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wo agree with him: But he thought it very consequences are perfectly harmless. Their wicked and very despicably silly; and there reasonings are about as ingenious and as innowe cannot agree with him at all. It is a very cent as some of those which have been empretty and ingenious puzzle,-affords a very ployed to establish certain strange paradoxes useful mortification to human reason,—and as to the nature of motion, or the infinite divisleads us to that state of philosophical wonder ibility of matter. The argument is perfectly and perplexity in which we feel our own logical and unanswerable ; and yet no man in helplessness, and in which we ought to feel his senses can practically admit the conclu. the impropriety of all dogmatism or arrogance sion. Thus, it may be tly demonstrated, in reasoning upon such subjects. This is the that the swiftest moving body can never overonly use and the only meaning of such scep- take the slowest which is before it at the comtical speculations. It is altogether unfair, mencement of the motion; or, in the words and indeed absurd, to suppose that their of the original problem, that the swift-footed authors could ever mean positively to main- Achilles could never overtake a snail that had tain that we should try to get the better of a few yards the start of him. The reasoning any reliance on our memories, or that they upon which this valuable proposition is foundthemselves really doubted more than other ed, does not admit, we believe, of any direct people as to the past reality of the things confutation; and yet there are few, we supthey remembered. The very arguments they pose, who, upon the faith of it, would iake a bet use, indeed, to show that the evidence of as to the result of such a race. The sceptical memory may be fallacious, prove, completely, reasonings as to the mind lead to no other that, in point of fact, they relied as implicitly practical conclusion; and may be answered as their antagonists on the accuracy of that or acquiesced in with the same good nature. faculty. If they were not sure that they re- Such, however, are the chief topics which collected the premises of their own reason- Dr. Beattie has discussed in this Essay, with ings, it is evidently impossible that they a vehemence of temper, and an impotence should ever have come to any conclusion. of reasoning, equally surprising and humiliaIf they did not believe that they had seen the ting to the cause of philosophy. The subjects books they answered, it is impossible they we have mentioned occupy the greater part should have set about answering them. of the work, and are indeed almost the only
The truth is, however, that all men have a ones to which its title at all applies. Yet we practical and irresistible belief both in the think it must be already apparent, that there existence of matter, and in the accuracy of is nothing whatever in the doctrines he opmemory; and that no sceptical writer ever poses, to call down his indignation, or to jusmeant or expected to destroy this practical tify his abuse. That there are other doctrines belief in other persons. All that they aimed in some of the books which he has aimed at at was to show their own ingenuity, and the confuting, which would justify the most zealnarrow limits of the human understanding ;- ous opposition of every friend to religion, we to point out a curious distinction between the readily admit; but these have no necessary evidence of immediate consciousness, and dependence on the general speculative scepthat of perception of memory,--and to show ticism to which we have now been alluding, that there was a kind of logical or argumen- and will be best refuted by those who lay all lative possibility, that the objects of the latter that general reasoning entirely out of confaculties might have no existence. There sideration. Mr. Hume's theory of morals, never was any danger of their persuading which, when rightly understood, we conceive men to distrust their senses or their memory; to be both salutary and true, certainly has no nor can they be rationally suspected of such connection with his doctrine of ideas and iman intention. On the contrary, they neces- pressions; and the great question of liberty sarily took for granted the instinctive and in- and necessity, which Dr. Beattie has settled, destructible belief for which they found it so by mistaking, throughout, the power
of doing difficult to account. Their whole reasonings what we will, for the power of willing withconsist of an attempt to explain that admitted out motives, evidently depends upon considerfact, and to ascertain the grounds upon which ations altogether apart from the nature and that belief depends. In the end, they agree immutability of truih. It has always appeared with their adversaries that those grounds can- to us, indeed, that too much importance has not be ascertained : and the only difference been attached to Theories of morals, and to 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
To this extent, we are clearly of opinion about cause and effect. It does not appear to that the sceptics are right; and though the us, however, that Mr. Hume ever meant to value of the discovery certainly is as small as deny the existence of such a relation, or of possible, we are just as well satisfied that its the relative idea of power. He has merely given a new theory as to its genealogy or scholars of the south, who knew little of meta descent; and detected some very gross inac- physics themselves, to get a Scotch professor curacies in the opinions and reasonings which of philosophy to take up the gauntlet in their were formerly prevalent on the subject. behalf. The contempt with which he chose
If Dr. Beattie had been able to refute these to speak of his antagonists was the very tone doctrines, we cannot help thinking that he' which they wished to be adopted; and, some would have done it with more temper and of them, imposed on by the confidence of his moderation; and disdained to court popularity manner, and some resolved to give it all by so much fulsome cant about common sense, chances of imposing on others, they joined in virtue, and religion, and his contempt and one clamour of approbation, and proclaimed a abhorrence for infidels, sophists, and meta- triumph for a mere rash skirmisher, while the physicians; by such babyish interjections, as leader of the battle was still doubtful of the #fy on it! fy on it!"—such triumphant ex- victory. The book, thus dandled into popoclamations, as, say, ye candid and intelli- larity by bishops and good ladies, contained gent !"—or such terrific addresses, as, “ye many pieces of nursery eloquence, and much traitors to human kind! ye murderers of the innocent pleasantry: it was not fatiguing to human soul!”—“vain hypocrites! perfidious the understanding; and read less heavily, on profligates!” and a variety of other embellish- the whole, than most of the Sunday library. ments, as dignified as original in a philosophi- In consequence of all these recommendations, cal and argumentative treatise. The truth is, it ran through various editions, and found its that the Essay acquired its popularity, partly way into most well-regulated families; and, from the indifference and dislike which has though made up of such stuff, as we really long prevailed in England, as to the meta- believe no grown man who had ever thought physical inquiries which were there made the of the subject could possibly go throngh with. subject of abuse; partly from the perpetual out nausea and compassion, still retains its appeal which it affects to make from philoso- place among the meritorious performances, phical subtlety to common sense ; and partly by which youthful minds are io be purified from the accidental circumstances of the au- and invigorated. We shall hear no more of it, thor. It was a great matter for the orthodox however, among those who have left college.
(N ov ember, 1810.) Philosophical Essays. By DUGALD STEWART, Esq., F.R.S. Edinburgh, Emeritus Professor of
Moral Philosophy in tảe University of Edinburgh, &c. &c. 4to. pp. 590. Edinburgh: 1810.
The studies to which Mr. Stewart has de- f and to constitute, in this way, a signal ex. voted himself, have lately fallen out of favour ample of that compensation, by which the good with the English public; and the nation which and evil in our lof is constantly equalised, or once placed the name of Locke immediately reduced at least 10 no very variable standard. under those of Shakespeare and of Newton, The progress of knowledge has given birth, and has since repaid the metaphysical labours of late years, to so many arts and sciences, that of Berkeley and of Hume with such just ce- a man of liberal curiosity finds both sufficient lebrity, seems now to be almost without zeal occupation for his time, and sufficient exercise or curiosity as to the progress of the Philoso- to his understanding, in acquiring a superficia] phy of Mind.
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 ihe 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
tion; and a man can scarcely pass current in elements of mathematical learning; and were the informed circles of society, without know- even suspected of having fallen into several ing something of political economy, chemistry, heresies in metaphysics, merely from want mineralogy, geology, and etymology,—having of time to get regularly at the truth! 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 de. ourselves against its intrusion. So many easy clined; and the practical benefits applied and 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'ail 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 In the mean time, the misfortune is, that very little but the fallacy of all former phithere is no popular nor royal road to the pro- losophy. Now, they who had been accus. founder and more abstract truths of philoso-tomed to admire that ancient philosophy, cau phy; and that these are apt, accordingly, to not be supposed to be much delighted with fall into discredit or neglect, at a period when its demolition; and, at all events, are natuit is labour enough for most men to keep them- rally discouraged from again attaching themselves up to the level of that great tide of selves to a system, which they may soon have popular information, which has been rising, the mortification of seeing subverted in its with such unexampled rapidity, for the last turn. In their minds, therefore, the opening forty years.
of such a course of study is apt only to breed Such, we think, are the most general and a general distrust of philosophy, and to rivet uncontrollable causes which have recently a conviction of its extreme and irremediable depressed all the sciences requiring deep uncertainty: while those who had previously thought and solitary application, far below the been indifferent to the systems of error, are level of their actual importance; and pro- displeased with the labour of a needless ref. duced the singular appearance of a partial utation; and disappointed to find, that, after falling off in intellectual enterprise and vigour, a long course of inquiry, they are brought in an age distinguished, perhaps, above all back to that very state of ignorance from others, for the rapid development of the hu- which they had expected it would relieve man faculties. The effect we had formerly them. occasion to observe, when treating of the sin- If anything could counteract the effect of gular decay of Mathematical science in Eng. these and some other causes, and revive ir. land; and so powerful and extensive is the England that taste for abstract speculation for operation of the cause, that, even in the intel- which it was once so distinguished, we should lectual city which we inhabit, we have known have expected this to be accomplished by the instances of persons of good capacity who publications of the author before us.---The had never found leisure to go beyond the first great celebrity of his name, and the uniform 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 lighis 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 But it is in the second part of the Prelimi- which, we make no doubt, have often betraynary Dissertation that we take the chief in- ed us into still greater errors.
But it is very terest—as Mr. Stewart has there taken occa- far from following from this, that there is not sion to make a formal reply to some of our a material difference between experiment and hasty speculations, and has done us the honour observation; or that the philosophy of mind of embodying several of our transitory pages in not necessarily restrained within very narin this enduring volume. If we were at row limits, in consequence of that distinction. liberty to yield to the common weaknesses Substances which are in our power, are the of authors, we should probably be tempted to objects of experiment; those which are not defend ourselves in a long dissertation ; but in our power, of observation only. With rewe know too well what is due to our readers gard to the former, it is obvious, that, by welland to the public, to think of engaging any contrived experiments, we may discover many considerable share of their attention with a things that could never be disclosed by any controversy which may be considered in some length of observation. With regard to the measure as personal to ourselves; and there- latter, an attentive observer may, indeed, see fore, however honourable we think it, to be more in them than strikes the eye of a carethus singled out for equal combat by such an less spectator : But he can see nothing that antagonist, we shall put what we have to say may not be seen by every body; and, in cases within the shortest possible compass.
where the appearances are very few, or very The observations to which Mr. Stewart has interesting, the chance is, that he does see here condescended to reply, occur in an early nothing more—and that all that is left to phinumber of our publication, and were intended losophy is, to distinguish them into classes, to show, that as mind was not the proper sub- and to fit them with appropriate appellations. ject of Experiment, but of Observation, so, Now, Mind, we humbly conceive, considered there could be no very close analogy between as a subject of investigation, is the subject of the rules of metaphysical investigation, and observation only; and is known nearly as well the most approved methods of inquiry as 10 by all men, as by those who have most dilithose physical substances which are subject gently studied its phenomena. “We cannot to our disposal and control;-that as all the decompose our sensations," we formerly obfacts with regard to mind must be derived served, in a crucible, nor divide our percep from previous and universal Consciousness, it tions with a prism.” The metaphor was somewas difficut to see how any arrangement of thing violent; but, the meaning obviously them could add to our substantial knowledge; was, that we cannot subject those faculties and that there was, therefore, no reason either to any analogous processes; nor discover more to expect Discoveries in this branch of science, of their nature than consciousness has taught or to look to it for any real augmentation of all the beings who possess them. Is it a our Power.
satisfactory answer, then, for Mr. Stewart, to With regard to Perception and the other say, that we may analyse them by reflectiou primary functions of mind, it was observed, and attention, and other instruments better that this doctrine seemed to hold without any suited than prisms or crucibles to the intellimitation; and as to the Associating princi- lectual laboratory which furnishes their ma
terials? Our reply is, that we cannot analyse A portion of the original article, containing a general view of the subject of these Essays, is here them at all ; and can never know more of them omitted, for the reasons stated at the head of this than has always been known to all to whom division.
they had been imparted; and that, for this pain reason, that the truth of every thing that when he removes those outer integuments, is said with regard to the mind, can be deter- and reveals the wonders of the inward organimined by an appeal to consciousness alone, sation of our frame. His statements do not and would not be even intelligible, if it in- receive their proof from the previous, though formed men of any thing that they did not perhaps undigested knowledge of his hearers, previously feel to be true.
but from the actual revelation which he makes With regard to the actual experiments to to their senses; and his services would eviwhich Mr. Stewart alludes, as having helped dently be more akin to those of the metaphyto explain the means by which the eye judges sician, if, instead of actually disclosing what of distances and magnitudes, these, we must was not previously known, or suspected to observe, are, according to our conception, very exist, he had only drawn the attention of an clearly experiments, not upon mind, but upon incurious generation to the fact that they had matter; and are only entitled to that name at each ten fingers and ten toes, or that most of all, in so far as they are carried on by means them had thirty-two teeth, distinguishable of the power we possess of disposing certain into masticators and incisors. 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, prisins, 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 ability of the astronomer to control those move
“In compensation,” he observes, “ for the in. of mind.
nienis of which he studies the laws, he may boast, In answer to our remark, that "no meta- as I already hinted, of the immense accession of a physician expects, by analysis, to discover a more useful power which his discoveries have added new power, or to excite a new sensation in to the human race, on the surface of their own
It would be endless to enumerate all the the mind, as the chemist discovers a new earth practical uses to which his labours are subservient. or a new metal,” Mr. Stewart is pleased to | It is sufficient for me to repeat an old, but very observe
striking reflection, that the only accurate knowledge " That it is no more applicable to the anatomy has been derived from the previous knowledge he
which Man yet possesses of the surface of the earth, of the mind, than to the anatomy of the body: had acquired of the phenomena of the stars. Is it After all the researches of physiologists on this last possible to produce a more apposite, or a more unsubject, both in the way of observation and of ex. I deniable proof of the universality of Bacon's maxim, periment, no discovery has yet been made of a new that knowledge is power,' than a fact which de. organ, either of power or of pleasure, or even of monstrates the essential aid which man has derived, the means of adding a cubit to the human stature; but it does not therefore follow that these researches from a branch of science which seems, at first view,
in asserting his dominion over this lower world, are useless. By enlarging his knowledge of his fitted only to gratify a speculative curiosity; and own intornal structure, they increase the power of which, in its infancy, served to amuse the leisure man, in that way in which alone they profess to of the Chaldean shepherd ?"-Prelim. Diss. pp. increase it. They furnish him with resources for remedying many of the accidents to which his
xxxviii, xxxix. health and his life are liable; for recovering, in some To this we have to answer, in the first place, cases, those active powers which disease has de. that astronomical science has not been perstroyed or impaired; and, in others, by giving sight fected by observation alone; but that all the to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, for awakening elements which have imparted to it the cer. powers of perception which were dormant before. Nor must we overlook what they have contributed, tainty, the simplicity, and the sublimity which in conjunction with the arts of the optician and of it actually possesses, have been derived from the mechanist, to extend the sphere of those senses, experiments made upon substances in the and to prolong their duration.”—Prelim. Diss. pp. power of their contrivers ;-from experiments xlvi, xlvii.
performed with small pieces of matter, on Now, ingenious and elegant as this parallel ihe laws of projectile motion—the velocities must be admitted to be, we cannot help re- of falling bodies and on centrifugal and cengarding it as utterly fallacious—for this sim- tripetal forces. The knowledge of those laws ple reason—that the business of anatomy is like all other valuable knowledge, was obto lay open, with the knife, the secrets of that tained by experiment only; and their appliinternal 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 ; But, in the second place, we must observe, nor does the metaphysician, when he appeals that even holding astronomy to be a science 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, lit, is confessedly a power, not over the sub.