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abstract or abridgment of that work for Le Clerc's Bib'iotheque Universelle, he omitted the whole of the Book on innate ideas.
Furthermore, the whole system of Mr. Locke (and the same may be said of the views of Reid, Stewart, De Ge
rando, and Brown, who cannot be considered in the prom; inent outlines of their doctrines as essentially differing
from him) is an indirect, but conclusive argument against connatural knowledge. If the principles which they advance be right, the doctrine of connatural knowledge is, of course, wrong, and requires no direct refutation. 0 47. Further remarks on the rise of knowledge by means of the sensce.
Considering it, therefore, as settled that there is no con natural knowledge, we recur with increased confidence to the principle which has been laid down in this chapter, that the mind is first brought into action by the inter mediation of the senses, and that the greater part of its earliest knowledge is from an external source.
The considerations that have been adduced in support of this doctrine are obvious and weighty; they account with much probability for the beginnings of thought and feeling, and are entirely decisive of the character of our early acquisitions in general. The subject, however, is still open to reflection, and, if it were needful, might be placed in other lights.
Let us, then, suppose a man entirely cut off from all outward material impressions, or, what is the same thing, with his senses entirely closed. It is very obvious, and the instances already brought forward clearly prove, that he would be entirely deprived of that vast amount of knowledge which has an immediate connexion with the
But this is not all; there are other ideas, whose connexion with the senses is less immediate, of which ne would not fail to be deprived, by being placed in the circunstances supposed. Even if he should possess the idea oi existence, and of himself as a thinking and sentient being (although we cannot well imagine how this should be, independently of some impression on the senses), still we have no reason to believe that he wculd know any thing of space of motion, of the place of objects, of
Now it will be noticed that these are elementary thoughts of great importance; such as are rightly consilered essential to the appropriate action of the mind, and to its advancement in knowledge. What could he know of time without a knowledge of day and night, the rising and setting sun, the changes of the seasons, or some other of its measurements! What could he know of motion while utterly unable to form the idea of place! And what could he know of place without the aid of the senses! And, under such circumstances, what reasoning would he be capable of, further than to form the single proposition, that his feelings, whatever they might be, belonged to himself!
Look at the subject as we will, we must at last come to the conclusion, that the connexion of the mind with the material world by means of the senses is the basis, to a great extent at least, of our early mental history, and the only key that can unlock its explanation. A sketch of that part of the mind's history, without a reference to its relation to matter, would infallibly be found vague, imperfect, and false.—Let it suffice, then, to add here, that man is what he is in fact, and what he is designed to be in the present life, only by means of this connexion. He cannot free himself from it if he would ; and if he should succeed in the attempt, it would only result in self-prostration and imbecility. The forms of matter, operating through the senses, press, as it were, on the soul's secret power of harmony, and it sends forth the answer of its thought and feeling. The material creation, where Providence has fixed our dwelling-place, and this earthly tenement of our bodies, form the first scene of the mind's developement, the first theatre of its exercises, where it puts forth and enacts the incipient part in the great drama of its struggles, growth, and triumphs.
$ 49. All sensation is properly and truly in the mind. Sensation is often regarded as something having a position, and as taking place in the body, and particularly in the organ of sense.
The sensation of touch, as we seem to imagine, is in the hand, which is the organ of touch,
and is not truly internal; the hearing is in the ear, and the vision in the eye, and not in the soul. But it will at once occur, that this supposition, however widely and generally it may be made, is altogether at variance with those essential notions which we have found it necessary to form of matter. If the matter of the hand, of the eye, or ear, can have feeling in any degree whatever, there is ño difficulty in the supposition, that the matter of the brain, or any other material substance, can put forth the exercises and functions of thought. But, after what has been already said on the subject of the mind's immate riality, this supposition is altogether inadmissible. All we can say with truth and on good grounds is, that the organs of sense are accessory to sensation and necessary to it, but the sensation or feeling itself is wholly in the mind. How often it is said the eye sees; but the proper language is, the soul sees, for the eye is only the organ, instrument, or minister of the soul in visual perceptions.
“A man,” says Dr. Reid,“ cannot see the satellites of Jupiter but by a telescope. Does he conclude from this that it is the telescope that sees those stars? By no means; such a conclusion would be absurd. It is no less absurd to conclude that it is the eye that sees or the ear that hears. The telescope is an artificial organ of sight, but it sees not. The eye is a natural organ of sight by which we see; but the natural organ sees as little as the artificial.”
Among other things illustrative of the correctness of what has been said, there is this consideration also. The opinion that sensation is in the organ or some other material part, and not in the soul, is inconsistent with the fundamental and indisputable doctrine of mental identity. “When I say I see, I hear, I feel,” says the same judicious author, “ this implies that it is one and the same self tnat performs all these operations. And as it would be absurd to say that my memory, another man's imagination, and a third man's reason, may make one individual intelligent being, it would be equally absurd to say that one piece of matter seeing, another hearing, and a third feeling, may make one and the same percipient being
* Reid's Intellectual Powers, Essay ii.