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Aristotle, in the first chapter of the first book of his Psychology, calls attention, in concise terms, to a fundamental difficulty incident to all philosophical research. “It is difficult,” he says, “ to determine whether we ought first to investigate the different parts of the soul or their functions, the intellective principle or intelligence, the sensitive principle or sensation. And even if we begin with the functions, there remains still another perplexity, whether we ought not to investigate the terrus of the principles before the principles themselves, the intelligible before the intellective principle, and the sensible before the sensitive principle." In other words, if we consider merely intelligence and its conditions, it is difficult to know whether philosophy ought to begin with a theory of cognition, with logic, or with metaphysics. With whichever of the three we set out, we soon find that we have presupposed the other two. As Hegel puts it, “A beginning, in so far as it is an immediate, makes an assumption, or, rather, is itself an assumption.” † If we begin with logic, we find that we have presupposed the main truths both of the theory of cognition and of metaphysics. Without the former, the nature of the form of concepts would be unintelligible ; without the latter, the nature of their content. In regard to the former, Jaesche, the editor of Kant's Logic, says, "Kant never thought of trying to find a ground for the logical proposition of identity and contradiction, or of deducing the logical forms of judgments. He accepted and used the principle of contradiction as a proposition carrying its own evidence with it, and requiring no deduction from a higher principle. ... Whether, however, the logical propositions of identity and contradiction, absolutely and in themselves, admit and require
* « Χαλεπόν ... διορίσαι ... πότερον τα μόρια χρή ζητείν πρότερον και τα έργα αυτών, οίον το νοείν ή τον νούν, και το αισθάνεσθαι και το αισθητικόν: ομοίως δε και επί των άλλων. ει δε τα έργα πρότερον, πάλιν άν τις απορήσειεν ει τα αντικείμενα πρότερα τούτων ζητητέον, οίον το αισθητόν του αισθητικού και το νοητόν Toù vontikoû” (De An., i. 1, 6, 7; 402 b, 10 sqq.). When Belger (Hermes, xiii. p. 32) proposes to read in the last sentence αισθάνεσθαι for αισθητικού, and voeîv for vontiKOÙ, he only shows that he does not understand the passage.
† Encyclopædie, Einleitung, § 1, ad fin.
a deduction from a higher principle, is another question, which leads to the important inquiry whether there is at all any absolutely first principle of all cognition and science. . . . But since, on the other hand, these highest principles of knowledge, considered as principles, with equal necessity presuppose the logical form, the result is a circle, which cannot, indeed, be resolved for science, but may be explained.” In regard to the dependence of logic upon metaphysics, Trendelenburg says, “Thought, with its forms, will hardly be known without an examination of the reciprocal action between it and the nature of its objects.” | If, on the other hand, we begin with a theory of knowledge, we find that it involves both logic and metaphysics. As F. A. Lange says, “The theory of cognition is based upon logic, metaphysics, and psychology, and, therefore, has no unifying principle. It will appear farther on that this science is resolvable into a (Kantian) purely a priori search for the postulates which cognition presupposes, and the psychological theory of cognition, which is of a purely empirical nature. Both branches of the science presuppose an accurate investigation of the logical forms." I Again, if we set out with metaphysics, we plainly presuppose logic, and, therefore, also a theory of cognition. Zeller is perfectly correct when he says, "Logic, as scientific methodology, must precede all investigation of the real ; and this is true with regard not only to all those sciences which deal with particular branches of the real (nature or the human spirit), but even to metaphysics and the most general portion of them, viz. ontology. Even ontology will never be successfully treated until we come to an understanding in regard to the mode of its treatment; that is, until we know whether it is to be handled in an à priori or in an à posteriori manner, by reflection upon something given or by dialectic construction.” § It is thus plain that science, and especially philosophy, have, as regards their method, been from the first involved in a vicious circle, which, at best, might be explained in some mystical, ontological way, but out of which it has seemed impossible to get. Wherever science has begun, it has always had to assume something, which had to be demonstrated by a process dependent upon that assumption. Under these circumstances we need hardly wonder if scepticism with regard to the validity of all knowledge has appeared at many times and under many forms. Science, from the days of Aristotle to our own, has been moving, for the most part, in a circle of correlates, not one of which contains any self-evident truth, but each of which appeals for support to the others.
* Imm. Kant's Logik, Vorrede, pp. 7, 8, edit. Kirchmann.
$ Ueber Bedeutung und Aufgabe der Erkenntnisstheorie. Ein akademische Vortrag (Heidelberg, 1862), p. 8. An admirable discourse !
Rosmini's great and chief merit in philosophy was that he found a way out of this vicious circle-found, by mere observation, and without assuming the truth of the method of that observation, a luminous point in thought, which clearly shone with its own light and defied all attempts not only to find, but even to seek for, an origin or ground outside of and beyond it. This luminous point was ideal being, at once the form of thought, the principle of truth, and the essence of objectivity. By means of this discovery he was able to lay the basis of a new science, which not only takes precedence of all others, but upon which all others, including logic itself, depend for their truth and their principles. This is the Science of Ideology, to have discovered and elaborated which is a merit not inferior to that of the father of logic. If finding an irrefragable basis for all truth is the greatest of scientific merits, then that merit unquestionably belongs to Rosmini.
" Ideology,” says Rosmini, “is the science of the intellective light, whereby man renders intelligible to himself the sensible things from which he draws the sum total of knowledge. Of course, Ideology neither creates nor invents this light, which is found in the idea, or rather is the idea itself; neither does it impart the intuition of it, for the power to do this belongs solely to the creator and framer of human nature ; but it does transport this light from the order of intuition into the order of scientific reflection, and thus forms the science of it.
“The sciences are the product of the reflex free thought, whereby man renders himself conscious of that which he already knows, and renders more explicit, orderly, and tractable, or applicable to action, the knowledge of which he is conscious. Order not only binds together the parts of each science, but even the sciences themselves.
"This order, which binds together all the sciences, renders conscious human knowledge not only useful but beautiful, and is what constitutes the Encyclopædia of the Sciences, that is, an encyclopædia, not in the sense of a mass of material flung together at random and distributed according to the letters of the alphabet, but in the sense of a whole, organic, one and harmonious.
"And as soon as Ideology has made scientifically known what is the natural light of the mind, the principle of such an encyclopædia is found, and, when the principle is found, there is found also the encyclopædia itself, that is, the natural order of the sciences, which is virtually contained in that principle and may be deduced from it. This is a new ground which proves that Ideology must be placed at the head of the sciences, since from it these derive their principal distribution. As soon as this is done, the position of every other science may be assigned. And we believe that all those persons who undertake to treat any science, ought first to take the trouble diligently to determine the place which belongs to that science in the great body of the knowable ; because, when we know what place belongs to it, and what member it forms, in the great body, it receives completeness and beauty, its sphere may be defined and its limits assigned. And this is an indispensable condition of systematic progress in the treatment of the sciences” (Logic, Preface, SS 1-3).
Ideology, which transports ideal being from the region of intuition into that of reflection and consciousness, is the science which accounts for and explains the origin of those concepts which logic necessarily uses and accepts as given, but which it has been wont to refer for explanation to a succeeding system of metaphysics dependent upon its own method of dealing with these concepts. It is, therefore, the true fundamental science of knowledge, and furnishes the true solution of the problem so clearly stated, but so poorly solved, by Aristotle.*
The following is the method of Ideology. We Internal cannot know the nature of human knowledge tion the unless we observe it as it is.
Hence internal method of
Ideology. observation, which fixes the attention upon cognitions and brings them clearly into view, is the instrument of ideology, and the method to be pursued in dealing with it.
In other words, the instrument of regressive philosophythat whereby it seeks to reach a principle of certainty-is observation of the phenomena of consciousness, apart from any theory respecting them, their truth or falsehood. Nothing is assumed in regard to these phenomena. That they are is not an assumption, but a certainty, which the most determined sceptic in the world cannot rid himself of. Their existence cannot even be denied without being first admitted. Of course, since the truth of the method cannot be assumed, so neither can that of the result. If the result is to be accepted as unconditionally true, its truth must be immediately self-evident. The process of observation is like that of finding one's way out of a labyrinth to the light of day. My certainty that I see the light, when I emerge, is in no way dependent upon the gropings and wanderings by which I escaped from the darkness. Observation is attentive groping. It is not the beginning of philosophy, properly speaking, but the starting-point of the
Aristotle placed logic at the head of the sciences, but as obliged to treat its fundamental principle, the law of identity and contradiction, in the Metaphysics (iii. 3; 1005 b, 19). The difficulties herein involved were so great that his followers had to say that logic was not a part, but an instrument, of science. Hence the term organon. See Zeller, Philosophie der Griechen, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 182, n. 5.