Edward Gleason Spaulding.

The new rationalism; the development of a constructive realism upon the basis of modern logic and science, and through the criticism of opposed philosophical systems online

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Professor of Philosophy in Princetoo Uciversity



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PubliBhed May, 1918



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As I send this manuscript to the publishers, I am keenly
aware of how far the results that it presents fall short of
attaining that ideal both of method and of accomplishment
which has been before me during the period of composition, and
which I have explained in Chapters I. and III. Yet coinci-
dentally with the closing of my labors I find that I am con-
vinced more strongly than ever that, although there are many
other ways, of undoubted value, in which to study philosophy,
nevertheless the point of view and the method of treating
problems which this book presents offer one way or mode of
approach that has thus far been of much too infrequent use in
philosophical investigation. For it has been my experience,
especially during a number of years of teaching at Princeton
University, as well as of presenting philosophical problems to
the scientific workers of the Marine Biological Laboratory at
Woods Hole, Mass., that there is, at present at least, a much
deeper interest in a systematic than in a historical treatment of
philosophy. An opportunity to satisfy such an interest would
be presented to a far greater extent than it now is, if only the
effort were made in philosophy, as it is in science, not to em-
phasize history, but to investigate problems of fact, and finally
to obtain such a fairly extensive body of knowledge as will
receive general acceptance and be recognized as meaning a well-
defined advance and progress.

The present tendency in philosophy, at least in our educa-
tional institutions, is, however, directly opposed to such a pro-
cedure, for it is to the almost exclusive study of the history of
philosophy that both student and general reader are urged and
directed. The result is that the average student of philosophy
is left so perplexed through, e.g., the multiplicity of systems
which his study discloses to him, that his dissatisfaction usually
far exceeds his satisfaction with the outcome of his intellectual
efforts. But even if this is not true of the student, it most


certainly is the case with the scientist, who is thereby frequently
moved not only to the sharpest criticism of all philosophy what-
soever, but also to the total neglect of philosophical considera-
tions where these cannot well be neglected.

This book, therefore, represents the results of departing
abruptly from the historical method, and of endeavoring to
ascertain both what those postulates are from which each philo-
sophical system is logically derivable, and also, whether there
is, finally, one body of principles that is common to all systems,
and logically presupposed by them.

It is my conviction both that there is such a single "doc-
trine," difficult though it may be to discover what it is, and
also that this doctrine in its fundamentals is logically present in
every effort to philosophize rationally.

It is for these reasons, therefore, that I have chosen the title,
The New Rationalism, for a position which also becomes, as a
developed theory, a Neo-realism of ideals that are discovered by
reason, as well as of those reals that are disclosed to the senses
and that form what we call nature.

A further constant stimulus to my efforts has been the con-
viction, also, that, if it is to be admitted that philosophy is of
direct and far-reaching effect on life — and what more convincing
demonstration of such an effect could there be than the origins
of the present world-crisis? — then that philosophy which the
world needs to accept and to act upon at the present time, is
one that holds to the actuality of ideals, discovered by reason,
rather than one that justifies our living only in accordance with
our biological nature. For it is such a naturalistic philosophy
and ethics that, it seems to me, has not only actuated the present
attack on civilization, but is also persistently used to justify this

There is need, therefore, not only of combating by physical
force those physical forces to the use of which such a naturalistic
philosophy has led, but also of combating and refuting by
argument and by philosophical investigation that philosophy
which is used to justify such a physical attack — if only such
a refutation can be found. For if such a refutation cannot be
found, then intellectually our attitude should be one of calm
acceptance of the outcome, whatever it may be.


It is a most important problem, then, to ascertain whether
or not there is possible a philosophical refutation of this nat-
uralism that is challenging the world to the very foundations
of its civilization, and, if there is such a refutation, to ascertain
vJiat it is, or where its means can be found. »

Such means are, however, surely not those of merely dog-
matically denying the truth of Naturalism, nor of studying its
history or development as a philosophy, nor, seemingly, of
appealing to the opposed system of Idealism, which in the face
of the present horrors that afflict humanity seems to have suf-
fered collapse in its basic doctrine that "all's well with the
A\orld." But, if the refutation of Naturalism is not possible
by such means, then it would seem to me that it is possible only
by a philosophy which can demonstrate that, while some
"things" evolve, not all "things" are subject to the principle
of evolution; that, while a ruthless struggle for existence may
be one condition for progress, cooperation is another and, per-
haps, more important condition ; that, while the best may survive
(and may not), the mere fact of survival is itself not identical
with heing the best; that, while justice may be useful to him
who survives, there are, nevertheless, other reasons for the
practice of justice than its usefulness; and, finally, that, al-
though nature is undeniably fact, not all fact is identical with
ruthlessly combating, slowly evolving, strongest-surviving na-
ture, but that there are some realities which are beyond nature,
and which, though they cannot be seen by the eye of the body,
are nevertheless revealed to reason.

The only philosophy, however, which can demonstrate these
things, — i.e., which can refute and not merely deny Naturalism
— is one that, in fearlessly submitting all "things" to reason's
testings, includes among these "things" the very means either
of defense or of refutation, namely, reason itself. And the
only outcome at which such a rational "criticism" of reason
itself can consistently arrive is one that justifies its own pro-
cedure, and, therefore, any rational procedure whatsoever, as
such. But such an outcome means the frank recognition that
there are not only facts of the senses, but also facts of the
reason, and that not all fact is part of nature or of evolution.
Such a philosophy is, however, Rationalism.


It is, therefore, both for the student and for the general
reader who are interested, first, in problems that concern fact
rather than history, and, secondly, in the more specijfic prob-
lem, What is the correct philosophy, Naturalism, or some other
opposed system? that this book is written. It is, also, for such
readers, in case they are not familiar with psychology and logic,
that I have presented certain questions, such as the Problems
of Method of Part I., Section III., that are not usually offered in
an ' ' Introduction. ' ' These Chapters may be omitted by one who
is conversant with their contents, as may also Chapters II.,
XXII., XXIV., XLIII., vii.-x., if they are found too difficult.

In conclusion I desire to express my appreciation of the sym-
pathy and inspiration that I have received from my friends,
Professors E. B. Holt, W. T. Marvin, W. P. Montague, R. B.
Perry and W. B. Pitkin in the development of a point of view,
a method, and, finally, a positive philosophy. The present
volume is not cooperative, as was The New Realism in which
my five friends and myself collaborated, but it is, nevertheless,
in part an outgrowth of frequent discussions with these friends,
and of definite attempts to cooperate.

My thanks are also due my friend, Mr. Henry Lane Eno,
who, in thorough sympathy with the general character of my
endeavor, has kindly read the greater part of the manuscript.
I also desire to acknowledge my obligation to my friend and
colleague, Professor H. C. Longwell, for his careful reading of
the proofs.

Finally, I should explain, that the bibliographical references
are intended, not to be complete, but only to indicate either the
more important literature on a topic under discussion, or those
places where the correctness of my assignment of certain specific
positions to certain writers may be confirmed.

October 10, 1917.




Introduction xv



I Postulates and Assumptions 3

II Realism and Logic 12

III The Old and the New Logic 25

I Introductory 25

II The Origins of the Traditional Logic ... 29
ni The Formulation and the Criticism of the Tradi-
tional Logic 35


IV Introductory 44

V The Ontological Problem 51

VI The Cosmological Problem 64

VII The Teleological Problem ....... 57

VIII The Theological Problem 62

IX The Problem of Values 66

X The Epistemological Problem 71

XI The Psychological Problem and the Nature op Con-
sciousness .88



XII Reasoning by Words and the Psychology of Thinking 95

I Introductory 95

n The Thinking Situation 95

m The Psychology of Thinking; Symbols ... 96

IV Grammar 99



XIII The Logical Aspects of Thinking: Interpretations

OF the Nature of Logic 99

I The Realistic View of Logic 100

II The " Psychologizing " Tendency .... 105

III The Pragmatic Tendency 109

II the traditional technical methods of reasoning

XIV The Categorical Syllogism Ill

XV The Truth of Premises 119

I The Regress of Premises 119

II Common Sense and the Social Tradition . . . 120

HI Induction 121

rv How Facts Are Given 122

1 Sense Experience 123

2 Intuition, Feeling, and Emotion . . . 124

3 Memory 126

4 Imagination 126

5 Self-Evidence 129

6 The Inconceivability of the Opposite . , 130

7 Presupposition by Denial 132

XVI The Nature of Contradiction 136

XVII The Disjunctive Syllogism 141

XVIII The Hypothetical Syllogism 144

XIX The Dilemma 148

XX Analogy 152

III analysis and the new logic

XXI Further Implicative Situations and New Methods

of Establishing Premises 155

XXII Analysis 158

XXIII Analysis by Incorrect Principles 160

XXIV Misinterpretations of Correct Analysis . . . 170
XXV The Methods of the New Logic: Summary . . . 173

IV theories of relations

XXVI The Theories of External and Internal Relations 176
I The Formulation of the Theories .... 176
II The Proofs or Arguments for the Theories of Re-
lations 178

1 The Theory of External Relations . .178

2 The " Modification " Theory of Relations . 182

3 The Underlying or Transcendent Reality

Theory of Relations: Criticism of the Argu-
ment 185





Types of Relations, of Wholes, and of Unities . . 190

I Types of Relations 190

II Types of Wholes 292

ni Types of Unity 197

IV Theories of Relations and Types of Logic . . 198

V Material Principles of Proof 200



XXVIII The Problem about Problems 203

I The Epistemological Problem 203

II The Value-Centric Predicament 206

ni The Solution of the Ego-Centric Predicament , . 208



XXIX Phenomenalism 216

I The Logical Derivation of Phenomenalism . . 216

II Phenomenalism's Solution of Problems . . . 224

in Criticism of Phenomenalism 230

XXX Subjective Idealism 233

I Logical Derivation 233

n Subjectivism's Solution of Problems: Criticism . 237

XXXI Positivism 041

I Derivation 241

II Criticism 251

XXXII Naturalism 257

I Detailed Naturalism 259

II Materialism, Psychism and Dualism: Materialism 262
m Universal Dualism or Parallelism . . . .264

IV Psychism : Criticism of Naturalistic Theories . . 268

XXXIII Pragmatism 273

I Pragmatism's Anti-Substance Doctrine . . . 273

n Pragmatism's Anti-Intellectualism .... 274

m Pragmatism's Evolutionism 283

1 Criticism: Truth and Falsity for Pragmatism 288

2 The Degrees of Pragmatism's Evolutionism . 295
IV General Criticism of Pragmatism .... 299

V Conclusion 3q1






I Objective, Subjective, and Platonic Idealism . . 308
II The Historical Development of Objective Idealism

out of Phenomenalism 311

XXXV The Logical Derivation of Objective Idealism: Criti-
cism 317

XXXVI Developments of Objective Idealism .... 328

I Theism and Pantheism 328

II Panlogism and Ethical Idealism .... 329
XXXVII Further Developments of Objective Idealism . . 335

I Voluntarism 335

II Vitalistic and Romantic Idealism .... 342

XXXVIII Conclusion 345

I Monism's Solution of Philosophical Problems:

Criticism 345

II What can the Absolute One be? . . . . 354



I the central doctrine of realism

XXXIX The Solution of the Eqo-Centric and Value-Centric

Predicaments . 364

XL Realism's Hypotheses 372

I Knowing and Known Object may be Qualitatively

Different 373

II Illusory Objects are Objective 374

in 1 Objects may be Genuinely Known . . . 378

2 They may Become Known and Cease to be

Known 378

3 Not All Objects are Known . . . .378
IV Other Instances of External Relations. The Free-
dom of Reason 382

V Philosophical Problems not Generated by their

History 396

VI Truth an External and Non-causal Relation . . 396

VII Analysis does not Alter the " Thing " Analyzed 396
Vin Individualism and Skepticism are Logically False

Positions 402

jx Analysis reveals Facts, and Mysticism is False . 402



XLI The Principles of Realism 408

I There are Propositions , 409

II There are Terms aud Relations .... 409

ni There is the Relation of Implication . . . 412

IV There is the Relation of Contradiction . . 414

V There is Consistency 418

VI There is a System of Propositions . . .421
VII There are Specific Processes called Knowing,

and There is Knowledge 423

VIII There is Truth 423

IX Truth is Distinct from Certainty .... 424
X The Nature of Truth is not the Same as the
Outcome of Knowledge, i.e., of its Successful

and Satisfactory Working 425

XI Truth is Independent of its Proof and Tests . 426

XII Analysis is Possible 426

xni Reason is Free to Follow the Implicative Struc-
ture of Reality 427

XIV An Analysis of the Knowing Situation is Pos-
sible 427

XV Truth is not a Completely Implicative System of

Truths 427

XVI There is a System of Ideal Truth .... 428
XVII Knowing and Known Object may be Both Quali-
tatively and Numerically Distinct . . . 428
XVIII Particular Existent Entities are not the Only

Objects that can be Known .... 429
XIX There are Two Types of Knowing, namely, (a)

by Specification, (b) by Type .... 429

XX " Unknown " is not the Same as " Unknowable " 429

XXI Error is a Fact that can be Explained . . 429
XXII There are Certain Entities that are Related by

Logical Priority 429

xxin Relations are Themselves not Causally Related 429


XLII The Ontological Problem as Solved by Realism . . 430

I Introductory 430

n Realism's Solution of the Ontological Problem 432

XLIII Realism's Solution of the Cosmological Problem . 437
I Normal Objects, ii Error, and ill The Nature

of Consciousness 437

IV Complex Entities; v Creative Synthesis; vi

Freedom 444

VII and VIII Space and Time as Part of the Cosmos :

Infinity and Continuity 451




IX Number 455

X Motion, Qualitative Change, and Evolution . 464

XI Consciousness as a Dimension and a Variable . 470

XLIV Epistemoloqy and Psychology as Pabt of Cosmoloqy 486

XLV The Realistic Doctrine of Values 496

^LVI Realism's Teleology and Theology 607


The reader familiar with philosophical literature will find in
this book a not inconsiderable departure from the usual presenta-
tion and treatment of the problems, methods, and systems of
philosophy. Such a departure, however, has been deliberately
adopted by the author, not out of any mere desire to be ex-
ceptional, but because of a philosophical and scientific point of
view of the correctness of which he is deeply convinced. Some
of the most notable features of this point of view and of the
departure that proceeds from it are, briefly, as follows: —

I. Genuine philosophical problems are regarded as being
independent of their historical origin, setting, and develop-
ment. This, of course, does not imply that these problems and
the systems of philosophy which are sets of solutions of them,
have not had a history. But, if the problems are real, and not
false, it means that, while the consciousness of the problems
has had a history, the problems themselves are not necessarily
historical in character, nor conditioned by the development of
the consciousness of them. Not all problems can be admitted
to be historical or genetic, since, if history itself presents real
problems, there may be other problems of fact that, as such, are
not conditioned by their history and development.

II. Each of the several great systems of philosophy is re-
garded as a set of solutions (of philosophical problems) that are
obtained by the use of certain methods and presuppositions
which are in most cases otily assumed, either tacitly or explicitly,
but not established and proved. These methods and presup-
positions, moreover, have been regarded and employed in the
past as absolute and self-evident, chiefly because of the influence
of tradition on individual philosophers. They now, however,
can be restated in a purely logical and disinterested manner,
and subjected to examination and criticism by a method quite
analogous to that strictlj^ scientific procedure which has recently


been adopted in the examination of the several geometrical sys-
tems, namely, the Euclidean, Lobatchewskian, and Riemannian,
not, of course, in reference to their history, but to their self-
consistency, their basic postulates or so-called axioms, and their
logical structure.

III. The position is taken and developed at length, that most
great philosophical systems have been worked out under the
domination of a logic and of certain philosophical concepts that
have come down in the tradition whicli emanated from Aris-
totle. This tradition is one that uecognizes chiefly only a lim-
ited number of relations between rentities, such as the relations
of similarity and difference, as well as a limited number of
philosophical concepts, such as cause and substance, so that it
is limited as an organon, or method.

IV. Historical study reveals the domination of this Aris-
totelian tradition in its several phases, but does not so readily
disclose its origin. However, this difficulty is to be expected
if the character of the tradition is due to the unconscious influ-
ence of certain entities on its initiators. But that hypothesis
which accounts both for the specific character of the logic and
for the concepts ivhich have dominated most traditional phil-
osophical thinking is, that the physical thing, conceived as
identical ivith a substratum in which qualities inhere, occupied
the attention of the great philosophical pioneers more than did
relations and events. This being the case, one should expect
a logic of a specific kind, namely, a logic that is modeled after
the most patent relations among physical things, and these
are: — (1) independence of order, or mere additiveness, along
with (2) resemblance and (3) difference, by virtue of which
there are classes, and (4) the inclusion of one class in another,
either completely, or partially-, or negatively. Furthermore, one
should expect philosophies that are based either on the view
that all entities are (5) in causal interaction with one another,
or on the view that entitii^ are (6) substances or substrata in
which attributes (7) inhere, or, (8) in some cases, on both
views combined. }

These expectations a e fully confirmed by the character of
the greater part of pft.losophical development, in which there
have appeared a seri28 both of causation-philosophies and of


substance-philosophies, though with neither of these fully ex-
cluding the other in any one instance. We may therefore say,
if a homely, but most expressive term may be coined, that
philosophy has largely been "thingized" throughout its entire

V. At the same time that philosophy has been, throughout
most of its history, under the domination of the Aristotelian
tradition, an independ'^it development has been taking place
in science, especially for the last four hundred years. In this
development a logic has Ix-^n used that is radically different
from the logic of the traditic i, while the concepts of "relation"
and of "event" or "happening" have played the dominant
role as philosophical principles of thinking, rather than the
concepts of substance and cause. This "new" logic and these
principles have only recently come to full consciousness and
received careful and accurate formulation. The logic is not
limited to the logic of classes and, therefore, to such relations
as similarity and inclusion, but is essentially the "science of
order" — a principle which, as identical with the non-additive
relationship of parts to form a whole, allows of the appearance
and subsistence in the whole of qualities that are lacking to the
parts. It fully recognizes also (1) the functional relation-
ship as opposed to the causal, and (2) those asymmetrical and
transitive relations that are present in series, such as the series
of positive integers in order of magnitude. A pivotal point, also,
in this new logic is the discovery (3) of the complete com-
patihility of relatedness and independence, as instanced in a
number of respects in the functional relation.

VI. From the point of view and by the method which this
new and non-Aristotelian logic furnishes, a number of im-
portant philosophical positions ai i found both to be logically-
justified and to receive empirical confirmation.

One of the most important of these positions is, that the
relationship between knowing and T -t which is known, what-
ever that object may be, is but anothe ■ instance of entities that
are related and yet independent, whic^i means, of course, that
knowing does not create nor even affect that which is (to be)
known, in contradistinction from the ri lit which is obtained
if the problem of knowing is "solved" by the Aristotelian logic


and by the principles of cause and substance. This episte-
mological position is both Rationalism and Realism.

Another position or result is, that the entities which can be
known {in this way) are not limited to those of the physical
and mental "worlds," but include, as well, universals and such
ideals as perfect justice, which, though they may never "exist,"
are nevertheless facts.

It is also found that recent attacks on intellectual analysis
are really baseless because arbitrarily and unjustifiably they
limit intellect to the use of a logic and of methods that are
Aristotelian, and so seem to be able to demonstrate its failure;
whereas, if in place of this traditional logic and method, the
principles of the new logic be granted to intellect, it can be
shown as inevitably to succeed.






In presenting an examination and analysis of the several great
philosophical systems, not historically, but according to their
success or failure in the solution of philosophical problems, and

Online LibraryEdward Gleason SpauldingThe new rationalism; the development of a constructive realism upon the basis of modern logic and science, and through the criticism of opposed philosophical systems → online text (page 1 of 52)