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Aristotle rejects the doctrine of innate ideas, CHAP. and maintains, that all our direct information ori. ginates in perceptions of sense. But this inform- Intellect ation could not carry us a single step in science its office. or in art, without higher principles than sensation, memory, fantasy, and the capacity of being disciplined and instructed by associations, or custom, all which are shared in common with man, by many inferior tribes of animals." Even reason itself, thereby meaning the discursive faculty which infers one proposition from another, would never, of itself, enable us to rear any part of the intellectual edifice ; for, to this end, there must be a firm foundation to rest on : unless this were the case, reasoning would be endless; to cite Aristotle's emphatic words,
“ It is ignorance not to know in what things demonstration is required, and in what it is not.”. To suppose all truths obtained by demonstrative reasoning,
Locke gives a division of the Sciences, or, as he says, of all that can fall within the compass of the human understanding. The first is Dvoukn, or natural philosophy, which consists in the knowledge of things, as they are in their own proper beings. The end of this is bare speculative truth. Secondly, #PAKTIKn, the skill of applying rightly our own powers and actions, for the attainment of things good and useful. These two, together with the onuELWTLAN, or doctrine of signs, otherwise called Logick, are, he says, the most general, as well as most natural division of the objects of the understanding. In this division, however, Locke omits the TOLTTUCN, the productive; *pages and toinois, action and production, are neither of them mere speculation, yet totally different from each other.
o New Analysis, p. 68. et seq.
7 Aristot. in libro de Memoria et Reminiscentia, c. 1, 2. p. 680. Conf. Problem, sect. xxv. p. 797.
8 Aristot. Metaph. 1. iv. c. 4. Confer. Analyt. Poster. I. ii. c. 15.
CHAP. implies a progress to infinity, a thing impossiIl.
ble"; and therefore takes away all demonstrative reasoning whatever. The author, therefore, infers a better and higher faculty in man than that merely discursive; the faculty, by which we obtain the knowledge of immediate or intuitive truths ; namely, those truths which are the basis of demonstration itself. « Of the intellectual habits, by which truth is discovered, some are firmly relied on, as demonstration and science; others are found, by experience, frequently to deceive us, as reasoning and opinion. All science, however, is accompanied by reasoning: there cannot, then, be any science of first principles; that is, of those immediate truths, on which all others hinge. Intellect, therefore, is the source of science, being the only thing more bright, and more divine than science itself'l : and, as the human hand is the instrument of instruments; that is, the instrument that enables us to fashion every other 2, so the intellect is the form of forms; in plainer words, that supreme faculty in man, in which all his accurate knowledge originates, and by which, solely, its solidity is established. 13
9 The words in Italics, are used by Aristotle a little below, in going over the same subject.
10 Immediate truths are those obtained without any medium of proof: in modern language, called intuitive, by a metaphor.
11 Metaph. l. xiv. c. 9. Conf. Analyt. Posterior, l. ii. c. 15. et Ethic. Nicom. 1. vi. c. 6.
12 De Anima, 1, iii. c. 9. p. 656.
13 This doctrine of intellect was shown to be essential to an explanation of the phænomena of mind. See my New Analysis, p. 53. et seq. To refer these phænomena to mere sensation, an abuse of
On this foundation is raised the first stage of CHAP. Aristotle's philosophy, his doctrine of causes; which, after being grossly mistaken, has been Aristotle's very unjustly stigmatised by writers, from whom better things might have been expected. According to Aristotle, the notion of a cause, though one of the most general that we entertain, is also one of the very first in formation. It is a notion impressed on us by all our sensations and reflections, and discovers itself so early, that the actions of a child imply a familiar acquaintance with it. Every change that appears in the objects around us, intimates some cause of that change; whether the change be the simplest of all, merely that of place; or whether it consists in alteration, which is change of quality ; in augmentation or diminution, which are changes of quantity; in generation, or corruption, which are changes of substance.14 In every one of these cases alike, to infer the action
doctrine of causes.
terms. This, however, is attempted, in one of the newest and most
14 This substance, essence, or eidos, may either be the principal characterising property, from which things commonly derive their names, and from which all their other sensible qualities, as well as latent powers, are supposed to flow, or it may be a real individual substance, as the soul of man. When this departs, the body changes and rots. Aristot. de Anima. 1. iii, c. 9.
CHAP. of an efficient cause, is one of the first per
ceptions of intellect operating on experience; and to deny the force of this conclusion, would lead to the most palpable absurdity, and prepare us to believe that this fair world could have begun, of itself, to exist; a work without a maker, a contrivance without a contriver; propositions so monstrous, that they are thrown out by every sound mind, and rejected with the utmost scorn. A cause is essentially prior to its effect; but, as causes or agents operate in perpetual succession, that may be a cause considered under one aspect, which is barely an effect considered under another.
This succession, however, cannot be endless; for, in such a succession, every cause being merely the effect of the cause preceding it, when the chain is endless, there can be no first link, and therefore no cause at all. In this progression of causes, therefore, the first link is held by the hand of the Almighty, whose essence is absolute self-derived power, independent
power, independent and neverceasing energy.' Vindicated An able and acute writer has said, “ Many of against the ohjections Aristotle's distinctions are merely verbal. Of
this kind is his distinction of causes, of which Reid.
he makes four kinds, efficient, material, formal,
15 Metaph. 1. xiv. c. 7. and 8. In conformity with this doctrine, the ablest, perhaps, of modern metaphysicians says, “ The course of nature is nothing but the will of the Almighty, operating in a continued, regular, and uniform manner.” Samuel Clarke. The great Sydenham speaks to the same purpose, in a passage which I shall have occasion to cite hereafter. Sydenham, Opera Universa, p. 139. Leyden, 1754.
and final. These distinctions may deserve a CHAP. place in a dictionary of the Greek language; but in English or Latin, they adulterate the language.” 16 Yet a very little attention will enable us to perceive, that these distinctions, instead of being merely verbal, are founded in the real nature of things, and the uniform process of thought in all rational creatures. If truth be the end of philosophy, it must consist in the investigation of causes; for we know any proposition to be true, only when we have discovered the causes that make it to be so; and our knowledge of sensible objects, how remote soever from perfection, will, notwithstanding, be the greater in proportion to our acquaintance with the materials, from which they are made; with those characterising properties which constitute their nature, and from which they derive their name; with the external agents that have produced, or that preserve them; and with the ends and uses which they are calculated or intended to answer. 17 A cause, therefore, is defined briefly, that through which any thing exists, or is made, or is known. These distinctions are just and solid; they are not barren generalities, but, as will presently appear, of all truths the most fruitful.
They were, however, grossly mistaken by the Mistated schoolmen, who, from Aristotle's doctrine of boy to
schoolmen, causes, concluded that we ought to reason from against
16 Dr. Reid in Kames's Sketches, vol. iü. p. 358. 17 New Analysis, p. 131.