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and mysticism in the cloud-capt metaphysics of the new German school.* In considering imagination as connected with the nervous system, more particularly as connected with that species of sympathy to which medical writers have given the name of imitation, he has suggested some very important hints, which none of his successors have hitherto prosecuted ; and has, at the same time, left an example of cautious inquiry, worthy to be studied by all who may attempt to investigate the laws regulating the union between Mind and Body.t His illustration of the different classes of prejudices incident to human nature, is, in point of practical utility, at least equal to any thing on that head to be found in Locke; of whom it is impossible to forbear remarking, as a circumstance not easily explicable, that he should have resumed this important discussion, without once mentioning the name of his great predecessor. The chief improvement made by Locke, in the farther prosecution of the argument, is the application of
“Cum mundus sensibilis sit anima rationali dignitate inferior, videtur Poë sis, hæc humanæ naturæ largiri quæ historia denegat; atque animo umbris rerum utcunque satisfacere, cum solida haberi non possint. Si quis enim rem acutius introspiciat, firmum ex Poë si sumitur argumentum, magnitudinem rerum magis illustrem, ordinem magis perfectum, et varietatem magis pulchram, animæ humanæ complacere, quam in Daturâ ipsâ, post lapsum reperiri ullo modo possit. Quapropter, cum res gestæ et eventus qui veræ historiae subjiciuntur, non sint ejus amplitudinis, in quâ anima humana sibi satisfaciat, præsto est Poësis, quæ facta inagis heroica contingat. Cum historia vera successus rerum, minime pro meritis virtutum et scelerum, narret, corrigit earn Poësis, et exitus et fortunas, secundum merita, et ex lege Nemeseos, exhibet. Cum historia vera obviâ rerum satietate et similitudine, animæ humanæ fastidio sit, reficit eam Poësis, inexpectata, et varia, et vicissitudinum plena canens. Adeo ut Poesis ista non solum ad delectationem, sed ad animi magnitudinem, et ad mores conferat.” (De Aug. Scient. Lib. ii. cap. xiii.)
To this branch of the philosophy of mind, Bacon gives the title of Doctrina de fædere, sive de communi vinculo animæ et corporis. (De Aug. Scient. Lib. iv. cap. i.) Under this article, he mentions, among other desiderata, an inquiry (which be recommends to physicians) concerning the influence of imagination over the body. His own words are very remarkable; more particularly, the clause in which he remarks the effect of fixing and concentrating the attention, in giving to ideal objects the power of realities over the belief. “Ad aliud quidpiam, quod huc pertinet, parce admodum, nec pro rei subtilitate, vel utilitate, inquisitum est; quatenus scilicet ipsa imaginatio animæ vel cogitatio perquam fixa, et veluti in fidem quandam eraltata, valeat ad immutandum corpus imaginantis.” (Ibid). He suggests also, as a curious problem, to ascertain how far it is possible to fortify and exalt the imagination; and by what means this may most effectually be done. The class of facts here alluded to, are manifestly of the same description with those to which the attention of philosophers has been lately called by the pretensions of Mesmer and of Perkins : “ Atque huic conjuncta est disquisitio, quomodo imaginatio intendi et fortificari possit? Quippe, si imaginatio fortis tantarum sit virium, operæ pretium fuerit nôsse, quibus modis eam exaltari, et se ipsâ majorem fieri detur ? Atque hic oblique, nec minus periculose se insinuat palliatio quædam et defensio maximæ partis Magiæ Ceremonialis.” &c. &c. De Aug. Scient. Lib. iv. cap. iii.
Hobbes's theory of association, to explain in what manner these prejudices are originally generated.
In Bacon's scattered hints on topics connected with the Philosophy of the Mind, strictly so called, nothing is more remarkable than the precise and just ideas they display of the proper aim of this science.
He had manifestly reflected much and successfully on the operations of his own understanding, and had studied with uncommon sagacity the intellectual characters of others. Of his reflections and observations on both subjects, he has recorded many important results; and has in general stated them without the slightest reference to any physiological theory concerning their causes, or to any analogical explanations founded on the caprices of metaphorical language. If, on some occasions, he assumes the existence of animal spirits, as the medium of communication between Soul and Body, it must be remembered, that this was then the universal belief of the learned ; and that it was at a much later period not less confidently avowed by Locke. Nor ought it to be overlooked (I mention it to the credit of both authors), that in such instances the fact is commonly so stated, as to render it easy for the reader to detach it from the theory. As to the scholastic question concerning the nature and essence of mind, whether it be extended or unextended? whether it have any relation to space or to time? or whether (as was contended by others) it exist in every ubi, but in no place ?-Bacon has uniformly passed them over with silent contempt; and has probably contributed not less effectually to bring them into general discredit, by this indirect intimation of his own opinion, than if he had descended to the ungrateful task of exposing their absurdity.*
While Bacon, however, so cautiously avoids these un
Notwithstanding the extravagance of Spinoza's own pbilosophical creed, he is one of the very few among Bacon's successors, who seem to have been fully aware of the justness, importance, and originality of the method pointed out in the Norum Organon for the study of the mind. " Ad hæc intelligenda, non est opus naturam mentis cognoscere, sed sufficit, mentis sive perceptionum historiolam concinnare modo illo quo VERULAMIUS docet.” Spin. Epist. 42.
In order to comprehend the whole merit of this remark, it is necessary to know that, according to the Cartesian phraseology, which is here adopted by Spinoza, the word perception is a general term, equally applicable to all the intellectual operations. The words of Descartes himself are these : "Omnes modi cogitandi, quos in nobis experimur, ad quos generales referri possunt : quorum unus est, perceptio, sive ope
profitable discussions about the nature of Mind, he decidedly states his conviction, that the faculties of Man differ not merely in degree, but in kind, from the instincts of the brutes. "I do not, therefore,” he observes on one occasion, “ approve of that confused and promiscuous method in which philosophers are accustomed to treat of pneumatology; as if the human Soul ranked above those of brutes, merely like the sun above the stars, or like gold above other metals.”
Among the various topics started by Bacon for the consideration of future logicians, he did not overlook (what may be justly regarded in a practical view, as the most interesting of all logical problems) the question concerning the mutual influence of thought and of language on each other. “ Men believe,” says he, “ that their reason governs their words; but, it often happens, that words have power enough to react upon reason."
This aphorism may be considered as the text of by far the most valuable part of Locke's Essay,—that which relates to the imperfections and abuse of words; but it was not till within the last twenty years, that its depth and importance were perceived in all their extent.
I need scarcely say, that I allude to the excellent memoirs of M. Prévost and of M. Dégérando, on “ Signs considered in their connexion with the Intellectual Operations." The anticipations formed by Bacon, of that branch of modern logic which relates to Universal Grummar, do no less honor to his sagacity. “Grammar," he observes, “ is of two kinds; the one literary, the other philosophical. The former has for its objects to trace the analogies running through the structure of a peculiar tongue so as to facilitate its acquisition to a foreigner, or to enable him to speak it with correctness and purity. The latter directs the attention, not to the analogies which words bear to words, but to the analogies which words bear to things ;" * or, as he afterwards explains himself more clearly, to language considered as the sensible portraiture or image of the mental
ratio intellectùs ; alius verò, volitio, sive operatio voluntatis. Nam sentire, imaginari, et pure intelligere, sunt tantum diversi modi percipiendi ; ut et cupere, aversari, affirmare, negare, dubitare, sunt diversi modi volendi.” Princ. Phil. Pars I. $ 32.
De Aug. Scient. Lib. vi. cap. i.
processes.” In farther illustration of these hints, he takes notice of the lights which the different geniuses of the different languages reflect on the characters and habits of those by whom they were respectively spoken. “ Thus," says he, “it is easy to perceive, that the Greeks were addicted to the culture of the arts, the Romans engrossed with the conduct of affairs ; inasmuch, as the technical distinctions introduced in the progress of refinement require the aid of compounded words; while the real business of life stands in no need of so artificial a phraseolo
Ideas of this sort have, in the course of a very few years, already become common, and almost trivial; but how different was the case two centuries ago!
With these sound and enlarged views concerning the Philosophy of the mind, it will not appear surprising to those who have attended to the slow and irregular advances of human reason, that Bacon should occasionally blend incidental remarks savouring of the habits of thinking prevalent in his time. A curious example of this occcurs in the same chapter which contains his excellent definition or description of universal grammar. - This too,” he observes, “ is worthy of notice, that the ancient languages were full of declensions, of cases, of conjugations, of tenses, and of other similar inflections; while the modern, almost entirely destitute of these, indolently accomplish the same purpose by the help of prepositions, and of auxiliary verbs.—Whence,” he continues, “ may be inferred (however we may flatter ourselves with the idea of our own superiority), that the human intellect was much more acute and subtile in ancient than it now is in modern times.” † How very unlike is this last reflection to the usual strain of Bacon's writings ! It seems, indeed, much more congenial to the philosophy of Mr. Harris and of Lord Monboddo; and it has accordingly been sanctioned with the approbation of both these learned authors. If my memory does not deceive me, it is the only passage in Bacon's works, which Lord Monboddo has any where condescended to quote.
• De Aug. Scient. Lib. vi. cap. i.
These observations afford me a convenient opportunity for remarking the progress and diffusion of the philosophical spirit, since the beginning of the seventeenth century. In the short passage just cited from Bacon, there are involved no less than two capital errors, which are now almost universally ranked by men of education, among the grossest prejudices of the multitude. The one, that the declensions and conjugations of the ancient languages, and the modern substitution in their place, of prepositions and auxiliary verbs, are, both of them, the deliberate and systematical contrivances of speculative grammarians; the other (still less analogous to Bacon's general style of reasoning), that the faculties of man have declined as the world has grown older. Both of these errors may be now said to have disappeared entirely. The latter, more particularly, must, to the rising generation, seem so absurd, that it almost requires an apology to have mentioned it. That the capacities of the human mind have been in all ages the same ; and that the diversity of phenomena exhibited by our species, is the result merely of the different circumstances in which men are placed, has been long received as an incontrovertible logical maxim ; or rather, such is the influence of early instruction, that we are apt to regard it as one of the most obvious suggestions of common sense. And yet, till about the time of Montesquieu, it was by no means so generally recognised by the learned, as to have a sensible influence on the fashionable tone of thinking over Europe. The application of this fundamental and leading idea to the natural or theoretical history of society in all its various aspects to the history of languages, of the arts, of the sciences, of laws, of government, of manners, and of religion,—is the peculiar glory of the latter half of the eighteenth century; and forms a characteristical feature in its philosophy, which even the imagination of Bacon was unable to foresee.
It would be endless to particularize 'the original suggestions thrown out by Bacon on topics connected with the science of Mind. The few passages of this sort already quoted, are produced merely as a specimen of the rest. They are by no means selected as the most im