The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy and Other Essays
Chapter 8: Experience and Objective Idealism
IDEALISM as a philosophic system stands in such a delicate relation to experience as to invite attention. In its subjective form, or sensationalism, it claims to be the last word of empiricism. In its objective, or rational form, it claims to make good the deficiencies of the subjective type, by emphasizing the work of thought that supplies the factors of objectivity and universality lacking in sensationalism. With reference to experience as it now is, such idealism is half opposed to empiricism and half committed to it,-antagonistic, so far as existing experience is regarded as tainted with a sensational character; favorable, so far as this experience is even now prophetic of some final, all-comprehensive, or absolute experience, which in truth is one with reality.
That this combination of opposition to present experience with devotion to the cause of experience
(199) in the abstract leaves objective idealism in a position of unstable equilibrium from which it can find release only by euthanasia in a thorough-going empiricism seems evident. Some of the reasons for this belief may be readily approached by a summary sketch of three historic episodes in which have emerged important conceptions of experience and its relation to reason. The first takes us to classic Greek thought. Here experience means the preservation, through memory, of the net result of a multiplicity of particular doings and sufferings; a preservation that affords positive skill in maintaining further practice, and promise of success in new emergencies. The craft of the carpenter, the art of the physician are standing examples of its nature. It differs from instinct and blind routine or servile practice because there is some knowledge of materials, methods, and aims, in their adjustment to one another. Yet the marks of its passive, habitual origin are indelibly stamped upon it. On the knowledge side it can never aspire beyond opinion, and if true opinion be achieved, it is only by happy chance. On the active side it is limited to the accomplishment of a special work or a particular product, following some unjustified, because assumed, method. Thus it contrasts with the true knowledge of reason, which is direct apprehension, self-revealing and self-validating, of an eternal and harmonious content. The regions in which
(200) experience and reason respectively hold sway are thus explained. Experience has to do with production, which, in turn, is relative to decay. It deals with generation, becoming, not with finality, being. Hence it is infected with the trait of relative non-being, of mere imitativeness; hence its multiplicity, its logical inadequacy, its relativity to a standard and end beyond itself. Reason, per contra, has to do with meaning, with significance (ideas, forms), that is eternal and ultimate. Since the meaning of anything is the worth, the good, the end of that thing, experience presents us with partial and tentative efforts to achieve the embodiment of purpose, under conditions that doom the attempt to inconclusiveness. It has, however, its need of reality in the degree in which its results participate in meaning, the good, reason.
From this classic period, then, comes the antithesis of experience as the historically achieved embodiments of meaning, partial, multiple, insecure, to reason as the source, author, and container of meaning, permanent, assured, unified. Idealism means ideality, experience means brute and broken facts. That things exist because of and for the sake of meaning, and that experience gives us meaning in a servile, interrupted, and inherently deficient way-such is the standpoint. Experience gives us meaning in process of be-
( 201) -coming; special and isolated instances in which it happens, temporally, to appear, rather than meaning pure, undefiled, independent. Experience presents purpose, the good, struggling against obstacles, " involved in matter."
Just how much the vogue of modern neo-Kantian idealism, professedly built upon a strictly epistemological instead of upon a cosmological basis, is due, in days of a declining theology, to a vague sense that affirming the function of reason in the constitution of a knowable world (which in its own constitution as logically knowable may be, morally and spiritually, anything you please), carries with it an assurance of the superior reality of the good and the beautiful as well as of the " true," it would be hard to say. Certainly unction seems to have descended upon epistemology, in apostolic succession, from classic idealism; so that neo-Kantianism is rarely without a tone of edification, as if feeling itself the patron of man's spiritual interests in contrast to the supposed crudeness and insensitiveness of naturalism and empiricism. At all events, we find here one element in our problem: Experience considered as the summary of past episodic adventures and happenings in relation to fulfilled and adequately expressed meaning.
The second historic event centers about the controversy of innate ideas, or pure concepts. The issue is between empiricism and rationalism as the-
( 202) -ories of the origin and validation of scientific knowledge. The empiricist is he who feels that the chief obstacle which prevents scientific method from making way is the belief in pure thoughts, not derived from particular observations and hence not responsible to the course of experience. His objection to the " high a priori road " is that it introduces in irresponsible fashion a mode of presumed knowledge which may be used at any turn to stand sponsor for mere tradition and prejudice, and thus to nullify the results of science resting upon and verified by observable facts. Experience thus comes to mean, to use the words of Peirce, " that which is forced upon a man's recognition will-he, nill-he, and shapes his thoughts to something quite different from what they naturally would have taken." The same definition is found in James, in his chapter on Necessary Truths: "Experience means experience of something foreign supposed to impress us whether spontaneously or in consequence of our own exertions and acts." As Peirce points out, this notion of experience as the foreign element that forces the hand of thought and controls its efficacy, goes back to Locke. Experience is " observation employed either about external sensible objects, or about the internal operations of our
(203) minds "-as furnishing in short all the valid data and tests of thinking and knowledge. This meaning, thinks Peirce, should be accepted " as a landmark which it would be a crime to disturb or displace."
The contention of idealism, here bound up with rationalism, is that perception and observation cannot guarantee knowledge in its honorific sense (science) ; that the peculiar differentia of scientific knowledge is a constancy, a universality, and necessity that contrast at every point with perceptual data., and that indispensably require the function of conception. In short, qualitative transformation of facts (data of perception), not their mechanical subtraction and recombination, is the difference between scientific and perceptual knowledge. Here the problem which emerges is, of course, the significance of perception and of conception in respect to experience.
The third episode reverses in a curious manner (which confuses present discussion) the notion of experience as a foreign, alien, coercive material. It regards experience as a fortuitous association, by merely psychic connections, of individualistic states of consciousness. This is due to the Humian development of Locke. The " objects " and " operations," which to Locke were just given and secured in observation, become shifting complexes of subjective sensations and ideas, whose apparent permanency is due to discoverable illusions. This, of course, is the empiricism which made Kant so uneasily toss in his dogmatic slumbers (a tossing that he took for an awakening); and which, by reaction, called out the conception of thought as a function operating both to elevate perceptual data to scientific status, and also to confer objective status, or knowable character, upon even sensational data and their associative combinations. Here emerges the third element in our problem: The function of thought as furnishing
(205) objectivity to any experience that claims cognitive reference or capacity. Summing up the matter, idealism stands forth with its assertion of thought or reason as (1) the sponsor for all significance, ideality, purpose, in experience,-the author of the good and the beautiful as well as the true; (2) the power, located in pure conceptions, required to elevate perceptive or observational material to the plane of science; and (3) the constitution that gives objectivity, even the semblance of order, system, connection, mutual reference, to sensory data that without its assistance are mere subjective flux.
I begin the discussion with the last-named function. Thought is here conceived as a priori, not in the sense of particular innate ideas, but of a function that constitutes the very possibility of any objective experience, any experience involving reference beyond its own mere subjective happening. I shall try to show that idealism is condemned to move back and forth between two inconsistent interpretations of this a priori thought. It is taken to mean both the organized, the regulated, the informed, established character of experience, an order immanent and constitutional; and an agency which organizes, regulates, forms, synthesizes, a power operative and constructive. And the oscillation between and confusion of these two diverse senses is necessary to. Neo-Kantian idealism.
When Kant compared his work in philosophy to that of the men who introduced construction into geometry, and experimentation into physics and chemistry, the point of his remarks depends upon taking the a priori worth of thought in a regulative, directive, controlling sense, thought as consciously, intentionally, making an experience different in a determinate sense and manner. But the point of his answer to Hume consists in taking the a priori in the other sense, as something which
(207) is already immanent in any experience, and which accordingly makes no determinate difference to any one experience as compared with any other, or with any past or future form of itself. The concept is treated first as that which makes an experience actually different, controlling its evolution towards consistency, coherency, and objective reliability; then, it is treated as that which has already effected the organization of any and every experience that comes to recognition at all. The fallacy from which he never emerges consists in vibrating between the definition of a concept as a rule of constructive synthesis in a differential sense, and the definition of it as a static endowment lurking in " mind," and giving automatically a hard and fixed law for the determination of every experienced object. The a priori conceptions of Kant as immanent fall, like the rain, upon the just and the unjust; upon error, opinion, and hallucination. But Kant slides into these a priori functions the preferential values exercised by empirical reflective thought. The concept of triangle, taken geometrically, means doubtless a determinate method of construing space elements; but to Kant it also means something that exists in the mind prior to all such geometrical constructions and that unconsciously lays down the law not only for their conscious elaboration, but also for any space perception, even for that which takes a rectangle to
(208) be a triangle. The first of the meanings is intelligible, and marks a definite contribution to the logic of science. But it is not " objective idealism "; it is a contribution to a revised empiricism. The second is a dark saying.
That organization of some sort exists in every experience I make no doubt. That isolation, discrepancy, the fragmentary, the incompatible, are brought to recognition and to logical function only with reference to some prior existential mode of organization seems clear. And it seems equally clear that reflection goes on with profit only because the materials with which it deals have already some degree of organization, or exemplify various relationships. As against Hume, or even Locke, we may be duly grateful to Kant for enforcing acknowledgment of these facts. But the acknowledgment means simply an improved and revised empiricism.
For, be it noted, this organization, first, is not the work of reason or thought, unless " reason " be stretched beyond all identification; and, secondly, it has no sacrosanct or finally valid and worthful character. (1) Experience always carries with it and within it certain systematized arrangements, certain classifications (using the term without intellectualistic prejudice), coexistent and serial. If we attribute these to " thought " then the structure of the brain of a Mozart which hears and combines
( 209) sounds iii certain groupings, the psycho-physical visual habit of the Greek, the locomotor apparatus of the human body in the laying-out and plotting of space is " thought." Social institutions, established political customs, effect and perpetuate modes of reaction and of perception that compel a certain grouping of objects, elements, and values. A national constitution brings about a definite arrangement of the factors of human action which holds even physical things together in certain determinate orders. Every successful economic process, with its elaborate divisions and adjustments of labor, of materials and instruments, is just such an objective organization. Now it is one thing to say that thought has played a part in the origin and development of such organizations, and continues to have a role in their judicious employment and application; it is another to say that these organizations arc thought, or are its exclusive product. Thought that functions in these ways is distinctively reflective thought, thought as practical, volitional, deliberately exercised for specific aims-thought as an act, an art of skilled mediation. As reflective thought, its end is to terminate its own first and experimental forms, and to secure an organization which, while it may evoke new reflective thinking, puts an end to the thinking that secured the organization. As organizations, as established, effectively controlling ar-
(210) -rangements of objects in experience, their mark is that they are not thoughts, but habits, customs of action.
Moreover, such reflective thought as does intervene in the formation and maintenance of these practical organizations harks back to prior practical organizations, biological and social in nature. It serves to valuate organizations already existent as biological functions and instincts, while, as itself a biological activity, it redirects them to new conditions and results. Recognize, for example, that a geometric concept is a practical locomotor function of arranging stimuli in reference to maintenance of life activities brought into consciousness, and then serving as a center of reorganization of such activities to freer, more varied flexible and valuable forms; recognize this, and we have the truth of the Kantian idea, without its excrescences and miracles. The concept is the practical activity doing consciously and artfully what it had aforetime done blindly and aimlessly, and thereby not only doing it better but opening up a freer world of significant activities. Thought as such a reorganization of natural functions does naturally
(211) what Kantian forms and schematizations do only supernaturally. In a word, the constructive or organizing activity of " thought " does not inhere in thought as a transcendental function, a form or mode of some supra-empirical ego, mind, or consciousness, but in thought as itself vital activity. And in any case we have passed to the idea of thought as reflectively reconstructive and directive, and away from the notion of thought as immanently constitutional and organizational. To make this passage and yet to ignore its existence and import is essential to objective idealism.
(2) No final or ultimate validity attaches to these original arrangements and institutionalizations in any case. Their value is teleological and experimental, not fixedly ontological. " Law and order " are good things, but not when they become rigidity, and create mechanical uniformity or routine. Prejudice is the acme' of the a priori. Of the a priori in this sense we may say what is always to be said of habits and institutions: They are good servants, but harsh and futile masters. Organization as already effected is always in danger of becoming a mortmain; it may be a way of sacrificing novelty, flexibility, freedom, creation to static standards. The curious inefficiency of idealism at this point is evident in the fact that genuine thought, empirical reflective thought, is required
( 212) precisely for the purpose of re-forming established and set formations.
In short, (a) a priori character is no exclusive function of thought. Every biological function, every motor attitude, every vital impulse as the carrying vehicle of experience is thus apriorily regulative in prospective reference; what we call apperception, expectation, anticipation, desire, demand, choice, are pregnant with this constitutive and organizing power. (b) In so far as " thought " does exercise such reorganizing power, it is because thought is itself still a vital function. (c) Objective idealism depends not only upon ignoring the existence and capacity of vital functions, but upon a profound confusion of the constitutional a priori, the unconsciously dominant, with empirically reflective thought. In the sense in which the a priori is worth while as an attribute of thought, thought cannot be what the objective idealist defines it as being. Plain, ordinary, everyday empirical reflections, operating as centers of inquiry, of suggestion, of experimentation, exercise the valuable function of regulation, in an auspicious direction, of subsequent experiences.
The categories of accomplished systematization cover alike the just and the unjust, the false and the true, while (unlike God's rain) they exercise no specific or differential activity of stimulation and control. Error and inefficiency, as well as
( 213) value and energy, are embodied in our objective institutional classifications. As a special favor, will not the objective idealist show how, in some one single instance, his immanent " reason " makes any difference as respects the detection and elimination of error, or gives even the slightest assistance in discovering and validating the truly worthful? This practical work, the life blood of intelligence in everyday life and in critical science, is done by the despised and rejected matter of concrete empirical contexts and functions. Generalizing the issue: If the immanent organization be ascribed to thought, why should its work be such as to demand continuous correction and revision? If specific reflective thought, as empirical, be subject to all the limitations supposed to inhere in experience as such, how can it assume the burden of making good, of supplementing, reconstructing, and developing meanings? The logic of the case seems to be that Neo-Kantian idealism gets its status against empiricism by first accepting the Humian idea of experience, while the express import of its positive contribution is to show the non-existence (not merely the cognitive invalidity) of anything describable as mere states of subjective consciousness. Thus in the end it tends to destroy itself and to make way for a more adequate empiricism.
In the above discussion, I have unavoidably anticipated the second problem: the relation `of conceptual thought to perceptual data. A distinct aspect still remains, however. Perception, as well as apriority, is a term harboring a fundamental ambiguity. It may mean (1) a distinct type of activity, predominantly practical in character, though carrying at its heart important cognitive and esthetic qualities; or (2) a distinctively cognitional experience, the function of observation as explicitly logical-a factor in science qua science. In the first sense, as recent functional empiricism (working in harmony with psychology, but not itself peculiarly psychological) has abundantly shown, perception is primarily an act of adjustment of organism and environment, differing from a mere reflex or instinctive adaptation in that, in order to compensate for the failure of the instinctive adjustment, it requires an objective or discriminative presentation of conditions of action the negative conditions or obstacles, and the positive conditions or means and resources. This, of
(215) course, is its cognitive phase. In so far as the material thus presented not only serves as a direct cue to further successful activity (successful in the overcoming of obstacles to the maintenance of the function entered upon) but presents auxiliary collateral objects and qualities that give additional range and depth of meaning to the activity of adjustment, perceiving is esthetic as well as intellectual.
Now such perception cannot be made antithetical to thought, for it may itself be surcharged with any amount of imaginatively supplied and reflectively sustained ideal factors-such as are needed to determine and select relevant stimuli and to suggest and develop an appropriate plan and course of behavior. The amount of such saturating intellectual material depends upon the complexity and maturity of the behaving agent. Such perception, moreover, is strictly teleological, since it arises from an experienced need and functions to fulfil the purpose indicated by this need. The cognitional content is, indeed, carried by affectional and intentional contexts.
Then we have perception as scientific observation. This involves the deliberate, artful exclusion of affectional and purposive factors as exercising mayhap a vitiating influence upon the cognitive or objective content; or, more strictly speaking, a transformation of the more ordinary or 66 natural " emotional and purposive concomitants, into what Bain calls " neutral" emotion, and a purpose of finding out what the present conditions of the problem are. (The practical feature is not thus denied or eliminated, but the overweening influence of a present dominating end is avoided, so that change of the character of the end may be effected, if found desirable.) Here observation may be opposed to thought, in the sense that exact and minute description may be set over against interpretation, explanation, theorizing, and inference. In the wider sense of thought as equaling reflective process, the work of observation and description forms a constituent division of labor within thought. The impersonal demarcation and accurate registration of what is objectively there or present occurs for the sake (a) of eliminating meaning which is habitually but uncritically referred, and (b) of getting a basis for a meaning (at first purely inferential or hypothetical) that may be consistently referred; and that (c), resting upon examination and not upon mere a priori custom, may weather the strain of subsequent ex-
(217) -periences. But in so far as thought is identified with the conceptual phase as such of the entire logical function, observation is, of course, set over against thought: deliberately, purposely, and artfully so.
It is not uncommon to hear it said that the Lockeian movement was all well enough for psychology, but went astray because it invaded the field of logic. If we mean by psychology a natural history of what at any time passes for knowledge, and by logic conscious control in the direction of grounded assurance, this remark appears to reverse the truth. As a natural history of knowledge in the sense of opinion and belief, Locke's account of discrete, simple ideas or meanings, which are compounded and then distributed, does palpable violence to the facts. But every line of Locke shows that he was interested in knowledge in its honorific sense controlled certainty, or, where this is not feasible, measured probability. And to logic as an account of the way in which we by art build up a tested assurance, a rationalized conviction, Locke makes an important positive contribution. The pity is that he inclined to take it for the whole of the logic of science, not seeing that it was but a correlative division of
( 218) labor to the work of hypotheses or inference; and that he tended to identify it with a natural history or psychology. The latter tendency exposed Locke to the Humian interpretation, and permanently sidetracked the positive contribution of his theory to logic, while it led to that confusion of an untrue psychology with a logic valid within limits, of which Mill is the standard example.
In analytic observation, it is a positive object to strip off all inferential meaning so far as may be--to reduce the facts as nearly as may be to derationalized data, in order to make possible a new and better rationalization. In and because of this process, the perceptual data approach the limit of a disconnected manifold, of the brutely given, of the merely sensibly present; while meaning stands out as a searched for principle of unification and explanation, that is, as a thought, a concept, an hypothesis. The extent to which this is carried depends wholly upon the character of the specific situation and problem; but, speaking generally, or of limiting tendencies, one may say it is carried to mere observation, pure brute description, on the one side, and to mere thought, that is hypothetical inference, on the other.
So far as Locke ignored this instrumental character of observation, he naturally evoked and strengthened rationalistic idealism; he called forth its assertion of the need of reason, of concepts, of
( 219) universals, to constitute knowledge in its eulogistic sense. But two contrary errors do not make a truth, although they suggest and determine the nature of some relevant truth. This truth is the empirical origin, in a determinate type of situation, of the contrast of observation and conception; the empirical relevancy and the empirical worth of this contrast in controlling the character of subsequent experiences. To suppose that perception as it concretely exists, either in the early experiences of the animal, the race, or the individual, or in its later refined and expanded experiences, is identical with the sharply analyzed, objectively discriminated and internally disintegrated elements of scientific observation, is a perversion of experience; a perversion for which, indeed, professed empiricists set the example, but which idealism must perpetuate if it is not to find its end in an improved, functional empiricism.
We come now to the consideration of the third element in our problem; ideality, important and
(220) normative value, in relation to experience; the antithesis of experience as a tentative, fragmentary, and ineffectual embodiment of meaning over against the perfect, eternal system of meanings which experience suggests even in nullifying and mutilating.
That from the memory standpoint experience presents itself as a multiplicity of episodic events with just enough continuity among them to suggest principles true " on the whole " or usually, but without furnishing instruction as to their exact range and bearing, seems obvious enough. Why should it not? The motive which leads to reflection on past experience could be satisfied in no other way. Continuities, connecting links, dynamic transitions drop out because, for the purpose of the recollection, they would be hindrances if now repeated; or because they are now available only when themselves objectified in definite terms and thus given a quasi independent, a quasi atomistic standing of their own. This is the only alternative to what the psychologists term " total reminiscence," which, so far as total, leave us with an elephant on our hands. Unless we are going to have a wholesale revivification of the past, giving us just another embarrassing present experience, illusory because irrelevant, memory must work by retail-by summoning distinct cases, events, sequences, precedents. Dis-membering is
( 221) a positively necessary part of re-membering. But the resulting disjecta membra are in no sense experience as it was or is; they are simply elements held apart, and yet tentatively implicated together, in present experience for the sake of its most favorable evolution; evolution in the direction of the most excellent meaning or value conceived. If the remembering is efficacious and pertinent, it reveals the possibilities of the present; that is to say, it clarifies the transitive, transforming character that belongs inherently to the present. The dismembering of the vital present into the disconnected past is correlative to an anticipation, an idealization of the future.
Moreover, the contingent character of the principle or rule that emerges from a survey of cases, instances, as distinct from a fixed or necessary character, secures just what is wanted in the exigency of a prospective idealization, or refinement of excellence. It is just this character that secures flexibility and variety of outlook, that makes possible a consideration of alternatives and an attempt to select and to execute the more worthy among them. The fixed or necessary law would mean a future like the past-a dead, an unidealized future. It is exasperating to imagine how completely different would have been Aristotle's valuation of " experience " with respect to its contingency, if he had but once employed the
( 222) function of developing and perfecting value, instead of the function of knowing an unalterable object, as the standard by which to estimate and measure intelligence.
The one constant trait of experience from its crudest to its mast mature forms is that its contents undergo change of meaning, and of meaning in the sense of excellence, value. Every experience is in-course, in course of becoming worse or better as to its contents, or in course of conscious endeavor to sustain some satisfactory level of value against encroachment or lapse. In this effort, both precedent, the reduction of the present idealization, the anticipation of the possible, though doubtful, future, emerge. Without idealization, that is, without conception of the favorable issue that the present, defined in terms of precedents, may portend in its transition, the recollection of precedents, and the formulation of tentative rules is nonsense. But without the identification of the present in terms of elements suggested by the past, without recognition, the ideal,
(223) the value projected as end, remains inert, helpless, sentimental, without means of realization. Resembling cases and anticipation, memory and idealization, are the corresponding terms in which a present experience has its transitive force analyzed into reciprocally pertinent means and ends.
That an experience will change in content and value is the one thing certain. How it will change is the one thing naturally uncertain. Hence the import of the art of reflection and invention. Control of the character of the change in the direction of the worthful is the common business of theory and practice. Here is the province of the episodic recollection of past history and of the idealized foresight of possibilities. The irrelevancy of an objective idealism lies in the fact that it totally ignores the position and function of ideality in sustained and serious endeavor. Were values automatically injected and kept in the world of experience by any force not reflected in human memories and projects, it would make no difference whether this force were a Spencerian environment or an Absolute Reason. Did purpose ride in a cosmic automobile toward a predestined goal, it would not cease to be physical and mechanical in quality because labeled Divine Idea, or Perfect Reason. The moral would be " let us eat, drink, and be merry," for to-morrow-or if not this tomorrow, then upon some to-morrow, unaffected by
(224) our empirical memories, reflections, inventions, and idealizations-the cosmic automobile arrives. Spirituality, ideality, meaning as purpose, would be the last things to present themselves if objective idealism were true. Values cannot be both ideal and given, and their "given" character is emphasized, not transformed, when they are called eternal and absolute. But natural values become ideal the moment their maintenance is dependent upon the intentional activities of an empirical agent. To suppose that values are ideal because they are so eternally given is the contradiction in which objective idealism has intrenched itself. Objective ontological teleology spells machinery. Reflective and volitional, experimental teleology alone spells ideality. Objective, rationalistic idealism breaks upon the fact that it can have no intermediary between a brutally achieved embodiment of meaning (physical in character or else of that peculiar quasi-physical character which goes generally by the name of metaphysical) and a total opposition of the given and the ideal, connoting their mutual indifference and incapacity. An empiricism that acknowledges the transitive character of experience, and that acknowledges the possible control
(225) of the character of the transition by means of intelligent effort, has abundant opportunity to celebrate in productive art, genial morals, and impartial inquiry the grace and the severity of the ideal.
- Reprinted, with slight verbal changes, from the Philosophical Review, Vol. XV. (1906).
- C. S. Peirce, Monist, Vol. XVI., p. 150.
- Psychology, Vol. II., p. 618.
- Essay concerning Human Understanding," Book II., Chapter II., § 2. Locke doubtless derived this notion from Bacon.
- It is hardly necessary to refer to the stress placed upon mathematics, as well as upon fundamental propositions in logic, ethics, and cosmology.
- Of course there are internal historic connections between experience as efective " memory," and experience as " observation." But the motivation arid stress, the problem, has quite shifted. It may be remarked that Hobbes still writes under the influence of the Aristotelian conception. " Experience is nothing but Memory " ("Elements of Philosophy," Part I., Chapter I., § 2), and hence is opposed to science.
- There are, of course, anticipations of Hume in Locke. But to regard Lockeian experience as equivalent to Humian is to pervert history. Locke, as he was to himself and to the century succeeding him, was not a subjectivist, but in the main a common sense objectivist. It was this that gave him his historic influence. But so completely has the Hume-Kant controversy dominated recent thinking that it is constantly projected backward. Within a few weeks I have seen three articles, all insisting that the meaning of the term experience must be subjective, and stating or implying that those who take the term objectively are subverters of established usage! But a casual study of the dictionary will reveal that experience has always meant " what is experienced," observation as a source of knowledge, as well as the act, fact, or mode of experiencing. In the Oxford Dictionary, the (obsolete) sense of "experimental testing," of actual "observation of facts and events," and "the fact of being consciously affected by an act" have almost contemporaneous datings, viz., 1384, 1377, and 1382 respectively. A usage almost more objective than the second, the Baconian use, is "what has been experienced; the events that have taken place within the knowledge of an individual, a community, mankind at large, either during a particular period or generally." This dates back t0 1607. Let us have no more captious criticisms and plaints based on ignorance of linguistic usage. [This pious wish has not been met. J. D., 1909.]
- The relationship of organization and thought is precisely that which we find psychologically typified by the rhythmic functions of habit and attention, attention being always, ab quo, a sign of the failure of habit, and, ad quem, a reconstructive modification of habit.
- Compare, for example, Dr. Stuart's paper in the "Studies in Logical Theory," pp. 253-256. I may here remark that I remain totally unable to see how the interpretation. of objectivity to mean controlling conditions of action (negative and positive as above) derogates at all from its naive objectivity, or how it connotes cognitive subjectivity, or is in any way incompatible with a common-sense realistic theory of perception.
- For this suggested interpretation of the esthetic as surprising, or unintended, gratuitous collateral reinforcement, see Gordon, " Psychology of Meaning."
- This, however, is not strictly true, since Locke goes far to supply the means of his own correction in his account of the "workmanship of the understanding."
- Plato, especially in his " Theaetetus," seems to have begun the procedure of blasting the good name of perceptive experience by identifying a late and instrumental distinction, having to do with logical control, with all experience whatsoever.
- Compare James, "Continuous transition is one sort of conjunctive relation; and to be a radical empiricist means to hold fast to this conjunctive relation of all others, for this is the strategic point, the position through which, if a hole be made, all the corruptions of dialectics and all the metaphysical fictions pour into our philosophy."-Journal o f Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods, Vol. I, p. 536.
- One of the not least of the many merits of Santayana's " Life of Reason " is the consistency and vigor with which is upheld the doctrine that significant idealism means idealization.