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We must be permitted to say that Locke says nothing to justify any such representations; and his answers to the charges of Stillingfleet fully show it. He admits that we have and cannot but have an idea of substance, of some entity which underlies and supports(it is impossible to avoid using figurative language) — the qualities which we cannot conceive to exist separately; he admits that the idea of a somewhat is clear and definite, though it is not the idea of a clear or definite 'somewhat;' just as, if we saw something moving in a sack, we might be sure that there was a living and moving 'somewhat' there, though we could not tell what; or, to use Locke's own illustration, we might be sure that a house rested on a foundation, though whether it were rock, brick, or piles, we might be ignorant.

It has often been asked, and was in Locke's time, what precise sense he attached to the word 'Ideas,' which so perpetually occurs throughout his Essay. He says, 'It being that term which I think best serves to stand for whatsoever is the object of the understanding when a man thinks, I have used it to express whatsoever is meant by phantasm, notion, species, or whatever it is which the mind can be employed about in thinking.'

And is not this enough? it may be said. Why, yes; rather too much. It is one of the cases in which, perhaps, the half would have been more than the whole. It simply says, that whatsoever 'ideas' are, Locke means to treat of them as things which men are conscious they have, and variously denominate. But this gives no answer to the above question. It having been a very widely prevalent - at one time, almost universal notion that ideas were something distinct both from external objects and the percipient

mind (philosophers could not agree what), did Locke, or did he not, concur in this opinion? The answer is, that very many of his expressions would favour the former notion; many, on the other hand, would imply the contrary, as would also his enumeration of the popular terms which, he says, he regards as synonymous with 'Ideas.' Our own view is, that Locke, if pressed to give an answer, would have said that he did not know what answer to give. It is a question, apparently, which (however erroneously) he deemed us incapable of deciding; and therefore, in conformity with the general practical spirit of his philosophy already adverted to, evades it as a question which he felt little inclination to discuss. The subject, as is well known, has assumed interest from the controversy respecting Reid's claims to having confuted the ancient ideal theory of perception. He classes Locke, as well as the generality of philosophers of his time, as among those who used the word ‘idea’ in the sense of a tertium quid between the percipient mind and the external object. Brown ridiculed this notion, alleged that in Locke's time the word had generally been used metaphorically, and affirmed that Reid's achievement was much like that of seriously refuting the Grecian mythology in hope of converting some unfortunate poetaster who still talks, 'in his rhymings to his mistress, of Cupid and the Graces.'

We suppose that all who have read Sir W. Hamilton's profound researches on the history of the theories of perception will admit that Reid had much more ground for his assertions as to the meaning generally attached to the term since Descartes' time, than Brown imagined. Whether Reid rightly represents Locke's use of the term, however, we have always had, and still have, our doubts. There is one

passage in Locke's notice of Malebranche's theory which, in Sir W. Hamilton's judgment, favours the notion that Locke shared in the current notions; were it not for this, the accomplished critic, it appears, would share in our doubts.* He says, 'In employing thus indifferently the language of every hypothesis, may we not suspect he was anxious to be made responsible for none?'

This, in our judgment, truly represents the case. But it is hard to reconcile such expressions as the following:


He says, in the chapter on Retention :''But our ideas being nothing but actual perceptions in the mind, which cease to be any thing, when there is no perception of them, this laying up of our ideas in the repository of the memory, signifies no more but this,that the mind has a power in many cases to revive perceptions which it has once had. And in this sense it is that our ideas are said to be in our memories, when, indeed, they are actually nowhere, but only there is an ability in the mind, when it will, to revive them again.' In the chapter on 'Duration' he speaks thus:- 'That a man may have one selfsame single idea a long time alone in his mind, without any variation at all, I think, in matter of fact, is not possible; for which (not knowing how the ideas of our minds are framed, of what materials they are made, whence they have their light, and how they come to make their appearances) I can give no other reason

* We have read, and re-read the passage in question, and cannot make up our minds that it implies any thing more than Locke's dissatisfaction with the theory proposed as well as of every other. The reader may consult the passage in Sir W. Hamilton's 'Essays,' p. 77., or Locke's works, 'Examination,' &c., § 39., vol. viii. p. 234. London.

but experience.' These passages no doubt may be made to harmonise with either hypothesis in question; but the former would more naturally suggest the one, and the latter the other.

But whatever doubts may attach to Locke's use of the word idea' there can be none that M. Cousin, in his 21st and 22nd lectures ('Theory of Representative Ideas') has done him grievous injustice. M. Cousin assumes that what Locke says of the necessity, in order to constitute 'knowledge,' that ideas should be 'conformed' to their objects, is to be taken in strict literality, and not at all metaphorically. He argues at great length on this hypothesis, and then assumes that Locke must mean that, in every case, this 'conformity' of ideas to their objects must imply resemblance; resemblance, an image: an image, a material image, since there can be no immaterial image. Yet he himself proceeds to show at length that Locke distinctly declares that the ideas of what he calls the secondary qualities of matter, are not conformed to any objects in this literal sense - a point on which he also dwells in his controversy with Stillingfleet. M. Cousin fully admits all this; but then sets it down as usual to Locke's gross inconsistencies and contradictions; that is, having resolved that Locke shall be interpreted literally when his express declarations show that he intended to be understood metaphorically, the critic easily proves that Locke is full of paralogisms! Surely the supposition of metaphor, since there are some cases in which the literal is avowedly abandoned by Locke, would have been the more charitable, or rather, the more just interpretation except where he expressly affirms the contrary.

The misconception of Locke in these two lectures is carried to the extent of inferring that, in consist

ency with principles here arbitrarily imputed to him, Locke's philosophy left him in scepticism as to the existence of any finite spiritual existences, even including human spirits! Nothing but revelation, it seems, rescues him from the dilemma. The passage is so remarkable, that it is worth inserting:

'But when Locke comes to the spiritual world, to which the sensualistic school adhere less closely, the arguments which naturally arise from his own theory, strike him more forcibly, and see what he declares (book i. ch. xi. § 12.): “We can no more know that there are finite spirits really existing by the idea we have of such beings in our minds, than by the ideas any one has of fairies, or centaurs, he can come to know that things answering those ideas do really exist." This seems to me to be absolute scepticism; and you, perhaps, think that the last conclusion of Locke will be that there is no knowledge of finite spirits, consequently none of our soul, consequently again, none of any of the faculties of our soul; for the objection is as valid against the phenomena of the soul as against its substance. In this he should have terminated: but he did not venture to do it, because there is no philosopher at the same time more wise and more inconsistent than Locke. What does he then do?


In the danger in which his philosophy involves him, he abandons his philosophy, and all philosophy, and he appeals to Christianity, to revelation, to faith.' *

M. Cousin here mercifully acknowledges, as usual, that Locke is saved from the abyss of scepticism by that happy 'inconsistency' and 'contradiction' which protect him in so many other terrible emergencies! But it requires only a simple inspection of the whole chapter in the Fourth Book, and its context, to see that Locke is not speaking or thinking of finite human spirits at all. As his whole work shows that

*Lecture xxi.

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