Treating this rule as axiomatic the Schoolmen elaborated their analyses of the sacrament of penance, distinguishing form and matter, attrition and contrition, mortal and venial sins.
In Australia, however, where sacrifice of the ordinary type is unknown, the ritual killing of a child is practised in connexion with the initiation of a magician; it is therefore by no means axiomatic that animals were offered before human beings; the problem of priority is one to be solved for each area separately, but probably no solution is possible; in the absence of Aztec traditions it would hardly have seemed probable that two centuries had seen so great a transformation.
Thus, in short, if we ask for a clear and definite fundamental intuition, distinct from regard for happiness, we find really nothing in Whewell's doctrine except the single rule of veracity (including fidelity to promises); and even of this the axiomatic character becomes evanescent on closer inspection, since it is not maintained that the rule is practically unqualified, but only that it is practically undesirable to formulate its qualifications.
Here, as so often elsewhere, the heresy of an elder day has come to seem almost an axiomatic truth.
The nature of axiomatic certainty is part of the fundamental problem of logic and metaphysics.