CHAPTER XXXVI—That the Propositions which our Understanding forms of God are not void of meaning
FOR all the absolute simplicity of God, not in vain does our understanding form
propositions concerning Him, putting together and putting asunder.7575That is, affirmative and negative propositions.
For though our understanding arrives by way of divers concepts to the knowledge
of God, still it understands the absolute oneness of the object answering to all
those concepts. Our mind does not attribute the manner of its understanding to the
object is understood:7676Kant would have said: The mind does not, or anyhow should not, mistake the forms
of its own thought for properties of noumena. Hegel denied that there were any noumena,
and held thought-forms to be everything that is. Forms of thought, e.g., universality,
were quite recognised by the schoolmen.
thus it does not attribute immateriality to a stone, though it knows the stone immaterially.7777All our knowledge is immaterial, or in other words, universal, got by a spiritualisation
of the impressions of sense: we know at once hoc aliquid et tale. To know
hoc aliquid by itself would be impossible. The first knowledge is a judgement.
And therefore it asserts unity of the object by an affirmative proposition, which
is a sign of identity, when it says, ‘God is good’: in which case any diversity
that the composition shows is referable to the understanding, but unity to the thing
understood. And on the same principle sometimes our mind forms a statement about
God with some mark of diversity by inserting a preposition, as when it is said,
‘Goodness is in God.’ Herein is marked a diversity, proper to the understanding;
and a unity, proper to the thing.