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the first, and having always understood that evidence, especially if simple, is precisely that by which incomprehensibility becomes comprehensibility, we are at a loss to conceive how the same thing that is incomprehensible should be, not only simple, but evident. The discrepancy contained in the enumeration, then, is certainly bad enough; but it is probably outdone by that in the paragraph that follows it, where Hamilton tells us that that of which we know, not only that it is, but also how or why it is, ‘is not a primary datum of consciousness, but a subsumption under the cognition or belief which affords its reason.” The ordinary axioms, then, seeing that they always bring their own why, are henceforth on the authority of Hamilton to be conceived to be excluded from the rank of primary data! The law of contradiction itself, though set up by Hamilton himself as–so to speak—the very first primary of all primaries, must, seeing that it too brings its own evidence, consent to be thrown down again, and by the hand that set it up. Nay, the same authority, who formerly declared a thing—because of its evidence—to be primary, now declares it—and still because of its evidence—not to be primary. There are many passages in Hamilton where the insight; which is contained in the etymology of the word intuitive, is noticed; but, on the whole, his custom is pretty much the same as Reid's: he correlates (as we have seen, p. 119) intuition with belief, and considers the instantaneousness of the intuition rather than the intuition itself. It is to this we attribute the discre. R
pancies and confusions which have been just exposed.* But attribute them to what we may, anything more piebald and unequal than this their resulting or embracing doctrine of common sense we do not believe to exist. It is common sense, yet the natural meaning of the phrase is to be counteracted, and it is not to be common sense. It is common sense, yet the result—of analysis—critical analysis—and by the philosophers. It is common sense, but not the sense of the common (the vulgar); it is the sense of the uncommon (the philosophers). Then its constitutive principles, they are incomprehensible yet evident, inconceivable yet “clear, nay “the light of nature;’ they are contingent yet necessary, particular yet universal, à posteriori yet & priori, products of sense yet products of intelligence. Finally, this loose shelf of principles, whose origin we know not, whose connexion we know not, whose completion we know not—principles which have been come upon and taken up we know not how, principles which lie apart and mutually indifferent, principles which coalesce not into the unity of a system, principles which are not even assigned— finally, we say, this loose shelf of pèle-mêle, unvouched principles is set identical with the—Reason of Kant (the objects of which are God, Freewill, and the Soul)!—and distinguished from the—Understanding of Kant, the objects of which are just those very principles which (the roots and foundations of human knowledge) constitute, as named (they are not given), Hamilton's special quest here! What strange effect, indeed, to compare this loose shelf (with but a stray specimen on it all the same) with the one organic germ of Kant, in which lie vitally complete a whole co-articulated congeries of constitutive members! But why mention Kant?—It was Hamilton's pride to have perfected the presentationism of Reid—to have strengthened into impregnability his fortress of common sense: in reality, he has but overthrown the one, and broken up the other!
* Hamilton (Logic, i. 126) says: ‘This expression [intuition as a looking at] has, however, been preoccupied in English to denote the apprehension we have of self-evident truths, and its application in a different signification [the perceptive] would, therefore, be, to a certain extent, liable to ambiguity.’ This, with reference to the vision present in intuitive truths, would read like an excuse for not using intuition in its perceptive sense, because it is already preoccupied in that sense! Evidently, then, the instinct of the intuition has shut out from Hamilton's view the insight of
it. See also page 171 same work, where he seems to have in view the speed of the looking rather than the looking.
But it is just possible that any conclusion yet is premature; for it is now in place to recollect that Hamilton does not stop with common sense, but carries all up into a so-called—Law of the Conditioned. This we have now to see.
NOTE (See p. 118).
“Kant held the intuitive cognition of outness;' this has been said in this country, and it would have been right if the sayer had meant, Kant held space to be perceptive. It is illustrative of what has been said above, however, to consider that the sayer really meant only something that was somehow mysteriously instantaneous or instinctive. We, Scotch, have made ourselves simply ridiculous by the mystic hocus-pocus we have somehow imaginatively conjured into the word intuitive, instead of merely seeing and saying that it was tantamount to perceptive. ‘Kant does not give the Intuitions'—‘I give the Intuitions:’ it is curious to realise to oneself the strange magical functions of our own secret inner which are supposed, in such words, to be, as it were, weirdly seen into through vapour, and by means of some supersensuous, quite original insight. Pure intuitions, however, there are none, but the pure perceptions Time and Space. Apperception, Self-consciousness, the Ego, the inner One, is externalised into
the net of the categories (as functions if you will); these into the net of the intuitions, Time and Space; and these, again, into the ultimate net of actual empirical things. And what we have so is, this world, the proper name of which is Spirit—Free and Immortal Spirit—Spirit in communication with Spirit—Spirit in dependence on, and in reconciliation through Christ with, the one Absolute Spirit—God. This, I take it, is pretty nearly the Kantianism of Hegel; and it is Kantianism, and nothing but Kantianism, that is the matter assimilated by Hegel as food and filling, into his own form.