תמונות בעמוד



hill is quite a resort for Catholick pilgrims. Some distance up the mountain we passed through a cu

Method of Investigation. rious natural arch, formed of immense blocks of breccia or pudding

In order to form a proper estistone, and soon after stopped to

mate of mental philosophy, it will rest at an inn near the Cold Baths. be proper to consider the me od The breccia, or pudding stone, of by which it is to be investigated, the German naturalists, masses of before we examine its elements and which lie scattered around us, is a

uses. All correctness of our opirock composed of fragments of nions, and the result of our investivarious minerals, united together gations in this department of knowcommonly by a calcareous cemeat. ledge, depend on the method of The Rigi, and the neighbouring studying the science. No reliance mountains, appear to be composed can be placed on speculations, purof layers of this rock of different sued on assumed theories. Hythicknesses, with thin intervening potheses may be multiplied to any earthy strata. This curious for- extent, with which some occasional mation must be highly interesting facts may accord, without ever to the intelligent geologist. leading us to examine the science

Setting off in high glee from the in its proper elements. Precon. Cold Baths, we soon passed the ceived theories and hypotheses are Staffel, an inn frequented by many worth very little, in any branch of travellers to these upper regions, knowledge. They can have no use and then arrived at the Culm, or except to aid in illustration; and summit of the Rigi, about an hour in mental philosophy they are genebefore sunset. We found here a rally mischievous. The whole malarge concourse of strangers from terials of the science are simple various parts of the world, all as facts, within the reach of every sembled to enjoy the sublimity of mind, and familiar to every man. the surrounding scene, and now all It may not be in every man's power anxiously watching the slow de- to name the facts, to arrange and cline of the cloudless and glorious classify them according to any orb of day. I retired a short dis- principle of discrimination, but the tance from the expecting and si- facts themselves all must know, lent groups of spectators; and as I because they are subjects of their called home my thoughts, I felt, own consciousness. while gazing from this pinnacle of

The phenomena of mind need the earth on the majesty and sub- not be so abstruse as many have limity of nature, more immediately considered them. Mystery and in the presence of its great Author, absurdity have so often been assothan I had ever done before. My ciated with pretensions to metafirst glimpses of the vast expanse physical researches, that few think spread around me, had an intoxi- of investigating this department of cating effect—but soon the objects knowledge. It would be more cubefore me lost their impression- rious than profitable to trace the the villages, the lakes, the rocks, hypotheses of ancient and modern the streams, and the mountains, philosophy, which have involved faded away, and my thoughts ho- the essence, nature, duration and vered over mysteries deeper than phenomena of mind in mysticism, the abysses at my feet, and soared darkness and folly. It night to' heights beyond the “ vast ceru

amuse us to examine the Vedas of tean” spread over my head.

the Bramins--the Zendavista of the (To be continued.)

Parsees-the Stoicism and Pytha

goreanism of the Greeks,—their with that which he proposed to in. emanations and immenations from vestigate, and preserved throughthe soul of the universe, and their out his essay the same precision in resorption into the same,-their the use of terms, which he employtransmigrations, with nameless fa- ed in some of his definitions, his bulous hypotheses. The systems work might have been imperishable, of Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus, and his fame uneclipsed. As it are scarcely more intelligible or now is, the world is greatly indebtrational. in more recent times ed to Locke, for leading the way Descartes, Berkeley, and Hume, and attempting the proper method are fit to be classed with the school- of investigating mental phenomena. men of Greece-and more recent Dr. Reid stated the same principle, still, we might find theories as fool- although he sometimes departed ish and useless as the Zendavista, from it in his investigations. "Wise or Pyrrhonism. But it would sub- men now agree, or ought to agree serve no other good purpose, than in this, that there is but one way to to illustrate the futility of all hy- the knowledge of nature's works, potheses in the investigation of the way of observation and experimind, to collect the number of ab, ment-and it is the only one by surdities which have been heaped which any real discovery in philoupon this subject for ages. Here sophy can be made.” This senti, and there some fragments of truth ment, which is claimed by all might be found, among the rubbish writers on mental philosophy, of that has been accumulating for any value since the days of Bacon, centuries, and around the absurd is not to be confounded with the speculations of modern Aristotles uses which have been made of it by and Pyrrhos, but they are not those who have attempted to emworth the trouble of collection and ploy it; nor will it sanction all the separation.

opinions of those who profess to The only profitable method of estimate its value. There are few studying mental science is to apply men, perhaps none, who have been rigidly the principle of Bacon, completely successful, in its appliand examine the facts as we find cation to the investigation of them. The inductive method alone mental phenomena. Locke, Reid, can lead us to accurate knowledge Stewart, Brown, Payne, and some in any branch of philosophy, and it others have attempted it; and to is more emphatically true in the some extent have been successful. investigations of mind. Lord Bacon Payne has pursued the application said, "all our knowledge is derived further than either of the others from experience.” This he esta- mentioned; but he has seemed to blished as a maxim, and used it grow weary of the labour, and to with unprecedented effect. It substitute "hypotheses in solving guided him, and others after him, some mental phenomena. All into unexplored regions of philoso- writers on this subject have done phy, and produced a revolution in the same, to a greater or less exscience. Locke attempted the ap- tent, and many, without seeming plication of the maxim to mental to know that they did it. Perhaps philosophy, in bis “Essay concern we may do the same; for in claiming Human Understanding,” which ing to have detected the fault in forined a new era in mental science. others and an intention to be goHis application of the principle verned by the inductive method, we was not completely successful-be do no more than others have done; did not adhere throughout to the and yet they have fallen into the maxim; but had he excluded other error which they disclaim. It subjects, not necessarily connected seems to us, that after having ex

amined a few facts inductively, subject by perverting facts; and they have found it convenient to they have always hindered the proframe them into a theory, by which gress of mental science. Almost all they could explain other pheno- metaphysicians have too much atmena; thus they have insensibly tachment to some favourite associadeparted from their maxim, until tions and classifications of thoughts, at length, they use hypotheses in with which their minds become sathe place of facts. Probably the miliar. Those few associations task upon their time, patience, and embrace the first principles of their intensity of thought, was too great scheme, which they find useful in to be continued, as long as was ne- solving other phenomena. Their cessary to complete their system. minds soon become charmed with But some have written with a view the principles, and their application to refute a certain error, which has in solving difficulties; they save been so constantly associated in much laborious thinking; a fine theotheir thoughts while writing, that ry is adopted, and their system is every illustration seems carefully completed under its influence. Such adapted to that specific object'; have hitherto been the course and without regarding the sources results of mental research; and whence the arguments have been such will ever be the state and derived. Our countryman, Ed- character of mental science, diswards, has given to the world a cordant and unfixed, until there specimen of patient research and shall arise some man who will intense thought, in his " Treatise examine the subject inductively on the Will.” But he has not throughout, and furnish the world rigidly applied the principle under with the results, expressed in terms consideration to the method of his of precision, and a style of clearinvestigations. Having his mind ness in illustration, not yet atintensely fixed on bis object, the tained—Hypotheses and theories refutation of a certain error, he has must be laid aside, and facts alone used arguments drawn from facts must guide. and from hypotheses, without dis A work on this subject, such as crimination of their source; only. 'we need, would require a mind of taking care that they should an- strong intellectual power, well disswer his purpose, in prostrating the ciplined to accurate thought, to pasystem which he opposed. This tient and persevering investigation; could be plausibly and forcibly and then its possessor must devote done, in many instances, by hypo. years of labour and revision to the theses, because the error which he system. Hitherto, this department opposed was a mere hypothesis. of science has not been made the The same may be said of almost main object of any man's study all the writers on the phenomena during a whole life, as natural phia of mind. With the exception of a losophy and the mathematics have few facts industriously arranged been of many men. In these latter and classified, which will stand the branches of science, the facts are test of all examination, the sys- classed, the terms are fixed, and tems of mental science may be pro- every man who reads and thinks, perly considered a collection of can compare the facts and examine hypotheses, one giving place to the system. If any new discovery another, as successive writers have be made, it is carefully disposed employed them—sometimes with and arranged in its place, and real little, but often with no improve. advancement is made in the sciment in the stock of knowledge. ence. Every improvement becomes Frequently they have been mis- common property, and when it is chievous in their application to the announced, every lover of the sci

ence can make himself master of that their discussions become too
the whole process by which the complex and indefinite. It is true
discovery was made: because he is that the names of mental exercises
led by the hand every step. But it are, many of them, derived from the
is otherwise in mental philosophy; external objects to which they re.
few things are fixed, and classifica. late: and there is undoubtedly an
tions are various and multiplied, intimate connexion between mental
producing confusion and doubt. If science and logical discussions.
one hypothesis be swept away, and But it seems to us important that
a real improvement be made by they should be examined distinctly,
any individual, another cannot re for the sake of truth and accuracy.
ceive it without a process of thought' We would not undervalue dialec-
as intense, and almost as original, tics, but let every branch of science
as that by which the discovery was be in its place, and its elements be
inade. All other branches of sci- carefully examined by themselves.
ence can now be studied under the When once the elements of the two
guidance of books, without perplex. branches are thoroughly examined
ing hypotheses, and the result is and well settled, then let their re-
satisfactory, because it is obvious lation and connexion be illustrated,
truth; but in this, original thought for the improvement and use of
and independent examination are both.
necessary, to arrive at any satisfac. After all that has been said of.
tory and valuable result. Perhaps the inductive method, there is an
there will always, from its nature, be important question to be settled,
less precision and more discordant viz. by what standard shall we es-
opinions in this, than in almost any timate the phenomena of mind; or
other department of knowledge. how shall we pursue the inductive
We can enter at once into the pos. method of investigation? To this
session of Newton's discoveries, be inquiry we answer, by our own
cause the whole process is placed consciousness and the revelation of
before us; but in mental science God,
only the result is seen, without the By our own consciousness. Every
process. The object cannot be at man must of necessity employ and
tained without fixed attention to trust his own consciousness in this
unembodied thoughts, and evanes- investigation. If this should de-
cent feelings of one's own mind. ceive him when properly employed,
If we had, therefore, a correct and there is no remedy; because this is
thorough system of metaphysicks, it the last resort and the highest tri-
is doubtful whether the inajority of bunal of truth, in the cases appro-
students would compare the classi- priately within its sphere. Here
fications with the facts, and ex- every man will and must trust his
amine thoroughly the phenomena consciousness, rather than all other
of mind; and unless this be done, · testimony, and it may be in oppo-
hypotheses are likely to be pre- sition to all other evidence. But
ferred to truth, and much confusion when the body and mind are in a
to remain in the minds of those who healthful state, consciousness will
adopt them.

not deceive us. There may, in It may be observed here, that al- deed, be some mental illusions and most all the writers on mental phi- wrong associations, which may belosophy have attempted, not only come habitual, and serve to mislead to classify the phenoinena of mind, in some mental investigations; but but also the materials of knowledge, even here, rigidly inductive appeals with their relations, associations, to consciousness, afford the only and similarity. This has led them prospect of expelling the illusion, into so wide a field of investigation and correcting the habit.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

We do not now enter on the ex- plete, that for a time we are deamination and discussion of con ceived. In such cases, a second exsciousness, to decide the question, periment sometimes dispels the ilwhether it be a distinct faculty of lusion, and sometimes it is dispellmind, a mere feeling, a mere intel- ed by analogical reasoning, or by lectual exercise, or a combination opposing and audible testimony. of both feeling and apprehension. After all we must be guided by This question will be considered in our senses, properly employed, in its place, when we examine the all matters which come appropriphenomena of mind, or elements of ately under their cognizance. In the science. It seems necessary this illustration, and throughout to advert to the fact, in this place, this article, we use terms in their that the mind does take cognizance popular import, and according to of its own acts. Whatever this common usage, without attempting may be called, and however the their analysis. So we say conknowledge may be attained, the sciousness must be our guide, in fact is most certain and needs no acquiring knowledge of all those proof. Indeed if it should be al- things which appropriately come leged that it is necessary to prove under its cognizance. There may to a man that he is conscious of his be some difficulty in certain cases, own mental acts, we should not to determine what belongs to its know what arguments to employ. sphere, but in such cases the quesWe might describe his mental ex. tion respects more particularly the ercises, and state their results in relations, not the elements--the external conduct, but this would connexion and influence of mental only be evidence of his conscious acts, and not the acts themselves. ness to others, not to himself. The The revelation of God, is also most it could do would be to recal our guide in this investigation. In to his mind the facts in their con the moral estimate of our mental nexion. The proof is in his own relations, this furnishes our standmind-it must be intuitive, the fact ard, and may not be contravened. itself. Intuitive truths and simple In the elements of mental science ideas do not admit of being made this standard corresponds with conmore certain, or more plain, by ar sciousness. He, who formed the gument or illustration. We may mind and governs it, has given a redescribe them, and illustrate their velation of his will, adapted to use, but beyond this we cannot go. man's mental state and character.

These things being premised, we This all will admit, who accredit his say that all mental phenomena, in revelation. That He, who knows order to be understood and classed, what is in man, not only knows must come under the cognizance how to adapt his instructions to his which the mind takes of its own case, but has done so, is secured by acts. Every illustration and every his goodness. And what is thug definition, must accord with con- secured, appears in fact upon the sciousness. Now it would seem face of the document which he has from the nature of the case, that sent us. Let us be understood on there might be more certainty in this part of the subject. the knowledge of mind than of mat The fair grammatical interpretater. All our knowledge of matter tion of the revelation will be found is through the medium of the senses, to correspond with the result of inthe cognizance which they take of duction, pursued according to conthe properties belonging to material sciousness, so far as both relate to substances. We do not suspect the same things. But here it should our senses of deceiving us, and yet be remembered, that mental philoillusions are sometimes so

com- sophy, founded on hypotheses, is a Vol. IX.---Ch. Adv.

« הקודםהמשך »