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philosophy of the human mind; and it is the province of the logician, to state these in such a manner, as to lay a solid foundation for the superstructures which others are to rear. It is in ftating fuch principles, accordingly, that elementary writers are chiefly apt to fail. How unsatisfactory, for example, are the introductory chapters in most systems of natural philosophy; not in consequence of any defect of physical or of inathematical knowledge in their authors, but in consequence of a want of attention to the laws of human thought, and to the general rules of just reasoning! The same remark may be extended to the form, in which the elementary principles of many of the other sciences are commonly exhibited ; and, if I am not mistaken, this want of order, among the first ideas which they present to the mind, is a more powerful obstacle to the progress of knowledge, than is generally im. agined.
I shall only observe farther, with respect to the utility of the philosophy of mind, that as there are some arts, in which we not only employ the intellectual faculties as instruments, but operate on the mind as a subject; fo, to those individuals who aim at excellence in such pursuits, the studies I have now been recommending are, in a more peculiar manner, interesting and important. In poetry, in painting, in eloquence, and in all the other fine arts, our success depends on the skill with which we are able to adapt the efforts of our genius to the human frame; and it is only on a phylofophical analysis of the mind, that a solid foundation can be laid for their farther improvement. Man, too, is the subject on which the practical moralist and the enlightened statesman have to operate. Of the former, it is the profeffed object to engage the attention of individuals to their own beft interests; and to allure them to virtue and happiness, by every consideration that can influence the understanding, the imagination, or the heart. To the latter, is assigned the sublimer office of seconding the benevolent intentions of Providence in the administration of human affairs; to diffuse as widely and equally as possible, among his fellow citizens, the advantages of the fo cial union; and, by a careful study of the constitu. tion of man, and of the circumstances in which he is placed, to modify the political order, in such a man. ner as may allow free scope and operation to those principles of intellectual and moral improvement, which nature has implanted in our species.
In all these cases, I am very sensible, that the utility of fyftematical rules has been called in question by philosophers of note ; and that many plausible arguments in support of their opinion, may be derived from the small number of individuals who have been regularly trained to eminence in the arts, in comparison of those who have been guided mere. ly by untutored genius, and the example of their predecessors. I know, too, that it may be urged with truth, that rules have, in some cases, done more harm than good ; and have milled, instead of directing, the natural exertions of the mind. But, in all such instances, in which philosophical principles have failed in producing their intended effect, I will venture to affert, that they have done fo, either in consequence of errors, which were accidentally blen- . ded with them ; or, in consequence of their posses. sing only that flight and partial influence over the genius, which enabled them to derange its previously acquired habits; without regulating its operations, upon a systematical plan, with steadiness and efficacy. In all the arts of life, whether trifling or important, there is a certain degree of skill, which may be attained by our untutored powers, aided by imitation; and this skill, instead of being perfected by rules, may, by means of them, be diminished or deitroyed,
if these rules are partially and imperfectly apprehended ; or even if they are not fo familiarized to the understanding, as to influence its exertions uni. formly and habitually. In the case of a musical performer, who has learned his art merely by the ear, the first effects of fyftematical instruction are, I believe, always unfavourable. The effect is the same, of the rules of elocution, when first communicated to one who has attained, by his natural taste and good sense, a tolerable propriety in the art of reading. But it does not follow from this, that, in either of these arts, rules are useless. It only follows, that, in order to uníte eate and grace with correctness, and to preserve the felicities of original genius, amidst those restraints which may give them an useful direction, it is necessary that the acquisitions of education should, by long and early habits, be rendered, in some measure, a second nature. The same obser. vations will be found to apply, with very flight alterations, to arts of more serious importance.- Jn the art of legislation, for example, there is a certain degree of skill, which may be acquired merely from the routine of business; and when once a politician has been formed, in this manner, among the details of office, a partial study of general principles, will be much more likely to lead him aftray, than to en. lighten his conduct. But there is nevertheless a science of legislation, which the details of office, and the intrigues of popular assemblies, will never communicate; a science, of which the principles must be fought for in the conftitution of human nature, and in the general laws which regulate the course of human affairs; and which, if ever, in consequence of the progress of reason, philosophy should be enabled to assume that afcendant in the government of the world, which has hitherto been maintained by accident, combined with the passions and caprices of a few leading individuals, may, perhaps, produce more
perfect and happy forms of society, than have yet been realized in the history of mankind.
I have thus endeavored to point out, and illustrate, a few of the most important purposes to which the philosophy of the human mind is subservient. It will not, however, I fatter myself, be supposed by any of my readers, that I mean to attempt a fyftematical work, on all, or any of the subjects I have now mentioned; the most limited of which, would fur. nish matter for many volumes. What I have ained at, has been, to give, in the first place, as distinct and complete an analysis as I could, of the principles, both intellectual and active, of our nature; and, in the second place, to illustrate, as I proceed, the application of these general laws of the human constitu. tion, to the different classes of phenomena which result from them. In the felection of these phenomena, although I have sometimes been guided chiefly by the curiosity of the moment or the accidental course of my own studies ; yet, I have had it in view, to vary, as far as possible, the nature of my fpeculations, in order to show how numerous and different the applications are, of which this philosophy is susceptible. It will not, therefore, I hope, be objected to me, that I have been guilty of a blameable violation of unity in the plan of my work, till it be considered how far such a violation was useful for accomplishing the purposes for which I write. One species of unity, I am willing to believe, an attentive reader will be able to trace in it; I mean that uniformity of thought and design, “which" (as Butler well reinarks,) " we may always expect to meet “ with in the compositions of the same author, when 6 he writes with simplicity, and in earnest,"
OF THE POWERS OF EXTERNAL PERCEPTION.
SECTION 1. Of the Theories which have been formed by Philosophers,
to explain the manner in which the Mind perceives external Objects.
AMONG the various phenomena which the human mind presents to our view, there is none more calculated to excite our curiosity and our wonder, than the communication which is carried on between the sentient, thinking, and active principle within us, and the material objects with which we are surrounded. How little foever the bulk of mankind may be disposed to attend to such inquiries, there is scarcely a person to be found, who has not occasionally turned his thoughts to that mysterious