VI.--NEW BOOKS

1899 Mind  
nature of things, but in an opposition between two subjective points of view, the naturalistic and the ethical. In the sixth Essay, " The Implications of Self-Consciousness," Prof. Boyce takes up the old Cartesian argument, and tries to show, successfully, as we think, that the limitations of our finite self-consciousness imply an all-embracmg consciousness, which in some sense is all that we aspire after. Perhaps this argument has never before been developed with so much force and lucidity.
more » ... ce and lucidity. The following Essay treats of " Anomalies of Self-Consciousness ". It is well known that perversions of the concept of Self are produced by disturbing organic changes. Prof. Royce most ingeniously, suggests that the strange organic sensations have this effect because they are characteristic of certain emotions involving specific attitudes towards the social environment. The eighth Essay, on -' Consciousness and Nature," is of special importance It treats of the nature of our consciousness of the external world. According to Prof. Boyce, those experiences have the stamp of external reality, which are an intersubjective possession. " What you can experience as well as I, is as such a physical fact. ... If ten stones lie on the highway, and you and I count them, common-sense supposes that though your counting of ten is not my counting of ten, though your perception of the stones is not mine, though your inner life is in no fashion, here noteworthy, identical with mine, still the real stones that I count are identically the same as the real stones that you count." Prof. Boyce argues that this common-sense notion of nature is not illusory. We cannot maintain that in truth each human being is aware of a separate fact presented only to himself, though it may resemble the objects severally presented to others. Such an assumption would destroy the basis of social consciousness: for it would imply that when many persons suppose themselves to be thinking about the same person each of them is thinking about a different person. This, according to Prof. Boyce, is a reductio ad absurdum. This discussion of the nature of external reality is valuable; but in our opinion it does not go far enough back. The germ of the distinction between Self and Not-Self lies in the perceptual consciousness, and precedes the stage of ideal construction and intercommunication. The external reality of the bird to the cat which hunts it does not consist in the bird being a common possession of the social consciousness of cats or other beings.
doi:10.1093/mind/viii.1.119 fatcat:drgnsmf5b5c5tdkz2vw544wk7q