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Porter's Human Intellect, Pt. II

Article II


In returning to consider this elaborate volume move in detail, we would remark that its author has designed it as a text-book for college students-in the class of philosophy, and has proceeded, in writing, on the presumption that they for whom he writes have not the slightest knowledge of the subject.  Hence his pages are filled with matters which those who have made some proficiency in the science of the human understanding, and are not wholly ignorant of philosophy, properly so-called, are already masters of, and which they cannot even read without great weariness of the body, and do not deem it worth their while to read it all.  They feel that to be able to understand the author, it is enough to consult his principles and method, and his definitions of the several topics he takes up and discusses.  They have neither the patience to read carefully through a huge volume which is, nine-tenths of it, filled with what is for them mere baby-talk.  But the author does not, in composing his work, begin by stating and defining his theses, and the proceeding to elucidate and prove them; but attempts to begin where he supposed the infant begins, and proceeds as a learner, not as a master.  Consequently, we are compelled to read his book from the beginning to the end, or not be sure of his doctrine on any one point.

            It is true, the author sometimes attempts definitions, but they are seldom scientific, rarely embrace his whole thesis, and nothing else, and are pretty sure to mislead the unfortunate reviewer who relies on the,.  He seldom abides by his own definitions.  In one place he defines consciousness a power, and in another he makes it an act.  Sense-perception is defined to be the power by which the intellect gains the knowledge of material objects; then we are told that the object perceived is not the material existence, but “a joint product of the material agent and the sentient organism,,” a physical transcript of the material object; while in another part of his work we find his denying that what the mind perceives is such transcript, and refuting, by plain and solid reasons, those who maintain that is.  A really scientific definition is a definition per genus et per differentiam; Dr. Porter sometimes gives the genus and forgets the differentia, and sometimes gives the differentia without giving the genus.  He also adopts a terminology in many respects not familiar to us, though it may be to others, without the necessary explanation of the terms he used; and even when the terms he uses are such as we are familiar with, they are used in a sense to which we are not accustomed.  We cannot tolerate subject-object, for subject and object are distinct, and stand the one over against the other.  The subject in thought is never the object, and the object is never the subject.  Grammar teaches so much.  Object-object says no more than simply object.  Every object is object, and no object is more or less than object.  The object is always real; for it is cansative, since in the act of thought it resists the subject, and becomes a counter-pressure.  We dislike percepts and concepts; for they are intended to imply that they exist, as it were, independent of the subject and the objects, and that the product of subject and object may itself be object.  We protest earnestly, in the name both of philology and philosophy, against calling existence, which are nothing except by the creative act of God, beings, and still more earnestly against so calling the products of second or third causes.  This might pas with the Gentiles, who substituted generation for creation, but is inexcusable in a Christian philosopher.  We know the schoolmen did so, but they are not to be commended for it.  They speak of ens simpliciter, ens secundum quid, ens reale, and ens possible, and even of ens rationis, as if being, the creations of being, mental abstractions, and the creations of fancy and imagination could be all of the same genus or placed in the same category!  There is a philosophy in language which can never be disregarded without more or less injury to the philosophy of things.

            The professor’s method and terminology render his work exceedingly difficult to be understood without as much study as would be necessary to construct the philosophy of the human mind without it; and therefore if we should happen at time to miss his meaning, he must blame himself.  He is far more intent on explaining the processes of the mind in knowing than on setting forth what it knows.  These processes have no interest for us; for the really throw no light on the power or fact or knowledge.  We want to know what the author means by philosophy, and what is its value, and we therefore want him to speak as the professor, not as the pupil.  We have no disposition to waste our time and weary the flesh, even, in reading the mass of stuff which he writes and which tells us nothing we want to know.  But enough of this.

            The professor divides, not very scientifically, his work into four parts.  Part I. treats of Presentation and Preventative Knowledge; Part II., of Representation and Representative Knowledge; Part III., of Thinking and Thought-Knowledge; and Part IV., of Intuition and Intuitive Knowledge.  He says, p. 77, “The leading faculties of the intellect are three:  the preventative or observing faculty, the representative or creative faculty, and the thinking or generalizing faculty.  More briefly, the faculty of experience, the faculty of representation, and the faculty of intelligence.”  But experience is not a faculty; it is the result of the exercise of all our faculties, and a source of intelligence.  Intelligence, as a faculty, is the intellect itself; as a fact, it is indistinguishable from experience, which is improperly restricted by some psychologists of the inductive sort to the knowledge of the external world through the senses, but extends to all acquired knowledge, whatever the faculty exercised in acquiring it or the object perceived.  The real distinction is not between experience or empirical knowledge and intelligence, but between empirical knowledge or experience and the ideal principles which are given intuitively by the Creator, and neither acquired nor developed by the soul’s own action.  Distinctions should be real, not arbitrary or abstract.

            We are able to know objects of various kinds and sorts, but the knowing is always the same fact, and by the same cognitive faculty, whatever the object known, the order to which it belongs, or the means and conditions of it cognition.  The learned professor’s division, making four sorts of knowledge, since he makes intuition empirical, or an act of the soul, appears to us, therefore, without any real foundation.  All knowledge or actual knowing is preventative, and is in all cases by direct contemplation of the object in the light of ideal intuition.  Demonstration only strips the object of its envelops, removes the prohibentia, and presents it to direct contemplation.  In the longest chain of reasoning, each link is, in the empirical sense, intuitively apprehended.  The apprehension is always immediate, and the several mental processes serve only to bring the subject and object together, face to face.  These processes, however names or whatever their character, never extend the matter of knowledge beyond the objects presented.

            The preventative faculty the author subdivides into consciousness and sense-perception.  But consciousness is not a preventative faculty, or a subdivision of a faculty at all.  It is simply the recognition of the soul, as reflected from the object, of herself as subject.  At most, it simply presents the subject of the thought.  Sense-perception presents only material or sensible objects.  The professor’s doctrine is the that of Locke, who derives all our ideas from sensation and reflection, and confines all our knowledge to sensible with the soul and her operations.  Reflection only operates on the sense-perceptions without extending the matter of knowledge beyond them.  This is pure sensism, which we are somewhat surprised to find held by an eminent professor in Yale College.  Does Dr. Porter know his doctrine is sensism, and therefore materialistic?  He says, though not truly, we apprehend the soul in consciousness as a spiritual being, but is the soul the only non-sensible he means to assert? 

            But, as we showed in our former article, the soul recognizes herself only as subject, and therefore only as the correlative object.  She knows her own operations only in the same correlation.  Take away the object and you lose the subject or fact of consciousness.  This, we fear, the professor does.  He defines, p. 131, sense-perception to be “an act of objective knowledge, in which the soul knows and only knows;” but adds, “if the soul knows, it knows some being as its object.  But what being does it affirm?  We answer, The being which is the joint product of the material agent and the sentient organism. . . . .  In perception proper we do not know the excitant apart, nor do we know the organism apart, only the result of their joint action.  This we know as an object, with which the mind is confronted both as an object, with which the mind is confronted both as a sentient and as a percipient.”  But as there can be no thought without the conjunction of the intellective subject and the intelligible object, if the mind does not apprehend the material object itself, there can be no such joint product as pretended, and, consequently, no object at all.  The object then vanishes, and leaves only the subject, which is, we need not say, pure idealism.  As the subject is the correlative of object, and recognizes itself only in thinking the object, if the object vanishes, the subject, too, must vanish, and leave behind it only the sensation transformee of Condillac.  But as sensation, however transformed, is still sensation, and as sensations are incapable of standing alone, or of subsiding without the subject, the sensations themselves must go, and nihilism alone remains-the result to which all psychologisms and ontologisms are necessarily tending, and in which Sir William Hamilton says all philosophy necessarily ends, if we may trust a passage which we saw quoted from him not long since in The New Englander, by a Princeton professor, in a striking article on The Present State of Philosophy, in which the writer has well stated the problem presented, but which he neither solves nor attempts to solve; a problem, the solution of which is in the ideal formula, or the real synthesis of principles of things and of science, of which he seems never to have heard.

            The professor draws a proper distinction between sensation as feelings and sensation as perception, but we cannot agree with him that sensation as perception, but we cannot agree with him that sensation as feeling is an affection of the soul.  Those psycho-physiologers make a great mistake who call the body “The House I live in.”  The union of soul and body is too intimate for that.  We are not soul, as distinguished from the body, nor are we body, as distinguished from the soul; but we are the union of the two.  A General Council defines the soul to be forma corporis, the informing and animating principle of the body.  Yet there is a distinction between them.  We can predicate of the one thing which we cannot of the other.  There is, indeed, no sensation itself, as distinguished from the perception, is felt, not merely localized, in the body, not in the soul.  When we feel the twinges of the gout, we feel them, not in our soul, but in our toe.  We must distinguish two classes of affections, frequently confounded; the one sensible, of the body, the other spiritual, of the soul.  The sensible affections or emotions, such as joy and grief, sorrow and delight, pain and pleasure, are of the body animated and informed by the soul.  They indeed imitate in the sensible order the affections of the soul, but have in themselves no moral character.  Hence, the masters of spiritual life make no account of what Is called sensible devotion, and see in it nothing meritorious, and no reason why the soul, in its itinerary to God, should seek it.  But very different is the other class, often called by the same name, and which may or may not be accompanied by sensible emotion.  This difference is at once understood by all who have learned to distinguish between the love of the sense and the love of the soul, the love of Plato meant when he represented the soul, in his fine poetical way, as having two wings, intelligence and love, on which it soars to the empyrean.  This love, in one degree, is chivalric love, which the knight cherished for his mistress whom he worships as a distant star; in a higher degree, it is heroic love, a love that braves all dangers for the beloved, whether friend or country; in a still higher degree, and informed by grace, it is charity or saintly love, with which the saint burns and is consumed as e contemplates the Beauty of Holiness, or “the First Good and the First Fair.”  This is not sensible love, and its glory is in struggling against the seductions of the senses, or the flesh, and by the grace of God winning the victory over them, and coming off conqueror through him who hath loved us a given is life for us.

            The professor has entered largely into the physiology of the senses, and the joint action of the soul in the fact of knowledge, and the process of the mind in forming what he calls percepts; but as all he says under these heads, whether true or not true, throws no light on the intellectual act itself, we pass it over, and proceed to his Part II., Representation and Representative Knowledge.

            “Representation or the representative power,” the author says, p. 248, “may be defined in genera; [that is, the genus] the power to recall, represent, and reknow objects which have been previously known or experienced in the soul.  More briefly, it is the power to represent objects previously presented to the mind.”  Clearly, then, representation adds nothing to the matter previously presented by the preventative power.  But the author continues:  “It is obvious that, in every act of this power, the objects of the mind’s cognition are furnished by the mind itself, being produced or created a second time by the mind’s own energy, and presented to the mind’s own inspection.  It follows that representation, in its very essence, is a creative or self-acting power.”

            We cannot say that this is obvious to us.  The definition of representation given by the author makes it what, in the language of mortals, is called memory; and we have never learned that memory is a creative power, or that in memory the mind creates the objects it remembers.  To recall or to reknow is not to create.  Even that the soul is self-active-that is, capable of acting from itself alone- is by no means obvious; nay, is impossible, unless we take the soul to be the first cause, instead of merely a second cause; and even is it were self-active, it would not follow that it creates.  God is self-active because self-existent, or being in its plentitude; but he is not necessarily a creator.  He has infinite scope for his infinite activity in himself, and he is free to create or not to create as he pleases.  That the mind does not in memory create the objects remembered, is evident from this that the facts remembered are, as the author himself admits, facts or objects previously known or experiences.  The fact of memory, or the fact remembered, is the same fact that was known in presentation, accompanied by the recognition of it as an object previously present and known, and not now known for the first time.  There is no creation a second time any more that there was the first time, or when the object was presented.

            The professor says, p. 251, “The objects of the representative power are . . . . mental objects.  They are not real things, nor real percepts, but the mind’s own creations after real things.  They are spiritual or psychical, not material, entities; but, in many cases, they concern material beings, being psychical transcripts of them, believed to be real or possible.”  Does he mean this as a true description of the facts of memory?  Probably not.  Then his definition needs amending, for it does not include all that he means by representation.  His definition includes only memory; but his description includes, besides memory, reflection, fancy, and imagination, things which have nothing in common except the fact that the mind operates in them all on matters which have been previously presented.  Reflection and memory are in no sense creative faculties; fancy and imagination are sometimes so called, but even they do not create their own objects.  Reflection is the mind operating on the ideal principles re-presented in language, and, in their light, on the facts of experience in their synthetic relations with them.  Memory is simply, as a faculty, the power to retain and to re-present, more or less completely and distinctly, the facts of experience.  Its objects are those facts themselves, not a mental representation or transcript of them.  The author confounds re-presenting presented is re-presented, or presented anew; in the other, the object itself is not presented for more claborate consideration, but a certain mental transcript, image, or resemblance of it, which is the product of the mind fancying or imagining, yet is never its object in correlation with which it acts.  This distinction alone upsets the author’s whole theory of science, or Wissenschafislehre, and renders worse than useless more than nine-tenths of his volume.  His whole theory is vitiated by confounding representation, in the sense of showing or exhibiting by resemblance or similitude, with the etymological sense, that of re-presenting, and in taking the representation as the object of the soul in the intellectual act, which it never is.  Neither reflection nor memory represents, in his sense of the word, the objects previously presented; they only re-resent them.

            In the point of fact, we never know any thing by mental representation; for we either know not at all, or we know the thing itself.  Representation only replaces the phantasms and intelligible species of the schoolmen, for ever made away with, we had supposed, by the Scottish school of Reid and Hamilton, and the professor himself has given excellent reasons for not accepting them.  Plato, indeed, asserts that we know by similitude, but in a very different sense.  The idea is impressed on matter as the seal on wax, and the impression is a perfect fac-simile of the idea; and by knowing the impression, we know the idea impressed.  But he never made wither the idea or the impress of it on matter the product of the mind itself.  He makes either always objective, independent of the mind, and apprehensible by it.  In other words, he never held that the mind creates the similitude by which it knows, but, at most, only that by observation the mind finds it.  The peripatetics never, again, made their phantasms and intelligible species mental creations, or represented them as furnished by the mind from its own stock; but always held them to be independent of the mind, and furnished to it as the means of apprehending the object.  If they have referred their production to the mind itself, they would have called the species intellective, not intelligible species.  The soul has, indeed, the faculty of representation; but in representing its correlative object, it is not the representation, but the thing, whatever it may be, that it attempts to represent.  The product of the mind may be a representation, but the object of the mind is not.  In all the imitative arts, as poetry, painting, sculpture, the artist seeks to represent, but operates always in view of that reality of which he produces the representation or resemblance. 

            The author himself distinguished memory from representation, though very indistinctly.  “Representation,” p. 303, “recalls, memory recognizes.”  Here he uses representation in the sense of re-presenting; for what is recalled is not the mental representation or semblance, but the object itself; so, really there is no representation in the case, and the professor should not have treated memory under the head of representation.  “I see a face, and I shut my eyes and picture it to myself.”  This is not an act of representation, but of memory.  There is a re-presenting, but no representation, in memory; for, so far as the fact is not reproduced in memory, there is no memory, but simply fancy or imagination.  The objects of reflection are simply the objects originally presented with only this difference, that, in presentation, the fact of consciousness is ourself as subject knowing, whereas in reflection it is ourself as subject reflecting, and, in memory, ourself as subject remembering.

            Fancy and imagination are, in a loose way, called creative faculties; but properly creative they are not.  Creation is production of substantial existences or things from nothing; that is, without any materials, by the sole energy of the creator.  Fancy and imagination can operate only on and with materials which have been or are presented to the mind.  Fancy is mimetic and simply imitates imagination, as throughout the universe the lower imitates imagination, as throughout the universe the lower imitates the higher, as the universe copies the Creator, or seeks to actualize the type in the divine mind; and hence St. Thomas says, Deus similituo est omnium rerum.  God creates all things after the type or ideal in his own mind, and idea-in mente divina nihil est aliud quam essential Dei.  Hence, man is said to be made after the image and likeness of God, ad imaginem et similitudinem Dei, though he is not the image of God; for that is the Eternal Word, who, St. Paul tells us, is “the brightness of his glory and the express image of his substance.” or being.  (Heb. i. 3.)  Fancy is mimetic, and plays with sensations and sensible; but though it combines them in its own way, as a winged horse, the objects combined are always objects of experience.  Imagination is of a higher order than fancy, and operates on and with objects of experience, sensible, intelligible, and the ideal principles intuitively given.  It sweeps through the whole range of creation, descends to hell, and rises to heaven; but its objects are always those which have been presented to the mind, which it can only arrange and combine in new forms of its own.  But the representation it produces are its products, not its object.  In producing them, the mind has a real object as its correlate, as in presentation.  Let the professor, then, abandon the absurdity which runs through his book that a mental creation or representation is the object of the soul in producing it.  The object of the soul is the object whose activity joins to its own produces it.

            Take the artist.  The object in his richest and sublimest productions is the beautiful which he sees, which is his soul’s vision and his soul’s love, and which he seeks to express on canvas, in a statue, a temple, an oration, a poem, or a melody.  Tell us not, as so many aesthetic writers do, that the artist projects from his own soul, or creates the beauty which he struggles to express in his work, and which he can never express to his satisfaction.  The ideal infinitely transcends the expression.  The soul contemplates the beautiful, but does not create it.  The beautiful, as Plato somewhere says, “is the splendor of the Good.”  It is the splendor of the True and the Good, that is, of God; though Gioberti, in his Del Bello, seems to divorce it from the ideal, and, while asserting the reality of the object, would appear to resolve the beautiful into the subjective impression on the sensibility, produced by the apprehension of the object, which supposed that beauty exists only for sensible existences.  It is as real as God himself, and as objective as the ideal formula.  It is the divine splendor, inseparable from the divine Being.  Every thing God had made participates, in a higher or lower degree, of beauty, because it participates of being; but beauty itself in its infinity is only in God himself, which exceeds all the power of men and angels to represent.  The artists, by the noetic power of the soul, which, if a true artist, he possess in a higher degree than ordinary men, beholds, contemplates, and loves it.  It is, as we have just said, the vision of his soul and the object of his love.  He detects it in creatures, in the region of fancy, in the mind, and in the soul itself, and adores it in the ideal.  The power of detecting it in sensible is fancy; in the ideal, it imagination.  In seeking to represent it or express it in his production, it is the real, the objective, he seeks to express or embody.  He may form in his mind a representation of it, but that representation is not the object of the mind in either fancy or imagination, nor is it a pure mental representation, not only because it is formed after the real, but because it is formed only in conjunction with the activity of the real.[1]

            These remarks are sufficient to show that all that Dr. Porter says of the faculty of Representation is, when not confused or false, of no moment.  He darkens instead of elucidated his subject.  We pass on, therefore, to his Part III., on Thinking and Thought-Knowledge.

            The mental operations treated by the author under the head of thinking and Thought-knowledge, are those which Locke calls by the general name of reflection, and are conception, abstraction, or generalization, judgment, reasoning, deductive and inductive, and scientific or systematic arrangement.  They are not faculties, but operations of the mind.  The proper English name for the faculty on which they depend, so far as usage goes, is not thought, not the power of thought-for every intellectual act, whether representative or preventative, is a thought-but understanding or reasoning.  The old word was understanding, but it is objectionable, because it includes, according to present usage, only the intellectual activity.  Reason is the better term; for it combines both the intellectual and the volatile activity of the soul. 

            The objection of the professor that “reason is used for the very highest of the rational functions, or else in a very indefinite sense for all that distinguishes man from the brute,” does not appear to us to be conclusive.  Every intellectual act, the highest as the lowest, is thought, an act of one and the same thinking faculty.  The objects and condition of knowledge may vary, but the faculty of knowledge does not carry with them.  Reason is not used in a more indefinite sense when used for all that distinguishes man from the brute, than is thought as used by the professor.  Man is well defined to be animal rationale, or rational animal; but this does not mean that man is animal plus reason, but the animal transformed by reason; and hence there is a specific difference between the sort of intelligence which it seems difficult to deny to animals, and the intelligence of man.  All human intelligence is rational, the product of reason.  Coleridge and out American transcendentalists, after Kant, attempted to distinguish between understanding [Verstand] and reason [Vernunft], and to restrict understanding to that portion of our knowledge which is derived through the senses, and reason to an order of knowledge that transcends all understanding, and to which only the gifted few ever attain.  But they have not been successful.  Knowledge of the highest objects, as of the lowest, is by the same faculty, and we may still use reason in its old sense, as the subjective principle of all the operations the professor calls thinking.

            The word reason is, indeed, used in an objective as well as in a subjective sense.  As subjective, it is a faculty of the soul; the objective reason is the ideal formula, and creates and constitutes the subjective reason.  Cousin distinguishes between the two, but as between the personal and the impersonal-a mere modal distinction, not a distinction of substance.  He identifies the objective reason with the aoyo or Word of God, while it is really identical with the ideal formula, which embraces both being and existences united and distinguished by the creative act of being, as explained in our former article.  This asserts a distinction of subject and of substance between the objective and subjective reason asserted by Cousin.  In the objective reason, God, in the subjective, man, is the actor; and there is all the difference of substance between them that there is between God and man, or between real, universal, and necessary being, and finite, contingent existence.  They ought not to be both called by the same name, and we ourselves rarely so call them.  We ourselves call the objective reason the ideal formula, or, briefly, the ideal; yet good writers and speakers do use the word in both senses.  They say, “Man is endowed with reason,” or has a “rational nature,” in which they employ the term subjectively.  They say, also, of such assertion, “It is unreasonable, or it is contrary to reason;” that is, to the truth, or principle of things, in which they use it objectively, as they do when they speak of the principles affirmed in the ideal formula, and call them the reason, necessary and absolute ideas, or the principles of reason; for nothing necessary or absolute is or can be subjective.

            We ourselves use the word in a subjective sense, and understand by it the faculty of reasoning, or the subjective principle of all our mental operations.  It is not a simple power, but a complex power, embracing both the percipient and volitive capacities of the soul.  In every rational operations of the soul, there is both perception and volition, and it is this fact that distinguished reason from the simple power of perception, or intellectual apprehension.  We see and we look, and we look that we may see; we hear and we listen, and listen that we may hear.  The looking and the listening are peculiarly rational acts, in which the soul voluntarily, or by an act of the will, directs her intellectual capacities to a special intellectual purpose or end.  This voluntary activity, or by an act of the will, directs her intellectual capacities to a special intellectual purpose or end.  This voluntary activity, or direction of the capacity to know, must not be confounded with free will; it is the voluntarium of the theologians, distinguished, on the one hand, from spontaneity, and on the other, from the liberum arbitrium, or free will, which is the faculty of electing or choosing between right and wrong, and implies, whichever it chooses, the power to choose the contrary.  It is the principle of all moral accountability.  The voluntarium is a simple, voluntary activity, or power of directing our attention to this or that intellectual object or of using the cognitive power in the service of science.  The reason may be defined, then, the soul’s faculty of using her intellectual and volitive powers for the explication and verification of the knowledge furnished by presentation.

            With these preliminary remarks we proceed to consider some of the mental operations which give us what Professor Porter calls Thought-Knowledge.  We do not question the fact of these operations, not their importance in the development of our rational life; what we deny is, that they are a power or faculty of the mind, and that in performing them they are objects of the mind, or that they add any thing to the matter of our knowledge.

            The professor says, p. 383, “The power of thought [reason] as a capacity [faculty] for certain psychological processes, is dependent for its exercise and development on the lower powers of the intellect.  These furnish the materials for it to work with and upon.  We must apprehend the individual objects by means of the senses and consciousness [pure sensism] before we can think these objects.”  So in consciousness and sense-perception we do not think, and we must apprehend sensible before we can think them!  To intellectually apprehend an object is to think it.  Intellectual apprehension an thought are one and the same fact.  The professor continues, “We can classify, explain, and methodize only individual things, and these must first be known by sense and consciousness before they can be united and combined into general.” Here are two errors and one truth.  The first error is in regarding consciousness as a cognitive power or faculty, and the second is in confiding the individual things to sensibles, or the material world.  We know in preventative knowledge not only the sensible but the supersensible, the intelligible, or ideal.  The ideal principles cannot be found, obtained, or created by the mind’s own activity, and are apprehended by the mind only as they are given intuitively by the at of the Creator; but being given intuitively by the act of the Creator; but being given, they are as really apprehended and known by the mind as any sensible object; nay, are what the mind apprehends that is most clean and luminous, so luminous that it is only by their light that even sensible are mentally apprehensible or perceptible.  The one truth is that the objects of the soul in her operations must first be known either by perception or intuition before they can be classified, explained, and methodized.  Hence the operations of which the author treats under this head do not extend our knowledge of objects.  They are all reflective operations, and reflection can only re-present what has already been presented.

            The professor is right in maintaining that only individual objects are apprehensible, if he means that we apprehend things only in individuo or in concrete; for this is what we have all along been insisting on against him.  Things are not apprehensible in general, but in the concrete.  Hence Rosmini’s mistake in making the first and abiding object of the intellect ens in genere, which is a mere possible ens, and no real being at all.  It is simply a conception or abstraction formed by the mind operating on the intuition of real being, which never is or can be abstracted or generalized.  Yet the author has argued under both preventative knowledge and representative knowledge that the mind, sometimes with, and sometimes without, any thing distinct from and independent of itself, creates it own object; and that the object, as well as the act, may be purely psychical.  Thus, he tells us that in sense-perception we do not perceive the material thing itself, but the joint product of the material agent and the sentient organism; and that in representation the object represented may be unreal, chimerical, and exist only in the soul, and for the soul alone.  And he dwells with great unction on the relief and advantage one finds in escaping from the real world to the unreal which the soul creates for herself.  True, he says that whatever the object, real or unreal, abstract or concrete, it is apprehensible only as an individual object; but the unreal the chimerical, the abstract, is never individual.  Why does he call conceptions concepts, if not because he holds the conception is both the act and the object of the mind in conceiving?  And does he hold the concept to be always individual, never general?  Conception, in his system, is always a generalization, or a general notion, formed by the mind, and existing only in the mind.  How, then, can it be an object of the mind?  He says truly the object is individual, but “the concept (p. 391) is uniformly general.”  And yet, in the very first paragraph on the next page, he calls it an object of cognition!  Further on, he says, “The concept is a purely relative object of knowledge,” whatever that may mean; and in the same section, 389, he speaks of it “as a mental product and mental object.”  To our understanding, he thus contradicts himself.

            Yet we hold that whatever the mind cognizes at all, it cognizes in the concrete, as an individual object.  And therefore we deny that the ideas of the necessary, the universal, of necessary cause, and the like, which the author calls intuitions, and treats as first principles, necessary assumptions, abstract ideas, &c., are abstractions, mental conceptions, or generalizations; for there are not concretes or individual objects from which they can be abstracted or generalized.  As we really apprehend them, when affirmed in the ideal formula by the divine ace, and as we cannot apprehend what is neither being nor existence, as the author himself says, though continually asserting the contrary; and as every existence is a finite contingent existence, they must be real, necessary, and universal being.  They cannot be generalizations of being; for nothing is conceivable more general and universal than being.  Being, taken in its proper sense, as the ens simpliciter of the schoolmen, is itself that which is most individual and, at the same time, the most general, the most particular and the most universal.  These so-called necessary ideas, then, are being; and in apprehending them as intuitively affirmed, we do really apprehend being.  Hence, as being, real and necessary being, is God, whom the theologians call Ens necessarium et reale, God, in affirming the ideal formula, intuitively affirms himself, and we really apprehend him, not as he is in himself, in his essence, indeed, but as being, the ideal or the intelligible, that is, as facing our intelligence; or in other words; we apprehend him as the subject of the judgment, Ens creat existentias, or as the subject of the predicate existences, united and distinguished by his creative act, the only real, as the only possible, copula.

            The author make man the analogon of God, and, indeed, God in miniature, or a finite God, and gravely tells us, p. 100, that “we have only to conceive the limitations of our being removed, and we have the conception of God.”  But as we are not being, but existence, we are finite and limited in our very nature; remove the limitations, and we are not God, but nothing.  Eliminate the finite, says Pere Gratry, and you have God, in the same way and by the same process that the mathematician has his infinitesimals.  But this process of elimination of the finite gives the mathematician only the infinitely less than the finite number or quantity, and it would give the theologian not the infinitely greater but the infinitely less than the finite existence.  Besides, the process could at best give us not God in his being, but a mere abstract of God, existing only as a mental generalization.  The universal cannot be concluded from the particular, nor the necessary from the contingent, because, without the intuition of the universal and the necessary, we have and can have no experience of the particular and the contingent-a fact we commend to the consideration of the inductive theologians.

            As the conception is always general, it can never be the object of the mind in the fact of thought.  It is a product of the mind operating on the individual object or objects which the mind has thought, and is never the object itself.  The same may be said of generalization, abstraction, and every form of reasoning.  But if this be so, in what are conceptions, abstractions, &c., known?  If they are known at all, they must be objects of knowledge; if not known at all, how can we think or speak of them?  They are known in knowing their concretes, as the author himself tells us.  As concepts, abstractions, generalizations, or general notions, they do not exist in nature, and cannot be known or thought.  But they exist as qualities or properties of things, and are known in knowing the things themselves.  Thus we know round things; all round things have the same property of being round; we may, then, consider only this property common to all round things, and form the general conception of roundness; but we do not see or apprehend roundness, and the object of thought is always the round thing.  So of all the so-called universals that are abstractions, conceptions, or generalizations.  The object known is the concrete; the abstraction, abstracted from it, being nothing, is not known or even thought.

            But Cousin, in his Philosophie Scholastique, has very properly distinguished general conceptions or general notions from genera and species.  The former are real only in their concretes, and knowable only in them; the latter are real, and actually exist a parte rei.  Genus has relations to generation, and is as real as the individual, for it generates the individual.  Hence, we cannot agree with Leibnitz, when he makes the genus or species consist in resemblance, and declares that resemblance real.  The individual does not merely mimic the genus, but is produced by it.  The genus is always causative in relation to the species, and the species in relation to the individual.  The intelligible is always causative in relation to the sensible, which copies or imitates it.  The genus is not the possibility of individuals, nor are they its realization.  It is not a property or a quality of men as individuals, for it is, in the order of second causes the cause producing them, and therefore cannot be generalized from them, or be a general notion of conception, like roundness, the generalization or abstract of round.  Without the genus there could be no generation, as without a generator there could be no genus.  Yet, though genera and species, the only universals, properly so-called, are, as the old realists held, real, existing a parte rei, and are distinguishable from the individuals, as the generator from the generated, the species from the specificated; they are not separable, and do not exist apart from them.  Adam was an individual man; yet was he the generic, as we as individual, lived, acted, sinned, repented, and dies, as an individual man; for he was the whole human race, and the progenitor of all men that have been born or are to be born.

            But while we adopt, in relation to genera and species, the doctrine of the medieval realists, we hold with regard to other so-called universals with St. Thomas, who says they exist in mente cum fundamento ih re.  The fundamentum in re in conceptions, abstraction, and generalizations is precisely the individual objects apprehended by the mind from which reason abstracts or generalizes them.  The only point which we now make against the author is that the object os thought or knowledge is not the conception or notion, but the object from which the reason forms it; and that in it nothing is thought beyond that object.  Philosophy has been divested of its scientific character, made infinitely, perplexing and most difficult to be understood, as well as utterly worthless, by being regarded as the science, not of things, but of these very conceptions, abstraction, and general notions, which, apart from their individuals or concretes, are pure nullities.  We insist on this, because we wish to see philosophy brought back to the ideal formula; and our principle quarrel with the professor is, that his philosophy is not real, is not the science of realities, but of conceptions and abstractions.

            We can hardly pause no what the professor says of judgment and the proposition.  We can only remark in passing that every thought, every perception, even, is a judgment-a judgment that the object thought or perceived is real or really exists.  Every affirmation; for denials are made only by affirming the truth denied.  Pure negations are unintelligible, present no counter-action to the mind, and cannot be thought.  “The fool hath said in his heart, Got is-not.”  It is only by asserting that God is that we can deny that he is.  Every negative judgments are really affirmative.  We do not mean them; but they can be made only by affirming the truth; and the denial that transcends the truth affirmed in the denial is simply verbal, and not real denial at all.  Universal negation is simply impossible; and hence when we have shown that any system of philosophy leads logically to nihilism, or even universal skepticism, we have refuted it.  Logicians tell us that of contradictories one must be false; but it is equally just to say, that of contradictories one must be false; but it is equally just to say, that of contradictories one must be true; for truth cannot contradict itself, and only truth can contradict falsehood.

            But we pass on to Reasoning, which the professor holds to be mediate judgment, and to which we hold all the reflective operations of reason may be reduces.  What a mediate judgment is, we do not know.  Reasoning may be necessary as the means and condition of judging in a certain class of cases, but the judgment itself is in all cases direct.  The error of the professor here, as throughout the whole of this Part III., and, indeed, of his whole treatise, is that he treats every question from the opint of view of conception, or the general notion, instead of the point of view of reality, as he cannot help doing as an inductive psychologist.

            Reasoning is a reflective operation.  It operates on the matter presented by ideal intuition and experience; it clears ip, explains, verifies, and classifies what is intuitively affirmed, together with what experience presents.  Its instrument is language.  We can thing without language, and so far De Bouald was wrong, unless he understood, as the professor does, by thought, an act of reflection; but we cannot reflect or reason without language of some sort to represent to the mind’s contemplation the ideal or intelligible intuition.  This re-presentation is not an act of the soul herself, not the direct or intelligible is embodied and represented, and of which it is the sensible sign or representation.  In other words, the ideal is an object of reflection only as taught through the medium of language; for we must bear in mind that man is not pure spirit or pure intelligence, but spirit united to body, and that he must have some sort or sensible representation in order to reflect.  Hence the peripatetic maxim, nihil est in intellectu, quos non prius fuerit in sensu, which does not mean that only sensible are cognizable, but that nothing can be reflectively thought, or as the Italians say, re-thought, (ripsensare,) without sensible representation.  That God is, can be proved with certainty by reason; for we have immediate intuition of that which is God in the intuition of real and necessary being; but we cannot reach the conclusion that the intuitively affirmed object really is God without reflecting on the intuition, and this we cannot do unless it is re-presented or held up to our contemplation in language, or without its being sensibly represented by the word God.  language is the necessary instrument of reason; we cannot reason without it, and only rational existences have language properly so-called.  No animal deprived of “the discourse of reason” has even articulation.

            Those philosophers, or pretended philosophers, who regard the language either as a human invention or as the spontaneous production of human nature, have never duly considered its office in the development of thought, and in the rational operations of the soul.  Men could not have invented language without reflection, and without language that cannot reflect.  It needs language to be able to invent language.  The other theory is no better.  The soul does not secrete language as the liver secretes bile, for language has in it more than human nature.  The spontaneous productions of nature may be less than nature, but cannot be more.  There is a philosophy in language broader and deeper than human thought, a philosophy that embraces elements which are known only by revelation, and which human nature does not contain.  All language is modeled after the ideal formula.  Its essential elements are subject, predicate, and copula, or the noun, adjective, and verb.  The verb and adjective may be, and often are, combined in the same word, but they can be resolved always into the predicate and copula.  The copula is always the verb to be, or its equivalent it other languages than our own, and this verb is the only verb in any language.

            The verb to be is precisely the name of God himself, the SUM QUI SUM.  We cannot make, then, a single assertion but by the divine Being, and he enters as the copula into every one of our judgments without which no affirmation can be expressed.  But God is supernatural, and is the author of nature; the ideal formula which is repeated in every judgment is not contained in human nature, it not in the human mind as in its subject, but is above our nature, and by affirming itself creates our nature, operating simply as second cause, produce spontaneously language which in its essential nature expresses what is beyond and above itself?  Men, especially philosophers, or rather theorizers, have corrupted and still continue to corrupt language, as we can see in the book before us; but we have never yet heard of any one by the spontaneous action of nature secreting or producing a language, or of any one have a language without being taught it.  Yet nature is all to-day that it ever was, and as fresh, as vigorous, as prolife.  Even the fall has not deprived it of its primitive faculties, capacities, properties, or tendencies.  If language is a spontaneous production of human nature, we ought to have some instances of children growing up and speaking a rich and philosophical language without having ever learned it.  For ourselves, we have a huge distrust of all those theories which assume that nature could and did do in the past what she does not and cannot do in the present.  Our savants employ themselves in seeking the types of domestic animals in the wild races; why not seek the type of wild races in the domestic?  Why suppose man could and once did domesticate races which he finds It difficult, it not impossible, to domesticate now?  We do not believe much in the modern doctrine of progress, but we believe just as little in the wonderful superiority assumed, especially by the champions of progress.

            Language is neither a human invention nor a natural production, but was created by God himself and infused into man along with the affirmation of the ideal formula, when he made him and places him in the Garden, and is has been perpetuated by tradition, or by being handed down from father or rather mother to child.  it comes to us from the hand of the Creator; he who made man gave him speech.  We can explain the origin of language in no other way, as we can explain the origin of man only by saying with the catechism, God made him.  As language is the instrument of reason, and re-presents to his contemplation the ideal which the Creator fitted it to symbolize, its corruption or confusion has a most disastrous effect of philosophy.  It was confounded at Babel, and men lost the unity of speech, and with it the unity of the ideal, and were dispersed.  The Gentiles lost the unity of language, and they lost it with the unity of ideal, or the copula of the divine judgment, and labored to explain, as our modern savants are laboring to explain, the existence and laws of the universe without the creative act of God.  Language, corrupted, re-presented to the ancient Gentiles, as it does to our modern physiologists and psychologists, the ideal only in a mutilated form, and hence the fatal error of Gentilism and of modern so-called science, which asserts pantheism.  It is necessary, in order to have a true philosophy, to have some means of preserving the purity and infallibility of speech, and at no former period was such means more necessary that it is now. 

            The instrument of reasoning is language; its form is the syllogism, which is given in the ideal formula.  Al the matter if knowledge is given in presentation, and the syllogism does not advance it; but it explains, distinguishes, arranges it according to the real relations of the objects known, clears up what is obscure, and verifies what is uncertain, doubtful, by reducing the whole to its principle or principles.  The principle and model of the syllogism are in the ideal.  Being and existence are the extremes, and the creative act is the medius terminus.  The major represents being, the minor existences, and the middle term produces the conclusion.  To this regular form od the syllogism every form of argument is reducible.  If the major is universal, and minor is proved, the conclusion is necessary and apodictic. 

            The modes in which reason operates are two, deduction and induction, or analysis and synthesis.  Deduction is simple analysis, or what Kant calls analytic judgment, and simply dissects the subject, analyzes it, and brings out to our distinct view what is in it.  If is never illative, but always explicative, and enables us to distinguish the part in the whole, the property in the essence, or the effect in the cause.  Dr. Porter entirely mistakes it in supposing it to be an imperfect induction.  There is nothing inductive in it.  Induction is what Kant called a synthetic judgment a posteriori, and adds an element not contained in the subject analyzed.  In synthetic judgments a posteriori, the added element is taken from experience; in synthetic judgments a priori, the added element is from the ideal formula, intuitively given, or rather, the ideal formula is that into which what Kant calls synthetic judgment a priori are resolvable.  The syllogism is used in deduction and in induction; yet it is not properly either, but is productive.  As being creates existences, so the major through the middle term unites the minor to itself and produces the conclusion.  Such men as Sir William Hamilton and J. Stuart Mill, who reject the middle term, and hold the major may be a particular proposition, are misled by their philosophy, which excludes the creative act of God both from the universe and from science.  No man who has a false or defective philosophy can understand logic as a science.  Pantheism, which excludes the creative act, is the supreme sophism.  It is not easy to say what Dr. Porter’s views of logic, either as a science or as an art, really are. 

            The chief complaint against the professor here is, that he makes reasoning turn on the laws of the mind, on conceptions, and general notion, and reflecting, as logic, only the relations and forms of the creations or products of the mind, instead of the relations and forms of things.  He studies everything from the point of view of the ideal intuition, which is the point of view of God himself.  He therefore gives in his science, not things as they are, but as the mind conceives them.

            The conceptions and general notions play, no doubt, an important part in the process of reasoning, but they play not the chief part, nor do they impose upon logic the laws it must follow.  The categories are not general conceptions or general notions, formed by generalizing individual or particulars.  M. Cousin assumes that he has reduced them to two, substance and cause, or being and phenomenon; but as with him substance is a necessary cause, and as phenomenon is only an appearance or mode of substance, his reduction is really to one, the category of substance, which it is needless to say is pure pantheism.  They, however, may be reduced to the three terms of the ideal formula; for whatever is conceivable is being, existence, or the creative act of being.  The categories are not, the, merely formal, simply conceived by the mind cum fundamento in re; but are not the ideal principles of things themselves.  Take the categories of space and time, which seem to puzzle the author as they have puzzled many greater and wiser men than he.  space is ideal and actual.  Ideal space is the power of ability of God to externize his act, that is, to create or act ad extra; and actual space is the relation of coexistence of his externized acts or creatures.  Ideal space pertains to being, is being itself; actual space being a real relation between creatures, and, like all relations, really existing in the related, comes under the head of existences, and is joined to being as well as distinguished from it by the creative act.  The reason of space and time is the same.  Time also ideal and actual.   Actual time is the relation of succession, and ideal time is the ability of God to create existences that, as second causes, are explicated and completed successively, or reach their end progressively.  Ideal time is God.  Actual time is creature, since all relations really exist in the related.  The difficulty which as many eminent men have felt with regard to these two categories, evidently reducible to the terms of the ideal formula, grows out of their attempt to abstract them, the ideal from God, and the actual from the related, whether existences or events.  Take away the body and the space remains, says Cousin.  Certainly; because the intuition of the ability of God to externize his act-that is, to create-remains.  So of time.  so of the infinite lines of the geometrician.  No actual line is infinite, and the conception of its infinity is based on the intuition of the infinite power or ability of God, the real ground on which the line, when conceived to extend beyond the actual, is projected.

            There are various other points presented by the learned professor in this part and in Part IV. on which we intended to comment, but we have exhausted or space and the patience of our readers.  We have said enough, however, to show that he recognizes intuition only as an act of the soul, and therefore, however honorable his intention, since he fails to recognize ideal intuition, which is the act of God, he fails to get beyond experience, to extend science beyond the sensible or material world with the operations of the soul on sensations, and therefore cannot be followed as a safe guide in the philosophy of the human mind.  He has learning, industry, and even philosophical instincts, but is ruined by this so-called Baconian method. 


[1] The artist ought always to be highly moral and devout, but whether so or not depends on the motive with which he acts, or purpose for which he seeks to embody the beauty he sees.  The relation of aesthetics to ethics, of art to religion is easily understood.  Art is not, as some Germans would persuade us, religion, not is the culture of are true religious worship.  Art may be licentious, and is, when it embodies only the sensual passions and affections of our nature, and the more so in proportion to the exquisite touch and skill in the execution.  In no case can the brilliancy and perfection of the execution alone for the moral deformity of the object represented.  Art which appeals simply to the sense, and inspires only sensible devotion, is not necessarily immoral, but is not positively moral or religious.  But art which seeks to embody or express the ideal, the splendor of the real, the true, the good, whether as presented in the ideal intuition, or as participated by the creatures of God, can hardly fail to be moral and religious in its effect as well as in its ideal.  God is worshipped in spirit and in truth, even worshipped in his works, for he enters into all his works as their cause, and their being is in him.  We praise God in his saints, in all his works of nature or grace.  The art is not the worship, but it is an adjunct to worship, and hence religion in all ages has called into its service the highest and richest forms of art.