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a degree of cautious discrimination, which is worthy of Eis etaracter as a teacher of intellectual science. - Sereral of his obser* rations,' says Mr Caims, in the preface to this work. • appir, • by a remarkable kind of anticipation, to the defects which rigt • be expected in such an extended analysis as is attempted in some late productions of the Hartleian school. V Cairns bere alludes to the very elaborate and ingenious Analysis of the Hunt Mind by Mr Mill. Respecting anticipated endeavours to resoire all our ideas, feelings, and emotions into cases of association, Dr Young has the following passage :- Some philosophers ern• ploy it to explain almost all the phenomena of mind, except the • origin of our sensations. Owing to this important principle,
they say, sensations become the objects of thoughts and feel. •ings, by which means man truly is a social being; the whole 'mental furniture of perceptions, notions, aifeetions, passions, 6 sentiments, and emotions is formed from the simple relies of these, and thus from mere sensation man rises to intellect, 6 and becomes capable of reflection and action. For my own part, · I am not sure that the doctrine of association has not been earóried too far, and am of opinion that it has been applied to explain
many phenomena, for which it does not seem very obviously to account. It is rather irksome, indeed, to be always carrying it
about with us, for the purpose of every explanation which we ' attempt, while it often appears to be itself more obscure than the facts which we would erplain. Of the propriety of this last observation, we shall produce one or two instances from the work of Vir Mill, although that work was not published till after Dr Young's death.
It is to be remarked, that, what is called the law of associaótion,' is only a term invented to express a matter of fact : 0r, as Mr Mill has stated it, to convey the fact, that, 'our ideas spring • up, or exist in the order in which the sensations existed, of
which they are the copies;' and hence he cautions us against understanding by it any thing more than the order of occurrence. To ascertain, then, the amount of light which that law throws upon any particular phenomenon of the mind, we have only to substitute for it the equivalent phrase "the order of occurrence,' and then to examine the addition which has been made to our previous information. For the present we say nothing of the doctrine which makes all our ideas to be mere "copies of previous 'sen'sations. Dr Young has sarcastically observed, in relation to the kindred doctrine of Helvetius, that it would not be surprising,
were any curious empiric to make the experiment, secundum · artem, to find the mind, by a dexterous use of words, turning out to be a bunch of bank notes. Sure we are, a transmutation of this kind were not a whit more miraculous than is that metaphysical alchymy which identifies sensations with those other intellectual states which they suggest. As well may it be pretended that the sensation itself is a 'copy' of the object by which it is excited; and, in point of fact, the prevalence of some indefinite mysticism of this sort laid the foundation of that general scepticism, which in the last century was reduced to a system by the labours of Berkeley and Hume; though Dr Brown, in his anxiety to deprive Dr Reid of the merit which he claimed for the overthrow of the Ideal Theory, stands alone in affecting to disbelieve its existence.
In the philosophy of Reid, Stewart, and Brown, and also in the work' before us, there are certain first principles assumed and vindicated. These were happily denominated by Mr Stewart, “ fundamental laws of human belief,' the authority of which the Pyrrhonist himself must practically admit; and it is in his application of his subtle analysis to some of these principles, that the failure of Mr Mill, to speak with all due respect towards him, is most conspicuously manifested. We are far from undervaluing association as a law of very extensive application ; our objection lies against the attempted resolution of all our consciousnesses into sensation and association alone; as if the latter especially were to be regarded as the ultimate element of all those intellectual combinations, in which its presence may by possibility be traced. For, taking the definition of association already quoted, viz. that it means no more than • the order of occurrence,' then, when we are told that our belief in our own mental identity, or in the existence of an external world, nay, that all belief whatsoever, is only a case of modified association, the meaning must be, that all these various beliefs are only so many orders of occurrence'-in other words, so many phenomena or matters of fact in reference to our own minds—a piece of information which adds absolutely nothing to our knowledge of the nature of those phenomena or matters of fact. The philosophy of Reid and Stewart also, no doubt, regards the principles of belief referred to as facts belonging to our intellectual nature; but it pretends to account for them no otherwise than by assuming their existence as primary truths; whereas the opposite system, after a specious parade of philosophical analysis, either terminates in scepticism, by throwing doubt on the validity of the intellectual laws in question; or, if this consequence be denied, then it demonstrably leaves the matter precisely as it found it—by proving to us that our belief in our own unchanged existence, our belief in the reality of external objects, and our conviction that similar circumstances will uniformly be followed by similar results, are just so many series of matters of fact in regard to our own minds ; for this is the meaning of the phrase order of occurrence, when substituted for the more ostentatious word “association.' What real knowledge this sort of metaphysics reveals to the world beyond that which is more simply stated in the systems of the illustrious men alluded to, we protest our inability to discover; while, as we shall endeavour to prove, there are considerable disadvantages which follow from its adoption.
We have already alluded to the case of personal, or, as Dr Brown more correctly terms it, 'mental identity ;' and we select Mr Mill's attempted analysis of it, as an example of our meaning; because, in this instance, the consequence which immediately arises out of that analysis is so glaring, that our wonder is, so acute an author failed to perceive it; or if he perceived, that he did not meet it by anticipation. The life of a human being, Mr Mill remarks, is é a series of antecedents and consequents, and when we apply the term identity to a particular individual, we mean that he is the last link of such and such a chain, and
not of any other :' so that mental identity can be predicated only of the series taken as a whole, not of the separate links of which it is constituted; for by the very terms of the hypothesis, each of these separate links is numerically different from the other, and can no more be said to be identical with it, than the writer of this article can be said to be identical with the author of the Analysis of the Human Mind. Now if the whole series of consciousnesses which go collectively to make up the life of an individual co-existed together and at once, or were squeezed into a single indivisible point of continuous duration, as the schoolmen represented the existence of the Supreme Being to be, then the aforesaid doctrine of mental identity might pass; but when it is positively admitted that the supposed chain is made up of successive links, each following the other in point of time, and each consequent being as numerically different from its antecedent as fire or lightning, or any other physical agent in nature, is from the effects which it leaves behind it, then do we defy human ingenuity to prove, that in the philosophical sense of the word, it is even possible for any individual to be at this moment the same being, either corporeally or mentally, that he was ten seconds ago. Nay more, Mr Mill has himself supplied an important proof, that if the thing itself were conceivable, as it is not, we could not in many cases ascertain it, unless we could believe without evidence ; for, according to him, the chief evidences of identity in regard to ourselves, are · sensation and
memory ;' but supposing sensation to be suspended, as it virtually is in dreamless sleep, or supposing memory to be lost, as it sometimes happens to be in cases of cerebral injury, is not the evidence of the individual's identity thereby destroyed ? In all cases of this nature, it is manifest that, according to the hypothesis stated, there can be no certainty in regard to individual identity, because the evidence on which it rests is either defective, or is annihilated.
We have noticed the subject thus fully, in order that the difference which exists in this particular between the Hartleians and the followers of Dr Reid should be fairly stated. If association be taken as an ultimate fact, or fixed law of our intellectual constitution, then all that its application to our belief in the relation of cause and effect, and the other primary laws of our being, really accomplishes, is to substitute one general term for another, viz. • association' instead of fundamental laws of human belief :' but if, on the other hand, it mean, that experience alone is the origin of those principles, and that habit or custom has given them all their felt influence over the current of our thoughts, we are compelled to reject this explanation in reference to causation in particular ; for, as Mr Stewart observes, the principle in question is not a contingent, but a necessary truth-since no induction, how extensive soever, can ever lead to the discovery • of a necessary truth; experience only informing us of what is, • or what has been, not of what must necessarily be ; and the evi• dence of the conclusion must be of the same nature with that 6 of the premises.' To put our belief in causation, which lies at the foundation of all natural theology, and our conviction of our personal identity, on which all moral responsibility must rest, on a level with the prejudices and follies which may be imparted by a vicious education, as seems to be done by referring both to a common principle of mere association, appears at first sight a startling procedure, and requires to be guarded by a cautious explanation against the consequences which some might deduce from its unqualified statement. Our readers are perhaps by this time prepared to admit the justice of Dr Young's observation, that a principle which, when it is applied to the illustration of mental identity, requires the belief that millions of numerically separate consciousnesses are truly only one and the same individual consciousness, " is more obscure than the fact attempted • to be explained by it.'
The system of philosophizing, which we have been considering, obviously errs on the side of analytic excess—its advocates are afraid of taking too much for granted; and, like Des Cartes, some of them are scarcely well pleased to assume the fact of their own existence, without a process of induction to assure its reality. But it is perhaps from a totally opposite quarter that the principal danger to intellectual science is at present to be apprehended. From the tone of some late publications, and the favourable reception which they have had from a portion of the public, it is mani. fest that there exists, in some sections of the religious world, a strong disposition to overthrow the independent study of the human mind, especially in reference to Ethical enquiry, and to substitute for it a chaotic mixture of natural and revealed religion. Among the ablest and most plausible of the class of publications to which we allude, is the Christian Ethics' of Dr Wardlaw. His main argument is intended to show that conscience, which he defines to be the judgment, or intellectual faculty employed about moral subjects, is so utterly corrupted and debased as to be productive of little else than error and confusion. When Dr Wardlaw was thus engaged, he probably did not know that he was reviving a favourite tenet of Socinus, against which many volumes of learned disquisition have been written by orthodox controversialists! But, instead of enlarging on this subject, it is sufficient to remark, that the pious, but unwise labours of some philosophers towards the close of the seventeenth, and the beginning of the last century, laid the foundation of that system of scepticism, which obtained so many converts both in this country and on the continent. Huet, bishop of Avranches, from a desire of exalting Christianity, published his Traité Philosophique de la Foiblesse de l'Esprit Humain ; the main object of which was to demonstrate the error and uncertainty which are naturally inherent in all the faculties of human nature, sentient as well as intellectual; consequently, that faith alone is the instrument whereby a reasonable conviction of truth can be acquired. A considerable portion of Malebranche's celebrated Recherche dela Verité, is occupied with an elaborate proof of the same proposition ; and we leave it to those who are conversant with the history of intellectual science, to state the consequences to religion and morality which followed from the doctrine to which we have alluded. It is true that Dr Wardlaw, after founding the peculiar argument of his book on the supposition of the utter fallaciousness of reason, when employed about certain classes of enquiries, occasionally departs from his own hypothesis ; and that when endeavouring, in one of his notes, to reconcile his views on this subject with those of Dr Chalmers, he quietly modifies his statements into the trite assertion, tható conscience (or reason • as before explained) is not to be trusted as an infallible standard 6 of right and wrong. Malebranche and Huet have both shown, that neither are the senses to be trusted as infallible guides in