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tized iron, but I cannot see or imagine the polarity of the iron apart from the iron.
Still the mind has the high capacity of forming abstract and general notions. Out of the concrete it can form the abstract notion. I can see or image a lily only as with both a shape and colour, but I can in thought contemplate its whiteness apart from its form. Having seen a number of beasts with four limbs, I can think about a class of animals agreeing in this, that they are all quadrupeds. It appears then that the mental image and the abstract or general notion are not the same. The former is an exercise of the reproductive powers, recalling the old or putting the old in new collocations. The other is the result of an exercise of thought, separating the part from the whole, or contemplating an indefinite number of objects as possessing common qualities. If the one may be called the phantasm ; the other, in contradistinction, may be denominated the notion or concept ; or, to designate it more unequivocally, the logical notion or concept.
But it is quite as true of the abstract and general notions, as of the mental representations of the individual, that they are not in the soul when it comes into the world. It has been the avowed doctrine of the great body of philosophers, that the mind starts with the singular and the concrete. All our abstract notions are the result of a process in which we separate in thought the part from the whole; say the quality, from the substance presenting itself with its qualities, say transparency, contemplated apart from the transparent ice or glass. All our general notions are the product of a process in which we contemplate objects as possessing common attributes, say philosophers, as men agreeing in this, that they are seekers of wisdom.
It is, as I reckon it, the true merit of Locke that, in
the second book of his Essay on the Human Understanding, he shows how in the ideas we form of such objects as space, time, substance, cause, and infinity, and in the general maxims employed in speculation, such as that “it is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be at the same time," there is involved a process of the understanding founded on a previous experience.* It will be acknowledged that the soul is not born into the world with such abstract ideas as those of hardness, or organic action, or life, nor such general notions as those of mineral, plant, animal. This is admitted by all. But it is equally true that the soul of the infant has not yet in an abstract or general form those ideas which certain metaphysicians describe as innate, as those of the
" A great
* Wherein lie the defects of Locke will come out as we advance (see more especially Part I. Book II. Chap. III., and Part III. Book I. Chap. II., sect. ii.); but I think he is invincible when he shows that chil. dren do not start with general maxims consciously before them, and that savages are not in possession of them. Thus, speaking of the maxim, “It is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be," he says, part of illiterate people and savages pass many years of their rational age without ever thinking on this and the like general propositions” (Essay, bk. i. ch. xi. s. 12).
- There is no knowledge of these general and selfevident maxims in the mind till it comes to the exercise of reason” (ib., s. 14). Speaking of more particular self-evident propositions, which are assented to at first hearing, as that one and two are equal to three, he says, “ They are known and assented to by those who are utterly ignorant of these more general maxims, and so being earlier in the mind than those (as they are called) first principles, cannot owe to them the assent wherewith they are received at first hearing” (s. 20). “For though a child quickly assents to this proposition, that an apple is not fire, when he has got the ideas of these two different things distinctly imprinted on his mind, and has learned that the names apple and fire stand for them, yet it will be some years after, before the same child will assent to this proposition, that it is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be” (s. 23). “He that will say children join these general abstract speculations with their sucking-bottles and their rattles, may perhaps with justice be thought to have more passion and zeal for his opinion, but less sincerity and truth, than one of that age” (s. 25).
Such kind of general propositions are seldom mentioned in the huts of Indians; much less are they found in the thoughts of children, or any impressions of them on the minds of naturals (s. 27).
and the non-ego, extension and potency, mind and matter, cause and effect, infinity and moral good. We reach the abstract idea of hardness by specially fixing the attention on one of the qualities of body. In like manner it is necessary, in order to attain the idea of space, to separate in thought the space from body known as occupying space. We get the idea of bodily substance by considering the permanent being apart from that which changes in the bodies falling under our notice. It is one of the aims of this treatise to specify the way in which the mind gets these ideas in the concrete and singular. But for the present I am seeking to have rubbish removed, that there may be free space whereon to lay a foundation. And I think it of vast moment to have it admitted that every abstract notion implies a process of separation, that every general notion implies a process of comparison, and that both one and other proceed on a previous knowledge which has come within the range of our conscious
SECT. III. NO A PRIORI FORMS IMPOSED BY THE MIND ON
This proposition is laid down in opposition to a view which has been extensively and resolutely entertained of
years. Traces of it in a looser form may be detected at a much earlier date, but it may be regarded as formally introduced into philosophy by Kant, in his great work on the Kritick of Pure Reason. Suppose that the eyes, in every exercise of vision, were to start with a lens of a particular shape and colour, every object seen would take a predetermined form, and appear in a special hue. It is thus, according to Kant, that the mind sets out with certain forms which it imposes on phenomena,--that is, on appearances presenting themselves. In every primary cognition the mind imposes two Forms, one of Space and another of Time, on the phenomena presented einpirically or a posteriori. Again, in comparing its cognitions, it sets them in a number of frameworks, called Categories, such as that of Quantity, Quality, Relation (including Substance and Accident, Causality and Dependence), and Modality, which have a reality not objectively in things but subjectively in the mind. A yet higher formative power brings these categories into unity in three Ideas of Pure Reason, those of Substance, Interdependence of Phenomena, and God, in which all objective reality has disappeared. These forms of the senses, categories of the understanding, and ideas of pure reason, constitute the a priori as distinguished from the a posleriori elements in the mental exercises.
It would carry us prematurely into very deep topics, with very
ramified connections, were I at this early stage to criticize this doctrine in all its extent and bearings. It must suffice for the present to affirm that so far as it declares that the mind in cognition gives to the object what is not in the object, it is an unnatural doctrine, and is fraught with far-reaching consequences of a perilous character. The doctrine which I hope to establish is that the intuitive or cognitive powers do not iinpose forms on the objects, but are simply the agents or instruments by which we are enabled to discover what is in the objects. The mind, in looking at a material object, does not superinduce extension on it, but it observes that it is in space and must be in space. It does not carry within it a chain wherewith to connect events by a law of causation, but it has a capacity to discover that events are so connected and must be so connected. The capacity of cognition in the mind is not that of the bent mirror, to reflect the object under modified forms, but of the plane mirror, to reflect it as it is in its proper shape and colour. The truth is perceived by the mind, not formed; it is cognized, and not created. There must of course be a correspondence between the subject, mind, and the object, material or mental, contemplated; but it is a correspondence whereby the one knows and the other is known. This seems to me to be our natural, intuitive, and necessary conviction, and he who departs from it is landed in thickening difficulties on every side, and in particular cannot possibly defend himself from the assaults of scepticism ; for if the mind can in respect of what it apprehends in the object create so much, why not suppose that it creates all ? If it can create the
space in which the object is perceived, why not suppose that it can create the object itself? This was the conclusion drawn by Fichte, who, carrying out the principles of Kant a step further, made the whole supposed external object a mere projection of the mind. There is no satisfactory or consistent way of avoiding this consequence but by adhering to the natural doctrine, and holding that the mind is so constituted as to know the object as it is, under the aspects in which it is presented to it.
SECT. IV. THE INTUITIONS ARE NOT IMMEDIATELY BEFORE
CONSCIOUSNESS AS LAWS OR PRINCIPLES.
I am to labour to show, in coming Sections, that there are intuitive principles in the mind regulating cognitions, beliefs, and judgments, whether intellectual or moral. My present position is, that operating in the mind as native laws or rules, they are not, as such, before the conscious
Every one speaks of there being in the mind capacities, powers, or faculties, such as the memory, or the imagination, or the reason, yet no one is immediately conscious of these mental powers. We are conscious of remembering a given event, of imagining a given scene, of discovering