connection, though a constant one, as far as our observation has reached, may not be a necessary connection; nay, it is possible, that there may be no necessary connections among any of the phenomena we see; and if there are any such connections existing, we may rest assured that we shall never be able to discover them."


"When it is said, that every change in nature indicates the operation of a cause, the word cause expresses something which is supposed to be necessarily connected with the change, and without which it could not have happened. This may be called the metaphysical meaning of the word; and such causes may be called metaphysical or efficient causes. In natural philosophy, however, when we speak of one thing being the cause of another, all that we mean is, that the two are constantly conjoined, so that when we see the one, we may expect the other. These conjunctions we learn from experience alone; and, without an acquaintance with them, we could not accommodate our conduct to the established course of nature."

These remarks certainly cannot hold in regard to the primary qualities of matter, as, for example, solidity considered as the antecedent, and resistance as the consequent. Is it possible to conceive of the existence of an object which is extended and solid, which is at the same time destitute of the power of resistance?

Here I would drop the suggestion, whether it is possible to conceive of any substance as existing, which is destitute of power; and whether our ideas of substance and of power are not, in fact, identical? For my own part, I find it impossible to conceive of substances which are not actual causes, or real powers.


The idea of Power, is that of causation in its quiescent state, or as the permanent attribute of a subject irrespective of its action, at any particular moment. When particular effects are attributed to particular causes, while the nature of the substances containing such causes remain unchanged, the mind considers the power to repeat such effects under the same circumstances, as the permanent attributes of those substances. This is the idea of power, as it exists in all minds.

All substances, in their active state, are Causes—in their quiescent state, are Powers. Powers are of two kinds, active and passive. The latter are commonly called susceptibilities. As the existence of powers and causes is indicated by their respective phenomena, so the nature of such powers and causes is indicated by the characteristics of their respective phenomena.

The idea of Power, sustaining, as it does, the same relation to phenomena, that that of cause and substance do, is, of course, like those ideas, universal and necessary.

Conclusion of the present Analysis.

Here our analysis of intellectual phenomena will close, for the present. It might have been extended to almost any length. Enough has been said, however, to indicate the principle of classification adopted, and to show its universal applicability, as well as to lay the foundation for the important distinctions, &c., in respect to the intellectual powers, an elucidation of which will be commenced in the next Chapter.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

IN applying the results of the preceding analysis, one of the first questions which arises, respects the relations of intellectual phenomena, contingent and necessary to each other. With regard to this question, I would remark, that there are two, and only two important relations which such phenomena sustain to each other—the relation of logical and chronological antecedence and consequence. The latter relates to the order of acquisition, or to the question, Which, in the order of time, is first developed, in the Intelligence. The former relates to their order in a logical point of view, that is, to the question, Which sustains to the other, in the process of ratiocination, the relation of logical antecedent.

Logical order.

In regard to the order last mentioned, I would remark, that one idea is the logical antecedent of another, when the latter necessarily supposes the former, that is, when the reality of the object of the latter can be admitted, only on the admission of that of the object of the former. The ideas of events and cause being given in the Intelligence, for example, we find that we can admit the reality of an event on one supposition only, to wit, that of a cause which produced the event. We say, therefore, that the idea of cause is the logical antecedent of that of events.

Now, if we contemplate ideas in this view, it will be perceived at once, that necessary ideas are, in all instances, the logical antecedents of contingent ones. What was shown


above to be true of the ideas of event and cause, is self evidently true of the ideas of body and space, succession and time, the finite and the infinite, and phenomena external and internal, and substance and personal identity. Every contingent idea is relative, necessarily supposing, as its logical antecedent, some necessary idea.

Chronological order.

Contingent ideas, on the other hand, are the chronological antecedents of necessary ideas, that is, in the order of actual development in the Intelligence, the former precedes the latter. Two considerations will render this proposition demonstrably evident.

1. Necessary ideas are given in the Intelligence, only as the logical antecedents of contingent ones. Space, for example, is known to us, only as that in which bodies or substances exist. In no other light can we possibly know or conceive of it. Now that which is and can be known to us, only as the place of some other thing, cannot have been known to us prior to that thing; otherwise, the former might be known and conceived of, irrespective of the latter. The same holds true of the ideas of succession and time, phenomena and substance, events and causes. The latter class of ideas can be conceived of, only as the logical antecedents of the former. The former therefore must have originated in the Intelligence, prior to the latter.

2. While necessary ideas can be defined, only as the logical antecedents of contingent ones, the latter can be defined without any reference to the former—a fact which could not be true, if the latter were not the chronological antecedents of the former. Cause, for example, can be defined, only as that which produces events. An event, as any one can perceive by consulting his dictionary, can be, and is defined without any reference to the idea of cause. Contingent ideas therefore are the chronological antecedents of necessary




The preceding analysis has fully prepared us to proceed legitimately and safely to another very important inquirythe Primary Intellectual Faculties pre-supposed in that analysis. As stated in the Introduction, the being and character

istics of every power or substance in existence, are indicated to us by its respective phenomena. The perception of such phenomena, being itself a phenomenon of the mind which. perceives, supposes, in the mind, corresponding powers of perception. When the Intelligence apprehends a fact, or truth of any kind, such act implies, in the Intelligence, corresponding powers of apprehension. Now truths perceived by the Intelligence are, as we have seen, of two kinds, contingent and necessary. The perception of such truths indicates a corresponding distinction of intellectual functions, or powers. The faculty or faculties which perceive, and affirm the reality of contingent phenomena, are clearly distinguishable from that which affirms the reality of truths necessary and universal.

But contingent phenomena perceived by the Intelligence, are distinguishable, with equal clearness, as objective and subjective, that is, part pertain to the Mind itself, and part to external material substances. These facts most obviously demand a two-fold division of the Intellectual faculties which pertain to contingent phenomena, as objective and subjective. The analysis completed in the last Chapter, presents to our contemplation three distinct faculties of the Intelligence:

1. That which perceives the phenomena of the mind itself, the faculty which gives us subjective phenomena. This function of the Intelligence is denominated Consciousness.

2. The faculty which perceives the phenomena of external material substances, or which gives us objective phenomena. This function of the Intelligence is denominated Sense.

3. That faculty which apprehends truths necessary and universal. This intellectual function, or faculty, is denomi

nated Reason.

These Faculties why called Primary.

Consciousness, Sense, and Reason, are called the primary faculties of the Intelligence, for two considerations:

1. Because, that with them, all our knowledge com


2. All our complex cognitions are composed of elements given by these faculties. All the phenomena of the Intelligence are either simple or complex. All simple ideas are found to be the direct intuitions of one or of the other of these faculties. All complex ideas are found, on a careful analysis, to be composed of elements previously given by these facul

« VorigeDoorgaan »