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discerning what it has in common with them, and “ wherein their disparity consists : and, therefore, our “ knowledge is vastly greater than the sum of what “ all its objects separately could afford; and when a

new object comes within our reach, the addition to “ our knowledge is the greater, the more we already " know; so that it increases, not as the new objects “ increase, but in a much higher proportion.”

5. In the last place, the natural powers of Me. mory are, in the case of the philosopher, greatly aided by his peculiar habits of classification and are rangement. As this is by far the most important im. provement of which Memory is susceptible, I shall consider it more particularly than any of the others I have mentioned.

The advantages which the memory derives from a proper classification of our ideas, may be best conceived by attending to its effects in enabling us to conduct, with ease, the common business of life. In what in extricable confusion would the lawyer or the merchant be immediately involved, if he were to deposit, in his cabinet, promiscuously, the various written documents which daily and hourly pass through his hands ? Nor could this confusion be prevented by the natural powers of memory, however vigorous they might hap. pen to be. By a proper distribution of thele docu. ments, and a judicious reference of them to a few general titles, a very ordinary memory is enabled to accomplish more, than the most retentive, unaslisted by method. We know, with certainty, where to find any article we may have occasion for, if it be in our pof. session; and the search is confined within reasonable



limits, instead of being allowed to wander at random amidst a chaos of particulars.

Or, to take an instance still more immediately applicable to our purpose: suppose that a man of letters were to record, in a common-place book, without any method, all the various ideas and facts which occurred to him in the course of his studies ; what difficulties would he perpetually experience in applying his acquisitions to use? and how completely and easily might these difficulties be obviated by referring the particulars of his information to certain general heads ? It is obvious, too, that, by doing so, he would not only have his knowledge much more completely under his command, but as the particulars classed together would all have some connexion, more or less, with each other, he would be enabled to trace, with advantage, those mutual relations among his ideas, which it is the object of philosophy to ascertain.

A common-place book, conducted without any me. thod, is an exact picture of the memory of a man whose inquiries are not directed by philosophy. And the advantages of order in treasuring up our ideas in the mind, are perfectly analogous to its effects when they are recorded in writing.

Nor is this all. In order to retain our knowledge distinctly and permanently, it is necessary that we should frequently recal it to our recollection. But how can this be done without the aid of arrangement ? Or supposing that it were possible, how much time and labour would be necessary for bringing under our review the various particulars of which our information is composed ? In proportion as it is properly fystematised, this time and labour are abridged. The mind dwells habitually, not on detached facts, but on a comparatively small number of general principles; and, by means of these, it can summon up, as occasions may require, an infinite number of particulars associated with them ; each of which, considered as a solitary truth, would have been as burthensome to the memory, as the general principle with which it is connected.

I would not wish it to be understood from these observations, that philosophy consists in classification alone ; and that its only use is to assist the memory. I have often, indeed, heard this asserted in general terms; but it appears to me to be obvious, that although this be one of its most important uses, yet some. thing more is necessary to complete the definition of it. Were the case otherwise, it would follow, that all claffifications are equally philosophical, provided they are equally comprehensive. The very great importance of this subject will, I hope, be a sufficient apology for me, in taking this opportunity to correct some mistaken opinions which have been formed concerning it.


Continuation of the same Subje&t.-Aid which the Memory

derives from Philosophical Arrangement.

IT 'T was before observed, that the great use of the fa

culty of Memory, is to enable us to treasure up, for the future regulation of our conduct, the results of our past experience, and of our past reflexions. But in every Ff 2


case in which we judge of the future from the past, we must proceed on the belief, that there is, in the course of events, a certain degree, at least, of uniformity. And, accordingly, this belief is not only justified by experience, but (as Dr. Reid has shewn, in a very satisfactory manner) it forms a part of the original constitution of the human mind. In the general laws of the material world, this uniformity is found to be complete ; insomuch that, in the same combinations of circumstances, we expect, with the most perfect assurance, that the same results will take place. In the moral world, the course of events does not appear to be equally regular ; but still it is regular, to so

great a degree, as to afford us many rules of importance in the conduct of life.

A knowledge of Nature, in so far as it is absolutely necessary for the preservation of our animal existence, is obtruded on us, without any reflexion on our part, from our earliest infancy. It is thus that children learn of themseves to accommodate their conduct to the established laws of the material world. In doing so, they are guided merely by memory, and the instinctive principle of anticipation, which has just been men. tioned.

In forming conclusions concerning future events, the philosopher, as well as the infant, can only build with safety on past experience; and he, too, as well as the infant, proceeds on an instinctive belief, for which he is unable to account, of the uniformity of the laws of nature. There are, however, two important respects, which distinguish the knowledge he possesses from that of ordinary men. In the first place, it is far more


extensive, in consequence of the assistance which science gives to his natural powers of invention and discovery. Secondly, it is not only more easily retained in the me. mory, and more conveniently applied to use, in consequence of the manner in which his ideas are arranged; but it enables him to ascertain, by a process of reason. ing, all those truths which may be synthetically deduced from his general principles. The illustration of these particulars will lead to some useful remarks; and will at the same time shew, that, in discussing the fubject of this Section, I have not lost sight of the inquiry which occasioned it.

I. 1. It was already remarked, that the natural powers of Memory, together with that instinctive anticipation of the future from the past, which forms one of the original principles of the mind, are sufficient {o enable infants, after a very short experience, to preserve their animal existence. The laws of nature, which it is not so important for us to know, and which are the objects of philosophical curiosity, are not so obviously exposed to our view, but are, in general, brought to light by means of experiments which are made for the purpose of discovery ; or, in other words, by artificial combinations of circumstances, which we have no opportunity of seeing conjoined in the course of our ordinary experience. In this manner, it is evident, that many connexions may be ascertained, which would never have occurred spontaneously to our observation.

2. There are, too, some instances, particularly in the case of the astronomical phenomena, in which events, that appear to common observers to be alto



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