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Green, for example, asserts that reality must be regarded as "an unalterable order of relations.” “But a plurality of things cannot of themselves unite in one relation, nor can a single thing of itself bring itself into a multitude of relations." They require the "combining agency” - intelligence. “Either then we must deny the reality of relations altogether and treat them as fictions of our combining intelligence, or we must hold that, being the product of our combining intelligence, they are yet “empirically real' on the ground that our intelligence is a factor in the real of experience.”1
Similarly, Mr. McTaggart asserts that the only intelligible kind of unity is that in which “the unity is at once the whole of which the individuals are parts, and also completely present in each individual.” And “this relation between the individuals and the whole .... is that particular relation of which the only example known to us is consciousness."
The only possible justification for this train of reasoning is the supposition that terms must somehow penetrate their relations and relations their terms, so that some peculiar agency is required to prevent their either fusing or falling apart. This is the so-called “internal theory' of relations, which is not only contrary to the usage of science and common sense, but incapable even of being expressly formulated. Mr. Bradley is driven in despair to conclude that "a relation always is self-contradictory," and that to find a solution we must “pass entirely beyond the relational point of view." He obtains no illumination of the question from the character of consciousness. For this simply repeats "the old illusory play of relations and qualities," "at a higher level than before." But for some inscrutable reason, Messrs. Green and McTaggart find the intellectual operation of relating, or the consciousness of many in one, more intelligible than bare relation itself. I can explain their procedure only by attributing it to a willingness, exhibited by modern thinkers in general, and by idealists in particular, to abandon analysis and rigor of thought when consciousness is in question.' If there be any peculiar virtue in consciousness to relieve the difficulty of 'unity in plurality,' it is a miraculous virtue; whose secret, if it has been discovered, has certainly never been successfully communicated.
1 T. H. Green: op. cit., pp. 29–32.
' J. M. E. McTaggart: Studies in Hegelian Cosmology, pp. 14, 19. Cf. also M. W. Calkins: The Persistent Problems of Philosophy, pp. 378-379.
$ 11. But the majority of idealists do not even attempt, as do Green and McTaggart, to find a new proof of idealism; The Revival of they are satisfied to rest their case on the old the Berkeleyan Berkeleyan grounds. The fallacy of argument Arguments
from the ego-centric predicament' is precisely the same, whether knowing be construed empirically with Berkeley, or rationalistically with the followers of Kant. Thus the categories cannot be known without being thought; from which it is falsely inferred that they cannot be without being thought.
This fallacy is perhaps less characteristic of the new idealism than the other Berkeleyan fallacy of 'definition by initial predication.' Here one begins by discovering that the categories are conditions of knowledge. But having once taken their place upon the stage in this rôle, they are straightway identified with it. They are defined as what one needs in order to know. They become the instruments of a hypothetical activity governed purely by the cognitive motive. This activity becomes a will to know, which seeks its own by a definite procedure and imposes its conditions on everything with which it deals. The necessities of knowledge are construed as its demands, and the world of science as its conquest and domain.
"F. H. Bradley: op. cit., pp. 112, 445. Professor Royce, like Mr. Bradley, admits that the difficulty of relations is aggravated rather than relieved in the case of consciousness, but believes that the difficulty may be met by the modern mathematical theory of infinity. Cí. The World and the Individual, First Series, Supplementary Essay. On the 'internal' and external' theory of relations, cf. below, pp. 244-246, 319-320; and above, pp. 101-102.
But the guise in which things first appear is not to be assumed to be their native dress. It may be in any degree accidental and external. That the categories may be conditions of knowledge only accidentally, is apparent when one reflects that any entity whatsoever may be cast in that rôle. The color red may be used as a danger-signal; a spacial distance, such as a metre or a foot, may be used as a unit of measurement; the weight of water may be used as a standard for the determination of atomic weights. But one does not therefore conclude that these things are essentially conditions of knowledge.
There is no difference between these cases and the cases of the traditional formal categories, save the wider generality of the use to which the latter may be put. And the explanation of this may at least as reasonably be found in the nature of things, as in the nature of knowledge. If knowledge must conform to its objects, then every necessity in things is a necessity for true thought about those things. Thus if one is to know right-angle triangles, one must judge that the square on the hypothenuse is equal to the squares on the other two sides. And as spacial implications are necessary for geometrical thought; so, if there are any universal implications residing in the nature of all things, implications belonging to the province of logic, then they are necessary for all thought. But the necessity lies ultimately in the nature of things, and is binding on thought only so far as thought is bound to things. Were all things blue, blue would then be an indispensable condition for the knowing of anything; but it would not on that account bear any closer relation to the cognitive subject than it does now. All things are, let us assume, related. It follows that it is impossible to know anything without knowing it in relation. Not, however, because knowing implies relating; but because being implies relation, and knowing must seize upon the nature of its object.
As a matter of fact, objective idealism has deduced the categories from the object and not from the subject. To deduce the categories from the subject it would have been necessary to define the subject - which the idealist has consistently omitted to do. The subject has been a bystander, whose familiar presence has gradually assumed the appearance of indispensable necessity. It is, to be sure, the contention of some idealists that it is possible to know necessities only in so far as knowledge itself imposes them. Knowledge, Kant said, must control its objects if it is confidently to assert anything concerning them. But it is to be observed that the necessities of thought are derived by the objective idealist, not from thought as the moral-psychical process of the individual mind, but from thought standardized, from thought so far as true. It is the pragmatist, and not the idealist, who attempts to deduce the categories from the concrete, existent subject; and the idealist is the first to charge him with subjectivism and relativism. The idealist deduces the categories from the subject in so far as conformed to the objective nature of things, and thus, in the last analysis, from that objective nature of things. The actual subject, then, does not impose necessities on nature, but yields to necessities which are dictated to it by something beyond itself.
The idealistic version of the categories receives illegitimate support from the fixed disposition in modern times to regard sense as receptive, and thought as creative. While we ‘receive' impressions, we are supposed to 'form' ideas. But this is sheer prejudice or verbalism. A body must be perceived in order to be known, and an implication must be thought in order to be known; but there is no more reason or sense in asserting the knowing to be necessary to the being, in the one case than in the other. The general question of the dependence or independence of things known on the knowing of them, has really nothing to do with the narrower question of the priority of sense or thought. The more general question cannot be discussed intelligently without an analysis of the knowing subject, in which it is brought from its functional place in the background and placed in the foreground of study, like any other entity. It may then be possible to discover its particular nature; and the particular nature of that peculiar relation which it sustains to those other things which are its objects; and finally whether that relation is or is not essential to the objects.
The procedure of voluntaristic idealism in establishing the priority of will, purpose, or the judging activity with its ideals and norms, affords a peculiarly clear illustration • of the Berkeleyan arguments. Thus Rickert writes: “We know nothing of a being that is, except it be judged to be, and no one knows anything of it, ... for how could he know without having judged, and how could he judge without thereby recognizing an ought?” Now doubtless being is a predicate of judgment; and doubtless judgment like all activities is subject to a determinate obligation of its own. When I set out to know, reality is my destination, and prescribes the course of my action. Or, as Professor Royce expresses it, "the Other which Thought restlessly seeks ” is “nothing but the will of the idea itself in some determinate expression."! But why identify things with the cognitive adventure at all? I am no more justified in defining that which is my norm or purpose, my goal or destination, in terms of this relation, than I am justified in defining the office in terms of the office-seeking, or a geographical locality in terms of travellers who journey toward it.
The reasoning of idealism has grown in popular effectiveness as European thought has acquired the habit of viewing reality as the idealist views it. So strong is this habit that many idealistic books are written with no attempt whatsoever at proof. We are invited to view the world as
experience,' 'task,' situation,' 'truth,' 'goal,' or, in some others terms, as object of consciousness; and it is thereupon assumed without further ado that this aspect of the world, simply because it is there and may be selected, is definitive. But unless it can be proved that the relation of things to life, when they do sustain such a relation, is the
i Rickert: op. cit., pp. 156–157; Royce: op. cit., pp. 588, 333.