Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

the sensations of heat and cold are the same with those which have the sensation of touch. If they be the same, they must at any rate be affected in a very different manner.

To whatever class we may refer the sensations of heat and cold, in their moderate degrees, it seems that good reasons may be given for not ranking them with the sensations of touch, when they rise to the degree of pain. All those acute feelings which attend the disorganization, or tendency toward disorganization, of the several parts of our frame, seem entirely distinct from the feelings of touch. Even in the case of cutting, or laceration, the mere touch of the knife or other instrument is one feeling, the pain of the cut, or laceration, another feeling, as much as, in the mouth, the touch of the sugar is one feeling, the sweetness of it another.

As we shall offer reasons hereafter to show, that the feelings of resistance, extension, and figure, are not feelings of touch, we should endeavour to conceive what feeling it is which remains when those feelings are taken away.

When we detach the feeling of resistance, we, of course, detach those of hardness and softness, roughness and smoothness, which are but different modifications of resistance. And when these, and the feelings of extension and figure, are detached, a very simple sensation seems to re

main, the feeling which we have when something, without being seen, comes gently in contact with our skin, in such a way, that we cannot say whether it is hard or soft, rough or smooth, of what figure it is, or of what size. A sense of something present on the skin, and perhaps also on the interior parts of the body, taken purely by itself, seems alone the feeling of touch.

The feelings of this sense are mostly moderate, partaking very little of either pain or pleasure. This is the reason why the stronger feelings, which are connected with them, those of resistance, and extension, predominate in the groupe, and prevent attention to the sensations of touch. The sensations of touch operate as signs to introduce the ideas of resistance and extension, and are no more regarded.

The imperfection of the language which we employ, in speaking of this sense, deserves not less of our regard, than that of the language we employ, in speaking of our other senses.

We need distinct and appropriate names, for the organ, for the object, and for the sensation. We have no such name for any of them.

The word touch is made to stand for all the three. I speak of my touch, when I mean to denote my organ of touch. I speak also of my touch, when I mean to denote my sensation. And in some cases, speaking of the object, I call

it touch. If I were to call a piece of fine and brilliant velvet a fine sight, another person might say, it is a fine touch as well as fine sight.

In ordinary language, the word feeling is appropriated to this sense; though it has been found convenient, in philosophical discourse, to make the term generical, so as to include every modification of consciousness.*

When I say that I feel the table, there is a considerable complexity of meaning. Dr. Reid, and his followers, maintain, that I have not one point of consciousness only, but two; that I feel the sensation, and that I feel the table; that the sensation is one thing, the feeling of the table another. Expositions which will be given hereafter are necessary to the complete elucidation of what takes place. But the explanations which have been already afforded will enable us to state the facts with considerable clearness. In what is called feeling the table, my organ of touch, and an object of touch, in the appropriate position, are the antecedent; of this antecedent, sensation is the consequent. The expression, "I feel the table," includes both the antecedent and the consequent. It does not mark the sensation alone; it marks the sensation, and, along with the sensa

"The word feeling, though in many cases we use it as synonimous to touching, has, however, a much more extensive signification, and is frequently employed to denote our internal, as well as our external, affections. We feel hunger and thirst, we feel joy and sorrow, we feel love and hatred."-Ad. Smith, on the External Senses.

tion, its antecedent, namely, the organ, and its object in conjunction.

The phrase, sense of touch, or the word feeling, often synonimous, has the same complexity of meaning, which we have observed in the phrases, sense of hearing, sense of sight, and the rest of the senses.

When I say that I touch, or have the sense of touch, I mean to say, that I have a certain feeling, consequent upon a certain antecedent. The phrase, therefore, notes the sensation, and at the same time connotes the following things: 1st, the organ; 2dly, the object of the organ; 3dly, the synchronous order of the organ and object; 4thly, the successive order of the sensation; the synchronous order being, as usual, the antecedent of the successive order.†

* The use, which I shall make, of the term connotation, needs to be explained. There is a large class of words, which denote two things, both together; but the one perfectly distinguishable from the other. Of these two things, also, it is observable, that such words express the one, primarily, as it were; the other, in a way which may be called secondary. Thus, white, in the phrase white horse, denotes two things, the colour, and the horse; but it denotes the colour primarily, the horse secondarily. We shall find it very convenient, to say, therefore, that it notes the primary, connotes the secondary, signification.

+ The terms synchronous order, and successive order, will be fully explained hereafter, when any obscurity which may now seem to rest upon them will be removed; it may be useful at present to say, that, by synchronous order, is meant order in space, by successive order, order in time; the first, or order in space, being nothing but the placing or position of the objects at any given time; the second, or order in time, being nothing but the antecedence of the one, and the consequence of the other.

SECT. VI.] SENSATIONS OF DISORGANIZATION.

29

SECTION VI.

SENSATIONS OF DISORGANIZATION, OR OF THE APPROACH TO DISORGANIZATION, IN ANY PART OF THE BODY.

That we have sensations in parts of the body suffering, or approaching to, disorganization, does not require illustration. The disorganizations of which we speak proceed sometimes from external, sometimes from internal, causes. Lacerations, cuts, bruises, burnings, poisonings, are of the former kind; inflammation, and other diseases in the parts, are the latter.

These sensations are specifically different from those classed under the several heads of sense. The feelings themselves, if attended to, are evidence of this. In the next place, they have neither organ, nor object, in the sense in which those latter feelings have them. We do not talk of an organ of burning; an organ of pain; nor do we talk of an object of any of them; we do not say the object of a cut, the object of an ache, the object of a sore.

Most of those sensations are of the painful kind; though some are otherwise. Some slight, or locally minute inflammations, produce a sensation called itching, which is far from disagreeable, as appears from the desire to scratch, which excites it..

« ForrigeFortsæt »