Imágenes de páginas

ties. The truth of this last remark will be fully confirmed in the progress of our subsequent investigations.

Also called Intuitive Faculties. The faculties above named are also sometimes denominated Intuitive Faculties. The reason is, that each alike, pertains to its objects, by direct intuition. Consciousness, for example, by direct intuition, and not through any medium, apprehends the phenomena of the mind. The same is true of the faculty of Sense in respect to the phenomena of external material substances. The action of Reason is conditioned on the prior action of Sense and Consciousness. It is not through any medium, but by direct intuition, however, that Reason affirms truth as universal, necessary, and absolute. Like the former, therefore, it may, with equal propriety, be denominated a faculty of intuition. These faculties, as we shall see hereafter, give us the elements of all our knowledge.

Relation of Primitive Intuitive Faculties to each other. We are now prepared also for another very important inquiry—the appropriate spheres of the primary faculties relatively to each other. This inquiry can now be met in very few words. Sense, and Consciousness, give us phenomena external and internal. Reason gives us the logical antecedents of phenomena thus perceived and affirmed. This is its appropriate and exclusive sphere relatively to the other faculties. It cannot enter the domain of either Sense or Consciousness, and judge of the validity of its affirmations. The same holds true of each of these last mentioned faculties, relatively to the domain of the other, and that of Reason too. Each faculty has its own exclusive sphere in which it is wholly independent of either or both of the others, and independent in this sense, that the validity of its affirmations cannot be tested at the bar of either of the others. Its response, when questioned, in respect to what has affirmed is, " What I have written, I have written.” When Sense, for example, has made an affirmation pertaining to the phenomena of an external material substance, all that Consciousness can do, pertaining to the subject, is, to give that affirmation as it is, together with its characteristics. Of the validity of the affirmation, it can say nothing. Reason can give the logical antecedent of that affirmation, and that is all. With its validity it has no more to do, than Consciousness has. The same will hereafter be

shown to be true of Reason, in respect to every other function of the Intelligence.

Importance of the Truths above elucidated. If the truth of the conclusions above stated be admitted, it will be found to be of fundamental importance in philosophy. They will put an end at once to the wild speculations of many philosophers of the Super-sensual school, both in this country and in Europe. Here lies, for example, the great error of Kant, the father of modern Transcendentalism. He first gives us a most profound, and correct analysis of intellectual phenomena, together with a statement equally correct, of the faculties pre-supposed by those phenomena. He then summons all the other faculties at the bar of Reason, there to test the validity of their affirmations. It is no matter of surprise at all, that the result of the trial should be thus announced by the philosopher himself who instituted it, a trial, the entire results of which, as we shall hereafter see, and a inoment's reflection must convince uş, must and can rest upon nothing else than groundless assumptions, and not at all upon the real affirmations of the Intelligence. “We have therefore intended to say,” says Kant, in giving the results of his philosophy, “that all our intuition is nothing but the representation of phenomenon—that the things which we invisage [form conceptions and judgments of] are not that in themselves for which we take them; neither are their relationships in themselves so constituted as they appear to us; and that if we do away with our subject, or even only the subjective quality of the senses in general, every quality, all relationships of objects in space and time, nay, even space and time themselves would disappear, and cannot exist as phenomena in themselves, but only in us. It remains utterly unknown to us what may be the nature of the objects in themselves, separate from all the receptivity of our sensibility. We know nothing but our manner of perceiving them, which is peculiar to us, and which need not belong to every being, although to every man. With this we have only to do." The above extract contains the following strange paralogisms, contradictions, and absurdities.

1. That our Intelligence takes, that is, affirms things not to be, what the same Intelligence takes, that is, affirms them to be. Kant first employs the Intelligence to find out what things are. He then employs the same Intelligence to de

monstrate, that these very things are not what the Intelligence had previously alfirined them to be. As if a merchant should profess, that by his yard-stick, he had demonstrated, that he had a thousand yards of cloth, and then, that, by the same yard-stick, he had as fully demonstrated the fact, that he had no real cloth at all, and that neither the yard-stick nor the cloth were, in themselves, what the yard-stick had shown them to be.

2. That, while our Intelligence represents nothing whatever as it is in itself, this same Intelligence does correctly represent “our manner of perceiving objects”-a inost palpable contradiction, surely. For if our Intelligence does not represent things as they are, it surely will not represent our “manner of perceiving” as it is.

3. Kant affirms, that all that we have to do with objects, is “ according to our manner of perceiving them,” that is, as they are given, in our Intelligence. He then teaches us, that these objects are not as our Intelligence affirms them to be. This, certainly, is doing with objects far otherwise than "according to our manner of perceiving them.”

Now all these absurdities and contradictions which Kant gives as the results of his philosophy, and which constitute its distinguishing peculiarities, would have been prevented, together with the tide of scepticism, which, through that philosophy, has desolated so large a portion of Europe, had that great philosopher, after demonstrating the reality of Reason, as a faculty of the Intelligence, raised, and correctly answered, the inquiry pertaining to the true sphere of that faculty relatively to other functions of the Intelligence. Philosophers of the Super-sensual school have run wild with Reason, just as those of the Sensual school did with Sensation and Reflection.

The possession of Reason is the great distinguishing characteristic of humanity, that characteristic which separates man at an infinite remove from the lower orders of creation around him, and places him among the great Intelligences of the universe. The full demonstration of Reason, as a function of the Intelligence, has placed the philosopher whom Coleridge not unappropriately denominates the is venerable sage of Koningsburg,” among the brightest intellectual luminaries of earth. When the appropriate sphere of this divine faculty in man, relatively to the action of the other functions of the Intelligence, shall be fully settled, then philosophy, instead of being the sport of wild and blind assuniptions, will stand unmoved upon the rock of eternal truth. This subject will be resumed again in a subsequent part of our investigations.

Classification of Intellectual Phenomena given by Kant.

It was stated above, that Kant has given a most profound and correct analysis of intellectual phenomena, together with a development equally correct of the intellectual faculties pre-supposed by those phenomena. I will close this chapter by giving a concise statement of the results of his analysis.

Intellectual phenomena, according to this philosopher, are divided into two classes--those derived from experience, and those not derived from experience—the empirical and rational.

The operations of our own minds, for example, together with the qualities of external material substances, are given us by the direct intuitions of Sense and Consciousness. Such intuitions, therefore, are exclusively empirical, being derived solely from experience.

On the other hand, space is an object neither of Sense nor Consciousness. Its reality we know, and know absolutely; but not as an object of experience. The same is true of the ideas of Time, the Infinite, Substance, Cause and Effect, &c.

Rational intuitions are by Kant denominated intuitions à priori.Events, for example, are objects of experience ; as such we know them. But the proposition, every event has a cause, we know à priori, and not by experience.

Intuitions à priori, have these characteristics, and by these they are distinguished from empirical intuitions, viz. : unirersality and necessity. Though we mnight know by experience, that such and such events have a particular cause, we cannot know. from experience, that every event has a cause; much less, that every event must have a cause. Experience, if it could give us what is, could not give us the fact that what is, must be.

The above classification, it will readily be perceived, is, in reality, identical with that elucidated in the preceding Chapter, and leads to precisely the same division of the Intellectual faculties, a division which Kant, in fact, presents, as the result of his investigations. The “à priori” phenomena of Kant are those there given as necessary, while his empirical intuitions are the contingent phenomena of Sense and Consciousness.



Consciousness Defined. Of this function of the Intelligence various definitions have been given by different philosophers. The following is the definition given by Dr. Webster. “ The knowledge of sensations and mental operations, or of what passes in our own mind ; the act of the mind which makes known an internal object.” Cousin represents it as that function of the Intelligence which gives us information of everything which takes place in the interior of our minds.” “ Perhaps the most correct description of the mind in Consciousness, 1. e. of the conscious states of the mind,” says the translator of Cousin's Psychology,“ is the being aware of the phenomena of the mind of that which is present to the mind; and if self-consciousness be distinguished, not in genera, but as a special determination of Consciousness, it is the being aware of ourselves, as of the me, in opposition to the not me, or as the permanent subject, distinct from the phenomena of the mind, and from all outward causes of them.” In simple Consciousness, according to this author, we have a knowledge, in conformity to the statement of Cousin, of whatever passes in the interior of our own minds, that is, of all our mental exercises. In self-Consciousness, which is only a special form or determination of the former, we know ourselves in those phenomena, and thus distinguish ourselves from all external causes of them. This, certainly, is a very distinct and correct exposition of the subject. • The definition of Professor Tappan, given in his work on the Will, though somewhat lengthy, demands special atten

« AnteriorContinuar »