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never appear to have come into general use, and are indeed liable to obvious objections.
It has probably been owing to the very comprehensive meaning annexed in philosophical treatises to the word understanding, that the use of it has so frequently been supplied of late by intellect. The two words, as they are commonly employed, seem to be very nearly, if not exactly, synonymous ; and the latter possesses the advantage of being quite unequivocal, having never acquired that latitude of application of which the former admits. The adjective intellectual, indeed, has had its meaning extended as far as the substantive understanding ; but, as it can be easily dispensed with in our particular arguments, it may, without inconvenience, be adopted as a distinctive epithet, where nothing is aimed at but to mark, in simple and concise language, a very general and obvious classification. The word intellect can be of no essential use whatever, if the ambiguity in the signification of the good old English word understanding be avoided ; and as to intellection, which a late very acute writer* has attempted to introduce, I can see no advantage attending it, which at all compensates for the addition of a new and uncouth term to a phraseology which, even in its most simple and unaffected form, is so apt to revolt the generality of readers.
The only other indefinite word which I shall take notice of in these introductory remarks is judgment; and, in doing so, I shall confine myself to such of its ambiguities as are more peculiarly connected with our present subject. In some cases, its meaning seems to approach to that of understanding; as in the nearly synonymous phrases, a sound understanding, and a sound judgment. If there be any difference between these two modes of expression, it appears to me to consist chiefly in this, that the former implies a greater degree of positive ability than the latter: which indicates rather an exemption from those biasses which lead the mind astray, than the possession of any uncommon reach of capacity. To understanding we apply the epithets strong, vigorous, comprehensive, profound: to judgment, those of correct, cool, unprejudiced, impartial, solid. It was in this sense that the word seems to have been understood by Pope, in the following couplet :
« 'Tis with our judgments as our watches; none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.”
For this meaning of the word, its primitive and literal application to the judicial decision of a tribunal accounts sufficiently.
Agreeably to the same fundamental idea, the name of judgment is given with peculiar propriety to those acquired powers of discernment which characterize skilful critic in the fine arts; powers which depend, in a very great degree, on a temper of mind free
* Dr. Campbell. See his Philosophy of Rhetoric, vol. i. p. 103, 1st edit.
from the undue influence of authority and of casual associations. The power of taste itself is frequently denoted by the appellation of judgment; and a person who possesses a more than ordinary share of it is said to be a judge in those matters which fall under its cognizance.
The meaning annexed to the word by logical writers is considerably different from this; denoting one of the simplest acts or operations of which we are conscious, in the exercise of our rational powers. In this acceptation, it does not admit of definition, any more than sensation, will, or belief. All that can be done, in such cases, is to describe the occasions on which the operation takes place, so as to direct the attention of others to their own thoughts. With this view, it may be observed in the present instance, that when we give our assent to a mathematical axiom ; or when, after perusing the demonstration of a theorem, we assent to the conclusion ; or, in general, when we pronounce concerning the truth or falsity of any proposition, or the probability or improbability of any event, the power by which we are enabled to perceive what is true or false, probable or improbable, is called by logicians the faculty of judgment. The same word, too, is frequently used to express the particular acts of this power, as when the decision of the understanding on any question is called a judgment of the mind.
In treatises of logic, judgment is commonly defined to be an act of the mind, by which one thing is affirmed or denied of another; a definition which, though not unexceptionable, is perhaps less so than most that have been given on similar occasions. Its defect, as Dr. Reid has remarked, consists in this ;-that although it be by affirmation or denial that we express our judgments to others, yet judgment is a solitary act of the mind, to which this affirmation or denial is not essential ; and, therefore, if the definition be admitted, it must be understood of mental affirmation or denial only; in which case we do no more than substitute, instead of the thing defined, another mode of speaking perfectly synonymous. The definition has, however, notwithstanding this imperfection, the merit of a conciseness and perspicuity, not often to be found in the attempts of logicians to explain our intellectual operations.
Mr. Locke seems disposed to restrict the word judgment to that faculty which pronounces concerning the verisimilitude of doubtful propositions; employing the word knowledge to express the faculty which perceives the truth of propositions, either intuitively or demonstratively certain. “The faculty which God has given man to supply the want of clear and certain knowledge in cases where that cannot be had, is judgment; whereby the mind takes its ideas to agree or disagree; or, which is the same thing, any proposition to be true or false, without perceiving a demonstrative evidence in the proofs.
“ Thus the mind has two faculties conversant about truth and falsehood.
First, knowledge, whereby it certainly perceives, and is undoubtedly satisfied of the agreement or disagreement of any ideas.
“ Secondly, judgment, which is putting ideas together, or separating them from one another in the mind, when their agreement or disagreement is not perceived, but presumed to be so ; which is, as the word imports, taken to be so before it certainly appears. And if it so unites, or separates them as in reality things are, it is right judgment.” (Essay on the Human Understanding, book iv.
. chap. 14.)
For this limitation in the definition of judgment, some pretence is afforded by the literal signification of the word when applied to the decisions of a tribunal; and also, by its metaphorical application to the decisions of the mind on those critical questions which fall under the province of taste. But, considered as a technical or scientific term of logic, the practice of our purest and most correct writers sufficiently sanctions the most enlarged sense in which I have explained it; and if I do not much deceive myself, this use of it will be found more favorable to philosophical distinctness than Mr. Locke's language, which leads to an unnecessary multiplication of our intellectual powers. What good reason can be given for assigning one name to the faculty which perceives truths that are certain, and another name to the faculty which perceives truths that are probable? Would it not be equally proper to distinguish, by different names, the power by which we perceive one proposition to be true, and another to be false ?
As to knowledge, I do not think that it can, with propriety, be contrasted with judgment; nor do I apprehend that it is at all agreeable, either to common use or to philosophical accuracy, to speak of knowledge as a faculty. To me it seems rather to denote the possession of those truths about which our faculties have been previously employed, than any separate power of the understanding by which truth is perceived.
In attempting thus to fix the logical import of various words in our language which are apt to be confounded, in popular speech, with reason, and also with reasoning, some of my readers may be surprised that I have said nothing about the word wisdom. The truth is, that the notion expressed by this term, as it is employed by our best writers, seems to presuppose the influence of some principles, the consideration of which belongs to a different part of my work. In confirmation of this it may be remarked, that whereas the province of our reasoning powers (in their application to the business of life) is limited to the choice of means, wisdom denotes a power of a more comprehensive nature, and of a higher order; a power which implies a judicious selection both of means and of ends. It is very precisely defined by Sir William Temple to be “ that which makes men judge what are the best ends, and what the best means to attain them"
of these two modifications of wisdom, the one denotes a power of the mind which obviously falls under the view of the logician ; the examination of the other as obviously belongs to ethics.
A distinction similar to this was plainly in the mind of Cudworth when he wrote the following passage, which, although drawn from the purest sources of ancient philosophy, will, I donbt not, from the uncouthness of the phraseology, have the appearance of extravagance to many in the present times. To myself it appears to point at a fact of the highest importance in the moral constitution of man.
Before concluding these preliminary remarks, I cannot help expressing my regret that the subject on which I am about to enter will so frequently lay me under the necessity of criticising the language, and of disputing the opinions of my predecessors. In doing so, I am not conscious of being at all influenced by a wish to indulge myself in the captiousness of controversy; nor am I much afraid of this imputation from any of my readers who shall honor these speculations with an attentive perusal. My real aim is, in the first place, to explain the grounds of my own deviations; and, secondly, to facilitate the progress of such as may follow me in the same path, by directing their attention to these points of divergency in the way, which may suggest matter for doubt or hesitation. Í know, at the same time, that, in the opinion of many, the best mode of unfolding the principles of a science is to state them systematically and concisely, without any historical retrospects whatever ; and I believe the opinion is well-founded in those departments of knowledge, where the difficulty arises less from vague ideas and indefinite terms, than from the length of the logical chain which the student has to trace. But in such disquisitions as we are now engaged in, it is chiefly from the gradual correction of verbal ainbiguities, and the gradual detection of unsuspected prejudices, that a progressive, though slow approximation to truth is to be expected. It is indeed a slow approximation, at best, that we can hope to accomplish at present, in the examination of a subject where so many powerful causes (particularly those connected with the imperfections of language) conspire to lead us astray. But the study of the human mind is not, on that account, to be abandoned. Whoever compares its actual state with that in which Bacon, Des Cartes, and Locke found it, must be sensible how amply their efforts for its improvement have been repaired, both by their own attainments, and by those of others who have since profited by their example. I am willing to hope that some useful hints for its farther advancement may be derived from my own researches; and distant as the prospect may be of raising it to a level with the physical science of the Newtonian school, by uniting the opinions of speculative men
“ We have all of us by nature parte vua TI (as both Plato and Aristotle call it) a certain divination, presage, and parturient vaticinations in our minds, of some higher good and perfection than either power or knowledge. Knowledge is plainly to be preferred before power, as being that which guides and directs its blind force and impetus ; but Aristotle himself declares that there is loyou Ti xorite Tov, which is noyou aoxn; “ something better than reason and knowledge, which is the principle and original of it. For,” saith he, "doyou up za ov doyos, alia Ti Xpelttov. The principle of reason is not reason, but something better.-Intellectual System, p. 203.
Lord Shaftesbury has expressed the same truth more simply and perspicuously in that beautiful sentence which occurs more than once in his writings : “ True wisdom comes more from the heart than from the head.” Numberless illustra. tions of this profound maxim must immediately crowd on the memory of all who are conversant with the most enlightened works on the theory of legislation; more particularly with those which appeared, during the eighteenth century, on the science of political economy.
about fundamental principles, my ambition as an author will be fully gratified, if, by the few who are competent to judge, I shall be allowed to have contributed my share, however small, towards the attainment of so great an object.
In the discussions which immediately follow, no argument will, I trust occur beyond the reach of those who shall read them with the attention which every inquiry into the human mind indispensably requires. I have certainly endeavored, to the utmost of my abilities, to render every sentence which I have written, not only intelligible but perspicuous; and, where I have failed in the attempt, the obscurity will, I hope, be imputed, not to an affectation of mystery, but to some error of judgment. I can, without much vanity, say, that, with less expense of thought, I could have rivalled the obscurity of Kant; and that the invention of a new technical language, such as that which he has introduced, would have been an easier task, than the communication of clear and precise notions (if I have been so fortunate as to succeed in this communication) without departing from the established modes of expression.
To the following observations of D'Alembert (with some trifling verbal exceptions) I give my most cordial assent; and, mortifying as they may appear to the pretensions of bolder theorists, I should be happy to see them generally recognized as canons of philosophical criticism: "Truth in metaphysics resembles truth in matters of taste. In both cases, the seeds of it exist in every mind; though few think of attending to this latent treasure, till it be pointed out to them by more curious inquirers. It should seem that every thing we learn from a good metaphysical book is only a sort of reminiscence of what the mind previously knew. The obscurity, of which we are apt to complain in this science, may be always justly ascribed to the author ; because the information which he professes to communicate requires no technical language appropriated to itself. Accordingly, we may apply to good metaphysicial authors what has been said of those who excel in the art of writing, that, in reading them, every body is apt to imagine, that he himself could have written in the same manner.
“But, in this sort of speculation, if all are qualified to understand, all are not fitted to teach. The merit of accommodating
. easily to the apprehension of others, notions which are at once simple and just, appears, from its extreme rarity, to be much greater than is commonly imagined. Sound metaphysical principles are truths which everyone is ready to seize, but which few men have the talent of unfolding ; so difficult is it in this, as well as in other instances, to appropriate to one's self what seems to be the common inheritance of the human race."*
* “Le vrai en métaphysique ressemble au vrai en matière de goût; c'est un vrai dont tous les esprits ont le germe en eux-mèmes, auquel la plupart ne font poin d'attention, inais qu'ils reconnoissent dès qu'on le leur montre. Il semble que tout ce qu'on apprend dans un bon livre de métaphysique, ne soit qu'une