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. FOR OCTOBER, 1808.
For the Anthology.
The following was originally written as a private letter ; and it was, not thought ; necessary to make any alterations of its form in offering it to the publick.)
. - OBSERVATIONS ON THE THEORY OF HARTLEY. My dear W***,
merely sentient and percipient, which I am about to write you a letter is affected by, and takes cognizance with relation to the theory of Hart of the motions of the brain. Those ley and the doctrine of necessity. of his school, however, are, I supI thought, you may recollect, when pose, commonly materialists, and we were conversing upon the sub- Cooper, the person, who gives the ject during your last visit at , account of Dr. Priestley's metaphythat this theory was not irrefraga. sical writing, annexed to his life, ac. ble, and the arguments for this doc- cuses Hartley of not perceiving in trine, founded upon it, not unan- this' respect the force of his own swerable, as they have sometimes reasoning. As it will be simpler, I :heen represented ; but I do not will give an account of his theory know, that I shall be able in any according to the doctrine of materi. degree to justify this opinion in a alism, which I see the person just letter. It is in the third section of mentioned has partially done withthe third chapter of the first part out any such previous notice The of his work, which section treats only difference is, that what the ma“ of the Affections in general,” that terialists consider as the thing itself Hartley draws his conclusion of the (an idea for instance,) Hartley mechanism of the will. It is this considers as its proximate cause. " section, that I intend particularly to The following then is the theory examine. I will premise, however, of Hartley, thus modified. a short account of his general the. When an object is presented to ory.
either of the senses, it produces a Hartley's system of vibrations vibration in the very minute particles leads to materialism. He, however, of the medullary substance of the does not deny the existence of a nerves of that sense. [Hart. Pane soul ; but considers it as something 1, prop. 4.
Vol. V. No. X. 3 @
This vibration is continued from lectual idea shall appear to have no the organ of sensation to the brain, relation to its compounding parts, and there produces a vibration in the ideas of sensation. [Prop. XII. very minute particles of the medul. cor. Ist.' lary substance of the brain, which A proposition is a complex idea ; is sensation. [Prop. I. IV. and assent and dissent are complex ideas; Prop Vcor. 2. 3.
· with a proposition either assent oz These latter vibrations frequently dissent are always associated into repeated leave traces of themselves one very complex idea, or the terms in the brain, and produce in it a dis- of the proposition are associated with position to miniature vibrations or the word truth or its contrary ; our vibratiuncules, which are ideas of judgments are nothing more than sensation, or simple ideas. (Prop. such associations. [Prop. XII. cor. VIII. IX
10. Prop LXXXVI. The vibrations in the brain are Simple miniature vibrations (simeither gentle or moderately violent, ple ideas) may be compounded into and then are pleasures ; or produce one complex vibration (complexidea) a solution of continuity and then equally vivid and powerful with an are pains ; or their degree of oscilla- original sensory vibration : these vive tion is evanescent, and then they are id complex ideas are the intellectual mere sensations or ideas not passing pleasures and pains ; the passions, the limit of indifferency. (Prop. and affections, and the will. [Prop. VI. XIV.
XIV.comp cor. 1,3. Prop.LXXXIX. When a number of sensations are Chap IV. Introd. comp. Prop. VI. impressed synchronously or success. All muscular motion is at first av. ively, the ideas of these sensations tomatick and involuntary, the conseare associated together ; 80, that quence of motory vibrations in the when one of these sensations is im- nerves; these motory vibrations be pressed, it will excite the ideas of ing generated in various ways from the remainder, if the association be sensory vibrations. [Prop: XV. synchronous, or the ideas of the sen- XVIII. XIX. XXI. LXXVII sations subsequent to it in the order. These motory vibrations in the of association, if the association be nerves produce a disposition to corsuccessive. [Prop. X. XI. • responding motory vibratiuncules in
[This is the only general law, the brain. [Prop. XX. according to which association takes These motory vibratiuncules, when place, that is expressly stated and excited, descend along the motory explained by: Hartley. ]
• nerves and excite their correspondSimple ideas, that is, ideas of sen ing motory vibrations and produce sation, united by association, with the consequent muscular motions. by being frequently excited be drawn [Prop. XX. closer together, and at last coalesce. The motory vibratiuncules cohere into one complex, that is, intellectual to each other by association, so that idea, such as those, that belong to the parts of a complex motion reading
the heads of beauty, honour, moral succeed each other; and they like · qualities, &c. [Prop. XII. XIII. wise cohere to ideal vibratiuncules,
In a complex or intellectual idea, so as to be excited by them, so that it may be, that the effect of no sin- idéas may produce muscular motion. gle constituent idea is perceived, be- [Prop. XX. cor 3. 4. ing overpowered by the united ef. When an idea is equally vivid and fect of the whole, so that the intel. powerful with an original sensory w
bration,it may produce muscular mo- found sufficient answer, that love and tions of the same strength with au- hatred, are not pleasure and pain;" tomatick motions. (Prop. XX. that pleasure and pain are not love cor. 5. ..
and hatred. There is no man, who, When muscular motion is produ- without reference to some theory, ced by that complex idea, which is confounds these different internal , the will for the time being, it is vol- feelings. Hence it is, that Hartley untary. [Prop XXI.
in the Introduction to his work, says, According to Hartley then, the “The affections have the pleasures power of sensation is the only orig. and pains' for their objects, as the un! inal faculty of the mind. All its derstanding has the mere sensations intellectual ideas and affections (I and ideas," and in the 4th paragraph use the word in its more extensive of this section, in the very moment sense) are resolvable into ideas of- of stating his theory, deserting its sensation ; and all which have been proper language, he speaks of the considered its active powers are on- passions as arising from pleasure and ly the law of association operating pain. But the passions he had be. in different ways.
fore stated to be " aggregates of the I now proceed to time examination ideas or traces of the sensible plea. of the section before mentioned,'sures or pains" and it is the plea.' which treats “ of the affections in sure or pain attending these aggregeneral." In this section, Hartley, gates, which must,according to Hart.' instead of the term complex idea,' ley,constitute the passion: for,suppo uses the term aggregate of simple sing the aggregate of ideas to be di. ideas,' which I shall accordingly a- vested of pleasure or pain, no pas.' dopt. The following is his theory of sion ortendency to passion would ex-" the affections and the will. . ist. Thus in the 2d paragraph of
The passions or affections are this section, he calls • intellectual nothing more than aggregates of affections,' what in the 4th chap-' simple ideas united by association, ter of this part of his work, he aggregates of the ideas or traces of treats of as intellectual plea. the sensible pleasures or pains. sures.and pains, and which intellect
[In the 1st corollary of the 14th ual pleasures and pains he there proposition, with similar meaning, analyses as being, what he here dethough in different language, the pas- fines the passions to be, aggregates sions and affections are explained to of the ideas or traces of the sensible be (as I have before observed) vivid pleasures and pains. The conclu. complex ideas. ]
sion, that the passions and intellectual The passions may be divided into pleasures and pains are the same, re. two classes, of love and of hatred; sults also from a comparison of the Ist those of the former class being ag- and 3d corollaries of the 14th propo. gregates of pleasurable, and those of sition, though in the 1st of these
there is a want of conformity in the These aggregates of pleasurable · language to the theory similar to or of painful ideas, when excited to that, on which I have been remarka certain degree, su as to produce aco' ing. * According to Hartley then, tions, may be termed desire and a- the passions of love and hatred are Version:
Desire and aversion are the will for the time being.
" The following is the 14 Prop. And
. .the Ist and 3d corollaries. * To this theory it may perhaps be. Proposition. “ It is reasonable to think
the pleasures and pains connected expresses himself, in the 9th para with aggregates of ideas of sensation. graph of this section : “ A state of If it be not so, what they are he has desire ought to be pleasant at first no where explained.
. from the near relation of desire ta But that, which I have stated, love, and of love to pleasure and hap. not only is his meaning, but nothing piness." A near relation they have, else can be his meaning in conform for pleasure is frequently the occaity to his general theory; according sion of love, and love of desire, as to which the power of sensation is the word is used by Hartley ; but the only part of our mental consti- to confound them together is not tution not factitious. All the ma- making a theory to explain the pheterials, that Hartley thinks necessa- nomena of the mind; it is bending ry to build up and complete the va• the phenomena of the mind to his rious superstructure of the human simplifying theory. mind, are the ideas of different Here then seems to be a funda. sounds, tastes, colours, shapes, &c, mental errour, in confounding the with the pleasures and pains accom- passions and affections with the inpanying these ideas. Now, as the tellectual pleasures and pains, and mere ideas before mentioned cannot we may observe still further, its ef. constitute any kind of passion, our fects upon this theory. The paspassions must be nothing more than sions and affections, or intellectuthe pleasures and pains, by which al pleasures and pains are dişided by they are acconipanied
Hartley into six classes of imaginaYet so contrary to all our knowl- tion, ambition, self-interest, sympaedge on the subject is this conclu- thy, theopathy, and the moral sense. sion, which makes love and hatred “ They are excited,” he says, in the the same with pleasure and pain, Ist paragragh of the section we are that Hartley again abandons the lan- examining, “ by objects and by the guage of his theory, for the lan- incidents of life.” These objects, it guage of common opinion, and thus is almost unnecessary to observe,
are frequently not present, and the
affections, which produce desire, are that some of the complex vibrations at
always excited by the idea of an obtending upon complex ideas, according to the last proposition, may be as vivid as
ject not possessed. Now the intel
lectual affections and pleasures bethe direct action of objects.”
ing according to this theory the same, ist Corollary. “When the complex here then is the idea of an object miniature vibrations are thus exalted in
exciting and strongly exciting (seedegree, we are to conceive, that the corresponding complexideas are proportion.
ing that desire is produced) all the ally exalted, and so pass into intellectual
intellectual pleasures of its proper affections and passions. We are there- class, to which it has relation. What fore to deduce the origin of the intellect- more or what different could be ef. ual pleasures and pains, which are the feated by the obiect itself, if possess. objects of these affections and passions from the source here laid open."
ed (supposing it of course an object - 3d Corollary. “It follows also from this merely of intellectual pleasure) it proposition,that the intellectual pleasures may not be easy to explain ; or conand pains may be greater, equal or less, sequently, why, with regard to such than the sensible oncs, according as each
an object, desire and a sense of pos. person unites more or fewer, more vivid or more languid miniature vibrations in
session are not states of the miude. the formation of his intellectual plea
qually and in the same manner pleassures and pains," &c.
urable. And thus Hartley says (5tk
paragraph) that desire is love exci- speaks of joy as being love exerted ted to a certain degree" (sufficiently towards an object which, is present. so to excite other associated ideas, But though this expression is propwhich accidental effect has nothing er in itself, it is not conformable to to do with our present purpose) ; his theory ; as it is scarcely correct and (11th paragraph) that jov takes to speak of an aggregate of simple place, when desire is at an end, and ideas being exerted towards an obis love exerted towards or rather ex- ject I have therefore thought it cited by an object, that is present.t allowable to change the expression. By comparing the words of Hartley, But as (according to the theotherefore, we come to the same con- ry we are examining) the ideas of clusion, to which we were before an object desired, may effect the led by his theory. According to , mind in the same way, as the ob. the quotations just made, desire is ject itself when possessed ;. so it is love, and joy is love ; consequently, not easy to conceive why the object desire and joy are the same ; the on- itself may not produce the same ef. ly difference being, that, in the for- fects as its idea ; that is, by strongly mer case, this passion,love, produces exciting the affections, produce de. effects, which it does not in the lat- sire and its consequences. When ter, and in the latter case has a our love, says Hartley, is excited to cause certainly different from what a certain degree, it puts us upon a it has in the former ; though what variety of actions, and may be teris its cause in the former case is no med desire. Now as it operates in a where particularly explained. It manner merely mechanical, as is im. follows then, if the preceding obser- mediately explained, (and indeed, we vations be correct, that Hartley ought continually to recollect, that confounds desire with its gratifica., we have to do with a theory, which, tion, intellectual hunger with intele professes to explain all the operalectual revelling
tions of the mind mechanically) now In the last quotation from Hart- as love thus operates, it cannot, I ley, in the preceding paragraph, he think, be shewn, why it should not
produce the same effects, and put us The following are the words of upon the same course of action, in Hartley: “ Fifthly. When our love and whatever manner it may be excited, hatred' are excited to a certain degree, whether by the idea of an object dethey put us upon a variety of actions, sired, or by the object itself possess. and may be termed desire and aversion ; by which last word, I understand an ac
But, (to proceed to another obtive hatred."
+ The following is the whole of the e- jection) supposing the proper pas. leventh paragraph. “ Eleventhly, joy sions to be sufficiently excited,withand grief take place, when the desire and out consideration of the manner in aversion, hope and fear, are at an end; which this may be effected, yet I and are love and hatred exerted towards
do not think it satisfactorily explain. an object, which is present either in a sensible manner, or in a rational one, i.e. ed by Hartley, how, when thus exso as to occupy the whole powers of the cited, they put us upon such a course mind, as sensible objects, when present of action, as may enable to obtain and attended to, do the external senses. their object. In conformity to his It is very evident, that the objects of the
theory, when a passion that is an intellectual pleasures and pains derive their power of thus affecting the mind aggregate of simple ideas 13 suffifrom association."
ciently excited, it excites other