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INTUITIONS OF THE MIND
REV. JAMES MCCOSH, LL.D.,
PRESIDENT OF THE COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY, PRINCETON; AUTHOR OF "THE METOOD
OF THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT PHYSICAL AND MORAL," ETC.
THIRD EDITION, REVISED.
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
THERE is a constant reference in the present day to intuition. It is surely desirable to have it ascertained what intuition is. But if this is to be done satisfactorily, it must be done carefully, it must be done elaborately.
It is the aim of this work to determine the precise nature of intuition, by which I mean the capacity which the mind has of perceiving objects and truths at once without a process. But in accomplishing this end, I have had to find out the mode in which intuition operates, and the laws which it obeys, to distinguish between it and associated exercises, and to settle what it can do and what it cannot do; and this could be done only by a painstaking study of the human mind.
In forming my opinions, I have had before me the speculations of eminent philosophers, both in ancient and modern times. These I have subjected to a sifting, but, I trust, candid examination. I have so constructed the work as to put collateral criticisms in Preliminary and Supplementary "Chapters and Sections, printed in smaller type.
I claim to have so far caught the spirit of those who have gone before, and whom I might be disposed to copy, that I am resolute to maintain my independence, and I have not scrupled to state wherein I differ from those whose writings have yielded me the most valuable suggestions. While attending, as in duty bound, to the views of others, my appeal is ever to the operations of the human mind as alone fitted and entitled to settle disputed
questions; and I do not profess to follow the teachings of any doctor of the past or present time, nor to belong to any school except that which looks to the facts of our mental nature.
In several points I have received much benefit from the high erudition, the unsurpassed logical power, and the (often) profound observation of the late Sir William Hamilton. I am the more bound to make this acknowledgment from the circumstance, that I have often felt myself constrained to criticise some of his favourite doctrines—more particulary those which he has adopted from Kant-as fitted (so I think) to unsettle the foundations of knowledge, and as being actually employed by able and influential thinkers to establish a deadly theory of nescience.
The First Edition of this work, while the result of long reflection, was written out for the press rather hurriedly. I am grateful to the public for calling me to issue a Second Edition, in which I have corrected the errors which crept into the first, expounded my views more clearly and fully, and supported them by further critical Notes and Sections.
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
The a priori philosophy which reigned, when this work was first published, among those who cared to study metaphysics, has waxed old and is ready to die. I, for one, do not regret this; for its speculative mode of procedure was so uncertain that it propagated quite as much error as truth, and it has no means of enabling us to distinguish between the two. But are we, therefore, to abandon ourselves to that prevailing current of sensationalism which is fast sweeping on towards materialism?
For the present, a considerable number of metaphysicians have betaken themselves to the airy heights to which Berkeley retreated : whence they may mount, they imagine, . to the empyrean beyond; or descend, if they prefer, to a refined materialism, which denies that it is materialism because it does not so much as maintain the substantial existence of matter. This can only be a temporary place of refuge; for the sceptic will pursue them, -as Hume did Berkeley, — and show, on their principles, that the conscious idea which they hold by may be a mere throb in the phenomenal evolution of things. · It is often admitted, — at least incidentally, — by those who stand up for a priori principles, that they appear first in consciousness in the individual and concrete form. But, if it be so, there is need of careful observation, with generalization and abstraction, to induct the law out of its manifestations. Till