Thursday, September 27, 2018

Brother Benignus on Reason as the Higher Power

"Plato goes on to show directly that perception cannot be knowledge. Even in the simplest proposition, for example, "This desk is wooden", there is something more than direct perception. To attribute a predicate to a subject I must compare two present percepts and compare my present perceptions with my past perceptions. To do this I must first classify the percepts under concepts. All these acts are impossible to sense. because sensation is always an isolated, present impression unrelated to any other. In knowledge, therefore, I exercise a power that is above the senses. This higher power, is evidenced further by the fact that different sensations suggest the same idea to me, for example this orange both looks round and feels round. The roundness is not the look, because in that case feeling could never suggest it; nor is it the feel, for the opposite reason. Yet I know from either seeing it or feeling it or both that it is round. Clearly there is in knowledge a higher power which sense serves and which judges sense.

Therefore, as Socrates showed, knowledge is comprehension by means of a concept or definition which is fixed and permanent and the same for all minds. It belongs to reason and not to sense. It gives the objective essence of a thing, not a private appearance. Its object is nothing of this phenomenal world, but the eternal Idea. True knowledge is the rational comprehension of the Ideas."

---Brother Benignus, 1947, Nature, Knowledge, and God: An Introduction to Thomistic Philosophy, page 43.

No comments:

Post a Comment