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of objects, in which we are interested, determine the classifications which we form of them.
Some successions are found to depend upon the clusters, called objects, all taken together. Thus a tree, a man, a stone, are the antecedents of certain consequents, as such; and not on account of any particular part of the cluster.
Other consequents depend not upon the whole of the cluster, but upon some particular part: thus a tall tree, produces certain effects, which a tree not tall, cannot produce; a strong man, produces certain effects, which a man not strong cannot produce. When these consequents are so important, as to deserve particular attention, they and their antecedents must be marked. For this purpose, are employed the connotative terms marking differences. These terms enable us to group the clusters containing those antecedents into a sub-class; and NON-CONNOTATIVE or ABSTRACT terms, derived from them, enable us to speak separately of that part of the cluster which we have to mark as the precise antecedent of the consequent which is engaging our attention.
It is presumed, that these illustrations will suffice, to enable the reader to discern the real marking power of abstract terms, and also to perceive the mode of their formation.
"The science of metaphysics, as it regards the mind, is, in its most important respects, a science of analysis; and we carry on our analysis, only when we suspect that what is regarded by others as an ultimate principle, admits of still finer evolution into principles still more elementary."-Inquiry into the Relation of Cause and Effect, by Thomas Browne, M. D. P. iv. s. i. p. 331.
IT has been already observed that if we had no other state of consciousness than sensation, we never could have any knowledge, excepting that of the present instant. The moment each of our sensations ceased, it would be gone for ever; and we should be as if we had never been.
The same would be the case if we had only ideas in addition to sensations. The sensation would be one state of consciousness, the idea another state of consciousness. But if they were perfectly insulated; the one having no connexion with the other; the idea, after the sensation, would give me no more information, than one sen
sation after another.
We should still have the
consciousness of the present instant, and nothing We should be wholly incapable of acquir
ing experience, and accommodating our actions to the laws of nature. Of course we could not con
tinue to exist.
Even if our ideas were associated in trains, but only as they are in Imagination, we should still be without the capacity of acquiring knowledge. One idea, upon this supposition, would follow another. But that would be all. Each of our successive states of consciousness, the moment it ceased, would be gone for ever. Each of those momentary states would be our whole being.
Such, however, is not the nature of man. We have states of consciousness, which are connected with past states. I hear a musical air; I recognise it as the air which was sung to me in my infancy. I have an idea of a ghost; I recognise the terror with which, when I was alone in the dark, that idea, in my childish years, was accompanied. Uniting in this manner the present with the past, and not otherwise, I am susceptible of knowledge; I am capable of ascertaining the qualities of things; that is, their power of affecting me; and of knowing in what circumstances what other circumstances will take place. Suppose that my present state of consciousness is the idea of putting my finger in the flame of the candle. I recognise the act as a former act; and this recognition is followed by another,
namely, that of the pain which I felt immediately after. This part of my constitution, which is of so much importance to me, I find it useful to name. And the name I give to it is MEMORY. When the memory of the past is transferred into an anticipation of the future, by a process which will be explained hereafter, it gets the name of experience; and all our power of avoiding evil, and obtaining good, is derived from it. Unless I remembered that my finger had been in the flaine of the candle; and unless I anticipated a similar consequent, from a similar antecedent, I should touch the flame of the candle, after being burned by it a hundred times, just as I should have done, if neither burning nor any of its causes had ever formed part of my consciousness.
Our inquiry is, what this part of our constitution, so highly important to us, is composed of. All inquirers are agreed, that it is complex; but what the elements are into which it may be resolved, has not been very successfully made out.
It is proper to begin with the elements which are universally acknowledged. Among them, it is certain, that IDEAS are the fundamental part. Nothing is remembered but through its IDEA. The memory, however, of a thing, and the idea of it, are not the same. The idea may be without the memory; but the memory cannot be without the idea. The idea of an elephant may occur to me, without the thought of its having been an object of my senses. But I cannot have the
thought of its having been an object of my senses, without having the idea of the animal at the same time. The consciousness, therefore, which I call memory, is an idea, but not an idea alone; it is an idea and something more. So far is our inquiry narrowed. What is that which, combined with an idea, constitutes memory?
That memory may be, the idea must be. In what manner is the idea produced?
We have already seen in what manner an idea is called into existence by association. It is easy to prove that the idea which forms part of memory is called up in the same way, and no other. If I think of any case of memory, I shall always find that the idea, or the sensation which preceded the memory, was one of those which are calculated, according to the laws of association, to call up the idea involved in that case of memory; and that it was by the preceding idea, or sensation, that the idea of memory was in reality brought into the mind. I have not seen a person with whom I was formerly intimate for a number of years; nor have I, during all that interval, had occasion to think of him. Some object which had been frequently presented to my senses along with him, or the idea of something with which I have strongly associated the idea of him, occurs to me; instantly the memory of him exists. The friend with whom I had often seen him in company, accidentally meets me; a letter of his which had been long unobserved, falls under my eye; or an