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from the first moment of its existence, has the capacity for thinking things as they are in themselves, and not as they are in us. It has the concept of this difference, of exteriority, or, more correctly, of the objectivity of things. It remains to be seen how it can pass from the conception of a thing in itself merely possible to a thing really existing in itself and not in the spirit" (New Essay, vol. iii. 98 1081, 1082; cf. vol. ii. SS 842-884).




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Perception, when properly studied and analyzed, Perception

yields the yields an ontological truth of the greatest value, important and one altogether unknown to the sensists, viz., truth that

beings, in that one being can enter with its action into so far as another ; that beings, in so far as they are agents, may exist may exist in each other without mingling or con- other founding themselves with each other, remaining interaltogether distinct, by reason of the opposite

mingling. relations of activity and passivity. ception of bodies we feel an agent which is not ourselves and toward which we are passive. This is the basis of the proof that there exists an extended being different from us, that is, body.

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Rosmini's definition of body is: “Body is a force dif fused in extension or space ;” and of force : “Force is what produces a passion in feeling or in its extended term " (Psychology, vol. i. § 51). Elsewhere he says, “I designate ... by the term body the subject of sensible qualities, that is, of those virtues which produce in us sensations. Hence body is the subject of extension, figure, solidity, colour, taste, etc., in so far as these qualities are found in bodies, that is, as virtues capable of producing in us the corresponding sensations. Now, these virtues or sensible qualities are the proximate causes of our sensations. We may; therefore,

define body as the proximate cause of sensations and the subject of sensible qualities. Even if it were true that bodies did not exist, still this definition expresses the idea which men have of body” (New Essay, vol. ii. $ 667).

“Our bodies, . . . considered as associated with sentient subjects, have extension in common with the external bodies which are purely felt agents. The community which these two classes of bodies have in extension forms the passage from the idea of the one to the idea of the other—the bridge of communication between them. With the same act whereby we perceive the mode of existence of our own bodies, we likewise perceive the mode of existence of external bodies. This consequence is of great importance. Indeed, we have shown bodies to be made up of two elements: first, an action performed on us; second, an extension in which that action diffuses itself and terminates Now, our bodies exert a continuous internal action upon us, that is, occasion the fundamental feeling; and this effect of the agent is expanded in extension. Here, therefore, we have both the essential elements of the essence of body, so that the perception of our own bodies is not liable to doubt, and the existence of these is as certain as the fact of consciousness.

“We now come to the perception of external body. In the first place, we feel an action performed in us; but the first effect of this action is merely a modification of the fundamental feeling. By this effect alone we do not go out of ourselves; we feel only our own bodies as before, although in a new way (with an accidental sensation). We may, indeed, from this infer a cause; but this is still unknown, because thus far we have only an indeterminate action. This alone would not suffice to make us perceive a body outside of us. What more, then, is requisite? The action in question must be likewise extended.

Then we shall have perceived an agent in extension, which is the notion of body. Now, how have we been able to perceive the extension of said agent? ... We habitually feel extension, that is, the expansion of the fundamental feeling. We were able, therefore, also to feel the extension of the external agent, when this agent diffuses its action in the same extension as the fundamental feeling. For this purpose it was arranged that the surface of the extension of the fundamental feeling and the surface of the extension of the external body should coincide, that is, should unite so as to form the same surface, and that in one surface we should, in a wonderful way, experience two feelings. Hence, in that surface in which the fundamental feeling diffuses itself and terminates, the action of the external body comes to exert and extend its action, so that the same consciousness testifies to us that that action comes from without, and that it is also performed in an extension which was already naturally felt by us. Thus we perceive, first, an external action ; second, the surface in which this external action operates or terminates; and in this way we perceive the two essential properties of body, common to our own and to the external body. Hence we ascertain that there are two bodies, and that both have the same corporeal nature, although they exert upon us such different effects. In this way we see that the extra-subjective perception of bodies is based upon subjective perception. The first element of extra-subjective perception is a force which modifies us. This force we perceive in its act, along with the subjective modification of the fundamental feeling, in that species of violence which is exerted upon us. The second clement is extension, an extension which we feel naturally—that, namely, of the fundamental feeling. But since this is changed into extension, through an external force applied to some point in it, we perceive this force as extended in its term. Hence ... the criterion of the perception of external body is, in the last analysis, the perception of our own bodies" (New Essay, vol. ii. $S 842–845).

* See below, under $ 132.


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There comes a time in which we perceive ourselves also. I am convinced that, although we are always accompanied by feeling, our intellective perception of ourselves is subsequent to our intellective perception of bodies.

Be this as it may, , the important thing for the philosopher to understand clearly is, that our perception of ourselves is different from our perception of bodies, and for the simple reason that we are different from bodies. One perception is not another, as truly as one being is not another, nor does the perception of a being require to establish its own identity by positively negating other beings. All it has to do is to affirm the being which constitutes its object, and this object excludes all others by its very nature, that is, because it is not the others. The human mind has no need to take the trouble to exclude them by a negation.

"The human subject feels materially, feels the extended, and feels, as identified with the felt extended, its own activity, which is made up of passivity and activity. The same human subject intuites being, and, in intuited being, feels indivisibly its own cognitive activity. Furthermore, the human subject, single and simple as it is, unites the felt with the understood. Through this union it sees that the felt exists in the understood as being, It sees that feeling forms an equation with the idea, that it is a realization of the intuited being of the idea, and, hence, that there is in it a sentient being or principle. The union, therefore, which man forms between feeling and being, produces for him the perception of the sentient principle,

without which feeling itself would remain inexplicable to him. In a similar way he discovers an intelligent principle, when, instead of applying being to his own material feeling, he applies it to his own cognition, to the intellective perception of the feeling, and to intuited being itself. Then he sees the cognition and the perception in being, equates these two terms, recognizes this cognition or perception as simply being itself realized, and hence concludes, There is a cognizant, a percipient, there is an intelligent principle; simply because there is cognition, perception, intellection. Moreover, the human subject, in uniting and equating feeling with the idea (or cognition with the idea), in recognizing that they are the same being [ente] under two forms, that is, the ideal form and the real form, puts forth a new activity. The activity which unites feeling and idea is neither the activity which feels the extended, nor the activity that intuites ideal being. It is a third activity, uniting and reconciling the two former. This third activity takes the felt extended, which is the product of the sentient activity, and the intuited being furnished by the intelligent activity, and puts together these two terms of the sentient and intelligent activities, making one of them, and so forming a single ideal-real being. This is what is called intellective perception. Now, the human subject feels also this third activity, and, in doing so, cannot help feeling that it dominates the other two. In this way it feels that these two depend upon it—that they, therefore, have a common principle. He concludes that the sentient principle and the intelligent principle are, in one and the same activity, at once sentient and intelligent. But this superior activity, in which both the sentient and the intelligent principles are grounded, is not merely felt by the human subject. In its turn it is also intellectively perceived. The human subject may likewise confront this activity with the ideal being which it possesses ; may recognize that it, too, like every other entity, is already contained in ideal being, as drops of water are contained in the ocean. As soon as a man has seen this superior activity in ideal being, he has already thereby changed it into a being, that is, has recog

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