Charles F. (Charles Force) Deems.

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TV^HjBUR b. ketoham.

*2 Cooper Union.

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Perfection alism: A System of Philosophy. Prof. Edward J.

Hamilton, D.D., i

The Influence of the Bible on Modern Jurisprud-
ence. Hon. William H. Amoax, . . ai
" The Mistakes of Moses.*' Rev. L. H. Hastings, 32
BfETAPHYSiCAL ASSUMPTIONS. Edgar Dubs Shimer, Ph.D., 48
Recent Modifications of Darwinism. Joseph Cook,

LL.D., 81

Richard Roths and Social Theology. Prof. A. B.

Curtis, 92

The Tenement-House Evil. R. Fulton Cutting, . . 103
Humanity of the Spiritual Life. Thomas P. Bailey,

Jr., Ph.D., . . "S

Ethical Teaching of the Book of Job Concerning
the Conduct of God Toward Man. Rev. Anson

P. Atterbury, Ph.D., 123

Revelation of Inventions and Patents to Civiliza-
tion. Lemuel W. Serrell. 137

Remarkable Discoveries, 149

Our "Modern Aristotle'* and the Theistic Argu-
ments. D. S. Gregory, D.D., . .161
What Was Man Before He Was ? Richard Abbey, D.D., 190
Shop and Girls. Prof. J. H. Hyslop, .... 203
** Philosophy and Physical Science." Mattson Monroe

Curtis. Ph.D., .223

*' Notes on Theism." Prof. Noah K. Dayis, . . 229

What We Supposed All Intelligent People Knew.

J. M. Buckley, D.D., 232

Man's Responsibility for His Beuefs. G. R. W. Scott,

D.D., 241

The Spencerian Theory of the Religion of Israel.

Rev. C. R. Blauvelti Ph.D., 261

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The Labor Problem: Cause and Remedy. Gen. William

O. McDowell, 285

Hadssian Theology; Or, The Gospel According to

Satan. Translated by Theodore F. Seward, Ph.D., 291
Sensational Preaching. David J. Burrell, D.D., . 305
A Year Among the Churches. H. K. Carroll, D.D., . 311
The Ultimate Aim of Education. Bthelbert D. War-
field, LL.D., 321

The Government of the Imagination. Prof. M. J.

Cramer, D.D., 332

Druidism. Rev. A. H. McKinney, Ph.D., . 343

The Pulpit and the Liquor Traffic. Charles H.

Payne, D.D., LL.D., . . . . . . 356

Divinity of Christianity Seen by its Effects. Rev.

J. H. Potter, 365

Why Use the Old Testament ? Edward C. Ray, D.D., 371
Revelation and the Bible. Rev. W. J. Mutch, . . 378
Christian Philosophy in the Northwest. Rev. Gran-
ville R. Pike, 380

Some New Thing. Rev. Arthur J. Brown, D.D., . . 382
The Spirituality of the Material. Rev. George D.

Herron, 392

Anarchy, Socialism and the Labor Movement. Hon.

Walter B. Hill, 401

^ The Conservation of the Family. Pres. J. E. Rankin,

D.D., 425

The Heart of Personality. Rev. J. H. Edwards, . 433
Failure of the State in Higher Education. T. E.

Fleming, Ph.D., D.D., 439

The Weakness of Agnosticism. L. Theodore Conrad,

B.D.,M.S., 445

The Human Element and the Bible. Rev. D. W. C.

Huntington, 451


Metaphysical Assumptions. Dr. T. S. O'Brien, . . 65
Sociological Science. Samuel W. Dike, D.D., • • 66
••Notes on Theism." Prof. Noah K. Davis, . . 229

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• • 149
73. 157, 238, 461


Monthly Meetings, . 73, 2^^^ 318, 397, 458

Report op the Sixteenth Summer School, . . 69, 151
Programme of the Seventeenth Summer School, 459

Annual List of Members, 46a

The Distribution of Christian Thought, . . . 156


A Letter, 315

Illness, 319

Sending His Thanks, .••.... 400


Abbey, Richard, D.D.,

Atterbury, Rev. Anson P., Ph.D., .

Arnoux, Hon. William H.,

Bailey, Thomas P., Jr., Ph.D.,

Blauvelt, Rev. C R., Ph.D., .

Brown, Rev. Arthur J., D.D.,

Buckley, J, M., D.D.,

BuRRELL, David J., D.D.,

Carroll, H. K., D.D.,

Conrad, Rev. L. T., D.D., M.S.,

Cook, Joseph, LL.D., . . :

Cramer, Prof. J. M., D.D.,

Curtis, Prof. A. B., .

Curtis, Mattson Monroe, M.A., Ph.D.,

Cutting, R. Fulton,

Dike, Samuel W., ....

Deems, D.D., President, .

Davis, Prof. Noah K., . • .

Edwards, Rev. J. H., . . .

Fleming, T. E., Ph.D., D.D., .

IS, 3191







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Gregory, D. S., D.D..

Hamilton, Prop. E. J., D.D.,

Hastings, Rev. L. H.,

Herron, IIev. George D.,

Hill, Hon. Walter B.,

Huntington, Rev. D. W. C,

Hyslop, Prof. J. H.,

McDowell, Gen. William O.,

McKiNNEY, Rev. A. H., Ph.D.,

Mutch, Rev. W. J., .

O'Brien, Dr. T. S., .

Payne, Charles H., LL.D., D.D,

Pike, Rev. Granville R.,

Potter, Rev. J. H., .

Rankin, Pres. E. J.,

Ray, Edward €., D.D., .

Sayce, Prof., .

Scott, G. R. W., D.D.,

Serrell, Lemuel W ,

Seward, Prof. Theodore F., Ph.D.,

Shimer, Edgar Dubs, Ph.D..

Warfield, President Ethelbert D.» LL.D.,








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[DeliTcred before the American Institute of Christian
Philosophy, August iith, 1891.]

By Prof. Edward J. Hamilton, D.D., New York.

THE word " perception," in its ordinary meaning and widest
application, signifies the correct apprehension of fact or
truth. On this basis, that philosophy which examines and ex-
plains perceptions as such, may be styled Perceptionalism.
Let us discuss this name and give some reasons for the use of it;
and let us consider the nature of the philosophy which it desig-

The Latin preposition "per," like its English equivalent
" through," often indicates instrumentality, or agency, as in the
maxim, ** Qui facit per alium, facit per se"; but ** per" never has
this meaning when used as a prefix in the composition of words.
It then signifies either movement through or over some place,
as in the verbs peragrOy peratnbulOy permitto^ perrumpo^ or else
thoroughness in the performance of some action, as in the verbs
pereo^ perfero^ perficio^ pemego^ pemosco. This last thought —
thoroughness — ^is the ordinary signification of ** per " as a prefix,
and is that belonging to it in the words ** perceive" and "per-

The verb " percipere " and the noun "perceptio" originally
meant any thorough taking of a thing, so as to bring it within
one's possession. In the seventeenth chapter of Cato Major,
Cicero speaks of the "perceptio fructuum," or harvesting of
fruits; and, in the same chapter, he says " Themistocles omnium
avium perceperat nomina " ; that is, Themistocles had learnt, or
mastered, the names of all the citizens. These quotations illus-
trate the transfer of the word from a physical to<i psychical


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application. But '' percipere," as indicating intellectual ap-
prehension, does not always, nor even generally, include
memorizing; as it does when Themistocles is said to have learnt
the names of his fellow-citizens. Ordinarily with the Romans
this word signified simply the cognition of fact or truth; and es-
pecially, when they spoke of perceiving a thing by the senses or
by the mind, they used language just as we do: they meant that
psychical operation by which one comes to know that a thing
is, or what it is, or that it would be, or what it would be. And
this is a very natural use of language; for when we have gained
the knowledge of any fact or truth, we may then be said to have
taken something into our possession, whether we retain it after-
wards in our memory or not.

In short, perception and cognition are two names for the
same process. They differ in that perception emphasizes the
thought of the process more than that of the result, while cog-
nition emphasizes the thought of the result more than that of
the process. But perception always terminates in knowledge,
and is therefore cognition; no act or process is called perceptive
except on the assumption that it produces absolute and well-
founded conviction.

These statements will be confirmed if we consider the differ-
ent modes of perception which occur in our daily experience.
There are three simple modes of immediate cognition. Men
perceive their own bodies and bodily affections and the immedi-
ate causes of these affections; and such cognition is the begin-
ning of all sense-perception. They perceive their own souls as
in activity, as thinking, feeling or willing; and this we call con-
sciousness, or internal perception. Then, in connection with
bodily and mental phenomena, they perceive spacial, temporal,
causal and other relations; and, along with these relations, cer-
tain fundamenta on which they rest, such as spaces, times and
changes. AH such cognitions may be distinguished as concomi-
tant perceptions, because they accompany those of sense-percep-
tion and consciousness. Thus, there are three simple modes of
immediate perception.

We also form compound immediate perceptions, especially
of external objects; and these pr.epare the way for inferential, or

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** acquired" perception. The boy born blind, who obtained
sight through a surgical operation, could not at first distinguish
the cat from the dog visually, though he could tactually.
Catching the cat one day he passed his hands over her, and
identified what he felt with what he saw. Then he set her down
and said, " So, puss, I shall know you another time." Here a
concomitant perception compounded the cognitions of sight and
touch ; and evidently a basis for subsequent inference was se-
cured by means of that compositional cognition. Hereafter,
whether puss be seen in the day-time or handled in the dark, the
same knowledge will be obtained through one sense which
originally resulted from the use of two. All our ordinary sense-
perceptions are more or less "acquired"; and some of them,
such as determinations by the eye of the distance, size and
shape of remote objects, are quite complex judgments.

More evidently, though not more really, inferential than the
ordinary discriminations of sense are those rational perceptions
by which things are seen as necessarily or probably or possibly
consequent upon given antecedents. Here, perhaps, it would be
more literal to say that a thing is inferentially perceived when it
is necessary, and that, in other cases, we only perceive that it
may probably or possibly exist; yet, even in these cases, we
speak of perception if the judgment be made correctly. Because
we may know that a thing is probable or possible.

All rational perceptions are related to our presentational
cognitions, and seem consequent upon them. For in the im-
mediate cognitions of fact we perceive, not merely simple fact,
but also, by a concomitant cognition, various necessary rela-
tions according to which one fact is conditioned upon, or con-
nected with, another. This prepares us for logical inference; so
that afterwards, when a necessitant, or a necessary condition, ap-
pears, we can infer a necessary or a possible consequent, such as
the case calls for.

Then, too, we must mention that important mode of rational
perception which takes place even in the absence of any ante-
cedent. For the mind, using that marvellous power of concep-
tion which deals with things that are not as if they were, makes
inferences from supposed or imaginary premises. Therefore we

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recognize hsrpothetical as well as actualistic perception, and
hypothetical as well as actualistic knowledge.

Now, as every mode of perception — whether it be presenta-
tional or inferential, whether it be actualistic or hypothetical —
claims to be a mode of cognition and to result in knowledge, it
is plain that the doctrine which explains perceptions as such
must assert and maintain the reliability of our perceptions. In
other words, Perceptionalism must teach that what men call
their perceptions are true perceptions, and that what men know
they truly know, and that these positions are justified by the
most thorough examination of both thought and fact.

It may cause astonishment to some that any system should
set forth such teaching as distinctively its own. It may be
asked, ** Do not all philosophers accept the perceptions of man-
kind as veritable cognitions ? Is it not presumptuous in one
school to assert that this doctrine is specially and pre-eminently
the result of its own investigations?" We reply that the past
history of philosophy, and the condition of philosophy at the
present time, warrant the statement that all the more celebrated
systems, both of ancient and of modern days, conflict more or
less with the ordinary convictions of mankind; and by far the
greater part of the speculative talent of the existing generatioa
not only rejects the radical idea of Perceptionalism, but con-
siders that idea a mark of intellectual shallowness. The popu-
lar philosophies of to-day, while differing from each other, are
wonderfully agreed in explaining away various fundamental be-
liefs. Who are more antagonistic than the Associationalists of
England and the Idealists of Germany ? Yet both teach that
we have no proper knowledge of an external and material world;
both declare that space and time are mental products, and not
things which have independent natures of their own; and, ac-
cording to both, substances, powers, the relation of cause and
effect, and necessitudinal connections generally, are merely forms
of conception.

Then, too, particular schools of philosophy, in their very
points of variance from each other, are at variance also with the
judgments of mankind. Materialism, in saying that the soul is
composed of a multiplicity of molecules, and that its life is the

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action of these molecules, denies that unity of the human spirit
in which all men believe; on the other hand, Pantheism denies
the well-known multiplicity of agents and objects in the universe,
asserting that there is one only substance.

In view of the history of speculation, the student of theories
might even question whether there is any thorough-going sys-
tem which maintains the reliability of human cognitions. But,
at the same tim^, if he were convinced that there is such a sys-
tem, he could not refuse it the name Perceptionalism. In every
scheme of metaphysical philosophy, the theory of knowledge is
the fundamental part, and that from which it is most expressive-
ly designated. We advocate the name ** Perceptionalism," not
only on the ground that there is a philosophy which should be
known under this title, but also because we believe that the sys-
tem thus distinguished is likely hereafter to receive more prom-
inent consideration than has been accorded to it heretofore.

In ancient times there was no such system. Aristotle asserts
that the beginning of all knowledge is that ** natural power of
judgment which is called perception " {Svvapnv avixcpvroy xpt-
rtxTfv Tfv xaXovaiv afffdijfftr); but he did not investigate our
first cognitions so as to determine their content and establish
their correctness. The Stoics held that aiadtjatiy or the im-
mediate perception of fact, is the origin of knowledge and the
criterion of truth;, and this same doctrine was taught by the
Epicureans. Moreover, both these schools, agreeing with the
Aristotelians, declared that man's rational perceptions are reli-
able; though they allowed that reason may err, and taught that
mistakes in perception are to be attributed, not to the senses,
but to judgment, or inference. Both also went farther than the
Aristotelians in Exalting aitjOtjai? — in this connection signify-
ing specifically presentational perception — as the source of knowl-
edge; and, with this doctrine, they opposed Platonism on the
one hand, and Skepticism on the other. Yet neither the Stoic
nor the Epicurean system attained a permanent success; neither
proved sufficient to resist the Neoplatonism and Mysticism of
the first centuries of the Christian era.

In subsequent times Scholasticism, applying Aristotelian ideas
to the doctrines of the Church, showed great dialectic power,

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but added little to scientific knowledge. Finally, after the theo-
logical awakening of the sixteenth century came the speculative
activity of the seventeenth; and towards the close of the seven-
teenth century, in the year 1689, John Locke gave to the world
the beginning of a great philosophy.

Locke founds all knowledge on •• experience," and has, there-
fore, been styled the founder of an ** empirical," or associational-
ist, philosophy; but erroneously. By ** experience " Locke
means simply presentational peroption — ^the aiadtjGii * of Aris-
totle, and of the Stoics; and ** sensation and reflection " are the
names which he gives to the outward and to the inward modes
of this perception. Moreover, he teaches that the perception of
necessary relations occurs in connection with the cognition of
simple fact, and is absolutely and objectively intuitive. These
initial principles of Perceptionalism were obtained by Locke from
the critical observation of the phenomena of mind. Yet hi»
"Treatise on Human Understanding," defective in the develop-
ment and yet more in the expression of its thought, did not
save the eighteenth century from the Associationalism of Hart-
ley, the Idealism of Berkeley, and the Skepticism of Hume.

In opposition to these destructive theories, the ** Essays '* of
Thomas Reid, the Glasgow professor, were written towards the
close of the eighteenth century. In these the natural force of
the ordinary convictions of mankind was powerfully directed
against the subtle errors of that day. But the thought of Reid
is lacking in theoretic discrimination and construction. He often
assumes first principles; sometimes leaves difficulties unex-
plained; and can scarcely be said to have produced a philosophic
system. His excellence and his deficiency are both expressed
when he is characterized as ** the apostle of common sense."
Mightily defending the truth, he left it as he found it, without
analysis and without systematization.

^kladriatq with the Greeks referred pre-eminenily, but not exclusively, to sense-per-
ception. Aristotle speak i of reason as a higher kind of aiaB7jfjiq\ and also of the
moral faculty in the same way, Thu<, in his Ethics we read: ** Towo ffpdf roXAa
Cua rd<c avOponoiq Idiovy rb fi6vov hyaBbv kcu kgicov Ktu ducaiov km ailitov tuu t&v
aX^Mv aiaBtfoiv ixeiv/* The verbs aloSavofiai, seniio and percHv all have about
the same significance and the same breadth of application.

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During this nineteenth century some advance has been made
by eminent philosophers, who have called themselves Intuition-
alists. Their writings thoroughly discuss both original (or pre-
sentational) and acquired (or inferential) perception ; and also
throw much light on those immediate cognitions of necessary
truth which, because they take place hypothetically as well as
actualistically, and in the absence as well as in the presence of
objects, have been called "the intuitions of the mind." Never-
thelessy so far as we can learn, no teacher of Intuitionalism has
succeeded in founding a school in which, like the patriarch, " he
will command his children after him." Ambitious pupils, how-
ever carefully instructed, do not become permanent disciples.
They read and study further — as they ought to do — and then
are more or less influenced by some imposing and skillfully con-
structed system of error.

We ascribe this to the narrowness and incompleteness of In-
tuitionalism. Correct, so far as it goes, it .is but the commence-
ment of a philosophy. Its teachings regarding the immediate
perception of fact and the necessary relations of fact should be
united with others, equally important, concerning the rational and
discursive intellect, and concerning thought and conviction in
general. In short, with sincere respect and consideration both
for ancient tradition and for modern theory, we assert the need
of a new and comprehensive elaboration of mental science.

The name ** Intuitionalism " of late years has been very prop-
erly abandoned as the designation of a system of philosophy; it
is not only confined in its suggestions, but is also affected with
an obscurity arising from the ambiguities of the word ** intuition."
And the name " Realism," which some propose, is yet more un-
satisfactory. This title belongs historically to the doctrine of
the reality of ** universals " — a doctrine rejected by those who
would now call themselves Realists. It also furnishes ground for
quibbling controversy. For those philosophers who reject the
ordinary beliefs of men do not admit that they deny reality.
They say, *' The question is not, * Is there reality ? ' but * What
is it } * and * How shall we think about it } * " And they protest
against the settlement of such questions dogmatically, or in any
other way than by a process of critical investigation.

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^ Moreover, it is to be remembered that a most important

Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Force) DeemsChristian thought → online text (page 1 of 45)