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But, in his interesting work, De Methodo, Des Cartes relates the circumstance which first led him to meditate on this subject, and which since then has been often noticed and employed as an instance and illustration of the law. A child who with its eyes bandaged had lost several of his fingers by amputation, continued to complain for many days successively of pains, now in this joint and now in that, of the very fingers which had been cut off. Des Cartes was led by this incident to reflect on the uncertainty with which we attribute any particular place to any inward pain or uneasiness, and proceeded after long consideration to establish it as a general law; that contemporaneous impressions, whether images or sensations, recall each other mechanically. On this principle, as a ground-work, he built up the whole system of human language, as one continued process of association. He showed in what sense not only general terms,
* [It may well be doubted whether Mr. Coleridge is not more indulgent here to Des Cartes than the truth of the case warrants. The Tractatus de Homine is, no doubt, a part of the great Work of which he gives an account in his De Methodo, as being then written; and in it the nervous fluids and material configurations are displayed as precisely, if not as copiously, as by his commentator De la Forge himself. The "animal spirits" move mind and body. See De Hom. P. iv. s. 55, &c. See even in the De Methodo itself. Denique id quod hic super omnia observari meretur, generatio est spirituum animalium, quæ aut instar venti subtilissimi, aut potius flammæ purissimæ ; quæ continue e corde magna copia in cerebrum ascendens, inde per nervos in musculos penetrot, et omnibus membris motum dat, &c. P. 30, edit. 1664. See Spectator, No. 417. And indeed their agency is distinctly recognized in the same part of the Principia, in which the story of the child is related.-Ed.]
This story is told by Des Cartes in these words as one of many proofs that animam, non quatenus est in singulis membris, sed tantum quatenus est in cerebro, ea quæ corpori occidunt in singulis membris, nervorum ope sentire.
Cum puellæ cuidam, manum gravi morbo affectam habenti, velarentur oculi, quoties chirurgus accedebat, ne curationis apparatu turbaretur, eique, post aliquot dies brachium ad cubitum usque, ab gangrenam in eo serpentem, fuisset amputatam, et panni in ejus locum ita substituti, ut eo se privatam esse plane ignoraret, ipsa interim varios dolores, nunc in uno ejus manus quæ abscissa erat digito, nunc in alio se sentire querebatur. Quod sane aliunde contingere non poterat, quam ex eo, quod nervi, qui prius ex cerebro ad manum descendebant, tuncque in brachio juxta cubitum terminabantur, eodem modo ibi moverentur, ac prius moveri debuissent in manu, ad sensum hujus vel illius, digiti dolentis animæ in cerebro residenti imprimendum. Princ. iv. 196.-Ed.]
but generic images,-under the name of abstract ideas,—actually existed, and in what consist their nature and power. As one word may become the general exponent of many, so by association a simple image may represent a whole class.* But in truth Hobbes himself makes no claims to any discovery, and introduces this law of association, or (in his own language) discursion of mind, as an admitted fact, in the solution alone of which, and this by causes purely physiological, he arrogates any originality. His system is briefly this;† whenever the senses are impinged on by external objects, whether by the rays of light reflected from them, or by effluxes of their finer particles, there results a correspondent motion of the innermost and subtlest organs. This motion constitutes a representation, and there remains an impression of the same, or a certain disposition to repeat the same motion. Whenever we feel several objects at the same time, the impressions that are left (or in the language of Mr. Hume, the ideas) are linked together. Whenever therefore any one of the movements, which constitute a complex impression, is renewed through the senses, the others succeed mechanically. It follows of necessity, therefore, that Hobbes, as well as Hartley and all others. who derive association from the connection and interdependence of the supposed matter, the movements of which constitute our thoughts, must have reduced all its forms to the one law of Time. But even the merit of announcing this law with philosophic precision can not be fairly conceded to him. For the objects of any two ideas need not have co-existed in the same sensation in order
* [The Editor has never been able to find in the writings of Des Cartes any thing coming up to the statement in the text. Certainly nothing of the sort follows the paragraph containing the story of the amputated hand.. That Des Cartes was a Nominalist is clear from the following passage:
Et optime comprehendimus, qua pacto a varia magnitudine, figura et motu. particularum unius corporis, varii motus locales in alio corpore excitentur; nullo autem modo possumus intelligere, quo pacto ab iisdem (magnitudine scilicet, figura, et motu), aliquid aliud producatur, omnino diversæ ab ipsis naturæ, quales sunt illa forma substantiales et qualitates reales, quas in rebus esse multi supponunt; nec etiam quo pacto postea istæ qualitates aut formæ vim habeant in aliis corporibus motus locales excitandi. Princip. iv. 198.-Ed.]
[See Human Nature. C. ii. 111. Leviathan ubi supra.—Ed.]
I here use the word idea in Mr. Hume's sense on account of its general currency amongst the English metaphysicians; though against my own judgment, for I believe that the vague use of this word has been the cause
to become mutually associable. The same result will follow when one only of the two ideas has been represented by the senses, and the other by the memory.
of much error and more confusion. The word, ἰδέα, in its original sense as used by Pindar, Aristophanes, and in the Gospel of St. Matthew, represented the visual abstraction of a distant object, when we see the whole without distinguishing its parts.' Plato adopted it as a technical term, and as the antithesis to είδωλον, or sensuous image; the transient and perishable emblem, or mental word, of the idea. Ideas themselves he considered as mysterious powers, living, seminal, formative, and exempt from time. In this sense the word Idea became the property of the Platonic school; and it seldom occurs in Aristotle, without some such phrase annexed to it, as according to Plato, or as Plato says. Our English writers to the end of the reign of Charles II. or somewhat later, employed it either in the original sense, or Platonically, or in a sense nearly correspondent to our present use of the substantive, Ideal; always however opposing it, more or less to image, whether of present or absent objects. The reader will not be displeased with the following interesting exemplification from Bishop Jeremy Taylor. "St. Lewis the King sent Ivo Bishop of Chartres on an embassy, and he told, that he met a grave and stately matron on the way with a censer of fire in one hand, and a vessel of water in the other; and observing her to have a melancholy, religious, and phantastic deportment and look,
κρατέοντα χερὸς ἀλκᾷ, βωμὸν παρ' Ὀλύμπιον
ὥρᾳ τε κεκραμένον.-Olymp. XL (X.) 121.
οὐ γινώσκων, ὅτι τοῦ Πλούτου παρέχω βελτίονας ἄνδρας,
καὶ τὴν γνώμην, καὶ τὴν ἰδέαν.—Aristoph. Plut. 558–9.
ἦν δὲ ἡ ἰδέα αὐτοῦ ὡς ἀστραπὴ, καὶ τὸ ἔνδυμα αὐτοῦ λευκὸν ὡσεὶ χιών. Matt. xxviii. 3.-Ed.]
? [See the Timæus. (Bekk. III. ii. 23.) ὅτου μὲν οὖν ἂν ὁ δημιουργὸς πρὸς τὸ κατὰ ταὐτὰ ἔχον βλέπων ἀεί, τοιούτῳ τινὶ προσχρώμενος παραδείγματι, τὴν ἰδέαν αὐτοῦ καὶ δύναμιν ἀπεργάζηται, καλὸν ἐξ ἀνάγκης οὕτως ἀποτελεῖσθαι πᾶν. But the word ἰδέα is used by Plato in several senses, modified according to the natures, divine or human, in which he represents the ideas as placed. See the fine moral passage in the Republic (vii. 3.)—ἐν τῷ γνωστῷ τελευταία ἡ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ἰδέα καὶ μόγις ὁρᾶσθαι, ὀφθεισα δὲ συλλογιστέα εἶναι ὡς ἄρα πᾶσι πάντων αὕτη ὀρθῶν τε καὶ καλῶν αἰτία, ἔν τε ὁρατῷ φῶς καὶ τὸν τούτου κύριον τεκοῦσα, ἔν τε νοητῷ αὐτὴ κυρία ἀλήθειαν καὶ νοῦν παρασχομένη, καὶ ὅτι δεῖ ταύτην ἰδεῖν τὸν μέλλοντα ἐμφρόνως πράξειν ἢ ἰδία ἢ δημοσίᾳ.
The notes appended by the enthusiastic Thomas Taylor to his translation of the Metaphysics of Aristotle are full of learned illustration upon this subject.-Ed.]
Long* however before either Hobbes or Des Cartes the law of association had been defined, and its important functions set forth
he asked her what those symbols meant, and what she meant to do with her fire and water; she answered, My purpose is with the fire to burn paradise, and with my water to quench the flames of hell, that men may serve God purely for the love of God. But we rarely meet with such spirits which love virtue so metaphysically as to abstract from her all sensible compositions, and love the purity of the idea." Des Cartes having introduced into his philosophy the fanciful hypothesis of material ideas,— -or certain configurations of the brain, which were as so many moulds to the influxes of the external world,-Locke adopted the term, but extended its signification to whatever is the immediate object of the mind's attention or consciousness. Hume, distinguishing those representations which are accompanied with a sense of a present object from those reproduced by the mind itself, designated the former by impressions, and confined the word idea to the latter.3
* [For the substance of the following paragraph, and in part for the remarks upon the doctrine of association of ideas as represented in the writings of Aristotle, Mr. Coleridge is indebted to the very interesting and excellent treatise of J. G. E. Maasz, On the Imagination, Versuch über die Einbildungskraft, pp. 343-4-5-6. A copy of this work (1797), richly annotated on the margins and blank spaces, was found amongst Mr. Coleridge's books; and in so "immethodical a miscellany of literary opinions" as this the insertion of these notes may not be out of place.
"In Maasz's introductory chapters," says Mr. Coleridge, "my mind has been perplexed by the division of things into matter (sensatio ab extra) and form (i. e. per-et-con-ceptio ab intra). Now as Time and Space are evidently only the universals, or modi communes, of sensation and sensuous Form, and consequently appertain exclusively to the sensuous Einbildungskraft (=Eisemplasy, thátteiv eis êv) which we call Imagination, Fancy, &c. all
[The passage here ascribed to Bishop Taylor I can not find in his works, nor have I been able to light upon the expression, him that reads in malice or him that reads after dinner," also attributed to him by Mr. Coleridge, in any of his writings.-S. C.]
2 ["It (Idea) being the term which, I think, serves best to stand for whatsoever is the object of the understanding, when a man thinks; I have used it to express whatever is meant by phantasm, notion, species, or whatever it is which the mind can be employed about in thinking." Human Understand. I. i. s. 8.—-Ed.]
3 ["By the term, Impression, then, I mean all our more lively perceptions, when we hear, or see, or feel, or love, or hate, or desire, or will. And impressions are distinguished from Ideas, which are the less lively perceptions, of which we are conscious, when we reflect on any of those sensations or movements above-mentioned." Inquiry concerning the Hum. Under. s. 2.-Ed.]
by Ludovicus Vives.* Phantasia, it is to be noticed, is employed by Vives to express the mental power of comprehension, or the active function of the mind; and imaginatio for the receptivity (vis re
poor and inadequate terms, far inferior to the German Einbildung, the Law of Association derived ab extra from the contemporaneity of the impressions, or indeed any other difference of the characterless Manifold (das Mannichfaltige) except that of plus and minus of impingence, becomes incomprehensible, if not absurd. I see at one instant of time a Rose and a Lily. -Chemistry teaches me that they differ only in form, being both reducible to the same elements. If then form be not an external active power, if it be wholly transfused into the object by the esemplastic or imaginative faculty of the percipient, or rather creator, where and wherein shall I find the ground of my perception, that this is the Rose and that the Lily. In order to render the creative activity of the imagination at all conceivable, we must necessarily have recourse to the Harmonia præstabilita of Spinoza and Leibnitz in which case the automatism of the Imagination and Judgment would be perception in the same sense as a self-conscious watch would be a percipient of Time, and inclusively of the apparent motion of the sun and stars. But, as the whole is but a choice of incomprehensibles, till the natural doctrine of physical influx, or modification of each by all, have been proved absurd, I shall still prefer it: and not doubt, that the pencil of rays forms pictures on the retina, because I can not comprehend how this picture can excite a mental fac-simile."
Maasz, Introd. s. 1. Denn die Merkmale, wodurch ein Objekt angestellt wird, müssen entweder individuelle oder gemeinsame seyn.
Coleridge. Deceptive. The mark in itself is always individual. By an act of the reflex understanding it may be rendered a sign or general term. The word Vorstellung has been as often mischievous as useful in German philosophy."-Ed.]
* [Originally thus-" by Melancthon, Ammerbach, and L. Vives; more especially by the last ;"—part of which statement appears to have been an imperfect recollection by Mr. C. of the words of Maasz, who, after observing that in the sixteenth century the spirit of inquiry took a new turn, and that men then came forth who knew the value of empirical psychology, and took pains to enforce and elucidate its truths, proceeds as follows:
Among the first to whom this merit belongs were Melancthon, Ammerbach, and Lud. Vives, whose psychological writings were published all together by Getzner (Zurich, 1662). But far the most was done by Vives. He has brought together many important observations upon the human soul, and made striking remarks thereon. More especially in the theory of the association of representations, which Melancthon and Ammerbach do not bring forward at all, he displays no ordinary knowledge." Transl. p. 343.
Philip Melancthon, a Reformer in Philosophy as well as in Religion, published, among other philosophical works, a book De Anima, 1540, in 8vo.
Vitus Ammerbach, a learned author and Professor of Philosophy at Ingolstadt,- -was born at Wedinguen in Bavaria, and died in 1557 at the age