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quently, reduces his own attempts at philosophising to absurdity. (Meta. i. 374.)
The object of this writing cannot well be misunderstood. One sees at once that Hamilton-with no will but the subversion of the Representationist and the establishment of himself, and with never a dream but success—is wholly engrossed with two operations only. The first of these introduces mind into the actual
presence of matter, and the second declares the resultant report of mind to be necessarily true. Consciousness, he says, can state no falsehood; but consciousness asserts the fact of immediate contact with an externality different from itself, therefore such externality is. The testimony is direct, the testimony is unimpeachable. The witness was there, the witness cannot lie. From antecedents so clear, there is an irresistible consequent—the adoption of the report.
It is evident, too, that to Hamilton the one antecedent is as indispensable as the other: they form together, indeed, but a conjunct tally: they are this tally's complementary pieces; both are equally necessary;—they complete and perfect each other.
As regards the first, we see that direct presence, actual contact, is a sine qua non. Discontinuity is never for a moment to be thought of. The slightest gap, the slightest interval, were a breach irreparable, a chasm of despair. The two extremes must meet; the two terms must be accurately conjoined. Mind must actually reach up and out to externality-mind must actually touch externality. To know of it through any intermediation of means is an expedient
-an accommodation-quite to be rejected. That mind should be able to say, mind must be able to feel. Unless it touch, how can it believe ? Hamilton, very certainly, is with his whole conviction here; and he never doubts but that his reader is with him. Consciousness must be co-extensive with perception : this is to him—this must plainly be to all—the preliminary postulate.
On the second expedient, however, it is, that Hamilton, we doubt not, values himself most. It is not enough, he sees, to place externality, as it were, in the clutch of consciousness. However direct the clutch, consciousness may in itself be still incompetent to speak. It is not enough to give consciousness opportunity, consciousness must be found in capacity as well. Any man can look, it is only the expert that can see. This, then, is Hamilton's further operation: if, in the first instance, the witness was proved present, he is now, in the second, proved competent.
Hamilton has long been aware of the inconveniences of sense.
What are called its subreptions, its mistakes, blunders, errors: these, hitherto, to the presentationist have been, as it were, the very ghosts that haunted him - troublesome importunates that would not be laid, chant he what exorcism he might. This Hamilton knows well, and this he would annul, or this at least he would go round. Now it is always the stir and strike of certain machinery that has raised these ghosts, the stir and strike of the machinery of sense, that is. Process is the word, in fact. Process is the single sign, the proof, which, shown to the
presentationist, has hitherto insured his instant retreat. It is the roundabout of steps, says Hamilton, which, offering opportunity of analysis, constitutes our whole difficulty. This we must get rid of—steps we must efface-intermediation we must thrust from before us, and set down immediation instead. Process is the presentationist's impossibility-process there must be
But again, says Hamilton, not only has it been usual to assert process, but it has been equally usual to refuse to believe what consciousness might say. Now would we establish a direct cognition of externality, not only must we deny the process which has hitherto been assumed, but we must deny also, what always hitherto has likewise been assumed, the right on our part at all to question consciousness. In short, it must be ours to maintain that consciousness clutches externality, that consciousness says so, and that consciousness cannot lie.
It is not difficult to see that, with these concessions, Hamilton has a won game before him. If consciousness supply a direct report, and if consciousness cannot be questioned, then presentationism is inevitable. We doubt not, then, that Hamilton, on the whole, must have often enough surveyed with complacency his own success thus far. Nor can we well overestimate the gallantry of the logical coup de main, of the logical surprise displayed in every circumstance of his extraordinary argumentation. We readily grant to Hamilton that consciousness must be co-extensive with perception, and we cannot deny this same con
sciousness to be the ultimate standard of appeal. No sooner do we admit as much, however, than, by an instant sleight of hand, that, under a cover of words, would evade detection, we are astonished into the belief that consciousness and perception are numerically one—nay, by a still more rapid sleight of hand, we are astonished into the belief that consciousness cannot at all be questioned neither in any function, nor on any occasion, nor at any time.
All now, then, is changed, says Hamilton; it is no longer with perception, it is no longer with sense that we have at all to do. Organs—with all their blunders, all their subreptions—have disappeared. As said, the ghosts are laid. It is now with consciousness we have to do, and with consciousness alone. But consciousness is not sense. You cannot dispute consciousness. If you do, it is at once tainted throughout, and it and you and all of us are logically defunct, and there is an end of everything. Take consciousness, but take it wholly, and there is an external world. Reject a tittle of it, and you annihilate your own self and the whole business
follow. But the mere jugglery, the mere logical blind show of this, must be held all the time as quite conspicuous. The subreptions of sense, plainly, if covered, are not by any means removed; and it is equally plain that it is either an extraordinary self-delusion, or a no less extraordinary abuse of speech, to aver that the facts of consciousness cannot be questioned.
Sir William Hamilton has, in this country, been proclaimed the greatest logician since Aristotle, never
theless it is certain that he has filled — prince of philosophers,' and prince of logicians, as he may
bethe most important sections of his most important works with the elaborate enunciation of a simple fallacy. This fallacy is the fallacia accidentis, and on both of its sides. Whether it is reasoned that, perception being consciousness, consciousness is perception, or that, consciousness being inviolable, perception is inviolable, Hamilton commits indeed this technical
It is perfectly true, for example, that perception is consciousness; but it is wholly untrue to aver that consciousness is perception—in the sense that all consciousness is perception. When consciousness is spoken of in reference to the cognition of external objects, it is consciousness in the form of perception, it is consciousness secundum quid, or, as Hamilton himself might say it, it is only some consciousness that is meant. Again, when it is affirmed that consciousness is inviolable, the consciousness implied is universal consciousness, not consciousness secundum quid, but consciousness simpliciter. But we cannot reason, whether from the essential to the accidental, or from the accidental to the essential, without the risk of committing sophisms. Thus to assert, with Hamilton, that, perception being consciousness, what is true of perception is true of consciousness, is to commit the fallacy of reasoning à dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter; while, again, to assert, with Hamilton, that, consciousness being perception, what is true of consciousness is true of perception, is to