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not in itself cognizable by sensation. Now, though the same thing is at once cause and effect, an effect as related to what precedes it, a cause, as to what succeeds it—it does not thence follow that we know it as a cause. Suspend a series of ivory balls in contact, and midway in that series remove one, leaving a vacancy. Now let the outer one be dropped against its fellow; in its motion we see the effects of the force of gravitation, not the force itself. The power passing unobserved through several balls, reaches the one next the vacancy. This swings across it, and transfers the force into the last half of the series. The motion across the interval is an effect in reference to the force entering the ball, and a cause as transmitting that force to the next ball in the series. Now the transfer of force, that by which it is a cause, cannot be seen, while the motion, that by which it is an effect, is visible. Thus under all effects runs a stream of causes, as below the surface of the muddy water pours on the unseen volume of the river.
Some may claim a direct cognition of force in volition. We are conscious of volition, a mental act, but not of the force let slip thereby to play on the physical mechanism of nerves and muscles. The sensations occasioned by this force may appear in consciousness, and we be able distinctly to mark the series of effects which attend its progress, but the force itself, aside from these, its continuous results, we know not. We may observe the path of the electric current by the trail of light it leaves behind; but the very force is no more observed than when it steals along in darkness. Indeed, we cannot always tell whether the volition, however intense it may be, will be followed by the proposed movement. Some paralysis may have intervened, and our effort is a mere experiment, to see whether the hidden connection is restored. So, too, we are conscious of tense, strained muscles in resisting pressure, but not of the opposing force, otherwise than as drawing forth this exertion, and procuring the accompanying sensations. Indeed, volition, sensations, are the limits of our direct knowledge ; these alone enter consciousness;
but these are not the force, but the traces and conditions of the force. A philosophy receiving the notion of cause and effect believes in a more hidden, central power connecting these, and rising into consciousness only indirectly, inferentially, through them. Simple sensation is not a thing to be understood without some force occasioning it, and pure force is not a thing to be known, felt, save as it gives rise to a sensation. A surface cannot exist without a body; but the surface hides the body which gives rise to it. Effects cannot exist without causes; but they conceal the causes they express. They are the film for the senses, for sight, touch, and taste, left behind, or rather thrown up and out, in the flow of the true dynamic powers of the world.
Herein we do not recognize the correctness of those who, with Sir William Hamilton, claim an immediate knowledge of matter. Indeed, few philosophers who have recognized intuitive ideas have put them to so little service, have so failed to develop their office, have been so frequently embarrassed by the want of them, or resorted to such poor subterfuges to escape them, as Hamilton. He would displace this fundamental idea of cause and effect by the weakness of the mind, its inability to conceive a beginning or an end, and hence its tendency always to place something before the first and after the last thing. This very inability is itself due to the presence of the notion under discussion, and here again the phenomena resulting from a power are made to discredit the power itself.
We pass the many points of controversy involved in what has been already said, hoping best to meet them by displacement, by constructing and presenting a philosophy strong in itself. The proof of the validity of the original intuitive character of this notion of cause and effect is that relied on for this whole class of ideas, and in this case especially clear, the instantaneous, universal, and inevitable way in which the mind always interjects the notion as a link between consecutive phenomena. No greater and more destructive change could take place in all language and thought, philo
sophical and common, than this of reducing sequences to a mere connection of time. This hidden framework of force which the mind supplies, which it hides under and in matter, thoughts, events, is the universe as we conceive it. Without it, all is resolved into a wreath of smoke. Even by the criterion of truth proposed by Spencer, that the judgment which returns the most often is the one most to be believed, none can be stronger, more truthful, than this of causation. It accompanies and interprets every event of life, every theory of science, and gives even to fiction its coherence. If, then, a conclusion so constant and universal is yet without foundation, the mind in making this assertion destroys its power of judgment, since no judgment can be more firm or constant in the thoughts of men than the one denied. If I am not to seek for causes, I have cut the thread of the labyrinth of physical phenomena, and may as well go in one direction as another, and whithersoever I go, I can reach no conclusion so strong as the one my scepticism has just snapped asunder. But if this notion is reached at all, it must be reached directly, intuitively. This fact, those who ground knowledge on experience seem generally to acknowledge, by so framing their definitions of matter and mind as to escape its recognition.
Without dwelling longer on the source of the idea, we proceed to point out what it involves, and the office it performs. The notion of causation is briefly expressed in the proposition, that every effect must have a cause. Herein is contained the assertion, that the cause is exactly commensurate with the effect, for if not, some part of the effect is without a cause. The effect, that is, the entire effect, is also the precise equivalent of the cause; were it not, some portions of the force would have been lost, that is, ceased to exist, and that, too, without any phenomena. To assert that this part of the force ever existed would be a judgment without a reason, a conclusion without a premise, since we have no phenomena whatever on which to base our predication. The sameness of forces in their results, that each cause must
in each of several cases be followed by like results, that is, the general uniformity of nature, is also deducible from the above statement of causation. If the same cause is followed by different results in different cases, this change of effects would be without a cause, and the original idea therein violated. Diversity of results implies diversity of causes, and we do not anticipate change, therefore, except as we see reasons for change in a change of causes. The permanence of forces would also seem to be involved in this first axiom of the mind, since the entire force passes without gain or loss into the effect. How far the flow can be reversed, and under what circumstances the force expressed in the effect can return and be re-expressed in the cause, is a matter of experience, and not of a priori judgment; exactly as what the given effects of any cause shall be is learned by observation, and not by any intuitive knowledge of the force concerned. This is not directly cognized in its existence or in any of its transitions; it itself is always a matter of inference, and is only known through its effects. The initial startingpoints of all things are invisible and intangible, reached by the mind, and not by the senses. The very first phenomena, those with which our senses begin, come to us as a result, a consequent and not an antecedent, an index of something deeper than themselves.
We now turn to the office of this regulative idea, and begin with its chief field, the external, physical world. It is by it that we arrive at matter. All the ingenuity of Hamilton fails to show that we know matter; indeed, the doctrine involves him in contradictions and inextricable confusion. The sensation does not go beyond itself, its own content, the effect on its own receptive surface. Nothing could be well more unintelligible and inconceivable than to suppose this, as has generally been felt. Nothing but a desire to establish the existence of matter in connection with a failure to
recognize those ideas on which the proof rests, ever led to the assertion of a direct perception of matter as matter, a statement that is virtually taken back by other doctrines of those
who seem to hold it. A simple sensation is the merest starting-point of knowledge. It exists in very low, if not the lowest, forms of animal life. To transform these sensations into judgments is quite a different thing from experiencing them. A judgment must have two members, and both of them cannot be sensations. Two sensations cannot of themselves coalesce in a judgment. Judging is a deeper, more interior, more intellectual act than simple feeling, belonging to a clam as well as to man. Something must be affirmed of the sensations, some dependence or relation between them, and this something does not come from the sensations, but is brought to them from the mind. A single sensation gives an occasion to rational powers for judgment; first, that it itself is ; second, that the person experiencing it is; third, that the object occasioning it is. In forming these propositions, the mind brings forward two regulative ideas, that of existence, and that of cause and effect. Without these notions the conclusions cannot be reached ; with them they must be reached. The existence, then, of matter as an external cause of sensations, is a simple, direct, inevitable inference, which the mind makes in virtue of its own comprehending, rationalizing power. It thus ceases to move blindly, instinctively, under sensations as simple effects on itself, but takes up into the light of a reasoning mind the notion of things and of their relations.
The only difference, then, between sensations and perceptions is, that the last are crowded with judgments, while the first are naked phenomena. Nor ought it to surprise us that the first and simplest sensation instantly weds itself to an inference, when our later sensations, like those of sight, are full of instantaneous and unconscious judgments, by which the size, form, and position of surrounding objects are explained to us. If we can at once convert a plain surface, like that of an engraving, into all the innumerable and complex relations of a landscape, and yet not be aware of the process, much more may we enclose in the sense of touch, the simple judgment of an external cause, and still orerlook