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pendence. Owing to the present state of the question, realists have been largely occupied with the disproof of The Arguments the contrary thesis to the effect that the cogfor Indepen- nitive consciousness conditions being. This dence. The Negative Argu- contrary thesis, maintained by idealism, has
obtained so wide an acceptance as to create a presumption against the theory of independence. Before establishing realism, then, it is necessary to refute idealism.
In the first place, realism contends that idealism has not proved its case. It has depended for such proof upon fallacious forms of procedure, such as those which I have named 'argument from the ego-centric predicament,' and definition by initial predication.' Post-Kantian idealism has contributed a further argument to the effect that the synthetic unity, or logical structure, which must be imputed to reality, is an act of thought. But this argument is also fallacious, in that it either virtually relies on one of the former fallacies, or invests 'thought' with a peculiar unifying power of which no one has ever given any intelligible account. Since the proofs of idealism have already been examined, it is unnecessary to enter into detail here.
We have also found, in the second place, that idealism is beset with a difficulty of its own invention — the difficulty of subjectivism or solipsism. If consciousness is construed as owning its objects, so that they arise and perish with its several acts or states, then the knowledge of the same thing by different knowers or by the same knower at different times becomes impossible. There can be no real identity, but only a manifold of unique and irrelevant units of consciousness. “If we say that they resemble one another, we can only mean that the judgment that they resemble one another exists, and this, in turn, can only mean that some one judges that this judgment exists, and so on. And if we say that the same presentation may exist in
See above, pp. 156–162.
different instances, this again can only mean that some one judges it to be so."! When, in order to escape this difficulty, idealism conceives of "a world already determined by thought,” that is “prior to, and conditions, our individual acquaintance with it,” then idealism has virtually withdrawn its initial version of consciousness as owning its objects, with the result that both the difficulty and the solution become gratuitous. In other words, idealism cannot affirm its central thesis without taking up a position which is on its own admission untenable.
This is a suitable occasion, in the third place, for introducing an objection which idealism in its turn urges against realism. It is a negative application of the ego-centric predicament. If this predicament does not prove idealism, it is argued that it at least renders it impossible to prove realism. We cannot, perhaps, prove that everything is known; but we certainly cannot, without contradiction, know that there is anything that is not known. In so far as this objection is purely dialectical, it has been sufficiently answered by Mr. Russell. “When we know a general
“that does not require that we should know all or any of the instances of it. 'All the multiplication-sums that never have been and never will be thought of by any human being deal with numbers over 1,000' is obviously a true proposition, although no instance of such a sum can ever be given. It is therefore perfectly possible to know that there are propositions we do not know, in spite of the fact that we can give no instance of such a proposition.”
The reasons for supposing that there are things that are not known must now be introduced. We have thus far
1 B. Russell: "Meinong's Theory of Complexes and Assumptions," III, Mind, N. S., Vol. XIII, 1904, p. 513. Cf. passim.
: T. H. Green: Prolegomena to Ethics, third edition, p. 38 (italics mine). Cf. above, pp. 162–163.
• B. Russell: “The Basis of Realism,” Jour. of Phil., Psych., and Scientific Melhods, Vol. VIII, 1911, pp. 160–161. For the idealistic argument, cf. J. F. Ferrier, on “Agnoiology,” or Theory of Ignorance, Institutes of Metaphysics, pp. 405, sq.
done no more than to prepare the way for the realistic theory of independence, by refuting the contrary theory, and by denying the charge that the realistic theory is inherently absurd.
$ 8. The most general argument for realism is an appli-! cation of the theory of the external or extrinsic character of
relations. According to the contrary view, relaThe Argument from the tions penetrate, possess, and compromise their Externality
terms, so that it is impossible to separate the of Relations
terms from the relation without destroying them. But according to the theory of the externality of relations, terms acquire from their new relations an added character, which does not either condition, or necessarily alter, the character which they already possess.
The procedure of logic and mathematics — any procedure, , in fact, which employs the method of analysis-is necessarily committed to the acceptance of the externality of relations. The method of analysis presupposes that the nature and arrangement of the parts supplies the character of the whole. If such were not the case the specification of the parts and their arrangement would not afford a description of the whole, and one would have to be content with an immediate or mystical apprehension of it. Analysis and description by specification would not constitute knowledge at all, did not things actually possess the structure (a)R(6), made up of the intrinsic characters a and b, in the relation R. This does not mean that complexes may not be dependent on one another, that (a)R(6) may not cause (c)R(d); but only that if such is the case, the relations are nevertheless something added to the terms. Just as a does not derive its content from R(6), so (c)R(d) does not derive its content from the causal relation to (a)R(6); it simply possesses that causal relation over and above the content it possesses by virtue of its component terms and relation. It happens that that which is c and d in the relation R is also causally dependent on (a)R(6).
Now what is the application of this to the question of the
dependence of things on knowledge? It shows, in the first place, that the content of things is in no case made up of relations beyond themselves. So the content of a thing cannot be made up of its relation to consciousness. Of course, the consciousness of a thing is made up of the thing and its relation to consciousness. But the thing then contributes its own nature to the conscious complex, and does not derive it therefrom. If a is in relation to consciousness, then consciousness-of-a is constituted in part of a, but a itself is not constituted of consciousness. It follows, in the second place, that whether the relation of a thing to consciousness is a relation of dependence or not, is an empirical question. It is necessary to examine the relation, and see. In other words, it is impossible to infer dependence simply from the fact of relation. It is impossible to argue that 'independent reals' must stand absolutely out of relation to consciousness, if they are to be independent.
The theory of the externality of relations is not sufficient in itself to establish the case for realism. Indeed it is so general in scope as to argue pluralism rather than realism. It shows that the nature of things is prior to the relations into which they enter, and that the nature of these relations, whether of dependence or not, is an extrinsic fact. So that we are left to conclude that many things are interdependent or not, as the facts may prove. But it remains for realism to investigate the precise nature of the relation of things, to consciousness, to discover whether or no this is a relation of dependence. And this is now a question of fact, like the question of the relation of the tides to the moon, or the relation of Mother Goose to the atomic weight of hydrogen.
1 Cf. Russell: op. cit., and “On the Nature of Truth,” Proc. Aristotelian Soc., N.s., Vol. VII, 1906–1907, pp. 37-44; E. G. Spaulding: “The Logical Structure of Self-Refuting Systems,” Phil. Review, Vol. XIX, 1910, pp. 276-301; and above, pp. 244–246.
Precisely as the contrary theory argues monism rather than idealism, cf. Royce: “The World and the Individual, Vol. I, Lect. III. For pluralism, cf. above, pp. 242–249.
$ 9. The empirical argument for realism turns upon the nature of mind, and the specific kind of relationship which
the mind's objects sustain to it. It must, of The Argument from the
course, be assumed that consciousness is a Distinction relationship, as has been shown in the forebetween Object · and Awareness going chapter. But first I propose to consider
an intermediate argument to the effect that consciousness is different from its object This is the main contention of Mr. G. E. Moore in the several papers which he has contributed to this subject. The idealist "maintains that object and subject are necessarily connected, mainly because he fails to see that they are distinct, that they are two, at all. When he thinks of "yellow' and when he thinks of the 'sensation of yellow,' he fails to see that there is anything whatever in the latter which is not in the former.” But it is evident that “sensation of yellow,” contains over and above "yellow," the element, “sensation,” which is contained also in "sensation of blue," “sensation of green,” etc. “Yellow exists” is one thing; and “sensing” it is another thing.
In other words, the object of a sensation is not the sensation itself. In order that a sensation shall be an object, it is necessary to introduce yet another awareness, such as introspection, which is not at all essential to the meaning of the sensation itself. And "the existence of a table in space is related to my experience of it in precisely the same way as the existence of my own experience is related to my experience of that.” In both cases awareness is evidently a “distinct and unique relation," "of such a nature that its object, when we are aware of it, is precisely what it would be, if one were not aware.”'i
But what awareness is, further than this, Mr. Moore does not inform us. Mr. Russell adds that it is “utterly unlike other relations, except that of whole and part, in that one
1 G. E. Moore: “The Refutation of Idealism," Mind, N.s., Vol. XII, 1903, pp. 442, 449, 453. Cf. also, “The Nature and Reality of Objects of Perception,” Proc. of the Aristotelion Soc., N.s., Vol. VI, 1905-06.