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M.A. , D.PHIL. 




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AN idealistic theory of experience generally pre- 
sents a somewhat perplexing appearance. It 
seems either to go too far, and to make ex- 
perience intelligible by merely resolving it into 
ideal elements ; or not far enough, and to leave 
experience, of which it professes to give the 
principle, outside the explanation altogether. The 
"explanation" in the first case is little better than 
a truism : it means that experience is intelligible if 
it is resolved into ideal, i.e. into intelligible elements. 
In the second case the "explanation" is a paradox, 
since we are unable to read our experience by the 
light of the "explanation." Both start from the 
duality of subject and object, which is certainly 
essential to experience. But the first destroys the 
distinction in the process of showing the unity 
between the two ; the second destroys the unity of 
experience in the attempt to do justice to the 
distinction on which it rests. The result is that 
neither common sense nor the ordinary scientific 
mind is convinced by idealism. The idealistic 
argument may seem unassailable, and its ingenuity 



may be beyond dispute, but it fails to give the 
mental security which everyday thought seems to 
possess. Idealism is left to take its own course ; 
and common reflection remains within its own 
distinctions unaffected by the idealistic analysis. 
The concession, granted by idealism, that the truths 
of common sense or science are " valid so far as 
they go, but are one-sided in character," is accepted 
quite readily by both attitudes of mind, because 
they only pay attention to the first half of the 
statement and ignore the qualification implied in 
the second. For a qualification which is not shown 
to affect their procedure vitally is rightly considered 

This incongruity between the idealistic argument 
and the course of experience is seen in the char- 
acter of the argument itself as well as in its results. 
The procedure is arbitrary in form and disconnected 
in its content. Sometimes, as, for example, in Green's 
theory, purely psychological distinctions determine 
how the argument is to proceed and what it is to 
deal with. No logically necessary unity connects 
the analysis of " the spiritual principle in man as 
intelligence" with that in "man as moral." Ele- 
ments are somehow "given " to man as spirit, which 
he manipulates for one purpose " intellectually," for 
another "morally." Where they come from, or 
what value each has for the totality of man's 
spiritual life, is not explained, nor even considered. 
Somehow the elements are simply there to begin 



with ; and it is supposed to be sufficient if we can 
show that man qua spirit is different from man as 
animal. But it seems evident that all distinctions, 
even that between man's lower nature and man's 
"spiritual principle," must fall within and ^phases 
of man's total experience ; and all phases must be 
shown to have a necessary place in the activity of 
his life. It is not enough to draw the distinction 
between man and natural existence ; still less is it 
justifiable to regard an explanation of the distinction 
between the two aspects as equivalent to a synthesis 
of his entire experience. 

In order to avoid such difficulties in the idealistic 
position we ought to show how experience is from 
one end to the other a realisation of a spiritual 
principle. We must at once do justice to the 
very form and content of experience on the one 
hand, and the nature of spirit on the other. We 
should be able to feel that, in the result, we 
are in touch with actual experience, and also that 
we are dealing with a single principle controlling 
all its movements. We cannot dismiss any phase 
of experience either as illusory or as merely "one- 
sided " ; we have to give each a necessary place in 
the whole in order to show wherein that "one- 
sidedness " lies. We cannot resolve one " aspect " 
into another, for that still leaves us without any 
explanation of what its distinctive nature involves. 
It may be quite true, e.g., that Perception involves 
a "universal " principle. But we want to know how 



that principle works in concrete experience so as to 
give us what normally we call Perception. In actual 
experience Perception is just Perception, neither 
more nor less ; if we " resolve it " into something 
" higher " we still must state what it is in itself. 
To do anything else is not to explain it, but to 
explain it away. To describe it as "undeveloped 
reflection " does not show what kind of experience 
it gives us as it stands, but what it is from the point 
of view of reflection, i.e. another kind of experience. 
The same holds good when we consider Science or 
Morality, or any other form of experience. " One- 
sided " each may be. But that is only from the 
point of view of the whole. Yet experience is not 
simply the whole ; it is a whole through its mutually 
independent parts. Experience lives and moves 
through different forms each with a distinctive 
nature of its own. The essential factors are the 
same all through : a subject in relation to, and 
united with, an object. The distinction between 
these factors creates the movement of experience, 
the life of which consists in the gradual assimilation 
of these fundamental elements to one another. 

The relation is not sustained everywhere in 
the same way ; the end of experience as a living 
process is not realised to the same extent in 
each special form of experience. A complete 
idealistic explanation of experience ought there- 
fore to show (i) that each phase of experience 
embodies in a specific way the one spiritual prin- 


ciple animating all ; (2) that each is distinct from 
every other simply by the way it embodies that 
principle ; (3) that each is connected with the 
others and so with the whole in virtue of its realis- 
ing that principle with a certain degree of com- 
pleteness ; (4) that the whole of experience is a 
necessary evolution of the one principle of experi- 
ence through various forms, logically connected as a 
series of stages manifesting a single principle from 
beginning to end. Such an explanation must have 
the character of developmental construction. 

The attempt is made in the following chapters to 
expound the idealistic argument from this point of 
view. It has long seemed to the author to be much 
the most fruitful line that argument can take ; and 
no other seems so completely to avoid the difficul- 
ties and ambiguities of the views above referred 
to. It is hoped that this attempt at a constructive 
exposition of the idealistic principle will, in spite of 
the many imperfections of which the author is 
very well aware, prove of some value to students 
of philosophy, and of some assistance to those who 
have felt with Green that the work of the great 
idealists must " all be done over again." 

The author does not profess to put forward a 
view that is altogether new. For the form of this 
outline of idealism, more particularly in the case of 
the earlier stages in the argument, he is indebted 
to the great masterpiece of idealistic reflection 
in modern philosophy, Hegel's Phenomenology of 


Mind. More might perhaps have been made of 
the analysis of " Sense-experience," " Perception," 
and " Understanding." The point of view from 
which they are here treated is capable of throwing 
much valuable light on the difficult and intensely 
interesting questions suggested by these forms of 
experience. The limits of an "outline," however, 
could hardly have justified discussion in greater 

The author has sought to bring out the force of 
the position here taken up by connecting and con- 
trasting it with that of Kant, with which in many 
ways it has considerable historical affinities. He 
has found this method throughout both useful and 
instructive, and believes it may prove so to the 

He has also tried as far as possible to bring the 
argument to bear on the solution of problems which 
are of pressing importance for philosophy at the 
present time ; and is not without hope that some 
help has been given towards clearing up some of 
the dark places of experience. 

The importance of the point of view here 
adopted has been frequently recognised in recent 
reflection. The author would refer in particular to 
the work of such different thinkers as Adamson, in 
his lectures on "Theory of Knowledge" (in vol. i. 
part v. of his Lectures] ; Professor Ward, in his 
Naturalism and Agnosticism ; and Professor Laurie, 
in the original and illuminating argument developed 



in his Synthetica. In each of these we find the 
same position insisted upon which is here traced in 
outline that subject and object constitute the life 
of experience and develop pari passu from the 
very first, and in developing give rise to all the 
wealth of human experience in its various forms. 

It should be mentioned that Chapters 1 1. -VI. 
contain the substance of the Shaw Fellowship 
Lectures delivered at Edinburgh University during 
the winter session 1904-5. 


August 1906. 




Recent idealism starts from Kant The different interpretations of his position 
Twofold character of Kant's idealism The emphasis on universal ex- 
perience Its result The emphasis on the individual subject Its result 
Necessity for further reconciliation " Validity " and " fact " Lotze 
The dualism within individual experience The problem thence arising 
The solution found in Purposiveness in general Statement of this solution 
Pragmatism or Humanism Its idealistic elements Its defects (l) 
It confines the unity of experience to the historical or psychological 
individual The unity of experience is wider than any and all individual 
history or than any collection of individuals and is not a series (2) It 
makes the unity arbitrary It is necessary and objective in its control and 
the objectivity is not simply that of society The unity is that of an 
absolute Single experience Philosophy and Religion, being at the point of 
view of this Whole as such, stand for objectivity of all other experience 
We must start, in interpreting objectivity and necessity of knowledge, 
from this Absolute Individuality as found and expressed in Philosophy and 
Religion All restricted forms of experience inadequate, and cannot serve 
as a basis for constructing experience The value of this position 
Experience both universal and individual Reflective Knowledge a form 
of individuation The genetic construction of experience Matter and 
form in experience Method of Philosophy self-explaining The position 
of Idealism ...... Pages 1-43 



The formulation of the problem of Knowledge The factors in knowing (i) 
active relation of subject and object, (2) with truth as end The problem 
of Knowledge has to consider the relation between these two, between 
actual and ideal. 



Kant's view of the problem His dualistic assumption Limit to Knowledge 
determined by the subject Faith Its function Its object Problems of 
intellect become postulates of Faith The limit to Knowledge without 
significance The conception of it is determined by Kant's Dualism 
Significance of " spontaneity " of subject Teleological Judgment Kant's 
argument really refutes Dualism Dualism in Locke Its effect on his 
"analysis" of the content of the subject's knowledge in Book II. of the 
Essay and on the interpretation of existence in Book IV. The issue in 
both essentially the same Locke and Kant Berkeley and Hegel. 

We must give up Dualism This involves change in conception of Truth and 
of the relation of "reality" to "thought" and of " limitation of know- 
ledge " Common ways of conceiving the problem of Knowledge Logic 
as abstract and as concrete The new problem : it deals with all forms of 
Knowledge Knowledge is consciousness of object; and is therefore 
coextensive with Experience The psychological distinction of knowing 
and willing not an objection to this The problem is to explain the 
relation of the ideal in all Knowledge to each and every form of Knowledge 
The ideal is the source of necessity in Knowledge . . Pages 44-79 



The ideal of Knowledge Subject and object a complete unity through 
diversity The ideal is subject completely conscious of self This is 
implicit in all forms of experience, as explicit it is the ideal for every 
form It contains simply and at once all the substance of experience in its 
different forms of expression In it mind answers to complete mind The 
ideal is the source and end of all experience Experience is rooted in the 
distinction of subject and object Its end is to reinstate the complete unity 
out of which it arose and which conditions its "course" in finite 

Contrast of this with Kant's view For Kant Knowledge is essentially a 
series of relations of individual mind to isolated objects But the mind is 
always a continuous whole, and the objective world a continuity His 
view of necessity is purely formal, and is determined by the formal 
character of the pure ego on the one hand and the equally formal notion of 
a "possible experience" on the other and is the same in every case in 
which it is found Necessity really due to a relation between the ideal 
immanent in all Knowledge and actual Knowledge Necessity in experience 
does not mean always the same thing : it varies with the form of 
experience, and admits of degrees Illustration from perceptual fact and 
conceptual principle Truth is held by Kant to be an agreement between 
thought and its object It is limited to thinking experience or "science" 
But this overlooks the fact that in all forms of experience there is a 
relation of subject and object and therefore truth The relation is distinct 
in each case, and the object and the subject are different in each case 


The " agreement " conception of truth is not wide enough to embrace 
all kinds of truth There is truth, e.g., of Moral Experience Each 
form has its own truth and the complete truth is the whole The ques- 
tion as to the " possibility of truth " has strictly no meaning, for it can only 
be answered by an appeal to another form of truth This seen in the 
case of Kant's attempt to answer the question Experience is always 
concrete Kant's use of the term "possible experience" It is the 
correlation of the formal ego But experience, being concrete, can never 
as a whole be " possible" Kant's inconsistency in using the term. 
"Selected" experience Experience must be taken as a whole This can be 
done by taking as the centre of all experience a typical individual mind 
Appeal to experience ; its meaning Characteristics of experience Sub- 
ject and object Their distinction and nature Knowledge and experience 
Summary The nature of the interpretation . Pages 80-113 



Experience as " self - explaining "; truth and error of this Necessity in 
experience: what Systematic connexion by a central principle The 
method of procedure Its two aspects, universal experience and individual 
finite centre of experience Continuity of all experience It is the logical 
connexion of historically discrete experiences of an individual mind The 
problem is the same at each stage We begin with the assumption of an 
ideal Presuppositions in philosophy Other ways of explaining experience 
"Proof" of a philosophical interpretation The end of all experience is 
the ideal The ideal is complete experience This is concrete, and a form 
of experience Misunderstandings All forms at once positive and 
negative The three chief aspects or levels of experience . 114-135 



Sense is simplest form of relation of subject and object Object here is not- 
self in general This is source of "externality" of objects Ways in 
which this appears at the higher levels of experience "Externality of 
object "in philosophical discussion Problem of " External Perception" 
starts from this Cannot be the only problem of Philosophy ; it ignores 
other phases of experience Forms of opposition of subject and object : 
(i) Sensation; (2) Perception; (3) the distinction of a world of appear- 
ance from a world of supersensible reality These express opposition 


with varying degrees of fixity and absoluteness ; but are ways of gradually 
transcending it altogether. 

Sense-experience breaks up into discrete "this," "that," "now," "then"- 
But all such terms imply universality The universal is the continuum of 
the process of change making up sense-life. 

Perceptual experience deals expressly with universals of sense " Seeing" and 
"perceiving" The universal is on one side the "thing" (percept) with its 
qualities, on the other the act of percipience with its constituent sense- 
functions : seeing, touching, etc. Sometimes one side is exclusively 
emphasised, sometimes another Perception does not deal with particulars 
and does not imply dualism The object in Perception is a " thing "- 
For Perception a thing is an "association" of qualities Its unity excludes 
and includes When we keep to the sphere of Perception proper there is 
no thing-in-itself Perception admits nothing but sense-qualities The 
subject in Perception is realised in the process of the discrete functions of 
sense (seeing, hearing, etc.) which are "associated" within its life This 
process is at once a process of the subject and the object It is the life of 
the experience as a unity of the different factors subject and object 
Hence percept and percipient necessarily proceed together and vary in 
degree and nature the one with the other The opposition of subject and 
object in Perception is relative, and is due to the content of sense being 
simply not-self ..... Pages 136-175 



The need of an advance on Perception The content of Perception contains 
elements in unresolved opposition, both as regards the diverse qualities 
and the unity of things It is "also arbitrary in its distinction of essential 
from accidental aspects of things The step required is that of Under- 
standing To take this step means that Knowledge is not to be defeated 
The position of Dualism It creates an impassg for Knowledge Its result 
The position of Common-sense Realism likewise unsatisfactory Under- 
standing is on its subjective side a process of resolving diversity of things 
as such into a unity of which they are parts or expressions The objective 
side of this is Force, which is a unity in and through its manifestations 
These are sides of the same experience The content of Perception falls 
within Understanding Kant's view The heterogeneity of Perception and 
Understanding These are in reality continuous, and differ in the degree 
of realising the same end Process of Understanding (i) Laws Objec- 
tive and Subjective Laws neither independent of subject nor dependent 
on subject This is a level of experience Manipulation of Laws the be- 
ginning of "Freedom of subject" Understanding the "truth" of Per- 
ception (2) Phenomena and Noumena The distinction created by the 


elements in Understanding But it is a distinction within experience, and 
does not imply a "beyond" to experience Perception "taken up" into 
Understanding (3) Elucidating or Explaining This is a relation of the 
differences to the unity : it makes the one continuous with the other, the 
differences being resolved into the unity of Law and vice versa Ex- 
planation not a "function" of Understanding, but the life of Under- 
standing The unity it establishes is a self-determined universal A 
self-determined universal is a thought or conception This is therefore the 
beginning of subject conscious of self in its object Self-consciousness 
thus the goal of knowledge of "external objects," and the ground of all 
such Knowledge ..... Pages 176-208 



In Understanding self is implicit in the process of Explanation Self not yet a 
conscious object This made possible by the activity of unifying involved 
in the process of Understanding To be conscious of the same unity gives 
rise to consciousness of subject as the same, as one self Understanding 
by overcoming all estrangement of object and subject lays the founda- 
tion for this new form of experience, the consciousness of self as such 
This passes through various stages towards complete realisation (i) 
Desire This is level of consciousness of self in objects implicitly one with 
self, but as such selfless Desire falls solely within self-experience Desire 
for " things" : its meaning Desire different from Understanding Desire 
as such is a determinate mode of experience Its process : Need : 
Impulse: Satisfaction Desire implies no "beyond" in experience of 
self Desire is only consciousness of self in selfless objects (2) Recog- 
nition Here self as such is object for subject This the only way of 
knowing self Self not found by Understanding or Perception It is 
reflected consciousness of self in another self Its process Forms of 
Recognition (a) When mere self recognises mere self Ego = Ego Self- 
identity Its significance Abstract freedom (6) When self as particular, 
"natural," recognises self as particular Ego distinct from Ego 
Mere difference Its significance Contingency of self (c) When self as 
mere self recognises itself in self as natural or particular Inequality of 
self-recognition Master and Serf Significance in the development of 
consciousness of self (3) Final form of consciousness of self Conscious- 
ness of self as universal This facilitated by the process of (2, c) Self as 
universal gives absolute or universal freedom of self Abstract forms of 
this type of self- consciousness Stoicism : abstraction of self from 
" nature " Scepticism : abstraction of self from other selves Self- 
alienation : abstraction of self from self The further evolution of self- 
consciousness Self must be concrete, not abstract . . 209-244 




The unity of experience now established is explicit conscious identity of subject 
and object This is henceforward the moving principle of all experience 
It is concrete in character Difference from Kant His principle of self- 
consciousness is formal This due to his dualism of Ego and " Things " 
It is incapable of further development Hence the discontinuity between 
his critical philosophy as a form of knowledge and the knowledge he 
criticises Effect of this on his own theory That theory restricted 'to 
mere form, and is external to concrete experience The connection 
Philosophical Knowledge must fall within experience itself It is a concrete 
expression of self-consciousness, and is shown to be so by the further 
development of self - consciousness Self - consciousness contains the 
principle of various phases of experience, e.g. Reason, Morality, Religion 
First stage of this development is Reason Reason - Knowledge 
Reason contains diverse movements because concrete It has a content 
of its own " Conceptions," etc. Reason is a level of knowledge, an 
experience This agrees with common thought In Reason object and 
subject are distinctions within their conscious identity Content is the 
same on both sides Identity of Reason : what Moments of the life of 
Reason (i) Observation This not subjective even to the ordinary 
scientific mind Differences of content in process of Observation due to its 
development in experience Its content consists of Conceptions How 
different conceptions come of consciousness Illustration from mechanism 
and teleology " Reconciliation" of such Conceptions : what Categories 
as universal pure unities of Reason Categories are Reason in detailed 
expression (2) Conceptions develop into Laws of Reason Thus Obser- 
vation passes into Judging and Demonstrative Connexion Difference 
of content in Laws Consummation of development of Reason is attain- 
ment of Ideal of Science Systematic coherence of life of Reason This 
agrees with procedure of Science and with "Logic of Science" Limita- 
tions of "Logic of Science" Difference between "Logic of Science" 
and Theory of Experience Relation between Reason and preceding 
process of Sensation, Perception, and Understanding Pages 245-274 



Result of Reason It establishes a self-determined universal experience It 
makes possible self-conscious individuality Reason does not isolate 
It implies a universal self-consciousness "My reason": what Indi- 
viduality conscious of itself as universal and existing for itself is Spirit 


Its realisation is the Moral Order of Society Illustration from general 
conception of "Freedom" "Man alone is capable of Morality": its 
meaning Truth of the view that "man is moral because rational" 
Spirit not Reason as such Spirit is mediate conscious identity of subject 
and object, the identity for itself Reason is that identity in itself, 
relation between self and others being implicit Hence process of Reason 
not mediated through others, but through its own content That Moral 
Life is the outcome of Reason agrees with Kant's position, but is 
different from Kant's statements Reason not formal, but concrete 
Morality not a formal expression of self -consciousness in general, but a 
concrete realisation of Spirit Hence Morality not an individual reality, as 
Kant held, but a reality through individuals, and is logically prior to the 
individual realisation of it Hence Society not based on a "contract," 
for a " contract " as an ethical fact presupposes a Society Two aspects 
of the Moral Order : (a) Universal self-consciousness, (3) specific individual 
embodiment of it These imply one another, and while distinct are 
inseparable (a) Universal self-consciousness appears as Social Law and 
Custom It is the same for all alike It is realised in different forms of 
Social Unity : Family, Civic Community, and State It is the source of 
Rights, Institutions, Virtues (3) Individual realisation appears as 
Responsibility, Duty, Law, Conscience These two aspects of the experi- 
ence are treated and described differently in common life Conscience is 
the final achievement of Moral Life, completest freedom of individuality 
in and through Social Whole "Private" conscience Each aspect 
carried out through "natural" conditions, for "nature" is here an 
element in individuality In (a) the " natural," " physical " conditions, 
Land, Climate, etc., are the material for the civilisation of a People 
Substance of "nature" provides content of rights and stability for 
Society In (b) the physical and psychical contents of individuality provide 
the substance of duty and the content of "moral responsibility" The 
assimilation of these two aspects is a process of conflict and reconciliation. 
The attainment of the end establishes absolute self-consciousness, and leads the 
way to Religion ..... Pages 275-308 




The result of the Moral Life establishes Spirit as supreme reality compre- 
hending all the preceding content of experience as its moments But there 
Spirit is realised by a process of spiritual individualities, a process due to 
the distinction between individual and universal self-consciousness Spirit 
must, however, be fully actual to itself as a whole, and as a unity contain- 
ing all distinctions at once To be conscious of it in this way is to take 
up the point of view of Absolute Spirit This is the principle of Religion 


It is thus different from Morality It is sui generis, and is both necessary 
to the evolution of experience and universal It is a final form of 
man's experience and a supreme expression of his rationality It is an 
experience, but not specially anthropomorphic Religion deanthropo- 
morphises man All experience anthropomorphic Religion does not 
involve a process as does morality Its life complete always and at once 
Forms of Religion are the result of phases of Absolute Spirit In each 
Spirit is experienced in a different way, has a different mode of self- 
manifestation (l) Absolute Spirit immediately manifested and imme- 
diately experienced Nature gives the content of religious experience 
The Religion of Nature Its method of expression Its cult (2) Absolute 
Spirit contrasted with the immediate content of nature and withdrawn 
into self Here self-conscious purpose is the primary content of Religion 
Religion of the Moral Order of experience Its manner of expressing 
itself is governed throughout by the idea of purpose This illustrated by 
certain prominent features Its cult and ceremony (3) Absolute Spirit 
actually present as such to spirit This implies no contrast and no 
abstraction Spirit is wholly manifest to Spirit "Revealed" Religion, 
or Religion of the Spirit Some characteristic elements of this form of 
religious experience Faith, Hope, Love, Sacrifice These three phases 
of Religion not absolutely separate Contemplation as a way of expressing 
the relation of Spirit to Absolute Spirit . . Pages 309-344 



IT can hardly be doubted that the Idealistic Inter- Modem 

and Kant. 

pretation of Experience in recent philosophy has Ic 

been determined and guided by the results of 
Kant's analysis of knowledge. The criticism or 
further development of Kant's position has, however, 
by no means led to agreement amongst the expon- 
ents of Idealism, either as regards their premises 
or conclusions. We cannot but feel that this is not 
merely due to the many-sided character of Kant's 
theory, many-sided to the extent of inconsistency, 
but also to the inheritance or reappearance of the 
assumptions of Dualism from which he started. So 
far has this disagreement gone that it seems almost 
necessary for idealism to try to understand itself, to 
see what it wants or aims at before it attempts to 
carry out its principle. The difficulty of idealism in 
any form has no doubt been increased by the growth 
of a more intimate and a wider acquaintance with 
reality than existed at Kant's time, more particularly 
in regard to facts of history and biology. These 
have tended to give still greater emphasis to just 
the element that Kant tried to surmount the 
empirical or temporal character of all human 



experience. The increased weight given to the 
methods and results arrived at in these departments 
of experience has gradually shifted the focus of 
idealism altogether, until in more recent times it 
has assumed a form not very far removed from 
what used to be called Subjective Idealism. 
Kant's The positive outcome of Kant's analysis may be 

result. said to have been the justification of the actuality 
of a Universal Experience, and the Anthropocentric 
^Conception of Knowledge. Now it is the opposition 
and the connexion between these two that have 
determined the direction of idealistic reflection. 
Both are essential to his view ; both must be taken 
account of by any interpretation that derives its 
principle from him. The one lays stress on the 
fact of necessity and universality in experience, the 
other on the fact that experience is only for a human 

Develop- In the course of further reflection one or other 
theVst in f these two has tended to become primarily em- 
two forms, phasised, the other being derived from it. Thus 
at the outset stress was laid on the former 
the reality of universal experience. This first 
took the form of elaborate systematic construc- 
tion of the entire content of such experience- 
universal experience as Metaphysical Knowledge. 
Another but less elaborate development of the 
same position lay in the tendency to emphasise the 
purely scientific attitude in knowledge, with its 
methods of hypothesis and verification, universal 
experience as Scientific Knowledge. In the former 
the human subject with its processes and apparent 
limitations seemed to disappear in the process 
of a Whole which contained it, and controlled or 


corrected its limitations ; the anthropocentric element 
in Kant's result, along with its complementary con- 
ception of a thing-in-itself, was thereby dropped. In 
the latter, the anthropocentric element was brought 
in merely to justify the restriction of the range of 
universal experience to the scientific mood, and so 
to round off the limitation of its content to neces- 
sary truth, on which it insisted, by an appeal to an 
Unknown or Unknowable beyond human ken. 

The two quite distinct developments of the idea Conflict 
of universal experience could not long exist side by 
side without some conflict arising and some recon- 
ciliation being called for. And the demand was 
on the whole forced primarily from the side of the 
second form. For, while universal experience in the 
form of science necessarily tends to the elimination 
of the individual, because it claims to present truth 
for all independent of any one (and in this respect 
the relation of scientific truth to the individual mind 
resembles what we find in universal experience taken 
as metaphysical knowledge), there is no limit to 
the kind of object-matter of actual experience which 
it may take up. Science can discuss any object 
that falls inside experience, and never doubts that 
it can do so with full assurance of achieving universal 
results. Its attention therefore, while to begin with 
directed primarily to " natural phenomena," was soon 
directed to the individual conscious subject itself 
and its processes, which are likewise "phenomena." 
It may have been driven to consider the subject for 
some special reason, but the direction of attention 
upon it was in the long run inevitable, both because, 
in one aspect, the individual is a part of organic 
" nature," and, in another aspect, its processes are 


part of the historical sequence in time. The analysis 
of the development and processes of the conscious 
subject as such (Empirical Psychology in all its 
forms) leads us to look on everything in experience, 
of whatever kind, as having its source and place in 
the life-history of the individual. But this primary 
emphasis on the individual tended to throw the 
whole responsibility for knowledge, in whatsoever 
form, on to the subject of knowledge, and thus to 
lead to a reinterpretation of the reality of universal 
(scientific) experience from that point of view. The 
other element in the Kantian result (the anthro- 
pocentric conception of knowledge) now came to 
be taken as primary and ultimate, and universal 
experience as derivative the reverse of what 
we found when emphasis was laid primarily on 
universal experience. From this point of view 
conceptions, which were the universals, and the 
principles of necessity, in experience, are themselves 
seen to have their origin and place in the history 
of individual experience, and the insistence by 
science on the "relativity of knowledge," which was 
maintained before, is now made with stronger 
emphasis than ever. It does justice, and more 
than justice, to the anthropocentric element in 
Kant's result. 

The result But no sooner is this line of development pursued 
emphasis to * ts logical issue than a startling result is seen. 
on the T ne outcome of such a movement is plain. Exclusive 

subjective . 1 11 

process emphasis on the subject and its processes leads us 

to lk u P on a ^ experience as subjective only ; 
knowledge has its source and conditions determined 
by the life-history of the individual mind in time. 
The result is that universal experience in the 


Kantian sense disappears, or is dissipated, into a 
series of processes in time with no "objective" 
necessity, and no determinate universality in it. 
But if this is so, where then are we to get for 
science the universality and necessity on which Kant 
insisted, and which are essential if science is to claim 
to present "truth"? It is no answer to say that 
this analysis merely affects the value of the scientific 
interpretation of "nature" and the conceptions 
there used. It affects equally the scientific value or 
pretensions of the psychological analysis itself. 
This, too, can have no value as science (which 
it claims to be), if science in general with its 
conceptions and universals is dissipated into the I 
stream of events of mental history. In other words, 
just as primary emphasis on universal experience 
tended to eliminate the individual centre of know- 
ledge (the individual subject), primary emphasis on 
the processes and history of the individual subject 
tends to do away with the very idea of universal 
experience. Whereas when emphasis was laid 
primarily on universal experience we seemed to be 
placed in the position of having universal experience 
indifferent to or even without the individual subject's 
life, here we seem to have the individual subject 
without any universal experience at all. 

To preserve equally both elements on whicht The next 
Kant laid stress now becomes the problem fo 
idealism. It must at all costs save the reality of and 

1' 1* 

universal experience, and it must accept the scientific 
facts of the life-history of the individual and its 
changing and varying processes, since the statement 
of such a history is itself the product of universal 
experience (science). To do so, a distinction, hard 


and fast, but, so far as it goes, satisfactory, is drawn 
between the logical or cognitive "worth" and "value " 
of a conception, and its " existence " as a " fact," with 
historical connexions before and after its immediate 
appearance. To the former is assigned all universal 
experience ; to the latter all the life-history of the 
individual subject. They belong to two distinct 
spheres of experience. They run parallel and 
" correspond," but have not even a asymptotic 
relation to each other. 

Lotze. It is at this stage that Lotze 1 has his place in the 

history of idealism. He mediates the opposition 
between the claims of science to be universal 
experience in Kant's sense, with the claims of the 
individual subject to be the source and origin of 
all experience whatsoever, and does so by drawing 
the distinction between "validity" and "origin" 
just mentioned. For him, since universal experi- 
ence has its rights per se as the sphere of thoughts 
and conceptual activity, there is no limit to the 
extent of its activity, and hence it is not restricted 
to scientific activity but embraces and legitimises 
even metaphysical knowledge as well. And there 
is no danger of pursuing the analysis of the 
individual too far ; for all such analysis contains is 
"facts" of mental history, which in themselves are 
something apart from the world of " values." 
The But the distinction, while it allays conflict, is rather 

of^hls Cr f the nature of an eirenikon than a synthesis. For 
distinc- th e standing opposition between them is never re- 
conciled, and leaves a cleft running through his 
interpretation from beginning to end. On the one 
hand, the "facts" that "exist" set a boundary to 

1 And after him, Bradley. 

i LOTZE 7 

the sphere of conceptual or universal experience : 
"reality is richer than thought," and the achieve- 
ment of a complete synthesis is a mere " ideal " for 
thought. On the other, while the basis of fact 
starts thought, "suggests" it, "stimulates" it, yet, 
in the long run, we never get beyond the range of 
ideal activity, never reach the reality even of the 
"external" world. "This varied world of ideas 
within us (started by the external world) forms the 
sole material directly given to us for reflection." 
In this position, therefore, we find, superadded to the 
Kantian dualism between mind and things without, 
a dualism between "validity" and "origin," concep- 
tion and existence, falling inside the individual 
subject itself. 

It was impossible that this result should stand as it requires 
a final idealistic expression of experience. 1 Hence unity 
the further development of idealism consists in an' 
attempt to unite, in some form or other, and not 
merely to distinguish, these two aspects to which: 
Lotze seeks to do justice. Here again emphasis is 
still laid on the individual subject and the processes 
of his history. It is inside his experience that the 
distinction insisted on by Lotze falls. The universal 
experience is universal within his experience as a 
whole, and the events of his history take place there 
also. There is no need and no possibility of going 
beyond him. But the distinction mentioned cannot 
possibly be an absolute separation or cleft in his 
experience. That is inconsistent with the unity of 
individual experience, and with the process which 
actually takes place in gaining universal experience. 

1 I need here only refer to the masterly criticism of Lotze by Prof. Dewey 
in his Logical Studies, without working out in detail the main points of 
criticism he there emphasises. 


It is inconsistent with the former, because a unity 
which spells dualism or parallelism between ' ' validity " 
and " history " is no unity even in name ; and 
it is inconsistent with the latter, because universal 
experience takes its start from actual events in the 
life-history of the subject, varies with the life of the 
subject, and is realised in and through such events 
only. Events are not the less events because they 
have conscious "validity"; and "validity" is not 
the less so because it " happens " to be in conscious 
experience. Universal experience is not something 
per se apart from the process of history : it is in 
that process, or rather that process is the way in 
which it appears. Even, therefore, if we could and 
do speak of universal experience, it is only universal 
in the sense of common to individual minds sharing 
the same historical conditions of growth. So, too, 
when we find it by itself (as we may), this "common" 
consciousness within which universal experience 
falls, contains precisely the same antithesis within 
itself which we find in the individual consciousness 
as such. The same antithesis and the same problem 
of reuniting the antithesis are presented whether we 
take the individual conscious subject, or the conscious- 
ness of a group, however large, of individual minds. 
The new We have thus to show how these two distinct 
problem. phases of truth and { ^ - w hat" and "that," 

"content" and "existence," "thought" and "reality" 
can be elements in the life of the individual's 
conscious experience. To do so necessarily in- 
volves the abandonment of a universal experience 
per se. Its reality "per se " is not to be found, and, 
if found, would be needless, since all it contains can 
be shown to fall within individual experience as 


such, where it alone exists in any case and on any 
view of what it means. We need not therefore regret 
the disappearance of a universal experience per se, 
for we do not require such an entity for actual experi- 
ence at all. With this admission, therefore, we part 
not merely with metaphysical knowledge per se, 
which threatened the reality of the individual 
subject, but with scientific knowledge per se, which 
treated the processes of the individual subject as 
irrelevant to, or at least as quite immaterial to, its 
fixed and final " necessary truths " independent 
of any individual mind whatsoever. There is 
neither the one nor the other, if the very reality 
of universal experience (the concepts, judgments, 
etc., which make up its characteristic features) 
falls within a process making up the life-history of 
the individual's experience. 

How then is the union and the distinction of the The unity 
two elements to be made? By observing that the [^"ideT of 
characteristic feature of self-conscious individual Purpose : 
experience is the same in principle as that of all 
living individual experience, and is merely a 
particular form of it suited to and expressing the 
special nature of human experience. That general 
feature is Purposiveness. In man, purposiveness is 
more developed than in other forms of conscious 
animal experience, and more complicated. It con- 
sists in activity directed by conscious pursuit of ends, 
which are contrasted with what does not contain 
them, and can therefore be determined by them. 
Man, like other living individuals, has a variety of 
ends to realise in order to maintain his plane 
of self-preservation. One, but only one of these, 
is to order the course and contents of his varied 


presentational or ideal life, put it into coherent 
shape. This is only one form of the manifestation 
of his purposiveness. There are others concerning 
his emotional life, concerning his life amongst other 
individuals of the same species, as a part of 
"nature," and so on. In every case the result is 
the same, the establishing, as a conscious fact, of 
the sense of "unity in his individual experience." 
What, in particular, subserves this, has achieved 
its meaning for the individual subject, and has 
significance accordingly, i.e. " significance " with 
reference to the one supreme fact the unity spoken 
of. Its value lies in that and that only. Moreover, 
that is just what "value," "validity," "significance" 

it But again, as it is primarily the individual 

terminates subject's experience that is here concerned, or 

in a feeling > 

of satisfac- thought of, the guarantee or indication of the 
attainment of that result must lie primarily with 
the subject, be a conscious fact, which cannot of 
itself be communicated but only shared by a 
number in common, if it be shared at all. It 
must be a "feeling," a "sense," a "sentiment" 
the feeling of "satisfaction," the "sentiment" of 

The result Hence the double character of the completed 
twofold : resu i t Q n t h e one side, t h e reinstatement of the 


and unity of experience as a conscious fact, attained 
" by and through a process taking place in time, 
implies that the process to that end has been 
achieved, that the specific adjustment in question 
has been " successful," has " worked " out. The test 
of "value" lies just in "success" or "efficiency." 
That test, and so the "value," or "validity" is objective, 


in the sense that the unity re-established is secured. 
That unity is what is always aimed at ; it there- 
fore endures permanently throughout all the ex- 
perience of the individual, and merely changes its 
form according to circumstances in the life -history 
of the individual's experience. Because that unity is 
thus permanent and sought after by every individual, 
this objective character of every special adjustment 
is capable of being communicated to others. From 
such communication and inter-relation of individuals 
is built up a fabric of mutually recognised and ac- 
knowledged forms of adjustment which we call the 
general order of experience wherever it is found, in 
common Morality, in common Knowledge, etc. On 
the other side there is the "sense" peculiar to the 
individual consciousness as such, the " feeling of 
satisfaction " which is altogether his own, cannot be 
communicated, is both underivable and underived. 
That is his special test, and is subjective only. The 
latter is ultimate not merely in time but in sufficiency 
for the individual. Whether other people feel it or 
not is a secondary result brought about by the 
" significance " which his successful adjustment 
possesses. But the " sentiment " and the " success- 
ful adjustment " both fall inside the individual's 
experience solely. Hence for him there is both 
a subjective and an objective side to the result 
achieved. That the objective may be communicated 
does not make it successful for him : its success 
makes it possible for him to communicate it. The 
objectivity of the result is not derived from com- 
munication to others ; at best it is merely confirmed 
by so doing. Its being communicated is derived 
from its being objective for him. 


The case All this applies generally to all the processes of 
ed g e W individual experience, and in particular to knowledge 
as one process of that experience. In this special 
case adjustments, as it happens, take the peculiar 
form of connecting and relating and gathering to- 
gether the diversity of presentational life. That is 
endlessly manifold and varied in character ; per se 
indeed a " chaos," * a puzzling multiplicity. What we 
have to do here is to secure and keep the unity of 
experience at all costs in the midst of this endless 
change and variety. The kind of unity required 
depends on the "situation" 2 raising the need for it. 
That situation is always specific, and the unity 
demanded is thus always definite in character. Now 
"conceptions," "judgments," etc., are just ways in 
which this result is achieved in the case of know- 
ledge. They gather together a whole range of 
variety into a single form of unity. They sum it 
up into a formula which enables us to maintain unity 
in multiplicity ; they give a compact or condensed 
expression for a number of detailed elements. They 
are merely a "conceptual shorthand" 3 "devices for 
saving time." Or, to put it otherwise, we seek to 
control, in the interests of the unity of our experience, 
the variety and opposition of presentational elements 
in a given conscious situation ; and conceptions, 
judgments, etc., are ways in which we bring about 
this result. They are modes or functions adopted 
to meet the requirements of the given situation, and 
are dictated partly by it as regards the matter, 
partly by the unity of experience as regards the 
form. Successfully to realise that purpose is to 

1 See James, " Humanism and Truth" in Mind, vols. xiii. and xiv. 
" Dewey's expression. 3 v. Karl Pearson, Grammar of Science. 


do all that knowledge in the given situation 
requires i.e. is to attain "truth" as regards that 
situation. Conceptions, judgments, etc., are con- 
scious " instruments " designedly selected and em- 
ployed to work out the unity required in a given 
case. They are " truth " if they accomplish this end, 
if they " work " successfully. Knowledge is a con- 
scious operation whose "validity" lies in its efficiency 
to do its work, to control the presentational variety 
of conscious experience ; its end lies merely in its 
operation being successful, and that end is truth. 
Or, finally, since it is one of the many processes for 
achieving the essentially purposive character of man's 
experience, and is determined, therefore, solely by 
his specific purposes and interests, knowledge is a 
human means or device for realising a human end. 

The above way l of bringing together the different ." Human- 
elements in the Kantian result is what has been made p rag . 
familiar to us recently under the names of " p ra g- matlsm -" 
matism " and " Humanism." 

There are certain aspects of this view which any idealistic 
thorough idealistic interpretation must regard 

satisfactory. We may agree (i) that any kind of matism - 
experience must somehow be individual ; (2) that 
universal experience does and must in some way fall 
within the life-history of the conscious subject ; (3) 
that the principle of unity in such a life must be ex- 
pressed by a term wider than, and including as one of 
its phases, reflective knowledge ; (4) that nothing can 
lie " beyond " reflective knowledge so far as its special 
activity is concerned ; (5) that there is no possible 
separation in experience between truth and fact, at 

1 In the above statement of the Pragmatist position I have in mind the 
argument of Professor Dewey in his Logical Studies, which seems to me much 
the ablest and most forcible exposition of this view. 


most there is only a distinction between them ; (6) 
that reflective knowledge as such must always be 
concrete, and is never merely formal within the 
sphere to which, in experience, it belongs : for it 
always works within and with reference to a deter- 
minate "situation": hence the distinction of form 
and matter falls within the knowledge-situation and 
is created by it : there is no thought per se and no 
matter per se over against thought ; (7) that reflective 
knowledge is a self-contained sphere of experience, 
with ends of its own which have to be realised and 
satisfied, and which do not conflict with other parts 
of experience. 

The sole question is whether such a view does or 
can do justice to the elements it thus seeks to bring 
together the objective universality in conscious ex- 
perience and the reality of individual experience. 
Can it satisfy what these two require ? 

Objections. There are many points of difficulty in the way of 
accepting this view as final. Let us confine atten- 
tion to a few those by reference to which it will 
be possible to throw light on the argument of the 
succeeding pages. We may pass by certain technical 
difficulties, such as those suggested by the use of the 
term " works," as the characteristic qualification of 
the idea of "validity"; the "relativity" of "satis- 
factions " ; the want of clearness in the use of the 
term " satisfaction " as a standard of truth, since it 
seems that the kind of satisfaction that is " truth " 
is just " true " satisfaction ! These difficulties, how- 
ever, are formal in character. 

In the long run it will be found that all the defects 

tion of the o f fa e position arise from restricting the conception 
experience, of the "unity of experience," to the life of the 


historical or, as it is sometimes termed, the " psycho- 
logical " individual. That conception is essential to 
the theory, as it is to every form of idealism. It is 
from the unity of experience that the various " pur- 
poses" or "ends" are derived which determine the 
processes of reflection, for the attainment of which 
thinking is "instrumental." Without that we should 
never know where or why a thought "worked," we 
should never know why it should stop "working" 
at one point rather than at another, or whether it 
should stop at all. The "working" of thought 
would not merely be interminable but futile. The 
fact that the result, however varied, is uniformly 
registered "satisfying," "successful," implies the 
perpetual presence within all the processes of a 
single principle which is being realised. And it is 
"satisfied" because it ultimately dictates the purpose 
for a specific situation, and does so in order to meet 
its demand the demand for unity. 

But such a unity cannot in the nature of the case The unity 
be restricted to the "mere" individual. For how- " 
ever large the "span" of the individual's experience 
from stage to stage, from moment to moment in its 
experience, that unity is always wider than such a 
span. For it determines how in each moment and at 
each stage the purpose is to be realised, how the 
specific unity or the specific "satisfaction" is to be 
attained. It does not just arise with the satisfaction 
of the moment : if so, it certainly might be regarded 
as limited to his experience as this exists from time 
to time. It only appears in a series of realisations. 
But these, each and all, are attempts to satisfy and 
secure one and the same ultimate unity. This unity 
is not completely realised in any of its expressions 


at all : otherwise why does it ever need to be 
" satisfied " again ? Why is the problem of getting 
" satisfaction " endlessly set to the individual ? 
Moreover, that it is not attained by any number of 
such expressions is not merely proved by the fact 
that it has to be reinstituted, re-established as a 
conscious result. It is admitted that it is this unity 
which in a given case sets the question in a partic- 
ular situation. There could be no sense of "dis- 
comfort," of " antagonism of elements " in a given 
conscious state, unless on the basis of an implied 
unity of these elements. It is because of this, that 
it is worth while trying to unite the opposition, 
reconcile it, and establish the unity. We could 
never feel the opposition unless the unity were 
there. That is the only reason why certain kinds 
of distinction of elements do demand and lead 
us to expect a "solution" of a given problem, 
while others do not. Quite different elements may 
coexist in conscious life without there being any 
sense of the " tension " which we try to remove by 
thinking until a successful issue is attained. We 
can, e.g., be conscious of a " fourth dimension " and 
the " yellow peril " at one and the same moment : 
but this never leads us to any attempt to reconcile 
or unite them. There is no sense of " tension " 
between them as a crying problem. Why ? Because 
there is no implied unity in them, no identity of 
content between them of such a kind that the 
immediate unity of experience is staked on the 
explicit fusion of the two in a continuous conscious 
result. The unity we demand is always relative to 
the situation presented, because it is implied within 
that situation, and historically creates it, gives rise 


to it. Those incessant attempts to meet situa- 
tions are not due merely, or at least so much, to 
accretion of " experience " from without, as to growth 
from within, an ever - increasing assertion of the 
presence of the unity in experience " over against " 
different elements consciously presented together. 
The unity is itself gradually being made determinate 
as experience advances, "laws " are formed, etc., and 
this sets up ever new efforts for a fresh reconstitu- 
tion of unity in experience. But for the implicit 
unity there would then be no problem. The 
problem, as a felt question, is the hint that the unity 
is there implicitly. The problem would be equally 
impossible if we had mere difference of content, as it 
would be- if we had clear conscious unity of experi- 
ence. It is because the diversity is a clear conscious 
fact which the unity is not, and both coexist as 
factors in the total experience, that a " problem " can 
possibly be felt to arise. Because, then, the unity 
awakens the problem of the moment, and because the 
unity is ever creating the problems of experience 
and cannot be completed or exhausted in any one 
realisation of it, the unity of experience must be 
something wider than the span of any individual 

If it be said that it is simply the total unity of ltmusti n 

.1 T i u i .1 ^ some sense 

the individual s total experience that is meant, then be wider, 
this is wider than any historically individual experi- 
ence. 1 1 then becomes an ideal beyond the moment 
of the individual's life " beyond " in the sense that 
in some real way it actually is, and is yet wider 
than the momentary stages in the individual experi- 
ence. But such an unity is universal, if universal is 
to have any meaning ; and is not individual in any 



sense in which the historical individual can be, and is 
taken to be so. It then becomes the ultimate unity of 
all his experience implicitly present at each moment, 
and expressing its existence in his conscious life by 
its ceaselessly setting the problem of consciously 
attaining and reinstating it. If we do not take 
this view, then the ideal becomes a "mere ideal," 
" constructed " and looked on as outside the present. 
But if so, it is quite futile because it does not assist 
the actual problem of a given situation. It does not 
create its specific character ; and hence we cannot 
account for the perpetual recurrence of the necessity 
for reinstating the unity. Unless that ideal is in 
some real sense bound up with the existence of the 
demand for unity at each moment, it is ineffective and 
useless. But if it is so bound up, then it is not a 
"mere " ideal : it is a constitutive element in individual 
experience all through its process. The unity is 
then not confined to the individual experience from 
moment to moment ; it is both prior to it and ahead 
of it it is universal. It is that from which the 
demand for unity in a given case starts, that in which 
its satisfaction terminates. And once it is admitted 
to be beyond the unity of the individual's temporal 
experience, as this incessantly appears, the degree 
of universality, the amount and extent of it, is 
merely a further question which does not affect the 
principle. The fact that the unity is universal is all 
we need here insist on. But since it does and must 
govern all the individual's experience, it is plain, 
at any rate, that it cannot be short of the totality 
of all his experience actual and possible. 
The unity Another alternative is to resolve the individual's 

not merely . ... r 

a scries, experience simply into a series of reinstatements or 


re-establishings of the unity required by specific 
problems. We then have a series of unities without 
any permanent centre to which to refer the successive 
"satisfactions," without any centre from which and 
in which the series happens to be an experience at 
all, and without which it seems obvious that the 
successive demands for unity would not arise. If 
this is what the issue comes to, then it seems clear 
that, instead of having a subject without universal 
experience, or universal experience without a subject, 
we have here neither a subject nor universal experi- 
ence. It is a reappearance of Hume's position under 
the guise of satisfying the claims of science which 
Hume rejected. The final criticism of this view, 
however, has surely been once for all gained for 
philosophy, and need not be repeated here. 

It is only by the confusion of the unity satisfied The con- 
at each given moment with the unity from which p^eno- 
individual experience starts all its problems and in menaiism. 
which all are satisfied, that such a position could be 

It would be merely extending the above argu- Specific 
ment into detail to point out that the actuality of a Sj^J? 
universal unity in the individual experience is even ^^ 
historically evident in a concrete way from the 
facts of Inheritance, Language, Society, etc., from 
the basis of which the individual life starts. These 
are themselves merely phases of the comprehensive 
universality which that unity, fully interpretated, pos- 
sesses. For they, too, are expressions of it which 
have grown up historically and been incorporated 
in the constitution making up an individual life. 

That this unity is not really an individual unity 
at all is acknowledged by Humanism in the constant 


The signi- appeal to "social" consciousness which it makes. 
thTsociai That is the only form in which it admits a uni- 
factor in vcrsal unity to appear ; so much so that at times 

Human- , , ,. - J r , . , . r i 

ism. the " truth of knowledge is something confined 
simply to the needs of communication required by 
and making possible a society. " Rationality " 
is held to be just common agreement between 
intelligent individuals. Knowledge expresses that, 
starts from it, and its special processes and ends 
are determined by the general purposes of social 
unity and social order. Science is a "social 
phenomenon." The general conscious unity of 
society necessitates and conditions the formulation 
of the "laws," the "conceptions," the "unities," the 
" truths " of knowledge. A language is the medium 
of such communication, and thought is dependent 
on and limited by the character of this medium, 
it implies Now if all this is admitted, and if it is granted 
y lve " that this social unity precedes and conditions the 
kind of unity realised in any individual experience, 
then obviously we have given up a purely individual 
point of view. We now take the unity "aimed at" 
and "satisfied" to be strictly universal, and one 
which determines the unity in the individual life. 
If we confine it to such a restricted universal as 
" social mind," we shall indeed not do justice to the 
unity which a Whole of experience implies. But 
that is a further question. At any rate such a social 
unity is wider than and does contain and determine 
the individual unity. 

Human- In point of fact, however, the tendency of this 
towglurd v * ew ' 1S ra ther to regard the unity of a social con- 
the social sciousness as itself derived from the unity of the 
derivative, individual life, and to be neither constitutive nor, in 


the long run, as such, regulative of that life, but a 
mere product of the activity of individual minds. 
In such a case, the "common agreement" as to the 
unity established is merely a peculiar characteristic 
of what is essentially confined to individual minds. 
It is due to a further " use " of the individual unity. 
Clearly a unity of different minds obtained by an 
agreement which happens to be effected after unity 
is secured by the individual, cannot itself be wider 
than the individual with whom it starts. For the 
" agreement " is an attribute of the individual 
unity, and does not extend its meaning, does not 
carry the individual beyond himself, is not universal. 
And to this view what is said above will strictly 
apply. 1 

But, further, the unity of experience, which The unity 
determines the purposes of all the process o 

"thinking," for which thinking is " instrumental," be extra - 

111 c , , ....*..-.. individual 

cannot possibly be confined to the individual if it is and 
to operate effectually at all Every train of thinking ob J ective - 
has an end, which is admittedly not arbitrarily fixed. 
Selection there no doubt may be, but it is always 
selection within a certain range, and the selected 
purpose when adopted cannot be tampered with at 
will. It carries compulsion along with it, a com- 
pulsion which defies all our efforts to put it aside. 
The "success," the "satisfaction," carries with it 
convincingness, as well as quiescence, of mental 
state. However we may express this characteristic 

1 The inconsistency of appealing to a social consciousness to confirm the 
judgments of the individual mind seems, curiously enough, to have escaped the 
notice of Humanists. But it is surely transparent that if Society is created or 
derived as a significant fact from intercommunication between individual units, 
it cannot be appealed to in order to determine the worth of what individuals 
say or do. If the value of social life is derivative, it cannot in any sense be a 
standard of value for that from which it derives its own value. 


of a successfully established unity, whether as the 
incapacity to tolerate a contradiction or otherwise, 
it is there. And only if it is there can we rest in 
the unity when found. Now this means that the 
specific unity we realise in a given situation, the 
thought which is "true," is not dependent on the 
mere processes in the life-history of the individual. 
These, being events, merely happen and may be 
directed at will. It is because they can be that 
certain of these directions are not true, and others may 
be. The process which is " true," therefore, is deter- 
mined by conditions in some way independent of the 
mere presentations of the moment. Moreover, the 
very solution is itself a process inside the individual 
life, and as such, therefore, can be purely arbitrary. 
The characteristic of the unity, however, is that it 
is not arbitrarily realised ; it exerts control on all 
that takes place. Such control, therefore, cannot 
itself be determined solely inside the processes 
which are themselves regulated by its action. The 
control is brought about by an agency in some sense 
independent of all such processes which make up 
mere life-history. Such processes from the point of 
view of the controlling agency vary with the life- 
history of the individual, and fall solely within its 
scope. They make up its constitution at a given 
moment. They are " subjective." As distinguished 
from them, the controlling agency is " objective " ; 
it abides through and distinct from the changing 
content of the individual, and remains after any 
change has run its course. And it does so because 
it in some way preceded the change, as the condition 
determining one direction and not another. The 
agency has "reality," "validity," "objectivity." 


To accept this result does not at all settle where "Objec- 
the " objectivity " lies ; least of all does it imply that camfot fail 

it is outside all experience. The latter is the position wilhin the 

r n ^ TVT i-r-vi- individual. 

of " Realism or " Natural Dualism ; but it by no 
means follows from the general character of objec- 
tivity. The nature of objectivity depends entirely 
on how experience as a whole is conceived. But 
objectivity, as the control exerted by the unity, does 
imply that as such it cannot fall solely and simply 
within the life-history of the mere individual. In 
some way it must lie beyond its processes, no matter 
what their span, or how long they continue. To 
let it fall within their processes is necessarily 
to make the direction decided on one of the pro- 
cesses themselves ; and this prevents us arriving 
at any finality in the result. To put it outside 
all the processes, but somehow still inside the indi- 
vidual life-history, would split up the continuity of 
individual life. We should have to put on one side 
the processes, on the other the unity that controls 
them ; they would then remain for ever apart. 
But this would reinstate the dualism of truth 
and fact, objectivity and subjectivity, in a form 
similar in kind to that found in " realism," which this 
view under consideration seeks to overcome. In 
a word, either the direction falls absolutely within 
the process of the individual life, in which case 
there is no selection ; the whole process is neces- 
sitated from first to last, and the very peculiar 
character of thinking, the realisation of a con- 
scious and consciously selected end, is lost : or 
else the controlling unity is in some way distinct 
from the process, independent of it, in which case 
it falls outside the limits of individual life and 


history, and can be exerted upon it just for that 

The objec- If, however, we grant that this controlling unity 
merely 10 * ^ s objective, the range and extent of the objectivity 
that of a are such that at least it cannot be bounded by any 
whole. form or appearance of finite conscious life. It is, 
therefore, impossible to limit it to a ''social unity" 
inside which the individual life-history is spent. 
For social life has itself a history, itself has a process, 
determined likewise by ends and for ends. The 
latter may be final for the individuals within it, so 
far as concerns their relation to it ; but its own pro- 
cesses must be determined by reference to a wider 
controlling unity still, if "objectivity " is to be given 
to the results of social activity. Moreover, we can- 
not draw a sharp line between the control exerted 
by the social unity and that exerted on the individual 
life as such ; and in some cases they are not separate 
at all. We seem bound, therefore, to admit that, in 
the long run, the only objectivity which is final is 
that in which the unity determining finite processes 
within experience is simply the unity of all experi- 
ence as such. That is behind all forms in which 
objectivity appears, whether in the life-history of the 
individual or in that of social process. Its unity 
merely gets specified to meet the demands created 
by the particular situations arising within the various 
spheres of finite conscious process. It remains one 
and the same through all. In interpreting the 
nature of "truth," of "objectivity," in any form, 
therefore, we not merely can but must start from 
the unity of experience as a whole. 

Now if the unity at work in all finite individual 
experiences of whatever kind is a comprehensive 


universal unity, and if the unity of all experience is The Unity 
the ground of all forms of "objectivity" in finite that of an 

experience, then, to explain the nature of universality 
in Knowledge or in Morality or anywhere, and to ence. 
explain the ground of the objectivity which all forms 
of finite experience claim to possess, we must start 
from the idea of an Absolute Single Experience. It 
must be absolute, for nothing less will meet the case 
completely ; it must be single, for the experience is a 
unity. Being experience it must be the experience 
of a conscious life, and being a unity, consciously 
referred to as such, it must be the experience of a 
single subject, an Absolute Individuality. Universal 
experience is not something apart and per se ; it is 
universal experience to and in some single life. For 
a completely universal experience, therefore, there 
must be an individually complete subject. The 
"objectivity" of Knowledge, Morality, etc., does 
not mean that truth is apart from all minds, or any 
minds ; it exists as the truth for a mind an Absolute 
Mind. But since experience is wider than reflective 
Knowledge as such, or wider than Morality as such, 
we must interpret such an experience by a term 
which will embrace all forms of experience within 
its sweep, and yet refer them to itself as its own, as 
belonging to its unity. The term best expressing 
such an individuality is Spirit, and the forms of 
experience where we most clearly perceive the 
possible workings of such a Spirit are Religion and 
Philosophy. Hence the real starting-point for the 
complete understanding of objectivity in knowledge, 
whether in Perception or Morality, or any other 
forms, which are modes of finite experience, is in the 
self-conscious activity implied in the processes of 


Religion and Philosophy, where we are at the point 
of view of the whole as such, and think in terms of it. 
Only the We cannot begin short of this, say, with the 
view 1 of validity and objectivity of Perception or Science, 
Absolute and thence endeavour to establish or overthrow the 
is claims to objectivity which Philosophy or Religion 

adequate. ma y p ut f orw ard. Either attempt is futile : for we 

We cannot ' r i , ri. 

take a cannot establish or destroy the objectivity 01 what 
we hld to be a restricted type of knowledge by 

enceasour taking as our basis that found in another form. The 

base line. . . . _ . . r 

process is quite arbitrary ; for the form we nx on as 
the basis of objectivity is selected because of our 
special interest in it, its power to appeal to us, its 
prominence in our experience, or what not. Every- 
thing in such a case depends on our specific point 
of view. If we happen to regard Perception as 
primary and ultimate, then everything else is tested 
by an appeal to that, and derives its objectivity ac- 
cordingly ; a position we find assumed in the scien- 
tific appeal to perceived "fact" as a test of " truth," 
the appeal to " observation " and " experiment," etc. 
If, again, we take Moral Knowledge as the primary 
reality of experience, the reason and the result are 
similar. And so on. The reality of experience 
becomes focussed in such a form ; everything else is 
referred to it, and all objectivity is derived from 
its peculiar conditions. Not merely is the process 
arbitrary, but it cannot attain its end, for it assumes 
what has itself to be determined, the ground for 
the objectivity of that particular form we choose to 
regard as ultimate. The only ground we can adopt, 
if we do not submit it to examination, is that of 
feeling, our "satisfaction " in it, the "compulsion" it 
has over us, the "sense" of immediate constraint 


it has over us. This is just what we might have 
expected. For the special appeal such a particular 
form of experience made to us, was due to our indi- 
vidual interest in it, our individual selection of it, 
and hence the ground of its value can only be a 
subjective one, the "feeling" of necessity it gives to 
us. But this is not a "reason"; for it lacks the essen- 
tial character of reason universality and defies 
communication. Each individual, therefore, is left 
to himself ; and one type of knowledge being as good 
as another to select as ultimate, human experience is 
dissolved into a variety of individual attitudes. The 
very principle all professes to accept, the unity of 
their experience, is given up straight away, and the 
objectivity claimed by one can be at once denied 
by another, and no experience is left with any 
objectivity at all. In other words, if we start from 
a restricted form of experience, and regard that as 
supplying the test of objectivity for all others, we 
are unable to supply ground for the objectivity 
of that one we select, and therefore unable to 
guarantee the objectivity of any experience what- 
ever. We are not merely able to deny the claim 
to objectivity, say, of the philosophical form of ex- 
perience, if we take, e.g., Sense-experience or Science 
as our base line. That we can do legitimately enough 
from such a position. But we are unable to assert 
the objectivity of the special form of experience 
we take as ultimate. While if we try to prove 
the objectivity of all others by reducing them to 
terms of this one we adopt, our attempt must fail 
from the start, since we are assuming what itself 
requires proof that the one we have selected does 
supply all the objectivity knowledge claims. Such 


a claim the others are prima facie entitled to dis- 
pute ; and the development of reflection as well as 
the process of experience are perpetually putting it 
aside in favour of some other form. We can only 
demonstrate and establish the objectivity of any 
form of knowledge if we are prepared to demon- 
strate the objectivity of all forms of knowledge. 
We can only show that the unity of experience, 
in one particular form of experience, e.g. scientific 
thinking, supplies validity, objectivity, to that form of 
knowledge, if we are prepared to accept the unity of 
experience as a whole as the ground of all objectivity 
whatsoever. It is because the unity of experience 
as a whole is the source of all objectivity that any 
particular kind of objectivity can arise in any par- 
ticular form of experience ; for that particular " com- 
pulsion," "constraint," which any particular form 
possesses, is due to the fact that the unity at work in 
its concrete life is a form of the unity at work in 
the whole of experience. 
Phiio- Now it is in Philosophy and Religion that we 

ReHgio^ take U P the P omt f view f the unitv f the whole 
at the o f experience. They assert and embody in self- 
view of conscious experience the unity of the Whole, and 
Absolute O f our individual minds with the Whole. They 

Expen- . J 

ence. therefore, as modes of experience, stand for the 
absolute objectivity of all knowledge whatsoever. 
To derive their complete unity from any other 
form of experience, e.g. Perception or Science, 
is necessarily a varepov Trporepov, even if it have 
the semblance of success. It may have a semblance 
of success, e.g., where Philosophy is set merely 
to " criticise " the conditions or conceptions of 
Science, as if Philosophy were a kind of additional 


Science. To confine Philosophy to this is futile ; 
for all other problems raised by experience itself, 
e.g. the place of Morality in experience or the 
Aesthetic ideal in experience, become then merely 
borderland questions. Indeed, to take as final a 
lower form of experience, such as Perception, 
leads in general to pure scepticism regarding the 
nature and value of all Philosophy. That is in- 
evitably so ; for if the limited sphere of interest is 
final, the point of view of the Whole is either 
impossible or worthless. Scepticism in Philosophy, 
however, can never coexist with belief in Science. 
In the long run, the distrust of the former passes 
into the sphere of interest of the latter, and the 
stability and objectivity of any and all knowledge are 
imperilled. Even a confessed and acknowledged 
ignorance about the unity of experience as a whole, 
soon leads to doubt of our knowledge in any form 
whatever ; and doubt is a preparatory stage for 
silent or open distrust. 

We can see this in the present attitude in regard niustra- 
to science assumed by many of its exponents. ^' ^ th 
" Reality " as a whole, they say, they know nothing science, of 
about, and cannot even name. What then is the O f taking 
view taken of science? It consists of mere al . ower 

point of 

"descriptive formulae," a "conceptual shorthand," view, 
which we contrive and use to get along in dealing 
with this reality. But it seems evident that a 
description of what is admitted to be incognis- 
able, or at least unknown, is absolutely cut off from 
having any import except for the mind describing. 
If the reality exercises a check on the character 
of the description, it seems illogical to say it is 
not known, for the coherence of knowledge just 


consists in being so controlled ; and that control 
must come from the object described, because the 
object is so constituted and not otherwise. If it 
does not come from the reality, one description is as 
good as another, and the very progress of know- 
ledge becomes purposeless. When this objection 
is put aside by pointing to the fact that we can 
prophesy and anticipate by means of our descriptions 
what reality will do, the extremity of the dualism 
seems given up altogether. For to speak of 
calculating an unknown is to use terms without a 
meaning. A " shorthand " is surely indecipherable 
if we are not in touch with the meaning of the 
language we have taken down in symbol. If it be 
said that the descriptions are truer, because for us 
they are simply " better " descriptions, better fulfil 
our needs, then this leaves altogether unanswered, 
positively or negatively, the question whether these 
needs may not just be a fuller appreciation of reality. 
In short, this restriction imposed on science is due 
to a prior restriction placed upon knowledge as a 
whole, a sceptical attitude regarding philosophical 
knowledge. It is typical of every such attempt. 
It either compels us to accept two heterogeneous 
kinds of knowledge, a descriptive and a non- 
descriptive, which have no continuity of purpose 
with each other, and yet profess to deal with the 
same reality ; or else to make knowledge purely of 
presentational "phenomena" hold, and to leave 
An " reality " out of account altogether. 

absolute If, then, we consciously take up the point of 

view' view of the unity of the whole of experience as we 
avoids do in Philosophy and Religion we avoid the in- 

these . i i r 11 T 

difficulties, coherencies into which we must fall if we take 


anything less as our TTOU O-TW. For Religion and 
Philosophy, in one aspect, simply stand for absolute 
objectivity in knowledge. In them the "ideal" at 
which finite forms of knowledge "aim," the "unity" 
these finite forms seek to establish point by point 
and moment by moment, as each stage of experience 
calls for it, is established and completely attained, 
not as an ideal but as an actuality. All Philosophy 
and Religion do is to give it detailed expression and 
detailed coherence. They exist solely and simply 
within its realisation : in them all other experience 
is "completed," "culminates," as we say, because in 
them we consciously assert and consciously live 
within the complete unity of all experience. They 
are the attitudes of which this unity constitutes 
the substance. Nowhere else in experience do we 
consciously take up such an attitude to this complete 
unity. Without them we should never be conscious 
of the unity of all experience ; to be conscious of 
it is to take up the religious or philosophical attitude. 
They therefore embody all that the other modes of 
experience aim at. Hence from them, in a real 
sense, all the objectivity other forms of experience 
possess is derived, because the objectivity of these 
other forms is justified in the long run by the absolute 
unity realised in Philosophy and Religion. Certainly 
but for this absolute unity being realised, we should 
not, as we have seen, be able to assert objectivity 
anywhere in finite experience. 

We do not take up this position of the absolute it is not 
unity of experience by choice. Apart from the 
historical fact that it has always been adopted by 
the human spirit, and that in Religion and Philosophy 
the human spirit invariably does obtain the sense 


of absolute completeness and unity, we must adopt 
the unity of all experience as the absolute ground of 
all forms of knowledge, for it is the ground of any 
kind of " absoluteness " knowledge may and does 
claim to possess. For only if any given act or form of 
knowledge has an acknowledged place in the whole 
can it be said to be " absolutely valid." And we 
cannot, by mere choice, put aside all "absoluteness " 
from experience, because to do so is to exercise just 
an absolute claim. Since we must take some kind 
of knowledge as final, even though that knowledge 
may be merely the knowledge that no finite form 
is final, we thereby create that knowledge into 
"absolute" knowledge. We cannot dismiss abso- 
luteness from experience by an act of will. If we 
do not find absoluteness in one way we are certain 
to set it up in another. 1 

Quaiifica- But this position must not be misunderstood. It 
is not meant to imply that, when we take up the 
point of view of the absolute unity of experience in 
Religion and Philosophy, everything that Religion 
and Philosophy as a matter of fact do express, 
reveals everywhere and always all that this unity 
contains. The history of Religion and' Philosophy 
contains the answer to that claim. In the nature of 
the case this cannot be so, because the point of view 
of the Whole is conditioned by the detailed character 
and contents of the Whole as these appear from time 
to time historically. These affect the particular 
expression which they will obtain from Philosophy 
and Religion. Hence arise the various forms of 

1 There is a lack of humour in the antipathy to absoluteness in experience 
expressed by Mr. Schiller. It amounts to saying, almost in so many words, 
that the term ' ' absolute " must be absolutely eliminated from philosophical 
discussion ! 


Religion and Philosophy which the human spirit, 
whose complete unity they express, has adopted. All 
it means is that this point of view is not simply one 
which is aimed at, but is one which can be adopted 
and actually developed into detailed coherence. 

Now when we admit in this way that, on the one The value 
hand, the unity of all experience is self-conscious 
Spirit, and that, on the other, we can take up in 
Religion and Philosophy the point of view of this 
unity and express what it contains, and thus embody 
in a distinct mode of experience the final and objective 
ground of all knowledge, we can do justice to the 
difficulties Humanism tries to meet, without falling 
into the relativistic position it adopts. We can also 
find a starting-point from which to explain and justify 
the "objectivity " attaching to the various forms of 
experience. It is quite true to maintain, as Human- 
ism does, that there is no universal experience by 
itself which either works in vacuo apart from 
individual mind, or creates individual minds in its 
process. It is quite true to maintain that if this 
were so we could never see how it got into the 
concrete life-history of the individual, and made his // 
knowledge valid. To explain knowledge would be 
indeed hopeless if we put on one side an abstract 
universal experience, and on the other the historical 
conscious individual, and then tried to show how 
these two came together in the acts and processes of 
knowledge. There is no universal experience which Universal 
is not individualised. At the same time it must be 

acknowledged that the historical individual, as such, in dividu- 

, , r i ate( l- 

is also a mere ens rahoms, the creation of abstract 
thinking, and a creation of exactly the same kind as 
that of a universal experience per se. For it is just 



the thought of a mere universal experience which 
makes it possible for us to think its exact antithesis 
a mere individual experience ; and the one is as 
false as the other, if taken by itself as a starting- 
point from which to look at knowledge. Hence, 
just as we may very reasonably object to the sugges- 
tion that universal experience gives rise, in the 
course of its own movement, to the truths which 
individual experience contains, creates them so to 
say out of itself; so we may very well object to the 
attempt to create, justify, or explain, universal 
experience from the process of an individual's life- 
history. The former tends to treat the individual as 
a mere casual embodiment of its processes ; the latter 
to treat universal experience as a contingent result 
of individual activity. We thereby overlook the 
other half of the truth already stated, but left un- 
stated by Humanism. As there is no universal 
experience which is not individualised, so there is no 
individual experience which does not point beyond 
itself to universal experience. The truth is we 
cannot have individuality at all unless it is consti- 
tuted of both universal and specific elements, whether 
the individuality be a pebble or a person. The union 
of these two elements in individuality gives rise to 
all the process of change and variety of which it is 
capable, and the way in which they are united 
determines the kind and place of the individuality 
in question. Experience is individual all through, 
and from first to last, no matter where we take it ; 
and that means not an abstract isolated individual, 
but concretely individual, a unity of universal and 
specific factors. All types and forms of experience 
contain in them these two elements, and a kind of 


experience is just a form of individuation. The 
history of experience is the history of self-conscious 
individuality Spirit. 

Thus the explanation of the nature and validity Reflective 
of reflective knowledge or Science is a special case a^oraTof * 
of the general problem of showing how experience idividu- 
becomes individuated, maintains the stability, the a 
unity amid variety, which characterises individuality. 
It does not consist, therefore, in relating an abstract 
universal experience to an abstract individual ex- 
perience, either by way of showing how the former 
gives rise to the latter or the latter to the former. 
It consists in showing how the individuality of 
the experience we call " knowing " is established, 
built up, and maintained. The explanation there- 
fore assumes a standard, or, as we call it, an 
" ideal" of individuality, and this in the long 
run, as we have seen, is the complete and single 
unity of all experience Absolute Individuality. It 
consists, therefore, to put it otherwise, in showing 
how the Absolute Individuality which is Absolute 
Experience becomes specified and realised in that 
special case of individuation, the conscious relation 
of particular to universal (conceptual activity), which 
constitutes the process of reflective knowledge. The 
interpretation of reflective knowledge ("Logic" in 
the narrower sense of " Theory of Knowing ") is part 
of the larger question of the interpretation of experi- 
ence as a whole of the " Logic of Experience." l 
There is no break or gap between the special inter- 
pretation of reflective thought and that of other 
forms of individual experience, just as there is, in 
concrete experience as a whole, no gap between, e.g., 

1 Prof. Dewey's term and also Hegel's. 


reflective thought and " perceiving " or " common 
sense." There is continuity from first to last. 
The interpretation of the one form of individu- 
ality, therefore, must be one which embraces in its 
sweep that of every other. Reflective experience 
does not arise all of a sudden and constitute an 
absolutely new departure in experience. It is 
implicit in experience from the start, not in the 
sense that that which does precede it in time 
contained its results there already, 1 but in the 
sense that the Ideal of Individuality at which all 
finite forms of experience aim and partly express, 
necessitates that it should appear ; and this Ideal is 
implied in every mode of experience, because each 
mode focusses the Whole at a specific point and in a 
specific way. 

The inter- What, then, does the interpretation consist in ? 

pretation j t j s c ] ear t jj at we canno t get "behind" Experience 

Absolute to explain it. That is as futile as it is impossible. 
The interpretation itself must fall within the scope 

;< of Experience. It is equally impossible to reduce 
Experience to terms of any one form, for that cannot 
but fail to do justice to the others, since they become 
thereby secondary if it is primary ; and yet every 
form all the while stands by itself and has a life of 

its own with terms and activity sui generis. But if 
all forms of experience are pro tanto valid, have 
individual significance each by itself, the only inter- 
\ pretation that will do justice to this uniqueness of 

1 If that were so, then certainly Prof. Dewey's objection (Logical Studies, 
p. 46) to the view here advocated would hold. For the moment, however, in 
his eagerness to emphasise the significance of the position he is himself defend- 
ing that reflective thinking is one type of experience by itself he has over- 
looked the fact that it must be continuous with the rest of experience. This, 
of course, does not at all assume that " Thought " was "there " before it " arose." 


value each possesses, and yet be an interpretation 
of them all, is one which shows their connexion one 
with the other. To connect, however, implies a 
unity of significance in all. That unity is found in 
the Ideal of a completely Individual Experience, > 
which contains them, and of which they are " realisa- 
tions " or expressions. The connexion of one form 
with another is the same therefore as connecting 
them with this Absolute Individual Experience. 
To connect them with this, which they all imply, is 
to unite them to each other. But this Individual 
Experience is, from the point of view of each and all, 
an Ideal. Hence the connexion consists in tracing 
how they successively and separately embody, 
realise, or approximate to this Ideal. From it they 
may be separately distinguished, while still being 
moments in its own Reality. It remains as the one 
complete Individuality ; they focus it in different 
ways, ways unique when looked at inter se, but 
united in virtue of the common Ideal they all 
embody and aim at. This Individuality has, how- 
ever, no existence apart from them ; it exists in and 
through them. They together make up its own 
substance, a substance whose content is expressed 
in them. It, per se, so far as we can speak of \(.per 
se, is the centralising unity of all, and therefore not 
a mere collection of them as parts. The parts are 
separate for themselves inter se ; they are together , 
for it and in it. That is possible just because it is 
Experience by an Individuality a Subject and not 
a mere substance. The connexion of them is thus 
from the point of view of the absolutely Individual 
Experience, a mere exposition of what it contains, 
of what makes up its life. From the point of view 


of the parts, therefore, the connexion consists in 
showing how they successively approximate to 1 the 
attainment of Complete Individuality, their Ideal. 
Being successive on the one hand, and showing 
the various degrees of approximation on the other, 
it is a gradual realisation or " development" of what 
Complete Individuality is and consists in. From 
the point of view of the Whole Unity itself, it is 
merely an exposition of what itself contains. 
Putting these two aspects together, the interpreta- 
tion consists in a genetic exposition of the forms in 
which Absolute Individuality appears and is realised. 
The forms appear and appear as historically distinct. 
As such they are merely scattered and separate, 
appear heterogeneously, and as the focus of experi- 
ence changes. They have as historical appearances 
no connexion but that of mere events. But if we 
look on them as realising, even in their merely 
successive appearance, the supreme Individuality, 
they have not all the same value, nor does the his- 
torical individual himself look on them as all attaining 
what he aims at Complete Individuality to the 
same degree. If he were, therefore, to go through 
them successively according to their value for him, 
it would still be the history of his experience, for he 
would take up each in succession in time, but it 
would not be of the zigzag and haphazard character 
which his experience, dictated by the needs of 
moment, alone adopts. It would be an orderly 
realisation of the ideal of Individuality, at which he 
all along strives : it would be a " genetic history " 

1 It is too apt to be forgotten in looking at experience "genetically" that 
we cannot even trace genesis, show development unless we know the end to 
which the process tends, as well as the antecedents from which it began. 


of Experience. This is another expression for what 
the interpretation consists in. 

Every point, therefore, where experience comes A 
to a halt, so to say, where the unity of experience is h'i 
attained, where the individual experiencing " rests " complete 

, . i- i ii i r T Individu- 

and is satisfied, is. ., the attainment of a specific a ii ty 
iojjividyation, a union of elements in a whole, of e j"^ races 
universal in and through particular. The universal ofindividu- 
varies with and in the particular ; and the individu- atlon> 
ation, the stability which that union secures, differs 
accordingly. Each is experienced, is individuality, 
but in a different way. The individuality attained ^ 
in Perceptual Life is one thing, that in Reflective ^ 
Activity another, in Morality another, and so on ; X. 
/ and the processes of securing individuality in the 
' several cases differ accordingly. In Perception it 
consists in bringing " sense qualities " to a focus 
which is called a " thing " ; in the case of Reflection 
it consists in bringing " ideas " to a focus called 
^ "judgment" in its simplest form, and "inference" 
in its highest. In Morality the individuality attained 
is different a^ain, and takes different methods to 
become established. It is not, therefore, merely in 
reflective thinking that we come to "rest," are 
"satisfied," but wherever the unity of experience is 
realised, wherever individuality is attained. We are 
" satisfied" merely in different ways. But because we 
are satisfied in each in a specifically different way, 
each is specifically distinct from the other ; each 
works within a certain range of activity all its own. 

There is no clashing therefore, and no "opposition " 
between, e.g., Perception and Reflective Thinking. 
"Perceptual facts" are not "opposed" to "Reflec- 
tion" as something "external": the world of facts as 


Noopposi- "perceived " cannot therefore stand on one side and 

tion of . . T-> n 11 -r- 

modes of m opposition to Reflection on the other. Experience 
experi- j s individuated in each in a different way, and each 

ence : * ' 

matter" attains its own purpose, the purpose which locates 


form ,, it in the totality of Experience and fixes it there. 


in experi- Nor does one supply "matter" to the other, as if 
the matter were externally "given." Matter and 
form in all cases fall inside the individuality of the 
experience, whether it be Reflection, or Perception, 
or any other. The matter of one, therefore, cannot 
be the matter of another, nor the form of one the 
form of another. Each has its own matter and 
form. The matter of Reflection is " ideas " ; the 
form is the construction we impose on them in the 
interests of that type of individuation we call re- 
flective experience. No doubt the content of Per- 
ception may provide the stuff for thought to work 
with. But it does not work with it as perceptual fact, 
but as thought fact. When we analyse Reflection 
into its elements, no doubt we can separate the 
matter from the form and speak of the latter as 
"given," and, as "given," we may assign it to the 
realm of Perception. But to assign it is the act of 
thought itself, not the work of Perception, which has 
a life and being of its own, just as thought has. In 
Perception, similarly, we may analyse it into its 
elements and assign the qualities to Sensation, and 
keep the form of unity, which Perception gives them 
in the "thing," to perceiving itself as such. But 
here again the assigning is the work of Perception. 
The qualities are not given by Sensation to Percep- 
tion, for Sensation has also a life of its own. And 
so on through all the forms of individuality experience 


Thus it is that the exposition of the Whole, the Philosophy 
interpretation of Experience as a whole, belongs to Religion, 
that type of experience where Absolute Individual- 
ity is known as such. We saw that in Religion and 
Philosophy the point of view of the Whole is taken 
up and becomes an experience for the individual. 
Here self-conscious Spirit, as such, is present to 
self-conscious Spirit qua finite individuality. Here 
the finite individual is consciously one with the 
Whole as such. It does so in different ways in 
Philosophy and in Religion. The way of detailed \ 
connectedness of the parts in the Whole, and as V 
they are for the whole, is the special attitude of 
Philosophy. The genetic exposition we have Phiio- 
spoken of, therefore, is the way in which Philosophy sop y ' -4-- 
brings the forms of individuality together. It is 
the method or process by which Philosophy works 
out its special individuation : it is the " philo- 
sophical method " of realising individuality. Since 
Philosophy is at the point of view of the Whole 
as such, it is a matter of indifference whether we 
say that Absolute Individuality works itself out in 
this way, expounds its own life, or that Philosophy 
adopts this way of revealing the connectedness of - 
the parts in the one Whole. The method is an 
"absolute" method, or is the method of Absolute 
Individuality. Here the content and form are one, 
as in other forms of individuation. We do not make 
a separation in the individuality of experience be- 
tween what is "perceived" and the "perceiving" of 
it, between "thinking" and the "content" of thinking, 
between form and matter in " sense " or in any other 
type of individuality. We can draw a distinction 
inside each, as we do and must ; but we do not 


separate and put one on one side and the other 
on another. This holds similarly of Philosophy. 
Matter The matter of Philosophy is Experience as a whole ; 
its form the way Experience as a whole is held 

sophy. together. And those two are inseparable in the 
type of individuation we call the philosophical attitude 
in experience. Philosophy, therefore, does not clash 
with other forms of Experience : it is a mode by itself. 
It does not dissolve other forms into itself: nor does 
it determine what they are. It merely, in pursuit 

of attaining its specific end, connects these together. 
It does not create nor destroy each ; it "explains" 

- all by connecting all. And to connect all is to show 
the place each occupies in the Whole, and so to 
interpret each in relation to the other. Further, 
in the course of doing so, it at once connects the 
several phases of experience and shows itself to 

its method have a place in the plan of Experience. It explains 
a ^ others and so explains itself: it is "self-explain- 
ing." This "justifies" itself \ and it does so by its 
success in achieving its purpose. It thus avoids 
the objection that Philosophy requires to get 
"behind" experience to "explain" it, by proving 
that itself belongs to and holds good of that 
Whole it explains. And in doing so, it is not 
acting differently from what takes place in other 
forms. For every form does this. For example, 
Reflective thinking, when operating, "justifies" 
to itself the special individuality it (Reflection) 
possesses as against Perception or Sensation ; 
for it maintains that what it develops, " its conclu- 
sions " ''hold good" of the world of Perception and 
Sense ; or, to put it in another way, Reflection is the 
"outcome" of "perceptual" life and the life of "sense." 


But is there only one philosophy and one 
method ? For an idealism which takes Absolute Absolute 
Spirit to be the Unity of Experience, and which 
takes finite self-conscious Spirit to be at the point 
of view of the Whole, there can be only one 
philosophy and one method of interpretation. The 
statement of the contrary lies with its opponents, 
just as the defence of it lies with those who uphold 
it. And either can only satisfy the other by show- 
ing that every other point of view is really included 
within the one adopted. Idealism does profess * 
that this is the case. 

How the process of interpretation is carried 
out, what is its starting-point and how it achieves 
its end, I have tried to state in the following 
chapters, in a form doubtless more summary than 
the magnitude of the subject really justifies. But 
the types of individuation, or forms of unity of 
subject and object, as they are called, which are 
here discussed, are sufficiently representative to 
enable us to see in outline the character of the 
Idealistic Construction of Experience. They are 
modes of individual experience with which we are 
everywhere familiar, and they represent individu- 
ality at different levels of its realisation. 



IT will be convenient to lead up to the statement 
of the idealistic view of Knowledge, if at the start 
we formulate the ultimate question at issue in any 
interpretation of Knowledge, and show, by reference 
to certain historical theories preceding Hegel, how 
their defects arise out of the assumptions which 
governed their view of the problem to be solved, 
and how again these defects point the way to such 
a conception as idealism seeks to establish. 
The initial Here we are met by the difficulty involved in 
offorami- tr y m g to draw an ultimate distinction within experi- 
ating the ence anc j to keep to it throughout succeeding dis- 
cussion, a difficulty only lessened but not removed 
by the knowledge of successive failures to overcome 
it. Perhaps in no part of philosophy is this greater 
than in the formulation of the question as to the 
nature of knowledge. The result is seen in the 
diversity of treatment of the subject which we find 
in the history of reflection. No doubt it might be 
argued that there is not so much diversity in the 
general conclusions arrived at, and, if these are the 
same, the consistency of method, it might be said, is 
a question of ways and means, and need not greatly 
concern us. Each mind, we might hold, must find 



its own way to truth by the avenue that seems 
clearest, and the main thing is that the various 
avenues should converge towards the same spot. 
But while the general rationality of experience may 
prevent the human mind being put to confusion 
in the final issue, it is still legitimate to maintain 
that some ways of reaching the end are safer and 
more direct than others. That is the justifica- 
tion for attempting at the outset to formulate the 
problem we seek to solve. 

Knowledge 1 does not merely, as Kant indicated, The factors 

. r ' r i r -in Know- 

Start from experience ; it is a kind of experience, in ledge 

any sense of that term. It will be admitted, too, 
that its significance lies in its being an activity with 
a certain end in view, the end we call the attain- 
ment of truth. These are two distinct phases of 
its nature, as is obvious when we observe that the 
end may not be always attained, or that knowledge 
may go wrong and, as we say, be " false," while yet 
truth remains its necessary goal. Were the distinc- 
tion between a right and a wrong way of getting to 
the end meaningless, knowledge might be looked 
on as simply a mechanical process with conscious 
events for its content. Now, if the relation be- 
tween these two aspects is such that knowledge 
is most really knowledge when it attains its end, 
it seems clear that what above all things the 
interpretation of knowledge has to consider is the 
ideal of knowledge. Not that we can separate 
actual knowledge from its ideal ; they can only be 
distinguished. But any attempt to confine the 

1 "Knowledge" is here used primarily in the narrower sense of, e.g., re- 
flective knowledge. As the argument proceeds we shall find reason to extend 
its significance to include, e.g., Morality. Vide pp. 72-73. 


question to the consideration of actual knowledge 
without conscious reference to the ideal of knowledge 

* seems bound to lead to error somewhere. On the 
other hand, merely to consider the character of the 
ideal of knowledge as such, without reference to actual 

, knowledge, will equally be one-sided in its result. 
The question of knowledge, in short, is one which 
must take account of both aspects of this form of 
experience. Indeed, unless both are admitted and 
acknowledged to stand in this intimate relation to 
each other, it is difficult to see how the problem as 
to the nature of knowledge could arise. Know- 
ledge in finite experience is rooted in the distinction 

* between the activity of endeavour and the reality 

* of attainment ; and beyond this, knowledge, as a 
form of experience, does not go. Within that, 
it is an experience sui generis and complete. That 
is the only antithesis which is essential to its vitality ; 
and the existence of it is the sole condition of its 
continuance as a finite process. 

The Now if that is its simple elementary constitution as 

stated 6 '" presented in experience, what is the ultimate problem 
that we must raise regarding it, the problem which 
the theory or interpretation of knowledge seeks to 
solve ? If we are not to prejudge the answer by 
preliminary assumptions, the problem seems capable 
of being stated in only one form. We have to show 
the way by which knowledge, in the pursuit of its own 
end, achieves that ideal it seeks ; or, otherwise, we 
have to show how the ideal of knowledge determines 
the actual realisation of knowledge in experience. 
These ways of expressing the problem are in prin- 
ciple the same, for the ideal and the actual are both 
implied in knowledge. We have not in this inquiry 


to state the content of ideal knowledge, i.e. of know- 
ledge in its ideal form : this would give us the round 
of speculative science, an Encyclopaedia of philo- . 
sophical knowledge. Still less are we to state the 
content of ordinary knowledge in the different spheres ' 
in which this is exercised, for this would mean 
stating all the varied content of Perception, Science, 
etc., in each of which we have knowledge of a kind. 
What we have to consider is the relation between 
knowledge as actual and knowledge as ideal, the 
relation, namely, of how, in the life of knowledge, the 
one is determined by and in the other. That seems 
the simplest way to formulate the question as to the /J 
nature of knowledge. No assumptions beyond the 
fact of actual knowledge and the ideal of knowledge 
are thereby made to start with. We do not by 
anticipation hint at either the limits or the range of 
possible knowledge, or even the conditions of know- 
ledge, for these in a way prejudice the answer. The 
question so formulated is, so to say, raised by 
knowledge itself. It is the knowing experience 
become self-conscious. This way of looking at the 
question, while it is to some extent familiar in recent 
logical discussion, is essentially the point of view 
adopted by Absolute Idealism. 

Let us try to bring out the significance of this 
conception by considering for a moment the problem 
of knowledge as taken up and discussed by Kant. 
In what we have to say we shall attempt to show 
how the adoption by him of other assumptions led 
to errors, the existence and nature of which in- 
directly indicate the need for starting from such a 
principle as that above stated. 

A fundamental assumption from which Kant's 


Kant's view started and which pervades his argument all 
assump^ along is the cleavage between the subject " know- 
tion. ing," or, as he puts it sometimes, "having experience," 
and the being of things. This was no doubt his 
heritage from the Cartesian metaphysic. But it 
found support in his early scientific training and in 
his keen appreciation of the finite and tentative 
character of human knowledge, which contrasted 
sharply with the boundless world of independent 
fact standing over against it, and setting a limit to 
its activity. 

Subjective For Kant, however, the reality of things per se 

tira'of'the which mark the bounds for Knowing, is so in- 

Hmits of effectual to influence the course of knowledge 

ledge. that the very function of determining the positive 

character of the limit itself is undertaken by the 

subject. The limit is a boundary set to the activity 

of understanding by the equally subjective activity 

of reason. Merely to speak of things imposing a 
limit was not enough : if taken thus, the limit would 
be merely characterless and obviously inoperative 
in itself. A positive significance in relation to 
knowledge had to be given to it ; and this from the 
very nature of the case could only come from the 
subject. Thus the limit, so far as it could be an 
effectual limit to knowledge, was imposed and estab- 

_,?. lished by that same subject which was held to be 

bounded in its activity by things per se. This 
exhausted its significance as far as concerned 
knowledge, whose activity was thus entirely self- 
determined, even in its very limitations. 

The But Kant had still in some way to give a sub- 

f stantial and independent nature to the being of 
things, if not by knowledge, then apart from it : other- 


wise they were not merely unknown, but as good as 
unreal. Their reality could not be considered in 
terms of knowledge without a patent self-contra- ^ 
diction. Yet their reality must be for a conscious- 
ness in some way. Hence we require to appeal to 
a special function of the mind for that purpose. 
This function is what Kant calls Faith, which is not 
knowledge nor strictly reason, but still has its source 
in consciousness, i.e. in the subject. Such a function 
once more illustrates Kant's difficulty in finding how 
a conscious subject can, from the side of the subject, 
in any way deal with what to begin with is held to 
be beyond it altogether. 

Merely, however, to assert the existence of the The object 
being of things by an unknowing act of Faith, does 
not carry us far in determining the actual nature 
they possess. Faith had to do what knowledge 
failed to do to deal in a positive way with the 
realm of things per se, of which knowledge could 
merely state that they were beyond its province. 
It had to give local habitation and a name to what 
for reason was little better than an airy nothing. 
But to give assurances of any kind by Faith alone, 
with no reference to knowledge, can only be admitted 
either as an endeavour to speak intelligibly in two 
mutually untranslatable languages, or as an attempt 
to carry on the business of intelligence on a system - 
of bare credit. And what do we find ? The world j i 
of Faith gets its concrete filling from the activity of 
moral will. This at first seems a great deal, even 
though it takes no account of, and certainly does not 
seem to refer to, that realm of the being of things 
which specifically concerned knowledge of nature, and 
which, in the Critique of Pure Reason, stood over 



against it as an ultimate limit to understanding. But 
even this filling is of less significance than it seems, 
for we are assured of nothing but the form, i.e. the 
bare activity of will. And, moreover, even the reality 
of this is merely a matter of Faith. 1 It is not 
intellectually impossible, but it is actual solely 
for Faith. And why this meagre result ? Simply 
because Faith is outside knowledge ; it gives no 
determinate content or significant assertion on the 
one hand, and is incapable of giving more than a bare 

* assurance on the other. Faith is itself characterless, 
a mere ungrounded act, and what it supplies must 
in consistency have the same indeterminate value. 
The mere fact that will is assigned to the sphere of 
reason settles once for all that its significance is 
intellectually for ever a mere problem ; for reason is 
the sphere of the problems of the intellect, or, what 
is the same thing, the bounds of understanding. To 
gain any information about it is therefore logically 
impossible. Kant's Faith is merely a compromise 
between the sceptical tendency lurking in the concep- 
tion of the " bounds of reason," and the necessity of 
doing some justice to the initial assumption regarding 

the reality of the being of things. This compromise 
could, in the nature of the case, only take the form 
of a mere possibility ; and thus Faith gives a bare 
assurance. That is all it is able to accomplish for us in 
regard to the being of things. Hence the admitted 
insecurity of the argument dealing with the so-called 
" practical reason," an insecurity which is only saved 
from disaster by a thinly-drawn qualification, the 
problematical phrase " as if" : " man is free when 

|| he acts as tfhe were so." 

1 As Kant says, we have no guarantee that " pure duty " is ever " realised." 


In fact this Faith tells as little about the being Faith 
of things as knowledge, which is just nothing in 

Kant's view. The thine: per se in the form of will f 

, . , , ,. intellectual 

has no more to do with actual concrete morality problems. 
than the thing per se had to do with the actual 
process of knowledge. In both cases it is quite 
ineffectual, is outside "experience." The one lies 
away beyond knowledge and is consigned to the 
" ideas of reason " ; the other lies away behind actual 
morality and is assigned to a peculiar act of Faith. 
The one is described as a "problem," the other * 
is described as a " postulate." The difference > 
is merely due to the point of view from which 
the same thing is looked at. In the former case 
we have in mind the terminus ad quern of an 
experience, in the other the terminus a quo ; and 
both are identical, because all we can say of each 
is, on the one hand, that it is unknown, and on the 
other, that it is the "unconditioned condition" or 
"limit" of experience. The same character, which 
we find in the case of Freedom, is possessed by the 
other entities which inhabit this realm of things 
per se, and which Kant speaks of as God and 
Immortality. Their character is the same, and * 
their value the same for exactly the same reasons 
as those just mentioned in the case of a "free" will. 
They belong^to the sphere of Faith, which merely - 
can assert(that)they are; they, too, are and remain 
for the sphere of Faith postulates, as they were 
problems for the sphere of intellect. 

Thus, then, try as Kant will he never succeeds in 
carrying the ramparts of " things per se." They for 
ever defy assault. The attempt to do so in the 
discussion of the Practical Reason merely reveals the 


futility of the task ; for the argument in the Critique 
of Practical Reason does not take us a step further 
than the result arrived at in the Critique of Pure 
Reason. It merely changes the designation of the 
The signi- thing we have been considering. The limit is there 
fheTmif to begin with, and the limit remains ; and little 
to Know- difference seems to be made to actual intelligible 
experience whether it is or what it is. For the whole 
wealth of the world's significance, what Kant calls 
"experience," is still in the possession of the subject 
in spite of it. The limit merely asserts itself that 
is all. If we start with such an assumption as 
Kant (and indeed naive Realism also) adopts, we 
are compelled to raise the problem of knowledge in 
only one form. We must ask, in some way or other, 
" how is knowledge possible " ? ; within what limits 
does it work ? ; what is its relation to that over against 
which it stands for ever opposed? No other kind 
of problem regarding the ultimate nature of know- 
ledge is possible ; and that form of the problem is 
predetermined simply by the initial assumption re- 
ferred to. A boundary is set up at the start to the 
very activity of knowledge, and the real .question to 
be considered is simply what is the limit, and what 
are the conditions which determine that limit, make 
it both possible and necessary. The question is 
certainly a legitimate one in such circumstances, and 
seems indeed at first sight an easy question. At any 
rate it seems by no means so ambitious as the 
! attempt to give a systematic construction of the 
i whole of Being. For we are simply directing upon 
the fact of knowledge in general a scientific analysis, 
in the same way as we do towards any other fact, 
e.g. space. Knowledge is here a perfectly circum- 


scribed and definable process : it is a process found v_ 
in a thinking subject, and bounded on this view from 
first to last by a reality beyond and independent of 
that subject. Hence its very limited character at 
once attracts attention and raises scientific curiosity 
regarding it. There are no preliminary metaphysical . 
difficulties to be faced and overcome. For the 
question does not seem to occur to Kant, as it did o 
to Berkeley, what that "independence," that "being C 
beyond " really means. The very statement of 
his question indicates complete assurance of the 4. 
substantial worth of his assumption. " How are 
synthetic judgments a priori possible," implies that 
in his inquiry he is at once compelled to admit the 
separation between knowledge and reality, and yet 
to explain somehow in what way the perpetual 
reference to it from the side of ideas is legitimate. 
The term "possible" refers to something actual and 
assumed to begin with ; for possibility can only be 
decided or considered on a basis of actuality. The 
question therefore refers to what is possible in the 
circumstances. The term "a priori" merely ac- 
centuates the same contrast, brings out still more 
clearly the pointed antithesis from which he starts. 
While "synthetic " bears on the face of it the marks 
of the opposition he is trying at once to accept 
and justify. Kant never seeks deliberately to over- 
come that initial opposition. His sole question is to 
explain, within the limits necessarily imposed on 
knowledge, the reference of ideas beyond the im- *- 
mediate consciousness of the knowing subject, 
an act of reference peculiar to all ideas which 
make up the content of knowledge, and one which 
falls solely within the subject knowing. 


"Spon- Hence we see the importance laid by Kant on 
the fact of subjective spontaneity, or freedom. The 
reference is not forced on the mind ab extra (as 
Locke seemed to imply) ; for this would mean that 
reality invaded the subject bodily, which is just as 
illegitimate as to assert that the subject covers by 
the act of knowledge the gulf separating it from the 
being of things, and which would in any case break 
down the opposition assumed at the start. The act 
of reference must come from the free, spontaneous 
The work activity of the subject. Hence it is, again, that the 
ing^sT whole apparatus of knowledge described by Kant 
subjective, belongs from beginning to end to the subject only. 
Reality has nothing to do with it. That remains 
for ever a " beyond." Whether it is taken to be a 
" real " " beyond," as in the Aesthetic, or an ideal limit 
or " regulative idea," as at the close of the Analytic, 
the result is exactly the same. Thus, the being of 
things appears at the end of Kant's inquiry still 
outside knowledge as it was at the beginning, not so 
\V much because his inquiry has led him to that result, 
v r but because he has all along worked under the assump- 
tion of its being outside ; not because the analysis 
has put it outside, but because its being outside has 
U determined the analysis. Thus for all theoretical or 
cognitive purposes, the being which is beyond know- 
ledge might, as far as the apparatus of knowledge is 
concerned, be quite as well non-existent. It does 
not determine that apparatus, it does not affect the 
process of knowledge. It does simply one thing 
and one thing only, it decides that a limit shall be 
set to knowledge ; but it does not decide what that 
limit is, or where it is, nor how it affects knowledge. 
From this comes the peculiar result of the Kantian 


analysis. The being of things remains indifferent 
and characterless outside the subject, while all that 
gives worth and significance to the life of the subject 
is assigned to the subject in virtue of the apparatus of y^ 
knowledge, which makes its "experience." That is, 
the subject surrenders any claim to possess the being 
of things by knowledge, and rewards its self-sacrifice 
by enriching its life with everything of significance 
that can be made into experience. It gives up 
any right to knowing things per se, but thereby 
merely gives up what it has no interest at all in - 
wishing to grasp. 

Kant, therefore, goes to the very verge of the The j 
apotheosis of knowledge, but recoils from this by lo gj 
reminding himself that there_rnust be a limit. ThisJ ud s ment 
is seen likewise in the Critique of Judgment, where 
Kant (so we may put it) considers another aspect 
of the realm of the being of things which falls 
outside the sphere of the Critique of Practical 
Reason, an aspect which also concerns that limit 
set to knowledge referred to in the Critique of 
Pure Reason. Everything of value is, in the 
Critique of Judgment, allowed to hold good so far ! 
as experience goes. But in the last resort, i.e. so far 
as the being of things is concerned, we must again 
qualify our judgments by the otherwise ineffectual 
phrase "as if" "nature "must be considered "as t" 
if" acting "purposively." This merely expresses 
in the milder form of a measure of precaution 
precisely what has been present throughout all 
Kant's interpretation of knowledge, viz., the reality 
of a limit to the subject's activity. 

It seems strange that Kant should have laid such 
extraordinary stress on the reality of the being of 


< things as a limit to knowledge, and yet that this 
very reality should have had little or no meaning of its 
The own. If the limit it imposes on knowledge had been 
assume d to come from knowledge itself, its want of 
content might have been inevitable ; for it would 
then have been just that beyond which there was no 
knowledge and on this side of which all the content 
of knowledge lay. But Kant began by assuming that 
the being of things, reality with its now substantial 
wealth, stands on one side and over against it the 
subject's activity in knowledge. We are entitled, 
therefore, to expect that the one side would at least 
have been as concrete as the other, that in short the 
dualism would have been permanent and effective, 
and not evanescent and ineffective. So slight a 
hold does the substance of things have on know- 
ledge in the final form of Kant's view, that it comes 
to be little more than a reminder that human know- 
ledge is at best finite. The "limit" is a tax which 
has to be paid for the privilege of understanding, 
and which being quite undetermined in character 
can therefore be reduced to the absolute minimum. 
Kant gradually reduces the substance of the reality 
of things till finally it becomes a mere ghostly 
shadow of its earlier self, a ghost which neverthe- 
less haunts his theory with all the persistence of 
an ineradicable superstition, and with which at all 
costs he must somehow make his peace lest it 
imperil the security of knowledge. But the very 
slightest means are required to lay a disembodied 
ghost, for the being alone to be considered is the 
subject who fears it. Hence it is enough to call it a 
"problem," a "postulate," the "unconditioned con- 
dition " or what not, all of them apparently differing, 


but with the same identical content, namely, none at 
all, their vagueness corresponding completely to 
the indefiniteness of what is referred to, and the 
expressions themselves being all used merely to win 
the favour of the inhabitants of the shadow world 
beyond the confines of experience. 

It is clear that in all this Kant is doing no more inconsist- 
than adhering to the conditions of an assumption encyof 

f x dualism 

from which his problem started, in spite of the with 
necessary results to which the actual course and ar jument. 
method of the inquiry itself inevitably ought to lead 
him. The inquiry is prosecuted by one principle ; 
the assumption remains external to it. Hence it 
merely exerts an incessant check on the natural 
trend of his own argument. The assumption was 
external from the start ; for it had nothing to do 
with determining the specific course of the analysis. 
It is "regulative," not "constitutive," i.e. external, not 
immanent : and regulative and external it remains. ^ 
Hence the unsatisfactoriness of the relation between 
the two at the end of the theory. The view of actual ~ 
knowledge, which he develops, has changed the whole V 
situation : it is inconsistent with the sharp dualism^, 
from which Kant started. But, since the theory 
must hold at all costs, and the assumption has also 
to be maintained in some form or other, the only 
solution is to make the antithesis as slight as possible. 
This is done by placing, with a kind of ironical con- 
sistency, the opposite poles of the antithesis outside 
of experience altogether ! 

Now it seems evident that since all Kant's diffi- Kant's 
culty has arisen through starting from the original ^ mp ' 
assumption, the difficulty would vanish, and his unsatis- 
essential theory remain, if the assumption with which 


we are to begin were either dropped altogether or 
fundamentally changed. And there is every reason 
for doing so, since the assumption is itself unessential, 
is merely accepted as apparently self-evident, and 
' is not established, by his theory itself, in the form from 
which Kant began. In philosophy, to start from a 
mere presupposition is to raise a standing objection 
against the validity of the result ; but to leave that 
presupposition unexplained or refuted, is in a sense 
the argumentum ad absurdum of the presupposition. 
Now the step taken by the immediate successors of 
Kant, and more especially by Hegel, was essentially 
this. They refused to admit Kant's assumption, 
and if, as with Hegel, a logical starting-point was 
accepted, that starting-point was one which found 
- its explanation in the theory itself. 

Other It is important to notice that it matters little 

dualism: what form the initial dualism assumes, the same 
Locke. effect is seen in the resulting theory of knowledge 
which we have found in Kant's case. Locke, to 
refer to him in this connexion, likewise starts his 
epistemology from a dualistic presupposition. His 
analysis is more "empirical" than Kant's, his view 
The of knowledge more mechanical. Knowledge is the 
Know f resu ^ f tne interplay of things with the mind 
ledge. or spiritual substance. The two substances act and 
react on each other. In that sense reality exerts a 
more controlling influence on the course of know- 
ledge in Locke's argument. But the ultimate issue 
is again in all essential respects the same as in 
the case of Kant. Locke l is sure of the content of 
experience so far as consciousness is concerned, and 
hands over to the subject-substance as much of the 

1 In Book II. of the Essay. 


thing- substance as he possibly can. But being 
restrained in so doing by the latter, he divides the 
content of experience between the two. And he Secondary 
does this in quite an arbitrary way. One part hef mary 
assigns to the subject, and calls this " the secondary qualities, 
qualities " ; the other part he assigns to the thing, 
and names this "primary qualities." Yet they are 
both cognisable, i.e. they both fall within the sweep 
of the ideal life of the subject. To make the original 
opposition still significant he must, therefore, assign 
something to the thing-substance which can find no 
part or lot in the life of the subject. But, since he 
has already taken up so much content, indeed all the 
content he can think of, there is nothing intelligible 
at all left remaining for the thing-substance. This 
he naively acknowledges ; for, he says, the thing is 
by itself merely the "something, we know not what" 
underlying these primary qualities, an unknown 
entity, which does not in point of fact really enter 
into experience at all. In other words, the thing- 
substance, at the opposite pole of the antithesis from 
the subject -substance, is for Locke a mere caput 
mortuum. So far as actual experience goes, it is 
quite ineffective, a beyond with which experience 
has in itself no concern. Its only character is that 
it does not enter into the ideal world of knowledge. 
This is the result arrived at, and we may say 
the only result possible, in Locke's analysis of know- 
ledge in Book II. of the Essay. When he does The 
face the exact nature of existence in Book IV. 
(since somehow he must give an account of the 
actual relation of knowledge to that which by 
assumption is opposed to knowledge), the result 
merely brings out the difficulty of making the relation 


between knowledge and existence at once con- 
sistent with the meaning he gives to knowledge, 
and with the need of preserving that existence by 
which knowledge is bounded from the start. There, 
in Book IV., we find that existence is always an 
external existence, and our cognitive relation to it 
is at some point necessarily contingent, i.e. external. 
Existence is in three kinds, that of the Self, God, and 
Things, corresponding, we note in passing, pretty 
closely to the content of Kant's ideas of reason. 1 
Each appeals to and appears in knowledge in a 
different way. The one, Self, is immediately certain 
only ; it is as such outside knowledge, but is directly 
present to it at a certain point. In other words, it 
is an immediate but inexplicable and unexplained 
fact, not built into the structure of thinking, but 
simply there, and so is a limit to denial. What it is, 
cannot be shown, how it is, still less so. It adds 
nothing to its content ; it is simply a naked fact, 
known by a bare act of certitude. God, again, is an 
existence demonstrable by successive acts, each of 
which is self-evident, the starting-point being the 
immediately certain existence of the subject. The 
content of God's nature is gathered from common 
thought and handed over to the fact of his existence 
gratuitously. Because God's existence is an indi- 
vidual fact external to the individual mind and 
yet demonstrable, the demonstration of God's 
existence is peculiar in kind and distinct from any 
other demonstration. For all other demonstration 
deals with universal truth, which in Locke's view is 
abstract and therefore not real, because the real is 

1 That Locke should have divided the reality opposed to knowledge thus 
is in itself remarkable. 


essentially individual. So that we have to accept 
the external existence of Supreme Reality after a 
unique process of mind has brought it to our know- 
ledge. If this is not done the existence remains 
ever beyond knowledge. But when it is done we 
have to allow that a process of demonstration 
which holds of universal experience can yet give 
a conclusion which is essentially individual. The 
externality of the result arrived at is thus made 
evident by the very contingency of the method 
of achieving it. While as to the last form of 
existence (Things) they are only found in the 
special acts of sense activity, and at the points 
of time to which these acts refer and are opera- 
tive. Outside these acts the existence of things 
has no significance ; at most it is a " probability." 
In other words, the existence of things is essentially 
external to the knowing subject, for the knowledge 
of it is contingently dependent on the operation, 
and, moreover, the success/id operation, of sense 
activity, which varies from point to point, from 
time to time, and from mind to mind. 

Apart from the question of actual consistency Result 
between these results and those arrived at in the ^! 16 . . 

analysis in 

analysis of Book II., we can see that in effect Books n. 
the ultimate issue is much the same in the two ar 
books. The difference which at first sight appears 
to exist is due to the way in which the discussion is 
carried on. In Book II. Locke is dealing primarily 
with knowledge and its content; in Book IV. 
primarily with existence and its relation to knowledge. 
The assumption in both cases is the same, viz. the 
dualism of knowing-substance and thing-substance. 
In the former discussion, therefore, when he is 


dealing with knowledge, emphasis is laid on the 
kinds of ideas, on the content of knowledge, and by 
the analysis of them the thing-substance is dissolved 
as far as he can into ideas. The remainder is 
necessarily a mere "we know not what," and this 
is handed over to the thing- substance! In the 
latter discussion (Book IV.) the weight of his 
argument rests on the thing - substance (Reality, 
Existence). As much stress as possible is laid 
on it, and knowledge is brought as closely into 
touch with it as it can come. That is the point of 
the emphasis on "immediacy" in Book IV., there 
being a special virtue for Locke in " immediate " 
" certainties," because by them we touch consciously 
an external existence. Where knowledge fails, 
existence still remains, and hence knowledge in its 
turn now becomes contingent : its pronouncements 
regarding existence are no more than "probable" 
Probability, of course, implies some ground or resting- 
place, and that is found, in Book IV., on the other 
side of the antithesis, viz. in existence. In the former 
analysis in Book II., therefore, the thing- sub stance 
as such becomes so far emptied of meaning as to 
be unknown ; in the other (Book IV.) the thinking- 
substance as such becomes so far valueless that its 
functions are mere probabilities. In the one, the 
thing becomes uncertain from the point of view of 
knowledge ; in the other, knowledge becomes uncer- 
tain from the point of view of existence. Thus the 
issue in both cases is for all ultimate purposes the 
same. And the issue in both cases is inevitable, 
for the dualism is there to start with, and must be 
maintained. We can arrive at it or deal with it 
either by starting from the one side or the other. 


If we start from one side and take it as primary, 
it necessarily follows that the other is secondary, 
just because it is external to start with. And its 
externality is just expressed in the result that the 
other can never be completely identified with it. The 
result is most clearly seen precisely when we consider 
the bounds of the antithesis, i.e. when we ask what 
there is beyond knowledge on the one side, and what 
of knowledge is left beyond existence on the other. 
The one gives us a thing emptied of content, the 
other a knowledge emptied of value. 

It is very significant thus to note how closely the Locke and 
result of Locke's analysis resembles that of Kant. Kant ' 
Apart from subtleties of method and penetration of 
inquiry, the issue in both cases is in all essential 
respects the same, and for the same reason. Both 
start from the same assumption which lies outside 
the process of their analysis, and yet has to be in 
some sense admitted into its result, because it directs 
the argument as an underlying presupposition. It 
was therefore with some good reason that Hegel 
described Kant's theory as another expression of 

It is singularly interesting to observe how the Berkeley. 
correction of Locke's argument took almost an 
exactly similar line to that adopted by Kant's suc- 
cessors. Berkeley's view of knowledge consists just 
in denying the necessity for the unknown substratum 
of the thing-substance, and in seeking to show how 
it was possible to make cognitive experience intel- 
ligible without it. That is, just as Kant's critical 
successors dropped the thing per se, so Berkeley 
dropped the absolutely unqualified, unknown, thing- 
substance. Each accepted, the preceding analysis 


of knowledge ; both refused to accept the dualism 
within which it worked ; it was an inadmissible and 
unnecessary assumption. In both cases, therefore, 
the development was in an idealistic direction. 
The difference between the ultimate result of the 
development in the two cases was due to the kind of 
idealism which was made possible by the implicitly 
individualistic or psychological view of knowledge 
given by Locke on the one side, and the implicitly 
universalistic view of knowledge established by Kant 
on the other. Locke's theory held of individual 
experience primarily, and Berkeley's idealism was 
in consequence Subjective Idealism ; Kant's theory 
emphasised universal experience primarily, and 
Hegel's idealism was in consequence Objective or 
Absolute Idealism. 

Result. Now if we seem compelled, in view of the 

results to which any naive dualism of the kind just 
considered inevitably leads, to give up such an 
assumption as the starting-point of an interpretation 
of the nature and possibilities of knowledge, a number 
of important conclusions follow at once. These we 
may state by way of introducing the real nature of 
the problem to be discussed. To begin with, it will 
be necessary to admit a change in the conception of 
truth altogether. On any dualistic presupposition 

i. Truth, truth must mean some kind of "agreement" between 
the opposed factors, which though opposed come into 
some relation. This relation is generally spoken of 
as a reference of ideas to a reality beyond ideas, the 
reference being an act on the side of the knowing 
subject. Such a reference carries with it necessarily 
the conception of a real, external in some sense, 
and remaining external always. Since knowledge 


consists in such a reference, it is implied that on the 
other side reality sustains the act of reference, i.e. 
accepts what is referred as warranted by its own 
nature and constitution. That is, reality refers back 
to knowledge. Knowledge thus being a double- 
sided reference, truth is simply an accurate reference 
on the one side and an accepted reference on the 
other. But this means that the two references 
concur; or, as it is said, truth is an "agree- 
ment" between knowledge (thinking) and reality. 
"Agreement" implies a bargain by two parties, 
and is ratified necessarily on both sides. But if, as 
we have seen in the case of Kant, the "agreement" 
in the long run falls inside the subject-activity alone, 
and is found only there as a conscious fact, the other 
side being essentially beyond, falling outside, then the 
very idea of an " agreement " must be given up ; for 
an agreement has no meaning where only one side 
can act, where the other side is merely independent 
and remains so. Some other conception of truth, 
then, must be found and accepted at the very start. 1 
Again, for similar reasons, " reality " in the dualistic Reality. 
sense cannot be spoken of as furnishing the standard 
of accuracy for knowledge. Reality is held to 
supply a check which can be put upon the pro- 
cess of thinking ; it is what holds knowledge 
within certain bounds. It constrains the order 
of ideas in knowing. It is that to which thought 
" appeals " for the verification of connexions amongst 
ideas. It alone can secure or warrant the necessity 
which must characterise determinate thought-con- 
structions. All such phrases imply the same 

1 For a very concise and convincing argument against the "agreement" 
conception of truth, cp. Joachim, On the Nature of Truth, c. I. 



dualism referred to and the same view of truth. 
But if the necessity is determined by the thinking 
subject, as Kant shows, if its significance is found 
in relation to a possible experience, i.e. an ideal 
system of connected conscious elements, then the 
appeal to any standard beyond knowledge is mean- 
ingless ; for this is both inoperative and inherently 
useless. Besides this, the supposition that what is 
for ever beyond knowledge can itself control the 
order of ideas in a sphere (i.e. the subject's-experience) 
outside itself, a sphere which is self- complete by 
hypothesis such a supposition is in itself unintel- 
ligible. This is made still more evident when the 
term " reality " is found to have no one definite 
meaning, but to vary with the attitude of the subject 
thinking to be one thing in Perception, another in 
Understanding, etc. The one "reality" which is to 
form the standard, and which is not any of these 
specific types of reality, is inevitably, as in the 
hands of Kant and Locke it became, a mere 
residuum ; and that surely cannot control the course 
of the ideas of any subject. 

Connected with this view of truth is another prin- 
ciple which must likewise be surrendered or modified, 
ii. Reality It lies in the nature of an agreement between thought 
Thou ht an< ^ reality, that reality, while it can make an agree- 
ment, yet has a nature of its own outside this agree- 
ment. This must always be the case so long as 
agreements are made, and since truth is all that 
knowledge achieves and aims at, and since truth con- 
sists in such agreements, endless in form and number, 
there must always remain a nature peculiar to reality 
in order to make such agreements possible. This 
nature, therefore, can by no process of knowledge 


whatsoever be exhausted, otherwise knowledge 
itself would cease to exist, for then there would be 
nothing to make the agreements which it strives to 
attain. This position finds expression in the view 
that "reality is richer than thought," to take Lotze's 
statement of it ; or that knowledge is unequal to 
reality, to use Bradley 's conception of the same 
position ; or that beyond the bounds of knowledge 
there is a sphere of " faith," to take Kant's interpre- 
tation of the same situation. All these expressions 
are based, in the long run, on the same principle of 
thoughts referring to a real somehow beyond them- 
selves. But if reality is in any sense beyond 
knowledge it is of no importance where, in the 
history of knowledge, the separation is made. To 
make knowledge bear an essentially asymptotic 
relation to reality is in principle precisely the same 
as to separate knowledge and reality absolutely from 
the start. The only difference is that the former puts 
the separation far away at infinity, " reality cannot 
be exhausted by thought " ; the latter plants it down 
at our feet, " reality is outside knowledge. " But this 
is a difference which is unimportant and meaning- 
less : unimportant, since in both cases reality is be- 
yond us, and the question of " when " it comes to 
be so does not concern knowledge : meaningless, 
since in both cases we can never say when knowledge 
actually has failed ; the beyond is always a beyond in 
either case. The position just referred to is therefore 
rooted in dualism, in spite of the apparent conces- 
sion of the worth of knowledge up to a certain point. 
For it must accept the alternative ; either knowledge 
does give the nature of reality, in which case the 
question of amount and the time it takes to exhaust 


it is of no significance, since the nature of reality is 
explicitly known and implicitly cognisable ; or there 
is at the outset a fundamental cleavage between the 
two, in which case at no point does knowledge give 
reality. This view, then, must likewise be modified 
or given up. 

If once more reality is not in any sense essentially 
in. beyond knowledge, if dualism is abandoned, the 
Limits. inquiry into the nature of knowledge cannot take the 
form of asking "what are the limits of knowledge," 
"under what conditions does it work," "what is the 
relation between thought and reality." For know- 
ledge must in some way determine its own conditions, 
i.e. must be a self-contained experience. The limits 
of knowledge must mean not what lies beyond the 
reach of knowledge, what lies outside knowledge when 
it has exhausted its utmost resources, but within 
what range does a specific form of knowledge hold 
good ? ; how do the modes of knowledge limit one 
another? ; for knowledge can be limited by nothing 
but knowledge. The relation of thought to reality 
cannot any longer mean, when does thinking stop and 
reality begin? ; how is the sphere of thought adjusted 
to a reality outside itself ? The very form of such a 
question is due to a kind of comparison between think- 
ing on the one side and a real on the other. But such 
a comparison is itself impossible without thinking, 
and without an identity containing the factors com- 
pared. The question, so far as it has a meaning, 
is really due to comparing one sphere of thinking 
experience with an object belonging to another. 
In point of fact, it is mainly due to comparing con- 
ceptual thought with the object-world of perceptual 
knowledge. Clearly these are separate ; but they 


are only separate inside knowing-experience itself, 
as modes of conscious activity. The comparison, 
therefore, is a relation of one form of knowing- 
experience to another. Hence if the comparison 
implies that conceptual activity, as such, is cut off 
from all the real, and related to it in some strange 
way externally, then it falls into error. Conceptual 
thinking has an object world of its own, a real of its 
own the world of conceptions ; just as perception 
has an object of its own the world of "things." 
At no point is thinking divorced from its object, 
and hence to speak of an external relation between 
thought and reality either has no valid meaning 
at all, or else it means the relation of one mode of 
conscious experience to another. 

Where, then, shall we start the problem of the The new 
interpretation of knowledge? If we drop all pre- 
suppositions which would condition the nature of 
knowledge externally, and, at the same time, if we are 
not to inquire into one particular kind of knowledge 
(e.g. Perception), nor into a particular sort of relation 
amongst forms of knowledge (e.g. between Percep- 
tion and Conception), then we can only start from 
the fact of the activity of knowledge in general on 
the one side, and of a purpose or end arrived at by 
knowledge on the other. These are the simplest ele- 
ments or factors in the problem as to what knowledge 
is and how it proceeds. Without these there would 
not be the experience we call knowledge at all. For 
knowledge does aim at something, has some purpose, 
because it is a human activity ; and that knowledge, 
as a conscious experience, exists, not even the most 
daring scepticism can deny. But granting this 
and this only, then the problem of understanding 


knowledge consists in finding out simply how these 
two factors are related. What precisely is it that 
knowledge actually aims at ? where does it reach 
its goal ? and how does it get to that end ? 1 

Observe the generality of the problem. Know- 
ledge is found in many forms, but all are forms of 
the same attitude, and hence must, in a general 
inquiry into knowledge, get consideration. Too 
often a different view has been taken of the 
other question regarding the nature of knowledge. Some- 
tne inquiry is limited simply to the discus- 

ofthe sion of the so-called "perception of the external 
world." This is in the main what Berkeley, Locke, 
and Hume were thinking of when they raised the 
problem of knowledge, and we can see how their 
form of the question affected Kant. In a way this 
seems always to have been thought to be in a 
peculiar sense epistemology proper. At other times, 
again, the discussion has gathered round the analysis 
of the elements and relations of conceptual know- 
ledge. Here it has been supposed that we are in 
a region away from Perception altogether ; that 
we have a world by itself following its own laws 
and modes of procedure, so much so that in its 
extreme form it is said we hardly need think of 
any world of perceptual reality at all. Know- 
ledge so treated has been the subject-matter of 
the Logicians. Logic had to deal with this sphere 
primarily, because here primarily we get "reasoning." 2 
This discussion, no doubt, was not always spoken 
of as epistemology, because concepts were taken 

1 To answer that question is in part the purpose of Hegel's Phenomenology 
of Mind. 

2 Reasoning, the highest expression of conceptual knowledge, has been in 
such a case taken for the whole of it. 

ii LOGIC 71 

without any necessary filling from Perception, or 
from any other form of knowing experience, and 
the question of their worth as conveying truth 
regarding experience could not therefore readily 
arise. The more " empty " they were the better 
for the discussion of them ; and hence the form of 
such a discussion gradually drifts into the purely 
abstract and symbolical treatment of thought which 
we find current in so-called Formal or Symbolic 
Logic. Reality comes in, if at all, by applying the 
results of " reasoning " to any special " universe of 
discourse." l When some reference to " truth " and 
"experience " is introduced by way of reaction from 
this highly abstract and very one-sided view of 
thought, the discussions of Logic start from the 
nature of Judgment, whose meaning it is the busi- 
ness of Logic to develop. In judgment, it is held, 
reality is always implied, and hence stress is laid on 
the act of so-called " reference to the real " immanent 
in judgment. The point of agreement between this 
view of Logic and the other is the divorce both 
make between "ideas" and "reality." The point 
of divergence lies in the insistence, in the second 
case, on the worth of ideas as conveying the actual 
meaning of the real. But the real, for this second 
type of Logic, is nevertheless what lies beyond 
ideas so conceived. Hence we get the ambiguous 
position that, on the one hand, ideas refer to the 
real as an " immediate," the immediate of perceptual 
experience; and, on the other, that reality as such 
is, not immediacy, but the " ultimate subject " of 

1 It seems fair to say that this treatment of thought by "formal logic" is 
historically to a large extent responsible for the problem of the "relation 
of thought to reality. " 


all experience, what is beyond the immediate, an 
indefinite and indeterminate extension of it. In 
other words, we are immediately in touch with 
reality, and yet reality is mediately " constructed " by 
us. This view of Logic is current in the more recent 
developments of Logic. 1 It is clear how closely it is 
allied to epistemology, for it deals with the nature 
of concrete knowledge, knowledge, namely, as this 
appears in judgment. But the limits of its con- 
ception of knowledge necessarily make it rather an 
interpretation of science and scientific procedure 
than of knowledge in general. 2 Hence it is that the 
only kind of immediate referred to by ideas is the 
immediate of external perception, perception of 
things as parts of "nature," a limitation of the 
range of immediacy which is quite misleading if left 

If, therefore, we are not to discuss simply one mode 

of knowledge, and if we refuse to take any one form 

as exclusively knowledge, it is manifest that we must 

widen our conception of the nature of epistemology 

and alter our problem. Not one, but all forms of 

The new knowledge will be considered. Wherever we can be 

hstha : sa *d to know, be the object what it may, that will fall 

acter. under the scope of the inquiry. But this means that 

the problem embraces every way of being conscious of 

an object. For at the very least it will be admitted 

that in all conscious human experience there is a 

somewhat present to consciousness to make that 

1 It is the view found in Lotze and Bradley, and to a less extent in 

a It is interesting to notice that the discussion of other forms of knowledge, 
e.g. Sensation, or again Morality, is handed over to different kinds of analysis. 
For that reason this view of Logic is not really epistemology proper. It is less 
so than even Mill's Logic, which does discuss the " Logic of the Moral Sciences." 


experience possible, whether the somewhat be a 
spot of colour, a planet, a human soul, or the 
universe. But the presence of somewhat to con- 
sciousness is exactly what knowledge in its widest 
and most complete sense really means. It is not 
necessary that the two should be clearly and con- 
sciously distinguished by a given individual ; this 
is irrelevant. If it were necessary, then much of 
what passes for knowledge, even in popular speech, 
would have to be rejected. These, then, are the lowest 
terms in which all knowledge can be described, 
and when so described knowledge and conscious 
experience are, strictly speaking, co-extensive. It is 
impossible to draw hard and fast lines across experi- 
ence and arbitrarily say, here is " knowledge," there 
is "perception," that is " morality," this in "instinct," 
the other is " intuition," and so on. For in all these 
cases one and the same fact is found, a somewhat of 
which mind is conscious ; and literally that is all there 
is to find in each case. But to be conscious of some- 
what is surely knowledge. The precise relation, 
which merely determines the special kind of know- 
ledge, does not alter the fundamental fact of its 
being knowledge. To isolate one form of such 
relation and speak of it as exclusively "knowledge" 
is unwarranted, if that which makes " knowledge " a 
form of experience is exactly the same as we find in 
other forms of experience. Thus to say that " know- 
ledge " is exclusively confined to statements, to what 
can be expressed in words, is not even in agreement 
with current acceptations of the term, where we 
regard much knowledge as being immediate, and 
both incapable of being spoken, and unnecessary to 
be expressed. So when it is held that knowledge 


implies a distinction of ideas from things, we are 
confronted with the fact that in sense -experience 
there is no such distinction; and yet we are "dis- 
tinctly aware," i.e. we know, through Sense. 
Anobjec- It may be said that such a view would confound 
knowledge and conation. In "will," as seen in 
Morality, it may be held, we have surely something 
different from knowledge, although in "will" also there 
is a somewhat for consciousness. In fact, the relation 
of something to consciousness, we might say, tells us 
nothing of the kind of relation, whether it be one of 
action or observation, and cannot be named know- 
ledge, which, it might be held, is only one form of 
that relation. But to that the reply seems sufficient, 
(i) that conation in the sense of activity is certainly 
present in "knowing" itself, whatever meaning we 
give the term ; yet this does not alter our view that 
it is knowledge : and (2) in conation (e.g. in the 
case of Morality) there is surely knowledge even 
in the narrowest sense ; for we are conscious of 

The truth is that in two ways such an objection to 
the idealistic interpretation is mistaken. The objec- 
tion is raised from the side of psychology only, where 
we have in view simply the processes of individual 
(i) The mind taken subjectively, and deal with the elements 
fogicaT or factors which compose the immediate experiences 
analysis o f a subject, and the distinctive attitudes it can take 

not an . . . . , 

"expiana-up in its varied experience. from this point ot 
view certainly knowledge and conation must be 
distinguished. They are generically different phases 
of conscious life. But the psychological point of 
view is confessedly limited in various ways, in this 
way amongst others that it deals solely with the 


conscious individual life, as a finite unit, and does 
not transcend the immediate conditions of that life. 
Now even the individual in his actual experience 
is not to be fully understood merely from his subjec- 
tive side. We cannot by resolving his individual 
experience into its ultimate elements and conditions 
thereby state the full meaning and content of that 
life itself. By resolving a tree into its chemical and 
physical constituents and conditions we could not 
describe the configuration, the actions, and reactions 
which make up its concrete life -history, make up 
the full meaning of the tree as it is in itself, and in 
relation to others. Hence, for this reason alone, an 
objection to a more full and concrete interpretation 
of the individual's experience cannot be legitimate if 
based on an expressly one-sided and abstract position. 
The real individual who lives and moves through- 
out his experience has not simply a subjective side 
but an objective as well, and at the same time. 
But if this be so, then it is not simply one of the 
elements of conscious life which is operative now 
at one stage of that experience, and another at 
another. The self as a unit operates with all its 
" ultimate elements " at once, and must do so just 
because they are its ultimate elements. Thus in 
concrete life we find that actual knowing implies 
conation in the psychological sense, actual conation 
implies knowing in the psychological sense. Since 
these are in concrete experience indissoluble, 
it is irrelevant to speak of an interpretation of 
concrete experience identifying the two. They 
are themselves identified and must be so treated. 
Hence we may psychologically look at, e.g., Percep- 
tion, either as a manifestation of the conative activity 


of a subject or as presentation ; but in concrete 
experience it is both at once. And the only general 
expression for that experience is to say that there is 
in Perception a somewhat for a consciousness, or 
there is consciousness of something. This general 
form of awareness characterises all possible modes 
of the life-history of the concrete individual, from 
the Perception of a tree to the realisation of a Moral 
Order, or the Life of Religion. Now to be aware of 
anything is, in the widest as well as in the narrowest 
sense, to know. Hence the experience of the in- 
dividual, which just consists in all the forms of being 
aware of something, is to be regarded as consisting 
in modes of knowing. The object or the somewhat 
may vary according to the plane of experience ; but 
there must always be an object and a subject to 
make it an object, and for which the object is. 
Whether we use the term " experience " or the 
term "know" is thus indifferent. 

What makes the term " know " seem insufficient is 
Reason the fact that in knowing we have in general the object 
objection, primarily in view, and not the subject who knows. 
The scientist, e.g., does not think about himself at 
all in knowing ; he is absorbed in his object, and 
tries indeed, as he says, to eliminate the subjective 
factor altogether. He, qua scientist, occupies a 
trans-subjective or "impersonal" attitude, what has 
been called the point of view of " universal 
experience." In other forms of activity, however, 
this attitude is not deliberately taken up ; the 
subjective factor consciously remains a determining 
element in the experience. This is seen, e.g., in 
Perceiving, or again in Morality and Religion. 
Hence the reluctance to admit that a term which is 


generally appropriated for a mode where the subject -f 
is consciously suppressed, should be applied also to 
cases where it is consciously emphasised. But it ^ 
is our whole contention a legitimate contention 
that in Science, no less than in every mode of 
experience, the subject is operative and cannot be ' 
eliminated, 1 and that what we have in Science is 
merely one special form of the experience of mind. 
And thus the " scientific mood " stands, qua ex- , 
perience, on the same footing as all other modes. 

The other reason in defence of this more (2) Psy- 
general use of the term knowledge, is that con- n o w f n g a 
scious awareness is wider than both knowledge and and willing 

i 11-1 ' T impty a 

conation in the narrow psychological sense. It is wider 
wider because it contains both as moments or factors. consc . lous 


It is conscious awareness of content so conceived 
that we are dealing with, because this is the con- 
sciousness operating throughout experience. Hence 
it is inaccurate to assert that we are ignoring one 
of those factors by using an expression which 
necessarily must contain them both. 

We have to take, then, all the forms of awareness, Meaning 
of consciousness of something, which make up what 
we call our experience. No one is taken to the 
exclusion of the other ; all modes of experience 
must find a place in it. The question is, What 
does the interpretation of knowledge so considered 
mean ? how is the significance of knowledge so 
understood to be arrived at? If we ask this ques- 
tion about any one mode, the answer is to be found 
in the actual procedure of the form of knowledge 

1 This, indeed, is very evident even to the scientist himself. The existence 
of the " personal equation " in Science, the possibility of error in observation 
and calculation and assumption, the doubt or, again, the satisfaction and con- 
fidence in the final result all testify unmistakably to the subjective factor. 


itself. Thus, in the case of " perceiving," when 
we seek to find out the nature or meaning of Per- 
ception, we seek to state the " truth " about percep- 
tual experience. This means that when Perception 
attains its highest expression, its essential end, we 
f have its real nature. Its truth does not lie outside 

- it, nor in its constituent conditions (psychological, 
physiological, etc.). It is a mode of knowledge, 

- and its truth is the end which constrains or 
' controls the process of perceiving. It is this end^ 

which imparts to Perception the necessity which 
characterises it as a mode of knowing, for it is to 
this it must proceed in order to be Perception. Its 
. truth in that sense lies within its very process and 
determines it. So of any other mode of knowledge. 
And this is the way by which we are to find out the 
real meaning of all the modes in which knowledge 
appears, and which make up the mind's experience. 
Instead of taking one mode, we are here to take 
% all the modes together. These are simply diverse 
forms in which that fundamental relation of aware- 

- ness of a somewhat, which constitutes having ex- 
perience, appears. The mind, we may put it, in 
experience, when looked at as a whole, is aware of 
a somewhat in general, a continuum of objectivity, 
which gets differentiated into specific objects, or 
"somewhats," according to the kind or plane of 
experience, Perception, Science, Morality, etc. 1 To 
interpret this general relation as such is exactly 
the same problem in principle as to interpret the 
meaning of any specific mode of knowing. And just 

1 Or, again, we may state the same position by saying that to the one con- 

- tinuum of objectivity the one continuum of mind gets differentiated into a 
\ variety of specifically distinct conscious attitudes. 


as in the latter case we find the solution in determin-^ 
ing the ideal or end aimed _at, which controls, the 
'relation _between mind and its particular object, so 
we find the interpretation of the whole process by 
showing what is the ideal aimed at and implied in 
all the forms of knowledge, and how and where ^ 
that ideal is realised. There is only one such ideal, 
for it is the consciousness of one and the same 
individual in which there is experience. And it 
must be operative throughout all the forms of its 
experience. The question as to how is precisely 
the question as to the method of carrying out this 

Here, then, is the significance of the new inter- Necessity 
pretation of knowledge. What gives necessity to ^^^ 
knowledge is not, as dualism holds, some external End - 
constraining force exerted by a so-called world 
beyond the mind, a world of things, which controls 
the order of our subjective ideas. The necessity is 
to be found only in what is inherent _in_ _the_yery 
essence of knowledge- itself. But that is just the 
end or ideal at which knowledge aims, and which it 
expresses by its process. The meaning, in other 
words, is to be looked for in what is immanent in 
knowledge, not what is transcendent. Necessity 
there must be, and necessity is a controlling force. 
It implies a contrast between what is and what 
must be, between a fact and a law, a part and a 
whole, a datum and an ideal. .That is all it means 
in the last resort. The controlling force in con- 
sciousness can only be a conscious Ideal. 



The ideal: THE whole stress of the interpretation here rests on 

meaning. t ^ ie character of this Ideal. An ideal is, in any 

sense, within the limits to which it applies, the 

completest unity in the greatest diversity. Thus 

an " ideal " of scientific interpretation in the case, 

say, of any mechanical system, is one in which we 

have a principle regulating or controlling all the 

elements, and combinations of these, which make 

up the constituent parts of that system. So of 

a moral or artistic " ideal " in given relevant cases. 

In regard to consciousness of objects, the ideal 

will also be that in which we have the deepest 

unity with the richest diversity. The diversity 

here lies in the two elements distinguished, viz. 

consciousness and a somewhat or objects. The 

unity is just the presence of the one in and to the 

other. The object is not external, nor is it internal ; 

for these terms imply a connotation quite alien to 

. the character of knowledge, and are in fact the 

r creation of experience itself. Nor is the unity one 

^ of interaction, for here again we have a mechanical, 

and to that extent an external relationship. The 

. unity is one in which consciousness only exists in 

* and through the object, and the object only in and 



for consciousness. So much is this the case that 
we can, and do in actual life, consider one side 
as if it were the whole unity. This is what we 
find, on the one hand, e.g., in scientific inquiry, in 
generalisation, or even classification, when it is 
said "we must eliminate the subject altogether, the 
object alone is what we have to keep in mind." 
On the other hand, when, e.g., in mathematical 
analysis, we are said to carry on the process merely 
"in our minds" and then "apply" the result to so- 
called objective facts, such as motion, here again 
one side stands for the whole experience. The 
reason for such apparently contrary views is just 
the completeness of the identity of subject and - 
object in knowledge. The distinction of subject 
and object is experience broken up into its diver- 
sity ; the active relation of the two, however it 
appears, is experience in its unity, withdrawn to its 
identity. But neither the diversity nor the unity 
has any significance without the other. 

The ideal, then, for this consciousness aware of Form of 
an object is to be found at that level or mode of 1 
experience where mind as subject has its self as 
a whole consciously before it, not implied, but 
actually expressed. Or, put otherwise, it is the 
form where the object is the mind itself; it is that 
identity which does not merely make its diversity 
"possible" but is its expressed content. And 
this is the ideal, because this has been implied 
all along. It is not an absolutely new mode of 
experience. It is the mode which appears when 
that is attained explicitly which was always present 
implicitly ; for, as we saw just now, subject only 
is in its object. It finds itself there ; while the 



object is only through a subject. We have, there- 
fore, merely to get those two sides absolutely 
transparent to each other, completely fused as a 
. conscious fact, and we have the ideal for all forms 

of conscious experience. 

Content Now it is clear that such an ideal will be unable 
to st P short of a complete mind and a complete 
' object. It will not be found in the consciousness of 
a special object, a particular object, such as we have 
in the consciousness, say, of a " thing " or the world of 
" society." These are partial ; there always remains 
something outside any one of them ; for they always 
remain outside, i.e. different from, one another. 
They are, looked at in one way, merely modifica- 
tions or specific modes of the one complete objective 

continuum which faces consciousness as a whole. 1 
Mind in its unity as a whole is aware of objec- 
tivity as a whole; "things," "events," "persons," 
etc., are just elements in this continuum, to each of 

. which mind takes up a specifically different atti- 
tude. Thus the mind's unity as such is not, in the 
long run, satisfied by anything short of the whole, 
the reason being that only then is its unity com- 
pletely found or expressed. But if its unity is com- 
pletely found in the whole, there is no distinction 

between itself and the whole. The whole is its 
unity ; its self is there in its fulness. If the self 
only finds itself in its object, it finds its completest 
self, its full unity, in the completest object. Or, the 
ideal is found when the self is consciously the 
objective totality, of which the specific objects of 
detailed experience are but parts or elements. In 

1 Looked at in another way they are specific attitudes of the one continuous 

unity of the subject of all experience. 


this ideal mind answers to mind consciously and 
completely. This means, to use the familiar phrase, 
that mind is satisfied when its object is the Absolute, 
and that Absolute is mind. The ideal of experience 
is the complete and conscious unity of the subject 
with a conscious Absolute. 

The importance of such an ideal lies not so much its sig- 
in its being a definite mode of experience. It is ni 
that. But it is the condition which makes real any \ 
mode of knowledge whatsoever. It is the logical \\ * 
ground of the awareness of anything, even of the 
lowest form of awareness. Experience in all its 
forms starts with the distinction of consciousness 
from objectivity. That distinction is from the first t 
implicitly a distinction of mind from itself, and 
therefore finds its completion in becoming conscious 
that it is so. But explicitly it appears to begin with 
as a contrast between mind and objects in general. 
How that contrast comes about is a question for that 
study which deals with the growth and evolution of 
the life of mind. 1 There it is shown that mind 
begins in somatic and soul life with its various 
qualities. We then have merely a relation of soul 
to environment, the soul being one item in the 
complex whole of " nature." Only with the dawn of 
consciousness does mind begin to be actualised, for 
only then does it become aware of its distinction 
from the whole. Only at this stage can it have 
"experience," can there be "experience" at all. 

Experience proper, therefore, begins at that 
level of the mind's life where consciousness starts, 
for experience means conscious relation to some- 
thing ; and with the rise of consciousness comes an 

1 This is in part the business of Psychology, whether rational or empirical. 


object of which mind is conscious, that from which 
mind is distinguished. Ultimately, of course, what 
consciousness is aware of is the whole of objec- 
tivity, which stretches from the immediate present 
or focus of consciousness without break to the 
totality of objective content. In a sense this whole 
is there to start with, for soul becomes mind by 
distinction from the whole with which it was 
formerly (in soul life) fused. But the whole is at 
first explicitly just an immediate whole, that whole 
nearest to soul life the life of sense. Hence, as 
we shall see, the first stage of experience is sense- 
experience. 1 But the whole is for the most part 
implicit in the first stage of experience. Being 
implicit it forces experience to develop ; and that 
creates the "course" of experience. The first form of 
an object being "external," inadequate, shot through 
with diversity, a development of experience is 
demanded to get that unity it really wants, and which 
was there from the start of consciousness. Experi- 
ence, it may be said, is the great venture of the Spirit 
to try to accomplish by its own history, and at its own 
level, what is done for soul by the "course of nature." 
It is the Spirit's voyage of discovery to find its own 
meaning ; the falling of the world in sunder to be 
fused by the white heat of thought and spiritual 
toil for freedom. Freedom is the goal of the life- 
history of experience ; it is there we have at the 
higher level of the sphere of Spirit what we had 
at the level of soul life. For the distinction re- 
ferred to has arisen within finite mind ; and its 
having arisen is just the proof of its finitude. To 
establish finite consciousness and create such a 

1 Cp. Adamson, Lectures, vol. i. p. 290 ff. 


distinction mean the same thing. But that by which 
it arose is that in which it finds its completion and 
satisfaction ; for it is the unity out of which came 
the diverse elements, conscious subject and an object. 
Hence the ideal is not merely the goal towards 
which the modes of knowledge point, but the 
very principle which makes them what they are for 
finite consciousness. It is that which makes them 
essential modes, and which makes them modes at 
all, i.e. forms of experience, of a unity of the diverse 
elements, subject and object. Thus to show that 
the modes of knowledge have their complete realis- 
ation in this ideal is both to prove that Absolute i. 
Mind is that in which the nature of knowledge is 
satisfied, and also that which makes all modes of " 
knowledge at once possible and valid. It is the 
ground as well as the goal of all truth whatsoever. 

We see at once in all this the character of the 
change which has come over Kant's problem. 

To begin with Kant considered knowledge to be Kant's 
an affair between an individual mind and an in- pos 
dividual object. Now this, of course, is in a sense 
true, but only in a very limited sense. The mind is 
consciously aware for the most part of one object in 
every act of knowledge, and hence the conceptions 
etc., which it employs, appear, so to say, one at a time, 
and as occasion demands. But to regard this as the 
whole truth is to confound the psychological process of 
knowing, with the content of truth with which know- 
ledge is concerned. For it confuses the act of atten- 
tion, or the series of such acts, by which, certainly, 
knowledge is carried on, with the content on which 
mind is engaged. These acts are no doubt discrete, 
but the consciousness of objects is continuous and 


unbroken. The object engaging our mind at a 
particular time is isolated, for selection involves 
isolation, and attention implies selection. But just 
because a content is selected, all the other content 
of objectivity is implied, to some extent even con- 
sciously, in every act of knowledge. Take, for 
example, the knowledge of the sounds filling an 
auditorium. We are thinking of, knowing, the 
words which comprise these sounds, but we are also 
aware of the size, colours, etc., of the room, and our 
place in it and so on. The mind, in fact, is never 
literally aware merely of what is at the focus of 
attention, nor does knowledge consist simply in 
such discrete separate acts. The mind is a centre 
of varied relations to a whole of objectivity, for this 
alone completes its purpose, and only in this as a 
whole can it rest satisfied. Hence what we have 
to consider in knowledge is not a single relation 
of a mind to a single object, but of mind in its 
unity to the total objectivity in which alone are 

its purpose and nature completed. When this is 
taken account of, we shall not take truth to be 
realised in specifically different acts each complete 

lin itself; nor shall we divorce the finite mind from 
the complete whole in which it finds satisfac- 
tion. For only in and through the whole is it truly 
itself. From the point of view of the complete 
interpretation of mind's knowledge, therefore, the 

nature of the whole is logically prior to that of the 
part, because it makes each phase of knowledge a 
moment of the complete truth at which knowledge 

in all its various forms aims. It is not, of course, 
necessary that we should begin the interpretation 
by stating in its entirety what this ideal contains. 


For a reason we shall see presently that is not * 
essential. Nor is it possible to do so ; it would 
mean beginning the interpretation by giving it in 
its entirety at the start. But we can and must - 
proceed in the light of that ideal. 

From this again it will be seen what meaning " Neces- 
must be attached to the idea of necessity in know- Kant's 
ledge, an idea which played such a large part in view - 
determining Kant's theory. For Kant necessity, if 
it was to be found at all, had to be essentially a ) 7 
priori, because the material of the objective world / 
was somehow beyond coherent knowledge, and for ) < 
that reason was contingent as regards it. Thus the 
conceptions of " necessary knowledge " and " possible x 
experience " were in Kant's theory strictly comple- 
mentary conceptions. Necessity could only exist in 
what was logically prior to experience ; and because 
experience was logically posterior, it was, from the 
point of view of self-consciousness, dependent, and 
per se therefore contingent. This position is merely 
another illustration of the dualism with which Kant 
worked. Had "empirical contingency" referred to 
the validity of a generalisation, e.g. in science, no 
doubt the necessity would have been concrete ; it 
would have been embedded in experience, even 
though the necessity would then have been merely 
relative. But Kant's necessity has no part nor lot 
in experience at all : it is unconditioned necessity he ' 
refers to. This, however, can only hold good of the 
pure conditions of experience. It is not concrete in 
any sense ; it is purely abstract and formal. The 
necessity holds only of the sphere determined by the 
a priori grounds of experience. But what does 
necessity in this case mean ? Necessity in its very 


principle implies a relation between parts in a 
whole. Nothing in particular can be necessary in 
itself. Necessity holds between one thing and 
something else. The relation may be expressed 
hypothetically or otherwise, but a relation it must 
be. Now for Kant the relation here in question is 
one between the unity of the self and the idea of a 
possible experience. Conceptions constitutive of 
experience are the functions by which the manifold 
is built into this unity. Their necessity lies in 
their being the only way of securing the single 
unity of the self when dealing with the varied 
detail of sense. A " category " is that by which the 
manifold can be part of the experience of a single 
self. Hence since this is done by specifically 
different functions (according to the kind of object), 
each is necessary in exactly the same sense. And 
each is necessary as it stands ; for on Kant's 
view, as we saw, objects are known by separate 
acts. Observe what that necessity amounts to. 
It is strictly relative to a possibility, viz. a possible 
experience. That possibility is purely abstract, 
as abstract as the pure self for which it is a 
possibility. It does not of itself constitute the 
specific character of the conceptions or universals 
which give necessity, any more than the pure ego. 
Their special nature has therefore to be deter- 
mined in other ways. In point of fact it is 
determined quite fortuitously, either by the sugges- 
tion of sense-facts, which give the hint, so to say, 
what conception, i.e. what specific necessity, is 
required in a given case ; or the conception is 
'obtained by a gratuitous appeal to the structure 
"of traditional thought or logical doctrine which, as 


Kant himself confessed, he drew upon when arrang- 
ing the list of his categories. The necessity, in 
short, so far as of significance for the interpretation 
of the nature of knowledge, is purely and simply of 
a formal character, which tells nothing whatsoever 
as to the concrete necessity which is alone of value - 
in actual knowledge. When it becomes definite we 
have to get its nature elsewhere. This is the inevit- 
able result of Kant's dualistic assumption, where 
at the very best necessity must be of a point by point 
character, each special case of necessity being deter- 
mined without conscious reference to the single 
unity constituting the principle of necessity in every - 
case. 1 

Now on the above view the necessity in know- Necessity 
ledge lies also in a relation ; it is a relation between ^ndTrise 
the ideal aimed by all knowledge, and a given mode f rom the 
of knowledge. It is the constraining influence of the 
ideal which compels acceptance of the validity of a 
given act or form of knowledge. It is not a com- 
pelling force exerted externally on the course of the 
mind's thoughts by a reality beyond knowledge ; - 
nor again a controlling abstraction like that of 
the unity of a possible experience. The necessity 
must lie in the heart of knowledge itself; and 
knowledge can only be controlled by an inward 
principle when that principle is implicit in the - 
very nature of knowledge. The necessity deter- 
mining knowledge must then be immanent, not 

1 Similarly in Kant's view of morality. Every duty is absolutely necessary, 
and necessary to the same degree, because the necessity lies in formal agree- <- 
ment with law in general. But when duties become concrete, their matter 
comes from experience, which relatively to the law is contingent. The - 
necessity of each law therefore stands by itself : there is no determination of - 
laws from a central unity. 


transcendent in any sense ; and that is found in 
the contrast between what is potential and what 
is actual, between what is a whole and what is 
a part. Thus, e.g. in Perception, what compels 
us to admit validity in an act of perceptual know- 
ledge, such as "there is a tree," is the implicit 
presence in that act of the essential unity of 
mind and its object. The degree to which that 
is realised varies in Perception, a fact seen, on 
the one hand, in the vagaries and illusions of 
Perception, and, on the other, in the incapacity of 
perceptual knowledge, as a whole, to tell the com- 
plete truth. But such necessity as it does have comes 
from the one principle just stated. And the same is 
true of the necessity inherent in scientific knowledge, 
or again in a moral judgment. Every form has 
necessity, in short, for the reason that in each the 
ultimate unity of mind with its objective world is 

- both asserted and implied. 

This, again, indicates that necessity does not 

Necessity require to mean exactly the same thing in all forms 

form. 3 1 f knowledge, as Kant seemed to imply. We shall 

find this more particularly when we consider the 

method. Meantime, it is sufficient to observe here 

that variation in the form of necessity lies in the 

nature of the case. For if the principle at the root 
of necessity is the unity of the whole self with the 
object of which the self is aware, the very diversity 
of the forms in which the life of the self appears 
just means that there are different degrees in which 
that unity is explicitly secured, or that it is implicit 
to a greater extent in certain forms than in 
others. That must be so, because they could not 
be different forms on any other condition. Their 


having necessity at all lies in their nature as modes 
of knowledge, and their being different implies a 
difference in their necessity. This can be confirmed 
by an appeal to everyday experience, though of 
course such an appeal is not final for a systematic 
interpretation of experience. Thus, for example, we 
are familiar with the appeal men make from " prin- 
ciples " or " conceptions of thought" to "actual 
facts " belonging to Perception, an appeal which is 
made in different ways according to the interest at 
stake. At one time men will say, "let us give up 
ideas and theories, and let us see what the facts 
say " : meaning thereby that conceptual knowledge, 
generalisation, etc., is looked at as either confusing 
or contradictory, while the " facts " are steady and 
manifest to the normal operation of Perception. 
This appeal is made in spite of the transparent and 
admitted truth that Perception is, of all mental pro- 
cesses, perpetually open to error and liable to illusion 
as is indirectly indicated in the precautions taken 
for eliminating sources of error in observation. At 
another time we find that just as readily men will, 
in other circumstances of mental life, appeal from 
"facts" to "conceptions," in those cases especially 
where particular facts seem to make against a long- 
accepted principle, or even a largely verified hypo- 
thesis. Here, it is held, the facts will later on be 
shown to fall under the principle, although they seem 
at present not intelligible by it. Such an appeal may 
be stated in the strongest form ; "if your facts do 
not agree with the conception, so much the worse 
for your facts." In this case a different and a lower 
certainty, or cognitive necessity, is attached to per- 
ceptual fact than to conceptual principle, and that in 


spite of the accepted truth that conceptions easily 
lead us astray because of their mere universality. 1 
In this opposition, then, between perceptual fact and 
conceptual principle, however that opposition be 
expressed, we have an illustration of a difference 
admitted in ordinary life beween one kind of cogni- 
tive necessity and another. And this difference is 
not merely one in kind but in worth for our experi- 
ence. Some forms of experience are said to be 
more necessary to us than others, e.g. moral, or, it 
may be, religious experience. By this we mean, not 
so much that we can less easily exist without them, 
that their absence would impoverish life, but that 
' they realise more fully the nature of our experience ; 
or, to use our terms, they have a deeper unity of 
the diverse elements, subject and object. 

It is impossible, therefore, to discuss the question 
of the necessity of judgments, as if necessity means 
the same thing throughout the whole range of 
experience. Yet this seems certainly to have been 
assumed, e.g., by Kant and Hume in their inter- 
pretation of knowledge. 

Nature of Once again we see that the new conception of the 
thS view. problem of knowledge involves our giving a definite 
meaning to what the very idea of knowledge implies 
Truth. Ordinarily understood, truth, as Kant puts 
it, means the agreement between thought and its 
Kant's object, held by dualism to be separate. Kant's own 
theory gave a curious turn to that conception. If 
the object is the unity of the matter of experience 
with the conception of understanding, the latter con- 
taining the function and rule of synthesis which the 

1 This second relation between facts and conceptions is not limited to 
"scientific " experience. It is the peculiar note of morality and religion. 



unity of the object implies, it is clear that the object 
is not more exclusively matter than form or con- 
ception. But if thought in any sense ''makes the 
object," " legislates for nature," what comes of the 
meaning of truth as just defined ? Thought cannot 
"agree" with its object, if thought is itself a deter- 
mining condition of the ' nature of the object, for 
the very word " agree " implies that the object is 
something with an independence of its own. 1 

The meaning Kant attaches to truth will hold 
only when we deal conceptually with what we may 
call perceptual knowledge, i.e. where, as in the case 
of science in the narrowest sense of the term, 
a sharp distinction is implied between sense per- Its narrow 
ception on the one hand, and judgment and infer- Ippffo. 
ence on the other. It concerns relations amongst tlon - 
ideas, not " matters of fact," and deals with the 
connexion between these two factors in the con- 
stitution of an intelligible experience. It does not 
refer to any other relation between mind and its 
object than that in which the object is looked upon 
as something " given " from without, and the mind is 
regarded as dealing with it by certain generalising - 
processes peculiar to itself, as we say " thinking 
about" the object. It excludes, therefore, from the 
range of truth the sphere, e.g., of Moral Experience, 
or again that of Art, and applies essentially to the 
harmonious relation between mind and its object 
in the sphere of "science." In these other spheres 
specifically different expressions are used. Thus, . 
on this view, it would probably be held that in the 
relation in Art, harmony of feeling was satisfied, in 
Morality harmony of will. To speak of forms of 

1 The object, of course, is not, in Kant's sense, the " matter " of experience. 


the moral life as more or less " true," would, on 
Kant's view, be probably considered a misapplication 
of terms. 

Truth is The fundamental principle at work in this con- 
moit'^'its ^P^ 00 f truth is no doubt the unity of mind and 
mistake, its object. Where this is complete we are said 
to have, in intellectual experience, "truth." But a 
moment's reflection shows that this narrower mean- 
ing is at once inaccurate in its application of that 
principle, and too restricted in its range. For it takes 
truth to be in reality a relation between two different 
forms in which the subject and its object are con- 
nected. The subject belongs to one form of 
experience, the object to another. It holds truth 
to be a relation between, say, the perceived object, 
and reflection about that object. But it is trans- 
parent that in Perception itself we have a specific 
relation between subject and object, for Perception 
is a mode of experience : and in reflection likewise 
Relativity we have another specific relation between subject 
. anc ^ object for the same reason.. And the object 
is no more the same in each case than the attitude 
of the subject is the same. Both object and subject 
are different in the two cases. Object and subject 
are correlative to each other, and an alteration in 
the one ipso facto means a change in the other. 
Thus the object of Perception is not the same as the 
object for Reflection ; and it is no more possible to 
perceive an object and then think about that same 
object as it is in Perception, than it is to see a law 
of nature by opening our eyes. "The laws of the 
planets," as an astronomer once remarked, "are not 
written on the sky." 

Hence, the view which supposes that our reflec- 


tion is "true," because its result "agrees with" 
sense-fact, makes a twofold mistake. In the first The error 
place, it seeks to identify the object of Reflec- twofold - 
tion with that of Perception, and thus implicitly 
neglects to note that each has a distinct object of its 
own. In the second place, it separates the process of 
reflection from its own object, takes that process tc 
be something by itself, and looks upon it as dealing 
with an object which is external to itself, whereas this 
object really belongs to another sphere of experience - 
altogether. It is true that Reflection and Perception 
are distinct in our experience : hence the attempt to 
unify them, which gives rise to the view of truth we 
are criticising. But it is not true that the elements 
or factors into which each can be resolved can be so 
cut loose and separated as to replace one another 
indifferently, or be transposed from one sphere to . 

On the other hand the view of truth we are This view 
opposing is too limited in its range, even if it could 00 n 
be accepted as it stands. If the harmonious relation limited. 
of mind and its object is the fundamental principle 
in that conception of truth, then why should not the 
conception apply wherever we have such a relation ? 
We can see at once that we must so apply it. 
For not merely is it not possible, except arbitrarily, 
to limit it to one form of that relation, but the 
complete harmony or agreement (as we choose to 
call it) cannot be attained at all unless when mind is 
taken in its completeness and related to the object 
world in its entirety. For what is meant by 
"mind" in such a statement? If a particular form 
of mind (e.g. in Perception or Morality), then clearly 
mind will never be fully satisfied, fully harmonised 


merely by one such phase of its activity, simply 
because no particular form can exhaustively realise 
its nature, satisfy its supreme end. Truth would 
therefore be unattainable at all if that were meant. 
But if we mean, as we must, mind in its entirety, 
mind in its complete unity, then it is impossible to 
stop short of applying the conception to each and 
every way in which mind is related to its object. 
The mind is one, and only attains complete con- 
sciousness of unity in its relation to the whole of its 
content, and every relation in which it stands to 
an object, every part of its experience is merely a 
partial expression of its completed realisation, a 
partial form of its "truth." This is saying no more 
than that truth must be the whole, and cannot be 
confined to any special form or phase of experi- 
ence as the narrow view of truth above given 
proposes to do. 

The Now this change in the conception of truth is an 

idealistic essential characteristic of the above view of ex- 
perience, and follows directly from the nature of its 
principle. We are no longer to take one form of experi- 
ence as furnishing truth, and determine the truth of 
others by means of it. Each has a truth of its own ; all 
are " truths " for mind as a whole. The Moral Life, 
or, again, Religion has its own truth, which differs 
from every other, but has a value all its own which 
cannot be affected by another phase of experience. 
Their claim to be true just lies in their claim to be 
at all. And they claim to exist, simply because mind 
seeks in each a phase of its complete realisation. 
Science is not the only means of presenting truth ; 
it only presents a special form of truth. It is not 
the only form of knowledge, in the widest sense, 



for Morality is also a form of conscious relation of 
subject and object. 

Such a question, again, as the "possibility of"p ssi- 
attaining truth," which is sometimes raised, ceases t ^ ,? f 
to have importance from its very indefinite- 
ness. If it implies a doubt regarding all truth, 
it is at once meaningless and self -contradictory. ' 
It is meaningless to raise a sceptical question 
regarding the possibility of truth in general, for 
that question being intelligent implies at least the 
possibility of a true answer. Again, the very idea of 
" possibility " implies a standard by which to test 
something assumed for the moment to be proble- 
matical. In that sense the question is self-contra- - 
dictory. If, however, it means a particular form of 
truth may not be possible, we have to ask, in order 
to make the question definite, which form is referred 
to by the question. The form of the question seems 
to imply that there is a single standard for all truth. 
But such a standard must either be purely formal, or, 
if it has content, must be a special form of truth 
taken as the standard for all other forms. A purely 
formal standard is valueless, for truth is essentially 
concrete, being the innermost nature of the life of 
mind. We cannot separate form from content, unity 
between mind and object, which is the general form, 
from the actual phase of mind and the actual object 
between which the unity holds. While if we take 
one particular form of truth as a standard, this will '" 
certainly be arbitrary unless it be the whole. 

It is just such a limitation of the meaning of truth Kant on 

i i -rr . f i limitation 

which gives rise, e.g., to Kants conception of the of truth . 
range of valid knowledge, or again to the position 
taken up by Descartes at the very outset of his 



philosophical inquiry. If, as Kant held, truth is only 
possible when we have sense -experience, then we 
have restricted the content of truth to begin with, 
and the whole argument to establish the limits of 
knowledge and the impossibility of knowing things 
in themselves apart from sense, is devised to sustain, 
/ and is merely a consistent development of, the 

initial limitation of the range of truth. Alter the 
conception, and the whole construction of Kant's 
Critique of Pure Reason has to be revised. The 
very problem of " the conditions of the possibility of 
true knowledge " is seen at once to be futile, because 
it sets up one form of truth as final and yet seeks 
to examine the conditions of its truth by another 
form of knowledge, viz. a scientific or philosophical 
criticism. It is inherently impossible to understand 
or examine any knowledge except by knowledge 
itself. Such a problem makes a pretence of restrict- 
ing truth to one sphere, but is all the while, by its 
very examination of that sphere, asserting the equal 
validity of another kind of knowledge, viz. criticism 
" of knowledge. This gives an air of artificiality 

to the whole argument. At the very best it is no 
more than an analysis of the conditions of our know- 
ledge of the external world, of truth regarding the 
world of Perception, not an analysis of knowledge 
as a whole. The Critique is, like Locke's Essay or 
Berkeley's Principles, a chapter on the philosophy 
I of perceptual experience. Beyond this the results 
are fruitless. It is transparent, for example, that, 
if we restrict knowledge to perceptual experience, 
we are bound to fall into inconsistency if we try to 
go beyond it ; for to try to go beyond it, and yet not 
be able to go beyond it, is precisely the whole of 


the inconsistency in question. The ingenuities of 
the Dialectic in the Critique of Pure Reason are 
merely illustrations on certain fundamental points of 
this single inconsistency. So, again, no one in his 
senses ever supposed that by Perception we could 
know the truth about what, by its very nature, is 
assumed to be outside the range of Perception, viz. 
a thing in itself. As perceived, it is necessarily a 
thing for us, and what it is outside that condition, 
i.e. for itself or " in itself" is obviously beyond the 
power of Perception to say. 

But for Kant's prejudice in favour of one form of 
truth, he would have been led to try to justify the 
very attempt to gain, by other forms of knowledge, 
certainty regarding what lay beyond perceptions. 
And this would have involved a change not merely 
in his view of truth, but in his very conception of a 
criticism of knowledge. 

Now if truth cannot be taken in any one-sided Kinds and 
way, we are bound to reject all attempts to limit its e f n f t es f 
range to one form, or to judge its worth by making and 
one special kind absolute. And when we do so, there 
is nothing left but to accept every form of relation 
between mind and its object as giving, pro tanto, a 
certain _mode oC truth. Any realisation of the life 
of mind is at once experience and truth ; it contains 
subject and object, and is a form in which the unity 
of mind with its object is revealed. Such a unity is 
what we mean by truth. This view means that the 
worth of no phase of experience shall be sacrificed to 
the claims of another, and that each will be acknow- j. 
ledged as contributing its own amount to the sum- 
total of truth. Hence, e.g., from this point of view, 
Religion, or Science, or Morality cannot and need 


not surrender their truth in the interest of one 
another ; for each simply presents a different truth 
for mind, and enriches its life thereby. To set up 
Science to judge Religion is just as futile as to examine 
the moral life with our five senses. The mind attains 
a different satisfaction through each and all of its 
forms, and, as forms of experience, they cannot dis- 
agree, because the kind of realisation in each case is 
different. To take one either as standard for all the 
others, or as the only valid form, is deliberately to 
impoverish the meaning of the mind's life a result 
which the biographies of specialists in all departments 
of activity, Art, Science, or Religion, amply testify 
in a painfully concrete manner. 

The only difficulty, then, which faces this inter- 
pretation of what truth means, is, how is truth to be 
distinguished from error or illusion in such a view ? 
Or, to put it more formally, by what process shall we 
criticise and connect these various truths so as to 
show an inherent necessity running through them all? 
This raises the question of the method of explaining 
knowledge. With this we shall deal presently. 1 

It is evident, after the foregoing, that we shall 
Kant's 1 " a ^ so nave to reconstrue the ordinary use of the term 
theory. "experience" in philosophy, if the new problem is 
to be understood properly, and its position justified. 
To Kant the problem of knowledge was the analysis 
of the conditions of what he called a " possible experi- 
ence." In whatever way the term be understood, it 
implies quite a distinctive conception of the relation 
of mind to its experience. The self or ego is looked 
upon as a self-complete and self-closed abstract 
entity, over against, and in that sense external to, 

1 Vide Chap. IV. 


which, experience is placed, and with which somehow 
it gets connected. We may say that it is the aim of 
Kant's theory to give the conditions of such con- 
nexion. Experience in this way is confessedly 
something contingent, so far as the self (or the self 
functioning through understanding) is concerned. 
And this Kant states in so many words. It is im- 
possible, indeed, to give any meaning to such a 
term unless by taking something to be actual. 
For a " possible " has only significance by relation 
to something definitely secured and fixed. But 
such a conception must in that case be essentially 
abstract and empty for two reasons. We cannot, in 
the first place, divorce the concrete self from its 
actual experience ; yet to give meaning to that con- 
ception we must do so, for a "possible" experience 
implies a self without experience, i.e. a purely inde- 
terminate abstract ego, an ego that is not yet realised, 
an ego implicitly. Possible experience, when applied 
not to a particular content but to the whole, is cor- 
relative to and distinguished from an abstract self, 
a self that is to be. On the other hand, an 
experience which is only possible is itself indeter- 
minate, and in that sense empty of content. Such a 
conception cannot in itself be effective in determin- 
ing actual knowledge as distinct from problematical 
assertion. Yet it is only in reference to such a con- 
ception that " a priority," which has its source in the 
mind apart from such experience, gets its value and 
significance for experience. It is easy to see from 
this how the a priori conceptions of which Kant 
speaks come to be "empty" in themselves. Their 
emptiness is simply due to their being functions of 
an empty self, an abstract ego, that ego which is 


assumed to be per se divorced from experience, and 
is a bare potentiality. They are merely different 
phases of that indeterminate functioning entity. 1 

Now it seems obvious that the only experience 
concrete. we nave to deal with is actual concrete experience, 
and that this is not the experience of an abstract ego, 
but of a living ego in a perpetual state of activity, 
an ego ceaselessly realising itself. If we take the 
standpoint of actual life we shall refuse to make 
any separation between an ego and its realisation, 
between a mind and its " environment " of experi- 
ence. For the self is never the mere possibility of 
having experience as a whole ; it always is a definite 
form or mode of experience. And it is no more 
possible to separate experience and self than the 
members from the organism : the members are the 
organism in its diversity, the organism is its members 
in their unity. The term " possible " only has a 
meaning on the basis of actual experience. We can, 
therefore, never get to the point of view from which 
all experience is a mere possibility, not because this 
is beyond our capacity, but because it is self-contra- 
dictory. The term " possible experience " cannot be 
used as a regulative condition by reference to which 
certain abstract functions in our minds are to get a 
value. The functions (or notions as Kant calls them) 
are not there in any sense until there is experience ; 

they are only in experience. It is just as true 
that experience makes them possible as that they 

, make experience possible. Rather, there is no mere 
possibility in either case : experience is actual in 

them, they are actual in experience. " Possible 

1 One would have supposed that at least the diversity of their functions 
would imply a certain amount of content in the ego to constitute their difference. 


experience " thus can only mean what may fall inside 
the range of the life of mind as it is actually con- ^ 
stituted, something that may come about ^rTThe 
basis of the actual. It can only apply to an implicit 
but not yet explicit stage of experience, and can 
never apply to experience as a whole. Experience 
as a whole cannot be contingent, since within ex- 
perience both contingency and necessity fall, and 
experience itself provides the ground of distinction 
between the two. Experience is through and through 
actual, and actual by its bare existence. All the 
distinctions drawn within experience are the result of 
analysing its content and are merely elements of its . 
nature. For that reason there is no going beyond > 
experience, and no standard or point of reference 
external to it, to serve as a ground for determining it. 
This would be self-evident but for the ambiguity 
of the term itself. It is this ambiguity which created 
Kant's position. For him that was primarily an judgment 
objective judgment of experience, in which we have ofexpen " 
necessary unity of the elements of the sensible or 
perceptual world. It is not always easy to say 
whether it was the unity or the perceptual content 
which was most emphasised in the term experience ; 
in any case both were essential to his conception of 
the term. But this compelled him to adopt the 
paradox that there were large tracts of conscious 
life which yet fell outside experience. These were, 
e.g., on the one side, what he called judgments of 
perception, and on the other, the whole field of 
absolute or pure morality. There could be no 
reason for excluding these from the scope of the 
term except one, viz. that a particular and limited 
meaning had been attached to experience. In 


different systems of philosophy, and in common life 

also, one form of experience is often taken as the 

Selected standard and type of all experience whatsoever. It 

cxpcn* /* . . 1 - 

ence. is of no importance which form we take so far as the 
ultimate issue is concerned. For in every case we 
shall find that much of conscious activity and 
conscious life is held to fall outside experience, 
simply because it does not fall inside the limited 
interpretation we have put on experience at the 
start. The mode of experience fixed upon is not 
always the same. Sometimes, e.g., in crude em- 
piricism, sensuous experience, pure and simple, is 
looked upon as experience in the strict sense, and 
whatever cannot be expressed in terms of sense is 
rejected as either probable or illusion. At another 
time scientific law or mechanical order is the type, 
and everything else valued accordingly. Or, again, 
the moral order or the religious life may be taken 
as the primary reality, and the rest of experience 
becomes a show or mere appearance, even in 
certain cases an illusion. Any of the chief types 
of experience may be taken as fundamental and 
alone real, from mere sensuousness up to mere 
religiousness. Which type is adopted depends on 
the kind of mind or spiritual individuality, and 
varies not merely from individual to individual but 
from race to race. All agree simply in their 
rejection of every other mode of experience in 
preference to the one regarded as primary. Such 
a procedure, what we may call the human selec- 
tion of the real in experience, is thus not con- 
fined to philosophical systems, but characterises the 
whole history of the life of humanity. It may be 
looked on as the outgrowth of the universal fact, 


which is at the same time the universal necessity, 
of that selective interest which governs all finite 
individual experience. But whereas this is merely 
a difference of emphasis in ordinary life, it becomes 
a metaphysical principle when the phase selected 
is exaggerated into the norm for reality as a 

There seems only one way of escape from the Universal 
inconsistency which must arise when one phase of g^ce" 
experience is adopted as ultimate. We must take 
experience in its most comprehensive meaning as 
the starting-point from which to proceed in our 
constructive analysis of what it contains. We must 
start, in other words, from the whole of experience as 
such. This is the only principle from which to pro- 
ceed to work. It is necessary to do so if the part is 
to be properly interpreted, for any phase can only 
be regarded as a specific phase by looking at it 
apart from a whole ; the particular form is the 
result of analysis of the whole, however that analysis 
may be brought about. And it is possible to do so, 
if we have a sufficiently comprehensive conception 
of what the unity of experience is ; for a whole is a 
unity. Every experience is actual and concrete, and The whole 
the whole is the absolutely concrete. The unity, e nc e e x F en ~ 
therefore, cannot be an abstract unity, it must what - 
contain that diversity which gives concreteness 
and individuality. The principle of unity can thus 
be neither an abstract ideal end, nor an abstract 
indeterminate basis, but an active ground of differ- 
entiation. Now we take experience as a whole 
when we look upon the subject-mind, in which alone 
experience exists, as the centre to which all forms 
of experience refer and round which they gather. 


The wholeness of experience is just the completed 
expression for the unity of the subject-mind which 
pervades it and owns it. The ground of unity is 
thus what we call mind or self-conscious Spirit. 
Experience in its concreteness is a manifestation in 
time and space; it is embodied, and covers the 
whole life of conscious activity wheresoever found. 
But this is precisely human history. The experi- 
ence of mind is the appearance of mind in time, 
is its history, its realised existence. The actual 
mind at work in experience is individual mind. 
Hence on the one side to analyse and systematise 
experience as a whole means to interpret and con- 
nect the historical manifestations of human in- 
dividuality. On the other side, it is to disclose the 
nature of an individual mind taken as the type of all 
forms in which individuality may appear in human 
history, it is to trace the ways in which a generalised 
or typical individual mind would show its activity. 
It must be general, because all human experience is 
what we are considering ; and it must be individual, 
because experience is only concrete in individual 
minds. In a sense, of course, all human experience 
is every one's experience : but it is equally clear that 
all experience is not explicitly so. Much remains 
implicit even for the richest mind, though all is in 
principle possible for the poorest. Human experience 
is the expression of one self-consciousness, but its full 
expression requires the entire activity of combined 
human effort and struggle. Humanity is in that 
sense a unity, and the individual whom we consider 
in dealing with experience as a whole must there- 
fore be a representative, typical, or generalised in- 
dividual mind. Now it is just this comprehensive 


scope which is here given to the meaning of the 
term experience; and the actual starting-point for 
discussion is the concrete experience of a typical 
individual mind as it historically exists in the life of 

It is clear from this that the "appeal to "Appeal 
experience," which every philosophy professes to e ce exp 
make, and which all knowledge professes to claim, 
whether for verification of conclusions or correction 
of the process of reflection upon its meaning, has 
quite a different significance on this view from, 
e.g., that of Kant. The experience appealed to in 
Kant's case must necessarily have a perceptual char- 
acter and content. This determines the range of 
possibility. This can only be appealed to by what 
is accepted as in some way apart from it, outside it. 
Conceptions as such are examples of such entities 
outside Perception. Yet these have a nature of their 
own, a nature not found in perceptual experience alone. 
This Kant himself acknowledges explicitly when deal- 
ing with Morality, where he states a specific condition 
which can give these conceptions a value, viz. self- 
consistency. This gives thought as such a necessity 
distinct from the necessity which concerns perceptual 
experience. This twofold test of worth which Kant 
employs, and is forced to adopt, illustrates the im- 
possibility of taking one phase of the content of mind 
as alone valid, and indicates the limited character of 
experience in Kant's view. The very meaning of an 
"appeal" to experience implies the existence of some- 
thing apart from it, but yet in some way connected 
with it. In short, the appeal must be made from one 
part to another part, or from one part to the whole as 
such. The former is impossible if one part is taken 


to be peculiarly experience ; the latter is impossible 
if the part is treated as external to the whole. The 
only meaning that can be attached to the phrase 
"appeal to experience" is that one element finds 
somehow a place in the ordered connectedness of the 
whole. What that place is depends on the nature 
of the element. The appeal is different in each case, 
for one form of experience differs from another. 
Thus what would be a test of experience in the case 
of Morality would not be adequate in the case of 
Sense-life or in the case of Scientific Knowledge. 
The whole question, therefore, turns on the essential 
nature of experience, and of the way in which its 
parts are to be connected. 

Experi- Experience always implies a relation between 

what. two distinct elements : the one is that for which 
something is, and the other the something which 
is presented. These are the so-called subject and 
object. Sometimes the term experience, in ordinary 
use, designates this relation along with its factors, 
as when we say "such an event was an experience" : 
sometimes it means the relation per se, as when we 
speak of ourselves "having an experience", or "ex- 
periencing something " : sometimes again the objec- 
tive aspect is emphasised, sometimes the subjective. 
But in every case there is implied or expressed 
a duality of elements within the continuity of their 
relation. 1 

This will be found to hold when the term is applied 
derivatively to inanimate things or, again, to living 
beings in general. Primarily the term refers to 
conscious life where there is a conscious distinction 

1 Cp. " The proper unit of our experience from first to last is the total con- 
tent of any moment of consciousness." Adamson, Lectures, vol. i. p. 292. 


of the object factor from the subject factor. Here 
experience is the interrelation of a subject with 
what is consciously present to it its object. Object 
implies a subject just as subject implies object. 
The relation between the two, again, is not external, 
as if the one could be without the other. The 
being of the one simply implies, because it refers to, 
the other ; subject exists through relation to object 
and vice versa. 

What the nature of the relation between the 
two is, cannot be answered apart from experience. 
For this implies that we must find a more ultimate The 
term than experience to furnish the answer. If this 
cannot be given without a contradiction in terms, 
then the answer to the question must be furnished by 
experience itself. It can only be given when experi- 
ence as a whole is developed. What the relation 
is, means either of two things : (i) how did it arise, 
(2) how is it determined, or what does it aim at? 
These are the only ultimate questions about experi- 
ence. One is answered by genetic psychology ; 1 the 
other is found by tracing the forms through which 
experience passes. The nature of the relation will 
differ with the sphere of experience we are con- 
sidering. In some cases it seems a kind of inter- 
action, e.g. in the life of Sense : in other cases the 
emphasis seems to rest with the subject, e.g. in the 
Moral Life : in others again with the object, as in 
the case of scientific knowledge, when, as we say, 
the nature of the object ' determines the current of 
our ideas.' 

The only question we can properly ask regarding Subject 
these ultimate factors in experience is what specifically object. 

1 On the genesis of the distinction, cp. Adamson, Lectures, vol. i. part v. c. I. 


distinguishes subject from object. The answer to 
that can be best found if we take a typical and 
characteristic form in which the terms subject and 
object are found. This is found when mind is con- 
trasted with nature. Nature is that which is over 
against, presented to, mind. Mind is "subject," 
nature is " object." This is the point of view taken 
up by all science and ordinary life. The distinguish- 
ing feature of subject is here self-determination, 
self-sufficiency, or generally reference to self as one 
and single. That is subject which can be conscious 
of self as such, which can consciously refer to self. 
Object here is that which is referred to self, that 
whose completeness lies in something beyond the 
sphere of its own reality. It is that which in 
consciousness is for something else. A subject is 
that which in consciousness is for itself. In other 
words, in conscious experience a subject is inherently 
self-referrent and self-dependent, an object as such 
essentially points to and is dependent on something 
else. 1 And wherever we have subject and object 
constituting experience these will be found to be 
their essential characteristics. 

Subject and object being the elements in the 
unity of experience, subject is that which is for 
itself through the object ; in being conscious of the 
object it is conscious of self by referring that object 
to itself. The object is that which is for the subject 
in virtue of the activity of the subject ; it has no 
being except for a subject. This is the conception 

1 Hence the general character of " objectivity " in experience is " outness," 
" extendedness," i.e. reference of content to what is external to its immediate 
existence. This seems a consequence of the above distinction, not the 
source of it. Cp. Adamson, lac. cit. ; also Fichte, Bestimmung des Menschen, 
Book II. 


of the factors of experience with which we start 
and with which we work. Here we are concerned 
merely to interpret what this implies. 

We can see that this conception of experience Know- 

must identify experience and knowledge, in the * 

general sense of awareness of objects. It is clear ence - 
from what has been said that there is no restriction 
whatsoever in the content of experience ; wherever \ 
we have a conscious subject aware of an object, 
there we have experience. Everything that can be i 
an object enters an experience. And it is equally 
clear that the range of the objective world is limited 
only by the self- reference of the subject. What- 
ever it can refer to itself is ipso facto an object. 
But if mere self-reference is all that is required to 
constitute subjectivity, it can distinguish itself from 
everything and anything, even from itself. Hence 
every element and aspect of experience can be made 
an object for a consciousness, even what we may call 
experience as a whole. This last, in fact, is actually 
the case when the mind raises the philosophical 
question as to the meaning of experience as such ; 
it thereby makes the whole as such its object. 
Now in all these possible attitudes in which subject 
is related to object, their fundamental characteristic 
seems certainly cognitive. There seems no reason 
why consciousness of objects should not be de- 
scribed as knowledge ; or that all possible modes of 
such consciousness should not be called experience. 
But it must be noted that here knowledge means 
neither more nor less than consciousness of some- 
thing, whatever that something be. We are well 
aware of the difference between reflective, observa- 
tional, or perceptual knowledge when we use the 


term knowledge as equivalent to experience in 
general. Scientific knowledge, for example, is 
merely a specific way in which consciousness can 
be aware of an object ; but this does not restrict 
knowledge specially to Science. It does not involve 
a confusion between psychologically distinct pro- 
cesses, e.g. those of cognition and willing. These 
processes are in any case only abstractly separable ; 
the mind always acts as a unity in all. 1 The 
essential point is that wherever we have experience, 
consciousness must be aware of something. The 
way in which it is aware of course differs, and this 
makes the difference in the experience. But there 
must be awareness of something ; and to be con- 
scious of something is, in its universal acceptation, 
knowing something. All this, in point of fact, 
follows from the difference already noted between 
the above view of experience and Kant's. 
Summary. Such, then, is how we are to determine the 
significance of the various stages of experience in 
the light of and by the aid of self-consciousness 
as the fundamental principle. The various forms 
have all a worth, and each contains a truth. None 
is able to exhaust the full meaning of self-conscious- 
ness. Hence the only alternative is to regard them 
all as necessary modes of its life; and the only 
method of arrangement is that of an order according 
to degree of realisation of the one principle in all. 
In this way we can justify the rejection of all one- 
sidedness in experience ; and meet the difficulty, 
in the way of any monistic view of knowledge, as 
to how truth and falsehood are to be interpreted. 
This difficulty is overcome in the case of dualism 

1 Vide p. 108, note. 


by setting up one form of truth as final, e.g. that 
of perceptual experience, or of conceptual connexion, 
and then determining every other expression of 
knowledge by reference to this as a test. The 
denial of dualism, and this interpretation of ex- 
perience are thus closely related. 

It is to be noted, in conclusion, that we are not The real 
concerned here with any such analysis of the quei 
machinery of knowledge as is given by Kant or 
Locke. There is one and the same question asked 
at each stage : how does a given form of knowledge 
hold together and relate the ultimate factors deter- 
mining and constituting all knowledge, all experi- 
ence ? ; how is unity amid the diversity of subject and ' 
object sustained ? We have, e.g., in dealing with 
Perception or Morality to bring out the " truth" of 
Perception, the "truth" of Moral Experience. We 
reduce the various forms of experience to their uni- 
versal constituents, and determine how each realises 
its unity in them. When this is done, we have all 
the knowledge of the nature of a given mode of ^ 
knowledge which a theory of experience can 

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The mode How then is experience so conceived to be inter- 
preted? We cannot ask, as we have said, what 

are the conditions of the possibility of experience. 
There can, in the long run, be no way of finding 
how experience is possible except by entering the 
field of experience itself. The experience which 
is to be is continuous with that which is. What 
we must do, then, is to take experience as it is in its 
totality, and to find controlling it such a necessity 
as an absolute explanation requires. We must try 
to bring into connected inner coherence the variety 
of experience given as historically discrete. We 
can neither rise above experience nor go below it, 
if we would explain it as a whole. We must, there- 
fore, find the connexion within experience itself. 

This does not mean that ordinary experience is 
""self-ex- self-explaining, in the sense that we need not think 
plaining." about it at all. Ordinary experience is precisely 
without "explanation" at all. Its rationality is not 
self-evident; it merely is. It can be rational 
as well as a conscious fact only if this be made 
manifest by the long way of reflective compre- 
hension, When it is commonly said " experience 
explains itself," what is meant is that experience is 



the direct and immediate content of a conscious life, 
and beyond this we cannot and need not go. That 
is of course true ; but it is not an explanation. It 
is merely an assertion that we never go beyond 
experience, which is to say no more than that 
experience is experience. An explanation requires 
a special effort to fulfil a special end, an end lying 
beyond the range of desire and outside the interest 
of many conscious lives. The statement, however, 
may be said to be true in the sense that experience 
contains within, its scope, and will furnish, the ex- 
planation which has to be given. The explanation 
merely brings out the necessity inherent within 
experience, throughout all its phases. Therein, 
too, lies the truth of the statement that "experi- 
ence must verify explanation," that "philosophy 
must start from and in its result agree with 
experience." Such a statement is self-evident if 
the explanation given by philosophy is one which 
shows how experience connects its various phases 
by a law at work in the very nature of experience ; 
if, in other words, the explanation has to show that 
the necessity of reason, which philosophy seeks, is 
the reason of the necessity which experience itself 
implicitly contains. 

That, then, is the only kind of attitude we can 
take up to experience if we would explain it com- 
pletely. To answer the question thus will solve the 
very problem which Kant and Locke raised about 
the nature of knowledge as restricted to the narrow 
range of Perception or Science. For the warrant Necessity 
for the certainty and necessity in such knowledge | n know - 
is given if we show how scientific and perceptual 
activity are necessary forms of the experience of con- 


scious mind. The question regarding their necessary 
validity arises simply because they are different 
functions of mind, which can be distinguished, 
and which act separately. Their very isolation 
creates the problem of their value for experience : 
what do they contribute to the whole if they are a 
part? what is their necessity if they are separate 
and to that extent externally related ? Now ultim- 
ate necessity lies with the whole. Experience in its 
entirety is in the long run the only principle of 
necessity; "necessity of thought" is in the long 
run identical with "necessity of fact." Hence to 
fit each function into its place in experience is to 
give it the necessity belonging to it. And that is 
precisely the way we have to answer the problems 
of Hume and Kant. There can be no problem 
as to how we are to satisfy thought regarding 
necessity in Science, or in perceptual experience, 
because thought so taken is itself knowledge, and 
knowledge is not something on one side and the 
criticism of it something on the other. Both are 
knowledge, and criticism of knowledge is essentially 
self-criticism. Nor again is "knowledge" on one 
side and " mere perception " on the other. Both 
are knowledge, and both in any case are experience. 
Criticism of the necessity in perceptual experience 
is therefore again self-criticism of experience. 
TO Hence the statement of the connectedness of 

experience is at once the satisfaction of rationality 
and the expression of necessity in the content of 
experience. We cannot get outside it. Our inter- 
pretation is itself a phase of our experience, which 
experience itself must connect with other phases or 
forms. Experience must contain our explanation of 


it just as much as our explanation construes experi- 
ence. That is the only way our explanation can be 
true ; and such an explanation must in the nature of 
the case be true because it shows our explanation to 
be a necessary moment of experience itself. This 
means, in a word, that experience is self-explaining if 
we can find a way of connecting its diverse moments 
which will fit every aspect of it into its place in 
the whole. Such a method of explanation must 
lie in experience itself, be inherent in the very 
life of it. It will not be simply objective, though 
it will be so in the sense that the content of experi- 
ence is controlled by the method independent of 
merely individual selection and subjective caprice. 
That is, it will be objective in the sense of com- 
pletely universal, holding of each phase and at 
each stage, comprehending the whole in its sweep. 
It will, again, not be merely subjective, though it 
will be subjective in the sense that the subject 
mind is involved all along and must find that the 
connexion established completely satisfies its con- 
sciousness of unity. But that will free the connexion 
from the contingency of individual caprice, mere 
private interest and demand. In other words, it will 
be subjective and universal at the same time, which 
means it will be universal mind or mind as universal 
whose unity will be expressed. The connexion has 
to be both objective and subjective. It will be an 
" absolute " connexion. The method of explanation 
will have to be an " absolute " method. This is 
essential, since experience itself is both subjective 
and objective at once, and since beyond experience 
there is nothing. Experience is relative to nothing 
outside itself, and since it is the absolutely real, the 


method of explanation must be absolutely final ; the 
connexion is to lie in the very nature of experience. 
This is all that is meant by a method being 
"absolute." It does not mean that the thinker 
himself has given the final truth, but merely that 
there is no other way by which complete explanation 
can be attained, however successfully or unsuccess- 
fully any individual thinker works with it. And 
indeed this claim is justifiable and its truth self- 
evident. For clearly a method of explanation, 
which is not bound up with the contingency of 
individual caprice or the contingency of external 
objective fact, must be the ne plus ultra of explana- 
tion. It is experience "explaining" itself; and that 
surely is absolute explanation. The only doubt 
which remains is the doubt about any given attempt 
to express it, whether it has been in any system, 
or can be in general, successfully carried out. 
HOW it Now the way by which we may proceed 

proceeds to g* ve suc ^ an explanation is shortly this. Ex- 
to work, perience is, we saw, realised at once in individual 
minds and yet in no given individual mind 
completely. It takes all the diversity of finite 
mind to experience all that can fall within man's 
experience. With man's experience as a whole 
we are alone concerned, for this is the only experi- 
ence historically realised. The Divine Mind is 
a conscious experience for man, and hence the 
discussion of it falls within man's province. We 
could not think of it unless it fell inside our 
experience in some way. The religious aspect of 
experience is where most obviously and generally 
finite experience specifically and deliberately realises 
the life of Absolute Spirit ; and hence the Divine 


Mind as such comes up for definite consideration 
when the religious experience of finite mind is 
discussed. Whatever the real nature of such 
experience, it is none the less finite experience 
with which we are dealing. The same is true of 
the experience called Philosophy. It may tell us 
all we really know of Absolute Spirit, but it falls 
inside individual experience like everything else, 
and must be considered as a phase of it. Even, 
therefore, though it should turn out that in certain 
moods in experience we consciously seek to over- 
come finitude as such, they are still moods of finite 
experience in the first instance, and take their place 
amongst others. 1 To find, then, all that the experi- 
ence of finite mind contains we must deal at once 
with individuals, and with the whole of man's ex- 
perience as historically revealed. We may look on 
human experience as the experience of a compre- 
hensive individual, an individual who can or may 
live through all finite experience. If we take as 
the subject mind of finite experience what we have 
called a typical individual mind, we will do justice 
at once to the totality of human experience in all 
its diversity, and the individual form in which all 
finite experience is realised. 

Taking then such an individual as the centre i ts two 
of experience, we can look on the explanation 
experience in two distinct ways. We may try to 
show how the one individual mind assumes the 
various forms in which experience appears. We may 
explain experience as a series of forms which the 

1 The distinction of finite mind from finite mind is no doubt a fixed, and 
that between fini f " -id absolute mind a vanishing distinction, but in both cases 
finiteness has a positive significance. 


individual mind adopts in the process of realising 
itself in experience : or we may regard experience 
as the content which fills or can fill the life of the 
individual mind. In the one case we look upon 
experience from the point of view of concrete 
individual mind : in the other from the point of 
view of a universal mind. In the former experience 
is the expression or manifestation of the essence of 
individual mind, and is realised by its self-conscious 
activity ; in the other experience is the content so 
expressed, the completed result. These two ways 
are possible because experience has a subjective 
and an objective aspect, it is at once subjective and 
objective. And since they are inseparable, the two 
ways of dealing with experience are merely aspects 
of the same process. 

Unity of We must not think of subject and object as two 
and things separate and external from one another. 
This gi yes us dualism pure and simple. They are 
different aspects of a single identity. The object 
world is experience all in its diversity, the subject 
world is experience focussed in its unity. The real 
distinction, therefore, is not between two things 
subject and object, but between experience in its 
diversity, and experience in its unity. The former 
is objectivity pure and simple, the latter is 
subjectivity pure and simple. Because of the 
distinction between finite individuality and universal 
experience, the distinction between experience as 
objective and individual mind may assume the form 
of a contrast between a particular self, over against 
which stands the totality of experience ; and the 
one seems outside the other, external to it. But 
the whole life of an individual mind is the perpetual 


refutation of this opposition ; it is an incessant 
assertion of the identity between a finite individuality 
and complete experience. The finite individual 
mind has a relation to the content of human experi- 
ence as a whole the content of universal mind 
exactly similar to that between the momentary 
focus of a given individual's attention and the whole 
range of his presentational content. As the latter 
are continuous and inseparable so are the former. 

Because of the contrast between an individual The 
mind and its completely explicit experience, the f n ives 
relation between the two is necessarily one that is histor y- 
realised historically. The individual mind is not 
all at once the whole of experience as found in 
the life of humanity. It expresses experience in 
consciously distinct forms or stages, which are 
modes of its own complete life. Experience is 
realised in moments which are consciously successive 
to one another. From the point of view of the 
individual mind experience is a variety of historical 
appearances, it is a series of phenomena in the 
process of an individual life. To trace these stages 
and connect these appearances by constant reference 
to the ideal form which, as we said, they all imply, 
is to give a connected account of the phenomena 
of the life of individual- mind. It is what we may 
call a Phenomenology of Mind. 

The question to be answered is, how in the in- The 
dividual's life is a given special subject- object relation 
constituted so as to make a specific experience ? On 
the one hand, how does the subject-mind specifically 
function in reference to a specific object-content of its 
experience ? On the other, how does a determinate 
object-content constitute part of the life-history of 


an individual mind. The inquiry is carried out by 
means of a constant implicit and explicit reference 
to the ideal of experience. Hence to answer this 
question is at once to state the truth a given 
experience contains or aims at, and to determine 
the plane or level of experience it occupies. It is 
precisely the same question that is put from one 
end of experience to another, and precisely the 
same method of answering the question must 
be adopted. The fact that it is of the same mind 
that each question is asked ensures that the way of 
answering it will merely vary with what the 
experience is, and establishes a continuous con- 
nexion between all the forms in which the mind 

We have to take account of both subject and 
object at once, for the one changes with the other. 
The one is relative to the other, because both con- 
stitute what we mean by the individual's experience. 
And because we are dealing with the individual 
mind, the specific experience will imply a specific 
attitude of the mind in that experience. Subject 
activity and conscious content involve each other. 
Thus we can read the meaning of experience in the 
life-history of a typical or generalised individual 
soul. Completely carried out, then, we have here 
the answer to the question as to the nature of 
experience. 1 

1 When we drop the reference to the individual's experience and cease to 
regard the content of experience as phases of the life-history of the individual 
mind, experience falls into its component constituents, each separate and self- 
contained. What are stages from the point of view of an individual's experi- 
ence are distinct areas of reality when taken by themselves. What are 
fragments of a single experience are wholes when we eliminate, or treat as a 
kind of constant and invariable co-efficient, the individual whose experience 
they together constitute. They can therefore be dealt with by themselves as 


When we take knowledge or experience, as we HOW to 
shall call it, in the sense adopted by Hegel, it is at begm< 
first sight difficult to see where and how to begin 
the interpretation of it. All ordinary methods of 
procedure fail us ; because these in general start by 
assuming one phase of experience as ultimate or 
primary. To explain experience in such cases con- 
sists in finding how other aspects of conscious life 
are related to the one we fix upon, whether by way of 
derivation from it or reference to it as the source of 
validity. In our case no such assumptions are 
made, and the task of interpretation is correspond- 
ingly greater. When we look at conscious experi- 
ence historically, or phenomenologically, and seek 
to show its inner coherence, we might in a sense 
begin anywhere, with any of the forms in which 
experience appears. Since, as we have seen, the 
same kind of question is asked at all parts of 
experience, the analysis could be carried out from 
any point. But clearly this would not tend to 
produce the coherent connexion amongst all parts 
which is required. For this purpose we must know 
both how to proceed and where to begin. Now 
while an absolute beginning cannot in the nature of 

separate areas of reality, each with diverse content of its own, which can 
be rationally connected. Since individual mind must necessarily appear 
historically, this way of interpreting experience must differ from that of a 
Phenomenology, but only to the extent of making no reference to the modes 
of the life of individual mind. Now experience has a varied content : religious 
life, art, morality, what we call nature, organic and inorganic, science with 
all its various conceptions, etc. All these, then, can be handled from this 
point of view. All may be shown to be rationally constituted, resolvable into 
terms of reason. The various scientific constructions of these different parts 
of experience make up the entire range of the world of universal reason ; and 
these appear a^ TMlosophy of Law, Religion, Art, Logic, etc. The method 
of procedure will be here determined by the nature of reason itself, a nature 
which is of the essence of the self-consciousness. 


the case be merely assumed, we must assume that 
which makes any beginning possible, viz. the end 
which is to be attained. This determines not 
merely that there is a beginning but what the 
beginning must be. To that extent our inter- 
pretation of experience rests on an assumption. 
But this is inevitable. For we have to establish a 
certain result, namely, a connected experience, and 
we cannot put this down, so to say, all at once. It 
has to be realised by a process, and that process 
must have a beginning and a conscious determin- 
ing purpose from first to last. Our assumption is 
no more than such a determining purpose. From 
this the beginning is derived, and by this the con- 
nexion is established. It is not as such given by 
experience ; for this falls into discrete moments or 
modes. The absence of connexion is precisely 
what calls for a philosophy of experience. 
Assump- No doubt what we may call the "mood" of 

tions in 1 ...... . . i r 

phiio- philosophy is given in experience ; it is a phase or 
sophy. i ts ijf e g ut t h e wav philosophy is to accomplish 
its task is not given ; it has to be found and brought 
to light. Since it is not there to begin with, it must 
be assumed till it is established. And therein lies 
the peculiarity of the above assumption. It does 
not remain an assumption ; the working out of the 
connexion aimed at by philosophy removes from 
the assumption the characteristic of contingency and 
arbitrariness which would cast an initial doubt on its 
validity, and thus gives what was assumed the attri- 
bute of necessity. To establish an assumption is to 
destroy its nature as an assumption ; it is to " prove " 
it. In other words, the assumption is only such at 
the outset of the argument, not at the end. The 


argument itself makes the assumption a truth, or 
" proves " it. This is what is meant when it is 
said philosophy must do without any presuppositions, 
if it is to be accepted. Not that we cannot use 
assumptions in any sense ; but all assumptions must 
be established by philosophy itself, and so cease to 
be simply assumptions. They are merely required 
by the conditions of philosophical procedure. Their 
content finds its own place in the same system which 
they determine. When the system is completed, 
therefore, it contains no presuppositions. 

In this way we can get over an initial difficulty other 
which seems to be avoided, but in reality is not 
avoided, by those who take as ultimate a certain 
mode of experience, e.g. Sense-experience, and then 
proceed to explain all other phases of experience 
by reducing or referring them to that one form. 
Their procedure is ostensibly simple, and they can 
begin with that type of reality which they regard as 
ultimate. This is the plan adopted by Sensation- 
alism, or by Empiricism generally. Its success 
is merely apparent, however, because it fails in 
the nature of the case to prove that this type of 
experience is itself ultimately valid ; or, again, it 
fails to show how other modes of experience derive 
all their content from this one type without already 
in some way implying their content in that type. 
This objection has been repeatedly pointed out in 
the history of philosophy, and is the substance of 
the objections made against Empiricism by an 
idealistic cr ; nc like Green. 

The plan proposed, while thus apparently more 
difficult than that of other methods of interpretation, 
really accomplishes, provided it can be carried out, all 


that is required by complete philosophical theory, a 
theory which establishes its own necessity and pre- 
supposes nothing. But it is clear that it rests on a 
Phiio- peculiar view of the nature of "proof." Proof, in 
S oof Cal general, usually assumes at some stage in its process 
a provisional character whether it be in its premises, 
or in its results, or in its conditions. And, indeed, 
proof without conditions seems a contradiction in 
terms, since it is a means of relating incompletely 
intelligible parts of a whole to one another. On the 
above view, proof, to be complete or absolute, must 
be without conditions or qualifications ; for there is 
nothing to condition its worth or absoluteness ; it 
deals with the whole as a whole. The actual 
"proof" that the method is true consists in showing 
that its assumption appears as the final outcome of 
the experience which is to be connected : that is, 
the truth of the method of proof just lies in success- 
fully explaining experience by it. The success is 
seen not simply in the step- by-step connexion, 
but in showing that all experience leads finally 
to this end. It is a form of the "transcendental 
proof" used by Kant, but without his reserva- 
tions, and without the acceptance of the idea of 
a "possible" or contingent experience. It is the 
transcendental proof not as a regulative method for 
establishing necessity, but as a concrete organising 

The end is We ask then what is the end which determines 
1 ea ' the beginning and the manner of interpretation ? 
We saw that the meaning of experience lay in the 
essential unity of subject and object, its component 
and mutually related elements. And we saw that 
the ideal of such experience lay in the consciously 


complete identity of the two elements. This ideal 
is, then, the end at which it aims and from which 
the interpretation must start. 

Experience will be best realised, if there are what the 
to be different forms of its expression, when ldeal 1S> 
that unity is most explicit, when the subject and 
object are explicitly aspects of the same conscious 
unity. For then the subject will consciously be 
identical with its object, its object will be its very 
self. In this case, the object is self and aware of 
the subject, subject is self and aware of object ; or 
subject and object are each self-conscious. But this 
is only possible when the object is the self of the 
subject which has experience, and where this self- 
consciousness is absolutely all inclusive. It will be 
found in absolute self-consciousness, in that form 
of experience which we call the life of Absolute 

It is clear that this is the final reach of the activity 
of experience : it is the ideal of a completed experi- 
ence. For there is no opposition here which is not 
overcome ; there is no relation between subject and 
object (which is the essence of all opposition in ex- 
perience) which is not at the same time a conscious 
or explicit identity between them. Identity, to be 
complete, must be identity of content and not 
abstract or formal identity. Hence the consciously 
complete identity of subject and object must be 
found when the subject has for object its entire 
self, or wb~n we have absolute consciousness of 
self. But this means no more than, and no less 
than, that this form of experience is spiritual life 
pure and simple. It is the life of Spirit as such, 
complete and self-contained. Conscious spiritual 


experience is therefore the ideal of all finite experi- 

The Now we must note that this is not merely 

an end to which experience points, but one which 
j s DO th itself real, and underlies the life of experi- 
ence at all its stages. Thus the absolute con- 
scious unity of subject and object is implicit in the 
lowest form of, say, Sense-experience, and is explicit 
as a specific form of experience in, e.g., Religon. 
The unity is in most cases of experience only 
implicit : but what is implicit is this completely 
conscious identity. The unity of subject and object 
must be there, otherwise there is no experience : 
subject and object would then fall apart and be 
sundered by the whole diameter of being. But the 
unity itself as a conscious unity only comes fully 
to light in certain forms of experience (viz. Re- 
ligion and Philosophy). This completely expressed 
identity, then, is the controlling or constitutive unity 
throughout all experience. 

it is not The only alternative to admitting this is to 
re g ar d the final goal of experience as a "mere 
ideal " at which the individual life aims, but never 
reaches, i.e. it remains always a mere "point of 
view." This puts it outside the range of actual life ; 
it never is a reality, but a possibility, not a fact but 
a problem, not a certainty but a " postulate." As 
such it can have no constitutive or determining force 
on our actual experience. Experience would then 
have to be interpreted by a principle which never 
transcends the immediate opposition of subject and 
object, never reaches the inner nature of that unity 
in which they subsist. This unity would in that 
case either be simply acknowledged, and called a 


" mystery " ; l or else it would be denied altogether ; 2 
and then we have thorough-going dualism, which 
means in the long run scepticism regarding ultimate 

The conception of the reality of that unity as The 
an actual form of experience, and of its function in concrete. 
determining all forms of experience, is thus pre- 
cisely the extreme antithesis of both mysticism 
and scepticism. It is the deliberate adoption of 
the idea of a complete experience as the principle 
for illuminating all other forms of experience. It 
starts from the actuality of a complete self-conscious 
unity, and from that seeks to determine how every 
other form of conscious unity is constituted, and 
how all are connected through their common im- 
plication of this highest form. For these two 
steps are connected together. To show how every 
form of experience is constituted by this idea of 
a completely conscious unity, is also to show 
how they are related to each other, because they 
are all forms of experience, and therefore different 
realisations of the one complete unity dominating all 

Now this is not a startling principle to adopt, import 
It really means no more than that we are in of . thl . s . 

. . . principle. 

earnest with the principle that self-consciousness is 
the key to the meaning of experience, a principle 
laid down by Kant, and indeed found in different 
ways, as Hegel tried to show, throughout the history 
of philosophy. Consciousness of self is a relation 

1 The position of " Deism." 

2 The position of " Agnosticism." It is curious to find dualism at the basis 
of these abstract and opposite positions. They are indeed closely allied in 
other ways. It is easy to pass from the abstract assertion that the Unity is, to 
the equally abstract assertion that we do not know what it is. 



of an object to a subject. It is therefore an 
experience. And because the unity of its two sides 
is made explicit by their content being the same, 
we have there the very idea of all experience fully 
and consciously expressed, viz. the unity of subject 
and object. To adopt it as a ground of explanation 
does not involve, therefore, as is done in so many other 
cases, taking an external arbitrary principle of some 
kind, fitting experience into it, and then, in virtue of 
the coherence or symmetry thereby secured, calling 
it "intelligible." The point is that experience in 
any and all its forms implies this principle. Hence 
to interpret experience by the idea of consciousness 
of self is to interpret experience by itself, by what 
experience really is when fully expressed. 

It does not matter whether this complete 
experience is spoken of as the ideal experience of 
"finite" mind or as "absolute" mind. It is finite 
experience absolutised, finite experience completed. 
Whatever more this may mean, and does mean, 
that is enough to begin with as an end from 
which and by which to look at all finite modes 
of experience. We have, in short, simply to deal 
with completed self- consciousness as such, as an 
explicit identity of subject and object. In what 
form of experience the attainment of this is found, 
and what that form contains this is itself part of 
the inquiry. 

Again, it must not be supposed because the 
hngs> ideal of experience is actually realised in the 
religious life or in philosophical consciousness, that, 
relatively to this, other forms are to be so interpreted 
and understood as if they were incomplete expres- 
sions of the philosophical or religious experience. 


That would commit the error against which the 
idealistic interpretation is a protest, the error, namely, 
of regarding one type of experience as essentially 
real and the other's "appearances" of it as if one 
form were in strictness the only form, the others 
being unsuccessful attempts to express it, and, 
because unsuccessful, erroneous, and therefore to be 
merely superseded altogether. This is the mistake 
made by those who lay exclusive emphasis on 
Religion or on Philosophy. It is the fallacy of 
enthusiasm, fanaticism, and over-concentration of 
any kind. It is as false as the attempt made by 
Empiricism and Sensationalism to reduce all ex- 
perience whatsoever to mere manipulation of the 
elements of sense-experience ; and is false for the 
same general reason. If we take Religion to be the 
only real experience, because fully satisfying the 
notion of experience, then we proceed to divide 
experience into "reality" and "mere appearance"; 
and thereby fall back on a distinction which brings 
in again precisely the dualism we want to get over, 
and do get successfully over in the religious life. 
Such a division of experience makes the religious 
unity itself merely abstract, a bare unity ; and this may 
very easily suggest to a mind absorbed in other modes 
of experience, e.g. the scientific, that very possibly 
this bare unity may itself be "appearance" or even 
illusion a development very often found in reac- 
tions from mysticism. 1 If, again, Philosophy is taken 
as the only valid experience in the same one-sided 
way, we ma/ come to look on Science, Perception, 

1 Mr. Bradley's conception of Reality and Appearance arises out of such 
an over-emphasis as that described, and is in part open to the objection 


Morality, etc., as merely incomplete revelations of a 
meaning completely realised in Philosophy. We tend 
to look on them as imperfect attempts to express 
the real nature of experience as a whole, or different 
"points of view," as it is sometimes put, from which 
we look at "reality." This is more often done in 
the case of Religion, which is at times spoken of 
as merely figurative or symbolic philosophy. But it 
is sometimes carried to other forms of experience 
as well. 1 

Every Such results are only possible through laying ex- 

experience elusive emphasis on the negative significance of the 
is positive relation of complete experience to the other forms. 
in its It overlooks the fact that all forms of experience 
degree. are rea j anc j actua ] j us t because they are experience, 

because expressing a relation between subject and 
object, no matter what the relation be. Each there- 
fore is essentially and fundamentally positive in 
character. This indeed is recognised by ordinary 
thought, or "common sense," where, while one 
form of experience may be allowed to check or 
limit another, yet all are given their place. The 
question of the worth of any particular form of 
experience itself assumes its positive reality, and only 
arises because of that positive or " real " nature. 
Moreover, the question, as to the value of a given 
form, only arises in certain cases and for certain 
purposes, which for the most part are of a practical 
kind. In practical life the question as to the worth 
of all and every form of experience in its entirety, 
really never arises. It is only when we make the 

1 This is seen, e.g. , in Mr. Mackenzie's view of the forms of experience as so 
many different " constructions " of experience, perceptual, moral, aesthetic, etc. 
See Outlines of Metaphysics. 


connexion amongst all parts of experience our 
special problem, viz. in Philosophy, that we attempt 
to show in a thorough-going manner the relation 
between its various forms. And it is then only that 
the danger occurs of pressing too far the negative 
effect of comparing higher and lower forms. 1 It 
is then, in short, that we are apt to desert the 
positive ground on which all experience really 
rests, and from which the philosophical problem 
itself arises. 

All forms, then, are at once positive and negative, Every 
and must be so regarded. All are necessary, because ^&~ 
subject and object must take up all forms of relation negative. 
to each other in order to exhaust the possibilities of 
experience. In working with the conception of 
complete experience we can see more clearly the 
sort of question we have to ask and answer regard- 
ing each form. That is all it does for us. We 
cannot deduce the various forms from it, because 
Philosophy is reconstruction not creation. Rather 
we deduce it from them by a long process. And 
the question it asks is : What in the light of com- 
plete self-consciousness does the unity of subject 
and object in a given form amount to ? how is the 
identity they imply expressed and constituted in The 
each case ? By asking this of every form we < i uestion ' 
shall ultimately show how all finite experience is 

We use, then, the idea of complete experience to 
show in what, in the given forms of experience, the The 
relation of subject to object consists. By showing ar s ument - 
this in ^he case of all forms we shall at once explain 
the meaning of every experience, the meaning of all 

1 This danger is seen in Mr. Bradley's analysis. 


relations of subject to object, and we shall thereby 
establish the principle from which we set out, that 
complete self -consciousness is the ideal of all ex- 
perience. This will show that experience, because 
essentially self-conscious, is self- explaining, for the 
principle in use all through is itself revealed by ex- 
perience. The form of experience in which this ideal 
of experience is found is what we call Philosophy 
or completed knowledge. Hence the whole argu- 
ment is merely a persistent and consistent application 
of the essential principle of Philosophy, viz. complete 
experience, to explain all experience philosophically. 
This may seem a circle or a transparent common- 
place, whichever way we please to look at it. It is 
enough to remark that it is at least a legitimate 
position to take up, and in a sense is so obvious as 
to need no comment at all. It is saying no more 
than that for philosophy to do its own business it 
must justify itself to itself completely, it must be 
self-determining from first to last. 

This, then, being the end and principle from 
which and by which to work, the first step is to find 
out where to begin, and what are the main stages 
The through which the argument must pass. This is 
easily stated. We have, as we have said, subject 
and object as the antithetic elements in the concrete 
reality of conscious experience, and the key to its 
entire meaning lies in the complete explicit unity 
of the two, the subject conscious of itself in its object. 
Now the individual subject may be aware of an 
object as purely and simply other than, opposed to, 
itself, have not even a feeling of implicit unity with 
it. It may, again, be aware of self as other than 
but implicitly one with the subject-mind conscious 


of it. And, finally, it may have overcome all sense 
of otherness in its object, and be fully and explicitly 
aware of itself in the object of which it is conscious. 
More simply, perhaps, we may say that in the first 
stage the individual is conscious of objects which 
are prima facie quite alien to and outside the 
subject ; in the second, of the self, but as something 
which is ostensibly different from, and over against 
the subject conscious of it ; in the third, of the self 
as transparently identical with the subject. 



Nature THE first stage is found in the simplest and, for con- 

and mean- .1 r r 

ing of sciousness, the most primitive form of experience 
sense-ex- consciousness of objects of the world of Sense. It 
is here, as has been recently argued, 1 that the con- 
scious relation of self and not-self first dawns. That 
is the fundamental or simplest form of experience, 
the simplest form of objectivity on the one hand 
and of subjectivity on the other. It is here that 
objectivity is what is named "external." 1 The 
object at this stage is simply the not-self in general, 
and the form of experience in which we find it 
specifically is what we call Sense-experience, con- 
sciousness of objects of Sense. The analysis of 
Sense-experience will bear this out. 

niustra- Indirectly this epistemological conception is con- 
sense as firmed by the familiar everyday fact of the strange- 
not-seif. ness> tne unpredictability, the elusiveness of the 
world of sense, which in different ways affect the 
attitudes of individuals towards it. Thus to the 
religious mind it may give rise to the feeling of the 

1 By Adamson, Lectures, vol. i. part v. c. I. 

2 Objectivity as " external " is just the space- character of this content of 



nothingness of the sense-world, its very variety 
being an indication of its inadequacy to reveal the 
ultimate One to which that type of mind clings. 
Or it may seem the veil of an inner reality, i.e. 
its mystery and strangeness are transferred to a 
permanent reality which merely shines through the 
infinite detail of its pattern, and, because it is a 
mere veil, it sinks to the level of a means which 
loses its own terrors as such, and may be ultimately 
destroyed, burnt up, or, as it is put, " rolled 
together like a scroll." Its elusiveness, again, 
is for the ordinary mind the source of all the 
suggestiveness of sense, of its symbolical character, 
of those " obstinate questionings of sense and out- 
ward things," of "blank misgivings of a creature 
moving about in worlds not realised." So, too, its 
unpredictability is the source, e.g., of the perpetual 
reserve which guards all our judgments concerning 
sense-experience other than what we have lived 
through, and even concerning that also a reserve 
which pursues empirical knowledge to its utmost 
limit of accuracy. It is the source, further, at once 
of the contingency found by science, and of its 
incessant and necessarily endless attempt to remove 
it. All these together make the self-conscious in- 
dividual feel himself so detached from the world of 
sense as to be able to withdraw from it altogether 
into his own inner life, and even to doubt its very 
existence. 1 

This act of withdrawal has appeared at different 
times throughout the history of philosophy, more<os 
particularly, however, in modern philosophy, from attitude 


1 As is done by the higher "mysticism" an abstract but supreme form of the world 
self-consciousness. of sense. 


the time of Descartes' doubt regarding the world 
of sense - objects. It is seen in the perpetually 
recurring problem as to the " existence," or at least 
as to the nature of the existence, of the so-called 
" external world " the problem sometimes described 
as the nature of " external perception." To the 
ordinary concrete mind, and to the scientific con- 
sciousness, as well as to absolute idealism, this may 
indeed appear a very singular problem to raise. 
And when it is looked at as the only problem of 
philosophy (as it is, e.g., by Berkeley), it may well be 
considered inherently inadequate as an expression 
of the whole problem of philosophy, and essentially 
incapable of solution under the conditions in which 
it is raised. This is partly proved by the result of 
Berkeley's own analysis. But it is just as evident 
when we look at the amount of experience which it 
leaves out of account, and which cannot be ignored 
by philosophy. Thus the nature of Moral Experi- 
ence, or the Moral World, does not fall inside such 
a problem ; and yet it has to be introduced even 
in the solution which is offered. We see this in 
Descartes' appeal to the moral goodness of God as 
a guarantee for the belief in the existence of external 
things, and in the way moral ideas are used by 
Berkeley throughout his argument. This, again, 
comes out in a striking manner in Hume, who was, 
for historical reasons, concerned primarily with this 
narrow conception of the problem of philosophy. 
For him, there seems no doubt at all about the 
reality of moral distinctions and the moral life in 
general ; for him, any one who treats them sceptically 
is looked upon as insincere from the start. This 
merely proves indirectly that the external world is 


not the only object of experience, and cannot 
therefore, as his sceptical analysis of perception 
seemed to suggest, exhaust the whole problem of 
philosophy. For surely the moral life is a reality 
just as much as so-called external things. The 
same remark holds good in regard to scientific 
realities, realities of the scientific consciousness, say, 
in the case of mathematics, or, again, as regards the 
reality of the religious consciousness. These can- 
not be affected by the analysis of the meaning of 
the "external world." The application of the same 
methods of analysis to these kinds of reality as to the 
problem of the external world, reveals, by the very 
inadequacy of the result attained, the futility of 
confining the question to this one problem. For 
the relation of the object to the subject is different 
in these cases, and does not appeal to us in the 
same way. Thus it never seems to occur to any 
mind, still less to the ordinary or the scientific mind, 
to doubt the existence of the Moral Order, or Social 
Life. No one, for instance, doubts the existence of 
his friend, or his family ; at least if doubts occur, he 
finds it better to keep his doubts to himself! The 
reason is that these simply do not belong to the 
world of sense alone, or to the world of perception, 
and hence they cannot and do not take up the same 
relation of externality or " otherness " to his self, as 
is possible in the case of the world of the things 
of "sense." They are a different kind of object, 
and while they may and do appear in sensuous 
form, Sdise, as we are well aware, does not exhaust 
their meaning and reality. So much so that even 
death, or the negation of their sense reality, is taken 
to be no absolute or necessary barrier to their 


continued reality. Hence it is that the appeal to, 
or consciousness of, deeper realities, i.e. realities 
entering more into the inmost life of the subject, 
than we find to be the case with external things, 
often provides the arresting point to thoroughgoing 
mental uncertainty regarding reality in general, not 
merely in the ordinary life-history of individual 
minds, but in actual philosophical systems as we 
find, e.g., in Hume, or again, in a different way, in 
Kant. Such higher or "inward" realities are deliber- 
ately or unconsciously used to turn the flank of a 
sceptical attack on knowledge even in regard to the 
external world. 

The signi- But that the doubt can arise at all regarding the 
external world of things of sense, shows conclusively 

sopincai how thorough and complete the opposition can be 

doubt' . \ . 

regarding and is between mind and objects at the simplest or 
sense-ex- j owest l eve l o f experience. The extremeness of the 


opposition is there always, and merely comes to 
light in an extravagant or excessive form when 
men doubt either philosophically or otherwise the 
existence of external things altogether. Strictly 
carried out, such a doubt is bound to lead either 
negatively to pure Scepticism, or positively to pure 
Solipsism, which, inside the limits within which 
it keeps, cannot really be answered, a characteristic 
which led Voltaire to remark that Solipsism was 
madness, but beyond the reach of argument or 

We start, then, with this opposition of subject and 
object in its unqualified and extreme form, and we 
ask how is experience in such a case constituted. 
What is the nature of that essential unity which so 
relates these opposite elements as to form a concrete 


experience ? We put this same question when we 
ask what is the "truth" of this experience, truth 
here meaning the nature of the specific identity which 
unites subject and object. 

The opposition here considered appears in differ- Forms of 
ent ways. Mere Sense -experience is its simplest 
and most obvious form. But we find the same kind (i) Sensa- 
of opposition in other phases of experience. When tr 
we speak of "perceiving" an object, we draw a firm 
line between our perceiving and the object perceived. 
We say, e.g., the object is out there, whether we per- 
ceive it or not, or even whether anybody perceives 
it or not. The object-world as perceived is sharply (2) Per- 
separated from the subject-mind experiencing it in ce P tlon - 
and through Perception. This is the position of 
common sense, and to some extent of the scientific 
mind ; so much so that the sphere of independent 
" fact " for science and common sense lies generally 
in the objects of Perception. " Facts " are taken 
to be precisely what instruct and mould the mind, 
and so are independent of, "external to," the sub- 
ject, whose business it is merely to accept what 
he "finds," or "what his senses teach him." So 
separate are the objects, that our mind is held 
to refer to them by a process of its own which 
may err; but, it is held, the "facts" never can. 
Hence, since we can refer truly or falsely to this 
world, our experience of it takes the form of specific 
kinds of judgments, Judgments of Perception. All 
our perceptual knowledge takes this form. Our 
ideas here " refer to " this object-world which we 
perceive, but which is " apart from " our minds. Yet 
in spite of this independence, it is also maintained 
that the world we perceive seems to depend on, or, 


at least, be qualified by, the nature of the subject 
perceiving. For the variety of our avenues of 
Perception suggests the possibility of others in 
differently constituted perceiving subjects ; while the 
variation of the actual content of the perceivable 
world according to the position in time or space, 
the condition of the organism, etc., of the perceiving 
subject, leads to the recognition of a certain amount 
of dependence of the content of objects perceived 
upon the subject. 

Conse- This contrast between the apparently self-evident 

quences opposition or separation of subject and object in 
contrast Perception on the one hand, and their undeniable 
o" pS- 0886 reciprocal dependence on the other, leads the re- 
ception, flective philosophical mind, in the long run, to raise 
the question (above mentioned) regarding the mean- 
ing of an independent world of Perception. It leads 
also to the historic distinction between "primary 
sense - qualities " and "secondary sense -qualities," 
the ground of distinction being the accidental or 
the necessary character of the relation of subject to 
object in the case of any given quality, according as 
the quality is primary or secondary. I f it is accidental, 
the quality perceived is primary, the subject "makes 
no difference " to the object ; if it is necessary, the 
quality is derivative or secondary, the subject is 
essential to determine the quality. It leads again 
to the distinction between the " that " and the 
"what" in judgments of Perception, the "what" 
referring to the content of the judgment, the " that " 
to the existence of the object to which "ideas," 
the media of judgment, are taken to " refer." Here 
the separation is limited to the " thatness " of the 
perceived object, the "whatness" can belong, or 


does belong, to the sphere of ideas. The " that " 
is always immediate, the "what" mediate; and since 
the " that " is beyond ideas, it is beyond judgment 
and so beyond knowledge. 1 From this again arises 
what is called the separation of "reality" and 
" thought," a separation implying a dualistic view of 

But yet another form of sharp separation between (3) Ap 
subject and object is to be found, one which, to l^th 
some extent, has still to do with the world as Super- 
experienced in sensation, and as perceived. Both 
common sense and in part the scientific mind are 
accustomed to speak of the world we know as one of 
" appearance " ; and what appears in it and through 
it is some active force or power at work behind the 
screen or veil revealed to Sense and Perception. 
This " world of appearance " may be ordered by 
"laws." These laws are not found in Perception. 
They are construed apart from it ; 2 but, because 
unseen, they are referred to an "invisible" "non- 
sensuous " world. They are ways in which the 
non-sensuous world produces order in the sensuous 
world. Similarly, we may refer the varied motions or 
processes of the sensuous world to hidden "forces" 
of which these motions are the expression. The 
"expression" is before consciousness when perceiv- 
ing ; it appears : the " force " is beyond what appears. 

These distinctions are found in the attitude 
of science, and are certainly seen at work in 
common thought. Here an abrupt opposition is 

1 Hence the "representative" theory of "external perception," where 
ideas "intervene" between the subject and the "that" (the existence) of the 

2 Le. They are determined in the first instance negatively as regards Per- 
ception : they are " not seen," intangible, etc. 


established between the subject-mind on the one 
hand, and a non-sensuous object-world on the other. 
The sensible manifestations, as such, of this world 
create no opposition for the subject to overcome. 1 
The opposition is maintained between object and 
subject by means 0/"them. Since it does not fall in- 
side sensible experience, it is now set up between a 
non-sensuous object in a super-sensible world and 
the subject. When this is done the opposed factors 
(subject and object) are now seemingly further 
apart than ever ; 2 for we have all the wealth of 
sensible experience between them, separating them 
from each other and from ultimate union. All 
sensible experience may be said even to be de- 
pendent on the subject and its activity ; and if so, it 
is then held to be " phenomenal " of a world beyond 
the range of Sensation and Perception proper. 
The sensible world is epiphenomenal, as regards, 
and in contrast with, a noumenal non-sensuous 
reality, into which the subject "cannot penetrate." 
This may be expressed in the form which Goethe 
puts into the mouth of the physicist, " No creature's 
mind can pierce within dark nature's inner secret." 
Here it is held we only know what " appears," never 
what " ultimately exists " ; that remains in permanent 
opposition and externality to the subject. Or it 
may find a philosophical expression, as, e.g., in the 
case of Kant, where the actual life of experience 
consists in objects being determined and unified by 
functions of the subject on the one side working upon 
the matter of sense on the other, the whole lying 

1 They are held to be directly present to it, whether as its own ideas or 

2 i.e. further apart than they were at the level of, e.g., Perception. 


between two non-experienced, i.e. non-perceivable 
noumenal realities, the pure ego-subject and the 
mere thing per se. These last are sundered by the 
whole diameter of being, and neither known nor 
united at any point. They are simply opposed, so 
much so that even to say anything regarding them 
is to endanger the sacred silence which guards their 
being from the invasion of knowledge. 

This separation of subject and object by means This is the 
of a distinction between phenomena and noumena, 
sensible and super-sensible, is an acknowledgment opposi- 
at once of their necessary connexion in actual 
experience, and yet of their being still opposed 
and external to each other. It pushes the factors 
in opposition (subject and object) beyond the 
bounds of all sensible experience, as if at all costs 
it would refuse to surrender the assertion of their 
separation. The distinction, which first of all holds 
of and constitutes sensible experience, becomes now 
a distinction between a sensible and a super-sensible. 
world. If this opposition is not to be absolutely 
maintained in the case of Perception, as above 
described, then it must at any rate hold good of 
what is beyond perceptual experience. Yet, since 
the two worlds (sensible and super-sensible) must 
still somehow be thought of as continuous, experi- 
ence being a unity, the difficulty which arises from 
setting up something beyond sensible experience, 
opposed to the subject of experience, has to be 
got over. This is done in some cases by saying 
that sensible experience is phenomenal of a nou- 
menal world, that objects perceived are "appear- 
ances " of an unknown reality. 1 

1 All this is clearly the result of an attempt to justify at a higher level of 





three are 
the same 
type of 

These three ways of taking the relation between 
subject and object must be considered together. 1 

experience, through a process of reflection, the same kind of separation of 
subject and object which we find in the case of sense-experience and percep- 
tion. We would see that it is so if we considered how they are specifically 
constituted. We should then also discover how ultimately the separation 
has to be and is overcome altogether. Science, we find, for example, some- 
times falls back on some monistic principle, or, again, on a quasi-religious 
intuition into the ultimate nature of things, i.e. into what lies "beyond" in 
the super-sensible. Other forms of experience, again, assert, and work in 
ordinary life by the assumption of, an essential identity between the two 
elements, an identity which may find expression in the so-called rationality of 
the world as a whole whose nature the subject shows. In short, actual 
experience and reflection upon experience, in the long run, are forced to abandon 
the attempt to keep the two factors of experience absolutely apart and 
external ; and to put their separation in a super-sensible world is seen to be, 
what it is in reality, a mere refuge in the unknown for maintaining the 
necessity of an inherently false position. 

If they are really separate, why these elaborate devices to establish what, 
to begin with, should be obvious : if they are not separate, our aim should 
rather be to show that they are distinctions inside a unity. The distinction 
between real and phenomenal, sensible and super-sensible, are merely made to 
keep the two as far apart as possible. The very failure to make the result 
coherent, as in the case of Kant, is evidently an indication that the business 
of reflection is also to bring them together and show their place in a single 
identity a result which, in fact, is accomplished by carrying experience to a 
higher level. This will appear in the sequel. 

1 They may, indeed, in a sense be looked at as three different ways of 
trying to secure the same result to maintain the conscious distinction between 
subject and object as a separation of opposite elements in spite of their unity, a 
unity which must and does assert itself somehow in experience in each case, and 
which analysis of that experience shows to be there all the while. First, there 
is the sensation and the sense-quality, the sense-response on one side and the 
sense-stimulus on the other. But the reciprocal variation of the two and the 
essential continuity between them breaks down their independence and asserts 
their unity as a conscious fact. The opposition failing there, it next takes the 
form of a separation of the unity of sense-qualities and the function of uniting 
them, of thing and perceiving, percept and perception. But here, again, the 
mutual interdependence of the two sides, the dependence of the character and 
existence of the " thing " on the selective reaction of the acts of percipience, 
and of the function of perceiving on the permanence of the percept, fuses the 
separated elements into the continuity of a single unified experience. The 
opposition now seems to have failed utterly : sense-experience and perceptual 
experience do not exist by opposition of subject and object so much as by their 
indissoluble unity. Yet the opposition dies hard, and will not be given up. To 
make a last stand it is taken out of mere sense-experience altogether, and is set 
up as an opposition between what is sense and what is not sensuous between a 
1 ' sensible " and ' ' super-sensible " world. Here the separation, the ' ' externality " 


Their fundamental characteristic is, that in them 
subject and object are held separate from each other. 
The special feature in each case is what we may 
call the relation to "sensibility" in some form or 
other. It lies in Sense-experience proper, it is 
present in Perception, it is essential to the distinc- 
tion between a Phenomenal and Super-sensible world. 
There is a direct connexion between the external 
relation of subject and object on the one hand and 
this implication of the element of sense. For 
sensibility consists essentially in the external rela- 
tion of parts to each other indefinitely. The parts 
in sense-experience are outside each other : " this " 
is "here," "that" is "there"; the "now" is a unit 
marked off from a " then." Sensibility is not some- 
thing which makes these distinctions and relations 
possible ; it just is this relating of parts externally 
to each other. Hence to look upon experience as 
at all sensuous, bound up with sense, means simply 
that we look on subject and object (the final factors 

of subject and object, becomes almost a kind of unconscious irony of experience 
itself. For what it sets up as utterly opposed and "external" to another as a 
fact of experience, an opposition defying the unity of them in experience, has 
been itself created by that very unity itself and in its own interests. And this 
comes out when we see that the sensible world, which is the typical form of 
external opposition, of one thing being "outside" another, is itself put as a 
whole outside what is not sensible, what is .r&^r-sensible. This at once stultifies 
the very meaning of external opposition, external separation. For what is 
" super-sensible " cannot be " external " to what is "sensible," if sense alone 
contains " externality" ; and sense as a -whole cannot be " external" to what 
is not-sensible, for the same reason. Either, therefore, the super-sensible falls 
within what is sensible, or else the relation between them is not that of 
"externality." The first is impossible, and naturally enough, therefore, we 
find that the relation of " externality" is transmuted altogether, and becomes 
one between what "appears" and what "abides," between "phenomenal" 
and "noumenal," and the world of sense becomes an expression of (not 
external to) the super-sensible. And thus the original professed separation 
fails utterly and disappears altogether into the unity of a single self-conscious 
experience. The following argument brings this out. 


in experience) as outside each other ; and conversely, 
when subject and object are opposed externally 
experience is necessarily sensuous. Experience 
qud sensible is the specific and concrete way in 
which external opposition is felt and spoken of in 
ordinary life. 

Sense-ex- What we have to do is to show how they are 
perience j^y together in an individual mind so as to form 

roer . . . 

a concrete single experience. 1 his means showing 
the unity which relates them, the identity which 
holds them within itself as differences. In the case 
of mere Sensation or mere Sense-experience this is 
comparatively easy. The general quality of all 
sense-experience is the simple immediate existence 
of a conscious content. It is not a " reference " of 
our ideas to sense ; for there is at this level of 
mind-life no distinction between ideas and other 
" things." Conscious content simply is. Take as 
example the sense of colour qud sense, and elimin- 
ate all reference to distinct ideas of intensities in 
colour, names of colours, etc., all of which imply 
comparison and developed thought. The colour 
simply fills our sense of sight: it is just the general 
sense of sight modified in a specific way at a 
specific point. No man is conscious, in sense- 
experience, of a distinction between the mere filling 
of his eyes with light, and some idea of light in his 
mind which is referred to a luminous area, any more 
than he is conscious of a distinction at all between 
his open eye and light. To open his eye means 
exactly seeing. A colour is for sense-experience no 
more than a modification of this general luminous 
area. So of any other form of mere sense-experience. 
This quality of merely being, without further dis- 


tinctions, we express by such terms as "here," 
" now," " then," " there," " this," " that," etc. These 
terms are primarily used to convey to ourselves and 
others precisely this immediate presence of a sense 
content, the mere consciousness of a sense quality. 

They do not all have the same specific connota- 
tion. "This" is not the same as "here," and 
" now " is different from both. But these are merely 
variations of the same kind of conscious life. 1 

Now whether expressed or unexpressed these sense- 
are the only ways in which mere Sense-experience f s x i* 
appears. Take from an object of nature, e.g. a tree, sickness. 
all the complex notions which make up its full 
meaning for science and developed knowledge, sub- 
stance, activity, life, laws, etc., and what we have left 
ultimately is merely a sense-experience of a this-here- 
and-now. The "this" is, say, green here and now. 2 
And, again, because any given " this " is opposed to 
another " that," which too may come to be looked on 
as a "this," Sense-experience as a whole breaks up 
into a multitude of parts all outside of, and side-by- 
side with, each other. All can be equally named in 
exactly the same way, as "this," "that," "here," 
etc. The parts of Sense- experience simply fall 
outside each other, have no inner coherence, and 
imply no active construction. Hence it is that in 
such experience subject and object are looked on 
by developed self-conscious life as furthest apart. 
How then does a " this " experience, an experience 

1 i.e. parts of the same objective continuum of sense the parts being side- 
by-side, external. "This," "that," etc., express externality in different ways 
and degrees. 

2 It is because sense-experience seems thus " found," not made, " picked up," 
not constructed by developed intelligence, that to higher thought it appears so 
" external," that the object we are conscious of, the this, seems " outside" us. 


consisting of "thises," "heres," "nows," etc., have a 

unity at all, a concrete identity of diverse elements ? 

The In the first place, let us observe that the term 

"this "is t his," "that," etc., can apply to an indefinite 

universal. / 

number of parts of Sense-experience. Sense seems 
at first to be merely particular, a " this " seems com- 
plete in its isolation, and falls outside the subject, 
which is merely another particular alongside it, "this" 
ego, " this " subject. But just because each is looked 
at as a " this," a particular " this " cannot be a mere 
term for particularity. It applies to all cases of 
Sense-experience, and hence is universal. That is 
inevitable, because merely to isolate particulars is to 
give all the same character, namely, isolation, and 
hence the character of isolatedness is itself universal, 
embracing all cases of itself. For that reason " this " 
does not express and cannot express merely parti- 
cularity at all, it is in some way universal. Particular 
" thises " are thus not absolutely external to each 
other, they are manifestations of and in a universal, 
and so imply each other. A "this" contains in 
itself implicitly a "not this," and both fall inside the 
universal of thisness in general. 

The But that may seem merely an argument based on 

is an* ^ e use f wor ds, on tne f act that " this," like every 
immediate word, has always at least a potentially universal 
application. It implies, however, a deeper truth. 
The immediate of sense-consciousness is a totality, 
a continuum, compassing in its sweep all the parts 
into which it may become differentiated by interest 
or attention or otherwise. The total immediate is 
alone the "this-now," and the various "thises" or 
" nows " are merely selected out of it. They each 
mean the totality, because otherwise they would 


not themselves be, since it alone is the immediate. 
Thus if "now" does not mean the total "now," it 
makes the rest of the " now," and hence relatively 
itself, a " then." Hence a "this," while seemingly 
a discrete particular, is really an attempt to con- 
centrate into a single point, into a " this-here," the 
totality of the immediate which alone is "this-here." 
The attempt is no doubt justified, because every 
part of the immediate of sense is alike qua immediate, 
and hence the same term will apply to any part of 
it. This is practically all that is required for the 
direct purposes of the ordinary life of every day, 
where these terms are perpetually recurring. The 
context of fact, and the common understanding of 
men, save them from the confusion which analysis 
can detect. But none the less the attempt is un- 
successful and the position untenable. No particular 
" this " can express fully the total immediate, and it 
alone is what is present to consciousness. The latter 
is always present, but the former is inadequate to it. 
We may try to avoid this conclusion by saying we 
mean "a this": analysis shows at once that this is 
mere redundancy. From this failure arises the 
view often put forward that language cannot express 
the mere particular " this " at all. That, however, 
is not due to the inadequacy of language to deal 
with actual experience, but because of the absence 
of any experience to which language in such a 
case could really refer. " This," for Sense, always 
means what is universal, namely, the total immediate 
of sense -experience ; and hence language, which 
must be universal, is quite equal to what " this " 
means, but must necessarily be unequal to what 
"this" may pretend^ express but can never mean. 


We never mean this isolated, discrete, dissociated 
particular of Sense, because that is inherently with- 
out significance of any kind to any mind. " This," 
"now," etc., thus stands for what is universal. 
This is There is a further reason, too. Any "this" includes 

generic. j n j tse ]f a mu i t ipli c ity of "thises"; "now" contains a 
plurality of "nows." This is seen in familiar ways. 
We say "now it is day"; but this "now" includes 
hours, which again are " nows." " Here is a table." 
" Here " includes spaces, points, etc., which again 
are "heres," and so on. But a "now" which con- 
tains plurality within itself as its own is a universal. 
Similarly of " this " and the other terms. 
Sense is a We see, then, that the real nature of sense- 
consc i usness nes i a universal which contains the 
parts of sense-life as differences. That universal is 
just the continuity of the process which makes up the 
life-history of immediate sense-experience. This may, 
by selective interest or otherwise, appear in distinct 
phases or parts. But each as readily becomes its 
opposite, and this fluent interchangeableness con- 
stitutes the identity between them. The incessant 
change of sense-life is due to its being a mere varia- 
tion of the same simple form of existence, is due 
in fact to the interchangeableness of its content ; a 
" this " can equally well become a " that," a " now " a 
" then," and so on. This incessant change of similar 
elements is all that sense-life consists in. Hence 
its variability, its endlessly fleeting character, its 
instability, its inadequacy to satisfy the desire for 
a stable ideal, or constant organising universal. 
Hence, so far from being the ultimate touchstone 
of reality, as some have held, it is just what is 
perpetually slipping from our grasp. Its being is 


change, its life the death of its moments. As for 
constituting a support, which some have tried to 
make it, against sceptical attack, it is bound to 
prove the best weapon scepticism can use. The 
incessant change, which constitutes its life as a 
universal, makes it impossible for a " this " or 
"that" to maintain a substantial permanent reality 
external to the subject. A " this " or " that " has no 
reality of its own at all ; its nature falls into the 
universal process of change. 

On the subjective side, again, Sense-experience Subjective 
is likewise dissolved into the series of units of feel- 
ing, Sensations, which make up the discrete parts of 
the one changing continuum of Sense - life. The 
" this " is the objective side, the " feeling " the sub- 
jective side of the one experience. Being immediate 
the one to the other, it is only by reflection that 
the distinction is drawn between a subjective and an 
objective side. In the experience itself it is in- 
different whether we say " this-feeling " or " feeling- 
this." We see in this way why it is impossible 
to state whether "sensations" are "objective" or 
"subjective." What we have in Sense-experience 
is simply a universal process consisting in the mere 
awareness of an immediate content, continuous as 
change, discrete as moments of it. 1 This makes up the 
whole relation, at this stage of experience, between 
subject and object. They themselves exist by find- 
ing their being simply in this process. Universality 
as a continuum of changing elements is thus the 
condition of the possibility of Sense-experience. 

1 Hence, as a consequence, we see that the individuality or, again, the 
uniqueness of a subject-ego can never be established (as some have main- 
tained) by appealing to mere Sense-experience, for this shows uniqueness to 
have no place in sense-life at all. 


Univer- But, it must be noted, the universality here is 

her? how not a distinct entity for sense-consciousness. It is 
found. a continuum of change. Hence the universality is 
never ascribed, in Sense-experience itself, to the ego 
whose nature is just to be universal. Universality 
as such is only presented at a level above sense, and 
is known primarily by thinking about Sense. Sense 
is merely awareness of "this." The way univer- 
sality does appear in Sense is in that feeling of 
certainty which accompanies each "this " of Sense- 
experience as it comes and as it appears, a feeling 
which characterises all Sense-experience in exactly 
the same way. When consciousness does become 
explicitly aware of the universal, the way is opened 
to a further and more developed form of this stage 
of conscious life Perception. 

Percep- The examination of Perception reveals in the 

same way that the object perceived has not as such 
absolute independence, that its very nature is to 
dissolve into a unity containing it and the subject to 
which it stands related. In Perception subject 
and object seem to stand opposed. But such an 
external relation as appears there cannot be sustained 
if the object itself can be shown to dissolve into a 
more comprehensive totality, or universal, within 
which also the subject- life falls. This is what 
analysis of the object and of the process of Per- 
ception brings out. The main points in the analysis 
can be shortly stated. 

Perception In pure Sense-experience the essential reality 

the Unl was tne universal ; what was directly conscious at a 

versaiof given moment was a certain "this." The universal 

as suck is the real centre of interest in Perception. 

Hence the meaning of the term; it is "seeing 


through" or "thoroughly" into the heart of sense- 
content, getting hold of its stable unity and universal 
nature in spite of the appearing diversity and the 
incessantly changing features of Sense. Thus we 
distinguish in common life between "seeing" and 
"perceiving." Both are knowing in the widest sense, 
both are experience in any sense. The difference is 
in the way the universal operates. The conscious 
presence of a universal in Perception is, again, the 
ground of the common view that perceived facts, or 
facts of Perception, are the basis of Science, and so 
the basis of inference (which is a process of know- 
ledge dealing solely with universal relations). It 
is for the same reason that much of Perception 
can in time be inferred or guessed at, without going 
through the actual process of Perception, as, e.g., in the 
observation of a series of objects. To this, indeed, 
perhaps may also be traced the doubtful doctrine that 
Perception is a kind of " unconscious inference." 

The universal of Sense, then, is the primary factor The 
in Perception. It is double-sided, subjective and 
objective at once. That lies in the very nature of of the 

^i T >_ r> u '^ Universal. 

the case ; Perception is an experience, but it is 
exactly the same universal in both cases, the 
universal constituting the experience, giving it unity. 
The subjective side, perceiving, is simply the process 
of the universal, the universal as actively operating. 
The objective side, the percept, is the same universal 
taken simply as a totality, static and fixed in 
conscious experience. At first no doubt the latter 
seems the more fundamental in perceptual ex- 
perience. As it is said, we cannot alter "facts" 
perceived by the way we perceive them ; the 
process of Perception, that is to say, neither produces 


nor alters the object perceived. On this view the 
object is taken to be the essential reality ; it is, 
"whether perceived or not." But that is really due to 
the greater prominence in the experience of Percep- 
tion of the permanent controlling unity, not to any 
ultimate difference in the content of Perception 
between the objective and the subjective side. On 
the contrary, the fact that the process does not alter 
the object is just due to the presence of the same 
universal in both. Indeed we acknowledge, even 
in common speech, that perceiving and perceived 
qualities are, in certain cases at least, mutually 
dependent, such cases being, e.g., the so-called 
" secondary qualities." But the important point is 
that while we may assert the object to be funda- 
mental and the process of perceiving to be dependent 
on it, yet examination will show that the process of 
perceiving an object just consists in taking the 
aspects of the object separately and relating them 
so as to form the unity of the object. The object 
does not exist outside the process, waiting, so to say, 
till the process is correctly done, whereupon it will 
become known as the single object for Perception. 
The object itself just comes to be in and through the 
process which takes place in perceiving. In other 
words, tihK. process Q( Perception (the subjective side) 
is itself the object in course of fitting its component 
elements together. The object as such is the pro- 
cess completed, the elements united. There is no 
separation between the being of the object and the 
perceiving of it a position which Berkeley sought 
to establish by another route. For idealism this 
is literal truth, and the exposition of this identity, 
first in the case of the universal we call the object 


perceived, then in the case of the universal we call 
the process of perceiving, is all that constitutes the 
analysis of the nature of perceptual experience. 

The peculiarity of perceptual experience therefore Perception 
lies not in its dealing with "particulars," while other ]j^J "^ 
forms of knowledge, e.g. science, deal obviously with particu- 
conceptions or universals. That is a common view, 
which analysis indirectly refutes. The peculiarity 
lies just in the kind of universal which operates 
in Perception, in the way in which the universal 
connects the special elements composing it. The 
mere opposition of subject to object in Perception is 
not the antecedent condition of perceptual experi- 
ence, which must be presupposed before Perception 
can arise. 1 This would make Perception the result of 
bringing together two alien and mutually excluding 
substances. Dualism on this view would be the 
necessary basis on which this type of experience 
would rest ; and the relation between them, which 
constitutes Perception, might well be thought of as 
purely mechanical and causal. 

The latter is no doubt a common interpretation 
of it. Its classical expression is found in Locke, and 
it is characteristic of the so-called empirical school Perception 
generally. Perception on this view arises through realism, 
the subject being " impressed " or acted upon by the 
object, the subject merely working up these "impres- 
sions " or " sensations," as they are sometimes called, 
by certain "laws" peculiar to itself. The singular 
result of this position is, that the dualism assumed 
as the ground of Perception is held to pervade all 

1 The opposition is due to the way- in which the universal we are here 
dealing with appears. It is a sense-universal, and Sense-experience is side- 
by-sideness of parts in the whole continuum. 


knowledge, even the highest, because "all know- 
ledge starts from Perception." Conceptual Science 
is explained as due to "abstracting" or "generalis- 
ing " from perceived fact, i.e. by eliminating certain 
aspects or elements found in Perception. Perception 
is held to be the most direct form of contact 
between subject and object, the most concrete way of 
relating these "substances." Hence the further we 
go from it, the more we must drop in our progress, 
the more we must eliminate, and therefore the less 
accurately do we present the facts arising from 
Perception. Hence it is inevitable that conceptual 
knowledge should be looked on as less valuable, less 
true, should be taken as merely " abstract," a mere 
"construction," or whatever other terms are used to 
convey the idea that to be further from Perception 
is to be less near the "real." Conceptions as such 
become "copies," or after- results, due to "mental" 
activity ; or at best they merely " correspond " to 
the " reality " revealed in Perception. They form 
when arranged a world by themselves, parallel with, 
and in a way " reproducing," but never realising 
the actual course of things found by Perception. 
" Reality " then becomes " richer than thought " ; 
the " truth " is found in the life of perceptual 
experience. When this distrust of the value of 
conception asserts itself strongly, we have a recoil 
towards empiricism in the crudest of forms. This 
result is seen in the history of post- idealistic 
philosophy since Kant, where the explanation of 
knowledge has been sought simply in a clearer 
analysis of the nature and conditions of perceptual 
life. When carried to its logical issue, this tendency 
means either the frank abandonment of the 


philosophical point of view and ideal altogether, 
or the strange attempt to find the meaning of 
things through experimental psycho-physics and 

But subject and object must not and need not be Perception 
at all thought of in this way to explain Perception, impL" 01 
It would be truer to say \h.2& perceptual experience by Dualism. 
its very nature puts the object "external to" the 
subject, rather than that the externality of subject to 
object gives rise to Perception. At any rate, perceptual 
experience and the externality of subject to object 
are simply different expressions for the same thing. 
For subject and object to be opposed as unities 
just means that they appear in the form of Per- 
ception. The contrast between subject and object 
in Perception is simply a particular case of the 
relation between the two, a relation which is present 
in experience in general. Hence we must proceed 
to explain Perception from precisely the opposite 
point of view from that of dualism. It is not 
this externality of subject to object which is to be 
assumed at the start, but the unity of subject and 
object. The prima facie externality has itself to 
be explained as a distinction inside an identity, a 
distinction drawn, in the long run, by the self- 
conscious activity at the basis of all experience. 
At the level of Perception as such (i.e. as distinct 
from reflective interpretation of it by philosophy), 
the identity between the two sides is not expressly 
known. 1 Because their unity is not explicit, the 
elements remain in it, and are accepted, as merely 
opposed and mutually exclusive. Hence the 

1 At the most, as, e.g., Kant confesses at the end of his analysis of percep- 
tion, the identity is merely believed in. 


characteristic of perceptual experience. Analysis, 
therefore, has to bring out this identity by showing 
that the different elements imply it. To do this is 
to explain Perception. 1 

import- Now since it is in the sphere of Perception that 

anceof we come across the so-called "external world," that 

this view . . 

ofPercep- we meet the opposition usually set up between 
"mind" and "nature" in its crudest form (in the 
form, that is to say, of one substance external to and 
acting upon another substance), this analysis of 
Perception is of crucial importance for the whole 
view of experience. If it is correct, it is difficult to 
reject the interpretation to be given of the nature 
of Scientific activity, of the life of Morality and 
Religion, of the unity of Spirit and Nature, the 
refutation of Kant's dualism, and of his concep- 
tion of the finiteness and the contradictions into 
which human reason necessarily falls. For these 
are all developments of the same position, and 
follow, one may say, almost inevitably on the 
admission of this view of Perception. 

Know- It follows also from the same interpretation that 

breaks there can be no absolute impasse in the way of know- 
down ail ledge. For if, where the contrast between subject 
an d object seems greatest, viz. Perception, the object 
is still constituted by the same universals controlling 

1 Thus the view, here stated, simply takes in a concrete form Kant's principle 
of self-consciousness as its starting-point, and shows Perception to be one way 
in which it operates in experience. In this sense it is nearer the truth of that 
principle than the position of Fichte, who did not show that the distinction of 
subject and object in Perception is immanent ly involved in the idea of self- 
consciousness, but endeavoured to show how the one produced the other and 
put it externally beyond itself by an initial act of spontaneity. So conceived 
the externality for ever remains, and is a perpetual ' ' other ' ' to self-consciousness, 
never completely reconciled ; or if reconciled, the externalising process becomes 
a mere fiction from which the ego never escapes, but which is illusory none 
the less. 


the subject, then knowledge can never be brought 
face to face with any kind of thing-in-itself beyond 
its power to grasp. The contradictions of experi- 
ence will always be resolvable by the power which 
created them, and will not be attributed either to 
the pretentiousness of finite mind (as Kant held), 
or to the fallibility of human reason, but will be 
accepted as part of the nature of experience. The 
systematic justification of this view is the sum and 
substance of Hegel's interpretation of experience. 

In dealing with Perception, then, we first analyse object of 
the object into its constituent characteristics. I 
is the universal of sensibility, the sense-universal. 
What, as mere Sense-experience, was taken to be 
a series of discrete " thises," must now be viewed as 
elements in the universal. They are ways in which 
it appears, and hence are themselves a plurality of 
sense elements. These are what we call " qualities " 
of Sense. 1 They are together in the universal which 
is the focus of perceptual experience. This focal 
unity is what we call a "thing." A "thing" is just 
the unity of the object in Perception. The " thing " 
is the universal of Perception when that universal 
is viewed as a complete whole. The "qualities" are 
the phases or aspects of this universal. They are 
as such universal, universals of sense ; and, being 
so, they, like all sensuous experience, fall apart 
from each other and from the central unity. 
Taking the plurality of qualities which together 
make up the variety of the object perceived, they 
are, because at once together and falling apart 

1 Thus what in Sense-experience is a " this-feeling, " a mere variation of 
the continuum of immediate experience, 'becomes in Perception a fixed quality 
(on the object-side) and a determinate qualification (on the subject-side). 



from each other, held to be merely associated in 
an object. Thus colour, sound, and taste may 
all be qualities of the same perceived object, but 
there is no inherent connexion of a quality " white " 
with a quality "sweet" and a quality of "crisp- 
hardness," e.g., in the case of sugar. The one 
quality is not to be attributed to the other : they 
are merely there together at the same time and yet 
apart as qualities. Taking the qualities as a whole, 
there is nothing more in the object than these 
qualities, except the fact of their being associ- 
ated together. This indeed was Berkeley's un- 
answerable criticism of Locke. Looking, again, at 
the unity of the object in its distinction from 
the plurality of the qualities, the same apartness 
characterises the relation of the qualities to the 
unity. They are said merely to " belong to " or 
be " properties " of the object. " Belonging to " 
and "being properties of" essentially imply that in 
some way the qualities have an external relation to 
the object. They are " attached to it," or, again, are 
said to "inhere "in it, both of which terms indicate 
that the " it " is something or other apart from them. 
This is seen in a concrete way in ordinary experience, 
where it is admitted that a quality may pass away 
altogether, or give place to another quality similar 
or different in nature, and yet the unity of the object 
still remain. 

The unity The object in Perception, then, is a universal, a 

as wdUs "thing" which breaks up into a plurality of universals, 

includes, sense-qualities, existing side by side. These qualities 

are the positive content of the object. If they were 

absolutely indifferent to each other, existing merely 

side by side, it would be difficult to give any meaning 

v THINGS 163 

to the unity of the object at all. A "thing" would 
simply be yellow, and also sweet, and also round ; 
nothing more. It would be not a unity but a 
conglomerate. But this alone cannot constitute 
a "thing." To be a unity it must exclude as well 
as include. And what a "thing" excludes is other 
"things." To do so is to be "one thing," a con- 
crete unity and not a plurality of elements side by 
side. This exclusion gives it stability and prevents 
it being a mere flux as in pure Sense-experience. 
The permanence in the midst of, and in spite of, 
the flux of sense is the peculiar mark of a " thing " 
as such, as distinct from a quality ; it constitutes 
the thinghood of the "thing." But it is a stability 
in the sphere of Sense ; its content is Sense. 
Hence to be "one thing" means being external to 
another ; each is a unit and shuts out or excludes 
another from itself. There is no thought here of 
a law or force controlling the unity and making it 
permanent. Such ideas come later. For Perception 
the unity is simply a focus of qualities excluding 
other foci of other qualities. Hence their unity, their 
stability, is a "here," a " now," a "this" or "that" 
"thing" etc. But since its unity consists simply of 
sense-qualities, it falls in its entirety as well as in its 
qualities into the current of change. Hence the 
"disappearance" of "things" lies in their very 
nature as "things," and their varying degree of 
stability depends on the kind of qualities possessed. 
Thus the unity of a "thing" is not something 
independent of the qualities, nor something outside 
Perception. For Perception, the unity just lies 
in the universal, the "thing," excluding other 
"things," and being one amongst others; the way 


it specifically does so is simply by those special 
qualities it is said to "possess." In perceptual 
experience, therefore, the universal, which is the 
centre of this experience, breaks up into a variety 
of sensuous universals (qualities) which lie apart 
from each other and mark off that universal itself, 
which is the "thing," from other "things." To 
include qualities is thus to exclude other " things " ; 
and to do both at once is to be this or that " thing," 
is to be a single or one "thing." 

Thus the nature of a perceived "thing" from 

first to last is resolvable into elementary universals 

The limits belonging to the sphere of sensibility. There 

don ercep ls no more ' so ^ ar as Perception goes, than 
just this specification of a universal of Sense into 
sensuous universals. If we ask for more, or if we 
are led to go further, it must be because we are 
going beyond Perception proper. At the level of 
Perception there is nothing more to be given or 
required. That we must go further will be seen 
presently. But the point to notice is that Perception 
as such does not and cannot contain more than 
what has been stated. If mind cannot be satisfied 
with that, we thereby confess simply that our mind 
cannot be exhausted by perceptual experience, not 
that Perception as such contains more than Per- 
ception supplies in the above analysis. Perception 
as such creates no difficulties it cannot solve ; it is 
a higher phase of the life of mind that forces 
perceptual experience into contradictions which it 
(Perception) cannot overcome. This higher phase 
of mind must do so just because it is higher. And 
as the difficulties are raised by this higher sphere, 
they must be solved by this higher sphere, and not 


by Perception. They can be solved by mind, 
because mind has raised them ; and hence mind is 
never defeated in pursuing its own purpose of 
realising a complete unity. No doubt this higher 
sphere beyond Perception seems to be demanded by 
Perception. We show (as we shall see presently) 
that the very nature of a "thing" is to be at 
once a self-contained unity and also a dependent 
unity. And when we do this, Perception seems to 
call for a further effort of mind to get over the 
difficulties inherent in its own nature. But, in point 
of fact, what has brought Perception to this pass is 
another level of mind which is immediately above 
Perception ; and hence the solution of those 
difficulties is to be found at that higher level also. 

Stated in this way the position is sharply Kant's 
distinguished from that of Kant or again of Locke JJJ^? 
and Berkeley. Kant, taking a dualistic view of the tion. 
conditions of Perception, held the view that "behind" 
the thing perceived there was implied for Perception 
a thing per se not perceived, a hidden core or focus 
of reality not resolvable into sense qualities which 
we can know. He did not, like Locke, speak of this 
unity as a law of the thing, and thereby bring it 
within the range of knowledge. It was simply a 
" beyond," something "outside" knowledge, which 
no power of mind can get at. Clearly, if Percep- 
tion and Understanding are heterogeneous forms of 
mind, anything which remains always unrevealed by 
Perception, and which yet is not supposed to have 
been placed in Perception by Understanding, must 
for ever be an unintelligible surd for human 
knowledge. Such a surd is the thing apart from 
its qualities. On the above view, however, such an 


idea is the creation of Understanding, the higher 
power of mind above Perception. For Perception 
there cannot possibly be a thing per se, because 
Perception reveals solely universals of sense, and 
there is nothing more to be found in perceptual 
experience. The " thing-in-itself " is due to the 
determination of perceptual experience by a higher 
level of the mind's experience, the level, as we shall 
see, of Understanding. Hence the thing-in-itself 
cannot be an ultimate surd for knowledge, since it 
is to start with merely the result of the mind taking 
up a point of view in regard to Perception which is 
beyond the reach of Perception itself. Certainly 
Perception cannot perceive a " thing-in-itself," in 
the sense of Kant. But, then, it does not exist for 
Perception at all. Hence if it is beyond Perception, 
it is not necessarily beyond knowledge at another level. 
The mistake of Kant consisted in condemning 
human knowledge for not being able to grasp at 
one level of experience (Perception) a content 
whose very existence is only found at a higher 
(Thought). And this in the long run was due to 
his making Perception and Understanding hetero- 
geneous, which again was the result of his dualism. 
Berkeley. Berkeley, again, truer to the nature of Perception, 
finds nothing but sense-universals, or " ideas of 
sense," as he calls them, in the world of things, 
and denies the existence of any unknown somewhat 
so far as concerns Perception. True also to the 
externality characteristic of sense qualities and 
perceived universals (or things), he seeks to establish 
a purely contingent or " occasional " relation between 
them. They become in his hands "signs" of the 
presence of one another, the anticipation of one 


after the other being the creation of the experience 
of perceptual life itself. But while intending to 
limit all knowledge in the first instance to per- 
ceptual experience, he unconsciously goes beyond 
this by introducing the conception of an orderliness 
into experience, which he does not really derive from 
Perception as such, but from the further nature of 
mind. In other words, order is introduced by the 
deeper nature of mind, i.e. by self-conscious reason, 
into the flow of sense-life. This order has its 
source ultimately, or a priori, in the divine-mind, 
and derivatively, or a posteriori, in man's individual 
mind. But it is, for Berkeley, an order of a sensuous 
material ; and hence for him is again of a contingent 
kind. Thus causation, e.g., becomes the external 
relation of a sign to a thing signified. Hence, 
while both regard Knowledge as essentially per- 
ceptual in character, Berkeley falls into an opposite 
error from Kant. Kant set a limit to knowledge 
because Perception implied an element not given 
or found by Perception itself. Berkeley set a limit 
to knowledge although it did not imply any unper- 
ceived element. The limit in Kant's case is really 
due to the nature and conditions of Understanding, 
which is the source of necessity in experience and 
yet is apart from Perception. The limit in Berkeley's 
case is determined by the fact that because perceptual 
experience does not carry us beyond what is per- 
ceived, the connexions of experience must at best 
be contingent. Hence in Kant's case the limit is 
characterised by a term belonging to the region of 
Perception, it is a " thing-in-itself " ; in Berkeley's 
case it lies outside Perception, and is called a 
" notion." 


Hegel's The above interpretation avoids both these posi- 

correction. t j ons> fi rst by l oo ki n g upon Perception and Under- 
standing as both forms of experience at different 
levels but continuous with each other ; and, secondly, 
by regarding the limitations, difficulties, and con- 
tradictions of the one sphere as due to, and hence 
to be solved by, mind at a higher sphere of conscious 

The The resolution of the elements of the object of 

P erce pti n mto separate conscious parts, and the 
conscious relation of these to each other, constitutes 
just what we mean by "perceiving." Perceiving is 
Perceiv- the subjective side of the same universal which con- 
ing - stitutes the object in perceptual experience. The 
process of perceiving does not consist in an inner 
activity which goes on of itself, and when completed 
all at once refers to an object which throughout that 
activity was external to it. The process of perceiving 
contains the object all along. The development, or 
activity, of the process is just the object coming to 
consciousness \ entering experience. The completion 
of the process is simply the realisation of what 
Perception means. There is no "act of reference" to 
the object which takes place all of a sudden : it is 
there from first to last in the process of coming to 
know the object in Perception. No doubt there is 
a finality about the completed relation of subject to 
the object, i.e. about that stage in the process where 
we have all the certainty Perception can give ; and 
no doubt that feeling of finality is not found in the 
earlier stages. But that is in the nature of the case. 
As a process with a definite goal (viz. the attain- 
ment of that kind of unity of subject and object 
which Perception achieves) it must be less secure 


and definite in the stages preceding the end. But 
this does not mean that the course of our ideas in the 
earlier stages is generically different from the final 
result. It does not mean that before we have that 
final certainty, which Perception gives, the process 
is " psychical " or psychological, and that when we 
have it, the process suddenly becomes " cognitive " or 
logical. It is both subjective and objective all along ; 
for it is experience from first to last. The subjective 
aspect of Perception just lies in the process of being 
conscious of the elements comprising the unity of 
the object, i.e. of becoming gradually aware of the 
diversity implied or contained in the universal 
belonging to Perception. This involves at once 
analysis and synthesis, and in this perceiving 
essentially consists. 

To trace, then, the process of perceiving is merely 
to repeat the moments contained in the object of 
Perception, and to express the nature and result of 
Perception from the point of view of the subjective 
side of the experience. 

We can see these characteristics of the process The pro- 
of Perception exemplified more especially when 
we are perceiving new objects, or when dis- 
tinguishing a sensuous area into perceptual units, 
or, again, when identifying an obscurely presented 
whole, say the objects in a misty landscape. Here 
we can be distinctly aware of separating and 
combining elements, selecting, rejecting, unifying, 
and breaking up until a point is reached when, as we 
say, we are certain of " perceiving " such and such 
an object, after which the process ceases. In 
such cases we are all the while inside the subject- 
object relation. The difference between the process 


and the conclusion is one between a complete and 
an incomplete realisation of the nature of the rela- 
tion. The former is described as the subjective 
side specifically, the latter is the objective side, but 
the difference is not a separation. The objective 
aspect is involved all along in the subjective process, 
and conversely. When we separate them sharply, 
as we can do for practical purposes, and as is done 
absolutely by a dualistic view of perceptual know- 
ledge, we can put perceiving on one side and the 
thing with its qualities on the other. But each 
really involves the other, each is merely a phase of 
the same unity, the experience we call Perception, 
its eie- Hence, then, to trace the steps in the process of 

perceiving is merely to relate from another point of 
view the factors involved in the nature of the object, 
the " thing " perceived. In both cases we have a 
plurality of elements at once apart and indifferent to 
each other, and yet forming a unity. The elements 
on the subjective side are the various ways of appre- 
hending by the different sense functions, "hearing," 
"seeing," etc., which are distinct and yet fall within 
the one activity of the subject. Thus seeing, 
hearing, and touching may be all elements in the 
experience of perceiving a given " thing." They are 
specifically different, and yet side by side in the life 
of the subject, and in that sense are a unity. Their 
togetherness just makes up the unity of the act of 
perceiving. Each again is subdivided into equal 
diverse elements or forms ; seeing " black " being 
different from seeing "white," and so on. In all 
respects, therefore, we have the same kind of 
diversity in unity in the process of perceiving (the 
act of Perception) and the product perceived, the 


"thing." In analysing the epistemological meaning 
of " things," and in stating the nature of perceiv- 
ing, we are reaching the same experience merely 
from different points of view. Or, to put it more 
emphatically, the " thing " just is the content of 
the act of perceiving ; the process of perceiving 
realises itself in the consciousness of a "thing." 
In a "thing" the universal consists in a unity of 
various qualities lying side by side : they simply 
are together. But this "being together" is also and 
in the same sense a form of the activity of perceiv- 
ing. "Togetherness" appears within the subject 
in the form of specifically discrete functions of 
sense-apprehension, seeing, hearing, tasting, etc., 
each qualitatively apart and unique in its operation, 
and merely existing together as the activity of the 
one subject. The unity of the " thing" perceived is 
thus as truly a specific expression of the activity of 
perceiving as a determinate character of the objec- 
tive world. For the kind of unity is the same on 
both sides. Its being a unity is not given to the 
self. That is the error of the dualistic view of 
Perception. Nor is it simply and solely made by 
the self; that is the error of Subjective Idealism. 
The unity is the subject itself realised in a specific 
form ; when realised we have the objective unity of 
the " thing " in experience. What is fundamental is 
the subject-object relation constituting the experi- 
ence. The unity of that experience on the side of 
the subject appears as the perceiving of a "thing" : 
the unity of the experience in another aspect is the 
percept, or "thing." Thus the relation between 
subject and object in Perception is not a bringing 
together of static entities each fixed and complete. 


The experience is a continuous process containing 
different moments or factors ; it is a unity in and 
through difference. When completed the differ- 
ences stand apart as distinct phases of the one unity, 
because, on the one hand, the process is a process 
of Sense-experience, i.e. side-by-sideness, and, on 
the other, the differences are here universal, and 
therefore maintain a fixity impossible at the level 
of Sense as such. Thus the stability of the 
opposition of subject and object in Perception is 
the product of this single process, not the ground 
of it. 

Dim. If, then, the two sides are thus to be identified, 

cuities. fa ovf are we to accoun t; for the apparent separation, 

at least practically formed and ordinarily accepted, 
between perceiving and the thing perceived. The 
stones or trees, it may be said, are transparently 
separated from the mind of the individual percipient. 
They are there, it is held, whether any one perceives 
them or not ; they are independent, if anything can 
be. Is this independence illusory? How is it to 
be explained ? In reply to this it has to be pointed 
out (i) that if we accept sense-life as a continuum, 
then clearly differentiation, relation, unification, etc., 
must operate before we can get even specific objects 
like trees or stones. These must be separated out 
of the generic whole of the "this-here-now" of Sense 
before they get the individuation of " things." Such 
separation surely goes to constitute them what they 
are, and such separation is the result of experience, 
the experience, namely, we call Perception. (2) If 
the above analysis of sense-experience is correct, we 
cannot regard sense-life as having any independence 
of the subject. A sense-experience which implies 


no subject of such experience seems meaningless. 
But if this be true, and if Perception is a further 
development of the very nature, and not simply on 
the basis of, sense-life, the essential unity of subject 
and object in the experience must be carried forward 
and found in Perception as well. To deny this is to 
deny the meaning of the development of the one 
out of the other. (3) The real question is not as 
to the abstract unity of subject and object, but as 
to the kind of unity holding between them at the 
different stages. No doubt the unity of percipient 
and " thing " is not the same as that holding between 
feeling and a mere Sense element. The relation is 
different because the experience is different. That 
lies in the very nature of the case. Development 
there would otherwise be none. But difference in 
the expression of the unity is something very far 
removed from the absence of any unity at all, which 
separation of subject from "thing" implies. (4) We 
must distinguish sharply between the object in Per- 
ception, between the unity of percipient and " thing " 
in an individual's concrete perceptual experience, 
and what holds good for consciousness in general. 
The trees and stones in Mecca are certainly not bound 
up with the perceptual life of a specific individual 
in Scotland in the way they are connected with an 
individual in Arabia. They are matter of inference 
to the former, and of direct Perception to the latter. 
That is, they belong to a non-perceptiial experience 
in the case of the former, and to Perception only in 
the case of the latter. In the former the object 
belongs to what we may call general or conceptual 
experience, the experience of a conceiving subject : in 
the latter the object exists for a perceiving subject, a 


subject qua perceiving. Hence it is mere confusion 
to speak of the object for general experience and 
the subject in perceptual experience in the same 
breath, as if subjects and objects could be cut loose 
and transposed as we please. Subject and object 
are always relative to one another and to the 
experience which they constitute. It is out of this 
confusion that the idea of a separation between things 
and the subject arises. We are using object in one 
reference and subject in another. (5) It is also to 
be pointed out that it is the thing-character of the 
object world we are considering, i.e. the content of 
Perception only. Thus, for example, a tree or even 
a stone is not simply a " thing," any more than a 
human being is a mere "thing." They have the 
thing-character in so far as they appear in that form 
of experience we call Perception. But we cannot 
exhaust a tree by perceptual experience, still less a 
human being. A tree, e.g., has " life," as we say, it is 
governed by "laws." Neither of these categories 
belong to Perception ; we cannot perceive " life " or 
" law." These imply a further development of mind 
and experience ; they imply what, as we shall see, we 
call Understanding and Reason. Hence it is utterly 
misleading and erroneous to assert a separation 
between perceiving and its object, when the grounds 
of that separation imply elements of which in the very 
nature of the case Perception can take no cognisance. 
We must keep within the universe of discourse of 
Perception itself, and then ask whether the nature of 
perceptual -experience is such that there is or can 
be a separation between its object and its subject. 
When we do so we shall find, as indicated above, 
that the fixity of the opposition of subject and 


object in Perception is the result of universalising 
moments of the continuous process of sense-elements. 
The sense -content, as we saw before, consists 
essentially of units side by side ; when universal, 
that content gets permanence of character, and this 
fixes the side-by-sideness into a stable opposition of 
content. Therein lies the difference between Sensa- 
tion as such and Perception as such. The oppo- 
site elements, however, are none the less moments 
of the one continuous process in which the life of 
this experience consists ; and they arise out of that 
process. That is the only kind of opposition which 
exists at the level of Perception as such. 1 

The justification for this somewhat lengthy 
analysis of Perception is that Perception presents a 
crucial problem for any interpretation of experience 
such as is here given. It is by appeal to perceptual 
experience that dualism for the most part finds 
justification ; while Perception seems at first to be a 
serious obstacle in the way of any thorough-going 

1 The kind and degree of opposition varies with the content of the 
perceptual experience. Hence the distinction between primary and secondary 
qualities on the one hand, and the varying degree of "thinghood" in 
perceived objects on the other. 



The need THE next question is, how is the content of experience 
stag e h ofex- involved in the Perception of things to be brought 
perience. into a unity which will completely satisfy conscious- 
ness ? It is plain that at the level of Perception 
this satisfaction is not attained. In point of fact 
nothing is so common as the confession of defeat in 
attempting to penetrate completely the life of things. 
This refers to the experience we have through 
Perception. The limited range of Perception, the 
transitoriness of qualities, the alteration of their 
arrangement, the disappearance of things themselves 
all these in everyday life prevent permanent 
satisfaction with this level of experience. 
A thing But the very principle of perceptual experience 
external 7 ma ^es this inevitable. For it lies in the nature of 
relation, qualities and things that they have their peculiar 
character through external relation. A " thing" only 
is by reference to other "things." Its unity is for 
Perception a unity by exclusion. It is, as we may put 
it, obtained by selecting a certain area of sense fact, 
leaving the rest aside, and looking on the part selected 
as a fixed and determinate object. Its determinate 
unity just lies in its shutting out the remainder of 



sense with which all the while it is continuous. 
This character also affects the internal unity of the 
u thing." For that, as we saw, lies in the qualities 
excluding one another and in being simply together, 
side by side. That whose nature lies in exclusion 
is itself excluded. But complete reciprocal exclusion 
means dissolution. Hence the passing away of 
"things." So, again, of the qualities. They are 
universals, no doubt, but universals of Sense. But 
what is of Sense carries its opposite in its very 
nature: a "this" is not for ever a "this." It is 
no sooner "this" than it becomes a "that." A 
universal of Sense, therefore, in spite of its fixity, 
carries within it the instability of its own origin. 
One quality passes and gives way to another literally 
and completely. The colour of a " thing " gives place 
to another colour without any internal unity between 
them : they simply are there. And, finally, the result 
is the same if we take a "thing" with its qualities. 
Here we have an object which contains opposite 
elements simply existing together within it, but 
not coherently connected. They are and remain 
apart from each other. The object is looked at as 
this object in virtue of a certain quality, its " pro- 
perty " ; the distinctiveness of it as one object lies in 
that property. The object is a universal because of 
its plurality of properties existing side by side ; it is 
" this " and also " that," and " this " in spite of " that." 
Now all this implies that the nature of a " thing " And is 

is not self-contained. Its nature carries with it a theref J e 

not seif- 
perpetual reference to what is outside it, other than complete. 

it. It could not have this quality unless by contrast 
with other "thises," other qualities. It could not 
be the meeting-place of qualities unless by reference 



to other spheres from which itself is distinguished. 
Externality, in short, is of the essence of a thing, 
and that means that it is not self-contained. 
Arbitral!- No doubt these two aspects mentioned seem to 
ma ke a " thing " a substantial reality with an inde- 
pendent being of its own. But the very fact that in 
Perception itself either side indifferently is regarded 
as its reality shows the inherent instability of a 
"thing." We find that sometimes Perception takes 
one quality or more to be the essential being of the 
"thing," as when primary qualities are taken to be 
more fundamental than secondary; while sometimes 
its real being is placed in the combination of certain 
qualities, the others being indifferent, as when a 
drop of water is regarded as a "thing," even it 
may be the same "thing," whether it be coloured 
or clear, rounded or flattened, etc. This ambiguity 
the perceptual consciousness may try to overcome 
by drawing a distinction between "essential" and 
"accidental" characteristics of "things"; or, again, by 
saying that the "thing" is "independent" in certain 
respects, though relative to others in other respects. 
But these are easily seen to be subterfuges. For 
a distinction between essential and non-essential 
characteristics in the case of what owns qualities 
in a merely external way, the qualities being for 
Perception merely side by side, is clearly quite arbi- 
trary. While, again, to assert the independence or 
inherent self-identity of things, and yet qualify it by 
adding "so far as it is this or that," is obviously an 
assertion and a denial in the same breath. 

The level of Perception therefore cannot satisfy 
the mind's desire for completely coherent unity. 
The constituent factors in the "thing," its unity and 


its diverse elements, are and remain antagonistic to 
each other in the very being of " things. " They 
are "associated," but disparate: they include by 
excluding, they are one merely by being many. 
They both fall inside the " thing " ; but for Percep- 
tion they stand opposed and unreconciled. Hence to 
meet the demand which the mind makes on its 
experience, a further stage of experience must be 
introduced. This step is made possible because A further 
both opposed factors fall within the totality of the 
" thing's " nature. In this way they are seen to 
be parts of a whole. The step is made necessary, 
because the experience of mind cannot be exhausted 
so long as the sense of opposition remains within 
it ; that opposition must be removed. What we 
want is a whole which will not be fettered or con- 
ditioned in this purely external way characteristic 
of the "thing." In other words, the universal 
we want must not be one which is maintained 
simply through relation to others ; it must be self- 
determined, coherent within itself. To obtain this 
in experience, since it cannot be had from Per- 
ception, we pass to another attitude of mind. That 
attitude is what we call Understanding. Under- 
standing is thus the next level of experience required 
to realise what is left unsatisfied by Perception. 

Before indicating what this form of mind con- 
tains, and how experience at this stage works, let us 
notice in passing the peculiar significance of this step. Meaning 
Stated shortly, it implies neither more nor less than 
that the mind of man is on the one hand not to be 
defeated in its demand for a completely coherent 
experience, or, what is the same thing, complete 
consciousness of self in experience, and on the other 


hand is not to be put off by subterfuges or partial 
reconciliations, no matter how ingenious. Be the 
object and the subject as far removed to all appear- 
ance as they may, be the antithesis between the 
factors in any mode of experience as great as 
possible, this view of knowledge maintains as a 
working assumption, which the course of the in- 
terpretation of knowledge is to justify to be correct, 
that a satisfying unity can and must be attained 
by the mind operative in experience. Hence, on 
this view, the transparently incomplete sense of 
unity arrived at by Perception is not the occasion 
for confessing the bankruptcy of knowledge in 
TWO regard to the so-called external world ; nor is 
it sufficient merely to supplement and guard its 
limited form of truth by qualifying expressions or 
patch -work apologies. The former is the attitude 
often assumed by a thorough -going Dualism, the 
latter is adopted by so-called common-sense Realism. 
Thus, those who regard Perception as the sole avenue 
to knowledge of a world, from which to begin with 
the mind is separated by the whole diameter of being, 
The and which gets into contact with mind through the 
Duaiism. a g encv of our " external senses," find that the opposi- 
tion between the two poles assumed at the start 
remains at the end of the process of Perception. The 
world remains external, and Perception fails to convey 
to the mind its " real " nature. The admission of this 
takes the form of drawing a distinction between 
what the world may be "in itself," what things are 
" in themselves," and what they are " for " perceiving 
minds. Regarding the former we are said to know 
nothing ; regarding the latter we are held to have 
a working certainty, a certainty, however, always 


threatened and liable to be overthrown by the un- 
known reality behind the veil of sense-experience. 
Knowledge beyond perceptual experience is im- 
possible, however much we may desire or demand 
it. In spite of, perhaps because of, this confession, 
the question cannot but be perpetually raised: 
what, then, are the things when not perceived ? 
what qualities have they ? do they have even 
qualities at all when the percipient is removed 
temporarily or permanently? And the question 
remains as persistently without an answer. This 
qualified agnosticism very easily passes into absolute 
agnosticism or even pure scepticism. For the 
transition from the question, " what are the things 
apart from the qualities I perceive " ? to the question, 
"are the qualities I perceive really properties of things 
at all " ? is too simple to be neglected by the awakened 
reflection of the critic of knowledge. When this step 
is taken, we can stop at nothing short of the paralysis 
of all knowledge of the external world, and total 
scepticism is the result. Such, indeed, is the point of 
view deliberately adopted by a mind which is frankly 
prepared to accept despair rather than cherish 
delusion. 1 The way out of these difficulties consists 
in accepting the inherent incompleteness of the pro- 
cess of perceptual experience as a form of knowledge ; 
in asserting, further, that the consciousness of that 
incompleteness implies the presence in experience of 
another form of knowledge which can extend and 
complete our knowledge of the world of "things" ; 
and as a consequence in denying the dualism assumed 
by the view just stated. 

1 I have in mind here the epistemological position of a critic like Huxley on 
the famous controversy regarding protoplasm. 


And of On the other hand, the mere ingenuity, or ingenu- 

"Cominon- Q f fa & " pr O od sense " of "ordinary under- 


Realism, standing," which professes "to take things as they 
are " and not to go further, is not sufficient to secure 
the end we seek to attain. For this, while admitting 
the insufficiency of Perception, yet at the same time 
seeks to make the result seem completely satis- 
factory by merely distinguishing between what is 
an "essential" aspect of a "thing" and what is 
"unessential " ; i.e. it merely qualifies one of its con- 
tradictory elements by reference to another. In this 
way it never feels the need of transcending the know- 
ledge of "things" given in Perception, and never seeks 
to bring the contradictory elements into coherent con- 
nexion. It considers any attempt to do so as an 
endeavour to transcend what it calls " experience," 
meaning by this perceptual experience ; and sees in 
the attempt merely the sophistical manipulation of 
abstractions. Such procedure, indeed, it may even 
identify with philosophy itself, which is said to deal 
merely with "bare" thoughts, "pure abstractions." 
This is to a large extent the view of "common sense," 
and of much reflection on the nature of " science." 

But this is evidently a confession of want of 

thoroughness in the application of the idea of 

These knowledge. It implies that such terms as essential 

unsatis- an d unessential, universal and particular, are not to 

factory, be taken too seriously, and do not raise any problems 

that require a further solution. It means that the 

belief in the coherence of knowledge need not be 

applied to conceptions, but must be restricted to 

what can be attained by Perception, no matter 

what that involves. And it is clearly inconsistent. 

For such ideas as essential and unessential are 


considered necessary to Perception, and yet they do 
not themselves belong at all to the level of perceptual 
knowledge as such. Perception does not perceive 
essentials and non-essentials : it perceives a "thing" 
and its qualities. Such ideas are thus treated as 
external to perceptual experience and yet as 
necessary. But if they are necessary they surely 
demand further systematic interpretation ; while if 
they are external they may be considered irrelevant 
for Perception as such. Then, again, the sheer 
sophistry of proceeding in this way is manifest when 
we note that in point of fact it is quite indifferent 
and arbitrary which aspect is held to be essential 
and which not. Everything depends on how in a 
special case things are regarded. This must be so. 
For the terms essential and unessential, so far as 
concerns the content of Perception, are held to be 
interchangeable. All the same, what is unessential 
is still looked at as necessary. But to hold anything 
to be unessential and yet necessary is inherently 

There is only one course left if we are to apply 
the idea of knowledge, of coherent unity, systematic- 
ally. These factors necessarily operative in Per- 
ception must be made consistent with the unity The way 
they imply. This is the more necessary since the out< 
very elements are themselves the life of Perception. 
They make Perception as such what it is : the flux 
of " things " has its ground just in the fact that what 
is essential may be in another aspect the reverse, 
what is universal may become particular. Their 
significance in this respect is ignored altogether by 
Dualism and Realism : and hence they are treated 
as being more or less external to "things," and 


calling for no further treatment on their own 
account. To secure such treatment the point of 
view of mere Perception must be left behind, and 
a higher aspect of experience appealed to. This 
implies that Perception is not self-complete, as it 
is assumed to be, and it implies that the sphere to 
which Perception points has a nature and content 
of its own demanding separate consideration and 
development. This is precisely what is done in 
passing to Understanding as that mode of experience 
to which we are carried in order to reconcile the 
opposite elements of Perception. 

Under- What kind of experience this is, and how it 

irTits 1 " 2 proceeds, are determined first by the elements which 
subjective Perception leaves unreconciled ; and second by the 

side. . t . i/- 

demand for coherent unity on the part of self- 
consciousness, a demand which controls the whole 
course of experience. The first, we might say, 
prescribes the content, the second prescribes the 
form, of this next stage of experience. We may 
put the result here attained in the following way. 
We saw that the unity present in Perception 
was universal, because within it all the discrete 
elements in the perceptual world lay together. The 
question now is simply how does this universal hold 
these different elements together, or in what way 
does it show itself a concrete universal ? It is not 
something external to the factors present in the 
nature of " things ": this would merely restate the 
contradiction we are seeking to remove. Nor is it 
merely an abstract designation for what is common 
to them. It is identified with them, the medium in 
which their relation takes effect. They are related to 
each other ; " things" and "qualities" mutually imply 


and refer to each other, in virtue of some identity. 
Their differences are the ways in which it appears ; 
its unity is the ground of their interrelatedness. 
They get their stability from it. It is resolved into 
them. They are dissolved into it. The independ- 
ence of " things " with their " qualities," which makes 
them indifferent to each other, collapses into the 
unity of the medium in which they subsist and by 
which they affect each other. The unfolding of 
this identity is just the realisation of independent 
"things" and "qualities." Now, says Hegel, the 
process hereby involved is what we call active 
"Force" (Kraft). In Force we have an identity On its 
containing all that appears as its "expression," and id j gf lve 
a diversity of elements different from and inde- Force - 
pendent of each other and yet manifestations of the 
one fundamental identity. It is just such an idea, 
therefore, which can unite in itself the two aspects 
which characterise " things " mutual independence 
of elements, and a unity which insists on being the 
sphere of such independence. For Force, by its 
very nature, must express itself without reserve. 
Force resolves itself into diverse elements, what 
we call its " manifestations," which differ in time, 
place, and relation. The unity of Force in that 
sense lies in its holding the plurality of manifesta- 
tions into which it is resolved : the diversity is that 
unity made explicit, "expressed." This, then, is 
how the world of things appears at the level of 
experience immediately above Perception, and which 
is demanded by the incoherence of Perception : for 
a world of " things " and " qualities " we have sub- 
stituted a world of "forces" and their "expression." 
Let us not misunderstand the result. This 


Meaning does not mean that the individual human mind in 
osition dealing with perceptual reality makes use of, or 
manufactures the notion of Force in order to reduce 
to unity the different factors, which Perception 
leaves side by side and without connexion. Such 
a view is ruled out from the start ; for it rests on a 
dualistic basis, altogether alien, as we have seen, to 
the idealistic conception of knowledge. The mind 
does not first of all find itself in difficulties with 
regard to the qualities inherent in " things," e.g. 
the colours, sounds, etc., belonging to a perceived 
object and then, because unable by Perception to 
reduce all this diversity to unity, proceed to "create" 
out of the resources of its own consciousness the 
idea of Force, and employ it to reduce discord to 
harmony. This is meaningless, unless to begin with 
we assume that mind is confronted with an objective 
world altogether alien to itself, and with which it 
endeavours to reconcile itself as well as possible. 
Such a view of the process is that taken by Em- 
piricism, or again by Pragmatism. The idea of Force 
certainly appears later in experience than the content 
of Perception, and certainly brings that content into 
some deeper unity than Perception can supply. 
But this aspect of the case concerns the history and 
psychical process of the individual, and does not affect 
the place and worth of such an idea in experience. 
For the view here adopted, Force is not an idea 
"employed'' 1 by, and so external to, conscious mind, 
any more than "thing" or "colour" can be looked 
at in this way. Force indicates a certain level of 
experience to which the mind has come in dealing 
with its content. The idea is revealed in man's 
experience, it may be with all degrees of clearness 


and precision. As a way in which mind operates, it 
appears in the half-conscious or unconscious attitude 
of the untutored mind which believes in and sees a 
hidden source of power and activity behind the 
changing life of sensuous things, as well as in the 
definite reflection on the forms of things which we 
find in the cultivated intellect. The lowest level 
in which it appears is no doubt the source of what 
we call crude anthropomorphism and animism, 
while the highest may appear as the beginnings of 
scientific reflection in the history of man. 1 But 
the same attitude is operative throughout. The 
difference between highest and lowest lies simply 
in the elimination of contingent and chance detail, 
and in obtaining the abiding unity. 2 

The world as " perceived " gives place, then, to Subjective 
a world "understood"; a world of " qualities " 

"things" becomes a world of "forces" and their plied in 

?/. v -1 i r 1 tne same 

"manifestations. <orce simply stands lor the experience 
objective aspect, while Understanding is the subjective makes !t 
side of experience at the level above Perception ; 
just as in the latter perceiving was the subjective 
side and " things " the objective. To " understand " 
is only possible in experience if and where the 
objective world is looked on as the expression of 
Force. The consciousness of Force is literally 
the content of experience within that stage. The 
sphere of Perception and " things " is not outside and 
opposed to the sphere of Understanding and Force. 
The sphere of Perception as such has itself given 

1 Cp. Ward's view of cause, force, etc., as anthropomorphic, Naturalism 
and Agnosticism, ii. p. 237 ff. 

2 Thus in pure science, such a unity is without "human" qualities of any 
kind : it has merely quantitative characteristics. Hence the contrast between 
the idea of scientific energy and that of primitive animism. 


place to that of Understanding, has passed away into 
it, and hence cannot be opposed to it. When we 
are understanding we are no longer perceiving at all : 
we have left perceiving behind and are at a higher 
level of experience. Hence there is no sense, on 
such a view, in asserting that in Understanding we 
"apply" the idea of Force to perceptual "facts." 
The idea of Force already implies the content of 
Perception, and what we do in Understanding is 
to develop what that idea itself contains, carry it, 
so to say, its whole length, exhaust its value for 
experience. And by doing so we come to find in 
turn its limitations, and hence pass to a higher stage 
of unity still. But we do not take Perception, so to 
say, in one hand, and Understanding in another, 
and try to reduce the difficulties of the one to the 
shape prescribed by the other. The process is a 
development, where each stage contains already the 
preceding, and is not to be fitted into or connected 
with it mechanically. 

Kant. And herein, again, lies the difference between this 

view and Kant's. For Kant, and indeed many others, 
Perception and U nderstanding are generically different 
agents of a mind which, as a detached and complete 
entity by itself, uses its machinery now in one way and 
now another. But since it is all the while one mind, 
the two must somehow be brought together ; * and if, 
after that, there is still some gap, or again some 
residuum, discoverable, another attempt must be made 
to get a completer unity, which is the so-called unity 
of "reason." Why the mind can or should act in these 
different ways, and how a mechanical unity of any 
kind can satisfy self-consciousness, is not clear. But, 

1 Hence the machinery of " schematism " and " categories." 



for Kant, it is enough that both Perception and 
Understanding seem to deal with the same objective 
world, the world of "nature" "outside" the mind. 
The one gives so much of the content of that world;; 
the other does something quite different to bring its 
content within the range of experience. Perception, 
so to say, picks it up in fragments and brings those 
fragments to be connected by Understanding. The 
latter takes them up without alteration and puts them 
together by relations all its own, and alien to 

Hegel's correction is twofold in character. He Hegel's 
first rejects the departmental conception of the 
organisation of conscious life, which implies that 
all departments co - exist and co - operate in the 
mind ; and for this conception he substitutes that 
of the mind having different levels of experience in 
each of which it is realised, and in each of which it is 
in a certain degree complete because it is experience. 
What has to be expressed and exhausted is, 
not the object -world as a res completa, but ex- 
perience as a unity of subject and object. In the 
second place, he gives up the view that experience at 
any stage is composed of mere particulars requiring 
a special organ or function to deal with and collect 
them together before coherence can begin. Instead 
of this he maintains that there is universality at every 
stage : that there is never matter without form, 
difference without identity. Hence there is no need 
for one type of experience to "provide matter" for 
another : each has its own form and matter peculiar 
to it, its own universals and content. From these 
two positions it follows that Perception and Under- 
standing are not to be brought together because they 


are external to one another. They are different 
attempts on the part of conscious experience to attain 
the same purpose, namely, to satisfy the one supreme 
end of self-consciousness. The one does not supply 
what the other lacks. The one simply does more com- 
pletely what both accomplish in different degrees. 
Truth of Now reflection will let us see that there is profound 
this view, truth j n this interpretation of the nature of Under- 
standing. For to " understand " an object assumes 
that the mind does not merely see directly the uni- 
versal (as in the case of /^r-ception) but penetrates 
to its inner meaning, and reveals the inner principle 
connecting its elements. 1 It implies that the object 
is known as falling in its entirety inside a single 
conscious unity, which when resolved into its different 
constituents just is the full content of the object. 
We cannot profess to understand unless both these 
aspects of the situation are consciously present to us. 
To seek to understand means either to grasp the 
unity holding together the differences of which we 
are aware, or it means showing how this unity breaks 
up and expresses itself in these various differences. 
Any case of scientific or popular "understanding" 
of an object will illustrate this. The very effort and 
claim to "understand," therefore, implies the presence 
of this principle ; or, to put it otherwise, the existence 
of such a principle in experience takes the form of 
" understanding." Now Force is just the objective 
way this effort appears when Understanding works : 
it is the principle on which it proceeds. How it 
shows itself in detail we shall indicate presently. 
Such a conception taken as it stands no doubt is 

1 The etymology of our word brings this out : as it does also in German. 
Cp. also the Greek didvoia. 

vi LAWS 191 

abstract. That is in the nature of the case, because 
here we are dealing with Understanding in general, 
simply as a mode of experience, But the whole course 
of Understanding as it "deals with" the various 
elements or spheres of objectivity, e.g. trees, rocks, and 
clouds, is the detailed application of one and the same 
attitude which proceeds by one and the same principle. 

How then does this form of experience, Under- Under- 
standing, develop, how does it reveal its activity ^ ndm g 
more concretely? It takes first the form of what process: 
we call Laws connecting the diversity of the 
object, and leads to the gradual distinction of a 
sphere of Phenomena or Appearance from a sphere 
of Noumena or Supersensible reality. Force is 
merely the general form of unity of the objective 
world as presented to Understanding. When this 
takes definite and detailed shape, i.e. when its 
meaning develops, as by the process of experience it 
must, it becomes more specifically a law-determined 
and law-constituted world. 1 At first sight this seems 
an unfamiliar way of stating the nature of Under- 
standing. But let us clear away misinterpretations. 
Ordinarily speaking, Laws are spoken of as being 
" made " by Understanding, and at the same time we 
look upon these Laws as being not ours but "deter- 
mining the object." Now what is meant by Under- 
standing, " making laws " of objects, and objects 
being "determined" by them? It is clear that the 
Laws are held to be in one and the same sense for 
Understanding and in objects. The attitude of 
reflection and common sense bears this out. But 
this surely means that there is a fundamental identity 

1 That is, Force and its "expression'" when developed take the form of 
laws "constituting" the objective world and controlling their detailed content. 


between these two aspects of the experience of 
Law? Understanding cannot be cut off from the 
object if the Law is the same on both sides. We 
do not, of course, raise the question how complete 
or true a Law may be, or what are the conditions of 
obtaining a true Law, nor again how are Laws applied 
and verified all that is the business of psychology, 
or, again, of the analysis of the method of reflection 
in special cases, to determine. We are dealing with 
the ultimate question : what is the very ground on 
which the fact of Law rests, and from which it 
arises as an experience ? It is \\v\. given. It is not 
created. It must therefore be rooted in the very 
nature of experience. It first arises at the level of 
Understanding. Hence the view often expressed 
that Laws are "formed by" and are the expression of 
"intellect." But this can only be half a truth. For 
Understanding must have an object, and Laws could 
not even appear without the object. There must be, 
therefore, an objective side to this activity of Under- 
standing. That objective side is a unity revealing 
itself in diversity, an identity which is one in its 
difference and revealed wholly in difference : and 
this corresponds to Force. Hence the view also 
held that Laws are the nature of the object. 
Corrobora- Now reflective activity itself, not to speak of primi- 
** ve anthropomorphism from which science comes, 

Subjective indirectly corroborates this. For Laws are there 
looked on as endowed with a certain "power " which 
"manifests" itself in and through them. They are 
not static but dynamic. Consciousness of " power " 
has been said more than once to give rise to the very 
idea of the dynamic relation of "cause and effect." 1 

1 See e.g. Ward, Naturalism and Agnosticism, ii. p. 237 ff. 


And this same consciousness of Force is found to 
be the beginning in human experience of the demand 
for inner coherence amidst change. These facts in- 
directly throw light on the above view : but of course 
do no more. That explanation goes much further 
than empirical considerations can reach. It concerns 
the very being of Law in human experience. To 
say that Laws have their " source " in human 
Understanding requires us also to say that they 
are the form which the experience of Understand- 
ing takes when its unity specifically determines its 
different manifestations. To employ a metaphor, 
Understanding can be looked on as a primordial 
cell which differentiates itself into distinct units 
homogeneous with itself. These units we call Laws : 
they are simply ways of Understanding, expressions 
of its single activity. Understanding and the Laws 
by which it works are related as potential to actual, 
function to execution. Laws of arranging the 
diversity of things are not artifices contrived by our 
mind : they are the mind in one of its phases, its 
phase of Understanding. And whether in specific 
cases they are correct or not, has nothing to do with 
their ultimate significance and nature. 

Such Laws, again, are looked on as having an objective 
objective existence. The objective side is similarly Slde ' 
constituted. Force is here the primordial cell corre- 
sponding to Understanding on the subjective side. 
The breaking up of the unitary activity of Force 
into specifically different units means the realisation 
of unity in diverse expressions or manifestations of 
Force. These various unities pervading diversity 
are the Laws which are " at work," as we say, in the 
objective world. Hence it is that the Laws of 




things are looked upon by reflection in ordinary 
experience as at once ways of "understanding" 
things, and ways in which things "work." These 
are just the subjective and objective aspects of the 
same concrete experience. 

One-sided No doubt we speak of the Laws as being " out- 
side our minds " or understandings, and may even go 
so far as to say these Laws are merely found by us 
and are independent of us. 1 On the other hand, 
again, we often speak of the Laws of things as 
simply our own devising and having no counterpart 
in the actual being of things themselves. 2 The very 
fact that such contradictory positions have been held 
suggests that each is emphasising some abstraction 
and ignoring the concrete experience. And the 
history of philosophical criticism has brought out 
their one-sidedness repeatedly. Both views imply a 
Dualism between subject and object, which, as we 
have seen, leads knowledge into an impasse. The 
fact that one emphasises the objective nature of 
Law, and the other the subjective, does not make 
the one view better than the other. It is merely a 
difference of stress on the side of the Dualism which 
comes into prominence when, on the one hand, we 
think of the universal bindingness of Law, or, on 
the other, of the process by which we come to be 
aware of it, a process which itself necessarily implies 
the changeableness of any particular Law. When 
we think of the former, Dualism leads us to say 
Laws are "external " and " independent " of us: when 
we think of the latter, Dualism leads us to say they 

1 In this case we are thinking of the objective universal unity of Law as 
distinct from its realisation in any particular subject's experience. 

2 In this case we think of the process in the individual's mind of coming to 
the experience of what Law involves. 


are " our own " and dependent on us. But analysis 
compels us to admit that the Laws are at once sub- 
jective and objective, because experience is both at 
once. And this does not leave the necessity or 
contingency of Laws unexplained. For (i) when 
this refers to particular laws, the question can only be 
decided by the course of experience, and to decide it 
either one way or another does not affect the ultimate 
nature of Law as a principle determining experience : 
and (2) the necessity of the element of Law lies 
ultimately in the fact that it is one way in which the 
ideal of a unified self-consciousness determines that 
unity to appear in the course of its experience, a 
unity with a subjective and objective side at once. 

(i) Now this view has great significance in Results, 
other ways. Three points may be here noted. 
In the first place, it lets us see that by advancing 
to the stage of Law the mind is not leaving the 
nature of things behind and setting up a Dualism, 
but carrying things, the deeper meaning of things, 
with it. And just as objects " perceived" did not 
fall outside perceiving experience as such, the same 
is true of objects as " understood." Experience 
at this stage, as at others, has its own peculiar 
content, and, as it stands, is not opposed to 
some "beyond," some unknown, and unexperienced 
" real " which might for ever cast doubt on the 
value of its process. There is no such gulf; and 
hence no such doubt can arise. All that is of 
significance at the level of Understanding actually 
falls inside that experience ; and the mind at that 
stage is completely at home with itself and its 
object. The Laws are literally Laws of objects. 
They have not one significance to Understanding 


and something else to the object known. Ex- 
perience does not keep its account of truth by 
double entry, does not require the services of some 
unseen interpreter to translate the course of things 
into the language of Understanding, or vice versa. 
The Laws which Understanding states are part and 
parcel of the whole experience in which they appear. 
In point of fact, if we examine common life we shall 
find that in spite of, indeed because of, the alteration 
or even abandonment of particular Laws of things, 
the ordinary mind does insist that the Laws by 
which at any time it understands things are actually 
constitutive of those objects, and as such it ten- 
aciously holds to them while it can. To under- 
stand, in short, so far from setting up an opposition 
of any kind between mind and objects just means 
that these two aspects of experience have come 
into a deeper conscious unity than was possible at 
the level of Perception. 

(2) Again, this activity of Understanding is seen 
at once to be the first indication on the part of mind 
of that power of manipulation which is one of the 
characteristics of freedom. Mind is here at a higher 
level than Perception, simply because there is a 
clearer contrast and relation between the unity and its 
diverse contents. This gives greater possibility of 
self-direction, selection, less control by the immediate 
content of the moment than we find in the life of 
perceptual experience. Hence we find in the sphere 
of Understanding the beginning, or at least the pos- 
sibility, of what we call "suggestion," "hypothesis," 
"negation," "affirmation," distinction between "real" 
and " unreal," and so on all of which, on the one 
hand, have a reference to a wider content than the 


immediately present, and, on the other, imply, at 
least dimly, a consciousness of the central all- 
controlling unity of the self in experience. These 
are aspects of the life of freedom. We see this in 
everyday experience. A man feels more at home in 
the life of Understanding than in the sphere of 
Perception. In the latter he feels, so to say, tossed 
hither and thither as sense facts dictate ; in the 
former he has a control over the course of conscious 
events, a power of resistance and adaptation which 
make for coherence and definiteness of mental life. 
Similarly, again, in common experience "men of 
understanding " are looked upon as just those who 
manifest and possess, within certain practical limits, 
a consciousness of order and law pervading the 
things which make up their immediate environ- 
ment. And it is just this aspect of Understanding 
which, as we shall see, points the way to a still 
higher step in the development of self-conscious 

(3) But, in the third place, we see here how this 
view of Understanding has at once modified and 
gathered together the whole teaching of Kant 
regarding the relation of Understanding to the Kant. 
objects of Perception. For Kant, Understanding, 
in dealing with the content of the perceptual 
world, is the parent of the law and order that 
pervades it. On the above view, the idea of law is 
likewise a principle of Understanding ; but Under- 
standing has lost entirely the subjective character 
which it has in Kant and which is the direct con- 
sequence of the dualistic assumption underlying 
his view of knowledge. Understanding, again, 
is here, as in Kant, the sphere of necessity and 


objectivity in dealing with the content of Perception ; 
for in Understanding we find the immanent 
universal which is the ground of stable objectivity, 
and that essential relation of differences to identity 
in Law, which gives necessity to the content of 
things. But whereas for Kant this objectivity is 
looked on as something derived from and imposed 
by Understanding, on the above view the objectivity 
is not derived from, but the complementary aspect of, 
Understanding. Since subject and object only exist 
in the unity of experience, the one is not determined 
by the other but with the other. And that, in 
substance, we may take to mark at once Hegel's 
difference from Kant, and his conception of the 
relation between Understanding and Perception 
the question which occupies Kant's Analytic in 
the Critique of Pure Reason. Understanding is 
simply a higher development of the relation between 
subject and object than we have in Perception. 
In it we have a truer unity of subject and object 
than perceiving supplies ; and in that sense this 
stage of experience gives both a deeper ex- 
pression of the nature of the subject and of the 
nature of objectivity than we find in perceptual 
experience. This higher truth is higher, not by 
lying outside but by containing in itself all that 
Perception aimed at. Again, Understanding is not 
simply found side by side with Perception in human 
experience, and when picked up and contrasted with 
Perception found to give a higher unity to 
experience. It arises as a necessity, on the one 
hand, from an implicit consciousness of a deeper 
unity than we find in Perception and, on the other, 
from our explicit consciousness of the inherent 


incompleteness of Perception. It is directly related 
only to Perception, because it is the immediate 
outcome of Perception, is the next level to which 
experience rises to try to attain that complete 
unity not found at the level of Perception. In 
that way the stage of Understanding is " deduced " 
from the complete unity of self-consciousness, just 
as Kant (though in a different sense) asserted ; and 
it is demanded by Perception (which Kant also 

The further important element which arises in the 
course of developing the meaning of this stage of 
experience is the distinction between "phenomenal" n. 
and "supersensible" reality. This arises simply 
from the contrast which comes to be made between 

the world of Law and the diversity of content in w 
and through which Law is " manifested." We 
still have with us the continuous change of content 
which we found characteristic of Perception. This 
appears now as the ceaseless activity of Forces 
in process of manifestation. Objects come and 
go, the qualities appearing pass away into one 
another ; nothing in the world of things remains 
stable. But the world of Law has fixity and 
endures. The unity remains and is not destroyed 
by the differences into which it is resolved ; rather 
it remains by means of and through the changes in 
which it is manifested. It would not otherwise be 
a unity expressing itself in and through difference. 
Hence the antithesis. On the one hand, we have 
constancy amid change, which is of the essence 
of Law as a principle of unity. On the other, 
changing elements which for ever reconstitute but 
never destroy the permanence of that unity. Thus, 


e.g. the Law of Gravitation is held as a principle of 
unity, though the things and the qualities of things 
in which it is revealed to us pass out of our sight 
and disappear altogether. We hold by the unity, 
which is the essence of the Law, and not by its 
sphere of manifestation. The fact that other 
qualities and things take the place of those that are 
gone does not prevent us from holding by the unity 
as such ; it confirms us in doing so. It proves 
that the unity is concrete, and the special differences 
do not affect our insistence on it as the vital reality 
of things. It is in this way that Understanding 
in ordinary life actually does keep its stability 
and security amidst the changing manifestations 
of a law-constituted world. The consciousness of 
unity is of greater significance than that of the vary- 
ing elements, and its greater value for experience 
leads us to hold to it, be the change as great as it 
may. A man's Understanding and the Laws which 
constitute it, are thus, in the everyday world of 
human experience, the stronghold for the safety, for 
the coherence of his conscious life, even when the 
shifting array of temporal events, on which he has 
come for practical purposes to rely, is scattered in 
catastrophe. A being limited to Sense or Percep- 
tion does not have that security, not because it 
can do without it, or fails to appreciate it (if that 
were so, then Understanding would be a question- 
able boon to the higher type of mind), but rather 
because it is completely under the sway of its infinite 

Nature of Here we see precisely the ground of the distinc- 

tinctfon. t ^ on wn ih comes to be made. Understanding, 

because it can lay stress on the unity of Law as con- 


trasted with the diversity of its manifestation, can hold 
these two aspects apart as fixed distinctions inside its 
experience. It comes to look on the one as a sphere 
per se distinguishable, and in that sense separable, 
from the other. The manifestations stand on one 
side, the system of unities or Laws on the other. 
The one is looked on as the outer expression, the 
transient realisation, or, if we choose, the "unfolding" 
of the nature of the other. The other is looked on 
as the inner vital principle, the underlying substance, 
the active source of the detail of the world of things. 
Hence there are drawn, in the course of experience 
at the stage of Understanding, the distinctions with 
which we are in everyday life familiar between 
" inner " and " outer," the " passing phenomena " and 
the " permanent noumena," the " immediate present " 
and the "remote beyond." These distinctions we 
find in everyday life, as well as in the reflective 
procedure of scientific thought which arises from it. 

Now this lets us see once more what is meant by Under- 
Understanding being the deeper truth of perceptual jJJJ p"f_ 
experience. It might at first be supposed that we ce P tion - 
were here simply reintroducing Perception with its 
change and flux of qualities and things, and calling it 
"appearance," while professing all the while to have 
passed beyond it. It might be supposed that this 
distinction between inner and outer, phenomena and 
noumena is 1 no more than a way of putting Under- 
standing alongside Perception, and allocating one 
aspect of things to one function and another aspect 
to the other, leaving the two all the while not recon- 
ciled. But the truth is that this distinction is only 
drawn inside the life of Understanding and cannot 

1 Like Dualism. 


appear at the level of Perception. He is not reviving 
Perception, but building Perception into the structure 
of Understanding. What is solely present in 
Perception, the variety of sensible qualities and 
the flux of things, is here merely a moment or 
aspect of Understanding, viz. its aspect of diversity, 
appearance, phenomena. For Perception there are 
no phenomena at all : for they are wholly and only 
as they are in Perception. There is no beyond, 
no noumena in perceptual experience ; their esse is 
their percipi. For Understanding there are pheno- 
mena, because there is a deeper unity. They are 
phenomena with reference to their inner principles 
of unity or Laws. Hence, to use Hegel's expres- 
sion, that variety which makes the entire content 
of Perception is " taken up " by Understanding 
and appears as a moment in its concrete life. It 
can be so "taken up" because Understanding, in 
virtue of this unity of Law, goes beyond Perception. 
And it goes beyond it, because that unity is not 
exhausted (as is the content of Perception) in the 
momentary present, or the immediately "given." 

The supreme importance of this distinction, again, 
lies in the fact that thereby it is shown that the 
Pheno- distinction between phenomena and noumena is not 
Noumena a difference (as Kant asserted) between what is part 
both fail of experience and what cannot be so. There is no 
perie&ce." beyond to experience at all. The distinction is one 
which falls inside experience itself, and is constituted 
by the nature of Understanding as a stage of ex- 
perience. Here, again, therefore we surmount the 
difficulty which was raised by Kant's Dualism. The 
Dualism made it logically necessary that there 
should be an unknowable sphere beyond experience ; 


hence Kant's noumenal world is a "limit" to experi- 
ence. But in truth, the noumenal world arises only 
in contrast to phenomena. It is necessary, but only 
necessary as a constituent element in experience, not 
as a boundary to it. The "beyond," the "inner," is 
relative to the "immediate," and the "outer"; just as, 
and because, Force is relative to its "manifestation." 
As the immediate phenomenon is in experience, so 
is the remote noumenon. All experience cannot be 
immediate ; there cannot be an absolute whole 
immediately manifested, without a contradiction in 
terms. Similarly, an absolute "beyond" to all ex- 
perience, a noumenal world outside experience as a 
whole, is a contradiction in terms. It is thus, then, 
that we can do justice to Kant's distinction and 
yet dispense with the thing-in-itself. 

The final development of the meaning of Under- in. 
standing carries us to a further stage in the evolution 
of experience. In the process of Understanding, 
while we are dealing with universals, yet the unities 
or Laws expressly reveal the "inner" life of "things" : 
the relation of subject to object has still a certain 
relative externality. As we saw, the Laws of things 
are looked on by the ordinary mind as having 
a being of their own " beyond " the conscious 
life of the subject, as "real" whether they enter 
it or not ; and these universals may even be 
looked on as peculiarly "subjective." It is this 
conscious contrast which creates or suggests that 
opposition between Understanding and the Laws of 
things which was referred to before. The relation, 
however, of Law to its manifestation, when fully 
realised, carries us beyond this conscious opposition 
altogether. The relation of a Law to the phenomena 


it controls is, when developed, such that the differ- 
ence between them loses all its apparent fixity. The 
Law is not simply " in " the manifestations or "through " 
them ; it is the diversity which makes up its content. 
The relation between them is that of continuity ; it 
is not external or fortuitous. This immanent con- 
tinuity between these elements (the unity of the Law, 
and the plurality of the content of what is united) 
on its objective side appears as an incessant change 
or exchange between the two. The ore slips into 
the other ; the two are moments of a single process. 1 
On its subjective side this continuity has also a 
peculiar character and significance it is what in the 
sphere of Understanding is called "elucidating the 
nature of" the object. For "elucidating" or "ex- 
plaining " is literally reducing or resolving the 
variety of the object into the unity of its Law, in 
such a way that the manifestation of that unity will 
mean the appearance of the variety of the object. 2 
" Explanation " is that stage in the development of 
the nature of Understanding where the opposite 
elements which it distinguishes are through and 
through consciously identified, and where therefore 
the objective and the subjective side of this experi- 
ence are explicitly made a continuous single unity. 
Explanation is not strictly a function of Under- 
standing ; it is Understanding at its highest stage. 

1 As it is put, there is no law without particulars, and no law except in 

2 From this comes the isolated nature of each " explanation." Each holds 
good by itself as it stands, even though we are aware of its limitations. We 
keep within the range of the object from which we start, and get at its Law. 
Elucidating seeks to go no further. Hence the fixity and apparent " finality " 
of the result in spite of its finiteness. This " finality " of what is " limited " is 
characteristic of the whole procedure of Understanding. Hence its difference 
from Reason. 


Now, in Understanding, we sometimes say that 
the necessity in the connexion established by 
"explanation" is not the" thing itself" which is 
explained. But such a distinction is no sooner 
made than it has to be given up. For if this 
distinction can be drawn, the "explanation" is not 
completely established, while if the explanation is 
complete there is nothing left over from which it 
can be distinguished. The difference between 
" explanation " and the Law, whose meaning is 
expressed and realised in the "explanation," is for 
knowledge, for experience, merely verbal. To say " we 
have the explanation," and to say, "we have con- 
sciously elucidated the nature of the object," are one 
and the same. " To explain the Laws of a thing " is 
a redundancy of speech. The Laws as unities of a 
phenomenal world, and the Laws as forms of "explan- 
ation " are indistinguishable. But if that be so, then 
in the conscious experience which we have at this 
highest expression of Understanding, the subject is 
not aware of some object over against and contrasted 
with it. The subject is conscious, when connecting 
the content of phenomena by the Law manifesting 
itself phenomenally, of referring the diverse content 
to a principle at one with the self of the subject. 
The conception of Law may be at first abstract 
and separable from the phenomena, fixed in a world 
of its own, a " supersensible " world, and on that 
account can be, as we saw, consciously contrasted with 
and distinct from the subject. That is the im- 
portant point. Law is only " outside " the subject 
when it is taken as an entity per se. But then it is 
inadequate to its own meaning ; and hence may indeed 
be thought of as beyond the subject which is concrete. 


When Law is concrete, i.e. is the controlling unity 
of its diversity, we cannot look on the law as outside 
the subject. Explanation and Law fall together as 
functions of a single experience. That is, when the 
experience is fully realised it is consciously a single 
unity of which subject and object are sides. The 
opposition of the object is now overcome just because 
the distinction between the Law and its manifestation 
is a transient and vanishing distinction. The con- 
ception, with which Understanding works, is therefore 
not something of which it is conscious, but in and 
through which it is conscious. In "explanation" all 
sense of otherness has been removed, and in the object, 
subject is conscious of its own unity. Consciousness 
of an object has thus passed into Self-consciousness. 
To put it otherwise, the unity at work in the experi- 
ence of Understanding is a unity which both manifests 
itself phenomenally and refers phenomena to itself, a 
universal which dissolves into difference and again 
resolves that difference into itself. This means it is 
a self-referring, self-determined universal, i.e. a self- 
complete, self-limited, or infinite universal. That, 
however, is a self-conscious universal, for only what 
is conscious of self can return upon self with its 
diversity. Thus then, according to this view, the 
process of Understanding fully realised and expressed 
becomes self-conscious experience, and with this we 
have arrived at the truest relation of subject to 
object. All other possible forms of experiences are 
developed from this one general relation. 
Results. The significance of such a result is not far 
to seek. If the full meaning of Sense-experience 
was found in Perception, and the truth or goal of 
the relation of subject to object in Perception lay 


in Understanding, and if the final issue of this is 
Self-conscious experience, then Self-consciousness is 
thereby shown to be the very ground of the conscious- 
ness of things, the very principle in virtue of which 
the consciousness of things becomes an experience. 
"Consciousness of an other, of an object other than 
subject, is itself," says Hegel, " necessarily self- 
consciousness ; it necessarily means being reflected 
into a self, consciousness of a self in what is other or 
objective." Or we may put it thus. Self-consciousness 
is the highest expression for consciousness of objects : 
for such a consciousness at once expresses the fact of 
diversity between subject and object, and also that of 
unity between them. But these two elements or 
factors are really implied in all forms of consciousness 
of objects. The difference between Self-conscious- 
ness and other forms of relating subject and object, 
is that the former makes fully explicit both aspects, 
the unity and the difference, whereas other forms 
express the difference (consciousness of something) 
but only bring out the unity imperfectly and in 
different degrees. But if Self -consciousness is 
the highest expression, it is that at which they all 
aim, it is their reXo?, and hence it is the ground of 
their being what they are. In Kant's expression 
Self-consciousness is " the condition of the possibility 
of all consciousness of objects whatsoever." Mind 
can be conscious of objects because and when it is 
conscious of a Self. And consciousness of self 
is logically prior ; it is the ground for our being or 
becoming conscious of things. This means that 
the consciousness of objects, in those cases where 
these factors are distinctly opposed, is an imperfect 
realisation (though a necessary one) of the principle 


of Self- consciousness. The former arises out of 
the consciousness of self- that is its possibility and 
justification : it can remain fixed in the distinction 
and the contrast found there if it does so it falls 
into error, the error which, e.g., creates Dualism in 
all its forms : it may rise into complete conscious- 
ness of self as its process develops and that is its 
" truth." 

This, then, in brief is the view of the knowledge 
of things of the " external " world on the basis of 
absolute idealism. It is a continuous refutation of 
Dualism, and is the transformation and re-expression 
of a principle which is essentially Kantian from 
beginning to end. 1 

1 It is worth noting that the position of Dualism is invariably based on and 
confined to the lower levels of experience, Sense-experience and Perception 
particularly. No one ever seems to think of treating Moral Experience, which 
belongs to the level of Self-consciousness, from the dualistic point of view, or 
of basing the dualistic position upon Moral Experience. Yet in the latter we 
have subject distinct from object as truly as in Perception. But there the two 
are so obviously "intimate" and "inward" to each other that it is absolutely 
impossible to dissociate them and set up a gulf between them. The 
question ought surely to suggest itself why, if this is so here, should there be 
really such a gulf anywhere in experience ? Why suppose that experience can 
even be, if there is such a gulf anywhere ? If the unity between the two is so 
obvious in Morality, may it not exist everywhere else in experience in the same 
way ? If we regard Moral Experience as being of higher value than, say, Per- 
ception, as we do, the question might suggest itself, may this not be just 
because there we have a higher realisation of what experience as such is ? and 
if so, should we not start from that point in our interpretation of experience as 
a whole ? In point of fact, it is just such an experience as Morality which 
enables us to turn the flank of the dualistic position. If Moral Experience is 
not dualistically constituted, dualism as a general theory must be given up : 
and if Moral Experience is higher than Perception, no matter how much 
Perception justifies dualism, experience as a whole must be interpreted from 
the higher point of view. This is the essence of the idealistic method of 
attack on dualism and "Naturalistic" Realism. It would also be equally 
possible to turn the dualistic position by an appeal to such a form of Know- 
ledge as that given in Memory, where clearly we have an object, but an object 
in no sense "outside the mind." Memory is a highly complex form of 
consciousness of self, and cannot be explained at all on the dualistic assump- 
tion. The same is true of other forms of Self-consciousness. 



WHILE the process of " explaining," realised by Under- 
Understanding, implies the consciousness of self in 

its process, it is not carried out by any direct refer- the way 
ence to the self as such. At best it only establishes the 

possibility of making self an object of which we may of Self - 
be aware directly and explicitly. It is, however, the 
only level of experience hitherto considered that 
could do as much. For here alone do we have as 
object of consciousness a single permanent conscious 
unity containing the variety of "things" as its very 
expression. We saw how the fact of diversity, so 
characteristic of Sense, and the form of all exter- 
nality, reasserted itself in spite of the activity of 
Perception, through which unity was, at least 
partially, introduced into experience by the foci of 
Perception called "things." Here in Understand- 
ing a unity is at last secured which resists dispersion 
into diversity, and maintains itself through all dif- 
ference in the world of "things." In virtue of 
Understanding experience is always held consciously 
together amidst all change of sensible phenomena. 
No matter how wide the range of phenomena, the 

209 . p 


unity is realised and is maintained in precisely the 
same way. The diversity is consigned to pheno- 
mena, the unity to what is beyond all phenomena. 
The same process of Understanding takes place in 
all cases, the same unity is secured (the unity to 
satisfy Understanding) wherever the process is 
realised. Being thus all-comprehending the subject 
finds itself at home throughout its objective world 
in the same way. 

The result Now the completeness and the sameness of the 
standings unity, realised as a conscious result produced by its 
to give the own activity, react, so to say, on the subject exer- 

subject the . . ... . ..... 

sense of its cismg the activity, and create within it the con- 
own umty. sciousness of the unity of its own action. This 
consciousness of the unity of its own action is the 
germ of the consciousness of a self. When the 
unity is explicitly accepted as its own it becomes 
ipso facto self-conscious. So far as Understanding 
goes, this step is merely implicit. Understanding 
is a mode of the subject's experience, and the 
unity arrived at is only implicitly a self-unity. 
When that unity is accepted as its own, Under- 
standing passes into self-consciousness. The con- 
sciousness of the unity of the activity becomes a 
consciousness of the unity of the subject exerting 
the activity. 
Under- T ne possibility of this has been brought about 

standing _ i r i i 

by its pro- by the character ot the process of Understanding 

S S s df ingS which involves manipulation of detailed phenomena, 

unity into selection, refusal, affirmation, and negation as its 

conditions. All this tends undoubtedly to throw 

into relief the consciousness of sameness in the 

activity of the process, to bring out, therefore, the 

oneness of the subject as a conscious fact, and 

thereby to set up self as per se an object in experi- 

ence. 1 

The unconditioned or self-conditioned universal The unity 
which is the object of Understanding, i.e. the uni- 

versal whose nature is not determined, as in the case of implicitly 
Perception, by an external other, but itself determines opposition 
all otherness, all phenomena can only be so because 
the subject in it is conscious of itself, because the sub- 
ject feels no otherness confronting and opposing itself. 
The content of its experience is a thought-content, and 
a thought-content is essentially a self-content. But 

1 It is significant that this result should be arrived at by way of the con- 
sciousness, through Understanding, of Law in experience. It lets us see why 
a self has no meaning unless as a conscious principle of order. The self 
involves the very idea of order or unity, because it arises in experience out of 
a consciousness of Law amidst phenomena. A " man of understanding" is at 
once one who " knows his way about " amidst the phenomena of his world, 
and also sustains the sense of selfhood, never loses his own sense of unity, in 
dealing with its ceaseless variety ; for to do the one is ipso facto to do the other. 
On the other hand, we can see from this how " mental confusion" involves at 
once loss of the sense of unity in experience and dissipation of selfhood in the 
diversity of phenomena ; and this confusion can pass through all degrees from 
temporary perplexity, where the unity is struggling to assert itself against the 
appearances, to permanent derangement, where the unity is altogether lost 
amidst them, and the subject falls back to the level of mere Perception. It is, 
again, by way of Understanding, that man rises to the levels above brute 
consciousness (Reason and Morality) and yet maintains contact with it by imply- 
ing those processes of experience, Perception and Sensation, to which brute 
consciousness is confined. While, finally, the result throws light on the distinc- 
tion between man's understanding and brute "intelligence." Understanding 
as such is short of self-consciousness while containing the germ of it. It 
may very well be that brutes can rise as high as to understand. Because 
they exhibit many of the forms of human Understanding, they are often 
thought to have the consciousness of self, while in point of fact they have no 
such consciousness at all. For consciousness of self involves Understanding, 
but the latter is not per se the former. The fact that the observer of brute 
intellect merely ' ' infers " that it has the consciousness of self, looks upon this 
as something which may be for the brute intellect but is not a reality for him, 
is itself a proof that the consciousness of self is really not there at all. For 
the consciousness of self, if it is an experience, is bound to be expressed in 
specific ways, e.g. as recognising his own self, as Science, or as Religion ; for 
these simply are experience based on consciousness of self. The fact that 
these do not appear in brute life means that the consciousness of self is not an 
experience for it. 


while in such a universal, absolute difference of sub- 
ject and object disappears from experience, in the 
first instance this thought-content carries with it the 
fixity characterising what is opposed to the subject. 
The thought of Understanding claims finality on 
its own account, and just as it appears. 1 Hence 
arises the need to overcome this independent 
stability confronting the subject. The process of 
doing so, however, is merely a relation of the sub- 
ject to its own content, to its self. It consists in 
breaking down that resistance its own content offers 
to complete identification with the subject, and estab- 
lishing self-consciousness on both sides subject 
aware of self in object, object accepting and recog- 
nising subject as its self. The whole process takes 
place as a movement from implicit to explicit con- 
sciousness of self, and is necessitated because the 
conscious unity of the two sides (subject and object) 
of the experience is at once asserted and yet not 
realised completely. That the further development 
is to take place is an indication that, while Under- 
standing has broken down the rigidity of the oppo- 
sition between subject and object characteristic of 
the attitude of mere consciousness as such, which 
took the forms of Sensation, Perception, and Under- 
standing, it does not of itself satisfy the unity which 
the disappearance of that opposition implies. In 
other words, Understanding is an incomplete ex- 
pression for the unity of experience, and at most 
prepares the way for a fuller expression of it an 
expression which, in the first instance, takes the 
form of the subject being aware of self as its object* 
instead of "sense-quality" or "thing." 

1 Vide note, p. 204. 


This consciousness of self, even in its simplest Conscious- 
and earliest form in experience, assumes different 

phases, which indicate the stages through which it has 

.. . & r , & , . different 

passes to complete realisation 01 the principle it phases and 

contains. At the outset, however, it has to b 
noted, as the result of what has been said about previous 
Understanding, that this self, of which consciousness 
is aware, is here not one object amongst other 
objects of experience, but the one and only object 
for the subject. The self is its world, its whole 
objective content. It embraces within it all the 
content so far considered, all that made up the 
experience of Sense and Perception. These are 
now elements in the content of self only, and are 
to be treated as such. There is here no world 
of "things" and "qualities" in contrast to a sub- 
ject ; what was the world of " things," in the former 
stages of experience, has passed, by means of Under- 
standing, into a content of experience whose char- 
acter is self and self only. This level of experience 
is, therefore, so far as it goes, complete as it stands, 
and all that preceded is now to be re-moulded or 
re-interpreted from the point of view of consciousness 
of self. We live and move here solely within the 
range of consciousness of self. That is our world. 

To begin with, then, the content of this world, The object 
because merely implicitly self, seeks to retain a Jf^" the 
certain being of its own which is at once felt as| nstan ce 
distinct, and yet as in truth "belonging to" the Sub-^K 
ject. The world of objects presented is mine, but 
yet keeps apart from me. It is implicitly mine, but 
can only become so by my act. Being implicitly 
mine it appeals to me to claim it as such; because 
it is implicitly mine I respond to that appeal. It 


seeks to be "me," just as I assert that it is so. J_ 
can take it and find myself in it ; it surrenders its 
content to me. To use a psychological distinction, 
it is unconsciously myself and tends to enter con- 
sciousness as mine ; I accept or assert this truth 
on my side, and lift its unconscious nature into a 
conscious result. The only meaning of the object 
lies in thus handing its whole being over to the 
subject as its own. The very life of the subject 
lies in determining that content as its self. The 
realisation of this demand and claim means securing 
the identity of the two by completely overcoming 
the distinction between them and establishing them 
as a unity. Now this recriprocal tendency of the 
one to the other for the fulfilment of the nature of 
both is the phase of experience we call Desire. 
Desire. In Desire there is a distinction of the factors 

subject and object with a felt identity between them 
and required by both sides. The tendency, combined 
with the sense of distinction, gives precisely that felt 
tension which characterises Desire. The tension 
implies at once that this distinction is a conscious 
fact, and that the identity of the factors forces itself 
through the distinction in order to get their deeper 
unity realised. The movement of the process in 
this experience is carried through just by gradually 
bringing out this identity as a conscious result, and 
establishing it as the primary fact in the situation. 
If that is not achieved the experience continues as a 
felt strain till it is either accomplished, or the Desire 
abandoned : the Desire remains unfulfilled, " unsatis- 
fied." When it is achieved the tension, and with 
it the distinction, disappears : the Desire is fulfilled, 
and Satisfaction takes its place as n experience. 

vii DESIRE 215 

The whole process is thus double -sided from Desire is 
beginning to end : it is only possible within the s ided. e 
sphere of consciousness of self. The distinction 
from which it starts is implicitly felt as a vanishing 
distinction, and can only be so felt because it is set 
up within, and, indeed, by the type of consciousness 
by which it is resolved. The object in Desire is 
not really something " external " to the subject. 
Its being consists in giving up its distinction from 
the subject altogether ; and this it could not do if it 
were substantially alien to the subject. The subject 
in Desire does not really take the object to be 
foreign to its life. On the contrary, the subject seeks 
to annul any distinction the object seems to have, 
and to make the object's content its own, to break 
down the distinction separating it from the self, and 
build its content into the very substance of the self. 
There is no Desire at all where the object is looked 
at as remaining apart from the subject. 

At the level of Perception this is possible. For The 
in Perception self does not seek to be the object nor p u ^ d sl [ n on 
the object to be our self: there we seek to realise a Perce P tion 

... .... c i does not 

unity which preserves distinction as a conscious fact, exist in 
Hence in Desire we do not really desire " things " Desire - 
qua "things," for that would leave them still apart 
at the end of the process. The Desire would never 
be satisfied ; it would never be Desire. We desire 
what has a self -significance. When we say we 
desire " things," we really mean that we desire 
what, while at first distinct from us, is, in the result, 
to become consciously part of our own content. 

1 Strictly speaking, as we saw, Subject does not even exist for Perception 
in the form of Self as such. Hence Perception is not an avenue to Know- 
ledge of Self. Vide note, p. 225. 


Or to put it somewhat paradoxically, we "desire 
things " in the sense that we desire the disappear- 
ance of their "thing" character, and the trans- 
formation of them into the substance of the self. 
The supposition that we can desire " independent 
things " is due to a confusion between the object as 
it is for Perception before Desire arises, and the 
object as it is after Desire takes place. Perception 
may certainly precede Desire. But we do not 
desire because we perceive ; and we do not desire 
what we perceive. We desire in fact the object 
in the experience of Desire, not the object in the 
experience of Perception ; and the object for Desire 
is just that which loses the " externality " of a 
"thing" and fills up the life of the subject. A 
" thing " must become content of self before it 
enters the sphere of Desire. 

Under- Hence it is only so far as the self embraces in 

and dms * ts swee P tne content of the world before it, regards 
Desire. that content as implicitly its own, as what can 
realise its own life as such, that the attitude of 
Desire can be assumed. That this content is im- 
plicitly its own was, as we saw, established as a 
fact by the process of Understanding. Now Desire 
just brings out the significance of what Understand- 
ing has guaranteed. Understanding establishes 
that the world of object finds its meaning in the 
unity of the self; Desire carries out further, by the 
active life of the subject, the significance of this 
result. By Understanding, the subject finds the 
world its own : Desire makes it so by actively 
identifying all content with its self. Understanding 
establishes self as the ground of experience ; Desire 
implies in its process the active presence of the self 

vii DESIRE 217 

as the principle of its mode of experience. With- 
out the consciousness of self, there is no Desire. 
Desire is its first and simplest realisation as a 
distinctive factor in experience. 

There is no implication here of a purpose which Desire in 
governs Desire, or of an end at which it aims. 
That comes later. Here we are dealing with 
Desire simpliciter as a general mode of experience. 
Desire per se is a conscious actualisation of self, 
whatever be the value of the self otherwise. This 
ultimate nature of Desire is the basis on which all 
other more specific forms of Desire rest, and has 
therefore nothing to do with the consideration 
whether a desire is "good" or "bad." "Good- 
ness " and " badness " imply other forms of experi- 
ence which are different from and higher than mere 
Desire, and determine the character or worth of 
desires. 1 Desire is here merely the way conscious- 
ness of self is first consciously realised ; and this 
must exist as a form of experience, before a desire 
can be called "good " or " bad," for it is the ground 
of anything being pursued as "good" or "bad." 
From this point of view the statement of Spinoza is 
true, that a " thing " is not desired because it is 
"good," but "good" because we desire it; i.e. 
Desire in general must take place first as a form 
of experience : goodness, as a special quality of the 
object desired, comes later. To begin with, all the 
implicit content of the self is, or can be, desired, 
just because the self, which Desire expresses, is, at 
this stage, one with all its object world. We can, 
as we say, desire "anything." 2 This is so because, 
from the point of view where the self is one with all 

1 Namely, Society, Moral Order. a As it is said, " Desires are infinite." 


the content of its experience, everything can be 
explicitly identified with it. At a higher level of 
self-experience, say Morality, certain elements of 
the content of self come to be qualified in one way, 
others in another, and may come to be selected and 
desired for their specific quality (as, e.g., "good" or 
"bad"). But to begin with, the distinctive qualifi- 
cations which arise from further experience do not 
exist. Objects are merely desired because they 
implicitly fall within self- consciousness, and are 
asserted in Desire to do so. The self is here quite 
indeterminate in value and meaning : it is mere self, 
mere unity of the subject as such. Hence, on the 
one side, the very indeterminateness of the self 
makes it possible for it to dominate any or all the 
content which is presented, everything that fills 
experience, i.e. " we can desire anything " : and, on 
the other, that all content should be implicitly one 
with such a self is precisely what makes the content 
appeal to the self, makes it first " desirable " and 
then "desired," i.e. "everything is a possible object 
of Desire." If it were absolutely alien to the self 
the attraction would not arise : if it were absolutely 
one with the self there would be no point in its claim- 
ing to be so. The union of attraction and repulsion, 
which constitute the tension of Desire, arises simply 
from the contrast between an unfilled indeterminate 
self and the content with which it is implicitly at 
one a contrast, therefore, which falls within the 
consciousness of self. 

The pro- The process involved in Desire is already in- 
Desire. dicated in what has been stated. When the con- 
trast between a content which implicitly is, but ex- 
plicitly is not, one with the self, becomes a conscious 


fact, there arises the feeling of a unity unrealised 
because of some element opposing its realisation. 
This feeling is what we call a Need. Consciousness 
of a Need is only possible because of the felt unity 
of oneness with self. The felt unity, co- existing 
along with the conscious opposition, produces a 
movement to do away with the contradiction be- 
tween the opposite factors. The conscious neces- 
sity compelling the removal of this contradiction 
takes the form of an assertion of the unity of the 
self, in spite of and through the opposition. Such 
a conscious assertion is the active Impulse, which is 
an essential element in the process of Desire. This 
activity is negative in character by its very nature ; 
it .arises because of, and in order to remove, an 
opposing content. It consists simply in destroying 
the characteristic separateness in the content. Since, 
however, that content is implicitly one with the self, 
such a process of negation can only issue in the 
assimilation of the content to the self. With that 
assimilation the opposition is at once removed and 
the feeling of self- unity established. This feeling 
of self-unity is what we call Satisfaction, and is that 
in which Desire terminates. Hence in actual ex- 
perience we find that Desire can only work by 
destruction of content. 

It is this active assertion of self in the process of The result 
Desire that makes Desire of such significance in the 
development of consciousness of self. For with the 
explicit assertion of this oneness between self and 
the content before it, with the domination of that 
content by the self and for the self, the self comes out 
at the end of the process of Desire more truly than 
ever the essential principle of experience. Here we 


have no longer a world of Understanding, with its 
distinction of elements into phenomena and noumena 
a distinction created to sustain, as it were at all 
costs, the opposition of subject and object which 
mere consciousness adopts. Such a distinction must 
disappear in Desire, for the very principle that the 
unconditional universal Law or thought is the inner 
reality of which phenomena are the outer expression, 
has ceased to be merely " inner," and has itself be- 
come " outer." There is no longer any contrast 
between "inner" and "outer" when the self is all 
in all to itself, is consciously the beginning and 
the end of its experience. The self, which is essen- 
tially thought, has left the inner hidden realm of 
noumena " beyond " phenomena, and has become 
manifest as at once the inner life of the process of 
Desire and the outer embodied result of that process; 
for Desire, as we saw, falls wholly within the sphere 
of self-experience. It has ceased to be merely that 
at which we arrive as the result of Understanding, 
it is that from which in Desire we start. The 
world of objects making the content of experience 
is not merely found to be in union with the subject 
by Understanding ; it is now determined consciously 
to be so by the subject. The subject no longer, on 
the one hand, makes an apparently alien world of 
objects harmonious with itself by forcing its way 
into the inmost recesses of that world, plays the 
role of noumenon in the form of thought, and so 
becomes at home with itself in the variety of the 
object "understands" it: while yet, on the other 
hand, it keeps up the distinction of the object world 
from itself by drawing a line between inner truth 
and a sphere of appearance. The subject in the 

vii DESIRE 221 

case of Desire constitutes the very being of the 
object both in form and content. The objects are 
not simply for the subject ; they are implicitly in the 
subject, and claim explicit oneness with it. The 
self does not find them "without" and make them 
fall " within " itself. They are from the first im- 
plicitly within it. Desire can bring this to clear 
consciousness, and does so by finding, as the result 
of its process, that they fill up its life, "fulfil" or 
"satisfy" it. Just as in the case of Perception the 
esse of " things " lay in their percipi, so in the case 
of Desire the being of objects lies in their being 
desired, in their satisfying a self. 

In Desire, then, self is the beginning and the end Desire not 
of the process ; consciousness of objects is self-con- com P} ete 

t J conscious- 

sciousness ; the subjective and the objective side of nessofseif. 
experience are consciously one. But Desire per se 
does not exhaust the full significance of this ex- 
perience. It represents rather the simplest form in 
which it appears, where objects get their meaning 
from the self which claims them as its own, and are 
therefore subordinate to its active identification of 
them with itself. Such a world of objects is im- 
plicitly one with a self, but is not per se a self on its 
own account. It has its being only for a self, but 
does not claim to be per se a self. The object, in 
short, is per se selfless, though claiming oneness 
with the self. Moreover, the self, which is here 
realised as a conscious result, is, just because of 
that character of its object -content, necessarily a 
particular self. For we have here in Desire a self 
with its indeterminate world of objects referring to 
it as their unifying principle ; and what is attained 
through Desire is the feeling of this self being 


satisfied by the object. It is the one subject ; all else 
is adjectival for this subject. Hence it is that, on 
the one hand, Desire is, as we say, always in- 
dividual, and the satisfaction of self varies indefi- 
nitely, that "the desires of selves differ" ; and, on 
the other, that Desire has to do only with objects 
which can be subordinate to, assimilated by, a self, 
and is not a relation between selves as such. One 
self does not desire another self; nor desire along 
with another ; but always and only for itself. 
Desire, in short, is a relation between a self and 
a selfless object. 

The higher But the process of Desire makes possible a higher 
consci&us- an< ^ completer form of consciousness of self. By 
ness of Desire the self is carried out and established 


objectively. The self is now not simply the implicit 
unity of experience. The subject is conscious of 
its self as an objective result. Its self is now for 
its self in and through objects. Through Desire 
self is therefore on both sides (subjective and objec- 
tive) of experience. The way is thus prepared for 
an object to be a self on its own account, and still 
be for a self. One self may stand over against 
another self, be for it, and yet be a self. The 
experience of self-consciousness, in other words, 
can be sustained and realised by a relation of one 
self to another. This is made possible by the result 
of Desire. It is, however, an actual experience at 
a level above Desire and different from it. It is a 
level where a subject is conscious in its object, not 
of something without meaning until it becomes its 
own, but a self having a being for itself on its own 
account: not, however, a self other than the subject, 
but in union with its self, its own other. It is the 


level where one self " recognises ' ' and ' ' acknowledges 
its identity in another self the level of Recognition. 

The process of Recognition is simply the form of Recogni- 
experience in which consciousness of self takes place 

when subject and object each claim to be self. Desire from 

. i 1 r i Desire and 

implies, as we saw, that only one side is self, the under- 
other is selfless, and hence is subordinated to self. standm g- 
The fundamental relation between two self-conscious- 
nesses can only consist in each being self for itself 
and also for the other. But that means that each is 
"accepted" by the other in the same sense, since 
each just is what the other is self. It can only do 
so because it is self. And it must do so, because it 
is thus merely asserting self in another form. Hence 
it is that we do not desire the self of another. We 
necessarily put it from us, for to be one self is just 
not to be another. So far as we are conscious of 
another self, we, in the first instance, simply allow 
it to be there before us. It cannot be ours without 
destroying our self. We cannot negate it, we can 
therefore only affirm it. Nor, strictly, can we "under- 
stand" 1 it, still less "perceive" 2 it. There is no 
"understanding" a self, not because it defies "under- 
standing" and is therefore "inexplicable," but because 
"understanding" is simply not the way to become 
conscious of it even in the most elementary form of 
its existence, as "mere" self. If we try to "under- 
stand " it, we necessarily draw distinctions within 
it ; we have to distinguish how it expresses itself 
and what it is in itself apart from its expression. 
But this cannot give what we want namely, the 

1 Kant also insisted on this. 

2 Berkeley held that knowledge of .selves is obtained by inference based on 
" perception." 


self as such with and in its expression, the self as 
a unity beneath all distinction. 1 Understanding 
must proceed by such a distinction and cannot rise 
above it. Understanding, therefore, is bound to fail 
when we seek to become conscious precisely of what 
implies the absence of such a distinction. Under- 
standing fails to give us the self, because the 
unity arrived at by Understanding is lower than 
the unity of self-consciousness. 2 The failure does 
not prove the self non-existent or unintelligible. 
The attempt to accomplish such a task is itself 
meaningless. We do not want to " understand " a 
self at all : we merely recognise or acknowledge it, 
It would be useless, therefore, if in such a case we 
could "understand," for the result would not convey 
to us what a self is. We can only " understand " 
what has no self, what is over against us as an alien 
object. We can see the truth of this if we try for a 
moment to give a meaning to the expression, " we 
can understand what our own self is." It at once 
suggests an infinite regress as the only way of 
interpreting what is inherently a self-contradictory 
statement. If the application of Understanding 
to our self fails by its very nature, it fails for 
precisely the same reason when we have to deal 
with other selves. It is in general only in regard 
to the latter that we do make the attempt ; for there 
a self is something more than self proper or mere 
self. It is an object which in one aspect, its sensible 

1 It is only a self if all its content is self, i.e. there can be in its case no 
distinction of what it is "in itself" and how it "appears." 

2 Hence the failure of analysis, e.g. in Psychology, to discover a self is 
inevitable. All analysis is a form of "understanding," and proceeds by 
distinctions. But this does not prove, as Hume and his successors 
held, that there is no self, and no unity. Such a contention is radically a 
petitio principii. 


aspect, belongs to the sphere of Perception, and 
hence presents the same general character out of 
which Understanding arises. But it is meaningless 
to try to go beyond that aspect. Hence the illusory 
nature of the attempt to carry the process of " under- 
standing " the subject higher than the sphere to 
which Understanding is strictly applicable as a 
form of experience. 1 

The experience of being conscious of self in 
another self, therefore, is inherently different from tlon ' what: 
both Understanding and Desire. It is not merely 
" knowledge " in the sense of mere consciousness of 
objects, knowledge as found in Perception and 
Understanding. It is a consciousness of another 
self reflected back upon the subject and becoming 
a consciousness of its own self in that other. It is 
re -knowledge. re-cognition. And this is made pos- 
sible because self, as we have seen, is on both sides 
of the experience, is subjective and objective. We 
are not dealing at this stage with the more developed 
forms of self-consciousness, as these appear at higher 
levels of experience still, in, e.g., Morality and the 
Social Order. Here we are dealing with the bare 
consciousness of self, consciousness of mere self. 
And at this level consciousness of self in and through 
another self consists in the subject simply accepting 
that other self as revealing its self to itself. 

It is implied in this process that the relation is The pro- 
mutual. What holds for one side holds for the " ss of . 


other ; what is accepted by one is admitted by the tion. its 


1 It is equally futile to suppose that we can "perceive" other selves; or aspects, 
that we gain a " knowledge of other selves " through " perception." The self 
is admitted not to be a "thing," and is never asserted to be in any sense 
" external." But if so, Perception, which has for its content " external things," 
is, ipso facto, not the mode in which consciousness of a self can appear. 



other. "Acknowledgment" 1 means re-affirming 
from one side what is asserted by the other ; " re- 
cognition" 1 implies the re -appearance in the one 
consciousness of the self-content which falls within 
another. All this lies in the very principle of a 
reciprocal relation between selves. It may be 
realised with different degrees of completeness, but 
every form of it involves one or other of the 
elements implied in the principle. To begin with, 
the self on both sides is a particular self, and the re- 
cognition is of one self by another single self. Being 
self, it is in one of its aspects mere or bare self; it 
contains implicitly, but is capable of abstracting itself 
from, all its own objective content, the content which 
it secures through the process of Desire. Again, 
being a particular self objectively present to another 
self, it has all the characteristics of a particular 
object : it is a " this self," with a " sensible " or 
"natural" existence of its own, in virtue of which 
it appears to another self as "this particular self." 
And, finally, being a self for itself > it is not simply a 
self apart from its content, and not simply a parti- 
cular self through and in its particular content (as 
"object" for a particular self), but a self containing 
all its particularity as its own, a self for itself because, 
and in the same sense as, it is for another. All these 
elements have to be accepted and "acknowledged" 
before full Recognition of a self by a self is obtained. 
Only in the last is the self completely realised ; for 
there it ceases to be merely an object for another, 
and to that extent dependent on another, for its 

1 The more complex forms of "recognition" and "acknowledgment" 
which take place in the Social Order are, in the long run, based on, and are 
developments of, this more ultimate form of consciousness of self. 


meaning, and becomes independent, self-dependent, 
really " free." In this last stage it thus knows itself 
to be free and gets that freedom of self " recognised." 
Until and unless this is accepted on both sides con- 
sciousness of self in another self is not completely 

The aspect of self as detached from all sensible Ego as 

. i . r -ic T? identical 

existence is essential to consciousness ot sell, r or with ego 
it means the identity of self with self; and this is 
the bare but essential form of self-consciousness, 
"ego is ego." It is only obtained by the self 
abstracting itself from the contingency of sense. 
This self must be "recognised." But when bare 
self " recognises " mere self in another, the Recog- 
nition is as empty as the selves which constitute 
the relation. It consists in merely asserting and 
accepting selfhood. The one finds no difference 
between itself and the other. The only ground of 
distinction is the reciprocal act of Recognition itself. 
But for this, our self would be the self of another ; 
the ego recognising a self would be aware merely 
of its own self. This form of Recognition has a 
supreme value, however. It is the formal aspect 
of freedom. It is, again, the insistence on the 
identity, even though abstract, of all selfhood ; and 
this means the implicit universality of all selves. 
It implies, too, the essential equality of all selves, 
an equality exactly the same as the equality of a 
self with itself. And this is the ultimate basis of the 
equality of selves in the Moral Order of experience. 
Still, on this level of Recognition, no concrete re- 
lationship can be established and taken up between 
the selves ; for bare identity of self makes all 
inter-relation impossible because needless. It is 


the simplest and least complete form of Recognition 
on that account. 

Ego as The aspect of self, again, as embedded in or 

fromego. confined to its sensible existence, is likewise essential 
if the self is to be accepted as this particular self, an 
object for another self ; and must be so recognised. 
Each self may "recognise" the other as "this 
particular self." In such a case, what we have is 
the bare difference of one self from the other. 
Each " recognises " itself as different in accepting 
the self of the other, and vice versa. The Recog- 
nition is not the asserting of abstract identity, but 
abstract exclusion. Each accepts the other, but 
as a natural existence, much in the same way as it 
accepts the existence of natural beings other than 
selves. They establish consciously the existence of 
each other as diverse, and in that sense opposed. 
They may exist side by side, but that is the only 
positive condition of their relation. If they come 
into active relationship, at once the difference asserts 
itself, and the result is struggle and conflict negation 
of self. It is consciousness of self in a "state of 
nature," each opposed to each and all. They are 
equally selves only by asserting their difference from 
one another. This state is only different from the 
play of natural forces in being consciously exerted 
and consciously directed by self-conscious beings. 
This form of Recognition has, however, its value in 
emphasising the fact of distinction between selves 
in spite qfa.ll identity, and the fact of " contingency " 
of particular selves. 

between 7 These two aspects are distinct ; and, moreover, 
selves in tne y have not the same value as moments of the 
don. self, even though they are both essential to it. For 


the former emphasises the fundamental element in 
self-consciousness, self-identity, abiding unity, free- 
dom, self-containedness ; the latter inevitably estab- 
lishes the element of variety, diversity, all that is 
characteristic, in fact, of "sensible objects." Since 
they are thus distinct and of unequal value, and 
yet both selves, there can be a Recognition of 
the one as such by the other as such. This will 
introduce a consciousness of inequality between 
the two sides in the experience we are considering. 
It may very well happen in the course of the de- 
velopment of complete consciousness of self in 
another self, complete Recognition, that one self 
may emphasise one of those aspects, while the other 
emphasises the other aspect. One self may insist 
on the abstract self- reference apart from sensible 
existence, the other may claim to be, and be content 
to remain, bound up with the sensible embodiment 
of self. One may assert itself to be, and be "acknow- 
ledged" to be, detached from all "natural" existence, 
the other may claim to be and be recognised to be, 
inseparable from it. One may assert its abstract 
" freedom," the other its abstract " contingency." 
When this is the case, and a relationship of Re- 
cognition is taken up between two such selves, it 
takes, by its very nature, the form, not of an equality 
of one self before the other, but of inequality. The 
one is the higher and superior in value, the other is 
lower and inferior in value. The one sees the other 
merely as his particular objective self, as his sub- 
ordinate self, as his sensible existence ; the other 
sees the first as his own true, free self, whose 
sensible reality he expresses, but which he himself 
is not and does not claim to be. When this 


relationship is set up and constituted as a concrete 
experience, we have what appears in the charac- 
teristically human relation of Master and Serf. 1 
Masterand This relationship is not here considered in its 
Serf ' ethical aspect. That introduces other considera- 
tions altogether different from what is relevant here. 
Its significance in the present connexion lies simply 
in its being a specific stage in the realisation of the 
consciousness of self, that stage in which there is a 
conscious inequality of value between one side (the 
subject) and the other (the object), and where that 
very inequality becomes a condition of experiencing 
selfhood, of " recognising " self. The above argu- 
ment does not, therefore, justify the relation of 
Master and Serf morally; it "justifies" it epistemo- 
logically, by showing that it has a necessary place 
in the development of consciousness of self, that it 
is a form in which this experience must appear if the 
one side is identified with an aspect of self different 
from the other. That it can and must appear is 
a proof of its necessary value : that it arises out of 
an incomplete realisation on both sides of the life of 
the self, is a proof that it may be and is trans- 
cended at a higher level of consciousness of self. 
Be it noted, however, that the relationship does 
Serf not a not mean, as is so often supposed, that the Master, 
'thing.' Qr consciously free self, is aware of the Serf, or 
" natural" self, as a "thing." That is both im- 
possible and meaningless. For the Serf constitutes 
the Master a free and true self, just as much as the 
Master constitutes the Serf an unfree self: for 

1 It is one of the earliest forms in which the life of concrete self-conscious- 
ness appears, and one of the most enduring and subtle forms in which it is 
always maintained, as we can see if we reflect for a moment on the enormous 
part it plays in the life of every Society. 

vii SERFDOM 231 

each recognises and accepts the self of the other. 
Moreover, each recognises the other as his own 
self, the one his self in the form of natural exist- 
ence, the other in the form of free self. The Serf 
is to himself free, though only in and by his Master : 
the Master has to himself "a natural existence, though 
only in his Serf. A "thing" never has such a re- 
lationship to a subject, because a " thing," in point 
of fact, only has a meaning at the level of Per- 
ception, where self- consciousness does not, strictly 
speaking, explicitly exist. The only possible at- 
titude we can take up to a " thing " is to perceive it : 
that is the content of perceiving experience. We 
may, if we like, look on the Serf as the "thinghood 
of self," in the sense that here the Master treats the 
self as an object bound up with the sphere of sensible 
or natural, " external," existence. But it is not sensible 
existence as such that he deals with, but the self 
qua natural existence. And this constitutes all the 
difference between a " thing " as such and a Serf as 
such. All this difference comes out, indeed, in the 
process of maintaining this relationship. For the 
Master to commit to the Serf the performances of 
his (the Master's) purposes ; to punish him for 
failure to execute them ; to allow the Serf even to 
" buy his own freedom " by labour or otherwise ; to 
set the Serf free these and other conditions of the 
relationship indicate the contrast between "things" 
and " Serfs." But in fact to identify the two is to 
trifle with the nature of the principle involved in 
two cases. The one is a relation between conscious 
subject and "unconscious" or selfless existence: 
the other essentially a .relation between two self- 
conscious beings, a relation which in principle 


might very well either change sides in the course 
of experience, or disappear altogether, when the full 
realisation of self-consciousness is established. 
The The maintenance of this relationship in all its 

between details ruling on the side of the Master, service on 
Masterand the side of the Serf, command and demand on the 
one side, and obedience on the other, follows 
logically from the fundamental character of this 
form of Recognition. Both are selves ; and seek 
to maintain themselves as such. The one, the 
Serf, in his abstract consciousness of self, gives 
up freedom of self as such for the sake of the 
bare existence, the natural life of the self, which 
is in principle a subordinate moment of self-conscious- 
ness. The Serf thereby confesses he is incapable 
of asserting his own free self-identity as such. He 
must therefore subordinate the self he prefers to 
another self, since his own self-consciousness implicitly 
demands this for its complete realisation.^ He can- 
not be this free self of himself, yet must, because he 
is self-conscious, realise it somehow ; hence he does 
in through another self. In this way he does get 
his full consciousness of self, but does so only at 
the expense of a phase of his own real self-con- 
sciousness. Since he gives up free selfhood, he 
is ip so facto conscious of complete self only in sub- 
ordination to that which is free. He can only be fully 
self by giving expression to that dependence. This 
he does by " obedience " and " service." By doing 
so he gets his true self, for only if he does so can he 
get what he lacks and must have ; since his complete 
self is implicitly and truly also a free self. Hence 

1 These two aspects being together the ultimate moments of complete 


the Serfs relation to his Master is not arbitrary 
but a necessity for the Serf himself. The same 
holds good, with the necessary changes, regarding 
the position of the Master in this experience of 
self -consciousness. The Master can exert his 
" authority " over the Serf, because he surrenders 
his natural existence and stands for mere freedom of 
self, albeit abstract freedom (a freedom which, 
because abstract, is, to begin with, contingent upon 
greater "force of will," " energy of self," or any ex- 
aggeration of a difference which makes abstraction 
easy). In exerting it he is performing for the Serf 
what the Serf as self-conscious requires and im- 
plicitly demands the function of free self : and 
he is doing for himself what he also requires the 
maintenance of his abstraction from the "natural" 
self which is implicitly his own, but is subordinate 
to him. 

But while such a mode of obtaining conscious- Complete 
ness of self can indeed play an important role ness 5 "? self 
in the evolution of this experience, and must is onl y 

. . . possible 

appear to some extent wherever the experience where self 
is found, it is inherently inadequate to its full 1 ^ umver - 
expression. It rests on an abstraction on the part 
of each side of the experience ; and, if sustained, 
must perpetuate a fundamental contradiction. 1 It 
seeks to maintain an essential inequality of the 
self with itself "; and this implies that the self is 
not really a unity, that its aspects cannot be ex- 
plicitly what they are implicitly a position which 
the very relationship above considered denies. 

1 A contradiction, however, on which a very large part of the life of a 
Society rests, and which is largely the very moving principle of its ceaseless 
activity. The "Labour problem," which concerns Society so deeply, is an 
instance in point. 


Since on each side in the above experience, one 
aspect of the self is implicit and the other explicit, 
the complete realisation of consciousness of self is 
found where on each side the self, of which each 
is conscious, is explicity both aspects at once, and 
each sees in the other, not a phase of its self, but 
its entire self, where each is for the other what 
it is for itself, and is in the other what it is in 
itself. This means, however, that each is conscious 
of itself, not simply as distinct from but as com- 
pletely one with another, conscious of being self in 
the same sense as the other. It is then conscious 
no longer of simply "my self" and "this self" at all. 
In the form of " my " or " this " self it was particular. 
Hence in this completer consciousness of self it 
becomes conscious of universality of self or of self 
as universal. 

Universal- This is brought about directly as the result of 
mad e fself the very relationship of incomplete self-conscious- 
possible by ness above stated. For the Serf, realising its 
SYnlquai? natural self for the self of his Master, does so by 
ityof carrying out the purposes of the Master (his free 
self) through and in his own natural life. This 
process is what is called his Toil or Work. In 
his "Labour" he moulds and determines natural 
existence by conscious purposes, which are in the 
first instance his Master's, but are secondarily his 
in the own. The Serf makes those purposes his own in 
"obeying" his Master. But since these purposes 
are at the same time the purposes of his own 
true or free self (his Master), in carrying them out 
he is really carrying out his own true self. That 
true self therefore becomes his own self through 
the purposes he adopts in virtue of his "obedience." 


They are directly realised by his will as such, not 
by that of his Master. They are, to begin with, 
abstractly his, since his true self is abstractly apart 
from him, as his Master. But these purposes, 
while they remain abstract for the Master (since 
he does not carry them out), become concrete forms 
of action for the Serf. By carrying them out he 
thus becomes concretely possessed of his true self, 
no longer as something external but as his own 
energy of will. He thus acquires, through " obedi- 
ence " to his Master, the self which he had first 
of all put from him, or abrogated in favour of 
another self. By Labour, therefore, the inequality, 
originally set up within his consciousness of self, 
is removed altogether, and his complete self is 
restored to him as a unity and as his own. When 
this is brought about, and comes home to the Serf 
as a conscious fact, he is in a position to assert 
his freedom, and so claim an equality of self-con- 
sciousness with his former Master, claim, that is to 
say, to be for the other self (his Master) what he 
is thus, as the result of his Labour, for himself. It 
is merely a question of time and circumstance when 
and how this shall be insisted on and fully realised ; 
whether it comes from the side of the Master, 
who "lets him go free"; or comes from himself by 
" acquiring " it through some means or other ; or is 
brought about, it may be, through external agencies 
of history compelling its full expression. 

Similarly, from the side of the Master the same in the 
result has to be brought about. He is abstractly 
free ; his concrete freedom is only realised by the 
purposes, embodying his freedom, being carried out. 
But since they are carried out by another self (the 


Serf), he will remain only abstractly free unless they 
are concretely his own as well. If he remain only 
abstractly free, while the Serf, by the process above 
stated, becomes concretely so, he will be inferior to 
the Serf. He is bound, therefore, in the interests 
of his own free self to secure, by some means or 
other, that his self shall be concretely free. This he 
does by embodying his purposes in natural objects 
as such, and, on the one hand, subordinating these 
to himself, while, on the other, "using" them as a 
means of establishing his freedom in the eyes of the 
other. This implies, e.g., "hiring" the Labour of 
the other, and acknowledging in this the freedom of 
the other to give or withhold his Labour. It implies, 
in short, the surrender of the relationship of inequality 
between his self and that of the Serf, and thus brings 
about the transition to a state of equal and complete 
consciousness of self between the two sides. 
Universal When this is a fully conscious experience, both 
self-con- gjdes recognise each his self in the other as it is for 

sciousness > * 

the basis the self of each. Each acknowledges his self to be 
highest in no peculiar or particular self, but to be a self with 
human ex- universality of nature. Each sees in the other the 
reflex of his true self, of what he is for himself; sees 
himself, longer as particular and isolated, 
but as universal. From the relation of selves as 
universal, springs all that is highest in human expe- 
rience the certainty man has of secure "rationality," 
out of which comes Science ; the Moral Order of the 
world ; his sense of being absolutely at home in the 
universe wherever the individual self-consciousness 
exists within it ; his Religions, where he claims to 
live the life of an eternal self-consciousness. All 
these are but further developments of the funda- 


mental principle of a consciousness of a universal self, 
which, again, means a consciousness of being through- 
out all its content absolutely at home with itself, of 
being entirely for itself, or completely free. Con- 
sciousness of complete freedom and consciousness of 
being a self which is universal, are therefore one 
and the same experience. All manifestations of 
universal self-consciousness are thus phases of free- 
dom. Free self-consciousness is, then, the ground 
and end of all experience. 

At first this complete consciousness of freedom This 
takes an abstract form, as we find in the history both 

of the individual mind and the human race. To be ness of 
conscious of a self which is universal to be con- a t first 
scious that, in being for himself, the individual is for abstract - 
all selves, that he represents selfhood in general 
can very well be asserted in highly abstract ways. 
It can become the source of boundless self-assurance 
and superb self-exaltation on the one hand, or pro- 
found self-abnegation on the other ; and between 
theses two extremes lie all the various forms of 
exaggerated and self-confident isolation of the self 
from the richness of its concrete experience. Taken 
in an abstract form, indeed, no mode of experience 
is so capable of endless distortion, so fraught with 
peril and danger, so liable to pass the bounds set by 
the orderly necessity of a rational coherence. For 
the very consciousness of a self, which, in abstrac- 
tion from all the details of existence of whatsoever 
kind, yet carries its universality within it, can dare 
to transcend all finite existence, and still find itself 
at home with itself, still find its objectivity within 
itself. It may so transcend all finite existence that 
reflection is unable to distinguish its claim to be 


universal from boundless egoism. It can so think 
away all else except itself, that it can claim to be all 
that is. It can mistake the mere claim to be all 
existence for the claim to be at one with universal 
self-consciousness, just as it can mistake the claim 
to be free from all existence for the consciousness 
of a universal self. The very universality of the 
self, in short, is the danger of this experience ; for 
that universality has all the indefiniteness of an 
abstraction, and all the plenitude of reality. It 
may be made so indefinite as to be indistinguishable 
from nonentity ; it may be made so definite as to be 
indistinguishable from the very opposite of universal 
self-consciousness and become an attitude of mere 

Three In the main the abstract expression of this form 

forms of Q f experience m ay appear in three distinct ways. 

abstract * * 

universal The commonest and perhaps healthiest shape it 
scbusTess: takes is that of lifting the self away from all depend- 
stoicism. e nce upon, and attachment to, natural existence of 
every kind, and of finding, on the positive side, its 
life and being in the consciousness of bare universal 
self as self. This is the mood of elevation above 
all " nature " and natural conditions, of communion 
with self in its bare formal universality, with pure 
"thought," and of relation to the concrete realities of 
existence merely by way of exclusion and denial. 
This type is the attitude adopted by the Stoical self- 
consciousness in whatever form it appears, whether 
in the form historically called by that name or in 
the form of Asceticism which is logically allied to it. 
There is nothing of worth here but what comes from, 
and has the aspect of, the pure self. Only the self 
as universal is the truth ; only the thought of the 

viz STOICISM 239 

self, the pure thought, has any abiding place in 
experience. " Things " and " objects " presented 
are obstacles in the way of the consciousness of 
thought for its own sake ; or, at best, centres and 
occasions of reaction and recoil into the region of 
thought. They have only significance by being 
excluded from self-consciousness, and have no place 
in it. Life in connexion with them can only be 
endured on sufferance. To give up all connexion 
with them is not only no loss, it is positive gain ; 
and, in consequence, the world of such things can 
be completely and even deliberately abandoned by 
the process of justifiable suicide. The positive life 
of the self is found in the life of thought, and with 
that type of self wherever it is found. Those who 
live this life together, in spite of contact with natural 
existence, make life in time and space tolerable for one 
another, and form a social whole by themselves a 
brotherhood of immortals. But such a communion 
of pure self-consciousness is only imperfectly realised 
here and now, since " here and now " militate against 
its consummation. It is independent of every " here 
and now " ; it is a whole, whose unity lies not in this 
life but only in the life apart from all natural con- 
ditions a city of God. 

It is easy to see that, since every self-conscious Scepti- 
life is actually found only under natural conditions, cism- 
only one step requires to be taken to carry the 
abstraction of self-consciousness still further. The 
self may abstract not only from all natural existence, 
but from all specific forms of existing self-conscious- 
ness except its own. Here, again, we have con- 
sciousness of self as universal ; but the universality 
is strictly and deliberately asserted to lie only 


within the limit of the individual self-consciousness 
as such. The whole weight and burden of univer- 
sality is lightly assumed by the individual self, 
simply in virtue of his being conscious of self. He 
can abstract himself from all else, and that very 
fact is just the expression of his universality, is just 
the manifestation of it. All security and universality 
begin and end with his self as this individual self. 
But since every self not merely can, but, on this 
view, must, take up exactly the same attitude, there 
remains no point of identity or common ground 
at all for any one self-consciousness to share with 
another. And this is deliberately and consciously 
asserted to be the case, and is accepted as the true 
expression of a consciousness of universal self. 
When this position is taken up we have the 
attitude of thorough-going Scepticism, of Scepticism, 
not as a method, but as a mode of experience. 
Here universal self -consciousness is disintegrated 
and dissipated into the endless multiplicity of which 
it is capable, just because that is, in a certain sense, 
universal self- consciousness ; and this endless 
diversity is as such identified with the universal 
self. In other words, each takes his own individual 
self as such to be the one universal self, and ipso 
facto takes it to exclude all others. For each, 
the truth is his own, is for himself only; therein 
lies the positive side of this attitude. For in Scepti- 
cism the self must always take at least its own 
attitude to be true for itself. But it acknowledges 
just as much that the same position can be main- 
tained by others equally for themselves. But this 
acknowledgment eo ipso so qualifies its own truth, 
its own attitude, as to destroy all its positive value 


for that self. The attitude thus carries its own nega- 
tion within it, as an integral and essential moment 
of it. It is therefore, since it claims of itself to 
be true experience, self-destructive. And Scepticism 
only achieves its highest consummation as an ex- 
pression of abstract free self-consciousness, when it 
is not only aware that this is its outcome, but asserts 
it to be the only possible form of experience ; when 
it not only admits but demands this result. For 
this denial of all value in its own position is itself 
the supreme achievement of its type of freedom, 
the freedom which consists in mere detachment for 
its own sake, in detachment not only from natural 
existence but from other selves. While Stoicism is 
the withdrawal of self from all particularity of 
content in order to find its sense of security, its 
sense of free universality, in the region of the pure 
self, of thought, wherever this may be obtained'; 
Scepticism is the withdrawal from even this univer- 
sal of thought, and hence has nothing left in which 
to find its sense of absolute freedom, except this 
very power and act of withdrawal itself. 

It thus prepares the way for the final and unique Seif- 
abstraction into which free universal self-conscious- ahenatlon - 
ness may pass. It may not merely abstract itself 
from all else other than itself, but in virtue of its 
freedom, it may put its very self outside itself, and 
attempt to maintain an attitude of detachment from 
its own self-consciousness. Nothing could exceed 
this degree of abstraction ; and here all the peril, 
to which this form of experience is liable, takes 
a positive shape. In the previous cases there 
was always some region of self in which the self 
could feel its security, its sense of being at one with 



self absolutely ; for in these cases it did not give up 
everything. In the first, it did not surrender the 
universality of pure self, and had the joy of com- 
munion with other selves who shared in pure 
thought ; in the second, it did not surrender the 
satisfaction of exercising for itself the privilege of 
abstract freedom, and that very satisfaction with 
itself in doing so kept it at one with itself. But 
here it has given up by its very freedom even that 
security of self, the security of having a self to 
assert for the sake of assertion. The result is, it is 
here consciously cut off from all security whatsoever. 
It is divided now not against something apart from 
itself, but against itself; and is conscious within 
itself of its own alienation from itself, with no stable 
resting-place either within or without the range of 
its self -consciousness. Such an attitude is one 
of inherent self-contradiction, a contradiction not 
brought about by contrast to what is other 
than itself, but by its own self. It is therefore 
incapable of being removed by any process of 
self- conscious activity at all. It is pure self- 
negation, seeking at the same time to maintain 
itself as self-negation. The universality here appears 
not as something positive, but as the persistence in 
the same self of an essentially negative attitude. 
For this Self-alienation is itself regarded as necessary, 
as the very expression of free self -consciousness. 
It cannot therefore be got rid of, but remains as 
a permanent state of conscious self-diremption and 
self-dissolution. When Stoicism turned in fear or 
contempt from natural existence, it had a city of 
refuge to which it could flee and be at peace ; when 
Scepticism turned in distrust from all that it 


regarded as alien to itself, it could still trust in 
itself as such. But here there is no place of 
refuge, no foothold for trust to rest upon. Hence 
there is nothing left but to accept as the 
only attitude, a consciousness of self -despair, 
self-distrust, self-pity, self-contempt, a sphere of 
experience where the very power of freedom has 
become a source of terror in having the privilege 
and the necessity of exercising it. This sphere of 
self-created and self-constituted unrest may take 
different forms. 1 It may appear as passive quiescent 
self-despair ; or the self may seek to protect its life 
from the ruin which lies within it, by the very 
struggle to restore the unity of its experience at all 
costs, whether through active contact with natural 
existence or active communion with other selves ; 
or, again, the self may live a life of "gnawing self- 
consciousness," only saved from disaster by seeking 
some consistency through endless self-analysis. 2 If, 
however, the state of self-disruption ceases to be 
felt as a conscious whole, and referred to the self as 
its own, the self may become divided absolutely into 
separate areas altogether, and one partial self set 
itself up against another partial self, and each claim 
to be the whole. When this, the extreme form of 
this self-consciousness comes about as a permanent 
condition, the self has lost even an implicit sense of 
unity. The universality of the self is reinstated 
as a " diseased " state of self-consciousness. 

All these abstract forms of consciousness of 
universal self, by their very abstractness and the 

1 Cp. Sartor Resartus, "The Everlasting No," and "The Centre of In- 

2 Cp. Amiel's Journal. 


The uni- results to which they lead, indicate that the self here 
must b? must take its freedom not abstractly but concretely, 
concrete. Th e se if as universal must be a concrete universal, 
must find itself as a whole in its other as a whole. 
When this is done, it will not merely insist on the 
bare certainty of being universal, a certainty which 
is essentially one-sided, but will find its universality 
in the concrete content of its life. Its self-con- 
sciousness will not be simply asserted subjectively 
but objectively as well. It will find its complete 
self in its object, and will not seek to assert itself 
by withdrawing from objectivity. It will be com- 
pletely at home on both sides of experience at once 
and in the same sense. This, indeed, it finds when 
it develops fully what that principle of universal self- 
consciousness really contains. 



WHEN experience has become explicitly a conscious- The unity 
ness of self, when it has been shown that this very 
principle of self- consciousness has been all along 
involved in its process, even at the lowest stages 
at which the mind is conscious of objects at all, it 
might be said that our purpose has been achieved. 
For thereby it has been proved that the duality in 
which knowledge emerges does not destroy, but 
involves the unity of the elements in all knowledge, 
subject and object ; and hence knowledge is real 
and is of reality all along. The whole difficulty 
regarding knowledge is just that it seeks to convey 
the unity of mind and objects, and yet, at least to 
begin with, exists through an opposition between 
them. The activity of knowledge would be mean- 
ingless, unless it were undertaken to bring out the 
unity between those factors constituting it. As we 
often say, knowledge must be " true," i.e. the mind's 
process must "agree with" the "nature" of the 
"object"; or, again, knowledge must, to be know- 
ledge, and not mere temporal sequence of events in 
conscious life, have "validity," i.e. what is arrived 
at must be guaranteed or accepted by the character 
imposed on its process by the world to which its 



activity refers. Whatever we may think of such 
expressions, they do at least emphasise this funda- 
mental aim of knowledge the attainment of a unity 
between factors prima facie contrasted and opposed. 
Now it has been established so far that the duality 
in knowledge, even in its most extreme form, does 
involve this inherent unity ; that this unity is what 
each stage aims at expressing ; that it is the deter- 
mining condition of its activity at any one stage, and 
of its process from a lower to a higher stage ; and, 
finally, that this unity is proved to be involved by 
the fact it is evolved as an explicit result of the 
process of knowledge towards its goal. In the 
consciousness of self this unity is no longer implicit 
but expressed. With the attainment of this result, 
therefore, all preceding forms of experience find 
their validity ratified, and itself takes its place as 
their highest truth and supreme end. 
The Why, then, do we not stop there in this inter- 

pretation of knowledge? This was undoubtedly 
all that Kant aimed at establishing, and, so far, suc- 
cessfully established. For he showed that unless 
this was involved there could be no unity in know- 
ledge at all ; or, stated otherwise, that the possibility 
of unity in knowledge rested on the reference to 
the self in every act of knowledge. But unity in 
knowledge is just truth in experience ; and hence 
the attainment of truth at all depended on the 
implication in our knowledge of this reference to, 
this consciousness of, self. Kant was content to 
prove that this must be so, if there is to be a 
"possible experience" at all; and being interested 
solely in showing that experience was possible, he 
was satisfied with the bare fact that this reference 


does or must take place. For him, therefore, this 
reference is essentially and necessarilyyw^tf / in char- 
acter. This is valuable so far as it goes ; but, after 
all, it is merely the beginning of an explanation, not 
the working of it out its principle, and not its full 
expression. Moreover, that formality, characterising 
Kant's principle, limits, or is limited by, his range of 
interest in the problem. For Kant the only question 
about knowledge arises out of the duality of the 
factors involved (subject and object), as this appears 
in its extreme and most obvious forms. His problem 
is to explain how there can be necessary unity in our 
knowledge as we find it at the levels of Perception 
and of the Understanding of "things," where quite 
clearly the mind seems to stand on one side and 
objects over against it on the other. And, no doubt, 
that problem is as obvious as the opposition between 
the factors which suggests it ; while, again, it is the 
form in which common sense and natural science 
find it most urgent. If, therefore, he could explain 
how unity was possible there, he would satisfy a 
serious demand. A formal solution, then, was 
sufficient to show how it was possible, and with the 
demonstration that those extreme opposites had a 
ground of unity, nothing more seemed required. 
The knowledge involving such opposition could be 
allowed to proceed on its own course with the 
validity of its process guaranteed. The mere 
justification of its validity could not of itself add 
to the amount of that knowledge, nor could any 
knowledge resting on that dualism be increased by 
deduction from a principle merely establishing its 
validity. In short, the demonstration of the worth 
of ordinary knowledge could afford to be and remain 


purely formal, since it lay altogether apart from the 
process of that knowledge itself, and was not con- 
tinuous with that process. The demonstration 
belonged to a different attitude of experience alto- 
gether : it was a philosophical theory of knowledge, 
and therefore, while it was a kind of knowledge 
itself, it was not the same in kind as was the 
knowledge dealt with by that theory. 

Kant's Hence for Kant there is a sharp distinction 

principle between philosophical knowledge and the know- 
involves a ledge of ordinary understanding and science, 
tinuity There is no continuity between them whatever ; 
between j-j^y are s i m pl v different processes. The fact that 

philosophy J 7- i -i 

and the result of philosophical inquiry is thus purely 
experience, formal is in harmony with his whole attitude towards 
speculative knowledge. For him ordinary know- 
ledge and science could extend our consciousness 
of the meaning and content of the world ; philo- 
sophical thinking could not. Thus all the extension 
of our knowledge of the world was regarded by him 
as the object of the former, and was their sole 
prerogative. With that philosophy had nothing 
to do. But if all knowledge of objects comes from 
them alone, what can be left for philosophy to do ? 
Clearly nothing but to deal with purely formal 
questions regarding knowledge itself. Kant has 
in some way to acknowledge the claims of philosophy 
to be a necessary attitude of the human spirit, and 
must therefore give it some fact to deal with. But 
he will not allow that it extends knowledge of objects, 
therefore its subject-matter must be knowledge as 
such. And since it is excluded from knowing the 
content of experience, there is absolutely nothing 
left but the pure form of knowledge to discuss. 


Any kind of content lies beyond its province to 
consider. But the pure form of knowledge is 
simply the principle involved in all knowledge. 
Hence, to show what this is and how it works is all 
that a theory of knowledge can give. Here we see 
once more the reason for the purely formal character 
of his principle of self-consciousness. His problem 
was formal by its very character, and his solution is 
formal as a result ; even though, so far as it goes, it 
is satisfactory. It is thus that he makes the com- 
promise between the distrust of speculation which 
had arisen in him so strongly after his acquaintance 
with the barren metaphysic of preceding philosophy, 
and the necessity after all to satisfy the speculative 
impulse in man in some way or other. But he 
creates, by so doing, an impassable gulf between the 
knowledge analysed by philosophy and philosophical 
knowledge itself. 

The effect on his theory is twofold : all continuity its effect 
of principle between ordinary knowledge and 
science on the one hand and philosophy on the 
other is ignored or rendered impossible, and that 
principle above ordinary knowledge, which enables 
him to criticise and justify its validity, remains 
undeveloped. It cannot be developed by Kant, 
for it has no content : it is purely formal. If it 
tries to develop itself into knowledge, it merely 
shows its ineptitude, Kant holds, by falling into 
"antinomy." Yet in some way it is a reality. 
Hence Kant hands over its positive reality to 
another plane of experience altogether the practical 
moral will and leaves the negative results, which 
are all it can intellectually attain to, within the 
theoretical attitude of experience. 


Paradox of It is evident at a glance that Kant's result 
portion. ls paradoxical. In the interests of what for Kant 
were the highest phases of experience those of 
Duty and Religion he places Morality in a region 
beyond the reach of knowledge ; as if human know- 
ledge were something to be either afraid of, on 
account of its critical concern for truth, or ashamed 
of, because of its incompetence to reveal it completely. 
On the other hand, in the interests of knowledge 
Kant has been at considerable pains to demonstrate 
the inherent necessity and universal validity of 
Science. Surely it is evident that if knowledge is 
inherently justifiable as a mode of experience, it 
cannot be denied the right to extend its activity as 
far as it pleases ; and if Morality is similarly a real 
aspect of experience, it has nothing to fear from 
Science, and nothing is gained by protecting it from 
knowledge. It seems a singular defence of the 
validity of Morality to relegate it to a sphere which 
is unknowable, while the only way of defending it 
must be by some form of knowledge itself. In point 
of fact, knowledge takes its revenge, as it always 
must in such a case, by depriving the result of any 
concrete value. 

The All this is altered by taking a single step. The 

- P rmc iple securing the unity of knowledge and in- 

conscious- volved in it all through, does not externally join 

concrete subject and object ; it internally fuses them. It does 

not formal. not jj n k them; they are phases of it as a living 

unity. They are not parts which are fitted into each 

other ; but rather parts of a single cell. They are, 

in fact, elements derived from its complete reality by 

a process of analysis either implicit (in the develop- 

ment of experience itself) or explicit (by conscious 


reflection). This interpretation of the principle is 
involved in its having been shown to be that truth, 
the attainment of which has been the aim of all know- 
ledge from the start. Hence, when this first arises 
as a conscious form of experience, the outcome of 
the preceding stages of experience, where subject 
and object were in obvious contrast, the principle is 
not a formal unity at all, but a concrete mode of 
experience, which, while it contains what preceded 
in the sense that it is their truth, has a life and being 
of its own whose content has yet to be revealed and 
expressed. We cannot, therefore, stop with the 
explicit attainment of the mere consciousness of self 
involved in all the knowledge that has gone before, 
unless that self-consciousness is, as it there stands, 
the exhaustive expression of all that self-conscious- 
ness means, and experience cannot be further 
developed. That this is not so is evident, first, from 
the fact that the self is here the most concrete of 
all realities ; in the second place, because there is 
still a vast amount of experience left untouched by 
the preceding phases of experience (Perception, etc.), 
and needing, therefore, interpretation by self- con- 
sciousness ; and, thirdly, because the conscious- 
ness of self being a mode of experience it has 
expressly to build all that the preceding phases of 
experience (Perception, etc.) contained into the 
structure of its life and make them consciously its 
own. It has, in fact, to recast experience as hitherto 
known into explicit consciousness of self, just as, e.g., 
Understanding took up the content of Perception 
and moulded that after its own form. Develop- 

Hence, then, the attainment of self-consciousness ment . of 

t. . ir . ..... conscious- 

as an explicit mode ot experience is the beginning nessof self. 


of a further advance in the interpretation of experi- 
ence and in the deeper consciousness of what the 
self contains. 1 But from this point onwards we are 
always within the sphere of an explicit consciousness 
of self. The self is aware of itself in all its contents 
and movements, and of nothing else. The object 
world is consciously one with the subject world, and 
the course of development consists just in making 
this conscious unity more and more complete, more 
and more concrete, more and more adequate to all 
its content. 

what it Now, just as Kant placed Morality and Religion 

in the sphere of pure consciousness of self, so here 
part of the life of self-consciousness proper is realised 
in these forms of experience. And just as Kant 
relegated Morality and Religion to the world of 
Reason only, so our argument will show them to 
arise out of the life of Reason. But these of them- 
selves do not exhaust all that self- consciousness 
contains, as Kant seemed to hold. There are other 
movements as well ; and a complete interpretation 
of the principle will show what these are. One 
marked divergence from Kant appears in the fact 
that a place can be found at one of its stages for the 
philosophical attitude, the activity of Speculation. 
This in itself may be said to be an obvious 
result to secure ; yet Kant's view of knowledge 
leaves it unexplained. The question is bound to 
arise in Kant's theory, What kind of knowledge 
is it in which Kant's own philosophy consists ? 
quis custodit custodes ? For Kant, however, as we 
have said, there is a gulf fixed between science and 

1 This is the way in which actual experience reveals the reality of the higher 
forms of self-consciousness. 

vui REASON 253 

speculation. But by developing the principle which 
Kant left purely formal, the principle of explicit 
Self- consciousness, we can establish a continuity 
between the two, and thereby close the circuit of 
human knowledge as the expression, i.e. the ex- 
perience, of self-consciousness. 

All the forms of explicit consciousness of self 
contain and express the conscious union of self with 
its object and conversely. Wherever we have a 
conscious explicit identity between self and its 
object, there we have self-consciousness. The chief 
forms of this unity we have still to state. We must 
always bear in mind that self-consciousness is not 
bare identity of self and its object, and that self- 
consciousness takes specifically distinct forms just 
because it reveals its reality in different degrees of 

To begin with, we have the simple certainty on First form 
the part of the self that the content known is 

merely not alien to itself, but is essentially one with of self in 

r^i i r . i . , . 1r . . the world 

it. 1 he sen, as we say, is at home with itselt in its O f Reason. 
world, in its experience. It is adequate completely 
to reveal the object before it; "finds itself" in its 
object, and finds the object to be in absolute agree- 
ment with its own nature. There is no " beyond " 
in the nature of the object which is hidden from the 
eye of the self, and hence no distinction between an 
" appearance " of the object and the " inner meaning" 
of the object, between what the object is for us 
and what it is "in itself." This distinction was 
formed at the level of Understanding, and created, 
as we saw, by the character of Understanding, and 
its way of going to work as a form of knowledge. 
Here that contrast has disappeared, and the object is 


through and through transparent to the self as a self, 
to the self as a universal and as a unity. But this is 
just what we mean by a " rational " experience, by 
knowing " rationally," by knowledge in and through 
Reason. The first and simplest form, therefore, in 
which self-consciousness is adequately expressed is 
in the life of Reason as such, in Reason-knowledge. 
This Let us explain. We must observe, in the first 

pSfpie place, that this is just what Kant's own view logically 
with Kant. i m pH e s. For him, too, Reason is higher than Under- 
standing, and hence to it is assigned Morality, to the 
criticism and knowledge of which Understanding, 
which is confined to knowledge in the sense of natural 
science, cannot attain. And Reason belongs to the 
region of pure consciousness of self proper ; it is, in fact, 
that self-consciousness as a purely formal function in 
experience. For self-consciousness, on Kant's view, 
is just the principle of unity in experience, i.e. the 
principle in virtue of which subject and object are 
absolutely harmonised. This means that in self- 
consciousness subject is one with object, and must 
obviously be so, because it is conscious of nothing 
but self. But this is as much as to say that in it 
mind as a unity is one with its content as unified. 
And this is precisely what is found in the life of 
Reason as such. Hence it is that absolute unity in 
experience is relegated by Kant, in the various forms 
in which that unity is demanded (Self, World, and 
God), to the sphere of Reason. 

The All that is equally true here, with a difference. 

?if e Reason ^ e ^ orms ^ unity in which Reason appears are 
involves not restricted to those few mentioned by Kant. 
These are only particular expressions of the one 
fundamental fact that in the life of Reason subject 


and object are consciously one. Reason is a special 
form of experience, and wherever it works at all, 
there we have the same sense of unity, the sense 
of being at home with our object. It deals, e.g., 
with the " world," the world of " nature " in the sense 
in which science and common knowledge speak of 
" nature " ; and there it does insist on the unity of 
the world (to use Kant's expression), i.e. the inter- 
relatedness of all the parts in the whole, and to 
make a whole. But to do so is just to insist that the 
self is at one with the world, for it is the unity of 
that self which is simply expressed objectively in 
the "unity" of the "world." Hence the world is 
one because we are conscious of the self in the 
world ; or, conversely, we are conscious of the world 
as one, because we are conscious of the one self in 
it. The self at home with the world, or the world 
at one with the self, both mean that the world is a 
unity as the self is a unity. But whereas Kant 
took that unity in a purely formal sense, we 
ought to see that unity concretely and all along the 
line in dealing with the world. If to be at one with 
the world is to find that same unity everywhere in 
it, the unity of the self with the world is necessarily 
differentiated into as many " forms of unity " or 
"conceptions" as are required to exhaust that 
sense of unity we have in dealing with it. Or 
in other words, the life of Reason does not consist 
in simply asserting the bare unity of the world and 
the bare unity of the self with it, but in manifesting 
that unity in detail. Thus it is that the work of 
Reason must be manifested in various forms : as 
many forms as are required fully to exhaust the 
nature of Reason in dealing with the world before it. 


(2) Reason This leads to a second point. Kant had restricted 
of know- knowledge to Understanding, arfd hence for him 
ledge not it was a problem what to do with the unity of 
u. m Reason when he could only deal with it by way 
of Understanding. The error here lay in restricting 
the idea of knowledge to the process-of Understand- 
ing. Dismiss that, and his problem is at once 
changed and his solution disappears. We then 
see that Reason is not some function beyond know- 
ledge, working somehow in vacuo, yet working 
because it must, since it is an activity of the human 
spirit. Reason is literally knowledge, a kind of know- 
ledge, still distinct from that of Understanding (and 
therein lies the agreement with Kant), but not sub- 
ordinate to it, a form of knowledge sui generis and 
working on a plane of its own. This follows from 
our having taken self-consciousness concretely and 
not formally ; but it is evident that at once it 
effects a change in the conception of knowledge. 
For on this view Reason expresses truths of its own, 
works in ways of its own, and works towards its own 
ends independent of check or direction from any 
other authority whatsoever. No doubt, what it 
reveals is final for it alone, not for any other level 
of experience : but that is true of any phase of 
knowledge. It is true, e.g., of Perception. But 
its being a phase of knowledge, while it reserves 
its validity to its own special process, does not 
surely put it on a level with any other form of 
knowledge. It is a higher form than any that have 
hitherto appeared, just because it is first of all the 
culmination of the movement of knowledge as it has 
hitherto proceeded, and, secondly, because it deals 
more adequately with experience (i.e. is in greater 


harmony with the nature of self-consciousness which 
all experience implies) than any other of the preced- 
ing forms of knowledge. Thus Understanding does 
not criticise it ; it rather (as Kant himself held) 
corrects Understanding. 

This view of Reason as itself a kind of knowledge This 
is nothing novel. It is actually accepted by every- 
day experience of a non-philosophical kind. We do thought, 
hold that in the life of Reason man is "at home with 
the world," in a way he is not, e.g., at the level of 
Perception. We consider "a reasonable soul" 
the highest expression of human life. We do 
maintain that "nothing can resist the might of 
reason," that in the long run everything must give 
up its meaning to the spirit of reason engaged 
seriously in finding out that meaning. This is the 
postulate of scientific procedure. It is what we mean 
by speaking of the world as "intelligible," as a 
"rational" world, which can be "made one with 
our own reason," and must give up all claims to be 
independent of it. It is the moving principle behind 
all scientific effort, urging it on in spite of, indeed 
through, all its mistakes in grasping the meaning of 
things. We generally hold there is nothing hidden in 
the natural world that shall not be made known some 
time or other to the eye of inquiry. And we con- 
sider that man to be highest as a man who achieves 
this end most completely. In all these and other ways 
we find in everyday life that the sphere of Reason is 
not merely held to be the highest expression of the 
knowing consciousness, but that it is itself a form of 
knowledge. It is the region of conceptual coherence 
and demonstration. It is the principle of deanthro- 
pomorphisation, that principle by which we transcend 


metaphor drawn from Sense (i.e. our senses) and 
Perception, and rise to Conceptions. These are not 
limited to or by Sense, and so are not restricted by 
the specific individuality of the knowing conscious- 
ness ; they are universal and not (as all metaphor 
is) individual. 

The pro- We are thus merely doing justice to the claim 
Reason which every one makes for the life of Reason. 
Know- How, then, does Reason as a process of knowledge 
work ? Let it be remembered first that while 
Reason is thus knowledge, it is not simply a " func- 
tion" 0/~the self; it is the self in a specific mode of 
experience. It can only be said to be a "function" 
of it in the sense in which any aspect of experience 
is one moment of its life amongst others ; not in the 
sense that the self "uses" Reason as the "instru- 
ment" by which to "know" "things," or is a kind 
of activity exercised by the self, " possessing " such 
a capacity. Reason is the self-conscious life of mind 
in one of its realisations of itself. Reason-knowledge 
is self-conscious experience. Hence, in evolving the 
process and content of such knowledge, we are all 
the while expressing the very nature of self-conscious 
life as that appears here. Reason-knowledge is, in 
short, just the self qua knowing a content as itself. 
The object Again, we must not in this knowledge separate 
*" t sl ct the Reason which knows from the object which is 
separate, known, as if Reason were on one side and the 
object on the other, and each separated from the 
other by a gulf which the "process" of knowing 
tries to span. The antithesis here implied has been 
altogether left behind. It is found at the level of 
mere Consciousness certainly, as we have seen ; 
knowing does there seem a way of joining subject 


and object. It is just because the antithesis is there 
so abrupt, and knowing does seem to come between 
them, that we found the distinction arising between 
a world of noumena and the sphere of pheno- 
mena, already stated in dealing with Understand- 
ing. For that distinction is just the reappear- 
ance in the result of what was there from the 
first as a condition of getting any result at all. 
But at the level of Reason that antithesis, as we 
have seen, has disappeared as an opposition of 
elements. It is merely now a distinction of content 
within a conscious unity, not an opposition of elements 
demanding a unity. A distinction certainly there is 
and must be, otherwise there would be no knowledge ; 
for knowledge without diversity has no existence. 
We have subject and object here in Reason, as else- 
where : Reason is a plane of experience which has 
these for its constituents. But in Reason subject 
and object consciously fall inside the unity they 
imply as moments of the single act of self -conscious- 
ness; or, stated otherwise, the single activity of being 
conscious of self contains as its ultimate constituents 
subject and object, and therefore these are by and in 
that unity explicitly identified. But, it may be asked, 
in what sense identified? In the sense that the object 
is the meaning of the whole in one form, the subject 
its meaning in another. The subject is the unity to 
the self, the object the unity for the self: the com- 
plete act of Reason is just one in which that is to 
itself what it is for itself. Only so is it at once a whole 
and a self-contained whole ; anything else would be 
partial and incomplete. We can see this at once in 
any ideal statement, e.g. . " two and two are four," 
" the perpetual motion is untrue of physical energy." 


Here we are not saying something true for us. It 
is, as we say, "the very nature of thought," is "the 
very meaning of the thing," "anything else is impos- 
sible," i.e. the content of the subject is nothing in 
this connexion but what the object reveals. The 
object reveals just what the subject reveals ; or, 
again, the unity of experience is explicitly realised 
in these statements. There is no opposition, no con- 
scious distinction between what / think and what the 
object is there is absolute identity of both sides. 
Subject Hence it is characteristic of Reason that, in dealing 

as aspect? w ^ tn ^ ts ^^ e an< ^ activity, we do not start from the 
of the same su bj ec t and find what it says "about" the object, 
and then compare what it says with the "nature" of 
the object to see if it is "true," if they "agree." 
Nor, on the other hand, do we start from the object 
simply and find out what it contains, and then submit 
this for " acceptance " by the subject. There is no 
place for comparison when both are explicitly identi- 
cal in content and process to begin with ; and there is 
no meaning in " acceptance " when the subject is 
consciously there in the very being and nature of the 
object all along. Wherever this is the case we have 
the life of Reason, and conversely. The being of the 
object is the content of the subject, the process of the 
subject is the life of the object. To use a familiar 
but somewhat misleading expression, " thought " 
and "being" are in Reason consciously one through 
and through, in form, process, and content. It is 
therefore immaterial whether we speak of the 
content of Reason as the nature of the subject or 
the reality of the object. 

At the same time, it must be noted that while 
all the phases in the development of explicit self- 


consciousness have this characteristic of Reason, all 
are rational, they are not all mere Reason. Thus Reason 
one such development of self-consciousness is what pJ^ e JJ 
we call Spirit and spiritual life phases which appear conscious- 
as Morality and Religion. These are rational, but se if. 
they are not Reason as such : they are developments 
from Reason, but with a characteristic distinction of 
their own, the nature of which will appear presently. 

What, then, are the forms in which the life of 
Reason, as such, appears ? It is the simplest expres- 
sion, as already said, of the explicit conscious unity 
of subject and object. Experience operates in this 
way, it is a form in which experience is realised, 
a " language," so to say, in which experience may 
be expressed. This was true of the level of Per- 
ception there was a perceptual world, a world 
of Perception ; so, again, of " Understanding." 
And it is because all these " worlds " are phases 
of self-conscious life (which is always a whole, a 
unity] that this is possible, that each is different, 
and all are necessary. The life of Reason is one 
such distinctive expression of experience. 

Now the way the life of Reason appears is first Forms of 
of all the activity of what we call Observation^ ^ 
in its various forms, Observation of " nature," Observa- 
of "physical" objects, and of "organic" life, Ob- 
servation of the self-conscious individual as such 
(in Psychology), Observation of the self-conscious 
life in relation to its organic embodiments (Psycho- 
physiology). In all these cases we have no sense 
of an antithesis, an opposition between the " observ- 
ing mind " and the " observed object " ; we are in 
immediate touch with the object, the object is the 
content of the subject's life. We " describe " what 


the object is, not " in terms of" our individual 
life, but as it is in itself. There is no distinction 
between what it is in itself and what it is for us. 
In Reason what we say is what the object means ; 
what the object is, is the meaning expressed in 
the process of " describing" it and stating the " con- 
ception " it " embodies." It is only when there 
appears to be opposition between subject and object 
(as e.g. in Perception) that we can in ordinary life 
even speak of the object having a being of its own 
with which what we say "agrees." For then the 
object is said to be something "in itself" as the 
subject is something in itself, and this " agreement " 
between the two indicates and preserves that extern- 
ality implied in the opposition. But when that oppo- 
sition is consciously given up, the object has no "in 
itself" which is not to us, which does not "appear," 
and no appearance which is not its very nature and 
meaning. This is just what we find, assume, and 
express in "observing" an object, and in stating its 
content. The scientist does not ask, when "observ- 
ing," whether his way of proceeding is justifiable, 
whether his attitude is a "true" one, whether it 
"gives" the object, and so on. To do so would 
stultify and render impossible his whole procedure. 
He may and does ask whether his " observation " is 
"true," i.e. whether, when observing, he is eliminat- 
ing what might render the results invalid, or not a 
complete expression of the object. But to ask such 
a question assumes that in Observation itself he is 
at one with the object observed. A "correct" or 
" incorrect " Observation is only possible, even as a 
distinction, if Observation as such is a specific mode 
of having experience. For " correctness " implies 


a standard imposed on Observation, and therefore 
assumes the nature of the observing process as a 
process of self-conscious life, but does not determine 
what that nature is. Now all science rests on that 
assumption and is the outcome of that attitude. 

Moreover, it is because of this fusion of subject Differ- 
and object in the process of Observation that he content of 
can and does distinguish different objects, that he has Reason the 

,. rr . . , ,, .. . ,, result of 

different principles and different "conceptions observa- 
to state the nature of the " object -world." How tlon - 
is it that we do not confound, e.g., inorganic and 
organic, organic and self-conscious individuality ? 
It is not simply because we have a variety of different 
"objects" and require different "ideas" to express 
them. It is not because, in point of fact, we do 
" find " them different, and the mind has to bring out 
of its inner consciousness different "thoughts" to 
express their difference. Where is the necessity 
for and the satisfaction in the different " thoughts " ? 
It is because, all along the line in the activity of 
Reason, subject and object are so fused that certain 
" notions " are alone adequate to express the unity of 
Reason in one case, and other " notions " in another. 
And it is because this unity is realised at different 
levels of coherence that, e.g., "mechanism" ade- 
quately expresses one form of that unity, and 
" teleology," or the idea of end, another. It is not 
that the object " suggests " (as Kant seemed to imply) 
the notion which the mind is to "employ"; but 
that the life of Reason contains the different notions 
as modes of the unity of subject and object. The 
essential point is that the absolute unity of Reason 
can arise neither from one side only nor from the 
other side. It is not the subject which "imposes" 


its content of the object, nor the object which " pre- 
scribes" or furnishes its nature to the subject. It is 
the one activity of Reason which realises its unity 
in the different notions. But why different ? why 
not always the same conception expressing the unity 
of Reason ? Because Reason is concrete self-con- 
sciousness ; and just as the activity of self-conscious- 
ness expresses its life through the variety of modes 
of experience as a whole, so in each particular mode 
that activity can only be exhausted by appearing in 
different shapes and forms peculiar to, and revealing 
in each case, the characteristic nature of that special 
mode. Self-consciousness as Reason, therefore, 
reveals the process of its activity precisely in the 
fact that the unity appears in diverse forms, in this 
case diverse Conceptions. Or, again, all these are 
required to exhaust the full meaning of that unity, 
simply because experience is being read or "ex- 
pressed " in terms of the unity of Reason ; and 
experience has variety because self-consciousness 
must appear in many ways to reveal its full life. 
The " But why a particular one at one time and 

specific another at another ? " Again we answer because 

difference , ... r . . ,_, , 

between there are various forms of the unity (Conceptions) ; 
Concep- anc | wn i c h is to be expressed depends on the level of 

tions e r . . . 

necessi- unity to be realised. What in particular the form of 
Reason 7 t ^ lat un ity shall be at a given time is a matter for the 
history of the individual observer, and does not affect 
the epistemological question regarding the necessity 
inherent in the general process involved throughout. 
Reason, for example, takes Teleology as the special 
conception in dealing with organism, 1 instead of, say, 

1 i.e. Teleology is the subject-side, Organism the object-side of the experi- 
ence of Reason in one of its forms. 


Mechanism, because the unity of Reason requires 
both in order fully to reveal its activity, and certain 
aspects of the content of Reason are exhausted by 
one notion, others require another. Or, to put it 
otherwise, Reason in working out its full significance, 
realising all it contains, passes from one form of unity 
to another. One of these is mechanism, another tele- 
ology. They are not so much imperfect attempts to 
express the complete unity of Reason as definite and 
necessary moments in which that unity must appear in 
order to express its complete nature. 1 Mechanical 
law is not an imperfect teleological principle ; it is 
one form of the unity of Reason, but less complete 
than teleology. Both are derived from the same 
source, and both are required to exhaust the life of 
the process. We cannot interpret the same thing 
ideologically and mechanically. That would be a 
superfluity, an absurdity, if both were complete in- 
terpretations. What we do in using them is to 
reveal the unity of Reason in these different ways, 
because only so do we exhaust the activity of Reason. 
Hence it is needless to propose (as is so often at- 
tempted) to "reconcile" mechanism and teleology, 
as if, to begin with, they "conflicted." They are 
different to begin with, and in order to reconcile them 
we would either require a higher notion, or we must 
sink their differences altogether. But a higher notion 
is still another notion of Reason, and hence the same 
difficulty would arise again, viz. what to do with the 
differences we are "reconciling"; while if we sink 

1 We have merely to ask ourselves why, on the one hand, we are not con- 
tent to use only one conception in rational experience, and why, on the other, 
we feel compelled to go further than a- given conception carries us, to see that 
this must be so. We cannot appreciate the above view unless we see that 
it seeks to answer this question. 


their differences we are ignoring their value as 
moments of Reason, and making the problem of 
" reconciliation " meaningless. They are " recon- 
ciled," in the only way necessary, by the very fact 
that they are essential moments of the life of the 
one Reason. The coherence and unity of the life of 
Reason is itself the guarantee that the conceptions 
do not really conflict. And this coherence is mani- 
fested just because it does not "apply" these concep- 
tions to precisely the same identical content. Hence 
it cannot conflict with itself. It is realising its unity 
in a different way in each content, and therefore 
they are diverse. Its unity is expressed in each of 
them, hence they do not need to be reconciled. We 
do not look at the same thing with each conception 
as it occurs : that would be confusion. A difference 
of Conception is (for Reason) a difference of content, 
and a variety of content is variety in the life of 
Reason. The only " reconciliation " the Conceptions 
need is obtained by connecting them all as phases 
in the realisation of the life of Reason, which is the 
underlying principle determining each as it stands, 
and the variety of form they severally possess. 
The But we have already anticipated the development 

develop- ^ t " le activity of Reason as a specific attitude of 
ment of the experience. It starts as we saw with Observa- 

activity of . _. , . , r . . . 

Reason: tion. But that is the form the activity assumes. 

Categories. What is its content ? This is easily determined. 
We have here consciousness of self, the expression 
of a unity through and in differences (subject 
object). But the self is by its very nature a 
universal, the universal in experience. The different 
specific ways in which that self, when it is explicit, 
appears, must therefore be through universals. To 

viii CATEGORIES 267 

be conscious of self is thus to be conscious of uni- 
versals, and to be conscious of universals is to 
be conscious of self in one or other of its specific 
manifestations, i.e. its detailed content. But again, 
at this stage we have explicit unity of self and 
object in its simplest form, in its ultimate irreducible 
elements. All of them are expressions of that 
unity, but as mere unity ; all of them are universal, 
but pure universals as such. There must be a 
plurality, because the self is a "realised" unity, not 
a formal unity. As a formal unity there is, as Kant 
said, but one universal, viz. the pure unity of self- 
consciousness. But as a "realised" "concrete" 
unity it must be manifold, break up or evolve into 
diverse functions of uniting activity. But a universal 
which is a pure universal, a unity that is a mere unity 
is a Conception, a Category. Hence the content of 
Reason, the substance of Observation, consists of 
Categories. With these Reason "works"; in these 
it expresses its active function as the unity of 
subject and object in its simplest form. 

Here, again, this view is at one with Kant, but Categories 
instead of taking the Categories to be connected ^ ^ a 
with the formal unity of self by the quasi-external act specific. 
of judgment, " I think," the Categories are the / 
thinking functioning as the explicit unity of subject 
and object. Instead of the unity of the self making 
an experience "possible" through the "application" of 
the Categories, the Categories make the unity of the 
self actual in experience. Instead of the Categories 
requiring to be picked up externally and contingently 
by reference to the history of thought and logical 
doctrine, the Categories are simply the necessary 
elements into which the unity of the experience is 


resolved. The Categories are not limited to a certain 
formal and arbitrary number ; the Categories are in- 
definite in number, are, if we choose, endless in number, 
for Reason is not to be exhausted in any detail of 
experience. The Categories, again, are not to be 
deduced by showing that experience is impossible 
without their use and application ; they are derived 
from the unity of Reason, evolved from it in and 
through its activity in experience. Instead of the 
Categories being necessary because they are all con- 
nected in the same sense with the unity of self, and 
have the same degree of significance and validity 
accordingly, they are necessary because the unity of 
Reason must in exercising its activity express itself 
in each, and they have a different significance and 
value according to the degree in which they realise 
this type of unity of subject and object. Finally, 
the self is not, as Kant held, a principle above the 
Categories simply, it is the principle in them ; it is 
the Category of all the Categories, the Conception of 
all Conceptions. 

Concep- With Conceptions, then, the determinate activity 
develop of Reason begins. They vary in character according 
mto Laws. to t h e um ' t y expressed, and vary because the unity is 
concrete, as already stated. They become what in 
Observation are called the " marks " or " aspects " 
of an object, and correspond on the plane of Reason 
to the " qualities " spoken of in the case of Perception, 
or the "appearances " which we have in the case of 
Understanding. By these " marks " or attributes we 
" describe " the object and differentiate one object, 
e.g. in physical nature, from another. But this is 
merely the beginning of the evolution of the content. 
The Conceptions employed are isolated, separate. 


The complete unity on the other hand must be all- 
pervading, must control the diverse elements, show 
the inner Principle connecting the various Concep- 
tions (attributes), and show these elements to be 
merely differences inside a further unity, a deeper 
unity of Reason. This deeper unity will contain them 
as moments, control their relation to each other, their 
place in the whole, order their situation and mode of 
appearing, and so give them the special significance 
they have as "marks," "aspects" of the object. 
They will get their special meaning and value from 
it. Relatively to them it will be more fundamental, 
because determining what they are and how they 
are. But this is precisely what we mean by a 
governing Principle or Law in the sphere of 
Reason. With the formulation of Laws, Observa- 
tion (Conception) passes into Judging and De- 
monstrative or Systematic Connexion. These Laws 
are Laws of Reason, just as the Conceptions which, 
because of their variety, demand them, are Con- 
ceptions of Reason. And these Laws are in principle 
the complete expression of what Reason realises in 
its activity as a unifying principle. They are not 
static unities, but dynamic agencies, ways in which 
the life of Reason functions. They are " operations " 
of the active unity of Reason. They do not regulate 
objects ; they constitute objects ; for they are phases 
of the world of Reason inside the unity of which, as 
we saw, its objects fall. They are not the forms of 
Reason but its substance ; and so are not the " forms 
of the object," but the reality of the object. They are 
not imposed by the subject; they are the very content 
of Reason, which is at once subjective and objective 
in the same sense. They are not "discovered" 





by Reason; they are expressions, evolutions of 
the content of Reason. They are the culminating 
point of its movement as Reason, because in them 
we have the full expression of Reason as unity in 
diversity, the principle uniting the various Concep- 
tions, the unity of the unities (concepts) characterising 
the world of Reason. Further than that Reason 
qua Reason, mere unity of subject and object, does 
not go. When a further stage is taken, Self-con- 
sciousness passes beyond the stage of mere Reason 
to another mode of self-conscious life. 

Differ- The various Laws differ as the Conceptions 

concre" e d differ, and the Laws of the inorganic world differ 
ness of from those of the organic, as these again differ from 
those of conscious life. But the Laws are in all 
cases necessary developments of the very nature of 
Conceptions, of Categories. They derive the uni- 
versality they possess from the same function of 
Reason. But they are at once a more comprehensive 
and a more concrete universality ; they have a 
greater degree of individuality, with a greater degree 
of specification. They are a deeper unity because 
they are connexions of Conceptions. They make 
Conceptions coherent which appear to begin with as 
separate. What we said of the "reality" of Con- 
ceptions holds with a similar and a greater force of 
Laws, which develop out of the function of unity 
implied in Conceptions. The Laws are not obtained 
by piecing Conceptions together externally, but by 
deepening the unity of Reason which Conceptions 
themselves express. In that sense these Laws are 
literally the evolved expression of the Conceptions 
which we found to be the simplest content of 
Reason. Just as a given Law of an object is higher 


than a given Conception determining an object, so 
there may be and are wider and wider Laws, embrac- 
ing in them Laws less wide in extent. What these 
are it is the business of rational scientific procedure 
in given cases to determine. That the attainment of 
them is possible, is both guaranteed and necessitated 
by the one function of Reason operating all through. 
The achievement of the end of Reason is the estab- 
lishment of a completely articulate intelligible world 
of Reason the Ideal of Science. 1 

It will be seen from all this how closely this view This view 


is in touch both with the process of Science in the atedby r 
strict sense of the term, and with the ordinary treat- actual 

r . , r , . .,. Scientific 

ment of scientific procedure in treatises on scientific procedure 
method. Science begins by "observing" the ^f . th * f 
"facts," determines their "characteristics," connects Science, 
their constituent elements together, and finds the 
"laws" or "principles" "governing" their connexions. 
All along it is working with universals, its primary 
elements are conceptions. It is said no doubt to 
start horn particulars', and this is true. But it is 
particulars as "instances" of a type, of a "class," of a 
general conception, not bare particulars (which indeed 
are strictly non-existent for Science). The whole 
process of Science just consists in developing the 
nature and inner unity at work in these elementary 
conceptions. 2 Its "judgments," " inferences," its 

1 Hence the difference between the consummation of Understanding (Ex- 
planation) and that of Reason (Systematic Connexion). Whereas in the former 
each " explanation " was complete by itself and had a finality all its own ; in 
the latter nothing short of complete system can have finality. Anything less 
is consciously a fragment of a whole with only a " partial validity " on that 
account. This is because the unity of Reason works all through in the light 
of its absolute unity. 

2 Hence the view, which has been so fully worked out by, e.g. , Lotze and 
Bosanquet, that Conception is simply implicit Judgment, Judgment is implicit 
Inference, Inference is implicit Systematic or absolute Connexion. 


" theories," its " laws " are simply the evolution of 
the conceptual substance in and with which it works, 
and are universal from beginning to end. They 
are universal because all are phases of the life of 
Reason, and they form a continuous process gradu- 
ally evolving a deeper, more comprehensive univer- 
sal, a unity with greater complexity in it, and 
greater control over its elements, simply because 
it is the one movement of Reason operating all 
through, and this aims at a single result complete 

The ordinary discussions of scientific method 
(Logic in the narrow historical sense) are, again, 
merely statements of what this process consists in, 
how it takes place and achieves its result, the 
kind of certainty obtained in different forms of the 
process, the different ways of expressing unity 
(different judgments and inferences), etc. The 
The Logic difference between such a treatment of scientific 
wf the"* method, and the present statement of the nature of 
theory of the scientific mood of experience, is that the former 
erTce?" takes for granted the general character and validity 
of scientific process as an empirically recognised fact ; 
while the latter raises and answers the very question 
as to what place Science and scientific activity have 
in the life of self-conscious experience as a whole, 
where it appears, and what it essentially is, i.e. what 
it is as a mode of the one ultimate principle at 
work in all experience. The former, no doubt, 
by starting, as it does, with an assumption, cannot 
escape this other problem, and really introduces into 
its interpretation some implicit or explicit conception 
of the general aim, worth, character, and significance 
of scientific process. So important, so fundamental 


indeed, is this underlying theory of the purport 
of Science as the phase of experience, that it is 
found impossible to discuss scientific procedure 
apart from it. The discussion, in its limits and 
in its form, is shaped by that conception as to 
what place Science occupies in experience. Hence 
the totally diverse treatments of the character and 
process of Science which we find in different text- 
books of what is commonly called Logic. It has 
therefore to be acknowledged, and is in point of fact 
admitted, that the kind of treatment of the Logic of 
scientific knowledge given in ordinary treatises on 
Logic, depends in the long run on some underlying 
but unexpressed " theory of knowledge," and has 
only an approximate value till that theory is made 
evident. In Hegel's System the treatment of Logic 
is literally nothing more than the connected exposi- 
tion of the content of pure Reason. Thus he does 
justice to the ordinary view of Logic, and yet 
mends its defects by stating what place Reason 
has in experience as a whole. 

Finally, it will be seen that the development Reason 
of the activity of Reason works up in its own special ^^3 
medium the stages we formerly found in the sphere functions 
of consciousness as such (as distinct from self- 
consciousness). These moments were Sensation, 
Perception, Understanding. To these on the level 
of Reason correspond the forms of Conception 
proper, Judgment (the relation of conceptions, or the 
distinction of conceptions inside a unity holding both 
these expressions mean the same so far as we 
are concerned), and the interconnexion of different 
conceptions through the Law or Principle deter- 
mining all as its elements, the phase of inferential 



Demonstration. Reason thus completely exhausts 
through processes of its own activity the substance 
of knowledge formerly assigned to uniquely distinct 
attitudes of experience (Perception, etc.). For 
all these phases spoken of (Conception, etc.) are 
merely stages in the development of Reason alone. 
Hence the ease of transition from one to the other; 
and hence the certainty of the work of Reason at 
every stage. 



THE complete realisation of the life of Reason has Twofold 
a twofold result. Let us bear in mind again that the aat*re 
Reason is not an abstract adjective of human ex- ofReason: 

, , r . vr T- , . Experience 

penence, but a concrete mode of its life, b urther, its seif-deter- 
life is individual from beginning to end, just because mmed - 
experience is one, a whole, concrete. To become 
conscious, then, of self in and through the object is 
not merely to have the form of unity, but to have the 
content and substance of that unity, to have a world 
which is not merely consciously moulded by, but 
consists in, the self. There alone does it realise an in- 
dividuality which is absolutely self-contained in each 
individual, where Reason is actively and consciously 
the moving principle. Its world is not so much its 
own : it is that ; for it is "at home" in that world. 
But it is its very self. What it is conscious of and 
what is consciously at work is self. Nowhere can it 
find anything but the self-same substance of its own 
life. There is nothing "beyond" it to oppose it; 
everything falls within it, is identified with it, made 
part and parcel of it. What it touches recalls its own 
nature, responds to its own impulse ; what it does is 
the revelation solely of that nature. To use of the 
world of Reason a phrase employed by Hume after 



Berkeley, there is nothing to be met with in heaven 
or earth but the mind's own ideas. This is the in- 
evitable result of the life of Reason within which 
subject and object are consciously identified. All 
this means is that individual experience is here 
self-completed, self-determined, self- constituted, not 
implicitly but explicitly. It is "independent" 
because there is nothing beyond it to limit its 
activity : it is " self-dependent " because its move- 
ment is self-initiated and self-constituted. It begins 
from and ends in its self. That is one result. 
The self is The other result is that, because the content is 
universal. so ] e iy se i anc j t h e se jf (f or tne re ason before indi- 
cated) is essentially universal, the attainment of self- 
contained individuality is ipso facto the explicit 
realisation of what is consciously not mine in par- 
ticular but is universal. But to realise this level of 
self-consciousness is to attain to and establish as a 
factor of experience Universal Self-conscious in- 
dividuality. If the world it realises is its own, and 
yet, from one end to the other, self, this must be so. 
The substance of this world is a single universal 
self-consciousness. It is not simply a number of 
discrete selves, all of them conscious ; it is one 
universal self- consciousness. If universality were 
merely numerical plurality, its world would not be 
a unity, and could not fall within a single experi- 
ence at all. It is a collective, a comprehensive 
unity, not a numerical aggregate of units. 

The individuality attained in the life of Reason 
is not, therefore, a particular isolated existence. 
Isolated existence is transcended by the fact that the 
substance of its life is universal. The expression, 
"my own" self -consciousness, "my" Reason, is,. 



properly understood, a contradictio in adjecto. I am Distinc- 
only truly self-conscious by implying a consciousness |J[|Jjdiiai 
of a self beyond my existence. The distinction selves fail 
between a "me" and a "thee" falls inside this world of universal' 5 
completed self-consciousness, and is generated by it. se } f - con - 


I am conscious of self by reference to a self- world, a 
world realised and constituted by self. My self-con- 
sciousness is mine by relation to a self beyond me in 
particular, by contrast with a wider self-consciousness. 
I "possess" it, because what I possess has a reality 
containing me in particular, and on which I can lay 
hold, and in living in and by which /am absolutely 
self- contained and complete, as Reason requires. 
Even in the case of some particular " property " 
which /possess, I cannot call this "mine" unless there 
is a wider whole of property in which I am merely 
sharing, and on which I in particular lay hold. I may 
distinguish "my" property from "yours," but I do not 
separate, cut off my property from yours. For if each 
did this there would be no "property"; there would 
be merely an external relation of one exclusive entity 
to another. But to say my property, is to make 
something literally a part of me, a quality of me, a 
" proprium" a determination (internal), and not an 
" accidens" (external) to me. Similarly, but in 
an infinitely deeper sense when I speak of " my " 
self-consciousness. I am / (universal) through a 
universal self which I am conscious of as one with me, 
but which is wider than "me," and by being in which 
I live in a self-complete and self-contained world 
the world of explicit concrete self-consciousness. 

The sphere, where we begin and end with self- 
conscious individuality and with that only, is the 
world of Spiritual life, which exists in the definite 

of this self- 



historical form of the Moral Life and the order of 
f- s oc j ety! The attainment of rational individuality, of 

- J 

ness is the individuality constituted by the activity of concrete 
Lif self-consciousness, is the foundation of Morality. 

If we take any of the general characteristics 
ordinarily regarded as belonging to Morality, we 
This uius- shall see this at once. The moral life is said 
to im P J y "Freedom." To be free is to be "at 
home with ourselves along with others," to realise 
ends which are ends of our own choosing, and 
in which, when realised, we shall both find our- 
selves and have our self acknowledged by others. 
But that result does not merely imply Society 
as if our moral life were our own individual 
affair, and Society were there simply to confirm 
us in our purpose. It is literally the activity 
of a social, of a universal self -consciousness, at 
every point. The end is "ours," we "choose" it: 
i.e. it is the expression of our self, of the self we 
are conscious of. But this means that it is ours as 
distinct from the end of some other self, whose exist- 
ence and reality are therefore essential to make it 
possible for us to call it "ours" in particular. We 
find ourselves in the end itself as well as in the 
choosing of it. But the end achieved is a self 
attained, just as the process of achieving it is self- 
expression. The end achieved, again, is, because 
achieved, no longer merely particular but a self 
"objectified" universalised, with a significance not 
merely for me, but for all who know it. We demand 
that the end shall be acknowledged as " ours." 
This means that the end is "accepted" by others 
(or " rejected " as the case may be), i.e. the end is 
not merely "my" end, but the end for a universal 


self-consciousness. "My" self therefore is not 
merely mine at all, but one with that universal. 
A negative confirmation of the same principle is 
seen when we pursue an end outside a social 
whole, and without the slightest reference to it. 
The end is said to be mere isolated " impulse," 
and the life directed by impulse is on the plane of 
merely organic activity, or is " the life of an animal," 
whose activity is without any significance beyond 
the moment of realisation, because not implying a 
self which endures consciously beyond the moment. 

If we examine any other characteristic aspect So of other 
of Morality, e.g. "responsibility," "duty," "virtue," MoraHty. 
etc., precisely the same result will be brought to 
light. The very terms connote universal self- 
consciousness ; so completely does man, by his 
thoughts and procedure in the moral life, recognise 
that Morality is without significance apart from this 
implication of universal self-consciousness. Morality 
is in fact its detailed explicit actualisation. 

Hence the view so often put forward on other "Man 
grounds that man alone is capable of Morality, clmbkof 
This is a distorted way of stating the case, because Morality." 
it seems to imply that Morality is a thing per se up 
to which certain creatures may "rise," and by chance, 
as it were, this creature, or one of these creatures, 
happens to be man. The truth rather is that 
Morality has no existence at all anywhere except 
as the realisation in detail of universal self-conscious- 
ness. This universal self-consciousness is a mode 
of human experience, and Morality emerges with it, 
is its result. 

It is said, again, that man is a moral being 
because he is essentially a rational being : that 


Morality is, the principle of the moral life is to be found in 
the nature of Reason. With this view the course 
aiity." of the above argument agrees : for Reason is the 
basis of self-complete individuality, and such in- 
dividuality has all the functions and characteristics 
of Reason from the beginning to the end of its 
activity. But self-conscious individuality is some- 
thing more than mere Reason ; it emerges after the 
completion of the life of Reason. Morality is not 
Reason pure and simple (as pure Science can be 
said to be) ; nor is the moral life explained merely 
by referring it to Reason. It is rather the self- 
differentiation of a universal self-consciousness into 
specific individualities, each having substantial ex- 
istence for itself. It is not an adjective of individual 
life, but the substance of individual life. In short, 
it does not consist in Reason as bare Reason, but in 
Spirit, of which Reason provides the basis, but 
is not the exhaustive expression. Morality is the 
expression of spiritual activity, and Spirit is just self- 
conscious individuality, which only is a self in and 
through universal self. If we draw the distinction 
between Reason and Spirit formally, it would be 
that Reason is the consciousness of the immediate 
identity of subject and object, the consciousness of 
that identity as it is in itself, whereas Spirit is the 
consciousness of that unity as it is for itself. 1 It is 

1 The distinction between the two is parallel to that between " Under- 
standing" and "Desire." In the former, as we saw, the consciousness of 
self was implicit, in the latter the explicit principle of the process : in the 
former the- self was "found" ; in the latter "carried out" : in the former we 
had the "intellectual" attitude, in the latter the "practical." So here in 
Reason "other selves" are implicit: hence the possibility of speaking of "my" 
Reason : in Spirit they are explicit and their unity therefore established by a 
process of mediation. Hence arises the "practical" activity of realising the 
unity of Spirit through selves, each universal and for itself: and this is the 
Moral Life. 


therefore at a higher level of experience than Reason. 
The identity of self with its object, which constitutes 
the life of Reason as such, is implied in the life of 
Spirit, for its world is also self-determined. But 
Spirit rests on the consciousness not so much that I 
am in myself all in all, am one with my immediate 
content, the world of " nature " certainly a great 
achievement ; but that I am one with, i.e. am for 
myself, universal self- consciousness which is a 
supreme triumph of experience. Out of that sense 
of unity, surely one of the most marvellous and pro- 
foundly significant of all the attitudes of experience, 
Morality arises, and appears as a historical experi- 
ence in time. 

It will be seen how this conception of the place similarity 
of the moral life in experience both agrees with 
and is different from that of Kant. For Kant moral 
experience was realised on a higher level of con- 
scious life than Science, and belonged to the sphere 
of Reason. Moreover, Morality was only truly 
Morality in the form of "pure will," "pure practical 
reason " ; i.e. it had its source in and expressed the 
essentially universal principle of experience. Again, 
the realisation of the moral life consisted in carrying 
out an end whose very meaning was universal, a 
"maxim" or "law" of "duty." Such a universal 
carried the individual beyond his particular existence, 
and only had a moral significance if it did so. But 
it did not merely carry him beyond, it built him into 
a rational whole of reason in which others shared. 
It was by reference to this whole that his action 
was to be determined, and that his action became 
really moral. This whole was a whole of rational 
beings qua rational. He was to act as a typical 


rational being, i.e. in a way other rational beings 
would act. Only so, obviously, could there be a 
whole of rational beings, and by doing so ipso facto 
there was established a whole of such beings. His 
action therefore presupposed, implied, and bound 
him up with other rational beings. His moral action 
was action in and for a universal reason. This Kant 
expressed consistently enough by saying that a 
moral action was one which was done in and for a 
"kingdom of ends," a kingdom of rationals, a social 
whole, in short, of rational beings. 
The differ- All this is contained in the above argument. 

en from g^ there j g & d j fference For Kant this wor ld of 

Kant's reason was, like its source in pure self-conscious- 
formal S a nd ness, formal only. Hence his social whole had 
external. a un jt v> DU {; a formal unity. The universality 
was an adjective of the individual action, a char- 
acteristic of his will -act, not the substance of his 
concrete practical life. This was true of all the 
individuals who acted morally. They remained 
individuals separate, unique, isolated qua individuals. 
Their connexion was through their common obedience 
to what was universal : they all aimed at universality, 
and in this universality therefore they all shared. It 
regulated them and bound them together as in- 
dividuals ; but it, as such, did not constitute their 
very substance. Their moral reality was not deter- 
mined by the unity of the universal ; the unity was 
derived horn them and their common action in follow- 
ing it. It was thus external to them. They remained 
unique, impenetrable units of moral activity through, 
and, in a sense, in spite of, their following the same 
moral law. Hence in analysing Society in the Meta- 
phystc of Morals, Kant takes the view that Society 


is the result of a " contract " a logical result of his 
conception of the place of universality in the moral 
life. For " contract " is an external relation between 
individual wills agreeing to certain common con- 
ditions. Thus, like the universality of his law of 
duty, Kant's social whole, his whole of rational wills, 
is a purely formal unity. The formality of the social 
whole is, indeed, another expression of the formality 
of the principle of the law of moral action. They 
can be only connected externally if the universal is 
an adjective or attribute of each individual's will-act. 
The order, the unity of society, is above the concrete 
wills, in a " supersensible world " : actually in experi- 
ence, they are unique, sensibly separate units. Their 
unity is due to each uniquely, and per se aiming at 
universality in action. The fact that they all do so 
is the only identity holding them together. And 
such a unity is not merely formal, it is as good as 
contingent. For if universality is an attribute pf 
the individual's will-act, an attribute which, because 
it ought to be, either may or may not, as a matter 
of fact, exist, the universality is separable, not 
essential. It may or may not be possessed, and the 
connexion with others, which depends solely on that 
kind of universality, becomes a mere accident of 
individual endeavour. Indeed, just as, on Kant's 
admission, an act of pure duty can never be found 
really in experience at all, so the contingency of the 
existence of a real society of personal wills is a 
logical issue from the contingency of the realisation 
of all true duty. 

The position of absolute idealism is sharply con- The 
trasted with all this. The universality of moral 
action is not an attribute of it, but its very essence, 


because Morality does not have any being at all 
until the self has achieved conscious universality 
and actively lives in and for it. The universality 
is not made by the act being moral. The uni- 
versality is there, and thence comes the possibility 
of Morality. The universality is not a quality 
which may or may not be ; for the self which is 
realised in the moral life is inherently universal to 
start with, and is logically prior to the realisation of 
that life. Morality comes from the existence of 
self- conscious individuality, expresses the content 
and movement of a universal self- consciousness. 
And the universal self- consciousness, while it does 
not exist apart from self-conscious individuality, is 
per se as real, as actual to start with, and all along, as 
the latter. There is logically no separation possible 
between the two. A distinction there is, as we shall 
see, but that is not separation. Hence Society 
is not derived from individual activity as directed 
by universal ends. It is merely maintained by that 
process, and is as much a "fact" as the individual's 
activity. Individuals as distinct entities are in 
Morality differentiations of the universal self-con- 
sciousness which they all imply, and which they live 
by maintaining. Hence Society is not contingent on 
individual action. It is essential to the real concrete 
existence of its individuals ; it draws out their true 
nature. The universal, the Social Unity, is, like 
the self, not regulative but constitutive. Society is 
therefore not the result of a "contract" between 
separate wills; this universal self-consciousness just is 
a Society, a whole of wills. Moreover, it is logically 
impossible for it to be the outcome of a contract. 
For any contract, to have the ethical significance 


of a contract at all (something which is binding on 
wills), can only arise if Society exists, or if it is 
assumed to exist in order to determine the place 
of the ethical fact of contract in the moral life of 
individuals. To explain Society by the notion of a 
" contract " is therefore a vo-repov irporepov. Again, 
the content of the moral life, properly understood, is 
not, and cannot be, limited simply to the individual 
realisation of the idea of duty. If it were, then the 
moral life would be, as Kant admits, a perpetual 
failure, and Society could never really exist at all. 
But Society, a universal self-consciousness, does 
exist, as an order of self-conscious individual wills. 
Hence its substance must comprehend a wider range 
of content, and a more concrete system of detailed 
acts of will, than can be gathered under the notion 
of duty. It must, as we shall see, comprehend, e.g., 
rights and institutions, all, in fact, that is concerned 
with the concrete relation of self-conscious will to 
self-conscious will ; while this again, in itself, implies 
man's relation to and connexion with nature and 
natural conditions of existence. In short, whereas 
Kant starts from uniquely separate individuals, and 
regards these individuals as setting up a moral 
order by coming into relation to each other, it is 
really the attainment in experience of universal self- 
consciousness that makes possible the co-existence 
and co-operation of self-contained individuals for the 
maintenance of a single social whole. They can only 
have this completeness found in morality because 
of their consciousness of being universal selves. 
The detailed development of all that this individu- 
ality contains, a development carried out in the light 
of, by constant reference to, and by implication of, 





ment of 
this form 
of experi- 

that universal self-consciousness, is itself the attain- 
ment of what the moral life means? 

The road of development of this plane of experi- 
ence is already indicated by what has been said. 
Self-consciousness appears as self-sufficient in and 
through individuality, and does so in virtue of the 
fact that universality here is not an attribute of 
separate centres of self-conscious life, but a sub- 
stantial universal self, constituting the very basis 
for the completeness and sufficiency any particular 
individual feels. There are thus two opposed or con- 
trasted factors involved in this mode of experience. 
These are the life of the universal self-consciousness, 
substantial and actual universality ; and the life of 
each moment of it, the distinct individual centres 
sharing in and living by that universality. We can- 
not cut these two asunder. The difference between 
them is rather one of emphasis on an element of 
what is precisely the same concrete reality in both 
cases. The specific individuality has a twofold char- 
acter by its being consciousness of self by self; one 
self is what we have called the substantial universal, 
the other is the determinate limited individuality 
each possesses, and which makes each distinct from 
another. The first is the same for all and in all ; the 
second is restricted to a certain area or sphere of that 
totality. Similarly, the universal substance "dupli- 
cates " its self in virtue of its being a self-conscious 
whole, a whole in and through consciousness of 

1 This conception of the essentially social character of self-conscious in- 
dividuality is also maintained by Fichte, whose development of Kant's principle 
preceded Hegel's. Fichte, however, by separating the sphere of rights from 
that of duty, and by assigning to duty an "infinite " or endless task, fails to 
work out the essentially concrete nature of the conception, and seems, in fact, 
to reinstate isolated individuality at another and a higher plane of existence. 


self; the one self being the universal self as such, 
which is the same for and in all, and the other the 
specifically distinct forms in which its concrete life 
appears the determinate individualities. This 
mutual implication of each side in the other is what 
is meant in the general statement, "there is no 
society apart from the individuals," a statement 
which has to be supplemented by another, "there 
are no real individuals apart from society." But 
though the distinction is thus one of emphasis, it is 
not merely a logical but a living distinction, 1 because 
self-consciousness is an active unity, for which each 
element is an essential moment. 

Now the process involved in the complete realisa- TWO 
tion of the unity of these two phases is just the fh 

whole activity of what we call Moral Life. On the Life . : < r ) 
one side we have the process of the universal sub- an d 
stance moulding and determining the inter-relations Custom - 
of its parts by uniform conditions of regular order. 
It must act thus, and can only act thus, because its 
substance is purely universal. The result of its 
activity must, therefore, appear simply as "uni- 
formity," " order," " law." It appears in the 
form of what we call Social Law and Custom, the 
Ethos of a People. With this the individual in 
a People is at home ; in this he participates. A 
People is a self-conscious unity maintaining its equi- 
librium by certain uniform or habitual ways of acting. 
The totality of these constitute an "ethical," i.e. 
"habitual," "order" all its own. In virtue of being 
in accord with it the individual finds guaranteed the 

1 Out of the distinction in fact arises the process in which Social Life con- 
sists ; for the process consists simply in adjusting the two factors so as to form 
a stable and permanent whole. 


security, permanence, and uniformity of purpose in 
his own individual existence, and with these, there- 
fore, the happiness and peace that come from efficient 
and successful realisation of those universal purposes 
which make it possible for him to possess the self- 
sufficient individuality above spoken of. It is not 
something attached externally to or aimed at by a 
People, as if it were outside the life of a People. 
It is the methodical working out of the life and 
destiny of a People as a self-conscious substantial 
reality of history. It is not "made" by individuals 
as their "effect." Once established at all, it is prior 
in time to each individual within its life. But it is 
logically prior in any case to his individuality ; for 
it is the ground of his being what he is, the goal 
or end at which he aims. Without aiming at 
that universal end he would not be a self-conscious 
individual. For the very essence of the individual 
lies in identifying himself with that universal, 
which is a substantial concrete self, not something 
away beyond him, but actual and living, and 
therefore exerting its power and claims directly 
upon him. It makes him real, makes him an 
individuality complete in it and self-contained by 
it. This active, universal, spiritual substance carries 
on its own ends through individuals as its moments. 
They are its "speech," its "expression," as, for 
example, to take a prominent case, when it speaks 
its purpose through a judge or a monarch. It is the 
operative principle determining the position of indi- 
viduals in the whole, the relation of their several 
positions to one another, the bounds set to each, and 
the claims exerted by one on another, i.e. it is the 
source of Rights in every concrete form. It breaks 


up its supreme concrete unity into specifically distinct 
spheres of universal activity, forms of universal 
self-consciousness. While remaining the all-per- 
vading unity throughout, connecting the one with 
the other, in each of these forms it lives in a 
different way, realises a distinct mode of universal 
self-consciousness. The spheres which are usually 
distinguished in this whole are the life of the 
Family, Civic Life, and the life of the State. These 
are, in the actual realisation of the whole, confined 
within certain limits. 1 Each implies the others in 
a fully realised universal spiritual existence, and 
implies the others through the one substance within 
which they all fall. They have different degrees 
of universality ; the self in each is more or less 
universal. Thus the Family is less wide than, and 
can in that sense be said to fall within, the Civic 
Life. The Civic Life stands in a similar relation 
with regard to the State. But this is not to be under- 
stood as if the Family were a part of the Civic Life 
simply : it is a part of the one Whole containing all. 
The Civic Life is not simply a unity of Families : it 
is a unity through Families. Similarly of the State. 
It does not strictly contain the others ; for itself is 
contained in that complete unity of self-conscious 
life which comprehends all. But it has specific 
functions with reference to the others, which these 
others per se could not exercise, and which constitute 

1 It is important to observe that the State is an aspect or form of this self- 
conscious whole. We are apt to confound the "State" with a "Society." 
But Society, Social Unity, is the genus of which "state," "family," and 
"communal life" are merely species. The "State" is an ethical function of 
a social whole, with a definite activity or " will " of its own, having limitations 
as regards other "wills" in the social whole. Hence, e.g. , the question of the 
"limits" of "state interference." But all "wills" fall inside the social 
unity and are exerted in the interests of that social whole. 



it a special mode in which the self-conscious Whole 

This universal, self-conscious life is the source of 
Law, or realised Order, and fully expresses and 
contains all the ends which are implied in the 
realisation of self-conscious individuality in human 
history, the ends of self-conscious life in relation 
to self-conscious life, the relations of Persons to 
Persons. Its purpose in experience is actually to 
reveal and maintain all these ends, and so to make 
possible self-complete individuality. 

(2) The On the other hand, again, there is the process 
ofTecifi? ky which the activity of every specific focus of self- 
mdividu- consciousness draws into his own life the universal 
life of the Whole just spoken of. He focuses 
the Whole because he is self-conscious, and his 
self is essentially and implicitly universal, i.e. aims 
at being a whole. From this point of view, all 
that the Whole actually contains is potentially in 
each. Each does not merely reflect the Whole. It 
consciously aims at being the Whole, getting all its 
universal content within its own active individual 
life, making the substance of the general mind and 
will its own mind and will. To make all its own 
purposes universal as that is universal, and to feel 
its self in its individual existence not merely one 
with the Whole, but a whole all by itself that con- 
stitutes for it a world of self-consciousness all its 
own achievement. It is, in a way, to make itself 
independent of the Whole, by taking into itself 
all that makes the Whole self-complete. It is a 
process of destroying distinction by becoming self- 
sufficient, and, on becoming self-sufficient, to be, 
in a sense, independent of the tutelage, care, and 


guidance of the Whole. To do so is to set up an 
authority, a guide, or controlling agency within its 
own individual life, and make itself complete as it 
stands, to judge for itself, act for itself, and find its 
actions ratified and approved by the " sanction " 
within its own bosom. In doing so, it may come 
even to regard the Whole as external to itself. It 
can do so, because it is self-conscious, and can 
withdraw into the recesses of its own individuality 
and put everything else "outside" it. If it makes 
this distinction an opposition, conflict or struggle 
may arise between the separate focus of active 
self- consciousness and the concrete totality of 
spiritual self-consciousness above spoken of. Such 
conflict is an imperfect and necessarily inadequate 
form to which its process may lead it, and often 
does historically lead it. Its true aim and com- 
plete realisation, however, are found where its own 
universal content is absolutely in harmony with 
that Whole, and yet is entirely explicit to itself, con- 
stituting a self-contained world. With the attain- 
ment of this as a conscious attitude it has ipso 
facto exhausted (to itself as a conscious fact), the 
substance of this universal life, and has lost its 
individual self in the Whole. It has risen to 
absolute Self-consciousness. And through this it 
passes beyond the sphere of the Moral Order 
as such and enters another mode of self-conscious 
experience the mode, as we shall see, called 

The process, by which each aims at attaining Morality 
this separate world of self-guiding, self-controlling ^ >er : 
universality, constitutes quite a distinct plane of the science. 
moral order from that spoken of as Custom and 


Law or the Ethos of a People. It is the world of 
individual self-legislation, the world of Conscience, 
the sphere of " Individual Morality." As the former 
is the ethical sphere of universal Custom, Right, 
Virtue, this is the sphere of Individual Principle, 
Sentiment, Duty. The former is the operation of 
general order in and through all explicit Law 
and Convention ; the latter that of specific Choice 
and Responsibility. In both cases it is a universal, 
self-conscious life : in the one case realised by all, 
for all, and through all in the same sense ; in the 
other realised by each for each and through each 
in the specific way characteristic of the different 
self-conscious individualities into which the Whole 
falls. We are merely reading the same type of 
experience (unity of self-conscious individuality) in 
opposite ways, the one from the point of view of 
the Whole as such, the other from the point of 
view of the specific focus as such. To use Plato's 
metaphor, it is like writing the same truth in larger 
and smaller letters. The Whole concentrates the 
life of every one into moments of its own activity ; 
the specific focus concentrates the life of the Whole 
into processes and moments of its own special 
self-conscious individuality. Hence, e.g., as we 
have Law in the former case, so we have it in the 
latter ; and in both cases Law expresses a relation of 
self-conscious life to self-conscious life. In the former 
it is expressed openly, written down, and carried out 
publicly (after the manner of a universal self-con- 
sciousness per se] ; in the latter it is not expressed 
in words, it is known by the individual "immedi- 
ately," it controls the impulses, etc., of the individual 
will, and is not recognised by any one but himself. 


Just as, further, in public or social Law, the 
authority and compulsion of the unity of the Whole 
are exerted on each through force, physical it may 
be, or in the quasi-automatic routine of " conven- 
tional understanding"; so in the individual soul we 
find authority exerted on the course of the individual 
will through the power of Conscience the universal 
which shapes the unity in the individual life. 

Different terms have been employed to express Different 
these distinct phases of the realisation of self-con- sJJ^for 
scious individuality ; but they are merely distinctions these 
of aspect of what is fundamentally one type of experi- objective 
ence. We may call the first objective self-conscious "V*. 

/ J m _ subjective. 

unity, the latter subjective self-conscious unity. 
But it must be understood that these are not 
separate but only distinct aspects of what is all 
the while one and the same. It is right to call 
the former objective, if we mean that objective is 
one and the same for all in the same sense, much 
as, e.g.> when we call 2 + 2 = 4 an "objective truth." 
It is not true if we mean that there is no objective 
element in the latter : for without such an objective 
aspect there would be no experience there at all. 
Similarly with the necessary changes regarding the 
term " subjective." 

We may speak, again, of the first as the sphere "Free- 
of universal "freedom," "free Society," the latter as dom '" 
the sphere of individual "freedom." But the very 
idea of freedom implies that it is both universal and 
individual. A freedom which is not the freedom of, 
and in individuals is a form of, bare necessity.' Hence 
the fallacy of "state socialism " in the interests of the 
moral life. And a freedom which is not freedom 
in and through universality, i.e. through a whole of 





other self-consciousnesses, is not freedom but caprice, 
and cannot produce order. 1 

The final When each individual self-consciousness absorbs 
mentor the life of universal self-consciousness, and makes its 
Moral EX- un i v ersal content the very substance of its own life, 
Freedom we have the final stage in the development of this level 
of experience. Spirit is only spirit in individualised 
form, for the aim of spirit is a unity conscious of its 
unity in all the differences that enter its life and 
determining such differences by its self as a unity. 
Hence the very idea of complete self-consciousness, 
which dawns after the development of Reason, 
only becomes realised when every individual form 
in which it appears manifests its whole meaning and 
purpose, is constituted by universality as its very self, 
and is a self-determined whole. Spirit is the sphere 
of Freedom, because in it we have conscious deter- 
mination of a self by an order, a universality, which 
is its own nature. Spirit is not free by means of 
individuals, but in and through individuals. Hence 
the complete achievement of spiritual existence is 
found when Freedom is expressed fully in every 
self-conscious life, in every spiritual individuality. 
Thus the goal of self-conscious individuality is 
found where specific individuality is at once specific, 
and contains within it the universal life of self- 
consciousness. It cannot be free and complete 
if it contains less, for only in complete univer- 
sality of self- consciousness lies freedom and self- 
sufficiency, and only in that universality is its true 
significance found. On the other hand, it is in 

1 We find the distinction between these aspects also expressed in the con- 
trast between the "general will" and the "individual will," or, in plural 
form, "the will of all." 


specific individualities that the whole is actualised. 
Only, therefore, when each absorbs the meaning of 
the whole, is the whole truly itself and truly 
expressed, is it free self- consciousness completely 
developed. Hence it is only in the stage at which 
individuality appears in the form of Conscience 
working through duties, etc., that self-conscious 
individuality gets its full realisation. 

But this must not be misunderstood. It is not Quaiifica- 
meant that the goal of self-consciousness lies in the i?i va te 
maintenance of the "rights," the "position," of Con - 

, r 2,, . science. 

"private conscience. 1 he very term "private 
conscience " is an unconscious irony. Conscience 
has no significance, no worth even in its own eyes, 
unless it is either implicitly or explicitly universal, 
i.e. contains something which others hold good and 
respect. It is not a principle of distinguishing one 
individual spiritual life from that of others. It is a 
principle of deeper union between individual spirits. 
If its content is universal, it must be because others 
either can or ought to share in it. Even Conscience 
cannot be allowed to act inconsistently. But con- 
sistency of action implies universality of law or 
principle, i.e. one holding not for each moment, but 
for all moments, and therefore for all minds. More- 
over, the very substance of Conscience is obtained 
through relation to, and through the development 
in ourselves of, a social consciousness, a universal 
self, a general will towards a universal end. If we 
call it a "higher law," it is a "higher law" of union 
with the general mind, not a higher law to cut us 
off from it. Otherwise it would not be higher but 
lower, would isolate us from the whole, turn us 
into units of nature, not Spiritual Individualities. 


What it contains, and what it " dictates " are modes 
of action or principles of action in reference to a uni- 
versal self. But a universal self, is a self including 
"others." It is not so much that Conscience 
develops and may vary with individuals. That is 
true, and is often used as an argument against 
accepting Conscience as final. But Conscience 
does not exist except as the Conscience of an 
individual in a social whole. It arises out of it, 
not through detachment from it, but through taking 
into the self the very universality which constitutes 
the whole, and thus making a moral order within 
each Spirit. It would not arise but for conscious- 
ness of self, and consciousness of self is meaning- 
less apart from consciousness of "others," of a uni- 
versal self. 1 Self-consciousness is a principle of 
distinction as well as of unity. Conscience lays 
stress on the fact of self-distinction : nothing more. 
But distinction, difference, has no meaning except 
inside a unity. This is borne out by the fact that 
agreement between " consciences " is not at all 
held to affect the "unique" reality of "each" 
conscience, but rather tends to confirm it in its 
security. In other words, consciences may agree, 
be universal, and yet be " individual consciences." 
Hence it is not an argument against the " authority 
of conscience " that consciences differ, any more 
than it is an argument against the distinctive and 
separate validity of each because they may agree. 

1 This is seen in the very term con-science. It is " knowing," ' ' along with " 
"self" and "others" being implied. The term lays primary emphasis on 
the former ; hence the " inwardness " of " conscience." This " inwardness " of 
"knowledge" gives the "certainty" so characteristic of "conscience." The 
German word Gewissen lays stress on this aspect of "certainty" alone. The 
English word brings out rather the element of " knowing," and so emphasises 
the essential universality of ' ' conscience. " 


They are not valid simply because they agree ; they 
agree because each is valid. And they are not 
invalid because each is distinct ; they only differ 
because they are somewhere invalid. Distinction 
lies in the nature of the case, since each is a 
specific focus of the total life of the universal self- 

Again, it must not be supposed that self- con- This 
scious individuality is something abstract. Experi- f 
ence is realised as a specific unity in this form, abstract. 
Just as Reason was a manifestation of experience 
from a certain point of view, so is self-con- 
scious individuality. It takes within its life all 
that has previously been considered to fall within 
specifically distinct modes of human experience. 
Hence it does not exclude but includes what 
is called "nature." It looks at "nature," how- Seif-con- 
ever, not as an immediate object to be " observed " ^duality 
and "categorised" by Reason, but as a constituent and nature. 
element in the life of individuality. It must do so, 
because here consciousness of self does not merely 
make its own world, but is its whole world. There 
is nothing opposed to it in the sense of being outside 
it, beyond it. Everything falls within it in some 
form or other, and is built into its unity. " Nature," 
"things," etc., are present here, but present as 
moments in the complete unity of active self- 
consciousness. This is seen in the fact that, on 
the one hand, the material of "nature" as a whole, 
the physical and organic world, is incorporated into 
the active life of a People, and appears as the " land " 
it "inhabits," and "possesses" (the physical basis of 
" Fatherland "), and, on . the other, the climate, 
physical features, and conditions, etc., determine 


the character which the order of its life assumes. 
It forms the arena in and by which a People mani- 
fests its specific level of culture and civilisation, 
attains its specific concrete individuality as one 
Nation, a Nationality amongst others. Nature here 
is not " moralised," as if it were something which 
was made moral, and yet was something apart from 
the moral life all the same. 1 Its significance here, 
its very existence, lies in the place it occupies as a 
moment or phase of universal self-conscious individu- 
ality. It is built into the substance of its life, and 
is determined by and exists for the ends of self-con- 
sciousness. It is here treated ideologically, because it 
literally falls inside a teleological whole. Self-con- 
sciousness is not consciousness of self, individuality 
is not self- complete, except in so far as "nature" 
and " natural conditions " are permeated by its own 
ends, i.e. by the self universal and all-containing. 
What "nature" is or may be apart from it, i.e. at 
a different level of experience from individuality, is 
not "nature" as incorporated in it. It has become 
something else. Just as Perception is not mere 
Perception in the life of Reason, or Reason mere 
Reason in self-conscious individuality ; so " things " 
(the content of Perception) are not for and to that 
individuality what they are for and in Perception. 
They are " things " for and in the life of individu- 
ality; they are constituent conditions of its purposive 
activity. Hence it is that here, in individuality, 

1 This is the position adopted by Fichte, who thus seems to reintroduce at 
the end of his theory of experience the very dualism he began by denying. 
The fact that the "other," " nature," falls inside self-consciousness, which Fichte 
seeks to demonstrate, does not abolish the difficulties of dualism. Rather if 
this "other" remains for ever an "other," as Fichte maintains in his view of 
Duty, dualism is the more firmly established. It becomes a contradiction 
within self-consciousness itself. 


what is a " thing " for mere Perception becomes an 
object of " worth," and only that ; it becomes, e.g., 
a piece of "property" built into and expanding the 
life of a self. That is the object's meaning at this 
level of experience. It is no longer a mere 
41 thing " at all ; it is the focus of a purpose of 
the self, and its whole significance is determined 
accordingly. And this holds true of all that "nature" 
is and contains. Hence the reciprocal relation 
between climate or land and self-conscious life, 
a relation which appears in the constitution of a 
kind or level of Civilisation. Earth ceases to be 
mere " earth " ; it becomes Country, a Home, a 
centre of local enthusiasm and national patriotism. 
Self-consciousness is not on one side and " nature " 
on the other in the life of self-contained individu- 
ality. They are an indissoluble unity, the one is 
through the other. An area of the " physical " world 
on which a Society lives its life, becomes merely 
the bodily (spatial) expression of the animating 
spirit, the universal self-consciousness which is 
there "situated." It bears precisely the same 
relation to universal self-consciousness as a whole, 
as a unity, which the individual body bears to the 
individual soul. Just as we say the body of a self- 
conscious individual life, of a man as such, is not 
a mere physical body, but has a value for itself 
which a natural body has not, and has no meaning 
apart from that self-conscious unity "animating" 
it, moulding and directing it ; so the area of the 
" physical world," within which a universal self-con- 
scious, a social whole, is actively operative in realis- 
ing its purposes, is meaningless and inseparable from 
the self -consciousness shaping its constitution for its 




purposes. If it is looked at apart from that self- 
consciousness it becomes something quite different 
altogether, and must, therefore, appeal to a different 
and a lower level of experience, e.g. Perception or 
Science ; just as if a human body is " deprived " of its 
soul it becomes something else namely, inorganic 
matter and so falls within the sphere of another 
form of experience. It is then interpreted by a 
mechanical or chemical principle, not ideologically. 1 
Nature is Thus, then, self-conscious individuality is not a 
expression reality apart from " nature " ; it contains " nature " as 
for spirit. a moment or element in its active unity. It is for 
this reason that a Society is such a concrete unity 
as we know it to be. We find that the reality of 
the State is made actual in and through processes of 
"nature." It does not, and man in the moral life 
feels he does not, treat " nature " as something alien 
to himself. Nature is regarded as a part of his self, 
to do with it as he pleases. Hence, at this stage 
" nature " is looked at and " used " by spirit as 
spirit's counterpart and embodiment ; and all that 
would otherwise be processes of " mere nature " 
become processes of spiritual life. 

From this simple principle follows, on the one 
hand, all the varied life and content of a Society, 

1 This is how it comes about that if we once treat " nature " as apart from 
" man," i.e. apart from man qu& spirit, we must grasp its unity and meaning 
by a non-teleological principle. And this is precisely what constitutes the 
" mechanical " view of nature. Hence it is not because " nature " is a 
mechanism that it is alien to spirit. It is first alienated from spirit and then 
regarded as a mechanism. Hence the absence of the mechanical view of nature 
in the case of, e.g., Eastern Peoples. This is corroborated in an interesting 
manner by the history of the scientific or naturalistic (mechanical) view of " the 
world " in Western thought. It was the breach between nature and man's 
spirit, made primarily in the interests of Religion, that created the dualism on 
which all natural science rests. Nature had first to be put outside spirit before 
it could be treated per se ; and when it was considered per se it could only be 
treated as a " brute fact," and construed "mechanically." 


of universal self -consciousness. Events cease to be The con- 
merely " events " ; they become moral realities. Or- moral 
ganic functions become moral meanings. Inorganic order - 
elements and attributes become the content of 
moral laws. The routine of events in time and 
space becomes the routine of a moral order, reliable, 
predictable, irrevocable from generation to genera- 
tion it becomes the embodiment of Custom and 
Tradition. The " merely natural " organic relation 
of sex becomes the spiritual unity of the Family 
as an ethical institution. The " natural law " 
becomes a humanly spiritual, or spiritually human 
law ; the relation is universal, permanent, as the 
self -consciousness whose end it subserves. Land 
and water become " property " " belonging " to 
selves, and transferred from one to the other, and 
from generation to generation ; they become em- 
bodiments of spiritual activity. Events and pro- 
cesses of nature become, e.g., marketable commodities 
on which the whole economic order of a Community 
rests. Even mere " contingencies " of the world, 
disaster and accident, are turned into the content 
of spiritual purpose, determine the course of its life, 
and the relations of individuals to one another. 
This we see, e.g., in a very elementary form, in 
what we call "Insurance." The stability of "nature," 
its " uniformity," is the physical counterpart and 
outer expression of such spiritual facts as, e.g., rights 
of property, which always have universality of signi- 
ficance. The mere events of organic activity become 
" acts," with an objective significance for all ; they 
express ends ; their character has a "worth." And 
whether the " acts " proceed from man's organism or 
from the organism of any living being, subsidiary to 




man's purpose, does not affect the general character 
they bear with reference to the self-conscious life of 
the whole within which they fall. 1 In short, it is just 
by the manipulation of all the sources and resources 
of natural existence that a Society, the universal 
self-conscious individuality, embodies its universal 
life, realises its being. 

And of the The same holds, on the other hand, of the specific 
Moral life individuality of each self-conscious unit. His self- 
conscious life contains, as part of the material of its 
substance, the physical and psychical elements which 
make up what we call his " natural " existence. 
These are summed up under the general idea of 
bodily activity, the functions of a " natural " or 
"animal" "soul." The individual, looked at objec- 
tively like the rest of "nature," is a part of it, respond- 
ing to environment in all its forms, or, what is the 
same thing, gets its place "determined" by the 
pressure exerted on it by all the manifold variety of 
nature. The individual existence of an object as part 
of nature varies with the type of its individuality. 
In a sense, one may say, everything endeavours to 
respond to the whole, because each is a part of it ; 
and the degree of its response determines its place 
and worth in the whole. The lowest individual is 
that whose responses are lowest mere position and 
simple motion : the highest, that which can touch 
the resources of " nature " in all its forms, the com- 
pletes! animate existence. Self-conscious individu- 
ality being the completest, gathers all that makes an 
individual "natural" into itself; and being self-con- 
tained is not opposed to or contrasted with " nature," 

1 E.g. a man is held " responsible " for the " acts " of " his " dog, and for the 
process of growth in "his " plants when, say, they interfere with other people. 


but implies it as a moment of its life. We may say, 
if we choose, that self-consciousness has a "physical 
embodiment," if by that we mean, not that self- 
consciousness is something that " by chance " is 
embodied and is indifferent to its form of em- 
bodiment, but simply that it manifests itself physic- 
ally. We may call this its natural "expression," 
as we often do ; but the expression is not to be 
divorced from the self -consciousness expressed. 
The self - conscious individual is actual by con- 
taining its natural life. Its "nature" is not some- 
thing apart from self-consciousness, but the content 
of it. Nor can we say that he has, qua self-conscious 
individual, a " natural " aspect and a self-conscious 
or "spiritual" aspect. To say so is to confuse quite 
distinct points of view. For in such a case we are 
looking at the individual as an object before us, from 
the point of view of scientific experience. But that 
is only one form of experience. Here we are dealing 
with another form which has to be taken as it stands, 
taken as individuality is to itself and for itself, not 
as it is for some other form of experience. When 
we treat the individual self-consciousness like any 
other object, then obviously we may distinguish 
"aspects" if we choose. They are aspects for us who 
are looking at it : just as the qualities of a "thing" 
are qualities for the opposing and contrasted per- 
ceiving mind. But here we have an experience, 
which, qua experience, is on the same level as other 
forms of experience, and must be taken as experience, 
as subject -object relation, not simply as object for 
some other mode of experience. In short, to distin- 
guish aspects in that fashion is to take up again the 
attitude of "observing" and "theorising" Reason, 


which by hypothesis we have left behind. There- 
fore, we must take this experience at the level of 
the individual self-consciousness as a whole and as 
siich. No other is relevant to state its content, 
for no other is adequate ; and no other but itself 
is needed to state what it contains. To find out 
its meaning is simply to ask what it does, how its 
activity is revealed. Now for a self-conscious in- 
dividuality " nature " does not exist except as a 
phase or an element in its life. Its self is all that 
nature, but built into the structure of its self- 
conscious unity. It does not therefore, when it 
"acts," carry itself out to nature, and do something 
in nature. For nature is part of itself to begin 
with. In "going out of its self" it cannot think and 
never thinks of " nature " at all ; it simply acts, and 
what it does appears to others a "natural" event, but 
to itself is its own life. Self-conscious individuality 
does not to itself separate its nature and its " spirit." 
Its reality is simply and only a unity, a unity 
which is self-complete and self-contained, and thus 
cannot, for itself, make such a distinction either 
practically or otherwise. Hence it is that in " carry- 
ing out" our ends, obeying our "impulses," perform- 
ing " acts " as self-conscious individuals, we do not 
first think of our ideas and then think of bridging 
the gulf between our self-conscious life and some 
world of nature " beyond " us. There is merely a 
continuous process inside the world of self-conscious 
individuality, from the initiation of the idea to its 
"realisation." An "act" is not some event which 
belongs to " nature," while its "end " belongs to us : 
the whole is "ours," is "us." Nature is not, for 
self-conscious individuality, divorced from spirit at 


all. " Nature " is " spiritualised," " spirit " is 
"materialised"; and nature is here non-existent 
except in the life of the individuality itself. It is 
one continuous whole with which we are in touch 
from one end to the other, a whole which begins 
and ends with the self. Our "bodies" are "part 
of" nature to some one else: but to our self-conscious 
selves they are " us " ; and nature, being continuous 
with them, is one with us too. So does self-con- 
sciousness embrace all reality. 

Hence it is that the activities and processes and Natural 
events of " nature " become the content and material aJe^orai 
of the life of the individual spirit, and out of this he processes 
forms his individual moral experience. Organic dividual. 
impulses are not merely natural strivings, they are 
spiritual aims ; they are ends of a self-conscious life. 
The life of Sense becomes the sphere of self-conscious 
purpose, to be directed by ends and ideals, to be 
constructed into a self-conscious, orderly whole. Its 
tendencies become suggestions of a larger purpose. 
After that purpose has dominated it, it can carry the 
purpose on in a manner suited to itself, as we find 
in that automatic response to environment, which 
makes up so much of the mature moral life. The 
varied life of ideas which crowd self-consciousness 
and of themselves start the possible direction of 
effort in the form of "desires," "wishes," etc., are 
made definite and brought to unity and coherence by 
reference to some end or law which determines the 
direction or order of this activity. Events in self- 
conscious history are not natural events, but are 
"deeds," "acts," which are meaningless apart from 
the life they express, and must be judged accord- 
ingly. Thus out of this manipulation of the life of 


sense and the life of ideas which constitute its in- 
dividual existence, a manipulation determined by 
the one end of explicit realisation of complete in- 
dividuality in and with others, self -consciousness 
builds up by individual effort that structure we call 
the individual moral life. 

The From what has been said, it is not difficult to see 

of S the 1( how, at first sight, universal self-consciousness should 
individual a pp ear to each particular individual as something 
universal simply confronting him, opposing him, controlling 
him. We can see, too, how the first form in which 


the individual manifests his sense of individuality is 
in following impulses and tendencies just as they 
come : taking for granted their universality because 
they are his self. It is evident also that the 
way of reconciliation between these two, when the 
distinction between them dawns, can only be one of 
struggle between control and adjustment, so that 
the one universal life shall dominate all explicitly 
and not merely implicitly. The one seeks to realise 
universality absolutely in individual form, for apart 
from that it cannot exist, it becomes an "abstraction" : 
the other seeks to realise individuality in universal 
form, for apart from that it is without significance. 
And both seek to do this because they are both 
moments in the one form of experience, self-con- 
scious individuality. 

The Into the stages through which this process of 

menfoT stru ggle an ^ reconciliation passes we cannot enter 
self-con- in detail. They mark both stages in the develop- 

sciousness: / i _* t ir i i i 

Freedom: ment of the individual hie, and phases in the 
History, historical evolution of human Society. Just as 
the individual struggles towards complete self- 
dependence by checks and restraints imposed by 


the demands of his inherent universality : so the 
universal life of society secures realisation of its ends 
in individual lives, not by suppression but by 
expression of individuality. The starting-point lies 
in the fact that only in and with self-consciousness is 
individuality attained. This means that here we 
have the kingdom of Free Spirit. It is "free," 
because, in the direction and laws of this world, the 
self is working with and finds its own self, and no- 
thing more. Its determination by all is determination 
by self\ its harmony with all is expansion of self; 
its order is the expression of the self as the unity 
controlling all. And it is Spirit because it is for 
itself universal self-consciousness. That is its sphere, 
its content, its substance. Only as Spirit can our 
self-consciousness relate itself to another self-con- 
sciousness. Indeed, the order of Society, the ethical 
and moral "laws," may be looked on as just the 
universals of the life of Spirit, which constitute the 
individuals in Society what they are, which make it a 
whole, a unity, and give each his worth and place in it. 
Just as the meaning of a natural fact lies, as we saw, 
in the law it embodies and realises, so the worth and 
significance of a self-conscious individual lies in his 
realisation of the order of the self-conscious whole of 
Society. The aim of universal self-consciousness 
being the attainment of absolute freedom of Spirit, 
and the aim of individual self-consciousness being 
the same, the results of each must coincide, since the 
lines they severally follow converge towards the 
same end. Hence it comes about that the develop- 
ment of individual self-consciousness, the sphere of 
what we have called the moral order of Conscience, 
or "subjective morality," is a development which 


produces, not isolation of individuals in the whole, but 
fuller, deeper, and completer unity with the whole ; so 
that in a perfectly ordered Conscience the individual 
as a unity is absolutely at peace with himself, self- 
directing, self-legislating, self-forgiving. His Con- 
science is developed by contrast with the life of the 
whole, otherwise it would not be a Conscience ; but it 
is developed by reference to the life of the whole, the 
unity of the individual with Society. Without this 
reference, it would not be worth while to have a 
Conscience at all ; and without relation to the whole, 
Conscience would not be created or arise as a factor 
and function of self -consciousness. Thus, in the 
long run, the achievement of freedom in a State, so 
far from being inconsistent with the existence of " in- 
dividual Conscience," is never completely or safely 
realised except by means of it. So it comes about 
that the process of Human History (which is just 
Society preserving a continuous identity of structure 
through changing form of expression) is simply the 
development of the idea of free self-consciousness, 
free individuality whether it be in the case of the 
history of a particular Society, or in the case of the 
history of Nations which succeed each other in time. 
It must be so, because the very existence of Society 
is based on the fact of self-conscious individuality, 
and this implies unity of self with self, and unity of 
self through self; and that is Freedom. Further 
than the achievement of or the struggle towards 
this end, human spiritual life, as an active relation 
of free spirits, cannot go. To transcend this attitude 
is to pass from the region of finite spirit to that of 
Absolute Spirit. And this is done in a further and 
final form of self-conscious experience Religion. 



FROM the result accomplished at the stage of the The out- 
Moral Life as such, it follows that Spirit is actively 
expressed as, and is actually shown to be, the Life - 
one Reality. For the Moral Life, Spirit is self-con- 
tained, self-conditioned, and self-constituted. There 
is nothing opposing it or contrasted with it ; its pur- 
poses definitely mould and constitute all that is. 
" Nature " is reduced to terms of Spirit, is fashioned 
after its ends, and falls within its living substance. 
This is seen and maintained in the case of uni- 
versal self-consciousness, as the life of a Society, 
which could not exist as a fact in time and space 
except on that condition. It is seen by each indi- 
vidual self-consciousness, when this realises the self- 
complete moral order of the life of Conscience, and 
lives and acts within that entirely self-contained 
realm. There it comes home to the individual that 
the life of Spirit is and contains all actuality with 
no "beyond" whatsoever, no other which is not a 
moment of that life. Its objectivity is not some 
"external nature"; there is no externality at all. 
There is merely the universal content of Spirit mani- 
fested in concrete existence as a spiritual reality. 



It is only there for Spirit, not independent of it in 
any sense. 

The outcome of Moral Experience is thus to 
establish consciously the reality of Spirit, or that 
Spirit is the one Supreme Reality. It could only 
do so by carrying that out as a definite result ; and 
the proof that it is so is just the existence of Moral 
Experience as a process and as a determinate 
result of active self-consciousness. "Nature" has 
given way before the purposes of Spirit and been 
built into its substance by the active process of self- 
consciousness. The only reality left in experience 
therefore is Spirit. 

Moral But, again, Spirit was the culmination of the 

experience development of self-consciousness, and contained in 

contains r , . 

the pre- itself all the various aspects of self-conscious life 
Sags-fas previously dealt with separately as distinct planes 
moments. o f experience. These moments were, in general, 
Consciousness of objects simpliciter. Consciousness 
of Self as such, and Reason. All these fall inside 
Spirit as constituents of Moral Experience, and 
can, indeed, be rightly regarded as mere abstractions 
from it. That is the justification for Kant's insist- 
ence on the " primacy of moral experience." Those 
moments are, as such, abstract aspects of the con- 
crete life of Spirit ; they lead the way to it, are its 
elements treated separately. Spirit therefore is 
"absolute" in the sense that, being the culmination, 
it contains as moments of itself what were formerly 
treated of as stages in the life-history of experi- 
ence. These stages were really the content of 
Spirit spread out in detail ; that they are so is 
only seen when Spirit comes out as their result and 
goal. Their own true meaning, therefore, is only 


to be seen in the light of, and from the point of view 
of Spirit. This is what has been at work all along, 
constituting them what they were, giving each their 
"truth," compelling each to surrender before a 
higher form, and thus making of experience one 
development. As each stands, it has a completeness 
and value of its own. When the result is reached, 
they sink to the level of constituent elements or 
aspects of the whole, the reality of Spirit. Just as, 
for a self-conscious experience, Sense-experience (as 
Kant showed) has only significance in and through 
the activity of thought (Understanding), and is 
compelled, as we saw, to give up its claim to finality 
by the fact that its truth is only found in Under- 
standing, so all the stages previously traced in 
the course of the evolution of experience get their 
real significance when Spirit appears as the final 
Reality. They become thereby aspects of its self- 
contained and self-complete " truth." Spirit, there- 
fore, is strictly all Reality. 

But now, while Morality brings out this result, it Religion 
does so in a special form which is the characteristic stage*? the 
limitation of its expression of Spirit. In Morality, conscious- 
Spirit is actualised by a process involving effort, and spirit. 
a conflict between the content of individual and 
universal. It is realised by the activity of self- 
conscious individuals. But that is not enough to 
express its nature completely. It must not merely 
be an object for conscious individuals. Being self- 
conscious, it must be, as a whole, and in its com- 
pleteness, conscious of its own self. It must not be, 
even in part, something merely implicit, an end to be 
made explicit by a conscious life (an individual moral 
agent) ; it must have a being in and for itself. 




It must not, in short, be broken up into what it is 
implicitly and what it is actually for finite Spirit, 
which seeks, in the processes of the Moral Life, 
continuously to realise its nature. It must be 
actual as a whole to itself, just as it is complete in 
itself. This, however, is not accomplished in the 
sphere of Morality. It is a further and a final 
stage in the evolution of Spirit. This complete 
self- consciousness of Spirit, its being Spirit in 
and to itself as a unity, is only found in its proper 
form in the Religious Life. Spirit is here the 
supreme Reality of experience as it is in Morality 
too. But here it is the absolute Reality conscious 
of itself as such and operating as such ; independent 
of individual consciousness and so of the active 
realisation by individuals ; free and self-contained. 
The expression of Spirit in this form is the life and 
movement of Religion. 

Religion Rightly enough, then, it may be said, that Religion 
trTa'tedas has ^ ts Das is in Morality, or that Religion grows out 
a form of of M oral Experience; for without Moral Experience 

Moral Ex- , ... ... . r . 

perience. there would be no possible consciousness of the 
absolute Reality of Spirit which is the central 
principle of Religion. But as clearly Religion 
cannot be, as Kant and others have held, mere 
Morality in another guise. It is more than 
Morality, and goes beyond Moral Experience alto- 
gether. It has a special life and peculiar develop- 
ment of its own. No doubt Religion has a direct 
relation to Morality : both are the experience of 
Spirit. But the substance of Religion is not Morality, 
since it is a different attitude towards Spiritual Life. 
To regard "moral laws as Divine commands" can- 
not therefore (as Kant supposed) really constitute 


Religion. For it makes no difference to the content 
or quality of a moral law to call it a " Divine Com- 
mand " ; it is binding whether or not it is looked 
at as " Divine." But if this does not constitute a 
difference at all, it cannot be used as a basis for 
another attitude of experience. Unless Religion 
had a further content of its own, it would be a 
mere point of view from which to look at Morality, 
with no special significance and value in the structure 
of experience as a whole. Similarly, the con- 
ception of Religion as "morality touched with 
emotion," or "morality become enthusiastic," does 
not give us Religion as an experience different in 
kind from Morality : it is at most merely a higher 
degree of moral experience. 

But in point of fact Religious Experience recon- Religion 
stitutes all the preceding content of experience, just 
as Morality remoulded all that experience had previ- 
ously revealed. Hence Religion proceeds by pur- 
poses and ways which are specific for this form of 
experience. " Nature," e.g., looked at from the 
point of view of Religion, is not the same as 
" nature " looked at from the point of view of 
Morality. In the former it is looked at as, e.g., 
the " garment " of Spirit, the spoken " word," etc. ; * 
in the latter it is the material substance of moral 
effort, and gets its significance accordingly from the 
purposes of the Moral Life. 

1 "Nature" in Religion is of necessity not treated as it is by Science; 
for they are different levels of experience and have each a different kind of 
unity to realise and sustain. To Science Nature is, as has been recently 
said (Ward, Naturalism and Agnosticism}, a conceptual construction ; to 
Religion it is, e g., the " Manifestation of Spirit." This religious idea indicates 
the relation of "nature" to "Spirit" in a philosophical construction; for 
Philosophy puts the religious idea in speculative terms. Hence the meaning 
of a "transition" from "Logic" to "Nature." 


Religion is Religion, therefore, is neither the "handmaid" of 
Morality nor a mere superimposition on the life of 
experience. It is a necessary form of the life of 
self-conscious Spirit, necessary because no other 
phase of experience expresses the complete life of 
Spirit in the way Religion does. And all expres- 
sions are essential if the meaning of Spirit is to 
be exhausted. 

Religion In Religious life, then, Spirit is not merely 
adopts a jj R ea li t y b ut th e p { n f O f v { ew o f the Absolute 

consciously ... 

the point Reality is deliberately and consciously adopted as 
3 an attitude of experience. In Religion man places 

Spirit. himself at the point of view of God's Spirit and 
looks, thinks, feels, and acts in the "sight" or in 
the " light " of it. That is the peculiar note or 
attitude of the Religious Consciousness as such. It 
lives in and acts from that position. Hence the 
absolute self-sufficiency and self-containedness of 
the Religious Life. In it all strife is stilled, all effort 
overcome, all contradictions removed. Death itself 
(which threatens the existence of individual free Spirit 
in Morality) has no victory and brings no bitterness 
of regret to the finite spirit. In that sphere can be 
found and contained the ecstacy of joy, the depths 
of pain. That life contains all opposites of feeling 
and thought ; and in its own completeness can 
reconcile and harmonise all in the peace of the 

Religion It is only when this is achieved that the summit 
summit of f man's experience is reached, for only at this point 
man's ex- o f v j ew j s complete unity of self -consciousness 


attained and all its discords removed. Hence 
the supreme significance and importance attached 
to it in the history of human experience. Ex- 


perience culminates there, because man is self- 
conscious and demands a supreme realisation of that 
unity in his life. He is always in some way con- 
scious of this complete and Absolute Unity in his 
life ; but in one form of experience he can and 
does get rid of the antithesis, into which \h& process 
of realising his self-conscious life drives him, by 
deliberately adopting the point of view and position 
of the Absolute Unity itself. His being Spirit does 
not necessarily do away with the need to continue 
the realisation of Spirit through a process of events 
the process of the Moral Life above described. 
Hence he reserves the complete conscious union with 
Absolute Spirit for a unique and separate attitude 
of experience his Religious Life. This co-exists 
with and alongside Morality but is always distinct 
from it. Thus we find that, in the history of human 
experience, the conscious adoption of this attitude 
has come to be associated with special times and 
seasons, days or weeks, special ceremonies and 
cults ; while all the rest of self-conscious life is 
carried on in its own way and on its own lines. 
Hence the separation of the "life of the spirit" 
and the " life of the world " ; the former being 
confined to life in and with the Absolute Spirit 
as such, and the rest with the process of self- 
conscious life in time. 

Man, then, takes up the religious attitude as a Religion 
necessary and essential phase of his life as spiritual, expression 
Because he is Spirit, he does so ; because the unity of * he 
of his spiritual life is essentially implied in spiritual Hf e . 
existence, he must do so ; because the one Reality is 
Absolute Spirit with a life for itself, he can do so. 
Seeing that it does supply man with this supreme 



consciousness of unity, it is both universal and 
necessary. If to be conscious of complete unity 
in experience is a characteristic of a completely 
rational life, a characteristic of reason in fact, then, 
so far from Religion being beyond the pale of 
reason, so far from it being either irrational or 
non-rational, it is the supreme expression of mans 
rationality, and without Reason could not arise at all. 
Religion But be it noted that Religion is an attitude of 
experience, and has, therefore, its roots in experience 
and in the needs of experience. We must not 
suppose that in Religion the finite mind suddenly 
becomes God. To be one with God consciously, to 
take up the position of Absolute Spirit, is possible 
without man being God. Man is the religious 
being, not God. In Religion man merely takes 
up the attitude in which Spirit, the supreme Reality, 
is for itself: he is at the point of view of that 
Spirit : that is all. He can do so because he is 
Spirit. Hence the source of what has been called 
the "anthropomorphism" of Religion. The form 
and substance of Religion depend on the level 
of spiritual life at which the human Spirit exists ; 
and this creates the different types of Religion. 
But the essential principle is that in Religion God 
is present consciously " in the soul of man," as it is 
said. Man, as a religious being, thinks of his life 
from that point of view. Religion takes its stand 
on the absolute actuality of Spirit, and man's 
individual life must be looked on as completely real, 
completely actualised only in that Absolute Spirit. 
Religion is the attitude in which that Absolute 
Reality is expressed as it is consciously to itself. 
Man's reality lies essentially in that Absolute Spirit ; 


and that Spirit becomes actual in the spirit of man 
in the form of Religion. 

This is not anthropomorphism in any sense The "an 
except that in which all experience is anthropo- J^dhis 
morphic. Strictly speaking, so far from Religion of 
being purely anthropomorphic in character, it is 
the sphere where man is really deanthropomor- 
phised. His peculiar characteristics as man are 
even eliminated altogether. Thus his " natural life," 
his organism, and its cravings in every form (which 
are constitutive of him as a member of Society, 
and indeed, as we saw, make the existence of 
Society possible, make up its substance property, 
family life, etc.) are looked on as disappearing 
altogether when his Spirit is at-oned with Absolute 
Spirit. As it is put, there are in the " Kingdom of 
Heaven," in the life of Spirit as Absolute Reality, 
no distinctions of race, sex, or property, no " natural 
facts" whatever. "God is all and in all." Spirit 
is the sole and only reality. Yet it is just these 
distinctions of race, sex, and property which make 
up the substance of the Social Order, of all its 
complex spiritual activity. To regard Religion, 
therefore, as purely anthropomorphic when its pro- 
cess involves the elimination of all that specifically 
makes up humanity, is a mere abuse of language. 
Moreover, it is truer to regard all the preceding stages 
in the development of self-conscious experience 
as anthropomorphic than to regard Religion in that 
way. For there experience is presented with definite 
qualifications due to limited aspects of man's life 
Sense, Perception, Science, etc. And, indeed, we 
often do treat them as anthropomorphic, as peculiar 
to man. For example, this is the case when we 





show the limitations of our knowledge furnished by 
Sense, by pointing to the possibility of there being 
other senses, which we do not possess, and the 
possession of which would give us a different content 
in Sense-experience ; or again, when we point to 
the limitations of our " understandings " in the 
pursuit of "truth." 

But, indeed, when we press the matter, we find that 
we have either to regard all experience as anthropo- 
anthropo- morphic or else to reject the position that Religion 
is peculiarly or entirely anthropomorphic. If we 
hold the former, then it amounts to saying that self- 
conscious life being man's is only man's, and is 
therefore all anthropomorphic. But that is a truism. 
It is surely not a limitation of either the worth or 
validity of self-conscious experience to say it is 
self-conscious experience ! The suggestion that it is 
anthropomorphic does, however, carry with it an 
accusation, a qualification, a limitation of its worth. 
It is admitted that man's experience is self-contained 
and self -constituted. For what else can it be ? 
Who or what is to constitute it except man's own 
self? But if so, then, there is nothing beyond it 
to determine what that qualification is to be. For if 
there were anything beyond it, that would necessarily 
fall under that experience, be a qualifying object for 
it. 1 But if it is useless to call all experience an- 

1 It is sometimes insinuated because man's knowledge is not all knowledge, 
e.g. is not the kind of " knowledge " animals possess, that it does not give all 
truth, and therefore its truth is limited to its own level of conscious life, and can- 
not by the nature of the case give " absolute truth." Assuming it to be tenable 
that there are other kinds of knowledge to which he is unable to attain, he 
either knows what that knowledge is or he does not. In the first case the 
limitation is self-imposed and is not a qualification ; in the second case it falls 
outside his experience and cannot qualify it. Is man's life less real in any 
sense because it is not all life at once ? 


thropomorphic, it is absurd to call Religion peculiarly 
so. For this is, in the first place, a phase of that 
same experience, and secondly, it is neither more 
nor less than the final expression of the principle 
present all through experience that the essential 
reality of all experience is Spirit. 

In Religion Spirit is present consciously to itself The aim of 
as Spirit ; and the activity of the religious life is just Expert" 8 
the explicit realisation in self-consciousness of #// ence - 
that that principle means. It contains all, and is 
expressed as the all-containing Reality. It starts 
from that position consciously. Spirit for it is ultimate 
and alone actual. The aim of Religion is to be 
what Spirit as absolute means. That can only be 
done if Spirit is treated, not as something to be 
merely realised by a process, made objective through 
the carrying out of the ends and purposes of the 
self which is the peculiar position of Moral Ex- 
perience as the expression of Spirit but as it is 
completely real for itself. It is no longer something 
to be achieved, but something which is achieved, is 
actual. It is no longer Spirit to be attained and 
maintained, but Spirit which is altogether objective 
and subjective at once, and therefore already 
complete. It no longer exists in itself as the truly 
real : but exists in and for itself as actual. In 
Religion this self-consciousness of Spirit therefore 
is the primal fact. 

Hence it follows that in Religion there is no Religion 
process such as we have in Morality, no active ^oiva 
pursuit of ends and purposes. If that were so, GodP r c p ssof 
would be looked on not as self-complete but as the ] 
^{-completing. God would then be coming to be, 
and Religion would not carry the movement of 


Spirit further than Morality. God, however, in 
Religion is taken as the absolutely actual, and so is 
beyond and above all finite spiritual purpose, contains 
all process in Himself, because in Religion all activity 
is only for Himself. God does not come to be in 
the soul of man. He is there, and man is actual 
in and by that. To ignore this is to commit the 
error involved in the idea of a "religion of humanity." 
Humanity is essentially a process in time, in history; 
it is always "coming to be," but never is, as such, 
self-complete. God in Religion is the self-complete, 
the absolute One. Hence in God all temporal 
process disappears into and becomes a moment of 
His One Life. By no possibility could a. "religion 
of humanity " permit what Religion, as such, first and 
alone seeks to do. By revealing the life of Absolute 
Spirit as it is for itself, Religion seeks to still the 
agonies of strife and struggle in the pursuit of ends 
of all kinds, moral or otherwise, and to realise a 
complete harmonious oneness of soul in what is 
Eternal and contains all finite ends as its own. 
The The only question, therefore, is as to the forms 

*kis Absolute Spirit adopts, and the forms religious 
life in consequence assumes. After what has been 
said, these are not difficult to state. We are not 
here, be it noted, either constructing a Religion or 
picturing how man "looks at," "thinks of" Absolute 
Spirit. In Religion, as was said above, we are at 
the point of view of Absolute Spirit, conscious of 
what it is for itself, conscious of how its own self- 
consciousness proceeds. Here, therefore, we state 
the 'moments or phases of its life, as the one self- 
conscious spiritual Reality. These moments, when 
so stated, form the levels at which the religious life 


does and can exist in experience, and are found to 
exist in historical "religions." We are not discussing 
these "religions." We are dealing with Religion 
as suck, Religion as an attitude of experience. Only 
by thus stating the moments of Absolute Spirit as 
such do we show the necessity in the content of 
Absolute Spirit, show that it is Spirit at all, with a 
life and content of its own. And only by doing so, 
again, do we show the inherent necessity in every 
type and form of religious life. 1 

We must not suppose, further, that Religion is Religion is 
one thing and the life of Absolute Spirit another. Absolute 
The life of Absolute Spirit appears just in religious s P irit in 

T , r . rr J man's ex- 

COnSClOUSneSS. It shows itself to consciousness ^# pe rience. 

Spirit, because itself is Spirit and that is all Reality. 
The consciousness of it is Religion. The expression 
of its content is the active life of Absolute Spirit. 
These are merely two sides of the same process, 
the same phase of experience. Hence on this 
view, Religion does not so much create the idea of 
Absolute Spirit ; rather Absolute Spirit creates the 
religious life. It appears to the conscious life of 

Experience, we saw, appears at different levels The forms 
mere Consciousness of Objects, Consciousness of Self, 
and Spirit. Absolute Spirit appears in each of these life - 
in its own specifically distinct moments. The different 
forms of Religion are simply its presence in these 

1 It is important to observe that the various phases of Absolute Spirit men- 
tioned below are really present in all Religion. In certain cases one aspect is 
emphasised to the exclusion, it may be, of others, and so determines a type of 
Religion. But the difference is merely one of emphasis ; the other aspects are 
really there in some form all the while. Thus we find in the "Religion 
of Nature " expressions characteristic of " Revealed Religion," just as much 
as in Christianity ("Revealed Religion") we can see the religious mind 
adopting the attitude of the " Religion of Nature." 



different phases of experience. Its own Reality 
has distinct moments because it is Spirit. These 
moments are realised separately in the distinct planes 
of experience already spoken of. The conscious 
realisation of Absolute Spirit in them constitutes 
different types of religious attitude. Or, put shortly, 
Religion is the Consciousness of the Life of God 
in man's experience. God is Absolute Spirit and 
is conscious of Himself as Spirit, and is conscious 
of Himself in Spirit. The ways in which He is 
conscious of Himself constitute and form the types 
of Religion. These ways are found in those specific- 
ally distinct modes of experience. 

The first To determine these phases of the life of Absolute 
whkii in Spirit we have merely to recall, first, that the Spirit 
Absolute here in question is just the Reality at work in 
appears experience all through, as previously traced ; and 
nediate seconc My> that that Spirit, because completely self- 
experi- conscious, has three aspects, in each of which it is 
present in expressed, but expressed in different ways, because 
Sense with different degrees of completeness. There is 

God as _ . . P ... . . *. . r 

Nature, nrst the unity of its life in implicit form, mere unity 
without the distinction involved in self-conscious- 
ness being brought out. Spirit is immediately 
realised, or its life is there as an immediate fact. 
Self has not withdrawn into itself, and so created 
an opposition between itself and an "other." It is 
simply one in and with that other. It only becomes 
aware of self by opposition to that other. At this 
stage we are speaking of, that opposition is not 
established ; it is implicit, but not explicit. What 
we have is the simple continuity of a single life. It 
is Spirit at the level of immediate experience, the 
immediate experience whose general form we saw to 


be Sense-life, and whose substance for Spirit is the 
equally immediate reality of "nature." It is not 
here mere Sense -experience, as we found this at 
the start of experience. It is Spirit consciously 
realised at the level of sense-life, or " natural " exist- 
ence, " natural life." Consciousness of Spirit in 
this form is the special attitude of Natural Religion 
Religion for which God is one with the life of 
"nature" simply as immediate sense -fact. In it 
God is "experienced," "felt," as manifested in the 
process of " nature," working " by " nature, affecting 
the religious mind by natural facts, agencies, and 
processes. Here the religious life is one with God's 
Spirit, as in all Religion. Spirit speaks to Spirit ; 
only as Spirit is the religious attitude possible at all, 
as we have indicated. But, here, it is Spirit realised 
in the form of merely natural life as a whole, touch- 
ing the religious mind almost in a quasi -external 
manner through natural portents, signs, wonders, 
and through the routine of sense-life. 

This is an aspect of all religion, the highest as well This is a 
as the lowest. But in certain types of Religion it 

is the only attitude assumed towards God, and it is Hfe > 
there we find the full significance of this aspect. God abstractly 
is there merely the life of nature ; God is the " spirit as a 

, . . . . . separate 

of nature." The religious mind communicates with type of 

God in terms of nature and nature only. The sel 
of the religious mind is subordinated to natural religion of 
processes, obeys their direction. God does not, in 
merely Natural Religion, "signify" or symbolise His 
presence through nature as a means. To take nature 
as a symbol is a conception which belongs to a higher 
form of Religion. God in purely Natural Religion 
is natural life: the "wood," the " grove," the " spring," 





of the 
of Nature. 

the " river," the " hill," are God's actual manifesta- 
tion. To come in contact with them is to meet 
God. The worshipper's life is reduced or rather 
concentrated into that form too, and he bows before 
the majesty, the mere " might," of natural forces. 
He worships the sun, for God is the " Light." God 
is also the " Darkness," and meets the worshipper 
there in a different mood from what He is as the 
Light. Nature is a continuous whole, suppress- 
ing all individual existence in its vast process ; 
the individual worshipper is therefore of no moment 
in comparison. For there is no comparison possible, 
since there is no distinction allowed. He, the in- 
dividual worshipper, is of no particular importance, 
because he is merely a moment or appearance of 
the Whole, subject to its temporal and spatial con- 
ditions, and disappearing like the flower of the field, 
or the cloud in the sky, or the shadow on the hill. 
He feels God everywhere, yet God is nowhere in 
particular, and hence He is not specially concerned 
with the worshipper. "What is man that Thou 
should'st be mindful of him ? " Nature is the vast 
process in time going on from everlasting to ever- 
lasting. Man is merely a vanishing part of it. 
Man's days are "like the grass": "he giveth up 
the ghost, and where is he ? " 

Man puts himself in absolute unity with Spirit 
here by methods and processes drawn from nature. 
For the way to be in harmony with God, to be 
completely real in God (which is essentially the 
religious attitude) is to avail himself of the life of 
God, to bring God's life and reality into his own 
life. Hence the cult and ceremony of worship at 
this level of Religion are made up entirely of the 


substance and facts of natural life. Conscious unity 
with the Supreme is secured by various modes 
of "conciliation," "sympathy," "affinity" between 
the worshipper and God. Sacrifice, which is one 
essential way of expressing the unity, takes a 
physical form man sacrifices the objects of 
nature, flesh and blood, wood and stone, or even 
man himself as a natural object. He detects God's 
presence in the sounds that fill his ears, the sights 
that meet his eyes, and in outstanding natural events 
particularly. He decides his course of action by 
"propitiating his gods," by consulting "auguries," 
by listening to "voices." So, in as many forms as 
the complex multiplicity of nature presents, can man 
approach and unite himself with God who is natural 
life. Hence the variety which we find in the form of 
Natural Religions lies in the very principle of all 
Natural Religion. Nature is variety, diversity : 
hence a Religion, with nature as its content, has 
endlessly varied forms. Some peoples lay stress on 
certain elements and " things " of nature, others on 
other " things." The kind of Religion is largely 
determined by the character or sphere of nature in 
which man is living or with which he is in contact. 
Again, the uniform simplicity, the delight, and satis- 
faction so characteristic of the Religion of Nature 
are its inevitable attributes. The object of worship 
is always there at hand ; an answer to an appeal can 
be had at once. The individual is never away from 
his God, is everywhere in touch with God. God can 
be had for the asking ; for God is ever there to 
be petitioned. The harmony is not to be secured 
through some form of " unseen " reality. It is 
visibly, tangibly there, and perpetual contact with 


it brings its perpetual reward of peace, acquiescence, 

harmonious submission. 

The Another moment in the life of Spirit is found 

phase when it consciously draws the distinction of self 
God is implied in its complete unity ; withdraws from the 

present in ... . Jf * tr ir 

self- immediate unity of natural lite ; sets up sell as some- 
conscious t hi n gr to be asserted in spite of nature ; overcomes 

purpose : * 

God as the nature by opposing, or by reducing it to a mere means, 
Order. an instrument for manifesting the life of self and its 
purposes. Spirit is conscious of self as such, as 
contrasted with all otherness, with its other. It 
places the foundations of its real life in the world 
of subjective activity, purposes, ends, feelings, etc. 
For it finds its self through nature, in spite of it, 
and apart from it. Nature is there a moment in the 
life of Spirit, for Absolute Spirit is all, and the 
consciousness of self as such implies contrast, and 
therefore the existence of what the self is contrasted 
with. But it is merely a moment, subordinate, an 
"appearance," a "means," an "instrument." God's 
reality does not lie there primarily, but in conscious- 
ness of self, self as such, as the unity of the 
purposes of life, a life carried on through means, but 
rising above all means, because indifferent to any 
in particular. Spirit is concentrated into its self- 
hood as such. 

God as Here, again, we see what this must be, by looking 

conscious t> ac ^ on tne process of experience. Consciousness 
individu- of self as object culminated in the form of self- 
Ketigion of conscious individuality out of which sprang the 
Moral EX- Ethical Order of the world. God in this form of 

penence. . . .... 

bpint appears, therefore, as absolute spiritual in- 
dividuality as such. The corresponding religious 
life is the consciousness of God's reality in and 


through the forms, processes, and conditions of 
Ethical and Moral Experience ; and unity with Him 
is established in terms of such experience. This, 
too, is an aspect of all Religion, but is emphasised in 
certain cases as the primary and only form of religion. 

Nature has a place here, but quite different from Nature the 
that found in the case of the Religion of Nature. 
In the first place, the religious mind is not content 
merely to find God anywhere in nature as it is. 
Nature must be determined by and embody ^.purpose 
before God is reached and His life realised. Man 
therefore does not find his gods in rivers, trees, etc. ; 
Refashions his God with his own hands; he creates 
Idols, Images, symbols of His life. As natural 
Gods were manifold because of the diversity of 
nature, so idols, images, etc., are manifold because The 
man's purposes and interests are manifold, and J^ s th a S p e c f t 
the material of nature at his hand is endlessly of religion. 
varied. Hence the diversity of forms the Gods 
assume, and the variety of substance in which 
the Gods are enshrined in this second phase of 
Religion. Again, not every quarter prescribed by 
nature itself is accepted as a habitation for God. 
Man must needs make a habitation for God. He 
builds Temples, Altars, where God is primarily 
and peculiarly to be found to "dwell," and where 
alone He can be met, "appeased," "sacrificed 
to," "lived with." These, of course, are built of 
natural material, and this natural material gets 
religious significance accordingly. The temple and<<Tem- 
its material are "blessed" and "consecrated," i.e. ples '" 
devoted to the peculiar residence of God. Special 
reasons or purposes may. induce man to build in 
certain places rather than others. Hence specific 


localities are assigned to temples by different 
peoples. All the religious life becomes peculiarly 
concentrated round these "dwellings of God"; for 
there God is to be met with rather than anywhere 
else. " God loves the gates of Zion more than 
all the dwellings of Jacob." This is the place of 
" His honour," "where He dwells." 

"Times Similarly, again, time is no longer a mere process, 

Seasons." as in the Religion of Nature, carrying the individual 
along its stream. Time becomes purposely divided 
up into "seasons." " Holy days," " Festivals," etc., 
are determined purposely, so that the religious life 
may be gathered periodically round those religious 
dwellings. God, in short, is not in man's life in 
the same way everywhere and at every time : but 
somewhere, and at some times. 

"Sacred In the next place, certain objects of nature are 
peculiarly and purposely assigned to God, "dedi- 
cated" to Him and the worship of Him. In these 
He has a special interest, and His purposes are 
realised more clearly through them. Hence the 
value placed on certain animals to the exclusion of 
others for purposes of " sacrifice." Man's property 
and possessions, because embodying his purpose, 
have a special significance for God, and union with 
God is established by surrender of possessions, by 
bequest of property. Or, generally, man, by doing 
something for God, carrying out some end on His 
behalf, consecrates his self to God. 

"Sacred Similarly, self-conscious individuals themselves 
come to have a special significance, are " set aside " 
as special channels through which to interpret God's 
will, and to mediate between God and His people, 
to be His Spokesmen, His Priests. The choice 


of such individuals is determined by the character 
of this phase of Religion. Those individuals, who 
have clearest insight into the meaning of the pur- 
poses and ends in life, are best able to guide a 
people into the best way to appease and gain 
harmony with God through the avenue of self- 
conscious purpose. For when this is done properly 
God is "well pleased," i.e. the acts of the wor- 
shipper have a value for God Himself \ God is 
conscious of His own self in and through them. 

In the same way God is bound up with a Nation "Peculiar 
or a People as an ethical whole. God becomes a Pe P les - 
national God, guiding by His purpose the progressive 
life of a Society. He guides its rulers with His 
wisdom, punishes its enemies with His hatred, 
directs the course of its life and history for His own 
glory and His realisation of Himself. 

Further, because Spirit is self, and selfhood God's law 
is the inner life of Spirit, God is realised and J^ taw 
experienced in a very special manner in the heart, 
purposive activity of the individual soul, in the 
life of Conscience, the "feelings," "hearts," and 
"minds" of self-conscious individuals. The very 
" thoughts of the heart " are read by and known to 
God. These thoughts are inward to God Himself. 
An alteration of mood, feeling, thought, is an 
alteration of the mind and thought of God towards 
and in the individual life. "With the merciful 
Thou wilt show Thyself merciful ; with the upright, 
upright." It is not so much the act that counts, 
for the act is visible, is a means, a natural fact. It 
is the " heart " that is everything ; " out of the heart 
proceed evil thoughts." God does not "delight in 
the sacrifice of bullocks or rams"; it is "a broken 


and a contrite heart " with which God is " well 
pleased," i.e. not something external but something 
internal, purposive, manifesting self. And hence 
the law of the heart is peculiarly God's concern. 
The law of the heart is " God's law " ; and God's 
law is "perfect," because God's. It makes "wise" 
and "understanding" those who "simply" follow 
it and " turn not aside." The laws of the inner life 
of Conscience and the moral will are laws of God 
in the soul of man. " Duties," as Kant says (who 
takes this phase of Religion as the only Religion), 1 
become "divine commands." 

The cult of The cult and ceremony of this type of Religion 
are similarly constituted. Not sounds of nature 

Religion, itself are here voices of God ; but sounds ordered by 
a certain conscious purpose, and conveying definite 
human thoughts, ends, ideals, Hymns, Prayer, and 
Praise. In these Hymns God Himself " speaks ": 
they are "sacred," "words from God." Not any 
object or place of creation reveals God to man, but 
specific objects and places. The ceremonious carry- 
ing out of rites and ritual in the Temple is His delight. 
God is approached in His Holy of Holies, in the 
innermost courts of the Temple and then only but 
seldom because He is withdrawn into Himself, and 
His self dwells in the "innermost." Not every one 
can consult his God by visiting the object of nature. 
God is only peculiarly real in purposive human in- 
telligence, in self-conscious form, in His "divinely 
ordained " Priesthood. He speaks to man not in 
nature but through nature, by symbols. Nature 
is merely a means, a " veil " to conceal, or at best 
symbolise, God's Self. Because God is self and 

1 This is also Fichte's conception of Religion. 


universal, He employs a symbol through which to 
convey this universality to man. This is found in 
the use of Language. Hence God speaks to man 
in the spoken, but, above all, in the written tongue 
of a people because writing is more permanent 
than speech. God's life and purpose are therefore 
peculiarly found embodied in certain written docu- 
ments, whether in codes, which express orderly ways 
of satisfying Him, or in statements of His purposes 
with man. Hence the value placed on documents 
in this type of religious life, on " Sibylline books," 
"sacred literature," "Scriptures." They convey 
the very Spirit of God : they are " inspired " by 
His "Spirit." 

Finally, Absolute Spirit has yet another mode of The third 
self-realisation. It does not merely exist as an| h ^: nits 
immediate reality, and does not merely withdraw concrete 
into the inwardness of the life of self, keeping p^^nt to 
nature as a screen behind which it works, or a s P irit - 
medium for its expression. It unites these two 
phases in the one form of Spirit in its concrete 
totality, becoming conscious of Spirit as a whole ; 
Spirit as such is aware only 'of Spirit. Here nature 
is spiritualised and conscious in Spirit ; Spirit is 
naturalised and conscious in nature of its own life. 
The unity of Spirit is in no aspect implicit but 
absolutely explicit. The difference (involved in 
consciousness of self) is no longer emphasised by 
the withdrawal of self from nature, and rising above 
it ; the one side is transparent to the other. 
Spirit is absolutely at home with itself in all reality, 
and all reality is manifesting this one self-referring, 
self-conscious Life. We have here, in fact, so we 
may put it, at the level of pure spiritual activity, 


an immediacy analogous to what we had in the 
case of the Religion of Nature. In the latter it was 
the immediacy of natural life, and it operated 
accordingly ; here it is the immediacy of purely 
spiritual life, and its activity is full conscious rela- 
tion of Spirit as such explicitly to Spirit as such. 
Spirit here Spirit is in this case not divorced from nature, 
bo"h am nor is nature subordinated to, degraded from the 
immediate Hf e o f Spirit. Spirit is literally manifest in nature 


and Moral- as such. Spirit, again, does not withdraw into the 
Moral Life, nor does it degrade moral activity to a 
means. In Morality it expresses its very self, its 
very life. At every point in the totality of experience, 
therefore, the one Spirit shows its own presence, 
its own Reality, because in all it is conscious to itself 
of itself. It does not show it through any aspect 
of reality as a " medium," but is real just in what 
it shows, and shows just what is real. What really 
is, is what appears and is " manifested " to Spirit. 

Revealed The phase of Religion in which this experience is 
. t ypj ca iiy Jived^ felt, and realised is that of Religion 
as the " revealed " or " manifested " life of Spirit it 
is Revealed Religion. It is an aspect of all religious 
experience, but, like the other aspects, is specially 
emphasised by certain types of mind and becomes 
a specific form of Religion. It is not Religion 
"revealed" "through" certain documents and litera- 
ture. That kind of literature belongs to the second 
phase of Religion ; for there such literature is an 
essential constituent of its cult and order. Such 
literature, in the way indicated, is "inspired." The 
religion of the Spirit as such, "Revealed" Religion, 
cannot possibly be " embodied " in any literature, 
still less confined to it. A literature is necessarily 


a historical phenomenon contingent upon language 
and race and type of national mind. The life 
in the Spirit (Revealed Religion) is from ever- 
lasting to everlasting, is above historical limita- 
tions of any sort. It speaks the tongues of all 
nations, because it is above all race and national 
limitations. The one Spirit is everywhere to all 
that call upon It, commune with It, "in spirit and 
in truth." It is not national ; it is international, 
absolutely "universal" Religion. It is necessarily 
so ; for Spirit is here not confined by conditions 
of time and space or nationality which impose 
restrictions on its life and activity. It is for all 
time and all peoples. Spirit contains all, is in all 
in precisely the same sense ; for it is the self-same 
Spirit which is present to itself everywhere and 
at all times. It may be aided and brought to light 
by literature as well as by natural processes : but it 
cannot be confined to them. Its religious devotees, 
therefore, are not of one nation, or tribe, or king- 
dom, but belong to all and are found every- 
where. They speak many tongues with many 
thoughts, commune in as many ways as the Spirit 
manifests itself. They do so of their own right 
as members of, sharers in, this one Spirit. In 
doing so they realise completely all their spiritual 
significance. " Where the spirit of the Lord is, 
there is liberty," complete self-fulfilment : the law of 
the Spirit is that of absolute Freedom. Those who 
in all nations and lands show this freedom of and in 
the one Spirit form a society independent of national 
restrictions. They form a kingdom of the Spirit, 
a " kingdom of saints " (of those devoted to the 
Spirit), a Kingdom of Heaven. 


it is The religious life here is realised in and through 

"helame spiritual terms and conditions as such. Such terms 
absolute have all the characteristic of Spirit. They express 
sufficiency, independence of particular time and place and nation- 
ality ; they all have the same significance everywhere ; 
and in them Spirit is conscious of itself always and im- 
mediately. That Spirit is always at one with Itself ; 
there is no opposition in its life, no contradictions 
to be removed by any process. All the terms em- 
ployed here express just that sense of absolute union 
and absolute self-sufficiency. The Life of the Spirit 
is an orderly unity ; but it is at the same time a unity 
focussed into single pulses of life. It is also a com- 
plete unity, the Spirit is absolutely at the height of 
its life. Or, as it is put, life in the Spirit is at once 
" righteousness " (orderly unity), " peace " (simple 
sense of unity), "joy" (the unity of Spirit at its 
maximum of life). Such content must be the same 
for all who share the life oi Spirit, for the Spirit is 
the same everywhere, and realises its life in the 
same way. 
Tt is The religious life is carried on simply within the 

" within." 

unity of Spirit. It is not confined to, and therefore 
cannot be summed up in, any act however great or 
however complex, for this is necessarily bounded by 
time and natural conditions. Contrasted with such 
acts the life of the Spirit is " unseen " and " eternal." 
Or since the totality of external acts is still unable 
to express the uniqueness of the life of Spirit, the 
Kingdom of the Spirit is not to be expressed as 
"without" at all. The "Kingdom of Heaven is 
within," that is to say, " within " the life and unity 
of Spirit itself. 

Again, since no objective expression, no act or 


even thought, can exactly express the supreme unity "The Life 
of the life of Spirit in Spirit, the completeness of this 
relation of Spirit to Spirit is established, not by any 
particular or any number of particular acts or 
thoughts or feelings at all. It is a universal unity 
that is to be found ; and it must be a single and 
complete relation that is always maintained, a rela- 
tion above and independent of all time, yet one 
which is lived by Spirit in and through time. 
The hold on this " eternal life " has to be secured 
by an attitude of an eternal, a non-temporal kind, 
with an unique character the attitude of Faith. 
The life of the Spirit is the life, not of ''action " and 
"thought" but the Life of Faith. 

The individual who lives this life of the Spirit "Justified 
has the absolute peace and unity of the Absolute by F 
Spirit. He is one in and with that Spirit. But 
he cannot do so "of himself" by his own deeds 
and acts and feelings ; and cannot, therefore, show 
to himself and others that he belongs to and lives in 
that kingdom by any particular external expression 
of even the most universal character. His life in 
the Spirit, as an actuality, cannot be "justified " 
by anything he does, by any process of mediation. 
He is in immediate relation with God. He can 
only be "justified," get the sense of complete 
unity of the Life of Spirit, by that which con- 
nects him immediately with the Eternal. He is 
"justified" by "Faith." 

Or to put it from another point of view. The justice or 
life of Spirit, as an orderly totality of universal ends, 
which are being continually realised, is, as we found Faith. 
before, the Moral Order of experience. Complete 
realisation of that orderly whole is the complete 


achievement of the " ideal " of Morality, is the 
attainment of a completely "righteous" or "just" 
life. Such a life is only possible in and through 
relationship to Spirit (the Social Order). Now 
the religious relation of Spirit to Spirit does not 
annul, but only more fully attains, that relation- 
ship of Spirit to Spirit found in and forming a com- 
plete Social Order ; for Spirit lives and moves by 
universal modes of activity. Absolute union with 
Absolute Spirit, therefore, implies absolute Right- 
eousness, Holiness, Justness. That is the reality for 
the religious life in the Spirit ; and it is therefore 
an actuality in and for the religious mind, since this 
union, is the cardinal idea of Religion. It is abso- 
lutely essential for the free intercommunion of Spirit 
with Spirit, which makes up this religious attitude. 
There is no opposition between the "justness" and 
" righteousness " in Social Life and the "justness" or 
"righteousness" found in Absolute Spirit; rather 
the former is a ectype of the latter. Hence the 
"righteousness of God" should be revealed in and 
through " righteous " dealing with man. But by no 
possibility can the religious mind accomplish com- 
plete righteousness in dealing with his fellows, 
either in its own eyes (for acts and deeds are 
endless, and the task of the moral life is never 
completed] or in the eyes of his fellows, or in the 
eyes of God. He cannot, therefore, be absolutely 
"just," absolutely at one with Absolute Spirit, by 
any mediating process of action in time or any 
actual Social Order. 1 He cannot be "justified" by 
the "works" of the "law." Yet he is in immediate 

1 This distinguishes the point of view of "Revealed Religion" from that 
found in the second phase above spoken of. 


union as Spirit with God as Spirit ; for that is the 
absolute actuality of his life as a religious being. 
Therefore, since he cannot get the unity of a com- 
plete righteous life mediately, by a. process, he gets it 
immediately and at once. And this is accomplished 
by a universal, all -comprehensive identification of 
self with God, by " Faith." He is ''justified," 
"absolutely righteous," by Faith. 1 

Further, the relation between Spirit and Spirit " Divi ne 
here is altogether mutual. Hence, corresponding 
to the immediate assertion of unity with Absolute 
Spirit on the part of the individual religious mind, 
we have an attitude on the part of God as One 
and All-supreme. Absolute righteousness is claimed 
by the religious mind as its own in virtue of 
union with Absolute Spirit through Faith. It is 
granted, equally spontaneously (for Spirit is free), 
and equally immediately (i.e. without anything being 
done or required), by God as a favour and a gift. 
The Righteousness is of Grace. The Kingdom of 
Divine Righteousness is thus at once a Kingdom 
of Faith and a Kingdom of Grace. 

Again, man's life as Spirit is yet continuous in time The Life 
and is lived, in one of its aspects, under temporal 
conditions. He always has to face the future, and 
the future contains always the possibility of change. 
But life in the Spirit is the life that overcomes 
all change, in the sense that it is one of absolute 
unity with the Unchangeable. For the life of Spirit, 
therefore, it is essential to take up an attitude to all 

1 Where stress is laid not so much on the unity, as such, of Spirit with 
Spirit, as on the actual domination of the varied and changing process of 
goodness by jjpis one unity of " holiness," the condition is not one of "Justifica- 
tion," but of " Sanctification. " The first is unique, single, all-complete an 
"act" of God ; the second a continual activity a " work." 



possible change by which the religious mind will 
see it and feel it and think it in the light of the one 
Absolute Spirit, with which unity is maintained. It 
must be an attitude which destroys all sense of 
what change universally brings with it, fear and 
disappointment. The sense of unity must be so 
complete as to negate or destroy all that fear abso- 
lutely. But it must at the same time be a positive 
attitude as well. It must be one which regards the 
unity as ultimately consummated, as in the long run 
and in spite of all achieved. It is thus an attitude 
continuous with the life of Faith, in which it is claimed 
to be so. The attitude to the Divine Spirit which 
expresses all this is the attitude of Hope. It is the 
attitude of unity with the Whole amidst and in spite 
0/"that flux and change which necessarily enter into 
the life of Spirit as a concrete, all-embracing unity 
of experience. Hence it is a necessary constituent 
of the religious life of the Spirit. 

The Life Again, this unity of man's Spirit with God's is 
ove ' not simply an orderly unity the unity of righteous- 
ness, which is a whole through parts and not 
simply a summary unity, a unity of change, which 
is a whole in spite of them. It is a directly pre- 
sented, a simple, single sense of unity, a unity in the 
sphere of feeling, as distinctive from the sphere of 
order or reason and the sphere of endeavour or will. 
The supreme unity expressed in terms of feeling 
is Love. Love is double-sided, but is the same for 
it is each side. There cannot be Love without distinc- 
t'hST 11 ^ on an d tnere cannot be Love unless the distinction 
Faith." i s held by each side in an indissoluble immediate 
unity. Hence the content for both sides is here 
precisely the same a unity of feeling. There is 


not in this attitude something from the side of the 
religious mind (Faith), and something else from the 
Divine Spirit (Grace). It is one and the same for 
each. The unity is completely continuous and 
identical for both sides. It expresses, therefore, 
more completely than Faith that absolute and con- 
tinuous union of Spirit with Spirit. It is "greater" 
than Faith. 

In Hope, again, with its contrast between And 
apparent and real, changeable and unchanging, fjjjjf" 
immediate and ultimate, the Life of Spirit has one H P C - 
aspect for man's Spirit, another for God's. But in 
Love all such contrasts disappear. There is one 
and the same Life at the same time for the Spirit of 
man and of God. It expresses and contains their 
essential union without a jar of opposition, and is 
therefore more adequate to the Life of Spirit. Love 
is "greater" than Hope. 

Love, moreover, because feeling necessarily exists Love is the 
in the present, is a present reality. Since the union 

is an eternal union, the Love in which it is expressed the Life of 

-r- i T r i .the Spirit. 

is an Jbternal Love, not confined to one moment but 
constant and enduring as Spirit itself. The Life of 
Love is an eternal Now. But Faith takes its stand 
on what God has been, on what is behind the seen 
and temporal, while Hope takes hold of what is to 
be, of what is beyond the visible and changeable. 
These are, therefore, conditions of man's finite 
spiritual existence, are required essentially because 
of man's conscious finitude ; and would disappear 
with the absolute sense of continuous union with 
God. They would in that case simply not be 
required. Because Faith and Hope have that 
character, they are rather conditions than the 


consummation of Spiritual Life. But Love being 
eternal is a final achievement, is absolute union 
with God. For that reason also, therefore, Love is 
"greater" than Faith, "greater" than Hope. 
The three The essential attitudes of Spiritual, or Revealed 

ScttrTof a Reli g ion > ma 7 be said to be Faith, Hope, Love. All 
Revealed are forms of the one unity of Spirit with Spirit, and 
ellglon ' are continuous with each other. They express that 
unity in its different aspects. The first the unity of 
order, or "intellect"; the second that of anticipa- 
tion, or active endeavour ; the third that of feeling. 
The first is a unity embracing all the past of man's 
life ; the second, all the future ; the third, all the 
present. These are moments or phases of the 
complete realisation of Spirit, because this is con- 
crete and embraces all forms of its life. And all are 
related and connected inside the one life of Spirit 
in union with Spirit. These attitudes, then, seem to 
exhaust the moments of a Spiritual or Revealed 
Religion as actually realised. 

Symbol It has its cult. But here symbol plays a secondary 

Reality anc ^ ancillary part, and the reality symbolised is 

never confounded with it for any length of time. 

That reality just lies in its spiritual content, in the 

" fruits of the Spirit." 1 

1 The life of the Spirit, as St. Paul, an apostle of the Religion of the Spirit, 
pointed out, is to be found in its "fruits," in the spiritual content realised, 
such as "Love," "Joy," "Peace," "Long-suffering," etc. each of them 
expressing that Spirit is in union with Spirit. 

It is important to bear in mind that the realisation of this form of religious 
experience lies in these states, these "fruits of the Spirit," which are the out- 
come of the essential attitudes above mentioned. 

When this is grasped, it is at once seen that all else must have a merely 
derivative and conditional significance. In particular we can see how this 
throws light (i) on the relation of this type of Religion to its Doctrines, dogmatic 
or otherwise ; and (2) on its connexion with the great organisation of man's 
spiritual purposes the Ethical Order of Society. As to the first, doctrines no 


This phase of Religion, like other forms of Sacrifice in 

^5 .\ f 

Religion, can also be realised by Sacrifice : but the Sp e ir " se 
sacrifice in this case is characteristically different. 
In the Religion of Nature it is the sacrifice or break- 
ing up of a natural object. In the second type of 
Religion it is sacrifice of the inner self a " broken 
and a contrite heart." In the third the end can be 

doubt are essential, in the sense that they are required to help the maintenance 
of the Spiritual Life. They do so by taking its intensely concrete Unity in its 
various aspects, expressing these in universally intelligible terms, and thereby 
at once steadying and focussing the content it possesses. They are devised by 
reflection for this end, and are subsidiary to its attainment, whether the doctrine 
be general, like that of the " Trinity," in itself a profound speculative analysis of 
Absolute Spirit, or special, like that of the relatively insignificant doctrine of 
"Infant Baptism." When the doctrines are taken, not as aids, but as ends, 
conflict is sure to arise sooner or later the old conflict between the Spirit, which 
" quickens," and the letter which "kills," and kills because it confines, restricts, 
suppresses the universal life of Spirit. As to the second, there must be direct 
relation between a Spiritual Religion and the Order of a Society ; for both are 
Spirit in substance, and the former must have its cult in the latter, as the 
historical organisation in time of the human Spirit. The former must be 
established in the latter to gain definite security. But what is set up is not the 
Spiritual Religion as such, for that is absolutely universal and cannot be con- 
fined, like the second type of Religion, to any specific historical Society ; it is 
the cult or Institution, Spiritual Religion as cultivated by a nation with definite 
traditions and ideals, that is " established " by a Society. It must be established 
to get its position recognised in a Society ; but it can never be confined to such 
a cult, for this is specific and must vary. There is certain, therefore, to arise 
a conflict between the Religion and the Institution, owing to the perpetual 
necessity for adjusting the whole truth to a partial realisation of it. Hence the 
endless problem of "the relation of Church and State" endless, because the 
State is progressively realising itself, whereas the Religion of the Church is a 
universal Religion of the Spirit, the same for ever and everywhere. The establish- 
ment of this Religion in a Society, while it is a necessity (since it must take 
root in a Society to live at all), is at best a standing alliance of incompatibles. 
The alliance may be maintained with varying degrees of success, but the incom- 
patibility is there all the while, and is sure to come out as the development of 
the relationship between the two proceeds. Then the incompatibility will 
appear as an open conflict of authority between the claims of the Spirit to 
eternal recognition and the claims of the State to temporal power. In such 
a conflict sometimes the former will carry the day, as happened in the Scottish 
Church in 1843 ; sometimes the latter, as took place in the same Church in 
1904. In principle, the conflict between Church and State in the sphere of 
historical organisation is precisely the same as that between "spirit" and 
" letter " in the sphere of Doctrine. 


achieved, not by a sacrifice of what is a part, but 
by the surrender of the whole the absolute giving 
up of Spiritual Life to Spiritual Life, the absolute 
sacrifice of Spiritual Individuality. But such a 
sacrifice cannot be simply negative as in the former 
cases. It is the conscious surrender of all because 
of, and therefore in order to realise, the complete 
union with all Spirit. To give up Spirit to Spirit, 
the eternal to the eternal, is still to be Spirit 
absolutely. The sacrifice is not annihilation but 
achievement ; not destruction and defeat, but 
triumph triumph, not merely over the limitations 
of " nature " (Death), but over the very limitations 
of Spiritual Individuality. To give up Spirit is 
thus a supreme accomplishment of the Life of 
Spirit, the triumphal end of Faith, the joyful act 
of Love, the absolute realisation of Hope. Hence 
it is the supreme sacrifice of human history. As 
such, its completeness is acknowledged to have 
been accomplished by one Spirit the founder of 
a Religion of the Spirit, Christ. It is maintained 
that to do this as a historical fact, is to do it once 
for all, for all men. And, being done, it is held to 
ensure the triumph of Spirit in the history of the 
human race. It "saves" man's Spirit from the 
ruin of nature and the negations of moral evil it 
" redeems " mankind from all his finitude. 1 
These We must not suppose that these three forms 

phases of f Religion are merely historically apart. 2 We may 

Religion ft nc j expressions of the higher forms in the lower, 

imply one l . . 

another, and we do rind the lower forms coexisting with 

1 To work out this in detail is impossible here. The above is merely a 
partial outline of the life of Spiritual or Revealed Religion. 

2 See p. 321, note. 


and appearing in the higher. Thus while religious 
life in Western Europe is ostensibly " Christian," 
i.e. Religion of the Spirit, in point of fact much of 
it, perhaps the greater part of it, is in actual experi- 
ence Religion of Nature, or at most Religion of the 
Moral Order. 1 The religious life in the Spirit is 
only realised in very few individuals, and by the 
remainder is frankly looked on as an "ideal," to be 
aimed at rather than actually fulfilled. Still, even 
if it is looked on as an ideal, it is of profound 
significance. For the cult of Spiritual Religion has 
enormous value in the history of religious life, if 
only as a way of ever keeping before the religious 
mind what is its highest achievement, and of train- 
ing the worshipper up to that individual self- 
abandonment to the life of Spirit, which is man's 
supreme achievement on earth. 

In conclusion, it remains to be added that while Contem- 
Religion is certainly the most general way in which p a 
Absolute Spirit is realised in experience, it is not 
the only form in which its natgre can be revealed. 
The Life of Spirit for its own sake, Spirit self- 
complete and self-contained, is experienced, though 
doubtless by a limited number of mankind, in the 
mood of Contemplation, Philosophical or Artistic. 
There are some few elect Spirits to whom the 
activity of 1/0770-49 yo^o-ews is the way to the Eternal 
rather than the life of religious Love. There are 
also some for whom Spirit greets Spirit through the 
harmonies of sense more readily than by either 
Religion or Philosophy. With these, however, we 

1 The reason of this is doubtless to be found in the limited outlook of the 
general mind. It wants to see definite results, specific acts, "something 
done." The State and Family come home to the individual with greater 
fulness of reality than the wider life of an " Absolute Spirit." 


shall not deal here. Within the limits we have set 
ourselves we seem justified in confining our attention 
to the most prominent and historically the most 
universal mode in which the "typical individual," 
whose experience we have been considering, realises 
the life of Absolute Spirit. That mode is un- 
doubtedly Religion. Contemplation does not realise 
complete experience in the same way as Religion, 
nor is Artistic Activity the same in character or form 
as Philosophy. For the reason indicated, however, 
we need not deal here with those ways of realising 
Absolute Spirit. 1 Suffice it to say that in Contem- 
plation as well as in Religion we have the realisa- 
tion of a spiritual world complete and self-contained, 
where man's spirit works with a sense of freedom 
only possible when it is consciously one with the 
very life of Absolute Spirit. Hence the claim of 
knowledge to attain to Absolute Knowledge or 
Philosophy is in itself perfectly valid. Moreover, 
it is necessary that this should be so : for it is by 
Philosophy that all the processes of experience 
(Religion among them) are constructed. The 
development of experience as a Whole attains its 
end in the realisation of that mode of experience 
(Philosophy) by which all experience has been 
evolved. The culmination of an Absolute Idealism 
is the justification of the idealistic position itself, as 
the ultimate form of knowledge. 2 

1 A discussion of part of the question the distinction and relation of 
Philosophy and Religion will be found in the writer's previous volume (v. 
Hegel's Logic i chap. xii. ) 

2 This I have worked out in more detail in Hegel's Logic, chaps, vi. and vii. 

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