Inquiry into Inquiries: Essays in Social Theory

By Arthur F. Bentley; Sidney Ratner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN
Some Logical Considerations Concerning Professor Lewis's "Mind"
In a recent paper, "Some Logical Considerations Concerning the Mental,"1 Professor C. I. Lewis expresses himself thus:
1. "Minds are private"; each person is "directly acquainted" with his "own mind"; these existential allegations about mind are "essential," even though they may contain "irremovable unclarity" or "implicit inconsistency"; if we have "any such possible doubts" they "can be removed."
2. Mind includes all the "content of consciousness"; these contents are phenomenal "datum" or "appearance"; they possess "identity and character impossible to mistake -- though admittedly any language used to name them may be inappropriate or inadequate and fail to express just what is intended."
3. "Whoever would deny that there are directly inspectable facts of the content of consciousness, would deny that which alone makes a theory of mind desirable and significant, and that which supplies the only final test of such a theory."

We have here the flavor of edict and excommunication. Much more serious, however, is the default in the simplest pre-logical candor. Professor Lewis demands that we accept as the inevitable technical control of research a handful of opinions which he himself, though a true believer, can only formulate with hesitation and tremor. These opinions start with a proclamation of the isolation of mind from world, proceed by admitting world into mind via the metamorphosis of "outer" into "inner," and end by requiring from us a blind allegiance to the "inner" thus mystically or magically produced, even though no de-

____________________
1
Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XXXVIII ( 1941), pp. 225-33. The citations will be found on pages 225-29.
From Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 23 ( November 6, 1941), pp. 634-35.

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