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For OCTOBER, 1785.
Art. 1. Efays on the Intellektual Powers of Man. · By Thomas
Reid, D. D. F. R. S. Profeflor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow. 4to. il. 5s. boards, Bell, Edinburgh. Robinfons, London, 1785.
(Continued from Siptember.) THE *HE substance of Dr. Reid's philosophy is, that there is
nothing external to which any thing in the mind bears the least relemblance, but that, nevertheless, the mind has a power of perceiving, judging, and knowing their existence, the evidence of which existence is as clear, Itrong, and cera tain as that of our perceptions and sensations, and also, precisely of the fame kind. Upon this doctrine, in general, we proceed to make, as we proposed, some observations.
First, it is remarkable that a philofopher who endeavours to account for the appearances and operations of the human mind, upon the principles of the coinmon sense and natural judgment of mankind should, in the theory he aims to establish, oppose a general and almost universal disposition or propensity among all men, of all nations and ages, who are given to reflection, abftraction, and reasoning, to resolve the notices or knowledge we have, or think we have of things, into impressions, ideas, images, pictures, or in general, into some means analogous to the inanner in which one material object communicates, and operates upon another: In other words to believe, that in all the operations of the understanding there must be some immediate intercourse between the minds and its object,That this has been the general difpofition of all philofophers from the earENG. Rev. Oct. 1785,
liest times with which we are at all acquainted to the present, will not be denied by any person so well acquainted with antiquity as Dr. Reid certainly is. The most renowned philosopher of antiquity, and him to whom all writers point as the great-father of philosophy, though some of his notions are referred to itill more remote origins, is Pythagoras, who was industrious to collect, improve, confirm, and systematize the ideas of philosophers who went before him. It was the opinion of Pythagoras, that the objects of sense are perceived only by certain images or shadows of them which he called ideas, and which he confidered as eternal and immutable. Plato was of the fame opinion, who held ideas to be eternal, uncreated, and im nutable forms or models, according to which the deity out of matter which was eternal, made every species of things that exists. The latter Platonists, among whom we are to rank all the philosophical theologians of the earlier periods of Christianity, differed from their master, not in the great principle of the eternal and immutable existence of ideas, but in their
conceptions concerning the manner of their existence. They held ideas to be the conceptions of things in the divine understanding, to which the intimate nature and essence of all things were prefent and perfectly known from all eternity. Father Malbranche too, may be confidered as a disciple of the same school: for he is of opinion that we perceive external objects, not immediately, or in the language of Dr. Reid by intuitive judgments, but only through the medium and intervention of ideas.
· Aristotle was of opinion that there are no innate ideas, but that the whole furniture of the mind, all the objects of our thought, enter at first by the senses. But that, fince the senses cannot receive objects themselves it receives their species; that is, their images or forms, without the matter. These images, or forms, or impressions on the mind through the senses, are ftiled by him species sensible, and are the objects only of the sensitive part of the mind, or, if our memory does not fail us, what he calls the fenfitive mind: for Plato and Ariftotle, with their followers, divided, as it were, the mind into distinct substances or beings according to the feveral classes of its objects and operations. Aristotle speaks of the sensitive, and of the intelleétual mind: and Plato of the concupiscible, the irascible, and the rational soul.
It is not certain but some of their followers believed that in the nature of inan there exist three different souls possessing separate and individual identity, and of which the term and idea of 1, myself, might be exclusively and properly pronounced.
Perhaps the Apostle Paul was of this opinion. For he speaks repeatedly, diftin&ly, and precisely, of an old man, in his nature, and of a new-man. He was sensible of a person, an I, or self, whose determination, bent, and whole force, and impetus of soul, was to walk after the flesh; and of another person, I, or self, conceived, nourished, and consisting of the thoughts or ideas inspired by the gospel of Christ whose determination and bent, and whole force and impetus of soul, carried him to walk; that is, to live, to think, to exist after the spirit. Between these two persons or souls:a war was carried on, in which the new gradually prevailed over the old man, and gained at last a final triumph by death. This distinction between two selfs or persons is visible through out all his writings, but especially in the seventh chapter of his epiftie to the Romans. In the Cyropædia of Xenophon also, who was a cotemporary and fellow-student of Plato's, we find the existence of two persons or selfs totally opposite in nature and disposition, very plainly allerted. But, for an account of the ancient opinions respecting the co-existence of different minds in the same person or man and woman, we may refer our readers to Lord Monboddo, who, by a strange mixture of whim and insanity, with application to letters, has taken more pains than any màn alive to confirm his prejudices, and to learn errors. But to return to our fubject
The images or forms of things, according to Aristotle, impressed upon the senses, by various internal powers, or the mechanisin of human nature, are retained, refined, and spiritualized so as to become objects of memory and imagination, and at last of pure intellect. When objects of memory and imagination, they are, by him, called phantasms : when objects of the intellect, intelligible species.
This doctrine concerning ideas, of Aristotle and the Peripatetics, is the foundation of that of Des Cartes, Mr. Locke, Leibnitz, Bishop Berkely, and Mr. Hume. It is the doctrine too of Gaffendi and Sir Isaac Newton, and all the greatest names among such modern philosophers as maintain the existence of a supreme mind, the foul of the universe, and the immateriality or fpiritual nature of the human soul in whatever part of our corporeal frame fhe holds her refidence and receives the informations of sense. And that we derive our information of things in foine fuch way as bodies influence and act upon bodies, is the opinion of all materialifts needs not any proof. Democritus and Epicurus maintained that all bodies continually send forth slender films or spectres from their surface, of such extreme subtilty, that Qa
they they easily penetrate our grofs bodies, or enter by the organs of lense, and impress their image upon the mind. The modern materialists at the head of whom we are to place Dr. Hartley, fuppofing that matter may be endued with the most fimple kind of sensation, endeavour to account for all out feelings and ideas, and for all the operations of our minds, by certain vibrations and vibratiuncles of the medullary subitarice of the nerves and brain. These too are to be ranked among those philosophers who do not pretend to fee things by intuitive judgments, but who only judge of them by their effects : and, it is plain that their principles lead to scepticism, as much as those of the ideal philofophy, fince they know nothing more of external objects than as they are affections or impresions excited, as they conceive, in the mind, by certain vibrations in the medullary substance of the nerves and brain.
Thus it appears that from the earliest dawnings of abstraction with which we are acquainted to the present times, all philosophers who have treated of the human mind, have endeavoured to investigate the origin of our ideas under fimilitudes taken from the material world.
The inference we would draw from this fact, is, that according to the general sense of mankind there is no other way of reasoning on the subject. The common sense of mankind therefore, is not on the side of Dr. Reid's theory, but against it. For in matters of abstraction, if we are to be determined by the greatest number of votes, the appeal lies not to the vulgar, but to men of reflection and general speculation. But Dr. Reid affirms, that in the question before us, the analogical mode of reasoning is unlatisfactory. We therefore obierve,
Secondly, that in many cases analogy is the only ground on which we can form any judgment. And, when the subjects compared have a great degree of fimilarity in their nature, a degree of evidence is furnished that they are subject to the same laws: and this degree is higher or lower according as the inftances in which the things compared are more or less in number. But that there is, in reality a strong similitude, and affinity, amounting almost to a lameness of kind between mind and matter is evident in the first place from the very construction of all human languages; in which the terms that denote the operations and affections of the mind are without exception borrowed from the objects of senfe. There is nothing else that the mind can fix upon, and with certainty and clearness define. Even our most abstracted ideas, when made objects of reflection are involved in matter however spiritual and refined : nor is it porfible, to think on relations of any kind, without referring them to fome confused adumbration of the qualities of matter.
In the second place, whoever attends to the process of his mind in thinking, and particularly to the conduct of the paffions will trace the strongest resemblance between the laws of mind and those of matter:
-Nec una quidem Nec diverfa tamen, qualis decet effe fororum. We shall endeavour to illustrate this position by a few examples.
It is easier to give a new direction to a body in motion than to move a body at reft: so it is, in like manner easier to lead the mind from one passion to another, than to infuse passion into a mind in a state of perfect tranquillity and repose.
The influences of external bodies upon cach other are stronger upon their first approach and contact, than after continued application, or repetition: fo in like manner every object is conceived with the greatest ardour by the mind, at the first view when fully comprehended and understood: and the force of noveļty, if duly attended to, will be found ala. most miraculous.
When two passions that are not repugnant in their nature co-exist in the mind, the predominant or stronger passion swallows up the inferior, and converts it into its own nam ture: a similar effect is produced in chemical mixtures, and in the process of vegetation, where the stronger plant draws and assimilates to itself the nourishment and ellence of the weaker.
Those ideas or sentiments which we call great and fublime, naturally express themselves by an erect posture, hands ftretched forth to the utmost extent of the arm, and turned wards the immeasurable expanse of the surrounding heavens mother expressions of other emotions and paffions also denote an affinity between the mind and matter; which will clearly appear to any one who peruses what has been written on the natural expression of the passions by Des Cartes, and after him by Mr. Hogarth. But the analogy between the conduct of the mind whether it acts or suffers is an inexhaustible subject of observation; and will no doubt be farther illustrated by the inquiries of men of genius. To this analogy between the laws of mind and matter, we may add the direct, proof of the imagination of mothers impressing marks on children, Q3