Judgment, considered as a technical and scientific term of logic, is an act of the mind by which something is affirmed. In this restricted sense it is one of the simplest acts or operations of which we are conscious in the exercise of our rational powers. The intellectual faculty called judgment is the power of determining anything to be true or false. In every instance of memory or perception there is involved some judgment, some feeling of relationship, of space, or time, or similarity, or contrast. Consciousness necessarily involves a judgment; and, as every act of mind is an act of consciousness, every act of mind consequently involves a judgment. It is a process not only subsequent to the acquisition of knowledge, but "involved as a condition of the acquisitive process itself." There is not only included what is popularly understood as comparison (when the properties of bodies are compared), but that elementary faculty, that fundamental law or innate idea, which, in the first instance, makes us cognizant of the property. Hence Sir William Hamilton's division into derivative and primitive cognitions, the derivative being of our own fabrication, formed from certain rules, and being the tardy result of perception and memory, of attention, reflection, abstraction. These are derived from experience, and, as such, are contingent; and as all experience is contingent, all the knowledge derived from experience is contingent also. But, as there are conditions of the mind which are not contingent, which are necessary, which we cannot but think, which thought supposes as its fundamental condition, these are denominated primitive cognitions; these primitive and general notions being the root of all principles, the foundation of the whole edifice of science. For the discovery of this great truth we are indebted to Leibnitz, who, in controverting Locke's view of innate ideas, asserted the existence of a principle of human knowledge independent of and superior to that which is afforded by the senses. Kant, adopting Leibnitz' view, furnishes a test by which these two elements are distinguished from each other: the former, being contingent, are fluctuating and uncertain; they may be in the mind, or they may not. Every fresh scene in which we are placed completely alters the sensations, and the particular sensational judgments of which we are conscious. On the contrary, our primitive judgments are steady, abiding, unalterable. These primitive judgments, he asserts, are of two kinds, analytic and synthetic. An analytic judgment is simply a declaration of something necessarily belonging to a given notion, as that every triangle has three sides. A synthetic judgment may be a declaration of something which does not actually belong to a notion, but which our minds are led, by some kind of evidence or other, to attribute to it, as "Every event has an efficient cause." Here we do more than analyze the expression; we attribute altogether a fresh notion to it, and form a judgment by which our knowledge is extended. Both these judgments are found in the pure sciences, and form the very principles upon which they are pursued. It may be well to remark, however, that Comte, Herbert Spencer, Mill, etc., following Locke; deny the existence of these primitive judgments altogether, even the axioms which stand at the head of mathematical reasoning. So far from being mental and subjective, they are truly inductive, derived from observation; only that observation is so constant, and that induction is so easy and immediate, that we fall easily into an impression that these laws are intuitive, whereas they are, in fact, experimental. For instance, the axioms and postulates which are the basis of Euclid's Geometry are not metaphysical — written on the intellect, and, drawn out of the brain — they are only statements of laws observed and experienced. See Watts, Logic, ch. 4, p. 231; Locke, On the Understanding, 1, 222, 256; 2, 271, 278; Duncan, Logic, p. 145; Reid, On the Intellectual Powers, p. 497, etc. (E. de P.)

"Judgments." topical outline.

Bible concordance for JUDGMENT.

Definition of judgment

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