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Stewart, too,-has not been on his guard against the double-entendre of Berkeley; and, accordingly, his very strongest realistic utterances are easily, but quite deceptively, susceptible of an idealistic gloss. This we see in such, phrases as the following, for example:—The material reality is the object immediately known in perception;" "knowledge and existence are convertible;” “the reality is known in itself;” “the very things which we perceive by our senses do really exist,” &c. Nay, even when Hamilton speaks of the Natural
. Realist “viewing the one total object of perceptive consciousness as real, as existing, as material, extended, external, &c.,” the Dogmatic Idealist need not, if he so pleases, allow himself to be discomposed. He too, for his part, can make use of the very same terms. It will not be difficult to prove, nevertheless, that what is meant by Hamilton is something diametrically opposed to what is meant by Berkeley.
In the first place, the idealism of Berkeley is directly rejected by Hamilton (Reid's Works, pp. 748-9—see also Disc., p. 54) as one of the "fire great variations from truth and nature” which result from non-acceptance of “the one legitimate doctrine ”-Natural Realism. “If the testimony of consciousness be refused,” he says, “to the equal originality and reciprocal independence of the subject and object in perception [natural realism, that is], two Unitarian schemes are determined . . Idealism and Materialism.” In the second place, the very Unitarianism ascribed here by Hamilton to Berkeley, directly contradicts the dualism claimed by himself. He will be found invariably, indeed, to point to denial of the existence of an external world, as the distinctive character of the idealism of Berkeley, and no less invariably to assertion of that existence as the distinctive character of his own realism. In his Discussions on Perception and Idealism, as well as in his Dissertations such statements can be turned up everywhere; but for particular references see below.? In the last place, we find in both Berkeley and Hamilton the direct interpretation of what each means by “those things we immediately perceive are the real things,” and, as we have said, either is quite opposed to the other. Berkeley, for example, speaks of “an opinion strangely prevailing among men, that houses, mountains, rivers, and, in a word, all sensible objects, have an existence, natural or real, distinct from their being perceived by the understanding." Here then, Berkeley opposes his own ideal things to the “natural or real” things which attach to the vulgar; but it is precisely these latter that Hamilton claims, while it is precisely those former that Hamilton rejects. Thus (Reid's Works, p. 747, and Disc., pp. 56–58) he will be found appropriating, as descriptive of his own creed, the words of Hume, which occur near the beginning of the essay on the Academical Philosophy, and which are correctly summarised
(1) Disc., pp. 54, 60, 65, 87, 91, 92, 189, 192--6.
by Reid (Works, p. 299), and regarded as an acknowledgment that it is “an universal and primary opinion of all men that the objects which we immediately perceive by our senses, are not images in our minds, but external objects, and that their existence is independent of us and our perception.” We are left, then, no room to doubt here of what Hamilton means by his external objects. They are certainly not the mere ideas, the mere sensations of Berkeley. But we are not limited, in the same reference, to Hamilton's adoption of the language of another: we have precisely similar avowals at first hand from himself. He tells us, for instance (Reid's Works, p. 129, note), that “common sense assures us that we are immediately percipient of extended things,” and (Ibid., p. 128, note)
these extended things are described as “realities out, and independent of, the percipient subject.” Indeed, similar expressions, together with clear light on what is meant by objectire, real, external, material, &c., may be found throughout the relative writings of Hamilton in general, while, in particular, we may refer as under. Wherever, in fact, Hamilton makes reference to our common consciousness, it is with no caveat, but that which concerns the three classes of qualities peculiar to his proper theory of perception. To Hamilton, in short, there is an esse in the external world quite apart from, and independent of, its percipi; and no one surely should for a single moment doubt this, who possesses knowledge of the perceptive theory alluded to.
That theory may be expressed in a word or two. The nervous organism, as material, is without, but, as ours, within. Directly present to, we are thus directly percipient of, matter—in the primary qualities. Being resisted in our locomotion now, we perceive, but less directly, an extra-organic matter, or matters—in the secundoprimary qualities. Lastly, these extra-organic matters become clothed, as it were, with the secondary qualities which we suppose them to excite in ourselves. These are the three steps. The testimony of consciousness to an actual, independent, material outer is thus direct, and the verdict of common sense proved. We may, indeed, if we be 80 minded, allow ourselves to entertain the pleasing uncertainty of the philosophical doubt, but—and here, with nothing but polite permission in the foreground, we are made vividly to see in the background the significant warning of an appalling felo de se.) Knowing mind, then, in itself, seeing that we are directly present to it in its own qualities of feeling, thinking, willing, &c., we equally know matter in itself, seeing that we are directly present to it, too, in its own qualities of extension, solidity, number, &c. Nevertheless, though we thus say both of mind and of matter, that we know it in
(1) Disc., pp. 55, 58, 66, and Reid's Works, Dedication, Preface, pp. 128, 129, 130, 158, 210, all in notes, 746, 747, 805 (6), 805 n., 810, 811 (24 and 26), 812 (ii.), 816--19, 820 n.
itself, we must say at the same time, neither of mind nor of matter, that we know it in itself; and this for no other reason than that knowledge is knowledge, and inapplicable, consequently, to what is irrelative and substantial. In a word, in its qualities, we know either in itself; in its substance, neither. The contradiction, then, that may be thought to derive from this double use of the phrase in itself, has really an explanation and reconciliation of its own.
This is, in germ, so to speak, the entire compass of Hamilton's perceptive theory; and there is little in it, plainly, that coheres with the doctrine of Berkeley. The sensible world of Hamilton is really material, really external, really independent. The sensible world of Berkeley, on the contrary, is only ideally material, ideally external, ideally—nay, not even ideally independent. In short, both know an extended object; but that object is, if we may be allowed to call it so, a res realis to the one-a res idealis to the other.
Professor Fraser, nevertheless, hints his belief in a virtual agreement between Hamilton and Berkeley, and this, too, at the same time that he adheres to all the main moments of the Hamiltonian perceptive theory as described above. Thus he ascribes the same function to the nervous system, and similarly derives the various qualities. The dogmatic appeal to common sense, and the equally dogmatic refusal of any question of consciousness—these, too, he signalises, but, very properly, with reprobation. The only point in the description he would seem to reject relates to the assumption of what has been called the contradiction" in Hamilton. “ In recognising the material world,” he says, “ as within the proper sphere of consciousness, in respect of its extension and solidity, . . . he (Hamilton) has no more contradicted his doctrine of our incapacity for Absolute Knowledge than," &c. But is this, then, the contradiction? Has it ever been said in the present connection that to assert at one time that we have knowledge only of what is relative, and, at another, that we have knowledge of the material world in respect of its extension and solidity, is a contradiction? We think not. Is not this, rather, the contradiction: intensely dogmatic assertion, now that matter (to leave out mind) is known in itself; and, again, equally intensely dogmatic assertion that matter is not known in itself? That it is possible to explain this contradiction—that in Hamilton's consciousness it stood virtually explained—this has been already allowed. Knowledge, namely, as knowledge, or being relative and unsubstantial, is inadequate to anything in itself; but still, through the qualities of it, and not through the (only representatire) qualities of us, there is knowledge of actual, outer, independent matter; and we know it, therefore, in itself, and not in a mere modification of mind. In short, the duplicity of the phrase in itself is at once the contradiction and, in a sort, the reconcilement of it. There remains the question, how
ever, is the reconcilement complete, and is the contradiction, as it has been used by Hamilton, legitimate ? Now, we hold the reconcilement to be incomplete, and the contradiction, as used, to be, both in expression and in action, illegitimate.
As regards expression, for example, the two senses of the phrase in itself, while they can hardly be said to have been ever compared and acknowledged by Hamilton, are neither mutually compatible, nor both to be justified. Thus, though what is known of matter be a composite between mind and matter, in which this latter really has part, and is not, consequently, only represented by a mere modification of the former, still it is quite incorrect to say that, in this manner, matter is known in itself. What is so known is neither mind in itself nor matter in itself, but such a compound of both as must be numerically different from both. Hamilton's theory, however, is pitched, so to speak, against the cosmothetic idealist; and any presence in perception of matter at all seems to him authority enough for asserting a knowledge of matter in itself, and not through a merely representative mental state. It is thus to him that matter is presented.
Hamilton's contradiction of expression, however, is not limited to this one phrase.
Out of many that might be adduced, here is another. If we open the first volume of the “ Metaphysical Lectures” we find (at page 146) that, "whatever we know is not known as it is, but only as it seems.” Now, as Hamilton himself intimates, a thing as it is is an esse entitativum, while a thing as it seems is an esse intentionale or representativum. Substituting these terms, then, for the others, the phrase will run : “ Whatever we know is not known in its esse entitatirum, but only in its esse intentionale or representatitum.” This, then, as we perceive, is the assertion of a representative knowledge, and it is perfectly in place in the sphere of relativity. We have but to turn to the second volume of the same work, however, to find the sentence directly reversed. There Hamilton deliberately maintains himself to know of things not less their esse entitativum than their esse representativum. “ The esse intentionale or representatirum,”
says (p. 69), when referring to external perception, “coincides with the esse entitatirum." This double esse, he says further, is distinctive of the representationist ; and, by consequence, it is the single tise that is peculiar to himself. The contradiction of expression is here, then, absolute; and, in fact, we possess a perfect right to assert in general, that Hamilton, when on one side of knowledge, always categorically contradicts himself, so far as words go, on the other.
As regards action, the case is similar. He takes the most unconcealed delight in the advantage which a knowledge of matter in itself extends to him: he eagerly accentuates his agreement with common sense ; he eagerly accentuates his adhesion to the popular systems of Reid and Stewart. It is on this field, indeed, that, on the side of the
vulgar, we see him, as it were, with hot haste, assume his warpaint, and rushwe may even allow ourselves to say—yelling to the front, with cuts and thrusts and deadliest strokes, to the philosophers. No sooner, however, has the victory been declared, than he turns from the vulgar, wipes the war-paint from his face, and earnestly sets himself to coax the philosophers alive again, and for the very same statements which, but a moment before, had aroused
This, then, is the “contradiction," both in expression and action; and, in both respects, it is utter. In both respects, indeed, it brings with it such a host of other and lesser contradictions, that, as regards any sufficient excuse, charity itself may be allowed to despair. Even the intellect of a Ferrier confessed itself at fault here.
Assuming the disagreement of Professor Fraser, then, as regards the Hamiltonian contradiction, to result from a simple misapprehension, we may allowably hold him to agree with the total description of Hamilton's perceptive theory as given above. But how then can he possibly believe in any agreement, virtual or other, between Hamilton and Berkeley? The nerve of Professor Fraser's peculiar thought lies, probably, in the expression we have already seen from Hamilton, “that the extended object immediately perceived is identical with the extended object actually existing.”
The res realis, he would seem to say, call it what you may, is like the res idealis, known only when it is in consciousness, and as it is in consciousness. And, again, the moment that either has left consciousness, has it not lapsed, is the further thought, into an unconditionedness that is the same for both ? It is evident, then, that in such considerations Professor Fraser has approached consciousness in a peculiarly deep, and even recondite, spirit of scrutiny. But, then,is it not to be said at once that any such spirit is quite unknown to Hamilton ? To Professor Fraser the questioning of consciousness is everything; but precisely this questioning Hamilton would trample down. The moment, indeed, such considerations are entertained, the platform of Hamilton is virtually abandoned.
For Hamilton, once brought up to the qualities of a thing in itself that, though unknown in itself, is called mind when within, and matter when without, stops there. This to him is the verge of consciousness, and he altogether refuses to take one step farther. In ultimate analysis there are to him simply the solid external world of common sense there, and the impressible internal world of common sense here. Mr. Fraser himself admits this. He admits in Hamilton a defect of analysis as regards “what space, and matter, and extension, and externality mean.” Nay, more definitely still, he avows, “ We have failed to discover a definite expression, either of these questions, or