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and the language in which the ancient poets of the most cultivated times speak of the feelings and faculties that belong to philosophy, all testify to the same purpose. Nor should we have much difficulty in believing, that the power in men's minds, which could suspend the strong passions of life, which in fierce and turbulent ages, in the midst of ardent and perilous contention, could turn them to lonely thought, and to the still contempla tion of nature, was sprung from a deeper source, as it held them with a stronger controul, than is known to the philosophy of an age like ours.

These powerful feelings, whatever they may have been, pass away; and there remains to an age like our own, as the impulse to the same pursuits intellectual pleasure-the love of truth -and the confidence in important results of investigation, extending the dominion of man over nature.


If now we should attempt to compare the results of these two states of science, it may appear, that the tendency of inquiry pursued under those strong original impulses, was not so much to extend the actual dominion of science, as to bring back to the mind its own action resulting upon itself. The intellectual powers, filled with energetic life by the passion that incited and sustained their exertion, grew to their height of native strength; and at the same time, being blended in their strong action with sensibility and wonder, and thus let into the moral nature, they turned on it their own strength, and exalted the individual character of the man himself. we may read in the history of early ages, examples of high moral powers produced by the love of knowledge; a proud and lofty strength, an exaltation and fortitude of character growing out of the speculative faculties, which gave to the contemplative philosopher his equal place, among the stern and gigantic progeny of the times. The reverence of a dark age was around him; and if he could dissipate neither their darkness nor his own, yet he upheld in the midst of their violent and agitated life the veneration of intellect. He felt it deeply in himself-he impressed it in awe upon others-and transmitted in unimpaired vigour the germ of intellectual life, to the ages in which its own sun should arise upon it, to call it forth into beauty.

The beneficial influence of the study of physical knowledge, pursued in the spirit of wonder and imagination, is chiefly to be looked for in this moral effect; in the high and powerful place which it concurred to assign to the faculties of intellect in the individual mind in the living man.-Knowledge itself, it is probable that it often darkened. It could not be otherwise. For, carrying upon scanty materials of thought great and eager force of con ception, it must needs rear up to itself at once a vast edifice of seeming know. ledge, which, disproportionate as it was to the realities upon which it was constructed, could only be illusion.

When these feelings are passed away, if ever an era of science should arrive, in which the value of such knowledge is appreciated merely by the power which it gives to man in his dominion over nature for the purposes of life→→→ then these results are reversed. Truth is discovered; for only the most exact truth satisfies the purpose of inquiry. But the intellectual mind is lowered. It is made a servant to life. No longer united with imagination and sensibility, no longer carried back into itself, from its excursion amidst material knowledge, with augmented sense of its own sublimity of power-it cannot bring back into the man himself a moral exaltation—but it accustoms him to deduce a value to his own powers from the purposes in which they are employed. It teaches him at last to feel, that he with his faculties is important, only because the objects of his knowledge are more important than himself.

But before science can fall into such degradation, if it should ever fall into it, it passes through an intermediate and a better state:when intellectual pleasure, and the love of truth, are the incitement to its cultivation.

This is the epoch, when its beneficial influences appear the most unquestionable; when its effects seem necessarily the most pure. Yet it seems possible, that even these effects may be over-rated, and may be carried to excess.

Intellectual pleasure is a just motive to the pursuit of science; for we have a right to the natural enjoyment of all our faculties. It is salutary too, as all natural and grateful activity induces health and vigour.-But we over-rate the value of intellectual pleasure, when

we conceive any intellectual end to be the chief purpose of science; which we easily do from its intellectual na ture; forgetting that its highest end is to serve a moral utility. We over rate it still more unduly, when we esteem in such pursuits our own enjoy ment, merely withdrawing ourselves from consideration of the service which all our faculties are bound to render. We indulge it in excess, when the interest of the knowledge we attain, is less than the pleasure of our own intellectual activity.

The love of truth, is the purest of all the purposes of science. It ennobles the faculties it employs, and carries its unconscious virtue into the whole moral being. The study of even natural truth, has this high and beneficial character; but the study of natural truth, is in some respects liable to excess, and to over-estimation.

For it has a tendency to raise itself up into competition with moral truth; not in those minds, perhaps, which pursue it in purity and simplicity, but in all those which pursue it in the pride of their power, and in all those which are carried to it by a contagious ardour of opinion. It may be said, especially, that when the study of physical science becomes on any account the favourite and general pursuit of an age, it tends strongly and directly to obscure moral truth.

The subjects of moral knowledge, though of all the most real to the mind, are to a judgment immersed in the objects of sense, shadowy and unsubstantial. The mind, incorporated as it is, in life, with matter, is prone to forget its own independent nature. It withdraws itself with effort from sense, and easily yields to its solicitings. Material science flatters this declension of the spirit; while in the faculties it employs, it seems to allow the mind the privileges of its higher nature, and yet calls it down into the sphere of sense. The spirit, prone to delusion, engages without suspicion, in that knowledge, in which it is yet intellectual, while it is given over to matter: it attains moreover, such easy satisfaction,-it finds so soon a firm resting-place in the knowledge which is built of such solid materials; and conceives in its system of science, dimension and structure like that of the world itself, which its system presumes to embrace and comprehend. It is

not to be wondered, if with this seductive aid to natural inclination, this strength grafted on natural infirmity, difficulties should grow to moral science, and if the world which it explores, should diminish in comparison into narrow compass, and fade into shadows.

There is an injury to moral contemplation arising also from the influence of these studies, on the character of the intellectual faculties. The faculties, exercised in the investigations of physical science, attain to a new and unknown precision in their action; a result of great general importance, if it could be kept merely subordinate ; but which is in danger, if it draws to itself excessive estimation, of deceiving the mind into too low an estimate of its other most important faculties. The absolute necessity of this intellectual exactness, in material knowledge and arts, and the overwhelming magnitude of the results that are thus built, it may be said, upon that quality alone, concur to generate in the mind a scorn, a slight regard, at least, of all those faculties, in which this strongly defined action is wanting. Imagination, sensibility, passion, the sources of moral knowledge, are lowered in the scale of esteem: not upon a consideration of their actual place in human nature, or of their influence upon life— but because their action, so often obscure, troubled, and indefinite, wants that virtue of precision, by which the faculties merely intellectual have achieved their stupendous works, have subjected the laws of nature to their knowledge, and her powers to their sway.

These observations, as far as they are true, apply to the whole circle of physical science. We would add a single observation, on that particular science, of which we have more peculiarly spoken, that science, which in the laboratories of the alchemists was perhaps the most mysterious and full of imagination of all the sciences, and which is become, in the hands of modern chemists, of all the most material in its ordinary state, the most separated from mind. For the intellectual cultivation yielded by any science, arises from the intellectual interest with which it is pursued. As long as the materials that are subjected to the understanding invite the faculties to exertion, as long as awakened intelligence is discovering its own paths among

such materials of knowledge, proving its own strength, and consciously enlarging its own capacity, it feels pleasure return upon itself from its exertion,-it acknowledges in its activity a self-derived enjoyment; it is unfolding its own nature, by following out its dictates. But to this result of Science, it is evidently necessary, that it should be pursued with something of the genius of discovery, in the spirit of inventive inquiry, in the consciousness of original and independent thought. The science of chemistry, as long as it is so pursued, by the extreme minuteness, the intricacy, and the occult nature it may be said of its investigations, requiring a very subtle and delicate, as well as a very exact action of the intellectual faculties, tends to produce on them a cultivation of corresponding character. But when it extends itself, as with us it does, far beyond the natural limits of intellectual interest; when, comprehending vast ranges of objects, it raises up a new purpose to the mind, not to satisfy its own inquiring intelligence, but to possess the whole extent of discovery, which an age has brought forth, from that time it changes its intellectual character. It is to the mind no longer pure intellectual science. It is an enormous accumulation of facts: and, instead of infusing by the spirit of delight, a living vigour into the action of

the intellect, it imposes a task upon the faculties, which, at the same time that it requires their strength, oppresses it. In short, by the great extent of knowledge, which as mere knowledge it lays upon its student, it takes its place at the head of those pursuits, which in their commencement are inviting, grateful, and invigorating to the intellectual faculties; but as they proceed, passing over the just limits of a natural interest, begin to contract the capacity they had before enlarged, and to stifle the animation of thought they had helped to kindle.

To the causes which have been thus imperfectly stated; and to causes akin to these, may be ascribed perhaps in great part, that dereliction of the most important, and naturally most attractive knowledge, which marks the spirit of philosophy in the present day. Other causes, no doubt, and of a deeper origin, have contributed to give to the faculties merely intellectual, their present usurped place in philosophy: but the general ardent pursuit of physical science appears necessarily to concur to the same effect:-Nor does there seem more reason to doubt, that the ultimate tendency of these studies in excess, is to degrade and injure the faculties which they raise up in the first place to an unnatural and undue authority.



I HAVE just been reading with much pleasure an article continued through two numbers of your work, in vindication of professor Stewart's philosophy, but am inclined, nevertheless, to take up discussion with the writer, if it may be permitted to do so at this distance of time, on a suggestion with which he closes his observations. "The phraseology," he says, "which these writers," (the Quarterly Reviewers whose strictures gave occasion to the vindication) "have employed in controverting Mr Stewart's doctrines, is so very different from his, as to occasion much embarrassment to one who wishes to form a judgment of the controversy." "They must be aware that this author has been at great pains to fix upon precise and definite


terms for the use of metaphysical writers." "If, indeed, they disapprove his phraseology, they may well be excused for not having adopted it, but they can hardly be excused for not having stated their objections to it, and pointed out the circumstances in which it differs from their own. if they think that a correct, uniform, and definite phraseology is not of the utmost importance in logic and metaphysics, then they maintain an opinion which is directly opposed to that of the greatest authorities on those subjects, and for which it was still more incumbent on them to assign their reasons.

Now, Sir, I ask, must the impugner of another's doctrines, either adopt his language or give his reasons for dissenting from it? I think it is a very arbitrary

requisition. To adopt the language of a philosopher in impugning his doctrines must be generally impracticable; for what is the specific language of a system, but a language involving its principles ?-But even if the language be distinct from the doctrines, how am I under obligation to adopt it ? For the convenience of the judges, before whom the controversy is carried on ?-But for them it should be sufficient that I speak a recognized language of philosophy, and it is their part to be prepared to understand me. The only ground of censure I can allow is, not that my language is not of this or that philosophy, but that it is unphilosophical.-But if I reject the language as disapproving it, upon what ground am I required to specify and explain this disapproval? Why is it not enough if I controvert the principles of a system in intelligible language?-Why must I first controvert its phraseology?

To me it would appear that one writer offering criticism on the philosophical writings of another, even if these comprehended an entire system of philosophy, and were of high reputation and authority in the country to which both belonged, may with perfect propriety adopt any one of three courses. He may, if he pleases, write for the pupils of that philosophy; and then, if he can do it with satisfaction to himself he may, as a facility and an indulgence to them, adopt the language to which their minds have been formed-Or he may write to the philosophical world; in which case it is open to him to use the language of any recognized system of philosophy to which he himself is attached, or he may use what he conceives to be a more general language of metaphysics, current among philosophers at large-Or, finally, writing to both these classes, and to all the good understandings of an intelligent nation besides, he may use let me speak without offence his mothertongue :-he may use, I should imagine, a natural language, free from any limitations assigned by one system of philosophy or another, and which, adapting itself to natural truth, will be found to adapt itself also to natural understanding.

Why the Quarterly Reviewers, from having neither adopted Mr Stewart's language nor assigned reasons for dis

senting from it, should be presumed to hold that correct and definite language is not important in philosophy, I find it still more difficult to understand. The charge is severe; it would seem to me to have required other grounds to rest on.

But with respect to the charge of holding a uniform language to be not important in philosophy, and to the general tenor of the whole passage, which insists so much upon the value or necessity of a language fixed and defined for the use of philosophical writers-as this involves matter of much more general argument, and was chiefly in my mind in beginning to write at all-on this subject I will venture to speak a little more at large.

I am aware that much importance has often been ascribed by writers in philosophy, to thus limiting and fixing the signification of words; and that much labour has been bestowed on the object of thus establishing a clear and correct philosophical language. But to my own mind, I confess, there has always appeared something harsh and unsatisfactory in the method of proceeding; and at variance, I should say, with the nature of language itself, nor have I been well able to comprehend the grounds of its alleged importance. The proceeding of which I speak, it will be understood, is the assigning to words of common language a meaning either more enlarged or more restrained than that which they commonly bear, and so rendering them applicable to philosophical use.

One purpose I conceive for which a metaphysical writer may be induced to adopt words to meanings of his own, is to give names to new ideas. An original mind bending its intense action on any branch of science, and, by such action, if I may say so, causing it to unfold its natural growth, as the power of such minds in such application does indeed produce knowledge, and give to science a being of which the principles already existed in nature, but did not before take their form;—An original mind thus creating science, produces new conceptions and new forms of thought, which in the exposition of such science may require new names, either because the language will not furnish them expression, even with much circumlocution, or because, being ne

cessarily of continual recurrence in such exposition, there is needed for them a simple and brief expression to save not the labour only but the great obscurity of continual circumlocution. In such cases it has been customary, I believe, either to form new words within the language, if its genius allowed it, or to adapt words from some other language. In either case, the harshness of the new-formed words has not offended in the language of science, and they have gradually passed, with the extension of knowledge, into the language of the country.

This case I have stated, rather to separate it from the consideration of the present question than in part of it. The question, I conceive, of fixing a language of philosophy, applies to those subjects and those ideas which are already familiar in philosophy, and for which expression has hitherto been sought in the language of the country. It appears to some writer whose thoughts are more precise, or he fancies so, than those of others who have treated the same subject before him, that they have used certain terms too laxly or vaguely-by which I should understand variably, for any vagueness or laxity in the signification of a word on any single occasion, can mean merely that the conception which the passage should express is so obscurely and imperfectly expressed, as not to assign the exact signification of each of its terms, which would be no more in effect than that such a particular sentence was ill-written, which could plainly be no ground for proposing any general alteration in language. The vagueness or laxity of signification, therefore, which gives ground for proposing to assign the meaning of a word must be a variable signification. The inconvenience or evil it is intended to remedy must be, that the meaning of any such word is so unfixed in the popular language, that philosophical writers themselves have used it, some with one application, or one extent of meaning, and some with another; or the same writers differently, at different times. But still what is the inconvenience? If every passage in itself were justly written, it should assign the meaning in which the word is there used, and leave no room for obscurity. But I presume, that what happens is this. The meVOL. VI.

taphysical writer, having exceedingly familiar to his mind certain thoughts and certain courses of thought, and having their expression in like manner exceedingly familiar, does by degrees come to affix to any terms of variable signification occurring in such expression, that peculiar meaning which they there possess, more readily than any other. So that his own mind no longer needs with the term those circumstances of concomitant expression, which would otherwise be necessary to suggest and determine the peculiar acceptation. His mind leaps, as it were, to that acceptation which is so familiar. And in writing he no longer conceives the different state of other men's minds from his own in this respect; but writing to them, as he speaks to himself, he uses a too elliptical expression, and sets before them a term which he distinctly understands, unaccompanied by those qualifying circumstances which should determine or even suggest its peculiar meaning. To him, perhaps, it would bear his own appropriated meaning, under circumstances which to other minds would determine another signification.

Under the force of this kind of habitual impression of certain terms, an inquirer of great force of mind, and great clearness and distinctness of thought, might, it should seem, in writing, use misleading expressions. And yet it would seem to me, that in such a case, nothing more than the knowledge of his writings, and such acquaintance as they might give with the habits of his mind, would be required to remove such error, and to clear up occasional obscurity.

If in the minds of different writers the same word has acquired, in other senses, this kind of appropriation,there is room, it is evident, for still greater obscurity and error in the confusion of associations with which its use will be attended in passing from one of these writers to another. And the obscurity and error which may thus attach themselves to writings of great merit and value, are the inconvenience and evil which I conceive it is intended to remedy, when it is proposed to fix the philosophical meaning of the words of language.

But still I am not able to understand the remedy; for I can find in it, after all, nothing else than the F

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