chapter  VII
33 Pages

Some Judgments of Perception

It is scarcely possible, I think, to exaggerate the frequency with which we make such judgments as these, nor yet the certainty with which we are able to make vast numbers of them. Any man, who is not blind, can, at almost any moment of his waking life, except when he is in the dark, make a large number of judgments of the first kind, with the greatest certainty. He has only to look about him, if he is indoors, to judge with regard to various things which he is seeing, such things as "That is a window," "That is a chair," "This is a book"; or, if he is out-of-doors, such things as "That is a house," "That is a motor-car," "That is a man/' or "That is a stone," "That is a tree," "That is a cloud." And all of us, who are not blind, do in fact constantly make such judgments, even if, as a rule, we only make them as parts of more complicated

judgments. \Vhat I mean is that, when we make such judgments as <I Hullo! that clock has stopped/' or "This chair is more comfortable than that one," or "That man looks like a foreigner," judgments of the simpler kind with which I am concerned are, so far as I can see, actually a part of what we are judging. In judging II That clock has stopped," part of what I am actuaJly judging is, so far as I can see, "That is a clock;" and similarly if J judge .. That tree is taller than this one," my judgment actually contains the two simpler judgments "That is a tree," and II This is a tree." Perhaps most judgments which we make, of the kind I mean, are, in this way, only parts of more complicated judgments: 1 do not know whether this is so or not. But in any case there can be no doubt that we make them exceedingly commonly. And even a blind man, or a man in the dark, can and does, very frequently, make judgments of the second kindjudgments about things which he is feeling with his hands. All of us, for instance, at almost any moment of our waking life, whether we are in the dark or not, have only to feel certain parts of our own bodies or of our clothes, in order to make, with great certainty, such judgments as .. This is a finger," "This is a nose," .. This is cloth." And similarly I have only to feel in my pockets to judge, with regard to objects which I meet with there, such things as "This is a coin," "This is a pencil," .. This is a pipe."