Metaphysics of the School - Book 2by Thomas Harper
- LendMe LendMe™ Learn More
THERE are objects of intuition, and those the noblest and most intelligible, which defy all definition and are often rendered obscure by efforts to describe them. They are to the intellectual, very much what light is to the physical, order. Light permeates everywhere, exercises an energy second to none in the vital mechanism (so to say) of nature, is the most necessary medium by which material things become present to sense, may be said to measure time for us, and to span space; yet, who can define it as it is in itself? What description of it is there, that does not cast a cloud over its simplicity?
Among these objects of purely intellectual intuition, Being occupies the foremost place. It cannot be defined; because definition supposes the intersection of two distinct and separate wholes, whereas Being includes all genera, differences, and species within its infinite extension. To whatever Category you may betake yourself, -- in whatever field of the knowable or intelligible you may will to work, -- if you should even venture upon the mysteries of a supernatural Revelation, Being confronts you everywhere and gathers all up into itself. It is the child's first thought; as it is the last unfinished, because unfinishable, thought of the philosopher. Yet it is in itself so utterly simple, so undifferential, that any description even of it is extremely difficult.
Nevertheless the effort must be made; and perhaps one of the easiest introductions to a subject which will occupy us throughout this second Book will be, to consider Being as it offers itself to the awakening intelligence of a child.
Let the child, then, teach us our first Metaphysical lesson. There is no word more habitually on its lips, in the first months of its attentive curiosity, than that of THING. 'What is this thing?' it asks at all hours and of all persons. It wants to know about every thing. A plant, an animal, a watch, -- each is to it a thing, till subsequent investigation begins to limit the sphere of extension by enlarging that of comprehension. It sets to work at differentiating; and thus resolves Thing by degrees into its Categories. It is true that this notion of the child is vague, confused, destitute of notes; but the object is one with that which Metaphysics claims as peculiarly its own. And thus the commonest experience teaches us, that the human intellect naturally intues the universal, not the singular; and that, though compelled by its substantial union with a body to perceive through the latter, its proper home is with the former. This Thing, then, is another name for Being.
It is likewise called QUIDDITY, because it is the answer to the question, What, or of what nature is this? (Quid sit hoc?)
Similarly, it is called ESSENCE, because it reveals the Being (esse) of a thing.
Again, it is called NATURE, by which, in the language of Metaphysics, is understood the principle of operation or of the tendency of each thing towards its constituted end.
Finally, in still more technical phrase it is sometimes called FORM, to signify the perfection and certitude of each thing.
- Nabi Books
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 341 KB
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >