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not how they are produced; does in effect conceive those ideas or perceptions to be only passions of the mind, when produced in it, whether we will or no, by external objects.” Again. “That which is said about objects exciting ideas in us by motion, and our receiving the ideas we have once got in our memories; does not, I confess, fully explain the manner how it is done. În this I frankly avow my ignorance, and should be glad to find in him any thing that would clear it to me.” Could Dr. Reid have ever read these passages with attention, or was he determined to make everything bend to the establishment of a new theory. “ It is now, I think" says professor Stewart“ pretty generally acknowledged by physiologists, that the influence of the will over the body, is a mystery which has never yet been unfolded; but, singular as the fact may appear, Dr. Reid was the first person who had the courage to lay completely aside the common hypothetical language concerning perception, and to exhibit the difficulty in all its magnitude by a plain statement of the fact."* Let the Professor read the aforementioned passages of Mr. Locke, and blush for his ignorance or disingenuousness. What has Dr. Reid said about perception, which has not in substance been maintained by Mr. Locke, as far as we have yet stated their opinions? Dr. Reid says, that in order to perception there must be some change produced in the organ by the object; that the organ produces some change in the nerve; and the nerve produces some change in the brain. This is precisely the doctrine of Mr. Locke. But Dr. Reid was the first who had the courage to exhibit the difficulty of explaining the manner of perception in all its magnitude, and content himself with a simple statement of the fact. We have already shown that this same difficulty was felt and acknowledged by Mr. Locke. This is not the only instance in which Dr. Reid is merely stating and illustrating the principles of Mr. Locke, when he imagines himself combatting his errors; and in which the Professor gives him the credit of achieving, what had been long before accomplished by the English metaphysician. After these express and unequivocal declarations of Mr. Locke, never let us again hear it alleged, that when philosophers talk of impressions made upon the mind, which expressions they evidently use in a figurative sense, they mean, not barely to speak of the perception of an object, but to explain the manner of perceiving it.
* See Chap. 1, sect, 3, Philosophy of the Human Mind,
We come now to the last and capital objection brought by Dr. Reid, against Mr. Locke and the philosophers; an objection which lies at the very foundation of his system, and which if it be refuted, overturns his whole superstructure; which is again and again repeated in his essays, until the reader is sated and fatigued with its recurrence. The objection is this." There is another conclusion drawn from impressions made upon the brain in perception, which I conceive to have no solid foundation, though it has been adopted very generally by philosophers. It is, that by impressions made on the brain, images are forned of the object perceived; and that the mind being seated in the brain as its chamber of presence, immediately perceives those images only, and has no perception of the external object but by them. This notion of our perceiving external objects not immediately, but in certain images or species of them conveyed by the senses, seems to be the most ancient philosophical hypothesis we have on the subject of perception, and to have, with very small variations, retained its authority to this day.” Again
-“ Plato's subterranean cave, and Mr. Locke's dark closet, may be applied with ease to all the systems of perception that have been invented. For they all suppose that we perceive not external objects immediately, and that the immediate objects of perception, are only certain shadows of the external objects. Those shadows or images, which we im. mediately perceive, were, by the ancients, called species, forms, phantasms. Since the time of Des Cartes, they have commonly been called ideas, and by Mr. Hume impressions. But all philosophers, from Plato to Mr. Hume, agree in this, that we do not perceive external objects immediately, and that the immediate object of perception must be some image present to the mind.” This is the grand heresy with which Dr. Reid charges the philosophers; and which is represent. ed as having had such a disastrous influence, as to have hood. winked the whole order from Plato to Mr. Hume; jaundiced their views of moral nature; deprived them of common sense, and laid the foundation upon which was built a system of errors, follies and absurdities, that have infected and vitiated the science of mind, and which, unless'they had been happily detected, must forever have closed the door to its advancement.
No terms appear too strong for the Dr., when he is descanting upon the mischiefs which have been occasioned by what, to most persons, would appear to be a very innocent and inoffensive thing; the theory of perception, or the theory that ideas are images in the mind. He may, indeed, be considered as rising to the sublime, when he speaks with so much feeling and eloquence on this subject. At one time he exhibits the ideal theory, as a “ penurious and malignant ray,” sufficient only to “shed a darkness visible upon the human faculties;" or“ an ignis fatuus, leading us into bogs and quagmires;” or as “ making an attempt no less audacious than that of the giants to dethrone Jupiter, in waging an unequal war with common sense, from which it must come off with dishonour and loss." At another time, it is represented as 6 one of the main pillars of modern scepticism;" as the “ parent of those many paradoxes so shocking to common sense, and of that scepticism, which disgrace our philosophy of the mind, and have brought upon it the ridicule and contempt of sensible men;" as the “forbidden tree of knowledge which, we no
sooner taste, than we perceive ourselves naked, and stript of all things, of our very selves; nay we see ourselves and the whole frame of nature shrink into Aeeting ideas, and like Epicurus's atoms, dance about in emptiness.” In fine, the theory of ideas,“ like the Trojan horse, had a specious appearance both of innocence and beauty, but carried in its belly death and destruction to all science and common sense.” Such is the representation given of the theory of all the philosophers who lived before the time of this author. Could Aristotle, Des Cartes, Mallebranche, and above all Locke, Dames that should ever be repeated with profound veneration, and to whose illustrious shades the votaries of science will ever pay the most enthusiastic homage, have heard such an account of their systems, with what resentment and indignation would they have listened to it? Had Dr. Reid, as we have before allowed, confined his invectives to the ridi. culous theory of Berkeley and the sceptical fooleries of Hume, we had willingly and liberally indulged him in as severe a style of animadversion and vituperation, as he might have thought proper to adopt. But when, losing sight of the distinction between truth and error, between a just philosophy and an indigested mass of follies and absurdities, he would confound them all together; when he would represent the scepticism of Berkeley, and the intellectual fooleries of Hume, as legitimate inferences, from the principles of that sublime philosophy, whose foundation was laid by the Stagyrite, and whose structure was carried on and completed by Des Cartes, Mallebranche, and above all Mr. Locke, we crave leave to enter our protest against such unfair dealing, and our most decided reprehension of such egregious misstatements.
The same subject continued. In order that we may rightly comprehend the objection made by Dr. Reid against the philosophers, let us see to what an extravagant length he is capable of carrying it. Not contented with representing them as maintaining the doctrine, that an idea is an image in the mind, the representative of the object without, and which alone is perceived by the mind; but what would seem almost incredible, did we not know it to be true, he makes them assert that that image or species is a material and physical substance, that should be perceptible to the anatomist in his dissections of the brain. In answer to those with whom he is contending, or rather supposes himself contending, he says, “We have not the least evidence, that the image of any external object is formed in the brain. The brain has been dissected times innu. merable by the nicest anatomists; every part of it examined with the naked eye and with the help of microscopes; but no vestige of an image of any external object was ever found.” The opinion, then, ascribed to metaphysicians, is, that in perception, a real, substantial, visible image passes through the organs into the brain, and from thence into the mind to make an impression upon it. Could any thing more ridiculous have been conceived? Must not all the philosophers have been out of their senses, to have believed in it? While in all other matters they discovered so much penetration and deep research, it is supposing them, on this alone, to have been bereft of their reason and understanding. Let us put this matter to the test of a moments reflection and examination. The philosophers believed, that all the ideas we obtain from sensation, such as those of extension, figure, motion, rest, colour, taste, sound, and the endless train which come to us from outward objects, are so many images that