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ence is not the result of reasoning, but necessarily accompanies the perception, so as to render it impossible for us to see the change without feeling a conviction of the operation of some cause by which it was produced; much in the same manner, in which we find it impossible to conceive a sensation without being impressed with a belief of the existence of a sentient Being. Hence, I apprehend it is, that when we see two events constantly conjoined, we are led to associate the idea of causation or efficiency with the former, and to refer to it that power' or energy by which the change was produced; in consequence of which association we come to consider philosophy as a knowledge of efficient causes, and lose sight of the operation of mind in producing the phenomena of nature. It is by an association somewhat similar, that we connect our sensation of colour with the primary qualities of body. A moment's reflection must satisfy any one, that the sensation of colour can only reside in the mind (by the by, it took philosophers some time and study to discover this); and yet our natural bias is surely to connect colour with extension and figure, and to conceive white, blue, yellow as something spread over the surfaces of body. In the same way we are led to associate with inanimate matter the ideas of power, force, energy and causation, which are all attributes of mind."
By those persons who read merely for amusement, and who are entirely satisfied, if they find in the author, whose pages they are perusing, sounding phrases and well turned periods; and who, when they cannot comprehend his meaning from the obscurity of his illustrations, imagine it to be very profound for that very reason, this account of the phenomenon supposed to exist, and attempted to be explained, may be deemed satisfactory. But to those whose province it is to study and understand what they read, and develop, faithfully and truly, the operations of nature, never surely could there be presented a specimen of a more abortive attempt to philosophise, To make good our assertions, let us examine, for a moment, the solution here attempted to be furnished of a phenomenon in the moral world. These writers of the late school of metaphysicks, having discovered in the structure of our nature an instinct perspicacious enough to induce us to refer every effect to an efficient cause, and moreover to penetrate into the deep and mysterious doctrine, that mind alone can be the efficient cause of any thing; have now to explain by what bias or prejudice it is, that when we approach the fire, we are so childish as to conclude that there is any power in fire to produce in us the sensation of heat, instead of referring the sensation at once to mind, the real cause. Mark now, the solution; although I am afraid it will not be found so satisfactory as that of Gallileo above referred to. From finding that fire and our sensation of heat are always conjoined together, we associate the idea of power in fire with that element, as we do sensation with the existence of a sentient Being; or as we do colours, for instance, white, blue, yellow, with the primary qualities of body as extension, figure, solidity, &c.” Such is the solution, which is certainly entirely original; and if any one feels disposed to be satisfied with it, we have only to recommend to him, to pore over the pages of Newton, Locke, Bacon and Clarke, and he will learn to repudiate fruitless disquisitions.
We have only one single view more to take of the doctrines of the Professor on cause and effect, and we have done; but this view is a very serious one. We may be thought singular in our opinion, but we do not hesitate to consider his doctrines upon this point, as having a portentous aspect towards religion and morality, and verging strongly towards atheism. The immediate reference of all the phenomena of nature in the physical world to the agency of mind or the Supreme Being, spreads over his system a specious appearance of truth and orthodoxy, but it is only
a specious appearance, and delusive. We will not say that atheism was ever intended to be inculcated by the Professor, although we cannot relish the very favourable and softened terms in which he always refers to the principles of Mr. Hume. Independently of this consideration, however, we do assert, that the ground taken by him is a very dangerous one, and that his system carries in its bosom the seeds of its own speedy destruction; and if confided in, in its ruins might be buried the interests of those truths to which it ostensibly essays to extend a feeble and ineffectual support. He admits in their utmost extent the premises of Mr. Hume; avowing that the fallacy of his argument does not consist in his premises, but in the conclusions which he draws from them, He adopts, to all intents and purposes, the principles of Mr. Hume, as far as relates to the physical world; and maintains, that we have no reason to believe that there are any such things as efficient causes to be found in it. We have already shown that, by parity of reasoning, we may
deny all efficacy in all moral causes, save the Deity alone. He allows that Mr. Hume has shown that the maxim, for every effect in nature there must be a cause, can be proved neither from intuition, reason, or experience; and asserts, that we derive it solely from an instinctive and original principle in the constitution of our nature. The whole foundation of the argument, upon which is constructed the infinitely important truth of the existence of God, is thus made to rest upon the evidence we derive from this single instinct. All, therefore, that is left to the Atheist, is the easy task of proving, that we are possessed of no such instinctive principle, and his mighty fabrick of pretended theism crumbles to dust and confusion. Never surely was a wider door thrown open, by those who pretend to be the champions of theism, for the admission of atheistical principles. To make such broad concessions to the enemies of truth, and yet expect to retain the infinitely important doctrine of the Being of a God, ap
pears to us, like expecting to sustain the superstructure, after we have allowed the foundation to be demolished. And yet we find the Professor, as if totally unapprised of the danger. ous tendency of his own doctrine, expressing himself in the following language. “ For however important,” says he, “ the positive advantages may be, which are to be expected from the future progress of metaphysical science, they are by no means so essential to human improvement and happiness, as a satisfactory refutation of that sceptical philosophy which struck at the root of all knowledge and belief. Such a refutation seems to have been the principal object which Dr. Reid proposed to himself in his metaphysical inquiries, and to this object his labours have been directed with so much ability, candour, and perseverance, that, unless future scepticks should occupy a ground very different from that of their predecessors, it is not likely that the controversy will be ever renewed." From the sentiment expressed in the concluding part of this paragraph, we crave leave entirely to dissent. The controversy with scepticks, it is true, has been removed from the ground on which it was formerly maintained, and with triumphant success; but we cannot withhold the opinion, that it has been removed from a place of safety to that of extreme danger, where it is protected by very insufficient guards and fortifications; and we must still be ex. cused for giving a decided preference to enlisting under the banners and submitting to the guidance of such men as Locke, Clarke, Mallebranche and Des Cartes, to any of those who have succeeded them, and have undertaken the task of filling the world with an account of their errors and miscarriages.*
* Thomas Brown, M. D. professor of moral philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, carries the principles of Mr. Stewart to their ultimate
says, that when we use the term power, we as much make use of a term without any idea annexed to it, as the Peripateticks did when they spoke of substantial forms and occult qualities. He affirms
We cannot take leave of this subject of cause and effeci, in language more expressive of the sentiments we entertain, than is that of Mr. Locke, in his reply to the unintelligible jargon of Mr. Norris, a follower of Mallebranche. “ Whether the ideas of light and colour come in by the eye or no; it is all one as if they did, for those who have no eyes, never have them. And whether or no God has appointed that a certain modified motion of the fibres, or spirits in the optic nerve, should excite or produce, or cause them in us, call it what you please, it is all one as if it did; since where there is no such motion, there is no such perception or idea. For I hope they will not deny God the privilege to give such a power to motion, if he pleases. “ Yes,” say they," they be the occasional but not the efficient cause, for that they cannot be, because that is in effect to say, he has given this motion in the optic nerve a power to operate on himself, but cannot give it a power to operate on the mind of man. It may by this appointment operate on himself, the impassible infinite Spirit, and put him in mind when he is to operate on the mind of man, and exhibit to it the idea which is in himself of any colour. The Infinite Eternal God is certainly the cause of all things, the fountain of all being and power. But because all being was from him, can there be nothing but God himself? Or because all power was originally in him, can there be nothing of it communicated to his creatures? This is to set very narrow bounds to the power of God, and by pretending to extend it, takes it away. For which, I beseech you, as we can comprehend, is the greatest power; to make a machine, a
that what can be meant by power, is only immediate invariable antecedence. He defines cause to be the immediate invariable antecedent in any sequence; while the immediate invariable consequent is the correla tive effect. Upon the priociples of Dr. Brown, we should soon see all the ridiculous jargon of the schools revived, Never surely since the days of the Schoolmen have there been published such works as his upon any philusophical subject.