A Critical Study of Bosanquet's Theory of Judgment[1]

Helen Bradford Thompson

BOSANQUET'S theory of the judgment, in common with all such theories of the judgment, necessarily involves the metaphysical problem of the nature of reality and of the relation of thought to reality. That the judgment is the function by which knowledge is attained is a proposition which would meet with universal acceptance. But knowledge is itself a relation of some sort between thought and reality. The view which any logician adopts as to the nature of the knowledge-process is accordingly conditioned by his metaphysical presuppositions as to the nature of reality. It is equally true that the theory of the judgment developed from any metaphysical standpoint serves as a test of the validity of that standpoint. We shall attempt in the present paper to show how Bosanquet's theory of the judgment develops from his view of the nature of reality, and to inquire whether the theory succeeds in giving such an account of the knowledge-process as to corroborate the presupposition underlying it.

Bosanquet defines judgment as "the intellectual function which defines reality by significant ideas and in so doing affirms the reality of those ideas" (p. 104).[2] The form of the definition suggests the nature of his fundamental prob-

(87) -lem. There is, on the one hand, a world of reality which must be regarded as having existence outside of and independently of the thoughts or ideas we are now applying to it; and there is, on the other hand, a world of ideas whose value is measured by the possibility of applying them to reality, of qualifying reality by them. The judgment is the function which makes the connection between these two worlds. If judgment merely brought one set of ideas into relation with another set, then it could never give us anything more than purely hypothetical knowledge whose application to the real world would remain forever problematic. It would mean that knowledge is impossible, a result which seems to be contradicted by the existence of knowledge. The logician must, therefore, as Bosanquet tells us, regard it as an essential of the act of judgment that it always refers to a reality which goes beyond and is independent of the act itself (p.104). His central problem thus becomes that of understanding what the nature of reality is which permits of being defined by ideas, and what the nature of an idea is that it can ever be armed to be real. How does the real world get representation in experience, and what is the guarantee that the representation, when obtained, is correct?

The defining of the problem suggests the view of the nature of reality out of which Bosanquet's theory of the judgment grows. The real world is to him a world which has its existence quite independently of the process by which it is known. The real world is there to be known, and is in no wise modified by the knowledge which we obtain of it. The work of thought is to build up a world of ideas which shall represent, or correspond to, the world of reality. The more complete and perfect. the correspondence, the greater our store of knowledge.

Translated into terms of the judgment, this representa-

( 88) -tional view means that the subject of the judgment must always be reality, while the predicate is an idea. But when we examine the content of any universal judgment, or even of an ordinary judgment of perception, the subject which appears in the judgment is evidently not reality at all, if by reality we mean something which is in no sense constituted by the thought-process. When I say, "The tree is green," the subject, tree, cannot be regarded as a bit of reality which is given ready-made to the thought-process. The ability to perceive a tree, to distinguish it from other objects and single it out for the application of an idea, evidently implies a long series of previous judgments. The content "tree" is itself ideal. As Bosanquet forcibly states it: " If a sensation or elementary perception is in consciousness (and if not we have nothing to do with it in logic, it already bears the form of thinking" (p. 33). How, then, can it serve as the subject of a judgment? Bosanquet's solution of the problem is to say that the real subject of a judgment is not the grammatical subject which appears in a proposition, but reality itself. In the more complex forms of judgment the reference to reality is disguised by the introduction of explicit ideas to designate the portion of reality to which reference is made (pp. 78, 79). In the simplest type of judgment known, however, the qualitative judgment of perception, the reference to reality appears within the judgment itself. The relations of thought to reality and of the elements of the judgment to one another can, accordingly, most readily be seen in the consideration of this rudimentary form of judgment in which the various parts lie bare before us.

Bosanquet describes it as follows:

If I say, pointing to a particular house, "That is my home," it is clear that in this act of judgment the reference conveyed by the demonstrative is indispensable. The significant idea" my home"

(89) is affirmed, not of any other general significant idea in my mind, but of something which is rendered unique by being present to me in perception In making the judgment, "That is my home," I extend the present sense-perception of a house in a certain landscape by attaching to it the ideal content or meaning of home;" and moreover, in doing this, I pronounce the ideal content to be, so to speak, of one and the same tissue with what I have before me in my actual perception That is to say, I affirm the meaning of the idea, or the idea considered as a meaning, to be a real quality of that which I perceive in my perception.

The same account holds good of every perceptive judgment; when I see a white substance on a plate and judge that "it is bread" I affirm the reference, or general meaning which constitutes the symbolic idea "bread" in my mind, to be a real quality of the spot or point in present perception which I attempt to designate by the demonstrative "this." The act defines the given but indefinite real by affirmation of a quality, and affirms reality of the definite quality by attaching it to the previously undefined real. Reality is given for me in present sensuous perception, and in the immediate feeling of my own sentient existence that goes with it. (Pp. 76, 77.)

Again, he says that the general features of the judgment of perception are as follows

There is a presence of a something in contact with our sensitive self, which, as being so in contact, has the character of reality; and there is the qualification of this reality by the reference to it of some meaning such as can be symbolized by a name (p. 77).

Our point of contact with reality, the place where reality gets into the thought-process, is, according to this view, to be found in the simplest, most indefinite type of judgment of perception. We meet with reality in the mere undefined " this " of primitive experience. But each such elementary judgment about an undefined " this" is an isolated bit of experience. Each " this" could give u.; only a detached bit of reality at best, and the further problem now confronts us of how we ever succeed in piecing our detached bits of

(90) reality together to form a real world. Bosanquet's explanation is, in his words, this:

The real world, as a definite organized system, is for me an extension of this present sensation and self-feeling by means of judgment, and it is the essence of judgment to effect and sustain such an extension (p. 77).

Again he says:

The subject in every judgment of Perception is some given spot or point in sensuous contact with the percipient self. But, as all reality is continuous, the subject is not merely this given spot or point. It is impossible to confine the real world within this or that presentation. Every definition or qualification of a point in present perception is affirmed of the real world which is continuous with present perception. The ultimate subject of the perceptive judgment is the real world as a whole, and it is of this that, in judging, we affirm the qualities or characteristics. (p. 78.)

The problem is the same as that with which Bradley struggles in his treatment of the subject of the judgment, and the solution is also the same. Bradley's treatment of the point is perhaps somewhat more explicit. Like Bosanquet, he starts with the proposition that the subject of the judgment must be reality itself and not an idea, because, if it were the latter, judgment could never give us anything but a union of ideas, and a union of ideas remains forever universal and hypothetical. It can never acquire the uniqueness, the singularity, which is necessary to make it refer to the real. Uniqueness can be found only in our contact with the real. But just where does our contact with the real occur? Bradley recognizes the fact that it cannot be the content—even in the case of a simple sensation—which gives us reality. The content of a sensation is a thing which is in my consciousness, and which has the form which it presents because it is in my consciousness. Reality is precisely something which is not itself sensation, and cannot be in my consciousness. If I say, "This is white," the

( 91) "this" has a content which is a sensation of whiteness. But the sensation of whiteness is not reality. The experience brings with it an assurance of. reality, not because its content is the real, but because it is " my direct encounter in sensible presentation with the real world."[3] To make the matter clearer, Bradley draws a distinction between the this and the thisness. In every experience, however simple, there is a content — a " thisness "— which is not itself unique. Considered merely as content, it is applicable to an indefinite number of existences; in other words, it is an idea. But there is also in every experience a "this" which is unique, but which is not a content. It is a mere sign of existence which gives the experience uniqueness, but nothing else. The "thisness" falls on the side of the content, and the "this" on the side of existence. It is exactly the distinction which Bosanquet has in mind in the passages quoted in which he tells us that "reality is given for me in present sensuous perception, and in the immediate feeling of my own sentient existence which goes with it;" and again when he says: " There is a presence of a something in contact with our sensitive self, which, as being so in contact, has the character of reality." The same point is made somewhat more explicitly in his introduction when he says that the individual's present perception is not, indeed, reality as such, but is his present point of contact with reality as such (p. 3).

But has this distinction between the content of an experience and its existence solved the problem of how we know reality? When Bosanquet talks of knowing reality, he means possessing ideas which are an accurate reproduction of reality. It is still far from clear how, according to his own account, wt, could ever have any assurance that our ideas do represent reality accurately, if we can nowhere find

( 92) a point at which the content of an experience can be held to give us reality. The case is still worse when we go beyond the problem of how any particular bit of reality can be known, and ask ourselves how reality as a whole can be known. The explanation offered by both Bradley and Bosanquet is that by means of judgment we extend the bit of reality of whose existence we get a glimpse through a peep-hole in the curtain of sensuous perception, and thus build up the organized system of reality. In a passage previously quoted, Bosanquet tells us that all reality is continuous, and therefore the real subject of a judgment cannot be the mere spot or point which is given in sensuous perception, but must be the real world as a whole. But how does he know that reality is continuous, and that the real world is an organized system? Our only knowledge of reality comes through judgment, and judgment brings us into contact with reality only at isolated points. When he tells us that reality is a continuous whole, he does so on the basis of a metaphysical presupposition which is not justifiable by his theory of the judgment. The only statement about reality which could be maintained on the basis of his theory is that some sort of a reality exists, but the theory furnishes equal justification for the assurance that this reality is of such a nature that we can never know anything more about it than the bare fact of its existence. Moreover, the bare fact of the existence of reality comes to us merely in the form of a feeling of our own sentient existence which goes with sense-perception. But the mere assurance that somewhere behind the curtain of sensuous perception reality exists (even if this could go unchallenged), accompanied by the certainty that we can never by any possibility know anything more about it, is practi cally equivalent to the denial of the possibility of knowledge.[4]

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Although the denial of the possibility of knowledge seems to be the logical outcome of the premises, it is not the conclusion reached by Bosanquet. At the outset of his treatise, Bosanquet propounds the fundamental question we have been considering in these words: "How does the analysis of knowledge as a systematic function, or system of functions, explain that relationship in which truth appears to consist, between the human intelligence on the one hand, and fact or reality on the other?" His answer is: "To this difficulty there is only one reply. If the object-matter of reality lay genuinely outside the system of thought, not only our analysis, but thought itself, would be unable to lay hold of reality." (Pp. 2, 3.) The statement is an explicit recognition of the impossibility of bridging the chasm between a reality outside the content of knowledge and a known real world. It brings before us the dilemma contained in Bosanquet's treatment of the subject of the judgment. On the one hand the subject of the judgment must be outside the realm of my thoughts. If it were not, judgment would merely establish a relation between my ideas and would give me no knowledge of the real world. On the other hand, the subject of the judgment must be within the realm of my thoughts. If it were not, I could never assert anything of it; could never judge, or know it. The stress he lays on the first horn of the dilemma has been shown. It remains to show his recognition of the second horn, and to find out whether or not he discovers any real reconciliation between the two. 

Bosanquet sums up the section of the introduction on knowledge and its content, truth, with the following paragraph:


The real world for every individual is thus emphatically his world; an extension and determination of his present perception, which perception is to him not indeed reality as such, but his point of contact with reality as such. Thus in the enquiry which will have to be undertaken as to the logical subject of the judgment, we shall find that the subject, however it may shift, contract, and expand, is always in the last resort some greater or smaller element of this determinate reality, which the individual has constructed by identifying significant ideas with that world of which he has assurance through his own perceptive experience. In analyzing common judgment it is ultimately one to say that 1 judge and that the real world for me, any real world, extends itself, or maintains its organized extension. This is the ultimate connection by which the distinction of subject and predication is involved in the act of affirmation or enunciation which is the differentia of judgment. (Pp. 3, 4).

Here the subject of the judgment appears as an element of a reality which the individual has constructed by identifying significant ideas with that world of which he has assurance through his own perceptive experience. But the very point with reference to the subject of the judgment previously emphasized is that it is not and cannot be something which the individual has constructed. The subject of the judgment must be reality, and reality does not consist of ideas, even if it be determined by them. It does not mend matters to explain that the individual has constructed his real world by identifying significant ideas with that world of which he has assurance through his own perceptive experiences, because, as we have seen, 1 the individual's perceptive experiences " either turn out to be merely similar mental constructions made at a prior time, so that nothing is gained by attaching to them, or else they mean once more the mere shock of contact which is supposed to give assurance that some sort of reality exists, but which gives no assurance of what it is. That and what, this and thisness still remain detached. When lie talks of the real world for any individual we are left entirely in the dark as to what the relation between the

( 95) real world as it is for any individual and the real world as it is for itself may be, or how the individual is to gain any assurance that the real world as it is for him represents the real world as it is for itself.

Another attempt at a reconciliation of these opposing views leaves us no better satisfied. The passage is as follows:

The real world, as a definite organized system, is for ice an extension of this present sensation and self-feeling by means of judgment, and it is the essence of judgment to effect and sustain such an extension. It makes no essential difference whether the ideas whose content is pronounced to be an attribute of reality appear to fall within what is given in perception, or not. We shall find hereafter that it is vain to attempt to lay down boundaries between the given and its extension. The moment we try to do this we are on the wrong track. The given and its extension differ not absolutely but relatively; they are continuous with each other, and the metaphor by which we speak of an extension conceals from us that the so-called "given" is no less artificial than that by which it is extended. It is the character and quality of being directly in contact with sense-perception, not any fixed datum of content, that forms the constantly shifting center of the individual's real world, and spreads from that center over every extension which the system of reality receives from judgment. (P. 77.)

In this passage by the "given" he evidently means the content of sensory experience, the thisness, the what. It is, as be says, of the same stuff as that by which it is extended. Both the given and that by which it is extended are artificial in the sense of not being real according to Bosanquet's interpretation of reality; they are ideas. But if all this is admitted, what becomes of the possibility of knowledge? Bosanquet undertakes to rescue it by assuring us again that it is the character and quality of being directly in contact with sense-perception, not any fixed datum of content, that forma the center of the individual's real world and gives the stamp of reality to his otherwise ideal extension of this center. Here again we find ourselves with no evidence

(96) that the content of our knowledge bears any relation to reality. We have merely the feeling of vividness attached to sensory experience which seems to bring us the certainty that there is some sort of a reality behind it, but this is not to give assurance that our ideal content even belongs rightfully to that against which we have bumped, much less of how it belongs—and only this deserves the title "knowledge."

In the chapter on "Quality and Comparison," in which he takes up the more detailed treatment of the simplest types of judgment of perception, he comes back to the same contradiction, and again attempts to explain how both horns of his dilemma must be true. The passage is this:

The Reality to which we ascribe the predicate is undoubtedly self-existent ; it is not merely in my mind or in my act of judgment; if it were, the judgment would only be a game with my ideas. It is well to make this clear in the case before us, for in the later forms of the judgment it will be much disguised. Still the reality which attracts my concentrated attention is also within my act of judgment; it is not even the whole reality present to my perception; still less of course the whole self-existent Reality which I dimly presuppose. The immediate subject of the judgment is a mere aspect, too indefinite to be described by explicit ideas except in as far as the qualitative predication imposes a first specification upon it. This Reality is in my judgment; it is the point at which the actual world impinges upon my consciousness as real, and it is only by judging with reference to this point that I can refer the ideal content before my mind to the whole of reality which I at once believe to exist, and am attempting to construct. The Subject is both in and out of the Judgment, as Reality is both in and out of my consciousness. (Pp. 113, 114.)

The conclusion he reaches is a mere restatement of the difficulty. The problem he is trying to solve is how the subject can be both in and out of flip judgment, and how the subject without is related to the subject within. The mere assertion that it is so does not help us to understand it.

( 97) His procedure seems like taking advantage of two meanings of sense-perception, its conscious quality and its brute abrupt immediacy, and then utilizing this ambiguity to solve a problem which grows out of the conception of judgment as a reference of idea to reality.

Turning from his treatment of the world of fact to his discussion of the world of idea, from the subject to the predicate, as it appears in his theory of the judgment we find again a paradox which must be recognized and cannot be obviated. An idea is essentially a meaning. It is not a particular existence whose essence is uniqueness as is the case with the subject of the judgment, but is a meaning whose importance is that it may apply to an indefinite number of unique existences. Its characteristic is universality. And yet an idea regarded as a psychical existence, an idea as a content in my mind, is just as particular and unique as any other existence. How, then, does it obtain its characteristic of universality ? Bosanquet's answer is that it must be universal by means of a reference to something other than itself. Its meaning resides, not in its existence as a psychical image, but in its reference to something beyond itself. Now, any idea that is armed is referred to reality, but do ideas exist which are not being affirmed? If so, their reference cannot be to reality. Bosanquet discusses the question in the second section of his introduction as follows:

It is not easy to deny that there is a world of ideas or of meanings, which simply consists in that identical reference of symbols by which mutual understanding between rational beings is made possible. A mere suggestion, a mere question, a mere negation, seem all of them to imply that we sometimes entertain ideas without affirming them of reality, and therefore without arming their reference to be 2V reference: to something real or their meaning to be fact. We may be puzzled indeed to say what an idea can mean, or to what it can refer, if it does not mean or refer to some-

(98) thing real—to some element in the fabric continuously sustained by the judgment which is our consciousness. On the other hand, it would be shirking a difficulty to neglect the consideration that an idea, while denied of reality, may nevertheless, or even must, possess an identical and so intelligible reference—a symbolic value—for the rational beings who deny it. A reference, it may be argued, must be a reference to something. But it seems as if in this case the something were the fact of reference itself, the rational convention between intelligent beings, or rather the world which has existence, whether for one rational being or for many, merely as contained in and sustained by such intellectual reference.

I only adduce these considerations in order to explain that transitional conception of an objective world or world of meanings, distinct from the real world or world of facts, with which it is impossible wholly to dispense in an account of thought starting from the individual subject. The paradox is that the real world or world of fact thus seems for us to fall within and be included in the objective world or world of meanings, as if all that is fact were meaning, but not every meaning were fact. This results in the contradiction that something is objective, which is not real. (Pp. 4, 5.)

In the seventh section of the introduction Bosanquet explains his meaning further by what the reader is privileged to regard as a flight of the imagination—a mere simile—which he thinks may, nevertheless, make the matter clearer.

We might try to think that the world, as known to each of us, is constructed and sustained by his individual consciousness; and that every other individual also frames forhimself, and sustains by the action of his intelligence, the world in which he in particular lives and moves. Of course such a construction is to be taken as a reconstruction, a construction by way of knowledge only; but for our present purpose this is indifferent. Thus we might think of the ideas and objects of our private world rather as corresponding to thau a5 front the; beginning identical with those which our fellow-men are occupied in constructing each within his own sphere of consciousness. And the same would be true even of the objects and

(99) contents within our own world, in as far as an act or effort would be required to maintain them, of the same kind with that which was originally required to construct them . . . . . Thus the paradox of reference would become clearer. We should understand that we refer to a correspondence by means of a content. We should soften down the contradiction of saying that a name to meet which we have and can get nothing but an idea, nevertheless does not stand for that idea but for something else. We should be able to say that the name stands for those elements in the idea which correspond in all our separate worlds, and in our own world of yesterday and of today, considered as so corresponding. (Pp. 45, 46.)
According to this view, the idea obtains the universality which constitutes it an idea by a sort of process of elimination. It is like a composite photograph. It selects only the common elements in a large number of particular existences, and thus succeeds in representing, or referring to, all the particular existences which have gone to make it up. But when we come to consider the bearing which this view of universality, or generalized significance, has on our estimate of the knowledge-process, we feel that it has not solved the problem for us. In the first place, the idea in its existence is just as particular when regarded as made up of the common elements of many ideas as is any of the ideas whose elements are taken. A composite photograph is just as much a single photograph as any one of the photographs which are taken to compose it. The chasm between the particularity of the psychical image and the universality of its meaning is not bridged by regarding the content of the image as made up by eliminating unlike elements in a number of images. The stuff with which thought has to work is still nothing more than a particular psychical image, and the problem of what gives it its logical value as a general significance is still unsolved. Nor does It seem possible to find anything in the existence of the image which could account for its reference to something outside

( 100) of itself. The fact of reference itself becomes an ultimate mystery.[5]

But even waiving this difficulty, the judgment must still appear truncated, if it really totally disregard a part of its content—i.e., the particular existence of the image as part of the judging consciousness. The theory holds that the particular existence of the image has no logical value. It is only its meaning, or general reference, which has logical value. But the image qua image is just as real as that to which it is supposed to refer. If the judgment really does ignore its existence, then it ignores a portion of the reality it attempts to represent, and stands self-confessed as a failure.[6] At still another point, ideas, as Bosanquet represents them, prove to be unsatisfactory tools to use in the work of building up reality. In Bosanquet's words: "The meaning tyrannizes over the psychical image in another respect. Besides crushing out of sight its particular and exclusive existence, it also crushes out part of its content" (p. 74). The idea, as we use it, is not, as to content, a complete or accurate representation of anything real. To take Bosanquet's illustration:

Some one speaks to me of the Xgean sea, which I have never seen. He tells me that it is a deep blue sea under a cloudless sky, studded with rocky islands. The meanings of these words are a problem set to my thought. I have to meet him in the world of objective references, which as intelligent beings we have in common. How I do this is my own affair, and the precise images at my command will vary from day to day, and from minute to minute. It sounds simple to say that I combine my recollections of sea and sky at Torbay with those of the island-studded waters of

( 101) Orkney or the Hebrides. Even so, there is much to adjust and to neglect ; the red cliffs of Torbay, and the cloudy skies of the north. But then again, my recollections are already themselves symbolic ideas; the reference to Torbay or the Hebrides is itself a problem set to thought, and puts me upon the selection of index-elements in fugitive images that are never twice the same. I have first to symbolize the color of Torbay, using for the purpose any blue that I can call to mind, and fixing, correcting, subtracting from, the color so recalled, till I reduce it to a mere index quality) and then I have to deal in the same way with the meaning or significant idea so obtained, clipping and adjusting the qualities of Torbay till it seems to serve as a symbol of the Aegean. (Pp. 74, 75.)

And by the time all this is performed what sort of a representation of reality is the idea? Evidently a very poor and meager and fragmentary one.

It is so poor and fragmentary, that it cannot itself be that which is affirmed of reality. It must be some other fuller existence to be found in the world of meanings which is armed. And yet how the meager content of the idea succeeds in referring to the world of meanings and acting as the instrument for referring a meaning to reality, is not at all clear. It seems impossible to explain reference intelligibly by the concept of a correspondence of contents.

The fundamental difficulty in the interpretation of the predicate is the same one that we encountered in the interpretation of the subject. If the predicate is to be armed of reality (and if it be not, it has no logical value), then it must, when affirmed, be in some sense an accurate representation of reality. But the predicate is an idea, and, moreover, an idea which is, both in its existence and in its meaning palpably the outcome of transformations wrought upon given sensory contents by the individual consciousness. Since the one point of contact with reality is in sensory experience, the more simple sensory experiences are reacted upon and worked over, the farther they recede from reality. The idea

( 102) seems, therefore, in its very essence, a thing which never can be affirmed of reality. As image it is itself a reality, but not affirmed; as meaning it is that reality (the image) manipulated for individual ends. Why suppose that by distorting reality we get it in shape to affirm of reality? Moreover, the farther an idea is removed from immediate sensory experience—in other words, the more abstract it becomes—the less is the possibility of affirming it of reality. The final outcome of this point of view, if we adhere rigorously to its logic is that the more thinking we do, the less we know about the real world. Bosanquet avoids this conclusion by a pure act of faith. If knowledge is to be rescued, we must believe that the work done by consciousness upon the bits of reality given in sensory experience really does succeed in building up a knowledge of reality for us. As Bosanquet puts it : "The presentation of Reality, qualified by an ideal content, is one aspect of Subject and Predication; and my individual percipient consciousness determining itself by a symbolic idea is the other. That the latter is identified with the former follows from the claim of conscious thought that its nature is to know."[7](p. 83.)

To sum up the situation, Bosanquet starts out with the assumption that by knowledge we must mean knowledge of a world entirely independent of our ideas. If we fail to make this assumption, knowledge becomes merely a relation between ideas. But its whole importance seems to us to rest on the conviction that it does give us knowledge of a world which is what it is quite independently of our ideas about it, and cannot in any sense be modified by what we think about it. What knowledge does is to give us a copy or representation of the real world, whose value depends on the accuracy

( 103) of the representation. And yet when we examine any individual knowing consciousness, the subject which appears within the judgment is never some portion of the world which exists outside of the knowing consciousness, but always some portion of the world which exists within the knowing consciousness, and which is constituted by the knowledge process. The predicate which is affirmed of reality is constantly found to derive its meaning, its generalized significance, not from its correspondence with, or reference to, the real world outside of the knowing consciousness, but from reference to a world of meanings, which consists in a sort of convention among rational beings—a world whose existence is distinctly within the knowing consciousness and not outside of it.[8] Between the real world, as Bosanquet conceives it, and the world of knowledge, we find inserted on the side of the subject, the world as known to each of us, and on the side of the predicate, the objective world of meanings. Neither of these is the real world. Both of them are ideal, i.e., e., are constructions of the individual consciousness. We nowhere find any satisfactory explanation of how these ideal worlds are related to the real world. There is merely the assertion that we must believe that they represent the real world in order that we may believe that knowledge exists. But the fact remains that whenever we try to analyze and explain any particular judgment, what we find ourselves dealing with is always the world as it exists to us as subject, and the objective world of meanings as predicate. If we stop here, then knowledge turns out to be just what Bosanquet asserted at the outset that it was not, i.e., a relation between ideas. When we demand a justification for going farther than this, we find none except the claim of conscious thought that its nature is to know —a claim whose justice we have

( 104) no possible means of testing, and which would not, even if admitted, be of the slightest value in deciding which particular judgment is true and which false.

Bosanquet's development of his subject has proved to be throughout the necessary logical outcome of the presuppositions with reference to reality from which he starts. The fundamental difficulty of erecting a theory of the knowledge-process upon such a basis is recognized by him at the start in a passage already quoted: "If the object-matter of reality lay genuinely outside the system of thought, not only our analysis, but thought itself, would be unable to lay hold of reality" (p. 2). But, in spite of this assertion, his fundamental conception of reality remains that of a system which does lie outside the thought-process. His theory is an attempt to reconcile the essentially irreconcilable views that reality is outside of the thought-process, and that it is inside of the thought-process, and he succeeds only by calling upon our faith that so it is.

If it be true, as it seems to him to be, that we are compelled to adhere to both of these views of reality, then surely there is no other outcome. It means, however, that we finally resign all hope of knowing reality. We may have faith in its existence, but we have no way of deciding what particular judgment has reality in it as it should have it, and what as it should not. All stand (and fall) on the same basis. But does not Bosanquet himself point out a pathway which, if followed farther, would reach a more satisfactory view of the realm of knowledge? He has shown us that the only sort of reality we know, or can know, is the reality which appears within our judgment-process—the reality as known to us. Would it not be possible to drop the presupposed reality outside of the judgment-process with which judgment is endeavoring to make connections) and content ourselves with the sort of reality which appears within the

( 105) judgment-process? In other words, may there not be a satisfactory view of reality which frankly recognizes its organic relation to the knowledge-process, without at the same time destroying its value as reality? Is it possible to admit that reality is in a sense constituted in the judgment without making it at the same time the figment of the individual imagination-" a game with ideas"?

Let us assume for the moment that the real difficulty with Mr. Bosanquet's conception, the error that keeps him traveling in his hopeless circles, is the notion that truth is a matter of reference of ideas as such to reality as such, leading us to oscillate between the alternatives that either all ideas have such reference, and so are true, constitute knowledge; or else none have such reference, and so are false; or else are mere ideas to which neither truth nor falsity can be attributed. Let us ask if truth is not rather some specific relation within experience, something which characterizes one idea rather than another, so that our problem is not how an idea can refer to a reality beyond itself, but what are the marks by which we discriminate a true reference from a false one. Then let us ask for the criterion used in daily life and in science by which to test reality.

If we ask the philosophically unsophisticated individual why he believes that his house still exists when he is away from it and has no immediate evidence of the fact, he will tell you it is because he has found that he can go back to it time and again and see it and walk into it. It never fails him when he acts upon the assumption that it is there. He would never tell you that he believed in its existence when he was not experiencing it because his mental picture of his house stood for and represented accurately an object in the real world which was nevertheless of a different order of existence from his mental picture. When you ask the physicist why he believes that the laws of motion are true, he will tell you

(106) that it is because he finds that bodies always do behave according to them. He can predict just what a body will do under given circumstances. He is never disappointed however long he takes it for granted that the laws of motion are true and that bodies behave according to them. The only thing that could make him question their truth would be to find some body which did not prove to behave in accordance with them. The criterion is the same in both cases. It is the practical criterion of what as a matter of fact will work. That which can safely be taken for granted as a basis for further action is regarded as real and true. It remains real so long, and only so long, as it continues to fulfil this condition. As soon as it ceases to do so, it ceases to be regarded as real. When a man finds that he can no longer obtain the accustomed experience of seeing and entering his house, he ceases to regard it as real. It has burned down, or been pulled down. When a physicist finds that a body does not, as a matter of fact, behave as a given law leads him to expect it would behave, he ceases to regard the law as true.

The contrast between the nave view of the criterion of reality and the one we have just been discussing may be brought out by considering how we should have to interpret from each standpoint the constant succession of facts in the history of science which have ceased to be facts. For illustration take the former fact that the earth is flat. It ceased to be a fact, says the theory we have been reviewing, because further thought-constructions of the real world convinced us that there is no reality which the idea flat-world" represents. The idea "round-world" alone reproduces reality. It ceased to be a fact, says the nave view, because it ceased to be a safe guide for action. Men found they could sail around the world. Correspondence in one case is pictorial, and its existence or non-existence can,

(107) as we have seen, never be ascertained. In the other, correspondence is response, adjustment, the co-meeting of specific conditions in further constituting of experience.

In actual life, therefore, the criterion of reality which we use is a practical one. The test of reality does not consist in ascertaining the relationship between an idea and an x which is not idea, but in ascertaining what experience can be taken for granted as a safe basis for securing other experiences. The evident advantage of the latter view, leaving aside for the moment the question of its adequacy in other respects, is that it avoids the fundamental skepticism at once suggested by the former. How can we ever be sure that the fact which we have discovered will stand the test of further thought-constructions? Perhaps it comes no nearer to reality than the discarded one. Obviously we never can be sure that any particular content of thought represents reality so accurately and perfectly that it will never be subject to revision. If, however, the test of reality is the adequacy of a given content of consciousness as a stimulus to action, as a mode of control, we have an applicable standard. A given content of consciousness is real—is a fact—so long as the act resulting from it is adequate in adaptation to other contents. It ceases to be real as soon as the act it stimulates proves to be inadequate.

The view which places the ultimate test of facts, not in any relationship of contents or existences, but in the practical outcome of thought, is the one which seems to follow necessarily from a thoroughgoing conception of the judgment as a function—an act. Our fundamental biological conception of the activities of living organisms is that acts exist for the sake of their results. Acts are always stimulated by some definite set of conditions, and their value is always tested by the adequacy with which they meet this set of conditions. The judgment is no exception to the rule. It

(108) is always an act stimulated by some set of conditions which needs readjusting. Its outcome is a readjustment whose value is and can be tested only by its adequacy. It is accordingly entirely in line with our reigning biological conceptions to expect to find the ultimate criterion of truth and reality in the practical outcome of thought, and to seek for an understanding of the nature of the " real" and of the ideal" within the total activity of judgment.

One difficulty besets us at the outset of such an investigation—that of being sure that we have a genuine judgment under examination. A large portion of the so-called judgments considered by logicians, even by those who emphasize the truth that a judgment is an act, are really not judgments at all, but contents of thought which are the outcome of judgments—what might be called dead judgments, instead of live judgments. When we analyze a real act of judgment, as it occurs in a living process of thought, we find given elements which are always present. There is always a certain situation which demands a reaction. The situation is always in part determined and taken for granted, and in part questioned. It is determined in so far as it is a definite situation of some sort; it is undetermined in so far as it furnishes an inadequate basis for further action and therefore comes to consciousness as a problem. For example, take one of the judgments Bosanquet uses. "This is bread." We have first to inquire when such a judgment actually occurs in the living process of thought. A man does not make such a judgment in the course of his thinking unless there is some instigation to do so. Perhaps he is in doubt as to whether the white object he perceives is bread or cake. He wants some bread, but does not want cake. A closer inspection convinces him that it is broad, and the finished judgment is formulated in the proposition: " This is bread." What is the test of the reality of the bread, and the truth of

(109) the judgment? Evidently the act based on it. He eats the bread. If it tastes like bread and affects him like bread, then the bread was real and the judgment true. If, on the other hand, it does not taste like bread, or if it makes him violently ill, then the "bread" was not real and the judgment was false. In either case, the "this "—the experience to be interpreted—is unquestioned. The man does not question the fact that he has a perception of a white object. So much is taken for granted and is unquestioned within that judgment. But there is another part of the experience which is questioned, and which remains tentative up to the conclusion of the act of judgment; that is the doubt as to whether the perceived white object is bread or something else. Every live judgment, every judgment as it normally occurs in the vital process of thought, must have these phases. It is only when a judgment is taken out of its context and reduced to a mere memorandum of past judgments that it fails to reveal such parts. The man may, of course, go farther back. He may wonder whether this is really white or not. But he falls back then on something else which he takes unquestioningly —a "this" experience of some sort or other.

So far we have considered the practical criterion of reality merely as the one which is actually operative in everyday life, and as the one suggested by our biological theory of the functions of living organisms. It also offers a suggestion for the modified view of the nature of reality for which we are in search. Our previous discussion brought out incidentally a contradiction in the traditional theory of the nature of reality which it will be worth while to consider further. In dealing with the subject of the judgment, reality seemed to be made synonymous with fact. In this sense fact, or the real, was set off against the ideal. Knowledge was viewed as the correspondence between real and ideal. When we came to deal with the ideal itself —with

(110) the predicate of the judgment—there appeared in it an element of fact or reality which proved a serious stumblingblock for the theory. As image in my mind, the idea is just as real as the so-called facts; but this sort of reality according to the theory in question is neither the reality about which we are judging nor a real quality of it. Both Bradley and Bosanquet are forced to admit that the judgment ignores it, and is in so far by nature inadequate to its appointed task of knowing reality.

The suggestion which the situation offers for a new theory is that the view of reality has been too narrow. Reality must evidently be a broad enough term to cover both fact and idea. If so, the reality must be nothing more nor less than the total process of experience with its continual opposition of fact and idea, and their continual resolution through activity. That which previous theory has been calling the real is not the total reality, but merely one aspect of it. The problem of relation of fact and idea is thus the problem of the relation of one form of reality to another, and so a determinate soluble one, not a merely metaphysical or general one. Granting this, does it still remain true that reality in the narrower sense, reality as fact, can be regarded as a different order of existence from the ideal, and set over against the thought-process? Evidently not. Fact and idea become merely two aspects of a total reality. The way in which fact and idea are distinguished has already been suggested by the practical and biological criterion of fact, or reality in the narrower sense. From this point of view, fact is not a different order of existence from idea, but is merely a part of the total process of experience which functions in a given way. It is merely that part of experience which is taken as given, and which serves as a stimulus to action. Thus the essential nature of fact, or reality in the popular sense, falls not at all on the side of its content, but

(111) on the side of its function. Similarly the ideal is merely that part of the total experience which is taken as tentative. There is no problem as to how either of them is related to reality. In this relationship they are reality. That which previous theories had been calling the whole of reality now appears as merely one aspect of it—the fact aspect—artificially isolated from the rest.

When we translate this view of the nature of reality into terms of a theory of the judgment, we find that we can agree with Bosanquet in his definition of a judgment. It is an act, and an act which refers an ideal content to reality. The judgment must be an act, because it is essentially an adaptation—a reaction toward a given situation. The subject of the judgment is that part of the content of experience which represents the situation to be reacted to. It is that which is taken for granted as given in each case. Now this is, as we have seen, reality—in the narrower sense of that term. What Bosanquet has been calling reality now appears merely as the subject of the judgment taken out of its normal function and considered as an isolated thing. It is an artificial abstraction. It is accordingly true, as Bosanquet insists, that the subject of the judgment must always be reality—both in his sense of the term and in ours. This reality is not real, however, by virtue of its independence from the judgment, but by virtue of its function within the judgment. His fundamental problem with reference to the subject of the judgment is disposed of from this point of view. The subject is wholly within the judgment, not in any sense outside of it; but it is at the same time true that the subject of the judgment is reality. The fact that the subjects of all judgments—even those of the most elementary type— bear evident marks of the work done by thought upon them, ceases to be a problem. The subject is essentially a thing constituted by the doubt-inquiry process, and func-

(112) -tioning within it. The necessity for an intermediate real world as it is to me between the real world and the knowing process disappears, because the real world as it is to me is the only real world of which the judgment can take account. There is no longer any divorce between the content of the subject and its existence. Reality in his sense of the term —reality as fact—does not fall on the side of existence in distinction from content, but on the side of function in distinction from content.

The predicate of the judgment is that part of the total experience which is taken as doubtful, or tentative. As we have seen, every act of adaptation involves a definite situation to be reacted to (subject and an indefinite or tentative material with which to react (predicate). We have pointed out that a situation which demands a judgment never appears in consciousness as mere questioned or questionable situation.[9] There is always present, as soon as the doubt arises, some sort of tentative solution. This is the predicate or idea. Just as the fact, or real in the narrower sense, is that which is taken as given in the situation, so the ideal is that which is taken as tentative. Its ideality does not consist in its reference to another order of existence, the objective world of meanings, but in its function within the judgment, the estimate of the whole situation as leading up to the adequate act. Just as we no longer have any need for the mediation of the real world as known to me between subject and reality, so we no longer need the objective world of meanings to bridge the chasm between the predicate and reality. The difficulty of understanding how ideas can be used to build up facts disappears when we regard fact and idea, not as different orders of existence, but as contents marking different phases of a total function.


Ideas, as Bosanquet represented them, proved to be extremely unsatisfactory tools to use in building up a knowledge of reality. In the first place, their value as instruments of thought depends upon their universality. We have already reviewed Bosanquet's difficulties in attempting to explain the universality of ideas. The universality of an idea cannot reside in its mere existence as image. Its existence is purely particular. Its universality must reside in its reference to something outside of itself. But no explanation of how the particular existence—image—could refer to another and fuller content of a different order of existence could be discovered. The fact of reference remained an ultimate mystery. From the new point of view the image gains its universality through its organizing function. It represents an organized habit which may be brought to bear upon the present situation, and which serves, by directing action, to organize and unify experience as a whole. It is only as function that the concept of reference can be made intelligible.

Of course, considered as content, the idea is just as particular from this point of view as from any other. We still have to discuss the question as to whether or not the particularity of the idea has a logical value. The fact that it had none in Bosanquet's theory sets a limit to the validity of thought. But if the real test of the validity of a judgment is the act in which it issues, then the existential aspect of the idea must have logical value. The existential aspect of the idea is the "my" side of it. It is as my personal experience that it exists. But it is only as my idea that it has any impulsive power, or can issue in action. Far from being ignored, therefore, the existential aspect is essential to the logical, the determinative, value of an idea.

Ideas, according to the representational theory of knowledge, proved to be a poor medium for knowing reality in still another respect. They are in their very nature contents

(114) that have been reduced from the fulness of experience to mere index-signs. Even though their reference to a fuller content in the objective world of meanings presented no problem, still this objective world of meanings is far removed from reality. And yet, in order to know, we must be able to affirm ideas of reality. On the functional theory of ideas, their value does not rest at all upon their representational nature. They are not taken either in their existence or in their meaning as representations of any other content. They are taken as contents which mark a given function, and their value is determined entirely by the adequacy of the function of which they are the conscious expression. Their content may be as meager as you please. It may have been obtained by a long process of reducing and transforming sensory experience, but if it serve to enable its possessor to meet the situation which called it up with the appropriate act, then it has truth and value in the fullest sense. The reduction of the idea to a mere index-sign presents no problem when we realize that it is the tool of a given function, not the sign for a different and fuller content. The idea thus becomes a commendable economy in the thought-process, rather than a reprehensible departure from reality.

We have already upon general considerations criticised the point of view which holds that ideality consists in reference to another content. In arguing that this reference cannot be primarily to reality itself, but rather to an intermediate world of meanings, Bosanquet cites the question and the negative judgment. In the question ideas are not affirmed of reality, and in negation they are definitely denied of reality, hence their reference cannot be to reality. It must therefore be to an objective world of meanings. It may be worth while to point out in passing that, from the functional point of view, the part played by ideas in the question and in negative judgment is the same that it is in affirmation.


We have brought out the fact that all judgment arises in a doubt. The earliest stage of judgment is accordingly a question. Whether the process stops at that point, or is carried on to an affirmation or negation, depends upon the particular conditions. The ideas which appear in questions present no other problem than those of affirmation. They are ideas, not by virtue of their reference to another content in the world of meanings, but by virtue of their function, i. e., that of constituting that part of the total experience which is taken as doubtful, and hence as in process.

In order to make this point clear with reference to negative judgments, it will be necessary to consider the relation of negative and positive judgments somewhat more in detail. All judgment is in its earliest stages a question, but a question is never mere question. There are always present some suggestions of an answer, which make the process really a disjunctive judgment. A question might be defined as a disjunctive judgment in which one member of the disjunction is expressed and the others implied. If the process goes on to take the form of affirmation or negation, one of the suggested answers is selected. To follow out the illustration of the bread used above, the judgment arises in a doubt as to the nature of the white object perceived, but the doubt never takes the form of a blank question. It at once suggests certain possible solutions drawn from the mass of organized experience at the command of the person judging. At this stage the judgment is disjunctive. In the illustration it would probably take the form: "This is either bread or cake." The further course of the judgment rejects the cake alternative, and selects the bread, and the final outcome of the judgment is formulated in the proposition: "This is bread." But how did it happen that it did not take the form: "This is not cake" ? That proposition is also involved in the outcome, and implied in the judgment made. The

(116) answer is that the form taken by the final outcome depends entirely on the direction of interest of the person making the judgment. If his interest happened to lie in obtaining bread, then the outcome would naturally take the form "This is bread," and his act would consist in eating it. If he happened to want cake, the natural form would be, "This is not cake," and his act would consist in refraining from eating. In other words, the question as to whether a judgment turns out to be negative or positive is a question of whether the stress of interest happens to fall on the selected or on the rejected portions of the original disjunction. Every determination of a subject through a predicate includes both. The selection of one or the other according to interest affects the final formulation of the process, but does not change the relations of its various phases. An idea in a negative judgment is just what it is in a positive judgment. In neither case is it constituted an idea by reference to some other content.

So far we have outlined Bosanquet's theory of the judgment; have noted the apparently insoluble problems inherent in his system, and have sketched a radically different theory which offered a possible solution for his difficulties. It now remains to develop the implications of the new theory further by comparing its application to some of the more important problems of logic with that of Bosanquet. In closing we shall have to inquire to what extent the new theory of the judgment with its metaphysical implications has proved more satisfactory than that of Bosanquet.

The special problems to be considered are (1) the relation of judgment to inference; (2) the parts of the judgment and their relationship; (3) the time element in the judgment; and (4) the way in which one judgment can be separated from another.

1. The discussion of the relation between judgment and inference comes up incidentally in Bosanquet's treatment of

(117) the distinction between a judgment and a proposition (p. 79). The proposition, he says, is merely the enunciative sentence which represents the act of thought called judgment. With this distinction we should agree. In his discussion of the point, however, he criticises Hegel's doctrine that a judgment is distinguished from a proposition in that a judgment maintains itself against a doubt, while a proposition is a mere temporal affirmation, not implying the presence of a doubt. The ground of his criticism is that judgment must be regarded as operative before the existence of a conscious doubt, and that, while it is true, as Hegel suggests, that judgment and inference begin together, they both begin farther back than the point at which conscious doubt arises. Doubt marks the point at which inference becomes conscious of its ground. Now, it is undoubted that inferences in which the ground is implicit exist at an earlier stage of experience than those in which it is explicit. The former we usually call simple apprehension, and the latter judgment. What Bosanquet wishes to do is to make the term "judgment" cover both the implicit and the explicit activities. The question at once arises whether such a use of terms is accurate. There is certainly a wide difference between an inference which is conscious of its ground, and one which is not. It is conceivably a distinction of philosophic importance. To slur the difference by applying one name to both accomplishes nothing. It will be remembered that the presence of a conscious doubt is the criterion of judgment adopted in the standpoint from which we have been criticising Bosanquet's theory. We should accordingly make the term "inference" a wider one than the term "judgment." A judgment is an inference which is conscious of its ground. Since fact and idea have been represented as constituted in and through judgment, the question which at ones suggests itself is: What, from such a standpoint, is the criterion of

( 118) fact and idea in the stage of experience previous to the appearance of judgment? The answer is that the question involves the psychological fallacy. There is no such distinction as fact and idea in experience previous to the appearance of judgment. The distinction between fact and idea arises only at the higher level of experience at which inference becomes conscious of its grounds. To ask what they were previous to that is to ask what they were before they were—a question which, of course, cannot be answered.

Our reason for not adopting Hegel's distinction between a judgment and a proposition would accordingly not be the same as Bosanquet's. The question has already been touched upon in the distinction between dead and live judgments. What Hegel calls a proposition is really nothing but a dead judgment. His illustration of a temporal affirmation is the sentence: " A carriage is passing the house." That sentence would be a judgment, he says, only in case there were some doubt as to whether or not a carriage was passing. But the question to be answered first is: When would such a "statement" occur in the course of our experience? It is impossible to conceive of any circumstances in which it would naturally occur, unless there were some doubt to be solved either of our own or of another. Perhaps one is expecting a friend, and does not know at first whether it is a carriage or a cart which is passing. Perhaps some one has been startled, and asks: "What is this noise?" What Hegel wishes to call a proposition is, accordingly, nothing but a judgment taken out of its setting.

2. In dealing with the traditional three parts of the judgment-subject, predicate, and copula —Bosanquet disposes of the copula at once, by dividing the judgment into subject anti predication. Rut the two terms "subject" acid "predication" are not co-ordinate. Subject, as he uses it, is a static term indicating a content. Predication is a dynamic

(119) term indicating the act of predicating. It implies something which is predicated of something else, i. e., two contents and the act of bringing them into relation. Now, if what we understand by the copula is the tact of predicating abstracted from the content which is predicated of another content, then it does not dispose of the copula as a separate factor in judgment to include thing predicated and act of predicating under the single term "predication." The term "predication" might just as reasonably be made to absorb the subject as well, and would then appear—as it really is —synonymous with the term "judgment."

But Bosanquet's difficulties with the parts of the judgment are not disposed of even by the reduction to subject and predication. He goes on to say:

It is plain that the judgment, however complex, is a single idea. The relations within it are not relations between ideas, but are themselves a part of the idea which is predicated. In other words, the subject must be outside the judgment in order that the content of the judgment may be predicated of it. If not, we fall back into " my idea of the earth goes round my idea of the sun," and this, as we have seen, is never the meaning of " The earth goes round the sun." What we want is, " The real world has in it as a fact what I mean by earth-going-round-sun." (P 81.)

We have already pointed out the difficulties into which Bosanquet's presupposition as to the nature of reality plunges him. This is but another technical statement of the same problem. If the subject is really outside of judgment, then the entire content of the judgment must fall on the side of predicate, or idea. In the paragraphs that follow, Bosanquet brings out the point that the judgment must nevertheless contain the distinction of subject and predicate, since it is impossible to affirm without introducing a distinction into the content of the affirmation. Yet he considers this distinction to be merely a difference within an identity. It serves to mark off the grammatical subject

( 120) and predicate, but cannot be the essential distinction of subject and predicate. His solution of the puzzle is really the one for which we have been contending, i. e., that "the real world is primarily and emphatically my world," but he still cannot be satisfied with that kind of a real world as ultimate. Behind the subject which presents my world he postulates a real world which is not my world, but which my world represents. It is the relation between this real world and the total content of a judgment which he considers the essential relation of judgment. This leaves him—as we have pointed out—as far as ever from a theory of the relation of thought to reality, and, moreover, with no criterion for the distinction of subject and predicate within the judgment. To say that it is a difference within an identity does not explain how, on a mere basis of content, such a difference is distinguished within an identity or how it assumes the importance it actually has. He vibrates between taking the whole intellectual content as predicate, the reality to be represented as subject (in which case the copula would be the "contact of sense-perception") and a distinction appearing without reasonable ground or bearing within the intellectual content. When subject and predicate are regarded as the contents in which phases of a function appear, this difficulty no longer exists.

3. In discussing the time relations within judgment (p. 85) Bosanquet first disposes of the view which holds that the subject is prior to the predicate in time, and is distinguished from the predicate by its priority. He emphasizes the fact that no content of consciousness can have the significance of a subject, except with reference to something already referred to it as predicate. But while it cannot be true that the parts of the judgment fall outside of one another in time, it is yet evident that in one sense at least the judgment is in time. To make this clear, Bosanquet draws a provisional distinc-

(121) -tion between the process of arriving at a judgment and the completed judgment. The process of arriving at a judgment is a process of passing from a subject with an indefinite provisional predicate—a sort of disjunctive judgment—to a subject with a defined predicate. This process is evidently in time, but it is as evidently not a transition from subject to predicate. It is, as he says, a modification, pari passu, of both subject and predicate. The same distinction, lie thinks, must hold of the judgment when completed. But this throws us into a dilemma with reference to the time-factor in judgment. Time either is or is not an essential factor in judgment. If it is not essential, then how explain the evident fact that the judgment as an intellectual process does have duration? If it is essential, then how explain the fact that its parts do not fall outside one another in time? Bosanquet evidently regards the former problem as the easier of the two. His solution is that, while the judgment is an intellectual process in time, still this is a purely external aspect. The essential relation between subject and predicate is not in time, since they are coexistent; therefore time is not an essential element in judgment.

The first point at which we take issue with this treatment of time in relation to judgment is in the distinction between the process of arriving at the judgment and the completed judgment. Bosanquet himself defines judgment as an intellectual act by which an ideal content is referred to reality. Now, at what point does this act begin? Certainly at the point where an ideal content is first applying to reality, and this, as he points out, is at the beginning of the process which he describes as the process of arriving at a judgment. It is nothing to the point that at this stage the predicate is tentative, while later it becomes defined. His process of arriving at the judgment is exactly the process Re have been describing as the early stages of any and every judg-

(122) -ment. When he talks about the judgment as completed, he has apparently shifted from the dynamic view of judgment implied in his definition to a static view. All he could mean by a completed judgment—in distinction to the total activity of arriving at a judgment—is the new content of which we find ourselves possessed when the total process of predication is complete. But this content is not a judgment at all. It is a new construction of reality which may serve either as subject or as predicate in future judgments.

Now, if we regard the judgment as the total activity by which an ideal content is referred to reality, then must we not regard time as an essential element? Bosanquet answers this question in the negative, because he believes that if time is an essential element, then the parts of the judgment must necessarily fall outside one another in time. But is this necessary? If the essence of judgment is the very modification, pari passu, of subject and predicate, then time must be an essential element in it, but it is not at all necessary that its elements should fall outside of one another in time. In other words, the dilemma which Bosanquet points out on p. 87 is not a genuine one. There is no difficulty involved in admitting that the judgment is a transition in time, and still holding that its parts do not fall outside one another in time. His own solution of the problem —i. e., that, although judgment is an intellectual process in time, still time is not an essential feature of it, because subject and predicate are coexistent and judgment is a relation between theminvolves a desertion of his dynamic view of judgment. He defines judgment, not as a relation between subject and predicate, but as an intellectual act.[10]


4. The discussion of the time-element in judgment leads up to the next puzzle —that as to the way in which one judgment can be marked off from another in the total activity of thought. Bosanquet has pointed out that subject and predicate are both of them present at every stage of the judging process, and are undergoing progressive modification. If, therefore., we take a cross-section of the process at any point, we find both subject and predicate present; but a cross-section at one point would not reveal quite the same subject and predicate as the cross-section at another point. He comes to the conclusion that judgment breaks up into judgments as rhomboidal spar into rhomboids (p. 88). It is, accordingly, quite arbitrary to mark out any limits for a single judgment. The illustration he gives of the point is as follows:

Take such an every-day judgment of mixed perception and inference as, "He is coming down stairs and going into the street." It is the merest chance whether I break up the process thus, into two judgments as united by a mere conjunction, or, knowing the man's habits, say, when I hear him half way down stairs, "He is going out." In the latter case I summarize a more various set of observations and inferences in a single judgment; but the judgment is as truly single as each of the two which were before separated by a conjunction; for each of them was also a summary of a set of perceptions, which might, had I chosen, have been subdivided into distinct propositions expressing separate judgments; e. g., "He has opened his door, and is going toward the staircase,

(124) and is half way down, and is in the passage," etc. If I simply say, "He is going out," I am not a whit the less conscious that I judge all these different relations, but I then include them all in a single systematic content "going out." (P. 89.)

But is it a question of merest chance which of these various possibilities is actualized? Is Bosanquet really looking—as he thinks—at the actual life of thought, or is he considering, not what as a matter of fact does take place under a concrete set of circumstances, but what might take place under slightly differing sets of circumstances? If it is true that judgment is a crisis developing through adequate interaction of stimulus and response into a definite situation, beginning with doubt and ending with a solution of the doubt, then it is not true that its limits are purely arbitrary. It begins with the appearance of the problem and its tentative solutions, and ends with the solution of a final response. It does, of course, depend upon momentary interest, but this does not make its limits arbitrary, for the interest is inherent, not external. In the case of Bosanquet's illustration, the question of whether one judgment or half a dozen is made is not a question of merest chance. It depends upon where the interest of the person making the judgment is centered —in other words, upon what is the particular doubt to be solved. If the real doubt is as to whether the man will stay in his room or go out, then when he is heard leaving his room the solution comes in the form: "He is going out." But if the doubt is as to whether he will stay in his room, go out, or go into some other room, then the succession of judgments occurs, each of which solves a problem. "He has opened his door"—then he is not going to stay in his room; "He is going toward the staircase"—then he is not going into a room in the opposite direction, etc. It is impossible to conceive a of such a series of judgments as actually being made, unless each one represents a problematic situation and its

(125) determination. The only time that a man would, as a matter of fact, choose to break up the judgment, "He is going out," into such a series, would be the time when each member of the series had its own special interest as representing a specific uncertain aim or problem. Nor is it altogether true that in making the judgment, "He is going out," one is not a whit the less conscious that he judges all these different relations. He judges only such relations as are necessary to the solution of the problem in hand. If hearing the man open his door is a sufficient basis for the solution, then that is the only one which consciously enters into the formation of the judgment.

We have attempted to bring out in the preceding pages what seem to be the contradictions and insoluble problems involved in Bosanquet's theory of the judgment, and to exhibit them as the logical outcome of his metaphysical presuppositions. We have also tried to develop another theory of the judgment involving a different view of the nature of reality, and to show that the new theory is able to avoid the difficulties inherent in Bosanquet's system. The change in view-point briefly is this: Instead of regarding the real world as self-existent, independently of the judgments we make about it, we viewed it as the totality of experience which is assured, i.e., determined as to certainty or specific availability, through the instrumentality of judgment. We thus avoided the essentially insoluble problem of how a real world whose content is self-existent quite outside of knowledge can ever be correctly represented by ideas. The difficulty in understanding the relation of the subject and the predicate of judgment to reality disappears when we cease to regard reality as self-existent outside of knowledge. Subject and predicate become instrumentalities in the process of building up reality. Thought no longer seems to carry us farther and farther from reality as ideas become

(126) abstract and recede from the immediate sensory experience in which contact with the real occurs. On the contrary, thought carries us constantly toward reality. Finally, we avoid the fundamental skepticism about the possibility of knowledge which, from the other standpoint, is forced upon us by the long succession of facts which have faded into the realm of false opinions, and the lack of any guarantee that our present so-called knowledge of reality shall not meet the same fate. From that point of view, reality seems to be not only unknown, but unknowable.

The criticism sure to be passed upon the alternative view developed is that the solution of Bosanquet's problems which it affords is not a real solution, but rather the abandonment of an attempt at a solution. It represents reality as a thing which is itself in process of development. It would force us to admit that the reality of a hundred years ago, or even of yesterday, was not in content the reality of today. A growing, developing reality is, it will be said, an imperfect reality, while we must conceive of reality as complete and perfect in itself. The only answer which can be made is to insist again that we have no right to assume that reality is such an already completed existence, unless such an assumption enables us to understand experience and organize it into a consistent whole. The attempt of this paper has been to show that such a conception of reality really makes it inherently impossible to give an intelligible account of experience as a whole, while the view which regards reality as developing in and through judgment does enable us to build up a consistent and understandable view of the world. This suggests that the "perfect" may not after all be that which is finished and ended, but that whose reality is so abundant and vital as to issue in continuous self-modification. The Reality that evolves and moves may be more perfect, less finite, than that which has exhausted

(127) itself. Moreover, only the view that Reality is developmental in quality, and that the instrument of its development is judgment involving the psychical in its determination of subject and predicate gives the psychical as such any significant place in knowledge or in reality. According to the view of knowledge as representation of an eternal content, the psychical is a mere logical surd.


  1. The criticism of Bosanquet's theory of the judgment offered in this paper is from the standpoint of the theory of the judgment developed by Professor John Dewey, in his lectures on "The Theory of Logic." while the chief interest of the paper, as the title implies, is critical, it hoc bean necessary to devote a portion of it to the exposition of the point of view from which the criticism is mad. H.B.T.
  2. The references throughout this paper are to the pages of Vol. I of BERNARD BOSANQUET, Logic or the Morphology of Knowledge, Oxford, 1888.
  3. F.H. BRADLEY, Principles of Logic, p.64.
  4. The difficulty, of course, is not a merely formal one, much less a verbal one. Instinctively we grant to Bosanquet his statement that reality is a continuous whole; we feel it almost captious to question his right to it. But why? Because the content of judgment is continuous; judgment is always engaged with the determination of a related totality. But if all contends ideal, and judgment is just the application of this content to reality in virtue of an isolated contact, surely it begs the entire question to say that reality apart from the content applied is continuous, and then to use this assertion to justify the objective validity of the judgment —its element of permanent truth.
  5. There is good reason for believing that Mr. Bosanquet escapes, in his own mind, the difficulty by the term "correspondence." "The name stands for these elements in the idea which correspond in the separate worlds; "we may even be accused of injustice in confusing this correspondence with bare identity of existence. But if one idea corresponds to another in the sense of referring to it, what is this but the fact to be explained—how an existence can refer beyond itself?
  6. This conclusion is clearly recognized by BRADLEY, Appearance and Reality, chap. 4.
  7. It would be suggestive to inquire in what sense conscious thought claims to know. Is it a general claim which thought qua thought puts forth, or is it the claim of the content of some particular thought? The former, of course, is a mere pious aspiration having no reference to specific validity or truth; the latter is precisely the problem under consideration.
  8. Bosanquet would seem to have followed Lotze in this insertion of a world of " meanings " intermediate between the individual idea as such and the real object as such. See the criticism already passed, pp. 93-5.
  9. Or, the situation as questioned is itself a fact, and a perfectly determinate (though not determined) one. See pp. 38, 50.
  10. Of course, the distinction between the process of arriving as temporal, and the essential relation of subject and predicate as eternal, harks back to the notion of judgment as the process by which "we " reproduce, or make real for a> .-lvoa, a reality already real within itself. And it involves just the same difficulties. The relation of subject and predicate—this simultaneous distinction and mutual reference—has meaning only in an act of adjustment, of attempt to control, within which we distribute our conditions. When the act is completed, the relation of subject and predicate, as subject and predicate, quite disappears. An eternal relation of the two is meaningless; we might as well talk of an eternal reaching for the same distant object by the same hand. In such conceptions, we have only grasped a momentary phase of a situation, isolated it, and set it up as an entity. Significant results would be reached by considering the "synthetic" character (in the Kantian sense) of judgment from this point of view. All modern logicians agree that judgment must be ampliative, must extend knowledge; that a " trifling proposition" is no judgment at all. What does this mean save that judgment is developmental, transitive, in effect and purport? And yet these same writers conceive of Reality as a finished system of a content in a complete o-l unchangeable a single Judgment! It is impossible to evade the contradiction save by recognizing that since it is the business of judgment to transform, its test (or Truth) is successful performance of the particular transformation it has set itself, and that transformation is temporal.

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