Little save incidentally was said in the foregoing lecture on relatedness at the level of consciousness. A good deal no doubt was necessarily implied or tacitly taken for granted. But before we can deal with consciousness explicitly and so far as possible comprehensively—in the second course of lectures—much preparation and some laying of foundations will be necessary. From the point of view of emergent evolution conscious relatedness for all its seeming simplicity and immediacy has a history of bewildering complexity. Enjoyed as the correlate of vital relatedness at a very advanced stage of its evolutionary progress; requiring the effective go of life as that requires the primary go of physical events; affording a salient example of that which we have called dependence—since so much of the direction and manner of go in events depends on conscious guidance; linked thus with emergent qualities at so high a level and thus involving so many kinds of relatedness of lower orders; its adequate analysis is bound to be very difficult. Only step by step can we disentangle some of the threads in a meshwork of relations so intricate.
Lecture IV. Reference
XVI. Reference a matter of Conscious Regard. XVII. Perceptual Reference. XVIII. Is there initial Reference in the Primitive Mind? XIX. That which is involved in the Genesis of Reference. XX. Reference supplemented under Acknowledgment.
§ XVI. Reference a matter of Conscious Regard.
Throughout the whole range of consciousness in its cognitive regard there is a factor which seems to be of cardinal importance—that of reference in some sense of the word and of the concept the word names. I have now to try to present points of view which may be helpful in assigning to it a place in our scheme of emergent evolution.
The way in which we commonly speak of reference may be illustrated in connection with Literature. Suppose we meet with the oft-quoted lines:
“His honour rooted in dishonour stood
And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.”
The question may be asked: What is the reference here? Perhaps one may refer the passage to Tennyson or to the Idylls of the King. But if it were asked to whom the word “him” here refers the reply would be: To Lancelot. Next it might be asked: To what salient feature in Lancelot's life is there here special reference? To his love of Guinevere. Further questions might follow with regard to the concluding words “falsely true.” True to whom? To Guinevere. But why falsely? To whom was he false? To his king Arthur as Guinevere's husband. Until this double reference in the three-person situation is adequately grasped the passage as a whole with its play on “honour” and “dishonour” and on “faith unfaithful” will not be understood. For one who recalls the context of the lines as they stand in Lancelot and Elaine there is perhaps some further reference to Elaine's love for him with the passing thought that had he loved her there would have been no call to speak of him as “falsely true.”
Take as a further example the familiar words: “The quality of mercy is not strained.” Portia Merchant of Venice Shakespeare shoot to mind. Perhaps there is a fleeting memory-image of the birth-room at Stratford to be dismissed it may be as just now irrelevant. More to the point the last emphatic word “strained” may call up Shylock's preceding question: “On what compulsion? Tell me that.” Antonio's admission of the bond may then come into view. One is led step by step through the trial scene; this is referred to its setting in the play; and so on. Of course in the case of one who knows his Merchant of Venice (note here our common use of the word “his”) a tolerably comprehensive view may develop rapidly; for as Hobbes pithily said “thought is quick.” The net result of previous study is revived in vague but influential form. There is also a “can follow it up” background rather difficult to analyse. Probably in no two persons will just the same lines of possible reference be followed up.
What seems to be essential in such cases (the more familiar the better for illustration) is that something being given something else having significant relation to that which is so given must be also in mind. The something else may be very vague or indefinite; or it may be a well-defined situation; or it may involve such a connection as is exemplified in “strained” and “compulsion.” But vague or clear-cut the something else must be such as to function as a term in relation to the something given. And both terms must be “in mind”; otherwise there is then and there no reference.
One should distinguish the mental process of referring in which we (who are the process and its -ingїcontext whatever else we may be) are conscious from the objective field of reference of which as minded we are conscious. This we may call “the field of conscious regard.” Here and now we may take the process of minding for granted on the understanding that in its absence there is no field of conscious regard.
It may be asked however whether both the terms in this relation need be present in mind as what we are conscious of at the same time. May they not occur in succession that which is given at one moment the something else in a following moment? Is not that the natural order; first that which is in some way given and then what is suggested thereby to which it is said to have reference? Undoubtedly this is the natural order and unquestionably this does imply succession in time however rapidly one may follow the other. None the less this must be held in the field of conscious regard at the time when that enters the field. For before that comes there is no second term in the field to which the first can be related; and unless this be carried forward under retention there is no first term in the field to which the second stands in relation. In the one case the second term has not yet come; in the other case the first term has gone. Hence in the absence of retention which falls broadly speaking under the head of memory conscious reference would seem to be impossible.
But surely (it may be said) what is suggested is often past or future. If one refer a man's impending death to an overdose of strychnine there is reference of a coming event to an event that happened some time ago. Even here however must not the course of events be then and there minded if there be any conscious reference thereto? What is here minded is a scheme or plan of events which in some sense corresponds to the actual course of events some of which are gone some still to come. Hence it is questionable whether it be advisable to speak of conscious reference to that which is not at the time being minded.
No doubt we do often speak of reference when we do not necessarily mean conscious reference. We say that iron filings scattered around a magnet take up positions in reference to “lines of force” in the electro-magnetic field. We say that the upward growth of a plant-stem must have some reference to an interpretation under gravitative attraction. We say that the behaviour of lowly heliotropic organisms or that of plants in a cottager's window has reference to the incidence of light-waves and so on. And it may perhaps be urged that this kind of thing went on ages before there was any conscious reference on the scene. Yes. But surely that means that there was then no “true” (i.e. conscious) reference. What I think we commonly mean in all such cases is that certain events are so connected in the world around us as to afford a basis for conscious reference when it does come on to the scene. Such events must of course be taken into account. In any relation having “sense” that from which one starts may with Mr. Russell be called the referent and that to which one proceeds the relatum (P. M. pp. 24–96). And I take it that from the logical point of view they need not both be in the field of someone's conscious regard. It suffices that the one shall be referable to the other. If this sufficiently indicate the part played by the connection of events within the world to be interpreted in thus affording a basis for conscious reference (which is always a mental transaction) may it not be better not to use the word “reference” in those cases in which it is often elliptically used since there are other words which will quite adequately express what we mean? We might perhaps use as above the word “referable” where there may be or will be actual reference if the course of events be somehow represented in the field of someone's conscious regard.
§ XVII. Perceptual Reference.
Thus far we have taken one or two cases illustrative of reference as it obtains in a field of conscious regard on the reflective level. The relatedness here is that of something given (itself a complex term) to something else—a significant context or some specific feature of that context. If I can trust my own inspection (or so-called introspection) the initial phase of such reference may be and often is very vague and indeterminate—to something somehow significant—what one may call significance in general. Specific or differentiated significance may come later. And in what has gone before emphasis has been laid on the necessary co-existence of the something given and the something else—also given of course but not given in quite the same way—in the field of conscious regard correlative to the process of minding then and there in being. Even significance in general however vague must be there if there be reference to it.
But if not given in quite the same way how given? Shall we say given under revival? In all reference of the reflective order something of the nature of memory is a sine qua non. And this as we shall see in the next lecture has its emergent levels with involution and dependence.
May we then provisionally accept the view that only if there be conscious revival can the something else come into the reflective field of conscious regard? The question then arises: Is there revival only or may there be something more than revival? It should be clear that to this question the answer for us is that assuredly there may be something more. Revival I take it should mean re-presentation of old material—or that which is in imagery like unto it—with perhaps re-arrangement in resultant patterns but with nothing genuinely or as it is said constructively new. That comes under emergence. And there is nothing in what has been said to preclude the advent of an emergent quality in the integral whole. All that is claimed is that revival is involved. There is no denial—nay rather this too is claimed—that evolutionary advance in reflective thought depends on the emergence of new synthetic qualities.
We must now descend a stage to the level of unreflective consciousness—that on which the guidance of animal behaviour in large measure depends. I do not say wholly depends though in some animals it may be so—probably is so under emergent evolution. Let us say rather that on which the behaviour of a being with unreflective or perceptual consciousness only would depend and speak of it as “such an animal.” To get at this level we must divest ourselves so far as we can of the garment of reflective thought. What then of reference remains to such an animal the field of whose conscious regard we now seek to interpret? I suppose something pretty similar to that which there is in us on many current occasions of daily life if again so far as we can we regard that mental life in abstraction from the reflective reference which is in some measure also on the tapis. I take it that the something given is here typically the presentation of some situation and the something else is in general the objective “meaning” begotten of prior behaviour along many lines and in more specific detail the ad hoc meaning attaching to the kind of situation of which that which is presented affords an instance. Meaning in general at the unreflective level like significance in general at the reflective level is not wholly undifferentiated. It is always in some measure relevant; for it is a term (however complex) in relation to the something given; and under relatedness each of the two terms in relation is what it is only in relation to the other.
Unreflective meaning as distinguished from reflective significance has immediate utility for practical behaviour whereas significance has mediate value for conduct. Meaning involves revival of the net result of prior experience in such a behaviour-situation. It must co-exist with the something given in the field of conscious regard. But from the cognitive point of view we commonly say that both the something given say in presentation and the something else present under revival have reference to what we call an object. Through its relation to meaning the presentation is raised to the level of a percept which as I think is not only a resultant but an emergent with a quality which is genuinely new. May we say then: No meaning no percept; and no perception no object thereof?
That may seem to be sheer topsyturvydom. Place the statement right way up: No object no perception thereof. Then it is in accordance with common-sense. The trouble here is that the word “object” is ambiguous. It may mean the thing as it is in its own right whether it be perceived or not—i.e. what I speak of as the physical thing the existence of which we acknowledge. Or it may mean this thing as clothed with certain acquired properties due to its relation to us in perception. It is in this latter sense that I speak of the object meaning that which comprises all that accrues to a physical thing in and through our minding it. The statement as I put it comes to this: The thing plays no part in constituting an object of perception until it is thus minded or perceived. This few will deny. But new-realists may add: What it is as perceived object is just identically that which it was and will continue to be as unperceived thing. Nothing “accrues” to it. This I submit is not in accordance with those principles of emergent evolution which I seek to develop. When perception comes it enriches the world into which in the course of evolutionary progress it so comes. Hence just here there is a parting of the ways of interpretation.
§ XVIII. Is there Initial Reference in the Primitive Mind?
However we may interpret it we seem here to have passed to a different phase if not a different kind of reference. We have not only the reference of something given in a field of conscious regard to something else within that field—the context of meaning or some differentiated feature therein—but further reference of what is within the field to something in some sense beyond it—let us say to the thing the existence of which we acknowledge to be independent of any conscious reference.
In the case of an animal that has already gained experience the like of which may be revived there is as we have seen perceptual reference on the unreflective level. But what about the animal or the human infant at the outset of mental life? If we probe as near as we can get to the very beginning of conscious experience in the individual is there so far as we can judge reference either to something else in the field of conscious regard or to anything beyond what is actually given to sense? Is there a stage of development at which there is as yet no reference? Unfortunately no one can reach back retrospectively along the lines of personal reminiscence anywhere near to the beginning of individual experience. We are forced therefore to draw rather hazardous inferences from such observations as we can make of the earliest modes of behaviour in infants and animals.
The question before us comes to this: Is there a stage in the individual development of an organism in which consciousness is eventually emergent when there are sensory presentations that as yet carry no meaning? From the point of view of emergent evolution there is such a stage—one at which a behaviouristic interpretation of that which happens is adequate and sufficient even if we acknowledge psychical correlates.
May we surmise that when one sees a chick a few hours old peck for the first time at what we call a small object say a rice-grain we are as near to the beginning of its acquaintance with particular things as we are likely to get for the purpose of an answer to our question? There is a visual presentation in some sense. But in what sense? First we may agree that to be a presentation it must have under correlation an accompaniment or concomitant of the psychical order whether we call it sentience or enjoyment or consciousness in the most comprehensive signification of this ambiguous word. Secondly we may with Mr. Stout further define a presentation as that which always has what he speaks of as “a two-fold implication.” On these terms it is under correlation a mode of immediate sensory experience; but in its presentative function it also “specifies and determines the direction of thought to what is not immediately experienced” (M. p. 210). I agree that this is so in our mental life. But I submit that even here we should analytically distinguish between what it primarily is and what it functionally (and perhaps only secondarily) does. For the purpose in hand therefore I characterise what a presentation primarily is as the correlate of the physiological outcome in the organism of the stimulation of a pattern of sensory (e.g. retinal) receptors.
In our chick then there is such a presentation and may at first be no more. The pecking response in behaviour is coming but has not yet come; so this is out of court so far as that bird's experience is concerned. The question now in focus is this: Has the presentation as something for the first time given initial reference to something else or something beyond? My own reply is that in such a case there is no such initial reference—that conscious reference only derivatively begins when there is revival of such experience as the little bird has already and individually gained in the course of pecking and other modes of behaviour on prior occasions.
That then is one answer to the question whether from the first there is reference of something given in presentation to something beyond that which is so given. There is at the outset no such reference. The presentative function is not yet. All such reference when it comes is derivative from previous experience in the individual life. The alternative answer ably advocated by Mr. Stout (P. A. S. 1913–4 pp. 381 ff.) is that the something given in sensory presentation (called by him a “primary sensible”) is at the outset originally and initially referred to “a source” as something beyond. “The primitive mind” he says “directly apprehends a primary sensible and in doing so refers it to a source” (p. 395). This is spoken of as an “original unreflective act” through which there is “an immediate knowledge of primary sensibles as correlated with a source” (pp. 389–390). In other words there is “immediate knowledge of the sensible as incomplete”; and it is this knowledge of connection with source that “is original and immediate” (p. 392). It is however source in a vague and undiscriminated form not a specific object as differentiated through experience. It is source in general not a source in particular. This I take it means that even from the very outset in the infant let us say the supposed existence of a sensory presentation which carries no reference to something beyond itself is to be regarded as a vicious abstraction begotten of erroneous interpretation. Not only has such a presentation the function of leading on to something further but it immediately introduces into the field of primitive conscious regard that which is really inseparable from it namely (a) knowledge of its incompleteness and (b) knowledge of source which completes it. Any given sensory presentation means initially immediately and directly at least something from which it originates. But since this meaning is ex hypothesi nowise the outcome of prior experience in the individual (for if so it would not be original) it must either be derived from experience inherited from ancestors or must have its sufficient ground in the inherent nature of mind as initially intelligent. The former Mr. Stout tells us it is not safe to assume (M. p. 494); we seem therefore bound to accept the latter since we cannot get along without it. For if there were not from the very first some reference to source such reference could not by any possibility come into being. “I cannot” says Mr. Stout “stir a step without pre-supposing the reference of a primary sensible to a source and without pre-supposing that the reference is initially to the whole source” (P. A. S. p. 396).
It goes without saying that in the paper from which I have quoted and elsewhere Mr. Stout's discussion of the manner in which specific objects become differentiated as the experience of the individual develops is admirable. It deals with that of which he elsewhere treats under the “category of thinghood.” Such categories he speaks of as “ultimate principles of unity.” And here again he says that we have “to determine whether the unity of the external world can be accounted for merely as due to acquired meaning or whether on the contrary there is some apprehension of it however rudimentary from the outset” (M. p. 436). The question I take it is this: Is the apprehension of unity entirely derivative; or is it in part at least original? The reply is: “The mind starts with some general apprehension of the unity of the world sufficient to enable it when occasion arises to expect and seek for connections not yet disclosed” (p. 437). Whether in further detail we take “spatial unity temporal unity causal unity or the unity of different attributes as belonging to the same thing” in each several case as I understand what is given is initially apprehended—e.g. by our chick—as pointing beyond itself to a larger whole of which it is felt to be an incomplete part. “If we are not quite gratuitously to place an impassable gap between the earlier and the later stages of mental development we must assume that it [some pre-notion of the unity we seek] is present in however indeterminate a way from the beginning” (p. 444).
§ XIX. That which is involved in the Genesis of Reference.
I have given at some length Mr. Stout's philosophical thesis—I trust without serious misrepresentation—because the issue it raises appears to me to be of great importance. The cardinal issue I think is this: Does a few-hours old chick a newborn infant or any other sample of primitive mind one selects or posits—does such primitive mind start business with some apprehension of source to which there is initial reference; or is reference to source quite a late product of reflective thought?
It is clear that this issue is intimately connected with that which I have spoken of as projicience (cf. § VIII.). On my view projicience is a process of very gradual development that begins when mind or consciousness is supervenient in the course of evolutionary progress and takes definite form only when distance-receptors are differentiated on the plane of life. It presupposes the evolution of mind as an emergent quality of the psychical system correlated with the physical system of the organism. Until there is projicience there is as yet no external world envisaged in the primitive psychical system. On the alternative view mind has ab initio that which is one of its distinguishing features—that of apprehending an external world in which things lie at a distance from the organism. Through bodily instruments such as the eye the mind gains definite and specific experience of the nature of the external world. But some apprehensive reference thereto must be present from the outset.
We are once more at a crucial parting of the ways. And I think at bottom it comes to this. One route leads to the view that mind is emergent in the course of evolutionary history. The other path leads to the view that mind is not emergent. It is not an evolutionary stage in the natural history of the psychical correlates of physical events. It enters the world endowed with an original capacity for apprehending that world with its several categories through the use of sense-organs and brains evolved to that end in a manner which it is for biologists to disclose. This apprehension is part of the mind's inherent activity which with the conduct it subserves affords instances of a kind of causality elsewhere not to be found in nature (cf. M. p. 120). The two views are I think irreconcilable. If one be accepted the other must be rejected.
The citadel of projicience—the holding of which is essential to my strategic position—will thus be subject to attack from two sides and must rebut the missiles of criticism directed against it from different besieging camps. Mr. Alexander on the one hand will seek to demolish it because it threatens the new-realist road that leads to the hill-top from which the independent status of secondary qualities comes clearly into sight—an outlook tower which must be maintained. Mr. Stout on the other hand will attack it because it bars the way to that shrine wherein dwells the mind with its prerogative of initially apprehending the source from which our specific modes of objective experience have been differentiated.
If—to drop the citadel metaphor which is only introduced parenthetically as perhaps throwing a side-light on the issue—if I be unable to accept initial reference to source in general; if as I have been led to believe all conscious reference be secondary and derivative it is clear that I must face the question: From what is it derived? How can reference of something given say in sensory presentation to something else or something beyond which in some way enters the field of conscious regard—how can this genetically come into being if there be no reference in being at the outset? What is its epigenetic origin? From the standpoint of emergent evolution this question will take the form: What does such reference involve at a lower level of the ascending hierarchy? Clearly the behaviouristic answer for us must be: There are on the plane of life kinds of relatedness which afford a basis for conscious reference preparatory to its advent. Life is the evolutionary precursor to mind. There is in any organism that has under stimulation something physiologically given much else that is thereby excited as a further outcome of that stimulation. But this organic “something else” even if it be accompanied by consciousness in a wide sense of the word (I should say by enjoyment) affords only a physical basis on which there is founded the conscious reference that supervenes. Reference itself can only arise when the correlate of this something else is a revival which carries with it the undefinable quality or quale of” againness” (cf. § XXII.). We cannot however follow up this clue until we have traced the emergent stages which lead up to memory.
But we can draw attention to another clue in that which is biologically involved at the level of life. For one of the questions which is sure to arise is: How comes it that reference centres in that which progressively takes form as the object? The answer to this question is that behaviour towards this or that thing is the natural progenitor under emergent evolution of conscious reference to this or that object. In so far as an acknowledged thing is a common centre on to which varied modes of behaviour are focussed at the level of life it becomes also a common centre around which is grouped all that in and through behaviour is projicient at the level of consciousness. Contributory to the genesis of conscious reference behaviour is involved; but behaviour does not initially depend on conscious reference. The infant or the animal does not initially and at the outset of active life behave towards a thing because it apprehends however vaguely and indeterminately that beyond the primary sensible there is something more as the source to which it is referable (still less actually referred); but we at any rate may come to learn in the course of reflective interpretation that the existence of such a source is based on an hypothesis worthy of serious consideration. We learn too eventually what properties are referable to an object. In our infant days we become acquainted with certain salient ways in which sensory stimulation may come. But this is because behaviour nowise consciously directed ab initio to seeking them has led us on the plane of life to find them. One must invert Mr. Stout's dictum that the condition of finding is seeking. At the outset in my interpretation behaviour on the plane of life just finds; only after having found does the animal or an infant seek in order to find again. It is in this felt “againness” that the psychical factor in conscious reference must be sought. Subject to retention and revival it affords the basis of what we commonly speak of as experience.
One cannot go into detail with regard to the progressive and as I contend genetically projicient clustering of revived experience around some centre which thus becomes an object for reference. Nor is this necessary. It is a familiar story. Let it suffice then very briefly to illustrate the integrative coalescence by an example from the nursery. In the infant random and unlearnt movements of head and eyes or arms and hands bring the little child into sensory commerce with things thus found but nowise initially sought. Now there appears to be a stage when acquaintance with such things through vision is not yet coalescent with acquaintance with them through manipulative touch. Visual exploration in seeking to find again seems to go on independently of what the hands are doing; manipulation is apparently irrespective of that with which vision is concerned. Not until about the middle of the fourth month according to Miss Milicent Shinn (B. B. p. 123) is there in the child reciprocal reference of both eye-data and hand-data to one and the same object. So far as one can draw safe inferences from what has been carefully observed it is then and not till then that touching a thing suggests looking at it and seeing it suggests what will come through grasping it. This must be a great moment. The centre of common reference becomes so far a perceptual object. The inverted (some will I know say perverted) view of the natural order in finding and seeking is I think near the heart of interpretation under emergent evolution. One has of course to distinguish between the primary behaviour that finds on the plane of life and the secondary behaviour that seeks and finds again on the plane of consciousness. The former does not depend on consciousness either for its being or for the particular manner of its going. The way it goes is an expression of life at its appropriate level of emergence. The latter does depend on conscious relatedness and on reference for the effective guidance of the particular or specific manner of its going. If we are to render an evolutionary account of the emergence of mind and not only of subsequent steps of emergence in mind one must realise (1) that it is from behaviour nowise dependent on conscious guidance that the organism first finds on the plane of life just as on the plane of matter a thing may be said to find another thing under some physical influence that we speak of as “attractive”; and (2) that only on the plane of mind is there even incipient seeking in order thereby to find again. Herein lies the evolutionary value of conscious reference when the level of mind is reached.
It is difficult to make my position clear in advance of the discussion of behaviour and consciousness which will follow in my second course. On a basis of correlation one has to distinguish a primitive psychical system before the quality of consciousness (which needs definition) emerges from a primitive mind in which it is emergent. Mr. Stout will I think disallow this distinction.
My interpretation of the chick's status is frankly behaviouristic if a correlated psychical system not yet effective in guidance be acknowledged. But pari passu with the evolution of its behaviour there is developed projicient reference to that towards which it behaves. And with this comes conscious guidance which the behaviourist on his part will not allow.
In its inception then reference begins with the emergence of mind as effective in the guidance of natural events. But such reference finds its points of insertion in particular instances already given for reference under specific kinds of behaviour. It proceeds from individual cases to progressively universalised concepts. Quite late in mental development does there arise even the vaguest reference to “source in general.” Acknowledgment of such a source is a terminus ad quem towards which the evolution of mind rises after prolonged perceptual preparation. It is doubtful whether the rabbit or the cow comes within sight of it in vaguest and least differentiated form or has even a dim inkling thereof. It is reached at the reflective stage only where we are very far removed from what I conceive to be the status of primitive mind.
§ XX. Reference supplemented under Acknowledgment.
Our discussion of reference has brought us into touch with a question which is one of the most central of all questions for philosophy. Is the concept of evolution applicable to mind?
There are two senses in which an affirmative reply may be given. In the first sense it may be said that the concept of evolution is certainly applicable to mind. For what is evolution? As the word properly understood implies it is the unfolding of that which is enfolded; the rendering explicit of that which is hitherto implicit. The evolution of mind in the history of events is the progressive coming to its own in the fulness of time of the intelligence or reason inherent always in the very nature of the world. In the beginning the end was enfolded; but only through unfolding do we learn what was from first to last the nature of this enfolded end. Apart from its teleological import the word “nisus” has neither explanatory nor etymological standing. Hence it is said for those who rightly grasp the philosophical meaning of evolution—whatever may have become the lax use of the word in science—any treatment which ignores the finalistic outcome stands condemned.
But it may be asked: What is evolved? Is it the Activity manifested in natural events or is it the expression of this Activity in the world which we seek to interpret? The reply may be: Both since neither is separable from the other in the integral whole of the universe. One may still however enquire whether the Activity should not be distinguished from its manifestation; and if so whether it is not to the manifestation rather than to the Activity that the word “evolution” is properly applicable. It may be said in reply that since it is the Activity which is progressively unfolded in and through its manifestation—and which thus becomes explicit—one may justifiably speak of its evolution i.e. its progressive unfolding. One more question must then be asked. This progressive unfolding is a process “in time.” Does the Activity which is thus manifested subsist sub specie temporis or sub specie aeternitatis; and if the latter must we not take “ab initio” subject to a timeless Is?
In the other sense of the word “evolution”—that which is nowadays accepted in science—the emphasis is not on the unfolding of something already in being but on the outspringing of something that has hitherto not been in being. It is in this sense only that the noun may carry the adjective “emergent.” The expression “the evolution of mind” has here a different implication. Nay more the word “mind” itself is quite differently defined. It cannot connote Activity since the concept of Activity in any such role of efficiency is resolutely barred by those exponents of scientific thought whose teaching in the naturalistic domain we here accept (cf. § XLVII.). The evolution of mind then means for us the coming into being of a kind of relatedness which at preceding stages of evolutionary progress had as such no being at all.
Stress should again be laid on the supervenience of new kinds of relatedness (cf. § XI.) which are accepted on the evidence with natural piety. From the point of view of emergent evolution we should not say that the relatedness observable in the crystal is implicit in the solution but that there are lower kinds of relatedness therein which are involved as the physical basis of crystallisation. So too we should not say that mind is implicit in life or life implicit in matter but that vital relatedness is involved in the natural genesis of mind and physico-chemical relatedness is involved in the natural genesis of life.
Let us now briefly review and revise our position in the matter of reference.
(1) Objective reference is a kind of relatedness which obtains within a field of conscious regard i.e. within the domain of the minded.
(2) In any given instance of reference one at least of the terms in this relation is re-presentative in revival under memory—Mr. Russell would say is the “mnemic” factor in causation.
(3) At the perceptual level a typical instance of reference is that of some sensory presentation to the meaning (for behaviour) thereby revived in representative form.
(4) Below the perceptual level there is as yet no reference since no meaning is revived in a field of conscious regard.
(5) It is above the level of naïve perception i.e. at the reflective level of consciousness that reference is of so much importance. Here something given at a lower level of mind say in naïve perception has the relation of reference in a field of conscious regard that has become conceptualised for contemplation (cf. § vii.). What we speak of as an object under such contemplation is always in some measure a conceptualised object commonly universalised through its name. The something else in mind which is the complement of the something given is broadly speaking the significant scheme for reflective contemplation.
(6) When this level is reached therefore schemes of interpretation—or frames for reference—are in the field of conscious regard. It is then realised that any kind of relatedness in natural events may afford a basts jor reference i.e. that which is involved in order that there may be conscious reference.
(7) Thus arises the concept of the referable. Under this concept “this” may be said to be referable to “that” (a) when “that” is regarded as part of the knowledge of the person under contemplation in some sense stored for such reference though at the time being there is no actual process of referring “this” thereto; or (b) when “that” is said to be part of the common knowledge of educated and adequately instructed persons; or (c) when “that” is within the knowledge of some ideal all-knower. In either of these cases “this” (the something given) is referable to a scheme of interpretation in some way retained in “knowledge.”
But (8) by an extension of the concept this knowledge this scheme of interpretation or some specific factor therein may still be spoken of as referable to that which is thus interpreted—let us say to nature as that with which knowledge deals.
On these terms (9) there is (a) knowledge and (b) that to which such knowledge is referable. It may however be said that there is no valid separation of (a) from (b). For this makes knowledge a quite unnecessary and illegitimate tertium quid intervening between the mind and nature. And here some (idealists and phenomenalists) say:
(i) That what we call nature is just the objectively mental—the minded as correlative to the process of minding—each inseparable from the other; while others (radical new-realists) say:
(ii) That non-mental nature is directly apprehended as it veritably is independently of chancing to be occasionally known.
Whether in view of “three-entity” situations a tertium quid may not after all be admissible I cannot here stay to consider.
(10) Emergent evolution takes a middle course. It urges that there is reference of the extended order to that which in accordance with its constructive scheme of interpretation and explanation must be acknowledged; but that there is also projicient reference of that which is minded (e.g. in vision) to acknowledged centres for such reference.
Now by acknowledgment I mean acceptance of that which is as I think not susceptible of logical proof or disproof on the grounds that such acceptance gives consistency to a scheme otherwise incomplete. It is imperative therefore to state quite clearly and frankly what is posited under acknowledgment.
First we acknowledge a system of physical events intrinsically existent as that which is basally involved in our completed scheme. Secondly we acknowledge God as the ultimate Source on which emergent evolution is ultimately dependent. We ask: If the former of these be acknowledged why not the latter within our completed scheme which aims at a synthesis of interpretation and explanation?
But thirdly we also acknowledge unrestricted correlation of the kind Spinoza postulated under his doctrine of attributes. Within the domain of both attributes there is continuous development under progressive emergence. Each ascending stage in the one attribute is evolved with that of the other. Neither is evolved from the other.
It is within such an acknowledged frame of reference with its three-fold relatedness of involution dependence and correlation that world-events take their course “in space and time.” But Dependence on God is sub specie aeternitatis. Widely as our conclusions differ from those to which M. Bergson has been led we may still agree with him when he says: “Philosophy ought to follow science in order to superpose on scientific truth a knowledge of another kind which may be called metaphysical” (C. E. p. 208).
From the book: