This study has been an analysis of intellection as apprehension of the real and of its primary mode, the primordial apprehension of reality. To facilitate the task, I have contrasted the analysis of intellective apprehension with apprehension which is just sensible, with pure sensing.

Sensible apprehension is what constitutes sensing. And sensing is a process having three essential moments: arousal, tonic modification, and response. Now, arousal as a moment of sensing takes place in impression. An impression thus has two quite different aspects. One is the aspect in which the impression is an arousing function. But there is another aspect which is prior and more radical, viz. what the impression is in its own formal structure. Arousal and impression must not be confused: arousal is a function of an impression, and is grounded on the latter's formal structure. Arousal is of a process character; impression of a structural character. They are, thus, two different problems.

I began by studying the formal structure of impression. An impression is an apprehensive act; hence {282} it is necessary to speak of impressive apprehension. Sensing is apprehending impressively, and this apprehension is what formally constitutes sensing. An impression has three essential moments: affection of the sentient being, presentation of what is sensed, i.e., otherness (in its dual moment of content and formality), and the force with which the sensed is imposed upon the sentient being. This sensing has two different natures which depend upon the formality of otherness. Otherness as stimulation is what constitutes the pure sensing proper to animals. Stimulation consists in that formality by which what is sensed is formally just a sign of tonic modification and of response. But otherness can be of a different nature, if the formality of what is sensed consists in what is sensed being something de suyo, something "of its own"; this is the formality of reity or reality. Now, to apprehend reality is the formally proper role of intellection; hence, impressive apprehension of reality, impression of reality, is formally sentient intellection.

This sentient intellection constitutes the proper and formal structure of intellective knowing. It is what we have studied throughout the course of this first part of the book. By way of complement to it—and only as complement—let us now direct our attention to the other aspect of intellection, viz. sentient intellection as a determinant moment of the human process. I have already said something about this subject in Chapter IV. It leads us to two questions: the determination of the other two moments of tonic modification and response, and the moment of the unity of the process of sentient intellection qua process.

A) Above all there is the determination of the other two specifically human structures. Intellection {283} determines the affects or tonic modifications. I speak of "affects" in order to distinguish them from the affections proper to every impression. The modification of the animal affects by the impression of reality is what constitutes feeling or sentiment. Feeling is an affect of the real; it is not something merely "subjective", as is usually claimed. Every feeling presents reality qua tonically modifying as reality. Feeling is in itself a mode of turning toward reality. In turn, response is a determination in reality; it is volition. When the sentient tendencies describe reality to us as determinable, determining, and determined, then the response is will. Feeling is the sentient affect of the real; volition is a determining tendency in the real. Thus, just as intellection is formally sentient intellection, so also feeling is an affecting feeling and volition is a tending will. The essential part of sensing in its three moments of arousal, tonic modification, and response is formally structured in intellective apprehension, in feeling, and in volition. Only because there is sentient apprehension of the real, i.e., only because there is impression of reality, is there feeling and volition. Intellection is thus the determinant of the specifically human structures.

To be sure, we are dealing with intellection in its function of sentiently installing us in the real. We are not dealing with what is usually called intellectualism. Intellectualism is not given other than in the conceptualizing intelligence; it consists, in fact, in assigning to concepts the radical and primary function. But here we are not talking about a concept being the determinant of the other structures; that would be totally false. Here we are talking about sentient intelligence; and what this intelligence makes {284} is not concepts but the apprehension of what is sensed as real. It is not, then, an intellectualism; it is, rather, something different toto caelo, what I might call an intellectionism. We are dealing with intellection as sentient apprehension of the real; and without this intellection there would not be, nor could there be, feeling or volition.

B) Now, the unity of arousal, tonic modification, and effective response is the intrinsic and formal unity of the structure of sensing as sensing. Sensing is not something which only concerns arousal; rather it is the intrinsic and indivisible unity of the three moments of arousal, tonic modification, and effective response. This unity of sensing is primary and radical; hence, the formal structure of sentient intellection, when it determines the openness of a formality distinct from the merely sentient, does not break the unity of arousal, tonic modification, and response of animal sensing. Not only does it not break it, but indeed it enters into play precisely by the structure of hyperformalization, which is a structural moment that is properly sentient. Whence it follows that the unity of what is intellectively known as real is a unity which does not eliminate sentient unity, nor is superimposed upon it (as has been said from the standpoint of the conceptualizing intelligence throughout the course of philosophy), but is a unity which absorbs and formally contains the structure of animal sensing. Directed to reality, man is thus the animal of realities; his intellection is sentient, his feeling is affecting, his volition is tending.


When it determines these specifically human structures, intellection inexorably determines the proper character of life in its unfolding. Human life is life in "reality"; hence, it is something determined by intellection {285} itself. If we employ the word ‘thinking’, not in a rigorous and strict sense (that we shall do in other parts of the book), but in its everyday sense, we shall have to say that it is intellection, the sentient apprehension of the real, which determines the thinking character which life has. It would be false to say that it is life which forces us to think; it is not life which forces us to think, but intellection which forces us to live as thinking.

But this processive function of intellection as life is something which does not intervene in any way whatsoever in the structural nature or in the formal nature of sentient intellection as such. The conceptualization of the act of sentient intellection is the only thing which is involved in the response to the question "What is intellective knowing?". I have explained this structure in the previous chapters; and it is fitting to emphasize that what is expressed in them is not a theoretical construct, but a simple analysis—to be sure prolix and complicated—but just a simple analysis of the act of sentient intellection, i.e., of the impression of reality.

* * *

With this we have responded to the question of what intellective knowing is; it is just impressive actuality of the real, just actuality of the real in the sentient intelligence. The primary mode of this intellection is the primordial apprehension of reality. Now we come face to face with the problem of the ulterior modes of intellection; that will be the object of the following two parts of the book. The second will treat of the sentient logos, and the third of sentient reason.