Essays in Experimental Logic

Chapter 1: Introduction

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


1. An intermediary stage for knowledge (that is, for knowledge comprising reflection and having a distinctively intellectual quality) implies a prior stage

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

But since one does not think about knowledge except when he is thinking, except, that is, when the intellectual or cognitional interest is dominant, the professional philosopher is only too prone to think of all experiences as if they were of the type he is

(3) specially engaged in, and hence unconsciously or intentionally to project its traits into experiences to which they are alien. Unless he takes the simple precaution of holding before his mind contrasting experiences like those just mentioned, he generally forms a habit of supposing that no qualities or things at all are present in experience except as objects of some kind of apprehension or awareness. Overlooking, and afterward denying, that things and qualities are present to most men most of the time as things and qualities in situations of prizing and aversion, of seeking and finding, of converse, enjoyment and suffering, of production and employment, of manipulation and destruction, he thinks of things as either totally absent from experience or else there as objects of "consciousness" or knowing. This habit is a tribute to the importance of reflection and of the knowledge which accrues from it. But a discussion of knowledge perverted at the outset by such a misconception is not likely to proceed prosperously.

All this is not to deny that some element of reflection or inference may be required in any situation to which the term "experience" is applicable in any way which contrasts with, say, the "experience" of an oyster or a growing bean vine. Men experience illness. What they experience is certainly something very different from an object of apprehension, yet it is quite possible that what hakes an illness into a

(4) conscious experience is precisely the intellectual elements which intervene a certain taking of some things as representative of other things. My thesis about the primary character of non-reflectional experience is not intended to preclude this hypothesis — which appears to me a highly plausible one. But it is indispensable to note that, even in such cases, the intellectual element is set in a context which is noncognitive and which holds within it in suspense ,a vast complex of other qualities and things that in the experience itself are objects of esteem or aversion, of decision, of use, of suffering, of endeavor and revolt, not of knowledge. When, in a subsequent reflective experience, we look back and find these things and qualities (quales would be a better word or values, if the latter word were not so open to misconstruction), we are only too prone to suppose that they were then what they are now —objects of a cognitive regard, themes of an intellectual gesture. Hence, the erroneous conclusion that things are either just out of experience, or else are (more or less badly) known objects.

In any case the best way to study the character of those cognitional factors which are merely incidental in so many of our experiences is to study them in the type of experience where they are most prominent, where they dominate; where knowing, in short, is the prime concern. Such study will also, by a reflex reference, throw into greater relief the contrasted

( 5) characteristic traits of the non-reflectional types of experience. In such contrast the significant traits of the latter are seen to be internal organization: (1) the factors and qualities hang together; there is a great variety of them but they are saturated with a pervasive quality. Being ill with the grippe is an experience which includes an immense diversity of factors, but none the less is the one qualitatively unique experience which it is. Philosophers in their exclusively intellectual preoccupation with analytic knowing are only too much given to overlooking the primary import of the term "thing": namely, res, an affair, an occupation, a "cause"; something which is similar to having the grippe, or conducting a political campaign, or getting rid of an overstock of canned tomatoes, or going to school, or paying attention to a young woman:—in short, just what is meant in non-philosophic discourse by "an experience." Noting things only as if they were objects—that is, objects of knowledge—continuity is rendered a mystery; qualitative, pervasive unity is too often regarded as a subjective state injected into an object which does not possess it, as a mental "construct," or else as a trait of being to be attained to only by recourse to some curious organ of knowledge termed intuition. In like fashion, organization is thought of as the achieved outcome of a highly scientific knowledge, or as the result of transcendental rational synthesis, or as a fiction superinduced by association,

(6) upon elements each of which in its own right "is a separate existence." One advantage of an excursion by one who philosophizes upon knowledge into primary non-reflectional experience is that the excursion serves to remind him that every empirical situation has its own organization of a direct, non-logical character.

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

(7) the import of this fact in its critical bearings upon theories of experience which have been current. I shall only point out that when the word "experience" is employed in the text it means just such an immense and operative world of diverse and interacting elements.

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

( 8) "environment," "subject" and "object," "persons" and "things," "mind" and "nature," and so on.[1]


Had this background of the essays been more explicitly depicted, I do not know whether they would have met with more acceptance, but it is

(9) likely that they would not have met with so many misunderstandings. But the essays, save for slight incidental references, took this background for granted in the allusions to the universe of nonreflectional experience of our doings, sufferings, enjoyments of the world and of one another. It was their purpose to point out that reflection ( and, hence,

(10) knowledge having logical properties) arises because of the appearance of incompatible factors within the empirical situation just pointed at: incompatible not in a mere structural or static sense, but in an active and progressive sense. Then opposed responses are

(11) provoked which cannot be taken simultaneously in overt action, and which accordingly can be dealt with, whether simultaneously or successively, only after they have been brought into a plan of organized action by means of analytic resolution and synthetic imaginative conspectus; in short, by means of being taken cognizance of. In other words, reflection appears as the dominant trait of a situation when there is something seriously the matter, some trouble, due to active discordance, dissentiency, conflict among the factors of a prior non-intellectual experience; when, in the phraseology of the essays, a situation becomes tensional.[2]

Given such a situation, it is obvious that the meaning of the situation as a whole is uncertain. Through calling out two opposed modes of behavior, it presents itself as meaning two incompatible things. The only way out is through careful inspection of the situation,

(12) involving resolution into elements, and a going out beyond what is found upon such inspection to be given, to something else to get a leverage for understanding it. That is, we have (a) to locate the difficulty, and (b) to devise a method of coping with it. Any such way of looking at thinking demands moreover that the difficulty be located in the situation in question (very literally in question). Knowing always has a particular purpose, and its solution must be a function of its conditions in connection with additional ones which are brought to bear. Every reflective knowledge, in other words, has a specific task which is set by a concrete and empirical situation, so that it can perform that task only by detecting and remaining faithful to the conditions in the situation in which the difficulty arises, while its purpose is a reorganization of its factors in order to get unity.

So far, however, there is no accomplished knowledge, but only knowledge coming to be—learning,

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

Upon this view, thinking, or knowledge-getting, is far from being the armchair thing it is often supposed to be. The reason it is not an armchair thing

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

That reflection terminates, through a definitive overt act,[3] in another non-reflectional situation, within which incompatible responses may again in time be aroused, and so another problem in reflection be set, goes without saying. Certain things about this situation, however, do not at the present time speak for themselves and need to be set forth. Let me in the first place call attention to an ambiguity in the term "knowledge." The statement that all

(15) knowledge involves reflection—or, more concretely, that it denotes an inference from evidence—gives offense to many; it seems a departure from fact as well as a wilful limitation of the word "knowledge." I have in this Introduction endeavored to mitigate the obnoxiousness of the doctrine by referring to "knowledge which is intellectual or logical in character." Lest this expression be regarded as a futile evasion of a real issue, I shall now be more explicit. (1) It may well be admitted that there is a real sense in which knowledge (as distinct from thinking or inquiring with a guess attached) does not come into existence till thinking has terminated in the experimental act which fulfils the specifications set forth in thinking. But what is also true is that the object thus determined is an object of knowledge only because of the thinking which has preceded it and to which it sets a happy term. To run against a hard and painful stone is not of itself, I should say, an act of knowing; but if running into a hard and painful thing is an outcome predicted after inspection of data and elaboration of a hypothesis, then the hardness and the painful bruise which define the thing as a stone also constitute it emphatically an object of knowledge. In short, the object of knowledge in the strict sense is its objective; and this objective is not constituted till it is reached. Now this conclusion —as the word denotes— is thinking brought to a close, dune with. If the reader docs not fuel this statement

(16) satisfactory, he may, pending further discussion, at least recognize that the doctrine set forth has no difficulty in connecting knowledge with inference, ;end at the same time admitting that knowledge in the emphatic sense does not exist till inference has ceased. Seen from this point of view, so-called immediate knowledge or simple apprehension or acquaintance-knowledge represents a critical skill, a certainty of response which has accrued in consequence of reflection. A like sureness of footing apart from prior investigations and testings is found in instinct and habit. I do not deny that these may be better than knowing, but I see no reason for complicating an already too confused situation by giving them the name "knowledge" with its usual intellectual implications.   From this point of view, the subject-matter of knowledge is precisely that which we do not think of, or mentally refer to in any way, being that which is taken as matter of course, but it is nevertheless knowledge in virtue of the inquiry which has led up to it.

(2) Definiteness, depth, and variety of meaning attach to the objects of an experience just in the degree in which they have been previously thought about, even when present in an experience in which they do not evoke inferential procedures at all. Such terms as "meaning," "significance," "value," have a double sense. Sometimes they mean a function: the office of one thing representing another, or pointing to it

(17) as implied; the operation, in short, of serving as sign. In the word "symbol" this meaning is practically exhaustive. But the terms also sometimes mean an inherent quality, a quality intrinsically characterizing the thing experienced and making it worth while. The word "sense," as in the phrase "sense of a thing" (and non-sense) is devoted to this use as definitely as are the words "sign" and "symbol" to the other. In such a pair as "import" and "importance," the first tends to select the reference to another thing while the second names an intrinsic content. In reflection, the extrinsic reference is always primary. The height of the mercury means rain; the color of the flame means sodium; the form of the curve means factors distributed accidentally. In the situation which follows upon reflection, meanings are intrinsic; they have no instrumental or subservient office, because they have no office at all. They are as much qualities of the objects in the situation as are red and black, hard and soft, square and round. And every reflective experience adds new shades of such intrinsic qualifications. In other words, while reflective knowing is instrumental to gaining control in a troubled situation (and thus has a practical or utilitarian force), it is also instrumental to the enrichment of the immediate significance of subsequent experiences. And it may well be that this by-product, this gift of the gods, is incomparably more valuable for living a life than is the primary and

(18) intended result of control, essential as is that control to having a life to live. Words are treacherous in this field; there are no accepted criteria for assigning or measuring their meanings; but if one use the term "consciousness" to denote immediate values of objects, then it is certainly true that "consciousness is a lyric cry even in the midst of business." But it is equally true that if someone else understands by consciousness the function of effective reflection, then consciousness is a business—even in the midst of writing or singing lyrics. But the statement remains inadequate until we add that knowing as a business, inquiry and invention as enterprises, as practical acts, become themselves charged with the meaning of what they accomplish as their own immediate quality. There exists no disjunction between aesthetic qualities which are final yet idle, and acts which are practical or instrumental. The latter have their own delights and sorrows.


Speaking, then, from the standpoint of temporal order, we find reflection, or thought, occupying an intermediate and reconstructive position. It comes between a temporally prior situation (an organized interaction of factors) of active and appreciative experience, wherein some of the factors have become discordant and incompatible, and a later situation, which has been constituted out of the first situation

(19) by means of acting on the findings of reflective inquiry. This final situation therefore has a richness of meaning, as well as a controlled character lacking to its original. By it is fixed the logical validity or intellectual force of the terms and relations distinguished by reflection. Owing to the continuity of experience (the overlapping and recurrence of like problems), these logical fixations become of the greatest assistance to subsequent inquiries; they are its working means. In such further uses, they get further tested, defined, and elaborated, until the vast and refined systems of the technical objects and formulae of the sciences come into existence—a point to which we shall return later.

Owing to circumstances upon which it is unnecessary to dwell, the position thus sketched was not developed primarily upon its own independent account, but rather in the course of a criticism of another type of logic, the idealistic logic found in Lotze. It is obvious that the theory in question has critical bearings. According to it, reflection in its distinctions and processes can be understood only when placed in its intermediate pivotal temporal position—as a process of control, through reorganization, of material alogical in character. It intimates that thinking would not exist, and hence knowledge would not be found, in a world which presented no troubles or where there are no "problems of evil"; and on the other hand that a reflective

(20) method is the only sure way of dealing with these troubles. It intimates that while the results of reflection, because of the continuity of experience, may be of wider scope than the situation which calls out a particular inquiry and invention, reflection itself is always specific in origin and aim; it always has something special to cope with. For troubles are concretely specific. It intimates also that thinking and reflective knowledge are never an end-all, never their own purpose nor justification, but that they pass naturally into a more direct and vital type of experience, whether technological or appreciative or social. This doctrine implies, moreover, that logical theory in its usual sense is essentially a descriptive study; that it is an account of the processes and tools which have actually been found effective in inquiry, comprising in the term "inquiry" both deliberate discovery and deliberate invention.

Since the doctrine was propounded in an intellectual environment where such statements were not commonplaces, where in fact a logic was reigning which challenged these convictions at every point, it is not surprising that it was put forth with a controversial coloring, being directed particularly at the dominant idealistic logic. The point of contact and hence the point of conflict between the logic set forth and the idealistic logic are not far to seek. The logic based on idealism had, as a matter of fact, treated knowledge from the standpoint of an account of

(21) thought—of thought in the sense of conception, judgment, and inferential reasoning. But while it had inherited this view from the older rationalism, it had also learned from Hume, via Kant, that direct sense or perceptual material must be taken into account. Hence it had, in effect, formulated the problem of logic as the problem of the connection of logical thought with sense-material, and had attempted to set forth a metaphysics of reality based upon various ascending stages of the completeness of the rationalization or idealization of given, brute, fragmentary sense material by synthetic activity of thought. While considerations of a much less formal kind were chiefly influential in bringing idealism to its modern vogue, such as the conciliation of a scientific with a religious and moral point of view and the need of rationalizing social and historic institutions so as to explain their cultural effect, yet this logic constituted the technique of idealism—its strictly intellectual claim for acceptance.

The point of contact, and hence of conflict, between it and such a doctrine of logic and reflective thought as is set forth above is, I repeat, fairly obvious. Both fix upon thinking as the key to the situation. I still believe (what I believed when I wrote the essays) that under the influence of idealism valuable analyses and formulations of the work of reflective thought, in its relation to securing knowledge of objects, were executed. But—and the but is one of exceptional

(22) gravity—the idealistic logic started from the distinction between immediate plural data unifying, rationalizing meanings as a distinction ready-made in experience, and it set up as the goal of knowledge (and hence as the definition of true reality) a complete, exhaustive, comprehensive, and eternal system in which plural and immediate data are forever woven into a fabric and pattern of self-luminous meaning. In short, it ignored the temporally intermediate and instrumental place of reflection; and because it ignored and denied this place, it overlooked its essential feature: control of the environment in behalf of human progress and well-being, the effort at control being stimulated by the needs, the defects, the troubles, which accrue when the environment coerces and suppresses man or when man endeavors in ignorance to override the environment. Hence it misconstrued the criterion of the work of intelligence; it set up as its criterion an Absolute and Nontemporal reality at large, instead of using the criterion of specific temporal achievement of consequences through a control supplied by reflection. And with this outcome, it proved faithless to the cause which had generated it and given it its reason for being: the magnification of the work of intelligence in our actual physical and social world. For a theory which ends by declaring that everything is, really and eternally, thoroughly ideal and rational, cuts the nerve of the specific demand and work of intelligence.


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


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

(25) meet. Thereby a lot of epistemological hangers-on to logic were eliminated; for the distinctions which epistemology had misunderstood were located where they belong:—in the art of inquiry, considered as a joint process of ascertainment and invention, projection, or "Hypothesizing"—of which more below.


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

Since the essays were written, there has been an impressive revival of realism, and also a development

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


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

This perception of the intellectual superiority of objects which are constituted at the conclusion of thinking over those which formed its data may fairly be termed the empirical factor in the idealistic logic. The essence of the realistic reaction, on its logical side, is exceedingly simple. It starts from those objects with which science, approved science, ends. Since

(28) they are the objects which are known, which are true, they are the real objects. That they are also objects for intervening thinking is an interesting enough historical and psychological fact, but one quite irrelevant to their natures, which are precisely what knowledge finds them to be. In the biography of human beings it may hold good that apprehension of objects is arrived at only through certain wanderings, endeavors, exercises, experiments; possibly acts called sensation, memory, reflection may be needed by men in reaching a grasp of the objects. But such things denote facts about the history of the knower, not about the nature of the known object. Analysis will show, moreover, that any intelligible account of this history, any verified statement of the psychology of knowing assumes objects which are unaffected by the knowing—otherwise the pretended history is merely pretense and not to be trusted. The history of the process of knowing, moreover, implies also the terms and propositions—truths—of logic. That logic must therefore be assumed as a science of objects real and true, quite apart from any process of thinking them. In short, the requirement is that we shall think things as they are themselves, not make them into objects constructed by thinking.

This revival of realism coincided also with an important movement in mathematics and logic: the attempt to treat logical distinctions by mathematical methods; while at the same time mathe-

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

The inadequacy of this summary account may be pardoned in view of the fact that no adequate exposition is intended; all that is wanted is such a statement of the general relationship of idealism to realism as may serve as the point of departure for a comparison with the instrumentalism of the essays. In bare outline, it is obvious that the two latter agree in regarding thinking as instrumental, not as constitutive. But this agreement turns out to be a formal matter in contrast with a disagreement

(30) concerning that to which thinking is instrumental. The new realism finds that it is instrumental simply to knowledge of objects. From this it infers (with perfect correctness and inevitableness) that thinking (including all the operations of discovery and testing as they might be set forth in an inductive logic) is a mere psychological preliminary, utterly irrelevant to any conclusions regarding the nature of objects known. The thesis of the essays is that thinking is instrumental to a control of the environment, a control effected through acts which would not be undertaken without the prior resolution of a complex situation into assured elements and an accompanying projection of possibilities—without, that is to say, thinking.

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

(31) element in historic idealisms. Lest, however, we be misled by general terms, the scope and limits of this "idealism" must be formulated.

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

(2) The reorganization, the modification, effected by thinking is, by this hypothesis, a physical one. Thinking ends in experiment and experiment is an actual alteration of a physically antecedent situation in those details or respects which called for thought in order to do away with some evil. To suffer a disease and to try to do something for it is a primal

( 32) experience; to look into the disease, to try and find out just what makes it a disease, to invent—or hypothecate—remedies is a reflective experience; to try the suggested remedy and see whether the disease is helped is the act which transforms the data and the intended remedy into knowledge objects. And this transformation into knowledge objects is also effected by changing physical things by physical means.

Speaking from this point of view, the decisive consideration as between instrumentalism and analytic realism is whether the operation of experimentation is or is not necessary to knowledge. The instrumental theory holds that it is; analytic realism holds that even though it were essential in getting knowledge (or in learning), it has nothing to do with knowledge itself, and hence nothing to do with the known object: that it makes a change only in the knower, not in what is to be known. And for precisely the same reason, instrumentalism holds that an object as a knowledge-object is never a whole; that it is surrounded with and inclosed by things which are quite other than objects of knowledge, so that knowledge cannot be understood in isolation or when taken as mere beholding or grasping of objects. That is to say, while it is making the sick man better or worse (or leaving him just the same) which determines the knowledge-value of certain findings of fact and certain conceptions as to mode of treatment

(33) (so that by the treatment they become definitely knowledge-objects), yet improvement or deterioration of the patient is other than an object of cognitive apprehension. Its knowledge-object phase is a selection in reference to prior reflections. So the laboratory experiment of a chemist which brings to a head a long reflective inquiry and settles the intellectual status of its findings and theorizings (thereby making them into cognitive concerns or terms and propositions) is itself much more than a knowledge of terms and propositions, and only by virtue of this surplusage is it even contemplative knowledge. He knows, say, tin, when he has made tin into an outcome of his investigating procedures, but tin is much more than a term of knowledge.

Putting the matter in a slightly different way, logical (as distinct from naive) realism confuses means of knowledge with objects of knowledge. The means are twofold: they are (a) the data of a particular inquiry so far as they are significant because of prior experimental inquiries; and (b) they are the meanings which have been settled in consequence of prior intellectual undertakings: on the one hand, particular things or qualities as signs; on the other, general meanings as possibilities of what is signified by given data. Our physician has in advance a technique for telling that certain particular traits, if he finds them, are symptoms, signs; and he has a store of diseases and remedies in mind which may possibly he meant

(34) in any given case. From prior reflective experiments he has learned to look for temperature, for rate of heartbeats, for sore spots in certain places; to take specimens of blood, sputum, of membrane, and subject them to cultures, microscopic examination, etc. He has acquired certain habits, in other words, in virtue of which certain physical qualities and events are more than physical, in virtue of which they are signs or indications of something else.

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

(35) objects of knowledge. Each of these aspects —signs and things signified — is sufficiently important to deserve a section on its own account.


The position taken in the essays is frankly realistic in acknowledging that certain brute existences, detected or laid bare by thinking but in no way constituted out of thought or any mental process, set every problem for reflection and hence serve to test its otherwise merely speculative results. It is simply insisted that as a matter of fact these brute existences are equivalent neither to the objective content of the situations, technological or artistic or social, in which thinking originates, nor to the things to be known of the objects of knowledge. Let us take the sequence of mineral rock in place, pig iron and the manufactured article, comparing the raw material in its undisturbed place in nature to the original res of experience, compare the manufactured article to the objective and object of knowledge, and the brute datum to the metal undergoing extraction from raw ore for the sake of being wrought into a useful thing. And we should add that just as the manufacturer always has a lot of already extracted ore on hand for use in machine processes as it is wanted, so every person of any maturity, especially if he lives in an environment affected by previous scientific work, has a lot of extracted data—or, what comes to the same thing, of

(36) ready-made tools of extraction—for use in inference as they are required. We go about with a disposition to identify certain shapes as tables, certain sounds as words of the French language, certain cries as evidences of distress, certain massed colors as woods in the distance, certain empty spaces as buttonholes, and so on indefinitely. The examples are trivial enough. But if more complicated matters were taken, it would be seen that a large part of the technique of science (all of science which is specifically "inductive" in character) consists of methods of finding out just what qualities are unambiguous, economical, and dependable signs of those other things which cannot be got at as directly as can the sign-bearing elements. And if we started from the more obscure and complex difficulties of identification and diagnosis with which the sciences of physiology, botany, astronomy, chemistry, etc., deal, we should be forced to recognize that the identifications of everyday life—our "perceptions" of chairs, tables, trees, friends—differ only in presenting questions much easier of solution.

In every case, it is a matter of fixing some given physical existence as a sign of some other existences not given in the same way as is that which serves as a sign. These words of Mill might well be made the motto of every logic: "To draw inferences has been said to be the great business of life. Everyone has daily, hourly, and momentary need of ascertaining facts which he has not directly observed . . . . . It

(37) is the only occupation in which the mind never ceases to be engaged." Such being the case, the indispensable condition of doing the business well is the careful determination of the sign-force of specific things in experience. And this condition can never be fulfilled as long as a thing is presented to us, so to say, in bulk. The complex organizations which are the subject-matter of our direct activities and enjoyments are grossly unfit to serve as intellectual indications or evidence. Their testimony is almost worthless, they speak so many languages. In their complexity, they point equally in all directions; in their unity, they run in a groove and point to whatever is most customary. To break up the complexity, to resolve it into a number of independent variables each as irreducible as it is possible to make it, is the only way of getting secure pointers as to what is indicated by the occurrence of the situation in question. The "objects" of ordinary life, stones, plants, cats, rocks, moon, etc., are neither the data of science nor the objects at which science arrives.

We are here face to face with a crucial point in analytic realism. Realism argues that we have no alternative except either to regard analysis as falsifying (à la Bergson), and thus commit ourselves to distrust of science as an organ of knowledge, or else to admit that something eulogistically termed Reality (especially as Existence, Being as subject to space and time determinations) is but a complex made up of

(38) fixed, mutually independent simples: viz., that Reality is truly conceived only under the caption of whole and parts, where the parts are independent of each other and consequently of the whole. For instrumentalism, however, the alleged dilemma simply does not exist. The results of abstraction and analysis are perfectly real; but they are real, like everything else, where they are real: that is to say, in some particular coexistence in the situation where they originate and operate.

The remark is perhaps more cryptic than enlightening. Its intent is that reflection is an actual occurrence as much so as a thunderstorm or a growing plant, and as an actual existence it is characterized by specific existential traits uniquely belonging to it: the entities of simple data as such. It is in control of the evidential function that irreducible and independent simples or elements exist. They certainly are found there; as we have seen they are "common-sense" objects broken up into expeditious and unambiguous signs of conclusions to be drawn, conclusions about other things with which they—the elements—are continuous in some respects, although discrete[4] with respect to their sensory conditions. But there is no more reason for supposing that they exist elsewhere in the same manner than there is for supposing that

(39) centaurs coexist along with domestic horses and cows because they coexist with the material of folk-tales or rites, or for supposing that pigs of iron pre-existed as pigs in the mine. There is no falsifying in analysis because the analysis is carried on within a situation which controls it, The fallacy and falsifying is on the part of the philosopher who ignores the contextual situation and who transfers the properties which things have as dependable evidential signs over to things in other modes of behavior.

It is no reply to this position to say that the "elements" or simples were there prior to inquiry and to analysis and abstraction. Of course their subject-matter was in some sense "there"; and, being there, was found, discovered, or detected—hit upon. I am not questioning this statement; rather, I have been asserting it. But I am asking for patience and industry to consider the matter somewhat further. I would ask the man who takes the terms of logical analysis (physical resolution for the sake of getting assured evidential indications of objects as yet unknown) to be things which coexist with the things of a non-inferential situation, to inquire in what way his independent given ultimates were there prior to analysis. I would point out that in any case they did not pre-exist as signs. (a) Consequently, whatever traits or properties they possess as signs must at least be referred exclusively to the reflective situation. And they must possess some distinguishing traits as signs;

( 40) otherwise they would be indistinguishable from anything else which happens to be thought of, and could not be employed as evidence: could not be, in short, what they are. If the reader will seriously ask just what traits data do possess as signs, or evidence, I shall be quite content to leave the issue to the results of his own inquiries. (b) Any inquiry as to how the data antecedently exist will, I am confident, show that they do not exist in the same purity, the same external exclusiveness and internal homogeneity, which they present within the situation of inference, any more than the iron. which pre-existed in the rocks in the mountains was just the same as the fluxed and extracted ore. Hence they did not exist in the same isolated simplicity. I have not the slightest interest in exaggerating the scope of this difference. The important matter is not its extent or range, but what such a change—however small—indicates: namely, that the material is entering into a new environment, and has been subjected to the changes which will make it useful and effective in that environment. It is trivial to suppose that the sole or even the primary difficulty which an analytic realism has to face is the occurrence of error and illusions, of "secondary" qualities, etc. The difficulty resides in the contrast of the world of a naive, say Aristotelian, realism with that of a highly intellectualized and analytic disintegration of the everyday world of things. If realism is generous enough to have a place within its

(41) world (as a yes having social and temporal qualities as well as spatial ones) for data in process of construction of new objects, the outlook is radically different from the case where, in the interests of a theory, a realism insists that analytic determinations are the sole real things.[5]

If it be not only conceded but asserted that the subject-matter generating the data of scientific procedure antedates the procedure, it may be asked: what is the point of insisting so much upon the fact that data exist only within the procedure? Is not the statement either a trivial tautology or else an attempt to inject, sub rosa, a certain idealistic dependence upon thought into even brute facts? The question is a fair one. And the clew to the reply may be found in the consideration that it was not historically an easy matter to reduce the iron of the rocks to the iron which could freely and effectively be used in the manufacture of articles. It involved hitting upon a highly complicated art, but an art, nevertheless, which anyone with the necessary capital and education can command today as a matter of course, giving no thought to the fact that one is using an art constructed originally with vast pains. Similarly it is by art, by a carefully determined technique, that the things of our primary experience are resolved into unquestioned and irreducible data, lacking in

(42) inner complexity and hence unambiguous. There is no call for the scientific man in the pursuit of his calling to take account of this fact, any more than the manufacturer need reckon with the arts which are required to deliver him his material. But a logician, a philosopher, is supposed to take a somewhat broader survey; and for his purposes the fact which the scientific inquirer can leave out of account, because it is no part of his business, may be the important fact. For the logician, it would seem, is concerned not with the significance of these or those data, but with the significance of there being such things as data, with their traits of irreducibleness, bruteness, simplicity, etc. Now, as the special scientific inquirer answers the question as to the significance of his special brute facts by discovering other facts with which they are connected, so it would seem that the logician can find out the significance of the existence of data (the fact which concerns him) only by finding out the other facts with which they coexist — their significance being their factual continuities. And the first step in the search for these other facts which supply significance is the recognition that they have been extracted for a purpose—for the purpose of guiding inference. It is this purposeful situation of inquiry which supplies the other facts which give the existence of brute data their significance. And unless there is such a discovery (or some better one), the logician will inevitably fail in conceiving the import

(43) of the existence of brute data. And this misconception is, I repeat, just the defect from which an analytic presentative realism suffers. To perceive that the brute data laid bare in scientific proceedings are always traits of an extensive situation, and of that situation as one which needs control and which is to undergo modification in some respects, is to be protected from any temptation to turn logical specification into metaphysical atomism. The need for the protection is sufficiently great to justify spending some energy in pointing out that the brute objective facts of scientific discovery are discovered facts, discovered by physical manipulations which detach them from their ordinary setting.

We have stated that, strictly speaking, data (as the immediate considerations from which controlled inference proceeds) are not objects but means, instrumentalities, of knowledge: things by which we know rather than things known. It is by the color stain that we know a cellular structure; it is by marks on a page that we know what some man believes; it is by the height of the barometer that we know the probability of rain; it is by the scratches on the rock that we know that ice was once there; it is by qualities detected in chemical and microscopic examination that we know that a thing is human blood and not paint. Just what the realist asserts about so-called mental states of sensations, images, and ideas, namely, that they are not the subject-matter of

(44) knowledge but its agencies, holds of the chairs and tables to which he appeals in support of his doctrine of an immediate cognitive presentation, apart from any problem and any reflection. And there is very solid ground for instituting the comparison: the sensations, images, etc., of the idealist are nothing but the chairs, tables, etc., of the realist in their ultimate irreducible qualities.[6] The problem in which the realist appeals to the immediate apprehension of the table is the epistemological problem, and he appeals to the table not as an object of knowledge (its he thinks he does), but as evidence, as a means of knowing his conclusion—his real object of knowledge. He has only to examine his own evidence to see that it is evidence, and hence a term in a reflective inquiry, while the nature of knowledge is the object of his knowledge.

Again, the question may be asked: Since instrumentalism admits that the table is really "there," why make such a fuss about whether it is there as a means or as an object of knowledge? Is not the distinction mere hair-splitting unless it is a way of smuggling in a quasi-idealistic dependence upon thought? The reply will, I hope, clinch the significance of the distinction, whether or no it makes

(45) it acceptable. Respect for knowledge and its object is the ground for insisting upon the distinction. The object of knowledge is, so to speak, a more dignified, a more complete, sufficient, and self-sufficing thing than any datum can be. To transfer the traits of the object as known to the datum of reaching it, is a material, not a merely verbal, affair. It is precisely this shift which leads the presentative realist to substitute for irreducibility and unambiguity of logical function (use in inference) physical and metaphysical isolation and elementariness. It is this shift which generates the need of reconciling the deliverances of science with the structure and qualities of the world in which we directly live, since it sets up a rivalry between the claims of the data, of commonsense objects, and of scientific objects (the results of adequate inquiry). Above all it commits us to a view that change is in some sense unreal, since ultimate and primary entities, being simple, do not permit of change. No; whatever is to be said about the validity of the distinction contended for, it cannot be said to be insignificant. A theory which commits us to the conception of a world of Eleatic fixities as primary and which regards alteration and organization as secondary has such profound consequences for thought and conduct that a detection of its motivating fallacy makes a substantial difference. No more fundamental question can be raised than the range and force of the applicability to nature,

(46) life, and society of the whole-and-part conception. And if we confuse our premises by taking the existential instrumentalities of knowledge for its real objects, all distinctions and relations in nature, life, and society are thereby requisitioned to be really only cases of the whole-and-part nature of things.


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

(47) apart from qualitative things and changes is a source of regret; it is hardly an occasion for surprise.

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

(48) examination of the thing exercising the suggestive force prior to acting upon what it suggests is obvious. Hence the act of response naturally stimulated is turned into channels of inspection and experimental (physical) analysis. We move our body to get a better hold on it, and we pick it to pieces to see what it is.

This is the operation which we have been discussing in the last section. But experience also testifies that the thing suggested is worth attention on its own account. Perhaps we cannot get very readily at the thing which, suggesting flame, suggests fire. It may be that reflection upon the meaning (or conception), "fire," will help us. Fire—here, there, or anywhere, the "essence" fire—means thus and so; if this thing really means fire, it will have certain traits, certain attributes. Are they there ? There are "flames" on the stage as part of the scenery. Do they really indicate fire ? Fire would mean danger; but it is not possible that such a risk would be taken with an audience (other meanings, risk, audience, danger, being brought in). It must be something else. Well, it is probably colored tissue-paper in strips rapidly blown about. This meaning leads us to closer inspection; it directs our observations to hunt for corroborations or negations. If conditions permitted, it would lead us to walk up and get at the thing in close quarters. In short, devotion to a suggestion, prior to accepting it as

(49) stimulus, leads first to other suggestions which may be more applicable; and, secondly, it affords the standpoint and the procedure of a physical experimentation to detect those elements which are the more reliable signs, indicators (evidence). Suggestions thus treated are precisely what constitute meanings, subsistences, essences, etc. Without such development and handling of what is suggested, the process of analyzing the situation to get at its hard facts, and especially to get at just those which have a right to determine inference, is haphazard—ineffectively done. In the actual stress of any such needed determination it is of the greatest importance to have a large stock of possible meanings to draw on, and to have them ordered in such a way that we can develop each promptly and accurately, and move quickly from one to another. It is not to be wondered at then that we not only conserve such suggestions as have been previously converted successfully into meanings, but also that we (or some men at least) turn professional inquirers and thinkers; that meanings are elaborated and ordered in related systems quite apart from any immediately urgent situation; or that a realm of "essences" is built up apart from that of existences.

That suggestion occurs is doubtless a mystery, but so is it a mystery that hydrogen and oxygen make water. It is one of the hard, brute facts that we have to take account of. We can investigate the conditions under which the happening takes place,

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

A suggestion lies between adequate stimulation and logical indication. A cry of fire may start us running without reflection; we may have learned, as children are taught in school, to react without questioning. There is overt stimulation, but no suggesting. But if the response is held off or postponed, it may persist as suggestion: the cry suggests fire and suggests the advisability of flight. We may, in a sense we must, call suggestion "mental." But it is important to note what is meant by this term. Fire, running, getting burned, are not mental; they are physical. But in their status of being suggested they may he called mental when we recognize this

(51) distinctive status. This means no more than that they are implicated in a specific way in a reflective situation, in virtue of which they are susceptible of certain modes of treatment. Their status as suggested by certain features of the actual situation (and possibly meant or indicated as well as suggested) may be definitely fixed; then we get meanings, logical terms—determinations.[7]

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

(52) As data are signs which indicate other existences, so meanings are signs which imply other meanings.[8] I am doubtful, for example, whether this is a man or not; that is, I am doubtful as to some given traits when they are taken as signs or evidences, but I am inclined to the hypothesis of a man. Having such a tentative or conceptual object in mind, I am enabled to explore economically and effectively, instead of at random, what is present, provided I can elaborate the implications of the term "man." To develop its implications is all one with telling its meaning in connection with other meanings. Being a man means, for example, speaking when spoken to—another meaning which need have been no part of "man" as originally suggested. This meaning of "answering questions" will then suggest a procedure which the term "man" in its first meaning did not possess; it is an implication or implied meaning which puts me in a new and possibly more fruitful relation to the thing. (The process of developing implications is usually termed "discourse" or ratiocination.) Now, be it noted, replying to questions is no part of the definition of man; it would not be now an implication of Plato or of the Russian Czar for me. In other words, there is something in the actual situation which suggests inquiring as well as man; and it is the interaction between these

(53) two suggestions which is fruitful. There is consequently no mystery about the fruitfulness of deduction—though this fruitfulness has been urged as though it offered an insuperable objection to instrumentalism. On the contrary, instrumentalism is the only theory to which deduction is not a mystery. If a variety of wheels and cams and rods which have been invented with reference to doing a given task are put together, one expects from the assembled parts a result which could not have been got from any one of them separately or from all of them together in a heap. Because they are independent and unlike structures, working on one another, something new happens. The same is true of terms in relation to one another. When these are brought to bear upon one another, something new, something quite unexpected happens, quite as when one tries an acid with which he is not familiar upon a rock with which he is unfamiliar—that is, unfamiliar in such a conjunction, in spite of intimate acquaintance elsewhere. A definition may fix a certain modicum of meaning in the abstract, as we say; it is a specification of a minimum which gives the point of departure in every interaction of a term with other terms. But nothing follows from the definition by itself or in isolation. It is explicit (boringly so) and has no implications. But bring it in connection with another term with which it has not previously interacted and it may behave in the most delightful or in the most

(54) disgustingly disappointing way. The necessity for independent terms is made obvious in the modern theory of axioms. It escapes attention in much of the contemporary logic of transitive and non-transitive, symmetrical and non-symmetrical relations, because the terms are so loaded that there are no propositions at all, but only discriminations of orders of terms. The terms which figure in the discussions, in other words, are correlatives—"brother," "parent," "up," "to the right of," "like," "greater," "after." Such terms are not logical terms; they are halves of such terms as "brother-other-offspring-of-the-same-parents"; "parent-child"; "up-down"; "right-left"; "thing-similar-to-another-thing"; "greater-less"; "after-before." They express positions in a determined situation; they are relatives, not relations. They lack implications, being explicit. But a man who is a brother and also a rival in love, and a poorer man than his rival brother, expresses an interaction of different terms from which something might happen: terms with implications, terms constituting a proposition, which a correlative term never does — till brought into conjunction with a term of which it is not a relative. To have called a thing "up" or "brother" is to have already solved its import in some situation. It is dead till set to work in some other situation.

Experience shows, moreover, that certain qualities of thins are much more fruitful anal much more con-

(55) -trollable than others when taken as meanings to be used in drawing conclusions. The term must be of a nature to develop a method of behavior by which to test whether it is the meaning of the situation. Since it is desirable to have a stock of meanings on hand which are so connected that we can move readily from one to another in any direction, the stock is effective in just the degree in which it has been worked into a system—a comprehensive and orderly arrangement. Hence, while all meanings are derived from things which antedate suggestion—or thinking or "consciousness"—not all qualities are equally fitted to be meanings of a wide efficiency, and it is a work of art to select the proper qualities for doing the work. This corresponds to the working over of raw material into an effective tool. A spade or a watchspring is made out of antecedent material, but does not pre-exist as a ready-made tool; and, the more delicate and complicated the work which it has to do, the more art intervenes. These summary remarks will have to pass muster as indicating what a more extensive treatment of a mathematical system of terms would show. Man began by working such qualities as hate and love and fear and beauty into the meanings by which to interpret and control the perplexities of life. When they demonstrated their inefficacy, he had recourse to such qualities as heavy and light, wet and dry, making them into natural essences or explanatory and regulatory meanings. That Greek

(56) mediaeval science did not get very far on these lines is a commonplace. Scientific progress and practical control as systematic and deliberate matters date from the century of Galileo, when qualities which lend themselves to mathematical treatment were seized upon. "The most promising of these ideal systems at first were of course the richer ones, the sentimental ones. The baldest and least promising ones were the mathematical ones; but the history of the latter's application is a history of steadily advancing successes, while that of the sentimentally richer ones is one of relative sterility and failure."[9]

There is no problem of why and how the plow fits, or applies to, the garden, or the watchspring to timekeeping. They were made for those respective purposes; the question is how well they do their work, and how they can be reshaped to do it better. Yet they were made — out of physical material; men used ready limbs or roots of trees with which to plow before they used metal. We do not measure the worth or reality of the tool by its closeness to its natural prototype, but by its efficiency in doing its work — which connotes a great deal of intervening art. The theory proposed for mathematical distinctions and relations is precisely analogous. They are not the creations of mind except in the sense in which a telephone is a creation of mind. They fit nature because they are derived from natural conditions. Things

(57) naturally bulge, so to speak, and naturally alter. To seize upon these qualities, to develop them into keys for discovering the meanings of brute, isolated events, and to accomplish this effectively, to develop and order them till they become economical tools (and tools upon tools) for making an unknown and uncertain situation into a known and certain one, is the recorded triumph of human intelligence. The terms and propositions of mathematics are not fictions; they are not called into being by that particular act of mind in which they are used. No more is a self-binding reaper a figment, nor is it called momentarily into being by the man who wants to harvest his grain. But both alike are works of art, constructed for a purpose in doing the things which have to be done.

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

(58) superstition lies in making the application to antecedents and to ancestors, where it is but a shroud, instead of to descendants, where it is a generating factor.

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

(59) in hand. It enables one to get down to business with just that which (presumably) is of importance in subsequent procedure. It is no wonder that these logical kernels have been elevated into metaphysical essences.

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

As a special class of scientific inquirers develops, terms that were originally by-products of reflection become primary objects for the intellectual class. The

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

My interest, however, is not to animadvert upon analytic realism. It is to show how the main tenets of instrumental logic stand in relation to considerations which, although ignored by the idealism which was current when the theory received its first formulation, demand attention: the objective status of data and terms with respect to states of mind or acts of awareness. I have tried to show that the theory, without mutilation or torturing, makes provision for these considerations. They are not objections to it; they are considerations which are involved in it. There are questions at issue, but they concern not matters of logic but matters of fact. They are

(61) questions of the existential setting of certain logical distinctions and relations. As to the comparative merits of the two schemes, I have nothing to say beyond what has been said, save that the tendency of the analytic realism is inevitably to treat a difference between the logic of inquiry and of dialectic as if it were itself a matter to be settled by the logic of dialectic. I confess to some fear that a philosophy which fails to identify science with terms and propositions about things which are not terms and propositions, will first exaggerate and then misconstrue the function of dialectics, and land philosophy in a formalism like unto the scholasticism from which the older empiricism with all its defects emancipated those who took it to heart.


Return with me, if you please, to fundamentals. The word "experience" is used freely in the essays and without much explanation. In view of the currency of subjectivistic interpretations of that term, the chief wonder is probably that the doctrine of the essays was not more misunderstood than was actually the case. I have already said something designed to clarify the sense in which the term was used. I now come back to the matter. What is the reason for using the term at all in philosophy? The history of philosophy supplies, I think, the answer. No matter how subjective a turn was given to the word

(62) by Hume and Kant, we have only to go to an earlier period to see that the appeal to experience in philosophy was coincident with the emancipation of science from occult essences and causes, and with the substitution of methods of observation, controlled by experimentation and employing mathematical considerations, for methods of mere dialectic definition and classification. The appeal to experience was the cry of the man from Missouri—the demand to be shown. It sprang from the desire to command nature by observing her, instead of anticipating her in order to deck her with aesthetic garlands and hold her with theological chains. The significance of experience was not that sun and moon, stick and stone, are creatures of the senses, but that men would not put their trust any longer in things which are said, however authoritatively, to exist, unless these things are capable of entering into specifiable connections with the organism and the organism with them. It was an emphatic assertion that until men could see how things got into belief, and what they did when they got there, intellectual acceptance would be withheld.

Has not the lesson, however, been so well learned that we can drop reference to experience? Would that such were the case. But the time does not seem to have come. Some things enter by way of the imagination, stimulated by emotional preferences and biases. For certain purposes, they are not

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

If a scientific man be asked what is truth, he will reply—if he frame his reply in terms of his practice and not of come convention—that which is accepted upon

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

The objection then to a logic which rules out knowledge getting, and which bases logic exclusively upon the traits of known objects, is that it is self-

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

(66) of all the improved methods of experimental inquiry with respect to all objects of knowledge—save one, knowledge itself; in denying their relevancy to knowing knowledge, and falling back upon the method everywhere else disavowed—the method of relying upon isolated, self-contained properties of subjectmatter.

One of the points which gave much offense in the essays was the reference to genetic method—to a natural history of knowledge. I hope what has now been said makes clearer the nature of that reference. I was to blame for not making the point more explicit; but I cannot altogether blame myself for my naiveté in supposing that others understood by a natural history of knowledge what I understood by it. It had not occurred to me that anyone would think that the history by which human ignorance, error, dogma, and superstition had been transformed, even in its present degree of transformation, into knowledge was something which had gone on exclusively inside of men's heads, or in an inner consciousness. I thought of it as something going on in the world, in the observatory and the laboratory, and in the application of laboratory results to the control of human health, well-being, and progress. When a biologist says that the way to understand an organ, or the sociologist that the way to know an institution, resides in its genesis and history, he is understood to mean its history. I took the same liberty for knowl-

( 67) -edge, that is, for science. The accusation of "subjectivism" taken in this light appears as a depressing revelation of what the current opinion about the processes of knowledge is. To stumble on a stone need not be a process of knowledge; to hit it with a hammer, to pour acid upon it, to put pieces in the crucible, to subject things to heat and pressure to see if one can make a similar stone, aye processes of knowledge. So is fixing suggestions by attaching names, and so is devising ways of putting these terms together so that new suggestions will arise, or so that suggestions may be transferred from one situation to another. But not one of these processes is "subjective" in any sense which puts subjectivity in opposition to the public out-of-doors world of nature and human companionship. To set genesis in opposition to analysis is merely to overlook the fact that the sciences of existence have found that considerations of genesis afford their most effective methods of analysis.[10]

The same kind of consideration applies to the favorable view taken of psychology. If reference to modes and ways of experience — to experiencing — is important for understanding the things with which philosophy deals, then psychology is useful as a matter of course. For what is meant by psychology is

(68) precisely a discrimination of the acts and attitudes of the organism which have a bearing upon respective subject-matters and which have accordingly to be taken account of before the subject-matters can be properly discriminated. The matter was especially striking in the case of Lotze. He protested constantly against the use of psychology, and yet his own data and procedures were infected at every turn by psychology, and, if I am at all correct, by a false psychology. The particular separation which he made between psychology and logic rested indeed upon a particular psychological assumption. The question is worth asking: Is not the marked aversion on the part of some philosophers to any reference to psychology a Freudian symptom ?

A word more upon the place assigned by the essays to need and purpose and the humanistic factor generally. To save time I may quote a sentence from an early review which attributes to the essays the following doctrine: "If the plan turns out to be useful for our need. it is correct—the judgment is true. The real-ideal distinction is that between stimulus of environment and plan of action or tentative response. Both real and ideal are equally experiences of the individual man." These words can be interpreted either so as to convey the position fairly, or so as radically to misconceive it; the latter course is a little easier, as the words stand. That "real

(69) and ideal" are experiences of the individual man in the sense that they actually present themselves as specifications which can be studied by any man who desires to study them is true enough. That such a study is as much required for determining their characters as it is for determining those of carbon dioxide or of the constitution of Great Britain is also the contention of the paper. But if the words quoted suggest to anyone that the real or even the ideal are somehow possessions of an individual man, things secreted somewhere about him and then ejected, I can only say that I cannot understand the doctrine. I know of no ready-made and antecedent conception of " the individual man." Instead of telling about the nature of experience by means of a prior conception of individual man, I find it necessary to go to experience to find out what is meant by "individual" and by "man"; and also by "the." Consequently even in such an expression as "my experience," I should wish not to contradict this idea of method by using the term "my" to swallow up the term "experience," any more than if I said "my house," or "my country." On the contrary, I should expect that any intelligible and definite use of such phrases would throw much more light upon "me" than upon "house" or "country"—or "experience."

The possible misunderstanding is, I think, actual in the reference to "our deeds" as a criterion of the

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

Terms like "real" and "ideal," "individual," "man," "my," certainly allow of profitable dialectic (or purely propositional) clarification and elaboration. But nothing is settled until these discursive findings have been applied, through action, to things, and an experience has been effected, which either meets or evades the specification conceptually laid down. To suppose, for example, that the import of the term "ideal" can be settled apart from exhibiting in

(71) experience some specific affair, is to maintain in philosophy that belief in the occult essence and hidden cause which science had to get rid of before it got on the right track. Because idealism misconceived experience is no reason for throwing away its significant point of contact with modern science and for having recourse then to objects distinguished from old-fashioned Dinge an Sich only because they involve just that reference to those experiences by which they were established and to which they are applied that propositional or analytic realism professedly and elaborately ignores. In revenge, this ignoring leaves on our hands the "me," or knowing self, as a separate thing within which experience falls (instead of its falling in a specifiable place within experience), and generates the insoluble problem of how a subjective experience can beget objective knowledge.

In concluding, let me say that reference to experience seems at present to be the easiest way of realizing the continuities among subject-matters that are always getting split up into dualisms. A creation of a world of subsistences or essences which are quite other than the world of natural existences (which are other than natural existences adapted to the successful performance of inference) is in itself a technical matter, though a discouraging one to a philosopher expertly acquainted with all the difficulties which that view has generated from the time of Plato down. But the assistance which such a

(72) philosophy lends to the practical and current divorce of the "ideal" from the natural world makes it a thing to be dreaded for other than professional reasons. God only knows how many of the sufferings of life are due to a belief that the natural scene and operations of our life are lacking in ideal import, and to the consequent tendency to flee for the lacking ideal factors to some other world inhabited exclusively by ideals. That such a cut-off, ideal world is impotent for direction and control and change of the natural world follows as a matter of course. It is a luxury; it belongs to the "genteel tradition" of life, the persistence of an "upper" class given to a detached and parasitic life. Moreover, it places the scientific inquirer within that irresponsible class. If philosophers could aid in making it clear to a troubled humanity that ideals are continuous with natural events, that they but represent their possibilities, and that recognized possibilities form methods for a conduct which may realize them in fact, philosophers would enforce the sense of a social calling and responsibility. I do not say that pointing out the continuity and interaction of various attitudes and interests in experience is the only way of effecting this consummation. But for a large number of persons today it is the readiest way.

Much may be said about that other great rupture of continuity which analytic realism would maintain: that between the world and the knower as something

(73) outside of it, engaged in an otiose contemplative survey of it. I can understand the social conditions which generated this conception of an aloof knower. I can see how it protected the growth of responsible inquiry which takes effect in change of the environment, by cultivating a sense of the innocuousness of knowing, and thus lulling to sleep the animosity of those who, being in control, had no desire to permit reflection which had practical import. I can see how specialists at any time, professional knowers, so to speak, find in this doctrine a salve for conscience—a solace which all thinkers need as long as an effective share in the conduct of affairs is not permitted them. Above all, I can see how seclusion and the absence of the pressure of immediate action developed a more varied curiosity, greater impartiality, and a more generous outlook. But all this is no reason for continuing the idealization of a remote and separate mind or knower now that the method of intelligence is perfected, and changed social conditions not only permit but demand that intelligence be placed within the procession of events. An intellectual integrity, an impartiality and detachment, which is maintained only in seclusion is unpleasantly reminiscent of other identifications of virtue with the innocence of ignorance. To place knowledge where it arises and operates in experience is to know that, as it arose because of the troubles of man, it is confirmed in reconstructing the conditions which occasioned those troubles.

(74) Genuine intellectual integrity is found in experimental knowing. Until this lesson is fully learned, it is not safe to dissociate knowledge from experiment nor experiment from experience.


  1. I am indebted to an unpublished manuscript of Mr. S. Klyce of Winchester, Massachusetts, for the significance of the fact that our words divide into terms (of which more in the sequel) and into names which are not (strictly speaking) terms at all, but which serve to remind us of the vast and vague continuum, select portions of which only are designated by words as terms. He calls such words "infinity and zero" words. The word "experience" is a typical instance of an "infinity word." Mr. Klyce has brought out very clearly that a direct situation of experience ("situation" as I employ it is another such word) has no need of any word for itself, the thing to which the word would point being so egregiously there on its own behalf. But when communication about it takes place (as it does, not only in converse with others, but when a man attempts a mutual reference of different periods of his own life) a word is needed to remind both parties of this taken-for-granted whole (another infinity term), while confusion arises if explicit attention is not called to the fact that it is a very different sort of word from the definite terms of discourse which denote distinctions and their relations to one another. In the text, attention is called to the fact that the business man wrestling with a difficulty or a scientific man engaged in an inquiry finds his checks and control specifically in the situation in which he is employed, while the theorizer at large leaves out these checks and limits, and so loses his clews. Well, the words "experience," "situation," etc., are used to remind the thinker of the need of reversion to precisely something which never can be one of the terms of his reflection but which nevertheless furnishes the existential meaning and status of them all. "Intuition," mysticism, philosophized or sophisticated monism, are all of them aberrant ways of protesting against the consequences which result from failing to note what is conveyed by words which are not terms. Were I rewriting these essays in toto I should try to take advantage of these and other indispensable considerations advanced by Mr. Klyce; but as the essays must stand substantially as they were originally written, and as an Introduction to them must, in order to be intelligible, be stated in not incongruous phraseology, I wish simply to ask the reader to bear in mind this radical difference between such words as "experience," "reality," "universe," "situation," and such terms as "typewriter," "me," "consciousness," "existence," when used (as they must be used if they are to be terms) in a differential sense. The term "reality" is particularly treacherous, for the careless tradition of philosophy (a carelessness fostered, I am sure, by failure to make verbally explicit the distinction to which Mr. Klyce has called attention) uses "reality" both as a term of indifferent reference, equivalent to everything taken together or referred to en masse as over against some discrimination, and also as a discriminative term with a highly eulogistic flavor: as seal money in distinction from counterfeit money. Then, although every inquiry in daily life, whether technological or scientific, asks whether a thing is real only in the sense of asking what thing is real, philosophy concludes to a wholesale distinction between the real and the unreal, the real and the apparent, and so creates a wholly artificial problem.
    If the philosopher, whether idealistic or realistic, who holds that it is self-contradictory to criticize purely intellectualistic conceptions of the world, because the criticism itself goes on intellectualistic terms, so that its validity depends upon intellectual (or cognitive) conditions, will but think of the %,cry brute doings in which a chemist engages to fix the meanings of his terms and to test his theories and conceptions, he will perceive that all intellectual knowing is but a method for conducting an experiment, and that arguments and objections are but stimuli to induce somebody to try a certain experiment—to have recourse, that is, to a non-logical non-intellectual affair. Or again, the argument is an invitation to him to note that at the very time in which he is thinking, his thinking is set in a continuum which is not an object of thought. The importance attached to the word "experience," then, both in the essays and in this Introduction, is to be understood as an invitation to employ thought and discriminative knowledge as a means of plunging into something which no argument and no term can express; or rather as an invitation to note the fact that no plunge is needed, since one's own thinking and explicit knowledge are already constituted by and within something which does not need to be expressed or made explicit. And finally, there is nothing mystical about this, though mysticism doubtless roots in this fact. Its import is only to call notice to the meaning of, say, formulae communicated by a chemist to others as the result of his experiment. All that can be communicated or expressed is that one believes such and such a thing. The communication has scientific instead of merely social significance because the communicated formula is a direction to other chemists to try certain procedures and see what they get. The direction is capable of expression; the result of the experiment, the experience, to which the propositions refer and by which they are tested, is not expressible. (Poetry, of course, is a more competent organ of suggesting it than scientific prose.) The word "experience" is, I repeat, a notation of an inexpressible as that which decides the ultimate status of all which is expressed; inexpressible not because it is so remote and transcendent, but because it is so immediately engrossing and matter of course.
  2. There are certain points of similarity between this doctrine and that of Holt regarding contradictions and that of Montague regarding "consciousness" as a case of potential energy. But the latter doctrine seems to me to suffer, first, from an isolation of the brain from the organism, which leads to ignoring the active doing, and, secondly, from an isolation of the "moment" of reduction of actual to potential energy. It appears as a curiously isolated and self-sufficient event, instead of as the focus of readjustment in an organized activity at the pivotal point of maximum "tension" — that is, of greatest inhibition in connection with greatest tendency to discharge. And while I think Holt is wholly right in connecting the possibility of error with objectively plural and conflicting forces, I should hardly regard it as linguistically expedient to call counterbalancing forces "contradictory." The counterbalancing forces of the vaulting do not seem to me contradictory in the arch. But if their presence led me to attempt to say "up" and "down" at the same time there would be contradiction. But even admitting that contradictory propositions are merely about forces which are contradictory—heating and cooling—it is still a long way to error. For propositions about such "contradictions" are obviously true propositions. It is only when we make that reaction to one factor which is appropriate to dealing with the other that there is error; and this can happen where there are no contradictory forces at all beyond the fact that the agent is pulled two incompatible and opposed ways at the sauce time.
  3. For emphasis I am here exaggerating by condensing into a single decisive act an operation which is continuously going on.
  4. I would remark in passing that a recognition that a thing may be continuous in one respect and discrete in another would obviate a good many difficulties.
  5. In effect, the fallacy is the same as that of an idealistic theory which holds that all objects arc "really" associations of sensations.
  6. This statement is meant literally. The "sensations" of color, sound, etc., to which appeal is made in a scientific inquiry are nothing mental in structure or stuff; they are actual, extra-organic things analyzed down to what is so indubitably there that it may safely be taken as a basis of inference.
  7. A term is not of course a mere word; a mere word is non-sense, for a sound by itself is not a word at all. Nor is it a mere meaning, which is not even natural non-sense, being (if it be at all) supernatural or transcendental nonsense. "Terms" signify that certain absent existences are indicated by certain given existences, in the respect that they are abstracted and fixed for intellectual use by some physically convenient means, such as a sound or a muscular contraction of the veal organs.
  8. This distinction of indication as existential and implication as conceptual or essential, I owe to Mr. Alfred Sidgwick. See his Fallacies, p. 50.
  9. James Psychology, II, 665.
  10. I have even seen, in a criticism of the essays, the method of genesis opposed to the method of experimentation—as if experimentation were anything but the generation of runic special object!

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