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Condillac does not appear to have been sufficiently aware of this; nor even that most acute and profound philosopher, the late Mir Smith. In his Essay on the External Senses (published in his posthumous volume), he all along supposes the mind in possession of the idea for the origin of which he is attempting to account. How do we get the notion of what Mr Smith calls erternality, and Berkeley outness 2 Is not this only a particular modification of the idea of ertension ? The same remark may be applied to some late speculations on this subject, by M. Destutt-Tracy. They are evidently the result of great depth and refinement of thought ; but, like those of Mr Smith, they will be found, on an accurate examination, to involve what logicians call a petitio principii. I am strongly inclined, at the same time, to think, that the idea of extension involves the idea of motion ; or, to express m yself more explicitly, that our first notions of extension are acquired by the effort of moving the hands over the surfaces of bodies, and by the effort of moving our own bodies from place to place. The reference which Smith and Destutt-Tracy, as well as many earlier inquirers, have made to the motion of the hand, in their attempts to clear up this mystery, furnishes a strong presumption, that motion is somehow or other concerned in the business. I diller from them only in this: that whereas they seem to have considered their theory as affording some explanation of the origin of the idea, to me it appears, if well-founded, to exhibit this problem in a form still more manifestly insolvable than that in which it is commonly viewed. From the following query of Berkeley's, it may be inferred what his opinion was on the point in question : “Whether it be “ possible, that we should have had an idea or notion of Exten“sion prior to Motion ? Or whether, if a man had never per“ ceived Motion, he would ever have known or conceived one “thing to be distant from another 2" To this query I have already said, that I am disposed to reply in the negative; although, in doing so, I would be understood to express myself with the greatest possible diffidence. One observation, however, I may add, without the slightest hesitation, that if the idea of Extension presupposes that of Motion, it must, of necessity, presuppose also that of Time. The prosecution of this last remark has led me into some speculations, which appear to myself to be interesting; but to which I find it impossible to give a place in this volume.
Note (N.) p. 171. “Tous les systèmes possibles sur la génération des idées, peu“vent étre rappelés, quant à leur principe fondamentale, à cette 4.
“simple alternative; ou toutes nos idées ont leur origine dams “les impressions des sens; ou il y a des idées qui n'ont point “leur origine dans ces impressions, et par consequent qui sont “ placées dans l'ame immédiatement, et qui lui appartiennent en ** vertu de sa seule nature.
“Ainsiles opinions des philosophes anciens ou modernes sur “la génération des idées, se plageront d'elles même sur deux “lignes opposées; celles des philosophes qui ont adopté le prin“cipe, nihil est in intellectu quin prius fuerit in sensu; celles des “ philosophes qui ont cru aux idées innées, ou inhérentes à l'in“telligence.”—De la Génération des Connoissances Humaines, pp. 8 ct 9. (A Berlin, 1802.)
Note (O.) p. 176.
I have substituted the words perception and consciousness, instead of the sensation and reflection of Locke, for two reasons: 1. Because sensation does not, in strict philosophical propriety, - or, at least, not in a manner quite unequivocal, express the meaning which Locke intended to convey; the knowledge, to wit, which we obtain by means of our senses, of the qualities of matter: 2. Because reflection cannot, according to Locke's own use of the term, be contrasted either with sensation or perception ; inasmuch as it denotes an operation of the intellect, directing its attention to the subjects of consciousness; and bearing to that power the same relation in which observation stands to percep
1 ton. . I must own, at the same time, that I could never assent cntirely to the justness of the following criticism on Locke's classification, which occurs in the conclusion of Dr Reid's Inquiry into the Human Mind: “ The division of our notions into ideas of sen“sation, and ideas of reflection, is contrary to all rules of Logic; ** because the second Inember of the division includes the first. “For, can we form clear and just notions of our sensations any “other way than by reflection ? Surely we cannot. Sensation “is an operation of the mind of which we are conscious; and “we get the notion of sensation by reflecting upon that which
“we are conscious of.” That this criticism would have been perfectly just, if Locke had used the words sensation and reflection, in the delimite and Precise acceptations invariably annexed to them ilr iteid's writings, must undoubtedly be granted. Nay, I am inclined to think, that it applies nearly to Locke's own opinion, when interpreted according to some subsequent applications which he himself has made of it; and which, by resolving cvery thing into the evidence of consciousness, have an obvious tendency to confound our sensations and our perceptions together. But, in proposing this classification, in the beginning of his Essay, there can be no doubt, that Locke meant by sensation what Reid calls perception; and, therefore, to those who have not studied, with more than ordinary care, the whole of Locke's system, it is not surprising that Reid should have the appearance of availing himself of a werbal ambiguity to gain an undue and uncandid advantage over his illustrious predecessor.—(See Priestley's Remarks on this subject in his Examination of Reid.)
Dr Reid’s criticism, too, on Locke's trespass against the rules of logical division, is, I think, too severe; and derives its plausibility from the ambiguity of the word reflection, which Locke, in this instance, as well as in many others, employs as synonymous with consciousness." It is for this reason that I have substituted the latter word instead of the former, as expressing Locke's meaning with greater precision and clearness.
When Locke's statement is thus interpreted, it does not seem to merit, in all its extent, the censure which Reid has bestowed on it. The account which it gives, indeed, of the origin of our ideas, is extremely incomplete; but it cannot be said that one member of his division includes the other; the first relating exclusively to the properties of Matter, and the second exclusively to the internal phenomena of Mind.
I grant, upon the other hand, that if, with Locke's statement, we combine all the subsequent reasonings in his essay, Dr Reid’s criticism is not so wide of the mark; for I have already endeavoured to shew, that some of his favourite doctrines involve, as a necessary consequence, that consciousness is the sole and exclusive source of all our knowledge. But this is merely an arguwnentum ad hominem; not a proof, that the division would have been faulty, if detached from the speculations which afterwards oceur, Nor would it have been even a correct enunciation of the error on which this argument turns, to say, that the second member of the division included the first;-the first and second members, according to that interpretation, being completely identified.
Note (P.) p. 214. Mr Locke himself prepared the way for Mr Tooke's researches, by the following observations, of which, however, I do not recollect that any notice is taken in the Diversions of Purley. “It - * may also lead us a little towards the original of all our netions “ and knowledge, if we remark how great a dependence our
* This ambiguity in the term reflection is particularly taken notice of in Dr eid's Essays on the Intellectual Powers. “Reflection ought to be distinguish‘ed from consciousness, with which it is too often confounded even by Locke. * All men are conscious of the operations of their own minds, at all times, “while they are awake; but there are few who reflect upon them, or make “ them objects of thought.”—P, 60. 4to edit.
- ** words have on common sensible ideas; and how those which ** are made use of to stand for actions and notions quite removed ** from sense, have their rise from thence, and from obvious sen** sible ideas are transferred to more abstruse significations, and ** made to stand for ideas that come not under the cognizance of ** our senses, viz. to imagine, apprehend, comprehend, adhere, ** conceive, instil, disgust, disturbance, tranquillity, &c. are all “words taken from the operations of sensible things, and ap“ plied to certain modes of thinking. Spirit, in its primar ** signification, is breath: Angel, a messenger; and I doubt not, “ but if we could trace them to their sources, we should find, in “all languages, the names which stand for things that fall not un* der our senses, to have had their first rise from sensible ideas.” From the sentence which follows, it also appears, that Locke, as well as his ingenious disciple, was disposed to connect this philological speculation with his own account of the origin of our ideas.-“By which we may give some kind of guess what kind ** of notions they were, and whence derived, which filled their “minds, who were the first beginners of languages; and how “nature, even in the naming of things, unawares suggested to “men the originals and principles of all their knowledge.” Condillac, in his Essai sur l'origine des Connoissances Hu-maines, has given his sanction to this conclusion of Locke. (Seconde Partie, Sect. 1. chap. x.) And another writer, far superior, in my opinion, to Condillac, as a metaphysician, has brought forward the philological fact stated in the foregoing paragraph, as a new argument in favour of the theory which refers to sensation the elements of all our knowledge. “L’imperfection des langues en ce qu’elles rendent presque “toutes les idées intellectuelles par des expressions figurées, “c'est-a-dire par des expressions destinées, dans leur significa“tion propre, à exprimer les idées des objets sensibles; et re“marquons en passant, quc cet inconvénieut, commun a toutes “les langues, suffiroit peut-être pour montrer que c'est en effet ** a nos sensations que nous devons toutes nos idées, si cette * verité n'etoit pas d'ailleurs appuyée de mille autres preuves in* contestables.” + Hobbes seems to have been the first, or, at least, oue of the first who started the idea of this sort of etymological metaphysics. “If it be a false affirmation,” he observes in one passage, “to “say a quadrangle is round, the word round quadrangle signi“fies nothing, but is a mere sound. So likewise, if it be false to “say, that virtue can be poured, or blown up and down, the words * in-poured (infused) virtue, in-blown (inspired) virtue, are as “absurd and insignificant as a round quadrangle. And, there“fore, you shall hardly meet with a seaseless and insignificant
* Mélanges, Tome V. p. 26. Amasterdam, 1767.
* word, that is not made up of some Latin or Greek names.''See page 111 of the folio edition of Hobbes, printed at London ln 1750; and compare it with page 103 of the same volume
Note (Q.) p. 229.
I do not quote the following lines as a favourable specimen of the Abbé de Lille's poetry, but merely as an illustration of the heterogeneous metaphors which obtrude themselves on the fancy, whenever we attempt to describe the phenomena of Memory. lt is but justice to him to remark, at the same time, that some of them (particularly those printed in Italics) do no small honour to his philosophical penetration.
* Cependant des objets la trace passagère
Note (R.) p. 241.
* It is never from an attention to etymology, which would ** frequently mislead us, but from custom, the only infallible 44 guide in this matter, that the meanings of words in present use ** must be learnt. And, indeed, if the want in question were ma** terial, it would equally affect all those words, no inconsiderable ** part of our language, whose descent is doubtful or unknown. * Besides, in no case can the line of derivation be traced back