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A Review
Chapter XIII
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 XIII...........Novelty and Causation
The Perceptual View


(Most quotes verbatim William James, some paraphrased.)

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


"Most persons remain quite incredulous when they are told that the rational principle of causality has exploded our native belief in naïf activity as something real, and our assumption that genuinely new fact can be created by work done. 'Le sens de la vie qui s'indigne de taiat de discourse' awakens in them and snaps its fingers at the 'critical' view. The present writer has also just called the critical view an incomplete abstraction. But its 'functional laws' and schematisms are splendidly useful, and its negations are true oftener than is commonly supposed. We feel as if our 'will' immediately moved our members, and we ignore the brain-cells whose activity that will must first arouse; we think we cause the bell-ring, but we only close a contact and the battery in the cellar rings the bell; we think a certain star's light is the cause of our now seeing it, but ether-waves are the causes, and the star may have been extinguished long ago." (Our bold and emphasis.)

In 'reality' its 'laws' are demonstrably incorrect. In Quantonics, Pirsig's MoQ, and quantum models of reality, we simply subsume these tired, old functional ideas in their own local island of truth and proceed.

Flux is crux! Thank you for your affirmation, Mr. James! Indeed quantum flux is real! Doug 30Apr2000.

"We call the 'draft,' the cause of our 'cold;' but without co-operant microbes the draft could do no harm. Mill says that causes must be unconditional antecedents, and Venn
that they must be 'close' ones. In nature's numerous successions so many links are hidden, that we seldom know exactly which antecedent is unconditional or which is close. Often the cause which we name only fits some other cause for producing the phenomenon; and things, as Mill says, are frequently then most active when we assume them to be acted upon.

"This vast amount of error in our instinctive perceptions of causal activity encourages the conceptualist view. A step farther, and we suspect that to suppose causal activity anywhere may be a blunder, and that only consecutions and juxtapositions can be real. Such sweeping scepticism is, however, quite uncalled for. Other parts of experience expose us to error, yet we do not say that in them is no truth."

(Our bold emphasis.)

And Bergson that they must be interconnected "mobile duration" ones.

Amen! Bravo! Crux!

Crux: classical Aristotelian thought sux!

We suspect quantons are real! Quantons(DQ,SQ)!

Nor do we say we can depend on them for absolute truth as classicists and SOMites do! Doug.

"We see trains moving at stations, when they are really standing still, or falsely we feel ourselves to be moving, when we are giddy, without such errors leading us to deny that motion anywhere exists. It exists elsewhere; and the problem is to place it rightly. It is the same with all other illusions of sense.

"There is doubtless somewhere an original perceptual experience of the kind of thing we mean by causation, and that kind of thing we locate in various other places, rightly or wrongly as the case may be. Where now is the typical experience originally got?

"Evidently it is got in our own personal activity-situations. In all of these what we feel is that a previous field of 'consciousness' containing (in the midst of its complexity) the idea of a result, develops gradually into another field in which that result either appears as accomplished, or else is prevented by obstacles against which we still feel ourselves to press. As I now write, I am in one of these activity situations. I 'strive' after words, which I only half prefigure, but which, when they shall have come, must satisfactorily complete the nascent sense I have of what they ought to be."

This paragraph shows us how perceptions and their latched complements, conceptions, are Value interrelationships they are quantons! They are omnicontextual, omnispatial, omnivalent, etc. They are quantons, not bivalent classical dichons! Just as Pirsig has told us they are quantons(DQ,SQ)!

E.g., throwing a ball or rock against a brick wall! Now consider that 'experience' both classically and quantumly. I.e., 'ball and wall' are classical objects a dichon(ball, wall), then consider 'ball and wall' as a quanton(DQ,quanton(DQ,ball)), in Quantonic interrelationships with quanton(DQ,quanton(DQ,wall)) which may also be written quanton(quanton(DQ,ball),quanton(DQ,wall)), or assuming ubiquitous DQ we may simplify to quanton(wall,ball).

Now for experience, consider quanton(you,quanton(wall,ball)), or with DQ, quanton(DQ,quanton(you,quanton(wall,ball)). One more consideration: that quanton is not closed! It is open! All quantons are open!

James describes his own quanton(DQ,William_James). A quanton of quantons of quantons...all intersolute DQ.

"The words are to run out of my pen, which I find that my hand actuates so obediently to desire that I am hardly conscious either of resistance or of effort. Some of the words come wrong, and then I do feel a resistance, not muscular but mental, which instigates a new instalment of my activity, accompanied by more or less feeling of exertion. If the resistance were to my muscles, the exertion would contain an element of strain or squeeze which is less present where the resistance is only mental. If it proves considerable in either kind I may leave off trying to overcome it; or, on the other hand, I may sustain my effort till I have succeeded in my aim.

"It seems to me that in such a continuously developing experiential series our concrete perception of causality is found in operation. If the word have any meaning at all it must mean what there we live through. What 'efficacy' and 'activity' are known-as is what these appear."

Compare what Pirsig wrote about who writes. Either It or you? Both It and you? Quantumesque quanton(It,you)?

Do you intuit?

Quantons evolve toward 'better.' Usually, a quantum local 'better.'

Your reviewer complements apologies such.

Classicists relentlessly battered sophists using their ram of unilogical, homological, objective, monistic, absolute causality and truth. No apologies there! Now is time to turn our quantum sophist ram against them, not in war, but in quantum intellectual ascension! Doug 30Apr2000.
212 "The experiencer of such a situation feels the push, the obstacle, the will, the strain, the triumph, or the passive giving up, just as he feels the time, the space, the swiftness of intensity, the movement, the weight and color, the pain and pleasure, the complexity, or whatever remaining characters the situation may involve. He goes through all that can ever be imagined where activity is supposed. The word 'activity' has no content save these experiences of process, obstruction, striving, strain, or release, ultimate qualia as they are of the life given us to be known. No matter what 'efficacies' there may really be in this extraordinary universe it is impossible to conceive of any one of them being either lived through or authentically known otherwise than in this dramatic shape of something sustaining a felt purpose against felt obstacles, and overcoming or being overcome. What 'sustaining' means here is clear to anyone who has lived through the experience, but to no one else; just as 'loud,' 'red,' 'sweet,' mean something only to beings with ears, eyes, and tongues."

"The percipi in these originals of experience is the esse; the curtain is the picture. If there is anything hiding in the background, it ought not to be called causal agency, but should get itself another name.

"The way in which we feel that our successive fields continue each other in these cases is evidently what the orthodox doctrine means when it vaguely says that 'in some way' the cause 'contains' the effect. It contains it by proposing it as the end pursued. Since the desire of that end is the efficient cause, we see that in the total fact of personal activity final and efficient causes coalesce. Yet the effect is oftenest contained aliquo modo only, and seldom explicitly foreseen. The activity sets up more effects than it proposes literally. The end is defined beforehand in most cases only as a general direction, along which all sorts of novelties and surprises lie in wait. These words I write even now surprise me; yet I adopt them as effects of my scriptorial causality."

(Our bold emphasis.)

For example, 'Dynamic Quality.'

Or Bergson's 'duration.?'

: Ensemble, stochastic determinism. Doug.

"Their being 'contained' means only their harmony and continuity with my general aim. They 'fill the bill' and I accept them, but the exact shape of them seems determined by something outside of my explicit will.

"If we look at the general mass of things in the midst of which the life of men is passed, and ask 'How came they here?' the only broad answer is that man's desires preceded and produced them. If not all-sufficient causes, desire and will were at any rate what John Mill calls unconditional causes, indispensable causes namely, without which the effects could not have come at all. Human causal activity is the only known unconditional antecedent of the works of civilization; so we find, as Edward Carpenter says, [The Art of Creation, 1894, chap. i.] something like a law of nature, the law that a movement from feeling to thought and thence to action, from the world of dreams to the world of things, is everywhere going on. Since at each phase of this movement novelties turn up, we may fairly ask, with Carpenter, whether we are not here witnessing in our own personal experience what is really the essential process of creation."

(Our bold emphasis. Our insertion of James' footnote, in brackets.)

Dynamic Quality!

We are in It, and It is in us! Together, We are parthenogeneticists of novel, incremental creation. Reader, your reviewer implies anthropo-participation here. I.e., rocks do it among It too! Photons are in It, and It is...

"Is not the world really growing in these activities of ours? And where we predicate activities elsewhere, have we a right to suppose aught different in kind from this?

"To some such vague vision are we brought by taking our perceptual experience of action at its face-value, and following the analogies which it suggests.

"I say vague vision, for even if our desires be an unconditional causal factor in the only part of the universe where we are intimately acquainted with the way creative work is done, desire is anything but a close factor, even there. The part of the world to which our desires lie closest is, by the consent of physiologists, the cortex of the brain. If they act causally, their first effect is there, and only through innumerable neural, muscular, and instrumental intermediaries is that last effect which they consciously aimed at brought to birth. Our trust in the face-value of perception was apparently misleading."

(Our bold emphasis.)

Our local, quantum island of local 'truth.'

Mostly by quantum cohesion!

"There is no such continuity between cause-and-effect as in our activity-experiences was made to appear. There is disruption rather; and what we naïvely assume to be continuous is separated by causal successions of which perception is wholly unaware.

"The logical conclusion would seem to be that even if the kind of thing that causation is, were revealed to us in our own activity, we should be mistaken on the very threshold if we supposed that the fact of it is there. In other words we seem in this line of experience to start with an illusion of place. It is as if a baby were born at a kinetoscope-show and his first experiences were of the illusions of movement that reigned in the place. The nature of movement would indeed be revealed to him, but the real facts of movement he would have to seek outside. Even so our will-acts may reveal the nature of causation, but just where the facts of causation are located may be a further problem."

(Our bold and color emphasis.) Aha! James is an intuitive quantum mechanic!!!

This is quantum reality! Quantal disruption!

James' "...causal successions..." are Planck rate hiatuses to isoflux, or what Irving Stein calls "nonpreferential, omnidirectional walks in nonspace."

"With this further problem, philosophy leaves off comparing conceptual with perceptual experience, and begins enquiring into physical and psychological facts.

"Perception has given us a positive idea of causal agency but it remains to be ascertained whether what first appears as such, is really such; whether aught else is really such; or finally, whether nothing really such exists. Since with this we are led immediately into the mind-brain relation, and since that is such a complicated topic, we had better interrupt our study of causation provisionally at the present point, meaning to complete it when the problem of the mind's relation to the body comes up for review.


"Our outcome so far seems therefore to be only this, that the attempt to treat 'cause,' for conceptual purposes, as a separable link, has failed historically, and has led to the denial of efficient causation, and to the substitution for it of the bare descriptive notion of uniform sequence among events."

Pirsig's Metaphysics of Quality or MoQ, solves classicism's mind-body, subject-object (S-O), nonsubstance-substance, nonexists-exists, immaterial-material dichons by claiming all 'exist' and are real as one class of Static Patterns of Value or SPoVs.

In Quantonics, as in MoQ, we say that classicism's S-O Metaphysical (SOM) scission arises from Aristotle's syllogisms. Pirsig's SPoVs "take down" SOM's wall!
218 "Thus intellectualist philosophy once more has had to butcher our perceptual life in order to make it 'comprehensible.' Meanwhile the concrete perceptual flux, taken just as it comes, offers in our own activity-situations perfectly comprehensible instances of causal agency. The transitive causation in them does not, it is true, stick out as a separate piece of fact for conception to fix upon. Rather does a whole subsequent field grow continuously out of a whole antecedent field because it seems to yield new being of the nature called for, while the feeling of causality-at-work flavors the entire concrete sequence as salt flavors the water in which it is dissolved." (Our bold emphasis.)

Ensemble, stochastic determinism. Quantum determinism.

And SOM interprets flavor as all...

"If we took these experiences as the type of what actual causation is, we should have to ascribe to cases of causation outside of our own life, to physical cases also, an inwardly experiential nature. In other words we should have to espouse a so-called 'pan-psychic' philosophy. This complication, and the fact that hidden brain-events appear to be 'closer' effects than those which consciousness directly aims at, lead us to interrupt the subject here provisionally. Our main result, up to this point, has been the contrast between the perceptual and the intellectualist treatment of it. [see James' footnote 1 below]


[James' footnote 1:] "Almost no philosopher has admitted that perception can give us relations immediately. Relations have invariably been called the work of ' thought,' so cause must be a 'category.' The result is well shown in such a treatment of the subject as Mr. Shadworth Hodgson's, in his elaborate work the Metaphysic of Experience. 'What we call conscious activity is not a consciousness of activity in the sense of an immediate perception of it. Try to perceive activity or effort immediately, and you will fail; you will find nothing there to perceive' (i, 180). As there is nothing there to conceive either, in the discrete manner which Mr. Hodgson desiderates, he has to conclude that 'Causality per se (why need it be per se?) has no scientific or philosophic justification. . . . All cases of common-sense causality resolve themselves, on analysis, into cases of post hoc, cum illo, evenit istud. Hence we say that the search for causes is given up in science and philosophy, and replaced by the search for real conditions (i. e., phenomenal antecedents merely) and the laws of real conditioning.' It must also be recognized that realities answering to the terms cause and causality per se are impossible and non-existent' (ii, 374-378).

"The author whose discussion most resembles my own (apart from Bergson's, of which more later) is Prof. James Ward in his Naturalism and Agnosticism (see the words 'activity' and 'causality' in the index). Consult also the chapter on 'Mental Activity' in G. F. Stout's Analytic Psychology, vol. i. W. James' Pluralistic Universe, Appendix B, may also be consulted. Some authors seem to think that we do have an ideal conception of genuine activity which none of our experiences, least of all personal ones, match. Hence, and not because activity is a spurious idea altogether, are all the activities we imagine false. Mr. F. H. Bradley seems to occupy some such position, but I am not sure."

(Our bold and color emphasis. Our brackets on James' footnotes.) Primal isoflux' ability to 'create' or incrementally 'latch' flux appears to demand pan-psychism. As a result, in Quantonics, we say 'reality' is intrinsically co-aware, co-observant, and co-affecting. Thus our coined term 'coobsfect.' When we examine how classical physics' 'fundamental particles' behave, we see intrinsic coobsfection. In particle accelerators, these 'particles' make choices. How can they do that without being co-aware? I.e., without being causal, whose possibility we have, in cooperation with James here in our review of his Some Problems of Philosophy, eliminated. So, unwittingly, we solve another problem of philosophy! Do we have affirmation? Yes! Pirsig's MoQ and Millennium III quantum science.

Pirsig's MoQ insists that 'perception' gives us 'interrelationships' "immediately."

Reader, note that 'thought' and 'category' are pieces of causal, homogeneous, classical reality cut out by SOM's knife.

An easy way to deny Hodgson's comments is to flex one's arm rapidly. Mae-wan Ho showed us how orchestration of countless muscle quantons is impossible in any classical sense. So we can directly experience quantum cohesion of about 1020 subsystems, immediately. Also, note how this process appears classically lossless from a classical Maxwellian thermalized energy viewpoint. We see partial coherence in action! We experience it directly and immediately! And it is a partial coherence, SMZE (Single Microstate Zero Entropy) process. Now realize that one's whole being is partially coherent with that flexure! Further that one's whole being is unwhole unless one grasps an essential: one is partially coherent with isoflux, and thus partially coherent with all others who are partially coherent with isoflux. Need an example of that? Gravity! ("Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example." Mark Twain :)

The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press. Copyright © 1993 by Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

We never get any "more later." William James transitioned to his cherished isoflux August, 1910, at his country home in Chocorua, New Hampshire, two days after returning from an extended trip to Europe for his health.

Note that classical causation and quantum cohesion are different philosophical 'creatures.' Causation is a classical 'latent' concept requiring a homogeneous and analytical time continuum. Quantum coherence is a superluminal, zero latency, heterogeneous percept begging James' plural empiricism. Partial quantum coherence manifests when one or a subset of a system's quantum numbers 'lase.' Whole quantum coherence appears when all of a system's quantum numbers 'lase.'

Pirsig's MoQ disagrees that we can have an "ideal (Platonic) conception," since those words imply [exclusively] latched Static Quality, however, his MoQ agrees that we can directly experience Dynamic Quality's "edge of now," or "face of change." Latter is kin James' own percepts. In Quantonics we think '
tells' of quantum coherence and its immediate experience abound. We use quantons as elements of a new quantum language to express these new ontological experiences. We surmise sometime during Millennium III, not just intellectually bourgeois, but socially proletariat shall commence a new quantum ontology of coherent, immediate experience. Doug 1May2000.

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To contact Quantonics write to or call:

Doug Renselle
Quantonics, Inc.
Suite 18 #368 1950 East Greyhound Pass
Carmel, INdiana 46033-7730

©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2011 Rev. 5May2009  PDR Created: 7Apr2000  PDR
(18May2000 rev - Change 'possible' to 'impossible,' p. 219 comments: denial of Shadworth Hodgson's remark.)
(18May2000 rev - P. 219: add remark on causation and coherence as different philosophical 'creatures.')
(18May2000 rev - Repair minor typos.)
(18May2000 rev - Added '[exclusively]' to last paragraph.)
(3Jun2000 rev - Add anchor to page 219 to access Doug's comments on 'partial coherence.')
(4Jun2000 rev - Repair typos and spelling errors.)
(3Jul2000 rev - Add link to classical vis-à-vis quantum tells.)
(10Dec2001 rev - Add top of page frame-breaker.)
(20Feb2002 rev - Add anchor to our page 210 comments on Mae-wan Ho's quantum muscle flexure.)
(13Jan2003 rev - Correct p. 214 comments spelling of 'parthenogeneticists.')
(1Oct2005 rev - Add 'SOM's knife' bold, color and adjust colors. Release page constraints.)
(2Jul2007 rev - Reformat. Massive respell.)
(5May2009 rev - Make page current.)

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