« PreviousContinue »
To solve this question, we must first remark, that every animal, however exquisite in its frame, is nevertheless far from being perfect, being still the part of a greater and more perfect whole," to which it is connected by many necessary wants.
One of these, for example, is common to all animals, that of food or aliment. Suppose then this want were not to be gratified, what would be the consequence? The animal would perish. And how has Providence obviated this danger? It has given to every animal, however base, however young, not only a consciousness of this want, but an obscure sensation of some distinction in things without; and a preconception or anticipation in favour of that aliment which it is to prefer, from an inward feeling of its proper constitution. It is thus without either teaching or experience, but merely from an innate feeling of what is conducive to their proper being, that infants are able to distinguish milk from vinegar; and silk-worms the leaf of a mulberry from that of a laurel or an ash. Now the consequence
"Ipse autem homo-nullo modo perfectus, sed est quædam particula perfecti. Cic. de Nat. Deor. ii. 14. See chap. x. and the end of the present chapter.
What is applied by Cicero in the above passage to man, may with equal propriety be applied to all other animals, and needs no proving. It was a fundamental doctrine of the Stoics.
ο Πρῶτον οἰκεῖον εἶναι παντὶ ζώῳ τὴν αὐτοῦ σύστασιν, καὶ τὴν ταύτης συνείSnow: "The thing primarily intimate to every animal, is its own constitution, and a consciousness of it." Diog. Laert. vii. 85.
P Simul atque natum sit animal-ipsum sibi conciliari, et commendari ad se conservandum et suum statum, et ad ea, quæ conservantia sunt ejus status, diligenda; alienari autem ab interitu, iisque rebus, quæ interitum videantur adferre. Cic. de Fin. iii. 5.
Thus Seneca: Omnibus (sc. animalibus) constitutionis suæ sensus est, et inde membrorum tam expedita tractatio. Epist. cxxi. Soon after: Constitutionem suam [animal] crasse intelligit, summatim, et obscure. And again: Ante omnia est mei cura: hoc animalibus inest cunctis: nec inseritur, sed innascitur. And soon after, speaking of the terror which some animals feel in their earliest state, when they first behold a hawk, or a cat, he adds-Apparet illis inesse scientiam nocituri, non experimento collectam ; nam, antequam possint experiri,
Even the ferocious tribes of animals, when their powers become mature, are shewn how to employ them, by an innate, internal instinct.
Dente lupus, cornu taurus petit, unde, nisi
As to innate ideas, there is certainly nothing so true, (and it requires no great logic to prove,) that, if by innate ideas be meant innate propositions, there never were, nor ever can be, any such things existing. But this no ways tends to subvert that innate distinction of things into eligible and ineligible, according as they are suitable to every nature, or not suitable; a distinction which every being appears to recognise from its very birth.
Hence the author above quoted, in the same epistle: Tenera quoque animalia, a materno utero, vel quoquo modo effusa, quid sit infestum ipsis protinus norunt, et mortifera devitant.
And it is upon this reasoning we may venture to affirm, that every such being in its earliest moments perceives itself to be an animal, though it may not be philosophically informed what an animal really is: Quid sit animal, nescit; animal esse se sentit. Ibid.
Whatever others, in ancient, or even in modern days, may have thought concerning this subject, that philosopher surely can be hardly suspected of favouring innate ideas, who held the human soul, or rather its intellective part," from its comprehending all things to be for that very reason something pure and unmixed,”—èπeì návтa voeî, àμiyn elva—and this, because [in any compound] "that which is alien, by shewing itself along with other objects impedes and obstructs ”—παρεμφαινόμενον γὰρ κωλύει τὸ ἀλλότριον, καὶ ἀντιφράττει. "That therefore the human intellect in its nature was
of this consciousness, of these preconceptions or anticipations, is a spontaneous impulse; for it is in these that such impulse finds an adequate efficient cause. But if we include all these under the common name of perception, we shall then find that per
nothing else than mere capacity, or the being capable”—ὥστε μήδ ̓ αὐτοῦ εἶναι φύσιν τίνα μηδεμίαν, ἀλλ ̓ ἢ ταύτην, ὅτι SúvaTov-"that in consequence it was not any simple one of the whole tribe of beings, before it comprehended aud understood it' -δ ̓ ἄρα καλούμενος τῆς ψυχῆς νοῦς-οὐδέν ἐστιν ἐνεργείᾳ τῶν ὄντων, πρὶν νοεῖν— "that it was not therefore probable it should be blended with the body, for that then it would become vested with some corporeal quality, and be either hot or cold, and have some corporeal organ, as the sensitive faculty has; whereas now it has none”—διὸ οὐδὲ μεμίχθαι εὔλογον αὐτὸν τῷ σώματι· ποῖος γὰρ ἄν τις γίγνοιτο, θερμὸς ἢ ψυχρὸς κἂν ὄργανόν τι εἴη, ὥσπερ τῷ αἰσθητικῷ· νῦν δὲ οὐδέν ἐστι He concludes, at last, his reasonings with telling us, "that the intellect, as he had said before, was in capacity, after a certain manner, the several objects intelligible; but was in actuality no one of them, until it first comprehended it; and that it was the same with the mind, or human understanding, [in its original state,] as with a rasa tabula, or writing tablet, in which nothing as yet had been actually written "did εἴρηται πρότερον, ὅτι δυνάμει πως ἐστὶ τὰ νοητὰ ὁ νοῦς, ἀλλ ̓ ἐντελεχείᾳ οὐδὲν, πρὶν ἂν μὴ νοῇ· δεῖ δ ̓ οὕτως, ὥσπερ ἐν γραμματείῳ, ᾧ μηδὲν ὑπάρχει ἐντελεχείᾳ γεγραμμένον, ὅπερ συμβαίνει ἐπὶ τοῦ νοῦ.
Aristot. de Anima, l. iii. iv.
As to the simile of rasa tabula, or (to speak in a language more modern and familiar) that of a sheet of fair writing paper, though it be sufficiently evident of itself, it may be illustrated in the following manner.
The human intellect is pure unmixed, untainted capacity, as a sheet of fair writing paper is pure unmixed, untainted whiteness. The pure unmixed character of this intellectual capacity renders it fit for every object of comprehension, as the pure unmixed character of the paper makes it adequate to every species of writing. The paper would not be adequate to this purpose, were it previously scrawled over with syllables or letters. As far only as it is clear, it is capable; and if we suppose it perfectly clear, then is it perfectly capable. The same sort of reasoning is applicable to the human understanding.
Such we take to be the sentiments of this ancient sage on this important subject.
The sentiments and subject, being both of them curious, will (it is hoped) be an
apology for this digression.
By it we think it appears, that it was a received opinion among the ancients, that instincts both in man and beast were original, and founded in nature. That Aristotle held the same, appears not only from his History of Animals, but from the fol lowing remarkable passage in his Politics relative to man. There, speaking of the social state, or state of society, he says, φύσει μὲν οὖν ἡ ὁρμὴ ἐν πᾶσιν ἐπὶ τὴν ToιαÚтηy кowvwvlav, "that the tendency to such a society was by nature in all men." Pol. p. 4. edit. Sylb.
We think also it further appears, that whatever Aristotle thought of instincts residing in the lower faculties of man, irstincts respecting the purposes of common life and society, yet, as to the supreme and intellective part, this he held in its original state to be wholly pure and unmixed, and only fitted, by that purity, for general and universal comprehension. He seems (like the rest) to have justly distinguished between innate instincts, and innate propositions.
4 This word, perception, is of the most extensive meaning, and not only includes intellection, but sensation also, and that of the lowest degree. What is here called perception, is by Aristotle called knowledge. Γνώσεώς τινος πάντα (scil. ζῶα) μετέχουσι, τὰ μὲν πλείονος, τὰ δ ̓ ἐλάττονος, τὰ δὲ πάμπαν μικρᾶς, αἴσθησιν γὰρ ἔχουσιν· ἡ δ ̓ αἴσθησις, γνωσίς τις. Ταύτης δὲ τὸ τίμιον καὶ ἄτιμον πολὺ διαφέρει σκοποῦσι πρὸς φρόνησιν, καὶ πρὸς τὸ τῶν ἀψύχων γένος. Πρὸς μὲν γὰρ φρόνησιν ὥσπερ οὐδὲν εἶναι δοκεῖ τὸ κοινωνεῖν ἁφῆς καὶ γεύσεως μόνον· πρὸς δὲ ἀναισθησίαν, βέλτιστον. ̓Αγαπη τὸν γὰρ ἂν δόξῃ τὸ ταύτης τυχεῖν τῆς γνώσεως, ἀλλὰ μὴ κεῖσθαι τεθνεὼς καὶ μὴ ov: "All animals share a degree of knowledge; some of them, a greater; others of them, a less; and some of them, an exceedingly small degree; for they have all of them sensation, and sensation is a sort of knowledge. But the value and the novalue of sensation is widely different, when we compare it with rational comprehension on the one side, and with the race of beings inanimate on the other. With regard to rational comprehension, the mere partaking of taste and touch alone appears to be as nothing; but with regard to pure insensibility, it is something most excellent. For [when compared to beings insensible] it may surely appear a blessed event, to be
ception is the proper cause of spontaneous impulse; that it is so the animal impels itself, because it is so that it perceives; it does not so perceive, because it is so impelled."
The impulse hitherto spoken of is of earliest date, commencing in a manner with the animal itself; and, as it merely respects the body and bodily pleasure, is distinguished from other impulses by the name of appetite."
As animals advance, the scene of perception enlarges, and the number of spontaneous impulses increase, of course, with it. Yet while pleasure corporeal continues the sole object, and there appears no danger, either in acquiring or preserving it, the impulse is still an appetite, varying only in its name, as the pleasure, to which it is referred, varies in the species.
Yet, besides these preconceptions, the sources of simple appetite, there are also preconceptions of offering violence, and others of resisting danger, and these naturally call forth another power, I mean the power of anger. Few animals, when young, feel any such preconceptions; but the more ferocious and savage are sure to find them at maturity; and the irascible impulses soon spontaneously attend, prompting the lion to employ his fangs, the vulture his talons, the boar his tusk, and every other animal of prey his proper and natural preparations.
All these spontaneous impulses, as well of anger as of appetite, are equally included under the common name of irrational," being called by this name, because they have nothing to do with
But when reason becomes strong enough to view its proper objects; that sight, to which no being here but man alone is equal; when the moral and the intelligible rise before his mental eye, and he beholds the fair forms of good and of truth; then, too, arise impulses of a far more noble kind, those to friendship, to society, to virtue, and to science.*
agendarum ordinem, et, ut ita dicam, concordiam; multo eam pluris æstimavit, quam omnia illa, quæ primum dilexerat: atque ita cogitatione et ratione conlegit, ut statueret in eo conlocatum summum illud hominis per se laudandum et expetendum bonum. Cic. de Fin. iii. 6.
Unicuique ætati sua constitutio est: alia infanti, alia puero, alia seni: omnes enim constitutioni conciliantur, in qua sunt. Infans sine dentibus est: huic constitutioni suæ conciliatur. Enati sunt dentes: huic, &c. Sen. Epist. cxxi. The whole epistle is worth perusal, in particular what follows: Ergo infans ei constitutioni suæ conciliatur, quæ tunc infanti est, non quæ futura juveni est. Neque enim, si aliquid illi majus in quo transeat, restat; non hoc quoque, in quo nascitur, secundum naturam est.
And thus is man not only a microcosm in the structure of his body, but in the system, too, of his impulses, including all of them within him, from the basest to the most sublime. He includes them all, as being possessed of all perception; and per
See also his elegant application of this doctrine to the different stages of that wellknown vegetable, corn, from its first appearance above the ground, to its state of maturity. Nam et illa herba, quæ in segetem, &c. Epist. p. 603. edit. Varior.
See also how elegantly Cicero applies the same doctrine to the vine, where to the vegetative powers he first supposes sense superadded ; and then to sense, reason; each superaddition still increasing in value, though not robbing the former powers of their due regard and attention: Et nunc quidem, quod eam tuetur, ut de viti potissimum loquar, est id, &c. De Fin. v. 14.
See the Dialogue concerning Happiness, part ii. and the notes, p. 72, &c.
The number and subordination of the animating powers are well distinguished in the following extracts.
Τῶν δὲ δυνάμεων τῆς ψυχῆς αἱ λεχθεῖσαι τοῖς μὲν ἐνυπάρχουσι πᾶσαι (καθάπερ εἴπομεν) τοῖς δὲ τινὲς αὐτῶν, ἐνίοις δὲ μία μόνη ̇ δυνάμεις δὲ εἴπομεν θρεπτικὸν, αἰσθητικὸν, ὀρεκτικὸν, κινητικὸν κατὰ τόπον, διανοητικόν· ὑπάρχει δὲ τοῖς μὲν φυτοῖς τὸ θρεπτικὸν μόνον, ἑτέροις δὲ τὸ αὐτό τε καὶ τὸ αἰσθητικόν· εἰ δὲ τὸ αἰσθητικὸν, καὶ τὸ ὀρεκτικόν. ὄρεξις μὲν γὰρ ἐπιθυμία, καὶ θυμὸς καὶ βούλησις· τὰ δὲ ζῶα πάντα μίαν ἔχει τῶν αἰσθήσεων, τὴν ἁφήν· ᾧ δὲ αἴσθησις ὑπάρχει, τούτῳ ἡδονή τε καὶ λύπη, καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία, τοῦ γὰρ ἡδέος ὄρεξις ἐστὶν auτn: "With regard to the powers of the soul that have been enumerated, to some beings they appertain all of them; to others, only some of them; and to others, only one of them. The powers we have mentioned are the nutritive, the sensitive, the power of desire, of local motion, of ratiocination. Now to plants there appertains only the nutritive power; to other beings both this and the sensitive: but if the sensitive, then the power of desire; for appetite, and resentment, and volition, (the three great leading powers,) are each of them a species of desire, and all animals have at least one of the senses, I mean the sense of touch. Now to the being which possesses sensation, to this appertain also pleasure and pain, and that which is pleasurable and painful. But if these, then appetite; for appetite is the desire of that which is pleasurable." Arist. de Anim. 1. ii. c. 3.
And soon after: "Avev μèv yàp тоû OpenTikoû tò alobŋtikdy oùk čoti toû dè aloθητικοῦ χωρίζεται τὸ θρεπτικὸν ἐν τοῖς φυ
τοῖς. Πάλιν δὲ, ἄνευ μὲν τοῦ ἁπτικοῦ τῶν ἄλλων αἰσθήσεων οὐδεμία ὑπάρχει, ἁφὴ δὲ ἄνευ τῶν ἄλλων ὑπάρχει ̇ πολλὰ γὰρ τῶν ζώων οὔτε ὄψιν οὔτε ἀκοὴν ἔχουσιν, οὔτε ὀσμῆς ὅλως αἴσθησιν· καὶ τῶν αἰσθητικών τὰ μὲν ἔχει τὸ κατὰ τόπον κινητικὸν, τὰ δ' οὐκ ἔχει τελευταῖον δὲ καὶ τὸ ἐλάχιστον, λογισμὸν καὶ διάνοιαν· οἷς μὲν γὰρ ὑπάρχει λογισμὸς τῶν φθαρτῶν, τούτοις καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ πάντα οἷς δὲ ἐκείνων ἕκαστον, οὐ πᾶσι λογισμὸς—ἀλλὰ τοῖς μὲν οὐδὲ φαντασία, τὰ δὲ ταύτῃ μόνον ζῶσι: “Without the nutritive power there is no sensitive; but then the nutritive is separated from the sensitive in plants. Again: without touch there can be none of the other sensations, but there may be touch without any of the rest; for thus are there many animals which have neither sight, nor hearing, nor even a sensation of smells. Further still: of the
sensitive beings some possess the locomotive power, and others possess it not: the last order of beings, and those the fewest in number, are those which possess the powers of reasoning and discussion; and among the mortal and perishable beings, those who possess these powers possess all the remaining species ; but those who possess any one of these powers in particular, do not all of them therefore possess the reasoning power, but some of them want eren the power af fancy or imagination; others of them comduct themselves, and live by that [inferior power] alone." Arist. de Anim. 1. ii. c. 3. p. 28. edit. Sylb. See before, p. 280, note f.
It must be here observed, that plants are said to live, (v,) though not to be animals, (wa): the character of animal being derived from the power of sensation, of which plants are supposed destitute; while that of life appertains to them, because they grow, and produce each of them seed after their kind.
These different powers, as they stand united in one subject, may be better comprehended by marking their clear and distinct character, when they exist apart, in different subjects.
The preceding speculations have respect to the threefold division of the soul, adopted by the Pythagoreans and Platonics, by which they made it to be rational, irascible, and concupiscible; and called its three faculties λόγος, θυμὸς, and ἐπιθυμία, “reason, anger, and concupiscence," or appetite. See Diog. Laert. iii. 90. Plato's Republic is founded on this division.
ception we have now found to be the cause of all spontaneous impulse.
We must remember, however, that it is not perception simply which causes such impulse, but it is perception of want within, and of adequate good without; and that as this good is sometimes an object of sense, sometimes of intellect, sometimes a mistaken good, at other times a real one, (inasmuch as sensation is fallible, and reason may be deceived,) so the whole amounts to this: "the cause of spontaneous impulse is the perception of absent good, and that either sensible or intelligible, either real or apparent."2
After this manner we perceive one of the most important unions; the union of those two capital motions, the physical and the metaphysical. The soul perceives those goods which it is conscious that the animal wants. Hence an impulse to obtain them by employing the organs of the body; and this, as far as the soul only is concerned, we call motion metaphysical. Hence the bodily organs actually are employed, and this we call motion physical. Perception leads the way; spontaneous impulse follows; and the body supplies the place of an instrument or tool.a
As every animal motion has a view to good, so, if it miss that good, the motion ceases, and the animal is left discontented: if it obtain it, the animal is happy, but then, too, the motion ceases; for the end is obtained to which the motion tended. And thus is all animal motion in its nature finite, as it has a beginning and an end; as it begins from the want of good, and ends in its acquisition. Hence, too, as it ends where it begins, it bears an analogy to motion circular, where we run a complete round, by returning to the point whence we began.
It is no unentertaining speculation to attend to these internal motions, as they arise from the different prevalence of their different internal causes. Within the soul of man there are passions, and a principle of reason: sometimes the internal mo
See Treatise on Happiness, and notes on the same, page 90, and 108.
a Οὕτως μὲν οὖν ἐπὶ τὸ κινεῖσθαι καὶ #ράTTEIV τà (ŵa dpμŵσi, tŷs μèv éoxάrns αἰτίας τοῦ κινεῖσθαι ὀρέξεως οὔσης, ταύτης δὲ γινομένης ἢ δι ̓ αἰσθήσεως, ἢ διὰ φανTaoías Kal vohoews: "And thus it is that animals proceed to move themselves and act, a desire being the last and immediate cause of their moving, and this desire being occasioned either by sensation, or else by imagination and intellection." Arist. de Animal. Motu, c. vii. p. 155. edit. Sylb.
Τὰ μὲν γὰρ ὀργανικὰ μέρη παρασκευάζει ἐπιτηδείως τὰ πάθη, ἡ δὲ ὄρεξις τὰ πάθη, τὴν δὲ ὄρεξιν ἡ φαντασία· αὐτὴ δὲ γίγνεται ἢ διὰ νοήσεως, ἢ δι ̓ αἰσθήσεως: “The corporeal feelings prepare in a proper manner the organic parts of the body; desire pre
pares those feelings; that desire is prepared by some fancy or appearance; and this last arises either through intellection or sensation." Ejusd. c. viii. p. 157. edit. Sylb.
If it be asked, why nothing has been said concerning aversion and evil, as well as concerning volition and good; the answer is, that to fly evil is to seek good; and to escape evil is to obtain good; so that in the present inquiry they are both included.
b Πάντα γὰρ τὰ ζῶα καὶ κινεῖ καὶ κινεῖται ἕνεκά τινος· ὥστε τοῦτ ̓ ἔστιν αὐτοῖς πάσης κινήσεως πέρας, τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα: “ All animals both move, and are moved for the sake of something ; so that this something, that is to say, the final cause, is the bound
or limit of all their motion." Arist. de Animal. Mot. c. 6. p. 153. edit. Sylb.