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OSMANIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 

Call No. ft \ Accession No. p. <? v *2 ~) 

Author D ^ , 

Title 

This book should be returned on or before the date 
last marked below. 



EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 



PUBLISHED ON THE FOUNDATION 
ESTABLISHED IN MEMORY OF 

PAUL CARUS 

EDITOR OF THE OPEN COURT AND THE MONIST 
1888-19x9 




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Q 



W 

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d 
U 



EXPERIENCE AND 
NATURE 



JOHN DEWEY 



LONDON 
GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN, LTD. 

RUSKIN HOUSE, 40 MUSEUM STREET, W.CX 
1929 



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



CONTENTS 

JPAGE 

THE PAUL CARUS FOUNDATION .... ix 

CHAPTER 

I. EXPERIENCE AND PHILOSOPHIC METHOD . la 

II. EXISTP;NCE AS PRECARIOUS AND AS STABLE . 40 

III. NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES .... 78 

IV. NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE . . . 121 
V. NATURE, COMMUNICATION AND AS MEANING 166 

VI. NATURE, MIND AND THE SUBJECT . . . 208 

VII. NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND . . . . 248 

VIII. EXISTENCE, IDEAS AND CONSCIOUSNESS . . 298 

IX. EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART . . . . 354 

X. EXISTENCE, VALUE AND CRITICISM . . . 394 

INDEX 439 



THE PAUL CARUS FOUNDATION 

Dr. Paul Carus was born in Usenburg, Germany, hi 
1852. He was educated at the Universities of Strass- 
burg and Tubingen, from the latter of which he received 
the doctorate of philosophy in 1876. It was, however, 
in the United States, to which he shortly after removed, 
that his life-work was performed. He became editor of 
the Open Court in 1888, and later established The Monist, 
remaining throughout his career, editor of these two peri* 
odicals and Director of the editorial policies of the Open 
Court Company. He died in February, 1919, at La Salle, 
Illinois. 

The primary interests which actuated Dr. Carus's life- 
work were in the field of philosophy, touching with almost 
equal weight the two great phases of modern speculative 
concern represented by the philosophy of science and com- 
parative religion. To each of these he devoted numerous 
special studies, and to each he gave the influence of the 
press which he directed. This influence was in no sense 
narrow or specialistic. Dr. Caxus was personally pro- 
foundly concerned for the broadening of that understand- 
ing in all intellectual fields which he felt must be the 
foundation of whatever is to be valuable in our future 
human culture; he saw his philosophy never as a closet 
pursuit, but always as a quest for the social illumination 
of mankind, in which his hope of betterment lay. In 
this interest he combatted prejudice, in religion and 
science alike, seeking to divest the spirit of truth of all 
cloaking of formula, and turning with eager and open 



x THE PAUL CARUS FOUNDATION 

eyes in every direction in which there was a suggestion of 
light and leading to men and to thought of every com- 
plexion and to all levels of active human concern with 
matters of reflection. Dr. Cams was, in fact, strongly 
Socratic in disposition: he wished to bring philosophy 
down from the skies of a too studied abstraction and 
habituate it to the houses of men's souls and to the rich 
and changing tides of cultural interests. Certainly so 
far as America is concerned his service is a signal one. 
During much of his career he stood almost alone as a 
philosopher outside academic walls, a living exponent of 
the fact that philosophy is significant as a force as well as 
useful as an educational discipline. He looked to the 
cultivation of philosophy as a frame of mind open to all, 
lay and professional, who should come to see that social 
liberty is made secure only where there is growth of a 
sympathetic public intelligence. 

It is with the spirit and intention of Dr. Carus's life- 
work in mind that his family have established in his 
memory the Paul Cams Lectures. In the United States, 
foundations devoted to the cultivation of philosophy are 
so confined to scholastic institutions that the whole field 
of philosophic concern tends to assume the slant of an 
immured and scholastic discipline; and the observer is 
tempted to say that the greatest gift that can befall 
philosophic liberalism is one that will cause its followers to 
forget their professional character. Such a gift, certainly, 
is more than suggested by a lectureship which comes 
with no institutional atmosphere to further the free play 
of the mind upon all phases of life. In the stipulations 
for the Carus lectures, the themes of the lectures are left 
without definition, for it is recognized that philosophy is 



THE PAUL CARUS FOUNDATION xi 

a spirit of approach rather than a set of problems or 
theories; and the choice of the lecturers, while it is properly 
placed in the hands of those who make the study of 
philosophy their profession, is in no manner limited. The 
Foundation is free, and it asks of its beneficiaries no other 
response than the spirit of liberalism. 

The conditions governing the lectures are few. They 
are established as a memorial and are to be called the 
"Paul Cams Lectures." The lecturers are to be chosen 
by committees appointed from the Divisions of the Ameri- 
can Philosophical Association. The lecturer is recognized 
by an honorarium of one thousand dollars, and the lec- 
tures are to be published by the Open Court Company in 
a series of volumes, which, it is hoped, as the years pass, 
will become representative of the finest phases of our 
speculative thought. It is expected that series of lec- 
tures will be delivered biennially, the time and place 
being set by the committees to whom is delegated the 
selection of the lecturers. It is more than happy that the 
first series of the Paul Carus Lectures should have been 
delivered by John Dewey, for there is no living American 
philosopher of whom it can more truly be said that his 
influence is oi the type which represents Dr. Carus's 
ideal* 

HARTLEY BURR ALEXANDER. 



PREFACE 

The publication of this new edition has made it possible 
to rewrite completely the first chapter as well as to make a 
few minor corrections throughout the volume. The first 
chapter was intended as an introduction. It failed of its 
purpose; it was upon the whole more technical and harder 
reading than the chapters which it was supposed to intro- 
duce. It was also rather confused in mode of presentation, 
and at one important point in thought as well. It is hoped 
that its new form is both simpler and possessed of greater 
continuity. If the original intent is now better fulfilled, it 
is largely due to the help of kindly critics. I wish to record 
my especial indebtedness to Professor M. C. Otto of the 
University of Wisconsin and Mr. Joseph Ratner of Colum- 
bia University. 

In addition to the complete revision of the first chapter, 
the new edition affords an occasion for inserting in these 
prefatory remarks what is not to be found in the earlier 
text; namely, a summary of the thought of the book in the 
order of its development. The course of the ideas is deter- 
mined by a desire to apply in the more general realm of phi- 
losophy the thought which is effective in dealing with any 
and every genuine question, from the elaborate problems of 
science to the practical deliberations of daily life, trivial or 
momentous. The constant task of such thought is to estab- 
lish working connections between old and new subject-mat- 
ters. We cannot lay hold of the new, we cannot even keep 
it before our minds, much less understand it, save by the use 



ii PREFACE 

of ideas and knowledge we already possess. But just be- 
cause the new is nw it is not a mere repetition of something 
already had and mastered. The old takes on new color and 
meaning in being employed to grasp and interpret the new. 
The greater the gap, the disparity, between what has be- 
come a familiar possession and the traits presented in new 
subject-matter, the greater is the burden imposed upon 
reflection; the distance between old and new is the measure 
of the range and depth of the thought required. 

Breaks and incompatibilities occur in collective culture 
as well as in individual life. Modern science, modern in- 
dustry and politics, have presented us with an immense 
amount of material foreign to, often inconsistent with, the 
most prized intellectual and moral heritage of the western 
world. This is the cause of our modern intellectual per- 
plexities and confusions. It sets the especial problem for 
philosophy to-day and for many days to come. Every 
significant philosophy is an attempt to deal with it; those 
theories to which this statement seems to apply least are 
attempts to bridge the gulf by seeking an escape or refuge. 
I have not striven in this volume for a reconciliation be- 
tween the new and the old. I think such endeavors are 
likely to give rise to casualties to good faith and candor. 
But in employing, as one must do, a body of old beliefs and 
ideas to apprehend and understand the new, I have also 
kept in mind the modifications and transformations that 
are exacted of those old beliefs. 

I believe that the method of empirical naturalism pre- 
sented in this volume provides the way, and the only way 
although of course no two thinkers will travel it in just 
the same fashion by which one can freely accept the 
standpoint and conclusions of modern science: the wa by 



PREFACE iii 

which we can be genuinely naturalistic and yet maintain 
cherished values, provided they are critically clarified and 
reinforced. The naturalistic method, when it is con- 
sistently followed, destroys many things once cherished; 
but it destroys them by revealing their inconsistency with 
the nature of things a flaw that always attended them 
and deprived them of efficacy for aught save emotional 
consolation. But its main purport is not destructive; 
empirical naturalism is rather a winnowing fan. Only 
chaff goes, though perhaps the chaff had once been treas- 
ured. An empirical method which remains true to nature 
does not "save"; it is not an insurance device nor a me- 
chanical antiseptic. But it inspires the mind with courage 
and vitality to create new ideals and values in the face of 
the perplexities of a new world. 

The new introductory chapter (Chapter I) accordingly 
takes up the question of method, especially with respect 
to the relation that exists between experience and nature. 
It points to faith in experience when intelligently used as 
a means of disclosing the realities of nature. It finds that 
nature and experience are not enemies or alien. Experi- 
ence is not a veil that shuts man off from nature; it is a 
means of penetrating continually further into the heart of 
nature. There is in the character of human experience 
no index-hand pointing to agnostic conclusions, but rather 
a growing progressive self -disclosure of nature itself. The 
failures of philosophy have come from lack of confidence 
in the directive powers that inhere in experience, if men 
have but the wit and courage to follow them. 

Chapter II explains our starting point: namely, that the 
things of ordinary experience contain within themselves a 
mixture of the perilous and uncertain with the settled and 



iv PREFACE 

uniform. The need for security compels men to fasten 
upon the regular in order to minimize and to control the 
precarious and fluctuating. In actual experience this is a 
practical enterprise, made possible by knowledge of the 
recurrent and stable, of facts and laws. Philosophies have 
too often tried to forego the actual work that is involved 
in penetrating the true nature of experience, by setting up 
a purely theoretical security and certainty. The influence 
of this attempt upon the traditional philosophic preference 
for unity, permanence, universals, over plurality, change 
and particulars is pointed out, as well as its effect in 
creating the traditional notion of substance, now under- 
mined by physical science. The tendency of modern 
science to substitute qualitative events, marked by certain 
similar properties and by recurrences, for the older notion 
of fixed substances is shown to agree with the attitude of 
naive experience, while both point to the idea of matter and 
mind as significant characters of events, presented in dif- 
ferent contexts, rather than underlying and ultimate sub- 
stances. 

Chapters III and IV discuss one of the outstanding 
problems in philosophy namely, the question of laws, 
mechanical uniformities, on one hand and, on the other, 
ends, purposes, uses and enjoyments. It is pointed out 
that in actual experience the latter represent the conse- 
quences of series of changes in which the outcomes or ends 
have the value of consummation and fulfillment; and that 
because of this value there is a tendency to perpetuate 
them, render them stable, and repeat them. It is then 
shown that the foundation for value and the striving to 
realize it is found in nature, because when nature is viewed 
as consisting of events rather than substances, it is char- 



PREFACE v 

acterized by histories, that is, by continuity of change pro- 
ceeding from beginnings to endings. Consequently, it is 
natural for genuine initiations and consummations to oc- 
cur in experience. Owing to the presence of uncertain and 
precarious factors in these histories, attainment of ends, of 
goods, is unstable and evanescent. The only way to 
render them more secure is by ability to control the 
changes that intervene between the beginning and the end 
of a process. These intervening terms when brought under 
control are means in the literal and in the practical sense 
of the word. When mastered in actual experience they 
constitute tools, techniques, mechanisms, etc. Instead of 
being foes of purposes, they are means of execution; they 
are also tests for differentiating genuine aims from merely 
emotional and fantastic ideals. 

The office of physical science is to discover those prop- 
erties and relations of things in virtue of which they are 
capable of being used as instrumentalities; physical science 
makes claim to disclose not the inner nature of things but 
only those connections of things with one another that 
determine outcomes and hence can be used as means. The 
intrinsic nature of events is revealed in experience as the 
immediately felt qualities of things. The intimate co- 
ordination and even fusion of these qualities with the 
regularities that form the objects of knowledge, in the 
proper sense of the word "knowledge," characterizes intel- 
ligently directed experience, as distinct from mere casual 
and uncritical experience. 

This conception of the instrumental nature of the ob- 
jects of scientific knowing forms the pivot upon which 
further 'discussion turns (Chapter V). That character of 
everyday experience which has been most systematically 



vi PREFACE 

ignored by philosophy is the extent to which it is saturated 
with the results of social intercourse and communication. 
Because this factor has been denied, meanings have either 
been denied all objective validity, or have been treated as 
miraculous extra-natural intrusions. If, however, lan- 
guage, for example, is recognized as the instrument of so- 
cial cooperation and mutual participation, continuity is 
established between natural events (animal sound, cries, 
etc.) and the origin and development of meanings. Mind 
is seen to be a function of social interactions, and to be a 
genuine character 'of natural events when these attain the 
stage of widest and most complex interaction with one 
another. Ability to respond to meanings and to employ 
them, instead of reacting merely to physical contacts, 
makes the difference between man and other animals; 
it is the agency for elevating man into the realm of what 
is usually called the ideal and spiritual. In other words, 
the social participation affected by communication, through 
language and other tools, is the naturalistic link which does 
away with the often alleged necessity of dividing the ob- 
jects of experience into two worlds, one physical and one 
ideal. 

Chapter VI makes the transition from this realization 
that the social character of meanings forms the solid con- 
tent of mind to considering mind as individual or "sub- 
jective." One of the most marked features of modern 
thought as distinct from ancient and medieval thought is 
its emphasis upon mind as personal or even private, its 
identification with selfhood. The connection of this under- 
lying but misinterpreted fact with experience is made by 
showing that modern as distinct from ancient culture is 
characterized by the importance attached to initiation, 



PREFACE vii 

invention and variation. Thus mind in its individual aspect 
is shown to be the method of change and progress in the 
significances and values attached to things. This trait is 
linked up to natural events by recurring to their particular 
and variable, their contingent, quality. In and of itself 
this factor is puzzling; it accounts for accidents and irra- 
tionalities. It was long treated as such in the history of 
mankind; the individual characteristics of mind were re- 
garded as deviations from the normal, and as dangers 
against which society had to protect itself. Hence the 
long rule of custom, the rigid conservatism, and the still 
existing regime of conformity and intellectual standardiza- 
tion. The development of modern science began when 
there was recognized in certain technical fields a power 
to utilize variations as the starting points of new observa- 
tions, hypotheses and experiments. The growth of the 
experimental as distinct from the dogmatic habit of mind 
is due to increased ability to utilize variations for con- 
structive ends instead of suppressing them. 

Life, as a trait of natural organisms, was incidentally 
treated in connection with the development of tools, of 
language and of individual variations. Its consideration 
as the link between physical nature and experience forms 
the topic of the mind-body problem (Chapter VII). The 
isolation of nature and experience from each other has 
rendered the undeniable connection of thought and effec- 
tiveness of knowledge and purposive action, with the body, 
an insoluble mystery. Restoration of continuity is shown 
to do away with the mind-body problem. It leaves us with 
an organism in which events have those qualities, usually 
called feelings, not realized in events that form inanimate 
thiflgs, and which, when living creatures communicate with 



viii PREFACE 

one another so as to share in common, and hence uni- 
versalized, objects, take on distinctively mental properties. 
The continuity of nature and experience is shown to resolve 
many problems that become only the more taxing when 
continuity is ignored. 

The traits of living creatures are then considered (Chap- 
ter VIII) in connection with the conscious aspect of be- 
havior and experience, the quality of immediacy attaching 
to events when they are actualized in experience by means 
of organic and social interactions. The difference and the 
connection of mind and consciousness is set forth. The 
meanings that form mind become consciousness, or ideas, 
impressions, etc., when something within the meanings or 
in their application becomes dubious, and the meaning in 
question needs reconstruction. This principle explains 
the focal and rapidly shifting traits of the objects of con- 
sciousness as such. A sensitive and vital mental career 
thus depends upon being awake to questions and problems; 
consciousness stagnates and becomes restricted and dull 
when this interest wanes. 

The highest because most complete incorporation of 
natural forces and operations in experience is found in 
art (Chapter IX). Art is a process of production in which 
natural materials are re-shaped in a projection toward 
consummatory fulfillment through regulation of trains 
of events that occur in a less regulated way on lower levels 
of nature. Art is "fine" in the degree in which ends, the 
final termini, of natural processes are dominant and con- 
spicuously enjoyed. All art is instrumental in its use of 
techniques and tools. It is shown that normal artistic 
experience involves bringing to a better balance than is 
found elsewhere in either nature or experience the consilm- 



PREFACE 

matory and instrumental phases of events. Art thus rep- 
resents the culminating event of nature as well as the 
climax of experience. In this connection the usual sharp 
separation made between art and science is criticized; it 
is argued that science as method is more basic than science 
as subject-matter, and that scientific inquiry is an art, at 
once instrumental in control and final as a pure enjoyment 
of mind. 

This recurrence to the topic of ends, or consummatory 
consequences, and of desire and striving for them, raises 
the question of the nature of values (Chapter X). Values 
are naturalistically interpreted as intrinsic qualities of 
events in their consummatory reference. The question of 
the control of the course of events so that it may yield, 
as ends or termini, objects that are stable and that tend 
toward creation of other values, introduces the topic of 
value-judgments or valuations. These constitute what is 
generically termed criticism. A return is made to the 
theme of the first chapter by emphasizing the crucial sig- 
nificance of criticism in all phases of experience for its 
intelligent control. Philosophy, then, is a generalized 
theory of criticism. Its ultimate value for life-experience 
is that it continuously provides instruments for the criti- 
cism of those values whether of beliefs, institutions, ac- 
tions or products that are found in all aspects of 
experience. The chief obstacle to a more effective criticism 
of current values lies in the traditional separation of nature 
and experience, which it is the purpose of this volume to 
replace by the idea of continuity. 

January, 1929, New York City. 

JOHN DEWEY. 



CHAPTER ONE 

EXPERIENCE AND PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 

The title of this volume, Experience and Nature, is in- 
tended to signify that the philosophy here presented may 
be termed either empirical naturalism or naturalistic em- 
piricism, or, taking "experience" in its usual signification, 
naturalistic humanism. 

To many the associating of the two words will seem like 
talking of a round square, so engrained is the notion of the 
separation of man and experience from nature. Experi- 
ence, they say, is important for those beings who have it, 
but is too casual and sporadic in its occurrence to carry 
with it any important implications regarding the nature of 
Nature. Nature, on the other hand, is said to be complete 
apart from experience. Indeed, according to some think- 
ers the case is even in worse plight: Experience to them is 
not only something extraneous which is occasionally super- 
imposed upon nature, but it forms a veil or screen which 
shuts us off from nature, unless in some way it can be 
"transcended." So something non-natural by way of rea- 
son or intuition is introduced, something supra-empirical. 
According to an opposite school experience fares as badly, 
nature being thought to signify something wholly material 
and mechanistic; to frame a theory of experience in 
naturalistic terms is, accordingly, to degrade and deny the 
noble and ideal values that characterize experience. 

I know of no route by which dialectical argument can 
answer such objections. They arise from associations with 
woi;ds and cannot be dealt with argumentatively. One can 

la 



2a EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

only hope in the course of the whole discussion to disclose 
the meanings which are attached to "experience" and 
"nature," and thus insensibly produce, if one is fortunate, 
a change in the significations previously attached to them. 
This process of change may be hastened by calling atten- 
tion to another context in which nature and experience get 
on harmoniously together wherein experience presents it- 
self as the method, and the only method, for getting at 
nature, penetrating its secrets, and wherein nature em- 
pirically disclosed (by the use of empirical method in 
natural science) deepens, enriches and directs the further 
development of experience. 

In the natural sciences there is a union of experience and 
nature which is not greeted as a monstrosity; on the con- 
trary, the inquirer must use empirical method if his findings 
are to be treated as genuinely scientific. The investigator 
assumes as a matter of course that experience, controlled 
in specifiable ways, is the avenue that leads to the facts 
and laws of nature. He uses reason and calculation freely; 
he could not get along without them. But he sees to it that 
ventures of this theoretical sort start from and terminate 
in directly experienced subject-matter. Theory may in- 
tervene in a long course of reasoning, many portions of 
which are remote from what is directly experienced. But 
the vine of pendant theory is attached at both ends to the 
pillars of observed subject-matter. And this experienced 
material is the same for the scientific man and the man 
in the street. The latter cannot follow the intervening 
reasoning without special preparation. But stars, rocks, 
trees, and creeping things are the same material of ex- 
perience for both. 

These commonplaces take on significance when the rela- 
tion of experience to the formation of a philosophic theory 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 3a 

of nature is in question. They indicate that experience, 
if scientific inquiry is justified, is no infinitesimally thin 
layer or foreground of nature, but that it penetrates into 
it, reaching down into its depths, and in such a way that 
its grasp is capable of expansion; it tunnels in all direc- 
tions and in so doing brings to the surface things at first 
hidden as miners pile high on the surface of the earth 
treasures brought from below. Unless we are prepared to 
deny all validity to scientific inquiry, these facts have a 
value that cannot be ignored for the general theory of the 
relation of nature and experience. 

It is sometimes contended, for example, that since ex- 
perience is a late comer in the history of our solar system 
and planet, and since these occupy a trivial place in the 
wide areas of celestial space, experience is at most a slight 
and insignificant incident in nature. No one with an hon- 
est respect for scientific conclusions can deny that experi- 
ence as an existence is something that occurs only under 
highly specialized conditions, such as are found in a highly 
organized creature which in turn requires a specialized en- 
vironment. There is no evidence that experience occurs 
everywhere and everywhen. But candid regard for scien- 
tific inquiry also compels the recognition that when ex- 
perience does occur, no matter at what limited portion of 
time and space, it enters into possession of some portion of 
nature and in such a manner as to render other of its 
precincts accessible. 

A geologist living in 1928 tells us about events that 
happened not only before he was born but millions of 
years before any human being came into existence on this 
earth. He does so by starting from things that are now 
the material of experience. Lyell revolutionized geology 
by perceiving that the sort of thing that can be experienced 



4a EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

now in the operations of fire, water, pressure, is the sort 
of thing by which the earth took on its present structural 
forms. Visiting a natural history museum, one beholds a 
mass of rock and, reading a label, finds that it comes from 
a tree that grew, so it is affirmed, five million years ago. 
The geologist did not leap from the thing he can see and 
touch to some event in by-gone ages; he collated this 
observed thing with many others, of different kinds, found 
all over the globe; the results of his comparisons he then 
compared with data of other experiences, say, the as- 
tronomer's. He translates, that is, observed coexistences 
into non-observed, inferred sequences. Finally he dates his 
object, placing it in an order of events. By the same sort 
of method he predicts that at certain places some things 
not yet experienced will be observed, and then he takes 
pains to bring them within the scope of experience. The 
scientific conscience is, moreover, so sensitive with respect 
to the necessity of experience that when it reconstructs the 
past it is not fully satisfied with inferences drawn from 
even a large and cumulative mass of uncontradicted evi- 
dence; it sets to work to institute conditions of heat and 
pressure and moisture, etc., so as actually to reproduce in 
experiment that which he has inferred. 

These commonplaces prove that experience is of as well 
as in nature. It is not experience which is experienced, 
but nature stones, plants, animals, diseases, health, tem- 
perature, electricity, and so on. Things interacting in 
certain ways are experience; they are what is experienced. 
Linked in certain other ways with another natural object 
the human organism they are how things are experi- 
enced as well. Experience thus reaches down into nature; 
it has depth. It also has breadth and to an indefinitely 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD i 

elastic extent. It stretches. That stretch constitutes 
inference. 

Dialectical difficulties, perplexities due to definitions 
given to the concepts that enter into the discussion, may be 
raised. It is said to be absurd that what is only a tiny 
part of nature should be competent to incorporate vast 
reaches of nature within itself. But even were it logically 
absurd one would be bound to cleave to it as a fact. Logic, 
however, is not put under a strain. The fact that some- 
thing is an occurrence does not decide what kind of an 
occurrence it is; that can be found out only by examina- 
tion. To argue from an experience "being an experience" 
to what it is of and about is warranted by no logic, even 
though modern thought has attempted it a thousand times. 
A bare event is no event at all; something happens. What 
that something is, is found out by actual study. This 
applies to seeing a flash of lightning and holds of the longer 
event called experience. The very existence of science is 
evidence that experience is such an occurrence that it pene- 
trates into nature and expands without limit through it. 

These remarks are not supposed to prove anything about 
experience and nature for philosophical doctrine; they are 
not supposed to settle anything about the worth of em- 
pirical naturalism. But they do show that in the case of 
natural science we habitually treat experience as starting- 
point, and as method for dealing with nature, and as the 
goal in which nature is disclosed for what it is. To realize 
this fact is at least to weaken those verbal associations 
which stand in the way of apprehending the force of em- 
pirical method in philosophy. 

The same considerations apply to the other objection 
that. was suggested: namely, that to view experience natur- 
alistically is to reduce it to something materialistic, depriv- 



2 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

ing it of all ideal significance. If experience actually pre- 
sents esthetic and moral traits, then these traits may also 
be supposed to reach down into nature, and to testify to 
something that belongs to nature as truly as does the me- 
chanical structure attributed to it in physical science. To 
rule out that possibility by some general reasoning is to 
forget that the very meaning and purport of empirical 
method is that things are to be studied on their own 
account, so as to find out what is revealed when they are 
experienced. The traits possessed by the subject-matters 
of experience are as genuine as the characteristics of sun 
and electron. They are jound, experienced, and are not to 
be shoved out of being by some trick of logic. When 
found, their ideal qualities are as relevant to the philo- 
sophic theory of nature as are the traits found by physical 
inquiry. 

To discover some of these general features of experi- 
enced things and to interpret their significance for a phil- 
osophic theory of the universe in which we live is the aim 
of this volume. From the point of view adopted, the 
theory of empirical method in philosophy does for experi- 
enced subject-matter on a liberal scale what it does for 
special sciences on a technical scale. It is this aspect of 
method with which we are especially concerned in the 
present chapter. 

If the empirical method were universally or even gen- 
erally adopted in philosophizing, there would be no need of 
referring to experience. The scientific inquirer talks and 
writes about particular observed events and qualities, about 
specific calculations and reasonings. He makes no allu- 
sion to experience; one would probably have to search a 
long time through reports of special researches in order to 
find the word. The reason is that everything desig- 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 3 

nated by the word "experience" is so adequately incorpor- 
ated into scientific procedures and subject-matter that to 
mention experience would be only to duplicate in a general 
term what is already covered in definite terms. 

Yet this was not always so. Before the technique of 
empirical method was developed and generally adopted, it 
was necessary to dwell explicitly upon the importance of 
"experience" as a starting point and terminal point, as 
setting problems and as testing proposed solutions. We 
need not be content with the conventional allusion to Roger 
Bacon and Francis Bacon. The followers of Newton and 
the followers of the Cartesian school carried on a definite 
controversy as to the place occupied by experience and 
experiment in science as compared with intuitive concepts 
and with reasoning from them. The Cartesian school 
relegated experience to a secondary and almost accidental 
place, and only when the Galilean-Newtonian method had 
wholly triumphed did it cease to be necessary to mention 
the importance of experience. We may, if sufficiently 
hopeful, anticipate a similar outcome in philosophy. But 
the date does not appear to be close at hand ; we are nearer 
in philosophic theory to the time of Roger Bacon than to 
that of Newton. 

In short, it is the contrast of empirical method with 
other methods employed in philosophizing, together with 
the striking dissimilarity of results yielded by an em- 
pirical method and professed non-empirical methods that 
make the discussion of the methodological import of 
"experience" for philosophy pertinent and indeed 
indispensable. 

This consideration of method may suitably begin with 
the Contrast between gross, macroscopic, crude subject- 
matters in primary experience and the refined, derived 



4 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

objects of reflection. The distinction is one between what 
is experienced as the result of a minimum of incidental 
reflection and what is experienced in consequence of con- 
tinued and regulated reflective inquiry. For derived and 
refined products are experienced only because of the inter- 
vention of systematic thinking. The objects of both 
science and philosophy obviously belong chiefly to the 
secondary and refined system. But at this point we come 
to a marked divergence between science and philosophy. 
For the natural sciences not only draw their material 
from primary experience, but they refer it back again 
for test. Darwin began with the pigeons, cattle and 
plants of breeders and gardeners. Some of the con- 
clusions he reached were so contrary to accepted beliefs 
that they were condemned as absurd, contrary to common- 
sense, etc. But scientific men, whether they accepted his 
theories or not, employed his hypotheses as directive ideas 
for making new observations and experiments among the 
things of raw experience just as the metallurgist who 
extracts refined metal from crude ore makes tools that are 
then set to work to control and use other crude materials. 
An Einstein working by highly elaborate methods of reflec- 
tion, calculates theoretically certain results in the deflection 
of light by the presence of the sun. A technically equipped 
expedition is sent to South Africa so that by means of 
experiencing a thing an eclipse in crude, primary, ex- 
perience, observations can be secured to compare with, 
and test the theory implied in, the calculated result. 

The facts are familiar enough. They are cited in order 
to invite attention to the relationship between the objects 
of primary and of secondary or reflective experience. That 
the subject-matter of primary experience sets the problems 
and furnishes the first data of the reflection which con- 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 5 

structs the secondary objects is evident; it is also obvious 
that test and verification of the latter is secured only by 
return to things of crude or macroscopic experience the 
sun, earth, plants and animals of common, every-day life. 
But just what role do the objects attained in reflection 
play? Where do they come in? They explain the primary 
objects, they enable us to grasp them with understanding, 
instead of just having sense-contact with them. But how? 
Well, they define or lay out a path by which return to 
experienced things is of such a sort that the meaning, the 
significant content, of what is experienced gains an en- 
riched and expanded force because of the path or method 
by which it was reached. Directly, in immediate contact 
it may be just what it was before hard, colored, odorous, 
etc. But when the secondary objects, the refined objects, 
are employed as a method or road for coming at them, 
these qualities cea^e to be isolated details; they get the 
meaning contained in a whole system of related objects; 
they are rendered continuous with the rest of nature and 
take on the import of the things they are now seen to be 
continuous with. The phenomena observed in the eclipse 
tested and, as far as they went, confirmed Einstein's theory 
of deflection of light by mass. But that is far from being 
the whole story. The phenomena themselves got a far- 
reaching significance they did not previously have. Per- 
haps they would not even have been noticed if the theory 
had not been employed as a guide or road to observation 
of them. But even if they had been noticed, they would 
have been dismissed as of no importance, just as we daily 
drop from attention hundreds of perceived details for 
which we have no intellectual use. But approached by 
means of theory these lines of slight deflection take on a 



6 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

significance as large as that of the revolutionary theory 
that lead to their being experienced. 

This empirical method I shall call the denotative method. 
That philosophy is a mode of reflection, often of a subtle 
and penetrating sort, goes without saying. The charge 
that is brought against the non-empirical method of phil- 
osophizing is not that it depends upon theorizing, but that 
it fails to use refined, secondary products as a path point- 
ing and leading back to something in primary experience. 
The resulting failure is three-fold. 

First, there is no verification, no effort even to test and 
check. What is even worse, secondly, is that the things of 
ordinary experience do not get enlargement and enrich- 
ment of meaning as they do when approached through 
the medium of scientific principles and reasonings. This 
lack of function reacts, in the third place, back upon the 
philosophic subject-matter in itself. Not tested by being 
employed to see what it leads to in ordinary experience 
and what new meanings it contributes, this subject-matter 
becomes arbitrary, aloof what is called "abstract" when 
that word is used in a bad sense to designate something 
which exclusively occupies a realm of its own without 
contact with the things of ordinary experience. 

As the net outcome of these three evils, we find that 
extraordinary phenomenon which accounts for the revul- 
sion of many cultivated persons from any form of phil- 
osophy. The objects of reflection in philosophy, being 
reached by methods that seem to those who employ them 
rationally mandatory are taken to be "real" in and of 
themselves and supremely real. Then it becomes an 
insoluble problem why the things of gross, primary ex- 
perience, should be what they are, or indeed why .they 
should be at all. The refined objects of reflection in the 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 7 

natural sciences, however, never end by rendering the 
subject-matter from which they are derived a problem; 
rather, when used to describe a path by which some goal 
in primary experience is designated or denoted, they solve 
perplexities to which that crude material gives rise but 
which it cannot resolve of itself. They become means of 
control, of enlarged use and enjoyment of ordinary things. 
They may generate new problems, but these are problems 
of the same sort, to be dealt with by further use of the 
same methods of inquiry and experimentation. The prob- 
lems to which empirical method gives rise afford, in a word, 
opportunities for more investigations yielding fruit in new 
and enriched experiences. But the problems to which non- 
empirical method gives rise in philosophy are blocks to 
inquiry, blind alleys; they are puzzles rather than prob- 
lems, solved only by calling the original material of primary 
experience, "phenomenal," mere appearance, mere impres- 
sions, or by some other disparaging name. 

Thus there is here supplied, I think, a first-rate test of 
the value of any philosophy which is offered us: Does it 
end in conclusions which, when they are referred back 
to ordinary life-experiences and their predicaments, render 
them more significant, more luminous to us, and make our 
dealings with them more fruitful? Or does it terminate in 
rendering the things of ordinary experience more opaque 
than they were before, and in depriving them of having in 
"reality" even the significance they had previously seemed 
to have? Does it yield the enrichment and increase of 
power of ordinary things which the results of physical 
science afford when applied in every-day affairs? Or does 
it become a mystery that these ordinary things should be 
what they are; and are philosophic concepts left to dwell in 
separation in some technical realm of their own? It is the 



8 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

fact, I repeat, that so many philosophies terminate in con- 
clusions that make it necessary to disparage and condemn 
primary experience, leading those who hold them to meas- 
ure the sublimity of their "realities" as philosophically 
defined by remoteness from the concerns of daily life, 
which leads cultivated common-sense to look askance at 
philosophy. 

These general statements must be made more definite. 
We must illustrate the meaning of empirical method by 
seeing some of its results in contrast with those to which 
non-empirical philosophies conduct us. We begin by not- 
ing that "experience" is what James called a double- 
barrelled word. 1 Like its congeners, life and history, it 
includes what men do and suffer, what they strive for, love, 
believe and endure, and also how men act and are acted 
upon, the ways in which they do and suffer, desire and 
enjoy, see, believe, imagine in short, processes of experi- 
encing. "Experience" denotes the planted field, the sowed 
seeds, the reaped harvests, the changes of night and day, 
spring and autumn, wet and dry, heat and cold, that are 
observed, feared, longed for; it also denotes the one who 
plants and reaps, who works and rejoices, hopes, fears, 
plans, invokes magic or chemistry to aid him, who is down- 
cast or triumphant. It is "double-barrelled" in that it 
recognizes in its primary integrity no division between act 
and material, subject and object, but contains them both 
in an unanalyzed totality. "Thing" and "thought," as 
James says in the same connection, are single-barrelled; 
they refer to products discriminated by reflection out of 
primary experience. 2 

It is significant that "life" and "history" have the same 

1 Essays in Radical Empiricism, p. 10. 

2 It is not intended, however, to attribute to James precisely the in- 
terpretation given in the text. 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 9 

fullness of undivided meaning. Life denotes a function, a 
comprehensive activity, in which organism and environ- 
ment are included. Only upon reflective analysis does it 
break up into external conditions air breathed, food 
taken, ground walked upon and internal structures 
lungs respiring, stomach digesting, legs walking. The 
scope of "history" is notorious: it is the deeds enacted, 
the tragedies undergone; and it is the human comment, 
record, and interpretation that inevitably follow. Objec- 
tively, history takes in rivers, mountains, fields and for- 
ests, laws and institutions; subjectively it includes the 
purposes and plans, the desires and emotions, through 
which these things are administered and transformed. 

Now empirical method is the only method which can do 
justice to this inclusive integrity of "experience." It alone 
takes this integrated unity as the starting point for phil- 
osophic thought. Other methods begin with results of a 
reflection that has already torn in two the subject-matter 
experienced and the operations and states of experiencing. 
The problem is then to get together again what has been 
sundered which is as if the king's men started with the 
fragments of the egg and tried to construct the whole egg 
out of them. For empirical method the problem is nothing 
so impossible of solution. Its problem is to note how and 
why the whole is distinguished into subject and object, 
nature and mental operations. Having done this, it is in a 
position to see to what effect the distinction is made: how 
the distinguished factors function in the further control and 
enrichment of the subject-matters of crude but total experi- 
ence. Non-empirical method starts with a reflective 
product as if it were primary, as if it were the originally 
"given." To non-empirical method, therefore, object and 



10 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

subject, mind and matter (or whatever words and ideas are 
used) are separate and independent. Therefore it has 
upon its hands the problem of how it is possible to know at 
all ; how an outer world can affect an inner mind ; how the 
acts of mind can reach out and lay hold of objects defined 
in antithesis to them. Naturally it is at a loss for an 
answer, since its premisses make the fact of knowledge 
both unnatural and unempirical. One thinker turns meta- 
physical materialist and denies reality to the mental; an- 
other turns psychological idealist, and holds that matter 
and force are merely disguised psychical events. Solutions 
are given up as a hopeless task, or else different schools pile 
one intellectual complication on another only to arrive by 
a long and tortuous course at that which nai've experience 
already has in its own possession. 

The first and perhaps the greatest difference made in 
philosophy by adoption respectively of empirical or non- 
empirical method is, thus, the difference made in what is 
selected as original material. To a truly naturalistic em- 
piricism, the moot problem of the relation of subject and 
object is the problem of what consequences follow in and 
for primary experience from the distinction of the physical 
and the psychological or mental from each other. The 
answer is not far to seek. To distinguish in reflection the 
physical and to hold it in temporary detachment is to be 
set upon the road that conducts to tools and technologies, 
to construction of mechanisms, to the arts that ensue in 
the wake of the sciences. That these constructions make 
possible a better regulation of the affairs of primary ex- 
perience is evident. Engineering and medicine, all the 
utilities that make for expansion of life, are the answer. 
There is better administration of old familiar things, 'and 
there is invention of new objects and satisfactions. Along 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 11 

with this added ability in regulation goes enriched mean- 
ing and value in things, clarification, increased depth and 
continuity a result even more precious than is the added 
power of control. 

The history of the development of the physical sciences 
is the story of the enlarging possession by mankind of more 
efficacious instrumentalities for dealing witth the conditions 
of life and action. But when one neglects the connection 
of these scientific objects with the affairs of primary 
experience, the result is a picture of a world of things 
indifferent to human interests because it is wholly apart 
from experience. It is more than merely isolated, for it 
is set in opposition. Hence when it is viewed as fixed and 
final in itself it is a source of oppression to the heart and 
paralysis to imagination. Since this picture of the physical 
universe and philosophy of the character of physical ob- 
jects is contradicted by every engineering project and 
every intelligent measure of public hygiene, it would seem 
to be time to examine the foundations upon which it rests, 
and find out how and why such conclusions are come to. 

When objects are isolated from the experience through 
which they are reached and in which they function, ex- 
perience itself becomes reduced to the mere process of 
experiencing, and experiencing is therefore treated as if it 
were also complete in itself. We get the absurdity of an 
experiencing which experiences only itself, states and 
processes of consciousness, instead of the things of nature. 
Since the seventeenth century this conception of experience 
as the equivalent of subjective private consciousness set 
over against nature, which consists wholly of physical 
objects, has wrought havoc in philosophy. It is responsible 
for the feeling mentioned at the outset that "nature" and 



12 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

"experience" are names for things which have nothing to 
do with each other. 

Let us inquire how the matter stands when these mental 
and psychical objects are looked at in their connection with 
experience in its primary and vital modes. As has been 
suggested, these objects are not original, isolated and self- 
sufficient. They represent the discriminated analysis of the 
process of experiencing from subject-matter experienced. 
Although breathing is in fact a function that includes both 
air and the operations of the lungs, we may detach the 
latter for study, even though we cannot separate it in 
fact. So while we always know, love, act for and against 
things, instead of experiencing ideas, emotions and mental 
intents, the attitudes themselves may be made a special 
object of attention, and thus come to form a distinctive 
subject-matter of reflective, although not of primary, ex- 
perience. 

We primarily observe things, not observations. But the 
act of observation may be inquired into and form a sub- 
ject of study and become thereby a refined object; so may 
the acts of thinking, desire, purposing, the state of affec- 
tion, reverie, etc. Now just as long as these attitudes are 
not distinguished and abstracted, they are incorporated 
into subject-matter. It is a notorious fact that the one 
who hates finds the one hated an obnoxious and despicable 
character; to the lover his adored one is full of intrin- 
sically delightful and wonderful qualities. The connection 
between such facts and the fact of animism is direct. 

The natural and original bias of man is all toward the 
objective; whatever is experienced is taken to be there 
independent of the attitude and act of the self. Its "there- 
ness," its independence of emotion and volition, render the 
properties of things, whatever they are, cosmic. Only 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 13 

when vanity, prestige, rights of possession are involved does 
an individual tend to separate off from the environment and 
the group in which he, quite literally, lives, some things as 
being peculiarly himself. It is obvious that a total, un- 
analyzed world does not lend itself to control; that, on the 
contrary it is equivalent to the subjection of man to what- 
ever occurs, as if to fate. Until some acts and their con- 
sequences are discriminatingly referred to the human 
organism and other energies and effects are referred to 
other bodies, there is no leverage, no purchase, with which 
to regulate the course of experience. The abstraction of 
certain qualities of things as due to human acts and states 
is the pou sto of ability in control. There can be no doubt 
that the long period of human arrest at a low level of 
culture was largely the result of failure to select the human 
being and his acts as a special kind of object, having his 
own characteristic activities that condition specifiable 
consequences. 

In this sense, the recognition of "subjects" as centres of 
experience together with the development of "subjectiv- 
ism" marks a great advance. It is equivalent to the emer- 
gence of agencies equipped with special powers of observa- 
tion and experiment, and with emotions and desires that 
are efficacious for production of chosen modifications of 
nature. For otherwise the agencies are submerged in 
nature and produce qualities of things which must be 
accepted and submitted to. It is no mere play on words 
to say that recognition of subjective minds having a special 
equipment of psychological abilities is a necessary factor 
in subjecting the energies of nature to use as instrumen- 
talities for ends. 

Out of the indefinite number of possible illustrations of 
the consequences of reflective analysis yielding personal 



14 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

or "subjective" minds we cite one case. It concerns the 
influence of habitual beliefs and expectations in their social 
generation upon what is experienced. The things of pri- 
mary experience are so arresting and engrossing that we 
tend to accept them just as they are the flat earth, the 
march of the sun from east to west and its sinking under 
the earth. Current beliefs in morals, religion and politics 
similarly reflect the social conditions which present them- 
selves. Only analysis shows that the ways in which we 
believe and expect have a tremendous affect upon what we 
believe and expect. We have discovered at last that these 
ways are set, almost abjectly so, by social factors, by 
tradition and the influence of education. Thus we discover 
that we believe many things not because the things are so, 
but because we have become habituated through the weight 
of authority, by imitation, prestige, instruction, the uncon- 
scious effect of language, etc. We learn, in short, that 
qualities which we attribute to objects ought to be imputed 
to our own ways of experiencing them, and that these in 
turn are due to the force of intercourse and custom. This 
discovery marks an emancipation; it purifies and remakes 
the objects of our direct or primary experience. The power 
of custom and tradition in scientific as well as in moral 
beliefs never suffered a serious check until analysis re- 
vealed the effect of personal ways of believing upon things 
believed, and the extent to which these ways are unwit- 
tingly fixed by social custom and tradition. In spite of the 
acute and penetrating powers of observation among the 
Greeks, their "science" is a monument of the extent to 
which the effects of acquired social habits as well as of 
organic constitution were attributed directly to natural 
events. The de-personalizing and de-socializing of ?ome 
objects, to be henceforth the objects of physical science, 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD IS 

was a necessary precondition of ability to regulate experi- 
ence by directing the attitudes and objects that enter into 
it. 

This great emancipation was coincident with the rise of 
"individualism," which was in effect identical with the 
reflective discovery of the part played in experience by 
concrete selves, with their ways of acting, thinking and 
desiring. The results would have been all to the good if 
they had been interpreted by empirical method. For this 
would have kept the eye of thinkers constantly upon the 
origin of the "subjective" out of primary experience, and 
then directed it to the function of discriminating what is 
usable in the management of experienced objects. But 
for lack of such a method, because of isolation from em- 
pirical origin and instrumental use, the results of psy- 
chological inquiry were conceived to form a separate and 
isolated mental world in and of itself, self-sufficient and 
self-enclosed. Since the psychological movement neces- 
sarily coincided with that which set up physical objects as 
correspondingly complete and self-enclosed, there resulted 
that dualism of mind and matter, of a physical and a 
psychical world, which from the day of Descartes to the 
present dominates the formulation of philosophical 
problems. 

With the dualism we are not here concerned, beyond 
pointing out that it is the inevitable result, logically, of the 
abandoning of acknowledgment of the primacy and ulti- 
macy of gross experience primary as it is given in an un- 
controlled form, ultimate as it is given in a more regulated 
and significant form a form made possible by the methods 
and results of reflective experience. But what we are 
directly concerned with at this stage of discussion is the 
result of the discovery of subjective objects upon phi- 



16 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

losophy in creation of wholesale subjectivism. The out- 
come was, that while in actual life the discovery of personal 
attitudes and their consequences was a great liberating in- 
strument, psychology became for philosophy, as Santayana 
has well put it, "malicious." That is, mental attitudes, 
ways of experiencing, were treated as self-sufficient and 
complete in themselves, as that which is primarily given, 
the sole original and therefore indubitable data. Thus the 
traits of genuine primary experience, in which natural 
things are the determining factors in production of all 
change, were regarded either as not-given dubious things 
that could be reached only b>? endowing the only certain 
thing, the mental, with some miraculous power, or else were 
denied all existence save as complexes of mental states, of 
impressions, sensations, feelings. 1 

One illustration out of the multitude available follows. 
It is taken almost at random, because it is both simple 
and typical. To illustrate the nature of experience, what 
experience really is, an author writes: "When I look at a 
chair, I say I experience it. But what I actually experi- 
ence is only a very few of the elements that go to make 
up a chair, namely the color that belongs to the chair 
under these particular conditions of light, the shape which 
the chair displays when viewed from this angle, etc." Two 
points are involved in any such statement. One is that 
"experience" is reduced to the traits connected with the 

1 Because of this identification of the mental as the sole "given" in a 
primary, original way, appeal to experience by a philosopher is treated 
by many as necessarily committing one to subjectivism. It accounts for 
the alleged antithesis between nature and experience mentioned in the 
opening paragraph. It has become so deeply engrained that the em- 
pirical method employed in this volume has been taken by critics to be 
simply a re-statement of a purely subjective philosophy, although in 
fact it is wholly contrary to such a philosophy. 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 17 

act of experiencing, in this case the act of seeing. Certain 
patches of color, for example, assume a certain shape or 
form in connection with qualities connected with the mus- 
cular strains and adjustments of seeing. These qualities, 
which define the act of seeing when it is made an object 
of reflective inquiry, over against what is seen, thus become 
the chair itself for immediate or direct experience. Log- 
ically, the chair disappears and is replaced by certain 
qualities of sense attending the act of vision. There is no 
longer any other object, much less the chair which was 
bought, that is placed in a room and that is used to sit in, 
etc. If we ever get back to this total chair, it will not be 
the chair of direct experience, of use and enjoyment, a 
thing with its own independent origin, history and career; 
it will be only a complex of directly "given" sense qualities 
as a core, plus a surrounding cluster of other qualities 
revived imaginatively as "ideas." 

The other point is that, even in such a brief statement as 
that just quoted, there is compelled recognition of an 
object of experience which is infinitely other and more 
than what is asserted to be alone experienced. There is 
the chair which is looked at; the chair displaying certain 
colors, the light in which they are displayed; the angle of 
vision implying reference to an organism that possesses an 
optical apparatus. Reference to these things is compul- 
sory, because otherwise there would be no meaning as- 
signable to the sense qualities which are, nevertheless, 
affirmed to be the sole data experienced. It would be hard 
to find a more complete recognition, although an unavowed 
one, of the fact that in reality the account given concerns 
only. a selected portion of the actual experience, namely 
that part which defines the act of experiencing, to the 



18 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

deliberate omission, for the purpose of the inquiry in hand, 
of what is experienced. 

The instance cited is typical of all "subjectivism" as a 
philosophic position. Reflective analysis of one element in 
actual experience is undertaken; its result is then taken 
to be primary; as a consequence the subject-matter of 
actual experience from which the analytic result was de- 
rived is rendered dubious and problematic, although it is 
assumed at every step of the analysis. Genuine empirical 
method sets out from the actual subject-matter of primary 
experience, recognizes that reflection discriminates a new 
factor in it, the act of seeing, makes an object of that, and 
then uses that new object, the organic response to light, to 
regulate, when needed, further experiences of the subject- 
matter already contained in primary experience. 

The topics just dealt with, segregation of physical and 
mental objects, will receive extended attention in the body 
of this volume. 1 As respects method, however, it is per- 
tinent at this point to summarize our results. Reference to 
the primacy and ultimacy of the material of ordinary ex- 
perience protects us, in the first place, from creating arti- 
ficial problems which deflect the energy and attention of 
philosophers from the real problems that arise out of 
actual subject-matter. In the second place, it provides a 
check or test for the conclusions of philosophic inquiry; it 
is a constant reminder that we must replace them, as 
secondary reflective products, in the experience out of 
which they arose, so that they may be confirmed or modi- 
fied by the new order and clarity they introduce into it, and 
the new significantly experienced objects for which they 
furnish a method. In the third place, in seeing how they 
thus function in further experiences, the philosophigal re- 

1 Chapters IV and VI. 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 19 

suits themselves acquire empirical value; they are what 
they contribute to the common experience of man, instead 
of being curiosities to be deposited, with appropriate labels, 
in a metaphysical museum. 

There is another important result for philosophy of the 
use of empirical method which, when it is developed, intro- 
duces our next topic. Philosophy, like all forms of reflec- 
tive analysis, takes us away, for the time being, from 
the things had in primary experience as they directly act 
and are acted upon, used and enjoyed. Now the standing 
temptation of philosophy, as its course abundantly demon- 
strates, is to regard the results of reflection as having, in 
and of themselves, a reality superior to that of the material 
of any other mode of experience. The commonest assump- 
tion of philosophies, common even to philosophies very 
different from one another, is the assumption of the iden- 
tity of objects of knowledge and ultimately real objects. 
The assumption is so deep that it is usually not expressed ; 
it is taken for granted as something so fundamental that 
it does not need to be stated. A technical example of the 
view is found in the contention of the Cartesian school 
including Spinoza that emotion as well as sense is but 
confused thought which when it becomes clear and definite 
or reaches its goal is cognition. That esthetic and moral 
experience reveal traits of real things as truly as does intel- 
lectual experience, that poetry may have a metaphysical 
import as well as science, is rarely affirmed, and when it is 
asserted, the statement is likely to be meant in some 
mystical or esoteric sense rather than in a straightforward 
everyday sense. 

Suppose however that we start with no presuppositions 
save that what is experienced, since it is a manifestation of 
nature, may, and indeed, must be used as testimony of the 



20 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

characteristics of natural events. Upon this basis, reverie 
and desire are pertinent for a philosophic theory of the true 
nature of things; the possibilities present in imagination 
that are not found in observation, are something to be 
taken into account. The features of objects reached by 
scientific or reflective experiencing are important, but so 
are all the phenomena of magic, myth, politics, painting, 
and penitentiaries. The phenomena of social life are as 
relevant to the problem of the relation of the individual 
and universal as are those of logic; the existence in political 
organization of boundaries and barriers, of centralization, 
of interaction across boundaries, of expansion and absorp- 
tion, will be quite as important for metaphysical theories 
of the discrete and the continuous as is anything derived 
from chemical analysis. The existence of ignorance as 
well as of wisdom, of error and even insanity as well as 
of truth will be taken into account. 

That is to say, nature is construed in such a way that all 
these things, since they are actual, are naturally possible; 
they are not explained away into mere "appearance" in 
contrast with reality. Illusions are illusions, but the occur- 
rence of illusions is not an illusion, but a genuine reality. 
What is really "in" experience extends much further than 
that which at any time is known. From the standpoint of 
knowledge, objects must be distinct; their traits must be 
explicit; the vague and unrevealed is a limitation. Hence 
whenever the habit of identifying reality with the object of 
knowledge as such prevails, the obscure and vague are 
explained away. It is important for philosophic theory 
to be aware that the distinct and evident are prized and 
why they are. But it is equally important to note that the 
dark and twilight abound. For in any object of primary 
experience there are always potentialities which are not 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 21 

explicit; any object that is overt is charged with possible 
consequences that are hidden; the most overt act has fac- 
tors which are not explicit. Strain thought as far as we 
may and not all consequences can be foreseen or made an 
express or known part of reflection and decision. In the 
face of such empirical facts, the assumption that nature in 
itself is all of the same kind, all distinct, explicit and evi- 
dent, having no hidden possibilities, no novelties or ob- 
scurities, is possible only on the basis of a philosophy which 
at some point draws an arbitrary line between nature and 
experience. 

In the assertion (implied here) that the great vice of 
philosophy is an arbitrary "intellectualism," there is no 
slight cast upon intelligence and reason. By "intellectual- 
ism" as an indictment is meant the theory that all experi- 
encing is a mode of knowing, and that all subject-matter, 
all nature, is, in principle, to be reduced and transformed 
till it is defined in terms identical with the characteristics 
presented by refined objects of science as such. The as- 
sumption of "intellectualism" goes contrary to the facts 
of what is primarily experienced. For things are objects 
to be treated, used, acted upon and with, enjoyed and 
endured, even more than things to be known. They are 
things had before they are things cognized. 

The isolation of traits characteristic of objects known, 
and then defined as the sole ultimate realities, accounts 
for the denial to nature of the characters which make 
things lovable and contemptible, beautiful and ugly, ador- 
able and awful. It accounts for the belief that nature is an 
indifferent, dead mechanism; it explains why characteris- 
tics that are the valuable and valued traits of objects in 
actual experience are thought to create a fundamentally 
troublesome philosophical problem. Recognition of their 



22 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

genuine and primary reality does not signify that no 
thought and knowledge enter in when things are loved, 
desired and striven for; it signifies that the former are 
subordinate, so that the genuine problem is how and why, 
to what effect, things thus experienced are transformed into 
objects in which cognized traits are supreme and affectional 
and volitional traits incidental and subsidiary. 

"Intellectualism" as a sovereign method of philosophy 
is so foreign to the facts of primary experience that it not 
only compels recourse to non-empirical method, but it 
ends in making knowledge, conceived as ubiquitous, itself 
inexplicable. If we start from primary experience, occur- 
ring as it does chiefly in modes of action and undergoing, 
it is easy to see what knowledge contributes namely, the 
possibility of intelligent administration of the elements of 
doing and suffering. We are about something, and it is 
well to know what we are about, as the common phrase 
has it. To be intelligent in action and in suffering (enjoy- 
ment too) yields satisfaction even when conditions cannot 
be controlled. But when there is possibility of control, 
knowledge is the sole agency of its realization. Given this 
element of knowledge in primary experience, it is not diffi- 
cult to understand how it may develop from a subdued and 
subsidiary factor into a dominant character. Doing and 
suffering, experimenting and putting ourselves in the way 
of having our sense and nervous system acted upon in ways 
that yield material for reflection, may reverse the original 
situation in which knowing and thinking were subservient 
to action-undergoing. And when we trace the genesis of 
knowing along this line, we also see that knowledge has a 
function and office in bettering and enriching the subject- 
matters of crude experience. We are prepared to under- 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 23 

stand what we are about on a grander scale, and to under- 
stand what happens even when we seem to be the hapless 
puppets of uncontrollable fate. But knowledge that is 
ubiquitous, all-inclusive and all-monopolizing, ceases to 
have meaning in losing all context; that it does not appear 
to do so when made supreme and self-sufficient is because 
it is literally impossible to exclude that context of non- 
cognitive but experienced subject-matter which gives what 
is known its import. 

While this matter is dealt with at some length in further 
chapters of this volume, there is one point worth mention- 
ing here. When intellectual experience and its material 
are taken to be primary, the cord that binds experience 
and nature is cut. That the physiological organism with 
its structures, whether in man or in the lower animals, is 
concerned with making adaptations and uses of material 
in the interest of maintenance of the life-process, cannot 
be denied. The brain and nervous system are primarily 
organs of action-undergoing; biologically, it can be asserted 
without contravention that primary experience is of a cor- 
responding type. Hence, unless there is breach of historic 
and natural continuity, cognitive experience must originate 
within that of a non-cognitive sort. And unless we start 
from knowing as a factor in action and undergoing we are 
inevitably committed to the intrusion of an extra-natural, 
if not a supernatural, agency and principle. That pro- 
fessed non-supernaturalists so readily endow the organism 
with powers that have no basis in natural events is a fact 
so peculiar that it would be inexplicable were it not for the 
inertia of the traditional schools. Otherwise it would be 
evident that the only way to maintain the doctrine of 
natural continuity is to recognize the secondary and de- 
rived character aspects of experience of the intellectual or 



24 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

cognitive. But so deeply grounded is the opposite position 
in the entire philosophic tradition, that it is probably not 
surprising that philosophers are loath to admit a fact which 
when admitted compels an extensive reconstruction in 
form and content. 

We have spoken of the difference which acceptance of 
empirical method in philosophy makes in the problem of 
subject-object and in that of the alleged all-inclusiveness of 
cognitive experience. 1 There is an intimate connection 
between these two problems. When real objects are iden- 
tified, point for point, with knowledge-objects, all affec- 
tional and volitional objects are inevitably excluded from 
the "real" world, and are compelled to find refuge in the 
privacy of an experiencing subject or mind. Thus the 
notion of the ubiquity of all comprehensive cognitive ex- 
perience results by a necessary logic in setting up a hard 
and fast wall between the experiencing subject and that 
nature which is experienced. The self becomes not merely 
a pilgrim but an unnaturalized and unnaturalizable alien in 
the world. The only way to avoid a sharp separation 
between the mind which is the centre of the processes of 
experiencing and the natural world which is experienced is 
to acknowledge that all modes of experiencing are ways in 
which some genuine traits of nature come to manifest 
realization. 

The favoring of cognitive objects and their characteris- 

1 To avoid misapprehension, it may be well to add a statement on the 
latter point. It is not denied that any experienced subject-matter what- 
ever may become an object of reflection and cognitive inspection. But 
the emphasis is upon "become"; the cognitive never is all-inclusive: that is, 
when the material of a prior non-cognitive experience is the object of 
knowledge, it and the act of knowing are themselves included within a 
new and and wider non-cognitive experience and this situation can never 
be transcended. It is only when the temporal character of experienced 
things is forgotten that the idea of the total "transcendence" of knowledge 
is asserted. 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 25 

tics at the expense of traits that excite desire, command 
action and produce passion, is a special instance of a 
principle of selective emphasis which introduces partiality 
and partisanship into philosophy. Selective emphasis, with 
accompanying omission and rejection, is the heart-beat of 
mental life. To object to the operation is to discard all 
thinking. But in ordinary matters and in scientific in- 
quiries, we always retain the sense that the material chosen 
is selected for a purpose; there is no idea of denying what 
is left out, for what is omitted is merely that which is not 
relevant to the particular problem and purpose in hand. 

But in philosophies, this limiting condition is often 
wholly ignored. It is not noted and remembered that the 
favored subject-matter is chosen for a purpose and that 
what is left out is just as real and important in its own 
characteristic context. It tends to be assumed that because 
qualities that figure in poetical discourse and those that 
are central in friendship do not figure in scientific inquiry, 
they have no reality, at least not the kind of unquestionable 
reality attributed to the mathematical, mechanical or mag- 
neto-electric properties that constitute matter. It is natural 
to men to take that which is of chief value to them at the 
time as the real. Reality and superior value are equated. 
In ordinary experience this fact does no particular harm; 
it is at once compensated for by turning to other things 
which since they also present value are equally real. But 
philosophy often exhibits a cataleptic rigidity in attach- 
ment to that phase of the total objects of experience which 
has become especially dear to a philosopher. // is real at 
all hazards and only it; other things are real only in some 
secondary and Pickwickian sense. 

For example, certainty, assurance, is immensely valuable 
in a world as full of uncertainty and peril as that in which 



26 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

we live. As a result whatever is capable of certainty is 
assumed to constitute ultimate Being, and everything else 
is said to be merely phenomenal, or, in extreme cases, illu- 
sory. The arbitrary character of the "reality" that 
emerges is seen in the fact that very different objects are 
selected by different philosophers. These may be mathe- 
matical entities, states of consciousness, or sense data. 
That is, whatever strikes a philosopher from the angle of 
the particular problem that presses on him as being self- 
evident and hence completely assured, is selected by him 
to constitute reality. The honorable and dignified have 
ranked with the mundanely certain in determining philo- 
sophic definitions of the real. Scholasticism considered 
that the True and the Good, along with Unity, were the 
marks of Being as such. In the face of a problem, thought 
always seeks to unify things otherwise fragmentary and 
discrepant. Deliberately action strives to attain the good; 
knowledge is reached when truth is grasped. Then the 
goals of our efforts, the things that afford satisfaction and 
peace under conditions of tension and unrest, are converted 
into that which alone is ultimate real Being. Ulterior func- 
tions are treated as original properties. 

Another aspect of the same erection of objects of selec- 
tive preference into exclusive realities is seen in the addic- 
tion of philosophers to what is simple, their love for "ele- 
ments." Gross experience is loaded with the tangled and 
complex; hence philosophy hurries away from it to search 
out something so simple that the mind can rest trustfully 
in it, knowing that it has no surprises in store, that it will 
not spring anything to make trouble, that it will stay put, 
having no potentialities in reserve. There is again the 
predilection for mathematical objects; there is Spinoza 
with his assurance that a true idea carries truth intrinsic 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 27 

in its bosom; Locke with his "simple idea"; Hume with 
his "impression"; the English neo-realist with his ultimate 
atomic data; the American neo-realist with his ready-made 
essences. 

Another striking example of the fallacy of selective em- 
phasis is found in the hypnotic influence exercised by the 
conception of the eternal. The permanent enables us to 
rest, it gives peace; the variable, the changing, is a con- 
stant challenge. Where things change something is hang- 
ing over us. It is a threat of trouble. Even when change 
is marked by hope of better things to come, that hope tends 
to project its object as something to stay once for all when 
it arrives. Moreover we can deal with the variable and 
precarious only by means of the stable and constant; "in- 
variants" for the time being are as much a necessity in 
practice for bringing something to pass as they are in 
mathematical functions. The permanent answers genuine 
emotional, practical and intellectual requirements. But the 
demand and the response which meets it are empirically 
always found in a special context; they arise because of a 
particular need and in order to effect specifiable conse- 
quences. Philosophy, thinking at large, allows itself to 
be diverted into absurd search for an intellectual philoso- 
pher's stone of absolutely wholesale generalizations, thus 
isolating that which is permanent in a function and for a 
purpose, and converting it into the intrinsically eternal, 
conceived either (as Aristotle conceived it) as that which 
is the same at all times, or as that which is indifferent to 
time, out of time. 

This bias toward treating objects selected because of 
their value in some special context as the "real," in a 
superior and invidious sense, testifies to an empirical fact 
of importance. Philosophical simplifications are due to 



28 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

choice, and choice marks an interest moral in the broad 
sense of concern for what is good. Our constant and un- 
escapable concern is with prosperity and adversity, success 
and failure, achievement and frustration, good and bad. 
Since we are creatures with lives to live, and find ourselves 
within an uncertain environment, we are constructed to 
note and judge in terms of bearing upon weal and woe 
upon value. Acknowledgment of this fact is a very dif- 
ferent thing, however, from the transformation effected by 
philosophers of the traits they find good (simplicity, cer- 
tainty, nobility, permanence, etc.) into fixed traits of real 
Being. The former presents something to be accom- 
plished, to be brought about by the actions in which choice 
is manifested and made genuine. The latter ignores the 
need of action to effect the better and to prove the honesty 
of choice; it converts what is desired into antecedent and 
final features of a reality which is supposed to need only 
logical warrant in order to be contemplatively enjoyed as 
true Being. 

For reflection the eventual is always better or worse 
than the given. But since it would also be better if the 
eventual good were now given, the philosopher, belonging 
by status to a leisure class relieved from the urgent neces- 
sity of dealing with conditions, converts the eventual into 
some kind of Being, something which is, even if it does not 
exist. Permanence, real essence, totality, order, unity, ra- 
tionality, the tmum, verum et bomem of the classic tradi- 
tion, are eulogistic predicates. When we find such terms 
used to describe the foundations and proper conclusions 
of a philosophic system, there is ground for suspecting 
that an artificial simplification of existence has been per- 
formed. Reflection determining preference for an eventual 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 29 

good has dialectically wrought a miracle of transubstan- 
tiation. 

Selective emphasis, choice, is inevitable whenever reflec- 
tion occurs. This is not an evil. Deception comes only 
when the presence and operation of choice is concealed, 
disguised, denied. Empirical method finds and points to 
the operation of choice as it does to any other event. Thus 
it protects us from conversion of eventual functions into 
antecedent existence: a conversion that may be said to be 
the philosophic fallacy, whether it be performed in behalf 
of mathematical subsistences, esthetic essences, the purely 
physical order of nature, or God. The present writer does 
not profess any greater candor of intent than animates 
fellow philosophers. But the pursuance of an empirical 
method, is, he submits, the only way to secure execution of 
candid intent. Whatever enters into choice, determining 
its need and giving it guidance, an empirical method 
frankly indicates what it is for; and the fact of choice, 
with its workings and consequences, an empirical method 
points out with equal openness. 

The adoption of an empirical method is no guarantee 
that all the things relevant to any particular conclusion 
will actually be found, or that when found they will be 
correctly shown and communicated. But empirical method 
points out when and where and how things of a designated 
description have been arrived at. It places before others 
a map of the road that has been travelled; they may ac- 
cordingly, if they will, re- travel the road to inspect the 
landscape for themselves. Thus the findings of one may 
be rectified and extended by the findings of others, with 
as much assurance as is humanly possible of confirmation, 
extension and rectification. The adoption of empirical 
method thus procures for philosophic reflection something 



30 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

of that cooperative tendency toward consensus which 
marks inquiry in the natural sciences. The scientific in- 
vestigator convinces others not by the plausibility of his 
definitions and the cogency of his dialectic, but by placing 
before them the specified course of searchings, doings and 
arrivals, in consequence of which certain things have been 
found. His appeal is for others to traverse a similar 
course, so as to see how what they find corresponds with 
his report. 

Honest empirical method will state when and where and 
why the act of selection took place, and thus enable others 
to repeat it and test its worth. Selective choice, denoted as 
an empirical event, reveals the basis and bearing of intel- 
lectual simplifications; they then cease to be of such a self- 
enclosed nature as to be affairs only of opinion and argu- 
ment, admitting no alternatives save complete acceptance 
or rejection. Choice that is disguised or denied is the 
source of those astounding differences of philosophic belief 
that startle the beginner and that become the plaything of 
the expert. Choice that is avowed is an experiment to be 
tried on its merits and tested by its results. Under all the 
captions that are called immediate knowledge, or self-suf- 
ficient certitude of belief, whether logical, esthetic or epis- 
temological, there is something selected for a purpose, and 
hence not simple, not self-evident and not intrinsically 
eulogizable. State the purpose so that it may be re-experi- 
enced, and its value and the pertinency of selection under- 
taken in its behalf may be tested. The purport of thinking, 
scientific and philosophic, is not to eliminate choice but to 
render it less arbitrary and more significant. It loses its 
arbitrary character when its quality and consequences are 
such as to commend themselves to the reflection of others 
after they have betaken themselves to the situations indi- 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 31 

cated; it becomes significant when reason for the choice is 
found to be weighty and its consequences momentous. 
When choice is avowed, others can repeat the course of 
the experience; it is an experiment to be tried, not an auto- 
matic safety device. 

This particular affair is referred to here not so much as 
matter of doctrine as to afford an illustration of the nature 
of empirical method. Truth or falsity depends upon what 
men find when they warily perform the experiment of ob- 
serving reflective events. An empirical finding is refuted 
not by denial that one finds things to be thus and so, but by 
giving directions for a course of experience that results in 
finding its opposite to be the case. To convince of error 
as well as to lead to truth is to assist another to see and 
find something which he hitherto has failed to find and 
recognize. All of the wit and subtlety of reflection and 
logic find scope in the elaboration and conveying of direc- 
tions that intelligibly point out a course to be followed. 
Every system of philosophy presents the consequences of 
some such experiment. As experiments, each has contrib- 
uted something of worth to our observation of the events 
and qualities of experienceable objects. Some harsh criti- 
cisms of traditional philosophy have already been sug- 
gested; others will doubtless follow. But the criticism is 
not directed at the experiments; it is aimed at the denial 
to them by the philosophic tradition of selective experi- 
mental quality, a denial which has isolated them from their 
actual context and function, and has thereby converted 
potential illuminations into arbitrary assertions. 

This discussion of empirical method has had a double 
content. On one hand, it has tried to make clear, from the 
analogy of empirical method in scientific inquiry, what the 
method signifies (and does not signify) for philosophy. 



32 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Such a discussion would, however, have little definite im- 
port unless the difference that is made in philosophy by the 
adoption of empirical method is pointed out. For that rea- 
son, we have considered some typical ways and important 
places in which traditional philosophies have gone astray 
through failure to connect their reflective results with the 
affairs of every-day primary experience. Three sources of 
large fallacies have been mentioned, each containing within 
itself many more sub-varieties than have been hinted at. 
The three are the complete separation of subject and ob- 
ject, (of what is experienced from how it is experi- 
enced) ; the exaggeration of the features of known objects 
at the expense of the qualities of objects of enjoyment and 
trouble, friendship and human association, art and indus- 
try; and the exclusive isolation of the results of various 
types of selective simplification which are undertaken for 
diverse unavowed purposes. 

It does not follow that the products of these philosophies 
which have taken the wrong, because non-empirical, 
method are of no value or little worth for a philosophy that 
pursues a strictly empirical method. The contrary is the 
case, for no philosopher can get away from experience even 
if he wants to. The most fantastic views ever entertained 
by superstitious people had some basis in experienced fact; 
they can be explained by one who knows enough about 
them and about the conditions under which they were 
formed. And philosophers have been not more but less 
superstitious than their fellows; they have been, as a class, 
unusually reflective and inquiring. If some of their prod- 
ucts have been fantasies, it was not because they did not, 
even unwittingly, start from empirical method; it was not 
wholly because they substituted unchecked imagination for 
thought. No, the trouble has been that they have failed 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 33 

to note the empirical needs that generate their problems, 
and have failed to return the refined products back to the 
context of actual experience, there to receive their check, 
inherit their full content of meaning, and give illumination 
and guidance in the immediate perplexities which origi- 
nally occasioned reflection. 

The chapters which follow make no pretence, accord- 
ingly, of starting to philosophize afresh as if there were no 
philosophies already in existence, or as if their conclusions 
were empirically worthless. Rather the subsequent discus- 
sions rely, perhaps excessively so, upon the main results of 
great philosophic systems, endeavoring to point out their 
elements of strength and of weakness when their conclu- 
sions are employed (as the refined objects of all reflection 
must be employed) as guides back to the subject-matter of 
crude, everyday experience. 

Our primary experience as it comes is of little value for 
purposes of analysis and control, crammed as it is with 
things that need analysis and control. The very existence 
of reflection is proof of its deficiencies. Just as ancient 
astronomy and physics were of little scientific worth, be- 
cause, owing to the lack of apparatus and techniques of 
experimental analysis, they had to take the things of pri- 
mary observation at their face value, so "common-sense" 
philosophy usually repeats current conventionalities. What 
is averred to be implicit reliance upon what is given in 
common experience is likely to be merely an appeal to 
prejudice to gain support for some fanaticism or defence 
for some relic of conservative tradition which is beginning 
to be questioned. 

The trouble, then, with the conclusions of philosophy is 
not in the least that they are results of reflection and 
theorizing. It is rather that philosophers have borrowed 



34 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

from various sources the conclusions of special analyses, 
particularly of some ruling science of the day, and im- 
ported them direct into philosophy, with no check by 
either the empirical objects from which they arose or 
those to which the conclusions in question point. Thus 
Plato trafficked with the Pythagoreans and imported 
mathematical concepts; Descartes and Spinoza took over 
the presuppositions of geometrical reasoning; Locke im- 
ported into the theory of mind the Newtonian physical cor- 
puscles, converting them into given "simple ideas"; Hegel 
borrowed and generalized without limit the rising historical 
method of his day; contemporary English philosophy has 
imported from mathematics the notion of primitive in- 
definable propositions, and given them a content from 
Locke's simple ideas, which had in the meantime become 
part of the stock in trade of psychological science. 

Well, why not, as long as what is borrowed has a sound 
scientific status? Because in scientific inquiry, refined 
methods justify themselves by opening up new fields of 
subject-matter for exploration; they create new techniques 
of observation and experimentation. Thus when the 
Michelson-Moley experiment disclosed, as a matter of 
gross experience, facts which did not agree with the results 
of accepted physical laws, physicists did not think for a 
moment of denying the validity of what was found in 
that experience, even though it rendered questionable an 
elaborate intellectual apparatus and system. The coin- 
cidence of the bands of the interferometer was accepted at 
its face value in spite of its incompatibility with Newtonian 
physics. Because scientific inquirers accepted it at its face 
value they at once set to work to reconstruct their theories; 
they questioned their reflective premisses, not the full 
"reality" of what they saw. This task of re-adjustment 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 35 

compelled not only new reasonings and calculations in the 
development of a more comprehensive theory, but opened 
up new ways of inquiry into experienced subject-matter. 
Not for a moment did they think of explaining away the 
features of an object in gross experience because it was not 
in logical harmony with theory as philosophers have so 
often done. Had they done so, they would have stultified 
science and shut themselves off from new problems and 
new findings in subject-matter. In short, the material of 
refined scientific method is continuous with that of the 
actual world as it is concretely experienced. 

But when philosophers transfer into their theories bodily 
and as finalities the refined conclusions they borrow from 
the sciences, whether logic, mathematics or physics, these 
results are not employed to reveal new subject-matters and 
illuminate old ones of gross experience; they are employed 
to cast discredit on the latter and to generate new and ar- 
tificial problems regarding the reality and validity of the 
things of gross experience. Thus the discoveries of psy- 
chologies taken out of their own empirical context are in 
philosophy employed to cast doubt upon the reality of 
things external to mind and to selves, things and properties 
that are perhaps the most salient characteristics of ordi- 
nary experience. Similarly, the discoveries and methods of 
physical science, the concepts of mass, space, motion, have 
been adopted wholesale in isolation by philosophers in such 
a way as to make dubious and even incredible the reality 
of the affections, purposes and enjoyments of concrete ex- 
perience. The objects of mathematics, symbols of rela- 
tions having no explicit reference to actual existence, 
efficacious in the territory to which mathematical technique 
applies, have been employed in philosophy to determine the 
priority of essences to existence, and to create the insoluble 



36 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

problem of why pure essence ever descends into the tangles 
and tortuosities of existence. 

What empirical method exacts of philosophy is two 
things: First, that refined methods and products be traced 
back to their origin in primary experience, in all its hetero- 
geneity and fullness ; so that the needs and problems out of 
which they arise and which they have to satisfy be 
acknowledged. Secondly, that the secondary methods and 
conclusions be brought back to the things of ordinary expe- 
rience, in all their coarseness and crudity, for verification. 
In this way, the methods of analytic reflection yield mate- 
rial which form the ingredients of a method of designation, 
denotation, in philosophy. A scientific work in physics or 
astronomy gives a record of calculations and deductions 
that were derived from past observations and experiments. 
But it is more than a record; it is also an indication, an 
assignment, of further observations and experiments to be 
performed. No scientific report would get a hearing if it 
did not describe the apparatus by means of which experi- 
ments were carried on and results obtained; not that ap- 
paratus is worshipped, but because this procedure tells 
other inquirers how they are to go to work to get results 
which will agree or disagree in their experience with those 
previously arrived at, and thus confirm, modify and rectify 
the latter. The recorded scientific result is in effect a 
designation of a method to be followed and a prediction of 
what will be found when specified observations are set on 
foot. That is all a philosophy can be or do. In the chap- 
ters that follow I have undertaken a revision and recon- 
struction of the conclusions, the reports, of a number of 
historic philosophic systems, in order that they may be 
usable methods by which one may go to his own experience, 
and, discerning what is found by use of the method, come 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 37 

to understand better what is already within the common 
experience of mankind. 

There is a special service which the study of philosophy 
may render. Empirically pursued it will not be a study of 
philosophy but a study, by means of philosophy, of life- 
experience. But this experience is already overlaid and 
saturated with the products of the reflection of past genera- 
tions and by-gone ages. It is filled with interpretations, 
classifications, due to sophisticated thought, which have 
become incorporated into what seems to be fresh, nai've 
empirical material. It would take more wisdom than is 
possessed by the wisest historic scholar to track all of these 
absorbed borrowings to their original sources. If we may 
for the moment call these materials prejudices (even if 
they are true, as long as their source and authority is un- 
known), then philosophy is a critique of prejudices. These 
incorporated results of past reflection, welded into the 
genuine materials of first-hand experience, may become or- 
gans of enrichment if they are detected and reflected upon. 
If they are not detected, they often obfuscate and distort. 
Clarification and emancipation follow when they are de- 
tected and cast out; and one great object of philosophy is 
to accomplish this task. 

An empirical philosophy is in any case a kind of intellec- 
tual disrobing. We cannot permanently divest ourselves 
of the intellectual habits we take on and wear when we 
assimilate the culture of our own time and place. But 
intelligent furthering of culture demands that we take some 
of them off, that we inspect them critically to see what 
they are made of and what wearing them does to us. We 
cannot achieve recovery of primitive naivete. But there 
is attainable a cultivated naivete of eye, ear and thought, 
one that can be acquired only through the discipline of 



38 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

severe thought. If the chapters which follow contribute 
to an artful innocence and simplicity they will have served 
their purpose. 

I am loath to conclude without reference to the larger 
liberal humane value of philosophy when pursued with 
empirical method. The most serious indictment to be 
brought against non-empirical philosophies is that they 
have cast a cloud over the things of ordinary experience. 
They have not been content to rectify them. They have 
discredited them at large. In casting aspersion upon the 
things of everyday experience, the things of action and af- 
fection and social intercourse, they have done something 
worse than fail to give these affairs the intelligent direction 
they so much need. It would not matter much if philos- 
ophy had been reserved as a luxury of only a few thinkers. 
We endure many luxuries. The serious matter is that 
philosophies have denied that common experience is capa- 
ble of developing from within itself methods which will 
secure direction for itself and will create inherent stand- 
ards of judgment and value. No one knows how many of 
the evils and deficiencies that are pointed to as reasons for 
flight from experience are themselves due to the disregard 
of experience shown by those peculiarly reflective. To Waste 
of time and energy, to disillusionment with life that at- 
tends every deviation from concrete experience must be 
added the tragic failure to realize the value that intelligent 
search could reveal and mature among the things of ordi- 
nary experience. I cannot calculate how much of current 
cynicism, indifference and pessimism is due to these causes 
in the deflection of intelligence they have brought about. It 
has even become in many circles a sign of lack of sophisti- 
cation to imagine that life is or can be a fountain of cheer 
and happiness. Philosophies no more than religions can 



PHILOSOPHIC METHOD 39 

be acquitted of responsibility for bringing this result to 
pass. The transcendental philosopher has probably done 
more than the professed sensualist and materialist to ob- 
scure the potentialities of daily experience for joy and for 
self-regulation. If what is written in these pages has no 
other result than creating and promoting a respect for 
concrete human experience and its potentialities, I shall 
be content. 



CHAPTER TWO 

EXISTENCE AS PRECARIOUS AND AS STABLE 

It was suggested in the last chapter that experience has 
Its equivalents in such affairs as history, life, culture. 
Reference to these other affairs enables us to put to one 
side the reminiscences which so readily give the word 
experience a sectarian and provincial content. Accord- 
ing to Tylor, culture is "that complex whole which in- 
cludes knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom, and any 
other capabilities acquired by a man as a member of 
society." It is, in some sense, a whole, but it is a com- 
plex, a diversified whole. It is differentiated into re- 
ligion, magic, law, fine and useful art, science, philosophy, 
language, domestic and political relations, etc Con- 
sider the following words of an anthropologist and ask 
if they do not fairly define the problem of philosophy, 
although intended for another purpose. "Cultural real- 
ity is never wholly deterministic nor yet wholly acciden- 
tal, never wholly psychological nor yet wholly objective, 
never wholly of yesterday nor yet wholly of today, but 

combines all of these in its existential reality 

A reconstructive synthesis re-establishes the synthetic 
unity necessarily lost in the process of analytic dismem- 
berment. " l I do not mean that philosophy is to be merged 
in an anthropological view of culture. But in a different 
context and by a different method, it has the task of 
analytic dismemberment and synthetic reconstruction 
of experience; the phenomena of culture as presented by 

1 Golden weiscx. 



EXISTENCE 41 

the anthropologist provide, moreover, precious material 
to aid the performance of this office, material more 
pertinent to the task of philosophizing than that of 
psychology isolated from a theory of culture. 

A feature of existence which is emphasized by cultural 
phenomena is the precarious and perilous. Sumner 
refers to Grimm as authority for the statement that the 
Germanic tribes had over a thousand distinct sayings, 
proverbs and apothegms, concerning luck. Time is 
brief, and this statement must stand instead of the dis- 
course which the subject deserves. Man finds himself 
living in an aleatory world; his existence involves, to put 
it baldly, a gamble. The world is a scene of risk; it is 
uncertain, unstable, uncannily unstable. Its dangers are 
irregular, inconstant, not to be counted upon as to their 
times and seasons. Although persistent, they are spora- 
dic, episodic. It is darkest just before dawn; pride 
goes before a fall; the moment of greatest prosperity is 
the moment most charged with ill-omen, most opportune 
for the evil eye. Plague, famine, failure of crops, disease, 
death, defeat in battle, are always just around the corner, 
and so are abundance, strength, victory, festival and song. 
Luck is proverbially both good and bad in its distribu- 
tions. The sacred and the accursed are potentialities 
of the same situation; and there is no category of things 
which has not embodied the sacred and accursed: per- 
sons, words, places, times, directions in space, stones, 
winds, animals, stars. 

Anthropologists have shown incontrovertibly the part 
played by the precarious aspect of the world in generating 
religion with its ceremonies, rites, cults, myths, magic; 
and it has shown the pervasive penetration of these af- 



42 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

fairs into morals, law, art, and industry. Beliefs and 
dispositions connected with them are the background 
out of which philosophy and secular morals slowly de- 
veloped, as well as more slowly those late inventions, 
art for art's sake, and business is business. Interesting 
and instructive as is this fact, it is not the ramifications 
which here concern us. We must not be diverted to 
consider the consequences for philosophy, even for 
doctrines reigning today, of facts concerning the origin of 
philosophies. We confine ourselves to one outstanding 
fact: the evidence that the world of empirical things 
includes the uncertain, unpredictable, uncontrollable, 
and hazardous. 

It is an old saying that the gods were born of fear. 
The saying is only too likely to strengthen a misconcep- 
tion bred by confirmed subjective habits. We first 
endow man in isolation with an instinct of fear and then 
we imagine him irrationally ejecting that fear into the 
environment, scattering broadcast as it were, the fruits 
of his own purely personal limitations, and thereby 
creating superstition. But fear, whether an instinct 
or an acquisition, is a function of the environment. JNIan 
fears because he exists in a fearful, an awful world. 
The world is precarious andT perilous. It is as easily 
accessible and striking evidence of this fact that primi- 
tive experience is cited. The voice is that of early man; 
but the hand is that of nature, the nature in which we 
still live. It was not fear of gods that created the gods. 

For if the life of early man is filled with expiations 
and propitiations, if in his feasts and festivals what is 
enjoyed is gratefully shared with his gods, it is not because 
a belief in supernatural powers created a need for ex- 



EXISTENCE 43 

piatory, propitiatory and communal offerings. Every- 
thing that man achieves and possesses is got by actions 
that may involve him in other and obnoxious conse- 
quences in addition to those wanted and enjoyed. His 
acts are trespasses upon the domain of the unknown; 
and hence atonement, if offered in season, may ward off 
direful consequences that haunt even the moment of 
prosperity or that most haunt that moment. While 
unknown consequences flowing from the past dog the 
present, the future is even more unknown and perilous; 
the present by that fact is ominous. If unknown forces 
that decide future destiny can be placated, the man 
who will not study the methods of securing their favor 
is incredibly flippant. In enjoyment of present food and 
companionship, nature, tradition and social organization 
have coSperated, thereby supplementing our own endeav- 
ors so petty and so feeble without this extraneous rein- 
forcement. Goods are by grace not of ourselves. He 
is a dangerous churl who will not gratefully acknowledge 
by means of free-will offerings the help that sustains 
him. 

These things are as true today as they were in the 
days of early culture. It is not the facts which have 
changed, but the methods of insurance, regulation and 
acknowledgment. Herbert Spencer sometimes colored 
his devotion to symbolic experiences with a fact of dire 
experience. When he says that every fact has two 
opposite sides, "the one its near or visible side and the 
other its remote or invisible side/ 5 he expresses a per- 
sistent trait of every object in experience. The visible 
is set in the invisible; and in the end what is unseen 
decides what happens in the seen; the tangible rests pre- 



44 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

cariously upon the untouched and ungrasped. The 
contrast and the potential maladjustment of the im- 
mediate, the conspicuous and focal phase of things, with 
those indirect and hidden factors which determine the 
origin and career of what is present, are indestructible 
features of any and every experience. We may term the 
way in which our ancestors dealt with the contrast super- 
stitious, but the contrast is no superstition. It is a pri- 
mary datum in any experience. 

We have substituted sophistication for superstition, at 
least measurably so. But the sophistication is often as 
irrational and as much at the mercy of words as the 
superstition it replaces. Our magical safeguard against 
the uncertain character of the world is to deny the exis- 
tence of chance, to mumble universal and necessary 
law, the ubiquity of cause and effect, the uniformity of 
nature, universal progress, and the inherent rationality 
of the universe. These magic formulae borrow their 
potency from conditions that are not magical. Through 
science we have secured a degree of power of prediction 
and of control; through tools, machinery and an ac- 
companying technique we have made the world more 
conformable to our needs, a more secure abode. We 
have heaped up riches and means of comfort between 
ourselves and the risks of the world. We have profes- 
sionalized amusement as an agency of escape and for- 
getfulness. But when all is said and done, the funda- 
mentally hazardous character of the world is not seriously 
modified, much less eliminated. Such an incident as the 
last war and preparations for a future war remind us 
that it is easy to overlook the extent to which, after all, 
our attainments are only devices for blurring the dis- 



EXISTENCE 45 

agreeable recognition of a fact, instead of means of 
altering the fact itself. 

What has been said sounds pessimistic. But the con- 
cern is not with morals but with metaphysics, with, that 
is to say, the nature of the existential world in which we 
live. It would have been as easy and more comfortable 
to emphasize good luck, grace, unexpected and unwon 
joys, those unsought for happenings which we so signi- 
ficantly call happiness. We might have appealed to good 
fortune as evidence of this important trait of hazard in 
nature. Comedy is as genuine as tragedy. But it is 
traditional that comedy strikes a more superficial note 
than tragedy. And there is an even better reason for 
appealing to misfortunes and mistakes as evidence of the 
precarious nature of the world. The problem of evil 
is a well recognized problem, while we rarely or never 
hear of a problem of good. Goods we take for granted; 
they are as they should be; they are natural and proper. 
The good is a recognition of our deserts. When we pull 
out a plum we treat it as evidence of the real order of 
cause and effect in the world. For this reason it is diffi- 
cult for the goods of existence to furnish as convincing 
evidence of the uncertain character of nature as do evils. 
It is the latter we term accidents, not the former, even 
when their adventitious character is as certain. 

What of it all, it may be asked? In the sense in which 
an assertion is true that uncontrolled distribution of 
good and evil is evidence of the precarious, uncertain 
nature of existence, it is a truism, and no problem is 
forwarded by its reiteration. But it is submitted that 
just this predicament of the inextricable mixture of 
stability and uncertainty gives rise to philosophy, and 



46 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

that it is reflected in all its recurrent problems and issues. 
If classic philosophy says so much about unity and so 
little about unreconciled diversity, so much about the 
eternal and permanent, and so little about change (save 
as something to be resolved into combinations of the 
permanent), so much about necessity and so little about 
contingency, so much about the comprehending universal 
and so little about the recalcitrant particular, it may 
well be because the ambiguousness and ambivalence of 
reality are actually so pervasive. Since these things 
form the problem, solution is more apparent (although 
not more actual), in the degree in which whatever of 
stability and assurance the world presents is fastened 
upon and asserted. 

Upon their surface, the reports of the world which 
form our different philosophies are various to the point 
of stark contrariness. They range from spiritualism 
to materialism, from absolutism to relativistic pheno- 
menalism, from transcendentalism to positivism, from 
rationalism to sensationalism, from idealism to realism, 
from subjectivism, to bald objectivism, from Platonic 
realism to nominalism. The array of contradictions is so 
imposing as to suggest to sceptics that the mind of man 
has tackled an impossible job, or that philosophers have 
abandoned themselves to vagary. These radical op- 
positions in philosophers suggest however another con- 
sideration. They suggest that all their different philos- 
ophies have a common premise, and that their diversity 
is due to acceptance of a common premise. Variant 
philosophies may be looked at as different ways of sup- 
plying recipes for denying to the universe the character 
of contingency which it possesses so integrally that its 



EXISTENCE 4T 

denial leaves the reflecting mind without a clew, and 
puts subsequent philosophising at the mercy of tempera- 
ment, interest and local surroundings. 

Quarrels among conflicting types of philosophy are 
thus family quarrels. They go on within the limits of a 
too domestic circle, and can be settled only by venturing 
further afield, and out of doors. Concerned with im- 
puting complete, finished and sure character to the 
world of real existence, even if things have to be broken 
into two disconnected pieces in order to accomplish the 
result, the character desiderated can plausibly be found 
in reason or in mechanism; in rational conceptions like 
those of mathematics, or brute things like sensory data; 
in atoms or in essences; in consciousness or in a physical 
externality which forces and overrides consciousness. 

As against this common identification of reality with 
what is sure, regular and finished, experience in unsophis- 
ticated forms gives evidence of a different world and 
points to a different metaphysics. We live in a world 
which is an impressive and irresistible mixture of suf- 
ficiencies, tight completenesses, order, recurrences which 
make possible prediction and control, and singularities, 
ambiguities, uncertain possibilities, processes going on to 
consequences as yet indeterminate. They are mixed 
not mechanically but vitally like the wheat and tares of 
the parable. We may recognize them separately but we 
cannot divide them, for unlike wheat and tares they 
grow from the same root. Qualities have defects as neces- 
sary conditions of their excellencies; the instrumentalities 
of truth are the causes of error; change gives meaning to 
permanence and recurrence makes novelty possible. A 
world that was wholly risky would be a world in which 



48 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

adventure is impossible, and only a living world can in- 
clude death. Such facts have been celebrated by think- 
ers like Heracleitus and Laotze; they have been greeted 
by theologians as furnishing occasions for exercise of 
divine grace; they have been elaborately formulated by 
various schools under a principle of relativity, so de- 
fined as to become itself final and absolute. They have 
rarely been frankly recognized as fundamentally signifi- 
cant for the formation of a naturalistic metaphysics. 

Aristotle perhaps came the nearest to a start in that 
direction. But his thought did not go far on the road, 
though it may be used to suggest the road which he 
failed to take. Aristotle acknowledges contingency, 
but he never surrenders his bias in favor of the fixed, 
certain and finished. His whole theory of forms and 
ends is a theory of the superiority in Being of rounded- 
out fixities. His physics is a fixation of ranks or grades 
of necessity and contingency so sorted that necessity 
measures dignity and equals degree of reality, while con- 
tingency and change measure degrees of deficiency of 
Being. The empirical impact and sting of the mixture 
of universality and singularity and chance is evaded by 
parcelling out the regions of space so that they have 
their natural abode in different portions of nature. His 
logic is one of definition and classification, so that its 
task is completed when changing and contingent things 
are distinguished from the necessary, universal and fixed, 
by attribution to inferior species of things. Chance ap- 
pears in thought not as a calculus of probabilities in pre- 
dicting the observable occurrence of any and every 
event, but as marking an inferior type of syllogism. 
Things that move are intrinsically different from things 



EXISTENCE 49 

that exhibit eternal regularity. Change is honestly 
recognized as a genuine feature of some things, but the 
point of the recognition is avoided by imputing altera- 
tion to inherent deficiency of Being over against com- 
plete Being which never changes. Changing things be- 
long to a purgatorial realm, where they wander aimlessly 
until redeemed by love of finality of form, the acquisi- 
tion of which lifts them to a paradise of self-sufficient 
Being. With slight exaggeration, it may be said that 
the thoroughgoing way in which Aristotle defined, dis- 
tinguished and classified rest and movement, the finished 
and the incomplete, the actual and potential, did more 
to fix tradition, the genteel tradition one is tempted to 
add, which identifies the fixed and regular with reality 
of Being and the changing and hazardous with deficiency 
of Being than ever was accomplished by those who took 
the shorter path of asserting that change is illusory. 

His philosophy was closer to empirical facts than most 
modern philosophies, in that it was neither monistic nor 
dualistic but openly pluralistic. His plurals fall however, 
within a grammatical system, to each portion of which 
a corresponding cosmic status is allotted. Thus his 
pluralism solved the problem of how to have your cake 
and eat it too, for a classified and hierarchically ordered 
set of pluralities, of variants, has none of the sting of the 
miscellaneous and uncoordinated plurals of our actual 
world. In this classificatory scheme of separation he has 
been followed, though perhaps unwittingly, by many 
philosophers of different import. Thus Kant assigns all 
that is manifold and chaotic to one realm, that of sense, 
and all that is uniform and regular to that of reason. A 
single and all embracing dialectic problem of the com- 



SO EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

bination of sense and thought is thereby substituted for 
the concrete problems that arise through the mixed and 
varied union in existence of the variable and the con- 
stant, the necessary and that which proceeds uncertainly. 

The device is characteristic of a conversion such as 
has already been commented upon of a moral insight 
to be made good in action into an antecedent meta- 
physics of existence or a general theory of knowledge. 
The striving to make stability of meaning prevail over the 
instability of events is the main task of intelligent human 
effort. But when the function is dropped from the 
province of art and treated as a property of given things, 
whether cosmological or logical, effort is rendered use- 
less, and a premium is put upon the accidental good- 
fortune of a class that happens to be furnished by the 
toil of another class with products that give to life its 
dignity and leisurely stability. 

The argument is not forgetful that there are, from 
Heracleitus to Bergson, philosophies, metaphysics, of 
change. One is grateful to them for keeping alive a 
sense of what classic, orthodox philosophies have whisked 
out of sight. But the philosophies of flux also indicate 
the intensity of the craving for the sure and fixed. They 
have deified change by making it universal, regular, sure. 
To say this is not, I hope, verbal by-play. Consider the 
wholly eulogistic fashion in which Hegel and Bergson, 
and the professedly evolutionary philosophers of becom- 
ing, have taken change. With Hegel becoming is a 
rational process which defines logic although a new and 
strange logic, and an absolute, although new and strange, 
God. With Spencer, evolution is but the transitional 
process of attaining a fixed and universal equilibrium of 



EXISTENCE SI 

harmonious adjustment With Bergson, change is the 
creative operation of God, or is God one is not quite 
sure which. The change of change is not only cosmic 
pyrotechnics, but is a process of divine, spiritual, energy. 
We are here in the presence of prescription, not descrip- 
tion. Romanticism is an evangel in the garb of meta- 
physics. It sidesteps the painful, toilsome labor of 
understanding and of control which change sets us, by 
glorifying it for its own sake. Flux is made something 
to revere, something profoundly akin to what is best 
within ourselves, will and creative energy. It is not, as 
it is in experience, a call to effort, a challenge to investi- 
gation, a potential doom of disaster and death. 

If we follow classical terminology, philosophy is love 
of wisdom, while metaphysics is cognizance of the generic 
traits of existence. In this sense of metaphysics, incom- 
pleteness and precariousness is a trait that must be 
given footing of the same rank as the finished and fixed. 
Love of wisdom is concerned with finding its implica- 
tions for the conduct of life, in devotion to what is good. 
On the cognitive side, the issue is largely that of measure, 
of the ratio one bears to others in the situations of life. 
On the practical side, it is a question of the use to be 
made of each, of turning each to best account. Man is 
naturally philosophic, rather than metaphysical or coldJy 
scientific, noting and describing. Concerned with pru- 
dence if not with what is honorifically called wisdom, 
man naturally prizes knowledge only for the sake of its 
bearing upon success and failure in attaining goods and 
avoiding evils. This is a fact of our structure and 
nothing is gained by recommending it as an ideal truth, 
and equally nothing is gained by attributing to intellect 



52 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

aui intrinsic relationship to pure truth for its own sake 
or bare fact on its own account. The first method en- 
courages dogma, and the second expresses a myth. The 
love of knowledge for its own sake is an ideal of morals; 
it is an integral condition of the wisdom that rightly 
conceives and effectually pursues the good. For wisdom 
as to ends depends upon acquaintance with conditions 
and means, and unless the acquaintance is adequate and 
fair, wisdom becomes a sublimated folly of self-deception. 
Denial of an inherent relation of mind to truth or fact 
for its own sake, apart from insight into what the fact or 
truth exacts of us in behavior and imposes upon us in 
joy and suffering; and simultaneous affirmation that 
devotion to fact, to truth, is a necessary moral demand, 
involve no inconsistency. Denial relates to natural 
events as independent of choice and endeavor; affirma- 
tion relates to choice and action. But choice and the 
reflective effort involved in it are themselves such con- 
tingent events and so bound up with the precarious un- 
certainty of other events, that philosophers have too 
readily assumed that metaphysics, and science of fact 
and truth, are themselves wisdom, thinking thus to 
avoid the necessity of either exercising or recognizing 
choice. The consequence is that conversion of un- 
avowed morals or wisdom into cosmology, and into a 
metaphysics of nature, which was termed in the last 
chapter the philosophic fallacy. It supplies the for- 
mula of the technique by which thinkers have relegated 
the uncertain and unfinished to an invidious state of 
unreal being, while they have systematically exalted the 
assured and complete to the rank of true Being. 



EXISTENCE II 

Upon the side of wisdom, as human brings Interested 
in good and bad things in their connection with human 
conduct, thinkers are concerned to mitigate the instability 
of life, to introduce moderation, temper and economy, 
and when worst comes to worst to suggest consola- 
tions and compensations. They are concerned with 
rendering more stable good things, and more unstable 
bad things; they are interested in how changes may be 
turned to account in the consequences to which they 
contribute. The facts of the ungoing, unfinished and 
ambiguously potential world give point and poignancy 
to the search for absolutes and finalities. Then when 
philosophers have hit in reflection upon a thing which is 
stably good in quality and hence worthy of persistent 
and continued choice, they hesitate, and withdraw from 
the effort and struggle that choice demands: namely, 
from the effort to give it some such stability in observed 
existence as it possesses in quality when thought of. 
Thus it becomes a refuge, an asylum for contemplation, 
or a theme for dialectical elaboration, instead of an ideal 
to inspire and guide conduct. 

Since thinkers claim to be concerned with knowledge 
of existence, rather than with imagination, they have to 
make good the pretention to knowledge. Hence they 
transmute the imaginative perception of the stably good 
object into a definition and description of true reality 
in contrast with lower and specious existence, which, 
being precarious and incomplete, alone involves us in the 
necessity of choice and active struggle. Thus they 
remove from actual existence the very traits which 
generate philosophic reflection and which give point and 
bearing to its conclusions. In briefest formula, "reality" 



14 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

becomes what we wish existence to be, after we have 
analyzed its defects and decided upon what would re- 
move them; "reality" is what existence would be if our 
reasonably justified preferences were so completely es- 
tablished in nature as to exhaust and define its entire 
being and thereby render search and struggle unneces- 
sary. What is left over, (and since trouble, struggle, 
conflict, and error still empirically exist, somethin ; is 
left over) being excluded by definition from full reality 
is assigned to a grade or order of being which is asserted 
to be metaphysically inferior; an order variously called 
appearance, illusion, mortal mind, or the merely em- 
pirical, against what really and truly is. Then the prob- 
lem of metaphysics alters: instead of being a detection 
and description of the generic traits of existence, it be- 
comes an endeavor to adjust or reconcile to each other 
two separate realms of being. Empirically we have 
just what we started with: the mixture of the precarious 
and problematic with the assured and complete. But 
a classificatory device, based on desire and elaborated in 
reflective imagination, has been introduced by which the 
two traits are torn apart, one of them being labelled 
reality and the other appearance. The genuinely moral 
problem of mitigating and regulating the troublesome 
factor by active employment of the stable factor then 
drops out of sight. The dialectic problem of logical 
reconciliation of two notions has taken its place. 

The most widespread of these classificatory devices, 
the one of greatest popular appeal, is that which divides 
existence into the supernatural and the natural. Men 
may fear the gods but it is axiomatic that the gods have 
nothing to fear. They lead a life of untroubled serenity, 



EXISTENCE SS 

the Jffe that pleases them. There is a long story between 
the primitive forms of this division of objects of experi- 
ence and the dialectical imputation to the divine of 
omnipotence, omniscience, eternity and infinity, in con- 
trast with the attribution to man and experienced nature 
of finitude, weakness, limitation, struggle and change. 
But in the make-up of human psychology the later 
history is implicit in the early crude division. One 
realm is the home of assured appropriation and posses- 
sion; the other of striving, transiency and frustration* 
How many persons are there today who conceive that 
they have disposed of ignorance, struggle and disappoint- 
ment by pointing to man's "finite" nature as if finitude 
signifies anything else but an abstract classificatory 
naming of certain concrete and discriminable traits of 
nature itself traits of nature which generate ignorance, 
arbitrary appearance and disappearance, failure and 
striving. It pleases man to substitute the dialectic 
exercise of showing how the "finite" can exist with or 
within the "infinite" for the problem of dealing with the 
contingent, thinking to solve the problem by distin- 
guishing and naming its factors. Failure of the exercise 
s certain, but the failure can be flourished as one more 
>roof of the finitude of man's intellect, and the need- 
essness because impotency of endeavor of "finite" 
:reatures to attack ignorance and oppressive fatalities. 
Wisdom then consists in administration of the temporal, 
anite and human in its relation to the eternal and in- 
inite, by means of dogma and cult, rather than in regula- 
tion of the events of life by understanding of actual 
conditions. 



56 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

It does not demand great ingenuity to detect the 
inversion here. The starting point is precisely the 
existing mixture of the regular and dependable and the 
unsettled and uncertain. There are a multitude of 
recipes for obtaining a vicarious possession of the stable 
and final without getting involved in the labor and pain 
of intellectual effort attending regulation of the condi- 
tions upon which these fruits depend. 

This situation is worthy of remark as an exemplifica- 
tion of how easy it is to arrive at a description of exis- 
tence via a theory of wisdom, of reflective insight into 
goods. It has a direct bearing upon a metaphysical 
doctrine which is not popular, like the division into the 
supernatural, and natural, but which is learned and 
technical. The philosopher may have little esteem for 
the crude forms assumed by the popular metaphysics of 
earth and heaven, of God, nature, and man. But the 
philosopher has often proceeded in a manner analogous 
to that which resulted in this popular metaphysics; 
some of the most cherished metaphysical distinctions 
seem to be but learned counterparts, dependent upon 
an elaborate intellectual technique, for these rough, crude 
notions of supernatural and natural, divine and human, 
in popular belief. I refer to such things as the Platonic 
division into ideal archetypes and physical events; the 
Aristotelian division into form which is actuality and 
matter which is potential, when that is understood as a 
distinction of ranks of reality ; the noumenal things, things- 
in-themselves of Kant in contrast with natural objects 
as phenomenal; the distinction, current among content 
porary absolute idealists, of reality and appearance. 



EXISTENCE 57 

The division however is not confined to philosophers 
with leanings toward spiritualistic philosophies. There 
is some evidence that Plato got the term Idea, as a name 
for essential form, from Democritus. Whether this be 
the case or no, the Idea of Democritus, though having a 
radically diverse structure from the Platonic Idea, had 
the same function of designating a finished, complete, 
stable, wholly unprecarious reality. Both philosophers 
craved solidity and both found it; corresponding to the 
Platonic phenomenal flux are the Democritean things 
as they are in custom or ordinary experience: corre- 
sponding to the ideal archetypes are substantial indi- 
visible atoms. Corresponding, again to the Platonic 
theory of Ideas is the modern theory of mathematical 
structures which are alone independently real, while 
the empirical impressions and suggestions to which they 
give rise is the counterpart of his realm of phenomena. 

Apart from the materialistic and spirtualistic schools, 
there is the Spinozistic division into attributes and modes; 
the old division of essence and existence, and its modern 
counterpart subsistence and existence. It is impossible 
to force Mr. Bertrand Russell into any one of the pigeon- 
holes of the cabinet of conventional philosophic schools. 
But moral, or philosophical, motivation is obvious in his 
metaphysics when he says that mathematics takes us 
"into the region of absolute necessity, to which not only 
the actual world but every possible world must conform.' 1 
Indeed with his usual lucidity, he says, mathematics 
"finds a habitation eternally standing, where our ideals 
are fully satisfied and our best hopes are not thwarted. 11 
When he adds that contemplation of such objects is the 
"chief means of overcoming the terrible sent* of knpo- 



58 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

tence,of weakness, of exile amid hostile power, which Is too 
apt to result from acknowledging the all but omnipotence 
of alien forces," the presence of moral origin is explicit. 

No modern thinker has pointed out so persuasively as 
Santayana that "every phase of the ideal world emanates 
from the natural," that "sense, art, religion, society 
express nature exuberantly." And yet unless one reads 
him wrong, he then confounds his would-be disciples and 
confuses his critics by holding that nature is truly pre- 
sented only in an esthetic contemplation of essences 
reached by physical science, an envisagement reached 
through a dialectic which "is a transubstantiation of 
matter, a passage from existence to eternity." This 
passage moreover is so utter that there is no road back. 
The stable ideal meanings which are the fruit of nature- 
are forbidden, in the degree in which they are its highest 
and truest fruits, from dropping seeds in nature to its 
further fructification. 

The perception of genetic continuity between the 
dynamic flux of nature and an eternity of static ideal 
forms thus terminate in a sharp division, in reiteration of 
the old tradition. Perhaps it is a caricature to say that 
the ultimate of reason is held to be ability to behold 
nature as a complete mechanism which generates and 
sustains the beholding of the mechanism, but the carica- 
ture is not wilful. If the separation of contingency and 
necessity is abandoned, what is there to exclude a belief 
that science, while it is grasp of the regular and stable 
mechanism of nature, is also an organ of regulating and 
enriching, through its own expansion, the more exu- 
berant and irregular expressions of nature in human 
intercourse, the arts, religion, industry, and politics? 



EXISTENCE 59 

To follow out the latter suggestion would take us to 
a theme reserved for later consideration. We are here 
concerned with the fact that it is the intricate mixture of 
the stable and the precarious, the fixed and the unpredicta- 
bly novel, the assured and the uncertain, in existence 
which sets mankind upon that love of wisdom which 
forms philosophy. Yet too commonly, although in a 
great variety of technical modes, the result of the search 
is converted into a metaphysics which denies or conceals 
from acknowledgment the very characters of existence 
which initiated it, and which give significance to its 
conclusions. The form assumed by the denial is, most 
frequently, that striking division into a superior true 
realm of being and lower illusory, insignificant or pheno- 
menal realm which characterizes metaphysical systems 
as unlike as those of Plato and Democritus, St. Thomas 
and Spinoza, Aristotle and Kant, Descartes and Comte, 
Haeckel and Mrs. Eddy. 

The same jumble of acknowledgment and denial 
attends the conception of Absolute Experience: as if any 
experience could be more absolutely experience than 
that which marks the life of humanity. This conception 
constitutes the most recent device for first admitting and 
then denying the combinedly stable and unstable nature 
of the world. Its plaintive recognition of our experience 
as finite and temporal, as full of error, conflict and con- 
tradiction, is an acknowledgment of the precarious un- 
certainty of the objects and connections that constitute 
nature as it emerges in history. Human experience 
however has also the pathetic longing for truth, beauty 
and order. There is more than the longing: there are 
moments of achievement. Experience exhibits ability 



60 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

to possess harmonious objects. It evinces an ability, 
within limits, to safeguard the excellent objects and 
to deflect and reduce the obnoxious ones. The concept 
of an absolute experience which is only and always 
perfect and good, first explicates these desirable implica- 
tions of things of actual experience, and then asserts that 
they alone are real. The experienced occurrences which 
give poignancy and pertinency to the longing for a better 
world, the experimental endeavors and plans which make 
possible actual betterments within the objects of actual 
experience, are thus swept out of real Being into a limbo 
of appearances. 

The notion of Absolute Experience thus serves as a 
symbol of two facts. One is the ineradicable union in 
nature of the relatively stable and the relatively con- 
tingent. The division of the movement and leadings of 
things which are experienced into two parts, such that 
one set constitutes and defines absolute and eternal 
experience, while the other set constitutes and defines 
finite experience, tells us nothing about absolute experi- 
ence. It tells us a good deal about experience as it 
exists: namely, that it is such as to involve permanent 
and general objects of reference as well as temporally 
changing events; the possibility of truth as well as error; 
conclusive objects and goods as well as things whose 
purport and nature is determinable only in an indeter- 
minat$ future. Nothing is gained except the delights 
of a dialectic problem in labelling one assortment ab- 
solute experience and the other finite experience. Since 
the appeal of the adherents of the philosophy of absolute 
and phenomenal experience is to a logical criterion, 
namely, to the implication in every judgment, however 



EXISTENCE 61 

erroneous, of a standard of consistency which excludes 
any possibility of contradictoriness, the inherent logical 
contradictions in the doctrine itself are worth noting. 

In the first place, the contents as well as the form of 
ultimate Absolute Experience are derived from and 
based upon the features of actual experience, the very 
experience which is then relegated to unreality by the 
supreme reality derived from its unreality. It is "real" 
just long enough to afford a spring-board into ultimate 
reality and to afford a hint of the essential contents of the 
latter and then it obligingly dissolves into mere appear- 
ance. If we start from the standpoint of the Absolute 
Experience thus reached, the contradiction is repeated 
from its side. Although absolute, eternal, all-compre- 
hensive, and pervasively integrated into a whole so 
logically perfect that no separate patterns, to say nothing 
of seams and holes, can exist in it, it proceeds to play 
a tragic joke upon itself for there is nothing else to be 
fooled by appearing in a queer combination of rags and 
glittering gew-gaws, in the garb of the temporal, partial 
and conflicting things, mental as well as physical, of 
ordinary experience. I do not cite these dialectic con- 
tradictions as having an inherent importance. But the 
fact that a doctrine which avowedly takes logical con- 
sistence for its method and criterion, whose adherents 
are noteworthy for dialectic acumen in specific issues, 
should terminate in such thoroughgoing contradictions 
may be cited as evidence that after all the doctrine is 
merely engaged in an arbitrary sorting out of characters 
of things which in nature are always present in conjunc- 
tion and interpenetratioru 



2 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

The union of the hazardous and the stable, of the in- 
complete and the recurrent, is the condition of all ex- 
perienced satisfaction as truly as of our predicaments 
and problems. While it is the source of ignorance, error 
and failure of expectation, it is the source of the delight 
which fulfillments bring. For if there were nothing in 
the way, if there were no deviations and resistances, 
fulfillment would be at once, and in so being would ful- 
fill nothing, but merely be. It would not be in connec- 
tion with desire or satisfaction. Moreover when a 
fulfillment comes and is pronounced good, it is judged 
good, distinguished and asserted, simply because it is in 
jeopardy, because it occurs amid indifferent and diver- 
gent things. Because of this mixture of the regular 
and that which cuts across stability, a good object once 
experienced acquires ideal quality and attracts demand 
and effort to itself. A particular ideal may be an illusion, 
but having ideals is no illusion. It embodies features of 
existence. Although imagination is often fantastic it is 
also an organ of nature; for it is the appropriate phase 
of indeterminate events moving toward eventualities 
that are now but possibilities. A purely stable world 
permits of no illusions, but neither is it clothed with ideals. 
It just exists. To be good is to be better than; and there 
can be no better except where there is shock and 
discord combined with enough assured order to make 
attainment of harmony possible. Better objects when 
brought into existence are existent not ideal; they retain 
ideal quality only retrospectively as commemorative of 
issue from prior conflict and prospectively, in contrast 
with forces which make for their destruction. Water 
that slakes thirst, or a conclusion that solves a problem 



EXISTENCE 63 

have ideal character as longes thirst or problem persists 
in a way which qualifies the result. But water that is 
not a satisfaction of need has no more ideal quality than 
water running through pipes into a reservoir; a solution 
ceases to be a solution and becomes a bare incident of 
existence when its antecedent generating conditions of 
doubt, ambiguity and search are lost from its context. 
While the precarious nature of existence is indeed the 
source of all trouble, it is also an indispensable condition of 
ideality, becoming a sufficient condition when conjoined 
with the regular and assured. 

We long, amid a troubled world, for perfect being. We 
forget that what gives meaning to the notion of perfection 
is the events that create longing, and that, apart from 
them, a "perfect' ' world would mean just an unchanging 
brute existential thing. The ideal significance of esthetic 
objects is no exception to this principle. Their satisfying 
quality, their power to compose while they arouse, is not 
dependent upon definite prior desire and effort as is the 
case with the ideally satisfying quality of practical and 
scientific objects. It is part of their peculiar satisfying 
quality to be gratuitous, not purchased by endeavor. The 
contrast to other things of this detachment from toil and 
labor in a world where most realizations have to be bought, 
as well as the contrast to trouble and uncertainty, give 
esthetic objects their peculiar traits. If all things came 
to us in the way our esthetic objects do, none of them 
would be a source of esthetic delight. 

Some phases of recent philosophy have made much of 
need, desire and satisfaction. Critics have frequently 
held that the outcome is only recurrence to an older sub- 
jective empiricism, though with substitution of affections 



64 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

and volitional states for cognitive sensory states. But 
need and desire are exponents of natural being. They are, 
if we use Aristotelian phraseology, actualizations of its 
contingencies and incompletenesses; as such nature itself 
is wistful and pathetic, turbulent and passionate. Were 
it not, the existence of wants would be a miracle. In a 
world where everything is complete, nothing requires any- 
thing else for its completion. A world in which events 
can be carried to a finish only through the coinciding 
assistance of other transitory events, is already necessi- 
tous, a world of begging as well as of beggarly elements. 
If human experience is to express and reflect this world, 
it must be marked by needs; in becoming aware of the 
needful and needed quality of things it must project satis- 
factions or completions. For irrespective of whether a 
satisfaction is conscious, a satisfaction or non-satisfac- 
tion is an objective thing with objective conditions. It 
means fulfillment of the demands of objective factors. 
Happiness may mark an awareness of such satisfaction, 
and it may be its culminating form. But satisfaction is 
not subjective, private or personal: it is conditioned by 
objective partialities and defections and made real by 
objective situations and completions. 

By the same logic, necessity implies the precarious and 
contingent. A world that was all necessity would not 
be a world of necessity; it would just be. For in its being, 
nothing would be necessary for anything else. But 
where some things are indigent, other things are necessary 
if demands are to be met. The common failure to note the 
fact that a world of complete being would be a world 
in which necessity is meaningless is due to a rapid shift 
from one universe of discourse to another. First we 



EXISTENCE 65 

postulate a whole of Being; then we shift to a part; now 
since a "part" is logically dependent as such in its exis- 
tence and its properties, it is necessitated by other parts. 
But we have unwittingly introduced contingency in the 
very fact of marking off something as just a part. If 
the logical implications of the original notion are held to 
firmly, a part is already a part-of-a-whole. Its being 
what it is, is not necessitated by the whole or by other 
parts: its being what it is, is just a name for the whole 
being what it is. Whole and parts alike are but names for 
existence there as just what it is. But wherever we can 
say if so-and-so, then something else, there is necessity, 
because partialities are implied which are not just parts- 
of-a-whole. A world of "ifs" is alone a world of "musts" 
the "ifs" express real differences; the "musts" real con- 
nections. The stable and recurrent is needed for the ful- 
fillment of the possible; the doubtful can be settled only 
through its adaptation to stable objects. The necessary 
is always necessary for, not necessary in and of itself; it is 
conditioned by the contingent, although itself a condition 
of the full determination of the latter. 

One of the most striking phases of the history of 
philosophic thought is the recurrent grouping together 
of unity, permanence (or "the eternal"), completeness 
and rational thought, while upon another side full multi- 
plicity, change and the temporal, the partial, defective, 
sense and desire. This division is obviously but another 
case of violent separation of the precarious and unsettled 
from the regular and determinate. One aspect of it 
however, is worthy of particular attention: the connection 
of thought and unity. Empirically, all reflection set* 
out from the problematic and confused. Its aim is to 



66 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

clarify and ascertain. When thinking is successful, Its 
career closes in transforming the disordered into the 
orderly, the mixed-up into the distinguished or placed, the 
unclear and ambiguous into the defined and unequivocal, 
the disconnected into the systematized. It is empirically 
assured that the goal of thinking does not remain a mere 
ideal, but is attained often enough so as to render reasona- 
ble additional efforts to achieve it. 

In these facts we have, I think, the empirical basis of 
the philosophic doctrines which assert that reality is really 
and truly a rational system, a coherent whole of relations 
that cannot be conceived otherwise than in terms of in- 
tellect. Reflective inquiry moves in each particular case 
from differences toward unity; from indeterminate and 
ambiguous position to clear determination, from confusion 
and disorder to system. When thought in a given case 
has reached its goal of organized totality, of definite rela- 
tions of distinctly placed elements, its object is the ac- 
cepted starting point, the defined subject matter, of further 
experiences; antecedent and outgrown conditions of dark- 
ness and of unreconciled differences are dismissed as a 
transitory state of ignorance and inadequate apprehen- 
sions. Retain connection of the goal with the thinking 
by which it is reached, and then identify it with true 
reality in contrast with the merely phenomenal, and the 
outline of the logic of rational and "objective" idealisms 
is before us. Thought like Being, has two forms, one 
real; the other phenomenal. It is compelled to take on 
reflective form, it involves doubt, inquiry and hypothesis, 
because it sets out from a subject-matter conditioned by 
sense, a fact which proves that thought, intellect, is not 
pure in man, but restricted by an animal organism that 



EXISTENCE 67 

fe but one part Hnked with other parts, of nature. But 
the conclusion of reflection affords us a pattern and 
guarantee of thought which is constitutive; one with the 
system of objective reality. Such in outline is the pro- 
cedure of all ontological logics. 

A philosophy which accepts the denotative or empirical 
method accepts at full value the fact that reflective think- 
ing transforms confusion, ambiguity and discrepancy into 
illumination, definiteness and consistency. But it also 
points to the contextual situation in which thinking occurs. 
It notes that the starting point is the actually problematic, 
and that the problematic phase resides in some actual 
and specifiable situation. 

It notes that the means of converting the dubious into 
the assured, and the incomplete into the determinate, is 
use of assured and established things, which are just as 
empirical and as indicative of the nature of experienced 
things as is the uncertain. It thus notes that thinking is 
no different in kind from the use of natural materials and 
energies, say fire and tools, to refine, re-order, and shape 
other natural materials, say ore. In both cases, there are 
matters which as they stand are unsatisfactory and 
there are also adequate agencies for dealing with them 
and connecting them. At no point or place is there any 
jump outside empirical, natural objects and their rela- 
tions. Thought and reason are not specific powers. 
They consist of the procedures intentionally employed in 
the application to each other of the unsatisfactorily con- 
fused and indeterminate on one side and the regular and 
stable on the other. Generalizing from such observa- 
tions, empirical philosophy perceives that thinking is a 
continuous process of temporal re-organization within one 



66 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

and the same world of experienced things, not a jump from 
the latter world into one of objects constituted once for 
all by thought. It discovers thereby the empirical basis 
of rational idealism, and the point at which it empirically 
goes astray. Idealism fails to take into account the 
specified or concrete character of the uncertain situation 
in which thought occurs; it fails to note the empirically 
concrete nature of the subject-matter, acts, and tools by 
which determination and consistency are reached; it 
fails to note that the conclusive eventual objects having 
the latter properties are themselves as many as the 
situations dealt with. The conversion of the logic of 
reflection into an ontology of rational being is thus due to 
arbitrary conversion of an eventual natural function of 
unification into a causal antecedent reality; this in turn 
is due to the tendency of the imagination working under 
the influence of emotion to carry unification from an 
actual, objective and experimental enterprise, limited to 
particular situations where it is needed, into an un- 
restricted, wholesale movement which ends in an all- 
absorbing dream. 

The occurrence of reflection is crucial for dualistic 
metaphysics as well as for idealistic ontologies. Re- 
flection occurs only in situations qualified by uncertainty, 
alternatives, questioning, search, hypotheses, tentative 
trials or experiments which test the worth of thinking. A 
naturalistic metaphysics is bound to consider reflection 
as itself a natural event occurring within nature because of 
traits of the latter. It is bound to inference from the em- 
pirical traits of thinking in precisely the same way as the 
sciences make inferences from the happening of suns, 
radio-activity, thunder-storms or any other natural event. 



EXISTENCE 69 

Traits of reflection are as truly indicative or evidential of 
the traits of other things as are the traits of these 
events. A theory of the nature of the occurrence and 
career of a sun reached by denial of the obvious traits of 
the sun, or by denial that these traits are so connected with 
the traits of other natural events that they can be used 
as evidence concerning the nature of these other things, 
would hardly possess scientific standing. Yet philoso- 
phers, and strangely enough philosophers who call them- 
selves realists, have constantly held that the traits which 
are characteristic of thinking, namely, uncertainty, am- 
biguity, alternatives, inquiring, search, selection, ex- 
perimental reshaping of external conditions, do not pos- 
sess the same existential character as do the objects of 
valid knowledge. They have denied that these traits are 
evidential of the character of the world within which 
thinking occurs. They have not, as realists, asserted that 
these traits are mere appearances; but they have often 
asserted and implied that such things are only personal or 
psychological in contrast with a world of objective nature. 
But the interests of empirical and denotative method and 
of naturalistic metaphysics wholly coincide. The world 
must actually be such as to generate ignorance and in- 
quiry; doubt and hypothesis, trial and temporal con- 
clusions; the latter being such that they develop out of 
existences which while wholly "real" are not as satis- 
factory, as good, or as significant, as those into which 
they are eventually re-organized. The ultimate evidence 
of genuine hazard, contingency, irregularity and indeter- 
minateness in nature is thus found in the occurrence 
of thinking. The traits of natural existence which 
generate the fears and adorations of superstitious bar- 



70 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

barians generate the scientific procedures of disciplined 
civilization. The superiority of the latter does not con- 
sist in the fact that they are based on "real" existence, 
while the former depend wholly upon a human nature 
different from nature in general. It consists in the fact 
that scientific inquiries reach objects which are better, 
because reached by method which controls them and 
which adds greater control to life itself, method which 
mitigates accident, turns contingency to account, and 
releases thought and other forms of endeavor. 

The conjunction of problematic and determinate 
characters in nature renders every existence, as well as 
every idea and human act, an experiment in fact, even 
though not in design. To be intelligently experimental 
is but to be conscious of this intersection of natural 
conditions so as to profit by it instead of being at its 
mercy. The Christian idea of this world and this life as 
a probation is a kind of distorted recognition of the 
situation; distorted because it applied wholesale to one 
stretch of existence in contrast with another, regarded as 
original and final. But in truth anything which can 
exist at any place and at any time occurs subject to tests 
imposed upon it by surroundings, which are only in part 
compatible and reinforcing. These surroundings test 
its strength and measure its endurance. As we can dis- 
course of change only in terms of velocity and accelera- 
tion which involve relations to other things, so assertion 
of the permanent and enduring is comparative. The 
stablest thing we can speak of is not free from conditions 
set to it by other things. That even the solid earth 
mountains, the emblems of constancy, appear and dis- 
appear like the clouds is an old theme of moralists and 



EXISTENCE M 

poets. The fixed and unchanged being erf the Demo- 
critean atom is now reported by inquirers to possess some 
of the traits of his non-being, and to embody a temporary 
equilibrium in the economy of nature's compromises and 
adjustments. A thing may endure secula seculorum and 
yet not be everlasting; it will crumble before the gnawing 
tooth of time, as it exceeds a certain measure. Eve*y 
existence is an event. 

This fact is nothing at which to repine and nothing tc 
gloat over. It is something to be noted and used. If it 
is discomfiting when applied to good things, to our friends, 
possessions and precious selves, it is consoling also tc 
know that no evil endures forever; that the longest lane 
turns sometime, and that the memory of loss of nearest 
and dearest grows dim in time. The eventful charactei 
of all existences is no reason for consigning them to the 
realm of mere appearance any more than it is a reason f 01 
idealizing flux into a deity. The important thing is 
measure, relation, ratio, knowledge of the comparative 
tempos of change. In mathematics some variables are 
constants in some problems; so it is in nature and life. 
The rate of change of some things is so slow, or is so 
rhythmic, that these changes have all the advantages of 
stability in dealing with more transitory and irregular 
happenings if we know enough. Indeed, if any one 
thing that concerns us is subject to change, it is fortunate 
that all other things change. A thing "absolutely" 
stable and unchangeable would be out of the range of the 
principle of action and reaction, of resistance and leverage 
as well as of friction. Here it would have no applicabil- 
ity, no potentiality of use as measure and control of 
other events. To designate the slower and the regular 



71 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

rhythmic events structure, and more rapid and irregular 
ones process, is sound practical sense. It expresses the 
function of one in respect to the other. 

But spiritualistic idealism and materialism alike treat 
this relational and functional distinction as something 
fixed and absolute. One doctrine finds structure in a 
framework of ideal forms, the other finds it in matter, 
They agree in supposing that structure has some super- 
lative reality. This supposition is another form taken 
by preference for the stable over the precarious and un- 
completed. The fact is that all structure is structure of 
something; anything defined as structure is a character 
of events, not something intrinsic and per se. A set of 
traits is called structure, because of its limiting function 
in relation to other traits of events. A house has a 
structure; in comparison with the disintegration and 
collapse that would occur without its presence, this struc- 
ture is fixed. Yet it is not something external to which 
the changes involved in building and using the house have 
to submit. It is rather an arrangement of changing 
events such that properties which change slowly, limit and 
direct a series of quick changes and give them an order 
which they do not otherwise possess. Structure is con- 
stancy of means, of things used for consequences, not of 
things taken by themselves or absolutely. Structure is 
what makes construction possible and cannot be dis- 
covered or defined except in some realized construction, 
construction being, of course, an evident order of changes. 
The isolation of structure from the changes whose stable 
ordering it is, renders it mysterious something that is 
metaphysical in the popular sense of the word, a kind of 
ghostly queerness. 



EXISTENCE Tl 

The "matter" of materialists and the "spirit" of 
idealists is a creature similar to the constitution of the 
United States in the minds of unimaginative persons* 
Obviously the real constitution is certain basic relation- 
ships among the activities of the citizens of the country; 
it is a property or phase of these processes, so connected 
with them as to influence their rate and direction of change. 
But by literalists it is often conceived of as something 
external to them; in itself fixed, a rigid framework to which 
all changes must accommodate themselves. Similarly 
what we call matter is that character of natural events 
which is so tied up with changes that are sufficiently rapid 
to be perceptible as to give the latter a characteristic 
rhythmic order, the causal sequence. It is no cause or 
source of events or processes; no absolute monarch; no 
principle of explanation; no substance behind or under- 
lying changes save in that sense of substance in which a 
man well fortified with this world's goods, and hence 
able to maintain himself through vicissitudes of surround- 
ings, is a man of substance. The name designates a 
character in operation, not an entity. 

That structure, whether of the kind called material or 
of the kind summed up in the word mental, is stable or 
permanent relationally and in its office, may be shown in 
another way. There is no action without reaction; there 
is no exclusively one-way exercise of conditioning power, 
no mode of regulation that operates wholly from above to 
below or from within outwards or from without inwards. 
Whatever influences the changes of other things is itself 
changed. The idea of an activity proceeding only in 
one direction, of an unmoved mover, is a survival of 
Greek physic*. It has been banished from science, but 



W EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

remains to haunt philosophy. The vague and myster!o 
properties assigned to mind and matter, the very con- 
ceptions of mind and matter in traditional thought, are 
ghosts walking underground. The notion of matter ac- 
tually found in the practice of science has nothing in com- 
mon with the matter of materialists and almost every- 
body is still a materialist as to matter, to which he merely 
adds a second rigid structure which he calls mind. The 
matter of science is a character of natural events and 
changes as they change; their character of regular and 
stable order. 

Natural events are so complex and varied that there 
is nothing surprising in their possession of different 
characterizations, characters so different that they can 
be easily treated as opposites. 

Nothing but unfamiliarity stands in the way of thinking 
of both mind and matter as different characters of natural 
events, in which matter expresses their sequential order, 
and mind the order of their meanings in their logical 
connections and dependencies. Processes may be event- 
ful for functions which taken in abstract separation are at 
opposite poles, just as physiological processes eventuate 
in both anabolic and katabolic functions. The idea that 
matter and mind are two sides or "aspects" of the same 
things, like the convex and the concave in a curve, is 
literally unthinkable. 

A curve is an intelligible object and concave and convex 
are defined in terms of this object; they are indeed but 
names for properties involved in its meaning. We do 
not start with convexity and concavity as two independent 
things and then set up an unknown tertium quid to unite 
two disparate things. In spite of the literal absurdity of 



EXISTENCE 75 

the comparison, it may be understood however in a way 
which conveys an inkling of the truth. That to which 
both mind and matter belong is the complex of events 
that constitute nature. This becomes a mysterious 
tertium quid, incapable of designation, only when mind 
and matter are taken to be static structures instead of 
functional characters. It is a plausible prediction that 
if there were an interdict placed for a generation upon 
the use of mind, matter, consciousness as nouns, and we 
were obliged to employ adjectives and adverbs, conscious 
and consciously, mental and mentally, material and 
physically, we should find many of our problems much 
simplified. 

We have selected only a few of the variety of the 
illustrations that might be used in support of the idea that 
the significant problems and issues of life and philosophy 
concern the rate and mode of the conjunction of the pre- 
carious and the assured, the incomplete and the finished, the 
repetitious and the varying, the safe and sane and the haz- 
ardous. If we trust to the evidence of experienced things, 
these traits, and the modes and tempos of their inter- 
action with each other, are fundamental features of 
natural existence. The experience of their various conse- 
quences, according as they are relatively isolated, unhap- 
pily or happily combined, is evidence that wisdom, and 
hence that love of wisdom which is philosophy, is concerned 
with choice and administration of their proportioned union. 
Structure and process, substance and accident, matter and 
energy, permanence and flux, one and many, continuity 
and discreteness, order and progress, law and liberty, 
uniformity and growth, tradition and innovation, rational 
will and impelling desires, proof and discovery, the 



76 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

actual and the possible, are names given to various 
phases of their conjunction, and the issue of living de- 
pends upon the art with which these things are adjusted 
to each other. 

While metaphysics may stop short with noting and 
registering these traits, man is not contemplatively de- 
tached from them. They involve him in his perplexities 
and troubles, and are the source of his joys and achieve- 
ments. The situation is not indifferent to man, because 
it forms man as a desiring, striving, thinking, feeling 
creature. It is not egotism that leads man from contem- 
plative registration of these traits to interest in managing 
them, to intelligence and purposive art. Interest, think- 
ing, planning, striving, consummation and frustration 
are a drama enacted by these forces and conditions. A 
particular choice may be arbitrary; this is only to say 
that it does not approve itself to reflection. But choice 
is not arbitrary, not in a universe like this one, a world 
which is not finished and which has not consistently made 
up its mind where it is going and what it is going to do. 
Or, if we call it arbitrary, the arbitrariness is not ours but 
that of existence itself. And to call existence arbitrary 
or by any moral name, whether disparaging or honorific, 
is to patronize nature. To assume an attitude of con- 
descension toward existence is perhaps a natural human 
compensation for the straits of life. But it is an ulti- 
mate source of the covert, uncandid and cheap in philos- 
ophy. This compensatory disposition it is which forgets 
that reflection exists to guide choice and effort. Hence 
its love of wisdom is but an unlaborious transformation 
of existence by dialectic, instead of an opening and en- 
larging of the ways of nature in man. A true wisdom, 



EXISTENCE 77 

devoted to the latter task, discovers in thoughtful ob- 
servation and experiment the method of administering the 
unfinished processes of existence so that frail goods shall 
be substantiated, secure goods be extended, and the pre- 
carious promises of good that haunt experienced things 
be more liberally fulfilled. 



CHAPTER THREE 
NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 

Human experience in the large, in its coarse and con- 
spicuous features, has for one of its most striking features 
preoccupation with direct enjoyment, feasting and festivi- 
ties; ornamentation, dance, song, dramatic pantomime, 
telling yarns and enacting stories. In comparison with 
intellectual and moral endeavor, this trait of experience 
has hardly received the attention from philosophers that 
it demands. Even philosophers who have conceived that 
pleasure is the sole motive of man and the attainment of 
happiness his whole aim, have given a curiously sober, 
drab, account of the working of pleasure and the search 
for happiness. Consider the utilitarians how they toiled, 
spun and wove, but who never saw man arrayed in joy as 
the lilies of the field. Happiness was to them a matter of 
calculation and effort, of industry guided by mathematical 
book-keeping. The history of man shows however that 
man takes his enjoyment neat, and at as short range as 
possible. 

Direct appropriations and satisfactions were prior to 
anything but the most elementary and exigent prudence, 
just as the useful arts preceded the sciences. The body 
is decked before it is clothed. While homes are still 
hovels, temples and palaces are embellished. Luxuries 
prevail over necessities except when necessities can be 
festally celebrated. Men make a game of their fishing 
and hunting, and turn to the periodic and disciplinary 
labor of agriculture only when inferiors, women and slaves, 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 79 

cannot be had to do the work. Useful labor is, whenever 
possible, transformed by ceremonial and ritual accompani- 
ments, subordinated to art that yields immediate enjoy- 
ment; otherwise it is attended to under the compulsion 
of circumstance during abbreviated surrenders of leisure. 
For leisure permits of festivity, in revery, ceremonies and 
conversation. The pressure of necessity is, however, 
never wholly lost, and the sense of it led men, as if with 
uneasy conscience at their respite from work, to impute 
practical efficacy to play and rites, endowing them with 
power to coerce events and to purchase the favor of rulers 
of events. 

But it is possible to magnify the place of magical exer- 
cise and superstitious legend. The primary interest lies 
in staging the show and enjoying the spectacle, in giving 
play to the ineradicable interest in stories which illustrate 
the contingencies of existence combined with happier 
endings for emergencies than surrounding conditions often 
permit. It was not conscience that kept men loyal to 
cults and rites, and faithful to tribal myths. So far as it 
was not routine, it was enjoyment of the drama of life 
without the latter's liabilities that kept piety from decay. 
Interest in rites as means of influencing the course of 
things, and the cognitive or explanation office of myths 
were hardly more than an embroidery, repeating in pleas- 
ant form the pattern which inexpugnable necessities 
imposed upon practice. When rite and myth are sponta- 
neous rehearsal of the impact and career of practical 
needs and doings, they must also seem to have practical 
force. The political significance of July Fourth, 1776, is 
perhaps renewed by the juvenile celebrations of Independ- 
ence Day, but this effect hardly accounts for the fervor of 



80 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

the celebration. Any excuse serves for a holiday and the 
more the holiday is decked out with things that contrast 
with the pressure of workaday life while re-enacting its 
form, the more a holiday it is. The more unrestrained 
the play of fancy the greater the contrast. The super- 
natural has more thrills than the natural, the customary; 
holidays and holy-days are indistinguishable. Death is an 
occasion for a wake, and mourning is acclaimed with a 
board of funeral meats. 

Reflected upon, this phase of experience manifests 
objects which are final. The attitude involved in their 
appreciation is esthetic. The operations entering into 
their production is fine art, distinguished from useful art. 
It is dangerous however to give names, especially in 
discourse that is far aloof from the things named direct 
enjoyment of the interplay of the contingent and the effec- 
tive, purged of practical risks and penalties. Esthetic, 
fine art, appreciation, drama have an eulogistic flavor. 
We hesitate to call the penny-dreadful of fiction artistic, 
so we call it debased fiction or a travesty on art. Most 
sources of direct enjoyment for the masses are not art to 
the cultivated, but perverted art, an unworthy indulgence. 
Thus we miss the point. A passion of anger, a dream, 
relaxation of the limbs after effort, swapping of jokes, 
horse-play, beating of drums, blowing of tin whistles, 
explosion of firecrackers and walking on stilts, have the 
same quality of immediate and absorbing finality that is 
possessed by things and acts dignified by the title of es- 
thetic. For man is more preoccupied with enhancing life 
than with bare living; so that a sense of living when it 
attends labor and utility is borrowed not intrinsic, having 
been generated in those periods of relief when activity waa 
dramatic. 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 81 

To say these things is only to say that man is naturally 
more interested in consummations than he is in prepara- 
tions; and that consummations have first to be hit upon 
spontaneously and accidentally as the baby gets food 
and all of us are wanned by the sun before they can be 
objects of foresight, invention and industry. Conscious- 
ness so far as it is not dull ache and torpid comfort is a 
thing of the imagination. The extensions and trans- 
formations of existence generated in imagination may 
come at last to attend work so as to make it significant and 
agreeable. But when men are first at the height of busi- 
ness, they are too busy to engage either in fancy or reflective 
inquiry. At the outset the hunt was enjoyed in the feast, 
or in the calm moments of shaping spears t bows and arrows. 
Only later was the content of these experiences carried 
over into hunting itself, so that even its dangers might be 
savored. Labor, through its structure and order, lends 
play its pattern and plot; play then returns the loan with 
interest to work, in giving it a sense of beginning, sequence 
and climax. As long as imagined objects are satisfying^ 
the logic of drama, of suspense, thrill and success, domi- 
nates the logic of objective events. Cosmogonies are 
mythological not because savages indulge in defective 
scientific explanations, but because objects of imagination 
are consummatory in the degree in which they exuber- 
antly escape from the pressure of natural surroundings, 
even when they re-enact its crises. The congenial is 
first form of the consistent. 

As Goldenweiser says, if supernaturalism prevails in 
early culture it is largely because, "the phantasmagoria of 
supernaturalism is esthetically attractive, it has beauty of 
thought and form and of movement, it abounds in delight- 



2 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

ful samples of logical coherence, and is full of fascination 
for the creator, the systematizer and the beholder." And 
it is safe to add, that the esthetic character of logical 
coherence rather than its tested coherence with fact is 
that which yields the delight. Again speaking of the place 
of ceremonialism in early culture, Goldenweiser well char- 
acterizes it as a kind of "psychic incandescence;" because 
of its presence, there is "no cooling of the ever glowing 
mass (the conglomerate of customs) no flagging of the 
emotions, no sinking of the cultural associations to the 
more precarious level of purely ideational connections." 
Modern psychiatry as well as anthropology have dem- 
onstrated the enormous r61e of symbolism in human 
experience. The word symbolism, however, is a product 
of reflection upon direct phenomena, not a description of 
what happens when so-called symbols are potent. For 
the feature which characterizes symbolism is precisely 
that the thing which later reflection calls a symbol is not 
a symbol, but a direct vehicle, a concrete embodiment, a 
vital incarnation. To find its counterpart we should 
betake ourselves not to signal flags which convey informa- 
tion, ideas and direction, but to a national flag in moments 
of intense emotional stir of a devout patriot. Symbolism 
in this sense dominates not only all early art and cult but 
social organization as well. Rites, designs, patterns are 
afl charged with a significance which we may call mystic, 
but which is immediate and direct to those who have 
and celebrate them. Be the origin of the totem what it 
may, it is not a cold, intellectual sign of a social organiza- 
tion; it is that organization made present and visible, a 
centre of emotionally charged behavior. It is not other- 
wise with the symbolism uncovered in dreams and 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 83 

neurotic states by psychological analysis. Such symbols 
are not indicative or intellectual signs; they axe condensed 
substitutes of actual things and events, which embody 
actual things with more direct and enchanced import than 
do the things themselves with their distractions, imposi- 
tion, and irrelevances. Meanings are intellectually dis- 
torted and depressed, but immediately they are height- 
ened and concentrated. 

Jesperson speaks of the origin of language in similar 
terms. He says that many linguistic philosophers appear 
to "imagine our primitive ancestors after their own image 
as serious and well meaning men, endowed with a large 

share of common sense They leave you 

with the impression that these first framers of speech 
were sedate citizens with a strong interest in the purely 
business and matter of fact aspects of life." But Jasper- 
son finds that the prosaic side of early culture was capable 
only " of calling forth short monosyllabic interjections; 
they are the most immutable portion* of language, and 
remain now at essentially the same standpoint as thou- 
sands of years ago." He concludes that the "genesis of 
language is found .... in the poetic side of life; 
the source of speech is not gloomy seriousness, but merry 
play and youthful hilarity." And no one would deny, I 
suppose that literature rather than business and science 
has developed and fixed our present linguistic resources. 

It would be difficult to find a fact more significant of the 
traits of nature, more instructive for a naturalistic meta- 
physics of existence, than this cleavage of the things of 
human experience into actual but hard objects, and 
'enjoyed but imagined objects. One might think that 
philosophers in their search for some datum^that possesses 



84 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

properties that put it beyond doubt, might have directed 
their attention to this direct phase of experience, in which 
objects are not a matter of sensations, ideas, beliefs or 
knowledge, but are something had and enjoyed. All 
that "self-evidence" can intelligibly mean is obviousness 
of presence; commonplaces like human interest in the 
things of sport and celebration are the most conspicuously 
obvious of all. In comparison, the "self-evident" things 
of philosophers are recondite and technical. 

The other most self-evident thing in experience is use- 
ful labor and its coercive necessity. As direct apprecia- 
tive enjoyment exhibits things in their consummatory 
phase, labor manifests things in their connections of 
things with one another, in efficiency, productivity, fur- 
thering, hindering, generating, destroying. From the 
standpoint of enjoyment a thing is what it directly does 
for us. From that of labor a thing is what it will do to 
other things the only way in which a tool or an obstacle 
can be defined. Extraordinary and subtle reasons have 
been assigned for belief in the principle of causation. 
Labor and the use of tools seem, however, to be a sufficient 
empirical reason: indeed, to be the only empirical events 
that can be specifically pointed to in this connection. 
They are more adequate grounds for acceptance of belief 
in causality than are the regular sequences of nature or 
than a category of reason, or the alleged fact of will. The 
first thinker who proclaimed that every event is effect of 
something and cause of something else, that every partic- 
ular existence is both conditioned and condition, merely 
put into words the procedure of the workman, converting 
a mode of practice into a formula. External regularity 
is familiar, customary, taken for granted, not thought of , 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 85 

embodied in thoughtless routine. Regularity, orderly 
sequence, in productive labor presents itself to thought as 
a controlling principle. Industrial arts are the type- 
forms of experience that bring to light the sequential 
connections of things with one another. 

In contrast, the enjoyment (with which suffering is to 
be classed) of things is a declaration that natural exist- 
ences are not mere passage ways to another passage way, 
and so on ad infinitum. Thinkers interested in esthetic 
experience are wont to point out the absurdity of the idea 
that things are good or valuable only for something else; 
they dwell on the fact vouchsafed by esthetic appreciation 
that there are things that have their goodness or value in 
themselves, which are not cherished for the sake of any- 
thing else. These philosophers usually confine this obser- 
vation however to human affairs isolated from nature, 
which they interpret exclusively in terms of labor, or 
causal connections. But in every event there is some- 
thing obdurate, self-sufficient, wholly immediate, neither 
a relation nor an element in a relational whole, but termi- 
nal and exclusive. Here, as in so many other matters, 
materialists and idealists agree in an underlying meta- 
physics which ignores in behalf of relations and relational 
systems, those irreducible, infinitely plural, undefinable 
and indescribable qualities which a thing must have in 
order to be, and in order to be capable of becoming the 
subject of relations and a theme of discourse. Immediacy 
of existence is ineffable. But there is nothing mystical 
about such ineff ability ; it expresses the fact that of direct 
existence it is futile to say anything to one's self and 
impossible to say anything to another. Discourse can 
but intimate connections which if followed out may lead 



86 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

one to have an existence. Things in their immediacy are 
unknown and unknowable, not because they are remote 
or behind some impenetrable veil of sensation of ideas, 
but because knowledge has no concern with them. For 
knowledge is a memorandum of conditions of their appear- 
ance, concerned, that is, with sequences, coexistences, 
relations. Immediate things may be pointed to by words, 
but not described or defined. Description when it occurs 
is but a part of a circuitous method of pointing or denot- 
ing; index to a starting point and road which if taken 
may lead to a direct and ineffable presence. To the em- 
pirical thinker, immediate enjoyment and suffering are the 
conclusive exhibition and evidence that nature has its 
finalities as well as its relationships. 

Many modern thinkers, influenced by the notion that 
knowledge is the only mode of experience that grasps 
things, assuming the ubiquity of cognition, and noting 
that immediacy or qualitative existence has no place in 
authentic science, have asserted that qualities are always 
and only states of consciousness. It is a reasonable belief 
that there would be no such thing as "consciousness" if 
events did not have a phase of brute and unconditioned 
"isness," of being just what they irreducibly are. Con- 
sciousness as sensation, image and emotion is thus a par- 
ticular case of immediacy occurring under complicated 
conditions. And also without immediate qualities those 
relations with which science deals, would have no footing 
in existence and thought would have nothing beyond itself 
to chew upon or dig into. Without a basis in qualitative 
events, the characteristic subject-matter of knowledge 
would be algebraic ghosts, relations that do not relate. 
To dispose of things in which relations terminate by call- 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 87 

Ing them elements, is to discourse within a relational 
and logical scheme. Only if elements are more than just 
elements in a whole, only if they have something qualita- 
tively their own, can a relational system be prevented 
from complete collapse. 

The Greeks were more naive than we are. Their 
thinkers were as much dominated by the esthetic charac- 
ters of experienced objects as modern thinkers are by 
their scientific and economic (or relational) traits. Con- 
sequently they had no difficulty in recognizing the im- 
portance of qualities and of things inherently closed or 
final. They thought of mind as a realization of natural 
existence or a participation in it. Thus they were saved 
from the epistemological problem of how things and mind, 
defined antithetically, can have anything to do with each 
other. If existence in its immediacies could speak it 
would proclaim, "I may have relatives but I am not 
related." In esthetic objects, that is in all immediately 
enjoyed and suffered things, in things directly possessed, 
they thus speak for themselves; Greek thinkers heard 
their voice. 

Unfortunately however, these thinkers were not con- 
tent to speak as artists, of whom they had a low opinion. 
Since they were thinkers, aiming at truth or knowledge, 
they put art on a lower plane than science; and the only 
enjoyment they found worth serious attention was that 
of objects of thought. In consequence they formulated 
a doctrine in which the esthetic and the rational are con- 
fused on principle, and they bequeathed the confusion 
as an intellectual tradition to their successors. Aristotle 
spoke more truly than he was aware when he said that 
philosophy began in leisure "when almost all the neces- 



88 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

saries and things that make for comfort and recreation 
were present." For it was philosophic, rather than scien- 
tific "knowledge" which thus began. Philosophy was a 
telling of the story of nature after the style of all congenial 
stories, a story with a plot and climax, given such coher- 
ent properties as would render it congenial to minds 
demanding that objects satisfy logical canons. 

Objects are certainly none the worse for having wonder 
and admiration for their inspiration and art for their 
medium. But these objects are distorted when their 
affiliation with the epic, temple and drama is denied, and 
there is claimed for them a rational and cosmic status 
independent of piety, drama and story. In the classic 
philosophy of Greece the picture of the world that was 
constructed on an artistic model proferred itself as being 
the result of intellectual study. A story composed in the 
interests of a refined type of enjoyment, ordered by the 
needs of consistency in discourse, or dialectic, became 
cosmology and metaphysics. Its authors took toward 
art and rite much the same sort of superior attitude that 
the modern esthete takes to vulgar forms of esthetic 
satisfaction. A claim for superiority in subject matter 
and mode of artistic treatment was indeed legitimate; 
but a claim was made for difference in kind. Art was an 
embellished imitation of the everyday or empirical affairs 
of life in their natural setting; philosophy was science, an 
envisagement of realities behind all copies, all phenomena; 
or a grasp of essences within them forming their valid 
substance. The delight attending the insight was attrib- 
uted to the final intrinsic dignity of the cosmic objects 
perceived by reason, instead of being frankly recognized 
to be due to a selection and arrangement of things 
with a view to enhancement of tranquil enjoyment 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 89 

Devotion to rites, stories and revery springs on its 
magical side from practical desire to control the contin- 
gent; but in larger measure it embodies the happiness that 
attends the sense of successful issue from the uncertainly 
hazardous. Imagination is primarily dramatic, rather 
than lyric, whether it takes the form of the play enacted 
on the stage, of the told story or silent soliloquy. The 
constant presence of instability and trouble gives depth 
and poignancy to the situations in which are pictured their 
subordination to final issues possessed of calm and cer- 
tainty. To re-enact the vicissitudes, crises and tragedies 
of life under conditions that deprive them of their overt 
dangers, is the natural rdle of "consciousness," which is 
tamed to respect actualities only when circumstance 
enforces the adoption of the method of labor, a discipline 
that is fortunate if it retain some of the liberation 
from immediate exigencies which characterizes dramatic 
imagination. 

Modern critics of esthetics have criticized the concep- 
tion of Plato and Aristotle that art is imitation. But in 
its original statement, this conception was a description 
of the observed facts of drama, music and epic rather than 
theoretical interpretation. For these thinkers were not 
so stupid as to hold that art is an imitation of inert things; 
they held that it was a mimesis of the critical and climatic 
behavior of natural forces within human career and des- 
tiny. Such a reproduction is naturally in a new and 
liberal medium; it permits idealization, but the idealiza- 
tion is of natural events. It is self-sufficing, an end in 
itself, while the events seem to exist only to render the 
perfection of an idealized reproduction possible and per- 
tinent. Resort to esthetic objects is the spontaneous 



90 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

human escape and consolation in a trying and difficult 
world. A world that consisted entirely of stable objects 
directly presented and possessed would have no esthetic 
qualities ; it would just be, and would lack power to satisfy 
and to inspire. Objects are actually esthetic when they 
turn hazard and defeat to an issue which is above and 
beyond trouble and vicissitude. Festal celebration and 
consummatory delights belong only in a world that knows 
risk and hardship. 

Greek philosophy as well as Greek art is a memorial of 
the joy in what is finished, when it is found amid a world 
of unrest, struggle, and uncertainty in what, since it is 
ended, does not commit us to the uncertain hazards of 
what is still going on. Without such experiences as those 
of Greek art it is hardly conceivable that the craving 
for the passage of change into rest, of the contingent, 
mixed and wandering into the composed and total, would 
have found a model after which to design a universe like 
the cosmos of Platonic and Aristotelian tradition. Form 
was the first and last word of philosophy because it had 
been that of art; form is change arrested in a prerogative 
object. It conveys a sense of the imperishable and time- 
less, although the material in which it is exemplified is 
subject to decay and contingency. It thus conveys an 
intimation of potentialities completely actualized in a 
happier realm, where events are not events, but are 
arrested and brought to a close in an eternal self-sustain- 
ing activity. Such a realm is intrinsically one of secure 
and self-possessed meaning. It consists of objects of 
immediate enjoyment hypostasized into transcendent 
reality. Such was the conversion of Greek esthetic con- 
templation effected by Greek reflection. 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES W 

The technical structure of the resulting metaphysics is 
familiar. The cosmically real is one with the finished, 
the perfect, or wholly done. Even with Aristotle, a 
coldly defining theory, called metaphysics, of the traits 
of Being, becomes a theology, or science of ultimate and 
eternal reality to which only ecstatic predicates are at- 
tributable. It consists of pure forms, self-sufficient, self- 
enclosed and self-sustaining; self-movement or life at 
eternal full-tide. Forms are ideal, and the ideal is the 
rational apprehended by reason. The material for this 
point of view was found empirically in what is consum- 
matory and final; and the dominion exercised by art in 
Greek culture fostered and enhanced attention to objects 
of this immediately enjoyed kind. To the spectator, 
artistic objects are given; they need only to be envisaged; 
Greek reflection, carried on by a leisure class in the inter- 
est of liberalizing leisure, was preeminently that of the 
spectator, not that of the participator in processes of pro- 
duction. Labor, production, did not seem to create form, 
it dealt with matter or changing things so as to furnish an 
occasion for incarnation of antecedent forms in matter. 
To artisans form is alien, unperceived and unenjoyed; 
absorbed in laboring with material, they live in a world of 
change and matter, even when their labors have an end in 
manifestation of form. Plato was so troubled by the 
consequences of this ignorance of form on the part of all 
who live in the world of practice, industrial and political, 
that he elaborated a plan by which their activities might 
be regulated by those who, above labor and entanglement 
in change and practice, provide in laws forms to shape the 
habits of those who work. Aristotle escaped the dilemma 
by putting nature above art, and endowing nature with 



92 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

skilled purpose that for the most part achieves ends or 
completions. Thus the rdle of the human artisan whether 
in industry or politics became relatively negligible, and 
the miscarriages of human art a matter of relative 
insignificance. 

The Aristotelian conception of four-fold "causation" 
is openly borrowed from the arts, which for the artisan 
are utilitarian and menial, and are "fine" or liberal only 
for the cultivated spectator who is possessed of leisure 
that is, is relieved from the necessity of partaking labo- 
riously in change and matter. Nature is an artist that 
works from within instead of from without. Hence all 
change, or matter, is potentiality for finished objects. 
Like other artists, nature first possesses the forms which 
it afterwards embodies. When arts follow fixed models, 
whether in making shoes, houses, or dramas, and when the 
element of individual invention in design is condemned as 
caprice, forms and ends are necessarily external to the 
individual worker. They preceded any particular realiza- 
tion. Design and plan are anonymous and universal, 
and carry with them no suggestion of a designing, purpo- 
sive mind. Models are objectively given and have only 
to be observed and followed. Thus there was no diffi- 
culty, such as one may feel to-day, in ascribing definite 
and regulative forms to the changes of nature, which are 
actualized in objects that are finalities, closures of change. 
The actualization in an organic body of the forms that are 
found in things constitutes mind as the end of nature. 
Their immediate possession and celebration constitutes 
consciousness, as far as the idea of consciousness is found 
in Greek thought. 



NATURE. ENDS AND HISTORIES 93 

This doctrine was not an arbitrary speculation; it 
flowed naturally from the fact that Greek thinkers were 
fortunate to find ready-made to hand and eye a realm of 
esthetic objects with traits of order and proportion, form 
and finality. The arts were pursued upon the basis of 
a fund of realized, objective and impersonal designs and 
plans, which were prior to individual devising and execu- 
tion rather than products of individual purpose and inven- 
tion. The philosophers did not create out of their own 
speculations, the idea of materials subdued to the accept- 
ance and manifestation of objective forms. They found 
the fact in the art of their period, translating it into an 
intellectual formula. Philosophers were not the authors 
of an identification of objects informed with ideal order 
and proportion with a final and arresting outcome of proc- 
esses of antecedent change. That identification was at 
least implicit in the operation of artisans. Nor were the 
philosophers the originators of the idea that mental appro- 
priation of some objects is intrinsically a state of elevated 
satisfaction. That fact was given to them in the esthetic 
culture of their civilization. What the philosophers 
are responsible for is a peculiar one-sided interpretation 
of these empirical facts, an interpretation, however, which 
has its roots in features, although less admirable ones, of 
Greek culture. 

For the Greek community was marked by a sharp 
separation of servile workers and free men of leisure, 
which meant a division between acquaintance with 
matters of fact and contemplative appreciation, be- 
tween unintelligent practice and unpractical intelli- 
gence, between affairs of change and efficiency or instru- 
mentality and of rest and enclosure finality. Exper- 



94 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

ience afforded therefore no model for a conception of 
experimental inquiry and of reflection efficacious in action. 
In consequence, the sole notability, intelligibility, of 
nature was conceived to reside in objects that were ends, 
since they set limits to change. Changing things were 
not capable of being known on the basis of relationship 
to one another, but only on the basis of their relationship 
to objects beyond change, because marking its limit, and 
immediately precious. The terminal objects lent changing 
objects the properties which made them knowable; such 
stability of character as they possessed was derived 
from the form of the end-objects toward which they 
moved. Hence an inherent appetition or nisus toward 
these terminal and static objects was attributed to them. 
The whole scheme of cosmic change was a vehicle for 
attaining ends possessed of properties which caused them 
to be objects of attraction of all lesser things, rendering 
the latter uneasy and restless until they attained the end- 
object which constitutes their real nature. Thus an 
immediate contemplative possession and enjoyment of 
objects, dialectically ordered, was interpreted as defining 
both true knowledge and the highest end and good of 
nature. A doctrine of morals, of what is better in reflec- 
tive choice, was thus converted into a metaphysics and 
science of Being, the moral aspect being disguised to the 
modern mind by the fact that the highest good was 
conceived esthetically, instead of in the social terms which 
upon the whole dominate modern theories of morality. 

The doctrine that objects as ends are the proper objects 
of science, because they are the ultimate forms of real 
being, met its doom in the scientific revolution of the 
seventeenth century. Essences and forms were attacked 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 95 

as occult; "final causes" were either wholly denied or 
relegated to a divine realm too high for human knowledge. 
The doctrine of natural ends was displaced by a doctrine 
of designs, ends-in-view, conscious aims constructed and 
entertained in individual minds independent of nature. 
Descartes, Spinoza and Kant are upon this matter at 
least in agreement with Bacon, Hume and Helvetius. 
The imputation to natural events of cosmic appetition 
towards ends, the notion that their changes were to be 
understood as efforts to reach a natural state of rest and 
perfection, were indicated as the chief source of sterility 
and fantasy in science; the syllogistic logic connected 
with the doctrine was discarded as verbal, polemical, and 
at its best irrelevant to the subtle operations of nature; 
purpose and contingency were alike relegated to the purely 
human and personal; nature was evacuated of qualities 
and became a homogeneous mass differentiated by differ- 
ences of homogeneous motion in a homogeneous space. 
Mechanical relations, which Greek thought had rejected 
as equivalent to the chaotic reign of pure accident, be- 
came the head corner-stone of the conception of law, of 
uniformity and order. If ends were recognized at all, 
it was only under the caption of design, and design was 
defined as conscious aim rather than as objective order 
and architechtonic form. Wherever the influence of 
modern physics penetrated, the classic theory became 
remote, faded, factitious, with its assertion that natural 
changes are inherent movements toward objects which 
are their fulfillments or perfections, so that the latter are 
true objects of knowledge, supplying the forms or charac- 
ters under which alone changes may be known. With 
the decay of this doctrine, departed also belief in cosmic 



96 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

qualitative differences and kinds, so that of necessity 
quality and immediacy had no recourse, expelled from ob- 
jective nature, save to take refuge in personal consciousness. 
Is this reversal of classic theories of existence inevitable? 
Must belief in ends involved in nature itself be sur- 
rendered, or be asserted only by means of a roundabout 
examination of the nature of knowledge which starting 
from conscious intent to know, finally infers that the uni- 
verse is a vast, non-natural fulfillment of a conscious 
intent? Or is there an ingredient of truth in ancient meta- 
physics which may be extracted and re-afl&rmed? Empiri- 
cally, the existence of objects of direct grasp, possession, 
use and enjoyment cannot be denied. Empirically, things 
are poignant, tragic, beautiful, humorous, settled, dis- 
turbed, comfortable, annoying, barren, harsh, consoling, 
splendid, fearful; are such immediately and in their own 
right and behalf. If we take advantage of the word 
esthetic in a wider sense than that of application to the 
beautiful and ugly, esthetic quality, immediate, final 
or self-enclosed, indubitably characterizes natural situa- 
tions as they empirically occur. These traits stand in 
themselves on precisely the same level as colors, sounds, 
qualities of contact, taste and smell. Any criterion that 
finds the latter to be ultimate and "hard" data will, 
impartially applied, come to the same conclusion about 
the former. Any quality as such is final; it is at once 
initial and terminal; just what it is as it exists. It 
may be referred to other things, it may be treated as an 
effect or as a sign. But this involves an extraneous 
extension and use. It takes us beyond quality in its 
immediate qualitativeness. If experienced things are 
valid evidence, then nature in having qualities within 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 97 

itself has what in the literal sense must be called ends, 
terminals, arrests, enclosures. 

It is dangerous to venture at all upon the use of the 
word "ends" in connection with existential processes. 
Apologetic and theological controversies cluster about 
it and affect its signification. Barring this connotation, 
the word has an almost inexpugnable honorific flavor, so 
that to assert that nature is characterized by ends, the 
most conspicuous of which is the life of mind, seems 
like engaging in an eulogistic, rather than an empirical 
account of nature. Something much more neutral than 
any such implication is, however, meant. We con- 
stantly talk about things coming or drawing to a close; 
getting ended, finished, done with, over with. It is a 
commonplace that no thing lasts forever. We may be 
glad or we may be sorry but that is wholly a matter of the 
kind of history which is being ended. We may conceive 
the end, the close, as due to fulfillment, perfect attain- 
ment, to satiety, or to exhaustion, to dissolution, to some- 
thing having run down or given out. Being an end may 
be indifferently an ecstatic culmination, a matter-of-fact 
consummation, or a deplorable tragedy. Which of these 
things a closing or terminal object is, has nothing to do with 
the property of being an end. 

The genuine implications of natural ends may be 
brought out by considering beginnings instead of endings. 
To insist that nature is an affair of beginnings is to assert 
that there is no one single and all-at-once beginning of 
everything. It is but another way of saying that nature 
is an affair of affairs, wherein each one, no matter how 
linked up it may be with others, has its own quality. It 
does not imply that every beginning marks an advance or 



98 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

improvement; as we sadly know accidents, diseases, ware, 
lies and errors, begin. Clearly the fact and idea of begin- 
ning is neutral, not eulogistic; temporal, not absolute. 
And since wherever one thing begins something else ends, 
what is true of beginnings is true of endings. Popular 
fiction and drama shows the bias of human nature in 
favor of happy endings, but by being fiction and drama 
they show with even greater assurance that unhappy 
endings are natural events. 

To minds inured to the eulogistic connotation of ends, 
such a neutral interpretation of the meaning of ends as 
has just been set forth may seem to make the doctrine of 
ends a matter of indifference. If ends are only endings or 
closings of temporal episodes, why bother to call attention 
to ends at all, to say nothing of framing a theory of ends 
and dignifying it with the name of natural teleology? 
In the degree, however, in which the mind is weaned from 
partisan and ego-centric interest, acknowledgement of 
nature as a scene of incessant beginnings and endings, 
presents itself as the source of philosophic enlightenment. 
It enables thought to apprehend causal mechanisms and 
temporal finalities as phases of the same natural processes, 
instead of as competitors where the gain of one is the loss 
of the other. Mechanism is the order involved in an 
historic occurrence, capable of definition in terms of the 
order which various histories sustain to each other. 
Thus it is the instrumentality of control of any particular 
termination since a sequential order involves the last 
term. 

The traditional conception of natural ends was to the 
effect that nature does nothing in vain; the accepted 
meaning of this phrase was that every change is for the 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 99 

sake of something which does not change, occurring in its 
behalf. Thus the mind started with a ready-made list 
of good things or perfections which it was the business of 
nature to accomplish. Such a view may verbally distin- 
guish between something called efficient causation and 
something else called final causation. But in effect the 
distinction is only between the causality of the master 
who contents himself with uttering an order and the 
efficacy of the servant who actually engages in the physical 
work of execution. It is only a way of attributing ulti- 
mate causality to what is ideal and mental the directive 
order of the master , while emancipating it from the 
supposed degradation of physical labor in carrying it out, 
as well as avoiding the difficulties of inserting an immaterial 
cause within the material realm. But in a legitimate ac- 
count of ends as endings, all directional order resides in 
the sequential order. This no more occurs for the sake 
of the end than a mountain exists for the sake of the peak 
which is its end. A musical phrase has a certain close, 
but the earlier portion does not therefore exist for the sake 
of the close as if it were something which is done away with 
when the close is reached. And so a man is not an adult 
until after he has been a boy, but childhood does not exist 
for the sake of maturity. 

By the nature of the case, causality, however it be 
defined, consists in the sequential order itself, and not in a 
last term which as such is irrelevant to causality, although 
it may, of course be, in addition, an initial term in another 
sequential order. The view held or implied by some 
"mechanists", which treats an initial term as if it had an 
inherent generative force which it somehow emits and 
bestows upon its successors, is all of a piece with the view 



100 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

held by ideologists which implies that an end brings 
about its own antecedents. Both isolate an event from 
the history in which it belongs and in which it has its 
character. Both make a factitiously isolated position in 
a temporal order a mark of true reality, one theory select- 
ing initial place and the other final place. But in fact 
causality is another name for the sequential order itself; 
and since this is an order of a history having a begin- 
ning and end, there is nothing more absurd than setting 
causality over against either initiation or finality. 

The same considerations permit a naturalistic inter- 
pretation of the ideas of dynamic and static. Every end 
is as such static; this statement is but a truism; chang- 
ing into something else, a thing is obviously transitive, 
not final. Yet the thing which is a close of one history is 
always the beginning of another, and in this capacity the 
thing in question is transitive or dynamic. This state- 
ment also is tautology, for dynamic does not mean pos- 
sessed of "force" or capable of emitting it so as to stir up 
other things and set them in motion; it means simply 
change in a connected series of events. The traditional 
view of force points necessarily to something transcen- 
dental, because outside of events, whether called God or 
Will or The Unknowable. So the traditional view of the 
static points to something fixed and rigid, incapable of 
change, and therefore also outside the course of things and 
consequently non-empirical. Empirically, however, there 
is a history which is a succession of histories, and in which 
any event is at once both beginning of one course and 
close of another ; is both transitive and static. The phrase 
constantly in our mouths, "state of affairs" is accurately 
descriptive, although it makes sheer nonsense in both 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 101 

the traditional spiritual and mechanistic theories. There 
are no changes that do not enter into an affair, Res, 
and there is no affair that is not bounded and thereby 
marked off as a state or condition. When a state ol 
affairs is perceived, the perceiving-of-a-state-of-affairs is 
a further state of affairs. Its subject-matter is a thing in 
the idiomatic sense of thing, r es, whether a solar-system, 
a stellar constellation, or an atom, a diversified and more 
or less loosely interconnection of events, falling within 
boundaries sufficiently definite to be capable of being 
approximately traced. Such is the unbiased evidence of 
experience in gross, and such in effect is the conclusion of 
recent physics as far as a layman can see. For this rea- 
son, and not because of any unique properties of a sepa- 
rate kind of existence, called psychic or mental, every 
situation or field of consciousness is marked by initiation, 
direction or intent, and consequence or import. What is 
unique is not these traits, but the property of awareness 
or perception. Because of this property, the initial stage 
is capable of being judged in the light of its probable 
course and consequence. There is anticipation. Each 
successive event being a stage in a serial process is both 
expectant and commemorative. What is more precisely 
pertinent to our present theme, the terminal outcome 
when anticipated (as it is when a moving cause of affairs 
is perceived) becomes an end-in-view, an aim, purpose, 
a prediction usable as a plan in shaping the course of 
events. In classic Greek thought, the perception of ends 
was simply an esthetic contemplation of the forms of ob- 
jects in which natural processes were completed. In most 
modern thought, it is an arbitrary creation of private 
mental operations guided by personal desire, the theoreti- 



102 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

cal alternative being that they are finite copies of the 
fulfilled intentions of an infinite mind. In empirical fact, 
they are projections of possible consequences; they are 
ends-in-view. The in-viewness of ends is as much con- 
ditioned by antecedent natural conditions as is percep- 
tion of contemporary objects external to the organism, trees 
and stones, or whatever. That is, natural processes must 
have actually terminated in specifiable consequences, 
which give those processes definition and character, before 
ends can be mentally entertained and be the objects of 
striving desire. In so far, we must side with Greek 
thought. But empirical ends-in-view are distinguished 
in two important respects from ends as they are conceived 
in classic thought. They are not objects of contemplative 
possession and use, but are intellectual and regulative 
means, degenerating into reminiscences or dreams unless 
they are employed as plans within the state of affairs. 
And when they are attained, the objects which they inform 
are conclusions and fulfillments, only as these objects are 
the consequence of prior reflection, deliberate choice and 
directed effort are they fulfillments, conclusions, comple- 
tions, perfections. A natural end which occurs without 
the intervention of human art is a terminus, a de facto 
boundary, but it is not entitled to any such honorific 
status of completions and realizations as classic meta- 
physics assigned them. 

When we regard conscious experience, that is to say, 
the object and qualities characteristic of conscious life, as a 
natural end, we are bound to regard all objects impartially 
as distinctive ends in the Aristotelian sense. We cannot 
pick or choose; when we do pick and choose we are obvi- 
ously dealing with practical ends with objects and quali- 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 103 

ties that are deemed worthy of selection by reflective, 
deliberate choice. These "ends" are not the less natural, 
if we have an eye to the continuity of experienced objects 
with other natural occurrences, but they are not ends 
without the intervention of a special affair, reflective sur- 
vey and choice. But popular thought, in accord with 
the Greek tradition, picks and chooses among all ends 
those which it likes and honors, at the same time ignoring 
and implicitly denying the act of choice. Like those who 
regard a happy escape from a catastrophe as a providen- 
tial intervention, neglecting all who have not escaped, 
popular teleology regards good objects as natural ends, 
bad objects and qualities being regarded as mere acci- 
dents or incidents, regrettable mechanical excess or defect. 
Popular teleology like Greek metaphysics, has accord- 
ingly been apologetic, justificatory of the beneficence of 
nature; it has been optimistic in a complacent way. 

Primitive man like naive common sense imputes ter- 
minating qualities to nature in which it follows a 
sound realistic metaphysics. But it also imputes to them 
the property of causal determination, an imputation 
rejected by science. Rejection by science does not prove 
these qualities to be mere "subjective" or "private" 
appearances; it only shows that they are termini, closings 
of serial events. Events that achieve and possess them 
are linked, mediatory, transitive, indicative, and the 
proper material of knowledge. From the standpoint of 
causal sequence, or the order with which science is con- 
cerned, qualities are superfluous, irrelevant and immater- 
ial. We could never predict their occurrence from the 
fullest acquaintance with the properties that form the 
objects of knowledge as such. 



104 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

From the standpoint of the latter, the relational orders, 
ends are abrupt and interruptive. Hence to a philosophy 
that takes the subject-matter of knowledge to be exclusive 
and exhaustive as so much of modern philosophy has 
done they form a most perplexing problem, a mystery. 
For with extrusive and superfluous status they combine 
the property of being permeating and absorbing. They 
alone, as we say, are of interest, and they are the cause of 
taking interest in other things. For living creatures they 
form the natural platform for regarding other things. 
They are the basis, directly and indirectly, erf active 
response to things. As compared with them, other things 
are obstacles and means of procuring and avoiding the 
occurrence of situations having them. When the word 
"consciousness" is as it often is used for a short name 
for the sum total of such immediate qualities as actually 
present themselves, it is the end or terminus of natural 
events. As such it is also gratuitous, superfluous and 
inexplicable when reality is defined in terms of the rela- 
tional objects of science. 

By "ends" we also mean ends-in-view, aims, things 
viewed after deliberation as worthy of attainment and as 
evocative of effort. They are formed from objects taken 
in their immediate and terminal qualities; objects once 
having occurred as endings, but which are not now in 
existence and which are not likely to come into existence 
save by an action which modifies surroundings. Classic 
metaphysics is a confused union of these two sense of ends, 
the primarily natural and the secondarily natural, or 
practical, moral. Each meaning is intelligible, grounded, 
legitimate in itself. But their mixture is one of the Great 
Bads of philosophy. For it treats as natural ends apart 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 105 

from reflection just those objects that axe worthy and 
excellent to reflective choice. Popular teleology has ui*- 
knowingly followed the leadings that controlled Greek 
thought; spiritualistic quasi- theological metaphysics has 
consciously adopted the latter's point of view. 

The features of this confused metaphysics are: First, 
elimination from the status of natural ends of all objects 
that are evil and troublesome; Secondly, the grading of 
objects selected to constitute natural ends into a fixed, 
unchangeable hierarchical order. Objects that possess 
and import qualities of struggle, suffering and defeat are 
regarded not as ends, but as frustrations of ends, as 
accidental and inexplicable deviations. Theology has 
resorted to an act of original sin to make their occurrence 
explicable, Greek metaphysics resorted to the presence in 
nature of a recalcitrant, obdurate, factor. To this pro- 
vincially exclusive view of natural termini, popular tele- 
ology adds a ranking of objects according to which some 
are more completely ends than others, until there is 
reached an object which is only end, never eventful and 
temporal the end. The hierarchy is explicit in Greek 
thought: first, and lowest are vegetative ends, normal 
growth Mid reproduction; second in rank, come animal 
ends, locomotion and sensibility; third in rank, are ideal 
and rational ends, of which the highest is blissful contem- 
plative possession in thought of all the forms of nature. 
In this gradation, each lower rank while an end is also 
means or preformed condition of higher ends. Empiri- 
cal things, things of useful arts, belonging to the second 
class but, affected by an adventitious mixture of thought, 
are ultimately instrumentalities potential for the life of 
pure rational possession of ideal objects. Modern teleo- 



106 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

logics axe much less succinct and definite, they agree how- 
ever in the notion of rows of inferior ends which prepare 
for and culminate in something which is the end. 

Such a classificatory enterprise is naturally consoling 
to those who enjoy a privileged status, whether as philoso- 
phers, as saints or scholars, and who wish to justify their 
special status. But its consoling apologetics should not 
blind us to the fact that to think of objects as more or less 
ends is nonsense. They either have immediate and termi- 
nal quality ; or they do not: quality as such is absolute not 
comparative. A thing may be of some shade of blue when 
compared with some quality that is wanted and striven 
for; but its blue is not itself more or less blue nor than 
blueness, and so with the quality of being terminal and 
absorbing. Objects may be more or less absorptive and 
arresting and thus possess degrees of intensity with 
respect to finality. But this difference of intensity is not, 
save as subject to reflective choice, a distinction in rank 
or class of finality. It applies to different toothaches as 
well as to different objects of thought; but it does not 
apply, inherently, to the difference between a tooth-ache 
and an ideal object save that a thing like a toothache 
is often possessed of greater intensity of finality. If we 
follow the clew of the latter fact, we shall probably 
conclude that search for pure and unalloyed finality 
carries us to inarticulate sensation and overwhelming pas- 
sion. For such affairs are the best instances of thipgs 
that are complete in themselves with no outleadings. 

If then rational essences or meanings are better objects 
of contemplation than are seizures by sensory and pas- 
sionate objects, it is not because the former are fulfill- 
ments of higher or more "real" antecedent processes. 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 107 

They are not graded on the basis of being lesser or greater 
actualizations. It is because they present themselves to 
reflective appraisal as more worthy to be striven for. 
And this rational character implies that the things which 
have the better qualities possess also transitiveness, in- 
strumentality, as well as immediacy and finality. They 
are potential and productive. They lead somewhere, per- 
haps to other affairs having qualities to be envisaged and 
deeply meditated. If dialectic were not so esthetically 
enjoyable to some, it would never have played the role it 
has played in liberating man from the dominion of sensa- 
tion and impulse. This shows that the esthetic object 
may be useful and an useful one esthetic, or that imme- 
diacy and efficacy 1 though distinguishable qualities are 
not disjoined existentially . But it is no reason for making 
contemplative knowledge or any other particular affair the 
highest of all natural ends. Whether the given or the 
deliberately constructed is a better or higher end is not a 
question of intrinsic quality, but a matter of reflectively 
determined judgment. It is conceivable that just because 
certain objects are immediately good, that which secures 
and extends their occurrence may itself become for reflec- 
tive choice a supreme immediate good. 

1 To avoid misapprehension it should perhaps be explicitly stated the 
term "efficacy" employed here and elsewhere, does not imply an interpre- 
tation in terms of the old theory of something engaged in emitting force. 
It is used purely denotatively; it designates empirical position in a course 
of affairs having a specifiable ending; its meaning is defined not by any 
theory, but by such affairs as that to get a fire, a match is applied and 
that it is applied not to a stone but to paper or shavings. The words 
agency, instrumentality, causal condition, which appear frequently b 
t these pages are to be similarly translated. 



M EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

History is full ot ingratitude. All existences are some- 
thing more than products; they have qualities of their 
own and assert independent life. There is something of 
King Lear's daughters in all offspring. This ingratitude 
is reproachable only when it turns to deny its ancestry. 
That Plato and Aristotle should have borrowed from the 
communal objects of the fine arts, from ceremonies, wor- 
ship and the consummatory objects of Greek culture, 
and should have idealized their borrowings into new 
objects of art is something to be thankful for. That, after 
having enforced the loan, they spurned the things from 
which they derived their models and criteria is not so 
admirable. This lack of piety concealed from them the 
poetic and religious character of their own constructions, 
and established in the classic Western philosophic tradi- 
tion the notions that immediate grasp and incorporation 
of objects is knowledge; that things are placed in graded 
reality in accordance with their capacity to afford a cul- 
tivated mind such a grasp or beholding; and that the order 
of reality in Being is coincident with a predetermined rank 
of Ends. 

If we recognize that all qualities directly had in con- 
scious experience apart from use made of them, testify to 
nature's characterization by immediacy and finality, there 
is ground for unsophisticated recognition of use and enjoy- 
ment of things as natural, as belonging to the things as 
well as to us. Things are beautiful and ugly, lovely and 
hateful, dull and illuminated, attractive and repulsive. 
Stir and thrill in us is as much theirs as is length, 
breadth, and thickness. Even the utility of things, their 
capacity to be employed as means and agencies, is first of 
all not a relation, but a quality possessed, immediately 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES IW 

possessed, it is as esthetic as any other quality. If labor 
transforms an orderly sequence into a means of attaining 
ends, this not only converts a casual ending into a ful- 
fillment, but it also gives labor an immediate quality of 
finality and consummation. Art, even fine art, is long, 
as well as a joy. 

From the standpoint of control and utilization, the 
tendency to assign superior reality to causes is explicable. 
A "cause" is not merely an antecedent; it is that anteced- 
ent which if manipulated regulates the occurrence of the 
consequent. This is why the sun rather than night is the 
causal condition of day. Knowing that consequences 
will take care of themselves if conditions can be had and 
managed, an ineradicable natural pragmatism indulges in 
a cheap and short conversion, and conceives the cause as 
intrinsically more primary and necessary. This practical 
tendency is increased by the fact that time is a softener 
and dignifier; present troubles lose their acuteness when 
they are no longer present. Old times are proverbially the 
good old times, and history begins with a Garden of 
Paradise or a Golden Age. Good, being congenial, is held 
to be normal; and what is suffered is a deviation, creating 
the problem of evil. Thus the earlier gets moral dignity 
as well as practical superiority. But in existence, or meta- 
physically, cause and effect are on the same level; they 
are portions of one and the same historic process, each 
having immediate or esthetic quality and each having 
efficacy, or serial connection. Since existence is historic 
it can be known or understood only as each portion is 
distinguished and related. For knowledge "cause" and 
"effect" alike have a partial and truncated being. It is as 
'much a part of the real being of atoms that they give rise 



110 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

in time, under increasing complication of relationships, 
to qualities of blue and sweet, pain and beauty, as that 
they have at a cross-section of time extension, mass, or 
weight. 

The problem is neither psychological nor epistemologi- 
cal. It is metaphysical or existential. It is whether 
existence consists of events, or is possessed of temporal 
quality, characterized by beginning, process and ending. 
If so, the affair of later and earlier, however important it is 
for particular practical matters, is indifferent to a theory 
of valuation of existence. It is as arbitrary to assign 
complete reality to atoms at the expense of mind and 
conscious experience as it is to make a rigid separation 
between here and there in space. Distinction is genuine 
and for some purpose necessary. But it is not a dis- 
tinction of kinds or degrees of reality. Space here is joined 
to space there, and events then are joined to events now; 
the reality is as much in the joining as in the distinction. 
In order to control the course of events it is indispensable 
to know their conditions. But to characterize the condi- 
tions, it is necessary to have followed them to some term, 
which is not fully followed till we arrive at something 
enjoyed or suffered, had and used, in conscious experi- 
ence. Vital and conscious events exhibit actualization 
of properties that are not fully displayed in the simpler 
relationships that are by definition termed physical. 

Temporal quality is however not to be confused with 
temporal order. Quality is quality, direct, immediate and 
undefinable. Order is a matter of relation, of definition, 
dating, placing and describing. It is discovered in reflec- 
tion, not directly had and denoted as is temporal quality. 
Temporal order is a matter of science; temporal quality 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 111 

is an immediate trait of every occurrence whether in or 
out of consciousness. Every event as such is passing 
into other things, in such a way that a later occurrence is an 
integral part of the character or nature of present exist- 
ence. An "affair", Res, is always at issue whether it 
concerns chemical change, the emergence of life, language, 
mind or the episodes that compose human history. Each 
comes from something else and each when it comes has its 
own initial, unpredictable, immediate qualities, and its 
own similar terminal qualities. The later is never just 
resolved in to the earlier. What we call such resolution is 
merely a statement of the order by means of which we 
regulate the passage of an earlier into the later. We may 
explain the traits of maturity by better knowledge of 
childhood, but maturity is never just infancy plus. 

It is not easy to distinguish between ends as de facto 
endings, and ends as fulfillments, and at the same time to 
bear in mind the connection of the latter with the former. 
We respond so directly to some objects in experience with 
intent to preserve and perpetuate them that it is diffi- 
cult to keep the conception of a thing as terminus free 
from the element of deliberate choice and endeavor; when 
we think of it or discourse about it, we introduce connec- 
tion. Since we turn away from trouble and suffering, 
since these things are not the objects of choice and effort 
save in avoidance, it seems forced to call them ends. To 
name them such appears an impropriety of language. I 
am quite willing to concede the linguistic point, provided 
its implications are acknowledged and adhered to. For in 
this case we are left, apart from a deliberately directed 
course of events, only with objects immediately used, 
enjoyed and suffered but having in themselves no claim 



112 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

to the title of ends. Health in this case is not in Itself an 
end of any natural process; much less an end-in-itself. 
It is an enjoyed good when it happens just as disease is a 
suffered ill. Similarly, truth of belief and statement is an 
affair that has the quality of good; but it is not an end just 
because it is good; it becomes an end only when, because 
of its goodness, it is actively sought for and reached as a 
conclusion. On this basis, all ends are ends-in-view; they 
are no longer ideal as characters of Being, as they were 
when they were in Greek theory, but are the objects of 
conscious intent. When achieved in existence they are 
ends because they are then conclusions attained through 
antecedent endeavor, just as a post is not a goal in itself, but 
becomes a goal in relation to a runner and his race. 
Either we must consistently stick to the equivalence of 
ends with objectives of conscious endeavor, or admit that 
all things directly possessed of irreducible and self-sufficing 
quality, red and blue, pain, solidity, toughness, smoothness 
and so on through the list, are natural ends. 

There is however nothing self-evident, or even clear, 
in the exclusive identification of ends with ends-in-view 
and of the latter t with psychic states. The identification 
isolates conscious life from objective nature. It was a 
particular historic situation that effected the division. 
Modern science made it clear that nature has no prefer- 
ence for good things over bad things; its mills turnout any 
kind of grist indifferently. If Greek thought had con- 
tented itself with asserting that all immediacy of exist- 
ence has a certain ultimacy and finality, a certain in- 
commensurability and incommutability, if it had cited 
conscious experience as a striking instance of the indiffer- 
ence of natural processes to termini of good and evil, 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 113 

modern science would have had no destructive impact 
upon the doctrine of natural ends. It would rather have 
added resourcefulness to this doctrine. In explicit dis- 
covery of just the conditions antecedent to this good and 
that bad, it puts in our hands means of regulating the 
occurrence of things possessed of these qualities. But 
discovery of the indifference of natural energies to the 
production of good and bad endings, and the discovery of 
the over lapping and intermixture of processes leading to 
different outcomes, so completely overthrew the classic 
doctrine of ends, that it seemed to abolish any and every 
conception of natural ends. The logical result was to cut 
off "consciousness/ 7 as the collectivity of immediate quali- 
ties, from nature, and to create the dualism of physical 
nature and mind which is the source of modern epistemo- 
logical problems. 

A reconsideration of the theory of natural termini, is 
in historic sequel necessary to a correct envisagement of 
the connection of conscious life with nature. "Con- 
sciousness 7 ' in one of its many significations, is identi- 
cal with direct apparition, obvious and vivid presence of 
qualities and of meanings. Take these apparitions as 
something else than emphatic characters of natural events 
and physical events, and objects become themselves re- 
mote and uncertain in existence arrived at only through 
the mediation of consciousness. Moreover, while quality 
is immediate and absolute, any particular quality is 
notoriously unstable and transitory. Immediate objects 
are the last word of evanescence. Consciousness, in the 
sense just indicated, is flux in which nothing abides. 
Persistence, "substance" is found only in some unap- 
proachable things, which have to be invoked to supply 



114 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

this flux with a substratum and locus. Thus we arc con- 
fronted with the perplexing riddles familiar in epistemo- 
logical theory. It suffices at this time to note but one. 
The realm of immediate qualities contains everything of 
worth and significance. But it is uncertain, unstable and 
precarious. The first consideration induces us to prize 
consciousness supremely; the second leads us to deny 
reality to it as compared with alleged underlying things 
with their fixity and permanence. Since immediate quali- 
ties come and go without inherent rhyme and reason, 
since life is more unstable than inanimate things and 
conscious life is even more evanescent than life physiologi- 
cally considered, since the coming and going of immediate 
qualities is susceptible of regulation only through the 
medium of things out of consciousness, "consciousness 71 
becomes an anomaly. "Matter" as a complex of indirect, 
not immediately given, and in some sense unknowable, 
things becomes alone real and solid. 

If we discount practical bias toward the regular and 
repeated, and hence toward "causes" as opposed to con- 
sequences, all that is indicated by the transiency of 
immediate qualitative affairs is that immediacy is imme- 
diacy. By the nature of the case the occurrence of the 
immediate is at the mercy of the sequential order. In the 
case of the things which appeal to common-sense as sub- 
stances, properties like mass and inertia, unchanged solid- 
ity and extension, count most. Rate of change is slow; 
and presents itself as a matter of attrition and accumula- 
tion; spatial qualities which are static chiefly figure. 
Time is of comparative indifference to the change of solid 
substances; a million years is a day. But whatever de- 
pends for its existence upon the interaction of a large 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 115 

number of independent variables is in unstable equilib- 
rium; its rate of change is rapid; successive qualities 
have no obvious connection with one another; any shift 
of any part may alter the whole pattern. Thug, while 
light and water are "substances," a rainbow, depending 
upon a highly specialized conjunction of light and vapor, 
and being transient, is only a "phenomenon." Such im- 
mediate qualities as red and blue, sweet and sour, tone, 
the pleasant and unpleasant, depend upon an extraordin- 
ary variety and complexity of conditioning events; hence 
they are evanescent. They are never exactly redupli- 
cated, because the exact combination of events of which 
they are termini does not precisely recur. Hence they 
are even more "phenomenal" than a rainbow; they must 
be hitched to substance as its "modes" to get standing in 
"reality." 

Thus the things that are most precious, that are final, 
being just the things that are unstable and most easily 
changing, seem to be different in kind from good, solid, old- 
fashioned substance. Matter has turned out to be nothing 
like as lumpy and chunky as unimaginative prejudice 
conceived it to be. But as compared with the changes 
of immediate qualities it seems in any case solid and sub- 
stantial; a fact which accounts, I suppose, for the inser- 
tion of an immaterial sort of substance, after the analogy 
of matter-substance, underneath mental affairs. But 
when it is recognized that the latter are eventual and 
consummatory to highly complicated interactions of 
natural events, their transiency becomes itself intelligible; 
it is no ground of argument for a radical difference from 
.the physical, the latter being also resolvable into a char- 
acter of the course of events. While "consciousness" as 



116 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

the conspicuous and vivid presence of immediate qualities 
and of meanings, is alone of direct worth, things not imme- 
diately present, whose intrinsic qualities are not directly 
had, are primary from the standpoint of control. For 
just because the things that are directly had are both 
precious and evanescent, the only thing that can be thought 
of is the conditions under which they are had. The 
common, pervasive and repeated is of superior rank from 
the standpoint of safeguarding and buttressing the hav- 
ing of terminal qualities. Directly we can do nothing 
with the latter save have, enjoy and suffer them. So 
reflection is concerned with the order which conditions, 
prevents and secures their occurrence. The irony of 
many historic systems of philosophy is that they have so 
inverted the actualities of the case. The general, recur- 
rent and extensive has been treated as the worthy and 
superior kind of Being; the immediate, intensive, transi- 
tory, and qualitatively individualized taken to be of im- 
portance only when it is imputed to something ordinary, 
which is all the universal can denotatively mean. In 
truth, the universal and stable are important because 
they are the instrumentalities, the efficacious conditions, 
of the occurrence of the unique, unstable and passing. 

The system which Aristotle bequeathed to the modern 
world through Latin Christianity expresses the conse- 
quences of taking the universal which is instrumental, as if 
it were final. Actually, consummatory objects instead of 
being a graded series of numerable and unalterable species 
or kinds of existence ranked under still fewer genera, are 
infinitely numerous, variable and individualized affairs. 
Poets who have sung of despair in the midst of prosperity, 
and of hope amid darkest gloom, have been the true 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 11T 

metaphysicians of nature. The glory of the moment and 

its tragedy will surely pass. The contingent, uncertain 
and incomplete give depth and scope to consummatory 
objects while things not directly had, things approach- 
able only through reflective imagination and rational 
constructions are the conditions of such regulation of their 
occurrence as is feasible. 

The richer and fuller are the terminal qualities of an 
object the more precarious is the latter, because of its 
dependence upon a greater diversity of events. At the 
best, therefore, control is partial and experimental. AH 
prediction is abstract and hypothetical. Given the sta- 
bility of other events, and it follows that certain condi- 
tions, selected in thought, determine the predictability 
of the occurrence of say, red. But since the other con- 
ditions do not remain unalterably put, what actually 
occurs is never just what happens in thought; the thing of 
mere redness does not happen, but some thing with just 
this shade and tinge of red, in just this unduplicable con- 
tent. Thus something unpredictable, spontaneous, unr- 
formulable and ineffable is found in any terminal object. 
Standardizations, formulae, generalizations, principles, 
universals, have their place, but the place is that of being 
instrumental to better approximation to what is unique 
and unrepeatable. 

We owe to Romanticism the celebration of this fact; 
no fact apparently being fully discovered and communi- 
cated save as it is too much celebrated. Aversion to 
Romanticism as a system is quite justifiable; but even an 
obnoxious system may hit upon a truth uaknown to 
soberer schemes. Call the facts romantic or by some 
sounding name, aod it still remains true that 



18 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

nmediate and terminal qualities (whether or not called 
onsciousness) form an unpredictable and unformulable 
low of immediate, shifting, impulsive, adventured finali- 
ies, with respect to which the universal and regular 
ibjects and principles celebrated in classic thought are 
nstrumental. 

Perhaps we may prudently close this chapter with a 
eminder. To point out something as a fact is not the 
ame thing as to commend or eulogize the fact. I am 
tot saying that it is a fine and noble thing that whatever 
5 immediately consummatory and precious should be 
Iso evanescent and unique, never completely subject to 
>rinciple and rule. A reporter is not necessarily to blame 
or the state of thing that he reports. The fact hereby 
eported is so unescapable and so obvious to a candid 
empiricist that there is no occasion for either eulogy or 
;ondemnation. The only question is what is going to be 
lone about the various instances of it which compose our 
ives, and give them humor and tragedy. The question 
s urgent for reflection; it is urgent for the most practical 
:>f acts in "getting a living/' where the need to do some- 
thing is constantly imperative. Materials used in reflec- 
tion change even more rapidly than materials employed 
in meeting hunger and thirst. Their metabolism is at a 
quicker pace. Genuinely to think of a thing is to think of 
implications that are no sooner thought of than we are 
tiurried on to their implications. There is no rest for the 
thinker, save in the process of thinking. Possibly it is 
for this reason that reflection upon the whole has been 
identified in human culture with onerous labor, with the 
sombre and melancholic. Reverie travels fast, but in 
reverie the labor of making connections taut and con- 
sistent is not involved. Only in circumstances as for- 



NATURE, ENDS AND HISTORIES 119 

tunatc as those of ancient Greece does effort to under- 
stand become a rich and full delight, so that it may be 
conceived of not only as an end of nature, but as its end of 
ends, for the sake of which all else happens. 

Participation in this consummatory activity has, how- 
ever, been confined to a few. Since it wai conceived of 
as an end given spontaneously or "naturally" to a few, 
not as a practical and reflective conclusion to be achieved, 
it was concluded that some men are servile by nature, 
having as sole function to supply the materials which made 
it possible for other men to indulge in pure theoretical 
activity, without distraction by the need of making a 
living. Thus the conception that thought is the final and 
complete end of nature became a "rationalization" of an 
existing division of classes in society. The division of 
men into the thoughtless and the inquiring was taken to 
be the intrinsic work of nature; in effect it was identical 
with the division between workers and those enjoying 
leisure. Philosophers and scientific inquiries became the 
utmost acme of nature's perfection, being the least de- 
pendent upon outward acts and connections. 

In a sense, this occurrence of thought and leisurely 
insight was natural; it happened in the course of natural 
processes. It was "given." Like any finality it had to 
be hit upon, achieved without premeditation before it 
might become an object of reflective choice and endeavor. 
But when it came to b reflected upon, its terms were mis- 
conceived. The conception that contemplative thought 
is the end in itself was at once a compensation for inability 
to make reason effective in practice, and a means for per- 
petuating a division of social classes. A local and tem- 
poral polity of historical nature became a metaphysics 
of everlasting being. Thought when it achieves truth 



120 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

may, indeed, be said to fulfill the regularities and universali- 
ties of nature; to be their natural end. But its incarna- 
tion as an end in some, not others, does not partake of 
any universality. It is contingent, accidental ; its achieve- 
ment is a rational fulfillment only when it is the product 
of deliberate arts of politics and education. 

Since nothing in nature is exclusively final, rationality 
is always means as well as end. The doctrine of the uni- 
versality and necessity of rational ends can be validated 
only when those in whom the good is actualized employ 
it as a means to modify conditions so that others may also 
participate in it, and its universality exist in the course of 
affairs. The more it is asserted that thought and under- 
standing are "ends in themselves," the more imperative 
is it that thought should discover why they are realized 
only in a small and exclusive class. The ulterior problem 
of thought is to make thought prevail in experience, not 
just the results of thought by imposing them upon others, 
but the active process of thinking. The ultimate contra- 
diction in the classic and genteel tradition is that while 
it made thought universal and necessary and the culmin- 
ating good of nature, it was content to leave its distribu- 
tion among men a thing of accident, dependent upon birth, 
economic, and civil status. Consistent as well as hu- 
mane thought will be aware of the hateful irony of a 
philosophy which is indifferent to the conditions that 
determine the occurrence of reason while it asserts the 
ultimacy and universality of reason. In as far as quali- 
ties of objects are found worthy of finality, the finding 
must eventuate in arts. Only thereby will thinking 
and knowing take their full place as events falling within 
natural processes, not only in their origin but also in their 
outcome* 



CHAPTER FOUR 
NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 

No mythology is more familiar than that which tells 
how labor is due to trespass of man upon divine preroga- 
tives, an act that brought curse upon the earth and woe to 
man. Because of this primeval rebellion against God, men 
toil amid thorns to gain an uncertain livelihood, and 
women bring forth children in pain. The tale is touch- 
ing evidence that man finds it natural that nature should 
support his activities, and unnatural that the burden of 
continued and hard endeavor should be placed upon him. 
Festivity is spontaneous; labor needs to be accounted 
for. There is a long distance between the birth of the 
old legend and the formulation of classic political economy; 
but the doctrine of the latter that labor which is the 
source of value signifies cost, onerous sacrifice of present 
consummation to attainment of later good, expresses the 
same human attitude. 

Yet, in fact, it was not enjoyment of the apple but the 
enforced penalty of labor that made man as the gods, 
knowing good and evil instead of just having and enjoy- 
ing them. The exacting conditions imposed by nature, 
that have to be observed in order that work be carried 
through to success, are the source of all noting and record- 
ing of nature's doings. They supply the discipline that 
chastens exuberant fancy into respect for the operation 
of events, and that effect subjection of thought to a per- 
tinent order of space and time. While leisure is the 
mother of drama, sport and literary spell-binding, neces- 



122 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

sity is the mother of invention, discovery and consecutive 
reflection. While at happy junctures the course of ex- 
traordinary events may be bound or wheedled by en- 
joyed rite and ceremony, only work places a conclusive 
spell upon homely, everyday affairs. Spears, snares, 
gins, traps, utensils, baskets and webs may have their 
potency enhanced by adherence to ceremonial design, but 
the design is never a complete substitute for conformity 
to the efficacious resistances and adaptations of natural 
materials. Acumen, shrewdness, inventiveness, accumu- 
lation and transmission of information are products of 
the necessity under which man labors to turn away from 
absorption in direct having and enjoying, so as to con- 
sider things in their active connections as means and as 
signs. The same need converts immediate emotion 
irrelevant to everything save its own thrill into ordered 
interest in the movements and possibilities of natural 
events. Everything is done to bedeck utilities, instru- 
mentalities, with reminders of consummatory events so as 
to lessen their burden, but useful arts in return supply 
ceremonial arts with their materials, appliances and 
patterns. 

Tools, means, agencies are the characteristic thing in 
industry; such a statement is tautology. By its nature 
technology is concerned with things and acts in their in- 
strumentalities, not in their immediacies. Objects and 
events figure in work not as fulfillments, realizations, but 
in behalf of other things of which they are means and 
predictive signs. A tool is a particular thing, but it is 
more than a particular thing, since it is a thing in which 
a connection, a sequential bond of nature is embodied. 
It possesses an objective relation as its own defining prop- 



JNATUKJb;, MJbAJNb AJNJJ KINIUW.LJbJUU^ 

erty. Its perception as well as its actual use takes the 
mind to other things. The spear suggests the feast not 
directly but through the medium of other external things, 
such as the game and the hunt, to which the sight of the 
weapon transports imagination. Man's bias towards him- 
self easily leads him to think of a tool solely in relation 
to himself, to his hand and eyes, but its primary relation- 
ship is toward other external things, as the hammer to the 
nail, and the plow to the soil. Only through this objective 
bond does it sustain relation to man himself and his activi- 
ties. A tool denotes a perception and acknowledgment of 
sequential bonds in nature. 

Classic philosophy was conceived in wonder, born in 
leisure and bred in consummatory contemplation. Hence 
it noted the distinction between objects consummatory or 
final in the fine arts and instrumental and operative in the 
industrial. It then employed the distinction to interpret 
nature in terms of a dialectical physics. Useful arts are 
possible because things have observable efficiencies; but 
they are necessary because of lack, privation, imperfec- 
tion, Non-being. This deficiency is manifest in sensation 
and appetite; the very transitiveness of materials which 
renders them capable of transformation into serviceable 
forms is evidence that they too lack fullness of Being. 
Things have potentialities or are instrumental because 
they are not Being, but rather Being in process of be- 
coming. They lend themselves to operative connections 
that fulfill them because they are not themselves Real in 
an adequate sense. This point of view protected Greek 
thought from that modern onesidedness which conceives 
tools as mere subjective conveniences. But the safe- 
guard was at the expense of the introduction into nature 



114 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

of a split in Being itself, its division into some things 
which are inherently defective, changing, relational, 
and other things which are inherently perfect, permanent, 
self-possessed. Other dualisms such as that between 
sensuous appetite and rational thought, between the 
particular and universal, between the mechanical and the 
telic, between experience and science, between matter 
and mind, are but the reflections of this primary meta- 
physical dualism. 

The counterpart of the conversion of esthetic objects 
into objects of science, into the one, true and good, was 
the conversion of operative and transitive objects into 
things which betray absence of full Being. This absence 
causes their changing instability which is, none the less, 
after the model of materials of the useful arts, potentially 
useful for ends beyond themselves. The social division 
into a laboring class and a leisure class, between industry 
and esthetic contemplation, became a metaphysical 
division into things which are mere means and things 
which are ends. Means are menial, subservient, 
slavish; and ends liberal and final; things as means 
testify to inherent defect, to dependence, while ends 
testify to independent and intrinsically self-sufficing be- 
ing. Hence the former can never be known in themselves 
but only in their subordination to objects that are final, 
while the latter can be known in and through themselves 
by self-enclosed reason. Thus the identification of 
knowledge with esthetic contemplation and the exclusion 
from science of trial, work, manipulation and adminis- 
tration of things, comes full circle. 

The ingratitude displayed by thinkers to artists who 
by creation of harmoniously composed objects supplied 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 125 

idealistic philosophy with empirical models of their 
ultimately real objects, was shown in even greater 
measure to artisans. The accumulated results of the ob- 
servations and procedures of farmers, navigators, build- 
ers furnished matter-of-fact information about natural 
events, and also supplied the pattern of logical and meta- 
physical subordination of change to directly possessed 
and enjoyed fulfillments. While thinkers condemned 
the industrial class and despised labor, they borrowed 
from them the facts and the conceptions that gave form 
and substance to their own theories. For apart from 
processes of art there was no basis for introducing the 
idea of fulfillment, realization, into the notion of end nor 
for interpreting antecedent operations as potentialities. 
Yet we should not in turn exhibit ingratitude. For if 
Greek thinkers did not achieve science, they achieved the 
idea of science. This accomplishment was beyond the 
reach of artist and artisan. For no matter how solid the 
content of their own observations and beliefs about 
natural events, that content was bound down to occasions 
of origin and use. The relations they recognized were 
of local areas in time and place. Subject-matter under- 
went a certain distortion when it was lifted out of this 
context, and placed in a realm of eternal forms. But the 
idea of knowledge was thereby liberated, and the scheme 
of logical relationships among existences held up as an 
ideal of inquiry. Thinking was uncovered as an enter- 
prize having its own objects and procedures; and the 
discovery of thought as method of methods in all arts 
added a new dimension to all subsequent experience. It 
would be an academic matter to try to balance the credit 
items due to the discovery of thought and of logic as a 



126 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

free enterprise, against the debit consequences resulting 
from the hard and fast separation of the instrumental and 
final. 

A great change took place in Greek experience between 
the time of Homer and Hesiod and the fifth century before 
Christ. The earlier period evinces a gloomy temper of 
life. The sense of the sovereignty of fortune, largely ill- 
fortune, is prevalent. The temper is shown by such 
quotations as the following: "Thus the gods have de- 
cided for unhappy mortals that men should live in misery 
while they themselves live free from suffering." "A 
thousand woes traverse the abode of man; the earth is 
gorged with them and the sea filled; day and night bring 
grief. They come in silence for prudent Zeus has taken 
away their voice." "Men favored by Hecate have no 
need for knowledge, memory or effort to achieve success; 
she acts alone without the assistance of her favorites.' 1 
Divination of the intent of unseen powers and pious 
sacrifice are man's only resource, but this is of no avail. 
Reckon no man happy till after his death. The gods 
have indeed bestowed arts on man to ameliorate his 
hard lot, but their issue is uncertain. The ends rests 
with the gods and with fate who rules even the gods, a 
fate to be neither bribed with offerings nor yet compelled 
by knowledge and art. 

By the days of the Sophists and their great Athenian 
successors there is marked change in mood. The con- 
ditions then existed that have occasioned the myth of Greek 
serenity. The Sophists taught that man could largely 
control the fortunes of life by mastery of the arts. No 
one has exceeded Plato in awareness of present ills. But 
since they are due to ignorance and opinion, they are 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 127 

remediable, he holds, by adequate knowledge. Philos- 
ophy should terminate in an art of social control. The 
great rival of Plato taught that fortune "is a fantom 
which men have invented to excuse their own imprudence. 
Fortune does not easily resist thought and for the most 
part an instructed and far-seeing soul will attain its goal. 71 
In short arts based on knowledge cooperate with nature 
and render it amenable to human happiness. The gods 
recede into twilight. Divination has a powerful com- 
petitor. Worship becomes moral. Medicine, war, and 
the crafts desert the temple and the altar of the patron- 
god of the guild, as inventions, tools, techniques of action 
and works multiply. 

This period of confident expansion did not endure. It 
soon gave way; it was succeeded by what Gilbert Murray 
has so well named the failure of nerve, and a return to the 
supernatural, philosophy changing from a supreme art 
into a way of access to the supernatural. Yet the episode 
even if brief is more than historically significant. It 
manifests another way open to man in the midst of an 
uncertain, incomplete and precarious universe; another 
way, that is, in addition to that of celebrating such 
moments of respite and festal joy as occur in the troubled 
life of man. Through instrumental arts, arts of control 
based on study of nature, objects which are fulfilling and 
good, may be multiplied and rendered secure. This road 
after almost two millenia of obscuration and desertion was 
refound and retaken; its rediscovery marks what we call 
the modern era. Consideration of the significance of 
science as a resource in a world of mixed uncertainty, 
peril, and of uniformity, stability, furnishes us with the 
theme of this chapter of experience. 



128 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

That the sciences were born of the arts, the physical 
sciences of the crafts and technologies of healing, naviga- 
tion, war and the working of wood, metals, leather, flax 
and wool; the mental sciences of the arts of political 
management, is I suppose, an admitted fact. The dis- 
tinctively intellectual attitude which marks scientific 
inquiry was generated in efforts at controlling persons 
and things so that consequences, issues, outcomes would 
be more stable and assured. The first step away from 
oppression by immediate things and events was taken 
when man employed tools and appliances, for manipulat- 
ing things so as to render them contributory to desired 
objects. In responding to things not in their immediate 
qualities but for the sake of ulterior results, immediate 
qualities are dimmed, while those features which are 
signs, indices of something else, are distinguished. A 
thing is more significantly what it makes possible than 
what it immediately is. The very conception of cogni- 
tive meaning, intellectual significance, is that things in 
their immediacy are subordinated to what they portend 
and give evidence of. An intellectual sign denotes that 
a thing is not taken immediately but is referred to some- 
thing that may come in consequence of it. Intellectual 
meanings may themselves be appropriated, enjoyed and 
appreciated; but the character of intellectual meaning is 
instrumental. Fortunate for us is it that tools and their 
using can be directly enjoyed; otherwise all work would 
be drudgery. But this additiv^ fact does not alter the 
definition of a tool; it remains a thing used as an agency 
for some concluding event. 

The first groping steps in defining spatial and tem- 
poral qualities, in transforming purely immediate quali- 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 1 

ties of local things into generic relationships, were taken 
through the arts. The finger, the foot, the unit of walk- 
ing were used to measure space; measurements of weight 
originated in the arts of commercial exchange and manu- 
facture. Geometry, beginning as agricultural art, further 
emancipated space from being a localized quality of im- 
mediate extensity. But the radically different ways of 
conceiving geometry found in ancient and in modern 
science is evidence of the slowness of the process of 
emancipation of even geometrical forms from direct or 
esthetic traits. In Greek astronomy the intrinsic quali- 
ties of figures always dominated their instrumental sig- 
nificance in inquiry; they were forms to which phenomena 
had to conform instead of means of indirect measure- 
ments. Hardly till our own day did spatial relations 
get emancipated from esthetic and moral qualities, and 
become wholly intellectual and relational, abstracted 
from immediate qualifications, and thereby generalized 
to their limit. 

Anything approaching a history of the growth of recog- 
nition of things in their intellectual or instrumental phase 
is far beyond our present scope. We can only point 
out some of its net results. In principle the step is taken 
whenever objects are so reduced from their status of 
complete objects as to be treated as signs or indications 
of other objects. Enter upon this road and the time is 
sure to come when the appropriate object-of-knowledge 
is stripped of all that is immediate and qualitative, of 
all that is final, self-s'ufiicient. Then it becomes an 
anatomized epitome of just and only those traits which 
are of indicative or instrumental import. Abstraction 
is not a psychological incident; k is a following to its 



130 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

logical conclusion of interest in those phases of natural 
existence which are dependable and fruitful signs of other 
things; which are means of prediction by formulation in 
term* implying other terms. Self-evidence ceases to be 
a characteristic trait of the fundamental objects of either 
sensory or noetic objects. Primary propositions are 
statements of objects in terms which procure the simplest 
and completest forming and checking of other proposi- 
tions. Many systems of axioms and postulates are pos- 
sible, the more the merrier, since new propositions as 
consequences axe thus brought to light. Genuine science 
is impossible as long as the object esteemed for its own in- 
trinsic qualities is taken as the object of knowledge. Its 
completeness, its immanent meaning, defeats its use as 
indicating and implying. 

Said William James, "Many were the ideal prototypes 
of rational order: teleological and esthetic tics between 
things .... as well as logical and mathematical 
relations. The most promising of these things at first 
were of course the richer ones, the more sentimental 
ones. The baldest and least promising were mathe- 
matical ones; but the history of the latter's application 
is a history of steadily advancing successes, while that 
of the sentimentally richer ones is one of relative sterility 
and failure. Take those aspects of phenomena which 
interest you as a human being most .... and 
barren are all your results. Call the things of nature as 
much as you like by sentimental moral and esthetic 
names, no natural consequences follow from the naming. 
. . . . But when you give the things mathemati- 
cal and mechanical names and call them so many solids 
in just such positions, describing just such paths with 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 131 

Just such velocities, all is changed Your 

"things" realize the consequences of the names by which 
you classed them." 1 

A fair interpretation of theee pregnant sentences is 
that as long as objects are viewed telically, as long as the 
objects of the truest knowledge, the most real forms of 
being, are thought of as ends, science does not advance. 
Objects are possessed and appreciated, but they are not 
known. To know, means that men have become willing 
to turn away from precious possessions; willing to let 
drop what they own, however precious, in behalf of a 
grasp of objects which they do not as yet own. Multi- 
plied and secure ends depend upon letting go existent 
ends, reducing them to indicative and implying means, 
The great historic obstacle to science was unwillingness to 
make the surrender, lest moral, esthetic and religious 
objects suffer. To large groups of persons, the bald and 
dry objects of natural science are still objects of fear. 
The mechanical or mathematical-logical object presents 
itself as a rival of the ideal and final object. Then 
philosophy becomes a device for conserving "the spiritual 
values of the universe'' by devices of interpretation which 
converts the material and mechanical into mind. By 
means of a dialectic of the implications of the possibility 
of knowledge, the physical is transformed into something 
mental, psychic as if psychic existence were sure to be 
inherently more ideal than the physical. 

The net result of the new scientific method was con- 
ception of nature as a mathematical-mechanical object. 
If modern philosophy, reflecting the tendencies of the 

1 James, Principles of Psychology, Vol. II, pp. 605-06. 



132 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

new science, abolished final causes from nature, it was 
because concern with qualitative ends, already existing 
objects of possession and enjoyment, blocked inquiry, 
discovery and control, and ended in barren dialectical 
disputes about definitions and classifications. A candid 
mind can hardly deny that sensory qualities, colors, 
moist and dry, hard and soft, light and heavy are genuine 
natural ends. In them the potentialities of the body are 
broughtinto functioning, while the activity of the body thus 
achieved brings in turn to completion potentialities in 
nature outside of the body. Nevertheless the theory that 
final objects are the appropriate objects of knowledge, 
in assimilating knowledge to esthetic contemplation had 
fatal consequences for science. All natural phenomena 
had to be known in terms of qualities. Hot and cold, 
wet and dry, up and down, light and heavy were things 
to know with and by. They were essential forms, active 
principles of nature. But Galileo and his scientific and 
philosophical followers (like Descartes and Hobbes) 
reversed the method by asserting that these sensory 
forms are things to be known, challenges to inquiry, prob- 
lems, not solutions nor terms of solution. The assertion 
was a general one; it necessitated search for objects of 
knowledge. Dependable material with which to know 
was found in a different realm of being; in spatial 
relations, positions, masses, mathematically defined, 
and in motion as change of space having direction and 
velocity. Qualities were no longer things to do with; 
they were things already done, effects, requiring to be 
known by statement and description in mathematical 
and mechanical relations. The only world which de- 
fines and describes and explains was a world of masses 
in motion, arranged in a system of Cartesian coordinate* 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 1SJ 

When we view experientially this change, what oc- 
curs is the kind of thing that happens in the useful 
arts when natural objects, like crude ores, are treated as 
materials for getting something else. Their character 
ceases to lie in their immediate qualities, in just what they 
are and as directly enjoyed. Their character is now 
representative; some pure metal, iron, copper, etc. is 
their essence, which may be extracted as their "true" 
nature, their "reality." To get at this reality many 
existent constituents have to be got rid of. From the 
standpoint of the object, pure metal, these things to be 
eliminated are "false/' irrelevant and obstructive. They 
stand in the way, and in the existent thing those qualities 
are alone significant which indicate the ulterior objective 
and which offer means for attaining it. 

Modern science represents a generalized recognition 
and adoption of the point of view of the useful arts, for it 
proceeds by employment of a similar operative technique 
of manipulation and reduction. Physical science would 
be impossible without the appliances and procedures of 
separation and combinations of the industrial arts. In 
useful arts, the consequence is increase of power, multipli- 
cation of ends appropriated and enjoyed, and an en- 
larged and varied flexibility and economy in means used 
to achieve ends. Metal can be put to thousands of 
uses, while the crude ore can only be beheld for whatever 
esthetic qualities it happens to present, or be hurled 
bodily at game or an enemy. Reduction of natural 
existences to the status of means thus presents nothing in- 
herently adverse to possessed and appreciated ends, but 
rather renders the latter a more secure and extensive 
affair. 



134 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Why then has it been so often assumed in modern 
philosophy that the advance of physical science has 
created a serious metaphysical problem; namely, that 
of the relation of a mechanical world as the object of 
knowledge to ends; the reconciliation of antithetical 
worlds of description and appreciation? In empirical 
fact, the advance of mechanistic science has multiplied 
and diversified ends; has increased wants and satisfac- 
tions, and has multiplied and diversified the means of 
attaining them. Why the problem? There are two his- 
torical empirical reasons to be given in answer. In the 
first place, the Aristotelian metaphysics of potentiality 
and actuality, of objects consummatory of natural proc- 
esses, was intricately entangled with an astronomy and 
physics which had become incredible. It was also en- 
tangled with doctrines and institutions in politics and 
economics which were fast getting out of relationship 
to current social needs. The simplest recourse was to 
treat the classic tradition as the Jonah of science and 
throw it bodily overboard. The method was imperious 
and impatient, but it served a need. By a single act it 
relieved scientific inquiries of notions that were hamper- 
ing, even paralyzing investigation into nature and that 
were limiting new practices by outworn sanctions. 

By itself alone, however, this cause would hardly have 
created more than a passing historic episode. The reason 
that rendered the abandonment of any theory of natural 
ends something more than a gesture of impatient haste 
lies in the persistence of the classic theory of knowledge. 
Greek thought regarded possession, contemplation, as the 
essence of science, and thought of the latter as such a 
complete possession of reality as incorporates it with 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 135 

mind. The notion of knowledge as immediate posses- 
sion of Being was retained when knowing as an actual 
affair radically altered. Even when science had come 
to include a method of experimental search and finding, it 
was still defined as insight into, grasp of, real being as 
such, in comparison with which other modes of experience 
are imperfect, confused and perverted. Hence a serious 
problem. If the proper object of science is a mathe- 
matico-mechanical world (as the achievements of science 
have proved to be the case) and if the object of science 
defines the true and perfect reality (as the perpetuation 
of the classic tradition asserted), then how can the objects 
of love, appreciation whether sensory or ideal and de- 
votion be included within true reality? 

Efforts to answer this question constitute a large part 
of the technical content of modern metaphysical thought. 
Given the premises, its import covers almost every 
thing from the problem of freedom, ideals and ideas to 
the relation of the physical and the mental. With re- 
spect to the latter, there is the causal problem of their 
existential relation; and there is the cognitive problem 
of how one order of existence cast refer to the other in 
such a way as to know it. We are not concerned here 
with the voluminous literature and various (controversial 
and controverted) points of view that have emerged. It is 
pertinent, however, to recall the source of the problems; 
and to register the statement that without the underlying 
dubious assumption, we are not called upon to find solu- 
tions; they cease to be perplexities as soon as certain pre- 
mises are surrendered. The premise which concerns us 
here is that science is grasp of reality in its final self- 
sufficing form. If the proper object of knowledge has the 



136 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

character appropriate to the subject matter of the useful 
arts, the problem in question evaporates. The objects 
of science, like the direct objects of the arts, are an order 
of relations which serve as tools to effect immediate 
havings and beings. Goods, objects with qualities of 
fulfillment are the natural fruition of the discovery and 
employment of means, when the connection of ends 
with a sequential order is determined. Immediate em- 
pirical things are just what they always were: endings of 
natural histories. Physical science does not set up 
another and rival realm of antithetical existence; it reveals 
the state or order upon which the occurrence of im- 
mediate and final qualities depends. It adds to casual 
having of ends an ability to regulate the date, place and 
manner of their emergence. Fundamentally, the as- 
sertion that this condition of ordered relationships is 
mathematic, mechanical, is tautology; that is, the meaning 
of anything which is such that perception and use of it 
enables us to regulate consequences or attain terminal 
qualities is a mathematical, mechanical or if you please 
logical order. If we did not discover those which we 
have found, we should have to find another, if deliberate 
planning and execution are to occur. 

If science be perfect grasp, or envisagement of being, 
and if science terminate with a mathematico-mechanical 
world, then,' in the second place, we have upon our hands 
the problems of reality and appearance. In ancient 
thought, the problem occurred in a simple form. There 
were higher and lower forms of knowledge; but all stages 
of knowledge were alike realizations of some level of 
Being, so that appearance in contrast with reality meant 
only a lower degree of Being, being imperfect or not fully 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 137 

actualized. In modern science, with its homogenous 
natural world, this contrast of perfect and defective Be- 
ing is meaningless. It is a question of knowledge or 
error, not of differences of cognitive grasp in one to one 
correspondence with different levels of Being. In the 
ancient view, sensation and opinion are good forms of 
knowledge in their place; what they know, their place, 
is just an inferior grade of Being. To the modern mind, 
they are not knowledge of anything unless they are 
brought to agree with the deliverances of science. Is 
matter an appearance of mind as true reality? Or is the 
mental only an appearance of the physical as the final 
reality? Or are both of them appearances of some still 
more ultimate reality? 

Such questions are as necessary as they are unanswer- 
able, given the premise which defines knowledge as direct 
grasp and tnvisagement. They vanish if the proper 
objects of science are nature in its instrumental characters. 
Any immediate object then becomes for inquiry, as some- 
thing to be known, an appearance. To call it "appearance" 
denotes a functional status, not a kind of existence. Any 
quality in its immediacy is doubly an appearance. In 
the first place it appears; it is evident, conspicuous, out- 
standing, it is, to recur to language already used, had. A 
thing appears in the sense in which a bright object ap- 
pears in a dark room, while other things remain obscure, 
hidden. The affair is one of physical and physiological 
limits of vision and audition, etc. We see islands floating 
as it were upon the sea; we call them islands because of 
their apparent lack of continuity with the medium that 
immediately surrounds them. But they are projections 
of the very earth upon which we walk; the connecting 



138 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

links do not ordinarily appear; they are there, but are 
not had. The difference between the appearing and the 
imappearing is of immense practical and theoretical 
import, imposing upon us need for inference, which 
would not exist if things appeared to us in their full 
connections, instead of with sharply demarcated outlines 
due to limits of perceptibility. But the ground of the 
difference is as physical as that between solid, liquid and 
gas. The endings of organic events, seeing, hearing, etc. 
are for the time being, or immediately, endings of the 
history of all natural events. To re-establish a connec- 
tion of histories within a longer course of events and a 
more inclusive state of affairs, requires delving, probing, 
and extension by artifice beyond the apparent. To link 
the things which are immediately and apparitionally had 
with one another by means of what is not immediately 
apparent and thus to create new historic successions with 
new initiations and new endings depends in turn upon the 
system of mathematical-mechanical systems which form 
the proper objects of science as such. 

The empirical basis of the distinction between the 
apparent and the non-apparent thus lies in the need for 
inference. When we take the outstandingly evident as 
evidence, its status is subordinate to that of unperceived 
things. For the nonce, it is a way of establishing some- 
thing more fundamental than it is itself with respect to 
the object of inquiry. If we conceive of the world of 
immediately apparent things as an emergence of peaks of 
mountains which are submerged except as to their peaks 
or endings, and as a world of initial climbings whose 
subsequent career emerges above the surface only here 
and there and by fits and starts; and if v/e give attention 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 139 

to the fact that any ability of control whatever depends 
upon ability to unite these disparate appearances into a 
serial history, and then give due attention to the fact that 
connection into a consecutive history can be effected only 
by means of a scheme of constant relationships (a con- 
dition met by the mathematical-logical-mechanical ob- 
jects of physics), we shall have no difficulty in seeing 
why it is that the immediate things from which we start 
lend themselves to interpretation as signs or appearances 
of the objects of physics; while we also recognize that 
it is only with respect to the function of instituting con- 
nection that the objects of physics can be said to be more 
"real." In the total situation in which they function, 
they are means to weaving together otherwise discon- 
nected beginnings and endings into a consecutive history. 
Underlying "reality" and surface "appearance" in this 
connection have a meaning fixed by the function of inquiry, 
not an intrinsic metaphysical meaning. 

To treat therefore the object of science which in effect 
is the object of physics as a complete and self-sufficient 
object, the end of knowing, is to burden ourselves with 
an unnecessary and insoluble problem. It commits us 
on one side to a realm of immediately apparent things, the 
socalled perceptual order which is an order only by cour- 
tesy, and on the other to a realm of inferred and logically 
constructed real objects. These two realms are rivals of 
each other. If knowledge is possession or grasp, then 
there are two incompatible kinds of knowledge, one sensi- 
ble, the other rational. Which is the genuine article and 
which the counterfeit? If we say sensible knowledge is 
the genuine, then we are committed to phenomenalism 
of a somewhat chaotic kind, unless we follow Berkeley and 
invoke deity to hold the immediate things together. 



140 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

If we say rational knowledge is the genuine article, 
then true reality becomes the reality of materialism or of 
logical realism or of objective idealism, according to 
training and temperament. To follow the clues of ex- 
perience is to see that the socalled sensible world is a 
world of immediate beginnings and endings; not at all 
an affair of cases of knowledge but a succession of qualita- 
tive events; while the socalled conceptual order is recog- 
nized to be the proper object of science, since it constitutes 
the scheme of constant relationships by means of which 
spare, scattered and casual events are bound together into 
a connected history. These emergent immediate events 
remain the beginning and the end of knowledge; but 
since their occurrence is one with their being sensibly, 
affectionally and appreciatively had, they are not them- 
selves things known. That the qualities and characters 
of these immediate apparitions are tremendously modified 
when they are linked together by 'physical objects' 
that is, by means of the mathematical-mechanical ob- 
jects of physics is a fact of the same nature as that a 
steel watch-spring is a modification of crude iron ore. 
The objects of physics subsist precisely in order to bring 
about this transformation to change, that is, casual 
endings into fulfillments and conclusions of an ordered 
series, with the development of meaning therein involved. 

Practically all epistemological discussion depends upon 
a sudden and unavowed shift to and fro from the 
universe of having to the universe of discourse. At the 
outset, ordinary empirical affairs, chairs, tables, stones, 
sticks, etc., are called physical objects which is obviously 
a term of theoretical interpretation when it so applied, 
carrying within itself a complete metaphysical commit* 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 141 

ment. Then physical objects are defined as the objects 
of physics, which is, I suppose, the only correct mode of 
designation. But such objects are clearly very different 
things from the plants, lamps, chairs, thunder and light- 
ning, rocks etc. that were first called physical objects. 
So another transformation phantasmagoria in the tab- 
leau is staged. The original "physical things/' ordinary 
empirical objects, not being the objects of physics, are 
not physical at all but mental. Then comes the grand 
dissolving climax in which objects of physics are shown 
as themselves hanging from empirical objects now dressed 
up as mental, and hence as themselves mental. 

Everything now being mental, and the term having 
lost its original contrasting or differential meaning, a 
new and different series of transformation scenes is 
exhibited. Immediate empirical things are resolved into 
hard sensory data, which are called the genuine physical 
things, while the objects of physical science are treated as 
are logical constructions; all that remains to constitute 
mental existence is images and feelings. It is not neces- 
sary to mention other permutations and combinations, 
familiar to the student of theories of the possibility of 
knowledge. The samples mentioned are illustrations of 
the sort of thing which happens when the having of 
immediate objects, whether sensible, affectional or ap- 
preciatoral, is treated as a mode of knowledge. 

If objects which are colored, sonorous, tactile, gusta- 
tory, loved, hated, enjoyed, admired, which are attrac- 
tive and repulsive, exciting, indifferent and depressive, 
in all their infinitely numerous modes, are beginnings and 
endings of complex natural affairs, and if physical ob- 
jects (defined as objects of physical science) are consti- 



142 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

tuted by a mathematical-mechanical order; then physical 
objects instead of involving us in the predicament of 
having to choose between opposing claimants to reality, 
have precisely the characters which they should have in 
order to serve effectively as means for securing and 
avoiding immediate objects. Four of these characters 
may be noted. First, immediate things come and go; 
events in the way of direct seeing, hearing, touching, 
liking, enjoying, and the rest of them are in rapid change; 
the subject-matter of each has a certain uniqueness, un- 
repeatedness. Spatial- temporal orders, capable of mathe- 
matical formulation are, by contrast, constant. They 
present stability, recurrence at its maximum, raised to the 
highest degree. Qualitative affairs like red and blue, 
although in themselves unlike, are subject to comparison 
in terms of objects of physics; on the basis of connection 
with orders of sequence, a qualitative spectrum or scale 
becomes a scheme of numerable variations of a common 
unit. 

The second character of objects of science follows from 
this feature. The possibility of regulating the occur- 
rence of any event depends upon the possibility of in- 
stituting substitutions. By means of the latter, a thing 
which is within grasp is used to stand for another thing 
which is not immediately had, or which is beyond control. 
The technique of equations and other functions charac- 
teristic of modern science is, taken generically, a method 
of thoroughgoing substitutions. It is a system of ex- 
change and mutual conversion carried to its limit. 1 The 

* The modern mathematical conception of infinity as correspondence 
of part and whole appears to represent this function in its generalized 
form* 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 14J 

cognitive result is the homogeneous natural world of 
modern science, in its contrast with the qualitatively 
heterogeneous world of ancient science; the latter being 
made up of things different in inherent kinds and in 
qualities of movement, such up and down, lateral and 
circular, and heterogeneous according to periods of time, 
such as earlier and later. These become amenable to 
transformations in virtue of reciprocal substitutions. 

In the third place, objects of knowledge as means ex- 
plain the importance attached to elements, or numerically 
discrete units. Control of beginnings and ends by means 
is possible only when the individual, the unique, is treated 
as a composite of parts, made by sequential differentiations 
and integrations. 1 In its own integrity an immediate thing 
just exists as it exists; it stays or it passes; it is enjoyed or 
suffered. That is all that can be said. But when it is 
treated as the outcome of a complex convergence or co- 
incidence of a large number of elementary independent 
variables, points, moments, numerical units, particles 
of mass and energy or more elementary space-times, 
(which in spite of their independence are capable of one 
to one correspondence with one another) the situation 
changes. The simples or elements are in effect the last 
pivots upon which regulation of conditions, turns; last, 
that is to say, as far as present appliances permit. 

8 Leibniz, whose monadism is the first philosophical manifestation of 
this notion, and the prototype of analytic realism, or theory of external 
relations, asserted the existence of monads on the ground that every 
composite implies elements. Surely. But he omitted to note that 
metaphysically the case was begged as soon as an affair, no matter 
how elaborate in structure, is regarded as being composite. To be a com- 
posite is one thing; to be capable of reduction to a composite by certain 
measures, is another thing. 



144 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Preoccupation with elementary units is as marked in 
logic, biology, and psychology, as in physics and chemis- 
try. Sometimes it seems to have resulted in taking 
merely dialectical entities for actual unitary elements; 
but that is not logically necessary. Such an outcome 
signifies only that the right units were not found. Serious 
objection holds when the instrumental character of the 
elements is forgotten; and they are treated as independent, 
ultimate; when they are treated as metaphysical finalities, 
insoluble epistemological problems result. Whatever are 
designated as elements, whether logical, mathematical, 
physical or mental, depend especially upon the existence 
of immediate, qualitatively integral objects. Search for 
elements starts with such empirical objects already pos- 
sessed. Sensory data, whether they are designated 
psychic or physical, are thus not starting points; they 
are the products of analysis. Denial of the primary 
reality of immediate empirical objects logically terminates 
in an abrogation of the reality of elements; for sensory 
data, or sensa and sensibilia, are the residua of analysis of 
these primary things. Moreover every step of analysis 
depends upon continual reference to these empirical 
objects. Drop them from mental view for a moment 
and any clew in search for elements is lost. Unless macro- 
scopic things are recognized, cells, electrons, logical ele- 
ments become meaningless. The latter have meaning only 
as elements of. Since, for example, only propositions have 
implications, a proposition cannot be a mere conjunc- 
tion of terms; terms having no implications, a proposi- 
tion so formed would have no significance. Terms must 
have a significance and since that they have only in a 
proposition, they depend upon some prior unity. In 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 145 

similar fashion, a purely unitary physical clement would 
have no efficacy; it could not act or be acted upon. 

We quote from a psychiatric writer speaking of his 
own field, in dealing with a particular matter on its own 
merits. With reference to one stage in the development 
of the theory of mental disorders, Dr. Adolph Meyer 
said that "there was a quest for elements of mind and 
their immec v ate correlation with the latest discoveries in 
the structure of the brain. The centre theory and the 
cell and neuronic theory seemed obligatory standpoints. 
Today we h- ,vc become shy of such a one-sided not suffi- 
ciently functional materialism There is always 

a place for elements, but there is certainly also a place 
for the large momentous facts of human life just as we 

find it The psychopathologist had to learn to 

do more than the so-called "elementalist," who always 
goes back to the elements and smallest units and then 
is apt to shirk the responsibility of making an attempt 
to solve the concrete problems of greater complexity. 
The psychiatrist has to study individuals and groups as 
wholes, as complex units, as the "you" or "he" or "she" 
or "they" we have to work with. We recognize that 
throughout nature we have to face the general principle 
of unit-formation, and the fact that new units need not 
be a mere sum of the component parts, but can be an 
actually new entity not wholly predictable from the 
component parts and known only through actual ex- 
perience with the specific product." 4 

Lastly, the instrumental nature of objects of knowl- 
edge accounts for the central position of laws, relations. 

4 Adolph Me/of, A Psychiatric Milestone, p. 32. P. 38. 



146 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

These are the formulations of the regularities upon which 
intellectual and other regulation of things as immediate 
apparitions depends. Variability of elements in mathe- 
matical science is specious; elements vary independently 
of one another, but not independently of a rdation to 
others, the relation or law being the constancy among 
variations. It is a truism that mathematics is the 
method by which elements can be stated as terms in con- 
stant relations, and be subjected to equations and other 
functions of transformation and substitution. An ele- 
ment is appropriately represented by a mathematical 
variable; for since any variable falls within some equa- 
tion, it is treated as a constant function of other varia- 
bles. The shift from variability to constancy is repeated 
as often as is needed. It is thus only pro forma that the 
variable is variable. It is not variable in the sense in 
which unique individualized existences are variable. 
The inevitable consequence is the subjection of individ- 
uals or unique modes of variation to external relations, 
to laws of uniformity; that is to say, the elimination of 
individuality. Bear in mind the instrumental nature of 
the relation of elements, and this abrogation of individ- 
uality merely means a temporary neglect an abstracted 
gaze in behalf of attending to conditions under which 
individualities present themselves. Convert the ob- 
jects of knowledge into real things by themselves, and 
individuals become anomalous or unreal; they are not 
individualized for science but are instances, cases, speci- 
mens, of some generical relation or law. 

The difficulty under which morals labor in this case is 
evident. They can be "saved" only by the supposition of 
another kind of Being from that with which natural 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 147 

sciences are concerned. History and anthropology are 
implicated in a similar predicament. The former has 
for subject-matter not only individual persons but un- 
duplicated situations and events. The attempt to es- 
cape the dilemma by recourse to uniform and unilinear 
laws of sequence or "evolution" is inept; it contradicts 
the premises assumed, and is not borne out by facts. 
Contemporary anthropologists have made clear the 
historical nature of the phenomena with which they deal. 
Cultures are in many respects individual or unique, and 
their manifestations are "explained" by correlations 
with one another and by borrowings due to chance con- 
tacts. The chief, even if not sole, law of their changes 
is that of transmission from other individualized cultures. 
It is no wonder that Historismus has become the pre- 
occupying problem of a whole school of thinkers, many of 
whom now hold that the only attitude which can be taken 
toward historic situations and characters is non-intellect- 
ual, being esthetic appreciation, or sympathetic artistic re- 
habilitation. The theory which identifies knowledge 
with the beholding or grasp of self-sufficient objects 
reaches an impasse where it comes to deal with histori- 
cal science in contrast with physics. Windelband justly 
draws the conclusion that Being and knowledge compel 
"antmomianism," certain problems inevitably force them- 
selves upon us, but all efforts at solution are hopeless. 6 

* "It remains an unsolved problem why timeless reality needs realiza- 
tion in the temporal course of the event or why it tolerates in itself an 
event in the temporal course of which there is something that differs from 
its own nature. We do not understand why that which is also has never- 
theless to happen; and still less why something different happens from 
that which is in itself without time." 

Introduction to Philosophy, English translation, p. 299. 



148 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Empirically, individualized objects, unique affair*, 
exist. But they are evanescent, unstable. They trem- 
ble on the verge of disappearance as soon as they appear. 
Useful arts prove that, within limits, neglect of their 
uniqueness and attention to what is common, recurrent, 
irrelevant to time, procures and perpetuates the happen- 
ing of some of these unique things. Timeless laws, taken 
by themselves, like all universals, express dialectic intent, 
not any matter of fact existence. But their ultimate 
implication is application; they are methods, and when 
applied as methods they regulate the precarious flow of 
unique situations. Objects of natural science are not 
metaphysical rivals of historical events; they are means 
of directing the latter. Events change; one individual 
gives place to another. But individually qualified things 
have some qualities which are pervasive, common, stable. 
They are out of time in the sense that a particular tem- 
poral quality is irrelevant to them. If anybody feels 
relieved by calling them eternal, let them be called eternal. 
But let not "eternal" be then conceived as a kind of 
absolute perduring existence or Being. It denotes just 
what it denotes: irrelevance to existence in its temporal 
quality. These non-temporal, mathematical or logical 
qualities are capable of abstraction, and of conversion 
into relations, into temporal, numerical and spatial 
order. 6 As such they are dialectical, non-existential. 

* For a convincing discussion see Brown's essay, Intelligence and 
Mathematics, in the volume, Creative Intelligence, especially the section 
entitled Things, Relations, and Quantities. "Instead of reducing quali- 
ties to relations, it seems to me a much more intelligible view to conceive 
relations as abstmct ways of taking qualities in general, as qualities 
thought of in their function of bridging a gap or making a transition be- 
tween two bits of reality that have previously been taken as separate 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 149 

But also as such they are tools, instrumentalities applica- 
ble historic events to help regulate their course. 

This entire discussion has but a single point. It aims 
to show that the problems which constitute modern 
epistemology with its rival, materialistic, spiritualistic, 
dualistic doctrines, and rival realistic, idealistic, represen- 
tational theories; and rival doctrines of relation of mind 
and matter occasionalism, pre-established harmony, para- 
lellism, panpsychism, etc., have a single origin in the 
dogma which denies temporal quality to reality as such, 
Such a theory is bound to regard things which are causally 
explanatory as superior to results and outcomes; for 
the temporal dependence of the latter cannot be dis- 
guised, while "causes" can be plausibly converted into 
independent beings, or laws, or other non-temporal forms. 
As has been pointed out, this denial of change to true 
Being had its source in bias in favor of objects of con- 
templative enjoyment, together with a theory that such 
objects are the adequate subject-matter of science. 

The bias is spontaneous and legitimate. The accom- 
panying theory of knowledge and reality is a distortion. 
The legitimate implication of the preference for worthy 
objects of appreciation is the necessity of art, or control of 
the sequential order upon which they depend; a neces- 
sity which carries with it the further implication that this 
order, which is to be discovered by inquiry and confirmed 
by experimental action, is the proper object of knowledge. 

things." P. 159. Thus "terms, (elements) and relations are both (p. 
160) abstract replacements of qualitatively heterogeneous realities of 
such a sort as "to symbolize their effective nature in particular respect." 
The word "effective" brings out the agreement of the text with this point 
of view, for which I am much indebted to Dr. Brown. 



ISO EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Such a recognition would, however, have conceded the 
dependence of the contemplative functions of the leisure 
class upon the appliances and technique of artisans 
among whom all artists were included. And since in 
olden time the practice of the arts was largely routine, fixed 
by custom and ready-made patterns, such a recognition 
would have carried with it the need of transforming the 
arts themselves, if the occurrence of ends was to be a 
real fulfillment, a realization, and not a contingent 
accident. The introduction of inventive thought into 
the arts and the civil emancipation of the industrial class 
at last made the transformation possible. 

When the appliances of a technology that had grown 
more deliberate were adopted in inquiry, and the lens, 
pendulum, magnetic needle, lever were used as tools of 
knowing, and their functions were treated as models to 
follow in interpreting physical phenomena, science ceased 
to be identified with appreciative contemplation of 
noble and ideal objects, was freed from subjection to 
esthetic perfections, and became an affair of time and 
history intelligently managed. Ends were in conse- 
quence no longer determined by physical accident and 
social traditions. Anything whatsoever for which means 
could be found was an end to be averted or to be secured. 
Liberation from a fixed scheme of ends made modern science 
possible. In large affairs, practice precedes the possi- 
bility of observation and formulation; the results of prac- 
tice must accumulate before mind has anything to ob- 
serve. There is little cause for wonder therefore that 
long after the objects of science had become instrumental- 
ities rather than things in their own rights, the old theory 
persisted, and philosophy spent much of its effort in the 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 151 

effort to reconcile the traditional theory of knowledge as 
immediate possession with the terms and conclusions of 
the new method of practice. 

It is characteristic of the inevitable moral pre-poeses- 
sion of philosophy, together witt the subjective turn erf 
modern thought, that many critics take an "instrumental" 
theory of knowledge to signify that the value of knowing 
is instrumental to the knower. This is a matter which 
is as it may be in particular cases; but certainly in many 
cases the pursuit of science is sport, carried on, like other 
sports, for its own satisfaction. But "instrumentalism" 
is a theory not about personal disposition and satisfaction 
in knowing, but about the proper objects of science, what 
is "proper" being defined in terms of physics. 

The distinction between tools (or things in their ob- 
jectivities) and fulfilled products of the use of tools ac- 
counts for the distinction between known objects on one 
side and objects of appreciation and affection on the other. 
But the distinction primarily concerns objects themselves; 
only secondarily does it apply to attitudes, dispositions, 
motivations. Making and using tools may be intrinsically 
delightful. Prior to the introduction of machinery for 
quantitative production and sale of commodities for profit, 
utensils were themselves usually works of art, esthetically 
satisfying. This fact does not however define them as 
utensils; it does not confer upon them their characteristic 
property. In like manner, the pursuit of knowledge is 
often an immediately delightful event; its attained pro- 
ducts possess esthetic qualities of proportion, order, and 
symmetry. But these qualities do not mark off or define 
the characteristic and appropriate objects of science. 
The character of the object is like that of a tool, say a 



152 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

lever; it is an order of determination of sequential changes 
terminating in a foreseen consequence. 

We are brought to the question of method. In ancient 
science the essence of science was demonstration; the life 
blood of modern science is discovery. In the former, 
reflective inquiry existed for the sake of attaining a 
stable subject-matter; in the latter systematized know- 
ledge exists in practice for the sake of stimulating, guid- 
ing and checking further inquiries. In ancient science, 
"learning" belonged in the realm of inferior being, of 
becoming, change; it was transitive, and ceased in the 
actualization of final and fixed objects. It was thought 
of after the analogy of master and disciple; the former 
was already in possession of the truth, and the learner 
merely appropriated what already is there in the store 
house of the master. In modern science, learning is 
finding out what nobody has previously known. It is a 
transaction in which nature is teacher, and in which the 
teacher comes to knowledge and truth only through the 
learning of the inquiring student. 

Characteristic differences in logic thus accompany the 
change from "knowledge" whose subject-matter is final 
affairs to knowledge dealing with instrumental objects. 
Where the objects of knowledge are taken to be final, 
perfect, complete, metaphysical fulfillments of nature, 
proper method consists in definition and classification; 
learning closes with demonstration of the rational neces- 
sity of definitions and classifications. Demonstration 
is an exhibition of the everlasting, universal, final and 
fixed nature of objects. Investigation denoted merely 
the accumulation of material with which to fill in gaps in an 
antecedent ready-made hierarchy of species. Discovery 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 153 

was merely the perception that some particular material 
hitherto unclassified by the learner came under a universal 
form already known. The universal is already known be- 
cause given to thought ; and theparticular is already known, 
because given to perception; learning merely brings these 
two given forms into connection, so that what is "dis- 
co vered" is the subsumption of particular under its 
universal. 

Apart from their theories, or in spite of them, the 
Greeks were possessed by a lively curiosity, and their prac- 
tice was better than their logic. In the medieval Christian 
period, the logic was taken literally. Revelation, scrip- 
tures, church fathers and other authentic sources, in- 
creased the number of given universal truths, and also 
of given particular facts and events. The master-teacher 
was God, who taught not through the dim instrumentality 
of rational thought alone, but directly through official 
representatives. The form of apprehension of truth 
remained the demonstrative syllogism; the store of uni- 
versal truths was supplemented by the gracious gift of 
revelation, and the resources of the minor premise ex- 
tended by divinely established historic facts. Truth 
was given to reason and faith ; and the part of the human 
mind was to humble itself to hearken, accept and obey. 

The scheme was logically complete; it carried out under 
new circumstances the old idea that the highest end and 
good of man is knowledge of true Being, and that such 
knowledge in the degree of its possession effects an as- 
similation of the mind to the reality known. It added to 
old theoretical premises such institutions and practices 
as were practically required to give them effect, so that the 
humblest of human creatures might at least start on the 



154 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

road to that knowledge the possession of which Is 
tion and bliss. In comparison, most modern theories 
are an inconsistent mixture; dialectically the modernist 
is easy prey to the traditionalist; he carries so many of 
the conceptions of the latter in his intellectual outfit that 
he is readily confuted. It is his practice not his theory 
that gets him ahead. His professed logic is still largely 
that of antecedent truths, demonstration and certitude; 
his practice is doubting, forming hypotheses, conduct- 
ing experiments. When he surrenders antecedent truths 
of reason it is usually only to accept antecedent truths of 
sensation. Thus John Stuart Mill con reives of an inductive 
logic in which certain canons shall bear exactly the same 
relation to inquiry into fact that the rules of the syllogism 
bore to classic "deductive" proof or dialectic. He recog- 
nizes that science is a matter of inference, but he is as cer- 
tain as was Aristotle that inference rests upon certain 
truths which are immediately possessed, differing only 
about the organ through which they come into our pos- 
session. 

But in the practice of science, knowledge is an affair of 
making sure, not of grasping antecedently given sureties. 
What is already known, what is accepted as truth, is of 
immense importance; inquiry could not proceed a step 
without it. But it is held subject to use, and is at the 
mercy of the discoveries which it makes possible. It has 
to be adjusted to the latter and not the latter to it. When 
things are defined as instruments, their value and validity 
reside in what proceeds from them; consequences not 
antecedents supply meaning and verity. Truths al- 
ready possessed may have practical or moral certainty, 
but logically they never lose a hypothetic quality. They 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 155 

are true if: if certain other things eventually present 
themselves; and when these latter things occur they in 
turn suggest further possibilities; the operation of doubt- 
inquiry-finding recurs. Although science is concerned 
in practice with the contingent and its method is 
that of making hypotheses which are then tried out in 
actual experimental change of physical conditions, its 
traditional formulation persists in terms of necessary and 
fixed objects. Hence all kinds of incoherences occur. 
The more stubbornly the traditional formulation is clung 
to, the more serious become these inconsistencies. 

Leonardo virtually announced the birth of the method 
of modern science when he said that true knowledge be- 
gins with opinion. The saying involves a revolution; 
no other statement could be so shocking to the traditional 
logic. Not that opinion as such is anything more than 
opinion or an unconfirmed and unwarranted surmise; 
but that such surmises may be used; when employed as 
hypotheses they induce experimentation. They then 
become fore-runners of truth, and mind is released from 
captivity to antecedent beliefs. Opinion, in the classic 
conception, was concerned with what was inherently 
contingent and variable as to possibility and probabil- 
ity, in contrast with knowledge concerned with the 
inherently necessary and everlasting. It therefore was as 
ultimate and unquestionable in its proper sphere as science 
was in its place. But opinion as a venture, as an **it 
seems to me probable," is an occasion of new observa- 
tions, an instigator of research, an indispensable organ in 
deliberate discovery. Taken in this fashion, opinion was 
the source of new histories, the beginning of operations 
that terminated in new conclusions. Its worth lay 



156 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

neither in itself nor in a peculiar realm of objects to 
which it was applied, but in the direction of inquiries 
which it set agoing. It was a starting point, and like 
any beginning of any history was altered and displaced 
in the history of which it was the initiation. 

Sometimes discovery is treated as a proof of the op- 
posite of which it actually shows. It is viewed as evi- 
dence that the object of knowledge is already there in 
full-fledged being and that we just run across it; we un- 
cover it as treasure-hunters find a chest of buried gold. 
That there is existence antecedent to search and dis- 
covery is of course admitted; but it is denied that as such, 
as other than the conclusion of the historical event of 
inquiry in its connection with other histories, it is already 
the object of knowledge. The Norsemen are said to 
have discovered America. But in what sense? They 
landed on its shores after a stormy voyage; there was 
discovery in the sense of hitting upon a land hitherto 
untrod by Europeans. But unless the newly found and 
seen object was used to modify old beliefs, to change the 
sense of the old map of the earth, there was no discovery 
in any pregnant intellectual sense, any more than mere 
stumbling over a chair in the dark is discovery till used 
as basis of inference which connects the stumbling with a 
body of meanings. Discovery of America involved in- 
sertion of the newly touched land in a map of the globe. 
This insertion, moreover, was not merely additive, but 
transformative of a prior picture of the world as to its 
surfaces and their arrangements. It may be replied that 
it was not the world which was changed but only the map. 
To which there is the obvious retort that after all the 
map is part of the world, not something outside it, and 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 157 

that its meaning and bearings are so important that a 
change in the map involves other and still more impor- 
tant objective changes. 

It was not simply states of consciousness or ideas inside 
the heads of men that were altered when America was 
actually discovered; the modification was one in the 
public meaning of the world in which men publicly act 
To cut off this meaning from the world is to leave us in 
a situation where it makes no difference what change 
takes place in the world; one wave more or less in a 
puddle is of no account. Changing the meaning of the 
world effected an existential change. The map of the 
world is something more than a piece of linen hung on a 
wall. A new world does not appear without profound 
transformations in the old one; a discovered America 
was a factor interacting with Europe and Asia to produce 
consequences previously impossible. A potential object of 
further exploration and discoveries now existed in Europe 
itself; a source of gold; an opportunity for adventure; an 
outlet for crowded and depressed populations, an abode 
for exiles and the discounted, an appeal to energy and 
invention: in short, an agency of new events and fruitions 
at home as well as abroad. In some degree, every genuine 
discovery creates some such transformation of both the 
meanings and the existences of nature. 

Modern idealistic theories of knowledge have dis- 
played some sense of the method and objective of science. 
They have apprehended the fact that the object of know- 
ledge implies that the found rather than the given is the 
proper subject matter of science. Recognizing the 
part played by intelligence in this finding, they have 
framed a theory of the constitutive operation of mind 



158 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

in the determination of real objects. But idealism, 
while it has had an intimation of the constructively in- 
strumental office of intelligence, has mistranslated the 
discovery. Following the old tradition, in its exclusive 
identification of the object of knowledge with reality, 
equating truth and Being, it was forced to take the 
work of thought absolutely and wholesale, instead of 
relatively and in detail. That is, it took re-constitution 
to be constitution; re-construction to be construction. 
Accepting the premise of the equivalence of Reality with 
the attained object of knowledge, idealism had no way of 
noting that thought is intermediary between some em- 
pirical objects and others. Hence an office of transforma- 
tion was converted into an act of original and final 
creation. A conversion of actual immediate objects into 
better, into more secure and significant, objects was 
treated as a movement from merely apparent and pheno- 
mental Being to the truly Real. In short, idealism is 
guilty of neglect that thought and knowledge are 
histories. 

To call action of thought in constituting objects direct 
is the same as to say that it is miraculous. For it is not 
thought as idealism defines thought which exercises the 
reconstructive function. Only action, interaction, can 
change or remake objects. The analogy of the skilled 
artist still holds. His intelligence is a factor in forming 
new objects which mark a fulfillment. But this is be- 
cause intelligence is incarnate in overt action, using 
things as means to affect other things. 'Thought," 
reason, intelligence, whatever word we choose to use, 
is existentially an adjective (or better an adverb), not 
a noun. It is disposition of activity, a quality of that 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 159 

conduct which foresees consequences of existing events, 
and which uses what is foreseen as a plan and method 
of administering affairs. 

This theory, explicitly about thought as a condition 
of science, is actually a theory about nature. It involves 
attribution to nature of three defining characteristics. 
In the first place, it is implied that some natural events 
are endings whether enjoyed or obnoxious, which occur, 
apart from reflective choice and art, only casually, without 
control. In the second place, it implies that events, 
being events and not rigid and lumpy substances, are 
ongoing and hence as such unfinished, incomplete, in- 
determinate. Consequently they possess a possibility 
of being so managed and steered that ends may become 
fulfilments not just termini, conclusions not just closings. 
Suspense, doubt, hypotheses, experiment with alterna- 
tives are exponents of this phase of nature. In the third 
place, regulation of ongoing and incomplete processes in 
behalf of selected consequences, implies that there are 
orders of sequence and coexistence involved ; these orders 
or relations when ascertained are intellectual means 
which enable us to use events as concrete means of di- 
recting the course of affairs to forecast conclusions. 
The belief that these orders of relation, which are the 
appropriate object of science, are therefore the sole 
ultimately "real" objects is the source of that assertion 
of a symmetrical dovetailed and completed universe 
made by both traditional materialism and idealism. The 
belief is due to neglect of the fact that such relations are 
always relations of ongoing affairs characterized by be- 
ginnings and endings which mark them off into unstable 
individuals. Yet this neglected factor is empirically so 



160 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

pervasive and conspicuous that it has to be acknowledged 
in some form; it is usually acknowledged in a back- 
handed way and one which confuses subsequent re- 
flection by attributing all qualities inconsistent with 
nature thus defined to "finite" mind, in order to account 
for ignorance, doubt, error and the need of inference and 
inquiry. 

If nature is as finished as these schools have defined 
it to be, there is no room or occasion in it for such a 
mind; it and the traits it is said to possess are literally 
supernatural or at least extra-natural. 

A realist may deny this particular hypothesis that, 
cxistentially, mind designates an instrumental method of 
directing natural changes. But he cannot do so in virtue 
of his realism; the question at issue is what the real is. If 
natural existence is qualitatively individualized or genu- 
inely plural, as well as repetitious, and if things have both 
temporal quality and recurrence or uniformity, then 
the more realistic knowledge is, the more fully it will 
reflect and exemplify these traits. Science seizes upon 
whatever is so uniform as to make the changes of nature 
rhythmic, and hence predictable. But the contingencies 
of nature make discovery of these uniformities with 
a view to prediction needed and possible. Without 
the uniformities, science would be impossible. But if 
they alone existed, thought and knowledge would be 
impossible and meaningless. The incomplete and un- 
certain gives point and application to ascertainment 
of regular relations and orders. These relations in them- 
selves are hypothetical, and when isolated from applica- 
tion are subject-matter of mathematics (in a non-exis- 
tential sense). Hence the ultimate objects of science 
are guided processes of change* 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 161 

Sometimes the use of the word "truth" is confined to 
designating a logical property of propositions; but if we 
extend its significance to designate character of existen- 
tial reference, this is the meaning of truth: processes of 
change so directed that they achieve an intended con- 
summation. Instrumentalities are actually such only in 
operation; when they operate, an end in- view is in process 
of actualization. The means is fully a means only 
in its end. The instrumental objects of science are 
completely themselves only as they direct the changes 
of nature toward a fulfilling object. Thus it may be 
said intelligibly and not as mere tautology that the end 
of science is knowledge, implying that knowledge is more 
than science, being its fruit. 

Knowledge is a word of various meanings. Etymologi- 
cally, "science" may signify tested and authentic in- 
stance of knowledge. But knowledge has also a mean- 
ing more liberal and more humane. It signifies events 
understood, events so discriminately penetrated by 
thought that mind is literally at home in them. It means 
comprehension, or inclusive reasonable agreement. What 
is sometimes termed "applied" science, may then be more 
truly science than is what is conventionally called pure 
science. For it is directly concerned with not just 
instrumentalities, but instrumentalities at work in ef- 
fecting modifications of existence in behalf of conclusions 
that are reflectively preferred. Thus conceived the char- 
acteristic subject-matter of knowledge consists of fulfilling 
objects, which as fulfillments are connected with a history 
to which they give character. Thus conceived, knowledge 
exists in engineering, medicine and the social arts more 
adequately than it does in mathematics, and physics. 



162 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Thus conceived, history and anthropology are scientific 
in a sense in which bodies of information that stop short 
with general formulae are not. 

"Application" is a hard word for many to accept. It 
suggests some extraneous tool ready-made and complete, 
which is then put to uses that are external to its nature, 
To call the arts applications of science is then to introduce 
something foreign to the sciences which the latter irrel- 
evantly and accidentally serve. Since the application 
is in human use, convenience, enjoyment and improve- 
ment, this view of application as something external and 
arbitrary reflects and strengthens the theories which 
detach man from nature, which, in the language of 
philosophy, oppose subject and object. But if we free 
ourselves from preconceptions, application of "science" 
means application in, not application to. Application 
in something signifies a more extensive interaction of 
natural events with one another, an elimination of dis- 
tance and obstacles; provision of opportunities for in- 
teractions that reveal potentialities previously hidden 
and that bring into existence new histories with new initia- 
tions and endings. Engineering, medicine, social arts 
realize relationships that were unrealized in actual exist- 
ences. Surely in their new context the latter are under- 
stood or known as they are not in isolation. Prejudice 
against the abstract, as something remote and technical, 
is often irrational; but there is sense in the conviction 
that in the abstract there is something lacking which 
should be recovered. The serious objection to "applied" 
science lies in limitation of the application, as to private 
profit and class advantage. 



NATURE, MEANS AND KNOWLEDGE 163 

"Pure" science is of necessity relational and abstract: 
it fulfills its meaning and gains full truth when included 
within a course of concrete events. The proposition 
that "pure" science is non-existential is a tacit admission 
that only "applied" science is existential. Something 
else than history and anthropology lose all scientific 
standing when standards of "purity" are set up as ulti- 
mate; namely, all science of existential events. There is 
superstitious awe reflected in the current estimate of 
science. If we could free ourselves from a somewhat 
abject emotion, it would be clear enough that what 
makes any proposition scientific is its power to yield un- 
derstanding, insight, intellectual at-homeness, in connec- 
tion with any existential state of affairs, by filling events 
with coherent and tested meanings. The case of history 
is typical and basic. Upon the current view, it is a 
waste of time to discuss whether there can be such a 
thing as a science of history. History and science 
are by definition at opposite poles. And yet if all natural 
existences are histories, divorce between history and the 
logical mathematical schemes which are the appropriate 
objects of pure science, terminates in the conclusion 
that of existences there is no science, no adequate 
knowledge. Aside from mathematics, all knowledge is 
historic; chemistry, geology, physiology, as well as anthro- 
pology and those human events to which, arrogantly, we 
usually restrict the title of history. Only as science is 
seen to be fulfilled and brought to itself in intelligent 
management of historical processes in their continuity 
can man be envisaged as within nature, and not as 
a supernatural extrapolation. Just because nature is 
what it is, history is capable of being more truly known 



164 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

understood, intellectually realized than are mathe- 
matical and physical objects. Do what we can, there 
always remains something recondite and remote in the 
latter, until they are restored in the course of affairs 
from which they have been sequestrated. While the 
humanizing of science contributes to the life of humanity, 
it is even more required in behalf of science, in order that 
it may be intelligible, simple and clear ; in order that it may 
have that correspondence with reality which true knowl- 
edge claims for itself. 

One can understand the sentiment that animates the 
bias of scientific inquirers against the idea that all science 
is ultimately applied. It is justified in the sense in which 
it is intended; for it is directed against two conceptions 
which are harmful, but which, also, are irrelevant to the 
position here taken. One of these conceptions is that the 
concern or personal motive of the inquirer should be 
in each particular inquiry some specific practical applica- 
tion. This is just as it happens to be. Doubtless many 
important scientific discoveries have been thus instigated, 
but that is an incident of human history rather than of 
scientific inquiry as such. And upon the whole, or if this 
animating interest were to become general, the undoubted 
effect is limitation of inquiry and thereby in the end of 
the field of application. It marks a recurrence to the 
dogma of fixed predetermined ends, while emancipation 
from the influence of this dogma has been the chief 
service rendered modern scientific methods. 

The evil thus effected is increased by the second notion, 
namely, that application is identical with "commercialized" 
use. It is an incident of human history, and a rather 
appalling incident, that applied science has been so largely 



NATURE, MEANS ANT> KNOWLEDGE KSS 

made an equivalent of uee for private and economic 
class purposes and privileges. When inquiry is narrowed 
by such motivation or interest, the consequence is in so 
far disastrous both to science and to human life. But 
this limitation does not spring from nor attach to the 
conception of "application" which has been just presented. 
It springs from defects and perversions of morality as that 
is embodied in institutions and their effects upon personal 
disposition. It may be questioned whether the notion 
that science is pure in the sense of being concerned ex- 
clusively with a realm of objects detached from human 
concerns has not conspired to reinforce this moral de- 
ficiency. For in effect it has established another class- 
interest , that of intellectualists and aloof specialists. And 
it is of the nature of any class-interest to generate and con- 
firm other class-interests, since division and isolation in a 
world of continuities are always reciprocal. The institu- 
tion of an interest labelled ideal and idealistic in isolation 
tends of necessity to evoke and strengthen other interests 
lacking ideal quality. The genuine interests of "pure" 
science are served only by broadening the idea of appli- 
cation to include all phases of liberation and enrichment 
of human experience. 



CHAPTER FIV1 
NATURE, COMMUNICATION AND MEANING 

Of all affairs, communication is the most wonderful. 
That things should be able to pass from the plane of exter- 
nal pushing and pulling to that of revealing themselves 
to man, and thereby to themselves; and that the fruit of 
communication should be participation, sharing, is a 
wonder by the side of which transubstantiation pales. 
When communication occurs, all natural events are sub- 
ject to reconsideration and revision; they are re-adapted 
to meet the requirements of conversation, whether it be 
public discourse or that preliminary discourse termed 
thinking. Events turn into objects, things with a mean- 
ing. They may be referred to when they do not exist, 
and thus be operative among things distant in space and 
time, through vicarious presence in a new medium. Brute 
efficiencies and inarticulate consummations as soon as 
they can be spoken of are liberated from local and acci- 
dental contexts, and are eager for naturalization in any 
non-insulated, communicating, part of the world. Events 
when once they are named lead an independent and double 
life. In addition to their original existence, they are 
subject to ideal experimentation: their meanings may be 
infinitely combined and re-arranged in imagination, and 
the outcome of this inner experimentation which is 
thought may issue forth in interaction with crude or 
raw events. Meanings having been deflected from the 
rapid and roaring stream of events into a calm and tra- 
versible canal, rejoin the main stream, and color, temper 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 167 

and compose its course. Where communication exists, 
things in acquiring meaning, thereby acquire represen- 
tatives, surrogates, signs and implicates, which are infi- 
nitely more amenable to management, more permanent 
and more accommodating, than events in their first estate. 

By this fashion, qualitative immediacies cease to be 
dumbly rapturous, a possession that is obsessive and an 
incorporation that involves submergence : conditions found 
in sensations and passions. They become capable of 
survey, contemplation, and ideal or logical elaboration; 
when something can be said of qualities they are purveyors 
of instruction. Learning and teaching come into being, 
and there is no event which may not yield information. 
A directly enjoyed thing adds to itself meaning, and en- 
joyment is thereby idealized. Even the dumb pang of 
an ache achieves a significant existence when it can be 
designated and descanted upon; it ceases to be merely 
oppressive and becomes important; it gains importance, 
because it becomes representative; it has the dignity of an 
office. 

In view of these increments and transformations, it is 
not surprising that meanings, under the name of forms 
and essences, have often been hailed as modes of Being 
beyond and above spatial and temporal existence, invul- 
nerable to vicissitude; nor that thought as their posses- 
sion has been treated as a non-natural spiritual energy, 
disjoined from all that is empirical. Yet there is a 
natural bridge that joins the gap between existence and 
essence; namely communication, language, discourse. 
Failure to acknowledge the presence and operation of 
natural interaction in the form of communication creates 
the gulf between existence and essence, and that gulf is 
factitious and gratuitous. 



168 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

The slight respect paid to larger and more pervasive 
kinds of empirical objects by philosophers, even by pro- 
fessed empiricists, is apparent in the fact that while they 
have discoursed so fluently about many topics they have 
discoursed little about discourse itself. Anthropologists, 
philologists and psychologists have said most that has 
been said about saying. Nevertheless it is a fact of such 
distinction that its occurrence changed dumb creatures 
as we so significantly call them into thinking and know- 
ing animals and created the realm of meanings. Speak- 
ing from the standpoint of anthropology Franz Boas says: 
"The two outer traits in which the distinction between the 
minds of animals and man finds expression are the exist- 
ence of organized articulate speech in man and the use of 
utensils of varied application." 1 It is antecedently prob- 
able that sole external marks of difference are more than 
external; that they have intimate connection with such 
intrinsic differences as religion, art and science, industry 
and politics. "Utensils" were discussed in the last chap- 
ter, in connection with the useful arts and knowledge, 
and their indispensable relation with science pointed out. 
But at every point appliances and application, uten- 
sils and uses, are bound up with directions, suggestions 
and records made possible by speech; what has been said 
about the role of tools is subject to a condition supplied 
by language, the tool of tools. 

Upon the whole, professed transcendentalists have 
been more aware than have professed empiricists of the 
fact that language makes the difference between brute and 
man. The trouble is that they have lacked naturalistic 
conception of its origin and status. Logos has been cor- 

1 The Miad of Primitive Man, p. 98, 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 169 

rectly identified with mind; but logos and hence mind was 
conceived supernaturally. Logic was thereby supposed 
to have its basis in what is beyond human conduct and 
relationships, and in consequence the separation of the 
physical and the rational, the actual and the ideal, 
received its traditional formulation. 

In protest against this view empirical thinkers have 
rarely ventured in discussion of language beyond refer- 
ence to some peculiarity of brain structure, or to some 
psychic peculiarity, such as tendency to "outer expres- 
sion" of "inner" states. Social interaction and institu- 
tions have been treated as products of a ready-made 
specific physical or mental endowment of a self-sufficing 
individual, wherein language acts as a mechanical go- 
between to convey observations and ideas that have prior 
and independent existence. Speech is thus regarded as 
a practical convenience but not of fundamental intellec- 
tual significance. It consists of "mere words," sounds, 
that happen to be associated with perceptions, senti- 
ments and thoughts which are complete prior to language. 
Language thus, "expresses" thought as a pipe conducts 
water, and with even less transforming function than is 
exhibited when a wine-press "expresses" the juice of 
grapes. The office of signs in creating reflection, fore- 
sight and recollection is passed by. In consequence, the 
occurrence of ideas becomes a mysterious parallel addi- 
tion to physical occurrences, with no community and no 
bridge from one to the other. 

It is safe to say that psychic events, such as are anything 
more than reactions of a creature susceptible to pain and 
diffuse comfort, have language for one of their conditions. 
It is altogether likely that the "ideas" which Hume found 



170 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

in constant flux whenever he looked within himself were a 
succession of words silently uttered. Primary to these 
events there was, of course, a substratum of organic 
psycho-physical actions. But what made the latter 
identifiable objects, events with a perceptible character, 
was their concretion in discourse. When the introspec- 
tionist thinks he has withdrawn into a wholly private 
realm of events disparate in kind from other events, made 
out of mental stuff, he is only turning his attention to his 
own soliloquy. And soliloquy is the product and reflex 
of converse with others; social communication not an 
effect of soliloquy. If we had not talked with others and 
they with us, we should never talk to and with ourselves. 
Because of converse, social give and take, various organic 
attitudes become an assemblage of persons engaged in con- 
verse, conferring with one another, exchanging distinc- 
tive experiences, listening to one another, over-hearing 
unwelcome remarks, accusing and excusing. Through 
speech a person dramatically identifies himself with poten- 
tial acts and deeds; he plays many rdles, not in successive 
stages of life but in a contemporaneously enacted drama. 
Thus mind emerges. 

It is significant of the differences between Greek and 
modern experience, that when their respective philoso- 
phers discovered discourse, they gave such different ac- 
counts of it. The moderns made of it a world separate 
from spatial and material existences, a separate and 
private world made of sensations, images, sentiments. 
The Greeks were more nearly aware that it was discourse 
they had discovered. But they took the structure of dis- 
course for the structure of things, instead of for the forma 
which things assume under the pressure and opportunity 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 171 

of social cooperation and exchange. They overlooked the 
fact that meanings as objects of thought are entitled to be 
called complete and ultimate only because they are not 
original but are a happy outcome of a complex history. 
They made them primitive and independent forms of 
things, intrinsically regulative of processes of becoming. 
They took a work of social art to be nature independent 
of man. They overlooked the fact that the import of 
logical and rational essences is the consequence of social 
interactions, of companionship, mutual assistance, direc- 
tion and concerted action in fighting, festivity, and 
work. Hence they conceived of ideal meanings as the 
ultimate framework of events, in which a system of sub- 
stances and properties corresponded to subjects and 
predicates of the uttered proposition. Things conformed 
naturally and exactly to parts of speech, some being 
inherently subject-matter of nouns, proper and common; 
others of verbs, of which some expressed self-activity, 
while others designated adjectival and adverbial changes 
to which things are exposed on account of their own 
defects; some being external relations in which substances 
stand to one another, and subject-matter of prepositions. 
The resulting theory of substances, essential properties, 
accidental qualities and relations, and the identification 
of Being, (by means of the copula "is") with the tenses of 
the verb, (so that the highest Being was, is now, and ever 
shall be, in contrast to existence now and then, occasional, 
wholly past, merely just now, or possibly at some pas- 
sing time in the future) controlled the whole scheme of 
physics and metaphysics, which formed the philosophic 
tradition of Europe. It was a natural consequence of 
the insight that things, meanings, and words correspond. 



172 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

The insight was perverted by the notion that the 
correspondence of things and meanings is prior to 
discourse and social intercourse. Hence, every true 
affirmation was an assertion of the fixed belonging to one 
another of two objects in nature; while every true denial 
was an assertion of intrinsic exclusion of one object by 
another. The consequence was belief in ideal essences, 
individually complete, and yet connected in a system of 
necessary subordinations and dependencies. Dialectic of 
their relationships, definition, classification, division in 
arranging essences, constituted scientific truth about the 
inmost constituents of nature. Thus a discovery which 
is the greatest single discovery of man, putting man in 
potential possession of liberation and of order, became the 
source of an artificial physics of nature, the basis of a 
science, philosophy and theology in which the universe 
was an incarnate grammatical order constructed after the 
model of discourse. 

The modern discovery of inner experience, of a realm 
of purely personal events that are always at the indivi- 
dual's command, and that are his exclusively as well as 
inexpensively for refuge, consolation and thrill is also a 
great and liberating discovery. It implies a new worth 
and sense of dignity in human individuality, a sense that 
an individual is not a mere property of nature, set in place 
according to a scheme independent of him, as an article 
is put in its place in a cabinet, but that he adds something, 
that he marks a contribution. It is the counterpart of 
what distinguishes modern science, experimental, hypo- 
thetical; a logic of discovery having therefore oppor- 
tunity for individual temperament, ingenuity, invention, 
It is the counterpart of modern politics, art, religion 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION ITS 

and industry where individuality is given room and 
movement, in contrast to the ancient scheme of ex- 
perience, which held individuals tightly within a given 
order subordinated to its structure and patterns. But 
here also distortion entered in. Failure to recognize that 
this world of inner experience is dependent upon an 
extension of language which is a social product and 
operation led to the subjectivistic, solipsistic and egotis- 
tic strain in modern thought. If the classic thinkers 
created a cosmos after the model of dialectic, giving ra- 
tional distinctions power to constitute and regulate, 
modern thinkers composed nature after the model of 
personal soliloquizing. 

Language considered as an experienced event enables 
us to interpret what really happened when rational dis- 
course and logic were discovered by the ancients, and 
when 'inner' experience and its interest were discovered 
by moderns. Language is a natural function of human 
association; and its consequences react upon other events, 
physical and human, giving them meaning or significance. 
Events that are objects or significant exist in a context 
where they acquire new ways of operation and new prop- 
erties. Words are spoken of as coins and money. Now 
gold, silver, and instrumentalities of credit are first of all, 
prior to being money, physical things with their own im- 
mediate and final qualities. But as money they are sub- 
stitutes, representations, and surrogates, which embody 
relationships. As a substitute, money not merely facili- 
tates exchange of such commodities as existed prior to its 
use, but it revolutionizes as well production and consump- 
tion of all commodities, because it brings into being new 
transactions, forming new histories and affairs. Ex- 



174 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

change is not an event that can be isolated. It marks 
the emergence of production and consumption into a new 
medium and context wherein they acquire new properties. 

Language is similarly not a mere agency for economiz- 
ing energy in the interaction of human beings. It is a 
release and amplification of energies that enter into it, 
conferring upon them the added quality of meaning. The 
quality of meaning thus introduced is extended and trans- 
ferred, actually and potentially, from sounds, gestures 
and marks, to all other things in nature. Natural events 
become messages to be enjoyed and administered, pre- 
cisely as are song, fiction, oratory, the giving of advice 
and instruction. Thus events come to possess characters ; 
they are demarcated, and noted. For character is gen- 
eral and distinguished. 

When events have communicable meaning, they have 
marks, notations, and are capable of con-notation and 
de-notation. They are more than mere occurrences; 
they have implications. Hence inference and reasoning 
are possible; these operations are reading the message of 
things, which things utter because they are involved in 
human associations. When Aristotle drew a distinction 
between sensible things that are more noted known 
to us and rational things that are more noted known 
in themselves, he was actually drawing a distinction 
between things that operate in a local, restricted universe 
of discourse, and things whose marks are such that 
they readily enter into indefinitely extensive and varied 
discourse. 

The interaction of human beings, namely, association, 
is not different in origin from other modes of interaction. 
There is a peculiar absurdity in the question of how indi- 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 175 

victuals become social, if the question is taken literally. 
Human beings illustrate the same traits of both immediate 
uniqueness and connection, relationship, as do other 
things. No more in their case than in that of atoms and 
physical masses is immediacy the whole of existence and 
therefore an obstacle to being acted upon by and effect- 
ing other things. Everything that exists in as far as it is 
known and knowable is in interaction with other things. 
It is associated, as well as solitary, single. The catching 
up of human individuals into association is thus no new 
and unprecedented fact; it is a manifestation of a com- 
monplace of existence. Significance resides not in the 
bare fact of association, therefore, but in the consequences 
that flow from the distinctive patterns of human associa- 
tion. There is, again, nothing new or unprecedented in 
the fact that assemblage of things confers upon the 
assembly and its constituents, new properties by means 
of unlocking energies hitherto pent in. The significant 
consideration is that assemblage of organic human beings 
transforms sequence and coexistence into participation. 
Gestures and cries are not primarily expressive and 
communicative. They are modes of organic behavior as 
much as are locomotion, seizing and crunching. Lan- 
guage, signs and significance, come into existence not by 
intent and mind but by over-flow, by-products, in ges- 
tures and sound. The story of language is the story of 
the use made of these occurrences; a use that is eventual, 
as well as eventful. Those rival accounts of the origin of 
language that go by the nicknames of bow-wow, pooh- 
pooh, and ding-dong theories are not in fact theories of 
the origin of language. They are accounts, of some 
plausibility, of how and why certain sounds rather than 



176 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

others were selected to signify objects, acts and situations. 
If the mere existence of sounds of these kinds constituted 
language, lower animals might well converse more subtly 
and fluently than man. But they became language 
only when used within a context of mutual assistance and 
direction. The latter are alone of prime importance in 
considering the transformation of organic gestures and 
cries into names, things with significance, or the origin of 
language. 

Observable facts of animal experience furnish us with 
our starting point. "Animals respond to certain stimuli 
.... by the contraction of certain muscles whose 
functioning is of no direct consequence to the animal itself, 
but affects other animals by stimulating them to act. 
. . . . Let us call this class the signaling reflexes. 
A few, but very diversified examples of the signaling 
reflexes, are the lighting of a fire-fly, the squeezing out of a 
black liquid from the ink bladder of a cuttle-fish, the crow- 
ing of a rooster .... the spreading of its tail by 
a peacock. These reflex activities affect other animals 

by stimulating them If no other animals 

are present, or these other animals fail to respond by 
their own reflexes, the former reflex actions are completely 
wasted." 2 

Sub-human animals thus behave in ways which have no 
direct consequences of utility to the behaving animal, but 
which call out certain characteristic responses, sexual, 
protective, food-finding (as with the cluck of a hen to her 
chicks), in other animals. In some cases, the act evoked 

'Max Meyer, The Psychology Of The Other One, 1922, p. 195; a 
statement of behavioristic psychology that has hardly received the atten- 
tion it intrinsically deserves. 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 177 

in other animals has in turn an important consequence 
for the first agent. A sexual act or a combined protective 
act against danger is furthered. In other cases, the con- 
sequences turn out useful to the species, to a numerically 
indeterminate group including individuals not yet born. 
Signaling acts evidently form the basic material of lan- 
guage. Similar activities occur without intent in man; 
thus a babe's scream attracts the attention of an adult 
and evokes a response useful to the infant, although the 
cry itself is an organic overflow having no intent. So too 
a man's posture and facial changes may indicate to 
another things which the man himself would like to con- 
ceal, so that he "gives himself away." "Expression," 
or signs, communication of meaning, exists in such cases 
for the observer, not for the agent. 

While signaling acts are a material condition of language 
they are not language nor yet are they its sufficient 
condition. Only from an external standpoint, is the 
original action even a signal; the response of other animals 
to it is not to a sign, but, by some preformed mechanism, 
to a direct stimulus. By habit, by conditioned reflex, 
hens run to the farmer when he makes a clucking noise, 
or when they hear the rattle of grain in a pan. When 
the farmer raises his arms to throw the grain they scatter 
and fly, to return only when the movement ceases. They 
act as if alarmed; his movement is thus not a sign of food; 
it is a stimulus that evokes flight. But a human infant 
learns to discount such movements; to become interested 
in them as events preparatory to a desired consummation; 
he learns to treat them as signs of an ulterior event so 
that his response is to their meaning. He treats them as 
means to consequences. The hen's activity is ego-cen- 



178 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

trie; that of the human being is participative. The latter 
puts himself at the standpoint of a situation in which two 
parties share. This is the essential peculiarity of lan- 
guage, or signs. 

A requests B to bring him something, to which A points, 
say a flower. There is an original mechanism by which 
B may react to A's movement in pointing. But natively 
such a reaction is to the movement, not to the pointing, 
not to the object pointed out. But B learns that the 
movement is a pointing; he responds to it not in itself, 
but as an index of something else. His response is trans- 
ferred from A'% direct movement to the object to which A 
points. Thus he does not merely execute the natural 
acts of looking or grasping which the movement might 
instigate on its own account. The motion of A attracts 
his gaze to the thing pointed to; then, instead of just 
transferring his response from A's movement to the 
native reaction he might make to the thing as stimulus, he 
responds in a way which is a function of A'& relationship, 
actual and potential, to the thing. The characteristic 
thing about 5's understanding of A's movement and 
sounds is that he responds to the thing from the stand- 
point of A. He perceives the thing as it may function in 
,4's experience, instead of just ego-centrically. Similarly, 
A in making the request conceives the thing not only in 
its direct relationship to himself, but as a thing capable 
of being grasped and handled by B. He sees the thing 
as it may function in B'& experience. Such is the essence 
and import of communication, signs and meaning. Some- 
thing is literally made common in at least two different 
centres of behavior. To understand is to anticipate 
together, it is to make a or osa-iref erence which, when acted 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 179 

upon, brings about a partaking in a common, inclusive, 
undertaking. 

Stated in greater detail; B upon hearing A, makes a 
preparatory reaction of his eyes, hands and legs in view of 
the consummatory act of A's possession; he engages in 
the act of grasping, carrying and tendering the flower to 
A. At the same time, A makes a preparatory response 
to U's consummatory act, that of carrying and proffering 
the flower. Thus neither the sounds uttered by A, his 
gesture of pointing, nor the sight of the thing pointed to, 
is the occasion and stimulus of JS's act; the stimulus is 
B's anticipatory share in the consummation of a trans- 
action in which both participate. The heart of language 
is not "expression" of something antecedent, much less 
expression of antecedent thought. It is communication; 
the establishment of cooperation in an activity in which 
there are partners, and in which the activity of each is 
modified and regulated by partnership. To fail to under- 
stand is to fail to come into agreement in action; to mis- 
understand is to set up action at cross purposes. Take 
speech as behavioristically as you will, including the elimi- 
nation of all private mental states, and it remains true 
that it is markedly distinguished from the signaling acts 
of animals. Meaning is not indeed a psychic existence; 
it is primarily a property of behavior, and secondarily a 
property of objects. But the behavior of which it is a 
quality is a distinctive behavior; cooperative, in that 
response to another's act involves contemporaneous 
response to a thing as entering into the other's behavior, 
and this upon both sides. It is difficult to state the 
exact physiological mechanism which is involved. But 
about the fact there ii no doubt It constitutes the in- 



180 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

telligibility of acts and things. Possession of the capacity 
to engage in such activity is intelligence. Intelligence 
and meaning are natural consequences of the peculiar form 
which interaction sometimes assumes in the case of human 
beings. 

Primarily meaning is intent and intent is not personal 
in a private and exclusive sense. A proposes the consum- 
matory possession of the flower through the medium or 
means of B J $ action; B proposes to cooperate or act 
adversely in the fulfillment of ^4's proposal. Secondar- 
ily, meaning is the acquisition of significance by things in 
their status in making possible and fulfilling shared 
cooperation. In the first place, it is the motion and 
sounds of A which have meaning, or are signs. Similarly 
the movements of B, while they immediate to him, are 
signs to A of B's cooperation or refusal. But secondarily 
the thing pointed out by A to B gains meaning. It 
ceases to be just what it brutely is at the moment, and is 
responded to in its potentiality, as a means to remoter 
consequences. The flower pointed to for example, is 
portable; but apart from language portability is a brute 
contingency waiting for its actualization upon circum- 
stance. But when A counts upon the understanding 
and cooperation of J3, and B responds to the intent of A, 
the flower is contemporaneously portable though not 
now actually in movement. Its potentiality, or con- 
ditioning of consequences, is an immediately recognized 
and possessed trait; the flower means portability instead 
of simply being portable. Animism, the attribution of 
desire and intent to inanimate things, is no mysterious 
projection of psychical traits; it is a misinterpretation of 
a natural fact, namely, that significant things are things 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 181 

actually implicated in situations of shared or social pur- 
pose and execution. 

The logic of animism is simple. Since words act upon 
things indirectly, or as signs, and since words express the 
significant consequences of things, (the traits for the sake 
of which they are used), why should not words act also 
directly upon things to release their latent powers? Since 
we "call" things by their names, why should they not 
answer? And if they assist us as our friends do when ap- 
pealed to, is not this proof they are animated by friendly 
intent; or if they frustrate us, proof that they are filled 
with the same traits which inspirit our enemies? "Anim- 
ism" is thus the consequence of a direct transfer of proper- 
ties of a social situation to an immediate relationship of 
natural things to a person. Its legitimate and constant 
form is poetry, in which things and events are given voice 
and directly communicate with us. 

If we consider the form or scheme of the situation in 
which meaning and understanding occur, we find an 
involved simultaneous presence and cross-reference of 
immediacy and efficiency, overt actuality and potentiality, 
the consummatory and the instrumental. A in making 
the request of B, at the same time makes the incipient 
and preparatory response of receiving the thing at the 
hands of B; he performs in readiness the consummatory 
act. B's understanding of the meaning of what A says, 
instead of being a mere reaction to sound, is an anticipa- 
tion of a consequence, while it is also an immediate activ- 
ity of eyes, legs, and hands in getting and giving the flower 
to A. The flower is the thing which it immediately is, 
and it also is means of a conclusion. All of this is directly 
involved in the existence of intelligible speech. No such 



182 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

simultaneous presence of finality and agency, is possible 
in things as purely physical in abstraction, that is, of po- 
tential presence in a situation of communication. Since 
we have discovered that all things have a phase of poten- 
tial communicability, that is, that any conceivable thing 
may enter into discourse, the retrospective imputation of 
meanings and logical relationships to bare things is 
natural; it does no harm, save when the imputation is 
dogmatic and literal. What a physical event imme- 
diately is, and what it can do or its relationship are dis- 
tinct and incommensurable. But when an event has 
meaning, its potential consequences become its integral 
and funded feature. When the potential consequences 
are important and repeated, they form the very nature 
and essence of a thing, its defining, identifying, and dis- 
tinguishing form. To recognize the thing is to grasp its 
definition. Thus we become capable of perceiving things 
instead of merely feeling and having them. To perceive 
is to acknowledge unattained possibilities; it is to refer the 
present to consequences, apparition to issue, and thereby 
to behave in deference to the connections of events. As 
an attitude, perception or awareness is predictive expec- 
tancy, wariness. Since potential consequences also mark 
the thing itself, and form its nature, the event thus marked 
becomes an object of contemplation; as meaning, future 
consequences already belong to the thing. The act of 
striving to bring them existentially into the world may 
be commuted into esthetic enjoyed possession of form. 

Essence, as has been intimated, is but a pronounced 
instance of meaning; to be partial, and to assign a meaning 
to a thing as the meaning is but to evince human subjec- 
tion to bias. Since consequences differ also in their con- 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 183 

sequence and hence importance, practical good sense may 
attach to this one-sided partiality, for the meaning seized 
upon as essence may designate extensive and recurrent 
consequences. Thus is explained the seeming paradox 
of the distinction and connection of essence and exist- 
ence. Essence is never existence, and yet it is the essence, 
the distilled import, of existence; the significant thing 
about it, its intellectual voucher, the means of inference 
and extensive transfer, and object of esthetic intuition. 
In it, feeling and understanding are one; the meaning of a 
thing is the sense it makes. 

Since the consequences which are liked have an empha- 
tic quality, it is not surprising that many consequences, 
even though recognized to be inevitable, are regarded as if 
they were accidental and alien. Thus the very essence 
of a thing is identified with those consummatory conse- 
quences which the thing has when conditions are 
felicitous. Thus the essence, one, immutable and con- 
stitutive, which makes the thing what it is, emerges from 
the various meanings which vary with varying condi- 
tions and transitory intents. When essence is then 
thought to contain existence as the perfect includes the 
imperfect, it is because a legitimate, practical measure of 
reality in terms of importance is illegitimately altered 
into a theoretical measure. 

Discourse itself is both instrumental and consummatory. 
Communication is an exchange which procures something 
wanted; it involves a claim, appeal, order, direction or 
request, which realizes want at less cost than personal 
labor exacts, since it procures the cooperative assistance 
of others. Communication is also an immediate enhance- 
ment of life, enjoyed for its own sake. The dance is 



184 EXPERIENCE AND NATURB 

accompanied by song and becomes the drama; scenes of 
danger and victory are most fully savored when they are 
told. Greeting becomes a ceremonial with its prescribed 
rites. Language is always a form of action and in its 
instrumental use is always a means of concerted action 
for an end, while at the same time it finds in itself all the 
goods of its possible consequences. For there is no mode 
of action as fulfilling and as rewarding as is concerted con- 
sensus of action. It brings with it the sense of sharing 
and merging in a whole. Forms of language are un- 
rivalled in ability to create this sense, at first with direct 
participation on the part of an audience; and then, as 
literary forms develop, through imaginative identifi- 
cation. Greek thinkers had distinguished patterns in 
Greek literary art of consummatory uses of speech, and 
the meanings that were discovered to be indispensable to 
communication were treated as final and ultimate in 
nature itself. Essences were hypostatized into original 
and constitutive forms of all existence. 

The idea put forth about the connection of meaning 
with language is not to be confused with traditional 
nominalism. It does not imply that meaning and 
essence are adventitious and arbitrary. The defect of 
nominalism lies in its virtual denial of interaction and 
association. It regarded the word not as a mode of social 
action with which to realize the ends of association, but 
as an expression of a ready-made, exclusively individual, 
mental state; sensation, image or feeling, which, being an 
existence, is necessarily particular. For the sound, gesture, 
or written mark which is involved in language is a particu- 
lar existence. But as such it is not a word; and it does 
not become a word by declaring a mental existence; it be- 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 18S 

comes a word by gaining meaning; and it gains meaning 
when its use stablish.es a genuine community of action. 
Interaction, operative relationship, is as much a fact 
about events as are particularity and immediacy. Lan- 
guage and its consequences are characters taken on by 
natural interaction and natural conjunction in specified 
conditions of organization. Nominalism ignores organiza- 
tion, and thus makes nonsense of meanings. 

Language is specifically a mode of interaction of at 
least two beings, a speaker and a hearer; it presupposes an 
organized group to which these creatures belong, and from 
whom they have acquired their habits of speech. It is 
therefore a relationship, not a particularity. This con- 
sideration alone condemns traditional nominalism. The 
meaning of signs moreover always includes something 
common as between persons and an object. When we 
attribute meaning to the speaker as his intent, we take for 
granted another person who is to share in the execution of 
the intent, and also something, independent of the persons 
concerned, through which the intent is to be realized. 
Persons and thing must alike serve as means in a common i 
shared consequence. This community of partaking is 
meaning. 

The invention and use of tools have played a large part 
in consolidating meanings, because a tool is a thing used 
as means to consequences, instead of being taken directly 
and physically. It is intrinsically relational, anticipa- 
tory, predictive. Without reference to the absent, or 
"transcendence/ 7 nothing is a tool. The most convinc- 
ing evidence that animals do not "think" is found in the 
fact is that they have no tools, but depend upon their own 
relatively-fixed bodily structures to effect results. 



186 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Because of such dependence they have no way of 
tinguishing the immediate existence of anything from its 
potential efficiencies; no way of projecting its conse- 
quences to define a nature or essence. Anything whatever 
used as a tool exhibits distinction and identification. 
Fire existentially burns; while fire which is employed 
in order to cook and keep warm, especially after other 
things, like rubbing sticks together, are used as means to 
generate it, is an existence having meaning and potential 
essence. The presence of inflammation and terror or 
discomfort is no longer the whole story; an occurrence is 
nov an object; and while it is absurd to hold (as idealism 
virtually does) that the meaning of an existence is the 
real substance of the existence, it is equally absurd not to 
recognize the full transformative imnort of what has 
happened. 

As to be a tool, or to be used as means ior consequences, 
is to have and to endow with meaning, language, being 
the tool of tools, is the cherishing mother of all signifi- 
cance. For other instrumentalities and agencies, the 
things usually thought of as appliances, agencies and 
furnishings, can originate and develop only in social 
groups made possible by language. Things become tools 
ceremonially and institutionally. The notoriously con- 
ventionalized and traditional character of primitive uten- 
sils and their attendant symbolizations demonstrate 
this fact. Moreover, tools and artifices of agency are 
always found in connection with some division of labor 
which depends upon some device of communication* The 
statement can be proved in a more theoretical way. Im- 
mediacy as such is transient to the point of evanescence, 
and its flux has to be fixed by some easily recoverable 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 187 

and recurrent act within control of the organism, like 
gesture and spoken sounds, before things can be inten- 
tionally utilized. A creature might accidentally warm 
itself by a fire or use a stick to stir the ground in a way 
which furthered the growth of food-plants. But the 
effect of comfort ceases with the fire, existentially; a 
stick even though once used as a lever would revert to the 
status of being just a stick, unless the relationship between 
it and its consequence were distinguished and retained. 
Only language, or some form of artificial signs, serves to 
register the relationship and make it fruitful in other 
contexts of particular existence. Spears, urns, baskets, 
snares may have originated accidentally in some con- 
summatory consequence of natural events. But only 
repetition through concerted action accounts for their 
becoming institutionalized as tools, and this concert of 
action depends upon the use of memoranda and com- 
munication. To make another aware of the possibility 
of a use or objective relationship is to perpetuate what 
is otherwise an incident as an agency ; communication is 
a condition of consciousness. 

Thus every meaning is generic or universal. It is 
something common between speaker, hearer and the 
thing to which speech refers. It is universal also as a 
means of generalization. For a meaning is a method of 
action, a way of using things as means to a shared con- 
summation, and method is general, though the things to 
which it is applied are particular. The meaning, for 
example, of portability is something in which two persons 
and an object share. But portability after it is once 
apprehended becomes a way of treating other things; 
it is extended widely. Whenever this is a chance, it is 



188 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

applied; application ceases only when a thing refuses to 
be treated in this way. And even then refusal may be 
only a challenge to develop the meaning of portability 
until the thing can be transported. Meanings are rules 
for using and interpreting things; interpretation being al- 
ways an imputation of potentiality for some consequence. 

It would be difficult to imagine any doctrine more 
absurd than the theory that general ideas or meanings 
arise by the comparison of a number of particulars, 
eventuating in the recognition of something common 
to them all. Such a comparison may be employed to 
check a suggested widened application of a rule. But 
generalization is carried spontaneously as far as it will 
plausibly go; usually much further than it will actually 
go. A newly acquired meaning is forced upon everything 
that does not obviously resist its application, as a child 
uses a new word whenever he gets a chance or as he plays 
with a new toy. Meanings are self-moving to new cases* 
In the end, conditions force a chastening of this spontane- 
ous tendency. The scope and limits of application are 
ascertained experimentally in the process of application. 
The history of science, to say nothing of popular beliefs, 
is sufficient indication of the difficulty found in submit- 
ting this irrational generalizing tendency to the disci- 
pline of experience. To call it a priori is to express a 
fact; but to impute the a priori character of the generaliz- 
ing force of meanings to reason is to invert the facts. 
Rationality is acquired when the tendency becomes cir- 
cumspect, based upon observation and tested by deliber- 
ate experiment. 

Meaning is objective as well as universal. Originat- 
ing as a concerted or combined method of using or enjoy- 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 189 

ing things, it indicates a possible interaction, not a thing 
in separate singleness. A meaning may not of course 
have the particular objectivity which is imputed to it, as 
whistling does not actually portend wind, nor the cere- 
monial sprinkling of water indicate rain. But such magi- 
cal imputations of external reference testify to the objec- 
tivity of meaning as such. Meanings are naturally the 
meaning of something or other; difficulty lies in discrimi- 
nating the right thing. It requires the discipline of 
ordered and deliberate experimentation to teach us that 
some meanings delightful or horrendous as they are, are 
meanings communally developed in the process of com- 
munal festivity and control, and do not represent the 
polities, and ways and means of nature apart from social 
arts. Scientific meanings were superadded to esthetic and 
affectional meanings when objects instead of being defined 
in terms of their consequences in social interactions and 
discussion were defined in terms of their consequences 
with respect to one another. This discrimination per- 
mitted esthetic and affective objects to be freed from 
magical imputations, which were due to attributing to 
them in rerum natura the consequences they had in the 
transmitted culture of the group. 

Yet the truth of classic philosophy in assigning objec- 
tivity to meanings, essences, ideas remains unassailable. 
It is heresy to conceive meanings to be private, a property 
of ghostly psychic existences. Berkeley with all his nom- 
inalism, saw that "ideas," though particular in existence, 
are general in function and office. His attribution of the 
ideas which are efficacious in conduct to an order estab- 
lished by God, while evincing lack of perception of their 
naturalistic origin in communication or communal inter- 



190 EXPERIENCE AND NATU1US 

action, manifests a sounder sense of the objectivity of 
meanings than has been shown by those who eliminated 
his theology while retaining his psychology. The incon- 
sistency of the sensationalists who, stopping short of 
extreme scepticism, postulate that some associations of 
ideas correspond to conjunctions among things is also 
reluctantly extorted evidence of how intimation of the 
objectivity of ideas haunts the mind in spite of theory to 
the contrary. 

Meanings are objective because they are modes of 
natural interaction; such an interaction, although primar- 
ily between organic beings, as includes things and energies 
external to living creatures. The regulative force of 
legal meanings affords a convenient illustration. A traf- 
fic policeman holds up his hand or blows a whistle. His 
act operates as a signal to direct movements. But it is 
more than an episodic stimulus. It embodies a rule of 
social action. Its proximate meaning is its near-by con- 
sequences in coordination of movements of persons and 
vehicles; its ulterior and permanent meaning essence 
is its consequence in the way of security of social move- 
ments. Failure to observe the signal subjects a person to 
arrest, fine or imprisonment. The essence embodied in 
the policeman'* whistle is not an occult reality super- 
imposed upon a sensuous or physical flux and imparting 
form to it; a mysterioua subsistence somehow housed 
within a psychical event. It* essence is the rule, com- 
prehensive and persisting, the standardized habit, of social 
interaction, and for the sake of which the whistle 
is used. The pattern, archetype, that forms the essence 
of the whistle as a particular noise is an orderly 
arrangement of the movements of persons, and vehicles 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 191 

established by social agreement as its consequence. This 
meaning is independent of the psychical landscape, the 
sensations and imagery, of the policeman and others 
concerned. But it is not on that account a timeless 
spiritual ghost nor pale logical subsistence divorced from 
events. 

The case is the same with the essence of any non-human 
event, like gravity, or virtue, or vertebrate. Some con- 
sequences of the interaction of things concern us; the 
consequences are not merely physical; they enter finally 
into human action and destiny. Fire burns and the burn- 
ing is of moment. It enters experience; it is fascinating 
to watch swirling flames; it is important to avoid its 
dangers and to utilize its beneficial potencies. When we 
name an event, calling it fire, we speak proleptically; we 
do not name an immediate event; that is impossible. 
We employ a term of discourse; we invoke a meaning, 
namely, the potential consequences of the existence. The 
ultimate meaning of the noise made by the traffic officer 
is the total consequent system of social behavior, in which 
individuals are subjected, by means of noise, to social 
coordination; its proximate meaning is a coordination of 
the movements of persons and vehicles in the neighbor- 
hood and directly affected. Similarly the ultimate mean- 
ing, or essence, denominated fire, is the consequences of 
certain natural events within the scheme of human activi- 
ties, in the experience of social intercourse, the hearth and 
domestic altar, shared comfort, working of metals, rapid 
transit, and other such affairs. " Scientifically/' we ignore 
these ulterior meanings. And quite properly; for when a 
sequential order of changes is determined, the final mean- 
ing in immediate enjoyments and appreciations is capable 
of control* 



192 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

While classic thought, and its survival in later idealisms, 
assumed that the ulterior human meanings, meanings of 
direct association in discourse, are forms of nature apart 
from their place in discourse, modern thought is given 
to marking a sharp separation between meanings deter- 
mined in terms of the causal relationship of things and 
meanings in terms of human association. Consequently, 
it treats the latter as negligible or as purely private, not 
the meanings of natural events at all. It identifies the 
proximate meanings with the only valid meanings, and 
abstract relations become an idol. To pass over in science 
the human meanings of the consequences of natural 
interactions is legitimate; indeed it is indispensable. To 
ascertain and state meanings in abstraction from social 
or shared situations is the only way in which the latter can 
be intelligently modified, extended and varied. Mathe- 
matical symbols have least connection with distinctively 
human situations and consequences; and the finding of 
such terms, free from esthetic and moral significance, is a 
necessary part of the technique. Indeed, such elimina- 
tion of ulterior meanings supplies perhaps the best pos- 
sible empirical definition of mathematical relations. 
They are meanings without direct reference to human 
behavior. Thus an essence becomes wholly "intellectual" 
or scientific, devoid of consummatory implication; it ex- 
presses the purely instrumental without reference to the 
objects to which the events in question are instrumental. 
It then becomes the starting point of reflection that may 
terminate in ends or consequences in human suffering and 
enjoyment not previously experienced. Abstraction from 
any particular consequence (which is the same thing as 
taking instrumentality generally), opens the way to new 
uses and consequences. 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 193 

This is what happens when the meaning of the traffic 
officer's signal is detached from its own context, and taken 
up into, say, written and published language, a topic of 
independent consideration by experts or by civic admini- 
strators. In being placed in a context of other meanings, 
(theoretically and scientifically discussed), it is liberated 
from the contingencies of its prior use. The outcome may 
be the invention of a new and improved system of sema- 
phores which exercise regulation of human interaction 
more effectively. Deliberate abstraction, however, from 
all ulterior human use and consequence is hardly likely to 
occur in the case of discourse about a signal system. In 
physical science, the abstraction or liberation is complete. 
Things are defined by means of symbols that convey only 
their consequences with respect to one another. 'Water' 
in ordinary experience designates an essence of something 
which has familiar bearings and uses in human life, drink 
and cleansing and the extinguishing of fire. But H S O 
gets away from these connections, and embodies in its 
essence only instrumental efficiency in respect to things 
independent of human affairs. 

The counterpart of classic thought which took ends, en- 
joyments, uses, not simply as genuine termini of natural 
events (which they are), but as the essence and form of 
things independent of human experience, is a modern 
philosophy which makes reality purely mechanical and 
which regards the consequences of things in human experi- 
ence as accidental or phenomenal by-products. In truth, 
abstraction from human experience is but a liberation from 
familiar and specific enjoyments, it provides means for 
detecting hitherto untried consequences, for invention, 
for the creation of new wants, and new modes of good and 



4 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

evil. In any sense in which the conception of essence is 
legitimate, these human consequences are the essence of 
natural events. Water still has the meanings of water of 
everyday experience when it becomes the essence H 2 0, or 
else HjO would be totally meaningless, a mere sound, not 
an intelligible name. 

Meaning, fixed as essence in a term of discourse, may be 
imaginatively administered and manipulated, experi- 
mented with. Just as we overtly manipulate things, 
making new separations and combinations, thereby intro- 
ducing tilings into new contexts and environments, so we 
bring together logical universals in discourse, where they 
copulate and breed new meanings. There is nothing 
surprising in the fact that dialectic (or deduction, as it is 
termed by moderns) generates new objects; that, in Kan- 
tian language, it is "synthetic," instead of merely explicat- 
ing what is already had. All discourse, oral or written, 
which is more than a routine unrolling of vocal habits, 
says things that surprise the one that says them, often 
indeed more than they surprise any one else. System- 
atic logical discourse, or ratiocination, is the same sort of 
thing conducted according to stricter rules. Even under 
the condition of rigid rules the emergence of new mean- 
ings is much more similar to what happens in genial con- 
versation than is conventionally supposed. Rules of logi- 
cal order and consistency appertain to economy and 
efficiency of combination and separation in generating 
new meanings; not to meanings as such. They are rules 
of a certain kind of experimentation. In trying new 
combinations of meanings, satisfactory consequences of 
new meanings are hit upon; then they may be arranged in 
a system. The expert in thought is one who has skill in 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 195 

making experiments to introduce an old meaning into 
different situations and who has a sensitive ear for detect- 
ing resultant harmonies and discords. The most "deduc- 
tive" thought in actual occurrence is a series of trials, 
observations and selections. In one sense of the ambigu- 
ous word intuition, it is a "series of intuitions/' and logic 
is ex post facto, expressing a wit that formulates econom- 
ically the congruities and incongruities that have mani- 
fested themselves. Any "syllogism" which is such ab 
initio is performed better by a machine that manipulates 
symbols automatically than by any "thinker." 

This capacity of essences to enter readily into any 
number of new combinations, and thereby generate fur- 
ther meanings more profound and far reaching than those 
from which they sprang, gives them a semblance of inde- 
pendent life and career, a semblance which is responsible 
for their elevation by some thinkers into a realm sepa- 
rate from that of existence and superior to it. Consider 
the interpretations that have been based upon such 
essences as four, plus, the square root of minus one. 
These are at once so manipulable and so fertile in conse- 
quences when conjoined with others that thinkers who 
are primarily interested in their performances treat them 
not as significant terms of discourse, but as an order of 
entities independent of human invention and use. The 
fact that we can watch them and register what happens 
when they come together, and that the things that happen 
are as independent of our volition and expectation as are 
the discoveries of a geographic exploration, is taken as 
evidence that they constitute entities having subsistent 
Being independently not only of us but of all natural 
events whatever* 



196 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Alternatives are too narrowly conceived. Because 
meanings and essences are not states of mind, because they 
are as independent of immediate sensation and imagery as 
are physical things, and because nevertheless they are 
not physical things, it is assumed that they are a peculiar 
kind of thing, termed metaphysical, or "logical" in a 
style which separates logic from nature. But there are 
many other things which are neither physical nor psychi- 
cal existences, and which are demonstrably dependent 
upon human association and interaction. Such things 
function moreover in liberating and regulating subsequent 
human intercourse; their essence is their contribution 
to making that intercourse more significant and 
more immediately rewarding. Take the sort of thing 
exemplified in the regulation of traffic. The sound 
of a whistle is a particular existential event numerically 
separate, with its own peculiar spatial temporal position. 
This may not be said of the rule or method of social co- 
operative interaction which it manifests and makes effec- 
tive. A continuous way of organized action is not a par- 
ticular, and hence is not a physical or psychical existence. 
Yet the consequences of using the method of adjust- 
ing movements, so that they do not interfere with one 
another, have both a physical and a mental phase. 
Physically, there is modification of the changes in space 
which would otherwise occur. Mentally, there are en- 
joyments and annoyances which would not otherwise 
happen. But no one of these incidents nor all of them put 
together form the essence or ulterior meaning of the sound 
of the whistle; they are qualifications of a more secure 
concert of human activity which, as a consequence of a 
legal order incarnate in the whistling, forms its signifi- 
cance. 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 197 

Discussion of meaning and essence has reached such an 
Impasse and is barbed with such entanglements, that it is 
further worth while to suggest consideration of legal enti- 
ties as indicative of escape from the disjunction of essence 
from existence. What is a Corporation, a Franchise? 
A corporation is neither a mental state nor a particular 
physical event in space and time. Yet it is an objective 
reality, not an ideal Realm of Being. It is an objective 
reality which has multitudinous physical and mental 
consequences. It is something to be studied as we study 
electrons; it exhibits as does the latter unexpected proper- 
ties, and when introduced into new situations behaves 
with new reactions. It is something which may be con- 
ducted, facilitated and obstructed, precisely as may be a 
river. Nevertheless it would not exist nor have any 
meaning and potency apart from an interaction of human 
beings with one another, an interaction in which external 
things are implicated. As legal essence, or concerted 
method of regulated interaction, corporation has its own 
and its developing career. 

Again juridical rule implies jurisdiction; a particular 
body of persons within a certain territory to whom it 
applies. The legal significance of an act depends upon 
where it takes place. Yet an act is an interaction, a trans- 
action, not isolated, self-sufficient. The initial stage of 
an act and the terminating consequences which, between 
them, determine its meaning, may be far apart in place 
as well as in time. Where then is the act? What is its 
locus? The readiest reply is in terms of the beginning of 
the act. The act was performed where the agent bodily 
was at the time of its occurrence. Suppose, however, 
that before discovery, the agent in a criminal transaction 



198 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

changes his abode and resides within another jurisdiction. 
The need of security leads to the generation, in its union 
with the conception of jurisdiction, of a new conception 
or essence, that of extradition, of comity of jurisdictions. 
New procedures with corresponding new technical con- 
cepts or meanings then develop by means of which a 
person charged with crime may be requisitioned and 
removed. The concept of jurisdiction in combination 
with that of security, justke, etc., deductively generates 
other concepts. 

The process does not stop here. An agent implies a 
patient. Suppose a person in New York State shoots a 
bullet across the New Jersey line, and kills some one in 
that State ; or sends poisoned candy by mail to some one 
in California who dies from eating it. Where is the crime 
committed? The guilty person is not within the jurisdic- 
tion of the State where the death resulted; hence, his 
crime by definition, was not committed in that State. 
But since the death did not occur where he was bodily 
present at the time, no crime occurred in that jurisdiction, 
locus being defined in terms of the abode of the agent. 
The essence, extradition, does not apply because there is 
no crime for which to extradite him. In short, because of 
the accepted meaning of jurisdiction, no crime has been 
committed anywhere. Such an outcome is evidently pre- 
judicial to the integrity and security of human associa- 
tion and intercourse. Thus the element of transaction in 
an act is noted; an act initiated within a given jurisdic- 
tion becomes a crime when its obnoxious consequences 
occur outside. The locus of the act now extends all the 
way from New York to California. Thus two iadepend- 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 199 

eat particular events capable of direct observation, to- 
gether with a connection between them which is inferred, 
not directly observable, are now included in so simple 
a meaning as that of the locus of an act. In the tradi- 
tional language of philosophy, the essence is now ideal or 
rational, non-sensible. Furthermore a system of legal 
meanings is developed by modifying different ones with 
a view to consistency or logical order. Thus the meanings 
get more independent of the events that led up to them; 
they may be taught and expounded as a logical system, 
whose nortions are deductively connected with one 
anothei 

In civil cases, however, the concept of locus even as 
thus extended fails to take care of all the consequences 
which are found to require regulation, by attachment of 
rights and liabilities to certain classes of acts. A trans- 
action may concern goods or funds which operate in a 
jurisdiction different to that of either of the parties 
directly concerned in i t . Its consequences include persons 
living in a third jurisdiction. The ultimate result is a 
tendency in some case to reverse the earlier and more 
immediately physical (or spatially limited) concept of 
jurisdiction with respect to place. Jurisdiction comes to 
mean "power to deal legally" with a certain specific 
affair, rather than an "area within which action has 
occurred": that is, area is defined by power to act, which 
in turn is determined with respect to consequences found 
desirable, while originally a concept of fixed area had been 
employed to fix power of legal action. If it be asked, 
"where" a transaction is located, the only possible answer, 
on the basis of legal procedure, appears in many cases to 



200 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

be that it is located wherever it has consequences which 
it is deemed socially important to regulate. 1 

Juridical institutions everywhere embody essences 
which are as objective and coercive with respect to opin- 
ions, emotions and sensations of individuals as are physi- 
cal objects; essences which are general, capable of inde- 
pendent examination; of fruitful connection with one 
another; and of extension to concrete phenomena not 
previously related to them. At the same time the origin 
and nature of such meanings can be empirically described 
by reference to social interactions and their consequences. 
They are means of regulating consequences, through 
establishing a present cross-reference to one another of 
the diverse acts of interacting agents. If we bear in 
mind the capacity to transfer such a regulative method 
to new and previously unconnected universes of discourse, 
there is nothing astonishing in the fact that a stain may 
mean an anatomical structure, a change in the size of a 
mercury column changes in atmospheric pressure and 
thus probable rain. There is nothing astonishing there- 
fore in the fact that meanings expressed in symbols are 
capable of yielding a vast and growing system of mathe- 
matics. An essence which is a method of procedure can 
be linked to other methods of procedure so as to yield 

1 In this respect the actual tendency of law (though not always its 
doctrinal formulations) is further advanced than are views current among 
philosophers. Compare the discussions as to "where" an illusion is; oar 
what is the locus of past experience, and "where" unrealized possibilities 
exist. Some writers find satisfaction in locating them "in" the mind, 
although they also deny that mind is spatial. Then, realizing that the 
psychical existence "in" which these affairs are located is itself a present 
particular existence, they find it necessary to place an "essence" or 
meaning within the skin of the psychical state. 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 201 

new methods; to bring about a revision of old methods, and 
form a systematic and ordered whole all without refer- 
ence to any application of any method to any particular 
set of concrete existences, and in complete abstraction 
from any particular consequences which the methods or 
logical universals are to regulate. For mathematics, they 
are as much independent objects as is the material with 
which a zoologist deals. Comparison with machines like 
a self-binding reaper or a telephone system is useful. 
Machines are evolved in human experience, not prior to 
it or independently of it. But they are objective and 
compelling with respect to present particular physical and 
psychical processes; they are general methods of reaching 
consequences; they are interactions of previously exist- 
ing physical existences. Moreover, they depend for 
their efficacy upon other and independent natural exist- 
ences; they produce consequences only when used in 
connection with other existences which limit and test 
their operation. When machines have attained a certain 
stage of development, engineers may devote themselves 
to the construction of new machines and to improve- 
ments in old machines without specific reference to con- 
crete uses and applications. That is, inventors are 
guided by the inherent logic of existing machines, by 
observation of the consistency of relationships which parts 
of the machine bear to one another and to the pattern of 
the entire machine. An invention may thus result from 
purely mathematical calculations. Nevertheless the 
machine is still a machine, an instrumental device for 
regulating interactions with reference to consequences. 

When the "concept 1 ' of a machine, its meaning or 
essence embodied in a symbol, deductively generates plans 



202 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

of new machines, essence is fruitful because it was first 
devised for a purpose. Its subsequent success or failure 
in fulfilling its purpose, in delivering the desired con- 
sequences, together with reflection upon the reason there- 
fore, supply a basis for revising, extending, and modifying 
the essence in question; thus it has a career and conse- 
quence of its own. If we follow the lead of empirically 
verifiable cases, it would then appear that mathematical 
and moral essences may be dialectically fruitful, because 
like other machines they have been constructed for the 
purpose of securing certain consequences with the 
minimum of waste and the maximum of economy and 
efficiency . 

Communication is consummatory as well as instru- 
mental. It is a means of establishing cooperation, 
domination and order. Shared experience is the greatest 
of human goods. In communication, such conjunction 
and contact as is characteristic of animals become en- 
dearments capable of infinite idealization; they become 
symbols of the very culmination of nature. That God 
is love is a more worthy idealization than that the divine is 
power. Since love at its best brings illumination and 
wisdom, this meaning is as worthy as that the divine is 
truth. Various phases of participation by one in 
another's joy, sorrows, sentiments and purposes, are dis- 
tinguished by the scope and depth of the objects that are 
held in common, from a momentary caress to continued 
insight and loyality. When a psychologist like Bain 
reduced the "tender emotions" to sensations of contact he 
indicated a natural organic basis. But he failed to con- 
nect even organic contact with its vital function, assimi- 
lation and fruitful union; while (what is of greater import) 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 203 

he failed to note the transformation that this biological 
function undergoes when its consequences, being noted, 
become an objective meaning incorporated as its essence 
in a natural physiological occurrence. 

If scientific discourse is instrumental in function, it 
also is capable of becoming an enjoyed object to those 
concerned in it. Upon the whole, human history shows 
that thinking in being abstract, remote and technical has 
been laborious; or at least that the process of attaining 
such thinking has been rendered painful to most by social 
circumstances. In view of the importance of such activ- 
ity and its objects, it is a priceless gain when it becomes an 
intrinsic delight. Few would philosophize if philosophic 
discourse did not have its own inhering fascination. Yet 
it is not the satisfactoriness of the activity which defines 
science or philosophy; the definition comes from the 
structure and function of subject-matter. To say that 
knowledge as the fruit of intellectual discourse is an end 
in itself is to say what is esthetically and morally true for 
some persons, but it conveys nothing about the structure 
of knowledge; and it does not even hint that its objects 
are not instrumental. These are questions that can be 
decided only by an examination of the things in question. 
Impartial and disinterested thinking, discourse in terms of 
scrutinized, tested, and related meanings, is a fine art. 
But it is an art as yet open to comparatively few. Let- 
ters, poetry, song, the drama, fiction, history, biography, 
engaging in rites and ceremonies hallowed by time and 
rich with the sense of the countless multitudes that share 
in them, are also modes of discourse that, detached from 
immediate instrumental consequences of assistance and 
cooperative action, are ends for most persons. In them 



204 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

discourse is both instrumental and final. No person 
remains unchanged and has the same future efficiencies, 
who shares in situations made possible by communication. 
Subsequent consequences may be good or bad, but they 
are there. The part of wisdom is not to deny the causal 
fact because of the intrinsic value of the immediate experi- 
ence. It is to make the immediately satisfactory object 
the object which will also be most fertile. 

The saying of Matthew Arnold that poetry is a criti- 
cism of life sounds harsh to the ears of some persons of 
strong esthetic bent; it seems to give poetry a moral and 
instrumental function. But while poetry is not a criti- 
cism of life in intent, it is in effect, and so is all art. For 
art fixes those standards of enjoyment and appreciation 
with which other things are compared; it selects the ob- 
jects of future desires; it stimulates effort. This is true of 
the objects in which a particular person finds his immediate 
or esthetic values, and it is true of collective man. The 
level and style of the arts of literature, poetry, ceremony, 
amusement, and recreation which obtain in a community, 
furnishing the staple objects of enjoyment in that 
community, do more than all else to determine the cur- 
rent direction of ideas and endeavors in the community. 
They supply the meanings in terms of which life is judged, 
esteemed, and criticized. For an outside spectator, they 
supply material for a critical evaluation of the life led by 
that community. 

Communication is uniquely instrumental and uni- 
qudiy final. It is instrumental as liberating us from the 
otherwise overwhelming pressure of events and enabling 
us to live in a world of things that have meaning. It is 
final as a sharing in the objects and arts precious to a com- 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION 205 

munity, a sharing whereby meanings are enhanced, deep- 
ened and solidified in the sense of communion. Because 
of its characteristic agency and finality, communication 
and its congenial objects are objects ultimately worthy 
of awe, admiration, and loyal appreciation. They are 
worthy as means, because they are the only means that 
make life rich and varied in meanings. They are worthy 
as ends, because in such ends man is lifted from his imme- 
diate isolation and shares in a communion of meanings. 
Here, as in so many other things, the great evil lies in 
separating instrumental and final functions. Intelli- 
gence is partial and specialized, because communication 
and participation are limited, sectarian, provincial, con- 
fined to class, party, professional group. By the same 
token, our enjoyment of ends is luxurious and corrupting 
for some; brutal, trivial, harsh for others; exclusion from 
the life of free and full communication excluding both 
alike from full possession of meanings of the things that 
enter experience. When the instrumental and final func- 
tions of communication live together in experience, there 
exists an intelligence which is the method and reward of 
the common life, and a society worthy to command affec- 
tion, admiration, and loyalty. 4 

4 Since the above was originally written I have found the following by 
Dr. Malinowski in Ogden and Richards, The Meaning of Meaning: "A 
word, signifying an important utensil, is used in action, not to comment 
on its nature or reflect on its properties, but to make it appear, be handed 
over to the speaker, or to direct another man to its proper use. The 
meaning of the thing is made up of experiences of its active uses and not 

of intellectual contemplation A word means to a native the 

proper use of the thing for which it stands, exactly as an implement 
means something when it can be handled and means nothing when no 
active experience is at hand. Similarly a verb, a word for an action, re- 



906 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

ceives its meaning through active participation in this action. A word is 
used when it can produce an action, and not to describe one, still less 
to translate thoughts." (Pp. 488-9.) I know of no statement about 
language that brings out with the same clearness and appreciation of the 
force of the fact that language is primarily a mode of action used for the 
sake of influencing the conduct of others in connection with the speaker. 
As he says "The manner in which I am using language now, in writing 
these words, the manner in which the author of a book or a papyrus or 
hewn inscription has to use it, is a very far-fetched and derivative func- 
tion of language. In its primitive uses, language functions as a link in 
concerted human activity, as a piece of human behavior." (P. 474.) 
He shows that to understand the meaning of savage language, we have to 
be able to re-instate the whole social context which alone supplies the 
meaning. While he lists narrative and ceremonial speech as well as 
active, he shows that the same principle permeates them. "When 
incidents are told or discussed among a group of listeners, there is, first, 
the situation of that moment made up of the respective social, intellectual 
and emotional attitudes of those present. Within this situation, the 
narrative creates new bonds and sentiments by the emotional appeal 
of the words. In every case, narrative speech is primarily a mode of 
social action rather than a mere reflection of thought." (P. 475.) Then 
there is the use of language "in free, aimless, social intercourse." "In 
discussing the function of speech in mere sociabilities, we come to one of 
the bed rock aspects of human nature in society. There is in all human 
beings the well-known tendency to congregate, to be together, to enjoy 
each other's company Taciturnity means not only un- 
friendliness but directly a bad character. The breaking of silence, the 
communion of words, is the first act to establish links of fellowship." 
(Pp. 476-7.) Here speech has both the instrumental use of re-assurance 
and the consummatory good of enhanced sense of membership in a 
congenial whole. Thus communication is not only a means to common 
ends but is the sense of comraimity, communion actualized. Nothing 
more important for philosophers to hearken to has been written than Dr. 
Malinowski's conclusion: "Language is little influenced by thought, but 
Thought on the contrary having to borrow from action its tool that is 
language is largely influenced thereby. To sum up we can say that the 
fundamental grammatical categories, universal to all human languages, 
can be understood only with reference to the pragmatic Weltanschauung 
of primitive man and that, through the use of language, the barbarous 
primitive categories must have deeply influenced the later philosophies 



NATURE AND COMMUNICATION Mf 

of man.** (P. 498.) He goes on to show its influence in framing cate- 
gories of (nouns) substance, of action centering around (verbs) objects, 
and spatial relations prepositions. And he doses with an expreai 
warning against " the old realist fallacy that a word vouches for, or coo- 
tains, the reality of its meaning. The migration of roots into improper 
places has given to the imaginary reality of hypostatized meaning a 
special solidity of its own. For since early experience warrants the sub- 
stantival existence of anything found within the category of crude 
substance, of Protousia, and subsequent linguistic shifts introduce there 
such roots as "going", "rest", "motion", etc., the obvious inference k 
that such abstract entities or ideas live in a world of their own." (P. 
509.) Here we have the source of the classic hypostatizing of essence 
which is described in the text as due to isolating important meanings of 
things from their context in human interaction. 



CHAPTER SIX 
NATURE, MIND AND THE SUBJECT 

Personality, selfhood, subjectivity are eventual func- 
tions that emerge with complexly organized interactions, 
organic and social. Personal individuality has its basis 
and conditions in simpler events. Plants and non-human 
animals act as if they were concerned that their activity, 
their characteristic receptivity and response, should 
maintain itself. Even atoms and molecules show a 
selective bias in their indifferencies, affinities and repul- 
sions when exposed to other events. With respect to 
some things they are hungry to the point of greediness; 
in the presence of others they are sluggish and cold. It 
is not surprising that naive science imputed appetition 
to their own consummatory outcome to all natural 
processes, and that Spinoza identified inertia and momen- 
tum with inherent tendency on the part of things to con- 
serve themselves in being, and achieve such perfection as 
belongs to them. In a genuine although not psychic 
sense, natural beings exhibit preference and centeredness. 

In regard to the nature of the individual, as in so many 
other respects, classic and modern philosophies have 
pursued opposite paths. In Greek reflection, love of per- 
fection, or self-completion, was attributed to Being. The 
state of self-sufficiency excluding deficiency constituted 
the individual, significant change being thought of as 
the coming into being of such a whole. In consequence, 
in view of the obvious instability of particular existences 
such as moderns usually term individuals, a species im- 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 209 

mutable in time and having form was the true individual. 
What moderns call individuals were particulars, tran- 
sient, partial, and imperfect specimens of the true in- 
dividual. Mankind as species is more truly an indi- 
vidual than was this or that man. Although Aristotle 
criticized his master for giving Being to the genus or 
universal separate from particulars, he never doubted 
that the species was a real entity, a metaphysical or exis- 
tential whole including and characterizing all particulars. 
A type-form had no separate being; but, being embodied 
in particulars, it made them an intrinsically unified and 
marked out class, which as a class was ungenerated and 
indestructible, perfect and complete. 

Modern science has made the conception strange. 
Yet it was a natural interpretation of things found in 
ordinary experience. The immediate qualitative dif- 
ferences of things cannot be recognized without noting 
that things possessed of these qualitative traits fall into 
kinds, or families. That the family is more lasting, im- 
portant, and real than any of its members; that the 
family confers upon its constituents their standing and 
character, so that those who have no family are outcasts 
and wanderers, represents a notable situation in most 
forms of human culture. In such a cultural scheme, those 
peculiar differences that constitute for us personal in- 
dividuality are only accidental variations from the family 
type, the form which marks a kind enables a particular 
person to be placed, known, identified. The modern 
habit of using self, "I," mind, and spirit interchangeably 
is inconceivable when family and commune are solid 
realities. To the Greeks, a kind was an organized 
system in which an ideal form unites varying particulars 



210 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

into a genuine whole, and gives to them distinctive and 
recognizable character. The presence in things of the 
generic form renders them knowable. Mind is but 
the ordered system of all the characters which constitute 
kinds, differing among men, differing according to dif- 
ferences of organic constitutions. Upon such a view, 
subjectivity, individuality of mind marks an anomaly; 
a failure of realization of objective forms cm the part of the 
indwelling family to impress itself adequately, owing to 
stubborn resisting material constitution. What is prized 
and exalted by moderns as individual was just the defect 
which is the source of ignorance, opinion, and error. 

Such a marked difference in the estimate of the status 
of individuality is proof of difference in the empirical 
content of ancient and modern culture. In primitive 
cultures, experience is dominated by what a contemporary 
French school has called categories of participation and 
incorporation. Life and being belong in a significant 
sense to the tribe and family; particular creatures are 
only members of a consolidated whole. This state of 
social affairs formed the pattern in accord with which all 
natural events were construed. One need not endorse 
all the details of the theories of this French school or 
even accept its general principles, in order to recognize 
a predominantly collectivistic character in early culture, 
and to perceive its influence upon early beliefs and modes 
of thought. An individual was a member of a group- 
whole; in this membership were almost exhausted his 
accomplishments and possibilities. From birth, he was 
a subject for assimilation and incorporation of group 
traditions and customs; his personal measure was the 
extent in which he became their vehicle. Private belief 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 211 

and invention, were a deviation, a dangerous eccentricity, 
signs of disloyal disposition. The private was an equiva- 
lent of the illicit; and all innovations and departures 
from custom are illicit: witness the fact that children 
have to be educated and inducted into tradition and 
custom. This need of education, moreover, and of main- 
tenance of tradition against deviation serve to bring 
otherwise unconscious customs to mind, and to render 
consciousness of them acute and emotional. 1 Thereby, 
customs are more than mere overt ways of action; tradi- 
tion is more than external imitation and reproduction of 
what obtains in outward behavior. Custom is Nomos, 
lord and king of all, of emotions, beliefs, opinions, thoughts 
as well as deeds. 

Yet mind in an individualized mode has occasionally 
some constructive operation. Every invention, every 
improvement in art, technological, military and political, 
has its genesis in the observation and ingenuity of a 
particular innovator. All utensils, traps, tools, weapons, 
stories, prove that some one exercised at sometime ini- 
tiative in deviating from customary models and standards. 
Accident played its part; but some one had to observe 
and utilize the accidental change before a new tool and 
custom emerged. Men were not wholly and merely 
subdued to the demands of custom, even when innova- 
tions were looked upon as threats to the welfare of the 
group, defiances of its gods. 

As Goldenweiser has said: "Whether it is a pot, 
basket or blanket that is being manufactured, or the soil 

1 See Boas, Hie Mind of Primitive Man. Chapter VIII of this book 
seems to me to supply what is sound in the view of the French school 
Haded to, free from its exaggerat 



212 EXPERIENCE AND NATURB 

that is being tilled, or an animal that is being hunted or 
fought in all of these situations man faces an individual, 
technical task. In all of these directions there is room 
for the development and exhibition of skill. In industry 
and the chase, in a sea-faring expedition and a war raid, 

things can be done well and less well There 

is opportunity for comparison of individual efforts, there 
is rivalry." 1 As a fruit of this rivalry of individuals, 
pace-making occurs; those who excel set a standard for 
others to come up to; they furnish models of technique 
to be adopted by others, till gradually or suddenly they 
initiate a new custom. Even in cultures most committed 
to reproduction, there is always occurring gome creative 
production, through specific variations, that is, through 
individuals. Thus, while negatively individuality means 
something to be subdued, positively it denotes the source 
of change in institutions and customs. While the 
negative side is most conscious and most asserted, the 
positive phase is there and is taken advantage of, even 
though by stealth and under cover. Upon the whole 
the imagination and effort of individual technicians and 
artists were submerged; in idea, the doctrine of fixed 
wholes with their fixed patterns prevailed. We may well 
follow the further statements of Dr. Goldenweiser. 
"When tradition is a matter of the spoken word, the 
advantage is all on the side of age. The elder is in the 
saddle;" because he is the most experienced man and the 
one who best embodies the net experience of the group. 
The group is small enough to be homogeneous; innova- 
tions are conspicuous and focus resentment; customary 
activities are moreover enmeshed in ceremonialism and 
have supernatural sanctions; variations when once they 
Early Civilization, pp. 407-8. 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 213 

arc adopted become automatic group habits; they endure 
not as ideas or because of insight into principles, but as 
"motor habits which represent nothing but knowledge 
and technical experience rendered mechanical through 
habituation;" individual "consciousness and ratiocination 
quickly are incorporated in objective results which are 
handed down while the thinking perishes; inventions 
become part of the technical equipment of behavior, 
not of thought and understanding. " Under such cir- 
cumstances, individual variations of thought remain 
private reveries or are soon translated into objective 
established institutions through gradual accumulation 
of imperceptible variations. The exceptional character 
of creative individuality is reflected in attribution of the 
origin of the arts, industrial and political, to gods and 
semi-divine heroes. 

Thus the artist and artisan merely observe, as has been 
noted in another connection, ready-made models and 
patterns, and unquestioningly follow procedures ante- 
cedently established. Patterns and methods are ac- 
cepted as belonging to the objective nature of things; 
there is next to no sense of any connection between 
them and personal desire and thought; to introduce such 
a connection would evince a dangerously subversive 
spirit. The point of view therein displayed is so far 
from that which animates modern psychology and 
philosophy that it is not easily recoverable; yet we do not 
have even today to go far to find a like notion regulative 
of action and belief. The mechanic who follows blue- 
prints and a procedure dictated by his machine in the 
production of standardized commodities would, if he 
were both articulate and uncognizant of inventions by 



214 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

others, say the same thing. Legal formalities consciously 
adopt similar realistic conceptions in politics and morals, 
and find the exhibition of the spirit which they take for 
granted in science and industry to be anarchistic and 
destructive in less technical fields. Standards and pat- 
terns seem to them to be given in the nature of things; 
the intervention of initiative and invention, of individual- 
ity, are counted contrary to reason as well as to sincerity 
and loyalty. 

When experience is of this sort, an individual worker 
or demiurge has only to observe and conform. He is 
but a case to be subsumed in a fixed whole as far as may 
be; what is left over is merely quantitative and accidental. 
Plato found in the arts exemplifications of fixed arche- 
types governing particular processes of change through 
imparting to them measure and proportion; hence changes 
as far as knowable were subject in advance to the dialectic 
of geometry. As in the Philebus, measure comes first; 
then comes the measured, the symmetrical and beautiful; 
conscious mind and wisdom are in the third rank as 
observation of measure and the measured antecedently 
established. In similar fashion, Aristotle could draw 
his account of the four fundamental affairs of nature from 
analysis of the procedure of artisan, with no suspicion 
that he was thereby subjecting his metaphysics to an 
anthropomorphic rendering of nature; setting up the 
cumulative deposit of individual variations of insight 
and skill as the measure of nature. It is inept to charge 
these thinkers with hypostatizing psychical states and 
processes. Since their own experience exhibited sub- 
ordination of individualized mind to objects, operations, 
patterns and ends that were preeetablished and presented 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 215 

ready made and complete, their metaphysic and logic 
were in so far a faithful report of what they found. 
Greek philosophy converted not psychological condi- 
tions but positive institutional affairs into cosmic realities. 
The idea that generalization, purposes, etc., are individual 
mental processes did not originate until experience had 
registered such a change that the functions of individual- 
ized mind were productive of objective achievements and 
hence capable of external observation. 

When this happened, an extraordinary revolution oc- 
curred. The conception of the individual changed com- 
pletely. No longer was the individual something com- 
plete, perfect, finished, an organized whole of parts 
united by the impress of a comprehensive form. What 
was prized as individuality was now something moving, 
changing, discrete, and above all initiating instead of 
(inal. As long as deviation of particulars from estab- 
lished order meant disorder, the metaphysics and logic 
of subordination of parts to the form of a pre-formed 
whole was reasonable. Mind as individualized could be 
recognized in other than a pejorative sense only when 
its variations were social, utilized in generating greater 
-ocial security and fullness of life. This was possible 
only when social relationships were heterogeneous and 
expansive, when demand for initiative, invention and 
variation exceeded that for adherence and conformity. 
It is noteworthy that even Plato with all his zeal for a 
fixed organized whole could not imagine its coming into 
being save through the effort of some happily constituted 
and fortunately placed individual. Social heterogeneity 
alone does not promote a functioning of variations for 
socially desirable consequences, and thereby constitute 



J16 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

individuality as something objective and socially acknowl- 
edged. It may signify only a break up of pious ad- 
herence to a cumulative and conserved outcome of prior 
history. But let there be a situation in which the tradi- 
tion of order and unity is still vital while the actual state 
of affairs is one of variation and conflict, and there is a 
situation in which dependence must perforce be placed on 
individuality. Even though its office be conceived at 
first as merely restorative, a return to an earlier and 
better state of affairs, as Italians thinkers would return 
to Greco-Roman culture and the early protestant to 
primitive Christianity, yet the operation of individuals 
rather than that of collective tradition is the hope and 
reliance. Under such circumstances, particularized cen- 
tres of initiation and energy are prized because being 
emancipated from the net work of current forces, they 
are free to direct change to new objective consequences. 
Individualism in modern life has been understood in 
diverse ways. To those retaining the classic tradition, 
it is a revolt of undisciplined barbarians, reverting to the 
spontaneous petulant egotism of childhood; in another 
version of this underlying idea, it is rebellion of unre- 
generate human nature against divine authority, es- 
tablished among men for their salvation. To still 
others, it is emancipation, the achieving of voluntary 
maturity; courageous independence in throwing off all 
external yokes and bondages, in asserting that every 
human being is an end in himself; in effect a transfer to 
each conscious unit of honorific predicates previously 
reserved for the class, species, universal. In any case, 
an individual is no longer just a particular, a part without 
meaning save in an inclusive whole, but is a subject, 
elf, a distinctive centre of desire, thinking and aspiration. 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 217 

An adherent of empirical denotative method can hardly 
accept either the view which regards subjective mind as 
an aberration or that which makes it an independent 
creative source. Empirically, it is an agency of novel 
reconstruction of a preexisting order. Criticism of the 
history of political theory during the formation of modern 
European states may bring out the difference between 
such a view and that of both classic universalism and 
extreme modern subjectivism. The older theory had 
asserted that the state exists by nature. The modern 
declared that it existed by means of agreements between 
individuals who willed the institution of civil order. We 
may imagine reformers of the seventeenth century saying 
that the states they found about them did indeed exist 
by nature that was precisely what was the matter with 
them. Because they were natural products, they were 
products of force, chance, fraud, tyranny. Hence they 
were naturally the scene of war, foreign and domestic, of 
servitudes and inequities, of intrigue and harsh coercion 
one huge historical accident. A just and good state 
would be one brought into existence by voluntary con- 
vention; by promises exchanged and obligations mutually 
undertaken. A good state exists not by nature but by 
the contriving activities of individual selves in behalf 
of the satisfaction of their needs. It implies art, not 
nature; a clear perception by individuals of what they 
want and of the conditions through which their wants 
can be satisfied. In detail, thinkers divided into opposite 
schools. Some held that by nature individuals are non- 
social, becoming social when subjected to discipline by 
artificial and instituted law to which they are naturally 
adverse. Others attributed to the natural individual 



218 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

some degree of friendly and genial inclination. Both 
schools agreed that just political order, legitimate 
authority and subordination, is a product of voluntary 
conjunction of individuals naturally exempt from the 
universal of civil law. 

The truth of which the social compact was a symbol 
is that social institutions as they exist can be bettered 
only through the deliberate interventions of those who 
free their minds from the standards of the order which 
obtains. The underlying fact was the perception of the 
possibility of a change, a change for the better, in social 
organization. The fact that the intent of the percep- 
tion was veiled and distorted by the myth of an aboriginal 
single and one-for-all decisive meeting of wills is instruc- 
tive as an aberration, but the myth should not disguise 
the intent and consequence. Social conditions were 
altered so that there were both need and opportunity for 
inventive and planning activities, initiated by innovating 
thought, and carried to conclusion only as the initiating 
mind secured the sympathetic assent of other individuals. 

I say individual minds, not just individuals with minds. 
The difference between the two ideas is radical. There 
is an easy way by which thinkers avoid the necessity of 
facing a genuine problem. It starts with a self, whether 
bodily or spiritual being immaterial for present purposes, 
and then endows or identifies that self with mind, a formal 
capacity of apprehension, devising and belief. On the 
basis of this assumption, any mind is open to entertain 
any thought or belief whatever. There is here no prob- 
lem involved of breaking loose from the weight of tradi- 
tion and custom, of initiating observations and reflections, 
forming designs and plans, undertaking experiments on 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 2 

the basis of hypotheses, diverging from accepted doc- 
trines and traditions. Or when it is observed that this 
departure occurs infrequently and is not easy, some vague 
reference to genius and originality disposes of the ques- 
tion. But the whole history of science, art and morals 
proves that the mind that appears in individuals is not 
as such individual mind. The former is in itself a system 
of belief, recognitions, and ignorances, of acceptances and 
rejections, of expectancies and appraisals of meanings 
which have been instituted under the influence of custom 
and tradition. 

It is not easy to break away from current and estab- 
lished classifications and interpretations of the world. 
The difficulty in this respect, however, is eased by the 
notion that after all it is only error that the mind needs 
to cut loose from, and that it can do this by direct appeal 
to nature, by applying pure observation and reflection to 
pure objects. This notion of course is fiction; objects 
of knowledge are not given to us defined, classified, and 
labeled, ready for labels and pigeon-holes. We bring 
to the simplest observation a complex apparatus of 
habits, of accepted meanings and techniques. Otherwise 
observation is the blankest of stares, and the natural ob- 
ject is a tale told by an idiot, full only of sound and fury. 
In the case of social objects and patterns, institutions 
and arrangements, we have not the benefit of the mitigat- 
ing fiction of direct correction by appeal of transparent 
mind to the court of nature. There is a contrast be- 
tween physical objects and objects as they are believed 
to be, even though what they are believed to be is an 
unescapable medium in observing what they are. Where 
is such a contrast to be found in the case of existing social 



220 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

institutions and standards? The contrast is not, as It 
seems to be in the case of knowledge of physical existence, 
between a belief which is defective or false and an exist- 
ence which is real; it is between an existence which is 
actual, and a belief, desire and aspiration for something 
which is better but non-existent. 

Such facts exemplify the difference between a bodily or 
a psychic self with a mind and mind as individual. Either 
the better social object is sheer illusion, or else individual 
thought and desire denote a distinctive and unique 
mode of existence, an object held in solution, undergoing 
transformation, to emerge finally as an established and 
public object. Reference to imagination is pertinent. 
But the reference is too frequently used to disguise and 
avoid recognition of the essential fact and the problems 
involved in it. Imagination as mere reverie is one 
thing, a natural and additive event, complete in itself, 
a terminal object rich and cpnsoling, or trivial and silly, 
as may be. Imagination which terminates in a modifi- 
cation of the objective order, in the institution of a new 
object is other than a merely added occurrence. It 
involves a dissolution of old objects and a forming of 
new ones in a medium which, since it is beyond the old 
object and not yet in a new one, can properly be termed 
subjective. 

The point in placing emphasis upon the role of in- 
dividual desire and thought in social life has in part been 
indicated. It shows the genuinely intermediate position 
of subjective mind: it proves it to be a mode of natural 
existence in which objects undergo directed reconstitu- 
tion. Reference to the place of individual thought in 
political theory and practice has another value. Unless 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 221 

subjective intents and thoughts are to terminate in 
picturesque Utopias or dogmas irrelevant to constructive 
action, they are subject to objective requirements and 
tests. Even in the crudest form of the contract theory, 
men had to do something. They had at least to meet 
together, come to agreement, give guarantees, and govern 
their subsequent conduct by agreements reached, or else 
suffer a tangible penalty. Thinking and desiring, no 
matter how subjective, are a preliminary, tentative and 
inchoate mode of action. They are "overt" behavior of 
a communicated and public form in process of construc- 
tion, and behavior involves change of objects which tests 
the meanings animating behavior. 

There is a peculiar intrinsic privacy and incommunica- 
bility attending the preparatory intermediate stage. 
When an old essence or meaning is in process of dissolution 
and a new one has not taken shape even as a hypothetical 
scheme, the intervening existence is too fluid and formless 
for publication, even to one's self. Its very existence is 
ceaseless transformation. Limits from which and to 
which are objective, generic, stateable; not so that which 
occurs between these limits. This process of flux and 
ineffability is intrinsic to any thought which is subjective 
and private. It marks "consciousness" as bare event. It 
is absurd to call a recognition or a conception subjective 
or mental because it takes place through a physically or 
socially numerically distinct existence; by this logic a 
house disappears from the spatial and material world 
when it becomes my house; even a physical movement 
would then be subjective when referred to particles. 

Recognition of an object, conception of a meaning may 
be mine rather than yours; yours rather than his, at a par- 



222 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

ticular moment; but this fact is about me or you, not 
about the object and essence perceived and conceived. 
Acknowledgment of this fact is compatible however with 
the conviction that after all there would be no objects to 
be perceived, no meanings to be conceived, if at some 
period of time uniquely individualized events had not 
intervened. There is a difference in kind between the 
thought which manipulates received objects and essences 
to derive new ones from their relations and implications, 
and the thought which generates a new method of observ- 
ing and classifying them. It is like the difference between 
readjusting the parts of a wagon to make ft more efficient, 
and the invention of the steam locomotive. One is 
formal and additive; the other is qualitative and transfor- 
mative. He knows little who supposes that freedom of 
thought is ensured by relaxation of conventions, censor- 
ships and intolerant dogmas. The relaxation supplies 
opportunity. But while it is a necessary it is not a 
sufficient condition. Freedom of thought denotes free- 
dom of thinking; specific doubting, inquiring, suspense, 
creating and cultivating of tentative hypotheses, trials or 
experimentings that are unguaranteed and that involve 
risks of waste, loss, and error. Let us admit the case of 
the conservative; if we once start thinking no one can 
guarantee where we shall come out, except that many 
objects, ends and institutions are surely doomed. Every 
thinker puts some portion of an apparently stable world 
in peril and no one can wholly predict what will emerge in 
its place. 

In approaching the exaggerations of individual mind 
found in modern philosophy which go by the name of 
subjectivism and a large part of what is termed idealism, 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 223 

we may profitably recur to ancient thought. The ques- 
tion of the relation of the objective and subjective did not 
present itself under that name. The problem of the rela- 
tion of the "natural" and the "positive" covered at least 
part of the same ground, and in a way closer to experience 
than does the course taken by much modern philosophy. 
The "positive" was a term used to cover everything of 
distinctively human institution, in languages, customs, 
manners, codes, laws, governments. The issue was 
whether nature was a norm for these arrangements or 
whether they were something to which nature should 
submit. The classic answer was in the former sense. 
But there were those who regarded nature as raw, crude, 
wild, and who thought of man and his doings as the stand- 
ard and measure of nature. 

The former conception, under theological sanctions and 
interpretations, was adopted into the medieval concep- 
tion of natural law, and made absolutely controlling in 
morals and politics, wherever not supplemented by reve 
lation, which after all was revelation of a higher nature. 
To put the problem in terms of the connection between 
nature and institutions has an advantage over the isola- 
tion of the ego by modern philosophy. It acknowledged 
the social factor. Even when the origin of the positive 
was sought in the will, in the decrees and enactments oi 
particular persons, the latter were thought of as possessing 
a, socially representative office, as heroes, lawgivers, not 
sts isolated individual minds. 

The complete subordination of the positive to natural 
[aw in the medieval version of the classic theory involved 
modern thought in a peculiar embarrassment when inter 
est in humanity as distinct from divinity revived. The 



224 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

institutions which men wished to modify, for which they 
wished to substitute others or to which they wished to 
add others of a secular sort, were bound up with divinity, 
with authoritative natural and revealed law. It was not 
possible to put institutions as such in contrast to nature, 
for by accepted theory existing institutions were in the 
main expressions of the law of nature. The resource 
which offered itself was to place the mind of the individual 
as such in contrast to both nature and institutions. This 
historic fact, reinforced with the conspicuous assertion 
of medievalism that the individual soul is the ulti- 
mate end and ultimate subject of salvation or damnation, 
affords, it seems to me, the background and source of the 
isolation of the ego, the thinking self, in all philosophy 
influenced by either the new science or Protestantism. 
Descartes as well as Berkeley uses "self " as an equivalent 
of "mind," and does so spontaneously, as a matter of 
course, without attempt at argument and justification. 
If the given science of nature and given positive institu- 
tions expressed arbitrary prejudice, unintelligent custom 
and chance episodes, where could or should mind be 
found except in the independent and self-initiated activi- 
ties of individuals? Wholesale revolt against tradition 
led to the illusion of equally wholesale isolation of mind as 
something wholly individual. Revolting and reforming 
thinkers like Descartes little noted how much of tradition 
they repeated and perpetuated in their very protests and 
reforms. 

An adequate recognition of the empirical historical 
causes of the exaggeration of the ego in modern philoso- 
phy, due to its isolation from social customs, and these 
from the physical world, makes, it seems to me, criticism 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 221 

of the forms which it has assumed almost unnecessary. 
Thinkers may start out with a naive assumption of minds 
connected with separate individuals. But developments 
soon show the inadequacy of such "minds" to carry the 
burden of science and objective institutions, like the 
family and state. The consequence was revealed to be 
sceptical, disintegrative, malicious. A transcendental 
supra-empirical self, making human, or "finite/' selves 
its medium of manifestation, was the logical recourse. 
Such a conception is an inevitable conclusion, when the 
value of liberation and utilization of individual capacity in 
science, art, industry, and politics is a demonstrated em- 
pirical fact; and when at the same time, individuality 
instead of being conceived as historic, intermediate, 
temporally relative and instrumental, is conceived of as 
original, eternal and absolute. When concrete recon- 
structions of natural and social objects are thought of as a 
single and constitutive act, they inevitably become super- 
natural or transcendental. When the movement ter- 
minates, as in the later philosophy of Josiah Royce, with a 
"community of selves," the circle has returned to the empi- 
rical fact with which it might properly have started out; 
but the intervening insertion of a transcendent ego re- 
mains as a plague. It isolates the community of selves 
from natural existence and in order to get nature again 
in connection with mind, is compelled to reduce it to a 
system of volitions, feelings and thoughts. 

It remains to mention another historic factor which 
helps account for the vogue of subjectivism in art and 
literature, through which it found its way more or less 
into common belief. Comte several times recurs to the 
idea that idiocy represents an excess of objectivism, a 



226 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

subordination of feelings and impressions to objects as 
given, while madness marks an excess of subjectivism. 
Still more significant is his added remark, that madness 
has to be construed historically and sociologically. Under 
primitive conditions all the larger ideas about nature are 
reveries constructed in the interest of emotions. Myths 
were fancies, but they were not insanities because they 
were the only reply to the challenge of nature which ex- 
isting instrumentalities permitted. Assertion of similar 
ideas today is insanity, because available intellectual 
resources and agencies make possible and require radically 
different adjustments. To entertain and believe fancies 
which once were spontaneous and general is today a sign 
of failure, of mental disequilibration. Inability to employ 
the methods of forming and checking beliefs which are 
available at a given time, whatever be the source of that 
inability, constitutes a disorientation. These considera 
tions are not introduced to make the offensive insinuation 
that philosophic subjectivism is a mode of insanity, 
and philosophic realism a mode of idiocy. The purpose is to 
suggest that while the tendency to re very, to intellectual 
somnambulism, is universal, the use made of revery which 
may roughly stand for the subjective element in mind 
depends upon contemporary conditions. In one situa- 
tion fancy generates stories which are consistent with 
desire and are attractive. These are connected with 
ceremonies to which, in addition to their immediate good, 
ex ternal efficiency is imputed . They become nuclei abou t 
which observations and ideas continually gather; they are 
centres of mental as well as emotional systematizations. 
It is no wonder that myths long prevail. When the de- 
velopment of industry and tested inquiry makes it evident 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 227 

that the actual world will not accept them nor stand for 
them, their actuating springs remain in full force and the 
river of revery still flows. It may find public or communi- 
cated form in fiction recognized as such, in novel, drama 
and poetry which are enjoyed, although their objects are 
not believed in. Or they may remain private, and, with 
the play of desires and affections that produce them, con- 
stitute a new world enjoyed for its own sake the "inner 
life/' 

The popular factor in subjectivism, that which renders 
philosophic subjectivism intelligible enough to prevent 
its being regarded as mere vagary, seems to be a confused 
union of two considerations. On the one hand there is the 
recognition, enforced by the course of events, of the con- 
structive power of mind as individual, its re-creative 
function in objects of industry, art, and politics. On the 
other hand there is the discovery and exploitation of the 
inner life, a new, readily accessible and cheaply enjoyed 
esthetic field. The tales that will not be believed when 
they are told and that cannot be told in forms sufficiently 
artistic to command the attention of others, may still be 
told to one's self and afford relief, consolation and thrill. 
Products of fancy that cannot, because of the advance of 
knowledge, secure credence as reports of objective events, 
are castles in the air, but these castles are impregnable 
inner refuges. 

The person who knows nothing of sensations or sensa, 
as the psychologist and epistemologist talk about them, is 
nevertheless aware that objects are other than bare 
things to which beliefs must subject themselves. He is 
aware that when things escape his power of control, they 
still generate "impressions" which he can entertain in all 



228 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

sorts of enjoyable and annoying ways. If he is devoid of 
ability to regulate conduct in actual employment of 
objects, this world of impressions will be one in which he 
loves to dwell. Its materials are pliable and exact no 
responsibility. He may be utterly innocent of the reduc- 
tion of objects by theorists into conjoined sensations and 
images; the notion that his table consists largely of images 
would be to him a wild vagary, contradictory of common- 
sense. But he knows very well that the incidents of life 
may produce fancies in him that are more exciting or more 
soothing than the incidents themselves. When there is 
neither the power to renounce revery nor to use it in any 
objective embodiment, we have a condition in which soil 
and atmosphere are prepared to find the spirit of subjec- 
tive idealism congenial, even if the technical facts adduced 
and the dialectic employed in its behalf are beyond reach. 
Our statements, however, are one-sided, as far as the 
full scope of the "inner life" is concerned. It is the home 
of aspirations and ideals that are noble and that may in 
time receive fulfillment as well as of figments and airy 
nothings. It may be charged with infinite humor and 
tragedy. It affords a realm in which king and court fool, 
prince and pauper, meet as equals. It is subject-matter 
for the philosopher as well as for the rebuffed and wistful. 
Recall the contrast which Royce had drawn between the 
dominant external Ism of the seventeenth century and the 
spirit of the eighteenth. "It is no matter whether you 
are a philosopher and write essays on 'The Principles of 
Human Knowledge' or whether you are a heroine in an 
eighteenth century novel, and write sentimental letters 
to a friend; you are part of the same movement. The 
spirit is dissatisfied with the mathematical order, and 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 239 

feels unfriendliness among the eternities of sevententb- 
century thought. The spirit wants to be at home with 
itself, well-friended in the comprehension of its inner 
processes. It loves to be confidential in its heart out- 
pourings, keen in its analysis, humane in its attitude 
toward life." 

We are given to referring the beginnings of subjectiv- 
ism to Descartes, with his penset as the indubitable 
certainty, or to Locke with his simple idea as immediate 
object. Technically or with respect to later dialectical 
developments, this reference is correct enough. But 
historically it is wrong. Descartes' thought is the nous 
of classic tradition forced inwards because physical 
science had extruded it from its object. Its internality 
is a logical necessity of the attempt to reconcile the new 
science with the old tradition, not a thing intrinsically 
important. Similarly Locke's simple idea is the classic 
Idea, Form or Species dislodged from nature and com- 
pelled to take refuge in mind. For Locke, it is coerced by 
external existence and remains coercive for all subsequent 
intellectual operations. The subjective as such is alien 
to Locke's way of thinking; his whole bias is against it, 
and in favor of what is grounded in nature being a 
matter of relations already established. The"simpleidea" 
is merely man's available point of contact with the objec- 
tive order; and in this contact resides its whole import. 

From the standpoint of "inner life" the simple idea 
became however, a sensation, that is, a feeling, a state 
of mind, an intrinsically interesting event having its own 
significant career. If this were true of such a rudimen- 
tary thing as blue or soft, how much more significantly it 
holds of imagination and emotion* Inner reveries and 



230 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

enjoyments constitute freedom to the natural man. 
Everywhere else is constraint, whether it be of study, of 
science, family life, industry, or government. The road 
to freedom by escape into the inner life is no modern dis- 
covery; it was taken by savages, by the oppressed, by 
children, long before it was formulated in philosophical 
romanticism. The generalized awareness of the fact is 
new however, and it added a new dimension to charac- 
teristically modern experience. It created new forms of 
art and new theories of esthetics, often promulgated by 
literary artists who have nothing but contempt for philo- 
sophical theories as such. Mr. Santayana is a thinker 
whose intent and basis are at one with classic thought. 
But if we note the importance assumed in his thinking 
by the "inward landscape/' there is before us a measure 
of the pervasive influence of the kind of experience that 
was seized upon by Romanticism as the exclusive truth 
of experience. 

The function of individualized rnind in furthering experi- 
ment and invention and the directed reconstruction of 
events, together with the discovery that objects of senti- 
ment and fancy, although rejected by the order of events 
in space and time, may form the contents of an inner 
and private realm, finds its legitimate outcome in the 
conception of experiencing, and in the discrimination of 
experiencing into a diversity of states and processes. To 
the Greeks, experience was the outcome of accumulation 
of practical acts, sufferings and perception gradually built 
up into the skill of the carpenter, shoemaker, pilot, farmer, 
general, and politician. There was nothing merely per- 
sonal or subjective about it; it was a consolidation, effected 
by nature, of particular natural occurrences into actualiza- 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 231 

tlon of the forms of such things as are thus and so usually, 
now and then, upon the whole, but not necessarily and 
always. Experience was adequate and final for this kind 
of thing because it was as much their culminating actual- 
ization as rational thought was the actualization of the 
forms of things that are what they are necessarily. To 
Aristotle, the copula was a true verb, always affected by 
tense. Things which fully and completely are, have been, 
will be, and now are exactly the same; their matter is 
completely mastered by form. Concerning them we can 
say "is 11 with demonstrative certainty: such things are 
few, though supremely good, and are the objects of science. 
Of other things we can only say that they have been and 
are not at the present time, or that though not existing 
at the present moment they may exist at some unspecified 
future time. Of them we can say "is" only with a per- 
haps or a probably, since they are subject to chance. In 
them matter is not wholly subdued to form. Experience 
is the actualization through an organic body of just these 
affairs. Experience was not some person's ; it was nature's f 
localized in a body as that body happened to exist by 
nature. 

As was remarked in the introductory chapter one can 
hardly use the term "experience" in philosophical dis- 
course, but a critic rises to inquire "Whose experience?" 
The question is asked in adverse criticism. Its implica- 
tion is that experience by its very nature is owned by some 
one; and that the ownership is such in kind that every- 
thing about experience is affected by a private and exclu- 
sive quality. The implication is as absurd as it would be 
to infer from the fact that houses are usually owned, are 
mine and yours and his, that possessive reference so per- 



232 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

meates the properties of being a house that nothing intel- 
ligible can be said about the latter. It is obvious, how- 
ever, that a house can be owned only when it has existence 
and properties independent of being owned. The quali- 
ity of belonging to some one is not an all-absorbing maw 
in which independent properties and relations disappear 
to be digested into egohood. It is additive; it marks the 
assumption of anew relationship, in consequence of which 
the house, the common, ordinary, house, acquires new 
properties. It is subject to taxes; the owner has the right 
to exclude others from entering it; he enjoys certain 
privileges and immunities with respect to it and is also 
exposed to certain burdens and liabilities. 

Substitute "experience" for "house," and no other word 
need be changed. Experience when it happens has the 
same dependence upon objective natural events, physical 
and social, as has the occurrence of a house. It has its 
own objective and definitive traits; these can be described 
without reference to a self, precisely as a house is of brick, 
has eight rooms, etc., irrespective of whom it belongs to, 
Nevertheless, just as for some purposes and with respect 
to some consequences, it is all important to note the added 
qualification of personal ownership of real property, so 
with "experience." In first instance and intent, k is 
not exact nor relevant to say "1 experience" or "I think." 
"It" experiences or is experienced, "it" thinks or is 
thought, is a juster phrase. Experience, a serial course 
of affairs with their own characteristic properties and 
relationships, occurs, happens, and is what it is. Among 
and within these occurrences, not outside of them nor 
underlying them, are those events which are denominated 
selves. In some specifiable respects and for some specifi- 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 233 

able consequences, these selves, capable of objective de- 
notation just as are sticks, stones, and stars, assume the 
care and administration of certain objects and acts in 
experience. Just as in the case of the house, this assump- 
tion of ownership brings with it further liabilities and 
assets, burdens and enjoyments. 

To say in a significant way, "/ think, believe, desire, 
instead of barely it is thought, believed, desired," is 
to accept and affirm a responsibility and to put forth a 
claim. It does not mean that the self is the source or 
author of the thought and affection nor its exclusive seat* 
It signifies that the self as a centred organization of ener- 
gies identifies itself (in the sense of accepting their conse- 
quences) with a belief or sentiment of independent and 
external origination. The absurdity of any other concep- 
tion appears upon examination of such affairs as are 
designated by "I do not believe" or "I do not like;" in 
them it is obvious that a relationship of incompatibility 
between two distinct and denoted objects is contained. 

Authorship and liability look in two different ways, one 
to the past, the other to the future. Natural events 
including social habits originate thoughts and feelings. 
To say "/ think, hope and love" is to say in effect that 
genesis is not the last word; instead of throwing the blame 
or the credit for the belief, affection and expectation 
upon nature, one's family, church, or state, one declares 
one's self to be henceforth a partner. An adoptive act 
is proclaimed in virtue of which one claims the benefit of 
future goods and admits liability for future ills flow- 
ing from the affair in question. Even in the most "indi- 
vidualistic" society some properties remain communal; 
and many things, like the bowels of the earth and the 



234 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

depths of the seas, are unowned by either group or per- 
son- The cogent line of defense of the institution of 
private property is that it promotes prudence, account- 
ability, ingenuity and security, in the production and 
administration of commodities and resources which exist 
independently of the relationship of property. In like 
fashion, not all thoughts and emotions are owned either 
socially or personally; and either mode of appropriation 
has to be justified on the basis of distinctive consequences. 
Analytic reflection shows that the ordinary conception 
of causation as a trait belonging to some one thing is th 
Idea of responsibility read backward. The idea that some 
one thing, or any two or three things, are the cause of an 
occurrence is in effect an application of the idea of credit 
or blame as in the Greek atria. There is nothing in 
nature that belongs absolutely and exclusively to any- 
thing else; belonging is always a matter of reference and 
distributive assignment, justified in any particular case 
as far as it works out well. Greek metaphysics and logic 
are dominated by the idea of inherent belonging and ex- 
clusion; another instance of naively reading the story of 
nature in language appropriate to human association. 
Modern science has liberated physical events from the 
domination of the notions of intrinsic belonging and exclu- 
sion, but it has retained the idea with exacerbated vigor 
in the case of psychological events. The elimination of 
the category from physics and its retention in psychology 
has provided a seeming scientific basis for the division 
between psychology and physics, and thereby for the 
egotism of modern philosophy. Much subjectivism is 
only a statement of the logical consequences of the doc- 
trine sponsored by psychological "science" of the monop* 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 235 

olistic possession of mental phenomena by a self; or, 
after the idea of an underlying spiritual substance became 
shaky, of the doctrine that mental events as such con- 
stitute all there is to selfhood. For the philosophical 
implications of the latter idea, as far as privacy, monopoly 
and exclusiveness of causation and belonging are con- 
cerned, are similar to those of the older dogma when it 
was applied to cosmic nature. 

Enough, however, of negation. The positive conse- 
quence is an understanding of the shift of emphasis from 
the experienced, the objective subject-matter, the what, to 
the experiencing, the method of its course, the how of its 
changes. Such a shift occurs whenever the problem of 
control of production of consequences arises. As long as 
men are content to enjoy and suffer fire when it happens, 
fire is just an objective entity which is what it is. That 
it may be taken as a deity to be adored or propitiated, 
is evidence that its "whatness" is all there is to it. But 
when men come to the point of making fire, fire is not an 
essence, but a mode of natural phenomena, an order in 
change, a "how" of a historic sequence. The change 
from immediate use in enjoyment and suffering is equiv- 
alent to recognition of a method of procedure, and of the 
alliance of insight into method with possibility of control. 

The development of the conception of experiencing as 
a distinctive operation is akin to the growth of the idea of 
fire-making out of direct experiences with fire. Fire is 
fire, inherently just what it is; but making fire is rela- 
tional. It takes thought away from fire to the other 
things that help and prevent its occurrence. So with 
experience in the sense of things that are experienced; 
they are what they are. But their occurrence as experi- 



236 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

enced things is ascertained to be dependent upon atti- 
tudes and dispositions; the manner of their happening is 
found to be affected by the habits of an organic individual. 
Since myth and science concern the same objects in the 
same natural world, sun, moon, and stars, the difference 
between them cannot be determined exclusively on the 
basis of these natural objects. A differential has to found 
in distinctive ways of experiencing natural objects; it is 
perceived that man is an emotional and imaginative as 
well as an observing and reasoning creature, and that 
different manners of experiencing affect the status of 
subject-matter experienced. Capacity to distinguish be- 
tween the sun and moon of science and these same things 
as they figure in myth and cult depends upon capacity to 
distinguish different attitudes and dispositions of the 
subject; the heroes of legend and poetry are discrimi- 
nated from historic characters when memory, imagina- 
tion and idealizing emotion are taken into the reckoning. 
Again, it is discovered that the good of some objects is 
connected with one way of experiencing, namely appetite, 
while the acquisition of goodness by other objects is 
dependent upon the operation of reflection. In conse- 
quence, the experienced objects are differentiated as to 
their goodness, although good as an essence is unchanged. 
The importance of modes of experiencing for control 
of experienced objects may be illustrated from economic 
theory. A study of various economic essences or con- 
cepts is possible: definition, classification and dialectical 
reference to one another of such meanings as value, 
utility, rent, exchange, profit, wages, etc. There is also 
possible a positivistic study of existential economic 
regimes, resulting in description of their structures and 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 237 

operations. If the presence and operation of disposi- 
tions and attitudes be neglected, these alternatives 
exhaust the field of inquiry. Neither the study of 
objective essences nor of objective existences is avail- 
able, however, in problems of polity, in management of 
economic events. When the "psychological" factor is 
introduced, say, a study of the effects of certain ways 
of experiencing, such as incentives, desires, fatigue, 
monotony, habit, waste-motions, insecurity, prestige, 
team work, fashion, esprit de corps, and a multitude of like 
factors, the situation changes. Factors that are within 
control are specified, and a fuller degree of deliberate 
administration of events is made possible. The objectiv- 
ity of events remains what it was, but the discovery of the 
r61e of personal dispositions in conditioning their occur- 
rence, enables us to interpret and connect them in new 
ways, ways, which are susceptible of greater regulation 
than were the other ways. Banks, stores, factories do 
not become psychical when we ascertain the part played 
in their genesis and operation by psychological factors ; 
they remain as external to the organism and to a 
particular mind as ever they were, things experienced as 
are winds and stars. But we get a new leverage, intel- 
lectual and practical, upon them when we can convert 
description of ready-made events and dialectical relation 
of ready-made notions into an account of a way of 
occurrence. For a perceived mode of becoming is always 
ready to be translated into a method of production and 
direction. 

Since modern natural science has been concerned with 
discovery of conditions of production, to be employed as 
means for consequences, the development erf interest in 



238 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

attitudes of individual subjects the psychological Inter- 
est is but an extension of its regular business. Knowl- 
edge of conditions of the occurrence of experienced objects 
is not complete until we have included organic conditions 
as well as extra-organic conditions. Knowledge of the 
latter may account for a happening in the abstract but 
not for the concrete or experienced happening. A general 
knowledge of dispositions and attitudes renders us exactly 
the same sort of intellectual and practical service as pos- 
session of physical constants. The trouble lies in the 
inadequacy of our present psychological knowledge. And 
it is probably this deficiency, which renders such psycho- 
logical knowledge as we possess unavailable for technologi- 
cal control, which, joined to spontaneous interest in 
"inner" life, has set off psychological subject-matter as a 
separate world of existence, instead of a discovery of 
attitudes and dispositions involved in the world of com- 
mon experience. In truth, attitudes, dispositions and 
their kin, while capable of being distinguished and made 
concrete intellectual objects, are never separate existences. 
They are always of, from, toward, situations and things. 
They may be studied with a minimum of attention to the 
things at and away from which they are directed. The 
things with which they are concerned may for purposes of 
inquiry be represented by a blank, a symbol to be specifi- 
cally filled in as occasion demands. But except as ways 
of seeking, turning from, appropriating, treating things, 
they have no existence nor significance. 

Every type of culture has experienced resistance and 
frustration. These events are interpreted according to 
the bias dominating a particular type of culture. To 
the modern European mind they have been interpreted 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 239 

as results of the opposed existence of subject and object 
as independent forms of Being. The notion is now so 
established in tradition that to many thinkers it appears 
to be a datum, not an interpretative classification. But 
the East Indian has envisaged the same phenomena as 
evidence of the contrast of an illusory world to which 
corresponds domination by desires and a real world due 
to emancipation from desires, attained through ascetic dis- 
cipline and meditation. The Greeks interpreted the same 
experience on the basis of the cosmic discrepancy of being 
and becoming, form and matter, as the reluctance of 
existence to become a complete and transparent medium 
of meaning. Taken absolutely, the interpretation on the 
basis of opposition of subject and object has no advan- 
tage over the other doctrines; it is a local and provincial 
interpretation. Taken inherently or absolutely, it has an 
absurdity from which they are free; for subject and object 
antithetically defined can have logically no transactions 
with each other. Taken as a factor in the enterprise of 
overcoming resistance and reducing the prospects of 
frustration, statement in terms of distinction of subject 
and object is intelligible, and is more valuable than the 
other modes of statement. Object is, as Basil Gildersleeve 
said, that which objects, that to which frustration is due. 
But it is also the objective; the final and eventual con- 
summation, an integrated secure independent state of 
affairs. The subject is that which suffers, is subjected 
and which endures resistance and frustration; it is also 
that which attempts subjection of hostile conditions; 
that which takes the immediate initiative in remaking the 
situation as it stands. Subjective and objective dis- 
tinguished as factors in a regulated effort at modification 



240 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

of the environing world have an intelligible meaning. 
Subjectivism as an "ism" converts this historic, relative 
and instrumental status and function into something 
absolute and fixed; while pure "objectivism" is a doctrine 
of fatalism. 

To-day there is marked revival of objectivism, even of 
externalism. The world of physical science is no longer 
new and strange; to many it is now familiar; while many 
of those to whom it is personally unfamiliar take it for 
granted on authority. To a considerable extent its sub- 
ject-matter is taking the place of the subject-matter of 
older creeds as something given ready-made, demanding 
unhesitating credence and passive acceptance. The doc- 
trine of the opposition of subject and object in knowledge 
is fading, becoming reminiscent; that sense of strain which 
is lacking accompanied transition from one set of beliefs 
to another very different set. Only in politics and eco- 
nomics is the opposition of subject and institutional object 
poignant. And even in these fields radical and conservative 
increasingly appeal to objects which are collective, non- 
individual. The conservative recurs to the objectivism 
of established institutions, idealized into intrinsic stabil- 
ity; the radical looks forward to the completed outcome of 
an objective and necessary economic evolution. In spite 
of the appeal to the catchwords of individualism, pri- 
vate initiative, voluntary abstinence, personal industry 
and effort, thereismore danger at present that the genuinely 
creative effort of the individual will be lost than there is 
of any return to earlier individualism. Everything makes 
for the mass. When private property is talked about, 
the product of individual labor is no longer meant; 
but a legally buttressed institution. Capital is no longer 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 241 

the outcome of deliberate personal sacrifice, but is an insti- 
tution of corporations and finance with massive political 
and social ramifications. Appeals to secure action of a 
certain sort may use the old words; but the fears and 
hopes which are now aroused are not really connected 
with freedom of individual thought and effort, but with 
the objective foundations of society, established "law and 
order." 

This resort to an objectivism which ignores initiating 
and re-organizing desire and imagination will in the end 
only strengthen that other phase of subjectivism which 
consists in escape to the enjoyment of inward landscape. 
Men who are balked of a legitimate realization of their 
subjectivity, men who are forced to confine innovating 
need and projection of ideas to technical modes of indus- 
trial and political life, and to specialized or "scientific" 
fields of intellectual activity, will compensate by finding 
release within their inner consciousness. There will be 
one philosophy, a realistic one, for mathematics, physical 
science and the established social order; another, and 
opposed, philosophy for the affairs of personal life. The 
objection to dualism is not just that it is a dualism, but 
that it forces upon us antithetical, non-convertible princi- 
ples of formulation and interpretation. If there is com- 
plete split in nature and experience then of course no 
ingenuity can explain it away; it must be accepted. But 
in case no such sharp division actually exists, the evils of 
supposing there is one are not confined to philosophical 
theory. Consequences within philosophy as such are of 
no great import. But philosophical dualism is but a 
formulated recognition of an impass in life; an impotence 
in interaction, inability to make effective transition, limi- 



242 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

tation of power to regulate and thereby to understand. 
Capricious pragmatism based on exaltation of personal 
desire; consolatory estheticism based on capacity for 
wringing contemplative enjoyment from even the trage- 
dies of the outward spectacle; refugee idealism based on 
rendering thought omnipotent in the degree in which it is 
ineffective in concrete affairs; these forms of subjectiv- 
ism register an acceptance of whatever obstacles at 
the time prevent the active participation of the self in 
the ongoing course of events. Only when obstacles are 
treated as challenges to remaking of personal desire and 
thought, so that the latter integrate with the movement of 
nature and by participation direct its consequences, are 
opposition and duality rightly understood. 

Existentially speaking, a human individual is distinc- 
tive opacity of bias and preference conjoined with plastic- 
ity and permeability of needs and likings. One trait tends 
to isolation, discreteness; the other trait to connection, 
continuity. This ambivalent character is rooted in nature, 
whose events have their own distinctive indifferencies, 
resistances, arbitrary closures and intolerances, and also 
their peculiar openness, warm responsiveness, greedy 
seekings and transforming unions. The conjunction in 
nature of whimsical contingency and lawful uniformity 
is the result of these two characters of events. They 
persist upon the human plane, and as ultimate characters 
are ineradicable. Boundaries, demarcations, abrupt, and 
expansive over-reachings of boundaries impartially and 
conjunctively mark every phase of human life. 

The human individual in his opacity of bias is in so 
far doomed to a blind solitariness. He hugs himself in 
his isolation and fights against disclosure, the give and 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 343 

take of communication, as for the very integrity of 
existence. Even communicable meanings are tinged with 
color of the uncommunicated; there is a quality of reserve 
in every publicity. Everything may be done with this 
irreducible uniqueness except to get rid of it. The sense 
of it may add a bitter loneliness to experience. It may 
lead to restless insatiable throwing of the self into every 
opportunity of external business and dissipation in order 
to escape from it. It may be cherished, nurtured, devel- 
oped into a cultivated consolatory detachment from the 
affairs of life, ending in the delusion of the superiority of 
the private inner life to all else, or in the illusion that one 
can really succeed in emancipating himself in his pure 
inwardness from connection with the world and society. 
It may express itself in elaborated schemes of self-pity and 
in bursts of defiant exclamation: Here I stand and 
cannot otherwise. It may lead to unreasoned loyalty to 
seemingly lost causes and forlorn hopes and events may 
sometimes justify the faith. 

Romanticism has made the best and the worst of the 
discovery of the private and incommunicable. It has 
converted a pervasive and inevitable color and temper of 
experience into its substance. In conceiving that this 
inexpugnable uniqueness, this ultimate singularity, ex- 
hausts the self, it has created a vast and somnambulic ego- 
tism out of the fact of subjectivity. For every existence 
in addition to its qualitative and intrinsic boundaries 
has affinities and active outreachings for connection and 
intimate union. It is an energy of attraction, expansion 
and supplementation. The ties and bonds of associated 
life are spontaneous uncalculated manifestations of this 
phase of human selfhood) at the union of hydrogen and 



244 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

oxygen is natural and unpremeditated. Sociability, 
munication are just as immediate traits of the concrete 
individual as is the privacy of the closet of consciousness. 
To define one's self within closed limits, and then to try 
out the self in expansive acts that inevitably result in an 
eventual breaking down of the walled-in self, are equally 
natural and inevitable acts. Here is the ultimate 
"dialectic" of the universal and individual. One no 
sooner establishes his private and subjective self than 
he demands it be recognized and acknowledged by others, 
even if he has to invent an imaginary audience or an 
Absolute Self to satisfy the demand. And no person 
taught by experience ever escapes the reflection that no 
matter how much he does for himself, what endures is only 
what is done for others: an observation however which is 
most comforting when it takes the form of attributing 
desire to serve others to act* which indulge the exclusive 
self. 

In some form or other, the dualism erected between 
the ego and the world of things and persons represents 
failure to attain solution of the problem set by this 
ambiguous nature of the self. It is a formulated accept- 
ance of oscillation between surrender to the external and 
assertion of the inner. In science and in art, especially 
in the art of intercourse, real solutions occur. Private 
bias manages in them to manifest itself in innovations and 
deviations, which reshape the world of objects and insti- 
tutions, and which eventually facilitate communication 
and understanding. Thereby the final and efficient, the 
limiting and the expansive, attain a harmony which they 
do not possess in other natural events. 



MATURE, MWD AMD SUBJECT MS 

Thus an individual existence has a double status and 
import. There is the individual that belongs in a contin- 
uous system of connected events which reinforce its 
activities and which form a world in which k is at home, 
consistently at one with its own preferences, satisfying its 
requirements. Such an individual is in its world as a 
member, extending as far as the moving equilibrium of 
which it is a part lends support. It is a natural end, not 
as an abrupt and immediate termination but as a fulfifl- 
menL Then there is the individual that finds a gap 
between its distinctive bias and the operations of the 
things through which alone its need can be satisfied; it is 
broken off, discrete, because it is at odds with its surround- 
ings. It either surrenders, conforms, and for the sake of 
peace becomes a parasitical subordinate, indulges in 
egotistical solitude; or its activities set out to remake con- 
ditions in accord with desire. In the latter process, intel- 
ligence is born not mind which appropriates and enjoys 
the whole of which it is a part, but mind as individualized, 
initiating, adventuring, experimenting, dissolving. Its 
possessed powers, its accomplished unions with the world, 
are now reduced to uncertain agencies to be forged into 
efficient instrumentalities in the stress and strain of 
trial. 

The individual, the self, centred in a settled world 
which owns and sponsors it, and which in turn it owns and 
enjoys, is finished, closed. Surrender of what is possessed, 
disowning of what supports one in secure ease, is involved 
in all inquiry and discovery; the latter implicate an 
individual still to make, with all the risks implied therein. 
For to arrive at new truth and vision is to alter. The old 
self is put ofi and the new sell k only forming, aad the form 



246 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

it finally takes will depend upon the unforeseeable result of 
an adventure. No one discovers a new world without for- 
saking an old one; and no one discovers a new world who 
exacts guarantee in advance for what it shall be, or who 
puts the act of discovery under bonds with respect to what 
the new world shall do to him when it comes into vision. 
This is the truth in the exaggeration of subjectivism. 
Only by identification with remaking the objects that 
now obtain are we saved from complacent objectivism. 
Those who do not fare forth and take the risks attendant 
upon the formation of new objects and the growth of a 
new self, are subjected perforce to inevitable change of 
the settled and close world they have made their own. 
Identification of thebiasandpreferenceof selfhood with the 
process of intelligent remaking achieves an indestructible 
union of the instrumental and the final. For this bias can 
be satisfied no matter what the frustration of other desires 
and endeavors. 

That an individual, possessed of some mode and degree 
of organized unity, participates in the genesis of every 
experienced situation, whether it be an object or an 
activity, is evident. That the way in which it is engaged 
affects the quality of the situation experienced is evident. 
That the way in which it is engaged has consequences that 
modify not merely the environment but which react to 
modify the active agent; that every form of life in the 
higher organisms constantly conserves some consequences 
of its prior experiences, is also evident. The constancy 
and pervasiveness of the operative presence of the self as 
a determining factor in all situations is the chief reason 
why we give so little heed to it; it is more intimate and 
omnipresent in experience than the air we breathe. Only 



NATURE, MIND AND SUBJECT 247 

fa pathological cases, in delusions and insanities and social 
eccentricities, do we readily become aware of it; even in 
such cases it required long discipline to force attentive 
observation back upon the self. It is easier to attribute 
such things to invasion and possession from without, 
as by demons and devils. Yet till we understand opera- 
tions of the self as the tool of tools, the means in all use of 
means, specifying its differential activities in their distinc- 
tive consequences in varying qualities of what is experi- 
enced, science is incomplete and the use made of it is 
at the mercy of an unknown factor, so that the ultimate 
and important consequence is in so far a matter of accident. 
Intentions and efforts bring forth the opposite of what was 
intended and striven for, and the result is confusion and 
catastrophe. Thus we are brought to a consideration of 
the psycho-physical mechanism and functioning of indi- 
vidual centres of action. 



CHAPTER SEVEN 
NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 

A series of cultural experiences exhibits a series of <fi- 
verging conceptions of the relation of mind to nature in 
general and to the organic body in particular. Greek 
experience included affairs that rewarded without want 
and struggle the contemplation of free men; they enjoyed 
a civic life full and rich with an equable adaptation to 
natural surroundings. Such a life seemed to be upon the 
whole for those in its full possession a gracious culmina- 
tion of nature; the organic body was the medium through 
which the culmination took place. Since any created 
thing is subject to natural contingency, death was ix>t a 
problem; a being who is generated shares while he may in 
mind and eternal forms, and then piously merges with 
the forces which generated him. But life does not always 
exist in this happy equilibrium : it is onerous and devastat- 
ing, civil life corrupt and harsh. Under such circum- 
stances, a spirit which believes that it was created in the 
image of a divine eternal spirit, in whose everlastingness 
it properly shares, finds itself an alien and pilgrim in a 
strange and fallen world. Its presence in that world 
and its residence in a material body which is a part of that 
world are an enigma. Again the scene shifts. Nature is 
conceived to be wholly mechanical. The existence within 
nature and as part of it of a body possessed of life, mani- 
festing thought and enjoying consciousness is a mystery. 

This series of experiences with their corresponding 
philosophies display characteristic factors in the problem 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND Ml 

of life and mind in relation to body. To the Greeks, al 
life was psyche, for it was self-movement and only soul 
moves itself. That there should be self-movement in a 
world in which movement was also up-and-down, to-and- 
fro, circular, was indeed interesting but not strange or 
untoward. Evidence of the fact of self-movement is 
directly had in perception; even plants exhibit it m a 
degree and hence have soul, which although only vegeta- 
tive is a natural condition of animal soul and rational 
mind. Organic body occupies a distinctive position in 
the hierarchy of being; it is the highest actuality of 
nature's physical potentialities, and it is in turn the poten- 
tiality of mind. Greek thought, as well as Greek religion, 
Greek sculpture and recreation, is piously attentive to 
the human body. 

In Pauline Christianity and its successors, the body is 
earthly, fleshly, lustful and passionate; spirit is Godlike, 
everlasting ; flesh is corruptible ; spirit incorruptible. The 
body was conceived in terms of a moral disparagement 
colored by supernatural religion. Since the body is 
material, the dyslogy extends to all that is material; the 
metaphysical discount put upon matter by Plato and 
Aristotle becomes in ascetic thought a moral and essential 
discount. Sin roots in the will; but occasions for sin 
come from the lusts of the body; appetites and desires 
spring from the body, distract attention from spiritual 
things; concupiscence, anger, pride, love of money and 
luxury, worldly ambition, result. Technically, the frame- 
work of Aristotelian thought is retained by the scholas- 
tics; St. Thomas Aquinas repeats his formulae concern- 
ing life and the body almost word for word. But actually 
and substantially this formal relationship has been dis- 



250 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

torted and corrupted through the seduction of spirit by 
flesh manifest in the fall of man and nature by Adam's sin. 
Add to moral fear of the flesh, interest in resurrection into 
the next world for external bliss or woe, and there is 
present a fullfledged antithesis of spirit and matter. In 
spite of this antithesis, however, they are conjoined in 
the body of man. Spirit is simple, one, permanent and 
indissoluble; matter is multiple, subject to change and 
dissolution. The possibility of the conjunction of two 
such opposite things formed a problem. But it would 
have been a remote, technical problem of no interest save 
to a few speculative thinkers, were it not given concrete- 
ness by the notion of an immortality to be spent in bliss 
or in woe unutterable, and the dependence of this ulti- 
mate destiny upon a life in which lust of the flesh along 
with the world of ambition and the devil of pride, was a 
standing temptation to sin and thereby an occasion of 
eternal damnation. 

As long as the Aristotelian metaphysical doctrine 
persisted that nature is an ordered series from 
lower to higher of potentialities and actualizations, it 
was possible to conceive of the organic body as normally 
the highest term in a physical series and the lowest term 
in a psychical series. It occupied just that intermediate 
position where, in being the actualization of the poten- 
tialities of physical qualities, body was also potentiality 
for manifestation of their ideal actualities. Aside from 
moral and religious questions, there was in medieval 
thought no special problem attaching to the relation of 
mind and body. It was just one case of the universal 
principle of potentiality as the substrate of ideal actuality. 
But when the time came when the moral and religious 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 251 

associations of spirit, soul, and body persisted in full 
vigor, while the classic metaphysics of the potential and 
actual fell into disrepute, the full burden of the question 
of the relation of body, nature and man, of mind, spirit, 
and matter, was concentrated in the particular problem 
of the relation of the body and soul. When men ceased to 
interpret and explain facts in terms of potentiality and 
actuality, and resorted to that of causality, mind and 
matter stood over against one another in stark unlike- 
ness; there were no intermediates to shade gradually the 
black of body into the white of spirit. 

Moreover, both classic and medieval thought sup- 
plied influential empirical impetus to the new conception 
in spite of their theoretically divergent foundation. The 
old distinction between vegetative, animal and rational 
souls was, when applied to men, a formulation and justifi- 
cation of class divisions in Greek society. Slaves and 
mechanical artisans living on the nutritional, appetitive 
level were for practical purposes symbolized by the body 
as obstructions to ideal ends and as solicitations to acts 
contrary to reason. The good citizen in peace and war 
was symbolized by the soul proper, amenable to reason, 
employing thought, but confining its operations after all 
to mundane matters, infected with matter. Scientific 
inquirers and philosophers alone exemplified pure reason, 
operating with ideal forms for the sake of the latter. 
The claim of this class for inherent superiority was sym- 
bolized by notes, pure immaterial mind. In Hellenistic 
thought, the three-fold distinction became that of body, 
mind or soul and spirit; spirit being elevated above all 
world affairs and acts, even moral concerns, having purely 
"spiritual" (immaterial) and religious objects. This doc- 



252 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

trine fell in with the sharp separation made in Christianity 
for practical moral purposes, between flesh and spirit, sin 
and salvation, rebellion and obedience. Thus the abstract 
and technical Cartesian dualism found prepared for it a 
rich empirical field with which to blend, and one which 
afforded its otherwise empty formalism concrete meaning 
and substance. 

The formalism and unreality of the problem remains, 
however, in the theories which have been offered as its 
"solutions." They range from the materialism of Hobbes, 
the apparatus of soul, pineal glands, animal spirits of 
Descartes, to interactionism, pre-established harmony, 
occasionalism, parallelism, pan-psychic idealism, epi- 
phenomenalism, and the Man vital a portentous array, 
The diversity of solutions together with the dialectical 
character of each doctrine which render it impregnable to 
empirical attack, suggest that the trouble lies not so much 
in the solutions, as in the factors which determine state- 
ment of the problem. If this be so, the way out of the 
snarl is a reconsideration of the conceptions in virtue of 
which the problem exists. And these conceptions have 
primarily nothing to do with mind-body; they have to 
do with underlying metaphysical issues: the denial of 
quality in general to natural events; the ignoring in par- 
ticular of temporal quality and the dogma of the superior 
reality of "causes." 

Empirically speaking, the most obvious difference 
between living and non-living things is that the activities 
of the former are characterized by needs, by efforts which 
are active demands to satisfy needs, and by satisfactions. 
In making this statement, the terms need, effort and 
satisfaction are primarily employed in a biological sense. 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 253 

By need is meant a condition of tensional distribution of 
energies such that the body is in a condition of uneasy or 
unstable equilibrium. By demand or effort is meant the 
fact that this state is manifested in movements which 
modify environing bodies in ways which react upon the 
body, so that its characteristic pattern of active equilib- 
rium is restored. By satisfaction is meant this recovery 
of equilibrium pattern, consequent upon the changes of 
environment due to interactions with the active demands 
of the organism. 

A plant needs water, carbon dioode; upon occasion it 
needs to bear seeds. The need is neither an immaterial 
psychic force superimposed upon matter, nor is it merely 
a notional or conceptual distinction, introduced by 
thought after comparison of two different states of the 
organism, one of emptiness and one of repletion. It 
denotes a concrete state of events: a condition of tension 
in the distribution of energies such as involves pressure 
from points of high potential to those of low potential 
which in turn effects distinctive changes such that the 
connection with the environment is altered, so that it 
acts differently upon the environment and is exposed to 
different influences from k. In this fact, taken by itself, 
there is nothing which marks off the plant from the physi- 
co-chemical activity of inanimate bodies. The latter 
also are subject to conditions of disturbed inner equilib- 
rium, which lead to activity in relation to surrounding 
things, and which terminate after a cycle of changes a 
terminus termed saturation, corresponding to satisfac- 
tion in organic bodies. 

The difference between the animate plant aad tbt 
inanimate iron molecule is not that the former has &otnt- 



254 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

thing in addition to physico-chemical energy; it Hes in 
the way in which physico-chemical energies are inter- 
connected and operate, whence different consequences 
mark inanimate and animate activity respectively. For 
with animate bodies, recovery or restoration of the equilib- 
rium pattern applies to the complex integrated course or 
history. In inanimate bodies as such, "saturation" 
occurs indifferently, not in such a way as to tend to main- 
tain a temporal pattern of activity. The interactions of 
the various constituent parts of a plant take place in such 
ways as to tend to continue a characteristically organized 
activity; they tend to utilize conserved consequences of 
past activities so as to adapt subsequent changes to the 
needs of the integral system to which they belong. Or- 
ganization is a fact, though it is not an original organiz- 
ing force. Iron as such exhibits characteristics of bias 
or selective reactions, but it shows no bias in favor of 
remaining simple iron; it had just as soon, so to speak, 
become iron-oxide. It shows no tendency in its inter- 
action with water to modify the interaction so that con- 
sequences will perpetuate the characteristics of pure iron. 
If it did, it would have the marks of a living body, and 
would be called an organism. Iron as a genuine constit- 
uent of an organized body acts so as to tend to maintain 
the type of activity of the organism to which it belongs. 
If we identify, as common speech does, the physical as 
such with the inanimate we need another word to denote 
the activity of organisms as such. Psycho-physical is 
an appropriate term. Thus employed, "psycho-physical" 
denotes the conjunctive presence in activity of need- 
demand-satisfaction, in the sense in which these terms 
have been defined. In the compound word, the prefix 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 255 

"psycho" denotes that physical activity has acquired 
additional properties, those of ability to procure a pecu- 
liar kind of interactive support of needs from surrounding 
media. Psycho-physical does not denote an abrogation 
of the physico-chemical; nor a peculiar mixture of some- 
thing physical and something psychical (as a centaur is 
half man and half horse); it denotes the possession of 
certain qualities and efficacies not displayed by the 
inanimate. 

Thus conceived there is no problem of the relation of 
physical and psychic. There are specifiable empirical 
events marked by distinctive qualities and efficacies. 
There is first of all, organization with all which is implied 
thereby. The problem involved is one of definite factual 
inquiry. Under exactly what conditions does organiza- 
tion occur, and just what are its various modes and their 
consequences? We may not be able to answer these 
questions satisfactorily; but the difficulties are not 
those of a philosophical mystery, but such as attend 
any inquiry into highly complex affairs. Organization is 
an empirical trait of some events, no matter how specula- 
tive and dubious theories about it may be; especially no 
matter how false are certain doctrines about it which have 
had great vogue namely, those doctrines which have 
construed it as evidence erf a special force or entity called 
life or soul. Organization is so characteristic of the nature 
of some events in their sequential linkages that no theory 
about it can be as speculative or absurd as those which 
ignore or deny its genuine existence. Denial is never 
based on empirical evidence, but is a dialectical conclusion 
from a preconception that whatever appears later in time 
must be metaphysically unreal as compared with what is 



256 EXPERIENCE AND NATUR1 

found earlier, or from a preconception that since the com- 
plex is controlled by means of the simpler, the latter is 
more "real." 

When ever the activities of the constituent parts of an 
organized pattern of activity are of such a nature as to 
conduce to the perpetuation of the patterned activity, 
there exists the basis of sensitivity. Each "part" of an 
organism is itself organized, and so of the "parts" of the 
part. Hence its selective bias in interactions with environ- 
ing things is exercised so as to maintain tisdf, while also 
maintaining the whole of which it is a member. The 
root-tips of a plant interact with chemical properties of 
the soil in such ways as to serve organized life activity; 
and in such ways as to exact from the rest of the organism 
their own share of requisite nutrition. This pervasive 
operative presence of the whole in the part and of the part 
in the whole constitutes susceptibility the capacity of 
feeling whether or no this potentiality be actualized in 
plant-life. Responses are not merely selective, but are 
discriminatory, in behalf of some results rather than others. 
This discrimination is the essence of sensitivity. Thus 
with organization, bias becomes interest, and satisfac- 
tion a good or value and not a mere satiation of wants or 
repletion of deficiencies. 

However it may be with plants and lower animals, in 
animals in which locomotion and distance-receptors exist, 
sensitivity and interest are realized as feeling, even though 
only as vague and massive uneasiness, comfort, vigor and 
exhaustion. A sessile organism requires no premoni- 
tions of what is to occur, nor cumulative embodiments of 
what has occurred. An organism with locomotion is as 
vitally connected with the remote as well as with the 



1CATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 2ST 

nearby; when locomotor organs are accompanied by dis- 
tance-receptors, response to the distant in space becomes 
increasingly prepotent and equivalent in effect to response 
to the future in time. A response toward what is distant 
is in effect an expectation or prediction of a later contact. 
Activities are differentiated into the preparatory, or antici- 
patory, and the fulfilling or consummately. The resul- 
tant is a peculiar tension in which each immediate prepara- 
tory response is suffused with the consummately tone of 
sex or food or security to which it contributes. Sensitiv- 
ity, the capacity, is then actualized as feeling; suscepti- 
bility to the useful and harmful in surroundings becomes 
premonitory, an occasion of eventual consequences withm 
life. 

On the other hand, a consummation or satisfaction 
carries with it the cofrtSmwttion, m affied and reinforcing 
form, of preparatory or anticipatory activities. It is not 
only a culmination out of them, but is an integrated cumu- 
lation, a funded conservation of them. Comfort or dis- 
comfort, fatigue or exhilaration, implicity sum up a his- 
tory, and thereby unwittingly provide a means whereby, 
(when other conditions become present) the past can be 
unravelled and made explicit. For it is characteristic of 
feeling that while it may exist in a formless condition, or 
without configured distinctions, it IB capable of receiving 
and bearing distinctions without end. With the multi- 
plication of sensitive discriminatory reactions to different 
energies of the environment (the differentiation of sense- 
organs, extero-ceptors and proprio-ceptors) and with the 
increase in scope and delicacy of movements (the develop- 
ment of motor-organs, to which internal glandular organs 
for effecting a requisite redistributuion of energy cor- 



258 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

respond), feelings vary more and more in quality and 
intensity. 

Complex and active animals have, therefore, feelings 
which vary abundantly in quality, corresponding to dis- 
tinctive directions and phases initiating, mediating, ful- 
filling or frustrating of activities, bound up in distinc- 
tive connections with environmental affairs. They have 
them, but they do not know they have them. Activity 
is psycho-physical, but not "mental," that is, not aware 
of meanings. As life is a character of events in a peculiar 
condition of organization, and "feeling" is a quality of 
life-forms marked by complexly mobile and discriminat- 
ing responses, so "mind" is an added property assumed by 
a feeling creature, when it reaches that organized inter- 
action with other living creatures which is language, 
communication. Then the qualities of feeling become 
significant of objective differences in external things and 
of episodes past and to come. This state of things in 
which qualitatively different feelings are not just had 
but are significant of objective differences, is mind. Feel- 
ings are no longer just felt. They have and they make 
sense; record and prophesy. 

That is to say, differences in qualities (feelings) of acts 
when employed as indications of acts performed and to be 
performed and as signs of their consequences, mean some- 
thing. And they mean it directly; the meaning is had as 
their own character. Feelings make sense; as immediate 
meanings of events and objects, they are sensations, or, 
more properly, sensa. Without language, the qualities 
of organic action that are feelings are pains, pleasures, 
odors, colors, noises, tones, only potentially and prolep- 
tically. With language they are discriminated and iden- 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 159 

tffied. They are then "objectified;" they are immediate 
traits of things. This "objectification" is not a miracu- 
lous ejection from the organism or soul into external 
things, nor an illusory attribution of psychical entities to 
physical things. The qualities never were "in" the organ- 
ism; they always were qualities of interactions in which 
both extra-organic things and organisms partake. When 
named, they enable identification and discrimination of 
things to take place as means in a further course of inclu- 
sive interaction. Hence they are as much qualities of 
the things engaged as of the organism. For purposes of 
control they may be referred specifically to either the 
thing or to the organism or to a specified structure of the 
organism. Thus color which turns out not to be a relia- 
able sign of external events becomes a sign of, say, a 
defect in visual apparatus. The notion that sensory 
affections discriminate and identify themselves, apart 
from discourse, as being colors and sounds, etc., and thus 
ipso facto constitute certain elementary modes of knowl- 
edge, even though it be only knowledge of their own 
existence, is inherently so absurd that it would never 
have occurred to any one to entertain it, were it not for 
certain preconceptions about mind and knowledge. Sen- 
tiency in itself is anoetic; it exists as any immediate qual- 
ity exists, but nevertheless it is an indispensable means 
of any noetic function. 

For when, through language, sentience is taken up into 
a system of signs, when for example a certain quality of 
the active relationship of organism and environment is 
named hunger, it is seen as an organic demand for an 
extra-organic object. To term a quality "hunger," to 
name it, is to refer to an object, to food, to that which 



260 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

will satisfy k, towasda which the active situation moves. 
Similarly, to name another quality "red," k to direct an 
interaction between an organism and a thing to some 
object which fulfills the demand or need of the situation. 
It requires but alight observation of mental growth of a 
child to note that organically conditioned qualities, includ- 
ing those special sense-organs, are discriminated only as 
they are employed to designate objects; red, for instance, 
as the property of a dress or toy. The difficulty in the 
way of identifying the qualities at acts cooctitioned by 
proprioceptor organs is notoriously enormous. They 
just merge in the general situation. If they entered into 
communication as shared means to social consequences 
they would acquire the same objective di&tincti veness as 
do qualities conditioned by the extero-ceptor organs. On 
the other hand, the qualities of the latter are just shades 
of the general tone of situations until they are used, in 
language, M c nfnjrLnn or shared nv*fl?>s to common ends. 
Then they are identified as traits of objects. The child 
has to learn through social intercourse that certain quali- 
ties of action mean greediness or anger or fear or rude- 
ness; the case is not otherwise with those qualities which 
are identified as red, musical tone, a foul odor. The 
latter may have instigated nausea, and "red" may have 
excited uneasiness (as blood makes some persons faint); 
but discrimination of the nauseating object as foul odor, 
and of the excitation as red occurs only when they are 
designated as signs. 

The qualities of situations in which organisms and sur- 
rounding conditions interact, when discriminated, make 
sense. Sense is distinct from feeling, for it has a recog- 
nized reference; it is the qualitative characteristic of 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 

something, not just a submerged unidentified quality or 
tone. Sense is also different from signification. The 
latter involves use of a quality as a sign or index of some- 
thing else, as when the red of a light signifies danger, 
and the need of bringing a moving locomotive to a stop. 
The sense of a thing, on the other hand, is an immediate 
and immanent meaning; it is meaning which is itself 
felt or directly had. When we are baffled by perplexing 
conditions, and finally hit upon a clew, and everything 
falls into place, the whole thing suddenly, as we say, 
"makes sense." In such a situation, the clew has signifi- 
cation in virtue of being an indication, a guide to inter- 
pretation. But the meaning of the whole situation as 
apprehended is sense. This idiomatic usage of the word 
sense is much nearer the empirical facts than is the ordin- 
ary restriction of the word in psychological literature to a 
single simple recognized quality, like sweet or red: the 
latter simply designates a case of minimum sense, delib- 
erately limited for purposes of intellectual safety-first. 
Whenever a situation has this double function of meaning, 
namely signification and sense, mind, intellect is definitely 
present. 

The distinction between physical, psycho-physical, and 
mental is thus one of levels of increasing complexity and 
intimacy of interaction among natural events. The idea 
that matter, life and mind represent separate kinds of 
Being is a doctrine that springs, as so many philosophic 
errors have sprung, from a substantiation of eventual 
functions. The fallacy converts consequences of inter- 
action of events into causes of the occurrence of these 
consequences a reduplication which is significant as to 
the importance of the functions, but which hopelessly con- 



KJ2 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

fuses understanding of them. "Matter," or the physical, 
is a character of events when they occur at a certain level 
of interaction. It is not itself an event or existence; the 
notion that while "mind" denotes essence, "matter" 
denotes existence is superstition. It is more than a 
bare essence; for it is a property of a particular field of 
interacting events. But as it figures in science it is as 
much an essence, as is acceleration, or the square root of 
minus one; which meanings also express derivative 
characters of events in interaction. Consequently, while 
the theory that life, feeling and thought are never inde- 
pendent of physical events may be deemed materialism, 
it may also be considered just the opposite. For it is rea- 
sonable to believe that the most adequate definition of 
the basic traits of natural existence can be had only when 
its properties are most fully displayed a condition which 
is met in the degree of the scope and intimacy of inter- 
actions realized. 

In any case, genuine objection to metaphysical material- 
ism is neither moral nor esthetic. Historically speaking, 
materialism and mechanistic metaphysics as distinct from 
mechanistic science designate the doctrine that mat- 
ter is the efficient cause of life and mind, and that "cause" 
occupies a position superior in reality to that of "effect." 
Both parts of this statement axe contrary to fact. As far 
as the conception of causation is to be introduced at all, 
not matter but the natural events having matter as a 
character, "cause" life and mind. "Effects," since they 
mark the release of potentialities, are more adequate 
indications of the nature of nature than are just "causes." 
Control of the occurrence of the complex depends upon 
its analysis into the more elementary; the dependence of 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 263 

life, sentiency and mind upon "matter" is thus practical 
or instrumental. Lesser, more external fields of interac- 
tion are more manageable than are wider and more 
intimate ones, and only through managing the former 
can we direct the occurrence of the latter. Thus it is in 
virtue of the character of events which is termed matter 
that psycho-physical and intellectual affairs can be dif- 
ferentially determined. Every discovery of concrete 
dependence of life and mind upon physical events is there- 
fore an addition to our resources. If life and mind had 
no mechanism, education, deliberate modification, recti- 
fication, prevention and constructive control would be 
impossible. To damn "matter" because of honorific 
interest in spirit is but another edition of the old habit of 
eulogizing ends and disparaging the means on which they 
depend. 

This, then, is the significance of our introductory state- 
ment that the "solution" of the problem of mind-body is 
to be found in a revision of the preliminary assumptions 
about existence which generate the problem. As we have 
already noted, fruitful science of nature began when 
inquirers neglected immediate qualities, the "sense" of 
events, wet and dry, hot and cold, light and heavy, up and 
down, in behalf of "primary," namely, signifying, quali- 
ties, and when they treated the latter, although called 
qualities, not as such but as relations. This device made 
possible a totally different dialectical treatment. Classic 
science operated in terms of properties already attached 
to qualitative phenomena of sense and custom. Hence 
it could only repeat these phenomena in a changed vocabu- 
lary; the vocabulary of sensory forms and forces which 
were, after all nothing but the already given meanings of 



264 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

things reduplicated. But the new dialectic was that of 
mathematical equations and functions. It started from 
meanings which ignored obvious characters or meanings of 
phenomena; hence it could lead to radically new relation- 
ships and generalizations new in kind, and not merely 
in detail. No longer was the connection or classifica- 
tion of one color simply with other colors, but with aH 
events involving rhythmic rates of change. Thus events 
hitherto disjoined were brought together under princi- 
ples of inclusive formulation and prediction. Temporal 
qualities were stated as spatial velocities; thereby mathe- 
matical functions directly applicable to spatial positions, 
directions and distances, made it possible to reduce 
sequence of events into calculable terms. Neglect of 
temporal qualities as such centered thought upon order 
of succession, an order convertible into one of coexistence. 
All this in effect is equivalent to seizing upon relations 
of events as the proper objects of knowledge. The sur- 
render of immediate qualities, sensory and significant, as 
objects of science, and as proper forms of classification 
and understanding, left in reality these immediate quali- 
ties just as they were; since they are had there is no 
need to know them. But, as we have had frequent occa/- 
sion to notice, the traditional view that the object of 
knowledge is reality par excellence led to the conclusion 
that the proper object of science was pre-eminently meta- 
physically real. Hence immediate qualities, being ex- 
truded from the object of science, were left thereby hang- 
ing loose from the "real" object. Since their existence 
could not be denied, they were gathered together into a 
psychic realm of being, set over against the object of 
physics. Given this premise, all the problems regarding 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 265 

the relation of mind and matter, the psychic and the bod- 
ily, necessarily follow. Change the metaphysical prem- 
ise; restore, that is to say, immediate qualities to their 
rightful position as qualities of inclusive situations, and 
the problems in question cease to be epistemological prob- 
lems. They become specifiable scientific problems: ques- 
tions, that is to say, of how such and such an event hav- 
ing such and such qualities actually occurs. 

Greek science imputed efficacy to qualities like wet and 
dry, hot and cold, heavy and light and to such qualita- 
tive differences in movement as up and down, to and fro, 
around and around. The world was formulated and 
explained on the basis of the causal efficacy of these 
qualities. The scientific revolution of the seventeenth 
century took its departure from a denial of causal status 
(and hence of significance for science) of these and all 
other direct qualities. On account, however, of the con- 
version of this fact about scientific procedure into a 
denial of the existence of qualities outside of mind and 
consciousness, psycho-physical and mental functions 
became inexplicable anomalies, supernatural in the literal 
sense of the word. The error of Greek science lay not 
in assigning qualities to natural existence, but in miscon- 
ceiving the locus of their efficacy. It attributed to 
qualities apart from organic action efficiencies which 
qualities possess only through the medium of an organized 
activity of life and mind. When life and mind are recog- 
nized to be characters of the highly complex and extensive 
interaction of events, it is possible to give natural existen- 
tial status to qualities, without falling into the mistake of 
Greek science. Psycho-physical phenomena and higher 
mental phenomena may be admitted in their full empiri- 



266 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

cal reality, without recourse to dualistic breach in historic, 
existential continuity. 

When knowing inanimate things, qualities as such may 
be safely disregarded. They present themselves as inten- 
sities and vector directions of movement capable of state- 
ment in mathematical terms. Thus their immediate 
individuality is got around; it is impertinent for science 3 
concerned as the latter is with relationships. The most 
that can be said about qualities in the inanimate field is 
that they mark the limit of the contact of historical affairs, 
being abrupt ends or termini, boundaries of beginning 
and closing where a particular interaction ceases. They 
are like a line of foam marking the impact of waves of 
different directions of movement. They have to be 
noted and accepted in order to delimit a field of inquiry, 
but they do not enter into the inquiry as factors or terms. 
In life and mind they play an active role. The delimi- 
tation or individualization they constitute on this level 
is not external to events. It is all one with the organiza- 
tion which permeates them, and which in permeating 
them, converts prior limitations of intensity and direc- 
tion of energy into actual and intrinsic qualities, or sen- 
tient differences. For in feeling a quality exists as quality, 
and not merely as an abrupt, discrete, unique delimitation 
of interaction. Red differs from green for purposes of 
physical science as that which gives specific meaning to 
two sets of numbers applied to vibrations, or to two differ- 
ent placements of lines in a spectrum. The difference is 
proleptically qualitative; it refers to a unique difference 
of potentiality in the affairs under consideration. But as 
far as calculation and prediction are concerned these dif- 
ferences remain designable by non-qualitative indices of 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 

number and form. But in an organic creature sensitive 
to light, these differences of potentiality may be realized 
as differences in immediate sentiency. To say that they 
are/eft, is to say that they come to independent and intrin- 
sic existence on their own account. The proposition 
does not mean that feeling has been extraneously super- 
added to something else, or that a mode of extrinsic 
cognitive access to a purely physical thing has entered 
intrusively into a world of physical things. "Feeling" 
is in general a name for the newly actualized quality 
acquired by events previously occurring upon a physical 
level, when these events come into more extensive and 
delicate relationships of interaction. More specifically, 
it is a name for the coining to existence of those ultimate 
differences in affairs which mark them off from one 
another and give them discreteness; differences which 
upon the physical plane can be spoken of only in antici- 
pation of subsequent realization, or in terms of different 
numerical formulae, and different space-time positions 
and contiguities. 

Thus qualities characteristic of sentiency are qualities 
of cosmic events. Only because they are such, is it pos- 
sible to establish the one to one correspondence which 
natural science does establish between series of numbers 
and spatial positions on one hand and the series and spectra 
of sensory qualities on the other. The notion that the 
universe is split into two separate and disconnected realms 
of existence, one psychical and the other physical, and 
then that these two realms of being, in spite of their total 
disjunction, specifically and minutely correspond to each 
other as a serial order of numbered vibrations corre- 
sponds to the immediately felt qualities of vision of the 



268 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

prismatic spectrum presents the acme of incredibility. 
The one-to-one agreement is intelligible only as a cor- 
respondence of properties and relations in one and the 
same world which is first taken upon a narrower and more 
external level of interaction, and then upon a more inclu- 
sive and intimate level. When we recall that by taking 
natural events on these two levels and instituting point to 
point correspondence (or "parallelism") between them, 
the richer and more complex display of characters is 
rendered amenable to prediction and deliberate guidance, 
the intelligibility of the procedure becomes concretely 
sensible. 

Thus while modern science is correct in denying direct 
efficacy and position in the described sequence of events to 
say, red, or dry; yet Greek science was correct in its 
underlying naive assumption that qualities count for 
something highly important. Apart from sentiency and 
life, the career of an event can indeed be fully described 
without any reference to its having red as a quality, 
though even in this case, since description is an event 
which happens only through mental events, dependence 
upon an overt or actualized quality of red is required in 
order to delimit the phenomenon of which a mathematical- 
mechanical statement is made. Qualities actually become 
specifically effective however, in psycho-physical situa- 
tions. Where animal susceptibility exists, a red or an 
odor or sound may instigate a determinate mode of action; 
it has selective power in maintenance of a certain pat- 
tern of energy-organization. So striking is this fact that 
we might even define the difference between an inanimate 
body and a vital and psycho-physical one, by saying that 
the latter responds to qualities while the former does not 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 269 

In this response, qualities become productive of results, 
and hence potentially significant That is, in achieving 
effects, they become connected with consequences, and 
hence capable of meaning, knowable if not known. This 
explains the fact that while we are forced to ascribe 
qualities to events cm the physical level, we cannot know 
them on this level; they have when assigned strictly to 
that level no consequences. But through the medium of 
living things, they generate effects, which, when qualities 
are used as means to produce them, are consequences. 
Thus qualities become intelligible, knowable. 

In the higher organisms, those with distance-receptors 
of ear and eye and, in lesser degree, of smelling, qualities 
further achieve a difference which is the material basis or 
substratum of a distinction into activities having pre- 
paratory and having consummatory status. "Ends" 
are not necessarily fulfillments or consummations. They 
may be mere closures, abrupt cessations, as a railway line 
may by force of external conditions come to an end, 
although the end does not fulfill antecedent activities. 
So there are starts, beginnings which are in no sense pre- 
paratory, being rather disturbances and interferences. 
Events of the physical type have such ends and begin- 
nings which mark them off qualitatively and individually. 
But as such they are not in any true sense possessed of 
instrumental nor fulfilling character. They neither 
initiate nor complete. But when these qualities are 
realized through organic action, giving rise to acts of utili- 
zation, of adaptation (response to quality), they aw con- 
verted into a series, in which some acts are preparatory 
and others consummatory. An original contact-activity 
(including intra-organic disturbances or needs) renders 



270 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

distance receptors open to stimulation; the responses 
which take place in consequence tend to occur in such a 
way as to terminate in a further contact-activity in which 
original need is satisfied. 

This series forms the immediate material of thought 
when social communication and discourse supervene. 
The beginning not only is the initial term in a series (as 
distinct from a succession), but it gains the meaning of 
subsequent activity moving toward a consequence of 
which it is the first member. The concluding term con- 
serves within itself the meaning of the entire preparatory 
process. Thereby the original status of contact and dis- 
tance activities is reversed. When activity is directed 
by distant things, contact activities must be inhibited or 
held in. They become instrumental; they function only 
as far as is needed to direct the distance-conditioned 
activities. The result is nothing less than revolutionary. 
Organic activity is liberated from subjection to what is 
closest at hand in space and time. Man is led or drawn 
rather than pushed. The immediate is significant in 
respect to what has occurred and will occur; the organic 
basis of memory and expectation is supplied. The sub- 
ordination of contact-activity to distance-activity is 
equivalent to possibility of release from submergence in the 
merely given, namely, to abstraction, generalization, in- 
ference. It institutes both a difference and a connection 
between matters that prepare the way for other events 
and the affairs finally appropriated ;it furnishes the material 
for the relation of thing signifying and thing signified 
a relation that is actualized when discourse occurs. When 
this juncture of events is reached, there comes about the 
distinction mentioned between sense and signification. 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 271 

The latter denotes the possibility of a later fulfilling sense 
of things in immediate appropriations and enjoyments. 
But meanwhile there is a sentience that has to be trans- 
formed by subordination to the distance-conditioned 
activity; which till it is thus transformed is vacant, con- 
fused, demanding but lacking meaning. Meanwhile also 
the distance-conditioned activities acquire as an integral 
part of their own quality the consequences of their prior 
fulfilments. They have significance with respect to their 
consequences; but they have perspicuous and coherent 
sense of their own. Thus they become final, and the 
qualities of contact-activity instrumental. In short, hear- 
ing and vision are notoriously the intellectual and esthetic 
senses an undeniable fact which throws much light on 
the doctrine of those theorists about value who attempt 
to divide thought and enjoyable liking from each other 
in their definitions of value, and who also quite logi- 
cally on this premise sharply separate values into con- 
tributory and intrinsic. 

The foregoing discussion is both too technical and not 
elaborately technical enough for adequate comprehension. 
It may be conceived as an attempt to contribute to what 
has come to be called an "emergent" theory of mind. But 
eveiy word that we can use, organism, feeling, psycho- 
physical, sensation and sense, "emergence" itself, is 
infected by the associations of old theories, whose import 
is opposite to that here stated. We may, however 
attempt a recapitulation by premising that while there is 
no isolated occurrence in nature, yet interaction and con- 
nection are not wholesale and homogenous. Interacting- 
events have tighter and looser ties, which qualify them 
with certain beginnings and endings, and which mark 



272 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

them off from other fields of interaction. Such relatively 
dosed fields come into conjunction at times so as to inter- 
act with each other, and a critical alteration is effected. 
A new larger field is formed, in which new eiaergies are 
released, and to which new qualities appertain. Regula- 
tion, conscious direction and science imply ability to 
smooth over the rough junctures, and to form by trans- 
lation and substitution a homogenous medium. Yet 
these functions do not abrogate or deny qualitative 
differences and unlike fields or ranges of operation, from 
atoms to solar systems. They do just what they are 
meant to do: give facility and security in utilizing the 
simpler manageable field to predict and modify the course 
of the more complete and highly organized. 

In general, three plateaus of such fields may be dis- 
criminated. The first, the scene of narrower and more 
external interactions, while qualitatively diversified kt 
itself, is physical; its distinctive properties are those of the 
mathematical-mechanical system discovered by physics 
and which define matter as a general character. The 
second level is that of life. Qualitative differences, like 
those of plant and animal, lower and higher animal forms, 
are here even more conspicuous; but in spite of their 
variety they have qualities in common which define the 
psycho-physical. The third plateau is that of association, 
communication, participation. This is still further inter- 
nally diversified, consisting of individualities* It is 
marked throughout its diversities, however, by common 
properties, which define mind as intellect; possession of 
and response to meanings. 

Each of one of these levels having its own characteris- 
tic empirical traits has its owm categories. They are 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 273 

however categories of description, conceptions required to 
state the fact in question. They are not "explanatory" 
categories, as explanation is sometimes understood ; they do 
not designate, that is, the operation of forces as "causes." 
They stick to empirical facts noting and denoting charac- 
teristic qualities and consequences peculiar to various 
levels of interaction. Viewed from this standpoint, the 
traditional "mechanical" and "teleological" theories both 
suffer from a common fallacy, which may be suggested by 
saying that they both purport to be explanatory in the 
old, non-historical sense of causality. One theory makes 
matter account for the existence of mind ; the other regards 
happenings that precede the appearance of mind as prep- 
arations made for the sake of mindinasense of preparation 
that is alleged to explam the occurrence of these ante- 
cedents. 

Mechanistic metaphysics calls attention to the fact that 
the latter occurrence could not have taken place without 
the earlier; that given the earlier, the latter was bound to 
follow. Spiritualistic metaphysics calls attention to the 
fact that the earlier, material affairs, prepare the way for 
vital and ideal affairs, lead up to them; promote them. 
Both statements are equally true descriptively; neither 
statement is true in the explanatory and metaphysical 
meaning imputed to it. 

The notion of causal explanation involved in both con- 
ceptions implies a breach in the continuity of historic 
process; the gulf created has then to be bridged by an 
emission or transfer of force. If one starts with the 
assumption that mind and matter are two separate things, 
while the evidence forces one to see that they are con- 
nected, one has no option save to attribute the power to 



274 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

make the connection, to carry from one to the other, to 
one or the other of the two things involved. The one 
selected is then "cause;" it accounts for the existence of 
the other. One person is struck by such affairs as that 
when a match is struck and paper is near-by the paper 
catches fire, whether any one wished or intended it to do 
so or not. He is struck by a compulsory power exercised 
by the earlier over the later; given the lighted match and 
contiguous paper and the latter must burst into flame. 
Another person is struck by the fact that matches and 
paper exist only because somebody has use for them; that 
the intent and purpose of use preceded the coming into 
being of taatch and paper. So he concludes that thought, 
purpose, starts an emission and transfer of force which 
brought things into existence in order to accomplish the 
object of thought. Or, if a little less devoted to human 
analogies, one notes the cunning continuity of nature, 
how neatly one thing leads up to another, and how ele- 
gantly the later registers and takes advantage of what has 
gone before, and, beholding that the later is the more 
complex* and the more significant, decides that what goes 
before occurs for the sake of the later, in its behalf, on its 
account^ The eventual has somehow been there from 
the start, "implicitly," "potentially," but efficaciously 
enough to attend to its own realization by using material 
conditions at every stage. 

The gratuitous nature of both assumptions is seen if we 
set out with any acknowledged historic process,-say-the 
growth from infancy to maturity, or the development of a 
melodic theme. There are those who regard childhood 
as merely getting ready for the supreme dignity of adult- 
hood, and there are those who seem quite sure that adult 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 275 

life is merely an unrolling by way of mechanical effects of 
the "causal" forces found in childhood. One of the theo- 
ries makes youth a preliminary and intrinsically insignifi- 
cant journey toward a goal; the other makes adulthood a 
projection, on a supernumerary screen, of a plate and 
pattern previously inserted in the projecting apparatus of 
childhood or of prenatal condition, or of heredity, or 
wherever the fixed and separated antecedent be located. 
Nevertheless the notion of growth makes it easy, I think, 
to detect the fallacy residing in both views: namely, 
the breaking up of a continuity of historical change into 
two separate parts, together with the necessity which fol- 
lows from the breaking-in-two for some device by which 
to bring them together again. 

The reality is the growth-process itself; childhood and 
adulthood are phases of a continuity, in which just because 
it is a history, the later cannot exist until the earlier 
exists ("mechanistic materialism" in germ); and in which 
the later makes use of the registered and cumulative out- 
come of the earlier or, more strictly, is its utilization 
("spiritualistic teleology" in germ). The real existence is 
the history in its entirety, the history as just what it is. 
The operations of splitting it up into two parts and then 
having to unite them again by appeal to causative power 
are equally arbitrary and gratuitous. Childhood is the 
childhood of and in a certain serial process of changes 
which is just what it is, and so is maturity. To give the 
traits of either phase a kind of independent existence, and 
then to use the form selected to account for or explain 
the rest of the process is a silly reduplication; reduplica- 
tion, because we have after all only parts of one and the 
same original history; silly because we fancy that we have 



276 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

accounted for the history on the basis of an arbitrary 
selection of part of itself. 

Substitute for such growth a more extensive history of 
nature and call it the evolution of mind from matter, and 
the conclusion is not different. In the old dispute as to 
whether a stag runs because he has long and slender legs, 
or has the legs in order that he may run, both parties 
overlook the natural descriptive statement; namely, that 
it is of the nature of what goes on in the world that the stag 
has long legs and that having them he runs. When mind is 
said to be implicit, involved, latent, or potential in matter, 
and subsequent change is asserted to be an affair of mak- 
ing it explicit, evolved, manifest, actual, what happens 
is that a natural history is first cut arbitrarily and uncon- 
sciously in two, and then the severance, is consciously and 
arbitrarily cancelled. It is simpler not to start by engag- 
ing in such manoeuvers. 

The discussion gives an understanding of the adaptation 
of nature and life and mind to one another. A mystery 
has not seldom been made of the fact that objective nature 
lends itself to man's sense of fitness ; order and beauty; or, 
in another region of discourse, that objective nature sub- 
mits to mental operations sufficiently to be known. Or, 
the mystery is conceived from the other end : it seems won 
derful that man should be possessed of a sense of order, 
beauty and rightness; that he should have a capacity of 
thinking and knowing, so that man is elevated far above 
nature and seated with angels. But the wonder and mys- 
tery do not seem to be other than the wonder and mystery 
that there should be such a thing as nature, as existen- 
tial events, at all, and that in being they should be what 
they are. The wonder should be transferred to the whole 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 277 

course of things. Only because an arbitrary breach has 
previously been introduced by which the world, is first con- 
ceived as something quite different from what it demonr 
strably is, does it then appearpassing strange that after all it 
should be just what it is. The world is subject-matter for 
knowledge, because mind has developed in that world; a 
body-mind, whose structures have developed according to 
the structures of the world in which it exists, will natu- 
rally find some of its structures to be concordant and 
congenial with nature, and some phases of nature with 
itself. The latter are beautiful and fit, and others ugly 
and unfit. Since mind cannot evolve except where there 
is an organized process in which the fulfillments of the 
past are conserved and employed, it is not surprising that 
mind when it evolves should be mindful of the past and 
future, and that it should use the structures which are bio- 
logical adaptations of organism and environment as its 
own and its only organs. In ultimate analysis the mys- 
tery that mind should use a body, or that a body should 
have a mind, is like the mystery that a man cultivating 
plants should use the soil; or that the soil which grows 
plants at all should grow those adapted to its own physico- 
chemical properties and relations. 

The account which has been given will be repeated from 
a more analytic point of view, starting with evident 
empirical consideration. Every "mind" that we are 
empirically acquainted with is found in connection with 
some organized body. Every such body exists in a 
natural medium to which it sustains some adaptive con- 
nection: plants to air, water, sun, and animals to these 
things and also to plants. Without such connections, 
animals die; the "purest" mind would not continue with- 



278 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

out them. An animal can live only as long as it draws 
nutriment from its medium, finds there means of defence^ 
and ejects into it waste and superfluous products of its 
own making. Since no particular organism lasts forever, 
life in general goes on only as an organism reproduces 
itself; and the only place where it can reproduce itself is in 
the environment. In all higher forms reproduction is 
sexual ; that is, it involves the meeting of two forms. The 
medium is thus one which contains similar and conjunc- 
tive forms. At every point and stage, accordingly, a 
living organism and its life processes involve a world or 
nature temporally and spatially "external" to itself but 
"internal" to its functions. 

The only excuse for reciting such commonplaces is that 
traditional theories have separated life from nature, mind 
from organic life, and thereby created mysteries. Restore 
the connection, and the problem of how a mind can know 
an external world or even know that there is such a thing, 
is like the problem of how an animal eats things external 
to itself; it is the kind of problem that arises only if one 
assumes that a hibernating bear living off its own stored 
substance defines the normal procedure, ignoring more- 
over the question where the bear got its stored material. 
The problem of how one person knows the existence of 
other persons, is, when the relation of mind and life is 
genuinely perceived, like the problem of how one 
animal can associate with other animals, since other is 
other. A creature generated in a conjunctive union, 
dependent upon others (as are at least all higher forms) 
for perpetuation of its being, and carrying in its own struc- 
ture the organs and marks of its intimate connection 
with others will know other creatures if it knows itself. 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 279 

Since both the inanimate and the human environment 
are involved in the functions of life, it is inevitable, if 
these functions evolve to the point of thinking and if 
thinking is naturally serial with biological functions, that 
it will have as the material of thought, even of its erratic 
imaginings, the events and connections of this environ- 
ment. And if the animal succeeds in putting to use any 
of its thinkings as means of sustaining its functions, those 
thoughts will have the characters that define knowledge. 

n contrast with lower organisms, the more complex 
forms have distance receptors and a structure in which 
activators and effectors are allied to distance even more 
extensively than to contact receptors. What is done in 
response to things nearby is so tied to what is done in 
response to what is far away, that a higher organism acts 
with reference to a spread-out environment as a single 
situation. We find also in all these higher organisms that 
what is done is conditioned by consequences of prior 
activities; we find the fact of learning or habit-formation. 
In consequence, an organism acts with reference to a time- 
spread, a serial order of events, as a unit, just as it does in 
reference to a unified spatial variety. Thus an environ- 
ment both extensive and enduring is immediately impli- 
cated in present behavior. Operatively speaking, the 
remote and the past are "in" behavior making it what it is. 
The action called "organic" is not just that of internal 
structures; it is an integration of organic-environmental 
connections. It may be a mystery that there should be 
thinking but it is no mystery that if there is thinking it 
should contain in a"present" phase, affairs remote in space 
and in time, even to geologic ages, future eclipses and far 
away stellar systems. It is only a question of how far 



280 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

what is "in" its actual experience is extricated and 
becomes focal. 

It is also an obvious empirical fact that animals are 
connected with each other in inclusive schemes of behav- 
ior by means of signaling acts, in consequence of which 
certain acts and consequences are deferred until a joint 
action made possible by the signaling occurs. In the 
human being, this function becomes language, communi- 
cation, discourse, in virtue of which the consequences of 
the experience of one form of life are integrated in the 
behavior of others. With the development of recorded 
speech, the possibilities of this integration are indefinitely 
widened in principle the cycle of objective integration 
within the behavior of a particular organism is com- 
pleted. Not merely its own distant world of space-time 
is involved in its conduct but the world of its fellows. When 
consequences which are unexperienced and future to one 
agent are experienced and past to another creature with 
which it is in communication, organic prudence becomes 
conscious expectation, and future affairs living present 
realities. Human learning and habit-forming present 
thereby an integration of organic-environmental connec- 
tions so vastly superior to those of animals without 
language that its experience appears to be super-organic. 

Another empirical fact follows. Strict repetition and 
recurrence decrease relatively to the novel. Apart from 
communication, habit-forming wears grooves; behavior is 
confined to channels established by prior behavior. In so 
far the tendency is toward monotonous regularity. The 
very operation of learning sets a limit to itself, and makes 
subsequent learning more difficult. But this holds only of 
i habit, a habit in isolation, a non-communicating habit. 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 281 

Communication not only increases the number and variety 
of habits, but tends to link them subtly together, and 
eventually to subject habit-foaming in a particular case to 
the habit of recognizing that new modes of association 
will exact a new use of it. Thus habit is formed in view of 
possible future changes and does not harden so readily. 
As soon as a child secretes from others the manifestation 
of a habit there is proof that he is practically aware that 
he forms a habit subject to the requirements of others as to 
his further habit formations. 

Now an animal given to forming habits, is one with an 
increasing number of needs, and of new relationships with 
the world about it. Each habit demands appropriate 
conditions for its exercise and when habits are numerous 
and complex, as with the human organism, to find these 
conditions involves search and experimentation; the 01^ 
ganism is compelled to make variations, and exposed to 
error and disappointment. By a seeming paradox, 
increased power of forming habits means increased sus- 
ceptibility, sensitiveness, responsiveness. Thus even 
if we think of habits as so many grooves, the power to 
acquire many and varied grooves denotes high sensitivity, 
explosiveness. Thereby an old habit, a fixed groove if 
one wishes to exaggerate, gets in the way of the process of 
forming a new habit while the tendency to form a new 
one cuts across some old habit. Hence instability, 
novelty, emergence of unexpected and unpredictable 
combinations. The more an organism learns-the more 
that is, the former terms of a historic process are retained 
and integrated in this present phase-the more it has to 
learn, in order to keep itself going; otherwise death and 
catastrophe. If roind is a further process in life, a further 



282 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

process of registration, conservation and use of what is 
conserved, then it must have the traits it does empirically 
have: being a moving stream, a constant change which 
nevertheless has axis and direction, linkages, associations 
as well as initiations, hesitations and conclusions. 

The thing essential to bear in mind is that living as an 
empirical affair is not something which goes on below the 
skin-surface of an organism: it is always an inclusive af- 
fair involving connection, interaction of what is within 
the organic body and what lies outside in space and time, 
and with higher organisms far outside. For this reason, 
organic acts are a kind of fore-action of mind; they look 
as if they were deliberate and consciously intelligent, be- 
cause of necessity, intelligent action in utilizing the mechan- 
isms they supply, reproduces their patterns. The evidence 
usually adduced in support of the proposition that lower 
animals, animals without language, think, turns out, 
when examined, to be evidence that when men, organisms 
with power of social discourse, think, they do so with the 
organs of adaptation used by lower animals, and thus large- 
ly repeat in imagination schemes of overt animal action. 
But to argue from this fact to the conclusion that animals 
think is like concluding that because every tool, say a 
plow, originated from some pre-existing natural produc- 
tion, say a crooked root or forked branch, the latter was 
inherently and antecedently engaged in plowing. The 
connection is there, but it is the other way around. 

Excuse for dwelling upon the fact that life goes on 
between and among things of which the organism is but 
one is because this fact is so much ignored and virtually 
denied by traditional theories. Consider for example, 
the definitions of life and mind given by Herbert Spencer: 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 283 

correspondence of an inner order with an outer order. 
It implies there is an inner order and an outer order, and 
that the correspondence consists in the fact that the terms 
in one order are related to one another as the terms or 
members of the other order are connected within them- 
selves. The correspondence is like that of various phono 
graphic records to one another; but the genuine cor 
respondence of life and mind with nature is like the cor 
respondence of two persons who "correspond" in order tc 
'earn each one of the acts, ideas and intents of the other 
>ne, in such ways as to modify one's own intents, ideas ant' 
icts, and to substitute partaking in a common and inclus 
ivc situation for separate and independent performances. 
[f the organism merely repeats in the series of its owr 
^elf-enclosed acts the order already given without, deatl 
speedily closes its career. Fire for instance consumer 
.issue; that is the sequence in the external order. Beinf 
)iirned to death is the order of "inner" events which cor 
;eaponds with this "outer" order. What the organism 
ictually does is to act so as to change its relationship 
!:o the environment; and as organisms get more complex 
md human this change of relationship involves more 
extensive and more enduring changes in the environmental 
order. The aim is not to protract a line of organic events 
parallel to external events, but to form a new scheme of 
affairs to which both organic and environmental relations 
contribute, and in which they both partake. Yet all 
schemes of psycho-physical parallelism, traditional theo- 
ries of truth as correspondence, etc., are really elaborations 
of the same sort of assumptions as those made by Spencer: 
assumptions which first make a division where none exists, 
and then resort to an artifice to restore the connection 
which has been willfully destroyed. 



284 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

If organic life denotes a phase of history in which 
natural affairs have reached a point in which characteris- 
tic new properties appear, and new ways of acting are 
released because of integration of fields hitherto unlinked, 
there does not seem to be anything extraordinary in the 
fact that what is known about the earlier "physical" 
series is applied to interpret and direct vital phenomena; 
nor in the fact that this application does not exhaust 
their character nor suffice wholly for their description, 
We cannot direct a course of interactions without count- 
ing and measuring, but the interactions are more than 
numbers, spaces and velocities. To explain is to employ 
one thing to elucidate, clear, shed light upon, put in better 
order, because in a wider context, another thing. It is 
thus subordinate to more adequate discourse, which, 
applied to space- time affairs, assumes the style of narra- 
tion and description. Speaking in terms of captions 
familiar in rhetoric, exposition and argument are always 
subordinate to a descriptive narration, and exist for the 
sake of making the latter clearer, more coherent and more 
significant. 

Body-mind designates an affair with its own properties. 
A large part of the difficulty in its discussion perhaps the 
whole of the difficulty in general apart from detailed 
questions is due to vocabulary. Our language is so 
permeated with consequences of theories which have 
divided the body and mind from each other, making sepa- 
rate existential realms out of them, that we lack words to 
designate the actual existential fact. The circumlocu- 
tions we are compelled to resort to exemplified in the 
previous discussion thus induce us to think that analog- 
ous separations exist in nature, which can also only be got 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 285 

around by elaborate circuitous arrangements. But body- 
mind simply designates what actually takes place when 
a living body is implicated in situations of discourse, 
communication and participation. In the hyphenated 
phrase body-mind, "body" designates the continued and 
conserved, the registered and cumulative operation of 
factors continuous with the rest of nature, inanimate as 
well as animate; while "mind" designates the characters 
and consequences which are differential, indicative of 
features which emerge when "body" is engaged in a wider, 
more complex and interdependent situation. 

Just as when men start to talk they must use sounds and 
gestures antecedent to speech, and as when they begin to 
hunt animals, catch fish or make baskets, they must employ 
materials and processes that exist antecedently to these 
operations, so when men begin to observe and think they 
must use the nervous system and other organic structures 
which existed independently and antecedently. That the 
use reshapes the prior materials so as to adapt them more 
efficiently and freely to the uses to which they are put, is 
not a problem to be solved: it is an expression of the 
common fact that anything changes according to the inter- 
acting field it enters. Sounds do not cease to be sounds 
when they become articulate speech; but they do take on 
new distinctions and arrangements, just as do materials 
used in tools and machines, without ceasing to be the 
materials they formerly were. Thus the external or 
environmental affairs, primarily implicated in living pro- 
cesses and later implicated in discourse, undergo modifi- 
cations in acquiring meanings and becoming objects of 
mind, and yet are as "physical" as ever they were. 



286 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Unless vital organizations were organizations of ante- 
cedent natural events, the living creature would have no 
natural connections; it would not be pertinent to its 
environment nor its environment relevant to it; the latter 
would not be usable, material of nutrition and defence. 
In similar fashion, unless "mind" was, in its existential 
occurrence, an organization of physiological or vital affairs 
and unless its functions developed out of the patterns of 
organic behavior, it would have no pertinency to nature, 
and nature would not be the appropriate scene of its 
inventions and plans, nor the subject-matter of its knowl- 
edge. If we suppose, per impossible or by a miracle, that 
a separate mind is inserted abruptly in nature, its opera- 
tion would be wholly dialectical, and in a sense of dialec- 
tic which is non-existential not only for the time being, 
but forever; that is dialectic would be without any pos- 
sible reference to existence. We are so used by tradition 
both to separating mind from the world and noting that 
its acts and consequences are relevant to the world- 
error aberration and insanity can exist only with respect 
to relevancy that we find it easier to make a problem out 
of the conjunction of two inconsistent premises than to 
rethink our premises. 

Of pure dialectic it is a truism that it is neither mate- 
rially true nor false, but only self-consistent or else self- 
contradictory. Were it not for the distorting influence 
of material bias, of preference that existence be thus and 
so rather than otherwise, and of desire that other crea- 
tures should believe as we do or should accept our conclu- 
sions, dialectic and calculation would however not be 
subject even to inconsistency. Some purely logical opera- 
tions are better than others, even as purely logical, for 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 287 

they have greater scope and fertility, but none are truer 
or more correct than others. Purely formal errors are 
impossible, so-called formal fallacies to the contrary not- 
withstanding. No one ever actually reasoned that since 
horses are quadrupeds and cows are quadrupeds, horses 
are cows. If in some cases, it is made to appear that 
formal reasoning falls into such fallacies, the reason is 
that material causes are brought in and their operation 
is overlooked. Dialectical relations are dialectical, not 
existential and therefore have no causative power; there 
is nothing in them to generate misconception. The 
principle of dialectic is identity; its opposite is not incon- 
sistency to say nothing of falsity; it is nonsense. To 
say that dialectic as such is infallible is only to say it is 
truistic. 

Nevertheless logic or the use of meanings in a dialectic 
manner is actually exposed to all sorts of mistakes. For 
every instance of dialectic is itself existential. Meanings 
are taken; they are employed for a purpose, just as other 
materials are; they are combined and disjoined. It is the 
act of taking which enables dialectic to exist or occur, and 
taking is fallible, it is often mis-taking. Using meanings 
is a particular act; into this act enter causative factors, 
physiological, social, moral. The most perfect structure 
may be employed for purposes to which it is not apt; 
wrongly employed for the right purpose, it will buckle 
or default. Thus in dialectic, reasoning may flag because 
of fatigue; it may take one meaning for another because of 
perverse sensory appreciations, due to organic maladjust- 
ments; haste, due to absence of inhibition, may lead one to 
take a meaning to be clear when it is cloudy or ambiguous 
with respect to the purpose for which it is used, although 



288 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

in itself it is neither clear nor obscure; a desire to show off 
or to confute an opponent may lead to inconsistency and 
extraneous irrelevancies. Thousands of things may 
cause fallacies, when meanings truistically infallible be- 
cause just what they are, are used to reach an end or 
make a conclusion. Self-contradiction assuredly occurs 
but it is material and active, not formal and non-exis- 
tential. We contradict ourselves precisely as we con- 
tradict another person and for much the same reasons. 

The ownership of meanings or mind thus vests in 
nature; meanings are meanings of. The existence of 
error is proof, not disproof, of the fact that all meanings 
intrinsically have reference to natural events. The ideal- 
ist who employs the existence of error and of detection and 
possible correction of error as evidence of the existence, 
of a pre-existent truth in which errors are contained in 
their total relationship, and hence are not errors but con- 
stituents of truth, are right in the insistence that error 
involves objective reference. But in the same way diges- 
tion involves food-stuffs; and yet does not prove that 
there pre-exists a model digestion in which food is perfectly 
assimilated. Error involves a possibility of detection and 
corrections because it refers to things, but the possibility 
has an eventual, not a backward reference. It denotes 
the possibility of acts yet to be undertaken. Like the 
criterion of perfect efficiency in respect to machines, the 
notion of a complete judgment in which errors exist only 
as a rectified constituent of a perfect truth, is part of the 
art of examination and invention. Action and reaction 
are equal, to a hundred percent of equality ; but this formal 
"law" does not guarantee that in any particular system 
of action reaction there is contained perfect efficiency. 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 289 

Similarly the objective reference of meanings is complete; 
it is a hundred per cent affair; but it takes errors as well 
as truth to make up the hundred per cent, as it takes waste 
as well as efficiency to make up the perfect equality of 
action and reaction. 

We mark off certain uses of meanings as reveries in 
order to control better the cognitive reference of other 
meanings. So we mark off certain meanings as purely 
rational or ideal, as dialectical or non-existential, in order 
to control better an eventual existential reference. Mean- 
ing may become purely esthetic; it may be appropriated 
and enjoyed for what it is in the having. This also involves 
control; it is such a way of taking and using them as to 
suspend cognitive reference. 1 This suspension is an ac- 
quired art. It required long discipline to recognize poetry 
instead of taking it as history, instruction and prediction. 
The idea that meanings are originally floating and esthe- 
tic and become intellectual, or practical and cognitive, by 
a conjunction of happy accidents, puts the cart before the 
horse. Its element of truth is that there is genuine distinc- 
tion between having a meaning and using it; the element 
of falsity is in supposing that meanings, ideas, are first had 
and afterwards used. It required long experience to 

ir This statement does not rest upon a confusion between objects as 
causal conditions of meanings and objects as cognitively meant. The 
distinction is a genuine one, not to be slighted. The former connection is 
antecedent, the latter is subsequential. But meanings or mind have both 
kinds of connection. Greek myths for example were adequately condi- 
tioned in existence; but they also have a diagnostic status. When not 
taken as meanings of the behavior of gods, they are taken as meanings of 
Greek life, just as a hallucinatory ghost when not taken as a spiritual 
apparition is taken as meaning another event, say, a nervous shock. 
Having a meaning is not a reference, but every meaning had is taken or 
used as well as had. "Dialectic" means to take it a certain way. 



290 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

enforce recognition of the distinction; for originally any 
meaning had, is had in and for use. To hold an idea con- 
templatively and esthetically is a late achievement in 
civilization. 

Organic and psycho-physical activities with their quali- 
ties are conditions which have to come into existence 
before mind, the presence and operation of meanings, 
ideas, is possible. They supply mind with its footing and 
connection in nature; they provide meanings with their 
existential stuff. But meanings, ideas, are also, when 
they occur, characters of a new interaction of events; 
they are characters which in their incorporation with 
sentiency transform organic action, furnishing it with new 
properties. Every thought and meaning has its sub- 
stratum in some organic act of absorption or elimination 
of seeking, or turning away from, of destroying or caring 
for, of signaling or responding. It roots in some definite 
act of biological behavior; our physical names for mental 
acts like seeing, grasping, searching, affirming, acquiesc- 
ing, spurning, comprehending, affection, emotion are not 
just "metaphors." But while a burnt child may shrink 
from flame just as the dog cowers at the sight of a stick, a 
child may in addition, when the conditions involved have 
become a matter of discourse and are ideas, respond to the 
burn-giving flame in playful, inventive, curious and inves- 
tigative ways. He pokes a stick or piece of paper into it; 
he uses flame and the fact of its painful and burning con- 
sequence not just to keep away from it, but to do things 
with it in ways which will satisfy his want to have to do 
with fire but without getting burned. Biological acts per- 
sist, but have sense, meaning, as well as feeling, tone. 
Abrupt withdrawal having only negative, protective con- 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 291 

sequences is turned into significant and fruitful explore 
tion and manipulation. Man combines meanings, like 
fire, nearness, remoteness, warmth, comfort, nice, pain, 
expansion, softening, so that fire enters into new inter- 
actions and effects new consequences. By an intra-or- 
ganic re-enactment of partial animal reactions to natural 
events, and of accompanying reactions to and from others 
acquired in intercourse and communication, means- 
consequences are tried out in advance without the organ- 
ism getting irretrievably involved in physical conse- 
quences. Thought, deliberation, objectively directed 
imagination, in other words, is an added efficacious function 
of natural events and hence brings into being new conse- 
quences. For images are not made of psychical stuff; 
they are qualities of partial organic behaviors, which are 
their "stuff." They are partial because not fully geared 
to extero-ceptor and muscular activities, and hence not 
complete and overt. 

Domination by spatial considerations leads some 
thinkers to ask where mind is. Reserving the discussion of 
conscious behavior for the next chapter, and accepting 
for the moment the standpoint of the questioner (which 
ignores the locus of discourse, institutions and social arts), 
limiting the question to the organic individual, we may say 
that the "seat" or locus of mind its static phase is the 
qualities of organic action, as far as these qualities have 
been conditioned by language and its consequences. It 
is usual for those who are posed by the question of "where" 
and who are reluctant to answer that mind is "where" 
there is a spaceless separate realm of existence, to fall 
back in general on the nervous system, and specifically 
upon the brain or its cortex as the "seat" of mind. But 



292 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

the organism is not just a structure; it is a characteristic 
way of interactivity which is not simultaneous, all at 
once but serial. It is a way impossible without structures 
for its mechanism, but it differs from structure as walking 
differs from legs or breathing from lungs. Prior to com- 
munication, the qualities of this action are what we have 
termed psycho-physical; they are not "mental." The 
consequences of partaking in communication modify 
organic ways of acting; the latter attain new qualities. 

When I think such meanings as "friend" and "enemy/ 1 
I refer to external and eventual consequences. But this 
naming does not involve miraculous "action at a dis- 
tance." There is something present in organic action 
which acts as a surrogate for the remote things signified. 
The words make immediate sense as well as have signifi- 
cation. This something now present is not just the activ- 
ity of the laryngeal and vocal apparatus. When shortcir- 
cuiting through language is carried as far as limitation to 
this apparatus, words are mere counters automatically 
used, and language disappears. The ideas are qualities of 
events in all the parts of organic structure which have ever 
been implicated in actual situations of concern with extra- 
organic friends and enemies: presumably in proprio- 
receptors and organ-receptors with all their connected 
glandular and muscular mechanisms. These qualities 
give body and stuff to the activity of the linguistic appara- 
tus. The integration of the qualities of vocal apparatus 
allied through the nervous mechanism with the qualities 
of these other events, constitutes the immediate sense of 
friendliness and animosity. The more intimate the 
alliance of vocal activity with the total organic disposi- 
tion toward friends and enemies, the greater is the inune- 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 203 

diate sense of the words. The nervous system is in no 
sense the "seat " of the idea. It is the mechanism of the 
connection or integration of acts. 

"Socrates is mortal" is hardly more than a counter of 
logical text-books; S is M will do just as well or better. 
But not so to the disciples of Socrates who had just heard 
of his condemnation to death. The connection of the 
auditory act with the totality of organic responses was then 
complete. In some linguistic situations, such emphatic 
immediate presence of sense occurs; language is then 
poetical. For other purposes, action is served by elimi- 
nation of immediate sense as far as possible. The atti- 
tude is prosaic; it is best subserved by mathematical 
symbolism; mathematical not signifying something ready 
made, but being simply the devices by which mind is 
rigidly occupied with instrumental objects, by means of 
artificial inhibition of immediate and consummatory quali- 
ties, the latter being distracting for the activity in hand. 
The consummatory phase cannot be suppressed or elimi- 
nated however; nature pitched through the door returns 
through the window. And the common form of its 
return today is falling down in worship or in fear before 
the resulting mathematico-mechanical object. 

In conclusion, it may be asserted that "soul" when 
freed from all traces of traditional materialistic animism 
denotes the qualities of psycho-physical activities as far as 
these are organized into unity. Some bodies have souls 
preeminently as some conspicuously have fragrance, color, 
and solidity. To make this statement is to call attention 
to properties that characterize these bodies, not to import 
a mysterious non-natural entity or force. Were there not 
in actual existence properties of sensitivity and of marvel- 



294 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

ously comprehensive and delicate participative response 
characterizing living bodies, mythical notions about the 
nature of the soul would never have risen. The myths 
have lost whatever poetic quality they once had; when 
offered as science they are superstitious encumbrances. 
But the idiomatic non-doctrinal use of the word soul 
retains a sense of the realities concerned. To say emphat- 
ically of a particular person that he has soul or a great 
soul is not to utter a platitude, applicable equally to all 
human beings. It expresses the conviction that the 
man or woman in question has in marked degree qualities 
of sensitive, rich and coordinated participation in all the 
situations of life. Thus works of art, music, poetry, 
painting, architecture, have soul, while others are dead, 
mechanical. 

When the organization called soul is free, moving and 
operative, initial as well as terminal, it is spirit. Qualities 
are both static, substantial, and transitive. Spirit quick- 
ens; it is not only alive, but spirit gives life. Animals are 
spirited, but man is a living spirit. He lives in his works 
and his works do follow him. Soul is form, spirit informs. 
It is the moving function of that of which soul is the sub- 
stance. Perhaps the words soul and spirit are so heavily 
laden with traditional mythology and sophisticated doc- 
trine that they must be surrendered; it may be impossible 
to recover for them in science and philosophy the reali- 
ties designated in idiomatic speech. But the realities 
are there, by whatever names they be called. 

Old ideas do not die when the beliefs which have been 
explicitly associated with them disappear; they usually 
only change their clothes. Present notions about the 
organism are largely a survival, with changed vocabulary, 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 295 

of old ideas about soul and body. The soul was conceived 
as inhabiting the body in an external way. Now the 
nervous system is conceived as a substitute, mysteriously 
within the body. But as the soul was "simple" and there, 
fore not diffused through the body, so the nervous system 
as the seat of mental events is narrowed down to the brain, 
and then to the cortex of the brain; while many physio- 
logical inquirers would doubtless feel enormously relieved 
if a specific portion of the cortex could be ascertained to 
be the seat of consciousness. Those who talk most of 
the organism, physiologists and psychologists, are often 
just those who display least sense of the intimate, delicate 
and subtle interdependence of all organic structures and 
processes with one another. The world seems mad in 
pre-occupation with what is specific, particular, discon- 
nected in medicine, politics, science, industry, education. 
In terms of a conscious control of inclusive wholes, 
search for those links which occupy key positions and 
which effect critical connections is indispensable. But 
recovery of sanity depends upon seeing and using these 
specifiable things as links functionally significant in 
a process. To see the organism in nature, the nervous 
system in the organism, the brain in the nervous system, 
the cortex in the brain is the answer to the problems which 
haunt philosophy. And when thus seen they will be seen 
to be in, not as marbles are in a box but as events are 
in history, in a moving, growing never finished process. 
Until we have a procedure in actual practice which demon- 
strates this continuity, we shall continue to engage in 
appealing to some other specific thing, some other broken 
off affair, to restore connectedness and unity calling the 
specific religion, or reform or whatever specific is the fash- 



296 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

ionable cure of the period. Thus we increase the disease 
in the means used to cure it. 1 

In matters predominantly physical we know that all 
control depends upon conscious perception of relations 
obtaining between things, otherwise one cannot be used 
to affect the other. We have been marvellously success- 
ful in inventing and constructing external machines, 
because with respect to such things we take for granted 
that success occurs only upon the conscious plane that 
of conscious perception of the relations which things 
sustain to one another. We know that locomotives and 
aeroplanes and telephones and power-plants do not arise 
from instinct or the subconscious but from deliberately 
ascertained perception of connections and orders of con- 
nections. Now after a period in which advance in these 
respects was complacently treated as proof and measure 
of progress, we have been forced to adopt pessimistic 
attitudes, and to wonder if this "progress" is to end in the 
deterioration of man and the possible destruction of 
civilization. 

Clearly we have not carried the plane of conscious 
control, the direction of action by perception of connec- 
tions, far enough. We cannot separate organic life and 
mind from physical nature without also separating nature 
from life and mind. The separation has reached a point 
where intelligent persons are asking whether the end is to 
be catastrophe, the subjection of man to the industrial and 
military machines he has created. This situation confers 
peculiar poignancy upon the fact that just where connec- 
tions and interdependences are most numerous, intimate 

* See F. Matthias Alexander'! Mao's Supreme Inheritance! and Conscious 
Constructive Control. 



NATURE, LIFE AND BODY-MIND 297 

and pervasive, in living, psycho-physical activity, we 
most ignore unity and connection, and trust most unre- 
servedly in our deliberate beliefs to the isolated and 
specific which signifies that in action we commit our- 
selves to the unconscious and subconscious, to blind 
instinct and impulse and routine, disguised and ration- 
alized by all sorts of honorific titles. Thus we are brought 
to the topic of consciousness. 



CHAPTER EIGHT 
EXISTENCE, IDEAS AND CONSCIOUSNESS 

In the discussions of the last chapter the word "con- 
sciousness" was avoided. It is a word of unsettled signi- 
fication. Even apart from ambiguities in interpreta- 
tion, there is no consensus as to what things the word 
denotes. Two quite different affairs are usually desig- 
nated by it. On the one hand, it is employed to point 
out certain qualities in their immediate apparency, quali- 
ties of things of sentiency, such as are, from the psy- 
chological standpoint, usually termed feelings. The sum 
total of these immediate qualities present as literal ends 
or closures of natural processes constitute "consciousness" 
as an anoetic occurrence. This is consciousness wherever 
meanings do not exist; that is to say, apart from the exist- 
ence and employment of signs, or independently of com- 
munication. On the other hand, consciousness is used to 
denote meanings actually perceived, awareness of objects: 
being wide-awake, alert, attentive to the significance of 
events, present, past, future. It is a lexicographic matter, 
which will not be discussed, whether the word should be 
employed to denote two such different affairs. What is 
important is that the difference in the nature of the 
things denoted should be registered, and that false ingenu- 
ity should not be expended in reducing one to the other. 

Our previous discussion enables us, it will appear, to 
place the two denotations. The existential starting point 
is immediate qualities. Even meanings taken not as 
meanings but as existential are grounded in immediate 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 299 

qoeHties, in sentiencies or "feelings," of organic activities 
and receptivities. Meanings do not come into being 
without language, and language implies two selves in- 
volved in a conjoint or shared undertaking. Thus while 
its direct mechanism is found in the vocalizing and audit- 
ory apparatuses, this mechanism is in alliance with general 
organic behavior. Otherwise it becomes a mechanical 
routine not differing from the "speech" of parrot or a 
phonographic record. This alliance supplies language 
with the immediate qualitative "feel" that marks off 
signs immediately from one another in existence. 

The same considerations define the "subconscious" of 
human thinking. Apart from language, from imputed 
and inferred meaning, we continually engage in an immense 
multitude of immediate organic selections, rejections, 
welcomings, expulsions, appropriations, withdrawals, 
shrinkings, expansions, elations and dejections, attacks, 
wardings off, of the most minute, vibratingly delicate 
nature. We are not aware of the qualities of many or 
most of these acts; we do not objectively distinguish and 
identify them. Yet they exist as feeling qualities, and 
have an enormous directive effect on our behavior. If 
for example, certain sensory qualities of which we are not 
cognitively aware cease to exist, we cannot stand or con- 
trol our posture and movements. In a thoroughly nor- 
mal organism, these "feelings" have an efficiency of 
operation which it is impossible for thought to match. 
Even our most highly intellectualized operations depend 
upon them as a "fringe" by which to guide our inferential 
movements. They give us our sense of rightness and 
wrongness, of what to select and emphasize and follow 
ap, and what to drop, slur over and ignore, among the 



300 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

multitude of inchoate meanings that are presenting th 
selves. They give us premonitions of approach to accept- 
able meanings, and warnings of getting off the track. 
Formulated discourse is mainly but a selected statement of 
what we wish to retain among all these incipient starts, 
following ups and breakings off. Except as a reader, 
a hearer repeats something of these organic movements, 
and thus "gets" their qualities, he does not get the sense 
of what is said; he does not really assent, even though he 
give cold approbation. These qualities are the stuff of 
''intuitions" and in actuality the difference between an 
"intuitive" and an analytic person is at most a matter of 
degree, of relative emphasis. The "reasoning" person 
is one who makes his "intuitions" more articulate, 
more deliverable in speech, as explicit sequence of initial 
premises, jointures, and conclusions. 

Meanings acquired in connection with the use of tools 
and of language exercise a profound influence upon organic 
feelings. In the reckoning of this account, are included 
the changes effected by all the consequences of attitude 
and habit due to all the consequences of tools and lan- 
guage in short, civilization. Evil communications cor- 
rupt (native) good manners of action, and hence pervert 
feeling and subconsciousness. The deification of the sub- 
conscious is legitimate only for those who never indulge 
in it animals and thoroughly healthy naive children 
if there be any such. The subconscious of a civilized adult 
reflects all the habits he has acquired; that is to say, all 
the organic modifications he has undergone. And in 
so far as these involve mal-coordinations, fixations and 
segregations (as they assuredly come to do in a very short 
time for those living in complex "artificial" conditions). 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 301 

sensory appreciation is confused, perverted and falsified 
It is most reliable in just those activities with respect to 
which it is least spoken of, and least reliable with respect 
to those things where it is fashionable most to laud it. 
That is, it operates most successfully in meanings asso- 
ciated with language that is highly technical, affairs 
remote from fundamental and exigent needs, as in mathe- 
matics, or philosophizing far away from concrete situa- 
tions, or in a highly cultivated fine art. It is surest to 
be wrong in connection with intimate matters of self- 
regulation in health, morals, social affairs in matters 
most closely connected with basic needs and relationships. 
Where its use is popularly recommended it is most dan- 
gerous. To use feelings which are not the expression 
of a rectitude of organic action, rectitude that in 
civilized or artificial conditions is acquired only by taking 
thought (taking thought is radically different to just 
"thinking"), is to act like an animal without having the 
structural facilities of animal life. It has the fascina- 
tion of all easy surrender to fatality and may be eulo- 
gized as a return to nature, spontaneity, or to the quasi- 
divine. It has the charm of lazy and comfortable escape 
from responsibility; we die, but we die, like animals, 
upon the field, defeated and mayhap disheartened, but 
without knowing it. 

In a practical sense, here is the heart of the mind-body 
problem. Activities which develop, appropriate and en- 
joy meanings bear the same actualizing relation to psycho- 
physical affairs that the latter bear to physical characters. 
They present the consequences of a wider range of inter- 
actions, that in which needs, efforts and satisfactions 
conditioned by association are operative. In this widened 



302 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

and deepened activity, there are both added resource! 
and values, and added liabilities and defaults. The 
actualization of meanings furnishes psycho-physical quali- 
ties with their ulterior significance and worth. But it 
also confuses and perverts them. The effects of this cor- 
ruption are themselves embodied through habits in the 
psycho-physical, forming one-sided degraded and exces- 
sive susceptibilities; creating both disassociations and 
rigid fixations in the sensory register. These habitual 
effects become in turn spontaneous, natural, "instinctive;" 
they form the platform of development and apprehension 
of further meanings, affecting every subsequent phase of 
personal and social fife. 1 

Thus while the psycho-physical in man, apart from 
conscious meaning achieves nothing distinguished, the 
casual growth and incorporation of meanings cause the 
native need, adjustment and satisfaction to lose their im- 
mediate certainty and efficiency, and become subject to all 
kinds of aberrations. There then occur systematized 
withdrawals from intercourse and interaction, from what 
common sense calls "reality": carefully cultivated and 
artificially protected fantasies of consolation and com- 
pensation; rigidly stereotyped beliefs not submitted to ob- 
jective tests; habits of learned ignorance or systematized 
ignorings of concrete relationships; organized fanaticisms; 
dogmatic traditions which socially are harshly intoler- 
ant and which intellectually are institutionalized para- 
noic systems; idealizations which instead of being imme- 
diate enjoyments of meanings, cut man off from nature 
and his fellows. 

l Sec the books of Mr. Alexander already referred to, p. 296, 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 308 

In short, there is constituted what Walter Lippmann 
has well termed a secondary pseudo-environment, which 
affects every item of traffic and dealing with the primary 
environment. Thus the concrete problems of mind- 
body have their locus and import in the educational 
procedures by which a normal integration of meanings in 
organic functions shall be secured and perversions pre- 
vented; in the remedial operations of psychiatry, and in 
social arts and appliances that render intercourse substan- 
tial, balanced and flexible. 

While on the psycho-physical level, consciousness de- 
notes the totality of actualized immediate qualitative 
differences, or "feelings/' it denotes, upon the plane of 
mind, actualized apprehensions of meanings, that is, 
ideas. There is thus an obvious difference between 
mind and consciousness; meaning and an idea. Mind 
denotes the whole system of meanings as they are em- 
bodied in the workings of organic life ; consciousness in a 
being with language denotes awareness or perception of 
meanings; it is the perception of actual events, whether 
past, contemporary or future, in their meanings, the 
having of actual ideas. The greater part of mind is 
only implicit in any conscious act or state; the field of 
mind of operative meanings is enormously wider than 
that of consciousness. Mind is contextual and persistent ; 
consciousness is focal and transitive. Mind is, so to 
speak, structural, substantial; a constant background and 
foreground; perceptive consciousness is process, a series 
of heres and nows. Mind is a constant luminosity; 
consciousness intermittent, a series of flashes of varying 
intensities. Consciousness is, as it were, the occasional 
interception of messages continually transmitted, as a 



304 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

mechanical receiving device selects a few of the vibra- 
tions with which the air is filled and renders them audible. 
The nature of awareness of meanings cannot be 
conveyed in speech. As with other immediate quali- 
tative existences, words can only hint, point; the 
indication succeeding when it evokes an actual experi- 
ence of the thing in question. Such words as apparency, 
conspicuousness, outstandingness, vividness, clearness, in- 
cluding of course their opposites vague, dim, confused, 
may assist the evocation. To denote the characteris- 
tics of mind a thoroughly different set of names must be 
used: organization, order, coherence. The relation of 
mind to consciousness may be partially suggested by 
saying that while mind as a system of meanings is subject 
to disorganization, disequilibration, perturbation, there is 
no sense in referring to a particular state of awareness in 
its immediacy as either organized or disturbed. An idea 
is just what it is when it occurs. To call it composed or 
perturbed is to compare one state with another, a com- 
parison which by nature of the case can be made only 
indirectly on the basis of respective conditions and con- 
sequences. Emotional conditions do not occur as emo- 
tions, intrinsically defined as such; they occur as"tertiary" 
qualities of objects. Some cases of awareness or percep- 
tion are designated "emotions" in retrospect or from with- 
out, as a child is instructed to term certain perceptual 
situations anger, or fear, or love, by way of informing 
him as to their consequences. Immediately, every per- 
ceptual awareness may be termed indifferently emotion, 
sensation, thought, desire: not that it is immediately 
any one of these things, or all of them combined, but that 
when it is taken in some reference, to conditions or to 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 305 

consequences or to both, it has, in that contextual refer- 
ence, the distinctive properties of emotion, sensation, 
thought or desire. 

The relation between mind and consciousness may be 
indicated by a familiar happening. When we read a 
book, we are immediately conscious of meanings that 
present themselves, and vanish. These meanings exis- 
tentially occurring are ideas. But we are capable of get- 
ting ideas from what is read because of an organized 
system of meanings of which we are not at any one time 
completely aware. Our mathematical or political "mind" 
is the system of such meanings as possess and deter- 
mine our particular apprehensions or ideas. There is 
however, a continuum or spectrum between this con- 
taining system and the meanings which, being focal and 
urgent, are the ideas of the moment. There is a contex- 
tual field between the latter and those meanings which 
determine the habitual direction of our conscious thoughts 
and supply the organs for their formation. One great 
mistake in the orthodox psychological tradition is its 
exclusive preoccupation with sharp focaJization to the 
neglect of the vague shading off from the foci into a field 
of increasing dimness. 

Discrimination in favor of the clearly distinguished has a 
certain practical justification, for the vague and extensive 
background is present in every conscious experience and 
therefore does not define the character of any one in 
particular. It represents that which is being used and 
taken for granted, while the focal phase is that which is 
imminent and critical. But this fact affords no justifica- 
tion for neglect and denial in theory of the dim and total 
background consciousness of every distinct thought. If 



306 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

there were a sharp division between the ideas that are 
focal as we read a certain section of a book and what we 
have already read, if there were not carried along a sense 
of the latter, what we now read could not take the form 
of an idea. Indeed, the use of such words as context and 
background, fringe, etc., suggests something too external 
to meet the facts of the case. The larger system of 
meaning suffuses, interpenetrates, colors what is now 
and here uppermost; it gives them sense, feeling, as diT 
tinct from signification. 

Change the illustration from reading a book to seeing 
and hearing a drama. The emotional as well as intellec- 
tual meaning of each presented phase of a play depends 
upon the operative presence of a continuum of meanings. 
If we have to remember what has been said and done at 
any particular point, we are not aware of what is now said 
and done; while without its suffusive presence in what is 
now said and done we lack clew to its meaning. Thus 
the purport of past affairs is present in the momentary 
cross-sectional idea in a way which is more intimate, direct 
and pervasive than the way of recall. It is positively and 
integrally carried in and by the incidents now happening; 
these incidents are, in the degree of genuine dramatic 
quality, fulfillment of the meanings constituted by past 
events; they also give this system of meanings an unex- 
pected turn, and constitute a suspended and still indeter- 
minate meaning, which induces alertness, expectancy. 
It is this double relationship of continuation, promotion, 
carrying forward, and of arrest, deviation, need of supple- 
mentation, which defines that focalization of meanings 
which is consciousness, awareness, perception. Every 
case of consciousness is dramatic; drama is an enhance- 
ment of the conditions of consciousness. 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 307 

It is impossible to tell what immediate consciousness 
is not because there is some mystery in or behind it, 
but for the same reason that we cannot tell just what 
sweet or red immediately is: it is something had, not 
communicated and known. But words, as means of 
directing action, may evoke a situation in which the thing 
in question is had in some particularly illuminating way* 
It seems to me that anyone who installs himself in the 
midst of the unfolding of drama has the experience of 
consciousness in just this sort of way; in a way which en- 
ables him to give significance to descriptive and analytic 
terms otherwise meaningless. There must be a story, 
some whole, an integrated series of episodes. This con- 
nected whole is mind, as it extends beyond a particular 
process of consciousness and conditions it. There must 
also be now-occurring events, to which meanings are 
assigned in terms of a story taking place. Episodes do 
not mean what they would mean if occurring in some 
different story. They have to be perceived in terms of 
the story, as its forwardings and fulfillings. At the same 
time, until the play or story is ended, meajiings given to 
events are of a sort which constantly evoke a meaning 
which was not absolutely anticipated or totally predicted: 
there is expectancy, but also surprise, novelty. As far 
as complete and assured prediction is possible, interest in 
the play lags; it ceases to be an observed drama, it is not 
subsequently in consciousness. 

An oft-told tale repeated without change fails to engage 
perception; it liberates us for attention to another story 
where development of meanings is as yet incomplete and 
indeterminate, possessed of suspense and uncertainty. 
Thus while perceptions are existentially intermittent and 



308 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

discrete, Kke a series of signal flashes, or telegraphic clicks, 
yet they involve a continuum of meaning in process of 
formation. If we became convinced that a succession of 
flashes or clicks were not a series of terms with respect to 
one and the same unfolding meaning, we should not at- 
tend to them or be aware of them. If on the other hand, 
there are no variations to compel suspense, no unforseen 
movement in a new direction; if there is one unbroken 
luminosity, or one unbroken monotony of sound, there is 
no perception, no consciousness. 

These considerations enable us to give a formal defini- 
tion of consciousness in relation to mind or meanings. 
Consciousness, an idea, is that phase of a system of mean- 
ings which at a given time is undergoing re-direction, 
transitive transformation. The current idealistic con- 
ception of consciousness as a power which modifies events, 
is an inverted statement of this fact. To treat conscious- 
ness as a power accomplishing the change, is but another 
instance of the common philosophic fallacy of converting 
an eventual function into an antecedent force or cause. 
Consciousness is the meaning of events in course of re- 
making; its "cause" is only the fact that this is one of the 
ways in which nature goes on. In a proximate sense of 
causality, namely as place in a series history, its causa- 
tion is the need and demand for filling out what is inde- 
terminate. 

There is a counterpart realist doctrine, according to 
which consciousness is like the eye running over a field 
of ready-made objects, or a light which illuminates now 
this and now that portion of a given field. These analo- 
gies ignore the indetenninateness of meaning when there 
is awareness; they fail to consider a basic consideration, 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 309 

namely, that while there exists an antecedent stock of 
meanings, these are just the ones which we take for 
granted and use: the ones of which we are not and do 
not need to be conscious. The theory takes as the 
normal case of consciousness the case where there is a 
minimum of doubt and inquiry; the case where objects 
are most familiar and current, and so to speak vouch 
directly for themselves. It finds consciousness exem- 
plified in being aware of old and often used things (the 
articles of furniture which figure in most discussions 'of 
consciousness) rather than in case of thinking where 
reflective inquiry is needed in order to arrive at a meaning. 
It postulates, even though only implicitly, a pre-estab- 
lished harmony of the knower and things known, passing 
over the fact that such harmony is always an attained 
outcome of prior inferences and investigations. It 
assumes a knowing mind wholly guileless, and extraordi- 
narily competent, whose sole business is to behold and 
register objects just as what they are, and which is 
unswervingly devoted to its business. 

It is hard to believe that such an amiable and optimis- 
tic view of the nature of mind could have obtained cur- 
rency, had it not been for a theology according to which 
God is perfect mind and man is created in the image of 
his maker. Even so, however, it could hardly have per- 
sisted when science displaced theology, had not science 
provided a number of cases which satisfy the requirement 
of the theory, and thereby given it a kind of empirical 
content and basis. That is, the development of science 
does present (a) the rise of cognitional interest to a point 
of prestige, and (b) it supplies eventually many cases of 
valid cognitive perceptions. Those who concern them- 



310 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

selves with inquiry into the nature of consciousness have 
a strongly developed intellectual interest; this makes it 
easy for them to postulate a universal concern in know- 
ing objects as the very essence of mind. These persons 
have rectitude of cognitive bent, acquired through scien- 
tific training; and they with ready benevolence, confer 
similar rectitude upon perception universally. Then 
when the existence of error, mistake, dreams, hallucina- 
tions, etc. is recognized, these things are treated as devia- 
tions and exceptions from the normal, to be accounted for 
by the introduction of complicating factors. 

The problem and its solution thus become essentially 
dialectical. For empirical facts indicate that not error 
but truth is the exception, the thing to be accounted for, 
and that the attainment of truth is the outcome of the 
development of complex and elaborate methods of search- 
ing, methods that while congenial to some men in some 
respects, in many respects go against the human grain, 
so that they are adopted only after long discipline in a 
school of hard knocks. Even to put the matter in terms 
of proportion of erroneous and true perceptions, is to fail 
to see the chief objection to the theory. For it postu- 
lates the primarily cognitive character of awareness or 
perception. Empirically, however, the characteristic 
thing about perceptions in their natural estate, apart from 
subjection to an art of knowing, is their irrelevance to 
both truth and error; they exist for the most part in 
another dimension, whose nature may be suggested by 
reference to imagination, fancy, reverie, affection, love 
and hate, desire, happiness and misery. This fact, more 
than the error-problem, proves the artificial character of 
the spectator, search-light, notion of consciousness. 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 311 

Empirical evidence in support of the proposition that 
consciousness of meanings denotes redirection of mean- 
ings (which are always ultimately meanings of events) 
is supplied by obvious facts of attention and interest on 
one side, and the working of established and assured habits 
on the other. The familiar does not consciously appear, 
save in an unexpected, novel, situation, where the familiar 
presents itself in a new light and is therefore not wholly 
familiar. Our deepest-seated habits are precisely those 
of which we have least awareness. When they operate 
in a situation to which they are not accustomed, in an 
unusual situation, a new adjustment is required. Hence 
there is shock, and an accompanying perception of dis- 
solving and reforming meaning. Attention is most alert 
and stretched, when, because of unusual situations, there 
is great concern about the issue, together with suspense as 
to what it will be. We are engaged at once in taking in 
what is happening and looking ahead to what has not yet 
happened. As far as we can count upon the contempo- 
rary conditions and upon their outcome, focalization of 
meaning is absent. That which is taken to be involved 
in any event, in every issue, no matter what, we are not 
aware of. If we consider the entire field from bright 
focus through the fore-conscious, the "fringe," to what is 
dim, sub-conscious "feeling," the focus corresponds to 
the point of imminent need, of urgency; the "fringe" 
corresponds to things that just have been reacted to or 
that will soon require to be looked after, while the remote 
outlying field corresponds to what does not have to be 
modified, and which may be dependably counted upon 
in dealing with imminent need. 



312 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Hence the proverbial disparity between things fa the 
scale of consciousness and in the scale of consequences is 
the most conclusive refutation of subjective idealism. 
The power of a momentary annoyance or flitting amuse- 
ment to distract a personage from an enduringly serious 
question is a familiar theme of comedy; a glass of wine or 
the whine of a mosquito may exclude issues of life and 
death. Any trivial thing may swell and swell, if it 
bothers us. To like effect are the standing complaints of 
moralists that men sacrifice the great good to the lesser, 
if the latter be close at hand; and their proclamation that 
reason and freedom are only found when the near-by and 
the remote good are weighed with equal balance. Trag- 
edy gives the same testimony. While doom impends the 
tragic hero fatally pursues his way, unheeding of the web 
closing in upon him, obvious to all others, and oblivious 
of what should be done to avert destructive destiny. 

The immediately precarious, the point of greatest im- 
mediate need, defines the apex of consciousness, its intense 
or focal mode. And this is the point of re-direction, of 
re-adaptation, re-organization. Hence the aptness of 
James's comparison of the course of consciousness to a 
stream, in spite of its intermittent character a fact 
empirically recognized in his intimation of its rhythmic 
waxings and wanings ; of his insistence that only an 
object, not a concrete consciousness which is had twice, or 
which remains the same ; of his analogy of focus and fringe ; 
of his statement of its movements as a series of perchings 
and flights, of substantial and transitive phases; for mean- 
ings are condensed at the focus of imminent re-direction 
only to disappear as organization is effected, and yield 
place to another point of stress and weakness. 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 313 

Empirical confirmation of this conception of conscious- 
ness is found in the extreme instability of every per- 
ceived object; the impossibility of excluding rapid and 
subtle change, except at the cost of inducing hypnotic 
sleep; the passage from being wide awake, awake, 
drowsy, dreaming and fast asleep, according as an 
organism is actively partaking, or abstaining from par- 
taking, in the course of events. All that goes by the 
name of "relativity" of consciousness is to precisely the 
same effect, including the Weberian principle; perceived 
changes are those which require a redirection of adaptive 
behavior. A prior adaptation constitutes a threshold 
(better called a platform or plateau) ; what is consciously 
noted is alteration of one plateau; re- adjustment to an- 
other. Similar events may mean cold at one time or 
place and warmth at another, depending upon the direc- 
tion of organic re-adaptation. Even a tooth-ache is 
unstable in consciousness for it is notoriously a matter of 
throbs, pulsations, palpitations, waxings and wanings of 
intensity, of organic protests and temporary deviations, 
and of enforced returns of flights and perchings. The 
"tooth-ache" which does not change is not the perceived 
tooth-ache, but the cognitive object, the unperceived tooth 
to which the sequence of all changes is referred. 

Confirmation of the hypothesis is found in the fact that 
wherever perceptual awareness occurs, there is a "mo- 
ment" of hesitation; there are scruples, reservations, in 
complete overt action. It seems quite probable that 
men of the executive type are those of the least subtle and 
variegated perceptual field; of the lowest degree of con- 
sciousness, having the steepest threshold to be crossed 
in order to induce a state of awareness. We have to 



314 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

"stop and think," and we do not stop unless there Is 
interference. The flood of action at high tide overrides 
all but the most considerable obstructions. It flows too 
forcibly and rapidly in one direction to be checked; 
without inhibition there are no hesitations, crises, alter- 
natives, need of re-direction. Overt action is an enstate- 
ment of established organic-environmental integrations. 
As long as these can maintain themselves, they do so; 
there is then no opportunity for transforming meaning 
into idea. In completely integrated function there is no 
room for distinction between things signifying and things 
signified. Only when behavior is divided within itself, 
do some of its factors have a subject-matter which stands 
for present tendencies and for their requirements or indi- 
cations and implications, while others factors stand for 
absent and remote objects which, in unifying and organiz- 
ing activity, complete the meaning of what is given at 
hand. The readier a response, the less consciousness, 
meaning, thinking it permits; division introduces mental 
confusion, but also, in need for redirection, opportunity 
for observation, recollection, anticipation. 

There is then an empirical truth in the common opposi- 
tion between theory and practice, between the contem- 
plative, reflective type and the executive type, the "go- 
getter," the kind that "gets things done." It is, however, 
a contrast between two modes of practice. One is the 
pushing, slam-bang, act-first and think-afterwards mode, 
to which events may yield as they give way to any strong 
force. The other mode is wary, observant, sensitive to 
slight hints and intimations; perhaps intriguing, timid 
in public and ruthless in concealed action; perhaps 
over-cautious and inhibited, unduly subject to scruples, 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 31S 

hesitancies, an ineffective Hamlet in performance; or per- 
haps achieving a balance between immediately urgent 
demands and remoter consequences, consistent and cumu- 
lative in action. In the latter case, there develops a 
field of perception, rich in hues and subtle in shades of 
meaning. In the degree in which this occurs, overt 
action is subordinated to the contribution it renders to 
sustaining and developing the scope of the conscious 
field. One lives on a conscious plane; thought guides 
activity, and perception is its reward. Action is not 
suppressed but is moderated. Like the scientific experi- 
menter, one acts not just to act, nor rashly, nor automati- 
cally, but with a consciousness of purpose and for the 
sake of learning. Intellectual hesitations and reserva- 
tions are used to expand and enrich the field of percep- 
tion, by means of rendering activity more delicate, and 
discriminatingly adapted. 

The notion that highly thoughtful persons are incom- 
petent in action has its proper corrective in another atti- 
tude of belief which is expressed in such words as these: 
"No one can make you see this point; but unless you do 
see it, you won't change your conduct; if you do get the 
point you will act differently." The first notion, that 
thought paralyzes, refers to action in gross, the second re- 
lates to change in quality of action. Carry to an extreme 
the experiences indicated by the first proposition, and the 
result is the so-called automaton or epiphenomenal theory 
of consciousness; perception is an idle and superficial at- 
tachment to a mechanical play of energies. Carry the 
experiences involved in the other saying to an extreme, 
and you have the doctrine of the original creativeness of 
consciousness; it makes objects what they are. 



316 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Empirically the situation stands about like this: 
use or intent of instruction, advice, admonition, and 
honest dialectic is to bring to awareness meanings hither- 
to unperceived, thereby constituting their ideas. The 
entanglements, misunderstandings and compromised un- 
derstandings of life are a sufficient commentary on the 
difficulties in the way of realizing this intent. But experi- 
ence demonstrates that as far as it is accomplished, con- 
duct is actually changed; to get a new meaning is per 
force to be in a new attitude. This does not indicate that 
consciousness or perception is an entity which makes 
the difference. What follows is that perception or con- 
sciousness is, literally, the difference in process of making. 
Instruction and reproof that are not an idle flogging of the 
air involve an art of re-directing activity; given this 
redirection and there is emergence of change in meanings, 
or perception. There is here no question of priority or 
causal sequence; intentional change in direction of events 
is transforming change in the meaning of those events. 
We have at present little or next to no controlled art of 
securing that redirection of behavior which constitutes 
adequate perception or consciousness. That is, we have 
little or no art of education in the fundamentals, namely 
in the management of the organic attitudes which color 
the qualities of our conscious objects and acts. 

As long as our chief psycho-physical coordinations are 
formed blindly and in the dark during infancy and early 
childhood, they are accidental adjustments to the pressure 
of other persons and of circumstances which act upon us. 
They do not then take into account the consequence of 
these activities upon formation of habits and habitua- 
tions. Hence the connection between consciousness and 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS J17 

action is precarious, and its possession a doubtful boon 
as compared with the efficacy of instinct or structure in 
lower animals. Energy is wasteful and misdirected; in 
the outcome we effect the opposite of what we intended. 
Consciousness is desultory and casual. Only when 
organic activity achieves a conscious plane shall we be 
adequately aware of what we are about. As long as 
our own fundamental psycho-physical attitudes in dealing 
with external things are subconscious, our conscious atten- 
tion going only to the relations of external things, so long 
will our perception of the external situations be subject 
at its root to perversion and vitiation. This state of 
affairs is the source of that apparent disconnection be- 
tween consciousness and action which strikes us when we 
begin to reflect. The connecting links between the 
two are in our own attitudes; while they remain unper- 
ceived, consciousness and behavior must appear to be 
independent of each other. Hence there will be empirical 
reason for isolating consciousness from natural events. 
When so isolated, some persons will assert that conscious- 
ness is a slavish and capricious shadow of things and 
others will proclaim that it is their rightful creator and 
master. Assertions, like those of this discussion, that 
consciousness is their recognized meaning when they are 
undergoing purposeful re-direction by means of organic 
activity will seem to lack full empirical evidence. 

It remains to note and deal with two difficulties that 
have quite probably troubled the reader. In the first 
place, the discussion has explicitly gone on the basis that 
what is perceived are meanings, rather than just events 
or existences. In this respect, the view presented agrees 
with classic teaching, according to which perception, 



318 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

apprehension, lays hold of form, not of matter. I believe 
this view properly understood is inherently sound; the 
error in the classic theory lies in its accompanying assump- 
tion that all perceptions are intrinsically cognitive. In 
the second place, the identification of consciousness with 
perceptive awareness runs counter to the verbal usage of 
recent psychology and philosophy which limits perception 
to apprehension (usually valid) of contemporaneously 
occurring events in "real" space. The latter issue how 
ever is not just a matter of propriety of language about 
which it would be absurd to argue. It involves the 
conviction that perception of real things now exist- 
ing differs inherently from other modes of consciousness, 
such as emotion, thinking, remembering, fancy and imagi- 
nation. For this conviction, it must be explicitly noted, 
is contradicted by the conception which has been stated. 
According to the latter every mode of awareness as 
distinct from "feeling" in its immediate existence is 
exactly the same sort of thing, namely a remaking of 
meanings of events. The difference, it is implied, between 
awareness of present and "real" things and of absent and 
unreal is extrinsic, not intrinsic to a consciousness. The 
sequel will reveal that these two points are intimately 
connected with each other. 

When it is denied that we are conscious of events as 
such it is not meant that we are not aware of objects. 
Objects are precisely what we are aware of. For objects 
are events with meanings; tables, the milky way, chairs, 
stars, cats, dogs, electrons, ghosts, centaurs, historic 
epochs and all the infinitely multifarious subject-matter 
of discourse designable by common nouns, verbs and their 
qualifiers. So intimate is the connection of meanings 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS SI* 

with consciousness that there is no great difficulty in 
resolving "consciousness," as a recent original and 
ingenious thinker has done, into knots, intersections or 
complexes of universals. 1 

Serious difficulty sets in however when events are 
resolved into such combinations. The matter is referred 
to here not to be argued; but to indicate that a "realist" 
has gone even further than the theory now presented goes 
in identifying the subject-matter of which there is aware- 
ness with meanings, or at least with universals which, 
as simple subject-matter, colors, sounds, etc., and com- 
plex, plants, animals, atoms, etc., are precisely the same as 
meanings. To cause existences in their particularity to 
disappear into combinations of universals is at least an 
extreme measure. And the present thesis sticks to the 
common-sense belief that universals, relations, meanings, 
are of and about existences, not their exhaustive ingredi- 
ents. The same existential events are capable of an 
infinite number of meanings. Thus an existence 
identified as "paper," because the meaning upper- 
most at the moment is "something to be written 
upon," has as many other explicit meanings as it has 
important consequences recognized in the various 
connective interactions into which it enters. Since 
possibilities of conjunction are endless, and since the 
consequences of any of them may at some time be 
significant, its potential meanings are en iless. It signi- 
fies something to start a fire with; something like snow; 
made of wood-pulp; manufactured for profit; property in 
the legal sense; a definite combination illustrative of cer- 
tain principles of chemical science; an article the inven- 

I Holt, The Concept of Consciousness. 



3JO EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

tion of which has made a tremendous difference in human 
history, an J so on indefinitely. There is no conceivable 
universe of discourse in which the thing may not figure, 
having in each its own characteristic meaning. And if 
we say that after all it is "paper" which has all these 
different meanings, we are at bottom but asserting that 
all the different meanings have a common existential 
reference, converging to the same event. We are virtually 
asserting that the existence whose usual, standardized 
meaning in discourse is paper, also has a multitude of other 
meanings; we are saying in effect that its existence is not 
exhausted in its being paper, although paper is its 
ordinary meaning for human intercourse. 

Ghosts, centaurs, tribal gods, Helen of Troy and 
Ophelia of Denmark are as much the meanings of events 
as are flesh and blood, horses, Florence Nightingale and 
Madam Curie. This statement does not mark a dis- 
covery; it enunciates a tautology. It seems questionable 
only when its significance is altered; when it is taken to 
denote that, because they are all meanings of events, they 
all are the same kind of meaning with respect to validity 
of reference. Because perception of a ghost does not 
signify a subtle, intangible form, filling space as it moves 
about, it does not follow that it may not signify some 
other existential happening like disordered nerves; a 
religious animistic tradition ; or, as in the play of Hamlet, 
that it may not signify an enhancement of the meaning of 
a moving state of affairs. The existential events that 
form a drama have their own characteristic meanings, which 
are not the less meanings of those events because their 
import is dramatic, not authentically cognitive. So 
when men gather in secret to plot a conspiracy, their 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 

plans are not the less meanings of certain events because 
they have not been already carried out; and they remain 
meanings of events even if the conspiracy comes to naught. 

The proposition that the perception of a horse is objec- 
tively valid and that of a centaur fanciful and mythical 
does not denote that one is a meaning of natural events 
and the other is not. It denotes that they are meanings 
referable to different natural events, and that confuted 
and harmful consequences result from attributing them to 
the same events. The idea that the consciousness of a 
horse as now present and of a centaur differ as percep- 
tions, or states of awareness, is an illustration of the 
harm wrought by introspective psychology, which, here 
as elsewhere, treats relationships of objects as if they were 
inherent qualities of an immediate subject-matter, ignor 
ing the fact that causal relationships to unperceived thing? 
are involved. The matter of the cognitive validity of the 
horse-perception and the cognitive invalidity of the cen 
taur-perception is not an affair of intrinsic difference in 
the two perceptions, which inspection of the two states oi 
awareness as such can ever bring to light; it is a causal 
matter, brought to light as we investigate the causal 
antecedents and consequents of the events having the 
meanings. 

In other words, the difference between assertion of a 
perception, belief in it, and merely having it is an extrinsic 
difference; the belief, assertion, cognitive reference is 
something additive, never merely immediate. Genuinely 
to believe the centaur-meaning is to assert that events 
characterized by it interact in certain ways with other 
now unperceived events. Since belief that centaur has 
the same kind of objective meaning as has horse denotes 



322 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

expectation of like efficacies and consequences, the differ- 
ence of validity between them is extrinsic. It is capable of 
being revealed only by the results of acting upon them. 
The awareness of centaur meaning is fanciful not simply 
because part of its conditions lie within the organism; 
part of the conditions of any perception, valid as well as 
invalid, scientific as well as esthetic, lie within the organ- 
ism. Nor is it fanciful, simply because it is supposed 
not to have adequate existential antecedents. Natural 
conditions, physiological, physical and social, may be 
specified in one case as in the other. But since the con- 
ditions in the two cases are different, consequences are 
bound to be different. Knowing, believing, involves 
something additive and extrinsic to having a meaning. 
No knowledge is ever merely immediate. The proposi- 
tion that the perception of a horse is valid and that a 
centaur is fanciful or hallucinatory, does not denote that 
there are two modes of awareness, differing intrinsically 
from each other. It denotes something with respect to 
causation, namely, that while both have their adequate 
antecedent conditions, the specific causal conditions are 
ascertained to be different in the two cases. Hence it 
denotes something with respect to consequences, namely, 
that action upon the respective meanings will bring to 
light (to apparency or awareness) such different kinds of 
consequences that we should use the two meanings in 
very different ways. Both acts and consequences lie 
outside the primary perceptions; both have to be dili- 
gently sought for and tested. Since conditions in the two 
cases are different, they operate differently. That is, 
they belong to different histories, and the matter of the 
history to which a given thing belongs is just the matter 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 323 

with which knowledge is concerned. The conscious or 
perceived affair is itself a consequence of antecedent con- 
ditions. But were this conscious or apparent (evident, 
focal) consequence the only consequence of the conditions, 
if there were not other as yet unapparent consequences, 
we should have absolutely no way to tell in what sequence 
of events a perception belongs, and hence absolutely no 
way of determining its validity or cognitive standing. It 
is because conditions which generate the perception of a 
horse have other and different consequences than the 
perception (and similarly of those which generate the idea 
of the centaur), that it is possible to make a distinction 
between the value in knowledge of the two ideas. By 
discovering the different sequential affairs to which they 
respectively belong we can differentiate their import 
for knowledge. Failure to recognize this fact is the ulti- 
mate condemnation, it may be remarked in passing, of 
idealistic theories of knowledge, which identify it with im- 
mediate consciousness. If an all-inclusive consciousness 
were to exist, it would be a piece of esthetic scenery, 
interesting or tedious as the case might be, but having no 
conceivable cognitive standing. 

That a perception is cognitive means, accordingly, that 
it is used; it is treated as a sign of conditions that impli- 
cate other as yet unperceived consequences in addition to 
the perception itself. That a perception is truly cognitive 
means that its active use or treatment is followed by 
consequences which fit appropriately into the other con- 
sequences which follow independently of its being per- 
ceived. To discover that a perception or an idea is 
cognitively invalid is to find that the consequences which 
follow from acting upon it entangle and confuse the other 



324 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

consequences which follow from the causes of the percep- 
tion, instead of integrating or co&rdinating harmoniously 
with them. The special technique of scientific inquiry may 
be defined as consisting of procedures which make it pos- 
sible to perceive the eventual agreement or disagreement 
of the two sets of consequences. For experience proves 
that it is possible for great disparity between them to 
exist, and yet the conflict not be perceived or eke be 
explained away as of no importance. 

Common-sense has no great occasion to distinguish 
between bare events and objects; objects being events- 
with-meanings. Events are present and operative any- 
way; what concerns us is their meanings expressed in 
expectations, beliefs, inferences, regarding their potentiali- 
ties. The nearest approach that occurs in ordinary life 
to making the distinction is when there occurs some brute, 
dumb shock, which we are constrained to interpret, to 
assign meaning to, that is, to convert into an object. 
Such situations supply direct empirical evidence of the 
difference between events and objects; but common-sense 
does not need to formulate the difference as a distinction. 
Events have effects or consequences anyway; and since 
meaning is awareness of these consequences before they 
actually occur, reflective inquiry which converts an event 
into an object is the same thing as finding out a meaning 
which the event already possesses by imputation. It is 
the essence of common sense, one might say, to treat 
potentialities as given actualities; since its interest is 
universally practical, bent upon fruitage, there is no need 
to note its bent in any particular case. The eventual 
outcome is for it the "reality" of the present situation. 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 325 

But not so with philosophic discourse. Philosophy 
must explicitly note that the business of reflection is to 
take events which brutely occur and brutely affect us, to 
convert them into objects by means of inference as to their 
probable consequences. These are the meanings imputed 
to the events under consideration. Otherwise philosophy 
finds itself in a hopeless impasse. For, apart from making 
a distinction between events and objects, it has no way of 
differentiating cognitive from esthetic and literary mean- 
ings, and within cognitive meanings it has no way of 
distinguishing the valid from the invalid. The outcome 
of failure in this respect is exemplified in those discussions 
which find an inherent and generic cognitive problem in 
the occurrence of dreams, reveries and hallucinations, 
a problem other than the scientific one of ascertaining 
their antecedents and effects. For if intrinsic cognitive 
intent is ascribed to all perceptions, or forms of awareness, 
which are alleged to pick out a "reality" to which they 
refer as an image or sign, dreams, etc., have to be squared 
to this assumption. Draw the distinction between events 
and objects, and dream-objects are just what they are, 
events with one kind of meaning, while scientific-objects are 
just what they are, events with another kind of meaning, 
a kind that involves an extrinsic and additive function 
not contained in dream-objects. 

In formulating the distinction between existences and 
objects of reference, whether cognitive, esthetic or moral, 
philosophy does not exact that violent break with com- 
mon sense which is found in the assertion of idealism that 
events themselves are composed of meanings. Nor does 
it involve that break with common sense found in episte- 
mological realism, with its assertion of a direct dealing 



326 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

of mind with naked existences unclothed by the inter- 
vention of meanings. Philosophy has only to state, to 
make explicit, the difference between events which are 
challenges to thought and events which have met the 
challenge and hence possess meaning. It has only to 
note that bare occurrence in the way of having, being, 
or undergoing is the provocation and invitation to thought 
seeking and finding unapparent connections, so that think- 
ing terminates when an object is present: namely, when 
a challenging event is endowed with stable meanings 
through relationship to something extrinsic but connected. 
There is nothing new in the facts contained in this state- 
ment. It was an axiom of the classic theory that form, 
not matter, is the object of knowledge. And many other 
theories, in spite of the violence with which they nominally 
protest against the statement that existences as such are 
not the objects of knowledge, contain the essential facts, 
though in an incredible form. It is straining at a gnat 
and swallowing a camel to balk at the proposition that we 
mentally are concerned with events in their meanings and 
not in themselves, and at the same time to welcome the 
proposition that the immediate objects of all conscious- 
ness are sensations and complexes of sensations, termed 
images or ideas. For if by sensations (or by sensa) is 
meant not mere shocks in feeling, but something qualita- 
tive and capable of objective reference, then sensations 
are but one class of meanings. They are a class of mean- 
ings which embody the mature results of elaborate experi- 
mental inquiry in tracing out causal dependencies and relsu 
tionships. This inquiry depends upon prior possession of 
a system of meanings, physical theories of light, sound, etc., 
and of knowledge of nervous structures and functions. 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 327 

The alleged primacy of sensory meanings is mythical. 
They are primary only in logical status; they are primary 
as tests and confirmation of inferences concerning matters 
of fact, not as historic originals. For, while it is not usu- 
ally needful to carry the check or test of theoretical calcu- 
lations to the point of irreducible sensa, colors, sounds, 
etc., these sensa form a limit approached in careful analy- 
tic certifications, and upon critical occasions it is neces- 
sary to touch the limit. The transformation of these 
ulterior checking meanings into existential primary data is 
but another example of domination by interest in results 
and fruits, plus the fallacy which converts a functional 
office into an antecedent existence. Sensa are the class 
of irreducible meanings which are employed in verifying 
and correcting other meanings. We actually set out 
with much coarser and more inclusive meanings and not 
till we have met with failure from their use do we even set 
out to discover those ultimate and harder meanings which 
are sensory in character. 

The theory that awareness is intrinsically possessed 
of cognitive reference and intent is Protean in the 
forms it has assumed in the history of thought. One 
of these forms, that knowledge is recognition, is worth 
special attention. The idea that the act of knowing is 
always one of recognizing or noting is certain to lead 
the mind astray; dialectically, it breaks upon the impos- 
sibility entailed of instituting an initial act of know- 
ing; it commits its holder to a Platonic prior intuition in 
the realm of eternity. It is easy to see, however, how the 
idea suggested itself and gained credence. Recognition, 
identified and distinguished meaning, is an indispensable 
condition of effective experience. It is a prerequisite of 



328 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

successful practise; except in so far as the situation in 
which we are to act is distinguished as having a notable 
character, behavior is hopelessly at a loss. It is a pre- 
requisite to an act of knowing; for without possession of a 
recognized meaning, there is nothing to know with; there 
is no indication of the direction inquiry has to take, or of 
the universe within which inquiry falls. But, recogni- 
tion is not cognition. It is what the word implicitly 
conveys; re-cognition; not in the sense that an act of 
cognizing is repeated, but in the sense that there is a re- 
minder of the meaning in which a former experience 
terminated, and which may be used as an acceptable tool 
in further activities. 

Most theories of knowing which define a knowledge as 
an immediate noting seem at bottom to rest upon a con- 
fusion of widely differing acts: one that of taking cogni- 
zance, which means to pay heed to the apparent in terms of 
non-apparent consequences; and the other that of being 
re-minded of something previously known, which is then 
used in the act of true, inferential, cognition. Recognition 
is re-instatement of a meaning vouched for in some other 
situation, plus a sense of familiarity, of immediate greet- 
ing of welcome or aversion. It is exemplified in the 
experience of revisiting the scenes of childhood, with the 
emotional responses which familiar scenes evoke; it is 
found in the acknowledgments of the thoroughly practi- 
cal man, who deferentially notes a character of existence 
as something which, as a practical man, he must take into 
account in planning his conduct. Recognition is a nod, 
either of voluntary piety or of coerced respect, not a 
knowing. 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 329 

There is another theory which makes "acquaintance" 
the primary mode of knowledge, and which treats 
acquaintance-knowledge as wholly immediate. Ac- 
quaintance is empirically distinguished from knowing 
about a thing, and from knowing that a thing is thus and 
so. It is genuinely cognitive. But it has its distinctive 
features because it involves something more than bare 
"presence of an identified meaning; it involves expectancy 
which is an extrinsic reference; it involves a judgment 
as to what the object of acquaintance will do in connec- 
tion with other events. To be acquainted with a man is 
at least to "know him by sight" as we truly say; it is to 
use a meaning conditioned by present vision to form a 
supposition about something not seen: how the man will 
behave under other circumstances than those of just 
being seen. To be acquainted with a man is to forecast 
his general life of conduct; it is to have insight into 
character. And insight, as distinct from sight, means 
that sight is employed to form inferences regarding what 
is not seen. It passes beyond apparition of meaning. 
The difference between acquaintance and "knowing 
about" or "knowing that" is genuine, but it is not a differ- 
ence between two kinds of knowledge, one immediate and 
the other mediate. The difference is an affair of accom- 
paniments, contexts and modes of response. The greater 
intimacy and directness that marks acquaintance is 
practical and emotional not logical. To be acquainted 
with anything is to have the kind of expectancy of its 
consequences which constitutes an immediate readiness to 
act, an adequate preparatory adjustment to whatever the 
thing in question may do. To know about it is to have a 
kind of knowledge which does not pass into direct response 



330 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

until some further term has been supplied. Direct readi- 
ness to act involves a sense of community; postponed 
readiness a sense of aloofness. Where there is acquaint- 
ance, there is an immediate emotion of participation in 
the situations in which the object of acquaintance en- 
gages, sympathetic or antipathetic according as readiness 
takes the form of a disposition to favor or to hinder. 
Knowledge about a historic or literary figure passes into 
acquaintance when one arrives at a point of imaginative 
foresight of his prospective conduct and dramatically 
shares in it. Knowledge that the earth is round becomes 
acquaintance when, in some juncture of experience, the 
meaning comes home to us, as we say, or we get a "realiz- 
ing sense" of it. Acquaintance, then, instead of being a 
mode of knowledge prior to knowledge about and know- 
ledge that, marks a later stage in which the latter attain 
full sense and efficacy. 

It follows that theories which identify knowledge with 
acquaintance, recognition, definition and classification 
give evidence, all the better for being wholly unintended, 
that we know not just events but events-with-meanings. 
To assert that knowledge is classification is to assert in 
effect that kind, character, has overlaid and over ridden 
bare occurrence and existence. To say that to know is to 
define is to recognize that wherever there is knowledge 
there is explicitly present a universal. To hold that 
cognition is recognition is to concede that likeness, a rela- 
tion, rather than existence, is central. And to be ac- 
quainted with anything is to be aware what it is like, in 
what sort of ways it is likely to behave. These features, 
character, kind, sort, universal, likeness, fall within the 
universe of meaning. Hence the theories which make 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 331 

them constitutive of knowledge acknowledge that 
having meanings is a prerequisite for knowing. This 
prerequisite, being universally required, has loomed so 
large that thinkers have been led to slur over the concrete 
differential quality of knowledge a particular act of 
taking, using, responding to, the meanings involved. 
That curious piece of traditional "analytic" psychology 
in accordance with which all knowing is a fusion or 
association of sensation with images is more testimony in 
the same direction; "associated imagery" being a round 
about equivalent of events with meaning. 

Finally, the notion that knowledge is contemplation 
is likewise accounted for. To contemplate is con- 
sciously to possess meanings; to behold them with 
relish; to view them so absorbingly as to revel in them. 
It is a name for the perception of significant characters, 
plus an emphatic allusion to an accompanying esthetic 
emotion. Hypotheses which, like the one advanced in 
this book and chapter, hold that no knowing takes place 
without an overt act of taking and employing things on 
the basis of their meanings, have been attacked as over- 
devoted to keeping busy; as ignoring the place and charm 
of contemplation. Well, contemplation assuredly has a 
place. But when it is ultimate, and is a fruition, knowing 
has stepped out of the picture; the vision is esthetic. This 
may be better than knowing; but its being better is no 
reason for mixing different things and attributing to 
knowledge characters belonging to an esthetic object. 
Omit the esthetic phase, the absorbing charm of contem- 
plation, and what remains for a theory of knowledge is that 
meanings must be had before they can be used as means of 
bringing to apparition meanings now obscure and hidden. 



332 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

If I were allowed to call to the witness stand but 
one historic theory to give testimony to prove that while 
there is no knowing without perception of meaning, yet 
that having meanings and rolling them over as sweet mor- 
sels under the tongue are not knowing, I should summon 
the venerable doctrine that knowledge is contemplation. 

Another difficulty involved in the theory was men- 
tioned; a difficulty contained in the fact that recent theo- 
ries have limited the signification of perception. In its 
older usage, it designated any awareness, any "seeing 11 
whether of objects, ideas, principles, conclusions or what- 
ever. In recent literature it is usually restricted to "sense- 
perception." There can be no quarrel about the meaning 
of words except a lexicographical quarrel. The issue at 
stake concerns then not the appropriate use of a word; 
it concerns certain matters of fact which are implied or 
usually associated with the present restricted usage. 
These implications are two: First, there exists a mode of 
consciousness or awareness which is original, primitive, 
simple, and which refers immediately and intrinsically to 
things in space external to the organism at the time of 
perception. Secondly, this reference is originally, and 
ex proprio motu, cognitive. Now as against these implica- 
tions, the theory which has been advanced asserts that 
awareness in the form of auditory and visual perception 
is, whenever it is cognitive, just as much a matter of infer- 
ential judgment, an instance of a way of taking and using 
meanings, as is any proposition found in the science of 
physics. 

In its general features, argument as to this point is to 
the same effect as that of the point just discussed. 
But we may avoid repetition and introduce greater sped- 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 333 

fication by confining ourselves to the factual traits charac- 
teristic of perceptions of present objects in space; showing 
that these, when they are cognitive, are highly selected 
and artful instances of awareness, not primitive and 
innocent. The current theory begins with a distinction 
between peripherally initiated and centrally initiated 
awareness. Peripheral initiation is the defining mark of 
such operations as are designated "perceptions. " But 
awarenesses do not come to us labelled "I am caused by an 
event initiated on the surface of the body by other 
bodies"; and "I on the contrary originate in an intra- 
organic event only indirectly connected with surface- 
changes. " The distinction is one made by analytic and 
classifying thought. This fact is enough to place in 
doubt the notion that some modes of consciousness are 
originally and intrinsically "sense-perception." 

Moreover, there is no absolute separation between the 
skin and the interior of the body. No sooner is the dis- 
tinction drawn than it has to be qualified. As a matter of 
fact there is no such thing as an exclusively peripherally 
initiated nervous event. Internal conditions, those of 
hunger, blood-circulation, endocrine functions, persist- 
ences of prior activities, pre-existent opened and blocked 
neuronic connections, together with a multitude of other 
intra-organic factors enter into the determination of a 
peripheral occurrence. And after the peripheral excita- 
tion has taken place, its subsequent career is not self- 
determined, but is affected by literally everything going 
on within the organism. It is pure fiction that a "sensa- 
tion", or peripheral excitation, or stimulus, travels undis- 
turbed in solitary state in its own coach-and-four to enter 
the brain or consciousness in its purity. A particular 



334 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

excitation is but one of an avalanche of contemporane- 
ously occurring excitations, peripheral and from proprio- 
ceptors; each has to compete with others, to make terms 
with them; what happens is an integration of complex 
forces. 

It requires therefore a highly technical apparatus of 
science to discriminate the exact place and nature of a 
peripheral stimulation, and to trace its normal course to 
just the junction point where it becomes effective for 
redirection of activity and thus capable of perception. 
"Peripheral origin" marks an interpretation of events, a 
discrimination scientifically valid and important, but no 
more an original datum than is the spectrum of Betelgeuse. 
The same thesis holds good, of course, of the "conscious- 
ness" corresponding to the centrally initiated processes. 
To suppose that there are inherently marked off different 
forms of awareness corresponding to the distinction 
arrived at by technical analysis is as flagrant a case of 
hypostatizing as can be found. The theory that certain 
kinds or forms of consciousness intrinsically have an 
intellectual or cognitive reference to things present in 
space is merely the traditional theory that knowledge is an 
immediate grasp of Being, clothed in the terminology of 
recent physiology. While it is offered as if it were estab- 
lished by physiological and psychological research, in 
reality it presents an intellectual hold-over, a notion 
picked up from early teachings which have not been 
subjected to any critical examination; physiology and 
psychology merely afford a vocabulary with which to 
deck out an unconscionable survival. 

Reference to peripheral stimulation of eye or ear or skin 
or nose is, whether of the simpler and popular kind or of 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 335 

the more complex neurological kind, part of the technique 
of checking up the particular sort of extrinsic reference 
which should be given to an idea; discovery whether it is 
to be referred to a past, contemporary or future thing, 
or treated as due to wish and emotion. Even so, ascer- 
tainment of mode of stimulation and origin is always 
secondary and derived. We do not believe a thing to be 
"there" because we are directly cognizant of an external 
origin for our perception; we infer some external stimula- 
tion of our sensory apparatus because we are successfully 
engaged in motor response. Only when the latter fails, 
do we turn back and examine the matter of sensory stimu- 
lation. To say that I am now conscious of a typewriter 
as the source of sensory stimuli is to make a back-handed 
and sophisticated statement of the fact that I am engaged 
in active employment of the typewriter to produce cer- 
tain consequences, so that what I am aware of is these 
consequences and the relation to them of parts of the type- 
writer as means of producing them. As matter of fact, 
we never perceive the peripheral stimuli to which we are 
at that given time responding. 

The notion that these stimuli are the appropriate and 
normal objects of simple original perceptions represents, as 
we have just said, an uncritical acceptance by psychol- 
ogists of an old logical and metaphysical dogma, one having 
neither origin nor justification within scientific psychol- 
ogy. We are aware only of stimuli to other responses 
than those which we are now making; we become aware of 
them when we analyze some performed total act to dis- 
cover the mechanism of its occurrence. To become 
aware of an optical or auditory stimulation involved 
in an act signifies that we now apprehend that an 



336 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

organic change is part of the means used in the act, so 
that soundness of its structure and working is requisite 
to efficient performance of the act. I do not usually, 
for example, hear the sounds made by the striking of the 
keys; hence I therefore bang at them or strike them 
unevenly. If I were better trained or more intelligent 
in the performance of this action, I should hear the sounds, 
for they would have ceased to be just stimuli and become 
means of direction of my behavior in securing conse- 
quences. Not having learned by the "touch-method," 
my awareness of contact-qualities as I hit the keys is 
intermittent and defective. Physiological stimulation of 
fingers is involved as a condition of my motor response; 
yet there is no consciousness of contact "sensations" or 
sensa. But if I used my sensory touch appreciation as 
means to the proper execution of the act of writing, I 
should be aware of these qualities. The wider and freer 
the employment of means, the larger the field of sensory 
perceptions. 

It is usual in current psychology to assert or assume that 
qualities observed are those of the stimulus. This as- 
sumption puts the cart before the horse; qualities which 
are observed are those attendant upon response to stimuli. 
We are observantly aware (in distinction from inferentially 
aware) only of what has been done; we can perceive what is 
already there, what has happened. By description, a stim- 
ulus is not an object of perception, for stimulus is correl- 
ative to response, and is undetermined except as response 
occurs. I am not questioning as a fact of knowledge that 
certain things are the stimuli of visual and auditory per- 
ception. I am pointing out that we are aware of the stimuli 
only in terms of our response to them and of the conse- 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 337 

quences of this response. Argument as to the impossibility 
of stimuli being the object of perception is of course dia- 
lectical; like all dialectic arguments it is not convincing if 
confronted with facts to the contrary. But facts agree. 
The whiteness of the paper upon which words are being 
written and the blackness of the letters have been con- 
stantly operative stimuli in what I have been doing. It 
is equally certain that they have not been constantly 
perceived objects. If I have perceived them from time 
to time, it is in virtue of prior responses of which they were 
consequences, and because of the need of employing these 
attained consequences as means in further action. In 
the laboratory, as in the painter's studio, colors are spe- 
cific objects of perception. But as perceived, they are 
"stimuli" only proleptically and by a shift in the universe 
of discourse. 3 The color now apd here perceived, in 
consequence of an organic adjustment to other stimuli 
than color, is in subsequent situations a stimulus to other 
modes of behavior, unconscious in so far as just a stimu- 
lus; conscious as far as a deliberately utilized means. 

When color is perceived, it is in order to paint, or for 
matching colors in selection of dress goods, or in an esti- 
mate of the harmonious value of the hue of a wall-paper, 
or for determining from a spectral line the nature of a 
chemical substance. It signifies that we are responding in 
such a way as to form or bring into being a stimulus 
adequate to operate without being perceived. But in 
the meantime in consciousness it is means to an act which 

8 The shift is evident in the fact that stimuli are stated as vibrations 
or electro-magnetic disturbance or in similar fashion; now vibrations 
are not observed while color the consequence, the effected coordination, 
is in direct consciousness. 



338 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

will effect desired consequences. Shall this color be 
used? Will this particular piece of goods or pattern of wall 
paper serve the purpose in view? When such questions 
are determined, a final stimulus is achieved. What is 
then perceived is either some further consequence, or 
this consequence as a means in a new predicament, such 
as wearing the goods, hanging the wall-paper. The 
consciousness of stimuli marks the conclusion of an inves- 
tigation, not an original datum; and what is discovered is 
not the stimuli to that act, the inquiry, but to some other 
act, past or prospective, and it marks the conversion of 
de facto stimulus into potential means. The question of 
stimuli is a question of existential causation; and if 
Hume's lesson had been learned as well as we flatter 
ourselves it is learned, we should be aware that any matter 
of causation refers to something extrinsic, to be reached by 
inquiry and inference. 

We conclude, therefore, that while the word "percep- 
tion" may be limited to designate awareness of objects 
contemporaneously affecting the bodily organs, there is 
no ground whatever for the assumption which has usually 
attended this narrowing of the older meaning of the word: 
namely, that sense-perception has intrinsic properties or 
qualities marking it off from other forms of consciousness. 
Much less is there justification for the assumption that 
such perceptions are the original form of elementary 
awareness from which other forms of cognitive conscious- 
ness develop. On the contrary sensory-perceptual mean- 
ings are specifically discriminated objects of awareness; 
the discrimination takes place in the course of inquiry 
into causative conditions and consequences; the ultimate 
need for the inquiry is found in the necessity of dis- 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 339 

covering what is to be done, or of developing a response 
suitably adapted to the requirements of a situation. 
When inquiry reveals that an object external to the organ- 
ism is now operative and affecting the organism, the per- 
tinency of overt action is established and the kind of 
overt adjustment that should be made is in evidence. 
Perceptual meanings (sensory-perceptual) contrast with 
other meanings in that either (a) the latter cannot be 
3vertly acted upon now or immediately, but only at a 
deferred time, when specified conditions now absent have 
been brought into being conceptual meanings ; or (b) 
that the latter are such that action upon them at any 
time must be of a dramatic or literary or playful sort 
non-cognitive meanings. The necessities of behavior 
enforce very early in life the difference between acts 
demanded at once, and those pertinent only at a later 
time; yet making and refining the distinction is a matter 
of constant search and discovery, not, as the traditional 
theory presumes, an original and ready-made affair. 

Thus we returned to the statement that apart from 
considerations of use and history there are no original 
and inherent differences between valid meanings and 
meanings occurring in revery, desiring, fearing, remem- 
bering, all being intrinsically the same in relation to events. 
This fact contains in gist the condemnation of introspec- 
tion. 4 It makes no difference in principle whether the 
introspective doctrine takes a dialectical form, as in 
the Cartesian-Spinozistic logical realism in which intrinsic 

4 It is not asserted that observations called introspection have never 
given results. It is claimed that in such cases, the procedure does not 
conform to the theoretical definition of immediate inspection but involves 
the results of inquiries into relationships with things not directly present* 



340 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

self-evidency, clearness, adequacy, or truth, are imputed 
to some conceptual meanings or ideas; or whether it 
takes the more usual form of assigning to things appear- 
ing in the field of consciousness intrinsic properties 
which may be read off by direct inspection and thereby 
used to denominate them as sensory, perceptual, concep- 
tual, imaginative, fantastic, memory, emotional, voli- 
tional, etc. It is asserted that in every case, the basis of 
classification is extrinsic, an affair dependent upon a 
study, often hard to make, of generating conditions and of 
subsequent careers. The d enominations are interpretations, 
and like all interpretations are adequate only when con- 
trolled by wide and accurate information as to bodies of 
fact that are remote and extraneous. It is not too much 
to say that the introspective doctrine much wider in 
logical scope than so-called introspective psychology 
is the last desperate stand and fortress of the classic doc- 
trine that knowledge is immediate grasp, intuition, envis- 
agement, possession. It is this fact which constitutes 
the importance of the views that have been criticized. 
Until they have been criticized, until the assumption of 
immediate intrinsic differences in the meaning-objects of 
sensory perceptions, reveries, dreams, desires, emotions, 
has been expelled, the actual relation of ideas to existences 
must remain an obscure and confused matter. 

If one looks at the net results of physiological inquiry 
upon psychologist insight, one seems bound to conclude 
that while potentially they are enormous, actually they 
consist largely in making more emphatic and conspicu- 
ous the old metaphysical problem of the relation of mind 
and body, and in strengthening a leaning to the paralld- 
istic hypothesis. The explanation is that they have not 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 341 

been used for what they really are: an important part of 
our scientific resources with respect to the intelligent 
conduct of behavior in general, and the discrimination 
in particular of various kinds of meanings from one 
another. It is one thing to employ, for example, the 
distinction between central and peripheral origin of the 
existence of this and that idea as part of the technique of 
determining their respective cognitive validities, and quite 
another to assume that ideas and conscious contents are 
already intrinsically marked off in themselves (and there- 
fore for direct observation or introspection), and that the 
problem is simply to find physiological equivalents for 
their distinction. As far as it is assumed that modes of 
consciousness are in themselves already differentiated into 
sensory, perceptual, conceptual, imaginative, retentive, 
emotional, conative (or may be so discriminated by direct 
inspection), physiological study will consist simply of 
search for the different bodily and neural processes that 
underlie these differences. The outcome is an exacer- 
bation of the traditional mind-body problem; the doctrine 
of parallelism, instead of being either a scientific discov- 
ery or a scientific postulate, is merely a formulation of the 
original psychological ready-made distinctions plus a 
more detailed knowledge of physical existential conditions 
of their occurrence. 

If the problem is put as one of a more adequate control 
of behavior through knowledge of its mechanism, the 
situation becomes very different. How should we treat 
a particular meaning: as sound datum for inference, 
as an effect of habit irrespective of present condition, as 
an instance of desire, or a consequence of hope or fear, 
a token of some past psycho-physical maladjustment, or 



342 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

how? Such questions as these are urgent questions in 
the conduct of life. They are typical of questions which 
we must find a way of answering if we are to achieve any 
method of mastering our own behavior similar to that 
which we have achieved in respect to heat and electricity, 
coal and iron. And knowledge of the conditions under 
which our meanings and our modes of taking and using 
them organically occur is an indispensable portion of 
the technique of dealing with such questions. In princi- 
ple, there is no difference between the neurological inquiry 
and those astronomical inquiries which enable an astrono- 
mer to determine the standing and import of some idea 
in his universe of discourse. The physiological inquiries 
no more involve a peculiar problem of mind-body than do 
the astronomical inquiries. Their subject-matter is part 
of the objective matter-of-fact considerations which extend 
and buttress inferential conclusions. In concrete subject- 
matter, they differ, being concerned with organic struc- 
tures and processes; but this is only a difference in con- 
crete subject-matter, like that between astronomical 
and botanical. The peculiar importance of the physio- 
logical material is that in some form it enters as a factor 
into the occurrence of every meaning and every act, 
including the astronomical and botanical. 

We return, accordingly, from this excursion to the 
assertion that the objects of revery-consciousness are 
just as much cases of perceived meanings or ideas of events 
as are those of sensory perceptual consciousness. Only 
they are not as good objects with respect to direction of 
subsequent conduct, including the conduct of knowledge. 
Revery-consciousness, and the influence upon beliefs of 
affective wishes of which we are not aware, are facts 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 343 

crucial for any theory of consciousness. If they support 
the hypothesis that all consciousness is awareness of 
meanings, they also seem at first sight to contradict the 
supposition that the meanings perceived are those of 
natural events. Since their objects are notoriously "un- 
real/ 1 they seem to support the notion that consciousness 
is disconnected from physical events, and that any valid 
connection which may be set up, either in practical con- 
duct or in knowing, is adventitious. 

There is indeed much to be said for the view that con- 
sciousness is originally a dream-like, irresponsible efflores- 
cence, and that it gains reference to actual events in 
nature only under stern compulsion, and by way of 
accidental coincidence. There are elements of truth in 
this view, as against the orthodox tradition which makes 
consciousness architectonic, having righteous and rational 
conformity as the corner stone of its structure. Ideas, ob- 
jects of immediate awareness, are too desultory, fantastic, 
and impertinent to be consistent with the classic tradition, 
whether of the sensationalistic or the rationalistic schools. 
But the view of complete separation of existential con- 
sciousness from connection with physical things cannot be 
maintained in view of what is known of its specifiable 
connections with organic conditions, and of the intimate, 
unbroken connection of organic with extra-organic events. 
It can be maintained only by holding that the connection 
of consciousness in its varied forms with bodily action is 
non-natural. The only reason for asserting this position 
lies in the dialectic compulsion of denial of quality to 
natural events, and arrogation of superior existence to 
causal antecedents. 



344 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Given the connection of meanings with environmental- 
organic integrations (including those of social intercourse) 
and there is nothing surprising that consciousness 
should often be of the revery and wish type. We find no 
great occasion for wonder in the fact that a person who has 
been taught that the sun moves around the earth, rising 
above it at sunrise and going under it at sunset, should 
himself hold that belief. Well, past consummately experi- 
ences have taught the individual many things; they have 
taught him what conjunctions are agreeable and what dis- 
agreeable. Just as past teaching regarding sun and earth 
have conditioned subsequent behavior, have produced 
organic modifications in the way of habit which influence 
subsequent reactions, including interpretations, so with 
what was taught by having been implicated in a consum- 
mately union of environment and organism. Here too a 
bias in organic modification is set up; it acts to perpetuate, 
wherever possible, awareness of fruitions, and to avert 
perception of frustrations and inconvenient interruptions. 

A consciousness which is set on the outside over against 
the course of nature, which is not a partaker in its moving 
changes, would have to conform to one or other of two 
schemes. In one alternative, the consciousness of such a 
being would be gifted with an infallible spectatorship 
conjoined with perfect innocency of impartial recorder- 
ship; it would see and report the world exactly as if it 
were itself knowingly engaged in producing what it saw 
and reported. Or, in the other alternative, all conscious- 
ness would be so completely irrelevant to the world of 
which it is outside and beyond, that there would be no 
common denominator or common multiple. Obviously 
facts do not agree with either of these suppositions. We 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 345 

dream, but the material of our dream life is the stuff of 
our waking life. Revery is not first wholly detached from 
objects of purposeful action and belief, coming later by 
discipline to acquire reference to them. Its objects con- 
sist of the objects of daily concern subjected to a strange 
perspective, perverted in behalf of a bias. Such empiri- 
cal facts as these, or the fact that the world of fancy is 
the ordinary world as we like it to be, as we find it agree- 
able, is fatal to any theory which seriously asserts the 
wholesale irrelevance of the material of consciousness to 
the things of the actual world. Irrelevance exists, but 
it is relative and specifiable. An idea or emotion is 
irrelevant not as such, through and through, but because 
it is a version of the meaning of events which if it were 
differently edited would be relevant to actions in the 
world to which it belongs. 

To par-take and to per-ceive are allied performances. 
To perceive is a mode of partaking which occurs only 
under complex conditions and with its own defining traits. 
Everything of importance hangs upon what particular 
one of the many possible ways of partaking is employed 
in a given situation. The organism, wherever possible, 
participates d, son gre; its taste and bias are conditioned, 
in the degree of its susceptibility and retentiveness, upon 
prior satisfactions. If a man has experienced a world 
which is good, why should not he act to remake a bad 
world till it agrees with the good world which he has once 
possessed? And if the task of overt transformation is 
too great for his powers, why should he not at least act so 
as to get the renewed sense of a good world? These 
questions express the working logic of human action; 
the first, the way of objective transformation, is the 



346 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

method of action in the arts and sciences; the second, of 
action that is fanciful, "wish-fulfilling/' romantic, myth- 
making. 

The immense difference between the two modes of 
action has had to be learned. There is no original and 
intrinsic difference in the respective modes of conscious- 
ness accompanying the two kinds of acts. In some mat- 
ters, the lesson is readily and quickly learned. Such 
matters constitute the objects of usual every-day sense- 
perception, the objects of common-sense. Certain organic- 
integrations have to occur if life is to continue. Suste- 
nance must be had; destructive enemies must be kept away ; 
the help of others must be availed of. Meanings and 
ideas connected with these organic-environmental adjust- 
ments are substantially sound as fax as adjustments are 
successfully made and within limits they are ordinarily 
so made, or Kfe ceases. Such gross ideas as a world of 
things and persons external to our personal wishes and 
fancies, and as the continuance of energies once set in 
motion, are so recurrently and emphatically taught that 
they are never sincerely doubted. Ideas of specific fea- 
tures of this external world (external to its, since it exacts 
so much of us in effort before it conforms to the needs 
that are most deeply ourselves), ideas of fire, food, furni- 
ture, weather and crops, of our friends and enemies, and 
of our own past and probable future, are so repeatedly 
presented in the connections of actions and so confirmed 
by consequences that they become matters of course, 
substantially valid. They thus form a kind of privileged 
domain, which, although an island in a sea of ideas where 
ground is not readily touched, has been by too hasty 
and impatient theories taken to form the original and in- 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 347 

herent constitution of consciousness. In consequence, 
there is added to genuine natural realism which accepts 
the casual connection of ideas with events and their po- 
tential reference to subsequent events, a specious realistic 
theory which takes the island for a solid and complete 
continent. Characteristic traits of the whole continent 
of mind are then looked upon as if they were only in- 
cidental faults and dislocations, to be explained away by 
dialectic ingenuity; or when the strata of fancy, illusion, 
error and misinterpretation are realized, wholesale scep- 
ticism is indulged in. 

Gradually the technique involved in making ordinary 
orgajiic-environinental adjustments is discovered, and 
becomes capable of extension to cases where fancy had 
previously reigned. A larger and larger field of ideas 
becomes susceptible of analytic objective reference, with 
the promise of approximate validity. The secret of this 
technique lies in control of the ways in which the organ- 
ism participates in the course of events. In the case of 
simple needs and simple environments, existing organic 
structures practically enforce correct participation; the 
result is so-called instinctive action. Within this range, 
modifications undergone by the organism form in the 
main effective habits. But organic preparation for varied 
situation having many factors and wide-reaching conse- 
quences is not so easily attained. Effective participa- 
tion here depends upon the use of extra-organic conditions, 
which supplement structural agencies; namely, tools and 
other persons, by means of language spoken and recorded. 
Thus the ultimate buttress of the soundness of all but the 
simplest ideas consists in the cumulative objective appli- 
ances and arts of the community, not in anything found in 
"consciousness" itself or within the organism. 



348 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

If any evidence be needed of the artificial character of 
strictly epistemological discussion it may be found in the 
fact that it goes on exclusively in terms of an alleged 
direct contact of "subject" and "object," with total neglect 
of all the indispensable tools of checking spontaneous 
beliefs and developing sound ones in their place. Pendu- 
lums, lenses, prisms, yard sticks, and pound weights and 
multiplication and logarithmic tables have a great deal 
more to do with valid knowing, since they enable the 
organism to partake with other things in the effecting of 
consequences, than have bare consciousness or brain and 
nerves. Without such objective resources to direct the 
manner of engaging in responsive adaptations, ideas, 
outside a simple range of constantly tested actions, are 
at the mercy of any peculiarity of organic constitution 
and of circumstance; myths are rife and the world is 
peopled with fabulous personages and is the home of occult 
forces. Since organic modifications due to past consum- 
mately objects are dominant, since they lead an individual 
to find or make a world congenial to them; and since man 
is most at home with his fellows, whether friends or 
enemies, the world is then taken animistically for the 
most part. Too many of the traditional ideas of life, 
soul, mind, spirit, and consciousness, and of the cosmos 
Itself, even in philosophy, are only attenuated versions 
of this animism, spontaneous, and often gracious even 
though fantastic, when men lacked instrumentalities by 
which to direct their active partakings in nature, but 
which are now graceless and obstructive. 

In conclusion, the fact that consciousness of meanings, 
or having ideas, denotes an exigent re-making of meanings 
has an import for the theory of nature. Perceptibility 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 349 

is an exponent of contingency as it intersects the regular. 
The impossibility of "deducing" consciousness from physi- 
cal laws, the "impassible gulf" between the physical and 
mental, are in reality but conspicuous cases of the general 
impossibility of deriving the contingent from the neces- 
sary, the uncertain from the Tegular. The anomaly 
apparent in the occurrence of consciousness is evidence of 
an anomalous phase in nature itself. Unless there were 
something problematic, undecided, still going-on and as 
yet unfinished and indeterminate, in nature, there could 
be no such events as perceptions. The point of maximum 
apparency is the point of greatest stress and undeter- 
mined potentiality; the point of maximum of restless 
shift, is also the point of greatest brightness; it is 
vivid, but not clear; imminent, urgently expressive of the 
impending, but not defined, till it has been disposed of and 
has ceased to be immediately focal. When philosophers 
have insisted upon the certainty of the immediately and 
focally present or "given" and have sought indubitable 
immediate existential data upon which to build, they have 
always unwittingly passed from the existential to the 
dialectical; they have substituted a general character for 
an immediate this. For the immediately given is always 
the dubious ; it is always a matter for subsequent events tc 
determine, or assign character to. It is a cry for some- 
thing not given, a request addressed to fortune, with the 
pathos of a plea or the imperiousness of a command. It 
were, conceivably, "better" that nature should be finished 
through and through, a closed mechanical or closed teleo- 
logical structure, such as philosophic schools have fancied 
But in that case the flickering candle of consciousness 
would go out. 



350 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

The immediate perceptibility of meanings, the very 
existence of ideas, testifies to insertion of the problematic 
and hazardous in the settled and uniform, and to the 
meeting, crossing and parting of the substantial, static, 
and the transitive and particular. Meanings, characters 
as such have that solidity, coherence, endurance, and 
persistent availability, which our idiom calls substance. 
Yet were this the whole story, meanings not only would 
not be perceived, but they would not be meanings. They 
would be tough operative habits, having their own way 
not to be denied. Organic movements exist to which 
there occurred in early life meanings so indurated that 
now they are habits of an over-riding power; meaning has 
disappeared in bare behavior. It is possible to under- 
stand the regret with which some persons contemplate the 
passage of thought into act; to them it seems the obsequies 
of an idea; thought has been dissipated in an outward 
mechanical sequence. Similarly, one may feel that the 
important and interesting thing in human history is 
not what men have done, their successes, but what they 
failed in doing the desires and imaginings, forbidden 
execution by the force of events. Ideas are largely the 
obverse side of action; a perception of what might be, but 
is not, the promise of things hoped for, the symbol of 
things not seen. A fixed idea is no idea at all, but a 
routine compulsion of overt action, perfunctorily and 
mechanically named idea. 

"Pure reason" would thus not be rational at all, but an 
automatic habit; a substance so stable and pervading as 
to have no limits and vicissitudes, and hence no percep- 
tibility. "Pure" reasoning is best carried on by fixed 
symbols, automatically manipulated; its ideal is some- 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 351 

thing approaching the well-devised mechanically operat- 
ive calculating machine. Unless nature had regular 
habits, persistent ways, so compacted that they time, 
measure and give rhythm and recurrence to transitive 
flux, meanings, recognizable characters, could not be. 
But also without an interplay of these patient, slow- 
moving, not easily stirred systems of action with swift- 
moving, unstable, unsubstantial events, nature would be 
a routine unmarked by ideas. Adjustment of the slow 
moving changes of nature to its sudden starts and trep- 
idations, such as gives some degree of order to the latter 
and as re-adapts the motions of the sluggish and inert 
core to the volatile surface of hasty movements, makes 
necessary a conversion of static orders into stable mean- 
ings, while it also renders them perceptible, or ideas, as 
they answer to the flux of things. 

Finally, as psycho-physical qualities testify to the pres- 
ence in nature of needs and satisfactions, of uneasy efforts 
and their arrest in some limiting termination, so conscious 
or conspicuously apparent meanings, ideas, are exponents 
of the deliberate use of the efficacious in behalf of the 
fulfilling and consummatory, and of the efficient or instru- 
mental nature of the final. This situation is empirically 
present to us in the arts, and will be discussed in the imme- 
diate sequel. For our immediate purpose, it is enough 
to point out the difference between the explicit natural 
teleology of classic metaphysics and the implicit tele- 
ology of modern science. In the former, the bare de facto 
arrests of nature, which often mark merely exhaustion 
or else limits imposed by competing energies, were by a 
tour de force assigned eulogistic properties. They were 
identified with the objects that should be the objects of 



352 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

choice by persons of mature and reflective experience. 
Thus physics was unwittingly infected by importation of 
an uncriticized ethic of customary and fixed ends, and of 
a dialectically ordered hierarchy of fixed means. The 
identification in modern thought of ends with ends-in- 
view, with deliberate purpose and planning, of means 
with deliberately selected and arranged inventions and 
artifices, is in effect a recognition that the teleology of 
nature is achieved and exhibited by nature in thinking, not 
apart from it. If modern theories have often failed to 
note this implication and have instead contented them- 
selves with a denial of all teleology, the reason is adven- 
titious; it is found in the gratuitous breach of continuity 
between nature, life, and man. 

"This," whatever this may be, always implies a system 
of meanings focussed at a point of stress, uncertainty, 
and need of regulation. It sums up history, and at the 
same time opens a new page; it is record and promise in 
one; a fulfillment and an opportunity. It is a fruition 
of what has happened and a transitive agency of what is 
to happen. It is a comment written by natural events on 
their own direction and tendency, and a surmise of whither 
they are leading. Every perception, or awareness, marks 
a "this," and every "this" being a consummation in- 
volves retention, and hence contains the capacity of 
remembering. Every "this" is transitive, momentarily 
becoming a "that." In its movement it is, therefore, 
conditioning of what is to come; it presents the potential- 
ity of foresight and prediction. The union of past and 
future with the present manifest in every awareness of 
meanings is a mystery only when consciousness is gratu- 
itously divided from nature, and when nature is denied 



EXISTENCE AND IDEAS 353 

temporal and historic quality. When consciousness is 
connected with nature, the mystery becomes a luminous 
revelation of the operative interpenetration in nature of 
the efficient and the fulfilling. 



CHAPTER NINE 

EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 

Experience, with the Greeks, signified a store of practi- 
cal wisdom, a fund of insights useful in conducting the 
affairs of life. Sensation and perception were its occa- 
sion and supplied it with pertinent materials, but did not 
of themselves constitute it. They generated experience 
when retention was added and when a common factor in 
the multitude of felt and perceived cases detached itself 
so as to become available in judgment and exertion. Thus 
understood, experience is exemplified in the discrimina- 
tion and skill of the good carpenter, pilot, physician, 
captain-at-anns; experience is equivalent to art. Modern 
theory has quite properly extended the application of the 
term to cover many things that the Greeks would hardly 
have called "experience," the bare having of aches and 
pains, or a play of colors before the eyes. But even those 
who hold this larger signification would admit, I suppose, 
that such "experiences" count only when they result in 
insight, or in an enjoyed perception, and that only thus do 
they define experience in its honorific sense. 

Greek thinkers nevertheless disparaged experience in 
comparison with something called reason and science. 
The ground for depreciation was not that usually assigned 
in modern philosophy; it was not that experience is 
"subjective." On the contrary, experience was con- 
sidered to be a genuine expression of cosmic forces, not 
an exclusive attribute or possession of animal or of human 
nature. It was taken to be a realization of inferior por- 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 35S 

tions of nature, those infected with chance and change, 
the teas Being part of the cosmos. Thus while experience 
meant art, art reflected the contingencies and partialities 
of nature, while science theory exhibited its necessities 
and universalities. Art was born of need, lack, depriva- 
tion n incompleteness, while science theory manifested 
fullness and totality of Being. Thus the depreciatory 
view of experience was identical with a conception that 
placed practical activity below theoretical activity, find- 
ing the former dependent, impelled from outside, marked 
by deficiency of real being, while the latter was independ- 
ent and free because complete and self-sufficing: that is 
perfect. 

In contrast with this self-consistent position we find a 
curious mixture in modern thinking. The latter feels 
under no obligation to present a theory of natural exist- 
ence that links art with nature; on the contrary, it usually 
holds that science or knowledge is the only authentic 
expression of nature, in which case art must be an arbi- 
trary addition to nature. But modern thought also com- 
bines exaltation of science with eulogistic appreciation of 
art, especially of fine or creative art. At the same time 
it retains the substance of the classic disparagement of 
the practical in contrast with the theoretical, although 
formulating it in somewhat different language: to the 
effect that knowledge deals with objective reality as it is in 
itself, while in what is "practical," objective reality is 
altered and cognitively distorted by subjective factors of 
want, emotion and striving. And yet in its encomium of 
art, it fails to note the commonplace of Greek observa- 
tion that the fine arts as well as tJhe industrial technolo- 
gies are affairs of practice. 



356 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

This confused plight is partly cause and partly effect 
of an almost universal confusion of the artistic and the 
esthetic. On one hand, there is action that deals with 
materials and energies outside the body, assembling, 
refining, combining, manipulating them until their new 
state yields a satisfaction not afforded by their qnde 
condition a formula that applies to fine and useful art 
alike. On the other hand, there is the delight that attends 
vision and hearing, an enhancement of the receptive ap- 
preciation and assimilation of objects irrespective oi 
participation in the operations of production. Provided 
the difference of the two things is recognized, it is no 
matter whether the words "esthetic" and "artistic" or 
other terms be used to designate the distinction, for the 
difference is not one of words but of objects. But in 
some form the difference must be acknowledged. 

The community in which Greek art was produced was 
small; numerous and complicated intermediaries be- 
tween production and consumption were lacking; pro- 
ducers had a virtually servile status. Because of the close 
connection between production and enjoyable fruition, 
the Greeks in their perceptive uses and enjoyments were 
never wholly unconscious of the artisan and his work, 
not even when they personally were exclusively concerned 
with delightful contemplation. But since the artist was 
an artisan (the term artist having none of the eulogistic 
connotations of present usage), and since the artisan 
occupied an inferior position, the enjoyment of works of 
any art did not stand upon the same level as enjoyment 
of those objects for the realization of which manual activ- 
ity was not needed. Objects of rational thought, of 
contemplative insight were the only things that met the 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 357 

specification of freedom from need, labor, and matter. 
They alone were self-sufficient, self-existent, and self- 
explanatory, and hence enjoyment of them was on a higher 
plane than enjoyment of works of art* 

These conceptions were consistent with one another 
and with the conditions of social life at the time. Nowa- 
days we have a messy conjunction of notions that are 
consistent neither with one another nor with the tenor of 
gur actual life. Knowledge is still regarded by most 
thinkers as direct grasp of ultimate reality, although the 
practice of knowing has been assimilated to the procedure 
of the useful arts; involving, that is to say, doing that 
manipulates and arranges natural energies. Again while 
science is said to lay hold of reality, yet "art" instead of 
being assigned a lower rank is equally esteemed and 
honored. And when within art a distinction is drawn 
between production and appreciation, the chief honor 
usually goes to the former on the ground that it is "crea- 
tive," while taste is relatively possessive and passive, 
dependent for its material upon the activities of the 
creative artist. 

If Greek philosophy was correct in thinking of knowl- 
edge as contemplation rather than as a productive art, 
and if modern philosophy accepts this conclusion, then 
the only logical course is relative disparagement of all 
forms of production, since they are modes of practice 
which is by conception inferior to contemplation. The 
artistic is then secondary to the esthetic: "creation," 
to "taste," and the scientific worker as we significantly 
say is subordinate in rank and worth to the dilettante 
who enjoys the results of his labors. But if modern 
tendencies are justified in putting art and creation first, 



358 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

then the implications of this position should be avowed 
and carried through. It would then be seen that science 
is an art, that art is practice, and that the only distinc- 
tion worth drawing is not between practice and theory, 
but between those modes of practice that axe not intelli- 
gent, not inherently and immediately enjoyable, and those 
which are full of enjoyed meanings. When this percep- 
tion dawns, it will be a commonplace that art the mode 
of activity that is charged with meanings capable of 
immediately enjoyed possession is the complete cul- 
mination of nature, and that "science" is properly a 
handmaiden that conducts natural events to this happy 
issue. Thus would disappear the separations that trouble 
present thinking: division of everything into nature and 
experience, of experience into practice and theory, art 
and science, of art into useful and fine, menial and free. 

Thus the issue involved in experience as art in its preg- 
nant sense and in art as processes and materials of nature 
continued by direction into achieved and enjoyed mean- 
ings, sums up in itself all the issues which have been previ- 
ously considered. Thought, intelligence, science is the in- 
tentional direction of natural events to meanings capable 
of immediate possession and enjoyment; this direction 
which is operative art is itself a natural event in which 
nature otherwise partial and incomplete comes fully to 
itself; so that objects of conscious experience when reflec- 
tively chosen, form the "end" of nature. The doings and 
sufferings that form experience are, in the degree in which 
experience is intelligent or charged with meanings, a 
union of the precarious, novel, irregular with the settled, 
assured and uniform a union which also defines the 
artistic and the esthetic. For wherever there is art the 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 359 

contingent and ongoing no longer work at cross purposes 
with the formal and recurrent but commingle in harmony. 
And the distinguishing feature of conscious experience, 
of what for short is often called "consciousness," is that in 
it the instrumental and the final, meanings that are signs 
and clews and meanings that are immediately possessed, 
suffered and enjoyed, come together in one. And all of 
these things are preeminently true of art. 

First, then, art is solvent union of the generic, recurrent, 
ordered, established phase of nature with its phase that 
is incomplete, going on, and hence still uncertain, contin- 
gent, novel, particular; or as certain systems of esthetic 
theory have truly declared, though without empirical 
basis and import in their words, a union of necessity and 
freedom, a harmony of the many and one, a reconciliation 
of sensuous and ideal. Of any artistic act and product it 
may be said both that it is inevitable in its rightness, 
that nothing in it can be altered without altering all, 
and that its occurrence is spontaneous, unexpected, fresh, 
unpredictable. The presence in art, whether as an act or 
a product, of proportion, economy, order, symmetry, 
composition, is such a commonplace that it does not 
need to be dwelt upon. But equally necessary is unex- 
pected combination, and the consequent revelation of 
possibilities hitherto unrealized. "Repose in stimulation' 1 
characterizes art. Order and proportion when they are 
the whole story are soon exhausted; economy in itself is a 
tiresome and restrictive taskmaster. It is artistic when 
it releases. 

The more extensive and repeated are the basic uniformi- 
ties of nature that give form to art, the "greater" is the 
art, provided and it is this proviso that distinguishes 



360 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

art they are indistinguishably fused with the wonder of 
the new and the grace of the gratuitous. "Creation" 
may be asserted vaguely and mystically; but it denotes 
something genuine and indispensable in art. The merely 
finished is not fine but ended, done with, and the merely 
"fresh" is that bumptious impertinence indicated by the 
slang use of the word. The "magic" of poetry and 
pregnant experience has poetical quality is precisely 
the revelation of meaning in the old effected by its pre- 
sentation through the new. It radiates the light that 
never was on land and sea but that is henceforth an 
abiding illumination of objects. Music in its immediate 
occurrence is the most varied and etherial of the arts, 
but is in its conditions and structure the most mechanical. 
These things are commonplaces; but until they are com- 
monly employed in their evidential significance for a 
theory of nature's nature, there is no cause to apologize 
for their citation. 

The limiting terms that define art are routine at one 
extreme and capricious impulse at the other. It is hardly 
worth while to oppose science and art sharply to one 
another, when the deficiencies and troubles of life are so 
evidently due to separation between art and blind 
routine and blind impulse. Routine exemplies the uni- 
formities and recurrences of nature, caprice expresses its 
inchoate initiations and deviations. Each in isolation 
is unnatural as well as inartistic, for nature is an inter- 
section of spontaneity and necessity, the regular and the 
novel, the finished and the beginning. It is right to 
object to much of current practice on the ground that it is 
routine, just as it is right to object to much of our current 
enjoyments on the ground that they are spasms of excited 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 361 

escape from the thraldom of enforced work. But to 
transform a just objection against the quality of much of 
our practical life into a description and definition of 
practice is on the same plane as to convert legitimate 
objection to trivial distraction, senseless amusement, 
and sensual absorption, into a Puritanical aversion to 
happiness. The idea that work, productive activity, 
signifies action carried on for merely extraneous ends, and 
the idea that happiness signifies surrender of mind to the 
thrills and excitations of the body are one and the same 
idea. The first notion marks the separation of activity 
from meaning, and the second marks the separation of 
receptivity from meaning. Both separations are inevi- 
table as far as experience fails to be art: when the regu- 
lar, repetitious, and the novel, contingent in nature fail 
to sustain and inform each other in a productive activity 
possessed of immanent and directly enjoyed meaning. 

Thus the theme has insensibly passed over into that 
of the relation of means and consequence, process and 
product, the instrumental and consummatory. Any 
activity that is simultaneously both, rather than in 
alternation and displacement, is art. Disunion of pro- 
duction and consumption is a common enough occurrence. 
But emphasis upon this separation in order to exalt the 
consummatory does not define or interpret either art or 
experience. It obscures their meaning, resulting in a 
division of art into useful and fine, adjectives which, when 
they are prefixed to "art," corrupt and destroy its intrin- 
sic significance. For arts that are merely useful are not 
arts but routines; and arts that are merely final are not 
arts but passive amusements and distractions, different 
from other indulgent dissipations only in dependence 
upon a certain acquired refinement or "cultivation." 



362 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

The existence of activities that have no immediate 
enjoyed intrinsic meaning is undeniable. They in- 
clude much of our labors in home, factory, laboratory 
and study. By no stretch of language can they be termed 
either artistic or esthetic. Yet they exist, and are so 
coercive that they require some attentive recognition. 
So we optimistically call them "useful" and let it go at 
that, thinking that by calling them useful we have some- 
how justified and explained their occurrence. If we were 
to ask useful for what? we should be obliged to examine 
their actual consequences, and when we once honestly 
and fully faced these consequences we should probably 
find ground for calling such activities detrimental rather 
than useful. 

We call them useful because we arbitrarily cut short our 
consideration of consequences. We bring into view simply 
their efficacy in bringing into existence certain commodities; 
we do not ask for their effect upon the quality of human 
life and experience. They are useful to make shoes, 
houses, motor cars, money, and other things which may then 
be put to use; here inquiry and imagination stop. What 
they also make by way of narrowed, embittered, and 
crippled life, of congested, hurried, confused and extrava- 
gant life, is left in oblivion. But to be useful is to fulfill 
need. The characteristic human need is for possession 
and appreciation of the meaning of things, and this need 
is ignored and unsatisfied in the traditional notion of 
the useful. We identify utility with the external rela- 
tionship that some events and acts bear to other things 
that are their products, and thus leave out the only thing 
that is essential to the idea of utility, inherent place and 
bearing in experience. Our classificatory use of the 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 363 

conception of some arts as merely instrumental so as to 
dispose of a large part of human activity is no solving def- 
inition; it rather conveys an immense and urgent problem. 

The same statement applies to the conception of merely 
fine or final arts and works of art. In point of fact, the 
things designated by the phrase fall under three cap- 
tions. There are activities and receptivities to which the 
name of "self-expression" is often applied as a eulogistic 
qualification, in which one indulges himself by giving free 
outward exhibition to his own states without reference to 
the conditions upon which intelligible communication 
depends an act also sometimes known as "expression of 
emotion," which is then set up for definition of all fine 
art. It is easy to dispose of this art by calling it a prod- 
uct of egotism due to balked activity in other occupa- 
tions. But this treatment misses a more significant point. 
For all art is a process of making the world a different place 
in which to live, and involves a phase of protest and of 
compensatory response. Such art as there is in these 
manifestations lies in this factor. It is owing to frustra- 
tion in communication of meanings that the protest be- 
comes arbitrary and the compensatory response wilfully 
eccentric. 

In addition to this type and frequently mingled with 
it there is experimentation in new modes or craftsman- 
ship, cases where the seemingly bizarre and over-indi- 
vidualistic character of the products is due to discontent 
with existing technique, and is associated with an attempt 
to find new modes of language. It is aside from the point 
either to greet these manifestations as if they constituted 
art for the first time in human history, or to condemn them 
as not art because of their violent departures from received 



364 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

canons and methods. Some movement in this direction 
has always been a condition of growth of new forms, a 
condition of salvation from that mortal arrest and decay 
called academic art. 

Then there is that which in quantity bulks most largely 
as fine art: the production of buildings in the name of 
the art of architecture; of pictures in the name of the art 
of painting; of novels, dramas, etc., in the name of literary 
art; a production which in reality is largely a form of 
commercialized industry in production of a class of com- 
modities that find their sale among well-to-do persons 
desirous of maintaining a conventionally approved status. 
As the first two modes carry to disproportionate excess that 
factor of particularity, contingency and difference which 
is indispensable in all art, deliberately flaunting avoid- 
ance of the repetitions and order of nature; so this mode 
celebrates the regular and finished. It is reminiscent 
rather than commemorative of the meanings of experi- 
enced things. Its products remind their owner of things 
pleasant in memory though hard in direct-undergoing, 
and remind others that their owner has achieved an 
economic standard which makes possible cultivation and 
decoration of leisure. 

Obviously no one of these classes of activity and prod- 
uct or all of them put together, mark off anything that 
can be called distinctively fine art. They share their 
qualities and defects with many other acts and objects. 
But, fortunately, there may be mixed with any one of 
them, and, still more fortunately, there may occur with- 
out mixture, process and product that are characteristi- 
cally excellent. This occurs when activity is productive 
of an object that affords continuously renewed delight. 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 365 

This condition requires that the object be, with its suc- 
cessive consequences, indefinitely instrumental to new 
satisfying events. For otherwise the object is quickly 
exhausted and satiety sets in. Anyone, who reflects upon 
the commonplace that a measure of artistic products is 
their capacity to attract and retain observation with 
satisfaction under whatever conditions they are ap- 
proached, while things of less quality soon lose capacity 
to hold attention becoming indifferent or repellent upon 
subsequent approach, has a sure demonstration that a 
genuinely esthetic object is not exclusively consummatory 
but is causally productive as well. A consummatory 
object that is not also instrumental turns in time to the 
dust and ashes of boredom. The "eternal" quality of 
great art is its renewed instrumentality for further con- 
summatory experiences. 

When this fact is noted, it is also seen that limitation of 
fineness of art to paintings, statues, poems, songs and 
symphonies is conventional, or even verbal. Any activity 
that is productive of objects whose perception is an im- 
mediate good, and whose operation is a continual source 
of enjoyable perception of other events exhibits fineness 
of art. There are acts of all kinds that directly refresh 
and enlarge the spirit and that are instrumental to the 
production of new objects and dispositions which are in 
turn productive of further refinements and replenish- 
ments. Frequently moralists make the acts they find 
excellent or virtuous wholly final, and treat art and 
affection as mere means. Estheticians reverse the per- 
formance, and see in good acts means to an ulterior exter- 
nal happiness, while esthetic appreciation is called a good 
in itself, or that strange thing an end in itself. But on 



366 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

both sides it is true that in being preeminently fructify- 
ing the things designated means are immediate satis- 
factions. They are their own excuses for being just 
because they are charged with an office in quickening 
apprehension, enlarging the horizon of vision, refining 
discrimination, creating standards of appreciation which 
are confirmed and deepened by further experiences. ' It 
would almost seem when their non-instrumental character 
is insisted upon as if what was meant were an indefinitely 
expansive and radiating instrumental efficacy. 

The source of the error lies in the habit of calling by the 
name of means things that are not means at all; things 
that are only external and accidental antecedents of the 
happening of something else. Similarly things are 
called ends that are not ends save accidentally, since they 
are not fulfilments, consummatory, of means, but merely 
last terms closing a process. Thus it is often said that a 
laborer's toil is the means of his livelihood, although except 
in the most tenuous and arbitrary way it bears no relation- 
ship to his real living. Even his wage is hardly an end or 
consequence of his labor. He might and frequently 
does equally well or ill perform any one of a hundred 
other tasks as a condition of receiving payment. The 
prevailing conception of instrumentality is profoundly 
vitiated by the habit of applying it to cases like the above, 
where, instead of an operation of means, there is an en- 
forced necessity of doing erne thing as a coerced anteced- 
ent of the occurrence of another thing which is wanted 

Means are always at least causal conditions; but causal 
conditions are means only when they possess an added 
qualification; that, namely, of being freely used, because 
of perceived connection with chosen consequences. To 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 367 

entertain, choose and accomplish anything as an end or 
consequence is to be committed to a like love and care 
for whatever events and acts are its means. Similarly, 
consequences, ends, are at least effects; but effects are not 
ends unless thought has perceived and freely chosen the 
conditions and processes that are their conditions. The 
notion that means are menial, instrumentalities servile, 
is more than a degradation of means to the rank of coer- 
cive and external necessities. It renders all things upon 
which the name of end is bestowed accompaniments of 
privilege, while the name of utility becomes an apologetic 
justification for things that are not portions of a good and 
reasonable life. Livelihood is at present not so much the 
consequence of a wage-earner's labor as it is the effect of 
other causes forming the economic regime, labor being 
merely an accidental appendage of these other causes. 

Paints and skill in manipulative arrangement are means 
of a picture as end, because the picture is their assemblage 
and organization. Tones and susceptibility of the ear 
when properly interacting axe the means of music, because 
they constitute, make, are, music. A disposition of vir- 
tue is a means to a certain quality of happiness because it 
is a constituent of that good, while such happiness is 
means in turn to virtue, as the sustaining of good in being. 
Flour, water, yeast are means of bread because they are 
ingredients of bread; while bread is a factor in life, not 
just to it. A good political constitution, honest police- 
system, and competent judiciary, are means of the pros- 
perous life of the community because they are integrated 
portions of that life. Science is an instrumentality of 
and for art because it is the intelligent factor in art. The 
trite saying that a hand is not a hand except as an organ 



368 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

of the Hying body except as a working coordinated 
part of a balanced system of activities applies untritely 
to all things that are means. The connection of means- 
consequences is never one of bare succession in time, such 
that the element that is means is past and gone when the 
end is instituted. An active process is strung out tem- 
porarily, but there is a deposit at each stage and point 
entering cumulatively and constitutively into the outcome. 
A genuine instrumentality for is always an organ of an 
end. It confers continued efficacy upon the object in 
which it is embodied. 

The traditional separation between some things as mere 
means and others as mere ends is a reflection of the insu- 
lated existence of working and leisure classes, of produc- 
tion that is not also consummatory, and consummation 
that is not productive. This division is not a merely 
social phenomenon. It embodies a perpetuation upon 
the human plane of a division between need and satisfac- 
tion belonging to brute life. And this separation ex- 
presses in turn the mechanically external relationship 
that exists in nature between situations of disturbed 
equilibrium, of stress, and strain, and achieved equi- 
librium. For in nature, outside of man, except when 
events eventuate in "development" or "evolution" (in 
which a cumulative carrying forward of consequences of 
past histories in new efficiencies occurs) antecedent events 
are external transitive conditions of the occurrence of an 
event having immediate and static qualities. To animals 
to whom acts have no meaning, the change in the environ- 
ment required to satisfy needs has no significance on its 
own account; such change is a mere incident of ego-cen- 
tric satisfactions. This physically external relationship 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 369 

of antecedents and consequents is perpetuated; it con- 
tinues to hold true of human industry wherever labor and 
its materials and products are externally enforced necessi- 
ties for securing a living. Because Greek industry was so 
largely upon this plane of servile labor, all industrial 
activity was regarded by Greek thought as a mere means, 
an extraneous necessity. Hence satisfactions due to it 
were conceived to be the ends or goods of purely animal 
nature in isolation. With respect to a truly human and 
rational life, they were not ends or goods at all, but merely 
"means," that is to say, external conditions that were 
antecedently enforced requisites of the life conducted and 
enjoyed by free men, especially by those devoted to the 
acme of freedom, pure thinking. As Aristotle asserted, 
drawing a just conclusion from the assumed premises, 
there are classes of men who are necessary materials of 
society but who are not integral parts of it. And he 
summed up the whole theory of the external and coerced 
relationship of means and ends when he said in this very 
connection that: "When there is one thing that is means 
and another thing that is end, there is nothing common 
between them, except in so far as the one, the means, pro- 
duces, and the other, the end, receives the product." 

It would thus seem almost self-evident that the distinc- 
tion between the instrumental and the final adopted in 
philosophic tradition as a solving word presents in truth 
a problem, a problem so deep-seated and far-reaching that 
it may be said to be the problem of experience. For all 
the intelligent activities of men, no matter whether 
expressed in science, fine arts, or social relationships, have 
for their task the conversion of causal bonds, relations of 
8uccession } into a connection of means-consequence, into 



370 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

meanings. When the task is achieved the result is art: 
and in art everything is common between means and ends. 
Whenever so-called means remain external and servile, 
and so-called ends are enjoyed objects whose further 
causative status is unperceived, ignored or denied, the 
situation is proof positive of limitations of art. Such a 
situation consists of affairs in which the problem hSs not 
been solved; namely that of converting physical and brute 
relationships into connections of meanings characteristic 
of the possibilities of nature. 

It goes without saying that man begins as a part of 
physical and animal nature. In as far as he reacts to 
physical things on a strictly physical level, he is pulled 
and pushed about, overwhelmed, broken to pieces, lifted on 
the crest of the wave of things, like anything else. His 
contacts, his sufferings and doings, are matters of direct 
interaction only. He is in a "state of nature/' As an 
animal, even upon the brute level, he manages to subor- 
dinate some physical things to his needs, converting them 
into materials sustaining life and growth. But in so far 
things that serve as material of satisfaction and the acts 
that procure and utilize them are not objects, or things- 
with-meanings. That appetite as such is blind, is notori- 
ous; it may push us into a comfortable result instead of 
into disaster; but we are pushed just the same. When 
appetite is perceived in its meanings, in the consequences 
it induces, and these consequences are experimented 
with in reflective imagination, some being seen to be con- 
sistent with one another, and hence capable of co-exist- 
ence and of serially ordered achievement, others being 
incompatible, forbidding conjunction at one time, and 
getting in one another's way serially when this estate 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 371 

h attained, we Uve on the human plane, responding to 
things in their meanings. A relationship of cause-effect 
has been transformed into one of means-consequence. 
Then consequences belong integrally to the conditions 
which may produce them, and the latter possess character 
and distinction. The meaning of causal conditions 
is carried over also into the consequence, so that the lat- 
ter is no longer a mere end, a last and closing term of 
Arrest. It is marked out in perception, distinguished by 
the efficacy of the conditions which have entered into iL 
Its value as fulfilling and consummatory is measurable 
by subsequent fulfillments and frustrations to which it 
is contributory in virtue of the causal means which 
compose it. 

Thus to be conscious of meanings or to have an idea, 
marks a fruition, an enjoyed or suffered arrest of the flux 
of events. But there are all kinds of ways of perceiving 
meanings, all kinds of ideas. Meaning may be deter- 
mined in terms of consequences hastily snatched at and 
torn loose from their connections; then is prevented the 
formation of wider and more enduring ideas. Or, we may 
be aware of meanings, may achieve ideas, that unite 
wide and enduring scope with richness of distinctions* 
The latter sort of consciousness is more than a passing 
and superficial consummation or end: it takes up into 
itself meanings covering stretches of existence wrought 
into consistency. It marks the conclusion of long con- 
tinued endeavor; of patient and indefatigable search 
and test. The idea is, in short, art and a work of art. 
As a work of art, it directly liberates subsequent action 
and makes it more fruitful in a creation of more meanings 
and more perception*. 



372 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

It is the part of wisdom to recognize how sparse and 
insecure are such accomplishments in comparison with 
experience in which physical and animal nature largely 
have their way. Our liberal and rich ideas, our adequate 
appreciations, due to productive art are hemmed in by an 
unconquered domain in which we are everywhere exposed 
to the incidence of unknown forces and hurried fatally 
to unforeseen consequences. Here indeed we live ser- 
vilely, menially, mechanically; and we so live as mucfy 
when forces blindly lead to us ends that are liked as when 
we are caught in conditions and ends against which we 
blindly rebel. To call satisfactions which happen in this 
blind way "ends" in a eulogistic sense, as did classic 
thought, is to proclaim in effect our servile submission to 
accident. We may indeed enjoy the goods the gods of for- 
tune send us, but we should recognize them for what they 
are, not asserting them to be good and righteous alto- 
gether. For, since they have not been achieved by any 
art involving deliberate selection and arrangement of 
forces, we do not know with what they are charged. It 
is an old true tale that the god of fortune is capricious, 
and delights to destroy his darlings after having made 
them drunk with prosperity. The goods of art are not 
the less good in their goodness than the gifts of nature; 
while in addition they are such as to bring with themselves 
open-eyed confidence. They are fruits of means con- 
sciously employed; fulfillments whose further consequences 
are secured by conscious control of the causal conditions 
which enter into them. Art is the sole alternative to 
luck; and divorce from each other of the meaning and 
value of instrumentalities and ends is the essence of luck. 
The esoteric character of culture and the supernatural 
quality of religion are both expressions of the divorce. 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 373 

The modern mind has formally abjured belief in natural 
teleology because it found Greek and medieval teleol- 
ogy juvenile and superstitious. Yet facts have a way 
of compelling recognition of themselves. There is little 
scientific writing which does not introduce at some point 
or other the idea of tendency. The idea of tendency 
unites in itself exclusion of prior design and inclusion of 
movement in a particular direction, a direction that may 
be either furthered or counteracted and frustrated, but 
which is intrinsic. Direction involves a limiting position, 
a point or goal of culminating stoppage, as well as an 
initial starting point. To assert a tendency and to be 
fore-conscious of a possible terminus of movement are 
two names of the same fact. Such a consciousness may 
be fatalistic; a sense of inevitable march toward impend- 
ing doom. But it may also contain a perception of mean- 
ings such as flexibly directs a forward movement. The 
end is then an end-in-view and is in constant and cumu- 
lative reenactment at each stage of forward movement. 
It is no longer a terminal point, external to the conditions 
that have led up to it; it is the continually developing 
meaning of present tendencies the very things which 
as directed we call "means." The process is art and its 
product, no matter at what stage it be taken, is a work of 
art. 

To a person building a house, the end-in-view is not 
just a remote and final goal to be hit upon after a suffi- 
ciently great number of coerced motions have been duly 
performed. The end-in-view is a plan which is contem- 
poraneously operative in selecting and arranging materials. 
The latter, brick, stone, wood and mortar, are means only 
as the end-in-view is actually incarnate in them, in form- 



374 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Ing them. Literally, they are the end in Its present stage 
of realization. The end-in-view is present at each stage 
of the process; it is present as the meaning of the materials 
used and acts done; without its informing presence, the 
latter are in no sense "means;" they are merely extrinsic 
causal conditions. The statement is generic; it applies 
equally at every stage. The house itself, when building 
is complete, is "end" in no exclusive sense. It marks the 
conclusion of the organization of certain materials and 
events into effective means; but these material and events 
still exist in causal interaction with other things. New 
consequences are foreseen; new purposes, ends-in-view, are 
entertained; they are embodied in the coordination of the 
thing built, now reduced to material, although significant 
material, along with other materials, and thus transmuted 
into means. The case is still clearer, when instead of 
considering a process subject to as many rigid external 
conditions as is the building of a house, we take for illus- 
tration a flexibly and freely moving process, such as paint- 
ing a picture or thinking out a scientific process, when 
these operations are carried on artistically. Every process 
of free art proves that the difference between means and 
end is analytic, formal, not material and chronologic. 

What has been said enables us to re-define the distinc- 
tion drawn between the artistic, as objectively productive, 
and the esthetic. Both involve a perception of meanings 
in which the instrumental and the consummatory pecu- 
liarly intersect. In esthetic perceptions an object inter- 
penetrated with meanings is given; it may be taken for 
granted; it invites and awaits the act of appropriative 
enjoyment. In the esthetic object tendencies are sensed 
as brought to fruition ; in it is embodied a means-consequence 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 375 

relationship, as the past work of his hands was surveyed 
by the Lord and pronounced good. This good differs 
from those gratifications to which the name sensual 
rather than sensuous is given, since the former are pleas- 
ing endings that occur in ways not informed with the 
meaning of materials and acts integrated into them. 
In appreciative possession, perception goes out to tendencies 
which have been brought to happy fruition in such a way 
as to release and arouse. 

Artistic sense on the other hand grasps tendencies as 
possibilities; the invitation of these possibilities to per- 
ception is more urgent and compelling than that of the 
given already achieved. While the means-consequence 
relationship is directly sensed, felt, in both appreciation 
and artistic production, in the former the scale descends 
upon the side of the attained; in the latter there pre- 
dominates the invitation of an existent consummation 
to bring into existence further perceptions. Art in being, 
the active productive process, may thus be defined as an 
esthetic perception together with an operative perception 
of the efficiencies of the esthetic object. In many persons 
with respect to most kinds of enjoyed perceptions, the 
sense of possibilities, the arousal or excitation attendant 
upon appreciation of poetry, music, painting, architecture 
or landscape remains diffuse and inchoate; it takes effect 
only in direct and undefined channels. The enjoyed 
perception of a visual scene is in any case a function 
of that scene in its total connections, but it does not link 
up adequately. In some happily constituted persons, 
this effect is adequately coordinated with other endow- 
ments and habits; it becomes an integral part of craft, 
taking effect in the creation of a new object of apprecia- 



376 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

tion. The integration is, however, progressive and ex- 
perimental, not momentarily accomplished. Thus every 
creative effort is temporal, subject to risk and deflection. 
In that sense the difference between the diffuse and post- 
poned change of action due in an ordinary person to 
release of energies by an esthetic object, and the special 
and axial direction of subsequent action in a gifted person 
is, after all, a matter of degree. 

Without a sense of moving tendencies which are opera- 
tive in conjunction with a state of fruition, there is 
appetitive gratification, but nothing that may be termed 
appreciation. Sense of moving tendencies supplies 
thrill, stimulation, excitation; sense of completion, con- 
summation, affords composure, form, measure, composi- 
tion. Emphasize the latter, and appreciation is of the 
classic type. This type fits conditions where production 
is professionalized among technical craftsmen, as among 
the Greeks; it is adapted to a contemplative enjoyment of 
the achievements of past ages or remote places, where 
conditions forbid urge to emulation or productive activ- 
ity of a similar kind. Any work of art that persistently 
retains its power to generate enjoyed perception or 
appreciation becomes in time classic. 

In so-called romantic art, the sense of tendencies opera- 
tive beyond the limits of consummation is in excess; 
a lively sense of unrealized potentialities attaches to the 
object; but it is employed to enhance immediate appre- 
ciation, not to promote further productive achievement. 
Whatever is peculiarly romantic excites a feeling that the 
possibilities suggested go beyond not merely actual pres- 
ent realization, but are beyond effective attainment in 
any experience. In so far intentionally romantic art ia 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 377 

wilful, and in so far not art. Excited and uneasy percep- 
tual enjoyment is made ultimate, and the work of art is 
accommodated to production of these feelings. The sense 
of unachieved possibilities is employed as a compensatory 
equivalent for endeavor in achievement. Thus when 
the romantic spirit invades philosophy the possibilities 
present in imaginative sentiment are declared to be the 
real, although "transcendental," substance of Being itself. 
In complete art, appreciation follows the object and 
moves with it to its completion; romanticism reverses the 
process and degrades the object to an occasion for arous- 
ing a predetermined type of appreciation. In classicism, 
objective achievement is primary, and appreciation not 
only conforms to the object, but the object is employed to 
compose sentiment and give it distinction. Its vice, 
as an 'ism, is that it turns the mind to what is given; 
the given is taken as if it were eternal and wholly separate 
from generation and movement. Art free from subjec- 
tion to any "ism" has movement, creation, as well as 
order, finality. 

To institute a difference of kind between useful and fine 
arts is, therefore, absurd, since art involves a peculiar 
interpenetration of means and ends. Many things are 
termed useful for reasons of social status, implying dep- 
recation and contempt. Things are sometimes said to 
belong to the menial arts merely because they are cheap 
and used familiarly by common people. These things 
of daily use for ordinary ends may survive in later periods, 
or be transported to another culture, as from Japan and 
China to America, and being rare and sought by con- 
noisseurs, rank forthwith as works of fine art. Other 
things may be called fine because their manner of use is 



378 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

decorative or socially ostentatious. It is tempting to 
make a distinction of degree and say that a thing belongs 
to the sphere of use when perception of its meaning is 
incidental to something else; and that a thing belongs to 
fine art when its other uses are subordinate to its use in 
perception. The distinction has a rough practical value, 
but cannot be pressed too far. For in production of a 
painting or a poem, as well as in making a vase or a tem- 
ple, a perception is also employed as means for something 
beyond itself. Moreover, the perception of urns, pots 
and pans as commodities may be intrinsically enjoyable, 
although these things are primarily perceived with refer- 
ence to some use to which they are put. The only basic 
distinction is that between bad art and good art, and 
this distinction, between things that meet the require- 
ments of art and those that do not, applies equally to 
things of use and of beauty. Capacity to offer to per- 
ception meaning in which fruition and efficacy interpene- 
trate is met by different products in various degrees o\ 
fulness; it may be missed altogether by pans and poems 
alike. The difference between the ugliness of a mechani- 
cally conceived and executed utensil and of a meretricious 
and pretentious painting is one only of content or material; 
in form, both are articles, and bad articles. 

Thinking is pre-eminently an art; knowledge and propo- 
sitions which are the products of thinking, are works oi 
art, as much so as statuary and symphonies. Ever) 
successive stage of thinking is a conclusion in which th* 
meaning of what has produced it is condensed; and it h 
no sooner stated than it is a light radiating to other things 
unless it be a fog which obscures them. The anteced- 
ents of a conclusion are as causal and existential as thos< 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 379 

of a building. They are not logical or dialectical, or an 
affair of ideas. While a conclusion follows from ante- 
cedents, it does not follow from "premises/ 7 in the strict, 
formal sense. Premises are the analysis of a conclu- 
sion into its logically justifying grounds; there are no 
premises till there is a conclusion. Conclusion and 
premise are reached by a procedure comparable to the 
use of boards and nails in making a box; or of paint and 
canvas in making a picture. If defective materials are 
employed or if they are put together carelessly and awk- 
wardly, the result is defective. In some cases the result 
is called unworthy, in others, ugly; in others, inept; in 
others, wasteful, inefficient, and in still others untrue, 
false. But in each case, the condemnatory adjective 
refers to the resulting work judged in the light of its 
method of production. Scientific method or the art of 
constructing true perceptions is ascertained in the course 
of experience to occupy a privileged position in under- 
taking other arts. But this unique position only places 
it the more securely as an art; it does not set its product, 
knowledge, apart from other works of art. 

The existential origin of valid cognitive perceptions is 
sometimes recognized in form and denied in substance; 
the name "psychological" is given to the events which 
generate valid beliefs. Then a sharp distinction is made 
between genesis as psychological and validity as logical. 
Of course lexicographic names are of no special moment; 
if any one wishes to call the efficient causes of knowledge 
and truth psychological, he is entitled to do so provided 
the actual traits of these causative events are recognized. 
Such a recognition will note however that psychological 
does not mean psychic, or refer to events going on exclu- 



380 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

sively within the head or "subcutaneously." To become 
aware of an object cognitively as distinct from esthet- 
ically, involves external physical movements and external 
physical appliances physically manipulated. Some of 
these active changes result in unsound and defective per- 
ceptions; some have been ascertained to result usually in 
valid perceptions. The difference is precisely that which 
takes place when the art of architecture or sculpture is 
skilfully conducted or is carried on carelessly, and without 
adequate appliances. Sometimes the operations pro- 
ductive of tested beliefs are called "inductive ;" with an 
implication in the naming, of discrediting them, as com- 
pared with deductive functions, which are assigned a 
superior exclusive status. Of deduction, when thus de- 
fined, the following assertions may be made. First, it 
has nothing to do with truth about any matter of exist- 
ence. Secondly, it is not even concerned with consistency 
or correctness, save in a formal sense whose opposite (as 
has been previously pointed out) is not inconsistency 
but nonsense. Thirdly, the meanings which figure in it 
are the conclusions of prior inquiries which are "induc- 
tive/ 1 that is, are products of an experimental art of 
changing external things by appropriate external move- 
ments and appliances. 

Deduction as it actually occurs in science is not deduc- 
tion as deduction should be according to a common defini- 
tion. Deduction deals directly with meanings in their 
relations to one another, rather than with meanings 
directly referred to existence. But these meanings are 
what they are in themselves and are related to one an- 
other by means of acts of taking and manipulating 
an art of discourse. They possess intellectual import 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 381 

and enter fruitfully into scientific method only because 
they are selected, employed, separated and combined by 
acts extraneous to them, acts which are as existential and 
causative as those concerned in the experimental use of 
apparatus and other physical things. The act of knowing, 
whether solicitous about inference or about demonstra- 
tion, is always inductive. There is only one mode of 
thinking, the inductive, when thinking denotes any- 
thing that actually happens. The notion that there is 
another kind called deduction is another evidence of the 
prevalent tendency in philosophy to treat functions as 
antecedent operations, and to take essential meanings of 
existence as if they were a kind of Being. As a concrete 
operation, deduction is generative, not sterile; but as a 
concrete operation, it contains an extraneous act of taking 
and using which is selective, experimental and checked 
constantly by consequences. 

Knowledge or science, as a work of art, like any other 
work of art, confers upon things traits and potentialities 
which did not previously belong to them. Objection from 
the side of alleged realism to this statement springs from 
a confusion of tenses. Knowledge is not a distortion or 
perversion which confers upon its subject-matter traits 
which do not belong to it, but is an act which confers 
upon non-cognitive material traits which did not belong 
to it. It marks a change by which physical events 
exhibiting properties of mechanical energy, connected 
by relations of push and pull, hitting, rebounding, split- 
ting and consolidating, realize characters, meanings and 
relations of meanings hitherto not possessed by them. 
Architecture does not add to stone and wood something 
which does not belong to them, but it does add to them 



382 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

properties and efficacies which they did not possess in 
their earlier state. It adds them by means of engaging 
them in new modes of interaction, having a new order of 
consequences. Neither engineering nor fine art limits 
itself to imitative reproduction or copying of antecedent 
conditions. Their products may nevertheless be more 
effectively natural, more "life like," than were anteced- 
ent states of natural existence. So it is with the art of 
knowing and its works. 

The failure to recognize that knowledge is a product of 
art accounts for an otherwise inexplicable fact: that 
science lies today like an incubus upon such a wide area 
of beliefs and aspirations. To remove the deadweight, 
however, recognition that it is an art will have to be more 
than a theoretical avowal that science is made by man 
for man, although such recognition is probably an initial 
preliminary step. But the real source of the difficulty is 
that the art of knowing is limited to such a narrow area. 
Like everything precious and scarce, it has been artifi- 
cially protected; and through this very protection it has 
been dehumanized and appropriated by a class. As 
costly jewels of jade and pearl belong only to a few, so 
with the jewels of science. The philosophic theories 
which have set science on an altar in a temple remote from 
the arts of life, to be approached only with peculiar rites, 
are a part of the technique of retaining a secluded mo- 
nopoly of belief and intellectual authority. Till the art of 
achieving adequate and liberal perceptions of the mean- 
ings of events is incarnate in education, morals and 
industry, science will remain a special luxury for a few; 
for the mass, it will consist of a remote and abstruse body 
of curious propositions having little to do with life, except 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 383 

where it lays the heavy hand of law upon spontaneity, 
and invokes necessity and mechanism to witness against 
generous and free aspiration. 

Every error is attended with a contrary and compen- 
satory error, for otherwise it would soon be self-revealing. 
The conception that causes are metaphysically superior 
to effects is compensated for by the conception that ends 
are superior esthetically and morally to means. The 
two beliefs can be maintained together only by removing 
"ends" out of the region of the causal and efficacious. 
This is accomplished nowadays by first calling ends 
intrinsic values, and then by making a gulf between value 
and existence. The consequence is that science, dealing 
as it must, with existence, becomes brutal and mechani- 
cal, while criticism of values, whether moral or esthetic, 
becomes pedantic or effeminate, expressing either personal 
likes and dislikes, or building up a cumbrous array of 
rules and authorities. The thing that is needful, discrimi- 
nating judgment by methods whose consequences improve 
the art, easily slips through such coarse meshes, and by 
far the greater part of life goes on in a darkness unillu- 
mined by thoughtful inquiry. As long as such a state of 
thing persists, the argument of this chapter that science 
is art like many other propositions of this book is 
largely prophetic, or more or less dialectical. When an 
art of thinking as appropriate to human and social affairs 
has grown up as that used in dealing with distant stars, 
it will not be necessary to argue that science is one among 
the arts and among the works of art. It will be enough to 
point to observable situations. The separation of science 
from art, and the division of arts into those concerned with 
mere means and those concerned with ends in themselves, 



384 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

is a mask for lack of conjunction between power and the 
goods of life. It will lose plausibility in the degree in 
which foresight of good informs the display of power. 

Evidence of the interpenetration of the efficacious with 
the final in art is found in the slow emancipation of art 
from magical rite and cult, and the emergence of science 
from superstition. For magic and superstition could 
never have dominated human culture, nor poetry have 
been treated as insight into natural causes, if means and 
ends were empirically marked off from each other. The 
intimacy of their union in one and the same object is 
that which makes it easy to impute to whatever is 
consummatory a kind of efficacy which it does not pos- 
sess. Whatever is final is important; to say this is to 
enunciate a truism. Lack of instrumentalities and of 
skill by which to analyze and follow the particular effica- 
cies of the immediately enjoyed object lead to imputa- 
tion to it of wholesale efficacy in the degree of its impor- 
tance. To the short-cut pragmatism congenial to natural 
man, importance measures "reality" and reality in turn 
defines efficacious power. Loyalties evoked in the pas- 
sionate citizen by sight of the flag or in the devout Chris- 
tian by the cross are attributed directly to the intrinsic 
nature of these objects. Their share in a consummatory 
experience is translated into a mysterious inner sacred 
power, an indwelling efficacy. Thus a souvenir of the 
beloved one, arousing in the lover enjoyment similar to 
that awakened by the precious one to whom it belonged, 
possesses delightful, exciting, and consoling efficacies. 
No matter what things are directly implicated in a con- 
summatory situation, they gain potencies for weal or woe 
similar to the good or evil which directly marks the situa- 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 385 

tlon. Obviously error here resides In the gross and un- 
discriminating way in which power is attributed; inquiry 
to reveal the specified elements which form the sequential 
order is lacking. 

It is a commonplace of anthropologists that for the 
most part clothing originated in situations of unusual 
awe or prestigious display, rather than as a utility or pro- 
tection. It was part of a consummatory object, rather 
than a means to specified consequences. Like the robes 
of priests, clothes were vestments, and investiture was 
believed to convey directly to the one ceremonially 
garbed dread potency or fascinating charm. Clothes 
were worn to confer authority; a man did not lend his 
significance to them. Similarly, a victorious hunter and 
warrior celebrated a triumphant return to camp by affix- 
ing to his person in conspicuous fashion claws and teeth 
of the wild beast or enemy that his prowess had subju- 
gated. These signal proofs of power were integral por- 
tions of the object of admiration, loyalty and reverence. 
Thus the trophy became an emblem, and the emblem 
was endowed with mystic force. From a sign of glory 
it became a cause of glorification, and even when worn by 
another aroused the acclaim due to a hero. In time such 
trophies became the documented seal of prestigious 
authority. They had an intrinsic causal potency of their 
own. Legal history is full of like instances. Acts origin- 
ally performed in connection with, say, the exchange of 
property, performed as part of the dramatic ceremony 
of taking possession of land, were not treated as mere evi- 
dences of title, but as having a mystic power to confer title. 

Later, when such things lose their original power and 
become "mere matters of form/ 1 they may still be essen- 



386 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

tial to the legal force of a transaction, as seals have had to 
be affixed to a contract to give it force, even though there 
was no longer sense or reason in their use. Things which 
have an efficacy imputed to them simply because they 
have shared in some eminent consummatory experience 
are symbols. They are called symbols, however, only 
afterwards and from without. To the devout in politics 
and religion they are other than symbols; they are arti- 
cles possessed of occult potency. To one man, two 
crossed lines are an indication of an arithmetical opera- 
tion to be performed; to another, they are evidence of the 
existence of Christianity as a historic fact, as a crescent 
is a reminder of the existence of Islam. But to another, 
a cross is more than a poignant reminder of a tragically 
significant death; it has intrinsic sacred power to protect 
and to bless. Since a flag stirs passionate loyalty to 
sudden and pervasive ebullition, the flag must have 
properties and potencies not possessed by other and 
differently configured pieces of cloth; it must be handled 
with reverence; it is the natural object of ceremonial 
adoration. 

Phenomena like these when manifested in primitive 
culture are often interpreted as if they were attempts at a 
causal explanation of natural occurrences; magic is said 
to be science gone wrong. In reality, they are facts of 
direct emotional and practical response; beliefs, ideas, 
interpretations, only come later when responses not being 
direct and inevitably appropriate seem to demand 
explanation. As immediate responses they exemplify 
the fact that anything involved, no matter how incident- 
ally, in a consummatory situation has the power of arous- 
ing the awe, excitement, relief, admiration belonging to 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 387 

the situation as a whole. Industry displaces magic, and 
science reduces myth, when the elements that enter into 
the constitution of the consummatory whole are discrimi- 
nated, and each one has its own particular place in sequen- 
tial order assigned it. Thus materials and efficacies 
characteristic of different kinds of arts are distinguished. 
But because the ceremonial, literary and poetic arts 
have quite other ways of working and other consequences, 
than industrial and scientific arts, it is far from following, 
as current theories assume, that they have no instrumen- 
tal power at all, or that a sense of their instrumental 
agency is not* involved in their appreciative perception. 
The pervasive operation of symbolism in human culture 
is all the proof that is needed to show that an intimate and 
direct sense of place and connection in a prolonged history 
enters into the enjoyed and suffered constituents of the 
history, and especially into the final or terminal members. 
Further confirmation of this proposition is found in 
classic philosophy itself, in its theory that essential forms 
"make" things what they are, even though not causing 
them to occur. "Essence," as it figures in Greek theory, 
represents the mysterious potency of earlier "symbols" 
emancipated from their superstitious context and envisaged 
in a dialectic and reflective context. The essences of 
Greek-medieval science were in short poetic objects, 
treated as objects of demonstrative science, used to explain 
and understand the inner and ultimate constitution of 
things. While Greek thought was sufficiently emanci- 
pated from magic to deny "efficient" causality to formal 
and final essences, yet the latter were conceived of as 
making particular things to be what they are, members of 
natural kinds. Moreover, by a reversal of causal resi- 



988 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

dence, Intrinsic seeking for such forms was imputed to 
changing events. Thus the ground was prepared for 
the later frank return of patristic and scholastic thought to 
a frank animistic supernaturalism. The philosophic the- 
ory erred, as did magic and myth, regarding the nature of 
the efficacy involved in ends; and the error was due to^the 
same causes, namely, failure of analysis into elements. 
It could not have occurred, were there that sharp divi- 
sion between means and ends, fruitions and instrumen- 
talities, assumed by current thought. 

In short, the history of human experience is a history 
of the development of arts. The history of science in 
its distinct emergence from religious, ceremonial and 
poetic arts is the record of a differentiation of arts, not a 
record of separation from art. The chief significance of 
the account just given, lies, for our present purpose, 
in its bearing upon the theory of experience and nature. 
It is not, however, without import for a theory of criti- 
cism. The present confusion, deemed chaos by some, 
in the fine arts and esthetic criticism seems to be an inevit- 
able consequence of the underlying, even if unavowed, 
separation of the instrumental and the consummatory. 
The further men go in the concrete the more they are 
forced to recognize the logical consequence of their con- 
trolling assumptions. We owe it to theories of art prev- 
alent to-day in one school of critics that certain implica- 
tions, long obscured, of the traditional theory of art and 
nature have been brought to light. Gratitude for this 
debt should not be stinted because the adherents of the 
traditional theory regarding the newer views as capri- 
cious heresies, wild aberrations. For these critics, in 
proclaiming that esthetic qualities in works of fine art are 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 389 

unique, in asserting their separation from not only every 
thing that is existential in nature but also from all other 
forms of good, in proclaiming that such arts as music, 
poetry, painting have characters unshared with any 
natural things whatsoever: in asserting such things the 
critics carry to its conclusion the isolation of fine art 
from the useful, of the final from efficacious. They 
thus prove that the separation of the consummation from 
the instrumental makes art wholly esoteric 

There are substantially but two alternatives. Either 
art is a continuation, by means of intelligent selection 
and arrangement, of natural tendencies of natural events; 
or art is a peculiar addition to nature springing from 
something dwelling exclusively within the breast of man, 
whatever name be given the latter. In the former case, 
delightfully enhanced perception or esthetic appreciation 
is of the same nature as enjoyment of any object that is 
consummatory. It is the outcome of a skilled and intel- 
ligent art of dealing with natural things for the sake of 
intensifying, purifying, prolonging and deepening the 
satisfactions which they spontaneously afford. That, in 
this process, new meanings develop, and that these 
afford uniquely new traits and modes of enjoyment is 
but what happens everywhere in emergent growths. 

But if fine art has nothing to do with other activities 
and products, then of course it has nothing inherently 
to do with the objects, physical and social, experienced 
in other situations. It has an occult source and an es- 
oteric character. It makes little difference what the source 
and the character be called. By strict logic it makes 
literally no difference. For if the quality of the es- 
thetic experience is by conception unique, then the words 



390 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

employed to describe it have no significance derived 
from or comparable to the qualities of other experiences; 
their signification is hidden and specialized to a degree. 
Consider some of the terms which are in more or less cur- 
rent use among the critics who carry the isolation of art 
and the esthetic to its limit. It is sometimes said that 
art is the expression of the emotions; with the implication 
that, because of this fact, subject-matter is of no signifi- 
cance except as material through which emotion is ex- 
pressed. Hence art becomes unique. For in works of 
science, utility and morals the character of the objects 
forming this subject-matter is all-important. But by 
this definition, subject-matter is stripped of all its own 
inherent characters in art in the degree in which it is 
genuine art; since a truly artistic work is manifest in the 
reduction of subject-matter to a mere medium of expres- 
sion of emotion. 

In such a statement emotion either has no significance 
at all, and it is mere accident that this particular combina- 
tion of letters is employed; or else, if by emotion is meant 
the same sort of thing that is called emotion in daily life, 
the statement is demonstrably false. For emotion in its 
ordinary sense is something called out by objects, physical 
and personal; it is response to an objective situation. It 
is not something existing somewhere by itself which then 
employs material through which to express itself. Emo- 
tion is an indication of intimate participation, in a more 
or less excited way in some scene of nature or life; it is, so 
to speak, an attitude or disposition which is a function 
of objective things. It is intelligible that art should 
select and assemble objective things in such ways as to 
evoke emotional response of a refined, sensitive and endur- 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 391 

Ing kind; it is intelligible that the artist himself is one 
capable of sustaining these emotions, under whose temper 
and spirit he performs his compositions of objective mate- 
rials. This procedure may indeed be carried to a point 
such that the use of objective materials is economized to 
the minimum, and the evocation of the emotional response 
carried to its relative maximum. But it still remains 
true that the origin of the art-process lay in emotional 
responses spontaneously called out by a situation 
occurring without any reference to art, and without 
"esthetic" quality save in the sense in which all immediate 
enjoyment and suffering is esthetic. Economy in use of 
objective subject-matter may with experienced and 
trained minds go so far that what is ordinarily called 
"representation" is much reduced. But what happens 
is a highly funded and generalized representation of 
the formal sources of ordinary emotional experience. 

The same sort of remark is to be made concerning 
"significant form" as a definition of an esthetic object. 
Unless the meaning of the term is so isolated as to be 
wholly occult, it denotes a selection, for sake of emphasis, 
purity, subtlety, of those forms which give consummatory 
significance to every-day subject-matters of experience. 
"Forms" are not the peculiar property or creation of the 
esthetic and artistic; they are characters in virtue of which 
anything meets the requirements of an enjoyable percep- 
tion. "Art" does not create the forms; it is their selec- 
tion and organization in such ways as to enhance, pro- 
long and purify the perceptual experience. It is not by 
accident that some objects and situations afford marked 
perceptual satisfactions; they do so because of their 
structural properties and relations. An artist may work 



392 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

with a minimum of analytic recognition of these structures 
or "forms; " he may select them chiefly by a kind of sympa- 
thetic vibration. But they may also be discriminatively 
ascertained; and an artist may utilize his deliberate 
awareness of them to create works of art that are more 
formal and abstract than those to which the public is 
accustomed. Tendency to composition in terms of the 
formal characters marks much contemporary art, in 
poetry, painting, music, even sculpture and architecture. 
At their worst, these products are "scientific" rather than 
artistic; technical exercises, sterile and of a new kind of 
pedantry. At their best, they assist in ushering in new 
modes of art and by education of the organs of perception 
in new modes of consummatory objects; they enlarge and 
enrich the world of human vision. 

Thus, by only a slight forcing of the argument, we 
reach a conclusion regarding the relations of instrumental 
and fine art which is precisely the opposite of that intended 
by seclusive estheticians; namely, that fine art con- 
sciously undertaken as such is peculiarly instrumental in 
quality. It is a device in experimentation carried on 
for the sake of education. It exists for the sake of a 
specialized use, use being a new training of modes of 
perception. The creators of such works of art are entitled, 
when successful, to the gratitude that we give to inventors 
of microscopes and microphones; in the end, they open 
new objects to be observed and enjoyed. This is a 
genuine service; but only an age of combined confusion 
and conceit will arrogate to works that perform this 
special utility the exclusive name of fine art. 

Experience in the form of art, when reflected upon, we 
conclude by saying, solves more problems which have 



EXPERIENCE, NATURE AND ART 393 

troubled philosophers and resolves more hard and fast 
dualisms than any other theme of thought. As the 
previous discussion has indicated, it demonstrates the 
intersection in nature of individual and generic; of chance 
and law, transforming one into opportunity and the other 
into liberation; of instrumental and final. More evi- 
dently still, it demonstrates the gratuitous falsity of 
notions that divide overt and executive activity from 
thought and feeling and thus separate mind and matter. 
In creative production, the external and physical world 
is more than a mere means or external condition of per- 
ceptions, ideas and emotions; it is subject-matter and 
sustainer of conscious activity; and thereby exhibits, so 
that he who runs may read, the fact that consciousness 
is not a separate realm of being, but is the manifest qual- 
ity of existence when nature is most free and most active. 



CHAPTER TEN 

EXISTENCE, VALUE AND CRITICISM 

Recent philosophy has witnessed the rise of a theory ol 
value. Value as it usually figures in this discussion 
marks a desperate attempt to combine the obvious empiri- 
cal fact that objects are qualified with good and bad, 
with philosophic deliverances which, in isolating man from 
nature, qualitative individualities from the world, render 
this fact anomalous. The philosopher erects a "realm 
of values" in which to place all the precious things 
which are extruded from natural existence because of 
isolations artificially introduced. Poignancy, humor, zest, 
tragedy, beauty, prosperity and bafflement, although 
rejected from a nature which is identified with mechanical 
structure, remain just what they empirically are, and 
demand recognition. Hence they are gathered up into 
the realm of values, contradistinguished from the realm 
of existence. Then the philosopher has a new problem 
with which to wrestle: What is the relationship of these 
two "worlds?" Is the world of value that of ultimate 
and transcendent Being from which the world of existence 
is a derivation or a fall? Or is it but a manifestation of 
human subjectivity, a factor somehow miraculously super- 
vening upon an order complete and closed in physical 
structure? Or are there scattered at random through 
objective being, detached subsistences as "real" as arc 
physical events, but having no temporal dates and spa- 
tial locations, and yet at times and places miraculously 
united with existences? 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 395 

Choke among such notions of value is arbitrary, 
because the problem is arbitrary. When we return to the 
conceptions of potentiality and actuality, contingency 
and regularity, qualitatively diverse individuality, 
with which Greek thought operated, we find no room for 
a theory of values separate from a theory of nature. Yet 
if we are to recur to the Greek conceptions, the return 
must be a return with a difference. It must surrender 
the identification of natural ends with good and perfec- 
tion; recognizing that a natural end, a part from endeavor 
expressing choice, has no intrinsic eulogistic quality, but 
is the boundary which writes "Finis" to a chapter of 
history inscribed by a moving system of energies. Fail- 
ure by exhaustion as well as by triumph may constitute 
an end; death, ignorance, as well as life, are finalities. 

Again, the return must abandon the notion of a pre- 
determined limited number of ends inherently arranged in 
an order of increasing comprehensiveness and finality. 
It will have to recognize that natural termini are as infi- 
nitely numerous and varied as are the individual systems of 
action they delimit; and that since there is only relative, 
not absolute, impermeability and fixity of structure, new 
individuals with novel ends emerge in irregular proces- 
sion. It must recognize that limits, closures, ends are 
experimentally or dynamically determined, presenting, 
like the boundaries of political individuals or states, a 
moving adjustment of various energy-systems in their 
cooperative and competitive interactions, not something 
belonging to them of their own right. Consequently, 
it will surrender the separation in nature from each other 
of contingency and regularity, the hazardous and the 
assured; it will avoid that relegation of them to distinct 



396 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

orders of Being which is characteristic of the classic tradi- 
tion. It will note that they intersect everywhere; that it 
is uncertainty and indeterminateness that create the need 
for and the sense of order and security; that whatever is 
most complete and liberal in being and possession is for 
that very reason most exposed to vicissitude, and most 
needful of watchful safeguarding art. 

The connotation of "value" in recent thought contains 
some hint of the changes which experience has compelled 
in the classic notion of natural ends. For by implica- 
tion at least values are recognized to be fugitive and pre- 
carious, to be negative and positive, and indefinitely 
diversified in quality. Even that metaphysical theory of 
super-idealism which finds them to be eternal, and the 
eternal foundation and source of shifting temporal events, 
bases its argument upon the undeniable insecurity, the 
interminable elusiveness, the appearance and disappear- 
ance, of values in actual experience. Because of this 
sense of the evanescence and uncertainty of what used to 
be called ends but are now called values, the important 
consideration and concern is not a theory of values but 
a theory of criticism; a method of discriminating among 
goods on the basis of the conditions of their appearance, 
and of their consequences. 

Values are values, things immediately having certain 
intrinsic qualities. Of them as values there is accordingly 
nothing to be said; they are what they are. All that can 
be said of them. concerns their generative conditions and 
the consequences to which they give rise. The notion 
that things as direct values lend themselves to thought 
and discourse rests upon a confusion of causal categories 
with immediate qualities. Objects, for example, may 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 397 

be distinguished as contributory or as fulfilling, but this 
is distinction of place with respect to causal relationship; 
it is not a distinction of values. We may be interested in 
a thing, be concerned with it or like it, for a reason. The 
reason for appreciation, for an enjoyed appropriation, 
is often that the object in question serves as a means to 
something; or the reason is that it stands as the culmina- 
tion of an antecedent process. But to take into account 
the reason for liking and enjoyment concerns the cause of 
the existence of a value, and has nothing to do with the 
intrinsicalness or nature of the value-quality, which either 
does or does not exist. Things that are means and things 
that are fulfillments have different qualities; but so do 
symphonies, operas and oratorios among themselves. 
The difference is not one that has anything to do with the 
immediacy or intrinsicalness of value-quality; it is a 
difference between one affair and quality and another. 

It is self-contradictory to suppose that when a ful- 
fillment possesses immediate value, its means of attain- 
ment do not. The person to whom the cessation of a 
tooth-ache has value, by that very fact finds value in 
going to a dentist, or in whatever else is means of fulfill- 
ment. For fulfillment is as relative to means as means are 
to realization. Means-consequences constitute a single 
undivided situation. Consequently when thought and 
discussion enter, when theorizing sets in, when there is 
anything beyond bare immediate enjoyment and suffer- 
ing, it is the means-consequence relationship that is 
considered. Thought goes beyond immediate existence 
to its relationships, the conditions which mediate it and 
the things to which it is in turn mediatory. And such a 
procedure is criticism. The all but universal confusion 



398 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

in theories of value of determined position in causative 
or sequential relationship with value proper is indirect 
testimony to the fact that every intelligent appreciation 
is also criticism, judgment, of the thing having immediate 
value. Any theory of values is perforce entrance into the 
field of criticism. Value as such, even things having 
value, cannot in their immediate existence be reflected 
upon; they either are or are not; are or are not enjoyed. 
To pass beyond direct occurrence, even though the pas- 
sage be restricted to an attempt to define value, is to 
begin a process of discrimination which implies a reflec- 
tive criterion. In themselves, values may be just pointed 
at; to attempt a definition by complete pointing is how- 
ever bootless. Sooner or later, with respect to positive 
or negative value, designation will have to include every- 
thing. 

These remarks are preparatory to presenting a con- 
ception of philosophy; namely, that philosophy is inher- 
ently criticism, having its distinctive position among 
various modes of criticism in its generality; a criticism 
of criticisms, as it were. Criticism is discriminating judg- 
ment, careful appraisal, and judgment is appropriately 
termed criticism wherever the subject-matter of discrimi- 
nation concerns goods or values. Possession and enjoy- 
ment of goods passes insensibly and inevitably into apprai- 
sal. First and immature experience is content simply to 
enjoy. But a brief course in experience enforces reflec- 
tion; it requires but brief time to teach that some things 
sweet in the having are bitter in after-taste and in what 
they lead to. Primitive innocence does not last. Enjoy- 
ment ceases to be a datum and becomes a problem. As a 
problem! it implies intelligent inquiry into the conditions 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 399 

and consequences of a value-object; that is, criticism. If 
values were as plentiful as huckleberries, and if the huckle- 
berry-patch were always at hand, the passage of apprecia- 
tion into criticism would be a senseless procedure. If one 
thing tired or bored us, we should have only to turn to 
another. But values are as unstable as the forms of 
clouds. The things that possess them are exposed to 
all the contingencies of existence, and they are indiffer- 
ent to our likings and tastes. 

Good things change and vanish not only with changes 
in the environing medium but with changes in ourselves. 
Continued perception, except when it has been cultivated 
through prior criticism, dulls itself; it is soon satiated, 
exhausted, blas6. The infinite flippancy of the natural 
man is a standing theme for discourse by shrewd observers 
of human nature. Cultivated taste alone is capable of 
prolonged appreciation of the same object; and it is 
capable of it because it has been trained to a discriminat- 
ing procedure which constantly uncovers in the object 
new meanings to be perceived and enjoyed. Add to 
exhaustion of the organs of perception and enjoyment, 
all the other organic causes which render enjoyed objects 
unstable, and then add the external vicissitudes to which 
they are subjected, and there is no cause to wonder at 
the evanescence of immediate goods; nor at the so-called 
paradoxes of pleasure and virtue, according to which they 
are not secured by aiming at them but by attention to 
other things; a fact however, which is not a paradox in 
a world where nothing is attained in any other way than 
by attention to its causal conditions. 

When criticism and the critical attitude are legitimately 
distinguished from appreciation and taste, we are in the 



400 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

presence of one case of the constant rhythm of "perchings 
and flights" (to borrow James* terms), characteristic of 
alternate emphasis upon the immediate and mediate, the 
consummately and instrumental, phases of all conscious 
experience. If we are misled into ignoring the omni- 
presence in all observations and ideas of this rhythm, it is 
largely because, under the influence of formal theories, sve 
attach too elaborate and too remote a signification to 
"appreciation" and "criticism. " Values of some sort or 
other are not traits of rare and festal occasions; they occur 
whenever any object is welcomed and lingered over; 
whenever it arouses aversion and protest; even though 
the lingering be but momentary and the aversion a pass- 
ing glance toward something else. 

Similarly, criticism is not a matter of formal treatises, 
published articles, or taking up important matters 
for consideration in a serious way. It occurs whenever 
a moment is devoted to looking to see what sort of value 
is present; whenever instead of accepting a value-object 
wholeheartedly, being rapt by it, we raise even a shadow of 
a question about its worth, or modify our sense of it by 
even a passing estimate of its probable future. It is 
well upon the whole that we use the terms "appreciation" 
and "criticism" honorifically, to designate conspicuous 
instances. But it is fatal to any understanding of them 
to fail to note that formally emphatic instances are of 
exactly the same nature as the rhythmic alternation 
between slight agreeable acceptances, annoyed rejec- 
tions and passing questionings and estimates, which 
make up the entire course of our waking experience, 
whether in revery, in controlled inquiry or in deliberate 
management of affairs 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 401 

The rhythmic succession of the two modes of percep- 
tion suggests that the difference is one of emphasis ; or 
degree. Critical appreciation, and appreciative, warmly 
emotionalized criticism occur in every matured sane 
experience. After the first dumb, formless experience of 
a thing as a good, subsequent perception of the good con- 
tains at least a germ of critical reflection. For this rea- 
son, and only for this reason, elaborate and formulated 
criticism is subsequently possible. The latter, if just 
and pertinent, can but develop the reflective implications 
found within appreciation itself. Criticism would be the 
most wilful of undertakings if the possession and enjoy- 
ment of good objects had no element of memory and fore- 
sight in it; if it lacked all circumspection and judgment 
Criticism is reasonable and to the point, in the degree in 
which it extends and deepens these factors of intelligence 
found in immediate taste and enjoyment. 

Conscience in morals, taste in fine arts and conviction 
in beliefs pass insensibly into critical judgments; the 
latter pass also into a more and more generalized form of 
criticism called philosophy. How is the assertion of 
"canons" of taste and criticism compatible with the 
declaration that there is no discussing tastes? What is 
meant by a distinction between apparent good and real 
good? How can the distinction between seeming and 
being be capable of application to what is good? Is criti- 
cal appraisal possible without a standard measure of 
values? Is the standard of values itself a value? Is it 
derived from the value-objects to which it is applied? 
If so, what authority does it possess over and beyond that 
of particular cases? What right has it to pass judgment 
upon its own source and authors? Does a standard 



402 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

exist transcendentally in independence of concrete cases 
judged? If so, what is its source, and what is the ground 
and guarantee of its applicability to alien material? 
Is taste, immediate appreciation, sense and moral sense, 
ultimate, its own final judge in every case as it arises? 
What, in that event, saves us from chaotic anarchy? 
Is there among men a common measure of value? If so, 
is it grounded outside of man, in an independent objective 
form of Being? 

Such questions as these, which may be multiplied as 
one pleases, indicate that no great difficulty would attend 
an effort to derive all the stock issues of philosophy from 
the problems of value and their relationship to critical 
judgment. Whether it be a question of the good and bad 
in conviction and opinion, or in matters of conduct, or in 
appreciated scenes of nature and art, there occurs in 
every instance a conflict between the immediate value- 
object and the ulterior value-object: the given good, and 
that reached and justified by reflection; the now appar- 
ent and the eventual. In knowledge, for example there 
are beliefs de facto and beliefs de jure. In morals, there 
are immediate goods, the desired, and reasonable goods, 
the desirable. In esthetics, there are the goods of an 
undeveloped or perverted taste and there are the goods 
of cultivated taste. With respect to any of these dis- 
tinctions, the true, real, final, or objective good is no 
more good as an immediate existence than is the contrast- 
ing good, called false, specious, illusory, showy, meretrici- 
ous, lefaux bon. The difference in adjectives designates 
a difference instituted in critical judgment; the validity 
of the difference between good which is approved and 
that which is good (immediately) but is judged bad, depends 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 403 

therefore upon the value of reflection in general, and of a 
particular reflective operation in especial. Even if good of 
the reflective object is different from that of the good of the 
non-reflective object, it does not follow that it is a better 
good, much less that it is such a difference in goodness as 
mates the non-reflective good bad: except upon one 
proviso, namely, that there is something unique in the 
value or goodness of reflection. 

Either, then, the difference between genuine, valid, good 
and a counterfeit, specious good is unreal, or it is a differ- 
ence consequent upon reflection, or criticism, and the 
significant point is that this difference is equivalent to 
that made by discovery of relationships, of conditions and 
consequences. With this conclusion are bound up two 
other propositions: Of immediate values as such, values 
which occur and which are possessed and enjoyed, there 
is no theory at all; they just occur, are enjoyed, possessed; 
and that is all. The moment we begin to discourse about 
these values, to define and generalize, to make distinc- 
tions in kinds, we are passing beyond value-objects them- 
selves; we are entering, even if only blindly, upon an 
inquiry into causal antecedents and causative consequents, 
with a view to appraising the "real," that is the eventual, 
goodness of the thing in question. We are criticizing, 
not for its own sake, but for the sake of instituting and 
perpetuating more enduring and extensive values. 

The other proposition is that philosophy is and can be 
nothing but this critical operation and function become 
aware of itself and its implications, pursued deliberately 
and systematically. It starts from actual situations of 
belief, conduct and appreciative perception which are 
characterized by immediate qualities of good and bad, 



404 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

and from the modes of critical judgment current at any 
given time in all the regions of value; these are its data, its 
subject-matter. These values, criticisms, and critical 
methods, it subjects to further criticism as comprehen- 
sive and consistent as possible. The function is to regulate 
the further appreciation of goods and bads; to give greater 
freedom and security in those acts of direct selection, 
appropriation, identification and of rejection, elimination, 
destruction which enstate and which exclude objects of 
belief, conduct and contemplation. 

Such a conclusion wears an air of strangeness. It 
may appear to indicate an attempt by a dialectic trick 
to make the category of good-and-bad supreme in its 
jurisdiction over intellectual life and over all objects. 
This impression will, I think, be readily dissipated by 
consideration of the actual meaning of what is said. Ob- 
jects of belief and of refusals to believe are value-objects; 
for each object is some thing acquiesced in, accepted, 
adopted, appropriated. This is the same as saying it is 
found good or satisfactory to believe or disbelieve; truis- 
tically, whatever is accepted is as such and in so far 
good. There is no occult significance in this statement; 
it is not preliminary to an argument which shall sweep 
away the properties which objects possess independent of 
their being objects of belief, or of their being values. 
It does not annihilate the difference among beliefs; it 
does not set up the fact that an object believed in is per- 
force found good as if it were a reason for belief. On the 
contrary: the statement is preliminary. The all-im- 
portant matter is what lies back of and causes acceptance 
and rejection; whether or no there is method of discrimina- 
tion and assessment which makes a difference in what is 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 405 

assented to and denied. Properties and relations that 
entitle an object to be found good in belief are extraneous 
to the qualities that are its immediate good; they are 
causal, and hence found only by search into the antecedent 
and the eventual. The conception that there are some 
objects or some properties of objects which carry their own 
adequate credentials upon their face is the snare and delu- 
sion of the whole historic tradition regarding knowledge, 
infecting alike sensational and rational schools, objective 
realisms and introspective idealisms. 

Concerning beliefs and their objects taken in their 
immediacy "non-disputandum" holds, as truly as it does 
concerning tastes and their objects. If a man believes 
in ghosts, devils, miracles, fortune-tellers, the immutable 
certainty of the existing economic regime, and the supreme 
merits of his political party and its leaders, he does so 
believe; these are immediate goods to him, precisely as 
some color and tone combinations are lovely, or the mis- 
tress of his heart is charming. When the question is 
raised as to the "real" value of the object for belief, the 
appeal is to criticism, intelligence. And the court of 
appeal decides by the law of conditions and consequences. 
Inquiry duly pursued leads to the enstatement of an 
object which is directly accepted, good in belief, but an 
object whose character now depends upon the reflective 
operations whose conclusion it is. Like the object of 
dogmatic and uncritical belief, it marks an "end," a static 
arrest; but unlike it, the "end" is a conclusion; hence it 
carries credentials. 

Were not objects of belief immediate goods, false beliefs 
would not be the dangerous things which they are. For 
it is because these objects are good to believe, to admit and 



40fi EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

assert, that they are cherished so intolerantly and unre- 
mittingly. Beliefs about God, Nature, society and man 
are precisely the things that men most cling to and most 
ardently fight for. It is easier to wean a miser from his 
hoard, than a man from his deeper opinions. And the 
tragedy is that in so many cases the causes which lead to 
the thing in question being a value are not reasons for its 
being a good, while the fact that it is an immediate good 
tends to preclude that search for causes, that dispassion- 
ate judgment, which is pre-requisite to the conversion of 
goods de facto into goods de jure. Here, again and pre- 
eminently, since reflection is the instrumentality of secur- 
ing freer and more enduring goods, reflection is a unique 
intrinsic good. Its instrumental efficacy determines it 
to be a candidate for a distinctive position as an immediate 
good, since beyond other goods it has power of replen- 
ishment and fructification. In it, apparent good and real 
good enormously coincide. 

In traditional discussion the fact is overlooked that the 
subject-matter of belief is a good, since belief means 
assimilation and assertion. It is overlooked that its imme- 
diate goodness is both the obstacle to reflective examination 
and the source of its necessity. The "true" is indeed set 
up along with the good and the beautiful as a transcend- 
ent good, but the role of empirical good, of value, in the 
sweep of ordinary beliefs is passed by. The counterpart 
of this error, which isolates the subject-matter of intellect 
from the scope of values and valuations, is a corresponding 
isolation of the subject-matter of esthetic contemplation 
and immediate enjoyment from judgment. Between 
these two realms, one of intellectual objects without value 
and the other of value-objects without intellect, there is 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 407 

an equivocal mid-country in which moral objects arc 
placed, with rival claimants striving to annex them either 
to the region of purely immediate goods (in this case 
termed pleasures) or to that of purely rational objects. 
Hence the primary function of philosophy at present is 
tojnake it clear that there is no such difference as this 
division assumes between science, morals, and esthetic 
appreciation. All alike exhibit the difference between 
immediate goods casually occurring and immediate goods 
which have been reflectively determined by means of 
critical inquiry. If bare liking is an adequate determi- 
nant of values in one case, it is in the others. If intelli- 
gence, criticism, is required in one, it is in the others. If 
the end to be attained in any case is an enhanced and puri- 
fied immediate appreciative, experienced object, so it is in 
the others. All cases manifest the same duality and pre- 
sent the same problem; that of embodying intelligence in 
action which shall convert casual natural goods, whose 
causes and effects are unknown, into goods valid for 
thought, right for conduct and cultivated for appreciation. 
Philosophic discourse partakes both of scientific and 
literary discourse. Like literature, it is a comment on 
nature and life in the interest of a more intense and just 
appreciation of the meanings present in experience. Its 
business is reportorial and transcriptive only in the sense 
in which the drama and poetry have that office. Its 
primary concern is to clarify, liberate and extend the 
goods which inhere in the naturally generated functions 
of experience. It has no call to create a world of "reality" 
de now, nor to delve into secrets of Being hidden from 
common-sense and science. It has no stock of informa- 
tion or body of knowledge peculiarly its own; if it does not 



408 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

always become ridiculous when it sets up as a rival of 
science, it is only because a particular philosopher hap- 
pens to be also, as a human being, a prophetic man of 
science. Its business is to accept and to utilize for a pur- 
pose the best available knowledge of its own time and 
place. And this purpose is criticism of beliefs, institu- 
tions, customs, policies with respect to their bearing upon 
good. This does not mean their bearing upon the good, 
as something itself attained and formulated in philoso- 
phy. For as philosophy has no private score of knowledge 
or of methods for attaining truth, so it has no private 
access to good. As it accepts knowledge of facts and 
principles from those competent in inquiry and discovery, 
so it accepts the goods that are diffused in human experi- 
ence. It has no Mosaic nor Pauline authority of revela- 
tion entrusted to it. But it has the authority of intelli- 
gence, of criticism of these common and natural goods. 
At this point, it departs from the arts of literary dis- 
course. They have a freer office to perform to perpetu- 
ate, enhance and vivify in imagination the natural goods; 
all things are forgiven to him who succeeds. But philo- 
sophic criticism has a stricter task, with a greater measure 
of responsibility to what lies outside its own products, 
It has to appraise values by taking cognizance of their 
causes and consequences; only by this straight and narrow 
path may it contribute to expansion and emancipation 
of values. For this reason the conclusions of science 
about matter-of-fact efficiencies of nature are its indis- 
pensable instruments. If its eventual concern is to 
render goods more coherent, more secure and more signifi- 
cant in appreciation, its road is the subject-matter of 
natural existence as science discovers and depicts it. 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 409 

Only in verbal form is there anything novel in this con- 
ception of philosophy. It is a version of the old saying 
that philosophy is love of wisdom, of wisdom which is not 
knowledge and which nevertheless cannot be without 
knowledge. The need of an organon of criticism which 
uses knowledge of relations among events to appraise the 
casual, immediate goods that obtain among men is not a 
fact of philosophy, but of nature and life. We can con- 
ceive a happier nature and experience than flourishes 
among us wherein the office of critical reflection would be 
carried on so continuously and in such detail that no par- 
ticular apparatus would be needed. But actual experi- 
ence is such a jumble that a degree of distance and de- 
tachment are a pre-requisite of vision in perspective. 
Thinkers often withdraw too far. But a withdrawal is 
necessary, unless they are to be deafened by the immediate 
clamor and blinded by the immediate glare of the scene. 
What especially makes necessary a generalized instru- 
ment of criticism, is the tendency of objects to seek rigid 
non-communicating compartments. It is natural that 
nature, variegatedly qualified, should exhibit various 
trends when it achieves experience of itself, so that there is 
a distribution of emphasis such as are designated by the 
adjectives scientific, industrial, political, religious, artis- 
tic, educational, moral and so on. 

But however natural from the standpoint of causation 
may be the institutionalizing of these trends, their separa- 
tion effects an isolation which is unnatural. Narrowness, 
superficiality, stagnation follow from lack of the nourish- 
ment which can be supplied only by generous and wide 
interactions. Goods isolated as professionalism and insti- 
tutionalization isolate them, petrify; and in a moving 



410 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

world solidification is always dangerous. Resistant force 
is gained by precipitation, but no one thing gets strong 
enough to defy everything. Over-specialization and divi- 
sion erf interests, occupations and goods create the need 
for a generalized medium of intercommunication, of 
mutual criticism through all-around translation from one 
separated region of experience into another. Thus philos- 
ophy as a critical organ becomes in effect a messenger, a 
liason officer, making reciprocally intelligible voices speak- 
ing provincial tongues, and thereby enlarging as well as 
rectifying the meanings with which they are charged. 

The difficulty is that philosophy, even when professing 
catholicity, has often been suborned. Instead of being a 
free messenger of communication it has been a diplomatic 
agent of some special and partial interest; insincere, 
because in the name of peace it has fostered divisions that 
lead to strife, and in the name of loyalty has promoted 
unholy alliances and secret understandings. One might 
say that the profuseness of attestations to supreme devo- 
tion to truth on the part of philosophy is matter to 
arouse suspicion. For it has usually been a preliminary 
to the claim of being a peculiar organ of access to highest 
and ultimate truth. Such it is not; and it will not lose 
its esoteric and insincere air until the profession is dis- 
claimed. Truth is a collection of truths; and these 
constituent truths are in the keeping of the best available 
methods of inquiry and testing as to matters-of-fact; 
methods, which are, when collected under a single name, 
science. As to truth, then, philosophy has no pre-eminent 
status; it is a recipient, not a donor. But the realm of 
meanings is wider than that of true and-false meanings; 
it is more urgent and more fertile. When the claim of 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 411 

meanings to truth enters in, then truth is indeed pre- 
eminent. But this fact is often confused with the idea 
that truth has a claim to enter everywhere; that it has 
monopolistic jurisdiction. Poetic meanings, moral mean- 
iggs, a large part of the goods of life are matters of rich- 
ness and freedom of meanings, rather than of truth; a 
l^i^ge part of our life is carried on in a realm of meanings 
to which truth and falsity as such are irrelevant. And the 
claim of philosophy to rival or displace science as a pur- 
veyor of truth seems to be mostly a compensatory ges- 
ture for failure to perform its proper task of liberating 
and clarifying meanings, including those scientifically 
authenticated. For, assuredly, a student prizes historic 
systems rather for the meanings and shades of meanings 
they have brought to light than for the store of ultimate 
truths they have ascertained. If accomplishment of the 
former office were made the avowed business of philoso- 
phy, instead of an incidental by-product, its position 
would be clearer, more intelligent and more respected. 

It is sometimes suggested, however, that such a view of 
philosophy derogates from its dignity, degrading it into 
an instrument of social reforms, and that it is a view con- 
genial only to those who are insensitive to the positive 
achievements of culture and over-sensitive to its evils. 
Such a conception overlooks outstanding facts. "Social 
reform" is conceived in a Philistine spirit, if it is taken 
to mean anything less than precisely the liberation and 
expansion of the meanings of which experience is capable. 
No doubt many schemes of social reform are guilty of 
precisely this narrowing. But for that very reason they 
are futile; they do not succeed in even the special reforms 
at which they aim, except at the expense of intensifying 



412 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

other defects and creating new ones. Nothing but the 
best, the richest and fullest experience possible, is good 
enough for man. The attainment of such an experience is 
not to be conceived as the specific problem of "reformers" 
but as the common purpose of men. The contribution 
which philosophy can make to this common aim is criti- 
cism. Criticism certainly includes a heightened consciousr 
ness of deficiencies and corruptions in the scheme and 
distribution of values that obtains at any period. 

No just or pertinent criticism in its negative phase can 
possibly be made, however, except upon the basis of a 
heightened appreciation of the positive goods which 
human experience has achieved and offers. Positive con- 
crete goods of science, art and social companionship are 
the basic subject-matter of philosophy as criticism; and 
only because such positive goods already exist is their 
emancipation and secured extension the defining aim of 
intelligence. The more aware one is of the richness of 
meanings which experience possesses, the more will a 
generous and catholic thinker be conscious of the limits 
which prevent sharing in them; the more aware will he be 
of their accidental and arbitrary distribution. If instru- 
mental efficacies need to be emphasized, it is not for the 
sake of instruments but for the sake of that full and more 
secure distribution of values which is impossible without 
instrumentalities. 

If philosophy be criticism, what is to be said of the rela- 
tion of philosophy to metaphysics? For metaphysics, 
as a statement of the generic traits manifested by 
existences of all kinds without regard to their differen- 
tiation into physical and mental, seems to have nothing 
to do with criticism and choice, with an effective love of 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 413 

wisdom. It begins and ends with analysis and definition. 
When it has revealed the traits and characters that are 
sure to turn up in every universe of discourse, its work is 
done. So at least an argument may run. But the very 
nature of the traits discovered in every theme of discourse, 
since they are ineluctable traits of natural existence, 
forbids such a conclusion. Qualitative individuality and 
constant relations, contingency and need, movement and 
arrest are common traits of all existence. This fact is 
source both of values and of their precariousness; both of 
immediate possession which is casual and of reflection 
which is a precondition of secure attainment and appro- 
priation. Any theory that detects and defines these traits 
is therefore but a ground-map of the province of criticism, 
establishing base lines to be employed in more intricate 
triangulations. 

If the general traits of nature existed in water-tight 
compartments, it might be enough to sort out the objects 
and interests of experience among them. But they are 
actually so intimately intermixed that all important 
issues are concerned with their degrees and the ratios 
they sustain to one another. Barely to note and register 
that contingency is a trait of natural events has nothing 
to do with wisdom. To note, however, contingency in 
connection with a concrete situation of life is that fear of 
the Lord which is at least the beginning of wisdom. 
The detection and definition of nature's end is in itself 
barren. But the undergoing that actually goes on in 
the light of this discovery brings one close to supreme 
issues: life and death. 

The more sure one is that the world which encompasses 
human life is of such and such a character (no matter 



414 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

what his definition), the more one Is committed to try to 
direct the conduct of life, that of others as well as of him- 
self, upon the basis of the character assigned to the world. 
And if he finds that he cannot succeed, that the attempt 
lands him in confusion, inconsistency and darkness, 
plunging others into discord and shutting them out from 
participation, rudimentary precepts instruct him to sur- 
render his assurance as a delusion; and to revise his 
notions of the nature of nature till he makes them more 
adequate to the concrete facts in which nature is em- 
bodied. Man needs the earth in order to walk, the sea 
to swim or sail, the air to fly. Of necessity he acts within 
the world, and in order to be, he must in some measure 
adapt himself as one part of nature to other parts. 

In mind, thought, this situation, this predicament 
becomes aware of itself. Instead of the coerced adapta- 
tion of part to part with coerced failure or success as con- 
sequence, there is search for the meaning of things with 
respect to acts to bt performed, plans and policies to be 
formed; there is search for the meaning of proposed act* 
with respect to objects they induce and preclude. The 
one cord that is never broken is that between the energies 
and acts which compose nature. Knowledge modifies 
the tie. But the idea that knowledge breaks the tie, that 
it inserts something opaque between the Interactions of 
things, is hardly less than infantile. Knowledge as 
science modifies the particular interactions that come 
within its reach, because it is itself a modification of inter- 
actions, due to taking into account their past and future. 
The generic insight into existence which alone can define 
metaphysics In any empirically Intelligible sense Is itself 
an added fact of interaction! and is therefor* subject to 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 415 

the same requirement of intelligence as any other natural 
occurrence: namely, inquiry into the bearings, leadings 
and consequences of what it discovers. The universe is 
no infinite self-representative series, if only because the 
addition within it of a representation makes it a different 
universe. 

By an indirect path we are brought to a considera- 
tion of the most far-reaching question of all criticism: 
the relationship between existence and value, or as the 
problem is often put, between the real and ideal. 

Philosophies have usually insisted upon a wholesale 
relationship. Either the goods which we most prize and 
which are therefore termed ideal are identified completely 
and throughout with real Being; or the realms of existence 
and of the ideal are wholly severed from each other. In 
the European tradition in its orthodox form the former 
alternative has prevailed. Em and verum, bonum are 
the same. Being, in the full sense, is perfection of power 
to be; the measure of degrees of perfection and of degrees 
of reality is extent of power. Evil and error are impo- 
tences; futile gestures against omnipotence against Being. 
Spinoza restated to this effect medieval theology in terms 
of the new outlook of science. Modern professed ideal- 
isms have taught the same doctrine. After magnifying 
thought and the objects of thought, after magnifying 
the ideals of human aspiration, they have then sought to 
prove that after all these things are not ideal but are real 
real not as meanings and ideals, but as existential being. 
Thus the assertion of faith in the ideal belies itself in the 
making; these "idealists" cannot trust their ideal till 
they have converted it into existence that is, into the 
physical or the psychical, which, since it lacks the proper- 



416 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

ties of the empirically physical and psycho-physical 
becomes a peculiar kind of existence, called metaphysical. 

There are also philosophies, rarer in occurrence, which 
allege that the ideal is too sacredly ideal to have any 
point of contact whatever with existence; they think that 
contact is contagion and contagion infection. At first 
sight such a view seems to display a certain nobility of 
faith and fineness of abnegation. But an ideal realin 
that has no roots in existence has no efficacy nor relevancy. 
It is a light which is darkness, for shining in the void it 
illumines nothing and cannot reveal even itself. It 
gives no instruction, for it cannot be translated into the 
meaning and import of what actually happens, and hence 
it is barren; it cannot mitigate the bleakness of existence 
nor modify its brutalities. It thus abnegates itself in 
abjuring footing in natural events, and ceases to be ideal, 
to become whimsical fantasy or linguistic sophistication. 

These remarks are made not so much by way of hostile 
animadversion as by way of indicating the sterility of 
wholesale conceptions of the relation of existence and 
value. By negative implication, they reveal the only 
kind of doctrine that can be effectively critical, taking 
effect in discriminations which emancipate, extend, and 
clarify. Such a theory will realize that the meanings 
which are termed ideal as truly as those which are termed 
sensuous are generated by existences; that as far as they 
continue in being they are sustained by events; that they 
are indications of the possibilities of existences, and are, 
therefore, to be used as well as enjoyed; used to inspire 
action to procure and buttress their causal conditions. 
Such a doctrine criticizes particular occurrences by the 
particular meanings to which they give rise; it criticizes 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 417 

also particular meanings and goods as their conditions are 
found to be sparse, accidental, incapable of conservation, 
or frequent, pliant, congruous, enduring; and as their 
consequences are found to afford enlightenment and direc- 
tion in conduct, or to darken counsel, narrow the horizon 
of vision, befog judgment and distort perspective. A 
gpdd is a good anyhow, but to reflection those goods 
approve themselves, whether labelled beauty or truth or 
righteousness, which steady, vitalize and expand judg- 
ments in creation of new goods and conservation of old 
goods. To common-sense this statement is a truism. 
If to philosophy it is a stumbling-block, it is because tra- 
dition in philosophy has set itself in stiff-necked fashion 
against discriminations within the realm of existences, on 
account of the pluralistic implications of discrimination. 
It insists upon having all or none; it cannot choose in favor 
of some existences and against others because of prior 
commitment to a dogma of perfect unity. Such dis- 
tinctions as it makes are therefore always hierarchical; 
degrees of greater and less, superior and inferior, in one 
homogeneous order. 

I gladly borrow the glowing words of one of our greatest 
American philosophers; with their poetry they may 
succeed in conveying where dry prose fails. Justice 
Holmes has written: "The mode in which the inevitable 
comes to pass is through effort. Consciously or uncon- 
sciously we all strive to make the kind of world that we 
like. And although with Spinoza we may regard criti- 
cism of the past as futile, there is every reason for doing 
all that we can to make a future such as we desire." He 
then goes on to say, "there is every reason also for trying 
to make our desires intelligent The trouble is that our 



418 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

ideals for the most part are inarticulate, and that even if 
we have made them definite we have very little experi- 
mental knowledge of the way to bring them about." 
And this effort to make our desires, our strivings and our 
ideals, (which are as natural to man as his aches and His 
clothes) articulate, to define them (not in themselves 
which is impossible) in terms of inquiry into conditions 
and consequences is what I have called criticism; and when 
carried on in the grand manner, philosophy. In a further 
essay, Justice Holmes touches upon the relation of philos- 
ophy (thus conceived) to our scientific and metaphysical 
insight into the kind of a world in which we live. 

"When we come to our attitude toward the universe I 
do not see any rational ground for demanding the super- 
lative for being dissatisfied unless we are assured that our 

truth is cosmic truth, if there is such a thing 

If a man sees no reason for believing that significance, 
consciousness and ideals are more than marks of the 
human, that does not justify what has been familiar in 
French sceptics; getting upon a pedestal and professing 
to look with haughty scorn upon a world in ruins. The 
real conclusion is that the part cannot swallow the whole. 
.... If we believe that we came out of the uni- 
verse, not it out of us, we must admit that we do not know 
what we are talking about when we speak of brute matter. 
We do know that a certain complex of energies can wag 
its tail and another can make syllogisms. These are 
among the powers of the unknown, and if, as may be, it 
has still greater powers that we cannot understand 
.... why should we not be content? Why should 
we employ the energy that is furnished to us by the cos- 
mos to defy it and to shake our fist at the sky? It seems 
to me silly." 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 419 

'That the universe has in it more than we understand, 
that the private soldiers have not been told the plan of 
campaign, or even that there is one . . . . has no 
bearing on our conduct. We still shall fight all of us 
because we want to live, some, at least, because we want to 
realize our spontaneity and prove our powers, for the 
Joy of it, and we may leave to the unknown the supposed 
final valuation of that which in any event has value to us. 
It is enough for us that the universe has produced us and 
has within it, as less than it, all that we believe and love. 
If we think of our existence not as that of a little god 
outside, but as that of a ganglion within, we have the 
infinite behind us. It gives us our only but our adequate 
significance. If our imagination is strong enough to 
accept the vision of ourselves as parts inseparable from 
the rest, and to extend our final interest beyond the 
boundary of our skins, it justifies even the sacrifice of our 
lives for ends outside of ourselves. The motive to be sure 
is the common wants and ideals that we find in man. 
Philosophy does not furnish motives, but it shows men 
that they are not fools for doing what they already want 
to do. It opens to the forlorn hopes on which we throw 
ourselves away, the vista of the farthest stretch of human 
thought, the chord of a harmony that breathes from the 
unknown." 

Men move between extremes. They conceive of them- 
selves as gods, or feign a powerful and cunning god as an 
ally who bends the world to do their bidding and meet 
their wishes. Disillusionized, they disown the world that 
disappoints them; and hugging ideals to themselves as 
their own possession, stand in haughty aloofness apart 
from the hard course of events that pays so little heed to 



420 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

our hopes and aspirations. But a mind that has opened 
itself to experience and that has ripened through its 
discipline knows its own littleness and impotencies; it 
knows that its wishes and acknowledgments are not filial 
measures of the universe whether in knowledge or in con- 
duct, and hence are, in the end, transient. But it also 
knows that its juvenile assumption of power and achieve- 
ment is not a dream to be wholly forgotten. It implies 
a unity with the universe that is to be preserved. The 
belief, and the effort of thought and struggle which it 
inspires are also the doing of the universe, and they in 
some way, however slight, carry the universe forward. A 
chastened sense of our importance, apprehension that 
it is not a yard-stick by which to measure the whole, is 
consistent with the belief that we and our endeavors are 
significant not only for themselves but in the whole. 

Fidelity to the nature to which we belong, as parts 
however weak, demands that we cherish our desires and 
ideals till we have converted them into intelligence, 
revised them in terms of the ways and means which 
nature makes possible. When we have used our thought 
to its utmost and have thrown into the moving unbalanced 
balance of things our puny strength, we know that though 
the universe slay us still we may trust, for our lot is one 
with whatever is good in existence. We know that such 
thought and effort is one condition of the coming into 
existence of the better. As far as we are concerned it is 
the only condition, for it alone is in our power. To ask 
more than this is childish; but to ask less is a recreance 
no less egotistic, involving no less a cutting of ourselves 
from the universe than does the expectation that it meet 
and satisfy our every wish. To ask in good faith as much 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 421 

as this from ourselves is to stir into motion every capacity 
of imagination, and to exact from action every skill and 
bravery. 

While, therefore, philosophy has its source not in any 
spfecial impulse or staked-off section of experience, but 
in tjhe entire human predicament, this human situation 
falls wholly within nature. It reflects the traits of nature ; 
it gives indisputable evidence that in nature itself quali- 
ties and relations, individualities and uniformities, finali- 
ties and efficacies, contingencies and necessities are inex- 
tricably bound together. The harsh conflicts and the 
happy coincidences of this interpenetration make experi- 
ence what it consciously is; their manifest apparition 
creates doubt, forces inquiry, exacts choice, and imposes 
liability for the choice which is made. Were there 
complete harmony in nature, life would be spontaneous 
efflorescence. If disharmony were not in both man and 
nature, if it were only between them, man would be the 
ruthless overlord of nature, or its querulous oppressed 
subject. It is precisely the peculiar intermixture of 
support and frustration of man by nature which consti- 
tutes experience. The standing antitheses of philosophic 
thought, purpose and mechanism, subject and object, 
necessity and freedom, mind and body, individual and 
general, are all of them attempts to formulate the fact 
that nature induces and partially sustains meanings and 
goods, and at critical junctures withdraws assistance and 
flouts its own creatures. 

The striving of man for objects of imagination is a con- 
tinuation of natural processes; it is something man has 
learned from the world in which he occurs, not something 
which he arbitrarily injects into that world. When he 



422 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

adds perception and ideas to these endeavors, it is not 
after aH he who adds; the addition is again the doing of 
nature and a further complication of its own domain. 
To act, to enjoy and suffer in consequence of action, to 
reflect, to discriminate and make differences in what Kad 
been but gross and homogeneous good and evil, according 
to what inquiry reveals of causes and effects; to act upbn 
what has been learned, thereby to plunge into new and 
unconsidered predicaments, to test and revise what has 
been learned, to engage in new goods and evils is human, 
the course which manifests the course of nature. They 
are the manifest destiny of contingency, fulfillment, 
qualitative individualization and generic uniformities in 
nature. To note, register and define the constituent 
structure of nature is not then an affair neutral to the office 
of criticism. It is a preliminary outline of the field of 
criticism, whose chief import is to afford understanding of 
the necessity and nature of the office of intelligence. 

If I mistake not, the actual animus of subjectivity in 
modern philosophy is not where its antagonists have 
placed it. Its actual animus and its obnoxious burden 
are exemplified in the doctrine of its hostile critics. For 
they assign to knowledge alone valid reference to existence. 
Desires, beliefs, "practical" activity, values are attrib- 
uted exclusively to the human subject; this division is 
what makes subjectivity a snare and peril. The case of 
belief is crucial. For it is admitted that belief involves a 
phase of acquiescence or assertion, it presents qualities 
which involve personal factors; and (whatever definition 
of value be employed) value. A sharp line of demarcar 
tion has therefore to be drawn between belief and knowl- 
edge, for the latter has been defined in terms of pure objeo 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 423 

tfvity . The need to control belief is admitted ; knowledge 
figures! even though according to these theories only per 
accident, as the organon of such control Practically 
then, in effect, knowledge, science, truth, is the method of 
criticizing beliefs* It is the method of determining right 
participation in beliefs on the part of personal factors. 
Why then keep up any other distinction between knowl- 
edge and beliefs, save that between methodical agencies, 
efficacious instrumentalities, and the accepted objects 
which being*conclusions, are hence marked by characters 
due to the method of their production, in contrast with 
objects of belief blindly and accidentally generated? 
Why perturbation at the intimation that science is inher- 
ently an instrument of critically determining what is 
good and bad in the way of acceptance and rejection? 

I can see but (me answer. The realm of desire, belief, 
search, choice is thought of as "subjective" in a sense 
which isolates it from natural existence and which makes 
it an inexplicable irruption. This is the reason for sharp 
separation of belief and knowledge. Aversion to making 
science a means of determining the right operation of per- 
sonal factors, just as the technical and material apparatus 
of a painter determines his product, is well grounded if 
the personal is outside of nature. Made a means to 
something personal conceived in this sense, science loses 
its objectivity, and becomes infected with the traits 
which characterize the merely private and arbitrary. 

There is involved, however, in the conclusion an unex- 
amined and uncriticized assumption. The reason for 
isolating doubt, striving, purpose, the variegated colored 
play erf goods and bads, rejections and acceptances, is 
they do not belong in the block universe which forms the 



424 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

object of generalized knowledge, whether the block be 
conceived as mechanical or as rational in structure. The 
argument thus moves in a vicious circle; the question is 
begged at the outset. If individualized qualities, status 
arrests, limiting "ends/ 1 and contingent changes charac- 
terize nature, then they manifest themselves in the uses, 
enjoyments and sufferings, the searchings and strivings 
which form conscious experience. These are as realistic, 
as "objectively" natural, as are the constituents of the 
object of cognitional experience. There is then no ground 
for denying or evading the full import of the fact that the 
latter are the means and the only means of regulative 
appraisals of values, of their revision, rectification, of 
their regulated generation and fortification. 

The habitual avoidance in theories of knowledge of any 
reference to the fact that knowledge is a case of belief, 
operates as a device for ignoring the monstrous conse- 
quences of regarding the latter as existentially subjective, 
personal and private. No such device is available in 
dealing with esthetic and moral goods. Here the obnoxi- 
ous one-sided conception operates in full force. The 
usual current procedure is to link values with likings as 
merely personal affairs, ignoring the inconvenient fact 
that the theory logically thereby makes all beliefs also 
matters of arbitrary, undiscussable preference. It is no 
cause for wonder therefore that there is next to no consen- 
sus in esthetic and moral theories. Since their subject- 
matter is totally segregated from that of science, since 
they are assigned to independent non-participating realms 
of existence, the only possible method of achieving agree- 
ment has been exiled in advance. 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 411 

Practically this consequence is intolerable; accordingly 
it is rarely faced. "Standards" of value suddenly make 
their appearance to serve as criteria of taste and con- 
science. The distinction between likings and that which 
is worth liking, between the desired and the desirable, 
between the is and the ought, descends out of the blue. 
There are, it seems, immediate values, but there also are 
standard values, and the latter may be used to judge and 
measure immediate goods and bads. Thus the reflective 
distinction between the true and the false, the genuine and 
the spurious is brought upon the scene. In strict logic, 
however, it enters only to disappear. For if the standard 
is itself a value, then it is by definition only another name 
for the object of a particular liking, on the part of some 
particular subjective creature. If the liking for it con- 
flicts with some other liking, the strongest wins. There is 
no question of false and true, of real and seeming, but only 
of stronger and weaker. The question of which one 
should be stronger is as meaningless as it would be in a 
cock-fight. 

Such a conclusion puts an end to all attempt at con- 
sistency and organization and calls out in reaction an 
opposite theory. The "standard" is not, it is decided, 
for us at least, a good. It is rather a principle rationally 
apprehended. It is that which is "right" rather than 
that which is good; and since it is the right, it is the stand- 
ard for judging all goods. If right is also good, the identi- 
fication subsists in some transcendental realm; in some 
eternal, non-empirical realm of Being which is also a 
realm of values. The standard of good thus conceived as 
a principle of reason and as a form of supreme Being, is 
set over against the outside of actual desire*, striving, 



426 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

satisfactions and frustrations. It ought to enter into 
their determination but for the most part it does not. 
The distinction between is and ought is one of kind, and 
a separation. It is not surprising that the wheel com- 
pletes a full circle, and that the finale is a retort that the 
alleged standard is itself but another dignified disguise 
for some one's arbitrary liking the ip*e dixit of some one* 
accidentally clothed with extraneous authority. 

It is as irritating to have experience of beauty and 
moral goodness reduced to groundless whims as to have 
that of truth. Common-sense has an inexpugnable 
conviction that there are immediate goods of enjoyment 
and conduct, and that there are principles by which they 
may be appraised and rectified. Common-sense enter- 
tains this firm conviction because it is innocent of any 
rigid demarcation between knowledge on one side and 
belief, conduct and esthetic appreciation on the other. 
It is guiltless of the division between objective reality 
and subjective events. It takes striving, purposing, 
inquiring, wanting, the life of "practice," to be as much 
facts of nature as are the themes of scientific discourse; 
to it, indeed, the former has a more direct and urgent 
reality. Hence it has no difficulty with the idea of ra- 
tional or objective criticism and rectification of immediate 
goods. If it were articulate, it would say that the same 
natural processes which generate goods and evils generate 
also the striving to secure the one and avoid the other, 
and generate judgments to regulate the strivings. Its 
weakness is that it fails to recognize that deliberate and 
systematized science is a precondition of adequate judg- 
ments and hence of adequate striving and adequate choice. 
Its organs of criticism are for the most part half-judg- 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 42T 

ments, uncriticized products of custom, chance circum- 
stance and vested interests. Hence commonsense when 
it begins to reflect upon its own convictions easily falls a 
victim to traditional theories; and the vicious circle begins 
ever again. It is sound as to the need and possibility of 
objective criticism of values, it is weak as to the method of 
accomplishing. 

Yet all this time there is an example of the way out in 
the case of .beliefs. There was a time when beliefs about 
external events were largely matters of what it was 
found immediately good to accept or reject; as far as there 
was a distinction made between the immediately good in 
belief and the real or true, it lay chiefly in the fact that the 
latter was the object sanctioned by authorities of church 
and state. Yet it is now all but commonplace that 
every belief-value must be subjected to criticism; in 
scientific undertakings, it is a common-place that criticism 
does not depend upon reference to a transcendent stand- 
ard truth. The distinction between an immediate 
belief-value, which is but a challenge to inquiry, and an 
eventual object of belief that concludes critical inquiry, 
and has the value of fulfilling the causal relationships 
discovered, is made in the course of intelligent experi- 
ment. The result is a distinction between the apparent 
and the real good. Gradually a reluctant world is per- 
suaded that meanings so determined define what is good 
for acceptance and assertion. Meantime beliefs deter- 
mined by passion, class-interest, routine and authority 
remain sufficiently prevalent to enforce the perception 
that it makes all the difference in the world in the value 
of'a belief how its object is formed and arrived at. Thus 
the lesson is enforced that critical valuations of immediate 



428 EXPERIENCE AND NATURB 

goods proceed in terms of the generation and consequences 
of objects qualified with good. 

In outward forms, experimental science is infinitely 
varied. In principle, it is simple. We know an object 
when we know how it is made, and we know how it is 
made in the degree in which we ourselves make it. Old 
tradition compels us to call thinking "mental." But 
"mental" thought is but partial experimentation, ter- 
minating in preliminary readjustments, confined within 
the organism. As long as thinking remained at this 
stage, it protected itself by regarding this introverted 
truncation as evidence of an immaterial reason superior 
to and independent of body. As long as thought was 
thus cooped up, overt action in the "outer" natural scene 
was inevitably shorn of its full meed of meaning; it waa 
to that extent arbitrary and routine. When "outer" and 
"inner" activity came together in a single experimental 
operation, used as the only adequate method of discovery 
and proof, effective criticism, consistent and ordered 
valuation, emerged. Thought aligned itself with other 
arts that shape objects by informing things with meanings. 

Psychology, which reflects the old dualistic separation 
of mind from nature, has made current the notion that 
the processes which terminate in knowledge fare forth 
from innocent sensory data, or from pure logical princi- 
ples, or from both together, as original starting points 
and material. As a natural history of mind this notion is 
wholly mythological. All knowing and effort to know 
starts from some belief, some received and asserted mean- 
ing which is a deposit of prior experience, personal and 
communal. In every instance, from passing query 'to 
elaborate scientific undertaking, the art of knowing criti- 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 429 

dzcs a belief which has passed current as genuine coin, 
with a view to its revision. It terminates when freer, richer 
and more secure objects of belief are instituted as goods 
of immediate acceptance. The operation is one of doing 
and making in the literal sense. Starting from one good, 
treated as apparent and questionable, and ending in 
another which is tested and substantiated, the final act 
of knowing is acceptance and intellectual appreciation 
of what is significantly conclusive. 

Is there any reason for supposing that the situation is 
any different in the case of other values and valuations? 
Is there any intrinsic difference between the relation of 
scientific inquiry to belief- values, of esthetic criticism to 
esthetic values, and of moral judgments to moral goods? 
Is there any difference in logical method? If we adopt a 
current theory, and say that immediate values occur where 
ever there is liking, interest, bias, it is clear that this 
liking is an act, if not an overt one, at least a dispositional 
tendency and direction. But most likings, all likings in 
their first appearance, are blind and gross. They do not 
know what they are about nor why they attach them- 
selves to this or that object. Moreover, every such act 
takes a risk and assumes a liability, and does so ignorantly. 
For there are always in existence rival claimants for lik- 
ing. To prefer this is to exclude that. Any liking is 
choice, unwittingly performed. There is no selection 
without rejection; interest and bias are selective, preferen- 
tial. To take this for a good is to declare in act, though 
not at first in thought, that it is better than something 
else. This decision is arbitrary, capricious, unreasoned 
because made without thought of the other object, 
and without comparison. To say that an object is a 



430 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

good may seem to be an absolute and intrinsic declaration 
particularly when the assertion is made in direct act 
rather than in thought But when we recognize that in 
effect the assertion is that one thing is better than another 
thing, the issues shift to something comparative, rel^- 
tional, causal, intellectual and objective. Immediately 
nothing is better or worse than anything else; it is jtit 
what it is. Comparison is comparison of things, things 
in their efficacies, their promotions and hindrances. The 
better is that which will do more in the way of security, 
liberation and fecundity for other likings and values. 

To make a valuation, to judge appraisingly, is then to 
bring to conscious perception relations of productivity and 
resistance and thus to make value significant, intelligent 
and intelligible. In becoming discriminately aware of 
the causal conditions of the object liked and preferred, 
we become aware of its eventual operations. If in the 
case of esthetic and moral goods, the causal conditions 
which reflection reveals as determinants of the good object 
are found to lie within organic constitution in greater 
degree than is the case with objects of belief, this finding is 
of enormous importance for the technique of critical 
judgment. But it does not modify the logic which obtains 
in knowledge of the relationship of values and valuations 
to each other. It indicates the particular subject-matter 
which has to be controlled and used in the conscious art 
of re-making goods. As inquiries which aim at knowledge 
start from pre-existent beliefs, so esthetic and moral 
criticism start from antecedent natural goods of contem- 
plative enjoyment and social intercourse. Its purpose is to 
make it possible to like and choose knowingly and with 
meaning, instead of blindly. All criticism worthy of the 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 431 

title Is but another name for that revealing discovery of 
conditions and consequences which enables liking, bias, 
interest to express themselves in responsible and informed 
ways instead of ignorantly and fatalistically. 

The meaning of the theory advanced concerning the 
relationship of goods and criticism may be illustrated by 
ethical theory. Few I suppose would deny that in spite of 
the attention devoted to this subject by many minds of a 
high order, of intention and intellectual equipment, the 
outcome, judged from the standpoint of scientific consen- 
sus, is rather dismaying. The outcome is due in part to 
the importance of the subject, its intimate connection with 
man's deepest concerns, with his most cherished traditions 
and with the most acutely perplexing problems of his con- 
temporary social life. Objective detachment and develop- 
ment of adequate intellectual instruments are necessarily 
difficult under such conditions. But I think that we find, 
amid all the diversity, one common intellectual precon- 
ception which inevitably defers the possibility of attain- 
ment of scientific method. This is the assumption, im- 
plicit or overt, that moral theory is concerned with ends, 
values rather than with criticism of ends and values; the 
latter being in fact not only independent of moral theory 
but not themselves having even moral quality. To dis- 
cover and define once for all the bonum and the summum 
lonum in a way which rationally subserves all virtues and 
duties, is the traditional task of morals; to deny that moral 
theory has any such office will seem to many equivalent to 
denial of the possibility of moral philosophy. Yet in other 
things repeated failure of achievement is regarded as evi- 
dence that we going at the affair in a wrong way. And to 
a mind willing to surrender the traditional preconception, 



432 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

failure to achieve consensus in method and even in 
generic conclusions in morals as a branch of philosophy 
may be similarly explained. 

It is not meant of course that the tradition assumes that 
the good and the highest good are created by moral theory. 
The assumption is not so bad as that; it is to the effect 
that it is the province of moral theory to reveal moral- 
goods; to bring them to consciousness and to enforce their 
character in perception. As empirical fact, however, the 
arts, those of converse and the literary arts which are the 
enhanced continuations of social converse, have been the 
means by which goods are brought home to human per- 
ception. The writings of moralists have been efficacious 
in this direction upon the whole not in their professed 
intent as theoretical doctrines, but in as far as they have 
genially participated in the arts of poetry, fiction, parable 
and drama. Conversion into doctrinal teachings of the 
imaginative relations of life with which great moral 
artists have dowered humanity has been the great cause 
of their ossification into harsh dogmas; illuminating 
insight into the relations and goods of life has been lost, 
and an arbitrary code of precepts and rules substituted. 
Direct appeal of experience concentrated, vivified and 
intensified by the insight of an artist and embodied in 
literary creations similar in kind to the revelation of 
meanings which is the work of any artist, has been 
treated as a discovery and definition of things true to 
scientific or philosophic reason. 

Meantime the work which theoretical criticism might 
do has not been done; namely, discovery of the conditions 
and consequences, the existential relations, of goods 
which are accepted as goods not because of theory but 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 433 

because they are such in experience. The cause In large 
measure is doubtless because the prerequisite tools of 
physics, physiology and economics were not at hand. But 
now when these potential instrumentalities are more 
adequately prepared they will not be employed until it 
is recognized that the business of moral theory is not at 
all" with consummations and goods as such, but with 
discovery of the conditions and consequences of their 
appearance,, a work which is factual and analytic, not 
dialectic, hortatory, nor prescriptive. The argument 
does not forget that there have been would-be naturalistic 
and empirical ethics which have asserted that goods are 
such prior to moral conduct as well as to moral theory, 
and that they become moral only when employed in 
conduct as objects of reflective choice and endeavor. 
But the apparent exception proves the rule. For these 
forms of moral theory while releasing morals from the 
obligation of telling man what goods are, leaving that 
office to life itself, have failed to note that the office of 
moral philosophy is criticism; and that the performance 
of this office by discovery of existential conditions and 
consequences involves a qualitative transformation, a 
re-making in subsequent action which experimentally 
tests the conclusions of theory. 

Therefore like the Aristotelian ethics, they have been 
dialectic, defining and classifying in hierarchical order 
antecedent goods and terminating in a notion of the 
good, the summum bonum; or, like hedonistic ethics, 
they have made a dialectic abstraction of a feature of 
concrete goods, their pleasantness; and instead of pro- 
viding a method of analysis of concrete situations have 
laid down rules of calculation and prescribed policies to 



434 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

be pursued as fixed, not intellectually experimental, 
results of prior calculations. When they were, like 
Jeremy Bentham, persons of human sensitiveness to evils 
from which men suffer in virtue of institutions which may 
be altered; or, like John Stuart Mill, of genial insight info 
the constituents of a liberal and humane happiness, they 
have stirred their generation to beneficent action. But 
the connection between their theories and the practical 
outcome was adventitious; their ideas operated when 
all is said and done as literary rather than as scientific 
apparatus, as much so as in the case of reforms to which 
Charles Dickens not meanly contributed. 

The implications of the position which has been taken 
import a "practical" element into philosophy as effective 
and verifiable criticism, obnoxious to the traditional view. 
Yet if man is within nature, not a little god outside, and 
is within as a mode of energy inseparably connected with 
other modes, interaction is the one unescapable trait of 
every human concern; thinking, even philosophic think- 
ing, is not exempt. This interaction is subject to par- 
tiality because the human factor has bent and bias. But 
partiality is not obnoxious just because it is partial, A 
world characterized by qualitative histories with their 
own beginnings, directions and terminations is of neces- 
sity a world in which any interaction is intensive change 
a world of partialities, particulars. What is obnoxious in 
partiality is due to the illusion that there are states and 
acts which are not also interactions. Immature and 
undisciplined mind believes in actions which have their 
seat and source in a particular and separate being, from 
which they issue. Tbfe is the very belief which the ad- 
vance of intelligent criticiem destroys* The latter ttans- 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 435 

forms the notion of isolated one-sided acts into acknowl- 
edged interactions. The view which isolates knowledge, 
contemplation, liking, interest, value, or whatever from 
action is itself a survival of the notion that there are 
tEings which can exist and be known apart from active 
connection with other things. 

When man finds he is not a little god in his active powers 
and accomplishments, he retains his former conceit by 
hugging to his bosom the notion that nevertheless in some 
realm, be it knowledge or esthetic contemplation, he is 
still outside of and detached from the ongoing sweep of 
inter-acting and changing events; and being there alone 
and irresponsible save to himself, is as a god. When he 
perceives clearly and adequately that he is within nature, 
a part of its interactions, he sees that the line to be drawn 
is not between action and thought, or action and apprecia- 
tion, but between blind, slavish, meaningless action and 
action that is free, significant, directed and responsible. 
Knowledge, like the growth of a plant and the movement 
of the earth, is a mode of interaction; but it is a mode 
which renders other modes luminous, important, valuable, 
capable of direction, causes being translated into means 
and effects into consequences. 

All reason which is itself reasoned, is thus method, 
not substance; operative, not "end in itself ." To imagine 
it the latter is to transport it outside the natural world, 
to convert it into a god, whether a big and original one or 
a little and derived one, outside of the contingencies of 
existence and untouched by its vicissitudes. This is the 
meaning of the "reason" which is alleged to envisage 
reality sub specie eternatatis. It is indeed true that all 
relations, all universals and laws as such are timeless. 



436 EXPERIENCE AND NATURE 

Even an order of time as an order is timeless, for it is rela- 
tional. But to give irrelevancy to time the name of eter- 
nal in an eulogistic sense, is but to proclaim that irrele- 
vancy to any existence forms a higher kind of existence. 
Orders, relations, universals are significant and invaluable 
as objects of knowledge. They are so because they apply 
to intensive and extensive, individualized, existences^ 
to things of spacious and temporal qualities. Applica- 
tion is not for the sake of something extraneous, for the 
sake of something designated an utility. It is for the sake 
of the laws, principles, ideals. Had they not been de- 
tached for the purpose of application, they would not 
have meaning; intent and potentiality of application in 
the course of events lends them all their significance. 
Without actuality of application, without effort to realise 
their intent, they are meanings, but they possess neither 
truth nor falsity, since without application they have no 
bearing and test. Thus they cease to be objects of 
knowledge, or even reflection; and become detached 
objects of contemplation. They may then have the es- 
thetic value possessed by the objects of a dream. But after 
all we have not left temporal experience, human desire, 
liking, and passion behind or below us. We have merely 
painted nature with the colors of an all too local and 
transitory flight from the hardships of life. These 
eternal objects abstracted from the course of events, 
although labeled Reality, in opposition to Appearance, 
are in truth but the idlest and most evanescent of appear- 
ances, born of personal craving and shaped by private 
fantasy. 

Because intelligence is critical method applied to goods 
of belief, appreciation and conduct, so as to construct, 
freer and more secure goods, turning assent and assertion 



EXISTENCE AND VALUE 437 

Into free communication of shareable meanings, turning 
feeling into ordered and liberal sense, turning reaction 
into response, it is the reasonable object of our deepest 
faith and loyalty, the stay and support of all reasonable 
Ropes. To utter such a statement is not to indulge in 
romantic idealization. It is not to assert that intelligence 
Mil ever dominate the course of events; it is not even to 
imply that it will save from ruin and destruction. The 
issue is one^of choice, and choice is always a question of 
alternatives. What the method of intelligence, thought- 
ful valuation will accomplish, if once it be tried, is for the 
result of trial to determine. Since it is relative to the 
intersection in existence of hazard and rule, of contingency 
and order, faith in a wholesale and final triumph is fan- 
tastic. But some procedure has to be tried; for life is 
itself a sequence of trials. Carelessness and routine, 
Olympian aloofness, secluded contemplation are them- 
selves choices. To claim that intelligence is a better 
method than its alternatives, authority, imitation, caprice 
and ignorance, prejudice and passion, is hardly an exces- 
sive claim. These procedures have been tried and have 
worked their will. The result is not such as to make it 
clear that the method of intelligence, the use of science in 
criticizing and recreating the casual goods of nature into 
intentional and conclusive goods of art, the union of 
knowledge and values in production, is not worth trying. 
There may be those to whom it is treason to think of 
philosophy as the critical method of developing methods of 
criticism. But this conception of philosophy also waits 
to be tried, and the trial which shall approve or condemn 
lie% in the eventual issue. The import of such knowledge 
as we have acquired and such experience as has been 
quickened by thought is to evoke and justify the trial. 



INDEX 



ACQUAINTANCE, 329-330. 

Activity, See Labor, Practice, 
Events, Arts. Overt, 313-315. 

Alexander, F. M., 296 , 302 n. 

Am'mism, explained, 180-181, 348. 

Anthropology, and philosophy, 40- 
42, 385. 

Antinoraianisn^ 147. 

A priori, 188. 

Appearance, defined, 137-139, and 
consciousness, 304. See Phenom- 
enal and Consciousness. 

Application, 162-165, 436. 

Appreciation, 88, 93, 119, 135, 151, 
191, 205, 356-357, 372, defined 
376, 398-399. 

Apprehension, 327-332. See Knowl- 
edge. 

Aristotle, 48, 49, 56, 87, 91, 116 
174, 214, 231, 369, 433. 

Arnold M., 204. 

Art and Arts, 80, 89, 92-93, 102, 
Ch. IV (especially, 102, 122, 
127-129, 133), 203, 217, 294, 
351, Ch. IX. 

Awareness, as perception of mean- 
ing, 299, its nature, 304, focal 
and remaking of meanings, 306- 
308. 

BEGINNINGS, 97-93, 360. 

Belief, nature of, 321-324, 401-405, 

424. 

Bergson, H., 50. 
Berkeley, 139, 189, 224. 
Boas, F., 168, 211 n. 
Body and Mind, Ch. VII, 301, 322, 

341-342. 

Br*in and Mind, 291, 295. 
Brown, H. C, 148-149 . 



QAUSATION, 84, 92, defined, 99, 
107, n, 109, 234, 263-264, 273- 
274, 308, 378-379, 383. 

Change, 47-50, 70-71, 100, 113, 118, 
148-149, 313, 350. 

Choice, influence upon philosophy, 
50-54, 75, 94, 103. 

Classification, 330, 421, 429. 

Communication, Ch. V, 270, 363. 

Compact, social, 218. 

Consciousness, 86, 89, 92, 101, 104, 
113, 186, 221, Ch. VIII, differ- 
ent from mind, 303-305, 393. 

Contemplation, 331-332, 357, 435. 
See Esthetic and Appreciation. 

Contingent, Nature as, Ch. II, 45, 
53, 59, 69, 90, 160, 312, 349, 
352, 359-360, 395, 413. 

Control, 70-73, 109, 113, 117, 128, 
272, 289, 296, 352, 423. 

Cosmology, Greek, 90-94, 123-125. 

Criticism, 204, 396, 399-400, and Ch. 
X passim. 

Culture, 40, 147, 238. 

Custom, 26, 211, 219. 

J)KDUCTION, 194, 380-381. See 

Dialectic. 
Definition, 330. 

Demonstration, ancient, 152-153. 
Denotation, and passim Ch. I, 86, 

174, 217, 299. 
Descartes, 224, 252. 
Design, as objective, 92. 
Dialectic, misuse, 53-55, 58, 61, 88; 

107, 131, 172, 202, 264, 286-289, 

433. 

Discovery, 152, 156-157. 
Discourse, 170-172, 292, 299-300, 

407. 
Dualism, 56-58, 241-244, 393. 



439 



440 



INDEX 



CLEMENTS, 143-14$, 295. 

Emotion, and art, 390-391. 

Ends, Ch. Ill, 136, 150-151, 161, 
183, 193, 203-205, 245, 257, 269, 
273, 365, 371-372, 383, 395, 405. 

Epistemology, 140, 149, 325. 

Essence, 133, 181-184, 189-195, 262, 
318, 326, 387. 

Esthetic, 80, 90, 101, 107-108, 129, 
132, 182, 242, 271, 289, 323, 331, 
356, 375, 388-389. 

Events, 73, 86, 97, 159, 166, 173- 
174, 191, 267, 269, 271, 317-310, 
324, 326. 

Experience as philosophic method, 
Ch. I, experiencing, 232-238, and 
history, 40, 07-101, and culture, 
40, precarious, Ch. II, "Abso- 
lute," 50-61, experiment, 70, 
135, consummatory, 78-84, in- 
strumental, 84, Ch. Ill, as inner, 
172, 226-230, personal, 231-234, 
as art, 354-355. 

Expression, 177-179, 390-391. 

PEAR, and the pods, 42. 

Feeling, 256-258, defined, 267, 290, 

299. 

Finite, 55, 60, 160. 
Form, 91, 93, 167, 318, 326, 391-392. 

GESTURE, 175. 

Gildersleeve, B., 239. 
Goldenweiser, A. A., 40, 81, 211, 212. 
Good, and Bad, 45, 51, 62, 94, 107, 

109, 136, 256, 372, 394, 39Q, 404, 

425, 432. 
Growth. See History. 

J^ABIT, 279-281. 

History and the Historical, Ch. Ill, 

138, 147, 163, 273-275, 350. 
Holmes, 0. W., 417-419. 
Holt, E. B., 319 n. 



Hume, 169. 
Hypothesis, 155, 159. 
Hypostasis, 167, 172, 183-184, 195, 
207. See Essence. 



IDEA, 57, 169, 229, 304, 308, 350, 

X 371. 

Ideality, source of, 62-63, 89, 167. 

418. 
Idealism, 66, 68, 72, 157-158, 192, 

222, 288, 308, 312, 323, 325, 

396, 415. 

Imagination, 62, 89, 220, 291. 
Immediacy, 85-87, 96, 104-106, 113- 

116, 128, 14-141, 167, 181. See 

Consciousness and Individual. 
Induction, 380-381. 
Individual, 85, 143, 148, 171-172, 

Ch. VI, 242-247, 266, 395. 
Ineffable, 85. See Subject. 
Inner Life, 226-230. 
Instrumental, 84, 116, Ch. IV, 202- 

205, 271-272, 351, 366, 392. See 

Means, Tool. 

Instrumentalism, 151, 165, 203. 
Interaction, of events, 271-273, or 

organism and environment, 282- 

286, 344, and knowledge, 411. 
Interest, and feeling, 256. 
Introspection, 339-340. 
Intuition, 195, 300. 



TAMES, Wm., 180-181, 312, 400. 

Jesperson, 83. 
Jurisdiction, 197-199. 



JANT, 49. 

Knowledge, is not immediate, 108, 
134-135, 322-332, 340, its philos- 
ophy, 325, and qualities, 86, its 
proper object, 103, 133-136, 131, 
161, 264, 435, as consummatory, 



INDEX 



441 



119, and useful arts, Ch. IV 
and sense, 259, as an art, Ch. 
IX, act of, 381, 

TABOR, 81, 84, 92-93, 109, 121, 
Ch. IV passim, 251, 366-369. 

Language, 84, Ch. V, passim, 259, 
280, 284, 285, 292, 299. 

Lejbniz, 143 n. 

Leisure. See Appreciation and La- 
bor. 

Lippmann, W., 303. 

Locus, &oncei* of, 197-200. 

Logos, 169. 

K/f AGIC, 70, 88, 122, 188, 386. 

Malinowski, 205-207. 

Mathematics, 131-132, 140, 160, 163, 
192, 201, 204, 293. 

Matter, a character of events, 73-78, 
114-115, 262, 272. 

Meaning, Ch. IV (connection with 
tools), 128, Ch. V (connection 
with language), 258, 287-288, 
Ch. VIII (connection with mind 
and consciousness), wider than 
truth, 411. 

Means and Consequences, Ch. IV, 
168, 185-186, 269, 335-338, 366- 
371, 397. 

Mechanism and Mechanical, 95, 98, 
132, 134-135, 193, 263, 273, 341, 

Metaphysics, 51, 54, 76, 91, Q9, 105, 
252, 273, 412-413. 

Method, of knowledge, 152-156. 

Meyer, A., 145. 

Meyer, Max, 176. 

Mill, J. S., 184, 434. 

Mind, as character of events, 73-75, 
Greek idea of, 02, 210, and 
meanings, 160, 170, Ch. V, as 
individual, 218-227, and body, 
Ch. VII, 301, identified, 261, 
272, and organism, 270-282, and 
consciousness, 303-305. 



Morals, and Philosophy, 50-54, and 
metaphysics, 45, nature, 96, 
146, and criticism, Ch. X, espe- 
cially, 409-412, 407, 431. 

"M"ATURE, precarious and stable, 
Ch. II, historical, Ch. Ill, or- 
derly and" instrumental, Ch. IV, 
achieves communication and 
meaning, Ch. V, has individu- 
alizations, Ch. VI, includes the 
vital and psychical, Ch. VII, 
attains consciousness of mean- 
ings, Ch. VIII, culminates in 
arts, Ch. IX, is not above criti- 
cism, Ch. X. 

Necessity, 64-65, 84. 

Need, is objective, 63-64, 123, 253, 
351, 362. 

Nominalism, 184-185. 

Nons, 251. 

QBJECT, 259, defined, 318-319, 

320, 324. 

Objectivism, 240-242. 
Observation, 219. 
Opinion, 155. 
Organization, 255, 286, 304. 

PARALLELISM, 267-268, 283, 

1 341. 

Participation, the chief distinctively 
human category, 178, 180, 184, 
246, 205, 330, 345. 

Perception, nature of, 182, 304, 306, 
316, 318-325, 333-339, 345, 378. 

Phenomenal, as contrasted with the 
real, 54, 50, 66, 137, 335. 

Philosophy, Method of, Ch. I, arti- 
ficial problems of, 104, 135, 
fallacy in, 68, 261, natural 
source, 54, diverse systems, 46- 
47, 252, Greek, 88-94, 103, 123- 
127, 170-172, 208, 239, 251, 265, 
254, 369, 395, 433, medieval, 172, 



442 



INDEX 



249-251, modern, 95, 132, 135, 
172, 193, 224-230, 249-251, 355, 
nature of as criticism of goods 
or values, Ch. X. 

Plato, 57, 91, 129, 214. 

Poetry, 181, 204. 

Potentiality, 181-182, 188, 250-251, 
262, 376. 

Practice and Practical, 70, 314, 355, 
413, 434. 

Positive and Natural, 223-224. See 
Arts and Labor. 

Premises, 379, 

Privacy, 221. 

Psychology, 234, science of experi- 
encing, 237-238, 2Q5, 305, 334, 
379, 428. 

Psycho-physical, 170, 254-258, 292. 

QUALITIES, 86, 96-97, 103, 106, 
112, 132, 142, 167, 258-261, 263- 
269, 299. See Ends and 7m- 
mediacy. 

TJEALISM, 69, 160, 214, 308, 325, 

347, 381. 
Reality, a eulogistic predicate, 53-54, 

66, 106, 164, 256, 384, 407. 
Reason, 67, 435. 
Recognition, not knowledge, 327- 

328. 

Religion, 41, 44. 
Reminiscence, 364. 
Revery, 289, 342-345. 
Romanticism, 51, 117-118, 230, 243, 

376. 

Routine, 360-361. 
Royce, J., 225. 
Russell, B., 57. 

gANTAYANA, G., 58, 230. 

Satisfaction, is objective, 63-64, 203, 
253, 257, 368. See Good. 

Science, discovered by Greeks, 125, 
its nature, 136-148, a means of 



knowledge, 154, 161-165, traits 
of, 193, 262, 309, as an art, 358, 
367, as an incubus, 382, is ex- 
perimental, 428. See Causation. 

Self-evidence, 84, 130. 

Sense, and meaning, 183, 258, 261- 
271, 290, 327. 

Sense-perception, described and 
analyzed, 332-339. 

Sensitivity, 256-257. 

Series, 270, 279. 

Signals, 176, 280. 

Signification, 261, 271, 

Simplification. Sec Elements. 

Society and Social, Ch. V, passtm> 
260, 411, social compact, 217- 
218. 

Soliloquy, social origin, 170, 173. 

Soul, 251, 253. 

Species, 209. 

Spencer, 43, 283. 

Spinoza, 415, 417. 

Spirit, 73, 250, 294. 

Standard, of value, 425. 

Static, 100. 

Stimulus, in relation to perception, 
334-338. 

Structure, 72-74. 

Subconscious, 300-301, 317, 

Subject and Subjective, 101, 170-173, 
Ch. VI, 241, 422-424. 

Substance, 113-115, 159, 171, 350. 

Substitution, in science, 142. 

Supernatural, 54, 81. 

Symbolism, 82, 386-387. 

TECHNOLOGY, 122, 152, 162. 

Teleology. See Ends. 

Tendency, defined, 373. 

Thinking, 65-69, 118-120, 124-125, 
158-159, 166, 221, 232-233, 279, 
290-291, 358, 378, 437. 

<l This," 352. 

Tool, defined, 122-123, and science, 



INDEX 



443 



136, 168, and meaning, 185-186, 
300, 347-348. See Instrumen- 
tal and Means. 

Time, Temporal and Eternal, 65, 
70-71, 97-100, 109, 110, 114- 
115, 275, 282, 295, 306, 352, 
365, 436. See Change and His- 
tory. 

Transcendentalism, 225, 377. 

Truth, 37, 154, 162, 172, 288, 310, 
321, 410. 



TTNIVERSALS, 116-117, 187-188, 
W 319, 330, 359, 360. 
Use, 162-166, 361-362, 377-378. 
Utilitarians, 78. 

VALUATION. See Criticism. 
Value, Ch. X. See Good. 
Validity. See Truth. 



WINDELBAND, WM 147 

Wisdom, 71, and philosophy, 409.