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PRIESTLEY'S THEOLOGICAL FANCIES.
the God of the materialist must be.
If the mere organisation of matter produces reason, memory, imagination, and all the other attributes of mind, and if these different phenomena be the necessary result of certain motions impressed upon matter; then there is no need for any other reason or energy in the universe: and things may be administered very comfortably, by the intellect spontaneously evolved in the different combinations of matter. But if Dr. Priestley will have a superfluous Deity notwithstanding, we may ask what sort of a Deity he can expect? He denies the existence of mind or spirit altogether; so that his Deity must be material; and his wisdom, power, and goodness must be the necessary result of a certain organisation. But how can a material Deity be immortal ? How could he have been formed? Or why should there not be more, — formed by himself, or by his creator? We will not affirm that Dr. Priestley has not attempted to answer these questions; but we will take it upon us to say, that he cannot have answered them in a satisfactory manner. As to his paradoxical doctrines, with regard to the natural mortality of man, and the incomprehensible gift of immortality conferred on a material structure which visibly moulders and is dissolved, we shall only say that it exceeds in absurdity any of the dogmas of the Catholics and can only be exceeded by his own supposition, that our Saviour, being only a man, and yet destined to live to the day of judgment, is still alive in his original human body upon earth, and is really the Wandering Jew of vulgar superstition.
DRUMMOND'S ACADEMICAL QUESTIONS.
Academical Questions. By the Right Honourable WILLIAM
DRUMMOND, K. C., F. R. S., F. R. S. E. Author of a Translation of Persius. Vol. I.
4to. Pp. 412. Cadell & Davies. London : 1805.
We do not know very well what to say of this very learned publication, To some readers it will probably be enough to announce, that it is occupied with Metaphysical speculations. To others, it may convey a more precise idea of its character, to be told, that though it gave a violent headache, in less than an hour, to the most intrepid logician of our fraternity, he could not help reading on till he came to the end of the volume. *
Mr. Drummond begins with the doctrine of Locke; and exposes, we think, very successfully, the futility of that celebrated author's definition of Substance, as “ one knows not what” support of such qualities as are capable of producing simple ideas in us. This notion of substance he then shows to be derived from the old Platonic doctrine of the primary matter, or ún, to which the same objections are applicable.
Having thus discarded Substance in general from the list of existences, Mr. Drummond proceeds to do as much for the particular substance called Matter, and all its qualities, In this chapter, accordingly, he avows himself to be a determined Idealist; and it is the scope of his whole argument to prove, that what we call qualities in external substances, are in fact nothing more
* For the reasons stated in the note prefixed to this division of the book, I refrain from reprinting the greater part of this review; and give only that part of it which is connected with the speculations in the preceding articles, and bears upon the question of the existence of an external world, and the faith to be given to the intimations of our senses, and other internal convictions.
SECONDARY QUALITIES, AS REAL AS PRIMARY. 623
than sensations in our own minds; and that what have been termed primary qualities, are in this respect entirely upon a footing with those which are called secondary. His reasoning upon this subject coincides very nearly with that of Bishop Berkeley ; of whom, indeed, he says,
, that if his arguments be not really conclusive, it is certainly to be lamented that they should have been so imperfectly answered.
To us, we will confess, it does not seem of very great consequence to determine whether there be any room for a distinction between the primary and secondary qualities of matter; for though we are rather inclined to hold that Dr. Reid's observations have established its possibility, we cannot help saying, that it is a distinction which does not touch at all upon the fundamental question, as to the evidence which we have, by our senses, for the existence of a material world. Dr. Reid and his followers contend as strenuously for the real existence of those material qualities which produce in us the sensations of heat, or of colour, as of those which give us intimations of solidity, figure, or extension. We know a little more, indeed, according to them, about the one sort of qualities than the other ; but the evidence we have for their existence is exactly the same in both cases ; nor is it more a law of our nature, that the sensation of resistance should suggest to us the definable quality of solidity in an external object, than that the sensation of heat should suggest to us, that quality in an external object, which we cannot define otherwise than as the external cause of this sensation.
Mr. Drummond, we think, has not attended sufficiently to this part of his antagonist's position; and after assuming, somewhat too precipitately, that secondary qualities are universally admitted to have no existence but in the mind of him who perceives them, proceeds, with an air of triumph that is at all events premature, to demonstrate, that there is nothing in the case of primary qualities by which they can be distinguished in this respect from the secondary. The fact unquestionably is, that Dr. Reid and his followers assert the positive
QUESTION AS TO EXISTENCE OF MATTER.
and independent existence of secondary, as well as of primary qualities in matter; and that there is, upon their hypothesis, exactly the same evidence for the one as for the other. The general problem, as to the probable existence of matter — unquestionably the most fundamental and momentous in the whole science of metaphysics — may be fairly and intelligibly stated in a very few words.
Bishop Berkeley, and after him Mr. Drummond, have observed, that by our senses, we can have nothing but sensations; and that sensations, being affections of mind, cannot possibly bear any resemblance to matter, or any of its qualities; and hence they infer, that we cannot possibly have any evidence for the existence of matter; and that what we term our perception of its qualities, is in fact nothing else than a sensation in our own minds. Dr. Reid, on the other hand, distinctly admitting that the primary functions of our senses is to make us conscious of certain sensations, which can have no sort of resemblance or affinity to the qualities of matter, has asserted it as a fact admitting of no dispute, but recognised by every human creature, that these sensations necessarily suggest to us the notion of certain external existences, endowed with particular definable qualities; and that these perceptions, by which our sensations are accompanied, are easily and clearly distinguishable from the sensations themselves, and cannot be confounded with them, without the most wilful perversity. Perception, again, he holds, necessarily implies the existence of the object perceived ; and the reality of a material world is thus as clearly deduced from the exercise of this faculty, as the reality of our own existence can be from our consciousness, or other sensations. It appears, therefore, that there are two questions to be considered in determining on the merits of this controversy. First, whether there be any room for a distinction between sensation and perception; and, secondly, if we shall allow such a distinction, whether perception does necessarily imply the real and external existence of the objects perceived.
If by perception, indeed, we understand, as Dr. Reid appears to have done, the immediate and positive dis
IS SENSATION IDENTICAL WITH PERCEPTION ?
covery of external existences, it is evident that the mere assumption of this faculty puts an end to the whole question; since it necessarily takes those existences for granted, and, upon that hypothesis, defines the faculty in question to be that by which we discover their qualities. This, however, it is plain, is not reasoning, but assertion; and it is not the mere assertion of a fact, which in these subjects is the whole perhaps of our legitimate philosophy, but of something which may or may not be inferred from the fact, according to the views of the inquirer. The inquiry is an inquiry into the functions and operations of mind; and all that can possibly be stated as fact on such an occasion, must relate to the state and affections of mind only: But to assume the existence of a material world, in order afterwards to define one function of mind to be that by which it discovers material qualities, is evidently blending hypothesis in the statement, and prejudging the controversy by assumption. The fact itself, we really conceive not to be liable to any kind of doubt or dispute ; and yet the statement of it, obvious as it is, seems calculated to retrench a good deal from each of the opposite assertions. The fact, if we be not greatly mistaken, is confessedly as follows.
We have occasionally certain sensations which we call heat, pain, resistance, &c. These feelings, of course, belong only to the mind, of which they are peculiar affections; and both parties are agreed in asserting, that they have no resemblance, or necessary reference, to any thing external. Dr. Reid has made this indeed the very groundwork of his reasonings on the subject of perception ; and it will not probably be called in question by his antagonists, who go the length of inferring from it, that nothing but mind can be conceived to have an existence in nature. This, then, is one fact which we may safely assume as quite certain and indisputable, viz., that our sensations are affections of the mind, and have no necessary reference to any other existence. But there is another fact at least as obvious and indisputable, which the one party seems disposed to