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importance to distinguish, are the emotion itself, in whatever way
In concluding my view of the phenomena of Simple suggestion,
The tendency of the mind, which I have distinguished by the game of relative suggestion, is that by which, on perceiving or conceiving objects together, we are instantly impressed with certain feelings of their mutual relation. These suggested feelings are feelings of a particular kind, and require, therefore, to be classed separately from the perceptions or conceptions, which suggest them, but do not involve them.
Our relative suggestions, then, as you have seen, are those feelings of relation, which arise from the perception or conception of two or more objects, or two or more affections of our mind, --feelings which are of considerable variety, and which I classed under two heads, as the relations of coexistence, and the relations of succession. It is easy for us in every case, to separate this feel ing of relation from the perceptions or conceptions themselves. We perceive or conceive objects ;-we feel them to be variously
related ; and the feeling of the relation itself is not more mysterious, than the perception or simple suggestion, which may have given rise to it. The law of mind, by which on considering four and eight, I feel a certain relation of proportion,—the same precise relation, which I feel, on considering together five and ten, fifty and a hundred,—is as clear and intelligible a law of our mental constitution, as that by which I am able to form the separate notion, either of four or eight, five or ten, fifty or a hundred.
With this susceptibility of relative suggestion, the faculty of judgment, as that term is commonly employed, may be considered as nearly synonymous; and I have accordingly often used it as synonymous, in treating of the different relations that have come under our review.
But those who ascribe judgment to man, ascribe to him also another faculty, which they distinguish by the name of reason,– though reasoning itself is found, when analysed, to be nothing more than a series of judgments. The whole is thus represented as something different from all the parts which compose it. Whether we reason syllogistically with the schoolmen, or according to those simpler processes of thought, which nature teaches, our reasoning is divisible into a number of consecutive judgments, or feelings of relation ; and if we take away these consecutive judg. ments, we have nothing behind, which can be called a ratiocination. In a simple proposition, we take one step, or feel one relation,-in an enthymeme, we take two steps, or feel two relations, in a syllogism, we take three steps, or feel three relations ; but we never think, when we speak of the motion of our limbs, that the power of taking three steps differs essentially from the power of taking one ; and that we must, therefore, invent new names of bodily faculties for every slight variety, or even every simple repetition of movement. If this amplification of faculties would be absurd in treating of the mere motion of our limbs, it is surely not more philosophic, in the case of the intellectual exercise. Whatever is affirmed, in any stage of our reasoning, is a relation of some sort, --of which, as felt by us, the proposition that affirms the relation is only a verbal statement,-is a serips of such judgments, or feelings of relation, and nothing distinct from them, though the mutual relations of the series which together form the reasoning, have led us falsely to suppose, as I have said, that the
whole is something more than all the parts which constitute the whole.
The circumstance, which led to the distinction of reason from judgment, was perhaps, however, not the mere length and mutual connexion of the series, so much as that mistake with respect to the power, falsely ascribed to the mind, of finding out by some voluntary process, those intervening propositions, which serve as the medium of proof. The error on which this opinion is founded, I have already sufficiently exposed; and, therefore, need not repeat, at any length, the confutation of it.
We cannot invent, as I shewed you, a single medium of proof ; but the proofs arise to us independently of our will, in the same manner, as the primary subject of the proposition, which we analyse in our reasoning, itself arose. The desire of tracing all the
. relations of an object, when we meditate, may coexist with the successive feelings of relations as they arise, -and it is this complex state of mind, in which intention or desire continues to coexist, with these successive feelings, to which we commonly give the name of reasoning. But it surely is not difficult to analyse this complex state, and to discover in it, as its only elements, the desire itself, with the conceptions which it involves, or which it suggests, and the separate relations of these conceptions, which rise precisely as they arose, and are felt precisely as they were felt before, on other occasions, when no such desire existed, and when the relative objects chanced to present themselves together to our perceptions, or in our loosest and most irregular trains of thought. The permanence of the desire, indeed, keeps the object to which it relates more permanently before us, and allows therefore, a greater variety of relative suggestions belonging to it to arise ; but it does not affect the principle itself, which developes these relations. Each arises, as before, unwilled. We cannot will the feeling of a relation, for this would be to have already felt the relation which we willed; as to will a particular conception in a train of thought, would be to have already that particular conception. Yet, while this power of willing conceptions and relations was falsely ascribed to the mind, it was a very natural consequence of this mistake, that the reasoning, which involved the supposed invention, should be regarded as essentially dif
ferent from the judgments, or simple feelings of relation, that involved no such exercise of voluntary power.
Reasoning then, in its juster sense, as felt by us internally, is nothing more than a series of relative suggestions, of which the separate subjects are felt by us to be mutually related -as expressed in language, it is merely a series of propositions, each of which is only a verbal statement of some relation internally felt by us. There is nothing, therefore, involved in the ratiocination independently of the accompanying desire, but a series of feelings of relation, to the susceptibility of which feelings, accordingly, the faculty called reason, and the faculty called judgment, may equally be reduced. If we take away at each step the mere feeling of relation, the judgment is nothing, and if we take away the separate feelings termed judgments, nothing remains to be denominated reasoning
Another faculty, with which the mind has been enriched, by those systematic writers, who have examined its phenomena, and ranked them under different powers, is the faculty of abstraction, a faculty by which we are supposed to be capable of separating in our thought certain parts of our complex notions, and of considering them thus abstracted from the rest.
This supposed faculty, however, is not merely unreal, as ascribed to the mind, but, I may add, even that such a faculty is impossible, since every exertion of it would imply a contradiction.
In abstraction, the mind is supposed to single out a particular part of some one of its complex notions, for particular consideration. But what is the state of the mind immediately preceding this intentional separation-its state at the moment in which the supposed faculty is conceived to be called into exercise ? Does it not involve necessarily the very abstraction which it is supposed to produce ? and must we not, therefore, in admitting such a power of voluntary separation, admit an infinite series of preceding abstractions, to account for a single act of abstraction? If we know what we single out, we have already performed all the separation which is necessary; if we do not know what we are singling out, and do not even know that we are singling out any thing, the separate part of the complex whole may, indeed, rise to our conception; but it cannot arise by the operation of any volun- . tary faculty. That such conceptions do indeed arise, as states of
the mind, there can be no question. In every sentence which we read-in every affirmation which we make-in almost every portion of our silent train of thoughts, some decomposition of more complex perceptions or notions bas taken place. The exact recurrence of any complex whole, at any two moments, is perhaps what never takes place. After we look at a scene before us, so long as to have made every part of it familiar, if we close our eyes to think of it, in the very moment of bringing our eyelids together, some change of this kind has taken place. The complex whole, which we saw the very instant before, when conceived by us in this instant succession, is no longer, in every circumstance, the same complex whole. Some part, or rather many parts, are lost altogether. A still greater number of parts are variously diversified,--and though we should still call the scene the same, it would appear to us a very different scene, if our conception could be embodied and presented to our eye, together with the real landscape of which it seems to us the copy. If this change takes place in a single instant, at longer intervals it cannot fail to be much more considerable, though the very interval, which gives occasion to the greater diversity, prevents the diversity itself from being equally felt by us.
Abstraction then-as far as abstraction consists in the rise of conceptions in the mind, which are parts of former mental affections, more complex than these, does unquestionably occur ; and, since it occurs, it must occur according to laws which are truly laws of the mind, and must indicate some mental power, or powers, in consequence of which the conceptions termed abstractions arise. Is it necessary, however, to have recourse to any pecu
or are they not rather modifications of those susceptibilities of the mind, which have been already considered by
In treating of those states of the mind, which constitute our general notions, I have already, in a great measure, anticipated the remarks, which it might otherwise be necessary to offer, in explanation of abstraction. The relative suggestions of resemblance are, in truth, or at least involve as parts of the suggestion, -those very feelings, for the production of which this peculiar faculty is assigned. We perceive two objects,-a rock, for example, and a tree: We press against them—they both produce in us