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in itself, thus distinguished from all content, is reduced to a bare x, entirely devoid of qualities and characters. Thus the self-transcendence of thought seems to imply agnosticism. Knowledge can do no more than point beyond to the reality which it can never grasp. It is a confession of failure.
The theory of immanence rectifies this dualism by asserting that the difference between knowledge and things, like that between mind and body, is a relational and functional difference, and not a difference of content. In the first place, we must distinguish between immediate knowledge and mediate knowledge. In the case of immediate knowledge, the thing and the knowledge are identical, except as respects their relations. Thus a is knowledge by virtue of its relation to a nervous system, and its presence in a context of other elements similarly related. But a is also ‘thing in itself' by virtue of its intrinsic quality, or by virtue of its sustaining other relations than those of the type just indicated. When I perceive Mars, it is knowledge by virtue of its relation to my perceiving activity and to my other percepts, my memories, plans, feelings, etc.; but it is also 'thing in itself' by virtue of its volume, and its distance from the sun.
In the second place, however, it is necessary to recognize that in mediate knowledge, or discursive thought, there is a more complete difference between the knowledge and the thing. There are even cases in which the knowledge and the thing known possess little, if any, identical content. One may think about a, in terms of b, c, etc., as when one thinks about Mars in terms of the words, “Mars," "sun," etc. The theory of immanence explains these cases by saying that the thing thought about, and the thought, are both experienced. The thing transcends the thought, but it remains perceivable, or in some such manner immediately accessible; and possesses the qualities and characters which such an immediate knowledge reveals. “In such pieces of knowledge-of-acquaintance,” says James, “all our knowledge about must end.” Or, as Dewey expresses it, “the meaning is one thing; the thing meant is another thing, and is ...a thing presented as not given in the same way as is the thing which means.” In other words, things do not transcend knowledge, but the thing mediated or 'represented' transcends the representation; while this whole process of transcendence lies within the field of things immediately presented.'
The theory of immanence thus recognizes two sorts of transcendence: first, a thing's transcendence of the cognitive relation by virtue of its possession of an intrinsic quality of its own, or by virtue of its possession of other relations, such, for example, as physical relations; second, a thing's transcendence of its representation, within the field of cognition itself.
II. THE THEORY OF INDEPENDENCE 84. The theory of immanence not only fails to establish realism;? but appears even to disprove it by bringing the
transcendent directly into mind. It is now The Half-realisms. Indepen- necessary to show that the immanent may at dence of Finite the same time be independent. It would not, Knowledge
I think, be far from the truth to say that the cardinal principle of neo-realism is the independence of the immanent.: To prepare the way for the understanding of this principle, it is necessary first to dispose of two theories which approach it so closely as to be frequently confused with it.
The first of these "half-realisms" is the doctrine promulgated by objective and absolute idealism, to the effect that reality is independent of finite knowledge. Reality is a norm or ideal, that cannot be dependent on finite knowl
James: The Meaning of Truth, p. 39; Dewey: Influence of Darwin on Philosophy, and other Essays, p. 103, note (italics mine).
• The theory of immanence is held in one form or another by nearly an contemporary philosophers.
"I have discussed the term 'independence' more fully in "A Realistic Theory of Independence,” contributed to The New Realism.
edge because it is presupposed by it. Transcendental idealism “discovers the final ground of every immanent being, neither in that being itself, nor in a transcendent reality, but in a transcendent ideal which the knowing subject has to realize." This transcendent ideal is independent of all approximations to it, “because of the logical priority of the ought (Sollen) to the is (Sein).”
But this view (whether expressed in voluntaristic or in intellectualistic terms) is non-realistic, for two reasons. In the first place, “it accepts no being but that which is immediately given in the idea” – it moves entirely within the limits of experience; and in the second place, “it sets over against the judging subject as an object to which it must conform, only an ought,” which can have no meaning apart from the activity of thought. In short, things are dependent on experience, and experience on thought; and either form of dependence would be fatal to realism.
$ 5. There is a much closer approximation to realism in the pragmatist doctrine that experience is independent of
thought. Indeed by many pragmatists this Independence of Mediate doctrine is thought to constitute realism. AcKnowledge
cording to this doctrine thought is a special process of mediation; which arises within experience, and employs its terms, but without preëmpting them. The subject-object relation, the relation of meaning, the judgment of truth, these and other intellectual processes, are not essential to experience; they are arrangements into which experiences fall owing to certain practical exigencies, such as the interruption of habit, or the insufficiency of immediate knowledge. The terms of the intellectual process are intellectual only accidentally, and by virtue of certain special relationships into which they enter.
But what shall we say of experience itself? Are things essentially experience, or is this, too, a peculiar and accidental relationship? On this point, pragmatism, like most contemporary thought, is profoundly ambiguous. It would appear that while Dewey, for example, rescues reality from dependence on intellect, he is satisfied to leave it in the grasp of that more universal experience which is "a matter of functions and habits, of active adjustments and readjustments, of coördinations and activities, rather than of states of consciousness.”] In any case the issue is clear.
1 H. Rickert: Der Gegenstand der Erkenninis, p. 165.
I A thorough-going realism must assert independence noti only of thought, but of any variety whatsoever of experiencing, whether it be perception, feeling, or even the instinctive response of the organism to its environment.
$ 6. We are now prepared for a final statement of the realistic theory of independence. It means that things
may be, and are, directly experienced without Thorough-going Realism.owing either their being or their nature to that
Independence of circumstance. Experience or The radical character of this doctrine apConsciousness
pears most clearly in connection with the contemporary use of the word “experience.' According to realism, experience may be expressed as (a) R', where a is that which is experienced, and R' the experience-relation; and where a is independent of Ro. Now the term 'experience' may be used loosely to mean either a, R, or (a) R'. But if we are to regard experience as the most comprehensive manifold, it is of crucial importance to distinguish these uses of the term. To use it in either of the last two senses, in which it embraces R“, is to arrive at a phenomenalism or panpsychism, in which the ultimate components of reality are experiences. To use it in the former sense, to mean what is or may be experienced, but which need not be experienced, will lead to realism.
But it is better that realism should reject the term ‘experience' (or even“pure experience”): altogether, in this
I Dewey: op. cit., p. 157; cf. above, p. 225.
: Cf. W. K. Clifford: “The elementary feeling is a thing in itself,” Lectures and Essays, pp. 283, sq.
• Cf. James: “A World of Pure Experience,” in Essays in Radical Empiricism. For James's use of the term experience, cf. above, pp. 224225 and below, pp. 264–265.
ultimate application — for it gives disproportionate emphasis, to an accidental feature of things. Since R* is not necessary to things, there is no reason for limiting ‘things'even to what can be experienced. Such a circumscription is groundless and misleading. Professor Montague has proposed the term “pan-objectivism"; but this is not altogether satisfactory, because it suggests the correlation of object and subject. The expression, 'neutral entities,' will perhaps serve better to emphasize the indifference of the terms of experience, not only to their subjective relations, but to their physical relations as well. We need some such expression with which to refer to the alphabet of being, as distinguished from any and all of the familiar groupings which its elements compose.
The realist, in short, must resist every impulse to provide a home for the elements of experience, even in “experience' itself. To bestow on them this independence may seem but a bad return for their usefulness, “since thereby they are turned out of house and home, and set adrift in the world, without friend or connection, without a rag to cover their nakedness."'? The idealist will doubtless inquire how the facts can be “there independently and in themselves," without being somewhere;' and will be uneasy until he has brought them home to consciousness. But the realist must be satisfied to say that in the last analysis the elements of experience are not anywhere; they simply are what they are. They find a place when they enter into relationships; but they bring into these relationships a character which they possess quite independently and by themselves.
8 7. We must now examine the arguments by which neo-realism seeks to prove its cardinal principle of inde
1 W. P. Montague: “Contemporary Realism and the Problems of Perception,” Jour. of Phil., Psych., and Scientific Methods, Vol. IV, 1907, p. 377.
· Reid's comment on Hume, in his Inquiry into the Human Mind,
· H. H. Joachim: The Nature of Truth, p. 40.