - noise - somewhere or something - shining - 
somewhere. On the other hand, if there is some entity at the source 
in the absence of which a given mental attitude would not be 
affected as it is, that entity at the source may be some quality 
which is neither vague nor elementary; it may rather be a quality 
such that only a student of physics is aware of it and can describe 
it. 

The Emperor was at the source of motions which flowed unin- 
terruptedly to Descartes who was in front of him, at the source 
of motions affecting the mental attitude of Descartes' which 
reached him as an object. He was likewise, let us agree, at the 
source of motions which flowed uninterruptedly to the Bishop 
of Mayence who stood at the Emperor's side, at the source of 
motions affecting the mental attitude of the Bishop which like- 
wise reached him as an object. Not only then was the Emperor 
a percept with respect to Descartes; he was also a percept with 
respect to the Bishop who stood at his side. He may indeed 
have been an immediate object both for Descartes' perceiving 
and for the Bishop's perceiving. For he was, we have held, 
"not only the ultimate object, but also the immediate object, 
reached by a mental attitude belonging to Descartes at Frank- 
furt." 16 And he may likewise have been, not only the ultimate 
object, but also the immediate object, of the mental attitude be- 
longing to the Bishop. 

But how, it may be asked, can Descartes and the Bishop have 
had a common immediate object? 17 Descartes and the Bishop 

265 



looked at the Emperor from different positions just as when there 
are ten people "sitting round a dinner table," 18 they all see the 
table from slightly different points of view. What is it, however, 
that I see when I sit at one end of a rectangular table, and what is 
it that you see when you sit at the other end? The table is rec- 
tangular, neither narrower at your end nor narrower at mine. It 
is a rectangular table, not a table narrower at my end, that affects 
your thinking. And it is a rectangular table, not a table narrower 
at your end, that affects my thinking. Hence, if your apparent ob- 
ject is a table, presented not as rectangular but as narrower at my 
end, then the real table which has affected your thinking is not the 
object of your thinking. And if my apparent object is a table, 
presented not as rectangular but as narrower at your end, then the 
real table which has affected my thinking is not the object of my 
thinking. In such a situation you are not perceiving and I am not 
perceiving. In so far as you seem to be aware of a table narrower 
at my end, you are aware but not aware-of , 19 And in so far as I seem 
to be aware of a table narrower at your end, I too am aware but 
not aware-of. 

Instead, however, of my seeming to be aware of a table narrower 
at your end, it may be that I am aware of a rectangular table. And 
instead of your seeming to be aware of a table narrower at my 
end, it may be that you too are aware of a rectangular table. A state 
of affairs in which you and I are in continual disagreement as to 
the shape of the table is presented as generally discredited and is un- 
real. What exists, let us agree, is a relational situation in which my 
mental attitude, having been affected by a rectangular table, is 
aware of a rectangular table; and a relational situation in which 
your mental attitude, having been affected by a rectangular table, is 
likewise aware of a rectangular table. A mental attitude apparently 
directed upon a table narrower at your end may have preceded my 
mental attitude reaching the rectangular table as its object. But the 
trapeziform table alleged to have been the object for such a pre- 
ceding mental attitude is not a residual element, not a sense- 
datum, within the rectangular table that comes to be my object. 
Nor is it a quality of the rectangular table without which I would 
not be aware of the rectangular table. Being unreal, it "inheres 
in no real substance and is a term in no real relational situation." 20 

There is a situation in which my mental attitude, having been 

266 



affected by the rectangular table at which I sit, is without a real 
object, but is as though its object were a trapeziform table. And 
there is a situation in which my mental attitude, having been af- 
fected by a straight stick in the water in front of me, is without 
a real object, but is as though its object were a bent stick. 21 These 
mental attitudes are, let us say, "instances of pseudo-perceiving." 
They differ from mental attitudes which are without objects, but 
which are not instances of pseudo-perceiving, in that they are 
"affected by entities which exist where the alleged object is al- 
leged to be." 22 The distinction, in short, to which we have already 
alluded, the distinction between illusory experiences on the one 
hand and hallucinatory experiences on the other, is the distinc- 
tion between mental attitudes without objects which we call "in- 
stances of pseudo-perceiving" and mental attitudes without objects 
which are not what we call "instances of pseudo-perceiving." 

There is motion flowing uninterruptedly from the rectangular 
table to the mental attitude of mine which is as though it were 
directed upon a trapeziform table. And there is motion flowing 
uninterruptedly from the Emperor at Frankfurt to that mental 
attitude which Descartes had when he perceived the Emperor in 
front of him. 23 What is the situation, however, when I listen to a 
symphony by Beethoven as recorded on a phonograph record; or 
when I see the coronation of George VI as represented in a news- 
reel? If I am aware of sounds as coming from the record or of 
colors as being on a screen, my mental attitude has as its object 
the sounding record, or the picture on the screen, which is at the 
source of motions flowing uninterruptedly to my mental attitude 
and affecting it. My mental attitude is an instance of perceiving 
and the sounding record, or the picture on the screen, is its percept. 

Let us agree, however, that, while the record is being played, 
some mental attitude of mine is directed upon what happened in 
the studio when the Philadelphia orchestra was performing the sym- 
phony and recording it. And let us agree that, while looking at 
the news-reel, I turn my attention from the screen in front of me 
to certain events which occurred in Westminster Abbey. Neither 
the performance in Philadelphia nor the events in Westminster 
Abbey are, it would seem, at the source of motions flowing unin- 
terruptedly to my present mental attitudes. Motions originating 
in Westminster Abbey were, as it were, held up in the film and 

267 



released only when the film was run off in front of me. And mo- 
tions originating in Philadelphia and finally affecting me were 
interrupted while, for example, my record lay in a warehouse or 
in my cabinet. There are, let us agree, relational situations in 
which I am aware of such entities as this performance in Philadel- 
phia or this coronation in Westminster Abbey. There are indeed 
relational situations in which such entities as these are my im- 
mediate objects. 24 Such objects are however not percepts for the 
mental attitudes thus directed upon them. For they are, as in the 
instances given, not at the source of motions travelling uninter- 
ruptedly to the mental attitudes whose objects they are. 

I may attend a performance by the Philadelphia orchestra. The 
performance may affect me through a phonograph record. Or a 
friend who attended the performance may describe it to me. Just 
as, when I listen to the record, the sounding record may be my 
object rather than the performance to which it refers, so when I 
listen to my friend, his voice or his mental attitude may be my 
object rather than the performance to which his words refer. But 
just as I may turn my attention from the record, which is here 
and now, to the performance which was there and then, so I may 
direct my mental attitude, not upon my friend, but upon the per- 
formance which he is describing. Again my object is the past per- 
formance in Philadelphia. Again, when I come to fix my attention 
on this object, it may be my immediate object. 25 And again my 
object is at the source of motions which have travelled, but have 
not travelled uninterruptedly, to me. For the process by which 
the performance affected my friend corresponds to the process by 
which the recording was made. And the motion, coming to me 
from the playing record which I hear, corresponds to the motion 
coming to me from the friend of mine who describes to me the 
performance he has attended. My friend, to be sure, is no record 
and no record cabinet. But in the process from ultimate object 
to mental attitude aware of that object, motions may, as it were, 
be intercepted, more or less transformed, and later released, by 
mind-persons as well as by records or pictures. 

When I direct my attention to a performance which my friend 
describes to me, my experience is no doubt different from what it 
is when the performance takes place in my presence. To think 
about a performance is, one may say, to be aware of an object 

268 



which is presented somewhat indefinitely, without its full detail. 
But whether I attend the performance, hear a recording of it or 
merely think about it, it is the performance which is my object. 
And when I pass over air waves in the one case, the record in the 
second, and my friend's voice and attitude in the third, when, in 
short, I do not direct my attention to the intermediaries through 
which my object has affected me, then the performance is my im- 
mediate object. 

There are instances of perceiving, as when I am aware of the 
rectangular table in front of me which has affected me. There are 
instances of pseudo-perceiving, as when, with a rectangular table 
in front of me which has affected me, I seem, nevertheless, to be 
aware of a trapezif orm table. 26 Similarly there is on the one hand the 
situation in which I am aware of a performance in Philadelphia 
which, through friend or record, has affected me; and there is on 
the other hand the situation in which, after listening to a friend 
who was pseudo-perceiving, I seem to be aware of an alleged event 
which did not occur. A soldier may have left the battle at Water- 
loo with the report that the French were victorious. Some of the 
sentences written by an historian may not be true. My friend may 
have given me what is commonly called a "false impression" of 
what occurred in Philadelphia. Indeed, with reporters, historians 
or other interpreters as intermediaries, it may be held that we are 
never aware of events as they actually occurred, that our mental 
attitudes are always analogous to instances of pseudo-perceiving 
rather than to instances of perceiving. But whereas the object of 
which I came to be aware through an interpreter may not be pre- 
sented with the detail with which that object is presented when I 
am perceiving it, nevertheless the elements in the object which 
are presented need not, we hold, be unreal. Charles the First, let 
us agree, did die on the scaffold. And when, with niany historians 
and ultimately an eye-witness as intermediaries, I come to be aware 
of Charles dying on the scaffold, then I am aware of a real object. 
My object, that is to say, is at the source of motions, which, al- 
though delayed in transmission and transformed by the inter- 
mediaries through whom they have passed, have affected the men- 
tal attitude of mine directed upon this real object. 

"Motions may, as it were, be intercepted, more or less trans- 
formed and later released, by mind-persons as well as by records or 

269 



pictures." 27 And the mind-person doing the intercepting, trans- 
forming and releasing may, it would seem, be a previous phase of 
the very subject who is aware of the ultimate object. It may not 
have been my friend, but I, who attended the performance in 
Philadelphia. And the mental attitude which I today direct upon 
this past performance may have been affected by the performance, 
not through my friend as intermediary, but through the attitudes 
which I had last night when I was attending the performance. Last 
night I was perceiving; today I am not. Today I seem again to be 
aware of last night's performance; and if my apparent object is 
not unreal, if it is all or part of what did occur, then I today am 
really aware of last night's performance. But last night's perform- 
ance is not at the source of motions which have travelled uninter- 
ruptedly to the mental attitude which I have today. With respect 
to today's mental attitude directed upon last night's performance, 
those motions have been intercepted, and yet in some sense passed 
on, by nerve-fibres within my body which were affected last night. 
I am, let us agree, aware of last night's performance. My present 
mental attitude which has a real object is then in our terminology 
an instance of "remembering." And last night's performance, 
which is reached as a real object by today's mental attitude is, let 
us say, a ' 'memory" with respect to this attitude. 

As we use the terms "percept" and "memory," last night's per- 
formance was a percept with respect to the mental attitude which I 
directed upon it last night, a memory with respect to the mental 
attitude which I direct upon it today. Last night's moon was a per- 
cept with respect to the mental attitude of yours which was aware 
of it last night, with respect, that is to say, to the mental attitude of 
yours which was at the terminus of motions flowing uninter- 
ruptedly from moon to mental attitude. And last night's moon is 
a memory with respect to the mental attitude which you today di- 
rect upon last night's moon, with respect to the mental attitude 
where the flow of motions from moon to mental attitude has been 
interrupted and yet transmitted by earlier phases of your body or 
mind-person. 

When a record is being played in my presence, I may, on the 
one hand, we have seen, 28 be aware of the sounding record before 
me rather than of the events in the studio where the record was 
made; or I may, on the other hand, be aware of the performance 

270 



in the studio and not of the record. Descartes at Frankfurt may at 
one moment have been aware of the Emperor who was his percept; 
and he may at another moment have been aware of his own ears, of 
the ears through which the Emperor was affecting him. Similarly 
there may today be one thinking mind-nerve-fibre of yours which 
is aware of last night's moon and remembering it. And there may 
today be another thinking mind-nerve-fibre of yours which is 
aware of the mental attitude which you had last night when you 
were perceiving the moon. There are in short, let us agree, in- 
stances of remembering; but there also are instances in which men- 
tal attitudes reach as their objects prior mental attitudes of one's 
own, prior mental attitudes which are intermediaries in the process 
from memory to instance of remembering. 

In being aware of the fact that the Emperor was his percept, Des- 
cartes, we may suppose, was aware of the fact that the Emperor was 
affecting him through air-waves and ears, through light waves and 
retina. To be aware of a percept as a percept, we may say, is to be 
aware of the process from percept to instance of perceiving. And to 
be aware of a memory as a memory, to be aware of the fact that a 
given entity is a memory with respect to a given instance of re- 
membering, is, we may say, to be aware of the process from memory 
to remembering. But there are, we hold, instances of perceiving 
which are not accompanied by mental attitudes aware of the per- 
cept as a percept. And there are instances of remembering not 
accompanied by mental attitudes aware of the memory as a mem- 
ory. Descartes' behavior may have been adapted to the Emperor, 
but not to Descartes' own ears, not "to the ears through which 
the Emperor's voice has affected Descartes' behavior." 29 The rela- 
tional situation: Descartes-having-a-mental-attitude-which-reaches- 
the-Emperor-as-its-ultimateobject may be real; and the alleged 
relational situation: Descartes-having-a-mental-attitude-which- 
reaches-intervening-air-waves-as-objects unreal. And you today may 
be remembering last night's moon, but aware neither of the proc- 
ess from last night's moon to today's remembering, nor of the per- 
ceiving which occurred last night and which was an intermediarv 
in that process. When I remember the performance which I at- 
tended last night, I say, for example: "First they played an over- 
ture, then a symphony" rather than "First I heard an overture, 
then I heard a symphony." My mental attitude, that is to say, is 

271 



directed towards last night's performance, and not towards the 
mental attitudes which I had last night. It is directed towards the 
entity that was a percept with respect to last night's perceiving and 
is a memory with respect to today's remembering, but not towards 
the fact that that entity was a percept with respect to last night's 
perceiving and is a memory with respect to today's remembering. 
Let us assume that one of my mind-nerve-fibres today is aware of 
the process from last night's performances to today's remembering, 
or is aware of the mental attitude which I had last night when I was 
perceiving the performance. And let us assume that subsequently 
another of my mind-nerve-fibres remembers the performance but is 
not aware of it as a memory. Then in the subject-object relation 
between remembering mind-nerve-fibre and memory not recog- 
nized as a memory, the performance need not be an indirect ob- 
ject with process or prior perceiving intervening as idea. For be- 
ing an idea, we have said, is not "merely being an object for some 
previous mental attitude." 30 Nor does the fact that there are inter- 
mediaries in the process from memory to instance of remembering 
imply that there is an idea intervening in the subject-object re- 
lation involving remembering subject and memory object. "The 
Emperor, alleged to be both the cause and the ultimate object 
reached by Descartes' thinking, need not be presented as unreal 
when intervening entities are presented as nearer causes, but not 
nearer objects, of Descartes' thinking." S1 And last night's perform- 
ance, presented as the immediate object of today's remembering, 
need not be presented as unreal even though last night's perceiv- 
ing is presented as an intermediary in the process from perform- 
ance to remembering. The process from memory to remembering 
need not be an intervening idea. Last night's perceiving need not 
be an intervening idea. And no entity which is present and not 
past need be an intervening idea. For it is "no more incredible for 
a subject to be now and its immediate object then than it is for 
one end of this couch to be here and the other end there." 82 In- 
deed last night's performance, presented as the immediate object 
of my present remembering, is, we hold, real; and last night's 
moon, presented as the immediate object of your present remem- 
bering, is, we hold, likewise real. For last night's performance and' 
last night's moon so presented are presented neither as self-con- 
tradictory nor as incredible; and they are listed as real in the 

272 



appendix to Chapter Three. 

It has been held, to be sure, that a given mental attitude's im- 
mediate objects must all be contemporaneous with it. If a bell is 
struck twice in succession, then, although I am perceiving the 
second stroke which is now, I can be aware of the first stroke 
which is past, it is said, only by being aware of a present idea re- 
ferring back to that past stroke. If I am to be aware of both strokes 
together, if I am to compare them, or if I am to say: "The bell has 
struck twice," one of the objects of my present mental attitude, it 
has been held, must be a contemporaneous replica of the entity 
that was my object when I was perceiving the first stroke. I must, it 
is said, "reproduce" 33 the object of my former perceiving. 

When, however, my present mental attitude reaches the past 
stroke as its ultimate object, my immediate object is not an idea 
"held to be non-spatial," not an idea "held not to be spatially re- 
lated to ultimate objects contemporaneous with it," not an idea 
"held not to be an object for other subjects/' and not an idea held 
to be adjacent to my thinking. 34 The alleged contemporaneous 
replica of the object of my former perceiving is unreal when it is 
presented with any of these characteristics and when it is also 
presented as primarily an object and hence as distinguishable 
from my mental attitude itself. It is my present mental attitudes 
which are real. And these mental attitudes have as their immediate 
objects, we hold, the second stroke which is present, the first stroke 
which is past, and the relational situation first-stroke-prior-to- 
second-stroke as well. The first stroke which is past enters as im- 
mediate object into subject-object relational situations with two 
thinking mind-nerve-fibres of mine, with my former mind-nerve- 
fibre with respect to which it was a percept and with my present 
mind-nerve-fibre with respect to which it is a memory. There are 
indeed respects in which my present mind-nerve-fibre, which re- 
members, resembles my former mind-nerve-fibre which perceived. 
Both mind-nerve-fibres, for example, have the same object. It is 
however not an object which is reproduced, but two mind-nerve- 
fibres which are similar, one occurring after the other in different 
phases of the same mind-person. 

There are instances of remembering. But "there also are in- 
stances in which mental attitudes reach as their objects prior men- 
tal attitudes of one's own, prior mental attitudes which are inter- 

273 



mediaries in the process from memory to instance of remember- 
ing." as I may remember the first stroke which is past, and may be 
aware of the fact that it was prior to the second stroke which is 
present, without being aware of the process from first stroke to 
present remembering, and without being aware of the former per- 
ceiving of mine with respect to which the first stroke was a per- 
cept. But along with instances of being aware of a series of objects, 
there are instances of being aware of a series of mental attitudes, 
all of which are directed upon one of these objects. I may, it 
would seem, be aware both of my present remembering and of my 
past perceiving, may be aware of the fact that; an earlier mental 
attitude directed upon a given object has preceded a later mental 
attitude directed upon the same object. We do not agree, how- 
ever, that "without our being conscious that what we are think- 
ing now is the same as what we thought a moment before, all re- 
production in the series of representations would be in vain." 36 
Not only is there no reproduction of objects, but such repetition 
of mental attitudes as there is does not require a mental attitude 
which is both contemporaneous with the second of two resembling 
mind-nerve-fibres and aware of the first. 

This much however is true. The entity which is alleged to be 
my memory, and also alleged to be recognized as my memory by 
no one, is unreal. For to impute to the quality of being my mem- 
ory the characteristic of being no one's object is to impute to that 
alleged quality a characteristic which, as we have explained "re- 
ality," marks out that alleged quality as unreal. 37 But to say that 
my memory does not exist when presented with the character- 
istic of being recognized as my memory by no one is somewhat 
different from saying that, for my memory to be real, it must 
have the quality of being recognized as my memory by someone. 38 
And it is far different from saying that, for my memory to be 
real, it must be recognized as a memory by a mental attitude of 
mine contemporaneous with my remembering. 

Last night's performance in Philadelphia may be at the source 
of motions travelling uninterruptedly to the mental attitude which 
I had when I was attending the performance. Or it may be at the 
source of motions, which were held up, as it were, in a record, but 
which affected the mental attitude which I had when I listened to 
this record. It may be at the source of motions which affected my 

274 



friend who attended the performance, and which, through him, 
affected the mental attitude which I had when I heard him de- 
scribe the performance. Or it may be at the source of motions af- 
fecting me through a process in which some previous mental atti- 
tude of mine was an intermediary. There are real mental atti- 
tudes at the termini of motions flowing uninterruptedly from the 
entities of which those mental attitudes are aware. And there are 
real mental attitudes such that the motions, flowing to them from 
the objects of which they are aware, have been delayed in passing 
through some such intermediaries as a record, a friend's attitude, 
or a prior mental attitude of one's own. 

What however is the situation when there are alleged to be no 
interrupted motions, and no uninterrupted motions, flowing from 
an alleged object to a mental attitude alleged to be aware of that 
object? There are, let us agree, no interrupted motions, and no 
uninterrupted motions, flowing to you from the other side of the 
moon. And similarly the mental attitudes which I have today are 
not affected, let us agree, by the sunrise which will occur tomorrow 
morning. Nevertheless as you read this, you do have a mental atti- 
tude which seems to be directed upon the other side of the moon. 
And since the other side of the moon is real, 89 your mental attitude 
is not without a real object, but reaches as its object the other side 
of the moon. The other side of the moon is thus a real object with 
respect to a mental attitude of yours which it has not affected. And 
tomorrow's sunrise is, we hold, a real object with respect to a men- 
tal attitude of mine which it has not affected. Tomorrow's sunrise 
may be a percept with respect to a mental attitude that will exist 
tomorrow morning. It may be a memory with respect to a mental 
attitude that will exist still later. But with respect to the mental 
attitude which I have today, it is, let us say, an "inferred object/' 
And the other side of the moon is, let us say, an "inferred object" 
with respect to the mental attitude which you successfully direct 
upon it. 

Some phase of the sun today, or some prior phase of the sun, 
has affected me. And these phases which have affected me are re- 
lated to that phase of the sun which will exist when the sun rises 
tomorrow. They are all, that is to say, phases of the same enduring 
entity; and the past phases with their acceleration lead on to the 
future phase. But does the fact that past phases of the sun reach 

275 



out, as it were, in two directions, on the one hand, to the present 
mental attitude which they affect and, on the other hand, to to- 
morrow's sunriseaccount for the fact that my present mental atti- 
tude has as its object tomorrow's sunrise? The ball which I am 
about to throw affects the dog at my feet and is related to the ball's 
falling to the ground which will occur some distance away. But if 
we do not confuse what is usual with what is free from puzzle- 
ment, we may find it puzzling that my dog's behavior, unaffected 
by a future phase of the ball, is nevertheless "adapted to the ball 
that is about to fall to the ground some distance away." 40 Such be- 
wilderment as there may be, however, does not imply that my dog's 
behavior, presented as adapted to a future phase of the ball, is 
presented as generally discredited and is unreal. "A similarity 
between two peoples need not be presented as generally discredited 
even though such a similarity unaccompanied by mutual influence 
or common ancestry is ... presented as puzzling/' 41 So with my 
dog's behavior presented as adapted to a future phase of the ball 
which has not affected him. And so with my present mental atti- 
tude presented as reaching as its object tomorrow's sunrise. There 
5, we find, a real relational situation: my-dog's-behavior-adapted- 
to-the-ball-about-to-Ml-to-the-ground. And there is a real rela- 
tional situation: my-present-mind-nerve-fibre-aware-of-tomorrow's- 
sunrise. 

Suppose, however, that I do not throw the ball but merely pre- 
tend to throw it. The dog starts off. But whereas he behaves as 
though his behavior were adapted to a ball about to fall to the 
ground, his behavior is not adapted to anything. 42 Somewhat 
similarly, having been affected by entity A, I may merely seem to 
be aware of an entity B that is alleged to be related to it. B may be 
unreal, not really connected with A and not really the object of a 
mental attitude of mine. In short, just as there are instances of 
perceiving and instances of pseudo-perceiving; and just as "there is 
on the one hand the situation in which I am aware of a perform- 
ance ip Philadelphia whi^h, through friend or record, has affected 
me,** wd, "on the other hand, the situation in which, after listen- 
|ijg to a friend who was pseudo-perceiving, I seem to be aware of 
an alleged event which did not occur;" 4S so, let us agree, there 
are instances of mental attitudes which are aware of inferred ob- 
jects and instances o mental attitudes which merely seem to be 

27S 



aware of inferred objects. 

I may, we have seen, be aware of the performance in Philadel- 
phia and may pass over the friend or record through which this 
performance has affected me.* 4 The performance in Philadelphia, 
that is to say, may be my immediate object. Similarly, tomorrow's 
sunrise, which is an inferred object with respect to my present men- 
tal attitude, may be my immediate object. For just as I may be 
aware of the performance without being aware of friend or record, 
so I may be aware of tomorrow's sunrise without there being a con- 
temporaneous mental attitude of mine directed upon the past 
phases of the sun which have affected me. Tomorrow's sunrise 
may be an immediate object with respect to the mental attitude 
with respect to which it is an inferred object. It may be an im- 
mediate object with respect to tomorrow's mental attitude with 
respect to which it will be a percept. And it may be an immediate 
object with respect to some later mental attitude with respect to 
which it will be a memory. 

Furthermore, just as there is a distinction to be made between 
the mind-nerve-fibre which perceives and the mind-nerve-fibre 
which is aware of a percept as a percept; and just as there is a 
distinction to be made between the mind-nerve fibre which remem- 
bers and the mind-nerve-fibre which is aware of a memory as a 
memory, 45 so there is a distinction to be made between the mind- 
nerve-fibre aware of an inferred object and the mind-nerve-fibre 
aware of its object as an inferred object. For just as I may be 
aware, not only of last night's performance, but also of the fact that 
I formerly perceived this performance and am now remembering 
it, so I may be aware, not only of tomorrow's sunrise, but also of 
the fact that my present mental attitude, although directed upon 
tomorrow's sunrise, has been affected, not by it, but by other en- 
tities related to it. 

The mental attitudes which we have thus far in this chapter 
been classifying and discussing have all been mental attitudes di- 
rected upon individual objects or seeming to be directed upon in- 
dividual objects. But what about mental attitudes alleged to be 
directed upon universals? Are there real instances of mental atti- 
tudes reaching universals as their objects, just as there are real in- 
stances of mental attitudes reaching what for them are inferred 
objects, and just as there are real instances of perceiving? 

277 



If there were no real individuals, there would be no mental 
attitudes reaching individuals as their objects. And if there were 
no real universals, there would be no mental attitudes reaching 
universals as their objects. That some universals exist is a propo- 
sition which calls for considerable discussion. 46 But it would carry 
us far beyond the limits set for this chapter to discuss this propo- 
sition at any length at this point. Just then as in previous chapters 
we have agreed to the existence of certain entities on the basis of 
their being listed as real in the appendix to Chapter Three, 47 so 
here let us on a similar basis agree to the existence of certain uni- 
versals. The universal 'man/ presented as existing where various 
individual men exist, is, let us agree, a real entity; and the uni- 
versal 'star/ presented as existing where various individual stars 
exist. 

Moreover there was, let us say, a mind-nerve-fibre of Newton's 
which seemed to be directed upon the universal 'star/ and a mind- 
nerve-fibre of Aristotle's which seemed to be directed upon the 
universal 'man/ The mind-nerve-fibre of Newton's, which had the 
intrinsic quality of seeming to be directed upon 'star/ was brought 
about, let us suppose, not by 'star/ but by various individual stars. 
And it was various individual men, let us suppose, who affected 
Aristotle and brought about his mental attitude seemingly di- 
rected upon 'man/ But it is not incredible, we have seen, that my 
dog's behavior should be adapted to a future phase of a ball even 
when that future phase is presented as not having affected my dog's 
behavior. 48 And Newton's mental attitude, presented as having 
reached 'star' as its object, and also presented as not having been 
affected by 'star/ is not presented as generally discredited and 
need not be unreal. Even though my present mental attitude has 
not been affected by tomorrow's sunrise, it not only seems to be di- 
rected upon tomorrow's sunrise, but reaches tomorrow's sunrise 
as its object. So with Newton's mental attitude apparently directed 
upon 'star'; and so with Aristotle's mental attitude apparently di- 
rected upon 'man/ 'Star' is a real universal and 'man' a real uni- 
vexsaL And they are, we hold, real objects with respect to certain 
mental attitudes directed upon them. 

There was a mental attitude of Aristotle's which reached the 
universal 'man* as its object. And there is a mental attitude of 
yours which reaches the universal 'man' as its object. Both mental 

278 



attitudes are, let us say, "instances of conceiving.'* And the uni- 
versal 'man' let us call a "concept" with respect to the mental atti- 
tude which Aristotle directed upon it and a "concept" with respect 
to the mental attitude which you direct upon it. *Man,' that is to 
say, is in our terminology a "concept" with respect to several in- 
stances of conceiving, just as the Emperor at Frankfurt was a per- 
cept with respect to Descartes and a percept with respect to the 
Bishop of Mayence. 49 

Along with instances of perceiving, however, there also exist 
instances of pseudo-perceiving. 50 Just so, let us hold, there exist 
instances of pseudo-conceiving, mental attitudes, that is to say, 
which resemble instances of conceiving but which fail to reach 
real universals as their objects. The universal 'man' is real, but the 
alleged universal 'centaur' unreal. Nevertheless there are thinking 
mind-nerve-fibres seemingly directed upon 'centaur/ thinking 
mind-nerve-fibres with intrinsic qualities similar to those of mind- 
nerve-fibres which succeed in reaching universals as their objects. 51 
Such thinking mind-nerve-fibres have no object, since their alleged 
object is unreal. They are instances of pseudo-conceiving which, in 
that they have no object, resemble instances of pseudo-perceiving 
and resemble "instances of mental attitudes which merely seem to 
be aware of inferred objects." 52 

"I may be aware of tomorrow's sunrise," we have said, 53 "with- 
out there being a contemporaneous mental attitude of mine di- 
rected upon the past phases of the sun which have affected me." 
Similarly, although your mental attitude directed upon 'man' 
may have been brought about by various individual men whom 
you have seen, or by some instance of the word "man" which you 
have read, your mental attitude directed upon 'man 1 need not be 
accompanied by a mental attitude directed upon the entities which 
have affected your thinking. 'Man* may be your immediate object 
just as tomorrow's sunrise may be my immediate object and the 
performance which I remember my immediate object. 

There is some universal 'man* which is real. But an alleged uni- 
versal 'man,' "presented as in no sense an object of conscious- 
ness," 54 presented, we may say, as not a concept with respect to 
any mental attitude, is unreal. Similarly the universal 'man' is un- 
real which is presented as a concept with respect to the mental 
attitude which you had a moment ago and also presented as not a 

279 



concept with respect to the mental attitude which you had a mo- 
ment ago. For the subsistent presented as in no sense an object is un- 
real and the subsistent presented with contradictory characteristics 
is unreal. But the universal 'man/ presented as not having been 
a concept with respect to any mental attitude which you had yester- 
day, need not be unreal. And unless it is also presented as a con- 
cept with respect to your mental attitude of a moment ago, the 
universal 'man/ presented as not a concept with respect to your 
mental attitude of a moment ago, need not be unreal. The fact 
that there is some universal 'man' which is real does not imply that 
any particular mental attitude is aware of that real 'man/ And we 
may express our rejection of such an alleged implication by assert- 
ing that 'man* would have been real even if you a moment ago had 
not conceived it. 

An entity is unreal which is presented as no one's object. A uni- 
versal is unreal which is presented as no one's concept. An en- 
tity need not be unreal, however, which is presented as no one's 
percept. And an entity need not be unreal which is presented as no 
one's memory. For the entity presented as no one's percept, or pre- 
sented as no one's memory, need not be presented as no one's ob- 
ject. But just as a universal is unreal which is presented as no one's 
concept, so is a percept unreal which is presented as no one's per- 
cept and a memory unreal which is presented as no one's memory. 
Within a context which informs us that an entity is an object for 
some particular mental attitude or for mental attitudes of a cer- 
tain type, it is not possible for that entity not to be an object for 
that particular mental attitude or for it not to be an object for 
mental attitudes of that type. Within a context however which 
merely informs us that a given universal is real, then, although it 
is not possible for that universal to be no one's concept, it is pos- 
sible for that universal not to be a concept with respect to this or 
that mental attitude. And within a context which merely informs 
us that a given individual is real, then, although it is not possible 
for that individual to be no one's object, it is possible for that in- 
dividual not to be a percept with respect to this or that mental atti- 
tude and not a percept at all. And it is possible for that individual 
not to be a memory with respect to this or that mental attitude 
and not a memory at all. 

There is a sense then in which it is not this or that mental atti- 

280 



tude which makes its percept real or its memory real or its concept 
real. Not that mental attitudes which are earlier may not be at the 
source of motions flowing to objects of theirs which are later. Lady 
Macbeth may have had a mental attitude directed upon Macbeth's 
queen which she was to be; and this mental attitude of hers may 
have been effective in bringing about her future regal status. But 
Descartes did not create the Emperor who was his percept and his 
immediate object. / did not create last night's performance which 
was my memory and my immediate object. And you did not create 
the universal 'man* which was your concept and your immediate 
object. 

The universal 'man/ let us agree, did not bring about your men- 
tal attitude directed upon 'man/ But how can we conclude from 
this that your mental attitude created 'man? Again, there may be 
assumed to be elements in the Emperor which, in a strict sense of 
"cause," were not the cause of Descartes' mental attitude directed 
upon the Emperor. But how can we conclude from this that such 
elements in the Emperor were created by Descartes' mental atti- 
tude? There seem, however, to be instances of arguments of this 
sort. Secondary qualities, it may be held, are not, in a strict sense of 
"cause," the cause of the mental attitudes directed upon them. 
Therefore, it seems to have been held, these mental attitudes 
create the secondary qualities which are their objects. The distance 
between two points, it may be said, is not the cause of the mental 
attitude directed upon that distance. Therefore, it may be held, 
points have various spatial relations added to them through the 
action of the subjects who are aware of them. Universals, it may 
be said, do not bring about the instances of conceiving which are 
directed upon them. Therefore concepts, it may be said, are mental 
products. 

But if 'man' exists where Socrates exists and where you exist, 
then Aristotle did not produce 'man' any more than he produced 
Socrates. And if the Emperor's qualities existed in the Emperor, 
then Descartes did not produce the Emperor's color or the sound 
of the Emperor's voice any more than he produced the Emperor's 
size. Similarly I do not produce the distance between two points 
outside me any more than I produce the points themselves. Except 
in so far as there are motions from certain mental attitudes which 
are earlier to certain objects of theirs which are later, one real ob- 

281 



ject, we hold, is not more mental than another. The term "mental'* 
may, to be sure, be used in various senses; and there is a certain 
sense of the term "mental" in which all real entities are mental, 
individuals as well as universals, secondary qualities as well as pri- 
mary qualities, relational situations as well as the terms which they 
relate. Each real entity is mental in the sense that it is an object for 
a mental attitude, or, rather, in the sense that, presented as not an 
object, it is unreal. But it is one thing to assert that an alleged en- 
tity, presented as not an object, is unreal; and it is another thing to 
assert that entities are created by the mental attitudes aware of 
them. 

But what about primeval events which occurred before there 
were sentient beings to be aware of them? If we imagine ourselves 
back at a date at which there were no sentient beings, can we not 
say that such primeval events did not then exist and that they with 
their dates first became real when sentient beings, occurring later, 
came to be aware of them? And can we not say that there were no 
instances of 'star/ that 'star* did not exist, until some one was aware 
of 'star'? In general, whereas it may be agreed that a given entity 
did not come into being following motions flowing to it from a 
mental attitude, is it not true, we may be asked, that that entity 
first came into being at the date of the first mental attitude aware 
of it? ^ 

Surely, however, events can not have existed both with the 
characteristic of having preceded all sentient beings and with the 
characteristic of having existed only after there were sentient be- 
ings. And 'star* can not exist in so far as it is presented both with 
the characteristic of having had instances prior to sentient beings 
and with the characteristic of not existing before there were 
sentient beings to conceive it. Events and universals, we must hold, 
exist with the dates which they have, not, on the whole, with the 
dates of the mental attitudes which are aware of them. And if we 
are asked to imagine ourselves back at a date at which there were 
no sentient beings, we are, in effect, asked to present to ourselves 
events occurring in a world devoid of mental attitudes, events 
alleged to be objects for no one. Such alleged primeval events are 
however unreal. For such alleged entities are, as we have seen, 56 
implicitly presented with the characteristic of being objects for 
ourselves. What may be real, it follows, are not primeval events 

282 



presented as objects for no one, but primeval events presented as 
objects only for later thinkers who did not create them. Indeed 
some alleged primeval events, so presented, do, let us agree, exist 
They exist with the early dates which they are alleged to have. And 
they exist with the characteristic of being objects, not for thinkers 
contemporaneous with them, but for various mental attitudes 
which came after them. 

Similarly with the universal 'star/ The statement that 'star' is 
made real by the first mental attitude aware of 'star' is, to say the 
least, confusing. For such a proposition may seem to express an as- 
sertion that a given subsistent called "star" is first unreal and then 
real. Instead, there are distinguishable subsistents to be considered. 
There is the subsistent 'star' which is unreal, the subsistent 'star,' 
presented not only as not an object for mental attitudes contem- 
poraneous with its earliest instances, but presented also as not an 
object at all. And, distinguishable from it, there is the subsistent 
'star' which is real, the subsistent 'star* presented, not as no one's 
concept, but presented as a concept with respect only to mental 
attitudes which were subsequent to its earliest instances. The sub- 
sistent 'star' which is unreal does not become real through the 
action of the first mental attitude allegedly directed upon it. Nor 
is the alleged .primeval event which is unreal transformed into the 
alleged primeval event which is real. On the contrary, the date or 
dates with which a given subsistent is presented are elements 
within that subsistent, characteristics with which it is presented. 
If the subsistent is real, the dates with which it is presented belong 
to it. And if it is unreal, it never becomes real. 

There is then some subsistent *star' which is real and which is an 
object with respect to various mental attitudes directed upon it. 
And there are such entities as last night's performance in Phila- 
delphia, tomorrow's sunrise and the Emperor's piety, entities 
which likewise are real and real objects for various mental atti- 
tudes. But what about the mental attitude directed upon 'star' or 
upon last night's performance, upon tomorrow's sunrise or upon 
the Emperor's piety? I may, it would seem, be aware of the men- 
tal attitude which Descartes directed upon the Emperor's piety or 
of the mental attitude which Newton directed upon 'star.' I may, 
it would seem, be aware of the mental attitude which I had last 
night when I was perceiving the Philadelphia orchestra's perform- 

283 



ance. 56 And I may, it would seem, be aware, not only of tomorrow's 
sunrise, but of the mental attitude which I have just directed upon 
tomorrow's sunrise. Indeed, let us agree that an introspecting men- 
tal attitude of mine exists, namely,. the introspecting mental atti- 
tude which perceives the slightly earlier mental attitude directed 
upon tomorrow's sunrise. And let us agree that there exists the 
mental attitude of yours which is not an instance of perceiving, 
the mental attitude of yours which reaches as its object Descartes' 
mental attitude directed upon the Emperor's piety. For we have 
already agreed that certain mental attitudes exist which apparently 
are "directed upon other mental attitudes," 57 which, that is to say, 
have the intrinsic qualities which they would have if they reached 
other mental attitudes as their objects. And having found that "the 
mental attitude of Descartes' which seems to be directed towards 
the Emperor really reaches the Emperor as its ultimate object," 5S 
we find no reason to deny that the mental attitudes now being 
considered, not only seem to be directed upon other mental atti- 
tudes, but reach these other mental attitudes as their real objects. 

Thus there is Descartes' mental attitude directed upon the 
Emperor; there is your mental attitude directed upon this mental 
attitude of Descartes'; and there is my mental attitude directed 
upon this mental attitude of yours. But such a series of thinking 
mind-nerve-fibres with mental attitudes directed upon other 
thinking mind-nerve-fibres does not, it would seem, lead us to 
accept the actual existence of additional thinking mind-nerve- 
fibres ad infinitum. There is, it would seem, a last term in each 
series of real entities, in each series composed of a mental attitude, 
a second person's mental attitude directed exclusively upon the 
first person's mental attitude, a third person's mental attitude 
directed exclusively upon the second person's mental attitude, 
and so on. For at some point in an alleged series of this sort, we 
are presented with an alleged mental attitude which, at least 
implicitly, is presented as no one's definite object. And since 
"subsistents explicitly or implicitly appearing as definite appear- 
ances for no one are unreal," 50 such an alleged mental attitude 
has no place in a series of real mental attitudes each directed 
upon another mental attitude. There is, let us agree, a real men- 
tal attitude of yours which is directed upon the mental attitude 
which Descartes directed upon the Emperor. But this series of 

284 



mental attitudes directed upon other mental attitudes has, let 
us hold, a finite number of different members, not an infinite 
number of different members. 

A subsistent is unreal, we have said, if it is alleged to be a defi- 
nite object for no one. And a subsistent is unreal if it is presented 
as not an object at all. How then can there be a last in the series of 
mental attitudes directed upon mental attitudes? For the last in 
such a series, it may be said, has no mental attitude directed upon 
it and is consequently presented as not an object at all. 

In approaching the problem thus put before us, let us recall a 
distinction which we made in explaining our term "reality." "A 
subsistent is unreal," we have said, 60 "when, explicitly or implicitly, 
it appears with the characteristic of being in no sense an object, 
with the characteristic, that is to say, of appearing to no one." A 
subsistent is not unreal, however, in so far as it appears without 
the characteristic of being an object; nor is it unreal in so far as 
it appears without the characteristic of being a definite object. 

There subsists, for example, a bird outside my window. This bird 
appears neither explicitly nor implicitly with the characteristic of 
being no one's definite object. Implicitly, we may say, this bird ap- 
pears with the characteristic of being my definite object. But ex- 
plicitly it does not. This subsisting bird is, let us agree, real. And it 
exists with the characteristics with which it explicitly appears. But 
it does not follow from what has been said in this paragraph that 
there is a real mental attitude of mine directed upon this bad and 
that this bird which is real has the real quality of being my definite 
object. For it is one thing to say that an entity is unreal which im- 
plicitly appears with the characteristic of not being a definite ob- 
ject. And it is another thing to say that an entity which is real has 
the quality of being a definite object. Particularly is the distinction 
to be pointed out when the quality of being a definite object is a 
quality with which the subsistent under consideration appears only 
implicitly. The entity which appears explicitly or implicitly as not 
an object is unreal. And the entity is unreal which appears implic- 
itly as an object and explicitly as not an object. 61 But so far as we 
have yet seen, the entity which is real need not have the quality of 
being a definite object, a quality with which it appears only im- 
plicitly. 
So far as we have seen, the bird outside my window need not be a 

285 



definite object; although, presented as not a definite object, it is 
unreal. And so with the mental attitude directed upon a mental 
attitude. A mental attitude, it would seem, may have the real 
quality of being directed upon another mental attitude, and yet 
not have the real quality of having still another mental attitude 
definitely directed upon it. A contrary position would seem to lead 
us to accept the existence of an infinite number of thinking mind- 
nerve-fibres, most of which are presented as generally discredited 
and as definite objects for no one. For if the bird outside my win- 
dow had to be an object and, indeed, a definite object, the mental 
attitude whose object it is alleged to be would have to be real. And 
if this mental attitude in turn had to be a definite object in order 
to be real, the further mental attitude whose definite object it is 
alleged to be would have to be real. 

Let us agree then that there are such entities as the bird outside 
my window and such entities as my mental attitude directed upon 
the mental attitude which Descartes directed upon the Emperor, 
entities which are real but which do not have the quality of being 
definite objects. Being real, however, these entities are not pre- 
sented with the characteristic of not being definite objects. Thus 
the real bird outside my window lacks the quality of being a defi- 
nite object but does not appear, even implicitly, with the quality of 
not being a definite object. And similarly with one of the thinking 
mind-nerve-fibres in each series of thinking mind-nerve-fibres with 
mental attitudes directed upon other thinking mind-nerve-fibres. 
In a given series of this sort there may be no fifth member which is 
real, an alleged fifth member being presented as no one's definite 
object. In this series the fourth member may be real and may have 
the real quality of being the fourth member. But presented as it- 
self no definite object, such an alleged fourth member is unreal. 
The fourth member is real, we may say, in so far as it is presented 
as the fourth member but not presented as the last member. 

There exists, then, a thinking mind-nerve-fibre with a mental 
attitude directed exclusively upon another mental attitude, which 
in turn is directed exclusively upon another mental attitude, which 
in turn is directed upon an object which is not a mental attitude. 
There also exists, let us say, a thinking mind-nerve-fibre with a 
mental attitude directed exclusively upon itself. For example, I 
may try to direct my attention to my present thinking. 62 When I 

286 



do this, my mental attitude, let us hold, not only seems to be di- 
rected upon itself, but is directed upon itself. Like the mental at- 
titude directed upon another mental attitude, the mental attitude 
which is directed upon itself is an instance of a mental attitude 
directed upon a mental attitude. But whereas in the one instance 
we are called upon to distinguish the mental attitude presented, say, 
as the fourth member of a series from that mental attitude presented 
as the last member of a series, in the other instance we are not. For 
the mental attitude directed upon itself is presented as its own defi- 
nite object and is not so readily presented as no one's definite object. 
Consequently, when there is a mental attitude directed upon it- 
self, either alone or in conjunction with a mental attitude di- 
rected upon another mental attitude, the problem of an alleged 
infinite series is less troublesome. If my mental attitude directed 
upon your mental attitude directed upon the mental attitude 
which Descartes directed upon the Emperor is a definite object for 
itself, then this self-conscious mental attitude of mine is not only 
the fourth member of the series but also the last member. For in 
being presented as the last member it is not being presented as no 
one's definite object but as its own definite object. 



Summary 

There are various kinds of mental attitudes and various kinds 
of objects. This chapter attempts to develop a vocabulary that 
will distinguish with some precision these various kinds. It also 
attempts to discuss problems that arise with respect to them. 

The mental attitude which is aware of an object at the source 
of motions flowing uninterruptedly to it I call an instance of per- 
ceiving and I call its object a percept with respect to it. 

A sense-datum, if it exists, is, in our terminology, "that ele- 
ment within a percept which corresponds to the object of some 
previous instance of perceiving unaffected by experience." It is 
to be distinguished from another element within the percept 
which, if it exists, is that without which the percept would not 
cause the perceiving. 

Some mental attitudes are instances of remembering. Their 
objects are memories with respect to them. A public object may 

287 



be the immediate object of an instance of perceiving and also 
the immediate object of an instance of remembering. It may be 
a percept with respect to one mental attitude, a memory with 
respect to another. Being aware of a percept or of a memory is to 
be distinguished from being aware of the fact that one's object 
is a percept or a memory. 

Finally we define conceiving as that type of mental attitude 
in which the object is a universal; and we call a universal in so 
far as it is the object of a mental attitude a "concept." 

Neither percepts, memories or concepts are mental in the 
sense of being created by the mental attitudes which have them 
as objects. But a percept, memory or concept, presented as not 
a percept, memory or concept, or presented as no one's definite 
object, is unreal. 



288 



Chapter X 
FEELING, BELIEVING, AND KNOWING 



Descartes, we have found, was perceiving, and the Emperor was 
his percept. 1 You today are remembering; last night's moon is a 
memory of yours. 2 And I am aware of tomorrow's sunrise which is an 
inferred object with respect to the mental attitude which I today 
direct upon it. 8 Similarly, let us agree, Laocoon standing on the 
walls of Troy perceived the Greeks fighting in the plains below. 
Later, standing beside the wooden horse, he remembered the 
Greeks whom he had formerly perceived. Or his mental attitude 
reached the Greeks who had temporarily sailed away, so that the 
Greeks off in their ships were an inferred object with respect to 
him. But whether Laocoon was aware of the Greeks off in their 
ships or of the Greeks whom he had formerly perceived, there was, 
it may be held, an additional mental attitude which Laocoon had. 
Laocoon was afraid. Distinguishable from his remembering or 
from his mental attitude directed upon an inferred object, there 
was, it may be held, a mental attitude of his which was an instance 
of fearing. 

Our question is whether this alleged instance of fearing, pre- 
sented as a mental attitude of Laocoon's, exists. But just as, in or- 
der to determine whether or not Descartes was thinking, we had 
to distinguish Descartes' mental attitude apparently directed upon 
man, God and the universe from other entities with which that al- 
leged mental attitude might be confused; 4 so, in order to deter- 
mine whether or not Laocoon was fearing, we must distinguish his 
mental attitude alleged to be an instance of fearing from other 
entities whose existence at this point is not in question. Descartes, 
we have seen, was pacing up and down the room, knitting his 

289 



brows and staring past the furniture that was around him. 5 And 
Laocoon standing beside the wooden horse was, let us suppose, 
trembling; his heart was beating more rapidly than usual and his 
glands secreting more freely. But just as Descartes' thinking is 
distinguishable from his non-mental behavior, so is Laocoon's al- 
leged fearing presented as distinguishable from Laocoon's non- 
mental behavior. Descartes' thinking and Descartes' non-mental be- 
havior are each abstractable from Descartes' total behavior. 6 And 
it is by separating out of Laocoon's total behavior an alleged men- 
tal attitude held to accompany that mental attitude of his which 
was directed upon the Greeks, it is thus that we come to have as 
our apparent object his alleged fearing. 

The alleged instance of fearing whose existence we are to deter- 
mine appears with the characteristic of being a quality of the ex- 
tended substance that is Laocoon or Laocoon's mind-nerve-fibre, 
a quality distinguishable from its substance's non-mental behavior. 
And the alleged relational situation alleged to have as its terms the 
fearing Laocoon and the feared Greek army is to be distinguished 
from the relational situation which has as its terms the reacting 
Laocoon on the one hand and, on the other hand, the Greek army 
to which Laocoon's behavior is adapted. 7 There is the relational 
situation: I^ocoon-affected-by-the-Greek-arrny-which-he-formerly- 
perceived. There is the relational situation: Laocoon-making-a-re- 
sponse-adapted-to-the-Greeks. And there is a subject-object rela- 
tional situation which is either Laocoon-remembering-the-Greeks 
or Laocoon-having-as-an-inferred-object-the-Greeks-off-in-their- 
ships. What is still in question is the existence of fearing in addi- 
tion to remembering or being aware of an inferred object; and in 
addition to behaving. And what is still in question is the existence 
of a relational situation including Laocoon and the Greeks, into 
which Laocoon enters, not by virtue of his remembering or of his 
being aware of an inferred object, and not by virtue of his respond- 
ing, but by virtue of his fearing. 

It may be held, we have seen, that behavior exists, but that no 
mental attitudes exist which are distinguishable from behavior. 8 
And as mental attitudes in general appear to be discredited in 
some quarters, so do such alleged mental attitudes as we would call 
"instances of fearing." Just as it may be said that thinking is be- 
havior, so it may be said that Laocoon's secreting glands, beating 

290 



heart and trembling are his fearing. It is however a rather rare 
form of behaviorism whose proponents disbelieve in a fearing 
which, while distinguishable from bodily excitation, is neverthe- 
less alleged to be an element in total behavior. The fearing of 
Laocoon's which we are considering, it is to be pointed out, is not 
presented as some non-spatial entity. It is presented, to be sure, 
with the characteristic of being distinguishable from bodily ex- 
citation, and yet with the characteristic of being an element in 
Laocoon's total behavior. So presented, we find, it does not appear 
with the characteristic of being generally discredited. In a word, we 
find Laocoon's fearing, appearing with the characteristics just de- 
scribed, a subsistent which is real. Laocoon, we hold, was remem- 
bering. Laocoon, we hold, was reacting. And Laocoon, we also 
hold, was fearing. He was characterized by non-mental behavior in 
that he was reacting. And he was thinking, characterized by mental 
attitudes, in that he was fearing and remembering. 

On the one hand there is Laocoon's remembering, reacting and 
fearing. And on the other hand there exists the Greek army form- 
erly on the plains of Troy and now resting in its ships out at sea. It 
is to some phase of the Greek army that Laocoon is reacting. It is 
towards some phase of the Greek army that Laocoon's remember- 
ing is directed. And it is in connection with his remembering the 
Greeks, or in connection with his mental attitude directed upon 
the Greeks off in their ships, that Laocoon is fearing. His fearing 
is related to the Greeks. There is a real relational situation, that 
is to say, which includes on the one hand the Greeks who are real 
and on the other hand the fearing Laocoon who is likewise real. 
It is a relational situation which appears with the characteristic of 
being somewhere outside Troy, in the extended place which in- 
cludes the spot at which Laocoon was standing and the place 
where the Greek ships were idling. And it is a relational situation 
which, appearing neither as non-spatial nor as discredited, is 
listed in the appendix to Chapter Three. It is a relational situation 
which is real just as is the relational situation whose terms are the 
Greeks and the reacting Laocoon and just as is the relational situa- 
tion whose terms are the Greeks and the remembering Laocoon. 
There is thus a relation between Laocoon and the Greeks into 
which Laocoon enters by virtue of his reacting, a relation between 
Laocoon and the Greeks into which Laocoon enters by virtue of 

291 



his remembering, and a relation between Laocoon and the Greeks 
into which Laocoon enters by virtue of his fearing. 

In so far as there is a relation between Laocoon and the Greeks 
into which Laocoon enters by virtue of his reacting, the Greeks 
may be said to have the quality of being responded to. In so far as 
there is a relation between Laocoon and the Greeks into which 
Laocoon enters by virtue of his remembering, the Greeks may be 
said to have the quality of being a memory. And in so far as there 
is a relation between Laocoon and the Greeks into which Laocoon 
enters by virtue of his fearing, the Greeks may be said to have the 
quality of being feared. Laocoon, we hold, is reacting, remember- 
ing, and fearing. The Greeks, we hold, are responded to, a memory, 
and feared. They are a memory in that vibrations emanating from 
them, after being held up in some phase of Laocoon's mind-person, 
led to Laocoon's remembering. They are feared in that the mental 
attitude directed towards them is, or is accompanied by, fearing. 

Fearing is a mental attitude by virtue of which Laocoon is re- 
lated to the Greeks, remembering a mental attitude by virtue of 
which Laocoon is related to the Greeks, perceiving a mental atti- 
tude by virtue of which Descartes is related to the Emperor. We 
have agreed however that mental attitudes exist which have other 
mental attitudes directed upon them. 9 There exists, we suppose, 
a mental attitude of Descartes' which is directed upon his thinking 
about the Emperor, a mental attitude of Laocoon's which is di- 
rected upon his thinking about the Greeks, and a mental attitude 
of mine which is directed both upon Descartes' perceiving and 
upon Laocoon's remembering. But if it is agreed that Descartes' 
perceiving may be an object both for Descartes and for me, and if 
it is agreed that Laocoon's remembering may be an object both 
for Laocoon and for me, then there appears to be no reason to 
deny that Laocoon's fearing may likewise be an object. My think- 
ing of a moment ago was real. Laocoon, we have agreed, had a 
mental attitude which was an instance of fearing. And there was, 
we hold, a real subject-object relation between my thinking and 
the fearing of Laocoon's that is my alleged object. Similarly with 
Laocoon's mental attitude alleged to have been directed upon his 
Searing. In one phase, we may suppose, Laocoon was perceiving 
the Greeks; in a later phase, we may suppose, he was introspecting 
his previous remembering or his previous fearing. 

292 



We find real, accordingly, instances of the mental attitude that 
is fearing and instances of the mental attitude that is the intro- 
specting of fearing. Indeed we may take another step and admit the 
existence of mental attitudes which are directed, not upon the 
mental attitude that is fearing, but upon the relation between the 
fearing subject and the feared object. Fearing, the introspecting 
of fearing, the thinking that is directed upon the relation between 
the fearing subject and the feared object, these mental attitudes 
resemble respectively remembering, the introspecting of remem- 
bering, and the thinking that is directed upon the relation be- 
tween the remembering subject and its memory. To be aware of a 
memory as a memory is to be aware of it as related to the subject 
remembering it. 10 That is to say, to be aware of the quality of 
being a memory that an object has is to be aware of the memory 
object, of the remembering subject, and of the subject-object re- 
lation between them. So it is, we suggest, with the quality of being 
feared. In so far as Laocoon is fearing the Greeks and is not aware 
of the relation between his fearing and the Greeks, he is aware 
of the Greeks but not of the Greeks as feared. When, on the other 
hand, he is aware of the Greeks as feared, he is, we hold, aware 
of his previous mental attitude; and he is aware of the relation 
between the Greeks and his fearing. When he is not introspecting 
but is merely fearing the Greeks, we might expect him to exclaim: 
"Alas! The Greeks!" But when his mental attitude is directed 
towards the relation between his fearing and the Greeks, we might 
expect him to say: "I fear the Greeks" or "the Greeks are feared 
by me." 

There are instances of fearing and instances of the introspect- 
ing of fearing, instances of the relation between a fearing subject 
and a feared object and instances of the awareness of a feared ob- 
ject as feared. But whereas it may be agreed that fearing is dis- 
tinguishable from the introspecting of fearing, and that there are 
real instances of both, it may be held that there are no instances 
of fearing that are not introspected by the fearing subject. And 
whereas it may be agreed that the relation between a fearing sub- 
ject and a feared object is one thing and the awareness of a feared 
object as feared another, it may be held that there are no instances 
of a feared object not recognized as feared by the fearing subject. 
There are instances, we have agreed, of mental attitudes which are 

293 



riot introspected. 11 But whereas there are some mental attitudes 
that are not introspected, it may be held that none of them are 
instances of fearing, it may be held that there is no consciousness 
instances of fearing. With respect to those mental attitudes that are 
without self-consciousness. 

To be sure, it seems easy to pass from the state in which I am 
fearing an object to the state in which I am aware of my fearing. 
There is, we may suppose, a bodily excitation accompanying my 
fearing. And both this excitation and the fearing that accompanies 
it may be so pronounced, may compel attention to such an extent, 
that I become introspective and aware of my fearing. Let me sup- 
pose, however, that on my way home yesterday I saw a flash of 
lightning and that thereupon I directed all of my energies to the 
attainment of a haven. I was, we may say, conscious of the storm 
about me and was paying no attention to my own mental atti- 
tudes. It was after I was safe at home, we may suppose, that I be- 
came aware of the fearing that had been mine. Or it was my com- 
panion in the storm, observing my feverish activity and lack of 
composure, who perceived or inferred my fearing. Surely cowards 
are not all introspectors. On the contrary it would seem that those 
whom we call cowards are those who act so as to lead us to think 
that they fear unduly. Yesterday's fearing as I rode home in the 
storm appears then as not having been accompanied by introspect- 
ing. Appearing in this manner, it does not appear as generally 
discredited. In a word, yesterday's fearing unaccompanied by intro- 
specting is real. Fearing exists- The introspecting of fearing exists. 
And the instances of the former are not all accompanied by in- 
stances of the latter. 

Fearing is a mental attitude, the awareness of fearing a mental 
attitude directed upon a mental attitude. Among the entities that 
are not mental attitudes, among the entities that are external ob- 
jects, there exist, we hold, the feared Greeks and the feared flash 
of lightning. What shall we say, however, with respect to the exist- 
ence of a private object, an idea of fear, in addition to, or in place 
of, either mental attitude or external object? As we have already 
seen, it may be held that the immediate object is not the external 
object, but rather an idea referring beyond itself to the external 
object. 12 And as it may be held that the immediate object of Lao- 
coon's remembering is not the Greeks themselves but rather an 

294 



idea of the Greeks, so it may be held that, when Laocoon fears, his 
immediate object is an idea of fear. The contents of Laocoon's 
mind, it may for example be held, consist of an idea of the wooden 
horse, an idea of the Greeks, and an idea of fear. 

Either, however, the alleged idea of fear that Laocoon has ap- 
pears as an idea referring beyond itself to some public object; or 
it appears as a bit of content without a self-transcendent reference. 
Either it appears as an idea referring to a quality of the Greeks or 
as an idea referring to the mental attitude we call Laocoon 's fear- 
ing; or it appears simply as fear, a bit of content in Laocoon's mind 
that is content and not mental attitude. We have seen, however, 
that public objects may be the immediate objects of the mental 
attitudes that are directed upon them. 13 The subject-object rela- 
tion between Descartes and the Emperor is, we have agreed, direct 
rather than one that is mediated by an idea of the Emperor. And 
as there is no idea of the Emperor mediating between Descartes* 
thinking and the Emperor himself, so, we hold, there is no idea 
of fear mediating between the fearing Laocoon and the feared 
Greeks and no idea of fear mediating between the introspecting 
Laocoon and the fearing Laocoon whom he introspects. An idea 
of fear alleged to be an immediate object and to refer beyond itself 
to either a quality of the Greeks or to Laocoon's mental attitude 
that is fearing is, we hold, a subsistent that is unreal. 

How is it, however, with respect to the idea of fear that is not 
alleged to refer beyond itself but is alleged merely to be Laocoon's 
immediate object? Such an alleged idea of fear appears as passive 
content rather than as active thinking or fearing; and it appears 
as content that is mental rather than as non-mental behavior. If 
however this mental content appears as non-spatial, it is, as we use 
"reality," unreal. And if it appears with the characteristic of being 
in space, if it appears, for example, as distinguishable from non- 
mental behavior but as a quality of Laocoon's mind-body or mind- 
neural process, the question is how this alleged passive mental 
content, this idea of fear that is alleged to inhere in Laocoon, is to 
be distinguished from Laocoon's fearing itself. "At first sight," we 
have said, 14 "the distinction between what is alleged to be mental 
attitude and what is alleged to be content, whether private or pub- 
lic, seems clear." But since the entities we call "mental attitudes" 
may themselves be objects, Laocoon's alleged idea of fear can 

295 



hardly be distinguished from an act of fearing that Laocoon intro- 
spects. In short, what we call Laocoon's introspecting of fearing 
might in some other terminology be called Laocoon's having an 
idea of fear. But since there can be fearing without the intro- 
specting of fearing, there can be fearing without what others might 
call: "Having an idea of fear." An idea of fear does not exist in each 
situation in which there is a fearing subject and a feared object. 
It exists, if at all, only where there is the introspection of fearing. 
And where there is the introspecting of fearing, the fearing that 
is introspected may be called an active mental attitude or a passive 
idea. It is in any case a quality of the extended substance that is 
the thinker's mind-body or mind-neural process. And in the in- 
stance in which Laocoon fears the Greeks, it is directed towards, 
or accompanies Laocoon's remembering of, the Greeks. Since 
however neither "active" nor "passive" are adjectives that can 
appropriately be applied to it, we can only say that in our ter- 
minology nothing exists to be called an "idea of fear" rather than a 
mental attitude, that in our terminology Laocoon is either fearing 
the feared Greeks or is introspecting his fearing, but is not aware 
of an "idea" of fear. 

Laocoon feared the Greeks and Gato was angry at the Cartha- 
ginians. Abelard was in love with Eloise and Victor Hugo was 
defiant towards Napoleon III. Kant was condescending towards 
Berkeley and Hitler was disgusted at modern art. All of these 
alleged situations resemble one another. Just as Laocoon was 
remembering the Greeks and fearing them, so Cato was remem- 
bering the Carthaginians and hating them and Abelard perceiving 
Eloise and loving her. In each of these instances there is a subject 
who is perceiving, remembering, conceiving, or otherwise thinking 
about an object. And in each of these instances the perceiving, re- 
membering or what not that is directed upon an object is accom- 
panied by, or intermingled with, some such mental attitude as fear- 
ing, loving, being pleased or being disgusted. Just as we find Lao- 
coon's fearing real, so we find real Cato's being angry and Hitler's 
being disgusted. And just as we hold that the Greeks have the qual- 
ity of being a feared memory with respect to Laocoon, so we hold 
that Eloise has the quality of being a beloved percept with respect to 
Abelard. In brief, we find real many instances of a type of mental 
attitude that, to use a term constructed like "perceiving," "fear- 

296 



ing" and "thinking/' we shall call "feeling." 15 And we find many 
real instances of the subject-object relation in which the object is 
real, the subject real, and the subject not only aware of the object 
but also feeling. 

However, just as an alleged object of perceiving, remembering 
or conceiving may not exist, so an alleged object of fearing, lov- 
ing or hoping may not exist. When Descartes perceives the Em- 
peror, Descartes' perceiving is real, the Emperor is real, and there 
is a real relation between the perceiving subject and his percept. 
But when I seem to perceive a bent stick, when the bent stick ap- 
pearing as my object is unreal, then, although my mental attitude 
is real, there is neither a real object nor a real subject-object rela- 
tion between my thinking and its alleged object. 16 Similarly, when 
Laocoon remembers the Greeks and fears them, there is a real 
relation between the fearing, remembering Laocoon and the 
Greeks who exist as his feared memory. But when I seem to fear 
the devil, when the devil who is alleged to be my object does not 
exist, there is no real relation between this non-existent devil and 
any mental attitude which I may have. President Roosevelt, we 
may say, was in October 1936 hoping for re-election. His re-elec- 
tion in November was real and was really related to the hoping 
that was his mental attitude in October. But what about his op- 
ponent, Governor Landon? It may be alleged that in October, 1936 
Governor Landon was hoping for election to the presidency. But, 
since the alleged election of Landon in November was unreal, 
it can not have been related to any October hoping. Instances of 
hoping, fearing or loving, like instances of perceiving, remember- 
ing or conceiving, can only be related to entities which have oc- 
curred or which will occur. Governor Landon in October 1936 
may have had a mental attitude just as I have a mental attitude 
when a bent stick appears to be my object. But the hoping that 
may then have been his was neither related to an object nor did 
it accompany a mental attitude that had an object. 

There is a real mental attitude which, although it has no bent 
stick as its object, I describe as being apparently directed towards 
a bent stick. It is a mental attitude which exists and which has 
intrinsic characteristics such as it would have if the bent stick 
appearing as an object existed. 17 So too Governor Landon in Octo- 
ber 1936 had a mental attitude which, we hold, existed. His al- 

297 



leged attitude appears neither as non-spatial nor as generally dis- 
credited; and it is listed as real in the appendix to Chapter Three. 
It had no real object; but it had intrinsic characteristics resem- 
bling those of mental attitudes really hoping for, and really aware 
of, events about to exist. 

It is a matter of terminology whether, when the bent stick 
that appears as my object is unreal, we call my mental attitude 
"pseudo-perceiving" or "perceiving that is without an object." 
And it is a matter of terminology whether we call Governor 
Landon's mental attitude "pseudo-hoping" or "hoping that is 
without an object." Mental attitudes, instances of thinking, that 
are without real objects exist. But when we choose a term to 
represent some species of real mental attitude, we would seem 
to be at liberty either to restrict the species thus represented to 
mental attitudes that have real objects or to extend it so that it 
includes certain real mental attitudes without objects. Exercising 
this liberty, let us call only those mental attitudes which have 
real objects instances of "perceiving," "conceiving" and "remem- 
bering." That is to say, let us define 'perceiving/ 'conceiving' and 
'remembering' so that there is no perceiving without a percept, 
no conceiving without a concept, and no remembering without 
a memory. But, whereas we do not call those mental attitudes 
which resemble perceivings but which lack objects instances of 
"perceiving," let us call Governor Landon's mental attitude that 
has no object an instance of "hoping," just as we designate as 
"hoping" the mental attitude of President Roosevelt's that had 
an object. 

It is, we say, a terminological decision that leads us to call my 
mental attitude, when it is as if the bent stick appearing as my 
object existed, an instance, not of "perceiving," but of "pseudo- 
perceiving," 18 whereas we call Governor Landon's mental attitude, 
although it lacks an object, an instance of "hoping." But this dif- 
ference between the manner in which we use "perceiving" and the 
manner in which we use "hoping" suggests that the situation in 
which subjects have real objects and hope for them may not be 
analogous to the situation in which subjects have real objects and 
perceive them. We say, to be sure, that Abelard loved Eloise and 
that Laocoon feared the Greeks just as we say that Descartes 
perceived the Emperor. But we also say that Abelard was in love 

298 



with Eloise, Laocoon afraid of the Greeks, Cato angry at the Car- 
thaginians, and President Roosevelt hoping for re-election. It may 
seem, not that Laocoon remembered the Greeks and feared them, 
not that his fearing and his remembering had a common object, 
but that, on the occasion on which he remembered the Greeks, 
he had a feeling which, in so far as it was a feeling, was without 
an object. The fearing of a fearing, remembering subject may 
be held to be related to the feared memory just as directly as his 
remembering is. Or the relation between the remembering and 
the object may be held to be the primary subject-object relation; 
and the object may be held to be feared only in that a fearing that 
is without an object accompanies the remembering that is directed 
upon the object. 

The distinction that we have just drawn is however a spe- 
cious one. Upon either interpretation Laocoon is fearing and 
remembering. And upon either interpretation there is a real re- 
lation between the feared object and the fearing that accom- 
panies the remembering. There is no entity that must be real if 
Laocoon's fearing as such has an object and that must be unreal 
if Laocoon's fearing has an object only indirectly, only in so far as 
the accompanying remembering has an object. And since there 
is no ontological decision to sway us, we find no basis upon which 
to accept one interpretation and to reject the other. 

To sum up, there are some mental attitudes which have no ob- 
jects. Among these there are some which we call instances of hop- 
ing, some which we call instances of pseudo-perceiving, none which 
we call instances of perceiving. Other mental attitudes have ob- 
jects which are real. There are, for example, instances of perceiv- 
ing, remembering, and the like. And accompanying some of them, 
intermingled with them or associated with them, there are in- 
stances of feeling. Fearing as well as remembering may be ab- 
stracted from the thinking substance who both fears and remem- 
bers or who fears while he remembers. The feared memory is 
the object of his remembering. And either directly or by virtue 
of its relation to the accompanying remembering, it may also be 
said to be the object of his fearing. 

Fearing exists when Laocoon remembers the Greeks and fears 
them. Fearing exists when my mental attitude is as if the devil 
appearing as my object existed and when, in addition to seeming 

299 



to be aware of the devil, I am afraid. Can I not however be afraid 
when there is neither an object that I am definitely aware of nor 
a subsistent that appears to be my object? It would seem that I can 
be pleased at my son's progress or at the upturn in the stock- 
market. And yet it would also seem that, without the awareness 
of any specific object accompanying my feeling, I can be pleased 
or in good spirits. Hamlet, we may suppose, was displeased and 
troubled at his mother's infidelity. Or, to allow him a broader 
object, he was displeased and troubled at man's worthlessness and 
the world's decadence. But not even so definite an object as this is 
needed to make him the melancholy Dane. Some feelings, we 
might almost say, require the accompaniment of mental attitudes 
directed upon no objects at all. It would seem that I can be happy 
or timorous, displeased or optimistic, without being able to ac- 
count for my mood, without my mood being tied up with any 
specific object or apparent object. Some feelings in this respect 
seem to resemble mental attitudes which are not feelings. The 
relation between being unhappy at Hamlet's mother's infidelity, 
being unhappy at man's worthlessness, and simply being in a 
melancholy mood seems to resemble the relation between perceiv- 
ing a definite object, gazing into space, and the sort of contentless 
thinking in which, when offered a penny for our thoughts, we 
can not earn the proffered penny. 

The mental attitude exists in which Laocoon is fearing the 
Greeks. The mental attitude exists in which Governor Landon 
is hoping, although his election, appearing as his object, does not 
exist. And the mental attitude exists in which I am optimistic but 
unable to point out a prospective situation with which my mood 
is tied up. A feeling, however, can exist without being intro- 
spected. And if this is true with respect to feelings in general, it 
must be true with respect to the optimistic mood for which I am 
unable to account. In order that my optimistic mood may exist, it 
need not be accompanied by a mental attitude in which I am 
aware of my optimistic mood. On the other hand, my optimistic 
mood, to be real, can not appear as no object at all or as not a 
definite object for some subject. In general, feelings exist that are 
not introspected by the feeling subjects themselves. But these non- 
introspected feelings that are real are not presented as non-objects. 
They are presented neither as objects nor as non-objects; or they 

300 



are presented as objects for other subjects. 

Laocoon remembered the Greeks and feared them. The leader 
of the Greeks within the wooden horse remembered his former 
companions and hoped for their success. Both in Laocoon and in 
the man within the horse there was a mental attitude which was 
remembering the Greeks. The thinking o the two men differed 
in that their similar rememberings were accompanied by different 
feelings. There was a similar difference, we may say, between 
President Roosevelt's attitude towards his re-election and Gover- 
nor Landon's attitude towards the re-election of President Roose- 
velt. Both men, we may assume, were on occasion aware of the 
event that was about to take place. But in the one mind the men- 
tal attitude directed towards this future event was accompanied by, 
or intermingled with, hoping; in the other mind accompanied by, 
or intermingled with, dreading. 

But besides there being hoping in the one case and dreading 
in the other, may we not also say that there was believing in 
the one case and disbelieving in the other? May we not de- 
scribe President Roosevelt's mental attitude as hoping for and 
certain of his re-election and Governor Landon's as not only 
dreading but also as sceptical of, or disbelieving in, the re- 
election of President Roosevelt? President Roosevelt's re-election 
in November 1936 was real; and in October Governor Lan- 
don and many others had mental attitudes directed towards it. 
Some of these attitudes were, let us agree, accompanied by, or in- 
termingled with, instances of believing; and some accompanied by, 
or intermingled with, instances of disbelieving. Governor Landon, 
for example, disbelieved in the forthcoming re-election of Presi- 
dent Roosevelt. Presented, that is to say, as a quality of the think- 
ing mind-person whom we call Governor Landon, an instance of 
disbelieving existed. And this instance of disbelieving was really 
related to the November event upon which either it, or the mental 
attitude of Governor Landon's which accompanied it, was directed. 

But what about an alleged believing or disbelieving directed 
upon an entity which is unreal? There are instances of pseudo- 
perceiving, we have seen, which are real but which have no ob- 
jects, instances of pseudo-perceiving which are as though the 
objects they seem to have were real. And there are instances of 
hoping such that neither they nor the mental attitudes which ac- 

301 



company them have objects, instances of hoping such that they and 
the mental attitudes with which they are intermingled have "in- 
trinsic characteristics resembling those of mental attitudes really 
hoping for, and really aware of, events about to exist/' 19 Similarly 
with the instance of believing apparently directed upon an unreal 
object. And similarly with the instance of disbelieving apparently 
directed upon an unreal object. A child who says: "I believe in 
Santa Glaus" may be believing; but she is not aware of an object 
and not, strictly speaking, believing in anything. And when I say: 
"I disbelieve in Santa Glaus," whereas my disbelieving is real, 
neither it nor the mental attitude accompanying it has a real ob- 
ject. There may, that is to say, be instances of believing, and in- 
stances of disbelieving, which are as though their alleged objects 
existed. But it is only real entities, we conclude, that may really be 
believed in, and only real entities that may really be disbelieved 
in. 

I may disbelieve in the re-election of President Roosevelt but 
not in Santa Glaus. I may believe in Socrates but not in Ivanhoe. 
But what about the entity which we have distinguished from Soc- 
rates and called: "The existence of Socrates'? And what about the 
alleged entity which seems to be represented by our phrase: "The 
existence of Ivanhoe?" Distinguishable from Socrates there is the 
entity which we have called a judgment or fact, namely, "exist- 
ence appearing as an alleged quality of the subsistent Socrates." 20 
And distinguishable from an alleged Ivanhoe there subsists an al- 
leged existence of Ivanhoe. As the word "Socrates" which I utter 
differs from the proposition: "Socrates exists" which I assert, so, 
we have seen, Socrates differs from the existence of Socrates. And 
with Socrates being distinguishable from the existence of Socrates, 
believing in Socrates, it would seem to follow, differs from believ- 
ing in the existence of Socrates. The wife of Socrates is not the 
same person as Socrates; and the father of the wife of Socrates is 
not the same person as the father of Socrates. Somewhat similarly, 
it would seem, since "the existence of Socrates" and "Socrates" 
represent different entities, believing in the existence of Socrates 
is not believing in Socrates. 

But, it may be objected, not all situations in which an A is re- 
lated to a B which is related to a C are analogous to the situation 
in which A is the father of the wife of Socrates, but not the father 

302 



of Socrates. The wife of Socrates may not be the same person as 
Socrates. But in a monogamous society where there are no extra- 
marital relations, if A is the son of the wife of Socrates, A is also 
the son of Socrates. In such a situation being-the-son-of and being- 
the-wife-of are not what one might call "additive" as are being-the- 
father-of and being-the-wife-of. Or consider the proposition: "A is 
the wife of the wife of Socrates." Since the wife of Socrates has no 
wife, either the reader does not understand our proposition at all; 
or he disregards what he takes to be a redundancy and believes 
our proposition to be synonymous with "A is the wife of Soc- 
rates/' Somewhat similarly, it may be said, "A is believing in B" 
and "B is the existence of C" do not imply that there is a believing 
in the existence of C which is distinguishable from a believing in 
C. Believing and existing may be held to involve each other to 
such an extent that believing in the existence of Socrates is not 
distinguishable from believing in Socrates. 

The connection between belief and existence is so close, it may 
be said, that to believe in an entity is to be aware of that entity as 
existing. But even as "existence" is commonly used, it would seem 
that we can be aware of an entity as existing without believing in 
it. An instance of believing, it would seem, is not an instance of 
merely being aware, whether the alleged object of that awareness 
is an entity presented as existing, an entity presented as not exist- 
ing, or an entity presented neither as existing nor as not existing. An 
instance of believing, it would seem, is an instance of being aware 
with feeling; or, rather, it is a feeling which accompanies, or is 
intermingled with, an instance of being aware. Thus a child may 
tell me that Santa Glaus exists; and upon hearing her words I may 
have a mental attitude which has as its apparent object a Santa 
Glaus presented with those vague characteristics to which "exist- 
ence" as commonly used seems to refer. Using the word "existence" 
as it is used in ordinary discourse, my apparent object is, in short, 
the existence of Santa Glaus. But whereas I seem to be aware of the 
existence of Santa Glaus, I am not, let us agree, presented as believ- 
ing in Santa Glaus. For my mental attitude which seems to be 
directed upon the existence of Santa Glaus is not presented as 
being accompanied by a mental attitude which is an instance of 
believing. 

To be believing in an entity, let us then agree, is not to be 

303 



merely aware of that entity as existing. In order that there may 
be an instance of believing, there must be an instance of what we 
have called a "feeling." But assuming that we have before us an 
instance of the feeling that we call "believing," how are we to 
distinguish the believing which accompanies a mental attitude 
directed upon a given entity from the believing which accom- 
panies a mental attitude directed upon the existence of that en- 
tity? When the word "real" has the meaning with which that word 
comes to us out of common speech, "seeming to have as an object 
a hundred real dollars" may not be "identical with seeming to 
have as an object a hundred imaginary dollars." 21 In the one situa- 
tion, we have suggested, the alleged object appears with "some 
vague quality of being related to certain other things, some vague 
quality of being important"; in the other situation, not. Whatever 
difference there may be, however, seems rather intangible and 
elusive. Certainly then, when we compare seeming to believe in a 
hundred real dollars with seeming to believe in a hundred imagi- 
nary dollars, the difference is no less elusive. Indeed, when "exist- 
ence" is used in the sense in which it is used in common speech, 
one may go so far as to say that it is all one whether I say: "I 
believe in a hundred dollars" or "I believe in the existence of a 
hundred dollars," whether I say: "I believe in Santa Glaus" or 
"I believe in the existence of Santa Glaus." 

Our failure to find a noticeable difference between the signifi- 
cation of: "I believe in A," as this phrase is commonly used, and 
the signification of: "I believe in the existence of A," as commonly 
used, may be partially accounted for by the fact that "existence" 
in ordinary discourse has a meaning which is extremely vague and 
indefinite. But if the difference between "believing in A" and "be- 
lieving in the existence of A" is less marked than the difference 
between "A" and "the existence of A," then our failure is not 
completely accounted for by pointing to the vagueness of the 
meaning with which "existence" is commonly used. 22 Our failure 
may be due in part to the juxtaposition of "existence" and "be- 
lief." As "existence" is commonly used, that is to say, the meanings 
of "existence" and "belief may involve one another. "Existing," 
for example, may not mean merely being somehow important; it 
may mean being somehow important and being an object of belief. 
It would be unrewarding, however, to pursue with any vigor 

504 



investigations as to the meaning which "existence" usually has. 
For, since the meaning o "existence" as commonly used is ex- 
tremely vague, we are unable to determine with any accuracy 
what that meaning is. And to the extent to which our term "exist- 
ence" is not involved, we are expressing ourselves in sentences to 
which our terms "truth" and "falsity" do not apply. 23 

Let us turn then to believing in A and believing in the exist- 
ence of A, where "existence" has the meaning which has been 
assigned it in this treatise. To exist is to appear without the char- 
acteristic of being self-contradictory, without the characteristic of 
being non-spatial, etc.; and it is to be listed in the appendix to 
Chapter Three. There is believing in the existence of an entity 
when the mental attitude which accompanies an instance of be- 
lieving has as its object that entity's quality of appearing without 
the characteristic of being self-contradictory, that entity's quality 
of appearing without the characteristic of being non-spatial, etc. 
And there is believing in A rather than in the existence of A when 
the mental attitude which accompanies the instance of believing 
has as its object A itself but not such qualities as A's freedom from 
self-contradiction. I am believing in the hundred dollars in my 
pocket when, while I am believing, I am aware of these hundred 
dollars but not of their being presented without the characteristic 
of non-spatiality. And I am believing in the existence of these 
hundred dollars when the mental attitude which accompanies my 
believing is directed upon those characteristics of these hundred 
dollars which determine these hundred dollars to be real. 

But can we be believing in A without being aware of such 
qualities of A as A's freedom from non-spatiality? Believing oc- 
curs, it may be said, only when there are among our objects those 
characteristics of the entity that we are considering which deter- 
mine that entity to be real. When however the terms "feeling of 
acceptance ... or belief" and "feeling of ... rejection or disbelief 
were first used in this treatise, 24 our term "existence" had not yet 
been fully explained. Had we at that point introduced the ex- 
pression: "belief in the existence of A," the reader of that expres- 
sion would not have been led to think of those characteristics of 
A upon which belief was presented as being directed. He might 
have understood "belief and he might have understood: "belief 
in A"; but he would not have understood: "belief in the existence 

305 



of A." 

What then was the reader's object when he read: "When I 
think of the King of England I seem to have a feeling of accept- 
ance or assent or belief. No feeling of hesitation or of disbelief 
seems to intervene"? 25 And what seemed to be the reader's object 
when he read: "When I press my eye-ball and seem to see a second 
rose in the vase on my desk, ... I may become aware of a feeling 
of hesitation, a feeling of dissent or rejection or disbelief?" In the 
one instance, we hold, there was among his objects my believing 
directed upon the King of England; not, using "existence" in 
our sense, my believing directed upon the existence of the King 
of England. And in the other instance there was among his ob- 
jects my disbelieving apparently directed upon a second rose, not 
a disbelieving apparently directed upon qualities which had not 
yet been pointed out, not a disbelieving apparently directed upon 
what in our sense of "existence" would be the existence of the 
second rose, provided the second rose existed. Believing in A was 
an object, but not believing in the existence of A. An instance of 
disbelieving which was as though it were directed upon B was an 
object, not an instance of disbelieving which was as though it were 
directed upon the existence of B. 

Using "existence" in our sense then, believing in A may be an 
object without believing in the existence of A being an object 
also. But whereas the observer may be aware of a belief in A with- 
out being aware of a belief in the existence of A, perhaps the 
believer may not be believing in A without also believing in the ex- 
istence of A. Perhaps believing in A, although distinguishable from 
believing in the existence of A, does not occur without it. It will 
be agreed, however, that I was believing and disbelieving before 
I was engaged in determining the meaning of our term "exist- 
ence." There were entities in which I was believing, that is to say, 
when I was not yet aware of those characteristics of my object that 
were later to be determined to constitute its existence. Similarly, 
there are instances of your believing and instances of your dis- 
believingon occasions when you are not definitely aware of the 
meaning of our term "existence." Situations exist, that is to say, 
where your believing or disbelieving is directed upon certain 
entities but not upon what, in our sense of the term "existence," 
is the existence of these entities. 

306 



Using "existence" in our sense then, believing in an entity need 
not be accompanied by believing in the existence of that entity. 
And using "existence" in our sense, the entity which exists need 
not be an object of belief with respect to each of the thinking 
mind-nerve-fibres directed upon it. An entity is unreal, to be sure, 
if it is presented as generally discredited. But the entity which is 
real may be presented without the characteristic of being generally 
discredited and yet not presented with the characteristic of being 
generally believed in, or even with the characteristic of being 
believed in by some. Just as the entity presented without the char- 
acteristic of being a definite object may be real, 26 so may the 
entity presented without the characteristic of being an object of 
belief. Just as an entity may be real and yet not have any real 
mental attitudes definitely directed upon it, so an entity may be 
real and yet not be an object of general belief or an object of be- 
lief at all. 

There are, we have agreed, instances of believing and instances 
of disbelieving which are directed upon such entities as the re- 
election of President Roosevelt. 27 And there are, let us agree, in- 
stances of believing and instances of disbelieving which are di- 
rected upon such entities as the existence of the re-election of 
President Roosevelt. Using "existence" in our sense of that word, 
the subject who is disbelieving in the existence of the re-election 
of President Roosevelt, or disbelieving in the existence of the King 
of England, is, let us say, "erring" or "in error." And the subject 
who is believing in the existence of the re-election of President 
Roosevelt, or believing in the existence of the King of England, 
is, let us say, "knowing." As we choose to use the words "erring" 
and "being in error," a subject is not erring when he is aware of 
the existence of an existing entity but is not disbelieving. And 
he is not erring when he is disbelieving in an entity which is real 
but not disbelieving in the existence of that entity. A subject is 
in error, his mental attitude is an instance of erring, when that 
mental attitude is an instance of disbelieving in the existence 
of an existing entity. And similarly with our terms "having knowl- 
edge" or "knowing." A mental attitude is not an instance of know- 
ing, as we choose to use the word "knowing," when, although 
directed upon the existence of an existing entity, it is not an in- 
stance of believing. And it is not an instance of knowing when it 

307 



is believing in an entity which is real, but is not believing in the 
existence of that entity. A subject knows, his mental attitude is 
an instance of what we call "knowing" when that mental attitude 
is directed upon the existence of an existing entity and is believing 
in that existing entity's existence. 

There are, then, instances of erring, as, for example, Governor 
Landon's mental attitude disbelieving in the existence in our 
sense of "existence" of the re-election of President Roosevelt. 
And there are instances of knowing as, for example, my mental 
attitude believing in the existence of the King of England. But 
what shall we say with respect to such alleged objects as the exist- 
ence of Santa Glaus or the non-existence of the King of England? 
Just as "there is no real non-existence of Socrates," 2S so there is 
no real non-existence of the King of England. And just as the 
existence of Ivanhoe is unreal and the non-existence of Ivanhoe 
unreal, so is an alleged existence of Santa Glaus and an alleged 
now-existence of Santa Glaus. The entity that is unreal, however, 
is neither an object of belief nor an object of disbelief. 29 Just as 
the child who says: "I believe in Santa Glaus" is not believing in 
him, so the child who says: "I believe in the existence of Santa 
Glaus" or "I believe that Santa Glaus exists" is, it follows, not be- 
lieving in Santa Claus's existence. And similarly with instances of 
belief and instances of disbelief allegedly directed upon the non- 
existence of Santa Glaus or upon the non-existence of the King 
of England. If I say: "I disbelieve in the non-existence of the 
King of England" or "I disbelieve in the alleged fact that the King 
of England does not exist," I may be disbelieving, but my dis- 
believing has no non-existence of the King of England as its object. 
And if I say: "I believe in the non-existence of Santa Glaus" or 
"I believe that there is no Santa Glaus," I may be believing, but 
my believing is not directed upon the non-existence of Santa Glaus 
which, we have seen, is unreal. 

Shall we say, then, that there is no erring when some one says: 
"I believe that Santa Glaus exists," no knowing when I say: "I 
believe in the alleged fact that Santa Glaus does not exist"? These 
are situations, to be sure, in which there is believing, but believ- 
ing not directed upon the existence of an existing entity. And yet 
they are situations to which the terms "knowledge" and "error" 
as commonly used would seem to be applicable. Let us then at- 

SOS 



tempt to use our terms "knowing" and "erring" so that some 
instances of believing or of disbelieving may be called instances 
of "knowing" or instances of "erring," even though they are not 
directed upon the existence of existing entities. 

We attempted to apply the distinction between "truth" and 
"falsity," it will be recalled, to facts or judgments. But then, find- 
ing no real judgments to be called "false," we returned to a dis- 
cussion of true propositions and false propositions. 30 Our present 
situation is somewhat similar. We have introduced our terms 
"knowing" and "erring" by considering the situation in which a 
judgment or alleged judgment is apparently the object of belief 
or of disbelief. But finding no false judgments to be believed in or 
disbelieved in, we turn to the situation in which believing or dis- 
believing is directed upon propositions or upon the truth or falsity 
of propositions. Just as we chose to explain our terms "truth" and 
"falsity" so that truth or falsity may be the quality not only of a 
real judgment but also of a real proposition, so let us choose to 
explain our terms "knowing" and "erring" so that a mental atti- 
tude which is believing or disbelieving may be knowing or erring, 
not only when it is directed upon a real judgment, but also when 
it is directed upon the truth or falsity of a real proposition. 

The qualities of an individual substance, let us assume, have 
the date and position of the substance in which they inhere. The 
quality which we call "the existence of Socrates" was, like Socrates 
himself, in Athens. The truth of some true proposition which J 
am reading is, like that proposition itself, on the page in front of 
me. My believing may be directed towards the Socrates who was in 
Athens, towards the existence of this Socrates, towards the proposi- 
tion "Socrates exists" which is on the page in front of me, or to- 
wards the truth of this true proposition. We have chosen to call my 
believing an instance of "knowing" when it is directed towards the 
existence of Socrates. But let us also call my believing an instance 
of knowing when it is directed towards the truth of the true propo- 
sition: "Socrates exists" which is on the page in front of me. Let 
us call my believing an instance of knowing, that is to say, not 
only when it is directed towards the existence of an existing entity, 
but also when it is directed towards the truth of a true proposition. 
And let us call my disbelieving an instance of "erring," not only 
when that in which I disbelieve is the existence of an existing 

309 



entity, but also when that in which I disbelieve is the truth of a 
true proposition. 

As we explain our term "knowing," I am knowing when I am 
believing in the existence of Socrates. And I am again knowing 
when I am believing in the truth of some proposition: "Socrates 
exists" which I find before me. But whereas I am knowing when 
I am believing in the truth of "Santa Glaus does not exist," I am 
not knowing when I seem to be believing in the non-existence of 
Santa Glaus. And whereas I am knowing, let us say, when I am 
believing in the falsity of "Santa Glaus exists," I am not knowing 
when I seem to be disbelieving in the existence of Santa Glaus. 

Similarly, as we explain our term "erring," I am erring when I 
am disbelieving in the existence of Socrates. And I am again erring 
when I am disbelieving in the truth of some sentence reading: 
"Socrates exists." On the other hand, I am erring when I am dis- 
believing in the truth of "Santa Glaus does not exist," but not 
when I seem to be disbelieving in the non-existence of Santa Glaus. 
And I am erring when I am disbelieving in the falsity of "Santa 
Glaus exists," but not when I seem to be believing in the existence 
of Santa Glaus. In short, what we call "knowing" is believing in 
the existence of an existing entity, in the truth of a true proposi- 
tion, or in the falsity of a false proposition. And what we call 
"error" is disbelief directed towards such entities. Finally, when 
what I seem to be believing in or disbelieving in is neither the 
existence of an existing entity nor the truth of a true proposition 
nor the falsity of a false proposition, then, let us say, I am neither 
knowing nor erring. 

However, "what I find least to my taste," we have already found 
Leibniz saying a propos Locke's discussion of truth, "is that you 
seek truth in words." 31 And if one finds it distasteful to assign 
"truth" a meaning from which it follows that a sentence on this 
page is one entity that is true, and an identical sentence on another 
page another entity that is true, one may well find it distasteful 
to assign "knowledge" a meaning from which it follows that the 
truth of the sentence on this page is one object of knowledge 
and the truth of the identical sentence on another page another 
object of knowledge. But just as the non-existence of Santa Glaus, 
being unreal, can not be true and can not pass its truth on to 
various identical sentences each reading: "Santa Glaus does not 

310 



exist/' so this non-existence of Santa Glaus can not be my object of 
knowledge either when I am believing in the truth of a sentence 
on this page reading: "Santa Glaus does not exist," or when I 
am believing in the truth of a sentence on another page reading: 
"Santa Glaus does not exist.'* Even though we may be assigning 
"knowledge" a meaning at variance with the meaning which 
"knowledge" usually has, we choose then to assign "knowledge" 
a meaning from which it follows that the truth of this sentence 
and the truth of that sentence may be separate objects of knowl- 
edge and not entities reflecting an alleged object of knowledge to 
which they are alleged both to be related. 

If, believing in the truth of some sentence reading: "Santa 
Glaus does not exist," I come to believe in the truth of a second 
sentence reading: "Santa Glaus does not exist," then, as we use 
the term "knowledge," I have come to have a second object of 
knowledge. As "knowledge" is commonly used, to be sure, a man 
would not be said to increase his knowledge when he comes to 
believe in the truth of a second proposition identical with one in 
whose truth he already believes. Even as "knowledge" is commonly 
used, however, there seems to be a distinction between having 
additional objects of knowledge and having more knowledge or 
having greater knowledge. As "knowledge" is commonly used, the 
thinker who has the greater knowledge, who is the more erudite, 
is not he who has the greater number of objects of knowledge, but 
he who has the greater number of important objects of knowledge. 
Objects of knowledge, that is to say, may be weighted and not 
merely added together as equal units. And similarly when "knowl- 
edge" has the meaning which we are assigning it. Although I have 
come to have an additional object of knowledge when I have come 
to believe in the truth of a second proposition reading: "Santa 
Glaus does not exist," I may be said not to have increased my 
knowledge. Just as, when "knowledge" has the meaning which it 
usually has, the thinker who knows how clothing is dyed knows 
more than he who knows that his tie is blue, so, when "knowledge" 
has the meaning which we are assigning it, the thinker who believes 
in the truth of one important proposition may be said to know 
more than he who believes in the truth of several identical but 
unimportant propositions. 

There is the fact in which I am now believing, the true propo- 

311 



sition in whose truth I am now believing, the false proposition in 
whose falsity I am now believing. And there is the object of knowl- 
edge of which I was formerly aware and of which I can, when I 
choose, again be aware. There is what, according to Locke, 32 
"may be called habitual knowledge." There is the object of knowl- 
edge such that I "can on a given occasion think of it." 8S Thus 
there is a distinction to be made when "knowledge" has its usual 
meaning. And there is a similar distinction to be made when 
"knowledge" has the meaning which we are assigning it. For it 
is one thing to be believing in the existence of an existing entity, 
in the truth of a true proposition, or in the falsity of a false propo- 
sition. And it is another thing to be able to be believing in the 
existence of this entity or in the truth or falsity of this proposition. 

There are some respects, however, in which "knowing," as we 
use it, is not the "knowing" of ordinary usage. The English verb 
"to know," as commonly used, is in some instances synonymous 
with "kennen" or "connaitre." But in so far as you are acquainted 
with your next-door neighbor, you are not knowing him, in our 
sense of "knowing," nor do you have the quality of being able to 
know him. The mental attitude which you have, or are able to 
have, is a mental attitude directed upon your neighbor rather 
than upon your neighbor's existence. You have spoken to him, 
he is one of your memories, or you are one of his memories. But 
it is not the fact that he exists that is your object and the object 
in which you are believing; and it is not the fact that he exists 
with the quality of living next door. In so far as you are acquainted 
with your neighbor, you do, to be sure, have an object. But you 
are not believing in a fact or judgment, in the truth of a true 
proposition, or in the falsity of a false proposition. 

But what about the situation in which there is believing in the 
existence of an existing entity, in the truth of a true proposition, 
or in the falsity of a false proposition? I may be believing in the 
existence of the Shah of Persia and you may be believing in the 
existence of your neighbor and in the fact that he lives next door. 
As we have explained our term "knowing," I am knowing and you 
are knowing. But whereas you are aware of your neighbor's age, 
physiognomy and disposition, the Shah of Persia is not presented 
to me with a similar wealth of detail. Whereas the entity in whose 
existence you believe is an entity of which you are definitely 

312 



aware, the entity in whose existence I believe is an entity of which 
I am aware only indefinitely. There are those, it is to be pointed 
out, who discuss what they call "knowledge of acquaintance/' 34 
But in so far as you are believing in the existence of your neighbor 
or in the fact that he lives next door, and in so far as I am believing 
in the existence of the Shah of Persia, the mental attitudes of each 
of us are instances of what we call "knowing/' not instances of 
what we call "being acquainted with." We are each knowing, 
although in the one situation the entity whose existence is be- 
lieved in is a definite object, in the other an indefinite object 

It is an entity that is presented to me only indefinitely when I 
am believing in the existence of the Shah of Persia. It is an 
entity that is presented to me only indefinitely when I say that 
I know that there is a Shah of Persia but not who the Shah of 
Persia is. And it is an entity that is presented to me only indefi- 
nitely when I say that I know that alcohol is but not what it is. 
Nevertheless, even though the name of the Shah of Persia is not 
an object of mine, when I am believing in the existence of the 
Shah of Persia, I am knowing in our sense of "knowing/* And even 
though the chemical formula for alcohol is not an object of mine, 
I am again knowing when I am believing in the existence of al- 
cohol. 

Indeed, as we explain "knowing," when I say that I do not 
know such and such a fact, I may well be knowing the fact of 
which I claim to be ignorant. The fact of which I claim to be 
ignorant, that is to say, may be a fact in which I believe, although 
not presented with the detail that would make my mental attitude 
directed upon it an important instance of knowing. Thus I may 
say that I do not know who was the tenth President of the United 
States. But my mental attitude need not be without an object; 
and I may indeed be knowing. What is presented to me, let us 
assume, is some President of the United States, but not his name. 
I may be knowing that there was a tenth President and that 
he held office at some date near the middle of the nineteenth 
century. The tenth President however is not presented to me with 
the definiteness with which your neighbor is presented to you. I am 
knowing that there was a tenth President; but my object of knowl- 
edge is not presented with the definiteness with which your object 
of knowledge is presented when you are believing in the existence 

313 



of your neighbor. 

There are, we have agreed, instances of what we call "know- 
ing." ** And there are, let us agree, instances of mental attitudes 
which reach instances of knowing as their objects. Just as "Des- 
cartes' perceiving may be an object both for Descartes and for me" 
and just as Laocoon's fearing may be an object both for Laocoon 
and for me, 36 so an instance of knowing may be an object both for 
the knower and for some other subject. Indeed the subject who is 
aware of a given instance of knowing may be believing in the 
existence of this instance of knowing. He may in a word be know- 
ing that this mental attitude is an instance of knowing. 

A knower may be knowing; and he may be knowing* that he is 
knowing. But is it possible for one to know without knowing that 
he knows? "Whereas it may be agreed that fearing is distinguish- 
able from the introspecting of fearing, and that there are real 
instances of both, it may be held that there are no instances of 
fearing that are not introspected by the fearing subject." 87 And 
whereas it may be agreed that there are instances of knowing and 
instances of knowing that one is knowing, it may be held that 
there are no instances of knowing unaccompanied by instances 
of knowing that one is knowing. If, in order to know, I had to 
know that I know, then in order to know that I know, I would, it 
seems, have to know that I know that I know; and so on, ad infini- 
tum. 38 An alleged infinite regress of this sort, however, need not 
trouble us. "There are instances, we have agreed, of mental at- 
titudes which are not introspected." 39 And there are, let us agree, 
instances of knowing which are not objects for the knowing sub- 
ject. In order that my knowing may be real, this alleged knowing of 
mine can not be presented with the characteristic of being no one's 
definite object. But it need not be presented with the character- 
istic of being the object of a contemporaneous mental attitude of 
mine. Much less need it be presented with the characteristic of 
being the object of a contemporaneous mental attitude of mine 
which is believing in its existence. Juit as I may be perceiving, re- 
membering or fearing, without being aware of my perceiving, of 
my remembering, or of my fearing, sb l 1 may be knowing, without 
knowing that J am knowing. I xriajHbe knowing in our sense of 
*1knowing" without fcnptiriiig tkit I aiii knowing; and I may be 
knbivring in our sense of "irioWM^ Without being aware of the 

314 



meaning which our term "knowing" has. I may be believing in 
the existence of some entity, that is to say, and yet not be believing 
in the existence of the believing mental attitude of mine which is 
directed upon the existence of that entity. And I may be believing 
in the existence of some entity, without being definitely aware of 
the fact that, as we explain our term "knowing," a mental attitude 
is an instance of knowing if it is believing in the existence of an 
existing entity, in the truth of a true proposition, or in the falsity 
of a false proposition. 

As we are using the terms "existence," "truth," and "knowl- 
edge," ccftain entities exist or are real and certain alleged entities 
are unreal; real judgments are true and real propositions true or 
false; and certain mental attitudes which are believing or disbe- 
lieving are knowing or erring. We chose to introduce our term 
"truth" after explaining our term "existence" and have chosen to 
introduce our term "knowledge" after explaining our terms "exist- 
ence" and "truth." Indeed in explaining our term "truth" we have 
presupposed an understanding of our term "existence"; and in ex- 
plaining our term "knowledge" we have presupposed an under- 
standing of our terms "existence" and "truth." We have, for 
example, suggested that our proposition: "Socrates exists" is true, 
in our sense of "truth," if Socrates exists in our sense of "exist- 
ence." 40 And we have suggested that my mental attitude believing 
in the truth of the proposition: "Socrates exists" is an instance of 
knowing, in our sense of "knowing," if "Socrates exists" is true in 
our sense of "truth." 41 

There are those however who hold that truth is prior to reality, 42 
those who, if they believed that their terms "truth" and "exist- 
ence" required explanation, would choose to explain their term 
"existence" by referring back to what they call "truth/* And there 
may be those who somewhat similarly would prefer to explain 
"truth" or "existence" by referring back to what they call "knowl- 
edge." One may choose to say that an entity exists if it has been 
determined that the proposition in which the assertion of its exist- 
ence has been expressed is true. And one may choose to say that, 
given a mental attitude or state of mind which is an instance of 
knowledge, the object in which that mental attitude believes or 
to which that state of mind refers is real, and the proposition in 
which that belief is expressed true. There were no logical reasons 

315 



which compelled us "to begin with a discussion of 'reality' and 
to explain 'truth* in terms of reality." 4S And there are no logical 
reasons which compel us, on the one hand, to presuppose an under- 
standing of our terms "existence" and "truth" when we explain 
our term "knowledge" and which, on the other hand, prevented us 
from presupposing an understanding of our term "knowledge" 
when we explained our terms "existence" and "truth." Just how- 
ever as something analogous to the appendix to our third chapter, 
some enumeration of propositions or judgments which are true, 
would be called for as a partial explanation of our term "truth," 
were we to explain, first "truth," and then "reality V 4 so, we 
hold, there would be called for, as a partial explanation of our 
term "knowledge," some enumeration of the mental attitudes 
which are knowing, were we to explain, first "knowing," and then 
"existence" and "truth." 

As we use the terms "existence," "truth" and "knowledge," 
their meanings are interrelated. And as "existence," "truth" and 
"knowledge" are generally used, their meanings seem likewise to 
be interrelated. We have chosen to explain, first our term "exist- 
ence," then our term "truth," then our term "knowledge." But 
whatever distinguishes what we call "real" from what we call "un- 
real" conies into play in distinguishing what we call "true" from 
what we call "false," and comes into play in distinguishing what 
we call "knowledge" from what we call "error." So it may be with 
respect to some other writers when it is a matter of distinguishing 
what they call "real" from what they call "unreal," what they call 
"true" from what they call "false," what they call "knowledge" 
from what they call "error." Indeed, when some distinction is 
held to depend on the presence or absence of A, it may be diffi- 
cult to tell whether the presence or absence of A is being held 
primarily to distinguish the real from the unreal and only in- 
directly to distinguish the true from the false and knowledge 
from error; whether the presence or absence of A is being held 
primarily to distinguish the true from the false and only indi- 
rectly to distinguish the real from the unreal and knowledge 
from error; or whether it is being held primarily to distinguish 
knowledge from error and only indirectly to distinguish the 
real from the unreal and the true from the false. 
Thus one may point to the clear and distinct on "the one hand, 

316 



to the obscure or confused on the other. Or one may point to the 
coherent on the one hand, to the incoherent on the other. It may 
be intelligible entities that are held to be presented as clear and 
distinct, sensible entities that are held to be presented as obscure 
or confused. The distinction between the clear and distinct and the 
obscure or confused may thus be held to be applicable to the uni- 
verse of subsistents which we dichotomize into the real and the un- 
real. 45 Primary qualities to which numbers apply, it may for ex- 
ample be said, are real; whatever appears as merely sensible, it 
may be said, is unreal. 46 And similarly with the distinction between 
the coherent and the incoherent. Whatever coheres with the en- 
tities of which we are usually aware, it may be said, is real. And 
whatever appears as not coherent with the entities of which we are 
usually aware may be said to be unreal, 47 Propositions may then be 
said to be true in so far as they refer to entities which are clear and 
distinct or to entities which cohere with other real entities in the 
world of existents. And mental attitudes may be said to be in- 
stances of knowing in so far as the alleged object of knowledge, be- 
ing clear and distinct, or cohering with other objects, is real. 

But these distinctions between the clear and distinct and the 
obscure or confused and between the coherent and the incoherent 
may be held to have their primary use in distinguishing the true 
from the false. It may be alleged passive ideas, alleged private men- 
tal contents, which are held to be clear and distinct or obscure or 
confused. It may be propositions which are held to be consistent or 
inconsistent with one another. Or it may be alleged entities called 
"judgments." Entities may then be said to be real in so far as the 
ideas alleged to refer to them are clear and distinct, or in so far as 
the ideas alleged to refer to them cohere with other ideas in a co- 
herent system of mental contents. Or entities may be said to be 
real in so far as the judgments alleged to refer to them, being co- 
herent, or being clear and distinct, are true. 

Finally, as we have already noted, "one may choose to say that, 
given a mental attitude . . . which is an instance of knowledge, the 
object in which that mental attitude believes ... is real, and the 
proposition in which that belief is expressed true." 48 One may say, 
for example, that, the feeling of certainty which is intermingled 
with certain mental attitudes is a mark of their clarity. One may 
say that mental attitudes which are dear and distinct, in the sense 

S17 



that they are intermingled with mental attitudes which are not 
only instances of believing but instances of being certain, are 
mental attitudes which are instances of knowing. And one may 
subsequently say that the objects of thinking mind-nerve-fibres 
which are thus undisturbed by doubt are objects which are reaL 

When we began to assign a meaning to our term "existence," 
various alternative meanings were before us from which to make 
our selection. And whereas there were no logical grounds which 
forced us to adopt one universal negative existential proposition 
and to reject another, there were, we found, "grounds of ex- 
pediency" * 9 which permitted us to prefer one universal negative 
existential proposition to another. Similarly when we began to 
assign a meaning to our term "truth" and when we began to 
assign a meaning to our term "knowledge." We might have chosen 
to explain "truth" without referring back to what we call "exist- 
ence." And we might have chosen to explain "knowledge" with- 
out referring back to existence and truth. 

Having chosen, however, to explain "truth" in terms of reality, 
and "knowledge" in terms of reality and truth, certain alternative 
explanations could no longer be adopted. If the distinction be- 
tween what we call "true" and what we call "false" was to apply 
only to entities which are real in our sense of "reality," we could 
not explain our terms "truth" and "falsity" so that truth and 
falsity characterize alleged judgments alleged to have their "habi- 
tat in a world of objective but disembodied entities." 50 Nor could 
we explain our terms "truth" and "falsity" so that alleged private 
ideas are true or false. For ideas, alleged to be immediate objects, 
do not exist, in our sense of "existence," when they are presented 
as non-spatial, as not spatially related to contemporaneous ulti- 
mate objects, as not objetts for more than one subject, or as ad- 
jacent to thinking itself. 51 

Explaining our term "existence" as we have, nevertheless, we 
mi^ht still have chosen to introduce the term "truth" by saying 
that real propositions are true if they are members of a large 
system of real propositions, members of a system none of the mem- 
bers df which contradict one another. We might have chosen to 
u*&D<lue die term "knowledge" by saying that real mental atti- 
tfadfes are instances of kndwitig if they cohere with other real 
mental attitudes in parts of the same' mind-person. Or we might 

318 



have chosen to introduce the term ''knowledge" by saying that 
real mental attitudes are instances of knowing if they are inter- 
mingled with instances of the feeling of being certain. 

It is on what we have called "grounds of expediency 1 ' that we 
turn away from certainty and coherence in explaining our terms 
"truth" and "knowledge." For it would not be in accord with 
ordinary usage to assign "knowledge" a signification from which it 
would follow that there is no knowing without being certain, no 
being certain without knowing. As we have chosen to explain our 
term "knowledge// and, it seems, as "knowledge" is commonly 
used, there may be knowing without there being a feeling of being 
certain and there may be a feeling of being certain without the 
alleged object being real or true. Nor does ''coherence' 9 seem to 
have a meaning that is readily understood. To say merely that real 
propositions are true in so far as they cohere would not be to be 
pointing out certain propositions which do not appear self-contra- 
dictory as definitely true and certain propositions which do not 
appear self-contradictory as definitely fake. And to say merely 
that real mental attitudes are instances of knowing in so far as 
they cohere would not be to be pointing out certain mental atti- 
tudes which inhere in parts of my mind-person as instances of 
knowing and certain mental attitudes which inhere in parts 
of my mind-person as instances of erring. What indeed is co- 
herence? We have chosen to use the term "coherence" in con- 
nection with mental attitudes inhering in thinking substances 
which are interrelated and form a system- We have chosen to 
use this term, for example, in connection with mental attitudes 
which inhere in parts of one mind-person. 52 And using "coher- 
ence" in this sense, we find that not all cohering mental atti- 
tudes are instances of what is commonly called "knowing." We 
find that mental attitudes which are instances of what seems com- 
monly to be called "erring/' and mental attitudes which are in- 
stances of what seems commonly to be called "knowing," cohere in 
parts of the same mind-person. And so we choose not to assign our 
term "knowing" a meaning from which it would follow that men- 
tal attitudes are instances of knowing in so far as they cohere in 
our sense of "coherence"; we choose rather to explain our term 
"knowing" by saying that mental attitudes are instances of 
ing if they are instances of believing in the existence 



919 



entities, in the truth of true propositions or in the falsity of false 
propositions. 

There is another set of proposals that calls for comment in con- 
nection with our discussion of the meanings to be assigned "knowl- 
edge" and "truth." In some of the writings of William James it is 
suggested that the knowing subject has a private idea which corre- 
sponds to the public object of knowledge. And it is suggested that, 
in some later experience, the subject, acting upon his belief, finds 
his private idea merging with the public object. It is as though 
I in America had a picture of Vesuvius, carried it with me to 
Naples, and there found my picture becoming Vesuvius itself. 
But since private ideas are unreal, there is no real relational situa- 
tion having as its terms the private idea which I am alleged to 
have while in America and the Vesuvius which is alleged to be a 
public object in Italy. What is real in addition to Vesuvius, when I 
in America think about Vesuvius, is some mind-nerve-fibre within 
my body with what we call a "mental attitude" and with what 
others may call an "idea." And when I arrive in Naples and look 
at Vesuvius there is likewise some quality of my body's, or of my 
mind-nerve-fibre's, by virtue of which Vesuvius is my object rather 
than some one's else. The thinking which is within my body in 
America, and Vesuvius in Italy, can hardly be regarded as earlier 
and later phases of the same enduring entity. What are more 
readily regarded as inhering in parts of the same enduring entity 
are my thinking while I am in America and my looking or perceiv- 
ing when I am in Naples. 

The proposal which we are examining, it is also to be pointed 
out, seems to attribute an unquestioned validity to the experience 
which I have when I look at Vesuvius from Naples. Thi$ experi- 
ence is regarded, it would seem, as involving knowledge or truth or 
reality par excellence. And the mental attitude which I have in 
America is called "knowing," or the idea which I have in America 
is called "true," in so far as it matches up with the experience 
which I am to have in Naples. But although my object seems to be 
in finont of me when I am in Naples, I may, we hold, be pseudo- 
perceiving and not perceiving, As we use the term "reality" and as 
this term is commonly used, the entity which is presented as being 
before one, and presented as being presented with the definiteness 
which percepts are presented, seed not be real. If while in 



20 



Naples I take smoke from some other source to be smoke from 
Vesuvius, then the mental attitude which I have in America, and 
which matches up with the mental attitude which I am to have in 
Naples, would not commonly be called an instance of knowing. 
Hence if the pragmatist is to assign "truth" and "knowledge" mean- 
ings not completely out of accord with common usage, he must, it 
would seem, say that a mental attitude is an instance of knowing or 
an idea true, not if it matches up with a mental attitude or idea 
which seems to be directed upon, or seems to correspond with, an 
ultimate object which is perceived; he must say that a mental 
attitude is an instance of knowing, or an idea true, if it matches 
up with a mental attitude which is really perceiving. He must, it 
would seem, distinguish perceiving from pseudo-perceiving, real 
percepts from alleged percepts. As a part of the explanation which 
explains his term "knowledge," he is thus called on, it would seem, 
to distinguish the real from the unreal; hence, to explain his term 
"real." But if he were to explain his term "real," he might, we 
suggest, find it unnecessary to refer to a comparison of earlier 
experiences with later experiences in explaining either his term 
"truth" or his term "knowledge." 

A thinker may be said to know if, acting on his belief, he will 
later perceive and know. Or a thinker may be said to know if, 
acting on his belief, he will later keep out of trouble. I may be 
said to be in error if, acting on my belief, I am led into a situation 
in which I am puzzled and forced to revise my beliefs. Or I may 
be said to be in error if, acting on my belief, I make responses 
which are inappropriate, enter into situations in which I do not 
prosper. The term "knowing" may be explained by referring to 
a relational situation involving, on the one hand, the knowing 
subject and, on the other hand, a later situation in which that 
subject finds himself, a later situation characterized by mental 
stability or happiness or by biological adjustment and success. And 
the term "erring" may be explained by referring to a relational 
situation involving, on the one hand, the erring subject and, on 
the other hand, a later situation in which there is mental puzzle- 
ment or unhappiness or biological maladjustment and failure. 

But if I see a missile coining towards me and try unsuccessfully 
to avoid it, my maladjustment would not commonly be said to 
mark my earlier mental attitudes directed upon the missile as 

321 



erroneous. And mental puzzlement, it would seem, points back 
to curiosity and doubt as frequently as it points back to what is 
commonly called "error." Which, moreover, is the previous mental 
attitude that is being marked out as an instance of knowing or 
erring? A situation in which there is adjustment and success or 
maladjustment and failure points back to a series of successive 
mental attitudes in the previous history of the adjusted or malad- 
justed subject. And so the terms "knowing" and "erring" are not 
assigned definite meanings unless the explanations, through which 
it is sought to explain these terms, enable us to determine which 
mental attitude in the previous history of the adjusted individual 
is being marked out as an instance of what is being called "know- 
ing" and which mental attitude in the previous history of the 
maladjusted individual is being marked out as an instance of 
what is being called "erring/* 

We choose then not to explain our terms "knowing" and "err- 
ing" by comparing some earlier mental attitude with some later 
situation in which the knowing or erring subject is to find him- 
self. But why, we ask, have such explanations been attempted? 
They may be traced back, it would seem, to a desire not to leave 
unexamined the alleged correspondence between alleged ideas 
and real ultimate objects, the relation between mental attitudes 
which are instances of knowing and the real objects of knowledge 
upon which these mental attitudes are directed. But whatever 
"correspondence" may mean, if we are to understand "correspond- 
ence with reality," we must, we hold, understand "reality," must be 
able to distinguish the real from the unreal. And if we are to under- 
stand: "being directed upon what are really objects of knowledge," 
we must again be able to distinguish the real from the unreal. With 
our term "reality" explained as we have explained it, we have, we 
hold, made it clear what it is with which instances of knowing and 
true propositions must match or correspond or be related. Using 
"existence" in our sense, there exist, to be sure, no ideas which are 
non-spatial or which are intra-cranial, but not mental attitudes. 
Hence there is no correspondence between such ideas and ultimate 
objects, There may however be said to be a correspondence be- 
tween reality and what we call "truth," a correspondence which 
is not indefinite and has not been left unexamined. 

As we explain our term "truth," truth corresponds with reality in 

322 



the definite sense that propositions are true or false according as 
certain entities represented, or alleged to be represented, by the 
terms of those propositions are real or unreal. 53 And as we explain 
our term "knowledge," mental attitudes which are instances of 
knowing match up with reality and truth in the definite sense that 
the subject who knows is believing in the existence of existing enti- 
ties, in the truth of true propositions or in the falsity of false propo- 
sitions. With the propositions which explain our term "reality" as 
a foundation, we have, we hold, assigned our terms "truth" and 
"knowledge" meanings which are rather definite and precise. Be- 
ing in a position to determine whether the alleged object of knowl- 
edge is real or unreal, true or false, we are in a position to deter- 
mine whether the subject alleged to be believing or disbelieving 
in that alleged object of knowledge is knowing or erring. Thus 
in order that "knowing" and "erring" may be assigned definite 
meanings, we need not assign them meanings which involve a 
comparison between the mental attitudes of the knowing subject 
and later situations in which that subject is to find himself. In 
so far as the meanings of our terms "knowing" and "erring" 
enable us to distinguish knowing from erring, there is no occasion, 
we hold, to assign these terms alternative meanings in an effort to 
be in a position to distinguish knowledge from error. 



Summary 

Along with mental attitudes which are instances of perceiv- 
ing, remembering and conceiving, there are mental attitudes 
which are instances of what we call "feeling." Among them are 
instances of fearing, of being in love, of being disgusted. These 
instances of feeling can exist without the subject who feels being 
aware of them. But he can be aware of them, in which case the 
situation resembles that in which a subject is aware of the fact 
that he is perceiving. 

Where there is error, the subject has a mental attitude but no 
object. Somewhat similarly, when one fears or hopes for some- 
thing that has no reality, the feeling exists but it has no object. 

Just as instances of fearing, of hating and of hoping are in- 
stances of feeling, so are instances of believing. Believing in an 

323 



entity is distinguished from believing in the existence of that 
entity. This leads to a definition defining knowledge and error. 
Knowing is believing in the existence of an existing entity, in 
the truth of a true proposition or in the falsity of a false propo- 
sition. Being in error is disbelieving in the existence of an exist- 
ing entity, in the truth of a true proposition or in the falsity of 
a false proposition. 

Knowing that a thing is is often distinguished from knowing what 
a thing is. As we define knowing, these entities are also to be 
distinguished, but perhaps differently. 

At this point our terms "reality/* "truth" and "knowledge" 
have all been explained. These terms are so interrelated, both in 
our terminology and as generally used, that what are put forward 
as criteria of existence may be put forward as criteria of truth or 
criteria of knowledge. Hence it is appropriate at this point to dis- 
cuss these alleged criteria in relation to all three. Included is a 
discussion of pragmatism. 



324 



Chapter XI 

SPATIAL RELATIONS AMONG CONTEMPORANEOUS 

ENTITIES 



Let us consider what is alleged to be a baseball diamond, or, 
rather, what is alleged to be an instantaneous phase of a baseball 
diamond. There appears, let us say, a phase of the pitcher which 
is presented as in the pitcher's box having just hurled the ball. 
There appears, let us say, a phase of the batter which is presented 
as at the plate about to swing at the ball. And there appears, let 
us say, a phase of the catcher which is presented as behind the 
plate prepared to catch the ball. Among our subsistents there are 
thus instantaneous phases of pitcher, batter and catcher which 
are alleged to be substances. But among our subsistents there is 
also the quality of being contemporaneous with a phase of the 
batter, a quality which is alleged to inhere in the phase of the 
pitcher which we are considering and another instance of which 
is likewise alleged to inhere in the phase of the catcher which we 
are considering. Also there is among our subsistents a quality 
which is alleged to inhere in the pitcher, the quality, namely, of 
being out-there-in-front with respect to the batter; and there is 
the quality of being a short distance behind with respect to the 
batter, a quality alleged to inhere in the catcher. 

We began Chapter Six of this treatise by asking whether Des- 
cartes, as he paced up and down his stove-heated room, was really 
thinking. And we begin this chapter by asking whether the phase 
of the pitcher which we are considering was really out-there-in- 
front with respect to a phase of the batter contemporaneous with 
him; and by asking whether the phase of the catcher which we 
are considering was really a short distance behind. Let us recall, 

325 



however, that while we were asking whether or not Descartes was 
thinking, we agreed to take it for granted that Descartes had a 
body and that there was a stove-heated room. Otherwise, we held, 1 
''we should find ourselves confronted by a host of questions all 
clamoring at once for solution and all having to be answered 
before the reality of Descartes' thinking could be acknowledged." 
Similarly let us at this point take it for granted that the phases 
of pitcher, batter and catcher which we are considering are real 
substances and really contemporaneous, or present, with respect 
to one another. It may, to be sure, be questioned whether alleged 
substances can be real and can have real qualities inhering in 
them. And it may be questioned whether alleged instantaneous 
phases of substances can themselves be real substances and can, 
without reference to bodies from which they are measured, be 
really contemporaneous with one another. But to consider such 
questions at this point would complicate the subject-matter of 
this chapter and would delay us in coming to close quarters with 
such alleged entities as our pitcher's being out-there-in-front with 
respect to a contemporaneous phase of the batter. Just as "such 
candidates for existence as the thinking of Descartes 1 that is pre- 
sented as having a vehicle and a setting can be discussed in fewer 
words and in a less complicated fashion when, instead of regard- 
ing thinking, vehicle and setting as all mere subsistents, we accept 
the premise that vehicle and setting are real," 2 so such candidates 
for existence as our pitcher's alleged quality of being out-there- 
in-front with respect to a contemporaneous phase of the batter 
can be discussed in fewer words and in a less complicated fashion 
when we take it for granted that a given instantaneous phase of 
the pitcher is a real substance and take it for granted that it has 
the real quality of being contemporaneous with a real instantane- 
ous phase of the batter. Instantaneous phases of pitcher, batter 
and catcher, presented as substances and simultaneity with a 
phase of the batter, presented as a quality of our phase of the 
pitcher and as a quality of our phase of the catcher these entities 
are all presented without any of the characteristics that would 
mark them out as unreal; and they are all listed as real in the 
appendix to Chapter Three. At this point, then, we hold that 
our instantaneous phase of the pitcher is real and really contem- 
poraneous, or present, with respect to a phase of the batter. And 

326 



we ask whether this instantaneous phase of the pitcher is also 
out-there-in-front with respect to this phase of the batter. Our 
instantaneous phase of the catcher is, we hold, real and really 
contemporaneous, or present, with respect to a phase of the batter. 
But is it also a-short-distance-behind with respect to this phase 
of the batter? 

Now we may say at once that our phase of the pitcher, presented 
as having some other position with respect to the contemporane- 
ous batter, is presented as generally discredited and is unreal. And 
we may say that our phase of the pitcher presented as having no 
position with respect to the contemporaneous batter is likewise 
unreal. For as we have explained our term "reality," that sub- 
sistent is unreal "which appears as lacking position with respect 
to an entity that appears real and with respect to which it also 
appears present." 3 But whereas our phase of the pitcher is unreal 
if it is presented as having no position with respect to the con- 
temporaneous batter, the phase of the pitcher which is real need 
not be a phase which is presented as having position with respect 
to the contemporaneous batter. The phase of the pitcher which 
is real may be a phase of the pitcher presented without the char- 
acteristic of having position with respect to the batter and without 
the characteristic of having no position with respect to the batter. 
The phase of the pitcher which is real, that is to say, may have 
neither the real quality of having no position with respect to the 
contemporaneous batter nor the real quality of being out-there- 
in-front with respect to him. For upon examination the pitcher's 
alleged quality of being out-there-in-front with respect to the 
contemporaneous batter may reveal itself as unreal; just as the 
pitcher's alleged quality of having no position with respect to this 
batter is unreal. 

Let us suppose that the pitcher is out-there-in-front with respect 
to the contemporaneous batter; and let us suppose that he is at 
the source of motions which later reach some spectator in the 
grandstand, leading that spectator to be aware of the pitcher. 
Now, whereas the pitcher and his alleged quality of being out- 
there-in-front with respect to the batter may be at the source of 
motions leading to the spectator's mental attitude, neither the 
pitcher as a substance nor his alleged quality of being out-there- 
in-front with respect to the batter, it may be said, are, in a strict 

327 



s<3ise of "cause/* causes of the spectator's mental attitude. 4 The 
pitcher's alleged quality of being out-there-in-front with respect to 
the batter, that is to say, may not be an element at the source such 
that, without it, the spectator would not have the mental attitudes 
he has. Moreover, the pitcher's alleged quality of being out-there- 
in-front with respect to the batter has, it may be said, no special 
channel open to it whereby it brings about the spectator's mental 
attitudes. The spectator, it may be pointed out, may hear the 
pitcher's voice, see the pitcher's gestures or his white uniform; 
but there is no line of communication, it may be said, through 
which the pitcher's alleged quality of being-out-there-in-front 
with respect to the batter could affect the spectator's thinking. 
There is no more a line of communication, it may be said, to the 
spectator from the pitcher's alleged quality of being out-there-in- 
front than there is to me from the alleged man on my ceiling. 
Just as the mental attitude of mine, apparently directed upon the 
man on my ceiling, is an instance of thinking that is without a 
real object rather than an instance of perceiving, so, it may be 
said, is the spectator's mental attitude apparently directed upon 
the pitcher's quality of being out-there-in-front with respect to the 
batter. Just as there is no real man on my ceiling, so, it may be 
said, the pitcher has no real quality of being out-there-in-front 
with respect to the batter, 

As we have explained our term "reality," however, a subsistent 
may be real when it is presented as at the source of motions lead- 
ing to a given mental attitude, but presented as not a sine qua non 
with respect to that mental attitude. And a subsistent may like- 
wise be real when it is presented as an entity such that there is 
no special channel through which it affects the mental attitude 
apparently directed upon it. As we have explained our term 
"reality," an entity is unreal if it is presented as generally dis- 
credited. Thus the man on my ceiling, presented as having no 
special channel through which to affect the mental attitude of 
mine apparently directed upon him, since we also find this alleged 
man presented as generally discredited, is unreal. But there also 
subsists an other-sideof-the-moon which is presented as having no 
special channel through which to affect the mental attitude of 
yours apparently directed upon it. And this other-side-of-the- 
moon is not presented as generally discredited and is, we hold, 

328 



real. The other side of the moon Is real, even though it is an 
inferred object with respect to the mental attitude which you 
direct upon it. 5 The Emperor's piety was real even though it 
should be true that, in a strict sense of "cause," it was not the 
Emperor's piety, but some other quality of the Emperor's, that 
caused Descartes' thinking. 6 And the pitcher's alleged quality of 
being out-there-in-front with respect to the batter may be real, 
even though it has no special channel through which to affect the 
spectator apparently aware of it. 

But let us consider the pitcher's alleged quality of being out- 
there-in-front, not as being at the source of motions which affect 
a spectator in the grandstand, but as at the source of motions 
which affect the batter. It is, let us agree, a phase of the pitcher 
which is slightly past which is at the source of motions leading to 
the present batter's mental attitudes. If then the present batter 
seems to be aware of the present pitcher as being out-there-in- 
front with respect to him, his object, if real, is an inferred object 
and not an object which is at the source of motions affecting him. 
In seeming to be aware of the phase of the pitcher contemporane- 
ous with him as being out-there-in-front with respect to him, the 
batter's alleged object may, to be sure, be real. For just as to- 
morrow's sunrise is real even though it is an inferred object for 
the mental attitude which I today direct upon it/ so the present 
phase of the pitcher may really have the quality of being out- 
there-in-front with respect to the present batter, even though it is 
presented as an inferred object with respect to the present batter's 
thinking. 

But how does the present batter come to be aware of the pres- 
ent pitcher as being out-there-in-front with respect to him? He is, 
to be sure, affected by a past phase of the pitcher. But the past 
pitcher's quality of being out-there-in-front, it may be said, is not 
an entity from which the present pitcher's quality of being out- 
there-in-front can be inferred. On the contrary, it may be said, 
the past pitcher's quality of being out-there-in-front must itself be 
inferred from the fact that the present phase of the pitcher is 
out-there-in-front. Primarily, it may be held, I have position only 
with respect to present entities. I have position with respect to 
some past entitjf only by having position with respect to some 
present entity which is in the very place in which that past entity 

329 



was. 8 Thus the spatial relation seems in the first instance to be a 
relation involving terms having identical dates, the causal rela- 
tion one involving terms having different dates. If we are to con- 
clude that a past phase of the pitcher has not only affected the 
present batter but was also out-there-in-front with respect to him, 
we must already, it appears, have accepted the fact that the pres- 
ent phase of the pitcher is out-there-in-front. On the other hand, 
the present batter infers the present pitcher's quality of being out- 
there-in-front with respect to him, only, it would seem, as a conse- 
quence of being affected by the past pitcher's quality of being out- 
there-in-front. It is puzzling "that my dog's behavior, unaffected 
by a future phase of the ball" 9 that I throw, is nevertheless 
"adapted to the ball that is about to fall to the ground some dis- 
tance away/' 10 It is puzzling that my mental attitude reaches to- 
morrow's sunrise as its object when the entity which has affected it 
is a past phase of the sun. 11 And it is puzzling that the batter is 
aware of the present pitcher's quality of being out-there-in-front 
with respect to him when, to accept the fact that the past pitcher 
who has affected him is out-there-in-front, he must already, it 
would seem, have accepted the fact that the present pitcher is out- 
there-in-front. "Such bewilderment as there may be, however, does 
not imply that my dog's behavior, presented as adapted to a future 
phase of the ball, is presented as generally discredited and is un- 
real"; it does not imply that my mental attitude is not really aware 
of tomorrow's sunrise; and it does not imply that the present bat- 
ter has no real object when he seems to be aware of the present 
pitcher as being out-there-in-front with respect to him. 

So far as we have yet seen, the pitcher's alleged quality of being 
out-there-in-front with respect to a contemporaneous phase of the 
batter need not be unreal. But no entity is real, we have said, 
which "appears with the characteristic of having only a very inde- 
finite position with respect to an entity which appears real and 
with respect to which it appears present." 12 There subsists, for 
example, the phase of the Cosmos which is alleged to be present 
with respect to the batter. This subsistent appears with the char- 
acteristic of having only a very indefinite position with respect 
to the real and allegedly contemporaneous batter. Hence both 
this Cosmos and its alleged position are unreal. But being out- 
there-in-front, although not so definite a position as being over 

330 



there where a certain spot is, is not, we hold, an indefinite posi- 
tion. Being out-there-in-front with respect to the batter who ap- 
pears real and with respect to whom the pitcher is present this 
alleged quality of the pitcher appears neither indefinite in position 
nor self-contradictory, neither generally discredited nor undatable. 
It is, we find, enumerated in our list of real entities. In brief, the 
pitcher who is real has the real quality of being out-there-in-front 
with respect to the batter with respect to whom he is present. 
Similarly, keeping to the baseball players already mentioned, the 
catcher is a short distance behind with respect to the batter with 
respect to whom he is present and the pitcher out-there-in-front 
with respect to the catcher with respect to whom he is present. 

Consider now the path from pitcher's mound to home plate. It 
is, let us agree, a real substance. It is present with respect to the 
catcher. And it appears with the characteristic of being-out-there- 
in-front with respect to the catcher with respect to whom it is 
present. To be sure, the position with which it appears with re- 
spect to the catcher is less definite than the position with which 
the pitcher appears with respect to the catcher. The one, we 
might say, appears away out in front, the other more or less out 
in front. But if we call the pitcher who has no punctual position 
real, if we call the pitcher and his position with respect to the 
catcher real, we may, it would seem, call the path real and its 
position with respect to the catcher. And as the position of the 
path with respect to the catcher is real, so is the position of the 
distance between pitcher and batter. For as we use the term "dis- 
tance," a distance is a certain line or path with the emphasis on 
the termini. The baseball diamond as a whole has a less definite 
position with respect to the catcher with respect to whom it is 
present than has the pitcher. And the distance between pitcher 
and batter has a less definite position than its termini. But the 
difference in definiteness is one of degree. If only points were 
real, neither pitcher nor distance nor diamond would be real. But 
if entities may be real provided only that their alleged positions 
are not too indefinite, distances may be real along with their 
termini and baseball diamonds along with the entities alleged to 
be included within them. Distances and baseball diamonds may 
be real; and they may have real positions with respect to the 
catcher contemporaneous with them. 

331 



Assuming then that the catcher appears real and that pitcher, 
path and diamond all appear 'out-in-front' and present with re- 
spect to him, pitcher, path and diamond may all be real despite 
the difference in the degree of definiteness with which they are 
located with respect to the catcher. But if the catcher is presented 
as unreal, if pitcher, path or diamond appears out in front only 
with respect to unreal entities with respect, for example, to the 
catcher of some juvenile romance or with respect to the private 
idea of a catcher which some subject is alleged to have then it is 
not true that pitcher, path and diamond may all be real. For, as 
we have determined the significations of our terms "real" and 
"unreal/* those entities are unreal which appear as having no 
position with respect to an entity which appears real. 13 And if 
there is some entity which appears real, and if pitcher, path or 
diamond appear as having no position with respect to it but only 
with respect to private ideas or characters in fiction, then the 
pitchers and diamonds that thus appear are unreal. If, however, 
we are considering a situation in which the catcher appears real 
and pitcher, path and diamond all appear out-in-front with respect 
to him, then, our conclusion is, the indefiniteness with which the 
diamond is located does not bar it from reality. 

But what about the entity which appears more definitely lo- 
cated than the diamond, the path, or even the pitcher? What 
about the position which may be alleged to inhere in the pitcher's 
center of gravity? Unlike pitcher, path or diamond, the position of 
such a center of gravity with respect to the catcher with whom it 
appears present subsists as a definite position, a punctual position. 
Yet neither this center of gravity which subsists as a substance, a 
point, nor its definite position which subsists as a quality of that 
substance, appears as a source from which motions flow to the 
mental attitudes apparently directed upon them. A point, that 
i$ to say, appears as a limit never reached by division, an entity 
that I never succeed in seeing. Yet even if we do not dissect the 
pitdbter to place his center of gravity before us and even if this 
center of gravity and its definite punctual position do not appear 
as sources from which motions flow to the mental attitudes ap- 
parently directed upon them, nevertheless both this center of 
giavity and its position with respect to the catcher may, we hold, 
be real. For the pitcher's center of gravity which appears as hav- 



ing a definite position with respect to the catcher does not appear 
as having no position; it does not appear as non-temporal; and it 
does not appear as generally discredited. In short, both it and its 
punctual position with respect to the catcher appear without any 
of the characteristics which would mark them as unreal. They are, 
we find, real. 

The pitcher's center of gravity appearing as a point, a definitely 
located substance, is a subsistent which we find real. We may of 
course use the word "point" to represent a group of volumes 
within volumes, a group of alleged percepts rather than a limit 
which is not itself a percept. And we may call "the pitcher's cen- 
ter of gravity" a collection of parts of the pitcher's body that are 
within parts of the pitcher's body. When "points, straight lines 
and areas are all defined as series of converging volumes," points 
may be real; and familiar geometrical propositions using the word 
"point" may be true. 14 But "point" need not be assigned a signifi- 
cation of this sort to represent a real entity. Some individual sub- 
stances having definite positions with respect to real contempo- 
raneous entities are real. And when such substances are called 
"points," some alleged points are real and their punctual positions 
real. 

Just as the pitcher's center of gravity and its definite position 
with respect to the real contemporaneous catcher are, we hold, 
real, so are the North Pole and its position. And just as these 
points and their positions are real, so are the equator and its 
position. A phase of the equator appears present and below the 
horizon; but the position with which it appears is an indefinite 
one, since the part of the equator that lies in Ecuador is in a 
somewhat different direction from the part of it that lies in 
Sumatra. Its position is below the horizon and more or less distant 
just as the path from pitcher to batter is out there in front, not 
due north, and is more or less distant, not an exact distance away. 
Neither the equator nor any part of it appears as an entity that 
is seen. And yet just as the North Pole, a substance with a definite 
position, is real, so is the equator, a substance without breadth, a 
substance that is a line. For, like the pitcher, the path, and the 
pitcher's center of gravity, the present phase of the equator ap- 
pears spatial, free from self-contradiction, not generally discred- 
ited, and is enumerated in our list of real entities. 

333 




Some alleged points with their 
definite positions are real, the 
pitcher with his less definite po- 
sition is real, and some lines 
with their positions are real. In 
the diagram on this page, there 
is an invisible point O, a sub- 
stance with a definite position, 
within the region in which the 
two broad marks XX' and YY' 
cross each other; and there is a 
real line without thickness or 
breadth within the broad, visible 
and undulating mark PP'. This 
line is not non-spatial. It has 

i roughly the same position with 

* respect to O that the printed 

mark PP' has, only a more defi- 
nite position. It is perhaps without color or weight, but appears 
neither self-contradictory nor generally discredited. It is real as 
the equator is real and its position with respect to the contempor- 
aneous phase of O real as the position of the equator with respect 
to the contemporaneous phase of the catcher is real. 

There is a real point P, a real point P', and a real point Q that 
lies between them. Their positions with respect to O are definite 
positions, whereas the position of the line PP' is indefinite. Yet 
they are parts of PP' in that their positions are included within 
that of the line on which they are. Q is a real point between P 
and P', R a real point between P and Q, S a real point between 
P and R. Within each dot that we make on the undulating mark 
PP' there is a substance with a definite position with respect to 
O, there is a point, that is to say, whose position is included with- 
in that of the breadth-less line PP'. But since the dot that we 
make is not the point but merely indicates the point's position, 
the number of real points on the line PP' may not be limited to 
the number of dots that we make. 

If we ask ourselves how many points, not dots, there are on 
the line PF, the answer that is most likely to occur to us is that 
the number is infinite. It is, however, not easy to explain "infinite 
number" satisfactorily. If the number of points on our line is 

334 



infinite, then not all of these points ate points that we shall dis- 
cover. Yet some finite numbers, it may be held, elude enumeration 
also; the points on our line, it may be held, are finite in number, 
and yet so many that not all of them will ever be discovered. It is 
not the existence of points that will not be discovered that implies 
the existence of an infinite number of points, but the existence 
of points that can not be discovered during any finite duration, 
however long it may last. The number of points on our line is 
infinite if, and only if, it would require an infinite duration to 
discover them all. But when we describe an infinite collection as 
one that would require an infinite duration for an enumeration 
of its members, we have merely substituted "infinite duration" for 
"infinite number" as a term to be explained. 

We may mark out a point S in the segment PQ and then a 
point R in the whole line PP'; and if PP' contains an infinite 
number of points, we may continue to mark out points in seg- 
ment and whole line, alternately, as long as we please. But the 
number of points on PP' may be finite and yet so large a number 
that in view of the shortness of life and our failure to persevere, 
we will be able to mark out points in segment and whole line, 
alternately, as long as we please. If the number of points on the 
whole line is to be infinite rather than a very large finite number, 
no failure in the attempt to find corresponding points in whole 
line and segment could occur, it must be held, until after the 
lapse of an infinite duration. At the end of any finite duration, 
the infinitist must hold, there exist real but undiscovered points 
both in whole line and in segment. But this observation, like 
the observation in the preceding paragraph, carries us no further 
than from 'infinite number' to 'infinite duration/ And if we say 
that the whole line contains an infinite number of points when 
its segment contains an infinite number, the circularity of our 
explanation is even more apparent. 

If the whole line contains an infinite number of points, the 
segment likewise contains an infinite number. When we say this, 
or when we say that an infinite collection is one that would re- 
quire an infinite duration for an enumeration of its members, 
we give "infinite number," it would seem, the signification which 
it usually has, but a signification that is not made entirely clear. 
On the other hand, if we say that a line contains an infinite num- 

335 



ber of points when a segment of it contains as many points as the 
whole line, the signification we assign "infinite number," although 
not circular, may not be the signification which "infinite number" 
usually has. There is a point Q on the line PP' which is not in- 
cluded in the segment PR; whereas every real point included in 
PR is likewise included in PP'. Whether the number of points 
included in PP 7 be termed "infinite" in number or "finite" in 
number, there are more points in the whole line than in its seg- 
ment. If, in order that the number of points on PP 7 might be 
termed "infinite," it were necessary for PR to contain as many 
points as PP', then the number of real points on PP' could not 
be infinite and "infinite collection" would appear to have a 
signification from which it would follow that no infinite collec- 
tions exist. A collection of points on a segment, appearing with 
the characteristic of being as many as the collection of points on 
the whole line, such a subsisting collection appears self-contra- 
dictory and is unreal. If "infinite collection" is used to represent 
such an alleged collection, infinite collections are non-existent. 

If "infinite collection" signifies a collection such that it would 
require an infinite duration before the subject matter blocked an 
attempt to discover additional points alternately in whole line and 
segment and before the undiscovered real points in whole line 
and segment were exhausted, infinite collections may, so far as 
we have yet seen, exist; but the signification of "infinite collec- 
tion" is not entirely clear. If, on the other hand, "infinite collec- 
tion" signifies a collection such that there are as many points on 
a segment as on a whole line of which the segment is a part, then 
infinite collections do not exist; and "infinite collection," al- 
though apparently given a more readily understood signification, 
represents nothing real. 

We are offered, it may appear, a compromise between these 
two significations when we are told that "infinite collection" 
signifies a collection such that there is a one-to-one correspondence 
between the points on the whole line and the points on the seg- 
ment. If the points on the segment were as many as the points 
on the whole line, there would, we may agree, be correspondence. 
But if the whole line contains each point on the segment and 
Additional points besides, "correspondence," if it refers to any- 
thing real, refers to the failure of the subject matter to block 

536 



the discovery of points in whole line and segment alternately 
and to the existence of an inexhaustible number of points in 
each. But to say that there is an infinite collection when there 
is correspondence in this sense of "correspondence" is to give 
"infinite collection" a signification which is identical with, and 
no clearer than, the signification which we give it when we 
say that a collection is infinite only if it would require an infinite 
duration before the subject matter blocked the discovery of addi- 
tional points alternately in whole line and segment and only if 
any shorter duration left us with existing undiscovered points in 
each. Unless we use "infinite collection" to refer to something that 
does not exist, we can do no better, it would seem, than explain 
"infinite collection" in propositions which involve a certain cir- 
cularity. For, the attempt to avoid circularity seems to end merely 
in ambiguity and evasion. 

If the line PP' contains an infinite number of points, an in- 
finite number of real substances having definite positions with 
respect to the contemporaneous point O, then each segment of it 
likewise contains an infinite number. If PP 7 contains an infinite 
number of points, an infinite duration would be required before 
the subject-matter blocked the attempt to discover additional 
points either in the whole line or in any of its segments. But 
conjoined with the requirement that an infinite duration would 
be needed before blocking occurred is the requirement that the 
end of any finite duration leave us with real but undiscovered 
points. Now it is possible to hold and we shall ourselves hold- 
that at the end of no finite duration is there blocking and at the 
end of some finite duration no undiscovered points. There are, 
it would seem, two questions. First: could the subject matter ever 
block the attempt to discover additional points? And second: Is 
there some finite duration at the expiration of which there are 
no real undiscovered points? Only if both questions are truly 
answered in the negative does the line PP' contain what we shall 
term an "infinite number" of points. 

A point, we must repeat, is not a dot, but an alleged substance 
appearing to have a definite position with respect to the contem- 
poraneous point of reference O. Real dots between S and R are 
definitely marked out as real only if some alleged entities appear- 
ing between S and R, appearing to be made by ink, and appearing 

S37 



without the characteristic of being generally discredited, are listed 
among the group of entities enumerated at the end of Chapter 
Three. Real points, on the other hand, exist between S and R if 
some alleged entities appearing between S and R, appearing as def- 
initely located objects, appearing as not visible, and appearing 
without the characteristic of being generally discredited, are so 
listed. An alleged dot between S and R appears generally dis- 
credited and is unreal. But an alleged point between S and R ap- 
pears without the characteristic of being generally discredited and 
is real. Whether an alleged point is presented to us with the char- 
acteristic of being one millimeter or one thousandth of a milli- 
meter from S, it does not appear, either explicitly or implicitly, 
with the characteristic of being generally discredited. In the search 
for additional points, there is no finite duration such that at the 
end of it the further alleged points with which we would meet 
would all appear with the characteristic of being generally dis- 
credited. For since the process of finding additional points is not 
an overt physical process but a process whereby we present to our- 
selves additional alleged objects, points about to be presented, like 
those already presented, appear without the characteristic of being 
generally discredited. In order for there to be no real point be- 
tween S and R there must be no subsisting point between S and 
R, or the subsisting point between S and R must be unreal. If 
however there is no subsisting point between S and R, there is 
no frustration possible, nothing but the sort of puzzlement with 
which we would approach the task of finding a point between 
S and S. And, on the other hand, if a point between S and R 
subsists, it appears, whether real or not, without the characteristic 
of being generally discredited. 

In order that a subsistent may be real, it must appear without 
the characteristic of being generally discredited. But it must also 
appear without the characteristic of being no definite object for 
any subject. Between Q and R points subsist in so far as we con- 
sider such points as possible existents. Whatever points subsist 
between Q and R appear without the characteristic of being gen- 
erally discredited. But the points that subsist between Q and R 
may subsist with the characteristic of not being definite objects 
for any subject. No one, let me suppose, happens to be aware of 
any subsisting point between Q and R as being a definite number 

338 



of millimeters nearer to Q than to R, or as being joined to O by 
a line which makes an angle of a definite number of degrees with 
XX'. Each subsisting point between Q and R, let me suppose, 
appears implicitly with the characteristic of not being a definite 
object for any subject. Then, as we use the term "existence," 
no subsisting point between Q and R is real. It is not that there 
are no subsisting points between Q and R; and it is not that the 
points subsisting between Q and R subsist with the characteristic 
of being generally discredited. There are no real points between 
Q and R in that each subsisting point between Q and R appears 
implicitly with the characteristic of not being a definite object 
for any subject. 

There are no points between Q and R that appear without the 
characteristic of being only indefinite objects, no points between 
Q and R which are real. There are six or sixty-six or some other 
finite number of real points on the whole line PP'. All other 
subsisting points between P and P' appear implicitly with the 
characteristic of not being definite objects for any subject and 
consequently are unreal. The number of real points on PP' is 
limited to those that appear without the characteristic of being 
only indefinite objects. And it is only a finite number that thus 
appears. 

At the expiration of some finite duration, our conclusion is, 
all of the real points on PP 7 will have been enumerated. For, at 
the expiration of some finite duration, all alleged points remain- 
ing unenumerated will be such as appear with the characteristic 
of being only indefinite objects. To say just how many real points 
there are on PP' is thus to make a prediction. To say that there 
are no more than sixty-six points on PP' is to predict that no 
sixty-seventh point will be a definite object for any subject, or, 
rather, that no sixty-seventh point appearing without the charac- 
teristic of being no one's definite object will be listed as real. It 
is difficult to predict how many points on PP' will be definite 
objects and real just as it is difficult to predict how many readers 
will read this sentence. In both cases, however, the total is a num- 
ber which is finite, a number which can be reached by enumera- 
tion in a finite duration. In the two cases, moreover, there are 
similar circumstances which account for the fact that the number 
is no larger than it is. Potential readers do not fail to be included 

339 



among actual readers because they are thwarted but because they 
have not chosen to read. And subsisting points are only indefinite 
objects and unreal, not because the subject-matter at the expira- 
tion of a finite duration frustrates or would frustrate the searcher 
after additional points, but because at the expiration of a finite 
duration no desire to find additional points will remain. 

"The meaning of 'existence/" we said in the first chapter 
of this treatise, 15 "may be regarded as having two components," 
one corresponding to the law of contradiction, the other to Leib- 
niz's principle of sufficient reason. An infinite collection which 
contains as many members as some part of itself appears self-con- 
tradictory and is ruled out of existence by that element in our 
explanation of "existence" which marks out self-contradictory 
subsistents as unreal. But an infinite collection which would re- 
quire an infinite duration for its enumeration, which at the 
expiration of any finite duration has an infinite number of undis- 
covered members, need not appear self-contradictory. It is unreal 
because of one of the various elements in our explanation of 
"existence" which together take the place of Leibniz's principle 
of sufficient reason. "It is not essential to the existence of a collec- 
tion," says Russell, 18 "or even to knowledge and reasoning con- 
cerning it, that we should be able to pass its terms in review one 
by one." But what is essential to existence depends upon the 
signification of "existence." And as we use "existence," nothing 
exists that appears with the characteristic of being a definite 
object for no one. 

The pitcher's center of gravity is real and its position real with 
respect to the contemporaneous point of reference: O. A finite 
number of points on the line PF is real, and the positions of 
these points with respect to O likewise real. So with the North 
Pole and its position, the center of the sun and its position, the 
center of Sirius and its position. There is a finite number of real 
points, a finite number of real points whose positions with respect 
to the contemporaneous phase of O are real. The point nearest to 
O whose position with respect to O is real is the nearest alleged 
point that does not appear as merely an indefinite object and is 
Hsted as real, the nearest point, one might say, whose distance and 
direction from O are specifically mentioned. And the point far- 
thest from O of all real points is likewise the farthest of all those 



3*0 



whose distances from O are not merely indefinite objects. One 
may of course imagine with Lucretius a man standing in this 
allegedly most distant point and hurling a dart outward. 17 But if 
through some such fancy a more distant point comes to be a 
definite object, and, appearing as a definite object, is listed as real, 
we have simply misjudged the position of the farthest definite 
object. There is, we may agree, no point so distant that one would 
be frustrated in an attempt to hurl a dart beyond it. But there 
is a distant pointand it is the most distant point that is real 
which happens to be a point such that no one having it as a defi- 
nite object will imagine a dart hurled beyond it. It is a point of 
which we can say, in effect, that no more distant point is or will 
be a definite object and real. 

There is no real point between Q and R, no real point between 
the point that is the most distant but one and the point a dart's 
throw beyond that is the most distant of all. Points between Q 
and R subsist; points beyond the most distant of all real points 
subsist. They subsist in that the preceding sentence intends to 
refer to them. But they appear with the characteristic of being 
only indefinite objects. Q and R are next to one another, not 
in the sense that the subject-matter will frustrate any attempt to 
present to ourselves intermediate points, but in the sense that 
intermediate points will appear as indefinite objects and will not 
be listed among the entities enumerated as real. 

When we say that, for a subsisting entity to be real, it may not 
appear with the characteristic of being only an indefinite object, 
we rule out of existence, it would appear, all subsisting points 
between Q and R. Why then, the question suggests itself, lay 
down the additional requirement that real entities be listed in the 
appendix to Chapter Three? If no alleged point appearing as a defi- 
nite object appears as generally discredited, why not explain "ex- 
istence" so that each point appearing as a definite object is real, 
whether listed or not? We have agreed, to be sure, that the world 
of existents, both as we are to use "existence" and as "existence" 
is generally used, is a world not to be populated at will. 18 In order 
not to be required to call "real" the entity that merely appears 
to be a definite object, merely appears to be spatial, temporal, 
and so on, we have agreed to determine as real only those entities 
that we enumerate. But whereas one may hold that there is a 

341 



subsisting man on my ceiling who appears to be an object of be- 
lief, appears to be causally related to other entities, but who 
nevertheless is unreal, what is the significance of the correspond- 
ing assertion that there is a subsisting point which appears as a 
definite object and an object not generally discredited, but which 
nevertheless is unreal? 

A singular existential proposition is required, we may answer, 
to distinguish the man on my ceiling who is an object of belief 
from the subsisting man on my ceiling who merely appears with 
the characteristic of being an object of belief. And similarly a 
singular existential proposition is required to distinguish the 
point which is a definite object from the alleged point which 
merely appears with the characteristic of being a definite object. 
It is to eliminate the alleged point that merely claims to be a 
definite object that we must definitely determine as real only such 
points as are individually enumerated as existents. 

What distinguishes subsisting points, lines and spaces from 
subsistents in general is this: With respect to subsistents in gen- 
eral which do not appear self-contradictory, non-spatial or gener- 
ally discredited, those are real which are listed as X's, those unreal 
which are listed as Y's; and the ontological status of those which 
are neither X's nor Y's is left undetermined. But among subsisting 
points, lines and spaces there are no Y's. No points, lines or spaces 
not appearing as self-contradictory, non-spatial or generally dis- 
credited and not appearing as not definite objects are available to 
be specifically listed as unreal. And so there are only those points, 
lines, spaces subsisting without self-contradictoriness, etc. which 
are real and those whose ontological status is left undetermined. 

There is then a finite number of points which are real, a finite 
number of points whose definite positions with respect to the 
contemporaneous point O are real. Similarly there is, let us agree, 
a finite number of lines which are real together with their indefi- 
nite positions with respect to the contemporaneous point O, a 
finite number of planes, a finite number of volumes. The line PP' 
has as many segments as are definite objects. There exist as many 
spherical figures as, let us say, lines or segments of lines are pre- 
sented as being diameters of. The most distant spherical figure 
is some such figure as that which has as a diameter the line join- 
ing the most distant real point to the real point that is most dis- 

342 



tant but one. The smallest spherical figure has as diameter a line 
such that no point subsisting between its extremities will itself 
appear as a definite object and be listed as reaL It is not that the 
subject-matter frustrates or would frustrate an attempt to present 
to ourselves as definite objects points subsisting between the 
smallest diameter's extremities in the way in which the subject- 
matter might frustrate an attempt to separate off some part of an 
atom or small material particle. It is that the attempt will not be 
made. 

As, in consonance with the conclusions of the last few para- 
graphs, there is a most distant spherical figure and a smallest 
spherical figure, so there is a longest line and a smallest segment 
of a line. No line extends beyond the most distant point on it that 
is a definite object and real. And yet each line is extensible in 
that we are not blocked in the attempt to present to ourselves as 
definite objects more distant points lying along it. If a curve has 
an asymptote, there is a point on the curve that is closer to the 
asymptote than any other point on it that will be a definite object 
and real. And yet curve and asymptote approach indefinitely in 
that the attempt to find smaller and smaller distances between 
them never stops through frustration, always through lack of per- 
severance. As we use "infinite," nothing infinite exists and noth- 
ing infinitesimal. For as we use "infinite," an infinite collection 
implies not only the absence of frustration after any finite dura- 
tion, which we accept, but also the existence after every finite 
duration of real undiscovered entities, which we deny. 

In order, however, that a point, a line, or a spherical figure may 
exist and have position with respect to the contemporaneous point 
O, there must exist, it may be said, a larger spherical figure in 
which it is included and adjacent figures by which it is bounded. 
Just as the State of Wyoming is included in the United States 
and bounded by neighboring states, so each real entity having posi- 
tion, it may be said, has real parts of space around it and a real 
all-inclusive Space including it. "A limit of extension," it has 
been said, 19 "must be relative to extension beyond." "We must 
look upon every limited space," says Kant, 20 "as conditioned also, 
so far as it presupposes another space as the condition of its limit." 
To be sure, with respect to any real entity having position, we 
are never frustrated in the attempt to present to ourselves alleged 

343 



parts of space surrounding it and an alleged Space including it. 
If the alleged parts of space surrounding it appear as definite 
objects and are listed, they are real. And if an all-inclusive Space 
were presented as a definitely located object and listed, it too 
would be real. But there are real entities having position such 
that no alleged parts of space surrounding them appear as definite 
objects and are listed as real. And since an all-inclusive Space 
appears as having only an indefinite position, any alleged all- 
inclusive Space is unreal. Bounding figures, more inclusive fig- 
ures, appear without the characteristic of being generally dis- 
credited. But in so far as they appear as indefinite objects, they do 
not follow as definite objects the more circumscribed figures that 
would otherwise imply them. 

Some figures do not have, and therefore do not imply, real 
figures beyond them. Some figures do not have, and therefore do 
not imply, real points and real included figures within them. 
Where a figure is real and a figure within it real, where a segment 
of a line is real and a point within it real, the implication from 
one to the other is no one-way street. Belief in the existence of 
the included point precedes belief in the existence of the line as 
readily as it follows it. And as we can make no true universal 
propositions with respect to logical priority, so we can make no 
true universal propositions with respect to psychological priority. 
In one subject a mental attitude directed towards the point 
marked by the dot Q may precede a mental attitude directed 
towards the line marked by the undulating scratch PP'; in an- 
other subject a mental attitude directed towards PP' precedes a 
mental attitude directed towards Q. Q is real and PP' real; and 
we may pass from a mental attitude directed upon either of these 
objects to a mental attitude directed upon the other. Geometrical 
propositions require the existence of no all-inclusive Space. They 
depend for their truth upon the existence of the lines and figures 
to which they refer. And if there is a problem with respect to the 
universality and alleged necessity of true geometrical proposi- 
tions, that problem is not resolved by reference to an all-inclusive 
Space. 21 

I we ask ourselves how we come to know so many true uni- 
versal propositions concerning lines and figures, it would seem 
that our inquiry must be in two directions. There is a question 

544 



how, whatever the subject-matter, a limited number of individual 
propositions lead us to accept a universal proposition; there is, in 
a word, the problem of induction or generalization. And there 
is a question as to what the unique characteristics of lines and 
figures are simplicity, for examplethat facilitate generalization 
when lines and figures constitute the subject-matter. But an all- 
inclusive Space, even if it existed, could not account for our 
mathematical knowledge any more than the mere presence of a 
catalyst accounts for a chemical reaction. A certain chemical 
reaction takes place only in the presence of a catalyst. But how? 
Similarly, an all-inclusive Space, if it existed, might be held to 
be present whenever mathematical generalization took place. But 
such an assertion would still leave us asking how this all-inclusive 
Space enters into, and facilitates, our mathematical generaliza- 
tions, 

PP 7 is a real line; Q, R, S, and a finite number of other entities 
real points that are included within it. PP' has a rather indefinite 
position with respect to the contemporaneous phase of O; P, S, 
R, Q, P' have each, taken individually, a definite position with 
respect to O. Taken collectively, however, the points included 
within PP' are the line PF. For, taken collectively, the collection 
has no more definite position with respect to O than has PP'. 
And yet, just as an army may be strong and yet called a "collec- 
tion" of individuals, individuals who, taken individually, are 
weak; so the line, called a "collection" of points, may have length, 
a quality which each point composing it, taken individually, lacks. 
Thus what, taken individually, are points may, taken collectively, 
be a line, a plane, a space; and what, taken individually, are three- 
dimensional figures or spaces, may, taken collectively, be a more 
inclusive space. 22 The individuals which are real have positions 
with respect to the contemporaneous point O which are real; and 
the collections which are real have less definite positions with 
respect to the contemporaneous point O which likewise are real. 

Among the spaces, the closed three-dimensional figures, which 
are real and whose positions with respect to the contemporaneous 
phase of our baseball catcher are real, there is the space within 
the periphery of the pitcher's body as well as the space within 
some distant spherical figure. The distant spherical figure is, let 
us assume, real appearing as an empty space, unreal appearing as 

345 



material. The space within the periphery of the pitcher's body is 
real as a space and real as a body. But although the space within 
the periphery of the pitcher's body is a real substance and the 
pitcher's body a real substance, nevertheless, as we shall later 
agree to use "one" and "two," the collection of these substances 
is one and not two. Just as Socrates is real appearing as a Greek 
and also appearing as a philosopher, so there are some substances 
which are real appearing as spaces and also appearing as material 
bodies. Just as a man may be both Greek and philosophical and 
thus both a Greek and a philosopher, so an entity may be both 
three-dimensional and material and thus both a space and a body. 
A body, in short, is not in a space so much as it is a space. Real 
spaces may be, some of them material, some of them non-material, 
and some of them partly material and partly non-material. Those 
spaces which are material may also be called three-dimensional 
bodies just as those Greeks who are philosophical may also be 
called Greek philosophers. 

Whether or not there are non-material spaces depends of course 
upon the significations we assign "material" and "body." If mere 
three-dimensionality plus the ability to transmit energy do not suf- 
fice to make a substance a "body," there may be non-material 
spaces, the most distant body may not be so distant as the most 
distant space, the largest body may be smaller than the largest real 
space; and the number of real bodies less than the number of real 
three-dimensional figures or spaces. Alleged bodies beyond some 
great distance may be unreal, not for the reason for which some 
alleged spaces may be unreal, not because they appear as not defi- 
nite objects, but because, presented as material, they appear as gen- 
erally discredited. And frustration, which never puts an end to our 
efforts to think of larger or of smaller spaces, may well put an end 
to our efforts to find larger bodies appearing as relatively homo- 
geneous that are not discredited and our efforts to find smaller 
and smaller bodies that are qualitatively distinguishable from the 
entities around them. 

We find then that real points, real lines, real spaces are un- 
limited in number but not infinite in number. Real body-spaces 
that are homogeneous and distinguishable from the entities 
around them are likewise not infinite in number; and when 
"body" is used in such a way that not every space is a body, they, 



unlike real points, real lines and real spaces, are not even un- 
limited in number. But what about real spaces, if there be any 
such, that are not body-spaces, not material bodies? If 'body' is 
defined in such a way that empty spaces three-dimensional fig- 
ures having volume but containing no matter are not self-contra- 
dictory and do in fact exist, then it would seem that these existing 
empty spaces are scattered about and related to one another in 
much the way in which we customarily think of stars and other 
material bodies as being scattered about and interrelated. For it 
is not each such existing empty space that would then have other 
existing empty spaces contiguous to it. Not that each such alleged 
contiguous empty space appears with the characteristic of being 
generally discredited; and not that one is frustrated in the attempt 
to become aware of such an alleged contiguous empty space. It is 
simply that "there are real entities having position such that no 
alleged parts of space surrounding them appear as definite objects 
and are listed as real." 23 And in so far as alleged empty spaces, 
alleged to be contiguous to real empty spaces, are presented as 
definite objects for no one, these alleged empty spaces do not 
exist and the empty spaces which are real have no real empty 
spaces contiguous to them. Bodies, in short, are discrete rather 
than all contiguous; and if 'body' is defined so that not all spaces 
are bodies, then empty spaces are discrete also. 

No collection, neither the collection of all empty spaces nor the 
collection of all points with definite positions with respect to the 
contemporaneous point O nor the collection of all grains of sand 
contemporaneous with O, is infinite in number. But is each of 
these collections finite in number? Taken as an extended, indefi- 
nitely located collection rather than as a group of individual 
units, all empty spaces, taken collectively, is presented with the 
characteristic of being so indefinitely located that, as we explain 
our term "reality," it is unreal. The collection of all grains of 
sand contemporaneous with O, taken collectively, is, however, pre- 
sented without the characteristic of having so indefinite a location 
that it must be unreal. If the earth may be real and the surface 
of the earth real, then the sand on the earth's surface, taken col- 
lectively, may be real. But how many granular parts, how many 
grains of sand, does it contain? There is no particular number, it 
would seem, that anyone is aware of as being the number of par- 

347 



tides making up the sand on the earth's surface. And since such 
an alleged number is presented as no one's definite object, the 
sand on the earth's surface has no definite number of parts. The 
grains of sand, taken as a collection of individual grains, is un- 
numbered or numberless. And yet, taken as individuals, there are 
only so many grains of sand as are individual objects. There may 
be fifty or a thousand or ten thousand individual grains of sand 
which are real. But the sand on the earth's surface, taken as a 
collection of individual grains, is without number. There is, to 
be sure, "a finite number of points which are real, a finite number 
of points whose definite positions with respect to the contempor- 
aneous point O are real." 24 These, however, are all points that 
are objects as individuals, or, rather, points that are not presented 
as no one's definite objects. Points taken collectively, on the other 
hand, may be presented as forming so extended, so indefinitely- 
located, a collection that the collection is not only without num- 
beras is the collection of grains of sand but is unreal altogether. 
There is, let us agree, a point on the line OX which, measured 
from a certain reference body, is TT inches from O. There is, let 
us likewise agree, a point on the line OX which, similarly meas- 
ured, is 3.14159 inches from O. Corresponding to real decimals 
greater than 3.14159 and less than TT, there are intermediate 
points, one of which is, we hold, the nearest, of all points exempli- 
fying decimals, to the point ir inches from O. There is, let us 
agree, the number TT; but no decimal exemplified by the distance 
from O to the point TT inches from O. There is a decimal exempli- 
fied by the distance from O to the point nearest, of all points 
exemplifying decimals, to the point ir inches from O. The decimal 
which is less than K may be as large as we please. But alleged 
decimals larger than we do in fact make explicit, alleged points 
so close to the point TT inches from O that they appear as definite 
objects for no one, are, we hold, unreal. What then is the decimal 
exemplified not by the point TT inches from O; for there is no 
such decimal but by the point nearest to the latter point of all 
points exemplifying decimals? What, to put it arithmetically, is 
the largest decimal 4ess than TT? It is, we may say, a decimal with 
a great number, but a finite number, of digits. Presented as a 
decimal whose last digit is a particular number, odd or even, it 
is presented as some one's definite object. But its last digit, 

MS 



whether odd or even, is presented as no definite object of mine. 
Just as facts known by paleontologists are real even though I am 
not aware of them in any detail, 25 so the last digit in the largest 
decimal less than TT is real and is odd or is even, even though it is 
not presented to me as definitely odd or as definitely even. 

The alleged number presented as the largest decimal less than 
TT differs from the alleged number presented as characterizing the 
sand on the earth's surface, taken as a collection of individual 
grains. In each case what is presented is an alleged number pre- 
sented as no definite object of mine. But the latter alleged num- 
ber is presented as no one's definite object and is unreal, whereas 
the former alleged number is not so presented and is real. 

We turn now to the number of pennies in a bowl full of pennies 
that I see in some store window. I, let us agree, do not know how 
many pennies are in the bowl. But the number alleged to char- 
acterize this collection of pennies, taken individually, is not pre- 
sented as no one's definite object. Just as the number presented 
as the largest decimal less than TT may be real even though pre- 
sented as no definite object of mine, so may the number be real 
which, presented as no definite object of mine, is alleged to charac- 
terize the collection of pennies in the bowl before me. I do not 
know whether the largest decimal less than w has a last digit which 
is odd or even and I do not know whether the number of pennies 
in the bowl is odd or even. There is nevertheless a difference be- 
tween these two situations. For whoever is definitely aware of the 
largest real decimal less than IT is definitely aware of no larger 
decimal less than TT, merely because he has not chosen to prolong 
the process of determining larger decimals; whereas he who is 
definitely aware of the number characterizing the collection of 
pennies taken individually is definitely aware of no larger num- 
ber characterizing this collection, because there are no more 
pennies to count. In both situations the laigest number that is 
real and applicable to the collection being numbered is finite and 
is presented as no definite object of minealthough not presented 
as no one's definite object. But in the one situation one would be 
frustrated in the attempt to find real applicable numbers beyond 
the last; whereas in the other situation the last number that is 
real and applicable merely indicates the end of our perseverance. 

In the past few paragraphs we have been discussing collections 

349 



to which finite numbers are applicable, finite numbers, however, 
which are presented as not definite objects of mine. There are, 
let us agree, collections to which finite numbers are applicable 
where these finite numbers are definite objects of mine. Thus 
counting each chair in this room as one, the number of chairs in 
this room is, let us agree, four, and is presented to me as four. 

There is the number of chairs in this room which is four. There 
is the number of positive integers up to four which, is four. A 
fifth chair in this room is unreal in that it appears generally dis- 
credited. A fifth integer no greater than four is unreal in that it 
appears self-contradictory as well. Between the chair in this room 
nearest to me and the chair in this room furthest from me there 
is a finite number of other chairs. Between one and four there 
is a finite number of other positive integers and a finite number 
of decimals. But whereas the search for intermediate chairs or for 
intermediate positive integers may be brought to an end by frus- 
tration, whereas, that is to say, one may reach the point where 
alleged additional intermediate chairs appear generally discredited 
and alleged additional intermediate integers appear self-contradic- 
tory as well, the number of intermediate decimals, although finite, 
is unlimited. One may find intermediate decimals, but not inter- 
mediate chairs or intermediate integers, as long as one pleases. 

And yet there are respects in which the collection of real chairs, 
the collection of integers up to four and the collection of decimals 
from zero to four resemble one another and differ from other 
finite collections whose characteristics we have still to point out. 
Not only is the collection of decimals from zero to four as well 
as the collection of chairs in this room finite in number, and not 
only are these collections such that their end-terms have definitely 
determined characteristics; they have in common the fact that 
between members of the collection there are real entities not 
members of the collection. Thus between 3.14 and 3.15 there is 
the real entity TT which is not a decimal between zero and four; 
and between the chair nearest to me and the chair next nearest 
to me there is a table which is not a member of the collection of 
chairs in this room. 

And so we are led to consider the last type of collection that 
we shall mention, the collection, namely, in which no real en- 
tities that are not themselves members of the collection interpose 

350 



themselves between entities that are members. In contrast to 
the collection of chairs in this room and in contrast to the col- 
lection of decimals from zero to four, the collection of all numbers 
from zero to four and the collection of all numbers without 
limitation are collections of this latter type. They are collections 
which we may call "continua." And yet whereas we are never 
frustrated in the attempt to find new members between members 
of a continuum and never find real non-members between mem- 
bers, the members which compose a continuum, we should like 
to emphasize, are, like the members of every real numbered col- 
lection, finite in number. 

Some points, some lines, some three-dimensional figures or 
spaces, exist; they are finite in number. Some, if not all, of the 
spaces which exist are body-spaces or material bodies. Points, lines, 
spaces and bodies alike have each a real position with respect to 
the phase of the point O with respect to which they each are 
present. And each of them has a real position with respect to a 
finite number of other real and contemporaneous entitiespoints, 
bodies, or what not that may function as points of reference. 

The point P', the baseball pitcher, the sun, have each of them 
the real quality: position with respect to the phase of the batter 
with respect to whom they are present. And they have each of them 
the real quality: position with respect to the phase of the point P 
with respect to which they are present. Position with respect to P 
inheres in P' along with position with respect to the batter. And 
since in describing these qualities inhering in P' we refer in the 
one instance to P and in the other instance to the batter, position 
with respect to P and position with respect to the batter may be 
said to be relative qualities inhering in P'. There are occasions of 
course when we describe the position that an entity has with 
respect to some other entity without any explicit mention of 
the point of reference. I may say that an entity is far away and 
the context may make it clear that I am asserting this entity 
to be far away from where I now am. Or I may attribute to 
some point on the earth's surface the quality of being seventy- 
five degrees west and forty degrees north without bothering to 
make it explicit that I am discussing this point's position with re- 
spect to the intersection of the equator and the meridian of Green- 
wich, There are thus positions that entities have that may be 

351 



described without explicit mention of the point of reference. "Po- 
sition" may be synonymous with "position with respect to P." And 
in so far as the quality which P' has may be called "position" where 
"position" is synonymous with "position with respect to P," this 
quality may be called a pseudo-absolute quality as well as a 
relative quality. 

If I talk about "the position of P'" and no point of reference 
is implied, then "the position of P'," if it is not merely a collection 
of words, refers, or means to refer, to an alleged absolute quality of 
P'. As we use "the position of P / " however, either there is a point 
of reference implied and my expression represents a pseudo-abso- 
lute quality, or my expression is merely a collection of words. P' 
has no absolute quality represented by my expression: "the posi- 
tion of P'," for my expression: "the position of P'" puts before 
me no subsisting quality alleged to be absolute whose reality or 
unreality might be considered. But, from the fact that P' has no 
absolute quality represented by my expression: "the position of 
PY* we can not conclude that P' does not have an absolute quality 
somehow connected with the relative quality that it really has, 
the relative quality represented by my expression: "the position 
of P' with respect to P." P' has position with respect to P and P 
position with respect to F. If either P or P 7 appeared as non- 
spatial, neither P nor P' could appear without contradiction as 
having position with respect to the other. If either Peter or Paul 
appeared as lacking height, Peter could not without contradiction 
appear as taller than Paul nor Paul as shorter than Peter. We may 
then present to ourselves an alleged absolute quality in P 7 that 
we may call "spatiality," a quality that may be alleged to make 
it possible for P' to have position with respect to various points 
of reference. This alleged spatiality is not position with respect 
to some unmentioned point of reference, some center of the uni- 
verse, for example; for what we call "spatiality" is alleged to be 
absolute, whereas a position with respect to some unmentioned 
point of reference would be merely pseudo-absolute. Spatiality, it 
turns out, is nothing but the possibility of having position with 
respect to various entities. 26 Vague, however, as a spatiality of this 
sort is, the alleged spatiality of P appears without the character- 
istic of being no definite object and without the characteristic of 
being generally discredited. I find in short that P 7 has the absolute 

S52 



quality that I call "spatiality," but no absolute quality repre- 
sented by my expression: "the position of F." F has the absolute 
quality 'spatiality' and the pseudo-absolute quality 'position' which 
is merely position with respect to some implied point of refer- 
ence. Similarly, Peter has the absolute quality 'height' and the 
pseudo-absolute quality 'tallness' which is merely tallness with 
respect to some implied standard. 

P' has position with respect to P, we hold, and Peter tallness 
with respect to Paul. But just as "P' has position" and "Peter 
is taller than" are incomplete expressions, so "F has position 
with respect to P" and "Peter is taller than Paul" may be held 
to be incomplete expressions. Peter is taller than Paul, it may be 
said, from the point of view of a man equally distant from both, 
not from the point of view of an eye so close to Paul that the angle 
subtended by the distant Peter is less than that subtended by Paul. 
And P' has one position with respect to P, it may be said, when the 
distance between them is measured from an entity at rest with 
respect to them, another position with respect to P when the 
distance between them is measured from an entity in motion. The 
length of the line PF may, we must agree, be assigned various 
numbers. To number a quantitative entity is to correlate it with 
some external unit quantity. To measure a given length is to 
engage in a process involving motion and hence involving spatio- 
temporal entities other than the length that is to be measured 
We use an incomplete expression, we may agree, when, without 
any point of reference being implied, we say that PF is "one 
inch in length." PP' may be one inch long with respect to the 
contemporaneous point O that is at rest with respect to it, less 
than one inch long with respect to the contemporaneous phase of 
the sun that is in motion with respect to it. There is no absolute 
quality represented by my expression: "one inch long"; there 
are the relative qualities represented by: "one inch long as meas- 
ured from O" and by: "less than one inch long as measured from 
the sun." And in so far as the context or common usage makes 
it clear that the point of reference is some such contemporaneous 
entity as O that is at rest with respect to PF, PF has the pseudo- 
absolute quality of being one inch lopg and the proposition: "PF 
is one inch long" is neither incomplete nor ambiguous, but true. 
Being one inch long is a real pseudo-absolute quality of PF in so 

353 



far as "being one inch long 1 ' is synonymous with "being one inch 
long as measured from O"; just as position is a real pseudo-absolute 
quality of P' in so far as "position" is synonymous with "position 
with respect to P." But with no point of reference implied, my 
expression "being one inch long," like my expression "position," 
does not represent a quality that is absolute and real. 

P' however has the absolute quality of spatiality which may be 
said to be the possibility of having position with respect to various 
entities. Peter has the absolute quality of height without which 
he would not be taller than one entity and shorter than another. 
And PP' may appear with the absolute quality of extension or 
length. It is this length that we think of as being assigned one 
number or another, as being correlated with one entity or an- 
other, in a word, as being measured. The alleged quality of 
length or extension that PP' has is not the quality of being 
one-inch long, but the possibility of being one inch long with 
respect to O and of being less than one inch long with respect 
to the sun. Allegedly it is what is measured, what is correlated 
with spatio-temporal entities other than PP'. To be sure, this al- 
leged absolute length or extension of PP', that, as absolute, has 
no number, is vague. But it appears without the characteristic 
of being generally discredited and is, I hold, real. PP' has absolute 
length, P' position with respect to P, P position with respect to 
P'. Absolute length and relative position exist within the same 
situation, the situation, namely, which includes P, P', and PP'. As 
absolute length, in so far as it is absolute, does not involve a refer- 
ence to entities outside PP', so relative position does not involve a 
reference to entities outside P, F and PP'. "P' has position with 
respect to P" is true, does not first become true by being changed in- 
to "P' has position with respect to P a measured from O." It is for 
the purpose of giving a number to P"s position with respect to P or 
for the purpose of giving a number to the length of PP' that refer- 
ence to some such entity as O is required if ambiguity is to be 
avoided. To hold, on the contrary, that "P"s position with respect 
to P" is ambiguous and must be changed into "P"s position with 
respect to P as measured from O" may well lead us to hold that 
"P"s position with respect to P as measured from O" must give 
way to "P"s position with respect to P as measured from O 
from the point of view of A"; it may well lead us to hold that 

354 



no propositions referring to position are unambiguous and true. 
And to deny to PP' an absolute quality of length may well lead 
us to hold that new points of reference without limit must be 
brought into consideration before "PP"s length as measured from 
O" is freed from ambiguity. 

What is true with respect to the line PP' will also be true 
with respect to a line connecting P with O. Just as PP' is one inch 
long as measured from one spatio-temporal entity and less than one 
inch long as measured from another, so the number assigned the 
length of OP is relative to the spatio-temporal entity from which 
this length is measured. But PP', we have said, has absolute length, 
vague as length that is not numbered length may seem; and P' 
has position with respect to P that is not relative to any point of 
reference outside PP'. Just so, OP has absolute length and P 
position with respect to O that is not relative to entities outside 
OP. 

To say that P is three inches away from O is to say that OP 
is three inches long. And since "O P is three inches long" is an 
incomplete expression, since O P is three inches long as measured 
from some entity outside O P, P is three inches away from O only 
relatively, only as measured from some entity or other. The posi- 
tion that P has with respect to O, the position that involves no 
reference to entities other than P and O, is consequently not a 
numbered position. Just as the spatiality that P has is merely what 
makes it possible for P to have one position with respect to P' and 
another position with respect to O, so the position that P has with 
respect to O is merely what makes it possible for P to be three 
inches away from O as measured from one entity and less than 
three inches away from O as measured from another entity. 

It is with this sense of "position" in mind that we hold to 
the conclusions arrived at in the earlier paragraphs of this chap- 
ter. The real position that we asserted that P has with respect 
to O and the real position that we asserted the pitcher has with 
respect to the batter, these are not numbered positions but rather 
positions that have the possibility of being numbered differently 
from different points of reference. P has a definite position with 
respect to O and the pitcher's center of gravity a definite position 
with respect to the batter, not in the sense that these positions 
carry with them unique definite numbers with respect to their re- 

355 



spective points of reference, but rather in the sense that they have 
the possibility of being given various definite numbers varying 
with the spatio-temporal entity from which their relations to their 
points of reference are measured. Similarly, the path from pitcher's 
box to home plate has an indefinite position with respect to the 
catcher, is more or less out-in-front, in the sense that the spatial 
relation it sustains to the catcher has the possibility of being given 
various number ranges, all of them indefinite. 

The path from pitcher's box to home plate and the line PP' 
each have extension; whereas the point P and the pitcher's center 
of gravity are not extended. But how can a laige extended entity 
affect the mental attitude which comes to be directed upon it? 
And how can an inextended entity, a point, affect the mental atti- 
tude which comes to be directed upon ft? One may perhaps accept 
as free from puzzlement the situation in which one billiard ball 
impinging upon another is in some sense the cause of the second 
ball's motion. And the situation may be held to be analogous when 
some minutely extended entity is at the source of motions leading 
to the mental attitude which is said to perceive it. Thus one may 
agree that there are minute percepts, such as atoms or electrons, 
which, after the fashion of billiard balls, initiate impulses affect- 
ing the sense-organs and resulting in instances of perceiving. But 
that entities of greater size or that entities with no size at all, 
should bring about instances of perceiving, this, it may be held, is 
not only bewildering but incredible. There is no entity outside 
the perceiving subject himself, it may be said, which is the cause 
of the mental attitude directed upon a large extended object. For 
"the connection of anything manifold," it may be held with Kant, 2T 
"can never enter into us through the senses." And similarly with 
the mental attitude allegedly directed upon inextended objects. 
My mental attitude allegedly directed upon a point, it may be 
said, points back to no external entity as its cause. Hence mental 
attitudes allegedly directed upon entities not big enough to be 
sources of material motion are, it may be said, examples of men- 
tal over-simplification and distortion. And mental attitudes al- 
legedly directed upon laige objects are to be accounted for, it 
may be said, by referring to a faculty of mental synthesis or 
imagination. 

Now we may agree that s6me extended entities are not percepts 



with respect to the mental attitudes directed upon them. And we 
may agree that points are never percepts. Nevertheless it does not 
follow that points are unreal and unperceived extended entities 
unreal. To be puzzled as to how my dog's behavior happens to be 
adapted to a future phase of the ball which I am about to hurl 
does not imply that his behavior is not adapted to that future phase 
of the ball. To be puzzled as to how my mental attitude happens to 
be directed upon tomorrow's sunrise does not imply that my 
mental attitude is not directed upon tomorrow's sunrise. 28 And to 
be puzzled as to how I happen to be aware of a point, on the one 
hand, or of a large unperceived extended entity on the other, does 
not imply that these alleged objects of mine are unreal or that I 
am not really aware of them. The pitcher's center of gravity, dis- 
cussed earlier in this chapter, is, we have found, real. 29 My mental 
attitude, seemingly directed upon this pitcher's center of gravity, 
is, we hold, real. And my mental attitude reaches as its object 
this center of gravity upon which it seems to be directed. Thus 
my mental attitude reaches a point as its real object, even though 
the processes leading up to this mental attitude of mine are ob- 
scure. And so with the mental attitude of mine directed upon a 
real entity too large to be perceived. 

To be sure, the mental attitude which is not an instance of per- 
ceiving, and not caused by the object upon which it is directed, may 
have some cause other than its object. But if a given mental attitude 
is not at the terminus of motions leading to it from the entity upon 
which it seems to be directed, we can not conclude that it is at the 
terminus of motions leading to it from some other definite entity 
in the absence of which this mental attitude would not have oc- 
curred. Much less can we conclude that the mental attitude, not at 
the terminus of motions leading to it from the entity upon which 
it seems to be directed, has a mental cause; that it is affected by 
some mental faculty of synthesis or imagination which is respon- 
sible for synthesis on the one hand and for over-simplification on 
the other. Moreover, the bewilderment which we may experience 
at being unable to give a detailed account of the genesis of the 
mental attitude directed upon an unperceived entity, this be- 
wilderment is not assuaged by our being referred to an alleged 
mental faculty of synthesis or imagination. For such an alleged 
faculty is presented, not as the source of motions leading to the 

357 



mental attitudes whose origin puzzles us, but as having no exist- 
ence apart from these very mental attitudes themselves. 

The conclusion which we have reached in this chapter is that 
some extended entities are real and some inextended entities reaL 
Extension is a real quality of some minute entities and it is a real 
quality of the line PP', of the baseball diamond, of various entities 
which may be too big to be perceived by the mental attitudes 
directed upon them. There exists a finite number of extended 
entities just as there exists a finite number of points, lines, spaces 
and bodies. Each real extended entity, whether it be a line or a 
space, material or immaterial, has absolute spatiality and relative 
position, position, that is to say, that is relative to a finite number 
of contemporaneous points of reference. And each real extended 
entity, similarly, has absolute length and relative measured length, 
measured length, that is to say, that is relative to the spatio-tem- 
poral status of the contemporaneous entity from which it is 
measured- 

In this chapter we have derived directly from our propositions 
explaining our term "reality" the existence of certain entities 
contemporaneous with one another, the existence, that is to say, 
of entities having the quality of being present with respect to cer- 
tain other entities. Moreover, we have in this chapter discussed 
spatial relations only in so far as they are alleged to hold among 
contemporaneous entities. It will require another chapter to dis- 
cuss temporal relations as such; and still another to discuss such 
spatial relations as are held to obtain between entities temporally 
related, but not present with respect to one another. 

Summary 

Certain entities have position with respect to other entities 
contemporaneous with them. These positions may be definite 
(the position that a point has with respect to some contempo- 
raneous entity) or indefinite (the position that an extended entity 
has); but it may not be too indefinite. Some points are real and 
some lines real. There is a finite number of points on a line; for 
alleged points in excess of this finite number appear with' the 
characteristic of not being definite objects for any subject. 

358 



There is a finite number of bodies and a finite number of three- 
dimensional volumes or spaces which may not be bodies. Not all 
bodies are contiguous and not all empty spaces. 

Position is a quality which is relative in that an entity has one 
position with respect to its contemporary P, another position 
with respect to its contemporary P'. But what we call the quality 
of "spatiality" is not relative. Spatiality is the quality of an entity 
without which it could not have one position with respect to one 
entity and another position with respect to another. Just as there 
is a distinction between spatiality and position, so there is a dis- 
tinction between extension or length, which is absolute, and 
numbered extension or length, which is relative. 

The awareness of extended entities does not presuppose that 
the mind's object in such a situation is a mental construction. 



359 



Chapter XII 
DATE, DURATION AND INTERVAL 



We began the preceding chapter by presenting to ourselves a 
baseball batter, a pitcher appearing as out-there-in-front with re- 
spect to him, and a catcher appearing as a short distance behind 
him. 1 Let us begin our investigation of temporal relations in an 
analogous manner, by presenting to ourselves Napoleon Bona- 
parte, Louis IX (called St. Louis,) appearing as having preceded 
him, and Napoleon III appearing as being subsequent to him. 
Pitcher, batter and catcher all appeared as substances. So do St. 
Louis, Napoleon and Napoleon III. Out-there-in-front with re- 
spect to the batter and a short-distance-behind with respect to 
the batter appeared as qualities of pitcher and catcher respec- 
tively. Similarly, before-Napoleon is presented, let us say, as a 
quality inhering in St. Louis, after-Napoleon as a quality inher- 
ing in Napoleon III. As in the preceding chapter let us derive 
directly from the propositions which explain our term "exist- 
ence" the existence of the substances that particularly concern us; 
and the existence of certain qualities inhering in these substances. 
St. Louis, Napoleon and Napoleon III, let us thus agree, are real 
substances; and there are real qualities inhering in St. Louis and 
in Napoleon III. Our question is whether, among the real quali- 
ties inhering in Louis IX there is the real quality of being prior 
to Napoleon Bonaparte, whether among the real qualities inher- 
ing in Napoleon III there is the real quality of being subsequent 
to Napoleon Bonaparte. 

In the preceding chapter, it will be recalled, we took it for 
granted that the pitcher, alleged to be out-there-in-front with re- 
spect to the batter, was not only a real substance having qualities, 

360 



but also that he had the particular quality of being present with 
respect to the batter. 2 In investigating St. Louis's alleged quality 
of being prior to Napoleon, shall we not then complete the anal- 
ogy by taking it for granted that St. Louis is 'here' with respect to 
Napoleon? Since we chose to restrict our discussion of spatial 
relations to the discussion of spatial relations among entities 
which are 'now' with respect to one another, should we not 
similarly choose to restrict our discussion of temporal relations to 
the discussion of temporal relations among entities which are 
'here* with respect to one another? 

The substances which are presented to us, let us say, are not St. 
Louis taken as a whole, Napoleon taken as a whole, and Napo- 
leon III taken as a whole. Rather, the substances which we take 
to be real are, let us say, a phase of King Louis IX when he was 
in Paris and indeed in Notre Dame cathedral, a phase of Napo- 
leon Bonaparte when he was in Notre Dame, and a phase of 
Napoleon III when he was in Notre Dame. But when our objects 
are St. Louis in Notre Dame, Napoleon in Notre Dame and 
Napoleon III in Notre Dame, does it follow that these objects of 
ours are presented as 'here' with respect to one another? If the 
sun and not Notre Dame is taken to be at rest, the position which 
St. Louis in Notre Dame had with respect to the phase of the sun 
contemporaneous with him is, it may be said, not identical with 
the position which Napoleon in Notre Dame had with respect to 
the phase of the sun contemporaneous with him. St. Louis, that 
is to say, may be said to have been much farther away from the 
sun contemporaneous with him than Napoleon was from the sun 
contemporaneous with him. And taking a given position with re- 
spect to successive phases of the sun as our enduring point of 
reference, Napoleon may have been 'here' and King Louis IX 
'there/ Being 'here* with respect to Napoleon in Notre Dame, it 
may thus be said, is a quality that inheres in St. Louis from one 
point of view but not from another. St. Louis, it may be said, is 
here with respect to Napoleon relative to an enduring Notre 
Dame which is at rest, but is there with respect to Napoleon rela- 
tive to an enduring sun which is at rest. 

Let us then not take it for granted that the St. Louis, whose 
alleged priority to Napoleon we wish to investigate, has the real 
quality of being 'here' with respect to Napoleon. For if we were to 

$61 



take it for granted that St. Louis has the quality of being 'here' 
with respect to Napoleon whatever the enduring point of refer- 
ence, we should be assuming as real an alleged quality of St. Louis's 
which, it would appear, is unreal. And to accept as a premise the 
alleged fact that St. Louis had the quality of being 'here' with re- 
spect to Napoleon relative to an enduring Notre Dame which was 
at rest, would be to presuppose the existence of enduring entities 
and to presuppose an understanding of our terms "duration" and 
"at rest/' At this point, then, we choose not to take it for granted, 
either that there is some absolute sense of ''being here" in which 
St. Louis was 'here' with respect to Napoleon; or that St. Louis 
had the real quality of being 'here' with respect to Napoleon re- 
lative to an enduring Notre Dame which was at rest. 

Thus to some extent the premises with which we enter upon our 
discussion of temporal relations differ from those with which we 
entered upon our discussion of spatial relations. In discussing the 
existence of the pitcher's alleged quality of being out-there-in- 
front with respect to the batter, we took it for granted, not only 
that pitcher and batter were real, but also that the pitcher was 
really present with respect to the batter. But in discussing the 
existence of St. Louis's alleged quality of being prior to Napo- 
leon, we take it for granted that St. Louis and Napoleon were 
real, but not that St. Louis was really 'here' with respect to Napo- 
leon. St. Louis, Napoleon Bonaparte and Napoleon III were all, 
let us agree, in Notre Dame. But in asking whether, with respect 
to Napoleon, St. Louis was before or Napoleon III after, let us 
not assume that they were all 'here' with respect to one another. 

The pitcher, we have seen, was out-there-in-front with respect 
to the phase of the batter contemporaneous with him. But to 
attribute to a substance position with respect to another substance 
not contemporaneous with it is, it would seem, to refer, explicitly 
or implicitly, to a third entity, to an enduring point of reference 
which is at rest and which has phases, one contemporaneous with 
one of the substances being compared and one contemporaneous 
with the other. But if, explicitly or implicitly, we are referring to 
an enduring point of reference when we attribute to a given sub- 
stance the quality of being 'here' with respect to an entity not 
contemporaneous with it, is there not, similarly, a reference to 
some third entity when we attribute to a given substance the 

362 



quality of being 'now' with respect to a substance which is not 
'here' with respect to it? 

Early in the last chapter we agreed that the phase of the pitcher 
being considered was 'now/ or present, with respect to the 
phase of the batter being considered. But perhaps it was no 
more to be taken for granted that the pitcher alleged to be 
out-there-in-front was absolutely 'now' with respect to the bat- 
ter than it is to be taken for granted that St. Louis, alleged 
to be prior, was absolutely 'here' with respect to Napoleon. 
If in assuming that St. Louis is absolutely 'here' with respect 
to Napoleon we would be taking for granted a quality of St. 
Louis's which we hold is unreal, perhaps in assuming that the 
pitcher was absolutely 'now' with respect to the batter, we took 
for granted a quality of the pitcher's which he did not have. Per- 
haps the pitcher was contemporaneous with the batter from a 
certain point of view, when dates are measured in a certain man- 
ner, and was not contemporaneous with the batter from another 
point of view, when dates are measured in another manner. 

We found in the preceding chapter, however, that there are 
instances of the quality 'spatiality,' an absolute quality; and in- 
stances of the quality 'position/ which is a relative quality. Simi- 
larly there are instances of the quality of having length which are 
instances of an absolute quality and instances of the quality of 
being one-inch long which are instances of a relative quality. 3 But 
if some line PP' has, on the one hand, the absolute quality of hav- 
ing length and, on the other hand, the relative quality of being 
one-inch long as measured from O, may it not be that some entity 
A has, on the one hand, a quality of simultaneity with B which is 
not relative to C and, on the other hand, the quality of being no 
seconds earlier, and no seconds later, than B as measured from C? 
That is to say, may there not be a sense of "simultaneity" in which 
the assertion that A is simultaneous with B is not synonymous with 
the assertion that A is no seconds earlier and no seconds later than 
3 as measured from C? What we are attempting to present is a 
sense of "simultaneity" such that a given instantaneous phase of 
A may be held to be simultaneous with a given instantaneous 
phase of B, even though it is agreed that it is an earlier phase of A 
which is found to be no seconds earlier and no seconds later than 
B as measured from a body moving in one direction; and even 

363 



though it is agreed that it is a later phase of A which is found to 
be no seconds earlier and no seconds later than B as measured 
from a body moving in another direction. In short, what is being 
presented is A's alleged quality of co-existing with B as distin- 
guished from A's quality of having been found by measurement 
to have a date identical with B's. 

A co-existence of this sort, an unmeasured simultaneity, may, 
it seems, be presented without being presented as incomplete. 
We seem on occasion to consider simultaneity without consider- 
ing measurements, just as we seem on occasion to consider red- 
ness without considering wave-lengths, and just as we seem on 
occasion to consider heat without considering mercury-filled 
thermometers. Such an unmeasured simultaneity, presented as an 
absolute quality, subsists. And there are instances of it which are, 
we find, real. Presented as a quality of some entity A, that is to 
say, unmeasured simultaneity with B is presented, we find, with- 
out any of the characteristics which would mark it out as unreal 
in our sense of "reality"; and, so presented, it is listed as real in 
the appendix to Chapter Three. Thus the phase of the pitcher 
and the phase of the batter which we considered at the beginning 
of the previous chapter were, we hold, simultaneous with one an- 
other. In taking it for granted that the pitcher, alleged to be out- 
there-in-front, was present with respect to the batter, we were not 
taking for granted an alleged quality of the pitcher's which he 
did not have. 4 

In this chapter, we have said, we do not take it for granted that 
St. Louis in Notre Dame was 'here' with respect to Napoleon in 
Notre Dame. St. Louis was real and Napoleon real. But did St. 
Louis have the real quality of being before-Napoleon? 

Napoleon, let us assume, had a mental attitude which reached 
St. Louis as its object. And this mental attitude may have been at 
the terminus of motions originating in St. Louis. There may have 
been motions, that is to say, "which, although delayed in trans- 
mission and transformed by the intermediaries" through whom 
they passed, originated in St. Louis and terminated in Napoleon's 
mental attitude directed upon St. Louis. 5 But St. Louis as a sub- 
stance is to be distinguished from his alleged quality of being 
prior to Napoleon. It is St. Louis's alleged quality of being 
prior to Napoleon, let us remember, that at this point concerns 
us. And this alleged quality of St. Louis's, it may be said, can 

364 



hardly be believed to have initiated motions which resulted in 
Napoleon's mental attitude directed upon it. 

Just as the pitcher's alleged quality of being out-there-in-front 
with respect to the batter has no special channel through which 
to affect the spectator apparently aware of it, so, it may be said, St. 
Louis's alleged quality of being prior to Napoleon has no special 
channel open to it through which to affect Napoleon. But where- 
as "the man on my ceiling, presented as having no special channel 
through which to affect the mental attitude of mine apparently 
directed upon him" is, we have seen, unreal, the other-side-of-the- 
moon, "presented as having no special channel through which 
to affect the mental attitude of yours apparently directed upon 
it," is real. 6 The entity, that is to say, which is presented as having 
no special channel through which to affect the mental attitude 
apparently directed upon it, need not be presented as generally 
discredited and need not be unreal. So far as we have yet seen, 
the quality of being prior to Napoleon which is alleged to inhere 
in King Louis IX may be real even though it is not a sine qua 
non with respect to Napoleon's mental attitude apparently di- 
rected upon it and even though it is presented as having no spe- 
cial channel open to it through which to bring about that mental 
attitude of Napoleon's. We may be puzzled as to how Napoleon 
could come to be aware of St. Louis as past with respect to him* 
But it does not follow that Napoleon had no mental attitude 
apparently aware of St. Louis as past. And it does not follow that 
St. Louis's alleged quality of being past with respect to Napoleon 
was unreal. 

It is with a thirteenth century date that Louis IX is alleged to 
have existed. But could St. Louis in the thirteenth century have 
had the quality of being prior to a Napoleon who did not yet 
exist? It may be said that it was not until the fourteenth cen- 
tury that St. Louis acquired the quality of being prior to four- 
teenth century events, not until the fifteenth century that he 
acquired the quality of being prior to fifteenth century events, 
and so on. In the thirteenth century, it may be said, St. Louis's 
alleged quality of being prior to Napoleon was unreal. But 
what was the situation in the thirteenth century? No one was 
aware of Napoleon as the victor at Marengo or as a prisoner at St. 
Helena. If he was an object at all for thirteenth century mental 

365 



attitudes, he was an object only in so far as thirteenth century 
mental attitudes may have been directed upon some unnamed fu- 
ture person who might be a ruler and a soldier. But St. Louis's 
alleged quality of being prior to Napoleon, presented as not an 
object, or as not a definite object, for mental attitudes contempor- 
aneous with it, need not be unreal. It may have been real, though 
an object only for mental attitudes occurring centuries later. And 
if it is real, its thirteenth century date belongs to it. To be aware, 
apparently, of Louis IX as now lacking the quality of being 
prior to Napoleon and of Louis IX as now having the quality of 
being prior to Napoleon is, as we have seen, 7 to exchange one sub- 
sistent for another. 

So far as we have yet seen, the quality of being prior to Napo- 
leon, alleged to inhere in the thirteenth century Louis IX, need 
not be unreal. Indeed the subsisting quality of being prior to 
Napoleon, which we are considering, is, we find, real. It is pre- 
sented without the characteristic of lacking position or date; it is 
presented without the characteristic of being generally dis- 
credited; and, so presented, it is listed as real in the Appendix to 
Chapter Three. Similarly with the quality of being subsequent to 
Napoleon, an entity presented as a quality of Napoleon III. 
Neither Napoleon III nor his alleged quality of being after- 
Napoleon were percepts of Napoleon's. Neither Napoleon III nor 
his alleged quality of being after-Napoleon had special channels 
open to them through which to affect the mental attitudes which 
Napoleon may have directed upon them. But just as St. Louis's 
alleged quality of being before-Napoleon is presented without 
any of the characteristics which would mark it out as unreal in 
our sense of "reality," so is Napoleon the Third's alleged quality 
of being after-Napoleon. Just as St. Louis had the real quality of 
being before Napoleon, so Napoleon III had the real quality of 
being after-Napoleon. 

With respect to today's events, to be sure, King Louis IX, 
Napoleon Bonaparte and Napoleon III are all, let us agree, past. 
But what is past, it may be said, no longer is. If we may say that 
"eatistence" as commonly used is predicated only of that which 
is somehow important, 8 only of that which in some fashion must 
be reckoned with, then the tendency of many languages to iden- 
tify "existence" with "present existence" points perhaps to the 

366 



fact that what is past need no longer be combatted or propitiated 
by living men. But using "existence" in the sense in which we are 
using it, the proposition: "St. Louis is dead" does not imply the 
proposition: "St. Louis is unreal." An entity which is presented as 
past with respect to today's events need not be presented with any 
of the characteristics which would mark it out as unreal. As we 
use "existence" and "reality," an entity presented as past may be 
real just as may an entity presented as present. 

Similarly with an entity presented as future. Just as, using 
"existence" in some sense other than that in which we are using 
this term, an event which is alleged to have occurred last year no 
longer exists, so, using "existence" in some sense other than that 
in which we are using it, an event, which, it is alleged, will occur 
next year, may be said to have only potential existence, may be 
said to be unrealized rather than real. As we use "existence" and 
"reality," however, to have potential existence is not to be non- 
existent; to be as yet unrealized is not to be unreal. In our sense 
of "reality," to be sure, an entity is unreal if it appears with the 
characteristic of being generally discredited. And, it may be 
agreed, no event, which, it is alleged, will occur next year, is so 
firmly believed in by today's thinkers as are Napoleon Bonaparte 
and today's sunrise. The inauguration of Lincoln as President in 
1861 appears, let us say, with the characteristic of being generally 
believed in, whereas the inauguration of a President of the 
United States in 1961 appears with the characteristic of being less 
firmly believed in. Our government may be overthrown; there 
may be no inauguration in 1961. There may be some cosmic 
catastrophe; and there may be no sunrise tomorrow. Nevertheless 
the inauguration in 1961 appears without the characteristic of be- 
ing generally discredited. Or, rather, there is a subsisting in- 
auguration in 1961 which, appearing without the characteristic of 
being generally discredited, is listed as real in the appendix to 
Chapter Three. 

The inauguration of 1961 is real; and it has, we hold, the real 
quality of being subsequent to certain real events of today. But 
if certain alleged future events are real, if, for example, there 
will be an inauguration in 1961, then, it may be said, there is an 
inevitability with respect to future events which rules out chance 
and accident. "What will be, will be" is a tautological proposi- 

367 



tion. But it is frequently understood as an assertion that we can 
not affect the course of history, that future events are already de- 
termined. And in holding that certain future events are real, we 
may be held to be committed to the doctrine that future events 
are determined by present events, to the doctrine that there is a 
compulsion issuing out of the past and present which makes the 
future inevitable. 

Let us recall however our discussion of the necessary proposi- 
tion: "F must exist." "F must exist" is true, we have said, 9 if F 
exists and if there is in the context some proposition: "E exists" 
which implies the existence of F. If E implies the existence of F, 
then F must exist and it is not possible for F not to exist. If the 
inauguration of 1961 exists, then it is not possible for there not 
to be an inauguration in 1961. An implication from one proposi- 
tion to another is however to be distinguished from an alleged 
compulsion linking prior physical events with subsequent physical 
events. It is some proposition: "E exists" which implies that there 
will be an inauguration in 1961, not some prior physical event 
which makes the 1961 inauguration inevitable. Moreover, whether 
or not "There must be an inauguration in 1961" is true depends 
upon the instance of : "E exists" that occurs in the context. If we 
start with the premise that the 1961 inauguration is real, then it is 
not possible for there to be no inauguration in 1961. If we start 
with the premise that I today am really aware of a 1961 inaugura- 
tion, then, since a real subject-object relational situation implies 
real terms, 10 it is again impossible for there to be no inaugura- 
tion in 196 L But if what is given is merely the fact that I seem to 
be aware of a 1961 inauguration, if it is left undetermined 
whether my real mental attitude has a real object or whether it 
is merely "as though" ll I were aware of a 1961 inauguration, then 
our premises do not imply the 1961 inauguration and it is pos- 
sible for there to be no inauguration in 1961. 

Certain future events are real; and certain future events are 
real objects for today's mental attitudes. On the other hand, just 
as I may seem to be aware of a griffin or of a centaur, so I may 
seem to be aware of an inauguration in 1961 or may seem to be 
aware of myself as falling down the stairs five minutes hence. In 
tb latter instance, the mental attitude which is as though it were 
directed towards an accident on the stairs may itself bring about 



368 



the caution that avoids the accident. In short, certain future en- 
tities are real and necessarily so in so far as assertions that they 
will occur are accepted as premises. But this implies neither that 
what is to be flows inexorably out of what is; nor that present men- 
tal attitudes are impotent. Indeed it would seem that determinists 
and indeterminists alike must accept the doctrine that certain 
future entities are real. If there is no present King of France, it is 
not true that the present King of France is bald and it is not true 
that the present King of France is not bald. 12 If all alleged future 
entities are unreal, they are neither determined by what has gone 
before nor do they spring up without being determined by what 
has gone before. If they are unreal, nothing can truly be said 
about them other than that they do not exist or about the man- 
ner in which they are related to the events that precede them. If 
one is to hold that no future entities are real, one can be neither a 
determinist nor an indeterminist; one must hold that "the future 
is simply nothing at all." 13 

We hold then that Napoleon Bonaparte is real, has the real 
quality of being 'after* with respect to St. Louis, the real quality 
of being 'before' with respect to today's mental attitudes and the 
real quality of being 'before' with respect to the inauguration of 
1961. Similarly we hold that the inauguration of 1961 is real, that 
it has the real quality of being 'after' with respect to Napoleon, the 
real quality of being 'after' with respect to today's mental attitudes 
and the real quality of being 'before' with respect to the inaugura- 
tion of 1965. To be sure, there are some respects in which the inau- 
guration of 1961 which is in the future differs from the inauguration 
of 1861 which is in the past. When I today am aware of the inaugu- 
ration of 1861, 1 know that it was Lincoln who was being inducted 
into office. I may know what the weather was and what Lnicoln said 
on that occasion. In short, the object towards which my mental 
attitude is directed is presented with a wealth of detail. Not so 
the inauguration of 1961. 1 am aware of the inauguration of 1961 
neither as the inauguration of a Democrat nor as the inaugura- 
tion of a Republican, neither as occurring in fair weather nor in 
foul. My object is vague. And if perchance my object is not vague, 
if, for example, the President-elect to be inducted into office in 
1961 is presented to me as John Stevenson, a Democrat from 
Indianapolis, my mental attitude directed towards such a sub- 

369 



sistent is accompanied by a feeling of incredulity. Real entities 
appearing as future appear in the main with few characteristics, 
appear in the main as indefinite objects. But they need not appear 
as entities that no one has or will have as definite objects. "When 
I think of paleontology," we have said, 14 "I think of nothing defi- 
nite." "But my subsistent takes on the characteristic of appearing 
with more details to paleontologists." So it is with the inaugura- 
tion of 196L Although this future entity towards which my pres- 
ent mental attitude is directed is bare of details, it appears with 
the characteristic of being a more definite object for other sub- 
jects with respect to whom it will not be future. Subsistents which 
appear with the characteristic of being only indefinite objects for 
all of the mental attitudes which are or will be directed towards 
them are unreal. But in so far as future entities appear with the 
characteristic of being indefinite objects for certain subjects 
only, they need not be unreal. 

Indeed the distinction to which we have pointed between fu- 
ture entities and past entities is not so much a distinction between 
what is future with respect to today's mental attitudes and what is 
past with respect to today's mental attitudes as it is a distinction 
between what is future and what is past with respect to the 
particular mental attitude which happens to be aware of it. The 
real Napoleon is presented with some detail to us; but to St. 
Louis he can only have appeared as an indefinite object, as he 
who would rule France at the beginning of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. 15 Indefiniteness is not so much a characteristic of real en- 
tities which are future with respect to us as it is a characteristic 
with which entities appear to mental attitudes which precede 
them. 

Last chapter's catcher has the real quality of being a short dis- 
tance behind with respect to the batter; 16 Napoleon III and the 
inauguration of 1961 have each the real quality of being 'after* 
with respect to Napoleon Bonaparte. Last chapter's pitcher has 
the real quality of being out there in front with respect to the 
batter; and St. Louis has the real quality of being past or 'before' 
with respect to Napoleon. But along with the pitcher, the base- 
ball diamond too has the real quality of being out there in front 
with respect to the catcher. The position which the baseball 
diamond has with respect to the catcher is less definite than that 

370 



which the pitcher has. Yet the indefinite position with which the 
baseball diamond appears is not so indefinite as to require us to 
call the subsisting baseball diamond and its subsisting position 
with respect to the catcher unreal. 17 

So it is with the Middle Ages in France and its date with respect to 
Napoleon. As contrasted with a subsisting St. Louis, the subsisting 
Middle Ages in France is presented to us as having a less definite 
date with respect to Napoleon. It is presented merely as some cen- 
turies past with respect to him. Yet such a date with respect to Na- 
poleon is not so indefinite a date as to require us to call the subsisting 
Middle Ages in France which appears with such a date, unreal. On 
the other hand, that which appears merely as having occurred once 
upon a time, that which appears as being presented to no one 
with a more definite date than "once upon a time/' is unreal. And 
that which is presented as everlasting is, considered as a single ob- 
ject, likewise unreal. These last-named entities are unreal along 
with the entity which appears supra-temporal, out of time, and 
along with the entity which appears dated with respect to private 
ideas or fictional objects only, the entity which we have described 
as one that "explicitly or implicitly appears as undated with re- 
spect to some other entity while appearing explicitly or implicitly 
with the claim that that other entity is nevertheless real.'* 18 

The pitcher's center of gravity, the pitcher, the baseball dia- 
mond, the Cosmos: this series has its analog in the last moment 
of St. Louis's life, St. Louis, the Middle Agas in France, the 
world of all temporal events. The Cosmos and the world of all 
temporal events are unreal. The last moment of St. Louis's life is 
still to be discussed. But the pitcher and the baseball diamond are 
real, together with their more or less indefinite positions with 
respect to the catcher. And St. Louis and the Middle Ages in 
France are real, together with their more or less indefinite dates 
with respect to Napoleon. The pitcher and the baseball diamond, 
having indefinite positions with respect to the catcher, have ex- 
tension. And St. Louis and the Middle Ages in France, having 
indefinite dates with respect to Napoleon, have, let us agree, du- 
ration. 

Now date, like position, is relative. If I use the expression: "the 
date of St. Louis" or "the date of the Middle Ages," and if it is 
agreed that I am not referring to the dates that these entities may 

371 



be alleged to have with respect to Napoleon or with respect to 
Christ or with respect to any other point of reference, then my 
expression: "the date of St. Louis" puts before me no subsisting 
quality alleged to be absolute whose reality or unreality might be 
considered. But just as in the preceding chapter we found the 
point P' to have the absolute quality of spatiality which we de- 
scribed as "the possibility of having position with respect to vari- 
ous entities/' 19 so we hold that St. Louis and the Middle Ages 
have each the real absolute quality of temporality. St. Louis and 
the Middle Ages have temporality absolutely, not temporality 
with respect to Napoleon and temporality with respect to the 
inauguration of 1961. Similarly duration, which we have found to 
be a real quality of St. Louis and of the Middle Ages, is an ab- 
solute quality. St. Louis and the Middle Ages have duration ab- 
solutely, not duration with respect to Napoleon and duration 
with respect to some phase of the planet Jupiter. 

To be sure, if we have clocks at hand to measure the 'length of 
time' that an entity endures, the number of seconds that our 
clocks tell off to us will depend upon the speed with which we 
and our clocks are moving with respect to the entity whose dura- 
tion we are measuring. Napoleon may have a duration of fifty-two 
years with respect to an observer at rest with respect to him, a 
duration of a different number of years with respect to an ob- 
server on Sirius. Measured duration, duration numbered by 
seconds or years, .is relative. It presupposes motion between the 
enduring entity whose duration is being measured and one or 
another of the spatio-temporal entities outside it from which it 
might be measured. Yet this measured duration which is relative 
points back to the quality of duration which we find not relative. 
If Napoleon lacked the quality of temporality, if he were non- 
temporal, we could not without contradicting ourselves attribute 
to him either the quality of being earlier than Napoleon III or 
the quality of being later than St. Louis. And if he lacked the 
quality of duration the unmeasured or pre-measured duration 
that we hold to be absolute we could not without contradicting 
ourselves attribute to him either the quality of enduring fifty-two 
years as measured by one observer or the quality of enduring 
through a different number of years as measured by another. If he 
did not endure, his duration would not be there for various ob- 

372 



servers to measure. 

Napoleon, St. Louis and the Middle Ages have each of them 
duration. That is to say, the duration which I present to myself 
as a quality of each of them does not appear undated with respect 
to real entities, does not appear lacking position with respect to 
its contemporaries, does not appear generally discredited, and is 
listed as real in the appendix to Chapter Three. Like unnumbered 
length or extension, 20 this unnumbered duration is vague. It does 
not have the one number that comes from measuring duration 
from some preferred point of view, that comes from measuring 
duration, for example, from some entity at rest with respect to it. 
In itself it is unnumbered, being equally receptive to various 
numbers. So it is with temporality. Temporality is not the date 
that an entity has with respect to some preferred point of 
reference, not date for example with respect to an event at the be- 
ginning of the Christian era. It is not date with respect to some 
implied point of reference, but rather the possibility of being 
dated with respect to various points of reference. 

But let us come back to duration. If Napoleon has, as we hold, 
the real quality of duration, how, we may ask, do we become 
aware of it? Events in his early life may have been witnessed and 
ultimately relayed to my present mental attitude. Although these 
events are past with respect to me, a chain may be traced from 
them to me and they may be both the ultimate causes and the 
immediate though non-presentobjects of my present mental 
attitude. Similarly his last words at St. Helena may have initiated 
disturbances in the air and these waves may be traced in one 
form or another to the present mental attitude of mine which is 
directed towards Napoleon's last days. But how can the enduring 
Napoleon who began in Corsica and ended at St. Helena be the 
cause of a mental attitude of mine? How can a single impulse 
start from the enduring Napoleon and bring about a present men- 
tal attitude directed towards an enduring entity? Even extension 
can be held to be a percept with greater plausibility. For we can 
imagine a wave-front advancing from an extended object and be- 
ing foreshortened more and more as it approaches the eye. But 
in the case of Napoleon we would have to imagine a single front 
formed by impulses started at different dates, a sort of wheeling 
column whose earlier and later elements by the time that I be- 

373 



come aware of the enduring Napoleon have developed simultan- 
eity with one another. We may agree that this is not a satisfactory 
account of the genesis of the awareness of duration. But what 
then are the alternatives offered us? 

It may be held that, corresponding to the earlier and later 
phases of an enduring entity, there result in the first instance 
earlier and later ideas. But to be aware of the enduring entity as 
a whole, as enduring, the acts of apprehension which have been 
successive must be replaced by a mental state existing at a given 
date which refers equally to the earlier and to the later phases of 
the enduring object. Hence, it may be held, the earlier idea is 
reproduced at a later moment when the later idea is present; and 
it may be held that some web of connection is then spun between 
the ideas, now simultaneously held, to correspond to the object's 
duration, to correspond, that is to say, to the connection in the ob- 
ject between its earlier and later phases. 21 It has been our doctrine, 
however, that private ideas do not exist, and, hence, cannot be 
reproduced. Mental attitudes may be repeated. An early phase of 
an enduring entity may be a percept with respect to one mental 
attitude and a memory with respect to a later mental attitude be- 
longing to the same mind-person. The successive mental attitudes 
of the same mind-person may have the early phase of the endur- 
ing entity as their common object, their common direct object. 
But the early phase of the enduring entity does not change its 
dates, nor does it become mental, by becoming the object of the 
second mental attitude. Making these changes to bring the doc- 
trine we are discussing into alignment with our own epistemologi- 
cal views, we may agree to the possibility of a subject having a 
mental attitude directed towards a later phase of the enduring .ob- 
ject and simultaneously a mental attitude which, like some previ- 
ous mental attitude of his, is directed towards an earlier phase of 
the enduring object. Yet if this be all, the subject is not aware 
of the enduring entity itself, not aware of earlier and later phases 
as phases of one enduring entity. The problem of accounting for 
the awareness of the object's duration is still unsolved. 

It may be held that the awareness of the connection in the ob- 
ject is initiated in the mind itself. But this is mere acknowledge- 
ment of failure to discover processes travelling from object to 
subject without discovering intra-cerebral processes to substitute 

374 



for them. Nor does failure to discover processes travelling from ob- 
ject to subject prove the alleged object to be unreal. For whether 
or not the alleged object is real, whether or not, in this case, the 
alleged enduring object really endures, depends upon such con- 
siderations as whether or not the alleged enduring object appears 
with the characteristic of being generally discredited. An entity, 
such as tomorrow's sun or the inauguration of 1961, may be real 
and may be the real object of my present mental attitude, even 
though there is no process travelling from future object to pres- 
ent mental attitude. 22 How much less proof of unreality there is 
then in the fact that we can not find processes travelling from al- 
leged object to present mental attitude! We hold then that 
Napoleon, the Middle Ages in France, and the man who will be 
inaugurated President in 1961, each of them has the real quality 
of duration. And we hold that the reality of the quality of dura- 
tion that each of these entities has is not affected by the unsatis- 
factory outcome of our efforts to find processes, initiated by the 
enduring object as a whole, that bring about the mental attitudes 
directed upon this enduring object's duration. 

Napoleon, we hold, had duration. There was, let us agree, an 
early phase of his life which was spent in Corsica and a late phase 
of his life which was spent on St. Helena. These phases, like 
Napoleon taken as a unitary substance, have, we hold, duration. 
Just as we use the word "part" to point to a substance 'discrimi- 
nated' from a more extended substance that includes it, so we 
use the word "phase" to point to a substance discriminated from 
a more enduring substance that includes it. 23 Like Napoleon 
taken as a whole, Napoleon on St. Helena is a substance, has 
duration, and is dated with respect to various points of reference. 
It has, to be sure, a lesser duration than the Napoleon from whom 
it is discriminated as a phase; and the date which it has with re- 
spect to Napoleon III, or with respect to today's events, is not 
so indefinite. But Napoleon-on-St. Helena is a real enduring sub- 
stance. Assuming now that each real substance has some quali- 
ties, it would appear that a certain set of qualities inheres in 
Napoleon on St. Helena, that another set of qualities inheres in 
Napoleon taken as a whole, and that still another set inheres in 
^apoleon's boyhood. According to Schopenhauer, 24 we may "de- 
fine time as the possibility of opposite states in one and the same 

375 



thing." Yet it is not Napoleon taken as a unitary substance who 
was both powerful and powerless. Strictly speaking, it was not 
Caesar, but Caesar at moment M, who crossed the Rubicon. 25 
Similarly it was Napoleon on St. Helena who was powerless, 
Napoleon in some earlier phase who had tremendous power. As a 
French flag is not red, not white and not blue but, rather, tri- 
colored, so Napoleon taken as a whole was not powerful and not 
powerless but, rather, has the quality of having been powerful 
and powerless in turn. That is to say, different phases of Napoleon 
have different qualities just as different parts of a French flag 
have different colors. Substances do not have contradictory quali- 
ties in so far as they have duration and have phases; any more 
than they have contradictory qualities in so far as they have exten- 
sion and have parts. 

Along with Napoleon's boyhood, Napoleon while First Consul, 
and Napoleon on St. Helena, substances which are real, let us 
consider an alleged phase of Napoleon which is presented as being 
Napoleon at the instant at which exactly half of his life had been 
lived. Napoleon on St. Helena, we have remarked, has a lesser 
duration than Napoleon as a whole; but it has the quality of 
duration. The entity however which presents itself as Napoleon 
at the instant at which exactly half of his life had been lived ap- 
pears as an instantaneous phase, as a phase without duration. As 
the baseball pitcher's center of gravity appears as having position 
with respect to the batter but no extension, so this instantaneous 
phase of Napoleon appears as having a date with respect to today's 
events but no duration. The pitcher's center of gravity is no per- 
cept. The point is a limit that is never reached by division. 26 
Similarly we may agree that nothing happens at an instant. The 
camera's shutter is not shut as soon as it is opened. The most 
minute impulse that reaches us, we may agree, has its origin, not 
in an instantaneous phase of the object, but in an emitting part 
whose action 'takes some time.' Yet none of these observations, if 
true, imply that an alleged instantaneous phase is unreal. The in- 
tantaneous phase of Napoleon that I present to myself does not 
appear undated with respect to real entities, does not appear 
lacking position with respect to its contemporaries, does not ap- 
pear generally discredited. Like the point on the line PP' or like 
the pitcher's center of gravity, it is, we hold, real. 

376 



But whereas there is an instantaneous phase of Napoleon and 
an instantaneous phase of the Duke of Wellington contemporan- 
eous with it, there is no 'instant.' An instantaneous phase, not of 
Napoleon and not of the Duke of Wellington, but of the cosmos, 
subsists with too indefinite a position with respect to its con- 
temporaries. There is perhaps a set of real instantaneous phases 
contemporaneous with one another; and there may be a universal 
which has these instantaneous phases as its instances. But these in- 
stantaneous phases, taken together, form no real individual to be 
called an "instant." Similarly with things and phases of things 
which endure. There is a set of contemporaneous substances: 
Napoleon in 1812, the Duke of Wellington in 1812, and the like 
which are alike with respect to duration. There may be a uni- 
versal substance which has these individual substances as its in- 
stances; there may, that is to say, be the universal substance: 
'Thing enduring through 1812.' Similarly there may be a uni- 
versal quality which has the durations of various individual sub- 
stances as its instances; there may, that is to say, be the universal 
quality: 'enduring through 1812.' But there is no real individual 
substance that we put before us by taking Napoleon in 1812, the 
Duke of Wellington in 1812, and so on, collectively. There is no 
year 1812 and no real entity which is the quality of such an al- 
leged collective individual substance. 

Let us suppose that I return home after having been away on a 
short trip. The phase of my life during which I am away on 
the trip has its duration; and the phase of my home while I 
am absent has its duration. It may be that, when these two endur- 
ing entities are measured from some spatio-temporal entity out- 
side them, their durations will be assigned different numbers. But 
let us direct our attention to the unnumbered or prenum- 
bered quality of duration that this phase o my life has and to the 
unnumbered or prenumbered quality of duration that this phase 
of my home has. It may be said that the phases of the two entities 
are alike with respect to the unnumbered quality of duration 
that each of them has. But there is nevertheless no duration begin- 
ning when I leave home and ending when I return that is not the 
duration of some substance. "A distance," we have said, 2 * "is a 
certain line or path with the emphasis on the termini"; and an 
interval, we may say, is the phase of a certain substance with the 

377 



emphasis on its beginning and end. As there is no distance that 
is not, so to speak, imbedded in some path, so there is no interval 
that is not, so to speak, imbedded in the phase of some sub- 
stance. Now, when we do not specify "distance by automobile 
road" or "distance by water," the distance between P and P' 
is imbedded, so to speak, in the straight line PP'. But when we 
refer to the interval between my departure from home and my 
return, are we referring to the interval that is a phase of my home 
or to the interval that is a phase of my life? "Interval" we con- 
clude, differs from "distance" in this respect. Whereas "distance 
between P and P'/' as contrasted with "distance between P and P' 
by route A," refers to single path, "interval between P and P' " 
that is not similarly specified is either ambiguous or points to a 
universal whose instances are phases of substances that are alike in 
that they have identical unnumbered durations. 

Enduring from my departure from home to my return, there 
are phases of two substances, and hence two intervals, that we 
have found real. Perhaps there is a phase of a third or of a fourth 
substance which begins when I leave home and ends when I re- 
turn. But we must remember that no entity is definitely to be 
called "real" unless it is presented without the characteristic of 
being an indefinite object and unless it is enumerated in the ap- 
pendix to Chapter Three. Napoleon is real, and the instantaneous 
phase of Napoleon at which exactly half of his life had been 
lived; the Middle Ages are real, and the inauguration of 1961. 
But since it is only singular or particular affirmative existential 
propositions which are both true and informative, the reality of a 
whole world of temporal entities can not be validated in a single 
proposition. The Middle Ages in France, Napoleon's boyhood 
and the inauguration of 1961, all have duration and all have dates 
with respect to various entities such as the birth of Christ or my 
present mental attitude. But no alleged event of the year 1,000, 
no duration that may be attributed to such an event and no date 
that such an alleged event may seem to have with respect to 
Napoleon or to you, is to be accepted as real until that event, that 
duration or those dates are shown to be free from the character- 
istics that would mark them out as unreal, and until they are 
pointed out as real in the propositions in which real entities are 
enumerated. What we have found real up to this point, in short, 

378 



are a few instantaneous phases, a few substances having duration, 
a few intervals. And although we may take it for granted that 
there are many enduring entities like Napoleon and like the in- 
auguration of 1961, we have thus far no basis for concluding that 
their durations are contiguous and that, taken together, they com- 
pletely fill an alleged Time-continuum. 

In the preceding chapter we pointed to the distinction between 
material spaces and non-material spaces. Some distant spherical 
figure may be real; and yet we may so define 'body' and 'matter' 
that this spherical substance is not a body, is not material. 28 We 
may present to ourselves something equal in size and shape to 
the sun, something that at each moment is in the same direction 
as the sun, but twice as distant. If, now, we may agree that there 
is no 'matter' where this substance is, what we have before us is a 
non-material substance of definite size and shape whose succes- 
sive phases, like the successive phases of the sun itself, lie in dif- 
ferent directions with respect to the observer at a given point on 
the earth's surface. What we have before us is a substance alleged 
to have the quality of duration, a substance alleged to differ from 
the sun in its distance from us and in the fact that it is not a body. 
This alleged substance presented as immaterial is, let us agree, 
real. For no instantaneous phase of it appears lacking in position 
with respect to contemporaneous real entities; its various endur- 
ing phases, like the corresponding enduring phases of the sun, 
appear dated with respect to various real entities; and, presented as 
immaterial, it is listed as real in the appendix to Chapter Three. 
Along, then, with the Middle Ages in France, Napoleon and the 
inauguration of 1961, there are various enduring entities that are 
non-material, various enduring entities whose instantaneous 
phases are all empty spaces. Yet even when we consider real en- 
during entities that are non-material along with real enduring 
entities that are material, we have no basis for asserting that the 
set of entities with real durations, in addition to overlapping, com- 
pletely fills an alleged Time-continuum. 

It may be held, however, that each enduring substance, whether 
material or immaterial, implies some other substance preceding it. 
Just as, when we follow the State of Wyoming to its boundaries, 
we do not stop but become aware of neighboring States that 
bound it, 29 so it may be held that the awareness of each entity 

379 



having a certain duration, whether material or immaterial, 
leads us on to the awareness of some predecessor. But if the al- 
leged predecessor subsists as no one's definite object, it and its al- 
leged prior date are unreal. Just as, "with respect to any real en- 
tity having position, we are never frustrated in the attempt to 
present ourselves alleged parts of space surrounding it," so it may 
be that we are never frustrated in the attempt to present to our- 
selves alleged predecessor substances having prior dates with re- 
spect to Napoleon or with respect to the birth of Christ. But with 
respect to those enduring substances where alleged prior sub- 
stances appear as no one's definite objects, there exists no prior 
substance, whether material or immaterial, and no duration or 
prior date as a real quality of it. Even empty time, to put it 
colloquially, is no continuum. 

When we limit our attention to material substances, the doc- 
trine that every real entity implies a predecessor receives support 
from the dictum that every event has a cause. For if every material 
substance points back to a preceding material substance which 
brought it into being, there is an unbroken series of real material 
substances and hence an unbroken series of more and more re- 
mote dates. If, however, there are substances, material or im- 
material, where alleged predecessor substances appear as no one's 
definite objects, then there are events which we fail to trace 
back to causes. Alleged entities, appearing as no one's definite 
objects, are not real and not causes. The material substances, that 
might otherwise be regarded as their consequents, have no real 
material substances preceding them and no real causes. 

We are never frustrated when we attempt to put before our- 
selves more and more distant points. There is a point which is 
the farthest away of all real points, the point, namely, which is 
farthest away of all definite objects. 30 In a similar fashion we can 
present to ourselves, as fairly definitely-dated objects, substances 
of a million years ago, a trillion years ago, and so on. To be real, 
however, an entity must not only be presented without the 
characteristic of lacking definite dates; it must also be presented 
without the characteristic of lacking position with respect to real 
contemporaries. The substances consequently that are the most 
remote in time of all real substances are those, not presented as 
lacking in spatial relations with their contemporaries, that are 

380 



the most remote in time of all definite objects. Assuming however 
that our objects are not limited to bodies, we can place before 
ourselves set after set of spatially related contemporaries, one 
prior to another. The earliest set that we thus place before our- 
selves includes the earliest of all substances; the dates that its 
several members have are the earliest of all dates. 

What shall we say, however, with respect to the series of earlier 
and earlier substances or phases of substances that are bodies? 
We may present to ourselves phases of the sun at various past 
dates, one phase earlier than the other. But we may come to 
some alleged phase of the sun which is not really a phase of the 
sun and not really a body. Although we will not be frustrated 
when we search for earlier and earlier substances, we may reach 
a point where the entities presented to us, appearing as material, 
are all presented as generally discredited. The earliest body, it 
follows, may have a later date than the earliest substance. For the 
date of the earliest body depends, not merely upon the extent to 
which we persevere in presenting to ourselves earlier and earlier 
definite objects, but upon the qualities which we insist on sub- 
stances having before we will agree to call them "bodies." If we 
follow Descartes in calling each extended entity a "body," the 
earliest substance is a body. But if "body" has a more limited 
denotation, there may be early phases of empty spaces which have 
only other empty spaces contemporaneous with them; there may 
be early phases of empty spaces which are real and which precede 
each body that is real. 

Our discussion of the last few paragraphs concerns the past. We 
have asked whether each event points back to a cause which must 
have preceded it, how far the series of earlier and earlier sub- 
stances extends, how far the series of earlier and earlier bodies. 
"The world's having a beginning/' it has however been said, 31 
does not "derogate from the infinity of its duration a parte post." 
An event, it may be felt, implies that a series of preceding causes 
is given and real, but does not imply the existence of an equally 
definite series of later consequents. 82 As we use the term "reality," 
however, the inauguration of a President of the United States in 
1961 is, we have found, real. 58 And since the inauguration of 1961 
is real along with the inauguration of 1861, since certain future 
events, certain present events and certain past events are equally 

381 



real, then causal relations, if there are any, may flow from present 
events to future events as well as they may flow from past events 
to present events. Whatever be the sense of "cause" in which the 
inauguration of 1861 was caused or affected by the election of 
I860, it is in this sense of "cause" that the inauguration of 1961 
will be caused or affected by the election of 1960. Whatever com- 
pulsion or lack of compulsion flowed from the election of 1860 to 
the inauguration of 1861, a similar compulsion or lack of compul- 
sion will flow from the election of 1960 to the inauguration of 
1961. 

Moreover, the conditions determining the truth or falsity of the 
proposition: "There may be no inauguration in 1961" are analog- 
ous to the conditions determining the truth or falsity of the propo- 
sition: "There may have been no inauguration in 1861." "There 
may be no inauguration in 1961" is true only if there are no prop- 
ositions in the context which imply a 1961 inauguration. And 
"There may have been no inauguration in 1861" is true only if 
there are no propositions in the context which imply an 1861 in- 
auguration. To be sure, the inauguration of 1961 is not so firmly 
believed in by today's thinkers as is the inauguration of 186L 34 
Hence an instance of "There may be no inauguration in 1961," 
occurring today, may occur in a context in which there is no 
proposition implying a 1961 inauguration; whereas an instance 
of "There may have been no inauguration in 1861," occurring 
today, is likely to occur in a context in which there is a proposi- 
tion implying an 1861 inauguration. But if we start with the pre- 
mise that certain future events are real and certain past events 
real, it is just as impossible for these future events to be unreal as 
it is for these past events to be unreal. And if certain alleged 
future events are real, as we hold that they are, the alleged re- 
lational situations into which they enter with preceding events 
that have affected them are just as real as the relational situations 
into which past events entered with their predecessors. 

There are however past events with respect to which prior 
events, alleged to have affected them, or alleged merely to have 
preceded them, appear as no one's definite objects. There are, 
that is to say, past events which had no predecessors. 35 Just so, 
there are real future events such that alleged subsequent events, 
alleged to have been affected by them, or alleged merely to have 

382 



followed them, appear as no one's definite objects and are unreal. 
And just as there is an end both to the series of earlier and earlier 
material substances that are real and to the series of earlier and 
earlier immaterial substances that are real, so there is an end 
both to the series of later and later material substances that are 
real and to the series of later and later immaterial substances that 
are real. 

We hold then that there were substances contemporaneous 
with one another, possibly immaterial, which were the earliest 
real substances, and whose dates with respect to various points of 
reference are the earliest of all real dates. We hold that there was 
a first real body which, assuming "body" to have a more limited 
denotation than "substance" may have been later than the first 
substances and may have had only empty spaces contemporaneous 
with it. We hold that, beginning with the earliest body, there 
have been, are, and will be, various enduring bodies and various 
instantaneous phases of bodies; also various enduring substances 
which may not be bodies, and various instantaneous phases of such 
substances. And, finally, we hold that there will be a last body, or 
bodies, and, possibly subsequently, substances contemporaneous 
with one another that will be the last substances. 

But how full of material substances is the alleged interval be- 
tween the earliest material substance and the latest material sub- 
stance? And how full of substances, material or immaterial, is the 
alleged interval between the earliest of all substances, material or 
immaterial, and the latest of all substances? Let us imagine a 
day of none but immaterial substances, alleged to intervene 
between a set of enduring bodies preceding it and a set of 
enduring bodies following it. On the hypothesis that there has 
been a day of empty time, a day on which no events occurred 
and no bodies existed, preceding bodies could not have been at 
the source of motions travelling continuously through bodies and 
finally affecting us who are subsequent to this allegedly im- 
material day. But an immaterial day is not, by hypothesis, a non- 
existing day. And impulses, alleged to have their source in bodies 
preceding it, may be held to have travelled through this day's non- 
material substances just as motions originating in the sun may be 
held to have reached us across empty spaces. Indeed even if it 
were held that there were no motions reaching us across this day 

383 



from bodies that had preceded it, it would not follow that these 
alleged earlier bodies were unreal or that we could not be aware 
of them. For tomorrow's sunrise is real and a real object for my 
present mental attitude, a situation in which there is likewise al- 
leged to be no set of impulses travelling from object to mental atti- 
tude. Our conclusion, to be sure, is not that there was an 
immaterial day intervening between the earliest material sub- 
stances and the latest material substances. But it would seem that 
the hypothesis which we have been considering is not inconsistent 
with any of the propositions that have been laid down in this 
chapter. 

Indeed let us go one step farther. Let us suppose that, between 
the bodies which precede and the bodies which follow, there not 
only are no material substances but no immaterial substances 
either. What we are suggesting is as if bodies and immaterial sub- 
stances existed through January 15, 1940, and as if no subsequent 
bodies and no subsequent immaterial substances began until 
January 17, 1940. Whereas on the hypothesis previously considered 
alleged intervening bodies were assumed to be unreal, on this hy- 
pothesis alleged intervening substances, presented as immaterial, 
are likewise assumed to be unreal. Yet this hypothesis, like the pre- 
ceding one, is not inconsistent with any of the propositions that 
have been laid down in this chapter. 

If no substance, material or immaterial, existed with a January 
1 6th date, then, to be sure, there would be no substance enduring 
from earlier than January 16th to later than January 16th. And 
since what we call an "interval" is imbedded in the phase of some 
enduring substance, 86 there would be no interval between the 
events of January 15, 1940, and the events of today. If there were 
no line OP, there would be no number to assign P's position 
with respect to O. And without an interval between the events 
of January 15, 1940, and the events of today, there would be no 
number to assign the date that an event of January 15, 1940, has 
with respect to us. But P may have position, albeit an unnumbered 
position, with respect to O, without there being a line OP. And 
an event having neither material nor immaterial entities as im- 
mediate successors may have a date, albeit an unnumbered date, 
with respect to today's events, 

Thus there exists a series of enduring bodies whose durations 

384 



need not be contiguous. And there may exist an additional series 
of immaterial enduring substances, whose durations, so far as 
we have seen, likewise need not be continuous. But, whether an 
enduring substance be material or immaterial, whether it have 
material substances contiguous with it, immaterial substances con- 
tiguous with it, or no substances at all contiguous with it, how 
many instantaneous phases, we now ask, does it include? 

As an example of an enduring substance which may be imma- 
terial, we have pointed to what is equal in size and shape to the 
sun, a substance that at each moment is in the same direction as 
the sun, but twice as distant. 37 Within today's phase of this sub- 
stancewhich we shall assume to be immaterial we can place 
before ourselves as definite objects the instantaneous phase of 
this substance as it was at three o'clock, the instantaneous phase 
at four o'clock, the instantaneous phase at three thirty o'clock, and 
so on. These instantaneous phases do not appear lacking in posi- 
tion with respect to entities contemporaneous with them; for, even 
if there are no instantaneous phases of bodies contemporaneous 
with them, there may be other empty spaces. Nor do they appear 
generally discredited; for, whereas we may doubt the measurabil- 
ity of their dates, the bit of empty space that has an unmeasured 
and perhaps immeasurable date with respect to me is no more 
incredible than the point between the extremities of the line PP 
that has an as yet unmeasured distance from me. 88 There exists, 
then, a number of these instantaneous phases that do not appear as 
no one's definite objects and that are listed in the appendix to 
Chapter Three; just as there exists a number of points on a given 
line. But since there are only so many that, appearing without the 
characteristic of being no one's definite objects, are listed as real, 
alleged instantaneous phases in excess of this number, appearing 
as no one's definite objects, are unreal. 

An enduring immaterial substance includes then at most a 
finite number of instantaneous phases. And an enduring substance 
that is a body, Napoleon, for example, or today's phase of the 
Capitol at Washington, likewise includes at most a finite number 
of instantaneous phases. In the one case as in the other, there are 
only so many instantaneous phases that appear as definite objects 
for some subject. In the one case as in the other, additional 
alleged instantaneous phases appearing as no one's definite ob- 

385 



jects are unreal. But whereas the number of instantaneous phases 
that an immaterial substance has is limited only by the limits to 
our perseverance, whereas we are never frustrated in our efforts 
to place before ourselves additional instantaneous phases of im- 
material substances that are real, the situation may be different 
with respect to substances that are bodies. It is possible, so far 
as we have yet seen, that Napoleon or the Capitol at Washington 
exists now and again, but not as a continuous body. Material 
substances may be intermittent like the light of a lighthouse or 
firefly. If so, if at four o'clock, for example, the Capitol has ceased 
as a body and has not yet reappeared, then an alleged four o'clock 
phase of the Capitol is no real phase of a material substance. If 
bodies are intermittent, our discovery of additional real instan- 
taneous phases of bodies will be limited not only by the limits 
to our perseverance but by the subject matter itself. Certain al- 
leged instantaneous phases of bodies will be unreal, not because 
they appear as no one's definite objects, but because they are 
believed to be phases of non-bodies rather than of bodies. 

The hypothesis that enduring bodies do not endure continu- 
ously but are interrupted by phases which are not phases of bodies 
is analogous to the hypothesis that extended bodies are not con- 
tinuous but include empty spaces within them. One may hold that 
an atom has a certain extended position and may nevertheless hold 
that there are empty spaces within it. The atom taken as a whole 
might then well be described as partly material and partly imma- 
terial and the empty space within it as an immaterial part of an 
including substance that is partly material and partly immaterial. 
Similarly with respect to the duration of the Capitol at Wash- 
ington. If there is no four o'clock phase which is material, let us 
not say that the duration of the Capitol is not continuous, but 
let us rather describe the Capitol as an enduring substance which 
in some of its phases is material and in some of its phases imma- 
terial. 

It may be observed that greater plausibility attaches to the 
doctrine that the extended atom includes empty spaces within it 
than attaches to the analogous doctrine that the enduring Capitol 
includes phases which are immaterial. We become aware of posi- 
tions within the extended atom at which we find no mass, no 
qualities that would make these positions the positions of bodies. 

386 



We find extension and date; hence these positions are positions of 
substances. But if we define 'body' so that only substances with 
certain additional qualities are bodies, then these positions may 
well be the positions of immaterial substances. Whether or not 
the enduring Capitol has an immaterial phase at, let us say, 
four o'clock will similarly depend in part upon the signification we 
assign the term "body." Each phase of the enduring Capitol or of 
an enduring atom \vill be extended and dated and will conse- 
quently be a substance. But if additional qualities are required of 
bodies, if by definition, for example, we restrict the denotation of 
"body" to instances of jumping from one electronic orbit to an- 
other, then there may be dates at which no such jumping is occur- 
ring, dates belonging to phases which are immaterial substances. 

Subject to such differences as have been pointed out, the situa- 
tion with respect to enduring substances and enduring bodies 
is analogous, we hold, to the situation with respect to extended 
substances and extended bodies. Subject to such differences as 
have been pointed out, the situation with respect to date, duration 
and intelrval is, on the whole, analogous to the situation with re- 
spect to position, extension and distance. There are, to be sure, 
alleged differences in addition to those which we have pointed 
out. When we measure distances and compare them in size, we 
frequently make use of the method of superposition. We take a 
standard distance, as, for example, that between the ends of a yard- 
stick; and we place this distance, first over one of the distances 
to be measured, and then over the other. When we are dealing with 
intervals, however, it is held that a similar method can not be 
followed. We can not retain the interval between two strokes of a 
clock in order to have the terms of this interval coincide in date 
with the terms of a subsequent interval. "In the measuring of ex- 
tension," says Locke, 39 "there is nothing more required but the 
application of the standard or measure we make use of to the thing 
of whose extension we would be informed." "But in the measur- 
ing of duration," he continues, "this can not be done; because no 
two different parts of succession can be put together to measure 
one another." 

In the process of finding the length of the yard-long object on 
my left equal to the length of the yard-long object on my right, I 
compare the former with the length of the yardstick placed over it. 

387 



I find this in turn equal to the length of the yardstick in a subse- 
quent phase when it has been moved into a different position, and 
this in turn equal to the length of the object on my right over 
which a still later phase of the yardstick comes to rest. Similarly 
instead of comparing directly the duration that my clock has be- 
tween two o'clock and three o'clock with the duration that it has 
between three o'clock and four o'clock, I can make use of some 
hour-long duration that begins shortly after two o'clock and 
ends shortly after three o'clock. No matter how many hour-long 
durations I interpolate, there are no two of them that can be 
seen to be equal in duration. But similarly no matter how often I 
stop my yardstick in its transit from the object on my left to that 
on my right, I can not see that its length when in one position is 
equal to the length it had just previously when it was in another 
position. 

To be sure, the object on my left and the object on my right are 
equal in length only relatively, only with respect to certain spatio- 
temporal entities. And the duration of my clock between two 
o'clock and three o'clock likewise equals the duration of this 
clock between three o'clock and four o'clock as measured from 
certain spatio-temporal entities and not from others. For whether 
it is lengths or durations that we are measuring and to which we 
are assigning numbers, the process involves spatio-temporal en- 
tities outside those whose lengths or durations are being meas- 
ured. 40 

Another allegation is that what is to the left of me and what 
is to the right of me can change places whereas what is past and 
what is future can not. But if a x was to the left of me and bi to 
the right of me, it is later phases of a and b that have different posi- 
tions. It is a 2 that is now to the right of me and it is b 2 that is 
now to the left of me. Similarly however d 2 that is future with 
respect to me can have a phase dx that preceded me and Ci that 
is past can have a future phase c 2 . 

Let us suppose however that I am considered not merely as a 
point of reference but as a thinking, experiencing subject. I am 
free to become aware of what is on my left before I become aware 
of what is on my right or to become aware of what is on my 
right before I become aware of what is on my left. But, it has 
been felt, my awareness of earlier events precedes and can not 

388 



follow my awareness of subsequent events. 

Real subject-object relations, however, exist between subjects 
and objects that are not contemporaneous with one another as well 
as between subjects and objects that are present with respect to one 
another. 41 One mental attitude may be directed upon the inaugura- 
tion of 1961 that is future with respect to it; and a subsequent 
mental attitude may be directed upon the inauguration of 1861 
that is past with respect to it. The temporal order obtaining 
among objects may He the reverse of the temporal order obtaining 
among the mental attitudes directed upon these objects. To some 
extent this is true even when we limit our attention to instances 
of perceiving. For I may perceive one of today's events and may 
later have as my percept a past phase of a distant star. Thus, we 
conclude that, only when we limit our attention to instances 
of perceiving and only when in addition we put other limitations 
upon our objects, only then do we find spatial entities reversible 
in a way in which temporal entities are not. 42 

The inauguration of 1861 that is past, an event that is present, 
and the inauguration of 1961 that is future may all three be im- 
mediate objects for mental attitudes that are contemporaneous 
with one another. If this were not true, if in thinking at a given 
moment about both the inauguration of 1861 and the inaugura- 
tion of 1961 my immediate objects had to be present, one might 
well wonder how these objects would be distinguished from one 
another. They would differ, it might be answered, in that they 
would refer to different dates. Yet such a difference, it might be 
felt, would not suffice. It might be held that the two immediate 
objects, both present, would have to differ in some characteristics 
which are completely given in the present and yet which repre- 
sent the temporal qualities of the non-present ultimate objects. 
It may be to some such reasoning as this that we owe the doctrine 
that ultimate objects having different dates are represented by 
immediate objects having different positions. "In order to make 
even internal changes afterwards conceivable to ourselves," says 
Kant, 43 "we must make time, as the form of the internal sense, 
figuratively comprehensible to ourselves by means of a line, and 
the internal change by means of the drawing of this line (motion): 
in other words, the successive existence of ourselves in different 
states by means of an external intuition," Or, let us suppose that 

389 



we have to do with sheep which have passed before us one by one. 
"If we picture to ourselves each of the sheep in the flock in suc- 
cession and separately, we shall never have to do with more than 
a single sheep." 44 If we are at this moment to think of the fifty 
sheep that passed us in succession, it may be felt that we must 
have fifty present images. And, Bergson holds, these images can 
be recognized as fifty only if they are spatially external to one 
another. 

Even however if we should agree that immediate objects must 
carry their differences with them and can not merely refer to 
ultimate objects that differ among themselves, we should not 
agree that immediate objects can not differ in date and so must 
differ in position. Immediate objects, we hold, do differ in date. 
I need not put dots on a sheet of paper to distinguish the in- 
auguration of 1861 from the inauguration of 1961; nor need I 
draw a line to be aware of the interval in Napoleon's life between 
his birth and his death. This is not to say that dots and figures and 
diagrams can not be of service in thinking about objects that differ 
among themselves in date. They can be of service in thinking 
about objects that differ in various ways. In particular, just as 
they can be of service in thinking about objects that differ among 
themselves in date, so they can be of service in thinking about ob- 
jects that differ among themselves in position. For just as with 
points on a line in front of me I can visualize and retain a picture 
of successive events in the history of a clock or of a person or of a 
nation, so a map enables me to visualize and to retain a picture of 
the relative positions of various places, and a figure on a flat 
surface enables me to visualize and to retain a picture of a three- 
dimensional object. A map is of as much service in representing 
the distance between New York and Chicago as a set of dots is in 
representing the successive strokes of a clock. It is not then that 
spatially distinct entities as such tend to substitute themselves as 
objects of our thinking for temporally distinct entities, but that 
such differences in position as can be included within the exten- 
sion of a limited surface are useful representations, representing 
now temporal differences, now spatial differences, now differences 
of other sorts. 

There are, as we have seen, various respects in which temporal 
relations are not entirely analogous to spatial relations. In com- 

390 



paring durations there is no process available to us that is ex- 
actly equivalent to the process of superposition. 45 There may be 
several intervals between events having different dates, whereas 
the straight line PP' indicates the distance between P and P'. 46 
And there is no series o successive events that can be of the help 
that maps and diagrams can be. If there were and if the analogy 
between spatial relations and temporal relations were complete, 
such differences in position as can be included within the exten- 
sion of a limited surface could of course continue to be used to 
represent temporal differences. Spatial relations could be substi- 
tuted for temporal relations; but there would be nothing to be 
gained from the substitution. 

Despite such differences as have been pointed out, the differ- 
ence, for example, that makes substitution helpful, we hold that 
relations between entities having different dates are, on the whole, 
analogous to relations between contemporaneous entities having 
different positions. But it is to spatial relations between contem- 
poraneous entities that we hold temporal relations on the whole 
to be analogous. Spatial relations between non-contemporaneous 
entities are a different matter. It will only be after we shall have 
undertaken to enlarge the significations of "here" and "there" 
that we shall be in a position to understand an assertion that 
attributes a spatial relation to Napoleon III to what is contem- 
poraneous but 'there' with respect to Napoleon Bonaparte. With- 
out such an enlargement of the significations of "here" and 
"there," spatial relations between non-contemporaneous entities 
can not be determined to be analogous to temporal relations of 
any sort. 



Summary 

Certain entities are dated with respect to other entities. In 
asserting this, we do not limit our assertion to situations in which 
the entity that is the point of reference is in the same place as 
the entity that has a date with respect to it. 

As we use "existence/* entities presented as past with respect 
to present-day entities may be real and entities presented as future. 
But future events are generally not definite objects with respect 

391 



to mental attitudes that precede them. The assertion that some 
future events are real does not imply that we can not affect our 
surroundings, that what will be will be. (Except to the extent 
that "What will be will be" is tautological.) 

Analogous to the quality of extension, there is the quality of 
duration. But since duration is the quality of some enduring sub- 
stance, there may be as many durations from a given initial event 
to a given final event as there are substances persisting from the 
one event to the other. 

Just as there may be empty three-dimensional volumes or spaces, 
so there may be enduring entities which are not bodies. But 
enduring entities which are real, whether they be bodies or not, 
need not follow one another without interruption. There is an 
earliest body and an earliest enduring entity which is not a body; 
also there will be a last body or bodies and last enduring entities 
which are not bodies. 

On the whole, temporal relations are analogous to spatial rela- 
tions between contemporaries. But there are several respects in 
which the analogy breaks down or is alleged to break down. 
Various alleged differences are discussed towards the end of the 
chapter. 



392 



Chapter XIII 

SPATIAL RELATIONS AMONG 

NON-CONTEMPORANEOUS ENTITIES; 

MOTION 



It is often felt that we could picture to ourselves the spatio- 
temporal relations obtaining among existing entities if we could 
visualize four lines drawn through a given point at right angles to 
one another, if, instead of a three-dimensional box, we could 
visualize a four-dimensional super-box wherein four co-ordinates 
would be required to determine the position of one point with 
respect to another. But the discussions of the two preceding chap- 
ters suggest an alternative representation, a representation equally 
crude, but quite different. Let us imagine a box into which a 
number of paper-thin plates are put. Each plate standing on its 
end represents a set of instantaneous entities contemporaneous 
with one another. To be sure, since substances are here and there 
but not at positions which are presented as not definite objects, 
each plate turns out to resemble the heavens wherein we can see 
stars wherever we look hard enough, but where we never look 
hard enough to find just one continuous star. Indeed the plate is 
nothing apart from its contents just as the heavens are nothing 
apart from heavenly bodies (and heavenly non-bodies). Like the 
plate, the set of contemporaneous entities has its limits. But un- 
like the fixed circumference of most plates, the limits of our plate 
resemble the limits of a man's field of vision. By turning to right 
or left, new objects are brought within his field of vision. But his 
field of vision never stretches off to infinity. 

There are a great many plates in our box. There is a plate 

393 



made up of all real entities, material and immaterial, that were 
contemporaneous with Napoleon at the first instantaneous phase 
of his life. And there is a plate made up of all real entities, ma- 
terial and immaterial, that were contemporaneous with Napoleon 
at the last instantaneous phase of his life. Our box is never so 
full that there is no room for additional plates. Additional plates 
can always be inserted between any two plates already in the box 
and additional plates can be inserted without limit at each end. 
Nevertheless there is a last plate to be inserted; there is not an 
infinite number of plates behind a given plate nor in front of it. 
If now we imagine a line perpendicular to the parallel plates, 
a line that pierces a given plate at a given point, then we may 
ask how we determine the point at which this line pierces some 
second plate. If Napoleon's birth is 'here* with respect to some 
point of reference contemporaneous with his birth, which of the 
events contemporaneous with his death is 'here' with respect to 
that earlier point of reference? Does our line piercing plate after 
plate always pass through some event in Napoleon's life and is 
consequently Napoleon dying at St. Helena here? Or does our 
line pass through successive phases in the history of Ajaccio 
so that Ajaccio in 1821 is 'here' and not the dying Napoleon con- 
temporaneous with it? Among contemporaneous entities posi- 
tion is a quality which is relative. 1 An entity may be 'here' with 
respect to one of its contemporaries and 'there' with respect to 
another. But when the entity that is to be called 'here' or 'there' 
is not a contemporary, its here-ness or there-ness, it would seem, 
is relative, not to some instantaneous point of reference, but 
rather to some enduring point of reference. It is the enduring 
Napoleon with his various instantaneous phases that is the point 
of reference, so that Ajaccio in 1769 is 'here,' Moscow in 1812 
'here' and St. Helena in 1821 'here.' Or it is the enduring Ajaccio 
with its various instantaneous phases that is the point of reference, 
so that Ajaccio in 1769 is 'here,' but Moscow in 1812 and St. 
Helena in 1821 'there.' Without such an enduring point of 
reference being given or implied, my expression: "the position 
of the dying Napoleon with respect to the birth of Napoleon" 
puts before me no definite subsisting quality whose reality or 
unreality might be considered. 2 It is the position of the dying 
Napoleon with respect to the birth of Napoleon, taking the en- 

394 



during Napoleon as the point of reference, it is this that is real 
or unreal; or it is the position of the dying Napoleon with respect 
to the birth of Napoleon, taking the enduring Ajaccio as the 
point of reference. 

The pitcher really has position, really is 'out in front' with 
respect to the batter who is present with respect to him. 3 Similarly 
the dying Napoleon has a real position with respect to the phase 
of Ajaccio that is his contemporary, with respect, that is to say, to 
Ajaccio in 1821. But the alleged position of the death of Napo- 
leon with respect to what happened in Ajaccio in 1769 appears to 
involve two relational situations taken together. It is presented to 
us as involving the temporal relation between the birth of Napo- 
leon and the 1821 event that happens to be regarded as a later 
phase of the same enduring entity; plus the spatial relation be- 
tween this 1821 event, which comes from projecting the birth of 
Napoleon into 1821, and the death of Napoleon which is its con- 
temporary. 

In order that the death of Napoleon may really have position 
with respect to what happened in Ajaccio in 1769, not only 
must the two relational situations just referred to both be real, 
but the combination must be real. It is of course possible to 
restrict the denotation of "relation" to what we may call uncom- 
bined relations. If, for example, we restrict our attention to blood 
relatives, my brother is a relation of mine, but my brother-in-law 
is not. As we use the term "relation," however, three-termed re- 
lational situations may be called "relations" as well as two-termed 
relational situations. And as we use the term "reality," both two- 
termed and three-termed relational situations may be real. I am, 
let us agree, related to my brother-in-law. For the relational situa- 
tion involving my wife and myself and the relational situation 
involving my wife and her brother compose a three-termed rela- 
tional situation which itself is real. Similarly, let us hold, Napo- 
leon's death may have position with respect to his birth. That is 
to say, the spatial relation between two 1821 events and the tem- 
poral relation between the 1769 and the 1821 phases of an endur- 
ing entity compose a three-termed relational situation which may 
itself be real. 4 In order for this three-termed relational situation 
to be real, the two-termed relational situations which compose it 
must, it would seem, be real; and the three-termed relational 

395 



situation which includes them must not appear with character- 
istics that would mark it out as unreal. In order that there may be 
a real three-termed relational situation within which the dying 
Napoleon has position with respect to the birth o Napoleon, this 
alleged relational situation can not appear as having no date with 
respect to an entity that appears real, can not appear as having no 
position with respect to an entity that appears real and with re- 
spect to which it appears present, can not appear as generally 
discredited. 5 

But these, we hold, are conditions which are met. And so we go 
on to find listed as real the position which the dying Napoleon is 
alleged to have with respect to the birth of Napoleon relative to 
an enduring Napoleon; and the position which the dying Napo- 
leon is alleged to have with respect to the birth of Napoleon 
relative to an enduring Ajaccio. Relative to an enduring Napo- 
leon, the dying Napoleon is here with respect to his birth. And 
relative to an enduring Ajaccio, the dying Napoleon has a position 
with respect to the birth of Napoleon, a position, namely, identi- 
cal with that which St. Helena in 1821 has with respect to Ajaccio 
in 1821. The plates in our box, it would seem, move back and 
forth at our will in their planes. If our perpendicular line pierces 
our 1769 plate at the birth of Napoleon at Ajaccio, we can, it 
would seem, move our 1821 plate in its plane at will so as to have 
the perpendicular pierce it at Ajaccio, at St. Helena, or at any 
other point. 

Relative to an enduring Ajaccio, St. Helena in 1821 has a cer- 
tain position with respect to the birth of Napoleon, a position 
identical with that which St. Helena in 1821 has with respect to 
Ajaccio in 1821. But with respect to the birth of Napoleon in 
1769, the 1769 phase of St. Helena had a similar position. That is 
to say, if a 1821 measuring stick stretching from Ajaccio to St. 
Helena could be carried back to 1769, it might be found to fit 
exactly the distance between the 1769 phases of Ajaccio and St 
Helena. 6 We have before us then the position that St. Helena in 
1821 has with respect to the birth of Napoleon, a position which 
involves a spatial relation between two 1821 events conjoined 
wkb a temporal relation; and we have before us the position 
ihat St. Helena in 1769 has with respect to the birth of Napoleon, 
a position which involves a spatial relation between two 1769 

396 



events. One position characterizes St. Helena in 1821, the other 
characterizes St. Helena in 1769. But when we say that the two 
positions are similar, we bring into consideration the enduring 
St. Helena and not merely instantaneous phases of it. Relative 
to an enduring Ajaccio, it is the enduring St. Helena that has two 
instantaneous phases with similar positions with respect to a given 
event. 

Relative to an enduring Ajaccio, the enduring St. Helena has 
two phases, namely, an 1821 phase and a 1769 phase, with similar 
positions with respect to the birth of Napoleon. But the enduring 
St. Helena has additional phases with similar positions with re- 
spect to the birth of Napoleon. Relative to an enduring Ajaccio, 
the positions with respect to Napoleon's birth that belong to St. 
Helena in 1769, to St. Helena in 1803, to St. Helena in 1812 and 
to St. Helena in 1821 are all similar, indeed, we may say, identi- 
cal. The St. Helena that endures from 1769 to the death of Napo- 
leon has, we have seen, 7 only a finite number of instantaneous 
phases. But if the number of real instantaneous phases that it 
includes is limited only by our failure to make alleged additional 
phases definite objects, and if no instantaneous phase that is real 
has a dissimilar position with respect to the birth of Napoleon, 
then, relative to the enduring Ajaccio, the St. Helena that endures 
from 1769 to the death of Napoleon is, let us say, "at rest/' Using 
"at rest" in this sense, the enduring St. Helena is indeed at rest 
relative to the enduring Ajaccio. For, whereas we have recognized 
the possibility of bodies being intermittent, we should, if inter- 
mittence really characterized Ajaccio and St. Helena, call these 
substances enduring substances which in some of their phases are 
material and in some of their phases immaterial. 8 There are no 
two successive phases of either Ajaccio or of St. Helena such that 
we will be balked in our efforts to find another real phase (which 
may turn out to be material or immaterial) between them. And 
there is no phase of St. Helena which is real whether it be ma- 
terial or immaterial that lacks position with respect either to the 
phase of Ajaccio contemporaneous with it or with respect to the 
1769 phase of Ajaccio; no phase, indeed, whose position with 
respect to the birth of Napoleon is dissimilar to the positions 
with respect to this event of other phases of St. Helena. The in- 
stantaneous phases which the enduring St. Helena includes have 

397 



all of them similar positions with respect to a given event. Taken 
by themselves, however, these instantaneous phases are not at rest. 
They are at rest only in the sense that they are instantaneous 
phases of a resting enduring entity; and even in this sense they 
are at rest relative to the enduring Ajaccio and not relative to 
some instantaneous phase of Ajaccio. 

We turn now from the enduring Ajaccio as our point of refer- 
ence to the enduring Napoleon or, rather, to the enduring 
September 1815 phase of Napoleon. St. Helena at the end of the 
month has a position with respect to Napoleon-at-the-beginning- 
of-the-month identical with that which it has with respect to 
Napoleon-at-the-end-of-tfae-month. For the position which the Sep- 
tember thirtieth phase of St. Helena has with respect to the 
September first phase of Napoleon involves the spatial relation 
between the two September thirtieth contemporaries plus an in- 
terval in the life of Napoleon. But these positions that St. Helena 
at the end of the month has with respect to both phases of Napo- 
leon differ from the position that St. Helena at the beginning of 
the month had with respect to the phase of Napoleon that was 
its contemporary. During the month Napoleon was on board the 
"Northumberland" and he was continually approaching St. 
Helena or, taking Napoleon as our point of reference, St. Helena 
was continually approaching him. If a measuring stick, that on 
September thirtieth stretched from St. Helena to the "North- 
umberland," could be applied to the distance that on September 
first separated St. Helena from the "Northumberland," there 
would be much open water that it would not span. 9 Relative to 
the enduring Napoleon, St. Helena, as we have seen, has as many 
real instantaneous phases as we choose to make definite objects; 
although some of them may turn out to be immaterial. 10 So it is, 
we have seen, with respect to the enduring Ajaccio; and so it is 
with respect to Napoleon during September, 1815. Just as there is 
no real phase of St. Helena that lacks position with respect either 
to the phase of Ajaccio contemporaneous with it or with respect 
to the 1769 phase of Ajaccio, so there is no real phase of St. Helena 
during September 1815 that lacks position with respect either to 
the phase of Napoleon contemporaneous with it or with respect 
to the September first phase of Napoleon. But whereas, relative 
to an enduring Ajaccio, no two instantaneous phases of St. Helena 

398 



have dissimilar positions with respect to the birth of Napoleon, 
relative to Napoleon during September 1815 no two instantan- 
eous phases of St. Helena have similar positions with respect to 
the September first phase of Napoleon. The enduring St. Helena 
we called "at rest" with respect to the enduring Ajaccio; the 
enduring St. Helena we call "in motion" with respect to the en- 
during Napoleon of September, 1815. It is the enduring St. 
Helena which, as we use "rest" and "motion," is at rest with 
respect to one enduring point of reference and in motion with 
respect to another. It is the enduring St. Helena, that is to say, 
whose real instantaneous phases have, in the one case, all of them 
similar, and, in the other case, all of them dissimilar, positions 
with respect to a given event. 11 "Rest" and "motion," in short, are 
terms that we use to point to qualities of enduring entities, to 
qualities that enduring entities have relative to one enduring 
point of reference or another. And just as an instantaneous 
phase is at rest only in the sense that it is an instantaneous phase 
of an enduring entity at rest, so an instantaneous phase is in 
motion only in the sense that it is an instantaneous phase of an 
enduring entity in motion. 

Let us suppose that an object rests in one position, then in a 
slightly different position. Relative to a given enduring point of 
reference, the initial phase of our object has a certain position 
and a second phase has a similar position. A third phase, however, 
has, let us suppose, a dissimilar position, and a fourth phase has a 
position similar to that of the third phase. Taken as a whole, our 
enduring object is neither what we call "at rest" nor what we call 
"in motion." For the positions that its various instantaneous 
phases have are neither all of them similar nor all of them dis- 
similar. The enduring phase of our object which endures from its 
first instantaneous phase to the second is, it would seem, at rest. 
But, we ask, is the enduring phase of it which endures from die 
second instantaneous phase to the third in motion? If efforts to 
present to ourselves phases of our object later than the second 
and earlier than the third could meet with frustration, our ob- 
ject would be neither at rest nor in motion. And if our efforts to 
present to ourselves such intermediate phases did not meet with 
frustration, if intermediate phases were real, then the motion or 
rest of the enduring phase under discussion would depend upon 

399 



the type of position that these intermediate phases were found to 
have. 

Let us suppose, however, that no intermediate phases are 
sought and that as a consequence the third instantaneous phase 
of our object is the first real instantaneous phase subsequent to the 
second. One phase of our object has then a given position; the 
next real phase a dissimilar position. As we are explaining our 
term "motion," such a state of affairs is one in which there is an 
object in motion; for, included within the enduring phase of our 
object that endures from what we have called the second instan- 
taneous phase to the third, there are as many instantaneous 
phases as we choose to seek and no two instantaneous phases 
with similar positions. 

In the sense in which we are using the term "motion," there 
are, let us agree, real instances of entities in motion. In this 
sense of the term "motion," the September 1815 phase of St 
Helena, let us agree, was in motion with respect to Napoleon; 
and today's phase of the sun is in motion with respect to the 
Capitol at Washington. They and a finite number of other en- 
during entities are really in motion with respect to enduring 
points of reference outside them. 

Indeed, as we are using the term "motion," real instances of 
motion need not be limited to enduring substances whose in- 
cluded phases are all material. If the Capitol at Washington is 
intermittent and includes immaterial as well as material phases, 
it may still be in motion relative to a given enduring entity out- 
side it. For we may regard instantaneous phases while it is im- 
material as phases of the Capitol; and we may find the positions 
of these phases dissimilar to each other and dissimilar to the 
positions of other phases of the Capitol. Indeed substances whose 
phases are all immaterial may really be in motion, as we are using 
the term "motion." There may be a bit of empty space that is a 
definite object, an entity that is regarded as the same substance 
as & later bit of empty space elsewhere. We may think of a bit of 
empty space in the same direction as the sun, but twice as 
distant; 12 we may never be frustrated in our attempts to present 
to ourselves additional instantaneous phases of this enduring im- 
material substance; and we may find no two such instantaneous 
phases with similar positions. But it is at most only a finite num- 

400 



ber of bits of empty space that we do make definite objects; hence 
at most only a finite number of enduring bits of empty space 
that can be found to be in motion. 

It may also be pointed out that, as we are explaining "rest" and 
"motion," an enduring entity is neither at rest nor in motion with 
respect to an enduring point of reference which lacks instantane- 
ous phases corresponding to some of its own. The enduring Sep- 
tember 1815 phase of St. Helena is in motion relative to the Sep- 
tember 1815 phase of Napoleon. But that phase of St. Helena 
which endures through the nineteenth century is not. For an 1850 
phase of St. Helena finds no instantaneous phase included within 
the Napoleon of September 1815 with respect to which to have 
position. It has no position with respect to a given event in Napo- 
leon's life that might be found similar or dissimilar to the position 
that some earlier instantaneous phase of St. Helena has. 

With our terminology thus explained and with these obser- 
vations behind us, let us consider the situations brought to our 
attention by Zeno's well-known arguments. "You must traverse 
the half of any given distance/' says Zeno," "before you traverse 
the whole, and the half of that again before you can traverse it." 
Relative to the starting point, that phase of our runner in which 
he begins his journey is 'here,' that phase in which he reaches his 
goal 'there.' Let us agree that there are intermediate instantaneous 
phases and that no two of them have similar positions with respect 
to the starting point. But how many intermediate instantaneous 
phases and successive positions are there? And how does the run- 
ner live to the next phase and advance to the next position if there 
are always prior phases to be lived through and nearer positions to 
be traversed? The infinitist will hold that our runner enduring 
from the beginning of his journey to its end, enduring with a 
limited duration, lives, nevertheless, through an infinite number 
of instantaneous phases. To be aware of each of these instantane- 
ous phases, our runner would require an infinite duration. But 
to live through them without making each one a definite object 
is no more self-contradictory than it is for a two-inch line to include 
an infinite number of points. As we use the term "existence," an in- 
finite number of instantaneous phases does not exist. But our rejec- 
tion of the infinist view has been due, not to any intrinsic self- 
contradiction involved in that view, but to one of those elements in 

401 



our explanation of "existence" that, taken together, correspond 
to the principle of sufficient reason. 14 So far as we have yet seen, 
there is no self-contradiction involved in holding that the runner 
lives through an infinite number of instantaneous phases and that, 
correspondingly, he has successively an infinite number of posi- 
tions. It is simply that the assertion of such a view does not de- 
scribe what exists in our sense of "existence." 

But even if our runner had an infinite number of instantan- 
eous phases, no two of them would be simultaneous. There would, 
it would seem, be one such that only the initial phase preceded 
it and such that all others, infinite in number, followed it. In 
short, there would, we hold, be an instantaneous phase of our 
runner immediately following his initial phase. Since, by hypo- 
thesis, it would require an infinite duration to discover all of the 
instantaneous phases included within the duration of his journey, 
no finite duration would suffice to present to us this instantaneous 
phase that would be immediately subsequent to our runner's 
initial phase. There would, to be sure, be an infinite number of 
real instantaneous phases included within each finite duration. 
But the duration between our runner's initial phase and his next 
instantaneous phase would not be finite, but, we may say, infini- 
tesimal. The infinitist hypothesis in the form in which we find 
it most nearly acceptable has thus implications in two directions, 
implications however which are not irreconcilable, the one with 
the other. It seems on the one hand to imply that there is an in- 
finite number of instantaneous phases included within any phase 
of our runner having a finite duration. And it seems on the other 
hand to imply that there is no instantaneous phase at all within 
that phase of the runner which endures from the initial phase to 
the immediately following phase. Our runner would endure up 
to this immediately following phase without having endured 
through any intermediate instantaneous phase. 

An infinitist view can thus be developed which, whereas it is 
untrue, is not intrinsically self-contradictory. Similarly one need 
not be involved in self-contradiction when one holds that our run- 
ner lives through a finite number of instantaneous phases, a num- 
ber so great that we do not in fact make each of these phases a 
definite object; and when one holds that our runner has succes- 
sively a correspondingly great number of positions, some of which 

402 



are not presented to us as definite objects. The initial phase of the 
runner, on this view, is immediately followed by an instantaneous 
r>hase that occurs after a finite interval, but so soon afterwards 
that we do not present it to ourselves as a definite object; and 
this immediately following phase has a position with respect to 
the starting point, so close that we likewise do not present it to 
ourselves as a definite object. On the view which we are now ex- 
amining, however, it would require, not an infinite duration, but 
a greater finite duration than we do in fact have at our disposal to 
present to ourselves that phase of our runner which immediately 
follows the initial one. With a duration at our disposal greater 
than this would require, we should find, it may be held, no prior 
intermediate phases and possibly no positions nearer the starting 
point. For in dealing with finite intervals between adjacent 
instantaneous phases, in dealing, that is to say, with what might 
be called atomic or elementary finite durations, the subject-matter, 
it might be held, would balk our efforts at sub-division in a man- 
ner in which it does not do so when we are dealing with greater 
durations and in a manner, in consequence, for which our ex- 
periences will never prepare us. We can, to be sure, refer in words 
to an intermediate phase within the atomic or elementary finite 
duration which itself will never be presented to us. But whereas, 
on the view which we are examining, the elementary finite dura- 
tion which will never be presented to us is real, our verbal expres- 
sions apparently referring to an intermediate phase within this 
duration do not refer to anything real. 

It is not self-contradictory, it would seem, to hold that the 
alleged elementary finite duration which will never be presented 
to us is real; and to hold that the alleged instantaneous phase 
within it, which likewise will never be presented to us as a defi- 
nite object, is unreal. But such assertions imply a signification of 
"existence" different from our own. As we have chosen to use 
"existence," a subsistent appearing as no one's definite object is 
unreal. 15 The alleged elementary finite duration that, it is held, 
will never be presented to us as a definite object is unreal; and 
so is the alleged instantaneous phase within this duration. So like- 
wise are the infinitesimal durations and the positions infinitely 
close to the runner's starting point which it would allegedly re- 
quire an infinite duration to present to ourselves as definite ob- 



403 



jects. It is our doctrine, deduced, we hold, from our propositions 
explaining "existence," that the first real instantaneous phase of 
our runner to follow his initial phase is one that is not presented as 
no one's definite object, one that is in effect presented as a definite 
object for some one. The interval intervening between the initial 
phase and this next instantaneous phase has a finite duration, a 
duration, however, the determination of which is more a matter 
of psychology than of physics. For the duration of this interval 
is determined by the persistence with which subjects present to 
themselves as definite objects instantaneous phases of the runner 
closer and closer to his initial phase. It is as enduring as the most 
persistent seeker of next phases permits it to be. 

The subject-matter, we hold, will never block us in our at- 
tempts to present to ourselves real instantaneous phases of the 
runner closer and closer to his initial phase. But there is an end 
to persistence and, with it, an end to the series of closer and 
closer instantaneous phases. There is the initial phase of our 
runner when he is at the starting point; then no instantaneous 
phase of him and no position occupied by him until the next 
real instantaneous phase when, taking the earth to be at rest, his 
position is different. There are as many instantaneous phases 
of our runner as we choose to seek, and yet no two of them with 
similar positions. Hence, as we have explained "motion," our 
runner is in motion. 16 It is however the enduring runner who is 
in motion, or some enduring phase of Mm that includes at least 
two instantaneous phases. "An instantaneous phase is in motion 
only in the sense that it is an instantaneous phase of an enduring 
entity in motion/* 17 

It may be objected, however, that our view just outlined, along 
with the infinitist and finitist views that we have rejected, re- 
duces motion to a touching of positions. "What the cinematograph 
does," says Bergson, 18 "is to take a series of snap-shots of the 
passing regiment and to throw these instantaneous views on the 
screen so that they replace each other very rapidly." On the in- 
finitist view which we examined, two successive snapshots are 
separated by an interval having an infinitesimal duration. For 
the finitist who holds that the never-to-be-discovered instants are 
finite in number, two successive snap-shots are separated by an 
interval having a finite, though perhaps an unattainably 



404 



duration. And on our view they are separated by an interval 
which is as enduring as the most persistent seeker of snap-shots 
permits it to be. Yet all three views, it may be said, present to 
us a series ^of snap-shots rather than motion itself. There is, says 
Bergson, 19 "more in the transition than the series of states, that is 
to say, the possible cuts more in the movement than the series 
of positions, that is to say, the possible stops." 

Now it can hardly be maintained that the term "motion" can 
not be assigned the meaning which we assign it. Our runnei 
does have a series of successive instantaneous phases. Each of these 
phases does have a different position with respect to his starting 
point. And the term "motion" may be assigned a meaning from 
which it follows that the enduring runner having these instan- 
taneous phases is in motion with respect to his starting point. 
What may be maintained, however, is that the meaning which 
we have assigned our term "motion" is not identical with the 
meaning which the term "motion" commonly has. In addition to 
the motion that touches which we have found real, there is to 
be considered, it may be held, an alleged motion that flows. 

In order to put an alleged motion that flows before us, let us 
go back to the box of plates with which we began this chapter. In 
addition to the paper-thin plates, each of which represented a set 
of instantaneous entities contemporaneous with each other, let 
us suppose our box to have inserted in it plates which are not 
paper-thin but thick. Entities exist which have duration but 
which nevertheless are, roughly speaking, contemporaneous with 
one another. Thus, roughly speaking, the enduring Descartes and 
the enduring Hobbes were contemporaries, the 1812 phase of 
Napoleon and the 1812 phase of Wellington contemporaries, 
Gladstone and Disraeli contemporaries. A plate having some 
thickness may accordingly be used to represent a set of entities 
each of which has some duration but each of which is in an in- 
definite sense contemporaneous with all other members of the 
set. The fact that various points on a two-inch line are real does 
not keep the extended line which includes them from being real. 
The fact that the legs of a chair are real does not keep the cfaair 
taken as a whole which has a somewhat similar position, but a 
less definitely located position, from being real. And, reverting 
to our metaphor of a box of plates, our paper-thin plates do not 

405 



hinder the insertion among them of plates having some thickness, 
of plates of which they themselves may be regarded as cross- 
sections. 

There exist, let us agree, pairs of entities each having some 
duration where one is in an indefinite sense contemporaneous 
with the other. And with respect to such a pair of entities, one, it 
may be said, is not only contemporaneous with respect to the 
other, but 'moving' with respect to the other. One may, that is to 
say, use the term "motion" to point to an alleged quality which 
one entity has with respect to another enduring entity in an in- 
definite sense contemporaneous with it. During a brief period on a 
summer's afternoon I may, for example, be sitting on my porch 
and a dog chasing a squirrel in my garden. There are phases of 
'me, of dog and of squirrel, each having some duration, but all 
in an indefinite sense contemporaneous with one another. Now 
without attending to the instantaneous phases which each of these 
enduring phases include, we may say that the dog is in motion 
with respect to me, and the squirrel also. Instead of using the 
term "motion" to point to a quality which an enduring entity 
has by virtue of the different positions which its successive in- 
stantaneous phases have, "motion" may be used to point to an 
unanalyzed quality which briefly enduring phases have with 
respect to other briefly enduring phases which are in an indefinite 
sense contemporaneous with them. 

There are, let us agree, instances of motion, when "motion" is 
used in this second sense. There is a motion which flows as well 
as a motion which touches. It may well be that, wherever there is 
an instance of a motion which flows, there is an instance of a mo- 
tion which touches. It may well be that wherever there is a per- 
ceptible motion, such as characterizes the phase of the dog run- 
ning in my garden, there exists a succession of instantaneous 
phases, each with a different position. The entity however which 
is presented as having a motion which flows, and not presented 
with a motion which touches, is not presented with the instantan- 
eous phases which it may well have. Indeed, in so far as an entity 
is merely presented as having a motion which flows, its motion 
can not be numbered. For it is only by considering initial in- 
stantaneous phases, final instantaneous phases, and the distances 
traversed in the intervals between them, that numbers can be 

406 



assigned to the speeds of moving objects. It is the motion which 
touches that can be numbered. And it is in connection with a 
motion which touches that the problems treated by Zeno arise. 
We evade these problems, and we also cut ourselves off from the 
possibility of assigning numbers to motion, when we limit our 
attention to the motion which flows. To do this however is to 
close our eyes to something that is real and that calls for discus- 
sion. When "motion" is used to point to a motion which flows, it 
points to something real. But when "motion" is used as we have 
for the most part used it in this chapter, when it is used to point 
to a motion which touches, it likewise points to something real. 
It is thus no pseudo-problem with which we deal when we ask 
how a runner can reach the end of his journey or, indeed, begin it. 
And it is not giving an answer not relevant to reality when it is 
stated that the runner has as many instantaneous phases as we 
choose to seek and passes through no positions that are presented 
as not definite objects. 

Our runner does have a series of instantaneous phases, does 
touch a series of positions. In living from the initial phase to the 
next real instantaneous phase, he no more has to live through 
alleged intermediate instantaneous phases or to touch alleged 
intermediate positions than a man at the most distant of all real 
positions would have to hurl a javelin beyond it. If the javelin 
were hurled and its resting place presented as a definite object, he 
would not be at the most distant of all real positions. 20 And if an 
intermediate instantaneous phase is definitely presented to us as 
one that the runner has lived through, what we have taken to be 
the 'next' real instantaneous phase is not the next. By hypothesis, 
the runner's next instantaneous phase is the very next that will be 
presented as a definite object. Any nearer instantaneous phase that 
he may be alleged to have lived through is presented as no one's 
definite object, is unreal, and can not truly be said to be one that 
he has lived through. 

The situation which Zeno describes in the "Stadium" may be 
transferred to the stage of a theatre. Let us imagine three in- 
dividuals side by side at the rear of a theatre stage, hidden from 
our view by three other individuals who place themselves along- 
side one another in front of them. We must now introduce three 
additional individuals who place themselves side by side at the 

407 



front of the stage and who conceal those in the second row as 
these conceal those in the rear. The individuals in the second 
row now each move a pace to the left, so that the middle member 
of this group comes to be directly in front of the left end member 
of the back row. And the individuals in the front row each move 
a pace to the right so that the middle member of this group comes 
to be directly in front of the right end member of the back row. 
Whereas the one on the left in the front row was in front of the 
one on the left in the back row, now, having moved to the right, 
he is in front of the middle member of the rear group. But, 
whereas he was in front of the left end member of the second row, 
now, since the members of the second row have also been moving, 
he is in front of the right end member of the second row. 

Suppose now that our individuals are mere points and that they 
are separated from their neighbors by distances in which no points 
intervene. Suppose further that there are no instantaneous phases 
of any of our nine objects between the phases in which they have 
their initial positions and the phases in which they have the 
positions that they have when the motions that have been de- 
scribed have been completed. In one instantaneous phase the left 
end member of the front row is in front of the left end member of 
the second row; and in its very next instantaneous phase it is in 
front of the right end member of the second row. No intervening 
instantaneous phase of it exists in which it might be in front of 
the middle member of the second row. By hypothesis we do not 
fix our attention upon our member of the front row in the act of 
passing the middle member of the second row. And if, contrary 
to our hypothesis, we do fix our attention upon this intervening 
phase of it and do present it to ourselves as a definite object, then 
it has an intervening phase in which it is in front of the middle 
member of the second row; and the instantaneous phase in which 
it is in front of the right end member of the second row is not its 
next. 

If it has the intervening phase, either this intervening phase is 
presented to us neither as having nor as lacking position with 
respect to some member of the row in the rear. Or, if its relation 
to some member of the rear row is presented as a definite object, 
die rear row contains more than three real members and, con- 
trary to our original hypothesis, the members of this row first pre- 
408 



sented to us are not separated from their neighbors by distances 
in which no points intervene. In destroying our hypothesis, we 
merely show ourselves to have misjudged the number of points or 
instantaneous phases that are to be definite objects. 

The "Achilles and the tortoise" calls, we hold, for a similar 
treatment. Prior to catching the tortoise there are as many in- 
stantaneous phases of Achilles as we choose to present to our- 
selves as definite objects; and, contemporaneous with each of 
them, an instantaneous phase of the tortoise ahead of him. There 
is however a final stage which Achilles begins by being behind 
the tortoise and ends by being abreast of him.There is no instan- 
taneous phase of Achilles at which he has a position similar to 
that from which the tortoise begins the final stage; just as in the 
"Stadium" there is no instantaneous phase of our member of the 
front row in which he is passing the middle member of the second 
row. The alleged instantaneous phase of Achilles in which he 
might have such a position is, by hypothesis, presented as no one's 
definite object. For, by hypothesis, the instantaneous phase from 
which he begins the final stage of the chase, the instantaneous 
phase which has a tortoise in advance contemporaneous with it, 
is Achilles' very last instantaneous phase, preceding the final one, 
that will be a definite object and real. 

There are, it follows, more points on the path than Achilles 
will touch. Nevertheless the enduring Achilles is in motion with 
respect to the enduring tortoise and with respect to the enduring 
path. For in order that there may be motion, as we have explained 
our term "motion," it is not necessary that each instantaneous 
phase of the enduring point of reference have a phase of the 
moving object contemporaneous with it. It is necessary that the 
number of the moving object's instantaneous phases be limited 
only by our failure to make alleged additional phases definite 
objects. 21 And it is necessary that no two instantaneous phases of 
our moving object, no two phases that we do make definite 
objects, lack position or have similar positions. These conditions 
are fulfilled and the enduring Achilles is in motion, as we have 
explained "motion" even though there be points on the path 
that he does not touch. Similarly the runner whom we considered 
a few pages back is in motion, the runner whose first instantan- 
eous phase after leaving his starting point has a position dissimilar 

409 




to that of his initial phase. 22 He is in motion whether or not 
points intervene between the starting point and the position he 
next occupies. 

We turn now to figure 1 in which OiO 2 is an enduring point of 
reference, PiP 2 an enduring point that is in motion with respect 
to it. PI has a position with respect to its con- 
temporary Oi and, relative to the enduring 
OiO 2 , P2 has a dissimilar position with respect 
to Oi, the position, namely, that it has with 
respect to O 2 , the instantaneous phase of OiO 2 
that is its contemporary. 23 The enduring PiP 2 , 
taken as a single enduring object, has no 
single punctual position with respect to OiO 2 . 

O,0 But if PiP 2 is to be real and OiO 2 real, the 
P * I former can not be presented to us as lacking 

position with respect to the OiO 2 that in an 

indefinite sense is its contemporary. Although 
my dog is running, a phase of him having duration is neverthe- 
less out there where my garden is. 24 And although PiP 2 is in 
motion, it is nevertheless above and to the left with respect to the 
enduring OiO 2 . 

Let us however consider, not the moving enduring point PiP 2 , 
but the moving enduring extended entity PiQi P 2 Q 2 . The in- 
stantaneous phase PiQi has a position, though not a punctual 
position, with respect to the O t that is its contemporary. And 
relative to an enduring OiO 2 , the later instantaneous phase P 2 Q 2 
has a dissimilar position which likewise is not punctual. The 
enduring entity PiQi P 2 Q 2 has a duration similar to that of the 
enduring entity P^ and its position with respect to the enduring 
entity OiO 2 is only slightly less definite. It too, that is to say, is 
above and to the left. But unlike PI, PjQi has length. What it 
has, and what the instantaneous phase P 2 Q 2 likewise has, is, it 
will be recalled, 25 an unnumbered or pre-numbered length that 
is absolute and a numbered length that is relative to spatio-tem- 
poral entities outside it. But the enduring PiQi P 2 Q 2 has, we 
shall say, taken as a whole, no length at all The instantaneous 
phases PiQi and P^ are in motion, we have said, 26 only in the 
sense that they are instantaneous phases of the enduring moving 
entity PiQi P 2 Q 2 . And, on the other hand, the enduring entity 

410 



PiQi P2Q2 has length only in the sense that it includes instan- 
taneous phases that have length, instantaneous phases such as 
P!Q! and P 2 Q 2 . 

Let us suppose that, in measuring the length of PQ, we 
move a measuring stick along it, starting at P and counting the 
times our stick is applied before the stick reaches Q. We be- 
gin measuring by placing one end of our stick over P!. But 
when our stick covers Q, it covers a phase of Q that is not con- 
temporaneous with Pj; it covers a later phase of Q that we may 
call Q 2 . If P Q is in motion with respect to the enduring point O, 
if PiQi and P 2 Q 2 have such positions as are shown in the figure on 
page 410, our measuring carries us from P x to Q 2 . But PiQ 2 , not 
being an instantaneous entity, has in itself no length. Even if P Q 
is at rest with respect to O, even if Q! and Q 2 have similar posi- 
tions with respect to O l9 we complete our measuring by having 
our stick over Q 2 , not over Q x . Measurement, in short 'takes 
time/ 27 In measuring we are dealing in the first instance, not with 
PiQi or with P 2 Q 2 , not with instantaneous phases that have 
length, but with the enduring PiQ 2 that in itself has no length. 

Measurement 'takes time*; and it also involves motion with re- 
spect to the entity being measured. The measuring stick is moved 
along P Q. Or, if measurements are recorded at the enduring 
point of reference OiO 2 , there are particles or waves that move 
from phases of P and Q to later phases of O. Nevertheless the 
numbers that our measuring puts before us are applied to the 
instantaneous entity PxQ^ We may be presented with one set of 
numbers to apply to PiQx in so far as PiQi is regarded as an in- 
stantaneous phase of an entity at rest with respect to our enduring 
point of reference, with another set of numbers to apply to PiQi 
in so far as PiQi is regarded as an instantaneous phase of an entity 
in motion with respect to our enduring point of reference. But 
it is still only instantaneous phases that have length. 28 

To sum up, PjQi has unnumbered length as an absolute qual- 
ity. But the application of numbers to this length involves a 
reference to spatio-temporal entities outside PiQi. PiQi is one 
inch long, not absolutely, but as measured from O, making use 
of information obtained from PiQ 2 . PiQ 2 , on the other hand, 
has no length to which numbers may really be applied. For, the 
numbers with which we are presented when we measure PiQ* 

411 



apply, not to PiQ2 but to instantaneous phases that do have 
length. 

What PI Qi has, and what P 2 (2 likewise has, is "an unnum- 
bered or pre-numbered length that is absolute and a numbered 
length that is relative to spatio-temporal entities outside it." 29 
What PI P 2 has, and what PX Qi P 2 Q 2 has, is similarly an unnum- 
bered or pre-numbered duration that is absolute and a numbered 
duration that is relative to other entities. 30 In the process of assign- 
ing numbers to the duration of PI P 2 , or to the duration of PI Qi 
P Q, we make use of clocks or we make use of light or electrical 
waves or we make use of both. What we find is that the numbers 
to be assigned to PI P 2 's duration vary with the relative motion 
of the entity from which that duration is measured. But it is 
again to be pointed out that we have already jumped into a 
world of both spatial and temporal relations when we first begin 
numbering either lengths or durations. 

PI has position with respect to its contemporary d, St. Helena 
in 1821 position with respect to its contemporary: Ajaccio in 1821. 
To Use numbers, however, in describing the position that PI has 
with respect to Oi, to say, for example, that PI is one centimeter 
north of Oi, is to assign a number to the length of OiPi. Similarly 
to say that St. Helena in 1821 has a position three thousand miles 
from Ajaccio in 1821 is to assign a number to a distance, to the 
length of a path. Since the numbered length that a line or path 
has varies with the spatio-temporal entities from which that length 
is measured, the numbered position that PI has with respect to Oi, 
or that St. Helena in 1821 has with respect to Ajaccio in 1821, 
likewise varies. But just as we have held that there is an unnum- 
bered length that O* PI has that is not relative to spatio-temporal 
entities outside Oi PI, so we hold that PI has an unnumbered 
position with respect to Oi that is not relative to other entities. 81 

St. Helena in 1821 has an unnumbered position with respect to 
Ajaccio in 1821 that may be measured from various entities and 
may hence be assigned various numbers. But the position that St. 
Helena in 1821 has with respect to Ajaccio in 1769 is, we have seen, 
relative to some enduring point of reference. 82 Depending upon the 
enduring point of reference we choose, the Ajaccio in 1769, with 
respect to which St. Helena in 1821 may be claimed to have posi- 
tion, may be projected into 1821 in various ways. If Napoleon is 

412 



our enduring point of reference, our phrase: "the position that 
St. Helena in 1821 has with respect to Ajaccio in 1769" points to 
the position that St. Helena in 1821 has with respect to itself. 
And if Ajaccio or St. Helena is our enduring point of reference, 
our phrase: "the position that St. Helena in 1821 has with respect 
to Ajaccio in 1769" points to the position that St. Helena in 1821 
has with respect to Ajaccio in 1821. With respect to Ajaccio in 
1821, St. Helena in 1821 is "there"; it has an unnumbered posi- 
tion that may be assigned various numbers. With respect to St. 
Helena in 1821, St. Helena in 1821 is here; it has an unnumbered 
position that may or may not be assigned various numbers. 

"The position of St. Helena in 1821 with respect to Ajaccio 
in 1769" is however relative and incomplete, whereas it is merely 
the numbered position of St. Helena in 1821 with respect to Ajaccio 
in 1821 that is relative and incomplete. With respect to Ajaccio in 
1821, St. Helena in 1821 has an unnumbered position that may be 
assigned various numbers. But my phrase: "the position that 
St. Helena in 1821 has with respect to Ajaccio in 1769" may refer 
to the unnumbered position that St. Helena in 1821 has with 
respect to Ajaccio in 1821 or to the unnumbered position that 
St. Helena in 1821 has with respect to St. Helena in 1821 or to 
the unnumbered position that St. Helena in 1821 has with re- 
spect to some other contemporary. In one case we know what 
we are talking about but not how it is going to be measured. In 
the other case we do not know what we are talking about until 
the enduring point of reference has been made explicit. 

With respect to Ajaccio in 1821, St. Helena in 1821 has an un- 
numbered position which may be assigned various numbers. Simi- 
larly with respect to the birth of Napoleon, the death of Napoleon 
has an unnumbered date which may be assigned various numbers. 
Indeed, since Napoleon might not be the only enduring entity 
beginning in Ajaccio in 1769 and ending in St. Helena in 1821, 
there may be several durations and several intervals; 38 the event 
of 1821 may have with respect to the event of 1769 several un- 
numbered dates, each of them capable of being assigned various 
numbers. Neglecting this possibility, however, and directing our 
attention to the duration of Napoleon, we have agreed that this 
duration will have one number assigned to it if measured from an 
entity at rest with respect to Napoleon, another number if meas- 

413 



ured from an entity at rest with respect to the surface of the 
earth. 34 However we measure, nevertheless, it is the same Napo- 
leon who endures; it is an unequivocal duration of his that is 
being numbered. 

We talk about speeds of ten miles per hour or three centimeters 
per second. The numbers that we thus assign to the motions of 
moving entities are quotients derived by dividing the numbers 
of numbered lengths by the numbers of numbered durations. 
Since the application of numbers to both lengths and durations 
brings into consideration spatio-temporal entities from which 
measurements are made, the determination of speeds, the appli- 
cation of numbers to the motions of moving entities, also brings 
such spatio-temporal entities into consideration. Moreover, since 
the lengths involved indicate distances between non-contempo- 
raries, the determination of speeds brings into consideration an 
enduring point of reference as well. It is with respect to an en- 
during light-house and not with respect to an enduring star that 
a given ship has a speed of ten miles per hour. And it is with 
respect to that enduring light-house, as measured from it and not 
as measured from another ship, that it has that definite speed. 

There is no speed, it has been asserted, that is greater than the 
speed of light. No matter what entity we choose as our enduring 
point of reference and no matter what entity we make our measure- 
ments from, numbers in excess of a certain maximum, we are told, 
will not be found applicable to speeds. It may be that such a 
result follows from the assumptions we make in assigning num- 
bers to lengths and to durations and hence in determining 
speeds, that is, in assigning numbers to the motions of moving 
entities. But there may be moving entities that are bodies and 
moving entities that are not bodies. "We may think of a bit of 
empty space in the same direction as the sun but twice as distant; 
we may never be frustrated in our attempts to present to our- 
selves additional instantaneous phases of this enduring immaterial 
substance; and we may find no two such instantaneous phases 
with similar positions/' 35 We may, similarly, present to ourselves 
a substance in motion which yesterday had an instantaneous phase 
in common with Arcturus, which today is a bit of empty space 
moving in the direction of the North Star and which tomorrow 
will have an instantaneous phase in common with Polaris. Such 

414 



a substance which is now material and now immaterial is in mo- 
tion with respect to the earth. If it, as contrasted with the material 
entities it from time to time passes through, is the source of no 
vibrations reaching us, perhaps its speed can not be measured. 
But with respect to the earth it is in motion, whether or not it 
has a measurable speed. Its motion, whether measurable or not, 
belongs outside the scope of any dictum as to maximum speeds. 

We have had occasion to distinguish motions that touch from 
motions that flow. 36 In so far as we divide the numbers of num- 
bered lengths by the numbers of numbered durations and thus 
talk about speeds of ten miles per hour or three centimeters per 
second, we are assigning numbers to motions that touch. That is 
to say, we are regarding an entity in motion as one that has a 
series of different positions at successive instantaneous phases. If 
however there is a motion that flows, then, as flowing, it would 
seem, no dissection into successive positions and instantaneous 
phases is permissible and no numbering possible. 

A line, we have said, 37 "may have length, a quality which each 
point composing it, taken individually, lacks." Similarly an en- 
tity in motion, whether it be motion that flows or motion that 
touches, may have qualities that instantaneous phases of that en- 
tity do not have. An entity in motion has duration, whereas the 
individual instantaneous phases that, taken together, are that 
entity in motion do not have duration. 88 Just as we have suggested 
that percepts may be restricted to entities that are neither inex- 
tended nor greatly extended, 30 so it may be suggested that only 
entities having some small duration, enduring through some 
"specious present," may be percepts. If however we agree that 
instantaneous phases, taken individually, are not percepts, it 
does not follow that certain collections of instantaneous phases, 
taken collectively, and together constituting an entity in motion, 
can not be percepts. The flying arrow is in motion with respect 
to the observer on the earth; and certain not too long enduring 
phases of this arrow may be percepts with respect to this ob- 
server. He may, as we say, see the arrow in motion with respect 
to the earth, see the tree at rest with respect to the earth. But if 
this be true, the enduring phase of the moving arrow and the 
enduring phase of the resting tree that are percepts, and the in- 
stantaneous phases of arrow and tree that are not percepts, are 

415 



equally real. 

A ship, let us suppose, is gliding down a river; and a phase 
of the moving ship that has duration, not an instantaneous 
phase, is a percept with respect to the observer on the bank. 
While the ship moving down-stream is real and a percept, 
we may imagine a subsisting ship that has remained upstream, 
a subsisting ship that claims to be at rest. But in contrast to 
the moving ship that was a percept, the alleged ship that was 
at rest and that is alleged still to be at rest upstream appears with 
the characteristic of being generally discredited. Let us suppose, 
however, that I am looking at a house, first at the attic, then at the 
ground floor, then at the basement. 40 It is first the attic at rest 
that is my percept, finally the basement at rest. While I am look- 
ing at the basement, I may imagine that the upper stories, now 
unseen, have vanished or have moved and been transformed into 
the basement that I see. But since my percept was an attic at rest, 
an alleged attic in motion, or that has since vanished, is presented 
to me with the characteristic of being generally discredited. Up- 
stream now empty of ship and attic still at the top of the house 
and at rest are not so presented. Upstream now empty of ship 
and attic still at the top of the house are not percepts, but they 
are real. Ship still upstream and attic no longer at the top of the 
house are likewise presented as not percepts. But since they are 
not inferred from the entities that previously were percepts, since, 
on the contrary, they appear generally discredited, they are unreal. 

Although the phase of the attic that is a percept is prior to the 
phase of the basement that is a later percept, there is an unseen 
phase of the basement contemporaneous with the seen phase of the 
attic; and an unseen phase of the attic contemporaneous with the 
seen phase of the basement. Entities perceived successively may be 
phases of entities that have phases contemporaneous with one 
another. Indeed the very phases that are perceived successively 
may be contemporaneous with one another. The phase of the sun 
that is a percept for a present mental attitude of mine may be 
contemporaneous with a phase of the tree that was a percept for 
a mental attitude of mine some eight minutes ago. And, similarly, 
mental attitudes that are simultaneous may have objects that are 
not contemporaneous with one another. For, physicists and as- 
tronomers have taught us to distinguish simultaneity among per- 

416 



ceivings from simultaneity among percepts. They have brought it 
about, that is to say, that objects of simultaneous perceivings, 
presented as simultaneous with one another, appear in certain 
instances as generally discredited. 41 

The ship that was upstream is a moving ship and an enduring 
ship that in one of its phases was upstream and now, in a later phase, 
is downstream. There is also a certain section of the river let us 
call it: "upstream" that is enduring and at rest. Simultaneous 
with the phase of the ship that is down-stream, there is a phase of 
'upstream* that is empty of ship. But previously there was a phase 
of 'upstream* that was not empty of ship. Both ship and 'upstream' 
have duration and various instantaneous phases; and one of the 
instantaneous phases of 'upstream* was also an instantaneous phase 
of ship. Just as two lines may intersect one another at a point so 
that this point is on both of them, so an enduring entity at rest 
and another enduring entity in motion may have an instantaneous 
phase in common. The enduring entity that we are calling "up- 
stream 7 * has one instantaneous phase that is also an instantaneous 
phase of ship; it has a later instantaneous phase that is air and 
water; and it might even have some phase that is immaterial 
altogether. If, nevertheless, 'upstream/ taken as an enduring entity 
that in some of its phases is material and in some of its phases 
possibly immaterial, is not presented as no one's definite object, 
'upstream* may very well be real. 

There are, we hold, entities such as 'upstream* that are real, 
enduring entities at rest that we shall call "places." As we use 
the term "place," "an enduring entity at rest" and its "place" 
are expressions representing the same substance. In so far as 
material entities are at rest, they and their places are not sepa- 
rate substances. And in so far as the material substances with 
which we concern ourselves are all in motion, the relation between 
a place, which in many of its phases may be immaterial, and a 
moving enduring entity, which on some occasion occupies it, is 
similar to the relation between two intersecting lines. As we have 
explained "motion" and "place," it may be added, an enduring 
entity at rest, a "place," need not be an entity most of whose 
phases are immaterial; nor need an entity in motion be one most 
or all of whose phases are material. A bit of normally empty space 
in the same direction as the sun but twice as distant may be in 

417 



motion; 42 some resting body that it moves through may be the 
place of one of its phases. 

It is of course relative to one enduring point of reference that 
a given enduring entity is at rest and relative to another enduring 
point of reference that it is in motion. Hence what are places with 
respect to one enduring point of reference may not be places 
with respect to another. It is within the framework of a given 
enduring point of reference that enduring entities A, B, C, etc., 
are places. Given this point of reference, the enduring entities 
A, B, C, etc. that are places are finite in number; and their instan- 
taneous phases that are contemporaneous with one another need 
not be contiguous. Whether we deal with the collection of all empty 
spaces, the collection of all body-spaces, or the collection of all 
spaces, material and immaterial alike, we are dealing with a col- 
lection which is discrete and which has a finite number of 
members. 43 

Let us turn now to the consideration of a wheel with, let us 
say, twelve spokes which we suppose to be revolving in a clock- 
wise direction with respect to a given enduring point of reference. 
With respect to this given point of reference there is a place 
which extends from the hub to where the number "eleven" would 
appear on a clock, a place from the hub to where the number 
"twelve" would appear on a clock, and a place from the hub to 
where the number "one" would appear on a clock. Likewise there 
is a spoke which now has an instantaneous phase in common 
with the place which points to "twelve" and is about to have an 
instantaneous phase in common with the place which points to 
"one"; and a spoke behind it which now points to "eleven" and is 
about to point to "twelve." 

If the speed with which one spoke revolves is increased or 
retarded, the other spokes seem to be similarly affected. But since 
a pre-established harmony seems incredible, it is reasonable to 
conclude that through motions within the wheel the acceleration 
is carried from spoke to spoke and hence to conclude that the 
different spokes do not alter their speeds simultaneously. If 
however the rate of revolution is constant, one spoke ceases point- 
ing to eleven exactly when the spoke ahead of it ceases pointing to 
twelve. By what may seem to be a remarkable coincidence all 
twelve spokes vacate their places simultaneously, or, to use the 

418 



terms which we have just explained, cease having phases in com- 
mon with the places with which they have just had them in com- 
mon. What is a place, however, and what is in motion is, we have 
said, relative to the enduring point of reference. The enduring 
point of reference may be so chosen that the wheel is at rest and 
the spokes themselves places. Hence the coincidence whereby 
spokes vacate their places simultaneously is, using a different 
point of reference, the coincidence whereby spokes are at rest 
with respect to one another, the coincidence whereby the spatial 
relations obtaining among one set of instantaneous phases turn 
out to be similar to the spatial relations obtaining among a 
previous set of instantaneous phases. Whatever would be a satis- 
factory answer to the question why the spatial relations between 
New York in 1942 and Washington in 1942 are similar to those 
between New York in 1932 and the Washington that was its 
contemporary would be a satisfactory answer to the question why 
the spokes of a revolving wheel vacate their places simultaneously. 
It has sometimes been assumed that a group of substances can 
not vacate their places simultaneously and, with this premise, it 
has been argued that some places void of matter are necessary. 
"If there were not void," writes Lucretius,* 4 "by no means could 
things move; for that which is the office of body, to offend and 
hinder, would at every moment be present to all things; nothing 
therefore could advance, since nothing could give the example of 
yielding place." To reject the premise and hence the necessity 
of empty places is however not to hold that there are no places 
with phases which are immaterial. The spoke which has just 
pointed to eleven may move into a next place whose preceding 
phase was immaterial. The next place with which it is to have 
an instantaneous phase in common may just previously have been 
material or may just previously have been immaterial. And it 
may be contiguous or not-contiguous to the place which the spoke 
has just vacated. For, if an alleged contiguous place is presented 
as no one's definite object, it is unreal and the next real place 
is one that is not contiguous. Indeed if one were to suppose that 
the 'next* place is contiguous and previously immaterial, one 
might still be asked to explain the simultaneous movement of 
different substances. For in that case the "void" would have to 
move simultaneously with the spoke behind it. And although this 

419 



"void" would not be thought of as having as its function to 
"offend and hinder," it would nevertheless have either to move 
simultaneously with the spoke behind it or to "give the example 
of yielding place/' 

A place, we have said, 45 is an enduring entity at rest, an endur- 
ing entity that may be material or immaterial or in one phase 
material and in a subsequent phase immaterial. In previous chap- 
ters we have used the term "space." <* Among a group of entities 
contemporaneous with each other, there are points and lines and 
baseball players and volumes and spheres and bodies and perhaps 
empty spaces. We have used the term "space" to refer to any 
volume, a volume that might be filled with matter or be void of 
matter or be partly material and partly immaterial. It appears 
then that in our terminology a space is an instantaneous phase 
of a place. In so far as a body is at rest and hence a place, its in- 
stantaneous phases are material spaces; and insofar as there is a 
place through which bodies and vacua move, its instantaneous 
phases are now material spaces and now empty spaces. 

Our language presents us with the two terms "space" and 
"place" to which we have chosen to assign different significations. 
But our language does not present to us an analogous pair of 
temporal terms. There is only the term: "time"; and even that we 
have not felt urged to explain or to make use of in this or the 
preceding chapters. Even though we have in many respects found 
temporal relations analogous to spatial relations among contem- 
poraries, our treatment of the terms: "space," "place" and "time" 
is a parting reminder of the differences between spatial relations, 
temporal relations, and spatial relations among non-contempo- 
raries. 



Summary 

When two entities are not contemporaneous, the position that 
one has with respect to the other depends upon what entity is 
considered to be at rest during the interval from one to the other. 

We define rest and motion as a preliminary to discussing Zeno's 
paradoxes. Whereas neither the finitist nor the infinitist arrives 
at self-contradictory conclusions, our explanation of "existence" 

420 



implies that a body in motion touches only a finite number ot 
positions. 

Besides motion as we have defined it, there is a motion that 
flows. The latter exists too, but is not useful when we want to 
apply numbers. 

"When we measure motion (motion that touches) we make use 
of certain assumptions. This may account for certain results such 
as the fact that the speed of light is a maximum. But when we 
do not limit our subject matter to moving bodies, the speed of 
light is not a maximum. 



421 



Chapter XIV 
UNITY AND SUBSTANCE 



We have compared entities in their spatial and temporal rela- 
tions to entities on a series of plates in a box. The entities con- 
temporaneous with Napoleon at the first instantaneous phase of 
his life we have represented by one plate, the entities contempor- 
aneous with Napoleon at the last instantaneous phase of his life 
by another plate. 1 The plate, as first introduced, stood for a set of 
instantaneous entities contemporaneous with one another. But to 
this was added the fantasy of plates having some thickness, plates 
whose members have some duration but are nevertheless in an 
indefinite sense contemporaneous with one another. 2 Whether a 
plate have some thickness or be without it, whether our set of 
contemporaneous entities be a set of instantaneous entities or a 
set of enduring entities that are in only an indefinite sense con- 
temporaneous with one another, our plate is nothing apart from 
its members and its members, finite in number, are not every- 
where contiguous to one another. 3 We are presented with a set of 
entities, in one sense or another contemporaneous with one an- 
other, that are, as it were, spread out before us. And we have said 
that these entities, some of them material and some of them per- 
haps immaterial, some of them spaces that are bodies and some 
of them perhaps empty spaces, are both discrete and finite. 

One might say that, being presented with an extended mani- 
fold, we concentrate our attention here and there, and that only 
the objects of such a concentrated attention, only the entities pre- 
sented as not merely indefinite objects, are real. Since, however, 
the extended manifold, alleged to be presented to us before we 
concentrate our attention, is without a definite position and is 

422 



presented as no one's definite object, there can be no true propo- 
sition discussing its alleged priority to the more definitely located 
entities within it. It is simply that various contemporaneous en- 
tities within the alleged but non-existent manifold are real and 
are objects of a concentrated attention. 

My desk is real; it is an object of my concentrated attention; it 
is, we shall say, "one." The man in my garden is likewise real and 
an object of my concentrated attention; he, too, we shall say, is 
"one." If the man's background and the desk's background were 
real, we could say that man and desk are severally selected as 
objects of concentrated attention from their respective back- 
grounds. But we can in any case say that, in our sense of "many," 
there are as many objects as are severally objects of a concentrated 
attention. Man and desk, that is to say, are to be called "two." 
And even if the man comes inside to sit on the desk, even if I 
am presented with a real man and a real desk that are contiguous, 
man and desk are still to be called "two," assuming that each is 
the object of a concentrated attention. 

But whereas I may be aware of the desk and also aware of the 
man sitting on it, some other subject may be aware simply of the 
composite: