present an instructive sample of the fraction. It is not the sun that gives it vulgar thinking" current among light, when we see, nor the eye that mice, no doubt ; but men would object sees; but seeing is the product of a to many things, and perhaps find the living eye and a quickening sun, and, whole attempt ludicrous. So the except as the expression of the con"vulgar thinking" of our wisest men junct action of these two factors, has of the field and the forum may con- no meaning. tain many maxims at which angels Metaphysics have generally been smile, and wbich to a god shall appear accused of being useless; and Sir sheer delasion. There is a vulgar no William Hamilton, in one of his mas. tion, for instance, that gravitation is sive and masterly essays in the Edina property of matter, that attractions burgh Review, has favoured this idea and repulsions of all kinds are proper. so far, as to limit the utility of metaties of matter; but when this vulgar physical thinking to the gymnastic notion comes to be analysed, it will which it supplies to the faculties; but be found that there can be no attrac- in the doctrine which Professor Fer. tion without the permanent action of rier in this book presents, elaborated a force; and that a force permanently with such ingenious and erudite care, acting according to a law, is the pro- we are made familiar with a principle per function, not of matter, but of mind, than which none that we know exereven according to the ideas of “ vulgar cises a wider influence on the growth thinking" itself. There is, therefore, of opinion and the formation of chain the whole extent of the external racter. The sophism of hasty geneworld, nowhere to be found anything ralisation has been often alluded to corresponding to that which “ vulgar by logicians as the great source of thinking" calls matter per se; but al- error in our common reasonings; that ways and everywhere that matter is is to say, our tendency from a few presented to us in organic combina- carelessly collected and inaccurately tion with mind working according to observed facts to draw sweeping cona law. In other words, as old Anax- clusions, which may seem to us as a agoras saw, more than two thousand hobby-horse with which we shall over. years ago, to talk of a mass of ordered ride the universe. But take the other ünn without a vows to put it into order, grand sophism of “ vulgar thinking," and to keep it in order, is just as which Mr Ferrier bas exposed, viz., absurd as to suppose an organ playing the imagination that the object of without wind. So in all existence thinking is an object separate from the and in all knowledge where “ vulgar mind that knows it, and we shall soon thinking” supposes that there is an see what a litter of lame Vulcans this object, separably and distinctly known. haughty Juno, apart from her male Professor Ferrier, as a metaphysician, and legitimate lord, has brought to says that cognition is not the mere light. A painter never pretends to apprehension of an object, but the re- give you the object which he represult of an action between the object sents-he only gives you his view of and the knowing mind. As when an it; that is, in Professor Ferrier's acid is brought into contact with an phraseology, the object plus his point alkali, it is impossible for the keen of view, his faculty of vision and fluid ever to lay hold of the acrid solid representation—that is, notwithstandin such a way as that the alkali shall ing the plus, something always constill be an alkali, and the acid an siderably less than the whole object : acid - but the action of the two is but in our moral, political, and relionly possible on the condition that gious judgments of all kinds, we conboth shall lose their separate identity, tinually forget that the thing on which and co-operate towards the produc- we give judgment is one thing, and tion of a new compound; so know- the point of view from which we judge ledge is not possible of a thing, but it another thing. Not that we would only as the product of two things articulately declare ourselves infallible which two things, for aught that we we leave it to the Roman Pope to do know, may be as inseparable and in that; but we do not deliberately and dispensable to one another, as the clearly see, perhaps never wish or care numerator is to the denominator of a to see, how much the result which we present as a purely extrinsic and go. For, surely, that which we always objective something, is inoculated with know, and cannot help knowing, must be a strange virus which comes from our that which we are best acquainted with, own bad blood. We quietly assume that which lies nearest to our hand, and that our judgment of the thing is

dia which may be most readily laid hold of.

This reflection might have been expected really identical with its inmost nature

to bring him to the question, What, then, and character; we drop the EGo out

is that which we are most familiar with, of the account, and calculate very

and cannot help knowing, during every valiantly that 5 — 2 is still equal to conscious moment of our lives? And this 51 Hence arises the gigantic pretence, question would have been followed, one the dogmatism, the despotism, and might have thought, by the prompt anthe intolerance of opinion in indivi swer, It is ourselves. Nevertheless, both duals, but specially in great masses the question and the answer were missed. and associations of men. Hence church The common element has indeed been rages against church, and dogma sometimes obscurely indicated, but its tramples dogma on the ground; hence

importance has never been sufficiently

proclaimed ; its fruits have never been the Czar of Russia styles himself the

gathered in. The words inscribed over alone orthodox, and does not care to

the porch of the temple at Delphi, www know anything of the claims of John

C!QUTor—which, properly interpreted, must Knox and other orthodox personages mean “Consider well; it is thyself, oh in this quarter of the world. For man, that thou art conscious of, in and why ? — simply because they have along with all that comes before thee"ignored Professor Ferrier's great pro- have been oracular in vain.

. position, that all cognition is a com “Several causes might be pointed out pound of the object known and the in explanation of this oversight : they mind which knows it; and that some

are, however, mostly, if not entirely, refragment of every belief, not yet

ducible to the one great and leading purged by philosophy, must be a fig

cause which has been already referred to;

to wit, familiarity. The influence of this ment of him who holds it. So much

principle in deadening the activity and for the amount of error, which the

susceptibility of the mind is overwhelming untutored Ego may impart into cog

to an extreme. Drugged with this narnition ; but the Ego, when separated cotic, man's intellect turns with indifferfrom the disturbing elements of crude ence from the common and the trite, and passion that envelop it, is the founda- courts only the startling and the strange. tion of the most important familiar Every one must have remarked, both in truth; in which capacity also, how his own case and in that of others, how ever, it is too often disregarded, and prone we are to suppose that little advanbecomes the source of another class of

tage, and no valuable result, can accrue errors, which Professor Ferrier has,

from a careful study of that to which we

are thoroughly habituated. “ Perpetual in the following passage, very forcibly

custom," says Cicero, "makes the mind and elegantly set forth.

callous, and people neither admire nor « That the common, permanent, and require a reason for those things which necessary constituent of all knowledge they constantly behold.” Rare events should not have been brought clearly to are the natural aliment of wonder; and, light, and turned to good account, and when it cannot be supplied with these, had all its consequences pressed out of it our inquisitiveness is apt to languish and long before now, is not a little remark- expire. Abundant examples of this tenable. It has scarcely, however, been even dency-this proneness to prefer the unenunciated - certainly not emphatically usual to the customary, and to conceive dwelt upon. There cannot be a doubt that things are marvellous in proportion that speculation, from a very early period, to their rarity, and that the seldomer has aimed at the ascertainment of the they appear the more are they entitled to immutable and universal feature which our regard-might be drawn from the all cognitions present. It might have practice of mankind in the daily conduct been expected, therefore, that the first of life, as well as from the history of consideration which would have occurred science in all periods, but especially in to the inquirer would have been this, that the earlier stages of its development. the factor in question must be that which The Science of an untutored age passes we are more familiar with than we are by unheeded the ordinary appearances of with anything else-must be that, to find nature; but her interest is easily aroused, which we must have a very short way to her attention is readily enchained, by such mysterious portents as the earthquake genius is overpowered; and we are given and the eclipse. She is blind to the com- over to a delirium, which we mistake for mon and familiar phenomena of light; wisdom. Hence we are the slaves of she is deaf to the common and familiar mechanism, the inheritors and transmit. phenomena of sound : she has eyes only ters of privileged error; the bondsmen of for the lightning ; ears only for the convention, and not the free and deepthunder. She asks with eager curiosity, seeing children of reason. Hence we reQuæ fulminis esset origo,

main insensible to the true grandeurs and Jupiter, an venti, discussâ nube tonarent ?

the sublimer wonders of Providence; for,

is it to be conceived that the operations But she leaves unquestioned the normal of God, and the order of the universe, are or every-day presentments of the senses not admirable, precisely in proportion as and the universe; she pays the tribute of they are ordinary ; that they are not admiration to nature's exceptions far glorious, precisely in proportion as they more promptly than to her majestic rule. are manifest ; that they are not astound

" It is thus that uncultivated men ing, precisely in proportion as they are neglect their own household divinities, .common? But man, blind to the marvels their tutelary Penates, and go gadding which he really sees, sees others to which after idols that are strange. But this he is really blind. He keeps stretching proclivity is not confined to them; it is a forwards into the distant; he ought to be malady which all flesh is heir to. It is straining backwards, and more back, into the besetting infirmity of the whole the near; for there, and only there, is the brotherhood of man. We naturally sup- object of his longing to be found. Perpose that truth lies in the distance, and

haps he may come round at last. Meannot at our very feet ; that it is hid from

while, it is inevitable that he should miss our view, not by its proximity, but by its

the truth." remoteness; that it is a commodity of foreign importation, and not of domestic From this extract the reader will growth. The farther it is fetched the see that in Professor Ferrier he has better do we like it — the more genuine not to do with a mere metaphysicianare we disposed to think it. The extra

that is, according to “vulgar thinking," ordinary moves us more, and is more

a dim grey anatomy of abstractions, relished, than the ordinary. The heavens are imagined to hold sublimer secrets

but with a living man that can handle than the earth. We conceive that what

a pen, in literary form, feature, and is the astonishing to us, is also the as

expression well-rounded and comtonishing in itself; thus truly making plete. There are, indeed, many indi

man the measure of the universe.' In cations in the present volume that the this superstition the savage and the savan author is something more than an fraternise (bear witness, mesmerism, with academic thinker, and is well able to all thy frightful follies !)—and, drunk put forth fair buds and blossoms of with this idolatry, they seek for truth at rich concrete beauty, so far as his the shrine of the far-off and the uncom

subject will allow. On several occamon; not knowing that her ancient altars,

sions he bursts out not at all like a invisible because continually beheld, rise close at hand, and stand on beaten ways.

sober Professor with a black gown, Well has the poet said,

but very like an alert brush-tailed red

squirrel, sometimes even like a bomb * That is the truly secret which lies ever open

at Sevastopol exploding furiously bebefore us; And the least seen is that which the eye

side a sick man's hammock. Witness constantly sees.'

the following: SCHILLER.

“ The early physiologists gave out that But, dead to the sense of these inspired the mind was some kind of aura or finer words, we make no effort to shake off the breath, some highly attenuated species of drowsing influence, or to rescue our souls matter; but they certainly never sucfrom the acquiescent torpor, which they ceeded in showing that it was known as denounce - no struggle to behold that this. That very important point was which we lose sight of, only because we prejudged. Their hypothesis was foundbehold it too much, or to penetrate the ed upon analogy. Matter was patent to heart of a secret which escapes us only universal observation. All things were by being too glaringly revealed. Instead seen to be material. Man's organism of striving, as we ought, to render our was material,-why should not his mind, selves strange to the familiar, we strive, his most intimate self, follow the same on the contrary, to render ourselves fami- analogy, and be material too? Hence liar with the strange. Hence our better its materiality was assumed. The word, indeed, by which the thinking principle “Nevertheless, if Plato was confused is designated in all languages bears evi- and unsystematic in execution, he was dence to the inveteracy of the supersti- large in design, and magnificent in surtion that the conception of mind might mise. His pliant genius sits close to be formed by conceiving a material sub- universal reality, like the sea which fits stance of extreme fineness and tenuity. in to all the sinuosities of the land. Not Many circumstances have conspired to a shore of thought was left untouched keep this fanaticism in life. The sup- by his murmuring lip. Over deep and posed visibility of ghosts helps it on con- over shallow he rolls on, broad, urbane, siderably; and it is still further rein- and unconcerned. To this day all phiforced by some of the fashionable delira- losophic truth is Plato rightly divined ; ments of the day, such as clairvoyance all philosophic error is Plato misunder. and (even A. D. 1854, credite posteri/) stood.” spirit-rapping. These, however, are not to be set down—at least so it is to be

But there are other things about hoped-among the normal and catholic Plato, in Mr Ferrier's book, well superstitions incident to humanity. They. worthy of very serious consideration. are much worse than the worst form of What, for instance, will Professor the doctrine of materiality. These aber Thomson of Cambridge, and his rations betoken a perverse and prurient brother Platonists, say to the followplay of the abnormal fancy-groping for ipg exposition of the kioOntov and the the very holy of holies in kennels running on ?__ with the most senseless and god-abandoned abominations. Our natural super

“We have had expositors of Plato, comstitions are bad enough ; but thus to

mentator after commentator, talking of make a systematic business of fatuity, their great master's super-sensible world imposture, and profanity, and to imagine,

as something very sublime-something all the while, that we are touching on very different from the sensible world in the precincts of God's spiritual kingdom, which the lot of us poor ordinary mortals is unspeakably shocking. The horror

is cast-insinuating, moreover, that they and disgrace of such proceedings were had got a glimpse of this grand supranever even approached in the darkest mundane territory. Rank impostors. days of heathendom and idolatry. Ye Not one of them ever saw so much as the who make shattered nerves and depraved

fringes of its borders ; for there is no such sensations the interpreters of truth, the

world for them to see ; and Plato never keys which shall unlock the gates of

referred them to any such incomprehenheaven, and open the secrets of futurity

sible sphere. This terra incognita is a --ye who inaugurate disease as the pro- mere dream-a fable, a blunder of their phet of all, wisdom, thus making sin, own invention. Plato's intelligible world death, and the devil, the lords paramount

is our sensible world. We shall see byof creation — have ye bethought your

and-by in the ontology that this anselves of the backward and downward

nouncement may require a very slight course which ye are running into the pit modification, but one so slight that mean. of the bestial and the abhorred? Oh, ye

while it may be proclaimed, in the miserable mystics when will ye know

broadest terms, that Plato's intelligible that all God's truths and all man's bless. ings lie in the broad health, in the trodden ;

or super-sensible is our sensible world

just the material universe which we see ways, and in the laughing sunshine of

and hear and handle : this, and nothing the universe, and that all intellect, all but this, is Plato's ideal and intelligible genius, is merely the power of seeing home. But then,--his sensible world wonders in common things !"

must be moved a peg downwards. It

must be thrust down into the regions of What say you to this, gentle nonsense. It must be called, as we have reader ? Surely the man that wrote properly called it, and as he certainly these sentences has blood in his meant to call, and sometimes did call it, veins; and that's more, one some the nonsensical world, the world of pure times thinks, than could be said of infatuation, of downright contradiction, Aristotle Professor Ferrier indeed of unalloyed absurdity ; and this the seems in his whole make and type to

whole material universe is, when divorced fraternise more largely with

from the element which makes it a knowPlato

able and cogitable thing. Take away than with the Stagyrite. What a

from the understood the element which fine compliment to the grand archi

renders it understandable, and nonsense tect of the ideal philosophy is paid must remain behind. Take away from in the following short passage : the intelligible world—that is, from the system of things by which we are sur- sophers will very readily proceed to its rounded — the essential element which examination. Would people inquire dienables us, and all intelligence, to know rectly into the laws of thought and of and apprehend it, and it must lapse into knowledge, by merely looking to know. utter and unutterable absurdity. It be. ledge or to thought itself, without attendcomes-not nothing-remember that, ing to what is known, or to what is thought not nothing, for nothing, just as much as of? Psychology usually goes to work in thing, requires the presence of the ele- this abstract fashion; but such a mode of ment which we have supposed to be with procedure is hopeless, -as hopeless as the drawn; but it becomes more than no- analogous instance by which the wits of thing, yet less than anything ; what the old were wont to typify any particularly logicians term 'an excluded middle.' fruitless undertaking,-namely, the opeThe material world is not annihilated ration of milking a he-goat into a sieve. when the intelligible element is with No milk comes in the first instance, and, drawn-as some rash and shortsighted even that the sieve will not retain! There idealists seem inclined to suppose. Very is a loss of nothing twice over. Like the far from that: but it is worse, or rather man milking, the inquirer obtains no milk better, than annihilated : it is reduced to in the first place ; and, in the second the predicament of a contradiction, and place, he loses it, like the man holding banished to the purgatory of nonsense." the sieve. Modern wit has not equalled

that intolerable jest, which describes exBefore concluding, we must make one actly the predicament of our psycholoremark on a phasis of Professor Fer gists, in their attempts to ascertain the rier's philosophy, not the least impor- laws of thinking and knowing, by merely tant in a practical point of view,- we looking to these, considered as mental mean the remarkably concrete and operations. Our Scottish philosophy, in real character which it presents. The particular, has presented a spectacle of shallow conclusion, from a first glance

this description. Reid obtained no result, at the Professor's book, that some

owing to the abstract nature of his inpersons may have made- viz., that

quiry; and the nothingness of his system he is a transcendental idealist, who

has escaped through the sieves of all his

successors. They drag for abstractions will have nothing to do with matter

in nets composed of abstractions : and. will be sufficiently checked by the

consequently, they catch very few fish.

co following extract:

If we would avoid this termination to our “ It may be proper at this place to re

toils; if we would protect ourselves mark, parenthetically, that the discussion

against the unpleasantness of losing no respecting matter per se is interesting and

result twice over, we must go to work in important, not so much on account of any

a very different way. It is of no use inconclusion as to the independent exis

quiring into the laws of knowing and tence or non-existence of matter which

thinking, considered as abstract operathe inquiry may lead to, as on account of

tions. We must study the contents, and the truths in regard to knowing and think

not the mere form of knowledge ; for the ing which the research brings to light.

form without the contents,—the law withPhilosophers have been too apt to over

out that which the law determines --is look this consideration, and to suppose

elusory as the dream of a shadow. We that the main object of the research was

must ask, and find out, what we know,

and what we think ;-in other words, we to prove something either pro or con respecting material existence. That, how

must inquire whether matter per se be ever, is a point of very secondary impor

what we know or think, or whether we tance, and one which, at the outset, ought

have not, all along, been practising an not to be attended to at all. The inquiry

imposition upon ourselves in imagining should be gone into as if it were merely

that this was what we knew, when, in the smelting process, by which the most

truth, this was not what we knew. If secret and essential laws of cognition and

any important conclusions are to be of thought are to be extricated from the

reached, the concrete, and not the abdross of ordinary opinion, and submitted

stract, must be the object of our investito the attention of mankind. Viewed in

gation, and this is what these Institutes this light, the importance of the discus

have endeavoured to keep constantly in sion cannot be too highly estimated. The agitation of no other question can make

In these observations is brought out known to us the fundamental laws of all knowledge—the binding necessities of all a point of the utmost importance for reason. If any other topic will answer all metaphysical inquirers. “ They this purpose, let it be announced: philo. drag for abstractions in nets composed VOL. LXXVII.—NO. CCCCLXXII.


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