The Philosophy of the Act

Essay 13  Perception and the Spatiotemporal

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THE spaces and times of perspectives arise within a perceptual world. The temporal distance of the visual object and the nervous system of the organism are determined within a permanent space of the perspective or time system which is secured by an approach to a spread of nature that has no temporal thickness and then is given the endurance of patterns of enduring objects. This involves the extension of the manipulatory area with its congruence of the contact and the distance characters of things so that a like congruence appears to exist at a distance. That is, we give to the hypothetical contact object at a distance the data of the manipulatory area, while the date that belongs to it is that of achieved act. If the contact object at a distance is contemporaneous with the manipulatory area, then the connection between the distance area and the manipulatory area must be of the contact type, and the temporal distance is attained by ascribing the visual character to a previous moment of the contact object. A future object that is present must be the future of a past object. If we compress the anticipated world into the present, we force its temporal distances backward. Our conduct implies a set of contact processes which bring about a future anticipated contact experience. If that anticipated contact experience be postulated as now existing, it must have been an earlier world that was responsible for its distance or future characters.

The world about us is a set of ends to be reached or avoided, and the spatiotemporal distance of the ends is organized in perception as the means by which these ends may be so reached or avoided.

There are two worlds involved in the interpretation which we give of perception. The distant object has a reality which waits

(175) upon the completion of the act. It lies in the future, but it is a future which is merely an extension of the so-called specious present. It belongs to a world in passage. The future will be, but what it will be is only partially certain. In passage the forward portion is always in some degree precarious. What is happening is certain, and this certainty attaches in especial degree to the portion of the specious present which is the immediate past and to the extension of the specious present backward into memory and history. In this field there is uncertainty as to what has happened, but something has happened. The uncertainty attaches to the success of the discovery. As to the future the uncertainty attaches also to what will happen, though this uncertainty can be reduced in a measure. It is the field of probability. It is of the nature of the future that this uncertainty can never be entirely removed.

The other world is that which science exploits, that in which the specious present is reduced in its temporal dimension, by attaching itself to the enduring factors in experience to which passage is irrelevant because of the rhythmic recurrence of their patterns. In this world we approach but never reach events which do not happen but simply are. We go from one supposititious instant to another either by an immediate leap or by the indefinite number of stepping-stones of interspersed instants. This gives a view of the world as made up of such moments and, therefore, as having the certainty of that which eternally is. It removes theoretically the uncertainty of the future. This is inevitably the world of the manipulatory area, in which the distance experience of vision is immediately realized in contact. In the collapsed act the future and the past of the specious present are merged in a timeless present. In experience the characters which endure, and are therefore irrelevant to passage, are the contact characters. While every change of position varies the distance characters, the contact characters continue congruent with themselves, though we use the nicer discriminations of the eye to define these congruences. They possess, then, both features. congruency with themselves over against passage

(176) and the reality promised by distance experience. They are enduring reality.

The exploitation of this field by exact science is made possible by its technique. The aims of this technique are twofold. It seeks to render exact the enduring patterns and to find definable boundaries for a minimal passage of any required degree of temporal thinness. The ideal limit of this technique is the distribution of mass or energy particles in the universe at an instant. Ancient science met the first of these aims by its geometry, by the analysis of all cosmical changes into the movements of bodies with uniform velocities in circular orbits, and by the analysis of mechanical situations on the earth, so far as they studied them, into states of conceivable equilibrium. This made geometry an adequate technique for the exact determination of enduring patterns. The other aim of exact science, ancient science met not by "the law of convergence by diminution of extent," though the first steps toward such a theory were taken by Archimedes, but by finding the reality of the perceptual world not in the contact experience of the manipulatory area (with the exception of Democritus and the other atomists) but in a realm of timeless essences reached by a process of logical abstraction. The timeless reality of the world, then, was found not in the world at an instant but in a logical conspectus of the world in which one could abstract from all change.

The timeless reality of the object which ancient science seized upon is a substitute for the contact content of the percept. This latter it rejected in rejecting the doctrine of the atomists. It rejected the atomistic analysis because this sacrificed the meanings of objects, as ancient science saw no way of stating the meanings of distant objects in terms of contact experience, in other words, in terms of matter. Modern thought after the Renaissance accomplished this by transferring the meaning of the object to consciousness and in the discovery of a conceivably complete correspondence between these meanings and the atomic structure and changes of things. The necessity of a timeless, as distinct from an eternal, reality of the object

(177) is involved in all deliberation or reflection. Action is for the moment stopped, and successful future action is dependent upon the discovery of what endures both in the structure and in the processes of nature as the basis for a plan of action. The problems out of which ancient philosophy arose were dialectical rather than mechanical. The ancient world did not assume that it could solve its problems or assist in their solution by changing its physical environment and appliances. Its solutions were sought instead in the analysis and reconstruction of men's ideas, of the meanings of things. It sought, therefore, for the permanences among these meanings. Out of the accepted presuppositions of argument or dialectic arose the ancient idealisms. From the time of the Renaissance modern thought has turned with growing interest from a fixed order based upon accepted meanings to the development and improvement of the order of things through the reconstruction of the meanings of things. The method of that reconstruction has been found in the perfection and improvement of the means and appliances by which meanings are attained. This has led to the restatement of meanings in terms of means rather than dialectical entities and has, therefore, stimulated the discovery of the enduring factors in the structure and changes of the environment and the mechanisms of conduct; and it became possible to state the reality of the percept in terms of contact experience with a corresponding meaning resting for the time in men's minds or consciousness. Science could revert to the perceptual world and find its reality in the contact import of the distance characters of things, that is, in their effective occupation of a relatively permanent space, and could analyze change or motion into a series of moments each of which could be conceived of as approaching as close to an instant as might be desired.

It is reflection that seizes upon endurance to ignore passage and, in respect to that which does not change, to find a permanent field for the determination of possible alternative courses of action. Passage awaits upon the action to come, while the individual persists in an environment that is irrelevant

(178) to time. Human experience thus takes place in pulses. It strings together these permanent environments into a permanent space lying in a time series which is abstracted from it. Science introduces order into this series of pulses by reducing them to a series of moments without a temporal spread. A specious present is such a pulse, which science reduces to a knife-edge present.

Over against such a series of moments stands the passage of nature in unreflective experience and surrounding it. In the reflective experience reality is the congruence of the distance and contact values in the manipulatory area-both the promise and its fulfilment are given together. This type of reality is extended in the reflective ideal of the world at an instant. If the manipulatory area can be extended, there can be the same type of reality everywhere, but only upon the assumption of its existing at an instant, for an instant is that moment in which the whole act is collapsed, and one handles what one sees. In so far as what one handles endures, one can ignore the passage between the seeing and the handling. If the pattern of the contact experience is irrelevant to passage, one can assimilate the spatiotemporally distant to its achievement in contact and assume a real world existing at a moment. Into the world of passage we extend the manipulatory area with its relative permanencies as the basis for conduct. The passage of these permanencies is irrelevant and seems to present a spatial order which is timeless. Within the timeless space passage is abstracted by its irrelevance to the permanent and becomes a passage that is not the passage of anything, i.e., abstract time. In the abstract space and time we plot the motions and changes that go on and determine what shall be our action. However, outside the ground upon which we stand and the reach of the hand, this extended manipulatory world is hypothetical. Directly and indirectly this hypothesis is constantly proved correct, though in the details of judgment of distance and the size and mass of objects it is subject to frequent correction, but at bottom it remains

(179) only a working hypothesis. Of course, the atomic structure of matter remains still more evidently a hypothetical structure.

On the other hand, distant objects are there in the world of passage as distant objects. Exactly where they are in the world at an instant in the extension of the manipulatory area, and just what their perceptual reality will turn out to be, is hypothetical and awaits direct or indirect test. We live so constantly in the world of our reflective moments, with the implications of science that its extension can be reduced to a permanent space and an abstract time, that it is only with difficulty that we can capture this world of passage. We see objects as having the resistance of contact and the location assured by the measuring rod. Even when we see objects back of the mirror, we see them located and resistant and have to correct the perception by a further judgment.

We think in a permanent space, from which the passage of the space and its enduring objects are abstracted. The reality of the perceptual object in this milieu is given in the manipulatory area. It is hypothetically given beyond this area by its extension, so that the object at a distance has the hypothetical contact value at the instant of the manipulatory area. In unreflective experience, when one runs to catch a car and, in general, must act without thinking, the whole field of action is passing, and the reality of the distant object lies ahead of one in time as well as in space. The field of action is time-space, an extension that is passing. In this experience we do not present hypotheses, for these are formed on the basis of present existences. In the anguished grasping at the stem of a sapling as one catches one's self in slipping on a cliff the reality of the sapling is entirely ahead. There is no time for estimate, one must continually act. Minkowski brings us back to a type of experience which the whole character of our training has pushed into those infrequent corners of action, when we cannot stop to think even for an instant. Back of most of our action, even in hurried action, lies a world that hypothetically endures both in its structure and in

(180) its rhythms of recurrence. However headlong the motion, we must capture the whole field as it must be assumed to be at the instant to exercise our proper intelligence. "Stop and think" is the ceaseless admonition delivered to impulsive childhood and adventurous youth. The failure of maturity to understand precipitate youth lies in an unquestioned assumption that youth must have formed some idea of what it was doing, that it must have seized the future as at present existing in terms of the enduring realities of tested experience. The puzzled question is, "What could he have been thinking of?" And the answer is, "He was not thinking." One cannot think in a perceptual world of space-time. Its geometry can only be constructed by abstract symbols.

Thinking or reflection, then, is a procedure by which the recurrence of identical or similar patterns comes to endure in a passage that is abstracted from them as time. It is, of course, evident that the import of reflection is not confined to the individual organism. Without a permanent space and an abstracted time, motion would not exist as a determinable process. Permanent spaces and abstract time are most familiar facts of our environments. The abstraction from passage because of the irrelevancy of passage to enduring objects does not exist alone in a mental or subjective process. It is actually present in the nature of our environments, for certainly motion is one of the most unquestionable of the facts of nature; and yet the familiar identification of the point under the pencil of a man in an airplane and the line which the endurance of that point constitutes in the field through which the airplane is passing, or the different spaces through which the sun travels from its rising to the goingdown thereof and that within which the world revolves upon its axis, make evident that a permanent space is not only not independent of the percipient events or individuals that inhabit them but that it exists only in relation to them-yet it does not exist within them. On the contrary, they exist within it. The causal relation in nature of the environment to any structure which maintains itself within it has been always recognized;

(181) the corresponding logical determination of nature in the environment by the structure has not been recognized as a feature of nature. It has been regarded as a mental abstraction.

If this account is true, reflection is a fact in nature and not simply in mind. For motion, and the permanent space and the abstract time which it involves, are facts in nature, and permanent space and time abstracted from passage exist only as the conduct of the individual is checked. They exist in nature in the perspective of the individual, and the individual exists in the same perspective. No one would, of course, deny that the logical relationships between the individual and his environment exist; what does seem strange is the assertion that nature in these relations so stands out in detachment from other connections that the environment has the same reality in nature that it has in experience. In a certain locality we mark out the different environments of different forms of animal and vegetable life. It is natural to assume that the whole locality with all its objects, presented from the standpoint of a descriptive science, is nature, while the separate demarcations of the environments of the different forms that intersect one another are abstractions which our thought makes in following out the life-processes of the different plants and animals. So in the past we have taken the space of the co-ordinates of the fixed stars as the fact in nature and have taken the spaces of the earth man, and of the man on Mars or on the sun, as individual deformations of this, as the lines of a railway track meeting at the horizon are in some sense a deformation of the parallel rails at a constant distance from each other. It appears so to the individual, but in nature these perspectives dependent upon the individual are re~ placed by a world in which these aspects of the world are all ironed out. But there are no fixed stars, and the space which answers to what seem fixed is but another perspective within which we place ourselves as we do in that of the sun or of Mars for different purposes. Locating ourselves in one does not relegate the others to a field either of subjectivity or of unreal abstraction.


This brings us to the unique characteristic of the human individual -that he can place himself in different perspectives. Thus, when a train moves beside his own, he can place himself in the perspective of that train, or he can remain in that of his own and see the other train move away from him. He can take the perspective of the descriptive scientist who presents the whole locality from a geologic standpoint, or place himself at the point of view of an, individual plant or animal and see the world in terms of its life-process. And he can in a manner maintain himself in a number of perspectives, though in this case abstraction in the sense used above, derogatory to detached reality, appears. The descriptive scientist regards nature as the whole locality, while the environments of different plants and animals represent only lines drawn within this; and in plotting eclipses the astronomer reduces the perspective of the observer to the perspective of the man on the sun, or in plotting the path of the sun to the perspective of the co-ordinates of the fixed stars. In the case of the man in a train beside which another commences to move, the man may actually be now in one perspective and now in the other without placing himself in the perspective of the station and so translating to either. In that case he does not necessarily occupy a reflective attitude. In the reflective attitude he can regard himself as moving or at rest.

Reflection involves the assumption of different attitudes with the consequent different perspectives that answer to these different attitudes, but in reflection these attitudes are present not in full perceptual form. They are present in abstraction. In the case just cited of the man in the train, he is now moving and now he is not moving, perceptually. If he places himself in the perspective of the station, he reflectively can regard his train as moving or at rest, but, if he thinks it, he does not perceive it. We cannot perceptually remove ourselves from the geocentric perspective, but in thought we live in a heliocentric solar system. In the perceptual perspective there lies a group of objects which have such a relation that they are, to use Whitehead's phrase, cogredient with a percipient event, or the

(183) percipient event is cogredient with them. The perceptual expression of this is that they are at rest. It is only with reference to a percipient event, or at least to some structure which figures in the role of the percipient event, that such a group can be said to exist, and yet it has relations which are independent of the percipient event. The character of the environment of an animal or plant may be such that it can become the environment of a society of plants and animals. A notable illustration of this is found in the interweaving of flowering plants and insects. Furthermore, the perspective is that within which the percipient event exists. The perspective does not exist in the percipient event. While the actual range of relations between the percipient event and its perspective or environment set boundaries to the field of the perception and action of the percipient event, and so to their actual interrelation in conduct, the spatiotemporal relations themselves always extend beyond any such factual boundaries and theoretically extend indefinitely, including all events. Thus the events which belong in one perspective belong also in all the others, but they have different logical relations in the different perspectives. Thus objects which in one perspective are at rest are in motion in others. In such a situation the fact that the events or the objects which occupy them also have places in another perspective can have no import in the perspective in question. That in the perspective of Mars the earth is revolving can have no import in the perceptual world of the earth. But where two or more perspectives are interwoven, as in the case of those of insects and flowering plants, the difference of logical order of the events in the two or more perspectives has a causal import. Assume that two systems are moving with reference to each other. It is a matter of indifference whether we speak of one system as moving or the other. The same laws of mechanics are expressed in the account which is given of the relative changes on either assumption. In the case of the environments of the plant and of the insect, it is essential to the life of each that the events which lie in the environment of both should have the import

(184) that they have in each in order that they may have their proper import in the environment of the other. That is, there is an environment which includes the environment of both, a perspective that includes the perspectives of both. In the case of the plant (assuming it to be a percipient event) and of the insect, their perceptual perspectives would not reveal this relation, but in the perspective of the man who introduces wasps to fertilize fig-tree flowers the perspectives or environments are so interwoven. The perspective of the wasp intersecting the perspective of the fig tree introduces into this perspective the dimension of fertilized fruit and successful reproduction.

There seem, then, to be two conditions that must be present if two or more perspectives are to so intersect each other that what belongs to the order of one shall affect what belongs to the order of another perspective. The different perspectives must belong to a common perspective, and the percipient event of this common perspective must be able to place itself in the perspectives of the intersecting perspectives. I am referring here to perceptual perspectives. It is only in the perspective of the cultivator of the fig-tree orchard or of the scientist that trees reach their fruitage through the action of the wasps. In this perspective the life of the fruit tree and that of the wasp is each present in its essential details, and the influence of each upon the other is present in the interest in the fruiting trees. In the perspective of the wasp and in that of the fig tree, there are certain events which not only appear in both but whose identity is essential to the particular succession of events which we call the life-histories of the wasp and of the fig tree. The honey in the flower of the fig tree and-the pollen which the wasp brings upon its body identify these occupied events of their two ]Ives. They constitute an intersection of these two perspectives. They constitute a sort of plane of events which is identical in the two perspectives. The events that precede and succeed the identical events in the two perspectives do not coincide. The succession in the fig tree is the fertilization of the flower, that in the wasp is the digestion of the honey. The two histories intersect in this

(185) one plane of events and must intersect if the histories are to be carried out in perfected fruit and in the preservation of the wasps through the honey that the flowers provide. The perceptual perspective of each runs its own course. Even a perceiving fig tree could not so enter into the life-history of the wasp that it could find the succession of events in the wasp's life-history a place in its own. But in the reflective perspective of the man who plants the fig trees and insures the presence of the wasps, both life-histories run their courses, and their intersection provides a dimension from which their interconnection maintains their species. For this reflective perspective the fig tree and the wasp as species endure. It is not a passage of event to event but a framework of enduring patterns within which passage takes place, and within which passage may take place in many directions and along many routes.

It has been already noticed that a cogredience signifies so much as rest, and in the ceaseless passage of events rest is the sole import of endurance. In space-time the most persistent of patterns is still passing, even if it continually repeats itself. If this repetition be stiffened into unchanging existence, it is because the percipient event in a series of events that remain unchanged for it finds in this scene the possibility of various alternative activities, each one of which will present a different perspective, though they all lie within a spatial pattern whose endurance abstracts from the passage they involve. The percipient event finds in a permanent space the condition for mapping out among different possibilities a plan of action.

It is only in the attitude of reflection that a permanent space appears. And the attitude of reflection is that in which the percipient event, the individual, is an object to itself. A permanent space is that of the manipulatory area, hypothetically extended. In the manipulatory area, as we have seen, passage as it appears in the act is condensed into existing reality. What we see as stimulus to reaction is present in the completion of the act, in contact. It provides the field of physical objects. But the physical object provides more than contact: it offers resistance and,

(186) in so doing, provides the locus standi of the organism, the situation from which the organism acts. Rest means support, the response on the part of the area to the resistance of the organism. Such a field is the precondition of the action of the organism. It offers resistance, and resistance equals a certain pressure of the organism, of the ground or floor to the foot, of the chair or the bed to the sitting or recumbent body. We invite this resistance by the pressure of the organism or its different members. It is what Whitehead denominates the "pushiness" of things. We invite the same sort of resistance by the pressure of the hands against each other, or of different parts of the body against itself.

There is, of course, the critical difference between the pressure of hands against each other, and that of the stone against the hand: that in the case of the pressure of the hands against each other there is the sense of effort in each hand, while in the case of the stone there is only the sense of resistance in the stone against the pressing hand. However, the resistance remains an identical content of the two. Furthermore, the resistance of the hand arises only over against that of the stone. The stone defines the hand as necessarily as the hand the hand. It is a fundamental experience in which each object involves the other. It is that from which geometrical congruence is abstracted. Each surface, that of the hand and that of the stone, is given as immediately as the other, and the resistance of the one is given as immediately as that of the other. The abstraction of it in physical science is inertia. Out of the experience arise the physical thing and the organism. Neither is prior. They mutually bound each other. The illusions of contact are the exceptions that prove the rule. The critical difference of the sense of effort gives the hand an "inside" which primarily belongs only to the hand. It is in the invitation to resistance when we put the shoulder to the wheel or grip the object to steady ourselves or heave it over that the object acquires an inside which is in a sense transferred from the organism to the object. As above indicated, the pressure of the two hands against each other

(187) offers the sort of experience from which this transfer is made, but the transfer calls for more than such an experience.

The situation out of which this transfer arises is the co-operation of resistances offered by physical things to the organism and by the organism to physical things. Human posture in any position involves it. Manipulation of any sort is an expression of it. The floors and stairs of our buildings, the forms of our articles of furniture, and the handles of everything that we handle are but elaborations of it. It is impossible to exaggerate the fundamental nature of this co-operation of the human animal with his contact environment or his dependence upon it. He rests upon it, demands and beseeches it in every position and at every step. The solid earth is dependable, the bog is treacherous, the shaft or haft is inviting to the hand, and the balance of the weapon or tool is companionable. But this social attitude transcends the nice and even comfortable adjustment of every living thing to its supporting and responding contact environment. It implies that the individual has called out in the mechanism of his organism the sort of resistant response he is seeking in the physical thing with the sense of effort which accompanies his own response. He asks of the thing to reply in the terms of his own conduct. This placing of one's self within the object and thus giving it an inside belongs to the formation of the hypothesis and, therefore, to the extension of the space and time of the manipulatory area as genuinely as to the alternative plans of action which belong to the reflective attitude. The extension involves the occupation of the distant object (which belongs in unreflective experience to the future) by a physical object which exists now, that is, at the moment of the manipulatory experience. It can so exist only in so far as a content of contact enters into the color and shape and sound, and this takes place in so far as the object in the field of the individual is there; its relation to him as a distant object not only calls out a response or a tendency to response or action with reference to it but also carries in some sense the result of the contact that would result from the action with reference to it. Our psychological account

(188) of this is likely to be in terms of imagery in the consciousness of the individual, projected in some fashion into the visual object. This statement overlooks the fact that the object is what it is in its relation to the perceiver and that the relation of the object to the contact reaction is set up even at a distance. The object is square, heavy, and unwieldy as seen because the individual is ready to respond in lifting it, as he is to look at it. The characters which call out these contact responses are operative at a distance and have already aroused the beginnings of these contact reactions, which not only are there in readiness for the actual contact but direct the looking and the approach. But these responses of contact belong in the perceptual perspective to the future. To bring them into the present field of the manipulatory area, something answering to the pressure which will be experienced when contact occurs is required. As one approaches the object, one is in doubt as to the point at which one can best attack it. Shall one undertake to seize from this side or from that? One is reflecting, in other words, one responds to the reaction of heaving it from this side, which is already initiated in the organism, by a feel of the weight of the object taken at that angle, and then relates one's self to another position of attack, feeling the weight at that angle of approach. This we state in terms of motor imagery taken from past experience, but motor imagery is notoriously dependent upon initiating a motor response. We set up in ourselves the co-operative reaction of the object which is involved in the undertaking. That past experience guides us in this there is no doubt, but it does it by calling out the appropriate motor response. We exert a pressure, or at least initiate the response of pressure, in lieu of the pressure of the object to test our plan of action, and this pressure has in it the element of effort, which gives us the inside of our own organisms and provides the object with an inside.

In the unreflective perceptual perspective the object lies in the future as regards its reality and can justify the approach adopted only in the future. In the reflective perspective we are

(189) testing hypothetically the particular approach by its present reality, by a contact content that exists now or simultaneously with the manipulatory area. This hypothetical contact content is provided by the organism initiating a motor response in the role of the object against its own effort of pressure. There are the two possibilities: we can await the pressure which we will meet when the initiated act has brought us to the object or we can test the act in advance by responding for the object by initiating an effort to bring about a suggestion of what the result will be. The testing takes place in the competition of different alternative reactions, and the result of the testing shows itself in the greater readiness with which we adopt one approach rather than the other. We can bring the distant object's reality of contact experience into the extension of the manipulatory area's present only by replacing its future pressure by a suggested pressure which the organism initiates.

The mechanism by which the organism initiates the pressure of the object by its. own effort arises out of the co-operative attitude of the organism toward its immediate contact field. It induces the pressures that it needs for its reactions by its efforts against the objects about it. It secures the needed supports, the leverages, and momentums by actions which call out these actions of the surrounding objects.

This co-operative attitude is implicitly a social attitude. By a social attitude 1 mean one in which one organism, in a group of organisms, by its conduct stimulates another to carry out its part in a composite co-operative act. Illustrations may be found in the care of the young, in sexual acts, or even in fighting. Such attitudes are not in their earliest appearance reflective attitudes, but communication and significant symbols, and hence what we term "minds," arise out of them. The essential feature in this development is the stimulation in one organism that is exciting another to the same response that it arouses in the other. The vocal gesture is pre-eminently adapted to this function because it affects the auditory apparatus of the form that produces it as it does the others. The final outcome in human social conduct is

(190) that the individual, in exciting through the vocal gesture the response of another, initiates the same response in himself and, in that attitude of the other, comes to address himself, that is, he appears as an object to himself in his own conduct. It is this attitude which is commonly denoted as "consciousness" when this term carries with it the implication of awareness over and above the mere presence of the perceptual object in the perspective or experience of the organism. The individual can then indicate to others what he is at the same time indicating to himself, that is, the gesture of indication becomes a significant symbol. It is commonly recognized that primitive men and little children spread this attitude over their whole worlds. The physical object is an abstraction from a social object, but it continues to retain in the resistance which we demand of it our own initiated responses of effort.

The reflective attitude is an attempt to set up a world of enduring things, that is, a world that is irrelevant to passage, as a basis for our alternative actions. It is a world that is cogredient with ourselves, and we are cogredient with it, that is, it is a world at rest within which motion takes place. Over against these motions we narrow the passage of the specious present to as small an interval as necessary for the purposes of measurement, so that the world approaches the world at an instant, the scientific ideal of the distribution of physical particles at an instant. In this world objects of immediate contact are. They are both seen and felt. The promise and fulfilment are both given. Beyond the manipulatory area lie the promises of contacts which constitute other physical things. In the world of space-time these objects lie in the future. The reflective attitude undertakes to bring them into the present of the manipulatory area. It undertakes to present a content of resistance which is cogredient with that of the manipulatory area. We see the bodies as hard, cold, smooth, or rough. Such contents must be "conveyed" if the bodies are to be there at the instant. The world that is there is a world of resistant things. This conveyance of contact characters belongs to the world of

(191) the reflective attitude. In the perceptual space-time world, in so far as we are able to recover it, the object is not hard and cold and rough. We hope, fear, or anticipate that it will be, or at least are ready to respond to hardness, roughness, and coldness. What is present is this readiness to respond to hardness, roughness, and coldness, and those features of the distance characters of the object which are responsible for this readiness are said to convey these contact characters. The degree to which contact imagery enters into this conveyance is open to debate. Presumably when an artist paints "wet" water and solid, massive mountains, such imagery enters into the vision of it, but the recovery of such imagery as distinguished from the readiness to respond to such characters is very variable and uncertain. The readiness to respond in these fashions is dependable, and it is usually this which is conveyed by the distance qualities and indicated by a significant symbol. If now in reflection the perceptual object is to have a content of its own which can be dated from the manipulatory area, that is, can be simultaneous with that area, that content, as already stated, can only be hypothetical, in the first place, and, in the second place, such a hypothetical structure must include the physical organism, or physical self, as well. Objects in the world of reflection are defined by the relational structure of the field, and this structure includes and defines all objects within it, and therefore the physical organism as well. In the world of immediate action, the world of space-time, the definition of the object is in terms of the readiness to respond in a contact fashion when we have reached it, but the content of the object, the what it is, lies in the future. Our attitude does not require us to present the object as existing now. It calls only for present action that is organized with reference to a readiness to respond in a contact experience of a later date. In the manipulatory area the object has the content of its resistance, its feel, its temperature, and it is in this field that all experiment and observation (directly or by inference) takes place. The undertaking of reflection is to present an enduring fabric as a basis for alternative courses of

(192) action, a world of things that have identical dates, namely, the date of the manipulatory area.

There are two characters of the hypothetical world and its objects at an instant, or rather the world that is simultaneous with the organism, which distinguish it from the perceptual world and its objects in space-time, in the unreflective world. These are the character of the objects as conditions of alternative reactions and their universality, since as hypothetical contact existences we assume their identity as the perceptual reality of all the different perspectives from which they are or might be regarded. This universality is not primarily recognized as logical but as supporting the hypothetical assumption of this reality. To say that the objects are hypothetical in their contact reality is to assert that we assume the attitude of seeking for confirmation of our assumptions. While these characters are distinguishable, they are generally fused in our experience, for they can be conditions of conduct only in so far as they are dependable hypotheses, and we are interested in their trustworthy nature only in so far as they may be conditions of possible conduct. In reflective perceptual experience this universality does not attach so much to the object as to the generalized attitude of the percipient. It is in the passage from reflective perception (what to the Greek was opinion) to ratiocination that the matter of the percept becomes the universal substance within which the other characters inhere. The generalized attitude of the percipient has arisen out of co-operative activities of individuals in which the individual by the gesture through which he excites the other has aroused in himself the attitude of the other, and addresses himself in the role of the other. Thus lie c~--- to address himself in the generalized attitude of the group of persons occupied with a common undertaking. The generalization lies in such an organization of all the different co-operative acts as they appear in the attitudes of the individual that he finds himself directing his acts by the corresponding acts of the others involved-by what may be called the rules of the game.


By the character of objects as conditions of alternative reactions is

meant that two or more acts with reference to distant objects in space- time are initiated in the organism, acts which exclude one another, and that the individual in whose organism this conflict takes place carries over the social attitude into the physical situation, though it is to be remembered that the original attitude toward so-called physical things was a social attitude. In this social attitude the individual arouses in him self the reaction of the physical thing toward himself. He initiates a response of effort in the role of the physical thing, and, in so far as there are common characters that are irrelevant to passage that will serve as conditions for alternative reactions, these attitudes will be assumed as the content of these physical objects. The result of this is that the individual addresses himself in the role of the distant objects and ascribes to himself the same hypothetical content that he ascribes to the objects in his perspective, in so far as he is a perceptual object in the perspective -- and it is only as such that he enters into the reflection. The mechanism of the process is that of social intercourse in which vocal gestures become symbols of these contents.

It seems to be due to the social mechanism that the organism lies within the perspective that it determines. For it is within the perspective that the organism becomes an object, through the identification of the individual with other objects, and reacts to the self in the role of the other object. And it is the generalized other, i.e., the object as expression of the whole complex of things that make up the environment, that is the seat of the self as a representative of the inner nature of the thing, in its conversation with the organism. The individual calls for the response of resistance by his ongoing act, and this arouses the tendency to resistance in himself, and, in so far as these mutual processes are initiated within his conduct, both his contact and that of the object in terms of his efforts are there. But this takes place in a situation in which the organic self appears upon the same level of reality with the physical objects. It is not in this field that we can discover the steps by which the

(194) organism takes the role of the physical thing, giving it the inside which belongs to objects in the reflective perceptual world.

It is in the field of space-time that we must seek the situation out of which the reflective experience arises. In that field the physical object is separated from the organism both spatially and temporally, and its reality lies in the future. The terminal attitude of the organism which in its initiation controls the act carries with it no content of present reality, and the adjustments of conflicting terminal attitudes may take place within this field by what is called the trial-and-error method. Such adjustments we see taking place in the conduct of lower animals, and we can identify them in our responses in types of skill where we find out what we are going to do by doing it. In these situations the content that answers to the adjusted act does not exist for us in the adjustment. Thus the artist finds in a tentative production of his object what it is specifically that he is trying to produce, or one picks one's way over a difficult terrain, finding the security one seeks by answering to stimuli that one could not identify as specific things.

If one succeeds in identifying the stimulus, but is in the conflict of reactions checked in the response, deliberation consists in the prefiguration of the co-operative response of the object to the organism's reaction. This involves not the vague and uncontrolled presence of imagery of past contacts but a sort of experimental testing of the resistance which the object will afford against the effort that the organism will expend. The only controllable content of this sort is found in the initiating of efforts against each other, such as that of one hand against the other. This content can enter into the object only as the individual, in the co-operative reactions of the organism and environmental objects by which balance is maintained or adequate leverage is secured, both seeks the resistance required and also arouses in himself in response to this appeal the beginning of an effort such as would provide the resistance sought. It is, however, present in experience only in so far as competing situa-

(195) -tions appear. Undoubtedly the fragility or stoutness of an object is present as an expression of past contacts, but these past experiences can get into this deliberative process only in so far as the organism gets inside of the object and offers the resistance anticipated. The sort of resistance which the object will offer appears in the experience of the organism in the sort of response that is initiated in reply to the stimulus rather than in the imagery of the past experience. It is in reply to this initiated response that the effort of the organism in the role of the physical thing appears. One pushes from the inside of the thing against the effort one is preparing to exert against it.

While one may speak of the organism as preparing to exert this effort of itself against the object and from the inside of the object against this effort, it is necessary to keep in mind that the organism as a material thing appears as a visual object and, as such, is always a distant object. The picture one has of the central nervous system as the mechanism through which these efforts are initiated belongs to the reflective perceptual world. This organism stands upon the same level of reality as that of other perceptual objects, except that the confirmation of the hypothesis of the contact reality is at once at hand, so far as the surfaces of the body are concerned. What is going on inside the body as an imagined visual process can only be reached by indirect confirmation. In other words, the world of perceptual experience with which science deals is a world of visual things at a distance, which reaches the manipulatory area only in those observations and experiments in which the findings can be indicated in the perspective of the individual in the form of that which is accessible only to himself. While the occurrence is one that presumably may be accessible to others who can find themselves in a like situation, the experimental data arc stated in the character of that which might not be brought into any other perspective and still could be reported. Logically this is a particular event as distinguished from an instance. While the event lies in a reflective world, the experimental datum has a phase or element which has as yet no meaning beyond its happening in

(196) the perspective of the individual. It is essential to its experimental import that it should be identified as such a piece of the biography of the individual and not be established by inference. It is indeed reflectively identified by the individual, but as such a happening to him, and he records the situation in all the meanings which will enable him and others to repeat the experience and determine whether the same happens again. The actual happening, however, and the what that happens is not taken in terms of a physical thing that belongs to a simultaneous nature. The experimental datum is an isolated bit of unreflective experience that is caught in its immediacy, without the reflective reality of a physical thing. It is a bit of the Minkowski world, but isolated.

The possibility of its isolation lies in its identification as a bit of the perspective of the individual. From the standpoint of the world its reality lies in future experience. What can be brought into the specious present with its simultaneity is the experience in its relationship to the organism. The datum can be stated in terms of sensa. The statement in terms of the organism is in terms of the conditions of the organism as a reflective perceptual object under which this experience has taken place, so universally stated that the experience may be repeated either by the individual or by another individual. It is in the complexities of this situation that all the problems of epistemology are centered. There are here three different types of reality that become confused in epistemological theory, though there is no confusion of them in the conduct they mediate: (1) the reality of the object in the manipulatory area, (2) the hypothetical reality of the distant object in the reflective perceptual world, and (3) the future reality of the distant object in the space-time world. The scientist'-, untroubled procedure with all three is sufficient evidence that in conduct they induce no conflict. In observation and experimentation the scientist stands upon the unquestioned reality of the handled apparatus and concomitants of his experimentation and observation. The reality is extended beyond the field of the manipulatory area if no question as to

(197) the reality of distant objects arises, though an attitude of readiness to recognize its hypothetical nature is a characteristic of the scientist. Furthermore, the universality of his hypothetical object carries with it an implication that he can state even the objects of the manipulatory area in terms of the hypothetical object, in so far as his theory calls for this statement. However, the reality of them is that of immediate experience, which as his is not dependent upon the hypothetical content he puts into the object. In so far as he has centered his observation upon an experimental datum, its reality lies in the future. It is not given except as something that is happening to him. It is a bit of the space-time world that can be held on to as a piece of the biography of the individual; but what is given is an experience in the perspective of the individual, the content of which is to be found out. As soon as he is fashioning a hypothesis of this content, he is dealing with the hypothetical reality of the reflective perceptual world, and he regards the what the experience is, its content, as existing simultaneously with himself.

The epistemological muddle is due to reading all the characters of the experience in terms of this biographical stuff. The object of knowledge is the unknown content, which lies in the future. As soon as the reflective problem arises, the future reality of the object is given a possible hypothetical present reality as a basis for alternative reactions, and the immediate distance experience becomes the evidence of this hypothetical reality and is dated in its relation to steps which will be taken in the determination of the different hypotheses; and the distance experience, instead of being simply the stimulus to the reaction by which the act is carried through to ultimate contact, becomes the hypothetical experience of the thing as it appears to the eye when we arc in contact with it. We see it as in the manipulatory area. Thus we see distant individuals as of the dimensions of those at close range. But much of our distance experience does not lend itself to such immediate experience, so that we place it as the immediate experience of the individual in his perspective with the hypothetical interpreta-

(198) -tion of the reality of a physical thing. It is, then, the experience which we have of a present existing hypothetical thing. It is both dated in a present and related to the perspective of the individual as a distance experience. So stated it is a part of the biography of the individual, and the hypothesis can also be so regarded; and even the immediate object within the manipulatory area may be analyzed into such elements, together with the future reality of the object.

Such an analysis, however, overlooks the fact that the individual could not identify his own perspective except in so far as he gets out of it. He could not place experiences in his biography except as he distinguishes himself from others. It is evident that this reflective process is one which is possible only in so far as the individual becomes an object in the experience of the individual. The "what the object is," its inside, is primarily its meaning, that is what it would do to the individual. As a physical thing this meaning is its reaction in a possible contact to the manipulation of the individual. In order that this possible reaction may be present in the perception, the distance character of the object must lose its future value (i.e., the calling-out of a reaction which leads up to the contact, which is not given but lies ahead) and must get a content which is on a par with the contact value in the manipulatory area. The distant object must become simultaneous with the individual and his manipulatory area. Simultaneity is identity in the "now" of the individual. The "now" of the individual can be identified only over against the passage in the specious present. To identify such a "now," the individual must stand off from himself and locate the "now" which is identified with himself. He must be in the attitude of indicating it to himself. The indication is in terms of the consentient events and what occupies them. It is in so far as the individual identifies such a group and relates them to himself that he can identify the "now." The "now" of the individual is identified by the manipulatory situation in which the promise of the distant object is given in the contact. If this is to be extended to the surrounding field, it must be

(199) through the placing of a contact content within the distant character of the thing. The act which is completed in the manipulatory process of handling what one sees, must be hypothetically completed in the consentient set. This is a process which takes off from the social behavior in which the social self appears, thanks to the attitudes of others which we excite in ourselves through our stimulation of them. The self is an object on the same level of reality as that of the others. The sight and voices of others are there, but the selves, the insides of the social objects, are hypothetically given through the conduct of the individual in the role of the other, in the fashion indicated above. This is a field of behavior in which physical things in the manipulatory area simply are there. There is with reference to these no cognitive attitude, though this thereness of the physical thing does not go beyond the fulfilment of the promise of the distance experience, the contact of what is seen, for example. The further nature of the physical object, as known in scientific fashion, always involves the introduction of a distance between the organism and the structure of the object which is only hypothetically covered. Surrounding this area, which with the mobility of the organism is variously extended, lies a world of distance experiences, which are stimulations to approaches or departures with terminal attitudes of contact, but primarily without an inner content, though their spatiotemporal distances are there with the bounding surfaces. The parts of the organism are there with their peculiar characters and, finally, presumably the organism as a whole bounded by the surrounding physical objects. For this is both felt and seen. The parts of the organism and the organism as a whole have insides as well as outsides. As yet the other physical things have only outsides. The earliest behavior of the human infant is social, that is, it is called out by behavior of other organisms in answer to inner impulses, and the characters, and especially the movements of these other organisms, are determining stimuli to the infant. Among these stimuli are the sounds which the infant hears and to which he replies. He attracts by his cries the atten-

(200) -tion of those about him, and they reply not only by care but with answering sounds. The infant calls out in himself sounds of the parent-forms by his own vocal gestures, and reaches the point of thus conversing with himself, though at first this conversation is but the play of sounds calling out answering sounds in the babbling of the infant. There is as yet no social object and no self. The two appear together, and they emerge from a behavior that antedates them. The self speaks to itself with the voice of another, but it cannot do so until it speaks with its own voice. The essence of the other must have become the self in order that the self may exist. And the other cannot exist as an object except as the essence of that other is the self.

This appears in the form of perspectives in nature. The nature of the environment of the biological form is its relationship to the form, what we term the logical determination of the environment by the form. On the other hand, the form is that which the environment does to the form, what may be termed the causal determination of the form by the environment. The spatial mapping-out of the world from the standpoint of the physical thing is the setting and bounding of it, while the volume of the thing is the effect of this setting and bounding in the thing itself. A similar statement may be made of the interrelation of any mass or embodied energy and the system of masses or embodied energies that is essential to the existence of energy. What is involved in all these situations is that the content of the object is the statement of the thing in terms of other things, the content by which it can affect other things, while the content of other things by which they can affect it is in terms of its susceptibilities to them.

The logical determination of the field by the individual, of the environment by the biological form, of the consentient set by the percipient event, results in the appearance of objects, which would not otherwise exist. They exist in the perspectives. The most concrete form of these objects is that of social individuals in human society. An abstraction of these is the environment of the biological form in which appear objects deter-

(201) -mined by the physiological nature of the living form. A further abstraction is the consentient set in which appear objects at rest and in motion, determined by the relation of here and there of the percipient event.

Now it is evident that the appearance of objects in the world of human society is responsible for the actions of human individuals. They are objects because of the suceptibilities (sic) of the human individuals. Wealth, beauty, prestige, and various other objects appear in this environment because of its determination by the human social individual, and these are the springs of conduct. The same may, of course, be said of the environment of the biological form. Food, danger, sex, and parenthood are all springs of action and are such because these objects are determined as such by the susceptibilities of the animal forms. Finally, physical objects are at rest or are in motion because of their determination of the here and the there of the percipient event, because they fall within the consentient set of a certain individual. If a body is in motion, it has certain physical characteristics which it would otherwise not possess. The doctrine of relativity has shown that these characteristics include not only momentum but also the configuration of the form and the duration of its changes. This latter situation introduces a fundamental transformation into the theory of determination. As long as one assumed that the physical changes (those of the objects of the physical sciences) were independent of the logical determination of the environment by the individual, it was possible to present a series of changes of ultimate physical objects determined by their laws which would be identical in whatever consentient set (or biological environment, or social world); and the nature of these objects which arise within these different perspectives would be relegated to the experience of the forms themselves, while the physical configurations, and the spatiotemporal changes, and the quantities of energies involved would remain identical, whatever the point of view from which they were regarded. Thus the conduct, for example, of a human individual in pursuit of wealth or political preferment, expressed in

(202) terms of every action of the man, would be analyzed into movements of the ultimate physical particles constituting the man and his environment. He would seem to himself to be pursuing wealth and preferment; actually every act would be the necessary result of the previous positions of the congery of physical particles that make up the universe. From this standpoint food and hunger, life and death, disappear as entities in nature and become physical and chemical processes which in themselves and in their ongoing carry none of these characters.

If, however, we assume that every system determined from the standpoint of the individual thing is an aspect of the universe that is objective; that this objectivity involves even the configurations and spatiotemporal changes and quantities of mass and other forms of energy as belonging to this system; that the universe is an organization of such aspects, then all objects and all processes suffer the logical determination that belongs to the perspective of the object, and this determination belongs to nature as revealed in the abstract physical sciences.

Above these perspectives stands the human social perspective with a character which these do not possess. Those below this human perspective are shut within themselves, just because they are perspectives. Each is a prehension of the universe within which the whole universe is mirrored. It is an aspect of the whole, and, because it is an aspect of the whole, there is no footing in it, no point of view, from which another aspect can appear. If such a point of view of another perspective did appear, it would not be in this prehension. But it is just the character of human reflective experience that it is social, i.e., that the individual regards his own perspective from the standpoint of others. If he so regards his own perspective, he must regard himself as well, for while within a perspective, the field is simply there for the individual and excludes the individual himself. He could not be both determining and determined. But, if he can regard the perspective of another, he must enter into the other to reach his perspective, and yet, as it is another for him, he must be regarding the other as well. This must be equally

(203) true of his experience of his own perspective and of himself in the role of another, or of others. We call this self-consciousness.

The technique of this and how it can have arisen in evolutionary process I have already indicated. As such it belongs to the development of a social biological organism which is parallel to those of the bees, ants, and termites, that is, of a situation in which there is such an organization of the different perspectives of the members of the community that an organic structure of the members of the community makes possible a field or perspective of that community. The same would be true of any complex structure of which (to use Whitehead's phrase) the universe is patient; but in the case of the social structure of animal forms the individual perspectives of the separate forms in terms of their sensibilities stand out so sharply that the likeness to the human situation is not only emphasized, but the peculiar characteristic of human intelligence is presented with equal definiteness.

The precondition for such a development on the human level is that there should be such a community perspective, that there should be objects which exist in their relationship to the group, that is, that there should be common characters which exist for all the members of the group, though they exist also within the perspective of each individual. A further precondition is that different responses of the different individuals in corporate activities should be such that they can be called out in all the different individuals, i.e., specialization cannot go so far that the tendencies to perform the varied acts in the community activities cannot be in some degree initiated in any form. In such a situation if one individual stimulates another individual to his part in the common act, and if that stimulation can affect himself as it affects the other form, it may place him in tile attitude of the other through initiating in him the response of the other, and thus place him in his perspective in so far as there are common objects. Thus a cry which arouses another to assist an individual in danger may act as a stimulus to the same act to the one who cries out. The further requisite is that this commenc-

(204) -ing to act as the other does should itself become of value in carrying out the common act, so that planning a common undertaking arises. Through this type of social conduct the individual becomes all the members of the group, and thus in some sense the group itself over against the group perspective, but he does it by both entering into the attitude of the other and finding himself in this attitude with its perspective within his own perspective. It is a deliberative attitude in which the individual indicates situations to himself by indicating them to others in so far as he assumes the attitudes of the others as the result of his own gesture. It is a process by which he puts an inside into the other who is otherwise only a distant social object.


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