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On this third topic of ancient philosophy an illustration may not be without use. As a bubble floats Mustration of upon the sea, and, by reason of its form, reflects th nature of whatever objects may be present, whether the the so clouds in the sky, or the stationary and moving things on the shore, nay, even to a certain extent depicts the sea itself on which it floats, and from which it arose, offering these various forms not only in shapes resembling the truth in the proper order of light and shade, the proper perspective, the proper colours, but, in addition thereto, tincturing them all with a play of hues arising from itself, so it is with the soul. From a boundless and unfathomable sea the bubble arose. It does not in any respect differ in nature from its source. From water it came, and mere water it ever is. It gathers its qualities, so far as external things are concerned, only from its form, and from the environment in which it is placed. As the circumstances to which it is exposed vary, it floats here and there, merging into other bubbles it meets, and emerging from the collected foam again. In such migrations it is now larger, now smaller; at one moment passing into new shapes, at another lost in a coalescence with those around it. But whatever these its migrations, these its vicissitudes, there awaits it an inevitable destiny, an absorption, a reincorporation with the ocean. In that final moment, what is it that is lost? what is it that has come to an end ? Not the essential substance, for water it was before it was developed, water it was during its existence, and water it still remains, ready to be re-expanded.
Nor does the resemblance fail when we consider the general functions discharged while the bubble maintained its form. In it were depicted in their true shapes and relative magnitudes surrounding things. It hence had a relation to Space. And, if it was in motion, it reflected in succession the diverse objects as they passed by. Through such successive representations it maintained a relation to Time. Moreover, it imparted to the images it thus produced a coloration of its own, and in all this was an emblem of the Soul. For Space and Time are the outward conditions with which it is concerned, and it adds thereta abstract ideas, the product of its own natiire.
But when the bubble bursts there is an end of all these relations. No longer is there any reflection of external forms, no longer any motion, no longer any innate qualities to add. In one respect the bubble is annihilated, Its continued in another it still exists. It has returned to existence-its that infinite expanse in comparison with which Nirwana. it is altogether insignificant and imperceptible. Transitory, and yet eternal: transitory, since all its relations of a special and individual kind have come to an end ; eternal in a double sense--the sense of Platonism since it was connected with a past of which there was no beginning, and continues in a future to which there is no end. (4.) Of the possibility of a criterion of truth. An
absolute criterion of truth must at once accredit As to the critórion of
f itself, as well as other things. At a very early truth-sense- period in philosophy the senses were detected as
being altogether untrustworthy. On numberless occasions, instead of accrediting, they discredit themselves. A stick, having a spark of fire at one end, gives rise to the appearance of a circle of light when it is turned round quickly. The rainbow seems to be an actually existing arch until the delusion is detected by our going to the place over which it seems to rest. Nor is it alone as re pects things for which there is an exterior basis or foundation, such as the spark of fire in one of these cases, and the drops of water in the other. Each of our organs of sense can palm off delusions of the most purely fictitious kind. The eye may present apparitions as distinct as the realities among which they place themselves ; the ear may annoy us with the continual repetition of a murmuring sound, or parts of a musical strain, or articulate voices, though we well know that it is all a delusion; and in like manner, in their proper way, in times of health, and especially in those of sickness, will the other senses of taste, and touch, and smell practise uj on us their deceptions
This being the case, how shall we know that any information derived from such unfaithful sources is true? Pythagoras rendered a great service in telling us to remember that we have within ourselves a means of
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 which even in modern times have occupied the thoughts of the greatest metaphysicians. Shall we begin our studies by Uncertainties examining sensations or by examining ideas ? in phi o. Shall 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 forgetfulnces is the oblite:ation 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 that 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 die 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 suggesRemarks on 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 Defective information of 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