Page images
PDF
EPUB

that the soul of man was originally furnished with native inbred notions, and stands in need of senfible occasions, not absolutely for producing them, but only for awakening, rousing, or exciting into act what was already pre-existent, dormant, and latent in the soul; as, things are said to be laid up in the memory, though not actually perceived, until they happen to be called forth and brought into view by other objects. This notion seemeth somewhat different from that of innate ideas, as understood by those moderns who have attempted to explode them. To understand and to be, are according to Parmenides the same thing. And Plato in his seventh letter makes no difference be. tween ygs and famişüun, mind and knowledge. Whence it follows, that mind, knowledge, and notions, either in habit or in act, always go together. : 310. And albeit Aristotle considered the foul in ie's original state as a blank paper, yet he held it to be the proper place of forms, olei fugle Svou tómov dwy (a). Which doctrine first maintained by others he admits, under this restriction, that it is not to be understood of the whole foul, but only of the vonlinn; as is to be seen in his third book De anima. Whence, according to Themistius in his commentary on that treatise, it may be inferred that all beings are in the soul. For, faith he, the forms are the beings. By the form every thing is what it is. And he adds, it is the foul that imparteth forms to matter; tlu Malu Mopowo ne moixinais uoppaís. Therefore they are first in the soul. He further adds, that the mind is all things, taking the forms of all things it becomes all things by intellect and sense. Alexander Aphrodifæus saith as much, affirming the mind to be all things, καλά τε το νοείν και το αιθάνει. And (a) 269.

this in fact is Aristotle's own doctrine in his chird book De anima, where he also afferts, with Plato, that actual knowledge and the thing known are all one: Tó autò dé ésiy xat' éréegelau étisøren two wesyual. Whence it follows that the things are where the knowledge is, that is to say, in the mind. Or, as it is otherwise expressed, that the foul is all things. More might be faid to explain Aristotle's notion, but it would lead too far. • 311. As to an absolute actual exifence (6) of fenfible or corporeal things, it doth not seem to have been admitted either by Placo or Aristotle. In the Theatetus we are told, that if any one faith a thing is or is made, he must withal say, for what, or of what, or in respect of what, it is or is made ; for, that any thing should exist in it self or absolutely, is absurd. Agreeably co which doctrine it is also farther affirmed by Plato, that it is impossible a thing should be sweet, and sweet to no body. It must nevertheless be owned with regard to Aristotle, that, even in his Metaphysics there are fome expressions which seem to favour the abfolute existence of corporeal things. For instance, in the eleventh book speaking of corporeal sensible things, What wonder, faith he, if they never appear to us the same, no more than to lick men, fince we are always changing, and never remain the same our felves? And again, he faith, Sensible things, although they receive no change in themselves, do nevertheless in sick perfons produce different sensations and not the same. Thefe passages would seem to imply a distinct and absolute exiltence of the objects of sense. : 312. But it must be observed, that Aristotle distinguishech a twofold existence, potential and actual. It will not, therefore, follow that, ac(6) 264, 292, 291.

cording

cording to Aristotle, because a thing is, it must actually exist. This is evident from the eighth book of his Metaphysics, where he animadverts on the Megaric philosophers, as not admitting a .possible existence diftinét from the actual ; from whence, faith he, it must follow, that there is nothing cold or hot or fweet or any sensible thing at all, where there is no perception. He adds, that in consequence of that Megaric doctrine, we can have no sense but while we actually exert it: we are blind when we do not fee, and therefore both blind and deầf several times in a day, ::

313. The évlenéghai wpūtar of the Peripatetics, that is, the fciences, arts, and habits, were by them distinguished from the acts or évenégocar Sbutegar, and supposed to exist in the mind, though not exerted or put into act. This feems to illustrate the manner in which Socrates, Plato, and their followers conceived innate (c) notions to be in the soul of man. In was the Platonic doctrine, that humane fouls or minds descended from above, and were sowed in generation, that they were stunned, stupified, and intoxicated by this descent and immersion into animal nature. And that the soul, in this óvéiewžes or number, forgets her original notions, which are fmothered and oppressed by many false tenets and prejudices of fenfe. Insomuch that Proclus compares the soul, in her descent invested, with growing prejudices, to Glaucus diving to the bottom of the sea, and there contracting divers coats of- fea-weed, coral, and shells, which stick close to him and conceal his true shape.

314. Hence, according to this philosophy, the mind of man is so restless to shake off that Num. ber, to disengage and emancipate herself from · those prejudices and false opinions, that so straitly. (C) 309.

beset

habits and called out an learning seeme

beset and cling to her, to rub off those covers, that disguise her original form, and to regain her primæ. val state and first notions : Hence, that perpetual struggle to recover the lost region of light, that ardent thirst and endeavour after truth and intel. lectual ideas, which she would neither seek to attain, nor rejoice in, nor know when attained, except she had some prænotion or anticipation of them, and they had lain innate and dormant like habits and sciences in the mind, or things laid up, which are called out and roused by recollection or reminiscence. So that learning seemech in effect reminiscence. ! 7:215. The Peripatetics themselves diftinguith between reminiscence and mere memory. The miftius observes that the best memories commonly go with the worst parts; but that reminiscence is most perfect in the most ingenious minds. And notwithstanding the tabula rasa (d) of Aristotle. yet some of his followers have undertaken to make him speak Plato's fense. Thus Plutarch the Peri: pateric teacheth as agreeable to his master's doctrine, that learning is reminiscence, and that the vñs xal' ¢ Živ is in children. Simplicius also, in his commentary on the third book of Aristotle mbi lugeñs, speaketh of a certain interiour reason in the soul, acting of it self, and originally full of it's own proper notions, waugusidoğan tar oixes wy gyvws@v. . 1.316. And as the Platonic philosophy supposed intellectual notions to be originally inexistent or innate in the soul (e), so likewise is supposed fenfible qualities to exist (though not originally) in the soul, and there only. Socrates faith to Theatetus, i You must not think the white colour that you fee is in any thing without your eyes, or in your eyes, (d) 308. (e) 309, 31.4.

or

or in any place at all. And in the Timæus Plato teacheth, that the figure and motion of the particles of fire dividing the parts of our bodies produce that painful sensation we call heat. And Plotinus, in the fixth book of his second Ennead, observes that heat and other qualities are not qualities in the things themselves, but acts : that heat is not a quality, but act, in the fire : that fire is not really what we perceive in the qualities light, heat, and colour. From all which it is plain, that whatever real things they supposed to exist independent of the soul, those were neither sensible things, nor cloached with sensible qualities.

317. Neither Plato nor Aristotle by matter; Day, understood corporeal substance, whatever the moderns may understand by that word. To them certainly it signified no positive actual being. Aristotle describes it as made up of negatives, having neither quantity nor quality nor effence. And not only the Platonists and Pythagoreans, but also the Peripatetics themfelves declare it to be known, neither by sense, nor by any direct and just reasoning, but only by some spurious or adulterine method, as hath 'been observed before. Simon Portius, a famous Peripatetic of the sixteenth century, denies it to be any substance at all, for, faith he, nequit per se fubfiftere, quia fequeretur, id quod non eft in actu elle in actu. If Jamblichus may be credited, the Ægyptians supposed matter so far from including ought of substance or essence, that, according to them, God produced it by a separation from all substance, essence or being, Stero driótno dogingsions úrótno. That matter is actually nothing, but potentially all things, is the doctrine of Aristotle, Theophraftus, and all the antient Peripatetics: 318. According to those philosophers, matter is

only

« EelmineJätka »