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we say Is. The two modes of conceiving, expressed by the two forms TO BE [English, being] and is, are different concepts of the same act, and are distinguished because they express the same act in two relations : first, to the person who is able to see it-relation of cognizability; second, to the person who performs it, or to itself as performing. This is the essential and radical difference that holds between nouns and verbs. The former express acts in so far as they are, per se, visible; the latter, acts in so far as they are performed. Now, in the concept of an act which is seen, there is implicitly included the concept of an act which takes place, because the act which is seen is an act which is seen to be performed and posited. . . . But the act which is seen or conceived as taking place, and so expressed, is a possible judgment, as, in the case under consideration, this form is expresses a judgment, although an incomplete one. Hence we must admit that in intuited being there is contained implicitly an objective judgment. . . . It must be observed that the judgment expressed by the word is, when merely applied to being itself, has so much evidence and necessity, that he who sees it cannot refuse it his assent. . . . Being, therefore, contains an objective judgment, which is present to the mind as soon as we formulate it, not as seen, but as being (act). Then, in the very act of pronouncing it, we give it our assent, and this, in the logical order, is the first of assents and the origin of all others " (Logic, SS 320-322, 324). “The word being, therefore, expresses that first act of all acts in a necessary relation to some subject which sees it ; the word is expresses the same act purely and simply in itself. The word being, therefore, expresses an object, the word is, a subject, which object and subject are identical being in the two modes in which the mind apprehends and expresses it. The formula, Being is,* therefore, manifests a relation between subjective cognition (although the cognition is not totally subjective) and objective cognition, and this double relation permits the redoubling of being. Hence we derive the two primitive judgments, which implicitly contain all other self-evident judgments,
* Cf. Taglioretti, Il Verbo Essere (The Verb to Be). This pamphlet has considerable philosophic value and well deserves the attention of philologists.
(1) Being is the object of intelligence ;
(2) That which is, is. These two self-evident judgments are called, respectively, the principle of cognition and the principle of identity. They are called principles, because all other judgments are derived from them, and receive from them the ground of their truth” (Logic, $S 337, 338). “The principle of cognition may be called the principle of being; the principle of identity, the principle of the order of being” (Ibid., $ 343). “ The principle of identity is the universal and supreme rule, which enables us to know what judgments are true, and what otherwise. In its application it may be expressed thus : Those judgments are true in which there exists between the subject and the predicate that mode of identity which is affirmed” (Ibid., $ 352).
Such are the judgments expressing what is contained in an idea. These are called principles.
When the content of an idea is pronounced in the form of a judgment and expressed in a proposition, the idea thus expressed assumes the name of principle. The idea is always universal in this sense that it may be realized an indefinite number of times. (To this general rule there are exceptions, which we omit for the present.) The idea of being may be realized in all modes ; generic ideas and also abstract specific ideas, in many modes.
If the specific idea is not abstract but full, so as to include all the accidents of the particular being, it can be realized only in one mode, but in an indefinite number of individuals (bating said exceptions). For this reason ideas are said to be universal, and hence
What are principles ?
also principles are universal judgments applicable to many cases. For example, the principle which tells us, Being is the object of knowledge, is true, not merely in a single act of knowledge, but in all cognitive acts without distinction. The principle of contradiction, Being and not-being at the same time, cannot be an object of knowledge, expresses the absurdity of all contradictory propositions. Absurdity is the unfitness of a proposition Meaning, to be an object of knowledge.
Principles,” says Rosmini, "are self-evident, most universal judgments, which impart the light of truth, and hence certainty, to all those other judgments which are drawn from them, ... and which in regard to them are called consequences ” (Logic, $ 359).
“ Absurd is that which involves contradiction " (New Essay, vol. ii. $ 793). “Before the idea of being can take the form of the principle of contradiction, I must have used it; I must have begun to judge and reason. I must have formed for myself a mental being, nothing : I must have acquired an idea of affirmation and negation, which are acts of thinking. I must have observed that negation united with affirmation forms a perfect equation with nothing. Now, however rapidly we perform these operations, judgments and ratiocinations, however naturally and immediately they may arise from the idea of being, however true it be that they are all merely the idea of being itself applied, disguised, accompanied by relations, it is always necessary that our reason move from that first state of perfect quiet, in which, like a spring, it rests in tension. But all that in us is the consequence of any non-essential, non-innate movement of the reason, is acquisition, and such, in its explicit form of judgment, is the principle of contradiction” (Ibid., $ 566). “The principle of contradiction simplified is as follows That which is (being) cannot not-be. That which is is the subject, not-be the predicate ; cannot is the
copula which expresses the relation between the two terms.
Primitive judgments affirming that what is felt exists are free from error.
Principles, therefore, being only intuited ideas, whose objects are expressed in the form of judgments, it follows that they are as free from error as the ideas themselves. But if the ideas and principles of human knowledge are beyond the reach of error, what shall we say of the primitive synthesis, whereby we affirm the real things communicated to us in feeling? May we claim immunity from error for the perception of real things, that is, of the activity felt by us and affirmed as a being ? In the perception of a real being we must distinguish two things——the affirmation of being, and the affirmation of the mode of being determined by the feeling. In the affirmation of being, considered apart from its modes, there can be no error, since there can be no error in the essence of being intuited by us. To affirm a being is to affirm the essence of being intuited, in its realization. This essence we know with an evidence which is beyond the possibility of
error, and therefore we cannot fail to recognize it when it presents itself to us as realized. We must observe, moreover, that the modes of being are determined by feeling, and not by intelligence. Now, we must carefully note that the child, in its The child first perceptions, does not affirm the modes of being only, being, but simply being itself.* Being is indeed modes. determined for it by its feelings, but it does not stop to gauge these feelings intellectively, or to determine their limits, forms, or differences. So long, therefore, as we pronounce no judgment upon the feelings which constitute the reality of beings, but accept them simply and solely as modal realizations of being, so long we do not expose ourselves to any risk of error. Those ceptions, therefore, whether made by a child or any one else, in which feeling is taken merely as the realization of being, no attention being directed to its mode or limits, are such that error is excluded from them. The judgment, therefore,
. which affirms the existence of real beings in general, or the realization of being as such, without adding anything with respect to modes or limitations, is absolutely free from error. It remains to be seen whether the same is true of the judgment which affirms the determinate mode of real beings, that is, which, on occasion of a particular feeling, affirms that one being, rather than another, subsists.
* "Schon dem Kinde wird das Nachdenken geboten. . . . Die Regel ist nichts Anderes als ein Allgemeines und diesem Allgemeinen soll das Kind das Besondere gemäss machen ” (Hegel, Encyclop., pt. i. $ 21, Zusatz). It is needless to say that the first universal is being.