The attitude itself is as old as Scepticism; but the expressions "agnostic" and "agnosticism" were applied by Huxley to sum up his deductions from those contemporary developments of metaphysics with which the names of Hamilton ("the Unconditioned") and Herbert Spencer ("the Unknowable") were associated; and it is important, therefore, to fix precisely his own intellectual standpoint in the matter.
Sir William Hamilton's " philosophy of the unconditioned," and, Herbert Spencer's doctrine of the infinite " unknowable "); if it is argued that knowledge of a thing arises only from the recognition of its differences from other things (i.e.
With this conception of the infinite as absolutely unconditioned should be compared what may be described roughly as lesser infinities which can be philosophically conceived and mathematically demonstrated.
The absolute or infinite - the unconditioned ground and source of all reality - is yet apprehended by us as an immediate datum or reality; and it is apprehended in consciousness - under its condition, that, to wit, of distinguishing subject and object, knower and known.
Our unconditioned is either a pure abstraction, or else the impossible notion of a completed system of conditions.