Roy Wood Sellars
Roy Wood Sellars was the father of a famous American philosopher, Wilfrid Sellars. The elder Sellars was a founder of the American religious humanism movement (now the American Humanist Association). In his 1916 book, Critical Realism, he defended a philosophical position of critical realism, contrasting it with naive realism. Naive realists think that we can access concrete physical objects directly and fully with our perceptual sense data. This is sometimes called the "copy theory," that our perceptions are fully apprehending the physical objects, that the content of a perception is the same as the object of perception. In information philosophy terms, naive realism mistakenly assumes that the information in the perceived sense data (or the representation in the mind) is (quantitatively) equal to (a copy of) the information in the physical object. Critical realists, like scientists, start with observations and sense data, but they add hypotheses and experiments to develop theories about the physical objects and the abstract concepts in the external world. Nevertheless, the abstract representation in the mind is (quantitatively) much less information than the information in the physical object represented. In his 1922 book Evolutionary Naturalism, Sellars quoted the epistemological view of H. A. Prichard, whose "axiom of independent reality" claims that "Knowledge unconditionally presupposes that the reality known exists independently of the knowledge of it, and that we know it as it exists in this independence." For Sellars, knowledge is "awareness of objects that are independent of the awareness." (p.24) Evolutionary Naturalism criticizes an older view that identified naturalism with a mechanical and deterministic view of nature. The new biological science of evolution introduces a kind of change and novelty that is unknown in the physical world. The being of an organism is a becoming, he says. Change in biology means growth of an individual, in abilities, in memories, and in character. (p.168) There is nothing like this in physics, a view argued in the later twentieth century by Ernst Mayr. In his Chapter XIII on Potentiality, Necessity, and Probability, Sellars explores the possibility of "objective chance" or "tychism," as it was called by Charles Sanders Peirce. "Subjective chance admits objective determinism," he says. (p. 272). Subjective chance is the view of many mathematically-minded philosophers. They say that chance is only epistemic (a question of human ignorance or inaccessible information), not ontologically real. Objective chance is a theory of causality which denies objective necessity.
Objective chance is a theory of causality in nature; and offers itself as a denial of what is vaguely called objective necessity. We have clearly to do here with relative terms. Tychism seems to be a protest against the exaggeration of a particular type of determinism. Too often science has lapsed into a scholastic realism which thought of laws as governing nature. The critical realist agrees heartily with the tychist so far as he protests against any such logical anthropomorphism. Again, I find in much of current tychism a protest against a dead-level mechanical view of nature which does not take evolution and novelty. The behavior of man cannot be described in terms of mechanics.Who exactly is "the tychist" Sellars is referring to? Sellars does not mention the most likely candidates - Charles Sanders Peirce or William James. Although Peirce introduced the idea of tychism, it is James' "pluralism" opposing a deterministic "block universe" that Sellars mentions:
The new pluralism sympathizes with the tychist in his opposition to a block universe, on the one hand, and to logical determinism on the other hand. But when it comes to the positive teaching of tychism the matter is altered. I would put the case thus. With one interpretation, tychism does not contradict determinism as I understand it. With another interpretation, it does. On the whole, I am inclined to treat tychism as a valuable protest against absurd interpretations of objective necessity.Sellars speculates that free will may involve chance, but he has no clear model of how this might work. He says:
Does our experience reveal indeterminate spontaneity and genuine caprice? I am not quite certain what the tychist postulates. I do not wish to caricature his position and make him advocate freedom of indifference. My chief quarrel with him is his tendency to misstate the position of the critical determinist. For instance, I find it difficult to distinguish Bergson's idea of free-will from relative self-determination. Once we have turned our back upon fatalism, predestination, a mere spectator-like self moored to an organism and such outgrown fantasies, much of the meaning of the historic controversy about free will has evaporated. The problem modern thought is engaged upon is the discovery of what kind of a creature the human self is. That it is complex and more or less divided against itself appears evident. Such freedom as it has is a positive character. It is the ability to control its surroundings, to realize its aims. And such freedom is obviously relative. Positive freedom is very evident in moments of decision when we deliberate and do not act from habit. Then we apply all our intellectual capacities to the task confronting us. But is such freedom revealed as caprice? Surely not.Sellars cites the French philosopher Henri Bergson, who was greatly influenced by both Peirce and James. Bergson's book Time and Free Will (his 1889 Ph.D. thesis, published in English in 1910) claimed that time might flow at different rates on occasion, opening the possibility of human freedom. In the end, Sellars can see no role for chance (tychism) and "harmonizes "empirical freedom" with causal determinism, developing what today we would call a compatibilist position.
the feeling of necessity, of which Hume made so much, in no wise conflicts with our experience of activity and freedom. The same action that we feel free and active in doing will retrospectively appear to follow from our character and the situation in which we were. In action the self is the character or personality. There is no sense of control by it as something external to the self. Or, to the extent that this is the case, we are divided against ourselves.Apparently, the "evolution" in Sellars' title is not Darwinian evolution, which uses ontological Finally, causal processes often lead to novelty, to new combinations, to new wholes having new properties. We must separate causality and repetition. It follows from all this that causal determinism is perfectly harmonizable with empirical freedom and self-realization and that both are opposed to fatalism and predestination. chance as the source of genetic variations, but rather Henri Bergson's "Creative Evolution," which finds indeterminate variation inadequate, and, in the end, Sellars argues for a "cumulative determinism," somewhat like Charles Sanders Peirce's "synechism," "agapism, or "evolutionary love" that overcome Peirce's "tychism" and "anancasticism."
Extended excerpts from Evolutionary Naturalism, Chapter XIII, on Potentiality, Necessity and Novelty Subjective Chance versus Objective Chance. — The above treatment of probability furnishes a good introduction to the distinction between subjective chance and tychism or objective chance. We are led back to a consideration of causality. There are many closely associated terms in this connection which must jet be distinguished In their interpretation of events, people commonly speak of fate, luck and chance. They use these terms chiefly when they have in mind some event which affects themselves or others favorably or unfavorably. It is the relation of the event to human beings which is stressed. The element of valuation comes out clearly in the idea of luck. In fate and chance, externality and lack of control are the dominant elements. Well, we must admit that an individual is only a small part of the world and has surprisingly little control of events If the political and physical environments are favorable and stable, the individual can do much and lead a fairly happy life. The Great War has driven home to the present generation how helpless the masses of the people are before a cataclysm To some, events are disastrous, to others, they are not unfavorable This is the minimum meaning of lucky and unlucky And so far as these words are used descriptively and empirically they are terms expressing instrumental value. Things bieak right for some people, indifferently well for others, and badly for still others We must, however, be on our guard against exaggeration and against mythology The activity of a person has very much to do his with his career With stable conditions and ability, a healthy person is to-day able to control his fate But after all the range of such mastery is limited and. in the large, we must remember that a person's capacities are not of his making. The individual is a specific organism whose structure and constitution has resulted from past activties. But human beings do not, as a rule, demand very much from life after their romantic period is over The capacity for adjustment and acceptance is very large. Poetry and religion have surrounded the idea of fate with mythological implications. Strictly speaking, fate is simply a factual term, a designation of what happens History presents the fate of nations . biography, the fate of conspicuous individuals But the old animistic outlook still lingers Man tends to think of his life as planned beforehand In this sense, fate is a product of early man's helplessness and his anthropomorphism It assumes some shadowy being which predetermines events, which overrides and uses resistance The Semitic religions have contained this outlook to an abnormal degree. The Greeks, likewise, pictured something, more ancient and mightier than Zeus, which decreed what would happen. There seems no reason to continue this anthropomorphism which makes events a mere rehearsal of an established plan. It is impossible to take causality seriously and hold such a view at the same time We have taken time seriously as a process of change and, by so doing, have attacked the intellectual element in fate The emotional element remains. So long as man feels helpless, he will have a sense of a larger whole determining his destiny. He will feel passive and fatalistic As yet, the occidental world has confidence in what it can do and so feels active and creative. Subjective chance admits objective determinism. We have seen this to be the case in the calculation of probabilities We have, again, probability as a mode of our judgment when the knowledge is insufficient to base certain prediction upon And this may be due to (1) the number of the factors, (2) the variation in the situation, or (3) the variability of an important factor The last reason bulks very large in the behavior of human individuals Thus Fabre could predict what a mason-wasp would do under certain circumstances because instinct is orderly and limited, but he could not predict what children might do if experimented upon It follows from our whole discussion that subjective chance is largely irrelevant to any theory of real causality. It concerns our cognitive position. Objective chance is a theory of causality in nature; and offers itself as a denial of what is vaguely called objective necessity. We have clearly to do here with relative terms. Tychism seems to be a protest against the exaggeration of a particular type of determinism. Too often science has lapsed into a scholastic realism which thought of laws as governing nature. The critical realist agrees heartily with the tychist so far as he protests against any such logical anthropomorphism. Again, I find in much of current tychism a protest against a dead-level mechanical view of nature which does not take evolution and novelty seriously The behavior of man cannot be described in terms of mechanics It is absurd and unempirical to ignore the fact that his behavior involves the application of past experience to the situation which now confronts him. And this situation is inseparable from his interests and selections. The situation confronting a lower animal is not, and cannot be, the situation confronting a human being, In other words, a situation is a selected aspect of the environment. The new pluralism sympathizes with the tychist in his opposition to a block universe, on the one hand, and to logical determinism on the other hand. But when it comes to the positive teaching of tychism the matter is altered. I would put the case thus. With one interpretation, tychism does not contradict determinism as I understand it. With another interpretation, it does. On the whole, I am inclined to treat tychism as a valuable protest against absurd interpretations of objective necessity. Philosophers who approach nature from the standpoint of analogy interpret the behavior of atoms and electrons — so far as they give these terms external validity — as responses similar to the response of an individual to a novel situation. There must be choice. And is not choice an instance of spontaneity? After choice is made habit ensues. Henceforth, there is routine and the mechanical. My chief objection is that such an argument from analogy does not take evolution seriously enough I grant that habit implies a preceding novel adjustment, but I very much doubt that there is enough similarity between the response of an atom to its environment and the adjustment of an organism to make the application of the same terms meaningful. I grant you that there is an identity, but there is also a difference The identity lies in the fact that all response is an expression of the nature of that which responds, but is not the constitution and capacity of the organism very different from the much more limited constitution of the element? To employ a physicist's expres- sion, there are degrees of freedom in the one case not characteristic of the other I do not believe that it is justifiable to extend the locus of the term habit I feel much the same toward such categories as impulses and will. I know that the speculatively inclined Leibnizian will not agree with me. Let us, then, shift the venue of the question to human activity. Does our experience reveal indeterminate spontaneity and genuine caprice? I am not quite certain what the tychist postulates. I do not wish to caricature his position and make him advocate freedom of indifference. My chief quarrel with him is his tendency to misstate the position of the critical determinist. For instance, I find it difficult to distinguish Bergson's idea of free-will from relative self-determination Once we have turned our back upon fatalism, predestination, a mere spectator-like self moored to an organism and such outgrown fantasies, much of the meaning of the historic controversy about free will has evaporated The problem modern thought is engaged upon is the discovery of what kind of a creature the human self is. That it is complex and more or less divided against itself appears evident Such freedom as it has is a positive character It is the ability to control its surroundings, to realize its aims. And such freedom is obviously relative. Positive freedom is very evident in moments of decision when we deliberate and do not act from habit.5 Then we apply all our intellectual capacities to the task confronting us. But is such freedom revealed as caprice? Surely not. "Our personality shoots, grows and ripens without ceasing. Each of its movements is something new added to what was before. We may go further it is not only something new, but something unforeseeable Doubtless, my present state is explained by what was in me and by what was acting on me a moment ago In analyzing it I should find no other elements. But even a superhuman intelligence would not have been able to foresee the simple indivisible form which gives to these purely abstract elements their concrete organization."6 The conclusion of this quotation does not have much meaning for me. Doubtless it is in line with Bergson's almost mystical emphasis upon internal relations in consciousness. The new pluralist does not apply the hypothesis of a super-human intelligence It seems to him rather meaningless outside of the domain of mechanism with its definite assumptions and data The significant question is, Of what would complete knowledge of a person consist? Is a person stable enough to be the object of complete knowledge? The nature of this kind of object is the fundamental question. Is not knowledge — even self-knowledge — largely retrospective? Yet if I could know exactly what the situation was which confronted an individual, what his valuations and desires were, what his courage was, etc, I could foretell his conduct Assuredly the general line of it Why? Because these arc the actual data of his own decision. As soon as these become stable in deliberation, the choice is fixed.
Bergson has done excellent psychological work in criticizing the mechanical conception of motives as fixed things pushing from behind Motives are responses of a changing self and constantly alter. Personality is a process and not a static thing. And yet we must not go to the other extreme and ignore the conservative aspect of the self. Character, habit and heredity indicate the element of continuous identity. More acutely here than anywhere else do we meet with the union of novelty and permanence. Growth implies organization and intimate accumulation, an active harmony of the new and the old. The old meets and welcomes the new. We must grasp the fact that internal relations do not involve a complete alteration of the past. There is something phenomenalistic and superficial about a kaleidoscopic view of the self. It does not sense the limits to change Under normal conditions, change is always secondary to permanence. Again, there has always been much sentimentalizing about the self An ideal self is often set up and contrasted with a baser self The thinker must realize that these are but parts of the one complex self. This ethical dualism is usually attached to the traditional soul-body dualism Self-deception gets in its deadly work. We must remember that the objective self is an object of mediate knowledge and that there is never complete knowledge of it The total self is complex, and only part of it is expressed at any one time. In spite of its many exaggerations, Freudianism has driven this fact home to the modern thinker. The self which dominates consciousness is not the whole of the complex self. I do believe that on many of these problems philosophy is approaching more of an agreement than is usually supposed. The decay of outgrown assumptions accounts for much of this convergence of opinion. With the withering of supernaturalism, the setting of problems has become much more concrete and empirical. This is peculiarly the case with the problem of freedom. Freedom is now more naturally conceived as a positive characteristic of the whole person It means abilty to control factors in the environment and to realize ends It is a term which applies here and now to activities in concrete situations It designates a kind of behavior. The traditional method of approach began with an entity called will and asked whether this was free. Free from what? And what is this entity with which we are so greatly concerned There was much of the ghostlike about this will. Its relation to concrete personality was unclear. Now the whole bio-psychological approach to the self has changed all this It is seen that the will is a function of a developing complex of instinct and experience. We do not believe in and do not want a mysterious will alien to us and issuing its decrees like shots from a pistol The self is a process of adjustment and growth. In consciousness the individual is on the inside of this process and an effective part of it. Free will should mean only what concrete freedom means. Has the contrast between free will and causal determinism much meaning to-day, once we relinquish freedom of indifference? I do not see that it has Any intelligible sort of free will is but a protest against a false sort of determinism. Like vitalism, it is a protest against inade- quate views. There are those who make heredity too rigid a thing rather than a set of tendencies and general capaci- ties which are modifiable within degrees. There are those who make the individual the passive victim of economic conditions The metaphysical determinist replies that the degree and kind of freedom an individual or a group has is a question of fact. Freedom implies causal activity and relations. Much of the misunderstanding of causal determinism has been due to a disregard of the importance of time It has not sufficiently been realized that time is nothing apart from change That personality is a process and that the same situation in a literal sense can, therefore, never recur has not been appreciated Misleading words have also played their part. If I tell a person that he could not help doing what he did at a certain time in the past, I am suggesting that he was struggling against factors seeking to control him and that he was conquered, whereas he was undoubtedly choosing happily and hopefully All the determinist should point out is that choice is the expression of the self of the time in the situation of the time He does not mean that the individual would act that way again now that he is a wiser man Nor does he mean that the act was necessarily the expression of the best in the man. The pathos of action is often that potentiality conflicts with actuality We may say also that in this conflict lies the significance of repentance and conversion. Few actions are the function of all the resources of an individual It is quite correct to say of men that their potentiality is greater than their action. But a potentiality which is never expressed in any degree is a myth. The traditional doctrine of free will was also pointed against epiphenomenalism It was a protest against the crude idea that a man's actions were the function of purely mechanical changes in the organism and in the environment. Such epiphenomenalism assumed a dualism between mind and body with which the evolutionary naturalist has no sympathy. There are levels of activity and behavior in nature. Mind is a physical category. We may conclude that the old, deductive, mechanical necessitarianism which thought of man as a machine and consciousness as a mere psychic illumination has received a shrewd blow. The various sciences are becoming more autonomous, that is, more empirical, and are refusing dictation from anything but their material The categories are enlarging and becoming more flexible. Man is still regarded as a part of nature—that is the fundamental thesis of naturalism — but his specific abilities are not ignored. Naturalism has at last decided to take evolution seiiously. Just because the critical realist distinguishes between knowledge and its object, he can harmonize all that is valid in both determinism and tychism As against logical determinism, he points out that laws are not external realities govern- ing events. As against tychism, he asserts that spontaneity can only mean an activity relative to and affected by a situation. And such activity at once expresses that which is and modifies it. Howv Shall We Conceive Necessity? — Necessity for Spinoza was the same as true freedom. Was this a play upon words? Clearly, if we are to avoid a paradox we must find out what we mean by necessity The discussion in the previous section should help us. To be determined by one's own nature is to be free. Such determination is self-expression which is the same as freedom But things are not so simple. Even if we are not pushed from outside as a culprit is by a policeman, we are often divided against ourselves The individual is solicited by various ideas which are incompatible. The victory of one idea is never complete. The vanquished element is rebellious. The truth is that the past thought too much in terms of substances of a simple nature The categories of to-day are those of process and complexity. As we have already seen, modern pluralism is a revolt against a false conconception of unity, a conception which thinks of the whole as above and controlling the parts. Spinoza's was a mystical, logical substantialism. The evolutionary naturalist has knowledge of an external world knit loosely together and permitting localized developments and novel activities in the parts. Both space and time are more empirically conceived. It follows that freedom is a category which permits degrees and that it expresses knowledge of the part played by one thing among other things While not limited to man, it has for him a deeper meaning because of his greater abilities and his fuller knowledge of himself Man has wants and desires, and is led to measure his freedom by the extent to which his environment cooperates or can be made to cooperate with him to their fulfilment. This freedom has a transverse reference to the setting of his action. The opposite of freedom is bafflement and frustration; and these lead to the emotional attitude of fatalism. The common denominator, so to speak, of the various levels of causality from the atom to man is a physical system actively changing. Hence it is obvious that causal necessity concerns every level and does not differentiate them Freedom, on the other hand, is a category with degrees and expresses specific knowledge of specific things. It is nonsense to talk of the whole universe as being free unless we think of it as a single person Freedom has to do with the success or failure of a part within a larger whole. The causal determinist of evolutionary, pluralistic persuasion is clearly a believer in interaction and differentiation He grants activity and power to the individual In all this he keeps close to the facts In short there is no conflict between freedom and causal necessity. Descartes and Kant are historically to blame for the prevalent association of determinism with the reign of mechanical laws. But what was an excusable fault with them is inexcusable to-day. It is one of the merits of the pragmatist that he has stressed the objective validity of biological and psychological categories. But because of his idealistic inheritance and poor epistemology, he did not always do justice to the inorganic which is man's cosmic setting. There was at times something comic and boyish about his lighthearted humanism. To return to our main argument From the principle of causal necessity as I have interpreted it, no theory as to the method of change in any system can be deduced nor should the creative activity of any object be denied. The causal determinist can champion invention and the creative power of intelligence with an even more assured conscience than can the indeterminist. But I feel certain that this fact is being realized and that the old controversies arc on the point of disappearance. Causal determinism is pragmatically harmless.7 The category of necessity is essentially retrospective and cognitional. For this reason appeal from it to the sense of free activity in conduct is quite irrelevant, all the more so that there is no intellectual conflict When B follows a set of conditions A and tests show a genuine relation, we are led to maintain that B necessarily follows from A. This "necessarily" expresses our conviction of an inner relation of change to that which changes. But it is nonsensical to conclude that the changing system must feel necessitated. It is in thinking that we feel the necessity. But those who make the false interpretation argue that our sense of freedom in action disproves causal necessity. It does not, because there is nothing in the general theory of determinism which implies that we should have any other experience than we do. At the risk of being tedious, let me draw together the threads of my argument. First, any physical system in process of change determines its changes. Let us call this self-determination Such self-determination has no logical connection with any specific theory of the mode and manner of change. Only empirical investigation can throw light upon this latter problem. And the facts indicate that there are different kinds of processes in nature. Second, the feeling of causal necessity is subjective and retrospective. 7 It is quite evident that James saw this, for he argued finally only for novelty. Historical Idealism took much the stand of Spinoza but was, like him, unjust to time and space, novelty and pluralism. It should not be projected into the process of which we are gaining knowledge. In free action we have a characteristic sense of relevant transition. There is a sense of accepted and even willed unfolding or direction. I believe that Professor Alexander has named this experience enjoyed determination. The opposite of it is a sense of compulsion. Third, the feeling of necessity, of which Hume made so much, in no wise conflicts with our experience of activity and freedom. The same action that we feel free and active in doing will retrospectively appear to follow from our character and the situation in which we were. In action the self is the character or personality. There is no sense of control by it as something external to the self. Or, to the extent that this is the case, we are divided against ourselves. Finally, causal processes often lead to novelty, to new combinations, to new wholes having new properties. We must separate causality and repetition. It follows from all this that causal determinism is perfectly harmonizable with empirical freedom and self-realization and that both are opposed to fatalism and predestination. Freedom is a category expressive of the ability of man to plan and to dominate. At its highest level it implies thought and judgment. For this reason it is right to say that only the good man attains the highest degree of freedom. The more man masters himself and his environment the freer will he be. Freedom is at once a transverse and a temporal category And it is always relative to situation and aims. When individuals ask whether they are free or necessitated, they have reference to the fact of success or its absence. And the empirical answer must be that they are sometimes free and sometimes not. Let us note that there is just as much causality in the one case as the other, so that causality, itself, cannot be the distinguishing mark. It is equally clear that freedom as a category has most meaning where there are creatures who make plans and try to carry them out. It is not that physical things are completely unfree, for they participate in the result and are never passive.It is rather that the internal situation of conscious beings begets contrasts which were previously non-existent. How far down in the scale of evolution these conditions are found is a question for the comparative psychologist. Evolutionary naturalism does not ignore man's peculiar abilities since it takes time and evolution seriously. A Fresh Return to Potentiality — Early in the present chapter, we offered a suggestion as to the correct meaning of potentiality. We saw that it was a complex category connected with causality. It stood, as it were, midway between possibility and actuality. It is that upon which possibility must be based to make it more than a mere play of the imagination It stands for a recognition of the complex nature of things and of the fact that things are capable of various expressions according to the conditions brought to bear upon them It means that what occurs is always a selection, that other events would have occured! had other combinations arisen. Potentiality is, thus, a category which the pluralist must always emphasize. It stands for the significance and richness of content of terms. What, for example, would I have been like without a university education? Would not certain sides of my nature have been partially dormant? Potentiality signifies that terms are not reducible to their relations without a remainder. I do not wish to be misunderstood. Relations in nature are not external, but they are additional and changeable. Potentiality does not mean an inactive core at the center of the term but it points to new modes of action under different conditions. It signifies that individuality is cumulative, complex and charged; that it is not exhausted by any one response but is ready to express itself again and again and variably. Potentiality goes with such categories as organization and cumulation The shallowness of mechanistic naturalism has revealed itself in its inability to concede potentiality and variability Nature was all surface as it were But the larger meaning of potentiality implies a narrower meaning, that of causal continuity. In this sense, potentiality signifies that the final result of an actual process is the natural and legitimate expression of the changing system False potentiality ignores creative activity and holds that the result was already there in some sense at the beginning It is an attempt to belittle the significance of time and change. It is a yearning for continuity overdoing itself. Both absolutists and mechanists have been guilty of the false use of potentiality. The reason for this is not far to seek. Both were opposed to novelty and sought to interpret it as concealed repetition, as an unveiling of what already was. The believer in false potentiality loves such a term as the implicit. It is somewhat surprising to find that many advocates of novelty still interpret the principle of continuity in such a way as to furnish a support for the false notion of potentiality This question comes to a crisis in the problem of the appearance of consciousness. Let us examine James's interpretation of the famous passage in Tyndall's Belfast Address in which he claimed to find in matter the "promise and potency of every form and quality of life." James regards this as an appeal to continuity and comments as follows: "We ought, therefore, ourselves sincerely to try every possible mode of conceiving the dawn of consciousness so that it may not appear equivalent to the irruption into the universe of a new nature, non-existent until then... Merely to call the consciousness 'nascent' will not serve our turn... The fact is that discontinuity comes in if a new nature comes in at all... And consciousness, however little, is an illegitimate birth in any philosophy that starts without it, and yet professes to explain all fact by continuous evolution."8
I shall argue in the next chapter that consciousness is not a new stuff in any metaphysical sense and that awareness and cognition are functions of the structure of consciousness and the activity of the organism. But while psychical contents are inseparable from cerebral states and are a literal part of their nature, they are novel just as these states are novel. They cannot be deduced nor foreseen. They are new just as mental capacities are new. Much, therefore, depends upon what James means by a new "nature." We must postpone the subtleties of this point to the discussion of mind and body. There remains the logical question. Does continuity imply mere sameness7 Does the principle imply that the future is like the past and that change can only be repetitions? Surely not. Our whole argument has been against that. And the facts of science and of human life are as clearly against any such interpretation. I conclude that continuity can demand only genetic relationship, the absence of causal breaks. It has no right to go further and assert complete logical identity of the sort that comes out in the formerly popular postulate that the effect must be like the cause. As a matter of fact, the effect should not be like the cause, although it should be relevant to it.9
The idea of continuity is often of a sensuous rather than of a logical type. Thus the visible confluence of the parts of a spectrum in which adjacent likeness yet permits marked differences between widely separated parts is sometimes cited as an example But evolution deals with cumulative change and with new wholes rising on the intimate combination of recoverable, yet for the time changed, parts. Shall we say that such a progression involves discontinuity? If we mean by discontinuity novelty, yes. But if this novelty grows necessarily out of the situation, is there not also the essential of continuity? Otherwise, continuity means identity and the postulate conflicts with the obvious fact of change Let us apply this conclusion to the problem indicated by Tyndall and interpreted by James. That human behavior and structure is new in the world, cannot, surely, be doubted by the evolutionist. What is postulated is that these capacities and activities and organizations can be shown to have grown step by step from preceding stages. It is genetic relationship which is held in mind. But human consciousness is intertwined functionally with these capacities and activities. It must therefore be as new as they, for it is not a sterile and passive stuff which has no organic relevance to the life of the organism. Any empirical theory of consciousness makes it correlative, not to the atoms into which the dead brain can be disintegrated, but to functional nerve-systems. Why, then, should the existence of consciousness at a particular stage of evolution and its non-existence at low levels be any more of a challenge to the principle of continuity than the corresponding contrast between organic behavior of an intelligent sort and mere physicochemical process7 Primarily, I presume, because the uncritical mind works up a contrast between an unorganized matter alien to consciousness and this new thing called consciousness, and can detect no bridge from one to the other. Such a change becomes a miracle and genetic relevance intuitively excluded. But after we have once relinquished naive pictures of a material stuff known to be alien to consciousness in its very heart — a view which reflects what may be called natural dualism — we perceive that the thinker can just as well argue backward and say that the physical system which contains consciousness must have grown out of a type of reality capable of bringing it to birth. I believe that consciousness is an irruption so far as its novelty is concerned but not as regards its genetic matrix and conditions. He who denies this assertion of essential continuity must maintain that only consciousness can produce consciousness. But to this thesis it can rightly be rejoined that consciousness is not a productive stuff which is seen to reproduce itself endlesssly, that consciousness is a complex of contents ever coming and going as seemingly free gifts, and that both the significance of consciousness and its occurrence appear to be bound up with the brain, a reality which is more than consciousness though not alien to it. But we are in danger of forgetting that we are analyzing only the category of potentiality. In our later discussion of the mind-body-consciousness problem we shall be in a better position to gather a11 the necessary threads of thought together