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complexity of thought is, therefore, to be regarded av wholly metaphorical when applied to the mind, and is not to be taken in its literal meaning. We are under the necessity of employing in this case, as in others, language which has a material origin, but we shall not be led astray by it if we carefully attend to what has been said, and endeavour to aid our conception of it by a reference to our internal experience.
74. Illustrations of analysis as applied to the mind.
The subject of the preceding section will be the better understood by the consideration of Analysis as applicable to the mind. As we do not combine literally, so we do not untie or separate literally; as there is no literal complexness, so there is no literal resolution or analysis of it. Nevertheless, we have a meaning when we speak of analyzing our thoughts and feelings. And what is it? What are we to understand by the term analysis?
Although this subject is not without difficulty, both in the conception and in the expression of it, it is susceptible of some degree of illustration.-It will be remembered that there may be an analysis of material bodies. The chemist analyzes when he takes a piece of glass, which appears to be one substance, and finds that it is not one, but is separable into silicious and alkaline matter. He takes other bodies, and separates them in like manner; and whenever he does this, the process is rightly called analysis.
Now we apply the same term to the mind; but the thing expressed by it, the process gone through, is not the same. All we can say is, there is something like this. We do not resolve and separate a complex thought, as we do a piece of glass or other material body, into its parts; we are utterly unable to do it, if we should seriously make the attempt; every mental state is, in itself and in fact, simple and indivisible, and is complex only virtually. Complex notions are the results rather than the compounds of former feelings; and though not literally made up of parts, have the relation to them which any material whole has to the elements composing it; and in that particular sense may be said to comprehend
or embrace the suuordinate notions. Mental analysis ac cordingly concerns merely this relation. We perform such an analysis when, by the aid of our reflection and consciousness, we are able to indicate those separate and subordinate feelings to which, in our conception of it, the complex mental state is virtually equal.
The term GOVERNMENT, for instance, when used in reference to the mental perception of the thing thus named, expresses a complex state of the mind; we may make this mental state, which is in fact only one, although it is virtually more than one, a subject of contemplation; and we are said to analyze it when we are able to indicate those separate and more elementary notions, without the existence and antecedence of which it could not have been formed by the mind. We do not literally take the complex state in pieces, but we designate other states of mind which, every one's knowledge of the origin of thought convinces him, must have preceded it, such as the ideas of power, right, obligation, command, and the relative notions of superios and inferior.
75. Complex notions of external origin.
The doctrine of simplicity and complexness of mental states is applicable, in both its forms, to the Intellective and Sensitive parts of our nature; in other words, there may be a complex affection or passion, as well as a complex perception. The acts of the Will, the other great Division of the mental nature, are always simple. When we consider the subject in reference to the intellect alone, we may add further, that there is complexity of the Intellect both in its internal and external action; and it feems proper, in this connexion, to say something in particular of COMPLEX NOTIONS OF EXTERNAL ORIGIN.
What we term our simple ideas are representative of the parts of objects only. The sensations of colour, such as red, white, yellow; the original intimations from the touch, such as resistance, extension, hardness, and softness, do not, in themselves considered, give us a knowledge of substances, but only of the parts, attributes, or elements of substances. Accordingly, the ideas which we have of the various objects of the external world are, for the
most part, complex. We speak of a house, a tree, a flower, a plant, a mineral, an animal; and in none of these cases are the ideas which we have simple; but, on the contrary, embrace a considerable number of elements
76. Of objects contemplated as wholes.
In point of fact, the various external objects which come under our notice are presented to us as wholes ; and, as such, (whatever may have been the original process leading to that result,) we very early contemplate them.-Take, for instance, a LOADSTONE In their ordinary and common thoughts upon it, (the result probably of some antecedent and very early training), men undoubtedly contemplate it as a whole; the state of mind which has reference to it embraces it as such. This complex notion, like all others which are complex, is virtually equal to a number of others of a more elementary character.— Hence, when we are called upon to give an account of the loadstone, we can return no other answer than by an enumeration of its elements. It is something which has weight, colour, hardness, power to draw iron, and whatever else we discover in it.
We use the term GOLD. This is a complex term, and implies a complexity in the corresponding mental state. But if we use the word gold, or any other synonymous word, in the hearing of a man who has neither seen that substance nor had it explained to him, he will not understand what is meant to be conveyed. We must enter into an analysis; and show that it is a combination of the qualities of yellowness, great weight, fusibility, ductility, &c. We look upward to the sun in the heavens. But what should we know of that great aggregate, if we could not contemplate it in the elements of form and extension, of brightness and heat, of roundness and regu larity of motion ?-All the ideas, therefore, which we form of external objects considered as wholes, are complex; and all such complex notions are composed of those which are simple.
§ 77. Abstraction implied in the analysis of ccinplex ideas THE remarks which have been made in the course of the foregoing chapter, on the analysis and examination of our Complex Intellectual states, naturally lead to the consideration of another subject, in some respects intimately connected with that topic. When we have once formed a complex notion (no matter at what period, in what way, or of what kind,) it not unfrequently happens that we desire, for various reasons, to examine more particularly some of its parts. Very frequently this is absolutely necessary to the full understanding of it. Although undoubtedly its elementary parts once came under review, that time is now long past; it has become important to institute a new inspection, to take each simple notion involved in it, and examine it by itself. And this is done by means of the process of ABSTRACTION, and in no other way.
By the aid of that process, our complex notions, however comprehensive they may be, are susceptible, if one may be allowed so to speak, of being taken to pieces, and the elementary parts may be abstracted or separated from each other; that is, they are made subjects of consideration apart from other ideas, with which they are ordinarily found to be associated. And hence, whenever this is the case in respect to the states of the mind, they are sometimes called ABSTRACTIONS, and still more fre quently are known by the name of ABSTRACT IDEAS.— -For the purpose of distinctness in what we have to say, they may be divided into the two classes of Particular and General; that is to say, in some cases the abstraction relates only to a single idea or element, in others it in cludes more
3. nstances of particular alstract ideas.
We shall proced, therefore, to remark first on Particular abstractions. Of this class, the notions which we form of the different kinds of colours may be regarded as instances. For example, we hold in our hand a rose; it has extension, colour, form, fragrance. The mind is so deeply occupied with the colour as almost wholly to neglect the other qualities. This is a species of abstraction, although perhaps an imperfect one, because, when an object is before us, it is difficult, in our most attentive consideration of any particular quality or property, to withdraw the mind wholly from the others. When, on the contrary, any absent object of perception occurs to us, when we think of or form a conception of it, our thoughts will readily fix upon the colour of such object, and make that the subject of consideration, without particularly regarding its other qualities, such as weight, hardness, taste, form, &c. We We may also distinguish in any body (either when present, or still more perfectly when absent) its solidity from its extension, or we may direct our attention to its weight, or its length, or breadth, or thickness, and make any one of these a distinct object in our thoughts.
And hence, as it is a well-known fact that the properties of any body may be separated in the view and examination of the mind, however closely they may be connected in their appropriate subjects, we may lay down this statement in respect to the states of the mind before us, viz.: When any quality or attribute of an object, which does not exist by itself, but in a state of combination, is detached by our minds from its customary associates, and is considered separately, the notion we form of it becomes a particular abstract idea. The distinctive mark of this class is, that the abstraction is limited to one quality. It should perhaps be particularly added, that the abstraction or separation may exist mentally, when it cannot take place in the object itself. For instance, the size, the figure, length, breadth, colour, &c., of a building, may each of them be made subjects of separate mental consideration, although there can be no real or actual separation of these things in the building itself. If there be any one of these properties, there must necessarily be all.