- A review of “The Meaning of ‘the Universe’,” by Charles E. Hooper
- The Johns Hopkins University Press and Faber & Faber Ltd
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[ 603 A review of “The Meaning of ‘the Universe’,” by Charles E. Hooper. Mind, 26 (Apr 1917), 129-45.1 The Monist, 27 (Oct 1917), 635-37 C. E. Hooper publishes “The Meaning of ‘the Universe’” (Mind, April 1917), the first installment of an article of massive appearance. The definition is as follows: the Universe means the totality of real thought-objects (or objectmatters ) considered under four related aspects: (1) space, (2) time, (3) the variety in unity of natural characters, i.e., real thought-objects as particulars having natures of their own, but natures agreeing in various specific and generic respects with the natures of other particulars, (4) unity in variety of natural causation. Time and space are both objective. Mr. Hooper goes on to define thought-object, reality, and aspect. A thought-object is apparently an intended object, whether or not a reality corresponds to the intention (e.g., Kant’s noumenon). Reality is contrasted not with appearance but with “mental figment,” and includes subsistent as well as existent objects. It is difficult to tell how far the term “thought-object” has an idealistic bias in Mr. Hooper’s mind, but reality, at all events, seems to be merely a sum or systemofobjectswhichareseverallyreal.Theuniverseisthusarealthought which contains all other real thought-objects in their manifold relations. Symbolic entities (ideas, signs) are comprehended, but whether per se or only as reflected upon (made objects of thought) is not stated. It would seem that imaginary or inconceivable thought-objects, such as Meinong’s pets, the golden mountain, and the round square, are to have no place in the universe, but are discarded as “figments.”2 While the universe contains finite thought-objects and symbols, it does so only in fact, not in nature. Of the four modes or aspects, space and time may be classed together as coincidentals , while the systems of natural characters and natural causation may be termed co-essentials. On the other hand space and nature may be classed together as static, time and causation as dynamic. We find some difficulty in understanding how Mr. Hooper accounts for the universe’s being known at all. “The universe cannot, like a finite object, be actually related to some fellow object. It is as related to the mind or system of subjective ideas that we know all that is possible to know about it” [141-42]. But the “mind” if 1917: Journalism 604 ] genuinely symbolic is a thought-object: and if the universe cannot be related to a finite object which is part of itself, we do not know how it can be related to the mind. But criticism of so substantial an article should be deferred until its completion in succeeding issues. η Notes 1. TSE reviewed three articles from Mind, 26 (Apr 1917), of which this is the first, for the Oct issue of The Monist. Charles E. Hooper was a founder and secretary (1899-1913) of the English Rationalist Press Association, formed in 1899 to promote publications that support rationalism and free inquiry in the humanities. His books include The Anatomy of Knowledge (1906) and Common Sense (1913). 2. In Über Gegenstandstheorie (1904) [Theory of Objects], Meinong defines an object as anything toward which a mental act can be directed. Since impossible things like unicorns, golden mountains, and round squares can be imagined, they must have some sort of being. Meinong’s theory of objects is discussed in chapter 4 of TSE’s dissertation (313 ff.). ...