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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/67

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NEW PHILOSOPHY CALLED PRAGMATISM

the hypothesis of scientific method as truly as the act of obedience in religion—not, however, in the sense of the child Mr. Schiller quotes, who says that faith is believing what you know isn't true, but in the sense rather of a legitimate speculation where all the factors are uncertain, in the sense of a prudent gambling or betting on your partial knowledge. If faith lies at the basis of our credit system in business and is the only sanction of the inductive leap in scientific generalization, why should it not be legitimate to take the risk of there being a God or a future life? For all we know, the wish and the will to believe may be a factor in determining the reality—as he who thinketh his friend to be true maketh him true.

Pragmatism, in this respect, is a protest against the cold intellectualism of the philosophy and science of the age. In mastering the means of living we have forgotten the ends of life. We confuse money with wealth, the church with religion, politics with government, the school with education, leisure with culture. But he fails in the having who spendeth his days in the getting. The values of life, as Hume long since taught us, lie in the alogical forces of the soul. Eeason and the ratiocinative processes find their only justification in serving at once to satisfy and to modify the feelings and desires which underlie all other aspects of personality.

But still a third objection is frequently raised to philosophy by the man of science, and the pragmatic reply to this is contained in the new instrumental or functional theory of knowledge of Professor Dewey and his school. The man of science criticizes philosophy for being too theoretical in the sense of speculative. "not sticking to the facts." The metaphysician is prone, he says, to spin a universe out of his own inner consciousness, and tries to make the facts fit this ideal system. Once again, pragmatism meets the objector by admitting the force of his objection so far as past systems of philosophy are concerned, and seeks to win the cooperation of the scientist in constructing a philosophy which will be scientific in its method.

But the pragmatist reminds the man of science that he is not free from speculation in his own enterprise, that indeed hypothesis is one of the leading instruments of scientific research, while his whole procedure is shot through and through with metaphysical presuppositions which are the more prejudicial because unsuspected. The aim of a pragmatic philosophy is to bring metaphysical speculation to the test of scientific exactness, on the one hand, and, on the other, to help the scientist to bring to clear self-consciousness his own logical assumptions. This involves, not only a new conception of philosophy, but a new conception of science in relation to philosophy.

The wings of metaphysical speculation are clipped, but philosophy no longer is relegated to the left-overs. Its subject-matter as ordinarily conceived is the methodological scrap-heap of the scientist. All the