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tinue the study of the pragmatist element in
American scholarship from the point of view of
the whole general economy of a university as a
social institution, and from that of the benefit
that has accrued to the modern world from the
many successful attempts at the organization of
knowledge from an international point of view,
that have come into being under American
initiative. 2

peculiar intellectual and social atmosphere under which Criticism and
Transcendentalism became intelligible and influential in Germany
and elsewhere, or of the equally important matter of the very
different ways in which the Kantian and the Hegelian philosophies
were interpreted by different schools and different tendencies of
thought. A similar thing might, I think, too, be said of the unduly
" intellectualistic " manner in which the teachings of Plato and Aristotle
have often been presented to our British students — under the influ-
ence partly of Hegelianism and partly of the doctrinairism and the
intellectualism of our academic Humanism since the time of the
Renaissance. Hence the great importance in Greek philosophy of
such a recent work as that of F. M. Cornford upon the relation
of Religion to Philosophy (From Religion to Philosophy, Arnold, 1912),
or of Professor Burnet's well-known Early Greek Philosophy.

1 As suggestive of the scant respect for authorities felt by the
active-minded American student, I may refer to the boast of Papini
that Pragmatism appeals to the virile and the proud-spirited who do
not wish to accept their thought from the past.

2 I am thinking of such events as the " World's Parliament of



PRAGMATISM AS AMERICANISM 185

Lastly it is surely impossible to exaggerate the
value to philosophy of the so-called " democratic," 1
open-minded attitude of Pragmatism that is seen
in its unprejudiced recognition of such things
as the ordinary facts of life, the struggle that
constitutes the life of the average man, the frag-
mentary and partial 2 character of most of our

Religions " (in Chicago in 1893), the recent international conferences
upon " ethical instruction in different countries," upon " racial
problems," upon " missions," etc. It would be idle to think that such
attempts at the organisation of the knowledge and the effort of the
thinking people in the world are quite devoid of philosophical import-
ance. One has only to study, say, von Hartmann, or modern social
reform, to be convinced of the contrary.

1 I trust I may be pardoned if I venture to suggest that in opposition
to the democratic attitude of Pragmatism to the ordinary facts of
life, and to the ordinary (but often heroic) life of ordinary men, the
view of man and the universe that is taken in such an important
idealistic book as Dr. Bosanquet's Individuality and Value is doubtless
unduly aristocratic or intellectualistic. It speaks rather of the Greek
view of life than of the modern democratic view. As an expression
of the quasi democratic attitude of James even in philosophy, we may
cite the following: " In this real world of sweat and dirt, it seems to
me that when a view of things is noble, that ought to count as a pre-
sumption against its truth, as a philosophical disqualification. The
Prince of Darkness may be a gentleman, as we are told he is, but what-
ever the God of earth and heaven is, he can surely be no gentleman.
His menial services are needed in the dust of our human trials."

Having rewritten this quotation two or three times, I have lost the
reference to its place in James's writings. It is one of the three books
upon Pragmatism and Pluralism.]

2 We may quote, I think, the following passage from Professor
Perry to show that the open-mindedness of James was not merely a
temperamental and an American characteristic in his case, but a
quality or attitude that rested upon an intellectual conviction in respect
of the function of ideas. " Since it is their office [i.e. the office of ideas]
to pave the way for direct knowledge, or to be temporarily substituted
for it, then efficiency is conditioned by their unobtrusiveness, by the
readiness with which they subordinate themselves. The commonest case
of an idea in James's sense is the word, and the most notable example
of his pragmatic or empirical method is his own scrupulous avoidance
of verbalism. It follows that since ideas are in and of themselves of



186 PRAGMATISM AND IDEALISM

knowledge, and so on. All this contrasts in the
most favourable way with the scholastic and the
Procrustean attitude to facts that has so long
characterized philosophical rationalism from
Leibniz and Wolff to the Kantians and to the
Neo-Kantians and the Neo-Hegelians of our own
time. Thanks partly to this direct and demo-
cratic attitude of mind on the part of the prag-
matists and humanists, and thanks too to the
entire psychological and sociological movement
of modern times, the points of view of the different
leading thinkers of different countries are beginning
to receive their fitting recognition in the general
economy of human thought to be compared with
each other, and with still other possible points of
view.

No one, it seems to me, can read the books of
James without feeling that philosophy can again,
as the universal science indeed, " begin any-
where " in a far less restricted sense than that in
which Hegel interpreted this ingenious saying
of his in respect of the freedom of human thinking. 1

As for the inevitable drawbacks and limitations
of the very Americanism which we have been

no cognitive value, since they are essentially instrumental, they are
always on trial, and ' liable to modification in the course of future
experience.'" — Present Philosophical Tendencies, p. 364 (italics mine).

1 It is known to all students that some of the more important
writings of this prince of thinkers cannot be intelligibly approached
without a long preliminary study of the peculiar " dressing up," or
transformation, to which he subjects the various facts of life and
existence. And the same tiling is true (to a more modified extent)
of the writings of Kant.



PRAGMATISM AS AMERICANISM 187

endeavouring to discover in Pragmatism, it can-
not, to begin with, be entirely without an element
of risk to philosophy, and to the real welfare of a
country, that the highest kind of insight should
be brought too ruthlessly into competition with
the various specialized studies, and the various
utilitarian l pursuits of modern times, and with
popular tendencies generally. The public, for many
reasons, should not be too readily encouraged to
think of philosophy as merely " a " study like
other studies and pursuits, to be baited with the
idea of its utility and its profitable consequences.
Philosophy, on the contrary, is the universal study
that gives to all other studies and pursuits their
relative place and value. If left too much to be
a mere matter of choice on the part of the young
and the unthinking, it will soon find itself in
the neglected position of the wisdom that utters
her voice at the street corners. It must be
secured an integral, and even a necessary place
in the world of instruction — a condition that is
still the case, it is to be remembered, in Catholic 2

1 See the wise remark, in this very connexion, of the possible service
of philosophy to-day, of Dr. Bosanquet, reproduced upon p. 226. And
then, again, we must remember that an unduly pragmatist view of life
would tend to make people impervious to ideas that transcend the range
and the level of their ordinary interests and activities.

2 Cf. the following from Professor Pace's Preface to Introduction to
Philosophy, by Charles A. Dubray. " In Catholic colleges, importance
has always been attached to the study of philosophy both as a means
of culture and as a source of information regarding the great truths
which are influential in supporting Christian belief and in shaping
character." Of course these same words might be used as descriptive of
what Professor Santayana calls the "older tradition" in all American
colleges. It is interesting, by the way, to note also the pragmatist



188 PRAGMATISM AND IDEALISM

as distinguished from many so-called " liberal "
and " Protestant " seats of learning.

It is possible indeed, as we have already
suggested, that the recognition of an aristocratic
or a Catholic element in learning would, in
some respects, be of more true use in the schools
of America than a mere pragmatist philosophy
of life and education. And it is therefore not to
be wondered at that Americans themselves should
already have expressed something of a distrust for
a philosophy and an educational policy that are
too akin to the practical commercialism of the
hour. 1

Then again, despite the large element of truth
that there is in the idea of philosophy " discover-
ing ' (rather than itself " being ") the true
" dynamic " or " motive-awakening " view of the
system of things in which we live, philosophy
itself was never intended to bear the entire weight
and strain that are put upon it by the pragmatists.
In their enthusiasm they would make out of it, as
we have seen, a religion (and a new one at that !)
and a social philosophy, as well as the theory
of knowledge and the " approach " to reality that
we are accustomed to look for in a system of
philosophy.



touch in the same Preface to this Catholic manual. " But if this
training is to be successful, philosophy must be presented, not as a
complex of abstruse speculations on far-off inaccessible topics, but as a
system of truths that enter with vital consequence into our ordinary
thinking and our everyday conduct."
1 See p. 136.



PRAGMATISM AS AMERICANISM 189

It is only in periods of transition and recon-
struction, like the present age, when men have
become acutely sensible of the limitations of
traditional views of things, that they are inclined
in their disappointment to look to scientific and
professional thinkers for creeds that shall take
the place of what they seem for the moment
to be losing. It is in such times chiefly that
philosophy flourishes, and that it is apt to acquire
an undue importance by being called upon to do
things that of itself it cannot do. Among the
latter impossibilities is to be placed, for example,
the idea of its being able to offer (almost in any
sense) a substitute for the direct experience * of
the common life, or for the realities of our affections
and our emotions, or for the ideals engendered
by the common life.

Owing partly to the limitations of the Intel-
lectualism that has hitherto characterized so much
of the culture and the educational policy of the
last century there are still everywhere scores of
people under the illusion that the truth of life will
be revealed to them in the theory of some book,
in the new views or the new gospel of some
emancipated and original thinker. In this vain
hope of theirs they are obviously forgetful of even
the pragmatist truth that all theories are but a
kind of transformation, or abstract expression,
of the experiences of real life and of real living.
And part of the trouble with the pragmatists is

1 See above, p. 34 and p. 165.



igo PRAGMATISM AND IDEALISM

that they themselves have unwittingly ministered
to this mistaken attitude of mind by creating the
impression that their theory of taking the kingdom
of Heaven by storm, by the violence of their
postulations and of their plea for a " working
view" of things, is indeed the new gospel of
which men have long been in search. The race,
however, is not always to the swift and the eager,
nor the kingdom to those who are loudest in their
cryings of " Lord, Lord." And as a friend of mine
aptly applied it as against all practicalism and
Pragmatism, " there remaineth a rest to the
people of God." * The ordinary man, it should be
borne in mind, does not in a certain sense really
need philosophy. Its audience is with the few, and
it is to do it but scant service to think of making
it attractive to the many by the obliteration of
most of its distinctive characteristics and diffi-
culties, and by the failure to point out its inherent
limitations. It is not by any means, as we have
been indicating, a substitute either for life, or for
positive religion. Nor can it ever have much of
a message, even for the few, if they imagine them-
selves, on account of their wisdom, to be elevated
above the needs of the ordinary discipline of life.

Then again, there is surely an element of con-
siderable danger in the American-like depreciation

1 It is not, however, " rest " that the pragmatists want, even in
heaven, but renewed opportunities for achievement. " ' There shall be
news,' W. James was fond of saying with rapture, quoting from the
unpublished poem of a new friend, ' there shall be news in heaven.'"
— Professor Santayana in Winds of Doctrine, p. 209.



PRAGMATISM AS AMERICANISM 191

of doctrine and theory which we have noticed
in two or three different connexions on the part
of Pragmatism. In the busy, necessitous life of
the United States this depreciation 1 is sometimes
said to be visible in the great sacrifice of life 2
and energy that is continually taking place there
owing to an unduly literal acceptance on the part
of every one of the idea that each individual has
a sort of divine right to seek and to interpret his
experience for himself. In Pragmatism it might
be said to be illustrated in the comparative weak-
ness in the essentials of logic and ethics to which
we have already referred, in the matter of a
sound theory of first principles. And also in its
failure to take any really critical recognition 3 of
the question of its theoretical and practical
affiliations to tendencies new and old, many or

1 In using this expression I am acutely conscious of its limitations
and of its misleading character. There is nothing in which Americans
so thoroughly believe as knowledge and instruction and information.
A belief in education is in fact the one prevailing religion of the
country — the one thing in which all classes, without any exception,
unfeignedly believe, and for which the entire country makes enormous
sacrifices.

2 In using this expression I am not blind to such outstanding char-
acteristics of American life as (i) the enormous amount of preventive
philanthropy that exists in the United States ; (2) the well-known
system of checks in the governmental machinery of the country ; (3)
the readiness with which Americans fly to legislation for the cure
of evils ; (4) the American sensitiveness to pain and their hesitation
about the infliction of suffering or punishment, etc. Nor do I forget
the sacrifice of life entailed by modern necessities and modern inven-
tions in countries other than America. I simply mean that owing to
the constant stream of immigration, and to the spirit of youthfulness
that pervades the country, the willingness of people to make experi-
ments with themselves and their lives is one of the many remarkable
things about the United States. 3 See p. 117.



i 9 2 PRAGMATISM AND IDEALISM

most of which have long ago been estimated at
their true worth and value. Then there is its
comparatively superficial interpretation 1 of what
is known in the thought of the day as "Darwinism"
and " Evolutionism " and the endless belief of
the unthinking in " progress," and its failure
to see that its very Americanism 2 and its very
popularity are things that are deserving of the
most careful study and criticism. What have the
pragmatists left in their hands of their theory, if
its mere " methodology " and its " efficiency-
philosophy " and its would-be enthusiasm were
eliminated from it ?

Like Americanism in general (which began, of
course, as a revolutionary and a " liberationist '
policy), Pragmatism is inclined in some ways
to make too much of peoples' rights and
interests, and too little of their duties and
privileges and of their real needs and their funda-
mental, human instincts. It is in the under-
standing alone of these latter things that true
wisdom and true satisfaction 3 are to be found.
And like the American demand for pleasure

1 And this despite the enormous amount of work that has been
done by American biologists upon the "factors" of evolution, and
upon a true interpretation of Darwinism and of Weismannism and
of the evolutionary theory generally.

2 Even Professor James, for example, dismissed (far too readily, in
my opinion) as a " sociological romance " a well-known book (published
both in French and in English) by Professor Schinz entitled Anti-
Pragmatism. Although in some respects a superficial and exaggerated
piece of work, this book did discover certain important things about
Pragmatism and about its relation to American life.

3 It is probably a perception of this truth that has led Dr. Bosanquet



PRAGMATISM AS AMERICANISM 193

and for a good time generally, Pragmatism is in
many respects too much a mere philosophy of
" postulations " and " demands," too much a
mere formulation of the eager and impetuous
demands of the emancipated man and woman
of the time — as forgetful as they of many of the
deeper 1 facts of life and of the economy of our
human civilization. In demanding that the
" consequences " of all pursuits (even those of
study and philosophy) shall be " satisfying," and
that philosophy shall satisfy our active nature,
it forgets the sense of disillusionment that comes
to all rash and mistaken effort. It certainly does
not follow that a man is going to get certain things
from the world and from philosophy merely because
he demands them any more than does the discovery
and the possession of happiness follow from the
"right" 2 of the individual to seek it in his own best
way. Nor is it even true that man is called upon
to " act " to anything like the extent contemplated
by an unduly enthusiastic Americanism and an

to express the opinion that the whole pragmatist issue may be settled
by an examination of the notion of " satisfaction." He must mean,
I think, that satisfaction is impossible to man without a recognition
of many of the ideal factors that are almost entirely neglected by the
pragmatists — except by Bergson, if it be fair to call him a pragmatist.

1 Bourdeau, for example, has suggested that its God is not really
God, but merely an old domestic servant destined to do us personal
services — help us to carry our trunk and our cross in the midst of
sweat and dirt. He is not a gentleman even. " No wonder," he adds, " it
was condemned at Rome." See his Pragmatisme et Modernisme, p. 82.

2 I am thinking here of the words in the Constitution of the State
of California (they are printed in Mr. Bryce's American Commonwealth —
at least in the earlier editions) to the effect that it is the natural right
of all men to seek and to " obtain [!] " happiness.

13



i 9 4 PRAGMATISM AND IDEALISM

unduly enthusiastic Pragmatism. The writer is
glad to be able to append in this connexion a
quotation taken by an American critic of Prag-
matism from Forberg in his criticism of the action-
philosophy of Fichte : " Action, action, is the
vocation of man ! Strictly speaking, this principle
is false. Man is not called upon to act, but to act
justly. If he cannot act without acting unjustly
he had better remain inactive."

It would not be difficult to match this quota-
tion, or perhaps to surpass it, with something from
Carlyle in respect of the littleness of man's claims,
not merely for enjoyment, but even for existence ;
but we will pass on.

Pragmatism, as we have suggested, certainly
falls too readily into line with the tendency of
the age to demand means and instruments and
utilities and working satisfactions, instead of
ends and purposes and values, to demand pleasure
and enjoyment instead of happiness and blessed-
ness. Instead of allowing itself to do this it
should have undertaken a criticism both of the
so-called "wants" of the age, and of the sound-
ness of its own views in respect of the truth
and the happiness that are proper to man as
man. There is a fine epigram of Goethe's in
respect of the limitations of the revolutionary
and the liberationist attitude of those who would
seek to " free " men without first trying to under-
stand them, and to help them to their true inward
development.



PRAGMATISM AS AMERICANISM 195

Alle Freiheits-Apostel, sie waren mir immer zuwider.
Willkur suchte doch nur jeder am Ende fur sich.
Willst du viele befrein, so wag' es vielen zu dienen.
Wie gefahrlich das sey, willst du es wissen ? Versuch's. 1

Until Pragmatism then makes it clear that
it is the free rational activity, and the higher
spiritual nature of man that is to it the norm of
all our thought, and all our activity, and the true
test of all " consequences," it has not risen to the
height of the distinctive message that it is capable
of giving to the thought of the present time.
Unqualified by some of the ideal considerations
to which we have attempted, in its name, and in
its interest, to give an expression, it would not be,
for example, a philosophy that could be looked
upon by the great East as the last word of our
Western wisdom or our Western experience. It
will be well, however, to say nothing more in
this connexion until we have looked at the con-
siderations that follow (in our next chapter) upon
the lofty, but impersonal, idealisation of the life
and thought of man attempted by our Anglo-
Hegelian Rationalism, and until we have re-
flected, too, upon the more feasible form of
Idealism attempted in the remarkable philosophy
of Bergson, 2 the greatest of all the pragmatists.

1 " Epigramme," Venice, 1790. [" I could never abide any of those
freedom-gospellers. All that they ever wanted was to get things
running so as to suit themselves. If you are anxious to set people free,
just make a beginning by trying to serve them. The simplest attempt
will teach you how dangerous this effort may be."]

2 See Chapter IX.



CHAPTER VIII

PRAGMATISM AND ANGLO-HEGELIAN
RATIONALISM

The form of Anglo-German Rationalism or Intel-
lectualism which I shall venture to select for the
purposes of consideration from the point of view
of Pragmatism and Humanism is the first volume
of the recent Gifford Lectures of Dr. Bernard
Bosanquet, who has long been regarded by the
philosophical public of Great Britain as one of the
most characteristic members of a certain section
of our Neo-Hegelian school. I shall first give the
barest outline of the argument and contentions
of " The Principle of Individuality and Value,"
and then venture upon some paragraphs of what
shall seem to me to be relevant criticism.

Dr. Bosanquet's initial position is a conception
of philosophy, and its task which is for him and his
book final and all-determining. To him Philo-
sophy is (as it is to some extent to Hegel) " logic "
or " the spirit of totality." It is " essentially of
the concrete and the whole," as Science is of the

" abstract and the part." Although the best thing

196



PRAGMATISM AND RATIONALISM 197

in life is not necessarily " philosophy," philosophy
in this sense of " logic " is the clue to " reality
and value and freedom," the key to everything,
in short, that we can, or that we should, or that we
actually do desire and need. It [philosophy] is
" a rendering in coherent thought of what lies at
the heart of actual life and love." His next step
is to indicate " the sort of things," or the sort of
" experiences," or the sort of " facts " that philo-
sophy needs as its material, if it would accomplish
its task as " universal logic." This he does
(1) negatively, by the rejection of any form of
" immediateness," or " simple apprehension," such
as the " solid fact," the " sense of being," or the
" unshareable self " of which we sometimes seem
to hear, or such as the " naive ideas " of " com-
pensating justice," x " ethics 2 which treats the indi-
vidual as isolated" and "teleology" 3 as "guidance
by finite minds," as the data (or as part of the data)
of philosophy ; and (2) positively, by declaring

1 On what grounds does Professor Bosanquet think of " compensating
justice " as a naive idea ? It is on the contrary one of the highest and
deepest, and one of the most comprehensive to which the human mind
has ever attained— giving rise to the various theogonies and theodicies
and religious systems of mankind. It is at the bottom, for example, of
the theodicy and the philosophy of Leibniz, the founder of the Rational-
ism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Europe.

2 Could any system of ethics which took such an impossible and


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