Panentheism.  Revisionism.  Anarchocapitalism.



Essays by Me

Essays by Others

Process, Insight, and Empirical Method 

An Argument for the Compatibility of the Philosophies of Alfred North Whitehead and Bernard J. F. Lonergan and Its Implications for Foundational Theology.

A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the Divinity School, The University of Chicago, for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

December 1983

Thomas Hosinski, C.S.C.

Chapter III:

The Influence of Empirical Method in Whitehead’s and Lonergan’s Analyses of Human Subjectivity [Continued]

Whitehead’s Analysis of Human Subjectivity [Continued]

Consciousness, Rationality, and Knowing [Continued]

Intellectual Feelings and Consciousness: Complex Comparative Feelings


A propositional feeling feels contraries. Con-sciousness not only feels the contraries, but iden-tifies them and so knows them for what they are. Consciousness is the subjective form of a feeling that synthesizes propositional feelings with physical, or conceptual feelings. [PR, III.4.i (M, p. 391; C, p. 256).] A simpler way of saying this is, propositional feelings merely entertain theory, while consciousness feels “the contrast of theory, as mere theory, with fact, as mere fact.” [PR, II.9.i (M, p. 286; C, p. 188).] Consciousness is thus the most primitive form of knowing because it is the first subjective form of feeling which necessarily involves judgment. This, I hope, will become more clear as my discussion proceeds.

Consciousness is the subjective form of an intel-lectual feeling. “In an intellectual feeling the datum is the generic contrast between a nexus of actual enti-ties and a proposition with its logical subjects mem-bers of the nexus. [PR, III.5.ii (M, p. 407; C, p. 266).] Consciousness not only feels but also identifies the components of the datum generic contrast for what they are.  This generic contrast is what Whitehead refers to as “the affirmation-negation contrast. [See PR, III.2.iv (M, p. 372; C, p. 243); III.4.iii (M, p. 399; C, p. 261); III.5.ii (M, p. 407; C, pp. 266-267).] Such a contrast is possible only when a synthetic feeling integrates propositional feelings with physical feelings.

In awareness actuality, as a process in fact, is integrated with the potentialities which illus-trate either what it is and might not be, or what it is not and might be.  In other words, there is no consciousness without reference to definiteness, affirmation, and negation.  Also affirmation involves its contrast with negation, and negation involves its contrast with affir-mation.  Further, affirmation and negation are alike meaningless apart from reference to the de-finiteness of particular actualities. Con-sciousness is how we feel the affirmation-negation contrast. [PR, III.2.iv (M, p. 372; C, p. 243).]

Consciousness thus arises in the integration of pro-positional feelings and physical feelings, and is awareness of the real difference between the ele-ments of its datum.  The datum of complex com-parative or intellectual feelings is the contrast itself, presenting both what is (by means of the physical prehensions in the integration) and what might be (by means of the propositional feelings in the integration) with respect to some aspect of the particular situation in which the concrescing subject finds itself.  The subjective form of the synthetic feeling of this complex datum is consciousness, the awareness of the contrast presented in the datum.

This contrast is what has been termed the “affirmation-negation contrast.”  It is the contrast between the affirmation of objectified fact in the physical feeling, and the mere potentiality, which is the negation of such affirmation, in the propositional feeling.  It is the contrast between “in fact” and “might be,” in respect to particular instances in this actual world.  The subjective form of the feeling of this contrast is consciousness. [PR, III.5.ii (M, p. 407; C, p. 267).]

Intellectual feelings and their subjective form of consciousness are thus a special type of propo-sitional feelings, arising only when the affirmation-negation contrast has entered into the subjective form of feeling.  For example, when we humans are awake, the affirmation-negation contrast continually enters into the subjective form of our propositional feelings.  We are constantly judging what is, what is not, and what might be in the focal area of attention illuminated by consciousness.  When we are asleep, however, or knocked unconscious by a blow or a drug, the affirmation-negation contrast does not enter into the subjective form of our propositional feelings.  We are in an unconscious state, dreaming or dreamless. Our presiding “ego” occasion in this unconscious state may have propositional feelings, but the subjective form of those feelings does not involve the affirmation-negation contrast.  Our dreams, for example, occur with feelings of complete realism; but only when we awake can we consciously remember those feelings and determine that the experience was in fact a dream.  In the unconscious dream state there is no true or false, no judgment; there is only the propositional feeling. In the con-scious state, the propositional feeling is integrated with physical feelings in the datum which presents the contrast of “in fact is” and “might be.” Consciousness is the awareness of the judgment implied by feeling that contrast in the datum.

The subjective form of the propositional feeling will depend on circumstances . . . It may, or may not, involve consciousness; it may, or may not, involve judgment . . . . The subjective form will only involve conscious-ness when the “affirmation-negation” contrast has entered into it.  In other words, con-sciousness enters into the subjective form of feelings, when those feelings are components in an integral feeling whose datum is the contrast between a nexus which is, and a proposition which in its own nature negates the decision of its truth or falsehood.  The logical subjects of the proposition are the actual entities in the nexus, as in contrast with imaginative freedom about it.  The conscious-ness may confer importance upon what the real thing is, or upon what the imagination is, or upon both. [PR, III.4.iii (M, p. 399; C, p. 261).]

Since consciousness is the subjective form of a synthetic feeling integrating physical feelings with propositional feelings, this means that awareness or consciousness always involves both conceptual and non-conceptual elements. This is the case even for awareness of concepts. [See PR, III.2.iv (M, pp. 371-372; C, p. 243).] Considered in relation to the phases of concrescence, then, an occasion which is conscious always involves “some element of recollection.  It recalls earlier phases from the dim recesses of the unconscious. . . .  consciousness enlightens ex-perience which precedes it, and could be without it if considered as a mere datum.” [Ibid. (M, p. 370; C, p. 242).] The reason this is important is that it enables Whitehead to illustrate the ontological difference between a concept and a percept. [See Ibid. (M, pp. 369-372; C, pp. 241-243).] We have already seen that a pure conceptual feeling does not involve consciousness, nor does the datum of the feeling involve any reference to definite fact.  A conceptual feeling feels an absolutely abstract “universal” (an eternal object).  A percept necessarily involves reference to non-conceptual components in its datum.  A conscious percept and conscious aware-ness of a concept both necessarily involve not only reference to non-conceptual components in the datum but also necessarily involve the operation of judgment.  In the rest of this subsection I shall attempt to show why this is the case.

In any propositional feeling there are two physical feelings involved.  The first is what Whitehead calls the “indicative feeling,” and the second is what he calls the “physical recognition.” [See PR, III.4.iii (M, p. 397; C, p. 260).] The “indicative feeling” is the subject’s physical feeling of the entities in the nexus which includes the logical subjects of the proposition. The “physical recognition” is “a physical feeling involving a certain eternal object among the determinants of the definiteness of its datum.” [Ibid.] This is easiest to understand by considering an instance of sense perception.  Let us say that I am gazing at a grey rock.  According to Whitehead’s analysis there are at least two physical feelings involved in my perception of the grey rock.  My presiding “ego” occasion is physically prehending the actual entities constituting the nexus we call “a rock.”  My presiding “ego” occasion is also physically prehending the experience of my eyes.  Among the determinants of the definiteness of the datum contributed by my eyes is a certain eternal object, which we call “grey.”  The subject derives its conceptual feeling of the eternal object from this second physical feeling, the “physical recognition.” The conceptual prehension lifts the eternal object “grey” into prominence.  The subject may also generate a conceptual feeling which is a reversion from this first conceptual feeling, with a different eternal object as datum.  In our perceptual example, my presiding “ego” occasion may, for some reason, lift into prominence the eternal object “white” instead of “grey.”  In either case, the conceptual feeling provides the “predicative pattern” of the proposition, and “the physical recognition is the physical basis of the conceptual feeling which provides the predicative pattern.” [Ibid.] The proposition is formed by the subject’s integration of the predicative pattern with its physical feelings.  For example, my presiding “ego” occasion forms the proposition, “grey rock.”

For purposes of simplicity I have ignored the transmutation whereby the predicate belonging to the actual entities is applied to the nexus of perceived entities, in this case the “corpuscular society” we call the “rock.”

Due to the possible relationships of the two physical feelings, there are two main types of propositional feelings.  Whitehead calls these “perceptive feelings” and “imaginative feelings.  [PR, III.4.iv (M, pp. 399-400; C, pp. 261-262).]

This difference is founded on the comparison between the “indicative feeling” from which the logical subjects are derived, and the “physical recognition” from which the predicative pattern is derived.

These physical feelings are either identical or different.  If they be one and the same feeling, the derived propositional feeling is here called a “perceptive feeling.”  For in this case . . . the proposition predicates of its logical subjects a character derived from the way in which they are physically felt by that prehending subject.

If the physical feelings be different, the derived propositional feeling is here called an “imaginative feeling.”  For in this case . . . the proposition predicates of its logical subjects a character without any guarantee of close relevance to the logical subjects. [Ibid.]

There are three types of perceptive feelings, “authentic” perceptive feelings of the “direct” and “indirect” sorts, and “unauthentic” perceptive feelings. [See Ibid. (M, pp. 400-401; C, pp. 262-263).] These types have to do with the source of the predicate compared to the actual entities of the nexus which are the data of the “indicative” physical feeling.  If there is no reversion, that is, if the predicative pattern is derived directly from the “physical recognition,” then the propositional feeling is “authentic.”  The predicate of this proposition “is in some way realized in the real nexus of its logical subjects.” [Ibid. (M, pp. 400-401; C, pp. 262).] This, however, does not mean that the proposition must be true,

so far as concerns the way in which it implicates the logical subjects with the predicate.  For the primary physical feeling of that nexus by the prehending subject may have involved “transmutation.” . . . In this case the proposition ascribes to its logical subjects the physical enjoyment of a nexus with the definition of its predicate; whereas that predicate may have only been enjoyed conceptually by these logical subjects.  Thus, what the proposition proposes as a physical fact in the nexus, was in truth only a mental fact.  Unless it is understood for what it is, error arises. [Ibid., (M, p. 401; C, p.262)]

This is an “indirect authentic perceptive feeling.”

If, on the other hand, there is no “transmutation,” “then the predicate of the proposition is that eternal object which constitutes the definiteness of that nexus.  In this case, the proposition is, without qualification, true.”  This is a “direct authentic perceptive feeling.” [Ibid.]  In the case of these “authentic” feelings, the predicate has realization in the nexus, physically or ideally, apart from any reference to the prehending subject. [Ibid.]

If, in the third and last case, the predicative pattern arises by “reversion” from the conceptual feeling derived from the “physical recognition,” then the propositional feeling is termed “unauthentic.”

In this case the predicate has in it some elements which really contribute to the definiteness of the nexus; but it has also some elements which contrast with corresponding elements in the nexus.  These latter elements have been introduced in the concrescence of the prehending subject.  The predicate is thus distorted from the truth by the subjectivity of the prehending subject. [Ibid. (M, p. 401; C, p. 263).]

Imaginative feelings arise when the indicative feeling and the physical recognition are different.  The degree of difference can range from one extreme case in which two nexus, forming the data of the two feelings respectively, are almost entirely different, to the other extreme case in which they are almost identical.  But in any case there is some diversity in the feelings and thus some trace of free imagination.

The proposition which is the objective datum of an imaginative feeling has a predicate derived, with or without reversions, from a nexus which in some respects differs from the nexus providing the logical subjects.  Thus the proposition is felt as an imaginative notion concerning its logical subjects. [Ibid. (M, p. 402; C, p. 263).]

If the affirmation-negation contrast and its correlative subjective form of consciousness enter into propositional feelings, there is a further rein-tegration of feelings. This results in two main types of ‘intellectual’ or conscious feelings, corresponding to ‘perceptive’ and ‘imaginative’ feelings. Whitehead calls these ‘conscious perceptions’ and ‘intuitive judgments,’ respectively. [PR, III.5.i (M, p. 406; C, p. 266).]

“Conscious perceptions” are the complex com-parative feelings arising from the integration of the prehending subject’s “perceptive feelings” with its original physical feelings. [PR, III.5.iv (M, p. 409; C, p. 268).] Thus “conscious perceptions” fall into three types corresponding to the three types of “perceptive feelings.”  A “conscious direct authentic perceptive feeling” “feels its logical subjects as potentially invested with a predicate expressing an intrinsic character of the nexus which is the initial datum of the physical feeling.” [Ibid. (M, p. 410; C, p. 268).]  There is, in short, immediate awareness of what the nexus really is.

The integration of the two factors [origina-ting physical feeling and “perceptive” feeling] into the conscious perception thus confronts the nexus as fact, with the potentiality derived from itself, limited to itself, and exemplified in itself.  This confrontation is the generic con-trast which is the objective datum of the integral feeling.  The subjective form thus assumes its vivid immediate consciousness of what the nexus really is in the way of potentiality realized. [Ibid. (M, p. 411; C, p. 269).]

A “conscious indirect authentic perceptive feel-ing” is exactly the same, but with one important qualification.

The qualification is that the secondary con-ceptual feelings, entertained in the nexus by reason of reversion . . . , have been trans-muted so as to be felt in the “subject” (the final subject of the conscious perception) as if they had been physical facts in the nexus. [Ibid. (M, p. 410; C, pp. 268-269).]

It is this sort of authentic perceptive feeling that can introduce error into conscious thought.  It “can distort the character of the nexus felt by transmuting felt concept into felt physical fact.” [Ibid. (M, p. 410; C, p. 269).]

It is to be noted that this is the same means by which novelty is introduced into the physical world.  Error in authentic perceptions and novelty in the actual world have the same source; they “arise by conceptual functioning, according to the Category of Reversion.” Ibid.

This is why, as we shall consider below, even physical feelings must be criticized in the pursuit of truth. Even authentic perceptive feelings can be erroneous and hence are dubitable.  What is dubitable is not that the perception has perceived some real frag-ment of the actual world.  Nor is consciousness res-ponsible for the possibility of error, since the possible distortion originates below the level of conscious-ness.  Rather, the question is whether the physical datum of the conscious perception is actually defined by the observed predicate.

“It is to be observed that what is in doubt is not the immediate perception of a nexus which is a fragment of the actual world.  The dubitable element is the definition of this nexus by the observed predicate.”  Ibid. (M, pp. 411-12; C, p. 270).  See also III.4.v (M, pp. 402-403; C, p. 264).  Here we have the most primitive example in consciousness of the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.

A “conscious unauthentic perceptive feeling” arises when “the subject by its own process of rever-sion has produced for the logical subjects a predicate which has no immediate relevance to the nexus, either as physical fact or as conceptual functioning in the nexus.” [PR, III.5.iv (M, p. 412; C, p. 270).] This sort of conscious perception, Whitehead points out, is “practically” the same as “an intuitive judgment in which there is consciousness of a proposition as erroneous.” [Ibid.]

“Intuitive judgments” are the complex com-parative feelings arising from the integration of the prehending subject’s “imaginative feelings” with its original physical feelings.  “Intuitive judgments” also fall into three types: affirmative, negative, and suspended. [PR, III.5.v (M, pp. 412-413; C, pp. 270-271).]

In all three species of felt contrast, the datum obtains its unity by reason of the objective identity of the actual entities on both sides of the contrast.  In the “yes-form” [affirmative intuitive judgment] there is the further ground of unity by reason of, the identity of the pattern of the objectified nexus with the predicate.  In the “no-form” [negative intuitive judgment] this latter ground of unity is replaced by a contrast involving incom-patible diversity.  In the “suspense-form” [suspended intuitive judgment] the predicate is neither identical, nor incompatible, with the pattern.  It is diverse from, and compatible with, the pattern in the nexus as objectified: the nexus, and its own “formal” existence, may or may not, in fact exemplify both the pattern and the predicate. [Ibid. (M, p. 413; C, pp. 270-271).]

An affirmative intuitive judgment feels the coherence of the proposition involved in the imaginative feeling with the nexus of actual entities involved in the indicative feeling.  This coherence occurs only when there is in the complex datum of the intuitive judgment a single contrast between exemplification and potentiality, applying both to the actual entities of the nexus and the complex eternal object.  That is, in the

generic contrast each actual entity has its contrast of two-way functioning.  One way is its functioning in the exemplified pattern of the nexus, and the other way is its functioning in the potential pattern of the proposition.  If in addition. . . . there be identity as to pattern and predicate, then . . . there is also the single complex eternal object in its two-way functioning, namely, as exemplified and as potential.  In this case the proposition coheres with the nexus and this coherence is its truth. Thus “truth” is the absence of incompatibility of or any “material contrast” in the patterns of the nexus and of the proposition in their generic contrast.  The sole contrast . . . is merely that between exemplification and potentiality . . . [Ibid . (Mt p. 414; Ct p. 271).]

A negative intuitive judgment feels the presence of an incompatible contrast between the nexus and the predicate.  It feels that the two patterns—the exemplified pattern of the nexus and the potential pattern of the proposition—are not identical and are incompatible.  “Then the proposition in some sense, important or unimportant, is not felt as true.” [Ibid.  See also ibid. (Mt pp. 415-416; C, p. 272).]

A suspended intuitive judgment occurs when the predicate is felt to have a relation to the objectified nexus precluding both affirmative and negative intuitive judgment.  The predicate is neither identical nor incompatible with the objectified nexus.  The suspended intuitive judgment “is the feeling of the contrast between what the logical subjects evidently are, and what the same subjects in addition may be.  This suspended judgment is our consciousness of the limitations involved in objectification. [PR, (M, p. 419; Ct p. 274).  See also III.5.v (M, p. 416; C, p. 272).]

Let us consider now the relationship between conscious perceptions and intuitive judgments.  The reason both are classed together as “intellectual feelings” is that they do not differ so far as their general description is concerned.  In both “the comparative feeling is the integration of the physical feeling of a nexus with a propositional feeling whose logical subjects are the actual entities in the nexus.” [PR, III.5.v (M, p. 413; C, p. 271).] They differ, however, in that intuitive judgments have a more complex process of origination.  Imaginative feelings, it will be recalled, involve two different physical feelings. There are in this case two distinct sets of actual entities prehended by the concrescing subject in its physical feelings; the predicative pattern is derived from one, the logical subjects from the other.  In a perceptive feeling, in contrast, the indicative feeling and physical recognition are prehensions of one and the same set of actual entities.   Thus in perceptive feelings and conscious perceptions there is only one set of actual entities involved in the origination of the propositional feeling: “a conscious perception is the outcome of an originative process which has its closest possible restriction to the fact, thus consciously perceived.” [Ibid. (M, p. 415; C, p. 272).] In imaginative feelings, on the other hand, one of the sets of actual entities prehended “is finally eliminated in the process of origination.” [PR, (M, p. 417; C, p. 273).] Only one set remains as provid-ing the logical subjects of the proposition; this is the set of actual entities prehended in the “indicative” feeling.  The predicative pattern was originally derived from the other set of prehended actual entities (the physical recognition).  In the process of origination of the imaginative feeling, this latter set of actual entities is eliminated from the concres-cence.

Despite this difference there is a fundamental similarity between conscious perceptions and intuitive judgments.  The ground of that similarity is that both types of intellectual feeling necessarily involve the operation of judgment.  In both types consciousness is the awareness of the judgment involved in feeling the affirmation-negation contrast in the integration.  The conscious perception or the intuitive judgment is the integration; consciousness is the subjective form of this integral feeling, grasping the affirmation-negation contrast in the complex datum of the integral feeling.  This grasping of the contrast necessarily involves the operation of judgment.  The integral intellectual feeling would be impossible without the operation of judgment, judging what is, what is not, and what might be.  Hence all intellectual feelings necessarily involve judgment.  The difference between conscious perceptions and intuitive judgments is that the operation of judgment is more primitive in conscious perceptions and more sophisticated in intuitive judgments (because of their differing processes of origination which we have just considered). 

It is evident that an affirmative intuitive judgment is very analogous to a conscious perception.  A conscious perception is a very simplified type of affirmative intuitive judg-ment; and a direct affirmative intuitive judg-ment is a very sophisticated case of conscious perception. [Ibid.]

Consciousness is the subjective form involved in feeling the contrast between the “theory” which may be erroneous and the fact which is “given.” . . . Conscious perception is, therefore, the most primitive form of judgment. [PR, II.7.ii (M, p. 245; C, p. 162).]

Thus conscious perceptions and intuitive judg-ments are fundamentally similar in that they both in-volve judgment which relates conceptual functioning with the non-conceptual experience of definite fact at the base of our awareness of nature. The “triumph” of consciousness and the “peak” of mentality, Whitehead observes,

comes with the negative intuitive judgment. In this case there is a conscious feeling of what might be, and is not. The feeling directly concerns the definite negative prehensions enjoyed by its subject. It is the feeling of absence, and it feels this absence as produced by the definite exclusiveness of what is really present. Thus, the explicitness of negation, which is the peculiar characteristic of consciousness, is here at its maximum.

PR, (M, p. 417-418; C, p. 273-274). See also I.i.ii (M, p. 7; C, p. S); this observation on the importance of negative judgment is what underlies Whitehead’s description of the general method of all discovery.  See Thesis, pp. 11-13. See also PR, II.7.ii (M, p. 245; C, p. 161).

Affirmative and negative intuitive judgments, Whitehead notes, are comparatively rare.  More frequent is the occurrence of suspended intuitive judgments. [PR, (M, p. 418; C, p. 274). The suspended intuitive judgment, we recall, is feeling the contrast between what the logical subjects evidently are and what they may also be.  The predicate derived from the propositional feeling (the “imaginative” predicate) does not in the synthetic feeling find identity with the pattern of the objectified nexus, but neither does it find incompatibility.  The feeling of this contrast thus precludes both affir-mative and negative intuitive judgment. Whitehead comments that “this suspended judgment is our consciousness of the limitations involved in objectification.” [Ibid. (M p. 419; p 274).] In the whole process of concrescence, the subject objectifies the actual entities constituting the datum for feeling by means of only some or one of their aspects. Objectification necessarily involves limitation; that is, the actual entities of the datum are not being prehended in the fulness of their “formal” constitution, but only by means of some of their constitutive elements.  There is limitation and abstraction even in the simple “pure” prehensions. There is further abstraction and limitation in the formation of physical purposes and propositional feelings.  Thus the suspended intuitive judgment actually gives the subject the possibility of “information concerning the objectified nexus, information that has been eliminated or omitted in earlier phases of concrescence in both physical and conceptual prehensions.  The suspended judgment is thus a judgment of compatibility. “It is this additional knowledge of the compatibility of what we imagine with what we physically feel, that gives this information.”

Ibid. Hence the importance of suspended judgments for progress in science.  See ibid.  (M, p. 419; C, pp. 274-275).

It is important to note that the suspended intuitive judgment is not a judgment of probability concerning the truth-value of the proposition in relation to the logical subjects. Such a judgment is a derivative or inferential judgment made in abstrac-tion from the subject of the intuitive judgment, as I shall discuss below. Instead, the intuitive suspended judgment is a judgment of fact concerning the self-constitution of the judging subject, and it is a judgment of compatibility.

The judgment tells us what may be additional information respecting the formal constitu-tions of the logical subjects, information which is neither included nor excluded by our direct perception.

This is a judgment of fact concerning ourselves. [Ibid. (M, p. 419; C, pp. 274-275).]

Likewise affirmative and negative intuitive judg-ments function as judgments of fact concerning the self-constitution of the judging subject.  The affirmative intuitive judgment affirms that the pre-dicate is an element of our direct perception; the ne-gative intuitive judgment affirms that it is not; the suspended intuitive judgment affirms that it is neither included nor excluded by our direct per-ception.

Metaphysically, then, the main function of intui-tive judgments and also of conscious perceptions has to do with the concrescence of the judging subject. Specifically, it has to do with the final modification of subjective aim.  Conscious perceptions and intuitive judgments are the simplest examples of the ontological function of judgment and knowledge.  They are the synthetic feelings in which the operation of judgment elucidates and modifies the unconscious processes which without judgment result in the unconscious commitment of ourselves as subjects. Consciousness, in other words, introduces critical ability into the concrescence of the subject. Consciousness introduces precision, clarification, greater powers of discrimination; it enables the subject to interpret, or respond to, its experience more carefully.  Judgment thus functions as a modification of decision.

In unconsciousness, decisions are made on the basis of valuation but without benefit of criticism. Appetition is blind.  The subject commits itself to propositions by decisions made without the benefit of judgment.  In consciousness, judgment appears as the means of criticizing decisions, as an important way of modifying subjective aim.  It is a way of valuating the valuations underlying decisions. Consciousness and judgment are a way of concentrating attention upon topics of importance and interest to the conscious judging subject.  In this way emotional intensity is heightened, Importance is increased and the subject gains more control over what it allows to lure its commitments.  A subject commits itself in its decisions regarding propositions. Propositions lure the subject toward decision and commitment.  Judgment is the critique of these propositional lures, and it enables the decision to be strengthened or weakened or changed entirely by reinforcing the final decision with knowledge.

“The main function of these [intellectual] feelings is to heighten the emotional intensity accompanying the valuations in the conceptual feelings involved, and in the mere physical purposes which are more primitive than any intellectual feelings.  They perform this function by the sharp-cut way in which they limit abstract valuation to express possibilities relevant to definite logical subjects.  In so far as these logical subjects, by reason of other prehen-sions, are topics of interest, the proposition be-comes a lure for the conditioning of creative action.  In other words, its prehension effects a modification of the subjective aim.

“Intellectual feelings, in their primary function, are concentration of attention involving increase of importance.  This concentration of attention also introduces the criticism of physical purposes . . .” PR, III.5.v (M, p. 416; C, pp. 272-273). See also PR, II.9.ii (M, p. 294; C, p. 193): “A judgment weakens or strengthens the decision whereby the judged proposition, as a constituent in the lure, is admitted as an efficient element in the concrescence, with the reinforcement of knowledge.  A judgment is the critique of a lure for feeling.”

The judgment may be correct or incorrect, the knowledge accurate or mistaken, but it remains a real fact in the constitution of that subject that this judgment has entered into and determined its self-constitution.

“This judgment affirms, correctly or incorrectly, a real fact in the constitution of the judging subject.  Here there is no room for any qualification of the categorical character of the judgment.  The judgment is made about itself by the judging subject, and is a feeling in the constitution of the judging subject.” PR, II.9.ii (M, p. 291; C, p. 191).

The reader will have noted that the type of judgment I have been discussing is not the type of judgment with which we are familiar in reflective thought.  It is, instead, the type of judgment involved in the data originating reflective thought.  It also bears a resemblance to the intuitive flash of insight I have discussed in Chapters I and II, an act which grasps in a single moment the problem and the solution.  This is the act of discovery, filled with emotion, necessary to progress in reflective thought but occurring at an intuitive level.  The important point to notice is that the judgment involved in conscious perceptions and intuitive judgments is primarily concerned with the self-constitution of the judging subject.  It is only when concern shifts from the self-constitution of the judging subject to the truth-value of the proposition in abstraction from the judging subject that we arrive at the level of reflective thought.  We also arrive at this level in the attempt to convert a suspended intuitive judgment to belief or disbelief by means of inferential process.  [See PR, III.5.v (M, p. 416; C, p. 272); vi (M, p. 418; C, p. 274).] Here, finally, we come to the type of judgment of which human beings alone, so it appears, are capable.

Whitehead refers to this final type of judgment as “inferential” or “derivative” judgment.  It is “deriva-tive” because any affirmation about the logical sub-jects of a proposition made in abstraction from the judging subject “is obviously ‘affirmation’ in a sense derivative from the meaning of ‘affirmation’ about the judging subject. Identification of the two senses will lead to error.” [PR, II.9.ii (M, p. 291; C, p. 191).]  In short, such judgment, with its concern not for the self-constitution of the judging subject but for the  truth-value of the proposition in abstraction from the judging subject, transcends the subjectivist principle.

“. . . there is abstraction from the judging subject.  The subjectivist principle has been transcended, and the judgment has shifted its emphasis from the objectified nexus to the truth-value of the proposition in question.” Ibid. (M, pp. 291-292; C, pp. 191-192).

This is the self-transcendence of the human knower. Whitehead has surprisingly little to say about derivative judgment.

The entire discussion of derivative judgment is PR, II.9.ii (M, pp. 291-292; C, pp. 191-192).

I shall suggest why this is the case in the following subsection.

Before turning my attention to an evaluation of Whitehead’s ontological approach to epistemological issues, there are yet two points I must briefly men-tion.  The first is Whitehead’s description of his theory of judgment.  His argument is brief.

This judgment is concerned with a conformity of two components within one experience.  It is thus a “coherence” theory.  It is also con-cerned with the conformity of a proposition, not restricted to that individual experience, with a nexus whose relatedness is derived from the various experiences of its own members and not from that of the judging experient.  In this sense there is a “corres-pondence” theory.  But, at this point of the argument, a distinction must be made.  We shall say that a proposition can be true or false, and that a judgment can be correct, or incorrect, or suspended.  With this distinction we see that there is a “correspondence” theory of the truth and falsehood of propositions, and a “coherence” theory of the correctness, incorrectness and suspension of judgments. [PR, II.9.ii (M, pp. 290-291; C, p. 191).]

I shall point out the significance of this description in the third major section of this chapter.

Finally, I must also note that it is in the context of discussing propositions and judgments that White-head offers his most detailed attempt to justify in-ductive inference. [PR, II.9.v-viii (M, pp. 303-316; C, pp. 199-207).]  To pursue his argument here would take me too far afield from my concern. I shall return to this issue in Chapter IV.

Now I must ask, What does Whitehead’s ontological approach to epistemology accomplish?


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Knowing and Concrescence


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