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ence by no means the only one of the sort in the too precipitate Hamilton—had already destroyed it in advance.” Certainly visible figure, and presence of the mind to its own organ, do not, at first sight, look like synonyms, and it is this unlikeness which induces us to believe that the one was not derivative from the other; yet, beyond all doubt, synonyms they are, and the point of view thus obtained is crucial for the theory that contains the latter. But, in the second place, the direction from which we believe Hamilton really to have come on his theory lies here:—At page 144 of his edition of Reid's Works, Hamilton refers to a comment by Stewart on a passage from Reid. The latter runs thus:– Our eye might have been so framed as to suggest the figure of the object without suggesting colour or any other quality; and, of consequence, there seems to be no sensation appropriated to visible figure; this quality being suggested immediately by the material impression on the organ, of which impression we are not conscious.' The comment, again, after a declaration on the part of Stewart, that this has been a puzzle of forty years to him, is as follows:—“To my apprehension, nothing can appear more manifest than this, that
* Among the preceding objections to Hamilton's theory, perhaps the very strongest is that which points out that the metaphor of light is at once quenched when applied to the other senses. Consulting “Brown's Lectures’ in reference to Berkeley's theory of vision, I find that argument virtually anticipated by Brown; and yet I think I took it not from Brown, but from the nature of the case. One is rather gratified, however, by anticipations at the hands of a man like Brown, who is not only built into our admiration by his rare subtlety, but endeared to our very affection by his sweet candour.
if there had been no variety in our sensations of colour, and, still more, if we had no sensation of colour whatsoever, the organ of sight could have given us no information either with respect to figures, or to distance; and, of consequence, would have been as useless to us, as if we had been afflicted, from the moment of our birth, with a gutta serena. We may remark here, firstly, that Brown's general argument against the originality of visible figure as a cognition of sight, is, virtually, but a turning of the first averment of Reid against his second, or it is simply an inversion of the reasoning of Reid. Reid, namely (his thoughts being shaken into place), reasons thus:—Figure being different from, and no element of the sensation colour, it must be immediately suggested. Brown, again, says, Figure being different from colour, and no element of the sensation, it can not be immediately suggested, but is acquired by experience of other sense. Then, with reference to Stewart, surely he might have spared himself his long puzzle of forty years, seeing that the passage from Reid is nothing but an expression, not only of the general doctrine, but of the single argument, accepted by both, that the primary qualities, forming no part of the sensation, can only be immediately suggested on occasion of the sensation. Reid does not say that the eye does suggest figure without suggesting colour; he understands his own doctrine and its terms too well for that; but he says, “The eye might have been so framed,’ and it is, at least, usual to take these might-have-beens, especially where sense is concerned, necessarily idle though they be, with more equanimity than Stewart vouchsafes them. But it is not with Stewart's forgetfulness of his own doctrine, and his consequent limitless absorption in speculation on the connection of colour and figure by a certain necessity, not only of fact, but of reason— which necessity of reason, did it exist (and it probably did exist to Hegel), would, by the mediacy it offered, destroy the immediacy attributed by himself to the cognition of the primary qualities—it is not with these aspects of Stewart that we are here concerned, but with this special averment of his in itself and in its special bearing on Hamilton's perceptive theory; of which theory surely it is at least capable of being regarded as the germ. For, not only does it declare the perception figure (the objective cognition) to be impossible without the sensation colour (the subjective passion), but it attributes to the variety of colour that same necessary, active, and positive function which Hamilton also attributes to the variety of colour, though under the name of the relative localisation and reciprocal eaternality of colours. The reflexion, or revulsion, of the mind from the subjective sensation to the objective membrane, this, indeed, is Hamilton's salto mortale, this is the centre of his theory, and it might quite possibly have been suggested by these passages which he himself signalises in Reid and Stewart. But, as regards a theory so striking and so evidently the centre of his thought, if one be curious to know what suggested it, one is equally curious to know how it is that Hamilton has not given it all the prominence
which his mastery of expression and his fervid personality might, had he so chosen, have so easily extended to it. For it is a remarkable fact that one shall have mastered the two volumes of the Logic, the two volumes of the Metaphysic, the one volume of the Discussions—that one shall have advanced far even into the text of the Dissertations to Reid—and yet that one shall remain absolutely blunt to the distinction in question until it suddenly dawn on him from the corner of some hardly readable, small-print footnote under these mentioned Dissertations. This is no solitary experience, and it is well-fitted to surprise. Nay, Hamilton's philosophical reading seems to have been undertaken for no other purpose than to give breadth to this distinction; yet, hardly mentioning it to his pupils, he allows it only a dark and stifled existence principally in foot-notes! We shall not attempt to account for this—we shall leave it simply to conjecture. The reader who has now reached this centre of the nervous net will do well to turn round and survey the ground he has travelled. All, so, will be easier to him, and in readier proportion. The contradiction of presentationism and phenomenalism, the dogged 3ri, the conversion of consciousness into perception, the unsatisfactory analysis of philosophy with its 3 or 4 of the external reality, &c.—all this, as he now looks back on it from Hamilton's point of view, will appear mitigated, and more natural. Nevertheless, all has been presented to him really as it strikes himself in Hamilton, and in that order which the interests of a full intelligence required. Nor, hewever softened the distant landscape may appear from the point we now occupy, is there a single dark spot the less in it; and we would remind summarily of the various objections to this point of view itself: 1. It is a petitio principii to begin with a nervous envelope, &c.—2. The theory is too predominatingly physiological—3. The position of consciousness in the nervous net is not proved.— 4. The entire modus operandi explains nothing, and the metaphor of light is but a delusion.—5. It is absurd to derive what is & priori from an à posteriori source.—6. It is extravagant to transfer out the nervous net in its sensations and in its perceptions as the entire outer universe.—7. It is to do violence to consciousness to transfer it from things it knows to nerves it knows not.—8. Such transference vitiates Hamilton's own appeal to consciousness.-9. The intercourse of mind and matter is as difficult as ever.—10. The theory performs on its self its own Elenchus—proving what it would disprove, and disproving what it would prove. Lastly, we would point out, in conclusion, that two of the above arguments are precisely those which convince himself of the erroneousness of that theory which derives the idea of power from a transference to outer objects of our own misus in volition, namely, that there is no consciousness of the fact alleged (the presence of the mind to the net), and that even such consciousness would not yield the apodictic nature which the primary qualities bring with them.