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various kinds of nothing which they distinguish ” (Psychology, $ 1300). On negative cognition sec under $ 182.

In regard to “ideas of particular beings” or particular ideas, the author says, “An idea is particular only in so far as, in my mind, it is attached to a real individual. As soon as it is separated therefrom, it acquires, or rather manifests, universality, since, when set free, it may be applied at pleasure to an infinite number of similar individuals. That which is absolutely peculiar or particular in an idea is simply the real individual to which it adheres, and which does not form part of the idea itself, but is something heterogeneous to the idea, joined to it, not by nature, but by the action of the intelligent mind” (New Essay, vol. i. § 43, n.). "Every idea is universal and necessary. And, indeed, it is always the idea of being that, clothed with determinate qualitics derived from experience, furnishes me with a quantity of ideas or concepts more or less determinate, but representing merely possible entities and not subsisting entities(Ibid., vol. ii. $ 431).


to quan.

essence of

not identi.

Besides this, we must consider further, in order In respect clearly to see wherein consists the imperfect iden- tity, the tity, which, as we have said, we observe between being and

beings the entities felt by us and the essence of being perceived

by us are which we intuite. We said that limitations do different, not enter into this identity. Now, one of these cal. limitations is the contingency of finite things. Hence, contingency is not to be found in the essence of being, so that even in this respect there is opposition between contingent being and the essence of being, which is intuited by us as immutable and necessary.

“Every being,” says Rosmini, “when considered in its


logical possibility, is universal and necessary. And, indeed, there is no logical reason why there should not subsist any number of real beings corresponding to my one idea. Hence, every idea is a light, whereby I am able to know all the beings corresponding to it that subsist now or yet may subsist. It is, therefore, universal, infinite. Every single sensation, on the other hand, is particular. All that I feel in it is limited to it. ... The same may be said of the attribute of necessity. What I contemplate as possible, I know very well to be necessary; for there is no way or mode of thinking that the possible ever was impossible [cf. under $ 35). Real sensation, on the contrary, may or may no: be. It is accidental, contingent. There is, therefore, nothing in it that could awake in my mind the sense of an absolute necessity(New Essay, vol. ii. § 428). Contingent things are the improper terms of ideal being. Its proper, that is, its necessary term is God (see under $ 21). How ideal being comes to have improper terms is a question of Theosophy, or even of Theology.


The iden-
tity be-
tween the
essence of
being and
real beings
exists be-
them only
in so far as
they are

Furthermore, when we observe the identity between real, contingent being and the essence of being, we observe this identity in our perception and cognition, not in being as independent of such perception or cognition (§ 24).


It is only as known that real being is identical with ideal being.

In fact, it is only in real being as known that this identity is found or formed, and it is in the finding of it that the felt activity is perceived and cognized. It is not until the felt activity is identified with the essence of being that it is known or perceived, that it becomes a perceptible entity, an object. In the act of perception, therefore, there is added to the felt activity something which renders it a perceptible entity, and this addition is being itself, the feeling or contingent felt activity of which is but an imperfect mode, not perceptible apart from being, but only in objective being, as we shall show more clearly further on, when we come to speak of perception (SS 92-94). Moreover, although the mind thus supplies an Perception element of its object, of perceived being, this does true on not render its perceptions less true, since the mind count. clearly knows what it adds and what is given to it. Hence it knows things as they are.

In answer to the grave question, “How can the matter of cognition identify itself with the form ; and if the matter does not so identify itself, how can it be said to be contained in the form, and to form a perfect equation with it?” Rosmini replies, “The matter, considered in itself, never does identify itself with the form of cognition. On the contrary, ... the matter in itself ... is an activity different from knowing, and, therefore, still more different from the form of knowing. . . . The matter of cognition, so long as separated from cognition itself, remains unknown, and there can be no question of certainty with regard to it, because certainty is an attribute solely of knowledge. That, therefore, which identifies itself with the form of cognition is the matter of cognition, so far as known. The mind, under these circumstances, merely considers this matter in relation to being, and sees it contained in being as an actuation and term of it. Hence, before it is united to being, there is no identification : before the matter is known, there is nothing to be said about it ; but when it is united to being and thus objectified, when it is known to us, it has already received,

in the act of our cognition, a relation, a form, a predicate,
which it had not before, and in this predicate consists its
identification with being. Being is predicated of it, and
in that predication consists the act whereby we know it.
In this way it seems to us, when we consider the matter
already known, that it has in itself something common
with all things, whereas this quality, in so far as it is
common, is acquired by it and received from the mind-
is a relation which it has to the act of the mind, a relation
not real in it, but only in the act of the mind. Aristotle
and others, not having sufficiently considered this, fell into
the error of supposing that the mind could derive the idea
of being by abstraction from what was most common in
things, whereas it was the mind itself that put this most
common quality into the things; and when it took it from
them, it only reclaimed its own. Hence . . . what is
common in things is only a result of the relation in which
they stand to the intelligent mind” (New Essay, vol. iii.
§ 1174). St. Thomas and most modern Thomists make
the same blunder as Aristotle.


Why we think that we do not know the ground of things.

This analysis of the nature of our knowledge of real beings shows us why men generally have a conviction that they do not know the ground of things—that which causes them to be. The reason of this ignorance is the fact that in all felt activities this ground is wanting, and has to be given or lent to them, so to speak, by the perceiving mind itself. In other words, the mind attributes to contingent things a basis, because otherwise it would be incapable of perceiving them ; but, inasmuch as it does not perceive this basis, it is unable to determine its nature.

"When our minds have received through the senses the corporeal elements above described, the understanding completes the perception of them in the following manner :The passion [passio, mú0os] which we undergo in sensation has two aspects—the one turned toward its term, that is, us; the other turned toward its principle. The former is passion, the latter, action. Action and passion are two words which signify the same thing under two diverse and contrary aspects. Now, the sense does not perceive the thing of which we speak except as passion or expectation of new passions. It is the understanding alone that is able to perceive it as action. In so doing, the understanding adds nothing to the thing, but merely considers it in an absolute mode, whereas the sense perceives it only in a particular respect, in a relative mode. The understanding sunders itself from us as particular beings, and, with its vision, regards the things in themselves, whereas che sense never sunders itself from the particular subjects to which it belongs, that is, from us. The conceiving of an action, therefore, belongs exclusively to the understanding. But conceiving an action involves conceiving a principle in ait; hence the intellect, in perceiving an action, always perceives an agent as existing in itself, that is, a being in act. The understanding does this by means of the idea of being, which it has in itself. When, therefore, the understanding perceives the agent in question, as a being different from us and furnished with extension, it has the perception of body. From all of which it is clear that the understanding, in order to perceive a body, does no more than consider what the senses supply to it. It does so, however, not in a mode relative to us, as is the case with the sense, but by prescinding and abstracting from us, that is, by adding the universal concept of being. The intellective perception of body, therefore, is the union of the intuition of a being (agent) with sense-perception (passion), or, in other words, a judgment, a primitive synthesis (New Essay, vol. ii. $ 964). “It is true that the sense perceives the passion and not the action, since the former has an existence different from that of the latter ; but the

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