Refers to Noel's letter upon which he has been meditating, and explains that he has been busy with the education of women. Refers to the term 'absolute', which he declares to be used by both of them in different ways. Feels it important to refute its usage in 'implying that two contradictory opinions about the same object...held by two persons may both be true.' Believes that nothing is intrinsically unknowable. Uses the statement made by Noel in his letter that 'stars do not move in an ellipse rather than a circle, apart from the way in which minds with a certain knowledge view them' to refute Noel's use of the word 'absolute'.
States that 'all experiential beliefs...may either actually or conceivably be proved true or false'. With reference to beliefs which do not relate to possible experiences, such as the beliefs of memory '[cf. Ward]', the belief in the existence of the non-ego, or of any object of one's cognition apart from one's cognition, or of any ego except oneself etc., asks 'what criterion or criteria can be given for the truth or falsehood of these beliefs in a most deep and subtle problem of the higher Logic or Metaphysics which [he is] at present meditating.' Announces that he intends to offer a solution in 'April'.
Asks Noel why he takes so much trouble to bring Sidgwick to agree with him about the unknowable. Declares that both he and Noel believe in the existence of a plurality of egos, and states that if a solitary thinker denies it 'there is no possible test of experience by which his denial may be confirmed or refuted.' Gives an example, using 'A,B,C'. Refers to Noel's assertion that thought or cognition modifies that which is cognised, and asserts that 'the object cognised is not affected, modified by the mere fact of cognition.'
Discusses ethical beliefs, to which Noel had referred in his letter. Declares that it seems to him that 'the eternal debate on ethics may be represented as a discussion whether these beliefs are analogous, in respect of the criterion of their truth or falsehood, to experiential or extra-experiential beliefs.' Discusses the differing attitudes of a utilitarian and an anti-utilitarian in relation to ethical beliefs and their identification with experiential and extra-experiential beliefs.
Refers to Noel's ethical arguments, and contends that every moralist must obey his own conscience, when he has taken every possible pains to enlighten it, and that 'the injunction of conscience is felt to apply not to him as an individual, but to every person in given circumstances.' Asserts that there is some rule prescribing conduct for a person, not as an individual, but for him as a person of given nature, and in given circumstances. Claims not to have met anyone who have no moral sense at all, but admits to have met some whose '[varying] impulses coloured in the strangest fashion their assertions of objective rightness'.
Strongly believes that 'the Right is knowable', if not absolutely, but as a standard to which one may indefinitely approximate. Believes that the current morality is faulty - 'by having too general rigid rules and not making allowance enough for individual differences.' Hopes for progress in ethical conceptions, resulting from observation and experiment. Professes his ideal to be 'a law infinitely constraining and yet infinitely flexible, not prescribing perhaps for any two men the same conduct: and yet the same law...'
Declares this to be the longest letter he ever wrote and asks that it be sent back to him. With emendations and amendments. Accompanied by annotated covering sheet.