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The case of breathing is a prime example of what he means. The same thing holds for every phase of experience: walking is as much an affair of the ground as of our legs, eating inescapably involves food as much as it does our digestive systems, seeing means some thing to be seen and not merely our eyes— and exactly so with the whole gamut of experience and our sensory equipment in rela tion to it. We are biological organisms functioning in the world in which we find ourselves, and when we have experiences of touching, tasting, smelling, or hearing, it means that things are being touched, tasted, smelled, or heard.
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN 43 For example, a man may sit down to dinner one evening, just as he does every other evening, but feeling annoyed for some reason he does not understand. Then he realizes that ever since he walked into the house his wife has seemed distant, by no means a usual thing. He puzzles about this (indeterminate situation)— and then it dawns on him. This is her birthday, and he has for gotten all about it. Now he has a problem! Once he comes face to face with this, he can begin to go to work on what is to be done.
Philosophy can then be seen as part of man’s effort to make his way in the world. Man has ambitions, ideals, dreams, perspectives. These do not come out of the air, but out of the conditions of life. Thinking is an attempt to solve problems, to solve them in ways that will help us to attain whatever goals we have in mind. The problems them selves arise out of the institutions and relations of our common life, and the goals, too, have their origins there. The process of history is a process of change— changes of institutions, of habits, of problems, of expectations, of ideals.