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In the use which I make of the word reason, in the title of the following disquisitions, I employ it in a manner to which no philosopher can object-to denote merely the power by which we distinguish truth from falsehood, and combine means for the attainment of our ends: omitting for the present all consideration of that funcmeaning tion which many have ascribed to it, of distinguishing right from wrong; without, however, presuming to call in question the accuracy of those by whom the term has been thus explained. Under the title of Reason, I shall consider also whatever faculties and operations appear to be more immediately and essentially connected with the discovery of truth, or the attainment of the objects of our pursuit, more particularly the Power of Reasoning or Deduction; but distinguishing, as carefully as I can, our capacity of carrying on this logical process, from those more comprehensive powers which Reason is understood to imply.
The latitude with which this word has been so universally used, seemed to recommend it as a convenient one for a general title, of which the object is rather comprehension than precision. In the discussion of particular questions, I shall avoid the employment of it as far as I am able; and shall endeavour to select other modes of speaking, more exclusively significant of the ideas which I wish to convey.*
meration of its various meanings, as if he had thought it the sense in which it is most pro perly and correctly employed. "Reason (be tells us) is the power by which man dedu ces one proposition from another, or proceeds from premises to consequences." The authority which he has quoted for this definition is still more curious, being manifestly alto. gether inapplicable to his purpose. "Reason is the director of man's will, discovering in action what is good; for the laws of well-doing are the dictates of right reason."Hooker.
In the sixth article of the same enumeration, he states, as a distinct meaning of the same word, ratiocination, discursive power. What possible difference could he conceive between this signification and that above quoted? The authority, however, which he produces for this last explanation is worth transcribing. It is a passage from Sir John Davis, where that fanciful writer states a distinction between reason and understanding; to which he seems to have been led by a conceit founded on their respective etymologies.
The adjective reasonable, as employed in our language, is not liable to the same ambi guity with the substantive from which it is derived. It denotes a character in which reason (taking that word in its largest acceptation) possesses a decided ascendant over the temper and the passions; and implies no particular propensity to a display of the discur sive power, if indeed it does not exclude the idea of such a propensity. In the following stanza, Pope certainly had no view to the logical talents of the lady whom he celebrates:
"I know a thing that's most uncommon,
"I know a reasonable woman,
"Handsome and witty, yet a friend."
Of this reasonable woman, we may venture to conjecture, with some confidence, that she did not belong to the class of those femmes raisonneuses, so happily described by Moliere:
"Raisonner est l'emploi de toute ma maison
* Mr. Locke too has prefixed the same title, Of Reason, to the 17th chapter of his
Another instance of the vagueness and indistinctness of the com-
In mentioning this ambiguity, I do not mean to cavil at the phraseology of the writers from whom it has derived its origin, but only to point it out as a circumstance which may deserve attention in some of our future disquisitions. The division of our powers which has led to so extraordinary an extension of the usual meaning of language, has an obvious foundation in the constitution of our nature, and furnishes an arrangement which seems indispensable for an accurate examination of the subject: nor was it unnatural to bestow on those faculties, which are all subservient in one way or another
Fourth Book, using the word in a sense nearly coinciding with that very extensive one which I wish my readers to annex to it here.
After observing, that by reason he means "that faculty whereby man is supposed to be distinguished from brutes, and wherein it is evident he much surpasses them;" he adds, that "we may in reason consider these four degrees:-the first and highest is the discovering and finding out of proofs; the second, the regular and methodical disposition of them, and laying them in a clear and fit order, to make their connexion and force be plainly and easily perceived; the third is the perceiving their connexion; and the fourth is making a right conclusion."
Dr. Reid's authority for this use of the word is equally explicit: "The power of reasoning is very nearly allied to that of judging. We include both under the name of rea son."-Intellect. Powers, p. 671. 4to. edit.
Another authority to the same purpose is furnished by Milton:
"Whence the soul
"Reason receives; and Reason is HER
Par. Lost, B. v. l. 486.
(I presume that Milton, who was a logician as well as a poet, means by the words her being, her essential or characteristical endowment.)
To these quotations I shall only add a sentence from a very judicious French writer; which I am tempted to introduce here, less on account of the sanction which it gives to my own phraseology, than of the importance of the truth which it conveys.
"Reason is commonly employed as an instrument to acquire the sciences; whereas, on the contrary, the sciences ought to be made use of as an instrument to give reason its perfection." L'Art de Penser, translated by Ozęl. p. 2. London, 1717.
As the word understanding, however, is one of those which occur Author's very frequently in philosophical arguments, it may be of some use to disengage it from the ambiguity just remarked; and it is on this account that I have followed the example of some late writers, in distinguishing the two classes of powers which were formerly referred to the Understanding and to the Will, by calling the former intellectual, and the latter active. The terms cognitive and motive were long ago proposed for the same purpose by Hobbes; but they never appear to have come into general use, and are indeed liable to obvious objections.
It has probably been owing to the very comprehensive meaning annexed in philosophical treatises to the word understanding, that the use of it has so frequently been supplied of late by intellect. The two words, as they are commonly employed, seem to be very near
why pine-ly, if not exactly, synonymous; and the latter possesses the advantage of being quite unequivocal, having never acquired that latitude. formed to understand of application of which the former admits. The adjective intellectual, indeed, has had its meaning extended as far as the substantive understanding; but, as it can be easily dispensed with in our particular arguments, it may, without inconvenience, be adopted as a distinctive epithet, where nothing is aimed at but to mark, in simple and concise language, a very general and obvious classification. The word intellect can be of no essential use whatever, if the ambiguity in the signification of the good old English word understanding be avoided; and as to intellection, which a late very acute writer* has attempted to introduce, I can see no advantage attending it, which at all compensates for the addition of a new and uncouth term to a phraseology which, even in its most simple and unaffected form, is so apt to revolt the generality of readers.
The only other indefinite word which I shall take notice of in these introductory remarks is judgment; and, in doing so, I shall confine myself to such of its ambiguities as are more peculiarly connected with our present subject.
to the right exercise of the Understanding, the name of that power, from their relation to which their chief value arises.
onfounded standing; as in the
In some cases, its meaning seems to approach to that of undernearly synonymous phrases, a sound understanding, and a sound judgment. If there be any difference between these with under two modes of expression, it appears to me to consist chiefly in this, that the former implies a greater degree of positive ability than the latter; which indicates rather an exemption from those biasses which lead the mind astray, than the possession of any uncommon reach of capacity. To understanding we apply the epithets strong, vigorous, comprehensive, profound: To judgment, those of correct, cool, unprejudiced, impartial, solid. It was in this sense that the word seems to have been understood by Pope, in the following couplet:
standing wr. difi
Dr. Campbell. See his Philosophy of Rhetoric, Vol. I. p. 103, 1st edit. [Boston edition, p. 57.
ELEMENTS OF THE PHILOSOPHY
ght exercise of the Understanding, the name of that power, ir relation to which their chief value arises.
word understanding, however, is one of those which occur quently in philosophical arguments, it may be of some use age it from the ambiguity just remarked; and it is on this hat I have followed the example of some late writers, in hing the two classes of powers which were formerly refere Understanding and to the Will, by calling the former inand the latter active. The terms cognitive and motive g ago proposed for the same purpose by Hobbes; but they pear to have come into general use, and are indeed liable is objections.
probably been owing to the very comprehensive meaning in philosophical treatises to the word understanding, that the has so frequently been supplied of late by intellect. The ls, as they are commonly employed, seem to be very neart exactly, synonymous; and the latter possesses the advanbeing quite unequivocal, having never acquired that latitude ation of which the former admits. The adjective intelleceed, has had its meaning extended as far as the substantive ding; but, as it can be easily dispensed with in our partiuments, it may, without inconvenience, be adopted as a dispithet, where nothing is aimed at but to mark, in simple se language, a very general and obvious classification. 1 intellect can be of no essential use whatever, if the ambihe signification of the good old English word understandided; and as to intellection, which a late very acute writtempted to introduce, I can see no advantage attending it, all compensates for the addition of a new and uncouth phraseology which, even in its most simple and unaffected apt to revolt the generality of readers.
ly other indefinite word which I shall take notice of in oductory remarks is judgment; and, in doing so, I shall yself to such of its ambiguities as are more peculiarly conth our present subject.
e cases, its meaning seems to approach to that of underas in the nearly synonymous phrases, a sound understandsound judgment. If there be any difference between these s of expression, it appears to me to consist chiefly in this, ormer implies a greater degree of positive ability than the nich indicates rather an exemption from those biasses which nind astray, than the possession of any uncommon reach of To understanding we apply the epithets strong, vigorous, ensive, profound: To judgment, those of correct, cool, und, impartial, solid. It was in this sense that the word have been understood by Pope, in the following couplet: npbell. See his Philosophy of Rhetoric, Vol. I. p. 103, 1st edit. [Boston
"Tis with our judgments as our watches; none "Go just alike, yet each believes his own."
For this meaning of the word, its primitive and literal application to the judicial decision of a tribunal accounts sufficiently.
Agreeably to the same fundamental idea, the name of judgment is given, with peculiar propriety, to those acquired powers of discernment which characterize a skilful critic in the fine arts; powers which depend in a very great degree, on a temper of mind free from the undue influence of authority and of casual associations. The power of Taste itself is frequently denoted by the appellation of judgment; and a person who possesses a more than ordinary share of it, is said to be a judge in those matters which fall under its cognizance.
The meaning annexed to the word by logical writers is considerably different from this; denoting one of the simplest acts or operations of which we are conscious, in the exercise of our rational powers. In this acceptation, it does not admit of definition, any more than sensation, will, or belief. All that can be done, in such cases, is to describe the occasions on which the operation takes place, so as to direct the attention of others to their own thoughts. With this view, it may be observed, in the present instance, that when we give our assent to a mathematical axiom; or when, after perusing the demonstration of a theorem, we assent to the conclusion; or, in general, when we pronounce concerning the truth or falsity of any proposition, or the probability or improbability of any event, the power by which we are enabled to perceive what is true or false, probable or improbable, is called by logicians the faculty of judgment. The same word, too, is frequently used to express the particular acts of this power, as when the decision of the understanding on any question is called a judgment of the mind.
In treatises of logic, judgment is commonly defined to be an act of the mind, by which one thing is affirmed or denied of another; a definition which, though not unexceptionable, is, perhaps less so than most that have been given on similar occasions. (as Dr. Reid has remarked) consists in this, that although it be by affirmation or denial that we express our judgments to others, yet judgment is a solitary act of the mind, to which this affirmation or denial is not essential; and therefore, if the definition be admitted, it must be understood of mental affirmation or denial only; in which case, we do no more than substitute, instead of the thing defined, another mode of speaking perfectly synonymous. The definition has, however, notwithstanding this imperfection, the merit of a conciseness and perspicuity, not often to be found in the attempts of logicians to explain our intellectual operations.
Mr. Locke seems disposed to restrict the word judgment to that How us faculty which pronounces concerning the veri-similitude of doubtful propositions; employing the word knowledge to express the faculty which perceives the truth of propositions, either intuitively or demonstratively certain. "The faculty which God has given man, to
ing in leg
Its defect how dy
66 supply the want of clear and certain knowledge in cases where "that cannot be had, is judgment; whereby the mind takes its ideas "to agree or disagree; or, which is the same thing, any proposition "to be true or false, without perceiving a demonstrative evidence in "the proofs.
of y word
“Thus, the mind has two faculties, conversant about truth and "falsehood.
"First, knowledge, whereby it certainly perceives, and is undoubt66 edly satisfied of the agreement or disagreement of any ideas.
Secondly, judgment, which is the putting ideas together, or "separating them from one another in the mind, when their agree"ment or disagreement is not perceived, but presumed to be so; "which is, as the word imports, taken to be so, before it certainly appears. And if it so unites, or separates them, as in reality "things are, it is right judgment."*
For this limitation in the definition of judgment, some pretence is afforded by the literal signification of the word, when applied to the decision of a tribunal; and also, by its metaphorical application to the decisions of the mind, on those critical questions which fall under the province of Taste. But, considered as a technical or Most cor-scientific term of logic, the practice of our purest and most correct writers sufficiently sanctions the more enlarged sense in which I have explained it; and, if I do not much deceive myself, this use of it will be found more favourable to philosophical distinctness than Mr. Locke's language, which leads to an unnecessary multiplication of our intellectual powers. What good reason can be given for assigning one name to the faculty which perceives truths that are certain, and another name to the faculty which perceives truths that are probable? Would it not be equally proper to distinguish, by different names, the power by which we perceive one proposition to be true, and another to be false?
Knowledge of not a for-viously employed, than any separate power of the understanding, by utty!
As to knowledge, I do not think that it can, with propriety, be contrasted with judgment; nor do I apprehend that it is at all agreeable, either to common use or to philosophical accuracy, to speak of knowledge as a faculty. To me it seems rather to denote the of those truths, about which our faculties have been
which truth is perceived.f
* Essay on the Human Understanding, Book iv. Chap. 14.
lo attempting thus to fix the logical import of various words in our language which are apt to be coufounded, in popular speech, with reason, and also with reasoning, some of my readers may be surprised, that I have said nothing about the word wisdom. The truth is, that the notion expressed by this term, as it is employed by our best writers, seems to presuppose the influence of some principles, the consideration of which belongs to a different part of my work. In confirmation of this, it may be remarked, that whereas the province of our reasoning powers (in their application to the business of life,) is lin ited to the choice of means, wisdom denotes a power of a more comprehensive nature, and of a higher order; a power which implies a judicious selection both of means and of ends.
It is very precisely defined by Sir William Temple, to be "that which makes men judge what are the best ends, and what the best means to attain them."
Of these two modifications of wisdom, the one denotes a power of the mind which ob viously falls under the view of the logician; the examination of the other as obviously belongs to ethics.