The External World and the Social Consciousness[1]

Josiah Royce

THE question how far our fundamental notions of the existence and the structure of the external world are affected, not only in their accidents, but in their very essence, by the suggestions that we get from our fellows, is a problem of obvious psychological interest. I have myself been led, within the past two or three years, to some comments upon this problem, which I shall venture to set forth in the following paper—itself only an introduction, as will soon appear, to a somewhat extended line of research. For like most psychological problems, this one soon leads into a philosophical exploration of no small interest when once you have fairly begun your journey. And so let us in this discussion briefly survey the field of inquiry that lies open before us, and indicate the possible regions into which we might be still further led were there time. Let me say at the start that I make very little claim, indeed, as regards the originality of this discussion. I seek only to put some familiar considerations into a light which may give them a not unknown, but perhaps too much neglected significance.


It needs but a glance at the sources of our information to show that even for those among us who live in the very closest

( 514) and richest intercourse with natural facts of any sort, and still more, of course, for those who are forced to get too much of their learning through less direct channels, the external world that we all believe in, the world of business and of sport, the world of duty and of delight, the world of the stars and of the solar system, of the molecules and of the protoplasm, the world of history and of geology, the world of art and of faith, — is in great measure to be defined, from our own private point of view, as " the world that the people tell about." I repeat, only to the very smallest degree are any of us able to verify, in our own persons, the existence and the nature of the Reality in which we all believe. The keenest observer, the most patient student of facts, comes in contact with but an infinitesimal portion of the external natural facts in whose existence, upon social grounds, he comes to be assured. What a small portion of the world of modern chemistry or of biology can the individual investigator, devoted collector of facts though he be, verify in his own private experience in the laboratory ! For the most industrious specialist the field of his own specialty thus abounds in truths that he regards as already known, and that, since his science has once for all ascertained them, he is personally not called upon, unless incidentally, to reestablish by private research. If already within one's own field of work this dependence of the individual upon the work and the reports of his fellows is so extended, what shall be said of the unexplored oceans of truth that lie for each man beyond the shores of his own domain,—oceans of whose lands and wonders he hears frequent, if fragmentary, reports from other men. Yet, in just these oceans of truth lies the universe, the external world, as each man conceives it, so soon as he thinks of what belongs beyond his personal range. Your belief in the existence, at the present or in past time, of Africa, of the North Pole, of Julius Caesar, of the law of gravitation, of the current prices of given railway shares, of the molecules that compose a gas, or of the latest affair of gossip in European politics ; — all such beliefs, I say, will illustrate to how vast an extent your actual external world is even now, not the world

(515) that you now verify by your sense-perceptions, — but, once more, "the world that the people tell about," the world for whose existence you find the warrant in the more or less stable agreement of your fellow-men.

It is an old observation, that without faith in one's fellows nobody can even stir in this our everyday world. A thoroughgoing doubter of the data revealed by the social consciousness would have no place in our human universe. For every man the streets of his city are fairly paved for him with reports about what is true in social, legal, commercial, physical, medical, and moral matters. Leave out the substance of all such reports from the beliefs of our supposed doubter, and he could not stir beyond his threshold without sinking in a mire of unconquerable mysteries.


Now so far, I say, the actual dependence of the individual upon society for the content of his beliefs about the external world is so obvious as to need here no further comment. But while all admit this prevalence of the social element in the formation of the substance, the stuff, of our current beliefs about the outer world, probably not all of you are prepared to follow me in the thesis to which I shall next be led. For my thesis will now refer, not merely to the material of which our external world is composed, but to the very conception of externality itself. This thesis is, that, while the factor furnished by personal verification, by private experience of the facts of perception, plays an unquestionable and very important part in the formation of our general conception of external reality, it is, at least, very probable that the social factor plays a still larger part, not only, as just pointed out, in supplying us with a notion of what individual facts the external world contains, but also in determining our very fundamental notion itself of what we now mean by externality. This, I say, is my present thesis. Let me explain it a little before I go further.

I, of course, do not doubt that the infant, in the early stages of its life, before its social consciousness is developed, and

( 516) while its perceptive consciousness is slowly clearing, gets a notion of something that has many important elements in common with what you and I now call our external world. Further, I do not doubt that a beast of prey, which is comparatively unsocial, and which is still highly intelligent, not only responds, as we see it doing, to our physical world, but also, in some fashion, is conscious of the response as involving many elements of what you and I call the reality of the outer world. But now what I affirm is, that the idea of a real external world, such as the infant has in the first three or four months of life, or such as the extremely unsocial beast of prey may keep for a life-time, must not in the least be confounded with the idea that you and I, ever since we learned to converse freely with our fellows, have possessed of the meaning of externality. The infantile idea of externality, the unsocial animal's consciousness of something existent beyond him, must at best be related to our present notion of externality as instrumental music is related to articulate speech,—e.g., as the birdsongs of the Waldweben in Wagner's " Siegfried " are related to the articulate warnings that the hero later overhears when he has tasted the dragon's heart and has come to comprehend the tongues of the birds. We often say that instrumental music is full of meaning; but still, as Lotze observes, Die Musik ist kein Denken. Well, just so, the infant playing with its fists in the field of vision, or making its first efforts at grasping, is indeed meaning to deal with what we call the external world. But it has as yet no such thought of externality as we have, and it can have no such thought; for our notion of externality involves one great element which cannot be present to the consciousness of the infant until the gradually evolving social consciousness has reached a decidedly advanced stage. And this element is the one which is furnished to us by our ever present assurance that our external world exists for other minds beside our own private mind, i.e., for the minds of our fellows with whom we stand in social relations.

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Consider for awhile, with me, how much is, or may come to be, involved in this thought, vin. that external facts are of their very essence facts which exist for other conscious beings besides ourselves. One conscious being may have in his mind any content you please, however fleeting, incommunicable, ineffable, or insane. But if he is to regard given facts which are represented in his own experience as existent also for beings external to himself, his notion of what his social relations to these beings are, will inevitably determine in some measure, and perhaps very deeply, the sorts of facts which he can regard as thus verifiably objective and common in their character. For the facts that can be common to the experience of many beings can only be distinguished from the facts that are peculiar to the inner life of the isolated individual, through an application of the very important criterion expressible by saying that the common, the external facts, must be such as are apt material for social communication, for description, for definite imitative characterization. For instance, to take the case of visual perception in space, if I am to become sure that I see what you see, there must be some way in which you and I can agree as to the whereabouts of the object of our common perception. And this, the conditio sine qua non of our social communications regarding the objects of our common sense perceptions, may itself be expressed as a principle determining a priori the nature of whatever experiences you and I are to learn to regard as standing for external things.

Every external thing must occupy, at any moment, one exactly definable portion of space ; this is a simple axiom, but it is by no means self-evident. It is true a priori, but it is true of external, not of internal things. There is no contradiction for the inner life, in our having an experience which involves elements of space perception, but which is essentially vague and undetermined as to these, its spatial characters. An internal bodily pain or pleasure of the massive type may be dimly localized, so that for consciousness it appears as having

( 518) a certain element of whereness (so to speak) as an essential part of it. Yet to the question, Where, then, is it ? one may be unable to give any sharp answer, which will be able to name exact boundaries. Here one deals, of course, with an experience which bears, perhaps, a very loose relation to its own physical cause. Recent discussions of space theories in psychology have brought into prominence these primitive and undifferentiated space experiences, very obvious in the inner life, but not at all capable of being made to answer the sharp questions as to Where? and How large? and How bounded?—questions which we ask with a priori assurance and merciless rigidity concerning whatever pretends to be an external thing in space. The bodily disorder that causes the vague pain aforesaid, must, indeed, have a definite, if inaccessible, spatial character. The pain itself is spatial, but indefinite. One can perfectly well experience, moreover, a blur in the field of vision, —a blur due to the conditions of a nervous headache, — and yet one may be as sure that this blur has for him a size and shape, as he is wholly unable, subjectively, to define just what this size and shape may be. With the perimeter one might, indeed, discover the definite size and shape of the defect in the objective field of vision. None the less would the blur itself, as seen, remain vague. But since internal phenomena have, indeed, their essence in being perceived, one must then say of such experiences that really indefinable shapes, essentially indefinite sizes and places, have nothing contradictory about them, so far as our inner experience goes, since we constantly experience just such internal things. Why, then, do we so rigidly insist a priori that what is thus a common-place experience in the inner world, does not and cannot hold for the outer world and for the external things ? I answer, the principle of spatial definiteness holds for external things only because definite localization is a conditio sine qua non of any appeal to another to verify the experiences that we ourselves have. But by an external thing we mean an object of experience which is, or may be, a common object for as many observers as you please. An object, however, can be

(519) known to be common only in so far as our personal experiences of this object prove, upon appeal to our fellows, to be verifiable in a measure sufficient to satisfy the demands of our socially critical self-scrutiny upon the level that this fashion of self-scrutiny happens in any case to have attained. Therefore, as only the definably localizable in space can be independently verified and agreed upon by a number of socially communicating beings, and as only what all can agree upon can stand the social test of externality, the principle that what is for all must, if in space at all, occupy a definite place, and have definite size and boundaries, becomes a relatively a priori principle for the things of the verifiable external world. If external things did not conform to just such principles we should in the end have no sufficient means for distinguishing them from internal things.

This instance of the way in which our conception of the very nature of an external thing is dependent for some of its essential features upon the conditions which determine our social consciousness, is an instance capable of much illustration. In my Spirit of Modern Philosophy, in a chapter entitled: The World of Description and the World of Appreciation, I have used in connection with the discussion of this topic the very obvious case of our opinions as to the physical reality of a rainbow. I see a rainbow, and believing, because of the analogy between this and other seen objects, that I see an external thing, I point out to you its place. You look, and apparently you verify my observation, for you look in the same general direction, and observe something of the same shape as I describe. For us both, at this stage of experience, the rainbow is a fully substantial physical object, because it so far stands the test of social community. So it was in our childhood. So it becomes again whenever we relapse into an uncritical fashion of thought and speech. The rainbow meets the ground at such a place ; it spans the clouds thus and thus. Upon this we so far seem to agree. But later, perhaps, we become more critical, or else the mass of water-spray upon which the rainbow appears, is, in some instances, very near to

( 520) us, as in the case of rainbows in mountain mists. And now we find that, as a fact, no two of us can ever see the rainbow at precisely the same place, as defined by reference to other objects already agreed upon. When once we have discovered this fact, we come to agree that a rainbow cannot, as it is seen, be the real physical thing at all. It must be a show thing, based upon physical realities, whose nature becomes a topic for further investigation. Here, you see, the possibility of mutual verification of our space — localizations — is used in a relatively a priori fashion to distinguish between the internal and the external facts of our experience. If the visible rainbow were an externally substantial object, it would have the same verifiable place for all percipients. As it has not, it cannot be a substantial outer thing.

What holds of spatial localization, holds of a number of other essential characters of the things of the external world. The internal world is essentially a world of experiences that may or may not be definite, but that at least need not be definable. The outer world, in so far as it is verifiably outer, is essentially the world whose presence can only be indicated to you by your definable, communicable experiences. You may feel as vague, as indescribable, as unintelligibly absurd things as you will or as you do not will. And yet these feelings may, in their internal character, be as irresistibly real facts as, in the external world, granite mountains are real. For the internal is of course not unreal ; but its reality differs from what we name outer reality in that the internal is subject a priori to no principle of definiteness, but may be either chaos or order as you find it. On the other hand, the outer world, as such, is essentially the determinate world. For unless you found it determinate, you could not communicate to your fellow, for his verification, a definite account of it. Its things, accordingly, are conceived as having sharp outlines, definable characters. You have to commit yourself to precise principles whenever you speak of its facts. The difference between the inner, with the beautiful and indefinable privacy of many of its experiences, and the outer, with the essential

( 521) precision of its outlines, is well suggested by Browning when he says : —

" All that I know of a certain star
Is, it can throw, like the angled spar,
Now a dart of red, now a dart of blue,
Till my friends have said they would fain see too,
My star that dartles the red and the blue.

" Then it stops like a bird, like a flower hangs furled
They must solace themselves with the Saturn above it.
What matter to me if their star is a world !
Mine has opened its soul to me, therefore I love it."

The " Saturn," the star in the external world, exists, you see, for all beholders. It is a world, with its own definable characters. But the star of the inner world, —that has a right to its own incommunicably mysterious love-colors and sweet caprices. To what star the poet thus allegorically referred, one easily guesses. But in any case he spoke of a contrast between some object in the world of outer or verifiable fact, and an object as known in and through the world of the heart. Both objects are real ; but one has, as an essential mark of its externality, the note of publicity, the other exists for one, and is therefore free to be capriciously and indescribably lovely.


Let me illustrate the same principles through another familiar example. Charles Renouvier, in his Logic, makes a good deal of the " principle of determinateness " as a principle a priori for whatever in the world is to be accepted as independently or externally real. Whatever is, must be determinate; this is the principle which Renouvier employs in his own criticism of naive realism. He applies it later in the definition of his views of the phenomenal world. He employs it as a foundation for his well-known onslaught upon the existence of really infinite magnitudes and aggregates. An infinite number would be an essentially indeterminate number— a number that is neither n nor n + r nor n - I, nor n +/- r, where n and r are

(522) supposed to be determinate magnitudes, however great. But the essentially indeterminate, reasons Renouvier, cannot be real. The thought here involved is, of course, as old as Aristotle's answer to the Eleatic paradoxes.

Now without here criticising Renouvier's argument as he states it, let us apply to the question at issue our present line of considerations. Can a number that is not determinate, that is neither i, nor 2, nor n, nor n +/- r, nor any other determinate number, be regarded as being really embodied in the actual world ? Can there be in the external world a countless aggregate ? Evidently, in the first place, even a comparatively small finite number of objects or events can appear as subjectively indeterminate or countless, when this number is represented in and by a given conscious being who is unable to count it, or who will not count it. To perceive multitudes and aggregates as such, and yet to be wholly unaware of what the experienced number is, is very common. The loose change at the bottom of a man's pocket may remain stubbornly countless for his consciousness so long as he merely feels it there, and fears to count lest his spending be checked. But now objectively, one says, the number of coins present must be determinate, just n, neither more nor less. Subjective experience, as such, is thus not subject to the law of determinate numbers ; but objective or external experience is thus subject. Had we no objective criteria, the law of determinateness of number would never occur to us as necessary. The jar produced by a heavy sound can often be felt by the hand as a subjectively countless multitude of successive minor shocks. The clicking of a ratchet in a toothed wheel, the pickets of a fence, seen in indirect vision, as you walk rapidly past them, the phenomena of rattling sounds and of flickering lights generally, the crackling of an electric spark : all these are experiences of subjectively countless or indeterminate multitudinousness. How is it, then, that we pretend to know a priori, in advance of special tests, that the objective events which lie at the basis of our consciousness must, if real, be events whose number is in itself precisely determinate ?


I should answer that here, as elsewhere, the principle of the determinateness of the externally real is essentially founded upon the social consciousness. I experience through my sense any sort of flutterings, or of flickerings, or of cracklings, or of rattlings. So far, the question : Must numbers be determinate ? arises, if at all, only to be negatived. In my feeling, there is present nothing but the sense of the vaguely countless multitude involved in each one of these experiences. But I go further. I say: This experience of mine stood for some fact that other observers could have verified. Verified ? How? Nobody else can verify my star if I have only my inexpressible inner experience of its loveliness. Just so, nobody can verify with any exactitude my number if it is merely inexpressibly countless. As a fact, my fellow, standing by me, listening or looking at this flickering or crackling thing, may say that he too experiences something countless, just as I do. But alas ! is his countless number the same as mine? Who can tell? We cannot imitate exactly the given indeterminate experience, and so proceed to verify it together, unless we do something to render the experience determinate. Thus one gets, in a relatively a priori fashion, the principles: (1) that my experience, as mine, may indeed, if left to itself, be an experience of an essentially indeterminate number; (2) that your experience, as yours, may be equally an experience of the countless ; but (3) that our common experience, just in so far as it is ever to become verifiably common, must become an experience of the determinate, i.e., of the precisely imitable and communicable number. In advance of further light, we therefore say that the really objective physical event here, behind this flickering or crackling, must, as the supposed possible object of a common, of a communicable, of a socially verifiable experience, be regarded as already in itself determinate in number, however subjectively vague it now seems to be to each of us. Thus it is the definition of the physical world as the world, of our possible and socially communicable experiences, as distinct from the world of your or of my possible private experiences, — it is this principle of the social consciousness as determining

(524) in advance the conditions under which the verifiably external can be known as such, —it is this, I say, which is the basis of Renouvier's principle of determinateness.

And now, what follows as to the external reality of infinite numerical aggregates ? Even non-mathematical readers, like myself, have been struck of late by the very interesting efforts of men such as Moritz Cantor in Germany, of Mr. Charles Peirce in this country, to define infinite magnitudes and aggregates in a fashion such as introduces a new sort of determination of their nature, a determination not dependent upon counting. An infinite aggregation, according to this view, is one that can be demonstrably coordinated, element for element, to one of its own parts, as a straight line can be coordinated, by projection, point for point, with a line of any other length, however small. From this point of view the infinite aggregate cannot be counted, but it can be identified by any observer of its properties.

Problems in the modern Theory of Functions have led to this definition, which, of course, I have neither the right nor the time to judge here. I may say that the criterion of social verifiability, as I have now defined it, seems to me to permit of the acceptance of the objective existence, in our external world, of really countless magnitudes and aggregates, and so of infinite aggregates, in case you can so define them that in theory at least they could possibly be identified by any observer you please, and distinguished from all other objects. Now Cantor's or Mr. Charles Peirce's definition of the infinite aggregate enables you, in theory, not only to identify a given aggregate as conforming to this definition, but also (potentially, at least) to distinguish any one infinite aggregate from any other, through Cantor's remarkable symbolic device of the uberunendliche Zahlen. From this point of view, counting would not become the only theoretically possible device for describing aggregates to your neighbor, for him to verify. As the countless aggregate is already a subjectively familiar experience, and as Cantor's devices deal with the general definition and description, in objectively verifiable terms, of infinite

( 525) magnitudes, I see no reason why Renouvier's objection need longer hold. The countless may still be the determinate. As such, it might appear as the socially verifiable, i.e., as the external fact.


We have now considered the definite place and dimensions and numbers of the objects of the external world. A similar condition applies to the real movements of these objects. What appears more axiomatic than the statement that whatever moves must change its place in some definite direction and upon some definite path ? Yet, this apparent axiom actually does not hold for the world of the inner life, if one takes account of all the classes of sensations of movement, as these occur in our experience. In the inner world we can find cases where objects appear to move, and yet do not appear to move in any definable path, and even while they thus appear to move, do not seem to change their place. The after-images of movement offer numerous instances of experiences of this paradoxical type. Look for a while fixedly at a rapidly moving strip or band, drawn athwart the field of vision, and seen in clear relief, or at a revolving disk, marked with a broad spiral line. Then look away at resting objects. You will see an after-image of the portion of the field of vision where the objective movement was recently pictured. This after-image will itself show a shadowy movement in a reverse direction. In consequence, portions of the resting objects in the new field of vision will seem to be in a dimly visible motion, rectilinear or circular, as the case may be. Yet, strange to say, this subjective motion, at the very moment when it is seen, is also seen as not altering or disturbing the structure of the objective field of vision or the relations of its apparently moving and resting parts. In the objective field of vision, since nothing really moves, no space relations of objects are changing. But meanwhile you seem to see, despite this changelessness, a very obvious sort of movement going on. Thus, in the now altered field of vision, you may see, for

( 526) instance, the objects A, B, and C existing as a matter of physical fact on a right line, and they will then remain on a right line so long as you look. But if one of these objects, say B, falls on the portion of the field of vision where the after-image of the motion occurs, you will meanwhile see B moving, yet the right line ABC will seem to be undistorted and unbroken, although A and C seem to rest, and B to move. This paradox, as noticed by Fleischl in a brief paper in the Wiener Sitzungsberichte (Bd. 86, 4.1), wherein attention was first called, I believe, to just this aspect of the after-images of motion, provoked from Fleischl himself the somewhat illhumored remark that our sensations are so irrational as not to be subject to the principle of contradiction. But one must not be ill-humored with our sensations. They have their own impredictable wealth. Movement without change of place, and without distortion of perceived space relations to surrounding objects, is, as these experiments show, neither self-contradictory nor otherwise impossible in the inner life. But in the external world such movements appear to be excluded a priori. Why ? Because a real movement, if it is to be definitely verified by all observers, must first be describable as an external happening in a definite and general way before one can undertake to verify it. But one describes or defines an external happening in general terms by mentioning either its conditions or its results, both of these being definable in terms of space relations amongst the things concerned. It is true that the experiment with these subjective after-images of motion can indeed be described, can indeed be tried and so verified by many others; but what none of these observers can define is what really seemed to them to happen to and in the seen outer objects themselves at the moment when they thus paradoxically seemed at once to move and to rest. For these objects, e.g., B, did not change form or content or place, in any definable way. Hence, no observer can point out to his fellow, in terms of preceding or succeeding space relations, what change in the seen objects he refers to when he says that they seem to him to move. There remains the incommunicable and therefore

( 527) subjective " Eppur si muove " of the experience of the afterimages of motion. Try the experiment and see. Nobody can imitate the happening in this case as a happening to the objects that are seen thus to move and to rest at once. One can only define the experience by mentioning the paradox. Could one define positively and in general terms this sort of resting motion, could one set forth what appears to happen to objects when they thus restlessly rest, one would be dealing with a character of things that might very well demand that we should call it objective, if only the experience of such a character became sufficiently frequent and important in its physical relations.

Suppose namely, that this sort of movement without change of place occurred frequently in our experience, and appeared as associated, in definable ways, not with certain of our afterimages, but with those characters of given things which we had already come to regard as representative of external realities. Suppose, for instance, that this moveless sort of motion appeared at once in any body that we introduced into a given magnetic field, and persisted or varied in definite ways under definable conditions. Then, indeed, we should get a definition of the resting motion as an event with definable space and time relations of the objects concerned. We should at once come to regard the phenomenon in question as at least relatively objective. As a fact, we do even now regard this phenomenon of subjective motion as dependent upon, and in so far indicative of, actual physical conditions, e.g., conditions of retinal or of central nervous stimulation. But why do we do this ? I answer, any frequently repeated verifiable phenomenon gets linked to the properties of things in our external world precisely in so far as you can define, in general, i.e., in communicable terms, the conditions, spatial and temporal, under which the phenomenon in question can be produced and verified. These definable conditions, as it chances, relate, in case of these after-images of motion, to nothing that can be described as happening to the objects A, B, and C, whose paradoxical seeming behavior can only be felt, and cannot be stated in general terms. For they change in this case neither

(528) place, nor shape, nor their mutual space relations as objects on the same right line, nor their physical relations to any other extra-organic objects. Yet something seems to happen to them. What ? Well, the seeming is roughly described as similar to what would seem to happen to them if B did move, instead of remaining, as it does, in the right line ABC. Beyond this, however, since B changes its space-relations no whit, nothing can be said as to the happenings in the objects themselves. So far, then, there has occurred no definable happening that you can submit to verification, except the phenomenon vaguely definable as apparently similar in quality to movement., So the question still persists : What, then, has happened in the external world? We should be wholly at a loss to say, were we not able to define, just as we have already done, what has happened to the retina of the eye, viewed as a physical object. This retina has just before been exposed for a time to the influence of a seen and now objectively definable, i.e., verifiable, real movement. It is now turned upon actually resting objects. What is now seen is, therefore, definable as an after-image; and so far, indeed, one is dealing with objective happenings in the external world. The rest of the experience is indeed subjective, and whoever is curious to find what it is, must try and see. The axiom that whatever moves must change its place, refers, therefore, only to external physical movements, and refers to them only in so far as, in order to be recognized as external, their characters must be definable as happenings of this or of this type. Could anybody tell what happens when a thing appears to move and yet does not change place, and did this described happening involve other describable physical changes than those of the retina of the eye, then the phenomenon in question would belong to physics instead of merely to psychology.


But it is time to pass from these illustrations to a more general statement of the meaning of our thesis. What I here maintain involves at once a psychological and a philosophical

( 529) hypothesis. My psychological hypothesis may still need to be stated at some length. The philosophical doctrine can here only be hinted at. I first maintain, then, that, apart from the social consciousness, we should possess no such idea as we now possess of the external physical world. More in detail, I maintain the following view as to the origin of our present notion of externality:—

Apart from the social consciousness, if left to my private experience, I should indeed come to know what Mill called the "permanent possibilities of experience." I should expect them to be repeated in definite ways in response to definite acts of mine. That fire burns, that stone walls resist, that objects seen can under certain circumstances be grasped; all this I could and, if sufficiently intelligent, should learn in isolation. But, so I maintain, these "permanent possibilities of experience," although indeed they would be objects for my intelligence, although, were I only supposed to be intelligent enough, they could conceivably become very elaborate and significant objects, much as music and decimal fractions and the moral law are objects to me now, even when I think only of their inner significance, —still, as I insist, these objects would lack an important note of my present external world, since I should not conceive them as social objects, objects existent for other persons besides myself. And it is the social consciousness that defines a most important attribute of externality. None of the qualities of external things, upon which the psychologists who consider the isolated consciousness have insisted, neither the persistence, nor the involuntary intrusiveness, nor the vividness of our perceptions of the external, nor the feeling of resistance which our muscles give us when we touch objects, nor the regularities of our experience of the physical world, seem to me characters sufficient to explain our present consciousness of external reality. Pains and passions are vivid, but we all nevertheless refer them to the inner world. Grief may be intrusive, involuntary in its coming, vivid, and persistent. Yet we call it still an internal fact, unless, as at a great funeral, where many mourners weep together, the community

(530) of the sorrow makes it for the time seem like a vast physical presence. When we try to attend to a difficult internal task, we meet feelings of resistance which are known to be in large part muscular feelings (derived from knit brow, clenched jaws, altered breathing), but these give us no sense that the mental object which stubbornly resists our effort to conquer it through our attention, is an external fact. The inner life is moreover full of permanent possibilities of experience which we still regard, despite their regularity of recurrence, as internal. Sleepiness normally recurs as regularly, as vividly, as intrusively, as irresistibly as the darkness of night. We, however, regard sleepiness as an internal, the darkness as an external fact, because all normal observers can verify darkness together, while as to sleepiness they do not all agree. When one man says 'It is night," all his fellows assent. But when one man says " I am sleepy," either it may be daytime, or his fellows may be in full train for a night of watching, of toil, or of revel. In the simpler days of earlier civilization, when sleepiness was nearly as common to all normal observers as was the darkness of night, there was less difference in seeming between the objectivity of the two. In the Homeric poems, sleep conquers all men, and night comes down. Both are nature-powers, both relatively external facts. But, in the Homeric poems, individual insomnia is not a very common phenomenon, although Odysseus can voluntarily remain awake while the drunken Cyclops sleeps. Yet still for simple men, as for children, sleep is a more recognizably common, and therefore a more easily objectified, experience than for us, who regard the time of sleepiness as a relatively capricious individual phenomenon, dependent on personal calling, habit, whim, or state of health.

Thus, then, I insist, neither vividness, nor intrusive resistance to our will, nor peculiarly insistent relation to our muscular experiences, nor regular recurrence, suffice to define the notes of externality as we now are aware of them. It is social community that is the true differentia of our external world.

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If I am right, then, a child never gets his belief in our present objective world until he has first got his social consciousness.

And herein it is that I myself see the vast psychological and philosophical importance of the line of research so splendidly entered upon, first by Tarde in France, later and still more promisingly by Professor J. Mark Baldwin, in the latter's studies of the origin and development of the Imitative functions. In what little I have yet here to suggest as to the psychological importance of imitation as a basis for our developed consciousness, both of ourselves, of our rational powers, whereby we pretend to know truth, and of our external world, I must confess my great indebtedness to the suggestions contained in what my valued friend and colleague, Professor Baldwin, has already published concerning the imitative functions—those so familiar and yet, from the psychological side, so sadly neglected functions, neglected until Tarde and Professor Baldwin began these researches. I must add my eager and expectant interest in what is so soon to be published by Professor Baldwin still further bearing on the topic. Meanwhile —I, of course, do not wish him held for a moment responsible for the way in which I now shall briefly express my notion of the influence of imitation, first upon the.development of the social consciousness, then upon the development of self-conscious intelligence in the individual, and third, upon the development of the concept of the external world. In part, as I suspect, my views will not altogether meet with Professor Baldwin's approval.

It has been customary in psychology to conceive of man as first forming together his notion of himself as this person, then of the external world, and lastly of other persons as existent beside himself. I regard this whole view as subject to the most important changes, in consequence of what we now begin to know of the imitative functions and of their place in the growth of consciousness.

Let me, then, next consider the most familiar portion of the traditional doctrine. It has been, I say, customary for

( 532) psychologists and philosophers to regard man as if, after all, he first developed as a more or less self-conscious being, and then secondarily came to regard others besides himself as being also self-conscious persons. As a fact, however, while in the end the developed self-consciousness and the developed social consciousness, while my mature ideas of myself and my mature ideas of other selves (of my fellows or my guides or of my enemies), while both of these groups of ideas, I say, are inseparable constituents of rational life, so that the Ego can only be understood in relation to other Egos, and the other Egos can only be known by me in relation to my idea of myself,—it is still true that, in the order of development, quoad nos, one of these two classes of ideas, which are later so inseparable, is always one step in advance of the other. And, oddly enough, everything in the psychology of childhood and of the natural man indicates that it is not, as usually supposed, my idea of myself that is in advance in my own development, but my idea of other selves. Everything I say indicates that my idea of myself, as empirical Ego, is on the whole a social product, due, strangely enough, to my ideas of other people. Self-consciousness, as Hegel loved to point out, is, in fact, always a mutual affair. Es ist ein Selbstbewusstsein fur ein Selbstbewusstsein. The idea ' I ' is inseparable from

the idea ' you.' I am I, on the whole, and in every definite aspect of my self-consciousness, in so far as I appeal to my fellow to recognize me. For example: — I believe, and in believing conceive myself as demanding the approval of good judges. I esteem myself, and in doing so conceive myself as esteemed by others. But now it is further true, as Hegel did not rightly or sufficiently recognize, that, in the order of my natural development, the one member of this inseparable pair, the ' I ' and the 'you,' the one member, I say, that is always one step in advance in the process of consciousness, is the so-called second member, the 'you.' The anthropological side of the speculations of Fichte will never become sound, from the psychological point of view, until they are some day rewritten with 'Das Du' instead of ' Das Ich,' as the

(533) principle of developing human life. In the absolute order of nature, das Ich is, indeed, in advance, since were not man from the start implicitly self-conscious, he would never become explicitly such. But in the order of the phenomenology of consciousness, I in general learn to notice about myself that which my fellows have taught me to notice. I learn who I am, by first imitating what they are. And so I really, if vaguely and dimly, believe in my fellows before I learn explicitly to believe in myself. In their will is my earliest peace, and in this peace my own strength grows, until I later learn to strive myself. Imitation is the primary, originality the secondary, submission is the earlier, rebellion the later, authority is the natural, reflective independence the derived element, in the social and in the cognitive life of man. If one dared to translate into falsely abstract speech the inner life of the natively growing childish or savage self, one would find it reasoning, not " Cogito, ergo sum," but rather something of this sort: "You are, you, my master, my warrior comrade, my chief, my fascinating fellow, my mother, my nurse, my big brother, — you think, I can learn to think after you, and so, even as you are, it must be that I am." This, I say, is the order of the natural evolution of self-consciousness, roughly translated into terms that are confessedly too abstract, but that do, I believe, embody the spirit of the process. And it is this fact which, on the whole, justifies Wundt's insistence, in his Ethik upon the Gesammtwille as the primary fact of the human practical consciousness, —a fact to which the individual selfwill is secondary. The definite concept of the Ego has, in each one of us, a social and imitative origin.

The proof of this proposition is of the most manifold character. I have no time to dwell upon this empirical aspect of the matter here at length. But let me suggest a very simple analytical proof. Let me ask you to try the experiment of seeking for a moment to abstract in thought from all the knowledge whose content you have sometime or other accepted, and first accepted, from other people. You will at once observe that all the knowledge embodied for you in the words,

( 534) the structure, and all the essential traditions of your mother-tongue, and of every other language that you know, will at once vanish. In other words, as pure and naked private Ego, you will be speechless. Language, as you first learned it, was never for your consciousness, your independent invention. Always, even where you were actually original in speech, you were trying, at the outset, to speak as other people spoke. Well, now, nearly all our thinking, not only about the non-Ego, but also about the Ego, is notoriously carried on in language. I believe that there does unquestionably exist a wordless thought, although that, too, needs, as its support, imitatively acquired symbolic acts of another sort ; but wordless thought aside, nearly all of our more abstract and mature thinking is done in language. Well, if so, this, I say, surely applies also to our thoughts about ourselves. Are these thoughts explicit, then they are very largely embodied in language which we have learned from others, and have first been taught by others to apply to ourselves. For example:—'I exist.' Yes, indeed ; but how came I by this idea of existence ? Should I have this idea, as such, in my consciousness, if I had not the word, or some equivalent symbol ? And when I first learned the meaning of that symbol, I learned it by trying to imitate what I all the while took to be the thought of another man. Had I not been imitative, I should never have got the thought from him. He taught me to recognize what existence is. Later I learned, and again, probably, through social suggestion, say by reading Descartes, to apply that idea to myself. The question, of course, is not now of the certainty, but of the origin for me, of the thought ' I exist.' I insist : this thought I do, indeed, verify by my own inner reflection, but it first took its origin for me in social intercourse with my fellows. Had they never taught me that I exist, I should never have come to take note of the now so obvious fact. Just so with the still more derived and empirical ideas that make up my idea of myself as this particular person. ' I am a man'– yes, but what is a man ? Have I not learned what a man is by observing my fellows, and by later accepting their tradi-

(535) -tions as to the nature, office, dignity, rights, duties, capacities, place, and destiny of manhood? These traditions I may, indeed, learn to revise, but the revision comes later. It has its time, and when that time comes such revision may be for me of the most absolute significance. But I am here speaking still of the origin, not of the validity, of our self-knowledge. And I say again: Abstract from all the content that directly or indirectly you first learned from others, and were thus first taught to apply to yourself, and you will abstract from all the ideas concerning yourself that you can now express in language, from all ideas of dignity, of worth, of truth, of duty, as applied to your person, yes, from all ideas of any explicit personal characteristic or possession of your own. For all these ideas, as definite conscious insights, have come to you as results of your social intercourse. Abstract from all these, however, and there would remain, as the core of your idea of yourself, not the Cogito, ergo sum, not the proud sense, I am fee, not even the empty identity, I am I, but at most a barren and barbarous longing for something that you now know to be self-consciousness ; but that, in your isolation, you would know only as an idiot now knows it. So, then, my conscious idea of myself is derived, is secondary, for instance, to language, to which all my thinking is so deeply indebted, and is thus, oddly enough, a product of social intercourse. Who I am, I have first learned from others before I can observe it for myself.

We blind ourselves too often to these considerations by reason of a very artificial theory that is customary in popular, and often in technical psychologies, concerning the origin of our belief in the existence of our fellows. Many imagine this belief to be due to a process of induction from a single case, an induction whereby each man of us first, as it were, supposing himself to be alone in a still dead physical world, says to himself: — ' I exist, having this body ; I exist, too, in a world of real physical things. Now in my external world there are bodies that move very much as mine does. Therefore, they,—these other bodies,—must also be alive and self-conscious as I am.'


But whoever imagines this extremely artificial and fictitious mental process to be the reasoning of an infant, has surely failed to make proper use of even the most superficial observation of the imitative function in its early developments. The infant usually begins explicitly and persistently to imitate just before or during the last quarter of the first year of its life. Long before this time, however, it has shown not only various more or less capricious and unconscious imitations, but, as every observant mother knows, an interest in persons wholly different from the interest that it shows in other things. This interest is doubtless in part due to its deep experience of the importance of the persons of its environment for its welfare. They feed it, and supply all its other bodily comforts. By mere association it of course thus learns to regard their faces and movements as peculiarly noteworthy objects. But that, in addition to these results of mere association, there is a genuinely instinctive disposition in the infant, the instinctive disposition of the being destined to social life, —the disposition to react to persons as it reacts to no other objects, — this I cannot very seriously doubt. The child's interest in expressions of face, its subtle, unconscious responses to the moods and to the current general nervous conditions of its nurse or mother, its delights, and later its terrors in the contemplation of strange persons, these things go far beyond what the mere association of ideas can warrant or explain. Instinct begins the social life,—instinct that leads to responses of the keenest interest in persons,—in advance of a time when the child can have any clear idea either of itself or of anybody else, as a conscious self, or as a person at all.

Then comes explicit imitation, —an unquestionably complex process, in which several different instinctive factors are most subtly interwoven with the effects of experience in a way which psychology, as I have said, still but very ill comprehends. The child is now not only fascinated with the faces and movements of its elders. It tries to do what these elders do. The very uncertainty of its attempts shows how small an idea it yet has of itself or of its own powers. Its consciousness, in this early

(536) stage, must be of the vaguest. But it surely must feel somehow that here are most attractive objects, whose doings incite what we, the observers, call its own activities in such wise that the incited activities are observed ere long, and with great delight, to agree with the observed activities of the attractive objects themselves. But the activities imitated are not only interesting ; they are, in general, for the beings who display them to the child, more or less intelligent activities. They are such activities as holding things up to be looked at or played with, and later, pointing out things, using tools, pronouncing the names of things, or putting things together or taking them apart in ways such as reveal the qualities of the things themselves. As the infant slowly learns to imitate, he, therefore, also learns much more than to imitate. The intelligent activities imitated become, in the very act of imitating them, more or less intelligible to the child. Through his imitations he gets ideas of things,—of the nature, for instance, of his playthings, or of the tools that he tries to employ,—ideas that alone he could never have got. Now I affirm that these new ideas of things which he gets as he consciously and lovingly imitates,—these intelligent and intelligible aspects which the activities imitated come to possess for him,—that all these, I say, are from the first for the child new ideas that he tends to refer to the perceived organisms of the people whom he imitated, and little, or not at all, to what we call himself. For these new ideas come to him as embodying the meaning, the intelligible value, the purport of the acts which he is taught to imitate. But these acts are the acts of the beings imitated. The new ideas, therefore, tend from the outset to be thought of as their ideas. And so the order of the growth of the child's knowledge that there are minds here about him, behind these faces, is substantially this: Here in his world he perceives fascinating beings. It is not needful to suppose that he perceives them explicitly as beings in what we call the external world. The distinction between outer and inner is still, at best, only half developed in his mind. But he at least perceives these things as facts imposed upon him ; and he

(538) perceives, too, that they are fascinating. These beings act, and the child at length finds his own body imitating the acts of these beings, and takes delight in the knowledge of the agreement. But all this is largely the result of instinct. So far there is no clear thought either of Self or of other Selves. How could there be? The child so far knows, not minds as such, but only what we now call objects. Even these he knows, not as they are later to be known, i.e., as explicitly external objects. He perceives their interesting characters and their behavior. Amongst these interesting objects is, of course, his own body, which pleases and pains him so often. And now, as a fact, there are also those fascinating other objects, whom we call persons. Well, the child's own body is perceived to imitate these fascinating guides. The child learns to play, to show things, to point at things, and later, to speak of things, and to use things as tools, and as he does so (here is the essential matter), the child gets an endless flux of new and unexpectedly intelligible ideas about his world,—ideas that are themselves the inseparable accompaniment and meaning of these very imitated activities. All these ideas, I say, the child, by mere association and agglutination,' must relate to the perceived beings, whose intelligible activities he has been imitating, when he gets the ideas. This game is papa's game. I play it as child, and so get new ideas that I at once associate with my father's face, voice, and whole body. That tool is the gardener's shears, and when I get hold of the shears, I cut, too, and so learn that clipping with the shears involves what I now take to be essentially the gardener's idea. The being whose activity, when I learn to imitate it, embodies for me such and such ideas, is observed by me to have these ideas. The association is irresistible. The resulting agglutinative combination is thoroughly normal. Where else do the new ideas belong except to the perceived being who obviously suggests them ? But a person, for the child, comes to mean just such a body of ideas associated with the functions of one particular perceived organism. And it is thus, I affirm, through such imitation, that a child learns what a person is.


But thus it may well come to pass that the child long knows other persons far better than he consciously recognizes himself. Yes, this is, in fact, inevitable. A person, I insist, is a possessor of a body of definite ideas. And the child being almost wholly without definite initiative and steady independent purpose of his own, and long remaining in this state, gets nearly all the activities which for him can embody intelligible plans, by means of imitations. Left to himself, he is, on the whole, a chaos, that plans, accomplishes, and thinks nothing in particular. His steady plans are all imitative plans, and he delights in them as such. Accordingly, his self-consciousness is, in the main, a vicarious self-hood. He conceives himself as another. He thinks and speaks in the characters of the beings whom he most loves to imitate. For the idea won in the course of an imitative act is, for the conscious imitator, an idea that originally belongs to and dwells in the interesting being imitated. The order of the child's reasoning about the minds of other beings is thus the precise reverse of the order supposed by the artificial theory before mentioned. The father, the gardener, and later, the hero of a fairy tale, become real persons for the child, not because they move as the child has already observed himself to move, but because the imitative child finds himself disposed to act as they act, and in carrying out this disposition, wins intelligible ideas which he at once refers to them, and which he makes his own only by first regarding them as originally another's.

Hence, I repeat, the child may, and in fact must, conceive far more clearly of the reality of the mind of even a fictitious being in an interesting fairy tale, or in an established game that he plays, than he does of his own individual mind as such. For the latter, in so far as it is his own mind, is for him relatively planless and contentless. Therefore, nearly every child in his movements of cheerful, intellectual life, conceives himself as almost any one, — a coachman, a horse, a giant, a fairy, a king, a bird, —rather than as what we regard as his literal self ; and he knows himself chiefly in terms of such imitated play personalities. Even his more prosaic moments

(540) are still full of an affected self-hood, just at the very points when he most nearly approaches self-consciousness. At one time he is ' mamma's boy,' and accordingly behaves sentimentally as such. Or again he becomes ' a big boy,' and struts imitatively. Or he wants pity, and then deliberately poses as a ' tired boy,' imitates weakness, is artificially babyish. When, however, he is wholly naive, as when he suffers or is angry, then he simply drops all attempts at self-consciousness, and is busy, not with himself at all, but with the nearly immediate experience, i.e., with his pain or his passion. Then, to be sure, we observers talk of the narrow selfishness, — the egoism of childhood; but this egoism is now far from implying self-consciousness.

I have dwelt perhaps too long on the child's case. What I want is to illustrate the essentially vicarious character of the primitive self-consciousness. Strange as the assertion seems, I am convinced that each one of us believed in the existence of other minds before he became conscious of his own mind as such. And for all our life I hold this to be true, namely, that we do not get at the existence .of the minds of our fellows by an induction from our own individual case, nearly as much as we make use of precisely the reverse line of reasoning. I do not often say to myself when thinking of my fellows Yonder people behave as I do, hence they must be alive as I am.' The normal social consciousness runs rather thus: When I imitate these people, when I get under the influence of their suggestions, listen receptively to their words, follow their gestures, conform to their customs, accept their authority, — well, then I constantly get new ideas, and these new ideas are as such the revelations of yonder minds. But now, as this result proves, I am capable of getting these ideas. Hence I am as much a real person; as truly a thinker, as they are.' In this way it is that I explicitly attain my self-consciousness.

Our private self-consciousness, as a fact, needs this constant reassurance of its power to share the common intelligence, in order to support its own assurance of itself. When I utterly

( 541) fail for a while to comprehend my fellows, I begin to wonder whether, after all, I am not myself mad. Self-confidence is always a dependent affair. We can only choose whether our dependence shall be rational or capricious. Self-consciousness needs constantly renewed draughts of that water of life, the imitated authority of other minds. Your vainest man is the one who, despite his explicit independence of the opinions of others, can least bear the shock of criticism from his fellow. Your wisest man is the one who is most clearly aware of his dependence upon his fellows.


But to return to the order of development: The child that has begun to possess the social consciousness is for the first time in the presence of a supersensual reality. He has objects, viz., the desired ideas of other people,—objects which he continually hopes to win, to imitate, and so far as may be, through representative imitation, to possess. Yet these ideas, these objects, are now conceived as beyond him, and as existent apart from him, so that their esse and their pcrcipi have parted company, as the esse and percipi of the objects of his world of possible private experience never would or could have done. Now, however, comes the factor that is decisive for his conception of the external world as such. Here is the place where appears a process substantially identical with what Avenarius, in the book called Der Menschliche Weltbegriff, calls the decidedly momentous and even fateful process of ' Introjection "; only that I myself read this process in an order different from the order in which Avenarius states it.

At this point, namely, the child, imitating the unseen thoughts of his visible guide, finds himself and his guide alike imitating and so thinking about certain objects that seem to be present in the child's own visible and tangible world of permanent possibilities of sensation — viz., tools, playthings, animals, etc. The abstract expression of this still naive experi-

(542) -ence would appear at the assertion: ' He, my guide or teacher or comrade, sees the same object that I see.' And so his 'permanent possibility' is regarded as numerically identical with mine. Doubtless, for a time, every child virtually thinks this to be true. But social communication involves sooner or later differences of opinion, conflict of testimony and frequent evidences of a variety in the experience of different people. At last it comes slowly to one's mind that the experiences of another consciousness, external to mine, cannot themselves be identical with the objects of my experience as mine. The individuals of the social world come to be sharply separated. And thus, too, not only does my neighbor's private inner world come to be regarded as beyond mine, but his objects come to be regarded as primarily and numerically not identical with my direct objects. What he sees is now regarded as the object for his eye, what I see is regarded as the object of my perception. What I can imitate, when I appeal to him as to the truth about my experience, is, then, directly speaking, only my perceived object, not his. And he imitates his object, which is now regarded as primarily not mine.

Thus it is that our theory of knowledge begins to become dualistic, or, in another terminology, it becomes a ' representative theory of knowledge.' For how can we still hold that we are imitating in common the same truths ? Only, I answer, on this level of consciousness, by forming an essentially representative theory of knowledge. We now come, namely, to establish the idea of a tertium quid,, the external object as it is for itself. This is now neither my object as mine, i.e., as directly present in my experience, nor my fellow's object as his, but our object, in so far as we both seek to imitate its structure just as we try to imitate each other's thoughts; but external to both of us, just as we are external to each other. Our faith now is that we are able to imitate the structure of this external object. Our only concrete warrant for our faith is in any special case the success of our efforts to give common accounts of its appearance to each of us. If the object itself responded to our efforts to imitate its structure

( 543) by assenting or by declining to assent when we imitated it thus or thus, just as our fellows approve or condemn our efforts to imitate them, then the object would be itself a comrade. We should then regard it as a live thing, a mind. As a fact, however, physical objects remain unresponsive silent partners in this world of an always essentially social consciousness. We men together imitate them, but they remain indifferent to our concern.

Hence it is that we arrive at a dualistic conception of the external world. The social world consists of minds whose thoughts we seem to share when, by directly imitative gestures, or by the symbolically imitative devices of language, we give and take ideas, and get or give approval and disapproval. Thus, the social world consists of beings at once imitable and imitative or responsive. The external physical world consists of supposed beings that are defined (1) as external to us precisely as we are already known to be external to one another; but (2) it consists of imitable beings that are unresponsive and that do not imitate. Hence, dualism gets its view of external realities that are not minds. These are the 'things-in-themselves' of all. dualistic theories of the universe.

Of the nature of these external things we now know, on this level, only that that alone is relatively verifiable about them which is socially communicable. The knowably external in the physical world is, therefore, essentially that which you verify precisely as I describe it and vice versa. Hence, we get, indeed, even while we retain this dualistic position, a certain 'Deduction of the Categories " which (within the sphere of this cruder sort of thinking) may well seem to supersede, or rather to fulfill, the Kantian deduction. As a fact, it is much rather a mere restatement in rational fullness of the true spirit of the Kantian deduction, when one seeks to apply Kant's thoughts to the world as viewed on this level of consciousness. In essence the Kantian unity of Apperception and the unity of Experience are nothing but the constantly presupposed unity of our social as distinct from private and

( 544) inner consciousness. From the point of view of Dualism, the object, as it is in itself, is indeed unknowable, for it—the object in itself—declines to tell us what its inner life is. If it would speak for itself, we should know something more about it, but it remains the stubbornly silent partner. Hence, we can only speak in common about it. Where we permanently agree, we suppose that we are touching the reality, not as it is for you or for me, but for us. And it is only as existent for us, who are by hypothesis external to one another, that the object shows any persuasive and verifiable indication of existing externally to both and to all of us. Thus, the ' things-in-themselves' appear to us, on this level, as unknowable, but the categories are deduced as true for ' phenomena.'

But, once again, if what is verifiable for us has thus to conform to what Kant called the categories of our experience, still, mind you, this conformity is to the laws of our experience as communicable and social, not as private and individual. And so it is that the principles of the ' determinateness of the real,' of the distinction of primary and secondary qualities, of the permanence of substance, yes, as I hold, of Causation, get all their phenomenal and relatively a priori validity. The principle of Causation, for instance, I hold to be expressive of the fact that only the describable and conceivably reproducible event can be socially verified, and can so be regarded as truly external, while you can regard an event as describable and reproducible only in case you conceive it as in definite relations to its temporally and spatially definable conditions. Hence, the reason for the stress that I laid in the opening portion of this paper upon the important consequences that follow from saying that what is verifiably real for us must be represented in my experience, not by what I feel, but by what I communicate to you for your verification.

You are aware that the world, as Dualism conceives it, is not acceptable to the philosophical Idealist. You are aware that I myself am an Idealist. You will see, then, that this whole conception of the external world as something divided from the verifying consciousness must appear to me an essen-

( 545) -tially unstable conception. But the return from Dualism, the overcoming of this division, belongs to philosophy, and not to this paper. Many have observed, with Sir William Hamilton, that a representative theory of knowledge must be unsatisfactory. Many, however, have supposed, as he did, and as, in another way, Avenarius supposes, that what Avenarius has called “Die Ausschaltung der Introjektion," the overcoming of dualism, the abandonment of the representative theory of knowledge, must involve a realistic representation of the world of human experience. I am not of this mind. But for the present I am content to leave in your hands, not any refutation of dualism, nor indeed any theory of knowledge as such, but this general sketch of the psychological origin of our concept of the categories of what we are accustomed to call external reality.



  1. A Lecture read before the Philosophical Club of Princeton College, Feb. 2, 1894.

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