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of its terms presupposes the other. A presentation ... must have an object.”ı But there is so little to stand for it besides the object, that one could scarcely be blamed if he allowed Mr. Moore's distinction to lapse. Furthermore, while Mr. Moore's argument does prove that the object does not contain or by itself imply being experienced, it does not prove that it may not actually stand in some sort of dependent relation to that circumstance. The 'table is in my room,' does not contain awareness. But neither does it contain 'transportation,' although it may, as a matter of fact, have been put there by an expressman. And similarly it may, despite Mr. Moore's argument, have been put there by awareness. Such indeed would be the case, were I merely imagining the table to be in my room, or judging falsely that the table was in my room. As Mr. Russell himself admits in a later discussion, it is possible that 'table,' 'my room,' and the relation ‘in,' should all be related to mind, and compose an aggregate on that account, although the table is not actually in the room.” In other words, awareness creates an indirect relation among its objects, by virtue of bringing them severally into the direct relation of awareness. And it is open to anyone to maintain that this indirect relation is the only relation which things have inter se; or that any specific relation, such as the physical relation, is a case of this indirect relation; or that things are actually brought into new cross-relations by means of this indirect relation.
§ 10. We need, in other words, to forsake dialectics, and observe what actually transpires. We then find that The Argument
consciousness is a species of function, exercised from the Nature by an organism. The organism is correlated of Mind
with an environment, from which it evolved, and on which it acts. Consciousness is a selective response
1 B. Russell: op. cit., p. 515.
: "Every judgment is a relation of a mind to several objects, one of which is a relation; the judgment is true when the relation which is one of the objects relates the other objects, otherwise it is false." B. Russell: Philosophical Essays, p. 181.
to a preëxisting and independently existing environment. There must be something to be responded to, if there is to be any response. The spacial and temporal distribution of bodies in its field of action, and the more abstract logical and mathematical relationships which this field contains, determine the possible objects of consciousness. The actual objects of consciousness are selected from this manifold of possibilities in obedience to the various exigencies of life.
It follows that the objects selected by any individual responding organism compose an aggregate defined by that relationship. What such an aggregate derives from consciousness will then be its aggregation, and nothing more. A subjective manifold will be any manifold whose inclusion and arrangement of contents can be attributed to the order and the range of some particular organism's response. The number of the planets, for example, and their relative distances from the sun, cannot be so accounted for; but the number of the planets which I have seen, the temporal order in which I have seen them, and their apparent distances, can be so accounted for. In other words, the full astronomical nature of the planetary system, together with the particular circumstances of my sensibility, defines a limited manifold which is called the planetary system for me, or so far as belonging to my mental history. The physical planetary system is thus prior to and independent of each and every mental planetary system. And every question of subjectivity or objectivity is to be tested in the same fashion.
III. TRUTH AND ERROR
$11. The proof of the independence theory from an examination of the concrete nature of mind, defines at the The Realm of same time the principle which must be Subjectivity employed in solving the problems connected with subjectivity. We have found that the selective action of consciousness not only invests things with the character
of 'object or 'content;' but at the same time, according as it excludes or includes, also defines characteristic fragments, foreshortenings, and assemblages of things, that may not coincide with physical and logical lines of cleavage. And these may be said to be subjective.
The clearest instance of subjectivity in this sense is perspective, or point of view; in which a projection defined by the position of the organism is abstracted from the plenum of nature. Such an experience does not create its content but distinguishes it, by virtue of bringing some of the environment into a specific relation that is not sustained by the rest. The so-called 'secondary qualities, such as heat, color, sound, etc., must be dealt with by the same principle. The simple qualities themselves evidently cannot be subjective, any more than they can be physical. How far, if at all, the spacial and temporal relations of these qualities may be regarded as subjective, will depend entirely on how far these relations may be attributed to the sentient action of the organism.
Subjective manifolds, or fictions, once instituted by the action of consciousness, may become stereotyped. They may be remembered or described; and through tradition and art, they may be incorporated more or less permanently into the environment. Such being the case, they may be mistaken for what they are not, and thus give rise to illusion and error.
$ 12. Subjectivity accounts for the possibility of error; but it does not in itself constitute error
. It is possible for the mind to "entertain” daring and The Sphere of Truth and original speculations, go wool-gathering,"
build “castles in Spain," or "imagine a vain thing,” without committing error. A highly speculative or imaginative mind incurs a peculiar liability to error,
For the application of this method, cf. W. P. Montague: “Contemporary Realism and the Problems of Perception,” Jour. of Phil., Psych., and Scientific Methods, Vol. IV, 1907, No. 14; T. P. Nunn: “Are Secondary Qualities Independent of Perception?" Proc. Aristotelian Soc., N.s., Vol. I, 1900-01; E. B. Holt: “The Place of Illusory Experience in a Realistic World,” in The New Realism.
which is the price it pays for its greater chance of truth. But there is no error until fiction is mistaken for fact; and there is no truth in the correlative sense, until a content of mind is rightly taken to be fact. Error and truth arise from the practical discrepancy or harmony between subjective manifolds and the manifolds of some independent order.
It is characteristic of truth, says Mr. Russell, to be a "mixture of dependence upon mind and independence of mind.” Contemporary controversies concerning truth have been largely due to the attempt to place it wholly without mind or wholly within. The former attempt, illustrated by Mr. Russell's earlier view, leads inevitably to the admission of "objective falsehoods," an admission which is "the very reverse of plausible."1 The attempt, on the other hand, to place truth wholly within the mind, leads to even more insuperable difficulties. This attempt is illustrated by Mr. Joachim's monistic-idealistic theory of truth, according to which truth is the "systematic coherence” of the absolute whole of experience. The distinction between truth and error reduces to the difference between complete and partial experience. But the result is that, humanly speaking, there can be no truth, even the truth that there is truth; since even Mr. Joachim's experience is partial, and there is thus no way of distinguishing his theory of truth from error.?
Pragmatism alone has consistently maintained that truth and error have to do with the action of mind in relation to an environment. Truth is neither coherence among things merely, nor the complete internal coherence of thought; but a harmony between thought and things. Similarly, error is neither an incoherence among things merely, nor the incomplete coherence of thought; but a discrepancy between thought and things. Pragmatism has maintained, furthermore, that the harmony and discrepancy in question is practical. It is not sufficient to say that a true belief must have a thing corresponding to it, for false belief has its object as well. Nor will it do to say that a true belief must resemble a thing: because, in the first place, that is not sufficient, since a belief must mean its object; and because, in the second place, it is contrary to fact, since it need not resemble its object. There seems to remain only the alternative of regarding truth as a kind of right action on a thing, and error as a kind of mistake.
1 B. Russell: op. cit., pp. 184, 177, 173. Cf. “On the Nature of Truth,” Proc. Aristotelian Soc., N.s., Vol. VII, 1906-1907, pp. 44-49.
· H. Joachim: The Nature of Truth, ch. III; cf. above, pp. 184-188. Mr. Joachim himself admits the difficulties of his position; cf. Ch. IV. For Mr. Russell's criticism, see "The Monistic Theory of Truth,” Philosophical Essays.
But pragmatism, also, has been betrayed into a characteristic difficulty. Through excessive emphasis on the practical aspect of truth, it has seemed to make truth after all subjective; and without that insurance against a vicious relativism which idealism obtains from its conception of an absolute subject. It is possible, I think, to formulate a theory that shall possess the merits of these views without succumbing to their difficulties.
$ 13. Truth and error arise when some content of mind is further dealt with in a characteristic fashion. It is posMistaking and sible for the mind to apprehend, speculate, or Right Judging imagine, merely; but in this there is neither truth nor error. It is also possible for the mind to believe, that is, adopt, for the purpose of action. The truth or error of the belief is then relative to the interest and the circumstances which determine the success of the action. Thus I may accept the content of my perception as something to be dealt with physically, in the interest of self-preservation. In case such action is well taken, it is true; in case it is mistaken, it is false, or illusory. But the same content may be dealt with in another fashion without error. I may, for example, disbelieve it, or discount it, with reference to my physical action; or being interested, let us say, in the collection of instances of illusion, I may count it as one.
· For the pragmatist theory, cf. above, pp. 203-213.