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because it is immediate. Being itself the truth, and at the same time the formal cause of all cognition, it introduces necessity, simply because that which is cannot not-be' (New Essay, vol. iii. SS 1047, 1048).
It will be seen that in the above quotation Rosmini confounds the is of the copula with the entirely different is of existence, the ô v ús à no és, as Aristotle would say, with the ov ouvániel (see Brentano, Von der mannigfachen Bedeutung des Seienden nach Aristoteles, pp. 6 sqq.). Indeed, it cannot be said that Rosmini's identification of truth with being is either logical or felicitous. Truth is not being, but an attribute or quality of the manner in which being is applied. It is true that when that which is known, or, in other words, that which is judged to be, is, the knowledge and the judgment expressing it are both true ; but the same is the case when that which is judged not to be is not. If, therefore, in the first case I am justified in making an abstract noun of my predicate and calling it truth, so am I likewise in the second ; whence it would follow that not-being, as well as being, was truth. Unless being is a mere relation, it cannot be truth; but surely being is not a relation. If it were, then the object of human intelligence being a relation, all knowledge would be relative, which Rosmini would be the first to deny. The tendency to elevate truth, which is a mere relation, into a subject, has caused much ambiguity and mischief in philosophical discussion. When Jesus, speaking to Orientals, says, “I am the way and the truth and the life," such figurative expressions are easily understood, and need mislead no one; but when St. Thomas undertakes to prove that God is truth (Summa contra Gent., lib. I., c. 1x.), or when Hegel tells us that the truth is concrete (Encyclopædie, Einleitung, $ 14), that it is the self-mediated, the unconditioned, etc., they are simply putting words in the place of thoughts, and helping to confound thinking. It is fortunate for Rosmini's system that this identification of truth with being is not in any way essential to it. Rosmini was probably led to make this identification through the
ambiguity of the Italian word vero, which, like the German wahr, means actual as well as true.
Confirmation of the same doctrine.
This argument may be stated in another way. If what I know is, I know the truth. But, by nature, I intuite the essence of being. Now, the essence of being is simply being itself, inasmuch as, when I say being, I exclude non-being. The being, therefore, which I know by nature, is; hence
my first cognition is true: I possess a first truth, since what I know is.
"Every time," says Rosmini, “that we attribute to a thing that part of being which it has in it, neither more nor less, the proposition we utter is true. The character, therefore, of true propositions is, that in them is recognized, in that which forms the object in question, that amount of being which is in it, neither more nor less, and that this is expressed in the predicate. In fact, errors take place only in the following cases :-(1) When being is said or uttered of a thing which has it not; (2) When being is denied of a thing which has it ; (3) When it is affirmed that a thing has a mode or grade of being which it has not ; (4) When it is denied that a thing has a mode or grade of being which it has" (New Essay, vol. iii. $ 1062). This is true, and yet the demonstration attempted in the above section is a very unfortunate one. The intuition of indeterminate being, given, as it is, by nature, is not liable to error ; but this proves nothing with regard to determinate being, since indeterminate being furnishes us with no criterion whereby to distinguish one mode or grade of it from another. Merely to know that x is, and y is, does not enable us to determine the mode of either. The modes of being are given in sensation (see $ 65), and the great desideratum is to find a standard of sense. If mere being could enable us to settle degrees of heat, what would be the use of the thermometer? (cf. $69).
the case of
Two kinds of illusion.
Here the transcendental idealist comes for - Transcen
dental ward and says, “ Your truth is an illusion. You scepticism
objects to merely think you know what being is; but it may, the ducafter all, be only an appearance." I reply: Your the mind objection merely shows that you have not under-nature posstood the manner in which I have just shown that first truth. man possesses the first truth ; that you have not understood the first truth of which I am speaking, since your possibility of illusion does not touch the first truth at all. In fact, what do we mean Reply. In by illusion ? We mean that something appears universal which is not, or in a mode in which it is not. sion is imNow, neither of these forms of illusion can touch possible. the first truth of which we have been speaking. Such illusions can at best touch only those secondary cognitions which we form when we affirm, for example, real beings. With these we shall deal at the proper time. At present, however, it may be admitted that when I affirm a particular real being, I am liable to illusion in both the forms mentioned. In other words, I may affirm a certain real being, and this being may not be, may not subsist. Or I may affirm that a particular real being is in one mode, when, in fact, it is in another. But neither of these forms of illusion is possible with reference to my knowledge of the essence of being, pure and simple. Let us
Proof of the impossibility of the first illusion.
prove this with regard to the first form of illusion.
In regard to being, apart from all determinations, to know what it is, and to think I know what it is, are one and the same thing. When I think I know what being is, I do know what it is, and when I know what it is, I know the truth, since the essence of being is to be. In fact, we hold that to know what being is, is to know the truth. But our objector says, “You only think you know what being is; but this may be an illusion.” In answer to this, let us observe that the knowledge of what being is, is the simple conception of being, and not an affirmation of any subsistent being. When this is considered, is it possible to doubt whether we have the conception of being or not, without having that conception ? Before we can doubt whether we have the conception of being, we must have the very conception about which we are doubting. In the same way, before we can believe that we have the conception of being, we must have the conception to which that belief refers. The illusion in question is, therefore, not possible, since we cannot assert that the conception of being is illusory, without having the conception in question. The nature of simple conceptions is such that we either have them or have them not. If we have them not, we cannot believe that we have them, since believing we have them and actually having them are one and the same thing.
We cannot say that any concept, as such, is illusory. Before we can say so, we must have the concept, and to have a concept is all that is necessary to make it a true concept. It is an entirely different question whether there be anything real, that is, anything not posited by us, corresponding to such concept. Our belief that there is may be illusory; but this belief is not the concept itself, but a judgment respecting a relation of the concept, its relation to reality. Our concept of a unicorn, or a tpayé apos, as Aristotle's example is (De Interp., i. ; 16 a, 16), is a true concept, although there s nothing real corresponding to it.
Let us now take up the second illusion and the im
possibility show that it likewise cannot possibly touch our of the first knowledge of being. We are told, “ You in- illusion
proved. tuite being, but are you sure that you intuite it as it is? Might it not be in a mode different from that in which it appears ?” This objection supposes that being has different modes.
But for this very reason it cannot apply to the first intuition, since in it being is without modes. We repeat, therefore, that the objection lodged has no validity save in relation to our knowledge of being as invested with some particular mode. Then, indeed, we may be illuded, and being may appear to us in one mode when in truth it exists in another. How far this is possible, we shall consider when we come to speak of special cognitions having for their object determinate beings.
But at present we are dealing with being as destitute of modes, of the pure, simple essence of being ; illusions, therefore, which might be possible with regard to