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For this purpose conceive of a force really existing in a definite place, and maintaining an equilibrium round a central point. (This notion Dr. Hickok seems to have derived from Fichte.) Conceive it, likewise, to possess all the qualities which ordinarily furnish sensations. Its mode of being in the understanding will be under the former aspect; its mode of being in the sense will be under the latter. As it remains always in one place, the mind which has once formed a conception of it through sensation will always, on repeating the conception, conceive of it as in the same place: and whatever number of minds conceive it by sensation, they must conceive it as in the same place. Such forces occupying space may be imagined in any number ; but in order to our conceiving of any relation of situation or distance between any such forces, there must be an uninterrupted occupation of space between them: there must be no absolute vacuum; for, if there were, then, where the vacuum occurred, there would in that portion of space be nothing to afford us any data for determining situation or distance.
In such a force as we have been imagining, we have the notional connexion in space of which we were in quest: and the idea of this space-filling force is what we commonly express by the word substance (p. 365); and the qualities which may or may not inhere in it, we denominate accidents. The first elęments, therefore, in such an operation as the connexion of phenomena as objects of experience would be substance and accident.
(6). We may now turn to the consideration of such a notional connexion in time.
We will suppose, again, the same space-filling force to exist. Now no time can be marked by it, except by succession of phenomena; i.e. of different phenomena. Suppose, then, this force or substance to exhibit phenomena continually changing, it follows that the various modifications of the internal state (i.e. of the mind) produced by these phenomena will give a sense of passing time, and that connected with the one enduring force as the source of them : and this will be the same for all the minds which observe it. Here, again, we have the connexion we seek; and the elements in this case are evidently source and event.
But we have nothing as yet to mark events as following each other in progressive succession. In order to this, we may conceive of some modification of the internal state of the spacefilling force by combination with some other substance; and that this modification always proceeds in a regular succession, and produces effects equally uniform in succession. We thus have the notion of a 'fixed order of modification in the thought' of one substance connecting varying phenomena ; "and thus a • fixed order in their periods, and thereby perpetual flowing on
in time' (p. 377). And when we have adopted some standard which connects these modifications in thought and their phenomena, then we may determine an order of successive time. The elements, therefore, for determining successive time are cause and effect.
Again, we desire to know the conditions under which we can conceive simultaneousness in time: and this can be found only in the case in which substances act reciprocally on each otherproducing on each other modifications corresponding to the periods during which they act on and modify each other. The elements, therefore, of simultaneous time are action and reaction.
We have thus, through the media of space and time, attained all the à priori elements of connexion of phenomena in experience. We have found that for an experience in Space, the elements are substance and accidents,—the one considered as subsisting, the other as inherent. For an experience in Time, we divide it into permanent, successive, and simultaneous time. For the first, we have the elements of source and event,—the one as the origin, the other as depending on that origin: for the second, the elements of cause and effect,—the one as efficient, the other as adhering: for the third, the elements of action and reaction, having the connexion of reciprocity and coherence.
The conclusion is, that, in order to the fixing of objects in space and time, we have these à priori conditions: the phenomena must inhere in their own permanent substance; they must depend on their own permanent source; they must adhere to their successive causes; and they must cohere by their reciprocal influences; and thus they must condition the order of their experience in the understanding. And wherever there is such a definite order of experience, there must be real phenomena connected as aforesaid, and forming an objective world; and this every-way connexion constitutes a nature of things, and, considered as a whole of all connected things, it constitutes a universal nature (p. 382).
We may now proceed a step further. Taking this conception of a space-filling and time-filling substance or force, if we analyse it, we shall find many à priori principles of nature, as the elements or conditions without which there cannot be any general nature of things as given to an experience limited in time and space.'
All conception of force implies action: but action which meets no other action affords no idea of force: therefore, we must have the conception of counter-action. Therefore, our
that all materis a point in celupied by
conception of a force must be of a point in which the counteragency occurs. From this it follows, that this force will be impenetrable; and we shall ascertain, by the sense, that a spacefilling substance occupies any place, when the phenomena of another substance cannot be introduced into that place, without displacing the phenomena already there, and we can ascertain that a substance is in any place when we observe impenetrability there; and the sameness of the substance will appear to the sense, if the same impenetrability constantly occasions the same phenomena.
It follows, that all material substance is infinitely divisible: for each space-filling force is a point in which antagonistic force operates; and so the entire space occupied by substance is filled, only as every point in the space is a position for the point of an antagonistic force. Thus substance is as divisible as the space it occupies.
It follows likewise from our conception of substance as a permanent cause of phenomena, that, although we can conceive of phenomena as successively arising from substance and disappearing again,—we cannot conceive by the understanding of a change of phenomena as arising from non-existence, and vanishing into non-existence; but must conceive of substance inferior to all phenomena, and as remaining when the phenomena disappear. Within nature, therefore, and by any power of nature, nothing can be either created or annihilated (p. 393).
These principles are derived from the analysis of the conception of substance: other principles may be derived from the analysis of the conception of cause.
If substances, considered as forces, do not intrude on each other, either by combination or by impulse, there can be no modification, and consequently no phenomenon: but when substances do thus combine, they produce chemical changes; and when they thus impel, they produce mechanical changes; and the intruding substance is regarded as the cause of the changes or varying phenomena. This idea, therefore, is involved in the conception of a cause,—that, as the changes, produced in the substance which is the subject of modification, pass in succession,-so the phenomena produced by these changes must pass in succession. Changes, therefore, are not mere successions of phenomena, but successions in a definite order, which the mind cannot, at its pleasure, reverse or alter. Therefore, the existence of a cause may be concluded, where we perceive a regular succession of phenomena in a definite series. It is evident, likewise, that we can conceive of the efficiency in a cause as residing in it as an inherent property ;-a latent power, only waiting for a proper occasion to show itself.
Again we may conceive of a phenomena, as being the occasion which brings into operation the latent power of an efficient substance. It then becomes in a manner a cause of the event: but it is only an occasional cause, whilst the other is the efficient cause.
It follows from these considerations, that there cannot be in nature a Fate (p. 404), which is a mere blind cause, having nothing to determine its effect; neither, again, can there be in nature any liberty : for natural causes produce effects, each according to its nature; and they have no alternative. Again, there can be no passing from effect to effect, without an efficiency producing the subsequent effect.
We now come to action and reaction, which will develop some principles. Here, however, we are unable to say that we accurately apprehend Dr. Hickok's meaning,—or, if we do apprehend it, that we agree with it. He lays it down that whatever substance acts upon another by combination, the other must act upon and modify it: and from this idea of reciprocity we derive the idea of contemporaneousness. He likewise concludes that all substances throughout nature must act and react upon each other; and that it is in this way that we shall be able to perceive their contemporaneous existence. If we do not apprehend his meaning aright, we regret it; but we have done our best so to do; and so far as we apprehend it we do not perceive its evidency. It may be ascertained, as a matter of fact, that gravity acts universally: but it does not appear to us a necessary truth, that a substance, combining with another substance, is acted on in turn : nor can we conceive (to employ one of Dr. Hickok's own illustrations) how the sun, when it acts upon us by its light, is acted upon and modified by us in turn.
The conclusion, however, which Dr. Hickok draws from the whole discussion is, that all possible experience determinate in time or space, must arise from a connexion established between phenomena by something notional; that this something may be divided into substance, cause, and reciprocal influence; and that the understanding is the faculty for establishing such connexion.
Dr. Hickok here interposes a section of considerable interest, whose object is to show how all the ancient systems of nature, and many modern ones, are founded upon false à priori conditions. He then proceeds, in a manner similar to that which he adopted in the first part of the treatise, to examine whether there is such a law pervading facts, as shall verify and confirm the principles which he had brought out by reasoning (p. 471).
The question is, whether we do in fact determine anything we experience to be in one universal space or time, or to be in particular places or periods in this one whole of space or time, by connecting the phenomenal together by means of the notional; i. e. by connecting phenomena in wholes through their substances, causes, &c. And first, with regard to determining them to be in one whole of space or time.
(a) In pure intuition we construct diagrams in space, and so long as we have them before our imaginations, we have an apprehension of their occupying a certain space; but we do not apprehend them relatively to any other space, or to universal space; and when we cease to think of them, they cease altogether. Moreover, our diagrams are solely our own. They do not bear any relation in space to those conceived by others. In short, we cannot fix them in relation to universal space, because we cannot fix them in any definite place.
(6) Suppose, through any organic affection, we see colours, not proceeding from any definite object, but existing to the intellect only through the affection of the organ,- we shall, no doubt, conceive them as occupying space; but here again we have no means of fixing them to any definite place, and therefore they bear no relation to the whole of space.
(c) When we view objects reflected in water or in a mirror, we conceive of them as occupying space, so long as we do conceive them, but not any definite space, because we have no means of giving them the relation of place to other objects; not even to those they reflect. Consequently, we can establish no relation between them and all space.
(d) Even in the direct sight of objects, the mere sight of them does not, by itself, give the conception of their being in one space. We see the same stars night after night: but the mere appearance would not show their identity, and their occupancy of the same space, did we not connect the appearance with some permanent substance. When we go to another hemisphere, and see stars different from any we have seen before, we conceive of them as being in one and the same whole space as those we have left, not because we perceive them to be so, but by some operation of the understanding, by which we so connect them.
2. Time (p. 483).
(a) When a train of thoughts, emotions, and purposes has been occupying our mind, we are conscious that time has passed; but we cannot place it at all in relation to the time in which external events have been passing, except by reference to some standard, which indicates the lapse of time; which reference or standard, the sense of the internal train cannot supply or make,- but which requires a higher faculty connecting the two, and some permanent source of phenomena. The same may be said in regard to connecting the trains of ideas of different persons, and giving them a mutual relation in time.