Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

law of frequency, of which it seems to form only a particular case.

Mr. Hume makes contrast a principle of association, but not a separate one, as he thinks it is compounded of Resemblance and Causation. It is not necessary for us to show that this is an unsatisfactory account of contrast. It is only necessary to observe, that, as a case of association, it is not distinct from those which we have above explained.

A dwarf suggests the idea of a giant. How? We call a dwarf a dwarf, because he departs from a certain standard. We call a giant a giant, because he departs from the same standard. This is a case, therefore, of resemblance, that is, of frequency.

Pain is said to make us think of pleasure; and this is considered a case of association by contrast. There is no doubt that pain makes us think of relief from it; because they have been conjoined, and the great vividness of the sensations makes the association strong. Relief from pain is a species of pleasure; and one pleasure leads to think of another, from the resemblance. This is a compound case, therefore, of vividness and frequency. All other cases of contrast, I believe, may be expounded in a similar manner.

I have not thought it necessary to be tedious in expounding the observations which I have thus stated; for whether the reader supposes that

resemblance is, or is not, an original principle of association, will not affect our future investigations.

12. Not only do simple ideas, by strong association, run together, and form complex ideas : but a complex idea, when the simple ideas which compose it have become so consolidated that it always appears as one, is capable of entering into combinations with other ideas, both simple and complex. Thus two complex ideas may be united together, by a strong association, and coalesce into one, in the same manner as two or more simple ideas coalesce into one. This union of two complex ideas into one, Dr. Hartley has called a duplex idea. Two also of these duplex, or doubly compounded ideas, may unite into one; and these again into other compounds, without end. It is hardly necessary to mention, that as two complex ideas unite to form a duplex one, not two only, but more than two may so unite; and what he calls a duplex idea may be compounded of two, three, four, or any number of complex ideas.

Some of the most familiar objects with which we are acquainted furnish instances of these unions of complex and duplex ideas.

Brick is one complex idea, mortar is another complex idea; these ideas, with ideas of position and quantity, compose my idea of a wall. My idea of a plank is a complex idea, my idea of a

[blocks in formation]

rafter is a complex idea, my idea of a nail is a complex idea. These, united with the same ideas of position and quantity, compose my duplex idea of a floor. In the same manner my complex idea of glass, and wood, and others, compose my duplex idea of a window; and these duplex ideas, united together, compose my idea of a house, which is made up of various duplex ideas. How many complex, or duplex ideas, are all united in the idea of furniture? How many more in the idea of merchandize? How many more in the idea called Every Thing?

1

CHAPTER IV.

NAMING.

"I endeavour, as much as I can, to deliver myself from those fallacies which we are apt to put upon ourselves, by taking words for things. It helps not our ignorance to feign a knowledge where we have none, by making a noise with sounds without clear and distinct significations. Names made at pleasure, neither alter the nature of things, nor make us understand them, but as they are signs of, and stand for, determined ideas." Locke, Hum. Und. b. ii. ch. 13, § 18.

WE have now surveyed the more simple and obvious phenomena of the human mind. We have seen, first, that we have SENSATIONS; secondly, that we have IDEAS, the copies of those sensations; thirdly, that those ideas are sometimes SIMPLE, the copies of one sensation; sometimes COMPLEX, the copies of several sensations so combined as to appear not several ideas, but one idea; and, fourthly, that we have TRAINS of those ideas, or one succeeding another without end.

These are simple facts of our nature, attested by experience; and my chief object in fixing upon

them the attention of the reader has been, to convey to him that accurate and steady conception of them, which is requisite for the successful prosecution of the subsequent inquiries.

After delineating the simple and elementary states of consciousness, it follows, in order, that we should endeavour to show what is contained in those that are complex. But in all the more complicated cases of human consciousness something of the process of Naming is involved. These cases, of course, cannot be unfolded, till the artifice of Naming is made known. This, therefore, is necessarily an intermediate inquiry; and one to which it is necessary that we should devote a particular degree of attention.

There are two purposes, both of great importance, for which marks of our ideas, and sensations; or signs by which they may be denoted ; are necessary. One of these purposes is, That we may be able to make known to others what passes within us. The other is, That we may secure to ourselves the knowledge of what at any preceding time has passed in our minds.

The sensations and ideas of one man are hidden from all other men; unless they have recourse to some expedient for disclosing them. We cannot convey to another man our sensations and ideas directly. Our means of intercourse with other men are through their senses exclusively. We must therefore chuse some SENSIBLE OBJECTS,

« ForrigeFortsæt »