James Mccosii, a Scottish metaphysician, born in Ayrshire in 1811. He was educated at the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh; and while a student at Edinburgh he wrote an essay on the Stoic philosophy, for which the university, on motion of Sir William Hamilton, conferred upon him the honorary degree of A. M. He was ordained a minister of the church of Scotland at Arbroath in 1835, but removed in 1839 to Brechin, where in 1843 he took an active part in the organization of the Free church of Scotland. While pastor at Brechin he published a work- entitled " Method of the Divine Government, Physical and Moral " (8vo, Edinburgh, 1850), in which he endeavors to interrogate nature by the inductive method, avoiding either a preconceived rational system or a transcendental intuitionalism, inquiring what is the method of the divine government, primarily in the physical world, and secondarily in providence as related to the character of man and tending to his restoration. This work discusses the laws of substance and phenomenon and of cause and effect in physical nature and in the human mind, and gained the author a wide reputation both in Great Britain and in America. He has since continued the argument in "The Supernatural in relation to the Natural" (Belfast, 1862), which was intended as the first part of a work on " The Method of the Divine Government, Supernatural and Spiritual," and shows that nature, as distinguished from the supernatural, is really a system within the larger system of the supernatural, from which it springs.

In 1851 he was appointed professor of logic and metaphysics in Queen's college, Belfast, where he became distinguished as a lecturer, and wrote his " Intuitions of the Mind inductively investigated " (London, 1860), which established his reputation as a metaphysical writer. It explains what intuitions properly are, which of them are moral convictions, and how they are related to the sciences, particularly to metaphysics and theology. Avoiding alike the negation of Locke and an extravagant transcendentalism, he investigates the intuitions by a strict induction from facts well established by consciousness, using induction to discover what is prior to induction. In 1868 he removed to the United States, having been elected president of the college of New Jersey, at Princeton, where his administration has been remarkably successful. Since assuming this office he has published " The Laws of Discursive Thought," a text book of logic, discussing with great fulness the nature and relation of terms, which he makes the foundation of all reasoning, holding that logic has mainly to do with "the notion." He received the degree of LL. D. from Harvard university in 1868. Besides the works already named, he has published "An Examination of Mill's Philosophy " (London, 1866); " Philosophical Papers," containing a review of Sir William Hamilton's "Logic " (1869); " Christianity and Positivism," a course of lectures delivered in the Union theological seminary in New York (1871), in which he declares that the questions of evolution and the origin of life belong to science altogether, but, however decided, will not impair the theological argument from design; and " The Scottish Philosophy, Biographical, Expository, and Critical, from Hutcheson to Hamilton " (New York, 1874). In conjunction with Prof. George Dickie, M. D., he has published "Typical Forms and Special Ends in Creation " (Edinburgh, 1856). He has also published a number of important addresses.