Excerpt from a Letter to William James, November 21, 1904.

Grenoble, Nov. 21, 1904

My dear James, —

. . . I read the article on "consciousness" with profound assent. I think the idea of consciousness which you contend against is at the root of many of the arguments against pragmatism . . . which charge it with subjectivism. Holding the conception themselves, the critics confer the idea upon others, and then charge up against them the consequences to which they have rendered themselves liable. As for the last few pages, they seem to leave the subjective consciousness in an unnecessarily otiose state. That the mental fire does n't burn appears to be the first prerequisite of our managing the fire that does burn, — of having it burn when, how and where we wish. In logical phrase, without the psychical no abstraction, and without abstraction no prescient control. This is the point of view which, if I understand him — and unfortunately he is n't easy reading — Mead has set forth in his "Definition of the Psychical." [1]

Of course, we come back everywhere, to the difficulty of stating the nature and reasons of the fact that the objective, the fire which burns, is pliable, and submits to the exactions which we, in our subjective or psychical capacity, make upon it. . . . This is just the fundamental question of morals, — the interaction of persons and things, or the relation of personal freedom and the stable order. And one of the many advantages of the pragmatic approach is that it identifies this ethical problem with the general problem of the relations of the objective and subjective in experience, instead of leaving the ethical in a small corner by itself. And there is much to be said concerning an order which is . . . fixed within limits, and which yet gives to the impulsion of prescient action, and the whole conception of evolution as . . . reality which changes through centres of behavior which are intrinsic and not merely incident. All of this is very vague, but I trust to you to fill it up enough to give it some meaning. I am glad also to have your paper as a souvenir of the evening you spent with us in Chicago, as I recognize the continuity of what you said to us then and your article . . . .

Mrs. Dewey joins me in regard and in affection for both yourself and Mrs. James. Very sincerely yours,



Decennial Publications of the University of Chicago, First Series, III, 1903. James had distinguished the mental from the physical series by the fact that in the

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