Page:Review of Franz Brentano's The Origin of the Knowledge of Right and Wrong.djvu/3

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“true” in the sense in which that word is applied to the object of a belief. He says that, just as an object is good, if it be rightly loved, so it is true if it be rightly believed. The definition of truth has the same rare merit as the definition of good, namely, that it is objective. But that it is false appears to be plain from the fact that we can raise the question whether it is “right” to believe everything that is true: that is to say, we are immediately aware that “true” and “rightly believed” are two distinct concepts, one of which, “true,” is an unanalyzable property belonging to some objects of belief. But it is important to raise a second question with regard to this definition of “true.” Is the “rightness” which Brentano attributes to belief in the true the same quality which he attributes to love of the good, or is it not? He speaks of “right” love as if it were merely analogous to “right” belief (p. 19); and this suggests that he thinks the “rightness” is not the same quality in the two cases. In that case he is calling two different unanalyzable qualities by the same name; and that he should not have expressly noticed whether he is doing so or not, illustrates the insufficient attention which he has given to the question what he means by “rightly loved”—a defect in his inquiry, which will be illustrated again later, and which will help to explain his failure to perceive that this quality which he denotes by “rightness,” and not the “rightly loved,” is the fundamental ethical concept properly denoted by “good in itself.” In fact, I am unable to perceive that there is any unanalysable quality which we attribute to belief in the true except the very one which we attribute to love of what is worthy to be loved. In other words, Brentano’s judgment that belief in the true is “right” is a judgment that belief in the true is always good in itself—a proposition which does not seem to be true. If it is not true, it follows not only that “true” does not mean “rightly believed,” but also that just as what it is good to love is not always itself good, so, it is not always good to believe what is true. The incorrectness of this definition of “true” is further proved by the fact that, as will be shown, the quality meant by “rightness” has degrees, whereas, as Brentano himself rightly maintains, no one thing is more true than another (p. 23).

Another doctrine of Brentano’s also illustrates the insufficient attention which he has paid to the nature of that “rightness” the reference to which constitutes the merit of his definitions of good and true. His belief in this doctrine seems indeed to be the main cause why he has given so little attention to the nature of this