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THE ORIGIN OF OUR KNOWLEDGE AND IDEAS. Statement and
SCEPTICISM AND AGNOSTICISM. M. Morel, Ferrier, Hamilton
FIRST AND FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS.
IN popular apprehension Metaphysics is the most confused and confusing of all branches of inquiry. I claim that under one aspect it is the most certain of all departments of knowledge; it is so in its principles, which are fundamental. Under another aspect it is the most perplexed, as it is difficult to determine these principles, they are so involved in the varied and complicated operations of the mind.
The phrase has been made to cover all sorts of speculation, attainable and unattainable, possible and impossible. Of all things, it is important at the present stage of the history of philosophy that it should be carefully defined, that a distinct province be allotted to it, and that it should not be allowed to trespass upon the territory of its neighbors.
The term points to a branch of investigation beyond (μéra) Physics. The profound thinkers of the world have all believed in something in the mind deeper and higher than the fleeting phenomena of the senses. I am convinced that there are powers working which underlie and support all its intelligent exercises. If this be so, it is surely of vast moment to determine what these are. This is the field to be allotted to Metaphysics.
Aristotle has remarked that Metaphysics, or what he calls First Philosophy, while the first of the sciences in the order of things, will be the last to be constructed.