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The Nonspeculative Basis of Metaphysics

by Edward Pols

Edward Pols is Professor of Philosophy and Kenan Professor of the Humanities at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine. The following article appeared in Process Studies, pp. 95-105, Vol. 15, Number 2, Summer, 1986. Process Studies is published quarterly by the Center for Process Studies, 1325 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA 91711. Used by permission. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


1

In the beginning, philosophers claimed to offer knowledge, or at least to look for it. That knowledge, they said, was about things, or beings. But the most perceptive of them were aware that knowledge of a vast number of diverse things, or beings, concerns not just their diversity and multiplicity but also what they have in common or are in common. When philosophers of that kind focussed their attention upon what they took to be common to all beings -- took to be the unity they manifested in their very particularity and diversity -- they called it being. Some few philosophers today persist in using the term "being" in this way. Most contemporary philosophers, however, prefer the term "reality" to the term "being." Some of them may think of themselves as trying to express with that term precisely what earlier philosophers tried to express when they used the term "being." But the most influential of today’s academic philosophers regard any attempt to focus on reality in that way as an exercise in obscurantism.1

Most philosophers who have made the far-reaching claim to know beings and being have also claimed to know something about the nature of knowledge itself. Many of them were aware that this reflexive claim was implicit in the claim to know reality, or being. To put it differently, they were aware that a determined concern for the foundations of knowledge must accompany any truly rigorous pursuit of knowledge itself. Nonetheless, they did not advocate what is today called foundationalism, for that is a relatively recent doctrine, despite the great age of the metaphor from which its name comes. Odd as it may sound, there are other foundations for knowledge besides the kind defined by foundationalism.

If I claim that philosophy can in principle provide knowledge of reality and also knowledge about the nature of knowledge itself, I shall be perceived to be saying something very old-fashioned. But the claim is about what philosophy can and ought to do, not about what it has habitually done. It has been deflected from its double task time and again -- often enough because of the practical success of the other disciplines it has had so important a hand in creating. Even when it has not been deflected, it has not performed the second (reflexive) task very well; and, because the two tasks are truly interdependent, the first task has accordingly suffered. Both tasks are, I think, more concrete and more empirical than philosophers have supposed. All this means that I must unfold my claim in more detail. It may in the event strike the reader as a new-fangled claim rather than an old-fashioned one.

The proliferation of many specific disciplines from the matrix of philosophy is an old story, and I do not mean to rehearse it here. The most prominent result of that fecundity is also familiar: most academic philosophers now take it for granted that philosophy has no first-order cognitive function. This assumption involves more than a refusal to take seriously a philosophic knowledge of beings and being: it is tantamount to a dogmatic insistence that philosophy has no empirical cognitive function whatever. Any attempt on the part of philosophy to attend directly to the nature of its own knowledge -- any attempt, that is, to deploy reflexively some supposed direct cognitive grasp -- is therefore futile according to these philosophers, for they believe that there is no such direct cognitive grasp. Although some of them concede that it is the legitimate concern of philosophy to give an account of knowledge, they take it for granted that the exemplar of knowledge is supplied to philosophy from outside. Science -- together with the other disciplines that aspire to the condition of science -- provides the exemplar, and it is the philosopher’s job to understand the exemplar, not to prescribe for it or imitate it. Philosophy, they think, deals with propositions (statements, sentences) generated by science, by other human disciplines that have some sort of empirical birthright, and by common sense; philosophy does not deal directly with nature, or the world, or reality.

There is another and less familiar result of that old story: many philosophers who continue to believe that philosophy has a first-order cognitive function have come to suppose that that function must itself be understood on the analogy of science’s cycle of theory-building and theory-testing -- a cycle I have called on more than one occasion the speculative-empirical cycle, or the theoretic-empirical cycle.2 One instance of this belief is the well-known definition of speculative philosophy at the beginning of Process and Reality -- "the endeavor to frame a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted" (PR 4/ 3). I am sure that philosophic theories of that sort -- Whitehead goes on to use the expressions "philosophic scheme," "general scheme," "philosophic generalization," and "imaginative construction" about them -- can be of interest and value. But I think that the cognitive access of philosophy to reality -- to the reality of our own knowing, for that matter -- can be much more direct than that. If I should be right about that -- a possibility I ask the reader at least to entertain -- then any theoretic (speculative) activity we might decide to engage in as philosophers must be soundly based on that direct knowledge. Certainly philosophic theory should not take precedence, so that we feel obliged to reinterpret in terms of it things that are in fact known directly, and thus find ourselves constructing those familiar things out of "ultimates" laid down by the philosophic theory. To put it differently, the philosophic theory, being itself an "imaginative construction," should not be used to construct that which has no need of being constructed.3

2

From the three books in which I have tried to do substantive philosophy, as distinct from criticism or analysis of the philosophy of others, the outlines of a metaphysical system can be extracted by anyone who is so minded. But I have not tried to elaborate a system -- least of all a system in the sense of Whitehead’s "imaginative construction" -- but rather to turn myself and the reader first of all to what can be directly known. I have made the distinction between direct and indirect knowledge before, though in somewhat different terms, both in The Recognition of Reason4 (1963) and in The Acts of Our Being (1982). And the distinction is implicit in the elaborate discussion of causality -- with special applications to action and mind -- that is central to my Meditation on a Prisoner (1975). The distinction appears again, in what I hope is a more exact form, in a forthcoming article, "After the Linguistic Consensus: The Real Foundation Question."5 In this present essay I must be brief, but some account of the distinction is essential if I am to make my position clear to readers of this journal. That, I take it, is what I was commissioned to do for this special issue -- a circumstance which I hope will excuse this otherwise unseemly profusion of self-reference.

We know directly when we know something by virtue of attending to it; we know something indirectly by virtue of attending to something else. That something else may be a concept, a proposition, or a body of theory -- which of course may also be construed as a complex proposition, on one acceptation of the term "proposition." I mean attend rationally, for knowledge consists in what I have often called rational (or cognitive) awareness. The term "awareness" insists on the immediacy of the attention and on its sensory roots -- even our awareness of propositions is not without its sensory roots, although we do not Sense propositions. The term "rational" (or "cognitive") insists on articulateness and on a universality that transcends any instance of rational awareness. But just because propositions and other things of that kind can be used in indirect knowledge, one should not conclude that they themselves cannot be known directly. The matter is more complicated than that.

Suppose it is a bright day in October. A group of us have been talking under a sugar maple -- now in its full hectic color-out on the campus, and we have just walked into a classroom, where one of us -- a physicist of some renown -- undertakes to explain some vexed point about the role of the Psi-function in quantum theory. Suppose also that we are competent enough in such matters to follow the mathematics and take part in the discussion on a professional level. As we do so, our most intense rational awareness will be focussed upon what we may agree to call a complex of propositions, namely the body of theory propounded by the physicist. The attention we give to the chalk marks, the chalkboard, and the maple tree -- still visible through the window -- now becomes a mere background attention to just the extent that we are able to attend competently and creatively to the complex of propositions. All these background things could, of course, be at the focus of our rational awareness, and perhaps they were at that focus a while ago -- we may have been admiring the maple, and as we came into the room, the physicist may have said, "Ah, a chalkboard; now I can make my point really clear."

But the Psi-function has a different status from both maple tree and chalkboard: as we focus upon it, we shall in fact be entertaining something that is distinguishable from the chalk marks and indeed from the particular character of the notation we are using, although -- we shall suppose -- it is not available to be attended to without some appropriate notation. When we entertain the Psi-function, our rational awareness terminates in something that is sustained by the knower in a radically different sense from the sense -- if any -- in which the chalkboard or the maple tree is sustained by the knower. If my attention to the chalkboard lapses as I labor to follow what is being written on it, its existence obviously does not lapse for me. If, on the other hand, I stop attending to the Psi-function, through some failure in competence or concentration, the Psi-function is gone for me, and another series of competent rational acts is necessary if I am to be able to entertain it again.

We shall come in a moment to the direct-indirect distinction. It is important just now to notice that I am not making the point that the maple tree and the chalkboard can be known directly and the Psi-function only indirectly. Although the Psi-function is not available to sensation as the maple tree is, our knowledge of it is direct enough. The reality of the Psi-function, considered as an element of a body of theory, no doubt owes something to the formative, or constructive, power of rationality, but, just so long as we sustain that ens rationis,6 it is just as directly known to us -- isjust as much at the focus of our rational awareness -- as the maple tree would be if we were attending to that instead.

The distinction between directness and indirectness comes in when we ask what we know by virtue of our rational awareness of the Psi-function besides the Psi-function considered as an element in a body of theory. Certainly the Psi-function purports to -- and moreover really does -- tell us something about the fine-structure of the chalkboard and the maple tree. But it does so by virtue of something that is not that fine structure: when scientists revise the body of theory, they do not revise the fine-structure. Moreover, the Psi-function is directly entertained by us in a way that the (quantum level) fine-structure itself can never be.

Science is a very complex activity. Although it uses the speculative (theoretic)-empirical cycle to provide us with indirect knowledge of many things we can never know directly (an electron, a quantum of energy, a black hole), it is an activity shot through with direct knowledge. The elements of a theory are known directly, and whatever we consult to help confirm or disconfirm a theory -- usually instrument readings or other things observed in the realm of common sense -- are also known directly. It is, moreover, one of the great glories of science that it extends the range of our direct knowledge: men have walked upon the moon and looked back at the earth. But that it does offer us also a kind of knowledge of things that we can in principle never know directly seems incontrovertible.

The most grievous philosophical seduction that accompanies the indirect knowledge provided by science is the notion that our direct knowledge is in principle untrustworthy -- a thing of illusion or folk-knowledge -- and that we can only give a rigorous account of things by propounding a theory about them. (The notion can be seriously entertained only if we fail to notice that theories are among the things we know directly.) And since a body of theory gives us indirect knowledge that in many cases must remain so, we find ourselves building up, out of material provided by theory, constructions that we take to be more truly the real articles than the things we can know directly. Even metaphysicians sometimes yield to this seduction. Some Whiteheadians, I suggest, engage in just such a construction when they argue about how an ‘actual entity’ is really constituted and how, in the light of that constitution, we should interpret such entities as persons. One thing we can be sure of: if there really are outside the world of theory -- such entities as Whiteheadian ‘actual entities,’ then we can never know them directly. (The same thing is of course true of such a scientific imaginative construct as ‘wave of probability.’)7 Things like chalkboards and maple trees, however, are of the same scale as ourselves and our action, and we do know them directly -- and ourselves in action as well. (To say that we know them directly is not of course to say that we know them exhaustively.) Those who suppose that only a body of propositions can serve as an exemplar for knowledge may disagree with these claims about direct knowledge, but even they will probably agree that our apprehension of the arena in which we argue about propositions -- and thus about bodies of theory -- is direct enough.

The real foundation question -- which is only very distantly related to the question whether what is today called foundationalism is or is not a dead issue -- is the question whether what purports to be direct knowledge is really knowledge, and if it is, how we are to understand it.8 Direct knowledge is not adequately characterized by the few instances I have given of it: it includes my knowledge that I am now writing and the reader’s knowledge of reading in a different "now." Directness is in no prima facie conflict with reflexiveness. Nor is it wise to confuse the issue of directness with that of common sense. Although some of the instances I have given are commonsense ones, others are not. For that matter, we cannot even say that all commonsense knowledge is direct, seeing that common sense is full of simple and prescientific uses of the theoretic-empirical cycle and therefore rich in instances of indirect knowledge.

If there is direct knowledge -- if, that is to say, what purports to be direct knowledge is authentically so-then it ought to be our standard for concreteness. The real foundation question is about what purports to be direct knowledge, but it is an odd question, for we cannot set about giving any sort of answer to it without in some sense relying on direct knowledge. Not that any instance of direct knowledge is quite beyond criticism or doubt. It is rather the general mode of knowledge of which the instances are indeed instances that is beyond criticism or doubt. It is the general mode that philosophy -- and indeed every procedure, every insight, and every empirical consultation that belongs to the complex activity we call science -- must rely on. Although there is no incorrigible instance of direct knowledge, that general mode of which any (corrigible) instance is indeed an instance is incorrigible in the sense that any act of correction or refinement must itself be an instance of it. Reflection about direct knowledge -- more precisely, direct knowledge returning upon itself in reflexive deployment -- tells us this.

It tells us a great deal more. The most extensive account of what I think it tells us will be found in The Recognition of Reason, under the rubric radically originative reflection. The same rubric appears briefly in Meditation on a Prisoner, in support of the account I give there of causality and of the primary entities whose exercise of ontic power is our most concrete example of causality. It is also invoked in The Acts of Our Being, in support of my extension of that account to the problem of responsible agency. In The Recognition of Reason I try to draw attention, by the use of radically originative reflection, to the joint rational and empirical satisfaction afforded by direct knowledge. Since radically originative reflection is itself an instance of direct knowledge, that joint satisfaction characterizes it as well. Direct knowledge, so deployed in reflection that it becomes conscious of its own autonomy and responsibility, gives us the only answers we can have to what I have recently been calling the real foundation question.

Lately I have used such expressions as "rational awareness," "cognitive awareness," and "rational-empirical cognitive engagement" about both the simple and the reflexive employment of direct knowledge. In The Recognition of Reason the expression "cognitive presence" is sometimes used, and I often stress there the continuity of awareness and understanding. In The Acts of Our Being I speak of "knowledge in the mode of rational-empirical presence," and in that case too the expression is meant to apply to both the simple and the reflexive deployment of direct knowledge. This terminological copiousness is not intended to outline a theory but rather to call attention to something concrete that is more often overlooked than not. The term "recognition" itself -- which can be substituted for many of these other expressions -- is a common term I use metaphorically and with the same intention of not constructing a theory. It serves to remind us that -- as epistemologists -- we ought not to set out to construct knowledge out of something less than knowledge. It reminds us also of anamnesis -- suggests an anamnesis brought down to earth and given an empirical task; suggests an innateness not of ideas but of a capacity to become rationally aware of the concrete.

My writing about knowledge may have been too intricate. It has in any event been ignored rather than confuted, and what I have had to say about action, the mind-body problem, causality, and responsibility has been thought to be the chief burden of my work. I trust that forthcoming work and work in progress will make the real foundation question more accessible, because I see no hope of progress with those other and more patently metaphysical questions unless their intimate involvement with the real foundation question is recognized. To the readers of this journal, who in general believe that philosophy is the critic of abstractions, I should like to point out that I am urging a realism which has at least the advantage of making it clear how we can perform that function. It is certainly no naive or common-sense realism, for it dares to make use of reformed idealist insights. In some respects it is old stuff -- pre-Kantian and even pre-Cartesian; in other respects it is quite new and may well deserve to be called postlinguistic.

Its most important claim is this: when we know directly, our rational awareness does not terminate in linguistic forms imposed upon a tumult of ineffable empirical stimuli but rather in the beings (and Being) whose extralinguistic reality is the basis of all sound language. The foundation-directed exercise I have engaged in under the rubric of radically originative reflection has never been directed towards a Cartesian consciousness and its contents, or towards a phenomenologically-conceived consciousness and its contents, but rather towards a cognitive power that is itself empirically engaged. Hence the emphasis on the rational-empirical satisfaction provided by direct knowledge in its simple (nonreflexive) deployment and on the persistence of that same double satisfaction in its reflexive deployment.

3

The most important instance I have used of something known directly is what I now call a primary being, or primary entity.9 The terminology deliberately echoes Aristotle’s "prote ousia," an expression whose real meaning is almost totally lost in the traditional translation "primary substance."10 (There are fundamental differences from Aristotle, but they will probably be obvious enough.) A primary being is a dynamic one: it has a beginning, a development, and an end; it is also a spatially extended one. We shall naturally know a primary being in more detail if we can survey the whole of it, but our direct knowledge of it is not dependent upon an experiential survey of the whole of its temporo-spatial range. Direct knowledge is not the outcome of a two-stage process -- first an experiential survey by an awareness consisting wholly of sensation and feeling, and then the imposition upon that of a conceptual (or linguistic) universal. In all direct knowledge (unlike indirect knowledge) the rational and empirical poles are fused: we cannot isolate them in a "pure" form. The unity or integrity we grasp by the rationality of our awareness reigns throughout the temporo-spatial extensiveness of the primary being -- it is indeed what allows us to grasp even a part of the extensiveness as belonging to that primary being. The unity or integrity is common to the whole of that being. Although not a "universal," the unity or integrity is universal to every part, feature, or aspect of it; although not located just here or there within the extensiveness of the being, it pervades the whole of it.

One important reason for this -- so difficult to express that I am certain that in several tries I have not managed to express it adequately -- is that rational awareness of one primary being is at the same time rational awareness of it as an instance of Being. I do not mean the concept "being" or the word "being," but Being as something common, or general, and present to our rational awareness as common, or general, even though its presence is a factor in the presence of the particular primary being. What I call recognition is a rational function: the unity or integrity recognized is never merely the unity of the particular in question. Nor is it even merely the unity of any group of like particulars -- a species, for instance. So the formula used in the previous paragraph does not quite get at the truth of the matter: the universality that is essential to even the most trivial kind of direct knowledge concerns the particular that we are directly aware of, because rational awareness is never awareness of a mere particular. The particular is directly known with its root in what is common.

It would be rash to try to settle the universals question in passing. I venture here only the observation that the common, or general, presence of Being in the presence of a particular primary being is not the presence of a universal -- although it is the true source of all dealing in universals. It is, it seems to me, the business of classifying beings in some general scheme and constructing theories about them that gives rise to a realm of universals -- essences, Forms, eternal objects, natural kinds, mathematical objects. Their real status, I think, is that of well-founded entia rationis.

The second important instance of direct knowledge I have dealt with is causality. The key to my treatment of it is that I take it to be an aspect of primary beings -- an aspect of their identity and integrity, but an aspect also of their interdependence and togetherness. To know a primary entity directly is already to know causality directly: to recognize the one is to recognize the other. In the three books I mentioned I did not set out to produce what some might call an analysis of the concept of cause or the term "cause." I wanted instead first to attend to and then to call attention to the concrete exercise of causality, not only by the primary being we call the person but by a great many other primary beings as well. I have, incidentally, never maintained that we have direct knowledge of causality only in the instance of our own action and that we then argue by analogy to its existence in nature. My most important example of the exercise of causal power has indeed been the action of persons, but that is only because human action is our most important concern. Direct knowledge is also direct knowledge of nature. Direct knowledge of action -- indeed of one’s own action -- becomes indispensable only when we are dealing with the reflexive foundation question. But it is so important an example that it is worth using it again.

It is the extraordinary complexity of that exercise of causality that has most struck me and that I have tried to attend to and to convey. For what I take myself to be directly attending to in attending to a human being in action is the marshalling by a superordinate primary entity of a vast complexity of subordinate primary entities that contribute to the very being of the superordinate one even as they are so marshaled. One sees this marshalling whenever one is (directly) rationally aware of any instance of causal efficacy on something else by a superordinate primary being. One sees it when one is rationally aware of a person constructing or moving a physical object; one sees it also when one is rationally aware of a person moving some other person by speech or writing. We are thus rationally aware of causality whenever we attend either to a primary being and its ‘internal’ organization or to a primary being affecting something else.

What we usually call causality therefore comprises, in the case of primary beings, at least two features. The first, more important, and less obvious one is the exercise of power by a superordinate primary being on subordinate primary beings. Such subordinates are in one sense not something else -- the cells of my body contribute to my being; in another sense they are something else -- within limits they can be detached and live separate careers. All this is dealt with under the rubric of asymmetrical identity in Meditation on a Prisoner, and it is central to what I say there about the mind-body question. The second and more obvious one is the exercise of power by a primary being on something else -- I am now making marks on paper and thus in the long run having some effect upon you as reader. The first feature I call ontic power -- "ontic" because the marshalling of subordinate beings that also contribute to the being of the superordinate concerns the being of both items. The second feature I call causal power.

Ontic power is obviously the more fundamental kind, because the exercise of causal power depends upon it. But ontic power is not radically different from causal power. On the one hand, the being of a complex primary being involves an asymmetrical identity with its subordinate primary beings, and this ‘relationship’ between superordinate and subordinate cannot be understood in terms of causal power. On the other hand, the being of a complex primary being is the source of its causal power. To put the matter differently: the interdependence of superordinate and subordinate primary beings is a causal relation that involves simultaneity: my thinking and writing is supported by and marshals neural happenings simultaneous with it and indeed asymmetrically identical with it (ontic power); the effect all this has upon the reader comes later (causal power). And of course the subordinate neural happenings themselves exhibit causal power (one neuron fires after the summation of the contributions of other neurons that fire earlier). The same two aspects of causality appear if we take the neuron as a superordinate and look at its relations to, say, constituent large molecules.

In The Acts of Our Being I suggested that if we were to revive the medieval distinction between the terms "immanent" and "transeunt," then "ontic power may be regarded as the ground of the agent’s immanence in its causal power."11 Causal power would thus be the transeunt exercise of an immanent power. I made this latter point in a lengthy note that deals with the medieval distinction. But I did not recommend reviving the term "transeunt," because in recent discussion transeunt causation has been incorrectly identified with so-called event causation. This would have produced confusion, because what I call causal power is not equivalent to event causation.12

4

The preceding remarks about primary beings and causality are so compressed that they may be hard to follow. But the topics are developed in considerable detail in Meditation on a Prisoner and The Acts of Our Being. For the present essay what is important is that I take both topics to be within the scope of our direct knowledge: there are many kinds of primary beings we can know directly, and so we can also know causality directly in some of its complexity. It seems nevertheless clear that there are many kinds of primary beings that we can never know directly. There speculative philosophy, which I think is best understood as the framing of philosophic theories, surely has some function. It has, however, two important limitations. First, it is limited by the authority of our direct knowledge -- an authority exercised not only by way of the use of direct knowledge in the testing of theory but also in our direct knowledge of a body of theory -- a knowledge that develops at equal pace with the formative (constructive) power of rationality that goes into the making of theory. Second, it must respect the authority of what is known by way of direct knowledge. It must, that is, not regard those things so known as things merely ‘experienced’ -- as things, accordingly, that await reformulation in terms of a philosophic theory before they can be truly known. Thus, although I was willing, in Meditation on a Prisoner, to interpret the indirectly known world of the physics of the very small in terms of primary beings analogous in their act-temporal structure to such directly known primary beings as ourselves, I was determined not to take such theoretic entities as my ontological standard. Whiteheadians, I suggest with respect, tend to invert that order of precedence. I have given several instances in the past,13 and I can give many more on demand. Theory -- especially scientific theory -- is of immense importance in human affairs: there are, after all, so many things that we can only know indirectly. But if it should be the case, as I think it is, that all indirect knowledge -- whether philosophic or scientific -- is both based upon and enframed by direct knowledge, then it must surely be the philosopher’s chief function to work towards deepening our direct knowledge.

 

Notes:

1Certainly most of those who carry on the debate about realism and antirealism in philosophy of science would regard it as obscurantism, and that is one reason why that debate has been so inconclusive.

2 The Recognition of Reason (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1963), ch. 5; The Acts of Our Being: A Reflection on Agency and Responsibility (Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1982), pp.20,103,104,118-19, 139-40.

3 In the course of writing my (1948) Harvard doctoral dissertation, "The Idea of Freedom in the Metaphysics of Whitehead," all but the last chapter of which eventually became my Whitehead’s Metaphysics: A Critical Examination of PROCESS AND REALITY, I had come to feel that the philosophic scheme, theory, or imaginative construction Whitehead presents in Process and Reality would not do as an account of human freedom, and indeed would not do as a general metaphysics. But in trying to provide an alternative in the last chapter of that dissertation I was still persuaded that the method of speculative (theoretic) generalization offered some hope for metaphysics. By the time I wrote The Recognition of Reason (completed 1959, published 1963) I had developed a quite different view about philosophy’s access to the real. That was one of several reasons that led me not to include the last chapter of the dissertation in the Whitehead book, which was published in 1967.

4 Note especially the contrast of what I call the "concrete mode of knowledge" with the "speculative-empirical cycle" in The Recognition of Reason, pp. 143-73.

5Forthcoming, Review of Metaphysics.

6 J do not mean to suggest that entia rationis are merely beings of reason, but only that they are not available to us without a formative (constructive) act of rationality. Thus I leave open the question whether acts of that kind are partly abstractive and not wholly constructive. Most contemporary analytic philosophers will probably prefer to say entia linguae rather than entia rationis.

7 I do not refer to the mathematical function itself but to the imaginative interpretation of it.

8 For a more detailed account see my "After the Linguistic Consensus: The Real Foundation Question," forthcoming, Review of Metaphysics.

9 For some account of other terminology I have used, and my reasons for preferring the expressions just mentioned, see The Acts of Our Being, pp. 195-96 arid pp. 228-30, notes 3, 4, 10. Note 10 is especially important for one of my most fundamental disagreements with Whitehead. Most of that note appeared originally in Human Agents as Actual Beings," PS 8:103-13.

10 See The Acts of Our Being, pp. 195-97; 228-29, n. 3.

11 Ibid., p. 33.

12 Ibid., pp. 218-19, n. 3. Roderick Chisholm has made the term "transeunt" current for event causation as distinct from (immanent) agent causation. As the example (cited in my note) with which he establishes the sense he intends to give "transeunt" shows, that distorts the meaning "transeunt" has in the medieval contrast with "immanent." I therefore suggested in my note that "transmitted" would be a better term for characterizing event-causation. Accordingly, if we did decide to revive the medieval terminology, it would he better to say that the causal power exercised by a person on something else (say a cue stick) is transeunt, and that the power ‘exercised’ by that something on a third thing (say a billiard ball) is merely transmitted.

~a Whitehead’s Metaphysics, pp. vi-vii; "Human Agents as Actual Beings," PS 8:107-09; The Act.s of Our Being, pp. 206, 229-30, n. 10.


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