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detecting fallacy and demonstrating truth. What is it that assures us of the unreality of the fiery circle, the rainbow, the spectre, the voices, the crawling of insects upon the skin ? Is it not reason ? To reason may we not then trust?
With such facts before us, what a crowd of inquiries at once presses upon our attention-inquiries wliich even in modern times have occupied the thoughts of the greatest metaphysicians. Shall we begin our studies by Unc-rtainties examining sensations or by examining ideas ? in phi oShall we say with Descartes that all clear ideas sophizing. are true? Shall we inquire with Spinoza whether we have any ideas independent of experience? With Hobbes, shall we say that all our thoughts are begotten by and are the representative of objects exterior to us; that our conceptions arise in material motions pressing on our organs, producing motion in them, and so affecting the mind ; that our sensations do not correspond with outward qualities ; that sound and noise belong to the bell and the air, and not to the mind, and like colour, are only agitations occasioned by the object in the brain ; that imagination is a conception gradually dying away after the act of sense, and 18 nothing more than a decaying sensation; that memory is the vestige of former impressions, enduring for a time; that forgetfulness is the obliteration of such vestiges ; that the succession of thought is not indifferent, at random, or voluntary, but that thought follows thought in a determinate and predestined sequence : that whatever we imagine is finite, and hence we cannot conceive of the infinite, nor think of anything not subject to sense ? Shall we say with Locke that there are two sources of our ideas, sensation and reflection; that the mind cannot know things directly, but only through ideas? Shall we suggest with Leibnitz that reflection is nothing more than attention to what is passing in the mind, and that between the mind and the body there is a sympathetic synchronism ? With Berkeley shall we assert that there is no other reason for inferring the existence of matter itself than the necessity of having some synthesis for its attributes; that the objects of knowledge are ideas and nothing else ; and that the mind is active in sensation? Shall we listen to the demonstration of Hume, that, if matter be an unreal
fiction, the mind is not less so, since it is no more than a succession of impressions and ideas; that our belief in causation is only the consequence of habit; and that we have better proof that night is the cause of day, than of thousands of other cases in which we persuade ourselves tliat we know the right relation of cause and effect; that from habit alone we believe the future will resemble the past? Shall we infer with Condillac that memory is only transformed sensation, and comparison double attention; that every idea for which we cannot find an exterior object is destitute of significance; that our innate ideas come hy development, and that reasoning and running are learned together. With Kant shall we conclude that there is but one source of knowledge, the union of the object and the subject—but two elements thereof, space and time; and that they are forms of sensibility, space being a form of internal sensibility, and time both of internal and external, but neither of them having any objective reality; and that the world is not known to us as it is, but only as it appears?
I admit the truth of the remark of Posidonius that a man might as well be content to dlie as to cease philosophizing; for, if there are contradictions in philosophy, there are quite as many in life. In the light of this remark, I shall therefore not hesitate to offer a few sugges
tions respecting the criterion of human knowthe criterion. ledge, undiscouraged by the fact that so many of the ablest men have turned their attention to it. In this there might seem to be presumption, were it not that the advance of the sciences, and especially of human physiology has brought us to a more elevated point of view, and enabled us to see the state of things much more distinctly than was possible for our predecessors. I think that the inability of ancient philosophers to
furnish a true solution of this problem was formation or altogether owing to the imperfect, and, indeed, the old philo- erroneous idea they had of the position of man. sophy.
They gave too much weight to his personal individuality. In the mature period of his life they regarded him as isolated, independent, and complete in himself. They forgot that this is only a momentary phase in his
existence, which, commencing from small beginnings, ex. hibits a continuous expansion or progress. From a single cell, scarcely more than a step above the inorganic state, not differing, as we may infer both from the appearance it offers and the forms through which it runs in the earlier stages of life, from the cell out of which any other animal or plant, even the humblest, is derived, a passage is made through form after form in a manner absolutely depending upon surrounding physical conditions. The history is very long, and the forms are very numerous,
Necessity of a between the first appearance of the primitive more general trace and the hoary aspect of seventy years. It conception as is not correct to take one moment in this long" procession and make it a representative of the whole. It is not correct to say, even if the body of the mature man undergoes unceasing changes to an extent implying the reception, incorporation, and dismissal of nearly a ton and a half of material in the course of a year, that in this flux of matter there is not only a permanence of form, but, what is of infinitely more importance, an unchangeableness in his intellectual powers. It is not correct to say this ; indeed, it is wholly untrue. The intellectual principle passes forward in a career as clearly marked as that in which the body runs. Even if we overlook the time antecedent to birth, how complete is the imbecility of his early days! The light shines upon his eyes, he sees not; sounds fall upon his ear, he hears not. From these low beginnings we might describe the successive re- th
The whole enforcements through infancy, childhood, and cycl- must be youth to maturity. And what is the result to included, which all this carries us? Is it not that, in the philosophical contemplation of man, we are constrained to reject the idea of personality, of individuality, and to adopt that of a cycle of progress; to abandon all contemplation of his mere substantial form, and consider his abstract relation ? All organic forms, if compared together and examined from one common point of view, are found to be constructed upon an identical scheme. It is as in some mathematical expression containing constants and variables; the actual result changes accordingly as we assign buccessively different values to the variables, yet in those
and also his race connexions.
different results, no matter how numerous they may be, the original formula always exists. From such a universal conception of the condition and career of man, we rise at once to the apprehension of his relations to others like himself—that is to say, his relations as a member of society. We perceive in this light, that society must run a course the counterpart of that we have traced for the individual, and that the appearance of isolation presented by the individual is altogether illusory. Each individual
man drew his life from another, and to another man he gives rise, losing, in point of fact, his
aspect of individuality when these his race connexions are considered. One epoch in life is not all life. The mature individual cannot be disentangled from the multitudinous forms through which he has passed ; and, considering the nature of his primitive conception and the issue of his reproduction, man cannot be separated from
By the aid of these views of the nature and relationship of man, we can come to a decision respecting his possession of a criterion of truth. In the earliest moments of his existence he can neither feel nor think, and the universo is to him as though it did not exist. Considering the progress of his sensational powers- his sight, hearing, touch, etc.—these, as his cycle advances to its maximum, become, by nature or by education, more and more perfect; but never, at the best, as the ancient philosophers well knew, are they trustworthy. And so of his intellectual powers. They, too, begin in feebleness and gradually expand. The mind alone is no more to be relied on than the organs of sense alone. If any doubt existed on this point, the study of the phenomena of dreaming is sufficient to remove it, for dreaming manifests to us how wavering and unsteady is the mind in its operations when it is detached from the solid support of the organs of sense.
How true is the remark of Philo the Jew, that the mind is like the eye; for, thongh it may see all other objects, it cannot see itself, and therefore cannot judge of itself. And thus we may conclude that neither are the senses to be trusted alone, nor is the mind to be trusted alone. In the conjoint action of the two, by reason of the mutual checks established, a far higher degree of certainty is attainel to, yet even in this, the utmost vouchsafed to the individual, there is not, as both Greeks and Indians ascertained, an absolute sureness. It was the knowledge of this which extorted from them so many melancholy complaints, which threw them into an intellectual despair, and made them, by applying the sad determination to which they had come to the course of their daily life, sink down into indifference and infidelity.
But yet there is something more in reserve for man. Let him cast off the clog of individuality, and remember that he has race connexions—connexions which, in this matter of a criterion of truth, indefinitely increase his chances of certainty, If he looks with contempt on the opinions of his childhood, with little consideration on those of his youth, with distrust on those of his manhood, what will he say about the opinions of his race? Do not such considerations teach us that, through all these successive conditions, the criterion of truth is ever advancing in precision and power, and that its maximum is found in the unanimous opinion of the whole human race?
Upon these principles I believe that, though we have not philosophically speaking, any absolute cri- Though no terion of truth, we rise by degrees to higher absolut eriand higher certainties along an ascending scale
a practical which becomes more and more exact. I think on does. that metaphysical writers who have treated of this point have been led into error from an imperfect conception of the true position of man: they have limited their thoughts to a single epoch of his course, and have not taken an enlarged and philosophical view. In thus declining the Oriental doctrine that the individual is the centre from which the universe should be regarded, and transferring our stand-point to a more comprehensive and solid foundation, we imitate, in metaphysics, the course of astronomy when it substituted the heliocentrie for the geocentric point of view, and the change promises to be equally fertile in sure results. If it were worth while, we might proceed to enforce this doctrine by an appeal to the experience of ordinary life. How often, when we distrust our own judgment, do we seek support in the advice of a