Ҿ˹˹ѧ
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

PROF. Bascom's “ PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGY gives ample indications of active and independent thinking in the right direction. In all the positions which he takes he is directly opposed to the sensational and associational systems which are just now so much in fashion, and are at once so plausible at the first view, and so unsatisfactory on closer inspection. Many of the fundamenial assumptions of these systems are ably exposed, and the material analogies by which they have been occasioned are clearly pointed out and satisfactorily set aside. On several single topics the author has made good positions, which he has ably defended. The work was not designed to serve as a complete discussion of the whole subject so much as to lay the foundations of a system, and in a general way to indicate their application to a few classes of facts, and of questions in dispute. It is therefore rather a series of Essays or Studies in the Science of Psychology, than a complete exhibition of the Science itself. The writer of a book of this sort gains to himself an advantage in that he is exempt from the obligation to work out in detail all the inferences and applications of his principles, and to show their consistency with the facts of experience. Then he may allow himself a far more liberal use of figurative language than is accorded to a writer whose problem holds him to a diction that is more strict and severe. We observe that Professor Bascom has availed him. self very freely of the last named liberty ; to an extent which many critics would scarcely approve. We do not believe in hypercriticism upon such a point, and would by no means reject metaphorical language in the service of philosophy. Nor would we restrict a writer from following the bent of his own genius in the choice of the metaphors which he thinks fit to employ, provided the metaphors do not mislead, and are never made the substitutes for careful analysis and systematic coherence. We dare not assert that Professor Bascom is never misled by the exuberance of his own fancy and the confidence of his own active and eager intellect to use expressions which offend even a very catholic taste, and deceive his own honest mind. Such phrases as “cross-lots," and "log-chained with logical relations," do not help any argument, nor do they please the taste of ordinary men.

We find some difficulty in determining and accepting the

* The Principles of Psychology. By John BASCOM, Professor in Williams College. New York: G. P. Putnam & Son. 1869.

he says,

author's doctrine of the nature of consciousness. On page 17,

“ Consciousness is commensurate with all mental states and acts. It accompanies feeling as thinking, and volition as much as either. The only possible way in which a mental state or act can be testified to, is by consciousness.” “Consciousness is neither a knowing, nor a feeling, nor a willing; is neither this nor that mental act, but a condition common to them all, a field in which they appear, in which they arise and make proof of their existence.” “Consciousness giveswe use familar language, a more careful expression would be, in consciousness is found-the mere fact of a mental state, whether one of thought, feeling, or volition.”

On page 18, he speaks of "wrongly regarding consciousness as a faculty giving direct testimony to certain things, instead of something involved in the very fact of knowing and feeling, making them what they are.” Still further: “It is with most an unusual effort of mind to direct attention to interior phenomena ;"and again, “Neither are the several phases of mind observed as transpiring, but as remembered."

On page 30, after insisting on page 29 that consciousness not only is not a form of knowing, nor the power a faculty of knowing, but that it has no more to do with knowing than with feeling, so that we might as properly say, we feel that we know,', or that “we know that we feel ;" he proceeds to assert, “mind, by virtue of its own nature as mind, does and suffers what it does and suffers, consciously under this simple, peculiar, and inexplicable condition of being aware of its own acts, etc.

On page 50, in speaking of the faculties of the intellect and of sense as the first class of these faculties, he thus defines : “ The sense includes two and quite diverse sources of knowledge, the power of perception, and the immediate cognizance which the mind has of its own states," asserting most clearly that whether consciousness be a power of knowledge or not, there is a power by which we do know these states.

But on page 76, he calls this very inner sense by the name of consciousness, and says, “ Consciousness, or the inner sense, the remaining means of a direct knowledge of phenomena, requires but a brief notice;" and then, in the second sentence after, self-consciousness, or coasciousness or the inner sense, is not a method of the mind's action, is not a faculty of perception.” And again. "We cannot readily speak of this knowledge which the mind has VOL. XXIX.

11

or antagonist to “a regard to the happiness of all and general well-being as the end."

Next, the classification according to which Dr. Taylor is placed with Paley, and separated from Dwight and Edwards, seems to us entirely arbitrary and unwarranted. All the pupils of Dr. Taylor know, and the readers of Dr. Taylor's writings ought to be able to discover, that the system of Dr. Taylor was totally opposed to that of Paley in its so called utilitarian characteristic: that the “for the sake of everlasting happiness” of Paley stands for an entirely different motive from the acting from a regard to their own well-being" spoken of by Dr. Taylor. An attorney trying a case before a country justice might argue that the passages quoted from the two proved a coincidence in their theories, but no person who had studied the systems of both writers ought to confound the two, so far as their doctrine of the desire of happiness is concerned, much less in respect to the spirit of their teachings.

The separation of Dr. Taylor from Drs. Dwight and Edwards, is, in our view, equally unwarrantable. The views of Dr. Dwight may be found in his System of Theology, Sermons 97, 98, and 99, the last of which is entitled “Utility the Foundation of Virtue," and in this the doctrine is explained and defended, that "virtue is founded in utility.It is true that Dr. Dwight did not raise distinctly the questions which Dr. Taylor answers in respect to the universal and fundamental character of the generic subjective desire of happiness, which is common to all special desires, and establishes a relation to itself which is common to every objective motive, but his doctrine was the same in principle, and is occa. sionally announced in words. In Sermon 97, the truly good man is described as one “who seeks his happiness in doing good." President Edwards subjects the question to a more careful analy. sis with the following results, which we give in his own language: “Negatively, charity or the spirit of Christian love is not contrary to all self-love. It is not a thing contrary to Christianity that a man should love, or which is the same thing, should love his own happiness.” “ That a man should love his own happiness is as necessary to his nature as the faculty of will is; and it is impossible that such a love should be destroyed in any other way than by destroying his own being. The saints love their own happiness. Yea, those that are perfect in happiness, the saints and angels in heaven, love their own happiness; otherwise that

happiness which God hath given them would be no happiness to them; for that which any one does not love, he cannot enjoy any happiness in."

Affirmatively—“the inordinateness of self-love does not consist in our love of our own happiness being absolutely censidered too great in degree. I do not suppose it can be said of any, that their love to their own happiness, if we consider that love absolutely and not comparatively, can be in too high a degree, or that it is a thing that is liable either to increase or dimunition. For I apprehend that self-love, in this sense, is not a result of the fall but is necessary, and what belongs to the nature of all intelligent beings, and that God has made it alike in all; and that saints and sinners, and all alike, love happiness, and have the same unalterable and instinctive inclination to desire and seek it.”

A man may love himself as much as one can, and may be in the exercise of a high degree of love to his own happiness, ceaselessly longing for it, and yet he may so place that happiness, that in the very act of seeking it he may be in the high exercise of love to God; as, for example, when the happiness that he longs for is to enjoy God, or to behold his glory, or to hold communion with God, or a man may place his happiness in glorifying God. It may seem to him the greatest happiness that he can conceive of, to give God glory as he may do, and he may long for this happiness. And in longing for it, he loves that which he looks on as his happiness; for if he did not love what in this case he esteemed his own happiness, he would not long for it, and to love his own happiness is to love himself. And yet, in the same act, he loves God because he places bis happiness in God, for nothing can more properly be called love to any being or thing, than to place our happiness in it. And so persons may place their happiness considerably in the good of others, their neighbors for instance, and desiring the happiness that consists in seeking their good, they may, in seeking it, love themselves, and their own happiness." Charity and its Fruits. 229-239 passim. We have no room to comment on the other criticisms of the author

upon

Dr. Taylor's theory. Nor need we, for if he fundamentally misconceives it in its relation to that of President Edwards, it will occasion no surprise that he should misunderstand or misrepresent it in other aspects.

Prof. Bascom's “ PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGY

"*

gives ample indications of active and independent thinking in the right direction. In all the positions which he takes he is directly opposed to the sensational and associational systems which are just now so much in fashion, and are at once so plausible at the first view, and so unsatisfactory on closer inspection. Many of the fundamenial assumptions of these systems are ably exposed, and the material analogies by which they have been occasioned are clearly pointed out and satisfactorily set aside. On several single topics the author has made good positions, which he has ably defended. The work was not designed to serve as a complete discussion of the whole subject so much as to lay the foundations of a system, and in a general way to indicate their application to a few classes of facts, and of questions in dispute. It is therefore rather a series of Essays or Studies in the Science of Psychology, than a complete exhibition of the Science itself. The writer of a book of this sort gains to himself an advantage in that he is exempt from the obligation to work out in detail all the inferences and applications of his principles, and to show their consistency with the facts of experience. Then he may allow himself a far more liberal use of figurative language than is accorded to a writer whose problem holds him to a diction that is more strict and severe. We observe that Professor Bascom has availed him. self very freely of the last named liberty ; to an extent which many critics would scarcely approve. We do not believe in hypercriticism upon such a point, and would by no means reject metaphorical language in the service of philosophy. Nor would we restrict a writer from following the bent of his own genius in the choice of the metaphors which he thinks fit to employ, provided the metaphors do not mislead, and are never made the substitutes for careful analysis and systematic coherence. We dare not assert that Professor Bascom is never misled by the exuberance of his own fancy and the confidence of his own active and eager intellect to use expressions which offend even a very catholic taste, and deceive his own honest mind. Such phrases as “cross-lots,” and " log-chained with logical relations," do not help any argument, nor do they please the taste of ordinary men.

We find some difficulty in determining and accepting the

* The Principles of Psychology. By John Bascom, Professor in Williams College. New York: G. P. Putnam & Son. 1869.

« ͹˹Թõ
 »