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printed in Mind for April, 1908, and is now reprinted in his valuable Essays on Truth and Reality just published.* To
Το determine whether one is or is not a Pragmatist we must first be sure of the meaning to be attached to the terms “practical” and "practice". Like Professor Caldwell, Mr. Bradley finds these terms “most obscure and ambiguous.” Professor James seems to play fast and loose with them, now insisting upon a doctrine "acceptable perhaps only to the minority" and again extending so widely the limits of his creed that few indeed would in the end be left outside the fold". In the latter sense "practice" seems to include theory and theoretical enjoyment; so that "life in all its main aspects is allowed to be the end, and none of these espects is excluded and degraded to the level of a mere external means." But this is what Mr. Bradley claims to have been his own doctrine from the first, and unless we adopt the extreme view that he does not know what his own doctrine means, it is evident that he has made no "concessions” to Pragmatism, the fact being that the Pragmatists began by making a claim to originality which they have been gradually compelled to abandon under the pressure of criticism (p. 131, note). On this interpretation, therefore, the whole dispute between the Pragmatists and Mr. Bradley is about the meaning of the word "practice", and it is the former who have departed from the ordinary sense of the term, in which it is contrasted with theory, and with art.
Another point in which Mr. Bradley was supposed to differ from the Pragmatists was in denying that truth was that which worked best in furthering the existence of the individual. "We speak, for instance, of a man's life being ruined by the useless discovery of some truth, say of his deceased wife's infidelity, and we hardly see our way to set down a truth of this kind as an error." It seems, however, that Pragmatism never affirmed that truth is that which works in the case of the individual. The idea that in a man's case does not work, or that works to his ruin, may for all that be true. For the true is "the expedient in the long run and on the whole” (p. 129). But this only leads to a new difficulty,
*Essays on Truth and Reality. By F. H. Bradley, LL.D., Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1914.
for the "expedient in the long run and on the whole” remains unknown and unknowable. And yet it is this apparently by which the individual has to regulate his life (p. 130).
Mr. Bradley, however, does not think that this wide interpretation can possibly be meant. The pragmatist opposes the intellectual and the practical. Pragmatism, he says, is essentially ambiguous, and "can at discretion be preached as a new Gospel which is to bring light into the world, or recommended as that old teaching of common sense which few but fools have rejected" (132). For himself he has a working conception, which, it is true, does not pretend to be ultimate, but which he believes to be the practical creed of an increasing number of persons. On this view there is in the end for us no truth save that of working ideas. Whatever idea is wanted to satisfy a genuine human need is true, and truth in the end has no other meaning. But there are degrees of truth, because ideas may work better or worse, and because again the interests which ideas subserve are more or less valuable. There is here no mutilation of human nature, since every side of life, practical, aesthetic, and intellectual, is allowed its full value. We are emancipated once for all from the narrowness of all one-sided attempts at consistency (133).
It must be evident from what has been said that the vulgar charge of Intellectualism, brought against Mr. Bradley, is singularly inept, and the same is true of Mr. Bosanquet. Nor has either of these distinguished thinkers altered his fundamental doctrines “in consequence of the pragmatist movement." Anyone
Anyone familiar with Mr. Bradley's Appearance and Reality knows that it contains two distinct points of view, which the author believes to be perfectly consistent with each other. On the one hand, he asks what conception of the ultimate nature of the universe will satisfy the intellect, and on the other hand how far we are entitled to make a working use of something which is less than an ultimate view of things. The greater part of that work is occupied with the former problem, but in the chapter on Degrees of Truth and Reality, he indicates how, in default of a final synthesis of truth, goodness, art and religion, we may lay down general rules for action. It is true, I think, that the claim of the pragmatists to have introduced a new and revolutionary view of things has led Mr. Bradley to emphasize the latter side of his philosophy, but I do not think that he has made any fundamental change in it. He still holds, as he has always held, that “theory takes its origin from practical collision,” and that “theory implies a theoretical want and its satisfaction.” Between these two views, he maintains, and I think rightly maintains, there is no fundamental discrepancy. Professor Caldwell quotes his remark that there is "no such existing thing as pure thought”, as if this were an admission that thought has no laws of its own. In truth what it really means is that, while thought refuses to be influenced by anything but its own laws, it by no means works in a vacuum, but seeks to get by an interpretation of experience in the widest sense a coherent and orderly system and will be satisfied with nothing less. Hence, in the very passage cited Mr. Bradley goes on to say: "On the other side, if in the end there is to be no such thing as independent thought, thought, that is, which in its actual exercise takes no account of the psychological situation, I am myself in the end led inevitably to scepticism" (74). What Mr. Bradley, then, holds is that truth is impossible unless there is such a thing as "independent” thought-a very different thing from "pure" thought, which in fact would be thought that operated in entire independence of the facts of experience. It is on some such confusion as this that the ordinary charge of "formalism" and "intellectualism" is based. The whole question is whether the various needs of our nature can be reconciled in a system which combines in a perfect unity morality, art, religion and philosophy. Mr. Bradley is of the opinion that no such reconciliation is possible, although we can state generally what its character must be. It is for this reason that he supplements his study of first principles by a working theory, which refuses to "stake vital issues on the result of speculative inquiry" (132). I do not myself think that this is a position which can bear the test of rigid scrutiny, for an Absolute which is defined as beyond self-consciousness seems to me to be indistinguishable from Pure Being; but I cannot see that Mr. Bradley has really been influenced by the platitudes and ambiguities of Pragmatism. The real problem of philosophy at the present time is not to adjudicate between Pragmatism and Absolutism, but to find a comprehensive formula which will do justice to all the aspects of experience, refusing to sacrifice the claims of the intellect to those of the
heart, or to belittle the revelations of art in favour of a onesided theology, or to exalt art above religion and philosophy. If eminent thinkers like Mr. Bradley and Mr. Bosanquet have not supplied us with such a system and I do not think they have—they have at least brought before us the problem in all its breadth and complexity and have made a contribution to its solution the value of which it is impossible to overrate.
MR. J. S. EWART'S VIEW OF CANADIAN HISTORY.
The Kingdom of Canada: Toronto, 1908.
The Kingdom Papers, Vol. I: Ottawa, 1912. (R. John S. Ewart is a citizen of whom Canada has much
reason to be proud. As a lawyer, he rose to the head of the Winnipeg Bar and was always solicitous of the honour and integrity alike of bar and bench. He has done the state some service as one of the Canadian Counsel in the 1910 fisheries arbitration at the Hague, where the British triumph was in no small measure due to the thoroughness and lucidity of his work. Having amassed a competence, he has devoted himself to the study of the history of the problems of his country, and the free publication of the result. All other things he has made the adjuncts, not the objects of his life. Of such a fellowcitizen we must all feel proud; but our regard does not exempt him from criticism, nor do I think it unfair criticism to say that he has certain defects of historical method and of controversy, which proceed largely from his legal training. To him might not unfairly be applied Burke's characterization of that intrepid doctrinaire, George Grenville: "With a masculine understanding, and a stout and resolute heart he had an application, undissipated and unwearied. He took public business not as a duty which he was to fulfil but as a pleasure he was to enjoy. If he was ambitious, I will say this for him ,his ambition was of a noble and generous strain. .. If such a man fell into errors it must be from defects not intrinsical; they must be rather sought in the particular habits of his life, which though they do not alter the groundwork of character, yet tinge it with their own hue. He was bred in a profession. He was bred to the law, which is, in my opinion, one of the finest and noblest of human sciences, a science which does more to quicken and invigorate the understanding than all the other kinds of learning put together; but it is not apt, except in persons very happily born, to open and to liberalize the mind exactly in the same proportion."
For a number of years Mr. Ewart has from time to time given public addresses, some of which are republished in "The