Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

distinction with much earnestness and clearness, we may mention Sir James Macintosh. In some strictures on Dr. Price's Review of the Principal Questions in Morals, he has occasion to make a remark, the substance of which had been given before, and is repeated afterward,“ that no perception or judgment, or other unmixed act of the understanding, merely as such, and without the agency of some intermediate emotion, can affect the will."*

A writer of our own country, who has furnished some valuable contributions to a knowledge of our mental structure, expresses himself thus: “Why do not philosophers consider all the operations of the understanding and the affections as constituting but one general class of operations, and as belonging to one faculty? The reason is, they see no similarity between intellectual perceptions and affections. A perception is not a feeling either of pleasure or pain, nor a desire. And pleasure, and pain, and desires, they clearly see, are not perceptions. Hence classing them together would be improper, and create confusion. It would be confounding things which differ, and destroying all those distinctions which are necessary to the acquirement of scientific knowledge. For a person has no more than a confused notion of things who does not make distinctions where there are differences, or point out the difference between one thing and another. As perceptions and affections generically differ, philosophers have distinguished them, and formed them into distinct classes ; and so they have admitted the existence of two faculties. And for the same reason they admit two, they ought to grant there are three faculties. For, when we attend to the affections and to volitions, it is evident there is a generic difference between them. It is evident that pain, pleasure, and desires are not volitions; and have no similarity to those voluntary exertions which produce effects on the body, and in other things around us. For these affections do not immediately produce any external effects; they are effects themselves produced by the heart, and are either virtuous or vicious. For it has been shown, that vice and virtue belong to the heart only, and

* General View of the Progress of Ethical Philosophy, p. 157.

[graphic]

classes."*

its operations or affections. There is, therefore, no more propriety in classing the affections and volitions together, than in making but one class of the affections and

perceptions. The affections and volitions so widely differ, that they naturally divide themselves into two distinct general

It would be easy here, as in the case of writers not professedly and formally treating of mental philosophy, to multiply passages of the same import from numerous other inquirers into the mind, if it were thought necessary. The view thus taken by English and American writers is sustained by judicious metaphysicians of other countries, of which our limits will permit us to give only a single passage as an instance. The writer, after some remarks on the origin of the desires, hopes, and fears, proceeds as follows: « Ces affections internes sont ce que nous nominons sentimens. Ils diffèrent des sensations, en ce que les sensations ont leur source directement dans l'extérieur, tandis

que les sentimens sont produits en nous seulement à l'occasion de l'exterieur, soit qu'il nous affecte actuellement, soit qu'il nous ait précédemment affectés. Ils resemblent aux sensations, en ce que, comme elles, ils son!. independans de notre volentè, et non susceptibles d'être produits ou empêchés par nous. Qui peut, en effet, sirer, espérer, craindre à volonté ?”+

$ 35. Classification of the intellectual states of the mind. For the reasons which have been given, we find ourselves authorized, in the first place, in arranging the states, exercises, or acts of the mind (for these terms, the most general we can employ, will apply to all of these classes), under the three general heads of Intellectual, Sensitive or Sentient, and Volitional. Our intellectual states of mind, together with their corresponding susceptibilities or powers, will first come under consideration. On looking attentively, however, at the intellectual part of our nature, we readily discover that the results which are to be attributed to it are susceptible of a subordinate classification, viz , into INTELLECTUAL or INTELLECTIVE STATES of External, and those of Internal origin.

* Burton's Essays on Metaphysics, Ethics, and Theology, p. 92.

+ De La Liberté et de ses Differens Modes, par Augustin-François Chéry.

It is presumed, that, on a little examination, this distinction will be sufficiently obvious. If the mind were insulated and cut off from the outward world, or if there were no such outward world, could we feel, or see, or hear ? All those mental affections which we express when we speak of the diversities of taste and touch, of sound and sight, are utterly dependant on the existence and presence of something which is exterior to the intellect itself. But this cannot be said of what is expressed by the words truth, falsehood, opinion, intelligence, cause, obligation, effect, and numerous creations of the intellect of a like kind.

It is worthy of remark, that the subordinate classification which is now proposed to be made did not escape, in its essential characteristics, the notice of very ancient writers. We have the authority of Cudworth,* that those intellectual states which have an internal origin, bore among the Greeks the name of NOEMATA, thoughts or intellections ; while those of external origin were called AISTHEMATA, sensations. Although this classification, the grounds of which cannot fail readily to present themselves, has been recognised and sanctioned, in some form or other, by numerous writers on the human mind, it is probable that some future opportunity will be found more fully to explain and defend it; the objections which have sometimes been made will not be overlooked ; and it will readily be perceived, that we shall be better prepared for this proposed explanation, after having considered the relation which the mind sustains to the external world by means of the senses, and analyzed the knowledge which has its origin in that source.

* Cudworth’s Immutable Murality, bk. iv., ch. i.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« VorigeDoorgaan »