Hickok’s Rational Psychology. -- By: Tayler Lewis

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 008:29 (Jan 1851)
Article: Hickok’s Rational Psychology.
Author: Tayler Lewis


Hickok’s Rational Psychology.1

Tayler Lewis

Psychology — the word, the reason, the science of the soul. “It is only a developed consciousness,” or a development of consciousness, says the writer of the famous article on Reid and Brown in No. Cm. of the Edinburgh Review. The objection here is to the word only. The definition is true as far as it goes. Psychology is a development of consciousness; but is it not something more? Dr. Hickok, as well as others of the general class of thinkers to which he may be said to belong, and among whom this work will, beyond all question, give him a very high standing, maintains that it is. He would probably find no fault with the statement, if the term consciousness were so extended, beyond what is commonly called the soul’s experience, as to embrace the inward contemplation of the truths which the experience awakens it to find within itself as among the conditions of its own being. To avoid all such confusion, however, he has entitled his examination of the soul — A Rational Psychology. It is, in other words, the soul’s experiences seen in the light of its own reason, — not as dispensing with experience, or preceding it in the order of time, but taking it first as a guide to that position from whence it is seen, not only that such experiences are, but that they must have been just what they are, and could have been in no other possible way. This is his use of the term a priori which occurs so frequently. It is not the absurdity of à priori knowledge as actual consciousness in the order of time, but the gaining, through experience or consciousness, taken in its widest sense, of an advance position from which the soul looks back and sees that there was but this one path, and that thus its guide experience was itself determined all along by that higher light to which it has at last conducted the spiritual consciousness. Hence it is called an à priori, or rational psychology. It assumes to show us, not only how we feel, how we perceive, how we understand, how we comprehend, or, — to use the gene-

ral term which embraces them all — how we know, but also that so we must have known, in a mode as surely determinable and determined as truth itself, which is the object of knowledge, is determined and could have been no other than what it is. Thus there is an à priori idea for each power and department of the soul, whatever, or how many, they may be, and there is to each an objective law in perfect harmony with it. There is an idea of the sense, and corresponding to it an actual law of feeling and perceiving. There is an idea of an understanding and a c...

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