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the phenomenal and the metaphysical question. We must
also distinguish between the conviction that causality is
really in play, and the form in which we try to conceive it.
Without doubt there must be some dynamic bond under-
lying the successive phases of the thing, but the form in
which we must think it is not immediately evident.

Let us take, then, the series, A, A v A v A y etc., which we
call a thing, and see what we can make of it. The causal-
ity is now within the series, not beyond it. The cause pro-
duces, and, in producing, becomes the effect. This concep-
tion is often illustrated by reference to the transformations
of energy ; in which, it is said, one phase of energy pro-
duces another phase, and thus passes into it, so that the
cause vanishes into the effect, or rather reappears in the
effect.

We are certainly standing here, if we do stand, in slip-
pery places. It is only by the help of the formal identi-
ties of thought that we can express this doctrine at all. In
order to think, we must have a subject and a predicate;
but in the case supposed the real subject vanishes as the
predicate comes ; and the predicate does not arrive until
the subject has gone. The subject, then, is the subject of a
not-yet-existing predicate ; and the predicate is the pred-
icate of a no -longer -existing subject. We overlook this
from holding the subject in our thought, treating of it as
the thing or the series, and viewing it as the same thing or




86 METAPHYSICS

series throughout. As soon as we guard ourselves against
this illusion, it becomes evident that no metaphysical pred-
ication whatever, causal or otherwise, is possible until we
bring the entire metaphysical movement within the range
of thought and view it as constituted by thought. Logic
shows that the temporal and changing can be grasped only
through a timeless and unchanging idea. If the changing
be viewed as the temporal realization of an idea by a fun-
damental intelligence, it lies within the range of thought
and is constituted by thought. Otherwise all positive pred-
ication is absurd. Epistemology also shows that thought
can never recognize anything which has not its origin in
thought somewhere, and that the conception of a reality ex-
isting by itself, apart from thought, independent of thought,
and having separate ontological laws of its own, is a fiction
of the first magnitude ; and we have just seen that, in a
world of change, such a fiction results in cancelling predica-
tion altogether.

All predication, then, must take place within the sphere
of intellect, and with reference to intellect. Any concep-
tion of reality, which is at once intelligible and tenable, runs
back to intelligence as its necessary implication and presup-
position. Every other conception must lose itself either in
mere phenomenality or in the vanishing flux of Heraclitus.
The existence of things, then, has no meaning except with
reference to intelligence ; for if we subtract from the world
of real things those constitutive elements which thought con-
tributes, and which have no meaning apart from thought,
there is nothing intelligible left. And thus we see that the
deepest thing in existence is neither being nor causation, as
abstract categories, but intellect as the concrete realization
and source of both. That is, intellect cannot be construed
from the categories of being and causation as something
deeper than itself ; on the contrary, they are categories of



CAUSALITY 87

intellect, and are realized only in and through the activity
of the intellect. And to find the ontological meaning of
these categories, we must have recourse to our experience
of intellect, and not to any analysis of abstract ideas. Not
until we raise them to the form of living and working in-
telligence do we reach any concrete meaning which the
dialectic of thought will not dissolve and dissipate.

Again returning to our series, A, A v A v etc., we find an
additional difficulty as follows : The A which is to become
A v etc., must have some essential relation to the later mem-
bers of the series, otherwise we lose the notion of ground
altogether. When we are dealing with dependent things
the easiest solution of the problem is to view the series as
the realization in temporal form of an idea which under-
lies the series. When we are dealing with the fundamental
reality the best account of the successive stages is to refer
them to the continuous self-determinations of the absolute
intelligence, according to an abiding plan. But spontane-
ous thought chooses another way. It has not learned the
dialectic of the metaphysical categories, when conceived on
the impersonal plane, and thinks to find the solution of the
problem in the notion of potentiality. The later members
of the series were potential in the earlier.

But so far as any insight is concerned, this is a purely
formal solution. It is simply a declaration that there must
be a determining connection somewhere, and a resolve to
find it in the earlier stages of the thing. But, as was point-
ed out in discussing the categories in the Theory of Thought
and Knowledge, this notion of potentiality is exceedingly
elusive on the impersonal and necessary plane, and gains
a positive content only as we base it on free intelligence.
The impersonal potentiality must be an existing determina-
tion of being of some sort, and what it is, or how it passes
into actuality, is beyond us. The only thing we can say is



88 METAPHYSICS

that the unpicturable nature of a thing is such that, under a
given condition, a?, it passes into a new state, and under an-
other condition, y, it passes into another state ; and these
two states may be said to be potential in the thing, but
only in the sense that they will be developed under the
conditions x and y.

At first sight this view seems to help the matter, but
it soon appears that we are not much further on. It is,
first, plain that it does not escape the difficulties concern-
ing metaphysical predication in a changing world ; indeed,
these remain untouched, and evun unsuspected, because of
the formal identity involved in the language. But apart
from these we also need to know what and where these
conditions a? and y are to be found. If they lie outside of
the series in some other series, then we have the problem
of interaction ; and the potentialities of A become compli-
cated with the question of its dependence on the fundamen-
tal reality. If they lie within A itself, we are grievously
puzzled to know what " within " means, or how within the
unity of A there can be these antitheses of A and its con-
ditions. If they are always there, their consequences must
always be there; and if they arise in time there must be
some further condition of their emergence. Thus we start
on the infinite regress, and thought collapses. And it will
stay collapsed until we reach a conception of causation
which provides for a beginning ; that is, until we rise to
the conception of self-determining intelligence as the true
and only type of proper causality.

Thus it appears the causality which manifests itself in
the form of antecedence and sequence eludes us so long as
we regard it as an impersonal activity under the temporal
form. In that case it is an activity without a subject, for
the subject disappears in the flow. Neither is it activity,
but activities. Both the " it " and the activity vanish into



CAUSALITY 89

indefinite plurality, and thought vanishes along with them.
Or, if thought remains, it is because existence is not thus
constituted, but has its essential root and bond in active
intelligence.

We reach the same conclusion from a consideration of the
category of unity. We have frequently referred to unity as
if its meaning were self-evident and admitted of no ques-
tion. In particular we have maintained that there must
be a fundamental reality which is ontologically, and in the
strictest sense, one in order to explain the fact of sj'stem
and the reciprocity of things. Unities of classification, or
formal unities which arise when thought calls many things
one, will not suffice. A true substantive unity is required,
and the form in which substantial or metaphysical unity
must be thought begins to be a problem.

The notion of real unity has several elements. The first
and lowest is negative. It denies composition and divisi-
bility. A compound is not a thing, but an aggregate. The
reality is the component factors. Hence the divisible is
never a proper thing, but only an aggregate or sum. The
thought of a compound is impossible without the assump-
tion of component units; and if these in turn are com-
pounds, we must assume the other units ; and so on, until we
come to ultimate and uncompounded units. Hence proper
unity and proper reality can be found only in the uncom-
pounded and indivisible. All else is formal or phenomenal.

But this result forbids us to find proper unity in anything
spatial. An extended body exists only as its parts exist.
This is true, whether we regard the body as atomic or as
continuous. If the body have an atomic constitution, the
truth is self-evident ; for then the body is but the aggregate
of the parts, and exists in them just as number exists only
in its component units. But if the body be viewed as con-
tinuous and not compounded, its existence in space allows



90 METAPHYSICS

us to divide the volume into different parts, each of which
exists in its own space, and is distinct from all the other
parts. Thus the body, though continuous, appears as the
integral of its parts, and exists only as these parts exist.
But it cannot exist as the sum of these parts without
positing an interaction among the parts. That the part B
shall maintain itself between and against A and (7, it must
be able to prescribe to A and C their positions relative to
itself. The same is true for all other parts ; and the con-
clusion is, that the extended body, though continuous, is yet
a complex of interacting forces. This conclusion remains
valid even if the body be indivisible ; for such indivisibility
would not rest upon a true unity of the thing, but only upon
the greatness of the cohesion between the parts. The body
would still be a system of interacting forces. Hence no
body which exists extended in space can be a unit. It will
always be possible to distinguish separate points in the vol-
ume of the thing ; and these can be held together and apart
only as these points are made the centres of cohesive and
repulsive forces. But in order that a thing shall be a true
unit, it must allow no distinction of parts, and no activities
which are activities of parts only. But this distinction of
parts will always be possible so long as a thing is regarded
as having real extension.

And now it begins to be clear that there can be no real
unity on the impersonal plane. Logic shows that on this
plane we reach neither the one from the many nor the
many from the one. Thinking on the plane of necessity,
and under the law of the sufficient reason, we can never log-
ically escape our starting-point, whatever it may be. If
we assume unity we are unable to take one step towards
plurality, for the unitary necessity refuses to differentiate or
to move at all. Conversely, if we start with plurality we
never escape it, for logic compels us to carry the many into



CAUSALITY 91

their antecedents. If we trace the plurality to some be-
ing which we call one, we are forced to carry the plurality
implicitly into the unity by assuming some complexity of
nature, and some complex antithesis and mechanism of meta-
physical states in the one being. But in that case, though
we confidently talk about unity, we are quite unable to tell
in what the unity of such a being consists. The truth is, it
has no unity but the formal unity we give it in calling it one.

This puzzle can be solved only as we leave the mechanical
realm for that of free intellect. The free and conscious self
is the only real unity of which we have any knowledge, and
reflection shows that it is the only thing which can be a true
unity. All other unities are formal, and have only a mental
existence. But formal and real unities alike exist only for
and through intelligence.

And here we come again upon a fact which we have be-
fore dwelt upon namely, that active intelligence cannot be
understood through the metaphysical categories, but these
categories must be understood as realized in active intelli-
gence. We have seen this illustrated in the case of being
and causation, and now it finds further illustration in the
case of unity. We can make nothing of the abstract cate-
gory of unity. Thought is not possible through a pre-
existing unity, but unity is realized through thought in
action. Just as little can we abstractly combine unity
with the complexity and variety which are needed to save
thought from the deadlock of a monotonous simplicity.
This problem is solved for us in our experience of free in-
telligence. Here we find a unity which produces plurality
without destroying itself. Here the one is manifold without
being many. Here the identical posits an order of change
and abides unchanged across it. But this perennial wonder
is possible only on the plane of free and self-conscious in-
telligence.



92 METAPHYSICS

Interaction between the many must be replaced by im-
manent action in the one. Impersonal causality vanishes
hopelessly in the Heraclitic flux. The impersonal itself falls
asunder into a plurality either in space or time, and we seek
in vain for any substantial bond. Living, active intelli
gence is the condition both of conceptual and of meta-
physical unity. Volitional causality, that is, intelligence
itself in act, is the only conception of metaphysical causality
in which we can rest. Science may study the laws of se-
quence and reciprocal change under the name of causation,
and there is no objection, so long as we understand that
this is not causation at all. But when we come to proper
efficiency, it is either volitional causality or nothing. And
if we are to escape the abyss of the infinite regress, and are
not to make shipwreck of reason on the problem of error,
this volitional causality must be viewed as self-determining
or free.

Thus we get an insight into the profound speculative
significance of free intelligence. Logic shows that without
freedom we can never solve the problem of error or satisfy
any of our rational demands. Explanation is possible only
through free intelligence. Unity, identity, and causality
are possible only through free intelligence. Truth itself
is possible only through free intelligence. The difficulty
which popular thought finds in this conception arises, first,
from its misinterpreted sense-experience, which is common-
ly taken to be law -giving for metaphysical thought; and,
secondly, from a superficial conception of its own categories.
Criticism removes much of the paradox from our result by
pointing out the distinction between the phenomenal and
the metaphysical points of view, and completes the work
by showing that the metaphysical categories contradict
themselves until they are realized in active intelligence.

What we call the interaction of the many is possible only



CAUSALITY 93

through the immanent action of the one fundamental reality.
This being, as fundamental and independent, we call the
infinite, the absolute, the world-ground. In calling it the
infinite, we do not mean that it excludes the co-existence
of the finite, but only that it is the self-sufficient source of
the finite. In calling it the absolute, we do not exclude it
from all relation, but deny only external restriction and
determination. In calling it the world-ground, we do not
think of a spatial support, and still less of a raw material
out of which things are made, but rather of that basal
causality by which the world is produced and maintained.
Everything else has its cause and reason in this being.
Whatever is true, or rational, or real in the world must be
traced to this being as its source and determining origin.
But this point we reserve for the next chapter.



CHAPTER V
THE WORLD-GROUND

IN the last chapter we reached the conclusion that all
things depend in some way upon one basal being which
alone is self -existent. But this conclusion raises many
questions and not a few difficulties. In particular, the re-
lation of the world to its metaphysical ground, or the re-
lation of the finite to the infinite, demands further spec-
ification. Conversely, we need to determine more closely
the relation of the world -ground to the finite, or to fix
its significance for the system by virtue of its position as
basal and infinite. But, instead of immediately applying
the results already reached, we shall find our advantage in
returning to some extent to the stand -point of popular
thought. Thus we shall trace the dialectic of crude think-
ing, and better understand its confusions. Meanwhile we
can apply the results of criticism as a corrective upon occa-
sion. Logically, there is a shorter way ; but pedagogically
the plan proposed seems more promising.

The discussions of the first chapter have freed us from
the superstition of passive substance or pure being. We
there found that the notion of substance is entirely ex-
hausted in the notion of cause, and that agents only can
lay any claim to existence. The infinite, then, is not to be
viewed as a passive substance, but as a unitary and indivis-
ible agent. Indeed, the misleading connotations of the no-
tion of substance are such that we shall do better to drop



THE WORLD-GROUND 95

it altogether, and replace it by cause, or agent. We are
compelled to do this by critical reflection ; and the advan-
tages are great. The notion of substance carries with it
many implications of the imagination ; and these are peren-
nial sources of error. It is largely conceived as a plastic
something, or as a kind of stuff which can be fashioned into
many things. These implications, rude and crude as they
are, have modified disastrously most pantheistic speculation.
The infinite has been viewed almost as a kind of raw ma-
terial out of which the finite is made, and hence as at least
partly exhausted in the finite. Sometimes the representa-
tion is less coarse; and the infinite appears as a kind of
background of the finite, something as space appears as the
infinite background and possibility of all finite figures in it. /\ *
The infinite is further said to produce, or emit, the finite V\ v /
from itself ; or, by a process of self-diremption, to pass from ^
its own unity into the plurality of finite things. It is the
pure being which appears in all things as the reality of their
existence.

The finite, on the other hand, is spoken of as parts or
modifications of the infinite, or as emanations from the in-
finite, or as partaking of the infinite substance. Many pan-
theistic speculators have spoken of God as making the world
out of himself. Others, again, have found the world in God
prior to creation ; and creation they view as the escape of
these hidden potentialities into realization. Both alike have
applied the notion of quantit}' to the problem, and have
greatly exercised themselves with the inquiry whether God
before creation be not equal to God plus the world after
creation. This entire class of views rests mainly upon a
false and uncritical notion of substance which identifies it
with pure being or stuff ; and they appear at once in their
crudity and untenability when the stuff-idea is exploded.
There is no stuff in being. The infinite substance means



96 METAPHYSICS

the infinite agent., one and indivisible. To explain the uni-
verse, we need not a substance but an agent, not substantial-
ity but causality. The latter notion expresses the meaning
of the former, and is, besides, free from sense-implications.

This necessity of viewing all true existence as causal and
unitary cancels at once a host of doctrines which have
swarmed in pantheistic speculation. When we speak of
the infinite as substance, the misleading analogies of sense-
experience at once present it as admitting of division, ag-
gregation, etc. ; but when we think of it as an agent, these
fancies disappear of themselves. As an agent, it is a unit,
and not a sum or an aggregate. It is, then, without parts ;
and the notions of divisibility and aggregation do not ap-
ply. Hence we cannot view the finite as a part of the in-
finite, or as an emanation from the infinite, or as partaking
of the infinite substance; for all these expressions imply
the divisibility of the infinite, and also its stuffy nature.
No more can the finite be viewed as produced by any self-
diremption of the infinite ; for this, too, would be incompat-
ible with its necessary unity. All of these views really
deny the infinite and replace it by an aggregate. The one
divides itself into the many, and thereafter is only the sum
of the many. But thereby the one disappears and the
many alone exist. The difficulty is double. First, the notion
of division has no application to true being, but only to
aggregates ; and, second, if it had application, the result of
'dividing the infinite would be to cancel it, and replace it by
the sum of the finite. But this would be to return to the
impossible pluralism of uncritical speculation. The attempt
to divide and retain the unity at the same time is as if one
should speak of the mathematical unit as producing num-
ber by self-diremption, and as remaining a unit after divis-
ion. The necessary unity of the infinite forbids all attempts
to identify it with the finite, either totally or partially. If



THE WORLD-GROUND 97

the finite be anything substantial, it must be viewed as
ontologically distinct from the infinite, not as produced
from it, but as created by it. Only creation can reconcile
the reality of the finite in this sense with the unity of the
infinite. For the finite, if thus real, is an agent ; and as
such cannot be made out of anything, but is posited by the
infinite. How this can be we do not pretend to knew ; but
any other view is wrecked by its own contradictions.

Similar objections lie against all views which speak of
the finite as a mode of the infinite. We have ourselves
used this expression, and it is all the more necessary to de-
fine its meaning. In its ordinary use it is based on the
notion of passive substance, or pure being. Being is said
to be one in essence, but various in mode ; as the same raw
material may be built into many forms. Accordingly all
finite things are called modes, or modifications of the in-
finite. But it is hard to interpret this language so as to es-
cape the absurdity of pure being and remain in harmony
with the necessary unity of the infinite. The notion gen-
erally joined with such language is that each thing is a par-
ticular and separate part of the infinite ; just as each wave
of the sea is not a phase or mode of the entire sea, but only
of that part comprised in the wave itself. But the unity
of being is compatible with a plurality of attributes only
as each attribute is an attribute of the entire thing. Any
conception of diverse states which are states of only a part
of the being would destroy its unity. The entire being
must be present in each state; and this cannot be so long
as the notion of quantity is applied to the problem. Hence,
in speaking of finite things as modes of the infinite, we must
not figure the relation as that of the sea to its waves, or
as that of material to the form impressed upon it. If, then,
finite things are modes of the infinite, each thing must be
a mode of the entire infinite; and the infinite must be



98 METAPHYSICS

present in its unity and completeness in every finite thing,
just as the entire soul is present in all its acts. Any other
view of the modes would cancel the unity of the infinite
and leave the modes as things in interaction. The infinite,
then, cannot be viewed as a sum of modes, nor as partly in
one mode and partly in another; but it must be present
alike in each and every mode. Neither can the modes be
viewed as forms or moulds into which the infinite substance
is poured. Even this gross conception has not been with-
out influence in the history of speculation ; but it needs no
criticism. In general, the phrase, modes of being, is mis-
leading. It is allied with the imagination ; and the mind
always seeks to picture it. Just as we tend to conceive
substance as a kind of raw material out of which things are
made, so we tend to think of a mode as a mould into which



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