Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER VIII.

THE SYSTEM OF DUALISM INTRODUCED BY DES CARTES-REFINED

FIRST BY SPINOZA AND AFTERWARDS BY LEIBNITZ INTO THE DOCTRINE OF HARMONIA PRÆSTABILITA—HYLOZOISM-MATERIALISM-NONE OF THESE SYSTEMS, OR ANY POSSIBLE THEORY OF ASSOCLATION, SUPPLIES OR SUPERSEDES A THEORY OF PERCEPTION, OR EXPLAINS THE FORMATION OF THE ASSOCIABLE.

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;t 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. $8 52–3, 63-4.-S. C.]

+ [Compare with Schelling's Abhandlungen zur Erläuterung des Idealimus der WissenschaftslehrePhilosophische 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 Emendationewhich 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 ;t 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 80 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 Philosophie-Diss. de Meth. S 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. (S 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 ü, of the Ethics, on the nature and origin of the mind.-S. C.]

terpretation too strange to survive the inventor—too repugnant to our common sense ; which is not indeed entitled to a judicial voice in the courts of scientific philosophy; but whose whispers still exert a strong secret influence. Even Wolf, the admirer and illustrious systematizer of the Leibnitzian doctrine, contents himself with defending the possibility of the idea, but does not adopt it as a part of the edifice.

The hypothesis of Hylozoism, on the other side, is the death of all rational physiology, and indeed of all physical science ; for that requires a limitation of terms, and can not consist with the arbitrary power of multiplying attributes by occult qualities. Besides, it answers no purpose ; unless, indeed, a difficulty can be solved by multiplying it, or we can acquire a clearer notion of our soul by being told that we have a million of souls, and that every atom of our bodies has a soul of its own.

Far more prudent is it to admit the difficulty once for all, and then let it lie at rest. There is a sediment indeed at the bottom of the vessel, but all the water above it is clear and transparent. The Hylozoist only shakes it up, and renders the whole turbid.

But it is not either the nature of man, or the duty of the philosopher to despair concerning any important problem until, as in the squaring of the circle, the impossibility of a solution has been demonstrated. How the esse assumed as originally distinct from the scire, can ever unite itself with it ;* how being can

(A passage in the Transsc. Id. pp. 112-13-14, contains many thoughts brought forward by Mr. Coleridge in this and the three following pages. A translation of it is subjoined, with the borrowed passages marked in italics. The last sentence is borrowed in chapter ix. of B. L.

“ The act, through which the I limits itself, is no other than that of the self-consciousness, at which, as the explanation-ground of all Limitedness (Begräntat seyns) we come to a stand, and for this reason, that how any affection from without can transform itself into a representing or knowing is absolutely inconceivable. Supposing even that an object could work upon the I, as on an object, still such an affection could only bring forth something homogeneous, that is only an objective determinateness (Bestimmtseyn) over again. Thus how an original Being can convert itself into a Knowing would only be conceivable in case it could be shown that even Representation itself (die Vorstellung selbst) is a kind of Being; which is indeed the explanation of Materialism, a system that would be a boon to the philosopher, if it really performed what it promises. But Materialism, such as it has hitherto been, is wholly unintelligible ; make it intelligible, ana it is no longer distinguished in reality from transcendental Idealism. To explain thinking as a VOL. I.

L

transform itself into a knowing, becomes conceivable on one only condition ; namely, if it can be shown that the vis representativa, or ths Sentient, is itself a species of being : that is, either as a property or attribute, or as an hypostasis or self subsistence. The former—that thinking is a property of matter under particular conditions,—is, indeed the assumption of materialism ; a system which could not but be patronized by the philosopher, if only it actually performed what it promises. But how any affection from without can metamorphose itself into perception or will, the materialist has hitherto left, not only as incomprehensible as he found it, but has aggravated it into a comprehensible absurdity. For, grant that an object from without could act upon the conscious self, as on a consubstantial object; yet such an affection could only engender something homogeneous with itself. Motion could only propagate motion. Matter has no Inward. We remove one surface, but to meet with another. We can but divide a particle into particles ; and each atom comprehends in itself material phonomenon is only possible in this way, that we reduce matter itself to a spectre,—to the mere modification of an Intelligence whose common functions are thinking and matter. Consequently Materialism itself is carried back to the Intelligent (das Intelligente) as the original. And assuredly just as little can we succeed in an attempt to explain Being out of Knowing, so as to represent the former as the product of the latter; seeing that betwist the two no casual relationship is possible, and they could never meet together, were they not originally one in the I. Being (Matter), considered as productive, is a Knowing ; Knowing considered as product, a Being. If Knowing is productive in general, it must be wholly and ductive, not in part only. Nothing can come from without into the Knowing, for all that is is identical with the Knowing, and without it is nothing at all. If the one Factor of Representation lies in the I, so must the other also ; for in the object the two are inseparable. Let it be supposed, for example, that the stuff (or material) belongs to the things, it follows that this stuff, be fore it arrives at the I, at least in the transition from the thing to the representation, must be formless, which without doubt is inconceivable."—S. C.]

Abhandlungen. Phil. Schrift. pp. 240–241. Translation. What matter, that is the object of the external intuition, is, we may anolyze forevermay divide it mechanically or chemically: we never get further than to the surfaces of bodies. That alone in matter which is indestructible is its indwelling power, which discovers itself to feeling through impenetrability. But this is a power which goes merely ad extra-only works contrary to the outward impact ; thus it is no power that returns into itself. Only a power that returns into itself makes to itself an Inward. Thence to matter belongs no Inward. But the representing being beholds an inner world. This is not possible except through an activity which gives to itself its own sphere,

ut pro

[ocr errors]

the properties of the material universe.* Let any reflecting mind make the experiment of explaining to itself the evidence of our sensuous intuitions, from the hypothesis that in any given perception there is a something which has been communicated to it by an impact, or an impression ab extra. In the first place, or, in other words, returns into itself. But no activity goes back into itself, which does not, on this very account and at the same time, also go outward. There is no sphere without limitation, but just as little is there limitation without space, which is limited.”

See also Schelling's Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Natur. Introd. 2d edit. Landshut, 1803, p. 22.-S. C.]

[For great part of the remainder of this paragraph see Schelling's Transse. Id. pp. 149–50. Compare also with Ideen, Introd. p. 22.

Schelling concludes the former passage in the Transsc. Id. as follows: Transl. “The most consistent proceeding of Dogmatism”—(that is, the old method of determining upon supersensible objects without a previous inquiry into the nature and scope of the faculties by which the inquiry is to be carried on, -without “a pre-inquisition into the mind”)——“is to have recourse to the mysterious for the origin of representations of external things, and to speak thereof as of a revelation, which renders all further explanation impossible; or to make the inconceivable origination of a thing 80 dissimilar in kind, as the representation from the impulse of an outward object, conceivable through a power, to which, as to the Deity (the only immediate object of our knowledge, according to that system), even the impossible is possible.”

Schelling seems to have had in his mind such doctrine as that which is thus stated by Professor Stewart : “It is now, I think, pretty generally acknowledged by physiologists, that the influence of the will over the body is a mystery, which has never yet been unfolded; but, singular as it may appear, Dr. Reid was the first person who had courage to lay completely aside all the common hypothetical language concerning perception, and to exhibit the difficulty in all its magnitude, by a plain statement of the fact. To what then, it may be asked, does this statement amount ? Merely to this; that the mind is so formed, that certain impressions produced on our organs of sense by external objects, are followed by correspondent sensations; and that these sensations (which have no more resemblance to the qualities of matter, than the words of a language have to the things they denote), are followed by a perception of the existence and qualities of the bodies by which the impressions are made; that all the steps of this process are equally incomprehensible; and that, for any thing we can prove to the contrary, the connection between the impression and the sensation may be both arbitrary: that it is therefore by no means impossible, that our sensations may be merely the occasions on which the correspondent perceptions are excited; and that, at any rate, the consideration of these sensations, which are attributes of mind, can throw no light on the manner in which we acquire our knowledge of the existence and qualities of body.

« PreviousContinue »