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consequences are perfectly harmless. Their reasonings are about as ingenious and as innocent as some of those which have been employed to establish certain strange paradoxes as to the nature of motion, or the infinite divisibility of matter. The argument is perfectly logical and unanswerable; and yet no man in his senses can practically admit the conclusion. Thus, it may be strictly demonstrated, that the swiftest moving body can never overtake the slowest which is before it at the commencement of the motion; or, in the words of the original problem, that the swift-footed Achilles could never overtake a snail that had a few yards the start of him. The reasoning upon which this valuable proposition is founded, does not admit, we believe, of any direct confutation; and yet there are few, we suppose, who, upon the faith of it, would take a bet as to the result of such a race. The sceptical reasonings as to the mind lead to no other practical conclusion; and may be answered or acquiesced in with the same good nature.

we agree with him: But he thought it very wicked and very despicably silly; and there we cannot agree with him at all. It is a very pretty and ingenious puzzle,-affords a very useful mortification to human reason,-and leads us to that state of philosophical wonder and perplexity in which we feel our own helplessness, and in which we ought to feel the impropriety of all dogmatism or arrogance in reasoning upon such subjects. This is the only use and the only meaning of such sceptical speculations. It is altogether unfair, and indeed absurd, to suppose that their authors could ever mean positively to maintain that we should try to get the better of any reliance on our memories, or that they themselves really doubted more than other people as to the past reality of the things they remembered. The very arguments they use, indeed, to show that the evidence of memory may be fallacious, prove, completely, that, in point of fact, they relied as implicitly as their antagonists on the accuracy of that faculty. If they were not sure that they recollected the premises of their own reasonings, it is evidently impossible that they should ever have come to any conclusion. If they did not believe that they had seen the books they answered, it is impossible they should have set about answering them.

The truth is, however, that all men have a practical and irresistible belief both in the existence of matter, and in the accuracy of memory; and that no sceptical writer ever meant or expected to destroy this practical belief in other persons. All that they aimed at was to show their own ingenuity, and the narrow limits of the human understanding;to point out a curious distinction between the evidence of immediate consciousness, and that of perception of memory,-and to show that there was a kind of logical or argumentative possibility, that the objects of the latter faculties might have no existence. There never was any danger of their persuading men to distrust their senses or their memory; nor can they be rationally suspected of such an intention. On the contrary, they necessarily took for granted the instinctive and indestructible belief for which they found it so difficult to account. Their whole reasonings consist of an attempt to explain that admitted fact, and to ascertain the grounds upon which that belief depends. In the end, they agree with their adversaries that those grounds cannot be ascertained: and the only difference between them is, that the adversary main-speculations on the sources of approbation. tains that they need no explanation; while the Our feelings of approbation and disapprobasceptic insists that the want of it still leaves tion, and the moral distinctions which are a possibility that the belief may be fallacious; raised upon them, are Facts which no theory and at any rate establishes a distinction, in can alter, although it may fail to explain. degree, between the primary evidence of con- While these facts remain, they must regulate sciousness, which it is impossible to distrust the conduct, and affect the happiness of manwithout a contradiction, and the secondary evi- kind, whether they are well or ill accounted dence of perception and memory, which may for by the theories of philosophers. It is the be clearly conceived to be erroneous. same nearly with regard to the controversy about cause and effect. It does not appear to us, however, that Mr. Hume ever meant to deny the existence of such a relation, or of the relative idea of power. He has merely

Such, however, are the chief topics which Dr. Beattie has discussed in this Essay, with a vehemence of temper, and an impotence of reasoning, equally surprising and humiliating to the cause of philosophy. The subjects we have mentioned occupy the greater part of the work, and are indeed almost the only ones to which its title at all applies. Yet we think it must be already apparent, that there is nothing whatever in the doctrines he opposes, to call down his indignation, or to justify his abuse. That there are other doctrines in some of the books which he has aimed at confuting, which would justify the most zealous opposition of every friend to religion, we readily admit; but these have no necessary dependence on the general speculative scepticism to which we have now been alluding, and will be best refuted by those who lay all that general reasoning entirely out of consideration. Mr. Hume's theory of morals, which, when rightly understood, we conceive to be both salutary and true, certainly has no connection with his doctrine of ideas and impressions; and the great question of liberty and necessity, which Dr. Beattie has settled, by mistaking, throughout, the power of doing what we will, for the power of willing without motives, evidently depends upon considerations altogether apart from the nature and immutability of truth. It has always appeared to us, indeed, that too much importance has been attached to Theories of morals, and to

To this extent, we are clearly of opinion that the sceptics are right; and though the value of the discovery certainly is as small as possible, we are just as well satisfied that its

given a new theory as to its genealogy or descent; and detected some very gross inaccuracies in the opinions and reasonings which were formerly prevalent on the subject.

If Dr. Beattie had been able to refute these doctrines, we cannot help thinking that he would have done it with more temper and moderation; and disdained to court popularity by so much fulsome cant about common sense, virtue, and religion, and his contempt and abhorrence for infidels, sophists, and metaphysicians; by such babyish interjections, as fy on it! fy on it!"-such triumphant exclamations, as, "say, ye candid and intelligent!" or such terrific addresses, as, "ye traitors to human kind! ye murderers of the human soul!"—"vain hypocrites! perfidious profligates!" and a variety of other embellishments, as dignified as original in a philosophical and argumentative treatise. The truth is, that the Essay acquired its popularity, partly from the indifference and dislike which has long prevailed in England, as to the metaphysical inquiries which were there made the subject of abuse; partly from the perpetual appeal which it affects to make from philosophical subtlety to common sense; and partly from the accidental circumstances of the author. It was a great matter for the orthodox

scholars of the south, who knew little of meta physics themselves, to get a Scotch professor of philosophy to take up the gauntlet in their behalf. The contempt with which he chose to speak of his antagonists was the very tone which they wished to be adopted; and, some of them, imposed on by the confidence of his manner, and some resolved to give it all chances of imposing on others, they joined in one clamour of approbation, and proclaimed a triumph for a mere rash skirmisher, while the leader of the battle was still doubtful of the victory. The book, thus dandled into popularity by bishops and good ladies, contained many pieces of nursery eloquence, and much innocent pleasantry: it was not fatiguing to the understanding; and read less heavily, on the whole, than most of the Sunday library. In consequence of all these recommendations, it ran through various editions, and found its way into most well-regulated families; and, though made up of such stuff, as we really believe no grown man who had ever thought of the subject could possibly go through without nausea and compassion, still retains its place among the meritorious performances, by which youthful minds are to be purified and invigorated. We shall hear no more of it, however, among those who have left college.

(November, 1810.)

Philosophical Essays. By DUGALD STEWART, Esq., F. R. S. Edinburgh, Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, &c. &c. 4to. pp. 590. Edinburgh: 1810.

THE studies to which Mr. Stewart has devoted himself, have lately fallen out of favour with the English public; and the nation which once placed the name of Locke immediately under those of Shakespeare and of Newton, and has since repaid the metaphysical labours of Berkeley and of Hume with such just celebrity, seems now to be almost without zeal or curiosity as to the progress of the Philosophy of Mind.

The progress of knowledge has given birth, of late years, to so many arts and sciences, that a man of liberal curiosity finds both sufficient occupation for his time, and sufficient exercise to his understanding, in acquiring a superficial knowledge of such as are most inviting and The causes of this distaste it would be cu- most popular; and, consequently, has much rious, and probably not uninstructive, to inves- less leisure, and less inducement than formerly, tigate but the inquiry would be laborious, to dedicate himself to those abstract studies and perhaps not very satisfactory. It is easy, which call for more patient and persevering indeed, to say, that the age has become fri- attention. In older times, a man had nothing volous and impatient of labour; and has aban- for it, but either to be absolutely ignorant and doned this, along with all other good learning, idle, or to take seriously to theology and the and every pursuit that requires concentration school logic. When things grew a little betof thought, and does not lead to immediate ter, the classics and mathematics filled up the distinction. This is satire, and not reason- measure of general education and private ing; and, were it even a fair statement of the study; and, in the most splendid periods of fact, such a revolution in the intellectual English philosophy, had received little adhabits and character of a nation, is itself a dition, but from these investigations into our phenomenon to be accounted for,-and not to intellectual and moral nature. Some few inbe accounted for upon light or shallow con- dividuals might attend to other things; but a siderations. To us, the phenomenon, in so knowledge of these was all that was required far as we are inclined to admit its existence, of men of good education; and was held achas always appeared to arise from the great complishment enough to entitle them to the multiplication of the branches of liberal study, rank of scholars and philosophers. Now-aand from the more extensive diffusion of days, however, the necessary qualification is knowledge among the body of the people,-prodigiously raised, at least in denomina

and to constitute, in this way, a signal example of that compensation, by which the good and evil in our lot is constantly equalised, or reduced at least to no very variable standard.

elements of mathematical learning; and were even suspected of having fallen into several heresies in metaphysics, merely from want of time to get regularly at the truth!

tion; and a man can scarcely pass current in the informed circles of society, without knowing something of political economy, chemistry, mineralogy, geology, and etymology, having a small notion of painting, sculpture, and ar- If the philosophy of mind has really suffered chitecture, with some sort of taste for the more, from this universal hurry, than all her picturesque, and a smattering of German sister sciences of the same serious complexand Spanish literature, and even some idea ion, we should be inclined to ascribe this misof Indian, Sanscrit, and Chinese learning and fortune, partly to the very excellence of what history, over and above some little know- has been already achieved by her votaries, ledge of trade and agriculture; with a reason- and partly to the very severe treatment which able acquaintance with what is called the phi- their predecessors have received at their hands. losophy of politics, and a far more extensive Almost all the great practical maxims of this knowledge of existing parties, factions, and mistress of human life, such as the use of the eminent individuals, both literary and politi- principle of Association in education, and the cal, at home and abroad, than ever were re-generation and consequences of Habits in all quired in any earlier period of society. The periods of life, have been lately illustrated in dissipation of time and of attention occasion- the most popular and satisfactory manner; ed by these multifarious occupations, is, of and rendered so clear and familiar, as rules course, very unfavourable to the pursuit of of practical utility, that few persons think it any abstract or continued study; and even if necessary to examine into the details of that a man could, for himself, be content to remain fine philosophy by which they may have been ignorant of many things, in order to obtain a first suggested, or brought into notice. There profound knowledge of a few, it would be is nothing that strikes one as very important difficult for him, in the present state of the to be known upon these subjects, which may world, to resist the impulse and the seduc- not now be established in a more vulgar and tions that assail him from without. Various empirical manner, - -or which requires, in and superficial knowledge is now not only so order to be understood, that the whole procommon, that the want of it is felt as a dis- cess of a scientific investigation should be grace; but the facilities of acquiring it are so gone over. By most persons, therefore, the great, that it is scarcely possible to defend labour of such an investigation will be deourselves against its intrusion. So many easy clined; and the practical benefits appliedand pleasant elementary books,-such tempt- with ungrateful indifference to the sources ing summaries, abstracts, and tables,-such from which they were derived. Of those, beautiful engravings, and ingenious charts, again, whom curiosity might still tempt to and coups-d'œil of information,- -so many mu- look a little closer upon this great field of seums, exhibitions, and collections, meet us at wonders, no small part are dismayed at the every corner, and so much amusing and pro- scene of ruin which it exhibits. The destruc voking talk in every party, that a taste for tion of ancient errors, has hitherto constituted miscellaneous and imperfect information is so very large a part of the task of modern formed, almost before we are aware; and our philosophers, that they may be said to have time and curiosity irrevocably devoted to a been employed rather in throwing down, than sort of Encyclopedical trifling. in building up, and have as yet established very little but the fallacy of all former philosophy. Now, they who had been accus. tomed to admire that ancient philosophy, can not be supposed to be much delighted with its demolition; and, at all events, are naturally discouraged from again attaching themselves to a system, which they may soon have the mortification of seeing subverted in its turn. In their minds, therefore, the opening of such a course of study is apt only to breed a general distrust of philosophy, and to rivet a conviction of its extreme and irremediable uncertainty: while those who had previously been indifferent to the systems of error, are displeased with the labour of a needless refutation; and disappointed to find, that, after a long course of inquiry, they are brought back to that very state of ignorance from which they had expected it would relieve them.

If anything could counteract the effect of these and some other causes, and revive ir. England that taste for abstract speculation for which it was once so distinguished, we should have expected this to be accomplished by the publications of the author before us.-The great celebrity of his name, and the uniform

In the mean time, the misfortune is, that there is no popular nor royal road to the profounder and more abstract truths of philosophy; and that these are apt, accordingly, to fall into discredit or neglect, at a period when it is labour enough for most men to keep themselves up to the level of that great tide of popular information, which has been rising, with such unexampled rapidity, for the last forty years.

Such, we think, are the most general and uncontrollable causes which have recently depressed all the sciences requiring deep thought and solitary application, far below the level of their actual importance; and produced the singular appearance of a partial falling off in intellectual enterprise and vigour, in an age distinguished, perhaps, above all others, for the rapid development of the human faculties. The effect we had formerly occasion to observe, when treating of the singular decay of Mathematical science in England; and so powerful and extensive is the operation of the cause, that, even in the intellectual city which we inhabit, we have known instances of persons of good capacity who had never found leisure to go beyond the first

clearness, simplicity, and good sense of his | ple, while it was admitted that the case was statements, might indeed have failed to attract somewhat different, it was observed, that all those whom similar merits could no longer men were in reality aware of its existence, tempt to look into the pages of Locke or of and acted upon it on all important occasions, Berkeley. But the singular eloquence with though they might never have made its laws which Mr. Stewart has contrived to adorn the a subject of reflection, nor ever stated its most unpromising parts of his subject,-the general phenomena in the form of an abstract rich lights which his imagination has every proposition. where thrown in, with such inimitable judg To all this Mr. Stewart proceeds to answer, ment and effect, the warm glow of moral by observing, that the distinction between exenthusiasm which he has spread over the periment and observation is really of no imwhole of his composition,-and the tone of portance whatever, in reference to this argumildness, dignity, and animation which he ment; because the facts disclosed by experihas uniformly sustained, in controversy, as ment are merely phenomena that are observed, well as in instruction; are merits which we and the inferences and generalisations thai do not remember to have seen united in any are deduced from the observation of sponother philosophical writer; and which might taneous phenomena, are just of the same sort have recommended to general notice, topics with those that are inferred from experiment, far less engaging than those on which they and afford equally certain grounds of concluwere employed. His former work, on the sion, provided they be sufficiently numerous Philosophy of the Human Mind, has accord- and consistent. The justice of the last proingly been more read than any other modern position, we do not mean to dispute; and book on such subjects; and the volume be-assuredly, if any thing inconsistent with it is fore us, we think, is calculated to be still more to be found in our former speculations, it must popular.* have arisen from that haste and inadvertence which, we make no doubt, have often betrayed us into still greater errors. But it is very far from following from this, that there is not a material difference between experiment and observation; or that the philosophy of mind in not necessarily restrained within very narrow limits, in consequence of that distinction. Substances which are in our power, are the objects of experiment; those which are not in our power, of observation only. With regard to the former, it is obvious, that, by wellcontrived experiments, we may discover many things that could never be disclosed by any length of observation. With regard to the latter, an attentive observer may, indeed, see more in them than strikes the eye of a careless spectator: But he can see nothing that may not be seen by every body; and, in cases where the appearances are very few, or very interesting, the chance is, that he does see nothing more-and that all that is left to philosophy is, to distinguish them into classes, and to fit them with appropriate appellations. Now, Mind, we humbly conceive, considered as a subject of investigation, is the subject of observation only; and is known nearly as well by all men, as by those who have most diligently studied its phenomena. "We cannot decompose our sensations," we formerly observed, "in a crucible, nor divide our perceptions with a prism." The metaphor was something violent; but, the meaning obviously was, that we cannot subject those faculties to any analogous processes; nor discover more of their nature than consciousness has taught all the beings who possess them. Is it a satisfactory answer, then, for Mr. Stewart, to say, that we may analyse them by reflection and attention, and other instruments better suited than prisms or crucibles to the intellectual laboratory which furnishes their mathem at all; and can never know more of them terials? Our reply is, that we cannot analyse than has always been known to all to whom they had been imparted; and that, for this

But it is in the second part of the Preliminary Dissertation that we take the chief interest as Mr. Stewart has there taken occasion to make a formal reply to some of our hasty speculations, and has done us the honour of embodying several of our transitory pages in this enduring volume. If we were at liberty to yield to the common weaknesses of authors, we should probably be tempted to defend ourselves in a long dissertation; but we know too well what is due to our readers and to the public, to think of engaging any considerable share of their attention with a controversy which may be considered in some measure as personal to ourselves; and therefore, however honourable we think it, to be thus singled out for equal combat by such an antagonist, we shall put what we have to say within the shortest possible compass.

The observations to which Mr. Stewart has here condescended to reply, occur in an early number of our publication, and were intended to show, that as mind was not the proper subject of Experiment, but of Observation, so, there could be no very close analogy between the rules of metaphysical investigation, and the most approved methods of inquiry as to those physical substances which are subject to our disposal and control;-that as all the facts with regard to mind must be derived from previous and universal Consciousness, it was difficut to see how any arrangement of them could add to our substantial knowledge; and that there was, therefore, no reason either to expect Discoveries in this branch of science, or to look to it for any real augmentation of our Power.

With regard to Perception and the other primary functions of mind, it was observed, that this doctrine seemed to hold without any limitation; and as to the Associating princi

A portion of the original article, containing a general view of the subject of these Essays, is here omitted, for the reasons stated at the head of this division.

pain reason, that the truth of every thing that is said with regard to the mind, can be determined by an appeal to consciousness alone, and would not be even intelligible, if it informed men of any thing that they did not previously feel to be true.

With regard to the actual experiments to which Mr. Stewart alludes, as having helped to explain the means by which the eye judges of distances and magnitudes, these, we must observe, are, according to our conception, very clearly experiments, not upon mind, but upon matter; and are only entitled to that name at all, in so far as they are carried on by means of the power we possess of disposing certain pieces of matter in certain masses and inter- When, from these, and some other considvals. Strictly considered, they are optical erations, we had ventured to infer, that the experiments on the effects produced by dis-knowledge derived from mere observation tance on the light reflected from known could scarcely make any addition to our bodies; and are nearly akin to experiments power, Mr. Stewart refers triumphantly to the on the effects produced on such reflected rays instance of astronomy; and, taking it almost by the interposition of media of different re- for granted, that all the discoveries in that fracting powers, whether in the shape of science have been made by observation alone, prisms, or in any other shape. At all events, directs the attention of his readers to the inthey certainly are not investigations carried numerable applications which may be made on solely by attending to the subjects of our of it, to purposes of unquestioned utility. Consciousness; which is Mr. Stewart's own definition of the business of the philosophy

of mind.

In answer to our remark, that "no metaphysician expects, by analysis, to discover a new power, or to excite a new sensation in the mind, as the chemist discovers a new earth or a new metal," Mr. Stewart is pleased to observe

"That it is no more applicable to the anatomy of the mind, than to the anatomy of the body. After all the researches of physiologists on this last subject, both in the way of observation and of experiment, no discovery has yet been made of a new organ, either of power or of pleasure, or even of the means of adding a cubit to the human stature; but it does not therefore follow that these researches are useless. By enlarging his knowledge of his own internal structure, they increase the power of man, in that way in which alone they profess to increase it. They furnish him with resources for remedying many of the accidents to which his health and his life are liable; for recovering, in some cases, those active powers which disease has destroyed or impaired; and, in others, by giving sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, for awakening powers of perception which were dormant before. Nor must we overlook what they have contributed, in conjunction with the arts of the optician and of the mechanist, to extend the sphere of those senses, and to prolong their duration."-Prelim. Diss. pp. xlvi, xlvii.

when he removes those outer integuments, and reveals the wonders of the inward organisation of our frame. His statements do not receive their proof from the previous, though perhaps undigested knowledge of his hearers, but from the actual revelation which he makes to their senses; and his services would evidently be more akin to those of the metaphysician, if, instead of actually disclosing what was not previously known, or suspected to exist, he had only drawn the attention of an incurious generation to the fact that they had each ten fingers and ten toes, or that most of them had thirty-two teeth, distinguishable into masticators and incisors.


"In compensation," he observes, for the inability of the astronomer to control those movements of which he studies the laws, he may boast, as I already hinted, of the immense accession of a more useful power which his discoveries have added to the human race, on the surface of their own practical uses to which his labours are subservient. planet. It would be endless to enumerate all the It is sufficient for me to repeat an old, but very striking reflection, that the only accurate knowledge has been derived from the previous knowledge he which Man yet possesses of the surface of the earth, had acquired of the phenomena of the stars. Is it possible to produce a more apposite, or a more undeniable proof of the universality of Bacon's maxim, that knowledge is power,' than a fact which de monstrates the essential aid which man has derived, from a branch of science which seems, at first view, in asserting his dominion over this lower world, fitted only to gratify a speculative curiosity; and which, in its infancy, served to amuse the leisure of the Chaldean shepherd?"-Prelim. Diss. pp.

xxxviii, xxxix.

To this we have to answer, in the first place, that astronomical science has not been perfected by observation alone; but that all the elements which have imparted to it the certainty, the simplicity, and the sublimity which it actually possesses, have been derived from experiments made upon substances in the power of their contrivers;-from experiments performed with small pieces of matter, on the laws of projectile motion-the velocities of falling bodies-and on centrifugal and centripetal forces. The knowledge of those laws, like all other valuable knowledge, was ob tained by experiment only; and their appli

Now, ingenious and elegant as this parallel must be admitted to be, we cannot help regarding it as utterly fallacious-for this simple reason that the business of anatomy is to lay open, with the knife, the secrets of that internal structure, which could never other-cation to the movements of the heavenly wise be apparent to the keenest eye; while bodies was one of those splendid generalisathe metaphysical inquirer can disclose nothing tions, which derive their chief merit from of which all his pupils are not previously those inherent imperfections of observation by aware. There is no opaque skin, in short, on which they were rendered necessary. the mind, to conceal its interior mechanism; nor does the metaphysician, when he appeals to the consciousness of all thinking beings of mere observation, the power which Mr. for the truth of his classifications, perform Stewart says we have obtained by means of any thing at all analogous to the dissector, it, is confessedly a power, not over the sub.

But, in the second place, we must observe, that even holding astronomy to be a science

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