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whom he calls the “foe of all immediateness" (Theosophy, vol. i. § 10), maintains that all ultimate knowledge is of this kind. Of the nature of ultimate grounds, Rosmini speaks at length in his Logic. “If we wish to determine the meaning of this expression, ultimate grounds,” he says, "we must take into consideration certain distinctions, for the reason that grounds may be called ultimate which are such, not in themselves, but with respect to the limits of human nature. Whatever these lirnits be, it is clear that we cannot speak of any ultimate grounds except with respect to these, because absolutely ultimate grounds, if they go beyond the confines of human nature, cannot be desired or sought by it, and hence the want of them cannot cause it any disquiet. In order, therefore, that the human mind, when it has reached the ultimate grounds, may be conscious that these are ultimate for it (supposing that they are not likewise ultimate in themselves), it must recognize its own limits, and clearly understand that, in carrying its researches further, it would be attempting the impossible” ($ 1163). “We must, therefore, consider that there are three supreme grounds, categorically distinct. These may be called the formal ground, the real ground, and the moral ground. The supreme formal ground is given to man in the idea of being, and is the principle of all formal logic. It is also that which enables him to cognize real and moral grounds. But the supreme real ground is not given to man by nature, since this reality is God Himself, and by nature man does not perceive the reality of God. Possessing, then, the supreme formal ground, and, in it, the power of knowing all real grounds, even the supreme one, if they were given to him—that is, if they were communicated to his feeling-he has the faculty of recognizing his own limits, in other words, of recognizing that it is not granted him to know all that he could know, and hence he concludes that there may and must be, beyond these limits, something unknown to him. If now we give to this act (slancio), by which the human mind Denkens, im reinen Wissen gemacht werden soll” (Logik, vol. i. p. 61 ; cf. Trendelenburg, Logische Untersuchungen, vol. i. pp. 36, sqq.).
divines that there is something beyond all that it knows, the name of human superintelligence, we shall see clearly that this is not a faculty (potenza), but a function of reason, whereby, comparing the field of the possible, given to it in the idea, with the field of the real, given to it in feeling, it sees that the former is infinitely more extensive than the latter, and that the portion of reality which it can touch does not contain the supreme ground ; that is, the being which is real in its essence, which alone can be the type of all reality, and hence also alone can be the ground of all finite realities. Again, as regards the supreme moral ground, this lies in the essential and total order of being, inasmuch as being, thus intrinsically ordered, is in itself a good to all the wills that cognize it. Now, man, in the idea, possesses this order virtually, but it does not become actual to thought except in real being. Of this real being he knows a part positively through feeling, and that part which he knows by nature in this way implies infinite being; then, through the function of human superintelligence, he knows, negatively and confusedly, infinite real being, in which alone the supreme moral ground is actualized, because in it alone is the essential and total order of being. Hence, according to nature, man cannot know the supreme moral ground, except in a negative and
Hence the imperfection of morality in his actual existence. There are, therefore, two main limits to human intelligence. First, it cannot know the supreme real ground, and, therefore, cannot have a single material criterion for all realities. It is for this reason that we have been obliged to lay down the rule that every specific perception of reality is a criterion for that species whereof that perception is assumed as the type. Second, it can know only virtually the supreme moral reason " (S$ 1163, 1165). Of course, it follows directly from this, that, in our present life, we find no entire intellectual satisfaction, at least in a natural way.
"Since man,” says Rosmini, “knows the supreme formal ground, and, through it, these two limits, he aspires to extend himself to the infinite, and desires a state in which these limitations shall cease. However,
when a man reaches the clear conviction that such limits cannot be removed in the present life, he resigns himself to this necessity, and thus finds that satisfaction of intellect which is possible in mortal life.” In other words, to quote the famous saying of Goethe, “Man is not born to solve the problem of the universe, but to find out where the problem begins, and then to keep himself within the limits of the knowable."
Philo. sophy general and special.
Ultimate grounds are either absolute or relative. The former are, strictly speaking, alone ultimate, and, as such, constitute the scope of General Philosophy; whereas the latter are ultimate only in reference to a determinate branch of science, and hence form the scope of Special Philosophies, such as those
of mathematics, physics, history, politics, art, etc.
Though Rosinini prefers the term ultimate grounds, he does not object to calling them likewise first grounds. " Ultimate grounds,” he says, “and first grounds are equivalent expressions, because what is last in the one direction of thought is first in the other” (Purposes of the Author, $ 9, n.). Compare the Aristotelian doctrine, that what is first in essence or nature is last in generation,* or, as St. Thomas puts it, “What is first and better known in its nature is last and less known relatively to us.” †
Of the relation of Philosophy to the other sciences Rosmini says, “The ultimate grounds outside of the world and the ultimate grounds in the world, these form the object of philosophy, which thus occupies the last two and highest steps of the pyramid we have described. Hence philosophy remains clearly separated from, and elevated above, the other sciences, as the guide and mother of them all. These form the lower steps of the pyramid, depending upon the highest two and receiving their light from them ” (Purposes of the Author, $ 9; cf. St. Thomas, Sum. Theol., ii. q. 6, art. I, I m.).
* « 'Εναντίως επί της γενέσεως έχει και της ουσίας» τα γάρ ύστερα τη γενέσει πρότερα την φύσιν έστι, και πρώτον το τη γενέσει τελευταίον” (De Part. Anim., i. 1 ; 646 a, 24 sq.). Cf. Physica, viii. 7 ; 261 a, 14:9; 265 a, 22 sq. ; and Eucken, Die Methode der Aristotelischen Forschung, p. 13.
† “Quæ sunt priora et notiora secundum naturam, sunt posteriora et minus nota secundum nos ” (Sum. Theol., i. q. 85, art. 3, 1). Cf. Aristotle, “ Où gàp ταυτον πρότερον τη φύσει και προς ημάς πρότερον ουδε γνωριμώτερον και ημίν gowiuútepov” (Anal. Post., i. 2; 71 b, 35 sq.).
In attempting to discover the ultimate grounds Point of
departure. which shall satisfy its own last spontaneous why's, the human mind must, of necessity, begin by recognizing the state of its own cognitions and of its own persuasions. It must then go on and endeavour to supplement and complete these cognitions in such a way as to satisfy the intelligence, which imperatively demands a ground for everything it knows, and allows the mind no rest until it has found a self-sufficient ground, that is, a ground which calls for no further ground.
The gist of this section is, that philosophy sets out with simple, direct, unquestioning observation of the present facts of consciousness, and then proceeds to search for another fact of consciousness, a ground or idea, which shall so unite and supplement all others as to relieve the mind from the discomfort which disconnection and incompleteness always cause it. Philosophy, in this view,—and it is a correct one—may be defined as an explanation of the facts of consciousness ; for even God and the Universe, in so far as they require or admit explanation, number as objects among these facts. That which is not known requires no expla
nation. To explain existence in itself is a task beyond the reach of philosophy. Indeed, the phrase is self-contradictory; for it means, to explain a fact of consciousness, which, by the very hypothesis, does not exist. This doctrine does not involve the conclusion that some would draw from it, that therefore we do not know things. The opposite conclusion is the true one. We do know things, and it is precisely for that reason that they do not require or admit explanation. We do not, indeed, think things; but, as has been already remarked, knowledge and thought are mutually exclusive.
This section shows how different Rosmini's startingpoint was from that of Hegel. Indeed, there are few things which Rosmini so strongly opposes as the doctrine of a “presuppositionless beginning” in philosophy. His refutation of this doctrine (Logic, SS 43–50 ; Theodicy, i. $$ 10, 19, 20) is, in many points, superior to that of Trendelenburg (Logische Untersuchungen, i. pp. 36–140, and Die logische Frage in Hegel's Systein, Leipzig, 1843; cf. SS II, 53). Rosmini cordially agrees with Kant and his school (cf. Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Einleitung, i.) in holding that “all our knowledge begins with experience;" but he finds grave fault with them for not clearly showing what they mean by experience. His strictures on this omission are worth quoting. “Modern philosophers,” he says, “generally admit that all human knowledge comes from experience ; but they do not trouble themselves to ask, What is experience ? Is it meant that experience is the facts ? The facts by themselves cannot form experience, because, until the facts are known by me, they are, with reference to my knowledge, as if they did not exist. By experience, therefore, is meant the facts cognized by me. If this is the meaning of the word ' experience, we must go on and inquire what kind of cognition is here meant. Is it meant that experience is the facts cognized by the senses alone? The question is absurd : with the senses alone they cannot be cognised. When I say that I know a fact with my senses alone, I have removed from that fact the whole of my thought regarding it. The facts, as they then remain, are