Reformation of Logic

Addison W. Moore


IN a general survey of the development of logical theory one is struck by the similarity, not to say identity, of the indictments which reformers, since the days of Aristotle, have brought against it. The most fundamental of these charges are : first, that the theory of logic has left it formal and with little significance for the advancement of science and the conduct of society ; second, that it has great difficulty in avoiding the predicament of logical operations that are merely la-bored reproductions of non-logical activities and therefore tautologous and trifling, or of logical operations that are so far removed from immediate, non-logical experience that they are irrelevant; third, that logical theory has had trouble in finding room in its own household for both truth and error; each crowds out the other.

The identity of these indictments regardless of the general philosophical faith, empiricism, or rationalism, realism, or idealism to which the reformer or the logic to be reformed has belonged, suggests that whatever the differences in the doctrines of these various philosophic traditions, they possess a common ground from which these common difficulties spring.

It is the conviction of a number who are at present

( 71) attempting to rid logic of these ancient disabilities that their common source is to be found in a lack of continuity between the acts of intelligence (or to avoid the dangers of hypostasis, intelligent acts) and other acts; between logical conduct and other conduct. So wide, indeed, is this breach, that often little remains of the act of knowing but the name. It may still be called an act, but it has no describable instruments nor technique of operation. It is an indefinable and often mystical performance of which only the results can be stated. In recent logical discussion this techniqueless act of knowing has been properly enough transformed into an indefinable " external relation " in which an entity called a knower stands to another entity called the known.

For many centuries this breach between the operations of intelligence and other operations has been closed by various metaphysical devices with the result that logic has been a hybrid science,—half logic, half metaphysics and epistemology. So great has been the momentum of the metaphysical tradition that long after we have begun to discover the connection between logical and non-logical operations its methods remain to plague us. Efforts to heal the breach without a direct appeal to metaphysical agencies have been made by attempting a complete logicizing of all operations. But besides requiring additional metaphysics to effect it, the procedure is as fatal to continuity as is an impassable disjunction. Continuity demands distinction as well as connection. It requires the development, the growth of old material and functions into new forms.


Driven by the difficulties of this complete logicization, which are as serious as those of isolation, logical theory was obliged to reinstate some sort of distinction. This it did by resorting to the categories of " explicit " and " implicit" All so-called non-logical operations were regarded as " implicitly " logical. And, paradoxically, logical operations had for their task the transformation of the implicit into the explicit.

An adequate account of the origin and continuance of this isolation of the conduct of intelligence from other conduct is too long a story to be told here. Suffice it to recall that in the society in which the distinction between immediate and reflective experience, between opinion and science, between percepts and universals was first made, intelligence was largely the possession of a special and privileged class removed in great measure from hand-to-hand contact with nature and with much of society. Because it did not fully participate in the operations of nature and society intelligence could not become fully domesticated, i.e., fully naturalized and socialized in its world. It was a charmed spectator of the cosmic and social drama. Doubtless when Greek intelligence discovered the distinction between immediate and reflective experience—possibly the most momentous discovery in history—" the world," as Kant says of the speculations of Thales, " must suddenly have appeared in a new light." But not recognizing the full significance of this discovery, ideas, universals, became but a wondrous spectacle for the eye of reason. They brought, to be sure, blessed relief from the bewildering and baffling flux of

( 73) perception. But it was the relief of sanctuary, not of victory.

That the brilliant speculations of Greek intelligence were barren because there was no technique for testing and applying them in detail is an old story. But it is merely a restatement, not a solution, of the pertinent question. This is : why did not Greek intelligence develop such a technique? . The answer lies in the fact that the technique of intelligence is to be found precisely in the details of the operations of nature and of human conduct from which an aristocratic intelligence is always in large measure shut off. Intelligence cannot operate fruitfully in a vacuum. It must be incarnate. It must, as Hegel said, have " hands and feet." When we turn to the history of modern science the one thing that stands out is that it was not until the point was reached where intelligence was ready (continuing the Hegelian figure) to thrust its hands into the vitals of nature and society that it began to acquire a real control over its operations.

In default of such controlling technique there was nothing to be done with this newly found instrument of intelligence—the universal—but to retain it as an object of contemplation and of worshipful adoration. This involved, of course, its hypostasis as the meta-physical reality of supreme importance. With this, the only difference between " opinion " and " science " be-came one of the kind of objects known. That universals were known by reason and particulars by sense was of little more logical significance than that sounds are known by the ear and smells by the nose. Particu-

( 74) -lars and universals were equally given. If the latter required some abstraction this was regarded as merely auxiliary to the immediate vision, as sniffing is to the perception of odor. That universals should or could be conceived as experimental, as hypotheses, was, when translated into later theology, the sin against the Holy Ghost.

However, the fact that the particulars in the world of opinion were the stimuli to the " recollection " of universals and that the latter in turn were the patterns, the forms, for the particulars, opened the way in actual practice for the exercise of a great deal of the control-ling function of the universals. But the failure to recognize this control value of the universal as fundamental, made it necessary for the universal to exercise its function surreptitiously, in the disguise of a pattern and in the clumsy garb of imitation and participation.

With perceptions, desires, aid impulses relegated to the world of opinion and shadows, and with the newly discovered instrument of knowledge turned into an object, the knower was stripped of all his knowing apparatus and was left an empty, scuttled entity definable and describable only as "a knower." The knower must know, even if he had nothing to know with. Hence the mystical almost indefinable character of the knowing act or relation. I say " almost indefinable "; for as an act it had, of course, to have some sort of conceptualized form. And this form vision naturally furnished. " Naturally," because intelligence was so largely contemplative, and vision so largely immediate, unanalyzed, and diaphanous. There was, to be sure, the

( 75) concept of effluxes. But this was a statement of the fact of vision in terms of its results, not of the process itself. Thus it was that the whole terminology of knowing which we still use was moulded and fixed upon a very crude conception of one of the constituents of its process. There can be no doubt that this terminology has added much to the inertia against which the advance of logical theory has worked. It would be interesting to see what would be the effect upon logical theory of the substitution of an auditory or olfactory terminology for visual; or of a visual terminology revised to agree with modern scientific analysis of the act of vision as determined by its connections with other functions.

With the act of knowing stripped of its technique and left a bare, unique, indescribable act or relation, the foundations-for epistemological and metaphysical logic were laid. That Greek logic escaped the ravages of epistemology was due to the saving materialism in its metaphysical conception of mind and to the steadfastness of the aristocratic régime. But when medieval theology and Cartesian metaphysics had destroyed the last remnant of metaphysical connection between the knowing mind and nature, and when revolutions had torn the individual from his social moorings, the stage for epistemological logic was fully set. I do not mean to identify the epistemological situation with the Cartesian disjunction. That disjunction was but the meta-physical expression of the one which constitutes the real foundation of epistemology—the disjunction, namely, between the act of knowing and other acts.

(76) From this point logic has followed one of two general courses. It has sought continuity by attempting to reduce non-logical things and operations to terms of logical operations, i.e., to sensations or universals or both; or it has attempted to exclude entirely the act of knowing from logic and to transfer logical distinctions and operations, and even the attributes of truth and error to objects which, significantly enough, are still composed of these same hypostatized logical processes. The first course results in an epistemological logic of some form of the idealistic tradition, rational-ism, sensationalism, or transcendentalism, depending upon whether universals, or sensations, or a combination of both, is made fundamental in the constitution of the object. The second course yields an epistemological logic of the realistic type,—again, sensational or rationalistic (mathematical), or a combination of the two—a sort of realistic transcendentalism. Each type has essentially the same difficulties with the processes of inference, with the problem of change, with truth and error, and, on the ethical side, with good and evil.

With the processes of knowing converted into objects, and with the act of knowing reduced to a unique and external relation between the despoiled knower and the objects made from its own hypostatized processes, all knowing becomes in the end immediate. All attempts at an inference that is anything more than an elaborated and often confused restatement of non-logical operations break down. The associational inference of empiricism, the subsumptive inference of rationalism, the transcendental inference of objective idealism, the

( 77) analytical inference of neo-realism—all alike face the dilemma of an inference that is trifling or miraculous, tautologous or false. Where the knower and its object are so constituted that the only relation in which the latter can stand to the former is that of presence or absence, and if to be present is to be known, how, as Plato asked, can there be any false knowing?

For those who accept the foregoing general diagnosis the prescription is obvious. The present task of logical theory is the restoration of the continuity of the act and agent of knowing with other acts and agents. But this is not to be done by merely furnishing the act of knowing with a body and a nervous system. If the nervous system be regarded as only an onlooking, be-holding nervous system, if no connection be made between the logical operations of a nervous system and its other operations a nervous system has no logical advantage over a purely psychical mind.

It was to be expected that this movement toward restoration of continuity made in the name of " instrumental " or " experimental " logic would be regarded, alike, by the logics of rationalism and empiricism, of idealism and of realism, as an attempt to rob intelligence of its own unique and proper character; to reduce it to a merely " psychological " and " existential " affair; to leave no place for genuine intellectual interest and activity; and to make science a series of more or less respectable adventures. The counter thesis is, that this restoration is truly a restoration—not a despoliation of the character and rights of intelligence; that only such a restoration can preserve the unique func-

( 78) -tion of intelligence, can prevent it from becoming merely " existential," and can provide a distinct place for intellectual and scientific interest and activity. It does not, however, promise to remove the stigma of " ad-venture " from science. Every experiment is an ad-venture ; and it is precisely the experimental character of scientific logic that distinguishes it from scholasticism, medieval or modern.


First it is clear that a reform of logic based upon the restoration of knowing to its connections with other acts will begin with a chapter containing an account of these other operations and the general character of this connection.[1] Logical theory has been truncated. It has tried to begin and end in the middle, with the result that it has ended in the air. Logic presents the curious anachronism of a science which attempts to deal with its subject-matter apart from what it comes from and what comes from it.

The objection that such a chapter on the conditions and genesis of the operations of knowing belongs to psychology, only shows how firmly fixed is the discontinuity we are trying to escape. As we have seen, the original motive for leaving this account of genesis to psychology was that the act of knowing was supposed to originate in a purely psychical mind. Such an origin

( 79) was of course embarrassing to logic, which aimed to be scientific. The old opposition between origin and validity was due to the kind of origin assumed and the kind of validity necessitated by the origin. One may well be excused for evading the question of how ideas, originated in a purely psychical mind, can, in Kant's phrase, " have objective validity," by throwing out the question of origin altogether. Whatever difficulties re-main for validity after this expulsion could not be greater than those of the task of combining the objective validity of ideas with their subjective origin.

The whole of this chapter on the connection between logical and non-logical operations cannot be written here. But its central point would be that these other acts with which the act of knowing must have continuity are just the operations of our unreflective conduct. Note that it is " unreflective," not " unconscious," nor yet merely " instinctive " conduct. It is our perceptive, remembering, imagining, desiring, loving, hating conduct. Note also that we do not say " psychical " or " physical," nor " psycho-physical " conduct. These terms stand for certain distinctions in logical conduct,* and we are here concerned with the character of non-logical conduct which is to be distinguished from, and yet kept in closest continuity with, logical conduct.

If, here, the metaphysical logician should ask : " Are you not in this assumption of a world of reflective and unreflective conduct and affection, and of a world of beings in interaction, begging a whole system of meta-

( 80) physics? " the reply is that if it is a metaphysics bad for logic, it will keep turning up in the course of logical theory as a constant source of trouble. On the other hand, if logic encounters grave difficulties when it attempts to get on without it, its assumption, for the purposes of logic, has all the justification possible.

Again it will be urged that this alleged non-logical conduct, in so far as it involves perception, memory, and anticipation, is already cognitive and logical ; or if the act of knowing is to be entirely excluded from logic, then, in so far as what is left involves objective " terms and relations," it, also, is already logical. And it may be thought strange that a logic based upon the restoration of continuity between the act of knowing and other acts should here be insisting on distinction and separation. The point is fundamental ; and must be disposed of before we go on. First, we must observe that the unity secured by making all conscious conduct logical turns out, on examination, to be more nominal than real. As we have already seen, this attempt at a complete logicizing of all conduct is forced at once to intro-duce the distinction of " explicit " and " implicit," of " conscious and unconscious " or " subconscious " logic. Some cynics have found that this suggests dividing triangles into explicit and implicit triangles, or into triangles and sub-triangles.

Doubtless the attempt to make all perceptions, memories, and anticipations, and even instincts and habits, into implicit or subconscious inference is an awkward effort to restore the continuity of logical and non-logi

( 81) -cal conduct. Its awkwardness consists in attempting to secure this continuity by the method of subsumptive identity, instead of finding it in a transitive continuity of function ;—instead of seeing that perception, memory, and anticipation become logical processes when they are employed in a process of inquiry, whose purpose is to relieve the difficulties into which these operations in their function as direct stimuli have fallen. Logical conduct is constituted by the coöperation of these processes for the improvement of their further operation. To regard perception, memory, and imagination as implicit forms or as sub-species of logical operation is much like conceiving the movements of our fingers and arms as implicit or imperfect species of painting, or swimming.

Moreover, this doctrine of universal logicism teaches that when that which is perfect is come, imperfection shall be done away. This should mean that when painting becomes completely " explicit " and perfect, fingers and hands shall disappear. Perfect painting will be the pure essence of painting. And this interpretation is not strained; for this logic expressly teaches that in the perfected real system all temporal elements are unessential to logical operations. They are, of course, psychologically 'necessary for finite beings, who can never have perfectly logical experiences. But, from the standpoint of a completely logicized experience, all finite, temporal processes are accidents, not essentials, of logical operations.

The fact that the processes of perception, memory, and anticipation are transformed in their

( 82) logical operation into sensations and universals, terms, and relations, and, as such, become the subject-matter of logical theory, does not mean that they have lost their mediating character, and have become merely objects of logical contemplation at large. Sensations or sense-data, and ideas, terms and relations, are the subject-matter of logical theory for the reason that they sometimes succeed and sometimes fail in their logical operations. And it is the business of logical theory to diagnose the conditions of this success and failure. If, in writing, my pen becomes defective and is made an object of inquiry, it does not therefore lose all its character as a pen and become merely an object at large. It is as an instrument of writing that it is investigated. So, sense-data, universals, terms, and relations as subject-matter of logic are investigated in their character as mediators of the ambiguities and conflicts, of non-logical experience.

If the operations of habit, instinct, perceptions, memory, and anticipation become logical, when, instead of operating as direct stimuli, they are employed in a process of inquiry, we must next ask : (1) under what conditions do they pass over into this process of inquiry? (2) what modifications of operation do they undergo, what new forms do they take, and what new results do they produce in their logical operations?

If the act of inquiry be not superimposed, it must arise out of some specific condition in the course of non-logical conduct. Once more, if the alarm be sounded at this proposal to find the origin of logical in non-logical operations it must be summarily answered by

( 83) asking if the one who raises the cry finds it impossible to imagine that one who is not hungry, or angry, or patriotic, or wise may become so. Non-logical conduct is not the abstract formal contradictory of logical con-duct any more than present satiety or foolishness is the contradictory of later hunger or wisdom, or than anger at one person contradicts cordiality to another, or to the same person, later. The old bogie of the logical irrelevance of origin was due to the inability to conceive continuity except in the form of identity in which there was no place for the notion of growth.

The conditions under which non-logical conduct be-comes logical are familiar to those who have followed the doctrines of experimental logic as expounded in the discussions of the past few years. The transformation begins at the point where non-logical processes instead of operating as direct unambiguous stimuli and response become ambiguous with consequent inhibition of con-duct. But again this does not mean that at this juncture the non-logical processes quit the field and give place to a totally new faculty and process called reason. They stay on the job. But there is a change in the job, which now is to get rid of this ambiguity. This modification of the task requires, of course, corresponding modification and adaptation of these operations. They take on the form of sensations and universals, terms and relations, data and hypotheses. This modification of function and form constitutes " reason " or, better, reasoning.

Here some one will ask, " Whence comes this ambiguity? How can a mere perception or memory as

( 84) such be ambiguous? Must it not be ambiguous to, or for, something, or some one? " The point is well taken. But it should not be taken to imply that the ambiguity is for a merely on looking, beholding psychical mind—especially when the perception is itself regarded as an act of beholding. Nor are we any better off if we sup-pose the beholding mind to be equipped with a faculty of reason in the form of the principle of " contradiction." For this throws no light on the origin and meaning of ambiguity. And if we seek to make all perceptions as such ambiguous and contradictory, in order to make room for, and justify, the operations of reason, other difficulties at once beset us. When we attempt to remove this specific ambiguity of perceptive conduct we shall be forced, before we are through, to appeal back to perception, which we have condemned as inherently contradictory, both for data and for verification.

However, the insistence that perception must be ambiguous to, or for, something beyond itself is well grounded. And this was recognized in the statement that it is equivocal as a stimulus in conduct. There need be no mystery as to how such equivocation arises. That there is such a thing as a conduct at all means that there are certain beings who have acquired definite ways of responding to one another. It is important to observe that these forms of interaction—instinct and habit, perception, memory, etc.—are not to be located in either of the interacting beings but are functions of both. The conception of these operations as the private functions of an organism is the forerunner

( 85) of the epistemological predicament. It results in a conception of knowing as wholly the act of a knower apart from the known. This is the beginning of epistemology.

But to whatever extent interacting beings have acquired definite and specific ways of behavior toward one another it is equally plain—the theory of external relations notwithstanding—that in this process of inter-action these ways of behavior, of stimulus and response, undergo modification. If the world consisted of two interacting beings, it is conceivable that the modifications of behavior might occur in such close continuity of relation to each of the interacting beings that the adjustment would be very continuous, and there might be little or no ambiguity and conflict. But in a world where any two interacting beings have innumerable interactions with innumerable other beings and in all these interactions modifications are effected, it is to be -expected that changes in the behavior of each or both will occur, so marked that they are bound to result in breaks in the continuity of stimulus and response—even to the point of tragedy. However, the tragedy is seldom so great that the ambiguity extends to the whole field of con-duct. Except in extreme pathological cases (and in epistemology), complete skepticism and aboulia do not occur. Ambiguity always falls within a field or direction of conduct, and though it may extend much further, and must extend some further than the point at which equivocation occurs, yet it is never ubiquitous. An ambiguity concerning the action of gravitation is no

( 86) less specific than one regarding color or sound ; indeed, the one may be found to involve the other.

Logical conduct is, then, conduct which aims to remove ambiguity and inhibition in unreflective conduct. The instruments of its operation are forged from the processes of unreflective conduct by such modification and adaptation as is required to enable them to accomplish this end. Since these logical operations sometimes fail and sometimes succeed they be-come the subject-matter of logical theory. But the technique of this second involution of reflection is not supplied by some new and unique entity. It also is derived from modifications of previous operations of both reflective and non-reflective conduct.

While emphasizing the continuity between non-logical and logical operations, we must keep in mind that their distinction is of equal importance. Confusion at this point is fatal. A case in point is the confusion between non-logical and logical observation. The results of non-logical observation, e.g., looking and listening, are direct stimuli to further conduct. But the purpose and result of logical observation are to secure data, not as direct stimuli to immediate conduct but as stimuli to the construction or verification of hypotheses which are the responses of the logical operation of imagination to the data. Hypotheses are anticipatory. But they differ from non-logical anticipation in that they are tentatively, experimentally, i.e., logically anticipatory. The non-logical operations of memory and anticipation lack just this tentative, experimental character. When we confuse the logical and non-logical

( 87) operations of these processes the result is either that logical processes will merely repeat non-logical operations in which case we have inference that is tautologous and trifling; or the non-logical will attempt to perform logical operations, and our inference is miraculous. If we seek to escape by an appeal to habit, as in empiricism, or to an objective universal, as in idealism and neo-realism, we are merely disguising, not removing the miracle.

It may be thought that this confusion would be most likely to occur in a theory which teaches that non-logical processes are carried over into logical operations. But this overlooks the fact that the theory recognizes at the same time that these non-logical operations undergo modification and adaptation to the demands of the logical enterprise. On the other hand, those who make all perceptions, memory, and anticipation, not to speak of habit and instinct, logical, have no basis for the distinction between logical and non-logical results ; while those who refuse to give the operations of perception, memory, etc., any place in logic can make no connections between logical and non-logical conduct. Nor are they able to distinguish in a specific case truth from error.

In all logics that fail to make this connection and distinction between logical and non-logical operations there is no criterion for data. If ultimate simplicity is demanded of the data, there is no standard for simplicity except the minimum sensibile or the minimum intelligibile which have recently been resurrected. On the other hand, where simplicity is waived, as in the logic of objective idealism, there is

( 88) still no criterion of logical adequacy. But if we under-stand by logical data not anything that happens to be given, but something sought as material for an hypothesis, i.e., a proposed solution (proposition) of an ambiguous object of conduct and affection, then what-ever results of observation meet this requirement are logical data. And whenever data are found from which an hypothesis is constructed that succeeds in abolishing the ambiguity, they are simple, adequate, and true data.

No scientist, not even the mathematician, in the specific investigations of his field, seeks for ultimate and irreducible data at large. And if he found them he could not use them. It is only in his metaphysical personality that he longs for such data. The data which the scientist in any specific inquiry seeks are the data which suggest a solution of the question in which the investigation starts. When these data are found they are the " irreducibles " of that problem. But they are relative to the question and answer of the investigation. Their simplicity consists in the fact that they are the data from which a conclusion can be made. The term " simple data " is tautologous. That one is in need of data more " simple " means that one is in need of new data from which an hypothesis can be formed.

It is true that the actual working elements with which the scientist operates are always complex in the sense that they are always something more than elements in any specific investigation. They have other connections and alliances. And this complexity is at once the despair and the hope of the scientist ; his despair, be-

( 89) -cause he cannot be sure when these other connections will interfere with the allegiance of his elements to his particular undertaking; his hope, because when these alliances are revealed they often make the elements more efficient or exhibit capacities which will make them elements in some other undertaking for which elements have not been found. A general resolves his army into so many marching, eating, shooting units ; but these elements are something more than marching, shooting units. They are husbands and fathers, brothers and lovers, protestants and catholics, artists and artisans, etc. And the militarist can never be sure at what point these other activities—I do not say merely external relationships—may upset his calculations. If he could find units whose whole and sole nature is to march and shoot, his problem would be, in some respects, simpler, though in others more complex. As it is, he is constantly required to ask how far these other functions will support and at what point they will rebel at the marching and shooting.

Such, in principle, is the situation in every scientific inquiry. When the failure of the old elements occurs it is common to say that " simpler " elements are needed. And doubtless in his perplexity the scientist may long for elements which have no entangling alliances, whose sole nature and character is to be elements. But what in fact he actually seeks in every specific investigation are elements whose nature and functions will not interfere with their serving as units in the enterprise in hand. But from some other stand-point these new elements may be vastly more complex

( 90) than the old, as is the case with the modern as compared with the ancient atom. When the elements are secured which operate successfully, the non-interfering connections can be ignored and the elements can be treated as if they did not have them,—as if they were metaphysically simple. But there is no criterion for metaphysical simplicity except operative simplicity. To be simple is to serve as an element, and to serve as an element is to be simple.

It is scarcely necessary in view of the foregoing to add that the data of science are not " sense-data," if by sense-data be meant data which are the result of the operations of sense organs alone. Data are as much or more the result of operations, first, of the motor system of the scientist's own organism, and second, of all of the machinery of his laboratory which he calls to his aid. Whether named after the way they are obtained, or after the way they are used, data are quite as much " motor " as " sense." Nor, on the other hand, are there any purely intellectual data—not even for the mathematician. Some mathematicians may insist that their symbols and diagrams are merely stimuli to the platonic operation of pure and given universals. But until mathematics can get on without these symbols or any substitutes the intuitionist in mathematics will continue to have his say.

Wherever the discontinuity between logical operations and their acts persists, all the difficulties with data have their correlative difficulties with hypotheses. In Mill's logic the account of the origin of hypotheses oscillates between the view that they are happy guesses of

( 91) a mind composed of states of consciousness, and the view that they are " found in the facts " or are "impressed on the mind by the facts." The miracle of relevancy required in the first position drives the theory to the second. And the tautologous, useless nature of the hypothesis in the second forces the theory back to the first view. In this predicament, little wonder Mill finds that the easiest way out is to make hypotheses " auxiliary " and not indigenous to inference. But this exclusion of hypotheses as essential leaves his account of inference to oscillate between the association of particulars of nominalism and scholastic formalism, from both of which Mill, with the dignified zeal of a prophet, set out to rescue logic.

Mill's rejection of hypotheses formed by a mind whose operations have no discoverable continuity with the operations of things, or by things whose actions are independent of the operations of ideas, is forever sound. But his acceptance of the discontinuity between the acts of knowing and the operation of things, and the conclusion that these two conceptions of the origin and nature of hypotheses are the only alternatives, were the source of most of his difficulties.


The efforts of classic empiricism at the reform of logic have long been an easy mark for idealistic reformers. But it is interesting to observe that the idealistic logic from the beginning finds itself in precisely the same predicament regarding hypotheses;--they are

( 92) trifling or false. And in the end they are made, as in Mill, " accidents " of inference.

The part played by Kant's sense-material and the categories is almost the reverse of those of data and hypothesis in science. Sense material and the categories are the given elements from which objects are somehow made; in scientific procedure data and hypothesis are derived through logical observation and imagination from the content and operations of immediate experience. In Kant's account of the process by which objects are constructed we are nowhere in sight of any experimental procedure. Indeed, the real act of knowing, the selection and application of the category to the sense matter, is, as Kant in the end had to confess, " hidden away in the depths of the soul." Made in the presence of the elaborate machinery of knowing which Kant had constructed, this confession is almost tragic ; and the tragic aspect grows when we find that the result of the " hidden " operation is merely a phenomenal object. That this should be the case, however, is not strange. A phenomenal object is the inevitable correlate of the " hidden " act of knowing whether in a " transcendental " or in an " empirical " logic. In vain do we call the act of knowing " constructive " and " synthetic " if its method of synthesis is hidden. A transcendental unity whose method is indefinable has no advantage over empirical association.

It was the dream of Kant as of Mill to replace the logics of sensationalism and rationalism with a " logic of things " and of " truth." But as Mill's things turned to states of consciousness, so Kant's are phenomenal.

( 93)

Their common fate proclaims their common failure—the failure to reestablish continuity between the con-duct of intelligence and other conduct.

One of the chief counts in Hegel's indictment of Kant's logic is that " it had no influence on the methods of science."[3] Hegel's explanation is that Kant's categories have no genesis ; they are not constructed in and as part of logical operations. As given, ready-made, their relevance is a miracle. But if categories be " generated " in the process of knowing, says Hegel, they are indigenous, and their fitness is inevitable. In such statements Hegel raises expectations that we are at last to have a logic which squares with the procedure of science. But when we discover that instead of being " generated " out of all the material involved in the scientific problem Hegel's categories are derived from each other, misgivings arise. And when we further learn that this " genesis " is timeless, which means that, after all, the categories stand related to each other in a closed, eternal system of implication, we abandon hope of a scientific—i.e., experimental—logic.

Hegel also says it is the business of philosophy " to substitute categories or in more precise language adequate notions for the several modes of feeling, perception, desire, and will" The word " substitute " reveals the point at issue. If " to substitute " means that philosophy is a complete exchange of the modes of feeling, perception, desire, and will for a world of categories or notions, then, saying nothing of the range of values in such a world, the problem of the meaning

( 94) of " adequate " is on our hands. What is the notion to be adequate to? But if "to substitute" means that the modes of feeling, perception, desire, and will, when in a specific situation of ambiguity and inhibition, go over into, take on, the modes of data and hypothesis in the effort to get rid of inhibiting conflict that is quite another matter. Here the " notion," as the scientific hypothesis, has a criterion for its adequacy. But if the notion usurps the place of feeling, perception, desire, and will, as many find, in the end, it does in Hegel's logic, it thereby loses all tests for the adequacy of its function and character as a notion.

In the development of the logical doctrines of Kant and Hegel by Lotze, Green, Sigwart, Bradley, Bosanquet, Royce, and others, there are indeed differences. But these differences only throw their common ground into bolder relief. This common ground is that, procedure by hypotheses, by induction, is, in the language of Professor Bosanquet, "atransient and external characteristic of inference."[4] And the ground of this verdict is essentially the same as Mill's, when he rejects hypotheses " made by the mind," namely, that such hypotheses are too subjective in their origin and nature to have objective validity, " Objective " idealism is trying, like Mill, to escape the subjectivism of the purely individual and " psychical " knower. But, being unable to reconstruct the finite knower, and being too sophisticated to make what it regards as Mill's

( 95) naïve appeal to "hypotheses found in things," it transfers the real process of inference to the " objective universal," and the process of all thought, including inference, is now defined as " the reproduction, by a universal presented in a content, of contents distinguished from the presented content which also are differences. of the same universal." [5]

It need scarcely be said that in inference thus de-fined there is scant room for hypotheses. There is nothing " hypothetical," " experimental," or " tentative" in this process of reproduction by the objective universal as such. As little is there any possibility of error. If there is anything hypothetical, or any possibility of error, in inference, it is due to the temporal, finite human being in which, paradoxically enough, this process of " reproduction " goes on and to whom, at times, is given an " infinitesimal " part in the operation, while at other times he is said merely to " witness "it. But the real inference does not "` proceed by hypotheses "; it is only the finite mind in witnessing the real logical spectacle or in its " infinitesimal " contribution to it that lamely proceeds in this manner.

Here, again, we have the same break in continuity between the finite, human act of knowing and the operationsthat constitute the real world. When the logic of the objective universal rejects imputations of harboring a despoiled psychical knower it has in mind, of course, the objective universal as knower, not the finite, human act. But, if the participations of the latter are all accidents of inference, as they are said to be, its advantage

(96) over a purely psychical knower, or " states of consciousness," is difficult to see. The rejection of metaphysical dualism is of no consequence if the logical operations of the finite, human being are only " accidents " of the real logical process. As already remarked, the metaphysical disjunction is merely a schematism of the more fundamental, logical disjunction.

As for tautology and miracle, the follower of Mill might well ask : how an association of particulars, whether mental states or things, could be more tautologous than a universal reproducing its own differences? And if the transition from particular to particular is a miracle in which the grace of God is disguised as " habit," why is not habit as good a disguise for Providence as universals? Moreover, by what miracle does the one all-inclusive universal become a universal? And since perception always presents a number of universals, what determines which one shall perform the reproduction? Finally, since there are infinite differences of the universal that might be reproduced, what determines just which differences shall be reproduced? In this wise the controversy has gone on ever since the challenge of the old rationalistic logic by the nominalists launched the issue of empiricism and rationalism. All the charges which each makes against the other are easily retorted upon itself. Each side is resistless in attack, but helpless in defense.

In a conception of inference in which both data and hypothesis are regarded as the tentative, experimental results of the processes of perception, memory, and

( 97) constructive imagination engaged in the special task of removing conflict, ambiguity, and inhibition, and in which these processes are not conceived as the functions of a private mind nor of an equally private brain and nervous system, but as functions of interacting beings,—in such a conception there is no ground for anxiety concerning the simplicity of data, nor the objectivity of hypotheses. Simplicity and objectivity do not have to, be secured through elaborate and labored metaphysical construction. The data are simple and the hypothesis objective in so far as they accomplish the work whereunto they are called—the removal of conflict, ambiguity, and inhibition in con-duct and affection.

In the experimental conception of inference it is clear that the principles of formal logic must play their rôle wholly inside the course of logical operations. They do not apply to relations between these operations and " reality "; nor to " reality " itself. Formal identity and non-contradiction signify, in experimental logic, the complete correlativity of data and hypothesis. They mean that in the logical procedure data must not be shifted without a corresponding change in the hypothesis and conversely. The doctrine that " theoretically " there may be any number of hypotheses for " the same facts " is, when these multiple hypotheses are anything more than different names or symbols, nothing less than the very essence of formal contra-diction. It doubtless makes little difference whether a disease be attributed to big or little, black or red, demons or whether the cause be represented by a, b, or c,

(98) etc. But where data and hypotheses are such as are capable of verification, i.e., of mutually checking up each other, a change in one without a corresponding modification of the other is the principle of all formal fallacies.[6]

With this conception of the origin, nature, and functions of logical operations little remains to be said of their truth and falsity. If the whole enterprise of logical operation, of the construction and verification of hypothesis, is in the interest of the removal of ambiguity, and inhibition in conduct, the only relevant truth or falsity they can possess must be determined by their success or failure in that undertaking. The acceptance of this view of truth and error, be it said again, depends on holding steadfastly to the conception of the operations of knowing as real acts, which, though having a distinct character and function, are yet in closest continuity with other acts of which indeed they are but modifications and adaptations in order to meet the logical demand.

Here, perhaps, is the place for a word on truth and satisfaction. The satisfaction which marks the truth of logical operations—" intellectual satisfaction "—is the satisfaction which attends the accomplishment of their task, viz., the removal of ambiguity in conduct, i.e., in our interaction with other beings. It does not mean that this satisfaction is bound to be followed by

(99) wholly blissful consequences. All our troubles are not over when the distress of ambiguity is removed. It may be indeed that the verdict of the logical operation is that we must face certain death. Very well, we must have felt it to be " good to know the worst," or no inquiry would have been started. We should have deemed ignorance bliss and sat with closed eyes waiting for fate to overtake us instead of going forward to meet it and in some measure determine it. Death anticipated and accepted is realiter very different from death that falls upon us unawares, however we may estimate that difference. If this distinction in the foci of satisfaction is kept clear it must do away with a large amount of the hedonistic interpretations of satisfaction in which many critics have indulged.

But hereupon some one may exclaim, as did a colleague recently: "Welcome to the ranks of the intellectualists ! " If so, the experimentalist is bound to reply that he is as willing, and as unwilling, to be welcomed to the ranks of intellectualism as to those of anti-intellectualism. He wonders, however, how long the welcome would last in either. Among the intellectualists the welcome would begin to cool as soon as it should be discovered that the ambiguity to which logical operations are the response is not regarded by the experimentalist as a purely intellectual affair. It is an ambiguity in conduct with all the attendant affectional values that may be at stake.[7] It is, to be sure, the fact of ambiguity, and the effort to resolve it, that adds

(100) the intellectual, logical character to conduct and to affectional values. But if the logical interest attempts entirely to detach itself it will soon be without either subject-matter or criterion. And if it sets itself up as supreme, we shall be forced to say that our quandaries of affection, our problems of life and death are merely to furnish occasions and material for logical operations.

On the other hand, the welcome of the anti-intellectualists is equally sure to wane when the experimentalist asserts that the doctrine that logical operations mutilate the wholeness of immédiate experience over-looks the palpable fact that it is precisely these immediate experiences—the experiences of intuition and instinct—that get into conflict and inhibit and mutilate one another, and as a consequence are obliged to go into logical session to patch up the mutilation and provide new and better methods of coöperation.

At this point the weakness in Bergson's view of logical operations appears. Bergson, too, is impressed by the break in continuity between logical operations and the rest of experience. But with Mr. Bradley he believes this breach to be essentially incurable, because the mutilations and disjunctions are due to and introduced by logical operations. Just why the latter are introduced remains in the end a mystery. Both, to be sure, believe that logical operations are valuable for " practical " purposes; for action. But, aside from the question of how operations essentially mutilative can be valuable for action, immediate intuitional experience being already in unity with Reality, why should there be any practical need for logical operations—least

( 101) of all such as introduce disjunction and mutilation?

The admission of a demand for logical operations, whether charged to matter, the devil, or any other metaphysical adversary, is, of course, a confession that conflict and ambiguity are as fundamental in experience as unity and immediacy and that logical operations are therefore no less indigenous. The failure to see this implication is responsible for the paradox that in the logic of Creative Evolution the operations of intelligence are neither creative nor evolutional. They not only have no constructive part but are positively destructive and devolutional.

Since, moreover, these logical operations, like those of the objective universal, and like Mill's association of particulars, can only reproduce in fragmentary form what has already been done, it is difficult to see how they can meet the demands of action. For here no more than in Mill, or in the logic of idealism, is there any place for constructive hypotheses or any technique by which they can become effective. What-ever " Creative Evolution " may be, there is no place in its logic for " Creative Intelligence."


The prominence in current discussion of the logical reforms proposed by the " analytic logic " of the neorealistic movement and the enthusiastic optimism of its representatives over the prospective results of these reforms for logic, science, and practical life are the war-rant for devoting a special section to their discussion.

There are indeed some marked differences of opinion

( 102) among the expounders of the " new logic " concerning the results which it is expected to achieve. Some find that it clears away incredible accumulations of meta-physical lumber; others rejoice that it is to restore metaphysics, " once the queen of the sciences, to her ancient throne."

But whatever the difference among the representatives of analytical logic all seem agreed at the outset on two fundamental reforms which the " new logic " makes. These are: first, that analytic logic gets rid entirely of the act of knowing, the retention of which has been the bane of all other logics ; second, in its discovery of " terms and relations," " sense-data and universals " as the simple elements not only of logic but of the world, it furnishes science at last with the simple neutral elements at large which it is supposed science so long has sought, and " mourned because it found them not."

Taking these in order, we are told that " realism frees logic as a study of objective fact from all accounts of the states and operations of mind." . . . " Logic and mathematics are sciences which can be pursued quite independently of the study of knowing." * " The new logic believes that it deals with no such entities as thoughts, ideas, or minds, but with entities that merely are." [8]

The motive for the banishment of the act of knowing from logic is that as an act knowing is "mental," "psychological," and "subjective."[9] All other logics

( 103) have indeed realized this subjective character of the act of knowing, but have neither dared completely to discard it nor been able sufficiently to counteract its effects even with such agencies as the objective universal to prevent it from infecting logic with its subjectivity. Because logic has tolerated and attempted to compromise with this subjective act of knowing, say these reformers, it has been forced constantly into epistemology and has become a hybrid science. Had logic possessed the courage long ago to throw overboard this subjective Jonah it would have been spared the storms of epistemology and the reefs of metaphysics.

Analytic logic is the first attempt in the history of modern logical theory at a deliberate, sophisticated exclusion of the act of knowing from logic. Other logics, to be sure, have tried to neutralize the effects of its presence, but none has had the temerity to cast it bodily overboard. The experiment, therefore, is highly interesting.

We should note at the outset that in regarding the act of knowing as incurably " psychical " and " subjective " analytic logic accepts a fundamental premise of the logics of rationalism, empiricism, and idealism which it seeks to reform. It is true that it is the bold proposal of analytic logic to keep logic out of the pit of epistemology by excluding the act of knowing from logic. Nevertheless analytic logic still accepts the subjective character of this act; and if it excludes it from its logic it welcomes it

( 104) in its psychology. This is a dangerous situation. Can the analytic logician prevent all osmosis between his logic and his psychology?[4] If not, and if the psychological act is subjective, woe then to his logic. Had the new logic begun with a bold challenge of the psychical character of the act of knowing, the prospect of a logic free from epistemology would have been much brighter.

With the desire to rid logic of the epistemological taint the " experimental logic " of the pragmatic movement has the strongest sympathy. But the proposal to effect this by the excision of the act of knowing appears to experimental logic to be a case of heroic but fatal surgery. Prima facie a logic with no act of knowing presents an uncanny appearance. What sort of logical operations are possible in such a logic and of what kind of truth and falsity are they capable?

Before taking up these questions in detail it is worth while to note the character of the entities that " merely are " with which analytic logic proposes exclusively to deal. In their general form they are " terms " and " propositions," " sense-data " and universals. We are struck at once by the fact that these entities bear the names of logical operations. They are, to be sure, disguised as entities and have been baptised in a highly dilute solution of objectivity called " subsistence." But this does not conceal their origin, nor does it ob-

( 105) -scure the fact that if it is possible for any entities that " merely are " to have logical character those made from hypostatized processes of logical operations should be the most promising. They might be expected to retain some vestiges of logical character even after they have been torn from the process of inquiry and converted into " entities that merely are." Also it is not surprising that having stripped the act of knowing of its constituent operations analytic logic should feel that it can well dispense with the empty shell called " mind " and, as Professor Dewey says, " wish it on psychology." But if the analytic logician be also a philosopher and perchance a lover of his fellow-man, it is hard to see how he can have a good conscience over this disposition of the case.

Turning now to the character of inference and of truth and falsity which are possible in a logic which excludes the operation of knowing and deals only with "entities that are," all the expounders seem to agree that in such a logic inference must be purely deductive. All alleged induction is either disguised deduction or a lucky guess. This raises apprehension at the start concerning the value of analytic logic for other sciences. But let us observe what deduction in analytic logic is.

We begin at once with a distinction which involves the whole issue.[11] We are asked to carefully distin-

( 106) -guish " logical " deduction from " psychological " deduction. The latter is the vulgar meaning of the term, and is " the thinker's name for his own act of conforming his thought" to the objective and independent processes that constitute the real logical process. This act of conforming the mind is a purely " psychological " affair. It has no logical function whatever. In what the " conforming " consists is not clear. It seems to be merely the act of turning the " psychological " eye on the objective logical process. " One beholds it (the logical process) as one beholds a star, a river, a character in a play. . . . The novelist and the dramatist, like the mathematician and logician, are onlookers at the logical spectacle."[12] On the other hand, the term " conforming " suggests a task, with the possibilities of success and failure. Have we, then, two wholly in-dependent possibilities of error—one merely " psychological," the other " logical "? The same point may be made even more obviously with reference to the term "beholding." The term is used as if beholding were a perfectly simple act, having no problems and no possibilities of mistakes—as if there could be no mis-beholding.[13]

But fixing our psychological eye on the " logical

( 107) spectacle," what does it behold? A universal generating an infinite series of identical instances of itself—i.e., instances which differ only in " logical position." If in a world of entities that " merely are " the term " generation" causes perplexity, the tension is soon relieved; for this turns out to be a merely subsistential non-temporal generation which, like Hegel's generation of the categories, in no way compromises a world of entities that " merely are."

Steering clear of the thicket of metaphysical problems that we here encounter, let us keep to the logical trail. First it is clear that logical operations are of the same reproductive repetitive type that we have found in the associational logic of empiricism, and in the logic of the objective universal. Indeed, after objective idealism has conceded that the finite mind merely " witnesses " or at most contributes only in an " infinitesimal " degree to the logical activity of the objective universal, what remains of the supposed gulf between absolute idealism and analytic realism?

It follows, of course, that there can be no place in analytic logic for " procedure by hypotheses." How-ever, it is to the credit of some analytic logicians that they see this and frankly accept the situation instead of attempting to retain hypotheses by making them " accidents " or mere " auxiliaries " of inference. On the other hand, others find that the chief glory of analytic logic is precisely that it " gives thought wings "[14] for

( 108) the free construction of hypotheses. In his lectures on " Scientific Methods in Philosophy " Mr. Russell calls some of the most elemental and sacred entities of analyticlogic " convenient fictions." This retention of hypotheses at the cost of cogency is of course in order to avoid a break with science. Those who see that there is no place in analytic logic for hypotheses are equally anxious to preserve their connections with science. Hence they boldly challenge the " superstition " that science has anything to do with hypotheses. Newton's " Hypotheses non fingo" should be the motto of every conscientious scientist who dares " trust his own perceptions and disregard the ukase of idealism." " The theory of mental construction is the child of idealism, now put out to service for the support of its parents." " Theory is no longer regarded in science as an hypothesis added to the observed facts," but a law which is " found in the facts."[15] The identity of this with Mill's doctrine of hypotheses as " found in things " is obvious.

As against the conception of hypotheses as " free," " winged," constructions of a psychical, beholding, gossiping mind we may well take our stand with those who would exclude such hypotheses from science. And this doubtless was the sort of mind and sort of hypotheses Newton meant when he said " Hypotheses non fingo."[16] But had Newton's mind really been of the character which he, as a physicist, had learned from philosophers

( 109) to suppose it to be, and had he really waited to find his hypotheses ready-made in the facts, there never would have been any dispute about who discovered the calculus, and we should never have been interested in what Newton said about hypotheses or anything else. What Newton did is a much better source of information on the part hypotheses play in scientific method than what he said about them. The former speaks for itself ; the latter is the pious repetition of a metaphysical creed made necessary by the very separation of mind from things expressed in the statement quoted.

Logically there is little to choose between hypotheses found ready-made in the facts and those which are the " winged " constructions of a purely psychical mind. Both are equally useless in logic and in science. One makes logic and science " trifling," the other makes them " miraculous." But if hypotheses be conceived not as the output of a cloistered psychical entity but as the joint product of all the beings and operations involved in the specific situation in which logical inquiry originates, and more particularly in all those involved in the operations of the inquiry itself (including all the experimental material and apparatus which the inquiry may require), we shall have sufficient continuity between hypotheses and things to do away with miracle, and sufficient reconstruction to avoid inference that is trifling.

It is, however, the second contribution of analytic logic that is the basis of the enthusiasm over its prospective value for other sciences. This is the discovery that terms and propositions, sense-data, and univer-

( 110) sals, are not only elements of logical operation but are the simple, neutral elements at large which science is supposed to have been seeking. " As the botanist analyzes the structures of the vegetable organism and finds chemical compounds of which they are built so the ordinary chemist analyzes these compounds into their elements, but does not analyze these. The physical chemist analyzes these elemental atoms, as now appears, into minuter components which he in turn must leave to the mathematicians and logicians further to analyze."[17]

Again it is worth noting that this mutation of logical into ontological elements seems to differ only " in position " from the universal logicism of absolute idealism.

What are these simple elements into which the mathematician and logician are to analyze the crude elements of the laboratory? And how are these elements to be put into operation in the laboratory? Let us picture an analytic logician meeting a physical scientist at a moment when the latter is distressed over the unmanageable complexity of his elements. Will the logician say to the scientist: "Your difficulty is that you are trusting too much to your mundane apparatus. The kingdom of truth cometh not with such things. Forsake your microscopes, test tubes, refractors and resonators, and follow me, and you shall behold the truly simple elements of which you have dreamed."? And when the moment of revelation arrives and the

(111) expectant scientist is solemnly told that the " simple elements " which he has sought so long are " terms and propositions," sense-data and universals, is it surprising that he does not seem impressed? Will he not ask: " What am I to do with these in the specific difficulties of my laboratory? Shall I say to the crude and complex elements of my laboratory operations : ' Be ye re-solved into terms and propositions, sense-data and universals ' ; and will they forthwith obey this incantation and fall apart so that I may locate and remove the hidden source of my difficulty? Are you not mocking me and deceiving yourself with the old ontological argument? Your ' simple' elements—are they anything but the hypostatized process by which elements may be found? " [18]

The expounders as well as the critics of analytic logic have agreed that it reaches its most critical junction when it faces the problem of truth and error. There is no doubt that the logic of objective idealism, in other respects so similar to analytic logic, has at this point an advantage; for it retains just enough of the finite operation of knowing-an " infinitesimal " part will answer—to furnish the culture germs of error. But analytic logic having completely sterilized itself against this source of infection is in serious difficulty.

Here again it is Professor Holt who has the courage to follow—or shall we say " behold "?—his theory as it " generates " the doctrine that error is a given objective opposition of forces entirely independent of

( 112) any such thing as a process of inquiry and all that such a process presupposes. " All collisions between bodies, all inference between energies, all process of warming and cooling, of starting and stopping, of combining and separating, all counter-balancings, as in cantilevers and gothic vaultings, are contradictory forces which can be stated only in propositions that manifestly contradict each other."[19] But the argument proves too much. For in the world of forces to which we have here appealed there is no force which is not opposed by others and no particle which is not the center of opposing forces. Hence error is ubiquitous. In making error objective we have made all objectivity erroneous. We find our-selves obliged to say that the choir of Westminster Abbey, the Brooklyn bridge, the heads on our shoulders are all supported by logical errors !

Following these illustrations of ontological contra-dictions there is indeed this interesting statement : " Nature is so full of these mutually negative processes that we are moved to admiration when a few forces co-operate long enough to form what we call an organ-ism."[20] The implication is, apparently, that as an " opposition" of forces is error, " cooperation" of forces is truth. But what is to distinguish " opposition " from " cooperation "? In the illustration it is clear that opposing forces—error—do not interfere with cooperative forces-truth. Where should we find more counterbalancing, more starting and stopping, warming and cooling, combining and separating

(113) than in an organism? And if these processes can be stated only in propositions that are ºmanifestly contradictory," are we to under-stand that truth has errors for its constituent elements? Such paradoxes have always delighted the soul of absolute idealism. But, as we have seen, only the veil of an infinitesimal finitude intervenes between the logic of the objective universal of absolute idealism and the objective logic of analytic realism.

It is, of course, this predicament regarding objective truth and error that has driven most analytic logicians to recall the exiled psycho-logical, "mental " act of knowing. It had to be recalled to provide some basis of distinction between truth and error, but, this act having already been conceived as incurably " subjective," the result is only an exchange of dilemmas. For the reinstatement of this act ipso facto reinstates the epistemological predicament to get rid of which it was first banished from logic.

Earnest efforts to escape this outcome have been made by attaching the act of knowing to the nervous system, and this is a move in the right direction. But so far the effort has been fruitless because no connection has been made between the knowing function of the nervous system and its other functions. The result is that the cognitive operation of the nervous system, as of the " psychical " mind, is that of a mere spectator ; and the epistemological problem abides. An onlooking nervous system has no advantage over an " onlooking " mind. Onlooking, beholding may indeed

( 114) be a part of a genuine act of knowing. But in that act it is always a stimulus or response to other acts. It is one of them ;—never a mere spectator of them. It is when the act of knowing is cut off from its connection with other acts and finds itself adrift that it seeks metaphysical lodgings. And this it may find either in an empty psychical mind or in an equally empty body.[21]

If, in reinstating the act of knowing as a function of the nervous system, neo-realism had recognized the logical significance of the fact that the nervous system of which knowing is a function is the same nervous system of which loving and hating, desiring and striving are functions and that the transition from these to the operations of inquiry and knowing is not a capricious jump but a transition motived by the loving and hating, desiring and striving—if this had been recognized the logic of neo-realism would have been spared its embarrassments over the distinction of truth

( 115) and error. It would have seen that the passage from loving and hating, desiring and striving to inquiry and knowing is made in order to renew and re-form specific desires and strivings which, through conflict and consequent equivocation, have become fruitless and vain; and it must have seen that the results of the inquiry are true or false as they succeed or fail in this reformation and renewal.

But once more, it must steadily be kept in view that while the loving and hating, desiring and striving, which the logical operations are reforming and renewing, are functions of the nervous system, they are not functions of the nervous system alone, else the door of subjectivism again closes upon us. Loving and hating, desiring and striving have their " objects." Hence any reformation of these functions involves no less a reformation of their objects. When therefore we say that truth and error are relevant to desires and strivings, this means relevant to them as including their objects, not as entitized processes (such are the pitfalls of language) inclosed in a nervous system or mind. With this before us the relevance of truth and error to desires and strivings can never be made the basis for the charge of subjectivism. The conception of desires as peculiarly individual and subjective is a survival of the very isolation which is the source of the difficulty with truth and error. Hence the appeal to this isolation, made alike by idealism and real-ism, in charging instrumental logic with subjectivism is an elementary petitio.

Doubtless it will be urged again that the act of

( 116) knowing is motived by an independent desire and striving of its own. This is of course consonant with the neo-realistic atomism, however inconsonant it may be with the conception of implication which it employs. If we take a small enough, isolated segment of experience we can find meaning for this notion, as we may for the idea that the earth is flat and that the sun moves around the earth. But as consequences accrue we find as great difficulties with the one as with the other. If the course of events did not bring us to book, if we could get off with a mere definition of truth and error we might go on piling up subsistential definitional logics world without end. But sublime adventurers, logically unregenerate and uninitiated, will go on sailing westward to the confusion and confounding of all definitional systems that leave them out of account.

The conclusion is plain. If logic is to have room in its household for' both truth and error, if it is to avoid the old predicament of knowledge that is trifling or miraculous, tautologous or false, if it is to have no fear of the challenge of other sciences or of practical life, it must be content to take for its subject-matter the operations of intelligence conceived as real acts on the same metaphysical plane and in strictest continuity with other acts. Such a logic will not fear the challenge of science, for it is precisely this continuity that makes possible experimentation, which is the fundamental characteristic of scientific procedure. Science without experiment is indeed a strange apparition. It is a logos with no legein, a science

( 117) with no scire; and this spells dogmatism. How necessary such continuity is to experimentation is apparent when we recall that there is no limit to the range of operations of every sort which scientific experiment calls into play; and that unless there be thoroughgoing continuity between the logical demand of the experiment and all the materials and devices employed in the process of the experiment, the operations of the latter in the experiment will be either miraculous or ruinous.

Finally, if this continuity of the operations of intelligence with other operations be essential to science, its relation to " practical " life is ipso facto established. For science is " practical " life aware of its problems and aware of the part that experimental—i.e., creative—intelligence plays in the solution of those problems.


  1. Cf. Studies in Logical Theory, Chs. I and II, by Dewey; also "Epistemology and Mental States," Tufts, Phil. Rev., Vol. VI, which deserves to rank as one of the early documents of the "experimental" movement.
  2. Cf. "The Definition of the Psychical," G. H. Mead, Decennial Publications of the University of Chicago.
  3. Cf. The 'Logic of Hegel-Wallace, p. 117.
  4. Bosanquet's Logic, 2nd Ed., p. 171. The identification of induction and procedure by hypothesis occurs on p. 156.
  5. Ibid., p. 14 (italics mine).
  6. Perhaps the most complete exhibition of the breakdown of formal logic considered as an account of the operation of thought apart from its subject-matter is to be found in Schiller's Format Logic.
  7. Cf. Stuart on " Valuation as a Logical Process " in Studies in Logical Theory.
  8. The New Realism, pp. 40-41.
  9. Cf. Montague, pp. 256-57; also Russell, The Problems of Philosophy, pp. 27-65-66, et passim; and Holt's Concept of Consciousness, pp, 14ff., discussed below.
  10. Cf. Angell, "Relations of Psychology to Philosophy," Decennial Publications of University of Chicago, Vol. III; also Castro, " The Respective Standpoints of Psychology and Logic," Philosophic Studies, University of Chicago, No. 4.
  11. I am here following, in the main, Professor Holt because he alone appears to have had the courage to develop the full con-sequences of the premises of analytic logic.
  12. The Concept of Consciousness, pp. 14-15.
  13. It is interesting to compare this onlooking act with the ac-count of consciousness further on. As "psychological" this act of onlooking must be an act of consciousness. But consciousness is a cross-section or a projection of things made by their inter-action with a nervous system. Here consciousness is a function of all the interacting factors. It is in the play. It is the play. It is not in a spectator's box. How can consciousness be a function of all the things put into the cross-section and yet be a mere beholder of the process? Moreover, what is it that makes any particular, spectacle, or cross-section "logical"? If it be said all are "logical" what significance has the term?
  14. Cf. Russell's Scientific Methods in Philosophy, p. 59.
  15. Holt, op. cit., pp. 128-30.
  16. In fact, Newton, in all probability, had the Cartesian pure notions in mind.
  17. Holt, op. cit., p. 118 (italics mine). Cf. also Perry's Present Philosophical Tendencies, pp. 108 and 311.
  18. The character of elements and the nature of simplicity have been discussed in the preceding section.
  19. Ibid., p. 275.
  20. Ibid., p. 275.
  21. This lack of continuity between the cognitive function of the nervous system and its other functions accounts for the strange paradox in the logic of neo-realism of an act of knowing which is "subjective" and yet is the act of so palpably an objective affair as a nervous system. The explanation is that the essence of all deprecated subjectivity is, as before pointed out, functional isolation. That this sort of subjectivity should be identified with the " psychical" is not strange, since a living organism is very difficult to isolate, while the term " psychical," in its metaphysical sense, seems to stand for little else than just this complete isolation. Having once appealed to the nervous system it seems incredible that the physiological continuity of its functions with each other and with its environment should not have suggested the logical corollary. Only the force of the prepossession of mathematical atomism in analytic logic can account for its failure to do so.

Valid HTML 4.01 Strict Valid CSS2