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sciences at the period when Bacon began to write, we shall follow our author's steps and proceed with him to the second chapter, the subject of which is the state of philosophy from the publication of Bacon's philosophical works till that of the Essay on the Human Understanding.'
Ego cum me ad utilitates humanas natum existimarem, says Bacon in his Fragment De Interp. Nat. et curam reipublicæ inter ea esse, quæ publici sunt juris, et velut undam aut auram omnibus patere interpretarer, et quid hominibus maxime conducere posset quæsivi, et ad quid ipse a natura optimè factus essem deliberavi-me ipsum autem ad veritatis contemplationes, quam ad alia magis fabrifactum deprehendi ; ut qui mentem et ad rerum similitudinem (quod maximum est) agnoscendam, satis mobilem, et ad differentiarum subtilitates satis fixam et intentam haberem, qui et quærendi desiderium, et dubitandi patientiam, et meditandi voluptatem, et asserandi cunctationem, et resipiscendi facilitatem, et disponendi soliçitudinem tenerem; quique nec novitatem affectarem, nec antiquitatem admirarer, et omnem imposturam odissem. We know not that among all the many long and laboured panegyrics which we have met with upon Bacon's character as a writer any one is to be found more just or better discriminated than this which we have extracted from his own works. The tone, indeed, in which he talks of himself and of the qualities of his genius, is somewhat high, considering who it is that speaks; but he attributes to himself nothing more than he really possessed; for he was truly a man of admirable wisdom; with all his moral errors a sincere lover of mankind, and with all his intellectual errors sincerely zealous for truth.
But the soundness of an author's philosophical opinions is not always proportioned to the greatness of his genius; and accordingly, although we profess as much veneration for the powers of Bacon's mind as Mr. Stewart himself can well be supposed to feel, and possibly not less admiration for his writings, yet we cannot but think that when our author rests the fame of Bacon upon the superior knowledge, which he supposes his works to display, of the proper objects of philosophy and of the resources and limits of the human understanding, it is placing them precisely in the least favourable point of view in which they can well be looked at. No doubt there are many observations upon this subject scattered through Bacon's writings which, taken separately, reflect great credit upon his good sense; but we are now speaking of his philosophical views in general, and these are manifestly so loose, wavering and erroneous, that when we hear Mr. Stewart perpetually talking of the Baconian school, and the Baconian logic, and describing his own particular doctrines in philosophy as modelled upon Bacon's precepts, by way of contradistinction from those who profess to be followers of
Locke in philosophy, we should sometimes be tempted to suspect, did we not know the unimpeachable integrity of Mr. Stewart's opinions, that he and Dr. Reid were merely availing themselves of Bacon's venerable name, (to use an expression of this last,) vice lictorum aut viatorum, ad summovendam turbam ut dogmatibus suis viam aperirent.
• The merits of Bacon,' says our author, as the father of experimental philosophy, are so universally acknowledged that it would be superfluous to touch upon them here. The lights which he bas struck out in various branches of the philosophy of mind have been much less attended to; although the whole scope and tenour of his speculations show, that to this study his genius was far more strongly and happily turned than to that of the material world. It was not as some seem to have imagined, by sagacious anticipation of particular discoveries, that his writings have had so powerful an influence in accelerating the advancement of that science. In the extent and accuracy of his physical knowledge, he was far inferior to many of his predecessors; but he surpassed them all in his knowledge of the laws, the resources, and the limits of the human understanding. The sanguine expectations with which he looked forwards to the future were founded solely in his confidence in the untried capacities of the mind; and on a conviction of the possibility of invigorating and guiding by logical rules those faculties, which, in all our researches after truth, are the organs or instruments to be employed. “ Such rules," as he himself has observed, “ do in some sort equal man's wits, and leave no great advantage in pre-eminence to the excellent notions of the spirit. To draw a straight line, or to describe a circle by aim of hand only, there must be a great difference between an unsteady and unpractised hand, and a steady and practised; but to do it by rule or compass, it is much alike.”
• Nor is it merely as a logician that Bacon is entitled to notice on the present occasion. It would be difficult to name another writer prior to Locke whose works are enriched with so many valuable observations on the intellectual phenomena. Among these the most valuable relate to the laws of memory and imagination; the latter of which subjects he seems to have studied with peculiar care. In one short but beautiful paragraph concerning poetry, (under which title may be comprehended all the various creations of this faculty,) he has exhausted every thing that philosophy and good sense have yet had to offer on what has since been called the beau ideal; a topic which has furnished occasion to so many false refinements among the French critics, and to so much extravagance and mysticism in the cloud-capt metaphysics of the new German school. In considering imagination as connected with the nervous system, more particularly as connected with that species of sympathy to which medical writers have given the name of imitation, he has suggested some very important hints which none of his successors have hitherto cuted; and has at the same time left an example of cautious inquiry worthy to be studied by all who may attempt to intestigate the laws regulating the union between Mind and Body. His illustration of the different classes
of prejudice incident to human nature is, in point of practical utility at least, equal to any thing on that head to be found in Locke; of whom it is impossible to forbear remarking, as a circumstance not easily explicable, that he should have resumed this important discussion without once mentioning the name of his great predecessor.-The improvement made by Locke, in the further prosecution of the argument, is the application of Hobbes's theory of association to explain in what manner these prejudices are originally generated.
• In Bacon's scattered hints on topics connected with the philosophy of the mind, strictly so called, nothing is more remarkable than the precise and just idea they display of the proper aim of this science. He had manifestly reflected much and carefully on the operations of his own understanding, and had studied with uncommon sagacity the intellectual character of others. Of his reflections and observations on both subjects, he has recorded many important results; and has in general stated them, without the slightest reference to any physiological theory concerning their causes, or to any analogical explanations founded on the caprices of metaphorical language. If on some occasions he assumes the existence of animal spirits as the medium of communication between soul and body, it must be remembered that this was then the universal belief of the learned; and that it was at a much later period not less confidently avowed by Locke. Nor ought it to be overlooked (I mention it to the credit of both authors) that in such instances the fact is commonly so stated as to render it easy for the reader to detach it from the theory. As to the scholastic questions concerning the nature and essence of mind,—whether it be extended or unextended? whether it hare any relation to space or to time? or whether (as was contended by others) at exist in every ubi. but in no place ? Bacon has uniformly passed them over in silent contempt; and has probably contributed not less effectually to bring them into general discredit, by this indirect intimation of his own opinion, than if he had descended to the ungrateful task of exposing their absurdity.
* While Bacon, however, so cautiously avoids these unprofitable discussions about the nature of mind, he decidedly states his conviction, that the faculties of man differ not merely in degree but in kind, from the instincts of brutes. “ I do not therefore,” he observes on one occasion, “ approve of that confused and promiscuous method in which philosophers are accustomed to treat of pneumatologys, as if the human soul ranked above those of brutes, merely like the sun above the stars, or like gold above other metals.” '-p. 52.
Our author then proceeds to quote Bacon's remark upon the mutual influence which thought and language exercise over each ether, and upon the dependence which subsists between them. Having attributed to the views of Bacon upon this subject quite as much importance as they are entitled to, and animadverted upon the capital error into which he falls, by inferring from the more artificial construction of the ancient languages, that the human intellect was much more acute and subtle in ancient, than it is now in modern times,' Mr. Stewart concludes his long eulogium of
Bacon's opinions concerning the science of the mind, by summarily observing that,
It would be endless to particularize the original suggestions thrown out by Bacon on topics connected with the science of mind. The few passages of this sort already quoted, are produced merely as specimens of the rest. They are by no means selected as the most important in his writings; but as they happened to be those that left the strongest impression on my memory, I thought them as likely as any other to invite the curiosity of my readers to a careful examination of the rich mine from which they are selected.'-p. 54.
We have given the above passage at length, in order that upon a question about which we differ very widely from Mr. Stewart, we might place ourselves above all suspicion of having garbled or misrepresented his sentiments. The decision of it is perhaps of no material importance in a philosophical point of view; nevertheless, as our author is on all occasions holding up Bacon as the model whom metaphysical writers should emulate, it may perhaps be not without use to examine under what conditions this advice should be received.
Now we are willing to allow that the hints which Mr. Stewart has extracted from Bacon's writings as specimens of the soundness of his metaphysical opinions in general, display perfectly good sense; though we confess, at the same time, that we do not thoroughly understand the reason of that profuse admiration which they would appear to have excited in our author's mind. But be this as it may, we think it will be admitted, that however wise the remarks in question may be, they belong more properly to the practice than to the theory of our knowledge, and might have been made in the first instance, or afterwards acquiesced in, by a person who might nevertheless entertain very erroneous notions respecting the nature of the mind itself, and of that science of which mind is the object; and consequently that when Mr. Stewart praises his author for the surpassing knowledge which his writings display of the laws, the resources and the limits of the human understanding, and for the precise and just ideas which they evince of the proper aim of the science of the mind; even supposing this praise to be ever so justly deserved in point of fact, yet the propriety of it is by no means proved by the particular instances which he adduces. If Mr. Stewart or our readers continue of a different opinion, it will not be difficult to bring the matter to issue by a reference to the writings of Bacon himself.
Mr. Stewart praises his author for having avoided all physiological theories respecting the causes of the intellectual phenomena, (with an exception to his hasty acquiescence in the received opinion concerning the operation of animal spirits.)-Let us hear Bacon himself—The faculties of the soul,' says he, De Aug. lib. iv. c. iii.
. are well known : viz. the understanding, reason, imagination, memory, appetite, will, and all those wherewith logic and ethics are concerned. In the doctrine of the soul, the origin of these faculties must be physically treated, as they may be invate or adhering to the soul. What we are to understand by the word physically' he explaius on more than one occasion ; for example, lib. iv. c. i. he tells us,' that among these doctrines of union, or consent of soul and body, there is none more necessary, than an inquiry into the proper seut and habitation of each faculty of the soil in the body and its organs. Some indeed bave prosecuted this subject; but all usually delivered upon it, is either controverted or slightly examined, so as to require more pains and accuracy. The opinion of Plato, which seats the understanding in the brain, courage in the heart, and sensuality in the liver, should neither be totally rejected nor foudly received."
Again our author tells us, that 'as to the scholastic questions concerning the nature and essence of mind, whether it be extended or unextended, and so on, · Bacon has uniformly pussed them over in silent contempt. With what propriety this can be said, our readers shall judge; only premising, that in the language of the schools, extended, divisible, and separable, as applied to matter and mind, are generally used as parallel expressions. In the very same chapter of the book, nay in the very passage immediately following that which our author has quoted, respecting the promiscuous manner in which philosophers treat of the souls of men and brutes, we find the following words : The doctrine of the inspired suba stance (by which we must understand the sentient part of our nature) as also of the rational soul, comprehends several inquiries, with relation to its nature; as whether the soul be native or advena titious, separable or insepurable, and the like? But the points of this kind, though they might be more thoroughly sifted in philosophy than hitherto they have been, yet in the end they must be turned over to religion.-But in the doctrine of the sensitive or produced soul; even its substance may be justly inquired into; though this inquiry seems hitherto wanting: for of what significancy are the terins of actus ultimus, forma corporis, and such logical trifles, to the knowledge of the soul's substance? The sensitive soul must be allowed a corporeal substance, attenuated by heat, and rendered invisible; as a subtle breath, or aura, of a flaming and airy nature, having the softness of air in receiving impressions, and the activity of fire in exerting its action ; nourished partly by an oily and partly by a watery substance, and so forth.--Lib. iv. c. ii. So much for the ' uniformly silent contempt' with which Mr. Stewart thinks Bacon has so cautiously avoided unprofitable discụssions about the nature of mind.' in VOL. XVI. NO. XXXIII.