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future life, to make rich and ample provision for the poor. The great wealth of the Church was, to no inconsiderable extent, a Fund for the poor. In England, a third part of the revenues of the Church went to building and repairing Churches, another third to the support of the clergy, and the rest to the poor. No poor law was then needed. The Reformation changed all this, and, for the system of Gospel charity, voluntary poverty, good works, and self-denial, substituted self-interest, and sought to neutralize excessive selfishness by pitting the selfishness of one against the selfishness of another. The result has been precisely what ought to have been expected, the reduction, in the more industrial and enterprising nations, of labor to a complete dependence on capital, and the operatives to the minimum of human subsistance, and in some cases below it. The remedy, we are convinced, — and we have devoted over twenty years of investigation to the subject, - can be found only in a return, if not to the Catholic Church, at least to a system of political economy similar to the one always insisted on, and enforced to a greater or less extent, by that Church. The great evil is, that Mammon reigns in modern society without a rival; and we cannot remedy this evil without some power stronger even than the money-god. This power can be obtained only in and from the Church of Christ.
Such is the conclusion to which we have come, and right glad are we, to find this conclusion set forth in a striking light, and its truth demonstrated beyond the possibility of reply, by Bishop Hughes, in this profound, able, and eloquent discourse. We commend it to the careful study of our political economists. It may go far to show them, what has often been said, that they have omitted the most important chapter of their science, that which treats of the distribution of wealth in relation to the moral and social well-being of the operative. They have considered the operative merely as a machine in the hands of the capitalist, for the production of wealth ; it is, perhaps, time to consider him as a moral and religious being, something more than a spinning jenny, and of an innate worth and nobleness equal to those of his eniployer, and surpassing all the material wealth of the universe.
We return our thanks to the Bishop of New-York for these two able and seasonable productions. We thank him in the name of truth and Christian charity ; in the name of the poor and oppressed, the starving widows and orphans; in the name of our country and humanity. So long as the prelates of his Church shall teach the doctrines we find here, and use their authority to realize them, he may be assured the cry of “No Popery” will be of little avail in checking its progress.
Art. I. — Critik der reinen Vernunft; von IMMANUEL
KANT. Siebente Auflage. Leipzig. 1828.
In our number for April, we have classed the several modern doctrines of Science, sketched their history from Descartes down to Kant, and determined Kant's position and problem. His problem is, as we have seen,
. the purely scientific problem ; that is, Is science possible? Yet it is not precisely in this form that he himself proposes it. To even a tolerably attentive reader of the Critic of Pure Reason, the real problem will appear to concern the conditions, extent, and bounds of human science, rather than the possibility of human science itself.
By a rigid analysis of the intellectual phenomenon, Kant discovers that every fact of knowledge involves a synthetic judgment, and hence he proceeds to inquire, How are synthetic judgments formed? What is their reach? What their validity ? In asking and answering these questions, he disguises, both from himself and his readers, the real problem with which he is concerned. The science, that is, the knowing, properly so called, is all and entirely in this very synthetic judgment. If this judgment be impossible, if it be invalid, then is science impossible, and human knowledge a mere delu
VOL. I. NO. III.
sion. So, after all, Kant is inquiring into the possibility, as well as into the conditions, validity, extent, and bounds of science.
Assuming this, we may say, in the outset, that the whole inquiry into which Kant enters is founded in a capital blunder, and can end in no solid or useful result. To ask if the human mind be capable of science is absurd; for we have only the human mind with which to answer the question. And it needs science to answer this question, as much as it does to answer any other question. Suppose we should undertake to answer this question, and should demonstrate by an invincible logic, as Kant himself professes to have done, that science is impossible, our demonstration would be a complete demonstration of its own unsoundness; for the demonstration must itself be scientific, or be no demonstration at all. If the demonstration be scientific, it establishes the fact of science in demonstrating to the contrary ; if it be not scientific, then it is of no value, and decides nothing, as to our scientific capacity, one way or the other.
Kant professes to start at a point equally distant from both dogmatism and skepticism. He neither affirms, nor denies; he merely criticises, that is, investigates. But is the critic blind? To criticise, to investigate, what is this but to discriminate, to distinguish, to judge? Can there be an act of discrimination, of judgment, without science ? If you assume, then, your capacity to enter into a critical investigation of the power of the human mind to know, you necessarily begin by assuming the possibility of science, and therefore by what logicians term a petitio. Kant attempts the investigation, and in so doing assumes his capacity to make it; and, therefore, contrary to his profession, begins in pure dogmatism. He begins by assuming the possibility of science, as the condition of demonstrating its impossibility, — for the impossibility of science is what he
professes to have demonstrated, as the result of all his labors.
We might hesitate a moment before bringing this
charge of absurdity against a man of Kant's unquestionable superiority, did we not seem to ourselves not only to perceive the absurdity, but also its cause. Kant's fundamental error, and the source of all his other errors, is in attempting, like most psychologists, to distinguish between the subject and its own inneity, and to find the object in the subject, — the not me in the me.
. We believe his much wronged and misapprehended disciple, Fichte, was the first to detect and expose this error. If Kant had comprehended, in the outset, the simple fact subsequently stated by Fichte in the postulate, the me is me, he never would, he never could, have written the Critic of Pure Reason ; for he would have seen that if the me is me, the not me is not me, and therefore that the object, or whatever is objective, since distinguished from the subject, is not and cannot be me, nor the inneity of the me. This simple truism, which is nothing but saying, what is, is, completely refutes the whole Critical Philosophy. We would therefore commend to the admirers of the Critik der reinen Vernunft of the master, the careful study of the Wissenschaftlehre of the disciple.
Kant's great and leading doctrine is, that, in the fact of knowledge, the form, under which the object is cognized, is determined not by what it is in itself, but by the laws of the subject cognizing. He complains that hitherto metaphysicians have supposed, that the form of the cognition depended on the object, and that our cognitions must conform to the intrinsic character of the objects cognized. He himself reverses all this, and contends, that, instead of our knowing being obliged to conform to the manner in which objects exist in themselves, the objects themselves must conform to our manner of knowing. We do not see objects so and so, because such and such is their mode of existence, regarded as existing independent of our cognition of them; but because such and such are the laws of our own understanding, that is to say, such and such is our own inneity. The external world, for instance, is not necessarily in itself what it appears to us, but it appears to us as it does because our inneity, or intuitive power, compels it so to appear. So of every other actual or possible object of cognition. In themselves considered, there is necessarily no difference between fish and flesh; and the difference, we note, is not determined by them as objects, but by ourselves as subjects, and exists not in them, but in our taste. Change our inneity, and you change all objects of knowledge. This is the great, the leading Kantian doctrine; and the reason why metaphysical science has made no more advance is, because metaphysicians have overlooked this doctrine, and obstinately persisted in believing that there is really some difference between fish and flesh, wine and water, beside what is inherent in the taste of the eater or drinker !
But if the form of the object is determined by the forms of the subject, then, instead of going into an investigation of the innumerable and diversified objects of knowledge, in order to determine the foundations and conditions of science, we should go into an investigation of the subject itself, of this very inneity which the subject imposes upon all its cognitions. The grounds, conditions, and laws of science, are then to be obtained from the study of the subject instead of the object. We must know ourselves, as the condition of knowing all else. The object of the Critic is, therefore, to investigate the subject, and determine its part in the fact of experience.
In order to place the matter as clearly before our readers as possible, and to enable them to seize, as distinctly and as firmly as the nature of the case admits, the precise problems which Kant undertakes to solve, we extract liberally from his Introduction.
“That all our knowledge begins with experience there can be no doubt; for how else should the understanding be brought into exercise, if not through objects which affect the senses, and partly of themselves furnish representations, and partly excite our intellectual activity to compare, to connect, and to separate them, and thus to work up the raw material of sensible impressions into that knowledge of objects which is called experience? In respect of time, there is no knowledge prior to experience, with which all begins.