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A Review
Chapter IV
William James'
Some Problems of Philosophy
by Doug Renselle
Doug's Pre-review Commentary
Start of Review

ISM Extremes

Dedication Introduction Note


Move to any Chapter of William James' Some Problems of Philosophy,
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Chapter IV............Percept and Concept
The Import of Concepts


(Most quotes verbatim William James, some paraphrased.)

(Relevant to Pirsig, William James Sidis, and Quantonics Thinking Modes.)


"The problem convenient to take up next in order will be that of the difference between thoughts and things. 'Things' are known to us by our senses, and are called 'presentations' by some authors, to distinguish them from the ideas or 'representations' which we may have when our senses are closed. I myself have grown accustomed to the words, 'percept' and 'concept' in treating of the contrast, but concepts flow out of percepts and into them again, they are so interlaced, and our life rests on them so interchangeably and undiscriminatingly, that it is often difficult to impart quickly to beginners a clear notion of the difference meant. Sensation and thought in man are mingled, but they vary independently. In our quadrupedal relatives thought proper is at a minimum, but we have no reason to suppose that their immediate life of feeling is either less or more copious than ours." James disrobes his own residual classical predilections here, as we warned in our preview of this text re: Pirsig aligns James. Our bold emphasis exposes latent SOMthink. Our italics enlighten our interpretations of James' apparent more quantumesque intuitions.

Two more Jamesian SOMthink problems appear here:
a) objective analyticity via parametric independence, and
b) objective anthropocentricity.

James says something like this:

sensation = f(thought), and thought = f(sensation). This is pure, analytic SOMthink like our infamous y = f(t).

Finally, his distinction of human sensation and thought as wholly unique from nonhuman forms is an arrogant, SOM-borne centricity arising from SOM's Aristotelian Subject-Object dichotomy. Instead, thought scales.
48 "The great difference between percepts and concepts is that percepts are continuous and concepts are discrete. Not discrete in their being, for conception as an act is part of the flux of feeling, but discrete from each other in their several meanings."

James offers a footnote qualifying his terminology with synonyms, and offering a Bergsonian more quantumesque immediate flow or 'duration' which softens his own 'discrete.'
(James' italics.) We agree as long as James' own 'continuous' is not y = f(t), or homogeneous classical analytic continuity. Rather we prefer he imagine 'continuous' as heterogeneous quantum quantal continuity, i.e. Planck rate change. We know he described it as quantal, but he did not as far as we can tell know about Planck rate change and quantum heterogeneity.

Discrete meaning changes too. Pirsig might say, "...meaning has temporary privilege, for now..."
49 "[Classically,] Each concept means just what it singly means, and nothing else; and if the conceiver does not know whether he means this or means that, it shows that his concept is imperfectly formed. The [quantum] perceptual flux as such, on the contrary, means nothing [i.e., classical 'thing'], and is but what it immediately is. No matter how small a tract of it be taken, it is always a much-at-once, and contains innumerable aspects and characters which conception can pick out, isolate, and thereafter always intend. It shows [Bergsonian] duration, intensity, complexity or simplicity, interestingness, excitingness, pleasantness [classical] or [vis-à-vis quantum both-all/and] their [classical] opposites [vis-à-vis quantum c¤mplements]. Data from all our senses enter into it, merged in a general extensiveness of which each occupies a big or little share. Yet all these parts leave its unity unbroken. Its boundaries are no more distinct than are those of the field of vision. Boundaries are things that intervene; but here nothing [i.e., classical 'thing'] intervenes save parts [quantons] of the perceptual flux itself, and these are overflowed by what they separate, so that whatever we distinguish and isolate conceptually is found perceptually to telescope and compenetrate and diffuse into its neighbors."

(Our bold, +2 font, underline emphasis, brackets, color, and links.)

SOM assumes its classical objects may be perfectly formed.

"No matter how small a tract of it be taken, it is always a much-at-once, and contains innumerable aspects and characters which conception can pick out, isolate, and thereafter always intend."

Is it apparent to you, reader, that James has just described, 40-50 years prior its discovery, a quantum hologram?

Doug - 9Oct2004.

His or is SOMitic either/or. In place of James', "...or their opposites," we prefer, "...both-all/and their quantum c¤mplements."

Better, note how his parts leave their 'whole' unbroken, and boundaries are indistinct. Quantumesque! Our underline of his text shows his infant quantum intuitions and visions.

James appears to struggle with his break from classical thinking methods and his visionary entrance into more quantum thinking modes. SOMites might view this page as intellectual dyslexia. MoQites, and intuitive quantum thinkers will understand many subtle issues which James broaches here.

We distill all this with our quanton notation which you, reader, have seen exemplified above. For us, this symbol shows what James struggles so eloquently with words to describe:


We can offer a classical metaphor of our quantonic semiotic and James' notion of compenetration. Imagine a dry sponge. Imagine a bowl of water. Sponge is roughly our solid circle. Water is roughly our blue dotted circles. Sponge in water is a quanton(water,sponge), where our comma nospace is semiotic for quantum animate included-middle (EIMA) compenetration. Doug - 25Mar2004.


"The cuts we make are purely ideal. If my reader can succeed in abstracting from all conceptual interpretation and lapse back into his immediate sensible life at this very moment, he will find it to be what someone has called a big blooming buzzing confusion, as free from contradiction in its 'much-at-onceness' as it is all alive and evidently there.

"Out of this aboriginal sensible muchness attention carves out objects, which conception then names and identifies forever... We say what each part of the sensible continuum is, and all these abstracted whats are concepts."

Our question is, "Are these cuts ideal intrinsically; are they ideal innately?" Do we make these ideal cuts based upon our nature, or upon our training?

Our answer is that we have been carefully trained to do this dichotomous cutting. Further, most of Western ilk are SOMites, i.e., essential Aristotelians. We say our inveterate cutting is innate, not intrinsic. James, et al., appear to think we must keep our antiquated SOM knife. Throw it away! Better, subsume it, and beware its ill affects on our modes of thought.

For example, American Indians do not intuit objective separation as Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, et al., imposed on Western Caucasoid culture. Rather, they intuit a Sidisian/Pirsigean/quantum both/and both animate and inanimate both Dynamic Quality and Static Quality both nonactuality and actuality. They intuit a whole reality!


"The intellectual life of man consists almost wholly in his substitution of a conceptual order for the perceptual order in which his experience originally comes. But before tracing the consequences of the substitution, I must say something about the conceptual order itself.

"Trains of concepts unmixed with percepts grow frequent in the adult mind; and parts of these conceptual trains arrest our attention just as parts of the perceptual flow did, giving rise to concepts of a higher order of abstractness. So subtle is the discernment of man, and so great the power of some men to single out the most fugitive elements of what passes before them, that these new formations have no limit."

(Among many pages of this chapter, James provides superb footnotes too extensive for our presentation here.)

I.e., pure analytic thought is capable of constructing great formative towers of paralogist Babel: great lists of self-contradicting laws, principles, axioms, corollaries, lemmas, ad nauseum, which end in formal, 'logical' chaos. A terrific example is mathematics' 'axiom of independence.'

Eventually, Babel falls. Sentients begin again. Loop repeats 'till quantum epiphany. Ah ha!

52 "The world of common sense 'things;' the world of material tasks to be done; the mathematical world of pure forms; the world of ethical proportions; the worlds of logic, of music, etc., all abstracted and generalized from long forgotten perceptual instances, from which they have as it were flowered out, return and merge themselves again in the particulars of our present and future perception. By those whats we apperceive all our thises. Percepts and concepts interpenetrate and melt together, impregnate and fertilize each other. Neither, taken alone, knows reality in its completeness. We need them both, as we need both our legs to walk with." (Our bold emphasis.)

Common sense, based upon Classical Thinking Methods, is passe. Quantum reality, perceived under classical dogma, simply is not 'common sense.'
James intuits thisesquanton(percepts,concepts)! This glaring example illustrates James' quantum predilections based on and derived from a fairly simple foundation of pluralism.
53 "From Aristotle downwards philosophers have frankly admitted the indispensability, for complete knowledge of fact, of both the sensational and the intellectual contribution. For complete knowledge of fact, I say; but facts are particulars and connect themselves with practical necessities and the arts; and Greek philosophers soon formed the notion that a knowledge of so-called 'universals,' consisting of concepts of abstract forms, qualities, numbers, and relations was the only knowledge worthy of the truly philosophic mind. Particular facts decay and our perceptions of them vary. A concept never varies; and between such unvarying terms the relations must be constant and express eternal verities." In one brief paragraph, James evolves SOMthink and its CTMs.

SOM's knife cuts reality into artificial, abstract concepts; with a concomitant inastute or stealthy dismissal of an infinity of possible cuts and their contingent, alternate outcomes.

SOM then proceeds to use these artificial forms to state absolute truths.
54 "Hence there arose a tendency, which has lasted all through philosophy, to contrast the knowledge of universals and intelligibles, as godlike, dignified, and honorable to the knower, with that of particulars and sensibles as something relatively base which more allies us with the beasts." James provides extensive footnotes and quotes of other authors on this page. Essentially he tells us philosophers have always felt that some objective, perfect reality existed "out there." But that humankind's particulars and sensibles could never quite grasp this absolutely true objective reality: thus an unending endeavor to do so.
55 "For rationalistic writers conceptual knowledge was not the more noble knowledge, but it originated independently of all perceptual particulars. Such concepts as God, perfection, eternity, infinity, immutability, identity, absolute beauty, truth, justice, necessity, freedom, duty, worth, etc., and the part they play in our mind, are, it was supposed, impossible to explain as results of practical experience. The empiricist view, and probably the true view, is that they do result from practical experience." James commences his book-long juxtaposition of rationalism and empiricism, and his potent arguments in favor of latter. Mostly, we agree.

Note that his brand of empiricism is: incremental novelty based on evolutionary selection. He does not use this exact combination of words, however. Aristotelians and Platonists harbored a more inductive, determinate empiricism, greatly at odds with James' own brand which is close to ours and Pirsig's.

"But a more important question than that as to the origin of our concepts is that as to their functional use and value; is that tied down to perceptual experience, or out of all relation to it? Is conceptual knowledge self-sufficing and a revelation all by itself, quite apart form its uses in helping to a better understanding of the world of sense?

"Rationalists say, 'Yes.' For, as we shall see in later places (page 68), the various conceptual universes referred to on page 52 can be considered in complete abstraction from perceptual reality, and when they are so considered, all sorts of fixed relations can be discovered among their parts. From these the a priori sciences of logic, mathematics, ethics, and aesthetics (so far as the last two can be called sciences at all) result. Conceptual knowledge must thus be called a self-sufficing revelation;..."

Here we sense James gradually approaching and introducing his own pragmatism.

Essentially, James sees all these 'sciences' arising from SOM's analytic knife's reduction of reality into its presumed synthetic parts.

(Self-sufficing revelation iso grand SOM sham. Doug.:)

James calls rationalism's self-sufficing revelation of general and universal laws, rules, and principles, 'an ultra-rationalistic opinion.'

"To this ultra-rationalistic opinion the empiricist contention that the significance of concepts consists always in their relation to perceptual particulars has been opposed. Made of percepts, or distilled from parts of percepts, their essential office, it has been said, is to coalesce with percepts again, bringing the mind back into the perceptual world with a better command of the situation there. Certainly whenever we can do this with our concepts, we do more with them than when we leave them flocking with their abstract and motionless companions."

Only fault we find here, is James' apparent either/or dichotomy of percepts and concepts. Earlier, on page 52, he said, 'Percepts and concepts interpenetrate and melt together, impregnate and fertilize each other.' Latter describes a quanton former, a dichon.
58 It is possible therefore, to join the rationalists in allowing conceptual knowledge to be self-sufficing, while at the same time one joins the empiricists in maintaining that the full value of such knowledge is got only by combining it with perceptual reality again. This mediating attitude is that which this book must adopt. (Our bold emphasis.)

Our quanton notation does exactly what James describes here.

This mediation acknowledges a quantum reality! From our perspective, James here adopts quantum reality!

As opposed to symbolic concepts,

"There are concepts, however, the image-part of which is so faint that their whole value seems to be functional. 'God,' 'cause,' number,' 'substance,' 'soul,' for example suggest no definite picture; and their significance seems to consist entirely in the tendency, in the further turn which they may give to our action or our thought. We cannot rest in the contemplation of their form, as we can in that of a 'circle' or a 'man;' we must pass beyond.

"Now however beautiful or otherwise worthy of stationary contemplation the substantive part of a concept may be, the more important part of its significance may naturally be held to be the consequences to which it leads. These may lie either in the way of making us think, or in the way of making us act. Whoever has a clear idea of these knows effectively what the concept practically signifies, whether its substantive content be interesting in its own right or not."

(Our bold emphasis.)

In our opinion, James is saying, after we transpose his words, "Quantons and Quantonic Thinking Modes are required." He is saying we need both DQ and SQ commingling to change our modes of thought and allow us to commingle both static and dynamic reality. 'Better' outcomes arise when we do.

"This consideration has led to a method of interpreting concepts to which I shall give the name of the Pragmatic Rule.

"The pragmatic rule is that the meaning of a concept may always be found, if not in some sensible particular which it directly designates, then in some particular difference in the course of human experience which its being true will make. Test every concept by the question 'What sensible difference to anybody will its truth make?' and you are in the best possible position for understanding what it means and for discussing its importance. If, questioning whether a certain concept be true or false, you can think of absolutely nothing that would practically differ in the two cases, you may assume that the alternative is meaningless and that your concept is no distinct idea. If two concepts lead you to infer the same particular consequence, then you may assume that they embody the same meaning under different names."

This single page offers us our greatest disappointment in reading and reviewing Some Problems of Philosophy. Why? James takes us right back into SOM's church of reason here. His thelogosisms (the meaning, the alternative, etc.) uncloak his innate SOM bent.

In Quantonics, we adhere Pirsig's MoQ axiom of many truths in many contexts. Pirsig's axiom aligns quantum reality's many islands of truth and many uncertainties with high registration.

In Quantonics, we know that every concept has an unlimited number of potential quantum contexts in all of which value assessments may differ or agree.

In stating his pragmatic rule, James reenters SOM's dichotomous, either/or domain. This is very sad and discouraging. It is pure, unadulterated SOM Boole.

See our Pragmatism Critique. See a countervailing pragmatism in William James Durant's The Story of Philosophy segment on William James, and more locally, James' Peircean pragmatism.

We experienced much greater harmony with Durant's interpretation of C. S. Peirce's pragmatism than we have experienced directly ourselves.

Next page we offer some consolation with qualification.


"This rule applies to concepts of every order of complexity, from simple terms to propositions uniting many terms.

"So many disputes in philosophy hinge upon ill-defined words and ideas, each side claiming its own word or idea to be true, that any accepted method of making meanings clear must be of great utility. No method can be handier of application than our pragmatic rule. If you claim that any idea is true, assign at the same time some difference that its being true will make in some possible person's history, and we shall know not only just what you are really claiming but also how important an issue it is, and how to go to work to verify the claim. In obeying this rule we neglect the substantive content of the concept, and follow its function only. This neglect might seem at first sight to need excuse, for the content often has a value of its own which might conceivably add luster to reality, if it existed, apart from any modification wrought by it in the other parts of reality. Thus it is often supposed that [logical] 'Idealism' is a theory precious in itself, even though no definite change in the details of our experience can be deduced from it. Later discussion will show that this is a superficial view, and that particular consequences are the only criterion of a concept's meaning, and the only test of its truth."

The only way this statement can be assumed 'true' is to presume SOM's invalid One Global Truth in One Global Context. James, after all, appears not to perceive larger, quantum reality.

OK, so to make James' pragmatic rule work, we have to revert to a SOM realm, while simultaneously not forgetting we commingle a larger quantum reality.

To do that, we must artificially and formally (using axioms) define a local context. Then we may enter that context and pretend we are in SOM. Some statements we make in our contrived, conventional context may be either true or false (based upon a contrived list of formal axioms) or 'mu' in which our statements require a larger context (to resolve SOM's limited context generation of unlimited 'mu' paralogisms), or other needed but unacknowledged contexts unadmitted by our local contrived context. (SOM has evolved in a much similar manner. But it misses a required fix of a quantum epiphany to extract itself from this Babelian SOM loop.)

We also know that Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems apply to all statements we make in our contrived, formal, SOM context. (I.e., our contrived SOM context is nonabsolute: forever incomplete and forever inconsistent.)

Conclusion: in general, James' pragmatic rule as stated is SOM hocus-pocus. In a specific, carefully/formally defined local context we may use his pragmatic rule to assess local value of a new idea. However, that local value may not be extant, projected or superposed/superadded, in general, onto larger quantum reality.

We assumed James' and Peirce's (Purse's) pragmatism assumed a classical a posteriori conspective, kin of retrospective induction, causation, and determinism. If we use a Durantian a priori perspective, pragmatism takes on n¤vel affectational quantum lightings.

Compare a posteriori scalarbation and a priori quantum~likelihood Valuation here.

Doug - 11Jan2005.


We state some of James' examples of a concept's meaning as a list:

  1. "A and B are equal means
    1. you find no difference passing from one to other, or
    2. functional operations produce identical results for both A and B
  2. Substance means
    1. a definite group of sensations will occur
  3. Incommensurable means
    1. you are always confronted with a remainder
  4. Infinite means
    1. either that, or
    2. that you can count as many units in a part as you can in the whole

  5. More and less mean
    1. certain sensations varying according to the matter
  6. Freedom means
    1. No feeling of sensible restraint
  7. Necessity means
    1. your way is blocked in directions save one
  8. God means
    1. that you can dismiss certain kinds of fear
  9. Cause means
    1. that you may expect certain sequences
  10. Etc., etc."

Quantum reality tells us, in general, it is impossible for A and B to be 'equal.'

Doesn't 'sound' mean a group of sensations will occur?

Does incommensurable also mean contextual logic that is nondistributive?

Isn't infinity a consequence of SOM's absolutes? I.e. one is absolute SOM unity, and one minus one 'creates' an absolute SOM zero, and an absolute SOM one divided by an absolute SOM zero 'creates' an absolute SOM infinity?

and so on...

"We shall find plenty of examples in the rest of this book; so I shall go back now to the more general question of whether the whole import of the world of concepts lies in its relation to perceptual experience, or whether it be also an independent revelation of reality. Great ambiguity is possible in answering this question, so we must mind our Ps and Qs.

"The first thing to notice is that in the earliest stages of human intelligence, so far as we can guess at them, thought proper must have had an exclusively practical use. Men classed their sensations, substituting concepts for them..."

(Our bold emphasis.)

This is one of philosophy's most crucial issues. It is why Pirsig agrees with Protagoras that, "Man is the measure of all things." Instead, we would say, "Man is one of unlimited multiversal species who form unlimited varieties of awareness analogies (concepts) based upon experience interrelationships (percepts)." James' "ambiguity" arises from "unlimited varieties." We may not assume as does SOM that there is just one, unambiguous answer. Too, concepts are concepts, and thus infinitely variable in their contextual 'definitae.' Our non-anthropocentric view assumes reality is an evolving and fluxing quanton of quantons (including class 'human quantons') and therefore capable of self-awareness.

Note: In Quantonics we claim reality is 'reality-centric,' not anthropocentric. To say reality is anthropocentric is like saying our multiverse is earth-centric. We claim all quantons coobsfect and measure reality. Look at our ISM Extremes to see how this bares existensialism naked and nonviable as an ISM.


"We harness perceptual reality in our concepts in order to drive it better to our ends.

"...the better we understand anything the more we are able to tell about it. Judged by this test, concepts do make us understand our percepts better...

"...An ancient philosophical opinion, inherited from Aristotle, is that we do not understand a thing until we know it by its causes."

James' "harness" ~ Pirsig's SQ latching.

And we find Pirsig's causation platypus' source! In Quantonics we know cause-effect is a SOM dichon.

"When the maid-servant says that 'the cat' broke the tea-cup, she would have us conceive the fracture in a causally explanatory way. No otherwise when Clerk-Maxwell asks us to conceive of gas-electricity as due to molecular bombardment. An imaginary agent out of sight becomes in each case a part of the cosmic context in which we now place the percept to be explained; and the explanation is valid in so far as the new causal that is itself conceived in a context that makes its existence probable, and with a nature agreeable to the effects it is imagined to produce. All our scientific explanations would seem to conform to this simple type of the 'necessary cat.' The conceived order of nature built round the perceived order and explaining it theoretically, as we say, is only a system of hypothetically imagined thats, the whats of which harmoniously connect themselves with the what of any that which we immediately perceive.

The system is essentially a topographic system, a system of the distribution of things. It tells us what's what, and where's where.

James offers example 'explanations' for causation.

Note: A cat. (assumes one; assumes cat)

Note: Assumes only molecules; only "bombardment."

(Our bold emphasis.)

Notice how SOM's objective monism (one truth, one context, homology, unilogy, etc.) insist on mappable, often 1-1 alignment of cause and effect (a proemial source of classical analyticity's illusion). And then he says classical science's explanations do this, too! This is what Pirsig calls SOM doctrine, SOM's church of reason.

Humankind egocentrically and arrogantly forces nature to 'fit' its unilogical concepts.

The system is objective! Both a source of limited success and a precursor of SOM's impending extinction.

"In so far forth it merely prolongs that opening up of the perspective of practical consequences which we found to be the primordial utility of the conceiving faculty: it adapts us to an immense environment. Working by the causes of things we gain advantages which we never should have compassed had we worked by the things alone.

"But in order to reach such results the concepts in the explanatory system must, I said, 'harmoniously connect.' What does that mean? Is this also only a practical advantage, or is it something more? It seems something more, for it points to the fact that when concepts of various sorts are once abstracted or constructed, new relations are then found between them, connecting them in peculiarly intimate, 'rational,' and unchangeable ways. In another book [his Principles of Psychology, 1890] I have tried to show that these rational relations are all products of our faculty of comparison and of our sense of 'more.'"

(Our bold emphasis and our bracket of his footnote.)

This last comment is at best arguable. We challenge readers to consider what Robert M. Pirsig wrote,

"The results of Socrates' martyrdom and Plato's unexcelled prose that followed are nothing less than the whole world of Western man as we know it. If the idea of truth had been allowed to perish unrediscovered by the Renaissance it's unlikely that we would be much beyond the level of prehistoric man today. The ideas of science and technology and other systematically organized efforts of man are dead-centered on it. It is the nucleus of it all.

"And yet, Phædrus understands, what he is saying about Quality is somehow opposed to all this. It seems to agree much more closely with the Sophists."
ZMM, p. 338, Bantam paperback, 28th printing, May, 1982. (Sophists saw fluxing interrelationships among actuality's constituents. 4APR2000 PDR)


"The sciences which exhibit these relations are the so-called a priori sciences of mathematics and logic. [James' usage of a priori here is classical, formal, mechanical, objective, predictive, determinate, inductive, causal, etc. Doug - 11Jan2005] But these sciences express relations of comparison and identification exclusively. Geometry and algebra, for example, first define certain conceptual objects, and then establish equations between them, substituting equals for equals. Logic has been defined as the 'substitution of similars;' and in general one may say that the perception of likeness and unlikeness generates the whole of 'rational' or 'necessary' truth. Nothing happens in the worlds of logic, mathematics or moral and aesthetic preference. The static nature of the relations in these worlds is what gives to the propositions that express them their 'eternal' character: The binomial theorem, e. g., expresses the value of any power of any sum of two terms, to the end of time.

"These vast unmoving systems of universal terms form the new worlds of thought of which I spoke on page 56."

(Our bold and red emphasis.)

Science's a priori reasoning is deductive reasoning, i.e., from prior events classicists assume we may deduce subsequent [predictively, future] happenings. Notice implicit, self-referent induction here (i.e., tying cause to effect). Quantum science and Pirsig's MoQ deny both classical deduction and its causal 'opposite,' induction. In place of their denial they favor Pirsig's replacement: instead of "A causes B," substitute "B values precondition A." Where former is analytically deterministic, latter supports novel, incremental, evolutionary outcomes for each Planck moment.

Bold text shows James' antecedent knowledge of Pirsig's Exclusive Static Quality (ESQ) before Pirsig was even born. To Pirsig, this ESQ is his MoQ philosophy's only 'evil.' Without calling it "evil," quantum science agrees. All of reality changes at massively parallel Planck rates. As such, there is no monistic, universal objective reality!

Yet, James, as have Bergson, Poincaré, Pirsig, et al., tells us classical science and mathematics build their foundations on a monolithic, unchanging (except for a homogeneous time concept) model of reality.

69 "The terms are elements (or are framed of elements) abstracted from the perceptual flux; but in their abstract shape we note relations between them (and again between these relations) which enable us to set up various schemes of fixed serial orders or of 'more and more.' The terms are indeed manmade, but the order, being established solely by comparison, is fixed by the nature of the terms on the one hand and by our power of perceiving relations on the other. Thus two abstract twos are always the same as an abstract four; what contains the container contains the contained of whatever material either be made; equals added to equals always give equal results, in the world in which abstract equality, is the only property the terms are supposed to possess; the more than the more is more than the less, no matter in what direction of moreness we advance; if you dot off a term in one series every time you dot one off in another, the two series will either never end, or will come to an end together, or one will be exhausted first, etc. etc.; the result being those skeletons of 'rational' or 'necessary' truth in which our logic- and mathematics-books (sometimes our philosophy-books) arrange their universal terms.

(Our bold emphasis.)

James commences his own description of what we now call quantons, by showing how ludicrous whole, classical (lisr) objects appear.

James' "terms as elements" are in Pirsigese, "static terms which have lost their Quality." Western classicists use these to assemble ever more complex Babels of pure Static Quality, absent their essence absent Dynamic Quality. Our classical, contrived abstractions become agglomerations of ESQ.

From these 'perfect' abstractions, one may quickly 'deduce' a concept of identity.

Reader, can you see now how easy it is, based upon just a few incorrect assumptions, to arrive in a very sad place? Look at many ISMs born of two dumb concepts:

  1. Terms as perfect abstractions
  2. Identity of perfect abstractions

Now you may see why we say classical philosophy and science and their mutual Newtonian ontology offer naïve analogies of reality. They just do not "get it."


"The interpretants are then substituted for the sensations, which thus get rationally conceived. To 'explain' means to coordinate, one to one, the thises of the perceptual flow with the whats of the ideal manifold, whichever it be.

"We may well call this a theoretic conquest over the order in which nature originally comes. The conceptual order into which we translate our experience seems not only a means of practical adaptation, but the revelation of a deeper level of reality in things. Being more constant, it is truer, less illusory than the perceptual order, and ought to command our attention more.

"There is still another reason why conception appears such an exalted function. Concepts not only guide us over the map of life, but we revalue life by their use. Their relation to percepts is like that of sight to touch. Sight indeed helps us by preparing us for contacts while they are yet far off, but it endows us in addition with a new world of optical splendor, interesting enough all by itself to occupy a busy life."

James describes how, in static latching of concepts, essence evaporates. Concepts become insensate. SOM objects are static-latched material concepts. Pirsig tells us that this essence evaporation is loss of Quality, or more explicitly, loss of Static Quality's interrelationships with Dynamic Quality. Our own Quantonic notation is an attempt to cure this problem, e.g., quanton(DQ,SQ).

He goes on to agree with both Pirsig and quantum science that to measure or compare classical objects absent their essence is a "theoretic conquest," which loses reality's unlimited, included-middle interrelationships.

James' percepts are his way of adding-back-in part of what is lost in conceptualization of classical objects (term and element abstractions).


"So strongly do objects that come as universal and eternal arouse our sensibilities, so greatly do life's values deepen when we translate percepts into ideas! The translation appears as far more than the original's equivalent.


"Concepts thus play three distinct parts in human life.

  1. "They steer us practically every day, and provide an immense map of relations among the elements of things, which, though not now, yet on some possible future occasion, may help to steer us practically;
  2. "They bring new values into our perceptual life, they reanimate our wills, and make our action turn upon new points of emphasis;
  3. "The map which the mind frames out of them is an object which possesses, when once it has been framed, an independent existence. It suffices all by itself for purposes of study. The 'eternal' truths it contains would have to be acknowledged even were the world of sense annihilated."

James quotes Emerson's Essay on Love, "Everything is beautiful seen from the point of view of the intellect, or as truth, but all is sour, if seen as experience."

Reader, can you see Emerson's classical dichotomy here? Can you see his classical schism based on it? Can you see his abstraction of either truth or experience? He says that our classical intellect is capable of steering our easy choice:

  1. Either truth is beauty,
  2. Or experience is sour.

Emerson uses SOM's knife well in his translation of percepts 'beauty' and 'experience' into concepts.

Classicism uses this same schismatic technique to ominous advantage in imposing its Subject-Object Metaphysics on Western culture. Classicism oversimplifies reality, denying its quantum, pluralistic, evolving, and ever novel essence.

(Our bold emphasis.)

James' summary shows SOM's whole exemplification of classical Boole upon which Western culture's fragile and failing ontology stands now at Millennium III's beginning.

74 "We thus see clearly what is gained and what is lost when percepts are translated into concepts. Perception is solely of the here and now; conception is of the like and unlike, of the future, of the past, and of the far away. But this map of what surrounds the present, like all maps, is only a surface; its features are but abstract signs and symbols of things that in themselves are concrete bits of sensible experience. We have but to weigh extent against content, thickness against spread, and we see that for some purposes the one, for other purposes the other, has the higher value. Who can decide offhand which is absolutely better to live or to understand life? We must do both alternately, and a man can no more limit himself to either than a pair of scissors can cut with single one of its blades." (Our bold emphasis.)

James' perception is Pirsig's Direct Experience. His conception is Pirsig's Static Quality (SQ). James' flux is Pirsig's Dynamic Quality (DQ). James verbally depicts Bergson's duration here.

I.e., we cannot help being quantons(percepts,concepts)! Throw SOM's scissors and knives away!

Not "alternately!" Planck rate simultaneously! I.e., quanton(live,understand)! "Alternately" is classical either/or dichotomous, schismatic, centric.
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Doug Renselle
Quantonics, Inc.
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©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2011 Rev. 5May2009  PDR Created: 7Apr2000  PDR
(10Apr2000 rev - Repair typos.)
(27-28Jul2000 rev - Repair typos.)
(28Jul2000 rev - Add bold red note to page 63.)
(15Aug2000 rev - Add anchor to page 49 for James' 1st use of 'compenetrate' in this textbook.)
(9Sep2000 rev - Add 'Interpenetrate' anchor and bold red associated text on page 52.)
(27Oct2000 rev - Change Classical Thinking Mode to Classical Thinking Method. QTMs are modal, CTMs are less so.)
(8Nov2000 rev - Date.)
(11Dec2000 rev - Correct 'an' to 'and' typo in comments on page 59.)
(28Jun2001 rev - Add bracketed p. 49 comment.)
(10Dec2001 rev - Add top of page frame-breaker.)
(21Jan2002 rev - Remediate quantum comtextual occurrences of 'complement' to 'c¤mplement.)
(23Jul2002 rev - Change QELR links to A-Z pages.)
(25Aug2002 rev - Add 'consensus' link to common sense above.)
(7Oct2002 rev - Add p. 60 comments link to our Pragmatism Critique.)
(25Mar2004 rev - Add pp. 49 & 60 red text updates. Replace Wingdings arrows at page top with gifs.)
(9Oct2004 rev - Add pp. 49 red text hologram update. Add P49 anchor.)
(11-20Jan2005 rev - Add P61 anchor and extend P61 comments. Add anchor and extend p. 68 text and comments. Add p. 48 flux anchor.)
(1Oct2005 rev - Add anchor to 1st occurrence of 'SOM's knife.' Release page constraints.)
(4Sep2007 rev - Reformat page. Massive respell. Reset legacy red text.)
(5Mar2009 rev - Add p. 55 comments link to Doug's more recent c. 2007-8 comments re: rationalism vav empiricism.)
(5May2009 rev - Reset legacy markups. Make page current.)

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