Rejoinder to Baldwin's Response

If Professor Baldwin really means that he made no attempt - to say what either the individual or society is," I probably did take him too seriously, and my criticisms do not touch even a knob on his harness." I confess I thought he was trying to throw light upon the nature of the individual and of society by use of the genetic method-not their metaphysical nature, but their psychological and empirical nature. Just as the evolutionary zoologist attempts to say what the horse is-not the metaphysical horse (if perchance there be such), but the horse of our common knowledge. If I have gone astray in supposing that Professor Baldwin really had such a serious scientific purpose in view, I cannot take all the blame to myself. Having been told that the "first requisite" is "the concept of the person," that current discussion has often failed from lack of determining this concept, and that Professor Baldwin was about to fill the void, I naturally looked for something of the sort. I still am unable to see how any one can fruitfully discuss " the law of their individual and society] evolution, and by what relation of fact or of implication of each by the other, this law of evolution proceeds," without some determination of the concepts of society and of personality. Indeed, if left to myself (not being sufficiently familiar with Aristotle and Hegel), I confess I should have thought that the chief value of the genetic method was that it enabled us to substitute a scientific statement of the nature of personality and society, and their relations to each other, for a metaphysical one.

Professor Baldwin, in his reply, furnishes some confirmation that my judgment as to the looseness of his writing, is not overdrawn. In his book he said : " He thinks of the other, the alter, as his socius, just as he thinks of himself as the other's socius ; and the only thing that remains more or less stable, throughout the whole growth is the fact that there is a growing sense of self which includes both terms, the ego and the alter. In short, the real self is the bi-polar self, the social self, the socius " (p. 24). This is one of the passages that confused and confounded me-where I had the sense of assisting at an elusive and shifting scene. Afterwards 1 thought T found a key to the shifting; I found evidence of three modes of interpretation of sociality running more or less consistently in their inconsistency throughout the whole book. In my review, I pointed these out. Professor Baldwin now admits, so far as this passage is concerned, that three distinct phases of self-development are involved ; but dismisses the matter with the remark that, ' I while the passages might be better expressed, there is es-


(630) -sentially no inconsistency in these three aspects of development." Well, is there anything whatsoever in the passage, or in its context, to suggest, even remotely, that it is not exactly the same body of fact which is under description throughout? If Mr. Baldwin had realized at the time that he was referring to three stages of growth, would a mere change of phraseology have sufficed ? It is precisely the lack of clear analysis of different phases and stages, the slippery and easy identification of them, the failure to face the exact conditions under which each phase arises and passes into another-it is this to which my criticism refers as his contradictions. I cannot suppress my conviction that a closer contact with, and grip upon, these problems would involve not only considerable rewriting, but considerable rethinking.

In reading Professor Baldwin's book, I was continually confused and perplexed by what (to me) were continually recurring contradictions, as well as vaguenesses. After many readings, I thought I got the key to them. In order to simplify and unify my, critical notice (expressly stating at the outset that I should reverse the ordinary procedure of such reviews), I gave my general criticism before my detailed ones. The former, of course, is simply an inference, a hypothesis of my own, to account for the multitude of specific contradictions found. Be it correct or incorrect, the particular ones still remain. Such a method seemed to be desirable, because Professor Baldwin apparently writes currente calamo; and, as I read him, whatever is uppermost for the moment is said without much reference to what is said elsewhere, in spite of his multitude of references to his own writings. Such writing is almost certain to be suggestive; it is not easy to combine it with a systematic discussion of such an ambitious topic as the evolution of society and the individual and their mutual implications. So in spite of the fact that Professor Baldwin finds my criticisms largely "verbal and logical " (not that to be logical is such a bad thing), my method of statement was due to an attempt to penetrate below the surface of the contradictions, and find, if possible, the key to them. Neither Professor Baldwin nor myself is, of course, the final judge of the success of this attempt.[1]

JOHN DEWEY

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.

Notes

  1. Of course I am pleased that Professor Baldwin finds my New World criticism more satisfactory. I confess that, if possible, I should like to avoid the conclusion that I could spend so much time and thought upon a book, and then almost completely miss its point. As the materials for both reviews were collected at the same time, as in writing the later I did not refer to the book save to verify a few references, and as, in my mind, they were two lines of development of the same fundamental criticism (of the, idea, ultimately, that repetition or multiplication of a private or individual mental content will give sociality), I am not without hopes that in time Professor Baldwin will allow more relevancy to my criticism in this REVIEW.

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