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“ at the same time be either freed from the “ laws of bodies, and fall under some other, " which will carry it to some proper mansion « or state ; or at least, by the old ones, “ be capable of mounting upwards, in pro“ portion to the volatility of its vehicle, and “ of emerging out of these regions, into some “ medium more suitable, and if the philo• sopher may say so) more equilibrious.”
This has the appearance of being written in ridicule of the vehicular System, but it was meant to be ajust exposition and defence of it. I would observe also, that this writer, taking it for granted, that all these vehicles are specifically lighter than the atmosphere that surrounds the earth, and therefore must ascend in it, makes no provision for the descent of any unembodied spirit into any of the lower regions, where most of the moderns dispose of the fouls of the wicked, and where all the ancients placed the receptacle of all souls without distinction,
Even Dr. Hartley, who ascribes so much to matter, and so little to any thing immaterial in man (nothing but the faculty of fimple perception) yet supposes, that there is something intermediate between the soul and the gross body, which he distinguishes by the name of the injinitesimal elementary body. But, great as is my admiration of Dr. Hartley, it is very far from carrying me to adopt every thing in him. His language, in this instance, conveys no clear ideas to my mind, and I consider both
his intermediate body, and immaterial foul, as an encumbrance upon his system, which, in every other respect, is most admirably simple.
I do not find, that any thing has been said of the state of the vehicle of the foul during sleep. Does the vehicle. require rest as well as the body and brain; and if the soul think during sleep, where is the repository of the ideas on which it is employed ? Are they contained in the vehicle, or the foul itself.
Indeed, every thing relating to 'leep, is a very puzzling phenomenon, on the supposition of the distinction between the soul and the body, especially the little evidence that can be pretended of the soul being employed at all in a state of really found Deep, exclusive of dreaming. And surely, if there be a foul distinct from the body, and it be sensible of all the changes that take place in the corporeal system to which it is attached, why does it not perceive that state of the body which is termed sleep; and why does it not contemplate the state of the body and brain during sleep, which might afford matter enough for reasoning and reflection? If no new ideas could be transmitted to it at that time, it might employ itself upon the stock which it had acquired before, if they really had inhered in it, and belonged to it; taking the opportunity of ruminating upon its old ideas, when it was so circumstanced, that it could acquire no new
All this we should naturally expect if the foul was a substance really distinct from the body, and if the ideas properly belonged to this substance, so that it was capable of carrying them all away with it, when the body was reduced to dust. The soul, during the fleep of the body, might be expected to approach to the state in which it would be when the body was dead, death being often compared to a more found fleep. For if it be capable of thinking, and feeling, when the powers of the body shall entirely cease, it might be capable of the fame kind of sensation and action when those powers are only fufpended.
SECTION X. OBJECTIONS to the System of Materialism
M OST of the objections that have been
1 made to the possibility of the powers of sensation and thought belonging to matter, are entirely founded on a mistaken notion of matter, as being neceffarily inert and impenetrable, and not a thing possessed of no other powers than those of attraction and repulsion, and such as may be consistent with them. With such objections as these I have properly
111 no concern, because they do not affect my peculiar system. Some objections, however, which are founded on the popular notion of matter, it may be worth while to confider; because, while they remain unnoticed, they may impede the reception of any system that bears the name of materialism, how different soever it may be from any thing that has hitherto been so denominated. I shall, therefore; briefly reply to every objection that can be thought considerable, either in itself, or on ac, count of the person who has proposed it.
OBJECTION I. From the difficulty of conceive
ing how Thought can arise from Matter,
- IT is said, we can have no conception how sensation, or thought, can arise from matter, they being things fo very different from it, and bearing no sort of resemblance to any thing like figure or motion ; which is all that can result from any modification of matter, or any operation upon it.
But this is an argument which derives all its force from our ignorance. Different as are the properties of sensation and thought, from such as are usually ascribed to matter, they may, nevertheless, inhere in the same sube ftance, unless we can shew them to be abfolutely incompatible with one another. There is no apparent resemblance between the ideas of fight, and those of hearing, or smelling, &c,
and yet they all exist in the same mind, which is possessed of the very different senses and faculties appropriated to cach of them. Befides, this argument, from our not being able to conceive how a thing can be, equally affects the immaterial system: for we have no more conception how the powers of sensation and thought can inhere in an immaterial, than in a material substance. For, in fact, we have no distinct idea either of the properties, or of the substance of mind or fpirit. Of the latter, we profess to know nothing, but that it is not matter ; and even of the property of perception, it seems to be as impossible that we should fully comprehend the nature of it, as that the eye should see itself.
Besides, they who maintain the intimate union of substances so discrepant in their natures as matter and immaterial spirit, of which they certainly cannot pretend to have any conception, do, with a very ill grace, urge any objection against the system of materialism, derived from our ignorance of the manner in which a principle of thought may be superadded to matter.
I would observe, that by the principle of thought, I mean nothing more than the power of fimple perception, or our consciousness of the presence and effect of sensations and ideas. For I shall, in these Disquisitions, take it for granted, that this one property of the mind being admitted, all the particular phenomena of sensation and ideas, respecting their reten: