Page images

teristics, they will be liable to differences in themselves; for they may differ in nature (as we have already pointed out), or, if they are of the same nature, they may still differ in degree. Thus they may differ in the intensity of sensation produced by them, or they may fill more or less extended place, or they may occupy more or less of time; their 'homogeneous diversity' may be ' intensive, extensive, or protensive.' Qualities, therefore, have quantity.

Now in order to form each quality into a definite conception in the mind, it will be requisite (not only, as we have already said, to distinguish it by observation, but also), by attention to all the sensations which each quality produces, to grasp and 'conjoin in unity, plurality, and totality,' whatever diversity it possesses, whether in intensity, extent, or duration.

These, then, are the a priori conditions for forming into a definite conception (or, to employ Dr. Hickok's phraseology, for 'constructing into form') all possible quality; viz. that we must distinguish qualities as real from unreality; that we must distinguish different qualities from each other, and assign to each its characteristics marks; and that we must, out of the diversity in the sensations which the same qualities afford, whether in relation to intensity, extent, or duration, form wholes, by conjoining plurality in unity.

As corollaries from all this, Dr. Hickok observes, that as this process will not give comparative quantity, we need tangible standards that * all quantity may be divisible beyond any possible experience, in amount, extent, and duration;' and that we cannot unite, in our whole conception, either different qualities or different orders of the same qualities; e. g. degrees of intensity with instants of time. We may confuse or mix them in the attention, but we cannot unite them in one and the same conception.

What has been hitherto treated in this branch of the subject is, the intellectual conceptions of possible phenomena; but it is Dr. Hickok's endeavour (as we have already stated) to rear an h priori science of actual phenomena: it is, therefore, requisite to ascertain whether there is a law, pervading facts, answerable to the principles defined by h priori reasoning.

In order to settle this question, we take these principles as a hypothesis (p. 235); and Dr. Hickok endeavours to establish two points: 1, that this hypothesis connects together in one system many different facts; and, 2, that it establishes a connexion between facts apparently independent.

We must bear in mind that the leading principles are, that perception of phenomena requires 'the intellectual operations of distinction of quality and conjunction of quantity.' To establish this unJer the first head, Dr. Hickok shows (a) that obscure perception arises from the absence of one or the other of these, i. e. from want of distinguishing in the phenomena the precise qualities which they indicate, or from the want of taking these in, in the quantity or proportion of intensity, extent, or duration, in which they actually exist. (6) He shows that the different organs of sense differ in regard to the clearness of the perceptions we receive by them, in proportion to the capability which they afford for the passing of the intellect in attention over the sensations given, and uniting them in one. (<•) He shows that deceptive appearances arise often from the indistinctness with which impressions are made in the sensibility, and the consequent intervention of imagination and other agents to give a definiteness which has not been received in sensation; or from the attention being fixed upon one part of the impressions made in sensation, and neglecting others; the result of which is, that the intellect has received cither more or less than was received by the senses, and has, consequently, not united correctly that which was given to it in sensation.

All these facts are evidently in unison with the law required; but there are also facts, apparently remote, which are united by this principle (p. 269).

When an artist wishes to present to the mind of another person a conception of some possible object, he is obliged to have recourse to the same methods which he would adopt to enable him to form a conception of objects actually existing. If it is to be merely of the form, without the colour, lines are drawn, which have no counterpart in nature, but which induce the mind to construct a form, just as it would construct the same form if it received its sensations from the object itself. Moreover, solid bodies, and bodies of peculiar figures, are perceived to be such by the different apparent lights and shadows upon them; and distant objects, by the greater indistinctness of their outline; and bodies of various distances and situations, by the various angles at which they strike the field of vision. And in representing all these things in a picture, it is requisite to make objects, without being exact copies of the actual objects, yet so as to produce all these effects upon the mind by operating in a similar manner on the sensations.

These coincidences are relied upon by Dr. Hickok to show that the law of the facts corresponds with the principles attained by h priori reasoning. We confess that we do not quite perceive that he has made out his case in the latter portion of his facts, and wish he had stated more clearly how they establish his point.

The way is now prepared for Dr. Hickok's demonstration of the actual existence of the phenomenal, both internal and external, in opposition to Materialism, Idealism, and Scepticism.

1. There are mental and spiritual phenomena, as well as material (p. 291); for the intellect not only forms conceptions from sensation, but also, as we have seen, proceeds after that spontaneously in conscious operation, without the concurrence of material impressions, and after having cast them aside, and entirely beyond anything which sensation could furnish. Moreover, the intellect can anticipate sensation, and determine under what conditions any sensation can be brought into distinct perception; and this intellectual operation is as consciously a real thing as any material phenomenon. Not only so, but in perception through actual sensation, the intellectual conception is formed by the intellectual operations of distinctive conjunctions, and thus is wholly distinct from the material impression on the organ. Thus pure Materialism is shown to be unfounded.

2. Although we may form conceptions of forms by mere intellectual operation (p. 300), or we may, by memory of phenomena, reproduce similar objects in the imagination; yet in either of these cases the object so formed is wholly different in its effect upon our minds from that which we conceive to be actually derived to us by sensation from some external object: and the perceptions derived wholly from the imagination we can govern and modify at pleasure; whilst we are utterly unable, in the case of sensations arising from real objects, to frame the conception otherwise than as the sensation gives it. Thus pure Idealism is eliminated.

3. Scepticism, as to the reality of all phenomena, arises from the alleged contradiction between consciousness and reason (p. 309); the one affirming that we perceive external objects immediately, the other showing that it is often impossible for the mind directly to perceive external objects, and that it can only perceive sensations which are the representations of them.

But, as we have seen, that all permanent objects consist of a substance or cause, and certain qualities which we perceive by the senses, here the consciousness is correct in certifying with regard to external objects, that we directly perceive phenomena as qualities, and that that is all we do perceive; but it does not testify that we perceive the substance which is the ground of the qualities, and which is the actual and ultimate cause of our sensations; and this is all that reason testifies we cannot perceive, but must attain by reason. And so in regard to the inward sense, consciousness testifies that we perceive the acts of the mind, but it does not testify that we perceive the mind itself. The alleged contradiction, therefore, is removed by this h priori science, and therewith the ground of the scepticism which is built upon it.

We have given a brief summary of Dr. Hickok's doctrine of perception, and its laws and conditions. We now proceed to his doctrine of the understanding (p. 320).

The very reasonings in which we have been engaged testify to a higher power of the intellect than that of perceiving through the sense, whether external or internal. By the sense we can know nothing but our own phenomena; we can know nothing of those of other persons; nor can two or more persons have a common or joint notion of the same phenomena. This requires some permanent substances and causes, in which phenomena may reside, and from which they may spring. We may attain to a knowledge of definite spaces and periods, but not to a conception of their position and mutual relation in all space and all time.

The faculty by which we apprehend the substances in which qualities are inherent, and the causes of events, is the understanding; which, by connecting various qualities in one substance, and events with their causes, pronounces judgments. The term Dr. Hickok appropriates to these ideas (substances, causes, and the like) is notion (p. 332), and he affirms that it is that which connects separate sensations into experience; and that (p. 337) 'the experience does not, and cannot, give the notion,' but 'the notion is conditional for the connected experience;' (e. g. without the notions of substance and cause, we cannot connect the sensations we perceive into wholes, corresponding with the objects which afford the sensations, and to which we may refer as something permanent:) and he states that 'the notion is supplied by the understanding.'

This point, however, must not be assumed (which is the error of Reid and Kant (pp. 341—344), but proved. To perform this we must establish some media, which shall be common to our perceptions of phenomena by the intellect, and our connexion of them in their grounds and senses; and these media must be h priori conditional for both. These media are space and time, which are clearly universally conditional, both for the conception of sensible qualities and periods, and for the connexion of qualities and their substances into things, and of succession and phenomena and their causes into events.

Now, there are only three ways in which we can form a conception of phenomena in space and time (p. 347); and in only one of these can we connect these phenomena together in their own place and time.

1. We may suppose the phenomena given, and the space and time deduced from them. But in this way we can determine only mutual relations and proportions of spaces and times immediately connected in the consciousness, and not their places in regard to any whole of all space and all time. And the phenomena are those only of the individual perceiving them, and afford no means of connecting them with the phenomena of others: so that it is impossible to establish any experience on the ground of mere perceived phenomena.

2. We may suppose 'that space and time, as conceived to 'be in a whole of all space or of all time, may determine the 'connexion of phenomena in an experience.'

But this cannot be done; for the notion of a whole of space is not formed by a conjunction of separate spaces, but by assuming 'a notional connexion as everywhere pervading all

* places,' in which all places are held, and are 'readily deter'minable in direction and distance, each from any other, in the 'whole.' In a similar manner we assume 'a notional con

* nexion, as ever abiding through all periods; and thereby 'making all possible periods adhere together in an eternity of 'duration.' The conception of space thus formed is in only one mode,—that of absolute permanence, all places bearing the same permanent and immoveable relation to the whole of space. But all time may be conceived in three modes, perpetuity, succession, and simultaneousness; or, as he should rather have said, identity.

But if we attempt to place by imagination any definite space or period in a definite position in our conception of whole space or whole time, it will still be only our conception; and we have no means of bringing this conception of our own into any relation with the minds of other persons, so as to make them of any significance to them. And even if we were to conceive this difficulty surmounted, yet in order to connect our notions into experience, we must take in the actual phenomena; and no one can make the phenomena of one person common to him with others. So that we cannot in this way arrive at an experience common to ourselves and others.

3. We may suppose that * a notional connexion for the phe'nomena may determine these phenomena in their places and 'periods in the whole of all space and of all time, and so give 'the phenomena and their space and time in an objective ex'perience.'

(a). We have first to determine the possibility of such a notional connexion in space (p. 361), and thus the possibility of an experience in space; *. e. of a set of phenomena having some permanent relation to each other, and capable of being common to ourselves and others.

« PreviousContinue »