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priate the remaining offices of the mind to the reason, and the imagination. With my best efforts to be as perspicuous as the nature of language will permit on such a subject, I earnestly solicit the good wishes and friendly patience of my readers, while I thus go “ sounding on my dim and perilous way.” Aristotle.” After showing that the story of Mr. Hume was a mistake, and how the mistake arose, he proceeds to say: "It is certain that **** Aristotle explains recollection as depending on a general law,—that the idea of an object will remind us of the objects which immediately preceded or followed when originally perceived. But what Mr. Coleridge has not told us is, that the Stagyrite confines the application of this law exclusively to the phenomena of recollection alone, without any glimpse of a more general operation extending to all connections of thought and feeling,—a wonderful proof, indeed, even so limited, of the sagacity of the great philosopher, but which for many ages continued barren of further consequences.” Perhaps Mr. C. thought, as Maasz appears to have done, that to discover the associative principle in respect of memory was obviously to discover the general law of mental association, since all connections of thought and feeling are dependent on memory. It is difficult to conceive a man writing a treatise on Memory and Recollection without hitting on this law of association, by observing the manner in which he hunts in his mind for any thing forgotten: but perhaps this remark savors of simplicity, for simple folks, when a truth is once clearly presented to them, can never again so abstract their minds from it as to conceive the possibility of its being unrecognized. “ The illustrations of Aquinas,” Sir James adds, “throw light on the original doctrine, and show that it was unenlarged in his time, &c." (Yet Aquinas almost touches the doctrine of Hobbes when he says reminiscentia habet similitudinem cujusdam syllogismi, quare sicut in syllogismo pervenitur ad conclusionem ex aliquibus principiis, ita etiam in reminiscendo aliquis quodammodo syllogizat, &c.) “Those of L. Vives, as quoted by Mr. C., extend no farther.”
“But if Mr. Coleridge will compare the parts of Hobbes on Human Na. ture, which relate to this subject, with those which explain general terms, he will perceive that the philosopher of Malmesbury builds on these two foundations a general theory of the human understanding, of which reasoning is only a particular case." This has been already admitted in note 2. Sir James seems to refer to the whole of chap. v., which begins thus : "Seeing the succession of conceptions in the mind are caused * * * by the succession they had one to another when they were produced by the senses," &c. He points out the forgetful statements of Mr. C. respecting the De Methodo, and expresses an opinion that Hobbes,' and Hume might
1 The language of Hobbes has somewhat of a Peripatetical sound, and when he discourses of the motions of the mind, reminds one of the Aristotelian commentator-Causa autem reminiscendi est ordo motuum, qui relinquuntur in anima ex prima impressione ejus, quod primo apprehendimus.
THAT HARTLEY'S SYSTEM, AS FAR AS IT DIFFERS FROM THAT OF
ARISTOTLE, IS NEITHER TENABLE IN THEORY, NOR FOUNDED IN FACTS.
OF Hartley's hypothetical vibrations in his hypothetical oscillating ether of the nerves,* which is the first and most obvious distinction between his system and that of Aristotle, I shall say little. This, with all other similar attempts to render that an object of the sight which has no relation to sight, has been already sufficiently exposed by the younger Reimarus,f Maasz, and others, as outraging the very axioms of mechanics in a scheme, the merit of which consists in its being mechanical. Whether any other philosophy be possible, but the mechanical ; and again, whether
each have been unconscious that the doctrine of association was not origiDally his own. Either, I should think, had quite sagacity enough to discover it for himself ; but the question is whether Hobbes was more sagacious on this part of the subject than any preceding philosopher.
Sir James makes an interesting reply to Mr. C.'s remark that he was unable to bridge over the chasm between their philosophical creeds, which I do not quote only from want of space. That Sir James was one of Mr. C.'s most intelligent readers is undeniable; yet I think it is not quite conclusive against the German doctrines,-- either as to their internal character or the mode in which they have been enunciated,--that they found no entrance into his mind; or at least no welcome there, or entire approval ; for are not all new doctrines, even such as are ultimately established, opposed, on their first promulgation, by some of the strongest-headed persons of the age !-S. C.]
* [Hartley, Observ. on Man, c. I. s. 1. props. 4 and 5.-Ed.] + John Albert H. Reimarus.—Ed. See Note in the Appendix.-S. C.] † [See Maasz, pp. 41-2.-Ed.]
Sir James says “the term Onpeúo is as significant as if it had been chosen by Hobbes." This term may have led Hobbes to talk about “hunting," "tracing,” and “ranging,” in the Human Nature.
the mechanical system can have any claim to be called philosophy; are questions for another place. It is, however, certain, that as long as we deny the former, and affirm the latter, we must bewilder ourselves, whenever we would pierce into the adyta of causation; and all that laborious conjecture can do, is to fill up the gaps of fancy. Under that despotism of the eye (the emancipation from which Pythagoras by his numeral, and Plato by his musical, symbols, and both by geometric discipline, aimed at, as the first aponalda vua of the mind)—under this strong sensuous influence, we are restless because invisible things are not the objects of vision; and metaphysical systems, for the most part, become popular, not for their truth, but in proportion as they attribute to causes a susceptibility of being seen, if only our visual organs were sufficiently powerful.
From a hundred possible confutations let one suffice. According to this system the idea or vibration a from the external object A becomes associable with the idea or vibration m from the external object M, because the oscillation a propagated itself so as to re-produce the oscillation m. But the original impression from M was essentially different from the impression A: unless therefore different causes may produce the same effect, the vibration a could never produce the vibration m : and this therefore could never be the means, by which a and m are associated.* To understand this, the attentive reader need only be reminded, that the ideas are themselves, in Hartley's system, nothing more than their appropriate configurative vibrations. It is a mere delusion of the fancy to conceive the pre-existence of the ideas, in any chain of association, as so many differently colored billiard-balls in contact, so that when an object, the billiard-stick, strikes the first or white ball, the same motion propagates itself through the red, green, blue and black, and sets the whole in motion. No! we must suppose the very same force, which constitutes the white ball, to constitute the red or black ; or the idea of a circle to constitute the idea of a triangle ; which is impossible.
But it may be said, that by the sensations from the objects A and M, the nerves have acquired a disposition to the vibrations a and m, and therefore a need only be repeated in order to re-produce m.f Now we will grant, for a moment, the possibility of such a disposition in a material nerve, which yet seems scarcely * (Maasz, pp. 32–3.— Ed.]
+ [Maasz, p. 33.-Ed.)
less absurd than to say, that a weather-cock had acquired a habit of turning to the east, from the wind having been so long in that quarter : for if it be replied, that we must take in the circumstance of life, what then becomes of the mechanical philosophy ? And what is the nerve, but the flint which the wag placed in the pot as the first ingredient of his stone-broth, requiring only salt, turnips, and mutton, for the remainder! *But if we waive this, and pre-suppose the actual existence of such a disposition ; two cases are possible. Either, every idea has its own nerve and correspondent oscillation, or this is not the case. If the latter be the truth, we should gain nothing by these dispositions ; for then. every nerve having several dispositions, when the motion of any other nerve is propagated into it, there will be no ground or cause present, why exactly the oscillation m should arise, rather than any
other to which it was equally pre-disposed. But if we take the former, and let every idea have a nerve of its own,
every nerve must be capable of propagating its motion into many other nerves; and again, there is no reason assignable, why the vibration m should arise, rather than any other ad libitum.
It is fashionable to smile at Hartley's vibrations and vibratiuncles; and his work has been re-edited by Priestley, with the omission of the material hypothesis. † But Hartley was too great a man, too coherent a thinker, for this to have been done, either consistently or to any wise purpose. For all other parts of his system, as far as they are peculiar to that system, once removed from their mechanical basis, not only lose their main support, but the very motive which led to their adoption. Thus the principle
* (For the rest of this paragraph see Maasz, pp. 33-4.-Ed.]
† [Hartley’s Theory of the Human Mind on the Principle of the Association of Ideas ; with Essays relating to the subject of it. By Joseph Priest ley, LLD. F.R.S. London, 1775.
Priestley explains and defends the doctrine of vibrations in his first In. troductory Essay; the object of his publication, as he states in the Preface, is to exbibit Hartley's theory of the Human Mind, as far as it relates to the doctrine of association of ideas only, apart from the system of moral and religious knowledge, originally connected with it, which rendered the work too extensive,--and the material foundation of theory, which rendered it too difficult and intricate,-for general reading.
" Haller has shown that the doctrine of vibrations attributes properties to the medullary substance of the brain and nerves, which are totally in. compatible with their nature." Quoted from Rees's Encyc. Art. Hartley. --S.C.)
of contemporaneity, which Aristotle had made the common condition of all the laws of association, Hartley was constrained to represent as being itself the sole law.* For to what law can the action of material atoms be subject, but that of proximity in place?
And to what law can their motions be subjected, but that of time? Again, from this results inevitably, that the will, the reason, the judgment, and the understanding, instead of being the determining causes of association, must needs be represented as its creatures, and among its mechanical effects. Conceive, for instance, a broad stream, winding through a mountainous country with an indefinite number of currents, varying and running into each other according as the gusts chance to blow from the opening of the mountains. The temporary union of several currents in one, so as to form the main current of the moment, would present an accurate image of Hartley's theory of the will.
Had this been really the case, the consequence would have been, that our whole life would be divided between the despotism of outward impressions, and that of senseless and passive memory. Take his law in its highest abstraction and most philosophical form, namely, that every partial representation recalls the total representation of which it was a part ;t and the law becomes nugatory, were it only for its universality. In practice it would indeed be mere lawlessness. Consider, how immense must be the sphere of a total impression from the top of St. Paul's church ; and how rapid and continuous the series of such total impressions. If, therefore, we suppose the absence of all interference of the will, reason, and judgment, one or other of two consequences must result. Either the ideas, or reliques of such impression, will exactly imitate the order of the impression itself, which would be absolute delirium: or any one part of that impression might recall any other part, and—(as from the law of continuity, there must exist in every total impression, some one or
* [Hartley, Observ. on Man, chap. i. s. ii. prop. 10.-Ed.]
+ [At p. 29, Maasz thus expresses the common law of Association : "With a given representation all” (representations) “ can be associated, which be long with it to a total representation, but those only immediately; or, as is also said, Every representation calls back into the mind its total representation." Rather,” says Mr. Coleridge in the margin, “is capable, under given conditions, of recalling; or else our whole life would be divided between the despotism of outward impressions and that of senseless memory." S. C.)