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confidence, and even with astonishment, that our opinion on the subject, in the present age of philosophy, should be doubted by him who has taken the superfluous trouble of putting such a question. At the very moment, probably, at which we give our answer, we have our eyes fixed on him to whom we address it. His complexion, his dress, are regarded by us as external colors, and we are practically, at the very moment, therefore, belying the very opinion which we profess, and in speculation truly profess, to hold.”
For myself, my opinions must undergo an essential modification before I shall hold a dogma philosophically, which I cannot but disbelieve, even in the act of attempting to demonstrate its truth. A philosopher once asked a friend, why the atmosphere above us appears blue?' The friend attempted to account for the fact, by reference to the laws of reflection of light. The philosopher replied, that he had a much more simple, and to himself a much more satisfactory answer: “The sky appears blue, because it is blue.” The answer indicated an insight into the depths of philosophic wisdom. It is the very answer which true philosophy gives to all similar questions.
2. Our vision of objects is direct and immediate, and not indirect and mediale. The presence of light, the image on the retina, the consequent effect upon the Sensibility, through the optic nerve, are conditions of vision, but no part of vision itself. When these conditions are fulfilled, we see, not what is within the small compass of the orbs of vision, but the objects themselves towards which those orbs are turned. I hold the truth of this theory, for the reason that it announces, as the real and necessary belief of the race, what philosophy is bound to do, the real belief of philosophers, when in the very act of attempted demonstrations of the opposite theory. Let any man attempt to write a demonstration of the theory, that we never, in reality, see objects without us, and in the act of writing that demonstration, he will believe that he has a direct vision of the paper on which he is writing out an attempted demonstration of the position, that he has no such vision. Now, a theory which I cannot believe, even when attempting to demonstrate its truth, I shall never consent to receive as philosophically true. Philosophy will announce much fewer errors than it now does, when it will cease to enunciate as philosophically true, what all men, and philosophers with them, know to be intellectually false.
3. Nor is it true, as some suppose, that primary qualities exist in the objects themselves, while the secondary qualities exist only in the Sensibility which experiences them. There is nothing in the external object, it is said, like the sensation of color, taste, or smell. Nor is there anything in the object like the sensation of resistance. As causes of specific sensations, secondary qualities sustain precisely the same relation to their appropriate effects that primary qualities do. The only ground for the distinction under consideration, is this : we cannot conceive of a material substance which is not solid and extended; but we may conceive of one which is destitute of taste, smell, &c.
Secondary qualities are also just as essential to the peculiar nature of the substances in which they inhere, as the primary ones.
We cannot take away a primary quality, without so changing the nature of its subject, that it will no ger be material. Nor can we take away a secondary quality (the quality in sugar, for example, which produces in us the sensation of sweetness), without changing its nature, as that particular thing.
Nor is our knowledge of the nature of substances less real and positive, through the secondary, than through the primary qualities of matter. My knowledge of the real nature of sugar, for example, through the sensation of sweetness, is just as real as is my knowledge of any other substance, through the perception of form, or the sensation of resistance. All that I know, in either instance, is the real correlation between the nature of Mind and Matter, through perceptions and sensations.
Understanding. THROUGH the faculty of Sense, and a consciousness of sensations, we have, as we have seen, intuitions of the qualities of external material substances ; phenomena, such as are expressed by the terms extension, form, resistance, color, taste, smell, and sound. By Consciousness, we have similar intuitions of the operations of our own minds, such as thinking, feeling, and willing. Through Reason, on condition of the perceptions of Sense and Consciousness, we have the intuitions of time, space, personal identity, substance, and cause. These intuitions being given, another and secondary intellectual process occurs, a process, in which these intuitions, necessary and contingent, are united into notions of particular things. Thus, our notion of body, for example, is complex, and when analysed into its distinct elements, is found to be constituted exclusively of intuitions given by the faculties above referred to. We conceive of it as a substance, in which the qualities above named inhere, a substance existing in time and space, and sustaining certain relations to other substances, of which we have notions similarly compounded. The same holds true of our notions of all substances whatever. They are all complex, and constituted exclusively of intuitions given by the primary faculties.
A notion, then, is a complex intellectual phenomenon, composed of intuitions. The faculties, or functions of the Intelligence, which give us the latter, we have already considered. What shall we call that which gives us the former? In other words what shall we call the notion-forming power of the mind? In conformity to a usage which has, since the time of Coleridge, extensively obtained, we denominate this faculty of the Intelligence, the Understanding. In strict conformity to this specific application, will the term Understanding, when special notice to the contrary is not given, be employed throughout this Treatise. It will be employed, not as Locke uses it, as designating the general Intelligence, but to designate a special function of that Intelligence, a function in which intuitions contingent and necessary, given by the primary faculties, are combined into notions or conceptions of particulur objects, or classes of objects.
Notions Particular and General. Notions are of two kinds, particular and general. Particular notions are such as we form of individuals, and designate by terms which are applicable to such individuals only—such as John, Samuel. General notions appertain to classes of individuals, and are designated by terms of corresponding application, such as man, mountain. The formation of the notions last mentioned, will be considered in a subsequent Chapter
ELEMENTS OF WHICH NOTIONS ARE CONSTITUTED.
The elements of which all notions are constituted, are, as we have seen, of two kinds-contingent and necessary. A proper philosophical analysis of notions would lead us to contemplate them in the light of these two distinct classes of elements.
Contingent Elements. The contingent elements entering into every notion are all expressed by the general term phenomenon. Now, phenomena present themselves under the following entirely distinct relations.
1. That of inherence, or that which inheres in particular substances, irrespective of other substances. Thus whiteness, for example, inheres in snow, sweetness in sugar,
and form belongs to all bodies. This class of phenomena we designate by the term quality.
2. That which results from the action and reaction of one substance upon another, or the phenomena of dependence. Thus, fluidity in metals results from the action of heat upon metallic substances. All such phenomena we designate by the term effect.
3. That relation of phenomena which results from the external connection of substances with one another, or the phenomena of coherence. Thus individuals sustain to each other the relations of employer and agent, physician and patient, teacher and pupil, &c.
4. The fourth class of phenomena may be denominated accidental. Thus the fact that an individual now existing, is born of a woman, constitutes an essential element of our conception of him as a man. But the fact that he was born in Paris instead of London, in France instead of America, is what is called an accidental element of our conception of him, because, such an element is not essential to our conception of him as a man.
5. The relation of phenomena pertaining to place. Thus, when any phenomena appears, we ask, where is it? individual, for example, who is ignorant of the facts, should hear others speaking of the Astor House, he would at once ask after its location. The particular place where the house is located, is a contingent element of our conception of it. The same holds true of all other substances.
6. Phenomena present themselves under one other relation still, that of antecedence, and succession. When any event is announced to us as having occurred, we ask the question, when did it occur ? The answer to this question, that is, the particular time of the event, enters as a contingent element into our conceptions of it.
As far as my present investigations extend, the above present a complete enumeration of the contingent elements of all our potions. Whenever we contemplate an object, we always think of it in relation to what is intrinsic in the object, irrespective of other objects—to what we have witnessed in regard to the effects resulting from the action of other powers upon it, or from its action upon them—to its external relations to other objects—to accidental circumstances connected with it-to the place where it is located, or its phenomena have appeared, -and the time of such occurrences. I have hesitated considerably in respect to the question whether the last two classes should not be ranged under the fourth, and classed as accidents. To me, however, they appear sufficiently distinct to justify the arrangement above made.
Necessary Elements. Of the necessary elements which enter into, and determine