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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/70

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

ities of a prejudiced metaphysics. Just as the hypostatizing of the distinction of reality and experience gave rise to the tedious detour of the epistemological problem, so the erection of the practical distinction between the psychical and the physical into an ontological chasm has produced the paradox of mind and matter in metaphysics. Aristotle's doctrine of entelechy was nearer the truth, which sought to define what a thing is in terms of what it does, in terms of its behavior and functions, and in terms of how it came to be what it is, its genesis and growth. Consciousness, the mind, the soul, is to be defined as a physical object is defined in science: a molecule or an atom is defined in modern physics as the sum of its attributes, the synthesis of the relations in which it stands. Consciousness no longer may be regarded as an entity, nor as the attribute of epiphenomenal manifestation of an entity; it must be defined, as everything else in modern science, as a relation or system of relationships. Reality, Lotze said, means standing-in-relations, a thing is where it acts, being is doing. If this is true, then consciousness is what it seems to be—a transition phase of the contents of experience under certain conditions in which they are undergoing reconstruction into something else. It is not a different kind of reality nor a permanent parallel aspect of material existence, but a mode of experience in the phase of metamorphosis into further experience.

A third implication of this pragmatic empiricism concerns our relation to the making of reality. There is a sense in which reality is given and a sense in which it is made. As Mr. Schiller says, you may "find yourself in love" or you may "make love." You may wish for a chair and find one or have one given to you, or you may wish for a chair and invent one, make one. Is reality discovered or created by knowledge? Are the objects which form the content of experience revealed or constituted by consciousness? This is one of the age-old problems of philosophy which have divided thinkers into transcendentalists and empiricists, nativists and evolutionists. Taking the two terms of the distinction abstractly, it seems that in the final analysis something must be absolutely given, on the one hand, yet, on the other, that something is absolutely created. It appears that there is nothing new under the sun, and yet that everything changes. If all is given, then the apparent progress and freshness of our feelings is an illusion, and if any single part of experience is absolutely given, the whole must be given, as the absolute idealists have been logical enough to see. On the other hand, if all is created, what is to save us from solipsism? The answer is, that neither term of the distinction is to be taken abstractly. Given means taken as given for the situation, while made or created means produced anew relative to some interest or need, not created ex nihilo. Our givings and takings, our acquiescences and imperatives, are not ultimate and abstract, but relative in the sense of