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habitually and attentively conversant with a particular class of agreeable objects. The instantaneous rapidity of its decisions gives it sometimes the appearance of an immediate perception, --and hence the name which it has borrowed, in the languages of modern Europe, from one of the external senses. made in the French tongue of the word Tact, to denote that delicate sense of propriety which enables a man to feel his
асау in the difficult intercourse of polished society, seems to have been suggested by similar considerations. This power, as well as the other, is evidently an acquired one; and a comparison of the two might be useful for illustrating the nature and genesis of both.
SECT. XI. —OF CERTAIN AUXILIARY FACULTIES AND PRINCIPLES
ESSENTIAL TO OUR INTELLECTUAL IMPROVEMENT, OR INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH IT.
88. The form and posture of the human body, and its various organs of perception, have an obvious reference to man's rational nature; and are beautifully fitted to encourage and facilitate his intellectual improvement. A similar remark may be extended to many other parts of our constitution, both external and internal; but there are two which more particularly claim our attention; the power of expressing our thoughts by Language, and the principle of Imitation.
I. OF LANGUAGE.
89. The connexion of this subject with that of the foregoing sections is sufficiently obvious. It is to the use of artificial signs (§ 49.) that we are indebted for all our general conclu
[Mr. Stewart has under this Section, but without special reference, annotated the following:
" What we call Taste is a kind of extmpore judgment; it is a settled habit of distinguishing, without staying to attend to rules or ratiocination, and
arises from long use and experience." -- Thoughts on various Subjects by Hughes, see Duncombe's Letters, vol. ii. p. 48 of Appendix.
See Reynolds' Discou:808, p. 302.)1st edit.
sions; and without it, our knowledge would have been entirely limited to individuals. It is also to the use of artificial signs that we are indebted for all that part of our information which is not the immediate result of our own personal experience; and for that transmission of intellectual acquisitions from one race to another, which lays the foundation of the progressive improvement of the species.
90. The formation of an artificial language, (as Dr. Reid has remarked,) presupposes the use of natural signs. These consist in certain expressions of the countenance, certain gestures of the body, and certain tones of the voice.
91. There seems to be, in man, a power of interpreting instinctively some of these expressions. This, indeed, has been disputed of late ; but various considerations might be mentioned, which justify the common opinion upon the subject, when stated with certain corrections and limitations.
92. As ideas multiply, the imperfections of natural language are felt; and men find it necessary to invent artificial signs, of which the meaning is fixed by mutual agreement. In proportion as artificial language improves, the language of nature declines ; insomuch, that in such a state of society as ours, it requires a great deal of reflection and study to recover the use of it. This study is, in a considerable degree, the foundation of the arts both of the actor and of the orator.
93. Artificial signs may be divided into those which are addressed to the
ad those which are addressed to the ear. The latter have formed, among all nations, the ordinary medium of intellectual communication.
94. As we have no record of the steps by which any of the languages spoken among men have arisen, some writers have employed their ingenuity, in tracing, from the faculties of the mind, the origin of the different parts of speech, and in illustrating the gradual progress of language, resulting from the general progress of society. Such conjectural speculations concerning the natural advances of the Species, in any particular line of improvement, may be distinguished by the title of Theoretical Histories.
95. The imperfections of those languages which have originated from popular use, have suggested to some philosophers the idea of a language expressly calculated for the purposes of science. The failure of the attempts hitherto made on this subject, are not decisive against the practicability of such a project.
96. The art of Writing is an important step in the history of language, and a powerful aid to the intellectual progress of the species.
97. The advantages with which it is accompanied, are wonderfully extended by the art of Printing, which may be justly regarded, not only as the happiest of all expedients for facilitating the intellectual commerce of mankind, but as one of the most important events that have occurred in the history of human affairs.
II. OF THE PRINCIPLE OF (SYMPATHETIC] IMITATION. 98. Whenever we see any expression, or, in general, any change, in the countenance of another person, we have a tendency to assume the same expression or the same change, in our own countenance. Every man is sensible of this, when he looks at another in a rage, in a fit of laughter, or in a deep melancholy.—Nor is it the visible appearance alone of others, that we have a disposition to imitate. We copy instinctively the voices of our companions, their tones, their accents, and their modes of pronunciation.
99. This tendency in our nature to imitation is attended with important advantages. It seems to be by means of it, that children acquire the use of speech; and that they learn insensibly to model their habits on the appearance and manners of those with whom they are familiarly conversant.
100. As it is in early life that the principle of imitation is of greatest use to us, so it is in infancy that we have the strongest tendency to indulge it. It is of this natural tendency, which all men have in some degree, that mimics avail themselves; till, by repeated efforts, they acquire a power of carrying it farther than they could have done originally; or, rather, perhaps, they only contrive to retain through life a faculty which, in the case of most men, disappears after the period of childhood.
101. The contagious nature of insanity, of convulsions, of hysteric disorders, of panics, and of all the different kinds of enthusiasm, seems to have an intimate connexion with the principle of imitation. To this class of facts, an important addition has lately been made in the course of the philosophical inquiries which took rise at Paris, in consequence of the cures pretended to be effected by means of animal magnetism.
SECT. XII. - OF THE INTELLECTUAL FACULTIES OF MAN, AS CON
TRASTED WITH THE INSTINCTS OF THE BRUTES.
102. That the brutes are under the more immediate guidance of nature, while man is left to regulate, to a great degree, his own destiny, by the exercise of his reason, is a fact too obvious to admit of dispute. In what manner, indeed, nature operates, in this instance, we are perfectly ignorant; but nothing can be more certain than this, that it is not by a deliberate choice, analogous to what we experience in ourselves, that the lower animals are determined to the pursuit of particular ends; nor by any process analogous to our reason, that they combine means in order to attain them.
103. To that unknown principle which guides the operations of the brutes, we give the name of Instinct. It is distinguished from Art by two circumstances :—1. By the uniformity with which it proceeds, in all individuals of the same species; and, 2. By the unerring certainty with which it performs its office, prior to all experience.
1 [Art is defined by Lord Bacon to
proper disposal of the things of nature by human thought and experience, so as to make them answer the designs and uses of mankind.” It may be defined more concisely to be the adjustment of means to accomplish a desired end. According to this idea of
Art, it is necessarily the result of reason and invention, and presupposes experience and observation, without which it is impossible for human ingenuity to form one single conclusion concerning the order of nature, or the means to be employed for producing any physical effect.]--2d edit.
104. But although we do not, in such cases, ascribe art or reason to the brutes, the operations of instinct plainly indicate intelligence in that Being by whom they were formed ; and who, by adapting their constitutions so beautifully to the laws of the material world, has evinced a unity of design, which proves that all the different parts of the universe, animate and inanimate, are the workmanship of the same Author.
105. The wisdom of nature, as displayed in the instincts of animals, is more particularly conspicuous in those tribes which associate in political communities ;-as the bee and the beaver. Here we see animals who, considered individually, discover but a small degree of sagacity, conspiring together, under the guidance of a blind impulse, in the accomplishment of effects, astonishing by their magnitude, and by the complicated ingenuity they exhibit.
106. Animals, however, are left to make some small acquisitions by experience; as sufficiently appears, in certain tribes, from the sagacity of the old, when contrasted with the ignorance of the young; and from the effects which may be produced
; on many of them by discipline and education.
107. In what, then, does the difference between man and the brutes consist ? Do their faculties differ from each other in degree only; or is there an essential distinction between the rational and the animal natures ?
108. The French philosophers of the Cartesian school adopted the latter opinion; and even carried it so far, as to consider the brutes as mere machines. Their successors have, in general, gone into the opposite extreme; and have employed their ingenuity in attempting to account for the boasted superiority of man, by accidental circumstances in his bodily organization, or in his external condition.
109. In opposition to these doctrines of modern Materialists, a great variety of considerations prove,—that, in respect of our intellectual and moral principles, our nature does not admit of comparison with that of any other inhabitant of this globe; the