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Again a difficulty. I read in the author's “Logic”Deduction, p. 53 :
An important logical exercise for detecting the fallacies nursed under abstract names, is to translate abstract propositions into the equivalent propositions made up of general names, not abstract.
I suspect the doctrine, that we know only relations, of being fallacious. So, acting on its asseverator's advice, I translate it: “We know only related things.” Let me seek out what this means. Things are all related,—the Creator to His creatures, and they to Him and to one another. The proposition then seems as indefeasible, and at the same time as common-place, as this other, we know only existent, or possibly existent things. But I should be unjust to Dr. Bain, if I set him to scorn with this semblance of an exposition. “We know only relations,” fairly rendered, amounts to, "we know things only in as much as they are related, not in as much as they are things.” But what if I rejoin that they are related only in as much as they are things. For what is a thing? It is an act and a term conspiring into one existence. Thus a particle of matter consists of an act, that is, in this case, active power to move; of a term, that is, capability of being incited to motion, and of actual being, the resultant of that act and term, forming the complement of the same. The relations between thing and thing all arise from these essential constituents of everything. For all relations are either of doing or of suffering or of being, categories which answer respectively to the act, the term, and the complement of the related things. In brief, relation is determined by thingness, and cannot be known if thingness is a mystery.
I hold then that knowledge of the relation between two things is knowledge of those things in themselves. But were one thing only existent, would it be knowable? It might be known surely in relation to other things possible. Nor can there be nothing else possible; for were existence dwindled down to a monad, that monad would be God, and He by His
a very nature is a fountain of possibility. He would in that case -nay He unchangeably does,-in knowing Himself, know the innumerable creatures whom He might create, an endless gradation and multitude of potential images of Him. I cannot
Relative (as Bain does); but this adds nothing to our knowledge, “ A selfcontradiction is committed by inferring from everything is relative,' that something is non-relative.” Whose inference is that? The inference that Dr. Bain should have animadverted upon is, “ every conscious state has a correlative state, therefore every conscious state of knowing a Relative has a correlative state of knowing an Absolute."
refrain from noticing, that even in the Unity of God there appears relation, the relations between the persons of the Adorable Trinity. And in the unity of every created thing, there is relation likewise between the act, term, and complement. I feel that there is something to be studied here; but the divine mystery dazzles me, and even its reflected light is too mighty for my eyes.
I turn back accordingly to Dr. Bain's darkness. There seems to me to be an equal want of light and of truth in his philosophy. A region of night it is; but, unlike the night, the more you look into it, the more indistinct do its objects grow, I have strained my eyes considerably in looking into it, and all my reward has been a better view of darkness visible. When the devil wishes to be believed, he changes himself into an angel of light, and he does wisely. Dr. Bain has been less sagacious, or less successful. I could not believe him, if I would; the laws of my mind forbid me. I cannot believe the unmeaning, nor the self-contradictory; and unmeaning and self-contradictory to me, Dr. Bain most unutterably is. True, I understand him in detail; but when I seek to set these details into one, they destroy each other, and a blank is left before my intellectual vision. And yet the author finds readers, Thanks to the patronage of an Examining Body, he does, Thanks too to another fact, that he uses two languages, and while he fulminates an assertion in one, he takes care to couch its contradictory in the other. So he is believed in both, because each assertion remains distinct. His first language is English, the tongue of sense, reality, and fact. His second language is his own; not the words, but the meanings which he gives to them. The words are English as before ; but the signification is foreign to the understanding of “a nation not slow and dull, but of a quick, ingenious, and piercing spirit; acute to invent, subtle and sinewy to discourse, not beneath the reach of any point the highest that human capacity can soar to."* But the English nation is, I venture to declare, beneath the reach of the height that Dr. Bain has soared to.
There is a sort of cypher which, leaving the letters and words unchanged, alters their sense. Thus,
She feared no danger, for she knew no sin, might be construed,
He lost all wisdom, when he lost all faith. Now, if a writer is consistent in the use of such a cypher,
* Milton, " Areopagitica.”
and if the meaning in his mind is consistent likewise, he need only publish a vocabulary that we may learn to understand him. If bis cypher is consistently used, but his mental concepts are at variance with themselves, his writings can never be understood as a whole. If, however, while his thoughts are inconsistent, his terms are used now in the vernacular sense and now in the sense of the cypher, he will then be most thoroughly unintelligible, and yet he will delude his readers into fancying that they understand him partially, and hoping that, were his eagle insight theirs, his explanations would be to them as the perfect day. This seems to be the case with Dr. Bain and his admirers. I should much like to see some member of that school draw up a vocabulary of their master's peculiar uses of English, and then remodel his works into as accurate as possible a correspondence with the vocabulary. I should also like to see who would buy, who would read, who could understand the contents of that new edition. A pretty good specimen of it may be got from the concluding pages of « The Emotions and the Will.” There the author
" . does not debar himself from a free use of the Queen's English; but, at the same time, the sum of the two volumes at his back constrains him to an extensive employment of his own English. The outcome of it reads like a parody of the chaotic compositions of Comte. Here is a specimen :
In rebutting the assumption of a world totally separated from mind, in the largest signification that we can give to mind, we must not use language to imply that actuality is the same as ideality ; the two experiences are experiences of our own, aspects of self, but so widely distinct as to give a sbock of consciousness when we pass between them, and thereby to develop a cognition.
The peculiarities of this sentence would grow, by its being translated as the author has given warrant. The reader may execute the translation for himself, as I shall suggest, afterwards. Meanwhile, I invite any one that has “The Senses and the Intellect” with “ The Emotions and the Will ” by him, to turn to the commencement of the former work, and set it side by side with the winding up of the latter. He will bebold how it is possible to begin in fact and end in fiction ; to start from physiological demonstrations--stray leaves from Bowman and Quain--and culminate in the wildest ravings of Hegel. I advise the author, if ever he undertakes a third volume-he may call it “ The Şubject and the Object”-that he write it, not in English but in German, or at least announce it as having been translated from the German. The speech of this island cannot deal in such monstrosities; it is incredible that a British brain can think them.
I feel that my language is violent; but my reason accords with it. I speak violently, because I have a clear perception of the outrage which Dr. Bain, and the like of him, these many years have been offering_unwittingly, I trust-to the sacred person of Truth. I speak violently, because I cannot tamely endure to see young intelligences blinded and young hearts unanchored into sin. But I am willing to play the logician rather than the preacher. I proceed, therefore, to show cause for my words; and in particular to dissect Dr. Bain's two tongues, and to insist on his henceforth ceasing to say, in the same breath, yes with one tongue, no with the other.
I take the liberty of calling the two English and Bainite respectively. There is a word in the English language; it is the pronoun I. Every speaking native of this realm understands what that pronoun means.
It were vain to explain it to any who did not. The term is found too in the Bainite cypher. Its signification there is set forth as follows:-I presume that I and self are synonymous, as egotism and selfishness fundamentally are :
The proper meaning of self can be no more than my corporeal existence, coupled with my sensations, thoughts, emotions, and volitions, supposing the classification exhaustive, and the sum of these in the past, present, and future. *
This definition affords an instance of that felicitous blending of two languages above referred to. An intelligent child might quarrel with its catechism, if to the question “Who is God?” the answer ran “God is the Divine Being." Yet a professor of logic at a Scotch university dares to define that "self is my corporeal existence, coupled with my sensations, &c."; i.e., "the Ego is the Ego's corporeal existence, joined to the Ego's states of mind." How account for this apparent tautology? This account may be given : Self, the word defined, is Bainite, but the my of the definition is English. So it is no more an idle utterance to declare that “self is my existence," than to tell a foreigner who knew Latin but no English, “God est Ens Divinum."
But at this juncture a pair of horns-of a dilemma-appear, rushing to gore Dr. Bain. Either the pronoun I means in Bainite what it means in English, or it does not. If it does not, I must ask the learned linguist, what, if any, is the meaning of the pronoun of the first person in his native tongue. Surely it is not "a mere name"; and if it does stand for a
* " Emotions and Intellect,"— The Il’ill, chap. xi. $ 8.
thing, I ask, in the name of the mental philosophy which he professes, for what thing? But if the Bainite I is a synonym of the English I, then we are presented with the following strange announcement of its meaning: "The proper meaning of self can be no more than my corporeal existence, coupled with my sensations, &c.”; i.e., the Ego is the corporeal existence and the mental states of corporeal existence, and mental states. The first personal pronoun is thus argued to stand for something impersonal.
The mention of this absurdity prompts me to a full description of the Bainite Ego. As already recounted, the pronoun has a broader and a narrower meaning. The broad sense identifies it with Consciousness, taking in Subject and Object, Mind and Matter, everything and—if I may complete for Dr. Bain his Hegelian antinomy-nothing. In that sense, I am the table, I am air, I am space, I am you, and—it is not I that say it-I am God. For proof of this, on Dr. Bain's authority, I cite one passage of his out of
many. The totality of our mental life is made up of two kinds of consciousness -the object consciousness and the subject consciousness. The first is our external world, our non-ego; the second is our ego, or mind proper. Berkeley confounded these two: he merged the object consciousness, determined by our feelings of expended energy, in the subject consciousness, determined by passive feelings and ideas. It is quite true that the object consciousness, which we call Externality, is still a mode of self in the most comprehensive sense, but not in the usual restricted sense of “self” or “mind,” which are names for the subject, to the exclusion of the object. *
This citation incidentally exhibits the larger meaning of “self” or “me," and expressly declares the more limited acceptation of the term. Thus limited, the Ego is the Mind, the Inextended, as contra-distinguished from the non-Ego, the Extended, which is made up of Matter and Space.
“ What,” exclaims the reader, "am I, at the narrowest, coextensive with Mind? Is all that is not me, mere matter or space? Is there no intelligence but mine ?” I wish Dr. Bain would respond to these inquiries categorically, and submit to further questioning upon his answer. His language implies that the answer which I desiderate from him would be returned in the negative. From a single page of his “ Senses and Intellect” I call the following phrases :--"all our experience. and all the experience of others"; "other persons tell me the
” same thing"; "to me and to other sentient beings”; “I and all other beings with whom I have had any communication ";
* “Senses and Intellect,"--Intellect, chap. i. $ 38, (2).