Jacques Maritain Center : General Metaphysics / by John Rickaby, S.J.


OUR work is now to assign attributes to Being, in which procedure we must be careful to assert no properties but such as belong to Being qua Being, and are co-extensive with the transcendental term itself, which passes over all boundaries and quite disregards the distinction sometimes drawn between Things and Persons. Persons are Things as we are now viewing them, and Being is anything and everything that is real. The attributes of Being, then, must form no addition to its reality, they must be identical with it, not only in the sense that all the determinations of Being are themselves, through and through, Being, but also in the sense that the attributes are given by the consideration of simple Being, apart from any of its special determinations. The attributes of Being must be only Being itself, taken in one or other of its real aspects. They are Unity, Truth, and Goodness, and shall now be declared in due order.

(1) Every Being is one, an assertion which sounds like a tautology, when we consider that "every" means each taken singly, and that we are talking of Being in the singular, not of Beings in the plural. Our English indefinite article to some extent, and still more the French indefinite article, un, enforce the recognition of the oneness: "A Being is one" -- Un être est un.

One is a simple notion, irresolvable into two ideas more elementary than itself; and hence it is to be described, when not by its synonyms, then by reference to its opposite. The opposite of the oneness claimed for Being is division; thus oneness is said to mean indivision. Now some Beings are undivided in such sort that they are indivisible, which gives us the most perfect unity of a simple Being. Other Beings are undivided, yet divisible, as body and soul in man; and this is the less perfect unity, the unity of composition, which has the higher form of unity when it is substantial as compared with accidental. How intimate is the union which the schoolmen assert in a compound substance, will not be understood by those who have before the mind only the notion of elements specially aggregated, and combining their intrinsically unchanged forces so as to produce a resultant unlike any of the single components. With the scholastics, every Being that forms a distinct nature is determined to be what it is by a substantial form which permeates the whole, and is, so far as its own nature alone is concerned, indivisible and without parts. Thus it constitutes a unum per se as distinguished from a unum per accidens; the unity of what is strictly a Being as distinguished from a combination of Beings. Such at least is the scholastic conception; and though its merits have not to be discussed in this place, mention of it is necessary in order to convey the full idea of what is meant by the majority of the schoolmen under the proposition, "Every Being is one." On any system, however, such as is the bond which is supposed to give unity to the compound, such also will be the unity itself which is asserted of the whole Being; while as for simple Being its unity is clear.

St. Thomas furnishes, in few words, a statement and a proof of the unity of each Being.{1} "The One is nothing but undivided Being, for it adds to Being only the negation of division." Being, which is thus undivided in itself, is also divided from all others -- "indivisum in se et divisum a quolibet alio." The latter part of the phrase St. Thomas thinks to be well expressed by aliquid, which he takes to mean "something other;" but the more correct meaning seems that of the indefinite pronoun, "something or other." His proof of the unity of Being runs thus:{2} "One is convertible with Being. For every Being is either simple or compound; but what is simple is undivided both as to act and potentiality; and what is compound is not a Being as long as its parts are divided, since it becomes such only when they form the compound. Manifestly, therefore, the Being of everything is undivided, and the thing keeps its Being only as it keeps its unity."

If this account of the oneness of Being should seem a mere ringing of the changes on a few simple ideas, it must be remembered that professedly we are dealing with our most elementary conceptions, in regard to which there is ample justification for laying down explicitly in synonyms their meanings and inter-relations, because experience abundantly shows what great confusion may be introduced, even among the very elements of thought. Besides, in connexion with the notion of unity, its varieties and its kindred terms call for explanation, which accordingly we proceed to give under a succession of headings. The principles which will guide our selection deserve mention. A priori it is always difficult to settle what connected or collateral questions are admissible into the discussion of a central idea, and what not; for as everything has some relation to everything else, it becomes possible to drag in any topic as having a sort of bearing on the main point. But experience steps in as a guide, and knowing from it what terms related with unity are of frequent recurrence in philosophical discussion, we pick out these as practically recommended to our notice. Add to this a little "sweet reasonableness," and we have all we want for guidance in making a selection.

(a) Transcendental Unity is nearly identical with mathematical or with predicamental{3} unity, but there is some distinction. The former is proper to every Being because of its indivision; whereas the latter is grounded strictly on extension or quantity, which, because of its divisibility, gives rise to multiplicity. Hence numerical unity is the foundation of number which, when integral, consists of a progressive addition of units in this shape:

2 = 1 + 1
3 = 2 + 1
4 = 3 + 1
5 = 4 + 1
6 = 5 + 1

Hence number is defined as "multitude measured by unity," and such unity is called mathematical. Secondarily, however, and analogously numerical unity is applied to unextended objects, so that we may number angels as well as men, and speak of "the seven who stand before the throne," or of the proportion of the faithless angels to those "faithful found." Indeed, number is said to be just one of those ideas which can be most easily fitted on to all things; from which fact certain interpreters would, in part, account for the Pythagorean attempt to treat numbers as the constituents of all objects. Mr. Bosanquet is much impressed with numerical proportion as an element in the recognition of things. "All intelligent recognition of individual objects," he says, "depends on proportion, or on some principle which involves proportion. All things have aspects and effects which find generalized expression in number. Shorten a snipe's beak, take one from the divisions of the horse-chestnut leaf, or misplace. the accent on an English word, and recognition fails or falters. . . . I very much doubt if the element of proportion, both external as in size compared with surroundings, and internal as in shape, symmetry, or harmony of sound or colour, is ever absent in a recognitive perception of an individual thing."

To individuality we next turn our attention.

(b) Unity is either specific or individual; and inasmuch as the species of a thing is settled by what the scholastics call its form, for specific unity we sometimes read formal. By his specific unity Peter is a man, and not of any nature other than human: he can belong to only one species, not to several conjointly or mixedly. He is one nature undivided in itself and divided off from every non-human nature. On the other side, by his individual unity he is this particular man, and not any other member of his own species, he is Peter, not James, or John: also he is one man only, and not both one and several together. To apply Bentham's principle, "Every man counts for one, and no man counts for more than one." Some place in opposition to individual, essential unity, whereby an essence cannot be divided into several essences, all of one kind: they might also call this the specific unity; but in the absence of uniformity among authors, we have suited our own convenience in the terms which we have chosen to use. Mentally we may distinguish individual from specific unity, as is proved by the fact we have just done so; but physically and in the concrete man, according to what seems the most reasonable view, nature and individuality are not really distinct. Still the Scotists manage to argue for a distinction here of a very diminutive yet real order -- a distinction not as between thing and thing, but as between what scoffers might call thingum and thingum. Thus at least they might parody the asserted difference of realitates where there is no difference of res. What those who regard the matter seriously have to say for themselves is, that one and the same thing (res) may contain under its undivided unity as thing, really distinct realitates or formalitates; the test of such real distinction being a plurality of objective concepts. If, say they, to one thing we can truly apply two or more concepts of different meanings, this is a sign of some real distinction in the thing, though it may not be a sign of two really distinct things. Thus, in the case before us, an individual man is one thing, but the objective concept of his individuality is not the objective concept of his humanity; the two ideas have different contents or "comprehensions;" therefore they point to some real, though subordinate, distinction in the object itself.{4} In reply it is argued, first, that this theory, by making the individuality really other than the nature, would make the concrete nature, as far as itself alone was concerned, a universal a parte rei -- an absurd position; -- and next, that a distinction less than real will meet all the requirements of the case. For, intermediate between the distinction which exists in the thing itself and the distinction which is constituted by mind alone with its power of abstraction, there is the distinction which the mind indeed first completes, but for which the thing itself furnishes the foundation. This is called the virtual distinction, or distinctio rationis cum fundamento in re, or the distinctio rationis ratiocinatae,{5} the test of which is, that while the thing itself has not the distinction, it does give ground for it, because it offers to the mind an object of consideration to which two ideas, not mutually inclusive, can be applied. Thus, looking at any individual man, we may conceive apart his humanity specifically, and his thisness individually; our two concepts are distinct, the imperfection of our faculties forcing us to do, so to speak, at twice, what a perfect intellect would do at once by an intuition of the individuality itself, along with the concrete nature with which it is identified. But we do not, therefore, with the Scotists assert that there are two realities in the thing, answering to our duality of concepts. Besides this controversy with the Scotists, there arises another with some Thomists who, not on Scotist grounds, but on the basis of their doctrine about materia signata, assert a real distinction butween an actually existent nature among created things and its individuality. We do not here enter into the discussion; but we are not afraid to say that we can see no intelligible sense in which a really distinct principle of individualization can be maintained. To us individuality appears identical with the concrete nature.

(c) A third division of unity is into physical and mental or moral. A unity is physical so far as it has or may have place in things, independently of the mind conceiving it: it is mental so far as it is not completed except by becoming the object of the mind thinking, and sometimes also of the will wishing. One form of mental unity is that which belongs to several objects because of their inclusion under one class-concept; so the members of our race are all contained under the term man. This is the logical unity of the universal concept. Another mental unity is often called moral, because its bond is in the intelligence and the will of moral agents; who, for example, voluntarily hold together in a benevolent society, or even in civil society, so far as the latter is not due to mere physical constraint. A fighting chief sometimes keeps his tribesmen together by something more than moral ties.

(d) Unity is not quite uniqueness, though every concrete unit will be unique to this extent, that its individuality cannot be duplicated, or it would not be what it is called. But generally a thing is unique which has not got its like; if it merely has not its like but might have it, the uniqueness is a contingent fact; if it could not have its like, the uniqueness is essential, and only God is thus unique.

(e) The mention of the word "like" brings us to the discussion of similarity in its relation to identity or sameness. Occasionally we have it disputed whether we may speak of separate objects as the same, or of the same event as recurring at successive intervals. Here we deem it unnecessary, and not in accordance with generally received usage, to preserve Aristotle's distinction of likeness in accidental quality (homoia hôn he poiotês mia) from sameness in essential constituents (tauta hôn mia hê ousia). Therefore, we take the liberty to assert sameness between separate objects, on the understanding that we mean sameness whether of kind or of quality, not numerical sameness; and that whether it is kind or whether it is quality that is meant, must appear from the context in which the term occurs. The same numerical act can never be repeated, though some have fancied that this is possible by Divine power; the same numerical object cannot be duplicated; but specifically or qualitatively the same act can be repeated, and the same object can have its duplicate. Again, so far as a substance continues identical with itself, physically the same ornaments may appear at an annual celebration for many generations. As a fact, the toughest materials are sure to undergo some change from wear and tear; but these minutiae may be disregarded, on the principle parvum pro nihilo reputatur, "a trifle counts for nothing." If it be urged against the continued identity of a single object, that identity is a relation, and that a relation requires two terms, we reply that on the side of the continued identity of a thing with itself, the two terms are sufficiently supplied by the existence of the one thing at different times: or even at one and the same time we may make, at least, a logical distinction between subject and predicate, and say A is identical with A. If it be further pressed upon us that identity, in the sense of likeness, is often predicated where the likeness is far from complete, the answer is that often we are satisfied with a superficial or partial likeness, as when we affirm of a certain event that it is history repeating itself. All we mean is that there are strong points of resemblance, and we are content to fasten upon these, to the neglect of perhaps equally conspicuous dissimilarities. We conclude, then, that the philosophic rule for predicating identity and sameness is not hard to discover; the real difficulties, when they occur, will fall upon physical investigation. A moral identity is one where, according to the common estimate, the thing, though really changed, is reputed the same, as a river, an often-mended garment, a restored cathedral.

(f) We may end the present section of our subject with an idea implied in the opposite of the notion from which we started: transcendental unity has division for its opposite, and division implies distinction. Distinction is defined "the absence of unity between a plurality of objects." In another shape, "those objects are distinct, of which one is not the other." All physically separate objects are evidently distinct; but there may be real distinction of objects where there is not actual separation, as between the soul and the body of a living man. Real distinction is constituted by the existence of some differentiating character, which is independent of the mind's advertence to it, and is not the creature of the mind's abstracting power. For instance, in a perfectly desert spot, which no man knows, the kernel of a nut on the tree would be really distinct from the shell, because a parte rei, "one is not the other." Real distinction has been subdivided into major and minor, whereupon unfortunately sharp controversies have arisen. Taking the liberty to settle our own use of terms, we may call that the major distinction which holds between what can be regarded as two different entities, whether these are each complete Beings in themselves or otherwise. But since it may be disputed whether every really distinct component will ipso facto deserve to be called an entity on its own account, we will give the alternative description, that the major distinction holds between different objects, each of which has more than a merely modal existence of its own. Then the minor real distinction will lie between an entity and its own merely modal realities, which are described as rather entities of that entity than simple entities, and which not even by miracle could be sustained apart from their subject. As an illustration, take the terrific speed of a cannon-ball. The velocity is a modal reality which may be present or absent from the projectile, and therefore is not simply identified with it; while it exists it is an ens entis: it has not Being of its own, but is the mode of a Being, which can exist without it. Yet this mode is not simply nothing, or it would not make all the difference between an easily supportable weight and a destroying momentum, which hardly the strongest armour-plate can withstand. Whether between the substantial and the merely modal reality there can be enumerated an intermediate one, such as the accident of quantity, according to the scholastic conception, depends on the doctrine held about the constitution of bodies: and we shall speak of it again in the chapter on Substance.

Next to real let us take mental distinction. If it is purely of the mind's creation, it is called distinctio rationis ratiocinantis. To find a quite satisfactory example is not so easy; but we may instance the case of synonyms and definitions, or cases where we employ different names for one object without reference to the varying signfication of the words, but only to their one constant "supposition."{6} Thus the "supposition," or the object for which the names stand is kept the same, but the signification changes when we use the terms "moon" (the measurer), "luna" (the shining one), "our satellite," "the queen of night," "Artemis," "the silvery crescent." As etymologists teach us, names first indicate clearly a definite aspect of something: then this indication is blurred and lost; in the end, the word stands for the thing, as we say, "without a meaning." "Heavens," a person might say, is a term "standing for the sky," but telling us nothing about it; Max Müller would interpose that the word means what is "heaved up on high." After different names have grown practically synonymous, it is a distinctio rationis ratiocinantis, a merely mental distinction, that we place between them: "heavens," "sky," firmament," "welkin" -- they are all one in sense to the ordinary understanding. Similarly, if we take names and titles of persons, there is only a distinction rationis ratiocinantis between Cicero and Tully; Queen of England and Empress of India; six and half a dozen; the subject and the predicate in the identical proposition, "business is business." More importance is attached to the distinctio rationis ratiocinatae or cum fundamento in re. Its test, at least in all finite things, is that whereas the distinction is not found ready made in the thing as such, yet this single thing does offer to the mind the ground for forming two concepts, of which one does not include the other. To recur to an example already used. This physical man is one individual nature: in him "man" and "individual" are not two different realities: yet the concept "man" is not the concept "individual:" the pair of ideas are objectively diverse, so far as each has its different meaning, though they are objectively identical so far as the two are verified in one identical object. Hence the distinction has to be established by abstraction in thought: but the thing itself is really what each of the separate predicates declares it to be.

The Infinity and the perfect simplicity of God have led to special explanations of how the virtual distinction, or the distinctio rationis ratiocinatae, can be applied to Him; but these we must leave to Natural Theology. To the Scotist distinction, however, we must pay a little attention, because when it previously came under our notice, we promised to give it further examination in due season. We saw that the Scotists within what, as a thing, is undifferenced, profess to find actually different "realitates," which they also call "formalitates." The meaning of formalities here needs to be accounted for; it will appear if we consider what it is to take a term formally. We take it formally when we take it as this or that thing in particular: individuality when considered precisely as individuality, humanity when considered precisely as humanity, are taken formally: they are taken exactly in the meaning of the words according to "comprehension;" they are considered according to the exact form which determines them to be what they are as signs. At once it can be shown that, though the "individual man," Peter, is one undifferenced object, yet the individuality, considered formally as the individuality, is not the humanity considered formally as the humanity. Hence the Scotists argue that there must be some real difference between them a parte rei, in the object itself: it need not be a difference between thing and thing, but at least it is a difference between a real formality and another real formality in one thing. Their opponents deny that the conclusion follows from the premisses: they affirm that our method of abstracting one aspect from another is such, that two different aspects can be taken of an object which in itself presents no real distinction of its own, to correspond with that which mentally we make. Of itself it offers to the mind a ground for drawing the distinction, but it does not do more. There is, then, a virtual{7} distinction, but there is not an actual one. This explanation seems intelligibly to meet all the requirements of the case; whereas the Scotist distinction between res and realitas is an enigma, which its proposers have no right to force upon our acceptance. Either they mean no more than our explanation admits, or if they do mean more the addition is unacceptable. For it would drive us to suppose, that wherever the weakness of our intelligence obliges us to conceive an object by a succession of ideas, one of which does not include the notes contained in another, there we come across some actual distinction in the object conceived. A doctrine which fits in better with a sound system of philosophy is, that what in itself is undistinguished is to us distinguishable by mental abstraction. Indeed, it gives us an insight into the nature of our minds to be made aware of the partial, piecemeal way in which we have to gather our knowledge, dividing objects which in themselves are not so divided. If it has been a fault of scholasticism to attribute over-freely to things distinctions that are but mental, the detection of this error should render us cautious in taking up too readily a doctrine like that of the Scotists. At the same time, the extreme minuteness with which the scholastics have tried to trace ascending degrees of reality in the distinctions which the intellect draws, and to mark off real from non-real distinctions, is a refutation of the charge which is sometimes made wholesale, that the scholastics rashly assumed any and every mental distinction to be also real. The fact is clearly seen to be that the scholastics were most keenly alive to the difference between the two orders, and that if they failed sometimes to apply their own terms successfully, the failure at least was due to ignorance about the nature of abstraction.

(2) The second property of Being into which we have to inquire is its Truth. Every cognizable Being cannot but be truly what it is: but we may still ask, Does every Being present such a relation to intellect as to be cognizable -- that is, to be a possible object of knowledge? or is there any genuine alogon, or surd, or extra-intelligible Being? Can we give such an account of the truth in things as to meet the Hegelian difficulty, that if we suppose material things to exist in themselves, and to furnish the data of sensation, then "we must take what is given just as it is, and have no right to ask whether and to what extent it is rational in its own nature"? Now we do hold that material things exist in themselves, and that we first come across them through the data of sense; hence we have to meet the objection, How can such objects be rational in their own nature? We shall not, however, complicate the question by taking it up from the hands of Hegel, and trying to answer his requirements. As usual, he upsets all terminology,{8} identifying the thing with its notion, and saying that, while it may be correct to say that a man is sick or is thievish, this cannot be a truth, for truth is the conformity of an object with its idea, or with itself, and man ought not to be sick or thievish, for thereby he departs from his proper type. Of the negative side to the question which we are asking, Must all things have in them the attribute of truth for the intellect? we find a more plain-spoken exponent in Mr. J. Cotter Morison, who at the opening of his book on The Service of Man, puts the inquiry: "When the human race shall have ceased to exist, would it be right to say that the truths recognized by the human mind will survive it?" And he replies, "This could only be maintained by an idealist who should place their existence in some extra-mundane eternal mind -- which may be an article of faith, but not of reason." He refers to a theory, like that of the late Mr. Green, that knowledge for men consists in an appropriation by them of the contents of an eternal consciousness which has all knowledge, and communicates it in measure to individuals; that reality consists in relations, and that intellect alone constitutes these relations. Green chimes in with our principles little more harmoniously than Hegel does; so we must leave the followers of these two to shift for themselves, while we take up Mr. Morison's question solely on our own responsibilities.

(a) At the outset we have distinctly to repudiate the agnostic position in regard to the origin of our own minds and of the whole universe. Without a positive doctrine on this head we are utterly helpless before the inquiry, Must all things have about them the attribute of truth? Hence we start with the assumptions, which are no mere assumptions, but conclusions established in the treatise on Natural Theology, that there is one, primal, infinite Being, the intelligent Creator of finite Beings, who works with a perfect understanding of all He does. His own Being is to Him perfectly intelligible, and, according to exemplars which it suggests to His mind, He sees all other realizable essences or Beings. It follows at once that nothing can be literally chaotic and out of all relation to mind. Hence every being is true, which was the proposition be proved. It is the simplest deduction from our to premisses. St. Augustine, then, is right in his remark that "the true is that which is," and the delicate Orientalism which does duty for our rude phrase, "to tell a lie," has a sound philosophical basis: the liar "says the thing which is not." For whatever is, is true, and a lie asserts what is not, even when its falsehood consists in denying a fact. There is, however, an obvious difference between a false assertion and a false negation; yet this is a vanishing difference, when we choose to take advantage of our liberty to reduce all propositions alike to the form of an assertion. Thus he whose assertion is false, directly "says the thing which is not:" he whose negation is false indirectly "says the thing which is not." To explain the latter point, those who dislike to have recourse to the logical artifice, whereby a negation is sometimes changed, as to shape, into the affirmation of a negative predicate, may fall back upon another doctrine on which logicians dwell. They tell us how no negation stands simply as a negative: it is prompted by positive reasons, so that what we affirm is the ground of what we deny. Hence a false negation would be prompted by some implicit or explicit false affirmation. So even in negations falsehood consists in "saying the thing which is not:" and it can never be logically untrue to say the thing which is, for whatever is, is true.{9} However, this is not part of our essential argument, but a remark by the way.

A few words from St. Thomas will emphasize our proof that every Being is true, though indeed there is little left to prove, after we have started with the supposition that the infinitely intelligent God is the Author of all things, possible and actual, "Because," writes the holy Doctor,{10} "all things are naturally referred to the standard of the Divine intellect, as works of art are referred to the laws of production in that art; it follows that everything is to be denominated true according as it has its proper form, which is the copy of the idea in the mind of the Great Artificer." Therefore, as God fails in none of His own immediate works, all things, inasmuch as they come from Him, are true; and, as we shall be imperatively called upon to explain later (under the heading c), even deformities in nature are still true. A little higher up in the same passage St. Thomas had remarked that all things, so far as they themselves are concerned, are at least potentially true in reference to our intellect also; not as to the master-mind which gives the rule of its own productions, but as to the observer's mind, upon which objects are apt to produce a true impression of themselves.

By way of contrast with the command which our Theistic position gives us in arguments like the above, we may note how ridiculous it would be for Mill, on his system, to pronounce every Being true: nor does he fall into the absurdity. There is for him no known type of intellect which is universal: there is no necessary, eternal truth: every part of our knowledge is as relative as our mere sensations, so that just as it would be preposterous to say, Every object must be perceptible to one of our senses, in like manner it is preposterous to say, Every object must present an intelligible aspect. We, on the contrary, deriving all the ultimate possibilities and natures of things from an eminently intelligent and intelligible source, feel secure in our assertion that every Being must have its truth as Being, or its ontological truth. It cannot consist of contradictory constituents: it must truly be the sort of thing which it is, and therefore it presents a rational object of thought. This we can safely maintain on condition that we have got a correct theory about the nature of thought itself; but those who follow Hume's principles in relation to the understanding of man, are hopelessly shut out from all science of Ontology. Unwarrantably enough, Hume himself equivalently teaches that all Being is true; for he regards it as a test of the intrinsic possibility of a thing, that it should involve no self-contradiction. But what is the absence of self-contradiction in a positive object, except the presence of some truly conceivable nature?

Ontology, however, is content to stop short at the declaration that every Being is true, without attempting to describe how this truth makes itself manifest to us; for it belongs to Psychology to discuss the origin of ideas. Our proposition, therefore., does not commit us to various theories which different people may fancy necessary to the support of our view, because such would be their way of interpreting our utterance, if they had to defend its words. For example, we do not consider ourselves bound to animate all objects for the purpose of rendering them more apt to communicate a knowledge of themselves to us: nor do we consider ourselves bound to endow all objects with at least some sort of obscure intelligence, on Schelling's principle, that "what is destitute of understanding cannot be an object of understanding," that what has not got some share of logical truth, cannot have ontological truth?{11} We have not, in this treatise, to prove that there are mere material things, without a spark of intelligence in them; but we may be allowed to complete our proposition that every Being is true, by a brief statement of the principles from which we enter upon the present inquiry.

Our view as to the identity and the difference between thought and thing is this: (i.) In God, who is the substantial thought, the two are identical, when it is His own Being which is the object of His knowledge: God is identically the infinite Object and the infinite Knowledge, and it is false to call Him the infinite Idea to the exclusion of His substantiality. When, however, God knows any created object, such object is not identical with His knowledge. (ii.) When man knows himself thought and thing are not identical, because man's knowledge is an act of the "accidental" order, and is not simply identified with his substance, least of all with his bodily substance: it is a real mode that comes and goes. (iii.) In an angel the case must be judged by doctrines, upon which we have not to enter. (iv.) When man knows an object as really distinct from himself, then such object is neither substantially nor accidentally identical with him, but is another thing. Here is our position against the idealism which would say that thought is the only reality: nothing is simply thought and no more, while some things are quite devoid and even incapable of thought.

(b) When we teach that truth is a property of all Being we do not insinuate that truth is a reality over and above the reality of Being; rather it is Being itself in relation to intellect.{12}. Every Being really presents an intelligible relation; so that while its truth is no superadded reality, it is real with the reality of Being. It is not a mere negation, though like other positive properties it may be described negatively, and is so described by Carleton, who places the truth of a thing in that whereby it is opposed to mere seeming or false appearances. "I like the view of Aureolus," he writes, "which is the opinion of many others, that transcendental truth consists in the fact that Being gives us ground for denying the bare semblance of Being. For as Being is opposed to non-Being, so Being as true is opposed to Being as simply apparent." He allows, nevertheless, the tenability of the opinion upheld by Suarez and others, that the truth of Being is its knowableness -- "ut idem sit verum ac ens cognoscibile:" and this seems the more radical account of the matter. To define truth by its opposition to mere seeming, is better indeed than the device of Heraclitus, who describes truth as that which is not hidden, to mê lêthon; but truth, as a positive property of Being, is best explained to consist in the fact, that every Being must stand in the relation of a possible object for intellectual perception. Thus truth is Being as related to mind, a relation which no Being can be without.

(c) To the Creative Mind every truth of Being must be actually and always known; but to the created mind the knowableness need not be more than potential, and need be even that only under an explanation. For if some objects, except in their highest generalities as things or substances, remained for ever beyond the power of knowledge communicated, as a fact, to creatures, no objection could be raised; but it would always remain possible that such objects should become, in some measure, intelligible to created faculties more highly endowed, whether naturally or supernaturally. Thus the knowledge would be beyond possibility to actual creatures, but not simply beyond all possibility of creatable Creatures.

The relation of ontological truth to finite mind is such that the former gives the rule to which the latter has to conform; the position is that of measure to measure-taker; and all that a creative genius among men can do is to dispose the given elements in conformity to the requirement of their own laws. Obediendo imperat: it is by submission that he rules. And even God Himself does not simply make truth by thinking it, and by thinking it as He likes: He too conforms, but His conformity is not a real subjection. For it means only that His intellect, as we mentally distinguish it from His essence, takes its rule from His essence, with which it is "really" identified, though "formally" it is not so: that is, His intellect, "formally" qua intellect, is not His essence, "formally" qua essence.

Another difference in the relationship of the Divine and of the created intellect to the truth of things is observable in the fact, that the human artist may quite fail in executing what he has conceived, or may get puzzled over the very formation of the conception; whereas no such failure besets the action of the Almighty. If some of His works never attain their normal perfection, if in nature there are abortions and monstrosities and frustrated processes, all this follows from interference or want of co-operation between the several secondary agencies; all this the Creator fully foresaw and permitted, as regards every consequence actual and possible. So explained, nature's widest departure from right order is not a falsification of the Divine ideas. These ideas are, as they are called, prototypic, and that character none of the miscarriages in the universe destroy. The very strife of things follows according to law, and might absolutely be deduced beforehand from the data. There is, however, something specially exceptional in free transgression of the moral law, whereby man departs from "true" conduct, in the sense in which Scripture calls all virtue truth and all sin a lie. Such departure from the type is not calculable from the physical data, it is no mathematical sequence; it is the nearest approach to an upsetting of our proposition in its universality, "All being is true," yet it does not succeed in the overthrow. The above statements are sufficient to meet the difficulties; but a refutation of these latter might be made by taking them higher up in the principles of Metaphysics. We are dealing with Being as Being, as ens essentiae, with Being also as it is one. Now Being so taken is always some one essence as such; and this cannot but be true to its own nature, and therefore to the Divine ideas. Whatever untruth comes in will be due to relationships between different Beings, even though these latter be only the different parts, constituting a compound Being. But any Being considered as an essence is necessary,{13} eternal, and immutable. It cannot suffer change of itself without ceasing to be that Being; hence it is of its own nature true, and we will add good also, For this is the attribute which we have next to consider, and the consideration of which will throw fuller light on what we have just said. It is convenient before we begin the explanation of goodness to have had occasion to point out how, in assigning attributes to Being, we are primarily concerned, not specifically with the determinations of Being and their interrelations, but with Being in general as ens essentiae. Our inquiry has first taken this shape. Is Being, regarded as such, One and True? And having settled these two points in the affirmative, we have next to go on with the investigation, Is each one and true Being also good? can it, as Being, ever be pronounced bad? However, before plunging into the deep question about goodness, we will put an end to that about truth, by showing how to dispose of what may be estimated as one of the prime difficulties against our doctrine.

(d) It is a fact which is ever being dinned into our ears, that the world in which we live is a deceitful world, a world of false appearances, and this even in the physical order.

The smoothest seas will oft-times prove
  To the confiding bark untrue;
And if man trust the skies above,
  They can be treacherous too.

But more than this -- and here is the point with which we wish to deal -- in the world of commerce, all is declared to be "shoddy," and "pinchbeck," and "Brummagem." Hence a mercantile man, whose life-long experiences of the tricks of trade have inclined him to regard the world as a large market for the sale of spurious articles under the guise of genuine, or at least for passing things off as other than what they exactly are, may quote his own knowledge as dead against the proposition that "every Being is true." His mistake is simply about the meaning of the words: taken as they are intended by us, the words of our proposition merely assert the plain fact that everything is just what it is, not that everything is just what a vendor would have it thought to be, or tries to make it appear to be. The most adulterated or counterfeit article thus preserves its ontological truth; and so does even a lying utterance. For the liar thinks what he does think, and says what he does say, though he deliberately says other than he thinks. There is moral untruth, but not ontological.

(3) (a) Goodness, as a property of Being, is apt extremely to puzzle the young student, because of the apparent trickishness of the notion. When he handles it for a length of time together, it is perpetually slipping through his fingers; and when he picks it up again it often seems to have changed its shape. But most perplexing of all is it when he comes across the doctrine that to regard goodness as a property of Being is to reverse the right order of concepts; that goodness is the most fundamental of all, and that upon it Being rests as a sort of attribute. About this theory it will be useful to say a few words, in the course of which it will be necessary to bear in mind, how easily, since Being, its Unity, its Truth, and its Goodness are all the same thing under different aspects, their relative positions can be altered by changing the point of view; and the chief question is whether some of these changes are not too violent to meet with our approval.

As a variation upon the procedure of the Eleatics, who made fixed Being the only reality and denied the changeable to be real, Euclid and the Megaric school{14} put the good in place of Eleatic Being, and said that it was the one, constant, immutable element. "The Megarics," writes Cicero,{15} "affirmed that alone to be good which is one, and like, and always the same," oion, homoion, tauton. No exact system can be gathered from their teachings, and they are mentioned merely as instances of those who regarded good as the most radical notion. Plato{16} often tends towards the same doctrine in which he is followed by various Platonizers. St. Thomas thinks it worth his while to state and answer the difficulty which he finds in the fact, that the Pseudo-Dionysius{17} seems to place the Good, as a Divine name, before Being. Scotus Erigena, however, is one of the boldest assertors of the preeminence of good above essence: he says, "Not only those things which are, are good, but even those which are not, are called good. Nay, the things which are not, are called much better than the things which are; for in so far as they transcend essence they approach to the superessential good," that is God, whom Erigena styles, Nothing; "but in so far as they participate of essence, they are separated from the superessential Good."

If, however, we find the good in various ways put at the root of Being, the like, to some extent, is observable of the One and the True. Plotinus takes as his starting-point the One or the Good indifferently, but not Being (to on); and those whose tendency it is to regard thought as that which constitutes the order of things, will incline to make truth fundamental, and to reverse in some degree Plato's maxim that Being is the measure of thinking.{18} Parmenides{19} identifies the thought and the thing; and in Kantian or Hegelian language, we are told{20} that "to say that the real world is the intelligible world, is to say that reality is something at which we arrive by a constructive process," that is, the mind in some way makes its own reality or truth.

St. Thomas had dealt with the question whether we should regard Being as more fundamental than the good; and his reply is that{21} "in the order of reason, Being is prior to the good. For Being is the first object which the mind conceives, because it is precisely that according to which a thing is cognizable: everything is cognizable inasmuch as it is in act," inasmuch as it is not merely potential but actual. It is only from the actual that the potential can be known; never can it be known directly from itself. It will be observed that St. Thomas is speaking rather of ens existentiae than of ens essentiae; rather of Being the participle, than of Being the noun: whereas we, for the sake of clear consistency throughout our exposition, must speak of ens essentiae when we defend the truth of all Being. Nevertheless, we may adopt his language and make it our own. For, whether we speak of existence, or whether we speak of essence in its widest sense of a somewhat capable of receiving existence, in either case we can apply the maxim, which, referring to priority not of time but of nature, says, Prius est esse quam esse tale -- "To be at all is a more fundamental conception than to be this or that." On which principle Being is more fundamental than being good; or Being is the subject and goodness is its attribute. Of course the two are one identical reality; but in the order of mental distinction we have a valid reason for choosing to regard the mental relation of one to the other in the light under which we have considered the case. At the same time we do not deny to others the possibility of taking the two words, Being and Goodness, as practically synonymous, and even of using the expression that a certain amount of goodness or perfection is what is necessary to constitute a Being, or is a condition of Being. At the same time we claim for ourselves the right to rest satisfied with the order given by St. Thomas.{22} "The intellect first apprehends Being itself; next, it apprehends its own knowledge of Being; and thirdly, its own appetition{23} of Being; therefore the succession of ideas is, Being, Truth, Goodness. It will be observed that oneness, which is estimated or a different ground, is omitted in the enumeration. After these few remarks on a frequently raised question of priority, we must now inquire how and why every Being is good.

(b) By a sort of cross-division we might take the intellect as understanding the act of volition, and the will as willing the act of intellect. Thus truth would be referred not only to intellect, but also to will, and goodness would be referred not only to will, but also to intellect. But it is here found convenient that we should keep to one reference at a time; on which supposition Being, in relation to intellect, has just been shown to be true, and we have next to prove that Being in relation to appetite or will is good. Plato, in the Sixth Book of his Republic, says that "the good is the object which all pursue, and for the sake of which always they act;" in correspondence with which words, Aristotle, towards the beginning of his Ethics, describes the good as the object of all appetite.{24} No small confusion is introduced into the subject, because of the variety of aspects under which we can regard the good as appetible, and because of the great tendency to slide inadvertently from one point of view to another. It is well, therefore, that we should, at the outset, explicitly direct our attention to four conceivable aspects. Each Being taken in itself, according to its own nature as an ens essentiae, has a certain degree of perfection which constitutes its intrinsic goodness. Now (1) if this Being is intelligent, it can appreciate its own goodness, and make it the term of an act of approval by the will; if, however, the Being is non-intelligent (2) we can regard its goodness as becoming an object of disinterested approval in the will of an intelligent contemplator, who wishes the thing to have the perfection which it possesses; or (3) by endowing the thing with a sort of metaphorical will, we can imagine it as pleased with its own degree of perfection. Hitherto we have been taking the thing always as bonum sibi, good in its own regard; we can further take it (4) as bonum alteri, good in regard to something really other than itself. These are four aspects which are often usefully distinguished.

Occasionally, another principle of distinction proves convenient. Every good is bonum alteri, good to another: but this otherness may be merely logical, and then it corresponds to the bonum sibi of the first division; or it may be bonum alteri, in the sense of real otherness. We might stop short here: but a few subdivisions of the second member which are easily intelligible, will add clearness to future details. The real otherness is greatest when we have two distinct substances, one helpful to the other: it is not so great when one substantial part of the same body helps another, or helps the whole body: it is least when it is only an accidental quality or disposition which perfects the substance to which it belongs. Bread is good for man; his own eyes are good for man; the movements gone through in exercise are good for man: these examples illustrate the successive degrees. With the above distinctions to guide our thoughts, as to the possible terms of reference towards which a thing may be said to be good, we may proceed to establish our proposition, which is, that every Being is good.

So much Being as each thing has, so much perfection caeteris paribus must it have; and this perfection is good in itself.{25} Here is a more infallible rule than Falstaff's, "The more flesh, the more frailty." Therefore, if presently we can make ourselves secure about that caeteris paribus, as we shall be able to do in the explanations which follow, every Being is proved to be bonum sibi, or good as taken absolutely in itself: and it may be viewed in any of the three aspects mentioned in the first of our two tables of division.

Furthermore, there is no Being that cannot discharge some good office in regard to something else: which shows that every Being is likewise bonum alteri, good as taken relatively to another -- to something which is really, and not only logically another. As Hooker puts it, "All things, God alone excepted, besides the nature which they have in themselves, receive some perfection from other things." It is not affirmed that everything is good in regard to everything else, or good in every respect even to anything else; it is maintained only that every Being has some use in regard to something else, as when rubbish serves our purpose of filling up a hole, or pain warns a man off from what would prove utter destruction to his life. A new manufacture occasionally gives a market-value to what before was unsaleable. If, therefore, we illustrate our proposition from the region of matter alone, we can put the case compendiously, by reference to what is given in last chemical analysis. There we find matter ultimately made up of certain elements which we cannot alter; each of these has a definite nature of its own, that is, a certain perfection or goodness in itself; each, moreover, is capable of entering into relation with some others for an end which is good. What combinations are good and what not, must be judged by the purposes which are helped or hindered in the several instances; and what is bad under one aspect, will generally be found good under another. Yet this does not put even relative good and bad on a par, and making it as philosophical to say, "Every Being is bad," as to say, "Every Being is good." No doubt any finite Being may enter into relations which are bad for itself or for another: nevertheless, badness is never Being as such, nor the mere natural tendency of Being as such.

We have been using perfection as synonymous with Being, and the right so to do needs a word of explanation. The perfect is, etymologically, that which is fully made, or is a thorough piece of work; in this sense it cannot apply to God. But when the perfect is described as, "that which wants nothing of all that is proper to its nature," then God also may be called perfect. Being is perfection because it is either a complete nature, or something which contributes towards the completion or the adornment of some nature.

The doctrine that every Being is good sounds very odd to some, who fancy that there must be jugglery in the words, and that, perhaps, "good for nothing," or "good for doing mischief," is included under good; therefore we will rehearse the whole teaching in the authoritative language of St. Thomas. He lays it down that as truth is what intellect tends to, so goodness is what the will or appetite tends to; yet with this difference, that whereas the true is so denominated primarily from the intellect, the good is so denominated primarily from the thing.{26} Each of the two properties, however, is adequately denominated only by refer. ence to both faculty and object. As regards the faculty of appetition, he distinguishes the appetite roused and guided by knowledge (appetitus elicitus) from the appetite in a lower sense (appetitus naturalis), namely, the tendency{27} of everything towards that which is suitable to its nature. Under this wide sense of "appetite" he defines the Good, in most general terms, as that which gives perfection, either complete or partial, to a thing, and so is appetible. "Good has for its meaning perfection, and the perfect is the object of appetite."{28} Rather, however, than say with some modern evolutionists, that a thing is good because it is appetible, St. Thomas would say that a thing is appetible because it is good -- a principle which would allow for acquired appetites, and the effects of custom. For each Being has a perfection suitable to its own nature, towards which perfection certain other things are of themselves conducive; this perfection and this conduciveness form their goodness, and on their goodness follows their appetibility.{29} Thus of the two definitions, Bonum est quod alicui convenit -- "Good is what is suitable to some Being," and Bonum est quod alicui appetibile est -- "Good is what is appetible by some Being," the latter is best regarded as consequent on the former, and not the other way about. When, however, it is said alicui bonum, alicui appetibile, the "otherness" which is required between that which is good and that to which it is good, need not always amount to a real distinction; a mental or logical distinction will suffice. Because there always is some otherness real or logical, goodness is to that extent always relative: but as the logical otherness is not real, the goodness with which it is concerned may be called absolute (bonum sibi), by comparison with the other kind of goodness (bonum alteri), which is therefore termed especially relative. Of course in its fullest sense absolute goodness means goodness without alloy or limit -- infinite goodness, just as absolute perfection means infinite perfection; still finite natures have each their absolute goodness and perfection, so far as they have all that properly belongs to them. The only difficulty is that often we cannot precisely fix what a "nature" is; but that difficulty belongs to some special science, not to General Metaphysics. In the case of absolute goodness, then, according to our present use of the phrase, a thing has, or may be imagined to have, a sort of complacency in that which it is; for, says St. Thomas, "everything already in possession of Being, naturally likes that Being, and preserves it to the best of its power."{30} Contrasted with this good of rest in an end attained (in fine quiescere), is the other good which is tended to as an end yet to be attained (tendere in finem).{31} Or good may be divided into the good which a thing has, the good which it wants to acquire for itself, and the good which it seeks to diffuse to others. If in the case of material things this wanting, or seeking, or appetite is only figurative, St. Thomas justifies the metaphor by usage, quoting Boethius, who says: "Providence has given to created things this chief principle ot permanence, that, as far as they can, they have a natural desire to persist in Being; wherefore you can in no way doubt that all things whatsoever have a natural tendency to seek their own continuance and to avoid destruction."{32} We may add the words of a yet higher authority, St. Paul:{33} "The expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God; for the creature was made subject to vanity, not wittingly, but by reason of Him that made it subject in hope. But the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain till now." In the broad sense, then, of the words desire and appetite, every Being, according to St. Thomas, seeks after good: every Being is good, and actively tends to good, for every Being in itself, and every activity in itself, constitute or effect some perfection -- some nature or some energy which as such cannot but be good. Thus Manichaeism as a theory is quite excluded.

The security of the whole doctrine, as expounded on our own chosen plan, consists in resting it upon Being as Ens Essenticae; no Ens Essentiae, whether substantial or accidental, can be otherwise than good as an Ens Essentiae. St. Thomas puts the point thus,{34} "Every essence is natural to some thing or other. Because, if it is in the order of substances, then it is the very nature itself; if it is in the order of accidents, it must follow from some substantial principle, and so be natural to its own substance, even though to another substance it may not be naturally adapted. Whereas something evil in itself could be natural to nothing; for it is the character of evil to be the privation of something native to an object, or due to it; but the privation of what is natural to an object, cannot be natural to anything. Hence what is natural to a thing is its good if it is present, its evil if it is absent. Thus no essence is in itself bad."

(c) The doctrine that every Being is good is not the same as the false doctrine, sometimes conveyed by writers like Walt Whitman, that every Being is equally good; nor with the other false doctrine that there is no real evil in the world. It is only a pseudo-philosophy which can pretend to be so reverential for facts as to consider every fact equally sacred, and to pronounce a life primarily devoted to discovering facts about the structure of one tiny insect well spent, indeed better spent, than a life primarily devoted to the study of theology, where facts are less manifest to the senses. On this theory, a man who was so busy with his microscope that he had no time even to inquire about religion, would be put down as deserving a happy futurity, if unexpectedly he should find himself existing after death and confronted with God as his Judge. Our doctrine, while it pronounces every Being good with a perfection of its own, recognizes different degrees of perfection according to the rank of the several Beings which make up a gradationa] or hierarchical universe. Next and more important still is our assertion, that not only are some Beings less perfect than others, but that there is real evil to be met with in the world. The equal mind with which some artists, who call themselves "realists," profess to view all things, is bad enough in art; it is worse as an explicit philosophy. Of art we are told,

With equal feet she treads an equal path,
Nor recks the goings of the sons of men;
She hath for sin no scorn, for wrong no wrath,
No praise for virtue and no tears for pain.

Asserting that good and evil are two contraries and that both are to be found side by side, what we have yet to explain is that which the schoolmen call the precise formality of evil -- namely, the character wherein exactly its badness consists. The said schoolmen have entered minutely into the question, investigating not merely bad things, but the precise reason why things are bad.

We may begin by taking it as clear that there cannot be a thing wholly evil, but that there is always "some soul of goodness in things evil;" the more correct expression for which would be, "some badness in things good." For as the axiom has it, malum est in bono subjecto, every instance of evil must be found in a subject which of its own nature is good. Bacon's saying that "Being without well-being is a curse," cannot be taken to mean that well-Being is a real addition to Being, without which it would have no desirableness. As we have already shown, Being as Being must be good: so that it is not the good that is the character to be accounted for with difficulty, but the evil. How into good Being can evil be introduced? and what is it when introduced? The scholastics reply not that the whole evil thing, but that just precisely its badness -- the malitia which is in the malum and constitutes it malum -- is never a positive entity, but always some privation of positive entity in subjecto bono, that is, in an entity which, as such, is good. Our task then is to show, that badness can in every instance be regarded as a "privation," which is defined to be "the absence of a perfection which is by nature due to some subject." Not to see is in man a privation, and is called blindness; not to see in a stone is a mere negation, and is not properly called blindness.

As we divided good into absolute and relative, so we will apply the same division, as far as the nature of the case will allow, to bad. Thus we get the following heads: (1) A simple substance admits of no absolute evil in itself as a substance; for it is a definite nature, good in itself, which simply either exists or does not exist; and the only evil it can allow of would be in its accidents, as, for example, when an angel puts forth a perverse act of will, sins, and is afflicted with punishment. (2) A compound substance, because it is made up of parts, is more liable to evil. For if we take these parts according to the rough division of distinguishable members, it is clear that a limb may be missing, or out of its proper position, or distorted in shape. But if we go deeper into the question, then on the scholastic theory of matter and form even in compound substances, no evil can be rigorously substantial; for the schoolmen regard every compound substance as due to a single indivisible form, which gives determination to matter otherwise quite indeterminate. According to this supposition the evil would not be in the essential substance: it could only affect the accidental parts. If, however, we may take a rougher estimate of compound substances, we can say that in it relativo-absolute badness is possible. We call it relativo-absolute not for any recondite reason, but simply because it is relative inasmuch as it is due to the bad relationships of parts, which are ill-arranged, or misshapen, or have some of their number wanting, while it is absolute inasmuch as it affects the thing regarded in itself, and not merely in reference to other things. In the last place (3) there is evidently relative badness between thing and thing, inasmuch as one destroys the perfection of another. Thus on a complete survey it will appear the evil always arises from some relation, either between the accidents of a substance and their subject, or between substantial parts within the same subject, or between different subjects. Therefore the question now takes the shape, how can evil arise out of the relations of Beings? If each Being, as such, is good, if all the accidents and activities of Being in themselves are good, how from these elements can evil originate? How can we have in the consequent what is not given in the several antecedents?

We must fall back upon first principles. God is the very Being, ipsissimum ens, which implies the exclusion of all imperfection. Therefore Being in itself, and in its plenitude, is nothing but perfection, Creatures, however, as the Fathers of the Church sometimes put it, are made up of Being and not-Being -- an expression which may be much misapprehended. It would be a gross blunder to regard this not-Being as a positive component; it stands for the limitations of Being. If we may borrow an illustration from another treatise, it is there shown that error never comes of intelligence as such: there is no intelligence which is strictly erroneous, and the intelligence of error can mean only the detection of error, which is a knowledge of truth. Error, however, though not springing from intellect, is rendered radically possible by the limitations of intellect. What is impossible to infinite knowledge is possible to finite understanding. Similarly, evil has its root, not in Being, but in the limitations of Being. Error and evil are not mere limitations, but they supervene upon limitations. What supervenes in the case of evil is a relative unsuitableness between two or more objects that are brought into some sort of connexion, which they are incapable of forming without detriment to one or all of the members.

An example will best show how evil so brought about can be reduced to the idea of a privation, however positive it may at first sight seem in itself. To be fair, we will not choose an instance of the more negative order, but distinctly of the positive kind, so far as that can be. Some disease germs appear to take no hold on the human body, unless there is what physicians call the appropriate morbid diathesis, or the appropriate nidus; in which case we should already have evil existing before the precise point of time at which we want to suppose it being produced; for there would be a bad predisposition. But there are poisons that will destroy the healthiest frames, and we might take their action for an illustration; it will, however, be more convenient if we imagine some fungoid growth, which could be started at pleasure on the surface of any human body. Upon the healthy flesh, then, the foreign growth is supposed to be introduced, and begins to feed on its substance. It is common to call such fungoid matter itself the disease or the evil; but strictly this is not so, for it is rather the cause of the evil which is in the man, not in it; it thrives and is well, the man wastes away and is ill; it, so to speak, triumphs, and man is defeated. The evil, then, is in man, and is reducible to a privation in that he has not the flesh which he ought to have, or the nutriment for it which he ought to have, or the composition and disposition of its parts which he ought to have; for an alien organism has robbed him of his natural due. Similarly, cancer eats away the human flesh; it is itself healthy, prosperous and figuratively happy, while man is diseased, unprosperous, and literally unhappy, because of an evil which consists in a privation of proper structure in the part affected. But, it is urged, suppose we introduce into the human system not a germ that thrives on man's substance, but some mineral matter that simply obstructs the way. If a child swallows a plaything that sticks in the throat, stops the breathing, and produces death, how is there privation in this case? Again, the evil is not in the plaything: at least, we may suppose that to be neither better nor worse in itself, for its novel situation; but the evil is that the lungs suffer. privation of fresh air, the blood, deprived of its proper constituents, fails to do its proper work, and so privation upon privation succeeds, till the child is deprived of the vital conditions and dies. The mere positive presence of the obstruction would not kill; the mere positive presence of carbon in the blood would not kill, unless something positive were taken away which was necessary for life. Some foreign substances are lodged in man's body, but because they stop no vital function which ought to go on, they do not produce evil. No man dies of a simple addition to his body, which effects no subtraction. Whence it appears that the agent from which evil proceeds may be, and even must be, positive; its effect may be, and even must be, positive, so far as no positive activity can result in simple nothingness or annihilation; nevertheless, the badness, ipsa malitia, is never the positive Being as such, but some privation of Being. The evil in the bullet-wound is neither the mass of lead, nor the blood that soaks the earth, nor the flesh which is torn, nor the veins which are opened; all these, so far as they are positive entities, are good; the evil in them is reducible to privations of several kinds -- privations of all those conditions which ought to be there and are not. If this doctrine should still be doubtful to the reader because he has difficulty in distinctly tracing evil to its form of a privation, he may satisfy himself indirectly in this way. He can convince himself of the propositions, that all Being as such is good; that spilt blood, lacerated flesh, flesh putrified and dissolved into less complex compounds, have, as entities, their own perfection; next, he can convince himself that evil is not a mere negation; and lastly, he can draw the conclusion that badness in itself, since it is neither entity as such, nor non-entity as such, must be something intermediate, namely, a privation. Here is a doctrine which might seem a useless refinement; but in the days of the Manichean controversy, it proved very serviceable in the hands of the Fathers, who had to show that no original Principle of Evil need be postulated as coeval with the Principle of Good, in order to account for what is bad in the world.

Suarez developes the argument in the eleventh disputation of his Metaphysics. He fully admits that{35} "a positive form can be in disagreement with a subject, and to be in disagreement with another is the same thing as to be evil. As, therefore, the good, in the sense of what agrees with another, means no more than the perfection of one thing, along with the implied signification of something else, such that the said perfection is suitable or due to it; so the bad which is the opposite of the good, has for its precise meaning nothing else than the perfection of one thing, along with the implied signification of something else, such that the said perfection is in disagreement with it, or is repugnant to it." In these words the author makes ample provision for all that is positive in evil; evil is in a positive and good subject; it comes from an agent positive and good; yet its precise badness, ipsa malitia qua talis, is a privation. "The unsuitableness itself belongs to the category of privation; it lies in the unfitness for suitable union or composition"{36} between the form which is positive and good in itself, and the subject which is positive and good in itself. These expressions must not be pushed too far. The evil of a parasitic disease is not simply that a morbid growth is under privation of the power to maintain itself without injuring man, while man is under privation of the power to feed it without loss to his own integrity. These two inabilities are not privations, if the two growths are considered as possible apart; for it is then not due to either that it should be able to accommodate the other. What now lives as a parasite, perhaps, can also maintain a non-parasitic life: in which case the two lives are compatible. Their mutual unsuitableness does not become an evil till a combination takes place which is detrimental to at least one side. Here begins the badness; for however good man may be to his destroying parasite, it is bad to him. The evil is neither a positive Being nor a positive activity of Being as such; it is the privation of some perfection, the absence of a good that is needful. What the parasite takes from man leaves him in the evil plight. "The evil," says St. Thomas,{37} "which attaches to some good, is the privation of some further good;" "evil is the deficiency of some good which ought to be present."{38}

It is likely to have struck the reader, that when evil is said to arise as a result from the unsuitableness there is between two finite beings as regards the union of their several perfections, -- for example, from such an incompatibility as there is between the successful propagation of a disease germ and the successful functioning of the system at whose expense it feeds, -- the difficulty is to fix on a standard of good. Clearly if the disease germ kills the man we call that evil; if the human system proves too strong for the germ and kills it, we call that good: because we can give a decided preference here to the human organism. But in the struggle for existence between life and life in the mere animal or vegetable order, or between compound and compound in the mineral order, frequently we have no absolute standard. In these cases we either give no preference, or else we give it on the understanding that it is relative to present purposes, and may be reversed under other requirements. In general we make our standard the adaptability to ordinary human uses. On this criterion water in the liquid state is often pronounced good; in the frozen condition, evil. Likewise we may at times have regard to the universe as a whole, or to our planet in particular, or to the interests of our nation above other. nations. In living beings there is a healthy standard which is scarcely to be found in chemical combinations, among which the chemist comes to have a wonderful impartiality, being as interested in a process of decomposition as of composition or of preservation. Thus it appears that we must allow for the relativity of good, without allowing that good is a purely relative term; for we can fix some points of absolute worth.

The conclusion is that we are neither pessimists nor optimists; that we admit evil, but not any essentially evil principle: that we maintain every Being as such, and every activity of Being as such, to be good, yet so that out of the interrelations of finite perfections evil may ensue for want of the power of mutual accommodation. When evil does thus result the badness itself is neither a positive Being, nor a positive activity of Being; it is the privation of some perfection, the absence of a good that is needful. Moral evil because of the peculiar nature of free-will, which does not act simply with the mathematical necessity of its nature, presents special difficulties in the way of the reduction of evil to a privation; but to these we have paid no special attention because they belong to another treatise.{39} We are content to point out that there is a distinction between the physical evil which results from intrinsically and separately good agencies, working according to the rigorous necessities of their nature, and that evil which is not chargeable apon nature, but upon the responsibility of the individual who may use or abuse his powers at will.

There is, however, one evil which is found both in the sensible and in the rational order, and which seems to present peculiar obstacles when we try to show that it is privation; which, moreover, we cannot fairly transmit for consideration to another treatise. Pain seems to be a positive evil; for it is not reducible to the absence of pleasure, nor, on the theory that some painful positions bring pleasure along with them, because of the sympathy received or because of an exalted state of feeling, can we argue that pain is only pleasure in disguise. We can, however, urge as a preliminary point that pain has its decided uses, so decided that a cautious man would think twice before he voted, supposing the case was put to the plebiscite, that pain should be utterly abolished from the universe. Pain is a most useful monitor against the approach of disease and death to the body; it is the only check which we have on the deeds of some of the criminal classes; it offers occasion for the highest human virtues. Still it is a sign, that however wonderful be the perfection displayed in that most wonderful of things, consciousness, the created consciousness is what theologians called a mixed perfection -- that is, a kind of perfection which involves an element of imperfection. Finite objects have always this drawback, that the consequence of the limitations in their nature is at least a liability to evil. Created consciousness, while it is the very condition for being able to enjoy pleasure, has the defect that it is also the very condition for possible pain.

Pain is, first of all, in the sensitive faculties. Here we should have no difficulty in showing that so far as concerns the material conditions, the evil in the nervous system is a privation of some connatural state. There remains still the feeling of pain in sensation, which feeling is bad; and this we will recur to when we have brought down pain in the intellectual order to a similar residuum. Pain in this latter order is difficult to analyze. We cannot, to begin with, assign a deranged condition of parts to the soul, answering to what we said about the derangement of the nervous organism. On the other hand, what we know of the punishment of lost angels, and of lost souls of men in the disembodied condition, suggests the idea of a pain in the very substance of the soul. Again it might be asked whether, when the body is in pain, a sympathetic condition of pain is not taken up in the substance of the soul. Whatever other answer may be given to these difficulties, at any rate pain, as pain, must always be a conscious state, and consciousness in creatures, the only beings capable of pain, is not a substance, but the accident of a faculty, whatever may be the precise distinction of that faculty from its substance, whether real or only mental. Now pain as found in consciousness will be, under one aspect, the perception of some evil either moral or simply physical. Moral evil we have already passed over; and physical evil, as perceived by the intelligence to exist between objects, could be reduced to privation. There stands over, nevertheless, the pain of feeling. Painful feeling, then, whether in the sensitive or in the intellectual sphere, is the evil that has yet to be reconciled with our proposition, "Every Being is good."

We will not ground the reconciliation on the doctrine that Being and consciousness are the two great opposites; and that therefore positive evil in consciousness is no proof of positive evil in Being. At the same time it is fair to appeal to a parallel case. Against the thesis, "Every Being is true," it is no exception that there are such things as positively erroneous judgments; for the error in such judgments is logical, not ontological, while our thesis is concerned with truth as ontological. Moreover, the positive error is not a positive perception, for it results from an act of the intellect, which passes beyond strictly intellectual procedure. To return, however, to pain as in consciousness; this is in some way an entity. But what kind of an entity? Psychologists have great difficulty in determining what that feeling is, that sense of pleasure and pain, that emotion, which is found in the exercise of thought and will. It seems extravagant to teach that such feeling has as much right to be distinguished from thought and will, as these two have to be distinguished from each other; the more moderate doctrine seems to be, that precisely because thought and will are conscious acts, they will carry with them the character of pain or pleasure, though sometimes these characters may be reduced, if not absolutely, at least equivalently to nothing. Feeling is thus a character of conscious action. Painful feeling in a certain sense, has a positive opposition to pleasant, for it is its contrary, and not its mere contradictory. Are we, then, to be distressed that we cannot, in pain, discover the privation of some element, such that in this privation the very formality of its evil consists? We think not. We found that in assigning privations we always reduced evil to a defective composition of elements either of substantial or accidental elements, or of both together. Now pain considered simply as a feeling does not allow of analysis into parts. We may analyze the objects or motives which cause pain: we may in them discover the privations that are evil. We may likewise distinguish one pain as different in quantity or quality from another. But within a single painful feeling, regarded as a feeling, we cannot distinguish an element which is present, and another element, the absence of which is a privation. The conclusion is that the evil of pain offers no valid objection to our general doctrine, for we see clear reason why our ordinary analysis in the case proposed cannot be fully completed.

(d) Being in its reference to the intellect has been shown to he true; in its reference to the will it has been shown to be good, and if we had what some assert, a distinct faculty for the perception of the beautiful Being in reference to that would give us the beautiful. But we have no such special faculty, so we must manage to find the beauty of Being in its reference either to intellect, or to will, or to both. Thus we shall identify the beautiful with the good, or the true, or both. Identifying it with the good, St. Thomas refers the latter in this case, not as before, to an appetite for the possession of it, but to the intelligence of it; he makes the beautiful to be the good as affording contemplative delight, apart from the desire to possess.{40} "The beautiful," he says, "is the same thing as the good, from which it is only mentally distinguished. For as the good is the object of all appetite (quod omnia appetunt), its nature is to give rest to the appetite. But the special nature of the beautiful is, that by its mere contemplation the appetite is set at rest; hence those senses which belong most to the cognitive order are most apt to perceive the beautiful, namely, the eyes and the ears which especially minister to the reason; for we speak of beautiful sights and sounds, but not of beautiful tastes and odours. Whence it appears that the beautiful adds to the notion of the good a peculiar relation to the cognitive powers; and while the good is that object which simply gratifies the appetite, the beautiful is that which gratifies by its mere apprehension." In another place{41} he repeats nearly the same words, except that instead of referring both properties to a "quieting of the appetite," he distinguishes appetite and intelligence, and says that while the good and the beautiful are the same really, yet as mentally distinguished "the good properly has reference to the appetite (that being good which is the object of all appetite, for which reason rood has the character of an end, and appetite the character of a movement to this end): on the other hand the beautiful has reference to the cognitive power, for those things are beautiful which please in their very contemplation." We may borrow an illustration from Cousin,{42} who contrasts the artistic delight of gazing upon a beautifully arranged banquet, with a fear perhaps to spoil it by beginning to eat, and the gastronomic delight at the prospect of so many good things to eat. As the reason for the delight of the intellect in the pure contemplation of the beautiful, St. Thomas assigns the pleasure which the mind experiences at beholding therein its own likeness{43} -- something which presents a rational order. "When an object is such that it offers several elements at least virtually distinct, and these elements conspire to give to the whole a unity, each part bearing a proportion to the total nature of the thing; then there is offered to the mind an object which delights the gaze, and is called beautiful." Hence the beautiful lies in proportion, in unity amid variety, or in the combination of the three elements, completeness of the whole (integritas, perfectio), harmonious relation of parts (debita proportio, consonantia), and, shed over all, a certain definiteness, clearness, lustre or splendour (claritas).{44} What will strike the ordinary student of art when he reads the theory of St. Thomas, will be its extreme generality, and the utter absence from it of all practical detail. This is only what was to be expected. For just as the metaphysical account of the good, that it is Being in its relation to appetite or will, leaves a whole treatise to be written upon what actions are morally good, and what bad: so the metaphysical account of the beautiful leaves the several aesthetic treatises, in different departments, to be yet excogitated. No painter or sculptor is invited to attend the school of General Metaphysics, on the promise, that what he there learns will act as substitute for a long technical training in his special art, or will enable him to judge definitively between rival styles. Ontology simply professes to take the highest generality, Being, and to point out how connected, and even identified with its two properties, truth and goodness, is another property, beauty; which arises when the mere contemplation of the good, apart from its possession, gives, pleasure to the mind, because of a perceived order in elements really or virtually distinct from another. If, therefore, in General Metaphysics the treatment of the beautiful is very general and very metaphysical, that is only what ought to be.

It may be objected that, on St. Thomas's theory, every object ought to be beautiful. As a fact there are some who do not shrink from the proposition,{45} "Every Being is beautiful;" and if you remind them that some Beings are ugly, they reply that as the thesis, "Every Being is good," leaves room for a sense in which it can be said "Some Beings are bad," so "Every Being is beautiful" may allow a sense in which some Beings are ugly. In that case ugliness, like evil, would be explained by unsuitable interrelations between parts in themselves unexceptionable. Each distinct Being, each ens essentiae, would have its degree of beauty, which might be a low one and scarcely perceptible to us: while ugliness would arise from the defects due to unsuitable combinations. In a gas-light to which is gradually admitted a larger and larger supply of gas, the flame is there from the beginning; but it is not called bright till it has reached the pitch of intensity -- not accurately determinable -- at which we start to call it bright. So every Being, as such, has a beauty proper to its nature; but before we recognize it as beauty it must have reached a certain degree. Hence with Plato and others the beautiful is not merely the true or the good, but the splendour of the true or the good, or the splendour{46} of order. There must be an element of distinction, as Mr. Matthew Arnold would have said, of lustre, as Father Faber puts it; and this splendour, or distinction, or lustre, is often supplied by some pleasing instance of "unity in variety," which many make to be the very definition of the beautiful.

It may be urged, in remonstrance, that a barn may be built in good proportions without beauty; and that it and many other unbeautiful objects present "unity in variety," without "splendour" or "distinction," or "lustre," which are just the question-begging words, to explain which would be to explain precisely wherein the beautiful lies; these are what want defining. Perhaps this mention of defining is itself a piece of question-begging, if definition be understood in its strict sense. For in that case it requires the use, not of mere synonyms, but of distinctly simpler terms; and there are those who maintain that the true, the good, and the beautiful are not really reducible to simpler terms when they are considered in their most generalized form; though of course in their more particular determinations the elements can be analyzed. At any rate some form of the doctrine that the beautiful is based on unity amid variety has found extensive acceptance, and a few samples of how authors work this theory will be instructive. On this point Sir J. Barry says that the disputes about definition do not represent corresponding divergencies in the idea itself of the beautiful; and he allows the theory of unity in variety on condition that this combination be such as to show "fitness and conformity to the design of each species." Cousin, dispensing with this limitation, says:{47} "The most probable theory of the beautiful is still that which makes it consist of two elements mutually opposed and equally necessary; these are unity and variety. Take a beautiful flower: undoubtedly it has got unity, order, proportion, symmetry, for without these it would lack that intelligible significance, which is so marvellously present in all things. But at the same time what diversity there is! What delicate shades in the colour, what richness in the smallest details! In mathematics themselves what is beautiful is not the abstract principle, but the principle bearing with it all its long train of consequences. Unity and variety are the notions applicable to all orders of beauty." In support of Cousin stands his compatriot Lacordaire: "Isolation is the denial of order, of harmony, of beauty, since none of these things can be conceived without the double idea of plurality and unity. Plurality without unity is positive disorder: unity without plurality is negative disorder. In the former case the bond is wanting to the things, in the second case the things are wanting to the bond." When we have paralleled the words of these two French authors with words from two English writers, Cardinal Newman and Mr. Ruskin, we may draw a conclusion which is highly practical, even though our theoretical analysis of the idea of beauty be judged still incomplete. The Cardinal writes with his usual power of descriptiveness on the subject of the Divine Beauty: "Order and harmony are God's very essence. To be many and distinct in His attributes, yet after all to be but One -- to be sanctity, justice, truth, love, power, wisdom -- to be all at once each of these as fully as if He were nothing else but it, and as if the rest were not; this implies in the Divine Nature an infinitely sovereign and utterly incomprehensible order, which is an attribute as wonderful as any, and the result of all the others. Such is the unity and consequent harmony and beauty of the Divine Nature." The passage from Mr. Ruskin is on a less sacred subject, but its teaching is corroborative: "Composition means literally and simply putting together several things, so as to make one thing out of them, the nature and goodness of which they will all have a share in producing. Thus a musician composes an air by putting notes together in certain relations; and a painter a picture by putting forms and colours in pleasant order. In all these cases observe an intended unity must be the result of the composition. Everything should have a determined place, perform an intended part, act in that part advantageously for everything that is connected with it." The practical lesson is that we should improve many of our unpleasing productions by more attention to the variety which saves from wearisome monotony, and to unity which saves from distraction and pointlessness; and these results are often desirable for higher ends than mere artistic effects. So we have gained at least one clear advantage from our imperfect study of an aesthetic theory, if we have thoroughly grasped what Mr. Tyrwhitt declares to be the compendious principle of all artistic composition, namely, "that it has several ideas made into one new idea, with skilful use either of contrast which produces excitement, or of harmony which produces repose, or of both together which produces reflective repose."

It would not be well to omit all mention of the fact, that there is a great difficulty in the way of defining the beautiful because the use of the term is made very elastic. Often it means almost any pleasure-producing character, in which case the Alisonian theory of association becomes very applicable. For we must allow to the accidental result of associations much of the charm of many objects that are said to be beautiful. Round a name, a phrase, a form, or a piece of imagery there may gather a wealth of pleasant feeling which is not to be accounted for by the things themselves, but by connected circumstances. Again, the vagueness of the term "beautiful" is seen in its alternate inclusion and exclusion of what gratifies the sense. Mere sense-gratification is not strictly beautiful; and yet the senses feed the intellect, and for a composite being like man, much real artistic effect depends on a judicious admixture of the elements of sense and intellect. Hence art has been called spiritualisatio materialium, et materialisatio spiritualium. Excess may be committed on both sides, as in M. Tame's overdone rendering of intellectual thoughts into sensuous imagery, and in the fondness of a recent English poet for abstruse metaphysical expressions to represent physical nature. The sense-element, then, has its place, but it is absurd to reduce the beautiful to formulas like "the maximum of nerve-stimulation with the minimum of fatigue." In this place, however, it is enough to have pointed out that there are broader and narrower acceptations of the term, and that these render a commonly acceptable definition very hard to frame.

(4) We have given now the properties of Being. Under this heading it is not so much the beautiful that the schoolmen are wont to discuss as the one, the true, and the good, in which attributes beauty is included, though not explicitly declared. Hegelians dislike this triple attribution, and think that they have got hold of a more philosophical doctrine, when they speak of Quality, Quantity, and Measure. One statement of their view is given in brief by Mr. Wallace,{48} and we append it for the cursory inspection of the reader, not believing that it merits or will bear deep investigation. "The first part of Logic, the theory of Being, may be called the theory of unsupported and freely-floating Being. We do not mean something which is, but mere IS, the bare fact of Being, without any substratum. The degree of condensation or development, when substantive and attribute co-exist, has not yet come. The terms and forms of Being float as it were freely in the air, or to put it more correctly, one passes into the other. . . . This Being is immediate, i.e., it contains no reference binding it with anything beyond itself, but stands forward baldly and nakedly, as if alone; and if hard pressed, it turns over into something else. It includes the three stages of Quality, Quantity, and Measure. The ether of is presumes no substratum, or further connexion with anything; and we only meet a series of points as we travel along the surface of thought. To name, to number, to measure, are the three grades of our ordinary and natural thought; so simple that one is scarcely disposed to look upon them as grades of thought at all. And yet if thought is self-specification, what more obvious forms of specifying it are there than to name (so pointing it out, or qualifying it), to number, (so quantifying it, or stating its dimensions), and to measure it. These are the three primary specificates by which we think -- the three primary dimensions of thought." We give this merely as a specimen of a rival theory which has got acceptance in some of our few philosophic strongholds; but by what intrinsic merits of its own we are at a loss to discover. The reader is not asked to work at the above extract till he fully grasps its meaning; that would be a cruel task to impose upon him; but he may take an intelligent interest in catching some glimpse of Hegelian method.


(1) It is one thing to give the definitions in a science like General Metaphysics, and another to know the exact mode of their application to special cases. It would be preposterous to demand of the logician, who describes what "moral certainty" is, to pronounce decisively on the degree of credence to be attached to any historical statement whatever, which a questioner might bring forward. Similarly when the metaphysician has defined an individual to he "some one thing which cannot be divided into a plurality of things like to itself," he is not thereby obliged to know all about what happens in fissiparous generation. If the biologist will tell him exactly what it is that happens in this mode of propagation, and what precisely is the truth about one or more vital principles, then the metaphysical definition of individuality can be easily applied; but till the case is understood, the application must wait.

As suggestive cases to show the difficulties which beset the study of individuality in detail, we may mention the conception of the physical universe, such as it is furnished by Sir William Thomson's vortex theory, or by dynamism; the aggregate life in a polypdom; the power of some segmented animals, after having been cut in two, to go on living as different individuals; the condition of some growths, which appear like independent lives, set up within a larger organism. Then there are other theories, strange to physical science, but common enough to speculative philosophers, which give a curious view of individuality. Such is Plato's world-soul or Cudworth's "plastic nature." On the latter hypothesis,{49} "though it is not reasonable to think that every plant, herb, or pile of grass hath a plastic life of its own, distinct from the mechanism of the body; nor that the whole earth is an animal endowed with a conscious soul; yet there may be one plastic nature or life belonging to the whole terrestrial globe, by which all plants and vegetables continuous with it may be differently formed, as also minerals and other bodies framed, and whatever else is above the power of fortuitous mechanism effected."

(2) A scholastic dispute about individuality turns on the distinction of matter and form. If we go back as far as the Arabian philosopher, Avicenna,{50} we find him teaching that "to assert souls separate from matter is to propound an opinion which no philosopher accepts, and what is very doubtful. The reason is, that matter is the principle of number and plurality." This doctrine as a whole is, of course, repudiated even by those among the Christian schoolmen who place the principle of individualism in the material component of bodies, not in the form. It is a remarkable consequence of this last theory, that its upholders find themselves driven on to regard each angel as specifically distinct, and to affirm that two angels, because they have no material component to give them their individuality, can never be regarded as merely individuals of one species; on the other hand, it must be recorded that there are schoolmen to whom such a view appears highly incomprehensible; and they place individuality in the whole concrete nature of a thing, whether matter and form in combination, or form alone.

(3) Concerning individuality we must not mix up the different questions: (a) what is the efficient cause of the individual? (b) what intrinsically constitutes the individual? and (c) what are the outward signs by which we practically tell this individual from another? Locke blunders here: for just as he confuses a sign of personality, namely, continuous self-consciousness with personality itself, and a sign of free-will, namely, the power of outward execution with free-will itself, so he puts a sign of individuality for its constituent, saying: "The principle of individuation, it is plain, is existence itself, which determines a Being of any sort to a particular time and place, incommunicable to two Beings of the same kind;"{51} whereupon he proceeds to insist, not on the "existence itself," but on the "particular time and place." With Locke's view may be compared, but not made interchangeable, Leibnitz's principle of "the identity of indiscernibles" -- a principle valid enough for an omniscient intellect, but not in itself sufficient for a finite intellect, unless supplemented by something more positive than mere indiscernibility; for we cannot seriously argue that wherever we perceive no diversity, there we have identity.

(4) As a specimen of how interpreters endeavour to extract Plato's theory about the true and the good, and the priority of the good, we may take Mr. R. L. Nettleship's words:{52} "The sense in which the good is used by Plato is, perhaps, most simply and clearly illustrated in the familiar expressions: 'What is the good of a thing?' 'What is a thing good for?'. To conceive a thing as good for something is, in the truest sense of the words, nothing more than to conceive it as having a meaning, or being intelligible; for strictly speaking, a thing of which the elements exist side by side in no order or connexion whatever, or a thing which itself exists by the side of other things without standing in any expressible relation to them, is to our intelligence an inconceivable non-entity. And the moment we mentally interpret a thing, or in other words understand it, we give it a reason for existing, whether that reason be a form which it assumes, a purpose which it serves, a function which it performs, or a substance which it is. . . . The world is not an unmeaning chaos, but a something of which, however slowly, we are discovering, and not merely inventing, the significance. . . . Like the sun in the allegory of the cave, the good is the crowning vision in the upward progress of the soul from darkness to light, or to speak without metaphor, if the soul, in the strength of the dialectical impulse, penetrates right through the imagery of sense, and traverses the whole chain of intelligible relations, the 'end of the intelligible' at which it arrives, the 'unhypothetical first principle' upon which it sees the whole structure of knowledge to depend, is again the good. In Plato's mind, then, the conception of knowledge and truth, the conception of objective reality or essence, and the conception of systematic order or cosmos, alike implied the conception of a good, which cannot be identified with any of them, but is the condition or the logical prius of them all." It is upon these last words especially that the critic would fix, for the good must be identified with the Being, the Truth, the Order of which it is the good: so that whatever priority may, under some aspects, be given to the good, it cannot be a priority excluding identification.

(5) Aristotle's theory of the beautiful is often referred to; his two constituents are "order and size" (to gar kalon en megethei kai taxei esti). By size he means what is not insignificantly small, nor yet so large as to be more than the apprehension can well take in at once. This brings us near to his doctrine that virtue consists in the mean; which doctrine again has an affinity with certain views taken by Goethe, Wordsworth, G. Eliot, and others. They teach that it is mostly in common things that art must find its materials, especially in middle-class life, which escapes the sordidness of poverty at one extreme and the affectations of luxury on the other. A kindred notion again is that of Sir J. Reynolds, with regard to the ideal average type. "Most people err," he says in his Lectures, "not so much from want of capacity to find their object, as from not knowing what object to pursue. This great ideal perfection and beauty are not to be sought in the heavens but upon the earth. They are about us, and upon every side of us. But the power of discovering what is deformed in nature, or in other words, what is particular and uncommon, can be acquired only by experience: and the whole beauty and grandeur of art consists in being able to get above all singular forms, local customs, particularities, and details of every kind." The theory is supplemented by what Reynolds writes in his letters to the Idler: "I suppose it will easily be granted, that no man can judge whether any animal be beautiful of its kind or deformed, who has seen only one of that species. . . . The works of nature, if we compare one species with another, are all equally beautiful, and preference is given from custom or some association of ideas. In creatures of the same species, beauty is the medium or centre of its various forms." Mr. Ruskin's variation upon this doctrine is, that what nature does rarely will be either very beautiful or very ugly; thus he allows that a very wide departure from average type may be very beautiful, on which supposition beauty cannot be defined as average type.

(6) The pleasure felt at the display of great imitative skill is often confounded with the beautiful, but is not in itself the same thing.

Il, n'est pas de serpent ni de monstre hideux
Qui par l'art imité ne puisse plaire aux yeux.

On the other hand, it is not impossible that what is from one aspect repulsive may from another have beauty in it: and the selective power of the artist will exert its influence in stripping off or hiding away what is repellent. "Everything," says Kant, "short of what is nauseous, may be made beautiful by artistic rendering. The genius of art frees the object from the hampering and distracting circumstances, which hang around it in what is called real life, that is to say, frees it from association with opinions, wishes, laws, and other conventionalities, and lets us see it as an object wrought by nature, expressing, by the unsuborned conciliance of its parts and features, a truth typical and universal. It does, in short, perfectly and over a wide range what ordinary perception does in a few instances."{53} Still it is only a lower stage of art which delights simply in imitation, and is ready, as Plato says, to imitate anything and everything.

(7) With regard to the symbolism of various artistic forms, we must remember what is true of most conventional signs, that they have a suggestion of their use in the nature of things, but that it is left to the choice of man to turn this suggestion one way or another. Hence the possibility of many interpretations for one symbol. Music, not determined by words, is notoriously indefinite; the words of a well-adapted song give a fixed meaning to the tune, but not in such a way that a different song may not be, perhaps equally well, adapted to the same tune. Critics, therefore, should be careful in not forcing a symbolic meaning on another man's work, and in not refusing to accept the artist's own symbolic purpose as a justification of what he has done. A wide and wise tolerance is needed in these matters, to save the non-artistic world from utter distrust in artists, who are ever pronouncing upon each other the verdicts of "utterly wrong," "quite out of taste," "devoid of all idea," "a confused medley of elements." In art especially we may have what in philosophy we try to abolish, namely, an effective use of the element of the vague. As a contrast with the clear, definite, correct, but somewhat narrow genius of the Greeks, which constantly aimed at getting quit of to apeiron, we have the grandeur of a partially intelligible vagueness, such as we often find in Holy Scripture when it treats of mysteries that are but darkly revealed. As regards finite things, however, when these come under human treatment, what is sometimes called the obscure element of the finite may easily be overstated, till we fall into a sort of pantheism. We may say with Mr. Ruskin, that "art is man's delight in God's work," but we feel the need of some qualifying phrases before we adopt without reserve Mr. Tyrwhitt's comment in his Pictorial Handbook: "As to the beauty of nature, it seems to defy all analysis, and this, and its universal presence, and the intensely powerful feeling it evokes, seem to point to its being a direct manifestation of Divine power. Again, the fact that man can produce it in a high perfection, but cannot analyze it, or clearly see how he produces it, seems to throw light on the expression that man is made in the image of God." All created Being is indeed a sort of reflexion from the Divine; but what may be called Platonic modes of expressing the fact easily grow exaggerated. But a moderate form of Plato's doctrine is what Cardinal Zigliara is aiming at when he says: "The essence of beauty does not consist properly in proportion and neat adaptation, nor in harmony and unity of parts; but it consists in that harmony whereby the beautiful object corresponds to its archetype, namely, to the light of intellect as showing forth the rule and measure of beauty. The original archetype is in the Divine mind, the secondary is in the created mind. For we experience in our intelligence the vision of I know not what primitive and excellent form; and gazing upon this as a pattern the mind judges what each object ought to be like."{54}

(8) Of all the attempts to get at the physical basis of certain beautiful forms, the science of acoustics has made about the most successful in its theory of music. Though it cannot explain everything, it can give a fair account why single notes are not mere noises, and why the laws of succession and concurrence among several notes are what they are. Thus it affords us some means of judging between the two extreme theories, that all beauty comes from the arrangement of indifferent elements, and that all beauty is resolvable into elements, which we must accept as given, but not hope to explain.

{1} Quast. Dist. de Potentia, q. ix. a. i.

{2} Sum. i. q. xi. a. i.

{3} It is called predicamental because quantity is one of the Aristotelian praedicamenta.

{4} According to the Scotist Mastrius, "Thing," res, "is whatever is produced by truly efficient causality, whether the product be capable of existing alone or not;" while reality "is, what is produced not by true physical influx, but by metaphysical resultancy, per dimanationem metaphysicam. (Logic, Disp. i. q. v. a. ii.)

{5} See more on the subject under the heading (f); its anticipation, here, in a case where its aid is needed, will prepare the way for future explanation.

{6} A technical term explained in Logic. "Auld reekie" signifies an old smoky place; it stands for (supponitur) Edinburgh, and so far is the same with "The Athens of the North."

{7} This is not the "virtual intrinsic distinction" of the Thomists, into the merits of which we do not inquire.

{8} Wallace's Logic of Hegel. p. 263.

{9} "A thing is called true when it is referred to the intellect according to that which it is: false when it is referred according to that which it is not." (St. Thomas, Sum. i. q. xvii. a. i. ad 1.) Because we are pledged to keep primarily to ens essestiae, with us the isness is primarily essential, not evidential.

{10} In Lib. I. Peri Herm. L. iii. Cf. Quaest. Disp. de Veritat. q. i, a. viii.

{11} See the systems of Giordano Bruno, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Hegel, Green, &c. The last named says, "Every effort fails to trace a genesis of knowledge out of anything which is not, in form and principle, knowledge itself." (Prolegomena Ethica, p. 75.) Beneke thinks that Schleiermacher discovered a fundamental truth in Metaphysics, when he observed that living objects are the first to be perceived by the senses.

{12} So important is this relation to intellect that St. Thomas says truth has its denomination primarily from the intellect. "Verum dicitur per pritis de intellectu et per posterius de re intellectui adaequata." (Quaest. Disp. Veritat. q. a. ii. ad 1.)

{13} Under the limitations stated in the chapter on Possibilities.

{14} Zeller's Socrates and Socratic Schools, c. xii. p. 222.

{15} Acad. iv. 42.

{16} Specimens occur in the Republic, Bks. VI. and VII. The Socratic school gave such prominence to the moral element, that it naturally fell into the doctrine that "the good" stands first in the order of reality.

{17} Sum. i. q. v. a. ii. The idea of extending the good beyond Being is connected by Egidius with curious etymology. 'A thing is called bonum from boare, which means to call; and this is the reason why the good is a term of wider extent than Being." The explanation may he seen, Dist. xxvii. quaest. ii. art. i. Resolutio. St. Thomas, Erigena, and Egidius all refer to the fact that mere possibilities. inasmuch as they are objects of desire, are good.

{18} logos hos an to onta legê ôs estin, alêthês, hos d' an hôs ouk esti, eudês. (Plat. Rep. v.)

{19} tôuton d' esti noein te kai houneken esti noêma. (Quoted by Ueberweg, Logic. p. 25.)

{20} Bosanquet's Logic, p. 248.

{21} Sum. i. q. v. a. ii.

{22} Sum. i. q. xvi. a. iv.

{23} St. Thomas, I. q. xxx. a. i. ad. 3, defines appetite to be "the inclination and ordination of a thing to what is suitable to it."

{24} kalôs apephênanto tagathon, hou panta ephietai. (Ar., Eth. I.)

{25} "Good is the perfection which exists in anything, with the connotation of some capacity, inclination, or natural tendency of the thing for that good." (Suarez, Metaphys. Disp. x. sect. i. n. 18.) He is speaking precisely of the bonum sibi.

{26} Sum. i. q. xvi. a. i.

{27} Sum. i. q. lxxviii. a. i. ad 3, et alibi passim.

{28} Sum. i. q. v. a i. ad 1; Quaest. Disp. Veritat. q. xxxi. a. i.

{29} Quaest. Disp. Veritat. q. xxi. a. ii.

{30} Quaest. Disp. Veritat. q. xxi. a. ii.

{31} Ibid.

{32} De Consolat. Lib. III. prosa xi. vers. fin.

{33} Rom. viii. 19-23.

{34} Contra Gentes, iii. 7.

{35} Sect. i. n. 8.

{36} L.c.

{37} Sum. i. q. xix. a. ix.

{38} Sum. i. q. xlix. a. i.

{39} For the Patristic authority that evil is nothing positive but a privation, see St. Augustine, De Natura Boni; St. John Damascene, De Fide Orthodoxa, Lib. IV. c. ii. The schools are divided on the point, as to whether it is needful or possible to reduce moral evil to the category of a privation. Alexander of Hales, St Bonaventure, Scotus, Bellarmine, Suarez, are on the affirmative side, while on the negative stand many Thomists, with Cajetan at their head. (In 1a 2ae, q xviii. a. v.)

{40} Sum. 1a 2ae, q. xxvii. a. i. ad 3.

{41} Sum. i. q. v. a. iv. ad 1.

{42} Du Vrai, du Beau, et du Bien, Leçon vi.

{43} Sum. i. q. v. a. iv. ad 1.

{44} Sum. i. q. xxxix. a. viii.

{45} Not mere]y the schoolmen so speak. De Quincey says so, and Mr. Ruskin writes: "There is not a single object in nature which is not capable of conveying ideas of beauty, and which to the rightly perceiving mind, does not present an incalculably greater number of beautiful parts."

{46} Liberatore, Ontologia, c. i. art. vii,. n. 62, quotes a definition by St. Thomas: "The universal character of the beautiful is the splendour of form as shown either in different parts of matter, or in different powers and activities."

{47} Du Vrai. du Beau, et du Bien, Leçon vii.

{48} Logic of Hegel, Prolegomena, p. cxix.

{49} Intellectual System, Bk. I. c. iii. art. xxxvii. n. 25.

{50} Stöckl, Geschichte der Philosophie, Band II. ss. 58- 67.

{51} Hellenica, Essays edited by Evelyn Abbott, pp. 172-177.

{52} Human Understanding, Bk. II. c. xxvii.

{53} Kant, by W. Wallace, p. 197.

{54} Ontologia, Lib. II. c. ii. art vii.

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