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An account of goodness with evil left out would not, it is true, be adequate to life; but it would be adequate to goodness. The mixture of the two — temptation and struggle, calamity and discipline, sin and repentance, is true to the historical drama of existence; but the nature of goodness itself is only confused by the admixture of its opposite.
The supposition that goodness must be defined in terms of life, and life in terms of the universal reality, has no support, save the monistic dogma. It rests on the more fundamental presupposition that the whole context must enter into the definition of each thing. Because goodness is opposed to evil and indifference, because the achievement of goodness is in certain cases conditioned by evil and indifference - it is inferred that goodness must consist in these. It may even be urged that because the pragmatist glorifies the humanization of nature and the victorious battle with evil, he is therefore a good monist; having reduced nature to humanity and good to evil.1 Nothing could more unmistakably betray the monistic bias. To a mind habituated to monism, it is inconceivable that a thing should have any relation whatsoever to the subject of discourse, or should even be mentionable in the same connection, without entering into its definition and explanation. But does it follow that because nature can be humanized, this sequel is the secret of its existence; or that because a virtue can be made of necessity, that the necessity arose in order to be made a virtue of? It would be as reasonable to account for gold in terms of dollars; or to argue that because a man may be lifted from the mire, therefore mire is essentially that from which a man may be lifted, and hence a condition of the higher life.
Now it is this difference, which is so easily confused, and which may seem so slight as to be negligible, that nevertheless eventually brings pragmatism and monistic
" It is in this sense that "Religious Idealism regards. Pragmatism as an Idealism in the Making." Cf. W. R. Boyce Gibson, God With Us, p. 189; and Ch. X, passim.
idealism into flat opposition. For pragmatism, the good is, as a matter of fact, related to evil, but is not necessarily so; it does not derive its meaning from the relation. For a monistic idealism, the circumstance of evil is essential to good. And no two religions could be more discordant, more incommensurable, than those which spring from these two theories. From the one springs the practical optimism, or meliorism, which stakes its hope on the chance that the world may be made better; from the other springs the contemplative or quietistic optimism, which consists in the faith that the world is best. For the former the realization of goodness is a future contingency; for the latter it is the eternal and necessary reality. For pragmatism the perfecting of the world is by elimination, there must be "real losses and real losers"; for a monistic idealism the perfection of the world lies in its all-preserving totality. For pragmatism, “evil is that which resists the evolution of the world, and fights a losing battle against the tendencies of things”; for a monistic idealism evil is a flavor to the sauce, or a rôle in the drama, which, though it is subordinate, cannot be dispensed with.'
The contrast appears finally and most vividly in the corresponding conceptions of God. For pragmatism, God is a part and not the whole. He is beneficent, without its being necessary to judge his beneficence by all the works of nature and life. “As God is not all things, He can be an 'eternal (i.e. unceasing) tendency making for righteousness,' and need not be, as on all other theories He must be, the responsible Author of evil.”? In short, pragmatism justifies the ordinary procedure of the religious consciousness. For the religious consciousness is ordinarily selective and discriminating, construing God's nature in terms of goodness in the specific and exclusive sense, and proving
James: Pragmatism, p. 296; cf. Lect. VIII, passim; and "The Dilemma of Determinism," and "Is Life Worth Living?" in The Will to Believe; F. C. S. Schiller: Riddles of the Sphinx, third edition, p. 353. For the monistic theory, cf. also above, p. 182.
: Schiller: op. cit., p. 350.
him by an appeal to some, but not all, of the evidences of reality. In a monistic religion, on the other hand, God is “All," and his goodness must be interpreted accordingly.' He is such as mechanical nature, and evil, as well as the good contrasted with these, prove him to be. He is the universal life, the promiscuous totality of things, exalted into an object of worship; but not, as Plato would have said, without disloyalty to the moral will. For it is not possible in the long run to reverence one thing and serve another. And a worship which eulogizes the neutral midworld of the spiritual life,' of 'struggle,' and of 'victory,' and erects it into the supreme object of admiration must, in the long run, convert moral effort into a conscious pose, and its Everlasting No into stage heroics.
$ 4. Pragmatism implies pluralism, and this, as we have seen, affords a characteristic version of evil and of God. Indeterminism
But pragmatists are not only pluralists; they as the Sequel are also indeterminists, and find in their into Pluralism
determinism additional ground for a philosophy of religion. As will shortly appear, indeterminism is a more ambiguous and doubtful doctrine than pluralism, and may be approached in several ways.
In the first place, indeterminism may be regarded simply as an aspect of pluralism. The latter doctrine emphasizes both manyness and irrelevance; indeterminism singles out and emphasizes irrelevance. It means that there are relations which are not determinative; that there are juxtapositions of things and events which are actual but not necessary. In a narrower sense, indeterminism means that human individuals, and human actions, are disjunctively as well as conjunctively related to their environment or context. There is something in a man or in his deed that is not deducible from anything beyond. It is next to other things, along with them, related to them in many ways, but without following from them. This is, I think, the meaning of James's "genuine possi
"Cl., e.g., Boyce Gibson, op. cit., Ch. X.
bilities.” 1 It is primarily a denial of the counter-thesis that the world is pervaded by implication. There are arbitrary transitions as well as necessary transitions. In other words, there are situations of the type a + b + c, where c is not implied in a + b, and is not deducible therefrom. In such a situation, it is true to say that in respect of a + b, something other than c, such as d, is possible; or, that either c or d is consistent with a + b. After the fact, a + b + d is as reasonable as a + b + c. It cannot be said that either c or d is exclusively determined by a+b; although it may be said that some more general character, m, of which c and d are the only instances, is thus determined, so that the possibilities are confined to c and d. In this sense, then, multiple possibility follows from pluralism. § 5. Indeterminism in a still narrower sense, follows
from the application of this general principle Indeterminism and the Reality to time. In discussing the relation of pragof Time
matist metaphysics to the concept of time, it is important to make a distinction. For there are really two issues involved.
In the first place, pragmatism, like naturalism, like all empirical philosophies, maintains that time is a fundamental property of existence. Thus pragmatism is opposed to all theories which claim to deduce time from something else; for example, from the nescience and relativity of the human mind. According to such a view, the temporal aspect of things is due to the modification of finite subjectivity. To reach truth means to escape this limitation and see things sub specie eternitatis. Thus according to the view held by Parmenides, Plato, Spinoza, and others, time is unreal; in the sense that it is one of the appearance-characters which reflective knowledge eliminates. Or time may be deduced from some higher logical or ethical category, as is attempted by some modern idealists. In this case, time is real, but only so far as it is a manifestation of some higher principle. Sequence is incidental to the dialectic of thought, or to moral progress.
1 Cf. “The Dilemma of Determinism,” in The Will to Believe, pp. 155, 156; Schiller: Studies in Humanism, p. 404; Bergson: Time and Free Will, pp. 189-190.
Pragmatism, on the other hand, insists upon the original and irreducible character of time, as well as upon its peculiarly important part in existence. Time is more, and not less, original than dialectic and progress, since the latter contain the specific characters of sequence and change, and add further characters to them. And existence is the manifold that is in time, whether it exhibits these other characters or not. So that instead of saying that existence is a dialectical or ethical unity, embracing temporality, one must say that existence is the series of temporal events, with whatever of dialectical or ethical unity may happen also to be added. This, then, is the first issue; and the position of pragmatism is entirely unambiguous.
But it is a second issue, and not this issue, that raises the question of indeterminism. How far is the series of temporal events determined? The considerations just adduced afford no answer to this question. It is entirely possible to maintain the existential priority of time, and be a vigorous determinist as well. It is precisely such a blend of doctrines that is characteristic of naturalism. Pragmatism asserts "a really evolving, and therefore as yet incomplete, reality.”But so does naturalism. And the latter theory finds no difficulty in uniting with this assertion the further assertion that the evolution in question is strictly determined. The future cosmos is not yet; but will unfold, coincidently with the passage of time, according to the laws of physics.
Bergson makes much of the contention that “deepseated psychic states occur once in consciousness and will never occur again.” The real temporal flux, revealed in the inner life, is a growing old, in which no phase can recur,
1 Schiller: op. cit., p. 392. • Bergson: op. cit., p. 219. Cf. also Creative Evolution, pp. 1–7.