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words, confounding the subject with the object of thought. St. Thomas, indeed, is careful to say that “Non oportet quod efficiantur unum secundum esse simpliciter, sed solum quod fiant unum quantum pertinet ad actum intelligendi” (Supp. Qu., xcii. 1, 8.) This, however, only makes matters worse ; for it is precisely in the act of intelligence that subject and object are not one. Indeed, while there is no reason for believing that subject and object are not one really, karà uéyeOos, as Aristotle would say, it is perfectly plain that, unless they are distinct ideally, katà tov dóyov,* there can be neither thought nor cognition. However, it must be admitted that neither Aristotle nor St. Thomas had a consistent theory of cognition.
Speaking of Kant, Rosmini says, “The fundamental error of criticism lies in this, that it makes the objects of thought subjective. These objects result from sensations (matter) and intellectual forms. The sensations are modifications of our own feeling, and, according to Kant, are not sufficient to justify us in believing in the existence of an external cause that produces them, because, in order to draw this conclusion, we should have to admit the validity of the principle of cause. But the principle of cause, and all the other forms that do not come from the sensations, emanate from our minds (spirito), and they emanate from these, says Kant, precisely because they do not come from sensations. Kant therefore finds no alternative for the source of a cognition, or of an element of cognition, other than sensation or our own minds. But such an argument per exclusionem is manifestly arbitrary and false, because the enumeration of possible cases is incomplete. Such is the fundamental error of this school, and the original sin of all the German philosophies which have appeared since Kant, all having gone astray in the same way. position upon which Kant rears his system, but of which he does not furnish the slightest proof—the supposition, I mean, that whatever there is in our intelligence that does
* See De Animâ, iii. 4, 1 ; 429 a, 13. Cf. Ibid., 9, 1; 432 a, 20 : and 10, 8; 433 b, 24 sqq. Also Trendelenburg's note, Aristotelis De Animá, Lib. III., P: 527 sq.
not belong to sensation must of necessity come from the intelligent subject-had its origin in his failing to observe that being has two modes, the one subjective, the other objective, and that being is identical in the two. Being, in its objective mode, is being which makes itself known, and makes itself known as it is, even as subjective. Inasmuch as the being is identical, the cognition is valid and true” (New Essay, vol. i. $ 331).
Rosmini calls those philosophers who identify ideal with real being Unitarians, in contradistinction to those who do not see the need of ideal being at all, and whose system he calls the absolute anoetic. Among the chief of the former he includes Hegel. “Among the absolute unitarian and dianoetic systems, that which in our times has made most noise is the system of Hegel. According to this greatgrandson of Kant, the concept is the form of things, and this free and infinite form itself constitutes universal matter (all diversity of matter is declared by Hegel an illusion).* How a speculative mind can fall so easily into this error, which to common
seems incredible, has been explained above. ...” After clearly setting forth the nature and fecundity of ideal being, as distinguished from real being, Rosmini proceeds: “This immense virtuality of indeterminate or initial being, if not considered with the greatest care, may easily impose upon the mind. The philosopher who discovers its fecundity may rashly conclude that everything, even reality, issues from the idea, like water from a spring, and that the concept, as Hegel put it, is the form from which matter issues. But the illusion of these philosophers arises from their not having sufficiently considered that, although the cognition of real things consists in apprehending these as terms of that being which was previously intuited without it, nevertheless, such cognition cannot take place, if such terms are not given to us, and that, whatever effort a man may make with his
* “Die tiefere Anschauung ist dagegen diese . . . einerseits, dass der Materie als solcher keine Selbstständigkeit zukommt, und andererseits dass die Form nicht von aussen an die Materie gelangt, sondern als Totalität, das Prinzip der Materie in sich selbst trägt, welche freie und unendliche Form sich uns demnächst als der Begriff ergeben wird” (Encyclopedie, $ 128, Zusatz).
mind, he can never succeed in bringing anything real out of the bowels of the idea. The latter remains for ever barren, if being be not presented under the other, that is, the real form. Hence the two forms must be admitted as for ever coexistent, the one irreducible to the other, and such that the one can never render itself productive of the other. Not only is this true, but even when man, having the feeling of the real, knows it—that is, has it as the term of intuited being—and when the same intuited being is applied to the feeling, the two forms remain completely distinct and unconsused, so that no person of sane mind will ever say that the idea of the felt is the felt, or that the felt is merely an idea. Even if he did say so, he would be refuted by language itself, in which the two things stand altogether distinct.
“ Hegel here falls into an antinomy, takes it for a true contradiction, and not being able to extricate himself from it, makes peace with it and declares it to be the foundation of philosophy. The antinomy is this. On the one hand, he sees that pure being, as a universal first act, is empty, having no content of any kind. He hastily concludes that pure being and nothing are exactly the same, and thus introduces into philosophy the avidyâ of the Buddhistic systems.* On the other hand, he sees the infinite virtuality of pure being—of this nothing of his—which is also pure form, and therefore he brings forward various arguments to show that even the reality of things issues from the form of thought. Of course, if we carefully follow the steps by which Hegel proceeds in this argument, we shall find him continually tripping. Indeed, he sometimes, as in the Introduction to the Science of Logic, tries to show that, if reality is not made to come from the womb of the idea, it falls asunder into absurdities; at other times, as in the Encyclopædia, he tries to depict before the eyes of his readers the manner in which this external reality issues from the idea itself, calling them to witness the marvellous birth. Everywhere his reasoning is based upon equivocation and the most vulgar prejudices.
* See Max Müller, Chips from a German Workshop, vol. i. p. 248, American edit.
"In the Introduction alluded to, he remarks that it is foolish to say that Logic prescinds from all content, that it teaches only the rules of thinking, without paying any heed to what is thought. . . . For since thinking and the rules of thinking must be its subject, it has at once in these its particular content.'*
But, with Hegel's permission, no one has ever denied that the rules of thinking are the subject of Logic, and therefore no one has ever asserted that Logic has not its own proper content. The equivocation here is between Logic and pure being. Logic has certainly a content, and this content is formed of pure being, ideas, and the ideal principles which it teaches how to handle. But we assert that this being, these ideas, and these principles remain indeterminate, and, in this sense, they are devoid of content, because they do not contain the ultimate determinations, much less reality. Hegel, therefore, makes a puerile criticism upon the logicians who preceded him, a criticism due solely to his own misunderstanding. Even if his criticism were just, it would not follow that the forni of thought, of itself, produced the matter. But let us listen to a somewhat more serious argument. “It is supposed,' he says, that the matter of cognition exists outside of thought as a distinct, full-fledged world ; that thought, in itself empty, adds itself externally, as form, to this matter, fills itself therewith, and only then obtains a content and so becomes a real cognition. According to this assumption, these two elements ... stand to each other in this order. The object is something in itself finished and complete, which, as far as its reality is concerned, can entirely dispense with thought, whereas thought is something imperfect, requiring to complete itself by means of a material, and must even, as a soft, undetermined form, adapt itself to its matter. Truth is the agreement of thought with its object, and in order to bring about this agreement (which does not exist essentially), thought must adapt and suit itself to its objcct.'*
*“Vors Erste aber ist es ungeschickt zu sagen, dass die Logik von allem Inhalt abstrahire, dass sie nur die Regeln des Denkens lehre, ohne auf das Gedachte sich einzulassen. ... Denn da das Denken und die Regeln des Denkens ihr Gegenstand seyn sollen, so hat sie ja daran ihren eigenthümlichen Inhalt” (Einleitung, p. 27, edit. 1833).
“These words contain a criticism, in part just, of the absolute anoetic system ; but they contain, besides, many inaccuracies, and not the least force to injure the true system proposed by us. This will be clear from the following considerations :
“ (1) First of all, the argument is based upon an abuse of the word object. We have observed that reality has not the nature of object, and that objectivity belongs exclusively to intelligible being, and hence to the idea ; so that the real, which is not object, becomes object through that act of being, which is seen in the idea whose term it is. Hence we do not admit that truth consists in the agreement of thought with its object,' for the simple reason that there is no thought without an object, and that thought can never do otherwise than agree with its object, since between thought and object there is an essential synthesis.
" (2) Much less is it true that, in our system, in order to bring about an agreement between thought and its object, thought must accommodate itself to its object, because this happens always, and must happen always, if we mean by object what the word signifies, viz., that which stands opposite to the act of thinking, that which is present to the understanding.
" (3) The truth, therefore, as held by us, by Aristotle, and by the ancients generally, is not what Hegel supposes it to be, or what he founds his vain censure of the old logic upon. Man always possesses the truth, when, with
*“ Es wird erstens vorausgestzt, dass der Stoff des Erkennens, als eine fertige Welt ausserhalb des Denkens, an und für sich vorhanden, dass das Denken für sich leer sey, als eine Form äusserlich, zu jener Materie hinzutrete, sich damit erfülle, erst daran einen Inhalt gewinne, und dadurch ein reales Erkennen werde. Alsdann stehen diese beiden Bestandtheile ... in dieser Rangordnung gegen einander, dass das Object ein für sich Vollendetes, Fertiges sey, das des Denkens zu seiner Wirklichkeit vollkommen entbehren könne, dahingegen das Denken etwas Mangelhaftes sey, das sich erst an einem Stoffe zu vervollständigen, und zwar als eine weiche unbestimmte Form sich seiner Materie angemessen zu machen habe. Wahrheit ist die Uebereinstimmung des Denkens mit dem Gegenstande, und es soll, um diese Uebereinstimmung hervorzubringen—denn sie ist nicht an und für sich vorhanden—das Denken nach dem Gegenstande sich fügen und bequemen ” (Einleitung, p. 28).