A Summary of Unification Thought


Theory of the Original Image
I. The Divine Image
II. The Divine Character
III. The Structure of the Original Image
IV. Traditional Ontology and Unification Thought

I. The Universal Image of the Individual Truth Body
II Subject and Object
III. The Individual Image of the Individual Truth Body
IV. The Connected Body
V. The Connected Body
VI. The Position of Existence
VII. The Law of the Universe

Theory of the Original Human Nature
I. A Being With Divine Image
II. A Being with Divine Character
III. A Being with Position
IV. Conclusion
V. A Unification Thought Appraisal of the Existentialist Analysis of Human Existence

Axiology: A Theory of Value
I. The Basis for Values and Various Kinds of Values
II. Determination of Actual Value and the Unification of Views of Value
III. Weaknesses In Traditional Views of Values
IV. Establishing a New View of Value
V. Historical Changes In the Systems of Value

Theory of Education
I. The Divine Principle Foundation for a Theory of Education
II. The Three Forms of Education
III. The Image of the Ideal Educated Person
IV. Traditional Theories of Education
V. An Appraisal of Traditional Theories of Education from the Standpoint of Unification Thought

I. The Divine Principle Foundation for Ethics
II. Ethics and Morality
III. Order and Equality
IV. Appraisal of Traditional Theories of Ethics from the Viewpoint of the Unification Theory of Ethics

Theory of Art
I. The Divine Principle Foundation for the New Theory of Art
II. Art and Beauty
III. The Dual Purpose of Artistic Activity: Creation and Appreciation
IV. Requisites for Creation
V. Requisites for Appreciation
VI. Unity In Art
VII. Art and Ethics
VIII. Types of Beauty
IX. A Critique of Socialist Realism

Theory of History
I. The Basic Positions of the Unification View of History
II. The Laws of Creation
III. The Laws of Restoration
IV. Changes In History
V. Traditional Views of History
VI. A Comparative Analysis of Histories

I. Traditional Epistemologies
II. Unification Epistemology (Part 1)
II. Unification Epistemology (Part 2)
III. Kant's and Marx's Epistemologies from the Perspective of Unification Thought

I. Traditional Systems of Logic
II. Unification Logic
III. An Appraisal of Traditional Systems of Logic from the Perspective of Unification Thought

I. Historical Review
II. Unification Methodology - The Give-and-Receive Method
III. An Appraisal of Conventional Methodologies from the Perspective of Unification Thought




Epistemology is the theory of how the knowledge of an object can be gained and how correct knowledge can be obtained. Its goal is to bring to light the origin, method, and development of cognition.

The English word 'epistemology' is a combination of the Greek words episteme, which means 'knowledge', and logia, which means 'theory'. It is said to have been used for the first time by J. F. Ferrier (1808-1864). The German word Erkenninisthearie is said to have been coined by K. L. Reinhold (1758-1823).

Epistemology already existed in ancient and medieval philosophies, but in the modern period epistemology emerged as a central theme philosophy, as part of the call for the restoration of human nature and humankind's dominion over nature. And epistemology, along with ontology, came to form the two major branches of philosophy.

Epistemology is also related to the fundamental problem of ontology, namely, the conflict between idealism and materialism. Also, cognition, or knowledge, is closely related to practical activities. Therefore, unless we establish a correct view of epistemology, we cannot solve actual problems effectively. Thus, it follows that a new theory of epistemology-one that can solve die problems of traditional epistemological. views-is needed. In order to respond to this call, I will try to present Unification Epistemology, based on Unification Thought.

I will begin with the outline of traditional epistemologies, pointing out their problems. Next, I will present Unification Epistemology, clarifying the following points:

(1) this epistemology is capable of solving the problems that remain unresolved in traditional epistemologies; and

(2) this epistemology is, literally, the Unification Epistemology, in the sense that it can unify the core of all epistemologies.

I. Traditional Epistemologies

Epistemological studies have been carried out since ancient times. It was only in the modern period, however, that epistemology became a central theme of philosophy. The philosopher who explained epistemology systematically for the first time was John Locke, whose Essay concerning Human Understanding became known as an epoch-making work.

The most important questions with regard to the cognition of an object have been those of the origin, the object, and the method of cognition. In terms of the origin of cognition, two opposing schools of thought have arisen, namely, empiricism, which asserted that cognition could be obtained through sensation, and rationalism, which asserted that cognition could be obtained through innate ideas. With regard to the object of cognition, two views have come into opposition, namely, realism, which asserted that the object of cognition existed objectively, and subjective idealism, which asserted that the object of cognition was merely the ideas or representations of the subject. Concerning the method of cognition, such methods as the transcendental method and dialectical method have been proposed.

In the conflict between empiricism and rationalism, empiricism, finally fell into skepticism, and rationalism lapsed into dogmatism. Kant took the position of synthesizing these two opposing positions through his critical method, or transcendental method. 1 This is his theory of "a priori synthetical judgment," which says that the object is synthesized by the subject.

Later, plagiarizing Hegel's dialectic materialistically, Marx presented the materialist dialectic. The epistemology based on the materialist-dialectic is none other than Marxist epistemology, or dialectical epistemology. This is copy theory, or rejection theory, which asserts that the content and form of cognition are actually reflections of things in the external world.

A. The Origin of Cognition

Empiricism says that all knowledge is obtained from experience, while rationalism says that true cognition can be gained through the workings of reason alone, independently from experience. During the 17th and 18th centuries, empiricism was advocated in Great Britain, and rationalism was advocated in continental Europe.

1. Empiricism

a) Bacon

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) established the foundation for empiricism. He considered traditional learning to be merely a series of useless words, empty in content, and that correct cognition is obtained through observation of nature and experimentation. According to him, in order to obtain cognition, one must first renounce one's pre-conceived prejudices. As prejudices, he listed four Idols (idola).

The first is the Idol of the Tribe. This refers to the prejudice into which people in general are likely to fall, namely, the prejudice whereby the real nature of things are reflected distortedly, because the human intellect is like an uneven mirror. An example is the inclination to view nature as personalized.

The second is the Idol of the Cave. This prejudice arises due to an individual's unique nature, habits, or narrow preconceptions as if one were looking at the world from inside a cave.

The third is the Idol of the Market. This refers to the kind of prejudice that derives from one's intellect becoming influenced by words. For example, words may be created for the things that do not exist, which could lead to empty arguments.

And the fourth is the Idol of the Theater. This refers to the kind of prejudice that arise from blindly accepting the theories of various philosophers. Even though their theories are nothing but plays enacted on the stage, we are easily blinded by their prestige and accept them.

Bacon said that we should first remove these four Idols, and then observe nature to find the essence within each individual phenomenon. For that end, he proposed the inductive method.

b) Locke

John Locke (1632-1704) systematized empiricism, and in his major work, "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding," he developed his views. Locke denied what Descartes called "innate ideas," and considered the human mind to be like a blank sheet of blank paper (tabula rasa), and that all ideas come from experience. 2 Experience here consists of external experience and internal experience, namely, "sensation" and "reflection." The human mind can be compared to a dark room, and what corresponds to the windows through which light enters are sensation and reflection. Sensation refers to one's ability to perceive external objects through sense organs; reflection (or internal sense) refers to the perception of the operations of our mind such as willing, reasoning, and thinking.

Next, ideas consist of "simple ideas" and "complex ideas." Simple ideas are those obtained individually and separately by sensation and reflection. When simple ideas have become higher ideas through combination, comparison and abstraction by the operations of the understanding, they are complex ideas.

Furthermore, according to Locke, simple ideas include those of the qualities which have objective validity, namely, solidity, extension, figure, motion, rest, number, and the like; in addition, simple idea include the qualities which have only subjective validity, namely, color, smell, taste, sound, and the like. The former qualities are called "primary qualities," and the latter are called "secondary qualities."

Locke mentioned three kinds of complex ideas, namely, mode, substance and relation. "Mode" refers to the idea expressing the situation and quality of things, that is, the attributes of things, such as the mode of space, the mode of time, the mode of thinking, and the mode of power. "Substance" refers to the idea concerning the substratum that carries the various qualities. And "relation" refers to the idea that comes into being by comparing two ideas, like the idea of cause and effect.

Locke regarded knowledge as "the perception of the connection and agreement, or disagreement and repugnancy of any of our Ideas." He also said, "Truth is the marking down in Words, the agreement or disagreement of Ideas as it is." He sought to answer the question concerning the origin of cognition by analyzing ideas.

Locke considered the existence of the spirit, which is recognized intuitively, and the existence of God, which is recognized through logical proof, both to be certain. Yet as for material things in the external world, he considered that there cannot be certainty regarding their existence, because, even though material things cannot be denied, they can be perceived only through sensation.

c) Berkeley

George Berkeley (1685-1753) rejected Locke's distinction between primary qualities and secondary qualities, and described both primary and secondary qualities as subjective.

For example, we do not see distance as it is. The idea of distance is obtained in the following way: We see a certain object with our eyes. We approach it and touch it with our hands. When we repeat this process, certain visual sensation lead us to expect that they will be accompanied by certain tactile sensation. Thus arises the idea of distance. In other words, we do not look at distance as extension itself.

Berkeley also denied substance as the carrier of qualities, as Locke stated, and viewed things as mere collections of ideas. He asserted that "to be is to be perceived" (esse est perspi). Thus Berkeley denied the existence of the substance of material objects, but he had no doubt regarding the existence of spirit as the substance that perceives.

d) Hume

David Hume (1711-1776) advanced empiricism to its ultimate state. He considered our knowledge to be based on impressions and ideas. "Impression" refers to a direct representation based on sensation and reflection, whereas "idea" refers to a representation that appears in the mind through memory or imagination, after the impression has disappeared. Impressions and ideas make up what he called "perceptions."

Hume enumerated resemblance, contiguity, and cause and effect as the three laws of association ideas. Here, the cognition of resemblance and contiguity is certain, and poses no problem, but there is a problem with cause and effect, he said.

With regard to cause and effect, Hume gave the following example: when one hears thunder after a lightning, one usually think! that lightning is the cause and thunder is the effect. Hume, how ever, claimed that there is no reason to connect the two as cause and effect, for they are merely impressions; the idea of cause and effect is established on the basis of people's subjective customs and beliefs, he asserted. For instance, the phenomenon of the sun rising shortly after a rooster crows is empirically well known. Here we cannot say that the rooster's crowing is the cause, and the sun's rising is the effect. Knowledge accepted as cause and effect is then based on subjective human customs and beliefs. In this way, empiricism, upon reaching Hume, fell into skepticism. Concerning the idea of substantiality, Hume, like Berkeley, doubted the existence of substance in material objects. He went even further to doubt the existence of the spiritual substance, considering it to be nothing but a bundle of perceptions.

2. Rationalism

In contrast to empiricism developed in Britain, as discussed above, rationalism expanded over the continental Europe. Represented by Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Wolff, and others, it considered that through experience one cannot obtain correct cognition. Instead, correct cognition can be obtained only through deductive logical reasoning. That position is what is called Continental Rationalism.

a) Descartes

Rene Descartes (1596-1650), regarded as the founder of rationalism, started from doubting everything as a method to attain true cognition. This technique has been called "methodic doubt."

He thought that sensation can deceive us, and so doubted everything related to sensation. Arguing, however, that, for someone who doubts everything, the fact that he or she doubts (or thinks) cannot be doubted, Descartes reached the proposition, "I think, therefore I am" (cogito ergo sum). Even if a malicious spirit were deceiving me, I, who am being deceived, must exist, he argued. Based on that proposition, Descartes was able to assure the existence of the spirit, whose nature is thinking.

For Descartes, the proposition "I think, therefore I am" is the first principle of philosophy. 5 That proposition is certain, he argued, because one's perception of it is clear and distinct. he then derived a general rule that, "things we perceive very clearly and very distinctly are all true." 6 If this rule is taken as correct, then the existence of material substance, the attribute of which is extension, can be recognized as certain; as well as the spiritual substance, the attribute of which is thought.

'Clear' implies that something is present and obvious to the spirit, and 'distinct' implies that it is distinguishable from other objects. 7 The opposite of 'clear' is 'obscure,' and the opposite of 'distinct' is 'confused.'

In order to guarantee a clear and distinct cognition, one must not allow cases in which evil spirits secretly deceive people. In order to prevent such a thing, one must assume the existence of God. If God exists, no mistake can occur in my cognition, because an honest God can never deceive me.

Descartes is said to have proved the existence of God as follows: First, the idea of God is innate in us. In order for this idea to exist, the cause of this idea must exist. Second, the fact that we, who are imperfect, have the idea of a perfect Being (God) proves the existence of God. Third, since the idea of the most perfect Being (God) necessarily contains existence as its essence, the existence of God is proved.

In this way the existence of God was proved, according to Descartes. Therefore, God's essences, namely, infinity, omniscience, and omnipotence, become clear; honesty (veracitas), as one of God's attributes, is secured. And clear and distinct cognition is guaranteed.

Descartes ascertained the existence of God and the existence of spiritual and corporeal substance, or mind and body; among those, the only independent being, in the true sense, is God, for mind and body are dependent on God. He also held that mind and body — with the attributes of thought and extension, respectively-are substances independent from each other; thus, he advocated dualism.

Descartes proved the certainty of clear and distinct cognition, thereby asserting the certainty of rational cognition based on the mathematical method.

b) Spinoza

Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677), like Descartes, thought that truth can be cognized through rigorous proofs, and tried to develop a logical reasoning particularly by applying the geometrical method to philosophy.

The premise of Spinoza's philosophy was that all truth can be cognized through reason. That is, when one perceives things, in the eternal aspect through reason and also perceives them wholly and intuitively in their necessary relationship with God, true cognition can be obtained. He divided cognition into three types: imagination, scientific knowledge (which is on the level of reason), intuitive knowledge. Among these three, he held that if imagination is not properly ordered by reason, it is imperfect. He thought that true cognition can be obtained through scientific knowledge and intuitive knowledge. For Spinoza, intuitive knowledge is not separated from reason, but rather it is based on reason.

Descartes considered mind, which has thought as its attribute, and body, which has extension as its attribute, to be substances independent from each other. In contrast, Spinoza held that God alone is substance, and extension and thinking are God's attributes. Spinoza said that God and nature are in the relationship of natura nalurans (the origin of all things) and natura naturala (everything which follows, by the necessity, from the nature of God), and are inseparable. Thus he developed a pantheistic thought, claiming that "God is nature."

c) Leibniz

Gottlieb Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716) placed great importance on the mathematical method, and considered that it is ideal to derive every proposition from a few fundamental principles. He classified the truth into two kinds: first, the truth that can be found logically through reason, and second, the truth that can be obtained through experience. He labeled the former as eternal truths, or truths of reason, and the latter as truths of fact, or contingent truths. He held that what guarantees truths of reason is the principle of identity and the principle of contradiction, and what guarantees truths of fact is the principle of sufficient reason, which says that nothing can exist without sufficient reason.

Yet, such dysfunction of truths applies only to the human intellect; for God can cognize, through logical necessity, even what is regarded by humans as truths of fact. Therefore, ultimately, truth of reason was held to be the ideal truth.

Leibniz also held that the true substance is the "monad," or a living mirror of the universe. I le explained the monad as a non-spatial substance having perception and appetite, whereby apperception arises as a collection of minute unconscious perceptions. Monads were classified into three stages: "sleeping monad" (or "naked monad") in the material stage; "soul" (or "dreaming monad") in the animal stage, which possess sensation and memory; and "spirits" (or "rational souls") in the human stage, which possess universal cognition. In addition, there is the monad on the highest stage, which is God.

d) Wolff

Christian Wolff (1679-1754), based on Leibniz's philosophy, further systematized the rationalistic position. He held that true knowledge is truth of reason derived logically from fundamental principles. He considered that all truths can be established purely on the basis of the principles of identity and contradiction. He accepted the existence of empirical truths of fact, but according to him, truths of reason have nothing to do with empirical truths, and empirical truths are not necessarily true, but only contingently so.

In this way, Continental rationalism attached little importance to the cognition of facts, considering that everything can be cognized rationally, and in the end came to fall into dogmatism. 8

B. The Essence of the Object of Cognition

Next comes the question of what the object of cognition is. Realism asserts that the object of cognition exists objectively and independently of the subject, whereas subjective idealism states that the object of cognition does not exist in the objective world, but exists only as an idea within the consciousness of the subject.

1. Realism

In realism, there is naive realism, first of all. This is also called natural realism, and refers to the common-sense view that the object is composed of matter and exists independently from the subject, and moreover exists just as we see it. In other words, our perception is a faithful copy of the object.

Next, there is scientific realism. In this view, the object exists independently from the subject, but sensory cognition, as it is, is not necessarily true. True existence can be correctly known only by adding scientific reflection to the empirical facts obtained from the object, and this is done through the function of understanding, which transcends sensory cognition.

Next, there is idealistic realism. This view is also called objective idealism. It is the view that the essence of the object is spiritual and objective, transcending human consciousness. Specifically, this view holds that the spirit not only exists in human beings, but existed at the origin of the world even before the appearance of humankind, and that this original spirit is the true reality of the world and it is the prototype of the universe. In this view, all things are nothing but various expressions of the spirit. For example, Plato regarded Ideas, which are the essences of things, as the true reality, and asserted that this world is nothing but the shadow of the world of Ideas. Hegel asserted that the world is the self-development of the Absolute Spirit.

In dialectical materialism, the object exists independently of human consciousness, and it is an objective reality that is reflected in consciousness. Thus dialectical materialism, also, is realism. It does not, however, assert, as naive realism does, that objects exist as the subject sees them; rather, it asserts that true reality can be cognized by verification through practice.

2. Subjective Idealism

Realism, as was mentioned, views the object of cognition as existing independently from the subject, whether the object is a material being or an idea. Subjective idealism, on the other hand, holds that the object does not exist independently of human mind and that its existence can be recognized only to the extent that the object appears in human mind. Berkeley was its representative exponent, and his proposition that "to be is to be perceived" (esse est percipi) eloquently expresses this position. In addition, J. G. Fichte (1762-1814), who held that no one can ever say for sure whether or not non-ego (the object) exists apart from the function of ego, and A. Schopenhauer (1788-1860), who said "The world is my representation" (Die Welt isi mein Vorstellung), took similar positions.

C. Epistemology in Terms of Method

As we have seen, empiricism, which saw experience as the origin of cognition, fell into skepticism, whereas rationalism, which saw reason as the origin of cognition, fell into dogmatism. They reached that situation because they did not examine the questions of how experience becomes truths, and how cognition is made through reason, in other words, the method of cognition. It was Hegel, Marx and Kant who attached importance to the method of cognition. I will introduce here the main points of the Kantian and Marxian methods.

1. Kant's Transcendental Method

British empiricism fell into skepticism, and continental rationalism fell into dogmatism, but Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) synthesized these two positions and established a new view. He considered empiricism to be mistaken because it ascribed cognition to experience, disregarding the function of reason, whereas on the other hand, rationalism was mistaken because it regarded reason as almighty. Thus, Kant considered that in order to obtain true knowledge, one has to start from an analysis of how experience can become knowledge. To achieve this, one has to examine, or critique, the function of reason.

Kant wrote three books of critique, namely, Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Analytical Reason, and Critique of Judgment, which, respectively, deal with how truth is possible, how goodness is possible, and how judgment of taste is possible. Accordingly, Kant dealt with the realization of the values of truth, goodness, and beauty. Among his works, the one concerned with epistemology is his Critique of Pure Reason.

a) Highlights of Critique of Pure Reason

Kant tried to unify empiricism and rationalism on the basis of the fact that knowledge increases through experience, and that correct knowledge must have universal validity. It is self-evident that cognition starts from experience, and Kant proposed that "a priori forms of cognition" (concepts) exist within the subject of cognition. In other words, the object of cognition is established when the sensory content (which is also called material, sensation, manifold of sensations, or matter of sensation) coming from the object is put in order by the a priori forms of the subject. All former philosophies had held that the object is grasped as it is; in contrast, Kant said that the object of cognition is synthesized by the subject. Through this insight, Kant believed he had effected a Copernican revolution in philosophy. Thus, Kant's epistemology did not seek to obtain knowledge of the object itself, but sought to clarify how objective truthfulness can be obtained. He named it the "transcendental method."

For Kant, cognition is judgment. Judgment is made in terms of a proposition, and in a proposition there are subject and predicate. Knowledge increases through a judgment (a proposition), in which a new concept that is not contained in the subject appears in the predicate. Kant called such a judgment "synthetic judgment." In contrast, a judgment in which the concept of the predicate is already contained in the concept of the subject is called "analytical judgment." In the end, new knowledge can be obtained only through synthetic judgments.

Among the examples given by Kant of analytical and synthetic judgments, there are the following: the judgment that "all bodies are extended" is an analytical judgment, for the concept of body already has the meaning that it has extension. On the other hand, the judgment that "between two points, the straight line is the shortest line" is a synthetic judgment, for the concept of a straight line indicates only the quality of straightness without containing the quantity of longness or shortness. Therefore, the concept of the shortest line is a completely new addition.

Yet, even though new knowledge can be obtained through synthetic judgment, it cannot become correct knowledge if it does not have universal validity. In order for knowledge to have universal validity, it should not be merely empirical knowledge, but should have some a priori element independent of experience. That is, in order for a synthetic judgment to have universal validity, it must be an a priori cognition, namely, an a priori synthetic judgment. So, Kant had to cope with the question: How are a priori synthetic judgments possible? 9

b) Content and Form

Kant tried to accomplish the synthesis of empiricism and rationalism through the unity of content and form. "Content" refers to the representations given to our senses through the stimuli from the things in the external world, namely, the content of our mind. Since the content is the matter of sensation coming from the outside, it is an a posteriori, empirical element.

On the other hand, "form" refers to the framework, or determinative, that unifies the material, or the manifold of sensations. What Kant asserted is that a priori forms of cognition exist within us. He argued that, through these a priori forms, synthetic judgments with universal validity become possible.

First, within sensation there is an a priori form, which are the forms of intuition of space and time; that is, a framework, that perceives the manifold of sensation in space and time. Cognition, however, does not take place through intuition alone. Kant said that it is necessary for the object to be thought through understanding, and asserted that a priori concepts, the forms of thought, exist within understanding. In other words, he held that cognition takes place when the content, which is perceived intuitively, and the forms of thought are combined. Kant described it in the following way: "Thoughts without content are empty; intuitions without concepts are blind." 10

Kant named the a priori concepts within the understanding "pure concepts of understanding" or "categories." Based on the forms of judgment (forms of understanding) used in general logic since Aristotle, Kant derived the following twelve categories:

Fig. 9-a

In this way, Kant asserted that cognition becomes possible as the sensory content of the object are perceived through the forms of intuition and are thought through the forms of thought (categories). The consciousness at the time of cognition should not be empirical or fragmentary, but there must be a unity of consciousness underlying empirical consciousness, which he called "consciousness in general," "pure apperception," or "transcendental apperception." As for the question of how the functions of sensation and understanding are connected, Kant said that the power of imagination serves as the mediator between the two.

c) The Denial of Metaphysics and the Thing-in-Itself

In this way, Kant discussed how sure knowledge is possible in the phenomenal world, namely, in natural science or mathematics, and then examined whether or not metaphysics is possible. Since metaphysics has no sensory content, and therefore, cannot become an object of perception, it cannot be perceived. Since, however, the function of our reason is related to the understanding alone and not directly to sensation, there are some cases in which one has an illusion whereby something that does not really exist appears to exist. Kant called this type of illusion "transcendental illusion." The transcendental illusion consist of three types: the idea of the soul, the idea of the world, and the idea of God.

Among them, he called the idea of the universe, namely, cosmological illusion, the antinomy of pure reason. This means that when reason pursues the infinite being (the infinite world), reason will reach two entirely opposite conclusions from the same basis of argument. An example of this is the two contradictory propositions: "the world has a beginning in time and is also limited in regards to space" (the thesis) and "the world has no beginning in time and no limits in space" (the antithesis). Kant field this to be an error deriving from trying to grasp the content of sensation as the world itself

Kant held that cognition takes place only to the extent that the sensory content coming from the object are synthesized through a priori forms of the subject, and that the object itself, namely, the "things-in-themselves," can never be cognized. This is the agnosticism of Kant. The world of "things-in-themselves" is the reality lying behind the phenomena, and is called "noumenal reality." Never the less, Kant did not totally deny the world of things-in-themselves. In Critique of Analytical Reason, he held that noumenal reality is to be postulated in order to establish morality. Likewise, in order for noumenal reality to exist, freedom, the immortality of soul, and the existence of God must be postulated, he said.

2. Marxist Epistemology

Next, I will explain epistemology based on materialist dialectic. It is called Marxist epistemology, or the dialectical-materialist theory of knowledge.

a) Theory of Reflection (Copy Theory)

According to materialist dialectic, the spirit (consciousness) is a product or function of the brain, and cognition takes place as objective reality is reflected (copied) onto consciousness. This theory is called the "theory of reflection" or "copy theory" (leoriya oirazhenia). Of this, Engels said, "we comprehended the concepts in our ]leads once more materialistically-as images [Abbilder] of real things." Lenin stated that, "From Engels' point of view, the only immutability is the reflection by the human mind (when there is a human mind) of an external world existing and developing independently of the mind." 13

In Marxist epistemology, what Kant called sensory content is not the only reflection of the objective world upon consciousness. The form of thinking is also a reflection of the objective world; it is a reflection of the forms of existence.

b) Sensory Cognition, Rational Cognition, and Practice

Cognition is not merely a reflection of the objective world, but it has to be verified through practice, according to Marxist epistemology. Lenin explains this process as follows: "From living perception to abstract thought, and from this to practice — such is the dialectical path of the cognition of truth, of the cognition of objective reality." 14

Mao Tse-tung explained the process of materialist dialectical cognition more concretely. He said the following:

This dialectical-materialist theory of the process of development of knowledge, basing itself on practice and proceeding from the shallow to the deeper. ...Marxism-Leninism holds that each of the two stages in the process of cognition has its own characteristics, with knowledge manifesting itself as perceptual at the lower stage and logical at the higher stage, but that both are stages in an integrated process of cognition. The perceptual and the rational are qualitatively different, but are not divorced from each other; they are unified on the basis of practice. 15

The first step in the process of cognition is contact with the objects of the external world; this belongs to the stage of perception [the stage of sensory cognition]. The second step is to synthesize the date of perception by arranging and reconstructing them; this belongs to the stage of conception, judgment, and inference [the stage of rational cognition]. 16

In this way, cognition proceeds from sensory cognition to rational cognition (or logical cognition), and from rational cognition to practice. Now, cognition and practice are not something that takes place only once. "Practice, knowledge, again practice, and again knowledge. This form repeats itself in endless cycles, and with each cycle the content of practice and knowledge rises to a higher level." 17

Kant said that cognition takes place insofar as the subject synthesizes the object, and that it is impossible to cognize the "things-in-themselves" behind the phenomena, advocating agnosticism. In contrast, Marxism asserted that the essence of things can be known only through phenomena, and that things can be known fully through practice, negating the existence of the "things-in-themselves" separate from the phenomena. About Kant, Engels said the following:

In Kant's time, our knowledge of natural objects was indeed so fragmentary that he might well suspect, behind the little we knew about each of them, a mysterious "thing-in-itself." But one after another these ungraspable things have been grasped, analyzed, and, what is more, reproduced by the giant progress of science; and what we can produce we certainly cannot consider as unknowable. 18

Now, in the process of cognition and practice, practice is held to be more important. Mao Tse-tung said, "The dialectical-materialist theory of knowledge places practice in the primary position, holding that human knowledge can in no way be separated from practice. 19) Practice usually refers to human action on nature and social activities, but in Marxism, revolution is held to be the supreme form of practice among all kinds of practice. Therefore, it can be said that the ultimate purpose of cognition is revolution. In fact, Mao Tse-tung said, The active function of knowledge manifests itself not only in the active leap from perceptional to rational knowledge, but-and this is more important-it must manifest itself in the leap from rational knowledge to revolutionary practice." 20

Next I will deal with the forms of thought in logical cognition (rational cognition). Logical cognition refers to thinking such as Judgment and inference mediated by concepts, in which the forms of thought play an important role. Marxism, which advocates copy theory, regards the forms of thought as reflections of the processes in the objective world upon consciousness, that is, as reflections of existing forms. Among the categories (forms of existence, forms of thought) in Marxism, there are the following: 21

Fig. 9-b

3. Absolute Truth and Relative Truth

Knowledge grows through the repetition of cognition and practice. That knowledge grows means that the content of knowledge is enriched, and that the accuracy of knowledge is enhanced. Therefore, the relativity and absoluteness of knowledge becomes the issue. Marxism says that truth is what reflects objective reality correctly. It says that, "If our sensations, perceptions, notions, concepts and proportion contradiction individual, particular, and universal cause and effect necessity and chance possibility and reality content and form essence and appearance theories correspond to objective reality, if they reflect it faithfully, we say that they are true, while true statements, judgments or theories are called the truth." 22

Furthermore, Marxism asserts that practice-ultimately revolutionary practice-is the standard of truth. In order to know whether or not a cognition is true, all one needs to do is to compare it with reality and ascertain that cognition concurs with the reality. Of this, Marx said, "Man must prove the truth, i.e., the reality and power, the this-world lines of his thinking in practice" 23 and Mao Tse-tung said, "Man's social practice alone is the criterion of the truth of his knowledge of the external world." 24

According to Marxism, knowledge in a particular period is partial, imperfect, and remains to be relative truth, but with the progress of science, knowledge approaches absolute truth to an infinite degree. Thus, Marxism approves the existence of absolute truth. Therefore, Lenin says, "There is no impassable boundary between relative and absolute truth." 25 Also, the elements which are absolutely true are contained within relative truths, and when they are accumulated steadily, they will become absolute truth, according to Marx" 26
>> Go to top

II. Unification Epistemology (Part 1)

We have seen the outline of previous epistemologies; now I will explain the epistemology of Unification Thought, namely, Unification Epistemology. Unification Epistemology is established on the basis of concepts about cognition within Divine Principle, Reverend Sun Myung Moon's speeches and sermons, Reverend Moon's answers to direct questions by the author, and so on. 27

A. Outline of Unification Epistemology

Unification Epistemology has, among others, the characteristic of an alternative to traditional epistemologies. Thus, I will introduce Unification Epistemology in terms of the subjects dealt with by traditional epistemologies, such as the origin of cognition, the object of cognition, and the method of cognition.

1. The Origin of Cognition

As I have explained, in the 17th and 18th centuries, there occurred empiricism, which held that the origin of cognition lies in experience, and rationalism, which held that the origin of cognition lies in reason. But empiricism fell into skepticism when it came to Hume, and rationalism fell into dogmatism when it came to Wolff. Kant tried to unify empiricism and rationalism through the transcendental method, but he left the things-in-themselves behind in an agnostic world. Against such a background, I will introduce the position of Unification Epistemology.

In the former epistemologies, the relationship between the subject of cognition (the human beings) and the object of cognition (all things) was not clarified. Since they did not know the relationship between the human being and all things, either emphasis was placed on the subject of cognition, as in rationalism, asserting that cognition is made exactly as reason (or understanding) infers, or emphasis was placed in the object of cognition, as in empiricism, asserting that cognition is made by grasping the object as it is, through sensation.

Kant said that cognition takes place as the sensory elements coming from the object are synthesized through the forms of the subject, and that cognition is made by the synthesis of subject (human being) and object. He was not aware, however, of relationship between the subject and the object. So for Kant, cognition can be made only within the framework of the categories of the subject, and in the end, he held that the things-in-themselves are unknowable.

Hegel said that in the self-development of the absolute spirit, the Idea becomes nature by alienating itself, but eventually restores itself by becoming spirit through the human being. In this system, nature was merely a process leading up to the rise of the human spirit, and had no positive meaning of its existence. Finally, in Marxism, the human being and nature are in an accidental relationship of opposition.

When we look at the problem in this way, how to correctly understand the relationship between the subject of cognition (human beings) and the object of cognition (all things) becomes an important issue. From an atheistic position, the necessary relationship between human beings and nature cannot be established. Even in the theory of the natural generation of the universe, human beings and nature are accidental beings to each other. Only when the significance of God's creation of human beings and all things has been clarified, can the necessary relationship between human beings and all things become clear.

From the perspective of Unification Thought, human beings and all things are in the relationship of subject and object. That is to say, human being is the lord of dominion over all things, and all things are the objects of joy, objects of beauty, and objects of dominion. Subject and object are in an inseparable relationship.

This can be compared to the relationship between the motor arid the working parts in a machine. The working parts without a motor are meaningless, and so is the motor without the working parts. The two sides are designed to form a necessary relationship of subject and object. By the same token, human beings and all things have been created in such a way that both have a necessary relationship.

Cognition is the judgment of human subject on all things, which are the objects of joy, beauty, and dominion. In this connection, cognition (i.e., judgment) involves "experience," and judgment is carried out through the function of "reason." Therefore, experience and reason are both necessary. Thus, in Unification Epistemology, experience and reason are both indispensable, and cognition takes place through the unified operation of the two. Also, since the human being and all things are in the relationship of subject and object, we can know all things perfectly.

2. The Object of Cognition

Unification Thought, first of all, acknowledges that all things exist outside the human being; that is, it accepts realism. As the subject of all things, the human being exercises dominion over all things-such as developing, processing, and making use of all things-and cognizes all things. For that reason, all things must exist outside and independently of the human being, as objects of cognition and objects of dominion.

Also, Unification Thought holds that the human being is the integration of all things, or the microcosm-and therefore, the human being is equipped with all the structures, elements, and qualities of all things. This is so because all things of the natural world have been created in a symbolical resemblance to the human being, with the human body as their model. Therefore, the human being and all things have a mutual resemblance. Furthermore, in the human being, the body is created in resemblance to die mind.

Cognition is always accompanied by judgment, and judgment can be regarded as a kind of a measuring act. For measurement, standards (criteria) are necessary, and it is the ideas within the human mind that serve as the standards of cognition. These ideas are called "pro to types." Each prototype is an image within the mind, and it is an internal object. Cognition takes place as an image Within the mind (internal image) and an image coming from the external object (external image) are collated.

Until today, realism has insisted on the existence of only the external world, disregarding innate ideas within the human being. Marxism, which advocates copy theory, is its representative exponent. Subjective idealism, as represented by Berkeley, asserted, oil the contrary, that the object of cognition can be recognized as existing only insofar as it appears in human consciousness. In Unification Epistemology, realism and idealism (subjective idealism) are unified.

3. The Method of Cognition

The method of Unification Epistemology is different from Kant's transcendental method and also from Marx's dialectical method. The give-and-receive method, that is, the principle of give-and-receive action between subject and object, is the method of Unification Epistemology. Accordingly, in terms of method, Unification Epistemology is called give-and-receive epistemology.

In the give-and-receive action between subject (human being) and object (all things) in cognition, both subject and object must have certain requisites: the subject must have prototypes and concern for the object, and the object must have content (i.e., attributes) and form.

In addition, the give-and-receive action in cognition consists of inner and outer give-and-receive actions. Cognition takes place first as outer give-and-receive action, and then as inner give-and-receive action. That is, first the content and form of the object are reflected on the mind of the subject (which is the external give-and-receive action), forming the sensory content and sensory form. Subsequently, this sensory content and form are collated with the prototypes possessed by the subject (which also possesses content and form), whereby internal give-and-receive action takes place. Only at this point is cognition complete.

In Kant, the content is all element coming from the external world, whereby the form is possessed inherently by the subject. That is, the content belongs to the object, and the form belongs to the subject. In contrast, in Marxism content and form both belong to the object in the external world, and the consciousness of the subject merely reflects them. In Unification Epistemology, however, there is an element of copy theory in the outer give-and-receive action, and there is an element of the transcendental method in the inner give-and-receive action. Thus, in Unification Epistemology the dialectical method (copy theory) and transcendental method (Kantian method) are unified.

B. Content and Form in Cognition

Usually, when we say content and form, we call what is contained inside a thing the content, and the external appearance, the form. The content dealt with in epistemology, however, refers to the attributes of a thing, and the form refers to a certain framework through which those attributes are manifested.

1. The Content of the Object and the Content of the Subject

Since the object of cognition is all things, the content of the object refers to the various attributes that it possesses, namely, shape, weight, length, motion, color, sound, smell, taste, etc. On the other hand, the subject of cognition is the human being; therefore, the content of the subject refers to the various attributes that human being possesses, which are the same as the attributes of all things, that is, shape, weight, length, motion, color, sound, smell, taste, etc.

Usually when we talk about human attributes, in many cases we are referring to reason, freedom, spirituality, etc., but in epistemology, since we are dealing with the resemblance in content, we focus on the same attributes as those of the object (all things). As the integration of die universe (microcosm), the human being possesses, in miniature, all the structures, elements, qualities, and so on, that all things possess. Therefore, the human being is equipped with the same attributes as all things have.

Give-and-receive action in cognition, however, does not take place merely because the subject (human being) and the object (all things) possess the same attributes. Since cognition is a phenomenon of thinking, the mind of the subject, also must be equipped with content. The content in the mind of the subject is the prototype, or more accurately, that part of prototype that corresponds to content. This refers to the "protoimage," which appears in protoconsciousness (subconsciousness in "life-body," which will be further explained below). The protoimage is a mental image that is in correspondence with the attributes of the human body, and it is also in correspondence with the attributes of all things in the external world. This enables give-and-receive action to occur between the content of the subject (protoimage) and the content of the object (sensory contemn).

2. The Form of the Object and the Form of the Subject

The attributes of all things, which are the object of cognition, always appear in a certain framework. This framework is the form of existence. The form of existence is the form of relation among the attributes of those things. This form of existence, or form of relation, becomes the form of the object in cognition.

The human body is a miniature of the universe (microcosm), and the integration of all things; therefore, the human body has the same form of existence as that of all things. The form in cognition is the form within the mind, that is, the form of thought. This is a reflection of the form of existence of the human body in the protoconsciousness, in other words, the image of form (or the image of relation), forming a part of the prototype.

3. Elements Making up a Prototype

The mental image within the subject, which becomes the standard of judgment in cognition, is called the prototype. The prototype is made up of the following elements.

First, there is the protoimage. This is the image of the attributes of the cells and tissues (elements making up the human body) reflected in the protoconsciousness. In other words, the protoimage is the image of the attributes of the cells and tissues reflected in the "mirror" of the protoconsciousness.

The second element is the image of relation, that is, the form of thought. Not only the attributes of the cells and tissues of the human body, but also the form of existence (form of relation) of those attributes are reflected in the protoconsciousness, forming the image of relation. This image of relation gives certain restrictions to the action of thinking, forming the form of thought.

The above-mentioned protoimage and image of relation (form of thought) are ideas that have nothing to do with experience, that is, they are a priori ideas; but in prototypes, there are also acquired ideas that are added through past and present experiences. The ideas obtained through the experiences (i.e., before the current cognition) are empirical ideas and form part of prototypes in subsequent cognition. Therefore, when we encounter things that are similar to what we learned before, we can easily judge them.

The prototypes that are made of a priori ideas are called "original prototypes," and the prototypes that are made of acquired ideas through experiences are called "empirical prototypes." The united prototypes of both are called "complex prototypes," which are actually engaged in our cognition.

4. The Preexistence of Prototypes and Their Development

As already explained, prototypes have both an a priori element and an empirical element. In any kind of cognition, a prototype that has been formed prior to it, namely, a complex prototype, works as a standard of judgment. This means that, in any cognition, a standard of judgment (a prototype) already exists. This is called the "preexistence of prototype." Kant maintained that the forms possessed by the subject of cognition are a priori, but Unification Epistemology asserts the preexistence of the prototypes possessed by the subject.

The prototypes (protoimages and images of relation) with which people are born are imperfect in the case of a newborn because the cells, tissues, organs, nerves, sense organs, brain and so on, of the infant, are not well developed yet; therefore, the infant's cognition cannot but be vague. However, as the infant's body develops and grows, the protoimages and images of relation gradually become clearer and clearer. Furthermore, new ideas acquired through experience are also added one by one. In this way, the prototypes grow in quality as well as in quantity, which means that there is an increase in the amount of memory and an increase in new knowledge.

C. Protoconsciousness, Image of Protoconsciousness, and Category

1. Protoconsciousness

Divine Principle states that "each being in creation grows autonomously by the power of the Principle." 28 This refers to dominion and autonomy, which are characteristics of the life force. Life is subconsciousness existing within the cells and tissues of living beings. Life has the capacity of sensitivity, perceptiveness, and purposiveness. In other words, life refers to subconsciousness with the capacity of sensitivity, perceptiveness, and purposiveness. Sensitivity refers to the ability to perceive something intuitively; perceptiveness refers to the ability to maintain the state of perception; and purposiveness refers to the will-power to actualize a certain purpose while maintaining the purpose.

"Protoconsciousness" means fundamental consciousness, and it refers to the cosmic consciousness that has entered into a cell or a tissue. From the perspective of the function of the mind, protoconsciousness is a mind of a lower level. 29 Therefore, it may be said to be cosmic mind of a lower level or God's mind of a lower level.

Protoconsciousness is life as well. When the cosmic consciousness enters cells and tissues, it becomes individualized and is called protoconsciousness or life. In other words, life is the cosmic consciousness that has entered cells or tissues. just as an electric wave enters a radio and makes sound, cosmic consciousness enters cells and tissues and gives them life. 30 In a nutshell, then, protoconsciousness is life, and it is subconsciousness with sensitivity, perceptiveness, and purposiveness.

In Unification Thought we interpret that when God created the universe through Logos, He inscribed all the information peculiar to each living being (i.e., Logos) in the cells of that being as the material form of a code. The reason was God wanted each living being to be able to multiply and maintain its species from generation to generation. That code is the genetic code of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), which is a specific arrangement of the four kinds of bases of adenine, guanine, thymine, and cytosine.

It is written in Genesis 2:7 that "the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." With regard to things in the natural world, it can also be said that "God formed cells out of dust and poured life into them. So the cells became living cells." The cosmic consciousness which was poured into the cells is protoconsciousness, or life. Living beings become alive when cosmic consciousness is poured into their cells, tissues, and organs.

2. The Function of Protoconsciousness

Next, I will explain the function of protoconsciousness. First, when cosmic consciousness enters into a cell, it reads the genetic code of the DNA of the cell. After reading the genetic code, protoconsciousness causes the cells and tissues to act according to the instructions of that code. Moreover, in the human body, information from each of the cells and tissues is transmitted to the center through the peripheral nerves, and orders (information) are transmitted from the center through the peripheral nerves to the cells and tissues. On these occasions, it is protoconsciousness that gives and receives the information between the cells or tissues and the center.

3. Formation of the Image of Protoconsciousness

The subconsciousness within living beings, namely, protoconsciousness, has sensitivity. Therefore, die protoconsciousness senses the structure, constituents, qualities, and so on, of the cells and tissues intuitively. Furthermore, protoconsciousness senses even changes in the situation inside the cells arid tissues. Here, the content sensed by protoconsciousness, that is, the image reflected onto protoconsciousness, is the "protoimage."

The fact that a protoimage is produced in the protoconsciousness can be compared to the fact that a material object is reflected in a mirror, or that a material object is caught on film through exposure.

Protoconsciousness has perceptiveness, which refers to maintaining the state of perception, in other words, keeping the protoimage. Thus, perceptiveness can also be regarded as memory.

The various elements within a human body, such as cells, tissues, and organs, exist, function, and grow through performing inner and outer give-and-receive actions as individual truth bodies and as connected bodies. In the case of a cell, for example, the give-and-receive action between the various elements (nucleus and cytoplasm) within the cell is inner give-and-receive action, and the give-and-receive action between the cell and other cells is outer give-and-receive action. The form of give-and-receive actions at this time is the form of relation and form of existence.

This form of existence is reflected on protoconsciousness, forming an image there; we call this image "image of relation" or "image of form." Protoconsciousness has protoimage and image of relation (image of form), which together we call the "image of protoconsciousness."

4. Formation of the Form of Thought

As already explained, the content possessed by the subject of cognition (human being) includes material content (Hyungsang content) and mental content (Sungsang content). The material content is the same as the attributes of the object (things), and the mental content is the protoimages. In this relationship the material content is related to the mental content.

Likewise, the form that the subject has includes material form (Hyungsang form) and mental form (Sungsang form). The material form is the same as the form of existence of the object (things), and the mental form refers to the image of relation (or image of form). The latter serves as the form of thought which give a certain framework to thinking at the time of cognition. Here the form of existence is related to the form of thought.

As explained above, the form of relation (form of existence) in cells and tissues is reflected on protoconsciousness and form the image of relation. The images of relation in protoconsciousness are passed from the peripheral nerves to the lower centers as bits of information and gather together at the upper center (cortex center). In this process, the images of relation are synthesized and arranged to shape the form of thought. That is, the form of thought is created as a mental form corresponding to the form of existence in the external world, and determines our thinking. The forms of thought are the same as categories, which refer to the most fundamental, general, basic concepts.

5. Form of Existence and Form of Thought

Since the corresponding source of the form of thought is the form of existence, then in order for us to understand the form of thought, we must first understand the form of existence. In order for things to exist, individual entities (or elements) should be related with each other, whereby form of relation is the form of existence. From the Unification thought perspective, there are ten basic forms of existence, as follows:

(i) Existence and Force:

The existence of every being is always accompanied by the operation of force. There is no force apart from existence, and no existence apart from force. This is because the Prime Force from God makes all things exist by exerting power on them.

(ii) Sungsang and Hyungsang.

Every being consists of an inner, invisible, functional elements and an outer, visible mass, structure, and shape.

(iii) Yang and Yin:

Every being has the characteristics of yang and yin as attributes of Sungsang and Hyungsang, Yang and yin are at work both in space and in time. Beauty is manifested through the harmony of yang and yin.

(iv) Subject and Object:

Every being exists through performing give-and-receive action between correlative elements within itself and between itself and another being in the relationship of subject and object.

(v) Position and Settlement:

Every being exists in a certain position. That is, an appropriate being is settled in each position.

(vi) Unchangeability and Changeability:

Every being has both unchanging and changing aspects. This is because every created being is in a unity between the identity-maintaining four position base (static four position base) and the developmental four position base (dynamic four position base).

(vii) Action and Effect:

Whenever the correlative elements of subject and object in a being enter into give-and-receive action, an effect always appears. That is, through give-and-receive action those elements form a unified being, or give rise to a new being (multiplied body).

(viii) Time and Space.

Every being is a temporal and spatial being, existing in time and space. This is because to exist is to form a four-position base (base in space) and to engage in the Origin-Division-Union Action (action in time).

(ix) Number and Principle:

Every being is a mathematical being, and at the same time a law-governed being. In other words, in every being, numbers are always united with laws, or principles. 31

(x) Finite and Infinite:

Every individual being has the aspect of being finite (momentary) while at same time the aspect of being infinite (lasting).

These points are the most basic forms of existence that are established on the basis of four-position base, give-and-receive action, and Chung-Boon-Hap Action (0-D-U Action) in Divine Principle. These are the forms of existence of all things, which are the objects of cognition, and at the same time the forms of existence of the components of the physical body of the human being, who is the subject of cognition.

The mental forms corresponding to these forms of existence are the forms of thought. That is, (i) existence and force, (ii) Sungsang and Hyungsang, (iii) Yang and Yin, (iv) subject and object, (v) location and settlement, (vi) unchangeability and change, (vii) action and effect, (viii) time and space, (ix) number and principle, and (x) finite and infinite are, just as they are, the forms of thought. The forms of existence are material forms of relation, while the forms of thought are the basic concepts, which are the forms of relationships among ideas.

Of course, there can be other forms of existence and forms of thought in addition to those mentioned above, which are the most basic ones from the Unification Thought perspective. It is not the case that the forms of thought are as Kant maintained, unrelated to existence; also, it is not the case that the forms of existence of the external world reflect, or give rise to, the forms of thought, as is stated in Marxism. The human being himself, from the very beginning, is equipped with the forms of thought, which correspond to the forms of existence of the external world. For example, because the human being himself is a being with temporal and spatial nature from the beginning, he has the form of thought of time and space, and because he is a being with subjectivity and objectivity, he has the form of thought of subject and object.
>> Go to top

II. Unification Epistemology (Part 2)

D. The Method of Cognition

1. Give-and-Receive Action

In Divine Principle, it is stated that "when a subject and an object are engaged in give-and-receive action within a being after having established a reciprocal relationship between themselves.... the energy necessary to maintain the existence of that being is produced. This energy provides power for existence, multiplication, and action." 32 Here "multiplication," in a wider sense of the term, means the coming into being, generation, increase, development. "Action" means movement, change, reaction, and so on. Since cognition means the acquisition or the increase of knowledge, it can be included in the concept of "multiplication" through give-and-receive action. Accordingly, the proposition can be established that .cognition takes place through give-and-receive action between subject and object."

"Subject" in cognition refers to a person with certain conditions, namely, interest in the object and prototypes; whereas "object" refers to all things with content (attributes) and form (form of existence). Cognition takes place through the give-and-receive action between these two parties.

2. Formation of the Four-Position Base

Give-and-receive action between subject and object always takes place centering on a purpose, and cognition occurs as a result of give-and-receive action. Therefore, cognition is made through the formation of a four-position base (Fig. 9-1).

The four-position base is composed of four positions, namely, subject, object, and the result. Each of these will be explained next.

Fig. 9-1: Formation of a Four-Position Base in Cognition

a) Center

It is the purpose that becomes the center of give-and-receive action. In purpose there are the principle purpose and daily, ordinary purpose.

The principle purpose refers to the purpose of creation for which God created humankind and all things. From the perspective of the created beings, it is the purpose for which they were created. In God's purpose of creation, Heart (love) was the motivation for creation. Therefore, the original way of cognition for human beings is, also, to cognize all things with love as their motivation.

The purpose of creation (purpose for which a being is created) consists of the purpose for the whole and the purpose for the individual. Human beings' purpose for the whole in cognition is to acquire knowledge for the sake of serving neighbors, society, nation, and the world. The purpose for the individual is to acquire knowledge for the sake of the individual life of food, clothing, and shelter and cultural life. On the other hand, the purpose for the whole of all created beings, which are the objects of cognition, is to give knowledge and beauty to human beings and to give them joy by receiving dominion from them. The purpose for the individual of all things is to be recognized and loved by human beings, as well as to maintain its existence and growth. However, due to the human fall, things cannot fully fulfill their purpose of creation (the purpose for which they were created), and are "groaning together in travail" (Romans 8:22).

The daily purpose (or actual purpose) refers to the individual purpose based on the principle purpose, namely, the purpose of each person in his or her daily life. For example, a botanist observing nature will acquire knowledge from a botanist's position; a painter observing the same nature will probably acquire knowledge from the position of pursuing beauty. Also, an economist may try to acquire knowledge about nature from the viewpoint of conducting business by developing nature. In this way, even though the principle purpose of obtaining joy may be the same, the daily purpose for each individual person differs from person to person.

b) The Subject

In cognition, the subject's interest in the object is one of the requisites for the subject. Without interest, no correlative standard can be established, and no give-and-receive action can take place.

Consider, for instance, the case of a person walking down the street who happens to cross a friend's path. If the person's mind is deeply absorbed in thought, the friend may go by totally unnoticed. Also, a lighthouse attendant is not awakened by the noise of the waves, but does get awakened by the sound of a crying child, which may be much softer than the sound of the waves. From this we can conclude that the reason the noise of the waves is not perceived is that the lighthouse attendant is not interested in it; in contrast, the sound of the crying child is perceived because the keeper is interested in it.

On the other hand, it is also often the case that we cognize things by chance. An obvious example is that, even though we may not expect it, we may suddenly see lightning and hear the sound of thunder. In such a case, it might seem that the subject has no interest. Even in this case, however, interest is always at work, though, perhaps only unconsciously (or subconsciously). All of us remember the years of childhood, when we faced everything with a fresh sense of wonder and curiosity. This wonder and curiosity derive from interest. Further, when we visit a new place for the first time, we usually look at everything with a great deal of interest. As time goes by, however, we become familiar with the place, and our interest recedes to the subconscious mind. Yet, even then, interest is not gone completely, but is at work in the subconscious mind.

Another requisite for the subject is to have prototypes. No matter how much interest one may have in a given object, if one does not have an appropriate prototype, cognition will not take place. For example, when listening to an unknown foreign language, we will not understand what is being said. Also, when meeting a person never seen before, we will just feel that the person is a "stranger"; but if we have seen that person before, he or she will seem familiar.

Accordingly, in order for cognition to take place, the subject must always be equipped with prototypes, which serve as the standards of judgment.

c) The Object

As objects of cognition, there are all things in nature, as well as things, events, and persons in human society. According to the Unification Principle, all things were created as objects for the human being, and the human being was created as the subject to all things. The human being, who is the subject, exerts dominion with love over all things, the objects, whereby he or she engages in appreciation and cognition of them. Therefore, all things are equipped with elements that enable them to become objects of beauty and objects of cognition. Those elements are the attributes of things (which are the content) and the forms of existence of things (which are the form). Such "content" and "form" are requisites that all things must have. They are not something that things have acquired by themselves; rather, they are endowed to things by God.

The human being is the integration of all things and a miniature (microcosm) of the universe; therefore, as a microcosm, the human being is equipped with what corresponds to the content and form of all things.

d) The Result

When subject and object engage in give-and-receive action, centering on a purpose, a result comes into being. Here, in order to understand the nature of the result, we need to understand the nature of the four-position base. As explained in "Theory of the Original Image," the four-position base can be classified into four kinds: the inner identity-maintaining four-position base, the outer identity-maintaining four-position base, the inner developmental four-position base, and the outer developmental four-position base. Since cognition is basically the process of collating and uniting, through give-and-receive action, the "content and form" of the subject and the "content and form" of the object, cognition is a kind of identity-maintaining four-position base. On the other hand, in the case of the human activity of dominion, a developmental four-position base is formed.

Cognition and dominion form reciprocal circuits of give-and-receive action between human beings and all things. That is to say, the process of cognition is one circuit, and the process of dominion is the other circuit. So, let us examine the relationship between the developmental four-position base in dominion and the identity-maintaining four-position base in cognition. Dominion here refers to the exercise of human creativity; therefore, the four-position base in dominion is the same as the four-position base in creation, namely, developmental four-position base.

As explained in the "Theory of the Original Image," God created all things through the two stages of creation, namely, the formation of the inner developmental four-position base (i.e., the formation of Logos) and the formation of the outer developmental four-position base. In this process, first the inner developmental four-position base was formed, and then the outer developmental four-position base was formed. Thus, the order was "from the inner to the outer four-position bases." In contrast, in the formation of the identity-maintaining four-position base for cognition, first, the outer identity-maintaining four-position is formed, and then the inner identity-maintaining four-position base is formed. Thus, the order is "from the outer to inner identity-maintaining bases."

Then, more concretely, what exactly is cognition? This will become clear in the following explanation of the "process of cognition."

Fig. 9-2: Formation of the Outer Identity-Maintaining Four-Position Base

E. The Process of Cognition

1. The Sensory Stage of Cognition

In cognition, first the outer identity-maintaining four-position base is formed. Centering on a conscious or unconscious purpose, give-and-receive action between the subject (human being) and the object (a thing) takes place, and the content and form of the object are reflected on the sensory centers of the subject, forming an image, or an idea. This is the sensory content and sensory form, and is called the "sensory image" (Fig. 9-2). Even though the subject may have interest and prototypes at the sensory stage of cognition, the prototypes are not yet actively participating. The sensory content and sensory form formed at the sensory stage of cognition are only fragmentary images, which have not yet become a unified cognition of the object.

2. The Understanding Stage of Cognition

In the understanding stage of cognition, the inner identity-maintaining four-position base is formed through inner identity-maintaining give-and-receive action, and the fragmentary images transmitted from the sensory stage of cognition become a unified image of the object.

Fig. 9-3: Formation of the Inner Identity-Maintaining Four-Position Base

The purpose at the center of the inner identity-maintaining four-position base is the same as the purpose of the outer identity-maintaining four-position base at the sensory stage of cognition. This is a principle purpose and an actual daily purpose. What comes in the position of subject here is the inner Sungsang, namely, the functional part of the mind, which, in cognition, is the unity of intellect, emotion, and will. "Mind" refers to the union of the spirit mind and the physical mind, which is the "original mind" of human beings; this is different in dimension from instinct in animals. Thus, here, we use the special term "spiritual apperception" to refer to the functional part of the mind in cognition, which means "the comprehensive function of sensation and perception of the united mind of spirit person and physical person." 33 In this way, the inner Sungsang functions as the spiritual apperception in cognition and works as the power to make judgment, but in practice, it also functions as subjectivity and works as the power to realize values.

Next, what comes in the -position of object in the inner four-position base? First, the sensory image, namely, the sensory content and sensory form that have been formed in the outer four-position base in the sensory stage of cognition, is transmitted to the position of the object in the inner four-position base, that is, to the inner Hyungsang. Then the protoimage and the form of thought (that is, the prototype) corresponding to the sensory content and sensory form are drawn by the spiritual apperception from within the memory. These two elements, namely, the sensory image and the prototype, form the inner Hyungsang.

Under these circumstances, give-and-receive action of the collation type takes place. This is so because the spiritual apperception, which is the subject, compares (collates) the two elements (i.e., the prototype and the sensory image) and makes a judgment as to their agreement or disagreement. Cognition takes place through this judgment, which is called "collation" in Unification epistemology. Thus, we come to the conclusion that cognition takes place through collation. Consequently, Unification epistemology becomes a "theory of collation" in terms of method, whereas Marxist epistemology was a "theory of reflection" and Kant's epistemology is "theory of synthesis."

Sometimes, however, cognition may riot be sufficiently well established through a single cognitive process (inner give-and-receive action) at the understanding Stage. 34 In such a case, inner give-and-receive action continues together with practice (i.e., experiments, observations, experiences, etc.) until a new, sufficiently clear cognition is obtained.

3. The Rational Stage of Cognition

Next is the rational stage of cognition. Reason refers to the ability to think by means of concepts and ideas. Reason operates as the function of judgment and conceptualization even in the understanding stage, but in the rational stage, new knowledge is obtained through reasoning on the basis of the knowledge obtained in the understanding stage.

After all, cognition in the rational stage is none other than thinking. This corresponds to the formation of Logos (a plan) through the inner developmental four-position base in the Original Image. Thinking takes place through give-and-receive action within the mind, which is collation-type give-and-receive action. That is, necessary elements are chosen from among the various ideas, concepts, mathematical principles, laws, and so on, already existing in the inner Hyungsang, and various mental operations are performed on those elements, such as association, separation, synthesis, and analysis.

These operations are performed on the foundation of the give-and-receive action of the collation type, that is, the comparison between idea and idea, between concept and concept and so forth. Knowledge increases through the repetition of such operations. In this inner give-and-receive action as well, the inner Sungsang functions as spiritual apperception. Cognition in the rational stage is the formation of the inner developmental four-position base (Fig. 9-4).

Fig. 9-4: Formation of The Inner Developmental Four-Position Base

In the rational state of cognition, acquisition of new knowledge takes place continually through completing each stage of judgment. That is to say, each new bit of knowledge that is obtained (completed judgment) is material for thinking transmitted to the inner Hyungsang, and is used for the formation of new knowledge in the next stage. In this way, knowledge develops. That is, knowledge develops by repeating the formation of the inner four-position base (Fig. 9-5).

The development of this kind of inner four-position base takes place together with practice. The result (new body) obtained through practice is passed on to the inner four-position base (the

Fig. 9-5: Formation of Repetitive Inner Four-Position Bases through Reasoning

inner Hyungsang within the Sungsang), and is used for the acquisition of new knowledge. When new knowledge is obtained, its truth can be tested through yet another instance of practice. In this way, repetitive instances of practice, that is, repetitive formations of outer four-position bases, take place together with the development of inner four-position bases for cognition (Fig. 9-6).

Fig. 9-6. Formation of Repetitive Outer Four-Position Bases Through Practice

F. The Process of Cognition and the Physical Conditions

Unification Epistemology is a theory based on the Unification Principle and Unification Thought. Therefore, even though this epistemology may contain points and terms different from those of traditional epistemologies, this does not mean that Unification Epistemology is incorrect. If, however, any assertion of Unification Epistemology turns out to be contradictory to established scientific theories, then Unification Epistemology will be nothing more than an unsubstantiated claim just as many past epistemologies have been, and its universal validity will not be ascertained.

Traditional epistemologies, namely, the empirical, rational, transcendental (Kantian), materialistic (Marxist) epistemologies, have proven to be theories that have nothing to do with scientific knowledge, in other words, they have proven to be in disagreement with established scientific views. Consequently, they have little persuasiveness today, in view of the great development science has achieved. This section offers evidence to show that Unification Epistemology is a valid theory from the standpoint of scientific knowledge as well. Those points will be discussed below.

1. Parallelism between Psychological Process and Physiological Process

Unification Thought asserts, based on its theory of the dual characteristics of the Original Image, that all beings have dual characteristics, namely, Sungsang and Hyungsang.

The human being is a dual being of mind and body, and the cells, tissues, and organs making up the human body are composed of mental and physical element as well. Furthermore, all human actions and operations are dual-which means that psychological and physiological actions are always at work in parallel. Therefore, from the perspective of Unification Thought, in cognition as well, psychological and physiological processes are always at work in parallel. This means that mental action occurs through the give-and-receive action between the mind and the brain (Fig. 9-7). Here, mind refers to the union of spirit mind (mind of the spirit person) and physical mind (mind of the physical person).

Wilder Penfield (1891-1976), a world-renowned authority in the study of the brain, compared the brain to a computer, saying that "the brain is a computer, and the mind is a programmer." 35 Another renowned researcher of the brain, John C. Eccles (1903- ), also said that the mind and the brain are different things, and that it is necessary to grasp the problem of the mind and body as the interaction between mind and brain. 36 Their assertions are in accord with the view of Unification Thought that the mental activities are made through the give-and-receive action between mind and brain.

Fig. 9-7. Mental Action Through the Give-and-Receive Action between Mind and Brain

2. The Sources That Correspond to Protoconsciousness and Protoimage

Next, I will cite certain scientific views arguably that support the concepts of protoconsciousness and protoimage, which are unique to Unification Epistemology.

As explained before, protoconsciousness is the cosmic consciousness which has permeated the cells and tissues of living things, that is to say, it is life; and protoimage is the image reflected oil the protoconsciousness, which is a film of consciousness. Protoconsciousness is purposeful consciousness, and protoimage is nothing but information. This means that cells have purposeful consciousness and perform certain functions on the basis of information contained in them.

Let us verify protoconsciousness and protoimage from the standpoint of the theory of cybernetics. Cybernetics is the science of the transmission and control of information in living beings and in machines. In living beings, bits of information are transmitted through sense organs to the centers, which integrate them and send proper instructions to effectors (muscles). This is one of the phenomena of cybernetics in living beings.

When we look at a single cell, we can see cybernetic phenomena taking place within it. That is, a continuous repetition of the transmission of information from the cytoplasm to the nucleus and the response to it from the nucleus is made in a cell, whereby the cell exists and multiplies. Accordingly, we can find autonomy even in a single cell. The autonomy of a cell is none other than life and protoconsciousness.

The French physiologist Andre Coudet-Perrot, for example, explains in Cybemilique el Biologie that the cell nucleus, which has the source of the cell's information, gives instructions to the cytoplasmic organelles (mitochondria, Golgi complex, etc.) to carry out the chemical reactions necessary for the life of the cell. 37 The cell's information includes all the information concerning the anatomical shapes and essential functions of living beings. 38

Here, the following questions may arise. First, the code (information) must be decoded and memorized, but what is the subject that decodes and memorizes these codes? Second, in order for the cell nucleus to issue instructions to cause the chemical reactions necessary for the life of the cell, the nucleus must be accurately aware of the situation inside the cell. What is the subject of this awareness?

These questions cannot be answered from only the position of science (physiology) alone, since science deals exclusively with phenomenological aspects. Unification Thought, however, with its theory of dual characteristics, can clearly state that there is a purposeful element of Sungsang, namely, consciousness, working within the cell. The consciousness within each cell is protoconsciousness (inner Sungsang), and the information is the protoimage (inner Hyungsang).

3. Correspondence of the Psychological and Physiological Processes in the Three Stages of Cognition

As discussed above, the three stages of cognition are the sensory stage, the understanding stage, and the rational stage. According to cerebral physiology, there are physiological processes corresponding to the three stages of cognition.

The cerebral cortex can roughly be divided into three areas, namely, the sensory area, which receives signals from the sense organs; the motor area, which sends out the signals related to voluntary movements; and the association areas, which are divided into frontal, parietal, and temporal association areas. It is considered that the frontal association area is concerned with the functions of will, creation, thinking, and emotion; the parietal association area is concerned with the functions of perception, judgment, and understanding; and the temporal association area is connected with the mechanism of memory.

First, the information about sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, etc., is transmitted through peripheral nerves to the sensory area of visual sense, auditory sense, gustatory sense, olfactory sense, and tactile sense (somatic sensory), respectively. The physiological process that takes place in the sensory area corresponds to the sensory stage of cognition. Next, the information from the sensory area is gathered in the parietal association area, where it is understood and judged. This corresponds to cognition in the understanding stage. Based on this understanding and judgment, thinking is made in the frontal association area, and creative activities are carried out. This corresponds to the rational stage of cognition. In this way, the three stages of cognition have corresponding physiological processes within the brain (Fig. 9-8). 39

4. Correspondence between Psychological Process and Physiological Process in the Transmission of Information

In the human body, there are functions constantly operating to receive various kinds of pieces of information from outside and from inside of the body, to process the pieces of information, and to respond to them. The stimulation received by a receptor (sense organ) becomes an impulse and passes through the afferent path of the nerve fiber to reach the central nerves. The central nerves process that information and send out an instruction, which is transmitted as an impulse through the efferent path of the nerve fiber to the effector which responds to it (Fig. 9-9).

When a response toward the stimulation takes place in a manner that is unrelated to consciousness at the higher center, we call that a reflex. The spinal cord, medulla oblongata, and midbrain, are reflex centers, sending appropriate orders in response to stimulation.

Fig. 9-8: Functional Areas in the Cerebral Cortex and the Three Stages of Cognition

Once a piece of information has entered die body through a receptor, how is it transmitted? The information that has entered through a receptor becomes a nerve impulse, which is an electric impulse. The nerve impulse refers to a change in the electrical potential of the membrane between the excited and non-excited parts of the nerve fiber. The nerve impulse moves along the nerve fiber. The change in the electrical potential that takes place at that moment is called "action potential."

The inside of the membrane of a nerve fiber is negatively charged in the unstimulated state, but when an impulse passes through it, the charge is reversed, and the inside becomes positively charged. This phenomenon takes place when sodium ions (Na+) flow into the membrane from the outside. Then, when potassium ions (K+) flow out from the inside of the membrane, the balance of charges is restored to its former state (i.e., a negatively charged state). In this way, change in electrical potential of the membrane takes place and moves along the nerve fiber (Fig. 9-10).

Fig. 9-9. Paths for the Transmission of Information in the Human Body

Next, how is the nerve impulse transmitted at the joint between neurons, namely, at the synapse? There the electrical impulse is converted into a discharge of chemical transmitter substances and moves through the gap in the synapse. When they reach the next neuron, the chemical process is again converted into an electrical process. In other words, an electrical signal in the nerve fiber is converted into a chemical signal at the synapse, and then, when it reaches the next neuron, it is converted back into an electrical signal. The transmitter substance in the synapse is said to be acetylcholine in motor and parasympathetic nerves, and noradrenaline in sympathetic nerves.

The mechanism for the transmission of information explained above may be expressed in a diagram as in Fig. 9-11.

Fig. 9-10.- Transmission of a Nerve Impulse

Source: J. C. Eccles. The Understanding of the Brain (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1977), p. 23.

The above is the physiological process of the transmission of information, but from the perspective of Unification Thought, there is always a conscious process behind a physiological process. That is, behind the movement of the action current in the nerve fiber and the transmitter substances at the synapse, there is always protoconsciousness at work, perceiving the content of the information and transmitting it to the center. In other words, protoconsciousness can be seen as the bearer of information. Thus, it can be understood that the action current in the nerve fiber and the chemical material at the synapse are accompanied by protoconsciousness, which is the bearer of information.

5. Corresponding Aspects in the Formation of Prototypes

It has already been explained that the sources that correspond to protoimage and image of relation are the content of cells and tissues and the mutual relationships among these elements. I will call these the "terminal protoimage" and "terminal image of relation," respectively. On other hand, I call the protoimage and the image of relation that arise at the understanding stage of cognition the "central protoimage" and the "central image of relation."

Fig. 9-11: Mechanism for the Transmission of Information between Neurons

In the process whereby the terminal protoimage reach the higher center through nerve paths, they undergo selection at each level of the central nervous system and are combined, associated, and arranged to form central protoimages. In the case of the terminal images of relation as well, they undergo selection at each level of the central nervous system and are combined, associated, and arranged to form the central images of relation, which, when they reach the cerebral cortex, become the forms of thought. Here, each level of the central nervous system stores the protoimages and images of relation on its own level.

Among the elements from which prototypes are composed, there are also the empirical images, in addition to the central protoimages arid forms of thought. These empirical images are the cognition (knowledge) gained through experiences and stored in the memory center. They constitute a part of the prototypes, which can be used for later cognition.

As information is passed on from the lower to the higher levels, the amount of information received in the central nervous system (input), and the amount given out (output) increase. At the same time, the ways of processing information become more inclusive and universal. This is similar to an administrative organization: the higher the level, the greater amount of information dealt with and the more inclusive and universal the way of processing that information.

In the highest center, namely, the cerebral cortex, the reception of information is none other than cognition; the storage of information is none other than memory; and the output of information is none other than thinking (conception), creation, and practice. The integration at the lower centers is similar, although it is different in dimension from the integration at the cerebral cortex. Purposeful integration by consciousness is exercised at each center. To put this in another way, at each level of the central nervous system, physiological integration is accompanied by mental integration. In other words, the physiological process of transmitting information (nerve impulses) in the central nerves is always accompanied by psychological processes of judgment, memory, conception, and so on.

As for the transmission of the image of relation (images of form), the fact that the processing of information becomes increasingly universal as it goes from the lower to the higher centers means that, as particular terminal images of relation are passed on to the higher centers, those images of relation gradually become universalized and generalized. When they reach the cerebral cortex, they are completely conceptualized into the forms of thought, or categories.

6. Prototypes and Physiology

Prototypes refer to the ideas and concepts possessed in advance by the subject at the time of cognition, and can be called memory as well. It has previously been explained that the human being possesses a priori prototypes (original prototypes) and empirical prototypes, which can be expressed-borrowing physiological expressions-as "hereditary memory" and "acquired memory," the latter gained through experience. 40

The "hereditary memory" which is the information concerning the cells and tissues of a human being as a living being, is considered to be stored in the limbic system-the part of the cerebrum that consists of the older cortex, covered by the new cortex. Then, from a physiological perspective, how and where is the "acquired memory" stored?

Memory can be divided into short-term memory, which lasts only a few seconds, and long-term memory, which lasts from several hours to several years. Short-term memory is considered to be based on electrical reverberating circuit. With regard to long-term memory, two theories have been proposed, i.e., the "neuron circuit theory" and the "memory substance theory." The neuron circuit theory is the view that each memory is stored in a particular network of neuron circuit, whose junctions (synapses) receive changes through the repeated nerve impulse. The memory substance themy is the view that such memory substances as RNA, peptide, etc., have something to do with each memory. However, recently the number of researchers who advocate the memory substance theory is decreasing. 41

As for the area in which the long-term memory is stored, it is considered to be- as follows: There is a part of the hinbic system called the hippocampus, which is located within the cerebrum. This hippocampus first plays the role in the initial processing of the information to be memorized, and then the memory is thought to be stored in the new cortex (temporal lobe) for a long time. 42 That is, memory is considered to be stored in the temporal lobe through die hippocampus.

Goudet-Perrot explains that in cognition, such memory (stored knowledge) is collated with the information of an object in the external world coming through the sense organs, and is judged: "The information received by the sensory receptors is collated with the knowledge that was acquired by the sensory center in the cerebral cortex and was stored in memory, and judgment is made." 43

This view is in accord with the position of Unification Thought that information coming from the external world is collated with prototypes (inner images), and is judged as to whether it is in agreement or in disagreement with the prototypes. 44

7. The Encoding of Ideas and the Ideation of Codes

In the process whereby a human subject cognizes an object, the information coming from the object, upon reaching the sense organs, turns into an impulse, which is a kind of code. The impulse, then, is ideated in the sensory center in the cerebral cortex and is reflected on consciousness as an image (an idea). This is the "ideation of a code." On the other hand, in the case of practice, an action is taken based on a certain idea. In this case, the idea becomes an impulse, passes through motor nerves, and moves an effector (muscle). This is the "encoding of an idea."

According to cerebral physiology, an idea comes into being through cognition and is stored in a specific area of the brain as memory, encoded as a particular pattern of combinations of neutrons. In order to recall a particular memory thus encoded, consciousness decodes the code and understands it as an idea. That is, in the storage and the recollection of memory, the "encoding of ideas" and the "ideation of codes" seem to be carried out. With regard to this matter, neuro-physiologists, M. S. Gazzaniga and J. E. LeDoux said the following:

Our experiences are indeed multifaceted, and it is our view that different aspects of experience are differentially stored in the brain. 45

We may be faced with the fact that memory storage, encoding, and decoding is a multifaceted process that is multiply represented in the brain. 46

That kind of mutual conversion between an idea and a code can be regarded as a type of induction phenomena arising between the Sungsang type mental coil, which carries the idea, and the Hyungsang type physical coil (neurons), which carries the code, just as electricity moves between the first coil and the second coil through induction. The mutual conversion of an idea and a code provides support for the assertion that cognition is carried out through give-and-receive action between psychological and physiological processes.
>> Go to top

III. Kant's and Marx's Epistemologies from the Perspective of Unification Thought

A. Critique of Kant's Epistemology

1. Critique of the Transcendent Method

Kant asserted that the subject is endowed with a priori form is of thought (categories). This statement, needless to say, represents Kant's position of not acknowledging forms of existence in the external world. However, when we examine them well, we realize that there are forms of existence that correspond to the forms of thought. For example, all things in the objective world exist and perform their motion in the form of time and space. Also, scientists can deliberately give rise to a certain phenomenon oil the basis of' time and space in the objective world. Therefore, the form of time and space is not only a subjective form, but an objective form as well.

The same can be said about the form of causality. Scientists have discovered numerous relations of cause and effect from the phenomena of the natural world and have come to be able to reproduce similar phenomena on the basis of the relations of cause and effect. This indicates that indeed there are relations of cause and effect in the objective world.

Also, Kant said that an object of cognition is established through the combination of the form of the subject and the content coming from the object. From the perspective of Unification Thought, the subject (person) as well as the object (all things) have both content and form. What the subject possesses is not what Kant called "a priori forms" alone; rather, it is previously existing prototypes, which have both content and form and, therefore, include the forms mentioned by Kant. Also, what comes from the object is not a chaotic manifold of sensations, but rather sensory content organized by the forms of existence.

Furthermore, the subject (person) and object (all things) are in a correlative relationship and bear resemblance to each other. Therefore, cognition is not carried out through synthesis of the object; rather, cognition is carried out as the "content and form" (the prototype) of the subject, and the "content and form" of the object are collated through give-and-receive action between them, and a judgment is made.

2. Critique of Kantian Agnosticism

Kant thought that only natural, scientific knowledge in the phenomenal world is true, and he considered the world of things-in-themselves (the noumenal reality) uncognizable. Consequently, lie entirely separated the phenomenal reality from the noumenal reality. This led to the separation between pure reason and practical reason, and the separation between science and religion.

From the perspective of Unification Thought, the thing-in-itself is the Sungsang of a thing, while the sensory content is its Hyungsang. Sungsang and Hyungsang are unified in all things, and since Sungsang is expressed through Hyungsang, we can know the Sungsang of a thing through its Hyungsang.

In addition, according to Unification Thought, the human being is the lord of dominion over all things, or the lord of creation, and all things were created in resemblance to the human being, as objects of joy to human beings. This means that the human being and all things resemble each other in structure and in elements; accordingly, they resemble each other in content and in form as well. Therefore, in cognition, the content and form possessed by the subject (human being) are similar to the content and form possessed by all things, and they can be collated. In addition, since through its content the thing-in-itself, namely, the Sungsang of the object, is expressed, the subject can cognize not only the Hyungsang (sensory content and form) of the object, but also its Sungsang (the thing-in-itself). Since Kant was ignorant of the principled relationship between mankind and all things, lie fell into agnosticism.

B. Critique of Marxist Epistemology

1. Critique of the Theory of Reflection

As explained in the section on Unification Epistemology, if there is no prototype within the subject of cognition that corresponds to the things in the external world as criteria for judgment, cognition cannot be made, even if the external world is reflected on the consciousness. Moreover, since cognition is carried out through the give-and-receive action between subject and object, it is necessary for the subject to have interest in the object. Even though an object in the external world is reflected on the consciousness of the subject, if the subject has no interest in the object, cognition will riot take place. This means that cognition is not carried out through a passive material process like reflection, but becomes possible only through the participation of an active mental process (i.e., interest in the object and the function of collation).

2. Critique of Sensory Cognition, Rational Cognition, and Practice

In Marxist epistemology, the process of cognition consists of three states, namely, sensory cognition, rational cognition, and practice.

The important question here is how consciousness, which is field to be a product or a function of the brain and to reflect the objective world, can make rational (logical) cognition (i.e., abstraction, judgment, inference), and moreover, how it can direct practice (revolutionary practice). Even though there is a wide gap between the passive process of reflecting the external world on one hand, and rational cognition and the active process of practice on the other, no reasonable explanation is given. This means that there is a logical gap here in the Marxist view.

From the perspective of Unification Thought, cognition and practice can never be made based solely on the physiological processes of the brain. This is because cognitive action takes place through the give-and-receive action between the mind and the brain. In other words, cognition and practice are carried out through a relationship of give-and-receive action between the mind, which possesses the function of understanding and reason, and the brain.

The next question concerns the role of practice in cognition. Lenin said that cognition proceeds to practice, and Mao Tse-tung asserted that cognition and practice are inseparable. In this respect, Unification Thought has no objection. All things were created as objects of joy for human beings, and we are to exercise dominion (practice) over all things. Accordingly, we cognize all things in order to exercise dominion (practice). Cognition and practice form a correlative circuit of give-and-receive action between human beings and all things (Fig. 9-12). Thus, there is no cognition apart from practice (dominion), and no practice (dominion) apart from cognition.

Fig. 9-12: Correlativity of Cognition and Practice

Practice, as advocated by Marxism, is ultimately directed toward revolution. Contrary to that, Unification Thought asserts that neither cognition nor practice is ever carried out with revolution as its objective, but rather, they are carried out for the actualization of the purpose of creation. The purpose of creation is actualized when (1) God exercises dominion over human beings with love, and human beings return beauty to God; and (2) human beings exercise dominion over all things with love, and all things return beauty to human beings-whereby joy is realized in God and human beings. Therefore, both cognition and practice are carried out for the purpose of obtaining joy through love.

3. Critique of the Communist Concepts of Absolute Truth and Relative Truth

Lenin and Mao Tse-tung acknowledged the existence of absolute truth, saying that human being infinitely approaches absolute truth by repeating cognition and practice. Yet, their concept of "absolute" is ambiguous. Lenin said that the sum-total of relative truths is the absolute truth. No matter how we may sum up relative truths, however, the result is simply relative truths summed up, and cannot become absolute truth.

Absolute truth refers to the universal, eternal truth. Therefore, without having the Absolute Being as the standard, the concept of absolute cannot be established. Absolute truth is one with, and inseparable from, the absolute love of God, as explained in "Axiology." This is the same as the way in which the warmth and brightness of sunlight are one and inseparable. Therefore, there can be no absolute truth apart from God's absolute love. Consequently, only when centered on God's love, will the human being understand the purpose of creation of all things and obtain true knowledge of them. Therefore, if God is denied, there is no way to obtain absolute truth, no matter how strenuously one may engage in practice.
>> Go to top

© 2006 The Research Institute for the Integration of World Thought. All rights reserved.