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representation is a matter of growth ; reality may to sense.
never be represented completely in the experience
of the individual, but nevertheless the more it
comes to be so represented the more certain are we
of the necessity and validity of the later principles
of unity holding in our more completed experience.
That is to say, the ground of coherence, the expression
of which in our judgments about reality gives validity
to those judgments, may be made to rest in an external
world. Or it can be maintained that outside of our
experience there is no reality, but that the oneness,
and permanency or necessity belonging to the reality
constituted by our experience consists in an end point,
or ideal, or goal, at which all unifying activity in
relation to experience must aim, this ideal being given
by thought. That is to say, the grounds of coherence
are principles given by thought as such. Or again,
it may be held that the permanency belonging to
reality, reality being bound up with experience, is
to be found in the fact that the content of sense
demands to be unified in certain, ways ; that it has
a nature which only allows of its being unified in
these ways, and that thought, by processes of com-
parison, contrast, classification, and so on, finds out
how alone this sense content can be unified ; that is,
the grounds of coherence are made to exist in that
which coheres. The first of these ways of justifying
the universality and necessity belonging to the con-
structive aspect of our experience leads inevitably
to scepticism ; the aim of thought is to know reality
as it is in and for itself ; if it is maintained that there


validity of
thought as
resting in
a reality
dent of all


is a sphere of reality altogether outside the range
of our experience, then thought can never compass
it, and so can never come to a knowledge of ultimate
reality. The second way of accounting for univer-
sality and necessity is peculiarly Kantian. Kant
distinguished between two kinds of unity as hold-
ing amongst the various contents going to the con-
stitution of our experience ; between a subjective
and objective, or between a psychological and logical
unity ; the latter alone, he maintains, brings us know-
ledge. The distinction between these two kinds of
unities lies in this, that in the psychological unity the
individual unifies his experience for himself alone, or
as if he were the only being whom he need take into
consideration, whereas in the case of the logical unity
the individual unifies his experience as if it belonged
not merely to himself but to universal mind or mind
as such.

But such an analysis of experience, and the way
it is built up in the individual mind, is not sufficient.
Thought, in giving us valid experience, introduces
us into a reality which is or which exists. Thought
cannot exercise its determining activity in relation
to all minds unless it rests in a reality which is above
and beyond all minds, and yet in relation to which
all minds must stand if they are to exist at all. The
logical presuppositions of knowledge must give us
a real assurance that that knowledge is true, that
is to say, that knowledge results in revealing to us
a reality standing over against ourselves, and yet
carrying itself into our experience. This was seen
by the followers of Kant, who built up metaphysical
systems on the basis of his theory of knowledge. In
these systems universal mind, or mind as such, became
converted into a concrete, living experience including
everything within itself ; consciousness and its logical
movement came to be considered as objective spirit
centring in an Absolute, and logical unity came to
be that unity which the Absolute or objective spirit


imposes upon itself. The followers of Kant were un-
doubtedly justified in seeking for a metaphysical real
as that which forces thought to unify the experience of
the individual in certain ways ; thought claims truth,
and truth is not mere validity for all who think, as
Kant's theory would seem to imply ; truth consists
of the assurance that an over-individual reality
exists in, or is revealed through, the medium of our
experience ; metaphysics has to discover what this
over-individual reality is and to show how thought
has its source and justification in it. The real is
that which has existence in and for itself independent
of ourselves who happen to experience it. The logical
necessity belonging to thought must tell us that our
experience has been organised or unified ; and in this
necessity it must reveal reality by giving us an assur-
ance that in making use of thought principles we are
coming into contact with a real something that can
and does exist in and for itself, independent of our
merely individual experience.

The great question is as to what this real some- The nature
thing is. So far we have seen that universality and o^t^e
necessity, or, if we choose to call them so, logic, or dividual
validity, rests in a real which is over-individual, whifhthl
For Kant and for the Post-Kantians, logic meant [^iifiS"^
the demands which are made by consciousness upon rests?
that which it knows or can know ; the logic of reality
extended itself into system in detail, this system
depending upon the ultimate characteristic of reality
as self-conscious being. But, and this is important,
thought or logic, or universality and necessity, lost
their peculiar characteristic of resting in the dis-
tinction between truth and falsity as soon as the
individual, as an individual, became lost in ultimate
reality or the Absolute. An Absolute which mani-
fests a completeness of self-consciousness through-
out the length and breadth of its being could not,
in any part of its being, be deflected from the
systematic structure which is dependent upon its


self-consciousness ; it could not therefore harbour
falsity, nor know the alternative between truth
and falsity upon which the meaning of necessity
and universality rests. Kant himself saw that
universality and necessity do not rest altogether
in the demands of self-consciousness ; he saw that
if the world of knowledge is to possess universality
and validity, that is, if it is to be the same for all of
us, not only must its form be the same, but its
The Post- content must be the same. Beings living in the

Kantians iir- t rv i Ti • i

as making samc world 01 causes and enects, tmngs and pro-
S^which perties, and so on, could not communicate with one
^aijdity another if tastes and smells, and colours and sounds,
real of cxlstcd lu the expericuces of some and not in the
Existence, experiences of others ; if when one person perceived
smells another perceived sense contents which were
of an entirely different nature, then inter-subjective
intercourse would be impossible ; thus inter-subjec-
tive intercourse through the medium of which the
psychological becomes the logical, and the merely
individual and subjective becomes the over-individual
and objective, demands universality in the content
of sense as well as in its structure ; and Kant gives
it this universality, not from the point of view of
logic, but from the point of view of matter of fact ;
he holds that a single world existing in and for itself
stands outside of individuals, and that the sameness
of this external world, coupled with the sameness of
individual natures, gives rise to the sameness or
universality of sense needed for inter-subjective
intercourse. Thus, even with Kant, universality and
necessity of content necessary to knowledge were
made to rest in a real existence standing external
to the individual ; and with the Post-Kantians the
universality and necessity of form were also made
to rest in a real existence standing external to the
individual. Thus even with these thinkers the
universality and necessity, or the validity which
forces itself into our experience and which finds


abstract expression in truth, is not a condition of
the experience of the individual over against a reality
external to himself ; it is not merely a condition
of experience as such, nor is it a condition of mere
knowing ; it does not belong to thought as a reflec-
tive process exercised by individuals in relation to
their experience ; it is not a mere condition of inter-
subjective intercourse ; it is rather a condition which
ultimate reality as a self- existing universe imposes
upon itself, a something which calls for no justification
and for no reason ; it is an ultimate aspect of a self-
existing reality. But to rest universality and
necessity in a reality which is that of existence is
to lead us back to scepticism. If logical principles
are made to rest in existence, then they become
constitutive or constructive of that which is, or of
that which exists. If this were the case, then we
should have a factual reality facing a factual know-
ledge, and between the two there would be no bond
to give assurance to the knower that in his knowledge
he had gripped hold of reality as it is in and for itself.
Thus universality and necessity do not belong to
experience, or reality as made up of things existing
and acting upon one another ; they are not charac-
teristics of being and existence and activity as such ;
they belong to individuality or personality in its
power of judgment ; they mean the forcing upon
the individual of one point of view, or of one judg-
ment rather than another ; the individual has to
accept reality as this rather than as that, and it is
in being forced to accept reality in this way that
universality and necessity rest. Further, the possi-
bility of accepting reality as different from what it
really is must exist, otherwise necessity cannot exist.
Now the power of judgment in relation to reality
on the part of the individual rests in thought in so
far as it is reflective, abstract, or discursive ; hence the
universality and necessity, or the ground of coherence
which issues in validity, must rest in the principles




of validity.

of thought as abstract, and as being exercised by the
individual mind. This is the point of view which
Lotze takes, and it is here that he seeks for the
grounds of coherence.

Now thought has two moments, it has a content
and a procedure by means of which that content
is obtained. The process by means of which thought
obtains its content from its contact with immediate
experience can only take place through the medium
of certain presuppositions or working hypotheses.
For instance, in order to discover any laws governing
any course of events I must assume that like con-
Distinction ditions are followed by like results. In order to make
any statement at all about reality I must maintain
the principle of identity and the principle of excluded
middle ; if I maintain that a thing can be and not be
at the same time and in the same sense, then I cannot
make any statement about the nature of reality ;
i.e. I cannot gather into my thought a content
drawn from reality. Thus not merely has thought
a content consisting of ideas of those things to which
thought refers, but the process of thought has also
a content consisting of these presuppositions or
hypotheses ; again, not merely is the content proper
of thought called truth, but the content of the pro-
cess of thought is often called truth ; it is sometimes
called truth of reason, intelligible truth, or a priori
truth. This distinction, however, between the con-
tent belonging to the process of thought and the
content of thought as referring to reality has not
always been made clear ; constitutive principles,
such as those of cause and efiect, substance and
property, and so on, have often been considered as
a priori, as principles determining the nature of
our knowledge or experience of reality, as being given
by thought and not as belonging to, or being one
with and the same in nature as the detail of experi-
ence. The principles of thought, such as those of
excluded middle, of identity, the constructive


principles of experience as those of cause and effect,
substance and property, have all been considered as
on a level, as being the same in kind, and as having
the same meaning and significance in relation to
reality. Lotze is not free from this view ; he tells
us that it would be logical suicide to reject the
principle of causation just as it would be logical
suicide to reject the principles of identity and of
excluded middle.^

We come now to the different forms which thought tj^^ ^^^^^^
uses in order to refer to the character belonging to of reality
the content of its ideas. Reality reveals itself in thought
experience as structional ; hence thought in referring Mon'o^""""
to it has to use forms which are capable of referring reference.
to system. For example, we find within the content
of our experience things, properties, and events.
To refer to these we use the logical forms of sub-
stantive, adjective, and verb. There are thus three
moments or elements involved in every thought
complex. In the first place there is the content of
reality itself with its definite nature and structure.
In the second place there is the reference to reality
through the medium of thoughts, or ideas, or con-
cepts. In the third place there are the logical forms
which these references must take in order that they
may be valid of the particular reality to which they
refer. For example, we could not refer to a thing
by means of a verb, nor to a property by means of
a substantive. To refer to a thing we must use the
substantive form, and to refer to a property the
adjectival form.

It can be seen from what has been said above Thedis-
that thought has to be systematic and structural, bTtVe°en
not merely in respect of its content, but also in respect f^fc'ir'"^
of its form. I speak of a thing and its properties ; ^°'^™-
a thing and its properties are part of the texture of
reality itself ; the concepts of a thing and property
are elements in the structure of truth about reality.

^ Logic, sec. 332.


But in making any statement about a thing and its
properties I must always use the logical forms of
subject and adjectives. Thus we have a logical
structure in the medium of which is built up a body
of truth which reveals to us the nature of reality.

Furthermore, it is clear that logical form and
structure are the means whereby we can guarantee
in intersubjective intercourse that we all are referring
to identical elements in the structure of reality. If
we were not restricted to using one form for one kind
of reference and another form for another kind, then
intersubjective intercourse would be impossible.



We have stated that the task of thought is that of Thought
revealing system as belonging to reality, and also of the°""'
justifying this system to us, who are not able to grip ^f*'|^",^ory
the whole of reality, but only part of it. Thought, anci im-
therefore, before it can build up its structure of truth, af pr^'edrrat-
which is to be valid of reality, must grip hold of that delnito
in the real which is the basis of system. ^^^^^^^ of

The first thing that thought does is to predicate ^^^^^'
a definite nature as belonging to reality. The con-
tent of our experience possesses two aspects or sides.
There is, on the one side, an actual substantial being,
which belongs to that which we experience, and, on
the other side, a nature through the medium of which
this actual being of the thing lives. The being of
a thing is perceived by us through its nature, and
lives in our experience — but only for the moment.
Its nature, on the other hand, is held in our imagina-
tion and memory. Now, thought moves in memory
or reflection. Its processes are exercised upon the
contents of our experiences as natures or meanings
torn from the concrete, living wholes in which they
first come to us in perception. This tearing away
of their natures from the things to which they belong
Lotze calls logical objectification. * But in the more
favourable cases, where we have succeeded in creating
a name, what exactly is it which this creation effects
and indicates ? It is just what we are here looking
for, the conversion of an impression into an idea. As
soon as we give the name of green or red to the
different movements which waves of light produce
through our eyes, we have separated something


as being
in our
to reality.

as moving

of sense.

before unseparated, our sensitive act from the
sensible matter to whicli it refers. The matter we
now present to ourselves, no longer as a condition
which we undergo, but as a something which has its
being and its meaning in itself, and which continues
to be what it is and to mean what it means whether
we are conscious of it or not/^

This objectification is necessary on account of
the fact that there is a plurality of minds which
have to live in a single world which is revealed through
the experiences of each member of the plurality.
It is necessary that each mind shall be able to identify
the contents of its own experience as being also the
contents of the experience of others. * The logical
objectification, which the creation of a name implies,
does not give an external reality to the matter
named; the common world, in which others are
expected to recognise what we point to, is, generally
speaking, only the world of thought. . . . We only
mean that certain special forms of resistance and
tension which we feel in the course of ideas are not
peculiarities of our own state and inseparable from it ;
but that they depend upon relations inherent in the
matter of various ideas, which everyone who thinks
those ideas wiU find in them just as we do.' ^ This
objectification is described by Lotze as the giving
of validity to the contents of our thought. Validity
is thus that characteristic of thought which makes
it possible for mind to communicate with mind on
the basis of individual experience, yet through this
communication to live in an objective world which
is the same for aU.

Over and above the definite character belonging
to the content of reality there are what Lotze calls
universals of sense. They are fundamental and
first principles of unity which perception reveals
as belonging to its contents ; and, furthermore, they
are the necessary foundation from which aU thought

^ Logic, Chap. i. see. 2.

' Ibid., Chap. i. sec. 3.


must proceed, and which make thinking possible.
An example will make clear what this universal of
sense is. We experience the content blue, and we
single it out. We find, however, that there are different
shades of blue ; we compare them and arrange them
in a series ; the comparison is carried out in reference
to a common character which belongs to all the
shades of blue, and determmes the extent of the differ-
ences within this common character. This common
character exists in the content of our experience
and in what Lotze calls a first universal or a universal
of sense. * It is always, as we know, only a single
definite shade of colour, only a tone of definite height,
strength, and quality, which is the object of sensa-
tion, and it is only these definite impressions which
are so repeated in memory as to present substantial
and perceptible images to consciousness. Universal
ideas never have this perceptibility. . . . Words
like " colour" and " tone " are in truth only short
expressions of logical problems, whose solution cannot
be compressed into the form of an idea. They are
injunctions to our consciousness to present to itself
and compare the ideas of individual tones and
colours, but in the act of so comparing them to grasp
the common element which our sensation testifies
them to contain, but which cannot by any effort
be really detached from their differences and made
the material of a new and equally perceptible idea.' ^

Having revealed the universal of sense, thought The first
has to proceed a step further. It has to determine ifjj'^^f
how the qualitative differences are related to the as the
common character which sense itself reveals as belong- Tsyltem
ing to them. That is to say, thought has to discover "ais."*''^'^"
and give expression, through the medium of logical
forms, to a systematic or structural unity of differ-
ences, of which this universal of sense is the centre.
The principle of structure which thought thus reveals
is called by Lotze a first universal of thought, and

^ Logic, sec. 15.


its articulation through system is revealed in the
concept. If we take any object of perception, such
as an animal, our reference to it is a universal of
sense, in that it points to a nature or characteristic
common to all animals, and revealed to us in sense
perception. Perception, however, while it reveals
that there is this common characteristic, does not
define, or articulate, or analyse it, so that we can know
exactly what it is. Thought has to do this, and it
is able to do so by building up a structural whole.
Thought groups together all the different kinds of
animals, our references to which are themselves
sense imiversals, such as cat, dog, rabbit, and so on.
These constitutive universals Lotze calls ' marks '
of the wider universals or concepts. Thought then
finds a principle or group of principles which describe
the mode of behaviour and the form of connection
existing between these constitutive universals. ' I
speak of any composite matter " s " as conceived or
as a concept, when it is accompanied by the thought
of a universal S, which contains the condition and
ground of the co-existence of all its marks and of
the form of their connection.' ^ In the case of the
concept * animal ' the universal which binds together
the variety of content which it contains, namely, the
universals, dog, cat, rabbit, etc., and reduces them all
to species of the same genus, or instances of the same
universal, is that constituted by the characteristics
of breathing, reproduction, and motion.
The The concept has revealed a principle of structure

"°J^iver- or of system, and it has shown us the elements which
necSsit"^ are to be systematised by means of this principle.
aa being' But lu ordcr that the concept may be adequate to
bythV reality as the objective basis of universal truth, it
^°°*'nPj must contain an element of necessity or universal
contained Validity. lu and through the concept there must
be given the assurance that the structure it reveals
is not conditioned by merely individual peculiarities

^ Logic, sec. 26.


and points of view. The concept can only do this
if it can show this structure as being grounded in
reality ; the principle of system and the elements
of system must be seen as being so welded together,
as being so much part of one another, that they
cannot subsist one without the other. The reasons
which make it clear that these moments of unity
are so bound together are the grounds of coherence,
and without these grounds all assertions of unity lack
that universal validity which is the hall-mark of
truth. But the concept fails to give us this assurance ;
there is nothing in its structure and constitution that
can reveal the reasons for the unity which it asserts
of its content. (For instance, there is nothing in the
nature of the principles of breathing, reproduction,
and motion which connects them of necessity with
the nature of animals. We can only trace a factual,
not a necessary connection between them.) We must
proceed a stage further to see if the higher processes
of thought have anything in them that can do what
the concept has failed to do. We now come to the

The judgment groups a certain content of thought The nature
within a wider content according to a definite principle. meSi'nd
This grouping is clearly stated in the categorical Joruntv^s.
judgment S is P. If I say ' Dogs are animals,' I aiity,
include the content ' dogs ' within the wider content Ind ' ^'
* animals," and I do so in virtue of the fact that the °«°^«8'*y-
principle which determines ' animality ' is constitu-
tive of, or enters into the nature of 'dogs.' Dogs
breathe, they reproduce themselves, and they move ;

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Online LibraryEvan Edward ThomasLotze's theory of reality → online text (page 16 of 22)