Contemporary American Philosophy[1]

Frank Thilly

THE contemporary philosophies of the United States are largely characterized by their opposition to traditional idealism and their interest in the problem of knowledge, which is in many cases interpreted as a problem of action. The new movements derive their inspiration from the methods and results of natural science and seek, not always successfully, to avoid the metaphysical presuppositions of the older schools. The time-honored question of consciousness becomes the subject of their story, in the course of which we find the mind progressively stripped of its former qualities and functions until little is left of it but the name. Its requiem is sung by behaviorism and its emaciated form finally given over to materialism, the laughing heir, to be burned. An old trait of philosophy, however, remains: the new schools meet with vigorous criticism from each other as well as from the camp of speculative idealism against which they offer a united front. The interest in the problems though often narrow is always keen; and never before have our philosophical printing presses turned out such a mass of painstaking works as are being published in our country today. If it is true that war is the father of all things, we may confidently look forward to an era of fertility hitherto unknown in our brief intellectual history.

Let us turn first to the so-called realistic schools, both of which, in the new fashion, have published volumes representing their respective coöperative labors. 'Critical' realism follows largely in the wake of the older epistemologies, employing, however, a new and sometimes confusing terminology, which often leads one to forget that one is face to face with old acquaintances. Like the bygone realisms and idealisms, which were all more or less `critical'—giving reasons for their faith,-the new critical realism carries the materials of a working philosophy in its kit: objects known, mental states, and the intermediary processes, such as ether waves, sense organs, and brain-processes, the mental states

( 523) being generally reduced to epiphenomena. In order that there may be knowledge, something must be given; the nature of the object is said to be reflected in consciousness, given in sense or in thought: this revelation or symbol is the datum, quality-complex, character-complex, or essence. These qualities must have a bearer, for they must be somewhere even when they are not felt: `the mental state' is such a bearer or vehicle of data. We seem to have here the tenuous ghost of the old soul-substance, many of whose functions it performs: indeed, we even find it endowed with causal efficacy.[2] The knower is confined to the data, the appearances or phenomena, to use the old language; he can never literally inspect the existent which he affirms and claims to know: the objects themselves do not get within our consciousness: between us all is "the unplumb'd, salt, estranging sea."[3] And so far as one can see, the theory can never bring us back to the solid land from which we stepped into its ship, but our faith in it is firm. We instinctively feel the appearance to be the character of real objects; the qualities are "imagined out there." We have the instinctive and irresistible feeling that what we have given, what we are aware of, is the object known itself. Moreover, pragmatism comes to our aid: we react to these data or qualities as if they had existence of their own. Everything is as if realism were true; and the as if is so strong that we may consider our instinctive and actually unescapable belief pragmatically justified.

According to Santayana we become conscious of a datum; or the appearance becomes a datum by a leap of intuition from the state of the living organism to the consciousness of some essence; and by another leap of faith and of action from the symbol actually given in sense or in thought to some ulterior existing object [4] we instinctively feel these appearances to be the character of real objects. Or, the datum is directly affirmed of the outer reality by an irresistible act of faith or action, or by the very pressure and suggestion of our experience. Have we not here a

( 524) desperate effort to get the phenomena back again to their noumenal base, of which they were assumed to be the reflections in the first place?

And now as to the relevancy of the data: it is said that they must represent the character of the object "in some measure." [5] The object affirmed and intended is known in terms of the content presented to the knowing self. According to some critical realists, the content is relevant to the object in the sense that it contains its structure, position, and changes. "The content of knowledge offers us the fundamental categories, such as time, space, structure, relations, and behavior, in terms of which we think the world."[6] That is, more simply, knowledge is the recognized possession by the mind of the `form' of the thing.[7] But how can we reach the form of the thing itself if the percipient can never get beyond the datum, if the gates to the existent physical object are closed to him? It is true, we are assured that what we perceive, conceive, remember, think of, is the outer object itself; but are we not also told that we have immediately present only subjective content? How can we know that the conception of our data, of our subjective content, in terms of categories, form, law, corresponds to the real world, the system of electrons, for example, which is never perceived by us? Besides, there is no agreement in the school as to what the essences really include; according to some of its members they embrace all possible qualities, primary, secondary, and tertiary; according to others, only some of the primary qualities.

We also find the teaching that essences have independent ideal existence, live in an independent logical sphere; they are not perceived but thought; they are universals, meanings; they become objects of intuition by accident. Even though these universals be derived from the data by the activity of thought, is it not fair to ask who or what does the thinking? In the last analysis Santayana explains them, as he explains all mental life, as the result of brain processes, as epiphenomena. The ideal logical realm in which philosophies are constructed, in which the

(525) leaps of intuition, faith, and action arrive, is an appearance of the nervous system. And yet this shadow-land of meaning which makes thought cognitive, also makes it practical. Intent is a mystery; it is not a mechanical force but an ideal pointing; and yet it is practical. How is this mystery solved? Behaviorism furnishes the answer: when thought is embodied in language, it becomes an agent in the physical world: the chasm between the symbol and the physical object is bridged by means of language, which is physical, but which like the Greek horse secretly carries meanings into the enemy's camp. We are deftly steered away from interactionism by such phrases as "thought supervenes," "language is merely an overflow of the physical basis of thought."[8] We are also told that science gives the mind dominion over matter by discovery of its form; thought is a part of nature but mechanically helpless; nevertheless ideas in a certain sense become directive in a mechanistic universe when they are conscious. How all this is possible on the theory of epiphenomenalism is a mystery.

The complaint has been lodged against the epistemologies of the past that they presuppose systems of metaphysics ; and there has been a persistent demand for a 'voraussetzungslose Erkenntnistheorie,' a demand which our critical realists can hardly be said to have heeded. The neo-realists openly reject it; indeed, they insist on the emancipation of metaphysics from epistemology, declaring that the nature of things cannot be found in the nature of knowledge.[9] They reject all philosophies in which metaphysics is sharply divorced from the special sciences philosophies which make facts and laws of science dead abstractions, mere instrumental artifacts. Analysis is the method which will lead us to knowledge. It may be said, however, that their logic plays into the hands of their metaphysics and vice versa, as was also the case with Hegel; only, the logical method and the philosophy in harmony with it differ in these two schools. For the new realist the cosmos is an analyzable collection of static parts, while for Hegel, the old realist, it is a synthetic process of evolution. For

( 526) both the universe is physical and logical. The new realists accord full ontological status to things of thought (subsistences) as well as to physical entities (existences) ; things are real which do not exist, for to exist means to be in space and time. Hegel unites them in the living, acting, evolving Begriff, the concrete universal.

The new realists, then, presuppose a physical world of existences and a logical world of subsistences, both being real and analyzable into simples; analysis, however, does not destroy its object. Not only are the individual things independent of their being known, but the relations in which they stand to each other in no way change the object; that is, relations are external. This teaching follows as a logical consequence of the fact that a term, a concept, is eternally what it is, regardless of its relations. Therefore, relations, like objects, must be independent of knowing; and knowing can make no difference to the entity known and is not causally related to it. Moreover, the same object may belong to both the physical world and consciousness: its relation to consciousness does not change it. Analysis and conception are a means of access to reality: the reality is in-dependent of the knowing it.

For this theory, says Spaulding, everything that can be known, or even not known, is a reality: not only physical things and mental processes, but universal truths, ideals, values, concepts, morality. Anything that can be thought, known, implied, imagined, even dreams, illusions and the like, are real, because all, as knowable, as concepts, are realities.[10] It would seem that the new realist gets rid of a whore host of problems by relegating the entire ideal, non-physical realm to the limbo of subsistence, which is real but does not exist in space and time: it belongs with the same cosmos as the physical only in that, tike this, it can be known. The knower that knows logical constants also belongs with it, and may itself be known as the things that it knows, and analyzed. Moreover, cognition must take its place within the same plane as space, number, physical nature: when

( 527) knowledge takes place, there is a knower interacting with things. In other wards, we have a knower that not only knows physical things and their relations, thinks logically, analyzes and synthetizes, constructs theories of science, but sits in judgment upon knowing, knows knowing just as it is. [11]

We have here a distinctly idealistic note, a note not at all out of harmony with epistemological realism as such: it is realistic in the sense that objects known are neither modified nor created by the act of knowing, and that no underlying reality is required to mediate the relationship between knowing and the object. By objects is meant anything that can be known, among them being included not only physical things but the whole world of concepts, thoughts as well as the thinker himself that knows them. This would leave the problem of the knower, of consciousness, of the mind, an open question; but the school proceeds to settle it by means of its one-sided method of analysis and the metaphysics which inevitably results from it. The knower which embraces all things known in its horizon must perforce itself be reduced to its lowest terms in order to satisfy the demands of science, which raises doubts against the fiction of a soul. Woodbridge declares that if we accept the conception of mind which flourished in the idealistic philosophies, it will be futile to assault the logical structure of idealism. We are therefore compelled to reduce consciousness to a state of 'innocuous desuetude': it must be either an object or a relation between objects in the realistic cosmos; for Woodbridge it is a relation. Just as things are held together in space, so they are held together in consciousness; only, in the continuum of consciousness they are held together in relations of meaning. Indeed, these connections hold them together: objects thus become representative of each other; in consciousness bread, for example, means nourishment, water the quenching of thirst. Consciousness is, therefore, nothing but such a `meaningful' relation between objects; they are connected here in such a peculiar way as to become known. That is, when objects enter consciousness, meaning is added. We are also told that consciousness becomes' aware of objects because of

( 528) their meanings: when the linkage of meanings is destroyed, awareness diminishes.[12]

This account of consciousness is nothing more than a statement of the fact that objects take on meaning in consciousness, that meaning is added: they acquire these meanings in virtue of being in consciousness together. They do not acquire them from consciousness; consciousness simply becomes aware of the meanings. And awareness of a fact is identical with awareness of it as meaning something: awareness is the manifold and irresistible meaning-connections which the things in the conscious situation have. Does this mean anything more than that to become aware of things is to become aware of what they mean; and that we should not become aware of things unless they meant something? Assuming all this to be true, is the story ended? Is it foolish to ask what it is that objects slip into and out of when they slip into and out of consciousness, and come out of as clean as they went in? Is it not proper to inquire how the meanings are added and subtracted in the slipping process, and where they come from? We do get an answer to these questions: consciousness is a function of the brain. Consciousness, we are told by Woodbridge, does not connect anything, synthetize anything; events get connected in the organism, and there arises this peculiar awareness of the connection. In other words, the highly differentiated organism is acted upon and acts upon the environment: this interaction is sensation, which is a natural event. Awareness of the sensation and its implications arises as a product of all these conditions; how we do not know. That is, awareness of the sensation is a relation of the organism to the stimulus, nothing more; the mystery of consciousness is supposed to be solved.

We are left here with the problem of consciousness unanswered; we receive no help by being told that it is a relation between an external stimulus and the nervous system. And Montague carries us no further: he simply develops the conception a little

( 529) more scientifically. He accepts only one system of realities, the realities of space and time; there is no supernatural and super-spatial world. Consciousness is just a relation existing in a material world along with other relations; and like them it is describable ultimately in terms of the basic relation of space and time. It is finally explained in terms of potential energy in the brain: "when the potential energy at a nerve center is greater than the inflowing kinetic energy which is its cause, there exists a consciousness of the quality of that energy."[13] Here, again, we fail to obtain the slightest insight into the nature and meaning of consciousness; we receive instead a theory of its physiological basis or origin.

It must be pointed out in conclusion that the conception of consciousness as a relation between objects is by no means a necessary consequence of epistemological realism as such. The realist McGilvary, for example, defines consciousness as a "way of being felt together," a way of being experienced together, which must be taken at its face value. The way of being felt together is distinct from all other ways of togetherness; it is an ultimate fact not to be identified with anything else.[14] It is at this point that the way is opened to a real understanding of the problem of consciousness.

We come now to John Dewey, in whom the spirit of revolt is more vigorous and far-reaching than in any of his contemporaries. He utters his plague on both our traditional houses of rationalism and empiricism as well as on all the theories which conceive the universe in analogy with the cognitive side of human nature, whether as a mechanism or as a sensational or conceptual system. He protests against reducing man's beliefs, aversions, affections, to mere subjective impressions or effects on consciousness, to mere epiphenomena or appearances; against a block-universe, in which need, uncertainty, choice, and novelty would have no place. His chief concern is with human life and its interests, its values, and its works: "Greift nurhinein ins volle Menschen-

( 530) leben, und wo ihr's packt, da ist es interessant!" It is for this reason that his influence has spread far beyond his class-room; indeed, pragmatism, often in a distorted form, has become the most popular American philosophy of the day.

Dewey rejects what he calls the "idealistic fallacy," the view that knowing is the sole and genuine experiencing, that things are just and exclusively what they are known to be, a view which, he thinks, would make reflective thinking with logic as its norm the standard for experiential, religious, aesthetic, industrial, and social objects. Equally unsatisfactory to him is a philosophy which sets up intuition, immediate insight, mystical certainty of the real, and religious experience as a higher kind of knowledge. Against them all he places his own basal thesis that things are what they are experienced as, and that to give a just account of anything is to tell what a thing is experienced as. This is what he calls his unsophisticated realism; and the method of taking things in this unsophisticated way, as a starting-point, remember,-simply, directly, impartially,—is the genuine critical method, is critical empiricism. Now we not merely know things but experience them as desired and undesired, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, as just what they are; we !ove, hate, desire, fear, believe, and deny. We have to do here with active performances to and about things, with acceptances and rejections of things, with organic attitudes and dispositions.[15]

This critical method is applied to truth itself. We must frankly start out from the fact of thinking as inquiring, and purely external existences as terms of inquiry; and we must construe validity and truth on the basis of what they actually mean and do. We find that a meaning is true so far as it is tested through action that carries it to successful completion. "We call it verification when we regard it as a process, when the development of the idea is strung out and exposed to view in all that makes it true. As a process telescoped and condensed we call it truth." What Dewey tells us here is that an hypothesis that explains the facts or is verified, has been carried to successful completion and is accepted as true. In this sense the utility of

( 531) the idea is the test of its truth. This thought is universalized to mean: human thinking satisfies human purposes, desires, it is an instrument in the service of the will, and its success in satisfying the will is its end and test. The finalities (atoms, concepts, God), therefore, have existence and import only as problems, needs, struggles, and instrumentalities of conscious agents and patients.[16] All this is true if it is not forgotten that among the human purposes is the will to know, to understand, to explain experience,----the immediate experience, for example, of seeing the sun move. And Dewey's entire system is based upon this old conception of truth: the thinker must report experiences just as they are, impartially; he must distinguish between the different kinds of experiencing and put them into the classes where they belong, not where he would like to have them belong. And as an epistemologist he seeks to tell the old truth about the entire knowledge-situation, for "thinking with logic as its norm"guides him in the construction of his theory of knowledge.

The same old-fashioned thinking is employed by our philosopher in his study of the value-situation: he must report our value-experiences just as they are. There are immediate goods or values,-objects are wanted, desired, striven for,—and there are principles by which they may be appraised, regulated, and verified. That is, there are goods de facto, desired goods, and goods de jure, reasonable, desirable, `real' goods. Conscience in morals, taste in the fine arts, convictions in belief pass insensibly into critical judgments. Knowledge is a means of illuminating and justifying goods, of liking and choosing knowingly, that is, in responsible and informed ways instead of ignorantly and fatalistically. The question at once arises: by what principles are our likings to be judged; what are these responsible and informed ways in which the likings must express themselves? What are the conditions and consequences which will help us to like them more? The rationalist's summum bonum in morals is said to be an abstraction while would-be naturalism's appeal to the strongest desire would land us in nihilism. Whither, then, shall we turn for a criterion of the desirable, the real goods?

( 532) It is held that we learn their bearing by applying them, by seeking to realize their intent, their meaning: the better is what will do more in the way of liberating and increasing likings, values, of making goods more secure, more coherent, more significant in appreciation. In other words, the test of a liking is its capacity to free, increase, and secure other likings, that is all. Santayana's judgment that Dewey is "an inveterate naturalist" would thus seem to be well founded.[17] It might also appear that he is the philosopher par excellence of twentieth century Philistinism : now that "the requisite tools of physics, physiology, and economics are at hand," he tells us, the work of criticism can be begun. This would be a mistaken judgment, however. We must not forget that Dewey the naturalist is also a sincere and ardent social idealist and a thorough-going optimist. "Social reform," he insists, "is conceived in a philistine spirit if it is taken to mean anything less than precisely the liberation and expansion of the meanings of which experience is capable. Nothing but the best, the richest, and the fullest experience is good enough for man." Positive concrete goods of science, art and social companionship are the basic subject-matter of philosophy as criticism; and only because such positive goods already exist is their emancipation and secured extension the defining aim of intelligence. The fact is that Dewey does not carry naturalism to its logical, materialistic conclusion because he has an abiding faith in human nature. This is what Santayana must mean when he characterizes his naturalism as "half-hearted and short-winded" and defines his attitude as "essentially a moral attitude or lay religion," or as a transcendental moralism. Indeed, it is not only in his practical philosophy that Dewey betrays his heritage: his entire conception of experience as experiencing reveals an idealistic flavor, for after all it is his psychology which supplies him with knowledge of the behavior of experience, of the knowing, feeling, willing acts or attitudes found in experience.

Indeed, there is something half-hearted in nearly all the new philosophies which have been described in the preceding pages. We note this, for example, in the apologetic treatment of mind or

( 533) consciousness, which played such a leading role in the systems against which protest is now being raised. Mind has fallen from its high estate and is reduced to a mere relation between objects. The next step in its declining career would seem to be its elimination from serious discussion as either useless or non-existent; and this step is taken by the new science of behaviorism. It rejects the method of introspection and makes sensori-motor action, "human action and human conduct as a mechanical function of the environment and the reaction system," its object-matter. "To assume that these reactions are accompanied by consciousness," says Weiss, "is no more helpful in understanding behavior than it is to assume that if we knew whether atoms in a chemical reaction actually experience affinity, valence, warmth, cold, etc., we could explain chemical reactions." The behaviorist studies the stimuli and situations which act upon man and " the reactions which result from the operation of these stimuli upon a nervous system having certain acquired and inherited characteristics." Only in this way shall we reach objective, accurate, and verifiable results.[18]

In his article, "A Behavioristic View of Purpose," Perry has made a thoroughgoing attempt to apply the behavioristic method in the field of purposive human conduct.[19] He points out that behaviorism does not abandon consciousness but only the introspective theory of consciousness: "it regards the animal reflex or habit as a more elementary phenomenon than an introspectively discriminated intensity." Instinct and complex are organic dispositions or systematic arrangements which condition specific modes of performance. What is called purpose is likewise just the particular set or tendency or disposition of an organism. Determination by the future does not mean determination by an antecedently existing idea of a future result but the action of a present disposition that is correlated with future consequences. It is the set of the nervous mechanism

( 534) that is responsible for the action which we call teleological, intelligent.

It seems plain that the entire behavioristic enterprise would be impossible if there were no consciousness to fall back upon at every step; and we are not surprised that some members of the school hesitate to abandon it. The behaviorist translates into terms of nervous disposition and action what he believes to be taking place in an actual conscious situation, in which the agent observes, thinks, plans, contrives. The behaviorist is himself a thinking, contriving animal, and knows how he goes about solving practical problems: otherwise there would be no behavioristic theory of human conduct. Even if he were able to do without a consciousness as an active factor in conduct, he would still need it as a fund to draw upon to meet his obligations as a behaviorist.

This, however, would not prevent us from studying action from the outside or from calling acts of adjustment intelligent in a Pickwickian sense, as we might do in the case of a plant or even of a machine. Perry sticks to this text when he declares that the introspective psychologist regards mind as something that supervenes, while the behaviorist regards it as something that intervenes as an arc or circuit of the general causal nexus. Intelligence is for him an observable fact, in this sense. If this is so, we ask with Lovejoy, what are the observable facts in the case of the planning action in which we find entities which are not real parts of the material world? A past or possible future state of the material world is not at the moment when it is represented in the experience of the planner a part of the real material world. The content of my memories or expectations is not as such present in the existing bodies and objects, not a part of the general causal nexus. Nothing, however, will prevent the behaviorist from fishing in dark waters; he has his neural sets to fall back on: whatever is revealed in consciousness will be translated into terms of the intervening arc.

In behaviorism consciousness, mind, either finds its occupation gone or gives up the ghost. Similar tendencies to depreciate consciousness have already been noted in other philosophies of the day; and it is not surprising that the charge of materialism

( 535) has been lodged against many of their representatives.[20] It is hard to justify such an indictment because the new materialisms, like their nineteenth-century ancestors, are not rigorously developed systems of metaphysics. We may, however, characterize as naturalistic the theories which identify conscious intelligent action with mere neural sets and neural adjustments as well as those which explain consciousness as the effect of the mechanism of the brain. To regard the living human organism as the locus of consciousness is not materialism unless the organism is in turn reduced to a mere physical mechanical system.

Among the critical realists Sellars and Santayana have been singled out as fair targets in the camp of materialism. For Sellars consciousness is one variant of the cortex of the brain, neural activity being the other; psychical entities are peculiar characteristics of the neural wholes and inseparable from them. "Consciousness is the brain become conscious." It is existentially present to that part of the cortex which is functioning, and the brain's space is its space. Both parallelism and interactionism are rejected in name, apparently in order to satisfy science; and the problem is craftily solved by letting the variant consciousness "literally assist the brain to meet new situations": it surveys, selects, combines, and guides behavior. So far we have nothing but a soft-speaking but full-fledged interactionist dualism. In order, however, to make such assistance possible, consciousness becomes an extended manifold, evidently on the principle that the `assisting' cause must be like its effect. We are finally frankly told that "consciousness is physical and extended, but is not a spatial part of the brain." [21] This is, of course, a consistent materialism; it saves the soul by making it an inseparable physical assistant of the brain: consciousness can do nothing without neural action, and in certain cases neural action can do nothing without consciousness. But in that case must not this physical and extended consciousness be a part of the universal mechanical system, and if so, how can it be a `variant' except as the ether-wave is a variant from the air-wave?

( 536)

Santayana, too, has been ranked among the materialists. It is true, his essences are ideal, not mechanistic; they are neither states of the mind nor physical existences but meanings. Nevertheless, they are the products of organic processes, automatically generated by them,—the product of structure in the world, — epi-phenomena; and by themselves they are mechanically helpless. And it is only through "the overflow of the physical basis of thought," as we have seen, that they can become efficient in the mechanical universe. But if these ideal essences are part and parcel of the universe and can become helpful by their mere presence to the physical basis of thought, how can the universe be a mere mechanical system? And if the universe is such a mechanical system, how shall we account for the ideal essences; how can they be automatically generated by organic processes? If Santayana is a materialist, he is only a half-hearted one; he refuses to sacrifice his essences to the system.

It would be a laborious task to attempt a classification of the various neo-realists with respect to their materialistic leanings. The whole spirit of the school with its non-physical world of subsistences, its universe of thought and meaning, it seems to me, is opposed to a mere mechanistic interpretation of reality. Two souls, however, are lodged in its corporate heart: it has a wholesome respect for the logical entities and an abiding trust in natural science. We hear that the knower, which as known belongs to the sphere of subsistence, is also some variety of agency homogeneous with the environment, on the same plane as space, number, physical nature. That is, the thinker is of the earth earthy but his thoughts are in the non-physical land of thoughts, and both dwell together in the same cosmos of knowableness. Then there is the teaching that consciousness is a relation between objects, which has a materialistic sound; but it is sometimes merely intended as a non-committal way of saying that in consciousness objects have meanings, which is itself a bare statement of fact and merely opens up the whole problem. To other realists, however, it means that consciousness is a relation between the organism and the physical energies, as has already been pointed out in the case of Montague, whose doctrine may fairly be called materialistic, or energistic. But

( 537) even here potential energy spends its idle hours by becoming conscious, and brings a rift into the mechanistic lute.

And now, in conclusion, what shall we say of these new philosophies as a whole? They have been characterized as closet-philosophies removed from life and its works, as immersed in specialistic problems and employing a technical terminology that is a hindrance rather than a help, each cooperative group swearing by its official tenets in its specific jargon, like the old scholastic orders. There is some truth in these complaints; they are complaints, however, which are not new in the history of thought. It must not be forgotten that we are living in the reign of Science, and that popular monarchs are always feared and obeyed, be they theological, metaphysical, or positivistic. The new theories seek to make their peace with the new science, and the terms offered by them have often been over-generous. But the enterprise has not been unprofitable, for, after all, the interest has been centered upon the old fundamental questions, which have been honestly examined and discussed, often from new and suggestive angles. And in spite of the most painstaking efforts to explain consciousness away by dressing it in new clothes and giving it new names, it still remains as a fundamental problem. It is, therefore, impossible to ignore the so-called idealistic philosophy, which has itself kept in intelligent touch with all the new movements and does not fail to appreciate the particular contributions which they have made. It, too, begins with the frank recognition of objective reality, accepts the world of objects and of selves as given, and studies the world of experience; indeed, what else could it study? And it finds that to be au object is to stand in relation to a subject, in a judgment-relation. Our objects are always objects of knowledge, and our knowledge is knowledge of objects. Another thing: the knowing attitude is not the only attitude of the person. Mind includes will and purpose; it is teleological, it interprets according to means and ends. The pragmatists are right in emphasizing this phase of consciousness; their error consists in subordinating it to mere practical ends. One of the ends of the mind is just to know, to understand; and such knowing has both practical and theoretical value. Again, analysis is a most important function

( 538) of knowledge, but so is synthesis: the mind aims at unity not only in things but in itself; it cannot remain sane unless it is at one with itself. Neo-realism leaves us with a collection of fragments-physical things, meanings, relations, logical entities-which some one must attempt to put together again. Perhaps its work of destruction in the philosophical China shop has been worth while; at any rate it has left some pieces that can be utilized in the work of reconstruction that is bound to follow. And when pragmatism has performed its mission of emphasizing the importance of life in its larger aspects, it will perhaps tell us haw to live; it will enter the fields of art and literature and politics and ethics and point us to a new culture and real civilization. This is what the great thinkers from Plato down have attempted to do for us; their efforts may be failures but what better has pragmatism to put in their place? Life is too short for us to learn in a life-time by our own individual experience what to do even with the pragmatic yard-stick in our hands. Do we not need a Moses to lead us out of the wilderness?



  1. Read at the Sixth International Congress of Philosophy, at Harvard University. September 13-17, 1926.
  2. Essays in Critical Realism: A Cooperative Study of the Problem of Knowledge, 1920, p.27.
  3. Ibid., pp. 196, 203, 24.
  4. Ibid., p. 183.
  5. Op. cit., p. T98.
  6. Ibid.. pp. 200 f.
  7. Ibid.. p. 218.
  8. Reason in Science, pp. 148, 24.
  9. For the common platform of the school see The New Realism: Cooperative Studies in Philosophy, pp. 1-42.
  10. See Spaulding, The New Rationalism, 1918 ; also: "Postulates of a Self-Critical Epistemology," Phil. Rev., XVIII, pp. 615 ff.
  11. The New Realism, pp. 31 ff.
  12. For Woodbridge see "The Field of Logic." Science, XX, pp. 587 ff.; "Problem of Consciousness," in Studies in Philosophy and Psychology (the Garman volume); "Nature of Consciousness," J. of Phil., II, 119 ff.; "Consciousness and Meaning," Psych. Review, XV, pp. 397 ff.
  13. Montague, "Contemporary Realism and the Problem of Perception," J.of Phil., IV, pp. 374 ff.; "Relational Theory of Consciousness," ibid., II, pp. 39 ff.
  14. "Experience as Pure and Consciousness as Meaning," J. of Phil., VIII, pp. 511 ff.
  15. See Dewey's Experience and Nature; also "Brief Studies in Realism," J.of Phil., VIII, pp. 393 ff., 546 ff.; Influence of Darwin on Philosophy, pp. 242 ff.
  16. See "Intellectualist Criterion of Truth," in Influence of Darwin, etc., pp. 112 ff.
  17. "Santayana, "Dewey's Naturalistic Metaphysics," J. of Phil., XXII,pp. 673 ff.
  18. A.P. Weiss, "The Relation between Physiological Psychology and Behavior Psychology," J. of Phil., XVI, pp. 626 ff.
  19. J. of Phil., XVIII, pp. 85 ff. See also, in criticism of Behaviorism: Lovejoy, "Paradox of the Thinking Behaviorist," Phil, Rev., XIX, pp. 135 ff.; "Pragmatism and the New Materialism," J. of Phil., XIX,pp. 5 ff.; Pratt, " Behaviorism and Consciousness," J. of Phil. pp, 396 ff.
  20. See Lovejoy, "Pragmatism and the New Materialism," and Pratt, The New Materialism," J.of Phil., XIX, pp. 337 ff.
  21. Is Consciousness Physical," J. of Phil., XIX,pp. 690 ff.

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