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ever contempt Mr. Cooper and his friends may tain the existence of our perceptions, and to regard us, we must be permitted to say a word deny that of matter altogether. The other or two in defence of the vulgar opinion. qualities of matter are perceived by us; but
The sum of the argument against the exist- perception cannot be perceived : And all we ence of mind, in case any of our readers know about it is, that it is that by which we should be ignorant of it, is shortly as follows. perceive every thing else. It certainly does The phenomena of thinking, or perception, sound somewhat absurd and unintelligible, are always found connected with a certain therefore, to say, that perception is thai mass of organised matter, and have never quality of matter by which it becomes conbeen known to exist in a separate or detached scious of its own existence, and acquainted state. It seems natural, therefore, to consider with its other qualities: Since it is plain that them as qualities of that substance : Nor is it this is not a quality, but a knowledge of qualiany objection to say, that the quality of think- ties; and that the percipient must necessarily ing has no sort of resemblance or affinity to be distinct from that which is perceived. We any of the other qualities with which we must always begin with perception; and the know matter to be endowed. This is equally followers of Berkeley will tell us, that we true of all the primary qualities of matter, must end there also. At all events, it certainly when compared with each other. Solidity, never entered into the head of any plain man for instance, bears no sort of resemblance or to conceive that the faculty of perception was affinity to extension ; nor is there any other itself one of the qualities with which that reason for our considering them as qualities faculty made him acquainted : or that it could of the same substance, but that they are al- possibly belong to a substance, which his ways found in conjunction—that they occupy earliest intimations and most indestructible the same portion of space, and present them- impressions taught him to regard as someselves together, on all occasions, to our obser- thing external and separate.* vation. Now, this may be said, with equal This, then, is the first objection to the docforce, of the quality of thinking. It is al trine of Materialism, - that it makes the ways found in conjunction with a certain mass faculty of perception a quality of the thing of solid and extended matter—it inhabits the perceived ; and converts, in a way that must same portion of space, and presents itself in- at first sight appear absurd to all mankind, variably along with those other qualities the our knowledge of the qualities of matter into assemblage of which makes up our idea of another quality of the same substance. The organised matter. Whatever substratum can truth is, however, that it is a gross and unsupport and unite the qualities of solidity and warrantable abuse of language, to call percepextension, may therefore support the quality tion a quality at all. It is an act or an eventof thinking also; and it is eminently unphilo- a factor a phenomenon-of which the percipi. sophical to suppose, that it inheres in a sepa- ent is conscious: but it cannot be intelligibly rate substance to which we should give the conceived as a quality; and, least of all, as a appellation of Mind. All the phenomena of quality of that substance which is known to thought, it is said, may be resolved by the us as solid and extended. 1st, All the qualities. assistance of Dr. Hartley, into perception and of matter, it has been already stated, are perassociation. Now, perception is evidently ceived by the senses : but the sensation itself produced by certain mechanical impulses cannot be so perceived ; nor is it possible to call upon the nerves, transmitted to the brain, it an object of sense, without the grossest perand can therefore be directly proved to be version of language. 2dly, All the qualities merely a peculiar species of motion ; and as- of matter have a direct reference to Space or sociation is something very like the vibration extension; and are conceived, in some meaof musical cords in juxtaposition, and is strictly sure, as attributes or qualities of the space within the analogy of material movement. within which they exist. When we say that
In answering this argument, we will fairly a particular body is solid, we mean merely confess that we have no distinct idea of Sub- that a certain portion of space is impenetra. stance; and that we are perfectly aware ble: when we say that it is coloured, we that it is impossible to combine three propositions upon the subject, without involving a * We are not very partial to the practice of quo. contradiction. All that we know of substance, ing poetry in illustration of metaphysics; but the are its qualities; yet qualities must belong to following lines seem to express so forcibly the unisomething—and of that something to which subject, that we cannot help offering them to the they belong, and by which they are united, consideration of the reader. we neither know anything nor can form any “Am I but what I seem, mere flesh and blood ? conception. We cannot help believing that it A branching channel, and a mazy flood ? exists; but we have no distinct notion as to The purple stream, that through my vessels glides, the mode of its existence.
Dull and unconscious flows like common tides. Admitting this, therefore, in the first place, Are not that thinking I, no more than they.
The pipes, through which the circling juices stray, we may perhaps be permitted to observe, that This frame, compacied with transcendent skill, it seems a little disorderly and unphilosophi- of moving joints. obedient to my will, cal, to class perception among the qualities Nurs'd from the fruitful glebe like yonder tree, of matter, when it obvious, that it is by Waxes and wastes : I call it mine, not me. means of perception alone that we get any | The mansion chang’d, the tenant still remains,
New matter still the mould'ring mass sustains ; notion of matter or its qualities ; and that it And, from the fleeting stream repair'd by food, is possible, with perfect consistency, to main- Distinct, as is the swimmer from the food."
mean that the same portion of space appears are not qualities of matter (for results and of one hue,—and so of the other qualities; qualities belong not to the same category), but but sensation or thought is never conceived mere facts or phenomena of a totally different #0 to occupy space, or to characterise it; nor description, for the production of which the can those faculties be at all conceived as apparatus of some such organisation may, for beirg merely definite portions of space, en- the time, be necessary. dued with perceptible properties. In the third But the material thing is, that it is not to place, all the primary qualities of matter are the whole mass of our bodies, or their living inseparable from it, and enter necessarily into organisation in general, that these phenomena its conception and definition. All matter are said by Dr. Priestley and his disciples 10 must necessarily be conceived as extended, belong, as proper qualities. On the contrary, solid, and figured: and also as universally they distinctly admit that they are not qualities capable of all the secondary qualities. It is of that physical mass generally, nor even of obvious, however, that thought or sensation those finer parts of it which constitute our is not an inseparable attribute of matter; as organs of sense. They admit that the eye by far the greater part of matter is entirely and the ear act the parts merely of optical or destitute of it; and it is found in connection acoustic instruments; and are only useful in only with those parts which we term organ- transmitting impulses (or, it may be, fine subised; and with those, only while they are stances) to the nervous part of the brain : of in a certain state, which we call alive. If which alone, therefore, and indeed only of its it be said, however, that thought may re- minute and invisible portions, these singular semble those accidental qualities of matter, phenomena are alleged to be proper physical such as heat or colour, which are not insepa- qualities! It is difficult, we think, to make rable or permanent; then we reply, that the absurdity of such a doctrine more appaneither of these things can, in strictness, be rent than by this plain statement of its import termed qualities of matter, more than thought and amount. The only ground, it must always or sensation : They are themselves substan- be recollected, for holding that mind and all ces, or matter, possessed of inseparable and its phenomena are mere qualities of matter, is peculiar qualities, as well as those which the broad and popular one, that we always address themselves to the other senses. Light find them connected with a certain visible is a material substance, from which the mass of organised matter, called a living body: quality of colour is inseparable ; and heat is But when it is admitted that they are not a material substance, which has universally qualities of this mass generally, or even of the quality of exciting the sensation of any part of it which is visible or perceptible warmth: and both address themselves to, by our senses, the allegation of their being and are distinctly perceived through, our mere material qualities of a part of the brain, senses. If thought be allowed to be a sub- must appear not merely gratuitous, but inconstance in this sense, it will remain to show sistent and absolutely absurd. that it also is material; by being referable to and the ear, with their delicate structures space, capable of subsisting in every sort of and fine sensibility, are but vehicles and apbody, of being perceived by the senses, of paratus, why should the attenuated and unbeing transferred from one body to another, known tissues of the cerebral nerves be supand liable to attraction, repulsion, condensa- posed to be any thing else ? or why should tion, or reflection-like heat or light. the resulting sensations, to which both are
It is to be remarked also, that wherever apparently ministrant, and no more than minany proper quality, primary or secondary, can istrant, and which have no conceivable rebe ascribed generally to any perceptible body semblance or analogy to any attribute of mator mass of matter, that quality must exist and ter, but put on the list of the physical qualities be recognised in every part of it. If the whole of the latter-which is of itself too slight and of any such body is hard, or coloured, or subtle to enable us to say what are iis comweighty, or hot, or cold, every part of it, mon physical qualities?' But we have yet whether merely considered and examined as another consideration to suggest, before finalseparable, or actually separated and detached, ly closing this discussion. must be hard, coloured, and weighty also : It probably has not escaped observation, these qualities being truly conditions, and, in that throughout the preceding argument, we fact, the only real proofs of the material ex- have allowed the advocates for Materialism istence of such a body, and of all the parts of to assume that what (to oblige them) we have it. But though thought or volition may be called thought or perception generally, was said to have their residence somewhere with one uniform and identical thing; to which, in a human body, they certainly are not quali- therefore, the appellation of a quality might ties of its material mass, in this sense; or to possibly be given, without manifest and palthe effect of being sensibly present in every pable absurdity. But in reality there is nu part or portion of it! We never, at least, ground, or even room, for claiming such an have happened to hear it surmised that there allowance. The acts or functions which ice is thought in the elbow-joint, or volition in ascribe to mind, are at all events not one, but the nail of the great toe: and if it be said many and diverse. Perception no doubt is that these phenomena are results only of the one of them—but it is not identical with sen. living organisation as a whole, it seems to us sation; and still less with memory or imagithat ihis is a substantial abandonment of the nation, or volition,-or with love, anger, fear, whole argument, and an admission that they deliberation, or hatred. Each of these, on the
If the eye
contrary, is a separate and distinguishable sons: For, so long as they stuck to the geneact, function, or phenomenon, of the existence ral assertion, that thought might, in some way of which we become aware, not through per- or other, be represented as a quality of matception, or the external senses at all, but ter,-although it was not perceived by the through consciousness or reflection alone: and senses, and bore no analogy to any of its other none of them (with the single exception, per- qualities, -and talked about the inherent cahaps, of perception) have any necessary or pacity of substance, to support all sorts of natural reference to any external or material qualities; although their doctrine might eluile existence whatever. It is not disputed, how- our comprehension, and revolt all our habis ever, that it is only by perception and the of thinking,-still it might be difficult 10 senses, that we can gain any knowledge of demonstrate its fallacy; and a certain permatter; and, consequently, whatever we come plexing argumentation might be maintained, to know by consciousness only, cannot pos- by a person well acquainted with the use, sibly belong to that category, or be either ma- and abuse, of words: But when they cast terial or external. But we are not aware that away the protection of this most convenient any materialist has ever gone the length of obscurity, and, instead of saying that they directly maintaining that volition for example, do not know what thought is, have the couror memory, or anger, or fear, or any other age to refer it to the known category of Mosuch affection, were proper material qualities tion, they evidently subject their theory to the of our bodily frames, or could be perceived test of rational examination, and furnish us and recognised as such, by the agency of with a criterion by which its truth may be the external senses; in the same way as the easily determined. weight, heat, colour, or elasticity which may We shall not be so rash as to attempt any belong to these frames. But if they are not definition of motion; but we believe we may each of them capable of being so perceived, take it for granted, that our readers know as separate physical qualities, it is plain that pretty well what it is. At all events, it is not nothing can be gained in argument, by affect- a quality of matter. It is an act, a phenomeing to disregard their palpable diversity, and non, or a fact:—but it makes no part of the seeking to class them all under one vague description or conception of matter; though name, of thought or perception. Even with it can only exist with reference to that subthat advantage, we have seen that the doc- stance. Let any man ask himself, however, trine, of perception or thought being a mere whether the motion of matter bears any sort quality of matter, is not only untenable, but of resemblance to thought or sensation; or truly self-contradictory and unintelligible. whether it be even conceivable that these But when the number and diversity of the should be one and the same thing ?-But, it is phenomena necessarily covered by that gene- said, we find sensation always produced by ral appellation is considered, along with the motion; and as we can discover nothing else fact that most of them have no reference to in conjunction with it, we are justified in asmatter, and do in no way imply its existence, cribing it to motion. But this, we beg leave the absurdity of representing them as só to say, is not the question. It is not necesmany of its distinct perceptible qualities, sary to inquire, whether motion may produce must be too apparent, we think, to admit of sensation or not, but whether sensation be moany serious defence.
tion, and nothing else? It seems pretty evi. The sum of the whole then is, that all the dent, to be sure, that motion can never proknowledge which we gain only by Perception duce any thing but motion or impulse ; and and the use of our external Senses, is know that it is at least as inconceivable that it should ledge of Matter, and its qualities and attri- ever produce sensation in matter, as that it butes alone; and all which we gain only by should produce a separate substance, called Consciousness and Reflection on our own in- mind. But this, we repeat, is not the quesward feelings, is necessarily knowledge of tion with the materialists. Their proposition Mind, and its states, attributes, and functions. is, not that motion produces sensation-which This in fact is the whole basis, and rationale might be as well in the mind as in the body; of the distinction between mind and matter: but, that sensation is motion; and that all the and, consequently, unless it can be shown phenomena of thought and perception are inthat love, anger, and sorrow, as well as memo-telligibly accounted for by saying, that they ry and volition, are direct objects of sense or are certain little shakings in the pulpy part of external perception, like heat and colour, or the brain. figure and solidity, there must be an end, we There are certain propositions which it is think, of all question as to their being ma- difficult to confute, only because it is imposterial qualities.
sible to comprehend them: and this, the subBut, though the very basis and foundation stantive article in the creed of Materialism, of the argument for Materialism is placed really seems to be of this description. To say upon the assumption, that thought and per- that thought is motion, is as unintelligible to ception are qualities of our bodies, it is re- us, as to say that it is space, or time, or promarkable that Dr. Priestley, and the other portion. champions of that doctrine, do ultimately give There may be little shakings in the brain, up that point altogether, and maintain, that for any thing we know, and there may even thought is nothing else than Motion ! Now, be shakings of a different kind, accompanying this, we cannot help thinking, was very im- every act of thought or perception ;-but, thai politic and injudicious in these learned per- the shakings themselves are the thought or perception, we are so far from admitting, that Berkeleians, it seems quite enough to deter we find it absolutely impossible to compre- mine us to reject it, that it confounds the act hend what is meant by ihe assertion. The of perception with the qualities perceived, anıl shakings are certain throbbings, vibrations, or classes among the objects of perception, the stirrings, in a whitish, half-fluid substance faculty by which these objects are introduced like custard, which we might see perhaps, or to our knowledge--and which faculty must feel, if we had eyes and fingers sufficiently be exercised, before we can attain to any consmall or fine for the office. But what should ception, either of matter or its qualities. we see or feel, upon the supposition that we We do not pretend to have looked through could detect, by our senses, every thing that the whole controversy which Dr. Priestley's actually took place in the brain ? We should publications on this subject appears to have see the particles of this substance change their excited : But nothing certainly has struck us place a little, move a little up or down, to the with more astonishment, than the zeal with right or to the left, round about, or zig-zag, or which he maintains that this doctrine, and in some other course or direction. This is that of Necessity, taken together, afford the all that we could see, if Hartley's conjecture greatest support to the cause of religion and were proved by actual observation ; because morality! We are a little puzzled, indeed, 10 this is all that exists in motion,-according to discover what use, or what room, there can be our conception of it; and all that we mean, for a God at all, upon this hypothesis of Mawhen we say that there is motion in any sub-terialism; as well as to imagine what species stance. Is it intelligible, then, to say, that of being the God of the materialist must be. this motion, the whole of which we see and If the mere organisation of matter produces comprehend, is thought and feeling?—and reason, memory, imagination, and all the that thought and feeling will exist wherever other attributes of mind,-and if these differwe can excite a similar motion in a similar ent phenomena be the necessary result of cersubstance?-In our humble apprehension, the tain motions impressed upon matter; then proposition is not so much false, as utterly there is no need for any other reason or enunmeaning and incomprehensible. That sen- ergy in the universe: and things may be adsation may folloir motion in the brain, or may ministered very comfortably, by the intellect even be produced by it, is conceivable at spontaneously evolved in the different combileast, and may be affirmed with perfect pre- nations of matter. But if Dr. Priestley will cision and consistency; but that the motion is have a superfluous Deity notwithstanding, we itself sensation, and that the proper and com- may ask what sort of a Deity he can expect? plete definition of thought and feeling is, that He denies the existence of mind or spirit al. they are certain vibrations in the brain, is a together; so that his Deity must be material; doctrine, we think, that can only be wondered and his wisdom, power, and goodness musi at, and that must be comprehended before it be the necessary result of a certain organisabe answered.
tion. But how can a material deity be imNo advocate for the existence of mind, ever mortal? How could he have been formed? thought it necessary to deny that there was a Or why should there not be more,-formed certain bodily apparatus necessary to thought by himself, or by his creator? We will not and sensation in man—and that, on many oc- affirm that Dr. Priestley has not attempted to casions, the sensation was preceded or intro- answer these questions; but we will take it duced by certain impulses and corresponding upon us to say, that he cannot have answered movements of this material machinery:
:-we them in a satisfactory manner. As to his cannot see without eyes and light, nor think paradoxical doctrines, with regard to the nawithout living bodies. All that they maintain tural mortality of man, and the incompreis, that these impulses and movements are hensible gift of immortality conferred on a not 'eelings or thought, but merely the occa- material structure which visibly moulders and sions of feeling and thought; and that it is is dissolved, we shall only say that it exceeds impossible for them to confound the material in absurdity any of the dogmas of the Cathomotions which precede those sensations, with lics; and can only be exceeded by his own the sensations themselves, which have no supposition, that our Saviour, being only a conceivable affinity with matter.
man, and yet destined to live to the day of The theory of Materialism, then, appears to juilgment, is still alive in his original human us to be altogether unintelligible and absurd; body upon earth, and is really the Wandering and, without recurring to the reasoning of the Jew of vulgar superstition !
(October, 1805.) Academical Questions. By the Right Honourable William DRUMMOND, K.C., F. R. S., F. R. S. E Author of a Translation of Persius. Vol. I. 4to. pp. 412. Cadell and Davies. London : 1805
We do not know very well what to say of that it is occupied with Metaphysical specu this very learned publication. To some read- lations. To others, it may convey a moru ers it will probably be enough to announce, I precise idea of its character, to be told, that Though it gave a violent headache, in less than cipitately, that secondary qualities are unian hour, to the most intrepid logician of our versally admitted to have no existence but in fraternity, he could not help reading on till he the mind of him who perceives them, proceeds, came to the end of the volume.*
with an air of triumph that is at all events Mr. Drummond begins with the doctrine premature, to demonstrate, that there is nothof Locke, and exposes, we think, very suc- ing in the case of primary qualities by which cessfully, the futility of that celebrated au- they can be distinguished in this respect from thor's definition of Substance, as "one knows the secondary. The fact unquestionably is, not what" support of such qualities as are ca- that Dr. Reid and his followers assert the posipable of producing simple ideas in us. This tive and independent existence of secondary, notion of substance he then shows to be de- as well as of primary qualities in matter; and rived from the old Platonic doctrine of the that there is, upon their hypothesis, exactly the primary matter, or van, to which the same same evidence for the one as for the other. objections are applicable.
The general problem, as to the probable existHaving thus discarded Substance in general ence of matter—unquestionably the most funfrom the list of existences, Mr. Drummond damental and momentous in the whole science proceeds to do as much for the particular sub- of metaphysics—may be fairly and intelligibly stance called Matter, and all its qualities. In stated in a very few words. this chapter, accordingly, he avows himself Bishop Berkeley, and after him Mr. Drumto be a determined Idealist; and it is the scope mond, have observed, that by our senses, we of his whole argument to prove, that what we can have nothing but sensations; and that call qualities in external substances, are in sensations, being affections of mind, cannot fact nothing more than sensations in our own possibly bear any resemblance to matter, or minds; and that what have been termed pri- any of its qualities; and hence they infer, that mary qualities, are in this respect entirely we cannot possibly have any evidence for the upon a footing with those which are called existence of matter; and that what we term secondary. His reasoning upon this subject our perception of its qualities, is in fact nothcoincides very nearly with that of Bishop ing else than a sensation in our own minds. Berkeley; of whom, indeed, he says, that if Dr. Reid, on the other hand, distinctly admithis arguments be not really conclusive, it is ting that the primary functions of our senses certainly to be lamented that they should have is to make us conscious of certain sensations, been so imperfectly answered.
which can have no sort of resemblance or af. To us, we will confess, it does not seem of finity to the qualities of matter, has asserted very great consequence to determine whether it as a fact admitting of no dispute, but recogthere be any room for a distinction between nised by every human creature, that these the primary and secondary qualities of matter; sensations necessarily suggest to us the notion for thongh we are rather inclined to hold that of certain external existences, endowed with Dr. Reid's observations have established its particular definable qualities, and that these possibility, we cannot help saying, that it is a perceptions, by which our sensations are acdistinction which does not touch at all upon companied, are easily and clearly distinguish. the fundamental question, as to the evidence able from the sensations themselves, and which we have, by our senses, for the exist- cannot be confounded with them, without the ence of a material world. Dr. Reid and his most wilful perversity. Perception, again, he followers contend as strenuously for the real holds, necessarily implies the existence of the existence of those material qualities which object perceived; and the reality of a material produce in us the sensations of heat, or of world is thus as clearly deduced from the colour, as of those which give us intimations exercise of this faculty, as the reality of our of solidity, figure, or extension. We know a own existence can be from our consciousness, little more, indeed, according to them, about or other sensations. It appears, therefore, the one sort of qualities than the other; but that there are two questions to be considered the evidence we have for their existence is in determining on the merits of this controexactly the same in both cases; nor is it more versy. First, whether there be any room for a law of our nature, that the sensation of re- a distinction between sensation and percepsistance should suggest to us the definable tion; and, secondly, if we shall allow such a quality of solidity in an external object, than distinction, whether perception does necesthat the sensation of heat should suggest to sarily imply the real and external existence us, that quality in an external object, which of the objects perceived. we cannot define otherwise than as the external If by perception, indeed, we understand, as cause of this sensation.
Dr. Reid appears to have done, the immediate Mr. Drummond, we think, has not attended and positive discovery of external existences, sufficiently to this part of his antagonist's po- it is evident that the mere assumption of this sition; and after assuming, somewhat too pre- faculty puts an end to the whole question;
since it necessarily takes those existences for For the reasons stated in the note prefixed to granted, and, upon that hypothesis, defines this division of the book, I refrain from reprinting the faculty in question to be that by which the greater part of this review; and give only that we discover their qualities. This, however, part of it which is connected with the speculations it is plain, is not reasoning, but assertion ; and tion of the existence of an external world, and the it is not the mere assertion of a fact, which faith to be given to the intimations of our senses, in these subjects is the whole perhaps of our and other internal convictions.
legitimate philosophy, but of something which 63