According to Professor Dewey (H. T. ch. vi.) the first step towards overcoming a difficulty is to locate it-to put one's mental finger on the exact spot at which it arises. Then there may come if one is right wise constituted by nature and under nurture a suggestion of a way out of the difficulty. This however may need further development in view of the problem as a whole. Often it is found to be of little use and not worth following up. It has then to be abandoned as one of the “strangled ideas with which the path of human thought is strewn.” But suppose that it passes this preliminary examination the suggestion must then be put to the test in every way that can be devised. Its consequences must be followed up in practical affairs or in prolonged research. If it stand the test or tests it may be accepted at least provisionally as the solution of the problem in which the difficulty arises. The located difficulty asks a definite question; the accepted suggestion duly tried out affords a probable answer.
Lecture VII. Towards Reality
XXXI. From “as if” to “is.” XXXII. A Mark of Reality. XXXIII. Qualities and Properties. XXXIV. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Reality. XXXV. Levels of Reality.
§ XXXI. From “as if” to “is.”
Now the suggestion generally starts business as a more or less plausible assumption. When it comes supposing that it does come; when under further elaboration it passes the preliminary examination for candidature; one's attitude is: It looks as if this may be the means of overcoming the difficulty. And should it win through the more rigorous tests to which it must then be subjected the final attitude of more or less confident acceptance is: I believe that this is the solution of the problem or the probable answer to the definite question.
The wise man is very cautious in passing from “as if” to “is.” Furthermore he learns to distinguish under Sir J. J. Thomson's guidance between the acceptance of “is” as a policy and its acceptance as a creed. Accepting as a policy means regarding the tested “as if” as a sufficient basis-the best for the immediate purpose in hand-for continued enquiry and research reserving full freedom to accept some other basis which may hereafter be suggested if it afford a better policy for the prosecution of further research. Accepting as a creed in the naturalistic sense is more difficult to characterise. But if in terms of emergent evolution the aim of a constructive philosophy be to trace the inter-relations of all events psychical as well as physical under one comprehensive scheme the outcome of that endeavour may perhaps be regarded as a creed. Even so it differs from a policy chiefly in the nature of its acknowledgments. Should this provisional distinction be valid then as was urged at the close of the foregoing chapter it may be legitimate to accept as a policy in some specific branch of departmental enquiry that which need not be accepted-may perhaps be rejected-as part of a more comprehensive philosophical creed.
To apply this distinction; no one is likely to question the common-sense policy of regarding the external world-represented for the nonce as the rainbow R. W.-as existent with its very own proper form orderly colour-scheme and appealing beauty quite independently of someone's experience thereof for which rw may here stand. This is as some say fully endorsed by that experience; it carries the pragmatic sanction of working remarkably well. What more can be required? Nothing more perhaps on this plane of enquiry. It is part of common-sense policy. But one may still ask: How far should it be accepted as part of a philosophical creed? I take it the position on this wider and deeper plane is this. When a person as enminded body or embodied mind (I accept Mr. Alexander's distinction between “person” and “subject” (S. T. D. I. p. 103)) is under suitable conditions compresent with RW there occurs in him rw and all that this involves. The located difficulty is to account for the passage in some manner from one to the other. Now for suggestions of ways out of the difficulty. There may be either (i) transference of the characters of RW to the person compresent with it. The suggestion here is that RW just has all those characters the receipt of which under apprehension gives rw. Or there may be (2) projicient reference (cf. § VIII.) of the characters of rw to the acknowledged thing out there. On this suggestion it is the acknowledged thing that is in receipt of the characters that rw gives it. Both these suggestions are based on the acknowledgment of a physical thing existent in its own right. But this may not be acknowledged save as a convenient policy for purposes of physical science. It may be said: No doubt it looks as if there were such a physical thing; and no doubt you are justified in accepting it in your departmental enquiries and research. But from the point of view of a critical philosophy does not your so-called acknowledgment illustrate the too ready and facile passage from “as if” to “is”? Thus arises another suggestion (3) of a way out of the difficulty. May not RW be just an objective construct? May it not be fundamentally a differentiation of our experience of phenomena or appearances? May not this be all that we are justified in accepting as a philosophical creed?
These several suggestions and perhaps some variants thereof-e.g. under (3)-must be submitted to such tests as are available and applicable. But it is not here a question of which of them works best as a common-sense policy save in so far as the first may seem to be the simplest; for all may work equally well. And common-sense should be reminded that in complex matters the simplest interpretation is often too naive to be accepted forthwith as the most probable. The question for us at any rate is not: Which works most easily in the departmental affairs of daily life? but Which should be accepted as part of our evolutionary creed?
§ XXXII. A Mark of Reality.
As part of that creed I acknowledge the physical thing-i.e. an orderly cluster of physical events the foundational existence of which is quite independent of any construction on my part or that of other persons. On the basis of this credal hypothesis one has to ask whether what we commonly call the properties of an object belong only and wholly to the acknowledged thing. And one suggestion (that which I shall accept) is that some of them demand for their very existence the relatedness of that thing to such persons as we are. The grounds on which this suggestion is accepted will be given in due course.
If this hypothesis with regard to some of them (clearly not all of them on this basis) should be tenable in the light of our evolutionary creed does this imply any diminution of their reality? I take it that this question cannot be answered unless we can come to some agreement as to what we mean by reality. An agreement to which all philosophers will subscribe? Probably not; one may perhaps say certainly not. That would be too much to hope for. What then? An agreement among evolutionists of our peculiar brand? I hope something more than this if less than that. One may not be able to define reality; but one ought to be able to indicate some character the presence of which may serve as a mark of reality not only for us but for sundry others whose views save in this are not accordant with ours.
From what was said in the third lecture it may be gathered that on the interpretation I seek to develop relatedness is an essential feature of reality. Comprehensively it is that which obtains throughout what I have called the pyramid of emergent evolution and is characterised by such coherence and consistency as is found therein.
Part of my contention was that within any field of relatedness the terms (in my restricted sense of the word) are homogeneous with their relation; but that the same entity may stand in many relations and may function as just so many different terms in different and co-existent fields of relatedness. This does not mean that an entity is other than a system of terms in intrinsic relations for herein lies a mark of its reality. It means rather that we are to take this for granted so that we may analytically distinguish some special part that it plays in some wider field of relatedness.
Among such fields is that which we may call a purely logical field-one which is objective to reflective thought and which is predominantly a matter of ideal construction. And it is I take it in such a field that coherence and consistency so obtain as to give to that field of relatedness a claim to reality. So long as such a field subsists in accordance with the strict laws of logical construction it affords an instance of possible reality. But the entities which function as alogical terms therein subject to the nature of the logical field may function also as terms in many other relations in the actual reality of the existing world with which we are acquainted on the basis of observation. And whereas what we may speak of as logical reality is (in a sense which will I trust not be misunderstood) independent of the facts of the actual world what we may speak of as pyramidal reality is not only dependent on this relatedness but involves also other kinds of relatedness therein. Hence pyramidal interpretation-that of emergent evolution-is figuratively speaking under double constraint; (i) that imposed by the constitutive structure of nature and (ii) that imposed by the regulative structure of a logical field as such.
There is one more point on which very briefly to comment so as to clear the ground before we pass on. I spoke of such coherence and consistency as is found within the pyramid of emergent evolution. But it is sometimes urged or so it seems that the emphasis on what we are to call real should be on incoherence and inconsistency. The real world it is said is an aggregate of pluralistic factors which in detail are loose-ended raggedly frayed out untidy and hopelessly incalculable. We may not like it since it is the antithesis of the logically ideal; but whether we like it or not that is what it really is. If we be sufficiently tough-minded we accept it without whining.
One cannot parenthetically discuss so large a question. There is however surely no call to ignore such loose-endedness as we find. In the evolution of organisms there have been many and varied lines of advance; some of them have made good and still make good as viable lines; a far greater number have not made good. Biological history shows very many loose ends in this sense racial and individual; and psychological history could it be written would show perhaps a far greater number of loose ends in this sense. Furthermore what can be written is bound to show much untidiness due to lack of knowledge adequate to the task of unravelling so terribly complex a web of events. All this must be reckoned with in any discussion of reality. But the deeper question is whether we can find any loose end of which it can confidently be asserted: Neither intrinsic events nor extrinsic events suffice to account for this instance of untidiness. The world is ragged it may be said because it eludes all the kinds of natural relatedness on which you rely in your naturalistic interpretation. You will if you be honest have to confess that raggedness loose-endedness untidiness wholly escape the mesh of your net of natural causation.
If by stress on untidiness a protest be entered against prematurely forcing a tidy scheme on a set of facts which do not admit of that scheme's tidy neatness-well and good. This is a wise reminder of the imperfect nature of our generalisations (which must express what is salient) in view of the extraordinary complexity of the factual texture as we rise to higher pyramidal levels in emergent evolution. But if it mean that “in reality” there is no consistent and coherent scheme for naturalistic interpretation-that I should urge is an assumption which is tantamount to a fatal bar to progress in scientific interpretation. At all events emergent evolution proceeds on the hypothesis-to be tried out on its merits-that there is a natural coherent and consistent plan of relatedness to which its interpretation has reference; and that belief in any fundamental untidiness (if this mean absence of causal order) should have no place in a philosophical creed of any constructive worth.
Hence emphasis on orderly relatedness as a feature of reality worthy of such emphasis forms a plank in the platform of emergent evolution. But I expressed a hope that some such view of reality might be more widely though not universally accepted. The philosophical doctrine of neoidealists is in many respects quite divergent from our interpretation. Is it so in this respect? Of neo-idealism Mr. Wildon Carr says that from its philosophical standpoint “reality in its fundamental and universal meaning is mind or spirit. Mind in this universal meaning is not an abstract thing opposed to nature or an entity with its place among other entities in space and in time it is concrete experience in which subject-object mind-nature spirit-matter exist in an opposition which is also a necessary relation. Apart from their relation the opposites are meaningless abstractions... Experience is analysable but cannot be dissociated into constituent elements” (P. A. S. 1921–2 p. 124). Here it is urged in effect (1) that all experience is subject to relatedness and (2) that all relatedness is experiential. Those who are not neo-idealists may accept (1) and reject (2). But that important as it may be is not just now the point. The point is that relatedness as I call it is in the neo-idealist doctrine an essential feature of reality.
Common to neo-idealism and to new realism (at any rate in one of its forms) is the acceptance of phenomena or appearances within experience as themselves real and indeed for such new realism as the only reality with which science is concerned. They can thus combine forces against those who acknowledge physical events as existent independently of experience. Thus Mr. Wildon Carr on the one part says that “to constitute a common object it is not necessary to place the existence of that object outside experience and independent of it; all that is necessary is that one individual should be able to refer to an object in his experience which corresponds point to point with the object in another individual's experience.” And Mr. Percy Nunn on the other part says that “physical objects are but syntheses of or constructs from sense-data.” New realists (of his persuasion) he tells us “have taught explicitly that the varying appearances of the ‘same thing’ to different observers are not diverse mental reactions to an identical material cause but are correlated sense-data or ‘events’ belonging to a single historical series” (P. A. S. 1921–2 pp. 125–128).
I may be concerned to advocate an evolutionary interpretation of the facts different from that which the phenomenalist accepts. But such divergence of view is not ad rem just now. The point rather is that the kind of co-relation on which new realists of the phenomenalist school so often and rightly insist falls under the rubric of relatedness. Their position is not quite that of H. Poincaré who acknowledged “real objects which nature will hide for ever from our eyes.” But they would I think endorse his stress on relatedness. “The true relations” he says “between these real objects are the only reality we can attain and the sole condition is that the same relations shall exist between these objects as between the images we are forced to put in their place” (S. H. p. 161).
It seems then that we shall not be ploughing a lonely furrow in proceeding on the basis that relatedness fundamentally orderly is a cardinal feature of reality.
§ XXXIII. Qualities and Properties.
Of emergent evolution in so far as it claims to be a philosophical system idealists say that instead of explaining (as any self-respecting philosophy should explain) the world in terms of mind it vainly endeavours to interpret mind as itself the outcome of an evolutionary process.
Can we find here any common basis of agreement? I take it that both parties do agree that our knowledge of the world depends on experiential relatedness. Where then is the locus of disagreement? The idealist says that the existence of the world as a going concern depends on experiential relatedness. The evolutionist says that experiential relatedness involves the existence of the world in which very late in the course of events it has appeared. The one says that the world itself depends on knowledge;the other says that knowledge involves the prior existence of a world to be known. The one says: Apart from knowledge (in some sense) the world would be non-existent (cf. Lord Haldane R. R. p. 30). The other says: Apart from a world independently existent (in some sense) there could be no knowledge thereof. We are in presence of alternative “as ifs.” Each hypothesis has to be tested and tried out on its merits so far as the nature of the problem permits. It is of little avail for the supporters of this one or of that to be petulantly impatient of the alternative hypothesis as is too often the case in both camps.
The evolutionary view with which as advocate I am concerned demands I think the more patience on the part of those whose considered and impartial verdict is sought. For they are asked not to rest content with accepting experiential relatedness as the one concrete fact on which to build but to hear what may be said in favour of the claim that there were prior kinds of relatedness which afford the foundations of this building. I must therefore crave patience. I beg leave to consider certain foundational distinctions which as I think are common to all kinds of that relatedness which is for us a mark of reality. We shall then be in a position to apply the conclusions we reach to the specific problem of experiential relatedness.
Revert then to the distinction already adverted to (§ IV.) between intrinsic and extrinsic relatedness. As organisms we are (under acknowledgment) things in extrinsic relatedness to other things with which we cannot become directly acquainted save through some extrinsic physical influence from them. This means that our intrinsic goingness is in some way modified in the manner of its going by such physical influence as is advenient. So too the intrinsic goingness of any one of them may be modified by the extrinsic influence of others. Now the intrinsic relatedness of inner events which is the very own nature of any given thing is its intrinsic reality. This may never be separable from the modifications it undergoes under extrinsic influence. None the less it may be distinguished-just as we distinguish a body's own motion in translation from acceleration due to extrinsic influence. One may often be able to distinguish say ninety per cent of the given goingness of a physical system during some short span as intrinsic and grounded in its own preexistent go from ten per cent due to modification of this under extrinsic conditions.
Let us connect this with another distinction which I propose to draw. We commonly speak of the characters properties and qualities of things; and these words are often used interchangeably. In the light of what has been said above I shall for the purpose in hand earmark the word “qualities” for characters that are grounded in what I have called intrinsic relatedness and reserve the word “properties” for those which get their distinctive status from extrinsic relatedness. That leaves the word “characters” for the class which includes both qualities and properties as sub-classes.
Now we will assume that a thing affords evidence of “possessing” some qualities. This may here be taken to mean that what we comprehensively call the thing is (a) the sum of its qualities and (b) their intrinsic relatedness. The Schoolmen spoke of the qualities as attributes and of their intrinsic relatedness-their going-together within the thing—as the substance. But for them substance was also an efficient cause. Hence they regarded substance as that which holds the attributes together i.e. the relating Activity to which their intrinsic relatedness is due. In some measure we carry on their tradition by saying that the thing “possesses” its qualities.
We have then to deal with its qualities. As such they are its very own; as such they have status independently of any extrinsic relatedness. What qualities then may we attribute to things with acknowledgment of rightful possession. They will include certain characters of purely spatio-temporal order within the confines of the thing under consideration-namely the proper figure size and motion of parts which Galileo called primi e reali accidenti and which are generally known through Boyle and Locke as “primary qualities.” In dealing with them we do not need to consider relation to any contextual environment. But if we accept emergent evolution much more than this will be included under the qualities of a thing; there will be included also all characters expressive of the physico-chemical physiological and (imputed) psychical relatedness qua intrinsic—all those characters which give to a thing an organism or a person its status in the evolutionary hierarchy. To the primary qualities must be added those that may be called “constitutive qualities.” These too belong of very own right to the thing or the person under contemplation. Hence I have followed Mr. Alexander in speaking of life and consciousness as qualities.
But some of the characters that we habitually attribute to a thing imply effective relatedness to some other thing or things (or at least to an environing context) by which it is in some way influenced. Can one for example attribute weight to a thing apart from the earth with which it is in gravitative relation? Can one attribute to it resilience save under impact? If one speaks of the hardness of a mineral is not relation to something other than itself implied-to one's thumb-nail or one's knife? More technically perhaps one means that it will scratch a mineral below it on the Mohs or other “scale of hardness” and be scratched by one above it. Can one speak of the refractive index of a crystal irrespective of the transmission of light? And so on. Extrinsic relatedness of the effective order is in all such cases presupposed-not in place of but as well as intrinsic relatedness. I here speak of such characters as properties and that without denying that they are closely co-related with intrinsic qualities. Nor need the extrinsic relatedness be effective. When we pass on to experiential relatedness I shall urge that all perspective appearances as such and all secondary characters are properties. The real shape of a penny (under acknowledgment) is one of its qualities. Its perspective appearance whether as round or elliptical is (I shall contend) one of its properties. The mark of a property in the sense I intend is that it cannot either be or be considered apart from some mode of extrinsic relatedness. But it is none the less real. However distinguishable under analysis qualities and properties may be the former have no greater and no less claim than the latter to reality in relatedness.
§ XXXIV. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Reality.
It will not I trust be supposed that I dream of suggesting that qualities and properties lead a charmed life each independent of the other. That is very far from my. meaning. Mainly restricting myself here and now to levels of relatedness below that of consciousness itself and tacitly taking for granted such cognitive relatedness as may obtain what I do mean may be expressed as follows. Let us analytically distinguish (i) the own intrinsic goingness of a system or thing from (ii) some modification of that goingness through extrinsic influence. Let us consider the own goingness in some given brief span of time quite irrespectively of the past history of its origin-which is another story. Then and there it is just a matter of intrinsic relatedness or current changes of such relatedness within the system. One need not go outside the system to get at its character as a quality. What one has to do is to install oneself inside it-to live (so to speak) in close and intimate touch with all the intrinsic changes that are in progress and to deal reflectively with them. M. Bergson has rightly insisted on the importance of some such procedure. Here I follow him whole-heartedly. Assume then that one can do this with some measure of success so as to get at the existing go of the system as it is in and for itself-through empathy if you like. What one must speedily realise is this: that one cannot interpret all the changes in current goingness on a wholly intrinsic basis. As interpreter one is forced to say (putting it picturesquely): It looks as if there were some extrinsic influence which is a causal condition of some of these changes in current goingness since I cannot account for these changes as grounded in intrinsic relatedness only. I have done my best to interpret what happens on the supposal that the relatedness TrT1 is wholly of origin from within the system. I find it won't work. There are facts for which that hypothesis does not adequately account. They present a serious difficulty. My suggestion of the way out of it is that I must also consider extrinsic relations to something outside the system. That means that in applying the formula TrT1 I must regard the T as attaching to the system and the T1 as attaching to something outside it. This must be so if the relatedness be extrinsic as defined. But the system then assumes a new status in virtue of its function as T. As term it now earmarks the system in extrinsic relation to some other system or systems or some context outside it. The system becomes so to speak a debtor through its indebtedness to some other system for some of its characters. One wants a comprehensive name by which to designate that which the system gains in becoming a term in extrinsic relatedness. Under suitable definition the word “property” serves as I think this purpose. I therefore speak of properties of a thing and urge that as such they are existent only in virtue of extrinsic relatedness.
Such is the position as I see it. Now dive inside again. Ignore all that is happening outside which you may infer to be the extrinsic cause of certain changes in goingness. Just take the intrinsic changes of relatedness in the system within which you install yourself at their face-value so as to be in close touch with the current go which is their intrinsic reality. What will this reality include? It will include space-time-event relatedness as primary quality; it may include physico-chemical relatedness so far as intrinsic only; it may also include life; it may include the quality of consciousness. How much it will include in any given case will turn on the level at which one places the given system in the scale of emergent evolution-that going system in the heart of which one installs oneself. But whatever we so regard as intrinsic to that system will belong to it of its very own right. That is its mark as quality.
But when we dive inside-installing ourselves as best we may in the system under consideration—we must do so not only as a means to realising what is going on partaking so to speak of its process as though we were immersed in it but we must do so as interpreters also. We must strive to get both current touch with it and a more detached intellectual view of it. And we have seen that as interpreters we should soon be led to infer that an extrinsic origin of some of the changes in the current passage of existing goingness is demanded in order to account for all the facts. The further question then arises: Is something also demanded in order to account for the existing goingness independently of such modification by extrinsic influence? And if so what? The answer is that what is demanded is au fond retention of the goingness of a moment ago and other preceding moments. This opens up the “other story” to which allusion was made near the beginning of this section. Retention is intrinsic; but the change of go that is retained is often of extrinsic origin. Hence the importance of an adequate interpretation of retention. This has already been attempted in the fifth lecture (cf. §§ XXIII.—XXV.).
Regarding the matter then from the point of view from which goingness is in focus may one say that any extrinsic modification of the existing go of a system is in a comprehensive sense an “acquired character” thereof? This may be retained in some primary secondary tertiary or lower inorganic fashion. In so far as thus retained it will henceforth form part of the intrinsic go of the system so long as retention holds. Thus there is provision for the evolutionary and historical development of qualities in existing systems at different emergent levels. But any such quality in so far as it needs no extrinsic renewal persists within the system and is part and parcel of its intrinsic reality. Space-time-event relatedness as part of intrinsic reality is always within any given system under consideration; sundry chemical transactions are within a more highly evolved system; that kind of relatedness which the quality of life expresses is no less within the organism; emergent mind is within the personal system and nowhere else. The given system is the home of all the intrinsic reality which is its very own-belongs to it “absolutely” since it is no merely external view thereof (cf. Bergson I. M. P. 2).
I ventured incidentally to suggest in the foregoing section that in any given integral system the specific gotogetherness may be regarded as the substance of that system in its entirety. In this naturalistic sense it may be said to be the principle of unity; but if so it must be distinguished from such a Principle of Unity as plays the part of an integrating Activity—e.g. in T. H. Green's philosophy. With any such Agency naturalism with which alone I am at present dealing has no concern.
Provisionally grant then that the gotogetherness in a manner distinctive of the emergent level of relatedness in this or that integral system may be spoken of as substantial. We then ask: What is it that thus goes together? I should reply: It is the stuff of the system that thus goes together. In one sense of the formula H2 O the stuff of the molecule is indicated—i.e. the atoms of hydrogen and oxygen; but in a richer sense more than the stuff is implied—namely as I put it the substantial gotogetherness of the stuff in a quite specific way so as to constitute the molecule. Even so as molecular stuff the atoms are no longer what they were in prior independence. This holds throughout all the ascending levels in the pyramid. That which becomes the stuff at a higher level of emergence is never quite what it was at the lower level from which it was derived-otherwise one would have resultants only and not emergence. Under emergent evolution there is progressive development of stuff which becomes new stuff in virtue of the higher status to which it has been raised under some supervenient kind of substantial gotogetherness.
I think I am here expressing in my own way what Mr. Alexander has expressed perhaps better in his. It is not easy to express-though I believe it to be common form in much current thought-partly because one cannot have substance without its appropriate stuff; and partly because the stuff is what it is-let me say as emergent stuff-in dependence on its appropriate substance. There is too progressive advance from some stuff which we take to be ultimate at the base of the pyramid to the emergent stuff at this or that level in the hierarchy. Furthermore while the stuff is regarded distributively and peripherally the substantial gotogetherness in this or that specific way in accordance with evolutionary status must be regarded as centrally integrative. Thus it is that naturalistically the stuff goes together in a collective entirety. This precludes the view that the emergent stuff can adequately be dealt with in distribution only—that is apart from central integration or substantial gotogetherness.
We may now pass to correlation that we may ask in due course what is the stuff and what the substance of a psychical system. It will be well so far as is possible to restrict our view here and now to those instances at the level of mind wherein there is as we think some positive though necessarily rather indirect evidence that such correlation obtains. Even so it must be remembered that our full acknowledgment is that of unrestricted correlation at all levels of emergence.
What then do I mean by correlation thus restricted for present purposes to man and some of the higher animals? I mean that the whole physical system from bottom to top is also from top to bottom a psychical system. Of this total psychical system in its entirety the emergent quality of mind is high-level only; but all lower levels are psychically as well as physically involved. Consider then this psychical system with emphasis on the supervenient stage of evolution when the status of mind is attained. What does this mind comprise?
My reply to this question must be different from that of Mr. Alexander; for as will be remembered (§ VI.) I include “in mind” that which is there “by way of idea” as well as that which is there “by way of attribute.” I include in mind all that is objectively minded as well as processes of minding Mr. Alexander includes only the latter. For me therefore the emergent stuff of the mind is afforded by the distributive and peripheral items as minded; the substance of the mind is the psychical gotogetherness of all such peripheral—eds as are on the tapis. For him these peripheral—eds are non-mental—the—ing alone is mental. That this central and substantial—ing-relatedness is of supreme importance I do not deny. Nay rather it will have been seen that it is the substantial factor in relatedness that makes any integral system physically or psychically regarded what it is in its entirety-for what it thus is depends on substantial gotogetherness. This must suffice to show on what general basis of interpretation I am led to include all that is minded as constituting the emergent stuff of mind subject always to its substantial gotogetherness in the psychical system as an integral whole.
Revert now to what was said a little way back. I said (p. 191) that space-time-event relatedness as part of intrinsic reality is always within the given system under consideration; sundry chemical transactions are within a more highly evolved system; that kind of relatedness which the quality of life expresses is no less within the organism; emergent mind is within the personal system and nowhere else. I wish this to be taken quite literally as inclusive alike of stuff and substance. Not only is all minding but all that is minded intrinsic to the psychical system. Stuff and substance of it—eds no less than—ing—belong to a personal biography (as some put it) yours or mine or another's.
Now if we take up this position and feel constrained or content to abide therein there seems to be no escape from solipsism. But under our primary acknowledgment of a physical world there is provision for advenience of physical influence. This again I take quite literally. There is extrinsic relatedness of the person qua physical system to things as likewise physical systems in the acknowledged world of physical events. But what reaches the former from the latter is advenient influence only—e.g. that which is the external stimulus to which some receptor-pattern is due-this and nothing more. This however affords no provision for the objective world in which we live-a world richlydight in colour and scent and sound-what we may call a rainbow world of perceptual experience and not only a physical source of electro-magnetic and other advenient pulses. How comes there to be such a rainbow world rich with the reality of extrinsic relatedness to us? Through projicient reference. That which is perceptually minded—inevitably intrinsic to the psychical system that one is-affording the distributive stuff of the mind—is also a set of signs including Berkeley's language of vision which primarily for purposes of behaviour are referred to centres of physical effluence thereby signified. The centre from which advenient influence comes on the plane of matter is the centre to which there is projicient reference on the plane of mind.
I know full well that new realists and not they only will summarily reject this concept of projicient reference and will say that direct apprehension offers a far simpler interpretation of the facts. But perchance the problem is too complex to admit of so simple a solution. The crucial question I think is: What is advenient? In the light of a critical philosophy that takes evolution seriously the reply to which I am led is: Sundry kinds of physical influence only. If this be so some such concept as that of projicience demands careful consideration.
For those who accept it there is a double escape from solipsism; (i) through the concept of advenience if a physical world be acknowledged; (2) through the concept of projicient reference of that which psychical signs signify to those centres from which advenient influence comes. Thus for us the colour-sign red part of the psychical stuff of the mind correlated with a specific chemical process in the organism has projicient reference to occurrences (thereby signified) in the physical centre from which electro-magnetic influence is advenient.
Enough now for the present at least with regard to projicient reference. What does it come to? All substantial minding all emergent stuff as minded is within the personal system. Only through reference does that which is so minded attach as a sign to occurrences thus signified in some system extrinsic to the personal system; but under acknowledgment of a physical world there is adequate provision for such attachment in the genesis through behaviour of that which we speak of as perception.
We need however yet another avenue of escape from the solipsistic position. Here is a psychical system-yours or mine-within which all minding and all that is objectively minded is intrinsic. But if you and I are to escape from psychical solipsism I must somehow get at your psychical system and you must somehow get at mine. I suppose few are likely to deny that one does “impute” (to use Mr. Alexander's word) to one's neighbour a psychical system of like nature to that with which one has immediate or as some say intuitive acquaintance as intrinsically one's own. And I suppose there is little doubt that as the outcome of a very elaborate process of the reflective order in large measure inferential one does eventually (1) frame an objective construct of oneself which more or less tallies with that self which one can only enjoy directly in immediate acquaintance; and that one does (2) refer some such construct to one's neighbour who is thus regarded as a person no less than one is oneself. Such an elaborate construct of the psychical order a very late outcome of reflective thought W. K. Clifford called an “eject.”
Such an eject as an imputed self of ideal construction comprises I should urge both the stuff and the substance of the mind under contemplation—comprises not only minding “by way of attribute” but also that which is at some given time objectively minded “by way of idea.” A gifted historian said in my hearing that he only began to be in touch with some given period of our history when he could jostle the folk in Fleet Street chat with the country gentleman over his wine talk with the waggoner in the wayside inn and share the modes of thinking and the current enthusiasms of the day. Did he not here include as “in mind” not only substance (modes of thinking) but such of the peripheral stuff as he considered ad rem?
But is there not a far earlier and much more primitive stage of some such reference on the perceptual plane of mind? Does not the infant and the animal seem somehow to get-M. Bergson would say through instinctive sympathy-some dim inkling of mind (say in the mother) other than its own; and this at a time long precedent to that at which any reflective constructs are framed? I think I am at one with Mr. Alexander in believing that there is some such primitive process though we may interpret its outcome with a difference. I venture to name it ejicient reference—craving pardon for doing so. If such a process of ejicience-whether we call it by this name or another-be entertained then we may say of ejicience as Sir Charles Sherrington says of projicience that it initially occurs “without elaboration by any reasoned process.” This is no doubt implied in M. Bergson's “instinctive sympathy.” But “sympathy” needs careful definition; and nowadays the word “instinctive” has half a dozen quite different connotations.
If then the inelegant word “ejicience” be provisionally allowed to pass-of course under protest-at what level is ejicient reference emergent? Only as I think at the level of mind. Ejicience no less than projicience is a differentiated kind of reference; and I have urged that reference proper only begins when the level of mind is reached. There is neither projicient nor ejicient reference at any lower level even granting that there are psychical systems at such lower levels.
But when the level of mind is reached this ejicience or something of the sort-founded as I think on an observable differentiation of behaviour towards enminded systems on the one hand and mindless systems on the other hand-affords a perceptual avenue of approach under genetic treatment towards (1) such correlation of the physical and the psychical as some comparative psychologists accept as a provisional working hypothesis or a policy; and (2) through this to the acknowledgment of unrestricted correlation as part of a constructive creed. This further step be it noted admittedly goes beyond the positive evidence. Such is the nature of a creed. Such I hold to be the characteristic feature of what I call acknowledgment subject always to the proviso that it embodies nothing contradictory to such positive evidence as can be adduced.
Taking then correlation as a policy of interpretation accepted by many comparative psychologists who have no use for a so-called philosophic creed let us ask: On what observable difference of behaviour does it look as if projicience is supplemented by ejicience? The trouble is that as a policy of interpretation it is based on a number of observations on the part of those who have been in close touch with many and varied nuances of behaviour. Recital therefore of this or that instance is not likely to produce the effect that many instances produce on the observer himself. And here only one can be cited. A and B are two chicks and x a worm. As the outcome of prior behaviour the sight of x evokes a taste-revival in A and B respectively (cf. Fig. 2 p. 134). This taste-sign is projicient on to the centre of physical effluence. So far there is projicience common to A and to B; and it seems to those who are not behaviourists only as if the way in which each acts is in some measure dependent thereon.
But carefully observe the further course of behaviour a little later in life of the two chicks in presence of a worm. It looks as if each seems to realise however dimly and vaguely that the other wants that worm. I transcribe from my notes. “B [seven days old] and another in corner of pen. Dropped small worm near them. B drove other off; then are worm.” Here it looks as if B's act was in part determined as the result of what we call prior experience by the behaviour of others in presence of a worm. But no doubt the observation can be interpreted in behaviouristic terms i.e. irrespective of any psychical correlation.
If however such correlation be accepted as a policy of interpretation then how does ejicience come into the picture? In what respect does it differ from projicience only? In brief: Projicient reference runs from A or B to x; ejicient reference runs from “A with projicient x” to “B with projicient x.” Here I must leave the matter sua judice merely adding that such a psychical factor (if it be granted) is ejicient into B; nowise as such advenient from B. Physical influence only is advenient from B.
If correlation be admitted at all we need some genetic interpretation of the transition from “I want x” to “you want x” Something of the sort however crudely the exigences of language force us to express it lies at the critical turning-point from merely individual behaviour to that which is incipiently social. Reduced to its simplest terms for evolutionary interpretation it looks as if the transition is interpretable on the hypothesis of what I call ejicience.
Let us now ask one more question of rather different import-one which naturally arises if we may still regard relatedness as a mark of reality. Is correlation itself a kind of relatedness? I think Mr. Alexander would say: No it is fundamentally identity. None the less it is identity expressed in very diverse attributes and given through quite different modes of acquaintance. Grant that we may still-fundamental identity notwithstanding—regard correlation as a kind of relatedness. We must then ask: Of what nature is its connection with other kinds? Is there spatial relatedness so that we may say that the physical system is here and the psychical system there? Is there temporal relatedness so that we may say that the physical event either precedes or succeeds its correlate? Is there physical relatedness if the one be of the physical and the other of the psychical order? Or is there psychical relatedness of terms that are heterogeneous in attribute? In each case the answer for us must be in the negative. What one means by this is that there is no spatial distance nor temporal interval between the physical event and its correlate. In these respects there is fundamental identity. Nor is the one either the cause or the effect of the other; as Spinoza long ago urged. If the one event be fundamentally identical with the other can one well speak of causal relation between them? What then is there? Can one say more than that there is just correlation of this attribute with that. If it be a kind of relatedness it is sui generis and stands alone of its kind. Within each attribute there is a hierarchical order of involution and dependence; but as between attributes there is just that one kind of relatedness at each given level which I seek to distinguish by the specialised use of the word “correlation.” That is why in Fig. 1 (p. 11) correlation is represented by the horizontal dotted line (cf. § V.).
§ XXXV. Levels of Reality.
It is clear that on the constructive philosophy of emergent evolution which I seek to develop there are levels or orders of reality in respect both of intrinsic and of extrinsic relatedness. This does not of course imply a scale of more or less reality as such for relatedness as a mark of reality obtains at all levels. It does however imply (1) that there is increasing complexity in integral systems as new kinds of relatedness are successively supervenient; (2) that reality is in this sense in process of development; (3) that there is an ascending scale of what we may speak of as richness in reality; and (4) that the richest reality that we know lies at the apex of the pyramid of emergent evolution up to date.
From what was said in the foregoing section it will be understood that what I mean by richness characterises both stuff and substance as we ascend through the hierarchy of levels. It is no disparagement of the achievements of modern physical science to say that the stuff and substance with which it deals are in the sense intended less rich than the stuff and substance with which the biologist has to deal. It is no disparagement of the achievements in biology to say that the stuff and substance with which it deals are far less rich than that with which the student of human affairs has to deal. And if Mr. Alexander be right in contending that the quality of deity is only attained within some human persons—which does not preclude preeminence in one along this central line of nisus-then here we have the very richest product of emergent evolution.
Now one of the cardinal implications of emergent treatment is that the richer cannot adequately be interpreted in terms of the poorer; that life cannot be interpreted in terms of physico-chemical relatedness only; that human affairs which depend on the quality of mind require something more than biological interpretation; and that conduct when deity is emergent depends for its guidance in the naturalistic sense on that which is expressed by this richest of qualities.
I know full well that there are many who cannot allow to the quality of deity in Mr. Alexander's hierarchical scheme a place in naturalistic treatment. To accept this with natural piety means they say a surrender to nature of all those values whose Source is nowise discoverable in nature. A resolute stand they think must be made somewhere; it may be with Descartes at the level of reflective consciousness when the Rational Soul took command over precedent automatism; it may be at the lower level when Mind was first introduced; it may be at the level of Life with its Elan or Urge. At one or more of these levels there is an inflow into nature of that which belongs of right to a disparate order of being. Such explanatory views do not lack able advocacy. All that we—nous autres—have a right to ask is that a hearing-patient and so far as possible unprejudiced-should be given to our version of the world-story we all seek to read aright.
What just now I am anxious to emphasise is that on our view be it right or wrong when we reach the quality of deity we attain to the level of natural reality which is the fullest and richest of all that we know. It comprises more than there is at any other level; the more is emergent and not only resultant; it involves the less of all other levels; on the less the more is built; by the more the less right-down to the least is transformed. All this we accept on the basis of what we deem to be a purely naturalistic interpretation.
Here we may stop. Here naturalism with its attendant agnosticism is bound to stop; for the attitude of natural piety is frankly that of agnosticism expressed in more homely and less repellent phrase. We reach a naturalistic level at which the enrichment is due let us say to the presence of ideals of value on which the shaping of conduct depends. They are emergent; and they are to be accepted for all they are worth nowise slighted or slurred over to the impoverishment of the person who is “qualitied” by them whose status in the hierarchy is in and through them just what it is. It is the business of naturalistic ethics to render an account of their natural genesis. Are they real under the rubric of relatedness? Assuredly they are real in the fullest naturalistic sense. They are the emergent stuff of which the natural gotogetherness at the level of deity is the substance.
What more need one ask for? Is not such a scheme of interpretation complete?
Let us enquire of the critics of naturalism in what respect they regard it as incomplete. They say that it is incomplete since it not only ignores but disallows the concept of Activity. Now I am one of those who hold that for purposes of naturalistic interpretation this concept is quite useless and that all the facts-those of life and mind included-can be adequately described without invoking Activity of any sort from start to finish. None the less from the point of view of a constructive philosophy I for one am unable to see how one is to explain all that goes on from start to finish without it. At every upward stage of emergent evolution there is increasing richness in stuff and in substance. With the advent of each new kind of relatedness the observed manner of go in events is different. In a naturalistic sense each level transcends that which lies below it. Thus we reach the level of deity which in its richness transcends all others. From bottom to top then there is continuous redirection of the course of events. The more loyally we accept a naturalistic interpretation say of an emergently new (anabolic) rise of the evolutionary curve on the advent of life with consequent provision for new modes of the storage of physical energy or “the apparent paradox that ethical nature while born of cosmic nature is necessarily at enmity with its parent” (H. E. IX. p. viii.); the more clearly we realise that Huxley's agnostic position in regard to Evolution and Ethics was fundamentally consistent with his earlier teaching On the Physical Basis of Life (I. p. 130) (notwithstanding much mistaken talk about “recantation”); the more steadily we remember “that evolution is not an explanation of the cosmic [or the ethical] process but merely a generalised statement of the method and results of that process” (IX. p. 6);—in brief the more adequately we grasp the naturalistic and agnostic position the more urgent is the call for some further explanation which shall supplement its merely descriptive interpretation.
There is increasing richness in stuff and in substance throughout the stages of evolutionary advance; there is redirection of the course of events at each level; this redirection is so marked at certain critical turning-points as to present “the apparent paradox” that the emergently new is incompatible in “substance” with the previous course of events before the turning-point was reached. All this seems to be given in the evidence. Must not this be taken into consideration? Does it not seem to demand some explanation in any scheme which claims such measure of completeness as that at which a constructive philosophy professes to aim? Explanation! But why should one seek to explain what after all may be inexplicable? Why not just accept what one finds with natural piety therewith rest content and go on one's way rejoicing?
I have perhaps given some evidence that I am not seriously deficient in natural piety. But go on my way rejoicing in the agnostic position I cannot. Presumably for better or worse I am that way constituted. At all events a supplementary concept of Activity seems to me being what I am called for. I frankly admit that I accept Activity under what I have called acknowledgment. This means that it lies beyond the range of such positive proof as naturalistic criticism rightly demands. But I ask: Does it entail aught that is contradictory to the positive evidence?
In any case I am prepared to face the risk. For me the acknowledgment takes the form of belief in God. But here I am content to lay the main stress on the concept of Activity and to state with the utmost brevity what even this bare acknowledgment appears to me to imply.
It will be clear I suppose from my whole treatment of emergent evolution that the operation of Activity—the word “operation” is here admissible—can nowise be restricted to any one level in our pyramid—either to that of life or of mind or of reflective consciousness or of deity. Acknowledged Activity is omnipresent throughout if it be present at all. It will also I suppose be clear that the avenue of approach towards Activity in each one of us must be sought in some kind of immediate acquaintance within the current changes of one's own psychical system. All other avenues of approach must be indirect as the outcome of reference. Within us if anywhere we must feel the urge or however it be named which shall afford the basis upon which acknowledgment of Activity is founded. What then does it feel like? Each must answer for himself fully realising that he may misinterpret the evidence. Without denying a felt push from the lower levels of one's being—a so-called driving force welling up from below—to me it feels like a drawing upwards through Activity existent at a higher level than that to which I have attained. Of course I am quite ready to admit that those who do have this feeling of being attracted by the Ideal and who build an explanation thereon may be mistaken. Hence my reiterated speaking of acknowledgment. What I here acknowledge is a really existent Ideal independent of my emergent ideals and of the emergent quality of deity in much the same sense as I acknowledge a physical world existent independently of my perceiving it (cf. § V. ad fin.). And should such acknowledgment be accepted it is in line with the foregoing naturalistic treatment though supplementary thereto that such an Ideal must be conceived as not only higher but richer and fuller than the emergent quality of deity. If the latter be that which gives richness and fullness to certain human persons the former on which this Depends must be under acknowledgment not less rich but more rich than this. It is no tenuous abstraction that is thus acknowledged.
This Ideal within the human person but Transcendent of his human level of deity is God—completing the scheme of relatedness from above. But in and through Activity universal from base to apex of the whole emergent pyramid God is no less Immanent. Substantial to all the substantial gotogetherness which suffices for naturalistic treatment is the planful Activity in and through which its stuff has being and is held together. It is on this relating Activity in Substance that the Schoolmen insisted (cf. p. 186); it is this that T. H. Green emphasised as the unifying Principle (p. 192).
Such is a crude and meagre restatement of what has been far better stated by others. My aim is merely to show in what kind of way on purely philosophic grounds the scheme of emergent evolution accepted without reserve needs as I think to be supplemented not superseded so as to render it constructively complete.
From the book: