Can Change the World Again.
A SYSTEM OF MENTAL PHILOSOPHY. 1882.
REV. ASA MAHAN, D. D. LL.D.
APPLICATION OF THE PRECEDING ANALYSIS. PRIMARY INTELLECTUAL FACULTIES. PERCEIVED AND IMPLIED ELEMENTS OF THOUGHT.
All the elements of thought, all ideas and conceptions, existing in the mind, may, as we have seen, be classed, as contingent, or necessary. In other words, all objects of thought are, or may be, in fact, conceived of as existing, with the possibility of conceiving of them as not existing, or with the impossibility of conceiving of their non-existence, that is, as being unconditionally, or conditionally necessary.
On careful reflection, it will be perceived, that all contingent elements of thought are given exclusively by perception, external or internal, their objects being recognized by the universal intelligence, as objects of perception. The necessary elements, on the other hand, are not recognized by the intelligence as given by perception, but as distinctly and immediately implied by what we perceive. Thus, for example, body, succession, phenomena external and internal, and events, are objects of perception, and are so recognized by the universal intelligence. The ideas of space, time, substance, and cause, on the other hand, are not recognized by the consciousness, as given by perception, but as implied by the ideas of body, succession, phenomena, and events, which are given, as objects of perception. Body, succession, phenomena, and events, we perceive. Space, duration, substance, and causes, we do not perceive, but apprehend as implied by the realities which we do perceive. No one will question the correctness of these statements.
THE ELEMENTS OF ALL FORMS OF REAL KNOWLEDGE DERIVED FROM THESE TWO SOURCES.
All forms of knowledge, all ideas, and conceptions, existing in the mind, are constituted of elements derived originally from these two sources exclusively, to wit, what we perceive, and what is necessarily and immediately implied by what we perceive. Knowledge, in any other form, or from any other source, is inconceivable, and naturally impossible.
LOGICAL AND CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF THESE FORMS OF KNOWLEDGE.
There are two fundamental relations which all forms of perceived and implied knowledge, that is, contingent and necessary ideas, sustain to each other, relations which it is very important, that the learner should fully comprehend. We refer to what is denominated the logical and chronological order of such ideas.
THE LOGICAL ORDER.
One idea is the logical antecedent of another, when the former is implied by the latter, that is, when the reality of the object of the latter can be admitted, but on the supposition of the reality of the object of the former. Body, for example, cannot exist unless space does exist. Succession is possible but on the condition of the reality of duration in which the former does and must occur, if it occur at all. Unless real substances and causes do exist, there can, by no possibility, be any such thing, as phenomena, or events. The ideas of space, duration, substance, and cause, consequently are the logical antecedents of the ideas of body, succession, phenomena, and events. In other words, implied forms of knowledge, or necessary ideas, are the logical antecedents of forms of perceived knowledge, or of contingent ideas. This principle universally obtains.
THE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER.
One idea is the chronological antecedent of another, when, in the order of actual origination in the mind, the former precedes the latter. In this order, the perceived universally precedes the implied. In other words, contingent ideas, are universally, the chronological antecedents of the necessary. We perceive body, before we apprehend space in which the former does and must exist. We perceive succession, before we apprehend duration in which, the former occurs. We perceive phenomena and events, before we do, or can, apprehend substance and cause to which the former are referred. The truth of these statements is demonstrably evident. Space is apprehended and can be conceived of, or defined, but as that in which body, and substances, do and must exist, and as implied by the same. Duration, or time, is apprehended, and can be conceived of, or defined, but as the place of succession, and as implied by it. Substance, or cause, is apprehended but as that to which phenomena, or events, are referred, and as implied by the same. Now that which is, and can be, apprehended but as related to, and implied by, some other object, cannot, by any possibility, be to the mind, an object of knowledge, prior to that by which it is implied, and known only as implied. Knowledge by perception, therefore is, and must be, in the order of origination in the mind, prior to implied knowledge. In other words, contingent ideas are, universally, the chronological antecedents of necessary ideas. This principle, as we shall see, hereafter, is of fundamental importance in the science of mind.
PRIMARY INTELLECTUAL FACULTIES.
All knowledge begins, and undeniably so, with perception, and is instantly followed by, and blended with, those forms, and elements, of knowledge directly and immediately implied by what is obtained by perception, and from these two sources, we repeat, the constituent elements of all human knowledge, of all ideas and conceptions, in the mind, are originally derived. The organs of perceived and implied knowledge, therefore, are the Primary Faculties of the Intelligence. This is undeniable.
KNOWLEDGE BY PERCEPTION CLASSIFIED.
Knowledge by perception, however, is of two distinct and separate kinds, and is derived from two distinct, and separate sources, external and internal, objective and subjective. Knowledge by perception pertains, in part, to external, material, substances, and, in part, to internal phenomena, the operations of the mind itself. We have, then, two distinct and separate faculties of perception, the external and the internal, that which perceives external, material, substances, and that which perceives internal phenomena, or the operations of the mind itself. The former, we denominate Sense, or the Faculty of External Perception. The latter we denominate Consciousness, or the Faculty Of Internal Perception. That faculty by which we apprehend implied knowledge, or the objects of necessary ideas, we denominate Reason. The following, therefore, are the primary faculties of the intelligence, namely:
PRIMARY INTELLECTUAL FACULTIES.
1. The Faculty of internal perception, the function of the intelligence by which we perceive and apprehend the phenomena of the mind itself. This faculty we denominate Consciousness.
2. The Faculty of external perception, the intellectual function by which we perceive and apprehend the qualities of external, material, substances. This faculty we denominate Sense.
3. The Faculty of implied knowledge, the function of the intelligence by which we apprehend necessary truths. This faculty we denominate Reason.
The terms, Consciousness, Sense, and Reason, throughout this treatise, will be employed in strict accordance with the definitions of the same above given. The definition given to the term consciousness, accords with universal usage. That given to the term sense is the first meaning assigned to it by Webster, and is the meaning generally attached to it when employed, as it is in this treatise, to designate a special faculty, or function, of the intelligence. A great diversity of meanings attach to it, when employed for other purposes. Similar, remarks apply to the term, reason. In common language, various meanings are attached to it. In scientific treatises, it is now being generally employed in strict accordance with the definition of it above given.
THESE FACULTIESWHY CALLED PRIMARY.
Consciousness, Sense, and Reason, are called the primary faculties of the intelligence, for two considerations:
1. Because, that with them, all our knowledge commences.
2. All our complex cognitions are composed of elements given by these faculties. All the phenomena of the intelligence are either simple or complex. All simple ideas are found to be direct intuitions of one or of the other of these faculties. All complex ideas are found, on a careful analysis, to be composed of elements previously given by these faculties. The truth of this last remark will be fully confirmed in the progress of our subsequent investigations.
ALSO CALLED INTUITIVE FACULTIES.
The faculties above named are also sometimes denominated Intuitive Faculties. The reason is, that each alike pertains to its objects, by direct intuition. Consciousness, for example, by direct intuition, and not through any medium, apprehends the phenomena of the mind. The same is true of the faculty of Sense in respect to the phenomena of external material substances. The action of Reason is conditioned on the prior action of sense and consciousness. It is not through any medium, but by direct intuition, however, that reason affirms truth as universal, necessary, and absolute. Like the former, therefore, it may, with equal propriety, be denominated a faculty of intuition. These faculties, as we shall see hereafter, give us the elements of all our knowledge.
FUNDAMENTAL ERROR OF LOCKE, AND OF THE SENSUAL SCHOOL OF PHILOSOPHY.
According to Locke, and the Sensual School in philosophy, of which he was the founder, the elements of all our knowledge are derived exclusively from two sources, external, and internal, perception. "Our observation," he says, "employed either about external, sensible objects, or about the internal operations of our minds, perceived and reflected on by ourselves, is that which supplies our understanding with all the materials of thinking. These two are the fountains of knowledge from whence all the ideas we have, or can naturally have, do spring." Neither this author, nor his school in philosophy, take any account of implied knowledge, or of necessary truths, that is, knowledge by reason. They even, as seen above, deny the possibility of this form of knowledge, and take no account, whatever, of the faculty by which such knowledge is obtained. This is a fundamental error in philosophy, an error which legitimately led to the Materialism and Atheism of the latter part of the past, and early part of the present century, and which in fact lies at the foundation of much of the infidelity of the present time. Implied knowledge, or necessary ideas, is just as real, and as valid, as knowledge by perception, or as contingent ideas. When this fact is admitted, and when the validity of each of the primary faculties, as organs of real knowledge, is vindicated, there will be, in the sphere of science, no denial of the being and perfections, of a personal God, or of the truths of religion. Infidelity, in all its forms, and in all ages, has, in fact, and form, based its deductions upon a denial of the reality, or validity, of some one or other of the primary faculties above defined. In all ages and nations, and in all schools of philosophy in which the validity of knowledge through each of the primary faculties, has been admitted,as true science immutably demands that it shall be,the being and perfections of a personal God, and the essential truths of religion, have been universally admitted and affirmed.
FUNDAMENTAL ERROR OF THE GERMAN, OR TRANSCENDENTAL SCHOOL IN PHILOSOPHY.
The German, or Transcendental School in Philosophy, in opposition to that of Locke, makes every thing of implied knowledge, or of necessary ideas, and takes little, or no account of knowledge by perception, external and internal, but to deny its validity. According to the fundamental principles and teachings of this, the German school, necessary ideas are originated in the mind prior to contingent ones, the former giving existence to, and determining the essential characteristics of the latter. In other words, implied knowledge exists in the mind prior to that by which the former is implied, and without the prior existence of which, the implied, can, by no possibility, as we have already seen, exist at all: one of the greatest, and most palpable, errors that ever appeared in the sphere of philosophy. Knowledge by perception, does in fact, and from the nature of the case, must, in actual experience, precede, occasion, and determine the essential characteristics of, all forms of implied knowledge. In other words, contingent elements of knowledge, instead of being preceded, occasioned, and determined in their nature and form, by the necessary elements, do, in fact, precede, occasion, and determine the fundamental characteristics of the elements of necessary ideas. It is this fundamental error of this school, which has given being and form to the Idealism, and Skepticism of the present century.
THE TRUE Philosophy.
The true philosophy, avoiding the fundamental errors of both schools,of the Sensual, on the one hand, and of the transcendental, on the other,and vindicating the validity of both perceived and implied knowledge in all their legitimate forms, and through each primary faculty in common, will vindicate, within the sphere of true science, the doctrine of the being and perfections of a personal God, together with the essential truths and principles of morality and religion, while it will fully meet and satisfy, all the real scientific demands of universal mind.