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QUERY 41. Mr. J. Baines, jun. says, “ Man is endowed with both instinct and reason. The instinctive faculty is that inclination implanted in him, which is continu. ally drawing him into some action or passion; and the reasoping faculty judges of the propriety or impropriety of such action or passion. But brutes have no judging faculty, they never curb their inclinations, nor check their pursuits; which all men possessed of a reasoning faculty do; whence I infer that instinct is a quite different principle from reason.
Mr. D. Copsey observes that reason is a progressive faculty, and implies thought and design. Instinct is a faculty not improved by observation, but imparted in its perfection to animals at their birth; and may be defined to be a natural tendency or direction without choice, motive, or end. Although some animals in many of their actions discover a wonderful degree of instinct almost approaching to reason, yet we cannot conclude from this that the principle of action in them is the same as in man, and differing only in degree; for every thing possessed of reason must be capable of observation : and if this were the case with respect to the animal creation, we should not see as we do now, all of them construct their various habitations in a manner peculiar to their species; we should not find the nests of one kind of birds corresponding exactly in form and materials with those of the same species, but every one would contrive in a dif. ferent manner according to the individual ideas formed of convenience, duration, &c. and would improve upon the methods observed by those who went before. Mr. Locke indeed observes, " that animals seem to have perceptions of particular truths, and within very narrow limits the faculty of reason;" but allows that " we have no reason to suppose that their natural operations are performed with a view to consequences, and therefore not the result of a train of reasoning in the mind of the animal.”. This latter concession goes to admit that animals have not the faculty of reason in any degree. For what operations are they capable of
which are not natural, and consequently proceed from that irresistible impulse in them which we term instinct? Perhaps it may be said that some animals may be made to acquire the power of performing many actions which cannot be affirmed to be natural to them. But this power is not the result of spontaneous observation, and therefore does not prove the existence of any “ train of reasoning in the mind of the animal.” It appears also, that all rational creatures must of necessity be morally accountable ; and no one, I think, will assert that the brute creation are in any degree accountable for their conduct. In. deed, to affirm that brutes partake of reason, is the same as to assert that they are possessed of an immortal part: for reason is that portion of the breath of life, or of the Spirit of God, which was breathed into man at his creation; I conclude therefore that in. stinct is a principle totally different from reason in its nature, as it is in its effects.
Answered by J. H. N. near Leeds. The generality of the heathen philosophers maintained that brutes are endowed with reason. Porphyry, Plato, Celsus, Anaxagoras, and others, were all of this opinion. The stoics held that the divine Being was diffused, in some measure, through all animated nature, consequently they must have believed that brutes had reason. Professor Bergmann supposed that beasts have the powers of perceiving, judging, comparing, &c. Mr. Locke maintains that the souls of brutes are wholly material, that they do not possess the power of abstraction : and that having general ideas is that which puts a perfect distinction between men and brutes. See his Essays, vol. i. Dr. Priestly says that brutes have the same inlets to ideas that we have, and that they have what we call abstraction, and that it is owing to their not having a sufficient quantity of brain that the combination and association of their ideas cannot be so complete as ours. See bis Disquisitions, &c. p. 230 to 238. Dr. Hartley says that brutes have more reason than they can show from their want of words. See his Observations on Man.
I am of opinion that instinct and reason are perfectly distinct principles. The faculty of reason is improved by age and experience. Instinct is fixed, and does not improve. Young children will eat poisonous fruits as readily as those which are perfectly wholesome. Young birds will not do this, they reject those things which are hurtful, as well as the parent bird. A bird builds her first nest as well as any future one. “ Reason,” says Mr. Addison, “ shows it. self in all occurrences of life, whereas the brute makes no discovery of such a talent, but in what immediately regards his own preservation, or the continuance of his species.” Spectator, No. 120.
Answered by Mr. J. Platts, Boston: The subject of instinct is involved in much obscu. rity : some philosophers deny its existence either in man or brute: but, I think, every one who believes in its existence, maintains that it is totally distinct and different from reason. Instinct is defined to be a certain power, or disposition of mind, by which, independent of all instruction or experience, without deliberation, motive, or having any end in view, animals are unerringly directed to do whatever is necessary for the preservation of the individual, or the continuation of the kind; as infants move their lips and turn their heads from side to side in quest of the breast, as soon as they are born, and suck immediately they come in contact with it; as insects deposit their eggs in proper situations, and at the same time food for their offspring; as bees geometrically construct their cells; as birds build their respective nests with uniformity in substance and form, &c.
Instinct, as far as it goes, excels reason; but it is limitted to few objects, and does not profit by wisdom and experience. Actions performed with a view to accomplish a certain end are called rational, and the end in view is the motive to their performance; but instinctive actions cannot be said to have a motive, because they are not done with any view to consequences.
It appears to me that reason and instinct are differ
ent principles: that man, and all other animals, are possessed of both principles; but where instinct ends, and reason begins, it is difficult to ascertain.
“Reason's progressive, instinct is complete;
For ever separate, yet for ever near!” Mr. M. Harrison observes, “ Brutes, as well as the human species, come into the world without ideas. · But as many of their actions are evidently the result of inference, such inferences, or deductions, must be derived from the same principle as that which is called reason in man. The only difference is, very probably, in degree.
See also the “ Observations on Instinct and Reason," by Veritas, inserted in this number.
Query 42. Mr. J. Baines, jun. says, “ Commerce is avery considerable advantage to this country; it is so substantially be. neficial and essential, that it may be termed the life and soul of the nation. Without commerce, agriculture could never have arrived at its present elevated pitch; nor could the population and revenues of the kingdom ever have aitained their existing magnitudes. At the same time it must be acknowledged that agriculture is. also a very great advantage to this and every other nation; but in the present situation of England,. commerce is the greater of the two. Give us commerce and we can live, but without it we sink, we perish! we shall be as miserable as the ill-fated inhabitants of comfortless Siberia! or the day less sons of frozen Lapland !”
For a different view of this subject, vide “ Agricul. ture and Commerce, considered,” &c. as inserted in this number.
QUERIES PROPOSED FOR DISCUSSION
IN THE SEVENTH AND SUCCEEDING NUMBERS. 1 Qu. (43) By Miss Mary Groves, Spalding Seminary.
What is the general opinion of philosophers con-cerning the stony substances which have fallen on the earth at different times, and in various places?
2 Qu. (44) By Mr. M. Phoston. Upon what authority is the practice founded, of · representing the grave-digger in Hamlet, as wearing
ten or twelve (sometimes more) waistcoats, which he : divests himself of, previous to his digging Ophelia's grave?
3 Qu. (45) By the same. Does dew arise or descend?
4. Qu. (46) By J. H. N. near Leeds. Was the perplexing labyrinth of poetic fiction, · among the Grecians, in the earliest ages, meant to be
subservient to the cause of morality and virtue; or was it intended merely to amuse and gratify the people?
. 5 Qu. (47) By the same.
and called “ Saint Athanasius' Creed,” made by that
Saint, and how are the damnatory clauses in it gene. rally understood by the clergy?
6 Qu. (48) By Philario. • At what time, and from what motives, were mottoes first used ?
7 Qu. (49) By Spaldinensis. If water, or any other fluid, be greatly agitated, air bubbles will arise on the surface: these bubbles invariably assume the form of the upper segment of a sphere : how is this to be accounted for? 8 Qu. (50) By Mr. M. Harrison, Crosland, near
Huddersfield. . One pound of brass in a lump will fuse in less time than the same weight will do in filings; required the reason?
9 Qu. (51) By the same. Required a cheap method of clarifying fish-oil, and divesting it of its fetid smell?