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tempt the solution. But then it must be under certain conditions. I must be able to hope, I must have sufficient grounds for hoping, that I shall be understood, or rather that I shall be allowed to make myself understood. And as I am gifted with no magnetic power of throwing my reader into the state of clear-seeing (clairvoyance) or luminous vision; as I have not the secret of enabling him to read with the pit of his stomach, or with his finger-ends, nor of calling into act "the cuticular faculty," dormant at the tip of his nose; but must rely on WORDS-I cannot form the hope rationally, unless the reader will have patience enough to master the sense in which I use them.
But why employ words that need explanation? And might I not ask in my turn, would you, gentle reader! put the same question to Sir Edward Smith, or any other member of the Linnean Society, to whom you had applied for instruction in Botany? And yet he would require of you that should attend to a score of technical terms, and make yourself master of the sense of each, in order to your understanding the distinctive characters of a grass, a mushroom, and a lichen! Now the psychologist, or speculative philosopher, will be content with you, if you will impose on yourself the trouble of understanding and remembering one of the number, in order to understand your own nature. But I will meet your question direct. You ask me, why I use words that need explanation? Because (I reply) on this subject there are no others! Because the darkness and the main difficulties that attend it, are owing to the vagueness and ambiguity of the words in common use; and which preclude all explanation for him who has resolved that none is required. Because there is already a falsity in the very phrases, "words in common use; "the language of common sense. Words of most frequent use they may be, common they are not; but the language of the market, and as such, expressing degrees only, and therefore mcompetent to the purpose wherever it becomes necessary to designate the kind independent of all degree. The philosopher may, and often does, employ the same words as in the market; but does this supersede the necessity of a previous explanation? As I re
ferred you before to the botanist, sơ now to the chemist. Light, heat, charcoal, are every man's words. But fixed or invisible light? The frozen heat? Charcoal in its simplest form as diamond, or as black-lead? Will a stranger to chemistry be worse off, would the chemist's language be less likely to be understood by his using different words for distinct meanings, as carbon, caloric, and the like?
But the case is still stronger. The chemist is compelled to make words, in order to prevent or remove some error connected with the common word; and this too an error, the continuance of which was incompatible with the first principles and elementary truths of the science he is to teach. You must submit to regard yourself ignorant even of the words, air and water; and will find, that they are not chemically intelligible without the terms, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, or others equivalent. Now it is even so with the knowledge, which you would have me to communicate. There are certain prejudices of the common, i. e. of the average sense of men, the exposure of which is the first step, the indispensable preliminary, of all rational psychology: and these cannot be exposed but by selecting and adhering to some one word, in which we may be able to trace the growth and modifications of the opinion or belief conveyed in this, or similar words, not by any revolution or positive change of the original sense, but by the transfer of this sense and the difference in the application.
Where there is but one word for two or more diverse or disparate meanings in a language, (or though there should be several, yet if perfect synonimes, they count but for one word,) the language is so far defective. And this is a defect of frequent occurrence in all languages, prior to the cultiva tion of science, logic and philology, especially of the two latter: and among a free, lively, and ingenious people, such as the Greeks were, sophistry and the influence of sophists are the inevitable result. To check this evil by striking at its root in the ambigui ty of words, Plato wrote the greater part of his published works, which do not so much contain his own system of philosophy, as the negative conditions of reasoning aright on any sys tem. And yet more obviously is it
the case with the Metaphysics, Analytics, &c. of Aristotle, which have been well described by Lambert as a dictionary of general terms, the process throughout being, first, to discover and establish definite meanings, and then to appropriate to each a several word. The sciences will take care, each of it's own nomenclature; but the interests of the language at large fall under the special guardianship of logic and rational psychology. Where these have fallen into neglect or disrepute, from exclusive pursuit of wealth, excess of the commercial spirit, or whatever other cause disposes men in general to attach an exclusive value to immediate and palpable utility, the dictionary may swell, but the language will decline. Few are the books published within the last fifty years, that would not supply their quota of proofs, that so it is with our own mother English. The bricks and stones are in abundance, but the cement none or naught. That which is indeed the common language exists every where as the menstruum, and no where as the whole-See Biographia Literariawhile the language complimented with this name, is, as I have already said,
in fact the language of the market. Every science, every trade, has it's technical nomenclature; every folly has it's fancy-words; every vice it's own slang-and is the science of hu manity to be the one exception? Is philosophy to work without tools? to have no straw wherewith to make the bricks for her mansion-house but what she may pick up on the high road, or steal, with all it's impurities and sophistications, from the litter of the cattle market?
For the present, however, my demands on your patience are very limited.-If as the price of much entertainment to follow, and I trust of something besides of less transitory interest, you will fairly attend to the history of two scholastic terms, OBJECT and SUBJECT, with their derivatives; you shall have my promise that I will not on any future occasion ask you to be attentive, without trying not to be myself dull. That it may cost you no more trouble than necessary, I have brought it under the eye in numbered paragraphs, with scholia or commentary to such as seemed to require it. Your's most affectionately, S. T. COLERIDGE.
On the Philosophic import of the Words, OBJECT and SUBJECT.
Existence is a simple intuition, underived and indecomponible. It is no idea, no particular form, much less any determination or modification of the possible it is nothing that can be educed from the logical conception of a thing, as its predicate: it is no property of a thing, but its reality itself; or, as the Latin would more conveniently express it-Nulla rei proprietas est, sed ipsa ejus realitas.
Herein lies the sophism in Des Cartes' celebrated demonstration of the existence of the Supreme Being from the idea. In the idea of God are contained all attributes that belong to the perfection of a being; but existence is such therefore, God's existence is contained in the idea of God. To this it is a sufficient answer, that existence is not an attribute. It might be shewn too, from the barrenness of the demonstration, by identifying the deduction with the premise, i. e. for reducing the minor or term included to a mere repetition of the major or term including. For in fact the syllogism ought to stand thus: the idea of God
comprises the idea of all attributes that belong to perfection; but the idea of existence is such: therefore the idea or his existence is included in the idea of God.-Now, existence is no idea, but a fact: or, though we had an idea of existence, still the proof of its correspondence to a reality would be wanting, i. e. the very point would be want, ing which it was the purpose of the demonstration to supply. Still the idea of the fact is not the fact itself. Besides, the term, idea, is here improperly substituted for the mere supposition of a logical subject, necessarily presumed in order to the conceivableness (cogitabilitas) of any qualities,
properties, or attributes. But this is a mere ens logicum, (vel etiam grammaticum,) the result of the thinker's own unity of consciousness, and no less contained in the conception of a plant or of a chimæra, than in the idea of the Supreme Being. If Des Cartes could have proved, that his idea of a Supreme Being is universal and necessary, and that the conviction of a reality perfectly coincident with the idea is equally universal and inevitable; and that these were in truth but one and the same act or intuition, unique, and without analogy, though, from the inadequateness of our minds, from the mechanism of thought, and the structure of language, we are compelled to express it dividually, as consisting of two correlative terms-this would have been
something. But then it must be entitled a statement, not a demonstration-the necessity of which it would supersede. And something like this may perhaps be found true, where the reasoning powers are developed and duly exerted; but would, I fear, do little towards settling the dispute between the religious Theist and the speculative Atheist or Pantheist, whether this be all, or whether it is even what we mean, and are bound to mean, by the word God. The old controversy would be started, what are the possible perfections of an Infinite Beingin other words, what the legitimate sense is of the term, infinite, as applied to Deity, and what is or is not compatible with that sense.
I think, and while thinking, I am conscious of certain workings or movements, as acts or activities of my being, and feel myself as the power in which they originate. I feel myself working; and the sense or feeling of this activity constitutes the sense and feeling of EXISTENCE, i. e. of my actual being.
Movements, motions, taken metaphorically, without relation to space or place. Κινησεῖς μη κατα τόπον ; άι ωσπες κινησεῖς, of Aristotle.
In these workings, however, I distinguish a difference. In some I feel myself as the cause and proper agent, and the movements themselves as the work of my own power. In others, I feel these movements as my own activity; but not as my own acts. The first we call the active or positive state of our existence; the second, the passive or negative state. The active power, never, theless, is felt in both equally. But in the first I feel it as the cause acting, in the second, as the condition, without which I could not be acted on.
It is a truth of highest importance, that agere et pati are not different kinds, but the same kind in different relations. And this not only in consequence of an immediate re-action, but the act of receiving is no less truly an act, than the act of influencing. Thus, the lungs act in being stimulated by the air, as truly as in the act of breathing, to which they were stimulated, The Greek verbal termination, w, happily illustrates this. Пlow, πgarтw, Tano, in philosophical grammar, are all three verbs active; but the first is the active-transitive, in which the agency passes forth out of the agent into another. To; what are you doing? The second is the active-in
transitive. Ti ngartsïç ; how do you do? or how are you? The third is the active-passive, or more appropriately the active-patient, the verb recipient or receptive, raonas; what ails you? Or, to take another idiom of our language, that most livelily expresses the co-presence of an agent, an agency distinct and alien from our own, What is the matter with you? It would carry us too far to explain the nature of verbs passive, as so called in technical gram→ mar. Suffice, that this class originated in the same causes, as led men to make the division of substances into living and deada division psychologically necessary, but of doubtful philosophi cal validity.
With the workings and movements, which I refer to myself and my own agency, there alternate-say rather, I find myself alternately conscious of forms (Impressions, images, or better or less figurative and hypothetical, presences, presentations,) and of states or modes, which not feeling as the work or effect of my own power I refer to a power other than me, i. e. (in the language derived from my sense of sight) without me. And this is the feeling, I have, of the existence of outward things.
In this superinduction of the sense of outness on the feeling of the actual arises our notion of the real and reality. But as I cannot but reflect, that as the other is to me, so I must be to
the other, the terms real and actual, soon become confounded and interchangeable, or only discriminated in the gold scales of metaphysics.
Since both then, the feeling of my own existence and the feeling of the existence of things without, are but this sense of an acting and working—it is clear that to exist is the same as to act or work; (Quantum operor, tantum sum,) that whatever exists, works, (=is in action; actually is; is in deed,) that not to work, as agent or patient, is not to exist; and lastly, that patience patiendi,) and the re-action that is its co-instantaneous consequent, is the same activity in opposite and alternating relations.
That which is inferred in those acts and workings, the feeling of which is one with the feeling of our own existence, or inferred from those which we refer to an agency distinct from our own, but in both instances is inferred, is the SUBJECT, i. e. that which does not appear, but lies under (quod jacet subter) the appearance.
But in the first instance, that namely which is inferred in its effects, and of course therefore self-inferred, the subject is a MIND, i. e. that which knows itself, and may be inferred by others; but which cannot appear.
That, in or from which the subject is inferred, is the OBJECT, id quod jacet ob oculos, that which lies before us, that which lies strait opposite.
The terms used in psychology, logic, &c. even those of most frequent occurrence in common life, are, for the most part, of Latin derivation; and not only so, but the original words, such as quantity, quality, subject, object, &c. &c. formed in the schools of philosophy for scholastic use, and in correspondence to Greek technical terms of the same meaning. Etymology, therefore, is little else than indispensable to an insight into the true force, and, as it were, freshness of the words in question, especially of those that
have passed from the schools into the market-place, from the medals and tokens (Bona) of the philosophers' guild or company into the current coin of the land. But the difference between a man, who understands them according to their first use, and seeks to restore the original impress and superscription, and the man who gives and takes them in small change, unweighed, and tried only by the sound, may be illustrated by imagining the different points of view in which the same cowry would appear to a scienti
fic conchologist, and to a chaffering negro. This use of etymology may be exemplified in the present case. The immediate object of the mind is always and exclusively the workings or makings above stated and distinguished into two kinds, § 2, 3, and 4. Where the object consists of the first kind, in which the subject infers its own existence, and which it refers to its own agency, and identifies with itself, (feels and contemplates as one with itself, and as itself,) and yet without confounding the inherent distinction between subject and object, the subject witnesses to itself that it is a mind, i. e. a subject-object, or subject that becomes an object to itself.
But where the workings or makings of the second sort are the object, from objects of this sort we always infer the existence of a subject, as in the former case. But we infer it from them, rather than in them; or to express the point yet more clearly, we infer two subjects. In the object, we infer our own existence and subjectivity; from them the existence of a subject, not our own, and to this we refer the object, as to its proper cause and agent. Again, we always infer a correspondent subject; but not always a mind. Whether we consider this other subject as another mind, is determined by the more or less analogy of the objects or makings of the second class to those of the first, and not seldom depends on the varying degrees of our attention and previous knowledge. Add to these differences the modifying influence of the senses, the sense of sight more particularly, in conse quence of which this subject other than we, is presented as a subject out of us. With the sensuous vividness connected with, and which in part constitutes, this outness or outwardness, contrast the exceeding obscurity and dimness in the conception of a subject not a mind; and reflect too, that, to objects of the first kind, we cannot attribute actual or separative outwardness; while, in cases of the second kind, we are, after a shorter or longer time, compelled by the law of association to transfer this outness from the inferred subject to the present object. Lastly, reflect that, in the former instance, the object is identified with the subject, both positively by the act of the subject, and negatively by insusceptibility of outness in the object; and
that in the latter the very contrary takes place; namely, instead of the object being identified with the subject, the subject is taken up and confounded in the object. In the ordinary and unreflecting states, therefore, of men's minds, it could not beotherwise, but that, in the one instance, the object must be lost, and indistinguishable in the subject; and that, in the other, the subject is lost and forgotten in the object, to which a necessary illusion had already transferred that outness, which, in its origin, and in right of reason, belongs exclusively to the subject, i. e. the agent ab extra inferred from the object. For outness is but the feeling of otherness (alterity), rendered intuitive, or alterity visually represented. Hence, and also because we find this outness and the objects, to which, though they are, in fact, workings in our own being, we transfer it, independent of our will, and apparently common to other minds, we learn to connect therewith the feeling and sense of reality; and the objective becomes synonimous first with external, then with real, and at length it was employed to express universal and permanent validity, free from the accidents and particular constitution of individual intellects; nay, when taken in its highest and absolute sense, as free from the inherent limits, partial perspective, and refracting media of the human mind in specie, (idola tribûs of Lord Bacon,) as distinguished from mind in toto genere. In direct antithesis to these several senses of the term, objective, the subjective has been used as synonimous with, first, inward; second, unreal; and third, that the cause and seat of which are to be referred to the special or individual peculiarity of the percipients, mind, organs, or relative position. Of course, the meaning of the word in any one sentence cannot be definitely ascertained but by aid of the context, and will vary with the immediate purposes, and previous views and persuasions of the writer. Thus, the egoist, or ultra-idealist, affirms all objects to be subjective; the disciple of Malbranche, or of Berkeley, that the objective subsists wholly and solely in the universal subject-God. A lady, otherwise of sound mind, was so affected by the reported death of her absent husband, that every night at