Hickok’s Philosophy -- By: Anonymous
BSac 16:62 (April 1859) p. 253
There is given, below,1 a list of Dr. Hickok’s works, in the order of their
publication. Unless we incorrectly estimate their intrinsic worth, they represent the highest attainments in speculative thought which the American mind has yet reached; and if we are not mistaken respecting the increasing force of their influence, they promise to found a school of philosophy with a prominent and permanent place in the history of the world’s speculation. But that it may appear whether this is an undue judgment, we propose to furnish a summary of their leading principles. To obtain the clearest view and arrive at the most satisfactory decision
BSac 16:62 (April 1859) p. 254
respecting them, we need to pass each work in review, in an order somewhat different from that of its publication.
The Empirical Psychology should be first noticed. This is the science of the human mind as given in consciousness. It is a science, because it presents us as objects of knowledge certain truths in an orderly classification; it is an empirical science, because these truths are the facts furnished by experience and observation; it is not a pure and exhaustive science, because the principles, whereby alone the facts can be rationally expounded, neither experience nor observation can give. The field of empirical psychology is thus limited altogether to the developed facts of mind. The developing principles can have no place nor be recognized here except as the actual exercises and convictions which they induce, may become phenomena within the light of consciousness.
In treating of the functions of the mind, there is one fact so immediately before us, and of such intimate relations to every mental exercise, that it claims our first attention. The mind, though supernatural, is mysteriously linked with the natural world. It is tabernacled in the flesh, possessing instincts, appetites, and emotions in perfect keeping with a fleshly or animal nature, yet never losing that rational endowment wherewith it is not only above nature but radically different from anything that the animal is, or can become. Where the point of union is, or in what it consists, we need not inquire; but that it is something which essentially modifies every exercise of the mind, is an all important fact for our psychology.
The mind united with the body is constantly receiving impressions and modifications from nature. The variations of climate and soil, the influence of food and dress and employment, habits of in-door confinement or outward exposure, and the social conditions in which man is placed, all induce peculiar varieties of mental experience. These influenc...
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