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useless. Of most of them we might make a remark somewhat similar to that of Descartes himself on his celebrated criterion that the things we conceive clearly and distinctly must be all true;' on which, he naïvely adds, 'there is only some little difficulty in thoroughly determining what are the things which we conceive distinctly;' a point which, considering what thoughts not only the vulgar, but philosophers of the thousand and one sects, have supposed to be clear and distinct, is a little perplexing. Of all the four rules given in his 'Method' one may certainly be justified in saying what M. Cousin remarks of one of them: 'They are very important and very wise, but more easy to recommend than to follow.' The first is 'never to accept anything as true which is not clearly known to be such;' the second, 'to divide each difficulty under examination into as many parts as may be requisite for its solution;' the third, 'to conduct the thoughts in order, commencing with the simplest objects and proceeding to the more complex;' and the fourth, 'to make enumerations so complete and surveys so general, as to be certain that nothing is omitted.' (Method, Part II.)
It is evident that both Bacon and Descartes thought that a system of rules might be devised which would do much more than any such system can; which, in fact, would wonderfully diminish that interval which must ever subsist between a great genius and a great blockhead. How exactly does the following passage from Descartes' 'Règles pour la direction de l'esprit coincide with certain well-known passages of the NoVUM ORGANUM.' 'Or dans tout ce traité nous tâche
reasons assigned, unsatisfactory; viewed in any light, perhaps it scarcely merits the high eulogium M. Cousin has passed upon it.
rons de suivre avec exactitude et d'aplanir les voies qui peuvent conduire l'homme à la découverte de la vérité, en sorte que l'esprit le plus médiocre, pourvu qu'il soit pénétré profondément de cette méthode, verra que la vérité ne lui est pas plus interdite qu'à tout autre, et que, s'il ignore quelque chose, ce n'est faut ni d'esprit ni de capacité.'
The illustrations which they have both used in reference to a 'wrong' and a 'right' method (so singularly similar that it is difficult not to suppose that the one was suggested by the other) are indeed true enough. A cripple in the right road,' says Bacon, 'will beat a racer in the wrong;' Those who walk slowly,' says Descartes, 'will make faster progress, if they pursue the right road, than those who run swiftly, if they run in a wrong one.' But then a cripple, even in the right road, will be but a cripple still. For the actual advancement of science, for making any new discoveries where they are made (and are not mere accident), so much is necessary to be drawn ex visceribus causæ; so much more depends on individual sagacity in relation to the special circumstances than on any general rules whatever; nay, so much sagacity is even required to derive any benefit from rules themselves, that though blockheads may acquire what genius has once discovered, only genius could discover it. It is, indeed, quite true (to use Bacon's illustration) that the most unskilful hand with a pair of compasses will draw a more exact circle than even the most adroit and practised hand without them; but the compasses are yet to be invented, which will enable an ordinary intellect to be a great scientific discoverer. If, indeed, the rison be between genius with rules and genius without them, then, cæteris paribus, we cannot but think that
he who has pondered deeply a system in which the general conditions of investigation are accurately described, and the principal sources of error pointed out, will have an immense advantage over him who has no knowledge of the kind; less, indeed, from any possibility of a deliberate or mechanical application of any maxims, than from the unconscious but diffusive influence they exert on the general habits of thought.
We had intended offering some remarks on some other points in Descartes' philosophy; especially on the prominence he gave to the notion of substance compared with that of cause, and the confusion by which he represented conservation and creation as the same act; by which his system, it is affirmed, was successively developed or distorted into those of Malebranche, Spinosa, and Leibnitz. But our space forbids; and we must content ourselves with referring to the acute remarks of M. Cousin and M. Jules Simon.†
But there is one subject on which we cannot prevail upon ourselves to be wholly silent. We allude to the opinions of Descartes in relation to the lower animals: certainly among the most paradoxical held by his eccentric genius. Not that it is perfectly clear what he did hold, and certain that he did not hold the extreme opinion which is sometimes attributed to him; that is, that animals are not only automata, inasmuch as they are supposed to be destitute of intelligence and volition, but that they are destitute of all feeling, and therefore may be kicked and cuffed, certainly dissected and experimented upon for the
* Cours de Philosophie; Leçon Onzième.
benefit of philosophy, ad libitum. If that were true, nothing could be more reasonable than the sangfroid with which a Majendie might torture animals for the advancement of science; nor anything more unreasonable than the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals;-a society which, if the views of some interpreters of Descartes were correct, would be, with him, of the same utility as a hospital for blighted shrubs or cases of potato disease. The truth is, that Descartes did not go this length. There are expressions, indeed, which would almost justify the supposition, were it not for others of a contrary tendency; and perhaps if his principles with regard to the mechanical origin and exhibition of the phenomena of sentient life in the lower animals were logically carried out, he ought, in consistency, to have proceeded to this extravagance. But, in fact, with all his incomparable powers of expression, there is not, just as in the case of his varying language on the subject of 'innate ideas,' that steadiness in the utterance of his views, given at different times and to meet various objections, which could be wished.
It is wonderful that with so clear a perception, and on such strong grounds, of the distinction between Matter and Mind, he should have associated the appearances of sensation, conception, appetite, and emotion in the brutes, rather with the phenomena of the former than with those of the latter; and most of all, that he should have done so when he had defined 'une chose pensante,' as including the idea of 'une chose qui sent.' This being the case, it seems, as Gassendi has remarked, incomprehensible, that even denying intelligence and volition to brutes, the phenomena in which they resemble ourselves should
be all attributable to material causes and mechanical laws.*
He supposes (to employ his wonted illustration) that an indefinitely skilful artificer might construct out of matter, and by purely mechanical laws, automata exhibiting all the phenomena observed in brutes, and, by parity of reasoning, all that we observe in man - the pensée to which exclusively he arrogates immateriality, alone excepted; - only, as already shown, he somehow strangely conjoins in men the 'qui sent' with the 'qui pense.'t Either he should
* Even putting sensation out of the question, and looking only at the profound mystery, which still baffles all physiologists — animal life, it is amusing to see with what ease Descartes accounts for its phenomena by the rudest mechanical and chemical hypotheses. Thus, in his perspicuous, and to so great extent accurate, account of the circulation of the blood, in the fifth part of the 'Method,' he supposes that the alternate dilatation and contraction of the heart is all satisfactorily accounted for by the supposition of heat, and its expansive power. This heat he supposes to be exactly the same as that evolved in fermentation. It is also evident that Descartes, with his imperfect conceptions of chemistry and physiology, thought, not merely that mechanical laws would much more easily and satisfactorily account for the phenomena of animal life- and even for the appearances of sensation, passion, and association exhibited by the lower animals than they ever will; but that there was a far less complicated and subtle apparatus for uniting in man the kingdoms of mind and matter, the corporeal and the spiritual, than nature has really provided. In short, he thought that, being perfectly distinct, they were divided by a broad and well-defined frontier line, instead of exhibiting as they do, such subtle and refined interaction; rendering it impossible to say even now, how many mysteries of how many sciences may be involved in the entire production and manifestation of their inextricable phenomena.
† In the following paragraph of a letter to Henry More, who vehemently reluctated against this article of the Cartesian philosophy, he frankly states this infirmity in his Logic, which, however, he does nothing to remedy: 'I see no reason for supposing