A Pragmatic Theory of Truth

As far back in time and in cultural epochs, as we can trace human society we can find there something that answers to philosophy and something that answers to science. They are the myth and the cult. In early social conditions they stand vaguely for theory and practice. In terms closer to the ideas and activities to which they refer they may he called "rationalizations" and habits. It is clear that the habit comes before the rationalization or explanation. The cult is not any habit. It is one that is social not only in its origin and expression but also in is function and valuation. It belongs to the group and it serves to relate this primitive society to its habitat and to a past and future. The myth supervenes upon the cult. The cult rapidly became archaic, not simply in the sense of old, but in the sense of having outlived the situations out of which it had arisen. Whatever reasons we find for this or however we label them, the fact made them strange as habits. They could not be understood entirely through the situations within which they were practiced, and the myth was the explanation. The myth gave preeminently the explanation that did not arise naturally out of the original situation. It was the explanation of a habit, that just as a habit was inexplicable. It is a reason for action when the reason does not lie in the actual situation within which the action is going on. This is, however, in one respect not a correct statement of what takes place, for it says that some reason existed in the situation before a reason had to be sought, whereas only things existed there. Our cautious ancestors, when yawning, blocked the way to the entrance of evil spirits

(66) by putting their hands before their mouths. We find a reason for the gesture in the delicacy of manner which forbids an indecent exposure. But evil spirits were spirits that one warded off. The parry is simply the obverse side of the thrust. If we insist on taking analysis into conduct in which it had no place, we must find the correlate to the later reason in the sufficient definition of earlier things. We do this when we replace the evil spirit by the microbe and form new and better habits instead of rationalizing the old ones.

Perhaps I am myself indecorous in suggesting an analogy between a certain sort of philosophic analysis and a guarded yawn, but I will venture it for it opens a door to a distinction worth making. I refer to the distinction between a scientific approach to nature and that of a philosophy that has ensnarled itself in a hopeless epistemological problem. While science has been discovering and hypothetically constructing things that lead to new and fortunate responses to the world, this philosophy has rationalized the discarded attitudes toward nature. Those discarded attitudes were the relations of a soul or mind to a world whose raison d'Ítre was its being the habitat of man. The philosophic rationalizations of these attitudes have consisted in presenting the world in the guise of men's sensations and ideas, in a word, in his states of consciousness. The primary reference of nature to mind which obsessed Renaissance philosophy was the rationalization of the medieval cult. Treading close upon its heels came the task of getting, back to external things from a world described in states of mind. Science, Gallio(sic) like. cared for none of these things. It was occupied in replacing the furniture of earth and heaven with masses, velocities, accelerations, chemical elements, and living cells to which predictable responses could be secured. While science has been interested solely in getting new and reliable things, and in its mental processes only as means to this end, philosophy has not only made the thought process its field but has insisted on so analyzing it that new things and old can both be stated in the same mental terms. It has not given to the thing its value

(67) of a thing before the problem arose and after the solution, but has kept it in terms of logical and metaphysical speculation. It has not only explained the old and so rationalized it, but has as well forced the new into the same dress. My thesis is that the object that tells its own tale has no longer a place in the field of analysis, but is simply there, until it breaks down and propounds some other problem for thought.

Professor Whitehead in Science and the Modern World displays the entire adequacy of medieval doctrine in its explanation of all that happened. There was a reason to be found for everything either in Heaven or on Earth or if need be in Hell. But Professor Whitehead did not point out that this perfect fit between doctrine and the course of events in the world reflected rather the nice adjustment of the cult to men's needs. In the face of every exigency the cult presented men with something to do. They were not called upon to think. The cry was not, how shall I understand? but what shall I do to be saved? Granted the ineradicable guilt of man and the incomprehensibility of an infinite perfect God, and explanation was almost too easy. There was abundant occupation for scholastic thought in the adjustment of such incongruous ingredients, as Greek philosophy, the Pauline doctrine, and the administrative theory of the Roman hierarchy. But these speculations did not touch the world of things within which men lived and moved and had their being. Things were not analyzed. They were what they were, what aroused men to action and satisfied their needs or drove them to the refuge of the Church. I think Professor Whitehead is wrong in calling this a rationalistic mind. Rationalization set in with the Renaissance; and while Renaissance science set about the discovery of new things, philosophy set about the task of restating the new world in the terms of the old. Leibnitz' deity was not only the God of the Theodicy but the supreme mathematician as well. The world was a mechanism, but the work of a supreme mechanic to serve his ends. Descartes' anxious effort to avoid quarrels with the Holy Office was not simply an escape complex. However, this

(68) attitude of philosophy must not be accounted to it for unrighteousness. Science was quite incompetent to present society with a complete new world. It offered only ultimate physical and dynamical elements and a powerful apparatus of analysis.

This may seem to some, perhaps in an invidious sense, a long way from truth. Its relation to my theme is this: Science set out from a world which was there but which presented new problems. Science analyzed the world and put it together again in a Newtonian system and left the material universe there. Problems fortunately continued to abound, but a system of masses moving according to Newton's laws was the presupposition of the solution of these problems. Truth had nothing to do with the world in so far as it was not involved in the problem. But philosophy's problem was to bring this world of science both in its analysis and synthesis into accord with the world men believed they were living in. It had to find a way of stating the world that was there for science -- the mechanical world -- in terms of the objects that men sense and want and fear. I mean that philosophy's task of rationalization compelled it to make a problem out of the world which for science was simply there, as the presupposition of the problem science was undertaking to solve. Rationalization, if I may repeat, is giving an explanation for attitudes and responses, when the situation which originally called them out has passed away. It provides another situation which will still arouse these responses. The Newtonian mechanical universe in a considerable measure removed the situations which called out naturally the responses due to man's central position in the world. Philosophy in rationalizing this new situation sought so to restate the world which science did not call in question that human experience would remain central. Philosophy had then to restate the world which for science was unshaken, and the success of science compelled it to use the results of scientific analysis. When it sought for its own, that world within which its problem lay, it could find it only in the mind of the individual -- cogito ergo sum -- and Hume shattered that. For science, truth

(69) is the accord of its hypothetical construction with the world within which the problem has appeared. For philosophy this world has also been made a problem, and we can therefore exclaim with Pontius Pilate, What is truth?

My proposition is that every problem presupposes what is not involved in that problem, and which is in so far valid. The truth of the judgment which the solution of the problem rests upon the harmony of its dictum with that whose validity is not problematic. There are various implications of this proposition. One is that there is no such thing as Truth at large. It is always relative to the problematic situation. What is not involved in the problem is not true nor is it false; it is simply there, though there is no suggestion that a problem may not break out anywhere within it. Confessedly the world of science presents the evident illustration of this. Research is ready to find a problem at any point in the structure of scientific doctrine, a problem which may invalidate any theory. Indeed it welcomes such outbreaks, and lives its exciting life in their midst. What arrests the philosopher's attention is that this attitude carries with it no sense of insecurity. The philosopher still has the Medievalist's yearning to rest in the arms of finality. Whether idealist or realist or neo-Kantian phenomenalist, he seeks repose for his perturbed spirit in the everlasting arms of an absolute of one sort or another. His philosophic mind is attuned to the present French political mind; it cannot conceive of security of method, it must have security of structure.

It is true that the scientist philosophizes; and who does not? And then he is prone to lead a double life, to seek repose from the excitements of research in the restful arms of an ultimate assures doctrine that in some fashion envelopes him. He assures himself and us that Newton's laws were but first approximations; that however theories effloresce and wither, the data of science remain unchanged -- or at least that it is always possible to so restate them that they take on the form of eternity, and with this view sub specie aeternitatis he is assured that his philo-

(70) -sophic God is in his heaven. But this is not his scientific attitude. In this attitude, data do not implicate persistent structure. They appear first of all as exceptions -- the phenomena of the heavens which Greek astronomy from the time of Pythagoras on sought to "save" -- but when the saving theory has rescued them, they are no longer exceptions, they have become instances. In a sense we can identify, "sprinkled along the waste of years," the observations of the Mesopotamian Magi, of Hipparchus, of Ptolemy, of Tycho Brahe, and of our own astronomical tables; but, when so isolated, they have no being in any system independent of those within which they have appeared. They are building stones which had their places in many "transitory structures high," but "it nought avails their architects now to have built high in heaven towers" for they have no final place in any abiding edifice. The datum must seek its meaning either in its opposition to the doctrine which it invalidates, or in that which the genius of the scientist constructs to give it again a local habitation and a name, or in the theory of the historic process by which it has passed through many "fabrics huge" which have risen like exhalations and vanished like the cloud-capped towers of skyey landscapes, but there is no ultimate structure in which their final meaning reposes. Nor does the scientist, when he is not crowning his life-work with Gifford lectures, endow his data with the logical form of such final meanings. They are pertinent solely to the experiences within which they arise. Still less can the data be identified with the building material of the world within which the problem appears. The evidence for this is found in the presupposition of this world as the conditions for the appearance of the data. Whether the datum appears as an exception or as an experimental finding in support of an hypothesis, its existence involves things that cannot by definition be stated in terms of the given world. This speaks out of the very nature of the exception, and it is heard equally clearly in the nature of a conclusive experiment. The experimental finding must take place under conditions which rigorously ex-

(71) clude the theory which the findings will support -- otherwise there is an argumentum in circulo. You must be able to prove that your guinea pig has the disease, which appears after inoculation with the hypothetical germ, by means of clinical evidence other than presence of the germ. You cannot by the same findings prove (a) that the guinea pig contracted the disease through the germ and (b) that the disease which the guinea pig contracted is the disease in question. Now it is of course true that we continue to talk about the disease in terms of the germ that was identified in the experiment, but it has become a very different affair. Then it was something foreign to the life-process of the guinea pig; now it has become a parasite that has a natural habitat within that process. You describe the life-process of host and parasite in a single biochemical formula.

The truth that your experiment establishes is that the world -- an ongoing intelligible concern -- within which a problem has arisen, continues to exhibit itself as the same ongoing intelligible concern under conditions which alone can be stated in terms of the hypothesis you have presented. The new predicate with which you are qualifying this, subject cannot already be implied in the subject. The copula which triumphantly collects them is the experiment, so constructed as rigorously to exclude the new character from the subject that was there and at the same time to jockey the world into such a situation that it inevitably exhibits this character.

But how can it inevitably exhibit this character unless there was already present in the subject that which implies the predicate? That is, how can we make a universal proposition out of the mere juxtaposition of two experiences -- unless there is in advance in the subject, as it appears in the judgment, the connection which the copula has merely exhibited? The answer is found in the form of the problem that appears in the subject of the judgment. Back of any such experiment as that to which I referred above, lies the breakdown of medical description and treatment of the disease. Instances appear which negative this description and practice. One cannot describe and treat the

(72) disease as the disease has been described and treated; which means that other characters which call out different responses, and which did not enter into the former picture of the disease, are now a part of the picture. The solution of the difficulty is found, if it is found, in it reconstruction of the picture that enables the conflicting tendencies to find expression -- that is, which enables the inhibited action to go on. There is a meaning in the old accounts and methods and there is it meaning in the new experiences which invalidate them. Truth is found in such a formulation of meaning that the conduct which these meanings have implied may be made possible. We never simply throw away values which have been there. They are allotted to their proper spheres, within which they give rise to appropriate responses. The subject of the judgment, as distinct from that of the final proposition, is the situation within which this conflict lies, and the final predicate which the experiment justifies, is the reconstructed picture which gives to the conflicting values their own functions. We are not in the judgment simply associating two experiences with each other. We are making possible the experience which the conflicting elements in the subject situation call for. The reconstructed picture of the disease gives to the former conflicting characters of the subject an organization which admits of intelligent response. The subject so characterized is then in so far true, but the organization of meanings was not in the former subject. In so far as the reorganization is carried out consistently with these meanings, the result necessarily follows, but the reason for the connection between the reconstructed picture and the appropriate consequences was not present in the former subject.

But it was in nature, was it not? It was not in that phase of nature which appeared in the experience of the men who recognized the problem and solved it. The judgment is a natural process taking place in the experience of human organisms and its truth is a natural condition that attends upon the success of these organisms in solving their problem. The word, success, I do not entirely like, because of the implications which

(73) are apt to go with it. It is associated with satisfactions and the agreeable experiences which attend upon satisfactions. The test of truth which I have presented is the ongoing of conduct, which has been stopped by a conflict of meanings -- and in meanings I refer to responses or conduct which the characters of lead up to. The truth is not the achievement of the solution, still less the gratification of him who has achieved it. There is something of the old hedonistic fallacy in this. Pleasure undoubtedly attends upon the object of one's desire, but one does not therefore desire the pleasure. One is generally gratified by the solution of one's problem, but the test is the ability to act where action was formerly estopped. The action may be a very sorry affair and afflicted with gloom, but if the road now lies open to the meanings which had nullified each other, this road is the true road. I hope I have made evident that in this doctrine the data are not in the world out of which the problem has arisen, but belong to the statement of the problem; and that in the solution of the problem, they pass, in new forms into the reconstructed meanings which experiment shows to fit into the world, in so far as it was not involved in this problem.

Truth is then synonymous with the solution of the problem. But judgment must be either true or false, for the problem is either solved or is not solved. In this sense a judgment becomes a proposition. The proposition is a presentation in symbolic form of the copula stage of the judgment. In the subject stage lies the conflict between different responses. You call up James Brown by telephone at his office, and are informed that Mr. Brown is not in the city. This means to you the postponement of your interview. But a friend tells you that a short time ago he saw James Brown, and this means a possible holding of the interview. You may catch him before he leaves, and you call up his house. The subject of the judgment is a man whom you will meet later in the week and a man whom you will meet today.

The undertakings inhibit each other. The predicate stage of the judgment, the hypothesis that he is leaving but has not yet left, presents a different James Brown, who so organizes your

(74) responses to see him later and to see him today, that they are no longer in conflict, and the reply from the house establishes the truth of the proposition that you can see him, if you can reach the house within an hour, and thus reports the copula stage of the judgment, which has tested the hypothesis. This lies within the field of conduct and the truth of the proposition characterizes that conduct, but it also sets up an affirmation which transcends that hastily accomplished interview. It is eternally true that James Brown was at his house on that day and on that hour. The established judgments precipitate propositions which seem to belong to another realm -- "truths which wake to perish never."

My guess is that we can best come to terms with these truths in their last retreat, the propositional function. If the telephonic conversation spoke truly, and if James Brown is a man of his word, it is to all eternity true that James Brown was at his house on that day and on that hour. But a truth that -- only making and supposing -- wakes to perish never is affected with an eternity that has lost its impressiveness. I do not mean that it has lost its usefulness. This propositional function may establish an alibi that will save James Brown from the electric chair. But its translation into a timeless realm has a string tied to it that must sadly disturb its enjoyment of that rarified atmosphere, and the shadowless landscapes of that Platonic heaven. What has happened to the judgment in its precipitation into a proposition is that it has so purified itself from the empirical event out of which it arose that it can now enter into relational symbosis with an indefinite number of other propositions. And the advantage of this is enormous. It connects James Brown's spatio-temporal location with the entire complex of his city's life and for that matter with all history and may in future time make it the firmly supporting datum of some historian's fabric of the past. But its truth is hypothetical, and draws its life-blood from the realm out of which it emerged into the realm "in which we never know what we are talking about nor whether what we are saying is true," if I may follow

(75) Professor Mackay in quoting Bertrand Russell, unless we can get some nourishment out of the insubstantial tissues of that logical symbiosis. But the number of those who can subsist on this subsistent diet becomes smaller and smaller as we climb up toward its infinite classes and the letters of the Hebraic alphabet. The fact is that we do not want the "all" ; we want the "anys." We are interested in the possible combinations of propositions which will organize our conduct and the world within which that conduct takes its course and which gives to that conduct its interpretation and its import. The truth of any relational complex that inhabits this realm of eternal objects, or universals or ideals will be found in its effectual employment in the construction of working hypotheses. They must themselves be coherent to be effectually employed, but coherency is not truth. It is not the coherence of doctrine but its cogency that implicates truth and cogency resides ever in the field of activity.

In one aspect of Professor Loewenherg's paradox of the judgment, the judgment is shown to include in its description both the "what" within the judgment and the "that" which must inevitably transcend the judgment. My simple-minded escape from this paradox is found in regarding the truth of the judgment to lie in such a construction of the "what" that it becomes a "that"; and further in the assumption that when this takes place it is no longer a judgment, but something that is there. When the hypothesis works it ceases to be a hypothesis; it is reality, not eternal, indefensible reality, but the only reality with which we are acquainted, which we fear or hope will break down to be again reconstructed.

I am positing here moments of problematic reflection and moments of unreflective reality; but is not reflective experience coterminous with life, is not life a continuous solution of problems? Pragmatic doctrine identifies thought with the solution of problems, and thinking is what raises human experience above that of the beasts that perish. There is, of course, here an ambiguity in the word thought. It includes commonly our consummations, our aesthetic experiences, our possessions, our

(76) enjoyments and our sufferings, but I will for the moment put aside this ambiguity, and turn to the question of the relations of the different problems to one another. Have they not an essential connection among themselves, so essential a connection that a man's life seems to be the attempted solution of the single problem of his intelligent existence? Is not this the implication of the unity of his personality, and does it not become evident in the most thoroughgoing undertaking of life? Can we not fairly say, that what we call our conscious life turns out to be one concatenated enterprise of thought, within which we become now intermittently and now steadily aware of the interwoven tissue of our seemingly discrete problems? Especially is it not true that the solution of no one problem can be achieved without that of many others and perhaps within the solution of all of them? This is beyond doubt what we are apt to imply when we undertake to grasp the world as a whole, and bring into vital unity the presentations of many sciences, and get out to our view the involvements of each in each other. It is genuine thinking because it leaves nothing out. It has the entire history of philosophy behind it and it is peculiarly the attitude of the religions. If we recognize such a genuine grappling with the universe as the problem of the mind, the problem of the whole self, and further recognize the present  insolubility of the problem, except as partial solutions exhibit all approach toward the intelligibility of the universe, does not this pragmatic doctrine itself sweep us into the current of Idealism? What is the world but a continued working hypothesis, a thought structure which is continually completing itself, as the problem breaks out now here and now there? From this standpoint does not the coherency, not simply of ideas but of the problems among themselves, become the very test, not of a final truth, but of the approach toward truth? Is the universe in thought anything but the judgment in the process of ceaseless predication?

Now there are many points from which I could attack, however successfully, this account of experience, commencing with

(77) the ambiguity which I suggested above in the term thought, but there is, I think, an appeal in the idealistic doctrine that is of a more profound importance. It is found on the one side in the constructive and integrative character of scientific thought and on the other in the demand so insistently made that the world must be an intelligible whole. Our problem is the attainment of an intelligible universe, and we advance toward it by processes of scientific hypothesis, which are never out of the range of possible attack and which are generally but provisionally adopted; and this advance toward a goal at infinity, so far as our minute endeavors are concerned, takes place by continual reconstructions, in many fields that confessedly implicate one another. The goal of experience lies indefinitely beyond experience, and the method of approach is by a thought construction which can have no criterion but the growing coherency of their objectives and their partial attainments.

Now in so far as scientific procedure is concerned, a test of truth, to be found in the organic interrelation of problems and their partial solutions, we can without more ado incontinently dismiss. Both Schelling and Hegel were committed to it by their philosophies of nature, but their grandiose undertakings awakened no sympathetic interest in experimental science. I do not mean that the scientist does not recognize that the solution of one problem may wait upon the solution of another or of many other problems. I am calling attention to the fact that the experimental method can only be applied where a reality which is not called in question sets the conditions to which any hypothetical solution must conform. The scientist puts a question to nature, and so far as the answer to that question is concerned, nature cannot herself be problematical. The scientist's technique consists largely in distinguishing that which is in doubt from that which is indubitable. You may deny the truth of his solutions, but you cannot by any possibility persuade him to regard his problem as lying inside of another larger problem, for then he has nothing by which to test his own hypothesis. Survey the almost inextricable maze of scientific hypotheses

(78) which have been called out by Relativity, the quantum postulate, the seeming corpuscular nature of light, the Compton shift, the evidences for different diameters and forms of the electron, the rate of radiation of the stars, and the presence of high voltage short rays reaching our atmosphere from stellar space, and note what, in all this confusion, is stable and unquestioned; what it is to which each hypothesis must accord if it is to enter into a scientific doctrine of nature. It is the experimental finding which has been obtained in complete abstraction from any and all hypotheses. These for the scientist are firm reality, and these findings are simply certain happenings, determined within the limit of the error of observation, in a world which is not involved in the problems which engage the intense interest of science. If the Pragmatic doctrine is a logical generalization of scientific method, it cannot merge the problem that engages thought with a larger problem which denies validity to the conditions that are the necessary tests of the solution which thought is seeking.

Realists and Pragmatists alike have agreed that the perceptual knowledge to which the expert in knowledge, I mean the scientist, ties up, must be recognized as valid, though they have fallen out sadly among themselves over the definition of the percept. In reference to these civil strifes, I should like to point out that the scientist's findings are always in terms of things, never in terms of sensa or percepts, and that the legitimate analysis of perception by scientific psychology also always presupposes things. The psychologist has his own laboratories, and comes back to his own indubitable findings in terms of his own apparatus and Versuchsthiere. It is by means of what happens to these things in observation that any theory of observation must be tested. To reverse the order of testing lands us in Bertrand Russell's world inside of his brain. In the nature of the case it is not an observable brain, but one which we can only adumbrate by the probable correspondences of logical patterns. It affords however an heroic example of "following the augment" even when it leads the dialectician not only into a

(79) hole, but also into pulling the hole in after him. One afflicted with clausophobia may prefer the heroic leap of Santayana's Animal Faith.

There is, however, no question that there is a profound meaning in seeing the world whole, but the most enlightening approach to its meaning is to be found in bounding it, that is in discovering what it is not. We never mean by the expression, if we are using, it profitably, what the world is going to be. Seeing the world whole will include undoubtedly the sort of wisdom which carries us sagaciously from the past into the future; but this is wisdom, it is not knowledge. The future is really future, it is not merely what we do not see, and no acuity of prophetic vision could bring the morrow in its essential character into our experience. Every morrow emerges. Again, seeing the world whole does not connote any exhaustive resumption of the past. Every generation rewrites and so in a sense relives the past. The histories that we have transcribed would have been as impossible to the pens of our fathers as the world we live in would have been inaccessible to their eyes and to their minds -- and that not because we have richer sources than they. History is the interpretation of the past in terms of the present as truly as it is the interpretation of the present in terms of the past. Another Socrates has fascinated Athenian youths, another Caesar has crossed the Rubicon, another Jesus has lived in Galilee since any of us were children. And we know that our children will inhabit a different world from ours and will inevitably rewrite the annals we have so laboriously composed. But this does not disturb us, nor do we feel that seeing our world whole involves the vision of their future nor its attendant past. Past and future are actually oriented in the present. It is the import of the present that we desire, and we can find it only in the past that the present's own unique quality demands and in that future to which it alone can lead. In a sense every unexampled present creates the past that is logically demanded for its explanation. It is the fathomless wealth of the perceptual present that was veiled to Hegel's eyes. Seeing

(80) the world whole is gathering that import so far as in us lies. All experimental findings are lodged in perceptual presents and they are the final touchstones of all theories, and it is from the unpredictable solutions of its problems that the ineffable future flowers out. There is another sense in seeing the world whole that we have already touched upon, in the phrase, the logical symbiosis of propositions. But there abstraction lodged them in a subsistent world, where they had the bloodless being of unimaginable entities that could be charactered only by empty symbols. Symbols are in truth the appropriate stimuli of our attitudes. Attitudes are the responses which are present in our behavior either in advance of the stimulation of things, or, already aroused, yet await the occasion for their full expression. In the first case they may appear as ideas or concepts, in the second as the meanings which constitute things. The concept of a book is the organization of attitudes, which given the stimulus, will express themselves in reading, writing, borrowing, drawing, buying or selling the book. They are all there in the dispositions of men, as forms of conduct which await the appropriate spring to call them out. Given the symbolic stimulus whether in articulate speech or in imagery, and the responses are there in the conduct which is organized by them. In the second case the book is there as an adequate stimulus to the response and has the meaning which was implied in the so-called concept. The book can acquire that meaning only in a situation within which the implications of that which happens can be actually present in the happening. The rush of the torrent carries death to the man who rashly ventures into it. It has not that meaning unless in advance of his fatal plunge this outcome was present in its nature, and it is only in the organized conduct of men that the bare relatedness of events and things can pass over into meaning, that meaning can invest events and things. This investiture takes place through the value which the symbol attains when the indication to another becomes also an indication to him who gives it to his fellow. The torrent is not only the blind power which sweeps the victim

(81) to his death, but in the community of those who communicate with each other, the force of the torrent has taken on a meaning in so far as each is wont to indicate this to others and so to himself. It has become something more than the succession of masses of water with their overwhelming momentum. In the experience of the community this force is to be avoided or perhaps made use of for the production of industrial power. Entering into relation with the community, the torrent has acquired a meaning, which apart from that relationship it did not formerly possess. Through communication men have become able by symbols to organize their innumerable attitudes of possible conduct. The very relationship of the symbols to one another is the outward evidence of the relationship of possible acts which these attitudes express in conduct. Woven together into structures of symbols they excite in men the related processes which they make possible; and things, becoming the world or environment of such a society, acquire meanings which this conduct connotes.

Now seeing the world whole is response in the widest scope of such common conduct. It means entering into the highly organized logical, ethical, and esthetic attitudes of the community, those attitudes which involve all that organized thinking, acting, and artistic creation and appreciation imply. It involves being at home in the universe of discourse, in the kingdom of ends, and in the world of beauty and significance. Seeing the world whole is the recognition of the most extensive set of interwoven conditions that may determine thought, practice, and our fixation and enjoyment of values. The truth of such vision is found in its competent evocation of the meanings with which society has endowed its world, in so far as it successfully interprets our ends and our appreciations. Both the ideas and the meanings which they connote lie within conduct and are only pertinent to the exigencies within which they appear, but they bring to bear upon these incidents which make up our lives the full rational, social and cultured nature of citizens of an organized world. Coherency here spells applica-

(82) -bility, but it does not spell truth. Seven nights ago, I followed, delightedly, Professor Adams as he led the way through the intricacies of the metaphysical landscape of existence and meaning. Thanks to his competence we did not finally come upon truth in a valley of dry bones of bare existence, nor in a tempting mirage of meanings, but we found truth in the content which meaning gives to existence and the reality which existence gives to meaning. The formula by which he infused life into these dry bones and concreted these values I cannot employ. Mine is not the master mind for which it will work.

Thought is indeed constructive in the hypothesis, but I cannot find that the structure of reality within which her reconstructive work goes on is also hers. She indeed presents this structure in her blue prints, but it has not arisen out of her thinking. Thinking pushes on this structure into the emergent future, but to my mind -- she lays no claim to the world which she thinks and aids in building out.

Truth expresses a relationship between the judgment and reality. In the formula of this paper the relationship lies between the reconstruction, which enables conduct to continue, and the reality within which conduct advances. The judgment comes with healing in its wings. It might be called a reparations theory, for, as we all know, a reparations commission requires first of all a formula, a healing formula. Most reparations commissions are no sooner organized than they adjourn, to be called together when a committee, appointed to discover such a formula, can report. Such a formula is a judgment. Its relationship is not so much that of correspondence as of agreement. The judgmental reconstruction fits into organized reality. Of course a formula may fit and still be ineffectual. That is, many so-called truths are insignificant and trivial, but this overlooks the character of the judgment, which is one of reconstruction and does not attain truth until experience can proceed where it was inhibited. If coherence means such a dovetailing of the hypothetical reconstruction with given reality, we might call the relationship that of coherence. But coherence theories

(83) of truth have in view rather the coherence of the structure of the judgment, assuming that as a thought structure it must be consonant with a thought constructed universe, if only it be correctly thought. That is coherence refers to the formation of the hypothesis rather than to its agreement with the given conditions of further conduct.

Now it is evident that theories of truths will vary with their corresponding theories of reality. As I have just indicated, an idealistic doctrine which sees in the universe a thought structure that is the product of a timeless judgment will find its criterion of truth in the adequacy of the thought process, an adequacy which will be revealed in the coherence of the judgment. For it is only in that inner coherence that a finite judgment can show its harmony with the infinite process of which it is it part. The whole universe is not there to enable the mind to estimate its coherence with its entire structure, but the process is identical with that of the absolute and in so far is this process reveals its identity by its inner coherence, it possesses the only standard of truth possible. All idealisms are not Hegelian nor neo-Hegelian, in the common usage of that term, but what I take to be common to them all is the approach to reality from the standpoint of thought. We can approach the noumenal nature of reality only through the noumenal nature of thought; the perceptual dress of nature is transient, contingent, and particular. It is only by thought that we can get inside of it to its uniformities, its abiding structure, and its inherent necessities. Such an approach will inevitably look for its test of truth in the competency of the thinking that reveals it.

A realism whose method is that of analysis sees in reality ultimate elements and the relations which they subtend. Having anatomized reality into relata and the relations, truth or the judgment is found in a correlation between these and the cognitions which answer to them in the mind. We find a new set of relations and relata, that lying between things and the awareness of the mind. If these relations offer the same pattern of structure as that which they answer to in nature, we have the

(84) test of the truth of the logical pattern as it appears in the judgment. It is confessedly a truth of logical correspondence. It becomes incumbent then upon any doctrine of the truth of the judgment to present so much of its view of reality as is involved in its own criterion.

So much of a doctrine of reality is, I think, evident from what has gone before in this paper; that the experience in which human beings are involved is a constituent part of the reality which they judge; that the problems do not arise in minds which regard nature from without but within nature itself, because these human beings are phases of nature. In other words the doctrine is behavioristic not only in a psychological sense but also in a metaphysical sense -- using metaphysics as Professor Dewey has undertaken to present it in "Experience and Nature." This implies in particular that the so-called triadic relation holds between organisms and nature; that nature exists in varied aspects in its relation to the organisms of which it is patient, in Professor Whitehead's phrase. I do not agree with what I take to be Professor Broad's interpretation of Professor Whitehead's doctrine, that the so-called sensa exist in the immediate proximity of the organisms and are, as it were, projected into an absolute space-time of events. I see no reason for questioning the adjectives of things as actually qualifying them where they are in experience in their relations with organisms endowed with sense processes. The crux of such a doctrine, of course, lies in the common world. There are dark hints of a theory of this common world in Professor Whitehead's publications, in exiguous phrases and appended notes. I presume it has been given in his Gifford Lectures, and will be accessible to us in their publication.

The logical extension of the view of nature existing in perspectives is that societies are organisms in Professor Whitehead's definition of an organism and that there is a common nature that is there in its relationship to such a social organism. The problem is then shifted to the nature of the experience of the members of these societies. For this experience is both private

(85) and public. I have my own doctrine for this social character of experience which I have elsewhere presented[1] and at which I have hinted above. What it amounts to in a very summary formulation is that society exists in the social nature of its members, and the social nature of its members exists in their assumption of the organized attitudes of others who are involved with them in cooperative activities, and that this assumption of organized attitudes has arisen through communication. That is communication makes participation possible, to use Professor Dewey's phrase. There are then aspects of nature which exist only for each organism. For example, the experience of what goes on within a man's body is accessible only to himself. He can share his experiences of his own headaches with others only by appealing to private experiences of their own, but he does immediately put himself in the place of others in their common undertakings in the world and observes things spatio-temporally and meaningfully as they observe them. Answering to these common experiences there lies before them a common world, the world of the group. This common world is continually breaking down. Problems, arise in it and demand solution. They appear is the exceptions to which I have referred above. The exceptions appear first of all in the experience of individuals and while they have the form of common experiences they run counter to the structure of the common world. The experience of the individual is precious because it preserves these exceptions. But the individual preserves them in such form that others can experience them, that they may become common experience. They are the data of science. If they have been put in the form of common experiences, the task appears of reconstructing the common world so that they may have their place and become instances instead of exceptions. Now the only test that can be offered of the truth of the reconstruction lies in the fitting in of the hypothesis into the common world in so far as it is not affected by the problem, which appeared in the exception.


If experience must accord with a reality beyond itself, the test of truth will be a correspondence of its structure with the structure of external reality; or if reality is an absolute of which experience is an incomplete phase, then truth will be in the congruence of the process of experience with that of the absolute. In both these alternatives, experience itself constitutes in epistemological problem of which other problems are only separate instances, a problem which is given in the assumed cognitive reference of experience to something beyond itself. In the doctrine I have undertaken to present, experience is not itself a problem. It is simply there. The problems arise within it. The criterion of truth does not then transcend experience, but simply regards the conditions of ongoing experience which has become problematic through the inhibitions of the natural processes of men. The solution of the problem lies entirely within experience and is found in the resolution of the inhibitions. Furthermore, the rational solution of problems takes place through minds which have arisen in social evolution. The criterion, then, of the truth of the solutions will involve the aspect of nature that answers to the society which is the habitat of these minds. The criterion calls for the continuance of a common world. It excludes for example a possible irrational or arational aspect of reality. But it does not exclude the appearance of the novel, the emergent. I take it that this is the negative reflection of the propositional function, and the field of modern logical theory. Our experience can only be open to that which is novel if the forms are empty. This is another way of saying that the problem can appear anywhere in experience. The view of reality which belongs to this statement of the doctrine does in a considerable degree determine the theory of truth and its criterion.

In conclusion allow me to recur to rationalization. We rationalize when we so restate and interpret a new order of things that old habits and attitudes find objects to arouse and sustain them. The familiar illustration is the aesthetic conservation of outworn religious cults. As another illustration, I

(87) suggested the conservation in Renaissance philosophy of the old central position of man in the universe by the resolution of the world into states of mind. Evidently the impelling but often unconscious motive is the salvation of the values which still attach to the old responses. Any successful formulation must excite consecrated emotional attitudes. Philosophically the salvation of mind replaced the salvation of the soul, but back of the epistemology lay the sense of the supreme value of human experience. I am entirely agreed that the conservation of the value of human experience lies as a liability upon philosophic doctrine, but I make bold to say that in the passage of time since Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibnitz the preservation of  these values through the cognitive relation of mind to the universe has become more and more precarious. Let me offer evidences such divergent findings as those of Bradley's Appearance and Reality, Bertrand Russell's Religion of a Free Man, and Santayana's Doctrine of Essences. In the dominant philosophic current since the Renaissance lies the implication of some structure of reality which the structure of thought undertakes to reflect or sets up as a postulate, a structure, whatever it may be, that has the immutability and irrevocability of the past. And it is in this immutable and irrevocable order that philosophies have sought the firm foundation of their values, in so far as they have not despaired of them. Thus they have rationalized new orders to find in them the implications of the old. Science, in the meantime, in its practice, has cheerfully not to say joyfully scrapped its old structures and only preserved its method. Of course science has never accepted the responsibility for the preservation of values, though an honorable exception should be made in recognizing the responsibility which science is taking upon itself for the physiological and psychical health of the community. Philosophy, on the other hand, in its conspectus of reality and in its ethical doctrine, can never evade the responsibility for the values of the community.

Now I take it that the most distinctive mark of the Pragmatic movement is the frank acceptance of actual ongoing ex-

(88) -perience, experimentally controlled, as the standpoint from which to interpret the past and anticipate the future. So far as I can see this acceptance. must recognize as ruled out any absolute order within which is to be placed a final concatenation of events past, present, and future. For in such an ultimate framework there is no place for an emergent future with its implicated new past, nor is there any allowance for different order of different aspects of the universe. The problem. then, which Pragmatism faces is the maintenance of values by methods, in the place of structure. It is not the revival of emotional response by the assimilation of the new to the old, upon which we can depend. On the contrary it becomes necessary to recast the old as that which leads up to the new situation. This we readily carry out in our rapidly changing accounts of the past of the physical world and of its inhabitants. Can we as readily apply it to the pressing problems of social reconstruction with their profound implications of the values that are involved in possession, in national and personal rights, in the family and in the church?


  1. Journal of Philosophy, XIX, 157-163

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