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noted are Hartley, Priestley, and Darwin; all of whom, notwithstanding the differences among them on particular points, agree nearly in their conclusions concerning the sources of our ideas. The first of these, after telling us, that “all our internal feel“ings, excepting our sensations, maybe called ideas; “—that the ideas which resemble sensations may “be called ideas of sensation, and all the rest intel“ lectual ideas ;”—adds, “that the ideas of sensa“tion are the elements of which all the rest are com“pounded.” “ In another passage he expresses his hopes, that, “by pursuing and perfecting the doc“trine of association, he may, sometime or other, be “enabled to analyze all that vast variety of complex “ideas, which pass under the name of ideas of re“flection and intellectual ideas, into their simple “compounding parts; that is, into the simple ideas ‘; of sensation of which they consist.”f And in a subsequent part of his work, he points out, still more explicitly, the difference between his own doctrine and that of Locke, in the following words: “It “may not be amiss here to take notice how far the “theory of these papers has led me to differ, in re“spect of logic, from Mr Locke's excellent Essay “on the Human Understanding, to which the world “is so much indebted for removing prejudices and “encumbrances, and advancing real and useful know“ledge.”
“First, then, it appears to me, that all the most “complex ideas arise from Sensation; and that re“flection is not a distinct source, as Mr Locke “ makes it.” "
* Hartley on Man, 4th edition, p. 2. of the Introduction. + Ibid. pp. 75, 76. - 9
The obvious meaning of these different passages is, that we have no direct knowledge of the operations of our own minds; nor indeed any knowledge whatsoever, which is not ultimately resolvable into sensible images.
As to Dr Hartley's grand arcanum, the principle of Association, by which he conceives that ideas of sensation may be transmuted into ideas of reflection, I have nothing to add to what I have already remarked, on the unexampled latitude with which the words association and idea are, both of them, employed, through the whole of his theory. His ultimate aim, in this part of it, is precisely the same with that of the schoolmen, when they attempted to explain, by the hypothesis of certain internal senses, how the sensible species received from external objects, are so refined and spiritualized, as to become, first, objects of Memory and Imagination; and, at last, objects of pure Intellection. Such reveries are certainly not entitled to a serious examination in the present age. f
* Hartley on Man, p. 360.
+ I do not recollect that any one has hitherto taken notice of the wonderful coincidence, in this instance, between Hartley's Theory, and that of Condillac, formerly mentioned, concerning the transformation of sensations into ideas. Condillac's earliest work (which was published in 1746, three years before Hartley’s Observations on Man) is entitled, “Essai sur l'origine des Connois“sances Humaines. Ouvrage ou l'on reduit a un seul principe
It must not, however, be concluded from these extracts, that Hartley was a decided materialist. On the contrary, after observing, that “his theory “must be allowed to overturn all the arguments “which are usually brought for the immateriality “of the soul from the subtility of the internal senses, “ and of the rational faculty,” he acknowledges candidly his own conviction, that “matter and motion, “however subtly divided or reasoned upon, yield “nothing but matter and motion still ;” and there
“tout ce qui concerne l'entendement humain.” This seul principe is precisely the association of ideas. “J'ai, ce me semble,” the author tells us in his introduction, “trouvé la solution de tous “ces problèmes dans la liaison des idées, soit avec les signes, soit “entr'elles.”—In establishing this theory, he avails himself of a licence in the use of the words idea and association (although, in my opinion, with far greater ingenuity), strictly analogous to what we meet with in the works of Hartley. Another coincidence, not less extraordinary, may be remarked between Hartley's Theory of the Mechanism of the Mind, and the speculations on the same subject, of the justly celebrated Charles Bonnet of Geneva. In mentioning these historica} facts, I have not the most distant intention of insinuating any suspicion of plagiarism; a suspicion which I never can entertain with respect to any writer of original genius, and of fair character, but upon the most direct and conclusive evidence. The two very respectable foreigners, whose names have been already mentioned in this note, have furnished another example of coincidence, fully as curious as either of the preceding: I allude to the hypothesis of the animated statue, which they both adopted about the same time, in tracing the origin and progress of our knowledge; and which neither seems to have borrowed, in the slightest degree, from any previous acquaintance with the speculations of the other.
fore requests, that “he may not be, in any way, in“terpreted so as to oppose the immateriality of the “soul.” " I mention this in justice to Hartley, as most of his later followers have pretended, that, by rejecting the supposition of a principle distinct from body, they have simplified and perfected his theory. With respect to Hartley's great apostle, Dr Priestley, I am somewhat at a loss, whether to class him with Materialists, or with Immaterialists; as I find him an advocate, at one period of his life, for what he was then pleased to call the immateriality of matter, and, at another, for the materiality of mind. Of the former of these doctrines, to which no words can do justice but those of the author, I shall quote his own statement from his “History of “Discoveries relating to Vision, Light, and Co“lours,” first published in 1772. “This scheme of the IMMATERIALITY of MAT“TER, As IT MAY BE CALLED, or rather the mutual “penetration of matter, first occurred to my friend “Mr Mitchell, on reading “Barter on the Imma“teriality of the Soul.” He found that this au“thor's idea of matter was, that it consisted, as it “were, of bricks, cemented together by an imma“terial mortar. These bricks, if he would be con“sistent to his own reasoning, were again composed “of less bricks, cemented likewise by an immaterial “mortar, and so on ad infinitum. This putting Mr. “Mitchell upon the consideration of the several ap“pearances of nature, he began to perceive, that
* Hartley's Observations, pp. 511 and 512.
“ the bricks were so covered with this immaterial “mortar, that if they had any existence at all, it “could not possibly be perceived, every effect being “produced, at least in nine instances in ten certain“ly, and probably in the tenth also, by this imma“terial, spiritual, and penetrable mortar. Instead, “therefore, of placing the world upon the giant, “the giant upon the tortoise, and the tortoise upon “he could not tell what, he placed the world at once “upon itself; and finding it still necessary, in order “to solve the appearances of nature, to admit of ex“tended and penetrable immaterial substance, if he “maintained the impenetrability of matter, and ob“serving farther, that all we perceive by contact, “&c. is this penetrable immaterial substance, and “not the impenetrable one, he began to think he “might as well admit of penetrable material, as of “penetrable immaterial substance, especially as we “know nothing more of the nature of substance, “than that it is something which supports proper“ ties, which properties may be whatever we please, “provided they be not inconsistent with each other, “ that is, do not imply the absence of each other. “This by no means seemed to be case, in suppos“ing two substances to be in the same place at the “same time, without excluding each other; the ob“jection to which is only derived from the resist“ance we meet with to the touch, and is a pre“judice that has taken its rise from that circum“stance, and is not unlike the prejudice against “the Antipodes, derived from the constant experi