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relative to trains of thought, which certainly are daily passing through our minds, but which are never recollected ; because, on account of their great rapidity, they are not objects of allention, or as I should prefer to say, of consciousness. Such, for example, is that train of thought by which we are led to judge of the distances of visible objects, and which includes in it a comparison of various particu. lars, such as the apparent magnitude of the object, its distinctness or obscurity, the brightness of its colours, the inclination of the axes of the eyes, and change of .conformation of the eye itself. In this instance, and in some of the others mentioned by Mr. Stewart, it may be remarked, that the inactivity of Consciousness is to be ascribed, not only to the rapidity of the intellectual process, but also to its having been familiarized to the mind in early life, before the faculty of Consciousness came into exercise. In other instances, par. ticularly such as are ascribed to the mechanical agency of habit, as where a musician comes, by long practice, to perform a piece of music with such facility as to be unconscious of any voluntary effort, the inactivity of Consciousness seems wholly due to the rapidity of the mental exertions ; and Mr. Stewart appears to have been peculiarly successful in illustrating the true nature of such phenomena, which had been most unphilosophically ascribed to the influence of an undefined and misunderstood principle called Habit. But, for the ingenious remarks of this philosopher, upon these interesting topics, we refer to his own work, chapter second.'
We see not much of confutation in this passage : the author merely says that he differs from Mr. Stewart: but in a subsequent part he endeavours to put in motion a greater force of argument :
Still, however, (he is speaking of Mr. Stewart's lilustrations) though I admit the justness and the utility of these illustrations, I can see no necessity for assigning to the mind a peculiar faculty called Attention, whose office it is to take previous cognizance of our various thoughts, in order that they may be again recognized by the memory. I can find no peculiar objects for the employment of this faculty, which do not belong to some one or other of those whose existence seems to be certainly established. Whatever is afterwards remembered is either an object of the senses, that is, of the faculties of sensation and perception; or, it is some mental abstraction, some real or fancied relation, some ohject of consciousness or conception ; in short, of some one or other of those mental faculties which are contained in the enumerations of Pneumatology, without, however, resorting to this disputed one of Attention. I hus, the Attention, if it be a peculiar faculty, must be a generally assisting faculty, which comes occasionally to the help of all the others, to give them clearer views of their several objects.
• Instead of adopting this conclusion, I would should) be inclined to reject the existence of the faculty altogether, and consider the mean. ing of the term Attention, or of doing a thing attentively, to be no more than a sedulous and steady exertion of the particular mental power thea in questios, whether it be Perception, Abstraction, Combina
Lion, or any other. To assert the contrary doctrine, appears to be nearly as inconsistent as to to say, that, when a man lifts a burden of a hundred pounds weight, he must exert a muscular power, different in kind, as well as in degree, from that by which he is enabled to lift weight of ten pounds. The rapid currents of thought which pass in our mindi, generally unknown to ourselves, and which afford the most plausible argument for the necessity of a peculiar faculty, of the nature of Attention, appear to me to be proper objects, not of Atention, but of Consciousness, and, as such, have been considered in Chapter ist.'
In the first part of this quotation, the author either gives up the point ic dispute, or we see not his meaning. The Attention, he says, if it be a peculiar faculty, must be a generally assisting faculty :-he mode of operation is not the real subject of discussion, it is the Independence and separate Existence of the faculty.
A subsequent passage in the work contains a piece of historical criticism which deserves notice. It is shewn by an extract from Condillac, that this author, previously to Mr. Stewart, considered Attention as a peculiar faculty of the human mind.
Besides the positions which we have mentioned, this first chapter, an Consciousness, contains others that excite our doubt, and would, if our limits permitted, provoke us to discussion. Con. sciousness being, by Mr. Scott's definition, the power by which the various powers of the mind are made known to us, he says that this power is denied to the lower animals : what must be the nature of the proof that can establish this fact?
The second Chapter treats of Sinsation ; and here, in 10ricing Ds. Reid's distinction between perception and sensation, the author remarks: 'According to this distinction, the very essence of a sensation consists in its being felt; and, when it is not felt, it ceases to exist, and has no longer any object; while the objects of perception have a permanent exisience without us, whether they are perceived or not.'- Now it seems to us that the latter part of this sentence is not a fair inference from Dr. Reid's opinion; and after the convincing arguments of Berkeley on this point, we were rather surprised at meeting with such a statement.--On the subject, 100, of the primary and secondary qualities of bodies, Mr. Scott is again at varizace with Berkeley:
• If it be asked (he say:) vhat I mean by the 'smell of a rose,' it is evident that, in the general acceptation of the phrase, this denotes a Senation of the mind ; as appears from the epithels • fragrant, agree. able,' &c. wiich are applicable to it, and which alore have meaning when referred to a sentitní being. Along, however, with this sen. sation of an agreeable o dor, there is conjoined a perception, by which We form a certain notion of that quality in the rose which is the
cause of its odour ; which perception is totally distinct from the scene sation ; for it cannot be said to be agreeable or otherwise, and it has an external object, whose existence does not depend upon the act of the mind as the sensation does. Yet we have no name whereby to distinguish the object of this perception, unless that which more properly belongs to the accompanying sensation, viz.the smell of the rose ;' a defect of language, which is no doubt the source of much ambiguity.'
We very much doubt whether the mind forms a perception of that quality of the Rose which is the cause of the fragrance; and why is it necessary to form such a perception? If it be not necessary, we do not want a term to distinguish the object of perception ; and why invent terms that introduce theories and bewilder the mind ?
A little farther on, we find this passage :
• Thus it appears, that language affords, in general, but a single term whereby to distinguish both the sensation and its accompanying perception ; and that this term is chiefly appropriated either to the sensation or perception, according as the attention is most engrossed by the one or the other. Upon this circumstance appears to be founded a distinction of the qualities of body into two kinds, called by Mr. Locke, primary and secondary. The reality of the distinction I would place in this, that the primary qualities are those of which we have a distinct perception, and but a slight sensation ; while, of the secondary, our perception is but obscure, and we have a strong sensation, which chicfly arrests our attention. Hence, the names of the primary qualities of body more usually refer to the perception by which they are made known to us ; while those of the secondary qualities have more properly a reference to the accompanying sersation.'
We cannot undertake to controvert these positions, since we do not clearly apprehend their meaning. What is the slight sensation of a primary quality ?
In the 3rd Chapter, on Perception, an account is given of the various theories that have been formed respecting Per. ception, from Aristotle to Hume: but we meet with little that is novel in this account, and other authors have on the same subject written more fully. In mentioning Berkeley, Mr. Scott falls into a low expression;' Berkeley, (he says) though he denies the existense of a material world, yet as became his Cloth,' &c.-After having stated Reid's account of the phænomena of perception, he proposes to make a slight alteration in it; and he wishes it to be affirmed that, in every perception of an external object of sense, we find; ist, Some conception or notion of the object perceived ; and 2dly, A strong and irresistible belief of its present existence, which is not resolvable into reasoning, or any other kind of evidence
This statement resolves the belief of external objects and of a material world into an intuitive truth:--but, in perceiving, are we really sensible of the operation of this strong beliel? Inquiry may arise on this point.
In treating of Abstraction, (Chap. IV.) the author is led to the controversy between the Nominalists, Realists, and Conceptualists.
• If,' sayshe,'the ideal theory be relinquished, as I think it must, in consequence of the reasonings of Dr. Reid, the system of the Realists falls to the ground, or at least becomes identified with that of the Conceptualists; for I do not suppose that any philosopher would now be incliced to revive the system of Plato concerning the eternal and independent existence of universal archetypes, or ideas, after the pat. terns of which all individual things have been formed. The only rational controversy, that now remains, appears to be, Whether is the mind capable of attaching distinct notions, or conceptions, to those general and abstract terms which it so frequently employs ? or is it incapable of forming such notions, so that, when it employs general terms, these are to be considered rather as signs than accurate expressions of our thoughts, and if any distinct notion is annexed to them, it must be that of an individual of the species which they are em. ployed to express ?'
As the question is important, Mr. Scott proceeds particularly to examine it; and the first section of the discussion treats of the nature and origin of abstract and general terms. We experienced, however, very little satisfaction from this examination; and not being distinctly apprized of the object of the author's reasonings, and certainly not convinced by them, we felt rather surprised at suddenly arriving at this sentence : 'the doctrine, which I have been endeavouring to illustrate,' &c.
The origin of generic terms has been successfully assigned by philosophers. Terms appropriated to Individuals are extended to whole classes of like Individuals; and propositions that are true with the generic term are true when the term is restricted to denote an Individual of the genus. Many propositions are true with the generic term, because they have been proved true of a vast number of the Individuals, or be-. cause there seems no sufficient reason why that which is true for one Individual should not be true for like Individuals. All bodies fall towards the earth; observation has verified the assertion in a great variety of instances, and daily experience confirms it; we can distinctly assign the causes, when phanomena happen anomalous to this law: but there must be nua merous bodies that are never observed to fall, and with which no experiment was ever made; yet the proposition is asserted Rev. MARCH, 1807. S
of these, because no reason can be assigned why they should not follow the law. In the above and in similar propositions, however, we cannot be said to annex precise ideas to the generic term: if controversy, indeed, or the necessity of expianation, forces us into illustration, we must enumerate ; in the general proposition we should, instead of the term body, name a stone, or an orange, or a guinea ; and in these specifi. cations we should have distinct notions of the terms employed or the things specified. With general terms, the case is different; and on this account Condillac and Dugald Stewart have asserted that generic terms are mere signs of convenience, which we acquire the habit of employing with accuracy, but to which no distinct notion can be annexed. This position is controverted by Mr. Scott; who remarks, after having made an extract from Stewart relative to this, subject:
In opposition to this ingenious philosopher, I take upon me to affirm, that though generic terms are very convenient and useful signs, both for communicating our thoughts, and giving them precision, they are by no means indispensably requisite for enabling us to specu. late concerning general classes of objects. Thus, I think, though language had contained no such generic term as man, we might have entered into many very useful speculations concerning the whole human race : and, in like manner, though we had wanted the words plant and mineral, we should not have been entirely ignorant of the general properties of the vegetable and fossil kingdoms. Nay, I maintain, that we are actually without such generic terms, in many departments where scientific speculation has been most successfully conducted. Thus, I know of no term, in any language, that properly defines and comprehends the objects of astronomical science. The term stars excludes the sun and moon, and perhaps the planets and comets; and hence, in giving a brief explanation of the objects of this science, we are obliged to make use of a circumlocution, viz. the heavenly bodies. But certainly a circumlocution is not a term, but a clumsy substitute for one, which necessity prompts us to employ. I would likewise observe, that the sense in which generic terms are understood, is by no means fixed and precisely liniited ; so that to one person they may indicate all the individuals of a certain subject of speculation, while to another their meaning may be more circumscribed. Thus, many writers upon Pneumatology employ the term mind, as comprehending not only the intellectual part of man, but also the Divine mind, and every spirirual being; while others limit it to the human mind alone ; and are, therefore, without any generic ap: pellation for all the objects of this science. The conclusion I would deduce from these illustrations, is, that generic terms, though extremely useful and convenient, are by no means essential to general speculations, or to the formation of general notions.
* The next point which it is of importance to examine, is, When we reason concerning classes or genera, are the objects of our attention 'merely signs ? that is, have generic terms any distinct significa.