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cessary to suppose the existence of something intermediate, by which its perceptions are produced ; to the latter, the various metaphorical expressions of ideas, species, forms, Madows, phantasms, images ; which, while they amused the fancy with some remote analogies to the objects of our senses, did not directly revolt our reason, by presenting to us any of the tangible qualities of body.

6. It was the doctrine of ARISTOTLE, (says Dr. “ Reid), that as our senses cannot receive external “ material objects themselves, they receive their spe“ cies; that is, their images or forms, without the “ matter ; as wax receives the form of the seal, with“ out any of the matter of it. These images or forms, “ impressed upon the senses, are called sensible species ; " and are the objects only of the sensitive part of “ the mind: but by various, internal powers, they “ are retained, refined, and spiritualized, so as to be“ come objects of memory and imagination ; and,

at last, of pure intellection. When they are ob. jects of memory and of imagination, they get the “ name of phantasms. When, by farther refinement, “ and being stripped of their particularities, they be. “come objects of science, they are called intelligible

species : fo that every immediate object, whether of “ sense, of memory, of imagination, or of reasoning, “must be some phantasm, or species, in the mind « itself.

66 The followers of Ariltotle, especially the school

men, made great additions to this theory; which 6 the author himself mentions very briefly, and with “ an appearance of reserve. They entered into large


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disquisitions with regard to the sensible species, “ what kind of things they are ; how they are sent “ forth by the object, and enter by the organs of the " senses; how they are preserved, and refined by “ various agents, called internal senses, concerning " the number and offices of which they had many - controverfies *."

The Platonists, too, although they denied the great doctrine of the Peripatetics, that all the objects of human understanding enter at first by the senses ; and maintained, that there exist eternal and immutable ideas, which were prior to the objects of sense, and about which all science was employed ; yet apo pear to have agreed with them in their notions concerning the mode in which external objects are perceived. This, Dr. Reid infers, partly from the silence of Aristotle about any difference between himself and his master upon this point; and partly from a passage in the seventh book of Plato's Republic ; in which he compares the process of the mind in perception, to that of a person in a cave, who sees not external objects themselves, but only their shadows t.

“ Two thousand years after Plato, (continues Dr. « Reid,) Mr. Locke, who studied the operations of " the human mind so much, and with so great suc“ cess, represents our manner of perceiving external “ objects, by a similitude very much resembling that “ of the cave.-“ Methinks,” says he, “ the under. “ derstanding is not much unlike a closet, wholly shut

* Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, p. 25.

+ Ibid. p. 99.

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“ from light, with only some little opening left, to " let in external visible resemblances or ideas of things “ without. Would the pictures coming into such a “ dark room but stay there, and lie so orderly as to " to be found upon occasion, it would very much re“ semble the understanding of a man, in reference “ to all objects of sight, and the ideas of them *.”

“ Plato's subterranean cave, and Mr. Locke's dark “ closet, may be applied with ease to all the systems “ of perceptions that have been invented: for they “ all suppose, that we perceive not external objects “ immediately; and that the immediate objects of “ perception, are only certain shadows of the external s objects. Those shadows, or images, which we im

mediately perceive, were by the ancients called fpecies, forms, phantasms. Since the time of Des “ Cartes, they have commonly been called ideas f; “ and by Mr. Hume, impressions. But all philoso

phers, from Plato to Mr. Hume, agree in this, “ that we do not perceive external objects imme“ diately; and that the immediate object of percep“ tion must be some image present to the mind.” On the whole, Dr. Reid remarks, “ that in their senti“ments concerning perception, there appears an uni

formity, which rarely occurs upon subjects of so “ abstruse a nature 1."

The very short and imperfect view we have now taken, of the common theories of perception, is almost sufficient, without any commentary, to establish

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* Locke on Human Understanding, book ii. chap. 11. § 17. + See Note [B]

Reid, p. 116, 117.


the truth of the two general observations formerly made; for they all evidently proceed on a supposition, suggested by the phenomena of physics, that there must of necessity exist fome medium of communication between the objects of perception and the percipient mind; and they all indicate a secret conviction in their authors, of the essential distinction between mind and matter; which, although not rendered, by reflection, fufficiently precise and satisfactory, to shew them the absurdity of attempting to explain the mode of their communication; had yet such a degree of influence on their speculations, as to induce them to exhibit their supposed medium under as mysterious and ambiguous a form as possible, in order that it might remain doubtful, to which of the two predicaments, of body or mind, they meant that it should be referred. By refining away the grosser qualities of matter; and by allusions to some of the most aerial and magical appearances it assumes, they endeavoured, as it were, to spiritualize the nature of their medium ; while, at the same time, all their language concerning it, implied such a reference to matter, as was necessary for furnishing a plausible foundation, for applying to it the received maxims of natural philosophy.

Another observation, too, which was formerly hinted at, is confirmed by the same historical review ; that, in the order of inquiry, the phenomena of vi. fion had first engaged the attention of philosophers ; ard had suggested to them the greater part of their language, with respect to perception in general; and that, in consequence of this circumstance, the com

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mon modes of expression on the subject, unphilosophical and fanciful at best, even when applied to the sense of seeing, are, in the case of all the other senses, obviously unintelligible and self-contradictory.-" As “ to objects of sight,” says Dr. Reid, “ I understand “ what is meant by an image of their figure in the “ brain : but how shall we conceive an image of “ their colour, where there is absolute darkness?

And, as to all other objects of sense, except figure " and colour, I am unable to conceive what is meant " by an image of them. Let any man say, what he. “ means by an image of heat and cold, an image of “ hardness or softness, an image of sound, or smell, “ or talte. The word image, when applied to these “ objects of sense, has absolutely no meaning.”This palpable imperfection in the ideal theory, has plainly taken rise from the natural order in which the phenomena of perception present themselves to the curiosity.

The mistakes, which have been so long current in the world, about this part of the human conítitution, will, i hope, justify me for prosecuting the subject a little farther; in particular, for illustrating, at some length, the first of the two general remarks already referred to. This speculation 1 enter upon the more willingly, that it affords me an opportunity of Itating forie un oriant prirciples with respect to the object, and the liri's, of pha fophical inquiry ; to which I fall frequen.iy lave octalion to refer, in the course of the following dquifitioas.

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