Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Dictionary of philosophy and psychology including many of the principal conceptions of ethics, logics, aesthetics ... and giving a terminology in English, French, German and Italian, vol. 2 [lead-zwing]
Baldwin, James Mark
(4) The logical use (3) passes easily into 
the metaphysical. Provided the common 
attribute is regarded as important or essential, 
provided it is regarded as constituting a 
1 natural ’ genus or class, it expresses the 
essence of the thing under consideration—its 
permanent and abiding reality as distinct 
from transitory accidents. But since this 
essence is also what is common to a number of 
individuals, the class itself taken as an objec¬ 
tive whole is regarded as a universal. When 
a predicate of this sort is applied to a subject, 
it expresses not merely an empirical, but a 
necessary, application to the whole of the 
subject-matter ; the relationship ceases to he 
simply a quantitative one, and becomes quali¬ 
tative or essential; e.g. ‘ All swans are white’ 
would be a quantitative universal judgment, 
and so empirical. But ‘ all events must have 
a cause ’ is a qualitative universal—it is the 
‘essence’ of an event to be caused. Now 
mediaeval thought was thus led to identify 
the universalia or generic notions with 
essences and with classes. Thus arose the 
discussion regarding the relation of universal« 
to individual things (see Realism, i). Cf. 
Abstract Ideas. 
(5) Aristotle had illustrated the common 
as the basis of a ‘ natural ’ class, by the com¬ 
mon strain in various members of a family— 
those of common descent. This aspect of the 
term tends to identify the universal not merely 
with the static qualities or essence, but with 
the productive force—the generic is the gene¬ 
rative—by which numerically distinct indi¬ 
viduals are really connected with one another. 
This meaning presents a picture of what is 
meant by the objective reality of a universal. 
With modern science and the growth of the 
conception of force, causation, and the tendency 
to define (as in geometry) by reference to 
mode of production, this dynamic sense got 
the upper hand of the static. It is used in 
this sense in the school of Hegel to mean 
the general which, as function or activity, 
exists only in the specific differences to which 
it determines itself. (j.d.) 
(6) Kant, in sundry places (as in Logik by 
Jäsche, § 21), draws a rather insignificant 
distinction between ‘ generale ’ or ‘ gemeine ’ 
Sätze and * universale ’ or ‘ allgemeine ’ Sätze. 
The former are what are ordinarily called 
universal propositions. The latter are some¬ 
thing more, apparently relating to any object 
(7) Descartes, Leibnitz, Kant, and others 
appeal to the universality of certain truths 
as proving that they are not derived from 
observation, either directly or by legitimate 
probable inference. There is only one such 
passage in Descartes; and even Leibnitz, 
though he frequently alleges the necessity of 
certain truths (that is, their being propositions 
of necessary mode) against Locke’s opinion, 
yet in only one place (the ‘ Avant-Propos ’ 
of the Nouveaux Essais) distinctly adds the 
criterion of universality. Descartes, Leibnitz, 
and Kant more or less explicitly state that 
that which they say cannot be derived from 
observation, or legitimate probable inference 
from observation, is a universal proposition in 
sense (3), that is, an assertion concerning every 
member of a general class without exception. 
Descartes (.Letter xcix) argues that no legiti¬ 
mate inference can be made from external 
phenomena to the proposition that * Things 
equal to the same are equal to each other,’ 
since that would be to infer a ‘ universal ’ 
from a ‘ particular.’ Leibnitz uses almost the 
same language : * D’où il naît une autre ques¬ 
tion, savoir, si toutes les vérités dépendent de 
l’expérience, c’est-à-dire de l’induction et des 
exemples, ou s’il y a un autre fondement. . . . 
Or, tous les exemples qui confirment une vérité 
générale, de quelque nombre qu’ils soient, ne 
suffisent pas pour établir la nécessité univer¬ 
selle de cette même vérité : car il ne suit pas 
que ce qui est arrivé arrivera toujours de 
même.’ Kant expresses himself still more 
unmistakably (Krit. d. reinen Vernunft, 2nd 
ed., Einleitung, ii) : ‘ Erfahrung giebt niemals 
ihren Urtheilen wahre und strenge, sondern 
nur angenommene und comparative Allgemein¬ 
heit (durch Induction), so dass es eigentlich 
heissen muss : so viel wir bisher wahrgenom¬ 
men haben, findet sich von dieser oder jener 
Regel keine Ausnahme. Wird also ein Ur- 
theil in strenger Allgemeinheit gedacht, d. i. 
so, dass gar keine Ausnahme als möglich 
verstattet wird, so ist es nicht von der 
Erfahrung abgeleitet, sondern schlechterdings 
a priori gültig. Die empirische Allgemein¬ 
heit ist also nur eine willkührliche Steige¬ 
rung der Gültigkeit, von der, welche in den 
meisten Fällen, zu der, die in allen gilt, wie 
z. B. in dem Satze : alle Körper sind schwer ; 
wo dagegen strenge Allgemeinheit zu einem 
Urtheile wesentlich gehört, da zeigt diese auf 
einem besonderen Erkenntnissquell derselben, 
nämlich ein Vermögen des Erkenntnisses 
a priori. Nothwendigkeit und strenge Allge¬ 
meinheit sind also sichere Kennzeichen einer 
Erkenntniss a priori, und gehören auch un¬ 
zertrennlich zu einander.’ But notwithstand- 
39 3 B 2


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