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afterwards he cannot recollect an item in the list, or recall one step in the addition. A compound habitually formed may be as difficult to analyze, as one presented to us in the first instance. Cousin has mistaken one source of the difficulty for another, and thus shows himself at fault in the first requisite of his method, accurate observation.
On the theory of general ideas, Locke, like most other English metaphysicians, is an avowed and consistent Nominalist. He maintains, that general terms belong not to the real existence of things, but are the mere creatures of the understanding, formed for its convenience, and relate only to signs, whether these signs be words or ideas. This doctrine is so plain and self-evident, that it seems to require nothing else for its confirmation, but an appeal to consciousness. All the objects that we know as real existences are particular, and any proposition framed with respect to them must be limited in its application to the very things, that are specified in it. The truth of such a proposition may be tested by actual experiment, or through the imagination by the picture that the mind forms of the object, which is sufficiently accurate in many cases to enable us to decide without further trouble, whether or not the assertion conforms to the truth. But when abstract propositions are before the mind, the conceptive or image-forming faculty is at rest, and no reference of the sign to the thing signified is possible, except by assuming an individual as the type of a class. The possibility of reasoning in some cases with mere words, to which no ideas are attached further than as they are considered in certain relations to each other, is proved by the existence of such a science as algebra. That all abstract reasoning is of this character is a fact equally certain, for the connexion between the premises and conclusion of a syllogism depends entirely on the relation which the words used bear to each other, and is independent of the meaning of those words; the examples taken in a treatise upon logic being usually nothing but letters of the alphabet.
Cousin admits all this, but with his usual parade of Eclecticism professes to find some truth in the opposite hypothesis. He censures Locke for his exclusive Nominalism, and undertakes to show in opposition to him, that there are some general ideas which imply the real existence of their object. Though he affirms, that “ there is equal truth and equal error in the two theories,” when the matter comes to a point, he adduces but two examples in support of Realism, - ibe ideas of space and time.
The selection was certainly unfortunate, if there were many to choose from, but we suspect that they were the only instances to be found, from which our author could raise the shadow of an argument in support of the Realist hypothesis. We copy his own statement of the proof.
“ It is certain, that when you speak of space, you have the conviction that out of yourself there is something which is space ; as also when you speak of time, you have the conviction that there is out of yourself something which is time, although you know neither the nature of time nor of space. Different times and different spaces, are not the constituent elements of space and time ; time and space are not solely for you the collection of different times and different
But you believe that time and space are in themselves, that it is not two or three spaces, two or three ages, which constitute space and time ; for, every thing derived from experience, whether in respect to space or to time, is finite, and the characteristic of space and of time for you is to be infinite, without beginning and without end ; time resolves itself into eternity, and space into immensity. In a word, an invincible belief in the reality of time and of space, is attached by you to the general idea of time and space. This is what the human mind believes ; this is what consciousness testifies. Here the phenomenon is precisely the reverse of that which I just before signalized ; and while the general idea of a book does not suppose in the mind the conviction of the existence of any thing which is book in itself, here on the contrary, to the general idea of time and of space, is united the invincible conviction of the reality of something which is space and time.” Elements of Psychology, pp. 187, 188.
We say nothing here of the writer's inconsistency in admitting so large a portion of Kant's system, and still denying, as he does in the passage before us, the fundamental doctrine of the Critical Philosophy, — the subjective character of space and time. We pass over the incongruity, because in relation to this doctrine we hold with Cousin against the conclusions of Kant. Certainly we believe in the reality of space apart from the mind in which it is conceived. But this admission tends not in the slightest degree to the support of the Realist hypothesis, unless it be shown that our conception of space is properly ranked among universals, or general ideas. The quiet assumption of this important step in the argument is one example among many that might be offered, of Cousin's careless and superficial manner of observing and classifying the phenomena of mind. Unlimited space is no general idea. It is not the name of a class comprehending many individuals under it, but it is a whole, which does not admit even of division into parts, except by a license of language, as it were, for the convenience of separate and partial consideration. particular space is not an element of the one, all-embracing space, in the same sense in which oxygen is called one of the atmospherical gases, but only as we speak of one portion of the atmosphere, - that contained in a room, for example, -in distinction from the remainder, which is without. We do not pass from limited to unlimited space, as we do from a particular to a general idea, that is, by abstraction and synthesis ; but only by an enlargement of the primary idea, or, more properly speaking, by removing an arbitrary and fictitious limit. We commonly speak, indeed, of space in general and in particular, but this use of the epithets is plainly figurative, reserring only to the entire or the partial consideration of one idea. As perfectly similar observations are applicable to our conception of time, it is unnecessary to retrace our ground in reference to this idea. The attempt of Cousin, therefore, on the basis of these two notions of space and time to build up an argument in favor of Realism, must be regarded as a signal failure, as founded only on a gross misconception of the nature of the two examples adduced.
It is unnecessary to consider the criticism upon the Ideal theory as adopted by Locke, for in this portion of his labors our author has merely borrowed the doctrine and conclusive reasoning of Reid and Stewart, with which English readers are already sufficiently familiar. The hypothesis of mediate knowledge, of a perception of things only through the intervention of representative ideas, was the great mistake of the philosophy of the eighteenth century, the capital error into which Locke fell in common with nearly all his contemporaries and immediate predecessors. The resutation of this theory with all its hurtful consequences is the great service for which we are indebted to the Scotch metaphysicians of our own day, who performed the task so thoroughly as to leave nothing for their successors to accomplish. We do not
blame Cousin for adopting their labors, for they had exhausted the subject, and no course was left, but to use their mate
als, or to pass over the matter altogether. But it was ungenerous and unfair in him to charge a gross exaggeration of the exploded doctrine upon the system of Locke. It is not true, that the ideal theory, as maintained by Locke, either expressly adopts materialism, or even leads to it by necessary inference. The representative idea may be an image of its object, but it is not a material image, the unsupported assertion of Cousin to the contrary notwithstanding. A direct statement of this sort, without argument or authority to support it, can be met only by a blunt denial and a call for the proofs.
If there be any one problem in philosophy, which more than all others has been rendered confused and intricate, not from any intrinsic difficulty, but from the imperfections of language, and the difficulty of translating known mental phenomena into words, it is surely the question respecting the Freedom of the Will. In practice, no one ever doubted, or can doubt, that such freedom exists. Actual and firm-seated Pyrrhonism on this subject is impossible, for the voice of conscience, the mental experience of every moment, and the intuitive and necessary assent of the understanding, compel us to believe, and we constantly act out that belief. But as soon as we attempt to express the grounds of the conviction, difficulties are introduced by the phraseology we are obliged to use, and every step in the argument only bewilders us still more, till at last we almost persuade ourselves to doubt. In his speculations on this subject, Locke's great merit consists in having clearly perceived this source of error. By a minute examination of the phraseology commonly employed, he proved that the words had only a forced and metaphorical application, while their literal and common signification is perpetually recurring to the mind, and leading it astray from the real point at issue. Thus, the designation of many separate faculties in the mind, as it leads to the supposition of so many distinct agents, has given rise to the question whether the will be free, instead of the only natural and intelligible inquiry, whether the man be free. Will is only a power, and as necessity implies the absence of power, it cannot be predicated of the will without a contradiction. The necessitarian doctrine, properly understood, amounts to a denial, that man has any will at all, and is therefore opposed by the direct evidence of consciousness.
This criticism upon language, it is true, throws no light upon the main point at issue, but it has a subsidiary and not unimportant result in disclosing one great cause of erroneous reasoning upon the subject. It is quite characteristic in Cousin wholly to inisconceive the aim and purport of this speculation, and because Locke protests against the application of the word liberty to the word will, to understand thereby, that he denies freedom to the will, and seeks for it either in the thinking faculty, or in the power of outward motion.” Why, the whole gist of Locke's argument is to prove, that liberty cannot be predicated of the willing faculty, the thinking faculty, the moving faculty, or any other faculty, but only of the man, - the indivisible Ego of consciousness. The proof of human freedom is considered afterwards, and placed precisely where Fichte and many of the later German philosophers have placed it; namely, in the power, which the thinking subject possesses, when in presence of two or more diverse and nearly balanced motives, to suspend the determining power of each and all these motives, until the judgment has had time to consider their relative importance. As we have no room for extracts on this point, we can only refer our readers to the fifty-second and fifty-sixth sections of Locke's chapter upon “ Power.”
Cousin's own reasoning upon this head affords a striking instance of confusion, arising from the very cause which Locke has so clearly pointed out. Proposing to discuss the question about human agency, he introduces a long argument to show that freedom cannot be ascribed to the understanding or to the outward act; but only to the will. That it cannot be attributed to the two former, he proves ; that it is rightly ascribed to the latter, he takes for granted. All this is very well, only it is nothing to the purpose. The real question, which he does not touch, relates io the connexion between the understanding and the will. It is admitted on all hands, that motives are considered and balanced by the intellect; but it is also admitted, that these motives influence, not to say determine, the will. The question, whether they act directly upon it, or only through the medium of the understanding, is one of no importance. Some influence they undoubtedly have, but of what sort ? Is the influence causal,