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irresistible belief of it that is implied in Per- | bodily organs at all." But it is surely altoception and Memory; a belief, the founda- gether as reasonable to say, that we might tions of which, he seems to think, it would have had all those perceptions, without the be something more than absurd to call in aid or intervention of any material existence question. Now the reality of this general at all. Those perceptions, too, might still have persuasion or belief, no one ever attempted to been accompanied with a belief that would deny. The question is only about its justness not have been less universal or irresistible for or truth. It is conceivable, certainly, in every being utterly without a foundation in reality. case, that our belief should be erroneous; In short, our perceptions can never afford any and there can be nothing absurd in suggesting complete or irrefragable proof of the real exreasons for doubting of its conformity with istence of external things; because it is easy truth. The obstinacy of our belief, in this to conceive that we might have such percepinstance, and its constant recurrence, even tions without them. We do not know, thereafter all our endeavours to familiarise our- fore, with certainty, that our perceptions are selves with the objections that have been ever produced by external objects; and in the made to it, are not absolutely without parallel cases to which we have just alluded, we acin the history of the human faculties. All tually find perception and its concomitant bechildren believe that the earth is at rest; and lief, where we do know with certainty that it that the sun and fixed stars perform a diurnal is not produced by any external existence. revolution round it. They also believe that the place which they occupy on the surface is absolutely the uppermost, and that the inhabitants of the opposit suspended in an inverted position. Now of surface must be this universal, practical, and irresistible belief, all persons of education are easily disabused in speculation, though it influences their ordinary language, and continues, in fact, to be the habitual impression of their minds. In the same way, a Berkleian might admit the constant recurrence of the illusions of sense, although his speculative reason were sufficiently convinced of their fallacy.
The phenomena of Dreaming and of Delirium, however, appear to afford a sort of experimentum crucis, to demonstrate that a real external existence is not necessary to produce sensation and perception in the human mind. Is it utterly absurd and ridiculous to maintain, that all the objects of our thoughts may be "such stuff as dreams are made of?" or that the uniformity of Nature gives us some reason to presume that the perceptions of maniacs and of rational men are manufactured, like their organs, out of the same materials? There is a species of insanity known among medical men by the epithet notional, in which, as well as in delirium tremens, there is frequently no general depravation of the reasoning and judging faculties, but where the disease consists entirely in the patient mistaking the objects of his thought or imagination for real and present existences. The error of his perceptions, in such cases, is only detected by comparing them with the perceptions of other people; and it is evident that he has just the same reason to impute error to them, as they can have individually for imputing it to him. The majority, indeed, necessarily carries the point, as to all practical consequences: But is there any absurdity in alleging that we can have no absolute or infallible assurance of that as to which the internal conviction of an individual must be supported, and may be overruled by the testimony of his fellow-creatures?
Dr. Reid has himself admitted that "we might probably have been so made, as to have all the perceptions and sensations which we now have, without any impression on our
same evidence for the existence of the mateIt has been said, however, that we have the rial world, as for that of our own thoughts or lieving in the latter, but that we cannot help conceptions;-as we have no reason for beit; which is equally true of the former. Now, this appears to us to be very inaccurately argued. Whatever we doubt, and whatever we prove, we must plainly begin with consciousness. That alone is certain-all the rest is inference. Does Dr. Reid mean to assert, that our perception of external objects is not a necessary preliminary to any proof of their reality, or upon our consciousness of perceiving them? It that our belief in their reality is not founded is only our perceptions, then, and not the existence of their objects, which we cannot help believing; and it would be nearly as reasonable to say that we must take all our dreams for realities, because we cannot doubt that we dream, as it is to assert that we have the same evidence for the existence of an external world, as for the existence of the sensations by which it is suggested to our minds.
subject; yet we cannot abandon it without obWe dare not now venture farther into this serving, that the question is entirely a matter of philosophical and abstract speculation, and that by far the most reprehensible passages in Dr. Reid's writings, are those in which he has represented it as otherwise. When we consider, indeed, the exemplary candour, and temper, and modesty, with which this excellent man has conducted the whole of his speculations, we cannot help wondering that he should ever have forgotten himself so far as to descend to the vulgar raillery which he has addressed, instead of argument, to the abettors of the Berkleian hypothesis. The old joke, of the sceptical philosophers running their noses against posts, tumbling into kennels, and being sent to madhouses, is repeated at least ten times in different parts of Dr. Reid's publications, and really seems to have been considered as an objection not less forci ble than facetious. Yet Dr. Reid surely could the reality of a material universe, never afnot be ignorant that those who have questioned fected to have perceptions, ideas, and sensations, of a different nature from other people. The debate was merely about the origin of
these sensations; and could not possibly affect the conduct or feelings of the individual. The sceptic, therefore, who has been taught by experience that certain perceptions are connected with unpleasant sensations, will avoid the occasions of them as carefully as those who look upon the object of their perceptions as external realities. Notions and sensations he cannot deny to exist; and this limited faith will regulate his conduct exactly in the same manner as the more extensive creed of his antagonists. We are persuaded that Mr. Stewart would reject the aid of such an argument for the existence of an external world.
The length to which these observations have extended, deters us from prosecuting any farther our remarks on Dr. Reid's philosophy. The other points in which it appears to us that he has left his system vulnerable are, his explanation of our idea of cause and effect, and his speculations on the question of liberty
and necessity. In the former, we cannot help thinking that he has dogmatised, with a degree of confidence which is scarcely justified by the cogency of his arguments; and has endeavoured to draw ridicule on the reasoning of his antagonists, by illustrations that are utterly inapplicable. In the latter, also, he has made something more than a just use of the prejudices of men and the ambiguity of language; and has more than once been guilty, if we be not mistaken, of what, in a less respectable author, we should not have scrupled to call the most palpable sophistry. We are glad that our duty does not require us to enter into the discussion of this very per plexing controversy; though we may be permitted to remark, that it is somewhat extraordinary to find the dependence of human actions on Motives so positively denied by those very philosophers with whom the doc trine of Causation is of such high authority.
Memoirs of Dr. Joseph Priestley, to the year 1795, written by himself: With a Continuation to the time of his decease, by his Son Joseph Priestley; and Observations on his Writings. By THOMAS COOPER, President Judge of the Fourth District of Pennsylvania, and the Reverend WILLIAM CHRISTIE. 8vo. pp. 481. London: 1805.
DR. PRIESTLEY has written more, we believe, and on a greater variety of subjects, than any other English author; and probably believed, as his friend Mr. Cooper appears to do at this moment, that his several publications were destined to make an era in the respective branches of speculation to which they bore reference. We are not exactly of that opinion: But we think Dr. Priestley a person of no common magnitude in the history of English literature; and have perused this miscellaneous volume with more interest than we have usually found in publications of the same description. The memoirs are written with great conciseness and simplicity, and present a very singular picture of that indefatigable activity, that bigotted vanity, that precipitation, cheerfulness, and sincerity, which made up the character of this restless philosopher. The observations annexed by Mr. Cooper are the work, we think, of a pow-arrived, when the separate existence of the human erful, presumptuous, and most untractable Soul, the freedom of the Will, and the eternal understanding. They are written in a defy- duration of Future punishment, like the doctrines ing, dogmatical, unaccommodating style: with of the Trinity! and Transubstantiation, may be much force of reasoning, in many places, but regarded as no longer entitled to public discusoften with great rashness and arrogance; and occasionally with a cant of philosophism, and a tang of party politics, which communicate an air of vulgarity to the whole work, and irresistibly excite a smile at the expense of this magnanimous despiser of all sorts of prejudice and bigotry.*
"Indeed," he observes, those questions must now be considered as settled; for those who can resist Collins' philosophical inquiry, the section of Dr. Hartley on the mechanism of the mind, and the review of the subject taken by Dr. Priestley and his opponents, are not to be reasoned with. maxim of technical law. It will apply equally to Interest reipublicæ ut denique sit finis litium, is a the republic of letters; and the time seems to have
*I omit now a very considerable portion of this review, containing a pretty full account of Dr. Priestley's life and conversation, and of his various publications on subjects of theology, natural philosophy, and chemistry; retaining only the following examination of his doctrine of Materialism.
In the Second part of his book, Mr. Cooper professes to estimate the Metaphysical writings of Dr. Priestley, and delivers a long and very zealous defence of the doctrines of Materialism, and of the Necessity of human actions. A good deal of learning and a good deal of talent are shown in this production: But we believe that most of our readers will be surprised to find that Mr. Cooper considers both these questions as having been finally set at rest by the disquisitions of his learned friend!
The advocates of Necessity, we know, have long been pretty much of this opinion; and we have no inclination to disturb them at present with any renewal of the controversy: But we really did not know that the advo
cates of Materialism laid claim to the same triumph; and certainly find some difficulty in admitting that all who believe in the existence of mind are unfit to be reasoned with. To us, indeed, it has always appeared that it was much easier to prove the existence of mind, than the existence of matter; and with what
ever contempt Mr. Cooper and his friends may | tain the existence of our perceptions, and to regard us, we must be permitted to say a word deny that of matter altogether. The other or two in defence of the vulgar opinion.
The sum of the argument against the existence of mind, in case any of our readers should be ignorant of it, is shortly as follows. The phenomena of thinking, or perception, are always found connected with a certain mass of organised matter, and have never been known to exist in a separate or detached state. It seems natural, therefore, to consider them as qualities of that substance: Nor is it any objection to say, that the quality of thinking has no sort of resemblance or affinity to any of the other qualities with which we know matter to be endowed. This is equally true of all the primary qualities of matter, when compared with each other. Solidity, for instance, bears no sort of resemblance or affinity to extension; nor is there any other reason for our considering them as qualities of the same substance, but that they are always found in conjunction-that they occupy the same portion of space, and present themselves together, on all occasions, to our observation. Now, this may be said, with equal force, of the quality of thinking. It is always found in conjunction with a certain mass of solid and extended matter-it inhabits the same portion of space, and presents itself invariably along with those other qualities the assemblage of which makes up our idea of organised matter. Whatever substratum can support and unite the qualities of solidity and extension, may therefore support the quality of thinking also; and it is eminently unphilosophical to suppose, that it inheres in a separate substance to which we should give the appellation of Mind thought, it is said, may be resolved by the All the phenomena of assistance of Dr. Hartley, into perception and association. Now, perception is evidently produced by certain mechanical impulses upon the nerves, transmitted to the brain, and can therefore be directly proved to be merely a peculiar species of motion; and association is something very like the vibration of musical cords in juxtaposition, and is strictly within the analogy of material movement.
In answering this argument, we will fairly confess that we have no distinct idea of Substance; and that we are perfectly aware that it is impossible to combine three propositions upon the subject, without involving a contradiction. All that we know of substance, are its qualities; yet qualities must belong to something-and of that something to which they belong, and by which they are united, we neither know anything nor can form any conception. We cannot help believing that it exists; but we have no distinct notion as to the mode of its existence.
Admitting this, therefore, in the first place, we may perhaps be permitted to observe, that it seems a little disorderly and unphilosophical, to class perception among the qualities of matter, when it is obvious, that it is by means of perception alone that we get any notion of matter or its qualities; and that it is possible, with perfect consistency, to main
perception cannot be perceived: And all we qualities of matter are perceived by us; but know about it is, that it is that by which we perceive every thing else. It certainly does sound somewhat absurd and unintelligible, therefore, to say, that perception is that quality of matter by which it becomes conscious of its own existence, and acquainted with its other qualities: Since it is plain that this is not a quality, but a knowledge of qualities; and that the percipient must necessarily be distinct from that which is perceived. We must always begin with perception; and the followers of Berkeley will tell us, that we must end there also. At all events, it certainly never entered into the head of any plain man itself one of the qualities with which that to conceive that the faculty of perception was faculty made him acquainted: or that it could possibly belong to a substance, which his earliest intimations and most indestructible impressions taught him to regard as something external and separate.*
trine of Materialism, — that This, then, is the first objection to the docfaculty of perception a quality of the thing perceived; and converts, in a way that must makes the at first sight appear absurd to all mankind, our knowledge of the qualities of matter into another quality of the same substance. The truth is, however, that it is a gross and unwarrantable abuse of language, to call tion a quality at all. It is an act or an eventa fact or a phenomenon-of which the percipi. percepent is conscious: but it cannot be intelligibly conceived as a quality; and, least of all, as a us as solid and extended. 1st, All the qualities quality of that substance which is known to of matter, it has been already stated, are perceived by the senses: but the sensation itself cannot be so perceived; nor is it possible to call it an object of sense, without the grossest perversion of language. of matter have a direct reference to Space or extension; and are conceived, in some mea2dly, All the qualities sure, as attributes or qualities of the space a particular body is solid, we mean merely within which they exist. When we say that that a certain portion of space is impenetrable: when we say that it is coloured, we
ting poetry in illustration of metaphysics; but the
A branching channel, and a mazy flood?
The mansion chang'd, the tenant still remains,
mean that the same portion of space appears are not qualities of matter (for results and qualities belong not to the same category), but mere facts or phenomena of a totally different description, for the production of which the apparatus of some such organisation may, for the time, be necessary.
of one hue, and so of the other qualities: but sensation or thought is never conceived so to occupy space, or to characterise it; nor can those faculties be at all conceived as being merely definite portions of space, endued with perceptible properties. In the third place, all the primary qualities of matter are inseparable from it, and enter necessarily into its conception and definition. All matter must necessarily be conceived as extended, solid, and figured: and also as universally capable of all the secondary qualities. It is obvious, however, that thought or sensation is not an inseparable attribute of matter; as by far the greater part of matter is entirely destitute of it; and it is found in connection only with those parts which we term organised; and with those, only while they are in a certain state, which we call alive. If it be said, however, that thought may resemble those accidental qualities of matter, such as heat or colour, which are not inseparable or permanent; then we reply, that neither of these things can, in strictness, be termed qualities of matter, more than thought or sensation: They are themselves substances, or matter possessed of inseparable and peculiar qualities, as well as those which address themselves to the other senses. Light is a material substance, from which the quality of colour is inseparable; and heat is a material substance, which has universally the quality of exciting the sensation of warmth and both address themselves to, and are distinctly perceived through, our senses. If thought be allowed to be a substance in this sense, it will remain to show that it also is material; by being referable to space, capable of subsisting in every sort of body, of being perceived by the senses, of being transferred from one body to another, and liable to attraction, repulsion, condensation, or reflection-like heat or light.
It is to be remarked also, that wherever any proper quality, primary or secondary, can be ascribed generally to any perceptible body or mass of matter, that quality must exist and be recognised in every part of it. If the whole of any such body is hard, or coloured, or weighty, or hot, or cold, every part of it, whether merely considered and examined as separable, or actually separated and detached, must be hard, coloured, and weighty also: these qualities being truly conditions, and, in fact, the only real proofs of the material existence of such a body, and of all the parts of it. But though thought or volition may be said to have their residence somewhere within a human body, they certainly are not qualities of its material mass, in this sense; or to the effect of being sensibly present in every part or portion of it! We never, at least, have happened to hear it surmised that there is thought in the elbow-joint, or volition in the nail of the great toe: and if it be said that these phenomena are results only of the living organisation as a whole, it seems to us that this is a substantial abandonment of the whole argument, and an admission that they
But the material thing is, that it is not to the whole mass of our bodies, or their Ing organisation in general, that these phenomera are said by Dr. Priestley and his disciples to belong, as proper qualities. On the contrary, they distinctly admit that they are not qualities of that physical mass generally, nor even of those finer parts of it which constitute our organs of sense. They admit that the eye and the ear act the parts merely of optical or acoustic instruments; and are only useful in transmitting impulses (or, it may be, fine substances) to the nervous part of the brein: of which alone, therefore, and indeed only of its minute and invisible portions, these singular phenomena are alleged to be proper physical qualities! It is difficult, we think, to make the absurdity of such a doctrine more apparent than by this plain statement of its import and amount. The only ground, it must always be recollected, for holding that niind and all its phenomena are mere qualities of matter, is the broad and popular one, that we always find them connected with a certain visible mass of organised matter, called a living body: But when it is admitted that they are not qualities of this mass generally, or even of any part of it which is visible or perceptible by our senses, the allegation of their being mere material qualities of a part of the brain. must appear not merely gratuitous, but inconsistent and absolutely absurd. If the eye and the ear, with their delicate structures and fine sensibility, are but vehicles and ap paratus, why should the attenuated and unknown tissues of the cerebral nerves be supposed to be any thing else? or why should the resulting sensations, to which both are apparently ministrant, and no more than ministrant, and which have no conceivable resemblance or analogy to any attribute of matter, but put on the list of the physical qualities of the latter-which is of itself too slight and subtle to enable us to say what are its common physical qualities! But we have yet another consideration to suggest, before final ly closing this discussion.
It probably has not escaped observation, that throughout the preceding argument, we have allowed the advocates for Materialism to assume that what (to oblige them) we have called thought or perception generally, was one uniform and identical thing; to which therefore, the appellation of a quality might possibly be given, without manifest and palpable absurdity. But in reality there is no ground, or even room, for claiming such an allowance. The acts or functions which te ascribe to mind, are at all events not one, but many and diverse. Perception no doubt is one of them-but it is not identical with sensation; and still less with memory or imagi nation, or volition,-or with love, anger, fear, deliberation, or hatred. Each of these, on the
contrary, is a separate and distinguishable | sons: For, so long as they stuck to the geneact, function, or phenomenon, of the existence ral assertion, that thought might, in some way of which we become aware, not through per- or other, be represented as a quality of matception, or the external senses at all, but ter,-although it was not perceived by the through consciousness or reflection alone: and senses, and bore no analogy to any of its other none of them (with the single exception, per- qualities, and talked about the inherent cahaps, of perception) have any necessary or pacity of substance, to support all sorts of natural reference to any external or material qualities; although their doctrine might elude existence whatever. It is not disputed, how- our comprehension, and revolt all our habits ever, that it is only by perception and the of thinking, still it might be difficult to senses, that we can gain any knowledge of demonstrate its fallacy; and a certain permatter; and, consequently, whatever we come plexing argumentation might be maintained, to know by consciousness only, cannot pos- by a person well acquainted with the use, sibly belong to that category, or be either ma- and abuse, of words: But when they cast terial or external. But we are not aware that away the protection of this most convenient any materialist has ever gone the length of obscurity, and, instead of saying that they directly maintaining that volition for example, do not know what thought is, have the couror memory, or anger, or fear, or any other age to refer it to the known category of Mosuch affection, were proper material qualities tion, they evidently subject their theory to the of our bodily frames, or could be perceived test of rational examination, and furnish us and recognised as such, by the agency of with a criterion by which its truth may be the external senses; in the same way as the easily determined. weight, heat, colour, or elasticity which may belong to these frames. But if they are not each of them capable of being so perceived, as separate physical qualities, it is plain that nothing can be gained in argument, by affecting to disregard their palpable diversity, and seeking to class them all under one vague name, of thought or perception. Even with that advantage, we have seen that the doctrine, of perception or thought being a mere quality of matter, is not only untenable, but truly self-contradictory and unintelligible. But when the number and diversity of the phenomena necessarily covered by that general appellation is considered, along with the fact that most of them have no reference to matter, and do in no way imply its existence, the absurdity of representing them as so many of its distinct perceptible qualities, must be too apparent, we think, to admit of any serious defence.
We shall not be so rash as to attempt any definition of motion; but we believe we may take it for granted, that our readers know pretty well what it is. At all events, it is not a quality of matter. It is an act, a phenomenon, or a fact:-but it makes no part of the description or conception of matter; though it can only exist with reference to that substance. Let any man ask himself, however, whether the motion of matter bears any sort of resemblance to thought or sensation; or whether it be even conceivable that these should be one and the same thing?-But, it is said, we find sensation always produced by motion; and as we can discover nothing else in conjunction with it, we are justified in ascribing it to motion. But this, we beg leave to say, is not the question. It is not necessary to inquire, whether motion may produce sensation or not, but whether sensation be motion, and nothing else? It seems pretty evident, to be sure, that motion can never produce any thing but motion or impulse; and that it is at least as inconceivable that it should ever produce sensation in matter, as that it should produce a separate substance, called mind. But this, we repeat, is not the question with the materialists. Their proposition is, not that motion produces sensation which might be as well in the mind as in the body; but, thit sen-ation is motion; and that all the phenomena of thought and perception are intelligibly accounted for by saying, that they are certain little shakings in the pulpy part of the brain.
The sum of the whole then is, that all the knowledge which we gain only by Perception and the use of our external Senses, is knowledge of Matter, and its qualities and attributes alone; and all which we gain only by Consciousness and Reflection on our own inward feelings, is necessarily knowledge of Mind, and its states, attributes, and functions. This in fact is the whole basis, and rationale of the distinction between mind and matter: and, consequently, unless it can be shown that love, anger, and sorrow, as well as memory and volition, are direct objects of sense or external perception, like heat and colour, or figure and solidity, there must be an end, we think, of all question as to their being material qualities.
But, though the very basis and foundation of the argument for Materialism is placed upon the assumption, that thought and perception are qualities of our bodies, it is remarkable that Dr. Priestley, and the other champions of that doctrine, do ultimately give up that point altogether, and maintain, that thought is nothing else than Motion! Now, this, we cannot help thinking, was very impolitic and injudicious in these learned per
There are certain propositions which it is difficult to confute, only because it is impossible to comprehend them: and this, the substantive article in the creed of Materialism, really seems to be of this description. To say that thought is motion, is as unintelligible to us, as to say that it is space, or time, or proportion.
There may be little shakings in the brain, for any thing we know, and there may even be shakings of a different kind, accompanying every act of thought or perception;-but, that the shakings themselves are the thought or