The Philosophy of the Act
Essay 7 Perspective Theory of Perception
IT IS only in a perceptual world that errors of perception can take place. The error is recognized by the failure of the percept in question to take its place in that world. The failure is recognized when the continued experience does not result in a manner which makes possible the completion of the act. The explanation may lie in the environment or in the organism, e.g., in the case of the stick bent in the water the error lies in the environment, while in the case of alcoholic hallucinations it lies in the organism.
The reality of the percept lies in the later experience. This is not a copy of that which is present in the distance experience which initiates the act; rather the continued identity of this distant experience in the passage or movement that carries out the act (especially its identity or identity in certain detail with the experience of the manipulatory area) is the basis for the copy doctrine.
There is, furthermore, the relation of the anticipated experience of contact or of the other experiences of the manipulatory area to that which is actually aroused, a relation which is in a sense a relation of an image to the reality. There is a copy relation of the hardness of what one sees to the hardness which is felt. The expression is, however, largely a misnomer, for what is present as a rule is rather the readiness to grasp than the image of the resistance of that which will be grasped.
The percept is there as a promise. It is true when it fulfils its promise. In the field of manipulation there is a group of percepts which are both promises and fulfilments.
The statement that perception takes place through the nervous systern is ambiguous. The nervous system is itself a percept. The only intelligible significance that can be given to the
(104) statement is that the particles in motion in the seen object are the reality of that which appears in vision. This is a reality which is that of contact, or of the manipulatory area. It is, however, spatio-temporally distant from the organism. In the scientific account we attempt to approach a level of nature in which the organism and the object seen are at an instant, and are recognized in their reality, i.e., their contact character, and those other characters which they maintain unchanged in the manipulatory area. It is the area of congruence, of substitution and measurement.
The fundamentals of perception, then, are the spatiotemporal distances of objects lying outside the manipulatory area and the readiness in the organism to act toward them as they will be if they come within the manipulatory area. This readiness expresses itself in the selection or cutting-out of those characters in the spatiotemporally distant object which innervate the processes of manipulation when the spatiotemporal distance has been overcome. We see the objects as we will handle them. The spatiotemporal distance is in so far canceled in perception. The truth of the perception lies in the agreement of the initiated process of handling with the actual process when the separating distance has been actually covered.
The implication is of a world contemporaneous with the manipulatory area and, as we approach the sought simplicities of measurement, of a world at an instant. As we carry objects from the present manipulatory area to that at a distance, we anticipate congruence of the objects, such as a foot rule with the object which is seen as of that length.
For perception, then, there is a contemporaneously existing world at a distance in which we are ready to act in certain fashions already initiated in the organism. It is actually existent in the fashion to arouse these beginnings of manipulatory processes. This world is not known; it is there in perception. The moment that the question arises whether we will complete the processes initiated, then we refer to that which we perceive as that of which we are conscious, and we seek to test what are
(105) now the implications of the distance experience. We are only "conscious of" that in the perceptual world which suggests confirmation, direct or indirect, in fulfilled manipulation. For the time being it loses its full status in the environment, awaiting the test. Its unquestioned reality lies in characters which reassume their spatiotemporal character and their selection by the organism. The dagger before Macbeth is not there until he grasps it. If Macbeth could have isolated the selected shadowy elements of the visual environment and the imagery, they would have been there, but the dagger's reality, which his hand sought to grasp, lay in the future. He was conscious of what implicated that futurity.
The reality of what we see is what we can handle-it is this which is congruous, it is this which is contemporaneous, it is this which may be conceived of as existing at an instant for the purposes of exact measurement, it is this which may in imagination be indefinitely subdivided without reaching a contradiction, it is this which existing at a distance has the same character as at hand-but the control of it in the field of manipulation is normally visual, though the reality of the seen is the felt. If the distance value, such as the color, is taken as contemporaneous, as distinct from the manipulatory value, we are likely to speak of it as that which we are conscious of; and, if we take the attitude of grasping the object, apart from the conduct which the manipulatory value has in direct immediate experience, it appears as that which we are conscious of in the organism. This is especially true in the determination of what an object is when we question what its reality is: e.g., in the approach to an object in a dimly lighted room, we are conscious of the adjustments of the organism to the bulk or the sharp corners of an object.
Perceptual experience is that in which we control our conduct with reference to spatiotemporally distant stimulation by the promise of the contact experience, by what Whitehead calls the conveyance of the contact quality by the distance characters. If this takes place directly, consciousness is not involved. In
(106) the case of hesitancy the readiness to respond contactually to the characters in the distant object is emphasized in the selection of those characters in the object which are responsible for these incipient responses, and consciousness arises -- consciousness of the promise of the object. In this situation the experience belongs to the perspective of the individual in question, for the emphasis is upon what the attitude of the organism is under these conditions. The perspective of the individual is brought into relief, only to be broken down, i.e., what belongs to the environment of the individual-the fulfilment of the promise out there existing contemporaneously with the manipulatory area-exists in the so-called consciousness of the individual. Being in doubt whether the object is really there in its promise, the colored visual form is left hanging in the experience of an individual cut off from his environment. The experience is contemporaneous with the organism in its manipulatory area, not contemporaneous with the area out there, though in perception that area is contemporaneous with the manipulatory area. We date the color experience from the organism, not from the questionable object.
This reference to the organism in the case of sensuous qualities of objects, and to the organism as a self in the case of meanings in the presence of a problem in physical and social conduct, indicates the field of psychology. It is a study of the characters of spatiotemporally distant objects which are divorced for one reason or another from those objects and are considered in their relation to the individual as a self-organism. The consideration has its functional goal in bringing these characters into relation with the environment. It takes place within a ss-orld of perceptual objects which are not questioned, and which provides the test of the solution of the problem that is gained. It is only a portion of the perspective that is broken down. And as it is only a portion of the objects that become problematic, so there is there only a portion of the experience of the self that is charged with these contents that are divorced
(107) from their objects. The contents so charged constitute the socalled field of consciousness.
In unreflective conduct the perspective is not divided between the organism and its environment. The organism is present as a point of reference only. Those portions of the organism to which it reacts are in reality parts of the environment. They are unreflectively there with their peculiar characters. It is within such an unquestioned perceptual world that reflective experience lies. It is the world that is there in independence of the self, though the reference to the self as point of reference is always implied. That is, the distinction between here and there, between now and then, which has meaning only with reference to the organism, is involved in all conduct however unreflective. We live, then, in a world that is independent of us, except in so far as we determine its perspective, but within this world lies a field of so-called consciousness in which appear the character and meanings of things that are spatiotemporally distant and have been detached from what we consider the reality of the thing, by the problematic form of conduct. These characters and meanings the human social individual refers to a self because its social conduct has enabled the organism to react to itself as to another, because it is only the organism's part in the experience that lies within its control.
Primarily the content of the self, from the standpoint of psychology, is the response which the object makes to the conduct of the organism with reference to it. The hardness of the wood which answers to one's pressure is in the self as content, just as it is the attitude of the other in social conduct as called out by one's own action that constitutes something in the mind of the self, but it is this content as controlling the action of the organism. Our statement of it is that we realize the hardness of the object and do not run our heads against it. By acting as the object will act, or by beginning such an action, we direct the deferred response to the object. These attitudes as in advance of the actual experience of the object are in the self and only
(108) hypothetically in the object. They belong to a world that is coming into being and do not lodge in the world that is there; and the central nervous system is in the world that is there. By inference we refer this conduct to the central nervous system, but the sense of pressure that we anticipate in the wood does not belong as yet to the wood that is there or to the central nervous system that is there. While we can so refer it, we do not feel it in the central nervous system, which we can imaginatively place upon an operating table before us. Our consciousness is of the pressure that the wood will exercise. The wood that is there does not as yet exercise that pressure. Reflective consciousness is always temporally ahead of the world, including the central nervous system.
When we state that we are conscious of a physical object, we do not refer to the distance characters as contents but to the physical reality of the object which if realized would be in contact experience, but which on account of the problematic nature of the conduct in question is divorced from the distance characters. These distance characters are there, and, whatever they prove to be, they belong to the world of the cyclopean eye, which is, in the passage of nature, dated from the perspective of which that cyclopean eye is the point of reference. The reality to which we refer when we say that we are conscious of the object has a double temporal reference. It refers to the completion of the act which the perception initiates and lies therefore ahead of the experience given in the world of the cyclopean eye, but it has an element which dates from the experiences of the specious present and yet, because of the separation from this world, does not belong to it. This element is the response of pressure which the object will give if one brings it within manipulatory area. That which constitutes the reality of the object is not the pressure of the organism in answer to the pressure of the object, which is at the same time initiated in the organism, but the pressure of the object which calls out this beginning of the contact response.
That this pressure of the object at a distance is brought into
(109) experience is due to the co-operative character of our physical activity, both in maintaining our physical positions in motion and at rest and in the manipulation of the objects that we handle. The pressure of the foot calls for the corresponding pressure of the ground. It is only in a situation within which action and reaction between the organism and manipulated things constitutes a moving system that we successfully control implements or any physical things. In our abstracted view of the physical world about us, we overlook the co-operation which we are continually looking for, in rest and movement on the slight foundation for our feet, in the mutual leverage of the organism and the objects it handles, and in general in the firmness, elasticity, and effective occupation of space by physical things that give to us the opportunity for our reactions. The physical object must literally do as much as we do if we do anything. This dependence of the human animal upon the cooperative response of weight and mass and elasticity appears most vividly in the tentative appealing conduct of little children in getting and maintaining their balance and in learning to manipulate what they grasp after. It is still commemoratively present in the social attitude of primitive man toward his habitat and especially toward his tools and weapons. It flowers out in what we term "magic."
The necessary condition of this physical but co-operative other" getting into experience, so that the inside of things, their efficacy and force, is an actual part of the world, is that the individual in a premonitory fashion should take the attitude of acting as the physical thing will act, in getting the proper adjustment for his own ultimate response. 1 do not mean that the presence of this co-operative physical other is necessary to a successful adjustment to a limited physical environment. There is a very wide field of physical adjustment, such as that acquired in learning to ride a bicycle, which can be won without the inner efficacy of the things that co-operate with us in our conduct appearing as isolable elements in experience. Presumably this latter is the type of adjustment which is acquired by
(110) all animals except man. It is only man who has entered into a social relation with his environment, and then has abstracted and generalized it into a physical theory. What is essential to this social relation to the environment is not that the physical thing is endowed with a personality, although in the experience of little children and primitive man there is an approach to this. The essential thing is that the individual, in preparing to grasp the distant object, himself takes the attitude of resisting his own effort in grasping, and that the attained preparation for the manipulation is the result of this co-operation or conversation of attitudes. The mechanism for it presumably arises out of the interplay of different parts of the body against one another in adjusted stresses, primarily of the hands. If this were elaborated into its implied details, it amounts to a social hypothesis of what will happen when one comes into manipulative contact with the distant thing. I am prepared to seize the object, and then in the role of the thing I resist this grasp, pushing, we will say, the protuberances of the thing into the hand and arousing more effort in the hand by the leverage which the extended portion of the object will exercise, and through these responses of the thing I reach not only the final attitude of prepared manipulation but also a physical object with an inside and an inherent nature. About this fundamental core can gather the other things that an object can do to us, its efficacies, its active properties.
This does not place the content of the object in the psychical experience of the individual. The efficacies of things lie in a future which is already there in the so-called specious present. The hypothetical social attitude is psychical (as a premonition of what is going to happen) until it works, when in so far as it works it is the nature of the thing within the perspective of the individual, or, rather, of the group in interaction with which his self has arisen. While this perspective is determined by the here and there and the now and then of the organism, this here and there and now and then is only a point of reference in spacetime, with reference to which a cogredient set is determined, and
(111) the organism lies within the perspective in perception. It is, of course, absurd to place the perspective inside of the organism.
Except when one holds what one looks at, the reality of the perceptual object lies in future experience, but in unquestioned perceptual experience we abstract space from space-time, reducing the span of the specious present to enable us to secure the uniformities of nature and carry out measurements, moving toward the fiction of the world at an instant. This process brings the future reality of the perception into this abstracted present of a time also abstracted from space-time, for the unquestioned reality-the contact character of the percept-endures, while the distance characters of the object change with every change of the distance of the object from the individual. The very process of getting a space and a time abstracted from space-time abstracts the enduring content of the object from the passage of nature for perception, removing thus the futurity of the reality of the percept. When, however, the percept becomes problematic, futurity is returned to the percept. The reference of any hypothetical reality of the percept to the self is what is termed "psychical."
So-called abstraction from passage takes place in an experience which in some respect does not exhibit that passage. Any character may serve for this, but the contact values of resistant spatial experience are most favorable. Modern science has been successful in finding hypothetical physical particles which preserve their enduring characters of energy spatially determined and whose motions are the conditions of the other characters of perceived objects, beside that of the effective occupation of space. We can thus approach the limit of the world at an instant, in so far as these physical particles endure The physical occupation of space is that of the contact reality of the percept, and the abstraction from passage leaves the object with this character wherever and whenever it may be, i.e., it extends the structure of the manipulatory area throughout spatiotemporal experience. We see things existing in the form in which they might imaginatively be handled. The moment in
(112) which we are in doubt about the reality of that which is perceived, the character of that reality is postponed until assurance can be reached in the passage of experience. Its imaginary hypothetical character resides as a present experience in the individual who is constructing the hypothesis.
Characters and the things in which they are embodied endure only in perspectives. This is most strikingly evident in the characters of motion and rest. Whatever is at rest in one consentient set is in motion in another. But this is also true of other characters. There is no sensuous character that is absolutely changeless. We recognize that even mass changes with motion. The general statement for this is found in the resolution of all the physical characters of things into energy, which in every element of a system is constantly varying. Nor can we find in the laws of nature as they appear in experience any absolute endurance. All the enduring relations have been subject to revision. There remain the logical constants and the deductions from logical implications. To the same category belong the so-called universals or concepts. They are the elements and structure of a universe of discourse. In so far as in social conduct with others and with ourselves we indicate the characters that endure in the perspective of the group to which we belong and out of which we arise, we are indicating that which relative to our conduct is unchanged, to which, in other words, passage is irrelevant. A metaphysics which lifts these logical elements out of their experiential habitat and endows them with a subsistential being overlooks the fact that the irrelevance to passage is strictly relative to the situation in conduct within which the reflection arises; that while we can find in different situations a method of conversation and so of thought which proves irrelevant to the differences in the situations, and so provides a method of translation from one perspective to another, this irrelevance belongs only to a wider character which the problem in reflection assumes and never transcends the social conduct within which the method arises. To talk about talking and think about thinking may be irrelevant to what we are talking and thinking
(113) about, but it does not give the thought an object which is independent of the process within which the outer or inner conversation arises. The existence in the specious present, and in the approach to the world at an instant, of the reality of the percept is an expression, then, of the relatively enduring nature of the contact values of the percept, which being then irrelevant to passage belong to the specious present, though the act which will bring them into experience involves the future. Passage can be reinstated even here by the recognition of the continual recurrence of a certain pattern of experiential value. In this situation there is no separation of the organism and environment. The whole field is without analysis perceptual, including the organism itself.
When the beginnings of different contact reactions to the same distant object arise in the organism, and thus inhibit one another and the act within which they lie, these contact values of the object become hypothetical, lie in the future, and because of their relation to the beginnings of response in the organism are referred to the organism-in a word, become psychical. These, however, lie within a perceptual field which is not questioned, and the organism as a whole still lies in the perceptual field. The relation between the physical and the psychical is that between this unanalyzed field which is relatively irrelevant to passage and the hypothetical contents of the questionable objects, which await action involving passage to reach full reality. We seize upon the enduring element in the perception in the abstraction of the spatial and temporal characters of passage when we approach the world at an instant for the purposes of simplification and measurement, and this element is that of the contact experience in the manipulatory area. The future contact value of the distant perception as enduring and so abstracted from passage will be that of the immediate contact reality. The world stretches spatially away from us as a continuation of the manipulatory area, lying in the specious present and approaching as nearly to the world at an instant as the requirements of our simplification dictate. It is impor-
(114) -tant to recognize that, however serious and wide spread is the problem which presents itself in the perceptual world, there always remains a texture of this enduring so-called matter or energy, at least in the form of scientific objects, whose structure is the basis and condition of our solution of the problem. The ideal of this texture is the distribution of matter or energy at an instant. In contrast with this appear the anticipated contact experiences which will result from conduct in the way of testing the hypotheses upon which we act. In the shadowy outlines of a dimly lighted room the question arises whether the bulk lying ahead is a table or a chair. The solid floor and perhaps the walls are there at the instant enduring and abstracted from the field of passage. The actual arrangement of furniture belongs to the future. It is true that, whatever arrangement appears upon investigation, it must fit into the structure of the world at an instant as it now lies in the experience, and as such will be also a part of the world at an instant, but there is a perspective (that of the individual in question) in which the actual arrangement belongs not to that instant of his problematic attitude but to a future instant. It is only at that future instant that the actual arrangement can be referred to the world at the former instant, and then only from the standpoint of the enduring character of the structure of the world.
It is the doctrine of this paper that perspectives have objective existence. The obverse of this proposition is that the perspective is not subjective. In other words, there is always a perceptual world, that is itself a perspective, within which the subjective arises. The logical distinction between the subjective and objective lies within the perspective. The subjective is that experience in the individual which takes the place of the object when the reality of the object, at least in some respects, lies in an uncertain future. If one used, for example, one's readiness to jump across a ditch as a rough means, of estimating its breadth in place of the tape, that attitude of the individual would be subjective, not because it belongs to the individual simply but because one substitutes tentatively an attitude belonging to the
(115) individual for an existent objective character. What belongs to the individual has the same objective reality as that which belongs to his world. It is simply there. The fact that what belongs to him is largely accessible only to him, while his world is also accessible to others who exist in his social perspective, does not render the experiences of his organism subjective. They become such only when they become surrogates for an as yet unattained reality in determining his conduct. The affective side of experience is predominantly subjective because the attitudes of which the affection is a part so largely determine our conduct in the place of the actual objective characters which are responsible for them. Whenever we do a thing just because we want to, we are confessedly subjective in our attitude. Imagery is largely subjective because we depend upon our responses to imagery of that which is distant in space-time to determine how we would act with reference to it. Ideas are preeminently subjective because they are the structure of the symbols of things, and their meanings rest upon our responses by which we formulate our hypothetical plans of action. The relationship, then, between the individual and his world is a condition for the appearance of the relation between the objective and subjective, but it is not coincident with it. It does not exist, for example, in the perspectives of animals other than man, or in a considerable part of our own experience.
The first question that suggests itself with reference to the perspective is how does it appear as such in experience? The perspective is the world in its relationship to the individual and the individual in his relationship to the world. The most unambiguous instance of the perspective is the biological form and its environment or habitat. But while each implies the other, the relations between the two which are emphasized differ as. we consider the dependence of the form on the environment or the dependence of the environment upon the form. We generally state the dependence of the form upon its environment in causal terms, while we state the dependence of the environment upon the form in logical terms. Thus Darwinian evolution has
(116) presented the environment as selecting the variants that survive under its changing conditions, while the selection of the environment, except in migrations and the seasonal spacing of the life-period of the form, has been regarded as of negligible importance. On the other hand, the dependence of the environment upon the form has been stated in terms of the meanings which appear owing to the life-processes of the forms and the new objects in which these meanings inhere. Thus the environment is defined in terms of objects which are foods and in their spatiotemporal and physiological accessibility to the form; in terms of objects which are favorable or unfavorable because of their temperatures, their humidities, their protections from and exposures to dangers, and the like. It is still possible to reverse these points of view. If we conceive of life in its predominantly anabolic or vegetable and its predominantly catabolic or animal phases as a whole within which a vast differentiation of different functions has taken place inside a biochemical process that has always maintained its unity, then the causative selection of the surface of the sea, or of its bottom near the shore, of soils, climates, and geographical localities, may be profitably assigned to the differentiating life-process, and it is interesting to define the organic structure of the living form as logical functions of the solar energy, the physicochemical complexes and their distribution. In the most complex living organism, human society, this reversal of standpoints is the characteristic expression of its so-called intelligence. Human society selects its habitat geographically or may determine the temperatures and humidities that surround the surface of the human animal. It actually determines its soils and their growths and the animal life that these maintain, and finally it may select and determine its own variants. On the other hand, the success of society in harnessing the powers of nature lies in the mechanical view of the world, which enables men to regard any physiological process, or any technological undertaking, as a logical function of the physical and chemical processes that are going on in the environment of the society. The mutual
(117) causal and logical determinations are essential to the perspective. The relation of these two forms of determination follows from the character of endurance and its relationship to passage.
Endurance does not exclude passage. Repetition of a pattern, in so far as the pattern is then irrelevant to Passage, expresses endurance as adequately as an entity whose nature lies outside of passage, nor does irrelevance itself posit such eternal natures or objects. Irrelevance means, of course, not relevant to some situation. The motion of the earth is irrelevant to the spatial separation of two stations of a railroad system and the earth time of the train that traverses that distance. In the movement of the earth about the sun that distance is continuously repeated. It would be nonetheless true that in a geocentric universe that distance would continuously pass in the passage of nature, and in that passage there would be a continuous repetition thereof. That any such pattern should endure implies, then, an aspect of nature which is, to use Whitehead's phrase, patient of that endurance. Such an aspect of nature is the consentient set of the earth as at rest with the sun and other heavenly bodies moving with reference to it. On the other hand, a building whose structure is out of balance is a pattern of which nature is not patient. Its pattern is not irrelevant to passage. The patterns of atoms, molecules, and crystals are varyingly irrelevant to passage. In varying degrees nature is patient of their structures. Furthermore, rhythmical recurrences which thus involve passage may as processes be irrelevant to passage.
The relations of elements within a pattern or structure are logical relations and become meanings when they are indicated by a human individual to others and to himself, while the relations of passage of things which do not preserve a pattern are causal. Where such a relation of passage, such as that of a planet around a sun, or of an electron about a proton, falls into such a pattern of which nature is patient, it becomes logical and takes on meaning. We speak of causation within such an enduring rhythm of change when it is analyzed into a composition of forces, e.g., the centripetal and centrifugal, so that each
Position appears simply in its relationship to that which preceded it. Or we speak of causation when such a rhythm of change is brought into relationship with an outside change such as of interstellar material to which the solar system approaches. In general, we speak of causation in the presence of change which involves absence of or departure from endurance. On the other hand, we speak of what I have called the "logical relations" (which pass into meanings) in the presence of the endurance of structures of rhythms of change.
A perspective is the continued relationship of a structure to nature which involves change in its maintenance. If no change were involved in its maintenance, it would disappear in a more extensive structure and would lose its identity as an individual. If we state the universe in the abstract terms of the passage of spatiotemporally determined energy, the simplest form of a perspective is a structure of energy particles-i.e., energy spatiotemporally determined-as a consentient set with reference to which everything else either endures or changes, i.e., is at rest or is in motion, for in this abstraction all change exhibits itself as motion in relationship to a here and a now, or a there and a then. While this structure maintains itself, that is, endures, the universe is patient of it and exists in relationship to it. It is equally legitimate to regard the universe from the standpoint of any other structure within this abstraction. It has been the achievement of the doctrine of relativity to show conclusively that spaces and times exist only in such perspectives, that there can be no absolute space and time of which these spaces and times are parts or to which they can be reduced, that there can be no absolute rest and motion, and that, as the spatiotemporal determination of energy can be stated only in terms of motion, these characters are also relative to perspectives. The outstanding technological achievement has been the development of such a mathematical theory that the scientist within one perspective, having determined the characters thereof in terms of its space and time, can simultaneously place himself in another perspective and translate these deter-
(119) -minations into the space and time of this latter perspective and vice versa. One of the implications of such a theory is that it is possible to isolate an event in different perspectives as still identical, though its spatiotemporal and energy characters vary. An absolutistic doctrine has assumed the existence of the events in a realm of absolute reality, of which the perspectives would be but partial presentations, nor does the conception of relativity preclude such a realm, but it does preclude the customary statement of this realm in terms of the Newtonian absolute space and time. Beside this conception of an absolute world of reality of which perspectives are partial presentations, there appears another possible conception, that of a universe consisting of perspectives, In such a conception the reference of any perspective, as a perspective, is not to an absolute behind the scenes but from one perspective to another. The former conception is rooted in an Aristotelian conception of substance whose reality implied absence of change and, hence, timelessness. In terms of a Newtonian mechanics this came back to spatially determined mass, whose nature was unaffected by the spatial changes which time makes possible, that is, unaffected by motion, and to laws of motion whose uniformities being irrelevant to temporal differences also attain timelessness. If timelessness is not the characteristic of reality, however ultimate it is conceived to be; if change is as ultimate as endurance, and they mutually implicate each other; if what is changing in one perspective may be enduring in another and vice versathen the reality which science or knowledge seeks must find its criterion in some character other than irrelevance to change.
What we seek in knowledge is not irrelevance to change as such but irrelevance to the changes within which our problematic situation has involved us. There are promises in the spatiotemporally distant environment which are denied or have become doubtful because of other features in the environment. These characters cease to be dependable, to endure, and we seek those characters whose promises as given in distance perception will ultimately justify the responses which are already aroused.
(120) In direct perception these promises are the contact experiences which the distance experiences anticipate In the sense that they invite to approach or departure while they initiate the contact responses which the whole act involves. Even the scientific object which lies beyond the possibility of contact experience has a reality that is expressed in the energy that occupies an extension of space-time to the exclusion of anything else. If one asked one's self the question, "Does a specific electron actually exist?" the answer would have to be in these terms though the characters of the electrical particle that occupied that portion of space-time would not be exhausted in this effective occupation of extension. The reality of the electron as a physical thing would be expressed in its occupation of a specific portion of space-time, and such effective occupation of space-time is the essence of contact experience, however far beneath the possibility of such experience the minuteness of the hypothetical particles has removed it. It is true that the space-time of exact physical science differs from that of sense perception, but it retains its extensiveness and the boundaries that define occupation. It is in these that physical existence is defined. In other words, if we assume that the extensiveness of nature is in so far to be identified with the extensiveness of the perceptual world that the time system is determined with reference to a percipient event, then the perceptual criterion of reality, the fulfilment of the contact reaction aroused in distant perception, must in however abstract a sense obtain in the space-time of science; and this I take to be such an occupation of a bounded portion of extension that it would resist successfully the occupation by any other body of this same portion of extension which it occupies, and that this resistance is never evidenced by direct distance perception but by inertia, though we may be dependent upon distant perception for the indirect evidence of this essentially contact character of experience.
It is, then, the enduring resistance within a certain minimum bounded portion of space-time which excludes any other occupation of that extension that is the precondition of the iden-
(121) -tification of a physical object, even if it is an ultimate object of the physical sciences, and though the evidence of this effective occupation of extension is indirect. Distance characters such as color and sound and odor and taste can occupy the same bounded extension and can vary without necessarily involving a change in the real existence of the physical thing. The character of the effective occupation of a bounded extension cannot vary without a change in the physical object. The so-called secondary qualities are said to inhere in the substance of extended resistance. In the manipulatory area one actually handles the colored, odorous, sounding, sapid object. The distance characters seem to be no longer distant, and the object answers to a collapsed act. The fact, however, that the so-called secondary characters of the object are functions of the temporal dimensions of the act reappears in the physical theories of these qualities. In taste and odor a chemical activity travels from the resistant particles which are considered the reality of the object to the organism. In color and sound vibratory processes relate the object at a distance with the organism. The imagination, quickened and enlarged by the apparatus of magnification, expands the manipulatory area not only in its spatial dimensions but also in its temporal dimension and gives different dates to the object as affected by distance characters from that which belongs to it as a congery of mass or energy particles. As mass or energy particles, objects can exist simultaneously. As colored, sounding, tasting, and odorous, objects involve the passage of various physical and physicochemical activities which are irrelevant to the existence of the mass or energy particles.
It is this collapsing of the act which is responsible for the so-called subjective nature of the secondary qualities or objects. In the manipulatory area the characters that have different dates, i.e., the distance characters and the contact characters, become contemporaneous. For the date of the distance character is the date of the contact experience that it promises, but the endurance of the contact pattern is irrelevant to the passage that lies between the promise and the fulfilment, and we see the
(122) distant object in a manipulatory area. But the price of seeing. the future as present is the substitution of the seeing for the seen. It is only the seeing that is contemporaneous with contact reality. That which is seen is contemporaneous with a reality that is not yet. It is true that the contact reality which we will experience endures and is irrelevant to the temporal process that lies betwixt and between. We see the thing that may be said to be existing now, but the visual content cannot be identified with the thing that is existing now; it can only be identified with the now of the seer. Taken as existing now it is a subjective substitute for an objective reality that lies ahead of us. On the other hand, we restore it to objectivity by seeing it as something that we will handle. The two attitudes are entirely distinguishable. When we are not reflective, we walk out into a world that lies ahead of us in space-time, and it has the latent uncertainty that belongs to the future that is part of the specious present. Its ultimate reality depends upon the accomplishment of the act. At any moment the firm stone may sink under our feet and the approaching wall become a figment, but what we saw was there as a promise which later was not fulfilled. But if we reflectively extend our manipulatory area to the distant scene and insist that the distant object is existing now in the same sense as that upon which our feet rest, we must relegate the vision of the distant object to the now of the organism that rests upon the ground. The connection of the distant object and the organism must be in terms of the realities of the contact area. At a moment the universe may be thought of as consisting of energy particles distributed throughout a momentary space. This is a perceptual world only in the sense that the resistance of these particle-, comes back to contact experience. The full perceptual world exists ahead of us, in futurity. We can hypothetically determine what arrangement of particles there must be in order that the distance characters of the object there should be what they are at any one moment. We reach this determination by the discovery of enduring processes in nature. We can then determine that the object which is spatiotem-
(123) -porally distant from us must be characterized by certain motions of its energy particles at the time that it is characterized by, say, a certain color, but the statement in terms of energy particles and their motions is never a statement in terms of color. Conceivably an organism capable of experiencing the resistance of these energy particles might have experience of the vibrations, but not only would this experience be of vibrations and not of color but the vibrations experienced would be always spatiotemporally distant from the color to which they could be conceived of as answering. Even in the manipulatory area our physical theory of color, as well as of any other distance experience, separates the statement in energy particles in space time from the color, however minute that distance may be. The contact experience promised in the color, and hypothetically attained in an instantaneous distribution of energy particles, will always be ahead of the color to which this distribution answers. It is true that on the assumption of endurance of the rhythmic process of vibration we can argue that this same sort of distribution of energy particles will be taking place when the color is present, but the vibration that is taking place at any moment when we determine the distribution will answer to a color not yet in existence. For example, the vibrations that are taking place at any determined moment on the surface of the sun are some eight seconds ahead of the visual sun in the perspective of the physicist who determines that moment. It is true that eight seconds later the same sort of vibrations are taking place on the sun's surface, but they are not those which answer to that visual sun.
Current theory states this situation in terms of a causal nexus between the vibrations on the sun's surface and the disturbances in the central nervous system of the physicist. It then locates the visual sun in the consciousness of the physicist which is supposed to come into existence in answer to the excitement in the nervous system. Certain implications of this theory are correct. If the sun ceased shining, for eight seconds after that event the visual sun would remain in the heavens of the physicist, and
(124) there is a one to one correspondence between the vibrations on the sun's surface and the spectra appearing eight seconds later in the physicist's laboratory. The promises involved in the visual heavenly object are subject to errors which in the case of distant stars may be enormous, and the correspondence discovered between the causal nexus and the characters of the visual object is established between these characters and that part of the nexus which immediately affects the nervous apparatus of the living organism. That is, while the object that we visually perceive lies in the future at the end of an initiated act, the characters that we visually perceive correspond to an object that has already passed. This is, however, nothing but a statement in perceptual terms of the nature of human intelligence -that it builds up its future out of its past.