The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Johnson, Alexander Bryan
JOHNSON, Alexander Bryan, an American author, born at Gosport, England, May 29, 1786, died in Utica, N. Y., Sept. 9, 1867. He came to the United States in 1801, and settled at Utica, where he was a banker for many years. He was admitted to the bar, but never practised. From his youth he had given all his leisure to the study of problems in intellectual philosophy, and especially of the relations between knowledge and language. He attempted to show the ultimate meaning of words, apart from their meaning as related to each other in ordinary definition, and thus to ascertain the nature of human knowledge as it exists independent of the words in which it is expressed. His publications include “Philosophy of Human Knowledge, or a Treatise on Language” (New York, 1828); “Treatise on Language, or the Relation which Words bear to Things” (1836); “Religion in its Relation to the Present Life” (1840), in which he aims to establish the congruity of Christian precepts with man's physical, intellectual, and emotional nature; “The Meaning of Words Analyzed into Words and Unverbal Things, and Unverbal Things Classified into Intellections, Sensations, and Emotions” (1854), in which he confesses that he had been 50 years in arriving at a clear comprehension of the object of his search; “Physiology of the Senses, or How and What we See, Hear, Taste, Feel, and Smell” (1856); “Encyclopedia of Instruction, or Apologues and Breviates on Men and Manners” (1857); and several works on financial and political topics.