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


(1) BEING, says St. Thomas,{1} is adequately divided by a dichotomy, per potentiam et actum; it is either possible or actual. The former must be the next subject of our investigation: we must try to throw some light on that dark region of which Cicero speaks at the opening of his treatise De Fato: "There is an obscure question about the possible and the impossible, which the Greek philosophers call peri dunatôn." For want of a good theology the Greeks could make little or nothing out of their inquiry; and the same want still shows itself distressingly in some of our modern speculators. Consistent disciples in the school of Hume can go no further than man's experience, such as it de facto is; the actual for them is the measure of all known possibility, and they profess to hold no proposition, which is more than verbal, with the assent due to a universal and necessary truth. They teach that all which at present we call true might, for anything we can tell, have been just the opposite; and why anything is as it is, rather than the other way about, lies wholly beyond our power of penetration. We must renounce the investigation of origins or ultimate reasons; we must take phenomena as we find them, and leave alone all theory as to their commencement or endless continuation.

Vainly does each, as he glides,
Fable and dream
Of the lands which the river of Time
Had left, ere he woke on its breast,
Or shall reach when his eyes have been closed.
Only the tract where he sails
He wots of; only the thoughts,
Raised by the objects he passes, are his.
For what was before us we know not,
And we know not what shall succeed.{2}

Moreover, Hume is worse than merely negative; by his denial of free-will, he leads directly to fatalism. For from his principles it is inferred, not only that man is without freedom, but that the very idea involves a self-contradiction; whence it straightway follows that nothing could ever be other than it is, and the actual, as it developes itself throughout the course of the ages, is the exact measure of the possible. The utmost that Pure Metaphysics can mean when it teaches by the mouth of Mill or Huxley, that a square might have been elliptical, and that two and two might have made five, is that if our universe had been other than it is -- though other it could not have been for want of a power to bring about the diversity -- or if again our organism had responded differently to its outer environment, then on either hypothesis our associated ideas might have fallen into this order: "a square is elliptical," "two and two make five."{3} Regarding the universe as "a closed system," which has nothing outside to influence it, the followers of Hume state, by way of purely unrealizable hypothesis, that if the parts of the system had been otherwise arranged, there is no knowing the limits to which the changes in its working might have been carried; any present order might have been reversed. Therefore, a priori we can call nothing possible rather than impossible; and for us to ask, why it is that some things are intrinsically possible and others not, is a most idle inquiry, because we never can do more than take these matters as we find them, without pretending to fix any ultimate basis.

(2) Next to the pure empiricists who are without a theory as to the foundation of possibility, we take those who hold the false theory that potentiality, and not actuality, is the origin of all existence. This doctrine appears in some of the old cosmogonies which start the course of Being from a pure possibility, or at any rate, in their uncertain gropings after a philosophy of origins, occasionally lay hold of some such explanation. Nor is modern speculation wholly above theories of this kind; for we find Hartmann{4} laying it down in all seriousness, that "before the world stood forth in determinate form there was not anything actual -- anything beyond the great motionless, inactive, self-containing Wesen without Dasein -- which was Nothing." Now it lies at the root of all right conception about Being clearly to perceive, how while in regard to secondary existences the possibility precedes the actuality, yet the primary existence itself must always have been actual. A potency is not an utter non-entity if there is some actuality by which it can be reduced to act; but the idea of an original potency, before any actuality whatever, is no real idea at all, but a contradiction. To Mill's "possibilities of sensation," and "possibilites of conscious state," apart from all substance and efficient causality, it is a strong objection that they are possibilities stripped of the conditions of possibility. Against them is valid the argument which is not valid against Aristotle's understanding of en dunamei. In criticism of the latter conception Lewes contends "that nothing really exists till it exists, and nothing exists possibly, for possibility is only the uncertainty of our ignorance." This would have some truth in it if there were nothing already actual and possessed of the power of efficient causality; but it is quite untrue as directed against the system of Aristotle. We must, then, hold by the doctrine that the source of all possibility is to be finally traced to the actual; the opposite conception is irrational.

(3) General Metaphysics borrows from Natural Theology the principles which explain the real nature of possibilities: all it has to do on its own part is to make a few deductions from these principles. We assume, therefore, that the first Being is God, who is one and infinitely perfect; who eternally and immutably exists by His own very essence; besides whom nothing exists or can exist, except in dependence on Him as its Creator out of nothing -- creating not blindly and perforce, but with intelligence and free choice. Himself a pure actuality without any potentiality -- actus purissimus -- He has yet the active power to produce objects other than Himself. How this is to be explained is what we have now to declare.

We make a mental but not a real distinction between God's essence, His intellect, and His will. Under the terms of this three-fold distinction we say that the essence furnishes the primary object to the intellect, and the intellect guides the will. Thus God does not will without intelligence, nor is His intelligence the arbitrary creator of its own truths. The intellect, however, first gives determination to the several possibilities in their distinctness; for it would be wildly extravagant to regard the Divine essence itself as a sort of tesselated or mosaic work, made up of as many independent parts or patterns as there are independent natures possible in creation. Such a monstrous conception would have less sanity in it, than Vacherot's saying, Dieu est l'idée du monde, et le monde est la realité de Dieu. The fact is that God, contemplating His own essence, sees it not only as it is in itself, but also as it dictates the law to all possibility outside itself. Consequently, what is possible will always be a rational object to thought;{5} what is impossible will always be irrational or self-contradictory. The self-contradictory is a non-entity, and hence the impossible is no limit on the Divine power. To declare simply that a square circle cannot be, because it is beyond the power of omnipotence, leaves unexplained how this is not a denial of omnipotence; but to say that a square circle is nothing, shows how there is no such denial.{6}

Thus, then, we have settled what is the ultimate determinant of possibility: we must throw further light on the doctrine by distinguishing between intrinsic and extrinsic possibility. It is the intrinsically possible that our explanation has so far been concerned with; and we have seen it to be any positive object the conception of which includes no contradiction, no inner repugnance of character, such as is found in "a learned carriage-wheel."{7} Extrinsic possibility is the power possessed by something else to actualize that which is intrinsically possible. In reference to created forces, many things intrinsically possible are extrinsically impossible; but in reference to God's omnipotence, just because it is omnipotence, the extrinsically possible is co-extensive with the intrinsically possible. Because, however, what singly involves no repugnance may in conjunction with certain circumstances present contradictions, therefore we have the class of incompossibilia, or things possible separately but not conjointly. God cannot arrange the order of His Providence so as to put before man good and evil, between which to choose, and at the same time take the choice of evil quite out of human power. God cannot retreat from His promise once unconditionally given; neither can He literally undo the past, though often He may repair it:

monou gar autou kai Theos sterisketai,
agenêta poiein hass an ê pepragmena.

God, again, cannot Himself, and in His own Divine Nature, elicit those acts which are essentially immanent in a finite and imperfect nature: He cannot vegetate, or have sensations, or make new discoveries, or show courage in the arduous pursuit of virtue, or nobly apologize for a mistake.

A propos of mistakes, we are liable to them in the case of ambiguous words; and therefore it will not be without its utility, as a caution, to point out how the above description of "possible," whether as intrinsic or as extrinsic, differs from another use of the "possible," whereby it signifies the "probable." A person may say to his friend, who ought to have sailed for America a month ago, but perhaps did not, "Possibly he is yet in England." Now if the man really has landed in the New World, and has remained there, it is not "possible" that he should still be in England except in the sense of "probable," to one who is left to mere conjecture. Probability is a calculation made partly according to our knowledge, but partly also according to our ignorance; hence the probable need not be true, or even possible in the strict sense. (Our doctrine may now be summarized in scholastic phraseology. The possibilities of things are all derived from God, the first Actuality: they are in His essence fundamentaliter, and eminenter: they are in His intellect formaliter, they are in His will, so far as He wills them, executive, though the complete accuracy of the last adverb depends on whether we make a distinction between God's will and His omnipotence or Almighty power, as efficient cause.{8}

Pure empiricists and some others will object to such doctrine that it labours under the inborn vice of all Metaphysics, the presumption of settling, by a priori method, which can be settled either by experience only, or not at all.{9} We fully allow that in the concrete and in particular instances we can determine the possibilities of things in no other way than by observing their activities. But our problem has not been to settle a single determinate thing as either possible or impossible: all we have sought to discover is the great root of every finite possibility, and we are quite indifferent whether it be this or that. Not one statement of physical science have we pretended to settle a priori, our inquiry has been wholly metaphysical; it has been the inquiry into Whence is possibility? not into What things are possible? For our investigation we required to know, but did not assume as known a priori, God's relation to finite objects: we borrowed that knowledge from a treatise which makes it matter of laborious proof. That relation once understood, our task became one of simple deduction from the given principles; in the course of which work we have not violated, but merely have not come across the vaunted principle of the novum organon: "Man, as nature's minister and interpreter, can do and understand only so much as he has observed in nature; beyond this he can do and understand nothing."

Lest our teaching should be thought to be exclusively scholastic, we will give a specimen of the same doctrine as delivered by the mouth of a professor who thought scholasticism a fetter upon the freedom of intellect : "From Plato to Leibnitz," says Cousin,{10} "the greatest metaphysicians have held that Absolute Truth is the attribute of the Absolute Being. Investigate nature, ascend to the laws which govern it, and which make it, so to speak, a living truth; the deeper you dive into these laws, the nearer you approach to God." And from Leibnitz he takes the words: "It is asked, Where would these ideas be, if there existed no spirit to give to them a solid and sure foundation as eternal truths? Thus you are led to the ultimate ground of all truth, to the Sovereign Spirit that cannot but exist, in whose intelligence the eternal truths have their abode, after the manner which St. Augustine has vividly described. Lest, however, it should be fancied that there is no need to have recourse to such an origin, be it observed that these necessary truths contain the determining plan and the regulative principle of existent things themselves; in a word, they give the laws of the universe. It follows that, since they are prior to the existence of contingent natures, they must have had their foundation in some necessarily existing substance." The importance to philosophy of this doctrine about the origin of possibilities is very great; and a reference to the above principles will often clear up a perplexity, shedding light where else hopeless obscurity would prevail. To have fully established even that possibilities do not account for themselves, but need some real foundation, is a great step; it lands on firm ground for future progress. Henceforth we adhere closely to the truths that possibilities differ from nothing, in the blankest sense of the word; and that they already possess a virtual existence in the power of the agents that can bring them into actuality, and in the intrinsic actuability of their own nature.

(4) There is an author who admits the ordinary scholastic view about God's primacy in the order of existences, and yet so innovates upon the usual deductions therefrom, that his error will serve to emphasize the true conclusions in a matter of the greatest moment. Perhaps not without some connexion with his confusion between assent of the judgment and consent of the will, whereby he regarded affirmation and negation as acts of the latter faculty, Descartes asserted that ultimate possibilities depended on the free choice of God, to such an extent that another determination on His part might have made the opposites of all our present necessary truths to be true. In his Réponses aux Objections, n. 8, Descartes argues that God, who cannot but choose the best, would not have been free to create, if the possibilities of creation had presented degrees of perfection, antecedently to the settlement, by God's arbitrary decision, of what is good and what is less good or bad. "For if any element of good had shown itself prior to God's determination of what was to be, it would undoubtedly have moved Him to do what was best.{11} But the fact is the other way about; because God has decreed to make the things which are in the world, therefore it is said in Genesis, 'They are very good;' in other words, the reason of their goodness rests on the Divine will to have made them what they are. It is useless for us to vex ourselves with the question whether God from eternity could have settled that twice four should not be eight; for I allow, this passes our comprehension; but as on the other side I understand very well that nothing of any sort can exist which does not depend upon God, and that He could easily have arranged things so that man could conceive no other arrangement possible; it is quite contrary to reason to doubt about what we fully understand, because of something else which we do not understand, and which, though we may fail to see the fact, it was not likely that we should understand. Thus, then, the eternal truths depend only on God's will; they are as the Supreme Lawgiver has from eternity determined that they should be." So teaches Descartes on a most vital question. The ruinous consequence of his system is that he has left himself without any fixed point on which truth or goodness may rest. If the true and the good are simply what God settles they are to be, and His settlement is quite arbitrary, with no ground for choice on one side rather than on another, what becomes of God's own essential truth and goodness? Why cannot He have decreed that lying is good, and have made His own revelation accordingly? Why may He not make us the sport of perpetual delusion? What if He had ordained that religion should consist in blaspheming Himself, and that to reverence Him should be the very depth of wickedness? What becomes of that indispensable element in every philosophy which is at all tenable -- a basis of absolutely fixed principles? Descartes simply subverts all reason by pretending to ground truth ultimately on an indifferent choice between what is to be truth and what is to be falsehood, without any prior claim of one side over the other. An appreciation of the ruinous result will inspire a greater esteem for the common doctrine of the schoolmen in regard to the necessary, immutable character of all ultimate possibilities. These are necessary and immutable with God's own necessity and immutability. Of previous writers, Descartes might have singled out Ockam,{12} to lend some countenance to his views -- a service which that author would have rendered by neglecting to find a foundation for intrinsic, as distinguished from extrinsic possibility, and by simply referring possibility to Divine Omnipotence. But Ockam is an author who could not be appealed to with much effect, because of his notorious defects; and his failure to pay proper attention to the intrinsic possibility was just the omission of a point which is of capital importance in the whole question. Intrinsic possibility is a reality that needs accounting for after a manner quite. as rational as is the manner of account which we render for extrinsic: it cannot be taken for a mere nothing, nor yet, as Wolf takes it, for a sort of self-settled law, which still would hold though God ceased to exist. If it had this independent validity, then God in creation would have been obliged to work by a strictly limiting rule, which had no origin in Himself, and to which He would therefore be in literal subjection. But, it may be asked, is not God somehow so subject? for by what are the possibilities of His own nature determined, if not by some necessity, at least logically prior to His own existence? There is no such priority, for in God there is no potentiality; and if ever we speak of the possibility of the Divine nature, as legitimately we may,{13} it cannot be in the full sense that is applicable to all things else, which come under the rule prius est posse esse quam esse -- "to be possible comes before to be." God gives the law to all things possible, and thereby makes them subordinate: but He cannot fall under the same law so as to be subordinate to Himself. Should any one try here to puzzle us by bringing in the principle of excluded middle, "God either is possible or He is not possible," we choose the second horn of the dilemma, provided we are allowed to explain, that "possible," according to the use of it supposed by the objector, is taken to include the idea of past or present potentiality, and that its contradictory, "not possible is different from "impossible." God therefore is "not possible" in the sense that He is above the conditions of potentiality. The only way in which we should be likely to need the phrase, "God is possible," would be as the conclusion of an argument to prove, that an infinite, self-existent Being, One, intelligent, and Supreme over all things, is not a self-repugnant notion. But even this inference has to be drawn from the proved fact of God's existence, not from an a priori consideration of the several ideas involved in the description of the Divine nature; and when we thus declare God to be possible, no potentiality is involved. The term has reference only to the clearing away of the human error, that a God, such as Theism asserts, cannot be; we refute the cannot be by establishing the possibility.

In explanation of a mistake like that of Ockam, we may consider the kindred mistake of Storchenau,{14} who says, "Even on the hypothesis that God did not exist, propositions of the following kind would remain valid, 'There is no contradiction between the essential notes of such and such an object;' 'Things would still have their internal possibility.'" A common but very misleading fallacy is here detectable. It is right to affirm that one who had not yet admitted God's existence might recognize certain necessary truths as self-evidently necessary: he might be sure about some intrinsic possibilities or impossibilities. But observe the vast difference between the two propositions: "Without a previous recognition of God, the mind can recognize a certain truth:" and, "On the hypothesis that no God existed, a certain truth would still remain true." Surely it is one thing to say, "A building may be proved to be stable, though its foundations have not been explored," and another to say, "That building would remain stable though its foundations were removed."

(6) In Pure Logic some authors recognize only four "modals," possibility and impossibility, necessity and contingency: wherein we have a sufficient reminder, after treating of possible Being, to add a few words about Being regarded as necessary and contingent. Already in First Principles{15} we had much to say about necessity; now in Ontology we must return to the idea. We take it as established that God is the primal, absolutely necessary Being; all other beings, as they depend for their creation on His free choice, are contingent, existing as matters of fact, whereas they need not have existed. Besides absolute necessity there is a lower grade of necessity, following on a hypothesis. It is at least running a great risk of false doctrine when hypothetical necessity is made the only kind to which the term necessity should be given. Yet we find Mr. F. Bradley{16} writing thus: "It is easy to give the general sense in which we use the term necessity. A thing is necessary if it be taken not simply in and by itself, but by virtue of something else and because of something else. Necessity carries with it the idea of mediation, of dependency, of inadequacy to maintain an isolated position and to stand and act alone and self-supported. A thing is not necessary when it simply is: it is necessary when it is, or is said to be, because of something else." Thus the absolute Being of God would be the one negation of necessity, for He alone of all Beings is not "because of something else." Afterwards Mr. Bradley excludes the term necessity from the region of reality.{17} "Reality in itself is neither necessary, nor possible, nor again impossible. These predicates (we must suppose in Logic) are not found as such outside our reflexion. And to a knowledge and reflexion that had command of the facts nothing would ever appear possible. The real would seem necessary, the unreal would seem impossible." However, leaving the real, and keeping strictly to the logical,{18} "in logic we find that a necessary truth is really an inference, and an inference is nothing but a necessary truth." Lotze again is one who has set the example of limiting the term necessary to mental processes{19} "Necessity, if not confined to a necessity of thought on our part, but extended to that which is expressly held to be the unconditioned condition of all that is conditioned would have simply no assignable meaning, and would have to be replaced by the notion of a de facto universal validity." The tremendous issues that turn on the idea "necessity," must be our justification for yet further illustrations showing how different is the sense in which it is admitted by some nonscholastic authors from the meaning given to it by scholastics. Mr. Bosanquet{20} affirms that "absolute necessity is a contradiction in adjecto, because all necessity is ex hypothesi conditional." As was to be expected, a similar change is made in the word "free," which no longer stands for the liberty of election that we conceive to be the meaning of the term. The mind is said to be a "free agent," because it is not one of the phenomenal relations that go to make up nature; it distinguishes itself from them, and is their producer, not their product. For example, Green tells us in his Prolegomena Ethica, "Those relations which we are apt to treat as independent entities under the name of matter and motion, are relations existing for a consciousness, which they do not so condition, as that it should itself either move or be material;" man has "freedom of intelligence," "as knowing he is a free cause." Again he insists, with regard to intellect, "The agent must act absolutely from itself in the action through which the world is -- not, as does everything else in the world, under determination by something else. The world has no character but that given to it by this action. This is what we mean by calling the agent a free cause. Our action in knowtedge -- the action by which we connect successive phenomena in the unity of a related whole -- is an action absolutely from itself, as little to be accounted for by the phenomena which through it become intelligent experience, or by anything alien to itself, as that which we have found to be implied in the existence of the universal order." We, on the other hand, teach that the ground indeed of freedom is in man's natural knowledge, but that only the will is free. That there exist these great differences in the use of terms between our adversaries and ourselves, it is most important distinctly to observe, lest mutual misunderstandings should go on indefinitely increasing. It is not, however, needful that we here should try further to investigate the enemy's position. From the principles which we have already laid down in explaining possible Being, we will proceed very briefly but clearly to draw out our own account of necessary Being, leaving for Natural Theology the deeper development of that notion.

We affirm, then, that in Ontology the phrase "necessary Being" has a distinct and evidently valid meaning. It stands primarily to designate the Being of God, the only Being that is quite necessary in the order of existence. His existence or non-existence was never a matter of contingency. He unconditionally, absolutely must be, not because of any extrinsic reason, but because of His own intrinsic nature. The necessity so predicated of God is eminently a real characteristic, and a very important one: no other first principle of Being is rationally conceivable than the Supremely Necessary Being.

The second sort of necessity is a consequent necessity: a necessity following only upon the verification of some hypothesis. Thus there is a physical necessity in the sequence of natural phenomena, given that a certain number of elements have been created, with definite laws of action, and with definite positions relatively to each other in space. It is not free to such combinations to do otherwise than they do: there is no contingency in the results after the conditions have been posited.

Contingent, as opposed to necessary, does not require freedom in the object that is called contingent, but it does imply freedom somewhere or other. Any part of the material universe is contingent, inasmuch as it is not of the very essence of such a collection of substances and forces to exist: the ultimate determinant of its existence, as opposed to its non-existence, was the free-will of the Creator.

The above doctrines about Necessity and Contingency in Being are obvious enough on our principles: they are hardly contested' within systems of philosophy that agree substantially with ours: but differences do arise when we meet with men who utterly disagree with our theory of knowledge and of reality. It cannot, therefore, be too carefully remarked that our view of the nature of intellect, and of its power to know things in themselves, which are quite other than our own conscious selves, is decisive of our position in matters of Ontology.{21}

(7) A useful addition may here be made to the account which we gave in a previous chapter about essence: for the matters which we have just been explaining enable us to say, what we were not prepared to say before, how it is that even finite essences are sometimes described to be eternal, necessary, and immutable. Clearly the meaning is not that any created nature eternally and necessarily exists, or that the scholastic teaching about essential, substantial changes, is revoked by the assertion of immutability in all essences. It is of essences considered in the region of possibility, or in their intrinsic, metaphysical character, apart from the contingent facts of their actual, physical, concrete existence, that eternity, necessity, and immutability are predicated. In other words, the doctrine is about the ens essentiae as explained in the first chapter. An actual essence of the created order, though not eternal or necessary, may be called immutable in the sense that, as such, it cannot be changed without ceasing to be the particular essence it is, and giving place to some other; it is, however, mutable, inasmuch as its accidents may vary.


(1) In the same way that we find the ancients puzzling their heads over Being, we find them also inventing almost unintelligible subtleties about Possibility. The Stoics, who ought in consistency to have limited the possible to what, at some time or other, becomes actual, nevertheless tried, as we see in the teaching of Chrysippus, to reconcile with their doctrine of fatalistic necessity, a belief in some possibilities that are never actualized{22} -- more especially a belief that the evil-doer among men is responsible for not acting otherwise than he does. The Megarics again were philosophers who got themselves entangled in some very awkward mazes; a specimen of which we have in the obscure argument called kurieuôn, and invented by Diodorus. It rests on the assertion that the three following propositions cannot be held consistently together: (i.) "From the possible there never follows the impossible:" (ii.) What has happened in the past cannot be other than it has been:" (iii.) "Something is possible which neither has been nor will be actualized." While Chrysippus denied the first of the three, Diodorus deduced the falsehood of the third from the other two, which he admitted. His argument was:{23} "From anything possible nothing impossible can result; but it is impossible that the past can be different from what it is; for had it been possible at a past moment, something impossible would have resulted from something possible. It was, therefore, never possible; and generally speaking it is impossible that anything should happen different to what has happened." The reader need not rack his brain over this sophism; but there may be some to whom this little historic fragment has an interest of some kind or other.

(2) The bearings of our theory of possibility on the proposition that "every Being is true," as also on the idealistic theory, that the truth of all the reality in the universe is constituted by conscious mind, are very close; for we make the possible and the intelligible essentially coincident. This view is largely insisted upon by philosophers of different schools, as for example, by Cudworth: "The entity of all theoretical truth is nothing else but clear intelligibility, and whatever is clearly conceived is an entity and a truth: but that which is false Divine power itself cannot make to be clearly and distinctly understood."{24} Reid indeed quotes and criticizes unfavourably the doctrine: but after adducing other authors who speak in the like sense, he remarks,{25} that he had "never found one that called it in question." Of course it is easy enough to make pretence at conceiving the impossible, but the terms of the conception will never be united in thought. All that we are concerned to defend is, that every possible object is, of its own nature, conceivable, and that no really conceivable object is impossible, though we may by abstraction conceive only a portion of it, which by itself alone, without other portion or portions, could not exist.

(3) In the case of free agents we come across a special sort of impossibility, called "moral impossibility;" on which, though the action might absolutely be done, the difficulty of doing it is so great that we cannot expect it to be done. For example, there is a degree of attention to one's occupation which could not be justly exacted, not because it could not be reached by an extraordinary effort, but because it is beyond what is possible by ordinary effort; and ordinary effort, as we will suppose, is all that the gravity of the case demands. Of moral impossibilities some approach nearer, some less near, to absolute impossibility: if they reach absolute impossibility, then they become likewise physical impossibilities. For example, that an ordinary Christian should say frequent prayers, and never for a whole year have a distraction, is an impossibility at once moral and physical. In these matters, however, the use of words is not uniform: and we should not be too ready to condemn another man's expressions till we have made sure of their meaning, or of their want of clear meaning.

{1} In Metaphys. Lib. III. sect. I.

{2} Matthew Arnold's Poems, "The Future."

{3} Hume allows only a pair of absolutely contradictory ideas, existence and non-existence.

{4} See his system in the last volume of Stöckl's Geschichte der Philosophie.

{5} This adds light to the previous proposition, "Every Being is true."

{6} St. Thomas, Contra Gentes, Lib. II. c. xxv.

{7} Hume is correct in the assertion, but he has no right to make it, that "'tis an established maxim in Metaphysics that nothing that we can clearly conceive is absolutely impossible." (Treatise, Bk. I. Pt. II. sect ii.)

{8} Lessius, De Perfectionibus Divinis, Lib. V. c. ii.

{9} Lotze, Metaphysics, Bk. I. c. vii. § 85. (English Translation.)

{10} Du Vrai, du Beau, et du Biens, Leçon iv.

{11} Compare Leibnitz's argument that no two things can be perfectly similar, because God would have no reason to choose one rather than another.

{12} In Lib. I. Distinct. xliii. q. ii. Silvester Maurus is of like mind. (Quaest. Philosoph. q. xvii.)

{13} In Pure Logic we come across the four "modalities" -- necessity, contingency, impossibility, possibility in which enumeration possibility is so taken as to include the case of the Divine nature. This fact appears by the distinction of possibility from contingency.

{14} Ontologia, sect. ii. c. i.

{15} P. 68.

{16} Principles of Logic, p. 183.

{17} P. 197.

{18} P. 221.

{19} Metaphysics, Bk. I. C. vii. § 89. Hume, as is well known, makes necessity a mental creation, Mr. Huxley's "shadow of the mind's throwing." The former understood by necessity only constancy of sequence, or of association between "ideas in the imagination:" he abolished all efficient causality. In the same spirit Comte denied our competence to inquire into genuine causes, beyond mere sequences of phenomena.

{20} Logic, Vol. II. p. 213. He also says, "So far as a context is necessary it is not self-sufficing, but it is a consequence of something else." Hegel does not allow this view. (Logic of Hegel, pp. 23O, 235.)

{21} Lotze remarks: "The adoption of the word freedom to indicate the other sort of quality expressly recognized as merely de facto -- the reality of that which might just as well not be, is to be explained by ideas derived from the philosophy of religion. Taken as a whole, the theory is an open expression of that Dualism which I find wholly unthinkable."

{22} Zeller's Stoics and Epicureans, c. vii. p. 168; c. v. p. 111, in footnote; Socratic Schools, c. xii. p. 232. It must be confessed that the argument called kurieuôn stands for different things with different people. See Hamilton, Logic, Vol. I. 464; Mansel's Aldrich, p. 151

{23} Zeller, I c

{24} Eternal and Immutable Morality, p. 172.

{25} Intellectual Powers, Essay iv. c. iii. p. 377.

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