- [Definition and Judgment in Bradley and his Critics]
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[ 183 [Definition and Judgment in Bradley and his Critics] [Definition and Judgment in Bradley and his Critics] is the fifth of six surviving essays that Eliot wrote in the 1914 Michaelmas term for his tutorial with Joachim. The difficulties of definition are occasioned by the fact that every definition is relative to a point of view, and it is only when and where differences of point of view are negligible that we can be said to have an adequate definition . I refer to Mr. Russell’s definition of definition: definition signifies that a symbol just introduced is identical in meaning with a more complicated symbol previously used.1 It is obvious that much that we ordinarily call definition will not fall under this account. It is only applicable in the abstract world in which all terms are taken in extension (cf. R=ab(a +b)), such definitions not being asserted and not being true or false. In this world of symbols ,allobjectsareofthesametype;intherealworld,objectsareofdifferent types so far as they are in practice treated as being such. You cannot, that is, without an arbitrary fiat, treat the relations as the extension of the relata, or concepts as propositional functions. I propose that what we actually get is different types of objects. Everything that is, in so far as it is for us, is on one side experience, on the other side object, and these two aspects can never be reduced to one. Now in the case of those existences which, in being experienced , do not for practical purposes depend upon the apprehension of a lower type of object upon which they are based, which we may (again only for practical purposes) consider only as object; it is evident that this doubleness of aspect may be neglected. And it is obvious also that only the thing, or to put it more metaphysically, the individual, fulfils this condition. This concept , then, is primitive and indispensable; though it is obvious that even the concept may be stripped down to the intention of objectivity, inasmuch as every other aspect of the thing may be resolved into experience; and the intention itself may, though not without an alteration of the same sort which we express in a general way by saying that experiencing makes a difference to the object, be resolved into the intending, or psychological attention. Now it is clear that no object either of sense or other apprehension ever does completely fulfil the condition of objectivity or thingness. We have the concept, and fit various experiences to it; and nothing can be said to be dependent or independent except according to context. In the world as 1914-15: Merton College, Oxford University 184 ] we know it, however, we may distinguish (in a purely relative way, of course) different levels of objectivity, according as the inferiora are negligible in the account or not. That is, according to the degree to which the inferiora are felt to differ from the superior object which is analysed into them. This difference , I suppose, must be found out simply by acquaintance. These observations are prefatory to classifying judgment as an object, and the level of objectivity of the idea used in judgment. I contest the assertion that the idea is a sign, or that the idea is identical with the concept. The sign, I should say, has a kind of objectivity which the idea has not. And I should dispute the assertion that the logical and the psychological are parts of the same idea. When Mr. Bradley asserts that a sign differs from another existence in having besides existence and content, meaning, I agree;2 but I should not admit that these three characters are found in the same way in the idea. For in the idea, existence and meaning fall together–that is, the existence is nothing over and above the meaning. It is just the separate existence , the fact that a sign might be interpreted as other, or simply not recognised as a sign, that makes it a sign. Take some of the examples given. A flower the sign or symbol of an emotion; the fox the symbol of cunning. The meaning of the sign consists of a part of the content (original in the case of the fox, acquired in the case of the flower), “cut off” and “considered apart.” Does an idea refer to reality as a fox refers to cunning? The quality to which fox or flower refers is heterogeneous to fox or flower...