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granted, it must surely be admitted, that the knowledge which man could in those circumstances acquire, would be not merely less in degree, but would be as truly different from that which his powers at present have reached, as if the objects of his science, or the laws which regulate them, had themselves been changed to an extent, at least as great as the supposed change in the laws of mind. The astronomy of the blind, if the word might still be used to express a science so very different from the present, would, in truth, be a sort of chemistry. Day and night, the magnificent and harmonious revolution of season after season, would be nothing more than periodical changes of temperature in the objects around; and that great Dispenser of the seasons, the Source of light, and beauty, and almost of animation, at whose approach nature seems not merely to awake, but to rise again, as it was at first, from the darkness of its original chaos, if its separate existence could be at all inferred, would probably be classed as something similar, though inferior in power, to that unknown source of heat, which, by a perilous and almost unknown process, was fearfully piled and kindled on the household hearth.

So accustomed are we, however, to consider the nature and limits of the different sciences, as depending on the objects themselves, and not on the laws of the mind, which classes their relations, that it may be difficult for you at first to admit the influence of these mere laws of mind, as modifying general physics, at least to the extent which I have now stated. But, that a change in the laws of human thought, whatever influence it may have in altering the very nature and limits of the physical sciences, would at least affect greatly the state of their progress, must be immediately evident to those who consider for a moment on what discovery depends; the progress of science being obviously nothing more than a series of individual discoveries, and the number of discoveries, varying with the powers of the individual intellect. The same phenomena which were present to the mind of Newton, had been present, innumerable times before, not to the understandings of philosophers only, but to the very senses of the vulgar. Every thing was the same to him and to them, except the observing and reasoning mind. To him alone, however, they suggested those striking analogies by which, on a comparison of all the known circumstances in both, he ventured to class the force which retains the planets in their orbits, with that which occasions the fall of a pebble to the earth.

"Have ye not listen'd, while he bound the suns
And planets to their spheres! the unequal task
Of human kind till then. Oft had they roll'd
O'er erring man the year, and oft disgraced
The pride of schools.

-He took his ardent flight
Through the blue infinite; and every star
Which the clear concave of a winter's night
Pours on the eye, or astronomic tube,
Far stretching, snatches from the dark abyss,
Or such as farther in successive skies

To fancy shine alone, at his approach
Blazed into suns, the living centre each
Of an harmonious system; all combined,
And ruled unerring by that single power,

Which draws the stone projected to the ground."*

It is recorded of this almost superhuman genius, whose powers and attain

*Thomson's Poem on the Death of Sir Isaac Newton.

ments at once make us proud of our common nature, and humble us with our disparity, that, in acquiring the elements of geometry, he was able, in a very large proportion of cases, to pass immediately from theorem to theorem, by reading the mere enunciation of each, perceiving, as it were intuitively, that latent evidence which others are obliged slowly to trace through a long series of propositions. When the same theorem was enunciated, or the same simple phenomenon observed, the successions of thought, in his mind, were thus obviously different from the successions of thought in other minds; but it is easy to conceive the original susceptibilities of all minds such as exactly to have corresponded with those of the mind of Newton. And if the minds of all men, from the creation of the world, had been similar to the mind of Newton, is it possible to conceive, that the state of any science would have been, at this moment, what it now is, or in any respect similar to what it now is, though the laws which regulate the physical changes in the material universe had continued unaltered, and no change occurred, but in the simple original susceptibilities of the mind itself?

The laws of the observing and comparing mind, then, it must be admitted, have modified, and must always continue to modify, every science, as truly as the laws of that particular department of nature of which the phenomena are observed and compared. But, it may be said, we are chemists, we are astronomers, without studying the philosophy of mind. And true it certainly is, that there are excellent astronomers, and excellent chemists, who have never paid any particular attention to intellectual philosophy. The general principles of philosophizing, which a more accurate intellectual philosophy had introduced, have become familiar to them, without study. But those general principles are not less the effect of that improved philosophy of mind, any more than astronomy and chemistry themselves have now a less title to be considered as sciences,-because, from the general diffusion of knowledge in society, those who have never professedly studied either science, are acquainted with many of their most striking truths. It is gradually, and almost insensibly, that truths diffuse themselves-at first admired and adopted by a few, who are able to compare the present with the past, and who gladly own them, as additions to former knowledge,-from them communicated to a wider circle, who receive them, without discussion, as if familiar and long known; and at length, in this widening progress, becoming so nearly universal, as almost to seem effects of a natural instinctive law of human thought-like the light, which we readily ascribe to the sun, as it first flows directly from him, and forces his image on our sight; but which, when reflected from object to object, soon ceases to remind us of its origin, and seems almost to be a part of the very atmosphere which we breathe.

I am aware, that it is not to improvements in the mere philosophy of mind, that the great reformation in our principles of physical inquiry is commonly ascribed. Yet it is to this source-certainly at least to this source chiefly, that I would refer the origin of those better plans of philosophical investigation which have distinguished with so many glorious discoveries the age in which we live, and the ages immediately preceding. When we think of the great genius of Lord Bacon, and of the influence of his admirable works, we are too apt to forget the sort of difficulties which his genius must have had to overcome, and to look back to his rules of philosophizing, as a sort of ultimate truths, discoverable by the mere perspicacity of his superior mind, without referring them to those simple views of nature in relation to our faculties

of discovery, from which they were derived. The rules which he gives us, are rules of physical investigation; and it is very natural for us, therefore, in estimating their value, to think of the erroneous physical opinions which preceded them, without paying sufficient attention to the false theories of intellect, which had led to those very physical absurdities. Lord Bacon, if he was not the first who discovered that we were in some degree idolaters, to use his own metaphor, in our intellectual worship, was certainly the first who discovered the extent of our idolatry. But we must not forget, that the temple which he purified, was not the temple of external nature, but the temple of the mind, that in its inmost sanctuaries were all the idols which he overthrew,—and that it was not till these were removed, and the intellect prepared for the presence of a nobler divinity, that truth would deign to unveil herself to adoration;-as in the mysteries of those eastern religions, in which the first ceremony for admission to the worship of the god is the purification of the worshipper.

In the course of our analysis of the intellectual phenomena, we shall have frequent opportunities of remarking the influence, which errors with respect to these mere phenomena of mind must have had, on the contemporary systems of general physics, and on the spirit of the prevailing plans of inquiry. It may be enough to remark at present the influence of one fundamental error, which, as long as it retained its hold of the understanding, must have rendered all its energies ineffectual, by wasting them in the search of objects, which it never could attain, because in truth they had no real existence,―to the neglect of objects that would have produced the very advantage which was sought. I allude to the belief of the schools, in the separate existence, or entity as they technically term it, of the various orders of universals, and the mode in which they conceived every acquisition of knowledge in reasoning, to take place, by the intervention of certain intelligible forms or species, existing separately in the intellect, as the direct objects of thought,-in the same manner as they ascribed simple perception to the action of species of another order, which they termed sensible species,-the images of things derived indeed from objects without, but when thus derived, existing independently of them. When we amuse ourselves with inquiring into the history of human folly-that most comprehensive of all histories-which includes, at least for many ages, the whole history of philosophy; or rather, to use a word more appropriate than amusement,-when we read with regret the melancholy annals of genius aspiring to be pre-eminently frivolous, and industry labouring to be ignorant, we often discover absurdities of the grossest kind, which almost cease to be absurdities, on account of other absurdities, probably as gross, which accompany them; and this is truly the case, in the grave extravagance of the logic of the schools. The scholastic mode of philosophizing, ridiculous as it now seems, was far from absurd, when taken in connexion with the scholastic philosophy. It was indeed the only mode of procedure, which that philosophy could consistently admit. To those who believed that singular objects could afford no real knowledge, singularium nullam dari scientiam: and that this was to be obtained only from what they termed intelligible species, existing not in external things, but in the intellect itself, it must have seemed as absurd to wander, in quest of knowledge, out of that region in which alone they supposed it to exist, and to seek it among things singular, as it would now, to us, seem hopeless and absurd, to found a system of physical truths on the contemplation and comparison of universals. While this

false theory of the mental phenomena prevailed, was it possible, that the phenomena of matter should have been studied on sounder principles of investigation, when any better plan must have been absolutely inconsistent with the very theory of thought? It was in mind that the student of general nature was to seek his guiding light, without which all then was darkness. The intellectual philosopher, if any such had then arisen, to analyze simply the phenomena of thought, without any reference to general physics, would in truth have done more in that dark age, for the benefit of every physical science, than if he had discovered a thousand properties of as many different sub


Let us suppose, for a moment, that an accurate view of the intellectual process of abstraction could have been communicated to a veteran sage of the schools, at the very moment when he was intently contemplating the tree of Porphyry, in all its branches of species and genera, between the individual and the summum genus; and when he was preparing perhaps, by this contemplation of a few universals, to unfold all the philosophy of colours, or of the planetary movements, would the benefit which he received from this clearer view of a single process of thought have terminated in the mere science of mind-or would not rather his new views of mind have extended with a most important influence to his whole wide views of matter?-He must immediately have learned, that, in the whole tree of genera and species, the individual at the bottom of his scale was the only real independent existence, and that all the rest, the result of certain comparisons of agreement or disagreement, were simple modifications of his own mind, not produced by any thing existing in his intellect but by the very constitution of his intellect itself; the consideration of a number of individuals as of one species being nothing more than the feeling of their agreement in certain respects, and the feeling of this agreement being as simple a result of the observation of them together, as the perception of each, individually, was of its individual presence. It would surely have been impossible for him, with this new and important light, to return to his transcendental inquiries, into entities, and quiddities, and substantial forms; and the simple discovery of a better theory of abstraction, as a process of the mind, would thus have supplied the place of many rules of philosophizing.

The philosophy of mind then, we must admit, did, in former ages at least, exercise an important influence on general science :-and are we to suppose that it has now no influence?

Even though no other advantage were to be obtained from our present juster views of mind, than the protection which they give, from those gross errors of inquiry to which the philosophers of so long a series of ages were exposed, this alone would surely be no slight gain. But, great as this advantage is, are we certain, that it is all which the nicest mental analysis can afford, or rather, is it not possible at least, that we may still, in our plans of physical investigation, be suffering under the influence of errors from which we should be saved, by still juster views of the faculties employed in every physical inquiry?

That we are not aware of any such influence, argues nothing; for to suppose us aware of it, would be to suppose us acquainted with the very errors which mislead us. Aquinas and Scotus, it is to be presumed, and all their contentious followers, conceived themselves as truly in the right path of physical investigation, as we do at this moment: and though we are free

from their gross mistakes, there may yet be others of which we are less likely to divest ourselves, from not having as yet the slightest suspicion of their existence. The question is not, Whether our method of inquiry be juster than theirs?-for, of our superiority in this respect, if any evidence of fact were necessary, the noble discoveries of these later years are too magnificent a proof to allow us to have any doubt,-but, Whether our plan of inquiry may not still be susceptible of improvements, of which we have now as litthe foresight, as the Scotists and Aquinists of the advantages which philosophy has received from the general prosecution of the inductive method? There is, indeed, no reason now to fear, that the observation of particular objects, with a view to general science, will be despised as incapable of giving any direct knowledge, and all real science be confined to universals. "Singularium datur scientia." But, though a sounder view of one intellectual process may have banished from philosophy much idle contention, and directed inquiry to fitter objects, it surely does not therefore follow, that subsequent improvements in the philosophy of mind are to be absolutely unavailing. On the contrary, the presumption unquestionably is, that if by understanding better the simple process of abstraction, we have freed ourselves from many errors in our plans of inquiry, a still clearer view of the nature and limits of all the intellectual processes concerned in the discovery of truth, may lead to still juster views of philosophizing.

Even at present, I cannot but think that we may trace, in no inconsiderable degree, the influence of false notions, as to some of the phenomena of the mind, in misdirecting the spirit of our general philosophy. I allude in particular, to one very important intellectual process, that by which we acquire our knowledge of the relation on which all physics may be said to be founded. He must have paid little attention to the history of philosophy, and even to the philosophy of his own time, who does not perceive, how much the vague and obscure notions entertained of that intermediate tie, which is supposed to connect phenomena with each other, have tended to favour the invention and ready admission of physical hypotheses, which otherwise could not have been entertained for a moment ;-hypotheses, which attempt to explain what is known by the introduction of what is unknown; as if successions of phenomena were rendered easier to be understood merely by being rendered more complicated. This very unphilosophic passion for complexity, (which, unphilosophic as it is, is yet the passion of many philosophers,) seems, to me, to arise, in a great measure, from a mysterious and false view of causation; as involving always, in every series of changes, the intervention of something unobserved, between the observed antecedent and the observed effect; a view which may very naturally be supposed to lead the mind, when it has observed no actual intervention, to imagine any thing which is not absolutely absurd, that it may flatter itself with the pleasure of having discovered a cause. It is unnecessary, however, to enlarge at present on this subject, as it must again come before us; when you will perhaps see more clearly, how much the general diffusion of juster views, as to the nature and origin of our notion of the connexion of events, would tend to the simplification, not of our theories of mind only, but, in a still higher degree, of our theories of


The observations already made, I trust, have shown how important, to the perfection of every science, is an accurate acquaintance with that intellectual medium, through which alone the objects of every science become known to

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