BASIC RULES OF REASON
by I. A. RICHARDS
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & Co., Ltd. LONDON, 1933
Psyche Miniatures, General Series No. 62

DIVISION OF PAGES
To The Reader7
I . A  LANGUAGE MACHINE9
II .THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE 1 - 822
III.THEORY OF CONNECTIONS 9 -1165
IV .THEORY OF INSTRUMENTS12-1889
List of the Chief Senses of Some Key Words in Discussion  130

III . THEORY OF CONNECTIONS

    We not only have thoughts of things, we have thoughts of them as being together or in connection one with the another, in a number of ways. Language here gives us an idea that the number of these ways in which we take things together is without any limit (unlimited). It may be so, the structure of our thoughts may be as different from example to example as the 200,000 words we put them into. But this does not seem probably. From very early days in the thought of the West (from Aristotle on) experts in the comparison of thoughts have been able to make short lists of headings, under one or other of winch any thought we have may be put. Let us see which are the most important forms of connection which we give to things in our thought.
    Four chief heads seem to be enough.
We have thoughts of :     A very great number of the connections used in thought, if taken to bits, may be seen to be made up of parts which have these forms. Or, if this is not the right account to give, we may at least say that by taking connections of these forms only and putting them together, we are able to get complex connections which will take the place of most relations. Here, again, a decision between these two accounts of what we are doing is a question not about how things are, but about how we are building and using our machine for making comparisons between thoughts.
    An example is :-- to say that a man is the owner of a house may be to say that he has, in the past, done certain things (has been the cause of certain events, given money, put his name on bits of paper) which in turn have been the cause of other men doing or not doing other things (let him have the free use of the house, send him tax papers . . . ) and so on.
    Let us take these forms of connection in turn the first, cause-effect, is the one which gives most trouble. It has a number of senses, some of them complex, and to get clear thoughts about these and so control of them we have to take the complex senses to bits.

Cause .
    9-l . C is a cause of E when F does not take place without C. In other words C is a condition of E. Condition, we may make a note here, has two chief senses, 8-l and another which is very like it. To say that something is in a condition -- a man in good condition, healthy ; or in bad condition, unhealthy -- is to say that at or through a time it has certain properties. (See l2-2). Now when in 8-1 we say that something is a cause (or a condition) of a certain effect, it is only as having certain properties, being as it is, being in the condition it is in, that it is the cause. A thing in a condition (in this sense) is an event. Some events are quick and small -- the death of an ant for example. Some are long in time and great -- the Himalayas. Any thing (or group of things) in a condition, may be said to be an event -- but science, for good reasons as we will see, makes the attempt to take great events to bits and makes the bits as small as possible. In this sense of cause, it is clear that E has a great number of causes. We seem to be able to say of every event to which we give attention that it would not have taken place if certain other events had not first taken place. The number of these other events may be very great and no list we may give will be complete. These other events in tum seem to be dependent upon one another in a way which a picture best makes clear.
and so on for ever !
    A number of chains of events are seen coming in the direction of any event, and it is taken as dependent upon (hanging from) all these other events. If they did not take place, it would not take place. From this it is not a long step to the opinion that, if any event whatever in the past had not taken place then every later event would have been different. But this opinion clearly is not able to be tested : it is not possible, unhappily, to make events in the past not take place. We may even have doubts about our power to make events in the future not take place. But this is a question to be kept till later.
    9-11. Any event in any of the chains of events on which E is dependent, may, in 9-1, be said to be a cause (condition) of E. Which event we take as the cause is dependent upon our interest. For example, a judge will take as the cause of the death of a man, the blow on the head which another man gave him, events such as the man's birth, or his meals last year, will not be taken into account. No more will the processes in his brain which come after the blow and before his death. So, in a narrower sense of cause, 8.11, the cause of E is that other event C which our interest makes us take as the event without which E would not have taken place.
    Our chief interest is generally (14-2) in e events which seem to us uncommon. Birth comes to all men, al] take meals, but only a small number in peace-time get blows on the head from other men which are a cause of death. In addition we have the belief that public opinion makes it less probable that we will get blows on the head if we give punishment to men responsible for them. To say the blow is the cause of death is part of our way of putting a stop to such things. But if our interest in the effect and in its connections with other events is not of this sort, but is an interest in getting a complete account of how events take place, that is, if our interest is in science, we do not give any one of the earlier events this special weight. We take a look at the events which are at the least distance in time and space from E.
   The reason for this is clear, and may be seen in the picture. If we take note only of events at some distance in time (say A and B) it is not possible to be certain that other chains of events have not come in between these events and the effect to make E, the effect, different. The more delicate and detailed our observations the less distance In time (and so, frequently, in space) is it safe to let come between causes and effect. The great power of mathematics, as a way of giving an account of how events take place, comes from operations it makes use of by which the distance between the events taken note of becomes less and less without limit. But mathematics is only of use when amounts are in question. With events where amounts are not in question or which are not able at present to be measured, we have to make the best of a bad business. But still the same rule is of use. The less distance there is between the causes we take note of and the effect the better.
    9-2 . A cause F is an event by which another event, E, is forced to lake place. This is a sense which is not of use in science or in use in the better work of men of science. In everyday language and teaching it is very common. It is complex and we have now to take it to bits. In part it is 8-1, but in addition there is a sense which comes from our experience when we give a pull or a push to a body, or when something gives a pull or a push to us. In these events we have a number of special feelings, some from our muscles, some from the weight of touches on our skin and so on. These feelings we take, by a fiction, as a power we put upon things or things put upon us. With these thoughts come incomplete memories of the desires and impulses which went with these pushes or pulls.
    By another step we put all these feelings and memories into our thought about the blow which one thing gives another, the attraction it has for another, and so on.  (This account here makes no attempt to be complete ; it is a rough account only. The question ' How does this take place ? ' is one of the hardest and most complex in psychology).  We have to keep in view that all this is first done by us in very early days. The very young mind puts no fixed divisions between what is living and acting and what is dead. It puts this division in different places year by year as its growth goes on and it does not ever get the division quite clear. The ideas which are most readily used by us in later years are first formed (and frequently become fixed) in the middle of this process of development. When we are not giving all our attention or are not very clearly conscious, we frequently make use of ideas which, if we were questioning them, we would not for a minute take seriously. So, in everyday,unquestioned thought,we see things as acting on one another, forcing one another into motions and through changes, much in the same way as we see ourselves as acted upon by things or forcing things to go through changes. A Force acting between things is, in this sense, a fiction. It is a way our thoughts have of picturing a connection between things -- a way taken from our experience of how bodies give us pushes and pulls and supported by our memories of how desires seem to make us do things. All our language about the motion of bodies is full of such fictions. Pull and push are examples. So are attraction, destruction, expansion and stretch, in some of their senses. When we say that an engine gives a pull to a railway train we are saying that the two are in motion together as if the engine was pulling the carriages. But the more knowledge we get about what takes place, and the smaller the scale of distance between the events we take into our account, the less there seems to be anything like a pull between the engine and the carriage, The idea of a pull is in rough agreement with events taken on the scale of the acts of our hands. With events taken on a much smaller or a much greater scale -- the motions of electrons or of stars -- it is not a help, and the theory of these motions does not now make use of it. Forces have gone from science , but in everyday business, in thought about the building of houses or ships, the behaviour of nations, governments, minds, the tendencies (processes of change in which a force is slowly taking effect, or waiting to take effect) of ideas, theories, art or trade -- in all these, forces (with powers. frequently another name for them, are fictions of the very greatest help to thought. They give us an account of what is taking place in the form about which we have most knowledge and over which we have most control -- in the form, that is of the acts of our bodies. Our trick of talking about ' dead ' things as if they were living -- which is seen all through our use of language -- of making them into persons in our thought, is not a falling back into the ways of our early foolish years. It is a way of using our knowledge and experience in the most ready form and is of very great value to us. The only danger is that we sometimes go on using it when it is no longer of value.

    (Force)
    9-21. A pull or a push, of which we have the feeling when we put bodies in motion (or make an attempt to do so) or when things put us in motion.
    9-211. By fiction, the same sort of pull or push taken to be between other bodies.
    9-212. By fiction, the same sort of pull or push taken to be between things which are not bodies -- events, desires, conditions.
    9-5 .{sic} Up to this point a cause has been taken as one event at a time and in a place. We have now to take note of a more general sense. (See, in comparison, thought 1-5 ; the same change across from one example to a general sense is being made here.) Science is only interested in general laws -- that is to say it makes the attempt to get statements of the form : ' Whenever the conditions are a b c d . . . e comes '. If it is interested in special events at fixed times and in fixed places it is only because by taking note of them it is able to get general laws, or at least, get nearer to them. In science, to say that a b c d . . . are the causes of e is to put forward a law to be tested. This gives us 9-5 in which to say of an event that it is a cause is to say that it is an example of a general law or rule of the form :-- With all a b c d's come e's. (In 9-1 we had only, ' with this group a b c d came this e ').
    These laws seem to be of a number of different sorts, or possibly (this is a question for the future) only different in being complex in different degrees. (See in comparison sort and degree). For not-living substances, for plants, for animals, for men, and, it may be, for very great men -- that is to say, for all the chief divisions of things -- there seem to be different laws. With every step up, as the sort of thing in question becomes more complex, so the form of the laws of cause for it seems to become more complex. If so, the question ' Are we free to do anything, or are all our acts under the control of laws? ' -- a question which has frequently been under heated discussion -- may be given an answer by the use of a special limited sense of free.
    This sense for free will not make everyone who is troubled by this question happy but it will at least let the most important things on the two sides of the discussion be said. For a thing to be free, in this sense, is for it to be under the control of laws as complex as, or in other ways parallel to its structure. In this sense a man, for example, is not free when he is falling down a slope against his desire, but he is free when, having a desire to do so, he is walking up it. He is not free when trouble with his digestion gets in the way of his thought, but he is free when some of his desires make him put others of his desires on one side. The example of a fight between desires is the one which has given the most trouble in this discussion of Free Decision against Complete Law. (In philosophy, ' Free Will against Determinism '). Commonly, if One desire, or group of desires gets its way a man will have the feeling that he has been acting freely, if the other gets its way he will have the feeling that he has been acting under the power of forces outside himself--that he has not been free. (But no one has so far been able to say what are the limits of the self.) In some unhappy examples, whichever way the fight has gone, whichever desires have had their way, he will equally have the feeling that he is not free. The suggestion here made is that when we have this feeling that we have been forced by desires to do something, we have been acting under laws which are not complex enough for the level of our development. It may be we have been acting under laws right for an animal, or for a young boy or girl -- but not right for an older person in whom experience has been building up other, more complex possible ways of acting in which not only small groups of desires but all the desires of the mind (or, at least, Very complex groups of desires) are able to come to an agreement with one another. To put it shortly, we are free, in this sense, when our minds are in order, we are not free when our minds are out of order. And to be in order is here to be under the control of laws of the right level. Or, again, we are free when it is we who are acting ; not free, when it is only some desire in us which is acting.

Law , it will be seen, is a word whose senses are in need of separate account : --
    10-1 . The general fact that with all a b c d's come e's. This is the same as cause (9-5). This is what a law is in science.
    10-11. The general fact (10-1) when taken as necessary (17-1).
    10-12. The general fact (10-1) when taken as made so by something like an authority.
    10-2 . The rule ('will ' order, decision, desire) of an authority. This is the law which a Judge gives.
    10-21. A statement of the rule.
    All through any discussion of the senses in which we may say that our ' will ' (our power of making decisions) is free or not free, it will be noted that these two senses of law come in. Words like rule, order, end, design, ' principle ', ' arrangement ', ' nature' have these two senses (among others) and most of our troubles with them come from this. By separating them we become able to say truly a great number of things which, till they are separate, seem falsely not to be in any possible agreement with one another.

    We may go on now to another group of questions which have had as great a place in the history of thought about the connections of things with one another as even the questions about cause and effect.
    These are questions about the use of the words :-- change, system, part (and with them same, different and like.)
    We have first to take note of a very important fact. Most of our clear knowledge comes to us from observation of bodies, that is, things in space and time, and our ideas about the sorts of connection between other things (thoughts for example, or minds when we do not take them to be in space or time) are taken from our ideas about bodies, Our knowledge of things in space gives us a picture of possible ways of connection, and, so far as we are able, we make use of this picture because, without it, ideas are at least very hard to get or to keep in any order. And it may be that this picture is our only way of doing so.
    Let us make a start with the words part and system. We will see that we are not able to keep the discussion of any of these words separate.

Part
    11-1 .
    Here AB is part of the system AC.
    _________________________
    A             B             B1             C
    If we put B in a different position on AC, say Bl, and then make an attempt to say what has taken place, we see that there are a number of different ways of saying it because a number of different language-machines may be used.
    We may say that the point B has been in motion
    That the point B has been moved
    That the part AB has given place to the part AB1
    That the part AB has become AB1
    That the part AB B1 has been changed
        or that a change has been given to it.
    If we do not take care, we will seem to have the very hard question before us, ' Which of them is the right way of saying what has been done? ' But, as we saw at the start (pp. 14-16) any way of saying anything is a right way if it is of use, if it lets us, later, say all we have a need to say.
    So here we may give our account by the use of the fiction of a point moving from B to B1, or by the fiction of a change in AB (AB becoming longer, a growth of AB) ; or by saying that in place of AB we now have AB without saying that AB has gone through any change. Which way we make use of will be dependent upon our later purposes.
    In this I have taken a change in the sense (11-21) of a fiction with which we may give an account of how two things are different. But there is another sense of change in which it is less clear that a change is a fiction (or in which, if it is a fiction, the fiction is of another sort). For example, if B is a body in motion in the direction AC (say our pencil moving from B to Bl) then we will have a strong feeling that an account which says only that at certain times it is at certain places between B and B1 is incomplete. But science, as long as it keeps to an account of bodies, gives us only such an account. Change, in any sense other than 11-21, is not a word used in the language of men of science when they are taking care. The chief other sense 11-22 comes (very much as with force) from our experience of moving ourselves (and from our other experience of change in our feelings). We have the feeling then that something goes through a change, and that an account which said only that at one time we are so and at another time so is not enough. We have a feeling of change as a special experience we go through and our use of the word in senses which make change seem not to be a fiction comes from this feeling.
    Our language-machine makes it necessary that what is changed keeps the same in some ways. We may make a picture of these ways or properties, like this:     Here ABC is changed to ABK, but is it changed to XYZ ? If we say that it is, this is possible only because XYZ are taken to be the same as ABC in some way, Say of being letters. If for XYZ we put ; ; ; we may still only say that ABC has been changed into ; ; ; by taking ABC and ; ; ; as being equally marks on paper. Or if to make the question wider, we say that ABC has been changed to a smell, this is only possible by taking ABC and the smell as events (or ABC and tomorrow). To say that anything has been changed into any other thing we have to take them as being the same in some way.
    But, in this last limiting example, if the two things (2-1) are only the same in being things (2-1) is not that only a way of saying that they are not the same in any Way ?
    The hardest questions about change all come with examples in which we have no clear knowledge of the ways in which the two things keep the same, We frequently take them as keeping the same (as things 2-4) without having any clear thoughts about what it is which keeps unchanged. In discussions of the question 'Does the mind go through changes? ' this trouble comes up all the time. The teaching of the Buddhists that there is no self, that the self only falsely seems to be, is for this reason very hard to put clearly because, for Western thought at least, without something which keeps the same in some ways no account of changes, and so no account of causes and effects, may be given. The Buddhist teaching of Karma seems specially not to be complete for this reason. But there is no need for what keeps the same to be anything like a body. For example, the form of a law may keep the same from example to example. Probably what keeps the same in Karma is the form of a law about changes in the forms of other laws. Things (2-4) may be said to be laws (10-1) -- ways in which events take place which keep the same. But to make use of this suggestion to give a statement about the mind or about Karma, or about the Chinese Tao, we still have to have some clear idea about the ways (things, laws) which keep the same and those which do not.
    Another form in which we may put this point is to say that all change is change of parts in a system. In the picture (11-1) AB is a part of a system (of marks on a bit of paper, of motions of the eye, of a seen bit of space . . . and so on).
    11-3. The widest sense of the word system is any group of things (2-1) in any connection with one another. The sense I have been using is narrower than this. It is 11-31, that of which something which is said to be changed is taken as a part. As we have seen a system in th1s sense will have parts which are not.1n process of change. A yellow ball which goes through a change to become a red ball (the sun going down) is a system one part of which (its colour) is changed ; the other parts of it (size, for example. or form) may not be changed. It will be clear from this example how much our use of these senses of part and system is dependent upon our purposes. They are apparatus with which we put our observations in order and make a record of them
    In 11-1 he sense of part was clearly that of parts of things in space But we have in view a yellow ball changing to a red ball (or a felling of pain becoming less) the part are not part in space.
    11-4 . When something has a number of qualities, these qualities (with the thing which has them) are parts of the system they together make up. (The question ' Is there a thing in addition to its qualities ?' is again one about different sorts of language-machines equally of use for different purposes. See in comparison thing 2-2).
    11-5 . Some writers take, as being very important, a sense in which a system is a group of things such that if any one of them is changed all the others are changed in some degree by that change. Everything there is, for some purposes, taken to be a system in this sense -- the changes in parts of it which are at a great distance from one another being small without limit. The motions of fish in the sea (or stars in the sky), in this view, make my size a very little different. And in a more special use of this sense it has been said that living things (or some of them) are unlike all other things in having a special organization of their parts in this way, and that minds have it in the highest degree. But we have to take care here to keep two different questions separate. To go back to our picture, 11-1 ; If AB is changed then BC is changed. but this is not the sort of system which those who make use of the sense, 11-5, have in view. Most of these writers, in fact, make a very sharp division between groups formed by addition (like the picture in 11-1) and groups said to be different from, or more than, the addition ('sum') of their parts. What they have in mind is the fact that a very small change made to one part of an animal, say to the cat's eye when it sees a mouse, may be the cause (9-1) of a very great number of complex changes in its other parts. But with a change in one leaf of a tree no such great number of other changes come. Even less with a change in one bit of dust, and so on. The important thing with this sense of system is to keep in mind that we are not able to put limits to groups of things and say that they are systems (' Minds are systems ', ' animals are systems ' and so on) without first getting a very great amount of detailed knowledge about the conditions under which changes in all parts come after changes in any parts. Some changes go with others under some conditions -- that is all we may say. In other words, some systems (11-3 or 11-4) have more connections between their parts than others. The form of the laws of cause for them is more complex. But to make one wide division between systems and say that, in some, changes in all parts take place with changes in any part is to go forward a long way in front of our knowledge.
 
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