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It has been already hinted, that metaphysics and psychology have long been my hobby-horse. But to have a hobby-horse, and to be vain of it, are so commonly found together, that they pass almost for the same. I trust, therefore, that there will be more good-humor than contempt, in the smile with which the reader chastises my self-complacency, if I confess myself uncertain, whether the satisfaction from the perception of a truth new to myself may not have been rendered more poignant by the conceit, that it would be equally so to the public. There was a time, certainly, in which I took some little credit to myself, in the belief that I had been the first of my countrymen, who had pointed out the diverse meaning of which the two terms were capable, and analyzed the faculties to which they should be appropriated. Mr. W. Taylor's recent volume of synonymes* I have not yet seen ;t but his specification of the terms in question has been
* [“ British Synonymes discriminated, by W. Taylor.”—Ed.]
+ I ought to have added, with the exception of a single sheet which I accidentally met with at the printer's. Even from this scanty specimen, I found it impossible to doubt the talent, or not to admire the ingenuity, of the author. That his distinctions were for the greater part unsatisfactory to my mind, proves nothing against their accuracy ; but it may possibly be serviceable to him, in case of a second edition, if I take this opportunity of suggesting the query ; whether he may not have been occasionally misled, by having assumed, as to me he appears to have done, the non-existence of any absolute synonymes in our language? Now I can not but think, that there are many which remain for our posterity to distinguish and appropriate, and which I regard as so much reversionary wealth in our mother tongue. When two distinct meanings are confounded uuder one or more words—and such must be the case, as sure as our knowledge is progressive and of course imperfect)-erroneous consequences will be drawn, and what is true in one sense of the word will be affirmed as true in toto Men of research, startled by the consequences, seek in the things themselves, (whether in or out of the mind)—for a knowledge of the fact, and having discovered the difference, remove the equivocation either by the substitution of a new word, or by the appropriation of one of the two or more words, which had before been used promiscuously. When this distinction has been so naturalized and of such general currency that the language does as it were think for us-(like the sliding rule which is the mechanic's safe substitute for arithmetical knowledge)we then say, that it is evident to common sense. Common sense, therefore, differs in different ages. What was born and christened in the Schools passes by degrees into the world at large, and becomes the property of the market and the tea-table. At least I can discover no other meaning of the term, common sense, if it is to convey any specific difference from sense and judgment in genere, and where it
clearly shown to be both insufficient and erroneous by Mr. Wordsworth in the Preface added to the late collection of his Poems. The explanation which Mr. Wordsworth has himself given, will be found to differ from mine, chiefly, perhaps, as our objects are different. It could scarcely indeed happen otherwise, from the
is not used scholastically for the universal reason. Thus in the reign of Charles II. the philosophic world was called to arms by the moral sophisms of Hobbes, and the ablest writers exerted themselves in the detection of an error, which a school-boy would now be able to confute by the mere recollection, that compulsion and obligation conveyed two ideas perfectly disparate, and that what appertained to the one, had been falsely transferred to the other by a mere confusion of terms.*
[See Hobbes's Treatise on Liberty and Necessity. (Eng. Works. IV. Sir W. Molesworth's edit.) The term obligation is not used by Hobbes. His position is that some actions are not compelled, but that all are necessitated. (pp. 261-2.) “ Natural efficacy of objects,” he says, “ does determine voluntary agents, and necessitates the Will and consequently the Action ; but for moral efficacy, I understand not what he means. (p. 247.) —“When first a man hath an appetite or will to something, to which immediately before he had no appetite nor will, the cause of his will is not the will itself, but something else not in his own disposing. So that whereas it is out of controversy that of voluntary actions the will is the necessary cause, and by this which is said, the will is also caused by other things wbereof it disposeth not, it followeth that voluntary actions have all of them necessary causes, and therefore are necessitated.” (p. 274.)
A voluntary action, therefore, with Hobbes, is an action necessarily consequent on or identical with, the last opinion, judgment, or dictate of the understanding,—which last opinion, judgment, or dictate of the understanding is necessarily determined by the presentation of certain “external objects to a man of such or such a temperature.” (p. 267.) Of course Obligation, or a law of Duty grounded on conviction of a universal Right and Wrong, True and False, has no place in Hobbes's system; nor can that system be consistently defended against the charge that it destroys the very foundations of all morality properly understood. It is true that Hobbes himself in this Treatise denies the imputed consequence; but his reasoning in this respect is so weak,—depending upon a covert use of the terms “ will” and "willingly” in a sense inconsistent with that necessarily attached to them in the previous positions,—that it can not but be suspected that Hobbes himself felt the legitimacy of the charge that upon his principles Morality, in any shape but that of positive Law, was an empty name. Practically, what other conclusion can be drawn?
This Treatise is one of the least agreeable of all Hobbes's Works. It contains in all its naked terrors that frightful dogma, which, strange to say, , has with scarcely any modification but in form been reproduced and advocated with zealous reiteration in the sermons and other writings of those
advantage I have enjoyed of frequent conversation with him on a subject to which a poem of his own first directed my attention, and my conclusions concerning which he had made more lucid to myself by many happy instances drawn from the operation of natural objects on the mind. But it was Mr. Wordsworth's purpose to consider the influences of fancy and imagination as they are manifested in poetry, and from the different effects to conclude their diversity in kind ; while it is my object to investigate the seminal principle, and then from the kind to deduce the degree. My friend has drawn a masterly sketch of the branches with their poetic fruitage. I wish to add the trunk, and even the roots as far as they lift themselves above ground, and are visible to the naked eye of our common consciousness.
Yet even in this attempt I am aware that I shall be obliged to draw more largely on the reader's attention, than so immethodical a miscellany as this can authorize ; when in such a work (the Ecclesiastical Policy) of such a mind as Hooker's, the judicious author, though no less admirable for the perspicuity than for the port and dignity of his language,—and though he wrote for men of learning in a learned age,—saw nevertheless occasion to anticipate and guard against "complaints of obscurity,” as often as he was to trace his subject “to the highest well-spring and fountain.” Which (continues he), “ because men are not accustomed to, the pains we take are more needful a great deal, than acceptable ; and the matters we handle, seem by reason of newness (till the mind grow better acquainted with them) dark and intricate."* I would gladly therefore spare both myself and others this labor, if I knew how without it to present an intelligible statement of my poetic creed,—not as my opinions, which weigh for nothing, but as deductions from established premises
popular divines who have so largely influenced the public mind for the last seven or eight years. “I say,” says Hobbes, "that the power of God alone, without other helps, is sufficient justification of any action he doth." (p. 249.) “Power irresistible justifies all actions, really and properly, in whomsoever it be found.”—“ This I know ;-—God can not sin, because his doing a thing makes it just, and consequently no sin—and therefore it is blasphemy to say, God can sin: but to say God can so order the world, as a sin may be necessarily caused thereby in a man, I do not see how it is any dishonor to Him." (pp. 250-1.) If this is true, God the Good-differs from Moloch in nothing but power.-Ed.]
* [B, i. ch. i. s. 2.- Ed.]
conveyed in such a form as is calculated either to effect a fundamental conviction or to receive a fundamental confutation. If I may dare once more adopt the words of Hooker, “They unto whom we shall seem tedious, are in no wise injured by us, because it is in their own hands to spare that labor, which they are not willing to endure." Those at least, let me be permitted to add, who have taken so much pains to render me ridiculous for a perversion of taste, and have supported the charge by attributing strange notions to me on no other authority than their own conjectures, owe it to themselves as well as to me not to refuse their attention to my own statement of the theory which I do acknowledge ; or shrink from the trouble of examining the ground on which I rest it, or the arguments which I offer in its justification.
ON THE LAW OF ASSOCIATION-ITS HISTORY TRACED FROM
ARISTOTLE TO HARTLEY.
There have been men in all ages, who have been impelled as by an instinct to propose their own nature as a problem, and who devote their attempts to its solution. The first step was to construct a table of distinctions, which they seem to have formed on the principle of the absence or presence of the Will. Our various sensations, perceptions, and movements, were classed as active or passive, or as media partaking of both. A still finer distinction was soon established between the voluntary and the spontaneous. In our perception we seem to ourselves merely passive to an external power, whether as a mirror reflecting the landscape, or as a blank canvas on which some unknown hand paints it. For it is worthy of notice, that the latter, or the system of Idealism, may be traced to sources equally remote with the former, or Materialism ; and Berkeley can boast an ancestry
* [B. i. ch. i. s. 2.-Ed.]
at least as venerable as Gassendi* or Hobbes. These conjectures, however, concerning the mode in which our perceptions originated, could not alter the natural difference of Things and Thoughts. In the former, the cause appeared wholly external, while in the latter, sometimes our will interfered as the producing or determining cause, and sometimes our nature seemed to act by a mechanism of its own, without any conscious effort of the will, or even against it. Our inward experiences were thus arranged in three separate classes, the passive sense, or what the School-men call the merely receptive quality of the mind ; the voluntary; and the spontaneous, which holds the middle place between both. But it is not in human nature to meditate on any mode of action, without inquiring after the law that governs it; and in the explanation of the spontaneous movements of our being, the metaphysician took the lead of the anatomist and natural philosopher. In Egypt, Palestine, Greece, and India the analysis of the mind had reached its noon and manhood, while experimental research was still in its dawn and infancy. For many, very many centuries, it has been difficult to advance a new truth, or even a new error, in the philosophy of the intellect or morals. With regard, however, to the laws that direct the spontaneous movements of thought and the principle of their intellectual mechanism there exists, it has been asserted, an important exception most honorable to the moderns, and in the merit of which our own country claims the largest share. Sir James
* [Pierre Gassendi, a philosopher whose aim it was to revive, reform, and improve the system of Epicurus, and who wrote against Des Cartes, was born in 1592, at Chantersier in Provence, and died at Paris in 1656,S. C.]
+ [Thomas Hobbes was born at Malmesbury, in 1588, died 1679, aged ninety-one. His works, which are philosophical and political, moral and mathematical, and translations, are now first collected and edited by Sir Wm. Molesworth--the Latin works in five vols. 8vo.; of the English, nine vols. 8vo., have appeared. Cousin observes that the speculative philosophy of Hobbes, who was a materialist in doctrine, has not attracted as much attention as the practical. His style is very excellent, condensed, yet with all the ease and freedom of diffuse writing. It is sharp and sparkling as a diamond. Sir James Mackintosh praises it highly in his well-known Dissertation on the Progress of Ethical Philosophy. He says of it: “Short, clear, precise, pithy, his language never has more than one meaning, which never requires a second thought to find.” See his whole character of it at p. 40.-S. C.]