Laurens P. (Laurens Perseus) Hickok.

Rational psychology; or, The subjective idea and objective law of all intelligence online

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L A U K E N S P. H I C K K , D . D. ,







Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United b'ates, for the

Northern District of New York.


" It is neither necessary nor possible that all men should
be PHILOSOPHERS." A spontaneous intelligence begins in
cliildhood, and is altogether absorbed in the experience of
the varied phenomena of the senses. In this respect, most
men perpetuate their childhood through life, and never rise
above a spontaneous intelligence. They perceive that which
appears in the light of the common consciousness, and de-
dace more or less practical conclusions from experience ;
but a few minds only of a generation turn themselves back
upon consciousness itself, and reflect upon what and how
experience must be, and make the conditioning principles
of all intelligence the subject of patient and profound inves-
tigation. The capability to rise into the higher light of a
purely philosophical consciousness, and become familiar with
a prion principles and transcendental demonstrations, de-
pends so entirely upon the free energizing of the spiritual
and the self-controlling of the rational in man, that it be-
comes a vain hope to find but few in an age to whom such
a position is attainable, and for whom such exercises hi pure
thought possess any interest. No one, Avho would explain
the ])rocess or present the results of his investigation in this
field, should expect the multitude to give any attention to
his communication ; yet the ready sympathy of all who are
engaged in these common studies, and the reciprocations of
a deep and serene interest in every kindred sj^irit, may give


confidence to any one who has his message to deliver, that
if he will but give it utterance in clear ^oice he shall in such
" fit audience find though few."

A perfect philosophy must be universally comprehensive.
False principles and wrong processes necessitate an erro-
neous ^\Ao'^o^\r^ \ while partial principi3S and processes of
demonstration, though not false, must yet give a defective
philosophy. If we use no element other than truth, and
thus avoid a false system ; still, until we have comprehended
all its truth, we have not attained to the perfected system
of science. It would, doubtless, be an arrogant assumption
for any one, at the present age, to affirm that from his stand-
point all truth may be discovered and a full encyclopedia of
science may from thence be ensphered. Each thinker attains
a portion only of all truth, and as it is viewed from his posi-
tion ; and it can only be from the collected attainments of
many, that we gradually mount to higher stations and reach
to more comprehensive conclusions. Kot the man, but
thinking humanity, is the true philosoj^her. TJlie tributary
streams of ages go to make up the full flow of philosophic
thinking, and at length this may pour itself into what yet,
to finite intelligence, shall ever be a shoreless ocean.

The preparation and publication of this work has been
under the full influence of these considerations. It is not
expected that it will be of any interest to the many ; suffi-
cient quite, if it reach and occupy the minds of the few, and
propagate its reciprocations of free thought through the
growing number of such as can and do familiarize them-
selves in purely rational demonstrations. Nor has it been
deemed that there is here a perfected and universally com-
prehensive philosophy ; though it is believed that the true
direction is here taken, and it is also hoped that some pro-
gress has been gained, towards the ultimate attainment of
that position from which the complete science of all sciences,
if ever to be consummated, must at length be perfected. It
is intended only as a contribution to the common current of


rational philosophic speculation, and is silently cast into the
stream of tliought to flow on with it if found to be conge-
nial, or to be thrown ashore if it prove only as a foreign
cumbering drift upon its surface.

Thus far was the Preface to the original form of the
I"iational Psychology. In its present form regard has been
taken to the growing acquaintance of the thinking mind
with these sj^eculations, and also to the demand that more
attention be given to their study in the higher classes of our
colleges. Some modifications have thus been made of par-
ticular parts, but not in the general method. This had been
too comprehensively thought out to admit of any change,
national psychology must give the accordant idea and law
through all the functions of intelligence in the sense, the
understanding and the reason. But in the determination of
such necessity, it is not now needed that there be a formal
laying of the groundwork, and we thus dispense Avith what
was given in Book First, and avoid the undesirable division
of the work into two books. The acquired fiimiliarity with
pure cognitions permits also the passing by of such parts as
were designed merely to facilitate the ready use of such cog-
nitions, specially the relations of space and time to phenom-
ena and of each to the other, and also remarks in several
places designed only to show the disliuction of view in this
work from Aristotle, Kant, and others.

In the application of the results of psychology to on-
tology, appended to each part, there has been a more spe-
cific appropriation of the proof for real being as belonging
respectively to the sense and to the understanding. For the
clearer conceptions of physical substance and cause, and
more especially of the origination of nature from the Abso-
lute Creator, the conception of force as the basis for all
philosophical thought in the understanding, and as the
essence of all material being, has also been more carefully
and completely presented. Many minor modifications have.


moreover, frequently been made, designed to improve the
work in clearness- and completeness.

The complaint of obscurity from peculiarity of style and
terms arises from the nature of the speculation, and nothing
but more familiarity with this field of thinking can make any
presentation by language to be perspicuous. No words will
put the thoughts over into the empty and j^assive mind, but
the mind must come to the language with some previous
preparation in its habits of thinking to enable it to discern
and take the thought there contained. To the familiar mind
the work is not open to the criticism of obscurity, either
from style or terminology. The vague reproaches in the
charges of transcendentalism and German speculation need
no other reply than the emphatic affirmation that whatever
danger or error there may be in transcendentalism or Ger-
manism, these are not to be overcome by any timid ignoring
or any valorous denouncing of them. They are to be put
down in no other manner than by fairly meeting and fully
refutino^ or correctino* them in their own methods.

The work has done more than was anticipated for it in
aw^aking and directing thought, and it is given in this re-
vised form from the conviction that its use is still needed to
the same ends, and especially as a text or reference book in
the higher philosophical instruction of our colleges.

Union College, 1861.



Introduction 13

1. What Rational Psychology is 14

2. The Ends to which the Conclusions of Rational Psychology

may be subservient , 26


General Method 1i


THE se:n"SE.
Definitions and Specific Method *l*l




§ I.— The Attainment of an a priori Position 81

1. The Primitive Intuition for all Phenomena of an External

Sense 84

2. The Primitive Intuition for all Phenomena of an Internal

§ II. — The Process op an a priori construction of Real Form

in Pure Space and Time 91

1. The Construction of Real Form in Pure Space. 93

2. The Construction of Real Form in Pure Time 95

§ III. — The Primitive Elements of all possible Forms in Pure

Space and Time 98

1. Unity 99

2. Plurality 101

3. Totality 102


' ~ PAGE

§ lY. — The UmTY op Self-Consciousness 105

1. More than Simple Act 1 06

2. More tlian Unity of Conjoining Agency 106

3. More than Unity of Agency and Unity of Consciousness 110



§ I, — The Attainment of an a priori Position through a Pro-


§ II.^-The Primitive Elements of all Possible Anticipation

OF Appearance in the Sense 120

1. Reality 122

2. Particularity 123

3. Peculiarity 124

§ III. — The a PRIORI Determination of what Diversity there


1. Intensive 129

2. Extensive .' 130

3. Protensive. 131

§ IV. — ^The Construction of the Homogeneous Diversity of all

POSSIBLE Quality into Form. 132

1. Diversity as Intensive 1 35

2. Diversity as Extensive 136

3. Diversity as Protensive 133

§ V. — The Conclusive Determination of the Sense in its Sub-
jective Idea 143

Other representations of the Sense 145



§ I. — Transcendental Science is conditioned upon a Law in

THE Facts conformed to an a priori Idea 154

§ II. — ^The Colligation op Facts 159

1. Facts connected with Obscure Perception 161

2. The Relative Capabilities of the different Organs of Sense 166

'3. Deceptive Appearance 177



§ IIT. — The Consilience of Facts 184

Drawing and Painting 186

Spy-Glass and Engraved Figures 191

Perspective and Dioramic Eepresentations 192


'An Ontological Demonstration of the Valid Being of the Phe-
nomenal 197

1. Of the Inner Plienomena 198

2. Of the Outer Phenomena 200

P A R T I I .

THE TJN"I>ER,ST^^lSJ"r>i:N-G}-.

I. The Necessity for a Higher Intellectual Agency than ant

IN the Sense. 203

IL The Exposition of this Higher Agency as Understanding. . 207



§ I. — The Understanding necessarily Discursive 213

§ II. — Space and Time the necessary Media for Determining

Connection through a Discursus 221

§ III. — Space and Time exclude all Determined Experience

except through the connections of the Notional 227

1. Tlie Plienomena only may be given, and we may attempt to

Construct tlieir Places and Periods by tbem 228

2. The one Whole of Space and of Time may be assumed, and

the Attempt made to Determine Phenomenal Places and
Periods by them 230

3. The Supposition that perhaps a Notional Connective for the

Phenomena may determine these Phenomena in their
Places and Periods in the whole of Space and of Time,
and so may give both the Phenomena and their Space and
Time in an Objective Experience 237



g lY. — The Primitive Elements of the Operation or Connec-
tion, GIVING A Possible Experience Determined in Space
AND Time 238

1. In Space : Substance and Accidence 239

2. In Time : as having Three Modes : — 243

Perpetual Time : Source and Event 246

Successive Time: Cause and Effect 249

Simultaneous Time : Action and Reaction 252

§ Y. — Some of the a priori Principles in a Nature of Things. 256

1. Substance: giving Permanence, Impenetrability, Inertia, etc. 258

2. Cause: giving a Change in Things, a Train of Events, etc 267

3. Action and Reaction: giving Co-existence, Concomitance, etc. 278

§ "VI. — False Systems of a Universal Nature Exposed in

their Delusive a priori Conditions 282

1. When the Phenomenal is Elevated to a Notional in the Un-

derstanding 286

2. "When the Notional i.? Degraded to a Yague Phenomenal, or

entirely Excluded 310



§ I. — Space and Time each as a whole 330

§ II. — The Determination of Experience in one whole of

Space and of Time 332

1. Experience in Universal Space 333

2. Experience in Universal Time 340

§ III. — The Determination of an Experience in its Particular

Places and Periods 346

1. Particular Determination of Places in Space 347

2. Particular Determination of Periods in Time 352


An Ontological Demonstration of the Yalid Being of the

Notional 370

1. Idealism against Materialism 374

2. Materialism against Idealism 376

3. Accordance of Consciousness and Reason against Pyrrhonism. 880




Tes Functioi^ and Province of the Reason » » . . , 381



§ I. — The Attainment of the Absolute, as an a priori Posi-
tion FOR THE Reason 397

§ IL — The Determination of Personalify to the Absolute 411

Primitive Elements of Comprehension : —

1. Pure Spontaneity 415

2. Pure Autonomy 420

3. Pure Liberty 438

§ III. — The a priori Comprehension op Nature in the Pure

Personality of the Absolute 446


the reason in its objective law.
Finite and Absolute Personality 461

§ I, — The Pacts of a Comprehending Reason which come

within the Compass of a Finite Personality 468

1. Esthetic Facts 472

2. Mathematical Facts 476

3. Philosophical Facts 480

4. Psycholo2:ical Facts 483

5. Ethical Facts 484

§ II. — The Facts of a Comprehending Reason which come

within the Compass of an Absolute Personality 507

1. Facts Evincive of a Universal Recognition of an Absolute Per-

sonality 510

2. The Fact of a Comprehendino: Operation for Universal Xature

is only by the Compass of this Absolute Personality 529




An OjrroLOGiCAL Demonstratiox op the Valid Being of the

Supernatural 54.0

1. The Valid Bein^ of the Soul 540

2. The Valid Existence of God 542

3. The Validity of the Soul's Immortality 542


Psychology is the Science of J^find. Em2nrical I'sy-
chology attains the flicts of mind and arranges them in a
system. The elements are solely the facts given in experi-
ence, and the criterion of their reality is the clear testimony
of consciousness. When, between any number of minds
there is an alleged contradiction of consciousness, the
umpire is found in the general consciousness of mankind.
What this general consciousness is, may be attained in vari-
ous ways ; from the languages, laws, manners and customs,
proverbial sayings, literature and history of the race ; and a
fair appeal and decision here must be final, for any fact
excluded thereby must be alterum genus^ and should also
be excluded from the philosophical system. Such an appeal
to general consciousness may properly be termed the tribu-
nal of Common Sense.

Rational Psychology is a very different process for
attaining to a Science of Mind, and lies originally in a very
different field from experience, it ultimately brings
all its attainments within an experience. As this is the
specific subject designed for present investigation, it is im-
portant as preliminary thereto, that we attain a clear appre-
hension of what it is ; and it may also be of advantage to^


examine some of the ends to which it may be applied, and
thus beforehand see some of the uses to which it may be
made subservient.

I. An explanation of what Rational Psychology ifc

In thics science, we pass from tne lacts oi experience
wholly out beyond it, and seek for the ratioiiale of experi-
ence itself in the necessary and universal principles which
must be conditional for all facts of a possible experience.
We seek to determine how it is possible for an experience
to be, from those a priori conditions which render all the
functions of an intellectual agency themselves intelligible.
In the conclusions of this science it becomes competent for
us to affirm, not as from mere experience we may, that this
is — but, from these necessary and universal principles, that
this must he. The intellect is itself investigated and known
through the principles which must necessarily control all its
agency, and thereby the intellect itself is expounded in its
constituent functions and laws of operation.

An illustration of what such a Science of Mind is, may
be given by a reference to other things as subjects of
rational comprehension. Whatever may be placed in the
double aspect of its empirical fxcts and its conditional prin-
ciples, may be used for such a purpose. Thus Astronomy
has its sublime and astonishing facts, gathered through a
long period of patient and careful observation. Experience
has been competent to attain the appearances and move-
ments of the heavenly bodies ; the satellites of some of the
planets, and their relations to their primaries ; the ajoparent
changes of figure and place in some, and the occasional tran-
Bits or occultations of others. The jreneral relations of dif


ferent portions of our solar system have in this way been
found ; the sun put in its place at the center, the planets put
in their places in their orbits around it, with the direction,
distance, and time of periodical revolution accurately deter-
mined. A complete diagram of the solar system may thus
be made from the results of experience alone, and all that
belongs to formal Astronomy be finished. In this process,
through experience, we are competent to affirm, so the solar
system is. But if now, on the other hand, beyond experi-
ence, we may somehow attam to the cognition of an invisi-
ble force, which must work through the system directly as
the quantity of matter and inversely as the squares of the
distance, we shall be competent to take this as an a priori
principle, determining experience itself, and quite independ-
ently of all observation may affirm, so the solar system,
must be.

Again, I take a body of a triangular form, and by accu-
rate mensuration find that any two of its sides are together
greater than the third side. Another triangular body, of
diffiirent size and proportion of its sides, is also accurately
measured, and the same fact is again found. The mensura-
tion of the first did not help to the attainment of the fact in
the last, but an experiment only ascertained that so it is.
Repeated experiments may have been made of a vast num-
ber of triangular forms, isosceles, right-angled, and scalene,
and of them all, at last, T may make the same affirmation,
this is ; but from experience I am not warranted to include
any thing else than so it is, and in so many cases as the
experiment has reached. When, however, I construct for
myself a triangle in pure space, and intuitively perceive the
relations of its sides, I do not need any experiment, but ean


make tliis intuition valid universally, and affirm for all possi-
ble triangles, so the facts must he.

Such everywhere is the distinction between an empirical
and a rational process. In the one we have the facts as
they appear ; in the other, we have the conditioning princi-
ple which determines their appearance, and which makes
our experience of them possible. And now, the human
mind, as an intelligent and free agent, may as readily as any
other subject, admit of an investigation under each of these
aspects. Facts as given in experience, and those arranged
in an orderly system as they appear in consciousness, consti-
tute Pyschology in that important division which we have
denominated Empirical: and those principles which give
the necessary and universal laws to experience, and by
which intelligence itself is alone made intelligible, are the
elements for a higher Psychological Science which we term
Rational. So far as this science is made to proceed, it will
give an exposition of the human mind not merely in the
facts of experience, but in the more adequate and compre-
hensive manner, according to the necessary laws of its
being and action as a free intelligence. It will, moreover,
afford a position from which we may overlook the whole
field of possible human science, and determine a complete
circumscription to our experience ; demonstrating what is
possible, and the validity of that which is real. In it is the
science of all sciences, inasmuch as it gives an exposition of
Intelligence itself.

Such, also, is truly a transcendental philosophy inasmuch
as it transcends experience, and goes up to those necessary
sources from which all possible experience must originate ;
but not transcendental in that sense in which the name has


become a derision and reproach by the perversion of tlioee
who liave assumed it and dishonored it, and with whom it
has been a transcending of all light and meaning, and gohig
oif into a region of mere dreams and shadows. A true
transcendental philosophy dwells perpetually in the purest
light, and sustahis itself by the soundest demonstrations ;
nor is it practicable, by any other method of investigation,
to draw a clear line between empiricism and science,
assumption and demonstration, facts which aj^pear to be
and principles which must be.

Pure Mathematics, and, in a different field, pure Physics
also, proceed in the fom and sure steps of a demonstrated
science, because they go out utterly beyond all appearance,
and attain their elements from a region transcending all that
experience can reach. They deal with the necessary and
the universal, and hence, as resting upon that which must
control all experience and make it possible, it can never
occur that any facts in experience should come in contradic-
tion to them. Nor can any thing assumed to be philosophy
and attempting to pass itself off as science, and least of all
psychological science, take the high road of a sound and
vaHd demonstration, except it shall both start from and lay
its course by, the stern demand and rigid rule of necessary
princii^les. True science must be both supported and
directed by those ultimate truths, which are selfaffirmed
in their own light, and which both must be, and must
everywhere and evermore be. An empirical system may
defend itself and maintain its integrity against all that shall
assail it from within ; but where the skeptic resolutely goes
out beyond those assumptions which are conditional for it,
and calls in question the stability of its very foundation, it


is Utterly helpless. Thus, the telescope brings distant
objects within the reach of observation, and thereby vastly
enlarges the sphere of vision. By its aid we may go on
in tlie addition of one newly discovered phenomenon to
another in the broad fields of space, and enlarge the system
embraced in experimental astronomy to the maximum of
power which may be attained for our glasses. We need
have no other solicitude for the validity of our system as
empirical, save only in the assurance of a correct observa-
tion. If any doubts spring up within the facts of our
science, we can repeat the observation at pleasure and
dispel them. But when, at length, we encounter the
skeptic who will not shut himself up within our condi-
tioning assumption of the validity of telescopic observation,
and seriously questions the correctness of this w^hole man-
ner of appearances, and of seeing new objects through
magnifying glasses, most surely we shall avail nothing in
attempting to cure this skepticism by multiplying our
experiments and making such objects to appear through
the telescope, nor even by forcing the skeptic to the con-
sciousness that he sees them there himself. He is assailing
the system from a point utterly beyond all the facts of
observation, and with fatal effect disturbing the integrity of
astronomical science in its very foundation, and must needs
be met in the very point of his doubts and forced to the
conviction that the laws of telescopic vision are valid.
And surely this can not be done by looking through the
telescope,' nor even by taking it to pieces and subjecting
all its parts to careful inspection. We shall be obliged
to attain those optical princij^les which are conditional for
all making of telescopes, and thus know how telescopic


rision is possible in its own conditioning laws, and deter-
mine what must he by a rational demonstration, and ic

Online LibraryLaurens P. (Laurens Perseus) HickokRational psychology; or, The subjective idea and objective law of all intelligence → online text (page 1 of 39)