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Supernatural Anthropology goes beyond the limits of mere phi. losophy.

117 The Christian doctrine teaches us that, by a gracious communication, we receive also the feeling of God, whereby we are lifted to the supernatural order of things. The science which treats of this deiform perception we have called Supernatural Anthropology.* It goes beyond the limits of mere philosophy

1. Psychology


Psychology is the doctrine of the human soul.

What is Psychology ?

Rosmini has left two great works on Psychology, the one called after the science, the other entitled Anthropology in the Service of Moral Science. Of all Rosmini's works, these best deserve to be widely known.


Parts of Psychology.

Psychology does three things: first, it shows what is the essence of the soul ; second, it describes its development; and, third, it discusses its destinies [cf. Psychology, vol. i. $$ 45-49].

I 20.

The essence of the soul is known through perception. If the soul did not feel itself, it would

All reasoning on the essence of

* See Bibliography of Rosmini's works, Class VI.

sets out

be unable to perceive itself. It is a primitive fact, the soul

. and the starting point of all reasoning regarding from our

feeling of the soul, that each individual feels and perceives the soul. his own soul. Experience and reason show us that this fact may be generalized, and that in every case there is no perception without feeling. In truth, bodies themselves would not be perceived by the understanding, if they were not first felt.

Being and feeling cannot be defined. The notion of being is supposed in every affirmation. Remove this notion and all speech and all thought are rendered impossible. If we try to explain what we mean by being, we shall find that we use being to explain being. Feeling likewise is indefinable. It is a most simple thing to him who has experience of it; but no one could communicate a knowledge of it to one who had not. At best, he could say that feeling is a certain mode of being ” (Angeleri, Trattato di Filosofia Elementare, p. 9).

I 21.


of bodies


But between the feeling which we all have of Difference bodies and the feeling which each of us has of his our feeling own soul, there is this great difference: that bodies and our

feeling of are felt as something foreign to us; our souls, as our own something of our own, as ourselves even. Bodies are felt by the soul; the soul is felt by itself and through itself. From this we derive at once a preliminary definition of the soul. If the soul feels itself, it is in its essence feeling, since it is only feeling that is felt by itself (per se); and if bodies are felt by the soul, and the soul is felt by itself, the soul is the principle of feeling. The


soul, therefore, is a principle of feeling implanted in feeling

“ Feeling is given originally. The question, therefore, is not, how feeling arises, but how it is modified and how it gives birth to sensation " (New Essay, $ 717). "The Ego, which reflects upon itself, finds that, at bottom, it is a feeling that constitutes the sentient and intelligent subject” (Ibid. $ 719). “When I undertake to analyze the energy whereby sensations exist, I find that the concept of it includes not merely the act whereby the sensations exist, but something more. ... The sensations exist; therefore, there is an energy which makes them exist. Now, what are sensations

.. and how do they occur? If I observe the facts, I find, in the first place, that sensations occur in me (this is attested by my consciousness), that is, that colours, sounds, etc., are all my sensations, in such a way that, if I did not exist, or if I had not the faculty of feeling, I should not only be without them, but they would not exist at all. ... Observing this to be the nature of sensation, I say that there must be a sentient subject besides the sensations and the act whereby they exist, something else in which this act of this existence is rooted, and that this fact is so manifest as to require no proof. Indeed, when I say, 'I feel this odour, I see this colour,' besides the sensations, I posit the I which perceives them and which is their subject. The Ego, therefore, is not simply the act whereby the sensations exist, since in the pure idea of existing sensations I do not yet find the Ego. On the contrary, but for the Ego, I should be obliged to think in sensations an equal number of self-existents, whereas, when I think the number of sensations as I experience them, I convince myself that many of them are referable equally to a single Ego. The Ego, therefore, which experiences many sensations, is one, and the sensations experienced by the Ego are many. The Ego, therefore, is different from the sensations, as the subject is different from the modifications to which it is subject. Again, the Ego undergoes many actual sensations, and many sensations cease for the Ego, while others supervene.

The Ego, meanwhile, does not cease to be what it was, although it is furnished with diverse sensations. It has, therefore, the power of being modified, and the power of feeling many sensations is something altogether different from any one actual sensation. Finally, the sensation is felt by the Ego, whereas the Ego is that which feels. These characteristics, not only different but contrary, clearly show that sensations and the act which makes them exist cannot be conceived without a middle subject, that is, without something in which that act of the existence of sensa. tions terminates, before it terminates in them, and in which sensations receive and have existence.

"In all this, the important point to observe is that the sentient subject in question is not deduced from a long train of reasoning, but from a simple analysis of this idea, existent sensation. In the same way, therefore, as we showed above, . . . that even to conceive an existent sensation (this is granted by Hume) is to conceive a substance, and this from the analysis of existing sensation, so here we show that the mere conceiving of a substance is conceiving something different from the sensations (their subject), and this by means of the analysis of the idea of substance. The subject of sensations, therefore, is not merely an act extending to them, but is a principle existing in itself, which has the power to feel, and abides even when deprived of all special and accidental feelings” (New Essay, vol. ii. $$ 640-643).

There is no greater difficulty in conceiving an existing sensation than in conceiving any other unit of force, such, for example, as an atom. Indeed, the difficulty is even less in the former case, since sensation is in its nature a principle of unity. The difficulty with regard to the conception of the human soul resolves itself into the difficulty of conceiving how these units of sensation are united in a higher sentient unity. But this is no more difficult than to conceive how a number of atomic forces unite to form a single molecular force, different from its components, yet capable of being resolved into them, and how this molecular force is capable, under different circumstances, of displaying actions totally or widely different from each other. The soul might be defined as the substance of the unity of sensation, or the substantial unity of sensation. It is thus that the soul is the substantial form of the body, as the Schoolmen said (see St. Thomas, Sum. Theol., Pt. i. q. 76).

I 22.

The human soul a principle at once sensitive and intellective.

But the human soul not only feels, but also intellectively perceives—perceives felt bodies and itself. The human soul, therefore, is a principle at once sensitive and intellective.

The difference between sense and intelligence, now so frequently overlooked, was seen as early as Herakleitos, who says that “Those who hear without intelligence are like deaf persons ('Αξύνετοι ακούσαντες κωφοίσι έοίκασι),” and “ Eyes and ears are evil witnesses to men with barbarous Souls (κακοί μάρτυρες ανθρώποισι οφθαλμοί και ώτα,

, βαρβάρους ψυχάς εχόντων [έχουσι ?]” Bywater, Heracliti Ephesii Reliquiæ, pp. 2, 3). The distinction was more clearly brought out by Plato and Aristotle; but both made it far too wide, the former, by utterly separating the intelligible from the sensible world, the latter, by separating the intellective from the sensitive in man, and giving him, so to speak, two souls, one intellective and one sensitive. St. Thomas and the Schoolmen did not go much beyond Aristotle. They still continued to speak of the object of sense, as well as the object of intelligence, and of a common sense, as different from intelligence. Indeed, the true nature of the distinction was never cleared up until Rosmini showed that sense has only a term, while intelligence has an object, and that in cognition this term and this object are correlated as matter and form, as subject and object. This clearing up would not have been possible without the previous distinction between the matter and form of cognition. That this distinction found currency in philosophy, is mainly

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