we are.

We are

sensation and consciousness are confined to an indivisible point of time, which is time present, philosophically considered. We have heard it maintained, that matter is infinitely divisible, although some have thought, that by the time it was infinitely divided, it would be very nearly reduced to nothing; and we presume the Dr. must consider time, as susceptible of as much division as matter. An indivisible point of time, therefore, must be a point of time wonderfully small, so small, that whatever may be its adaptation to the operations of beings superior to us, it certainly seems totally unsuited to the nature of such finite creatures as assured, that we could neither move a limb, draw a single breath, twinkle an eye, or perform a single operation, bodily, mental, or mixed in it. If this be the Dr.'s notion of the present time, and the philosophical meaning of the word, we do not wonder that he maintains, that we cannot have perceptions of duration, time, motion, &c. without the aid of memory. The only matter of surprise is, that he does not maintain, there can be no such thing as sensation and consciousness at all; since he affirms that they are confined to an indivisible point of time, and we are sure there would not in such an inconceivable instant, be time for them to creep in. Such are the ridiculous puerilities and follies, that have been palmed upon the learned world, as profound speculations of science, and what is still more astonishing, which the learned world has appeared willing to regard in that light!

I find on this topick, Dr. Reid's principles of grammar, no better than those of his metaphysics.“ As the purposes of conversation, make it convenient to extend what is called the present, the same reason leads men to extend the province of sense, and to carry its limits as far back as they carry the present. Thus a man may say, I saw such a person just now; it would be ridiculous to find fault with this way of speaking, because it is authorised by custom, and has a distinct meaning. But if we speak philosophically, the

senses do not testify what we saw, but only what we see; what I saw last moment, I consider as the testimony of sense, though it is now only the testimony of memory.When I say, I saw such a person just now, does this expression imply, that my senses now testify what I saw; and not rather that my memory testifies, what my senses did, or rather enabled me to do on a former occasion? There is nothing unphilosophical or inconsistent with the soundest and deepest logic in the structure of language in this respect. It would seem impossible to misunderstand it.

Let us now hear the Dr.'s argument in opposition to Mr. Locke.“ Having considered the account given by Mr. Locke of the idea of succession, we shall next consider how, from the idea of succession, he derives the idea of duration. The distance,” he says, “ between any two parts of that succession, or between the appearance of any two ideas in our minds, is what we call duration.” To conceive this the more distinctly, let us call the distance between an idea, and that which immediately succeeds it, one element of duration; the Jistance between an idea, and the second that succeeds it, two elements, and so on. If ten such elements make duration, then one must make duration, otherwise duration must be made up of parts that have no duration, which is impossible. I conclude, therefore, that there must be duration in every single interval or element, of which the whole duration is made up. Now it must be observed, that in these elements of duration, or single intervals of successive ideas, there is no succession of ideas, yet we must conceive them to have duration; whence we may conclude with certainty, that there is a conception of duration, where there is no succession of ideas in the mind.” This argument is exhibited with all the formality and display of a mathematical demonstration, and evidently appears to be regarded as conclusive. The Dr. would probably have been astonished to be told, that it has not the smallest force in invalidating the principles of Mr. Locke. The whole difficulty is solved, and the fallacy of the argument exposed, by simply adverting to the distinction before made, between the order of nature and the order of our ideas. Nothing can be more certain, than the first proposition of the Dr., that supposing the distance or intervals between our successive ideas to be considered as single elements, the whole of which, when put together, constitute duration, it is evident, there must be duration in every single interval or element, of which the whole duration is made up.

We will admit, moreover, “ that in these elements of duration, or single intervals of successive ideas, there is no succession of ideas, and yet we must conceive them to have duration.” But, when from these premises the Dr. would draw the conclusion, that there is a conception of duration, where there is no succession of ideas in the mind, we would inform him that he is utterly wrong. He has proved with Dr. Price, that duration in every case must precede succession in the order of nature, and that there must be conceived some interval or element of duration, between every two successive ideas or perceptions of the mind; but he has not reached by his syllogism, the very point in controversy, which is to show that we should have a perception or idea of that duration, even while it was passing, previous to a succession of ideas taking place in the mind. Mr. Locke's principles do not lead us to deny, that time must be passing in the intervals of our ideas, but that had it not been for the succession of our ideas, we should have had no information about it. Afterwards, indeed, in the progress of human perceptions and improvements, when by the succession of ideas in our minds, we have obtained conceptions of succession, duration, time, we learn to measure them by various standards, and to ascertain their progress, even when we ourselves are insensible of it, as by the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, and the various instruments of motion,

I shall conclude the subject of duration by considering some objections of Dr. Reid, to the consequences or conclusions which Mr. Locke has drawn from the foregoing account of duration, which he thinks may serve as a touchstone to discover how far it is genuine. “One conclusion, is,” says the Dr.“ that if it were possible for a waking man to keep only one idea in his mind without variation or the succession of others, he would have no perception of duration at all; and the moment he began to have this idea would seem to have no distance from the moment he ceased to have it. Now that one idea should seem to have no dura. tion, and that a multiplication of that no duration, should seem to have duration, appears to me as impossible as that the multiplication of nothing should produce something." Here the Dr. still errs by confining himself to a kind of mathematical calculation, instead of recollecting that he is solving the phenomena of the human mind. There can be no greater absurdity than to assert, that a multiplication of nothings or no durations should produce somethings or duration. But surely there can be no absurdity in supposing that such may be the laws of the human mind, that one portion of duration might pass by unnoticed by it, until some circumstance should occur, as for instance the succession of another perception to call its attention to it. The fallacy here, therefore, a third time turns upon not separating in our conceptions, the phenomena of our ideas from those which are exhibited in that system of nature from which they are derived.

" Another conclusion,” proceeds Dr. Reid, “which the author draws from his theory, is, that the same period of duration appears long to us when the succession of ideas in our mind is quick, and short when the succession is slow. There can be no doubt but the same length of duration appears in some circumstances much longer than in others; the time appears long when a man is impatient under any pain or distress, or when he is eager in the expectation of some happiness. On the other hand, when he is pleased and happy in agreeable conversation, or delighted with a variety of agreeable objects that strike his senses or his imagination, time flies away, and appears short. According to Mr. Locke's theory, in the first of these cases, the succession of ideas is very quick, and in the last, very slow. I am rather inclined to think that the very contrary is the truth. When a man is racked with pain, or with expectation, he can hardly think of any thing but his distress; and the more his mind is occupied by this sole object, the longer the time apo pears. On the other hand when he is entertained with cheerful musick, with lively conversation, and brisk sallies of wit, there seems to be the quickest succession of ideas, but the time appears shortest.” If but a small portion of that attention, which Dr. Reid has devoted to unfounded animalversions upon the principles of Mr. Locke, had been directed to the illustration and enforcement of them, how much more would moral and metaphysical science be indebted to him! But as much eclat would not have followed from the humble attempt to confirm, establish and extend the principles of another, as in broaching a new system, or endeavouring to subvert an old one. This prurient propensity in writers to become the founders of new systems, has been of incalculable detriment to science. To an author whose purpose is to rear a reputation to himself, of what importance is it, that his predecessor has been the faithful interpreter of nature, and successfully discovered the truth? If more fame is to be attained by denying the truth of his doctrines than by admitting them, they are controverted without hesitation. In the passage just quoted, the doctrine of Mr. Locke, when rightly understood or explained, is not at variance with Dr. Reid's, and certainly is abundantly confirmed by fact and our daily experience. The simple assertion of Mr. Locke, is, that as a general proposition it is true, that the same period

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