ePub 版

a thing for its causes and essence; and the process, by which we arrive at the knowledge of a faculty, for the faculty itself. The air I breathe is the condition of my life, not its cause. We could never have learned that we had eyes but by the process of seeing ; yet having seen, we know that the eyes must have pre-existed in order to render the process of sight possible. Let us cross-examine Hartley's scheme under the guidance of this distinction; and we shall discover that contemporaneity (Leibnitz's Lex Continui*) is the limit and condition of the laws of mind, itself being rather a law of matter, at least of phænomena considered as material. At the utmost, it is to thought the same, as the law of gravitation is to locomotion. In every voluntary movement we first counteract gravitation, in order to avail ourselves of it. It must exist, that there may be a something to be counteracted, and which, by its re-action, may aid the force that is exerted to resist it. Let us consider what we do when we leap. We first resist the gravitating power by an act purely voluntary, and then by another act, voluntary in part, we yield to it in order to light on the spot, which we had previously proposed to ourselves. Now let a man watch his mind while he is composing; or, to take a still more common case, while he is trying to recollect a name; and he will find the process completely analogous. Most of my readers will have observed a small water-insect on the surface of rivulets, which throws a cinque-spotted shadow fringed with prismatic colors on the sunny bottom of the brook; and will have noticed, how the little animal wins its way up against the stream by alternative pulses of active and passive motion, now resisting the current, and now yielding to it in order to gather strength and a momentary fulcrum for a further propul

* [This principle of a continuum, cette belle loi de la continuité, as Leibnitz calls it in his lively style, which is even gay for that of a deep philosopher, intent on discovering the composition of the Universe, was introduced by him and first announced, as he mentions himself, in the Nouvelles de la République des Lettres de Mr. Bayle, which forms Art. xxiv. of Erdmann's edition of his works, under the title of Extrait d'une Lettre à Mr. Bayle, &c. He dwells upon this law in many of his philosophical writings. "C'est une de mes grandes maximes," says he, "et des plus vérifiées, que la nature ne fait jamais des sauts." (Natura non agit saltatim.) "J'appellois cela la loi de la continuité, &c., et l'usage de cette lois est très considérable dans la Physique." Nouveaux Essais. Avant propos, p. 198, of Erdmann's edit.-S. C.]

sion. This is no unapt emblem of the mind's self-experience in the act of thinking. There are evidently two powers at work, which relatively to each other are active and passive; and this is not possible without an intermediate faculty, which is at once both active and passive.* In philosophical language, we must denominate this intermediate faculty in all its degrees and determinations, the IMAGINATION.† But, in common language, and especially on the subject of poetry, we appropriate the name to a superior degree of the faculty, joined to a superior voluntary control over it.

Contemporaneity, then, being the common condition of all the laws of association, and a component element in the materia subjecta, the parts of which are to be associated, must needs be co-present with all. Nothing, therefore, can be more easy than

to pass off on an incautious mind this constant companion of each,

for the essential substance of all. But if we appeal to our own consciousness, we shall find that even time itself, as the cause of a particular act of association, is distinct from contemporaneity, as the condition of all association. Seeing a mackerel, it may happen, that I immediately think of gooseberries, because I at the same time ate mackerel with gooseberries as the sauce. The first syllable of the latter word, being that which had co-existed with the image of the bird so called, I may then think of a goose. In the next moment the image of a swan may arise before me, though I had never seen the two birds together. In the first two instances, I am conscious that their co-existence in time was the circumstance, that enabled me to recollect them; and equally conscious am I that the latter was recalled to me by the joint operation of likeness and contrast. So it is with cause and effect; so too with order. So I am able to distinguish whether it was proximity in time, or continuity in space, that occasioned me to recall B. on the mention of A. They can not be indeed separa

* [Schelling describes an activity and passivity which reciprocally presuppose, or are conditioned through, one another. But he is endeavoring to solve the problem how the I beholds itself as perceptive. Transsc. Id. p. 136, et passim.—S. C.]

+ [Maasz thus defines the Imagination at p. 2: "But all representations and modifications of the sense" (receptivity of impressions), "which are not really in it, so far as it is affected by an object, must be produced through an active faculty of the same, which is distinguished from the Senses, and may be called the Imagination in the widest sense. Transl.S. C.]

ted from contemporaneity; for that would be to separate them from the mind itself. The act of consciousness is indeed identical with time considered in its essence. I mean time per se, as contra-distinguished from our notion of time; for this is always blended with the idea of space, which, as the opposite of time, is therefore its measure. Nevertheless the accident of seeing two objects at the same moment, and the accident of seeing them in the same place are two distinct or distinguishable causes and the true practical general law of association is this; that whatever makes certain parts of a total impression more vivid or distinct than the rest, will determine the mind to recall these in preference to others equally linked together by the common condition of contemporaneity, or (what I deem a more appropriate and philosophical term) of continuity. But the will itself by confining and intensifying the attention may arbitrarily give vividness or distinctness to any object whatsoever; and from hence we may deduce the uselessness, if not the absurdity, of certain recent schemes which promise an artificial memory, but which in reality can only produce a confusion and debasement of the fancy. Sound logic, as the habitual subordination of the individual to the species, and of the species to the genus; philosophical knowledge of facts under the relation of cause and effect; a cheerful and communicative temper disposing us to notice the similarities and contrasts of things, that we may be able to illustrate the one by the other; a quiet conscience; a condition free from anxieties; sound health, and above all (as far as relates to passive remembrance) a healthy digestion; these are the best, these are the only Arts of Memory.

* [Schelling teaches that the most original measure of Time is Space, of Space Time; and that both are opposed to each other for this reason that they mutually limit one another. Transsc. Id. Tübingen, 1800, pp. 216-17. See also Idem, 325-6.-S. C.]

I am aware, that this word occurs neither in Johnson's Dictionary nor in any classical writer. But the word, to intend, which Newton and others before him employ in this sense, is now so completely appropriated to another meaning, that I could not use it without ambiguity: while to paraphrase the sense, as by render intense, would often break up the sentence and destroy that harmony of the position of the words with the logical position of the thoughts, which is a beauty in all composition, and more especially desirable in a close philosophical investigation. I have therefore hazarded the word intensify; though, I confess, it sounds uncouth to my

own car.



To the best of my knowledge Des Cartes was the first philosopher, who introduced the absolute and essential heterogeneity of the soul as intelligence, and the body as matter.* The assumption, and the form of speaking have remained, though the denial of all other properties to matter but that of extension, on which denial the whole system of Dualism is grounded, has been long exploded. For since impenetrability is intelligible only as a mode of resistance; its admission places the essence of matter in an act or power, which it possesses in common with spirit;† and body and spirit are therefore no longer absolutely heterogeneous, but may without any absurdity be supposed to be different modes, or degrees in perfection, of a common substratum. To this possibility, however, it was not the fashion to advert. The soul was a thinking substance, and body a space-filling substance. Yet the apparent action of each on the other pressed heavy on the philosopher on the one hand; and no less heavily on the other

* [Principia Philosophia, P. i. §§ 52–3, 63-4.—S. C.]

pare with Schelling's Abhandlungen zur Erläuterung des Idealismus der Wissenschaftslehre-Philosophische Schriften. Landshut, 1809. (See note infra.) Compare also with what Leibnitz lays down on this point in the last paragraph of his paper De Prima Philosophiæ Emendatione— which forms Art. xxxiv. of Erdmann's edition of his works, Berol. 1840, and with the Nouveaux Essais (Liv. ii. c. xxi. § 2, Erdmann, p. 250), where he says that matter has not only mobility, which is the receptivity or capacity of movement, but also resistance, which comprehends impenetrability and inertia.-S. C.]

hand pressed the evident truth, that the law of causality holds only between homogeneous things, that is, things having some common property; and can not extend from one world into another, its contrary.* A close analysis evinced it to be no less absurd than the question whether a man's affection for his wife lay North-east, or South-west of the love he bore towards his child. Leibnitz's doctrine of a pre-established harmony;† which he certainly borrowed from Spinoza, who had himself taken the hint from Des Cartes's animal machines,‡ was in its common in

* [System des transscendentalen Idealismus, pp. 112-113. See the next note but two.-S. C.] •

[This theory Leibnitz unfolds in his Système nouveau de la nature et de la communication des substances, 1695. Opp. ed. Erdmann, p. 124, in his Eclaircissemens du nouveau système. I. II and III. Ibid. pp. 131–3, 4. Réplique aux Réflexions de Bayle, &c. 1702. Ibid. 183. He speaks of it also in his Monadologie, 1714, ibid. 702, and many of his other writings. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz was born at Leipzig, June 21, 1746, died Nov. 14, 1716. This great man, whose intellectual powers and attainments were so various and considerable that he has been ranked among the universal geniuses of the world, appears to have been the principal founder of that modern school of philosophy which succeeded to the scholastic. He seems to have united the profundity of a German in the matter of his disquisitions, with something of the Frenchman's polish and lightness of touch in the manner of them; which may be accounted for, in some measure, by his Teutonic birth on the one hand, and his use of the French language on the other.-S. C.]

[Specimina Philosophia-Diss. de Meth. § v. pp. 30-3, edit. 1664. Des Cartes thought it a pious opinion to hold that brute creatures are mere automata, set in motion by animal spirits acting on the nerves and muscles -because such a view widens the interval betwixt man and the beasts that perish. Wesley thought it a pious opinion to suppose that they have souls capable of salvation. Leibnitz comments upon the Cartesian notion on this subject, in his essay De Anima Brutorum, wherein he distinguishes admirably between the intelligence of brutes and the reasonable souls of men. (§ 14. Opp. ed. Erdmann, pp. 464-5.) Mr. Coleridge remarks upon Wesley's opinion in a note printed in the new edition of Southey's Life of Wesley, chap. xx. Des Cartes compares the souls or quasi-souls of brutes to a wellmade watch, arguing from the uniformity, certainty, and limitedness of their actions, that nature acts in them according to the disposition of their organs. Leibnitz-(in his Troisième Eclaircissement, and elsewhere)-compares the body and soul of man to two well-made watches, which perfectly agree with one another. It is easy to see how the latter, while he was refuting his predecessor's opinion as a whole, may have borrowed something from it. The likeness to Spinoza's doctrine is more recondite, but may be traced in Part ii. of the Ethics, on the nature and origin of the mind.-S. C.]

« 上一頁繼續 »