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(2011-05-18 22:32:31)







分类: 杂读笔记(钱先生指示)






One thing may be observed with reference to the immediate knowledge of God, of legal and ethical principles (including under the head of immediate knowledge what is otherwise termed Instinct, Implanted or Innate Ideas, Common Sense, Natural Reason, or whatever form, in short, we give to the original spontaneity).It is a matter of general experience that education or development is required to bring out into consciousness what is therein contained. It was so even with the Platonic reminiscence; and the Christian rite of baptism, although a sacrament, involves the additional obligation of a Christian upbringing. In short, religion and morals, however much they may be faith or immediate knowledge, are still on every side conditioned by the mediating process which is termed development, education, training.


The adherents, no less than the assailants, of the doctrine of Innate Ideas have been guilty throughout of the like exclusiveness and narrowness as is here noted. They have drawn a hard and fast line between the essential and immediate union (as it may be described) of certain universal principles with the soul, and another union which has to be brought about in an external fashion, and through the channel of given objects and conceptions. There is one objection, borrowed from experience, which was raised against the doctrine of Innate Ideas. All men, it was said, must have these ideas; they must have, for example, the maxim of contradiction present in the mind-they must be aware of it; for this maxim and others like it were included in the class of Innate Ideas. The objection may be set down to misconception; for the principles in question, though innate, need not on that account have the form of ideas or conceptions of something we are aware of. Still, the objection completely meets and overthrows the crude theory of immediate knowledge, which expressly maintains its formulae in so far as they are in consciousness. Another point calls for notice. We may suppose it admitted by the intuitive school, that the special case of religious faith involves supplementing by a Christian or religious education and development. In that case it is acting capriciously when it seeks to ignore this admission when speaking about faith, or it betrays a want of reflection not to know, that, if the necessity of education be once admitted, mediation is pronounced indispensable.


The reminiscence of ideas spoken of by Plato is equivalent to saying that ideas implicitly exist in man, instead of being, as the Sophists assert, a foreign importation into his mind. But to conceive knowledge as reminiscence does not interfere with, or set aside as useless, the development of what is implicitly in man; which development is another word for mediation. The same holds good of the innate ideas that we find in Descartes and the Scotch philosophers. These ideas are only potential in the first instance, and should be looked at as being a sort of mere capacity in man.




In the case of these experiences the appeal turns upon something that shows itself bound up with immediate consciousness. Even if this combination be in the first instance taken as an external and empirical connection, still, even for empirical observation, the fact of its being constant shows it to be essential and inseparable. But, again, if this immediate consciousness, as exhibited in experience, be taken separately, so far as it is a consciousness of God and the divine nature, the state of mind which it implies is generally described as an exaltation above the finite, above the senses, and above the instinctive desires and affections of the natural heart: which exaltation passes over into, and terminates in, faith in God and a divine order. It is apparent, therefore, that, though faith may be an immediate knowledge and certainty, it equally implies the interposition of this process as its antecedent and condition.


It has been already observed, that the so-called proofs of the being of God, which start from finite being, give an expression to this exaltation. In that light they are no inventions of an oversubtle reflection, but the necessary and native channel in which the movement of mind runs: though it may be that, in their ordinary form, these proofs have not their correct and adequate expression.




It is the passage (§64) from the subjective Idea to being which forms the main concern of the doctrine of immediate knowledge. A primary and self-evident interconnection is declared to exist between our Idea and being. Yet precisely this central point of transition, utterly irrespective of any connections which show in experience, clearly involves a mediation. And the mediation is of no imperfect or unreal kind, where the mediation takes place with and through something external, but one comprehending both antecedent and conclusion.




For, what this theory asserts is that truth lies neither in the Idea as a merely subjective thought, nor in mere being on its own account——that mere being per se, a being that is not of the Idea, is the sensible finite being of the world. Now all this only affirms, without demonstration, that the Idea has truth only by means of being, and being has truth only by means of the Idea. The maxim of immediate knowledge rejects an indefinite empty immediacy (and such is abstract being, or pure unity taken by itself), and affirms in its stead the unity of the Idea with being. And it acts rightly in so doing. But it is stupid not to see that the unity of distinct terms or modes is not merely a purely immediate unity, i.e. unity empty and indeterminate, but that ——with equal emphasis——the one term is shown to have truth only as mediated through the other——or, if the phrase be preferred, that either term is only mediated with truth through the other. That the quality of mediation is involved in the very immediacy of intuition is thus exhibited as a fact, against which understanding, conformably to the fundamental maxim of immediate knowledge that the evidence of consciousness is infallible, can have nothing to object. It is only ordinary abstract understanding which takes the terms of mediation and immediacy, each by itself absolutely, to represent an inflexible line of distinction, and thus draws upon its own head the hopeless task of reconciling them. The difficulty, as we have shown, has no existence in the fact, and it vanishes in the speculative notion.




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