Jacques Maritain Center : The First Principles of Knowledge

Chapter V.


  1. Some differences of definition.
  2. Some differences of doctrine, especially on the question, Are there any unconscious thoughts? (a) Authors, really or apparently, on the affirmative side. (b) Authors, really or apparently, on the negative side.
  3. Some settlements on the subject of consciousness. (a) The meaning of sell (b) Consciousness is found improperly in the sensitive order, properly in the intellectual; the two orders must be carefully distinguished. (c) The connexion between the two orders, when a man becomes intellectually conscious of his own sensitive states. (d) Enumeration of the objects of consciousness, and defence of the validity of consciousness in regard to its objects.


1. AT the outset many differences of definition, accompanied by some real divergences of doctrine, perplex the inquiry into consciousness. We will begin with the matter of definition, not so much seeking to exhaust the list of actually proposed definitions, as to show a possible scale of increasing contents in the meaning assignable to the term defined. First, consciousness may be made to signify no object beyond the simple fact that we are aware of our own thoughts and feelings as they occur. Next, we may include in consciousness, besides the states just mentioned, the substantial subject of which they are the modifications, and which upon reflexion is manifested, not indeed in itself alone, but in these very affections or activities of its own. Thus consciousness would embrace the substantial self and its immediately perceptible states while these latter lasted. A trust in memory and expectation carries consciousness still further beyond present states of self to past and future. Fourthly, we may widen consciousness to the compass of all known objects, whether self or not-self, provided such objects be present at the time to the faculties;{1} so that, in the language of Hamilton, we should be conscious of last week's concert only as an image retained in the memory, but for the reality of the past fact we should have to depend on belief. Lastly, we may abolish this distinction between present and non-present, and declare that whatsoever object we know, of that we are conscious.{2} Distinguishing between consciousness and self-consciousness, some prefer to say, that while we are merely conscious of any outer object which we happen to know, we are self-conscious of a headache, a mental anxiety, or any other internal state of our own. So far for matters of choice in the definition of a term.

2. We must now approach real disputes, and begin with that about the existence of unconscious intelligence. Some would make the test of the presence of reason in any substance its power of adjusting itself to ends; in such sort that a growing plant, and a developing animal germ would be said to reason out their evolution. Kant, while he will not say that organic processes are intelligent, would have us look upon them in that light as an aid to our understanding, when we consider the operations of living matter; and the same artifice he would extend to the working of merely physical law. Many others also show the like tendency to attribute some dark kind of intelligence to the self- arranging powers of matter in chemical reaction; and this tendency is specially natural in those who regard the elements of matter as primitive "mind-stuff," only needing a certain degree of organization to cause it to wake up into consciousness. Long ago Telesius and Campanella -- and they were not the first -- supposed an obscure knowledge to reside in minerals and plants. Each of the monads of Leibnitz was supposed to reflect within itself all the universe; the difference being, that some monads were as in a deep sleep, others as in a dream, others as in full wakefulness. Many evolutionists, however, attribute no cognitive power to natural objects till something higher than the lowest ranges of the animal kingdom is reached; and even here they would regard the mere organic processes as not cognitive. We are thus brought across a question which is far more than a matter of the definition of terms; the conflict is between two most opposite doctrines as to the source of intellect and consciousness -- whether consciousness springs directly from unconscious intelligence, and remotely from the non-intelligent.

The dispute however which specially concerns us turns on the point, whether there can be sensation, thought, and volition without consciousness. Those who answer in the affirmative, occasionally make of consciousness a distinct faculty; but now-a-days they would more generally be content with maintaining that consciousness depends on the relative degree, or intensity, of the act of which we are said to be conscious. It will be instructive to listen to a few testimonies on both sides; on the part of those who affirm, or seem to affirm, and on the part of those who deny, or seem to deny, that consciousness is bound up with every sensation, thought, and volition.

(a) Hutcheson,{3} who is accused by Harpilton of making consciousness a distinct faculty, at least teaches that all sensations and thoughts are conscious; and Reid,{4} who does indeed make consciousness a distinct faculty, or "different power," when he is describing it, gives no hint that he admits such a thing as unconscious thought, and in the second of the given references he says expressly, "consciousness always goes along with perception."{5} In Leibnitz, however, we have an author who, besides speaking of unconscious ideas in minerals and plants, held that in man there were unconscious perceptions, or, as he expresses it, perceptions without apperceptions. Ferrier is very insistent, and rather mystic, in the way in which he distinguishes consciousness from sensation and reason. So far as a single passage can be illustrative, perhaps, the following is one of the best; but it must be remembered that the sense attributed to the word consciousness is peculiar:{6} "What do we mean precisely by the word consciousness, and upon what ground do we refuse to attribute consciousness to the animal creation? In the first place, by consciousness we mean the notion of self; that notion of self, and that self-reference, which in man generally, though by no means invariably, accompanies his sensations, passions, emotions, play of reason, or states of mind whatsoever. . . . The presence of reason by no means necessarily implies a cognisance of reason in the creatures manifesting it. Man might easily have been endowed with reason, without at the same time becoming aware of his endowment, or blending with it the notion of himself." The context shows that reason is not here employed in its ordinary sense; we had better pass on to the plainer terms of Mr. Bain, who says:{7} "Consciousness is inseparable from feeling (i.e., Sensation and Emotion), but not, as it appears to me, from action and thought. True, our actions and thoughts are usually conscious, that is, known to us by an inward perception; but the consciousness of an act is manifestly not the act, and, though the assertion is less obvious, I believe that consciousness of a thought is distinct from the thought. The three terms, Feeling, Emotion, and Consciousness, will, I think, be found in reality to express one and the same attribute of mind . . . which is the foremost and most unmistakeable attribute of mind." Thus knowledge and feeling are distinguished, and the latter, not the former, is made the essential fundamental act of mind; on which theory we may conceive a mind blindly feeling without knowledge of an object, yet conscious of the feeling. Lewes holds that, "we often think as unconsciously as we breathe." His theory of consciousness is thus stated:{8} "Consciousness and unconsciousness are correlatives, both belonging to the sphere of sentience. Every one of the unconscious processes is operant, changes the general state of the organism, and is capable of at once issuing in a discriminated sensation, when the forces which balance it are disturbed. I was unconscious of the scratch of my pen in writing the last sentence, but I am distinctly conscious of every scratch in writing this one. Then as now, the scratching sound sent a faint thrill through my organism, but its relative intensity was too faint for discrimination; now that I have redistributed the co-operant forces, by what is called an act of attention, I hear distinctly every sound the pen produces. The consciousness -- by Descartes erected into an essential condition of thought -- was by Leibnitz reduced to an accompaniment, which not only may be absent, but in the majority of cases is absent. The teaching of most modern psychologists is, that consciousness forms but a small item in the total of Psychical processes; "a doctrine illustrated by George Eliot in the important part which that author makes unconscious influences exert in the play and the formation of character. Turning to Dr. Maudsley,{9} we find the following confirmatory sentences: "It is a truth which cannot be too distinctly remembered, that consciousness is not coextensive with mind, but is an incidental accompaniment of mind." And again, "It seems to me that man might be as good a reasoning machine without as with consciousness. It is only with a certain intensity of representation, or of conception, that consciousness appears." Such opinions are largely prompted by pathological cases, in which the patients go through their routine actions as if they were unconsciously rational. A French soldier, wounded in the Franco-German War, has furnished a very striking example. Mr. Huxley allows that possibly he is conscious, in spite of appearances to the contrary. In a different category, yet bearing on the same opinions, and illustrating the old law that objective perception, and subjective advertence to self, are in inverse proportion, stand some words of Cardinal Newman, which shall close the quotations on this side of the controversy.{10} "In what may be called the mechanical operations of our minds, propositions pass before us and receive our assent without our consciousness. Indeed I may fairly say, that those assents, which we give with a direct knowledge of what we are doing, are few compared with the multitude of like acts which pass through our minds in long succession, without our observing them. That mode of assent, which includes this unconscious exercise, I may call simple assent; but such assents as must be made consciously and deliberately, I call complex or reflex assents." Scientific certitude is thus "the perception of a truth with the perception that it is true, or the consciousness of knowing as expressed in the phrase, I know that I know."

(b) If we omit the discussion of mere sensitive action, and confine ourselves to the main point, intellectual action strictly so called, it is certainly the doctrine of St.Thomas, that all thought must be consciously referred to self, though the advertence need not be very explicit. That such is his teaching may be gathered from what has already been explained in Part I. chapter ii. concerning his doctrine about judgment, namely, that when the mind judges, it implicitly affirms the consciousness of its own knowledge. And a more general assertion of the inseparability between thought and consciousness may be found in the Summa.{11} At the same time it is well to remember, that the disputes about consciousness as a special element, or aspect, in mental life, belongs rather to recent times.

It may be well to cite here one or two English writers on philosophy who proclaim that consciousness must ever go with thought. Locke{12} in the course of his well known contention, that we could not have innate ideas without being aware ot them, writes: "It is altogether as intelligible to say that a body is extended without parts, as that anything thinks without being conscious of it, or perceiving that it does so." Dr. Brown{13} may be quoted for the same opinion, though his main effort is bent on the proof of what is not quite the same thing, namely, that consciousness is not a distinct act or faculty. If Hamilton is put in the same class, it must be with the reservation that what he says about latent thought, and about the difference between knowledge and the blind element, belief, considerably takes off from his value as a witness. For example, he teaches that "to know is to know that we know," and in note H, already referred to, he lays it down, that "while knowledge, feeling, and desire, in all their various modifications, can only exist as the knowledge, feeling, and desire of some determined subject, and as this subject can only know, feel, and desire inasmuch as it is conscious that it knows, feels, and desires, it is therefore manifest that all the actions and passions of the intellectual self involve consciousness as their generic and essential quality." On the other hand,{14} he declares his firm conviction that there are unconscious "mental activities and passivities;" but then he seems careful not to call these "thoughts" or "cognitions," but only "modifications" of the mind; which modifications if they were referred only to material processes in the brain, helpful to thought, and were literally "unconscious cerebrations," could be allowed without demur. A more uncompromising witness than Hamilton is found in Dr. M'Cosh: "I believe that we are momentarily conscious of every sensation, idea, thought, or emotion of the mind." Any appearances to the contrary he attributes to faintness of advertence and lapse of memory.

In using authors of the school of pure empiricism, we must remember the deductions to be made for men who cast doubt on the substantial self, and assert only series of states unaccountably linked together in consciousness. Under these drawbacks the two Mills{15} may be quoted; the father as saying, "To feel a sensation is the sensation, to be conscious of an idea is that idea;" and the son as praising his father's words. From the same school we have also Mr. Huxley teaching that "there is only a verbal distinction between having a sensation, and knowing that one has it."

If now we may leave our insular for continental writers, we have an example in Spinoza,{16} who says: "As soon as any one knows a thing, by that very fact he knows that he knows, and knows simultaneously that he is conscious that he knows what he knows, and so on ad infinitum." Kant{17} declares that no object can be perceived or conceived, unless through the unity of consciousness; and adds: "It is the one consciousness which unites the manifold which has been perceived successively. This consciousness may often be very faint, and we may connect it in the effect only, and not in the act itself, with the production of a concept. But in spite of this that consciousness, though deficient in pointed clearness, must always be there, and without it concepts, and therefore knowledge of objects, are perfectly impossible." Cousin, in the lectures already quoted, though in one place he professes to leave the question open, yet speaks as if his impression were, that all thought must be conscious: "It is the fundamental attribute of thought to have consciousness of itself. Consciousness is the inner light which illumines everything in the soul -- the accompaniment and the echo of all our faculties. And in his Introduction à L'Histoire de la Philosophie,"{18} he teaches that "intelligence without consciousness is the mere abstract possibility of intelligence, not actual intelligence."

3. Enough has now been adduced to put the reader in a position for seeing how the dispute lies in the controversy about the nature of consciousness as distinguished from other terms. Probably the divergence between some of the writers, who have been ranged on the opposite sides, is not as great as might at first sight appear. But it is time to be laying down our statement of the true doctrine: for we must so far explain and defend consciousness as to warrant, in general, its use for the acquisition of certitude.

(a) consciousness signifies the reference of some mental state to self: and what precisely we mean by self has first to be settled. A thorough-going idealist,{19} who confines himself to ideas as successive phenomena, ought to call self the subjective aspect of these ideas, and not-self the objective aspect; considered as so many acts of thinking, the ideas form the self, while these same ideas viewed on their reverse,or objective, sides, would constitute the not-self. In the phrase, "My thoughts about things," "my thoughts" would be self, "about things " would be not-self. At least this is the only consistent course for idealism pure and simple, which is at the same time phenomenalism pure and simple. There is here no substantial soul and no substantial body included under self. A system a degree better would admit, within the self, a substantial principle, either a spirit only, or a compound of matter and spirit. Lastly, the true meaning of self, which is vindicated partly in various passages of this treatise,{20} and partly in the treatises on General Metaphysics and on Psychology, is the composite substantial man, immediately aware of a number of bodily and mental phenomena as belonging to himself, and aware of his continuous personal identity. Though it clearly requires reflexion to bring out the element by analysis, man is immediately conscious of his own substantial Ego, not in its unmodified condition, but under its perceptible modifications: and what is called the "logical unity of consciousness" gives, notwithstanding Kant's denial, the fullest warrant for assuming "the substantial unity" of the thinking subject.

(b) If, therefore, we regard the self as a compound of body and soul, in examining into the nature of human consciousness we must next make a distinction between sense and intellect. The sensitive faculty in the more perfectly organized animals, possesses, as we judge from the arrangement of the nervous system and from results in actual life, a certain consentience, which, in the less strict sense, may be called consciousness. St. Thomas teaches that the sensitive apparatus is, after its manner, sensible of its own sensations; though what is the relation between outer organs and cerebral centres, in bringing about this effect, need not here be discussed. While the horse or the dog are incapable of the full recognition of a self as such, they have, in the inferior order, a practical appreciation of self, which ministers to their pleasures and pains, and to self-preservation. But it would be going far beyond data to argue a more perfect knowledge of self from the signs which animals exhibit of vanity or jealousy, analogous to these passions in man. As an animal, man also has his consentience, or sensitive consciousness. What, however, specially interests us is man's intellectual consciousness, which some scholastics subdivide into direct and reflex. In a broad sense all consciousness, so far as it, includes some knowledge of the subject- knowing, some return of self upon self, must be reflex: still the difference here intended will appear in a simple example. While we explicitly perceive the truth of a geometric principle, we implicitly, in the same act, in actu exercito, are made aware of our own knowledge. This is styled direct consciousness. Afterwards, by a new act, of set purpose, in actu signato, we may return upon our late perception, and make this, the mental fact, the object of our explicit knowledge. This is styled reflex consciousness, as being expressly reflex. In the one case, while we know an object we are subordinately conscious of our knowledge; in the other case, we make this consciousness the principal matter of our reflexion, and degrade the object to a subordinate place.

It will render a man all the more cautious in denying the possibility of the direct consciousness, if he considers how, in its absence, it becomes apparently impossible to have the reflex consciousness. A thought not in consciousness is, in itself, a sufficiently difficult notion to entertain; but supposing such a thing to have had place in us, how are we ever to recover it by means of what we have called reflex consciousness? How is memory to catch up an act which is bygone, and which, while it lasted, never was in immediate consciousness? Sometimes, indeed, by simple inference we may gather that a certain idea must have passed through the mind, though we have no recollection of the fact. But the more we think of it, the less will inference be deemed capable of supplying the want of all direct consciousness. With Father Palmieri,{21} who understands by sensus intimus what we have called conscientia directa, we may argue thus: "The act of the innermost sense (i.e., of direct consciousness) is not in reality distinct from the act it reports, or at most the distinction, if any, is a mental distinction; in other words, when the living agent feels (is conscious of) his act, his experience of it is in reality nothing else but the self-same act objectively present to the thinking, feeling, or appetitive agent. For if another act were needed, this in its turn would have to be reported by direct consciousness, which is then supposed to be distinct from the first act. This second act, for the same reason, would have to be taken as a distinct act from a third, and thus we should require an endless series."{22} In other words, if our acts of knowledge did not at once link themselves on to a conscious self, they never could become so attached at all.

It is with the fullest advertence to the difficulty we have in "numbering off" acts of mind that the last pages have been penned. It is only very roughly that we designate a process to be one act in material operations, and when we get beyond these, and ask ourselves how many acts the mind can or does perform at once; whether there is succession between acts or contemporaneity; whether a given result requires one act or more; undoubtedly we are on ground which is to us generally very obscure. It is the teaching of St. Thomas,{23} that the mind can exist in only one state at a time, and that an apparent multiplicity of simultaneous acts must really be reducible to a unity. There is always a great difficulty in discussing such subjects in detail, because we can form no picture to ourselves of the mode of operation proper to a spiritual substance, which has not separate parts, but which works with a marvellous unity and simplicity. To overlook these truths would lay us open to the danger of multiplying, or refusing to multiply, acts, in a way which reason could not afterwards justify. An analysis into mentally distinct parts does not prove physical parts. Hence in the little that has been said about direct and reflex consciousness, care has been taken to speak within the bounds of legitimate analysis. Of the direct consciousness, which is the most difficult to speak about safely, rather than say that one act is conscious of outer object and of inner self, we say that one act, whatever its simplicity or complexity, suffices to constitute the mind conscious of outer object and of its own knowledge of that object. Thus we make the subject of the predication rather the mind acting, than simply the act. At least this is a safer form of wording.

With a still further view to being safe in the form of wording, we may note the special difficulty which, when we are dealing with an act of volition, lies against saying, that in direct consciousness the act of volition becomes part of its own known object. For we do not attribute knowledge to the volition as such: rather we speak of will as enlightened by intellect, and of intellect as cognisant of volitions. Hence with regard to our immediate consciousness of the acts of our will, we are led to devise this mode of expression, that, without further determination, the mere presence of the volition in the soul suffices to enable the intellect to be simultaneously conscious of its presence, while some intelligence of an object is the pre-requisite of any volition at all. How, moreover, the distinction between intellect and will can in any sense be called real, is discussed in psychology: at least the soul as knowing may be distinguished from the soul as willing. Another cautionary remark is that while we have not been talking in comfortable oblivion of the difficulty which besets the numbering and the distinction of mental acts and faculties, so neither have we been oblivious of the very strong objection which some philosophers have to the idea of thought or self becoming an object to itself. Mr. Sully is but following Comte, Dr. Maudsley, Mr. Spencer,{24} and several others, when he affirms that all introspection must be retrospection: that man can reflect, not on the mental state which is, but only on that which was. In reply we must be allowed to plead, that this is reducible in the end to an a priori dogma, or at best to a false analogy taken from material action, and is refuted by facts. Do what we will, we cannot be true to fact and deny a real reduplication, as it were, of thought upon thought and of self upon self. There is in us a power of genuine reflexion. The mind has a re-entering, self-penetrating, self-permeating activity which makes it more intimately at home with itself than anything which a materialistic philosophy can allow; and, say we, all the worse for materialism, not for facts. So far, however, as the denial that thought can become object to itself, rests on an author's definition of "object" or "self," we can only beg him to improve his definitions, and allow for that marvellous gift of self-consciousness, which we all undoubtedly possess, but which recent definitions seem expressly devised to exclude.

(c) Now that we have first called attention to the fact of sensitive consciousness and next considered intellectual consciousness in its two branches, direct and reflex, we must give a moment's attention to the relation between sense and intellect in respect to consciousness. A man's feeling of hunger, for example, does not stop short at its animal level, but the subject becomes intellectually conscious that his stomach is craving for food. Thus we are reminded that one object of our intellectual perception is our own bodily state: and because, by our definition, the body and its affections are part of the composite self, such perceptions must be ranked under the category of self-consciousness. Hereupon a question suggests itself. We have been unable simply to accept the fact of an unconscious sensation or of an unconscious thought; but may not there be some sensations, present indeed to the sensitive consciousness, but never manifested to the intellectual consciousness: so that we can never intelligently affirm their presence? To answer, Yes, might to some sound an unproveable assertion, but at any rate it would, as a proposition, not contain that intrinsic conflict of terms which we seem to see in the affirmation, that some thoughts are unconscious. In any case, there are many facts of sensation which become objects of intellectual consciousness, and this relation between the two departments of consciousness is the point to which we have been directing attention.

(d) We are now in a condition to propose our own classification of the objects of consciousness, and to defend the validity of consciousness in their regard. To begin with the affections of the composite self, we have bodily affections, cognitive and appetitive, as sensibly perceived; we have the same again as intellectually perceived; and thirdly we have the spiritual affections, cognitive and appetitive, of course intellectually or spiritually perceived. All these objects are connected with our own person. Next, so far as whatever outer objects we know, or have any volition about, are known at least in some reference to our conscious self, this element of self, again making its appearance, justifies a use of the word consciousness, whether we distinguish it from what is more rigorously self-consciousness or not. Thus the term consciousness, as Hamilton{25} in one place declares, is ultimately extended to our whole sensitive and intellectual life, so far as we are rendered aware of our condition, whatever the object of cognition or appetency. Against the above classification a difficulty of minor importance might be raised. Mr. Bain dislikes calling all our emotive states by the name of volitions, because he surmises that there are some neutral feelings, in regard to which we have no appetencies either for or against them. But really to make provision for such vague and disputable states, it is not worth while disturbing the old division into cognitive and appetitive powers, whether of sense or of intellect. Accordingly no scruple has been made about going on the lines of the old tradition.

A short exposition of facts will now establish the principal thesis of this chapter, that consciousness cannot but be valid in what it testifies about self, as also in what it really testifies about non-self, so far as it may be applied indirectly to this latter region. It is a position the very sceptics have been unable to impugn, that facts of consciousness, as such, cannot be gainsaid. Whatsoever a man is conscious of, of that he is conscious; and this principle must be extended to the feeling of certainty about any objective truth, no matter what, which is presented to the mind with objective evidence. As Mr. Conder argues: "Since the presentments of consciousness are not judgments but primary facts, they cannot be unreal: only our interpretation of consciousness may be erroneous." "On this," adds a critic in Mind, we are all agreed." The matter may be brought under a larger doctrine propounded in Part I., chapter ii., that no mere apprehension can be other than true, however erroneous may be the judgment of which it is made the occasion. As a case in point, what a man with an amputated leg feels, he really must feel; but he judges amiss when he declares the feeling to be in a member which he no longer possesses. The like may be said of a fever patient who complains of being cold; of the Arctic explorer who, touching a piece of long-exposed iron, pronounces it hot; of the man who says that he has the experience as of two selves contending within him -- a pathological state, which, it is surmised, may be due to some want of co-ordination between the two hemispheres of the brain. So far, however, as any insanity creeps in, the subject is no longer fit to serve as a specimen of normal humanity.

Still it may be urged, if the interpretation of conscious facts may be wrong, how are we advanced beyond idealism by the assurance, that at least we may rest secure as to the facts themselves? We do not allow that interpretation is so liable, at all times, to error, that never can it be safely trusted. It is guaranteed by the conditions already stated in the chapters on the Criterion of Truth, on Error, on the Veracity of the Senses, on the Validity of Ideas. All that the present chapter adds to what has gone before, is a clearing up of notions upon what is meant by consciousness, and an emphasizing of that truth, so neatly stated by Cousin: "It is an inherent attribute of reason to believe in itself."{26} The root of agnosticism is an unreasonable distrust of reason in itself, as the root of sound philosophy is a legitimate self-confidence on the part of the mind in reliance, upon its conscious powers.{27} As will appear in Psychology, it is rather to the right reading of consciousness that we must appeal, than to a theory about the dynamics of motives, when such grave questions have to be settled as that of the freedom of the will; and the same holds true of many other philosophical questions, notably about consciousness.

Not at all, therefore, can a special chapter on Consciousness be deemed superfluous.


(1) Kantians have got such a decided position in this country, that their leader's theory on consciousness ought not to be quite passed over in silence: though we must beg leave to reject it on the ground that it is against the immediate light of evidence, resting as it does on a denial of the facts that some of our clearest conceptions of things are more than forms of the mind, and stand for objects which the mind can contemplate as such. Kant then distinguishes the empirical consciousness which takes note of the changeable conditions of the subject, from the pure consciousness which is a priori and unchangeable: but he utterly denies that we can be conscious of a substantial Ego or personality. "It is clear," says Kuno Fischer, "that the thinking subject can never be an object of possible knowledge, because it is merely the formal condition of possible knowledge; and it cannot be an object of intuition, because it forms in itself no phenomenon, but only the highest formal condition of phenomena. All the conditions are wanting for us to judge that the subject of thinking is a thinking substance, or that the soul is a substance." Again: "The Ego is no object, but only appears to be one: it is the formal logical condition of all objects. On this illusion rests the whole of rational psychology: I think does not mean a substance. thinks. That I am conscious in all my various states of my unity does not mean that a substance is conscious of its unity -- that there is a personal substance. From the mere Ego, torture it as you will, you can never prove an existential judgment. From the mere unity of self-consciousness there follows no cognition of any object. That in all my states I am conscious of my subjective unity is a mere analytical judgment, which brings us no further than I think."{a}

(2) The curious may find some interest in seeing how theorizers of the calibre of Hartmann work out the notion of unconscious thought. It is impossible to say exactly what that author means; but he has some such fancy as that the Great Unconscious evolved the universe for a long time intelligently, but without consciousness. When at last a sudden shock produced consciousness, this was found to be a source mainly of pain. Hence the desirability of bringing about the abolition of consciousness.

(3) The subject of latent thought is one into which we cannot probe very deep. What is styled our habitual, as distinguished from our actual thought, is certainly something permanently existing, even while we are not using it. The historian with the materials of half a Record Office stored up in his memory, whilst he is wholly engrossed with the one thought of his own money affairs, indisputably keeps his knowledge in a latent condition; though how to describe this condition is to us a great puzzle. If "unconscious thought" is a phrase used to express this undoubted fact, then it has a true significance. But more often it signifies operations going on, with rational results, among the hidden material, or even additions made to it by fresh observations, and then the question becomes more intricate, and many are inclined to suppose some degree of consciousness to enter in, scarce noticeable at the time, and straightway forgotten -- evanescent as a dream, the memory of which is occasionally preserved by the merest accident, but generally quite lost.

(4) The assertion of our consciousness about our own ideas, if clumsily made, is just what gives the appearance of the error we have so strongly repudiated, namely, that knowledge is of ideas, and that to get from ideas to things requires a bridge which no philosopher can build.

(5) As bearing out the statements in the text about the complexity of human action and the difficulty of numbering acts, a report of an address by Sir James Paget, delivered at the Mansion House, March 4, 1888, is worth preserving. "He remembered once hearing Mdlle. Janotha play a presto by Mendelssohn, and he counted the notes, and the time occupied. She played 5,595 notes in four minutes, three seconds. It seemed startling, but let them look at it in the fair amount of its wonder. Every one of those notes involved certain movements of a finger -- at least two: and many of them involved an additional movement laterally as well as those up and down. They also involved movements of the wrists, elbows, and arms, altogether probably not less than one movement for each note. Therefore there were three distinct movements for each note. As there were twenty-four notes each second, the total was seventy-two movements per second. Moreover, each of these notes was determined by the will to a chosen place, with a certain force, at a certain time, and with a certain duration. Therefore there were four distinct qualities in each of the seventy-two movements in each second. Such were the transmissions outwards. And all these were conditional on consciousness of the position of each hand and each finger before it was moved, and, while moving it, of the sound of each note, and of the force of each touch. All the time the memory was remembering each note in its due time and place, and was exercised in the comparison of it with other notes that came before. So that it would be fair to say there were no fewer than two hundred transmissions of nerve force outwards and inwards every second; and during the whole of the time, the judgment was being exercised as to whether the music was being played worse or better than before, and the mind was conscious of some of the emotions which some of the music was intended to impress." An appeal to the word automatism will not dispel the marvel of the performance.

{1} Hamilton says, "Consciousness and immediate knowledge are universally convertible terms: so that if there be an immediate knowledge of things external, there is consequently the consciousness of an outer world." (Discussions, p. 51.)

{2} Hamilton makes some accommodation even for this wide usage: "Consciousness comprehends every cognitive act: in other words, whatever we are not conscious of, that we do not know. But consciousness is an immediate cognition. Therefore all our mediate cognitions are contained in our immediate." (Reid's Works, p. 810.)

{3} See Hamilton's Reid, note H, p. 929.

{4} Reid, Intellectual Powers, Essay i. c. i.; Essay ii. c. xiii. p. 223.

{5} Hamilton (Lectures on Metaphysics, Vol. I. p. 212) says: "Reid and Stewart maintain that I can know that I know, without knowing what I know." Yet Reid's theory of consciousness as a distinct faculty does not commit him to the doctrine of unconscious thought, for the two faculties might always act in concert; on the other hand, Hamilton, who denies the duality of faculty, makes it his complaint that Reid had not studied, he even treats it as inconceivable, the Leibnitzian doctrine of what has not been well denominated obscure perceptions or ideas -- that is, acts and affections of the mind, which manifesting their existence in their effects are themselves out of consciousness or apperception." (Reid's Works, p. 55I.)

{6} Introduction to the Philosophy of Consciousness, Part I. c. v. pp. 39, 40; Insititutes of Metaphysics, passim.

{7} The Senses and the Intellect, c. i. in initio. The doctrine is repeated in Mental Science, note E.

{8} It will be enough to read the fourth chapter in Problem iii. in The Physical Basis of Mind.

{9} The Physiology and Pathology of the Mind, c. i. p. 15. (Second Edition.)

{10} Grammar of Assent, Part II. c. vi.

{11} Part I. quaest. lxxxvii. art i. et iii.

{12} Bk. II, c. i.

{13} Lecture xi. at the end. Cf. Stewart's Elements, Part I. c. ii.

{14} Metaphysics, lecture xviii. Mill declares that there "is no ground for believing that the Ego is an original presentation of consciousnesss" (Examination, c. xiii. in initio), and in the Appendix to Reid, p. 932, Hamilton says: "Consciousness is, first, the mental modes or movements themselves rising above a certain degree of intensity."

{15} Examination, c. viii. p. 115.

{16} "Simul ac quis aliquid scit, eo ipso scit se scire, et simul scit se scire quod scit, et sic in infinitum." (Ethics, Part II. Prop. xxi. Schol.)

{17} Critique of Pure Reason (Max Müller's tanslation), pp. 92-97, 277, 278.

{18} Leçon 5me, p. 97.

{19} Mr. Bain's attempt to distinguish "object consciousness" as putting forth energy," and "subject consciousness" as "pleasure, pain, and memory," is not very happy. (Mental Science note E.) He says man's body belonus to the object world.

{20} See, for example, Bk. II. c. i.; Bk. I. c. xi. Addenda (1).

{21} Logica Critica, thesis xi.

{22} Actus sensus intimi non distinguitur realiter ab actibus qui sentiuntur, sed tantum ratione: scilicet cum vivens actum suum sentit, experientia haec sui actus non est realiter nisi ipse actus objective praesens sentienti vel cogitanti vel appetenti. Si enim alius actus requireretur, hic quoque rursus sentiri deberet sensu intimo, qui ab illo primo actu supponitur distinctus, eadem ratione ab hoc etiam distinctus dicendus erit, et sic ibimus in infinitum."

{23} Summa, Part 1. q. lxxxv. art. iv.

{24} First Principles, Part I. c. iii.; Psyhology, Part II. c. i., The Substance of Mind.

{25} Hamilton's Reid, Note B. p. 810.

{26} "C'est un attribut inhérent à la raison de croire à elle même."

{27} Kant's doctrine on the necessary illusions of the reason, of which we have spoken before, certainly goes along with affirmations on his part that the faculties themselves are infallible, and that the illusions of reason are as corrigible as are the illusions of sense, such for example as that whereby the moon appears larger on the horizon, To this extent Kant is to be acquitted of the charge of making reason essentially erroneous. It is to the judgment that Kant attributes error; and though we have seen Rosmini (Part I. c. ii.) quoting Kant as an author who makes judgment the one fundamental act of Understanding, we must remember that Understanding is not here co-extensive with the whole mind, but is distinguished from sensitive intuition on the one side, and from reason on the other. (Max Müller's translation of the Critique, pp. 60-70.)

{a} Professor Mahaffy's translation of K. Fischer on Kant, pp. 179-185. Cf. Max Müller's translation of the Critique, Vol. II. p. 347.

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