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The case of the human species admits a far more satislactory explanation; inasmuch as our early credulity receives constant corrections from every lesson of subsequent experience; and as the extensive predominance of the instinctive principle in children “ is a disposition on which (as Mr. Stewart has ably shown) the intellectual improvement of the species in a great manner hinges.” In support of this assertion, it will be sufficient to remark, that if every child, before it transfers the name of one familiar object to another of similar appearance, must be at the pains of going through a minute examination and comparison of the relative attributes of both, intellectual improvement of man would always remain stationary—or, perhaps, resemble in its progress the march of Uncle Toby, which consisted in merely lifting up the foot and placing it down in the same old track as before: for what child was ever competent to the task which such a state of circumstances would necessitate him to perform?-But without some kind of classification or other, it would be utterly impossible to extend our knowlege of objects, or to make any advancement in the formation of language. Accordingly, Mr. Stewart has very profoundly remarked (p. 189)—“ That what are usually called general ideas or general notions are therefore of two kinds essentially different from each other; those which are general, merely from the vagueness and imperfection of our information; and those which have been methodically generalized, in the way explained by logicians, in consequence of an abstraction founded on a careful study of particulars."

Philosophical precision requires, that two sets of notions, so totally dissimilar, should not be confounded together; and an attention to the distinction between them will be found to throw much light on various important steps in the natural history of the mind."

This completes all we have to say on the subject of instinct. We will now proceed to examine the success of the Quarterly Reviewers in combating the speculations of Mr. Stewart, concerning the axioms which belong to the different


sciences; and concerning the peculiar circumstance, upon which the evidence of mathematical demonstration essentially depends. And here we must again repeat an observation so often made in the course of this investigation-that the reasonings of the writers under review depend for all their force upon a misrepresentation (whether intentional or not, is immaterial) of the plain and obvious meaning of Mr. Stewart's phraseology. That, in order to varythe form of his language, the writer last mentioned has been compelled to employ circumlocutory expressions, between which some shade of difference in point of signification is easily discernible, it is impossible to deny; at the same time it is (we had almost said) equally impossible, from the general scope and tenor of his argument, to be deceived in regard to his real meaning.

The first absurdity of which the Quarterly Reviewers labour to convict Mr. Stewart, is founded on the loose manner in which he sometimes uses the words Truth and Reason. After defining the latter to be the power by which we distinguish truth from falsehood, and combine means for the attainment of our ends, it is surely somewhat inaccurate to call truth one of its component elements; inasmuch as it supposes à simple proposition to be a constituent part of an intellectual faculty. That Mr. Stewart has, therefore, in more than one instance, inaccurately connected the two words under consideration, we will not attempt to question: but that the Quarterly Reviewers have fairly represented the general import of his reasonings on this point, we absolutely deny. In almost every page of the discussion he has called the axioms of geometry, and some other self-evident truths which are common to all sciences,* not the principles from which reasoning sets out, but the original stamina, or the primordial elements of reasoning; and had he uniformly employed the word reasoning

Such as our belief in an external world independent of mind, our reliance upon our personal identity, and upon the permanency of the laws of nature.

instead of the word reason, his language would have been altogether unexceptionable. The meaning, however, which he always intended to convey, was so hedged in, as it were, with explanations in various forms of phraseology, that it is almost inconceivable how it should have escaped the apprehension of the most superficial reader.

In order to place the matter beyond cavil, we will take the liberty of transcribing some of those passages in which Mr. Stewart has contrived to limit the signification of the phrases above alluded to; marking in italics the clauses to which we would more particularly direct the attention of our readers. Had the Quarterly Reviewers adopted the plan of citing those parts of the work to which reference was made, they would have avoided a great deal of the misrepresentation into which they have been betrayed by an opposite course of procedure.

After making a quotation from Reid, in order to pass some strictures on his use of the word principle, he proseeds:

“ On other occasions, he (Dr. Reid) uses the same word {principle) to denote those elemental truths (if I may use the expression) which are virtually taken for granted or assumed, in every step of our reasoning; and without which, although no consequences can be directly inferred from them, a train of reasoning would be impossible.” Page 37. « Such truths

a belief of the continuance of the laws of nature; in all our reasonings without exception, a belief in our own identity, and in the evidence of memory--are the last elements into which reasoning resolves itself, when subjected to a metaphysical analysis.” Id." In one sense of the word principle, indeed, maxims may be called principles of reasoning; for the words principles and elements are sometimes used as synonymous." Id.--" It is for this reason (alluding to a preceding sentence) that I have employed the phrase principles of reasoning on the one occasion, and elements of reasoning on the other." Page 38." It is difficult to find unexceptionable language to mark distinctions so completely foreign to the ordinary purposes of speech; but, in the present instance, the line of separation is strongly and clearly drawn by this criterion—that from principles of reasoning consequences may be deduced; from what I have called elements of reasoning, none ever can." Id." A process of logical reasoning has been often likened to a chain supporting a weight. If this similitude be adopted, the axioms or elemental truths now mentioned, may be compared to the successive concatenations which connect the different links immediately with each other; the principles of our reasoning resemble the hook, or rather the beam, from which the whole is suspended.” Id.-" The distinction which I have already made (alluding to some foregoing remarks) between elements of reasoning, and first principles of reasoning, appears to myself,” &c. Page 39.-"Before dismissing this subject, I must once more repeat (anxious, it should seem, to prevent all misunderstanding) that the doctrine which I have been attempting to establish, so far from degrading axioms from that rank which Dr. Reid would assign them, tends to identify them still more than he has done with the exercise of our reasoning powers; inasmuch as, instead of comparing them with the data, on the accuracy of which that of our conclusion necessarily depends, it considers them as the vincula which give coherence to all the particular links of the chain;* or, (to vary the metaphor) as component elements, without which the faculty of reasoningt is inconceivable and impossible." Pp. 39, 40.--" The belief which all men entertain of the existence of the material world, (I mean the belief of its existence independently of that of percipient beings) and their expectation of the continued uniformity of the laws of nature, belong to the same class of ultimate or elemental laws of thought.Page 45.-" I shall only take notice farther, under this head, of the confidence which we must necessarily repose in the evidence of memory (and, I may add, in the continuance of our personal identity) when we are employed in carrying any process of deduction or argumentation"-or reasoning. Id.—“If I be not deceived, these truths (alluding to the same class of propositions) are still more connected with the operations of the reasoning faculty than has been generally imagined; not as the principles (cepx«r) from which our reasonings set out, and on which they ultimately depend; but as the necessary conditions on which every step of the deduction tacitly proceeds; or rather (if I may use the expression) as essential elements which enter into the composition of reason itself." Page 48.4" As the truth of axioms is virtually presupposed or implied in the successive steps of every demonstration, so, in every step of our reasonings concerning the order of nature, de proceed on the supposition, that the laws by which it is regulated will continue uniform as in time past; and that the material universe has an existence independent of our perceptions." “ I need scarcely add, that, in all our reasonings whatever, our own personal identity and the evidence of memory, are virtually taken for granted.“ These different truths all agree in this, that they are essentially involved in the EXERCISE of our rational powers." Id. From this array

* Of reasoning subintel.

+ See page 52—where Mr. Stewart observes, in opposition to Johnson and Beattie, “ that for many years past, reason has been very seldom used by philosophical writers, or indeed by correct writers of any description, as sy nonymous with the power (or faculty) of reasoning." “ To appeal to the light of reason from the reasonings of the schools," is not, according to him, a novel or a vague expression. The whole passage is worthy of attention.


it appears, that Mr. Stewart himself was aware of the difficulty of finding unexceptionable language to convey his meaning--that he has twice expressed doubts concerning the accuracy of his phraseology, by apologizing for his application of the term elemental truths to the propositions of which he is treating—and that what he means, by styling these truths the elements of our reasoning, is nothing more than that they are the tacit conditions on which every process of argumentation must necessarily proceed. From another passage, which occurs in the same discussion,




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