Appearance and Reality

Appearance and Reality, by F.H. Bradley (Oxford University Press, 1893/1962)


Inside Front Cover

: This book is of considerable less value than the Principles of Logic. Ñāṇavīra, 6.6.1964


p. 5/16-20

[The man whose nature is such that by one path alone his chief desire will reach consumation, will try to find it on that path, whatever it may be, and whatever the world thinks of it; and, if he does not, he is contemptible.] noted.


p. 9/6-8

[I shall poit out that the world, as so understood, contradicts itself; and is therefore appearance, and not reality.] last 4 words u/l: But we are told later (pp. 112-119) that appearance ‘belongs to’ reality. See, in particular, the bottom of p. 113 and p. 123: ‘Everything which appears must be real.’ But see also p. 430.


p. 10/4-6

[A thing may be cold or hot according to different parts of my skin; and, without some relation to a skin it seems without any such quality.]: Without relation to a skin you cannot say that a (tactile) thing is; so it is incorrect to say ‘it seems without any such quality’—unless it is it cannot seem. The argument in this chapter is very superficial.


p. 10/14-16

[But nose and tongue are smelt and tasted only by another nose or tongue.] noted and checked.


p. 12/18-21

[… the relation of the primary qualities to the secondary—in which class feeling and thought have presumably to be placed—seems wholly unintelligible.] ‘the secondary … placed’ u/l: This is a good suggestion, but McTaggart (Nature of Existence, §§ 353-4), who seems to quote traditional chapter and verse, would exclude them. Primary: Size, Shape, Position, Mobility, Impenetrability. Secondary: Colour, Hardness, Smell, Taste, Sound.


p. 12/37-13/1

[The extended comes to us only by relation to an organ; and, whether the organ is touch or is sight or muscle-feeling—or whatever else it may be—makes no difference to the argument.]: This means that extension should be classed as secondary, not as primary. The only primary quality of matter is time.


p. 13/7-9

[… the extended thing will have its quality only when perceived by something else; …] noted and checked: But also it will only be when perceived by something else.


p. 13/39-14/2

[Without secondary quality extension is not conceivable, and no one can bring it, as existing, before his mind if he keeps it quite pure.]: This is a mistake—there is a pure intuition of space.


p. 14/10-15

[If it is visual, it must be coloured; and if it is tactile, or acquired in various other ways which may fall under the head of the ‘muscular sense’—then it is never free from sensations, coming from the skin, or the joints, or the muscles, or, as some would like to add, from a central source.] This is muddled—space is tactual in its essence; there is not on the one hand extension and on the other ‘muscular sensations’ (these latter being a pure invention if regarded as something other than extension.) What is here called the ‘muscular sense’ is simply the spatial sense, by which we perceive extension.


p. 14/21-23

[Like the general ‘what’, they will consist in all cases of secondary quality from a sensation of the kinds I have mentioned above.]: What is a ‘secondary quality from a sensation’? Introduction of the word ‘sensation’ here invalidates the whole argument. Rewrite this paragraph without using this word and what is left?


p. 14/28-30

[Extension cannot be presented, or thought of, except as one with quality that is secondary.]: As noted on p. 12, space is secondary in any case, and no contradiction arises when it is shown that extension is never given as a purely primary quality.


p. 16/35-17/3

[‘Sweet’, ‘white’, and ‘hard’ seem now the subjects about which we are saying something. We certainly do not predicate on of the other; for, if we attempt to identify them, they at once resist.]: On the contrary, we do—but this is not to identify them.


p. 17/12-13

[… we recoil in horror.] u/l: But we don’t.


p. 17/20-23

[If you predicate what is different, you ascribe to the subject what it is not; and if you predicate what is not different, you say nothing at all.]: Quite right too.


p. 18/30-32

[This foundation, if we say that A is like to B, is the identity X which holds these differences together.]: Yes.


p. 20/20-21

[Otherwise the thing, without the points of view, appears to have no character at all …]: Nothing has any character except from some point of view.


p. 25/36-38

[But I urge, on the other hand, that nothings cannot be related, and that to turn qualities in relation into mere relations is impossible.]: This is true if the qualities are homogeneous.


p. 32/31-34

[Space, to be space, must have space outside itself. It for ever disappears into a whole, which proves never to be more than one side of a relation to something beyond.]: Of course.


p. 33/35-37

[If you take time as a relation between units without duration, then the whole time has no duration, and is not time at all.]: Of course.


p. 49/29-31

[Mere identity, however excellent, is emphatically not the relation of cause and effect.] noted.


p. 50/20-22

[For, without some duration of the identical, we should have meaningless chaos, or, rather, should not have even that.] noted.


p. 80/3-4

[… pleasure and pain are essentially not capable of being objects.]: In so far as they exist they are always objects!


p. 80/fn.1

[Notice that our emotional moods, where we hardly could analayse them, may qualify objects aesthetically.] noted.


p. 86/20-22

[Mere self is whatever part of the psychical individual is, for the purpose in hand, negative. It, at least, is irrelevant, and it may be even worse.]: O dear!


p. 91/9

sensation] u/l: i.e. perception?


p. 91/19-22

[It is not even true that at first self and not-self exist. And though it is true that pleasure and pain are the main feature on which later this distinction is based, yet it is even then false that they may not belong to the object.] ‘I’ precedes ‘self’. Avijjāsamphassajā vedanā.


p. 113/36-39

[We found that reality was not the appearances, and that result must hold good; but, on the other hand, reality is certainly not something else which is unable to appear. For that is sheer self-contradiction …] noted by a wavy line.


p. 123/28-31

[Its diversity can be diverse only so far as not to clash, and what seems otherwise anywhere cannot be real. And, from the other side, everything which appears must be real.] noted by a wavy line.


p. 128/17-29

[… in asserting that the real is nothing but experience, I may be understood to endorse a common error. I may be taken first to divide the percipient subject from the universe; and then, resting on that subject, as on a thing actual by itself, I may be supposed to urge that it cannot transcend its own states. Such an argument would lead to impossible results, and would stand on a foundation of faulty abstraction. To set up the subject as real independently of the whole, and to make the whole into experience in the sense of an adjective of that subject, seems to me indefensible. And when I contend that reality must be sentient, my conclusion almost consists in the denial of this fundamental error.] Very good.


p. 129/25-27

The absolute [cannot be less than appearance, and hence no feeling or thought, of any kind, can fall outside its limits.]: Thought is appearance (i.e. it appears). Yes.


p. 129/27-34

[And if it is more than any feeling or thought which we know, it must still remain more of the same nature. It cannot pass into another region beyond what falls under the general head of sentience. For to assert that possibility would be in the end to use words without meaning. We can entertain no such suggestion except as self-contradictory, and as therefore impossible.]: Yes.


p. 132/3-7

[… if an idea has been manufactured and is composed of elements taken up from more than one source, then the result of manufacture need not as a whole exist out of my thought, however much that is the case with its separate elements.]: Yes.


p. 133/3-22

[For it is not true that in all religions the object is perfection; nor, where it is so, does religion possess any right to dictate to or to dominate over thought. It does not follow that a belief must be admitted te be true, because, given a certain influence, it is practically irresistible. There is a tendency in religion to take the ideal as existing; and this tendency sways our minds and, under certain conditions, may amount to compulsion. But it does not, therefore, and merely for this reason, give us truth, and we may recall other experience which forces us to doubt. A man, for instance, may love a woman whom, when he soberly considers, he cannot think true, and yet, in the intoxication of her presence, may give up his whole mind to the suggestions of blind passion. But in all cases, that alone is really valid for the intellect, which in a calm moment the mere intellect is capable of doubting. It is only that which for thought is compulsory and irresistible—only that which thought must assert in attempting to deny it—which is a valid foundation for metaphysical truth.] noted. ‘But in all cases … truth.’ double noted: Admirable.


p. 133/23-31

[‘But how,’ I may be asked, ‘can you justify this superiority of the intellect, this predominance of thought? On what foundation, if on any, does such despotism rest? For there seems no special force in the intellectual axiom if you regard it impartially. Nay, if you consider the question without bias, and if you reflect on the nature of axioms in general, you may be brought to a wholly different conclusion. For all axioms, as a matter of fact, are practical. They all depend upon the will.]: Also good.


p. 136/35-137/1

[Hence if we understand by perfection a state of harmony with pleasure, there is no direct way of showing that reality is perfect. For, so far as the intellectual standard at present seems to go, we mighht have harmony with pain and with partial dissatisfaction.]: This argument is good if pain is taken as mental pain.


p. 143/17-31

[If we take up anything considered real, no matter what it is, we find in it two aspects. … There is a ‘what’ and a ‘that’, an existence and a content, and the two are inseparable. That anything should be, and should yet be nothing in particular, or that a quality should not qualify and give a character to anything is obviously impossible. If we try to get the ‘that’ by itself, we do not get it, for either we have it qualified, or else we fail utterly. If we try to get the ‘what’ by itself, we find at once that it is not all. It points to something beyond, and cannot exist by itself and as a bare adjective. … these aspects … are distinguisable only and are not divisible.]: Right.


p. 144/7-11

[But an idea is any part of the content of a fact so far as that works out of immediate unity with its existence. And an idea’s factual existence may consist in a sensation or perception, just as well as an image.]: No. The content of an idea as such is of a more reflexive order than the images that exemplify it.


p. 146/12-20

[For facts which are not ideal, and which show no looseness of content from existence, seem hardly actual. They would be found, if antwhere, in feelings without internal lapse, and with a content wholly single. But if we keep to fact which is given, this changes in our hands, and it compels us to perceive inconsistency of content. And then this content cannot be referred merely to its given ‘that’, but is forced beyond it, and is made to qualify something outside.]: This seems, in brief, that things are given with their significance(s) or possibilities—i.e. they transcend the actual. This is intentionality.


p. 147/8-9

[For it is in and by ideas only that thought moves and has life.]: In other words, thought is essentially discursive.


p. 147/18-22

[Hence, truth shows a dissection and never an actual life. Its predicate can never be equivalent to its subject. And if it became so, and if its adjectives could be at once self-consistent and re-welded to existence, it would not be truth any longer.]: Truth is a statement of possibility or significance.


p. 147/22-23

[It would have then passed into another and a higher reality.] i.e. All-at-once, or God.


p. 148/8-11

[And there is no impossibility in thought’s existing as an element, and no self-contradiction in its own judgement that it is less than the universe.]: Because you can think thought, which is then a double transcendence, and so on.


p. 149/18-20

[For I do not deny that reality is an object of thought; I deny that it is barely and merely so.]: In reflexion you have the present and its image together.


p. 152/13-22

[Thought would be present as a higher intuition; will would be there where the ideal had become reality; and beauty and pleasure and feeling would live on in this total fulfilment. Every flame of passion, chaste or carnal, would still burn in the Absolute unquenched and unabridged, a note absorbed in the harmony of its higher bliss.]: Hurrah!


p. 152/22-23

[We cannot imagine, I admit, how in detail this can be.]: We cannot indeed!


p. 155/37-156/2

[I mean that its detail always goes beyond itself, and is indefinitely relative to something outside.]: It is infinitely significant: it has infinite determinations.


p. 173/38-39

[For what is possible, and what a general principle compels us to say must be, that certainly is.] noted.


p. 226/25-27

[Hence I cannot prove that the yesterday’s self, which I construct, did, as such, have an actual existence in the past.]: It is not a question whether my self did have an existence in the past, but whether it does have an existence in the past. I.e. does it now exist as past? I.e. does my past self now exist?


p. 231/9-17

[And we sometimes forget that this world, in the mental history of each of us, once had no existence. Whatever view we take with regard to the psychological origin of extension, the result will be the same. There was a time when the separation of the outer world, as a thing real apart from our feeling, had not even been begun. The physical world, whether it exists independently or not, is, for each of us, an abstraction from the entire reality.] noted.


p. 231/32-232/4

[And we find no difficulty in the idea of a bodily reality remaining still and holding firm when every self has been removed. Such a supposition to the average man appears obviously possible, however much, for other reasons, he might decline to entertain it. And the assurance that his supposition is meaningless nonsense he rejects as contrary to what he calls common sense.] noted.


p. 232/8-10

[… and the physicist himself, outside his science, still habitually views the world as what he must believe it cannot be.] noted.


p. 232/17-19

[He is forced to the conclusion that all I know is an affection of my organism, and then my organism itself turns out to be nothing else but such an affection.] noted.


p. 241/23-28

[Is there any Nature not experienced by a finite subject? Can we suppose in the Absolute a margin of physical qualities, which, so to speak, do not pass through some finite percipient? Of course, if this is so, we cannot perceive them.]: Berkeley.


p. 242/11-14 [The question is, when we have abstracted from finite centres of feeling, whether we have not removed all meaning from such sensible quality.]: Quite!


p. 244/26-31

[Nature will not merely be the region that is presented and also thought of, but it will, in addition, include matter which is only thought of. Nature will hence be limited solely by the range of our intellect. It will be the physical universe apprehended in any way whatever by finite souls.] noted.


p. 249/12-15

[But, on the other hand, to take sameness as destroyed by diversity, makes impossible all thought and existence alike. It is a doctrine, which, if carried out, quite abolishes the Universe.] noted.


p. 256/14-36

[… the whole question is … whether in Nature … qualities are actually so to be identified with extension. … I find no reason to think that this is so. If in two parts of one extended there are distinctions sufficient to individualize, and to keep these two things still two, when their separate spaces are gone—then clearly these two things may be compenetrable. For penetration is the survival of distinct existence notwithstanding identification in space. And thus the whole question really turns on the possibility of such a survival. Cannot, in other words, two things still be two, though their extensions have become oner?

We have no right then (until this possibility is got rid of) to take the parts of each physical world as essentially exclusive. We may without contradiction consider bodies as not resisting other bodies. We may take them as standing towards one another under certain conditions, as relative vacua, and as freely compenetrable. And, if in this way we gain no positive advantage, we at least escape from the absurdity, and even the scandal, of an absolute vacuum.]: This is very good.


p. 308/20-25

[That things to be the same must always be different, and to be different must be, therefore, the same—this is not a paradox, until it is paradoxically stated. It does not seem absurd, unless, wrongly, it is taken to imply that difference and sameness themselves are actually not different.2] noted.


p. 308/fn.2

[So long as we avoid this mistake, we may, and even must, affirm that things are different, so far as they are the same, and the same, so far as they are different. To get difference, or sameness, bare would be to destroy its character.] noted.


p. 314/21-23

[And thus in the soul we can have habits, while habits that are but physical exist, perhaps, only through a doubtful metaphor.] noted.


p. 315/10-12 [We should be compelled rather to assert that (in a sense) the soul has been, because it now is.]: Excellent!


p. 430/9-11

[We must, in short, admit that some appearances really do not appear, and that hence a licence is involved in our use of the term.]: But this should have been said earlier.


p. 445/fn.

[For we can think of our own total surcease, but we cannot imagine it. Against our will, and perhaps unconsciously, there creeps in the idea of a reluctant and struggling self, or of a self disappointed, or wearied, or in some way discontented. And this is certainly not a self completely extinguished. There is no fear of death at all, we may say, except either incidentally or through an illusion.]: This is all very well, but the ‘illusion’ is universal. Sabbe bhāyanti maccune (Dh. 129) ‘All fear death.’


p. 450/13-15

[If you are to be perfect, then you, as such, must be resolved and cease …] noted and u/l: Yes.


p. 452/1-9

[A personal continuance is possible … On the other hand it is better to be quit of both hope and fear, than to lapse back into any form of degrading superstition. And surely there are few greater responsibilities which a man can take on himself, than to have proclaimed or even hinted, that without immortality all religion is a cheat and all morality a self-deception.] noted; ‘without immortality’ u/l: The confusion here lies in the phrase ‘without immortality’. Bradley is assuming that ‘personal continuance’, if there is such a thing, means another life in some radically different sense of the word life. But suppose ‘personal continuance’ is simply a series of finite lives, similar in essentials to this,—then it becomes something to be feared, not hoped for. Belief in an eternal life in heaven or hell is certainly a ‘degrading superstition’—but then so is the idea that when this life is ended we are quit of existence.


p. 547/40-548/35

[Let us take the instance, given by Mr. Stout, of a child or other young animal desiring milk. The perception, visual and otherwise, of the breast or teat suggest the sucking, but that sucking I take to qualify the perception and not to be an image apart. The breast becomes by ideal suggestion the breast sucked, while on the other hand by some failure of adjustment the breast is not sucked in fact. The perceived breast is therefore at once qualified doubly and inconsistently with itself, and the self of the animal also is qualified doubly and inconsistently. That self is both expanded by ideal succes and contracted by actual failure in respect of one point, i.e. the sucking. And so far as the expansion, under the whole of the above conditions, becomes actual, we get the sense of activity. And there actually is an idea present here, though there is no image nor anything that could properly be called forethought.

Or take a dog who, coming to some grassy place, begins to run and feels himself to be active. Where is here the idea? It might be said that there is none, because there is no forethought nor any image. But this in my opinion would be an error, an error fatal to any sound theory of the mind. And I will briefly point out where the idea lies, without of course attempting to analyse fully the dog’s complex state. The ground in front of the dog is a perception qualified on the other hand, not by images, but by an enlargement of its content so as to become ‘ground run over’. It comes to the dog at once as both ‘run over’ and ‘not’. And the ‘run over’ is ideal, though it is not an explicit idea or a forethought or in any sense a separate image. Again the dog comes to himself as qualified by an actual running, supplemented by an ideal running over what is seen in front of him. In his soul is a triumphant process of ideal expansion passing over unbrokenly into actual fruition, the negative perception of the ground as ‘not run over’ serving only as the vanishing condition of a sense of activity with no cloud or check of failure. This is what I mean by an idea which is not explicit, nor, except that the name is perhaps a bad one, do I see anything in it deserving censure. I should perhaps have done better to have used no name at all. But the distinction itself, I must repeat, is throughout every aspect of mind of vital importance.]: With due qualification, this is correct.


p. 550/3-11

[And it is in the end idle to strive to divide the being of the known, and to set up there a being-in-itself which remains outside and is dependent of knowledge. For the being-in-itself of the known, if it were not itself experienced and known, would for the knower be nothing and could not possibly be asserted. And knowledge which (wrongly) seems to fall outside of and to make no difference to the known, could in any case not be ultimate. It must rest on and presuppose a known the essence of which consists in being experienced, and which outside of knowledge is nothing.] noted.


p. 550/22-26

[The knower is evidently and plainly altered; and, as to the known, if it remains unchanged, it would itself remain outside of the process, and it would not be with it that the knower would be concerned. And its existence asserted by the knower would be a self-contradiction.] noted.