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possessed by any intelligence. But all ignorance is possibly remediable (by Prop. II.). Therefore, we can be ignorant only of what can possibly be known; in other words, there can be an ignorance only of that of which there can be a knowledge.


"This is the most important proposition in the agnoiology: indeed, with the exception of the first of the epistemology, it is the most fruitful and penetrating proposition in the whole system. It announces-for the first time, it is believed-the primary law of all ignorance, just as the first of the epistemology expresses the primary law of all knowledge. It is mainly by the aid of these two propositions that this system of Institutes is worked out. All the other propositions have an essential part to play in contributing to the final result; but these two are the most efficient performers in the work. If the reader has got well in hand these two truths, -first, that there can be a knowledge of things only with the addition of a self or subject; and, secondly, that there can be an ignorance only of that of which there can be a knowledge,-he will find himself in possession of a lever powerful enough to break open the innermost secrecies of nature. These two instruments

cut deep and far,-they lay open the universe from stem to stern.

"The law of all ignorance may be illustrated by the same symbols which were used in Proposition IV. of the epistemology, Obs. 11, to illustrate the law of all knowledge. Just as there can be a knowledge of X only when there is a knowledge of Y, so there can be an ignorance of X only when there is an ignorance of Y. Because if there could be an ignorance of X without Y, but not a knowledge of X without Y, something would be ignored which could not be known,-a supposition which is contradictory and absurd."-pp. 404-406.

These three propositions, which appear so simple and evident, once admitted, it is easy to see whither the author would lead us. He has already established in his episte mology what it is possible to know, and he now proves that we can only be ignorant of that which it is possible to know. Therefore, if we accept his epistemology, we must either admit that we know everything, or that we know nothing. For either we know self or the subject, or we do not know it. In the former case we know everything; for as there can be no knowledge of things per se, so also, according to the fourth proposition of the agnoiology, there can be no ignorance of them per se or without ignorance of self, and consequently, if we are not ignorant of the subject we cannot be ignorant of anything whatsoever. Thus

the knowledge of self includes or requires the knowledge of all things. In the same manner, ignorance of self or the subjective part of the object must always be accompanied by the most entire and complete ignorance of all things whatever. This is an evident corollary of the author's epistemology, which asserts the ego or me as the "universal and necessary element of every object of knowledge," and declares all knowledge of things per se, or without a knowledge of the me at the same time, impossible. The knowledge or ignorance of the me or subject must therefore be ever accompanied by the knowledge or ignorance of all that is not the me. The object of knowledge is then indivisible in reality, though it may not be so in mental abstraction. The pantheistic doctrine of universal identity which this involves may startle the reader, but it does not seem to have been unknown to the author. Witness the following passage:

"Popularly considered, the universe plus me is greater than a grain of sand plus me. But this difference is altogether trivial, and of no account in philsosophy. Let Y represent the subject, and X the object. So soon as Y apprehends Y + X, the whole business of knowing is accomplished. The unit of knowledge, the minimum scibile per se, is constituted and compassed. We may add to this X as many other X's as we please. But that makes no difference in the eyes of reason. A million X's plus Y is only accidentally but not essentially more than the minimum scibile per se. Although in the ordinary intercourse of life it may be convenient to regard the minimum and the maximum of cognition as diverse, yet, speculatively considered, they are coincident."-pp. 108, 109.

We cannot suppose him possessed of so poor an understanding as to attach the importance which he does to what he does not comprehend. He prepares the reader for strange doctrines even from the commencement of the work, where he maintains the novel doctrine that it is more important that a system be reasoned than that it be true. Lest we be accused of misstating, we give his own words.

"A system of philosophy is bound by two main requisitions,it ought to be true, and it ought to be reasoned. If a system of philosophy is not true, it will scarcely be convincing; and if it is not reasoned, a man will be as little satisfied with it as a hungry person would be by having his meat served up to him raw. Philosophy, therefore, in its ideal perfection, is a body of reasoned


"Of these obligations, the latter is the more stringent: it is more proper that philosophy should be reasoned, than that it should be true; because while truth may perhaps be attainable by man, to reason is certainly his province, and within his power. In a case where two objects have to be overtaken, it is more incumbent on us to compass the one to which our faculties are certainly competent, than the other, to which they are perhaps inadequate.

"This consideration determines the value of a system of philosophy. A system of the highest value only when it embraces both these requisitions,—that is, when it is both true and reasoned. But a system which is reasoned without being true, is always of higher value than a system which is true without being reasoned.

"The latter kind of system is of no value; because philosophy is ⚫ the attainment of truth by the way of reason.' That is its definition. A system, therefore, which reaches the truth, but not by the way of reason, is not philosophy at all; and has, therefore, no scientific worth. The best that could be said of it would be, that it was better than a system which was neither true nor reasoned.

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'Again,—an unreasoned philosophy, even though true, carries no guaranty of its truth. It may be true, but it cannot be certain; because all certainty depends on rigorous evidence,-on strict demonstrative proof. Therefore no certainty can attach to the conclusions of an unreasoned philosophy.

"Further, the truths of science, in so far as science is a means of intellectual culture, are of no importance in themselves, or considered apart from each other. It is only the study and apprehension of their vital and organic connection which is valuable in an educational point of view. But an unreasoned body of philosophy, however true and formal it may be, has no living and essential interdependency of parts on parts; and is, therefore, useless as a discipline of the mind, and valueless for purposes of tuition.

"On the other hand, a system which is reasoned, but not true, has always some value. It creates reason by exercising it. It is employing the proper means to reach truth, although it may fail to reach it. Even though its parts may not be true, yet if each of them be a step leading to the final catastrophe,‚—a link in an unbroken chain on which the ultimate disclosure hinges,—and if each of the parts be introduced merely because it is such a step or link, -in that case it is conceived that the system is not without its use, as affording an invigorating employment to the reasoning powers, and that general satisfaction to the mind which the successful extrication of a plot, whether in science or in romance, never fails to communicate.

"Such a system, although it falls short of the definition of philosophy just given, comes nearer to it than the other; because to reach truth, but not by the way of reason, is to violate the defini

tion in its very essence; whereas to miss truth, but by the way of reason, is to comply with the fundamental circumstance which it prescribes. If there are other ways of reaching truth than the road of reason, a system which enters on any of these paths, whatever else it may be, is not a system of philosophy in the proper sense of the word."-pp. 1-4.

From this it appears that the author's aim is not so much truth, as it is a reasoned system of something, even though it be of error. This seems to us very much as though some one should say to a fisherman, "It is more important that you should keep your line in the water than that you should catch any fish; for the former is in your power, and the latter may not depend on you."

We here see the importance of determining the precise meaning of the first proposition of the epistemology,— that in all our cognitions we have cognizance of self. Understood in the sense in which we have admitted its truth, no difficulty whatever is found in any part of the system, and the agnoiology is easily refuted. Understanding by that proposition merely that the intellect in all its acts is conscious of, or present to, itself, no such conclusions can be deduced. The intellect always in act is always conscious of its own presence. It does not cease to be so conscious, because this or that object is not present to it; for, though any particular thing be not the object of the intellect, some object is always present, and any act of the intellect knowing any object is sufficient; the intellect knowing this object is conscious of itself. It is therefore absurd to say that the absence of any object destroys the consciousness of self which the intellect has in all its acts. May not I know some things and be ignorant of others? No one can deny this. If I know some things, I am cognizant of myself, and if I am cognizant of myself, I am cognizant of myself though there are things of which I am ignorant. The intellect, moreover, is always in act, always knows, whatever may be the object of its knowledge. It must therefore be always cognizant of itself.

But if the first proposition be admitted in any other sense, we must admit the author's conclusions, no matter though they contradict each other. Absurdities engender absurdities, and contradictions are fruitful in contradictions. From one error incautiously admitted, a thousand others spring up and hold to it for support. If we admit, as the

author desires we should, that in every cognition we are cognizant of self as object, not as subject of the cognition, we must admit the two elements which he contends enter into the composition of the object, the ego and the non-ego, the me and the not-me. They are then inseparable, and the knowledge or ignorance of the one involves the knowledge or ignorance of the other. But the starting-point of his philosophy in this sense is contradictory and absurd. Subject and object are essentially distinct, they cannot become identified. Subject can never become object without ceasing to be subject, nor object become subject without ceasing to be object. The one opposes the other, and they can be reconciled only by being kept distinct. This is the very principle of contradiction, that it is impossible for anything to both be and not be at the same time. The real distinction of subject and object thus vindicated and firmly established, the whole fabric of Professor Ferrier's philosophy falls to the ground. The identity of the two is the starting-point and the result of his system. first proposition asserts it, and the last goes no further. The following extracts will show that we do the author no injustice.

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'Novel, and somewhat startling, as this doctrine may seem, it will be found, on reflection, to be the only one which is consistent with the dictates of an enlightened common sense; and the more it is scrutinized, the truer and more impregnable will it appear. If we are ignorant at all, (and who will question our ignorance?) we must be ignorant of something; and this something is not nothing, nor is it the contradictory. That is admitted on all bands. But every attempt to fix the object of our ignorance as anything but object subject must have the effect of fixing it either as nothing, or as the contradictory. Let it be fixed as things per se, or as thoughts per se, that is, without any subject; but things or thoughts, without any subject, are the contradictory, inasmuch as they are the absolutely unknowable and inconceivable. Therefore, unless we can be ignorant of the contradictory (a supposition which is itself contradictory, and in the highest degree absurd), we cannot be ignorant of things per se, or of thoughts per se. Again, let it be fixed as a subject per se, as the ego, with no thing or thought present to it. But the subject per se is equally contradictory with object per se. It cannot be known on any terms by any intelligence; and therefore, unless we entertain the absurd supposition that we can be ignorant of the contradictory, we cannot be ignorant of the subject, or ego, or mind, per se. Again, let

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