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sensus, sive sensationes dicuntur. Nam videmus, verba, sive ore prolata, sive tantum scripta, quaslibet in animis nostris cogitationes et commotiones excitare. In eadem charta, cum eodem calamo et atramento, si tantum calami extremitas certo modo supra chartain ducatur, literas exarabit, quæ cogitationes præliorum, tempestatum, furiarum, affectusque indignationis et tristitiæ in lectorum animis concitabunt; si vero alio modo fere simili calamus moveatur, cogitationes valde diversas, tranquillitatis, pacis, amoenitatis, affectusque plane contrarios amoris et lætitiæ efficiet. Respondebitur fortasse, scripturam vel loquelam nullos affectus, nullasque rerum a se diversarum imaginationes immediate in mente excitare, sed tantummodo, diversas intellectiones; quarum deinde occasione anima ipsa variarum rerum imagines in se efformat. Quid autem dicetur de sensu doloris et titillationis? Gladius corpori nostro admovetur; illud scindit; ex hoc solo sequitur dolor; qui sane non minus diversus est a gladii, vel corporis quod scinditur locali motu, quam color, vel sonus, vel odor, vel sapor. Atque ideo cum clare videamus, doloris sensum in nobis excitari ab eo solo, quod aliquæ corporis nostri partes contactu alicujus alterius corporis localiter moveantur, concludere licet, mentem nostram esse talis naturæ, ut ab aliquibus etiam motibus localibus omnium aliorum sensuum affectiones pati possit.

"Præterea non deprehendimus ullam differentiam inter nervos, ex qua liceat judicare, aliud quid per unos, quam alios, ab organis sensuum externorum ad cerebrum pervenire, vel omnino quidquam eo pervenire præter ipsorum nervorum motum localem."*

It is scarcely possible to express more strongly, or illustrate more clearly, an opinion so exactly the reverse of that doctrine of perception, by the medium of representative ideas or images, ascribed by Dr. Reid to its illustrious author. It would not be more unjust, even after all his laborious writings on the subject, to rank the supposed confuter of the ideal system, as himself one of its most strenuous champions, than to make this charge against Des Cartes, and to say of him, in Dr. Reid's words, that "the image which the Peripatetics called a species, he calls an idea, changing the name only, while he admits the thing."+

To these authors, whose opinions, on the subject of perception, Dr. Reid has misconceived, I may add one, whom even he himself allows, to have shaken off the ideal system, and to have considered the idea and the perception, as not distinct, but the same, a modification of the mind, and nothing more. I allude to the celebrated Jansenist writer, Arnauld, who maintains this doctrine as expressly as Dr. Reid himself, and makes it the foundation of his argument in his controversy with Malebranche. But, if I were to quote to you every less important writer, who disbelieved the reality of ideas. or images, as things existing separately and independently, I might quote to you almost every writer, British and foreign, who, for the last century, and for many years preceding it, has treated of the mind. The narrow limits of a Lecture have forced me to confine my notice to the most illustrious.

Of all evidence, however, with respect to the prevalence of opinions, the most decisive is that which is found, not in treatises read only by a few, but in the popular elementary works of science of the time, the general textbooks of schools and colleges. I shall conclude this long discussion, there

* Principia Philosophie, Pars IV. Sect. 196. p. 190, 191. Amst. 1664. On the Intellectual Powers, Essay II. c. 8.

fore, with short quotations from two of the most distinguished and popular authors, of this very useful class.

The first is from the logic or rather the pneumatology, of Le Clerc, the friend of Locke. In his chapter, on the nature of ideas, he gives the history of the opinions of philosophers on this subject, and states among them the very doctrine which is most forcibly and accurately opposed to the ideal system of perception. "Others," he says, "hold that ideas and the perception of ideas are absolutely the same in themselves, and differ merely in our relative application of them; that same feeling of the mind, which is termed an idea, in reference to the object which the mind considers, is termed a perception, when we speak of it relatively to the percipient mind; but it is only of one modification of the mind that we speak in both cases." According to these philosophers, therefore, there are, in strictness of language, no ideas distinct from the mind itself. "Alii putant ideas et perceptiones idearum easdem esse, licet relationibus differant. Idea, uti censent, proprie ad objectum refertur, quod mens considerat ;-perceptio, vero, ad mentem ipsam quæ percipit; sed duplex illa relatio ad unam modificationem mentis pertinet. Itaque secundum hosce philosophos, nullæ sunt proprie loquendo ideæ a mente nostra distinctæ."* What is it, I may ask, which Dr. Reid considers himself as having added to this very philosophic view of perception? and, if he added nothing, it is surely too much to ascribe to him the merit of detecting errors, the counter statement to which had long formed a part of the elementary works of the schools.

In addition to these quotations, the number of which may perhaps already have produced at least as much weariness as conviction,-I shall content myself with a single paragraph, from a work of De Crousaz, the author, not of one merely, but of many very popular elementary works of logic, and unquestionably one of the most acute thinkers of his time. His works abound with many sagacious remarks, on the sources of the prejudice involved in that ideal system, which Dr. Reid conceived himself the first to have overthrown; and he states, in the strongest language, that our ideas are nothing more than states or affections of our mind itself. "Cogitandi modiquibus cogitatio nostra modificatur, quos induit alios post alios, sufficiunt, ut per eos ad rerum cognitionem veniat ; nec sunt fingendæ ideæ, ab illis modificationibus diversa." I may remark by the way, that precisely the same distinction of sensations and perceptions, on which Dr. Reid founds so much, is stated and enforced in the different works of this ingenious writer. Indeed so very similar are his opinions, that if he had lived after Dr. Reid, and had intended to give a view of that very system of perception which we have been examining, I do not think that he could have varied in the slightest respect, from that view of the process which he has given in his own original writings.

It appears then, that, so far is Dr. Reid from having the merit of confuting the universal, or even general illusion of philosophers, with respect to ideas in the mind, as images or separate things, distinct from the perception itself; that his own opinions as to perception on this point at least, are precisely the same, as those which generally prevailed before. From the time of the decay of the Peripatetic Philosophy, the process of perception was generally * Clerici Pneumatologia, Sect. i. cap. v. subsect. 10.

+ Tentamen Novum Metaphysicum, Sect. xxxvii.-Groningœ, 1725. VOL. I.


considered, as involving nothing more, than the presence of an external object-an organic change or series of changes and an affection of the mind immediately subsequent, without the intervention of any idea as a fourth separate thing between the organic and the mental affection. I have no doubt, that, with the exception of Berkeley and Malebranche,-who had peculiar and very erroneous notions on the subject, all the philosophers whom Dr. Reid considered himself as opposing, would, if they had been questioned by him, have admitted, before they heard a single argument on his part, that their opinions, with respect to ideas, were precisely the same as his own ;and what then would have remained for him to confute? He might, indeed, still have said, that it was absurd, in those who considered perception as a mere state or modification of the mind, to speak of ideas in their mind but the very language, used by him for this purpose, would probably have contained some metaphor as little philosophic. We must still allow men to speak of ideas in their mind, if they will only consent to believe that the ideas are truly the mind itself variously affected;-as we must still allow men to talk of the rising and setting of the sun, if they will only admit that the motion which produces those appearances is not in that majestic and tranquil orb, but in our little globe of earth, which, carrying along with it, in its daily revolution, all our busy wisdom and still busier folly, is itself as restless as its restless inhabitants.

That a mind, so vigorous as that of Dr. Reid, should have been capable of the series of misconceptions which we have traced, may seem wonderful, and truly is so; and equally, or rather, still more wonderful, is the general admission of his merit in this respect. I trust it will impress you with one important lesson,-which could not be taught more forcibly than by the errors of so great a mind,-that it will always be necessary for you to consult the opinions of authors,-when their opinions are of sufficient importance to deserve to be accurately studied-in their own works and not in the works of those who profess to give a faithful account of them. From my own experience, I can most truly assure you, that there is scarcely an instance, in which, on examining the works of those authors whom it is the custom more to cite than to read, I have found the view which I had received of them to be faithful. There is usually something more or something less, which modifies the general result, some mere conjecture represented as an absolute affirmation, or some limited affirmation extended to analogous cases, which it was not meant to comprehend. And, by the various additions or subtractions, thus made, in passing from mind to mind, so much of the spirit of the original doctrine is lost, that it may, in some cases, be considered as having made a fortunate escape, if it be not at last represented, as directly opposite to what it is. It is like those engraved portraits of the eminent men of former ages, the copies of mere copies,-from which every new artist, in the succession, has taken something, or to which he has added something, till not a lineament remains the same. If we are truly desirous of a faithful likeness, we must have recourse once more to the original painting.



My last Lecture, gentlemen, brought to a conclusion the remarks which I had to offer on the Sense of Touch, and particularly on the manner in which I supposed the mind to acquire its knowledge of external things.

With this very important question of the existence of matter, the name of Dr. Reid is intimately connected, to whom the highest praise is usually given, for his supposed confutation of all scepticism on the subject; as if he had truly established, by argument, the existence of a material world. And yet, I confess, that with all my respect for that excellent philosopher, I do not discover, in his reasonings on the subject, any ground for the praise which has been given. The evidence for a system of external things,-at least the sort of evidence for which he contends, was not merely the same, but was felt also to be precisely the same, before he wrote as afterwards. Nay, I may add, that the force of the evidence, if that term can be justly applied to this species of belief,-was admitted, in its fullest extent, by the very sceptic, against whom chiefly his arguments were directed.

That Dr. Reid was a philosopher of no common rank, every one, who has read his works with attention, and with candour, must admit. It is impossible to deny, that, to great power of patient investigation, in whatever inquiries he undertook, he united great caution, in discriminating the objects of legitimate inquiry, together with considerable acuteness, of the same sage and temperate kind, in the prosecution of such inquiries as appeared to him legitimate. And, which is a praise, that, unfortunately for mankind, and still more unfortunately for the individual, does not always attend mere intellectual renown,-it is impossible to deny to him the more covetable glory, that his efforts, even when he erred speculatively, had always in view those great interests, to which, and to which alone, philosophy itself is but a secondary consideration,-the primary and essential interests of religion and morality.

These praises are certainly not higher than his merits. But, at the same time, while by philosophers in one part of the island, his merits seem to have been unjustly undervalued, I cannot but think also, that, in his own country, there has been an equal or rather a far greater tendency to over-rate them,a tendency arising in part from the influence of his academic situation, and his amiable personal character-partly, and in a very high degree, from the general regard for the moral and religious objects which he uniformly had in view, as contrasted with the consequences that were supposed to flow from some of the principles of the philosopher, whose opinions he particularly combated-and partly also, I may add, from the eloquence of his illustrious Pupil, and Friend, and Biographer, whose understanding, so little liable to be biassed by any prejudices but those of virtue and affectionate friendship, has yet, perhaps, been influenced in some degree by those happy and noble prejudices of the heart, and, who, by the persuasive charms both of his Lectures and of his Writings, could not fail to cast, on any system of opinions

which he might adopt and exhibit, some splendour of reflection from the brilliancy of his own mind.

The genius of Dr. Reid does not appear to me to have been very inventive, nor to have possessed much of that refined and subtile acuteness, which,-capable as it is of being abused,-is yet absolutely necessary to the perfection of metaphysical analysis.

It is chiefly on his opinions, in relation to the subject at present under our view, that his reputation as an original thinker rests. Indeed, it is on these that he has inclined himself to rest it. In a part of a letter to Dr. Gregory, preserved in Mr. Stewart's Memoir, he considers his confutation of the ideal system of perception, as involving almost every thing which is truly his. think there is hardly any thing that can be called mine," he says, "in the philosophy of mind, which does not follow with ease from the detection of this prejudice."* Yet there are few circumstances, connected with the fortune of modern philosophy, that appear to me more wonderful, than that a mind, like Dr. Reid's, so learned in the history of metaphysical science,and far too honourable to lay claim to praise to which he did not think himself fairly entitled,-should have conceived, that, on the point of which he speaks, any great merit-at least any merit of originality-was justly referable to him particularly. Indeed, the only circumstance, which appears to me more wonderful, is, that the claim thus made by him, should have been so readily and generally admitted.

His supposed confutation of the ideal system is resolvable into two partsfirst, his attempt to overthrow what he terms "the common theory" of ideas or images of things in the mind, as the immediate objects of thought—and secondly, the evidence which the simpler theory of perception may be supposed to yield, of the reality of an external world. The latter of these inquiries would, in order, be more appropriate to our late train of speculation; but we cannot understand it fully, without some previous attention to the former.

That Dr. Reid did question the theory of ideas or images, as separate existences in the mind, I readily admit; but I cannot allow, that, in doing this, he questioned the common theory. On the contrary, I conceive, that, at the time at which he wrote, the theory had been universally, or at least almost universally, abandoned; and that though philosophers might have been in the habit of speaking of ideas or images in the mind, as we continue to speak of them at this moment, they meant them to denote nothing more then, than we use them to denote now. The phraseology of any system of opinions, which has spread widely, and for a length of time, does not perish with the system itself. It is transmitted from the system which expires, to the system which begins to reign,-very nearly as the same crown and sceptre pass, through a long succession, from monarch to monarch. To tear away our very language, as well as our belief, is more than the boldest introducer of new doctrines can hope to be permitted, for it would be to force our ignorance or errors too glaringly on our view. He finds it easier, to seduce our vanity, by leaving us something which we can still call our own, and which it is not very difficult for him to accommodate to his own views; so that, while he allows us to pronounce the same words, with the same confidence, we are sensible only of what we have gained, and are not

* Account of the Life, &c. p. xci. prefixed to Reid's Works. Edin. 1803.

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