Rational Psychology: Or the Subjective Idea and the Objective Law of All Intelligence 

Laurens Perseus Hickok

 

Introduction

There can be no doubt that Laurens Perseus Hickok’s Rational Psychology: Or the Subjective Idea and the Objective Law of All Intelligence (1849) is one of the most important psychological texts to be published in the United States prior to William James’s Principles of Psychology (1890).1 Regrettably, the book and its author are largely forgotten today. Although, by the time of Hickok’s death in 1888, American and European philosophy and psychology had taken a different tack, Hickok’s philosophical, introspective psychology is among the best works written in its genre. No reader could doubt Hickok’s detailed knowledge and understanding of the intricacies of the western philosophical tradition. And at a time when most American intellectuals were only vaguely familiar with the philosophical revolution that began in Germany with Kant and developed through Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, Hickok wrote about their philosophies with a clarity that displayed intimate knowledge of their difficult works.2 Because of its sophistication and innovative argumentation, Hickok’s book was both warmly received and vociferously condemned, sparking an important debate among American intellectuals. Consequently, it is a travesty for Hickok’s Rational Psychology to be relegated to the dustbin of American intellectual history. In this introduction, I briefly discuss Hickok’s life and intellectual development, the complex philosophical arguments of the book, and the controversies surrounding the book’s reception. I seek to demonstrate that the book provides a window into a crucial period in the history of American philosophy, not only because it introduced many intellectuals to idealist thought, but also because, as an original work of philosophy, it served to demonstrate the implications and limitations of Kant’s philosophical method for both philosophy and theology.

Born in Bethel, Connecticut in 1798, Hickok was the son of a prosperous farmer. A precocious and enterprising youth, before he had completed high school, Hickok opened a small tutoring school. In 1818, he entered Union College in Schenectady, New York at the age of twenty, and graduated two years later. No doubt, Union College and its charismatic president, Eliphalet Nott, played a significant role in Hickok’s intellectual development. Chartered by the Regents of the State of New York in 1795, as one of the oldest nondenominational colleges in the United States, Union was a safe haven for independent thought. Though its status had declined by the end of the Civil War in 1865, during Hickok’s undergraduate days, Union graduated as many students as any other college in America. Along with Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, it was spoken of as one of the big four. Union was also unique among ante-bellum American colleges because it never shared their heavily classical bias and was among the first to introduce French on an equal level with Greek and Latin. Moreover, science and technology were always central to the Union curriculum. Believing that orthodox Christian theology should be integrated into the latest scientific knowledge, Nott developed a curriculum that emphasized religion as well as the physical and life sciences. Given this educational background, it comes as no surprise that, throughout his oeuvre, Hickok sought to ground Christian theology on a scientific footing in a strikingly innovative way.

Despite the prominence of science at Union, upon graduation from the college, Hickok returned to his hometown and announced a desire to become a minister. For the next four years he studied locally with Bennet Tyler, an old-school Calvinist who zealously advocated the doctrines of original depravity and the absolute sovereignty of God. Ordained minister and installed as pastor of the Congregational Church at Kent, Connecticut in 1823, presumably Hickok’s doctrine was acceptable to Tyler. In 1829, Hickok accepted a pulpit in Litchfield, Connecticut where, despite some complaints about his unpredictable disposition, he flourished for five years. During his years as a pastor, Hickok discovered and developed a natural talent as an orator, and was frequently invited to address public meetings. The fame that flowed from Hickok’s eloquence led him to a position as professor of theology at Western Reserve College in 1836, and then professor of Christian theology at Auburn Theological Seminary in 1844. Hickok wholeheartedly embraced his academic career and was promptly recognized as an original thinker.

Hickok’s originality is evident in his inaugural address at Auburn, “Theology as Science.” In this lecture, Hickok followed Nott’s lead, applying the strictures of current science to the field of theology. Throughout his career, Hickok worked with a model of science that was extant until the late nineteenth century. For Hickok and his intellectual peers, science meant paying greater attention to empirical data but, first and foremost, it meant the rigorous systematization of that data under general principles within a particular field of knowledge. Thus, Hickok averred in this address, theology could be made scientific only if perceived facts were collated and systematized under the three theological principles, “Ritual, Doctrine, and Spirituality.” The perceived facts of which Hickok spoke were the statements contained in inspired and authoritative religious documents. Hickok’s desire to scientifically systematize Christian theology never abated.

Perhaps because of the affinities in their thinking, in 1848 Nott initiated a correspondence with Hickok in which he sought to attract his former student to a faculty position at Union College. Hickok must have been deeply involved in the final preparations of his Rational Psychology at the time, and it seems likely that the two men discussed its contents. In 1852, Hickok finally accepted a position at Union as Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy and vice president of the college. Upon Nott’s death in 1866, Hickok succeeded to the presidency of Union, a post he held until his retirement in 1868.

A sizeable treatise, the first edition of Hickok’s Rational Psychology was over 700 pages long. Hickok divided psychology into empirical and rational psychology; the former is the study of experience and its organization, the latter determines the conditions that make experience possible. The influence of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason upon Hickok is immediately apparent:

In [rational psychology], we pass from the facts of experience wholly out beyond it, and seek for the rationale of experience itself in the necessary and universal principles which must be conditional for all facts of a possible experience. We seek to determine how it is possible for an experience to be, from those apriori conditions which render all the functions of an intellectual agency themselves intelligible.3

 

In essence, Hickok’s Rational Psychology is a study of the human mind within the province of pure reason alone; it is an effort to elucidate the a priori principles, the principles of pure reason, that make our experience possible. This is not a denial of empiricism, however. Hickok agrees with Kant that, “although knowledge begins with experience, it does not follow that it all arises out of experience.”4 Hence, like Kant, Hickok believed he could go beyond experience by examining the generic features of its contents and discovering the a priori principles that make it possible, without denying the claim that all knowledge begins in experience. In the introduction to the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant explained that mathematics provides “a shining example of how far, independently of experience, we can progress in a priori knowledge.”5 In much the same way, Hickok wrote that “Pure Mathematics…proceed [sic] in the firm and sure steps of a demonstrated science, because they go out utterly beyond all appearance, and attain their elements from a region transcending all that experience can reach.”6 Pure mathematics studies principles that control experience and make it possible by elucidating rational, mathematical categories into which the raw data of experience can be organized. By the same token, rational psychology, according to Hickok, studies the a priori categories that make all experience possible. Stated in another way, for Kant and Hickok, the validity of experience can only be demonstrated by that which is not in experience. The natural finds its meaning in the supernatural.

Also in Kantian fashion, Hickok denied skepticism about the possibility of empirical knowledge by sidestepping it. The skeptic, to Hickok, is self-defeating because he assails knowledge “from a point utterly beyond all the facts of observation.” Through “a rigid transcendental demonstration,” Hickok affirmed, we can demonstrate to the skeptic “the conditioning principles” that make experience possible.7 Hickok did not attempt to prove that knowledge of experience is possible, that much he assumed, only how it is possible. The skeptic assumed that thought must correspond to its object. Like Kant, Hickok proposed that, in knowledge, objects conform to the a priori categories of pure reason. The task of philosophy was to delineate the absolute and necessary principles of reason that make the particular facts of experience intelligible. All German idealism after Kant adopted this strategy toward skepticism.8

Hickok claimed that the results of rational psychology, properly understood, could provide insight into four more general philosophical issues. First, he declared, rational psychology can demonstrate the insufficiency of Berkeley’s subjective idealism and the materialism that results from Humean skepticism, by showing that a priori categories operate on sensations that originate from objects that exist apart from the mind. Hence, Hickok seems to say, rational psychology can demonstrate that the ideal is metaphysically distinct from the material. Second, rational psychology can demonstrate “the being of substances and causes” behind the qualities – colors, sounds, tastes, etc. – we perceive. Third, rational psychology can demonstrate “the necessary and universal connections of cause and effect.”9 On this issue, Hickok was most animated by “the philosophy of sensation,” or British empiricism, the premises of which, he believed, legitimately led “towards universal materialism, and ultimately through fatalism to blank atheism.” For Hickok, Hume unwittingly reduced British empiricism to absurdity by taking it to its logical conclusion. Hickok’s rational psychology rejected the key premise of British empiricism by embracing Kant’s active model of the mind, according to which it shapes the objects of our experience.

Hickok broke with Kant, however, because Kant’s inability to account for our knowledge of the noumenal world led to Fichte’s subjective idealism, Schelling’s identity philosophy, and Hegel’s absolute idealism, which, Hickok claimed, reduced reality to thought in an “idealistic pantheism.”10 Rational psychology then, must take us beyond the philosophical impasse to which modern philosophy from Descartes through Hegel had led. And although Hickok was unambiguous about his distaste for Hegel, the scope of the task he set for himself was of Hegelian, not Kantian, proportions. As will become clear, particularly in his concept of reason, he also made philosophical moves to correct Kant that are reminiscent of Hegel. At this point in his argument, however, Hickok reasserted the Kantian claim that rational psychology can resolve the dilemma of modern philosophy by determining “the conditioning principles of perception in sensation” in order to show the reality of the objects given in sensation, by determining “the conditioning principles of all judgments in the understanding” in order to demonstrate the reality of substances and causes, and by determining “the conditioning principles of all comprehension of a nature of things in the faculty of the reason” in order to demonstrate the reality of the soul, freedom of the will, and God. If and when rational psychology succeeded in this endeavor, which was the purpose of this ambitious book, it would become ontology. Finally, Hickok wrote, rational psychology “may at some future time…” demonstrate “a complete method of all possible science.11 Hickok left that task to future volumes.

True to the outline contained in the introduction, Hickok divided the book into three parts, “The Sense,” “The Understanding,” and “The Reason.” These three faculties comprise intellect, the mind’s capacity for knowing. The term “faculties” is somewhat misleading because Hickok’s account is more sophisticated than the faculty psychology usually associated with modern philosophy. It is more akin to the functional psychology that came into vogue after Hickok’s philosophical writings were forgotten, because he described sense, understanding, and reason more as capacities for mental action than distinct organs or parts of the mind.12 Furthermore, in Hickok’s scheme, sense is not to be confused with sensation. Sensation is the invasion of the mind by an external agent, while sense is an internal power whose function is to construct our ideas of things in the outside world out of impressions in our consciousness. Through the acts of defining, distinguishing, and connecting, sense transforms impressions into objects of experience, mental states with which the understanding can work. Understanding is capable of abstracting, of separating in thought what cannot be separated in sense. When sense and understanding are used with care, and their results repeatedly tested, they give us the natural sciences. Because the natural sciences do not go beyond the understanding, and understanding reflects only on mental states produced in us by external agents, we can, at this level, know phenomena but not the noumena or “things-in-themselves.” The natural sciences are, for Hickok, subjective but not objective. It is conceivable that the mental images with which natural science works are precise copies of external objects, but we cannot know that they are unless we can demonstrate that the laws of thought are also the laws of things.

Just as the natural sciences are limited to the understanding, the understanding is limited to the natural world: “The prison of nature is the destined dwelling of the understanding, and if there are no higher processes of operation competent to intelligence than the connections in discursive judgments, then verily will those prison doors never be opened.”13 For Hickok, however, knowledge of the supernatural is possible because reason can establish the correspondence between the laws of thought and the laws of things. Hickok claimed to prove that we have such a faculty from the general consciousness of something beyond the limits of understanding:

We make abstraction, then, utterly of all that is phenomenal, and therefore dispense with the use of all the functions of the sense….By thus making abstraction of all that is phenomenal we dispense also with all the operation of the understanding, which must go from phenomenon to phenomenon….The phenomenonal is gone and there is nothing to connect, and the notional as the connective only remains, and the functions of the understanding have not the necessary conditions for their operation. They can connect in judgments only according to the sense, as that may give its phenomenon; but here nothing of the sense remains. We have then the notional only, as the reason had supplied it for the use of the understanding in the connecting of the phenomenon in the sense. We thus have nature in its substances, causes, and reciprocal influences, as things in themselves, and as they must be determined to exist by any intelligence who should know things directly in their essence, without any organs of sensibility to give to them a mode of appearance as phenomena.

For example, we realize that all experience presupposes space and time, but this realization transcends the evidence of sensation. “Pure space and time are never an appearance in sense, nor at all a part of what is given in sense, and the fact that we cognize them at all is the evidence of a higher faculty than sense, and especially that we cognize them to be necessarily and universally conditional for all perception in sense.”14 The concepts of space and time, abstracted from the objects they define, are for Hickok and Kant, forms of intuition. Our recognition of this truth is evidence of our rational ability.

In reason, Hickok argued, “the true ground and essential being of nature is conceived…”15 Although his concept of reason lacks the dynamic, historical dimension for which Hegel is known, like Hegel, Hickok postulated that it bridges the gap between mind and world. Reason is our ability to apprehend the general notions of space and time, the notion of causation apart from particular examples of cause and effect, and the universal principles of pure mathematics. Moreover, again like Hegel, he asserted that these unconditioned concepts really do exist in things. The faculty of reason explains our ability to have knowledge because it inheres in both thought and world. To bolster this conclusion, Hickok argued that the mind can only be immediately conscious of itself. The mind really does exist as an entity in the universe, thus its self-knowledge is knowledge of a thing-in-itself. From that self-knowledge, we can generalize that unconditioned concepts exist in all things. Hence, the laws of thought are the laws of things. Because reason apprehends universal notions such as the principle of causation, it takes us beyond the particulars of the understanding and provides an ability to conceive of the whole.

Reason, according to Hickok, is the “overseer of nature.” That is to say, reason provides a supernatural standpoint and deals with the supernatural. To demonstrate this controversial claim, Hickok appealed to a version of Leibniz’s principle of sufficient reason according to which every fact must have a sufficient explanation. We all recognize, explained Hickok, that nature itself requires an explanation: “…reason must find an agent…in whom…nature may find an origin.” This agent must be absolutely self-sufficient and unconditioned, for only such a being can stand above nature and condition it without being reciprocally conditioned by nature. “As thus positively unconditioned, we give to this conception of a supernatural being the high name, which must be his own preogative [sic] and incommunicable possession—the Absolute.”16 In this concept of the Absolute, Hickok again moved beyond Kant to post-Kantian idealism, but he cannot be identified with any one of the post-Kantian idealists because of his conviction that they all reduce reality to a pantheistic monism in one way or another. The key question, and this was hotly contested after the book was published, is whether or not Hickok can avoid pantheism.

Hickok argued that an utterly unconditioned reality must be a personality, because only a person can act without being acted upon. The Absolute has three characteristics, pure spontaneity, pure autonomy, and pure liberty. Not only does the Absolute act spontaneously, but it also acts according to its own law and, thus, it is absolutely free:

These three, Spontaneity, Autonomy, and Liberty are all the elements which determine Personality; and, as in the Ideal of the Absolute, determined in his personality, we are to comprehend universal nature, so in these, we have the apriori Elements of an operation of Comprehension.17

 

Hickok’s emphasis on the personality of the Absolute is consistent with his Calvinist doctrine of God, and in the years after the book was published he appealed to that emphasis to counter the charge of pantheism. Also to avoid that charge, Hickok quickly added that the Absolute is a “reason-conception” of the supernatural rather than a conception that originated in sense and understanding. He warned that, although we may borrow terms from the natural when we speak of the supernatural, “we are by no means to allow ourselves to come under the delusion…that such supernatural causation had any connection with nature’s causes in their necessitated conditions. If the words are sometimes borrowed, the meanings must never be confounded.”18 For Hickok, all language about the Absolute is purely analogical because the Absolute is utterly distinct from nature. Though nature is completely dependent upon God, he is completely independent of it.

Hickok elaborated on God’s relationship to nature in a doctrine of creation that is particularly difficult to decipher. Perhaps the best way to begin with an explanation of the doctrine is with an extended quotation from the book:

Conceive of two congealed pencils, such that when their points are pressed in contact the pressure shall equally liquify them both, then will this liquefaction accumulate itself about the point of contact; and if no external disturbing force be present it will perfectly ensphere itself there, the sphere enlarging as the pressure continues and the accumulation increases. If now we will abstract all that is phenomenal in this, and retain only that which is the space-filling as thing in itself, we shall have the pure conception of force as generated in antagonistic action. The apriori substantial being is this force occupying space, and the phenomenal is only the mode in which it is given as appearance in sense…. Let the antagonism at the center be adequate to fill the space the universe occupies, and the essential space-filling substance of the universe is a necessary conception.

Hickok’s two pencils example provides a theory about God’s creation of the universe as a whole, and he also used it to explain the creation of individual parts of the universe. All of the noumena that lay behind the phenomena of experience are composed of countervailing forces. Their extension in space, to use Descartes’s term, is due to an outward force. The limit of their extension in space is due to a countervailing inward force. As Hickok explained, “all of nature is a genesis in duality…”19 Both forces, for Hickok, are simply God’s countervailing acts. This is how God creates objects that exist spatially; the same objects exist temporally as long as God persists in exerting the two countervailing forces that determine their size and position in space.20 Hence, space and time are epiphenomenal realities; they exist only because, and when, God exerts the countervailing forces that cause spatial and temporal entities to exist. Even if this doctrine of creation does account for the existence of the noumenal world, it is not clear that it can account for the qualities we encounter in the phenomenal world – e.g., color and odor – that are not obviously the result of countervailing forces. Nonetheless, because the divine will acts externally upon the noumenal world, it follows that it is absolutely sovereign in all of its operations. With this conception of God and all that has gone before in the book, Hickok concluded, “we have a complete philosophy of the human mind – a Rational Psychology.”21

The record of reviews indicates that the book created little controversy when it was initially published. In a lengthy review for Bibliotheca Sacra, Tayler Lewis praised the Rational Psychology for constructing an unassailable wall around orthodox theology in the face of the skepticism and materialism of empiricism, and the pantheism of German idealism and American transcendentalism. When the book’s sequel, Rational Cosmology, appeared in 1859, the editors of the same journal proclaimed that these books, along with Hickok’s textbooks, Empirical Psychology and A System of Moral Science, “represent the highest attainments in speculative thought which the American mind has yet reached.”22 As imposing as it is, it may have taken a while for many philosophers and theologians to decide what to make of the book.23 But in 1861, as the nation divided in what would become the bloodiest war of its history, a war over Hickok’s philosophy began in earnest when a second edition of Rational Psychology appeared.

In an unsigned article in the Princeton Review, a critic wrote, “This system of Rational Psychology, necessarily, either deifies the human reason or undeifies God.” Clearly indebted to the intuitionism of the Scottish Common Sense Realism that dominated American denominational colleges, Hickok’s anonymous critic ridiculed the very possibility of constructing a rational psychology. “Demonstration,” this reviewer wrote “can never go beyond an intuitive truth, or direct beholding.” It is sacrilegious to believe that, through reason, or any faculty, we can understand the deepest secrets of the universe and God. And if “God is conditioned by eternal, unmade, necessary physical principles,” then he is no God. In a criticism of Hickok’s doctrine of creation, the reviewer also accused him of falling prey to the very pantheism he had so resolutely sought to avoid.

We never knew,—we cannot conceive,—that it is possible for a spirit to put its pure acts into counteraction. What is it? The susbstance of the spirit pressing against its substance with a physical forceful impingement? Impossible. Thought pressing physically against thought? Impossible! Moreover, if we suppose the pure act of a pure spirit—what is it? and what is the result, save the spirit itself in action? On this plan, the “impenetrable substance” which is made, is simply the creator impinging against himself; the pure spirit himself in action is himself the world he makes; and so we end in Pantheism.24

Tayler Lewis came to Hickok’s defense, arguing that if reason is a gift of God, it is not irreverent or presumptuous to found Christian theology on a priori reasoning. Furthermore, Lewis countered, it is no sin to suppose that God observes the rational laws of the universe he has ordained.25 Hickok responded to the review in a similar vein. Mincing no words, Hickok claimed that the reviewer completely misunderstood the reasoning contained in the Rational Psychology, claiming that “if it were too obscure for his apprehension he was not bound to study it, nor to review it…” In an effort to counter the charge of pantheism, Hickok stated,

the Theism of the Bible is in an important and most sublime sense a Pantheism. In the Scriptures God is made to be ‘All in all’….But the distinction between the Bible and all heretical Pantheism is broadly marked in this; the Bible starts with an absolute will in Liberty, and thus with a proper personality, and this personal God ‘in the beginning creates the heavens and the earth.’26

 

Hickok’s point is simply that the God of his Rational Psychology is no more pantheistic than the God of the Bible because he is a personal God with free will who created the world.

Although both sides fired more shots, the debate over Hickok’s Rational Psychology made no discernible progress. In 1863, The American Theological Review published a reply to Hickok and Lewis by Edwin Hall of Auburn Theological Seminary with the following notice: “We deem it but fair that Dr. Hall should have an opportunity to reply to Dr. Hickok’s and Prof. Lewis’s articles in former numbers; and with this reply, in which no new points have been introduced, this discussion will close in this Review.”27

Undeterred by ferocious attacks on the Rational Psychology, after he retired from Union in 1862, Hickok’s books and articles rolled off the presses in fairly rapid succession until his system was complete. In addition to psychology, he wrote on philosophical anthropology, ethics, aesthetics, cosmology, theology, and logic. Toward the end of his long life, Hickok helped his nephew, President Julius H. Seelye of Amherst College, write abridgements of two of his works for use as textbooks. Hickok was the earliest, and one of the very few, system builders in American intellectual history. It is my hope that this republication of the Rational Psychology will facilitate a reassessment of his place in the pantheon of great American philosophers.

James A. Good
Rice University, Texas, 2002


1 See E. Harms, “America’s First Major Psychologist: Laurens Perseus Hickok,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 8 (1972): 120–23; R.B. Evans, “The Origins of American Academic Psychology,” in Explorations in the History of Psychology in the United States ed. J. Brozeck (Lewisburg, Penn.: Bucknell University Press, 1983), 47; and John K. Bare, “Laurens Perseus Hickok: Philosopher, Theologian, and Psychologist” in Portraits of Pioneers in Psychology ed. Gregory A. Kimble and Michael Wertheimer (Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association; Hillsdale, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates, 1991–2000), 3: 1–15.

2 Three other books in the Thoemmes Continuum “Early American Reception of German Idealism” series had begun to introduce American intellectuals to German idealism before Hickok’s Rational Psychology was published: Frederich Augustus Rauch, Psychology; or a view of the Human Soul; including Anthropology (New York: M. W. Dodd, 1840); James Marsh, The Remains of the Rev. James Marsh, D.D.: Late President and Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy, in the University of Vermont; with a Memoir of His Life, ed. Joseph Torrey (Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1843); Frederic Henry Hedge, Prose Writers of Germany (Philadelphia, PA: Carey and Hart, 1847).

3 Laurens Perseus Hickok, Rational Psychology: Or the Subjective Idea and the Objective Law of All Intelligence (Auburn: Derby, Miller and Company, 1849), 18.

4 Immanuel Kant, Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Norman Kemp Smith (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1929), 41.

5 Ibid., 46–47 (emphasis in the original).

6 Hickok, Rational Psychology, 22.

7 Ibid., 24, 25.

8 Cf. Hegel’s claim in the Introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit that, “This conceit which understands how to belittle every truth, in order to turn back into itself and gloat over its own understanding, which knows how to dissolve every thought and always find the same barren Ego instead of any content—this is a satisfaction which we must leave to itself, for it flees from the universal, and seeks only to be for itself.” Hegel, Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), §80.

9 Hickok, Rational Psychology, 57.

10 L.P. Hickok, “Modern Philosophy Pantheistic,” The American Theological Review 14 (April 1862): 219 (emphasis in the original).

11 Hickok, Rational Psychology, 85–86, 87 (emphasis in the original).

12 Hickok’s functional psychology is also reminiscent of Hegel for whom understanding is a moment, or stage, of the reasoning process rather than a faculty separate from reason. Lewis Hinchman, Hegel’s Critique of the Enlightenment (Gainesville and Tampa, FL: The University Presses of Florida, 1984), 73–75.

13 Hickok, Rational Psychology, 537.

14 Ibid., 131.

15 Ibid., 553.

16 Ibid., 560, 561 (emphasis in the original).

17 Ibid., 604.

18 Ibid., 563, 607.

19 Ibid., 559 (emphasis in the original).

20 In a later work, Hickok accounted for motion by explaining that God can “originate force with unequal impulses, and this must immediately generate motion. The force moves, but the Mover does not move, and in this force motion begins.” Hickok, Creator and Creation (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1872), 166.

21 Hickok, Rational Psychology, 712.

22 “Dr. Hickok’s Philosophy,” Bibliotheca Sacra 16 (1859), 253.

23 There was a similar lull after the publication of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Frederick C. Beiser writes, “It seemed as if no one had the time, energy, or interest to read, let alone review, such an imposing tome. Beiser, The Fate of Reason: German Philosophy from Kant to Fichte (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987), 170, 177–78.

24 Review of L.P. Hickok’s Rational Psychology, Princeton Review 33 (1861): 24, 25, 26, 34 (emphasis in the original).

25 Tayler Lewis, “The Two Schools of Philosophy,” American Presbyterian and Theological Review 4 (1862): 102–34.

26 L.P. Hickok, “Modern Philosophy Pantheistic,” The American Theological Review 14 (April 1862): 223.

27 Edwin Hall, “Examination of the Latest Defences of Dr. Hickok’s Rational Psychology,” The American Theological Review 5 (1863): 459. Hall was most likely the author of the unsigned review that began the debate in 1861.


James A. Good (ed.), 'Introduction', The Early American Reception of German Idealism (Bristol: Thoemmes Continuum, 2002), Volume 4 pp. v-xviii.

© James A. Good, 2002.