Изображения страниц

the mind called sight, bardness is the cause of a particular modification of the feeling 'in the mind called touch. To the penetrating and inquisitive mind of Berkeley, this answer did not prove quite satisfactory. The feeling in the mind was totally ūnlike any quality in matter. What reason was there for the belief that "the one depended upon the other? Upon inquiry, it appeared that the only reason was, the existence of the mental feelings. The feelings are produced in the mind, therefore they are produced by something: they are produced in a certain order, therefore they are produced by the qualities of matter. i7 - Led to penetrate further and further into this mystery, the question" was 'at last suggested to the Bishop, what evidence he had for the existence of those qualities of matter, to which ha was taught to look as 'the cause of his sensations. It immediately appeared, that for the existence of the qualities of mattert he had no evidence whatsoever, but the existence of these sensations themselves. With this discovery, and the conclusions which flowed from it,'' he was deeply impressed. With regard to these sensations, all that man really knows, ris, that they come into his mind, according to å certain order, which he learns by experience. That order has two forms. : The sensations come into his mind, either one after another ; or several of them come into it all at once. Those which come into the mind successively have given rise to no particular mystery.". The case is different with those of which the entrance ilito the mind is synchronous. Suppose that the mind has the feeling, which has the name sight of a yellow colour, the colour of a golden ball, for examples If a man had no other sense but that of sight, he would have no other feeling associated with this sight of yellow. He moves and applies his hand in a particular manner; that is to say, certain feelings, one after another, take place in his mind, the last of which is, that he has the ball in his hand: At the same time that the lisensation" called sight of a yellow colour is in the hind; the sensations called a feeling of hardness, of roundness, and of weight, are now in the mind, along with a sensation of sameness in place with respect to them all. Now this cluster of sensations is all that is in the mind of a man, when he is said to perceive & ball of gold; and the conception of these sensations is an that is in his mind when he is said to think of the ball of pola. solists say t ro{in ,'s.; od 7'); go be as Bat what, then? is nothing ever in the mind but its own feelings?* No, certainly; nothing whatsoever. But what evidence do the feelings of the mind afford of matter or its properties?

Feeling, in this and other passages, is merely employed as a generic word te express the objects of consciousness.

Bishop Berkeley answered the question without hesitation. They afford no evidence at all. Nothing can be like a feeling in the mind, but a correspondent feeling of the same or another mind. When we suppose external objects, we do nothing but suppose certain unknown causes of our sensations ; of which we can con ceive nothing but that they are an unknown something, to which our sensations are owing. This supposition Bishop Berkeley de clared to be an arbitrary hypothesis, unsupported by even the shadow of a reason. He also affirmed it to be absolutely insignificant, answering no one good purpose, either of utility, or of curiqsity. Nay he proceeded still further, and produced a variety of curious reasons, to prove that the supposition really in. volves absurdity and contradiction, and cannot be held by any man who will obey the dictates of his reason.

If feelings afford no inference to the existence of any material cause of them, another question arises, what inference do they afford to that of a mind in which they may inhere? Berkeley scruples pot to start the difficulty; and appears to allow, that, if in this case there was nothing more than in that of the cause of our sensations, we should never be entitled to draw a conclusion from the existence of our feelings to the existence of any thing beyond themselves; nor could regard the mind as any thing else than a system of floating ideas, connected together in a certain order, but without any ascertainable subject in which they inhere. He asserted, however, that the existence of the mind was proved by a different process; and by a palpable inaccuracy re markable in so acute a metaphysician, declared that he was conscious of his mind, and of its personal identity, b esar

Of this position it was easy for Mr. Hume to show the ab surdity. We are conscious of the feelings of perceiving, of rēz membering, of willing, of approving and disapproving, loving, bating, and such like; but we are not conscious of any thing else we are not conscious of any substance in which these feeling inhere. If not, and if we have no knowledge of mind beyond these modifications of consciousness, by what inference do we affirm, that mind is any thing beside themselves? As the exter nal world is an 'arbitrary hypothesis, assumed to aid in accounts ing for the existence of our sensations, the mind, in the sanie manner, is an arbitrary. hypothesis, an unknown something assumed to aid in accounting for all the modifications of cons sciousness. But it is an hypothesis whịch really explains nothing; for we as little understand how feelings should exist in an unknown something, as how they should exist by themselves,

Such was the state of philosophical inquiry in this country, when Reid appeared. He declares that he was satisfied at first with the rcasonings of Berkeley; and might fairly be ranked


of the Human Mind. 179 among the believers in the non-existence of matter. But when Mr. Hume arrived, and demonstrated to him that upon the same principles mind was not more entitled to belief than matter, he confesses that he was startled. It appears, that he was alarmed for the evidence of religion, which seemed to him to vanish, if these conclusions were just. If no evidence remained for the existence either of mind, or of matter, ħo evidence appeared to remain for the existence of a God; and if that article of belief was lost, along with it, of course, disappeared all that system of anticipations respecting a future life, which 'rested upon it as their foundation. With this loss of the prospect of a future life, Dr. Reid, who was a pious man, 'appears to have been much more deeply affected, then with any revolution in his ideas respecting the present life,' to which the progress of his reasonings had conducted him and he tells us that he immediately began to exert himself to discover, if possible, a flaw in the chain of reasoning which produced so unhappy à result..

He soon convinced himself that he had made the discovery of which he was in quest. It was a doctrine of the ancient philosophers that the mind perceived not external objects immediately, but by means of certain representations, or images of them, called ideas, which they sent off, and which entered the mind by the inlets of the senses. The language of this theory had bea come the language in which all discourse relating to the mind was carried on. Upon 'it the language of Mr. Locke's Essay was in a great measure founded: and that of Dr. Berkeley and Mr. Hume followed the universal example.", id)*


9 47 -- According to the theory," said Dr. Reid, that the mind pers ceives the qualities of matter, not immediately, but by means of certain floating images, it has no evidence of matter, which it never perceives. But what if this theory be without foundation ? Then it will follow that the mind perceives matter immediately, and the evidence for its existence returns. The theory was so perfectly gratuitous, that the moment it occurred to any one to inquire for its evidence, it was overthrown. Dr. Reid refuted it with scorn; and declared, that as the arguments for the nonexistence of matter rested upon this foundation, they fell with it, of course, to the ground. Rit, BC TV is ther e

When Dr. Reid, however, made the declaration, that the arguments for the non-existence of matter were altogether founded upon the theory of ideas, he advanced a great deal too far. Of this he himself was aware. He perceived that immediately we really are acquainted with nothing but our own feelings. It is from these feelings that every thing else, "both matter and mind, is to be inferred. But from them how is åny thing to be inferred? Not by experience, because we have experience of

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »