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from bodily sensations, from the feeling of individual existence, from reflection in Locke's sense, or from the act of perception, and concludes that it must therefore be innate. The remainder of the volume is devoted to showing how, through this one innate formal idea and the material derived from sensation, all other ideas may be formed and explained (471). The third volume treats of the criterion of certainty and its application to human cognitions and reasonings.
Sir William Hamilton (Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic, vol. ii. p. 366 sq.) says, “I pronounce Existence to be a NATIVE COGNITION, because I find that I cannot think except under the condition of thinking all that I am conscious of to exist. Existence is thus a form, a category of thought." This, so far as it goes, is precisely the doctrine of Rosmini, who, however, goes farther and asserts that existence or being is the only form native to the mind, the only idea that can be thought by itself, and the only one necessary in order to explain the origin of all others (New Essay, SS 410-412). That we cannot think without the idea of being, that being is contained in every other idea and category, is a self-evident fact. The idea of being, which forms the universal condition of thought, Rosmini finds to be objective, merely possible or idcal, simple, one, identical, universal, nccessary, immutable, eternal, and indeterminate-attributes not one of which belongs to sensation. It cannot, therefore, be derived from sensation. Similar reasoning shows that it cannot be derived from any other external source open to man. Indeed, if man were placed in front of all the possible sources of knowledge, he could not draw from any of them without first having the idea of being, since without it he could not make anything an object, and therefore could not know anything. It follows from all this that the idea of being is innatc.
Rosmini quotes a very striking passage from St. Bonaventura, to show that that philosopher held the same doctrine: “Mira igitur est cæcitas intellectus, qui non considerat illud quod prius videt, et sine quo nihil potest cognoscere. Sed sicut oculus intentus in varias colorum differentias, lumen per quod videt cætera, non videt, et si videt, non tamen advertit ; sic oculus mentis nostræ intentus in ista entia particularia et universalia, IPSUM ESSE EXTRA OMNE GENUS, licet primo occurrat menti, et per ipsum alia, tamen non advertit (Itiner. Mentis in Deum. cap. v.)” (New Essay, $ 472, n. 2). The difference between Rosmini's view, however, and that of St. Bonaventura is very great, inasmuch as the latter does not conceive being to be an innate idea, or, indeed, an idea at all. Many philosophers, besides and before St. Bonaventura, held that the first thing known or revealed to the mind was universal being, or the universal, which is the same thing. Aristotle, for example, repeatedly says that the first in reason is the universal, whereas the first in sensation is the individual (κατά μέν γαρ τον λόγον τα καθόλου πρότερα, κατά δε την aro0noi tà kaО' ēkaora (Metaph., iv. II: 1018 b, 32. ; cf. Phys., i. 5: 189 a, 5). And the same thing is asserted, though indirectly, still more strongly, in Metaph., iii. 3 : 1005 b, 19 sq., in the principle of contradiction, which Aristotle regards as the most certain of all principles. Rosmini himself also quotes from St. Thomas the assertion that “the object of the intellect is common being or truth,” * and he might easily have found even a stronger statement of the same doctrine in that philosopher's commentary on the passage from Aristotle's Metaphysics last referred to. “ Cum duplex sit operatio intellectus : una, qua cognoscit quid est, quæ vocatur indivisibilium intelligentia : alia, qua componit et dividit : in utroque est aliquod primum : in prima quidem operatione est aliquod primum quod cadit in conceptione intellectus, scilicet hoc quod dico ens; nec aliquid hac operatione potest mente concipi, nisi intelligatur ens. . . . Hoc principium, impossibile est esse et non esse simul, dependet ex intellectu entis” (Comment. in Metaphys., lib. iv. [iii.], sect. vi.). It is plain that, according to St. Thomas, the intuition of being is innate. A large number of passages of like import will be found collected in
Casara's little work, La Luce dell'Occhio Corporeo e quella dell'Intelletto, pp. 17 sq.
Being in general is known by intuition.
This consideration shows me that it is one thing to know what being in general is, and another to know that there is a particular real being. To know that there exists a particular real being, I must make an affirmation ; while to know simply what being is, I require no such affirmation, but another act of the mind, which I shall call intuition. These two modes of knowing are clearly and fundamentally different, and are so related that intuition must precede affirmation. Human cognitions, therefore, are divisible into the two great classes, those arising from affirmation and those arising from intuition.
Two great classes of human cognitions.
Being alone is cognizable per se, and constitutes cognizability itself. Hence, as our fathers said, things are cognizable in so far as they participate in being* When we attentively consider our cognition, we discover a manifest and infinite distinction between the intuition of being and the perception of real things, the traces of which all resolve themselves into the feelings caused in us; we see that it is impossible to intuite being without understanding it, since to intuite it is to understand it : on the contrary, we see that our feelings cannot be understood by themselves—indeed, that they begin to be understood only when we regard them in relation to being, that is, as terms of being itself” (New Essay, vol. iii. 1224). The affirmation alluded to is the affirmation of being, which Rosmini distinguishes from the arprchension of the being affirmed (Logic, § 1072). Every such affirmation must, of course, be a self-evident judgment. Among such judgments Rosmini classes “those in which being is directly applied to feeling,
* "Unumquodque cognoscibile est in quantum est ens ” (St. Thomas, Com. ment. in Aristot. Physica, i. 1).
in which feeling is apprehended and affirmed, and which · are called perceptions” (Logic, § 197). Thus perception
involves apprehension and affirmation.
The order of these two classes of cognitions Order of is directly manifest from what has been said. classes. Affirmative cognitions all presuppose an intuitive cognition. The latter, therefore, must precede the former. I repeat, therefore, that before we can know a particular, real being, we must know being in general (in universale).
Being in general,” or “ being in universale,” is perhaps hardly what the author here means; for it is not necessary that we should know being as general or universal, before we can know a real being. Indeed, it is only in its application to real beings that the universality of ideal being or of any idea manifests itself. Rosmini is by no means ignorant of this. Indeed, on more than one occasion he states the true doctrine admirably. "I take a universal idea,” he says, “and submit it to analysis. This analysis gives me two elements from which my idea results : first, the quality thought; second, the universality of the same, which St. Thomas distinguishes by the name of intentio universalitatis. To the quality thought I say there corresponds a reality in the individual thing; to the universality of the quality thought I say that there is no corresponding reality in the thing, the universality being solely in the mind. The universality is not properly the quality thought, but is a mode which it assumes in the mind. This distinction must be carefully marked.
“Now, how does it happen that the quality thought is
in me universal? When my mind (spirito) has perceived any quality, it has the power of repeating this quality in an indefinite number of individuals, by means of so many acts of its own thought, whereby it thinks that quality successively or contemporaneously in an indefinite number of individuals. And this power results from two principles, viz., first, from the intuition which my mind has of the possible; and second, from the reiterability of the acts of the mind. This power of repeating the acts of thought, and hence of imagining a quality repeated indefinitely, is a property and faculty peculiar to the mind. It is, therefore, the mind that, by means of this faculty, adds to the qualities which it thinks the character of universality. This universality means nothing more than the possibility which any quality has of being thought by us in an indefinite number of individuals" (New Essay, vol. i. § 196 n.; cf. § 381).
It is a fundamental doctrine with Rosmini that all universality belongs to the mind or intelligence—that there is no universality in sensations or things. He consequently denies that any universal can be derived from things or through sensation. “It is absurd,” he says, “ to say that a sensation transforms itself, because a sensation is essentially particular, and would, in order to transform itself, be obliged to destroy itself. Thought, on the contrary, has an object, or idea, furnished with both universal and particular elements. In so far as this idea is universal, it may be determined and particularized variously, and this may be called taking another form ” (New Essay, vol. i. $ 197, n. 1). This doctrine is treated at great length in the criticism of Stewart. In this, Rosmini shows that all proper names are originally common, and not vice versá, as Smith and Stewart had supposed. “That a name be proper," he says, “ does not depend upon its designating one individual or more, but on the manner in which it designates them. If it designates them by marking them with a common quality, as the word man does, which marks all men with humanity, it is a common name. If, on the other hand, it names them without marking them