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name of the whole combination; that is, of a very complex idea.
One other question, respecting classification, may still seem to require solution; namely, what it is by which we are determined in placing such and such things together in a class in preference to others; what, in other words, is the principle of Classification? I answer, that, as it is for the purpose of naming, of naming with greater facility, that we form classes at all; so it is in furtherance of that same facility that such and such things only are included in one class, such and such in another. Experience teaches what sort of grouping answers the purposes of naming best; under the suggestions of that experience, the application of a general word is tacitly and without much of reflection regulated; and by this process, and no other, it is, that Classification is performed. It is the aggregation of an indefinite number of individuals, by their association with a particular
It may seem that this answer is still very general, and that to make the explanation sufficient, the suggestions by which experience recommends this or that classification should be particularized. For the purpose of the present chapter, however, namely, to shew that the business of Classification is merely a process of naming, and is all resolvable into association, the observation
though general, is full and satisfactory. detail of the purposes to be answered by general terms belongs more properly to the next head of Discourse, and as far as the developement of the mental phenomena seems to require it, will there be presented.
It may still be useful to advert to the three principal cases into which Classification may be resolved; 1, that of objects considered as synchronical; 2, that of objects considered as successive; 3, that of feelings. The first is exemplified in the common classes of sensible objects, as men, horses, trees, and so on; and requires no further explanation. The second is exemplified in the classes of events, denoted by such words, as Birth, Death, Snowing, Thundering, Freezing, Flying, Creeping. By these words there is always denoted one antecedent and one consequent, generally more, sometimes a long train of them. And it is obvious that each of them is, at once, the name of each instance individually, and of all taken generally together. Thus, Freezing, is not the name of an individual instance of freezing only, but of that and of all other instances of Freezing. The same is the case with other words of a still more general, and thence more obscure signification, as Gravitation, Attraction, Motion, Force, &c.; which words have this additional source of confusion, that they are ambiguous, being both abstract and con-crete. When we say that there is a third case of
classification, relating to Feelings, it does not mean that the two former do not relate to feelings for when we say, that we classify objects, as men, horses, &c.;-or events, as the sequences named births, deaths, and so on;-it is obvious that our operation is about our own feelings, and nothing else; as the objects, and their successions, are, to us, the feelings merely which we thus designate. But as there are feelings which we do thus designate; and feelings which we do not; it is convenient, for the purpose of teaching, to treat of them apart. The Feelings, of this latter kind, which we classify, are either single feelings, or trains. Thus, Pain is the name of a single feeling, and the name both of an individual instance, and of indefinite instances, forming a most extensive class. Memory is the name not of a single feeling or idea, but of a train; and it is the name not only of a single instance, but of all instances of such a train, that is, of a class. The same is the case with Belief. It is the name of a train consisting of a certain number of links; and it is the name not only of an individual instance of such trains, but of all instances, forming an extensive class. Imagination is another instance of the same sort of classification. So also is Judgment, and Reasoning, and Doubting, and we might name many more.
It is easy to see, among the principles of Association, what particular principle it is, which is
mainly concerned in Classification, and by which we are rendered capable of that mighty operation; on which, as its basis, the whole of our intellectual structure is reared. That principle is Resemblance. It seems to be similarity or resemblance which, when we have applied a name to one individual, leads us to apply it to another, and another, till the whole forms an aggregate, connected together by the common relation of every part of the aggregate to one and the same name. Similarity, or Resemblance, we must regard as an Idea familiar and sufficiently understood for the illustration at present required. It will itself be strictly analysed, at a subsequent part of this Inquiry.
So deeply was the sagacious mind of Plato, far more philosophical than that of any who succeeded him, during many ages, struck with the importance of Classification, that he seems to have regarded it as the sum of all philosophy; which he described, as being the faculty of seeing "the ONE in the MANY, and the MANY in the ONE;" a phrase which, when stripped from the subtleties of the sophists whom he exposed, and from the mystical visions of his successors, of which he never dreamed, is really a striking expression of what in classification is the matter of fact. His error lay, in misconceiving the ONE; which he took, not for the aggregate, but something pervading the aggregate.
"I think, too, that he (Mr. Locke) would have seen the advantage of thoroughly weighing,' not only (as he says) the imperfections of Language;' but its perfections also: For the perfections of Language, not properly understood, have been one of the chief causes of the imperfections of our knowledge.”—Diversions of Purley, by John Horne Tooke, A. M., i., 37.
THE two cases of Consciousness, CLASSIFICATION, and ABSTRACTION, have not, generally, been well distinguished.
According to the common accounts of Classification, ABSTRACTION was included in it. When it is said, that, in order to classify, we leave out of view all the circumstances in which individuals differ, and retain only those in which they agree; this separating one portion of what is contained in a complex idea, and making it an object of consideration by itself, is the process which is named Abstraction, at least a main part of that process.