ND   Jacques Maritain Center : Psychology / by Michael Maher, S.J.

CHAPTER XV.

JUDGMENT AND REASONING.

UNDER the term thinking, besides the formation of concepts, there are included the operations of judgment and reasoning or inference. These several processes are, however, merely different exercises of the same faculty, the intellect. As we have already in chapter xiii. dwelt on some of the most important aspects of judgment, we shall handle this subject briefly here. We shall also in the present chapter examine the special features of the form of judicial activity exhibited in belief and conscience.

Definition of Judgment. -- A judgment is that mental act which is signified in an oral proposition, such as, "Gold is heavy." It has been defined as the mental act by which we perceive the agreement or disagreement between two ideas, and also as the mental act by which something is asserted or denied. St. Thomas himself defines it as an act of intellect whereby the mind combines or separates two terms by affirmation or denial. If the first definition is employed, it should be remembered that the word "idea" here means, not the state of consciousness, but the objective concept (conceptus objectivus), the attribute in the external thing corresponding to the subjective idea. Locke and some other modern writers have taught that the formal object of the judgment is the agreement or disagreement, the congruence or conflict of two subjective notions. This is an error based on a false view of the nature of cognitive consciousness. The most essential feature of all knowledge, except of course that which is reached by introspection, is its objective import. But in man the judicial act is the type of perfect knowledge, and accordingly carries in its constitution in an especial manner this reference to external fact. In the assertions, " Water rusts iron," "Some sausages are not wholesome," "Trilateral figures are triangular," very little reflexion reveals to us that we do not merely allege a relation between the two conceptions juxtaposed in the mind. We mean to affirm that something does or does not hold without the mind, in rerum natura."{1} Furthermore in asserting that something holds objectively, we implicitly affirm that our subjective mental act truly mirrors this external situation. It is in this concomitant affirmation of conformity between the judicial act and its objective correlate that formal truth or falsity lies. For this reason truth and falsehood in the strict sense belong only to judgments and not to mere conceptions.

Analysis of the Judicial Process. -- In the formal act of judgment we can distinguish several elements or stages, though it would not be possible to separate all of them: (1) The apprehension of the thing or object about which the judgment is made; (2) the separation or separate grasp of the two terms -- the two aspects or phases of the thing which are to be compared; (3) their juxtaposition; (4) the perception of the agreement or disagreement of the juxtaposed concepts; and (5) the concomitant awareness that the mental juxtaposition of ideas corresponds to the objective reality. It is true that in easy spontaneous judgments some of these elements are so rapidly slurred over as to be scarcely discoverable. But if the reader reflects upon a judgment deliberately given in answer to such a question as: Is the prisoner guilty? he will be able easily to distinguish these several elements. Or, let us suppose the judgment to refer to some concrete fact or event, as, for instance, the snowcovered ground, or a moving train. I first perceive the object as a unity or totality. The primitive act of apprehension is indistinct. I am only implicitly conscious of the predicate; that is, I do not as yet formally distinguish it from the other attributes which constitute the object. I then by a selective act of attention analyze the object. I mentally separate one attribute from the rest. I abstract or lay hold, as it were, of the colour or motion by one concept, and the earth or the train by another. I next combine them by an act of synthesis; that is, I consider them separately as distinguished from each other yet in connexion with each other. In doing so I perceive the relation of agreement between them. I realize that the predicate is a closer determination of the conception representing the subject, and that the attribute, quality, or aspect of the thing for which it stands is really part of the thing apprehended under another form as subject. In this act I am aware that my mental synthesis of subject and predicate reflects the real union of the object with the attribute. It is in this last act that assent is perfected. This feature is more clearly discerned in formal comparison of universal notions, as e.g., A square is a rectangular figure, or, The diamond is hard, than in judgments immediately occasioned by external perception. In the latter, the element of simple apprehension is more prominent, consequently the mental attitude is more objective, and the concomitant implicit consciousness of the mind's own action is fainter though still really there. (See p. 52.) This last element of the judicial process is particularly emphasized in Ueberweg's definition of judgment as, "the consciousness of the objective validity of a subjective union of conceptions whose forms are different but belong to each other."{2}

Judgment thus involves both analysis and synthesis -- the breaking up of the original presentation and the reuniting of its parts, which are now explicitly cognized as distinct constituents of the total object. Herein lies the efficacy of the judicial activity of the mind in developing our knowledge. The highest function of intelligence is not judging or reasoning, but intuition. It is because of the obscurity and inadequacy of the intuitions of the human mind that our conceptions have to be perfected by this analytic and synthetic activity -- dividendo et componendo, as the schoolmen taught. Could we obtain a comprehensive conception of the nature of the triangle or of carbon, by simple apprehension, the laborious comparisons and reasonings of the geometrician and the chemist would be unnecessary.{3} The starting-point of the judgment is a percept or a notion apprehended in an indistinct or undeveloped form. The result is the same percept or notion, but possessed in a more distinct and perfect manner. A proposition containing a complex predicate as, for instance: The orange is a yellow, spherical, sweet, juicy fruit, really expresses the result of many judgments. All our conceptions, both scientific and vulgar, are, as we have already seen (pp. 297-302), elaborated by successive acts of discrimination and assimilation in this way. Judgment is not merely automatic fusion or association of ideas, still less of concrete impressions. It involves active abstraction. In all propositions the predicate is a universal term, and even in singular judgments the subject is considered under an abstract aspect. The mind holds the two concepts together but apart; it unites them whilst keeping them distinct. It retains hold of both throughout the entire operation. The force of attention to the two compared ideas is constantly varying, the subject being vividly realized at one moment, the attribute or quality at the next. But neither can completely fade out of consciousness during the process; otherwise, the judicial act would be impossible. The faculty of Retention is as essential a condition of judgment as that of Assimilation and Discrimination. Herein lies evidence of the indivisible unity of the mind as a real persisting being. Two successive impressions or "sections" of a "stream of consciousness" cannot compare themselves with each other. Nor could a third born after the death of both do so, unless it be the act of a real abiding agent which was the subject of its two predecessors, and is capable of resuscitating them.

Affirmation and denial. -- It has been maintained by some writers that the act of judgment is something really distinct from and superadded to the perception of the agreement or disagreement of the subject and predicate. When the reasons for assent are not strictly cogent, a voluntary element undoubtedly enters into affirmation or denial. But in those judgments in which the truth is evident, the assent, it seems to us, is necessarily included in the perception of the relation between subject and predicate. The mental act by which I apprehend that 2 + 1 = 3, or, that "snow is not warm," involves the mental assertion of the truth, and this is the judgment.

Assent and consent. -- A far graver error, however, is that of Descartes and his followers, who confounding assent with consent teach that "affirmation, denial, and doubt are different forms of volition."{4} It must be admitted that will and intellect act and react upon each other in the most intimate manner. Whilst the will is moved to desire through the apprehension of motives by the intellect, the intellect is itself moved to observation and study by the effort of the will. In many acts of judgment it is the faculty of volition which directs and concentrates attention upon the attribute or relation that is the matter of the judicial act. If the truth be evident, the will is powerless; but if it be not evident, the will may largely influence assent, either by withdrawing attention from the considerations in favour of one side and focussing it upon those which tell for the other, or by directly impelling the mind to assent and embrace an opinion whilst the evidence is felt to be insufficient. It is in this way that the will is so often the cause of error.{5}

Further, there is a certain affinity in character between the act of judgment and voluntary election. The assent included in the former causes the cessation of intellectual activity in the adhesion of the understanding to the truth possessed, somewhat as a voluntary choice results in the quiescence of the appetitive faculty in the fruition of its appropriate object. The sense of liberation from the disagreeable suspense of doubt by complete assent is thus often akin to the relief from the hesitancy which precedes the formal act of consent. Nevertheless, judicial activity is the immediate function of the Intellect, not of the Will. The act of judgment though often, in scholastic language, imperatus a voluntate, -- commanded by the will, -- is always elicitus ab intellectu, exerted by the intellect. Assent differs essentially from consent. The former is intellectual acquiescence in something as true: the latter is voluntary complacency in something as good. The cognitive faculty accepts or submits to what is imposed upon it: the appetitive faculty stretches after and embraces what is suggested to it. The end and purpose of the former is the expression or representation of some kind of being; that of the latter, the attainment, or enjoyment of some form of action. We may be compelled to assent, but consent is always voluntary. Truths and facts that are disagreeable may he evident; whilst projects which win our approval may have but a doubtful chance of success. When, however, we pass from the speculative to the practical or moral order, assent of the intellect to the rightness of action imposes special moral obligation on the will, whilst our judgments assume a distinctly moral character. The judgment that a certain line of conduct is obligatory commands and moves us to embrace it with our will and carry it out in action.{6}

Reasoning defined. -- Besides conception and judgment there remains a third function of the intellect, that of reasoning or inference. It may be defined as, that operation by which we derive a new judgment from some other judgment or judgments previously known. When we pass from a single judgment to another involved or contained in it, the act is styled an immediate inference. Thus, from the proposition, "All men are mortal," we immediately conclude, "Some mortal things are men." When we proceed from two or more judgments, to a new judgment following from their combined force, we have mediate inference. Mediate inference is also defined as, that mental act by which from the comparison of two ideas with a third we ascertain their agreement or difference.

Analysis of Ratiocination. -- Reasoning, being an exercise of judgment, is a more complex process of analysis and synthesis, divisionis et compositionis. From the proposition S is P I infer: Not-P is not S, and: At least some- P is S, by deliberate consideration of what is contained in the concepts S and P. This is still more obvious in mediate inference, or reasoning strictly socalled, in which the synthetic activity of the mind is more prominent. Here the problem is to determine en soi sin acte libre. C'est la lumière qui determine l'assentiment: on affirme ou lon nie légitimement parce quon voit quil faut affirmer on nier, et l'on n'est pas libre de le voir ou non. On est seulement libre de regarder, ce qui est autre chose assentiment est involontaire, mais le consentement qui sy ajoute, ou plutôt qui y est impliqué, est volontaire. Le consentement, c'est cette acceptation de Ia vérité, dont nous parlions tout à l'heure; ce nest point lacte même d'assurer où de nier, lequel eat dicté pour ainsi dire par Ia vérité, mais c'est Ia réponse de l'âme à cette voix supérieure." (p. 64.) For some admirable remarks on the right relation of Will to Intellect in Philosophy, see also Mr. Wilfrid Ward's excellent little work, The Wish to Believe. some relation between S and P whilst we are unable to compare them immediately. We shall attain our purpose if we can find a suitable middle-term -- a mediating notion -- which will serve to connect them, somewhat as a common-measure. The type of the argument is: S is M, but M is P, therefore S is P. Analysis of S has revealed M, whilst further analysis of M and comparison of it with P has disclosed a relation of identity between these also. We now hold that S is P because it is M, which is identical with P. The identity of P with M is the logical ground or reason why we affirm P of S. Reasoning, then, in addition to analysis and synthesis involved in all judgments, includes identification, or the explicit perception of an element implicit in the previously known relations. The synthesis in the conclusion is the formal evoking of this implicit relation into consciousness. This perception of the consequence or logical nexus expressed by the words therefore, since, because, etc., is the essence of reasoning, and is possible only to a rational being.

Logicians have disputed as to which of the laws of thought is to be deemed the most fundamental and universal principle of reasoning. To us it seems that different axioms are more immediately applicable for the justification of different forms of inference, whilst the denial of any one of the laws of thought would lead immediately to the destruction of all reasoning. Still, the principle of identity, which on its negative side involves the principle of contradiction, has strong claims to be deemed the most universal and ultimate law of rational thinking. That A is A, that A thing is identical with itself, that Whatever is, is, must be held to be the supreme canon of consistency. Our terms must retain the same meaning, our concepts must remain unchanged, the data which we handle must persist unaltered throughout our discourse, or no conclusion can be drawn. S is inferred to be P only because, whilst both S and P continue identical with themselves, they are also identical with the same M.

Deduction and Induction. -- If the movement of the mind is from a wider to a narrower truth, from a law to particular facts, or to a narrower law, the mental operation is called deductive reasoning; if the reverse, it is characterized as inductive. Thus, in the syllogism: All bodies containing carbon are combustible; but diamonds contain carbon; therefore diamonds are combustible, we argue deductively. On the contrary, if from perceiving that iron, gold, silver, lead, and copper sink in water, I conclude that all metals sink in water, I am said to argue inductively, and in the given case falsely. From the present psychological point of view, however, the distinction is unimportant. The reasoning in every case is the establishing of a relation between two notions by the mediation of a third notion. The hitting upon this middle-term is the ever-recurring problem of scientific discovery, as its accurate determination and definition is the essence of scientific proof. To isolate the attribute M, which constitutes the reason, ground, or cause of P, and is implicit in the complex concrete S, is the work of the insight of the Man of Genius. And the human race has to wait for a Newton to detect amid the infinite complexity of two such diverse phenomena as the falling apple and the circumvolving moon the hitherto invisible M -- the force of gravitation.

Implicit reasoning. -- Were it not for the danger of rousing the ire of the logician, the psychologist might define the syllogism as that particular form of reasoning which mankind do not use. In ordinary literature, in conversation, or in his natural processes of thinking, man never formulates an inference in the shape of major, minor, and conclusion. The most common form of argument is the enthymeme, in which either the conclusion or one of the premises is suppressed. Very often the conclusion comes first, and one of the premises is merely invoked to justify it; whilst not infrequently the inference emerges into consciousness with so transient and so indistinct an apprehension of the reasons upon which it rests, that it seems doubtful whether they have ever been really perceived. Indeed, it is often impossible to draw any but an arbitrary distinction between simple external perception, judgment, and reasoning. Thus, whilst walking on Wimbledon Common, I observe an object amongst some furze at a little distance. After a few seconds of attentive observation, I mentally pronounce the object to be a deer most probably escaped from the neighbouring park. The judgment that the object is a deer, I call a perception; the opinion that it has escaped from the park, I call an inference. Yet the former act of assent, like the latter, is due to a process of reasoning from past recollections and present apprehension of shape, colour, movement, limbs, antlers, etc., performed sub-consciously with such rapidity that I arrive at the conclusion without being aware of the steps by which it has been reached. Many of these data will, however, be at once consciously realized if the decision is challenged.

Inferences concerning the concrete facts of life are nearly all of this kind, and the conclusions which we form from moment to moment are generally the result of a mass of reminiscences, perceptions, feelings, opinions, facts, and experiences of every sort, mingled together with a complexity that defies analysis, or at all events renders adequate exposition in logical form impossible. The diagnosis of a malady by the doctor, the decision of the authorship of a painting by an art critic, the prevision of the market by the man of business, the divination of the coming storm by the sailor, and our own appreciations of the characters of our intimate friends, whether we call such judgments acts of intuition, tact, or perceptions of common-sense, are all in their origin based on acts of observation and ratiocination which have become so easy and rapid that at last the intermediate links and reasons cannot be discovered without considcrable effort. The strength of the great majority of our beliefs on familiar subjects so far outweighs the grounds which we can assign for them, that when we attempt to formulate an argument in abstract logical shape, they seem to be unfounded prejudices. My conviction, for instance, that my father would not calumniate me, that England is an island, that the AEneid was not written in the Middle Ages, could receive no adequate justification if I had to express the grounds for it in syllogistic form, Yet my assent may be perfectly rational, and in no way exceeding the evidence.

The Logic of real life. -- Newman's Grammar. -- It is in the rare skill with which he expounded, and the clearness and felicitous richness with which he illustrated this wide field of our actual rational life, that Newman's great contribution to Logic and Psychology lies -- a work the value and wide-reaching influence of which have been but very inadequately recognized by English psychologists and logicians. The multifarious and complex character of the evidence which underlies our religious and moral convictions in particular, is shown by the superior force of the cumulative method of arguing over formal syllogistic proof in these departments, especially when it is used to stimulate our own implicit reasonings. This is well exemplified by Newman in a passage cited from Pascal: "'Consider the establishment of the Christian religion,' says the French philosopher. 'Here is a religion contrary to our nature, which establishes itself in men's minds with so much mildness, as to use no external force; with so much energy, that no tortures could silence its martyrs and confessors; and consider the holiness, devotion, humility of its true disciples; its sacred hooks, their superhuman grandeur, their admirable simplicity. Consider the character of its Founder; His associates and disciples, unlettered men, yet possessed of wisdom sufficient to confound the ablest philosopher; the astonishing succession of prophets who heralded Him; the state at this day of the Jewish people who rejected Him and His Religion; its perpetuity and its holiness, the light which its doctrines shed upon the contrarieties of our nature ; -- after considering these things, let any man judge if it be possible to doubt about its being the only true one.' This is an argument parallel in its character to that by which we ascribe the classics to the Augustan age. . . . Many have been converted and sustained in their faith by this argument, which admits of being powerfully stated; but still such a statement is after all only intended to be a vehicle of thought, and to open the mind to the apprehension of the facts of the case, and to trace them by their implications in ontline, not to convince by the logic of its mere wording. Do we not think and muse as we read it, try to master it as we proceed, put down the book in which we find it, fill out its details from our own resources, and then resume the study of it?"{7}

The great mass of our practical, moral, social and political as well as scientific faiths have their sources in informal and implicit inferences of this kind; and it is by working through such channels rather than by formal arguments, that permanent real assents are obtained. By controversy a man is rarely persuaded of anything except of the truth of his own view. Philosophical positions rushed by a logical assault are not permanently retained. Intellectual assent extorted at the point of the syllogism soon rebels. It is by the gradual process of sapping and mining that convictions are subverted and conversions effected. It is by famine that beliefs are starved and atrophied. And such is the infirmity of the human mind, that unless it be frequently reinforced, it will he compelled by the slow but constant pressure of the siege all around to capitulate and surrender its most cherished, perhaps even its best warranted faiths.

Thought differently viewed by Psychology and Logic. -- Although the diverse standpoints of the Logician and the Psychologist with respect to mental phenomena in general have been already indicated (pp. 7, 8) their different ways of regarding thought in particular seem worthy of notice here. Whereas thinking constitutes in the language of the Schoolmen, a common "material object" for both, the "formal object," that is, the special aspect under which they consider this phenomenon is essentially different in the case of each. The aim of Logic is primarily practical -- to secure truth in our judgments and reasonings: that of Empirical Psychology is speculative -- to study and describe these operations as mental facts interesting in themselves, apart from their veracity or falsehood. To attain its end Logic seeks to determine the various ideal forms or types of valid inference. For this purpose, by an act of abstraction it considers concepts, judgments, and reasonings, in facto esse, as the scholastics said, that is, as finished products -- portions of thought crytallized into solid pieces. It classifies concepts according to their meaning, content, and extent. It examines the several possible forms of judgments, their import, quantity and quality, in order to define their mutual implications. It studies their various legitimate combinations in which consistency of thought is maintained, and it then formulates precepts -- rules of the syllogism and canons of induction -- by which fallacies may be avoided and correctness in judging and reasoning preserved.

Empirical Psychology, on the other hand, is directly concerned only with the actual behaviour of the intellect. Its desire is to ascertain how men do reason; not how they ought to reason. It considers our conceptual, judicial, and ratiocinative acts not as solidified abstractions, but as they really do occur in a fluid condition forming continuous portions of the current of our mental life. It observes them in fieri -- in the making. It endeavours to analyze them in order to discover their genesis and their relations to emotions, desires, and other conscious states. Whilst Logic considers almost exclusively the objective meaning of our intellectual acts Psychology is specially interested in their subjective source and their inner nature. Whilst the former science limits itself to the investigation of the structure -- the Morphology, as Bosanquet calls it, of mature explicit thought, and confines itself to judgments characterized by certainty; the latter studies the growth and development of thinking in all its stages, whether implicit or explicit, and attends alike to all forms and degrees of assent. Finally, the philosophical or rational Psychologist is specially interested in the functional activities of the Intellect as affording valuable evidence for important metaphysical conclusions as to the inner nature of the mind.

Belief. -- There has been much discussion during the past two centuries as to the nature of belief. In general the tendency has been to exaggerate its claims at the expense of knowledge, and then by representing it as irrational to destroy the foundations of all certitude. Belief has been variously assigned to the cognitional1 emotional, and volitional faculties; and its sphere has been made to comprehend all forms of assurance, from trust in human or divine testimony to convictions of the validity of primary truths. Amongst English Psychologists at the present day it is generally set in simple contrast to Imagination, as signifying assent to objective reality.

Historical Sketch. -- With Hume who, here as elsewhere, saw more clearly and accepted more heroically than any of his followers the consequences of Sensism, all assertions, except those regarding purely ideal truths, are expressions of belief. Although we may be said to know that "equals added to equals give equals," and all propositions deduced from this, we can only be said to believe that real material objects exist. The principle of causality too, is not a cognition, but a persuasion or belief. Furthermore, when belief is analyzed, it is found according to Hume to consist in the "superior force or vivacity, or solidity, or firmness, or steadiness" of those ideas which are believed to be objectively valid. He sometimes speaks in a vague wary of an element of "sentiment's forming the essence of belief, but he finally defines the latter act as "a lively idea related to or associated with a present impression." With my present vision of a distant tree there is associated a "lively idea" of tactual and other sensations. My belief in the reality of the object is merely the superior vivacity by which this "lively idea" surpasses the creations of fancy. This explanation is inadequate. Independently of the fact that Hume characterizes as belief what should he properly described as knowledge, the resolution of belief into mere intensity of imagination is refuted by everyday experience. The scientist is assured of the existence of infinitesimal vibrations in an unimaginably elastic medium; and we all, in fact, believe in numberless objects of which we can form none or but the faintest ideas, whilst we hold to be unreal many things which the imagination represents with the greatest distinctness.

James Mill also calls cognition of external reality belief; and in a similar manner would reduce this mental act to an "inseparable" or "indissoluble association" between ideas. Belief in the events of to-morrow, in ghosts during darkness, in a real external world, and in my own past experience, are all merely instances of continuous association. A present impression irresistibly arouses another by association, and that association constitutes belief. Against this view may be urged two objections. First, the assenting act of the mind, in which the essence of belief consists, is confused with the causes of that assent. Though associations may generate belief, they are not thereby the belief itself. Secondly, in many cases where association has begotten a deception, the mind may discover its error and disbelieve in the illusion although the association remains, as in the case of the apparent fixity of the earth.

Dr. Bain formerly identified belief with readiness to act. He held that belief is "in its essential import related to Activity and Will," and that in fact it is merely a "growth or development of will under the pursuit of immediate ends."{8} Subsequently, however, he abandoned the old view, and now looks on the phenomenon as a fact or "incident of our intellectual nature, though dependent as to its force on our active and emotional tendencies."{9} The chief factors in its development are innate "spontaneity" and "primitive credulity." Dr. Bain's attempt merely adds to the list of failures. (s) Readiness to act may be sometimes, though it is not always, a test or indication of belief, but it is poor logic to confound the sign with the thing signified, or the effect with the cause. (2) Again, so far from its being a growth of our active volitional power, the essential feature of the act of belief is in many cases the passive or recipient attitude of the mind. (3) The analysis of belief into "primitive credulity" savours suspiciously of the vicious circle. For the sensist, who denies knowledge of aught except sensations, and who must logically reduce the external world to an aggregate of mental states, the problem here is to explain the act termed "belief," which is involved in external perception and memory, but absent from imagination. Now to resolve belief into a group of elements including "primitive credulity," is to resolve it into a tendency to believe too easily, plus some other factors This obviously is no real analysis. The simple truth is that the acquiescence of the mind in its own cognitions cannot be resolved into any simpler act.

Three questions concerning Belief. -- To secure clearness it is needful to separate three distinct questions: (A) What mental states are to be comprised under belief? or, How is it demarcated from knowledge? (B) What are in general the mental causes, or conditions which most influence belief? (C) What are the usual psychical effects and manifestations of belief?{10}

(A) Nature of Belief. -- Belief is opposed to doubt rather than to disbelief: for frequently to disbelieve a statement means positive belief in its contradictory. If a proposition is presented to us and neither the grounds for nor against it compel assent, there arises a state of intellectual hesitancy in which the mind is unable completely to adhere to one side or the other from fear of the opposite being true. This is the condition of positive doubt -- a mental attitude that is generally disagreeable, since the mind naturally seeks its appropriate good in the assured possession of truth. When the motives in favour of one alternative seem stronger than those on the other side, the mind tends in the direction of the former, but still with a lurking fear that the latter may be true. This acceptance of a proposition based on a probability, that is, on motives not excluding all reasonable anxiety as to the possibility of error, is called an opinion. In opposition to both doubt and mere opinion, the term belief is used to include many forms of assent.

Belief and Knowledge. -- (1) In a very wide and vague sense of the word belief is made to embrace every form of cognition. Belief in its own validity is in fact an aspect or essential feature of all knowledge. Hamilton takes advantage of this usage to found cognition upon belief -- but with grave peril to the certainty of all knowledge. (2) The word belief is also used to express the various degrees of assent, falling somewhat short of full certainty, with which the mind may adhere to a proposition; belief is here equivalent to a very probable opinion. (3) Again, from time immemorial, this word has been used to denote the acceptance of a truth on testimony. (4) Lastly, the term is also employed by psychologists to designate a large class of convictions in which our acquiescence may be so complete as to exclude all reasonahle doubt, but which yet in ordinary language are frequently distinguished from knowledge. The chief assurances of this class would seem to he firm assents where the evidence, though sufficient to afford certitude, has not been analyzed or clearly realized in consciousness. Apart, therefore, from that inaccurate usage according to which we are described as believing axiomatic principles or that our knowledge is true, we find three classes of judgments in which the mental state is called belief. We are said to believe (a) that a penny will not turn up heads six times running; (b) that there were two revolutions in England during the seventeenth century; and also (c) such statements as that trains will run, that newspapers will be published, and that bridges will bear us up to-morrow. Regarding the first and second classes, there is no difficulty; probable opinions and trust in testimony may he rightly described as belief and easily distinguished from knowledge. The appropriateness of applying the term belief to the third class of assurances -- a class roughly equivalent to what Cardinal Newman calls "simple assents" as opposed to "complex or reflex assents " -- is not so clear. The principal objection to ranking these mental states as belief lies in the difficulty of determining how much formal analysis or conscious realization of the grounds of a conviction is necessary to constitute it a cognition. The chief justification for such a course is based on the obscure and indistinct manner in which the evidence is apprehended.

Under Knowledge we would include (1) all truths of the necessary order seen to be immediately or mediately evident; (2) all truths of the physical or contingent order revealed in my own experience, whether as (a) facts of internal consciousness, (b) facts given in external perception, or (C) recollections of memory; (3) all truths explicitly inferred by logical reasoning from such known facts. Thus I know the mathematical axioms and all theorems which I have deduced from them by formal reasoning. I know that calumny is wrong. I also know my own feelings. Further, matters-of-fact, objects and events in the external world disclosed to my own observation, my personal identity, and past experiences recollected by memory should be included within the sphere of knowledge. That I have an extended body, that my house contains two storeys, that I am the same being who opened Mill's Logic about two minutes since, are all matters of cognition. Lastly, I know all truths which I have consciously reasoned out from these more immediate cognitions. What is knowledge to one man may therefore be belief to another.

Both compared. -- We do not imply that such precision as this can be observed in everyday language. We merely seek to define a distinction vaguely felt, and confusedly indicated in ordinary modes of expression, but which points to real and important psychological differences. If we accept this delineation of the fields of knowledge and belief, or even if we confine belief to the two smaller classes -- probable opinion and trust in testimony -- we see the motive for the frequent description of the one as intelligent, the other as comparatively blind, although both acts pertain to the intellect. Cognition requires that the truth assented to be mediately or immediately intrinsically evident. Belief, at least in the narrower sense, has for its object the inevident, or what is but extrinsically evident.{11} In the former state there is always full assent; in the latter acquiescence may at times be only partial. In the one case we are completely determined by the objective evidence or reality of the fact; in the other we may be largely governed by volition, emotion, and other subjective dispositions of the soul. It is this element of truth which lies at the root of Hamilton's statement: "Knowledge and Belief differ not only in degree but in kind. Knowledge is a certainty founded upon insight; belief is certainty founded upon feeling. The one is perspicuous and objective, the other obscure and subjective." It is true that knowledge is eminently rational, whilst belief may be largely instinctive or emotional; still, possibility of error can at times be as securely excluded in states of mind justly called beliefs as in the clearest knowledge. Since, however, the essential feature in the mental state of belief is the admission by the intellect of some truth impressed upon it, those psychologists misread consciousness who ascribe the act itself to the voluntary or affective faculties.

From this demarcation of knowledge and belief it will follow that truths transcending phenomenal experience, such as the existence and attributes of God, the nature of the soul, the reality of a future life, and the like, when demonstrated by strict logical reasoning from evident facts and principles, can be known as well as believed?{12} The term faith is more especially employed to signify belief in suprasensible things on the authority of Divine Revelation. Such supernatural belief requires, according to Catholic Theology, the co-operation of grace, and exceeds in both reliableness and dignity the avonebments of natural intelligence.

(B) The Causes of belief. -- The forces which determine belief are manifold. Looking from the outside at our beliefs as a system -- the complexus of views, opinions, and convictions possessed by each of us, on moral, religious, social, scientific, and political matters -- we are forced to admit that they are very largely the result of our intellectual environment or what Mr. Balfour happily styles the "psychological atmosphere" or " "climate" in which we live. If we turn to the particular acts of judgment exercised from day to day throughout our lives, it is clear that our inherited character as well as our acquired habits of thought have an important part in determining assent wherever the evidence is not conclusive. Still it is in the proximate conditions of belief that the psychologist is most interested; and these may be classed as (1) Intellectual, (2) Emotional, (3) Volitional.

(1) Intellectual factor. -- Amongst the causes of belief must obviously be included reasons. A reason may be described as any motive which involves an essentially direct appeal to intelligence. When a particular consideration influences the intellect indirectly through feeling or will it is so far forth a non-rational cause of belief. But as the same object may move the intellect both directly and indirectly, it is sometimes difficult to determine whether a particular motive is to be classed as a reason or as a cause, or as both reason and cause of belief.{13} Reasons which are explicitly realized in consciousness, if sufficient to necessitate assent, result in knowledge, not mere belief. The most extensive and important class of our convictions, as we have already observed, are probably those inferences which are drawn from premises abundantly sufficient in themselves to warrant the conclusion but not formally realized in consciousness. It is the intellectual power of forming such conclusions easily, rapidly, and surely, which Newman termed the Illative faculty or the Illative sense. And however this intellectual activity be best characterized, that it has played an immense part in the building up of our entire system of beliefs, he demonstrated beyond dispute.{14} Special aptitude for rapid inferences from such evidence, particularly in regard to the effect upon others of our words and actions, is often called tact. In addition to the intellectual element of quick appreciation, this term also implies the faculty of prompt and appropriate responsive action; for, fineness of touch refers not only to the discriminate capacity of the sense, but to its delicate efficiency in modifying the materials handled. Where the evidence is not rigorously conclusive it still may render a particular alternative probable; and here either intellect or will may be the determinant of the resulting belief. Other things equal, the force of our conviction tends to be in pro portion to the weight of the evidence. Frequent repetition of contiguous experiences generates an expectation that the one will be in future followed by the other, and superior vividness of an idea often produces a belief in its objective reality. Nevertheless we sometimes disbelieve in those phantasms which are most vivid, and contrariwise are convinced of the objective truth of faint ones.

(2) Emotional sources of belief cannot be completely separated from those described as Intellectual, since most emotions are based on intellectual representations. Still, there is a sufficiently well marked distinction for the purposes of our classification. Bound up with the social instinct, there is an innate impulse to trust human testimony. Children are proverbially credulous, and it is only a sad experience which unwillingly forces us to be chary of putting too great faith in our neighbour's word. Again, all emotions -- especially those of hope and fear -- which have the power of arousing in us a lively picture of any event, thereby tend to create a belief in its occurrence. Applied to our own actions this law is expressed in the axiom that "Beliefs tend to realize themselves." On the other hand, sorrow, melancholy, and those feelings which depress psychical life produce despair and disbelief in the wished-for good, or a hopeless conviction of the coming ill.

(3) Volitional Element. -- The effect of the Will on belief has always been recognized

The wish was father, Harry, to that thought,
is but the particular application of an adage far older than Shakespeare. The emphasis laid on the merit of Belief by all Christian teachers from St. Paul downwards, implies that assent is largely under the control of the Will. The forces modifying belief which have their root in the appetitive side of our nature may be classed as, (a) natural or indeliberate, and (b) volitional or deliberate. As regards (a), we readily believe what we desire, unless the wish be intense, when our anxiety makes us over-exacting as regards the evidence either for or against our hopes. We are easily convinced that our ideal heroes possess every virtue. We have, partly by character, partly by education and habit, become possessed of a number of cherished fancies on various subjects. Whatever conflicts with these, though the evidence in its favour be strong, we are impelled to distrust: what harmonizes with them, however improbable, we readily admit. We have called these beliefs indeliberate, inasmuch as they come into play without any positive effort on our part, but of course they may have serious responsibilities attached; and when in certain subjects reason declares that our beliefs or disbeliefs have been misplaced, we may he under a weighty obligation to assume the unpleasant task of uprooting the prejudice. (b) Belief, as we have seen, is often under the influence of Free-will in the exercise of judgment. A change in our convictions cannot of course be at once effected by a single volition. But by deliberately fixing our attention on the arguments favourable to one side of a question and averting it from those on the other, we may in time come to adhere to what we at first discredited, or what is in se least probable.

(C) Effects. -- The effects of Belief are frequently, though not always, manifested in movement. Readiness to act is a common sign of conviction, and this is probably the source of Dr. Bain's error on the subject. Nevertheless, from many of our beliefs, it requires a very forced and artificial interpretation of consciousness to elicit any reference at all to action. Thus my belief that William the Conqueror invaded England A.D. so66, or that there is hydrogen in the sun, or that I read a play of Shakespeare yesterday, contains no tendency to action that I can discover. On the other hand, the acceptance of depressing truths, instead of originating movement, often results in complete mental and bodily prostration. Still, in the larger number of cases belief is followed by action, and of course action must always presuppose belief in the reality of the environment. The active temperament is usually sanguine. The energetic man is not given to despair, but easily acquires confidence in new projects. Acting on mere opinions soon transforms them into steady convictions, which conversely strengthen the impulse to activity. "Courage is half the battle," expresses the psychological truth that confidence in our own prowess is eminently calculated to express itself in vigorous action.

Conscience. -- The Moral Faculty is simply the intellect directed towards the moral aspects of action, and hence styled the Moral or Practical Reason. It is not a different power from the Speculative Intellect. The terms Speculative and Practical qualify merely diverse exertions of the same faculty. By the former the mind discerns truth and falsity, by the latter the rightness and wrongness of conduct. An action viewed simply as a fact is the object of the intellect. The harmony, however, of such an act with human nature and its relation to a given end are but special accidental aspects of the same reality. Consequently, as St. Thomas argues, there is no reason why the rational faculty which apprehends the being of an act cannot consider its fitness for an end, its harmony with nature, or its moral rightness.

Scholastic view of Conscience. -- Two elements contained under the vague modern term Conscience are carefully distinguished by the schoolmen as Synderesis and Conscientia. They attributed both, however, to the same ratio practica. Synderesis denotes the innate disposition or habit by which we are enabled rapidly and easily to apprehend the primary precepts of the Moral Law, when the suitable experience occurs. Thus the practical maxims that "Right ought to be done," and that "Ingratitude is wrong," when observation has enabled us to comprehend the terms, are intuitively perceived with the same certainty as the speculative axiom that "Equals to the same are equal to each other," and the like. Conscientia is defined as the exercise of the Practical Intellect in applying the general precept to a particular case. It is, in fact, the cognitive activity exhibited in the ethical syllogism by which the moral quality of any act is determined -- e.g. (Major) To relieve parents from suffering is right (Synderesis). (Minor) This act does so. Ergo. This act is right (Conscientia). This doctrine affords an easy solution of conflicting moral judgments. For even if the general principle is fully grasped, there may be error in its application; as when some barbarous tribes insert as minor in the above syllogism, "To kill parents in times of famine or sickness is to relieve them." Again, the special aptitude or disposition by which we are inclined to apprehend general axioms may be corrupted or perverted by education, tradition, evil passions, extreme intellectual and moral degradation due to climatic conditions or to the severity of surroundings, and the like.

Theories concerning Conscience. -- The chief hypotheses on the subject of moral cognition advanced during modern times are those of the Moral Sense, of Associationism, of Evolutionism, and the doctrine of Moral Reason, which is a return to the Scholastic view.

Moral Sense doctrine. -- The theory of a Moral Sense was first advocated by Shaftesbury (1671-1713), and afterwards in a more decided form by Hutcheson (1694-1747). In this view, Conscience is conceived as a Sense analogous to that of taste or hearing. It is described as a special original aptitude of the mind capable of feeling the moral quality of actions, just as the tongue discerns the sweetness of sugar. Its perceptions, like those of our other senses, are accompanied with pleasure or pain according to the goodness or badness of the acts. The peculiar character of its object, the uniformity throughout the race of its decisions on the primary principles of morality, the promptness and ease with which they are formed, and the early age of their appearance, -- all these features point, it is urged, to the original and native character of the endowment. At times, however, defenders of the Moral Sense identify it with the instinct of Benevolence, with our AEsthetic Sensibility, or even with the Moral Reason proper.

Hume (1711-1776) verbally adopted the Moral Sense view, but resolved that power into two factors, Reason and Sentiment. Reason, which plays an inferior part, can possess no motive power, but only assists in ascertaining the useful or harmful consequences of different acts. The chief element, then, in Conscience is Sentiment or Feeling, and this has its root in Sympathy. This latter principle Adam Smith (1723-1790) practically constituted the foundation of ethical distinctions, and the source of all moral approval or disapproval.

Criticism. -- Although the Moral Sense school was right in denying the associationist analysis of moral intuitions, their description of Conscience is open to grave objections. (1) The assumption of an additional new faculty is gratuitous. The intellect or reason which perceives the self-evident necessary truth that "Equals added to equals give equals," is the same power which cognizes the validity of the selfevident moral axiom that "We should do as we believe we ought to be done by." (2) The representation of this special aptitude as a sense is highly objectionable. A sense is organic; it acts instinctively, blindly; it is essentially irrational. But moral judgments above all others claim to be the voice of reason, the revelation of the spiritual faculty of the soul. (3) A sense or instinct is essentially a subjective property or disposition. Its cognitions are relative to the constitution of the organism. It pretends to no universal or absolute validity. Its action could conceivably be reversed by Almighty God. Animals might have been created to relish salt, dislike sugar, and so on. But moral perceptions are not acts of this kind; they, like the fundamental intellectual intuitions, disclose to us necessary, absolute, and universal truths which hold inviolable for God Himself. (4) The formal object of a sense is, moreover, always a concrete individual fact. In relation to this object the sense operates invariably and infallibly, and it is not capable of transformation by education; but the moral relations expressed in the primary ethical principles do not partake of such a concrete individualistic character. In addition Conscience is subject to error and perversion, and it requires proper training to exercise its functions in a perfect manner. (5) Finally, the authority implied in the decisions of the Moral Faculty completely separates it from all forms of sensibility. An ethical sense might be the root of impulses to certain kinds of action, but it could neither impose nor disclose obligation.

Ethical terms defined. -- The confusion between the intellectual, emotional, and appetitive elements involved in the exercise of the Moral Faculty has been the cause of so much error that besides criticism it is needful to distinguish these several factors carefully. Moral Intuition is the percipient act by which the truth of a self-evident moral principle is immediately cognized. The name is also applied to the discernment of the moral quality of a particular action; perhaps this exertion of the Practical Intellect, as well as moral decisions based on longer processes of reasoning, may be best designated Moral Judgment. Moral Sentiment is not an ethical cognition, but the attendant emotion -- the feeling of satisfaction or remorse, of approval or disapproval excited by the consideration of a good or bad action by myself or somebody else. The term Moral Instinct is employed to denote a native disposition towards some class of socially useful acts, e.g., gratitude, generosity, &c. Such natural indeliberate tendencies do certainly exist, but they are not truly moral any more than the sympathetic impulses of brutes. It is only when approved by reason and consented to by will that they become moral in the strict sense of the word. Moral Habits, that is, dispositions acquired by intelligent free exercise, are moral in the fullest sense.

Associationist Theory. -- The chief attack, however, on the Moral Sense doctrine came from the disciples of Hartley and Bentham. The Sensationist school necessarily adopted utility as the foundation of morality, and sought to resolve moral distinctions into feelings of pleasure and pain. Conscience, it is held, is not a simple original faculty, but a complex product derived from experience of the agreeable and disagreeable results of actions. The child is trained up to obedience, and the idea of external authority is formed in its mind. Certain acts are associated with punishments, others with rewards. Affection towards the person of the superior, social sympathy and reverence for law, as well as fear of retaliation and enlightened prudence, all gradually amalgamate to produce that indefinite mysterious feeling, attached to the acts of the moral faculty. The essential constituents of conscience are, therefore, the faint traces of pleasurable and painful consequences which have been associated in past experience with particular kinds of action.

Criticism. -- The objections to this theory are numerous: (1) It does not account for the very early age at which moral judgments are formed, nor for the ease and readiness with which they are elicited before any proper estimate of the utility of various classes of acts can be attained. The child is able, while still very young, to distinguish between just and unjust punishment, and thus to apply a moral criterion to the very machinery by which its moral notions are supposed to be manufactured. (2) The Utilitarian hypothesis again does not account for the absolute authority attributed to moral decisions by the fully developed human mind. (3) Nor does it explain the peculiar sanctity attached to moral precepts. Mere experiences of utility, mere impulses towards pleasure or from pain would never generate the axiom, Fiat justitia ruat coelum. (4) It does not account for the universality of this reverence in regard to at least some moral distinctions; nor for the universality of ethical notions exhibited in terms to be discovered in every language, and found in the customs, laws, and religions of all nations. In spite of wide diversities of opinion as to what is right, there is the unanimous conviction that right ought to be done. (5) Again, the notions of duty and utility are not merely radically different, but often stand in opposition. If apparent self-sacrifice is seen to be designed for gain, its virtue disappears. (6) Logically followed out, this theory annihilates the claim to authority of conscience, which prescribes the observance of certain intrinsic distinctions of human action. (7) As a final proof of the utter inadequacy of association and personal experiences of pleasure and pain to generate conscience, it may be noted that since the Evolutionist hypothesis has been invented, the representatives of Sensism, almost to a man, now admit that the theory maintained so confidently by their school twenty years ago is completely insufficient.

Origin and Authority of Moral Judgments. -- In connection with the associationist theory it has been maintained that the character of the moral faculty is in no way affected by its genesis. Dr. Sidgwick justly holds that the existence, origin,

and validity of moral cognitions are three distinct questions; but he errs in teaching that the two last are completely independent of each other. He asserts (a) that the validity of any cognition is not weakened by its late appearance in life; (b) that the mere derivation of moral perceptions from simpler elements cannot render them untrustworthy, nor their innate character establish their infallibility; (c) that consequently Ethical science is no more concerned with the origin of Conscience than Geometry with that of Spatial Perception.{15} This doctrine draws its chief plausibility from an ambiguity contained in the words "validity" and "trust. worthiness." These terms as predicated of intellectual cognition mean that the perception in question agrees with an objective fact universally admitted. As applied to moral cognition they mean that the judgments of conscience possess authority. They signify that these acts (a) reveal to us law of transcendent and sacred character, and (B) thereby impose on us an obligation to special kinds of action or abstinence, (y) independent of pleasurable and painful consequences. Obviously then: (1) The essence of genuine analogy with mathematical knowledge is wanting. (2) The vital objection is not to the late date assigned to the appearance of moral notions, but to the materials out of which they are supposed to be manufactured. (3) The real question is, whether the supremacy and holiness claimed for the deliverances of conscience are justified by genuinely objective moral distinctions, or are merely illusory products containing only sensational and emotional elements of a non-moral kind. If the latter alternative he true, their pretended sovereignty is obviously but an illegitimate usurpation. If, as Dr. Martinean puts it, "the Conscience is but the dressed dish of some fine cuisine, if you can actually exhibit it simmering in the saucepan of pleasure and pain, the decorous shape into which it sets ere it appears at table, cannot alter its nature or make it more than its ingredients."{16} Similarly, from the opposite standpoint of Physical Ethics, Mr. Sidgwick's view has been attacked on the ground that the pretensions put forward on behalf of conscience are very different from those of the spatial faculty, and that the ultimate grounds of Morality are disputed, while those of Mathematics are agreed upon.

Evolutionist Hypothesis. -- The Evolutionist doctrine of the Moral Faculty varies from that just described merely by enlarging the period during which the pleasurable and painful consequences of conduct have been at work, so as to include not the life of the individual only, but also that of the race. Conscience is a species of instinct analogous to the retrieving disposition in a well-bred game dog. It embodies the experiences of pleasure and pain felt during the numberless ages of the gradual evolution of man. These, it is asserted, have been by degrees organized and accumulated through Natural Selection, and transmitted by heredity from parent to offspring in the form of physiological modifications. The theory thus claims to reconcile the Moral Sense doctrine with that of the Benthamite school; or at all events to combine the elements of truth supposed to be contained in both. On the one hand, it recognizes the native or instinctive character of moral intuitions and sentiments, whilst on the other it ultimately bases all moral distinctions on the pleasurable and painful consequences of action, ano teaches that Conscience is a complex product derived from these latter.

Criticism. -- As this account of the Moral Faculty forms part of the general theory of the Origin of Necessary Truth advocated by Evolutionist Psychology, we refer the reader back to our discussion of the wider subject. Here, however, we may observe in addition: (1) that the new hypothesis is exposed to all the most weighty objections advanced against the old Associationist doctrine, except that based on the - readiness with which moral cognitions are elicited, and the early age at which they appear; (2) that moral intuition is not of the nature of a sensitive instinct, but of an intelligent apprehension; (3) finally, that Conscience or ethical notions are the most unlikely product that can well he conceived to arise by Natural Selection. Even in tolerably civilized stages of society, the utility of moral sensibility to the individual in the struggle for life is very problematical. A fortiori amid the internecine war and conflict of the supposed pre-human stage, where, in the words of Hobbes, "fraud and force" are the "cardinal virtues," the chances should be enormously against the development of self-sacrifice.{17}

The fact that within a tribe or nation some of the moral virtues are of evident advantage in the struggle with other tribes makes no real difference, unless we assume, against the whole teaching of evolution, the sudden causeless appearance of the moral instinct throughout the majority of the individuals of the tribe. If the "weakest to the wall" is the one supreme Law of Nature, if Natural Selection is the great force of evolution, then the occasional individuals varying slightly in the direction of conscientiousness would be inevit ably eliminated in the perpetual struggle for existence within the limits of their own savage tribe, before the dubious utility of their incipient moral dispositions could be extended to the tribe as a whole, and render it superior to other less moral races. If an unprejudiced mind considers how intensely difficult it is, even at the present day, when we are in possession of all the moralizing agencies of religion, education, language, literature, public opinion, and governmental authority, to quicken the moral sensibility of the individual or of the nation, he must surely see that in the alleged pre-human stage, when not a single one of these forces were present, and when the conditions of existence combined unanimously in the opposite direction, the natural growth of conscience must have been absolutely impossible.{18}

Intuitionalist Views. -- Writers of the Intuitionalist school subsequent to Shaftesbury and Hutcheson modified the doctrine of the Moral Sense, so as to remove its most obvious defects. Thus Reid and Stewart, who accept the term, describe the faculty as of a rational character. It is a special innate power, given at first only in germ and requiring training and cultivation, but nevertheless capable of revealing the objective moral qualities of actions. The term Moral Sense, however, has been used in such a variety of significations, and is so liable to suggest an erroneous view of the nature of moral perception, that we believe Conscience will be best described as the Moral or Practical Reason. It should always be borne in mind that while on the one hand the moral faculty is a cognitive power identical with the intellect, its proper object differs in kind from mathematical relations and purely speculative truths.

Kant, identified Conscience with the Practical or Moral Reason. It was, however, conceived by him not as a cognitive faculty making known to us an external law prescribed from without, but as an internal regulative force which itself imposes commands on the will. Man is thus asserted to be a law to himself. This doctrine, based on the so-called autonomy of the reason, confounds the function of promulgating a law with the office of legislation, and gives a defective account of the nature of authority and of the ultimate grounds of obligation. But criticism of this theory would lead too far into Ethics: and for a treatment of this subject we must refer the reader to the volume on Moral Philosophy of the present series.

Is Conscience a Spring of Action? -- The confusion prevalent in modern ethical speculation regarding the connexion between Conscience, Reason, Intellect, and Moral Sentiment has given rise to a warm psychological dispute as to whether Reason can be a spring of action. Cudworth (1617-88) and Clarke (1675-1729), the ultra-intellectual moralists, identified the moral faculty with Reason in its narrowest sense, assimilating the activity of Conscience to the cognition of purely speculative truths. Interpreting Reason in this restricted "We are moralists only at long intervals, . . . we may be hours and days without any marked moral lesson." (2) Complexity. "The moral sentiment supposes a complicated situation between human beings apart from whom it has neither substance nor form" (i.e., in the Utilitarian system). (3) Disagreeableness of duty. "We do not readily acquire what we dislike. . . . mankind being naturally indisposed to self-denial are on that account slow in learning good Moral habits, and are not generally in an advanced state even a the last." (Emotions and Will, 3rd Edit. pp. 55-57.)

signification, Hume argued that it can have no influence over the will, and therefore is not a spring of action. He, consequently, assigned to sentiment the chief place in the constitution of the moral faculty. Later philosophers, wishing to defend the rationality of morality, opposed this view Dr. Sidgwick thus argues: (1) The chief part of moral persuasion appeals to Reason. (2) "Reason prescribes an end. The judgment, "This ought to be done," stimulates the will to action. The moral sentiment may co-operate, but the cognition of rightness of itself really impels to action.{19} Dr. Martineau, on the other hand, defining a spring of action, as "an impulse to an unselected form of action," excludes both Prudence and Conscience from the list of active forces. Moral Reason merely decides which of two rival impulses is the higher, which is to be preferred. It is a "judge," not an "advocate." The motive power lies solely in the impulses.

Criticism. -- T here is an element of truth contained in both views, and the dispute seems to us to be in part verbal. Moral perception is an act of the Reason, and this is in itself a cognitive, not a conative or appetitive faculty. It is primarily recipient, not impulsive. On the other hand, in apprehending an action as right, obligatory, agreeable, or useful, the intellect stimulates the will to action, and thereby becomes a motor agency. The propelling force thus lies primarily in the quality of the object apprehended, and not in the intuition viewed merely as a cognitive state. A spring of action is thus a mental state tending of itself to issue into action, while an ethical cognition in virtue of the objective moral law which it reveals is an apprehensive act which may originate or check such an impulsive state.

Butler's Doctrine. -- Among English moralists of last century the ablest defender of the authority and rationality of Conscience, and the writer who returned most closely to the teaching of St. Thomas and the great Catholic philosophers of the middle ages, was Butler (1692-1757). The attention which had been devoted to the empirical study of the mind by his immediate predecessors, however, caused him to lay great stress on inductive arguments. And we believe we may suitably close the present chapter with a passage of his, which admirably epitomizes the psychological grounds by which the existence of truly moral intuitions is established: "That which renders beings capable of moral government is their having a moral nature, and moral faculties of perception and of action. Brute creatures are impressed and actuated by various instincts and propensities: so also are we. But additional to this we have a capacity for reflecting apon actions and characters, and making them an object to our thought; and on doing this we naturally and unavoidably approve some actions, under the peculiar view of their being virtuous and of good desert, and disapprove others as vicious and of ill desert. That we have this moral approving and disapproving faculty is certain from our experiencing it in ourselves, and recognizing it in each other. It appears from our exercising it unavoidably, in the approbation and disapprobation of even feigned characters: from the words right and wrong, odious and amiable, base and worthy, with many others of like signification in all languages. . . It is manifest, great part of common language and of common behaviour over the world is formed upon supposition of such a moral faculty, whether called conscience, moral reason, moral sense, or Divine reason. Nor is it doubtful in general, what action this faculty, or practical discerning power within us, approves, and what it disapproves. For, as much as it has been disputed wherein virtue consists, or whatever ground for doubt there may be about particulars, yet, in general, there is in reality a universally acknowledged standard of it. It is that which all ages and all countries have made profession of in public: it is that which every man you meet puts on the show of: it is that which the primary and fundamental laws of all civil constitutions over the face of the earth make it their business and endeavour to enforce the practice of upon mankind, namely, justice, veracity, and regard to the common good." (Cf. Dissertation on the Nature of Virtue.)

Readings -- On Judgment and Reasoning, cf. St.Thomas, Sum. I. q. 79. a. 8; Suarez. De Anima. III. c. 6; Rickaby, First Principles, Pt. I. c. ii.; Kleutgen, op. cit. 133-146: Clarke, Logic, Pt. II. c. iii. On Assent and Consent, Ollé Laprune. De la Certitude Morale, c. ii. Wilfrid Ward. The Wish to Believe. On Implicit Reasoning, Newman, op. cit. cc. viii. ix.; also Dr. W. G. Ward's Philosophy of Theism, Essays XV. and XVI. On Belief and Knowledge, Ollé Laprune, op. cit. cc. iii.-v.; Newman, op. cit. cc. iv. vi. vii.; Rickaby, op. cit. Pt. II. cc. vii. viii. On Conscience, St. Thomas, Sum. I. q. 79. a. 9 -- 13 J. Ming, Data of Modern Ethics Examined c. xii. Moral Philosophy (present series), Pt. I. c. viii. §§ 1, 2.


{1} This doctrine, which is the common teaching of St. Thomas and the leading scholastics, has been re-discovered by modern logicians during the last forty years. Mill devoted considerable pains to establish it against Hamilton and the conceptualist logicians. (Cf. Logic, Bk. I. c. v. and Exam. c. xviii.) The student will find this subject treated in the volume on Logic of the present series, Pt. II. c. iii., and in the volume on First Principles, c. ii.

{2} Logic, 67. Similarly Bradley, Principles of Logic, cc. i. ii. Cf. St. Thomas: "Per conformitatem intellectus et rei veritas definitur. Unde conformitatem istam cognoscere est cognoscere veritatem. Hanc autem nullo modo sensus cognoscit. Licet enim visus habeat similitudinem visibilis, non tamen cognoscit comparationem, quae est inter rem visam, et id quod ipse apprehendit de ea. Intellectus autem conformitatem sui ad rem intelligibilem cognoscere potest: sed tamen non apprehendit eam, secundum quod cognoscit de aliquo quod quid est. Sed quando udicat, rem ita se habere, sicut est forma, quam de re apprehendit, tunc primo cognoscit et dicit verum. Et hoc facit componendo, et dividendo. . . . Ideo proprie loquendo veritas est in intellectu componente, et dividente non autem in sensu, nec in intellectu cognoscente quod quid est (i.e., in actu simplicis apprehensionis)." (Sum. i. q. 16 a. 2.)

{3} "Si intellectus noster statim in ipso principio videret conclusionis veritatem, nunquam intelligeret discurrendo, vel ratiocinando. Similiter si intellectus statim in apprehensione quidditatis subjecti haberet notitiam de omnibus, quae possunt attribui subjecto, vel removeri ab eo, nunquam intelligeret componendo et dividendo sed solum intelligendo quod quid est." (Sum. i. q. 88, 4.)

{4} "Cupere, aversari, affirmare, negare, dubitare sunt diversi mcdi volendi." (Princip. I. 32.)

{5} St. Thomas succinctly defines the influence of volition upon intelligence thus: Actus rationis potest cousiderari dupliciter: Uno modo, quantum ad exercitium actus; et sic actus rationis semper imperari potest; sicut cum indicitur alicui, quod attendat, et ratione utatur. Alio modo quantum ad objectum; respectu cujus duo actus rationis attenduntur. Primo quidem, ut veritatem circa aliquid apprehendat: et hoc non est in potestate nostra; hoc enim contingit per virtutem alicujus luminis vel naturalis, vel supernaturalis; et ideo quantum ad hoc actus rationis non est in potestate nostra, nec imperari potest. Alius autem actus rationis est, quum his, quae apprehendit. assentit. Si igitur fuerint talia apprehensa, quibus naturaliter intellectus assentiat, sicut prima principia, assensus talium, vel dissensus non est in potestate nostra. Sunt autem quaedam apprehensa, quae non adeo convincunt intellectum quin possit assentire, vel dissentire. vel saltem assensum vel dissensum suspendere propter aliquam causam: et in talibus assensus ipse vel disseusus in potestate nostra est, et sub imperio cadit." (Sum. 1-2. q. 17, 6.)

{6} Ollé Laprune, in his valuable work, De la Certitude Morale, thus writes: " Assentiment, en soi, nest pas consentement. On ne déclare point une chose vraie parce qu'on le veut: lacte de volonté n'est pas dans la décision même par laquelle on prononce sur la vrai et le faux. Hors le cas où une certaine obscurité fait naitre des difficultés que la volonté doit surmonter, la decision n'est pas,

{7} Grammar of Assent, pp. 306-308.

{8} Cf. Mental Science, Bk. IV. c. viii. (1st Edit.)

{9} Cf. Note appended to last edition of Mental Science; see also Emotions and Will (3rd Edit.), p. 536.

{10} Cf. Professor Adamson, "Belief," Encycl. Brit. (9th Edit.)

{11} In scholastic language a truth is said to be intrinsically evident when by its own nature it enforces assent. It is extrinsically evident if necessarily acquiesced in by virtue of authority or testimony in its favour. For a treatment of evidence as the criterion of certitude, cf. First Principles of Knowledge, c. xiii.

{12} See Ollé Laprune's able treatment of this subject, De la Certitude Morale, pp. 91-117.

{13} The distinction between reasons and causes of belief is brought out with admirable clearness in Mr. Balfour's Foundations of Belief: To say that I believe a statement because I have been taught it, or because my father believed it before me, or because everybody in the village believes it, is to announce what everyday experience informs us is a quite adequate cause of belief -- it is not, however, per se to give a reason for a belief at all. But such statements can be turned at once into reasons by no process more elaborate than that of explicitly recognizing that my teachers, my family, or my neighbours, are truthful persons, happy in the possession of adequate means of information -- propositions which in their turn of course require argumentative support. Such a procedure may, I need hardly say, be quite legitimate; and reasons of this kind are probably the principal ground on which in mature life we accept the great mass of our subordinate scientific and historical convictions. (p. 220.) It is worthy of note here that in the justification of our beliefs, when we get back to first principles, the reason and cause coalesce. Thus, the ultimate reason for the acceptance of mathematical axioms is that they are truths which revealing themselves to the intellect by their own evidence inevitably cause or command assent.

{14} See especially chapters viii., ix. of the Grammar of Assent. The value of that contribution to Philosophy is best estimated by the prominence in all subsequent apologetic literature of the argument which justifies our religious beliefs by showing that our most assured practical and "scientific" convictions are based on intellectual data and processes of precisely the same kind.

{15} Methods, Bk. III. C i. 4.

{16} Types, Vol. II. p. 14.

{17} Concerning the authority left to conscience in this account of its genesis, Mr. Balfour writes thus: Kant, as we all know, compared the Moral Law to the starry heavens, and found them both sublime. It would, on the naturalistic hypothesis, be more appropriate to compare it to the protective blotches on the beetle's back, and to find them both ingenious. But how, on this view, is the 'beauty of holiness, to retain its lustre in the minds of those who know so much of its pedigree? In despite of theories, mankind -- even instructed mankind -- may, indeed, long preserve uninjured sentiments which they have learned in their most impressionable years from those they love best; but if, while they are being taught the supremacy of conscience and the austere majesty of duty, they are also to be taught that these sentiments and beliefs are merely samples of the complicated contrivances, many of them mean and many of them disgusting, wrought into the physical or into the social organism by the shaping forces of selection and elimination, assuredly much of the efficacy of these moral lessons will be destroyed, and the contradiction between ethical sentiment and naturalistic theory will remain intrusive and perplexing, a constant stumblingblock to those who endeavour to combine in one harmonious creed the explanations of Biology and the lofty claims of Ethics." (Op. cit. pp. 18, 19.)

{18} Mr. Lecky has justly remarked that, "Whether honesty is or is not the best policy, depends mainly on the efficiency of the police," a social factor seemingly not very perfect in those prehistoric times of which Herbert Spencer affords us such detailed information. Bain argues forcibly that "the Moral Sentiment is about the least favourably situated of all mental products for transmission by inheritance." The chief grounds on which he does so are: (1) Comparative infrequency of special classes of moral acts

{19} Methods Bk. I. c. iii. 1.

<< ======= >>