The question is a grave one, how far, when no general idea or quality is predicated of an object, but it is only said “is,” two objects are before the mind. But Mr. Mill is, as to this, all wrong and inaccurate. When I say “the sun,” I already suppose such a thing and its existence, or I can have no object before my mind at all. “A round square” gives no object or idea to be—Mr. Mill’s example—affirmed about. What he does not see (and the whole book is in my judgment very shallow) is that what is affirmed in saying “the sun exists” involves unexpressed that it exists now. Time present is affirmed; but whether I say “was,” “is,” or “will be,” I have an object of which the existence is before my mind, or there is no object before it. He shirks the word idea, because an idea in the mind supposes an object with which it is occupied. It may be only a poetical possibility, but its existence is assumed poetically. If I say “is,” or “exists,” I affirm that it is a fact now. It may go farther, for the present supposes in its nature all times or none; it affirms a fact, and leaves past and future wholly out. If I say, “I am,” I cannot say “I “without a conscious object; “am” adds little to any idea of it. There is no other object. “I” carries “am” with it; and the only danger is that “am” makes it too absolute by excluding beginning, “was” and “will be.” “I “involves my existence as spoken of. “I thought”; that is passed. “I will give”; that supposes an “I,” an existing object I have in my mind. Yet I may not exist to do it; but the object is an object in the mind, and existing there as an object thought, whatever is affirmed about it. The verb substantive affirms that it is not only an ideal object, but an actually existing one— “God is.” If I say “God,” I have a thought object, an object before my mind; if there be no such thing thinkable (as “a round square”), I am talking nonsense. It is an assumed object, and I cannot think it without thinking of it as an existence. I do not say “existing,” for that says now, but an existence. When I say “is,” I affirm actual existence now, and past and future are not in my mind. It is an existing fact, and, as every present puts me in a present time (that is, has no time at all), it is an affirmation, taken by itself, of eternal existence.
It is totally false that no belief can be afforded. If I say “my father,” my hearer believes, if he receives what I say, that I have had or have one, and disbelieves what I say if he does not think so. Thus, if I say “Adam’s father,” I disbelieve the whole account in Genesis. If I say “Cain’s father,” and another does not reject what is said, it is believing he had one, at least agreeing in it. If I say a “round square,” he has no object before his mind to affirm about. When it is said “affirmed of something,” something is affirmed before anything is affirmed about it. The sun exists, or my father exists, goes on to say it or he which is exists now. And the present involves no time—that is, contemplates no duration for a time, and hence is either the simple fact of now, which has no duration, or involves eternity—a now that never ceases to be now,7 for now is unity, not duration—when the present is used not as now, it is a true unabgeschlossenes Aorist (i.e. Aorist of unspecified time). “I dine every day”: what time is that?
When I say, “God is,” I affirm no time, but existence: and, if I add nothing, eternal existence. Existence only is affirmed of Him, and, if true, always true. If I say to any one “God,” I call his attention to an object, which I cannot do if there be no such object. I do not say in existence now, but as an object to be thought of as existing (I do not say when). But I think of His Sein, though not necessarily as seiend. If “the sun “suggests a meaning, what meaning? That there is such a thing as sun as an object of thought; not “is,” as presently existing, but as an existence. If I say “round square,” I have no object of thought at all; it is not an existence even for thought; it has no meaning. The importance of this in “I am,” “God is,” is evident. And this is evident when other words are used predicatively. “God created the world.” If “God “does not convey the thought of an existing object, the proposition has no sense at all. That is, without affirming at all that God exists or did exist then, naming Him affirms, not as an inference but in the word itself, an existence, a Being which did that. So if I say, “the sun heats,” “sun “gives me the thought of an existing thing. I say something about it, but I speak of something about which I affirm. And one could pertinently say, There is no such thing as a sun to heat. That is, he does not believe, not the proposition about heating or the sun’s heating, but what is contained in the word “sun.” If I say “The moon heats,” one might say, No, it does not. That is, he disbelieves what I say about the moon, he denies the proposition; but, in denying the proposition, he accepts the affirmation that there is a moon to heat or not to heat, and knows it is affirmed, and believes it. In what I have said of the sun, he disbelieves it. Thus if one speak of, say “a round square,” I say there is no such thing, I disbelieve what is said.
And this Mill really admits in chapter 1, sec. 3 when he says, “What we do, what passes in our mind, when we affirm or deny two names of one another, must depend on what they are names of; since it is with reference to that, and not to the mere names themselves, that we make the affirmation or denial.” Just so; but then there is a “that” which we affirm or deny about. This is “what we do, what passes in our mind” —that is, mind takes cognisance of the reality of the object as an existence, believes it, or can have no proposition about it. Again, Names, chapter 2, sec. 1. “Names are not intended only to make the hearer conceive what we conceive, but also to inform him what we believe. Now, when I use a name for the purpose of expressing a belief, it is a belief concerning the thing itself, not concerning my idea of it.” If then a name expresses my belief in the thing, he, if he goes in with what I affirm about it, acquiesces in the thing as an existence, a thing; just what I insist on. It is a complete contradiction in terms of what he had said: “There is as yet nothing to believe.” If I express a belief concerning the thing, so can he, or (as I said) tacitly acquiesce in the belief I express, to go on to something else said about it.
Names are the names of things. And when I say “Franklin,” or “sun,” or, what is infinitely more important, “God,” I am naming a thing and “expressing my belief” in that thing, and the hearer too, if he acquiesces, whatever else I may affirm about it. But I cannot talk of Franklin if there be no Franklin to talk about; nor about the sun if there be none. All propositions assume then the subject and predicate as things or existences.
Hence it is evident that reasoning, inference, logic, supposes existence, an object; that is, it is always preceded by belief. I cannot reason about nothing, I cannot infer from nothing. I do not say, therefore, logic has nothing to do with belief; but that it is based on belief. To put it in a more palpable way, suppose I say “Drumdrum is white.” If you think I am serious, you will say, What is “Drumdrum”? If I answer, There is no such thing, you will at once say, Then you cannot say it “is white”: that is a proposition, supposes the subject to be a real thing, that is, believes it. “Is” goes farther when it is a copula—that is, affirms a quality of the subject. It affirms present existence. If I say “gold is yellow,” I speak of it not only as a thing, but as an existing thing. If I say “Fuimus Troes,” “fuit Ilion,” I speak of a thing, but as no longer existing. That is, belief is necessarily antecedent to all reasoning, first, of the affirmation in the premises; secondly, further, that the thing affirmed about is a thing, the word therefore conveying an objective idea to my mind. But more, the conclusion is never an object of belief, though in practical life it becomes so. It is a conclusion, a necessary consequence if the premises are true, involved really in them, and so a means of belief practically. But all that is affirmed is, not that the conclusion is true, but that it is involved in the premises and no more. What I believe or deny is what is in the premises. I say, “then so and so follows.” What I say is “must be” — “gold is yellow.” Then, I believe there is a thing called gold, and that it is yellow. I add, all yellow things are ugly. I believe that of yellow things; but gold is a yellow thing; consequently if these two propositions are believed, gold must be ugly too. But I infer the thing, because I have no direct evidence of the fact, or I should want no inference. I quite admit that practically it induces the belief if gold still exists, but I must believe this to turn the inference to a fact I believe.
I believe by experience or testimony, and by that only; I conclude from the nature of language and thought, which never goes into fact, because it is only the nature of thought, but supposes it, because I cannot have thought without an object thought of, a thing. When my knowledge arises from testimony, reasoning may help me as to the credibility of testimony from experience of the world and men and the like, from which I reason to the credibility; but what I believe is still the experience or the testimony. I believe that there is an innate consciousness of God—not an idea of God. Such as I have may be true or false as to many things I affirm about Him. I believe that He can make Himself known. This is experience. I believe that He has made Himself known in an external way, that is, by a revelation. But this is not a matter of inference, nor can it be, but of experience or testimony, supposing capacity to receive it. I may reason to banish the folly of false reasoning; but that appeals to facts, as all reasoning must. A conclusion must rest on premises, that is, on facts; but they are known by experience or testimony. And so even scripture speaks. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; and he that believeth not hath made God a liar.” That is experience and testimony. In conclusion, then, belief precedes logic always. If I say “gold is yellow,” I affirm two things—that is, believe them or present them for belief—that gold is, and is of a certain colour; but I have drawn no conclusion at all. There is no reasoning as yet whatever, no logic. It is what is stated as believed by experience or testimony. Mill’s statement is wholly and essentially wrong, and is the basis of his infidelity. And a very poor one it is, and only shews how very inaccurate and illogical a mind he has.
The extreme looseness and carelessness of the book is surprising. There is a kind of impudence in its character. “Truths are known to us in two ways: some directly and of themselves; some through the medium of other truths. The former are the subject of Intuition, or Consciousness,” Introduction, section 4; in the note he tells us others make a difference between the two: Intuition of objects external to our minds; Consciousness of our mental phenomena; but he uses them indiscriminately; and then he admits that something is known antecedent to all reasoning, but, if known, believed; then he gives being vexed yesterday as consciousness, whereas this is memory; by inference only, about what took place when we were absent, the events recorded in history, or the theorems of mathematics. The two former we infer from the testimony adduced; but this is not an inference at all, it is belief of the testimony, right or wrong, without any inference at all; or traces of what has happened. This may be called inference; but to put knowing what has happened by testimony, or theorems of mathematics, on the same ground of inference, is nonsense or impudence, or rather both. It is to get rid of knowledge by testimony, which he states thus: “Whatever we are capable of knowing must belong to the one class or to the other; must be in the number of the primitive data, or of the conclusions which can be drawn from these.” Now, I know it is cold at the poles, and that Constantinople is a city in Turkey. But it is not primitive data, nor a conclusion drawn from any such. People have told me so, which is neither one nor the other. This is not honest, that is the fact; and so to state it is impudence. It is convenient for infidelity.
I deny that logic judges anything but the justness of an inference; nor does it determine whether evidence has been found. It settles whether, the premises being given, the conclusion is just, and no more. Whether the premises are true is a question with which it has nothing to do, save as they may be a conclusion from prior reasoning. It only says, granting the premises, such a conclusion necessarily follows; that is all. It may use subsidiary helps, as definitions, divisions, etc.; but inference from is all it judges of—of truth, never. Hence the scholastic rule, “Contra negantem principia non disputandum est,” page 9.
In page 3 Mill says every author has a right to give whatever provisional definition he pleases of his own subject; but if the definition be false, he deceives from one end to the other, as all the reasoning depends on it. Thus in Milner’s End of Controversy, the author says, A rule of faith, or means of communicating Christ’s religion, and hence proves the Protestant rule of faith unfit to be such. It sounds all fair, the Bible being used to communicate religious knowledge; but a rule and a means of communicating are not the same thing, and his whole book is a fallacy, unanswerable in great part if the definition be let pass. A mother may communicate Christ’s religion, but she is no rule of faith. People have no right to deceive and mislead by a fraudulent or false definition, and this Mill does.8 Thus when Mill says testimony to a fact happening when we are absent, or a theorem of mathematics, are alike inference, he is deceiving his reader if he has not his eyes open to what he is about. So, when he says—for thus he uses his false division— “Whether God, and duty, are realities, the existence of which (p. 8) is manifest to us a priori by the constitution of our rational faculty; or whether our ideas of them are acquired notions,” etc., not of consciousness or intuition, but of evidence and of reasoning, it does not follow it is rational faculty or acquired notions. It is not necessarily nor really one or the other; nor are our ideas of them the same thing as their being realities; all is grossly loose. Nor is it the same either to say, “not of consciousness or intuition, but of evidence and reasoning.” For a priori rational faculty is not intuition or consciousness; and, so far from admitting the greater portion of our knowledge to be matter of inference, I deny that inference gives any true knowledge at all. It may be a help or a short end to get at what is sufficiently near it to act on, but it is never knowledge. I agree with Bain (p. 43), that to say such a smell or sound is not white, is nonsense; colour does not apply to either. It is astonishing what an inaccurate mind Mill has.
In page 7, “The science, therefore, which expounds the operations of the human understanding,” etc. What science is that? We have had none such spoken of. Here he speaks of it to exclude metaphysical inquiries from logic. Be it so, though it be difficult save as a mere examination of the laws of inference, at any rate from its subsidiary parts as definitions. But then logic is a science (page 2). Logic is a science— “the analysis of the mental process which takes place whenever we reason,” “a right understanding of the mental process itself, of the conditions it depends on, and the steps of which it consists.” Now, these two statements are contradictory to one another, only so vague, so indeterminate, that though one affirms and the other denies as to logic, a certain part of a general science not elsewhere named, it is impossible to say they do or do not so contradict one another. Still “a right understanding of the mental process itself” is pretty much the same as “expounds the operations of the human understanding,” and so far he plainly contradicts himself. Again, the whole book depends on the difference of intuition and logical inference, yet no one could tell from it what intuition is. Nay, it is carefully obscured by the statements in page 5: The object of logic is to know how we come by that portion of our knowledge which is not intuitive (whatever that is). Yet “logic neither observes, nor invents, nor discovers, but judges,” page 9. But judging is not coming to any part of knowledge, but ascertaining the accuracy of what’ is before my mind, eliminating what is not accurate. If logic discovers nothing, it is no way of coming to any knowledge. It is not practically true that it discovers nothing; it does not in fact or directly, but it does to my mind. I would dissuade a man from ascending Mont Blanc. Constant white is bad for the eyes, but snow is constant white: snow is bad for the eyes. This is very simple; the conclusion is, as often argued, involved in the premises, but it is not in my mind before, and in this sense I discover it. It is the means of putting two things together in my mind by means of a middle thing, which were not together there before. Everything is not so simple. Every man is an animal; all animals die; man dies. This is not exact knowledge; it involves man being a mere animal, and the second premise assumes that, and may be false if the first be absolutely true. It affirms that an animal necessarily and universally, in the sense in which it is used in the first premise, is subject to death, for that is what “die “means here; and in the absolute sense I may combat both premises. This makes the statement of two names for one thing, as Hobbes, evidently false. Man may be an animal as to qualities which make anything such; but if all other animals die, he may be exempt from it. It states that man and death are colimitaneous, of which we have no proof; though a matter of general observation, which is in general sufficient for conduct, but it is never truth in itself. This could be met by denying the major, that all animals die. Death is not a quality necessary to constitute anything an animal. If it were nothing else, it assumes that what has happened constantly always must happen, which is not necessarily true. There may be impeding causes. Man may have to act on it in the world in which he does observe, but it is never truth.
As regards “relative” and “relationship” (p. 45), Mill’s adopted statement is poverty and superficiality itself. It has nothing to do with a series of events. They may be the fundamentum relationis, but cannot be the relation itself. Relative or relation is merely that a thing is before the mind in relation or reference to something else, not simply in itself, and in what it is related. Where this is an important and constant reference, there is very commonly a word expressing it, as subject, son, father. And even the verb is so used. I say, relatively to Asia, India is a small tract of land, but relatively to England a very large one, and so on. That dissertation relates to political, not physical, geography. Hence more widely; he related to me his history. (This may be from another etymological sense of the word.) At any rate relative is when, in thinking of anything or speaking of anything, my mind or even the word refers to something besides that of which I think or speak, and states, where it is a relative word, the nature of the reference: what I said related to such an one, that is, referred to him. Hence a relative word is one which expresses this reference, as “son” makes me think of “father,” “subject” of “king” or other ruling authority, “citizen” of “state.” But the thought as to the two is not the same as Mr. Mill asserts. The fact is not the same, not even in father and son. One is the attribute of paternity, the other of filiality. Begetting is only the way it is formed; father is not a series of events, but present reference to what he is towards a son. Begetting, in man’s case at any rate, is the cause of that, but not it, for it is continuous and begetting is not. Begetting is not the relationship at all. It is over before the relationship begins. So in king and subject. Subjection is thought of when I say subject, and in the subject; authority in the king, when I say king. And here by what events he got it has nothing to do with the matter. It may be birth, conquest, election: the relation is in all cases consequent on an event if referring to it. It is a character in one which refers to another, and is a link or tie in thought to them. Mill’s account is degrading and false too, for the series of events must be finished before the relationship begins. But it gives him the opportunity of denying all moral character to it; whereas relationship in living beings gives duties and affections according to the nature of the being. There is no relationship of this kind between an apple-tree sprung from a pippin and the tree the pippin came from. The kind, if according to nature, may be the same. So that if I say apple, I suppose an apple-tree, but there is no subsisting tie or link formed by God. In mere animals this is merely animal as long as the necessities of animal nature require it, but that is all.
Where there is a moral nature, there is a moral relationship according to it. Husband and wife are that. It means a relationship in which the formed tie is to be maintained according to its nature. I quite admit that this is outside logic; but then all duties and right affections, all thoughts and ideas connected with the relationship are outside logic; that is, everything that man is as a moral being. Hence no rationalist has ever found a basis of morality. Conscience, happily, is often better than logic; but one time it is general utility, another following nature, and other things. It is wholly and only living up to the relationships we are placed in. Yet Mill says (p. 8) nearly the whole of human conduct is amenable to the authority of logic. Logic has nothing good or bad to do with it. Nor is it, as he says, the science of evidence. Logic has nothing to do with it. There is no science of evidence. There is observation of human nature, and the motives which govern it, which help to ascertain whether evidence is reliable. But he carefully obscures this word, as he does others. I must say, to seek to defeat truth. Evidence or testimony has on the face of it nothing to do with proof by inference (see note, p. 5), but he obscures this point too. There testimony is spoken of, and as to this it is said (p. 9), logic does not find evidence. Then we have the evidence of consciousness. But is the testimony of another evidence, supposing it proved credible, or thought so? Find it out from Mr. Mill if you can. It would open a door to faith on adequate testimony, without reasoning or inference, and that would be intolerable.
From what I have said of constancy of link or tie, another distinction arises as to relative words and relation. There are many relative words where there is no relation. Thus, robber is a relative word, but you cannot speak of a relationship between them, nor have you a word for him who is thought of in the relative word. I say lessor, that is a subsisting relation, and I have lessee. I rather think, at any rate it is so in many cases; the relative word, where there is only one, exists where the character abides in that one, specially in the active and passive, -er, -or, and -ee. At any rate, where the relative character subsists, there is a relation in common language. Where not, there may be a relative word. Where the relative word expresses a relation, it is never an event or series of events. The assertion is merely an effort to put a pig and a man on the same level, and deny subsisting relationship and duty. (See p. 8, sec. 4.) All active words are relative, but there is generally no relationship.
As regards page 49, the only thing logical proof does is to shew that the conclusion, which I have not yet admitted, is contained in the premises, which I have, though of course in reasoning I may deny them. All that is believed is what is stated in the premises, upon whatever ground it may be, consciousness, sight, experience, or previous proof even. The statement implies and means to say that formal proof, as afforded by logic, is that which produces belief, or makes it tantamount.9 I believe what I am conscious of, have by intuition, which he admits is no part of logic. I would add experience of what goes on outside us, and, I add, testimony to facts which are not properly propositions, though as to some of course they may be so stated, but are believed, not by logical proof. So that, if a proposition or assertion be made of it, there is no logical proof, it is believed by sight or testimony.
All he says as to this is radically false. Nor can existence as a fact be said to be two things, one predicated about another, like qualities. When I say “the sun exists,” as we have seen, unless the thought “now” be introduced, it is not affirming a second thing about a first, but that the first “is,” which is involved in saying the sun. For if no sun’s existence is before the mind, I cannot say “the sun” as we have seen. Introducing the idea of time “was” or “now is” is another thing affirmed about it, when I recognise it as a thing, that is, mentally its existence. Even if I say “the sun was,” I say nothing about it; there is no attribute attached to it.
If I say such a man is a good man, it is a proposition, but the facts of his life shew it. My testimony may be believed. I may make a conclusion of it, as he who does so-and-so is a good man, but he does so-and-so; he is a good man, then. That he does so-and-so is believed; there is no logical inference, if I say he does so-and-so as the proof: it is merely defining goodness if I put it in a proposition to infer from it. That is what I mean by goodness; the acts experienced prove the heart of the man, not logic. If I say, he who does so-and-so is a good man; A does so-and-so; he is a good man; I turn it into a logical form; but what I know and believe is that A does so-and-so, from experience or testimony, and that is the proof of his goodness; the first premise is merely what I mean by goodness, or at least the testimony of what I mean by goodness experimentally to my mind. His doing so-and-so, not logic, proves goodness; the facts do, if what I mean by goodness is proved by them; but a definition is not an inference. When I say good, I mean something without any inference at all; the facts that shew it are no inference, but I believe the goodness because of them. But all this is a vital principle. The statement is tacit infidelity, as all that went before is. Belief is not by logical proof, never even. The things believed are in the premises, as I have said; and besides, consciousness and intuition, and, I add, testimony, are grounds of belief. The two first, he admits, are no part of logic; the latter he shirks.
Mill’s inaccuracy of mind certainly unfits him to write on logic. In his Categories, page 55, feeling is a state of consciousness. This is false really, and according to the next sentence. There, it is said, “Everything is a feeling of which the mind is conscious “; but then I am conscious of the feeling, and the two things are distinct, which they are. Feeling is an effect produced in me by some external cause. I am conscious of this. In consciousness there is a reflex activity of “I” as to what I feel. I take cognisance of it. When I say “I am,” I introduce an activity of “I” about something. “The mind is conscious,” that is, the mind (or “I” mentally) is in operation about something; that something produces the feeling.
Let it be colour supposed in the object, or the effect of it on my mind if I am so to take it, is an object of which I take notice. But if it be “of which,” it is not the state of consciousness I am in about it. If the language of philosophy is no more accurate than this, it had better not set about to teach. The division, too, lower down, is false; for thought is as large as feeling if it embraces everything we are conscious of; only here he has proved what I have said above. We think and so have the consciousness, and the red colour is something we think of. The whole statement is the utmost confusion and inaccuracy of statement.
I doubt too the accuracy of distinguishing imaginary objects from the thoughts of them; because they exist only in the mind, and what exists there, and only there, is a thought. I may so connect it with other things as to give it a thought reality, as with yesterday and eating the loaf, or the plant and the bud; but the thing itself is only a thought. There is no object in the mind save the thought itself. Existence may be added to the thought by circumstances, but the thought is all there is. His distinction of sound and colour (p. 56) as being, or not, a name of the sensation, is all groundless. I think of the sound in a trumpet as well as in my ear, and the colour in the object as well as in my eye. There is no name of sensation distinct from what produces it. It is merely the nature of sight connecting it more sensibly with the object. A trumpet and sound are two things, because the sound is produced, not in the trumpet. Whereas in a white box I conceive the white as always in it, not being produced in it as sound.
What is in page 57 is the same confusion we have spoken of, confounding consciousness with the feeling we are conscious of. If I am hurt in my body and feel it, say pain in my hand, my mind is not pained. That is quite a different thing. My mind is conscious of the pain, but that is not the pain itself. How it comes by nerves is another question. But I may be conscious of a mental sensation or a bodily one, and these are not the same. As to the perception of an external object, no doubt what I am conscious of is the sensation produced in me. But I judge it comes from a given body; for where the action of that is intercepted, the sensation is not there. But this is judgment. But we have certainty of the relative existence of material objects, because they make the action of my will impossible. I cannot walk through a wall. It is not feeling or touch, but my purpose in hindered. But this is only relative, as some other being may be able—I believe, can.
Page 59 is all inaccurate. Some do and some do not. Sovereign and subject do not. “Physician” does not, it is hardly a relative term. Some are a single act, as mortgagor and mortgagee, and with others suppose a title, as sovereign, and no acts. All is utterly inaccurate, but mortgagor and mortgagee connote nothing about a court of justice. The want of accuracy of his mind is puerile. Indeed, superficiality marks the book.
As to substances, I admit that what the mind takes notice of passes in it. Yet, as I have said, material resistance of matter, where my will works, proves the existence relatively to me of matter. It is not a sensation; it is a fact. Thus, when Mill on relation speaks of the judge’s dealing with a debtor as only a sensation, supposing he had the debtor put in prison, it is not merely a sensation. Prison means being shut up, so that, sensation or no sensation, you cannot get out. You are a prisoner. Your body is shut in. But further, if white be only a sensation, it may exist without saying “of.” I can think of whiteness without an object, and have the sensation, though more dimly perhaps; in a dream quite as vividly, which, however complex, is only sensation. Next, if I say “it produces,” I affirm a quality; let it be intuition, or habits of thought and language formed experimentally. When I say snow is white, I have as much the thought of snow as of whiteness. It is defined unexceptionably, he tells us; the external cause to which we ascribe our sensations. Well then (be it that I am so constituted, as the way of explaining it, to which I do not at all except), I have the thought in my mind of an external cause, as well as of that which is the particular sensation or attribute. The sensation in my mind gives me the thought of an external cause, as well as of whiteness or any other attribute. I can say “red snow”; but, red or white, my thought of snow is distinct therefore from my thought of red or white. And I have this thought. So if I say snow is white and paper is white; objects are in my mind, call them bodies, external cause, or what you like, as well as whiteness. When I say external cause, I speak of something, but of what is other than the effect it produces. Cause and effect are not the same.
Nor is it the same thing really to say opium puts me to sleep, and to say it has soporific virtues. One affirms the fact as true; the other positively asserts, rightly or wrongly, a quality existing in opium as a universal fact about opium. Nor is it true that a man having no child, I do not call him father merely; he is not a father. This is false, and the whole comment on it is beating about the bush. I do not talk scholastically of substance and attributes. It is a mere ideal abstraction. But an external cause of a sensation and a sensation are not the same thing. And I judge rightly that, if an object always produces a sensation, and in its absence it is not produced, but by an effort of mind having been received, there is what men call an external cause. I may know that it is a mere effect of the reflection of light from a given body, but there is an external cause, be that cause scientifically what it may. I knock my shin against a stone, I have the sensation of pain; pain is not a stone. You will tell me it comes from muscles. Well, pain is not muscles, but a sensation through an effect produced by the stone on the muscles conveyed by the nerves. But whatever the cause, it is not the sensation caused. Further, I doubt the justness of the statement— “to the senses nothing is apparent but the sensations.” This is not correct. They produce the sensation, or rather it is produced in them, and the mind takes cognisance of it. The external cause acts on the senses, and, by these, causes, produces the sensation, which, I readily admit, the consciousness of my mind notices (page 63). If I know only my sensations, I cannot conceive an object but by them, nor, consequently, their non-existence. I may conceive the others without one of them supplanted by a different one; but I cannot conceive no conception. Hence the whole argument has no ground at all, and for sensation there could be no residuum when the absence of the sensations is supposed. It proves nothing but that there is no sensation when there is none. I have already noticed sensations apparent to senses as a fallacy.
The proof of the existence of matter is elsewhere, and untouched, excluding other matter, and obstructing my will; that is, it exists relatively to me. If there is an external cause, no matter what you call it. But here also is a mistake. The materiality is not the cause of the sensations. There are external causes commonly called qualities or attributes. Of these I can only say there is a cause of something which produces the sensation. The substratum is not, as such, the cause of them, unless it be touch, which in one aspect is the perception of matter. Nature of the thing (p. 65) is too vague to have any value in reasoning. “Nature of” generally means qualities. The existence of matter for me is known; its nature is to hinder progress of other matter, as my body. Beyond this “nature” conveys no idea at all.
I can only know what affects “I.” So that the word has no meaning; I can only know it by “I,” that is, by my power of knowledge. “I” is necessarily the limit of “I’s” knowledge by the power of “I.” Only I may be acted on by a power above or beyond “I.” But Cousin is wrong; for if there was no “sujet sentant, on ne peut pas dire qu’ils agiraient encore.” There would be nothing affected, and I can suppose them physically inert. To conceive them existing, moreover, there is a conceiving power, and, if by acting I mean in a being conscious of it, it involves the consciousness also, and it must be mine, or I know nothing about it. I cannot think of a consciousness I have not got; if I realise it, I have it. Hence all Cousin’s argument falls through. I cannot say “agiraient autrement,” for I cannot conceive “autrement” than I conceive. All this really means the powers I have cannot go beyond themselves, which is the meaning of the word “power”; but that I am made so as to be acted on, and in this I go no farther than I am acted on. I am conscious of it. That is not the being acted on, feeling, but my perceptions of it. Of course that ends in itself, save that, when acted on, something acts on me, for it is not constant. Of this I am conscious, but only in that in which it acts on me. I am in a relative state, and it exists in that in which it acts on me, relatively to me. The result is really this: I am in relationship with a scene around me, and outwardly part of it, formed to act on certain sensibilities I have, with a mind which takes notice of the sensation produced—is conscious of it by taking notice of it. But this does not go farther than the attributes or qualities which then by long habit and constitution we attribute to the object which so acts.
This is not a logical conclusion, nor merely long experience. A child tries to take hold of an object which it sees; it may measure wrong, but seeks the object; so even does a dog when attracted to it. Matter is not perceived abstractedly, but something known sensitively by its attributes or qualities. But matter is proved by its resistance to other matter and my will; for I, having a material body, as well as senses and mind, am in relation to matter as disabling my will from doing what it seeks. Matter is obstructive. But all this is only my relationship with a world, of which, in this respect, I form a part. But then, note, this only recognises a material sensible world, subject to me in thought, if not in fact. I discover it and its qualities, and its materiality, but no more. It is pure materialism in the limits of thought. If I go no farther, all action on me other than on my senses, or material obstruction to my will, is ignored or denied. There can in the nature of things be no morality, no influence even of a stronger mind on mine.
As to the knowledge of God, or any idea of Him (though idea is an incorrect word), it is impossible, because He is not the object of sense or physical obstruction of will. But this is false upon the face of it, because men have an idea of God, not an object of senses or material. I do not go so far as to say this is a proof that He exists, though this may be strongly urged, and has been, for I think the true knowledge of God is mainly at any rate from another source or inlet; but I say that it proves all this and other metaphysics wrong, because men have, not exactly an idea, for it is not from sense or physically obstructed will, but an apprehension of God for which this system gives no place. I do not say how they got it, but they have it, and that these systems fail to account for moral qualities, goodness, love to a parent, authority, right and wrong, which are in our minds, but do not enter into this account of names or things at all.
Mill is so very inaccurate and careless, correcting others only by inaccuracy of mind, that save for this he is hardly worth reading. He says thus (p. 88), we affirm that something is not, which is absurd on the face of it, for if I can say something, I cannot say it is not. I can take a supposed being; there is a griffin, or a dodo; and deny the proposition. There is not, etc. A particular quality may be denied of something. We say it familiarly.
The true word is, there is not anything, or no such thing. If it be merely a predicated quality, then it is a positive affirmation about the subject. “Maoris are not black.” This affirms something about Maoris. What? not black. But the secret of this is, he has settled that a copula “is “is another word than “is” exists. But though modified by the predicated quality, it is still the identically same “is.” It means not that the subject is simply (that is, exists), but that the quality exists, or does not exist in that subject. But it is always affirmation, or supposition, of existence of something. Where “not” is placed, I am quite indifferent.
Again he says we know mortality by one death as by number. This is an utter blunder. I know death as well, but not mortality, which means that men are liable to death. For men mortality is an inference to universality from multiplied experience; where one man’s death does not prove that at all.
I have already said his division of feeling is wholly false, for either thought is a mere sensation (and he confounds consciousness, and what we are conscious of), or it is an active exercise of mind, and not a feeling. Volition is not a feeling, unless I confound consciousness, and what I am conscious of. Matter gives us no sensations (unless the pain of a blow be so called, save obstructing the will, of which he does not speak); attributes or qualities do. So that the unknown body is not the cause of our sensations; for, were it so, it would be known by them. I know white and black. The substratum is assumed to exist as sustaining these so-called inherent qualities, but it produces no sensations.
As to mind, I am conscious of knowing, not merely receiving a sensation, but of activity about them. So far I know it. Saying “unknown recipient” (p. 68) means nothing, or supposes it to be an object sensible so as to form an idea, really assuming objective materialism in it (which denies its nature, which is thinking). To say recipient is equally false, as leaving out the principal distinctive part of it. Mind is known in its own consciousness. It knows itself not objectively, but consciously; and recipiency is not its principal character. I am so constituted as to receive impressions of objects, but this is not properly mind, which begins when I begin to judge of the impression, or go on farther. Mind (and other capacities) may be acted on by higher mind, but this is another point.
I add, in page 68 there is the usual looseness. Myself cannot be my mind, because my mind supposes myself distinct from mind, and mind to be something I possess.
As to attributes (p. 69) there are no other states of consciousness, which is the knowledge of attributes, but sensations. They may produce pleasure, but that is not knowledge of an attribute. Relation I have already spoken of. He is all wrong. “Father “has nothing to do with any fact or phenomenon. You can only say we are so constituted as to have a sense of the relationship. Of my being generated I know nothing, and I am a child only after all that is over. I did not exist till it was. It was a relationship with one by whom I was begotten.
As to present facts, the accomplishment of them all would not make a man a father, nor produce the sense of the relationship. Filiality, as in the mind, is a part of our nature, and even of animal nature, as far as it goes. We are so made. In a large class of relations the acting of a cause produces a relationship, but it is not the relationship itself. This is a state in which one is toward another, not what caused that state. Those not such are quantity.
I have spoken of propositions. A word on their nature (page 94). I do not admit that “man is mortal “is the same thing as “every man is mortal.” The last is a fact as to every individual, the former an assertion as to his nature, which is quite a different proposition. So as to wine or food, it has nothing to do with quantity; it affirms something of the nature or quality. Food is necessary, or metal is requisite, is a thing characterised by that word. It is food, it is metal— that thing.
Assent is merely that I make the proposition mine, and affirm it. “Mahomet is the apostle of God.” My assent is merely that my mind too says so. If I say “No, he is not,” I reject it, I disaffirm it. If I do not know, it is left as no proposition in my mind about it. The looseness of Mill is inconceivable. In page 93 “general name” is used without a word of what that means. In page 97 we have “these theories “without any distinct theories having been mentioned. Again, “a golden mountain” is no proposition at all. I do not see any difficulty in seeing what the mind does in believing. I affirm the proposition. I say “gold is yellow.” Propositions are not assertions about two things, and this contradicts his whole previous system that attributes are never anything but our conceptions; substance or body, an external thing that causes them. When I say gold is yellow, I affirm that gold is the external cause of the sensation of yellow in my mind. When I say Mahomet is or is not the apostle of God, I affirm or deny what ‘apostle of God’ represents in my mind of the person Mahomet. The predicate is always a conception of the mind, not a thing; the subject is a real or supposed object. If I say a centaur is a fiction of the poets, fiction of the poets is what I conceive as characteristic of it; but centaur is a real thing; not an animal, but I speak of a real thing, a description in the poets. And of that which does exist in that description, I affirm that it is a fiction; what I think of is not an animal, but a description, which I affirm to be a fiction. Further, my belief has not reference to things as he states. The impression made by that outward thing upon the human organs has not, save as a simple sensation in the mind, anything to do with the matter. He denies his previous teaching. And if a sensation, it is his conception of gold.
The whole of this (p. 97) denies what is previously taught. He does not believe a fact in saying yellow, but a conception in his mind; for nothing else, he has told us, is meant by yellow. Besides, what does he believe?—a fact relative to the outward thing gold, or to the impression made by it? Two distinct things, the former of which he has stoutly denied before. (See pp. 67, 69, and 70.) We assert simply that we have a particular sensation (page 98). Digging is not a proposition; so that is all nonsense. When I say “fire causes heat,” I do say that the thing called fire causes a sensation in me. Yet I admit that logic is not concerned in belief, but in shewing that the conclusion is contained in what is believed already, namely, the two premises. But then he is wrong altogether. I inquire neither into what believing is nor into the thing believed, but into the conclusions being rightly contained in the premises. If I take the simple proposition, the only question is, Do I affirm it in my mind? Does my mind say “gold is yellow”? Of this evidence alone is the ground, and this has nothing to do with logic. The question is, Does or does not gold produce in men’s minds the sensation called yellow? That is a question of fact, the effect of something in the mind; and I cannot begin arguing till that is settled. This may be a conclusion drawn to start afresh with as true; but it always starts from what is believed on evidence, and when it is a fact that is believed, logic has nothing to do with it—cannot in its nature. He confounds assent or belief with the evidence of truth.
Hobbes is wrong, because the quality is not the name of the thing which has it. Man, if six feet high, is not called by the name six feet high; one is not capable of being called by the other. Logically, it would make the predicate of an affirmative proposition universal, which it is not. White is not connotative. It attributes the quality whiteness to any given object, and connotes nothing. If I think of white without an object, I can only think of whiteness, and white is the form of word which attributes this to any object. (See p. 104, sec. 3.) Snow is white. I think only of snow, and the sensation it gives me. Hobbes’s mistake is in calling wise a name of Socrates, as if they embraced the same extent. It is a quality of Socrates, but may be affirmed of a thousand other things, or else we could say, wise is Socrates (page 102). But the explanation of connotation is extremely confused (page 31).
So, in page 102, it is not the attributes connoted by man which are mortal at all; they are not necessarily accompanied by the attribute mortal. It is the man in whom they are who is mortal. Man may have all the attributes of a man, except mortality, or many of the same attributes be found in one who is not a man. Hence, he speaks of objects possessing the attributes, which falsifies all his statements. When man suggests or connotes a number of attributes which make up the idea, mortality is another attribute I add to these, but not another name for the united attributes which go to make up the name man. It is not a name of man, but of one of his attributes. The predicate is one attribute of the subject, but, if it have become the name of a class, the class is formed of all that have attribute. “Plato is a philosopher” only says, Plato has the quality so predicated of him; but if men have agreed to make a class of all possessing that quality, the word puts him in that class. If I say a potato is a solanum, deadly night-shade is a solanum. It merely in each case attributes a quality or qualities; but men have agreed, rightly or wrongly, to classify a set of plants by having that quality or qualities. It is not the name which makes them a class, but the common possession of the quality expressed by the name. If I call a monopetalous flower, possessing certain other phenomena of form, a solanum, whatever has these forms is a solanum; the name only states it has. If I say a dog barks, does not mew, barking is not a class, because barking, as a fact, does not make a class, because the thing does not characterise sufficiently other individuals to bring them together in my mind. See further on this point more clearly and fully discussed. I affirm (p. 105) that the object did already belong to the class, though I did not know of it. A single sensible attribute does not make a class, and some classes are in nature, indeed, all really; but many may be formed for scientific convenience which are not obvious classes, as pig, ox, horse are, metal even. If the diamond is combustible, it always was combustible; all the difference was the ignorance of men. Combustible means what can be burnt; and that was always true of diamond, though man, through his ignorance, could not say so.
The more I read on these points, the clearer it is to me that we are created in a system of which, corporeally and in our natural faculties, we form a part; consequently all our competency of perception and conception is within the limits and necessarily so, of the system of which we form part. We may be mentally a more reflective, and so superior, part. I do not speak here of what connects us with the Divinity, but of our natural faculties. We may have superior powers of reflection as to what we perceive, but our perceptions are all of it and necessarily according to it, for we are part of it. And if I can say, as a matter of proof, that what is material exists, I can for that reason, as already said, only know it relatively. My reflective powers create a difficulty, because I know it is an image on the retina I perceive, not the object directly. The dog sees by an object on his retina, and has no difficulty, but seizes a man or a piece of beef, and he is right; and if nothing hinders, he succeeds, and defends his master from a robber, or satisfies his hunger. So does man; but he is not quite sure it is a man or a piece of beef he sees, rather sure it is not, because he is wise. But the whole truth is, that all is relatively true, most of the accounting for it is nonsense; but we belong to a system, and can only think in it. For after all I do not see an image on the retina any more than the object which produces it. It is only an object, and the conception formed in my mind is only that I am created (or, if that offends, constituted) so to perceive; and objects in the same creation or world around me are constituted to produce the impression with which mind occupies itself, no more to be accounted for than the impression produced.
We are so constituted (that is the whole matter), and confined to the constituted system we belong to, only perhaps to rule it. Hence language cannot get out of it, for we think and so speak according to this constitution. And these wiseacres cannot get out of it. Substance is something that causes a sensation. Is it then something or not? You only know the sensation, a point further as to your reflective powers of analysis and reasoning. But you must say “something.” Try and do without it. Just so of attributes, only another kind of something. You have got sensations; you are so constituted. Something produces it. The system you are in is so constituted. But you have a will as well as sensations. And with the best will in the world a man in a secure dungeon cannot get out. He has, no doubt, the sensation of the door and walls. But he has more—a will wholly arrested, because as to his body he is of the same system as the wall, and, thief or philosopher, he cannot get out. The dog is in the same plight; as to this he is part of the same system. Only the philosopher, seeing we know only sensations, tells me I have no knowledge that a wall is there, or conceals his ignorance on the same ground by saying substance is “something” which produces a sensation.
But I will follow yet some details.
All seems to me confusion and inaccuracy in page 98. Heat, we have been told, is only known as a sensation in me. Now it is not my idea of heat, but heat itself. If heat is in the fire, the fire does not cause it; if in other objects, the whole sentence is obscure.
But, to turn to the import of propositions in page 112, I deny that in a noumenon they affirm causation. If I say Socrates, I think of a person existing, but not of his causing anything. If I say John Brown lives in Brentford, I am not thinking of a cause of anything. The definition is false. If I say a stone, as believing the existence of matter as a noumenon, I do not think of its causing anything. If I go on and add its attributes—hardness, compactness, weight, form, whatever else—these are phenomena known by sensation, not as noumena at all. Sameness is not resemblance. Resemblance supposes a difference in something, but certain phenomena in the objects alike. Two perfectly white things have the same colour, they resemble each other in that, but that supposes other phenomena in which they do not. There may be perfect likeness, if the object itself be known to be different, as a portrait, or two brothers. But in some way the objects are known to be different.
Next, all is confusion as to what he says of a class. A class is where many objects, different in a number of qualities, have some characteristic ones the same, and in this sense essential ones, so that a common name is given to them. To call snow, as he does, a class, is just nonsense. It is one thing, though a general name for repeated cases of that one thing existing. But when I say man is mortal, I do not speak of a class at all, though the word may imply it if such a class be known. I affirm of man the quality which makes him a member of the class designated by it, if such a class be known. Some predicates are merely a quality, as mortal; others are a class already formed, as animal. But there is another thing to be noted here. Very often, in predicating a quality which may form a class, I predicate only as regards the subject partially, if the subject be a compound idea. I speak only according to the phenomena.
Thus, “man is a corporeal being” does not mean wholly so for one who believes he has a soul distinct from his body. Corporeal means he has a body, which is true, but not that the body is the whole of man, or a different name for the same thing. It only affirms that man has that quality. So man is mortal, that is, he naturally dies. Only that quality is affirmed of him. What else there may be of him, or may not be, nothing is said about. The class is merely by having a body, or dying as a being here; and, so far as regards that quality, he belongs to the class distinguished by it, but no more. If I say man is a corporeal being, but man is one person, composed of body and soul, but all corporeal beings are divisible, therefore souls are divisible as well as bodies, it is sophistry; and here logical forms are justly used to detect it, because corporeal applies simply to the fact of having a body. Here the sophistry is evident; it identifies soul and body, which I have therefore expressly added, which possession of a body, though it classifies man, does not. It is not using the class, but affirming the quality of man, which, if there be such a class, puts him in it, as to the point expressed in the quality.
Now snow is not a class, because it is not a quality predicable of different objects which can be so qualified; snow is an object, and is snow. But then, though Mill has partly stated what I have insisted on above, by want of distinguishing, in fact, he has misapprehended the matter. White is a primary sensation, and indeed hardly makes a class; but the great mass of class words are not so, they are experimentally formed, and the quality experimental, not sensational, or at least scientific discovery of like qualities known by sensation so as to form classes. Hence, though the proposition only affirms the possession of a quality, the quality is as used a general one formed by experiment. Thus, diamond is combustible; combustible means simply can be burned by heat, a word invented on discoveries of what could be consumed by heat. When I say snow is white, white is a simple sensation, though it can in certain cases classify where sensations of colours are in question; but combustible, though a mere quality, is not a primarily sensible one, but a class word. That a diamond is so was not yet discovered, but combustibility was, and by discovery a diamond to be such. So mortal is properly still more a class. When applied to a class, man or all men, it is only a conclusion drawn from all we know dying, affirming that men are naturally all subjected to it, as animals also are. They cease to be in this state of existence; and what is quasi-universal is felt to be necessary. It is strictly a class experimentally formed.
A man might die, and I could not say man is mortal. It might be only criminals, or only good people, or only man in some circumstances died, till I found the contrary. Thus some classes are formed, and the only inquiry is, if the individual belongs to it. It can hardly be strictly said so of mere sensible qualities; but belonging to a class even in this case is very often the only important point where the sensible quality connotes some other which constitutes the major. Snow is white, but white dazzles the eye—snow dazzles the eye. But I cannot say, as he alleges, gold is a metal, if there are no others, unless certain various qualities combined are agreed to be called metal; but words are not so formed but by the experiment of several having certain qualities, coherence, weight, ductility, etc. It may so happen, as “Christians are men,” and men from singular qualities being alone; but then it is not a class, but observed unity in these qualities. It is a word representing a definition only.
But when I say such a thing is white (p. 116), it is not resemblance. When the name was first given, however this was, it meant that sensation; and when I say a thing is white, I merely say it produces that sensation; it connotes nothing nor any resemblance. My mind may go on to this (page 117). I doubt the possibility of the co-existence of two states of consciousness. As I always find in a thing attributes which cause certain sensations, and pass instantaneously from one to another, I conclude their simultaneous co-inherence. It is not, therefore, simultaneity in time, but a conclusion to coexistence in what produces the different sensations; hence that they are all constantly there.
In page 119, “thoughtlessness is dangerous” is not the same as thoughtless actions; one is a state of mind or character, the other the effect of these. The latter may be actually fatal. Thoughtlessness is dangerous because it tends to these; when the act is there, it is over, and the danger passed in ruin, mischief, or escape. Nor are any of his propositions in this page the same. “Prudence is a virtue,” states what prudence is. Prudent persons, etc., affirms something of persons, and may be taken as a conclusion drawn from the other. The attachment of the virtue to a person is different from something being a virtue; and this indeed he goes on to shew. Nor can I say in so far as they are prudent, for, as he says, prudence in a wicked man is no benefit to society at all. But then all his reasoning about it and equivalents is confusion. Prudent persons or acts are no way the same thing as prudence. Prudence is a good thing always in itself; when you pass into persons or acts, the whole matter is changed. A prudent act or person may be pure mischief, and more mischief by being prudent, because acts or persons introduce other things besides prudence into the thought, and what is good per se may lose its goodness when connected with something else mixed with it or using it. I use it now merely to shew that such are not equivalent propositions. Even whiteness as a colour is not the same as the sensation of white; for whiteness is the supposed producer of the sensation, and not the sensation itself. If I say whiteness is not to be attained or produced, it is not the same as to say the sensation of white is not.
I return to page 104. What he says here is all wrong, because when I say snow is white, I assume the known class white already gathered up from various objects. The conception of white does not follow the judgments, but, white being known, I know by the conception various objects are so. Now white is a class for me, and so I use it in the proposition, because white connotes other things which I want to affirm of snow, which forms my minor. Thus, snow is white, but white dazzles the eye—snow dazzles the eye. Classes are made by attributing certain qualities to various objects common to them all, and not to other objects, as I say metal. And the objects with the line drawn round them by this word “metal” belong to the class, and, materially speaking, form it. I cannot say, till I have made a class by the conceptions contained in it, gold is metal. I say gold is heavy, malleable, ductile, etc.: when I say so is platinum, silver, etc., I then have a name including these or other qualities, and call those having them “metals “as a class.
It may be one attribute, as white, but one attribute hardly forms a class from its being only a single conception, and it is simply a repetition of the same conception, not a class of objects which has received a distinct common name so as to form them into a class, as metal. If I say white is pleasant, it is really whiteness, and not a class, but a single conception. If I say white flowers are beautiful, I classify them, because I have a selection of objects combined into one set by themselves, and so a class. For a class is a class of some things distinguished from others which might by certain common qualities be confounded with them, but are distinguished by others peculiar to a certain number of them. He is wrong in saying (p. 115) it does not retain the same meaning. It does, but another individual is brought into the class because it has the qualities which form the meaning of that class word. It did belong to that class, but we did not know it. This is unintelligent: and the framers of language did and do what he says is so absurd, as when they said metal. If other metals have been discovered, that is, things having the qualities embraced in the name, that alters nothing. We may, of course, from fuller knowledge of qualities, change or improve classification. Common distinguishing qualities make a class. A mere single conception of sense, to say the least, is a bad class word; because it does not combine by adequate resemblance in what is peculiar what distinguishes things from others generally like them so as to be confounded. Connected with other analogous things it may; nor can it be said it cannot form a class. Classification is “an arrangement and grouping of definite and known individuals.”
Pages 108-9 are also false, because when I say all men are mortal, it is true that I speak of men as known by the attributes expressed by the word. But this is only the phenomenon presented to sense or matter of evidence. Hence I can only say that the connotation is of men as phenomenal here. Hence, really the subject of the proposition is taken strictly in its extension, not in all it does or may connote—all men who are the subject of my observation of men in general down here; and hence it is absolutely necessary to bring in extension strictly, for so only it is true. It is thought of only through the “intension” or attributes; but this only includes ordinary phenomenal man, and can only apply to those whom I know or see; that is, the proposition is true only as taken in extension. Add here, the proposition is only a conclusion from a particular to a universal, for the only phenomenon I have is death, not mortality. The extent of the class, therefore, is “apprehended and indicated directly”; for if I say man from phenomena or attributes, I take in only what is phenomenal. All the cases of ordinary phenomenal man we have seen have died; therefore phenomenal man is subject to death; the phenomenon has accompanied the other phenomena, but this strictly brings in extension. Phenomenal men are all that we speak of, and speak of all of them as such.
As to his minuter analysis (p. 119) of “prudence is a virtue,” all is as usual vague and unsatisfactory. It gives definitions of virtue which are no equivalents at all; a virtue is not equivalent to a mental quality, etc. Just now prudence was equivalent to prudent persons or actions; they are not a mental quality. Nor is virtue a mental quality. Virtue gives a whole class and order and principle of conduct in spite of difficulties, and when he says a mental quality because prudence is one, he confounds the subject and predicate, because the definition must give the whole of what is defined; and if I say a mental quality, virtue is only one mental quality and if prudence is that, there is no other. His statement is that a mental quality is equivalent to or a definition of virtue—can take its place. But, further, it is not a cause of God’s approval but the object of it, whatever causes Him so to approve it; nor, though it is not so thoroughly false, is a quality beneficial. Still beneficial refers to what the beneficial thing causes; approval is a state of mind in another caused by the motives which govern it. What he states of the ground or foundation of the prudence is the prudence itself. If these things are in a man, I say he is prudent, because they are prudence. But if no conduct follows, nothing is beneficial. What he calls facts or phenomena which are the ground of the attribute are no facts or phenomena, save as prudence itself is one. The whole statement is in the highest degree unsatisfactory. When I say “prudence is a virtue,” I give a character to prudence, without any facts, phenomena, sequence, co-existence, causation, or resemblance whatever. He admits it does not involve any conduct; consequently there is nothing caused by it. When I say beneficial, I suppose some activity towards others, or deliberate abstinence from it in which others are concerned. Whereas prudence is merely an abstract quality, and I declare it a good one without any facts or phenomena.
But there is a use of logic flowing from classification which I must notice.10 A main distinctive feature is taken to form an under-class or species, that is, the under-class is made by it of a wider class (or genus), and by this feature the class is denoted, as rational animal; and the subject comes under it, the predicate expressing the species and genus containing it, the class word forming the species expressing only a given important attribute of the class. But it is important to designate another attribute as belonging to the subject, one unknown to or unnoticed by the person reasoned with. That this other attribute exists in the predicate is affirmed in the minor, and so is affirmed of the subject. Thus, all men are mortal, that is, subject to death, but all mortal beings are so by living by blood (or by blood being their life): therefore all men live by blood. Now mortal, though forming a class, only speaks of liability to death; that is the meaning of the word and no more, and I say no more. I affirm a second truth in the minor—namely, how or why beings die or are subject to death, in no way comprised in the word mortal, but giving a reason for all mortality. The syllogism merely gives a secure method of affirming the facts so that the conclusion follows. The word mortal means something and only that, liability to death; but if man be in this class, mortal, and I shew that something else does belong always to this class, though not in thought contained in the word it is named by, I have added something to the knowledge contained in the major.11
In verbal or essential propositions classes are of different kinds, some natural and obvious, some from experimental observation, some more arbitrary. A man is a real thing or being. It is not merely that a class of two-legged mammals without reason is not reputed a man. I care not about the word; but here the word does not make the class, but the class the word: call it homo, or anthropos, or mensch, is all alike. Universal intelligence has distinguished that kind of being; the class existed, or the nature which constitutes it, before it got a name. I believe (and important principles are contained in that) God gave it as Adam did to the animals; but whether this were so or not, the thing was there before it got a name. It was not a horse nor an ox, nor a biped mammal with no more reason than these. A man was there to be called and have a name, and a distinguishing name, as horses, oxen, etc., were, and the difference known. In other cases the class was the result of experience, as weight, ductility, and other distinguishing qualities existed, and men made a class for convenience; but the qualities on which the class was founded were not words, but things. I am not now reasoning how or when the knowledge was acquired, whether by sensations produced or not. I accept that in general; but language is formed in the relative sphere of existence in which we are and in which we know, and the language is formed according to the system and accepts the things as real; and if men are to speak, for whom the sphere around them exists relatively, the language which expresses their thoughts must express the existence of things, which, relatively to them and their thoughts, do so exist. They may grow in this knowledge—form, where experiment has been their ground, more satisfactory classes; but, though in different ways, the difference which makes a class is not verbal but real, and the word is only the expression of it.
Hence saying a biped mammal without reason is not a man means merely not reputed a man, is false. He is not reputed a man because he is not one. Such a thing may exist, but it is not that thing to which the name has been given, and which is in fact a totally different thing from what the irrational biped is. You may call the irrational biped mammal man if you like, and the rational one fear or crut, if you like to be foolish, but the two things are as distinct as they were before. The fear is a fear, and the man is man. Mill’s statement is childish trifling. Nor is it the whole of the attributes, which assumes all classes to have no existence but in words, as the nominalists, confounding different kinds of classes. If a man was born with one leg, or six fingers, he is a man still, though some of the regular physical attributes are wanting or in excess. You will say this is only accidental difference. That is, you fall into the distinction of essential and accidental. Besides, attributes as a whole differ. There are black or Negro races, Turanian and Caucasian races. Supposing for a moment I say all descendants of Adam are Caucasian. But the Negro is not a Caucasian; therefore he is not a descendant of Adam. Suppose the Negro has the general physical constitution of man, the power of progress, the faculties, language, the consciousness of responsibility, conscience, reference to the idea of God, abiding relative affections of wife and children, has to say to God and men, as subject and fellows, an immortal soul, for we are only supposing, should I say he is not a man?
I do not believe a word of the theory of distinct races, and the want of truth in the idea makes the conclusion difficult to me; because known relationship to God is shut out by it, which I believe to be of the essence of man’s nature; but if all this were true that God had created two races of men, “A man’s a man for a’ that.” I utterly reject the idea, but the difference of black and white, prognathism, and even woolly hair, would not hinder his being a man if God had created him apart. It would set aside one great and important origin of a class, namely, common origin. The only question would be, Is that essential to being a man? I believe it is fully, but on Mr. Mill’s ground it would not. They have not the same attributes, but in his sense they would be men, they have the attributes which constitute a man. His reasoning is false. I believe the theory to be wholly false, because it denies what is, as revealed, essential to man. Actually in relationship to God I do not believe such men could be; but if they were, they would be men, though the whole of their phenomenal attributes were not the same, and they had not the same ancestor. If you take in all men as one race, as I do, there may be, several attributes different; but while their moral nature, and even physical, essentially is the same, they are men, Adam’s children. If there be no essential attributes (that is, what makes man a man), and accidental ones, a yellow-haired German of olden time is not a man if I am.
This may seem long on such a point, but it is vital; because it makes phenomenal attributes everything, and the real classification of things—the fact that things are what they are besides mere phenomena—is wholly denied. Men may make classes for inconvenience, and give a name to represent each; but even here there is no real ground for a class but in actual things which distinguish some from others; and there are classes of being which God has made, and one wherein man stands alone, though in certain essential aspects, not connoting all that is in him, or in the name of the class, he may be classified in these aspects with others. As I may say, created intelligent beings are responsible. Angels are created intelligent beings, and so is man, or the like. To have classes true, we must have the qualities in common which they have by God’s creation, or at least His providential ordering. I have nothing to do with any scholastic speculations on essences to explain essential differences.
I have already shewn that to say giving an attribute, as “rational,” to man teaches nothing is a fallacy. It is the direct path to knowledge where the predicate involves a quality not affirmed in it about man. Man is a rational being. I only affirm about man that he is a rational being. And it unfolds, as to that, what man is, one particular quality: but supposing that quality involves in man or anywhere else consequences not expressed in it, as every rational being is responsible to God, this will be as true of an angel, say. It is not merely what is in man as an equivalent; it leads me by another larger proposition, applicable to man and other beings, and not known to be true of man till the knowledge of the second proposition is acquired. It is not a phenomenal attribute of man like rationality. It is true of rationality wherever it is, from the relationship in which all rational beings stand. I am not speaking of man, but of rationality j but he, being so, comes under my new proposition as belonging to that class.
And this is a most important element of error in these logical and metaphysical systems, that they can only take up what is phenomenal, and all the greater and more important part of what man is and truth is—relationship—is left out. They can discuss his relationship with mere phenomena by sense or consciousness, but this last only mentally or in the reason, and that is all. All that is true and abides, naturally or spiritually, is outside this. Death, or the dissolution of things, closes the phenomenal, and, as to mere mind, now possessed state. Hence it is said in Job as to wisdom, “Death and destruction have heard the fame thereof with their ears”; they know the end of what man has now; of what is beyond, of positive knowledge, of what abides, they can tell nothing. All logical knowledge is phenomenal with its consequences. The mind, as such, cannot see beyond the system with which it is in relation as such. Only it should not deny anything beyond it, but own its own limits which indeed it cannot help, only honestly.
But as Mill returns to his classes, I must add a few words to clear this point up. He is all wrong. Some predicates are class words formed by man, some a particular attribute. Thus, man is an animal: that is a class word, a class formed by man as to language, but from nature and by a difference existing in it. So really gold is a metal. This is a word formed to designate, by a collection of attributes, several objects which possess them, and are characterised by them, and distinguish them thus from others which do not. When I say man is mortal, it is one attribute, not a class in itself. I merely affirm one thing about man. Now, if I use a class word which only takes up one or some attributes to make a class, and leave others unnoticed, and if I affirm of the subject all that may be said of my class predicate absolutely, I may contradict something in the subject which does not come in question in the predicate. There may be some quality in the subject which does not hinder the class word being predicated of it, but may make untrue that which is true of others in the class. Thus all animals at some period cease to exist. This is phenomenally true. Man is an animal. Man ceases to exist. I conclude from what happens phenomenally to all animals, and even to man as such phenomenally, what may not be true of him for some other reason. If I assume, as I believe, he has an immortal soul, which does not come into the list of attributes included in the class word “animal,” though phenomenally as an animal externally he does. And so Ecclesiastes takes him up. It is what is under the sun, the days of the life of his vanity. This comes from assuming phenomena to be all, which, with consciousness, is all man’s reason can do. But he cannot say, man cannot have an immortal soul.
And the possibility proves the reasoning defective and false. And this is the whole question with metaphysicians and logicians; for experimental reasoning is their all, and it must be incompetent to pronounce beyond its own power, limited by the sphere to which it belongs, while it cannot say there is nothing beyond it, for it does not see beyond it. When I merely predicate one attribute, it is not quite so much so because I confine myself to the phenomenon predicated, as man is mortal. Only I may pursue it farther, and so run into it; but it is then not speaking from the known qualities of a class, but a positive new affirmation going beyond the predicated phenomenon. If I merely say “man is mortal,” I merely affirm the phenomenon that we see men die as a rule, which is true, phenomenally true; though it be not beyond the reach of preventive power if God so will, but for man’s sphere it is true. If I say all that is mortal ceases to exist, I go beyond the phenomenon and introduce a new proposition. It ascribes a new sense, or attribute, to mortal. Taken as a phenomenal class, animals do, and man too as animals in this world. It is as a class true; it is not true that the attribute mortality contains in it “ceases to exist.” The statement goes beyond the phenomenon, for as to that they do cease to exist.
But a word more on classes. The notion that general terms or essences of classes are only the meaning of the name, that the whole of the attributes means the essence, and the taking all classes to be of the same nature, makes all the reasoning of Locke and Mill to be false. Some classes man has made for convenience of arrangement, some more from the nature of things, as a metal; but some general terms are not classes. Thus when I say “man,” it is a being I know, not a class made by man from attributes or phenomena. I am conscious of a personal living existence. I know others through intercourse or through facts. They are a race, not a class. I know what a man is, for I am one, and find others of the same race, born as I am, and like me. I am not a dog, nor a horse, nor a pig, nor an ox, nor if there were Houyhnhnms who had reason would they be men. Man is a known race. Reason is essential to man. Yet if there be an idiot born of a human father and mother, he is a man, an exceptional idiotic man; whereas if there were a race physically just what men are without reason, I should not call them men; they are not of the same race.
Races are real things. Essential differences are negative. Not having them excludes from the class, as want of reason the supposed race; possession of them may make a class, but does not make a race, as the supposed Houyhnhnms. Hybrids, which some insist on, only prove this. They are called mules, distinguished from the races their progenitors belonged to. According to creation races may approximate in their extremes so as to make it difficult to classify them; but this proves nothing, however interesting, as to God’s way of acting. You may shew that the nucleus of a cell is the inorganic seat of life, and write a long book about protoplasm; but this does not prove a man is a pig, or a pig a man. I may have to learn the attributes of this race, or many of them, after I know it. The word “man” is not a collection of attributes, but a general term for that race; and I then learn what the attributes of that race are. He is a living being, with reason and power of abstraction, hence capable of progress. He has an immortal soul. But all this I learn about man after I know him de facto as a race. If true, they were always true of man, at least as now known to me, but they formed no part of my idea of man. I know the race, and then learn about the race. When the word speaks of a class distinguished experimentally, as metal, then, though often vague, still in principle it involves in it the whole of the attributes which constitute the force of the word. So of all races as well as men. What is a pig? It is an animal born of a boar and a sow. I learn that it is carnivorous and herbivorous, but I knew what a pig was before I knew that. Of course there may be varieties and species, and we may turn pig into a class name.
What Bain says, note to page 112, is utterly false, indeed absurd. Supposing there was a report that the dodo existed, and search is made say all over the world, Mauritius and all, and I say the dodo does not exist, in fact it really never had, what has that to do with its disappearing and becoming extinct? (My family had a large life-size good picture of a dodo, now in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford.) When I say dodo, I mean a supposed bird thus thought of, and I say it is a supposition, it does not exist. Such reasoning is child’s play. I exist, and am conscious of it; what is that in contrast with? I admit relativity in phenomena, and insist on it. But that is not all. I could not use the word “is,” or “exists,” without its giving the idea of existence to my mind; and, if used with any word by itself, it affirms that idea of it—predicates the fact that there is really such a thing. I doubt its being a category. All the rest, at any rate, assume existence.
I have spoken of classes. White is not a class really, because it does not really give an attribute which adequately distinguishes other like things from one white set (unless I speak of colours, when it does). For class means attribute or attributes, by which certain things are distinguished from other like ones, and so clubbed together. Mill accepts most of what I have said, but by denying races makes all false. I have said that many classes are the act of men, but founded on natural qualities, as metal. That is, man invents a word to combine many distinct things in community of certain characteristic qualities which distinguish them; and the word is invented to give a common name to things which have the qualities, not to express the qualities themselves, so as that, if there were only one, it could be used. It is the result of the experimental knowledge of several having them. But if we call races classes, then it is not the act of man which has formed the class in any sense.
I do not think that class is a good word for this. If I say a man and a pig, it is no act of man’s mind which makes any class. He calls an animal of that race a pig, and knows it is not a man. But there is no mental combination to form the class, if class it is to be called. A pig is a pig by creation, and now by birth. Nay, so far from it being the whole of the attributes that make a class or verbal general name equivalent to one where the whole of the attributes are included in the idea, there is no class at all; for if all the individuals have them, they are the same, there is no distinction. A class is only, when there are some qualities common to a certain number of objects otherwise distinct, that I classify them by a word expressing their possession of them in common, as metal, including gold, iron, copper, etc.; but if each individual object had all the qualities of gold there would be no class, all would be gold. Thus man is not a class, animal is, because there may be and are man and brutes connected in particular qualities. But he is wholly wrong in taking the general name as being the expression of qualities, so as to make it indifferent if one object or many, and a class or not, as being the meaning of the name and a class word, indifferently or not.
There are class words. Animal is, metal is, founded on qualities no doubt, but qualifying objects by their common possession of them. If I have only a word embracing all the qualities of a being, it is not and cannot be a class; if only some, it may. Thus, God is a general term, he says, to the Christian or polytheist. But the Christian or Jew, when he says God, takes in in principle all His attributes. He is one, almighty, eternal, omniscient; He is, and He only, absolutely. “God” takes in, at any rate, such attributes as absolutely preclude His being a class. There is no quality in common with the polytheist’s God, for he has many of them, which exclude the qualities of the one. Even if I say mermaid or ghost, as in thought I take in all that they are, it cannot be a class, for all who are such are the same wholly; mermaid is a mermaid. Where all the attributes are not taken in, it may become the name of a class, though where there is a race, and not man’s combination, they will be only, as woolly-haired men, accidental differences. In fanciful names it is merely a question whether the fancy has formed a class or not. There may be many dragons having certain fanciful qualities in common, others not, and so be under a common name of class. Here, of course, all is man’s creation, and he may invent as he likes. His statement that every name, the signification of which is constituted by attributes, is potentially name of an indefinite number of objects, need not be of any, may be of only one, is false. Suppose unity and omnipotence or even the last, be among the attributes, there can be only one. But if constituted by attributes, and I take in all, it is not a class; it may be a race. If only of one, it is no general term at all. We do not create a class by general names.
All this theory is wrong. If I say man, it is a general name; but if I take the whole of his attributes, it is a race of the same beings, not a class. Classes are made by men, by selecting qualities, and combining and distinguishing by them. In a word the whole of this is wrong, and wrong in the most important way. Races are popularly called classes, but then they do not rest on the meaning of words, nor are formed by men mentally (pages 132-139). Pages 139-141 are all obscurity and confusion. The question is not whether one or infinite qualities are in question. The essential difference is negative; it does not make the class, but the class is not the class without it. One quality, as white, or Christian, or mathematician, does not make a class (unless in respect of things constituted by colour or sciences or religions), because a man is just as much a man whether a Christian or a mathematician or not. These ideas do not enter into the conception of man; reason does. A being formed as man, as a general term (a race so qualified), without reason is not a man; but, if reason be in an angel or a dog, he is not therefore a man. A man represents a being not with the knowledge of all his attributes, but of such as constitute a man. (This is a question of the possession of language as expressing thoughts which normally is inseparable from human reason; that is, man is so constituted.) If one of these be not there, he is not a man.
Thus, if Negroes and Turanians were created apart, still if they had these qualities they would be phenomenally men; that is what man means. They might then be considered sub-classes, and man would be a class word, because there would be qualities in the Negro or Turanian inseparable from their being such not in the others which enter into the class. If I say pictures very white in their colouring are not pleasing— are too glaring; paintings are things formed by colours, hence one colour or another is part of their constituted existence, and so as to paintings they form species, though white or green be a single sensation. So in various earthly substances. Some have a set of qualities which make them metals; here, though natural differences, they are of sufficient importance to man by these qualities to make them a class; they melt, etc.; if they will not, they are not metals. Other things may melt, as sugar; that does not make it a metal, but what will not melt is not a metal. It may be one or many qualities which distinguish, but what makes a class is what distinguishes a certain number of objects from others similar in other respects, when the difference is such that where, if what makes it is absent, it would not be of those things to which the name is attached.
But when Mill says men have made classes, “a sense artificially given to the word for technical purposes,” in the case of races, as man, ox, it is not so; it is merely observation of real differences. The word is expressive of the object as an object. When used as a class, it is not artificial but real, as observed. If a true class, the name is given because of real differences observed. That man gives a name to those that have is merely saying language belongs to him; but he cannot make a class without adequate distinctions belonging to beings of the same general sort, combining many of them together, apart from others of the same sort. To lose this by scholastic mistakes of essences is only blinding oneself. Names for classes may be made by men; but if rightly made, the class is not made but discovered or known intuitively, which is only a way of discovering. I know a man is not an ox. Man and ox express this, they do not make the distinction. I may have then to ascertain “by thought what makes the difference. They both live as animals live; have flesh, bones, blood, die as to existence here (for that is all I can say phenomenally)—that is, in many very important things they have qualities in common.
What makes the difference? It is not artificially given for the purposes of science; the form is different, the race is different. In the genus animal I distinguish two classes; the name is quite immaterial. Man has given that (the ox cannot) but I have to discover what is the real point, the quality or qualities without which a man is not a man normally, is not of that class in the genus animal. It is not a question of some or inexhaustible differences, but adequately distinctive qualities which combine a certain set of things contained in a larger class formed by having common properties. I have ascertained these distinctions combining many individuals of a larger division, without which they are not so combined or divided, as contrasted with a quality which leaves the differences which constitute the class where they were, so that, with or without it, the class subsists just the same, as red hair in a man. I thus possess the class. I may discover afterwards differences more or less important, which confirm the justice of the classification, or inform me as to the qualities; but if already adequate, I have my class. Thus language with man, cooking if you please, a sign it may be of the reflective use of materials as contrasted with instinct, but which is useless, as it may be merely the expression of reason, a thing by which reason may be discovered, however poor a one. It is quite immaterial what caused them to have the essential difference. I believe it was God; but for logic or man’s mind it is merely phenomenal. And, save the notion of substantial essences, the Schoolmen were right, and Mill wrong. If the Schoolmen seized on what the name connoted, so as adequately to distinguish, by means of certain properties, those things which had them from those which had not, they did right. It is what makes a class, and that only, though others may be discovered.
Thus if I discover, by whatever means, that man has an immortal soul, I have a quality which, as well as reason, constitutes man what he is, as contrasted with other animals, and a more important difference; but, with reason, the class is right, because there is in man what there is in no other animal. And when I have arrived at what makes man to be man, all the rest which do not unmake his being man form no species. I have an infima species. Suppose there were men with reason, and not with immortal souls, I have two classes of men, if I still call them men; at any rate I have two kinds, which I can separate into classes. I do not believe this possible, because I have no idea of existence in moral things but as God made them; and thus the thought is necessarily inaccurate. But infima species is right—that is, a class adequately distinguished by qualities which make it what it is, which consequently cannot be subdivided, so that one division should not possess what makes them both the same thing essentially as man, though you may add qualities which leave it what it is, as woolly-haired, black-skinned, etc., Caucasian, Turanian; but all possess what makes them men. For the ethnologist they may conveniently be made species of. A man without a soul or reason is not a man as God made him. A red-haired or black-haired man is alike a man; but if the qualities which constitute the class remain, it is of that. That is the infima species. Whether classes be rightly formed is another question: but it is a question whether we have rightly followed facts; and here races come largely into question, because the distinguishing qualities follow them, and they are more readily perceived than others, and they are classes which God has made, and from which man with all his wisdom cannot get out. If God has approximated classes in given cases as He has, man may make hybrids, but he only proves his impotency by doing so. The distinction therefore between differentia and accidens is in the nature of things, and the foolish instance of cooking proves it. It is merely an expression of man’s having reflective reason to use materials. It is not accidental, but what proves, however poorly, the essential difference. What he states as making the difference of genus and species is only true phenomenally or in the measure of man’s mind as acting, not as acted on or even conscious.
In section 6, page 144, he merely puts forward what I have noticed in the case of colour, that if we take a word for a genus from any real fact, and use the species without adding any quality to make one, confining the difference to what is true only within the genus, then we may form classes, but we add no quality. When I say man is a rational animal, I add a quality to animal. It is not merely what is not connoted in the word, but I falsify the use of the word itself as expressing the class if I add it, for thus an ox is not an animal, only man is. But when I say man is an animal, with four incisors, one canine—leaving out erect, for man only is, it is an added quality to animal—with four or two incisors, or no canines, an animal is as much an animal as before. It does not add any quality. These facts do not come into the circle of connotation of animal, and he is as much what is called animal as before, and only animal. When I say rational, it admits animality, but adds what is not in the notion of animality; when I say four incisors, he is no more than an animal, after all, nothing besides being an animal—nothing is added. I have already said the possession of an essential difference does not make a thing to be of the same class (strange to say, Mill takes the two examples I took), the want of it puts him out of it (save the question of normal state of a race); but if a dog had reason, it would not make him a man, but we should have two classes of rational animals.
But God has not formed things so. He has made classes; and so man must take them, for his reason is relative, and within the sphere so made, and we cannot really go beyond it. It may (for reasons beyond, sometimes perhaps within, our ken), be morally impossible. We do not know in everything, we may in some, how things are adapted in creation to one another. Comparative anatomy has shewn it within nature. Without it the reasons may be weightier and deeper. Thus os homini sublime dedit, not to go farther than outside, and feet and hands, instead of only hands or feet, may be so adapted to reason, or more, that we cannot suppose, say, that a dog should have reason, with any just thought at all. To meet their reasoning, I have sometimes supposed things which are not: but I deeply feel man as having reason is within the sphere where he is placed—the highest in it no doubt, but in it. I have no doubt there is a relation to God also, but his reason is phenomenal in its source: I deny that it knows God at all. We may prove there must be a cause; but, as said elsewhere, if we can, it proves we cannot know it.
But in this part (pp. 144-147) Mill is again all wrong in virtue of his principle, for Linnean or other classes do not add an idea to animal; they are as much a mere animal as before (very convenient for science no doubt, but that is all); not a species, though possibly necessarily as I have said, suited to it, because it adds nothing to the contents of the word animal—with four or all incisors he is an animal just the same. When I say rational, it adds an idea to animal which makes it really another thing from a mere animal. Man has not really two meanings, because it is not merely an artificial designation, but the name of a being we know, of which we give the true character by the difference or class term, as an animal by what is purely animal. Cooking is really a proprium, and proprium is merely what is caused by the essential difference.
Demonstration is not another kind, but merely proving it is so, caused by or necessarily connected with the essential quality, as, save organic defects, language belongs to reason (or rather to thought) in man. It may be convenient to distinguish, but it goes with what makes the species. Only some may be more obvious than others—some essential differences involve more consequences than others—but the propria are really more identified with ess. diff. than with accident. The accident we have practically spoken of; it is what leaves the individual or individuals in the universality of the class they belong to. It adds nothing to what the class name connotes; a yellow-haired race of men leaves what is meant by man where it was. A rational animal does not leave what is so, where animal puts him.
But if there be reality in classes (and there is when justly made), a definition by genus and specific difference gives more knowledge than the sum of all the attributes. In the first place, the latter is impossible and false, because there are many which contradict each other, and have nothing to do with the real explanation of the word, as woolly-haired, red-haired, prognathous, brachiocephalous, and dolichocephalous. I cannot introduce all these and their contraries as describing man. They do not make the difference of man and other things, but only of men amongst themselves. You cannot numerate all the attributes; and if .you do, you have lost what makes him man. But this makes differentia and accidens clearly distinct in meaning: one a quality, without which a thing is not the thing named, a difference from other things: accidens, a difference in individuals, which still are the thing named. Proprium also is a constant difference caused by essential difference.
I do not dwell on giving a definition of one’s own meaning of a word; it is arrogant. Words may be ambiguous, or their meaning changed by time, then of course we may explain; but it is at best the extreme of nominalism that there can be no definition of a thing. If so, there can be no mathematics, for though words must be used, they are part of human nature, and we are men; but be it circle, kreis, circolo, or what it may (and variety of language proves it), I am defining, if I can, a thing. And if the thing does not exist, you cannot define it, as Mr. Mill’s “round square.” Some definitions are poor ones, as the shortest line between two points. That is a fact about a straight line. I say a line described by a point always moving to the same fixed point; a curve, one described by a point which never does, but always turns farther from it. This is by the bye.
(Page 152.) Provided the attributes are what make the difference of man (phenomenal man), and that involves adequacy and reality of difference from things not man. But if I use a class word embracing them, with the essential difference or differences, it is much more informing, because I connect it thereby with a large class in very important elements as such already formed in my mind, as a rational animal formed so and so, as given by Mill. You cannot define a simple sensation as white, because it is that, and that only—has no qualities but whiteness.
What he says of eloquence is all false; he defines it by its effects, which may fail by the state of those addressed, and yet the eloquence be sublime. It is perfectly intelligible to say, “all his eloquence, however elevated, produce no effect whatever: they were stern and unmoved.” Eloquent is not the name of one attribute only. It is the power of presenting facts or thoughts in a way adapted to stir up the feelings or thoughts emotionally natural to man, or desired by the speaker or writer. A white object is quite another thing than white (page 155).
(Sec. 3, p. 155.) I do not admit what declares the whole of the facts to be the only adequate definition, but do not enlarge on it; because the difference is often more important, as rational animal denies rationality of other animals than man. This may be inadequate too if there is more than one essential difference, but generally or often these are only propria. But what I have already noted is all important, all this is only phenomenal. The Houyhnhnms, which I supposed before, not being realities, do not really come in question, because it cannot be said that it is possible. The form of man may be a necessary proprium. At any rate, classes are derived from observed facts, and cannot go beyond them. I deny that we can make classes which will be really such; and as Mill admits they are taken from nature, he must admit it. But of this I have spoken, only I should speak more strongly of it now.
It is true that this judgment of definition by genus and difference or differences only applies to the created world. Such only is phenomenal, so that we can in any ordinary way classify it (it is all that is subjected to our language)—at any rate classify adequately. When I come to Creator, it is evident that class can have no sense; but then I cannot define Him either. He cannot be measured by an inferior mind, and if it be not inferior, He is not really God; there is no God. And there is no summun genus at all really, for the highest carries me up to One who cannot be a genus, or He is not what He is. My summum genus must be a creature, not being, unless I deny creation and am an atheist, which, though he may strive to be, I do not believe man can be, though he may forget God for the creature, or corrupt the thought of God. Being is not exact, because though I may take it in a general way as a thing existing de facto, yet if I drop out creation, I falsify the idea of being when not being per se. Because, if I say I or a man exists, it is true; but I cannot say I, a man, without having the idea of having begun to be. And being, when applied to God, means one who did not begin to be, or some one was supremely before Him who caused Him to begin to be; and of one who never began to be I can form no idea, for I am finite; it is out of the sphere in which I exist, out of the power of mind. Human thought always and necessarily ascribes beginning as an idea. Negatively I can speak of it. I say infinite, etc., but I cannot conceive it positively in thought, because I am finite. I exist as to my status of thought in time. I may drop the idea of time, and only think of present being, I, and put together always and is. But when I think of that really, I must think of Creator and created. I can conceive what is always going on, because it is. But I cannot think of a living thing nor a formed thing (and man knows no other), without a beginning in its very nature. We talk of matter, but it is scholastic mysticism, of substance which gives no idea at all. We know nothing but what is formed, whatever formed it. There is no abstract idea of matter. For convenience we may make an abstraction. But there is no idea or conception, all our knowledge is phenomenal.
As to page 157, it is all well as phenomenal, but only in that way. And I suspect that all definitions are just solely in the relationship in which they are used, at any rate so far as forming classes. Thus a rational animal, or take all the essential attributes and enumerate them. It is what man is in this visible creation of which he forms a part, corporeally in distinctive form, reason as compared with other animals. It is man in this created sphere: all well in its way, in what is subject to mind. But if it be in relationship with God, that has nothing to do with it. I must take in an immortal soul, conscience, responsibility, subjection, lusts, passions, love morally to God and man, consequent guilt, and so on. Hence, as I have said, metaphysicians have no ground of morality or obligation of relationship. The very definition becomes different, though the other remains true in its own sphere, but convertible in the sphere it professes to define, only in the sphere and relationship in which it is spoken of; in another it has nothing to do with it, or is false. Mind deals with what is subject to it: subjecta Veritas quasi materia; but this excludes God and all moral thought, all I am subject to or any action on me.
This confining of definition to particular relationships, a really material point, is proved by Cuvier’s definition cited (p. 158): Man is a mammiferous animal, having two hands. I have no objection to this. It refers to his classification as an animal. That is a particular relationship in which he stands, leaving out therefore, as to reason, what essentially distinguishes him from other animals. It is just in the relationship he is viewed in, but leaves out, and properly, what belongs to another aspect and relationship. So of the alleged adequate enumeration of attributes. It may be true and adequate in the relationship it refers to, totally false if another relationship be in question. If I say he is only that, it cannot be said. He is that in a given relationship, and that is all the justness and adequacy definition can be said to have. They belong to such a sphere, and are true in it. I admit man’s knowledge is phenomenal, or some inference from it as existing in the sphere he does; but the question remains, Is there no other? Cuvier says what man is qua corporeal animality, metaphysicians what he is mentally; and we may add, in connection with the world subject to him, and that is. all he can mentally, that is, by the power of intellect. But is that all the relationship he is in? I wholly deny it. It will be said, Prove there is another, or how can we know it? Not by intellect, as is evident, for professedly it is outside it. But intellect never loves: is that nothing in man? Love did not, it is true, exist in Greek.
But to go down—parent, child, husband, wife; I take natural relationships on purpose. Intellect cannot deal with them at all. Have not men hated Christ, the thought of Christ? What has intellect to do with that? Do not they dislike to think of God and responsibility? What has that to do with intellect? Intellect does not hate. Why is a child to obey its parents?—will intellect tell him?
While on the topic of definitions, I would notice as a signal instance (p. 153) of utter mental incapacity and incorrectness, I believe through moral blindness and absence of sense of responsibility falsifying every mental apprehension (for man is a moral being, and must think morally to think rightly)—at any rate, as an instance of incapacity to define— “Fault may be defined a quality productive of evil or inconvenience.” Unless I introduce character—a fault in his character, which is loose and inaccurate and only fit to be used when it is failure in responsibility—it is his fault, otherwise defect is the word; but unless in this special way fault is not a quality at all. It is an actual failure. All the confusion in pages 160, 161, is from not seeing that his whole system of definition and classifying is false.
Man as such is popularly known, as Mill says. The enumeration of all the attributes never enters into men’s minds, nor even a definition, till men begin to think and analyse their thoughts. Thus adequate definition is one thing, complete knowledge another; definition seizes such attributes as suffice to determine and define it in the midst of and from other subjects, as a rational animal of such a form. The thing is known in itself. I can see and hear a man. This defines it in the midst of others only in the relationship in which it is defined. The full knowledge of what man is must tell me all his attributes, and, if really full, in all his necessary relationships, that is, the relationships in which he exists as man.
As to scientific definitions, they are not arbitrary, but pass from the obvious qualities to more exact distribution by the progress of knowledge, and though drawn from nature, are, as a class, made for convenience. Thus acid meant sour, and does, but a man must be a chemist to know what the word has come to mean in chemistry. But, in what is ordinary phenomenal, not scientific, discovery, thought and language cannot be separated; we think in language, and a great deal of the dissertation on “verbal and real” consequently is beating the air. Horse is a mere word, but I think of a thing if I say horse. A horse leaps; it is not a word leaps. No doubt forms of propositions are the same, as I may say a centaur leaps; but if I do say it, I am thinking of a thing real or fictitious, half man and half horse, believed true experimentally, I suppose, from the Thessalians being horsemen; so that Mill is all wrong here. When you come to facts, you can only take in centaur that which is thought, what attaches to the word; in triangle too; only centaur, being taken from imagination, cannot go beyond it, whereas triangle being taken from a mathematical shape, I can pass from the thought thing to the examination of the actual thing. What is implied has nothing to do with the matter, it is what is expressed is in question in any proposition.
Again (p. 165) we arrive at no truth by reasoning, but only at conclusions; if the premises are just, then the conclusion is necessary. The name denotes the thing, and in reasoning by means of the name, I reason about the thing, man being so constituted as to think of things by words. He cannot invent a thought; I believe he may put them together, as a centaur or a griffin, but he thinks a thing in doing so. He seems to me always to forget that human knowledge and definition is drawn from phenomena. Thus a circle is not learned by “may exist,” but from what I observe and know, even if not physically described, but thought of according to certain known qualities. The whole of the statement in pages 165-7 is absurd.
“Through the point B draw a line returning into itself, on which every point shall be at an equal distance from the point A,” is a definition of what you are doing, as circle is a word for what you have done. A circle is a figure every point of whose boundary-line is at an equal distance from a given point (A) within it. You may call it ‘ bosh’ if you like, but such a figure Englishmen are accustomed to call circle; and the thing is what I think of when I say a circle, and so does Mr. Mill, for without ceremony he says, the circle being now described. Hence BCD being a circle, that is, such a figure agreed to be called circle, two certain lines are by supposition equal. All that is a settled fact, when I have got my circle and my radii; but by drawing the secant of the arc within the two radii I have an isosceles triangle, and can go on farther in my mathematics. I do not reason about the word circle, but about a thing to which having certain qualities that name in English is given. When he says B A is equal to C A, not because B C D is a circle, but because B C D is a figure with the radii equal, it is about as much sense that man is not a quadruped, not because he is a biped, but because he has two legs or feet. All I see nearly “self-evident” is that he is talking arrant nonsense.
The question of dragons or serpents is decided by the very important principle that the conclusion of a syllogism never states a truth, but a conclusion; that if the premises are true, the conclusion follows. It is a mere consequence of the premises. It does follow justly that there are such serpents, if dragons are such things, etc. The question of truth lies in the premises. A dragon is not a dragon means; this is another statement. Hence the conclusion always is “therefore.” The whole of this, too, is nonsense.
A definition does in one sense refer to the meaning of words; but the word represents a reality, and, as we think in language, the word represents the thing thought of as the basis of further reasoning, the attributes of the thing represented by the word being taken, as far as known, for granted. Thus, if I say there can be no quadrature of the circle, it is not of the word circle there can be no quadrature, but of the figure represented in my mind by that word. All this is folly; so of page 168. Suppose I say the figure called circle is a figure having a boundary-line of which every point is equidistant from one given point in it; or a circle is a figure which, etc.; one is a definition as much as another. Adding “idea of” merely puts it in the mind, and defines it there as such. It is just as much a definition of that idea, only dragon having no reality, it makes it untrue de facto; but the two are definitions one as much as another. A dragon being a thing, etc., the idea of the dragon is the idea of the thing, etc.; one is exactly as much definition as the other, one taking it as an assumed fact, really an idea, the other as an idea. It is true that a circle has such an attribute, also true that what has not is not a circle. What man can make is not the question. A straight line is as clear an idea as possible, and justly reasoned about as such; very likely a man could not make one. Points and lines are all ideal; but the great point here is that there is no demonstrative truth, but merely demonstrative conclusions, truth being assumed. The therefore is a plain proof of it.
The absence of all moral feeling and basis for it in the author’s mind is shewn in the remarks on “just,” as well as the loose character of his thinking. “Just” is what is due to a person in the relation in which we stand towards him. The want of reality, and all being words in his mind, makes even his logic poor. I add a syllogism is really this, If so-and-so is such, and if such be so-and-so, then, etc. There is such a total absence of the power of abstraction and analysis in the book, that it is wearisome to deal with its statements. He has no idea of just, or noble, or mean, but by a comparison of objects so called to find a common principle. The moral instinct of man seizes the force of words so employed without always asking why it so estimates them; but the moral nature estimates morally. Of this, of course, he has no idea. It may be a useful exercise of mind to analyse its thought, but that is all; the apprehension is there without it. Moral sense, though not of course infallible, determines it.
A few words as to mathematical terms. All here, too, is superficial. He never can distinguish between objects with qualities and the quality itself. Of length he says, that is, of long objects; but the two things are quite different. In common use we are occupied with objects, but we are here defining. Now we exist in space as in time; it is our mode of existence, and both are measured and partitive. A point is nothing; it is where a thing begins, or, more strictly, a division of space or time begins; it is where a given thing begins, and its absence ceases by the existence of the thing; it is that in which the division of space begins, or of anything existing in space. Length is the distance, when the same direction is followed from a given point to a given point, the part of space in distance between the beginning and end. It is not the thing, but the part of space in which, from the first point of the thing to the last point, the thing exists. Now, we do think of things in space and of space as occupied by them, the object being wholly immaterial; divisible space is our necessary way of thinking: so far from not thinking it we cannot think otherwise. Length is the quantity of space in one direction; breadth is exactly the same thing, only for convenience, as occupied with objects, we take the same thought of one object in another direction, strictly at right angles perhaps; but the direction only is different, not the idea. A point is merely where the distance in space or division of space begins, and can have no existence consequently in it; a line is merely a metaphorical use of a physical thing used to measure distance; length is merely the direct distance between the two points where the division of space contemplated begins and ends. If I postulate, I must think of an object, but space is not an object: it is the manner of existence of objects for us, or of our finite mode of thinking. Everybody knows what space means. No one can define it, because it is the mode of existence and thought for us, in which exists everything we can think of, in the sphere we exist in as thinkers.
Nor is the inquiry what is just or virtuous, justice and virtue, the definition of a name merely; because if I define the word, it is by stating what the thing is (if it denote really anything) which the name speaks of. If I say virtue is the moral energy which does what is right and just in spite of the difficulties or temptations which stand in our way, and there be such qualities or character, I state the real qualities or character of which the word stands as the sign in the remarkable instrument of thought and communication bestowed on man, called language. An infidel may think there is no such thing really as virtue, but there is; and when, if needed, I explain the word, I explain or define it by what the thing is. I can hardly conceive a lower moral state, without question of religion, than that of which this part of Mill gives evidence.
A circle seems to me a line described by a point moving round another given fixed one, always at exactly the same distance; it then necessarily, if carried all the way round, enters into and ends at the point started from. There is no postulate to describe it. “Always at the same,” or “not always at the same,” is as easy one as another; and to say it postulates something is to say that we must postulate describing any figure at all, to deny which is to deny the existence of mathematics. Circle is merely a word which, for the convenience of language, represents such a figure. Take a fixed pivot and move a steel line attached to it round, and you have it as to the means of objective thought; and, so far from it being a postulate that such a line or a circle can be drawn or may exist, I do not believe it can be drawn, and so Mr. Mill states. Whether it may exist I know nothing of; but in both cases I know what I want to draw, and do it as nearly as I can, assuming its perfection, which is in its definition and nowhere else, and from that I reason.
Though, of course, there are equivalent propositions which prove nothing, many are not so. And I reject, as I have done, the sum of attributes being a definition. Objects are really known, as a man, and then defined by what distinguishes them to the mind, and the words stand for the object known, and the distinctive quality may be discovered to involve truths not present to the mind in the object, and so further knowledge be acquired. I reject also, if it is what follows, its being a truth, as he says (page 180). It is not a truth as so following but a proved consequence—if the premises are true, and no more. Logic has nothing to do with truth. Truth rests on testimony.
An as instance of the looseness and inaccuracy of Mill’s mind, I notice (p. 181) “incapable of reason,” which is nonsense—of reasoning perhaps. Nor do I accept his list of predicables. The making the definition of a word the sum of its attributes falsifies the effect of the syllogism, as does his inaccuracy. I have already stated that what makes a being a man to me is not the sum of his attributes. I am ignorant of the half of them; but he is a man to me, and to a savage, and rightly so (yea, even to an animal). Hence if the minor applies a quality from the admitted predicate of the major, not in my idea of man, I increase my knowledge. Supposing I know nothing of life being in the blood, and it is discovered as to animals, and I admit man is an animal, I have to conclude he so dies. I have already said truth and belief are only in the premises. Of course all that is true was always true in the system I am of; but my growth in knowledge is by discovery, and I may by general terms of acquired knowledge learn particular things by just conclusions as to what is included in the general term.
But, further, death is not mortality. There is an inference that because so many have died, all do; but this has nothing to do with the syllogism, save as the believed premise. The kind of syllogism is not a fair test, because the subject of the minor is only an individual of that of the major; whereas, as said above, a class word justly predicated may contain or involve an attribute not included in the mental idea of the subject of the major; whereas, by the rule de omni et nullo, in the instance given, it is on the face of it not true when it is an individual of the class. But no observation has made me know even here that the Duke of Wellington dies. It is a direct and mere inference from the premises that all men do, however I had learned that. Unless I had heard of God’s sentence I could not have told it, that I know of, for Adam’s lifetime. It might have been a puzzle for centuries. The syllogism never proves the fact, but the consequence. All men are mortal is not the cause that the Duke of Wellington dies. It assumes it, if he be a man; but it proves it to me because I cannot deny either of the premises. Logic has nothing to do with facts, but with mental consequences. It is this (as often said) that makes all Mill’s reasoning false. It proves he must die, not a fact but a consequence. For here the fact is not so. The Duke of Wellington is not dead; but, as men are mortal, and he a man, he must die—at least is mortal. Testimony is the only proof of truth or fact, save personal experience. Nor was mortality known because death was, identified here with Mill’s usual inaccuracy.
But the whole idea of Mill as to syllogistic reasoning is wrong. It is only reasoning, and this to prove the justness of a conclusion, not heretofore admitted, from what I do admit; and he admits “it is indispensable to throw our reasoning into this form when there is any doubt of its validity.” This is all it is meant for. It may thus convince of facts as to a given subject which form no part of my idea of the subject, which having been otherwise discovered and admitted are predicated in the major, and then, the subject of the major being in the class predicated, this asserted in the minor brings the subject of the major into the condition so asserted. But, as I have already stated, the only thing believed is what is in the two premises (which of course may be contested but is assumed by the syllogism); but if the form be right, no doubt remains as to conclusion so far as phenomena go. A syllogism is only, “If so and so, then”; and this it does perfectly in the sphere of man’s knowledge, what is subject to sense and experience; but the statement that the inference is in the premises, as I have said, has nothing to do with the matter. They are assumed truths, and the syllogism has nothing to do with how acquired; they may be by observation, or consciousness; they may be, if I believe it, by revelation, or by any other way. The syllogism assuming their truth says that excessive brightness dazzles the eye; I say to one who has never seen snow, But snow in sunshine is excessively bright (which he believes on my testimony); therefore, snow in sunshine dazzles the eye. The syllogistic conclusion is just, there is no difference at all in the premises. He knows by experience what dazzling the eye means, by testimony what snow is. The conclusion is certain—he knows what snow does, which he did not know before.
But all Mill’s ground is false. In reasoning from particulars to particulars, the fact may be true, but it is false reasoning, and not what thoughtful men do. His instance only shews his inaccuracy. “A burnt child dreads the fire,” is not reasoning, it is instinctive fear; and if a thing looks like fire, it is equally afraid of it—an instinct mercifully put in animal life even, but not reasoning; its reasoning value is found in another proverb, “The scalded dog fears cold water.” The man must have had an extraordinary opinion of himself, with such a mind, to undertake to write on logic, pace Sir J. Herschel, Archbishop Whately, and Mr. Bailey. But it is also all false that, if John and Thomas die, etc., the Duke of Wellington will die. I suppose before Adam died, Enoch went up to heaven; should I rightly say Adam will? If ten had done so, not more truly. When Cain killed Abel, I had seen death. Man was capable then of being put to death. But would he die if let alone? I had seen him live 600 or 700 years, and nobody died; then I should have concluded he could not, he was not in se mortal. But when I have seen or known everybody die for thousands of years, I conclude that man (this being, this race) is mortal—that is, dies as left to the natural phenomenonal course of his race. It is not that particular men have died. Man is mortal, or even all men are mortal, is quite a different proposition. There has been an induction as to the nature of the race, Enoch and Elijah being excepted, as happening by the intervention of extrinsic power. Consequently I say the Duke of Wellington certainly (if no such power intervenes) will die, for he is a man, and such is the fate of his race. I can say, as a conclusion phenomenally considered, the Duke of Wellington must die, etc. It is a perfectly correct conclusion, supposing I believe in revelation, and, spite of all the Mills and Voltaires, there are those who, by grace at least, have sense enough to do it; but this is not my question. Supposing I believe that the sentence of death lies on man, I say man is mortal (save by intervention of extrinsic power). Some may suppose that great men or wise men do not, are taken to heaven like Hasisadra, or deified like Hercules or Nimrod; I say, No, he is a man, and he is mortal. The conclusion is as perfect and as certain. And that is what the syllogism is and does; it draws a conclusion from assumed truths. How they are discovered has nothing to do with the syllogism, which is just as sound a conclusion if the premises were false as if they were true. The premises being true has nothing to do with the justness of the conclusion, nor has the way the truth of them has been discovered. It is not necessarily by inference at all. The discovery, be it of Sir W. Hamilton, Mill, or Berkeley, is a mare’s nest (pages 209-240). The form merely assures accuracy in drawing the conclusion.
I repeat here (p. 232), saying that man is mortal is not the same as that ABC, etc., died. The difference is as real as it is grave. It may be, if universal, a just induction; but dying as a fact, and subjection to death, are distinct things. I might have seen the whole world destroyed by the flood, and not justly conclude that men must die of themselves naturally, as we say, and therefore I could not have said the Duke of Wellington will or must die. Put the syllogism and try. So many millions of men died, perished in the flood, therefore the Duke of Wellington will die (without it). Is there any just conclusion there? As to conclusions to particulars and general formula being the same, it is the same; it is every way false; the induction in either case is false as reasoning. It may contain motives in the structure of the particular case involving the result; but then it is a general formula, in its nature applying to that structure, and the proposition is only true because it is general—that is, true in the nature of the thing, so that it is false from particular to particular, and always is so as reasoning. But Mill is all wrong (as is Whately) when he says that the major is an affirmation of the sufficiency of the evidence on which the conclusion rests. It states the proposition, but says nothing of the evidence one way or another, nor of the induction on which it is founded, nor is it necessarily founded on an induction. It is the basis of assumed fact on which the syllogistic reasoning is founded. In the common disputations they denied the major or the minor as facts (or distinguished), or the conclusion, which last alone referred to the syllogistic process.
(Page 235). All his reasoning here shews nothing but the grossest mental incapacity. No one doubts we infer from particulars very often, as that Tenterden steeple was the cause of Goodwin Sands; but it is never sound as reasoning, save as above when it involves a general proposition which sagacity often instinctively sees. So that Mill is wholly wrong, does not see how it becomes a general proposition, which alone makes the conclusion just. Some men die, therefore others do, is never just as reasoning; all men do, therefore such and such will, is; though I may call in question the truth of the general proposition. And though all men include the one, the reasoning is just because it does. The question is, if Thomas will die? I say all men do, and he is one of the all, therefore he will—not that he dies because of it, but that I know he will because he is. He dies because he is mortal. The conclusion is not generally necessarily, but to the truth as to some from what is true as to all; and the conclusion as to some from other some is no just conclusion at all—never is. Why should I die because Socrates does? But if I have justly arrived at the subjection to death of all, with which induction the syllogism has nothing to do but assumes it, it is true of Socrates or any one else. That is, the general proposition is essential to the conclusion; if not, the dying of all other men would prove nothing as to all. Man is mortal, such as he is; it is his nature. Man is mortal, that is, the general proposition, which is everything; the “conditions of legitimate induction” (p. 236) cannot be realised as to the Duke of Wellington at all without the general proposition, however arrived at. Mill does not even see what he is reasoning about. I admit that “the general conclusion is never legitimate unless the particular one would be so too,” that is, as to the fact; if it were not, the general one would not be true. But that is arguing from the general to the particular; which is exactly the conclusion of the syllogism, by means of a middle term.
The question is, Can we arrive at the conclusion as to the particular one without the general one being true first? That is, can we justly say ABC died, therefore the Duke of Wellington is mortal? That is “Mill’s logic.” His statement is quite true, being the principle of syllogism, and refutes, if it were needed, his whole system. That we take the trouble of stating the general proposition has nothing to do with the matter; but it is an indispensable condition of the validity of the inference. Thus if I say A B will die, for he is a man, this truth assumes that all men do. For clear inference the latter is stated as the major premise. If all men do not die, I cannot say the Duke of Wellington will; he may be of those who do not.
I have, singularly enough, anticipated in my notes nearly every question Mill has raised. Here (p. 224) he confutes himself completely. “There is no contradiction in supposing that all these persons have died, and that the Duke of Wellington may notwithstanding live for ever.” Just so; that is, you cannot argue syllogistically or really from particulars to particulars, which is what he says you can. If 999 millions and 900 thousand had died, and 100 thousand not, there is no proof at all that A B will die; it may be 9999 to one he will, but there is no proof of anything. You must have a general proposition for proof. The way, as I have said, I acquire the general proposition has nothing at all to do with the proof in the syllogism which assumes and starts from the general one (liable, of course, to be contested by the adverse disputant). If I had lived in Adam’s time, and no one had shewn mortality (not death merely), and I believed scripture, I should have said all men are mortal. Adam and all his children will die, for they are men (save prevention by power). If observation was my ground, I could not say any one would die. The general proposition may be rightly or wrongly accepted, but that is another question. But, as he says, there would be a contradiction if the general principle be assumed, not if only particular cases; that is, a syllogism is sound reasoning because it lays the basis in a general proposition; and Mill talks nonsense in his reasoning about it. But I repeat, with the reasoning of the syllogism the actual truth of the premises has nothing to do. It is a contradiction not to admit the conclusion, assuming the premises. That the premises may be obvious or require proof is evident, and may be partially true, as I have said as to animals. Animals cease to exist; man is an animal; therefore man ceases to exist. As existing here in time, qua animal he does; but it is only partially true, because animal and man are not equivalent terms—man is more comprehensive.
Water dissolves lime; if I put this lime into this water, it will dissolve it. But the water is already saturated. We have thus to distinguish the accuracy of propositions. Water will dissolve some lime is alone true; and this water is water with its full complement of lime. What a weariness to turn to this from the truth, from the word of God! But I pursue, the rather as here (pp. 240-247) the cloven foot comes out, though it is really only going over again the same false ground; and Mill clearly proves, in seeking to do the contrary, that general propositions are the only way of real conclusions. Thus as to arsenic (page 242). I have no need to go to other inductions from qualities. What produces a black spot under such circumstances, etc., poisons. No matter whether metallic, volatile, or what else, if everything that does so poisons. The induction is as to the nature of the thing which does produce blackness, that is, to a general proposition: All that does so poisons. Supposing all that does so does not poison, I can draw no conclusion from such a spot. That is, a general proposition which states the nature of what does is absolutely necessary to the argument. If only some articles, alike in this, do, I may add, A spot-producing article if also metallic, volatile, etc., does these qualities are necessary to make it universal, that is, determine its nature as poisonous; but I have my general proposition. Everything that produces such spot, being also metallic, volatile, etc., poisons, has that nature destructive of physical life in man. I learn it in every known instance, and when I have (any exception being from an extraneous cause), I say “every,” I have a general proposition as to its nature, and hence only applied to every case because it is its nature, and so always such. The justness of the induction has of course to be settled. That is, my major premise may be contested, but with the conclusion this has nothing to do—that is based on its being true, and, if true, the conclusion is simply certain.
And this he admits in the government case. No government: that general proposition is the foundation of all— “a generalisation from history.” The similarity is not the question—another false principle of his. It is in this the same, it desires the good of its subjects: the nature and principle which governs the point is ascertained. This government acts in the same way. It certainly is not likely to be overthrown (for likeliness is the point to be proved here). Then comes question as to the fact. Now this is not a question of inference at all, but of testimony. Is it a fact that I believe the testimony, or not? If I do, I say with certainty. Supposing twenty instances of disinterested intelligent witnesses had occurred. This may or may not be true, and may or may not be believed to be true. To draw my conclusion, the government must be the same in this; if I believe the testimony, I say it is the same, as no government, etc.; this is not likely to be overthrown. This is an inference justly drawn, and the inference certain according to the premises, but “may be believed to be true” gives no inference as to fact at all as to this government. The witness of intelligent disinterested witnesses affords no ground of inference. It may be all necessary and right for common human life, but has nothing to do with logical inference. I may be a bad judge of the witnesses, or ill informed as to them, and other witnesses being true does not prove them to be so. Moral probabilities are very important, but they have nothing to do with logical inference. I can say, if these say true, this government is not likely, a certain inference on a hypothetical truth, and so far logical; but what depends on the moral estimate of my mind as to the personal qualities of witnesses has nothing to do with logical inference. It only proves incapacity to judge of reasoning to say it does. The resembling other cases is no part of what I believe on testimony at all even, but the fact of that in which they are the same. Nor is it reasoning from particulars. His starting-point was no government, and supposing this true only of some, the possibility of overthrow even, if so, not its unlikeliness, would be proved. The whole argument is trash, save as it clearly proves he is all wrong. Being asserted to do so by intelligent, etc., was no mark that it did so in its nature or qualities, but merely a question, Do these de facto speak truth as to its qualities? of which their testimony is no mark at all as an attribute in the government. But all this is to get rid of evidence, and subject the matter to logical inference that nothing might be believed, and always rest in this “may be believed to be true,” and nothing be believed at all. Now, reasoning or syllogistic conclusion is certain if the premises be true, and evidence may be morally or absolutely certain too. This makes all uncertain in logic and in testimony. I do not a moment admit that every step in the deduction is still an induction. The deduction does not begin till the general proposition or nature of the subject expressed in the predicate is, through induction or other means, assumed to be true. In the deduction there is no induction at all.
All he says as to mathematics is mere unintelligent materialism; as if, because his fingers and compass could not be absolutely true, his mental apprehension of it could not. His head is no wiser than his fingers. The certainty is no illusion. He supposes that mere materialism is all we have. But we exist in space and time, and space is divisible. What is material phenomenally exists in space, and the matter is not the subject of thought but that mode of existence, and this gives form and measure, and of this mathematics are cognisant and demonstrate the equality of dissimilar forms, etc. But his idea of a point, etc., is not only false, but wholly inapprehensive of the truth. A line is that at which divided space begins and ends, the limits of any such division, or of two which meet. And if I enter on existing matter, or the space it is in, I am not at the limit at all. Hence a line properly is a non-existent thing, as the limit of a thing, or of two spaces which meet, must be; but I necessarily so think from my nature. A point is the starting-point or end of the line, or any point where the mind divides it. A straight line is that whose direction is invariably to a fixed point. So surface is that where matter ceases or begins. If I pass into an existing thing, I am not on its surface. When we make lines physically, they are sufficient to represent them to the eye for the mind, but this is all. If I take what is physically marked, I have lost the idea of line. And we, as finite, living according to space and time, necessarily think in it. If the radii are not equal, it is that the circle is not a true one, not that equal radii are not true of any circle: if not, it is not a circle at all. And so far from a right angle never being true, it is necessarily true, and I cannot help thinking of an exact one if I think of it. Supposing a line so conceived as above, and for practical use any line drawn, let one cross another at any angle. Let one move round in the direction to enlarge the smaller of the two angles. I necessarily pass through all angles till the lines are identical, and at a given point a right angle; I must do it. The physical exactitude is a mere question of physical skill. In the case of a line one cannot form a mental picture of a line, for its essence is not to be a material existence at all, but the mode of existence of that of which I can form such a picture, that is, existence in divisible space; and it is his reducing all thought to mere objects, so as to apply the phenomenal facts as to that to all thought in the mind, which makes all his system false. Geometers just define it for practical use; but Mill never thinks nor gets beyond what he picks up to comment on. All human reasoning is built on hypothesis necessarily. The only difference of geometry is that, occupied with what actually exists in nature, the hypothesis is incontrovertible. Mere definition or axiomatic assertion may be well or ill founded, but the relations of space, quantity, inequality exist in the necessity of our thought; and geometry has only to discover what they are, and, as in all true deductive reasoning, the conclusion is necessary.
Some mathematical definitions are very stupid. “A straight line is the shortest line between two points.” This may be and doubtless is true, but is no definition, not what a straight line is, but a quality of it. “Straight” is whatever never swerves from one direction towards a point fixed as regards the point from which it starts. Every basis of deduction is an assumed truth—and as to the nature of what is spoken of—only mathematics dealing with the forms and measures of space deal with that which exists as true in the nature we belong to. Man is mortal, or man is a rational animal, may give rise to a thousand questions other than such as belong immutably to the nature of space, the sphere or time, the condition in which we now exist.
His change as to equal magnitudes (p. 264) makes the whole thing false. There are equal magnitudes which cannot be so applied to one another as to coincide, though those which do are upon the face of it equal. I suppose “magnitudes equal to the same “to be a delusion in terms, even if convenient for practice. The magnitudes here are the same. I think the proposition that two straight lines cannot enclose a space may be demonstrated, for let them start from two separate points and these are not united by them. Let them start from the same point—either they are identical (only one line really) or perpetually diverge. The true definition of a straight line, one which never diverges from direction to one fixed point, makes all this simple. I dare say geometry may be more convenient as we have it; but what we want in it logically is to give right force to terms, and so to definitions. What we have said of straight lines is not (p. 266) an induction from the evidence of our senses (rather nonsense, by the bye) but is necessarily demonstrated from the meaning of “straight.”
And this introduces another fallacy of Mill’s, founded on his assertion of general propositions and ignorance of their nature. Of course they may be contested, but in all deductive reasoning are assumed. But as reasoning from particulars (Mill’s theory) is clearly false on the face of it, and no reasoning at all—that is, no legitimate inference of any kind—so the universality of a general proposition is not all. That all men are mortal is a fact. They have been so in all known cases; but the induction goes farther, and involves, perhaps is even tacitly based on, another: Man is mortal, which affirms something of the nature of man which is other and more than the fact that all are involved in it. And this is the meaning of what is universal is necessary—that is, certainly must happen according to the nature. “Straight” is a line of a particular nature, one which never deviates in its direction; if it does, it is not straight. So a circle; it means a boundary line enclosing space whose distance from a point within is always equal. Now Mr. Mill’s reasoning that it comes from observation is false upon the face of it; for he says there never was a perfect circle nor line seen, nor can there be, he declares. Hence it cannot be observation which has given me the idea of a perfect line or circle, for there is no such thing to be observed. It will be said, I correct its aberrations in my mind. Correct it by what? By the idea I have of it; that is, I have an idea to correct it by, not an idea in the sense of a mental image. I know what equal means. This I may have learned experimentally; but knowing what equal means, I know what circle means without seeing it or forming any image of it in my mind.
Saying, too, I cannot reason about nonentities is false; for modes of existence (as time and space) are not entities, and I can, though with perhaps more difficulty, reason about them. And here the part which language takes is forgotten. I may have learned what “equal “is by observation (not by inference and inferring nothing from it); but I exist in space, and divisible space and time, and I know what number is, and I think in this order, and equal becomes an abstraction from the things I may have learned it by. I apply it to entities; but it is not an entity at all, yet it is a perfectly intelligible word. I have no mental image before me when I say equal or unequal, though modes of existence suppose for us that things exist; but they are not existing things imaged in the mind. This materialism has rendered all Mill’s reasoning false. I have an idea of straight and circle, lines or forms, with certain qualities which exclude from them all lines and forms which have them not. And if nature or art does not, as Mill says, furnish such, then I say a true circle does not exist in nature, and art cannot make one, though what it makes is meant for it, and answers practically for deductive reasoning, because it is meant for it, and supposed to be it. I do not take Euclid’s axioms; because they are taken as sufficient for mathematical purposes, not meant to have the precision necessary for logical discussion. Let us bear in mind that all syllogistic reasoning is on the assumption of the truth of premises—that is, hypothetical; and if true, the conclusion is always “must be,” never really “is”; never truth affirmed in itself, but a conclusion, though always a necessary one. That two lines cannot include space is demonstrable, and no real axiom, but a necessary consequence of their nature, the meaning of “straight” being assumed, of which, whether I have ever seen an exactly straight thing or not, I have a perfectly clear thought.
As to the burden of proof (p. 267), it is a feeble defence, but Mill has proved it; for he tells us that no one has ever seen a true straight line or true circle. I have already said that the only difference of mathematics is that the truths we start with—space, divisible space, form, etc.—are in the certain nature of things, that is, our own mode of existence. Hence unless I know God and what “I am” means, in which there is no space or time, all thoughts, or rather attempts at thought, of what is eternal outside them are negative and cannot be otherwise—infinite, immense, and so on. I exist in what is divisible space and time, and with human power I cannot go beyond it. When I say I am, the thought has no past, no future—that is, is negative of finite time. It is the nearest to eternity I can come, and by a tacit negation. It is always now.12 Hence, when used absolutely, it negatives time absolutely; when said of myself, it says, I exist now.
What Mr. Bain says is clearly false (p. 272), for we have no really straight objects to compare, and I cannot say “bent or crooked” without understanding what “straight” means, to which another object may be an approximation. That the knowledge which makes it understood suffices to verify it, is true; but for a very different reason. Straight means what does not deviate; but from what? All his reasoning in pages 274-5 is founded on different meanings of inconceivable. Whewell used it as tantamount to impossible, Mill as what the mind may or cannot apprehend, he having nothing but observation and experience to judge by; but the impossibility is in the nature of the things. Two are not three in the same sense, nor bent and straight. It is not simply that I cannot conceive two straight lines enclosing a space, but they cannot enclose it. It has nothing to do with the information of my mind or its habits, which is all Mill can speak of. The thing, according to our mode of existence and thought, cannot be. It is not merely that in my condition of mind it cannot de facto be thought: in my state of existence it is not thinkable. All his reasoning is not worth a straw. One is the effect of prejudice or education; the other is in the nature of the things. My having ascertained it or not is the state of my mind; the other is the state of two straight lines. And it is quite possible that, while my ascertaining the fact is a matter of scientific progress, I may learn, too, that, things being what they are (and so only can I think logically and as to nature), it could not be otherwise. Thus it took great progress to learn the uniform and universal laws of gravitation; but, once learned, the sun being an enormously greater mass, that principle being true, the earth, once set in motion, must go round the sun.
So with combinations in the reasoning of both these gentlemen. If things were not definitely combined (though experimentally learned), we could not have a kosmos, an ordered universe. There might have been another combination possible (but not according to that in which we live, hence not conceivable by us); but to have order and distinct bodies, there being diverse elements, they must be definitely combined to have these distinct bodies. Uniformity and order cannot exist without it. Whewell, on the main point, defends himself needlessly and to no purpose (page 283). The question is not, save for myself, if I conceived distinctly or not, nor do I trouble myself with actual axioms more or less correct; but is there such a thing as a straight line conceivable which is not a crooked one, and a circle which is itself not an ellipse nor a square? Necessary conclusions are those rightly drawn from admitted premises; necessary truths are those which follow necessarily from the facts certain in nature. They are also facts. I learn them perhaps by reasoning. Geometry proves the equal quantities of distinct forms. I join by a straight line two radii of a circle. I have an isosceles triangle; whatever may be deduced rightly from that necessarily follows, and may involve important discoveries. The uncultivated mind has no clear idea of what makes it impossible for him, therefore it is not so, of course. And though I cannot conceive a world with different chemical combinations, as I belong to this and am not a creator, I can conceive there may be; just as I may conceive there are a thousand chemical combinations yet undiscovered. But chaos man cannot conceive. It is combination in a definite way which comes into his mind, if any; but any particular combination must be for an ordered kosmos.
True axioms, then, are relationships which are in nature and for our existence always and necessarily true. When I define a thing in mathemtaics, I take a fact in the relations of space or number, not an existing object, but a relationship mentally conceived, one which is important for further reasoning, though there may be a thousand others; not, as Mr. Mill says, denying other attributes, but selecting that which makes it important. What I take necessarily and absolutely exists, not a physical object, an object of sense, but a relationship in the nature of things, say a right angle. Now all angles exist infinite in number. I take one where, two lines crossing each other, all the angles are equal. There must be such, for all angles exist (they are the mere relation or difference of direction of two lines from one point),13 therefore this does: only I take it for further use. So there are infinite forms circumscribed by a continuous line, never straight, but returning to the same identical point. There is, therefore, one of which the circumscribing line is always equidistant from a point within, that is, all whose radii are equal. I take this one, because from this quality (there may be twenty others) all the system of trigonometry (its sines, cosines, versed sines, etc.) flows. But the existence of these relationships is in the nature of things, not objects (though if true they may become such), but as to which it is impossible that they should not be. I learn many consequences, as I do from the ellipse or other forms which in astronomy become of the greatest importance: consequences that are also true as relationships—say as Kepler’s laws—much more certain and certainly accurate in mathematics than by observation. If facts, they may be observable of course, but their certainty is mathematical, that is, in their nature not experimental. I repeat, all deductive reasoning is hypothetical; that is, it assumes the truth of the premises.
(Pages 290, 293.) I come to numbers. Mr. Mill tells us that 1 = 1 is not certain, because a pound troy is not equal to a pound avoirdupois. This is a sample of Mill’s logic. He says we must think of ten bodies, ten sounds, etc.; but I do not think of bodies or sounds at all, not even if such are before me, only of their relation in number. I think of ten. I can say ten is not nine, and think of no body or thing at all. Two and one is no definition of three at all; it merely states that, if I add one to two, it makes what I call three; but two and two making four, 3 + 1 making four, and so on, shew this has nothing to do with definitions. We cannot define numbers, because they enter as a primary idea into my condition of existence in the divisibility of quantity or the unity of an undivided object, as three parts, one sum. You cannot define colours for an analogous reason, nor sounds. They are primary sensations in the latter cases, the mode of my existence in the former. The word is merely the sign of it; but I am one, another person speaking to me is one, and we are two. When I say “two,” it shews that it is not the object of sense, for the two are different, but unity or numerical quantity that I think of. The word “four,” as applicable to all objects, represents none. It represents four, the number, a mode of separate existence. The objects are not the subject of thought, but the number of them, and therefore I can compute without referring to any object; the relations developed are relations of number, and nothing else. Nobody denies that objects are numbered, but thinking of number is not thinking of the objects. They exist in space, in time; but space and time are not the objects of sense that exist in them. To confound reasoning of “one” and “one pound,” as if it were the same thing, shews an incapacity of mind which may not be impossible, but it is certainly “inconceivable” in one pretending to teach reasoning or logic: the difference is in the pounds, not in the one. But mathematical arguments as to quantity are just as certain. What have quantities, as man has combined them in commerce, to do with abstract relations of quantity? This is all child’s play in logic.
I need not enter at any length into the question between Air. Mill and Mr. Spencer. Both base their reasoning on exact experience, and both are all wrong. If, as Mr. Spencer says, I feel I am cold, and cannot conceive I am not, this is not past experience. Nor is it necessary to talk of the opposite being inconceivable. A present positive feeling is for him who has it certain. Mr. Mill’s answer is simplest nonsense. He says, I can conceive not being cold; but Mr. S. evidently means that when I feel cold I cannot conceive being not cold then. But they are, in order to make experience the sole test of truth, making my conception of a thing the only question, not the thing itself. If I have a toothache, the pain is something, though, of course, I conceive it; and in the cases we have been considering—circles, numbers, etc.—my conceiving it has nothing to do with it. The thing has the qualities; the form or number is what it is. There are numbers which convey no idea to the mind, but I can calculate them with as much certainty as if it were two or three: the certainty is in the numerical relation, not in any conception; and, be the circle big or little, the relations of sines, cosines, etc., are just the same. Conceiving depends on the conceiving power, not on the truth of the thing. “That what is inconceivable cannot be true,” is as false as can possibly be; for conceivable depends on the capacity of the conceiver, not on truth or not. Besides, a man may be certain in his conception, and deceived—think himself made of glass, or Louis XVI; he is mad, no doubt, but just as certain. It is inconceivable for him that it should be otherwise. Mr. Mill distinguishes between inconceivable and impossible. I may use the former for the latter; but if the difference is made and it is just, I had already made it. The whole argument is not worth a rush. What is impossible cannot have been a matter of experience, and rests on the nature of the thing, not on conception or experience at all. And a thing may be impossible and yet supposed, or so far conceived, as that the square of the hypotenuse is not equal to the squares of the two sides. This is impossible to be true from the relation of the quantities. I may have to discover it, but it is in the nature of the thing always so.
As to contradiction or an excluded middle, I must add used in the same sense. Thus, snow is white; snow is not white. If snow is white, what is not white is not snow. What is red snow? It is in all its essential qualities what makes it snow, but it has been coloured in some way; and contradiction is simply such negatives that is, says the affirmation is not true, consequently the negative cannot be true if it is. But this supposes the term used in the same sense. A man is one single I, but there are body, soul, and spirit, which may be separated. But what Mill says is, as usual, wrong (p. 321); for an unmeaning proposition is none at all—is not true nor false, not as a proposition, but because it is not one at all. He is wrong, too, as to matter. What is infinitely divisible cannot be said to be not infinitely divisible. Whether matter exists or not has nothing to do with the question. The existence of matter is another proposition, the truth of which is assumed in the one we are treating of, as is always the case mentally. The incapacity of Mr. Mill in analysing is really astounding. Nor has sight or touch anything to do with it. Thus, if chemistry has shewn, as alleged in the atomic theory,14 that divisibility cannot be carried farther, then the up to that divisible thing is not infinitely divisible. Infinite divisibility may be applied to space without matter in thought. If I get space, I get extension; and if I do, I can conceive part of it.
In the quotations from Spencer we get the usual reference of everything to experience. Now as to phenomena I should insist on it. But reasoning has nothing to do with it. I know, without any phenomenon, that when I say a thing is not, I do not mean that it is, but to contradict it, that I am saying that the propositipn is not true; if it is true, it is not true to say it is not. I have nothing to do here with the experience of objects, beyond which these men cannot get. I say, whales are mammals; it is said that whales are not mammals. If I use the word in the same sense both cannot be true, because one says the other is not, and it cannot be true and not true in the same sense. Yet I have no experience of whales—never saw one to examine it—only I know that in the usual ordinary sense of the term it is a great fish; but I have no experience of the matter; only I know what a proposition is, and what not means.
I deny altogether that all our knowledge comes from induction, or that induction gives us any truth at all. Induction gives us what we have to act on as men, in a multitude of cases; for Mill carefully leaves out belief in testimony. But induction only gives us a high degree of probability. Induction does not give us truth; testimony alone gives us truth. But he admits that what induction does is to discover and prove general propositions. He insists on ascertaining individual facts, but all this is sophistry.15 Because I do not infer from some observed cases to one, unless it be the observation of all; for if not, you can draw no inference; it concludes from constant recurrence in all cases without other cause; it is true in all cases, hence in any given one; otherwise in none, unless that it is uncertain, for some are and some are not alike, or at least only probability. It never gives truth as such. “Observation of known cases” means of all known cases, or is quite false; but from all known cases universality is concluded. But this is the general proposition.
The inference is to a whole class, because it is true of the whole class in all observed cases. “It does not hold at all, or it holds in all cases.” Just so; but my induction is from its having been so in all observed: if it has not, I cannot infer that it will; and of cases not yet observed I only infer it of one, because I infer it of all. Only, as I have said, it tacitly but really affirms the nature of the thing. “All men are mortal” is really a conclusion as to man’s nature from having known all to die as to human knowledge. All diameters of a circle are equal is the nature of a circle having all its radii equal. But here again the cloven foot comes out, that the inquiry into a scientific principle or an individual fact is just the same induction. Now, a principle or the nature of things I is a matter of induction from many or all observed farts, but an individual fact (save as identical with a scientific principle) is never a matter of induction, but of testimony. I know he reasons about it to shew that I believe by an induction as to credibility; but this, however much it has its place, does not in itself give any induction in believing the fact. I believe the testimony that the fact is, and infer nothing about anything. I may shew it is folly not to believe the testimony, and infer I ought; but that is reasoning or inferring as to the testimony, if I do this (not always the ground or belief, nor even of divine faith), not as to the fact. I believe on testimony, which is no induction at all; and this in the next pages he does not deny.
(Page 329). The senses or testimony must decide on the individual fact. Inductions may, of course, then be made; but what he says about the syllogism is all false, as before. It is always and only deduction, and not induction. Even in practical affairs the inference to a particular case would not be just, unless true of all such cases, for if not, this one may be a similar exception; and so he admits in the first sentence in the next chapter. It is really wearisome to pursue such absence of all exactness of mind. This definition of induction (p. 333) says all I have insisted on, as to the whole class or general proposition being its true character. But syllogism is not induction, but deduction. It does not give probability, however high, which is all induction can do, and therefore nothing certain, but a necessary and certain conclusion if the premises be true. The case Mr. Mill puts is induction, and of it syllogism says: Argumentum a particulari ad universalem nil valet, and for a deduction certain in its nature, that must be; it is an induction from given cases to a class which may or may not be well founded. It is an induction; there is a conclusion, namely that every A is B; whether it be fairly conclusive depends on circumstances. If this and that A are sufficiently numerous and none contradictory are known, then it is a fair induction, such as men have to act on. But it is not a syllogism—must be if the premises are.
Of the use of syllogism I have spoken; it connects with certainty, by means of a middle term, ideas or an idea not connected or contained in the subject as announced, and which is called in question. Every man is an animal; every animal lives (as such) by blood; therefore man lives by blood. The middle term animal connects life by blood with man, which is supposed to be in dispute. He is wrong in saying ascertained as to every individual in it. That is not it. It is ascertained as to every individual that has come under observation, and so I conclude as to one which has not. That is induction, the nature being really always introduced, though the process be not analysed in our minds. And this view of induction he admits to be true in pages 334, 335. But syllogism is wholly distinct in its nature, and gives on admitted premises a certain conclusion from them. The induction, if it be sufficient to prove the nature, is practically sufficient so far as phenomena go; but never in se certainty. But this point of the nature of things is of great importance, though it simplifies things much.
I need not follow the mass of useless verbiage in the controversy between Mill and Dr. Whewell. Mill sums it up in one sentence as to Kepler, but shews himself wrong therein; for, as is evident, Kepler’s law was an induction, only one ready-made for him in the necessary rules of an ellipse. Having found a number of places and movements of Mars, he inferred all the rest: only the inference was ready-made for him. But as to the question of nature itself, what is in Mill (ground of induction) and Whately is vague and unsatisfactory, though there is a general presentiment of truth in it. Nature and its uniformity come up in three distinct ways. First, uniformity of relative existence, that is, of what is always true in nature as it subsists, as space and form, mathematical induction, which is really merely discovery of what is constantly so. Secondly, the effects of power in nature, which may or may not operate constantly, as gravitation or certain chemical affinities or effects. Thirdly, subjection to some law or power which operates universally. The second is probably the law of nature. I do not conclude because John and Peter have died that all will. Abel’s death by violence, and all men’s, save eight, by the flood, could not have proved it, because it was not the course of nature that all would have died by nature; but I conclude that John and Peter will die because all have. My reason is that the universality of it, without other external cause, makes it a law of man’s nature; but as it is not in the subject itself apparently, but subjection to a law of necessity, I must shew its universality in the natural course of things, which practically proves its necessity in every cause. Yet it is not proof, that is, certainty, though quasi-certainty. He who believes scripture knows we shall not all die. It is what in a person or being in his normal state is contrary to his nature, for he lives. He is subjected to it, he may be even violently. Hence I can only conclude while that subjection continues. But in chemical affinities or gravitation it is in its normal state that it so acts; it is its nature. Seeing this, namely it is its nature, the law of it if you please, I reckon on its doing so in all cases, because it is its nature. This may be both learned and confirmed by observation, and, no doubt, possibly the generalisation induced; but from one clear adequate instance or many I have its nature.
In geometrical induction it is, as I said, discovery of the nature or essential qualities of one form; and these never vary, they are the qualities of that form. What he says of only proving that that circle is only so-and-so is a mistake. It is what a circle, any circle, is. Colours do not give just ground for induction. They are not what the thing is—its nature. Black swans, however, were known—rara avis in terris, nigroque simillitna cygno. What he says of abstraction is wrong. It abstracts a quality from all it may be found in, as whiteness; or a thing as a nature abstractedly from all in which the nature is found, as a man, or man; a circle, etc. It is not connecting known facts by common characters, but taking the characters apart from the facts. Man is so-and-so, whiteness dazzles. It is the quality of being in its nature apart from the objects in which a quality is, or individual instances of a being or an act: as “Reading much tries the mind”: “Living by warm blood is the property of all beings who breathe through lungs.” It is really that the nature of the thing has been discovered. In all cases it is, so far as one instance shews, the nature of the thing that the induction is sure (for mathematics is a discovered fact of relation of quantity). When it is only from all known instances (though adequately for human conclusions) and the nature of the thing not shewn, it is not, properly speaking, certain; as mortality is not the nature of man— that is, a living being; but subjection to something which produces it. But there is another kind of inference, not from cases or all cases to the one not observed, but to the cause of the case itself. This may be from other similar cases, but not necessarily. Thus if, having gone round part of an island, I find in a strait I have not surveyed the tide setting in strong through it, I conclude it is open at the other end, for the current could not so set through it under given circumstances if it were not. This is a legitimate induction to the cause of the phenomenon, and then to the state of things which allows the cause to operate and is its formal occasion.
But I deny wholly that belief in oracles, or Whately’s popular superstition, is induction from experience. They may try and justify their opinion by experience. It is evidently the power of unseen things on the human mind. Its cause is not experience. What invented it? What set it up? I do not admit any proof in induction (page 352). When one man has died, the conception of being mortal is not arrived at at all. Nor is it properly a conception. I conceive death. Mortality is a moral judgment as to the condition of the living where that conception has no place. Nor is abstraction description. But I do not dwell on these points. But if generalization from experience be induction, it cannot be proof. In material facts of the course of nature it may, but that is not really an induction from instances, but the discovery of the uniform law of the course of nature in which we exist. It does not assume the uniformity of the laws of nature, but discovers, and in that sense proves, it in the cases where it is so. I do not (from some cases of bodies falling, since nature is uniform) infer that other bodies will fall, but learn weight or gravity as a law of nature from all bodies (not hindered) falling. What I have discovered is the law (or uniformity) from all known cases, not some from an abstract idea of uniformity.
I have no contest with uniformity of laws of material nature; my question is about the inductive process. I admit habitual experience gives a general feeling of a uniform law in the order of nature. But even in this it is only present phenomena. The sun rises and sets, and I expect it to do so. But the most accurate science says this order must have begun, and it must end. I shall be told this is a mere general law; be it so (though it makes phenomenal induction a poor and foolish thing). But it proves that proof by induction from observed instances to others, on the assumption of uniformity in the course of nature, is no solid ground of reasoning. For this reason: the earth had a beginning, that is, as Mill admits, there was a change. That is, uniformity, which means no change, is not true.
If one boldly says beginning to exist is from a law (not to say that it is nonsense), where is the proof of it as a law? from what other causes is the induction made? What was the antecedent of which its existence is the sequence (called cause)? If I am told it was the effect of cast-off portions of a revolving sun and cooling mass, what was the antecedent of that? Whatever cooling of the sun may be affirmed, if matter be inert and has been set going, some force has set it going which is not in the inert matter. So, if the uniformity of the principle of weight is there, what put it there? This regards change and beginning, and motion is change. Where there is none, the case is even plainer. “Fire burns,” he tells us, does not relate to time. Of course not, but “fire burns” is a statement of its nature, and what it is as such, what consequently it always as such does. There is no inference at all from cases known to cases unknown; it is known already and always that fire burns. He tells us (p. 254) that this uniformity of the course of nature, or government by general laws, “is an assumption involved in every case of induction.” In page 255 again: “That the course of nature is uniform is the fundamental principle or general axiom of induction. It would yet be a great error to offer this large generalisation as any explanation of the inductive process. On the contrary, I hold it to be itself an instance of induction… Far from being the first induction we make, it is one of the last.” This is singular. It is an assumption involved in every case of induction, the fundamental principle or general axiom of induction; but then it is a late induction—that is, it is not an assumption at all, but an instance of induction, which of course must have been made without it, for it is one of the last inductions made— that is, it cannot have been assumed before. It is known by induction, the fruit of it; but the induction was made always by assuming it. It is always taken for granted to have proof by induction, but the induction must be made or it is not known; it is itself induction, in which it takes itself for granted.
His only answer to this is, for he admits it, that it is no more than the major of a syllogism. But this is no answer at all, for he admits that the major is necessary to prove the conclusion, though no part of the proof. What is necessary thus to prove all inductions is itself a matter of induction, when it is not there though necessary! But the answer is in itself unfounded. The major is part of the proof—ground I have already gone over. Thus man lives by blood, therefore man is mortal. Here is no proof whatever of anything. I say, Why so? I answer, which is the major, because everything that lives by blood is mortal. My minor only brought it into this class, the major proved it was mortal. He would say, Your major had to be proved. Of course it had. But that has nothing to do with the proof of the syllogism.
In fact, moreover, universal laws of nature arc not assumed. A universal law of gravity is discovered by observation, generalises withal by finding that it explains all the phenomena of movement in the universe, though gravity is only a name for the fact. But nothing of a universal law is assumed here. It is, as he admits, an induction, and an induction which could not yet be made. I find by experiment that water presses equally in every direction, another general law, but no assumption of universality. But when I find in every case coming before me that there are fixed principles of nature, and that it is in a general way necessary for the order which constitutes the kosmos, I accept it as a general principle of that kosmos—that is, in the physical order of things. It is a result of induction. But this proves the inaccuracy of Mill in saying that it is the basis in every induction; for it is not in any of these, by which it is ascertained. That is, his principle is wholly false. Nor does it go beyond material elements or physical nature; but we cannot expect Mill to get beyond materialism.
But then to assume it is a universal basis of induction because it is in material things is wholly unfounded. He may amuse himself with chemistry from Bain and Sir John Herschel, but this is superficial work, and shews a will. He says (p. 329): The validity of argument, when constructed, depends on principles, and must be tried by tests which are the same for all descriptions of inquiries. Now an inquiry whether alkalies neutralise acids is not tried by the same test as whether man is morally responsible to God, and what God is, what morality is. And Mill has shewn elsewhere the effect of this materialism in declaring his belief of an impotent God, partially good and unable to do better with the materials ready to His hand, whencesoever they came. Doubtless he had felt physical evil personally, and knew, as evidently he did not, nothing else, nothing of the truths involved in conscience. His theory is—we are to perfect what has been made imperfectly.
The induction by simple enumeration is true where it is the expression of nature, for that reason; one instance of an effect well ascertained to be attributable to a chemical agent is so for the same reason. When I cannot say it is nature, it is the highest probability where no other cause is, as ordinary mortality. Violence, disease, or not, men equally die as to animal life; phenomenally animals the same. I then say it is the present order of nature. When I say alkalies neutralise acids, or hydrogen and oxygen in given proportions make water, I get, as far as men can ascertain, their nature as to that. And I do not, however, draw an induction properly in this case. It is the nature of alkalies, and these gases so united make water. I do not predict, save to the ignorant. They do not resemble, as Mill would say; they are the same, not in corporate unity, which has nothing to do with the matter, but in action. Alkalies do that, not “have done” nor “will,” though each be true; they do it. When I conclude from instances to instances, it may be more or less likely, because, if tolerably many, there is probably a common cause; but it is no proof of anything: but if I ascertain the nature of the thing, that is an induction, and so far practical proof. But this only applies to material nature, not to a law binding everything with a phenomenal kosmos. Consequences prove antecedents, but only where it is the nature of the thing; sequence in itself has nothing to do with it. He admits the fact; but if it does not in one instance, it is no proof in any.
Day follows night, that is, light darkness; but it is not of the nature of darkness to give light, or to cause it, and the sequence has nothing to do with causation, laws of nature, or induction. That is propter, quia post. Where a thing produces anything, then I pronounce on its nature, and it is always itself when not hindered. His chemical instances may be all very well as trivial illustrations of means to discover producing causes, though he never travels beyond materialism; very pretty experiments borrowed from others, which not only are confined to material things, but do not analyse the true principles even of them. They are mere means of scientific discovery, beyond which his mind cannot go. He does not see the difference I have noted. The black or white swan, or grey crow, says nothing as to nature; it is a mere fact, and swan or crow is merely a class made ill or well; and all the white swans in the world would not prove there was not a black one—has nothing to do with it. The only important principle evolved here is that he is obliged to rest all on testimony, as in all questions of fact we must. Most of the laws of nature are simply facts, and there is no induction whatever, but adequate ascertainment of a fact; as that hydrogen and oxygen make water: only in the details we must see that other causes do not come in to produce or have hindered.
As to cleverness in experiment, his cases may be all very well, but have nothing to do with the logic of causes. I cannot see any induction in ascertaining the laws of nature, though clever induction may shorten the work in guessing or probability (not proper invention). The fact is there, and the fact is learned. A clever mind may think of means to ascertain whether the fact is such; a well-informed mind knows what may eliminate, what would confuse. But if hydrogen and oxygen always make water, there is no induction. If a third element be there which hinders it, I have to ascertain where the true law or uniform fact is; but all this is mere ascertainment of facts by observation. As to the result, that is the fact. You have nothing to do with following them.
I quite admit cleverness and knowledge in the use of facts. When Leverrier or Adams discovered that Uranus’s motions could not be accounted for, all the difference was that they could not see what caused it. The law of gravity was known: it was an instance of it. The irregular movement proved the presence of the object, just the same as sight would. The cause and result were identified.
The reason why testimony that there were black swans could be received was that colour does not alter the nature at all. Wearing heads under arms clearly ran counter to the natural structure of a man. You cannot say there can be none such, but it is too contrary to nature, and so to probability, to receive it. Experience would not help us with the swans. If colour had to do with nature, as the black spot from arsenic, it would at once affect our judgment.
As to his case of abuse of power, there is generalisation, but his conclusion is, as usual, a Tenterden steeple one. How does he know that education will ever elevate character, or destroy the love of power or its abuse? The only conclusion to be drawn is that no forms hinder the love and abuse of power found in man, and no system of education yet invented has corrected his nature (pages 354-372). He had before told us (p. 258) that mathematics were not certain: now their laws are rigorously universal.
If truth is investigated by evidence, neither induction nor logic is such at all. He naturally avoids all efficient causes, looking only to physical ones; in which, too, all is false, because he has confounded cause and sequence, and things apparently necessary with cause. It is the merest fallacy to call it causation where it is simply sequence. Be it that I learn what is a cause from it by eliminating other concomitants, but then it is a producing cause. Whether there be a constant sustaining will is another question: I believe it, but I may consider the ordered sequences apart as ordered. In that sense he is superficial and unanalytical still. Events, as we know them in the kosmos, have had not necessarily antecedents; this is not so, but causes. Gravity is not an antecedent of centripetal motion, nor impulse even of rectilinear. They act in the motion. What we call gravity is only the force so displayed. But the real cause is not all the antecedents where there are such. Poison kills one man, not another, the former being unhealthy, but the latter is not the cause. The poison destroyed the tissues, or corrupted the blood, etc., that killed the man; in the other case there was adequate force to resist, which there was not in the first.
(Pages 378-9.) Language may be used carelessly, and occasion used for cause, and Mill’s mind not get beyond this. We do so when, without the occasion, the result would not have happened; but this is only language. The man falling from the ladder broke his neck—suppose this was the cause of his death; but I say slipping from the ladder, because otherwise he would not thus have broken his neck, and his weight would not have done it at all. A stone falling to the bottom is caused by gravity simply, partially hindered by the medium. It is immaterial what might hinder. It is evident that it cannot come into the cause of what it is not hindered in. He is wrong as to the surprise. The absence of the sentinel did cause the surprise, not the attack; but it was the cause why that attack was a surprise on the others; and that is what causing a surprise means, not causing the fact, but causing that fact to be a surprise. Absence may be a cause. Absence or non-existence of light (darkness) makes me lose my way. There must be a way, and a man purposing to go it; but this has nothing to do with the cause of his losing it.
I may say, in common parlance, Faust died (p. 383), because he was a man; Mephistopheles not, because he was a spirit. But this does not say what was the cause of Faust’s death. Poison killed Faust, his being a man did not. But the operation of the poison did not exist as to spirit. There was no cause at all at work. In comparing and saying why there was not, it is all well to say because, etc., but this has nothing to do with the cause. His whole system as to causation is wrong. To say that the existence of tissues is the cause of their destruction, because there must be tissues to destroy, is trifling nonsense, and that it is not alleged as a cause only, because taken for granted. The existence of tissues is no cause at all of their being destroyed. In page 383 he says this, in page 380 he says it is vicious tautology.
The movement of a projectile is the effect of the combination of two forces. More than one cause may be in operation, but the collection of all conditions being causes is unfounded. And he takes states of objects as causes, but this is all the grossest delusion. If a stone attracts the earth, that is not what makes it fall; were it big enough the earth would go to it. So colours are states of an object. There being causes of sensation in me is a wholly different matter. He has really a most incompetent mind.
The thing caused in my mind has nothing to do with the colour being a patient, but my senses. The action and passion refer to different objects in which the result is produced. If I give a blow and produce pain, I am in no way the patient. The whole of this in page 388 is utterly false, because the object is not agent in that in which it is patient, nor vice versa. The case of the scholar and teacher is sophistical in this, that in both mind is brought in. But even here, qua recipient from the teacher, the scholar is not active. It may set his mind working. Mill is all confusion, too, here.
In page 62 a substance or body is the external cause of our sensation. Hence, if I paint the wall white, the cause of my seeing whiteness is there. It is a simple direct cause, not an induction, at least if page 62 be just. Painting the wall is merely putting on that place what does so; the wall has nothing to do with it. Nor do I see that what he says of cause, or of conditions to define cause, is just. Cause means what produces an effect. Be it that Hume will have that we only know what is constantly antecedent. This is not true, as Reid’s case of night and day shews. Mill adds unconditionally. But this is not true. His elaborate proof to shew that there is the condition that the sun must rise and set is absurd; for I have his experimentum crucis of the sun making daylight the cause of daylight—that is, the cause known by the effect. And if I say, accounting for the sequence, it is the rotation of the earth which causes the sequence, as it is, there is the condition of the sun or light being there, and even here, as much as before, the earth may cease to rotate, or the sun to give light. But the rotation is none the less de facto the cause of the sequence—I cannot say it will be for ever, but will be, nature being what it is: a necessary condition in every case. The man whose side was shot away led to experiments on the power of the gastric juice in digestion, the proportional ease of digestion of different edibles; but when they put the gastric juice into a vial, it was found that it did not digest save at the heat of the stomach. Here it was clear there was a condition, a certain degree of heat. But gastric juice digested the substance. If not, what did? Gastric juice in its normal condition, not else. Hydrogen and oxygen produce water by being mixed, but if mixed with a certain force the hottest fire; here is a condition, the absence of a certain degree of force in mixing them. It is not unconditionally that the mixture produces water, but the mixture of hydrogen and oxygen for all that is the cause of water. And, according to his own statement, in the case of the surprise of the army, non-existence cannot be a cause of anything. The absence of force is not existence; so that cannot be a cause. But even there he was wrong, because the army reckoned on the sentinel, and therefore it did not watch.
And now, let me ask, what sequence of antecedents and consequences, conditioned or unconditioned, makes me find the light of the sun by day an experimentum cruris that it is the cause of day? But further, this is merely an effort to insist on laws and nature’s order. Supposing I make a lamp, what sequence, conditioned or unconditioned, is the cause of its existence? Every fact which has a beginning, he tells us (p. 376), has a cause. All right. And the invariable antecedent is termed the cause (page 377). The lamp had a beginning, consequently it had a cause. That is an invariable antecedent, and we learn farther on that it is always followed by the same consequent; whereas there is no invariable consequence in the lamp. The lamp is certainly an existing phenomenon. Between the phenomena which exist at any instant, and the phenomena which exist at any succeeding instant, there is an invariable order of succession. Now if his explanations and definitions apply only to one class of objects, and are untrue of all the rest, they are false as such. Thus every fact which has a beginning has a cause; that is, according to his definition, an invariable antecedent. Both these are clearly not true.
I admit, every one admits, that as a general principle the course of nature proceeds according to established laws. It would not be a course of nature if it did not. This does not preclude the possibility of interference, but it is there to be interfered with if it be. But Mr. Mill’s theory of causation is wholly false and wrong. But further, every fact which has a beginning has a cause. Now in the course of nature there is no beginning phenomenally, or it would not be a course. Particular effects may begin, as the procession of the equinoxes returning on their course; but this is really a continuous effect, a regular thing. Thus there is no beginning of anything, consequently no cause of anything at all, save petty details man can make by his activities. Nothing ever began, and nothing ever was caused. A thunderstorm begins, but it is the regular course really of the operation of electricity and heat. It is as regular a course of nature really as the sunrise. But what made electricity have this course?
In truth Mr. Mill merely states a phenomenal course, but cause is no real word for it; hence, to slip out of the difficulty, he confines himself to course of nature where general laws are admitted, and avowedly confines himself to phenomena, by which he means merely the visible or discovered course of nature around us, where nothing phenomenal had a beginning, that is, now apparent as apparent, or it would not be an established law; for if established now (or any time), something established it, and there is an efficient, not a mere phenomenal, cause. If constantly in operation, it has not a beginning. The whole theory is utterly shallow.
If we are to believe Thompson, the earth must have had a beginning; so that there was a cause when it was not. But that is another question of fact. Phenomenal laws do not begin, and there is no beginning at all, or, in Mr. Mill’s definition, a cause before the beginning of phenomenal laws. An established law now going on is not a beginning, but a going on; and he shirks the whole real question, falsifying all the principles he lays down himself. So he says (p. 397):— The beginning of a phenomenon is what implies a cause, and causation is the law of succession of phenomena. This is a contradiction in terms, or reduces phenomena to the subjective perception by me.” The light of the sun causes day—his own example—but that is merely my seeing it, for it is always light; day is merely that I see it. As the moon always reflects the light, the waxing and waning and lunar months, etc., are merely a question of my seeing it. The moment I have a law, I have what always is, that is, no beginning and no cause, on his shewing of what “cause” is. But this involves most important principles. A course of nature phenomenally is clearly not beginning. It is not a law nor known phenomenally as a law till it acts, and has acted regularly, as such. If learned by experience, it is going on (though if the nature of the cause be ascertained, I may conclude to its being so from one instance). That is, the fact of beginning, implying a cause, and a law of nature or regular sequences (cause meaning no more), as ascertained by experience, are contradictory to one another.
Hence of two things, one: either the course of nature began, and then I have a cause, that is, an efficient cause, outside and before that course; or it went on eternally without any cause at all. Not merely matter existed (we do not know matter unformed and whose state is uncaused, and no part of the kosmos), but the whole perfectly ordered system (with the force that governs it in its movements, regular as no man could devise it—scarce discover, and multiform as no man can think) is perfectly uncaused and invented itself before it existed; for invented somehow it is. Matter, we are told, is inert; but it moves with a speed thought cannot realise, yet nothing has made it do so! It is here we may say Credat Judaeus Apella. Mill says he is not obliged to treat this question. But all his theory is false without it, because regular phenomena going on by established laws are not beginning. Day begins, no doubt, that is, I see the sun at a given time; but nothing is really beginning: the rotation of the earth is, as a law of nature, perpetual. If he says it is no law of nature, as it may naturally terminate, so begin, what gave the impulse? He cannot avoid efficient causes, for there are no other real ones. The attempt to reduce phenomenal causes to efficient ones was the intuitive sense that there must be such; the discovery of regular laws gradually did not falsify this, but merely the place they sought them in.
Discovery of gravity, a few general laws in chemistry—as the law of general proportions, etc.,—proved it was not in essences of things efficient cause was to be sought (though there is more truth in it than in the denial of it). His changing conditions into causes is false as to causation. But the necessity of a cause somewhere is evident, and Mr. Mill admits it elsewhere, only an impotent one that could not make things better than they are, and we are to perfect the poor result! And the fact of general laws leads us up to a general or single cause which caused the course of nature to begin, and consequently was not of it (in the beginning was the Word and by Him all things began to be, or took place. Das Wort war, und durch ihn alles ward). But this, then, was by a will. Hence they can only continue by a will, the same that formed and gave the impulse. If the impulse was necessary to move originally, that only could cause the movement, and that will only can cause it to be now. By Him all things consist.
This is the only possible conclusion. Descartes may have gone wrong so far as not allowing secondary wills, as man’s, which in their allowed spheres may be causes. All Sir W. Hamilton’s reasoning (p. 417) is just nil. Is the steam not the cause of propulsion, because there are cranks and condensers, etc.? The intermediate instrumentality has nothing to do with the cause or efficient power which produces the effect. All Mill’s statement refers, with his usual want of sagacity, not to the point itself, but to the means of ascertaining it. Supposing I learn it by experience—a dog, without learning anything, or using any reflex action of mind at all, moves his foot as much and as well as, or better than, I do. The cause of his action or moving is the same as mine. Foolish man may reason as to matter not acting on matter, or mind not acting on matter; but I and the dog do will, and do move our legs because we do will it. The case of paralysis proves nothing. It only shews that the machinery is out of order which communicates to a certain—say, as they do—distant lump of matter. Does it shew that steam is not a motive power if the crank be broken? The ascription of life by savages to sun and moon, because they had motion marking a plan, was a mistake as to the fact; but supposing it caused, as Mill and Reid say, which is only partially true, it was at the utmost a wrong deduction from too widely generalising a true fact; and this is their account of the matter. That is, they had always experienced that will in themselves gave rise to motion when so willed.
Mill (p. 410) says volition is a physical cause, that is, an antecedent invariably producing a given consequent, which is absurd on the face of it, for thus it is not will. I may say, In three minutes I will strike the table; there is no consequent at all when this will exists. In three minutes I strike it when the will is positively active. Will cannot be physical, even if thought may be. Motives may produce will, conscience restrain it; but will is not subjective feeling, though this may tend to produce it; as, if a man irritates me, I should like to strike (not his talk but) him. It is not a consciousness of effort, but a consciousness of intention. Effort brings in the machinery; intention, not. If they say, and it is all they say, “I don’t know how will sets the machinery in motion,” I agree entirely, I insist on it. I have an intention and a will, and by nerves and muscles and a pen I write these lines, each word being what my intention makes it, if I am careful and wide awake. Can they tell how? Of course not. Is that a reason for saying, if I intend so to write, that I then have an active will to do it which puts these means in motion and produces the effect? The instruments have nothing to do with it. I must have a pen and ink. What then? They are as necessary conditions as nerves, and, say, electricity, if so it be. I speak to my friend: he understands and receives the deepest truths, say the nature of God. All I do is to modify the movement of the air by my lungs and throat and lips. Other spiritual power may be necessary; but this would only additionally prove that the animal economy through which the action passes has nothing to do with the cause. “Conscious of power “may be incorrect, because that may include the instruments of a body so wonderfully constructed to follow will; but “conscious of will” as that which somehow when in practice acting (for it may be there when it is not) causes the effect to follow. Paralysis has nothing to do with this. It refers to the machinery the motive power sets in activity: how, none can say. He can carry up the machinery to the nearest point where it receives the impulse, but that link no human mind can find; in no case can he. But however it acts, or however we learn it, active will, when the machinery is in order, does produce effects. Nothing can be without it, and no human mind can tell us the links between matter and mind and will. Mill has no idea of anything but theories of others and natural laws (p. 419); the truth that lies behind he avowedly avoids; and when he touches it collaterally, he goes all wrong by the help of others (pages 411, 413). In pages 393-426 I only find shirking the truth, feebleness of mind, and want of sagacity.
The chapter on the composition of causes is all to no purpose. There is no analogy between the cases. The composition of forces is one and the same case, motive power (or attraction) acting on a distinct object. Chemical composition is one thing acting on another, or rather two things acting on each other, so as to produce a result within themselves, combining elements which, when together, form a third thing. One is mere force on an inert mass, the other the combination of elements within themselves. The total absence of all moral sense and responsibility, and the degrading character of his philosophy, are shewn in the way he speaks (p. 432) of the laws of life. The way gastric juice produces chyle, or gastric juice is formed, perhaps that is within his sphere of vision, and no one doubts there is a chemical action in the development of animal life; but beyond that his thought cannot reach. What a son is to a father, a man to God, this never crosses his path. I shall be told it is no part of logic. In a direct way I fully admit it; but neither is chemistry, which is his constant hobby; and the life has nothing really to do with chemistry save in its external causes and sustainment.
It is proved now that there is no production of life from matter of itself, and that life precedes organisation and produces it. That much is hid from man, nay, all these things, I fully admit. But all his laws of life are only the form of operation when life is there. Matter does act on mind, as a knock on the head or a bad cold makes me senseless, mad, or stupid; and mind acts on matter, for I move, in spite of all the Cartesians (though in substance I agree with Leibnitz) in the world: how I cannot say. Muscles, nerves, perhaps magnetism, only bring me to more subtle matter, and the question is untouched. Of this I have spoken. The effect of progressive heat (p. 434) may be merely increased power of separating the particles. But this is no matter. It is fatiguing, his never getting beyond the nearest materialism; and we must ever remember that laws leave the question of real cause wholly untouched, as I have said.
To say that social and political phenomena are the effects of the laws of mind, is simple nonsense. It is the effect of passions, prejudices, unknown impulses, with which mind has nothing to do. Motives—and men have to be governed by motives—are not mind; and, whatever Utopia he may conceive, he cannot get rid of them or govern others, nor has he by any possibility a standard of result or principle which can form society. He may easily say “the good of all”; but what is that good? If reason governs each individual, is each individual competent to discern the best good of all, and to act upon it without caring for self? Love governing where it is, I understand. But reason and laws of mind never made a world happy, nor have they anything to do with it. Cold never thawed the hard earth, nor reason selfishness in man.
As to induction (p. 444), I deny that its object is to ascertain what causes are connected with what effects. It is to ascertain what things are. No doubt it may be used for the other; but every major premise of a syllogism, when believed by induction, is not the statement of the effect of a cause. ‘Every man is an animal’ is fact derived from observation, and has nothing to do with cause and effect. This is merely the blinding effect of being engrossed by laws of nature, and incapacity to get out of the material rut in which his very narrow mind moves. And this, as the end of inductive philosophy, is the low fallacy of his whole book. That his principles are incapable of anything beyond it I fully admit.
But Mr. Mill assumes that chemistry, life, social and political questions, are all problems of the same nature; he leaves out not only the whole higher sphere of thought, admitting that induction has made nothing even of most of these, and drawing all his instructions from chemistry and mere physical nature. But this false view of induction destroys the basis of his reasoning. And it is every way and wholly false and illogical; for laws are not really causes, and physical laws are not everything—at any rate cannot be assumed to be such; so that his whole system is false from beginning to end. The introduction of another element besides physical uniform sequence makes, or may make, all untrue; and it is wholly unfounded. He is obliged to make human will a mere physical cause or law, having never proved it is so, which makes evidently the whole system foundationless, a rehearsal of chemistry and the way of discovering facts in it, which is not logic (see p. 410), but which betrays the system, and shews the flimsiness of the whole of it.
His statements as to methods of agreement are not correct. The effect of it is not necessarily A; because it is possible, and indeed common, that A without B produces nothing at all. But it is not material, as it is merely means of discovery.
The same objection applies to Canon 4, as indeed he admits. On his own shewing they are not shewn to be unconditioned, therefore not shewn to be a cause. The principle (p. 466) is a false principle. Gastric juice (cold) and heat produce, neither of them, any effect on a piece of meat: join them, and they digest it. In moral things the contrary is constantly true: a woman has nothing to do with me, and no effect on my position; she marries my father, and I am turned out of the house. Nor is it evident in the case of the stars, though it may be true. The conjunction of two suns might alter every condition of man’s life, in many respects morally, or burn him up; one changes nothing as originally adapted to his nature, though the last instance is less strictly exact, as one (though, as adapted, unfelt) does act on him.
Physical “phenomena” only (p. 470) come under these rules, right or wrong. Organic life consists, Mill says, in a continual state of decomposition and recomposition of the different organs and tissues (p. 473), and yet more strongly, “the chemical actions which constitute life.” Now this is alike folly and impudence. In life in the body these changes take place: but who says this is life? In the first place, it is proved that life precedes and produces organisation (the inorganic nucleus in the cell); but at any rate the body being subject to these changes by vital power in no way says that they are life or constitute life. They are a corporeal process where life is, but more cannot be said. Of course he cannot get beyond it; and note here that he pretends to go beyond phenomena or physical causes. He may say these are the regular phenomenal causes; but, when he says this constitutes life, he touches the efficient cause, so as to settle there is none else but the phenomenal.
The dispute between him and Whewell I leave. I think some of his cases inconsequent; but all this is merely verifying inductions on chemistry and the like, interesting in their way, but which concern me little. All is material. On the composition of forces I do not think his conclusions just; the distance gone is not the same, nor is time the same; nor can rest be estimated as the same as twice the distance in opposite directions. Its consequent effects clearly are totally different. If the force were attractive, not impinging, it would not be so. Some of the difficulties he escapes by tendency and pressure.
For the mere history of science in its deductions I have no remark to make. His making induction a part of deduction is clearly false, as already noted. It is merely ascertaining the general premise for the deduction, and so he says (page 534). Nor is his statement in page 536 true in proper deduction, when the nature or law is adequately ascertained. If deduction be just, I say “must be.” In mere material phenomena verification may be all well, because it is a question of material facts, which may be mistaken. But this is a question of the truth of the premise, not of the deduction which assumes it, and we are where we were, subject to particular observation of cases, unless the law or nature of the thing be ascertained: then the conclusion is certain. Verification may be all well, but it is testing the justness of the induction which establishes the major premise.
As logic, all his statements are very poor indeed. That he has interested himself in physical science may be all very true; but though it may seem harsh, the whole tone evinces, I judge, a bad vitiated mind. I am led to say this by the way he speaks so lightly and flippantly (p. 534) of constructing an organic body, and trying whether it would live. The tissues at the instant of death are the same. An organised body constructed is not a living body, nor an organ’s inactivity of themselves, or movable by will, the same as a constructed organism. He is no Prometheus. He admits he is quite ignorant, only flippantly taking occasion by his ignorance practically to deny life or a soul distinct from body. If a man believed there were, he could not talk of trying whether it would live. And this is flippant on what is solemn, if it be only to be or not to be; and flippancy on solemn subjects is the proof of a vitiated mind.
Why must there be ultimate laws? All may be summed up in one, and that one a constant acting of force in One who can originate force. His limiting it to sensations is hmiting it by effects on us, beyond which I suppose his mind cannot go. Colours, for instance, are the result of degrees of refraction, and red is contained in white. A coloured object is from some special power of reflecting that ray. He affects to speak only of phenomenal sequences, and not of efficient causes; but if the reader be attentive, he will soon find Mill speaks of them as efficient. Causa causata perhaps; but this he will not have, because it leads to a causa causans, which no human mind can escape or conceive.
Bain’s statement (p. 7) is merely that we cannot now give an ultimate cause, or one nearer to it, to two phenomena. Sameness is constantly treated as similarity or resemblance, which is a misleading blunder, failing in abstraction (page n). Induction has nothing to do with deduction, nor has verification, which is merely a means of testing its justness. It is clear that I cannot verify till the deduction is completely made; and verification also is in particular cases, and the conclusion might be true in them, yet the deduction unsound as a general one. All is superficial here, and a mere recital of material means of scientific research. Hypothesis is the short cut of genius versed in general relations and power of memory as to them, merely concluding it must be so. If proved that other circular forms did not produce equal spaces, then the proof was complete; practically it was that, supposing no cause did. As to causes being causes, see page 15, second paragraph.
I have not much to remark in this part of the book: only notice the careless fallacies of Mill (page 57). The effect might not be produced if A were alone. In the calculation of chances he changes probable into “probable to us.” But this changes the whole idea, and makes the probability depend, not on the calculation of the chances based on the fact, but on my knowledge, different it may be in all, so that there is no calculation of chance. He does not believe in the Jesuit’s middle knowledge. What means certain here? Some event does happen, we can say, in result. But events are not certain a priori. It was the sense of this made him add to Laplace. The two events must be of equally frequent occurrence. To get out of this he turns probable into “probable to us,” unless all this is confusion. Evidently it is more probable that a man in the last stage of consumption will die within a year than that a man in good health, caeteris paribus, will. Our ignorance of it does not affect its probability, though it may our estimate of it. The logical ground (p. 66) is not our knowledge, though we may have to act on it. Pages 67, 68, are all nonsense. The fact of credibility of witnesses is clear judgment of the individual, no average question at all.
In page 69 we have a very important false principle, arising from his rejection of testimony, and resting all on inferences and averages. The probability of a fact rests on our knowledge of the proportion of cases in which it occurs. Now, supposing it occurred but once, and never before, the real question is of adequate testimony, not of probability at all. Say the deluge: I have a positive testimony, confirmed in every way, supposing the earth to bear evident marks of its having taken place. I have no question of probability, but of adequate testimony; and this false and evil dependence on inference confounds past facts with possible future ones, putting them on the same ground. Testimony has nothing to do with probability; but he seems to’ have no idea of such a thing as truth. Besides, here and throughout we have it assumed that there can be no power in operation at any time other than phenomenal sequences; not merely that he will only consider these; which, if there be others, must put him on false ground, and which are no causes at all (from which yet he cannot escape). But he denies all others: they are not supposable to him. It is only causes in operation which tend to produce, admitting, in spite of himself, efficient or productive causes, but limiting all active power to existing phenomena.
As to past fact, probability is nonsense, or a denial of all possibility of adequate or certain evidence. In reasoning (p. 82) on the sun rising he tells us: If it do not, it will be because some cause has existed, the effects of which, though during five thousand years they have not amounted to a perceptible quantity, will in one day become overwhelming. He then goes on to assume that only some long existing cause, or one arriving suddenly from a distance to be the cause, can be supposed. But this assumes there can be no agent or power beyond known phenomena. I believe in constant agency of divine power, and that this is the ultimate law; but he has no right to assume that there can be no intervention of power beyond observed phenomena. We know that it is the infidelity of the last days; but it is an arbitrary and ignorant assumption.
(Page 95). It does not prove A to be the cause, but only a necessary condition. Thus the universality of causation as a general proposition is not what is believed; but when I find a formed thing, I believe there was a former; so, if anything occurs, I believe something has made it occur. The return of day, save religiously, is not a question of general causation at all. The peasant expects the sun to rise, because it always has, by simple enumeration; and when he sees his cart, he believes somebody made it, without any generalisation, and he would think you mad, or perhaps a philosopher, if you doubted it. Thus the mental principle in these cases is quite different. But in neither case is there belief of universality of causation. Nor is universality of causation the truth we cannot help believing, that is, an abstract proposition; but, having an effect, we cannot but think there is a cause. Nor is he right in saying belief is nowhere without proof at all. Nor is it the truth of a fact in external nature which I believe here. The cart is the fact, and with it comes the belief that it was made.
Man does believe that effects, as the word intimates, have a cause. Reason never believes anything; it may test the credibility of evidence; but it is not its function to believe, but to reason. Nor does it follow that, if I cannot help believing that there is a cause for an effect (that is, that it is of necessity I do so), my belief may be of what is not true; for if there be such an instinct, it may be, and is, a truthful instinct. It is not that any particular thing is the cause, but that there is one. This assertion of Mill is from the primary fallacy that there is no ground of truth but reason, which I wholly deny. And what he says (p. 99), shews the fallacy he labours under. Man cannot conceive chaos, because he is part of an order or system; nor events in it without a cause, because he belongs to a caused system; and there can be events in chaos only by action on it. If I have a notion of events in chaos, I have the notion of cause and effect; and effects are still the proof of a cause.
The belief in human will does not affect in the least the general principle of fixed laws. It is bound by them in its activity: cause and effect remain in nature where they were. Arbitrary intervention, even where there is almighty power, leaves them where they were as a fixed rule, and supposes them. What was not known was the universality, which is an abstraction quite distinct from the facts on which it is founded. And all his reasoning fails; because, if his discovery of the law uncontradicted is only simple argument and simple enumeration, all subsequent reasoning is no stronger than the basis, and this is founded on each particular case. It is merely a measure of probability; and the allegation that the major is no part- of the proof, because it may have been previously proved by induction is a fallacy already exposed. All men are mortal is a proof that Lord P. is mortal, if he be a man; and all he can make is a material improvement in a fallible process (p. 101): but the ground was not rigorous induction (page 102). All this is very lame.
The belief in a cause has nothing to do with uniform sequence. This is the effect of laboured investigation, and gives that persistence of causes in their effects which makes an ordered system and fixed laws, and applies only to the sphere in which they are observed. Whereas the belief that what occurs has a cause is instinctive part of my nature, and hence, as far as my capacity goes, applies to all that occurs any where. Be it true or false, it is a wholly different thing; for we must not think that the law of causation is the same thing as the fact of an event or effect flowing from a cause. The former is simply the uniformity of sequence (p. 108) in phenomena. Consequence connects the two ideas; but an effect flowing from a cause is really its producing it. In spite of himself, saying he will not speak of efficient causes, Mill speaks of one thing producing another. He says not efficient; but says “effects of different causes,” in his other books constantly; thus pages 246, 247, 203, so 160, “the effects of causes,” “the effects which these causes produce.” All this is mental dishonesty. What is an effect of a cause not efficient? I have no objection to recognise the operation of supernatural power in some miracles as a case of the law of universal causation—that is, the existence of a cause. But it clearly is not a case of invariable sequence, for the cause is set in motion by special intervention; yet invariable sequence is all he owns as cause from observation of nature. This is quite clear, however he may muddle it together. He admits, moreover, the instinctive action of mind by a law of our nature (p. no); but on this I need not comment.
His answer in page in to M’Cosh is null, for the law of causation is “the uniformity of the course of nature.” The uniformity of the course of nature has not any exceptions that I know of, nor do events succeed one another without fixed laws. But it does not thence follow that there are events which do not depend on causes: but if there are such which are not according to fixed laws of nature, there are causes which are not the fixed laws of nature. His tacit denial of God, and of all efficient causes in order to that, plunges him into incessant illogical statements. So ultimate co-existences force him up (p. 113) to eat his words by admitting either things without a cause, or a cause found by ascending “to the origin of all things.” And he cannot deny the fact. He is obliged to come, where all open honest minds come, to a causa causans for the ultimate coexisting properties from which uniform effects follow. There is no uniform sequence, or they are not ultimate. When he says, “if the properties do not depend on causes, but are ultimate properties,” could there be a stronger evidence of will to deny a first cause? For an ultimate property is not an invariable sequence; and how did it come to exist? (See p. 115, at the end.)
The rest of that chapter is all talk to little purpose about kinds. Note his only idea of moral inquiry (p. 130), the chance of human actions so as to predict them. All his reasoning as to existence is false; because, when he says the Emperor of China exists means that I should see him at Pekin if there, he confounds cause and effect. He has defined qualities to be something which produces a sensation. The existence of the something, then, is necessary to the sensation. Existence is not its being perceived (p. 142); it is that which is the occasion of the sensation. I may have the sensation even without the existence of the thing; I can dream or remember. But the object of what follows is to deny the force of testimony; it is an inductive law of succession or coexistence. It is neither. When I am told by a credible witness —by one I believe—the Emperor of China exists, there is no proof of its connection by succession or co-existence with any other thing. When the outermost planet was discovered by its disturbing Uranus in its orbit, it was no conviction that with more power it might be seen. That followed, of course; but a certain power of gravity was there, as the course of Uranus shewed.
As to resemblance, all is a mistake. When mathematical quantities are alike, they do not resemble one another, they are the same. Figures resemble each other, because in that they are the same. Two things equal to the same are equal to one another—convenient for Euclid—means nothing; it is one and the same quantity in all three. As I have said, mathematics are identity of quantity in different forms. If I have a foot-rule, it is only that, as to quantity, all three are one and the same. When it is said two straight lines which have once intersected one another continue to diverge, it is no matter of induction or observation. A straight line is one which always follows the same direction. Hence if they diverge in starting by supposition (for once intersecting one another means that), they always diverge or they are not straight at all, that is, they do not follow the same direction.
Other facts are matters of observation empirically, or may be traced to causes. We must not forget that confessedly constant sequence in itself proves nothing, not even a phenomenal cause, as day is the cause of night. He, we may be reminded, says unconditional sequence, as if the sun was always up, it would be always day—always light, not day. Many things which are causes are conditioned, as heat with gastric juice, a certain proximity for the attraction of cohesion. All this confusion arises from real causes not being owned. Hydrogen and oxygen make water, but under the condition of the power which unites them atomically according to certain laws.
The whole of the chapter on grounds of disbelief is founded on an entire fallacy, that is, assumption that that is true of which no proof whatever is given; just what I said at the beginning as to using a word with his own definition of it as if it was the truth. He assumes that experience of natural laws is the only foundation of knowledge. Evidence can only be a proximate generalisation. Possibly so on his ground, that belief of testimony is only matter of inference. But this is simply begging the question. It can only be a question of superior generalisation, because that is the only ground of evidence. But that is just the question. It assumes that God, or man, cannot reveal himself so as to enforce belief, which is not true—certainly cannot be assumed, specially when it is the point in question.
I know I am. What generalisation is that? I know that Mill elsewhere tells us that even this is known by his kind of knowledge. But this is making a farce of reason. So he asserts, if an alleged fact be contradictory of a rigorous induction from a completed generalisation, it must be disbelieved. Now his complete generalisation, agreement and difference and all, is merely inference from observed phenomena; but this assumes that any power beyond observed phenomena is impossible. But this he cannot assume, and if he does, it is merely a begging of the question and is contrary to truth, and to what he is forced to admit, that ultimate properties must have had a cause, for we have then ascended to the origin of all things; but this must have been antecedent to the laws these properties act by. One could not have a more complete proof of the fallacy of his system than this chapter. So his defence of Hume is simply the same fallacy. Whatever is contrary to a complete induction is incredible: induction from what? This merely says there can be no cause but what we see of fixed laws, which even Mill admits there must be.
Nor is it merely (p. 166) that B did not follow A. This assumes only the negative of existing causes or laws. But supposing X comes in, which was not there? He does not even consider the possibility of another power which may act from itself so as that no observed action of A has anything to say to it. It is not to be credited but on evidence which would overturn the law. It has nothing to do with the law—may confirm it. Thus resurrection supposes the law of death, is an action of power not in the sphere of observed sequences. And note here, our question here is not if it be true, but if it be impossible, for which the only ground is the positive assumption that there is no power possible outside observed sequences, which he alleges are no efficient causes at all. If what a human being can see is no more than a set of appearances, either there is no ground of believing anything, and complete induction is a fable, or I may have as good or better evidence of what power extrinsic to observed phenomena and sequences has done. So when he says (p. 167) he cannot admit a proposition as a law of nature, and yet believe a fact in real contradiction to it. Now law of nature is merely existing phenomena; and this is the absurd idea that the ascertained phenomena of nature are the only possible things that can be, and not a conclusion within nature, but the denial of all action outside it, and that as possible; which is simply nonsense as reasoning, and the more so as he is obliged to admit such action at “the origin of all things.” Because such a thing is, as far as we know it, there can be nothing else! There can be no other ground for this but the positive denial without proof that God can act, and affirmation that there is nothing possible but what we have observed. Yet the ultimate properties and their cause he confessedly has not accounted for. Nor within the limits of fixed laws, quite another question, is all so certain, though enough for all human purposes in the sphere man is in. Because if ABC produces abc, and BC only be, this does not prove A is the cause of a; it may be a necessary condition of B being the cause. I must have ABC produce abc always, BC not produce a, and A by itself produce a; a concatenation of proof hardly ever to be found. And this supposes I know all possible causes which could produce a, and all to be absent. (See p. 168.)
The question of miracles is not (p. 167) of any cause defeated, but generally of positive power producing an effect of its own, as health restored, the dead raised, sight given—natural laws remaining just what they were. There are the cases of frustrating the action of poisons; but there is the power of evil defeated, and all power in good operative. The moral character is as strong a part of the evidence as the power, and there is even power to communicate power. I deny that belief of a supernatural being is necessary first in order to believe miracles, because the exercise of a power wholly above nature is the proof of supernatural power; it is, on the face of it, that power. If the dead be raised, that is not a sequence of nature.
As to believing oneself capable of judging what the supreme God ought to do, it is above all things presumptuous in one who has no foundation of morality at all, though Christ’s miracles are the supremacy of all good in power where evil was, of others sometimes judgment in its place. Supreme power and perfect goodness used to lead men to trust God, as leading to a yet higher good when they were in misery, is not unworthy of God. A word giving sight, the lame from birth walking, the dead raised, goodness in power meeting every case in sight of hundreds, is not possibly the case of natural causes. They do not operate so; there is no experience of it: the wish is father to the thought; and he admits the facts may be proved. The whole of this argument mocks at reason. And his other ground is the character of duty as they conceive it, in which the conceiver may be judged rather than God. One who can see no beauty in the uniform patient exercise of power in goodness to lead man’s heart to trust it, may find others will know his state more than he is aware of.
No one desires to deny that “on the whole” the government of the universe is carried on by general laws. But this is no presumption at all against miracles, that is, the intervention of divine power when man is in misery to recall him to God, and give the ground of confidence in goodness in power. With a weak, scarcely benevolent, God doing the best He could (and that very bad as Mr. Mill holds), there is no need to believe anything about it. Man, he thinks, is to do better if he can. (It is a disgrace to Oxford to allow such a book.) But he contradicts himself here; practically he admits such acts of power may be satisfactorily certified (page 168). Now, supposing resurrection from the dead is (and I repeat it is not a question of a counteracting cause defeating an effect, but of power acting when the effect is produced, acting by its own energy), it may set ordinary laws in motion again, as in many cases it did, but did its own work independent of them. There was no counteracting anything generally, and, if the fact be certified, it is no question of probability or improbability. Supposing one rising really from the dead who stank after four days in the grave, what probable sequence of nature is there in that? There is no mental honesty here. And that there is deliverance from death and misery by goodness and power is worthy of God, but not to take man out of his present place of responsibility till full accomplishment be come.
He tells us (p. 171) that the law of causation, number, and extension are the only cases of absolute incredibility of any exception; but what does extension apply to but to matter? Consequently there is no such thing as spirit at all. As to number, eternity, I am, is an exception. It is the stupidest limiting of everything to observed matter. To the whole class of moral motives in man even, number and extension cannot apply. What is the number and extension of a mother’s love, of a child’s attachment? It is brutish, his system; and if there be a cause for everything—which I believe there is for this creation, and that cause is God—belief in a fact (not exactly contrary to, but) independent of some recognised law of nature, has nothing to do with shaking conviction of the truth of the law (p. 175), as I have said. Resurrection does not make me doubt of death as a law of nature in us now; quite the contrary.—As to his throws of dice, I leave them to him and D’Alembert.
We have now to come to the great question of motive, human will, and fixed laws. Whatever reasoning may make of it, the responsibility of man remains untouched, because he does act by motives which determine him. But all in Mill is so loose and unanalysed that it is difficult to deal with. Thus a motive, what is it? Is it a motive when it does not move the will at all? If it is that which has determined the will, then it is mere tautology to say he is governed by motives, for it is only a motive when it does determine or govern it. Yet is there a will when nothing is willed at all. If I will a thing, the determination is made, morally the act is complete. Free to will is quite true as far as compulsion goes; for if it be compelled it is not willed, it is another’s will.
Now, in all the flimsy language in which he speaks of antecedents, the difference is plainly this. In fixed laws of nature it is compulsion. Gravity acts; the earth, the moon, follow fixed laws—cannot do anything else. It is compulsion; the movement, centripetal or centrifugal, is imposed. The action itself is a necessary one as far as observed nature goes; it is strictly compulsion both as the act and as to the acting thing, it having no thought or will or consciousness in the matter. So in all cases of fixed laws. They mean this: but there is another point. In the case of man’s will the motive produces no action. Man’s will or mind is the thing acted on. It is a state of mind, determination by motive. It does no more than be a motive; consequently a man may act or be hindered acting, or defer to act when the will is there, and only when he acts comes the analogy with physical effects. With the previous part, the production of the will, there is no analogy at all. Till the will is determined, there is no motive in the mind; there may be reflection of the mind on it, but it has not become a motive to me—has not produced any effect in me. When the man acts, his will is the antecedent cause, by whatever bodily machinery it is carried out.
But another point comes in here: an object may attract the desire without determining the will, which may utterly refuse it. It is not an actual motive to the man as to his conduct. All this, which is of the essence of the question of will, to say nothing of the conscience controlling it when otherwise the will would be determined, is left out by the superficiality of Mill. Of course he has not in view divine objects, which take the mind clean out of the whole sphere he moves in, and by grace determine the will. But on his own ground the phenomenal antecedent to effect in man’s conduct is his will. Motive produces no act; but, where operative, produces a state of will and no more, or rather is one, which is not a phenomenal effect at all. It is not true that the action of masses is merely individual will. Motives vary from individual to individual, and may in any individual from moment to moment. This is lost in masses which follow a general impulse, or there could not be a mass. But he admits that the causes are so endless and unknown that we cannot predict action, at most tendencies. But this is not invariable sequence or a fixed law at all.
Now a general course of corrupt human nature I do not deny.; but if I take up individual man, the whole idea is absurd. A man’s recollection of his mother stops him in evil. The scriptures, a sermon, a thousand things impossible to count on, come in and arrest or form the determination of the mind called will. All he can pretend to is to see the tendency of corrupt human nature without God, which, for my part, I should not deny. If he say this is an antecedent cause, no doubt, only he cannot know of its existence, nor, if it exist, of its effect; that is, it is no matter of invariable sequence nor of fixed law at all. But even here his statements prove only that he cannot do what he pretends to do. He is obliged to do what he condemns in Bacon, only pretending to get up to the principles of human nature and bring in deduction, but forced to admit we have no sure elements to reason from. This brings in another difficulty, that all depends not on the discovery of a necessary fixed law of force (as gravity or chemical action), which cannot act otherwise, but on my sagacity in estimating motive, which involves my moral state as well as the state of those I reason about.
How clearly Christianity is above and outside all this, by a revelation of God, a new nature, and objects wholly outside the world! Mill has a feeble and partially benevolent Creator who did the best He could out of the materials He had to hand, and we are to mend His work. But then what of necessary effects of causes? This he feels and seeks to shrink from. Now that man has got philosophers (not for the first time, however) and “the highest thinkers,” we may expect something of this poorly-constructed world. It has been a long while coming to find it out; nor would they, without Christianity, have had even the thought they had. Plato not only did not know God, but taught the most brutish communism, which Aristotle disapproved because, base as trade might be, selfishness was a stronger motive. The world by wisdom knew not God. It pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe. But these have gone farther: when they knew God as revealed in Christ, they did not like to retain Him in their knowledge.
But I will take up a few details. All the statements of Mill are vague, as we have seen; lusts, will, conscience, are all huddled up together; motives present to an individual’s mind and character; but is it yet really motive till the will be determined by it? Then it is inducements which act upon him, and so we could foretell his conduct with as much certainty as we could any physical event. He admits fully afterwards we cannot, but only tendencies. In physical nature the physical event may be hindered, but the cause remains absolutely invariable; and this is utterly false as to the influence of motives on a man. You must know not only the man’s character, but the circumstances at the moment, for a moment may wholly change what acts on him. (See pp. 433, 466 sec. 2, 452, 450, 1, 2, 480, 492, 513, end of 4, 515, 540, 541, etc.) If I knew what acted on a man as an inducement—if it be merely a thought, desire, powerful pressure on his inclinations —I do not yet know how he will act. I quite understand that Mill would hold that the hindrance to his acting on this is one of the antecedents, but this is not merely character. I may have motives which determine wholly above character, and which subdue my nature. If these be taken in so that the purpose is determined by them, then it is merely saying if I know what has determined the will, as I have said.
Now masses, as already said, are masses in virtue of not controlling impulses, but acting on the passions, or perhaps wants, pushed to an extreme, so that passions broke out; and here, but really in each case only when all is known, the general result may be better judged of. Conscience is always individual. But this independence of individual character and principle is lost in the infidel and liberal system, as indeed Lecky admits in his history. I deny that the knowledge of circumstances and character would enable us to tell how people would act (p. 422); for motives outside both, and governing a man in spite of both, not counteracting the will but determining it, may be in operation. Of this, of course, Mill has no idea. In physical causes there is nothing to form. Counteraction is another thing, the motive power remains the same.
But the slovenly mental habits of Mill are again found here. Our volitions and actions are invariable consequents of our antecedent states of mind. The volition is the state of mind, and may be produced by a motive which is no antecedent state of mind at all, nor even my natural character. It may control it, and never have been in me before; yea, set me free from it. Nor is any foreknowledge the same as divine foreknowledge. God knows what will be and absolutely, and He does not reason on tendencies and effects of character and its probable results. When I speak of will, I speak of actual determination of purpose, not of a religious or metaphysical faculty.
“There is nothing (p. 423) in causation but invariable., certain, and unconditional sequence.” “There are few to whom more constancy of succession appears a sufficiently stringent bond of union for so peculiar a relation as that of cause and effect.” Even if reason repudiates, the imagination retains the feeling of… some constraint exercised16 by the antecedent over the consequent. Now, first he had said he would not consider efficient causes, but only physical or phenomenal causes; here he does consider them, to deny them absolutely. But uniform consequence has nothing to do with cause. It may be a cause with no uniformity, uniformity with no cause (while fully admitting regular order in creation). Day and night we have seen, but so of all seasons, summer, winter, etc., so of the moon’s phases; but of even more important things death uniformly follows life. Is life the cause of death? We must turn Buddhists and seek Nirwana. Sequence deceives; it is merely that a thing comes after in point of time, which in itself proves nothing even if constant. A cause is the why it follows.
Now there is force in existence. That is admitted, and force produces effect, movement, etc.; it becomes heat, etc. It is an efficient cause, an agent, uniform or not. It turns to heat where it cannot move, to movement from heat, etc., not uniform, but a power. Electricity knocks a thing down, sets fire to something, melts, kills, or takes away consciousness. If the same as magnetism, it turns iron north or south, it operates with power not uniformly, it strips a strip of bark from a tree from top to bottom, leaving the tree as it was; it twists another into small fibres in all its growth. Here I have force in this shape; power operating gives light, and makes a clock go. This is not mere uniform sequence, but operative force—an efficient cause. But, as I have said, ascending to ultimate properties and “the origin of all things,” you have clearly and avowedly no sequence, uniform or other, but operative power—a cause.
If I only take present order, I may stop at a constant law without seeking the cause, and this is what he professed to do, but does not do, but denies any such: it is not mysterious compulsion as if there was a will but ordained effect, an effect produced, as he is forced, unconscious of self-contradiction, to say. And necessity it is in this sense, as to matter, that according to its ordered nature it cannot be otherwise. It is compelled by the original orderer so to be. It is its nature without a will. Gravity is always the same, so that I can predict, not a tendency, but a fact. It may be hindered, but not changed while the kosmos subsists. And if we are to believe Mr. Mill (p. 433), “it needs scarcely be stated that nothing approaching to this can be done” (in the case of mind). (See pp. 424-5 also.) If I can change or conquer my character, can he do this as regards the ordering of the spheres by gravity?
His discussion on pleasure, pain, and habit, is empty. “We still continue to desire the action”; but I do not go further into it. In page 434 he admits motives in large masses which cannot be so accounted in individuals, again contradicting himself. And I admit, taking the run of masses of men, if sufficiently sagacious, we can judge of the motives which will govern them, though after all very inadequately, from a thousand causes. Still there may be a general estimate of the working of motives in uncontrolled man. Only most do not believe how bad he is when uncontrolled. They are, however, “the lowest kind of empirical laws,” and they must “be connected deductively with the laws of nature from which they result.” This, then, requires a sure knowledge of the nature of man. And here is a field of inquiry and moral judgment. One believes he is good; another, that no good thing dwells in him in the flesh; what is to be done here? Mill, that the world is such a miserable world that an impotent half-benevolent God must have made it out of the materials He had to hand. Only man, being, I suppose, better than He, is to try and perfect it. What are the universal laws of human nature? (page 435). How ascertained but by the empirical laws observation affords “of the lowest kind,” unless we believe in revelation? Of the mind’s own nature (p. 436) he will keep clear; the laws of mind are for him mental phenomena, but this is empirical. Nature has another meaning than in human nature, which is disposition and motive, here nature properly. Mind, if it means anything, he tells us (p. 436), means that which feels—does not reason or think.
Pages 436 and 437 directly contradict each other as to what laws of mind are. In page 437 one kind are called laws of body, in contrast with mind; but it is no matter, save to shew the slovenly superficiality of Mill. What he calls confusion in page 436 he lays down in page 437. Nor is sensation really a state of mind. It is the point of mysterious union between mind and body of which the mind takes or may take notice, reflecting. But note further, though body and other states of mind may produce a state of mind, he excludes absolutely all action on the mind by mind or power extrinsic to itself, which is as important as it is absurdly false. It is to make its law like matter, the laws according to which one mental state succeds another. But suppose a state of mind began by an influence extrinsic to it—the commonest thing possible, for this he has no place; so that all his statement is false as a system.
In page 441 he is all wrong. When white is there, there are no various colours, they have ceased, they are not white; but white is before my eye. The rest I deny and leave.
Belief may come from habit of the idea in the mind, but there are other sources as testimony of that, as to which I have no habit. To make moral reprobation consist in association with a disgusting idea is worthy of Mill and disgust. It is curious to see how carefully he excludes testimony; one thing is recognised by the mind as evidence of another thing.
Page 449. The statement as to old and young has very little or no foundation. The formation of character has of course certain truth in it, but it is not by the laws which form it that the whole of the phenomena are produced. As to the action of circumstances on man, I must know what character is actually formed to judge of that. All this is in the air, besides all special action on man being ignored. So all on to page 456 is nothing but his fancies, and groundless too; denying not only higher principles, but natural characteristic differences of race, as of sex too. It is not true (p. 458) that bodily strength tends to make men courageous. It may make men bullies over weakness if not courageous, but this all is excessively superficial and worthless.
I admit (p. 459) we must know, as I have stated, the nature of a thing to have a real general proposition. But Mill cannot deny that all his mental laws are from empirical laws only, for even character is that. See pages 454, 455, as the result. If they are laws of formation of character, this is clearly empirical. It supposes a character must be formed to judge; but then laws of human nature abstractedly have no place, because a formed character is what I have to discover. The whole system is superficial and arbitrary. (See p. 451, first paragraph.) So page 450, “impossibility of establishing any but approximate empirical laws of effects.”
Laws of matter in their nature we have as gravity; it cannot be otherwise. But when I come to character and circumstances, this is not the case, though there may be empirical laws making conduct probable. But this is what he admits is not science at all, and such formation of character must be, that is, it is no science at all, besides leaving out other deeper principles. Indeed he contradicts himself, for if psychology, that is, the nature of man, be the science, then formation of character is not. Yet here psychology is the science studied (page 461). This formation of character follows, which is by circumstances, and then comes the action in circumstances. As far as this is mere knowledge of human nature or mankind, no one would deny it. It excludes all but circumstances and human tendencies as they exist, no action on the soul being admitted. All moral considerations are of course excluded, all basis of moral obligation. “Congenital predispositions” are not so far (p. 462) to seek, and will never be found when man’s being evil is rejected as a starting-point. It is not a law of man’s nature to lie, but what makes him lie? Selfishness. Hence “lying is nearly universal when certain external circumstances exist universally” (page 449). But I do not dwell on all this part. The statement (p. 469) that “the actions and passions (of masses) are obedient to the laws of individual human nature” is utterly false. Page 466 is not true. He always forgets the power of an objective end of action. The law of the individual as to this is selfishness or his own interests; of a society it is the supposed interests of the society, and more or less the individual is sacrificed to it.
Nothing can be more utterly futile and empty than all this part of the book. He takes up the principle already laid down; that, having empirical general laws, he hypothetically puts great general principles of the nature of mind, laws of mind, thence deduces consequences as to forming character in given circumstances, and so how men will act, only admitting that we can only have tendencies, and never conclude to facts. And what are these few and simplest laws of mind; few but not simple, and running into one another? (page 489). Memory, imagination, association of ideas. Now I suppose nobody denies these three things; but can anything be more absurd? Where are the passions and objects of man, his affections, and the positive influences exercised upon him? Mill admits that we must know what they are before a child can speak, the circumstances of ancestors, and what not. He admits our mental states and capacities are modified for a time, or permanently, by everything that happens to us in life. But this is experimental (p. 451); the generalisations which result will be considered as scientific propositions by no one at all familiar with scientific investigation (page 452). Are the laws of the formation of character susceptible of a satisfactory investigation by the method of experimentation? Evidently not (page 452). These laws are to be obtained by deducing them from the general laws of mind, by supposing any given set of circumstances, and then considering their influence in forming character (p. 457); these laws, or the principal ones, being memory, imagination, and association of ideas—the result to be verified by observation. It being impossible to obtain really accurate propositions respecting the formation of character from observation and experiment alone (p. 456), and so, knowing memory, etc., we possess psychology, the laws of mind, and draw corollaries from them, which is the new science of ethology not yet created. Yet, after all (p. 458), psychology is altogether, or principally, a science of observation and experiment, by which (we have read) it is impossible to obtain any accurate propositions. Consequently we must have the generalisation of laws of mind; but they are hypothetical, only in result affirming tendencies.
Now remark here, that in true science we have nothing to do with tendencies, but with facts. The forces of gravity and laws of motion do not give tendencies, they produce certain resulting facts. They may be counteracted, and that even by the operation of the same laws; but they have nothing to do with tendencies. Hypothesis may come in to get at the law, verified by the ascertained result in facts, and it then ceases to be an hypothesis. It is a principle or law demonstrated by facts. The whole argument is trifling nonsense. Yet the constituent elements of human nature are sufficiently understood to create a science of ethology. Yet the laws are modified by everything in our life, that is, as to our mental states and capacities, are no laws at all, are matter of observation and experiment, or principally so, that is, empirical; and all the science flows from knowing there is memory, imagination, and association of ideas forming character by circumstances we do not know, and then, middle principles of how to form being obtained, we, by education, form the character to be desired. And what is that? We perfect the bungling of creation, while we must know what the nurse has done with the baby and act as a despot alone could, and not even he, for he could not manage the nurse, the passions and governing objects being wholly left out of both sciences. Now that there are these three principles in human nature everyone knows; that education tends to form character is not denied; that the observation of human nature helps to know how the general mass will act, at least tendencies hypothetically, no one denies; but such a mare’s next of hypothetical science I never met with.
It is again curious to see the effort to set aside belief on testimony by attributing to it associating ideas. Such practical impotency in judging of “the laws of human nature,” leaving out passions, objects, selfishness, is hard to conceive any one capable of; but there it is, and a science made of it—one created by Mr. Mill. No doubt it is. If you want to see uncertainty and folly, read page 466. Happily there is an impassable limit to the possibility of calculating (the facts or results) beforehand (p. 467); the data being uncertain and varying, only the laws are not. Now that certain principles govern human society as a general rule, no one can doubt; but the discovery of the result depends on data so complex that we cannot calculate on it. Just so; we are left where we were after the exact science of psychology, ethology, and all— only the last science has not been created yet. Is that the case with the results of the law of gravity?
I do not admit that the sequences and co-existences result from the law of the separate elements. So that the effects amount precisely to the sum of the effects of the circumstances taken singly (page 488). Men acting in a mass are quite different from the individuals taken singly. Confederacies of men are in a moral state, and have a sense of power which takes them out of what controls individuals; and even conscience is necessarily individual. Logical deduction has not to be verified, an hypothetical generalisation which is not deduction has (page 490). It results at best (p. 491) in what is useful for guidance, but insufficient for prediction, and that is an “exact science.”
But even with respects to tendencies, “it would be an error to suppose we could arrive at any great number of propositions which will be true in all societies without exception.” No doubt. “All the propositions are in the strictest sense hypothetical” (p. 493), and cannot be verified, of course, till it is too late, because there is no constancy or uniformity of data as there is in exact science. Our conclusions are soon deprived of all value by accumulating error (page 494). So much so that “the more the science of ethology is cultivated, and the better the diversities of individual and national character are understood, the smaller, probably, will the number of propositions become which it will be considered safe to build on as universal principles of human nature.” That is encouraging, (See again p. 503.) The confessed fact is that, while there are assuredly principles which actuate human nature, the path as to the masses of mankind is so modified by circumstances .that we must know the effect of circumstances on human nature, and the practical effect on men, and this is always changing; the “properties are changeable.” That is, however, controlled the inquiry may be by the general laws of human nature, yet we have to know, if we can, its circumstantial condition, and how one state of society produces another, and that itself in given circumstances, for violence may come in, and one state not be a simple sequence of another; and of these we cannot judge even empirically; of a few tendencies we may, perhaps, if nothing intervene—as increase of wealth, commerce, etc.
But one thing is wholly left out here even in the inquiry what is the end society tends to: what is the good and goal to be sought? It will be flippantly said the good of the whole. What is that? Who is the judge of it? I do not attach importance to his discussion on society; but though it is difficult, from his want of precision, to compare what he says, yet I make a few remarks. “The succession of states of the human mind and of human society cannot have a law of its own; it must depend on the psychological and ethological laws, etc. It is conceivable that these might be such as to determine the successive transformation of man and society (page 512). But … I do not think anyone will contend that it could have been possible setting out from the principle of human nature … to determine a priori the order in which human development would take place” (page 513). There is an end of hypothesis and deduction from psychological laws. “What we now are and do is in a very small degree the result of the universal circumstances of the human race, or even of our own circumstances acting through the original qualities of our species,” there is an end to psychological science, “but mainly of the qualities produced in us by the whole previous history of humanity.” This series of action and reaction of man and circumstances could not possibly be computed. All is therefore uncertain and empirical. There is no science from psychological generalisation, “while it is an imperative rule never to introduce any generalisation from history into the social science unless sufficient grounds can be pointed out for it in human nature.” Then he goes on to say what I have quoted, that the result is in a very small degree that of the original qualities of our species.
As to progress, which he yet admits may not be improvement (p. 511), it is all a fable. Not that there may not be progress in civilisation (not morally); yet is there progress in the Copts, in Assyria, Persia, Turkey, in the barbarian inroads? In mere physical arts and sciences there is in modern Europe, but not even there in fine arts. What is the progressiveness of the human race which is the foundation of philosophising? Christianity has elevated the standard of conscience, bringing in withal the knowledge and reference to one true God. But outside its influence where is the progress? But in this progress “often … we cannot even shew that what did take place was probable a priori, but only that it was possible,” and this from psychological laws! And this is an exact science, like the invariable effects of gravity! “Nothing is more probable than that a wrong empirical law will emerge instead of a right one (p. 515; see pages 523, 524). Here we must know the laws according to which social states generate one another; but (p. 512) the succession of the states of the human mind and of human society cannot have an independent law of its own. It must depend on the psychological and ethological laws. Here little progress can be made in establishing the filiation directly from laws of human nature without having first ascertained the immediate or derivative laws according to which social states generate one another.” Only, unhappily, they have no independent ones at all—cannot.
The vapid infidelity of page 527 I leave. “We have to take into consideration the whole of past time from the first recorded condition of the human race.” Recorded where? What was that condition, and in what place? History, moreover, is too broken and interrupted to have a course of progress, whatever “the superior minds” may think of themselves. No doubt they are the men, and wisdom will die with them. See the self-complacency of page 530. The intellectual element is the predominant circumstance in determining their progress. Progress in what? I only note it here to recognise the principle. Philosophy and religion are abundantly amenable to general causes (page 539). But if there had been no Christ, no Paul, there would have been no Christianity. His perfect ignorance of the person of Christ objectively being the all of Christianity, with what it involves, has necessarily made him talk nonsense here. Circumstances may have been prepared for it; but his total ignorance of what Christianity is (or even Judaism) necessarily makes him grossly superficial.
As to the general principle of progress, it is (p. 540) only precarious approximate generalisations confined to a small portion of mankind, and there is need of great flexibility in our generalisations. And “who can tell?” etc. See, too, page 541, how much “remains inaccessible to us.” Unhappily the art of life (p. 523), to which all other arts are subordinated, has still to be created. Rules of conduct (p. 549) are only provisional. Right and wrong he has not an idea of. Morality, prudence, and aesthetics, all have to be created; but (p. 544) the ends to be aimed at must be known, or laws of phenomena are useless. Most true. Some general principle or standard must still be sought (page 555). The end, however, is conduciveness to the happiness of mankind, or rather of all sentient beings. Has man no higher or better? What is that happiness? On this he is silent, save that present happiness may give way to ideal nobleness; but this in result will be mere happiness existing in the world. Of happiness, divine or heavenly, of course he has no idea. It is, at best, what is under the sun, the days of the life of our vanity. Life now is almost universally puerile and insignificant; it is not happiness such as human beings with highly developed faculties can care to have. Moral, spiritual, divine happiness, grace in the heart towards others, is simply absent from his mind. It is a blank.
I see nothing in the book but an overweening estimate of himself and his own mind, and the grossest absence of every moral feeling—a blank, an incapacity for anything higher than reasoning on current facts, which he does superficially; not aware that there is anything beyond, which he does not possess, with only that which always accompanies it—the secret (so not honest) pervading effort to undermine the grounds on which the assurance of it is built in others. It is a petty, superficial, pretentious work, without one tinge of any moral or elevated feeling, but the contrary; a miserable attempt to spin, out of a world he holds to be badly created by a feeble God (the only one known), by a creature badly created or grown up by evolution, a system that is to be objectless as causeless, which this creature is to perfect as well as he can without knowing what good is. Impossible to conceive anything more beyond the power of conceiving truth.
The fact is, it is simply positivism borrowed from Comte which knows nothing but what is presented to the senses, with perhaps some inferences, and leaves every moral and divine idea wholly out, and covers absurdities and rejection of what is intuitively known by what is illogical and contradictory too. It is merely the absurdity of positivism; conscience and morality all gone, as is the possibility of a higher power acting influentially on me. I am to seek the good of all. Why so? What motive have I for doing so? What is the good? Am I the judge of it, or are they? And who are they? It is as empty as it is bad. His affinity with another man’s wife he calls his first marriage to her (one of mind and affection, I dare say); and then he married .her after her husband’s death, who was a convenient sort of man that let things go on. There was immense moral and mental weakness in Mr. Mill, he was in a state of despairing melancholy for a long while.
Now his logic does not bring out all the results, but it sows the seed in denying causation, and in teaching positivism, on which, with some intellectual principles borrowed from Kant, it is wholly based.
6 A System of Logic, by John Stuart Mill, 8th edition. The reader must bear in mind that these are only MSS notes jotted down while reading the book.
7 Hence, when I say “God is,” “God” necessarily represents to the mind an eternal, self-existing, or uncreated Being. No beginning and no ending is in the thought; and it can be said absolutely of such only. “Is “affirms being. It may be used for “exists,” and then it has not its absolute sense. Sein and dasein are not the same thing. Man exists; the world around us exists; but I could not say “is.”
8 He also professes to take “cause” as meaning merely an antecedent, without entering into effectual causes, and so to define it; but, when the statement is lost sight of, he takes it as a certain and proved point.
9 But this is wholly false, and at any rate applies only to discourse (Logos). I see a man; I believe it without any proposition. If I say such a one is there or here, there or here is asserted about him; but when I see him I know or believe it without any logical inference at all. Existence, we have seen, asserts nothing save in mentally adding “now.”
10 Locke takes all the properties. Of this farther on. It is important to note that some predicates express only an attribute, as mortal, though a class may be made out of them; others are a class, as animal.
11 All this on classification in Mill is wrong.
12 Everlasting only supposes continuous existence from now, ex parte post, so called, or ex parte ante.
13 Angles are mere quantitative angular space, part of the whole circle of space round a point. A right angle is one of four equal ones which take in the whole space.
14 But this is merely physically. Mentally space is always divisible, because it has extension, or it is not space.
15 Indeed in page 331 he says, “In strictness, indeed, the result of the problem is a general proposition.” To be sure it is, and must be—here in the case of mathematics.
16 “Given certain institutions, and customs, wages, etc., will be determined by certain causes … but this class of political economists argue that these causes must by an inherent necessity … determine the shares.” (Autob. 244.) Is no constraint exercised here in either view of the case? The first is Mill’s.