Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/28

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TELESIUS

forces. There are no “natural places,” for space is everywhere the same. Different places in space do not of themselves involve any qualitative differences.

Telesius was born at Cosenza in the vicinity of Naples. His circumstances were sufficiently comfortable to provide him the opportunity to devote himself to science. He taught in the University of Naples and founded an Academy in his native city. He had planned to substitute a new theory, based on experience, for Aristotelian Scholasticism. But his critical equipment was inadequate to the accomplishment of this ideal. His general principles however mark an important advance. The details of his natural philosophy are no longer of interest. But his ideas on the psychology of knowledge still continue to be of considerable importance. He tries to bring thought and sensation into the closest possible relation. Should an object which has once been perceived in the totality of its parts and attributes recur at some later time with certain of its parts and attributes lacking, we can supply the parts which are lacking and imagine the object as a totality notwithstanding the fact that we perceive it but in part. We can imagine fire, e.g. with all its attributes, even though we only see its light, without perceiving its heat and its consuming energy. Intellection (intellegere) is the process of construing our fragmentary experience into such a totality. Even the highest and most perfect knowledge simply consists of the ability to discover the unknown attributes and conditions of phenomena by means of their similarity to other cases known as a totality. Inference simply means the recognition of the absent attributes by this method. The simplest sensory impressions are therefore related through a large number of intervening degrees to the highest