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exigencies of controversy, or to a carelessness of statement, pragmatists have taught us to believe that an idea is true in so far as it works or satisfies in any respect whatsoever. Or they have referred now to one ideational value and now to another, without consistently distinguishing the cognitive value from the rest. It has not unnaturally been supposed that pragmatism intends to make these various values commensurable and interchangeable. And it would be correct to infer from such a supposition that an idea which was shown to be contrary to sensible fact, or contradictory to accredited truths, might yet be proved true by affording a surplus of sentimental or utilitarian value.
But such a conclusion is very properly denounced as reactionary. Science has become solvent and prosperous through regarding these values as fictitious, and excluding them from its accounts. Indeed enlightenment and criticism mean little more than conscious discrimination against these values. For the intellectual hero, this is the great renunciation. He must forego the pleasing and the hopeful hypothesis, and he must be resolutely indifferent to the extra-theoretical uses to which his hypothesis may be put. Knowledge advances pari passu with the specialization and refinement of the theoretic interest. The very use of knowledge, the variety and fruitfulness of its applications, depend on its being first tried and proved independently of these applications. And knowledge is a means of adaptation, not in proportion to its pleasantness and hopefulness, but in proportion as it dispels illusions, be they ever so grateful and inspiring. In short the pragmatist handling of this question of truth is confusing and dangerous in so far as it consists of loose generaliza
Cf., e.g., such a statement as the following: “All that the pragmatic method implies, then, is that truths should have practical consequences. In England the word has been used more broadly still, to cover the notion that the truth of any statement consists in the consequences, and particularly in their being good consequences.” James: The Meaning of Truth,
tions concerning the practical or satisfying character of truth; in so far as it tends to blur the difference between the strictly theoretic value of ideas on the one hand, and certain derivative and secondary values on the other. Pragmatism is reactionary and dangerous in so far as it coördinates and equalizes verification by perception and consistency with verification by sentiment and subsequential utility.
There remains a strict and limited pragmatism which is not guilty of this offence. Such a pragmatism consists in the proof that the theoretic interest itself is in fact an interest. Ideas are functional rather than substantial. Their relation to their objects is not one of resemblance, but of leading or guidance. Their verification is not a matching of similars, but a process in which their leading or guidance is followed to that terminus of fact or being which they mean. And since the theoretic interest is an interest, it is as a whole rooted in life, and answerable to the needs and projects of life. In other words, truth, a theoretic utility, has also, because of the auspices under which it is begotten, a subsequential utility. Finally, it is the proper and consistent sequel to this to allow taste, aspiration, and hope to incline the balance of belief when, and only when, truth in the strict sense is not attainable.
§ 8. Epistemology and metaphysics are so intimately related in contemporary philosophy, that a theory of The Realistic knowledge is not infrequently accepted withVersion of out further ado as a theory of being. And Pragmatism
yet, as we have learned from our study of idealism, such procedure begs a most crucial philosophical question. What is the place of knowledge in reality? To what extent does the order of nature conform to the order of knowledge? Is the cognitive version of experience final and definitive, or is it abstract and partial? These are clearly independent questions, that are not necessarily involved in an account of knowledge itself. We have thus far confined our attention to the pragmatist description
of the knowledge process. We must now face the further question: What is the pragmatist doctrine concerning the metaphysical status of the knowledge process? And we shall find, I believe, that pragmatism is here divided against itself on the same issue that divides idealism and realism. Some pragmatists, such as James, are avowedly, and on the whole consistently, realistic. Others, such as Schiller, favor, if they do not unequivocally adopt, the subjectivistic alternative.
Let us examine, first, the realistic version of pragmatism. Knowledge, according to all pragmatists, is a specific com
a plex, comprising an idea or belief, an object ideated or believed, and a relation of meaning and verification connecting the two. Now a realistic version of this theory will assert that the various components of the knowledge process are independent of their places in this process. They are regarded as having other places besides, so that their being is not conditional on their finding a place in knowledge. Thus a realistic pragmatist will in his epistemology describe the sensible facts of nature as the termini to which ideas lead, but he will not suppose that such facts must be thus related to ideas in order to be. Sensible facts are occasionally and accidentally the termini of ideas, but not essentially so. And he is led naturally to this view by his acceptance of the general biological categories. Knowledge is a form of adaptation to a preëxisting environment. Thought proposes, fact disposes. "If my idea is to work,” says Bradley, in criticising pragmatism, “it must correspond to a determinate being which it cannot be said to make.”? In the name of pragmatism, James accepts this very conclusion. “I start with two things, the objective facts and the claims, and indicate which claims, the facts being there, will work successfully as the latter's substitutes and which will not. I call the former claims true."
· For a full discussion of the relation between realism and pragmatism, cf. W. P. Montague's articles, “May a Realist be a Pragmatist?" Jour. of Phil., Psych., and Scientific Methods, Vol. VI, Nos. 17-20.
: "On Truth and Practice,” Mind, N. S., Vol. XIII, p. 311.
And again, “For him (the pragmatist), as for his critic, there can be no truth if there is nothing to be true about. . . This is why as a pragmatist I have so carefully posited ‘reality' ab initio, and why, throughout my whole discussion, I remain an epistemological realist."1
$ 9. A subjectivistic version of pragmatism, on the other hand, identifies the components of knowledge altogether The Subjectiv
with their place in that system, and there istic Version of results a metaphysics in which reality coincides Pragmatism
with the history of knowledge. Reality is either fact, idea, or "funded” belief, where these are defined as terms in the pragmatic process of verification. Whatever is known is essentially such, owing its character and its reality to the circumstance of its being known.
Thus Schiller writes, “That the Real has a determinate nature which the knowing reveals but does not affect, so that our knowing makes no difference to it, is one of those sheer assumptions which are incapable, not only of proof, but even of rational defence. It is a survival of a crude realism which can be defended only, in a pragmatist manner, on the score of its practical convenience, as an avowed fiction." Since reality is essentially what it is in the knowledge process, Schiller naturally concludes that "ontology, the theory of Reality," is "conditioned by epistemology, the theory of our knowledge”; and since the knowledge process is essentially practical it is proper to conclude that “our ultimate metaphysic must be ethical."'2
James has asserted that Schiller's view differs from his own only in method of approach. “As I myself understand these authors, we all three [including Dewey] absolutely agree in admitting the transcendency of the object (provided it be an experienceable object) to the subject, in the truth-relation. . . . What misleads so many of them (the critics) is possibly ... the fact that the universes of discourse of Schiller, Dewey, and myself are panoramas of different extent. . . . Schiller's universe is the smallest, being essentially a psychological one. He starts with but one sort of thing, truth-claims, but is led ultimately to the independent objective facts which they assert, inasmuch as the most successfully validated of all claims is that such facts are there. My universe is more essentially epistemological. I start with two things.”ı
1 The Meaning of Truth, pp. xix, 195. Cf. Dewey: “So I beg to remind you that, according to pragmatism, ideas (judgments and reasonings being included for convenience in this term) are attitudes of response taken toward extra-ideal, extra-mental things.” (Influence of Darwin, etc., p. 155.) But cf. below, pp. 225, 314-315.
• Humanism, pp. 11, note, 9, 105.
But the transcendency of the object “in the truth relation" is not realism. This means no more than that cognition is essentially dual, and does not affect the question of the transcendency of the object with reference to cognition as a whole. Realism asserts not only that the object transcends the idea, but that it in some sense transcends even that status of objectivity in which it is cognitively related to an idea. Nor does James recognize the crucial importance, in connection with this issue, of the startingpoint. Because Schiller's universe of discourse is a psychological one, it turns out in the end that his universe is a psychological one also. He not only begins, but ends, within the knowledge process. Indeed he expressly adopts the phrase "idealistic experientialism" "to designate the view that 'the world' is primarily ‘my experience,' plus (secondarily) the supplementings of that experience which its nature renders it necessary to assume. . . . In that case the world, in which we suppose ourselves to be, is, and always remains, relative to the experience which we seek to interpret by it.”?
Precisely the same objections which hold against idealism in general hold against “experiential idealism.” For its
· Meaning of Truth, Preface, pp. 'xvii-xix (italics mine). Cf. also pp. 242-244.
* Humanism, p. 281. Whether any pragmatist is wholly free from the subjectivistic taint of the term 'experience,' is perhaps doubtful. Sec below, pp. 314-315.