We have seen how the activities of reflection are derived from action by a limitation of attention to its negative dimension; and how in this manner a purely reflective intention can emerge. We may summarize this in terms of the form of the personal in the following way. The unity of movement and knowledge in action makes the movement intentional. If now we isolate the negative aspect it appears as the intention which informs the movement. Intention in its turn must reveal the negative aspect which it contains. This we call ‘attention’. The negative intention which constitutes a theoretical activity is then a limitation of intention to its own negative aspect; it is an intentional attending to what has been given in action.
We must now consider the processes of reflection themselves and in particular the manner in which they refer to action. Reflective activities we have defined as such doings of the Agent as terminate in ideas. We may now make this definition more complete by reference to the reflective intention. They are activities which intend the improvement of knowledge. Since knowledge is primarily a dimension of action this limited and negative intention has an implied reference to practical intention the improvement of action itself. So long however as the activity is governed by a negative intention this reference remains implicit and indeterminate; and the reflective activity is in this sense undertaken for its own sake; that is to say with no determinate reference to its practical application. This does not mean however that it makes no difference to practical activity. Any modification of knowledge since it is an agent's knowledge necessarily involves a modification of his practical activity whether this is intended or not. We clearly cannot change our ideas of the world in which we act without in some way modifying our way of acting. Even if we devote our lives to the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake that is in itself a modification of our way of living. It involves a practical and not merely a theoretical choice. It has the effect however of inverting the positive and negative aspects of action; so that practical activities become elements in a theoretical way of life; subordinated to a negative intention.
All reflective activities involve representation. We have already seen that perceptual activities other than tactual are anticipatory and so involve the formation of an image which is referred to a future contact. The general principle is that any reference to past or future involves a present representation. Now a representation is a symbol: that is to say it is something present which takes the place of what is absent and is considered not for itself but for its reference to another. Since reflection is a withdrawal from action it is a withdrawal from the immediate experience of the Other; because only in action can the Other be immediately perceived. From this we must conclude that all reflection involves a withdrawal into the Self; a self-isolation from the Other: and that all reflective activity is symbolic. For not only are the elements present to the Self symbolic representations of what is not present; but the activities of the Self upon them are symbolic activities or activities of representation. As negative activities they refer to and have meaning only in their reference to the positive activities of practical life.
There is one aspect of this symbolic activity which is of special importance for our immediate theme. We have already noticed that all activities of reflection tend towards practical embodiment and are prevented from doing so by activities which oppose or inhibit them so that the energy expended remains potential within the Self. There is however no necessity that this inhibition of movement should be complete or indeed that it should be maintained at all. For we have disposed of the dualism of mind and matter; and must beware of any tendency to construe the distinction between practical and theoretical activity in terms of this dualism. The distinction between practical and theoretical is not matter of fact but matter of intention. Provided the intention remains negative it matters nothing whether the bodily movements which are involved are externalized and made open to observation or not. If I use words as my symbols in reflection it makes no difference to the nature of my activity whether I speak them aloud or conceal them hearing them only ‘in my mind’. For whether uttered or not they are symbols; and indeed in this case they are images; at least if they are heard at all ‘externally’ or ‘internally’. What is essential is that any externalizations which are essential to the activity of reflection should be symbolic; they must have their meaning not in themselves but through a reference to something else. If for example we wish to study the geometrical properties of the circle most of us will find it necessary to draw circles on paper and study these. But the figures we draw need only be approximately circular; for they are symbolic representations and not themselves the proper objects of our thought. The same is true of the most fully externalized expressions of reflective activity such as a dramatic performance on the stage. The movements of the actors are actual movements yet the whole play is essentially a representation. It may be photographed and presented on the screen of a cinema; or it may be described in print and visualized more or less successfully by the reader. Yet it remains in all these modes the same play. We call such externalizations of a reflective activity ‘expressions’ and the process of producing them an ‘activity of expression’ or ‘an expressive activity’. Now an activity of reflection is never complete until it is expressed. Most of our reflective activity finds its expression in words either spoken or written. This is the end towards which it moves and until it is expressed it remains incomplete. For reflective activities like practical activities may be broken off before their intention is fully realized. Every reflective activity is therefore an activity of expression which is completed only by an external embodiment. Whatever precedes the external expression is a preparation for it. Sometimes the expression can be carried through to a point at which the external embodiment involves no modification of its essential meaning. But this is rare. Every student knows from experience how much of illusion lurks in the belief that his problem has been completely thought through and resolved before he has set anything out in writing. Quite apart from this however the incompleteness of the theoretical activity until it is externalized lies specially in this that only so can it gain reality by becoming a deed and take its place in history as an act. Publication is essential to the realization of reflection; and we do well to be sceptical of all ‘mute inglorious Miltons’.
A complete account of the modes of reflection is impossible at this stage and even the reasons we can offer for our conclusions are incomplete. For the relations of persons are constitutive for the personal; and we are limiting our attention for the present to the Agent in isolation. One effect of this limitation is that we must treat the end of reflective activity as its expression and not as its communication. Expression indeed is the negative aspect of communication and so is included in and derivative from communication. All expression implies even when it does not intend a sharing of experience; to express ourselves to nobody is pointless and ultimately meaningless. But this is only one aspect of a more fundamental incompleteness to which our present standpoint limits us. Many reflective activities and these the primary and basic types themselves refer to and symbolize practical activities which are common and co-operative so that they are meaningless apart from the relation of persons. They may even require a common activity for their expression. We might instance the celebration of a golden wedding.
We must distinguish three modes of reflection. In their purest expression—by which I mean when they are determined by a purely reflective intention—they are religion art and science. All of them however since they are necessarily derived from practical experience and refer symbolically to action have intermediate forms in which the reference to practical experience is more specific or more limited. Of these three modes the religious is the primary one from which the other two are derived by limitation of attention. Nevertheless we shall have to leave this mode undiscussed because its reference is always and essentially to persons in relation. Even art and science we shall not discuss as such but only in terms of the two modes of reflection of which they are the pure forms. To the pure forms themselves we shall have to return at a later stage.
To distinguish these two modes of solitary reflection we must raise a question which has been postponed until now. How is the unit of action—an individual act—to be defined? From the standpoint of the Agent the Real is a complex of continuous change in which he distinguishes between action and happening and within each category he further distinguishes individual units whether acts or events. These individual occurrences are temporally discriminated. They have a beginning and an end. Whatever changes connect the beginning with the end are parts of the one occurrence; yet the whole occurrence is itself part of a system of occurrences and necessarily related to what preceded and to what follows it. What then distinguishes one occurrence from the general process of occurrence of which it is a part?
So far as events are concerned as distinct from actions the discrimination is arbitrary. The choice of a unit is determined by the observer to suit his own purpose. So far as his purposes are determinate the choice of a unit is at least partly determinate: but this determination is relative to the agent. It is not purely objective. The more purely theoretical the intention and therefore the more indeterminate the practical reference becomes the freer is the selection of a unit. This is apt to be obscured by the fact that the major distinctions within the Other are already determined in action; and they are carried over into our reflective activities as already ‘given’. We can however if it suits our theoretical purpose disregard these distinctions and discriminate the given in any way that is suitable.
This however is not the case when we are determining the unit of action. For though here again the discriminating factor is the intention of an agent this intention is now constitutive of the action itself. Consequently an individual act has a beginning and an end of its own and these are determined by the intention which constitutes it an act. It begins when it is initiated and ends when it is either completed or broken off. Its beginning and ending are intentional not merely factual. Two comments however are necessary to avoid misunderstanding. Firstly this does not imply that the unit of action is completely determinate; if only because intention is not itself determinate but determines itself in process. What is retrospectively a single act may therefore consist of a number of subsidiary acts. These subsidiary acts are themselves defined by subsidiary intentions which fall within a larger intention. This may happen either because an end which was determined from the beginning is accomplished in stages—the means to its achievement being progressively determined; or because the accomplishing of an original intention leads on to another and so becomes a means to a more distant end which was not originally intended. Secondly we should note that it is always possible to treat an act as if it were an event once it is complete; or even if it is not my own act while it is being performed. But this does not make it an event; it is only an incomplete or abstract representation which may be justified for certain purposes.
From this point of view we may define an act as the realizing of an intention. We have to remember of course that the intention itself may not be determined completely in advance: and that our actions often fail to realize their intention and are then broken off either voluntarily or of necessity. But since we are concerned now with reflective activity we may ignore these points and consider only actions which are completed successfully. In such cases the intention is determinate and is realized. Only the completed act is a unit for reflective consideration.
If we so consider it we realize that the beginning and the end of an act are defined by the agent's feeling; the former by a negative and the latter by a positive feeling. We may describe the one as a feeling of dissatisfaction and the other as a feeling of satisfaction. Feeling is necessary to provide a motive for action; because the mere awareness of a situation however clearly it determines the object as such and such as matter of fact provides no ground for action. Equally a mere feeling unrelated to an awareness of the situation as matter of fact could not issue in action but at most in a reaction to stimulus. If the feeling is not referred to the situation it cannot provide a motive. If for example I feel afraid my fear characterizes the situation in which I find myself as dangerous and normally the reference of the feeling is specific. I discover that my retreat has been cut off by the tide or that there is a bull in the field I am crossing. My fear may be mistaken or it may be correct. If there is no danger my fear characterizes the situation falsely; if there is then I am right in feeling afraid. Such a recognition of danger through the reference of feeling to a situation initiates an action. In general a feeling of dissatisfaction characterizes a situation as unsatisfactory; and so provides a motive for initiating an act to change it; while the successful removal of the unsatisfactoriness by action terminates the action. For when the result of the acting is felt to be satisfactory there is no more to be done. The action is complete; and the agent withdraws from action into reflection.
Feeling then when referred to an object is valuation; and the most general discrimination in valuation is the acceptance or rejection of a possibility in action. We have seen that action is choice; it implies the realization of one of a number of possibles and the negation of the others. From this we inferred that a distinction between right and wrong was inherent in the nature of action. We can now particularize this point more fully. The reflective element in action has a double function. It discriminates the Other as a set of possibilities of action; and it also selects one of these possibilities for realization in action. At its lower limit this selection is simply a concentration of attention upon one possibility to the exclusion of the others. Thus we find again by another approach that attention is the negative aspect of intention. Now since action is primary our primary knowledge of the world contains both of these moments—apprehension and valuation—in a unity. The world is known primarily as a system of possibilities of action; and without valuation action is impossible; and consequently knowledge which is its negative dimension is also impossible. If now we withdraw from action and so from all practical intention we abstract from the activity of practical valuation. The world is then apprehended in terms of this abstraction as an existent manifold of events. This manifold constitutes the given for a mode of reflective activity which seeks to understand the world as matter of fact and this activity excludes any positive valuation.
We must not forget however that it cannot exclude a negative valuation. Reflective activity is still something that we do; and is therefore intentional. This reflective intention is we have seen a negative intention; it is the intention to attend. But attention is selective. It is impossible simply to attend to all that is there; and the activity of attending is itself a choosing between alternatives. In the result the understanding we reach the conclusions we obtain depend on what in the given we attend to; and exclude from their scope what was excluded from attention. Moreover this activity of attention must have a motive and so must imply a valuation of the given from the point of view of what is relevant and irrelevant for our purpose. If the intention is purely theoretical that is to say if the reference to action is indeterminate then the ground of valuation must itself be negative. It must that is to say be the continuation of a direction of attention which was originally established in action; and which can be expressed in a methodological rule. It is a corollary of this that reflective activity of this type must issue not in a single science of the given but in a set of independent sciences each constituted by the selectivity of its own direction of attention.
The subjective correlate of this exclusion of practical valuation is the suppression of feeling in favour of sensory discrimination. For what is intended is now a determination of fact. Whether the situation disclosed is satisfactory or unsatisfactory falls outside the intention and is not attended to. The ideal of this mode of reflection is therefore a pure activity of thought which is unaffected by feeling; which is cool passionless and completely disinterested seeking truth for its own sake with no eye to any practical advantage for the seeker or for anyone else. In our tradition this type of passionless reflection has been identified with reason. The identification is quite arbitrary and groundless. Its source lies in the persistent influence of the Stoic tradition with its characteristic dualism between Reason and the Passions—a distinction originally instituted to support a particular ethical theory. This mode of reflection is of course rational since it is a mode of personal activity and reason is the differentia of the personal. But it has no unique claim to rationality and it is indeed not the primary expression of reason. The proper term to describe it is not ‘rational’ but ‘intellectual’; and I propose therefore to refer to it hereafter as the intellectual mode of reflective activity.
We have seen that in reflection any complete act since it is apprehended as a whole must be analysed into an end and a means to that end. This distinction between ‘means’ and ‘end’ is clearly not mere matter of fact. It refers to the valuation which determines the action. The end is that in the action which is valued for its own sake that in which the intention terminates and in which the agent comes to rest and is satisfied. The means on the other hand is everything in the action which is valued not for its own sake. The means is of course chosen in action and this involves valuation. But because the intention passes beyond it and does not rest in it its valuation is derivative from the end and it has no value for the agent in itself. The end is enjoyed—it has an intrinsic value for the agent—but not the means. The means is discriminated and chosen from amongst alternatives; but only for the end and not for itself. Now in an intellectual mode of reflection because there is a suppression of feeling and an abstraction from practical valuation the distinction between means and end disappears and only a succession of occurrences remains. Since these are no longer referred to an agent they appear as a succession of events in time necessarily related but with no end in which the succession terminates. The process is continued into its consequences ad infinitum. But since all reflection refers to action a purely intellectual intention must have an indeterminate reference. This reference can become determinate and so enter into action as its negative dimension only through the determination of an end by a practical intention. In other words intellectual knowledge as knowledge of matter of fact becomes in action knowledge of the means of realizing a practical intention. For all that is so known is in itself valueless; and in action it can be valued only negatively as means to an end which it does not itself determine. From the standpoint of the Agent then intellectual reflection is an activity which intends an improvement of our knowledge of the world as means to our ends. We may express this succinctly by saying that intellectual knowledge is knowledge of the World-as-means. It is therefore the negative mode of reflection.
The positive mode of reflection is an activity of reflective valuation. Since it is an activity of valuation it is primarily an activity of feeling; but since feeling must be referred to an object and the object must be determined as matter of fact reflective valuation contains within it as its negative aspect a perceptual discrimination of fact. Since it is a reflective activity it abstracts from action and its intention is a negative or theoretical intention. Its reference to action that is to say is indeterminate. Since its activity upon the given is an activity of feeling we may distinguish it from the other mode of reflection by calling it the emotional mode.
Emotional reflection is the primary mode of reflective activity. It constitutes indeed the moment of withdrawal fro action in the realization of a practical intention. The Agent comes to rest when his purpose is accomplished and contemplates his achievement. So it is said in the story of the Creation in Genesis that ‘God saw everything that He had made and behold! it was very good’. This theoria or contemplation is the original reflective moment in the rhythm of withdrawal and return. It is essentially an enjoyment of what has been done and is now complete and so a moment of evaluation. If we abstract from the valuation and concentrate attention upon its negative aspect we have the idea of pure sense perception as the ideal dividing line between action and reflection. It is strictly ideal for a pure receptivity is impossible. Pure sense-perception can only occur as the starting point of a reflective activity which is either emotional or intellectual.
As an enjoyment of what has been done this original reflective valuation abstracts from the means and concentrates attention on the ends of action. Now if we abstract wholly from action and bring this contemplation under a fully reflective intention it must become an activity which seeks to determine intrinsic value. In this mode of reflection therefore whatever is selected in attention is considered as an end in itself; as existing for itself and not as a means to anything beyond it; as there to be enjoyed not used. Consequently we may say of the emotional mode of reflection that it seeks to determine the world as an end in itself or rather as a manifold of ends. As we called intellectual knowledge knowledge of the World-as-means so we may describe emotional knowledge as knowledge of the World-as-end.
We must consider for a moment at this point the conception of ‘motive’ in action and in particular its distinction from and its relation to ‘intention’. The distinction between motive and intention is difficult and indeed impossible for any philosophy which accepts the primacy of the theoretical and takes its stand upon the ‘Cogito’. For the motives of our actions are not thought but felt; and if we represent them as thought they become indistinguishable from intentions. From the standpoint of the Agent however the distinction is both important and clear-cut. One aspect of the difference from which we may begin is that the motive of an action need not be conscious while the intention must be. To talk of an unconscious motive makes sense; but ‘an unconscious intention’ is a contradiction in terms. The phrase could only signify ‘an intention which is unintentional’. An action in the sense in which we are using the term is necessarily intentional. It is indeed the presence of intention which distinguishes it from activities which are non-rational uninformed by knowledge. Now we have already found that if we abstract from the element of knowledge which constitutes action we are left with a motive consciousness whether at the level of feeling or of sense; and also that this motive consciousness or rather this conscious behaviour falls within action as a negative aspect. Every action then has a motive. But it does not follow that the motive determines the action or that the agent is conscious of his motive; or if he is somehow aware of it that he attends to it. What determines an action is its intention; but we shall be prepared to find that the motive of an action is contained within the intention as its negative aspect.
The term ‘motive’ signifies in general that which determines movement. Its scientific equivalent is ‘energy’. But its characteristic use is limited to directed movements; to movements which have a purposive character. In organic behaviour therefore motive is that which accounts for the release of potential energy in response to a stimulus. Where we suppose consciousness to be involved—say as a feeling of fear—then this feeling is the motive of the reaction since it accounts for the direction in which energy is expended in movement. Because the reaction is defensive that is to say an avoidance of danger we require a motive to account for its purposive character. But we do not suppose or at least we have no reason to suppose that any cognition is involved. The organism does not know that it is in danger or what the danger is. Consequently its response to stimulus has a motive but no intention; and this motive awareness accounts for the reaction and determines its character.
In the case of agents however motives do not determine action. Nevertheless all action contains necessarily an element of reaction to stimulus without which it would be impossible. We call this habit; and the system of habits in an individual agent we call his character. The reason we have seen for distinguishing personal habits from organic responses to stimuli is that they are not innate but have to be learned. They are formed in action and they are subject to deliberate modification and reformation. But once formed and while they persist they operate through an automatic or semi-automatic response to; recurrent stimuli; though this is always complicated by the presence of cognition. In so far then as an agent acts habitually he acts from a motive but not with intention. But in normal action these motived responses are aspects of an activity which is intentional; and because attention is concentrated upon the objective the motives of these habitual aspects of action normally remain unconscious unless they are brought into consciousness by reflection.
In all conscious behaviour then the motive is a feeling which governs the expenditure of energy by selecting its direction. This control includes the negative phase—the inhibition of movement. The basic differentiation of feeling is into positive and negative forms which determine movements of attraction and of repulsion respectively. We must therefore distinguish between positive and negative motivation; the positive controlling the activities which constitute the life-process of an organism the negative being defensive. Feeling we have seen is differentiated both quantitatively and qualitatively and its distinguishable modes are combined in very complex patterns; each of which is more or less positive or negative according to the preponderance of positive or negative elements in it. Sensory consciousness when it is present rests upon and is itself controlled by feeling which directs energy to the formation of images; and these images in turn modify feeling. Mere sensation unassociated with feeling is an impossibility; and if it were possible it could not of itself determine a reaction. The function of sensation in activity is to make possible a wider range and a finer discrimination of possible reactions in particular by anticipation. But the selection of the direction of response remains the function of feeling.
Now in personal activity all this organic activity falls within action and is therefore raised to the level of intention. With the distinction between Self and Other both images and feelings are referred to the Other and action is determined by knowledge. This knowledge has two aspects a determination of the Other as matter of fact in relation to action and so an apprehension of the possibilities open to the Agent; and a valuation of these possibilities in action and so the determination of an intention. These two aspects of knowledge are of course not separable in fact but only distinguishable by thought. The discrimination of the Other—as support for and resistance to action—is perception; the valuation of alternatives is matter of feeling.
When we refer to the motive of an action in distinction from its intention what we have in mind is the constellation of feeling in which it originates. Any state of feeling has a tendency to express itself in action; and would do so unless controlled by intention. Under abnormal conditions we do find instances of behaviour which escape from intentional control and are completely determined by their motives. When a person loses his temper or is overwhelmed by passion or falls into a panic this is what happens. Then as we say a man ‘becomes irresponsible’ or ‘loses his self-control’ or ‘acts purely on impulse’. In such circumstances the distinction between motive and intention is particularly clear. We must not forget however that the patterns of feeling which constitute our motives are themselves the product of an intentional experience; and that they continue responses to the environment which have been deliberately established in the past. The impulsive activities of an agent are therefore normally ‘in character’; though they are not determined by a present intention. A person's character is the persistent system of motives from which he acts under normal conditions; and when we predict what he is likely to do in given conditions from a knowledge of his character we abstract from intention and suppose that his motives will determine his actions. Motive we may then say is the continuant element in action; it determines the general direction of an agent's behaviour while the particular actions he performs are determined by the particular intentions he forms from moment to moment in terms of his discrimination and valuation of his situation as he knows it. Nor is there any reason in principle why he should not act intentionally in complete opposition to his momentary inclination; for inclination is simply the tendency for feeling to realize itself in action which is normally subject to intentional control.
We may now return to our consideration of the two modes of reflection which are open to the solitary agent. Of the intellectual mode we need say little because philosophy has been so largely concerned with it and most of what we should have to say is already familiar. It is we have said a determination of the World-as-means. It expresses itself therefore in a generalized representation of the world as matter of fact; in the production of formulae which express the recurrent patterns of continuance in experience. When carried on systematically for its own sake it is science. In reference to action it provides an improvement in our technical knowledge in particular by the great extension of anticipation which it makes possible. By means of systematic intellectual reflection and its expression in generalized information we discover increasingly what we may count on with greater or less probability as the support for our actions or as the means to the realization of our intentions.
The emotional mode of reflection is less familiar because more neglected by modern philosophy. Like the intellectual mode it has its starting point in sense-perception and therefore abstracting from action in representation. As an activity of reflection however it moves towards a greater particularization of the representation; and by this it expresses a valuation of what is represented as an end in itself.
Whatever is felt to be satisfactory is enjoyed for its own sake. This activity of enjoyment is contemplation. Its ideal is ‘the perfect’ that which could only be changed for the worse. Any practical activity in relation to what is felt to be valuable in itself must therefore be negative; the intention must be to keep it as it is to preserve it from change; to make it as Thucydides said a κτῆμα ἐς ἀεί—a possession for ever a permanent possibility of enjoyment. Contemplation itself however is an activity of reflection and is necessarily directed upon a representation. What is past cannot be experienced in action; it can only be represented in reflection and since it is now represented as an end—in its being for itself—it can only be represented through an image that is to say through a sensuous particularization of its representation. Again since the activity is reflective its intention is receptive and the spontaneity involved in it is a means to this end. It is an activity of expression for the sake of contemplation; the production of an adequate image as a symbol of that to which it refers. The activity of emotional reflection then systematically pursued for its own sake is pure art just as the intellectual is pure science.
Both these modes of reflection are activities of knowing. This will be accepted without question in the case of science; but not perhaps in the case of art. Yet if one of the two is to be refused the title of knowledge—and I can see no reason for such a discrimination—it is art that has the better claim. For whatever concerns us merely as means to an end is never apprehended for itself but only in relation to something else. Our interest is only in those properties which make it useful to us and these are general properties which it shares with other things. They are often referred to as causal properties. Intellectual reflection as knowledge of the World-as-means aims at knowing everything in general but nothing in particular. In this mode we come to know a great deal about things without knowing them. It is only when our interest and so our valuation comes to rest in something for itself only when something becomes for us an end-in-itself that we seek to know it for itself instead of making generalizations from it. This knowledge of things as they are in themselves is the intention of contemplation. When something of which we have been aware attracts our attention so that we stop to contemplate it we really see it for the first time. We isolate it from its surroundings. Our eyes search it systematically in detail and discover a hundred things in it that we had overlooked and these are held together in their intrinsic and particular relations to one another and to the whole which they constitute. The visual image ceases to be merely schematic and moves towards completeness. This surely is the way in which we know an object; the way in which we know a piece of country which we love because our home is there in contrast to the knowledge we acquire about other countries which we have never visited. We must add what seems conclusive in this matter that when we know anything at all in this contemplative fashion we can derive from it at will a catalogue of its properties. But the opposite is not true. No intellectual description of an object however complete and scientific can ever amount to or take the place of a contemplative knowledge of the thing itself. The intellectual mode of reflection is derivative from the emotional and is contained within it. We can indeed trace the process of derivation in the history of Greek philosophy and see for example how a theory of forms—aesthetically contemplated—is the source of a theory of universals. If we were to use the customary distinction between subjective and objective here we should have to say that scientific knowledge is more subjective than artistic knowledge; and that the nearer it approximates to its ideal of a pure generality the more subjective it becomes.
This discrimination of the object in contemplation is not intellectual. For it is not analytical and it does not generalize. The elements discriminated remain essentially within the whole and there is no reference beyond the whole. They are not apprehended as instances of a concept. The process of contemplation is a discriminating valuation; a particularizing of the satisfactoriness of the object as a unity in itself and for its own sake. It is therefore felt and not analytically understood. The feeling however is objective because the interest of the Subject is in the object itself and in its particularity. An intellectual interest in an object is a subjective interest and refers to the use-value of the object that is to say its value as a means to some agent's practical intentions actual or possible. The satisfactoriness of the object in itself is apprehended through the feeling of satisfaction I experience and the discrimination of the object in contemplation is achieved through a discrimination of this feeling. For this reason the activity of reflection is emotional and not intellectual; and its objective is to achieve an adequate and discriminating feeling for the object and so an adequate objective valuation of it.
If it is to achieve actuality the emotional apprehension of an object must be expressed and become independent of the subject. It must be published and become matter of fact even while it retains its symbolic character. There is an original relation between the feeling of satisfaction in perceptual experience and aesthetic expression. Singing and dancing are probably its primary forms. The distinctive character of such expressions of emotion are rhythm proportion balance and harmony. The reason for this we have already touched upon. It is precisely these characters which make the representation a whole in itself and confine the attention within it so isolating it as a unity in its own right. The general effect we express by such terms as grace beauty loveliness and the like. They render the representation a satisfactory object of contemplation. What is so symbolized is that which has an intrinsic value and is an end in itself; that which has in itself as it were a right to exist. Its contemplation refines our knowledge of the objective grounds for choosing in action to realize one possibility rather than another.
This is as far as we can carry the consideration of the two modes of individual reflection at the moment. We shall have to return to them later in a less egocentric context. There is however one final issue to which some reference should be made. All judgements of value it is sometimes said are simply emotive. They express merely our feelings and cannot therefore be true or false. Only judgements of fact can constitute knowledge since only these have an objective meaning which permits of verification. To this I must reply that such doctrine is itself a valuation and a false valuation at that. It expresses an exclusive over-valuation of intellectual reflection. That all valuation is the work of feeling I agree and that its expression is an expression of feeling I have no doubt. But why ‘merely’? Might I not as well say that an assertion of fact is ‘merely’ an expression of a thought that occurred in me? That logical thought is objective while feeling is ‘purely’ subjective is surely a dogma for which no rational ground can be offered. If our feelings are subjective because they occur in us why not our thoughts which as surely occur to us? If our thoughts are objective because they refer to objects then our feelings which refer to objects in their own fashion are objective also. If our thoughts are verified in action so are our valuations. Is it not the case that our judgement that some experience which we seek will satisfy us is often falsified by the event? Both our feelings and our thoughts have their symbolic expressions; an assertion of fact which I make is an expression of my thought just as an assertion of value is an expression of my feeling. If it can be also a correct or incorrect description of an object why may not the expression of my feeling for an object be a correct or an incorrect valuation of the object? And if an expression of feeling is emotive in the sense that it is an attempt to make other people feel as I do is not the expression of what I think in precisely the same sense an effort to make other people think as I do? No relevant difference between the two modes of reflection is to be found unless it be this that to verify a valuation I must commit myself in action by making it my end. Sometimes indeed I must stake my happiness my reputation or even my life on the experiment; and if I find I was mistaken there may be no possibility of trying again.