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do not believe philosophy can prove this. I believe it can suggest it, and that it is worthy of belief, and I do myself believe it; but I do not think philosophy can demonstrate it; and realism is justified in its attack upon idealism for claiming an achievement which it has not really made.
Yet realism should be careful here not to commit the same fault and go away beyond what she can prove, as she (rightfully) accuses idealism of having done. For while it is probably true that things were what they were before anyone knew them, and that the mere act of knowing does not change them, yet nobody can be sure of that either. For though we cannot see why it should be otherwise, yet to know it beyond peradventure to be thus, would really require us to know a thing before it is known-in order, of course, to observe whether after it is known it continues to be identical with what it was before it was known. And that would require us to know, and not to know, the same thing at the same time—which even in philosophy I should take to be impossible. To attempt to make any statements about what things were when nobody knew them, or what they are as nobody knows them, is like looking in the glass to see how you look with your eyes shut. A thing does not have to be known in order to be. But it certainly has to be known in order to be known to be — and it is only about the things that are known to be that we can make any statements whatever. Hoernle says, we do not know less about an object, but more, when we discover (if we do) that some of the qualities which we have ascribed to it belong to us and not to it. One kind of knowledge at least is knowledge of something that has no existence apart from
the consciousness of the individual and that is the knowledge of his own mental states. In short, though the idealist has often over-stated his position, as Berkeley notably did, with reference to the subject and the object, yet there is much more to be said (and understood) about that matter than the realist seems to appreciate. It seems to be true, for instance, as Hornle has recently maintained, that even perception is never a passive experience, but always a judgment, and that there is a subjective element in so simple a statement as, “This is the door.”
The idealist again has perhaps spent too much time on the theory of knowledge, and the realist is justified in complaining of it. But the realist cannot dispose of this whole question by "declaring it away” or "demonstrating above it” as the Christian Scientists say. So long as there is any question about the validity of our knowledge concerning it there must also be a question about what reality is. As matter of fact, the neo-realists go on discussing epistemology at just as great length as if one or two of them had not said that it was all nonsense. Indeed, the article on “Realism” in the "Encyclopedia of Ethics” begins by saying: “Modern realism differs from its earlier connotation largely owing to the displacement of the center of interest from ontology to epistemology. It is a doctrine concerning the relation between cognition and the thing known.” I do not see how you can get rid of epistemology. Dewey speaks of it constantly as if it were an artificial and unnecessary question. But if you say merely, as one realist did, that "Reality is what it is known As,” you must prove it, if anyone questions it, and your proof is epistemology. If philosophy is a knowledge of reality, or even
an attempt at such a knowledge, then the question, "what is knowledge,” is part of the question, "what is reality.”
Idealism, once more, may have over-stated the importance of mind, and of the approach to the world from the mental or the spiritual point of view. Realism has certainly under-stated it. That mind is somehow more important than matter, and of a different and a higher grade of reality, may, as the realist says, be only an assumption. But it is a perfectly unavoidable one, and one that the realist makes as truly as the idealist, while condemning the latter for doing it. For, even in saying that matter has an equal claim to reality and to recognition with mind, you give a sort of precedence to mind, since it is mind before whom both mind and matter have to stand to be judged, and mind that has to pronounce the verdict of priority upon one or the other of them. And if mind should say (and there is nothing but mind to say it, so far as I see) that mind and matter stand upon a par, mind has this pre-eminence at least, that she can say it, and matter cannot. It is therefore a question whether in saying that matter is primary, or even coordinate, mind would not be unconsciously but unescapably contradicting itself, and carrying the denial of its own verdict in the very statement of it.
I cannot, as I have already argued, make the pragmatic or the instrumentalist position with regard to truth seem in any way final; I cannot see any ultimate test of truth but the place of any idea which claims to be true, in a system of ideas —the consistency of one idea with other ideas. Pragmatism did well to protest against the excessive intellectualism of idealism, and to insist that other aspects of man's nature had
their claim to consideration as well; but it also threw the door wide open to all sorts of non-intellectual performances. Whether there is any absolute truth, or any absolute system of ideas to make truth, or any absolute of any sort, will depend upon your moral and religious convictions, thrown into the scale with your philosophical ideas; but the merely practical test is impossible and unworkable and, therefore, even on pragmatic principles untrue. And finally I do not believe that any school of philosophic thought will long be content with any sort of pluralism, which is only a halfway house between monism and the denial of all philosophy. Philosophy has sometimes been called the "search for unity.” It is and always will be that, in the sense that it is a search for explanations, and that where a multitude of facts can be brought under one explanation that single explanation will be preferred to three or four partial ones, and this process will always go on with its consequent approach to unity. There do seem to be a certain number of pluralistic minds—people who are content to stop short of any unity, or who even rejoice to demonstrate that there is no such thing. William James was one. But I do not believe there are many such, which is why I do not believe that pluralism will ever exercise much sway.
Indeed, nobody but James has said much about it; and with him, it is rather an incident in his attack upon idealism. In short, while pragmatism and realism and pluralism have done excellent work in their criticism of idealism, and cleared away some worthless or even untrue survivals in it; while they have opened up discussion and stimulated philosphic thought tremendously; and while there may never again be a great system of idealism like Ber
keley's, just as there may never again be a great system of theology like Calvin's, yet there are elements in idealism which will hold their own and emerge fresh and strong and vigorous from every controversy. In particular, I believe that idealism's demonstration of the essentially spiritual character of the universe will stand the stronger for all attacks upon it. Philosophy is no longer the mere hand-maid, not to say hod-carrier, to religion—as she was, for instance, with Berkeley. Our present-day philosophers do not seem to be interested, as Kant was, in showing how, after all one's critique of pure reason, he must come back to the practical reason and get God and immortality there. They are more disposed to leave the matter of religion on one side, to be settled by individual preference or by practical and non-philosophical considerations. But if one may read the "New Realism” without encountering the word "God," that does not mean that its authors are without religion; but only that their book is a discussion of detailed and specific problems. On the other hand, James talked as much about God, and the religious bearing of his philosophy was as direct and obvious, as that of any of the older philosophers. I am familiar with Bertrand Russell's statement that "ethical and religious motives have on the whole been a hindrance to the progress of philosophy, and ought now to be consciously thrust aside," but I do not find anyone else saying the same thing. Yet many may say that philosophy is no great help to religion. And that, for the time being, and of some types of current philosophy, may be true. Men will philosophize, whether they come to religion or to irreligion by it. But while I do not think that there is any feud between realism and religion, for instance, I do think that on the