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Title: Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind
Author: Mill, James
Language: English
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"In order to prepare the way for a just and comprehensive system of
Logic, a previous survey of our nature, considered as a great whole,
is an indispensable requisite."--_Philosophical Essays_ (_Prelim.
Dissert._) p. lxvii. _by Dugald Stewart, Esq._

"Would not Education be necessarily rendered more systematical and
enlightened, if the powers and faculties on which it operates were
more scientifically examined, and better understood?" _Ibid._ p.

[_Right of Translation reserved._]




IN the study of Nature, either mental or physical, the aim of the
scientific enquirer is to diminish as much as possible the catalogue
of ultimate truths. When, without doing violence to facts, he is
able to bring one phenomenon within the laws of another; when he can
shew that a fact or agency, which seemed to be original and
agencies, acting according to their own laws; the enquirer who has
arrived at this result, considers himself to have made an important
advance in the knowledge of nature, and to have brought science, in
that department, a step nearer to perfection. Other accessions to
science, however important practically, are, in a scientific point
of view, mere additions to the materials: this is something done
towards perfecting the structure itself.

The manner in which this scientific improvement takes place is by
the resolution of phenomena which {vi} are special and complex into
others more general and simple. Two cases of this sort may be
roughly distinguished, though the distinction between them will not
be found on accurate examination to be fundamental. In one case it
is the order of the phenomena that is analysed and simplified; in
the other it is the phenomena themselves. When the observed facts
relating to the weight of terrestrial objects, and those relating to
the motion of the heavenly bodies, were found to conform to one and
the same law, that of the gravitation of every particle of matter to
every other particle with a force varying as the inverse square of
the distance, this was an example of the first kind. The order of
the phenomena was resolved into a more general law. A great number
of the successions which take place in the material world were shewn
to be particular cases of a law of causation pervading all Nature.
The other class of investigations are those which deal, not with the
successions of phenomena, but with the complex phenomena themselves,
and disclose to us that the very fact which we are studying is made
up of simpler facts: as when the substance Water was found to be an
actual compound of two other bodies, hydrogen and oxygen; substances
very unlike itself, but both actually present in every one of its
particles. By processes like those employed in this case, all the
variety of substances which meet our senses and compose the planet
on which we live, have been shewn to be {vii} constituted by the
intimate union, in a certain number of fixed proportions, of some
two or more of sixty or seventy bodies, called Elements or Simple
Substances, by which is only meant that they have not hitherto been
found capable of further decomposition. This last process is known
by the name of chemical analysis: but the first mentioned, of which
the Newtonian generalization is the most perfect type, is no less
analytical. The difference is, that the one analyses substances into
simpler substances; the other, laws into simpler laws. The one is
partly a physical operation; the other is wholly intellectual.

Both these processes are as largely applicable, and as much
required, in the investigation of mental phenomena as of material.
And in the one case as in the other, the advance of scientific
knowledge may be measured by the progress made in resolving complex
facts into simpler ones.

The phenomena of the Mind include multitudes of facts, of an
extraordinary degree of complexity. By observing them one at a time
with sufficient care, it is possible in the mental, as it is in the
material world, to obtain empirical generalizations of limited
compass, but of great value for practice. When, however, we find it
possible to connect many of these detached generalizations together,
by discovering the more general laws of which they are cases, and to
the operation of which in some particular sets of {viii}
circumstances they are due, we gain not only a scientific, but a
practical advantage; for we then first learn how far we can rely on
the more limited generalizations; within what conditions their truth
is confined; by what changes of circumstances they would be defeated
or modified.

Not only is the order in which the more complex mental phenomena
follow or accompany one another, reducible, by an analysis similar
in kind to the Newtonian, to a comparatively small number of laws of
succession among simpler facts, connected as cause and effect; but
the phenomena themselves can mostly be shewn, by an analysis
resembling those of chemistry, to be made up of simpler phenomena.
"In the mind of man," says Dr. Thomas Brown, in one of his
Introductory Lectures, "all is in a state of constant and
ever-varying complexity, and a single sentiment may be the slow
result of innumerable feelings. There is not a single pleasure, or
pain, or thought, or emotion, that may not, by the influence of that
associating principle which is afterwards to come under our
consideration, be so connected with other pleasures, or pains, or
thoughts, or emotions, as to form with them, for ever after, an
union the most intimate. The complex, or seemingly complex,
phenomena of thought, which result from the constant operation of
this principle of the mind, it is the labour of the intellectual
inquirer to analyse, as {ix} it is the labour of the chemist to
reduce the compound bodies on which he operates, however close and
intimate their combination may be, to their constituent elements....
From the very instant of its first existence, the mind is constantly
exhibiting phenomena more and more complex: sensations, thoughts,
emotions, all mingling together, and almost every feeling modifying,
in some greater or less degree, the feelings that succeed it; and
as, in chemistry, it often happens that the qualities of the
separate ingredients of a compound body are not recognizable by us in
the apparently different qualities of the compound itself,--so in
this spontaneous chemistry of the mind, the compound sentiment that
results from the association of former feelings has, in many cases,
on first consideration, so little resemblance to these constituents
of it, as formerly existing in their elementary state, that it
requires the most attentive reflection to separate, and evolve
distinctly to others, the assemblages which even a few years may
have produced. It is, therefore, scarcely possible to advance even a
single step, in intellectual physics, without the necessity of
performing some sort of analysis, by which we reduce to simpler
elements some complex feeling that seems to us virtually to involve

These explanations define and characterize the task which was
proposed to himself by the author of the {x} present treatise, and
which he concisely expressed by naming his work an Analysis of the
Phenomena of the Human Mind. It is an attempt to reach the simplest
elements which by their combination generate the manifold complexity
of our mental states, and to assign the laws of those elements, and
the elementary laws of their combination, from which laws, the
subordinate ones which govern the compound states are consequences
and corollaries.

The conception of the problem did not, of course, originate with the
author; he merely applied to mental science the idea of scientific
inquiry which had been matured by the successful pursuit, for many
generations, of the knowledge of external nature. Even in the
particular path by which he endeavoured to reach the end, he had
eminent precursors. The analytic study of the facts of the human
mind began with Aristotle; it was first carried to a considerable
height by Hobbes and Locke, who are the real founders of that view
of the Mind which regards the greater part of its intellectual
structure as having been built up by Experience. These three
philosophers have all left their names identified with the great
fundamental law of Association of Ideas; yet none of them saw far
enough to perceive that it is through this law that Experience
operates in moulding our thoughts and forming our thinking powers.
Dr. Hartley was the man of genius who first clearly {xi} discerned
that this is the key to the explanation of the more complex mental
phenomena, though he, too, was indebted for the original conjecture
to another wise forgotten thinker, Mr. Gay. Dr. Hartley's treatise
("Observations on Man") goes over the whole field of the mental
phenomena, both intellectual and emotional, and points out the way
in which, as he thinks, sensations, ideas of sensation, and
association, generate and account for the principal complications of
our mental nature. If this doctrine is destined to be accepted as,
in the main, the true theory of the Mind, to Hartley will always
belong the glory of having originated it. But his book made scarcely
any impression upon the thought of his age. He incumbered his theory
of Association with a premature hypothesis respecting the physical
mechanism of sensation and thought; and even had he not done so, his
mode of exposition was little calculated to make any converts but
such as were capable of working out the system for themselves from a
few hints. His book is made up of hints rather than of proofs. It is
like the production of a thinker who has carried his doctrines so
long in his mind without communicating them, that he has become
accustomed to leap over many of the intermediate links necessary for
enabling other persons to reach his conclusions, and who, when at
last he sits down to write, is unable to recover them. It was
another great disadvantage to Hartley's theory, that its {xii}
publication so nearly coincided with the commencement of the
reaction against the Experience psychology, provoked by the hardy
scepticism of Hume. From these various causes, though the philosophy
of Hartley never died out, having been kept alive by Priestley, the
elder Darwin, and their pupils, it was generally neglected, until at
length the author of the present work gave it an importance that it
can never again lose. One distinguished thinker, Dr. Thomas Brown,
regarded some of the mental phenomena from a point of view similar
to Hartley's, and all that he did for psychology was in this
direction; but he had read Hartley's work either very superficially,
or not at all: he seems to have derived nothing from it, and though
he made some successful analyses of mental phenomena by means of the
laws of association, he rejected, or ignored, the more searching
applications of those laws; resting content, when he arrived at the
more difficult problems, with mere verbal generalizations, such as
his futile explanations by what he termed "relative suggestion."
Brown's psychology was no outcome of Hartley's; it must be classed
as an original but feebler effort in a somewhat similar direction.

It is to the author of the present volumes that the honour belongs
of being the reviver and second founder of the Association
psychology. Great as is this merit, it was but one among many
services which he rendered to his generation and to mankind. When
{xiii} the literary and philosophical history of this century comes
to be written as it deserves to be, very few are the names figuring
in it to whom as high a place will be awarded as to James Mill. In
the vigour and penetration of his intellect he has had few superiors
in the history of thought: in the wide compass of the human
interests which he cared for and served, he was almost equally
remarkable: and the energy and determination of his character,
giving effect to as single-minded an ardour for the improvement of
mankind and of human life as I believe has ever existed, make his
life a memorable example. All his work as a thinker was devoted to
the service of mankind, either by the direct improvement of their
beliefs and sentiments, or by warring against the various influences
which he regarded as obstacles to their progress: and while he put
as much conscientious thought and labour into everything he did, as
if he had never done anything else, the subjects on which he wrote
took as wide a range as if he had written without any labour at all.
That the same man should have been the author of the History of
India and of the present treatise, is of itself sufficiently
significant. The former of those works, which by most men would have
been thought a sufficient achievement for a whole literary life, may
be said without exaggeration to have been the commencement of
rational thinking on the subject of India: and by that, and his
subsequent {xiv} labours as an administrator of Indian interests
under the East India Company, he effected a great amount of good,
and laid the foundation of much more, to the many millions of
Asiatics for whose bad or good government his country is
responsible. The same great work is full of far-reaching ideas on
the practical interests of the world; and while forming an important
chapter in the history and philosophy of civilization (a subject
which had not then been so scientifically studied as it has been
since) it is one of the most valuable contributions yet made even to
the English history of the period it embraces. If, in addition to
the History and to the present treatise, all the author's minor
writings were collected; the outline treatises on nearly all the
great branches of moral and political science which he drew up for
the Supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica, and his countless
contributions to many periodical works; although advanced thinkers
have outgrown some of his opinions, and include, on many subjects,
in their speculations, a wider range of considerations than his,
every one would be astonished at the variety of his topics, and the
abundance of the knowledge he exhibited respecting them all. One of
his minor services was, that he was the first to put together in a
compact and systematic form, and in a manner, adapted to learners,
the principles of Political Economy as renovated by the genius of
Ricardo: whose great {xv} work, it may be mentioned by the way,
would probably never have seen the light, if his intimate and
attached friend Mr. Mill had not encouraged and urged him, first to
commit to paper his profound thoughts, and afterwards to send them
forth to the world. Many other cases might be mentioned in which Mr.
Mill's private and personal influence was a means of doing good,
hardly inferior to his public exertions. Though, like all who value
their time for higher purposes, he went little into what is called
society, he helped, encouraged, and not seldom prompted, many of the
men who were most useful in their generation: from his obscure
privacy he was during many years of his life the soul of what is now
called the advanced Liberal party; and such was the effect of his
conversation, and of the tone of his character, on those who were
within reach of its influence, that many, then young, who have since
made themselves honoured in the world by a valuable career, look
back to their intercourse with him as having had a considerable
share in deciding their course through life. The most distinguished
of them all, Mr. Grote, has put on record, in a recent publication,
his sense of these obligations, in terms equally honourable to both.
As a converser, Mr. Mill has had few equals; as an argumentative
converser, in modern tunes probably none. All his mental resources
seemed to be at his command at any moment, and were then freely
{xvi} employed in removing difficulties which in his writings for
the public he often did not think it worth while to notice. To a
logical acumen which has always been acknowledged, he united a clear
appreciation of the practical side of things, for which he did not
always receive credit from those who had no personal knowledge of
him, but which made a deep impression on those who were acquainted
with the official correspondence of the East India Company conducted
by him. The moral qualities which shone in his conversation were, if
possible, more valuable to those who had the privilege of sharing
it, than even the intellectual. They were precisely such as young
men of cultivated intellect, with good aspirations but a character
not yet thoroughly formed, are likely to derive most benefit from. A
deeply rooted trust in the general progress of the human race,
joined with a good sense which made him never build unreasonable or
exaggerated hopes on any one event or contingency; an habitual
estimate of men according to their real worth as sources of good to
their fellow-creatures, and an unaffected contempt for the
weaknesses or temptations that divert them from that object, making
those with whom he conversed feel how painful it would be to them to
be counted by him among such backsliders; a sustained earnestness,
in which neither vanity nor personal ambition had any part, and
which spread from him by a sympathetic contagion to those {xvii} who
had sufficient moral preparation to value and seek the opportunity;
this was the mixture of qualities which made his conversation almost
unrivalled in its salutary moral effect. He has been accused of
asperity, and there was asperity in some few of his writings; but no
party spirit, personal rivalry, or wounded _amour-propre_ ever
stirred it up. Even when he had received direct personal offence, he
was the most placable of men. The bitterest and ablest attack ever
publicly made on him was that which was the immediate cause of the
introduction of Mr. Macaulay into public life. He felt it keenly at
the time, but with a quite impersonal feeling, as he would have felt
any thing that he thought unjustly said against any opinion or cause
which was dear to him; and within a very few years afterwards he was
on terms of personal friendship with its author, as Lord Macaulay
himself, in a very creditable passage of the preface to his
collected Essays, has, in feeling terms, commemorated.

At an early period of Mr. Mill's philosophical life, Hartley's work
had taken a strong hold of his mind; and in the maturity of his
powers he formed and executed the purpose of following up Hartley's
leading thought, and completing what that thinker had begun. The
result was the present work, which is not only an immense advance on
Hartley's in the qualities which facilitate the access of recondite
{xviii} thoughts to minds to which they are new, but attains an
elevation far beyond Hartley's in the thoughts themselves. Compared
with it, Hartley's is little more than a sketch, though an eminently
suggestive one: often rather showing where to seek for the
explanation of the more complex mental phenomena, than actually
explaining them. The present treatise makes clear, much that Hartley
left obscure: it possesses the great secret for clearness, though a
secret commonly neglected--it bestows an extra amount of explanation
and exemplification on the most elementary parts. It analyses many
important mental phenomena which Hartley passed over, and analyses
more completely and satisfactorily most of those of which he
commenced the analysis. In particular, the author was the first who
fully understood and expounded (though the germs of this as of all
the rest of the theory are in Hartley) the remarkable case of
Inseparable Association: and inasmuch as many of the more difficult
analyses of the mental phenomena can only be performed by the aid of
that doctrine, much had been left for him to analyse.

I am far from thinking that the more recondite specimens of analysis
in this work are always successful, or that the author has not left
something to be corrected as well as much to be completed by his
successors. The completion has been especially the work of two
distinguished thinkers in the present {xix} generation, Professor
Bain and Mr. Herbert Spencer; in the writings of both of whom, the
Association Psychology has reached a still higher development. The
former of these has favoured me with his invaluable collaboration in
annotating the present work. In the annotations it has been our
object not only to illustrate and enforce, but to criticise, where
criticism seemed called for. What there is in the work that seems to
need correction, arises chiefly from two causes. First, the
imperfection of physiological science at the time at which it was
written, and the much greater knowledge since acquired of the
functions of our nervous organism and their relations with the
mental operations. Secondly, an opening was made for some mistakes,
and occasional insufficiency of analysis, by a mental quality which
the author exhibits not unfrequently in his speculations, though as
a practical thinker both on public and on private matters it was
quite otherwise; a certain impatience of detail. The bent of his
mind was towards that, in which also his greatest strength lay; in
seizing the larger features of a subject--the commanding laws which
govern and connect many phenomena. Having reached these, he
sometimes gives himself up to the current of thoughts which those
comprehensive laws suggest, not stopping to guard himself carefully
in the minutiæ of their application, nor devoting much of his
thoughts to anticipating all the objections that {xx} could be made,
though the necessity of replying to some of them might have led him
to detect imperfections in his analyses. From this cause (as it
appears to me), he has occasionally gone further in the pursuit of
simplification, and in the reduction of the more recondite mental
phenomena to the more elementary, than I am able to follow him; and
has left some of his opinions open to objections, which he has not
afforded the means of answering. When this appeared to Mr. Bain or
myself to be the case, we have made such attempts as we were able to
place the matter in a clearer light; and one or other, or both, have
supplied what our own investigations or those of others have
provided, towards correcting any shortcomings in the theory.

Mr. Findlater, of Edinburgh, Editor of Chambers' Cyclopædia, has
kindly communicated, from the rich stores of his philological
knowledge, the corrections required by the somewhat obsolete
philology which the author had borrowed from Horne Tooke. For the
rectification of an erroneous statement respecting the relation of
the Aristotelian doctrine of General Ideas to the Platonic, and for
some other contributions in which historical is combined with
philosophical interest, I am indebted to the illustrious historian
of Greece and of the Greek philosophy. Mr. Grote's, Mr. Bain's and
Mr. Findlater's notes are distinguished by their initials; my own,
as those of the Editor. {xxi}

The question presented itself, whether the annotations would be most
useful, collected at the end of the work, or appended to the
chapters or passages to which they more particularly relate. Either
plan has its recommendations, but those of the course which I have
adopted seemed to me on the whole to preponderate. The reader can,
if he thinks fit, (and, if he is a real student, I venture to
recommend that he should do so) combine the advantages of both
modes, by giving a first careful reading to the book itself, or at
all events to every successive chapter of the book, without paying
any attention to the annotations. No other mode of proceeding will
give perfectly fair play to the author, whose thoughts will in this
manner have as full an opportunity of impressing themselves on the
mind, without having their consecutiveness broken in upon by any
other person's thoughts, as they would have had if simply
republished without comment. When the student has done all he can
with the author's own exposition--has possessed himself of the
ideas, and felt, perhaps, some of the difficulties, he will be in a
better position for profiting by any aid that the notes may afford,
and will be in less danger of accepting, without due examination,
the opinion of the last comer as the best.




       *       *       *       *       *


INTRODUCTION                                                       1


Sensation                                                          2

  SECTION 1. Smell                                                 7

          2. Hearing                                              16

          3. Sight                                                21

          4. Taste                                                25

          5. Touch                                                28

          6. Sensations of Disorganization, or of the Approach to
             Disorganization, in any part of the Body             37

          7. Muscular Sensations, or those Feelings which
             accompany the Action of the Muscles                  40

          8. Sensations in the Alimentary Canal                   45


Ideas                                                             51


The Association of Ideas                                          70


Naming                                                           127

  SECTION 1. Nouns Substantive                                   134

          2. Nouns Adjective                                     144

          3. Verbs                                               151

          4. Predication                                         159
  SECTION 5. Pronouns                                            194

          6. Adverbs                                             199

          7. Prepositions                                        201

          8. Conjunctions                                        212


Consciousness                                                    223


Conception                                                       233


Imagination                                                      238


Classification                                                   247


Abstraction                                                      294


Memory                                                           318


Belief                                                           341


Ratiocination                                                    424


Evidence                                                         428

       *       *       *       *       *

APPENDIX                                                         440




       *       *       *       *       *

CHAPTER XIV.                                                    PAGE

Some Names which require a particular Explanation                  1

  SECTION 1. Names of Names                                        3

          2. Relative Terms                                        6

               Abstract Relative Terms                            72

          3. Numbers                                              89

          4. Privative Terms                                      99

          5. Time                                                116

          6. Motion                                              142

          7. Identity                                            164


Reflection                                                       176


The Distinction between the Intellectual and Active Powers of
the Human Mind                                                   181


Pleasurable and Painful Sensations                               184


Causes of the Pleasurable and Painful Sensations                 187


Ideas of the Pleasurable and Painful Sensations, and of the
Causes of them                                                   189


The Pleasurable and Painful Sensations, contemplated as passed,
or future                                                        196


The Causes of Pleasurable and Painful Sensations, contemplated
as passed, or future                                             201

  SECTION 1. The immediate Causes of Pleasurable and Painful
             Sensations, contemplated as passed, or as future    201

          2. The Remote Causes of Pleasurable and Painful
             Sensations contemplated as passed, or future        206

    SUB-SECT. 1. Wealth, Power, and Dignity, and their
                 Contraries, contemplated as Causes of our
                 Pleasures and Pains                             207

              2. Our Fellow-Creatures contemplated as Causes of
                 our Pleasures and Pains                         214

                 1.--Friendship                                  216

                 2.--Kindness                                    216

                 3.--Family                                      218

                 4.--Country                                     226

                 5.--Party; Class                                227

                 6.--Mankind                                     229

              3. The Objects called Sublime and Beautiful, and
                 their Contraries, contemplated as Causes of our
                 Pleasures and Pains                             230


Motives                                                          256

  SECTION 1. Pleasurable or Painful States, contemplated as the
             Consequents of our own Acts                         256

          2. Causes of our Pleasurable and Painful States,
             contemplated as the Consequents of our own Acts     265


The Acts of our Fellow-creatures, which are Causes of our Pains
and Pleasures, contemplated as Consequents of our own Acts       280


The Will                                                         327


Intention                                                       *396



       *       *       *       *       *


"I shall inquire into the original of those ideas, notions, or
whatever else you please to call them, which a man observes and is
conscious to himself he has in his mind; and the ways whereby the
understanding comes to be furnished with them." _Locke_, i. 1, 3.

PHILOSOPHICAL inquiries into the human mind have for their main, and
ultimate object, the exposition of its more complex phenomena.

It is necessary, however, that the simple should be premised;
because they are the elements of which the complex are formed; and
because a distinct knowledge of the elements is indispensable to an
accurate conception of that which is compounded of them.

The feelings which we have through the external senses are the most
simple, at least the most familiar, of the mental phenomena. Hence
the propriety of commencing with this class of our feelings. {2}



"I shall not at present meddle with the physical consideration of
the mind, or trouble myself to examine wherein its essence consists;
or by what motions of our spirits, or alterations of our bodies, we
come to have any Sensation by our organs, or any Ideas in our
understandings; and whether those ideas do in their formation, any
or all of them, depend on matter or no. These are speculations
which, however curious and entertaining, I shall decline, as lying
out of my way in the design I am now upon."--_Locke_, i. 1, 2.

MY object, in what I shall say respecting the phenomena classed
under the head of SENSATION, is, to lead such of my readers as are
new to this species of inquiry to conceive the feelings distinctly.
All men are familiar with them; but this very familiarity, as the
mind runs easily from one well known object to another, is a reason
why the boundary between them and other feelings is not always
observed. It is necessary, therefore, that the learner should by
practice acquire the habit of reflecting upon his Sensations, as a
distinct class of feelings; and should be hence prepared to mark
well the distinction between them and other states of mind, when he
{3} advances to the analysis of the more mysterious phenomena.

What we commonly mean, when we use the terms Sensation or phenomena
of Sensation, are the feelings which we have by the five
senses,--SMELL, TASTE, HEARING, TOUCH, and SIGHT. These are the
feelings from which we derive our notions of what we denominate the
external world;--the things by which we are surrounded: that is, the
antecedents of the most interesting consequents, in the whole series
of feelings, which constitute our mental train, or existence.

The feelings, however, which belong to the five external Senses are
not a full enumeration of the feelings which it seems proper to rank
under the head of Sensations, and which must be considered as
bearing an important part in those complicated phenomena, which it
is our principal business, in this inquiry, to separate into their
principal elements, and explain. Of these unnamed, and generally
unregarded, Sensations, two principal classes may be
distinguished:--first, Those which accompany the action of the
several muscles of the body; and, secondly, Those which have their
place in the Alimentary Canal.[1]

[Bain's footnote 1: Important points of Psychology are raised in
classifying the senses, and in assigning the order of their
exposition. The author justly animadverts on the insufficiency of
the common enumeration of the Five Senses, and indicates two grand
omissions--the Muscular Sensibilities, and the feelings associated
with Digestion.

With regard to the first omission--the Muscular Feelings,--a further
advance has been found requisite. Instead of adding these to the
list, as a sixth sense, they are made a genus apart {4} and put in
contrast to the Sensations as commonly understood. They are the
feelings of our ACTIVITY, of the Active side of our nature, and are
in relation to the Motor or Outcarrying nerves of the body. The
Sensations proper, such as Smell and Hearing, are the feelings of
our RECEPTIVITY, or Passivity, and arise in connection with the
Sentient, or Incarrying nerves. In the exercise of the senses,
however, a muscular element is almost always combined. This is
conspicuous in Touch, which is most frequently accompanied with
movements of the hand, or other parts touched; it is also the case
with Sight, there being six muscles constantly engaged in moving the
eye-ball. There is least muscularity in Hearing and Smell, but in
neither is it wholly absent. Thus in Hearing, there are certain
small muscles for adjusting the tightness of the membrane of the
tympanum; apart from which, there are movements of the head in
conjunction with hearing. So in Smell; the sniffing action with the
breath is muscular. Nevertheless, it is easy to separate, in all the
senses, the passive and proper sensibility of the sense, (called by
Hamilton the _idiopathic_ sensibility) from the active
accompaniment. We can make experiments upon passive touch, or pure
contact; we can isolate in our consciousness the optical sensibility
of the eye; we can eliminate activity from the ear; and we can
attend to the sensations of smell in their pure passivity.

The best course of proceeding is to deal with Muscularity apart, in
the first instance, and to give it the priority in the order of
exposition. Chronologically it is an earlier fact of our being; we
move before we feel; there is an inborn energy of action in the
animal system, which goes out, as it were, and meets the objects of
sensation. This is one reason of priority. Another is the fact just
stated that movement accompanies all the senses, or is a common
factor in sensation. To discuss its peculiar sensibility is thus a
preparation for treating of the senses.

The importance of drawing a broad line between the active and the
passive branches of our primary sensibilities is seen in various
applications, but most especially in the problem of {5} External
Perception. The great distinction that this problem requires us to
draw between the external and the internal sides of our being (so
described by an imperfect metaphor) has its deepest foundation in
the distinction between the sense of expended muscular energy and
the feelings that are neither energy in themselves, nor vary
definitely according to our energies. The qualities of things
admitted on all hands to be qualities of the external (or object)
world--called the Primary Qualities, Resistance and Extension,--are
modes of our muscular energies; the qualities that do not of
themselves suggest externality, or objectivity,--the secondary
qualities, as Heat, Colour, &c.--are our passive sensibilities, and
do not contain muscular energy. When these secondary qualities enter
into definite connections with our movements, they are then referred
to the external, or object world. Light and colour, when varying
definitely with our various movements, as postures and actions, are
from that circumstance referred to the external, or _non-ego_;
without such connections they would be called internal or subjective

The contrasted terms 'Object' and 'Subject' are the least
exceptionable for expressing the fundamental antithesis of
consciousness and of existence. Matter and Mind, External and
Internal, are the popular synonyms, but are less free from
misleading suggestions. Extension is the Object fact by
pre-eminence; Pleasure and Pain are the most marked phases of pure
Subjectivity. Between the consciousness of extension and the
consciousness of a pleasure there is the broadest line that can be
drawn within the human experience; the broadest distinction in the
whole universe of being. These then are the Object and Subject
extremes; and, in the final analysis, the object extreme appears to
be grounded on the feeling of expended muscular energy.

The second omission alluded to is the Digestive Sensibility, which
ought undoubtedly to be included among sensations, having all the
constituents of a sense; an object--the food; a sensitive organ--the
stomach; and a characteristic form of sensibility or feeling. The
author farther takes notice of {6} 'Sensations of Disorganization,
or of the approach to Disorganization, in any part of the body,'
which too deserve to be reckoned among mental facts. He might
farther have adverted to the acute and depressing feelings of the
Lungs, in case of partial suffocation, with the exhilaration
attending the relief from such a state, and the change from a close
to a fresh atmosphere. Moreover, there are states of purely physical
comfort, associated with a vigorous circulation, with healthy
innervation, with the proper action of the skin; and feelings of
discomfort and depression from the opposite states. A slight
allusion to these various feelings occurs in chapter second towards
the close.

These various modes of sensibility seem to be fitly grouped together
under the common head of Sensations of Organic Life: their detail
being arranged according to the several organs--viz.--the Alimentary
Canal, Lungs, Circulation, Nervous System, &c. These would make a
sixth Sense properly so called, or a department of passive
sensibility.--_B._] {7}



It is not material to the present purpose in what order we survey
the subdivisions of this elementary class of the mental phenomena.
It will be convenient to take those first, which can be most easily
thought of by themselves; that is, of which a conception, free from
the mixture of any extraneous ingredient, can be most certainly
formed. For this reason we begin with SMELL.[2]

[Bain's footnote 2: The order of exposition of the senses is not a
matter of indifference. The author, like Condillac, selected Smell
to begin with, as being a remarkably simple and characteristic
feeling; he has found another expository advantage in it, by
disturbing our routine mode of regarding the intellect as
principally made up of sensations of sight. It has a startling
effect on the reader, to suggest a mental life consisting wholly of
smells and ideas of smell.

There are two principles of arrangement of the senses, each good for
its own purpose; it being understood that the active or muscular
sensibility is taken apart from, and prior to, sensation proper.

The first is to take them in the order of Intellectual development.
Some of the senses are evidently intellectual in a high degree, as
Sight and Hearing, others are intellectual in a much smaller degree,
as Smell and Taste. The organic sensations are still less connected
with the operations of the intellect. Many of the least intellectual
sensations are remarkably intense, as pleasure and pain; perhaps
more so than the intellectually higher class. The organic pains are
more unendurable than the worst pains of hearing or of sight, unless
these are assimilated to the other class, by injury of the organs.

The intellectual superiority of the higher senses shows itself in
two ways, the one strictly in the domain of Intellect, the other in
the domain of Feeling. As regards Intellect, it is shown in the
predominance of the ideas of the higher senses. Our intellectual or
ideal trains, the materials of thought and knowledge, are made up
most of all of ideas of sight, next of ideas of hearing, to a less
degree of ideas of touch or skin contact, and, least of all, of
ideas of stomach and lung sensations or other organic states. The
trains of the scientific man, of the man of business, and even of
the handicraft worker, are almost entirely made up of ideas of sight
and of hearing (with active or muscular ideas). Our understanding of
the order of nature, our very notion of the material universe, is a
vast and complex scheme of ideas of sight.

The intellectual superiority of the higher senses in the domain of
Feeling is connected with the remembrance or ideal persistence of
pleasures and pains. The pleasures of Digestion are weakly and
ineffectively remembered, in the absence of the actuality. The
pleasures of Smell are remembered better. The pleasures and pains of
Hearing and Sight are remembered best of any. This gives them a
higher value in life; the addition made to the actual, by the ideal,
is, in their case, the greatest of all. They are said, for this
among other reasons, to be more refined.

The arrangement dictated by the gradation of intellectuality would
be as follows:--1. Sensations of Organic Life. 2. Taste. 3. Smell.
4. Touch. 5. Hearing. 6. Sight.

The second principle of arrangement starts with Touch, as the most
simple in its mode of action, and the most diffused in its
operation. Touch consists in mere mechanical pressure on a sensitive
surface; this is the most simple and elementary of all stimuli. The
other senses are regarded as specialised modifications of Touch.

In Hearing, the mode of action is touch or mechanical contact. In
the remaining senses, the contact is accompanied with other forces.
Taste and Smell involve chemical change, as well as contact. The
action of Light on the eye is probably some species of molecular
disturbance involving chemical action. This mode of viewing the
order and dependence of the senses belongs more especially to the
theory of the development of the organic system, which is made
prominent in the Psychology of Mr. Herbert Spencer. The arrangement
might be variously expressed:--it might be Touch, Hearing, Sight,
Taste, Smell, Organic Sensibility; or Touch, Hearing, Taste, Smell,
Organic Sensibility, Sight.--_B._]

{8} In the Smell three things are commonly distinguished. There is
the ORGAN, there is the SENSATION, and there is the antecedent of
the Sensation, the {9} external OBJECT, as it is commonly
denominated,[1*] to which the Sensation is referred as an effect to
its cause.

[Mill's footnote 1: It is necessary here to observe, that I use,
throughout this Inquiry, the language most commonly in use. This is
attended with its disadvantages; for on the subject of mind the
ordinary language almost always involves more or less of theory,
which may or may not appear to me to correspond with the true
exposition of the phenomena. The advantages, however, of not
departing from familiar terms still appeared to me to preponderate;
and I am willing to hope, that such erroneous suggestions, as are
sometimes inseparable from the language I have thought it best upon
the whole to employ, will be corrected, without any particular
notice, by the analysis which I shall present.--(_Author's Note_.)]

These three distinguishable particulars are common to all the five
Senses. With regard to the ORGAN, which is a physical rather than a
mental subject of inquiry, I shall have occasion to say little more
than is required to make my reader distinguish, with sufficient
accuracy, the part of his body to which the {10} separate feelings
of his five Senses belong. And with regard to the antecedent of the
Sensation, or OBJECT of the Senses, the proper place for explaining
what is capable of being known of it is at a subsequent part of this
inquiry. My desire at present is, to fix the attention of the reader
upon the SENSATION; that he may mark it as a mental state of a
particular kind, distinct from every other feeling of his nature.

The ORGAN of Smell, as every body knows, is situated in the mouth
and nostrils, or in the nerves, appropriated to smelling, which are
found in the passage between the mouth and nostrils, and in the
vicinity of that passage.

Though it appears to be ascertained that the nerves are necessary to
sensation, it is by no means ascertained in what way they become
necessary. It is a mystery how the nerves, similar in all parts of
the body, afford us, in one place, the sensation of sound; in
another, the sensations of light and colours; in another, those of
odours, in another those of flavours, and tastes, and so on.

With respect to the external OBJECT, as it is usually denominated,
of this particular sense; in other words, the antecedent, of which
the Sensation Smell is the consequent; it is, in vulgar
apprehension, the visible, tangible object, from which the odour
proceeds. Thus, we are said to smell a rose, when we have the
sensation derived from the odour of the rose. It is more correct
language, however, to say, that we smell the odorous particles which
proceed from the visible, tangible object, than that we smell the
object itself; for, if any thing prevents the odorous particles,
which the body emits, from reaching the organ of smell, the {11}
sensation is not obtained. The object of the sense of smelling then
are odorous particles, which only operate, or produce the sensation,
when they reach the organ of smell.

But what is meant by odorous particles we are still in ignorance.
Something, neither visible nor tangible, is conveyed, through the
air, to the olfactory nerves; but of this something we know no more
than that it is the antecedent of that nervous change, or variety of
consciousness, which we denote by the word smell.

Still farther, When we say that the odorous particles, of which we
are thus ignorant, reach the nerves which constitute the organ of
smell, we attach hardly any meaning to the word reach. We know not
whether the particles in question produce their effect, by contact,
or without contact. As the nerves in every part of the body are
covered, we know not how any external particles can reach them. We
know not whether such particles operate upon the nerves, by their
own, or by any other influence; the galvanic, for example, or
electrical, influence.

These observations, with regard to the organ of smell, and the
object of smell, are of importance, chiefly as they show us how
imperfect our knowledge still is of all that is merely corporeal in
sensation, and enable us to fix our attention more exclusively upon
that which alone is material to our subsequent inquiries--that point
of consciousness which we *denominate the sensation of smell, the
mere feeling, detached from every thing else.

When we smell a rose, there is a particular feeling, a particular
consciousness, distinct from all others, which we mean to denote,
when we call it the smell {12} of the rose. In like manner we speak
of the smell of hay, the smell of turpentine, and the smell of a
fox. We also speak of good smells, and bad smells; meaning by the
one, those which are agreeable to us; by the other, those which are
offensive. In all these cases what we speak of is a point of
consciousness, a thing which we can describe no otherwise than by
calling it a feeling; a part of that series, that succession, that
flow of something, on account of which we call ourselves living or
sensitive creatures.

We can distinguish this feeling, this consciousness, the sensation
of smell, from every other sensation. Smell and Sound are two very
different things; so are smell and sight. The smell of a rose is
different from the colour of the rose; it is also different from the
smoothness of the rose, or the sensation we have by touching the

We not only distinguish the sensations of smell from those of the
other senses, but we distinguish the sensations of smell from one
another. The smell of a rose is one sensation; the smell of a violet
is another. The difference we find between one smell and another is
in some cases very great; between the smell of a rose, for example,
and that of carrion or assafoetida.

The number of distinguishable smells is very great. Almost every
object in nature has a peculiar smell; every animal, every plant,
and almost every mineral. Not only have the different classes of
objects different smells, but probably different individuals in the
same class. The different smells of different individuals are
perceptible, to a certain extent, even by the human organs, and to a
much greater extent by those of the {13} dog, and other animals,
whose sense of smelling is more acute.

We can conceive ourselves, as endowed with smelling, and not
enjoying any other faculty. In that case, we should have no idea of
objects as seeable, as hearable, as touchable, or tasteable. We
should have a train of smells; the smell at one time of the rose, at
another of the violet, at another of carrion, and so on. The
successive points of consciousness, composing our sentient being,
would be mere smells. Our life would be a train of smells, and
nothing more. Smell, and Life, would be two names for the same

The terms which our language supplies, for speaking of this sense,
are exceedingly imperfect. It would obviously be desirable to have,
at any rate, distinct names for the ORGAN, for the OBJECT, and for
the SENSATION; and that these names should never be confounded. It
happens, unfortunately, that the word SMELL is applicable to all the
three. That the word smell expresses, both the quality, as we
vulgarly say, of the object smelt; and also the feeling of him by
whom it is smelt, every one is aware. If you ask whether the smell,
when I hold a violet to my nostrils, is in me or in the violet, it
would be perfectly proper to say, in both. The same thing, however,
is not in both, though the two things have the same name. What is in
me is the sensation, the feeling, the point of consciousness; and
that can be in nothing but a sentient being. What is in the rose, is
what I call a quality of the rose; in fact, the antecedent of my
sensation; of which, beside its being the antecedent of my
sensation, I know nothing. If I were speaking of a place in which my
senses had been {14} variously affected, and should say, that, along
with other pleasures, I had enjoyed a succession of the most
delightful smells, I should be understood to speak of my
_sensations_. If I were speaking of a number of unknown objects, and
should say of one, that it had a smell like that of honey; of
another, that it had a smell like that of garlick; I should be
understood as speaking of the _object_ of each sensation, a quality
of the thing smelt.

The word smell, beside denoting the _sensation_ and the _object_,
denotes also the _organ_, in such phrases as the following; "Sight
and Hearing are two of the inlets of my knowledge, and Smell is a
third;" "The faculty by which I become sensible of odour is my

[Editor's footnote 3: It may be questioned whether, in the phrases
here cited, the word Smell stands for the olfactory organ. It would
perhaps be most correct to say, that in these cases it denotes the
abstract capacity of smelling, rather than the concrete physical
instrument. Even when smell is said to be one of the five senses,
it may fairly be doubted whether a part of the meaning intended is,
that it is one of the five _organs_ of sensation. Nothing more seems
to be meant, than that it is one of five distinguishable _modes_ of
having sensations, whatever the intrinsic difference between those
modes may be.

In the author's footnote he recognises that the abstract power of
smelling enters into this particular application of the word Smell;
and refers to a subsequent part of the treatise for the meaning of
Power. But he thinks that along with the power, or as part of the
conception of Power, the material organ is also signified. It seems
to me that the organ does not enter in either of these modes, into
the signification of the word. We can imagine ourselves ignorant
that we possess physical organs; or aware that we possess them, but
not aware that our sensations of smell are connected with them. Yet
on either of these suppositions the "power of smelling" would be
perfectly intelligible, and would have the same meaning to us which
it has now.--_Ed._]

{15} In the phrases in which smell is called a SENSE, as when we
say, that smell is one of the five senses, there is considerable
complexity. The term here imports the _organ_, it imports the
_sensation_, and, in a certain way, it imports also the _object_.
It imports the organ as existing continuously, the sensation as
existing only under a certain condition, and that condition the
presence of the object.[2*]

[Mill's footnote 2: It will naturally occur to some of my readers,
that, in the term sense of smelling, the idea of power is also
included. They will say, that when we speak of the sense of
smelling, we mean not only the organ, but the function of the organ,
or its power of producing a certain effect. This is undoubtedly
true; but when the real meaning of the language is evolved, it only
amounts to that which is delivered in the text. For what does any
person mean when he says that, in the sense of smelling, he has the
power of smelling? Only this, that he has an organ, and that when
the object of that organ is presented to it, sensation is the
consequence. In all this, there is nothing but the organ, the
object, and the sensation, conceived in a certain order. This will
more fully appear when the meaning of the relative terms, cause and
effect, has been explained.--(_Author's Note_.)]



In Hearing, the same three particulars, the ORGAN, the OBJECT, and
the FEELING, require to be distinguished.

The name of the organ is the Ear; and its nice and complicated
structure has been described with minuteness and admiration by
anatomists and physiologists.

In vulgar discourse, the object of our Sense of Hearing is a
sounding body. We say that we hear the bell, the trumpet, the
cannon. This language, however, is not correct. That which precedes
the feeling received through the ear, is the approach of vibrating
air to the ear. Certain bodies, made to vibrate in a certain way,
communicate vibrations to the air, and the vibrating air, admitted
into the ear, is followed by the sensation of hearing. If the air
which the body makes to vibrate does not enter the ear, however the
body itself may vibrate, sensation does not follow; hearing does not
take place. There is, in fact, no sound. Of the circumstances in
which sound is generated, part only were present. There was the
organ, and there was the object, but not that juxta-position which
is needed to make the antecedent of the sensation complete. Air
vibrating in juxta-position to the organ, is the object of Hearing.

How air in vibration should produce the {17} remarkable effect,
called hearing, in the nerves of the ear, and no effect in those of
the eye, in those of smelling, or those of taste, our knowledge does
not enable us to tell.

It is not very difficult to think of the sensation of hearing, apart
from the organ, and from the object, as well as from every other
feeling. I hear the hum of bees. The feeling to which I give this
name is a point of my own consciousness; it is an elementary part of
my sensitive being; of that thread of consciousness, drawn out in
succession, which I call myself. I have the hearing; it is a
sensation of my own; it is my feeling, and no other man's feeling;
it is a very different feeling from taste, and a very different
feeling from smell, and from all my other feelings.

I hear the song of birds, I hear the lowing of oxen, I hear the
sighing of the wind, I hear the roaring of the sea. I have a
feeling, in each of these cases; a consciousness, which I can
distinguish not only from the feelings of my other senses, but from
the other feelings of the same sense. If I am asked, what takes
place in me, when a trumpet is unexpectedly sounded in the next
room, I answer, a sensation, a particular feeling. I become
conscious in a particular way.

The number of those feelings which we are able to distinguish is
very great. In this respect, the organ of hearing in man, is much
more perfect than the organ of smell. The organ of hearing can
distinguish, not only the voices of different classes, but of
different individuals in the same class. There never, probably, {18}
was a man whose voice was not distinguishable from that of every
other man, by those who were familiarly acquainted with it.

The most simple case of sound is that perhaps of a single note on a
musical instrument. This note may be sounded on an endless number of
instruments, and by an endless number of human voices, from no two
of which will the same sound exactly be returned.

We can think of ourselves as having the feelings of this class, and
having no other. In that case, our whole being would be a series of
Hearings. It would be one sensation of hearing, another sensation of
hearing, and nothing more. Our thread of consciousness would be the
sensation, which we denominate sound. Life and sound would be two
names for the same thing.

The language by which we speak of the "sense of hearing," is also
imperfect. We have, indeed, the term Ear, to express the ORGAN, but
we have no appropriate name for the SENSATION, nor for the OBJECT.
The term sound is a name both of the sensation and the object. If I
were asked, when the bell rings, whether the sound is in me, or in
the bell, I might answer, in both; not that the same thing is in
both; the things are different; having the same name. The sensation
called a sound is in me, the vibration called a sound is in the
bell. Hearing is equally ambiguous; a name both of the organ and the
feeling. If asked, by which of my organs I have the knowledge of
sound, I should answer, my hearing. And if asked what feeling it is
I have by the ear, I still should say, hearing. Hearing is rarely
made use of to denote {19} the object of hearing, and hardly at all
except by figure.

Noise is a name which denotes the object, in certain cases. There is
a certain class of sounds, to which we give the name noise. In those
cases, however, noise is also the name of the sensation. In fact, it
is the name of the sensation first, and only by transference that of
the object.

In the phrase, sense of hearing, the word has the same complexity of
meaning, which we found in the word smelling, in the corresponding
application of that term. When I say that I have the sense of
hearing, I mean to say, that I have an organ, which organ has an
appropriate object; and that when the organ and the object are in
the appropriate position, the sensation of hearing is the
consequent. In the term, sense of hearing, then, is included, the
organ, the object, and the sensation, with the idea of a synchronous
order of the two first, and a successive order of the third. "Sense
of hearing" is thus seen to be the name of a very complex idea,
including five distinguishable ingredients, the idea of the organ of
hearing, the idea of the sensation, the idea of the object of
hearing, the idea of a synchronous order, and the idea of a
successive order.[4]

[Editor's footnote 4: In the case of hearing, as of smell, one of
the ambiguities brought to notice by the author is of questionable
reality. It is doubtful if "hearing" is ever used as a name of the
organ. To the question supposed in the text, "by which of my organs
do I have the knowledge of sound" the correct answer would surely
be, not "my hearing"--an expression which, so {20} applied, could
only be accepted as elliptical,--but "my organ of hearing," or
(still better) "my ear." Again, the phrase "I have the sense of
hearing" signifies that I have a capacity of hearing, and that this
capacity is classed as one of sense, or in other words, that the
feelings to which it has reference belong to the class Sensations:
but the organ, though a necessary condition of my having the
sensations, does not seem to be implied in the name.--_Ed._]



In SIGHT, the organ is very conspicuous, and has an appropriate
name, the Eye.

In ordinary language, the object of sight is the body which is said
to be seen. This is a similar error to those which we have detected
in the vulgar language relating to the senses of smell and hearing.
It is Light alone which enters the eye; and Light, with its numerous
modifications, is the sole object on sight.

How the particles of light affect the nerves of the eye, in the
peculiar manner in which they are affected in sight, without
affecting the other nerves of the body, in any similar manner, we
can render no account.

That the feeling we have in sight, is very different from the
feeling we have in hearing, in smelling, in tasting, or touching,
every man knows. It is difficult, however, to detach the feeling we
have in sight from every other feeling; because there are other
feelings which we are constantly in the habit of connecting with it;
and the passage in the mind from the one to the other is so rapid,
that they run together, and can not easily be distinguished. The
different modifications of light we call colour. But we cannot think
of the sensation of colour, without at the same time {22} thinking
of something coloured, of surface or extension, a notion derived
from another sense.

That the feelings of sight which we are capable of distinguishing
from one another, are exceedingly numerous, is obvious from this,
that it is by them we distinguish the infinite variety of visible
objects. We have the sensation; the sensation suggests the object;
and it is only by the difference of sensation, that the difference
of object can be indicated.

Some of the things suggested by the sensations of sight, as
extension and figure, are suggested so instantaneously, that they
appear to be objects of sight, things actually seen. But this
important law of our nature, by which so many things appear to be
seen, which are only suggested by the feelings of sight, it requires
the knowledge of other elements of the mental phenomena to explain.

The imperfections of the language, by which we have to speak of the
phenomena of sight, deserve the greatest attention.

We have an appropriate name for the organ; it is the Eye. And we
have an appropriate name for the Object; it is light. But we have no
appropriate name for the Sensation. From confusion of names,
proceeds confusion of ideas. And from misnaming, on this one point,
not a little unprofitable discourse on the subject of the human mind
has been derived.

The word sight, in certain phrases, denotes the sensation. If I am
asked, what is the feeling which I have by the eye? I answer, sight.
But sight is also a name of the object. The light of day is said to
be a beautiful sight. And sight is sometimes employed as a name of
the organ. An old man informs us, {23} that his sight is failing,
meaning that his eyes are failing.[5]

[Editor's footnote 5: The example given does not seem to me to prove
that sight is ever employed as a name of the organ. When an old man
says that his sight is failing, he means only that he is less
capable of seeing. His eyes might be failing in some other respect,
when he would not say that his sight was failing. The term "sense of
sight," like sense of hearing or of smell, stands, as it seems to
me, for the capability, without reference to the organ.--_Ed._]

Colour is a name, as well of the object, as of the sensation. It is
most commonly a name of the object. Colour is, properly speaking, a
modification of light, though it is never conceived but as something
spread over a surface; it is, therefore, not the name of light
simply, but the name of three things united, light, surface, and a
certain position of the two. In many cases, however, we have no
other name for the sensation. If I am asked, what feeling I have
when a red light is presented to my eyes, I can only say, the colour
of red; and so of other visual feelings, the colour of green, the
colour of white, and so on.

In the term sense of sight, the same complexity of meaning is
involved which we have observed in the terms sense of smell, and
sense of hearing. When I speak of my sense of sight, as when I speak
of the attraction of the load-stone, I mean to denote an antecedent,
and a consequent; the organ with its object in appropriate position,
the antecedent; the sensation, the consequent. This is merely the
philosophical statement of the fact, that, when light is received
into the eye, the sensation of sight is the consequence.

Vision, a word expressive of the phenomena of {24} sight, is
ambiguous in the same manner. It is sometimes used to denote the
sense of seeing; that is, the antecedent and consequent, as
explained in the preceding paragraph. Thus we say, the phenomena of
vision, with the same propriety as we say the phenomena of sight. It
is sometimes employed to denote the sensation. If we ask what
feeling a blind man is deprived of, it would be perfectly proper to
say, vision is the feeling of which he is deprived. It is, also,
employed to denote the object. What vision was that? would be a very
intelligible question, on the sudden appearance and disappearance of
something which attracted the eye.[6]

[Editor's footnote 6: Vision, I believe, is used to denote the
object of sight, only when it is supposed that this object is
something unreal, _i.e._, that it has not any extended and resisting
substance behind it: or rhetorically, to signify that the object
looks more like a phantom than a reality; as when Burke calls Marie
Antoinette, as once seen by him, a delightful vision.--_Ed._]



The ORGAN of TASTE is in the mouth and fauces.

In ordinary language, the OBJECT of taste is any thing, which, taken
into the mouth, and tasted, as it is called, produces the peculiar
SENSATION of this sense. Nor has philosophy as yet enabled us to
state the object of taste more correctly. There are experiments
which show, that galvanism is concerned in the phenomena, but not in
what way.

The SENSATION, in this case, is distinguished by every body. The
taste of sugar, the taste of an apple, are words which immediately
recall the ideas of distinct feelings. It is to be observed,
however, that the feelings of this sense are very often united with
those of the sense of smell; the two organs being often affected by
the same thing, at the same time. In that case, though we have two
sensations, they are so intimately blended as to seem but one; and
the flavour of the apple, the flavour of the wine, appears to be a
simple sensation, though compounded of taste and smell.[7]

[Editor's footnote 7: Some physiologists have been of opinion that a
large proportion of what are classed as tastes, including all
flavours, as distinguished from the generic tastes of sweet, sour,
bitter, &c., are really affections of the nerves of smell, and are
mistaken for tastes only because they are experienced along with
tastes, as a consequence of taking food into the mouth.--_Ed._]

{26} It is not so easy, in the case of this, as of some of the other
senses, to conceive ourselves as having this class of feelings and
no other. Antecedent to the sensation of taste, there is generally
some motion of the mouth, by which the object and the organ are
brought into the proper position and state. The sensation can hardly
be thought of without thinking of this motion, that is, of other
feelings. Besides, the organ of taste is also the organ of another
sense. The organ of taste has the sense of touch, and most objects
of taste are objects of touch. Sensations of touch, therefore, are
intimately blended with those of taste.

By a little pains, however, any one may conceive the sensations of
tasting, while he conceives his other organs to remain in a
perfectly inactive state, and himself as nothing but a passive
recipient of one taste after another. If he conceives a mere train
of those sensations, perfectly unmixed with any other feeling, he
will have the conception of a being made up of tastes; a thread of
consciousness, which maybe called mere taste; a life which is merely

The language employed about this sense is not less faulty, than that
employed about the other senses, which we have already surveyed.

There is no proper name for the organ. The word Mouth, which we are
often obliged to employ for that purpose, is the name of this organ
and a great deal more.

There is no proper name for the object. We are obliged to call it,
that which has taste. The word flavour is used to denote that
quality, which is more peculiarly the object of taste, in certain
articles of food; and sometimes we borrow the word sapidity, {27}
from the Latin, to answer the same purpose more extensively.

The word taste is a name for the sensation. We generally call the
feeling, which is the point of consciousness in this case, by the
name taste. Thus we say one taste is pleasant, another unpleasant;
and nothing is pleasant or unpleasant but a feeling.

The word taste is also a name for the object, as when we say, that
any thing has taste.

It is further employed as a name of the organ. As we are said to
perceive qualities by the eye, the ear, and the touch; so we are
said to perceive them by the taste.

In the phrase, sense of taste, there is the same complexity of
meaning as we have observed in the corresponding phrase in the case
of the other senses. In this phrase, taste expresses all the leading
particulars; the organ, the object, and the sensation, together with
the order of position in the two first, and the order of constant
sequence in the last.[8]

[Editor's footnote 8: The statement that "taste" is sometimes
employed as a name of the organ, seems to me, like the similar
statements respecting the names of our other senses,



In discoursing about the ORGAN, the SENSATIONS, and the OBJECTS, of
touch, more vagueness has been admitted, than in the case of any of
the other senses.

In fact, every sensation which could not properly be assigned to any
other of the senses, has been allotted to the touch. The sensations
classed, or rather jumbled together, under this head, form a kind of
miscellany, wherein are included feelings totally unlike.

The ORGAN of TOUCH is diffused over the whole surface of the body,
and reaches a certain way into the alimentary canal. Of food, as
merely tangible, there is seldom a distinct sensation in the
stomach, or any lower part of the channel, except towards the
extremity. The stomach, however, is sensible to heat, and so is the
whole of the alimentary canal, as far at least as any experiment is
capable of being made. It may, indeed, be inferred, that we are
insensible to the feelings of touch, throughout the intestinal
canal, only from the habit of not attending to them.[9]

[Bain's footnote 9: The surface of the sense of Touch properly so
called is the skin, or common integument of the body, the interior
of the mouth and the tongue, and the interior of the nose. There are
common anatomical peculiarities in these organs; which distinguish
them from the alimentary canal and all the other interior surfaces
of the body. Moreover, although, in the alimentary canal, there is
solid or liquid contact with a sensitive surface, the mode of
exciting the sensitive nerves, and the resulting sensibility, are
peculiar and distinct. The mode of action in touch is mechanical
contact or pressure, mainly of solid and resisting bodies; in
digestion, the nerves are affected through chemical and other
processes--solution, absorption, assimilation, &c. In touch, there
is the peculiar feeling known as hard contact, together with the
varying discrimination of plurality of points. In digestion, when
healthy, the feeling of contact is entirely absent.--_B._]

{29} We have next to consider the OBJECT of TOUCH. Whatever yields
resistance, and whatever is extended, figured, hot, or cold, we set
down, in ordinary language, as objects of touch.

I shall show, when the necessary explanations have been afforded,
that the idea of resistance, the idea of extension, and the idea of
figure, include more than can be referred to the touch, as the ideas
of visible figure and magnitude include more than can be referred to
the eye. It has been long known, that many of the things, which the
feeling by the eye seems to include, it only suggests. It is not
less important to know, that the same is the case with the tactual
feeling; that this also suggests various particulars which it has
been supposed to comprehend.

In the present stage of our investigation, it is not expedient to
push very far the inquiry, what it is, or is not, proper, to class
as sensations of touch, because that can be settled with much
greater advantage hereafter.

The sensations of heat and cold offer this advantage,--that being
often felt without the accompaniment of {30} any thing visible or
extended, which can be called an object, they can be more distinctly
conceived as simple feelings, than most of our other sensations.[10]
They are feelings very different from the ordinary sensations of
touch; and possibly the only reason for classing them with those
sensations was, that the organ of them, like that of touch, is
diffused over the whole body. We know not that the nerves
appropriated to the sensations of heat and cold are the same with
those which have the sensation of touch. If they be the same, they
must at any rate be affected in a very different manner.

[Bain's footnote 10: The sensations of heat and cold are, of all
sensations, the most _subjective_. The reason is that they are least
connected with definite muscular energies. The rise and fall of the
temperature of the surrounding air may induce sensations wholly
independent of our own movements; and to whatever extent such
independence exists, there is a corresponding absence of
objectivity. This independence, however, is still only partial, even
in the case of heat and cold; in a great number, perhaps a majority,
of instances, they depend upon our movements; as in changing our
position with reference to a fire, in our clothing, and so on. It is
the possibility of conceiving them in the pure subject character,
and apart from object relations, that constitutes them simple
feelings, in the acceptation of the text. Although not in an equal
degree, the same is true of sensations of hearing, on which the
author made a similar remark.--_B_].

To whatever class we may refer the sensations of heat and cold, in
their moderate degrees, it seems that good reasons may be given for
not ranking them with the sensations of touch, when they rise to the
degree of pain. All those acute feelings which attend the
disorganization, or tendency toward disorganization, {31} of the
several parts of our frame, seem entirely distinct from the feelings
of touch. Even in the case of cutting, or laceration, the mere touch
of the knife or other instrument is one feeling, the pain of the
cut, or laceration, another feeling, as much as, in the mouth, the
touch of the sugar is one feeling, the sweetness of it another.

As we shall offer reasons hereafter to show, that the feelings of
resistance, extension, and figure, are not feelings of touch, we
should endeavour to conceive what feeling it is which remains when
those feelings are taken away.

When we detach the feeling of resistance, we, of course, detach
those of hardness and softness, roughness and smoothness, which are
but different modifications of resistance. And when these, and the
feelings of extension and figure, are detached, a very simple
sensation seems to remain, the feeling which we have when something,
without being seen, comes gently in contact with our skin, in such a
way, that we cannot say whether it is hard or soft, rough or smooth,
of what figure it is, or of what size. A sense of something present
on the skin, and perhaps also on the interior parts of the body,
taken purely by itself, seems alone the feeling of touch.

The feelings of this sense are mostly moderate, partaking very
little of either pain or pleasure. This is the reason why the
stronger feelings, which are connected with them, those of
resistance, and extension, predominate in the groupe, and prevent
attention to the sensations of touch. The sensations of touch
operate as signs to introduce the ideas of resistance and extension,
and are no more regarded.

{32} The imperfection of the language which we employ, in speaking
of this sense, deserves not less of our regard, than that of the
language we employ, in speaking of our other senses.

We need distinct and appropriate names, for the organ, for the
object, and for the sensation. We have no such name for any of them.

The word touch is made to stand for all the three. I speak of my
touch, when I mean to denote my organ of touch. I speak also of my
touch, when I mean to denote my sensation. And in some cases,
speaking of the object, I call it touch. If I were to call a piece
of fine and brilliant velvet a fine sight, another person might say,
it is a fine touch as well as fine sight.[11]

[Editor's footnote 11: It is more true of the word touch, than of
the names of our other senses, that it is occasionally employed to
denote the organ of touch; because that organ, being the whole
surface of the body, has not, like the organs of the special senses,
a compact distinctive name. But it may be doubted if the word touch
ever stands for the object of touch. If a person made use of the
phrase in the text, "it is a fine touch as well as a fine sight," he
would probably be regarded as purchasing an epigrammatic turn of
expression at the expense of some violence to language.--_Ed._]

In ordinary language, the word feeling is appropriated to this
sense; though it has been found convenient, in philosophical
discourse, to make the term generical, so as to include every
modification of consciousness.[3*]

[Mill's footnote 3: "The word _feeling_, though in many cases we use
it as synonymous to _touching_, has, however, a much more extensive
signification, and is frequently employed to denote our internal, as
well as our external, affections. We feel hunger and thirst, we feel
joy and sorrow, we feel love and hatred."--_Ad. Smith_, _on the
External Senses_.--(_Author's Note_.)]

When I say that I feel the table, there is a considerable complexity
of meaning. Dr. Reid, and his followers, maintain, that I have not
one point of {33} consciousness only, but two; that I feel the
sensation, and that I feel the table; that the sensation is one
thing, the feeling of the table another. Expositions which will be
given hereafter are necessary to the complete elucidation of what
takes place. But the explanations which have been already afforded
will enable us to state the facts with considerable clearness. In
what is called feeling the table, my organ of touch, and an object
of touch, in the appropriate position, are the antecedent; of this
antecedent, sensation is the consequent. The expression, "I feel the
table," includes both the antecedent and the consequent. It does not
mark the sensation alone; it marks the sensation, and, along with
the sensation, its antecedent, namely, the organ, and its object in

The phrase, sense of touch, or the word feeling, often synonymous,
has the same complexity of meaning, which we have observed in the
phrases, sense of hearing, sense of sight, and the rest of the

When I say that I touch, or have the sense of touch, I mean to say,
that I have a certain feeling, consequent upon a certain antecedent.
The phrase, therefore, _notes_ the sensation, and at the same time
_connotes_[4*] the following things: 1st, the organ; 2dly, {34} the
object of the organ; 3dly, the synchronous order of the organ and
object; 4thly, the successive order of the sensation; the
synchronous order being, as usual, the antecedent of the successive
order.[5*] [12]

[Mill's footnote 4: The use, which I shall make, of the term
_connotation_, needs to be explained. There is a large class of
words, which denote two things, both together; but the one perfectly
distinguishable from the other. Of these two things, also, it is
observable, that such words express the one, _primarily_, as it
were; the other, in a way which may be called _secondary_. Thus,
_white_, in the phrase _white horse_, denotes two things, the
colour, and the horse; but it denotes the colour _primarily_, the
horse _secondarily_. We shall find it very convenient, to say,
therefore, that it _notes_ the primary, _connotes_ the secondary,
signification.--(_Author's Note_.) [Reasons will be assigned further
on, why the words _to connote_ and _connotation_ had better be
employed, not as here indicated, but in a different and more special

[Mill's footnote 5: The terms _synchronous_ order, and _successive_
order, will be fully explained hereafter, when any obscurity which
may now seem to rest upon them will be removed; it may be useful at
present to say, that, by synchronous order, is meant order in space,
by successive order, order in time; the first, or order in space,
being nothing but the placing or position of the objects at any
given time; the second, or order in time, being nothing but the
antecedence of the one, and the consequence of the
other.--(_Author's Note_.)]

[Bain's footnote 12: _Additional Observations on the Sense of
Touch_.--The author is right in drawing a distinction between Touch
proper and the sensibility to Heat and Cold, which, though
principally found in the skin, extends beyond the seat of tactile
sensibility, as, for example, to the alimentary canal, and to the
lungs. It is a debated point, whether the nerves of Touch are also
the nerves of Heat and Cold; some persons contending for special
nerves of Temperature. Such special nerves, however, have not been
proved to exist.

The remark is also correct, that the feelings of temperature can be
more easily attended to, as simple feelings, than the {35} feelings
of touch proper. The reason is not precisely stated. It is that
radiant heat may affect the surface of the body without occasioning
resistance or movement, and is thus a purely passive sensibility; a
subject-state without an object-accompaniment. When the degree of
the sensation varies definitely with definite movements, it is
treated as an object sensibility, or as pointing to the object
world. Thus when we grow warmer as we move in one direction, and
colder as we move in another, we no longer think of the feeling as a
purely subject fact, but as having an object, or external

It is also justly remarked in the text, that the severe sensations
of heat, and cold, as well as those from laceration of the skin, may
be properly classed with feelings of disorganization generally. At
the same time, these painful feelings have a character varying with
the organ affected; the fact of injury of tissue may be the same,
but the feeling will not be the same, in the skin, the nostrils, the
ear, the eye, the alimentary canal.

The description above given of the feeling that remains, when the
different modifications of resistance are deducted, is scarcely
adequate to represent the reality. Frequently it is true of them,
that they 'are mostly moderate, partaking very little of either pain
or pleasure,' but there are occasions when they rise into prominence
and power. We may refer to the contact of the bedclothes at night,
when the body is relieved from the tight and deadening embrace of
the ordinary clothing. The case of greatest moment, however, is the
contact of one human being or animal with another; such contact
being the physical element in the tender as well as in the sexual
affections. There is a combination of tactile sensibility and warmth
in this instance, each counting for a part of the pleasure. The
influence is well enough known as experienced among human beings;
but the sphere of its operation in animals has been but imperfectly

If we observe carefully the first movements of a new-born animal, a
mammal for example, we find that the guiding and {36} controlling
sensation of its first moments, is the contact with the mother. In
that contact, it finds satisfaction and repose; in separation, it is
in discomfort and disquiet. Its earliest volitions are to retain and
to recover the soft warm touch of the maternal body. When it
commences sucking, and has the sensation of nourishment, a new
interest springs up, perhaps still more powerful in its attractions,
and able to supersede the first, or at least to put it into a second
place; yet, during the whole period of maternal dependence, the
feeling of touch is a source of powerful sensibility both to the
mother and to the offspring. Among animals born in litter, as pigs,
kittens, &c., the embrace is equally acceptable between the
fellow-progeny themselves. The sensual pleasure of this contact is
the essence, the fact, of animal affection, parental and fraternal;
and it is the germ, or foundation, and concomitant of tender
affection in human beings. It is the experience of this agreeable
contact that prepares the way for a still closer conjunction after
the animal reaches puberty. Independent of, and antecedent to, that
still more acute sensibility, there is a pleasure in the warm
embrace of two animals, and they are ready to enter upon it, at all
times when the other interests, as nourishment, exercise and repose,
are not engrossing. The play of animals with one another clearly
involves the pleasure of the embrace, even without sexuality; and it
leads to the sexual encounter at the ripe moment.--_B._]



That we have sensations in parts of the body suffering, or
approaching to, disorganization, does not require illustration. The
disorganizations of which we speak proceed sometimes from external,
sometimes from internal, causes. Lacerations, cuts, bruises,
burnings, poisonings, are of the former kind; inflammation, and
other diseases in the parts, are the latter.

These sensations are specifically different from those classed under
the several heads of sense. The feelings themselves, if attended to,
are evidence of this. In the next place, they have neither organ,
nor object, in the sense in which those latter feelings have them.
We do not talk of an organ of burning; an organ of pain; nor do we
talk of an object of any of them; we do not say the object of a cut,
the object of an ache, the object of a sore.

Most of those sensations are of the painful kind; though some are
otherwise. Some slight, or locally minute inflammations, produce a
sensation called itching, which is far from disagreeable, as appears
from the desire to scratch, which excites it.[13]

[Editor's footnote 13: The author, in this passage, uses the word
itching out of its ordinary sense; making it denote the pleasant
sensation accompanying the relief by scratching, instead of the
slightly painful, and sometimes highly irritating, sensation which
the scratching relieves.--_Ed._]

{38} The scratching, which excites the pleasure of itching, is a
species of friction, and friction, in most parts of the body,
excites a sensation very different from the mere sense of touching
or the simple feeling of the object. The tickling of the feather in
the nose, for example, is very different from the mere feeling of
the feather in touch. In some parts of the body the most intense
sensations are produced by friction.

There is difficulty in classing those sensations. They are not the
same with those of any of the five senses: and they are not the same
with those which rise from any tendency to disorganization in the
parts of the body to which they are referred. Great accuracy,
however, in the classification of the sensations, is not essential
to that acquaintance with them, which is requisite for the
subsequent parts of this inquiry. It will suffice for our purpose,
if the reader so far attend to them, as to be secure from the danger
of overlooking or mistaking them, where a distinct consideration of
them is necessary for developing any of the complicated phenomena in
which they are concerned.[14]

[Bain's footnote 14: _Organic Sensibilities_.--The author did well
to signalize these sensibilities, so powerful in their influence on
human life. They are not confined to the side of pain. The same
organs whose disorganization is connected with pain, are, in their
healthy and vigorous working, more or less connected with pleasure.
This is true not merely of the digestive functions, but of the
respiration, the circulation, and others.

Nor is it difficult in their case to make up the full analogy {39}
of a sense, as having an Object, an Organ, and a characteristic
Sensation. In digestion, the object is the food, the organ is the
alimentary canal; in respiration, the object is the air, and the
organ the lungs. If it be said that the air is an impalpable agent
and not discovered to the mind by its mode of operating, so is heat,
the object of an admitted sense.

The accurate classification of these feelings may not have much
speculative interest, in Psychology, but it has a great practical
interest in the diagnosis of disease. For want of subjective
knowledge on the part of the patient, and of a well understood
nomenclature of subjective symptoms, the discrimination of disease
by the feelings is usually very rough.

The best mode of arranging these sensibilities seems to be to
connect them with their organs, or seats--Muscular Tissue, Bones and
Ligaments, Nerves, Heart and Circulation, Lungs, Alimentary Canal.
The sensations of itching and tickling are modes of skin
sensibility. Tickling is an effect not well understood, although
some interesting observations have been made upon it.--_B._]



There is no part of our Consciousness, which deserves greater
attention than this; though, till lately, it has been miserably
overlooked. Hartley, Darwin, and Brown, are the only philosophical
inquirers into Mind, at least in our own country, who seem to have
been aware that it fell within the province of their speculations.

The muscles are bundles of fibres, which, by their contraction and
relaxation, produce all the motions of the body. The nerves, with
which they are supplied, seem to be the immediate instruments of the
muscular action.

That these muscles have the power of acute sensation, we know, by
what happens, when they are diseased, when they suffer any external
injury, or even when, the integuments being removed, they can be
touched, though ever so gently.

It has been said,[6*] that if we had but one sensation, {41} and
that uninterrupted, it would be as if we had no sensation at all;
and, to the justice of this observation, some very striking facts
appear to bear evidence. We know that the air is continually
pressing upon our bodies. But, the sensation being continual,
without any call to attend to it, we lose, from habit, the power of
doing so. The sensation is as if it did not exist. We feel the air
when it is in motion, or when it is hotter or colder, to a certain
degree, than our bodies; but it is because we have the habit of
attending to it in those states. As the muscles are always in
contact with the same things, the sensations of the muscles must be
almost constantly the same. This is one reason why they are very
little attended to, and, amid the crowd of other feelings, are, in
general, wholly forgotten. They are of that class of feelings which
occur as antecedents to other more interesting feelings. To these
the attention is immediately called off, and those which preceded
and introduced them are forgotten. In such cases the thought of the
less interesting sensations is merged in that of the more

[Mill's footnote 6: Itaque et sensioni adhæret, proprie dictæ, ut ei
aliqua insita sit perpetuo phantasmatum varietas, ita ut aliud ab
alio discerni posset. Si supponeremus, enim, esse hominem, oculis
quidem claris cæterisque videndi organis recte se habentibus
compositum, nullo autem alio sensu præditum, eumque ad eandem rem
eodem semper colore et specie sine ulla vel minima varietate
apparentem obversum esse, mihi certe, quicquid dicant alii, non
magis videre videretur, quam ego videor mihi per tactûs organa
sentire lacertorum meorum ossa. Ea tamen perpetuo et undequaque
sensibilissima membrana continguntur.--Adeo sentire semper idem, et
non sentire, ad idem recidunt. _Hobbes_, _Elem. Philos._ Pars IV. c.
xxv. § 5.--(_Author's Note_.)]

If we had not direct proof, analogy would lead us to conclude, that
no change could take place, in parts of so much sensibility as the
muscles, without a change of feeling; in particular, that a {42}
distinguishable feeling must attend every contraction, and
relaxation. We have proof that there is such a feeling, because
intimation is conveyed to the mind that the relaxation or
contraction is made. I will, to move my arm; and though I observe
the motion by none of my senses, I know that the motion is made. The
feeling that attends the motion has existed. Yet so complete is my
habit of attending only to the motion, and not to the feeling, that
no attention can make me distinctly sensible that I have it. Nay,
there are some muscles of the body in constant and vehement action,
as the heart, of the feelings attendant upon the action of which we
seem to have no cognisance at all. That this is no argument against
the existence of those feelings, will be made apparent, by the
subsequent explanation of other phenomena, in which the existence of
certain feelings, and an acquired incapacity of attending to them,
are out of dispute.[15]

[Editor's footnote 15: The paradox, of feelings which we have no
cognisance of--feelings which are not felt--will be discussed at
large in a future note.--_Ed._]

In most cases of the muscular feelings, there is not only that
obscurity, of which we have immediately spoken, but great
complexity; as several muscles almost always act together; in many
of the common actions of the body, a great number.

The result of these complex feelings is often sufficiently
perceptible, though the feelings, separately, can hardly be made
objects of attention. The unpleasant feeling of fatigue, in part at
least a muscular feeling, is one of those results. The pleasure
which almost all the more perfect animals, especially the {43}
young, appear to feel, in even violent exercise, may be regarded as
another. The restlessness of a healthy child; the uneasiness in
confinement, the delight in the activity of freedom, which so
strongly distinguish the vigorous schoolboy; seem to indicate, both
a painful state of the muscular system in rest, and a pleasurable
state of it in action. Who has not remarked the playful activity of
the kitten and the puppy? The delight of the dog, on being permitted
to take exercise with his master, extends through the greater part
of his life.

One of the cases in which the feeling of muscular action seems the
most capable of being attended to, is the pleasure accompanying the
act of stretching, which most animals perform in drowsiness, or
after sleep.

A very slight degree of reflection is sufficient to evince, that we
could not have had the idea of resistance, which forms so great a
part of what we call our idea of matter, without the feelings which
attend muscular action. Resistance means a force opposed to a force;
the force of the object, opposed to the force which we apply to it.
The force which we apply is the action of our muscles, which is only
known to us by the feelings which accompany it. Our idea of
resistance, then, is the idea of our own feelings in applying
muscular force. It is true, that the mere feeling of the muscles in
action is not the only feeling concerned in the case. The muscles
move in consequence of the Will; and what the Will is, we are not as
yet prepared to explain. What is necessary at present is, not to
shew all the simple feelings which enter into the feeling of
resistance; but to shew {44} that the simple feeling of muscular
action is one of them.

The feeling of resistance admits of great varieties. The feeling of
a plate of iron is one thing, the feeling of a blown bladder is
another, the feeling of quicksilver is a third, the feeling of water
a fourth, and so on. The feeling of weight, or attraction, is also a
feeling of resistance.



When the sensations in the alimentary canal become acutely painful,
they are precise objects of attention to every body.

There is reason to believe that a perpetual train of sensations is
going on in every part of it. The food stimulates the stomach. It
undergoes important changes, and, mixed with some very
stimulating ingredients, passes into the lower intestines; in every
part of which it is still farther changed. The degree, and even the
nature, of some of the changes, are different, according as the
passage through the canal is slower, or quicker; they are different,
according to the state of the organs, and according to the nature of
the food.

Of the multitude of sensations, which must attend this process, very
few become objects of attention; and, in time, an incapacity is
generated, of making them objects of attention. They are not,
however, as we shall afterwards perceive, feeble agents, or
insignificant elements, in the trains of thought. They are of that
class of feelings, to which we have already been under the necessity
of alluding; a class, which serve as antecedents, to feelings more
interesting than themselves; and from which the attention is so
instantaneously drawn, to the more interesting feelings by which
they are succeeded, that we are as little sensible of their
existence, as we often are of the {46} sound of the clock, which may
strike in the room beside us, and of course affect our ear in the
usual manner, and yet leave no trace of the sensations behind.

The complicated sensations in the intestinal canal, like those in
the muscles, though obscure, and even unknown, as individual
sensations, often constitute a general state of feeling, which is
sometimes exhilarating, and sometimes depressing. The effects of
opium, and of inebriating liquors, in producing exhilaration, are
well known; and though much of the pleasure in these states is owing
to association, as we shall afterwards explain, yet the agreeable
feelings in the stomach, are the origin and cause of the joyous
associations.[16] The state of feeling in the stomach in
seasickness, or under the operation of an emetic, is, on the
contrary, one of the most distressing within our experience; though
we can neither call it a pain, nor have any more distinct conception
of it, than as a state of general uneasiness.

[Bain's footnote 16: The exact mode of operation of opium and
alcohol is still unknown; but the part affected is probably the
nervous substance and not the stomach. It can hardly be said with
propriety that any part of the pleasure of these stimulants is due
to association. No doubt the exhilarated tone of the mind is
favourable to the flow of joyful ideas, which serve to heighten the
pleasure; but that pleasure could not be arrested or subdued through
the absence of any supposable associations.--_B._]

The general effects of indigestion are well known. When the organs
of digestion become disordered, and indigestion becomes habitual, a
sense of wretchedness is the consequence; a general state of feeling
composed of a multitude of minor feelings, none of {47} which
individually can be made an object of attention.

In the sense of wretchedness, which accompanies indigestion, and
which sometimes proceeds to the dreadful state of melancholy
madness, it is difficult to say, how much is sensation, and how much
association. One thing is certain; that sensations which are the
origin of so much misery are of high importance to us; whether they,
or the associations they introduce, are the principal ingredient in
the afflicting state which they contribute to create.

The effects of indigestion in producing painful associations, is
strikingly exemplified by the horrible dreams which it produces in
sleep; not only in those whose organs are diseased; but in the most
healthy state of the stomach, when it has received what, in ordinary
language, is said, whether from quantity or quality, to have
disagreed with it.

The general states of feeling composed of the multitude of obscure
and unnoticed feelings in the alimentary canal, though most apt to
be noticed when they are of the painful kind, are not less
frequently of the pleasurable kind. That particular sorts of foods,
as well as liquors, have an exhilarating effect, needs hardly to be
stated. And it is only necessary to revive the recollection of the
feeling of general comfort, the elasticity, as it seems, of the
whole frame, the feeling of strength, the disposition to activity
and enjoyment, which every man must have experienced, when his
digestion was vigorous and sound.[17]

[Bain's footnote 17: These effects pass beyond the influence of mere
digestion. All the viscera contribute to the condition of high
general {48} vigour and comfort here supposed. If one were to
venture upon a scale of relative importance of the different organs,
one would place the nervous centres first, and the digestion second.

The present section is open to several remarks. Some qualification
must be given to the author's surmise 'that a perpetual train of
sensations is going on in every part of the alimentary canal.' It
is hardly correct to say that there are perpetual sensations in
_any_ part of it: during a great part of our time we are in a state
of indifference as to stomachic changes; and not merely because we
are not disposed to attend to them, but because they scarcely exist.
The sensibility of the organ is shown, on anatomical grounds, to be
mainly in the stomach, and in the rectum; these parts are supplied
by the nervus vagus; and very few nerves, besides those of the
sympathetic system, are found in the smaller, or in the larger
intestine, so that the sensitiveness of those parts is manifested
only in case of violent disorganization, as cramp, stoppage, or
inflammation. Hence the feelings are principally attendant on the
changes in the stomach, as when food has just been taken, and after
long privation, when the state called hunger shows itself.

It is not correct to class the sensations of the alimentary canal,
as a whole, with those that lose their hold of the attention, that
become unheeded in themselves, and are valued only as the
antecedents of other more pleasurable feelings. The remark is
inapplicable to the sensations mainly characterized as pleasure or
pain; nothing can be more interesting than a pleasure, except a
still greater pleasure. It applies only to those slight irritations
that are in themselves nothing, but may be the symptoms or
precursors of ill health, or of returning good health.

The author's doctrine as to our acquiring artificially the habit of
not attending to alimentary states, demands a fuller explanation.
The usual cause of inattention to impressions is unbroken
continuance; in accordance with the universal law {49} of Relativity
or Change, we are usually insensible to the contact of our clothing
with the skin, except at the moments when we put on or take off any
part of it. In walking, and in standing, for a length of time, we
are insensible to the body's weight; on rising from the recumbent
position we are rendered in some degree conscious of it. Now as the
alimentary sensations--Hunger and Repletion--are intermitted and
alternated with other states, they fulfil the chief condition of
wakeful consciousness.

The example of the striking of the clock, adduced in the text,
brings into operation a different power of the mind, which may go
far to counteract the influence of change. Under a very engrossing
sensation, or occupation, we become insensible to the stimulation of
the senses by other agents. The strain of the mind in some one
direction causes a sort of incapacity for going out in any other
direction while the strain lasts. This is the explanation of the
indifference to the striking of the clock. By the farther influence
of habit, inattention to a certain class of impressions may become
habitual; as in the power of carrying on mental work in the midst of
distracting noises.

The same effect may arise in connection with the alimentary
feelings. A person very much engrossed with a subject is unconscious
of hunger, and does not feel the pleasures of eating. Should any one
be absorbed habitually with some occupation or pursuit, such an one
may contract a settled indifference to the recurring phases of
alimentary sensation; but this is an extreme and unusual case. Any
ordinary degree of interest in the avocations and pursuits of
business is compatible with full attention to the feelings of
hunger, and of repletion, as well as to the occasional pains and
discomforts of indigestion. We do not often choose to contract an
indifference to pleasures, and we seldom succeed in acquiring an
indifference to pains, although we may have moments of such
indifference, under some special engrossment of mind by other

It is over-rating the influence of association to make it a {50}
chief element in the pleasure of intoxicating stimulants, or in the
wretched feelings of diseased digestion. These states are direct
results of physical agency, and are the same throughout all stages
of life, with many or with few opportunities of being associated
with other feelings. They are not the cases favourable for
illustrating the power of association, in the important department
of the feelings.--_B._]



"Hæc in genere sors esse solet humana, ut quid in quovis genere
recte aut cogitari aut effici possit sentiant prius quam
perspiciant. Laborem autem haud ita levem illum veriti, qui in eo
impendendus erat ut, ideas operatione analytica penitus evolventes,
quid tandem velint, aut quænam res agatur, sibi ipsis rationem
sufficientem reddant, confusis, aut saltem haud satia explicatis
rationibus, ratiocinia, et scientiarum adeo systemata superstruere
solent communiter, eoque confidentius, quo ejus quam tractant
scientiæ fundamentum solidum magis ignorant."--_Schmidt-Phiseldek_,
_Philos. Criticæ Expositio Systematica_, t. i. p. 561.

"Pour systematiser une science, c'est-à-dire, pour ramener une suite
de phénomènes à leur principe, à un phénomène élémentaire qui
engendre successivement tous les autres, il faut saisir leurs
rapports, le rapport de génération qui les lie; et pour cela, il est
clair qu'il faut commencer par examiner ces différens phénomènes
séparément."--_Cousin_, _Fragm. Philos._, p. 8.

THE sensations which we have through the medium of the senses exist
only by the presence of the object, and cease upon its absence;
nothing being here meant by the presence of the object, but that
position of it with respect to the organ, which is the antecedent of
the sensation; or by its absence, but any other position.

It is a known part of our constitution, that when our sensations
cease, by the absence of their objects, something remains. After I
have seen the sun, and {52} by shutting my eyes see him no longer, I
can still think of him. I have still a feeling, the consequence of
the sensation, which, though I can distinguish it from the
sensation, and treat it as not the sensation, but something
different from the sensation, is yet more like the sensation, than
anything else can be; so like, that I call it a copy, an image, of
the sensation; sometimes, a representation, or trace, of the

Another name, by which we denote this trace, this copy, of the
sensation, which remains after the sensation ceases, is IDEA. This
is a very convenient name, and it is that by which the copies of the
sensation thus described will be commonly denominated in the present
work. The word IDEA, in this sense, will express no theory
whatsoever; nothing but the bare fact, which is indisputable. We
have two classes of feelings; one, that which exists when the object
of sense is present; another, that which exists after the object of
sense has ceased to be present. The one class of feelings I call
SENSATIONS; the other class of feelings I call IDEAS.

It is an inconvenience, that the word IDEA is used with great
latitude of meaning, both in ordinary, and in philosophical
discourse; and it will not be always expedient that I should avoid
using it in senses different from that which I have now assigned. I
trust, however, I shall in no case leave it doubtful, in what sense
it is to be understood.

The term Sensation has a double meaning. It signifies not only an
individual sensation; as when I say, I smell this rose, or I look at
my hand: but it also signifies the general faculty of sensation;
that is, {53} the complex notion of all the phenomena together, as a
part of our nature.

The word Idea has only the meaning which corresponds to the first of
those significations; it denotes an individual idea; and we have not
a name for that complex notion which embraces, as one whole, all the
different phenomena to which the term Idea relates. As we say
Sensation, we might say also, Ideation; it would be a very useful
word; and there is no objection to it, except the pedantic habit of
decrying a new term. Sensation would in that case be the general
name for one part of our constitution, Ideation for another.

It is of great importance, before the learner proceeds any farther,
that he should not only have an accurate conception of this part of
his constitution; but should acquire, by repetition, by complete
familiarity, a ready habit of marking those immediate copies of his
sensations, and of distinguishing them from every other phenomenon
of his mind.

It has been represented, that the sensations of sight and hearing
leave the most vivid traces; in other words, that the ideas
corresponding to those sensations, are clearer than others. But what
is meant by clearer and more vivid in this case, is not very

If I have a very clear idea of the colour of the trumpet which I
have seen, and a very clear idea of its sound which I have heard, I
have no less clear ideas of its shape, and of its size; ideas of the
sensations, neither of the eye, nor of the ear.

It is not easy, in a subject like this, to determine what degree of
illustration is needful. To those who are in the habit of
distinguishing their mental {54} phenomena, the subject will appear
too simple to require illustration. To those who are new to this
important operation, a greater number of illustrations would be
useful, than I shall deem it advisable to present.

It is necessary to take notice, that, as each of our senses has its
separate class of sensations, so each has its separate class of
ideas. We have ideas of Sight, ideas of Touch, ideas of Hearing,
ideas of Taste, and ideas of Smell.

1. By Sight, as we have sensations of red, yellow, blue, &c., and of
the innumerable modifications of them, so have we ideas of those
colours. We can think of those colours in the dark; that is, we have
a feeling or consciousness, which is not the same with the
sensation, but which we contemplate as a copy of the sensation, an
image of it; something more like it, than any thing else can be;
something which remains with us, after the sensation is gone, and
which, in the train of thought, we can use as its representative.

2. The sensations of Touch, according to the limitation under which
they should be understood, are not greatly varied. The gentle
feeling, which we derive from the mere contact of an object, when we
consider it apart from the feeling of resistance, and apart from the
sensation of heat or cold, is not very different, as derived from
different objects. The idea of this tactual feeling, therefore, is
not vivid, nor susceptible of many modifications. On the other hand,
our ideas of heat and cold, the feelings which we call the thought
of them, existing when the sensations no longer exist, are among the
most distinct of the feelings which we distinguish by the name of

{55} 3. I hear the Sound of thunder; and I can think of it after it
is gone. This feeling, the representative of the mere sound, this
thinking, or having the thought of the sound, this state of
consciousness, is the idea. The hearing of the sound is the primary
state of consciousness; the idea of the sound is the secondary state
of consciousness; which exists only when the first has previously

The number of sounds, of which we can have distinct ideas, as well
as distinct sensations, is immense. We can distinguish all animals
by their voices. When I hear the horse neigh, I know it is not the
voice of the ox. Why? Because I have the idea of the voice of the
ox, so distinct, that I know the sensation I have, is different from
the sensation of which that is the copy or representative. We can
distinguish the sounds of a great number of different musical
instruments, by the same process. The men, women, and children, of
our intimate acquaintance, we can distinguish, and name, by their
voices; that is, we have an idea of the past sensation, which
enables us to declare, that the present is the voice of the same

4. That the sensations of Taste recur in thought, when the sensation
no longer exists, is a point of every man's experience. This
recurring, in thought, of the feeling which we have by the sense,
when the feeling by the sense is gone, is the idea of that feeling,
the secondary state of consciousness, as we named it above.[18] That
we can distinguish a very {56} great number of tastes, and
distinguish them accurately, is proof that we have a vast number of
distinct ideas of taste; because, for the purpose of making such
distinction, we have just seen that there must be a sensation and an
idea; the sensation of the present object, and the idea of the
sensation of each of the other objects from which we distinguish it.
You have tasted port wine, and you have tasted claret; when you
taste claret again, you can distinguish it from port wine; that is,
you have the idea of the taste of port wine, in conjunction with the
sensation of claret. You call it bad claret. Why? Because, along
with the present taste, you have the idea of another, which, when it
was sensation, was more agreeable than the present sensation.

[Bain's footnote 18: Discrimination and Retentiveness (the having of
Ideas as the produce of Sensations) are different functions,
although mutually involved, and, in all likelihood, developed in
proportionate degrees in the same organ. We begin by discriminating
changes of impression; this process is necessary in order to our
having even a sensation; the more delicate the discriminating power,
the greater the number of our primary sensations. He that can
discriminate twenty shades of yellow has twenty sensations of
yellow; the two statements express the same fact. These various
sensations being often repeated, acquire at last an ideal
persistence; they can be maintained as ideas, without the originals.
The function or power of the Intellect whereby they are thus
rendered self-subsisting as ideas, is not the same function as
discrimination; we call it Memory, Retentiveness, Adhesiveness,
Association, and so on. What may be affirmed about it, on the
evidence of induction, is, that where discrimination is good, memory
or retentiveness is also good. The discriminative eye for colour is
accompanied with a good memory for colour; the musical ear is both
discriminative and retentive.--_B._]

5. Since we distinguish smells, as well as tastes, {57} we have the
same proof of the number and distinctness of the ideas of this class
of sensations. There is none of the numerous smells to which we have
been accustomed, which we do not immediately recognise. But for that
recognition the idea of the past sensation must be conjoined with
the present sensation.

6. Of that class of sensations, which I have called sensations of
disorganization, we have also ideas. We are capable of having the
thought of them when the sensation is gone; and that thought is the
idea. A spark from the candle flew upon my hand: I had the sensation
of burning. I at this moment think of that sensation; that is, I
have the idea of that sensation; and I can think of it, as different
from ten thousand other painful sensations: that is, I have ideas of
as many other sensations of this class.

7. The ideas of the sensations which attend the action of the
muscles are among the most important of the elements which
constitute our being. From these we have the ideas of resistance, of
compressibility, of hardness, of softness, of roughness, of
smoothness, of solidity, of liquidity, of weight, of levity, of
extension, of figure, of magnitude, of whole and of parts, of
motion, of rest. It is, indeed, to be observed, that these are all
complex ideas, and that other feelings than the mere muscular
feeling are concerned in their composition. In almost all the ideas
referrible to the muscular feelings, of sufficient importance to
have names, the Will is included. The muscular action is the
consequent, the Will the antecedent; and the name of the idea,
includes both. Thus the idea of resistance is the thought, or idea,
of {58} the feelings we have, when we will to contract certain
muscles, and feel the contraction impeded.[19] [20]

[Editor's footnote 19: Rather, when we will to contract certain
muscles, and the contraction takes place, but is not followed by the
accustomed movement of the limb; what follows, instead, being a
sensation of pressure, proportioned to the degree of the
contraction. It is not the muscular contraction itself which is
impeded by the resisting object: that contraction takes place: but
the outward effect which it was the tendency, and perhaps the
purpose, of the muscular contraction to produce, fails to be

[Bain's footnote 20: It is unnecessary to advert to the operation of
the Will, (in the first instance at least,) in considering the
feelings of muscular action. The will is the principal, but not the
only, source of our activity. The mere spontaneous vigour of the
system may put the muscles in motion. Likewise the muscular pleasure
itself operates, by the fundamental law of the will, for its own
continuance; a process not commonly called voluntary. In these
circumstances, it seems advisable to consider and describe the
consciousness of muscular exertion by itself, and without reference
to the will.--_B._]

There is no feeling of our nature of more importance to us, than
that of resistance. Of all our sensations, it is the most
unintermitted; for, whether we sit, or lie, or stand, or walk, still
the feeling of resistance is present to us. Every thing we touch, at
the same time resists; and every thing we hear, see, taste, or
smell, suggests the idea of something that resists. It is through
the medium of resistance, that every act by which we subject to our
use the objects and laws of nature, is performed. And, of the
complex states of consciousness, which the philosophy of mind is
called upon to explain, there is hardly one, in which the feeling or
idea of resistance is not included.

It is partly owing to this combination of something {59} else with
the muscular feeling, in all the states of consciousness to which we
have given names, that it is so difficult to think of the mere
muscular feeling by itself; that our notion of the muscular
sensations is so indistinct and obscure; and that we can rather be
said to have ideas of certain general states of muscular feeling, as
of fatigue, or activity, composed of a great number of individual
feelings, than of the individual feelings themselves.

8. As the feelings, or sensations which we have in the intestinal
canal, are almost always mixed up indistinctly with other feelings,
and, except in the cases of acute pain, are seldom taken notice of
but as constituting general states, we hardly have the power of
thinking of those sensations one by one; and, in consequence, can
hardly be said to have ideas of them. They are important, as forming
component parts of many complex ideas, which have great influence on
our happiness. But to unfold the mystery of complex ideas, other
parts of our mental process have yet to be explained.

There is a certain distressful feeling, called the feeling of bad
health, which is considerably different in different cases, but in
which sensations of the intestinal canal are almost always a
material part.

Indigestion is the name of an idea, in which the feelings of the
intestinal canal are mainly concerned.

Hunger, and thirst, are also names of ideas, which chiefly refer to
sensations in the same part of our system.[21] [22]

[Bain's footnote 21: Thirst is a sensation of the fauces and of the
stomach; it is also a feeling of the body generally, due to a
deficiency of water in the blood. It is also caused by an excess of
saline ingredients in the system. In like manner, a distinction is to
be drawn between Inanition, from deficiency of nutritive material in
the body, and Hunger, or the state of the stomach preparatory to the
act of eating. The two states must in a great measure concur: yet
they may be distinct.

The account of the organic states given in this chapter would have
come in appropriately under Sensation--_B._]

[Editor's footnote 22: I venture to think that it is not a
philosophically correct mode of expression, to speak of indigestion,
or of hunger and thirst, as names of ideas. Hunger and thirst are
names of definite sensations; and indigestion is a name of a large
group of sensations, held together by very complicated laws of
causation. If it be objected, that the word indigestion, and even
the words hunger and thirst, comprehend in their meaning other
elements than the immediate sensations; that the meaning, for
instance, of hunger, includes a deficiency of food, the meaning of
indigestion a derangement of the functions of the digestive organs;
it still remains true that these additional portions of meaning are
physical phenomena, and are not our thoughts or ideas of physical
phenomena; and must, therefore, in the general partition of human
consciousness between sensations and ideas, take their place with
the former, and not with the latter.--_Ed._]

{60} It is proper to remark, that, beside the internal feelings to
which I have hitherto directed the reader's attention, there are
others, which might be classed, and considered apart. The
blood-vessels, for example, and motion of the blood, constitute an
important part of our System, not without feelings of its own;
feelings sometimes amounting to states which seriously command our
attention. Of the feelings which accompany fever, a portion may
reasonably be assigned to the change of action in the blood-vessels.

There are states of feeling, very distinguishable, {61} accompanying
diseased states of the heart, and of the nervous and arterial

Beside the blood and its vessels, the glandular system is an
important part of the active organs of the body; not without
sensibility, and of course, not without habitual sensations. The
same may be said of the system of the absorbents, of the lymphatics,
and of the vascular system in general.

The state of the nerves and brain, the most wonderful part of our
system, is susceptible of changes, and these changes are accompanied
with known changes of feeling. There is a class of diseases which go
by the name of nervous diseases: and though they are not a very
definite class; though it is not even very well ascertained how far
any morbid state of the nerves has to do with them; it is not
doubtful that in some of those diseases there are peculiar feelings,
which ought to be referred to the nerves. The nerves and brain may
thus be, not only the organs of sensations, derived from other
senses, but organs of sensations, derived from themselves. On this
subject we cannot speak otherwise than obscurely, because we have
not distinct names for the things which are to be expressed.

It is not, however, necessary, in tracing the simple feelings which
enter into the more complex states of consciousness, to dwell upon
the obscurer classes of our inward sensations; because it is only in
a very general way that we can make use of them, in expounding the
more mysterious phenomena. Having never acquired the habit of
attending to them, and having, by the habit of inattention, lost the
power of remarking them, except in their general results, we {62}
can do little more than satisfy ourselves of the cases in which they
enter for more or less of the effect.

We have now considered what it is to have sensations, in the simple,
uncompounded cases; and what it is to have the secondary feelings,
which are the consequences of those sensations, and which we
consider as their copies, images, or representatives. If the
illustrations I have employed have enabled my reader to familiarize
himself with this part of his constitution, he has made great
progress towards the solution of all that appears intricate in the
phenomena of the human mind. He has acquainted himself with the two
primary states of consciousness; the varieties of which are very
numerous; and the possible combinations of which are capable of
composing a train of states of consciousness, the diversities of
which transcend the limits of computation.[23] [24]

[Bain's footnote 23: _The Sensation and the Idea compared_.--Great
importance, in every way, attaches to the points of agreement and of
difference of the Sensation and of the Idea. By the Sensation, we
mean the whole state of consciousness, under an actual or present
impression of sense, as in looking at the moon, in listening to
music, in tasting wine. By the Idea is meant the state of mind that
remains after the sensible agent is withdrawn, or that may be
afterwards recovered by the force of recollection.

1. For many purposes the sensation and the idea are identical. They
are compared to original and copy, which, although not in all
respects of equal value, can often answer the same ends. A perfect
recollection of a process that we wish to repeat, is as good as
actually seeing it. For all purposes of knowledge, and of practical
guidance, a faithful remembrance is equal to the real presence. So,
as regards the emotional ideas, or the recollection of states of
pleasure and of pain, which {63} prompt our voluntary actions, in
pursuit and in avoidance, the memory operates in the same way as the
original fact, allowance being made for difference of degree. A
pleasing melody induces us to listen to it, and to crave for its
repetition; the after recollection of it, also moves us to hear it
again. If we find ourselves in the midst of distracting noises, we
are impelled to escape; the mere remembrance, at an after time, has
the same influence on the will.

2. It is highly probable, if not certain, that the same nervous
tracks of the brain are actuated during the sensation, and during
the idea, with difference of degree corresponding to the difference
of vivacity or intensity of the actual and remembered states.

Of the points wherein the Sensation and the Idea are found to
differ, the most obvious is their degree of intensity. We are able
to maintain in idea, the state of mind corresponding to the sight of
the sun, the sound of a bell, or the smell of a rose, but we are
conscious of a great inferiority in the degree or vividness of the
state. The bright luminosity of the original sun turns into a feeble
effect, without dazzle or excitement. The thrill of a fine musical
air cannot be sustained by the mere memory of it, even in the
freshness of the immediately succeeding moment. A certain pleasing
remembrance attaches to a good dinner, but how far below the
original! Moreover, in a complicated object of sense, a great many
of the parts and lineaments drop entirely out of view. Memory is
unequal to retaining, without long familiarity and practice, the
exact picture of a landscape, a building, or an interior. The
difference in the fulness of the idea, as compared with the
sensation, is no less remarkable than the difference of vivacity or
intensity. This inferiority in the idea as compared with the
actuality is of very various amount; being in some cases very great,
and in others very slight. The difference is in proportion to the
mind's power of retentiveness, a power varying according to several
circumstances or conditions, which have to be distinctly enunciated
by the Psychologist. For example, it is well known, that frequency
of repetition enables the idea to {64} grow in vivacity and in
fulness, and to approximate in those respects to the original. It is
also known, that some minds are by nature retentive, and, by a small
number of repetitions, gain the point that others reach only by a
greater number.

Now, that the vivacity and fulness of a remembered idea should
constitute the exact measure of the mind's retentiveness in that
particular instance, is a thing of course. There is no other measure
of retentiveness but the power of reproducing in idea, what has been
before us, in actuality, or as sensation; and the greater the
approach of the idea to the original sensation, the better is the
retaining faculty.

There is an apparent exception to this general principle. The memory
of the same idea, or the same feeling, in the same person, may be at
one time full and vivid, and at another time meagre and faint. In
particular moments, we may recall former experiences with especial
force, as if there were something that co-operated with the proper
force of retentiveness. What, then, are these additional or
concurring forces? Hume recognises the influence of disease in
giving preternatural intensity to ideas.

The answer is that some other recollection concurs with, and adds
its quota to the support of, the one in question. When, in the view
of one natural prospect, we recall another with great fulness, the
present sensation supplies or fills in the parts of the remembered
scene; which scene, therefore, does not exist in the mind by memory
alone, but as a compound of memory and actuality. So while listening
with pleasure to a band of music, we remember strongly the pleasure
of some previous musical performance; yet, the vivid consciousness
of the past is not dependent upon the memory of the past, but upon
the stimulus of the present; we are more properly under sensation,
than under idea. In all mental resuscitation, there is a degree of
vividness and of fulness, due to the proper retentiveness of the
mind for each particular thing, according to natural power,
repetition, &c. Whatever is beyond this, must be ascribed to the
accidental concurrence of other stimulants, either of present
sensation, or of remembered impressions.

{65} In recollection, there is an influence designated by the term
"excitement," which means that portions of the brain are in a state
of exalted activity. Any ideas embodied in the parts so excited, if
in operation at all, are more than ordinarily vivid. Thus in fever,
faded memories brighten up into vivacity and clearness. To this case
the same remark applies; the result is partly memory, or the proper
retentiveness of the system, and partly an excitation of the brain,
through present influences. The proper power of memory is a constant
quantity, varying only with repetition, and the strict conditions of
memory; the intensity or fulness of a resuscitated idea is a complex
result of memory proper and present stimulants, or sensations.

Difference of vividness was the only distinction adverted to by Hume
in his Psychology, which resolved all our intellectual elements into
Impressions and Ideas. His opening words are:--"All the perceptions
of the human mind resolve themselves into two distinct kinds, which
I shall call _impressions_ and _ideas_. The difference between these
consists in the degrees of force and liveliness, with which they
strike upon the mind, and make their way into our thought or
consciousness." He afterwards allows that in particular
circumstances, as in sleep, in fever, or in madness, our ideas may
approach in vividness to our sensations.

Another distinction between the Sensation and the Idea, is of the
most vital importance. To the Sensation belongs Objective Reality;
the Idea is purely Subjective. This distinction lies at the root of
the question of an External World; but on every view of that
question, objectivity is connected with the Sensation; in contrast
to which the Idea is an element exclusively mental or subjective.

_Meanings of Sensation_.--The word Sensation has several meanings,
not always clearly distinguished, and causing serious embroilments
in philosophical controversy.

1. There being, in Sensation, the concurrence of a series of
physical or physiological facts with a mental fact, the name may be
inadvertently employed to express the physical, as well {66} as the
mental element, or at all events to include the physical part as
well as the mental.

The change made on the retina by light, and the nervous influences
traversing the brain, may very readily be considered as entering
into the phenomenon of sensation. This, however, is an impropriety.
The proper use of "Sensation" is to signify the mental fact, to the
exclusion of all the physical processes essential to its production.

2. In ordinary Sensation, as in looking round a room, there is a
double consciousness,--objective and subjective. In the objective
consciousness, we are affected with the qualities named magnitude,
distance, form, colour, &c.; these are called object properties,
properties of the external and extended universe. In the subject
consciousness, we are alive to states of pleasure or of pain, which
may go along with the other. We do not usually exist in both modes
at one instant; we pass out of one into the other. Now the word
Sensation covers both, although, to the object consciousness,
"Perception" is more strictly applicable; and in contrast to
Perception, Sensation would mean the subjective consciousness, the
moments when we relapse from the object attitude and become
subjective or self-conscious, or alive to pleasure and pain. When
the mind is in the object phase, it is neutral or indifferent as
respects enjoyment.

3. In Sensation, a distinction may be drawn between the present
effect upon the mind, or the impression that would arise if the
outward agent had operated for the first time, and the total of the
past impressions of the same agent, which by its repetition are
recalled to fuse with the present effect. The present view of the
moon reinstates the sum total of the previous views held by memory,
and is not what we should experience if we saw the moon for the
first time. Now, if the recall of the previous impressions, or of
the joint and iterated idea, be considered an addition made by the
Intellect, being dependent on the retentive power of the mind,
Sensation, as opposed to Intellect, would mean the force of the
present impression and nothing more; or the difference between the
{67} vividness of reality, and the inferior vividness of
recollection. What we can retain when we shut our eyes would
represent the force of our intelligence; the additional intensity
when we resume our gaze, would represent the power of sensation or
the actual experience.

This distinction suggests an important remark as to the whole nature
of Sensation, namely, that there can hardly be such a thing as pure
Sensation, meaning Sensation without any admixture of the Intellect.
We may attribute this purity to the earliest impressions made upon
the mind, but not to anything known in the experience of the adult.
This mixture of Intellect with Sense is not confined to
Retentiveness; the other intellectual functions, Discrimination and
perception of Agreement, are inseparable from the exercise of the
senses. We cannot have a sensation without a feeling of difference;
warmth is a transition from cold, and a conscious discrimination of
the two facts. So, whenever we repeat a sensation, we have the
consciousness of the repetition, or agreement. Were not these modes
of consciousness present, we should have no sensation, indeed no
consciousness. There is thus no hard line between sense and
intellect. The question as to the origin of our Ideas in Sense is
not a real question, until we explain what we mean by Sense, and
make allowance for this unavoidable participation of Intellect in

4. Sensation is commonly used to employ the whole of our primary
feelings and susceptibilities, as opposed to the Emotions which are
secondary or derived. It thus confounds together two different sides
of our susceptibility, the active and the passive; the feelings
arising in connection with our exertion of inward force or energy,
and those arising under impressions from external things. Both are
primary states of consciousness; they are alike dependent on
modifications of our sensitive tissues. But, between the two, there
is a contrast, wide, deep, and fundamental, completely missed by the
older Psychologists, to the detriment of their handling of such
vital questions as the origin of knowledge, and the perception of a
material world. The name Sensation, pointing immediately to {68} the
operation of the five senses, gave the slip to the feelings of
energy, or brought them in partially and inadequately. Yet it is the
only name we have for the primary susceptibilities of the organism
including both movement and passive sensibility.--_B._]

[Editor's footnote 24: A question which, as far as I know, has been
passed over by psychologists, but which ought not to be left
unanswered, is this: Can we have ideas of ideas? We have sensations,
and we have copies of these sensations, called ideas of them: can we
also have copies of these copies, constituting a second order of
ideas, two removes instead of one from sensation?

Every one will admit that we can think of a thought. We remember
ourselves remembering, or imagine ourselves remembering, an object
or an event, just as we remember or imagine ourselves seeing one.
But in the case of a simple idea of sensation, _i.e._ the idea or
remembrance of a single undivided sensation, there seems nothing to
distinguish the idea of the idea, from the idea of the sensation
itself. When I imagine myself thinking of the colour of snow, I am
not aware of any difference, even in degree of intensity, between
the image then present to my mind of the white colour, and the image
present when I imagine myself to be seeing the colour.

The case, however, is somewhat different with those combinations of
simple ideas which have never been presented to my mind otherwise
than as ideas. I have an idea of Pericles; but it is derived only
from the testimony of history: the real Pericles never was present
to my senses. I have an idea of Hamlet, and of Falstaff;
combinations which, though made up of ideas of sensation, never
existed at all in the world of sense; they never were anything more
than ideas in any mind. Yet, having had these combinations of ideas
presented to me through the words of Shakespeare, I have formed what
is properly an idea not of an outward object, but of an idea in
Shakespeare's mind; and I may communicate my idea to others, whose
idea will then be an idea of an idea in my mind. My idea of
Pericles, or my idea of any person now alive whom I have never seen,
differs from these in the circumstance that I {69} am persuaded that
a real object corresponding to the idea does now, or did once, exist
in the world of sensation: but as I did not derive my idea from the
object, but from some other person's words, my idea is not a copy of
the original, but a copy (more or less imperfect) of some other
person's copy: it is an idea of an idea.

Although, however, the complex idea I have of an object which never
was presented to my senses, is rightly described as an idea of an
idea; my remembrance of a complex idea which I have had before, does
not seem to me to differ from the remembered idea as an idea differs
from a sensation. There is a distinction between my visual idea of
Mont Blanc and the actual sight of the mountain, which I do not find
between my remembrance of Falstaff and the original impression from
which it was derived. My present thought of Falstaff seems to me not
a copy but a repetition of the original idea; a repetition which may
be dimmed by distance, or which may, on the contrary, be heightened
by intermediate processes of thought; may have lost some of its
features by lapse of time, and may have acquired others by reference
to the original sources; but which resembles the first impression
not as the thought of an object resembles the sight of it, but as a
second or third sight of an object resembles the first. This
question will meet us again in the psychological examination of
Memory, the theory of which is in no small degree dependent upon



"To have a clear view of the phenomena of the mind, as mere
affections or states of it, existing successively, and in a certain
series, which we are able, therefore, to predict, in consequence of
our knowledge of the past, is, I conceive, to have made the most
important acquisition which the intellectual inquirer can make."
_Brown_, _Lectures_, i. 544.

THOUGHT succeeds thought; idea follows idea, incessantly. If our
senses are awake, we are continually receiving sensations, of the
eye, the ear, the touch, and so forth; but not sensations alone.
After sensations, ideas are perpetually excited of sensations
formerly received; after those ideas, other ideas: and during the
whole of our lives, a series of those two states of consciousness,
called sensations, and ideas, is constantly going on. I see a horse:
that is a sensation. Immediately I think of his master: that is an
idea. The idea of his master makes me think of his office; he is a
minister of state: that is another idea. The idea of a minister of
state makes me think of public affairs; and I am led into a train of
political ideas; when I am summoned to dinner. This is a new
sensation, followed by the idea of dinner, and of the company with
whom I am to partake it. The sight of the company and of the food
are other {71} sensations; these suggest ideas without end; other
sensations perpetually intervene, suggesting other ideas: and so the
process goes on.

In contemplating this train of feelings, of which our lives consist,
it first of all strikes the contemplator, as of importance to
ascertain, whether they occur casually and irregularly, or according
to a certain order.

With respect to the SENSATIONS, it is obvious enough that they
occur, according to the order established among what we call the
objects of nature, whatever those objects are; to ascertain more and
more of which order is the business of physical philosophy in all
its branches.

Of the order established among the objects of nature, by which we
mean the objects of our senses, two remarkable cases are all which
here we are called upon to notice; the SYNCHRONOUS ORDER, and the
SUCCESSIVE ORDER. The synchronous order, or order of simultaneous
existence, is the order in space; the successive order, or order of
antecedent and consequent existence, is the order in time. Thus the
various objects in my room, the chairs, the tables, the books, have
the synchronous order, or order in space. The falling of the spark,
and the explosion of the gunpowder, have the successive order, or
order in time.

According to this order, in the objects of sense, there is a
synchronous, and a successive, order of our sensations. I have
SYNCHRONICALLY, or at the same instant, the sight of a great variety
of objects; touch of all the objects with which my body is in
contact; hearing of all the sounds which are reaching my ears;
smelling of all the smells which are reaching my {72} nostrils; taste
of the apple which I am eating; the sensation of resistance both
from the apple which is in my mouth, and the ground on which I
stand; with the sensation of motion from the act of walking. I have
SUCCESSIVELY the sight of the flash from the mortar fired at a
distance, the hearing of the report, the sight of the bomb, and of
its motion in the air, the sight of its fall, the sight and hearing
of its explosion, and lastly, the sight of all the effects of that

[Bain's footnote 25: There is here raised the interesting and
important question, how far are we able to entertain synchronous
sensations; in other words, whether or not we can be cognisant of a
plurality of sensations at the same instant of time. There are
various circumstances tending to obscure this point; the chief being
the extreme rapidity of our mental transitions.

It is requisite to view the question from two sides, the side of
sensation and the side of action. On the first, the appearances are
more in favour of plurality; on the second, more in favour of unity.

As regards Sensation, we are incessantly solicited by a variety of
agencies, outward and inward. We may be roused into consciousness,
through the eye, through the ear, through the touch, through the
taste, through the smell, through the organic sensibilities; and all
this at the same time with the rise of emotions or ideas through
purely mental causes. Nay more; even under a single sense, we may
have a plurality of distinguishable impressions. Sight is the
greatest example. Hearing is little inferior; witness the complexity
of a band of music, and the tumult of a stormy sea. In Touch,
likewise, we may have a plurality of distinguishable feelings of
contact over the body.

The point to be considered, then, is, how many of these
multitudinous effects, strictly synchronous in their occurrence, are
capable of operating synchronously, either in directing the
thoughts, or in impressing the memory. How many of them are able to
work the smallest assignable change upon the consciousness? To all
appearance, more than one at a time.

Consider first the two senses most concerned in developing (out of
muscular feeling as the basis) the notion of Space or Extension;
that is, Touch and Sight. It will be enough to comment upon Sight.
The eye, as is known, takes in a wide prospect; the retinas of the
two eyes combined can embrace a large fraction of the surrounding
visible sphere. Now, the attention at any one moment is confined to
a limited portion: the precise limits are not here considered; there
being a complication of action with sensation proper, which will be
adverted to afterwards. But, notwithstanding this confinement of the
attention, there is a consciousness of the whole visible expanse; as
is proved in the case of any sudden change at any part; the
attention is then instantly diverted to that part. We might say that
there is, at every moment, a ramified area of sensibility, at its
maximum in the centre--the line of direction of the eyes, and
decreasing to the extremity or circumference of the visible expanse.
To one gazing at the heavens, the flash of a meteor would be felt
throughout the whole area of visibility; while it would be more
certain in its effect, the nearer it was to the line of perfect
vision, which is the place of special attention. A faint
corruscation arising near the circumference might pass unheeded.

Next as to the sense of Hearing. Peculiar difficulties attend the
explanation of this sense. There is only one main line of access to
the inner ear, where the nerves are distributed, namely, the solid
chain of bones of the middle ear; and that line can hardly be
supposed capable of conveying at the same instant a plurality of
different series of vibrations. Yet we fancy that we hear a
concurring plurality of sounds. Of what avail would be a band of a
hundred performers if there were no power of taking in simultaneous
pulses of sound? There is, however, an absence of accurate
investigation of this point; no one has endeavoured to ascertain how
much of the complex effect is due to the rapid transitions of the
ear from one sound to another, how much to the concurrence of
several series of pulses in one augmented series, and how much to
the composition of successive effects in the ear into a synchronous
whole in the emotional wave, or general excitement of the brain. It
will be found, by any careful observer, that in listening to a band,
we are really occupied with very few of the sounds at the same
instant of time; we perform a number of rapid movements of the
attention from one to another; while, at each moment, we are under
an influence remaining from the recently occurring beats, to which
we are not now giving our full attention.

Touch is exactly parallel to Sight, and need not be dwelt upon. In
Smell, and in Taste, we may have a plurality of distinguishable
effects at one moment: we often experience complex odours and
tastes. The above remarks will apply to these. The undoubted
tendency of the mind is to single out, for attention, the separate
constituents by turns, and to pass with rapidity from one to
another; while it is also true that the individual effects that are
for the moment seemingly neglected, still exercise an influence on
the consciousness; which would be decisively shown (as in the case
of sight) on any occasion of their suddenly increasing in force, or
suddenly vanishing. Also, in their state of having fallen out of
attention, they still leave an influence to modify the present
sensation, the effect of their being attended to in the previous
instant. Until we can measure the rapidity of those transitions of
the attention, we are not in a position to affirm absolutely the
power of double, triple, or multiple attention, although to all
practical intents such a power is possessed.

It is certain that the mind is every moment actuated and determined
by a plurality of influences, impressions, considerations, thoughts.
Almost every act of the will is a resultant of many motives. Our
thoughts seldom spring up at the instance of a simple link of
association; although it may happen that some one link is sufficing
and overpowering, and therefore governs the recall; yet there are
almost always others aiding or checking the particular
resuscitation. Nevertheless, such complication of antecedents is not
inconsistent with the theory of very rapid transitions of attention,
there being a certain persisting influence from each separate act.
There would, however, be a greater theoretical simplicity, as well
as a less appearance of straining a point, if we could suppose that
the several conspiring agencies unite in a strictly synchronous

Let us next view the question from the side of Activity. Here the
circumstance that would most decisively limit the power of
attention, and impose an absolute unity (qualified by rapidity of
transition) is the singleness of the muscular executive. No one
organ can perform two movements at the same instant. Plurality can
arise only by the separate organs performing separate actions.

In such a case as playing on the pianoforte, there is a very
complicated series of muscular exertions. The eyes are occupied with
the printed music; both hands are exerted, and every finger performs
a separate note; the foot also may be brought into action. At the
same time, the ear has to be on the alert. The plurality is here
very great; yet it seems much greater than it is. For, at the stage
when such a performance is possible, there is a great amount of
acquirement; many synchronous groupings have been made by long
repetition, so as to dispense with attending to the several acts in
separation. The real attention is concentrated on one, or on a very
few acts; so few that it is not impossible for them to be commanded
by the mere rapidity of transition from one to another. The
performer need not attend to the notes of the music, and to the
action of the fingers at the same absolute instant of time.

It is in the case of commencing some act entirely new to us, that
the limitation of the muscular executive is most apparent. In
learning the first elements of any accomplishment by imitating a
master, the whole attention is concentrated on single movements; at
one instant on the master, and the next instant on the act of
imitating; the only synchronous addition to this last being the
remaining trace of the impression of the model. If the act is
complicated, and requires concurring movements of different organs,
the attention, at the outset, must be given to one at a time; the
conjunction of independent movements is not a primitive, but an
acquired power. Previous to acquired groupings, the restriction of
the attention to one movement is the rule.

Let us now consider the senses as compounded of passive sensation
and movement. The eye, for example, is a moving organ under the
command of the will; both eyes being moved in one indivisible
volition. Visual attention consists sometimes in moving the eyes to
and fro, at other times, in fixing them in one immoveable attitude.
We have seen that so far as the optical sensibility is concerned,
there is at each instant an effective impression of a wide area,
although of very unequal distinctness. The impressions derived from
the movements of the eye are much more limited. At the same absolute
instant of time, we can scan only a very small portion; say the
outline of some isolated form, or the trace of an isolated movement.
We can run rapidly round the circumference of a round body, or
along the edge of a cubical block. In looking at a tree, we perform
a series of muscular sweeps, scarcely including, at one time, more
than a single outline course. No doubt our optical sensibility is
receiving, in a faint way, a complicated superficies; yet the ocular
sweep, on which we depend for our ideas of form, can hardly be
supposed to take more than one line at the same instant. The
rapidity of transition is very great; but there is a conscious
transition when we wish to combine the impression of a circle
inscribed in a square.--_B._]

{73} Among the objects which I have thus observed synchronically, or
successively; that is, from which I {74} have had synchronical or
successive sensations; there are some which I have so observed
frequently; others {75} which I have so observed not frequently: in
other words, of my sensations some have been frequently {76}
synchronical, others not frequently; some frequently successive,
others not frequently. Thus, my sight of {77} roast beef, and my
taste of roast beef, have been frequently SYNCHRONICAL; my smell of
a rose, and my sight and touch of a rose, have been frequently
synchronical; my sight of a stone, and my sensations of its
hardness, and weight, have been frequently synchronical. Others of
my sensations have not been frequently synchronical: my sight of a
lion, and the hearing of his roar; my sight of a knife, and its
stabbing a man. My sight of the flash of lightning, and my hearing
of the thunder, have been often SUCCESSIVE; the pain of cold, and
the pleasure of heat, have been often successive; the sight of a
trumpet, and the sound of a trumpet, have been often successive. On
the other hand, my sight of hemlock, and my taste of hemlock, have
not been often successive: and so on.

It so happens, that, of the objects from which we derive the
greatest part of our sensations, most of those which are observed
synchronically, are frequently observed synchronically; most of
those which are observed successively, are frequently observed
successively. In other words, most of our synchronical sensations,
have been frequently synchronical; most of our successive
sensations, have been frequently successive. Thus, most of our
synchronical sensations are derived from the objects around us, the
objects which we have the most frequent occasion to hear and see;
the members of our family; the furniture of our houses; our food;
the instruments of {78} our occupations or amusements. In like
manner, of those sensations which we have had in succession, we have
had the greatest number repeatedly in succession; the sight of fire,
and its warmth; the touch of snow, and its cold; the sight of food,
and its taste.

Thus much with regard to the order of SENSATIONS; next with regard
to the order of IDEAS.

As ideas are not derived from objects, we should not expect their
order to be derived from the order of objects; but as they are
derived from sensations, we might by analogy expect, that they would
derive their order from that of the sensations; and this to a great
extent is the case.

Our ideas spring up, or exist, in the order in which the sensations
existed, of which they are the copies.

This is the general law of the "Association of Ideas"; by which
term, let it be remembered, nothing is here meant to be expressed,
but the order of occurrence.

In this law, the following things are to be carefully observed.

1. Of those sensations which occurred synchronically, the ideas also
spring up synchronically. I have seen a violin, and heard the tones
of the violin, synchronically. If I think of the tones of the
violin, the visible appearance of the violin at the same time occurs
to me. I have seen the sun, and the sky in which it is placed,
synchronically. If I think of the one, I think of the other at the
same time.

One of the cases of synchronical sensation, which deserves the most
particular attention, is, that of the several sensations derived
from one and the same {79} object; a stone, for example, a flower, a
table, a chair, a horse, a man.

From a stone I have had, synchronically, the sensation of colour,
the sensation of hardness, the sensations of shape, and size, the
sensation of weight. When the idea of one of these sensations
occurs, the ideas of all of them occur.[26] They exist in my mind
synchronically; and their synchronical existence is called the idea
of the stone; which, it is thus plain, is not a single idea, but a
number of ideas in a particular state of combination.

[Bain's footnote 26: This must be qualified by the fact that the
same individual sensation may be found in many groupings, and
therefore may not bring up any one aggregate or concrete object in
particular. The colour, white, is seen in conjunction with many
different shapes, magnitudes, and weight; consequently it does not
suggest a specific shape or magnitude. In such a case, the recall
may be very various according to circumstances; some individual may
have a greater prominence than the rest, and be singled out on that
ground; two or three may be brought to view; or a still greater
number may be revived.

This is an important limitation of the working of the associating
principle. An individual thing is not restored, as a matter of
course, unless the link of connexion points to it alone; as is often
effected by a plurality of bonds. Thus a musical air is not
suggested until as many notes are heard as to distinguish it from
every other known air.--_B._]

Thus, again, I have smelt a rose, and looked at, and handled a rose,
synchronically; accordingly the name rose suggests to me all those
ideas synchronically; and this combination of those simple ideas is
called my idea of the rose.

My idea of an animal is still more complex. The {80} word thrush,
for example, not only suggests an idea of a particular colour and
shape, and size, but of song, and flight, and nestling, and eggs,
and callow young, and others.

My idea of a man is the most complex of all; including not only
colour, and shape, and voice, but the whole class of events in which
I have observed him either the agent or the patient.

2. As the ideas of the sensations which occurred synchronically,
rise synchronically, so the ideas of the sensations which occurred
successively, rise successively.

Of this important case of association, or of the successive order of
our ideas, many remarkable instances might be adduced. Of these none
seems better adapted to the learner than the repetition of any
passage, or words; the Lord's Prayer, for example, committed to
memory. In learning the passage, we repeat it; that is, we pronounce
the words, in successive order, from the beginning to the end. The
order of the sensations is successive. When we proceed to repeat the
passage, the ideas of the words also rise in succession, the
preceding always suggesting the succeeding, and no other. _Our_
suggests _Father_, _Father_ suggests _which_, _which_ suggests
_art_; and so on, to the end. How remarkably this is the case, any
one may convince himself, by trying to repeat backwards, even a
passage with which he is as familiar as the Lord's Prayer. The case
is the same with numbers. A man can go on with the numbers in the
progressive order, one, two, three, &c. scarcely thinking of his
act; and though it is possible for him to repeat them backward,
because he is accustomed {81} to subtraction of numbers, he cannot
do so without an effort.

Of witnesses in courts of justice it has been remarked, that
eye-witnesses, and ear-witnesses, always tell their story in the
chronological order; in other words, the ideas occur to them in the
order in which the sensations occurred; on the other hand, that
witnesses, who are inventing, rarely adhere to the chronological

3. A far greater number of our sensations are received in the
successive, than in the synchronical order. Of our ideas, also, the
number is infinitely greater that rise in the successive than the
synchronical order.

4. In the successive order of ideas, that which precedes, is
sometimes called the suggesting, that which succeeds, the suggested
idea; not that any power is supposed to reside in the antecedent
over the consequent; suggesting, and suggested, mean only antecedent
and consequent, with the additional idea, that such order is not
casual, but, to a certain degree, permanent.

5. Of the antecedent and consequent feelings, or the suggesting, and
suggested; the antecedent may be either sensations or ideas; the
consequent are always ideas. An idea may be excited either by a
sensation or an idea. The sight of the dog of my friend is a
sensation, and it excites the idea of my friend. The idea of
Professor Dugald Stewart delivering a lecture, recals the idea of
the delight with which I heard him; that, the idea of the studies in
which it engaged me; that, the trains of thought which succeeded;
and each epoch of my mental history, the succeeding one, till the
present moment; in which I am endeavouring to present to others what
appears to me valuable among {82} the innumerable ideas of which
this lengthened train has been composed.

6. As there are degrees in sensation, and degrees in ideas; for one
sensation is more vivid than another sensation, one idea more vivid
than another idea; so there are degrees in association. One
association, we say, is stronger than another: First, when it is
more permanent than another: Secondly, when it is performed with
more certainty: Thirdly, when it is performed with more facility.

It is well known, that some associations are very transient, others
very permanent. The case which we formerly mentioned, that of
repeating words committed to memory, affords an apt illustration. In
some cases, we can perform the repetition, when a few hours, or a
few days have elapsed; but not after a longer period. In others, we
can perform it after the lapse of many years. There are few children
in whose minds some association has not been formed between darkness
and ghosts. In some this association is soon dissolved; in some it
continues for life.[27]

[Bain's footnote 27: The difference between transient and permanent
recollections turns entirely upon the strength of the association.
There is not one specific mode of association suited to temporary
recollection and another to permanent; the permanent contains the
temporary, as the greater does the less. The reason why a feebler
association will suffice for temporary purposes, is that a recent
impression still retains something of the hold of a present reality.
The chords struck during the actual presence have not ceased to
vibrate. It is difficult to estimate with precision the influence of
recency; we know it to be very considerable. A thing distinctly
remembered for a few hours will be forgotten, or else held as a mere
fragment, at the end of a month; while anything that persists for
two or three months may be considered as independent of the power of
recency, and may last for years.--_B._]

In some cases the association takes place with less, in some with
greater certainty. Thus, in repeating words, I am not sure that I
shall not commit mistakes, if they are imperfectly got; and I may at
one {83} trial repeat them right, at another wrong: I am sure of
always repeating those correctly, which I have got perfectly. Thus,
in my native language, the association between the name and the
thing is certain; in a language with which I am imperfectly
acquainted, not certain. In expressing myself in my own language,
the idea of the thing suggests the idea of the name with certainty.
In speaking a language with which I am imperfectly acquainted, the
idea of the thing does not with certainty suggest the idea of the
name; at one time it may, at another not.

That ideas are associated in some cases with more, in some with less
facility, is strikingly illustrated by the same instance, of a
language with which we are well, and a language with which we are
imperfectly, acquainted. In speaking our own language, we are not
conscious of any effort; the associations between the words and the
ideas appear spontaneous. In endeavouring to speak a language with
which we are imperfectly acquainted, we are sensible of a painful
effort: the associations between the words and ideas being not
ready, or immediate.

7. The causes of strength in association seem all to be resolvable
into two; the vividness of the associated feelings; and the
frequency of the association.

In general, we convey not a very precise meaning, {84} when we speak
of the vividness of sensations and ideas. We may be understood when
we say that, generally speaking, the sensation is more vivid than
the idea; or the primary, than the secondary feeling; though in
dreams, and in delirium, ideas are mistaken for sensations. But when
we say that one sensation is more vivid than another, there is much
more uncertainty. We can distinguish those sensations which are
pleasurable, and those which are painful, from such as are not so;
and when we call the pleasurable and painful more vivid, than those
which are not so, we speak intelligibly. We can also distinguish
degrees of pleasure, and of pain; and when we call the sensation of
the higher degree more vivid than the sensation of the lower degree,
we may again be considered as expressing a meaning tolerably

In calling one IDEA more vivid than another, if we confine the
appellation to the ideas of such SENSATIONS as may with precision be
called more or less vivid; the sensations of pleasure and pain, in
their various degrees, compared with sensations which we do not call
either pleasurable or painful; our language will still have a
certain degree of precision. But what is the meaning which I annex
to my words, when I say, that my idea of the taste of the pine-apple
which I tasted yesterday is vivid; my idea of the taste of the
foreign fruit which I never tasted but once in early life, is not
vivid? If I mean that I can more certainly distinguish the more
recent, than the more distant sensation, there is still some
precision in my language; because it seems true of all my senses,
that if I compare a distant sensation with a present, I am less sure
of its being or not being a repetition of the same, than {85} if I
compare a recent sensation with a present one. Thus, if I yesterday
had a smell of a very peculiar kind, and compare it with a present
smell, I can judge more accurately of the agreement or disagreement
of the two sensations, than if I compared the present with one much
more remote. The same is the case with colours, with sounds, with
feelings of touch, and of resistance. It is therefore sufficiently
certain, that the idea of the more recent sensation affords the
means of a more accurate comparison, generally, than the idea of the
more remote sensation. And thus we have three cases of vividness, of
which we can speak with some precision: the case of sensations, as
compared with ideas; the case of pleasurable and painful sensations,
and their ideas, as compared with those which are not pleasurable or
painful; and the case of the more recent, compared with the more

[Editor's footnote 28: If it be admitted that in the three cases
here specified the word vividness, as applied to our impressions,
has a definite meaning, it seems to follow that this meaning may be
extended in the way of analogy, to other cases than these. There
are, for example, sensations which differ from some other sensations
like fainter feelings of the same kind, in much the same manner as
the idea of a sensation differs from the sensation itself: and we
may, by extension, call these sensations less vivid. Again, one idea
may differ from another idea in the same sort of way in which the
idea of a sensation had long ago differs from that of a similar
sensation received recently: that is, it is a more faded copy--its
colours and its outlines are more effaced: this idea may fairly be
said to be less vivid than the other.

The author himself, a few pages farther on, speaks of some complex
ideas as being more "obscure" than others, merely on account of
their greater complexity. Obscurity, indeed, in this case, means a
different quality from the absence of vividness, but a quality fully
as indefinite.

Mr. Bain, whose view of the subject will be found further on, draws
a fundamental distinction (already indicated in a former note)
between the attributes which belong to a sensation regarded in an
intellectual point of view, as a portion of our knowledge, and those
which belong to the element of Feeling contained in it; Feeling
being here taken in the narrower acceptation of the word, that in
which Feeling is opposed to Intellect or Thought. To sensations in
their intellectual aspect Mr. Bain considers the term vividness to
be inapplicable: they can only be distinct or indistinct. He
reserves the word vividness to express the degree of intensity of
the sensation, considered in what may be called its emotional
aspect, whether of pleasure, of pain, or of mere excitement.

Whether we accept this restriction or not, it is in any case
certain, that the property of producing a strong and durable
association without the aid of repetition, belongs principally to
our pleasures and pains. The more intense the pain or pleasure, the
more promptly and powerfully does it associate itself with its
accompanying circumstances, even with those which are only
accidentally present. In the cases mentioned in the text, a single
occurrence of the painful sensation is sufficient to produce an
association, which neither time can wear out nor
counter-associations dissolve, between the idea of the pain and the
ideas of the sensations which casually accompanied it in that one
instance, however intrinsically indifferent these may be.--_Ed._]

{86} That the association of two ideas, but for once, does, in some
cases, give them a very strong connection, is within the sphere of
every man's experience. The most remarkable cases are probably those
of pain and pleasure. Some persons who have experienced a very
painful surgical operation, can never afterwards bear the sight of
the operator, however strong the {87} gratitude which they may
actually feel towards him. The meaning is, that the sight of the
operator, by a strong association, calls up so vividly the idea of
the pain of the operation, that it is itself a pain. The spot on
which a tender maiden parted with her lover, when he embarked on the
voyage from which he never returned, cannot afterwards be seen by
her without an agony of grief.

These cases, also, furnish an apt illustration of the superiority
which the sensation possesses over the idea, as an associating
cause. Though the sight of the surgeon, the sight of the place,
would awaken the ideas which we have described, the mere thought of
them might be attended with no peculiar effect. Those persons who
have the association of frightful objects with darkness, and who are
transported with terrors when placed in the dark, can still think of
darkness without any emotion.

The same cases furnish an illustration of the effect of recency on
the strength of association. The sight, of the affecting spot by the
maiden, of the surgeon by the patient, would certainly produce a
more intense emotion, after a short, than after a long interval.
With most persons, time would weaken, and at last dissolve, the

So much with regard to vividness, as a cause of strong associations.
Next, we have to consider frequency or repetition; which is the most
remarkable and important cause of the strength of our associations.

Of any two sensations, frequently perceived together, the ideas are
associated. Thus, at least, in the minds of Englishmen, the idea of
a soldier, and the idea of a red coat are associated; the idea of a
{88} clergyman, and the idea of a black coat; the idea of a quaker,
and of a broad-brimmed hat; the idea of a woman and the idea of
petticoats. A peculiar taste suggests the idea of an apple; a
peculiar smell the idea of a rose. If I have heard a particular air
frequently sung by a particular person, the hearing of the air
suggests the idea of the person.

The most remarkable exemplification of the effect of degrees of
frequency, in producing degrees of strength in the associations, is
to be found in the cases in which the association is purposely and
studiously contracted; the cases in which we learn something; the
use of words, for example.

Every child learns the language which is spoken by those around him.
He also learns it by degrees. He learns first the names of the most
familiar objects; and among familiar objects, the names of those
which he most frequently has occasion to name; himself, his nurse,
his food, his playthings.

A sound heard once in conjunction with another sensation; the word
mamma, for example, with the sight of a woman, would produce no
greater effect on the child, than the conjunction of any other
sensation, which once exists and is gone for ever. But if the word
mamma is frequently pronounced, in conjunction with the sight of a
particular woman, the sound will by degrees become associated with
the sight; and as the pronouncing of the name will call up the idea
of the woman, so the sight of the woman will call up the idea of the

The process becomes very perceptible to us, when, at years of
reflection, we proceed to learn a dead or foreign language. At the
first lesson, we are told, or {89} we see in the dictionary, the
meaning of perhaps twenty words. But it is not joining the word and
its meaning once, that will make the word suggest its meaning to us
another time. We repeat the two in conjunction, till we think the
meaning so well associated with the word, that whenever the word
occurs to us, the meaning will occur along with it. We are often
deceived in this anticipation; and finding that the meaning is not
suggested by the word, we have to renew the process of repetition,
and this, perhaps, again, and again. By force of repetition the
meaning is associated, at last, with every word of the language, and
so perfectly, that the one never occurs to us without the other.

Learning to play on a musical instrument is another remarkable
illustration of the effect of repetition in strengthening
associations, in rendering those sequences, which, at first, are
slow, and difficult, afterwards, rapid, and easy. At first, the
learner, after thinking of each successive note, as it stands in his
book, has each time to look out with care for the key or the string
which he is to touch, and the finger he is to touch it with, and is
every moment committing mistakes. Repetition is well known to be the
only means of overcoming these difficulties. As the repetition goes
on, the sight of the note, or even the idea of the note, becomes
associated with the place of the key or the string; and that of the
key or the string with the proper finger. The association for a time
is imperfect, but at last becomes so strong, that it is performed
with the greatest rapidity, without an effort, and almost without

In few cases is the strength of association, derived {90} from
repetition, more worthy of attention, than in performing arithmetic.
All men, whose practice is not great, find the addition of a long
column of numbers, tedious, and the accuracy of the operation, by no
means certain. Till a man has had considerable practice, there are
few acts of the mind more toilsome. The reason is, that the names of
the numbers, which correspond to the different steps, do not readily
occur; that is, are not strongly associated with the names which
precede them. Thus, 7 added to 5, make 12; but the antecedent, 7
added to 5, is not strongly associated with the consequent 12, in
the mind of the learner, and he has to wait and search till the name
occurs. Thus, again, 12 and 7 make 19; 19 and 8 make 27, and so on
to any amount; but if the practice of the performer has been small,
the association in each instance is imperfect, and the process
irksome and slow. Practice, however; that is, frequency of
repetition; makes the association between each of these antecedents
and its proper consequent so perfect, that no sooner is the one
conceived than the other is conceived, and an expert arithmetician
can tell the amount of a long column of figures, with a rapidity,
which seems almost miraculous to the man whose faculty of numeration
is of the ordinary standard.

8. Where two or more ideas have been often repeated together, and
the association has become very strong, they sometimes spring up in
such close combination as not to be distinguishable. Some cases of
sensation are analogous. For example; when a wheel, on the seven
parts of which the seven prismatic colours are respectively painted,
is made to revolve rapidly, it appears not of seven colours, but of
one {91} uniform colour, white. By the rapidity of the succession,
the several sensations cease to be distinguishable; they run, as it
were, together, and a new sensation, compounded of all the seven,
but apparently a simple one, is the result. Ideas, also, which have
been so often conjoined, that whenever one exists in the mind, the
others immediately exist along with it, seem to run into one
another, to coalesce, as it were, and out of many to form one idea;
which idea, however in reality complex, appears to be no less
simple, than any one of those of which it is compounded.

The word gold, for example, or the word iron, appears to express as
simple an idea, as the word colour, or the word sound. Yet it is
immediately seen, that the idea of each of those metals is made up
of the separate ideas of several sensations; colour, hardness,
extension, weight. Those ideas, however, present themselves in such
intimate union, that they are constantly spoken of as one, not many.
We say, our idea of iron, our idea of gold; and it is only with an
effort that reflecting men perform the decomposition.

The idea expressed by the term weight, appears so perfectly simple,
that he is a good metaphysician, who can trace its composition. Yet
it involves, of course, the idea of resistance, which we have shewn
above to be compounded, and to involve the feeling attendant upon
the contraction of muscles; and the feeling or feelings, denominated
Will; it involves the idea, not of resistance simply, but of
resistance in a particular direction; the idea of direction,
therefore, is included in it, and in that are involved the ideas of
extension, and of place and motion, some of the most complicated
phenomena of the human mind.

{92} The ideas of hardness and extension have been so uniformly
regarded as simple, that the greatest metaphysicians have set them
down as the copies of simple sensations of touch. Hartley and
Darwin, were, I believe, the first who thought of assigning to them
a different origin.

We call a thing hard, because it resists compression, or separation
of parts; that is, because to compress it, or separate it into
parts, what we call muscular force is required. The idea, then, of
muscular action, and of all the feelings which go to it, are
involved in the idea of hardness.

The idea of extension is derived from the muscular feelings in what
we call the motion of parts of our own bodies; as for example, the
hands. I move my hand along a line; I have certain sensations; on
account of these sensations, I call the line long, or extended. The
idea of lines in the direction of length, breadth, and thickness,
constitutes the general idea of extension. In the idea of extension,
there are included three of the most complex of our ideas; motion;
time, which is included in motion; and space, which is included in
direction. We are not yet prepared to explain the simple ideas which
compose the very complex ideas, of motion, space, and time; it is
enough at present to have shewn, that in the idea of extension,
which appears so very simple, a great number of ideas are
nevertheless included; and that this is a case of that combination
of ideas in the higher degrees of association, in which the simple
ideas are so intimately blended, as to have the appearance, not of a
complex, but of a simple idea.

It is to this great law of association, that we trace {93} the
formation of our ideas of what we call external objects; that is,
the ideas of a certain number of sensations, received together so
frequently that they coalesce as it were, and are spoken of under
the idea of unity. Hence, what we call the idea of a tree, the idea
of a stone, the idea of a horse, the idea of a man.

In using the names, tree, horse, man, the names of what I call
objects, I am referring, and can be referring, only to my own
sensations; in fact, therefore, only naming a certain number of
sensations, regarded as in a particular state of combination; that
is, concomitance. Particular sensations of sight, of touch, of the
muscles, are the sensations, to the ideas of which, colour,
extension, roughness, hardness, smoothness, taste, smell, so
coalescing as to appear one idea, I give the name, idea of a tree.

To this case of high association, this blending together of many
ideas, in so close a combination that they appear not many ideas,
but one idea, we owe, as I shall afterwards more fully explain, the
power of classification, and all the advantages of language. It is
obviously, therefore, of the greatest moment, that this important
phenomenon should be well understood.

9. Some ideas are by frequency and strength of association so
closely combined, that they cannot be separated. If one exists, the
other exists along with it, in spite of whatever effort we make to
disjoin them.

For example; it is not in our power to think of colour, without
thinking of extension; or of solidity, without figure. We have seen
colour constantly in combination with extension, spread, as it were,
upon a {94} surface. We have never seen it except in this
connection. Colour and extension have been invariably conjoined. The
idea of colour, therefore, uniformly comes into the mind, bringing
that of extension along with it; and so close is the association,
that it is not in our power to dissolve it. We cannot, if we will,
think of colour, but in combination with extension. The one idea
calls up the other, and retains it, so long as the other is

This great law of our nature is illustrated in a manner equally
striking, by the connection between the ideas of solidity and
figure. We never have the sensations from which the idea of solidity
is derived, but in conjunction with the sensations whence the idea
of figure is derived. If we handle any thing solid, it is always
either round, square, or of some other form. The ideas correspond
with the sensations. If the idea of solidity rises, that of figure
rises along with it. The idea of figure which rises, is, of course,
more obscure than that of extension; because, figures being
innumerable, the general idea is exceedingly complex, and hence, of
necessity, obscure. But, such as it is, the idea of figure is always
present when that of solidity is present; nor can we, by any effort,
think of the one without thinking of the other at the same time.

Of all the cases of this important law of association, there is none
more extraordinary than what some philosophers have called, the
acquired perceptions of sight.

When I lift my eyes from the paper on which I am writing, I see the
chairs, and tables, and walls of my room, each of its proper shape,
and at its proper {95} distance. I see, from my window, trees, and
meadows, and horses, and oxen, and distant hills. I see each of its
proper size, of its proper form, and at its proper distance; and
these particulars appear as immediate informations of the eye, as
the colours which I see by means of it.

Yet, philosophy has ascertained, that we derive nothing from the eye
whatever, but sensations of colour; that the idea of extension, in
which size, and form, and distance are included, is derived from
sensations, not in the eye, but in the muscular part of our frame.
How, then, is it, that we receive accurate information, by the eye,
of size, and shape, and distance? By association merely.[29]

[Bain's footnote 29: We derive through the eye (1) sensations of
light in its various degrees, and of colours and their shades; (2)
visible form and visible magnitude, together with their changes; and
also visible movements. The second group of feelings depends on the
movements of the eyes; and they are feelings of activity, or of
muscular expenditure. We have, besides, a certain internal muscular
sensibility to the alterations of the eye ball in adjusting for

The colours upon a body are different, according to its figure, its
distance, and its size. But the sensations of colour, and what we
may here, for brevity, call the sensations *of extension, of figure,
of distance, have been so often united, felt in conjunction, that
the sensation of the colour is never experienced without raising the
ideas of the extension, the figure, the distance, in such intimate
union with it, that they not only cannot be separated, but are
actually supposed to be seen. The sight, as it is called, of figure,
or {96} distance, appearing, as it does, a simple sensation, is in
reality a complex state of consciousness; a sequence, in which the
antecedent, a sensation of colour, and the consequent, a number of
ideas, are so closely combined by association, that they appear not
one idea, but one sensation.

Some persons, by the folly of those about them, in early life, have
formed associations between the sound of thunder, and danger to
their lives. They are accordingly in a state of agitation during a
thunder storm. The sound of the thunder calls up the idea of danger,
and no effort they can make, no reasoning they can use with
themselves, to show how small the chance that they will be harmed,
empowers them to dissolve the spell, to break the association, and
deliver themselves from the tormenting idea, while the sensation or
the expectation of it remains.

Another very familiar illustration may be adduced. Some persons have
what is called an antipathy to a spider, a toad, or a rat. These
feelings generally originate in some early fright. The idea of
danger has been on some occasion so intensely excited along with the
touch or sight of the animal, and hence the association so strongly
formed, that it cannot be dissolved. The sensation, in spite of
them, excites the idea, and produces the uneasiness which the idea

The following of one idea after another idea, or after a sensation,
so certainly that we cannot prevent the combination, nor avoid
having the _consequent_ feeling as often as we have the
_antecedent_, is a law of association, the operation of which we
shall afterwards find to be extensive, and bearing a principal part
in {97} some of the most important phenomena of the human mind.

As there are some ideas so intimately blended by association, that
it is not in our power to separate them; there seem to be others,
which it is not in our power to combine. Dr. Brown, in exposing some
errors of his predecessors, with respect to the acquired perceptions
of sight, observes: "I cannot blend my notions of the two surfaces,
a plane, and a convex, as one surface, both plane and convex, more
than I can think of a whole which is less than a fraction of itself,
or a square of which the sides are not equal." The case, here,
appears to be, that a strong association excludes whatever is
opposite to it. I cannot associate the two ideas of assafoetida,
and the taste of sugar. Why? Because the idea of assafoetida is so
strongly associated with the idea of another taste, that the idea of
that other taste rises in combination with the idea of
assafoetida, and of course the idea of sugar does not rise. I have
one idea associated with the word pain. Why can I not associate
pleasure with the word pain? Because another indissoluble
association springs up, and excludes it. This is, therefore, only a
case of indissoluble association; but one of much importance, as we
shall find when we come to the exposition of some of the more
complicated of our mental phenomena.[30]

[Editor's footnote 30: Some further elucidation seems needful of
what is here said, in so summary a manner, respecting ideas which it
is not in our power to combine: an inability which it is essential
to the analysis of some of the more complex phenomena of mind that
we should understand the meaning of. The explanation is indicated,
but hardly more than indicated, in the text.

It seems to follow from the universal law of association, that any
idea could be associated with any other idea, if the corresponding
sensations, or even the ideas themselves, were presented in
juxtaposition with sufficient frequency. If, therefore, there are
ideas which cannot be associated with each other, it must be because
there is something that prevents this juxtaposition. Two conditions
hence appear to be required, to render ideas incapable of
combination. First, the sensations must be incapable of being had
together. If we cannot associate the taste of assafoetida with the
taste of sugar, it is implied, that we cannot have the taste of
assafoetida along with the taste of sugar. If we could, a
sufficient experience would enable us to associate the ideas. Here,
therefore, is one necessary condition of the impossibility of
associating certain ideas with one another. But this condition,
though necessary, is not sufficient. We are but too capable of
associating ideas together though the corresponding external facts
are really incompatible. In the case of many errors, prejudices, and
superstitions, two ideas are so closely and obstinately associated,
that the man cannot, at least for the time, help believing that the
association represents a real coexistence or sequence between
outward facts, though such coexistence or sequence may contradict a
positive law of the physical world. There is therefore a further
condition required to render two ideas unassociable, and this is,
that one of them shall be already associated with some idea which
excludes the other. Thus far the analysis is carried in the author's
text. But the question remains, what ideas exclude one another? On
careful consideration I can only find one case of such exclusion:
when one of the ideas either contains, or raises up by association,
the idea of the absence of the other. I am aware of no case of
absolute incompatibility of thought or of imagination, except
between the presence of something and its absence; between an
affirmative and the corresponding negative. If an idea irresistibly
raises up the idea of the absence of a certain sensation, it cannot
become associated with the idea of that sensation; for it is
impossible to combine together in the same mental representation,
the presence of a sensation and its absence.

We are not yet, however, at the end of the difficulty; for it may be
objected, that the idea of the absence of anything is the idea of a
negation, of a nullity; and the idea of nothing must itself be
nothing--no idea at all. This objection has imposed upon more than
one metaphysician; but the solution of the paradox is very simple.
The idea of the presence of a sensation is the idea of the sensation
itself along with certain accompanying circumstances: the idea of
the absence of the sensation is the idea of the same accompanying
circumstances without the sensation. For example: my idea of a body
is the idea of a feeling of resistance, accompanying a certain
muscular action of my own, say of my hand; my idea of no body, in
other words, of empty space, is the idea of the same or a similar
muscular action of my own, not attended by any feeling of
resistance. Neither of these is an idea of a mere negation; both are
positive mental representations: but inasmuch as one of them
includes the negation of something positive which is an actual part
of the other, they are mutually incompatible: and any idea which is
so associated with one of them as to recall it instantly and
irresistibly, is incapable of being associated with the other.

The instance cited by the author from Dr. Brown, is a good
illustration of the law. We can associate the ideas of a plane and
of a convex surface as two surfaces side by side; but we cannot fuse
the two mental images into one, and represent to ourselves the very
same series of points giving us the sensations we receive from a
plane surface and those we receive from a convex surface both at
once. That this cannot but be so, is a corollary from the elementary
law of association. Not only has no instance ever occurred in our
experience of a surface which gave us at the same moment both these
sets of sensations; but whenever in our experience a surface
originally plane, came to give us the sensations we receive from a
convex surface (as for instance when we bend a flat sheet of paper),
it, at the very same moment, ceased to be, or to appear, a plane.
The commencement of the one set of sensations has always been
simultaneous with the cessation of the other set, and this
experience, not being affected by any change of circumstances, has
the constancy and invariability of a law of nature. It forms a
correspondingly strong association; and we become unable to have an
idea of either set of sensations, those of planeness or those of
convexity, without having the idea of the disappearance of the other
set, if they existed previously. I believe it will be found that all
the mental incompatibilities, the impossibilities of thought, of
which so much is made by a certain class of metaphysicians, can be
accounted for in a similar manner.--_Ed._]

{98} 10. It not unfrequently happens in our associated feelings,
that the antecedent is of no importance {99} farther than as it
introduces the consequent. In these cases, the consequent absorbs
all the attention, {100} and the antecedent is instantly forgotten.
Of this a very intelligible illustration is afforded by what happens
in ordinary discourse. A friend arrives from a distant country, and
brings me the first intelligence of the last illness, the last
words, the last acts, and death of my son. The sound of the voice,
the articulation of every word, makes its sensation in my ear; but
it is to the ideas that my attention flies. It is my son that is
before me, suffering, acting, speaking, dying. The words which have
introduced the ideas, and kindled the affections, have been as
little heeded, as the respiration which has been accelerated, while
the ideas were received.

It is important in respect to this case of association {101} to
remark, that there are large classes of our sensations, such as many
of those in the alimentary duct, and many in the nervous and
vascular systems, which serve, as antecedents, to introduce ideas,
as consequents; but as the consequents are far more interesting than
themselves, and immediately absorb the attention, the antecedents
are habitually overlooked; and though they exercise, by the trains
which they introduce, a great influence on our happiness or misery,
they themselves are generally wholly unknown.

That there are connections between our ideas and certain states of
the internal organs, is proved by many familiar instances. Thus,
anxiety, in most people, disorders the digestion. It is no wonder,
then, that the internal feelings which accompany indigestion, should
excite the ideas which prevail in a state of anxiety. Fear, in most
people, accelerates, in a remarkable manner, the vermicular motion
of the intestines. There is an association, therefore, between
certain states of the intestines, and terrible ideas; and this is
sufficiently confirmed by the horrible dreams to which men are
subject from indigestion; and the hypochondria, more or less
afflicting, which almost always accompanies certain morbid states of
the digestive organs. The grateful food which excites pleasurable
sensations in the mouth, continues them in the stomach; and, as
pleasures excite ideas of their causes, and these of similar causes,
and causes excite ideas of their effects, and so on, trains of
pleasurable ideas take their origin from pleasurable sensations in
the stomach. Uneasy sensations in the stomach, produce analogous
effects. Disagreeable sensations are {102} associated with
disagreeable circumstances: a train is introduced, in which, one
painful idea following another, combinations, to the last degree
afflictive, are sometimes introduced, and the sufferer is
altogether overwhelmed by dismal associations.[31] [32]

[Bain's footnote 31: There is more than association in the case here
supposed. Fear, anxiety, and painful emotions generally, cause
disorder in the digestive and other vital functions, as a part of
their nature. Every mental state can be proved to have its
counterpart physical state; joy, sorrow, fear, are each embodied in
a distinct group of physical effects in the nervous system, the
muscular movements, and the organic processes. The physical side of
agreeable emotions, as a rule, is a heightened tone of the purely
animal functions. The physical side of fear is a complicated series
of effects, one of them being the depression of the organic
processes, digestion among the rest. In this respect, however, it
more or less resembles severe pain, sorrow, shame, remorse, and
other states, characterised by the general phrase "depressing
passions;" the depression being both mental and physical.

The reciprocal agency described in the text, whereby the painful
sensations of indigestion induce fear, is not dependent on the
association of ideas, but on the deep connections of the emotional
states with one another, through their physical accompaniments. A
painful feeling of indigestion has much in common with states of
depression due to mental causes, as, for example, the shock of a
misfortune, fear, sorrow, and the like. From this alliance it
favours the ideas of depressing states. It does more; it directly
reduces that vigorous tone of the system, which is the support of
the courageous and sanguine disposition; and hence, surrenders the
mind an easy prey to any chance incentive of alarm or

[Editor's footnote 32: The law of association laid down in this
section ranks among the principal of what may be termed the laws of
Obliviscence. It is one of the widest in its action, and most
important in its consequences of all the laws of the mind; and the
merit of the author, in the large use he makes of it is very great,
as, though it is the key that unlocks many of the more mysterious
phenomena of the mind, it is among the least familiar of the mental
laws, and is not only overlooked by the great majority of
psychologists, but some, otherwise of merit, seem unable to see and
understand the law after any quantity of explanation.

The first, however, of the examples by which the author illustrates
this law, is not marked by his usual felicity. Its shortcomings are
pointed out by Mr. Bain in the preceding note. The internal feelings
(says the author) which accompany indigestion, introduce trains of
ideas (as in the case of horrible dreams, and of hypochondria) which
are acutely painful, and may embitter the whole existence, while the
sensations themselves, being comparatively of little interest, are
unheeded and forgotten. It is true that the sensations in the
alimentary canal, directly produced by indigestion, though (as every
one knows) in some cases intense, are in others so slight as not to
fix the attention, and yet may be followed by melancholy trains of
thought, the connection of which with the state of the digestion may
be entirely unobserved: but by far the most probable supposition
appears to be, that these painful trains are not excited by the
sensations, but that they and the sensations are joint or successive
effects of a common organic cause. It is difficult to comprehend how
these obscure sensations can excite the distressing trains of ideas
by the laws of association; for what opportunity have these
sensations usually had of becoming associated, either synchronously
or successively, with those ideas? The explanation, in the text, of
this difficulty, seems surprisingly insufficient. Anxiety, in most
people, disorders the digestion; and consequently, according to the
author, the sensations of indigestion excite the ideas which prevail
in a state of anxiety. If that were the true explanation, the only
persons with whom indigestion would depress the spirits, would be
those who had suffered previous depression of spirits, sufficient in
duration and intensity to disorder the digestion, and to keep it
disordered long enough to effect a close and inseparable cohesion
between even very slight sensations of indigestion and painful ideas
excited by other causes. Surely this is not the fact. The theory has
a true application in the case of the confirmed hypochondriac. When
the sensations have been repeatedly experienced along with the
melancholy trains of thought, a direct association is likely to grow
up between the two; and when this has been effected, the first touch
of the sensations may bring back in full measure the miserable
mental state which had coexisted with them, thus increasing not only
the frequency of its recurrence, but, by the conjunction of two
exciting causes, the intensity of the misery. But the origin of the
state must be looked for elsewhere, and is probably to be sought in

The other example in the text seems still less relevant. Fear tends
to accelerate the peristaltic motion, therefore there is a
connection between certain states of the intestines and terrible
ideas. To make this available for the author's purpose, the
consequence of the connection ought to be, that acceleration of the
peristaltic motion excites ideas of terror. But does it? The state
of indigestion characteristic of hypochondria is not looseness of
the bowels, but is commonly attended with the exact opposite. The
author's usual acuteness of discernment seems to have been, in these
cases, blunted by an unwillingness to admit the possibility that
ideas as well as sensations may be directly affected by material
conditions. But if, as he admits, ideas have a direct action on our
bodily organs, a _prima facie_ case is made out for the localization
of our ideas, equally with our sensations, in some part of our
bodily system; and there is at least no antecedent presumption
against the supposition that the action may be reciprocal--that as
ideas sometimes derange the organic functions, so derangements of
organic functions may sometimes modify the trains of our ideas by
their own physical action on the brain and nerves, and not through
the associations connected with the sensations they excite.--_Ed._]

{103} In illustration of the fact, that sensations and ideas, which
are essential to some of the most important {104} operations of our
minds, serve only as antecedents to more important consequents, and
are themselves so {105} habitually overlooked, that their existence
is unknown, we may recur to the remarkable case which we have just
explained, of the ideas introduced by the sensations of sight. The
minute gradations of colour, which accompany varieties of extension,
figure, and distance, are insignificant. The figure, the size, the
distance, themselves, on the other hand, are matters of the greatest
importance. The first having introduced the last, their work is
done. The consequents remain the sole objects of attention, the
antecedents are forgotten; in the present instance, not completely;
in other instances, so completely, that they cannot be
recognised.[33] [34]

[Bain's footnote 33: Perhaps the most remarkable case of sensations
overlooked on their own account, and considered only as a means of
suggesting something else, is the visual, or retinal, magnitude of
objects seen by the eye. This is probably the most delicate
sensibility within the compass of the mind; and yet we habitually
disregard it for all things near us, and use it solely for
perceiving real magnitude as estimated by our locomotive and other
members. The visual magnitude of a table, or other article in a
room, is never thought of for itself; although incessantly
fluctuating we never think of the fluctuations; we pass from these
to the one constant perception, named the true or real magnitude. It
is only for remote objects, as the sun and moon, the clouds, the
distant hills, that the retinal magnitude abides with us in its own
proper character. In looking down a vista, we may also be aroused to
the feeling of retinal magnitude. For perspective drawing, it is
necessary that we should arrest the strong tendency to pass from the
visible, to the real, forms and dimensions of things.--_B._]

[Editor's footnote 34: The reader, it may be hoped, is now familiar
with the important psychological fact, so powerfully grasped and so
discerningly employed by Hartley and the author of the
Analysis,--that when, through the frequent repetition of a series of
sensations, the corresponding train of ideas rushes through the mind
with extreme rapidity, some of the links are apt to disappear from
consciousness as completely as if they had never formed part of the
series. It has been a subject of dispute among philosophers which of
three things takes place in this case. Do the lost ideas pass
through the mind without consciousness? Do they pass consciously
through the mind and are they then instantly forgotten? Or do they
never come into the mind at all, being, as it were, overleaped and
pressed out by the rush of the subsequent ideas?

It would seem, at first sight, that the first and third suppositions
involve impossibilities, and that the second, therefore, is the only
one which we are at liberty to adopt. As regards the first, it may
be said--How can we have a feeling without feeling it, in other
words, without being conscious of it? With regard to the third, how,
it may be asked, can any link of the chain have been altogether
absent, through the pressure of the subsequent links? The subsequent
ideas are only there because called up by it, and would not have
arisen at all unless it had arisen first, however short a time it
may have lasted. These arguments seem strong, but are not so strong
as they seem.

In favour of the first supposition, that feelings may be
unconsciously present, various facts and arguments are adduced by
Sir William Hamilton in his Lectures; but I think I have shewn in
another work, that the arguments are inconclusive, and the facts
equally reconcilable with the second of the three hypotheses. That a
feeling should not be felt appears to me a contradiction both in
words and in nature. But, though a feeling cannot exist without
being felt, the organic state which is the antecedent of it may
exist, and the feeling itself not follow. This happens, either if
the organic state is not of sufficient duration, or if an organic
state stronger than itself, and conflicting with it, is affecting us
at the same moment. I hope to be excused for quoting what I have
said elsewhere on this subject (Examination of Sir William
Hamilton's Philosophy, ch. 15).

"In the case, for instance, of a soldier who receives a wound in
battle, but in the excitement of the moment is not aware of the
fact, it is difficult not to believe that if the wound had been
accompanied by the usual sensation, so vivid a feeling would have
forced itself to be attended to and remembered. The supposition
which seems most probable is, that the nerves of the particular part
were affected as they would have been by the same cause in any other
circumstances, but that, the nervous centres being intensely
occupied with other impressions, the affection of the local nerves
did not reach them, and no sensation was excited. In like manner, if
we admit (what physiology is rendering more and more probable) that
our mental feelings, as well as our sensations, have for their
physical antecedents particular states of the nerves; it may well be
believed that the apparently suppressed links in a chain of
association, those which Sir William Hamilton considers as latent,
really are so; that they are not, even momentarily, felt; the chain
of causation being continued only physically, by one organic state
of the nerves succeeding another so rapidly that the state of mental
consciousness appropriate to each is not produced. We have only to
suppose, either that a nervous modification of too short duration
does not produce any sensation or mental feeling at all, or that the
rapid succession of different nervous modifications makes the
feelings produced by them interfere with each other, and become
confounded in one mass. The former of these suppositions is
extremely probable, while of the truth of the latter we have
positive proof. An example of it is the experiment which Sir W.
Hamilton quoted from Mr. Mill, and which had been noticed before
either of them by Hartley. It is known that the seven prismatic
colours, combined in certain proportions, produce the white light of
the solar ray. Now, if the seven colours are painted on spaces
bearing the same proportion to one another as in the solar spectrum,
and the coloured surface so produced is passed rapidly before the
eyes, as by the turning of a wheel, the whole is seen as white. The
physiological explanation of this phenomenon may be deduced from
another common experiment. If a lighted torch, or a bar heated to
luminousness, is waved rapidly before the eye, the appearance
produced is that of a ribbon of light; which is universally
understood to prove that the visual sensation persists for a certain
short time after its cause has ceased. Now, if this happens with a
single colour, it will happen with a series of colours: and if the
wheel on which the prismatic colours have been painted, is turned
with the same rapidity with which the torch was waved, each of the
seven sensations of colour will last long enough to be
contemporaneous with all the others, and they will naturally produce
by their combination the same colour as if they had, from the
beginning, been excited simultaneously. If anything similar to this
obtains in our consciousness generally (and that it obtains in many
cases of consciousness there can be no doubt) it will follow that
whenever the organic modifications of our nervous fibres succeed one
another at an interval shorter than the duration of the sensations
or other feelings corresponding to them, those sensations or
feelings will, so to speak, overlap one another, and becoming
simultaneous instead of successive, will blend into a state of
feeling, probably as unlike the elements out of which it is
engendered, as the colour white is unlike the prismatic colours. And
this may be the source of many of those states of internal or mental
feeling which we cannot distinctly refer to a prototype in
experience, our experience only supplying the elements from which,
by this kind of mental chemistry, they are composed. The elementary
feelings may then be said to be latently present, or to be present
but not in consciousness. The truth, however, is that the feelings
themselves are not present, consciously or latently, but that the
nervous modifications which are their usual antecedents have been
present, while the consequents have been frustrated, and another
consequent has been produced instead."

In this modified form, therefore, the first of the three hypotheses
may possibly be true. Let us now consider the third, that of the
entire elision of some of the ideas which form the associated train.
This supposition seemed to be inadmissible, because the loss of any
link would, it was supposed, cause the chain itself to break off at
that point. To make the hypothesis possible, it is only, however,
necessary to suppose, that, while the association is acquiring the
promptitude and rapidity which it ultimately attains, each of the
successive ideas abides for a brief interval in our consciousness
after it has already called up the idea which is to succeed it. Each
idea in the series, though introduced, not by synchronous, but by
successive association, is thus, during a part of its continuance,
synchronous with the idea which introduced it: and as the rapidity
of the suggestions increases by still further repetition, an idea
may become synchronous with another which was originally not even
contiguous to it, but separated from it by an intervening link; or
may come into immediate instead of mediate sequence with such an
idea. When either of these states of things has continued for some
time, a direct association of the synchronous or of the successive
kind will be generated between two ideas which are not proximate
links in the chain; A will acquire a direct power of exciting C,
independently of the intervening idea B. If, then, B is much less
interesting than C, and especially if B is of no importance at all
in itself, but only by exciting C, and has therefore nothing to make
the mind dwell on it after C has been reached, the association of A
with C is likely to become stronger than that of A with B: C will be
habitually excited directly by A; as the mind runs off to the
further ideas suggested by C, B will cease to be excited at all; and
the train of association, like a stream which breaking though its
bank cuts off a bend in its course, will thenceforth flow in the
direct line AC, omitting B. This supposition accounts more plausibly
than either of the others for the truly wonderful rapidity of
thought, since it does not make so large a demand as the other
theories on our ability to believe that a prodigious number of
different ideas can successively rush through the mind in an instant
too short for measurement.

The result is, that all the three theories of this mental process
seem to be quite possible; and it is not unlikely that each of them
may be the real process in some cases, either in different persons,
or in the same persons under different circumstances. I can only
remit the question to future psychologists, who may be able to
contrive crucial experiments for deciding among these various

{106} 11. Mr. Hume, and after him other philosophers, have said that
our ideas are associated according to {107} three principles;
Contiguity in time and place, Causation, and Resemblance. The
Contiguity in time and {108} place, must mean, that of the
sensations; and so far it is affirmed, that the order of the ideas
follows that {109} of the sensations. Contiguity of two sensations
in time, means the successive order. Contiguity of two {110}
sensations in place, means the synchronous order. We have explained
the mode in which ideas are associated, in the synchronous, as well
as the successive order, and have traced the principle of contiguity
to its proper source.

Causation, the second of Mr. Hume's principles, is the same with
contiguity in time, or the order of succession. Causation is only a
name for the order established between an antecedent and a
consequent; that is, the established or constant antecedence of the
one, {111} and consequence of the other. Resemblance only remains,
as an alleged principle of association, and it is necessary to
inquire whether it is included in the laws which have been above
expounded. I believe it will be found that we are accustomed to see
like things together. When we see a tree, we generally see more
trees than one; when we see an ox, we generally see more oxen than
one; a sheep, more sheep than one; a man, more men than one. From
this observation, I think, we may refer resemblance to the law of
frequency, of which it seems to form only a particular case.[35]

[Editor's footnote 35: The reason assigned by the author for
considering association by resemblance as a case of association by
contiguity, is perhaps the least successful attempt at a
generalisation and simplification of the laws of mental phenomena,
to be found in the work. It ought to be remembered that the author,
as the text shows, attached little importance to it. And perhaps,
not thinking it important, he passed it over with a less amount of
patient thought than he usually bestowed on his analyses.

Objects, he thinks, remind us of other objects resembling them,
because we are accustomed to see like things together. But we are
also accustomed to see like things separate. When two combinations
incompatible with one another are both realised in familiar
experience, it requires a very great preponderance of experience on
one side to determine the association specially to either. We are
also much accustomed to see unlike things together; I do not mean
things contrasted, but simply unlike. Unlikeness, therefore, not
amounting to contrast, ought to be as much a cause of association as
likeness. Besides, the fact that when we see (for instance) a sheep,
we usually see more sheep than one, may cause us, when we think of a
sheep, to think of an entire flock; but it does not explain why,
when we see a sheep with a black mark on its forehead, we are
reminded of a sheep with a similar mark, formerly seen, though we
never saw two such sheep together. It does not explain why a
portrait makes us think of the original, or why a stranger whom we
see for the first time reminds us of a person of similar appearance
whom we saw many years ago. The law by which an object reminds us of
similar objects which we have been used to see along with it, must
be a different law from that by which it reminds us of similar
objects which we have not been used to see along with it. But it is
the same law by which it reminds us of dissimilar objects which we
have been used to see along with it. The sight of a sheep, if it
reminds us of a flock of sheep, probably by the same law of
contiguity, reminds us of a meadow; but it must be by some other law
that it reminds us of a single sheep previously seen, and of the
occasion on which we saw that single sheep.

The attempt to resolve association by resemblance into association
by contiguity must perforce be unsuccessful, inasmuch as there never
could have been association by contiguity without a previous
association by resemblance. Why does a sensation received this
instant remind me of sensations which I formerly had (as we commonly
say), along with it? I never had them along with this very
sensation. I never had this sensation until now, and can never have
it again. I had the former sensations in conjunction not with it,
but with a sensation exactly like it. And my present sensation could
not remind me of those former sensations unlike itself, unless by
first reminding me of the sensation like itself, which really did
coexist with them. There is thus a law of association anterior to,
and presupposed by, the law of contiguity: namely, that a sensation
tends to recall what is called the idea of itself, that is, the
remembrance of a sensation like itself, if such has previously been
experienced. This is implied in what we call _recognising_ a
sensation, as one which has been felt before; more correctly, as
undistinguishably resembling one which has been felt before. The law
in question was scientifically enunciated, and included, I believe
for the first time, in the list of Laws of Association, by Sir
William Hamilton, in one of the Dissertations appended to his
edition of Reid: but the fact itself is recognised by the author of
the Analysis, in various passages of his work; more especially in
the second section of the fourteenth chapter. There is, therefore, a
suggestion by resemblance--a calling up of the idea of a past
sensation by a present sensation like it--which not only does not
depend on association by contiguity, but is itself the foundation
which association by contiguity requires for its support.

When it is admitted that simple sensations remind us of one another
by direct resemblance, many of the complex cases of suggestion by
resemblance may be analysed into this elementary case of association
by resemblance, combined with an association by contiguity. A
flower, for instance, may remind us of a former flower resembling
it, because the present flower exhibits to us certain qualities,
that is, excites in us certain sensations, resembling and recalling
to our remembrance those we had from the former flower, and these
recall the entire image of the flower by the law of association by
contiguity. But this explanation, though it serves for many cases of
complex phenomena suggesting one another by resemblance, does not
suffice for all. For, the resemblance of complex facts often
consists, not solely, or principally, in likeness between the simple
sensations, but far more in likeness of the manner of their
combination, and it is often by this, rather than by the single
features, that they recall one another. After we had seen, and well
observed, a single triangle, when we afterwards saw a second there
can be little doubt that it would at once remind us of the first by
mere resemblance. But the suggestion would not depend on the sides
or on the angles, any or all of them; for we might have seen such
sides and such angles uncombined, or combined into some other
figure. The resemblance by which one triangle recalls the idea of
another is not resemblance in the parts, but principally and
emphatically in the manner in which the parts are put together. I am
unable to see any mode in which this case of suggestion can be
accounted for by contiguity; any mode, at least, which would fit all
cases of the kind.--_Ed._]

{112} Mr. Hume makes contrast a principle of association, but not a
separate one, as he thinks it is compounded {113} of Resemblance and
Causation. It is not necessary for us to show that this is an
unsatisfactory account {114} of contrast. It is only necessary to
observe, that, as a case of association, it is not distinct from
those which we have above explained.

A dwarf suggests the idea of a giant. How? We call a dwarf a dwarf,
because he departs from a certain standard. We call a giant a giant,
because he departs from the same standard. This is a case,
therefore, of resemblance, that is, of frequency.

Pain is said to make us think of pleasure; and this is considered a
case of association by contrast. There is no doubt that pain makes
us think of relief from it; because they have been conjoined, and
the great vividness of the sensations makes the association strong.
Relief from pain is a species of pleasure; and one pleasure leads to
think of another, from the resemblance. This is a compound case,
therefore, of vividness and frequency. All other cases of contrast,
I believe, may be expounded in a similar manner.

I have not thought it necessary to be tedious in expounding the
observations which I have thus stated; for whether the reader
supposes that resemblance is, or is not, an original principle of
association, will not affect our future investigations.

12. Not only do simple ideas, by strong association, run together,
and form complex ideas: but a {115} complex idea, when the simple
ideas which compose it have become so consolidated that it always
appears as one, is capable of entering into combinations with other
ideas, both simple and complex. Thus two complex ideas may be united
together, by a strong association, and coalesce into one, in the
same manner as two or more simple ideas coalesce into one. This
union of two complex ideas into one, Dr. Hartley has called a duplex
idea.[37] Two also of these duplex, or doubly compounded ideas, may
unite into one; and these again into other compounds, without end.
It is hardly necessary to mention, that as two complex ideas unite
to form a duplex one, not only two, but more than two may so unite;
and what he calls a duplex idea may be compounded of two, three,
four, or any number of complex ideas.

[Editor's footnote 37: I have been unable to trace in Hartley the
expression here ascribed to him. In every passage that I can
discover, the name he gives to a combination of two or more complex
ideas is that of a _decomplex_ idea.--_Ed._]

Some of the most familiar objects with which we are acquainted
furnish instances of these unions of complex and duplex ideas.

Brick is one complex idea, mortar is another complex idea; these
ideas, with ideas of position and quantity, compose my idea of a
wall. My idea of a plank is a complex idea, my idea of a rafter is a
complex idea, my idea of a nail is a complex idea. These, united
with the same ideas of position and quantity, compose my duplex idea
of a floor. In the same manner my complex idea of glass, and wood,
and others, compose my duplex idea of a window; and {116} these
duplex ideas, united together, compose my idea of a house, which is
made up of various duplex ideas. How many complex, or duplex ideas,
are all united in the idea of furniture? How many more in the idea
of merchandize? How many more in the idea called Every Thing?[38]

[Bain's footnote 38: This chapter raises questions of the most
fundamental kind relating to our intellectual constitution. The
Association of Ideas, comprehensively viewed, involves everything
connected with the mental persistence and reproduction of ideas;
being offered as adequate to explain the operations named Memory,
Reason, and Imagination.

_Conditions of the Growth of Association, or of the Retentiveness of
the Mind_.--A practical, as well as a theoretical, interest attaches
to the precise statement of the conditions or circumstances that
regulate the growth of our associations, in other words our mental
culture generally. All agree in the efficacy of the two conditions
mentioned in the text; the vividness of the feelings associated, and
the frequency of the association, that is repetition or practice. It
is well remarked, however, that the phrase "vividness of the
sensations or ideas" does not convey a very precise meaning. The
proper attribute of a sensation, or an idea, considered as an
_intellectual_ element, is greater or less distinctness; when an
object seen or remembered is seen or remembered distinctly and
fully, and without any unusual labour or effort, there is nothing
more to be desired, so far as concerns our intelligence. If,
however, the object is accompanied with _feeling_--with pleasure or
pain--a new element is introduced, to which other epithets are
applicable. A feeling is more or less strong or intense; and the
addition of an intense feeling to an intellectual conception is a
sum, combining both sets of attributes--distinctness and adequacy in
the conception, and intensity in the feeling. An object whose
perception or conception is thus accompanied with the animation of
strong feeling, is called lively, or vivid; {117} in the absence of
feeling, these epithets are unsuitable. Hence, the associating
stimulus expressed by "vividness" is better expressed by the
"strength of the feelings." Any strong feeling impresses on the mind
whatever is the object of it, or is in any way mixed up with it. We
remember by preference the things that have given us either pleasure
or pain; and the effect may be produced by mere excitement although
neither pleasurable nor painful; the influence of a surprise being a
case in point. Our _interest_ in a thing is but another name for the
pleasure that it gives us; and to inspire interest is to aid the
memory. Hamilton's Law of Preference refers to this source; and
appears to exclude, or not to recognise, the efficacy of feelings
not pleasurable, namely, such as are either painful or neutral. The
comprehensive law should include all the feelings, although there
are specific characters attaching to the influence of each of the
three modes. Pleasure is the most effectual in stamping the memory,
as it is the most powerful in detaining the attention and the
thoughts. Pain has a conflicting operation; as affecting the will,
it repels the object; but as mere excitement it retains it; we
cannot forget what is disagreeable, merely because we wish to forget
it. The stimulant of pain, as applied in education, is an indirect
pleasure. It is not intended to make the subject of the lesson
disagreeable, but to render painful all diversions from that towards
other subjects; so that comparatively the most pleasing course to a
pupil may be to abide by the task prescribed.

The influence of the Feelings upon Retentiveness is not throughout
in proportion to their degree, whether they are pleasurable,
painful, or neutral. We have to introduce a modifying circumstance
into the case, namely, that great strength of feeling absorbs the
forces of the system, and diminishes the power available for
cementing an intellectual association. A strong feeling once
aroused, while inflaming the attention upon whatever is bound up
with it, necessarily engages us with itself. The plastic process of
fixing a train or aggregate of ideas has but a share of the energies
awakened under feeling.

It is possible also to stimulate attention, and thereby to {118}
quicken memory, without the excitement of the feelings, as in pure
voluntary attention. For although the will, in the last resort, is
stimulated by an end (which must involve the feelings), yet we may
be strongly moved without being under the excitement of the feelings
that enter into the final end. Our volitions may be energetic,
without the presence of strong emotions, notwithstanding that, apart
from our possessing such emotions, we should not be strongly moved
to action. Thus, a difference is made between the influence of the
feelings and the influence of the will; both being powers to impress
the memory.

The two considerations now advanced, namely, the want of strict
concomitance between strength of feeling and the stimulus to memory,
and the operation of the will in the abeyance of present feeling,
make it desirable to find some other mode of stating the element or
condition that qualifies the influence of Frequency or Repetition,
in the growth of memory and association. Perhaps the best mode of
singling out the operative circumstance is to describe it as
"Concentration of Mind;" the devotion of the mental forces to the
thing to be done or remembered--the withdrawal of power from other
exercises, to expend it on the exercise in hand. Every circumstance
that at once rouses the mental and nervous energies, and keeps them
fixed upon any subject of study or the practice of any art, is a
circumstance in aid of acquisition. No fact more comprehensive, more
exactly in point, can be assigned than the one now stated. What
remains is to apply it in the detail, or to point out the occasions
and conditions that favour, and those that obstruct, the
concentration of the mental energy. It is under this view that we
can best appreciate the efficacy of pleasure (interest in the
subject), of pain, of mere excitement, and of voluntary attention.
We can also see, as an obvious corollary, the advantage of having
the mind unoccupied, or disengaged for the work, and the
disadvantage of being diverted, or distracted by other objects.
Fear, care, anxiety, are hostile to culture by lowering the tone or
energy of the mind; while what power is left concentrates itself
upon the subject matter of the anxious feeling. On the other hand,
general vigour of the {119} system, good health, easy circumstances,
are all in favour of mental improvement, provided the force thus
made available can be reserved and devoted to that end.

Thus the two leading conditions of the plastic process are Frequency
of Repetition, and Mental Concentration. For practical purposes,
these are all that we need to consider, at least as regards the same
individual. We have no art or device for training either body or
mind but what is comprised under one or other of these heads. There
are methods of superseding the labour of new acquirement, by
adapting existing acquirements to new cases; but no means can be
assigned for the original construction of adhesive links, apart from
these two circumstances.

Still, in a large and exhaustive view of the Retentive power of the
mind, we should not omit to allow for the differences between one
mind and another in respect of Natural Aptitude for acquiring. When
two persons engaged in the same lesson, for equal periods of time,
and with about equal concentration of mind, make very unequal
progress, we must admit a difference in natural or constitutional
plasticity on that particular subject. Sometimes we find
extraordinary progress made in acquisition generally; the same
person excelling in languages, in sciences, in practical arts, and
in fine arts. More commonly, however, we find an aptitude for some
subject in particular, combined with deficiency in other things. One
person has great mechanical acquirements, another lingual, and so

The first case is sufficiently common to justify the assumption of
degrees of acquisitive or plastic aptitude on the whole, or a
variety in the cerebral endowment corresponding to the adhesion of
trains of actions and ideas that have been more or less frequently
brought together. If the differences among human beings are not so
broad as to make this apparent, we may refer to the differences
between the lower animals and man. The animals have the power of
acquiring, but so limited is that power in comparison with human
beings, that people have often doubted its existence.

{120} The second case, the inequality of the same person's progress
in different subjects, may be looked at in another way. We may view
it as incident to the better or worse quality, for all purposes, of
the special organs concerned. Thus to take musical acquisition. This
is commonly attributed to a good ear, meaning a delicate sense of
musical notes, as shown in their nice discrimination. Discriminating
is a different function from remembering; yet, we can only doubt
that the fact of being able to discriminate acutely is accompanied
by the power of remembering or retaining the impressions of the
sense. The superiority of endowment that shows itself in the one
function, embraces also the other. Hence we are entitled to say that
the special retentiveness for any one subject, or department of
training, varies with the local endowment involved: which is not to
maintain an identical proposition, for the local endowment may be
held as tested by delicacy of discrimination, a distinct fact from
memory. Thus, a delicate sense of shades of colour would entail a
good visual memory for spectacle; a delicate ear for articulation
would indicate a memory for shades and varieties of pronunciation,
thereby counting as a part of the verbal memory. So, delicate
discrimination in the tactile muscles would be followed by rapid
acquirements in manipulative or manual art.

_The Ultimate Analysis of the Laws of Association_.--It is easy to
reduce all the laws ever assigned, as governing the reproduction of
our ideas, to three, Contiguity, Similarity, and Contrast. It is
open to question whether these can be resolved any farther. The
author has endeavoured to reduce Similarity to Contiguity, but his
reasons show that he had not deeply considered the workings of
similarity. Hamilton's criticisms on the attempt (Reid, p. 914) are
just and irrefragable. By far the most important examples of the
working of similarity are such as, by their very nature, preclude a
former contiguity: as, for example, Franklin's identification of
Electricity and lightning.

There is, nevertheless, a considerable degree of subtlety in the
relationship of the two principles. There may be good reasons {121}
for treating them as distinct, but in their working they are
inextricably combined. There can be no contiguity without
similarity, and no similarity without contiguity. When, looking at a
river, we pronounce its name, we are properly said to exemplify
contiguity; the river and the name by frequent association are so
united that each recalls the other. But mark the steps of the
recall. What is strictly present to our view is the impression made
by the river while we gaze on it. It is necessary that this
impression should, by virtue of similarity or identity, re-instate
the previous impression of the river, to which the previous
impression of the name was contiguous. If one could suppose failure
in the re-instatement of the former idea of the river, under the new
presentation, there would be no opportunity given to the contiguous
bond to come into operation. In that accumulation of the impressions
of contiguous ideas, ending at last in a firm association, there
must be a process of similarity to the extent of reviving the sum of
the past at the instance of the present. This is a case of
similarity that we give little heed to, because it is sure and
unfailing; we concern ourselves more with what is liable to
uncertainty, the acquired strength of the contiguous adhesion. Yet
it strictly comes under the case of reproduction through similarity.

Consider again, what may be called a case of Similarity proper, as
when a portrait recalls the original. The sensuous effects possessed
in common by the portrait and by its subject bring about a
restoration of the idea of the subject, in spite of certain
differences or discrepancies. The interest of this case is owing to
the fact that a partial likeness, a likeness in unlikeness, will
often reproduce a past idea; thus enabling us to assemble in the
mind a number of things differing in some respects because they
agree in other respects. This is not identifying a thing with
itself, viewed at a former time, but assimilating one thing with
other things placed far asunder in nature, and having many features
of difference.

Let us try and express the consecutive steps of this case of
reproduction. The thing now present to the mind has certain {122}
peculiarities in common with one or more things formerly present; as
when, in a portrait, the outline and colouring resembles a subject
original. These sensible effects make alive the previous recurrence
of them, or put us in the cerebral and mental attitude formerly
experienced by the corresponding effects of the resembling object.
We are aware, by the liveliness of our impression, that we have gone
in upon an old track; we have the peculiar consciousness called the
consciousness of Identity or Agreement. This is one step, but not
the whole. In order that the complete restoration may be effected,
the features of community must be in such firm contiguous alliance
with the features of difference--the _special_ part of the previous
subject that the one shall reinstate the idea of the other. The
points common to a present portrait and a past original must be so
strongly coherent with the remaining features of the original, that
the one cannot be awakened without the other following. Here, then,
in the very heart of Similarity, is an indispensable bond of
Contiguity; showing that it is not possible for either process to be
accomplished in separation from the other. The mutual coherence of
parts, now described as essential to reproduction, may be too weak
for the purpose, and the recovering stroke of similarity will in
that case fail.

It might, therefore, be supposed that Similarity is, after all, but
a mode of Contiguity, namely, the contiguity or association of the
different features or parts of a complex whole. The inference is too
hasty. Because contiguity is a part of the fact of the restoration
of similars, it is not the entire fact. There is a distinct and
characteristic step preceding the play of this mutual coherence of
the parts of the thing to be recovered. The striking into the former
track of the agreeing part of the new and the old, is a mental
movement by itself, which the other follows, but does not do away
with. The effect above described, as the consciousness of agreement
or identity, the flash of a felt similarity, is real and distinct.
We are conscious of it by itself; there are occasions when we have
it without the other, that is to say, without the full
re-instatement of the former {123} object in its entireness. We
often aware of an identity without being able to say what is the
thing identified; as when a portrait gives us the impression that we
have seen the original, without enabling us to say who the original
is. We have been affected by the stroke of identity or similarity;
but the restoration fails from the feebleness of the contiguous
adherence of the parts of the object identified. There is thus a
genuine effect of the nature of pure similarity, or resemblance, and
a mode of consciousness accompanying that effect; but there is not
the full energy of reproduction without a concurring bond of pure
contiguity. A portrait may fail to give us the consciousness of
having ever seen the original. On the supposition that we have seen
the original, this would be a failure of pure similarity.

Thus in every act of reproducing a past mental experience, there is
a complication, involving both contiguity proper and similarity
proper. When the similarity amounts to identity, as when a new
impression of a thing puts us in the track of the old impressions of
the same thing, the effect is so sure, so obvious, so easily arrived
at, that we do not need to think of it, to make a question of it. It
does not prevent us from regarding the operation of recalling a name
when we see the thing, or recalling a thing when we hear the name,
as pure contiguity. The strength of the coherence may be deficient,
and the restoration may fail on this account; it can never fail on
account of insufficient similarity. No inconvenience will arise from
speaking of this case as if it were Contiguity and nothing else.

The situation of Similarity in Diversity is quite distinct. The
diversity obstructs the operation of similarity; we cannot be sure
that the new shall put us on the track of the old. It is always a
question whether such similarities shall be felt at all; whether we
shall experience the flash, the peculiar consciousness, of agreement
in difference. It is a farther question, whether the internal
coherence of the thing identified is enough to restore it in
completeness. This last step may be allowed to be a case of proper
contiguity; while the flash of identity struck between a present and
a past, never coupled in the {124} mind before, is an effect _sui
generis_, and not resolvable into any mode or incident of

The circumstances of this identifying stroke are so numerous and
far-reaching as to demand a special exemplification. Some of the
broadest distinctions of intellectual character can be grounded on
the distinctive aptitudes of the mind for Contiguity and for

Learning, Acquisition, Memory, Habit, all designate the plastic
adherence of contiguous impressions. The processes of
Classification, Reasoning, Imagination, and the Inventive faculty
generally, depend upon the identifying stroke of likeness in
unlikeness. Some forms of intellectual strength, as a whole, are
best represented by a highly energetic Adhesiveness; distinction as
a learner, a follower of routine, turns upon this power. Other, and
higher, forms of intelligence depend upon far-reaching strokes of
similarity; the identification of likeness shrouded in diversity,
expresses much of the genius of the poet, the philosopher, the man
of practice.

There remains the consideration of Contrast, as a link of
association. It is easy to show that both Contiguity and Similarity
may enter into the association of contrasts. All contrasts that we
are interested in are habitually coupled in language, as light and
dark, heat and cold, up and down, life and death. Again contrasts
suppose a common genus, that is a generic similarity; at least until
we ascend to the highest contrast of all, the subject mind, and the
object or extended world. Cold and Hot are grades of the common
attribute called Temperature. As these links of contiguity and
similarity are present, and of considerable strength, they
practically lead to the mutual suggestion of contrasting things.

Still, we cannot overlook the deeper circumstance that in contrast
there is _relation_, and therefore mutual implication, so that the
two members must always be virtually present, although they are not
equally attended to. Heat has no meaning, no existence, but as a
change from cold; the north implicates the south. We have two modes
of regarding these relationships, which are distinguished by
language, as if we {125} could abstract the one side from the other;
that is, we think of heat apart from cold, and of the north apart
from the south. But if one side is present, both must be present,
and nothing is wanted but a motive, to make us reverse the
conception, and bring into prominence the side that was in abeyance,
cold instead of heat, south instead of north.

This view of Contrast is variously expressed by Hamilton. (Reid,
Note D * * *).

Contrast, therefore, as an associating link, would draw from three
sources, Relativity, Contiguity, and Similarity. It would also be
heightened, in many instances, by the presence of strong feelings or
emotions, as in the contemplation of startling changes, and the
vicissitudes of things. Being one of the effects habitually
introduced in Art and in Oratory, we are more than ordinarily
impressed by the things so made use of--infancy beside old age,
squalor following on splendour, abasement succeeding to elevation.

The associating principle of Contrast cannot be put forward as a
basis of distinction in intellectual character. There is no such a
thing as a special aptitude for Contrasts. There may be, in certain
minds given to emotion, a fondness for the impressive or emotional
contrasts; but there is no intellectual gift, subsisting apart from
other powers and rising and falling independently, for the mutual
recall of contrasting qualities. Whenever we feel a difference we
make a contrast; the two differing things, are contrasting things,
and are both known in one indivisible act of thought. To be unable
to bring up the contrast of a subject present to the view, is not to
know the subject; we cannot possess intelligently the conception of
"up," and be oblivious to, or incapable of remembering, "down."
Forgetfulness in this department is not the snapping of a link, as
in Contiguity, or the dulness that cannot reach a similitude; it is
the entire blank of conception or knowledge. The north pole of a
magnet cannot be in the view, and the south pole in oblivion.--_B._]

[Editor's footnote 39: The author and Mr. Bain agree in rejecting
Contrast as an independent principle of association. I think they
might {126} have gone further, and denied it even as a derivative
one. All the cases considered as examples of it seem to me to depend
on something else. I greatly doubt if the sight or thought of a
dwarf has intrinsically any tendency to recall the idea of a giant.
Things certainly do remind us of their own absence, because (as
pointed out by Mr. Bain) we are only conscious of their presence by
comparison with their absence; and for a further reason, arising out
of the former, viz. that, in our practical judgments, we are led to
think of the case of their presence and the case of their absence by
one and the same act of thought, having commonly to choose between
the two. But it does not seem to me that things have any special
tendency to remind us of their positive opposites. Black does not
remind us of white more than of red or green. If light reminds us of
darkness, it is because darkness is the mere negation, or absence,
of light. The case of heat and cold is more complex. The sensation
of heat recalls to us the absence of that sensation: if the
sensation amounts to pain, it calls up the idea of relief from it;
that is, of its absence, associated by contiguity with the pleasant
feeling which accompanies the change. But cold is not the mere
absence of heat; it is itself a positive sensation. If heat suggests
to us the idea of the sensation of cold, it is not because of the
contrast, but because the close connection which exists between the
outward conditions of both, and the consequent identity of the means
we employ for regulating them, cause the thought of cold and that of
heat to be frequently presented to us in contiguity.--_Ed._]



"I endeavour, as much as I can, to deliver myself from those
fallacies which we are apt to put upon ourselves, by taking words
for things. It helps not our ignorance to feign a knowledge where we
have none, by making a noise with sounds without clear and distinct
significations. Names made at pleasure, neither alter the nature of
things, nor make us understand them, but as they are signs of, and
stand for, determined ideas."--_Locke, Hum. Und._ b. ii. ch. 13, §

WE have now surveyed the more simple and obvious phenomena of the
human mind. We have seen, first, that we have SENSATIONS; secondly,
that we have IDEAS, the copies of those sensations; thirdly, that
those ideas are sometimes SIMPLE, the copies of one sensation;
sometimes COMPLEX, the copies of several sensations so combined as
to appear not several ideas, but one idea; and, fourthly, that we
have TRAINS of those ideas, or one succeeding another without end.

These are simple facts of our nature, attested by experience; and my
chief object in fixing upon them the attention of the reader has
been, to convey to him that accurate and steady conception of them,
which is requisite for the successful prosecution of the subsequent

{128} After delineating the simple and elementary states of
consciousness, it follows, in order, that we should endeavour to
show what is contained in those that are complex. But in all the
more complicated cases of human consciousness something of the
process of Naming is involved. These cases, of course, cannot be
unfolded, till the artifice of Naming is made known. This,
therefore, is necessarily an intermediate inquiry; and one to which
it is necessary that we should devote a particular degree of

There are two purposes, both of great importance, for which marks of
our ideas, and sensations; or signs by which they may be denoted;
are necessary. One of these purposes is, That we maybe able to make
known to others what passes within us. The other is, That we may
secure to ourselves the knowledge of what at any preceding time has
passed in our minds.

The sensations and ideas of one man are hidden from all other men;
unless they have recourse to some expedient for disclosing them. We
cannot convey to another man our sensations and ideas directly. Our
means of intercourse with other men are through their senses
exclusively. We must therefore choose some SENSIBLE OBJECTS, as
SIGNS of our inward feelings. If two men agree, that each shall use
a certain sensible sign, when one of them means to make known to the
other that he has a certain sensation, or idea, they, in this, and
in no other way, can communicate a knowledge of those feelings to
one another.

Almost all the advantages, which man possesses above the inferior
animals, arise from his power of acting in combination with his
fellows; and of accomplishing, by the united efforts of numbers,
what could {129} not be accomplished by the detached efforts of
individuals. Without the power of communicating to one another their
sensations and ideas, this co-operation would be impossible. The
importance, therefore, of the invention of signs, or marks, by which
alone that communication can be effected, is obvious.

Among sensible objects, those alone which are addressed to the
senses of seeing and hearing have sufficient precision and variety
to be adapted to this end. The language of Action, as it has been
called, that is, certain gesticulations and motions, has very
generally, especially among rude people, whose spoken language is
scanty, been found in use to indicate certain states, generally
complicated states, of mind. But, for precision, variety, and
rapidity, the flexibility of the voice presented such obvious
advantages, not to mention that visible signs must be altogether
useless in the dark, that sounds, among all the varieties of our
species, have been assumed as the principal medium by which their
sensations and ideas were made known to one another.

There can be little doubt that, of the two uses of marks,
Communicating our thoughts, and Recording them, the advantage of the
first would be the earliest felt; and that signs for Communicating
would be long invented, before any person would see the advantage of
Recording his thoughts. After the use of signs for Communication had
become familiar, it would not fail, in time, to appear that signs
might be employed for Recordation also; and that, from this use of
them, the highest advantages might be derived.

In respect to those advantages, the following particulars are to be

{130} 1. We cannot recall any idea, or train of ideas, at will.
Thoughts come into the mind unbidden. If they did not come unbidden,
they must have been in the mind before they came into it; which is a
contradiction. You cannot bid a thought come into the mind, without
knowing that which you bid; but to know a thought is to have the
thought: the knowledge of the thought, and the thought's being in
the mind, are not two things but one and the same thing, under
different names.

If we cannot recall at pleasure a single idea, we are not less
unable to recall a train. Every person knows how evanescent his
thoughts are, and how impossible it is for him to begin at the
beginning of a past train, if it is not a train of the individual
objects familiar to his senses, and go on to the end, neither
leaving out any of the items which composed it, nor allowing any
which did not belong to it, to enter in.

2. It is most obvious that, by ideas alone, the events which are
passed, are to us any thing. If the objects which we have seen,
heard, smelt, tasted, and touched, left no traces of themselves; if
the immediate sensation were every thing, and a blank ensued when
the sensation ended, the past would be to us as if it had never
been. Yesterday would be as unknown as the months we passed in the
womb, or the myriads of years before we were born.

3. It is only by our ideas of the past, that we have any power of
anticipating the future. And if we had no power of anticipating the
future, we should have no principle of action, but the physical
impulses, which we have in common with the brutes. This great law of
our nature, the anticipation of the future from the {131} past, will
be fully illustrated in a subsequent part of this inquiry: at
present, all that is required is, the admission, which will probably
not be refused, of this general truth: That the order, in which
events have been observed to take place, is the order in which they
are expected to take place; that the order in which they have taken
place is testified to us only by our ideas; and that upon the
correctness, with which they are so testified, depends the faculty
we possess of converting the powers of nature into the instruments
of our will; and of bringing to pass the events which we desire.

4. But all this power depends upon the order of our ideas. The
importance, therefore, is unspeakable, of being able to insure the
order of our ideas; to make, in other words, the order of a train of
ideas correspond unerringly with a train of past sensations. We have
not, however, a direct command over the train of our ideas. A train
of ideas may have passed in our minds corresponding to events of
great importance; but that train will not pass again, unvaried,
except in very simple cases, without the use of _expedients_.

5. The difference between the occasions of our IDEAS, and the
occasions of our SENSATIONS, affords a resource for this purpose.
Over the occasions of our sensations; we have an extensive power. We
can command the smell of a rose, the hearing of a bell, the sight of
a tree, the sensation of heat or of cold, and so on. Over the
occasions of our ideas we have little or no direct power. Our ideas
come and go. There is a perpetual train of them, one succeeding
another; but we cannot will any link in that chain of ideas; each
link is determined by the foregoing; and every man knows, how
impossible {132} it is, by mere willing, to make such a train as he
desires. Thoughts obtrude themselves without his bidding; and
thoughts which he is in quest of will not arise.

By the power, however, which we have over the occasions of our
sensations, we can make sure of having a train of sensations exactly
the same as we have had before. This affords us the means of having
a train of ideas exactly the same as we have had before. If we
choose a number of sensible objects, and make use of them as marks
of our ideas, we can ensure any succession which we please of the
sensible objects; and, by the association between them and the
ideas, a corresponding succession of the ideas.

6. To one of the two sets of occasions, upon which Signs are thus
useful, _evanescent_ Signs are the best adapted; _permanent_ signs
are absolutely necessary for the other. For the purposes of speech,
or immediate communication, sounds are the most convenient marks.
Sounds, however, perish in the making. But for the purpose of
retracing a train of ideas, which we have formerly had, it is
necessary we should have marks which do not perish. Marks, addressed
to the sight, or the touch, have the requisite permanence; and, of
the two, those addressed to the eye have the advantage. Of marks
addressed to the eye, two kinds have been adopted; either marks
immediately of the ideas intended to be recalled; such as the
picture-writing, or hieroglyphics, of some nations: or, visible
marks, by letters, of the audible marks employed in oral
communication. This latter kind has been found the most convenient,
and in use among the largest, and most intelligent portion of our

{133} According to this scheme, spoken language is the use of
immediate marks of the ideas; written language, is the use of
secondary marks of the ideas. The written marks are only signs of
the audible marks; the audible marks, are signs of the ideas.[40]

[Editor's footnote 40: This exposition of Naming in its most general
aspect, needs neither explanation nor comment. It is one of those
specimens of clear and vigorous statement, going straight to the
heart of the matter, and dwelling on it just long enough and no
longer than necessary, in which the Analysis abounds.--_Ed._]

{134} SECTION I.


The power of Language essentially consists, in two things; first, in
our having marks of our SENSATIONS, and IDEAS: and, secondly, in so
arranging them, that they may correctly denote a TRAIN of those
mental states or feelings. It is evident, that if we convey to
others the ideas which pass in our own minds, and also convey them
in the order in which they pass, the business of COMMUNICATION is
completed. And, if we establish the means of reviving the ideas
which we have formerly had, and also of reviving them in the order
in which we formerly had them, the business of RECORDATION is
completed. We now proceed to show, by what contrivances, the
expedient of Marking is rendered efficient to those several ends.

The primary importance to men, of being able to make known to one
another their SENSATIONS, made them in all probability begin with
inventing marks for that purpose; in other words, making Names for
their SENSATIONS. Two modes presented themselves. One was to give a
name to each single sensation. Another was to bestow a name on a
cluster of sensations, whenever they were such as occur in a
cluster. Of this latter class, are all names of what are called
External Objects; rose, water, stone, and so on. Each of these names
is the mark of as many sensations (sight, touch, smell, taste,
sound) as we are said to derive from those objects. The name rose,
is the {135} mark of a sensation of colour, a sensation of shape, a
sensation of touch, a sensation of smell, all in conjunction. The
name water, is the mark of a sensation of colour, a sensation of
touch, a sensation of taste, and other sensations, regarded not
separately, but as a compound.[41]

[Findlater's footnote 41: It is not intended to be understood that
all this complex meaning entered into the names as originally given.
The process of naming seems to have been this: Each object was
designated by a term expressive of some one prominent quality, and
of that only. Thus _rose_ is referred with every probability to the
same root as the adjective _red_ (compare Greek [Greek: r(o/don], a
rose, [Greek: e(ruthro\s] red, German _roth_, Latin _rutilus_), and
thus meant "the ruddy" (flower). Other objects would doubtless also
be called "ruddy," and would dispute the epithet with the rose; but
by a process of natural selection, each would settle down in
possession of the term found best suited to distinguish it; which
would thus cease to be an attributive, and become a name substantive
with a complex connotation derived from association. All names of
objects whose origin can be traced are found to be thus simple in
their primary signification. The stars (Sans. _staras_) were so
called because they were "strewers" (of light).--_F._]

There is a convenience in giving a single mark to any number of
sensations, which we thus have in clusters; because there is hence a
great saving of marks. The sensations of sight, of touch, of smell,
and so on, derived from a rose, might have received marks, and have
been enumerated, one by one; but the term rose, performs all this
much more expeditiously, and also more certainly.

The occasions, however, are perpetual, on which we need marks for
sensations, not in clusters, but taken separately. And language is
supplied with {136} names of this description. We have the terms,
red, green, hot, cold, sweet, bitter, hard, soft, noise, stench,
composing in the whole a numerous class. For many sensations,
however, we have not names in one word; but make a name out of two
or more words: thus, for the sensation of hearing, derived from a
trumpet, we have only the name, "sound of a trumpet;" in the same
manner, we have "smell of a rose," "taste of an apple," "sight of a
tree," "feeling of velvet."

Of those names which denote clusters of sensations, it is obvious
(but still very necessary) to remark, that some include a greater,
some a lesser number of sensations. Thus, stone includes only
sensations of touch, and sight. Apple, beside sensations of touch
and sight, includes sensations of smell and taste.

We not only give names to clusters of sensations, but to clusters of
clusters; that is, to a number of minor clusters, united into a
greater cluster. Thus we give the name wood to a particular cluster
of sensations, the name canvas to another, the name rope to another.
To these clusters, and many others, joined together in one great
cluster, we give the name ship. To a number of these great clusters
united into one, we give the name fleet, and so on. How great a
number of clusters are united in the term House? And how many more
in the term City?

Sensations being infinitely numerous, all cannot receive marks or
signs. A selection must be made. Only those which are the most
important are named.

Names, to be useful, cannot exceed a certain number. They could not
otherwise be remembered. It is, therefore, of the greatest
importance that each name should accomplish as much as possible. To
this end, {137} the greater number of names stand, not for
individuals only, but classes. Thus the terms red, sweet, hot, loud,
are names, not of one sensation only, but of classes of sensations;
that is, every sensation of a particular kind. Thus also the term,
rose, is not the name of one single cluster, but of every cluster
coming under a certain description. As rose denotes one class, stone
denotes another, iron another, ox another, and so on.[42]

[Editor's footnote 42: Economy in the use of names is a very small
part of the motive leading to the creation of names of classes. If
we had a name for every individual object which exists in the
universe, and could remember all those names, we should still
require names for what those objects or some of them have in common;
in other words, we should require classification, and class names.
This will be obvious if it is considered that had we no names but
names of individuals, we should not have the means of making any
affirmation respecting any object; we could not predicate of it any
qualities. But of this more largely in a future note.--_Ed._]

As we need marks for SENSATIONS, we need marks also for IDEAS.

The Ideas which we have occasion to name, are first, Simple Ideas,
the copies of simple sensations; secondly, Complex Ideas, the copies
of several sensations, combined. Of those complex ideas, also,
there is one species, those copied directly from sensations, in the
formation of which the mind has exercised but little control; as the
ideas of rose, horse, stone, and of what are called the objects of
sense in general. There is another species of complex ideas which,
though derived also from the senses, are put together in a great
degree at our discretion, as the ideas of a {138} centaur, a
mountain of gold, of comfort, of meanness; all that class of ideas
in short which Mr. Locke has called mixed modes.

We may thus distinguish three classes of ideas, which we have
occasion to name: 1, simple ideas, the copies of single sensations:
2, complex ideas, copied directly from sensations: 3, complex ideas,
derived indeed from the senses, but put together in arbitrary
combinations. The two former classes may be called Sensible, the
last Mental Ideas.

With respect to ideas, of the first two classes, those which are the
direct copies of our sensations, either singly, or in groups; it is
of great importance to observe, and also to remember, that, for the
most part, the words, which are employed as marks of the Sensations,
are made to serve the further purpose of being marks also of the
Ideas. The same word is at once the name of the sensations, and the

If any person were asked, whether the word BEING is the name of a
Sensation, or of an Idea; he would immediately reply, that it is the
name of an Idea. In like manner, if he were asked, whether the word
ANIMAL is the mark of a cluster of Sensations, or of a cluster of
Ideas; he would with equal readiness say, of a cluster of Ideas. But
if we were to ask, whether the name Sheep is the name of a cluster
of Sensations, or of a cluster of Ideas; he would probably say, that
Sheep is the name of Sensations; in the same manner as rose, or
apple. Yet, what is the difference? Only this, that ANIMAL is the
more general name, and includes sheep along with other species; and
that BEING is still more general, and includes animal along with
vegetable, mineral, and other {139} _genera_. If sheep, therefore,
or stone, be a name of sensations, so is animal or being; and if
animal, or being, be a name of ideas, so is sheep or stone a name of
ideas. The fact is, they are all names of both. They are names of
the Sensations, primarily; but are afterwards employed as names also
of the Ideas or copies of those sensations.

It thus appears, that the names generally of what are called the
objects of sense are equivocal; and whereas it would have been a
security against confusion to have been provided with appropriate
names, one, in each instance, for the Sensation, and one for the
Idea, the same name has been made to serve as the mark for both. The
term horse is not only made to stand for the sensations of sight, of
hearing, of touch, and even of smell, which give me occasion for the
use of the term horse; but it stands also for the ideas of those
sensations, as often as I have occasion to speak of that cluster of
ideas which compose my notion of a horse. The term tree denotes
undoubtedly the Idea in my mind, when I mean to convey the idea tree
into the mind of another man; but it also stands for the sensations
whence I have derived my idea of a tree.

Thus, too, if I mean to name my simple ideas; those, for example, of
sight; I have no other names than red, blue, violet, &c.; but all
these are names of the sensations. When forced to distinguish them,
I must use the awkward expressions, my sensation of red, my idea of
red. Again; sound of a trumpet, is the name, as well of the
sensation, as the idea; flight of a bird, the name, as well of the
sensation, as the idea; light the name as well of the sensation as
the idea; pain {140} the name as well of the sensation as the idea;
heat the name as well of the sensation as the idea.[43]

[Editor's footnote 43: In strict propriety of language all these are
names only of sensations, or clusters of sensations; not of ideas. A
person studious of precision would not, I think, say heat, meaning
the idea of heat, or a tree, when he meant the idea of a tree. He
would use heat as the name only of the sensation of heat, and tree
as the name of the outward object, or cluster of sensations; and if
he had occasion to speak of the idea, he would say, my idea (or the
idea) of heat; my idea (or the idea) of a tree.--_Ed._]

As we have remarked, in regard to SENSATIONS, singly, or in
clusters, that they are too numerous to receive names but in
classes, that is names common to every individual of a class, the
same is obviously true of the IDEAS. The greater number of names of
Sensible Ideas are names of classes: man is the name of a class;
lion, horse, eagle, serpent, and so on, are names of classes.

Ideas, of the third class, those which the mind forms arbitrarily,
are innumerable; because the combinations capable of being formed of
the numerous elements which compose them, exceed computation. All
these combinations cannot receive names. The memory can manage but a
moderate number. Of possible combinations, therefore, a small
proportion must be selected for naming. These, of course, are the
combinations which are suggested by the occasions of life, and
conduce to the ends which we pursue.

We arrange those ideas, also, in classes; to the end that every name
may serve the purpose of marking, as extensively as possible. Thus
the term fear is {141} applicable to a state of mind, of which the
instances form a class. In like manner, courage is the name of a
class; temperance, ignorance, piety, and so on, names of classes.
Republic, aristocracy, monarchy, are names, each of them, not of an
individual government, a government at one time and place, but of a
class, a sort of government, at any time and place.

The names of the ideas which are thus mentally clustered, are exempt
from that ambiguity which we saw belonged to the names of both
classes of sensible ideas. The names of sensible ideas generally
stand for the sensations as well as the ideas. The names of the
mental ideas are not transferable to sensations. But they are
subject to another uncertainty, still more fertile in confusion, and

As the combinations are formed arbitrarily, or in other words, as
the ideas of which they are composed, are more or less numerous,
according to pleasure, and each man of necessity forms his own
combination, it very often happens, that one man includes something
more or something less than another man in the combination to which
they both give the same name. Using the same words, they have not
exactly the same ideas. In the term piety, for example, a good
catholic includes many things which are not included in it by a good
protestant. In the term good manners, an Englishman of the present
day does not include the same ideas which were included in it by an
Englishman two centuries ago; still less those which are included in
it by foreigners of habits and usages dissimilar to our own.
Prudence, in the mind of a man of rank and fortune, has a very
different meaning from what it bears in the minds of the {142}
frugal and industrious poor. Under this uncertainty in language, it
not only happens that men are often using the same expressions when
they have different ideas; but different, when they have the same

[Editor's footnote 44: There is some need for additional elucidation
of the class of complex ideas distinguished (under the name of Mixed
Modes) by Locke, and recognised by the author of the Analysis, as
"put together in a great degree at our discretion;" as "those which
the mind forms arbitrarily," so that "the ideas of which they are
composed are more or less numerous according to pleasure, and each
man of necessity forms his own combination." From these and similar
phrases, interpreted literally, it might be supposed that in the
instances given, a centaur, a mountain of gold, comfort, meanness,
fear, courage, temperance, ignorance, republic, aristocracy,
monarchy, piety, good manners, prudence--the elements which
constitute these several complex ideas are put together
premeditatedly, by an act of will, which each individual performs
for himself, and of which he is conscious. This, however, happens
only in cases of invention, or of what is called creative
imagination. A centaur and a mountain of gold are inventions:
combinations intentionally made, at least on the part of the first
inventor; and are not copies or likenesses of any combination of
impressions received by the senses, nor are supposed to have any
such outward phenomena corresponding to them. But the other ideas
mentioned in the text, those of courage, temperance, aristocracy,
monarchy, &c., are supposed to have real originals outside our
thoughts. These ideas, just as much as those of a horse and a tree,
are products of generalization and abstraction: they are believed to
be ideas of certain points or features in which a number of the
clusters of sensations which we call real objects agree: and instead
of being formed by intentionally putting together simple ideas, they
are formed by stripping off, or rather, by not attending to, such of
the simple sensations or ideas entering into the {143} clusters as
are peculiar to any of them, and establishing an extremely close
association among those which are common to them all. These complex
ideas, therefore, are not, in reality, like the creations of mere
imagination, put together at discretion, any more than the complex
ideas, compounded of the obvious sensible qualities of objects,
which we call our ideas of the objects. They are formed in the same
manner as these, only not so rapidly or so easily, since the
particulars of which they are composed do not obtrude themselves
upon the senses, but suppose a perception of qualities and sequences
not immediately obvious. From this circumstance results the
consequence noticed by the author, that this class of complex ideas
are often of different composition in different persons. For, in the
first place, different persons abstract their ideas of this sort
from different individual instances; and secondly, some persons
abstract much better than others; that is, take more accurate notice
of the obscurer features of instances, and discern more correctly
what are those in which all the instances agree. This important
subject will be more fully entered into when we reach that part of
the present work which treats of the ideas connected with General



As the purpose of language is to denote sensations and ideas; to
mark them for our own use, or to give indication of them to our
fellow men; it is obvious that the names of sensations and ideas are
the fundamental parts of language. But as ideas are very numerous,
and the limits of the human memory admit the use of only a limited
number of marks or names, various contrivances are employed to make
one name serve as many purposes as possible.

Of the contrivances for making the use of each word as extensive as
possible, we have already adverted to one of great importance; that
of arranging ideas in classes, and making one name stand for each
individual of the class. When the classes are large, one word or
mark serves to name or indicate many individuals.

But when, for the sake of economizing names, those classes have been
made as large as possible, we often find occasion for breaking them
down into smaller parcels, or sub-classes, and speaking of these
sub-classes by themselves.

An example will render what is here expressed sufficiently plain.
The term sound, is the name of a large class of ideas or sensations;
for it is equally the name of both; the sound of thunder, the sound
of a cannon, the whistling of the wind, the voice of a man, the
howling of a dog, and so on.

{145} Among these sounds I perceive differences; some affect me in
one way, and I wish to mark them as doing so; some affect me in
another way, and I wish to mark them as affecting me in that
particular way.

It is obvious that names might be invented for these subordinate
classes, to mark such of them as we have occasion to mark; and the
cases are numerous, in which this is the expedient adopted. Thus the
term animal is the name of a large class. But we have occasion to
speak apart of various portions of this class, to all the more
important of which portions, we have given particular names. Horse
is the name of one portion, man of another, sheep of another, and so
of the rest.

There is, however, another mode of naming subordinate classes; a
mode by which the use of names is greatly economized, and of which
the utility is therefore conspicuous.

The subordinate class is distinguished from they rest of the greater
class by some peculiarity, something in which the individuals of it
agree with one another, and do not agree with the rest. Thus to
recur to the example of sound. One set of sounds affect me in a
certain way, a way peculiar to that set. Wishing to distinguish
these sounds from others by a mark, I call them _loud_. Another set
of sounds affect me in another way, and I call them _low_; a third
set in another way, and I call them _harsh_; a fourth in another
way, and I call them _sweet_. By means of those adjectives applied
as marks upon the mark of the great class, I have the names of four
species, or sub-classes; 1, loud sounds; 2, low sounds; 3, harsh
sounds; 4, {146} sweet sounds; and the number might be greatly

It thus appears that, as nouns substantive are marks of ideas, or
sensations, nouns adjective are marks put upon nouns substantive, or
marks upon marks; in order to limit the signification of the noun
substantive; and instead of its marking a large class, to make it
mark a subdivision of that class. Thus the word, rose, is the mark
of a large class: apply to it the adjective _yellow_, that is, put
the mark yellow upon the mark rose, and you have the name, yellow
rose, which is a sub-division, or species, of the class Rose.

This peculiarity of naming, this putting of marks upon marks, in
order to modify the meaning of a certain mark, is a contrivance
which deserves the greatest attention. It is one of the principal
expedients for the great purpose of economizing names, and
performing the business of marking with the smallest number of
marks; but, like the rest of the contrivances for this purpose, it
contributes to obscure the simple process of naming; and when not
distinctly known and attended to, operates as a source of confusion
and error.

The use of adjectives, in economizing names, is most conspicuous, in
the case of those subdivisions which apply to the greatest number of
classes. There is one distinction which applies to most classes; the
distinction between what pleases, and what does not please us, no
matter on what account. The first we call good, the second evil.
These two terms serve to mark a very great number of subordinate
classes, and, of course, save, to a great extent, the multiplication
of names.

{147} Thus, in the case of the senses, we have the word taste, the
mark of one great class of sensations. Tastes we divide into
sub-classes by the words good and evil; good tastes being one class,
bad tastes another. If we had invented separate marks for each of
these two classes, we should have had three names, to mark the class
taste with these its two primary subdivisions; and we should have
had occasion for the same number of names in the case of each of the
five senses; or, fifteen different names. But the adjectives, good,
and evil, they being applicable to all the senses, save us the
invention of names for the sub-classes of the other four senses; as
we say good smells, bad smells, in the same manner as good tastes,
and bad tastes. They save, therefore, eight names out of fifteen, or
more than one-half.

The economizing power of adjectives is still more remarkable, when
we depart from simple sensations and ideas, and apply them as marks
upon the names of the complex, which are far more numerous. Thus,
the term horse is the mark of a complex idea, and the name of a
class of objects. We say good horse and bad horse, good dog and bad
dog, good house and bad house, and so in cases without number; in
each of which, the repetition of the two adjectives, good, and bad,
saves us the use and embarrassment of separate names.

It deserves to be remarked, that the terms good and evil apply much
more generally to that class of complex ideas, in the formation of
which the mind has but little control; namely, those of external
objects; than they do to the other class of complex ideas which the
mind makes up in an arbitrary {148} manner to suit its own
convenience. Ideas of the latter description are very often made up
according to the distinction of good and evil. Thus, the idea glory,
is composed of ingredients all of which belong to the classes, good;
and the idea good, is multifariously included in the name. After the
same manner, the idea of evil is multifariously included in the
complex idea disgrace. Good is implied in the term virtue, evil in
the term vice; good is implied in the term wealth, evil in the term
poverty; good is implied in the term power, evil in the term
weakness. In some cases, the ideas of this class are so general,
that good and evil are both included; and, in such cases, adjectives
are necessary to mark the subdivisions or species. Thus, we say good
manners, bad manners; good sense, bad sense; good conduct, bad
conduct; and so on.

Next to the adjectives which form the numerous sub-classes of good
and evil, those which mark degrees are of the most extensive
application, and in the operation of sub-marking save the greatest
number of names. Thus the terms, great, and little, are applicable
to a great proportion of the marks of complex ideas of both
formations. We say a great tree, a little tree; a great man, a
little man; a great crime, a small crime; great blame, little blame;
great honour, little honour; great value, little value; great
weight, little weight; great strength, little strength, and so on.

Different adjectives differ in the number of classes to the
subdivision of which they are subservient. Thus hot and cold are
only applicable where diversities of temperature are included;
round, square, and {149} so on, where figure is included; white or
black, where colour; and so on.

Beside the use of adjectives, in dividing great classes into smaller
ones, without multiplication of names; they sometimes answer another
purpose. It often happens that, in the cluster of sensations or
ideas which have one name; we have occasion to call attention
particularly to some one ingredient of the cluster. Adjectives render
this service, as well as that of marking a class. This rose, I say,
is red; that rose is yellow: this stone is hot, that stone is cold.
The term, red rose, or yellow rose, is the name of a class. But when
I say, this rose is red, where an individual is named, I mark
emphatically the specific difference; namely, red, or yellow; which
constitutes that subdivision of the genus rose, to which the
individual belongs.[45]

[Editor's footnote 45: In the concluding paragraph we find the first
recognition by the author that class names serve any purpose, or are
introduced for any reason, except to save multiplication of names.
Adjectives, it is here said, answer also the purpose of calling
attention to some one ingredient of the cluster of sensations
combined under one name. That is to say, they enable us to affirm
that the cluster contains that ingredient: for they do not merely
call attention to the ingredient, or remind the hearer of it: the
hearer, very often, did not know that the cluster contained
the ingredient, until he was apprised by the proposition.

But surely it is not only adjectives which fulfil either office,
whether of giving information of an ingredient, or merely fixing the
attention upon it. All general names do so, when used as predicates.
When I say that a distant object which I am pointing at is a tree,
or a building, I just as much call attention to certain ingredients
in the cluster of sensations constituting the object, as I do when I
say, This rose is red. So {150} far is it from being true that
adjectives are distinguished from substantives by having this
function in addition to that of economizing names, that it is, on
the contrary, much more nearly true of adjectives than of the
class-names which are nouns substantive, that the economizing of
names is the principal motive for their institution. For though
general names of some sort are indispensable to predication,
adjectives are not. As is well shewn in the text, the peculiarity,
which really distinguishes adjectives from other general names, is
that they mark cross divisions. All nature having first been marked
out into classes by means of nouns substantive, we might go on by
the same means subdividing each class. We might call the large
individuals of a class by one noun substantive and the small ones by
another, and these substantives would serve all purposes of
predication; but to do this we should need just twice as many
additional nouns substantive as there are classes of objects. Since,
however, the distinction of large and small applies to all classes
alike, one pair of names will suffice to designate it. Instead
therefore of dividing every class into sub-classes, each with its
own name, we draw a line across all the classes, dividing all nature
into large things and small, and by using these two words as
adjectives, that is, by adding one or other of them as the occasion
requires to every noun substantive which is the name of a class, we
are able to mark universally the distinction of large and small by
two names only, instead of many millions.--_Ed._]



1. There is one class of complex ideas, of so particular a nature,
and of which we have so frequent occasion to speak, that the means
of sub-dividing them require additional contrivances. Marks put upon
marks are still the instrument. But the instrument, to render it
more effectual to this particular purpose, is fashioned in a
particular way. I allude to the class of words denominated Verbs:
which are, in their essence, adjectives, and applied as marks upon
marks; but receive a particular form, in order to render them, at
the same time, subservient to other purposes.

The mode of their marking, and the peculiarity of their marking
power may easily, I hope, be thus conceived.

A billiard-ball affects my senses, in a particular manner. On
account of this, I call it round; and the term round is ever after a
mark to me of a portion of the sensations which I derive from it. It
affects me in another manner. I call it on that account white, and
the term white is to me a mark of this other mode in which it
affects me: and in the same manner as I call it white, round, on
account of such and such sensations, I call it Moving, on account of
certain other sensations, of which the term Moving is to me a
perpetual mark.

{152} The manner of affecting me on account of which I call it
moving, I learn from experience to be peculiarly entitled to my
regard. I find that it is a mode of affecting me, which belongs to
almost all bodies; and I find that upon this attribute of theirs the
greatest part of my interesting sensations depend. I am therefore
deeply concerned in the knowledge of motions; and have the strongest
inducement to divide them into such classes as may in the highest
degree facilitate that knowledge.

Motions are divided in a great variety of ways for a variety of
purposes. Sometimes we divide them according to their subjects.
Thus, the motion of a bird is one class of motions; the motion of a
horse another; so the motion of a serpent, the motion of an arrow,
the motion of a wheel. At other times we form classes of motions
according to the manner. Thus we have running, flying, rolling,
leaping, staggering, throwing, striking, and so on.

Of all the classifications of motions, however, that which deserves
the greatest attention is the distinction of them into the motions
which originate within the moving body, and those which originate
without it. Of the motions which originate within the moving body,
the principal are the living motions of animals. We find, also, that
of all the motions of animals, those of men are the most important
to men. The motions of men are divided into a great number of
classes. On account of one set of motions we call a man walking; on
account of another sort we call him running; another, writing;
another, dancing; another, fencing; another, boxing; another,
building; and so on. We have also frequent occasion for a name which
shall {153} embrace all these motions of men. For this purpose the
word Acting is employed: and the term Action denotes any of the
motions, which originate within a man as the moving body. It is no
objection to this account of the use of the word action, that it is
sometimes employed in cases in which the motion is not the principal
object of attention; as in the act of singing, or that of speaking.
Here, though it is not the motion, but the effect of the motion,
which is the object of attention to the hearer, the act of the
singer or speaker is not the less truly a motion.

The word action, when thus invented, and used, is afterwards applied
metaphorically to motions which do not originate in the moving body,
as when we say the action of a sword; and also to certain processes
of the mind, which, as they are accompanied with the feeling we call
effort, resembling that which accompanies the voluntary motions, are
sometimes classed along with them, and, by an extension of the
meaning of the word, receive the name of actions. In this manner,
remembering, computing, comparing, even hearing, and seeing, are
denominated actions.

2. In applying the term Acting, or the terms expressive of the
several kinds of acting, the Time the action is a material
circumstance. The grand divisions of time are the Past, the Present,
and the Future. There is great utility in a short method of marking
these divisions of time in conjunction with the mark of the action.
This is effected by the Tenses of Verbs.

3. When the name of an act is applied to an agent the agent is
either the person speaking, the person spoken to, or some other
person. The word denoting {154} the action is, by what are called
the Persons of the verb, made to connote these diversities. Thus
_amo_ notes the act, and connotes the person speaking as the actor;
_amas_ notes the act, and connotes the person spoken to, as the
actor; _amat_ notes the act, and connotes some person, as the actor,
who is neither the person speaking, nor the person spoken to.[46]

[Editor's footnote 46: There is here a fresh instance of the
oversight already pointed out, that of not including in the function
for which general names are required, their employment in
Predication. Amo, amas, and amamus, cannot, I conceive, with any
propriety be called names of actions, or names at all. They are
entire predications. It is one of the properties of the kind of
general names called verbs, that they cannot be used except in a
Proposition or Predication, and indeed only as the predicate of it:
(for the infinitive is not a verb, but the abstract of a verb). What
else there is to distinguish verbs from other general names will be
more particularly considered further on.--_Ed._]

4. When the names of actions are applied to agents, they are applied
to one or a greater number. A short method of connoting this grand
distinction of numbers is effected by the marks of the Singular and
Plural number. Thus _amo_ notes the act, and connotes one actor;
_amamus_ notes the act, and connotes more than one actor.

5. In applying the names of actions to the proper subjects of them,
there are three Modes of the action, one or other of which is always
implied. The first is, when the action has no reference to any thing
previously spoken of. The second is, when it has a reference to
something previously spoken of. The third is, when it has a
reference to some state of the will of {155} the speaker or person
spoken of. These diversities of mode are connoted by the Moods of
the verb. The Indicative is used when no reference is made to any
thing which precedes: the Subjunctive, when a reference is made to
something which precedes: and the Optative, and Imperative, when the
reference is to the state of the will of the speaker or the person
spoken of.

Such are the contrivances to make the marks or names of action, by
their connotative powers, a more and more effectual instrument of
notation. Accurately speaking, they are adjectives, so fashioned as
to connote, a threefold distinction of agents, with a twofold
distinction of their number, a threefold distinction of the manner
of the action, and a threefold distinction of its time; and, along
with all this another important particular, about to be explained,
namely, the COPULA in PREDICATION.[47]

[Editor's footnote 47: The imperfection of this theory of Verbs is
sufficiently apparent. They are, says the author, a particular kind
of Adjectives. Adjectives, according to the preceding Section, are
words employed to enable us, without inconvenient multiplication of
names, to subdivide great classes into smaller ones. Can it be said,
or would it have been said by the author, that the only, or the
principal reason for having Verbs, is to enable us to subdivide
classes of objects with the greatest economy of names?

Neither is it strictly accurate to say that Verbs are always marks
of motion, or of action, even including, as the author does, by an
extension of the meaning of those terms, every process which is
attended with a feeling of effort. Many verbs, of the kind which
grammarians call neuter or intransitive verbs, express rest, or
inaction: as sit, lie, and in some cases, stand. It is true however
that the verbs first invented, as far as we know anything of them,
expressed forms of motion, and the principal function of verbs still
is to affirm or deny action. Or, to speak yet more generally, it is
by means of verbs that we predicate events. Events, or changes, are
the most important facts, to us, in the surrounding world. Verbs are
the resource which language affords for predicating events. They are
not the names of events; all names of events are substantives, as
sunrise, disaster, or *infinitives, as _to rise_, and infinitives
are logically substantives. But it is by means of verbs that we
assert, or give information of, events; as, The sun rises, or,
Disaster has occurred. There is, however, a class of neuter verbs
already referred to, which do not predicate events, but states
of an unchanging object, as lie, sit, remain, exist. It would be
incorrect, therefore, to give a definition of Verbs which should
limit them to the expression of events. I am inclined to think that
the distinction between nouns and verbs is not logical, but merely
grammatical, and that every word, whatever be its meaning, must be
reputed a verb, which is so constructed grammatically that it can
only be used as the predicate of a proposition. Any meaning whatever
is, in strictness, capable of being thrown into this form: but it is
only certain meanings, chiefly actions or events, which there is, in
general, any motive for putting into this particular shape.--_Ed._]

{156} 6. We have, last of all, under this head, to consider the
marking power of a very peculiar, and most comprehensive word, the
SUBSTANTIVE VERB, as it has been called by grammarians, or the word
expressive of BEING. The steps, which we have already traced, in the
process of naming, will aid us in obtaining a true conception of
this, which is one of the most important steps, in that process.

We have seen that, beside the names of particular species of
motions, as walking, running, flying, there was occasion for a
general name which might include {157} the whole of those motions.
For this purpose, the names Action and Acting were employed. It is
now to be remembered, that those sensations which we mark by the
names of action, as walking, running, &c., are but part of the
sensations which we derive from objects; that we have other
sensations, and clusters of sensations, from them, on account of
which we apply to them other names; as when we call a man tall, on
account of certain sensations; dark, on account of certain other
sensations, and so on. Now, as we had occasion for a name to include
the separate clusters, called walking, running, flying, rolling,
falling, and so on, and for that purpose adopted the name Acting;
so, having from objects other sensations than those marked by the
word acting, we have occasion for a name which shall include both
those sensations, and those comprehended in the word acting along
with them: in short, a word that shall embrace all sensations, of
whatever kind, which any object is capable of exciting in us. This
purpose is effected by the word affirmative of Existence. When we
affirm of any thing that it EXISTS, that it IS: what we mean, is,
that we may have sensations from it; nothing, without ourselves,
being known to us, or capable of being known, but through the medium
of our senses.

There is the same occasion for making the Substantive Verb connote
the three distinctions of TIME PAST, TIME PRESENT, and TIME FUTURE,
as in the case of other verbs; also to connote the distinctions of
PERSONS and NUMBERS; and, lastly, to connote the THREE MODES, that
in which there is no reference to any thing preceding, that in which
there is a reference to something preceding, and that in which
reference {158} is made to the will of one of the PERSONS.
Accordingly the Substantive Verb has TENSES, MOODS, NUMBERS, and
PERSONS, like any other verb.

Such is the nature and object of the Substantive Verb. It is the
most GENERICAL of all the words, which we have characterized, as
marks upon marks. These are the words usually called ATTRIBUTIVES.
According to the view which we have given of them, they may be more
appropriately denominated, SECONDARY MARKS. The names of the larger
classes, as tree, horse, strength, we may call PRIMARY MARKS. The
subsidiary names by which smaller classes are marked out of the
larger; as when we say, tall tree, great strength, running horse,
walking man; that is, all attributives, or marks applied upon marks;
we may call SECONDARY MARKS.



The purposes of language are two. We have occasion to mark
sensations or ideas singly; and we have occasion to mark them in
trains; in other words, we have need of contrivances to mark not
only sensations and ideas; but also the order of them. The
contrivances which are necessary to mark this order are the main
cause of the complexity of language.

If all names were names of one sort, there would be no difficulty in
marking a train of the feelings which they serve to denote. Thus, if
all names were names of individuals, as John, James, Peter, we
should have no difficulty in marking a train of the ideas of these
individuals; all that would be necessary would be to set down the
marks, one after another, in the same order in which, one after
another, the ideas occurred.

If all names were names of Species, as man, horse, eagle, the
facility of marking the order of the ideas which they represent
would be the same. If the idea man occurred first, the idea horse
second, the idea eagle third; all that would be necessary would be
to put down the name or mark man the first, the name or mark horse
the second, and the order of marks would represent the order of

But we have already seen, that the facility of communication
requires names of different degrees of {160} comprehensiveness;
names of individuals, names of classes, and names both of the larger
and the smaller classes. For the younger and less instructed part of
my readers, it may be necessary to mention, that the names of the
smaller classes, are called names of Species, or specific names; the
names of the larger classes, names of Genera, or generic names.
Thus, the term animal, denotes a large class; a class which contains
the smaller classes, man, horse, dog, &c. The name animal,
therefore, is called a Genus, or a generic name; the name man, a
Species, or a specific name.

In using names of these different kinds; names of individuals when
the idea is restricted to one individual; and, for brevity, the
names of classes; the names of the less when necessary, of the large
when practicable; there is perpetual need of the substitution of one
name for another. When I have used the names, James and John, Thomas
and William, and many more, having to speak of such peculiarities of
each, as distinguish him from every other, I may proceed to speak of
them in general, as included in a class. When this happens, I have
occasion for the name of the class, and to substitute the name of
the class, for the names of the individuals. By what contrivance is
this performed? I have the name of the individual, _John_; and the
name of the class _man_; and I can set down my two names; _John_,
_man_; in juxta-position. But this is not sufficient to effect the
communication I desire; namely, that the word man is a mark of the
same idea of which John is a mark, and a mark of other ideas along
with it, those to wit, of which James, Thomas, &c. are marks. To
complete my contrivance, I invent a mark, which, placed between my
marks, {161} _John_ and _man_, fixes the idea I mean to convey, that
_man_, is another mark to that idea of which _John_ is a mark, while
it is a mark of the other ideas, of which _James_, _Thomas_, &c.,
are marks. For this purpose, we use in English, the mark "is." By
help of this, my object is immediately attained. I say, _John_ "is"
a _man_. I, then, use the word _man_, instead of the word _John_,
with many advantages; because every thing which I can affirm of the
word _man_, is true not only of _John_, but of _James_, and _Peter_,
and every other individual of the class.

The joining of two names by this peculiar mark is the act which has
been denominated, PREDICATION; and it is the grand contrivance by
which the marks of sensations and ideas are so ordered in discourse,
as to mark the order of the trains, which it is our purpose to
communicate, or to record.

The form of expression, "John is a man," is called a Proposition. It
consists of three marks. Of these, "John," is denominated the
SUBJECT; "man," the PREDICATE; and "is," the COPULA. To speak
generally, and in the language of the grammarians, the nominative of
the verb is the _subject_ of the proposition; the substantive, or
adjective, which agrees with the nominative, is the _predicate_, and
the verb is the _copula_.

By a few simple examples, the reader may render familiar to himself
the use of PREDICATION, as the grand expedient, by which language is
enabled to mark not only sensations and ideas, but also the order of

[Editor's footnote 48: The theory of Predication here set forth,
stands in need of further elucidation, and perhaps of some
correction and addition.

The account which the author gives of a Predication, or Proposition,
is, first, that it is a mode of so putting together the marks of
sensations and ideas, as to mark the order of them. Secondly, that
it consists in substituting one name for another, so as to signify
that a certain name (called the predicate), is a mark of the same
idea which another name (called the subject) is a mark of.

It must be allowed that a predication, or proposition, is intended
to mark some portion of the order either of our sensations or of our
ideas, _i.e._, some part of the coexistences or sequences which take
place either in our minds, or in what we term the external world.
But what sort of order is it that a predication marks? An order
supposed to be believed in. When _John_, or _man_, are said to be
marks of an individual object, all there is in the matter is that
these words, being associated with the idea of the object, are
intended to raise that idea in the mind of the person who hears or
reads them. But when we say, John is a man, or, John is an old man,
we intend to do more than call up in the hearer's mind the images of
John, of a man, and of an old man. We intend to do more than inform
him that we have thought of, or even seen, John and a man, or John
and an old man, together. We inform him of a fact respecting John,
namely, that he _is_ an old man, or at all events, of our belief
that this is a fact. The characteristic difference between a
predication and any other form of speech, is, that it does not
merely bring to mind a certain object (which is the only function of
a mark, merely as such); it asserts something respecting it. Now it
may be true, and I think it is true, that every assertion, every
object of Belief,--everything that can be true or false--that can be
an object of assent or dissent--is some order of sensations or of
ideas: some coexistence or succession of sensations or ideas
actually experienced, or supposed capable of being experienced. And
thus it may appear in the end that in expressing a belief, we are
after all only declaring the order of a group or series of
sensations or ideas. But the order which we declare is not an
imaginary order; it is an order believed to be real. Whatever view
we adopt of the psychological nature of Belief, it is necessary to
distinguish between the mere suggestion, to the mind of a certain
order among sensations or ideas such as takes place when we think of
the alphabet, or the numeration table and the indication that this
order is an actual fact, which is occurring, or which has occurred
once or oftener, or which, in certain definite circumstances, always
occurs; which are the things indicated as true by an affirmative
predication, and as false by a negative one.

That a predication differs from a name in doing more than merely
calling up an idea, is admitted in what I have noted as the second
half of the author's theory of Predication. That second half points
out that every predication is a communication, intended to act, not
on the mere ideas of the listener, but on his persuasion or belief:
and what he is intended to believe, according to the author, is,
that of the two names which are conjoined in the predication, one is
a mark of the same idea (or let me add, of the same sensation or
cluster of sensations) of which the other is a mark. This is a
doctrine of Hobbes, the one which caused him to be termed by
Leibnitz, in words which have been often quoted, "plus quam
nominalis." It is quite true that when we predicate B of A--when we
assert of A that it is a B--B must, if the assertion is true, be a
name of A, _i.e._, a name applicable to A; one of the innumerable
names which, in virtue of their signification, can be used as
descriptive of A: but is this the information which we want to
convey to the hearer? It is so when we are speaking only of names
and their meaning, as when we enunciate a definition. In every other
case, what we want to convey is a matter of fact, of which this
relation between the names is but an incidental consequence. When we
say, John walked out this morning, it is not a correct expression of
the communication we desire to make, that "having walked out this
morning" or "a person who has walked out this morning" are two of
the innumerable names of John. They are only accidentally and
momentarily names of John by reason of a certain event, and the
information we mean to give is, that this event has happened. The
event is not resolvable into an identity of meaning between names,
but into an actual series of sensations that occurred to John, and a
belief that any one who had been present and using his eyes would
have had another series of sensations, which we call seeing John in
the act of walking out. Again, when we say, Negroes are
woolly-haired, we mean to make known to the hearer, not that
woolly-haired is a name of every negro, but that wherever the
cluster of sensations signified by the word negro, are experienced,
the sensations signified by the word woolly-haired will be found
either among them or conjoined with them. This is an order of
sensations: and it is only in consequence of it that the name
woolly-haired comes to be applicable to every individual of whom the
term negro is a name.

There is nothing positively opposed to all this in the author's
text: indeed he must be considered to have meant this, when he said,
that by means of substituting one name for another, a predication
marks the order of our sensations and ideas. The omission consists
in not remarking that what is distinctively signified by a
predication, as such, is Belief in a certain order of sensations or
ideas. And when this has been said, the Hobbian addition, that it
does so by declaring the predicate to be a name of everything of
which the subject is a name, may be omitted as surplusage, and as
diverting the mind from the essential features of the case.
Predication may thus be defined, a form of speech which expresses a
belief that a certain coexistence or sequence of sensations or
ideas, did, does, or, under certain conditions, would take place:
and the reverse of this when the predication is negative.--_Ed._]

{162} For the more complete elucidation of this important part of
the business of Naming, it is necessary to {163} remark, that
Logicians have classed Predications, under five heads; 1st, when the
_Genus_ is predicated, {164} of any subject; 2dly, when the
_Species_ is predicated; 3dly, when the _Specific Difference_ is
predicated; 4thly, {165} when a _Property_ is predicated; 5thly,
when an _Accident_ is predicated. These five classes of names, the
things capable of being predicated, are named PREDICABLES. The five
Predicables, in Latin, the language in which they are commonly
expressed, are named _Genus_, _Species_, _Differentia_, _Proprium_,

We have already seen, perhaps at sufficient length, the manner in
which, and the end for which, the Genus, and the Species are
predicated of any subject. It is, that the more comprehensive name,
may be substituted for the less comprehensive; so that each of our
marks may answer the purpose of marking, to as great an extent as
possible. In this manner we substitute the word _man_, for example,
for the word _Thomas_, when we predicate the Species of the
individual, in the proposition, "Thomas is a man;" the word
_animal_, for the word _man_, when we predicate the Genus of the
Species, in the proposition, "man, is an animal."[49]

[Editor's footnote 49: If what has been said in the preceding note
is correct, it is a very inadequate view of the purpose for which a
generic or specific name is predicated of any subject, to say that
it is in order that "the more comprehensive name may be substituted
for the less comprehensive, so that each of our marks may answer the
purpose of marking to as great an extent as possible." The more
comprehensive and the less comprehensive name have each their uses,
and the function of each not only could not be discharged with equal
convenience by the other, but could not be discharged by it at all.
The purpose, in predicating of anything the name of a class to which
it belongs, is not to obtain a better or more commodious name for
it, but to make known the fact of its possessing the attributes
which constitute the class, and which are therefore signified by the
class-name. It is evident that the name of one class cannot possibly
perform this office vicariously for the name of another.--_Ed._]

{166} We have already, also, taken notice of the artifice, by which
smaller classes are formed out of larger, by the help of secondary
marks. Of these secondary marks, the principal classes are
designated by the terms _Differentia_, _Proprium_, _Accidens_. No
very distinct boundaries, are, indeed, marked by these terms; nor do
they effect a scientific division; but, for the present purpose, the
elucidation of the end to which Predication is subservient, they are

_Differentia_ is always an Attributive, applicable to a Genus, and
which, when combined with it, marks out a Species; as the word
_rational_, which is applicable to the Genus _animal_, and when
applied to it, in the phrase "rational animal," marks out a Species,
and is synonymous with the word _man_. In a similar manner the word
_sensitive_ is applicable to _body_, and marks out the subordinate
Genus, _animal_.

_Proprium_ is also an Attributive, and the Attributives classed
under this title differ from those classed under the title
_differentia_, chiefly in this; That those classed under
_differentia_, are regarded as more expressly involved in the
definition of the Species which they seem to cut out from the Genus.
Thus, both _rational_, and _risible_, when applied to _animal_, cut
out of it the class Man; but _rational_ is called DIFFERENTIA,
_risible_ PROPRIUM, because _rational_, is strictly involved in the
definition of _man_; _risible_ is not. Some Attributives are classed
under the title _proprium_, which, when applied to the genus, do not
constitute the same Species, constituted by the _differentia_, but a
different Species; as _bipes_, two-footed animal, is the name of a
class including at least the two classes of men, and birds;
_hot-blooded animal_, is the name of a class so {167} large as to
include man, horse, lion, dog, and the greater part of the more
perfectly organized Species. There are some Attributives, classed
under the title _proprium_, which cut out of the Genus a class even
less than that which is cut by the _differentia_; as, for example,
the word _grammatical_. This word grammatical, applied to the word
animal, in the term "grammatical animal," separates a class so
small, as to include only part of the Species man, those who are
called Grammarians. Such Attributives, for an obvious reason, are
applicable, as well to the name of the Species, as to that of the
Genus. Thus, we say, "a grammatical man," as well as "a grammatical
animal," and that with greater propriety, as cutting out the
sub-species from the Species more immediately.

The Attributives, classed under the title _accidens_, are regarded,
like those classed under _differentia_, and _proprium_, as
applicable to the class cut out by the _differentia_, but applicable
to it rather fortuitously than by any fixed connection. The term
_lame_ is an example of such Attributives. The term _lame_, however,
applied to the name of the Species, does not the less take out of it
a sub-species, as "lame man," "lame horse."

With respect to these classes of Attributives (_Differentia_,
_Proprium_, _Accidens_) this is necessary to be observed, and
remembered; that they differ from one another only by the accident
of their application. Thus, when _rational_, applied to the Genus
_animal_, constitutes the Species man, all other Attributives
applied to that Species are either _accidens_, or _proprium_; but
these Attributives themselves may be the _differentia_ in the case
of other classes. Thus, _warm-blooded_, applied to _man_, stands
under the class _proprium_; but {168} when applied to the animals
which stand distinguished from the cold-blooded, as constituting a
class, it becomes the _differentia_, and _rational_, with respect to
this comprehensive class, is only an _accidens_.[50]

[Editor's footnote 50: The author says, that no very distinct
boundaries are marked by the three terms, Differentia, Proprium, and
Accidens, nor do they effect a scientific division. As used,
however, by the more accurate of the school logicians, they do mark
out distinct boundaries, and do effect a scientific division.

Of the attributes common to a class, some have been taken into
consideration in forming the class, and are included in the
signification of its name. Such, in the case of man, are
rationality, and the outward form which we call the human. These
attributes are its Differentiæ; the fundamental differences which
distinguish that class from the others most nearly allied to it. The
school logicians were contented with one Differentia, whenever one
was sufficient completely to circumscribe the class. But this was an
error, because one attribute may be sufficient for distinction, and
yet may not exhaust the signification of the class-name. All
attributes, then, which are part of that signification, are set
apart as Differentiæ. Other attributes, though not included among
those which constitute the class, and which are directly signified
by its name, are consequences of some of those which constitute the
class, and always found along with them. These attributes of the
class are its Propria. Thus, to be bounded by three straight lines
is the Differentia of a triangle: to have the sum of its three
angles equal to two right angles, being a consequence of its
Differentia, is a Proprium of it. Rationality is a Differentia of
the class Man: to be able to build cities is a Proprium, being a
consequence of rationality, but not, as that is, included in the
meaning of the word Man. All other attributes of the class, which
are neither included in the meaning of the name, nor are
consequences of any which are included, are Accidents, however
universally and constantly they may be true of the class; as
blackness, of crows.

The author's remark, that these three classes of Attributives differ
from one another only in the accident of their application, is most
just. There are not some attributes which are always Differentiæ,
and others which are always Propria, or always Accidents. The same
attribute which is a Differentia of one genus or species, may be,
and often is, a Proprium or an Accidens of others, and so

{169} We now arrive at a very important conclusion; for it thus
appears, that all Predication, is Predication of Genus or Species,
since the Attributives classed under the titles of _Differentia_,
_Proprium_, _Accidens_, cannot be used but as part of the name of a
Species. But we have seen, above, that Predication by Genus and
Species is merely the substitution of one name for another, the more
general for the less general; the fact of the substitution being
marked by the _Copula_. It follows, if all Predication is by Genus
and Species, that all Predication is the substitution of one name
for another, the more for the less general.

It will be easy for the learner to make this material fact familiar
to himself, by attending to a few instances. Thus, when it is said
that man is rational, the term rational is evidently elliptical, and
the word animal is understood. The word rational, according to
grammatical language, is an adjective, and is significant only in
conjunction with a substantive. According to logical language, it is
a connotative term, and is without a meaning when disjoined from the
object, the property or properties of which it connotes.[51]

[Editor's footnote 51: I am unable to feel the force of this remark.
Every predication ascribes an attribute to a subject. Differentiae,
Propria, and Accidents, agree with generic and specific names in
expressing attributes, and the attributes they express are the whole
of their meaning. I therefore cannot see why there should not be
Predication of any of these, as well as of Genus and Species. These
three Predicables, the author says, cannot be used but as part of
the name of a genus or species: they are adjectives, and cannot be
employed without a substantive understood. Allowing this to be
logically, as it is grammatically, true, still the comprehensive and
almost insignificant substantive, "thing" or "being," fully answers
the purpose; and the entire meaning of the predication is contained
in the adjective. These adjectives, as the author remarks, are
connotative terms; but so, on his own shewing elsewhere, are all
concrete substantives, except proper names. Why, when it is said
that man is rational, must "the word animal" be "understood?"
Nothing is understood but that the being, Man, has the attribute of
reason. If we say, God is rational, is animal understood? It was
only the Greeks who classed their gods as [Greek: zô=a a)tha/nata].

The exclusion of the three latter Predicables from predication
probably recommended itself to the author as a support to his
doctrine that all Predication is the substitution of one name for
another, which he considered himself to have already demonstrated so
far as regards Genus and Species. But proofs have just been given
that in the predication of Genus and Species no more than in that of
Differentia, Proprium, or Accidens, is anything which turns upon
names the main consideration. Except in the case of definitions, and
other merely verbal propositions, every proposition is intended to
communicate a matter of fact: This subject has that attribute--This
cluster of sensations is always accompanied by that sensation.

Let me remark by the way, that the word _connote_ is here used by
the author in what I consider its legitimate sense--that in which a
name is said to connote a property or properties belonging to the
object it is predicated of. He afterwards casts off this use of the
term, and introduces one the exact reverse: but of this

{170} With respect, however, to such examples as this last, namely,
all those in which the predicate consists {171} of the genus and
differentia, the proposition is a mere definition; and the
predicate, and the subject, are precisely equivalent. Thus,
"rational animal" is precisely the same class as "man;" and they are
only two names for the same thing; the one a simple, or
single-worded name; the other a complex, or double-worded, name.
Such propositions therefore are, properly speaking, not Predications
at all. When they are used for any other purpose than to make known,
or to fix, the meaning of a term, they are useless, and are
denominated identical propositions.[52]

[Editor's footnote 52: In this passage the author virtually gives up
the part of his theory of Predication which is borrowed from Hobbes.
According to his doctrine in this place, whenever the predicate and
the subject are exactly equivalent, and "are only two names for the
same thing," the predication serves only "to make known, or to fix,
the meaning of a term," and "such propositions are, properly
speaking, not Predications at all."--_Ed._]

The preceding expositions have shown the peculiar use of the
_Copula_. The Predication consists, essentially, of two marks,
whereof the first is called the Subject, the latter the Predicate;
the Predicate being set down as a name to be used for every thing of
which the Subject is a name; and the _Copula_ is merely a mark
necessary to shew that the Predicate is to be taken and used as a
substitute for the Subject.

There is a great convenience in giving to the _Copula_ the same
powers of connotation, in respect of Time, {172} Manner, Person, and
Number, as we have seen to be usefully annexed to the Verb.

It is necessary to explain a little this convenience; and the
explanation will have another advantage, that it will still farther
illustrate the manner in which Predication serves the great purpose
of marking the Order of ideas in a Train.

If the sensations or ideas in a train were to be marked as merely so
many independent items, the mode of marking the order of them would
be simple; the order of the marks itself might suffice. If this, for
example, were the train; smell of a rose, sight of a rat, sound of a
trumpet, touch of velvet, prick of a pin, these names placed in
order might denote the order of the sensations.

In the greater number of instances, however, it is necessary to mark
the train as the train of somebody; and for this purpose additional
machinery is required. Suppose that the train I have to mark is the
train of John, a train of the sensations of John; what are the marks
for which I shall have occasion? It is first of all evident that I
must have a mark for John, and a mark for each of the sensations.
Suppose it is my purpose to represent John as having a sensation by
each of his senses, sight, smell, &c., how must I proceed? I have
first the word John, for the mark of the person; and I have the word
seeing, for the mark of the sensation. But beside the marks, "John,"
"seeing," I have occasion for a mark to show that I mean the mark
"seeing" to be applied to the mark "John," and not to any other. For
that purpose I use the word "is." I say "John is seeing," and the
first sensation of John's train is now sufficiently {173} denoted.
In the same manner I proceed with the rest; John is smelling, John
is tasting, John is hearing, John is touching.

But I have often occasion to speak not only of John's present
sensations, but of his past or his future sensations; not of John as
merely now seeing, hearing, &c., but as having been, or as going to
be, the subject of these sensations. The _Copula_ may be so
contrived as most commodiously to connote the main distinctions of
Time: not merely to mark the connection between the two marks which
form the subject and the predicate of the proposition, but to mark,
along with this, either past, or present, or future, Time. Thus, if
I say John is seeing, the copula marks present time along with the
peculiar connection between the predicate and the subject; if I say
John was seeing, it connotes past time; if I say John will be
seeing, it connotes future time.

As, in explaining the functions of verbs, there appeared a
convenience in the contrivance by which they were made to connote
three Manners; first, when no reference is made to any thing which
is previously spoken of; secondly, when a reference is made to
something which is previously spoken of; thirdly, when a reference
is made to the will of one of the PERSONS; it will now be seen that
there is the same convenience in making the _Copula_ connote these
references by a similar contrivance. Thus, when we speak of a man
having sensations, we may speak of him as having them or as not
having them, in consequence of something previously spoken of; or we
may speak of him as having them in consequence of our will. It is,
therefore, useful, that the _Copula_ should {174} have moods as well
as tenses. The same thing may be said of persons and numbers; of
which no illustration seems to be required.

We come next to an observation respecting the _Copula_, to which the
greatest attention is due. In all Languages, the Verb which denotes
EXISTENCE has been employed to answer the additional purpose of the
_Copula_ in Predication. The consequences of this have been most
lamentable. There is thus a double meaning in the _Copula_, which
has produced a most unfortunate mixture and confusion of ideas. It
has involved in mystery the whole business of Predication; the grand
contrivance by which language is rendered competent to its end. By
darkening Predication, it has spread such a veil over the phenomena
of mind, as concealed them from ordinary eyes, and allowed them to
be but imperfectly seen by those which were the most discerning.

In our own language, the verb, TO BE, is the important word which is
employed to connote, along with its Subject, whatever it be, the
grand idea of EXISTENCE. Thus, if I use the first person singular of
its indicative mood, and say, "I am," I affirm EXISTENCE of myself.
"I am," is the equivalent of "I am EXISTING." In the first of these
expressions, "I am," the mark "am" involves in it the force of two
marks; it involves the meaning of the word "existing," and the
marking power or meaning of the _Copula_. In the second expression
"I am existing," the word "am" ought to serve the purpose of the
_Copula_ only. But in reality its connotation of EXISTENCE still
adheres to it; and whereas the expression ought to consist of the
three established parts of a Predication; 1, the _subject_ {175}
"I;" 2, the _predicate_ EXISTING; and 3, the _copula_; it in reality
consists of, 1, the subject "I;" 2, the predicate EXISTING; 3, the
_Copula_; which signifies, 4, EXISTING, over again.

Let us take, as another case, that in which the subject and
predicate of my intended proposition are, the word "I" and
"reading." I want for the purpose of predication only a _Copula_ to
signify nakedly that the mark "reading" is applied to the mark "I;"
but instead of this I am obliged to use a word which connotes
EXISTENCE, along with the force of the _Copula_; and when I say
"I am reading," not only _reading_ is predicated of me, but EXISTING
also. Suppose, again, my subject is "John," my predicate "dead,"
I am obliged to use for my _Copula_ the word "is," which connotes
EXISTENCE, and I thus predicate of John both _existence_ and

It may be easily collected, from this one example, what
heterogeneous and inconsistent ideas may be forced into connection
by the use of the Substantive Verb as the _Copula_ in Predication;
and what confusion in the mental processes it tends to produce. It
is in the case, however, of the higher abstractions, and the various
combinations of ideas which the mind, in the processes of enquiring
and marking, forms for its own convenience, to obtain a greater
command over its stores and greater facility in communicating them,
that the use of the verb which conjoins the Predication of EXISTENCE
with every other Predication, has produced the wildest confusion,
and been the most deeply injurious. Is it any wonder, for example,
that _Chance_, and _Fate_, and _Nature_, have been personified, and
have had an EXISTENCE ascribed {176} to them, as objects, when we
have no means of predicating anything whatsoever of them, without
predicating such EXISTENCE at the same time. If we say that "chance
is nothing;" we predicate of it, by the word "is," both _existence_
and _nothingness_.

When this is the case, it is by no means to be wondered at, that
philosophers should so long have inquired what those EXISTENCES are
which abstract terms were employed to express; and should have lost
themselves in fruitless speculations about the nature of entity, and
quiddity, substance, and quality, space, time, necessity, eternity,
and so on.

It is necessary here to take notice of a part of the marking power
of Verbs, which could not be explained till the nature of the
_copula_ was understood.

Every Verb involves in it the force of the _copula_. It combines the
marking powers of an _adjective_, and of the _copula_; and all Verbs
may be resolved into those elements. Thus, "John walks," is the same
with "John is walking." Verbs, therefore, are attributives, of the
same nature as adjectives, only with additional connotative powers;
and they cut smaller classes out of larger, in the manner of
adjectives. Thus "John walks," is an expression, the same in import
as the Predication "John is a walking man;" and, walking men,
standing men, running men, lying men, are all sub-species of the
Species Man.

The same unhappy duplicity of meaning, which is incurred by using
the _Substantive_ Verb as the _copula_ in Predication, is inflicted
on _other_ Verbs, in that part of their marking power by which they
exhibit the connection between the two terms of a Predication.

The _copula_, included in Verbs, is not the PURE _copula_, {177} but
the ACTUAL _copula_; the _copula_ familiar and in constant use;
namely, the Substantive Verb. From this it results, that whatever
the peculiar attribute, which is predicated by means of any verb,
EXISTENCE is always predicated along with it. Thus, when I say "John
walks," which is equivalent to "John is walking," I predicate both
existence, and walking, of John. When I say, "Caliban existed not,"
which is the same as "Caliban was not existing," I predicate both
existence, and non-existence, of the imaginary being Caliban. By the
two first words of the Predication, "Caliban was," existence is
predicated of him; by the addition of the compound term "not
existing," the opposite is predicated of him.

The instances, in which the more complicated formations of the mind
are the subjects of this double Predication, are those which, from
the importance of their consequences, deserve the greatest degree of
attention. Thus, when we say "virtue exalts," both _existing_, and
_exalting_, are predicated of virtue. When we say that "passion
impels," both _existence_, and _impulsion_, are predicated of
passion. When we say that "Time generates," and "Space contains all
things," we affirm _existence_ of space and time, by the same
expression by which we affirm of the one, that it generates; of the
other, that it contains. This constancy of Predication, forcing the
same constancy in the junction of the ideas, furnishes a remarkable
instance of that important case of association, of which we took
notice above, where, by frequency of association, two ideas become
so joined, that the one constantly rises, and cannot be prevented
from rising, in combination with the other. Thus it is, {178} that
Time forces itself upon us as an _object_. So it is with Space. We
cannot think of Space, we cannot think of Time, without thinking of
them as existent. With the ideas of space and time, the idea of
EXISTENCE, as it is predicated of objects, is so associated, by the
use of the Substantive Verb as the _copula_ in predication, that we
cannot disjoin them. The same would have been the case with Chance,
and Fate, and Nature; if our religious education did not counteract
the association. It was precisely the same, among the Greeks and
Romans, whose religious education had not that effect.[53] [54]

[Findlater's footnote 53: The account of predication above given is
in conformity with the phenomena of the family of languages known as
the Indo-European. Logicians, in fact, in treating of this subject
have had almost exclusive regard to Greek and Latin and the literary
languages of modern Europe, which are all of one type. It might
therefore be presumed that the theory thus formed would be found not
to fit in all its parts when applied to languages of an altogether
different structure. The mental process must doubtless be the same
in all; but the words that express the several parts may be used in
new and unprecedented ways. Were naturalists to construct a scheme
of the animal organism without ever having seen any other animals
than those of the vertebrate type, the theory would certainly fail
in generality; certain organs or functions would be set down as
essential to animal existence which acquaintance with other classes
of creatures shows can be quite well dispensed with. Similarly, the
current theory of predication, when viewed in the light of a wider
and deeper knowledge of the organism of speech, seems to attach an
exaggerated importance to the peculiar predicative power presumed to
be inherent in verbs, and especially in the verb of existence. It is
now a well known fact that in the monosyllabic class of languages,
in which a third part of the human race express their thoughts,
there is no distinction among the parts of speech. In Chinese, for
example, the word _ta_ expresses indifferently great, greatness, to
be great, to make great or magnify, greatly. It is only position
that determines in each case how the word is to be understood; thus
traditional convention assigns to _ta fu_ the meaning of "a great
man," and to _fu ta_ that of "the man is great." Being habituated to
the constant use of the verb _is_ in such a case as the latter, we
are apt to suppose that the expression derives its predicative force
from its suggesting the verb of existence, which the mind
instinctively and necessarily supplies for itself. How little ground
there is for this presumed necessity, has been conclusively shown by
the late Mr. Garnett, in his profound and exhaustive essay on the
Nature and Analysis of the Verb. Speaking of the theory that makes
the essential difference between the verb and other parts of speech
to reside in the verb substantive, which is to be supplied by the
mind in all cases where the functions of the verb proper are to be
called into requisition, he observes: "This theory presupposes the
existence of a verb substantive in the languages in question, and
consciousness of that existence and of the force and capabilities of
the element in those who speak them. Unfortunately the Spanish
grammarians, to whom we are indebted for what knowledge we possess
of the Philippine dialects, unanimously concur in stating that there
is no verb substantive either in Tagalá, Pampanga, or Bisaya, nor
any means of supplying the place of one, except the employment of
pronouns and particles. Mariner makes a similar remark respecting
the Tonga language; and we may venture to affirm that there is not
such a thing as a true verb substantive in any one member of the
great Polynesian family.

"It is true that the Malayan, Javanese and Malagassy grammarians
talk of words signifying _to be_; but an attentive comparison of the
elements which they profess to give as such, shows clearly that they
are no verbs at all, but simply pronouns or indeclinable particles,
commonly indicating the time, place or manner of the specified
action or relation. It is not therefore easy to conceive how the
mind of a Philippine islander, or of any other person, can supply a
word totally unknown to it, and which there is not a particle of
evidence to show that it ever thought of."

Of the substitutes put in place of the substantive verb, by far the
most common are pronouns, and particles indicating position. Thus in
Coptic, the descendant of the ancient Egyptian, the demonstrative
_pe_, "this," after a noun singular masculine, or _te_ when the noun
is feminine, is equivalent to _is_; and _ne_, "these," after a
plural, to _are_. In the ancient hieroglyphic monuments the function
of the substantive verb is performed by the same means. Even in the
Semitic languages, which have substantive verbs, pronouns are
habitually used instead of them; so that _I I_, or _I he_, stands
for _I am_, and _we we_ or _we they_, for _we are_. "Thou art my
King" (Ps. 44, 5) is in the Hebrew "Thou _he_ my King;" "We are the
servants of the God of heaven" (Ezra 5, 11) is in Chaldee "We _they_
servants of the God of heaven;" "I am the light of the world," is in
Arabic "I _he_ the light of the world."

Although such modes of expression are foreign to the Indo-European
languages, even they furnish abundant evidence of the predicative
power of pronouns and particles. If any word required to have
inherent in it the peculiar affirmative power attributed to verbs,
it is the word _yes_. Accordingly Tooke derives it from the French
imperative _a-yez_: forgetting, or not knowing, that the Anglo-Saxon
_gese_ or _yea_ (cognate with the Sanscrit pronoun _ya_) was in
existence long before the French _ayez_. The fact is that Eng.
_yes_, Ger. _ja_, and the corresponding words in the other European
languages are oblique cases of demonstrative pronouns, and mean
simply "in this (manner)," or "thus." The Italian _si_ (yes) is from
Lat. _sic_, (thus); the Provençal _oc_ is from Lat. _hoc_; and the
modern Fr. _oui_ was originally a combination of _hoc illo_, and
passed through the stages of _ocil_ and _oil_ into its present form.

The consideration of these and a multitude of similar phenomena
suggests, that the Sanscrit _as-mi_, Gr. _ei-mi_, Lat. _s-um_ (for
_es-um_), Eng. _a-m_, may have had for its root the demonstrative
pronoun _sa_, and meant primarily "that (or there) as to me." Be
that as it may, all philologists are agreed that the verbs now used
to express _being_ in the abstract, expressed originally something
physical and palpable. Thus Ital. _stato_, Fr. _été_, _been_, are
from the Lat. _statum_, the participle of _sto_, "to stand;" and
_exist_ itself meant "to stand out or be prominent." Eng. _be_, Lat.
_fu-_ is identical with Gr. _phy-_ "to grow;" and, according to Max
Müller, as the root of _as-mi_ meant "breath" or "breathing." It may
then be safely affirmed that no word had for its primary function to
express mere existence; it seems enough for the purpose of
predication that existence be implied.

With regard to ordinary verbs, the analytic processes of comparative
grammar show no traces of a substantive verb entering into their
structure. It is now an accepted doctrine of philology that, as a
rule, the root of a verb is of the nature of an abstract noun; and
that it became a verb simply by the addition of a pronominal
affix--as in the Greek [Greek: di/-dô-mi, di/-dô-s, di/-dô-si], in
which the terminations were originally [Greek: -mi, -si, -ti]. The
habits of thought arising out of the present analytic state of the
Indo-European languages naturally lead us to conceive these
pronominal affixes as nominatives. But _gift I_ does not seem a very
natural way of getting at the meaning "I give;" and therefore Mr.
Garnett maintains that the affixes were originally in an oblique
case--the genitive or the instrumental--so that the literal meaning
was "gift of me," or "giving by me." That this is the nature of the
verb in the agglutinate languages--by far the most numerous
class--it seems hardly possible to dispute; for in these the affixes
remain rigidly distinct and little disguised. Thus, according to
Garnett, the Wotiak, in order to express "my son," "thy son," &c.,
joins oblique cases of the personal pronouns to the noun _pi_ in the
following way:--

  pi-[)i] .... son of me
  pi-ed . . .  son of thee
  pi-ez . . .  son  of him
  pi-mi . . .  son of us
  pi-dy . . .  son of you
  pi-zy . . .  son of them

In an exactly similar way the preterite of the verb to speak stands

  bera-i . . . speech of me == I spoke
  bera-d . . . speech of thee
  bera-z . . . speech of him
  bera-my . .  speech of us
  bera-dy . .  speech of you
  bera-zy . .  speech of them

In the Fiji language _loma_ means "heart" or "will;" and _loma-qu_
(heart of me) may, according to the connection, signify either "my
heart or will," or "I will."

In the inflected languages the affixes are so amalgamated with the
root and otherwise obliterated that there is no such direct evidence
of their nature; but a great many facts tend to show that the
structure of the verb was originally the same as in the agglutinate

If this analysis of the verb is correct, the affirmation of
existence found no expression in the early stages of language; _the
real copula connecting the subject with the predicate was the
proposition contained in the oblique case of the pronominal

[Editor's footnote 54: The interesting and important philological
facts adduced by Mr. Findlater, confirm and illustrate in a very
striking manner the doctrine in the text, of the radical distinction
between the functions of the copula in predication, and those of the
substantive verb; by shewing that many languages have no substantive
verb, no verb expressive of mere *existence, and yet signify their
predications by other means; and that probably all languages began
without a substantive verb, though they must always have had

The confusion between these two different functions in the European
languages, and the ambiguity of the verb To Be, which fulfils them
both, are among the most important of the minor philosophical truths
to which attention has been called by the author of the Analysis. As
in the case of many other luminous thoughts, an approach is found to
have been made to it by previous thinkers. Hobbes, though he did not
reach it, came very close to it, and it was still more distinctly
anticipated by Laromiguière, though without any sufficient
perception of its value. It occurs in a criticism on a passage of
Pascal, and in the following words. "Quand on dit, l'être est,
_etc._ le mot _est_, ou le verbe, n'exprime pas la même chose que le
mot être, sujet de la définition. Si j'énonce la proposition
suivante: Dieu est existant, je ne voudrais pas dire assurément,
Dieu existe existant: cela ne ferait pas un sens; de même, si je
dis que Virgile est poëte, je ne veux pas donner à entendre que
Virgile existe. Le verbe _est_, dans la proposition, n'exprime donc
pas l'existence réelle; il n'exprime qu'un rapport spécial entre le
sujet et l'attribut, le rapport du contenant au contenu," &c.
(Leçons de Philosophie, 7^{me} ed. vol. i. p. 307.) Having thus hit
upon an unobvious truth in the course of an argument directed to
another purpose, he passes on and takes no further notice of it.

It may seem strange that the verb which signifies existence should
have been employed in so many different languages as the sign of
predication, if there is no real connection between the two
meanings. But languages have been built up by the extension of an
originally small number of words, with or without alterations of
form, to express new meanings, the choice of the word being often
determined by very distant analogies. In the present case, the
analogy is not distant. All our predications are intended to declare
the manner in which something affects, or would affect, ourselves or
others. Our idea of existence is simply the idea of something which
affects or would affect us somehow, without distinction of mode.
Everything, therefore, which we can have occasion to assert of an
existing thing, may be looked upon as a particular mode of its
existence. Since snow is white, and since snow exists, it may be
said to exist white; and if a sign was wanted by which to predicate
white of snow, the word exists would be very likely to present
itself. But most of our predications do relate to existing things:
and this being so, it is in the ordinary course of the human mind
that the same sign should be adhered to when we are predicating
something of a merely imaginary thing (an abstraction, for instance)
and that, being so used, it should create an association between the
abstraction and the notion of real existence.--_Ed._]

{179} We have now observed, wherein Predication consists, and the
instruments by which it is performed. {180} We have also, in part,
contemplated the End which it is destined to fulfil; that is, to
mark the order in which sensations and ideas follow one another in a
{181} train. On this last part of the subject, however, the
following observations are still required.

The trains, the order of which we have occasion to {182} mark, may
for the elucidation of the present subject, be divided into two
classes. We have occasion to {183} mark, either, first, The series
of the objects we have seen, heard, or otherwise perceived by our
senses; or, {184} secondly, A train of thoughts which may have
passed in our minds.

1. When we come to record a train of the objects we have perceived,
that is, a train of sensations, the sensations have become ideas;
for the objects are not now acting on our senses, and the sensations
are at an end.

The order of the objects of our senses, is either the order of time,
or the order of place. The first is the order of SUCCESSION; when
one object comes first, another next, and so on. The second is the
order of POSITION; when the objects are considered as simultaneous,
but different in distance and direction from a particular point.

Let us observe in what manner the artifice of {185} Predication is
adapted to the marking of a train in either of those orders: and
first, with respect to a train in the order of Time.

Of this the following may be taken as a simple example. "The sun
rises; clouds form; clouds cover the sky; lightning flashes; thunder
roars." It is easy in these expressions to observe, what were the
sensations, and in what order they succeeded one another. It is also
observable, that the order is denoted by so many Predications; and
that Predication is our only expedient for denoting their order.
First sensation, "sight of the sun;" second sensation, "rising of
the sun;" these two denoted shortly and in their order by the
Predication, "the sun rises." Third sensation, "sight of clouds;"
fourth sensation, "forming of clouds;" these two again shortly
denoted in their order by the Predication, "clouds form." The next,
"clouds cover the sky," needs no further explanation; but there is a
peculiar artifice of language in the two following Predications;
"lightning flashes," "thunder roars," which deserves to be well
understood. "Lightning flashes;" here there is but one sensation,
the sensation of sight, which we call a flash. But there are various
kinds of flashes; this is a peculiar one, and I want to mark
peculiarly what it is. It is not a flash on the earth, but a flash
in the sky; it will not, however, sufficiently distinguish the flash
in question, to say, the sky flashes, because other flashes come
from the sky. What then is my contrivance? I form the fancy of a
cause of this particular flash, though I know nothing concerning it,
and for this unknown cause I invent a name, and call it lightning. I
have then an expression which always accurately {186} marks the
sensation I mean to denote: I say, "the lightning flashes," "a flash
of lightning," and so on. "Thunder roars," is another case of the
same artifice. The noise here is the only sensation; but in order to
distinguish it from all other noises, I invent a name for its
unknown cause, and by its means can mark the sensation with perfect

The Fictions, after this manner resorted to, for the purpose of
marking; though important among the artifices of naming; have
contributed largely to the misdirection of thought.

By the unfortunate ambiguity of the _Copula_, EXISTENCE is affirmed
of them in every Predication into which they enter. The idea of
EXISTENCE becomes, by this means, inseparable from them; and their
true nature, as Creatures of the mind, and nothing more, is rarely,
and not without difficulty, perceived.

The mode in which a train, in the order of place, is marked by the
artifice of Predication, may be thus exemplified: "The house is on a
hill; a lawn is in front; a stable is on the left hand; a garden is
on the right; a wood is behind." It is not necessary, after the
exposition of the preceding example, to exhibit the detail of the
marking performed by these Predications. The reader can trace the
sensations, the order of them, and the mode of the marking,
according to the specimen which has just been exhibited.

2. The trains of thought which pass in our minds, are sequences, the
items of which are connected in three principal ways: 1st, as cause
and effect; 2dly, as resembling; 3dly, as included under the same
name. A short illustration of each of these cases will {187}
complete the account of predication, as a contrivance for marking
the order of ideas.

To illustrate a sequence, connected as Cause and Effect, let me
suppose that I have a flint and steel in my hand, which I am about
to strike, one against the other, but at that instant perceive a
barrel of gunpowder open, close before me. I withhold the stroke in
consequence of the train of thought which suggests to me the
ultimate effect. If I have occasion to mark the train, I can only do
it by a series of Predications, each of which marks a sequence in
the train of causes and effects. "I strike the flint on the steel,"
first sequence. "The stroke produces a spark," second sequence. "The
spark falls on gunpowder," third sequence. "The spark ignites the
gunpowder," fourth sequence. "The gunpowder ignited makes an
explosion," fifth sequence. The ideas contained in these
propositions must all have passed through my mind, and this is the
only mode in which language enables me to mark them in their

[Editor's footnote 55: It is necessary again to notice the
consistent omission, throughout the author's theory of Predication,
of the element Belief. In the case supposed, the ideas contained in
all the propositions might have passed through the mind, without our
being led to assert the propositions. I might have thought of every
step in the series of phenomena mentioned, might have pictured all
of them in my imagination, and have come to the conclusion that they
would not happen. I therefore should not have made, either in words
or in thought, the predication, This gunpowder will explode if I
strike the flint against the steel. Yet the same ideas would have
passed through my mind in the same order, in which they stand in the
text. The only deficient link would have been the final one, the

{188} The sequences of which the items are connected by Resemblance
will not require much illustration. I see A, who suggests B to me by
his stature. B suggests C by the length of his nose. C suggests D by
the similarity of their profession, and so on. The series of my
thoughts is sufficiently obvious. How do I proceed when I have
occasion to mark it? I use a series of predications. "I see A;" this
predication marks the first item, my sight of A. "A is tall," the
second. "A man of like tallness is B," the third; and so on.

The mode in which thoughts are united in a Syllogism, is the leading
example of the third case. Let us consider the following very
familiar instance. "Every tree is a vegetable: every oak is a tree:
therefore, every oak is a vegetable." This is evidently a process of
naming. The primary idea is that of the object called an oak; from
the name oak, I proceed to the name tree, finding that the name oak,
is included in the name tree; and from the name tree, I proceed to
the name vegetable, finding that the name tree is included in the
name vegetable, and by consequence the name oak. This is the series
of thoughts, which is marked in order, by the three propositions or
predications of the syllogism.[56]

[Editor's footnote 56: For the present I shall only remark on this
theory of the syllogism, that it must stand or fall with the theory
of Predication of which it is the sequel. If, as I have maintained,
the propositions which are the premises of the syllogism are not
correctly described as mere processes of naming, neither is the
formula by which a third proposition is elicited from these two a
process of mere naming. What it is, will be considered

{189} The Predications of Arithmetic are another instance of the
same thing. "One and one are two." This again is a mere process of
naming. What I call one and one, in numbering things, are objects,
sensations, or clusters of sensations; suppose, the striking of the
clock. The same sounds which I call one and one, I call also two; I
have for these sensations, therefore, two names which are exactly
equivalent: so when I say, one and one and one are three: or when I
say, two and two are four: ten and ten are twenty: and the same when
I put together any two numbers whatsoever. The series of thoughts in
these instances is merely a series of names applicable to the same
thing, and meaning the same thing.

Beside the two purposes of language, of which I took notice at the
beginning of this inquiry; the recording of a man's thoughts for his
own use, and the communication of them to others; there is a use, to
which language is subservient, of which some account is yet to be
given. There are complex sensations, and complex ideas, made up of
so many items, that one is not distinguishable from another. Thus, a
figure of one hundred sides, is not distinguishable from one of
ninety-nine sides. A thousand men in a crowd are not distinguishable
from nine hundred and ninety-nine. But in all cases, in which the
complexity of the idea arises from the repetition of the same idea,
names can be invented upon a plan, which shall render them distinct,
up to the very highest degree of complication. Numbers are a set of
names contrived upon this plan, and for this very purpose. Ten and
the numbers below ten, are the repetition of so many ones: twenty,
thirty, forty, &c., up to a hundred, are {190} the repetition of so
many tens: two hundred, three hundred, &c., the repetition of so
many hundreds; and so on. These are names, which afford an immediate
reference to the ones or units, of which they are composed; and the
highest numbers are as easily distinguished by the difference of a
unit as the lowest. All the processes of Arithmetic are only so many
contrivances to substitute a distinct name for an indistinct one.
What, for example, is the purpose of addition? Suppose I have six
numbers, of which I desire to take the sum, 18, 14, 9, 25, 19, 15;
these names, eighteen, and fourteen, and nine, &c., form a compound
name; but a name which is not distinct. By summing them up, I get
another name, exactly equivalent, one hundred, which is in the
highest degree distinct, and gives me an immediate reference to the
units or items of which it is composed; and this is of the highest

That the Predications of Geometry are of the same nature with those
of Arithmetic, is a truth of the greatest importance, and capable of
being established by very obvious reasoning. It is well known, that
all reasoning about quantity can be expressed in the form of
algebraic equations. But the two sides of an algebraic equation are
of necessity two marks or two names for the same thing; of which the
one on the right-hand side is more distinct, at least to the present
purpose of the inquirer, than the one on the left-hand side; and the
whole purpose of an algebraic investigation, which is a mere series
of changes of names, is to obtain, at last, a distinct name, a name
the marking power of which is perfectly known to us, on the
right-hand side of the equation. The language of geometry {191}
itself, in the more simple cases, makes manifest the same
observation. The amount of the three angles of a triangle, is twice
a right angle. I arrive at this conclusion, as it is called, by a
process of reasoning: that is to say, I find out a name "twice a
right angle," which much more distinctly points out to me a certain
quantity, than my first name, "amount of the three angles of a
triangle;" and the process by which I arrive at this name is a
successive change of names, and nothing more; as any one may prove
to himself by merely observing the steps of the demonstration.[57]

[Editor's footnote 57: I cannot see any propriety in the expression
that when we infer the sum of the three angles of a triangle to be
twice a right angle, the operation consists in finding a second name
which more distinctly points out the quantity than the first name.
When we assent to the proof of this theorem, we do much more than
obtain a new and more expressive name for a known fact; we learn a
fact previously unknown. It is true that one result of our knowledge
of this theorem is to give us a name for the sum of the three
angles, "the marking power of which is perfectly known to us:" but
it was not for want of knowing the marking power of the phrase "sum
of the three angles of a triangle" that we did not know what that
sum amounted to. We knew perfectly what the expression "sum of the
three angles" was appointed to mark. What we have obtained, that we
did not previously possess, is not a better mark for the same thing,
but an additional fact to mark the fact which is marked by
predicating of that sum, the phrase "twice a right angle."--_Ed._]

There is one important class of words, the NAMES of NAMES; of which
we shall have occasion to take account more particularly hereafter,
and of which it is necessary here to speak only as they form a
variety of Predication. A few examples will make the case {192}
intelligible. WORD is a generical name for all Names. It is not the
name of a Thing, as chair is the name of a thing, or watch, or
picture. But word is a _name_ for these several _names_; chair is a
word, watch is a word, picture is a word, and so of all other names.
Thus grammatical and logical terms are names of names. The word
_noun_, is the name of one class of words, _verb_ of another,
_preposition_ of another, and so on. The word _sentence_, is the
name of a series of words put together for a certain purpose; the
word _paragraph_ the same; and so _oration_, _discourse_, _essay_,
_treatise_, &c. The words _genus_ and _species_, are not names of
things, but of names. Genus is not the name of any thing called
animal or any thing called body; it is a name of the _names_ animal,
body, and so on; the _name_ animal is a _genus_, the name _body_ is
a _genus_; and in like manner is the _name_ man a _species_, the
_name_ horse, the name crow, and so on. The name _proposition_, the
name _syllogism_, are names of a series of words put together for a
particular purpose; and so is the term _definition_; and the term
_argument_. It will be easily seen that these words enter into
Predication precisely on the same principles as other words. Either
the more distinct is predicated of the less distinct, its
equivalent; or the more comprehensive of the less comprehensive.
Thus we say, that nouns and verbs are declinables; preposition and
adverb indeclinables; where the more comprehensive terms are
predicated of the less. Thus we say, that adjectives and verbs are
attributes; where the more distinct is predicated of the less.[58]

[Editor's footnote 58: This exposition of the class of words which
are properly names of names, belongs originally to Hobbes, and is
highly {193} important. They are a kind of names, the signification
of which is very often misunderstood, and has given occasion to much
hazy speculation. It should however be remarked that the words genus
and species are not solely names of names; they are ambiguous. A
genus never indeed means (as many of the schoolmen supposed) an
abstract entity, distinct from all the individuals composing the
class; but it often means the sum of those individuals taken
collectively; the class as a whole, distinguished on the one hand
from the single objects comprising it, and on the other hand from
the class name.--_Ed._]

{194} SECTION V.


The principal part of the artifice of Naming is now explained. We
have considered the nature of the more necessary marks, and the
manner in which they are combined so as to represent the order of a
train. Beside those marks, which are the fundamental part of
language, there are several classes of auxiliary words or marks, the
use of which is, to abbreviate expression, and to render it, what is
of great importance, a more rapid vehicle of thought. These are
usually comprehended under the titles of pronoun, adverb,
preposition, and conjunction; a classification which, for our
present purpose, has the best recommendation, that of being
familiarly known.

It is to be distinctly understood, that in the account which is here
to be given of the subsidiary parts of speech, it is but one part of
the explanation of them which will be attempted. The ideas, which
many of them stand for, are of the most complicated kind, and have
not yet been expounded. We are, therefore, not yet prepared to point
out the items which they mark. Our present business is only to
indicate the mode in which they are used in Predication, as part of
the great contrivance for marking the order of a train of ideas, and
for economizing the number of words.

It is also necessary to observe, that I have limited myself, in this
part, to brief indications, without {195} going into minute
development, the length of which, it appeared to me, would not be
compensated by the advantage.

In all speech *there is a _speaker_; there is some _person spoken
to_; and there is some _person_ or _thing spoken of_. These
objects constitute three Classes, marks of which are perpetually
required. Any artifice, therefore, to abridge the use of marks, of
such frequent recurrence, was highly to be desired. One expedient
offered itself obviously, as likely to prove of the highest utility.
Speakers constituted one class, with numerous names; persons spoken
to, a second class; persons and things spoken of, a third. A
generical name might be invented for each class; a name, which would
include all of a class, and which singly might be used as the
substitute of many. For this end were the Personal Pronouns invented
and such is their character and office. "I," is the generical mark
which includes all marks of the class, _speakers_. "Thou," is a
generical mark, which includes all marks of the class, _persons
spoken to_. "He," "she," "it," are marks, which include all marks of
the class, _persons_ or _things spoken of_.

By forming Adjectives from certain kinds of Nouns we obtain a useful
class of specific names. From wool we make woollen; and woollen,
attached to various generic names, furnishes us with specific names;
thus we say woollen cloth, which is a species of cloth; woollen
yarn, which is a species of yarn; woollen garment, which is a
species of garment. So, from the word gold we make golden, which
furnishes us with a greater number of specific names; from wood
wooden, which furnishes us with a still greater number. Adjectives
are {196} formed in like manner from the personal pronouns: from I,
my or mine; from Thou, thy or thine; from He, She, It, his, hers,
its; also from the plurals of them, ours, yours, theirs. These
adjectives answer a purpose of very frequent recurrence; that of
singling out, from any class of objects, a sub-class, or an
individual, bearing a peculiar relation, to the _person speaking_,
the _person spoken to_, or the _person_ or _thing spoken of_. Thus,
when I say, my sheep or my oxen, I denote a sub-class of those
animals, those which stand in the relation of property to the
speaker; when I say thy sheep or oxen, I denote a sub-class in the
same relation to the person spoken to; and when I say his sheep or
oxen, a sub-class, standing in that relation to the person spoken
of. When I say my son, thy wife, his father, I single out
individuals having that relation.

The Demonstrative Pronouns, This and That, are of great utility.
They serve to individualize any thing in a class. One of these marks
put upon a specific mark, makes it an individual mark. Thus, the
mark "man," is the name of a class: put upon it the mark this, or
that; this man, and that man, are marks, signs, or names, of
individuals. In this manner innumerable individual names can be
made, without adding a single word to the cumbrous materials of

The nature of the Relative Pronoun is not difficult to understand.
It supplies the place of a personal pronoun and a conjunction, in
connecting a Predication with the subject, or predicate of another
proposition. Thus, "John received a wound, which occasioned his
death," is of the same import as "John received a wound, _and it_
occasioned his death." This {197} is a case in which the Relative
connects a subsequent predication with the _predicate_ of an
antecedent predication. The following are cases in which it connects
a subordinate predication with the _subject_ of the principal one:
"Erasmus, _who_ was a lover of truth, but of a timid character,
hesitated between the new and the old religion." Erasmus, _and he_
was a lover of truth, &c. "The man _who_ spoke to you is my father."
"The man spoke to you, _and he_ is my father."[59]

[Findlater's footnote 59: There is really no well marked distinction
between relative pronouns and demonstrative pronouns, either in
their origin or in their use. Of the demonstrative roots _ka_, _sa_,
_ta_, _ja_, derivatives from the *guttural _ka_ prevail as relatives
in Latin and its modern descendants (Lat. _qui_, It. _che_, Fr.
_qui_), and in the Teutonic languages (Goth. _hva_, Eng. _who_, Ger.
_wer_, _welch_), but by no means exclusively. In Greek the relative
differs little from the article, which is also used as a
demonstrative and a personal pronoun. Modern Italian uses as a
demonstrative a compound of the Latin _qui_ with _iste_ and
_illa_--_questo_, _quella_. In German the relative proper, viz.
_welch_, is comparatively little used, its place being supplied by
the article _der_, which is merely an unemphatic demonstrative; and
in English _that_ is perhaps as often used as who or which.

The relative serves for two purposes, which it is useful to
distinguish. (1) It may add on either a clause containing an
independent proposition, as in the example in the text, "John
received a wound, which occasioned his death;" or a clause dependent
in some way upon the preceding--_e.g._ assigning the reason of it,
as, "It was unjust to punish the servant, who only did what he was
ordered." (2) The clause introduced by the relative may serve simply
to limit or define a noun, in the way that an adjective or another
noun in apposition does, as "The man who spoke to you is my father."
It is in this latter use of the relative, and in no other, that it
is permissible in English to use _that_; to substitute _that_ for
_which_ in the first of the other two sentences, or for _who_ in the
second, would give a different meaning. Now it is only in the cases
in which _that_ could not be substituted for who or which that the
relative involves the force of a conjunction; and it is not always
_and_ that is the conjunction involved. The conjunction has no
verbal expression, and never had; it is only suggested, and the mind
supplies that which best suits the logical connection. When the
predication of the relative clause is co-ordinate with the
preceding, as in the first example, _and_ is the proper conjunction
to supply. In the sentence about the punishment of the servant,
_who_ is equivalent to _for he_; and in that about Erasmus, in the
text, to _inasmuch as he_. When the relative clause merely defines,
no conjunction of any kind is even implied. In such a sentence as
"He rewarded the man that rescued him," the relative clause is the
answer to a question naturally suggested by "He rewarded the
man"--what man? "The or that (man) rescued him;" which is equivalent
to, "his rescuer." To resolve it into "And that man rescued him,"
gives quite a different meaning; namely, that he rewarded some man
(otherwise known to the hearers) for something (likewise known to
them), and that this man now rescued him.--_F._]

{198} The Interrogative is easily explained. It is merely the
Relative, in a very elliptical form of expression. The interrogative
sentence, "_Who_ gave you that book?" when the subaudition is
supplied, is thus expressed: The person gave you the book, _and him_
I will you to name to me. "_What_ is the hour of the day?" is an
elliptical form of,--It is an hour of the day, _and it_ I will you
to tell me.



The power of this class of words, in the great business of marking,
and the extent of the service rendered by them, will be so easily
seen, that a few words will suffice to explain them. Adverbs may be
reduced under five heads; 1, Adverbs of Time; 2, Adverbs of Place;
3, Adverbs of Quantity; 4, Adverbs of Quality; 5, Adverbs of
Relation. They are mostly abridgments, capable of being substituted
for longer marks. And they are always employed for the purpose of
putting a modification upon the Subject, or the Predicate, of a
Proposition. A few examples will suffice for the further elucidation
of this subject. "Anciently," is an adverb of time. It is of the
same import as the expression, "In distant past time." It is applied
to modify the subject, or predicate, of a proposition, as in the
following example: "A number of men anciently in England had wives
in common." "Had wives in common," is the predicate of the above
proposition, and it is modified, or limited, in respect to time, by
the word "anciently." Adverbs of place it is easy to exemplify in
the same manner. Under adverbs of quantity all those which mark
degrees may be included; as greatly, minutely: Thus, "He enlarged
greatly upon patriotism:" "Greatly" here means "in many words;" and
it modifies the predicate, "enlarged," &c. Adverbs of {200} quality
and relation are exceedingly numerous, because they are easily made
from the words which connote the quality or relation: thus, from
hard, hardly; from loud, loudly; from sweet, sweetly; from warm,
warmly: again, from father, paternally; from son, filially; from
magistrate, magisterially; from high, highly; from expensive,
expensively; and so on. In all this no difficulty is presented which
requires removing.[60]

[Editor's footnote 60: In many cases, and even in some of the
examples given, the adverb does not modify either the subject or the
predicate, but the application of the one to the other. "Anciently,"
in the proposition cited, is intended to limit and qualify not men,
nor community of wives, but the practice by men of community of
wives: it is a circumstance affecting not the subject or the
predicate, but the predication. The qualification of past and
distant time attaches to the fact asserted, and to the copula, which
is the mark of assertion. The reason of its seeming to attach to the
predicate is because, as the author remarked in a previous section,
the predicate, when a verb, includes the copula.--_Ed._]



It is easy to see in what manner Prepositions are employed to
abridge the process of discourse. They render us the same service
which, we have seen, is rendered by adjectives, in affording the
means of naming minor classes, taken out of larger, with a great
economy of names. Thus, when we say, "a man with a black skin," this
compound name, "a man with a black skin;" is the name of a
sub-class, taken out of the class man; and when we say, "a black man
with a flat nose and woolly hair;" this still more compound name is
the name of a minor class, taken out of the sub-class, "men with a
black skin."

Prepositions always stand before some word of the class called by
grammarians nouns substantive. And these nouns substantive they
connect with other nouns substantive, with adjectives, or with
verbs. We shall consider the use of them, in each of those cases.

1. Substantives are united to Substantives by prepositions, on
purpose to mark something added, something taken away, something
possessed or owned. Thus, a man with a dog, a horse without a
saddle, a man of wealth, a man of pleasure, and so on.

It was first shewn by Mr. Horne Tooke, that prepositions, in their
origin, are verbs, or nouns. Thus the prepositions in English, which
note the modifications effected by adding to, or taking from, were
{202} originally concrete words, which, beside something connoted by
them, marked particularly _junction_, or _disjunction_. In the use
of them as prepositions, that part of their signification, which we
have called the connotation, has been dropped; and the notation
alone remains. Prepositions, therefore, are a sort of abstract
terms, to answer a particular purpose. To express my idea of a man
with a dog (a very complex idea, consisting of two clusters; one,
that which is marked by the term man; the other, that which is
marked by the term dog); it is not enough that I set down the term
Man, and the term Dog; it is necessary, besides, that I have a mark
for that particular _junction_ of them, which my mind is making. For
that mark I use the preposition "with." "Without" denotes
disjunction in a similar manner, and requires no further
explanation. The preposition "of," by which possession or ownership
is denoted, (formerly, as remarked by Mr. Gilchrist, written _og_,
_oc_, _ac_, &c.), is _eke_, or add. If we suppose that our verb
_have_ is of the same origin, _of_ is merely the verb, which
signifies possessing; and the learner may thus conceive the nature
of its different applications.[7*] "A man of wealth," a man hav(ing)
wealth; "a field of ten acres," a field hav(ing) ten acres; so, "a
house of splendour;" "a woman of gallantry;" in all of which cases,
beside the two clusters of ideas, marked by the two names which the
preposition connects, there is an idea of possession coming between.

[*Mill's footnote 7: See note at p. 209.]

Here, however, a peculiarity is to be noted. When there is a
possessor, there is something possessed. {203} The preposition,
therefore, which marks the relation between the possessor and the
possessed, stands ambiguously between the active and the passive
power. It, therefore, partakes more of the active or the passive
signification, according to the position of the words which it is
employed to connect. In the instances previously given, we have seen
that it had clearly an active signification. In the following it has
clearly a passive. "The book of John;" the book _of_, hav(ed) John.
"The Creator of the world;" Creator hav(ed). "The wealth of
Croesus;" wealth hav(ed).

Of is employed in a partitive sense, when one of the words denotes a
part of the other; as "half of the army;" "many of the people;"
"much of the loss." In this case the idea of possession is
sufficiently obvious to support the analogy. The parts are
possessed, had, by the whole. "Part of the debt," part hav(ed) the

It is easy to see how the preposition with a substantive, serves the
purpose of a new adjective. Thus, in the expression, "a man with one
eye," the words, "with one eye," might have been supplied by an
adjective, having the same meaning or marking power; and the French
language actually has such an adjective, in the mark _borgne_. We
say, a man with red hair, and we have the adjective, red-haired; a
man of wealth, and we have the adjective, wealthy; a man of
strength, and we have the adjective, strong; cases which distinctly
exemplify our observation.

2. We come now to shew in what manner, and with what advantage,
prepositions are employed to connect Substantives with Adjectives.
The following {204} classes of adjectives will furnish sufficient
illustration of this part of the subject: 1, Adjectives of place or
position; *2, Adjectives of time or succession; 3, Adjectives
signifying profit or disprofit; 4, Adjectives of plenty or want; 5,
Adjectives signifying an affection or state of the mind.

Adjectives of position, such as near, distant, high, low, have the
ordinary power of adjectives, as marks upon marks; and an additional
power, which will best be explained by examples. When we say "a
distant house," "a neighbouring town;" the words "distant," and
"neighbouring," are not only marks upon "house," and "town," but
refer to something else: "a _distant_ house," is a house distant
from _something_; "a _neighbouring_ town," is a town neighbouring
_something_: it may mean "a house distant from my house," "a town
neighbouring my house:" in these cases, we should say that the
adjective has both a notation, and a connotation. The adjective
_distant_, for example, notes _house_, and connotes _my house_;
neighbouring, notes _town_, connotes _my house_. It is next,
however, to be observed, that the connotation, in such cases, would
be vague without a mark to determine it. The expression would be
very imperfect, if, after the word high, we were merely to put the
word "hill;" and say, "the house is high the hill;" or, "the house
is distant the post-town." Prepositions supply this defect. We say,
"the house is high _on_ the hill;" "the house is distant _from_ the
post-town." In the case of some adjectives, their juxta-position
makes the reference sufficiently precise; and in that case, the
preposition may be dispensed with; as, near the town, near the road,

{205} It is observable, that the adjectives of position are not
numerous. Some very general ones are used; and the sub-species are
formed out of them by the aid of prepositions. Thus we have the word
placed, which includes all positions; and this, joined with a
substantive and a preposition, marks positions of all kinds: thus we
can say, placed on the right hand, placed on the left hand, placed
behind the house, placed before the house, placed above it, placed
below it, placed in it, and so on.

It is not my intention to inquire into the precise meaning of each
of the prepositions. It is sufficient to have given a sample of the
inquiry, as in the case of the prepositions which connect
substantives with substantives; and to have shewn the mode of their
signification, as a kind of abstract terms, either active or

The varieties of time or succession are not many, and the words to
denote them, proportionally few. Previous, simultaneous, posterior,
are the principal adjectives; and the terms to which these words of
reference point, are marked by prepositions: thus we say, previous
to, simultaneous to, and also with; "with," as we have seen,
denoting junction, sameness of time.

Adjectives of profit or disprofit, need prepositions to mark their
connexion with the things benefited or hurt; as, hurtful to the
crop; good for the health. These adjectives afford a good example of
the manner in which generical adjectives are divided into numerous
sub-species, without the inconvenience of new names, by the aid of
the prepositions: thus, hurtful, which notes all kinds of
hurtfulness, is made to note {206} its various species, in the
following manner: hurtful to the health, hurtful to the eyes,
hurtful to the stomach, hurtful to the crops, hurtful to the
reputation: all different species of hurtfulness, which might be
noted by adjectives severally appropriated to them.

There is nothing particular to be remarked of the manner in which
adjectives of plenty, or want, or those signifying an affection of
the mind, are connected with the objects they connote, by
prepositions; we shall, therefore, proceed to shew the manner in
which verbs are connected with substantives, by their means.

3. All verbs are adjectives, either active or passive, put into a
particular form, for the sake of a particular connotation. All
actions, saving those which begin and end in the actor, have a
reference to a patient, or something acted on; and the being acted
on; the passion as it is called; has a reference to the actor.
Action, therefore, and passion, are relative terms, standing in the
order of cause and effect; agent and patient, are the names of the
subjects of the action and the passion, the cause and the effect.

Most actions are motions, or named by analogy to motions. In
applying terms denoting motion, there is particular occasion for
marking the two points of termination; the point at which it began,
and the point at which it ended. This is effected by the name of the
two places, and a preposition. The contrivance will be sufficiently
illustrated by an obvious example: "John travelled from London to
Dover:" "Travelled," the name of the motion; London, the point of
commencement; Dover, the point of termination: from, a word denoting
commencement, {207} connecting London with travelled; to, a word
signifying completion, connecting the word Dover, with the word

Some verbs, which imply motion, have their main, or only reference,
to the point of its termination. Thus, he stopped at Dover: he
struck him on the head: he stabbed him in the side. These
prepositions, whatever their precise import, which we shall not now
stop to inquire, mark, when thus applied to the name of the place at
which the respective motions terminated, the connexion of the two
names, that of the motion, and that of its point of termination.

With respect to motions, we have occasion to mark, not only the
points of their commencement and termination, but also their
direction. The direction of a motion, by which we mean the position
of the moving body, at the several points of its course, can only be
marked by a reference to other bodies, whose position is known.
Thus, "He walked through the field." The direction of the walk, or
the position of the walking man, at the several moments of it, is
marked by a reference to the field whose position is known to me,
and a word which means from side to side. The expression, "It flew
in a straight line," is less full and particular in its marking, but
clear and distinct, as far as it goes, by reference to a
modification of position; namely, a line, with which I am perfectly

In using verbs of action and passion, that is, words which mark a
certain cluster of ideas, we have occasion to modify such clusters,
by adding to, or taking from them, not only ideas of Position, as
above, but various other ideas; of which the idea of {208} the
Cause, or End, of the action, the idea of the Instrument with which
it was performed, and the idea of the Manner of the performance, are
among the principal. "John worked;" to this, a mark of a certain
cluster of ideas, I want to make an addition, that of the Cause or
End of his working. That End is, Bread. To mark this as the cause of
his working, it is not enough to set down the name bread; I need a
mark to fix its connexion with the working, and the kind of its
connexion. I say, "John worked for (cause) bread." "John was robbed
for (cause of the robbery) his money." The ideas of manner and
instrument are commonly annexed by one preposition; "John worked
with (joining) diligence," the manner; "John worked with a spade,"
the same idea, as "John with (joined) a spade worked;" spade, the
instrument. "John worked by the job, worked by the day;" manner:
"John worked by machinery," the instrument. "He was killed with
barbarity, with a cudgel."

We say, done with hurry, or in a hurry, done in haste. "In," which
seems to mark a modification of position, is here applied to that
which does not admit of position. Hurry and haste seem in such
expressions to be personified; to be things which surround an
action, and in the midst of which it is done.

We have compound names for many actions. Thus we may say, "he hurt
John," or "he did hurt to John," "he gave a lecture to John," or,
"he lectured John." The reason why a preposition is required before
the patient, in the case of the compound name of the action, and not
of the single name, is, that the word which stands with respect to
the verb in the {209} immediate relation of the recipient or patient
of the action, is not the man, but the thing done. Thus, in the
phrase, "he did hurt to John," it is not John which is done, but
hurt: in the phrase, "he gave a lecture to John," it is not John who
is given, but a lecture. There are here as it were, two patients,
lecture, the primary, John, the secondary; juxta-position marks the
connexion of the primary; but a preposition is necessary, to mark
that of the secondary.

The following phrases seem to admit of a similar explanation. "He
reminded him of his promise;" "he accused him of perjury;" "he
deprived him of his wife:" the secondary patients being "promise,"
"perjury," "wife." He reminded him of his promise (hav(ed) his
promise); the promise being the thing had or conceived in the
reminding: accused him of perjury; perjury being the thing had in
the accusation, the matter of the accusation: deprived him of his
wife; his wife being the matter of the deprivation; the thing
hav(ed) in it.[61]

[Findlater's footnote 61: The ingenious speculations of Mr. Tooke
did great service to the cause of philology in England, by awakening
a very general interest in the subject. But his knowledge of the
cognate languages was far too circumscribed to warrant his sweeping
inductions. In his day, in fact, the accesses had not yet been
opened up to this new mine, nor the right veins struck that have
since yielded such rich results. Accordingly nearly all Tooke's
derivations are now discredited, and among others his account of
prepositions. One or two English prepositions, of comparatively
recent formation, seem to be formed from nouns; as _among_ Ang. Sax.
_gemang_ or _ongemang_, _gemang_ meaning "mixture;" and _against_,
Ang. Sax. _on-gegen_ in which _gegen_, from its use in cognate
dialects, appears to be {210} a noun, though its primary meaning is
not very clear. These however still involve a preposition which has
to be accounted for. _Between_, again, is _by twain_, "near two;"
and _except_, _save_, _during_ were originally participles in the
case absolute; "except this" was originally "this excepted," Lat.
hoc excepto. But the simple prepositions _in_, _of_, _by_ belong to
the radical elements of language, and are more independent of nouns
and verbs than nouns and verbs are of them. Comparative philology,
which did not exist in Tooke's days, has shewn, that, besides
predicative roots, as they are called--that is syllables expressive
of some action or property, such as "to go," "to eat," "to be
bright," "to speak," &c., which form the bases of nouns, adjectives,
and verbs--there was a class of roots denoting simply relations in
space, that is, place or direction (here or this, there or that, up,
down, away, &c.). It is easy to see how the audible marks of such
notions, at first, doubtless, vague enough, would be rendered
precise and intelligible by gesticulations; or perhaps the
gesticulations were the original signs, and the words mere
involuntary exclamations accompanying them, and in time taking their
place. These syllables have been called local, demonstrative, or
pronominal roots, and play a most important part in language. They
are joined to other roots to form derivatives of various kinds; and
it is of them that the inflexional endings of nouns and verbs are
built up. Singly or in combination, they constitute the pronouns,
personal as well as demonstrative. Abstract as are now the meanings
of _I_, _he_, they were once patent to the senses; _ma_ was an
emphatic "here," calling attention to the speaker; _sa_ or _ta_,
"there, that," something different from both speaker and hearer.
Most of the prepositions originated in roots of this class. The
roots of some of them, at least, are identical with those of
pronouns; others express direction, and thus imply motion. Thus _up_
means, "(motion) from below to above;" in the root FR (as in _for_,
_from_), which is represented in Sans. Gr. and Lat. by PR (pro), the
ground idea is, motion or removal from the speaker, in the front
direction. _Of_ is the Gothic _af_, Old Ger. _aba_ or _apa_, Sans.
_apa_, Gr. [Greek: a)po\] {211} Lat. _a_ or _ab_. It is not easy to
determine the precise physical relation primarily expressed by this
particle; probably "proceeding from," or "descending or depending
from." If there is any connection between _of_ and _have_, it is
more likely that _have_ is derived from _of_ than the reverse. That
not a few verbs have this kind of origin, is now recognised; the
English _utter_ from _out_ is a signal example.

The primary relations expressed by prepositions were always physical
or sensible; but the transition to the abstruse mental relations
which they now serve to mark (cause instrumentality, superiority,
&c.) is, as a rule, sufficiently obvious. For example, "issuing or
proceeding from" passes insensibly into "being part of," "belonging
to," "in the possession of."--_F._]



The Conjunctions are distinguished from the Prepositions, by
connecting Predications; while the Prepositions connect only Words.

There are seeming exceptions, however, to this description, the
nature of which ought to be understood. They are all of one kind;
they all belong to those cases of Predication, in which either the
subject or the predicate consists of enumerated particulars; and in
which the Conjunction is employed to mark the enumeration. Thus we
say, "Four, and four, and two, are ten." Here the _subject_ of the
predication consists of three enumerated particulars, and the
conjunction seems to connect words, and not predications. In like
manner, we say, "His bag was full of hares, and pheasants, and
partridges." In this last case, the _predicate_ is composed of
enumerated particulars. In these instances, the words called
conjunctions, appear to perform the business of prepositions, in
joining _words_: and in fact, they may be supplied by prepositions.
Thus, instead of "four, and four, and two, are ten," we may say
"four, with four, with two, are ten:" and, in the same way, "His bag
was full of hares, and pheasants, and partridges," may be put "full
of hares, with pheasants, with partridges." And nothing can be more
simple than such a variety in the use of such words.

{213} _With_ means _join_; _and_ means _add_.[62] These are words of
the same kind, and the same import; and nothing but use has
appropriated the one to the joining of words rather than
predications, the other to the joining of predications rather than

[Findlater's footnote 62: This is according to Tooke's etymology,
who traces _and_ to an Ang. Sax. verb _anan_, to add. Unfortunately,
Anglo-Saxon scholars deny that there is such a verb. The nearest to
it is _unnan_, which means, however, merely "to wish well to," "to
favour." No satisfactory account has been given of _and_, but the
analogy of other conjunctions would connect it with a demonstrative
root. J. Grimm is inclined to consider it as a nasalised form of the
Lat. _et_; which in its turn may be an inversion of Greek [Greek:
ti\], just as _ac_, is of [Greek: kai\].

All conjunctions are essentially adverbs, and derive their
connective power from their adverbial meaning. This is well seen in
_also_, the radical meaning of which is "all (quite) in that (the
same) way." Most of the adverbs used as conjunctions are obviously
oblique cases of pronouns; so, as, than, when, where, tum, ubi,
quam, quum. In Gothic, _jah_, (Old Ger. _ja_, Finnish _ja_; of the
same origin as Eng. _yes_) takes the place of _and_, and means "in
that or the same (manner)." The Gr. [Greek: kai\] and the Lat. que,
"and," are similarly oblique cases from the root _ka_, and
equivalent to "in which or that (manner)." The identity of manner or
circumstance constitutes the mental bond. It is easy to see how a
preposition used adverbially and expressing proximity, distance, or
other relative position, would connect predications or ideas; _e.g._
"_After_ he had rested a little, he began again."--_F._]

Our object, however, on the present occasion, is distinct, both from
that of the grammarian, and that of the etymologist. We have shewn,
that a set of marks are exceedingly useful to connect single words,
and by what contrivances this end is accomplished; it remains for us
to shew, what use there is of marks {214} to connect Predications;
and by what contrivances that object is attained.

The occasions for the use of marks to connect Predications, seem to
be of two kinds.

First, When two Predications are to be marked, as following one

Secondly, When they are to be marked, as modified, the one by the

1. Those of the first kind need but few words for their explanation.

I may say, "Newton was a mathematician," "Locke was a
metaphysician," "Milton was a poet." So stated, these Predications
do not mark any particular order in my thoughts. I desire, however,
to show, that the ideas thereby expressed, were proximate parts of
the train in my mind. The word _and_, which means _add_, placed
between every pair, affords the requisite indication.

Like _and_, the conjunction _nor_ marks predications in sequence. It
differs from _and_ only in uniting negative predications. "The act
is not honourable, _nor_ is the man honest." In this case, it is
obvious that _nor_, whatever its origin, has the meaning of _and
not_. The predications then are two negative predications, the
sequence of which, is marked by the word _and_.

_But_, though it has been otherwise classed, and called adversative,
is of the same kind, and simply marks the sequence. Thus we say,
"Catiline was a brave man, but Catiline was a wicked man." The
meaning of _but_ is scarcely different from that of _and_, addition
being the fundamental idea signified by both of them. The
_opposition_ between the two predications is signified by the
predications themselves, not by the {215} connective.[63] In fact,
the sense would not be changed, if we substituted _and_ for _but_.
It is only because, in use, _but_ has been commonly confined to the
sequence of two _opposing_ predications, that the word _but_ is no
sooner expressed, than an _opposing_ predication is anticipated.
This is a simple case of association.

[Findlater's footnote 63: This is not strictly correct. _But_ is
compounded of the two prepositions or local particles _by_ and _out_
(Ang. Sax. _bi utan_); and the force of it, in the example given in
the text, may be thus paraphrased: "Catiline was a brave man; _but_
(_by_, near or beside that fact, put another fact, which is _out_,
away, or different from it, namely) Catiline was a wicked man." This
is something more than a simple case of association; the opposition
is expressed as well as the addition.--_F._]

2. It is not necessary for us to do more than exemplify the
principal cases in which one Predication is modified by another.

"The space is triangular, _if_ it is bounded by three straight

"The space is triangular, _because_ it is bounded by three straight

"The space is bounded by three straight lines, _therefore_ it is

In each of these three propositions, there are two predications; the
one of which is dependent on the other. The dependence is that of
necessary consequence. The triangularity is the consequence of being
bounded by three straight lines.

In order to have names for two Predications thus related, we may
call the one the _conditioning_, the other the _conditioned_. In the
above instances, "The space is bounded by three straight lines," is
the _conditioning_ {216} predication; "The space is triangular," is
the _conditioned_.

There are two states of the conditioning predication; one, in which
it is contingent; another, in which it is positive. Observe, now,
the simple contrivance for marking the dependence of the
_conditioned_ upon the _conditioning_ predication, in all the above

In the first of the examples, "The space is triangular, _if_ it is
bounded by three straight lines," the _conditioning_ predication is
contingent. The word _if_, which is equivalent to _give_,[64]
prefixed to the conditioning predication, marks it both as the
conditioning predication, and as contingent.

[Findlater's footnote 64: That _if_ has no connection with _give_,
is manifest from the cognate forms; Goth. _jabai_, Frisic _jef_,
Ang. Sax. _gif_, Old Ger. _ibu_, Lettish _ja_, all meaning primarily
"in which or in that case, or supposition." "_Jabai_--from which the
other Germanic forms are descended--appears to have originally been
a dative or instrumental case of _ja_, analogous to _tubya_ = Latin
_tibi_: compare _ibi_, _ubi_, Gr. [Greek: bi/ê|phi], Slavonic
_tebje_ = tibi."--Garnett.--_F._]

In the second of the examples, "The space is triangular, because it
is bounded by three straight lines," the _conditioning_ predication
is positive; the word _because_ (having the meaning of, _cause be_,
or _cause is_)[65] prefixed to it, marks it as at once the
conditioning predication, and also positive. If _for_ had been the
{217} mark instead of because, the artifice would have been still
the same, as _for_ has the meaning of _cause_.

[Findlater's footnote 65: The syllable _be_, in "because," "before,"
&c., is the simple preposition _by_, Sans. _abhi_, Gr. [Greek:
epi\], "near," "close to." _Therefore_ is _for that_; in which _for_
is a preposition, meaning primarily "position in front," and thence,
by metaphor, the relation of motive or cause.--_F._]

In the third of the examples, "The space is bounded by three
straight lines, _therefore_ it is triangular;" the order of the
predications is inverted, the _conditioning_ being put first. In
this case, therefore, we need a mark to show that the last
predication is conditioned, and conditioned by the preceding. This
is done by prefixing to it the compound word, _therefore_, of which
the first part _there_ is equivalent to _that_, and _fore_ or _for_
means _cause_. The expression in its elementary form being, "The
space is bounded by three straight lines; for that, or cause that,
the space is triangular."

In these cases we have examples of what are called, the Suppositive,
the Causal, and the Illative conjunctions.

The following are examples of what are called the Disjunctive.

"The ship was well manned; _else_ it would have been lost."

"_Unless_ the ship had been well manned, it would have been lost."

In these two examples, the conditioning *predications are, "The
ship was well manned;" "The ship had been well manned:" the
_conditioned_ is, "it would have been lost," in both instances.

The dependence here, between the _conditioning_ and _conditioned_,
is that of physical consequence. The ship's not being lost, was the
consequence of its being well manned. The contrivance for marking
this dependence is akin to that which we have traced in the former

In the first of the two examples, the _conditioning_ {218}
predication stands first. How do I mark that the next is
_conditioned_, and conditioned as a physical consequent? I interpose
the word _else_. This is part of an obsolete verb, signifying, _to
dismiss_, _to turn out_, _to take away_.[66] And the sentence is
thus resolved: "The ship was well manned," _take away that_ (take
away the cause, the effect is taken away also) "she would have been

[Findlater's footnote 66: _Else_ is the genitive of an obsolete
adjective, in Gothic _alis_, corresponding to Lat. _alius_; and is
analogous with Lat. _alias_.--_F._]

Other conjunctions of the disjunctive kind, as they are called,
would here have answered the same purpose with _else_. "The ship was
well manned, _otherwise_, she would have been lost." _Otherwise_
here is precisely of the same import as _else_. "The ship was well
manned;" that being dismissed, that being _other_ than it was; "it
would have been lost."

"The ship was well manned, _or_ it would have been lost." _Or_, in
German _oder_, is _other_. The resolution of this sentence,
therefore, is the same as the former.

In the second of the two examples, "_Unless_ the ship had been well
manned, it would have been lost," the contrivance is the same, with
a mere change of position. _Unless_, is a word of the same import,
rather the same word, as _else_. _Unless_ is PREFIXED to the
_conditioning_ predication, whereas _else_ is SUFFIXED; and that is
the difference.[67] The word _except_, which signifies _take_ {219}
_away_, may be substituted for _unless_. A peculiar application of
_if_ (_give_) may here also be exemplified. _If_ with the negative,
(_if not_,) has a similar signification with unless, except; "_If_
the ship had not been well manned, &c."

[Findlater's footnote 67: _Unless_ is simply _on less_,
corresponding to Fr. _à moins_, and is equivalent to _if

Let us now pass to another case.

"_Although_ the ship was well manned, it was lost." The two
predications may change places, without change of meaning. "The ship
was lost, _although_ it was well manned."

What (as above) was to be marked by _else_, _unless_, _if not_,
_except_, and so on, was the connexion between a cause and its usual
effect; that is, the manning of a ship, and the safety of the ship.
What is to be marked in this case is the want of connexion between a
cause and its usual effect. It is done by similar means.

_Although_ is part of an obsolete verb, _to allow_, _to grant_.[68]
The two predications are: "The ship was well manned," "The ship was
lost." I want to mark between my two predications not only a
connexion, that of the antecedence and consequence of the predicated
events, but the existence of a consequent differing from that by
which the antecedent is usually followed. _Although_, prefixed to
the predication of the antecedent event, gives notice of another
predication, that of the consequent, and of a consequent differing
from that by which the antecedent might have been {220} followed:
_Grant_ such an antecedent, such and not such was the consequent.

[Findlater's footnote 68: _Although_ is a compound pronominal adverb
resembling Lat. _tamen_, and means "(the case being) quite thus

The same connection is marked by other conjunctions. "The ship was
well manned, _nevertheless_ it was lost." _Nevertheless_, means _not
less for that_.[69] "_Notwithstanding_ the ship was well manned, it
was lost." _Notwithstanding_, is, _not being able to prevent_,
_maugre_, _in spite of_. The resolution of the above sentences is
obvious. "The ship was well manned, _yet_ it was lost." _Yet_ is the
verb _get_, and has here the force of _although_, _grant_. "The ship
was well manned, _yet_ (or got, that being got, had, granted) it was
lost."[70] "The ship was well manned, _still_, it was lost." _Still_
is part of an obsolete verb, _to put_, _to fix_, _to establish_.
"The ship was well manned, _still_ (that put, that supposed) it was

[Findlater's footnote 69: _Nevertheless_ means literally, "not less
by (or for) that." In this compound _the_ is not the article, but an
adverb, in Ang. Sax. _thy_, "by that much," and corresponds to Lat.
_eo_ in the expression _eo minus_.--_F._]

[Findlater's footnote 70: _Yet_ is of pronominal origin like Gr.
[Greek: i)/ti], Ger. _jetzt_, and has no connection with the verb

[Findlater's footnote 71: _Still_ seems to be the adjective _still_,
quiet, used adverbially, and having the force of "undisturbed,
uninterrupted by that."--_F._]

A few more cases will exemplify all that is material in the marking
power of the conjunctions.

"We study, _that_, we may be learned." The connexion here, again, is
that of cause and effect. "We study:" "We may be learned," are the
two predications, between which the connexion in question is to
{221} be marked. The demonstrative pronoun performs the service. "We
may be learned, _that_ we study:" we study; what? to be learned.

"John is more learned than James is eloquent." The conjunction here
is a relative term, and consists of the two words, _more than_. The
two predications are, "John is learned," "James is eloquent." The
connexion between them is, that they are the two parts of a
comparison turning upon the point of greatness in degree. The two
words _more than_, suffice to mark that connexion. _Than_ is but a
mode of spelling and pronouncing _that_, which use has appropriated
to this particular case. "John is learned, more that (that being the
more, the other of course is the less), James is eloquent."[72]

[Findlater's footnote 72: _Than_ is only another form of _then_, and
marks that the one comes after the other, and is therefore

_As_, obsolete as a pronoun, only exists as a conjunction. It is a
word of the same import with _that_. The following will suffice in
exemplification of the marking property which it retains. "Virgil
was _as_ great a poet as Cicero an orator." The two predications
are, "Virgil was a great poet," "Cicero was a great orator." They
also are connected as the two parts of a comparison, turning upon
the point of equality in degree. _As_, or _that_, suffices to mark
that connexion. "Virgil was a great poet," _that_ (namely great)
Cicero was an orator. We shall see afterwards, in the composition of
RELATIVE TERMS, that every such term consists of two words, or the
same word taken twice. The conjunction here is a relative term, and
consists {222} of two words, namely, _as_, or _that_, taken twice.
"Virgil was a poet great, that that, an orator was Cicero;" the
first _that_ marking _great as poet_; the second _that_, marking
_great as orator_.[73]

[Findlater's footnote 73: _As_ is an oblique case of the
demonstrative root _sa_, and is equivalent to "in this (degree);"
and the nature of the connection is this: Virgil was a poet great in
this degree; Cicero was an orator great in this degree; that is, the
degree of greatness was the same in both.--_F._]

{223} CHAPTER V.


"It is not easy for the mind to put off those confused notions and
prejudices it has imbibed from custom, inadvertency, and common
conversation. It requires pains and assiduity to examine its ideas,
till it resolves them into those clear and distinct simple ones out
of which they are compounded; and to see which, amongst its simple
ones, have or have not a necessary connexion and dependence one upon
another. Till a man doth this in the primary and original notions of
things, he builds upon floating and uncertain principles, and will
often find himself at a loss."--_Locke_, _Hum. Und._ b. ii. c. 13.
s. 28.

IT will now be instructive to retrace our steps, to look back upon
the space we have passed, and contemplate the progress we have made
toward our journey's end.

We have become acquainted with the elementary feelings of our
nature; _first_, those derived immediately from our bodies, whether
by impressions made on the surface of them, or unseen causes
operating on them within; _secondly_, the feelings which, after the
above mentioned feelings have ceased, are capable of existing as
copies or representatives of them.

We have also observed the manner in which those _secondary_
Feelings, to which we have given the name of IDEAS, flow, either
into _groups_, or into _trains_. And {224} we have explored the
system of contrivances, to which mankind have had recourse, for
MARKING those feelings, and the trains of them; so as either to fix
the knowledge of them for one's own use, or to make communication of
them to others.

In what has been thus already presented, it will be seen that
several expositions of considerable importance are included.

Sensations, and Ideas, are both feelings. When we have a sensation
we feel, or have a feeling; when we have an idea we feel, or have a

Having a SENSATION, and having a feeling, are not two things. The
thing is one, the names only are two. I am pricked by a pin. The
sensation is one; but I may call it sensation, or a feeling, or a
pain, as I please. Now, when, having the sensation, I say I feel the
sensation, I only use a tautological expression: the sensation is
not one thing, the feeling another; the sensation is the feeling.
When, instead of the word feeling, I use the word conscious, I do
exactly the same thing, I merely use a tautological expression. To
say I feel a sensation, is merely to say I feel a feeling; which is
an impropriety of speech. And to say I am conscious of a feeling, is
merely to say that I feel it. To have a feeling is to be conscious;
and to be conscious is to have a feeling. To be conscious of the
prick of the pin, is merely to have the sensation. And though I have
these various modes of naming my sensation, by saying, I feel the
prick of a pin, I feel the pain of a prick, I have the sensation of
a prick, I have the feeling of a prick, I am conscious of the
feeling; the thing named in all these various ways is one and the

{225} The same explanation will easily be seen to apply to IDEAS.
Though, at present, I have not the sensation, called the prick of a
pin, I have a distinct idea of it. The having an idea, and the not
having it, are distinguished by the existence or non-existence of a
certain feeling. To have an idea, and the feeling of that idea, are
not two things; they are one and the same thing. To feel an idea,
and to be conscious of that feeling, are not two things; the feeling
and the consciousness are but two names for the same thing. In the
very word feeling all that is implied in the word Consciousness is

Those philosophers, therefore, who have spoken of Consciousness as a
feeling, distinct from all other feelings, committed a mistake, and
one, the evil consequences of which have been most important; for,
by combining a chimerical ingredient with the elements of thought,
they involved their inquiries in confusion and mystery, from the
very commencement.

It is easy to see what is the nature of the terms CONSCIOUS, and
CONSCIOUSNESS, and what is the marking function which they are
destined to perform. It was of great importance, for the purpose of
naming, that we should not only have names to distinguish the
different classes of our feelings, but also a name applicable
equally to all those classes. This purpose is answered by the
concrete term Conscious; and the abstract of it, Consciousness.
Thus, if we are in any way sentient; that is, have any of the
feelings whatsoever of a living creature; the word Conscious is
applicable to the feeler, and Consciousness to the feeling: that is
to say, the words are GENERICAL marks, under which all the names of
the subordinate classes {226} of the feelings of a sentient creature
are included. When I smell a rose, I am conscious; when I have the
idea of a fire, I am conscious; when I remember, I am conscious;
when I reason, and when I believe, I am conscious; but believing,
and being conscious of belief, are not two things, they are the same
thing; though this same thing I can name, at one time without the
aid of the generical mark, while at another time it suits me to
employ the generical mark.[74] [75]

[Bain's footnote 74: The mistake of Reid in raising Consciousness to
a separate faculty has been commented on by Brown, Hamilton, and
others. It must be allowed that to feel and to be conscious are not
two things but the same thing: that is to say, the use of the term
consciousness, whether in common life or in philosophical
discussion, does not point to knowing, and exclude feeling.

Consciousness is the widest word in our vocabulary. By common
consent it embraces everything that "mind" embraces; while one mode
of extricating the great problem of Perception from
self-contradictions, makes it mean more than mind strictly means. We
speak of the _object-consciousness_ as our attitude in being
cognisant of the extended universe; while our attitude under
feeling, and thought, we call _subject-consciousness_, or mind.

The object-consciousness follows one set of laws, the laws of matter
and space, as propounded in Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, and so
on. The subject-consciousness follows a different set of laws, such
as the laws of pleasure and pain, and the association of ideas,
treated of in Psychology. We are conscious objectively, in counting
the stars, we are conscious subjectively, in feeling oppressed by
their number.

The subject-consciousness comprises all our feelings and thoughts;
it enters into volition; and it makes a part of sensation, in which
both attitudes are conjoined. This {227} consciousness may be faint
and limited, or it may be intense and variegated. We may be in a
state of pleasure with little or nothing of thought accompanying; we
are still properly said to be conscious or under consciousness. But
we may add to the mere fact of pleasure, the _cognition of the
state_, as a state of pleasure, and as a state belonging to us at
the time. This is not the same thing as before: it is something new
superposed upon the previous consciousness. When we take note of the
fact that we are pleased, we proceed beyond the bare experience of
the present pleasure, to an intellectual act of comparison,
assimilation, or classification with past pleasures; we probably
introduce the machinery of language to express ourselves as pleased;
all this is so much _extra_ consciousness. These knowing operations
are not involved in mere feeling; we may feel without them. Indeed,
if the cognitive powers are brought into very active exercise upon
our feelings, as in the self-dissection of the Psychologist, the
feelings themselves are apt to subside.

It is thus correct to draw a line between feeling, and knowing that
we feel; although there is great delicacy in the operation. It may
be said, in one sense, that we cannot feel without knowing that we
feel, but the assertion is verging on error; for feeling may be
accompanied with a minimum of cognitive energy, or as good as none
at all; or it may be accompanied with an express application of our
knowing powers, which is purely optional on our part, and even
hostile to the full development of the feeling as feeling, as
pleasure or pain.

Reid wanted a name to express the act of scrutinizing or examining
the mind, and to correspond with such names as Perception,
Observation, for the study of the extended or object universe. He
used Consciousness for this purpose; a word that had been probably
more applied to our cognitive energies than to our experience of
mere feeling in its simplest manifestation. It is not often that
"consciousness" is employed as the popular designation of states of
feeling as such, states of marked enjoyment or suffering. On the
other hand, the word is frequently made use of to designate the act
of cognizing or {228} thinking of our states of feeling; for which,
however, self-consciousness is undoubtedly the more proper

Hamilton terms "consciousness" a "condition" of our feelings and
mental operations; more correctly it is the operations themselves;
the consciousness is not the condition of the feeling, but the
feeling itself. More material is the opinion, held by Hamilton in
common with most of the German philosophers, that the foundation of
all consciousness is knowing; that we feel, only as we know that we
feel. He says, "It is evident that every mental phenomenon is either
an act of knowledge, or only possible through an act of knowledge:
for _consciousness is a knowledge--a phenomenon of cognition_."
("Metaphysics," Lect xi.) Now although we may not be able to rebut
this singular assertion by pointing to a state of feeling such as to
entirely exclude knowledge, we may ask, do the two properties, said
to be thus implicated, rise and fall in steady concomitance; the
more the knowledge, the greater the feeling? The answer must be
negative. A favourite doctrine of Hamilton, containing a certain
amount of truth, affirms an inverse ratio between knowing and
feeling; which it is difficult to reconcile with the present
doctrine. A new distinction must be laid down between the kind of
knowing that constitutes "feeling," and the kind of knowing that
constitutes "knowing" in the strict sense of knowledge. We may
concede to Hamilton that feeling must always be within reach of a
cognitive exertion, but it cannot be conceded that an actual
cognitive exertion is essential to the manifestation of the feeling.
Such exertion unless kept within narrow limits of intensity cools
down instead of promoting the emotional state.

The facts of the case appear to be best represented, by allowing the
state of Feeling to stand on its own independent foundation as a
mode of the subject-consciousness, or of mind. There may, and almost
always does, go along with it a certain degree of cognitive effort.
We can scarcely be under feeling, without performing some function
of an intellectual kind; the divisions of the mental energies do not
imply that they can exist in absolute separation. The act of
discriminating the {229} degree of feeling,--of pronouncing a
pleasure to be greater than, or equal to, some other pleasure,--is
properly an intellectual, or cognitive exercise; but this
discrimination does not make the feeling. So a feeling cannot exist
without impressing the memory in some degree, which is an
intellectual function; one may truly affirm that we do not feel
unless, immediately afterwards, we remember that we felt. It is an
incident or concomitant of feeling to leave an impression behind,
but this does not characterize or define the state of feeling. Being
an accompaniment or concomitant of an emotional excitement, we may
point to memory as a proof of its existence and a criterion of its
degree, but we should confuse all the boundaries of mental
phenomena, if we treated memory or retentiveness otherwise than as
an intellectual property, a property whose sphere is intellect and
not feeling.--_B._]

[Editor's footnote 75: Those psychologists who think that being
conscious of a feeling is something different from merely having the
feeling, generally give the name Consciousness to the mental act by
which we refer the feeling to ourself; or, in other words, regard it
in its relation to the series of many feelings, which constitutes
our sentient life. Many philosophers have thought that this
reference is necessarily involved in the fact of sensation: we
cannot, they think, have a feeling, without having the knowledge
awakened in us at the same moment, of a Self who feels it. But of
this as a primordial fact of our nature, it is impossible to have
direct evidence; and a supposition may be made which renders its
truth at least questionable. Suppose a being, gifted with sensation
but devoid of memory; whose sensations follow one after another, but
leave no trace of their existence when they cease. Could this being
have any knowledge or notion of a Self? Would he ever say to
himself, _I_ feel; this sensation is _mine_? I think not. The notion
of a Self is, I apprehend, a consequence of Memory. There is no
meaning in the word Ego or I, unless the I of to-day is also the I
of yesterday; a permanent element which abides through a succession
of feelings, and connects the feeling of each moment with the
remembrance of previous feelings. We have, no {230} doubt, a
considerable difficulty in believing that a sentient being can exist
without the consciousness of Itself. But this difficulty arises from
the irresistible association which we, who possess Memory, form in
our early infancy between every one of our feelings and our
remembrance of the entire series of feelings of which it forms a
part, and consequently between every one of our feelings and our
Self. A slight correction, therefore, seems requisite to the
doctrine of the author laid down in the present chapter. There is a
mental process, over and above the mere having a feeling, to which
the word Consciousness is sometimes, and it can hardly be said
improperly, applied, viz. the reference of the feeling to our Self.
But this process, though separable in thought from the actual
feeling, and in all probability not accompanying it in the
beginning, is, from a very early period of our existence,
inseparably attendant on it, though, like many other mental
processes, it often takes place too rapidly to be remembered at the
next instant.

Other thinkers, or perhaps the same thinkers on other occasions,
employ the word Consciousness as almost a synonyme of Attention. We
all know that we have a power, partly voluntary, though often acting
independently of our will, of _attending_ (as it is called) to a
particular sensation or thought. The essence of Attention is that
the sensation or thought is, as it were, magnified, or strengthened:
it becomes more intense as a whole, and at the same time more
distinct and definite in its various parts, like a visible object
when a stronger light is thrown upon it: while all other sensations
or thoughts which do or which might present themselves at the same
moment are blunted and dimmed, or altogether excluded. This
heightening of the feeling we may call, if we please, heightening
the consciousness of the feeling; and it may be said that we are
made more conscious of the feeling than we were before: but the
expression is scarcely correct, for we are not more conscious of the
feeling, but are conscious of more feeling.

In some cases we are even said to be, by an act of attention, made
conscious of a feeling of which we should otherwise have {231} been
unconscious: and there is much difference of opinion as to what it
is which really occurs in this case. The point has received some
consideration in a former Note, but there may be advantage in again
recalling it to remembrance. It frequently happens (examples of it
are abundant in the Analysis) that certain of our sensations, or
certain parts of the series of our thoughts, not being sufficiently
pleasurable or painful to compel attention, and there being no
motive for attending to them voluntarily, pass off without having
been attended to; and, not having received that artificial
intensification, they are too slight and too fugitive to be
remembered. We often have evidence that these sensations or ideas
have been in the mind; because, during their short passage, they
have called up other ideas by association. A good example is the
case of reading from a book, when we must have perceived and
recognized the visible letters and syllables, yet we retain a
remembrance only of the sense which they conveyed. In such cases
many psychologists think that the impressions have passed through
the mind without our being conscious of them. But to have feelings
unconsciously, to have had them without being aware, is something
like a contradiction. All we really know is that we do not remember
having had them; whence we reasonably conclude that if we had them,
we did not attend to them; and this inattention to our feelings is
what seems to be here meant by being unconscious of them. Either we
had the sensations or other feelings without attending to them, and
therefore immediately forgot them, or we never, in reality, had
them. This last has been the opinion of some of the profoundest
psychologists. Even in cases in which it is certain that we once had
these feelings, and had them with a lively consciousness (as of the
letters and syllables when we were only learning to read) yet when
through numberless repetitions the process has become so rapid that
we no longer remember having those visual sensations, these
philosophers think that they are elided,--that we cease to have them
at all. The usual impressions are made on our organs by the written
characters, and are transmitted to the brain, but these organic
states, {232} they think, pass away without having had time to
excite the sensations corresponding to them, the chain of
association being kept up by the organic states without need of the
sensations. This was apparently the opinion of Hartley; and is
distinctly that of Mr. Herbert Spencer. The conflicting suppositions
are both consistent with the known facts of our mental nature. Which
of them is the true, our present knowledge does not, I think, enable
us to decide.

The author of the Analysis often insists on the important doctrine
that we have many feelings, both of the physical and of the mental
class, which, either because they are permanent and unchangeable, or
for the contrary reason, that they are extremely fugitive and
evanescent, and are at the same time uninteresting to us except for
the mental processes they originate, we form the habit of not
attending to; and this habit, after a time, grows into an
incapacity; we become unable to attend to them, even if we wish. In
such cases we are usually not aware that we have had the feelings;
yet the author seems to be of opinion that we really have them. He
says, for example, in the section on Muscular Sensations (ch. i.
sect. vii.) "We know that the air is continually pressing upon our
bodies. But the sensation being continual, without any call to
attend to it, we lose from habit, the power of doing so. The
sensation is as if it did not exist." Is it not the most reasonable
supposition that the sensation does not exist; that the necessary
condition of sensation is change; that an unchanging sensation,
instead of becoming latent, dwindles in intensity, until it dies
away, and ceases to be a sensation? Mr. Bain expresses this mental
law by saying, that a necessary condition of Consciousness is
change; that we are conscious only of changes of state. I apprehend
that change is necessary to consciousness of feeling, only because
it is necessary to feeling: when there is no change, there is, not a
permanent feeling of which we are unconscious, but no feeling at

In the concluding chapter of Mr. Bain's great work, there is an
enumeration of the various senses in which the word Consciousness is
used. He finds them no fewer than thirteen.--_Ed._]



"The generalizations of language are already made for us, before we
have ourselves begun to generalize; and our mind receives the
abstract phrases without any definite analysis, almost as readily as
it receives and adopts the simple names of persons and things. The
separate co-existing phenomena, and the separate sequences of a long
succession of words, which it has been found convenient to
comprehend in a single word, are hence, from the constant use of
that single word, regarded by the mind almost in the same manner, as
if they were only one phenomenon, or one event."--_Inquiry into the
Relation of Cause and Effect_. _By Thomas Brown, M.D._ Note M, p.

THE philosophers, who erected CONSCIOUSNESS into what they called a
Power of the mind, have bestowed the same rank upon CONCEPTION.

When we have a Sensation, we are not said, in the ordinary use of
the word, to Conceive. If burned with the candle, I do not say, "I
conceive the pain;" I do not say, if I smelt putrescence, that "I
conceive the stench." It even seems to be not without a sort of
impropriety, if the term is ever applied to mark a simple Idea. We
should not, in ordinary language, say, "I conceive red," "I conceive
green." We say, however, "I conceive a horse," "I conceive a tree,";
I conceive a ship;" we say also, "I conceive an {234} argument," "I
conceive a plan." In these examples, which may be taken as a
sufficient specimen of the manner in which the term Conception is
used, we see that it is applied exclusively to cases of the
secondary feelings; to the Idea, not the Sensation; and to the case
of compound, not of single ideas. With this use, the etymology of
the word very accurately corresponds: I conceive, that is, _I take
together_, a horse; that is, the several ideas, combined under the
name horse, and constituting a compound idea. The term conception,
we have seen, applies not only to those combinations of ideas, which
we call the ideas of external objects, but to those combinations
which the mind makes for its own purposes.

It thus appears, that the word CONCEPTION is a _generical_ name,
like CONSCIOUSNESS; but less comprehensive. We call ourselves
conscious, when we have any sensation, or any idea. We say that we
conceive, only when we have some complex idea. It remains to be
inquired, whether by saying we conceive, or have a conception, we
mean any thing whatsoever beside having an idea.

If I say, I have the idea of a horse, I can explain distinctly what
I mean. I have the ideas of the sensations of sight, of touch, of
hearing, of smelling, with which the body and actions of a horse
have impressed me; these ideas, all combined, and so closely, that
their existence appears simultaneous, and one. This is my IDEA of a
horse. If I say, I have a CONCEPTION of a horse, and am asked to
explain what I mean, I give the same account exactly, and I can give
no other. My CONCEPTION of the horse, is merely my taking together,
in one, the simple ideas of the {235} sensations which constitute my
knowledge of the horse; and my IDEA of the horse is the same thing.

We may notice here, however, one of those curious illusions, which
the intimate associations of ideas with words, so often, and
sometimes so inconveniently, occasion. The term "I conceive," has
the form of an active verb; and with _the form of an active verb_
THE IDEA OF ACTION is so frequently conjoined, that we are rarely
able to separate them. By this means, the idea of activeness is
often mixed up with other ideas, when it is wholly misplaced and
illusive. I use the same form of expression when I say, I dream; as
when I say, I study, I argue, I imagine. In these cases the idea of
what I call activity is properly included: in the expression I
dream, it is not properly included; though the active form of the
verb so invariably calls up a certain idea of activity, and so
strongly tends to mix it with the other ideas, that in using the
term, "I dream," we seem to consider ourselves as, somehow, agents.
Even in using the term, "I die," we cannot escape the illusion;
though the ideas are so highly incongruous. It would be obviously
absurd to affirm that we are less active when we say we have an
idea, than when we say we have a conception, yet there is constantly
a feeling, when we use the phrase "I conceive," as if we were in
some manner active; and no such feeling, when we use the phrase
"I have an idea." The terms, therefore, the concrete "conceive,"
and its abstract "conception," are somewhat inconvenient, and
misguiding, as they infuse into the complex ideas to which they are
applied, an ingredient which does not belong to them.

The relation which the words, CONSCIOUSNESS, and {236} CONCEPTION,
bear to one another, is now, therefore, apparent. Consciousness is
the more _generical_ of the two names. Conception is the name of a
class _included under_ the name Consciousness. Consciousness applies
to sensations, and to ideas, whether simple or complex; to all the
feelings, whatsoever they may be, of our sentient nature. Conception
applies only to ideas; and to ideas, only in a state of combination.
It is a generical name including the several classes of complex

[Editor's footnote 76: The doctrine of this chapter is as just as it
is admirably stated. A conception is nothing whatever but a complex
idea, and to conceive is to have a complex idea. But as there must
always have been some cause why a second name is used when there is
already a first, there is generally some difference in the occasions
of their employment: and a recognition of this difference is
necessary to the completeness of the exposition. It seems to me that
conception and to conceive are phrases appropriated to the case in
which the thing conceived is supposed to be something external to my
own mind. I am not said to conceive my own thoughts; unless it be in
the ease of an invention, or mental creation; and even then, to
conceive it, means to imagine it realized, so that it may be
presented to myself or others as an external object. To conceive
something is to understand what it is; to adapt my complex idea to
something presented to me objectively. I am asked to conceive an
iceberg: it is not enough that I form to myself some complex idea;
it must be a complex idea which shall really resemble an iceberg,
_i.e._, what is called an iceberg by other people. My complex idea
must be made up of the elements in my mind which correspond to the
elements making up the idea of an iceberg in theirs.

This is connected with one of the most powerful and misleading of
the illusions of general language. The purposes of general names
would not be answered, unless the complex idea {237} connected with
a general name in one person's mind were composed of essentially the
same elements as the idea connected with it in the mind of another.
There hence arises a natural illusion, making us feel as if, instead
of ideas as numerous as minds, and merely resembling one another,
there were one idea, independent of individual minds, and to which
it is the business of each to learn to make his private idea
correspond. This is the Platonic doctrine of Ideas in all its
purity: and as half the speculative world are Platonists without
knowing it, hence it also is that in the writings of so many
psychologists we read of the conception or the concept of so and so;
as if there was a concept of a thing or of a class of things, other
than the ideas in individual minds--a concept belonging to
everybody, the common inheritance of the human race, but independent
of any of the particular minds which conceive it. In reality,
however, this common concept is but the sum of the elements which it
is requisite for the purposes of discourse that people should agree
with one another in including in the complex idea which they
associate with a class name. As we shall presently see, these are
only a part, and often but a small part, of each person's complex
idea, but they are the part which it is necessary should be the same
in all.--_Ed._]



THE IMAGINATION is another term, the explanation of which will be
found to be included in the expositions which have previously been

The phenomena classed under this title are explained, by modern
Philosophers, on the principles of Association. Their accounts of
the mental process, to which the name Imagination is applied,
include their explanation of the laws of Association, or the manner
in which ideas succeed one another in a train, with little else,
except remarks on the causes to which diversity in the several kinds
of Imagination may be traced.

It is not to be overlooked that the term IMAGINATION is here used in
the sense which is given to it by philosophers when they rank it as
a particular power of the mind; for it is no doubt true, that it is
often used, in vulgar speech, as synonymous with Conception, and
with Supposition, and with Conjecture; as the verb, to imagine, is,
with the verbs, to discover, to suppose, conjecture, believe, and
perhaps others.

We have seen that Consciousness, and Conception, are names of
feelings, _taken one by one_: Consciousness {239} of _any_ of our
feelings so taken; Conception of a _particular class_ of them,
namely, complex ideas. IMAGINATION is not a name of any one idea. I
am not said to imagine, unless I combine ideas successively in a
less or greater number. An imagination, therefore, is the name of a
_train_. I am said to have an imagination when I have a train of
ideas; and when I am said to imagine, I have the same thing; nor is
there any train of ideas, to which the term imagination may not be

In this comprehensive meaning of the word Imagination, there is no
man who has not Imagination, and no man who has it not in an equal
degree with any other. Every man imagines, nay, is constantly, and
unavoidably, imagining. He cannot help imagining. He can no more
stop the current of his ideas, than he can stop the current of his

In the phrase we have just employed, "there is no man who has not
imagination," it is meant, that there is no man who now has not, who
has not always had, and who will not always have a train of ideas.
Imagination, therefore, is a word connoting _indefinite time_; it
is, to use the language of the Greek grammarians, aoristical. When
it connotes, which by the strain of the passage it may be made to
do, a _particular time_, it marks a _particular train_. When it
connotes _time indefinitely_, it marks _trains indefinitely_, any
train at any time.

The having or doing a thing at any time, means the potentiality of
having or doing it. Imagination, then, has two meanings. It means
either some one train, or the potentiality of a train. These are two
meanings which it is very necessary not to confound.

{240} There is great diversity of trains. Not only has the same
individual an endless variety of trains; but a different character
belongs to the whole series of trains which pass through the minds
of different individuals or classes of individuals. The different
pursuits in which the several classes of men are engaged, render
particular trains of ideas more common to them than other trains.
One man is a merchant; and trains respecting the goods in which he
deals, the markets in which he buys, and those in which he sells,
are habitual in his mind. Another man is a lawyer, and ideas of
clients, and fees, and judges, and witnesses, and legal instruments,
and points of contestation, and the practice of his court, are
habitually passing in his mind. Ideas of another kind occupy the
mind of the physician; of another kind still, the mind of the
warrior. The statesman is occupied with a train different from that
of any of the classes that have been mentioned; and one statesman
with a very different train from another, according as his mind is
running upon expedients which may serve the purpose of the day, or
arrangements which may secure the happiness of the population from
generation to generation. A peculiar character belongs to the train
which habitually occupies the mind of the mathematician. The mind of
the metaphysician is also occupied by a train distinguished from
that of other classes. And there is one man, yet to be mentioned,
the poet, the peculiarity of whose trains has been a subject of
particular observation. To such a degree, indeed, have the trains of
the poet been singled out for distinction, that the word
Imagination, in a more restricted sense, is appropriated to them. We
do not {241} call the trains of the lawyer, or the trains of the
merchant, imagination. We do not speak of them as imagining, when
they are revolving, each, the ideas which belong to his peculiar
occupation; it is only to the poet, that the epithet of imagining is
applied. His trains, or trains analogous to his, are those which
receive the name of Imagination.

It is then a question, to which we should find an answer, whether,
in that by which the trains of the poet differ from the trains of
other men, there be any thing which, being wholly absent from that
by which the trains of other classes are distinguished, lays a
foundation for this peculiarity of naming.

The trains of one class differ from those of another, the trains of
the merchant, for example, from those of the lawyer, not in this,
that the ideas follow one an other by any other law, in the mind of
the one, and the mind of the other; they follow by the same laws
exactly; and are equally composed of ideas, mixed indeed with
sensations, in the minds of both. The difference consists in this,
that the ideas which flow in their minds, and compose their trains,
are ideas of different things. The ideas of the lawyer are ideas of
the legal provisions, forms, and distinctions, and of the actions,
bodily, and mental, about which he is conversant. The ideas of the
merchant are equally ideas of the objects and operations, about
which he is concerned, and the ends toward which his actions are
directed; but the objects and operations themselves, are remarkably
different. The trains of poets, also, do not differ from the trains
of other men, but perfectly agree with them, in this, that they are
composed of ideas, and that those ideas succeed one another, {242}
according to the same laws, in their, and in other minds. They are
ideas, however, of very different things. The ideas of the poet are
ideas of all that is most lovely and striking in the visible
appearances of nature, and of all that is most interesting in the
actions and affections of human beings. It thus, however, appears
most manifestly, that the trains of poets differ from those of other
men in no other way, than those of other men differ from one
another; that they differ from them by this only, that the ideas of
which they are composed, are ideas of different things. There is
also nothing surprising in this, that, being trains of pleasurable
ideas, they should have attracted a peculiar degree of attention;
and in an early age, when poetry was the only literature, should
have been thought worthy of a more particular naming, than the
trains of any other class. These reasons seem to account for a sort
of appropriation of the name Imagination, to the trains of the poet.
An additional reason may be seen in another circumstance, which also
affords an interesting illustration of a law of association already
propounded; namely, the obscuration of the antecedent part of a
train, which leads to a subsequent, more interesting than itself. In
the case of the lawyer, the train leads to a decision favourable to
the side which he advocates. The train has nothing pleasurable in
itself. The pleasure is all derived from the end. The same is the
case with the merchant. His trains are directed to a particular end.
And it is the end alone, which gives a value to the train. The end
of the metaphysical, and the end of the mathematical inquirer, is
the discovery of truth: {243} their trains are directed to that
object; and are, or are not, a source of pleasure, as that end is or
is not attained. But the case is perfectly different with the poet.
His train is its own end. It is all delightful, or the purpose is
frustrate. From the established laws of association, this
consequence unavoidably followed; that, in the case of the trains of
those other classes, the interest of which was concentrated in the
end, attention was withdrawn from the train by being fixed upon the
end; that in the case of the poet, on the other hand, the train
itself being the only object, and that pleasurable, the attention
was wholly fixed upon the train; that hence the train of the poet
was provided with a name; that in the cases of the trains of other
men, where the end only was interesting, it was thought enough that
the end itself should be named, the train was neglected.

In conformity with this observation, we find, that wherever there is
a train which leads to nothing beyond itself, and has any pretension
to the character of pleasurable (the various kinds of reverie, for
example), it is allowed the name of Imagination. Thus we say that
Rousseau indulged his imagination, when, as he himself describes it,
lying on his back, in his boat, on the little lake of Bienne, he
delivered himself up for hours to trains, of which, he says, the
pleasure surpassed every other enjoyment.

Professor Dugald Stewart has given to the word Imagination, a
technical meaning; without, as it appears to me, any corresponding
advantage. He confines it to the cases in which the mind forms new
combinations; or, as he calls them, creations; that is, {244} to
cases in which the ideas which compose the train do not come
together in the same combinations in which sensations had ever been
received. But this is no specific difference. This happens, in every
train of any considerable length, whether directed to any end, or
not so directed. It is implied in every wish of the child to fly, or
to jump over the house; in a large proportion of all his playful
expressions, as puss in boots, a hog in armour, a monkey preaching,
and so on. It is manifested in perfection in every dream. It is well
known that, for the discovery of truths in philosophy, there is a
demand for new trains of thought, multitudes of which pass in review
before the mind, are contemplated, and rejected, before the happy
combination is attained, in which the discovery is involved. If
imagination consists in bringing trains before the mind involving a
number of new combinations, imagination is probably more the
occupation of the philosopher than of the poet.

Mr. Stewart appears not to have understood the real distinction
between the use of the words Conception, and Imagination; that the
one is the name of a single idea, the other that of a train. He also
involves, without seeming to be wholly aware of it, the idea of a
train destined to a particular end in the meaning which he bestows
on the word Imagination. Imagination is with him, not the name of a
train having merely new combinations, but of a train having new
combinations, and those destined to some end. But this is not more
the character of the trains which belong to the painter and the
poet, as his language appears to imply, than it is of the lawyer, or
the metaphysician; or, indeed, the professors of many {245} of the
vulgar arts; the tailor, for example, and the mantua-maker.[77]

[Bain's footnote 77: The foregoing analysis of the Imagination
brings to view some of the important points of distinction between
it and the other faculties; for example, the circumstance that the
trains and constructions of the Imagination are their own ends, and
not a means to farther ends, as in the constructions of science and
of the industrial arts. All creative originality is not imagination;
the steam-engine was not a product of this faculty.

The main features that distinguish the Imagination seem to be these

1. It is a faculty of the CONCRETE, like Perception and Memory, and
not of the Abstract, as the scientific faculties. When we imagine a
thing, we picture it to the mind, as far as we are able, in its full
concrete reality. Our imagination of a scene in the tropics is of
the character of an actual perception; it embraces, or should
embrace, whatever would strike the view of any one surveying the

2. Imagination rises above Perception and Memory, in being a
CONSTRUCTIVE faculty. It alters, re-arranges, puts together the
materials of perception and memory to satisfy certain demands of the
mind. In this respect, it is more than Conception, which as viewed
by the author, is also a faculty of the concrete, but introduces no
novelty of combination. Conception may involve a great constructive
effort, as when we try to picture to ourselves a poet's creation by
the help of his language; nevertheless, the term imagination loses
its characteristic force, and leaves an important meaning without a
name, if applied to this conceiving or realizing effort. The
imaginative stretch belongs to the poet or artist; the power of
conceiving is what the reader of a poem brings into exercise.

3. Imagination is swayed by some PRESENT EMOTION. This is another
way of expressing the author's view that it is an end in itself. If
we were to use the general word "feeling," we should encounter the
difficulty of separating imagination {246} from common industry,
which is all intended to gain pleasures or ward off pains.

The brief designation "present emotion" approximates to, but does
not fully bring out, the precise operation of the feelings in the
constructions of Imagination. When, actuated by the love of the
marvellous, any one invents a fabulous story, or highly exaggerates
a real occurrence, the process is a typical instance of the
imaginative workings.

The Fine Arts are the domain of Imagination; the one goes far to
specify the other. If the coincidence were exact, Imagination would
be defined by a definition of the Æsthetic emotions. Now, although
any original construction, selected and put together to gratify an
Æsthetic emotion, is a work of Imagination, yet imagination is not
exhausted by fine art. The picture that an angry man draws of his
enemy would be called an effort of imagination, but not a work of
fine art. All our emotions,--Wonder, Fear, Love, Anger,
Vanity--determine the constructions of the intellect, when called
into active exercise; and for these constructions we have no other
name but imagination, whether they may, or may not give pleasure as
works of art.

Perhaps this exceptional region may be marked out by a statement of
the perverting influence, or bias, of the feelings in matters of
truth and falsehood, or in works of utility. When the true and the
useful, instead of being determined by their own ends, or their
proper criteria, are swayed by extraneous emotions--giving birth to
mythical or fictitious creations--we have the corrupting
substitution of Imagination for Reason in men's judgments and

Thus, Fear is a potent spur to Imagination; its creations may not be
æsthetically agreeable, and therefore may not come under the
definition of Fine Art; yet they are fairly to be described as
perverting the judgment of true and false.--_B._]



"Dans l'ordre historique, la philosophie transcendante a devancé la
philosophie élémentaire. Il ne faut point s'en étonner; les grands
problèmes de la métaphysique et de la morale se présentent à
l'homme, dans l'enfance même de son intelligence, avec une grandeur
et une obscurité qui le séduisent et qui l'attirent. L'homme, qui se
sent fait pour connoître, court d'abord à la vérité avec plus
d'ardeur que de sagesse; il cherche à deviner ce qu'il ne peut
comprendre, et se perd dans des conjectures absurdes ou téméraires.
Les théogonies et les cosmogonies sont antérieures à la saine
physique, et l'esprit humain a passé à travers toutes les agitations
et les délires de la métaphysique transcendante avant d'arriver à la
psychologie."--_Cousin_, _Frag. Philos._ p. 75.

THE process by which we connect what we call the objects of our
senses, and also our ideas, into certain aggregates called classes,
is of too much importance not to have attracted the attention of
those who have engaged in the study of mind. Yet it is doubtful,
whether metaphysicians have regarded CLASSIFICATION as an original
power of the mind, or have allowed that what is included under that
name might be resolved into simpler elements. The term Abstraction,
I think, they have generally taken as the name of a distinct, and
original, power, not susceptible of further analysis. But, in doing
so, it seems (for the language of writers {248} is too loose on this
subject, to allow us the use of more affirmative terms), they have
restricted the name to the power of forming such ideas as are
represented by the terms, hardness, softness, length, breadth,
space, and so on. And this operation they rather consider as
subservient to classification, than as that operation itself. The
process, however, of grouping individuals into classes, has been
regarded as sufficiently mysterious. The nature of it has been the
object of deep curiosity; and the erroneous opinions which were
entertained of it bewildered, for many ages, the most eminent
philosophers; and enfeebled the human mind.

What (it was inquired) is that which is really done by the mind,
when it forms individuals into classes; separates such and such
things from others, and regards them, under a certain idea of unity,
as some thing by themselves? Why is the segregation thought of? And
for what end is it made? These questions all received answers; but
it was many ages before they received an answer approaching the
truth; and it is only necessary to read with care the writings of
Plato and of Aristotle, and of all philosophers, with very few
exceptions, from theirs to the present time, to see, that a
misunderstanding of the nature of General Terms is that which
chiefly perplexed them in their inquiries, and involved them in a
confusion, which was inextricable, so long as those terms were

The process in forming those classes was said to be this. The Mind
leaves out of its view this, and that, and the other thing, in which
individuals differ from one another; and retaining only those in
which they all agree, it forms them into a class. But what is {249}
this forming of a class? What does it mean? When I form a material
aggregate; when I collect a library; when I build a house; when I
even raise a heap of stones; I move the things, whatever they may
be, and place them, either regularly or irregularly, in a mass
together. But when I form a class, I perform no operation of this
sort. I touch not, nor do I in any way whatsoever act upon the
individuals which I class. The proceeding is all mental. Forming a
class of individuals, is a mode of regarding them. But what is meant
by a mode of regarding things? This is mysterious; and is as
mysteriously explained, when it is said to be the taking into view
the particulars in which individuals agree. For what is there, which
it is possible for the mind to take into view, in that in which
individuals agree? Every colour is an individual colour, every size
is an individual size, every shape is an individual shape. But
things have no individual colour in common, no individual shape in
common, no individual size in common; that is to say, they have
neither shape, colour, nor size in common. What, then, is it which
they have in common, which the mind can take into view? Those who
affirmed that it was something, could by no means tell. They
substituted words for things; using vague and mystical phrases,
which, when examined, meant nothing. Plato called it [Greek:
i)de/a], Aristotle, [Greek: ei)=dos], both, words taken from the
verb to see; intimating, something as it were seen, or viewed, as we
call it. At bottom, Aristotle's [Greek: ei)=dos], is the same with
Plato's [Greek: i)de/a], though Aristotle makes a great affair of
some very trifling differences, which he creates and sets up between
them. The Latins, translated both [Greek: i)de/a], and {250} [Greek:
ei)=dos], by the same words, and were very much at a loss for one to
answer the purpose; they used _species_, derived in like manner from
a verb to see, but which, having other meanings, was ill adapted for
a scientific word; they brought, therefore, another word in aid,
_forma_, the same with [Greek: o(/rama], derived equally from a verb
signifying to see, which suited the purpose just as imperfectly as
_species_; and as writers used both terms, according as the one or
the other appeared best to correspond with their meaning, they
thickened by this means the confusion.

After a time, unfortunately a long time, it began to be perceived,
that what was thus represented as the object of the mind in the
formation of classes, was chimerical and absurd; when a set of
inquirers appeared, who denied the existence of all such objects,
affirmed that ideas were all individual, and that nothing was
general but names. The question rose to the dignity of a
controversy; and to the hateful violence of a religious controversy.
They who affirmed the existence of general ideas were called
Realists, they who denied their existence Nominalists. There can be
no doubt, that of the two the Nominalists approached, by far, the
nearest to the truth; and their speculations tended strongly to
remove from mental science the confusion in which the total
misapprehension of abstract terms had involved it. But the clergy
brought religion into the quarrel, and as usual on the wrong side.
Realism was preached as the doctrine which alone was consistent with
orthodoxy; the Nominalists were hunted down; and persecution, well
knowing her object, clung to the books as well as the men; so that
the books of the Nominalists, {251} though the art of printing
tended strongly to preserve them, were suppressed and destroyed, to
such a degree, that it is now exceedingly difficult to collect them;
and not easy to obtain copies even of the most remarkable.

The opinion, that the particulars in which the individuals of a
class agree were distinct Objects of the Mind, soon made them
distinct EXISTENCES; they were the Essence of things; the Eternal
Exemplars, according to which individual things were made; they were
called UNIVERSALS, and regarded as alone the Objects of the
Intellect. They were invariable, always the same; individuals, not
the objects of intellect but only the low objects of sense, were in
perpetual flux, and never, for any considerable period, the same.
Universals alone have Unity; they alone were the subject of science;
Individuals were innumerable, every one different from another; and
cognoscible only by the lower, the sensitive part of our nature.

Endless were the subtleties into which ingenious men were misled, in
the contemplation of those Fictions; and wonderful were the
attributes which they bestowed upon them. "It is, then, on these
_permanent_ Phantasms," says Mr. Harris, copying the ancient
Philosophers, "that the human mind first works, and by an energy as
spontaneous and familiar to its nature, as the seeing of colour is
familiar to the eye, it discerns at once what in MANY is ONE; what
in things DISSIMILAR and DIFFERENT is SIMILAR and the SAME. By this
it comes to behold a kind of _superior_ Objects; a new Race of
Perceptions, more comprehensive than those of sense; a Race of
Perceptions, _each one of which, may be found entire and whole in
the separate_ {252} _individuals of an infinite and fleeting
multitude, without departing from the unity and permanence of its
own nature_."[8*] Here we have something sufficiently mystical; a
thing which is, at once, ONE, and MANY; which is ONE, it seems, by
its very nature, and yet may exist, entire and whole, in the
separate individuals of an infinite MULTITUDE. This is a specimen of
their Doctrine; a specimen of what they call THE SUBLIME in

[Mill's footnote 8: Hermes, b. iii. ch. 4.]

But this is not all. For as, when we form a minor class, as _man_,
there is a certain ONE, the object of intellect, complete in every
individual; MANY, therefore, and at the same time, ONE; so when we
form a larger class, _animal_, there is a certain ONE, the object of
intellect, complete in every one of those individuals. And when we
go still higher, as to the grand class, BODY, there is always a ONE,
the object of intellect, complete in every one of those more
numerous individuals. When we mount up to the very summit, and
embrace all things in one class, BEING, there is in like manner a
ONE, the object of intellect, complete in every individual that
exists. This is the grand ONE; the ONE pre-eminently. This is _the_
ONE; [Greek: to/ e(/n]; ONENESS; ONE in the abstract. This was a
conception deemed truly SUBLIME. The loftiest epithets were
bestowed upon [Greek: to/ e(/n], _the_ ONE. It was DIVINE; it was
more than that; for being not concrete, but abstract, it was
DIVINITY. All things were contained in _the_ ONE; and _the_ ONE
was in all things. _The_ ONE was the source and principle of Being.
It was immutable, eternal.

{253} These ONES they also called by the names of _Internal Forms_,
and _Intelligible Forms_. Thus Harris: "Let us suppose any man to
look for the first time upon _some Work of Art_; as, for example,
upon a Clock; and, having sufficiently viewed it, at length to
depart. Would he not retain, when absent, an Idea of what he had
seen? And what is it, _to retain such Idea_? _It is to have_ A FORM
INTERNAL _correspondent to_ THE EXTERNAL; only with this difference,
that the _Internal Form is devoid of the Matter; the External is
united with it_, being seen in the metal, the wood, and the like.
Now, if we suppose this Spectator to view _many such Machines_, and
not simply to view, but to consider every part of them, so as to
comprehend how those parts all operate to one End, he might be then
said to possess a kind of INTELLIGIBLE FORM, by which he would not
only understand and know the clocks, which he had seen _already_,
but every Work, also, of like Sort, which he might see _hereafter_."

We might here remark upon the mystical jargon, which is thus
employed to obscure the simple fact, that after a man has seen an
individual of a particular kind he has the idea of that individual;
and after he has seen various individuals of the same kind, he has
ideas of the various individuals, and has them combined by
association. But we must hear Mr. Harris a little further.

After telling us that there are two orders of these _immutable_
INTELLIGIBLE FORMS; _one_ belonging to the Contemplator of objects,
and subsequent to their existence; _another_ belonging to the Maker
of them, being the archetype, according to which they were formed;
he thus proceeds: "The WHOLE VISIBLE {254} WORLD, exhibits nothing
more than so many passing pictures of these IMMUTABLE ARCHETYPES.
Nay, through these it attains even a Semblance of Immortality, and
continues throughout ages to be SPECIFICALLY ONE, amid those
infinite particular changes, that befall it every moment. May we be
allowed then to credit those speculative men, who tell us, _it is in
these permanent and comprehensive_ FORMS _that the_ DEITY _views at
once, without looking abroad, all possible productions both present,
past, and future; that this great and stupendous view is but a view
of himself, where all things lie enveloped in their Principles and
Exemplars, as being essential to the fulness of this universal

I shall exhibit but one other specimen of the mode of speculating
about these imaginary Beings, from another great master of the
ancient philosophy, Cudworth. Both Aristotle and Plato, he says,
"acknowledged two sorts of Entities, the one mutable, or subject to
flux and motion, such as are especially individual corporeal things;
the other immutable, that always rest or stand still, which are the
proper objects of certain, constant, and immutable knowledge, that
therefore cannot be mere nothings, non-entities.

"Which latter kind of being, that is, the immutable essence, as a
distinct thing from individual sensibles, Aristotle plainly asserts
against Heraclitus, and those other flowing philosophers in these
words: 'We would have these philosophers to know, that besides
sensible things that are always mutable, there is another kind of
being or entity of such things as are neither subject to motion,
corruption, nor generation.' And elsewhere he tells us, that this
immovable essence {255} is the object of theoretical knowledge, of
the first philosophy, and of the pure mathematics.

"Now these immutable entities are the universal _rationes_, or
intelligible natures and essences of all things, which some compare
to unities, but Aristotle to numbers; which formally considered, are
indivisible: saith he, 'The essences of things are like to numbers;'
because if but the least thing be added to any number, or subtracted
from it, the number is destroyed.

"And these are the objects of all certain knowledge. As for example,
the objects of geometry are not any individual material triangles,
squares, circles, pyramids, cubes, spheres, and the like; which
because they are always mutable, nothing can be immutably affirmed
of them; but they are those indivisible and unchangeable _rationes_
of a triangle, square, circle; which are ever the same to all
geometricians, in all ages and places, of which such immutable
theorems as these are demonstrated, as that a triangle has
necessarily three angles equal to two right angles.

"But if any one demand here, where this [Greek: a)ki/nêtos ou)si/a],
these immutable entities do exist? I answer, first, that as they are
considered formally, they do not properly exist in the individuals
without us, as if they were from them imprinted upon the
understanding, which some have taken to be Aristotle's opinion;
because no individual material thing is either universal or
immutable. And if these things were only lodged in the individual
sensibles, then they would be unavoidably obnoxious to the
fluctuating waves of the same reciprocating Euripus, in which all
individual material things are perpetually whirled. But because
{256} they perish not together with them, it is a certain argument
that they exist independently upon them. Neither in the next place,
do they exist somewhere else apart from the individual sensibles,
and without the mind, which is that opinion that Aristotle justly
condemns, but either unjustly or unskilfully attributes to Plato.
For if the mind looked abroad for its objects wholly without itself,
then all its knowledge would be nothing but sense and passion. For
to know a thing is nothing else but to comprehend it by some inward
ideas that are domestic to the mind, and actively exerted from it.
Wherefore these intelligible ideas or essences of things, those
forms by which we understand all things, exist no where but in the
mind itself; for it was very well determined long ago by Socrates,
in Plato's Parmenides, that these things are nothing but _noëmata_:
these species or ideas are all of them nothing but _noëmata_, or
notions that exist no where but in the soul itself.' Wherefore, to
say that there are immutable natures and essences, and *_rationes_ of
things, distinct from the individuals that exist without us, is all
one as if one should say, that there is in the universe above the
orb of matter and body, another superior orb of intellectual being,
that comprehends its own immediate objects, that is, the immutable
_rationes_ and ideas of things within itself, by which it
understands and knows all things without itself.

"And yet notwithstanding though these things exist only in the mind,
they are not therefore mere figments of the understanding: for if
the subjects of all scientifical theorems were nothing but figments,
then all truth and knowledge that is built upon them would {257} be
a mere fictitious thing; and if truth itself, and the intellectual
nature be fictitious things, then what can be real or solid in the
world? But it is evident, that though the mind thinks of these
things at pleasure, yet they are not arbitrarily framed by the mind,
but have certain, determinate, and immutable natures of their own,
which are independent upon the mind, and which are not blown away
into nothing at the pleasure of the same being that arbitrarily made

"But we all naturally conceive that those things have not only an
eternal, but also a necessary existence, so that they could not ever
but be, such and so many as they are, and can never possibly perish
or cease to be, but are absolutely undestroyable.

"Which is a thing frequently acknowledged in the writings of both
those famous philosophers, Plato and Aristotle. The former of them
calling those things, 'things that were never made, but always are,'
and 'things that were never made, nor can be destroyed.' 'Things
ingenerable and unperishable;' _Quæ_ Plato _negat gigni sed semper
esse_ (as Tully expresseth it) _et ratione et intelligentia
contineri_. And Philo the Platonical Jew, calls the [Greek: ta\
Noêta\], which are the same things we speak of, [Greek:
a)nagkaio/tatai ou)si/ai], the most necessary essences, that is,
such things as could not but be, and cannot possibly not be. And
Aristotle himself calls the _rationes_ of things in his metaphysics,
not only [Greek: chôrista\] and [Greek: a)ki/nêta], things separate
from matter and immutable, but also [Greek: a)ï/dia], or eternal;
and in his ethics likewise, he calls geometrical truths [Greek:
a)ï/dia], eternal things, 1. 3, c. 5; 'where he makes the
geometrical truth concerning the incommensurability betwixt the
{258} diameter and the side of a square, to be an eternal thing.'
Elsewhere he tells us, that 'Science, properly so called, is not of
things corruptible and contingent,' but of things necessary,
incorruptible and eternal. Which immutable and eternal objects of
science, in the place before quoted, he described thus: 'Such a kind
of entity of things has neither motion nor generation, nor
corruption,' that is, such things as were never made, and can never
be destroyed. To which, he saith, the mind is necessarily
determined. For science or knowledge has nothing either of fiction
or of arbitrariness in it, but is 'the comprehension of that which
immutably is.'

"Moreover, these things have a constant being, when our particular
created minds do not actually think of them, and therefore they are
immutable in another sense likewise, not only because they are
indivisibly the same when we think of them, but also because they
have a constant and never-failing entity; and always are, whether
our particular minds think of them or not. For the intelligible
natures and essences of a triangle, square, circle, pyramid, cube,
sphere, &c., and all the necessary geometrical verities belonging to
these several figures, were not the creatures of Archimedes, Euclid,
or Pythagoras, or any other inventors of Geometry; nor did then
first begin to be; but all these _rationes_ and verities had a real
and actual entity before, and would continue still, though all the
geometricians in the world were quite extinct, and no man knew them
or thought of them. Nay, though all the material world were quite
swept away, and also all particular created minds annihilated
together with it; yet there is no doubt but the {259} intelligible
natures or essences of all geometrical figures, and the necessary
verities belonging to them, would notwithstanding remain safe and
sound. Wherefore these things had a being also before the material
world and all particular intellects were created. For it is not at
all conceivable, that ever there was a time when there was no
intelligible nature of a triangle, nor any such thing cogitable at
all, and when it was not yet actually true that a triangle has three
angles equal to two right angles, but that these things were
afterward arbitrarily made and brought into being out of an
antecedent nothing or non-entity; so that the being of them bore
some certain date, and had a youngness in them, and so by the same
reason might wax old, and decay again; which notion he often harps
upon, when he speaks of the [Greek: Ei)/dê], or forms of things, as
when he says, 'there is no generation of the essence of a sphere,'
that is, it is a thing that is not made; but always is: and
elsewhere he pronounces universally of the [Greek: Ei)/dê], 'The
forms of material things are without generation and corruption,' and
'that none makes the form of any thing, for it is never generated.'
Divers have censured Aristotle in some of such passages too much to
confound physics and metaphysics together; for indeed these things
are not true in a physical, but only in a metaphysical sense. That
is, the immediate objects of intellection and science, are eternal,
necessarily existent, and incorruptible."[9*]

[Mill's footnote 9: "A Treatise concerning Eternal and Immutable
Morality. By Ralph Cudworth, D.D."--pp. 241--250.]

Under the influence of such notions as these, men {260} were led
away from the real object of Classification; which remained, till a
late period in metaphysical inquiry, not at all understood. Yet the
truth appears by no means difficult to find, if we only observe the
steps, by which the mind acquires its knowledge, and the exigencies
which give occasion to the contrivances to which it resorts.

Man first becomes acquainted with individuals. He first names
individuals. But individuals are innumerable, and he cannot have
innumerable names. He must make one name serve for many individuals.
It is thus obvious, and certain, that men were led to class solely
for the purpose of economizing in the use of names. Could the
processes of naming and discourse have been as conveniently managed
by a name for every individual, the names of classes, and the idea
of classification, would never have existed. But as the limits of
the human memory did not enable men to retain beyond a very limited
number of names; and even if it had, as it would have required a
most inconvenient portion of time, to run over in discourse, as many
names of individuals, and of individual qualities, as there is
occasion to refer to in discourse, it was necessary to have
contrivances of abridgment; that is, to employ names which marked
equally a number of individuals, with all their separate properties;
and enabled us to speak of multitudes at once.[78]

[Editor's footnote 78: The doctrine that "men were led to class
solely for the purpose of economizing in the use of names," is here
reasserted in the most unqualified terms. The author plainly says
that if our memory had been sufficiently vast to contain a name for
every individual, the names of classes and the idea of
classification would never have existed. Yet how (I am obliged to
ask) could we have done without them? We could not have dispensed
with names to mark the points in which different individuals
resemble one another: and these are class-names. The fact that we
require names for the purpose of making affirmations--of predicating
qualities--is in some measure recognised by the author, when he says
"it would have required a most inconvenient portion of time to run
over in discourse as many names of individuals _and of individual
qualities_ as there is occasion to refer to in discourse." But what
is meant by an individual quality? It is not _individual_ qualities
that we ever have occasion to predicate. It is true that the
qualities of an object are only the various ways in which we or
other minds are affected by it, and these affections are not the
same in different objects, except in the sense in which the word
same stands for exact similarity. But we never have occasion to
predicate of an object the individual and instantaneous impressions
which it produces in us. The only meaning of predicating a quality
at all, is to affirm a resemblance. When we ascribe a quality to an
object, we intend to assert that the object affects us in a manner
similar to that in which we are affected by a known class of
objects. A quality, indeed, in the custom of language, does not
admit of individuality: it is supposed to be one thing common to
many; which, being explained, means that it is the name of a
resemblance among our sensations, and not a name of the individual
sensations which resemble. Qualities, therefore, cannot be
predicated without general names; nor, consequently, without
classification. Wherever there is a general name there is a class:
classification, and general names, are things exactly coextensive.
It thus appears that, without classification, language would not
fulfil its most important function. Had we no names but those of
individuals, the names might serve as marks to bring those
individuals to mind, but would not enable us to make a single
assertion respecting them, except that one individual is not
another. Not a particle of the knowledge we have of them could be
expressed in words.--_Ed._]

{261} It was impossible that this process should not be involved in
obscurity, and liable to great {262} misapprehension, so long as the
manner, in which words become significant, was unexplained. After
this knowledge was imparted, and pretty generally diffused, the
value of it seemed for a long time to be little understood.

Words become significant purely by association. A word is pronounced
in conjunction with an idea; it is pronounced again and again; and,
by degrees, the idea and the word become so associated, that the one
can never occur without the other. To take first the example of an
individual object. The word, St. Paul's, has been so often named in
conjunction with the idea of a particular building, that the word,
St. Paul's, never occurs without calling up the idea of the
building, nor the idea of the building without calling up the name,
St. Paul's. The effect of association is similarly exemplified in
connecting the visible mark with the audible. Children learn first
to speak. They learn next to read. In learning to speak, they
associate the audible mark with their sensations and ideas; the
sound tree is associated with the sight of the tree, or the idea of
the tree. In learning to read, a new association has to be formed.
The _written word_ is a _visible_ sign of the _audible_ sign. What
reading accomplishes, by degrees, is, to associate the visible sign
so closely with the audible, that at the same instant with the sight
of the word the sound of it, and with the sound of it the sense,

After the explanations which have been already {263} given, no
difficulty can remain about the manner in which names come to
signify the _individuals_ of which they are appointed to be the

Let us now, proceeding to the simplest cases first, and by them
expounding such as are more complicated, suppose that our name of
one individual is applied to another individual. Let us suppose that
the word, foot, has been first associated in the mind of the child
with one foot only; it will in that case call up the idea of that
one, and not of the other. Here is one name, and one thing named.
Suppose next, that the same name, foot, begins to be applied to the
child's other foot. The sound is now associated not constantly with
one thing, but sometimes with one thing, and sometimes with another.
The consequence is, that it calls up sometimes the one, and
sometimes the other. Here two things, the two feet, are both of them
associated with one thing, the name. The one thing, the name, has
the power of calling up both, and in rapid succession. The word foot
suggests the idea of one of the feet; this foot with its name, is a
complex idea; and this complex idea suggests its like, the other
foot with its name.

This is a peculiar and a highly important case of association; but
not the less simple and indisputable. We have already sufficiently
exemplified the two grand cases of the formation of complex ideas by
association;--that in which the ideas of synchronous sensations are
so concreted by constant conjunction as to appear, though numerous,
only one; of which the ideas of sensible objects, a rose, a plough,
a house, a ship, are examples;--and that in which the ideas of
successive sensations are so concreted; of which, the idea of a
{264} tune in music, the idea of the revolution of a wheel, of a
walk, a hunt, a horse-race, are instances.

It is easy to see wherein the present case agrees with, and wherein
it differs from, those familiar cases. The word, man, we shall say,
is first applied to an individual; it is first associated with the
idea of that individual, and acquires the power of calling up the
idea of him; it is next applied to another individual, and acquires
the power of calling up the idea of him; so of another, and another,
till it has become associated with an indefinite number, and has
acquired the power of calling up an indefinite number of those ideas
indifferently. What happens? It does call up an indefinite number of
the ideas of individuals, as often as it occurs; and calling them up
in close connexion, it forms them into a species of complex idea.

There can be no difficulty in admitting that association does form
the ideas of an indefinite number of individuals into one complex
idea; because it is an acknowledged fact. Have we not the idea of an
army? And is not that precisely the ideas of an indefinite number of
men formed into one idea? Have we not the idea of a wood, or a
forest; and is not that the idea of an indefinite number of trees
formed into one idea? These are instances of the concretion of
synchronous ideas. Of the concretion of successive ideas indefinite
in number, the idea of a concert is one instance, the idea of a
discourse is another, the idea of the life of a man is another, the
idea of a year, or of a century, is another, and so on. The idea,
which is marked by the term "race of man," is complex in both ways,
for it is not only the idea of the present generation, but of all
successive generations.

{265} It is also a fact, that when an idea becomes to a certain
degree complex, from the multiplicity of the ideas it comprehends,
it is of necessity indistinct. Thus the idea of a figure of one
thousand sides is incurably indistinct; the idea of an army is also
indistinct; the idea of a forest, or the idea of a mob. And one of
the uses of language, is, to enable us, by distinct marks, to speak
with distinctness of those combinations of ideas, which, in
themselves, are too numerous for distinctness. Thus, by our marks of
numbers, we can speak, with the most perfect precision, of a figure
not only of a thousand, but of ten thousand sides, and deduce its
peculiar properties; though it is as impossible, by the idea, as by
the sensations, to distinguish one of a thousand, from one of a
thousand and one, sides.

Thus, when the word man calls up the ideas of an indefinite number
of individuals, not only of all those to whom I have individually
given the name, but of all those to whom I have in imagination given
it or imagine it will ever be given, and forms all those ideas into
one,--it is evidently a very complex idea, and, therefore,
indistinct; and this indistinctness has, doubtless, been the main
cause of the mystery, which has appeared to belong to it. That this,
however, is the process, is an inevitable result of the laws of

It thus appears, that the word, _man_, is not a word having a very
simple idea, as was the opinion of the Realists; nor a word having
no idea at all, as was that of the Nominalists; but a word calling
up an indefinite number of ideas, by the irresistible laws of
association, and forming them into one very {266} complex, and
indistinct, but not therefore unintelligible, idea.

It is thus to be seen, that appellatives, or general names, are
significant, in two modes. We have frequently had occasion to recur
to the mode in which the simple ideas of sensation are associated or
concreted, so as to form what we call the complex ideas of objects.
Thus, I have the complex ideas of this pen, this desk, this room,
this man, this handwriting. The simple ideas, so concreted into a
complex idea in the case of each individual, are one thing signified
by each appellative; and this complex idea of the individual,
concreted with another, and another of the same kind, and so on
without end, is the other of the things which are signified by it.
Thus, the word rose, signifies, first of all, a certain odour, a
certain colour, a certain shape, a certain consistence, so
associated as to form one idea, that of the individual; next, it
signifies this individual associated with another, and another, and
another, and so on; in other words, it signifies the class.

The complexity of the idea, in the latter of the two cases, is
distinguished by a peculiarity from that of the former. In applying
the name to the odour, and colour, and so on, of the rose, concreted
into one idea, the name is not the name of each of the sensations
taken singly, only of all taken together. In applying the name to
rose, and rose, and rose, without end, the name is at once a name of
each of the individuals, and also the name of the complex
association which is formed of them. This too, is itself a peculiar
association. It is not the association of a name with a number of
particulars clustered together {267} as one; but the association of
a name with each of an indefinite number of particulars, and all
those particulars associated back again with the name.

This peculiarity may require a little further explanation. It is
well known, that between an idea, and the name which stands for it,
there is a double association. The name calls up the idea in close
association, and the idea calls up the name in equally close
association; and this they have a tendency to do in a series of
repetitions; the name bringing up the idea, the idea the name, and
then the name the idea again, and so on, for any number of times.
This is, in great part, the way in which language is learned, as we
observe by the repetitions to which children are prone. And this,
indeed, is what, in many cases, we mean when we speak of dwelling
upon an idea. It is a familiar observation, that no idea dwells in
the mind, or can; for it has innumerable associations, and whatever
association occurs, of course, displaces that by which it is
introduced. But if the idea which thus displaces it, again calls it
up, and these two go on calling up one another, that which is the
more interesting of the two appears to be that which alone is
occupying the attention. This alternation is frequent between the
name and the idea.

Now, then, let the word, man, be supposed, first of all, the name of
an individual; it becomes associated with the idea of the
individual, and acquires the power of calling up that idea. Let us
next suppose it applied to one other individual, and no more: it
becomes associated with this other idea; and it now has the power of
calling up either. The following is, then, a very natural train:--
1, The name occurs; 2, the name {268} suggests the idea of one of the
individuals; 3, that idea suggests the name back again; 4, the name
suggests the idea of the second individual. All this may pass, and,
after sufficient repetition, does pass, with the rapidity of
lightning. Suppose, now, that the name is associated, with the ideas
not of two individuals, but of many; the same train may go on; the
name exciting the idea of one individual, that idea the name, the
name another individual, and so on, to an indefinite extent; all in
that small portion of time of which the mind takes no account. The
combination thus formed stands in need of a name. And the name, man,
while it is the name of every individual included in the process, is
also the name of the whole combination; that is, of a very complex

One other question, respecting classification, may still seem to
require solution; namely, what it is by which we are determined in
placing such and such things together in a class in preference to
others; what, in other words, is the principle of Classification?
I answer, that, as it is for the purpose of naming, of naming with
greater facility, that we form classes at all; so it is in
furtherance of that same facility that such and such things only are
included in one class, such and such in another. Experience teaches
what sort of grouping answers the purposes of naming best; under the
suggestions of that experience, the application of a general word is
tacitly and without much of reflection regulated; and by this
process, and no other, it is, that Classification is performed. It
is the aggregation of an indefinite number of individuals, by their
association with a particular name.

It may seem that this answer is still very general {269} and that to
make the explanation sufficient, the suggestions by which experience
recommends this or that classification should be particularized. For
the purpose of the present chapter, however, namely, to shew that
the business of Classification is merely a process of naming, and is
all resolvable into association, the observation, though general, is
full and satisfactory. The detail of the purposes to be answered by
general terms belongs more properly to the next head of Discourse,
and as far as the development of the mental phenomena seems to
require it, will there be presented.

It may still be useful to advert to the three principal cases into
which Classification may be resolved; 1, that of objects considered
as synchronical; 2, that of objects considered as successive;
3, that of feelings. The first is exemplified in the common classes
of sensible objects, as men, horses, trees, and so on; and requires
no further explanation. The second is exemplified in the classes of
events, denoted by such words, as Birth, Death, Snowing, Thundering,
Freezing, Flying, Creeping. By these words there is always denoted
one antecedent and one consequent, generally more, sometimes a long
train of them. And it is obvious that each of them is, at once, the
name of each instance individually, and of all taken generally
together. Thus, Freezing, is not the name of an individual instance
of freezing only, but of that and of all other instances of
Freezing. The same is the case with other words of a still more
general, and thence more obscure signification, as Gravitation,
Attraction, Motion, Force, &c.; which words have this additional
source of confusion, that they are {270} ambiguous, being both
abstract and concrete. When we say that there is a third case of
classification, relating to Feelings, it does not mean that the two
former do not relate to feelings: for when we say, that we classify
objects, as men, horses, &c.;--or events, as the sequences named
births, deaths, and so on;--it is obvious that our operation is
about our own feelings, and nothing else; as the objects, and their
successions, are, to us, the feelings merely which we thus
designate. But as there are feelings which we do thus designate; and
feelings which we do not; it is convenient, for the purpose of
teaching, to treat of them apart. The Feelings, of this latter kind,
which we classify, are either single feelings, or trains. Thus, Pain
is the name of a single feeling, and the name both of an individual
instance, and of indefinite instances, forming a most extensive
class. Memory is the name not of a single feeling or idea, but of a
train; and it is the name not only of a single instance, but of all
instances of such a train, that is, of a class. The same is the case
with Belief. It is the name of a train consisting of a certain
number of links; and it is the name not only of an individual
instance of such trains, but of all instances, forming an extensive
class. Imagination is another instance of the same sort of
classification. So also is Judgment, and Reasoning, and Doubting,
and we might name many more.

It is easy to see, among the principles of Association, what
particular principle it is, which is mainly concerned in
Classification, and by which we are rendered capable of that mighty
operation; on which, as its basis, the whole of our intellectual
structure is reared. That principle is Resemblance. It seems to
{271} be similarity or resemblance which, when we have applied a
name to one individual, leads us to apply it to another, and
another, till the whole forms an aggregate, connected together by
the common relation of every part of the aggregate to one and the
same name. Similarity, or Resemblance, we must regard as an Idea
familiar and sufficiently understood for the illustration at present
required. It will itself be strictly analysed, at a subsequent part
of this Inquiry.

So deeply was the sagacious mind of Plato, far more philosophical
than that of any who succeeded him, during many ages, struck with
the importance of Classification, that he seems to have regarded it
as the sum of all philosophy; which he described, as being the
faculty of seeing "the ONE in the MANY, and the MANY in the ONE;" a
phrase which, when stripped from the subtleties of the sophists whom
he exposed, and from the mystical visions of his successors, of
which he never dreamed, is really a striking expression of what in
classification is the matter of fact. His error lay, in
misconceiving the ONE; which he took, not for the aggregate, but
something pervading the aggregate.[79] [80]

[Grote's footnote 79: The two chapters (VII. and VIII.) of Mr. James
Mill's Analysis are highly instructive, and exhibit all his
customary force and perspicuity. But in respect to Classification
and Abstraction, I think that the ancient philosophers of the
Sokratic school generally, are entitled to more credit than he
allows them; and moreover that in respect to the difference of
opinion between Plato and Aristotle, he has assigned an undue
superiority to the former at the expense of the latter.

The reader would take very inadequate measure of these {272} ancient
philosophers, if he judged them from the two citations out of Harris
and Cudworth, produced by Mr. James Mill as setting forth the most
successful speculations of the ancient world. Both these passages
are brought to illustrate "the mystical jargon" (p. 253) with which
the ancients are said to have obscured a clear and simple subject.
The mysticism in both citations is to a certain extent real; but it
depends also in part on the use of a terminology now obsolete,
rather than on confusion of ideas. In regard to the citation from
Harris, it is a passage in which that author passes into theology,
and includes God and Immortality: topics upon which mystical
language can seldom be avoided: moreover, if we compare the remarks
on Harris (p. 251) with p. 271, we shall find Mr. James Mill
ridiculing as mystical, when used by Harris, the same language
(about "the One in the Many") which, when employed by Plato, he
eulogises as follows--"a phrase which, when stripped from the
subtleties of the sophists whom he (Plato) exposed, and from the
mystical visions of his successors, of which he never dreamed, is
really a striking expression of what in classification is the matter
of fact."

I wish I could concur with Mr. James Mill in exonerating Plato from
these mystical visions, and imputing them exclusively to his
successors. But I find them too manifestly proclaimed in the Timæus,
Phædon, Phædrus, Symposion, Republic, and other dialogues, to admit
of such an acquittal: I also find subtleties quite as perplexing as
those of any sophist whom he exposed. Along with these elements, the
dialogues undoubtedly present others entirely disparate, much
sounder and nobler. I have in another work endeavoured to render a
faithful account of the multifarious Platonic aggregate, stamped in
all its parts,--whether of negative dialectic, poetical fancy, or
ethical dogmatism,--with the unrivalled genius of expression
belonging to the author. The misfortune is that his Neo-Platonic
successors selected by preference his dreams and visions for their
amplifying comment and eulogy, leaving comparatively unnoticed the
instructive lessons of philosophy {273} accompanying them. To this
extent the Neo-Platonists fully deserve the criticism here bestowed
on them.

The long passage, extracted in the Analysis from Cudworth, contains
two grave mis-statements, respecting both Plato and Aristotle; which
deserve the more attention because they seem to have misled Mr.
James Mill himself. Respecting Universals, Cudworth, after saying
that they do not exist in the individual sensibles, proceeds as
follows (p. 255-256)--

1. "Neither, in the next place, do they exist somewhere else apart
from the individual sensibles, and without the mind: which is that
opinion that Aristotle justly condemns, but either unjustly or
unskilfully attributes to Plato.

2. "Wherefore these intelligible ideas or essences of things, those
forms by which we understand all things, exist nowhere but in the
mind itself: for it was very well determined long ago by Socrates,
in Plato's Parmenides, that these things are nothing but _noëmata_:
these species or ideas are all of them nothing but _noëmata_, or
notions that exist nowhere but in the soul itself."

Now, neither of these assertions of Cudworth will be found accurate:
neither the "determination" which he ascribes to the Platonic
Sokrates--nor the censure of "unjust or unskilful" which he attaches
to Aristotle. It is indeed true that the opinion here mentioned is
enunciated by Sokrates in Plato's Parmenides. But far from being
given as a "determination," it is enunciated only to be refuted and
dropt.[a] In that dialogue, Sokrates is introduced as a youthful and
ardent aspirant in philosophy, maintaining the genuine Platonic
theory of self-existent and separate Ideas. He finds himself unable
to repel several acute objections tendered against the theory by the
veteran Parmenides: he is driven from position to position: and one
among them, not more tenable than the rest, is the suggestion cited
by Cudworth. Yet Parmenides, though his objections remain unanswered
and though he alludes to others {274} not specified,--concludes by
declaring[b] that nevertheless the Platonic theory of Ideas cannot
be abandoned: it must be upheld as a postulate essential to the
possibility of general reasoning and philosophy.

[Footnote a: Plato Parmenid. p. 132, C, D.]

[Footnote b: Plato Parmenid. p. 135, B, C.

I have given an account of this acute but perplexing dialogue, in
the twenty-fifth chapter of my work on Plato and the other
Companions of Sokrates.]

Even in the Parmenides itself, therefore, where Plato accumulates
objections against the theory of separate and self-existent Ideas,
we still find him reiterating his adherence to it. And when we turn
to his other dialogues, Phædrus, Phædon, Symposion, Republic,
Kratylus, &c., we see that theory so emphatically proclaimed and so
largely illustrated, that I wonder how Cudworth can blame Aristotle
for imputing it to him.

It is by Cudworth, probably, that Mr. James Mill has been misled,
when he says--p. 249--"At bottom, Aristotle's [Greek: ei)=dos] is
the same as with Plato's [Greek: i)de/a], though Aristotle makes a
great affair of some very trifling differences, which he creates and
sets up between them."--I have pointed out Cudworth's mistake, and I
maintain that the difference between Plato and Aristotle on this
subject was grave and material. The latter denied, what the former
affirmed, self-existence and substantiality of the Universal Ideas,
apart from and independent of particulars.

Having cited with some comments the extracts from Cudworth and
Harris, Mr. James Mill observes, "Under the influence of such
notions as these, men were led away from the real object of
Classification, which remained, till a late period of metaphysical
enquiry, not at all understood. Yet the truth appears by no means
difficult to find, if we only observe the steps by which the mind
acquires its knowledge, and the exigencies which give occasion to
the contrivances to which it resorts" (p. 259).--He then proceeds,
clearly and forcibly, to announce his own theory of classification,
intended to dispel the mystery with which others have surrounded
{275} it (p. 264). "The word _man_ is first applied to an
individual: it is first associated with the idea of that individual,
and acquires the power of calling up the idea of him: it is next
applied to another individual, and acquires the power of calling up
the idea of him: so of another and another, till it has acquired the
power of calling up an indefinite number of those ideas
indifferently. What happens? It does call up an indefinite number of
the ideas of individuals, as often as it occurs: and calling them up
in close combination, it forms them into a species of complex idea."
"It thus appears that the word _man_ is not a word having a very
simple idea, as was the opinion of the Realists: nor a word having
no idea at all, as was that of the Nominalists: but a word calling
up an indefinite number of ideas, by the irresistible laws of
association, and forming them into one very complex and indistinct,
but not therefore unintelligible, idea" (p. 265).--"As it is for the
purpose of naming, and of naming with greater facility, that we form
classes at all; so it is in furtherance of that same facility that
such and such things only are included in one class, such and such
things in another. Experience teaches us what sort of grouping
answers this purpose best: under the suggestions of that experience,
the application of a general word is tacitly and without much of
reflection regulated: and by this process and no other, it is, that
Classification is performed. It is the aggregation of an indefinite
number of individuals, by their association with a particular name"
(p. 268).--"It is Similarity or Resemblance, which, when we have
applied a name to one individual, leads us to apply it to another
and another till the whole forms an aggregate, connected together by
the common relation of the aggregate to one and the same name" (p.

Such is the theory of Mr. James Mill. Its great peculiarity is that
it neither includes nor alludes to Abstraction. It admits in
Classification nothing more than the one common name associated with
an aggregate indefinite and indistinct, of similar concrete
individuals. I shall now consider the manner {276} in which the
Greek philosophers of the fourth century B.C. dealt with the same
subject, and how far they merit the censure of having imported
unnecessary mystery into it.

It is impossible to understand Plato unless we take our departure
from his master Sokrates. Now it is precisely in regard to
Classification, and the meaning and comprehension of general terms,
that the originality and dialectical acuteness of Sokrates were most
conspicuously manifested. He was the first philosopher (as
Aristotle[c] tells us) who set before himself the Universal as an
express object of investigation,--and who applied himself to find
out and test the definition of universal terms. He wrote nothing;
but he passed most part of his long life in public, and in talking
indiscriminately with every one. Oral colloquy, and cross-examining
interrogation, were carried by him to a pitch of excellence never
equalled. Not only did he disclaim all power of teaching, but he
explicitly avowed his own ignorance; professing to be a mere seeker
of truth from others who knew better, and to be anxious only for
answers such as would stand an accurate scrutiny. To this peculiar
scheme--the topics on which he talked were adapted: for he avoided
all recondite themes, and discussed only matters relating to man and
society: such as What is the Holy? What is the Unholy? What are the
Beautiful and the Mean the Just and Unjust? Temperance? Madness?
Courage? Cowardice? A City? A man fit for citizenship? Command of
Men? A man fit for commanding men? Such is the specimen-list given
by Xenophon[d] of the themes chosen by Sokrates. We see that they
are all general, and embodied in universal terms. But the terms as
well as the themes were familiar to all: every man believed himself
thoroughly to understand the meaning of the former--every one had
convictions ready-made and decided on the latter. When Sokrates
first opened the colloquy, respondents were surprised to be
questioned about such subjects, upon which they presumed {277} that
every one must know as well as themselves. But this confidence
speedily vanished when they came to be tested by inductive[e]
interrogatories: citation of appropriate particulars, included or
not included in the generalities which they laid down. The result
proved that they could not answer the questions without speedily
contradicting themselves: that they did not understand the
comprehension of their own universal terms: and that upon all these
matters, on which they talked so confidently, they had never applied
themselves deliberately to learn, nor could they say how their
judgments had been acquired or certified.[f]

[Footnote c: Aristot. Metaphys. A. p. 987, b. 1, M. p. 1078, b. 30.]

[Footnote d: Xenophon, Memorab. I., 1--16.]

[Footnote e: So Aristotle calls them--[Greek: lo/gous
e(paktikou/s].--Metaph. M. p. 1078, b. 28.]

[Footnote f: Xenophon, Memorab. IV. 2--13--30--36.]

The conviction formed in the mind of Sokrates, after long
persistence in such colloquial cross-examination, is consigned in
his defence before the Athenian judicature, pronounced a month
before his death. He declared that what he found every where was
real ignorance, combined with false persuasion of knowledge: that
this was the chronic malady of the human mind, which it had been his
mission to expose: that no man was willing to learn, because no man
believed that he stood in need of learning: that, accordingly, the
first step indispensable to all effective teaching, was to make the
pupil a willing learner, by disabusing his mind of the false
persuasion of knowledge, and by imparting to him the stimulus
arising from a painful consciousness of ignorance.

Such was the remarkable psychological scrutiny instituted by
Sokrates on his countrymen, and the verdict which it suggested to
him. I have already observed that his great intellectual bent was to
ascertain the definition of general terms, and to follow these out
to a comprehensive and consistent classification.[g] It must be
added that no man was ever less inclined to mysticism than Sokrates:
and that he was thus {278} exempt from those misleading influences
which (according to Mr. James Mill, p. 260) "have led men away from
the real object of Classification, and prevented them from
understanding it till a late period in metaphysical enquiry."
Sokrates did not come before his countrymen with classifications of
his own, originated or improved--nor did he teach them how the
process ought to be conducted. His purpose was, to test and
appreciate that Classification which he found ready-made and current
among them. He pronounced it to be worthless and illusory.

[Footnote g: Xenophon. Memor. IV. 5, 12; IV. *6. 1--7--10--15.
[Greek: ô(=n e(/neka skopô=n su\n toi=s sunou=sin, ti/ e(/kaston
ei)/ê tô=n o)/ntôn, ou)de/pote e)/lêge].]

Now I wish to point out that what Sokrates thus depreciated, is
exactly that which this Chapter of the Analysis lays before us as
Classification generally. I agree with the Analysis that
Classification, up to a certain point, grows out of the principle of
Association and the exigencies of the human mind, by steps
instructively set forth in that work. But such natural growth
reaches no higher standard than that which Sokrates tested and found
so lamentably deficient, even among a public of unusual
intelligence. It does not deserve the name of a "mighty operation"
(bestowed upon it by Mr. James Mill, p. 270). It is a rudimentary
procedure, indispensable as a basis on which to build, and sufficing
in the main for social communication, when no science or reasoned
truth is required: but failing altogether to realise what has been
understood by philosophers, from Sokrates downward, as the true and
full purpose of Classification. So long as the Class is conceived to
be only what the Analysis describes, an indistinct aggregate of
resembling individuals denoted by the same name, without clearly
understanding wherein the resemblance consists, or what facts and
attributes are _connoted_ by the name[h] (I use the word _connote_,
{279} not in the sense of the Analysis, but in the sense of Mr. John
Stuart Mill)--so long will Classification continue to be, as
Sokrates entitled it, a large persuasion of knowledge with little
reality to sustain it.

[Footnote h: The necessity of determining the _connotation_ of the
Class-term is distinctly put forward by Sokrates--Xenophon, Memorab.
III. 14, 2. [Greek: lo/gô| o)/ntos peri\ o)noma/tôn, iph' oi(ô=|
e)/rgô| e(/kaston ei)/ê--E)/choimen a)\n (e)\phê) ei)pei=n, e)pi\
poiô=| pote\ e)/rgô| a)/nthrôpos o)pso/phagos kalei=tai?] &c., also
the remarkable passage IV., 6. 13--15, Plato, Sophistes, p. 218 B.
[Greek: tou)/noma mo/non e)/chomen koinê=| to\ de\ e)/rgon, e)ph'
ô(=| kalou=men], &c.]

I pass now from Sokrates to Plato. It is true, as we read in the
Analysis, (p. 271) that Plato "was so deeply struck with the
importance of Classification, that he seems to have regarded it as
the sum of all philosophy." But what Plato thus admired was not the
Classification that he found prevalent around him, such as this
chapter of the Analysis depicts. Here Plato perfectly agreed with
Sokrates. Among his immortal dialogues, several of the very best are
devoted to the illustration of the Sokratic point of view: to the
cross-examination and exposure of the minds around him, instructed
as well as vulgar, in respect to the general terms familiarly used
in speech. The Platonic questions and answers are framed to shew how
little the respondents understand beneath those current generalities
on which every one talks with confidence and fluency--and how little
they can avoid contradiction or inconsistency, when their
class-terms are confronted with particulars. In fact, Plato goes so
far as to intimate that these uncertified classifications,--
generated in each man's mind by merely learning the application of
words, and imbibed unconsciously, without special teaching, through
the contagion of ordinary society--are rather worse than ignorance:
inasmuch as they are accompanied by a false persuasion of knowledge.
It would be (in the opinion of Plato) a comparative improvement,
if this state of mental confusion, creating a false persuasion of
knowledge, were broken up; and if there were substituted in place
thereof positive ignorance, together with the naked and painful
consciousness of being really ignorant. Only in this way could the
mind of the learner be stimulated to active effort in the acquisition
of genuine knowledge.[i]

[Footnote i: Plato, Sophistes, p. 230--231. Symposion, p. 204 A,
Menon p. 84, A. D.]

Accordingly, when it is said that Plato was "deeply struck {280}
with the importance of Classification," we must understand the
phrase as applying to Classification, not as he found it prevalent,
but as he idealized it. And the scheme that he imagined was not
merely different from that which he found, but in direct repugnance
to it. He denounced altogether the aggregate of individuals; he
declared the class-constituent to reside in a reality apart from
them, separate and self-existent--the Idea or Form. He enjoined the
student of philosophy to fix his contemplation on these Class-Ideas,
the real Realities, in their own luminous region: and for that
purpose, to turn his back upon the phenomenal particulars, which
were mere transitory, shadowy, incoherent projections of these
Ideas[j]--and from the study of which no true knowledge could be
obtained. Of the two statements in the Analysis--(p. 271) that
"Plato never dreamed of the mystical visions of his successors," and
that "his error (respecting Classification) lay in misconceiving the
One; which he took, not for the aggregate, but something pervading
the aggregate"--neither one nor the other appears to me accurate. In
regard to the second of the two, indeed, you may find various
passages of Plato which, if construed separately, would countenance
it: for Plato does not always talk Realism--nor always consistently
with himself. But still his capital and peculiar theory was,
Realism. The Platonic One was not something pervading the aggregate
of particulars, but an independent and immutable reality, apart from
the aggregate: and Plato, when he thus conceived {281} the One,
illustrating it by the vast hypotheses embodied in the Republic,
Phædon, Phædrus, Symposion, Menon, &c., is the true originator of
those "mystical visions" against which the Analysis justly protests.
Such visions were doubtless suggested to Plato by "his deep sense of
the importance of Classification:" but they are his own, though
continued and amplified, without his decorative genius, by
Neo-Platonic successors. His theory of classification was the first
ever propounded; and that theory was Realism. The doctrine here
ascribed to him by Mr. James Mill is much more Aristotelian than
Platonic. The main issue raised by Aristotle against Plato was, upon
the essential separation, and separate objective existence, of the
Abstract and Universal: Plato affirmed it, Aristotle denied it.[k]
Aristotle recognised no reality apart from the Particular, to which
the Universal was attached as a predicate, either essential or
accidental to its subject. The Aristotelian Universal may thus be
called, in relation to a body of similar particulars, not the
aggregate but something pervading the aggregate. But this is not
Plato's view: it is the negation of the Platonic Realism.

[Footnote j: This is what we read in the memorable simile of the
Cave, in Plato, Republic, VII., p. 514--519. The language used
throughout this simile is [Greek: peria/gein, periakti/on,
periagôgê/], &c. He supposes that the natural state of man is to
have his face and vision towards the particular phenomena, and his
back towards the universal realities: the great problem is, how to
make the man face about, turn his back towards phenomena, and his
eyes towards Universals--[Greek: ta\ o)/nta--ta\ noêta/]. Nothing
can be learnt from observation however *acute, of the phenomena.
The same point is enforced with all the charm of Platonic expression
in Republ. V. 478, 479, VI., 493, 494. Symposion, p. 210--211,
Phædon, p. 74--75.]

[Footnote k: According to Plato, it is [Greek: to\ e(\n
_para\ ta\ polla/_]. According to Aristotle, it is [Greek: e(\n
_kata\ pollô=n_--e(\n kai\ to\ au)to\ e)pi\ _pleio/nôn_
mê\ o(mô/numon e(\n _e)pi\_ pollô=n]. Analyt. Poster. I. 11, p.
77, a. 6. Metaphys. I. 9, p. 990, b. 7--13.

Whoever reads the portions of Plato's dialogues indicated in my last
preceding foot note, will see how material this difference is
between the two philosophers.

In the remarkable passage of the Analyt. Post. I. 24, p. 85, a. 30,
b. 20, Aristotle notices the Platonic hypothesis that the Universal
has real objective, separate, existence apart from its particulars
([Greek: to\ katho/lou e)pi\ ti para\ ta\ kath' e(/kasta]) as an
illusion, mischievous and misleading--frequent, but not unavoidable.

See the antithesis between Plato and Aristotle, on the subject of
Universals, more copiously explained in the recent work of Professor
Bain, Mental and Moral Science, Appendix, pp. 6--20.]

When we read in the Analysis (p. 265) that "the word _man_ is not a
word having a very simple idea, as was the opinion of the Realists;
nor a word having no idea at all, as was that of the Nominalists"
this language seems to me not well-chosen. {282} As to the
Realists--the Platonic Ideas are conceived as eternal, immutable,
grand, dignified, &c., but Aristotle[l] contends that they cannot
all be simple: for the Idea of Man (e.g.) can hardly be simple, when
there exists distinct Ideas of Animal and of Biped. As to the
Nominalists--we cannot surely say that they conceived the universal
term as "having no idea at all." A doctrine something like this is
ascribed (on no certain testimony) to Stilpon, in the generation
succeeding Aristotle: the word Man (Stilpon is said to have
affirmed[m]) did not mean John more than William or Thomas or
Richard, &c., therefore it did not mean either one of them:
therefore it had no meaning at all. So also William of Ockham is
said to have declared that Universal Terms were mere "flatus vocis:"
but this (as Prantl has shewn[n]) was a phrase fastened upon him by
his opponents, not employed by himself. Still less can it be
admitted that Hobbes and Berkeley conceived the Universal Term as
"having no idea at all." They denied indeed Universal Ideas in the
Realistic sense: they also denied what Berkeley calls "determinate
abstract Ideas:" but both of them explained (Berkeley especially)
that the Universal term meant, any particular idea, considered as
representing or standing for all other particular ideas of the same
sort.[o] Whether this be the best and most complete explanation or
not, it can hardly have been present to Mr. James Mill's mind, when
he said that the Universal term had no idea at all in the opinion of
the Nominalists.

[Footnote l: Aristot. Metaphys. Z. 1039, a. 27, 1040, a. 23.]

[Footnote m: See Grote, Plato and the other Companions of Sokrates,
Vol. III., ch. 38, p. 523.]

[Footnote n: Prantl, Geschichte der Logik, Vol. III., Sect. 19, p.

[Footnote o: Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge, Introduction,
Sect. 12, 15, 16.]

There is one other remark to be made, respecting the view of
Classification presented in the eighth Chapter of the Analysis. We
read in the beginning of that Chapter--p. 249--"Forming a class of
things is a mode of regarding them. But what is meant by a mode of
regarding things? This is mysterious: {283} and is as mysteriously
explained, when it is said to be the taking into view the
particulars in which individuals agree. For what is there which it
is possible for the mind to take into view, in that in which
individuals agree? Every colour is an individual colour, every size
is an individual size, every shape is an individual shape. But
things have no individual colour in common, no individual shape in
common, no individual size in common: that is to say, they have
neither shape, colour, nor size in common. What then is it which
they have in common which the mind can take into view? Those who
affirmed that it was something, could by no means tell. They
substituted words for things: using vague and mystical phrases,
which when examined meant nothing."

Here we find certain phrases, often used both in common speech and
in philosophy, condemned us mystical and obscure. In the next or
ninth Chapter (on Abstraction, p. 295 seq.), we shall see the
language substituted for them, and the theory by which the mystery
is supposed to be removed. I cannot but think that the theory of Mr.
James Mill himself is open to quite as many objections as that which
he impugns. He finds fault with those who affirm that the word
_cube_ or _sphere_ is applied to a great many different objects by
reason of the shape which they have in common; and that they may be
regarded so far forth as _cube_ or _sphere_. But surely this would
not have been considered as either incorrect or mysterious by any
philosopher, from Aristotle downward. When I am told that it is
incorrect, because the shape of each object is an _individual_
shape, I dissent from the reason given. In my judgment, the term
_individual_ is a term applicable, properly and specially, to a
concrete object--to that which Aristotle would have called a Hoc
Aliquid. The term is not applicable to a quality or attribute. The
same quality that belongs to one object, may also belong to an
indefinite number of others. It is this common quality that is
_connoted_ (in the sense of that word employed by Mr. John Stuart
Mill) by the class-term: and if there were no common quality, the
class-term would have no connotation. In other words, there would be
no class: nor {284} would it be correct to apply to any two objects
the same concrete appellative name.

But when we come to the following Chapter of the Analysis (ch. ix.
on Abstraction, p. 296), we read as follows--"Let us suppose that
we apply the adjective _black_ first to the word Man. We say 'black
man.' But we speedily see that _for the same reason_ for which we
say black man, we may say black horse, black cow, black coat, and so
on. The word _black_ is thus associated with innumerable
modifications of the sensation black. By frequent repetition, and
the gradual strengthening of the association, these modifications
are at last called up in such rapid succession that they appear
commingled, and no longer many ideas, but one. _Black_ is therefore
no longer an individual, but a general name. It marks not the
particular black of a particular individual, but the black of every
individual and of all individuals."

To say that we apply the word _black_ to the horse _for the same
reason_ as we applied it to the man, is surely equivalent to saying
that the colour of the horse is the same as that of the man: that
blackness is the colour which they have in common. It is quite true
that we begin by applying the name to one individual object, then
apply it to another, and another, &c.; but always for the same
reason--to designate (or _connote_, in the phraseology of Mr. John
Stuart Mill) the same colour in them all, and to denote the objects
considered under one and the same point of view. It may be that in
fact there are differences in shade of colour: but the class-name
leaves these out of sight. When we desire to call attention to them,
we employ other words in addition to it. Every attribute is
considered and named as One, which is or may be common to many
individual objects: the objects only are individual.

It is to be regretted, I think, that Mr. James Mill disconnected
Classification so pointedly from Abstraction, and insisted on
explaining the former without taking account of the latter. Such
disconnection is a novelty, as he himself states (p. 294): previous
expositors thought that "abstraction was included in
classification"--and, in my judgment, they were {285} right in
thinking so, if (with Mr. James Mill) we are to consider
Classification as a "great operation." An aggregate of concretes is
not sufficient to constitute a Class, in any scientific sense, or as
available in the march of reasoned truth. You must have, besides,
the peculiar mode of regarding the aggregate: (a phrase which Mr.
James Mill deprecates as mysterious, but which it is difficult to
exchange for any other words more intelligible) you must have "that
separating one or more of the ingredients of a complex idea from the
rest, which has received the name of Abstraction"--to repeat the
very just explanation given by him, p. 295--though that too, if we
look at p. 249, he seems to consider as tainted with mystery.

We proceed afterwards to some clear and good additional remarks--p.
298. A class-term, as _black_, "is associated with two
distinguishable things, but with the one much more than with the
other: the clusters, with which it is associated, are variable: the
peculiar sensation with which it is associated, is invariable. It is
constantly, and therefore much more strongly, associated with the
sensation, than with any of the clusters. It is at once a name of
the clusters and a name of the sensation: but it is more peculiarly
a name of the sensation." Again shortly afterwards, the abstract
term is justly described as "marking exclusively one part (of the
cluster), upon which such and such effects depend, no alteration
being supposed in any other part of it."[p]

[Footnote p: The abstract term is coined for the express purpose of
marking one part of a cluster simultaneously present to the mind,
and fixing attention upon it without the other parts--but the
concrete term is often made to serve the same purpose, by means of
the adverb quatenus, [Greek: ka/thoson, ê(=|] &c. These phrases are
frequent both in Plato and Aristotle: the stock of abstract terms
was in their day comparatively small. It is needless to multiply
illustrations of that which pervades the compositions of both: a
very good one appears in Plato, Republ. I., p. 340 D, 341 C, 342.]

This process of marking exclusively, and attending to, one constant
portion of a complex state of consciousness, amidst a {286} great
variety of variable adjuncts--is doubtless one fundamental
characteristic in Abstraction and Classification. A mystery was
spread around it by Plato--first through his ascribing to the
Constant a separate self-existence, apart from the Variables--still
more by his hyperbolical predicates respecting these self-existent
transcendental Entia. Plato[q] however in other passages gives many
just opinions, respecting Classification, which are no way founded
on Realism, and are equally admissible by Nominalists: and portions
of Aristotle may be indicated, which describe the process of
abstraction as clearly as any thing in Hobbes or Berkeley.[r]

[Footnote q: The two Platonic dialogues, Sophistes and Politikus,
(in which processes of Classification are worked out,) give
precepts, for correct and pertinent classification, not necessarily
involving the theory of Realism, but rather putting it out of sight;
though in one special part of the Sophistes, the debate is made to
turn upon it. The main purpose of Plato is to fix upon some fact or
phenomenon, clear and appropriate, as the groundwork for
distinguishing each class or sub-class--and to define thereby each
class-term (_i.e._, to determine its _connotation_, in the sense of
Mr. John Stuart Mill). Plato deprecates the mere following out of
resemblances as a most slippery proceeding ([Greek: o)listhêro/taton
ge/nos]--Sophist. 231 A). The commonly received classes carry with
them in his opinion, no real knowledge, but only the false
persuasion of knowledge: he wants to break them up and remodel

[Footnote r: See especially Aristot. De Memoriâ et Reminiscentiâ, c.
1, p. 449, b. 13. De Sensu et Sensili, c. 6, p. 445, b. 17. De Animâ
III. 8, p. 432, a. 9.]

One farther remark may be made upon these two Chapters of the
Analysis. Mr. James Mill seems to take little or no thought of
Classification and Abstraction, except as performed by Adjectives.
But the adjective presupposes a substantive, which is alike an
appellative; and which has already performed its duty in the way of
abstracting and classifying. This fact seems to be overlooked in the
language of some sentences in the present Chapter: for
example--"Some successions are found to depend upon the clusters
called _objects_, all taken together. Thus a tree, a man, a stone,
are the {287} antecedents of certain consequents, as such: and not
on account of any particular part of the cluster. Other consequents
depend not upon the whole cluster, but upon some particular part:
thus a tall tree produces certain effects which a tree not tall
cannot produce," &c.

I think that the phraseology of this passage is not quite clear.
"The whole cluster all taken together" is not a tree as such--a man
as such--a stone as such--but this particular man, tree, or stone,
as it stands: John, Thomas, Caius or Titius, clothed with all his
predicates, acting or suffering in some given manner. When we speak
of a man _as such_ or _quatenus man_--we do not include the whole
cluster, but only those attributes _connoted_ (in Mr. John Stuart
Mill's sense of the word) by the name _man_: we speak of him as a
member of the class _Man_. What I wish to point out is--That Man is
a class-term, just as much as _tall_ or _short_: only it is the
name of a larger class, while tall man is a smaller class under it.
The school-logicians did not consider substantives as connotative,
but only adjectives: Mr. James Mill has followed them as to this
extent of the word, though he has inverted their meaning of it (see
p. 299). Mr. John Stuart Mill, while declining to adopt the same
inversion, has enlarged the meaning of the word _connotative_, so as
to include appellative substantives as well as adjectives.--_G._]

[Editor's footnote 80: Rejecting the notion that classes and
classification would not have existed but for the necessity of
economizing names, we may say that objects are formed into classes
on account of their resemblance. It is natural to think of like
objects together; which is, indeed, one of the two fundamental laws
of association. But the resembling objects which are spontaneously
thought of together, are those which resemble each other obviously,
in their superficial aspect. These are the only classes which we
should form unpremeditatedly, and without the use of expedients. But
there are other resemblances which are not superficially obvious;
and many are not brought to light except by long experience, or
observation carefully directed to the purpose; being mostly
resemblances in the {288} manner in which the objects act on, or are
acted on by, other things. These more recondite resemblances are
often those which are of greatest importance to our interests. It is
important to us that we should think of those things together, which
agree in any particular that materially concerns us. For this
purpose, besides the classes which form themselves in our minds
spontaneously by the general law of association, we form other
classes artificially, that is, we take pains to associate mentally
together things which we wish to think of together, but which are
not sufficiently associated by the spontaneous action of association
by resemblance. The grand instrument we employ in forming these
artificial associations, is general names. We give a common name to
all the objects, we associate each of the objects with the name, and
by their common association with the name they are knit together in
close association with one another.

But in what manner does the name effect this purpose, of uniting
into one complex class-idea all the objects which agree with one
another in certain definite particulars? We effect this by
associating the name in a peculiarly strong and close manner with
those particulars. It is, of course, associated with the objects
also; and the name seldom or never calls up the ideas of the
class-characteristics unaccompanied by any other qualities of the
objects. All our ideas are of individuals, or of numbers of
individuals, and are clothed with more or fewer of the attributes
which are peculiar to the individuals thought of. Still, a
class-name stands in a very different relation to the definite
resemblances which it is intended to mark, from that in which it
stands to the various accessory circumstances which may form part of
the image it calls up. There are certain attributes common to the
entire class, which the class-name was either deliberately selected
as a mark of, or, at all events, which guide us in the application
of it. These attributes are the real meaning of the class-name--are
what we intend to ascribe to an object when we call it by that name.
With these the association of the name is close and strong: and the
employment of the same name by different {289} persons, provided
they employ it with a precise adherence to the meaning, ensures that
they shall all include these attributes in the complex idea which
they associate with the name. This is not the case with any of the
other qualities of the individual objects, even if they happen to be
common to all the objects, still less if they belong only to some of
them. The class-name calls up, in every mind that hears or uses it,
the idea of one or more individual objects, clothed more or less
copiously with other qualities than those marked by the name; but
these other qualities may, consistently with the purposes for which
the class is formed and the name given, be different with different
persons, and with the same person at different times. What images of
individual horses the word horse shall call up, depends on such
accidents as the person's taste in horses, the particular horses he
may happen to possess, the descriptions he last read, or the casual
peculiarities of the horses he recently saw. In general, therefore,
no very strong or permanent association, and especially no
association common to all who use the language, will be formed
between the word horse and any of the qualities of horses but those
expressly or tacitly recognised as the foundations of the class. The
complex ideas thus formed consisting of an inner nucleus of definite
elements always the same, imbedded in a generally much greater
number of elements indefinitely variable, are our ideas of classes;
the ideas connected with general names; what are called General
Notions: which are neither real objective entities, as the Realists
held, nor mere names, as supposed to be maintained by the
Nominalists, nor abstract ideas excluding all properties not common
to the class, such as Locke's famous Idea of a triangle that is
neither equilateral nor isosceles nor scalene. We cannot represent
to ourselves a triangle with no properties but those common to all
triangles: but we may represent it to ourselves sometimes in one of
those three forms, sometimes in another, being aware all the while
that all of them are equally consistent with its being a triangle.

One important consequence of these considerations is, that {290} the
meaning of a class-name is not the same thing with the complex idea
associated with it. The complex idea associated with the name man,
includes, in the mind of every one, innumerable simple ideas besides
those which the name is intended to mark, and in the absence of
which it would not be predicated. But this multitude of simple ideas
which help to swell the complex idea are infinitely variable, and
never exactly the same in any two persons, depending in each upon
the amount of his knowledge, and the nature, variety, and recent
date of his experience. They are therefore no part of the meaning of
the name. They are not the association common to all, which it was
intended to form, and which enables the name to be used by all in
the same manner, to be understood in a common sense by all, and to
serve, therefore, as a vehicle for the communication, between one
and another, of the same thoughts. What does this, is the nucleus of
more closely associated ideas, which is the constant element in the
complex idea of the class, both in the same mind at different times,
and in different minds.

It is proper to add, that the class-name is not solely a mark of the
distinguishing class-attributes, it is a mark also of the objects.
The name man does not merely signify the qualities of animal life,
rationality, and the human form, it signifies all individual men. It
even signifies these in a more direct way than it signifies the
attributes, for it is predicated of the men, but not predicated of
the attributes; just as the proper name of an individual man is
predicated of him. We say, This is a man, just as we say, This is
John Thompson: and if John Thompson is the name of one man, Man is,
in the same manner, a name of all men. A class name, being thus a
name of the various objects composing the class, signifies two
distinct things, in two different modes of signification. It
signifies the individual objects which are the class, and it
signifies the common attributes which constitute the class. It is
predicated only of the objects; but when predicated, it conveys the
information that these objects possess those attributes. Every
concrete class-name is thus a connotative name. It marks {291} both
the objects and their common attributes, or rather, that portion of
their common attributes in virtue of which they have been made into
a class. It _denotes_ the objects, and, in a mode of speech lately
revived from the old logicians, it _connotes_ the attributes. The
author of the Analysis employs the word connote in a different
manner; we shall presently examine which of the two is best.

We are now ready to consider whether the author's account of the
ideas connected with General Names is a true and sufficient one. It
is best expressed in his own words. "The word Man, we shall say, is
first applied to an individual; it is first associated with the idea
of that individual, and acquires the power of calling up the idea of
him; it is next applied to another individual, and acquires the
power of calling up the idea of him; so of another, and another,
till it has become associated with an indefinite number, and has
acquired the power of calling up an indefinite number of those ideas
indifferently. What happens? It does call up an indefinite number of
the ideas of individuals, as often as it occurs, and calling them up
in close connexion, it forms them into a species of complex idea. .
. . When the word man calls up the ideas of an indefinite number of
individuals, not only of all those to whom I have individually given
the name, but of all those to whom I have in imagination given it,
or imagine it will ever be given, and forms all those ideas into
one,--it is evidently a very complex idea, and therefore indistinct;
and this indistinctness has doubtless been the main cause of the
mystery which has appeared to belong to it. That this however is the
process, is an inevitable result of the laws of association."

In brief, my idea of a Man is a complex idea compounded of the ideas
of all the men I have ever known and of all those I have ever
imagined, knit together into a kind of unit by a close association.

The author's description of the manner in which the
class-association begins to be formed, is true and instructive; but
does any one's idea of a man actually include all that the author
{292} finds in it? By an inevitable result of the laws of
association, it is impossible to form an idea of a man in the
abstract; the class-attributes are always represented in the mind as
part of an image of an individual, either remembered or imagined;
this individual may vary from time to time, and several images of
individuals may present themselves either alternatively or in
succession: but is it necessary that the name should recal images of
all the men I ever knew or imagined, or even all of whom I retain a
remembrance? In no person who has seen or known many men, can this
be the case. Apart from the ideas of the common attributes, the
other ideas whether of attributes or of individual men, which enter
into the complex idea, are indefinitely variable not only in kind
but in quantity. Some people's complex idea of the class is
extremely meagre, that of others very ample. Sometimes we know a
class only from its definition, i.e. from an enumeration of its
class-attributes, as in the case of an object which we have only
read of in scientific books: in such a case the idea raised by the
class-name will not be limited to the class-attributes, for we are
unable to conceive any object otherwise than clothed with
miscellaneous attributes: but these, not being derived from
experience of the objects, may be such as the objects never had, nor
could have; while nevertheless the class, and the class-name, answer
their proper purpose; they cause us to group together all the things
possessing the class-attributes, and they inform us that we may
expect those attributes in anything of which that name is

The defect, as it seems to me, of the view taken of General Names in
the text, is that it ignores this distinction between the meaning of
a general name, and the remainder of the idea which the general name
calls up. That remainder is uncertain, variable, scanty in some
cases, copious in others, and connected with the name by a very
slight tie of association, continually overcome by
counter-associations. The only part of the complex idea that is
permanent in the same mind, or common to several minds, consists of
the distinctive attributes marked by the class-name. Nothing else is
universally present, though {293} something else is always present:
but whatever else be present, it is through these only that the
class-name does its work, and effects the end of its existence. We
need not therefore be surprised that these attributes, being all
that is of importance in the complex idea, should for a long time
have been supposed to be all that is contained in it. The truest
doctrine which can be laid down on the subject seems to be
this--that the idea corresponding to a class-name is the idea of a
certain constant combination of class attributes, accompanied by a
miscellaneous and indefinitely variable collection of ideas of
individual objects belonging to the class.--_Ed._]



"I think, too, that he (Mr. Locke) would have seen the advantage of
'thoroughly weighing,' not only (as he says) 'the imperfections of
Language;' but its _perfections_ also: For the perfections of
Language, not properly understood, have been one of the chief causes
of the imperfections of our knowledge."--_Diversions of Purley_, _by
John Horne Tooke, A.M._, i. 37.

THE two cases of Consciousness, CLASSIFICATION, and ABSTRACTION,
have not, generally, been well distinguished.

According to the common accounts of Classification, ABSTRACTION was
included in it. When it is said, that, in order to classify, we
leave out of view all the circumstances in which individuals differ,
and retain only those in which they agree; this separating one
portion of what is contained in a complex idea, and making it an
object of consideration by itself, is the process which is named
Abstraction, at least a main part of that process.

It is necessary now to inquire what are the purposes to which this
separating of the parts of a complex idea, and considering and
naming the separated parts by themselves, is subservient.

{295} We have already observed the following remarkable things in
the process of naming: 1, Assigning names of those clusters of ideas
called objects; as man, fish; 2, Generalizing those names, so as to
make them represent a class; 3, Framing adjectives by which minor
classes are cut out of larger.

Those adjectives are all names, of some separate portion of a
cluster, and are, therefore, all instruments of abstraction, or of
that separating one or more of the ingredients of a complex idea
from the rest, which has received the name of Abstraction. One
purpose of Abstraction, therefore, is the formation of those
_sub-species_, the formation of which is required for certain
purposes of speech.

These observations will be rendered familiar by examples. We say,
tall man, red flower, race horse. In my complex idea of a man, or
the cluster of ideas of sense to which I affix that mark, are
included, certain ideas of colour, of figure, size, and so on. By
the word tall, I single out a portion of those ideas, namely, the
part relating to size, or rather size in one direction, and mark the
separation by the sign or name. In my complex idea of a flower,
colour is always one of the ingredients. By applying the adjective
red, I single out this one from the rest, and point it out for
peculiar consideration. The explanation is obvious, and need not be
pursued in a greater number of instances.

Words of this description all denote differences; either such as
mark out species from genera, or such as mark out individuals from
species. Of this latter sort the number is very small; of which the
reason is obvious; individual differences are too numerous to {296}
receive names, and are marked by contrivances of abridgment which
will be spoken of hereafter.

To explain this notation of differences; the same examples will
suffice. In the phrase "tall man," the adjective "tall" marks the
difference between such a man, and "short man," or "middle-sized
man." Of the genus man, tall men are one species; and the difference
between them and the rest of the genus is marked by the word tall.
Of the genus flower, red flowers form a species, and the difference
between them and the rest of the genus is marked by the adjective
red. Of the genus horse, race horse forms a species, and the
difference between this species and the rest of the genus is marked
by the word race.

It is of importance further to observe, that adjectives singling out
ideas which are not differences, that is, ideas common to the whole
class, are useless: as, tangible wood; coloured man; sentient
animal. Such epithets express no more than what is expressed by the
name without them.

Another thing requiring the attention of the student is the mode in
which these differential adjectives are generalized. As the word
man, applied first to one individual, then to another, becomes
associated with every individual, and every variety of the species,
and calls them all up in one very complex idea; so are these
adjectives applied to one class after another, and by that means at
last call up a very complicated idea. Let us take the word "black"
for an example; and let us suppose that we apply this adjective
first to the word man. We say "black man." But we speedily see that
for the same reason for which we say black man we may say black
horse, black cow, {297} black coat, and so on. The word black is
thus associated with innumerable modifications of the sensation
black. By frequent repetition, and the gradual strengthening of the
association, these modifications are at last called up in such rapid
succession that they appear commingled, and no longer many ideas,
but one. Black is therefore no longer an individual but a general
name. It marks not the particular black of a particular individual;
but the black of every individual, and of all individuals.[81] The
same is the case {298} with all other words of the same class. Thus
I apply the word sweet, first to the lump of sugar in my mouth, next
to honey, next to grapes, and so on. It thus becomes associated with
numerous modifications of the sensation sweet; and when the
association is sufficiently strengthened by repetition, calls them
up in such close succession, that they are converted into one
complex idea. We are also to remember, that the idea and the name
have a mutual power over one another. As the word black calls up the
complex idea, so every modification of black calls up the name; and
in this, as in other cases, the name actually forms a part of the
complex idea.

[Editor's footnote 81: The example which the author has here
selected of a general name, sets in a strong light the imperfection
of the theory of general names, laid down by him in the preceding
chapter. A name like "black," which marks a simple sensation, is an
extreme case of the inapplicability of the theory. Can it be
maintained that the idea called up in our minds by the word black,
is an idea compounded of ideas of black men, black horses, black
cows, black coats, and the like? If I can trust my own
consciousness, the word need not, and generally does not, call up
any idea but that of a single black surface. It is still not an
abstract idea, but the idea of an individual object. It is not a
mere idea of colour; it is that, combined with ideas of extension
and figure, always present but extremely vague, because varying,
even from one moment to the next. These vague ideas of an uncertain
extension and figure, combined with the perfectly definite idea of a
single sensation of colour, are, to my consciousness, the sole
components of the complex idea associated with the word black. I am
unable to find in that complex idea the ideas of black men, horses,
or other definite things, though such ideas may of course be
recalled by it.

In such a case as this, the idea of a black colour fills by itself
the place of the inner nucleus of ideas knit together by a closer
association, which I have described as forming the permanent part of
our ideas of classes of objects, and the meaning of the

The next thing, which I shall observe, deserves in a high degree,
the attention of the learner. In the various applications of that
species of marks which we are now considering, they are associated
with two distinguishable things; but with the one much more than the
other. Thus, when we say black man, black horse, black coat, and so
of all other black things, the word black is associated with the
cluster, man, as often as black man is the expression; with the
cluster horse, as often as black horse is the expression, and so on
with infinite variety: but at the same time that it is associated
with each of those various clusters, it is also associated with the
peculiar sensation of colour which it is intended to mark. The
CLUSTERS, therefore, with which it is associated, are variable; the
PECULIAR SENSATION with which it is associated is invariable. It is
much more constantly, and therefore much more strongly associated
with the SENSATION than with any of the CLUSTERS. It is at once a
name of the clusters, and a name of the {299} sensation; but it is
more peculiarly a name of the SENSATION.

We have, in a preceding note, observed, that such words have been
called _connotative_; and I shall find much convenience in using the
term NOTATION to point out the sensation or sensations which are
peculiarly marked by such words, the term CONNOTATION to point out
the clusters which they mark along with this their principal meaning.

Thus the word, black, NOTES that of which black is more peculiarly
the name, a particular colour; it CONNOTES the clusters with the
names of which it is joined: in the expression, black man, it
connotes man; black horse, it connotes horse; and so of all other
cases. The ancient Logicians used these terms, in the inverse order;
very absurdly, in my opinion.[82]

[Editor's footnote 82: The word Connote, with its substantive
Connotation, was used by the old logicians in two senses; a wider,
and a narrower sense. The wider is that in which, up to this place,
the author of the Analysis has almost invariably used it; and is the
sense in which he defined it, in a note to section *5 of his first
chapter. "There is a large class of words which denote two things
both together; but the one perfectly distinguishable from the other.
Of these two things, also, it is observable, that such words express
the one primarily as it were; the other in a way which may be called
secondary. Thus white, in the phrase white horse, denotes two
things, the colour and the horse; but it denotes the colour
primarily, the horse secondarily. We shall find it very convenient
to say, therefore, that it _notes_ the primary, _connotes_ the
secondary signification."

This use of terms is attended with the difficulty, that it may often
be disputed which of the significations is primary and which
secondary. In the example given, most people would agree with the
author that the colour is the primary signification; the word being
associated with the objects, only through its previous association
with the colour. But take the other of the two words, horse. That
too is connotative, and in the same manner. It signifies any and
every individual horse, and it also signifies those attributes
common to horses, which led to their being classed together and
receiving that common name. Which, in this case, is the primary, and
which the secondary signification? The author would probably say,
that in this case, unlike the other, horse is the primary
signification, the attributes the secondary. Yet in this equally
with the former case, the attributes are the foundation of the
meaning: a thing is called a horse to express its resemblance to
other horses; and the resemblance consists of the common attributes.
The question might be discussed, pro and con, by many arguments,
without any conclusive result. The difference between primary and
secondary acceptations is too uncertain, and at best too
superficial, to be adopted as the logical foundation of the
distinction between the two modes of signification.

The author, however, has, throughout the preceding chapters,
regarded words as _connoting_ any number of things which though
included in their signification, are not, in his judgment, what they
primarily signify. He said, for example, that a verb notes an
action, and connotes the agent (as either me, thee, or some third
person), the number of agents (as one or more), the time (as past,
present, or future), and three modes, "that in which there is no
reference to anything preceding, that in which there is a reference
to something preceding, and that in which reference is made to the
will of one of the Persons." I cite this complicated case, to shew
by a striking example the great latitude with which the author uses
the word Connote.

But in the present chapter he follows the example of some of the old
logicians in adopting a second and more restricted meaning,
expressive of the peculiar connotation which belongs to all concrete
general names; viz. that twofold manner of signification, by which
every name of a class signifies, on the one hand, all and each of
the individual things composing the class, and on the other hand the
common attributes, in consideration of which the class is formed and
the name given, and which we intend to affirm of every object to
which we apply the name. It is difficult to overrate the importance
of keeping in view this distinction, or the danger of overlooking it
when not made prominent by an appropriate phrase. The word Connote,
which had been employed for this purpose, had fallen into disuse.
But, though agreeing with the old logicians in using the word
Connote to express this distinction, the author exactly reverses
their employment of it. In their phraseology, the class-name
connotes the attributes: in his, it notes the attributes, and
connotes the objects. And he declares that in his opinion, their
mode of employing the term is very absurd.

We have now to consider which of these two modes of employing it is
really the most appropriate.

A concrete general name may be correctly said to be a mark, in a
certain way, both for the objects and for their common attributes.
But which of the two is it conformable to usage to say that it is
the name of? Assuredly, the objects. It is they that are called by
the name. I am asked, what is this object called? and I answer, a
horse. I should not make this answer if I were asked what are these
attributes called. Again, I am asked, what is it that is called a
horse? and I answer, the object which you see; not the qualities
which you see. Let us now suppose that I am asked, what is it that
is called black; I answer, all _things_ that have this particular
colour. Black is a name of all black things. The name of the colour
is not black, but blackness. The name of a thing must be the name
which is predicated of the thing, as a proper name is predicated of
the person or place it belongs to. It is scarcely possible to speak
with precision, and adhere consistently to the same mode of speech,
if we call a word the name of any thing but that which it is
predicated of. Accordingly the old logicians, who had not yet
departed widely from the custom of common speech, considered all
concrete names as the names of objects, and called nothing the name
of an attribute but abstract names.

Now there is considerable incongruity in saying that a word
connotes, that is, signifies secondarily, the very thing which it is
a name of. To connote, is to mark something along with, or in
addition to, something else. A name can hardly be said to mark the
thing which it is a name of in addition to some other thing. If it
marks any other thing it marks it in addition to the thing of which
it is itself the name. In the present case, what is marked in
addition, is that which is the cause of giving the name; the
attributes, the possession of which by a thing entitles it to that
name. It therefore seems more conformable to the original
acceptation of the word Connote, that we should say of names like
man or black that they connote humanity or blackness, and denote, or
are names of, men and black objects; rather than, with the author of
the Analysis, that they note the attributes, and connote the things
which possess the attributes.

If this mode of using the terms is more consonant to propriety of
language, so also is it more scientifically convenient. It is of
extreme importance to have a technical expression exclusively
consecrated to signify the peculiar mode in which the name of a
class marks the attributes in virtue of which it is a class, and is
called by the name. The verb "to note," employed by the author of
the Analysis as the correlative of "to connote," is far too general
to be confined to so specific a use, nor does the author intend so
to confine it. "To connote," on the contrary, is a phrase which has
been handed down to us in this restricted acceptation, and is
perfectly fitted to be used as a technical term. There is no more
important use of a term than that of fixing attention upon something
which is in danger of not being sufficiently taken notice of. This
is emphatically the case with the attribute-signification of the
names of objects. That signification has not been seen clearly, and
what has been seen of it confusedly has bewildered or misled some of
the most distinguished philosophers. From Hobbes to Hamilton, those
who have attempted to penetrate the secret of the higher logical
operations of the intellect have continually missed the mark for
want of the light which a clear conception of the connotation of
general names spreads over the subject. There is no fact in
psychology which more requires a technical name; and it seems
eminently desirable that the words Connote and Connotative should be
exclusively employed for this purpose; and it is for this purpose
that I have myself invariably employed them.

In studying the Analysis, it is of course necessary to bear in mind
that the author does not use the words in this sense, but sometimes
in a sense much more vague and indefinite, and, when definite, in a
sense the reverse of this. It may seem an almost desperate
undertaking, in the case of an unfamiliar term, to attempt to
rectify the usage introduced by the actual reviver of the word: and
nothing could have induced me to attempt it, but a deliberate
conviction that such a technical expression is indispensable to
philosophy, and that the author's mode of employing these words
unfits them for the purpose for which they are needed, and for which
they are well adapted. I fear, however, that I have rarely succeeded
in associating the words with their precise meaning, anywhere but in
my own writings. The word Connote, not unfrequently meets us of late
in philosophical speculations, but almost always in a sense more lax
than the laxest in which it is employed in the Analysis, meaning no
more than to imply. To such an extent is this the case, that able
thinkers and writers do not always even confine the expression to
names, but actually speak of Things as connoting whatever, in their
opinion, the existence of the Things implies or presupposes.--_Ed._]

{300} In using these connotative names, it is often highly
convenient to drop the connotation; that is, to leave out the
connoted cluster.

{301} A mark is needed, to show when it is meant that the
connotation is dropped. A slight mark put upon the connotative term
answers the purpose; and shews {302} when it is not meant that
anything should be connoted. In regard to the word black, for
example, we merely annex to it the syllable _ness_; and it is
immediately {303} indicated that all connotation is dropped: so, in
sweetness; hardness; dryness; lightness. The new words, so formed,
are the words which have been denominated {304} ABSTRACT; as the
connotative terms from which they are formed have been denominated
CONCRETE; and, as these terms are in frequent use, it is necessary
that the meaning of them should be well remembered.

It is now also manifest what is the real nature of ABSTRACT terms; a
subject which has in general presented such an appearance of
mystery. They are simply the CONCRETE terms, with the connotation
dropped. And this has in it, surely, no mystery at all.[83]

[Editor's footnote 83: After having said that a concrete general
name notes an attribute, that this, one of the sensations in a
cluster, and connotes the objects which have the attribute, i.e. the
clusters of which that sensation forms a part; the author proceeds
to say that an abstract name is the concrete name with the
connotation dropped.

This seems a very indirect and circuitous mode of making us
understand what an abstract name signifies. Instead of aiming
directly at the mark, it goes round it. It tells us that one name
signifies a part of what another name signifies, leaving us to infer
what part. A connotative name with the connotation dropped, is a
phrase requiring to be completed by specifying what is the portion
of signification left. The concrete name with its connotation
signifies an attribute, and also the objects which have the
attribute. We are now instructed to drop the latter half of the
signification, the objects. What then remains? The attribute. Why
not then say at once that the abstract name is the name of the
attribute? Why tell us that _x_ is _a_ plus _b_ with _b_ dropped,
when it was as easy to tell us that _x_ is _a_?

The noticeable thing however is that if _a_ stands merely for the
sensation, _x_ really is a little more than _a_: the connotation (in
the author's sense of the term) of the concrete name is not _wholly_
dropped in the abstract name. The term blackness, and every other
abstract term, includes in its signification the existence of a
black object, though without declaring what it is. That is indeed
the distinction between the name of an attribute, and the name of a
kind or type of sensation. Names of sensations by themselves are not
abstract but concrete names. They mark the type of the sensation,
but they do not mark it as emanating from any object. "The sensation
of black" is a concrete name, which expresses the sensation apart
from all reference to an object. "Blackness" expresses the same
sensation with reference to an object, by which the sensation is
supposed to be excited. Abstract names thus still retain a limited
amount of connotation in both the author's senses of the term--the
vaguer and the more specific sense. It is only in the sense to which
I am anxious to restrict the term, that any abstract name is without

An abstract name, then, may be defined as the name of an attribute;
and, in the ultimate analysis, as the name of one or more of the
sensations of a cluster; not by themselves, but considered as part
of any or all of the various clusters, into which that type of
sensations enters as a component part.--_Ed._]

{305} It hence, also, appears that there can be no ABSTRACT term
without an implied CONCRETE, though cases are not wanting, in which
there is much occasion for the ABSTRACT term but not much for the
CONCRETE; in which, therefore, the concrete is not in use, or is
supplied by another form of expression.

{306} In regular and capricious languages, as our own, the dropping
of the connotation of the concrete terms is not marked in a uniform
manner; and this requires some illustration. Thus, heavy is a
concrete term, and we shew the dropping of the connotation, by the
same mark as in the instances above, saying heaviness; but we have
another term which is exactly the equivalent of heaviness, and
frequently used as the abstract of heavy; that is, weight. Friend is
a concrete, connotative term, in the substantive form. Its
connotation is dropped by another mark, the syllable ship; thus,
friendship; in like manner, generalship; brothership; cousinship.
The syllable age is another of the marks we use for the same
purpose; pilotage, parsonage, stowage.

Among concrete connotative words, we have already had full
opportunity of observing that verbs constitute a principal class.
Those words all NOTE some _motion_ or _action_ and CONNOTE an
_actor_. There is the same frequency of occasion to leave out the
connotation in the case of this class of connotative words, as in
other classes. Accordingly ABSTRACT terms are formed from them, as
from the connotative adjectives and substantives. The infinitive
mood is such an abstract term; with this peculiarity, that, though
it leaves out the connotation of the _actor_, it retains the
connotation of _time_.[84] {307} It is convenient, however, to have
abstract terms from the verbs, which leave out also the connotation
of time; such are the substantive _amor_ from _amo_, _timor_ from
_timeo_, and so on.

[Editor's footnote 84: The infinitive mood does not always express
time. At least, it often expresses it aoristically, without
distinction of tense. "To love" is as abstract a name as "love," "to
fear," as "fear": they are applied equally to past, present, and
future. The infinitives of the past and future, as _amavisse_,
_amaturus esse_, do, however, include in their signification a
particular time.--_Ed._]

Verbs have not only an active but a passive form. In the passive
form, it is not the _action_, but the _bearing_ of the action, which
is NOTED; and not the _actor_, but the _bearer_ of the action, that
is CONNOTED. In this case, also, there is not less frequent occasion
to drop the connotation. By the simple contrivance of a slight
alteration in the connotative term, the important circumstance of
dropping the connotation is marked. In the case of the passive as
the active form of verbs, the infinitive mood drops the connotation
of the person, but retains that of the time. Other abstract terms,
formed from the passive voice, leave out the connotation both of
person and time. Thus from _legor_, there is _lectio_; from _optor_,
_optatio_; from _dicor_, _dictio_; and so on.

It is to be remarked that the Latin mode of forming abstract terms
from verbs, by the termination "tio," has been adopted to a great
extent in English. A large proportion of our abstract terms are thus
distinguished; as action, association, imagination, navigation,
mensuration, friction, motion, station, faction, legislation,
corruption, and many others.

It is also of extreme importance to mark a great defect and
imperfection, in this respect, of the Latin language. Such words as
_lectio_, _dictio_, _actio_, are derived with equal readiness either
from the supine, _lectum_, _dictum_, _actum_; or from the
participle, _lectus_, _dictus_, _actus_. The supine is _active_, the
participle, _passive_. From this circumstance probably it is, that
{308} these abstract terms in the Latin language possess both the
active and passive signification; and by this most unfortunate
ambiguity have proved a fertile source of obscurity and confusion.
This defect of the Latin language is the more to be lamented by us,
that it has infected our own language; for as we have borrowed from
the Latin language a great proportion of our abstract terms, we have
transplanted the mischievous equivocation along with them. This
ambiguity the Greek language happily avoided: thus it had [Greek:
pra=xis] and [Greek: pra=gma] the first for the active
signification of _actio_, the latter the passive.[85]

[Editor's footnote 85: I apprehend that [Greek: pra=gma] is not an
abstract but a concrete term, and does not express the attribute of
being done, but the thing done--the effect which results from the
completed action.--_Ed._]

Of the abstract terms, of genuine English growth, derived from the
concrete names of action, or verbs, the participle of the past tense
supplied a great number, merely dropping the adjective, and assuming
the substantive form. Thus, weight, a word which we had occasion to
notice before, is the participle weighed, with the connotation
dropped: stroke is merely struck; the _thing_ struck, the
connotation, being left out: thought is the past participle passive
of the verb to think, and differs from the participle in nothing,
but that the participle, the adjective, has the connotation; the
abstract, the substantive, has it not. Whether the concrete, or the
abstract, is the term employed, is in such cases always indicated by
the context; and, therefore, no particular mark to distinguish them
is required.

{309} In our non-inflected language, a facility is afforded in
forming a non-connotative from the connotative, in the active voice
of verbs; because the connotative word is always distinguished by
the presence of the persons of the verb, or that of some part of the
auxiliary verb. The same word, therefore, answers for the abstract,
as for the concrete; it being of course the abstract, when none of
the marks of the concrete are present. Thus the word love, is both
the verb or the connotative, and the substantive or the
non-connotative; thus also fear, walk, ride, stand, fight, smell,
taste, sleep, dream, drink, work, breath, and many others.

We have in English, formed from verbs, a great many abstracts or
non-connotatives, which terminate in "th," as truth, health, dearth,
stealth, death, strength. It may be disputed whether these words are
derived from one part of the verb or another; but, in all other
respects, the nature of them is not doubtful. The third person
singular of the present, indicative active, ends in "th;" and,
therefore, they may be said to be that part of the verb with the
connotation dropped. The termination, however, of the past
participle is "d," and we know that "th" and "d," are the same
letter under a slight difference of articulation; and, therefore,
they may just as well be derived from the past participle, and as
often at least as they have a passive signification, no doubt are.
Thus the verb trow, to think, has either troweth, or trowed; from
one of which, but more likely from the last, we have truth: the verb
to heal, has either healeth, or healed; from one of which, but more
likely the last, we have health: the verb to string has stringeth,
or stringed; {310} from one of which we have strength; thus from
dieth, or died, death; from stealeth, or stealed, stealth; mirth in
the same manner, from a verb now out of use; so heighth, length,

[Findlater's footnote 86: The abstracts in _-th_ belong to a very
early stage of the language. We cannot now form words like _health_,
_truth_, as we can abstracts in _-ness_. As in the case of
adjectives in _-en_ (_wooden_), and of preterites and participles
like _fell_, _fallen_, that particular part of the vital energy of
the language that produced them, is dead--ossified, as it were; and
we cannot exemplify their formation by any process now going on. To
account for many of them, we must suppose them formed from roots
different from any now existing as separate words--roots from which
the corresponding verbs and adjectives that we are acquainted with
have been themselves derived by augmentation or other change. This
being the case, it is impossible to say with certainty whether the
immediate root of any particular abstract in _-th_ was a verb, a
noun, or an adjective; and, indeed, the question need hardly be
raised, since a primitive root was of the nature of all three.

The structure of these derivatives is better seen in some of the
other Teutonic dialects than in the English or the Anglo-Saxon,
in which the affix is reduced to a mere consonant. Thus, for Eng.
_depth_ the Gothic has _diupi-tha_; for _heigh-th_, _hauhi-tha_.
In Old High German the affix _-tha_ becomes _-da_, and we have
_heili-da_ corresponding to Eng. _heal-th_; _strenki-da_, to
_streng-th_; besides a great number of analogous forms, such as
_evi-da_, "eternity" (from the same root as _ever_; compare Lat.
_aetas_ for _aevitas_). In modern German comparatively few of these
derivatives survive; and in those that do; the _-da_ of the Old
German has passed into _-de_, as in _ge-baer-de_, the way of
'bearing' oneself, behaviour; equivalent to Latin _habi-tus_. The
modern German equivalents of _bread-th_, _leng-th_, are _breit-e_,
_läng-e_; but in some of the popular dialects the older forms
_breite de_, _läng-de_ are still retained; and in Dutch _warm-te_
corresponds to _warm-th_, and _grôt-te_ is _great-ness_. When we
recollect that _th_ or _d_ in the Germanic languages represents in
such cases the _t_ of the Greek and Latin (compare Gr. [Greek:
me/lit (os)], honey with Goth. _milith_; Lat. _alter_ with Eng.
_other_), we cannot help seeing how analogous is the formation of
the class of words we are now considering to that of Latin past
participles (ama-tus, dic-tus, audi-tus). In the case of those
abstracts that seem to come more naturally from an adjective root
than from a verb, we can conceive the adjective formed on the
analogy of the past participle; just as there are in English
adjectives having no possible verbal root, yet simulating past
participles; as _able-bodi-ed_, _three-corner-ed_. The abstract noun
would appear to have been originally distinguished from the
participle, or participial adjective, by some additional affix, as
in lec-t-io. In Greek and Latin this additional affix very often
consisted in a reduplication of the formative element _t_, as if for
the purpose of denoting multitude, generality; as in Greek ([Greek:
neo/-têt-os]), Latin _juven-tut-is_, _sani-tat-is_. It is not
impossible that Goth. _diupi-tha_, O.H.G. _heili-da_ are
abbreviations of _diupi-tha-th_, _heili-da-d_, just as Lat.
_sani-tat_ has dwindled down in modern Ital. to _sani-tà_.

In a great many words essentially belonging to the same class both
in meaning and in mode of formation, the _-th_ has, for the sake of
euphony or from other causes, given place to _t_ or _d_. Thus _mood_
corresponds to Goth. _mo-th_, and means a motion (Lat. _motus_) or
affection (of the mind); _blood_, to Goth. _blo-th_; _theft_, is in
Ang. Sax. _theof-th_. _Mur-ther_, from a root akin to Lat. _mori_;
_burthen_, from the root of to _bear_, are of similar formation,
with additional affixes.

All these considerations would seem to put Horne Tooke's proposed
derivation of these abstracts from the third person singular of the
present indicative of the verb, completely out of court. The famous
case of _truth_ from _troweth_ is especially absurd. For one thing
the Ang. Sax. verb _treowan_ does not mean "to think," but "to
trust," "rely on," "believe." This implies a ground for the trust,
and that ground lies in the quality expressed by the adjective,
true. _Truth_ has the same relation, logically and etymologically,
to _true_, that _dearth_ has to _dear_, _health_ to _hale_.
Remarking on the identity in form between the Ang. Sax. _treow_,
"trust," "a treaty," and _treow_, "a tree," Jacob Grimm suggests
that they are radically related, and that the idea common to _tree_
and _true_ is firmness, fixedness. Thus the "true" would be the
"firm" the "fixed"--what may be relied on. This view is supported by
the analogy of the Lat. _robur_, which means both an oak and

{311} It would be interesting to give a systematic account of the
non-connotatives, derived from English {312} verbs; and this ought
to be done; but for the present inquiry it would be an operation
misplaced. The nature of the words, and the mode of their
signification, is all which here is necessary to be understood.

One grand class of connotative terms is composed of such words as
the following: walking, running, flying, reading, striking; and we
have seen that, for a very obvious utility, a generical name was
invented, the word ACTING, which includes the whole of these
specific names; and to which the non-connotative, or abstract term
ACTION corresponds. There was equal occasion for a generical name to
include all the specific names belonging to the other class of
connotative terms; such as coloured, sapid, hard, soft, hot, cold,
and so on. But language has by no means been so happy in a general
name for this, as for the other class. The word SUCH, is a
connotative term, which includes them all, and indeed the other
class along with them; for when we apply the word SUCH to any thing,
we comprehend under it all the ideas of which the cluster {313} is
composed. But this is not all which is included under the word such.
It is a relative term, and always connotes so much of the meaning of
some other term. When we call a thing _such_, it is always
understood that it is such _as_ some other thing. Thus we say, John
is such as James. Corresponding with our "such as," the Latins had
_talis qualis_. If we could suppose _qualis_ to have been used
without any connotation of _talis_, _qualis_ would have been such a
word as the occasion which we are now considering would have
required. The Latins did not use _qualis_, in this sense, as a
general concrete, including all the other names of the properties of
objects other than actions. But they made from it, as if used in
that very sense, a non-connotative or abstract term, the word
QUALITY, which answers the same purpose with regard to both classes,
as action does to one of them. That is to say; it is a very general
non-connotative term, including under it the non-connotatives or
abstracts of hot, cold, hard, soft, long, short; and not only of all
other words of that description, but of acting, and its subordinates

_Quantus_, is another concrete which has a double connotation like
_qualis_. It connotes not only the substantive with which it agrees,
but also, being a relative, the term _tantus_, which is its
correlate. By dropping both connotations, the abstract QUANTITY is
made; a general term, including under it the abstracts of all the
names by which the modifications of greater and less are
denominated; as large, small, a mile long, an inch thick, a handful,
a ton, and so on.

Much remains, beside what is here stated, of the full explanation of
the mode in which _talis qualis_, {314} _tantus quantus_, are made
conducive to the great purposes of marking. But this must be
reserved till we come to treat of RELATIVE TERMS, in general.

We have previously observed, that one of the purposes for which we
abstract, or sunder the parts of a complex idea, marked by a general
name, is, to form those adjectives, or connotative terms, which,
denoting differences, enable us to form, and to name, subordinate
classes. We now come to the next of the great purposes to which
abstraction is subservient, and it is one to which the whole of our
attention is due.

Of all the things in which we are interested, that is, on which our
happiness and misery depend, meaning here by things, both objects
and events, the most important by far are the successions of
objects; in other words, the effects which they produce. In reality,
objects are interesting to us, solely on account of the effects
which they produce, either on ourselves, or on other objects.

But an observation of the greatest importance readily occurs; that
of any cluster, composing our idea of an object, the effects or
consequents depend, in general, more upon one part of it than
another. If a stone is hot, it has certain effects or consequences;
if heavy, it has others, and so on. It is of great importance to us,
in respect to those successions, to be able to mark discriminately
the real antecedent; not the antecedent combined with a number of
things with which the consequent has nothing to do. I observe, that
other objects, as iron, lead, gold, produce similar effects with
stone; as often as the name _hot_ can, in like manner, be predicated
of them. In the several clusters therefore, hot stone, hot iron, hot
gold, {315} hot lead, there is a portion, the same in all, with
which, and not with the rest, the effects which I am contemplating
are connected. This part is marked by the word _hot_; which word,
however, in the case of each cluster, connotes also the other parts
of the cluster. It appears at once, how much convenience there must
be in dropping the connotation, and obtaining a word which, in each
of those cases, shall mark exclusively that part of the cluster on
which the effect depends. This is accomplished by the abstract or
non-connotative terms, heat, and weight.

Certain alterations, also, are observed in those parts of clusters
on which such and such effects depend; which alterations make
corresponding alterations in the effects, though no other alteration
is observable, in the cluster, to which such parts belong. Thus, if
a stone is more or less hot, the effects or successions are not the
same; so of iron, so of lead; but the same alteration in the same
part of each of those clusters, is followed by the same effects. It
is true, that we know nothing of the alteration in the cause, but by
the alteration in the effects; for we only say that a stone is
hotter, because it produces such other effects, either in our
sensations immediately, or in the sensations we receive from other
objects. It is, however, obvious that we have urgent use for the
means of marking, not only the alterations in the effects, but the
alterations in the antecedents. This we do, by supposing the
alterations to be those of increase and diminution, and marking them
by the distinction of lower and higher degrees. But, for this
purpose, it is obvious that we must have a term which is not
connotative; because we suppose no alteration in any {316} part of
the cluster but that which is not connoted; thus we can say, with
sufficient precision, that a greater or less degree of heat produces
such and such effects; but we cannot say, that a greater or less
degree of hot stone, of hot iron, of hot any thing else, produces
these effects.

This then, is another use, and evidently a most important use, of
abstract, non-connotative terms. They enable us to mark, with more
precision, those successions, in which our good and evil is wholly

This also enables us to understand, what it is which recommends such
and such aggregates, and not others, for classification. Those
successions of objects, in which we are interested, determine the
classifications which we form of them.

Some successions are found to depend upon the clusters, called
objects, all taken together. Thus a tree, a man, a stone, are the
antecedents of certain consequents, as such; and not on account of
any particular part of the cluster.

Other consequents depend not upon the whole of the cluster, but upon
some particular part: thus a tall tree, produces certain effects,
which a tree not tall, cannot produce; a strong man, produces
certain effects, which a man not strong cannot produce. When these
consequents are so important, as to deserve particular attention,
they and their antecedents must be marked. For this purpose, are
employed the connotative terms marking differences. These terms
enable us to group the clusters containing those antecedents into a
sub-class; and NON-CONNOTATIVE or ABSTRACT terms, derived from them,
enable {317} us to speak separately of that part of the cluster
which we have to mark as the precise antecedent of the consequent
which is engaging our attention.

It is presumed, that these illustrations will suffice, to enable the
reader to discern the real marking power of abstract terms, and also
to perceive the mode of their formation.

{318} CHAPTER X.


"The science of metaphysics, as it regards the mind, is, in its most
important respects, a science of analysis; and we carry on our
analysis, only when we suspect that what is regarded by others as an
ultimate principle, admits of still finer evolution into principles
still more elementary."--_Inquiry into the Relation of Cause and
Effect_, _by Thomas Brown, M.D._ P. iv. s. i. p. 331.

IT has been already observed that if we had no other state of
consciousness than sensation, we never could have any knowledge,
excepting that of the present instant. The moment each of our
sensations ceased, it would be gone, for ever; and we should be as
if we had never been.

The same would be the case if we had only ideas in addition to
sensations. The sensation would be one state of consciousness, the
idea another state of consciousness. But if they were perfectly
insulated; the one having no connexion with the other; the idea,
after the sensation, would give me no more information, than one
sensation after another. We should still have the consciousness of
the present instant, and nothing more. We should be wholly incapable
of acquiring experience, and accommodating our actions {319} to the
laws of nature. Of course we could not continue to exist.

Even if our ideas were associated in trains, but only as they are in
Imagination, we should still be without the capacity of acquiring
knowledge. One idea, upon this supposition, would follow another.
But that would be all. Each of our successive states of
consciousness, the moment it ceased, would be gone for ever. Each of
those momentary states would be our whole being.

Such, however, is not the nature of man. We have states of
consciousness, which are connected with past states. I hear a
musical air; I recognise it as the air which was sung to me in my
infancy. I have an idea of a ghost; I recognise the terror with
which, when I was alone in the dark, that idea, in my childish
years, was accompanied. Uniting in this manner the present with the
past, and not otherwise, I am susceptible of knowledge; I am capable
of ascertaining the qualities of things; that is, their power of
affecting me; and of knowing in what circumstances what other
circumstances will take place. Suppose that my present state of
consciousness is the idea of putting my finger in the flame of the
candle. I recognise the act as a former act;[87] and this
recognition is followed {320} by another, namely, that of the pain
which I felt immediately after. This part of my constitution, which
is of so much importance to me, I find it useful to name. And the
name I give to it is MEMORY. When the memory of the past is
transferred into an anticipation of the future, by a process which
will be explained hereafter, it gets the name of experience; and all
our power of avoiding evil, and obtaining good, is derived from it.
Unless I remembered that my finger had been in the flame of the
candle; and unless I anticipated a similar consequent, from a
similar antecedent, I should touch the flame of the candle, after
being burned by it a hundred times, just as I should have done, if
neither burning nor any of its causes had ever formed part of my

[Bain's footnote 87: The recognition of an act as a former act, or
of a present sensation as having formerly occurred, is a
*phase of the intellectual power named consciousness of Agreement,
or Similarity, which is both an essential of our Knowledge, and a
means of mental Reproduction. The defectiveness of the author's
view of this function of the intellect has been elsewhere commented

Our inquiry is, what this part of our constitution, so highly
important to us, is composed of. All inquirers are agreed, that it
is complex; but what the elements are into which it may be resolved,
has not been very successfully made out.

It is proper to begin with the elements which are universally
acknowledged. Among them, it is certain, that IDEAS are the
fundamental part. Nothing is remembered but through its IDEA. The
memory, however, of a thing, and the idea of it, are not the same.
The idea may be without the memory; but the memory cannot be without
the idea. The idea of an elephant may occur to me, without the
thought of its having been an object of my senses. But I cannot have
the thought of its having been an object of my senses, without
having the idea of the animal at the {321} same time. The
consciousness, therefore, which I call memory, is an idea, but not
an idea alone; it is an idea and something more. So far is our
inquiry narrowed. What is that which, combined with an idea,
constitutes memory?

That memory may be, the idea must be. In what manner is the idea

We have already seen in what manner an idea is called into existence
by association. It is easy to prove that the idea which forms part
of memory is called up in the same way, and no other. If I think of
any case of memory, I shall always find that the idea, or the
sensation which preceded the memory, was one of those which are
calculated, according to the laws of association, to call up the
idea involved in that case of memory; and that it was by the
preceding idea, or sensation, that the idea of memory was in reality
brought into the mind. I have not seen a person with whom I was
formerly intimate for a number of years; nor have I, during all that
interval, had occasion to think of him. Some object which had been
frequently presented to my senses along with him, or the idea of
something with which I have strongly associated the idea of him,
occurs to me; instantly the memory of him exists. The friend with
whom I had often seen him in company, accidentally meets me; a
letter of his which had been long unobserved, falls under my eye; or
an observation which he was fond of producing, is repeated in my
hearing; these are circumstances all associated with the idea of the
individual in question; the idea of him is excited by them, and with
the mere idea of the {322} man, all the other circumstances which
constitute memory.

The necessary dependence of memory upon association, may be proved
still more rigidly in this way. It has been already observed, that
we cannot call up any idea by willing it. When we are said to will,
there must be in the mind, the idea of what is willed. "Will,
without an idea," are incongruous terms; as if one should say, "I
can will, and will nothing." But if the idea of the thing willed,
must be in the mind, as a condition of willing, to will to have an
idea in the mind, is to will to have that in it, which, by the
supposition, is in it already.

There is a state of mind familiar to all men, in which we are said
to try to remember. In this state, it is certain that we have not in
the mind the idea which we are trying to have in it. How then is it,
that we proceed in the course of our endeavour to procure its
introduction into the mind? If we have not the idea itself, we have
certain ideas connected with it. We run over those ideas, one after
another, in hopes that some one of them will suggest the idea we are
in quest of; and if any of them does, it is always one so connected
with it, as to call it up in the way of association. I meet an old
acquaintance, whose name I do not remember, and wish to recollect.
I run over a number of names, in hopes that some of them may be
associated with the idea of the individual. I think of all the
circumstances in which I have seen him engaged; the time when I knew
him, the place in which I knew him, the persons along with whom
I knew him, the things he did, or the things he suffered; and,
if I chance upon any idea with which the name is {323} associated,
then immediately I have the recollection; if not, my pursuit of it
is in vain.[88]

[Bain's footnote 88: This process seems best expressed by laying
down a law of Compound or Composite Association; under which a
plurality of feeble links of connexion may be a substitute for one
powerful and self-sufficing link.--_B._

[The laws of compound association are the subject of one of the most
original and profound chapters of Mr. Bain's treatise (The Senses
and the Intellect. Part ii. Chap. 3.).--_Ed._]]

There is another set of cases, very familiar, but affording very
important evidence on the subject. It frequently happens, that there
are matters which we desire not to forget. What is the contrivance
to which we have recourse for preserving the memory; that is, for
making sure that it will be called into existence, when it is our
wish that it should. All men, invariably employ the same expedient.
They endeavour to form an association between the idea of the thing
to be remembered, and some sensation, or some idea, which they know
beforehand will occur at or near the time when they wish the
remembrance to be in their minds. If this association is formed, and
the sensation or the idea, with which it has been formed, occurs;
the sensation, or idea, calls up the remembrance; and the object of
him who formed the association is attained. To use a vulgar
instance; a man receives a commission from his friend, and, that he
may not forget it, ties a knot on his handkerchief. How is this fact
to be explained? First of all, the idea of the commission is
associated with the making of the knot. Next, the handkerchief is a
thing which it is known beforehand will be frequently seen, and of
{324} course at no great distance of time from the occasion on which
the memory is desired. The handkerchief being seen, the knot is
seen, and this sensation recalls the idea of the commission, between
which and itself, the association had been purposely formed.

What is thus effected through association with a sensation, may be
effected through association with an idea. If there is any idea,
which I know will occur to me at a particular time, I may render
myself as sure of recalling any thing which I wish to remember at
that time, by associating it with this idea, as if I associated it
with a sensation. Suppose I know that the idea of Socrates will be
present to my mind at twelve o'clock this day week: if I wish to
remember at that time something which I have to do, my purpose will
be gained, if I establish between the idea of Socrates, and the
circumstance which I wish to remember, such an association that the
one will call up the other.

A very remarkable application of this principle offers itself to our
contemplation, in the artificial memory which was invented by the
ancient orators and rhetoricians. The orator made choice of a set of
objects, sufficient in number to answer his purpose. The ideas of
those objects he taught himself, by frequent repetition, to pass
through his mind in one constant order. The objects which he chose
were commonly such as aided him in fixing them according to a
certain order in his memory; the parts, for example, of some public
building, or other remarkable assemblage. Having so prepared
himself, the mode in which he made use of his machinery was as
follows. The topics or sentiments of his speech were {325} to follow
in a certain order. The parts of the building he had chosen as his
instrument had previously been taught to follow by association, in a
certain order. With the first of these, then, he associated the
first topic of his discourse; with the second, the second, and so
on. The first part of the building suggested the first topic; the
second, the second; and each another, to the end of his

[Bain's footnote 89: The conditions of the success of this expedient
are interesting to study as illustrations of the working of
association. The supposition is that the parts of the building are
perfectly coherent in the mind, that they can recall each other
easily and rapidly. The advantage gained will depend entirely upon
the superior facility of attaching a head of discourse to the
visible appearance of a room, as compared with the facility of
attaching it to a previous head. If we can form an enduring bond
between a topic and the picture of an interior, by a smaller mental
effort than is necessary to conjoin two successive topics, there is
a gain by the employment of the device; the difference of the two
efforts is the measure of the gain. Probably the result would depend
upon the relative force of the pictorial and the verbal memory in
the individual mind. In minds where the pictorial element prevails,
there might be a positive advantage; in cases where the pictorial
power is feeble and the verbal power strong, there would almost
certainly be a dead loss.--_B._]

We not only have ideas of memory, individually taken; that is,
separately, each by itself; as in the instances which we have just
been considering: we have also trains of such ideas. All narratives
of events which ourselves have witnessed are composed of such
trains. The ideas forming those trains do not follow one another in
a fortuitous manner. Each succeeding idea is called up by the one
which {326} precedes it; and every one of these successions takes
place according to a law of association. After a lapse of many
years, I see the house in which my father died. Instantly a long
train of the circumstances connected with him rise in my mind: the
sight of him on his death-bed; his pale and emaciated countenance;
the calm contentment with which he looked forward to his end; his
strong solicitude, terminating only with life, for the happiness of
his son; my own sympathetic emotions when I saw him expire; the mode
and guiding principles of his life; the thread of his history; and
so on. In this succession of ideas, each of which is an idea of
memory, there is not a single link which is not formed by
association; not an idea which is not brought into existence by that
which precedes it.

Whensoever there is a desire to fix any train in the memory, all men
have recourse to one and the same expedient. They practise what is
calculated to create a strong association. The grand cause of strong
associations is repetition. This, accordingly, is the common
resource. If any man, for example, wishes to remember a passage of a
book, he repeats it a sufficient number of times. To the man
practised in applying the principle of association to the phenomena
in which it is concerned, the explication of this process presents
itself immediately. The repetition of one word after another, and of
one idea after another, gives the antecedent the power of calling up
the consequent from the beginning to the end of that portion of
discourse, which it is the purpose of the learner to remember.

That the remembrance is produced in no other way, {327} is proved by
a decisive experiment. For, after a passage has been committed to
memory in the most perfect manner, if the learner attempts to repeat
it in any other order than that, according to which the association
was formed, he will fail. A man who has been accustomed to repeat
the Lord's Prayer, for example, from his infancy, will, if he has
never tried it, find the impossibility of repeating it backwards,
small as the number is of the words of which it consists. That words
alone, without ideas, suggest one another in a train, is proved by
our power of repeating a number of words of an unknown language.[90]
And, it is worth observing, that the power of arithmetical
computation is dependent upon the same process. Thus, for example,
when a child learns the multiplication table, and says, 11 times 11
is 121, or 12 times 12 is 144, he annexes no ideas to those words;
but, by force of repetition, the expression 12 times 12 instantly
calls up the expression 144, or 11 times 11 the expression 121, and
so upwards from twice 2, with which he begins. In illustrating the
mode in which repetition makes association more and more easy, I
used the process of arithmetical addition as a striking example.
Persons little accustomed to the process perform it with great
difficulty; persons {328} much accustomed to it, with astonishing
facility. In men of the first class, the association is imperfectly
formed, and the several antecedent expressions slowly suggest the
proper consequent ones; in those of the latter class the association
is very perfectly formed, and the expressions suggest one another
with the greatest expedition and ease.

[Editor's footnote 90: There is here a lapse, of mere expression.
The meaning is not that words suggest one another without ideas;
words do not suggest words, but the ideas of words. The author
intended to say that words, or the ideas of them, often suggest the
ideas of other words (forming a series) without suggesting along
with them any ideas of the things which those words signify.--_Ed._]

Thus far we have proceeded with facility. In Memory there are ideas,
and those ideas both rise up singly, and are connected in trains by
association. The same occurs in Imagination. Imagination consists of
ideas, both suggested singly, and connected in trains, by
association. This is the whole account of Imagination. But Memory is
not the same with Imagination. We all know, when we say, we imagine
a thing, that we have not the same meaning, as when we say, we
remember it. Memory, therefore, has in it all that Imagination has;
but it must also have something more. We are now, then, to inquire
what that additional something is.

There are two cases of Memory. One is, when we remember sensations.
The other is, when we remember ideas. The first is, when we remember
what we have seen, felt, heard, tasted, or smelt. The second is,
when we remember what we have thought, without the intervention of
the senses. I remember to have seen and heard George III, when
making a speech at the opening of his Parliament. This is a case of
sensation. I remember my conceptions of the Emperor Napoleon and his
audience, when I read the account of his first address to the French
Chambers. This is a case of ideas.

{329} We shall consider the case of sensations first. What is it to
remember any thing I have seen?

First, there is the idea of it; and that idea brought into existence
by association.

But, in Memory, there is not only the idea of the thing remembered;
there is also the idea of my having seen it. Now these two, 1, the
idea of the thing, 2, the idea of my having seen it, combined, make
up, it will not be doubted, the whole of that state of consciousness
which we call memory.[91]

[Editor's footnote 91: The doctrine which the author thinks "will
not be doubted" is more than doubted by most people, and in my
judgment rightly. To complete the memory of seeing the thing, I must
have not only the idea of the thing, and the idea of my having seen
it, but the belief of my having seen it; and even this is not always
enough; for I may believe on the authority of others that I have
seen a thing which I have no remembrance of seeing.--_Ed._]

But what is it we are to understand by what I have called "the idea
of my having seen the object?" This is a very complex idea; and, in
expounding, clearly, to the comprehension of persons, not familiar
with these solutions, the import and force of a very complex idea,
lies all the difficulty of the case.

It will be necessary for such persons to call to mind the
illustrations they have already contemplated of the remarkable case
of association, in which a long train of ideas is called up so
rapidly as to appear but one idea; and also the other remarkable
case, in which one idea is so strongly associated with another, that
it is out of our power to separate them. Thus, when we use the word
battle, the mind runs over the {330} train of countless acts, from
the beginning of that operation to the end; and it does this so
rapidly, that the ideas are all clustered into one, which it calls a
battle. In like manner, it clusters a series of battles, and all the
intermediate operations, into one idea, and calls it a campaign;
also several campaigns into one idea, and calls it a war. Of the
same nature is the compound idea, which we denote by the word year;
and the still more compound idea, which we denote by the word
century. The mind runs over a long train of ideas, and combines them
so closely together, that they assume the appearance of a single
idea; to which, in the one case, we assign the name year, in the
other, the name century.

In my remembrance of George III., addressing the two Houses of
Parliament, there is, first of all, the mere idea, or simple
apprehension; the conception as it is sometimes called, of the
objects. There is combined with this, to make it memory, my idea of
my having seen and heard those objects. And this combination is so
close, that it is not in my power to separate them. I cannot have
the idea of George III.; his person and attitude, the paper he held
in his hand, the sound of his voice while reading from it, the
throne, the apartment, the audience; without having the other idea
along with it, that of my having been a witness of the scene.

Now, in this last-mentioned part of the compound, it is easy to
perceive two important elements; _the idea of my present self_, the
remembering self; and _the idea of my past self_, the remembered or
witnessing self. These two ideas stand at the two ends of a portion
of my being; that is, of a series of my states {331} of
consciousness. That series consists of the successive states of my
consciousness, intervening between the moment of perception, or the
past moment, and the moment of memory, or the present moment. What
happens at the moment of memory? The mind runs back from that moment
to the moment of perception. That is to say, it runs over the
intervening states of consciousness, called up by association. But
"to run over a number of states of consciousness, called up by
association," is but another mode of saying, that "we associate
them;" and in this case we associate them so rapidly and closely,
that they run, as it were, into a single point of consciousness, to
which the name MEMORY is assigned.

If this explanation of the case in which we remember sensations is
understood, the explanation of the case in which we remember ideas
cannot occasion much of difficulty. I have a lively recollection of
Polyphemus's cave, and the actions of Ulysses and the Cyclops, as
described by Homer. In this recollection there is, first of all, the
ideas, or simple conceptions of the objects and acts; and along with
these ideas, and so closely combined as not to be separable, the
idea of my having formerly had those same ideas. And this idea of my
having formerly had those ideas, is a very complicated idea;
including the idea of myself of the present moment remembering, and
that of myself of the past moment conceiving; and the whole series
of the states of consciousness, which intervened between myself
remembering, and myself conceiving.

If we contemplate forgetfulness, not memory, we shall see how
completely the account of it confirms the account we have just
rendered of memory. Every {332} case of forgetfulness, is a case of
weakened, or extinct, association. Some years ago, I could repeat a
certain discourse with accuracy and ease, from beginning to end;
attempting it, the other day, I was unable to repeat more than a few
sentences. The reason is obvious. The last of the words and ideas
which occurred to me failed to suggest the following; that is to
say, the association which formerly existed between them was

A remarkable piece of natural scenery, composed of mountains, woods,
rivers, lakes, ocean, flocks, herds, cultivated fields, gay
cottages, and splendid palaces, of which I had a lively recollection
many years ago, presents itself to me now very much faded: in other
words, a great variety of the circumstances, which make up the
detail and minute features of the scene, were formerly remembered by
me, but are now forgotten. And how forgotten? The manner is obvious.
The greater features, which I still remember, had formerly the power
of calling up the smaller along with them, and the whole scene was
revived; the association gradually declining, the great objects have
no longer the power to excite the idea of the small; and they are
therefore gone from me for ever.

There are things of which I have so entirely lost the recollection,
that it never can be revived. The meaning is, that the associations
which were formed between the ideas of them, and other ideas, are so
completely dissolved, that none of my present ideas has the power of
exciting them.

It is observable, that sensations have a stronger power to excite
recollections than is possessed by {333} ideas.[92] A man, after an
absence of many years, revisits the scenes of his infancy: a variety
of circumstances crowd into his memory, which, but for the scene
before him, would never have been remembered again. These are the
circumstances between which, and the perception of the pristine
objects, the association is not yet dissolved. There are other
circumstances, without number, which (the association being
completely dissolved) not even that perception can revive, and which
never can be remembered more.

[Bain's footnote 92: This is for no other reason than the superior
intensity or impressiveness of the actual as compared with the
ideal. Although as a rule, the sensation has a greater hold of the
mind, than the corresponding idea, there are exceptions. An idea may
sometimes be accompanied with an intensity of mental occupation and
excitement, surpassing the reality: what we have looked at with
indifference when it occurred, may take on an extraordinary
importance in the retrospect; in which case its power of
resuscitating collateral circumstances will be far greater than the
power of the original sensation.--_B._]

We have seen that there are two cases of memory; that in which
sensations are remembered, and that in which ideas.

It is said, that there are men, who, by often telling a mendacious
story as true, come at last to believe it to be true. When this
happens, the fact is, that a case of the memory of _ideas_, comes to
be mistaken for a case of the memory of _sensations_.

How did the man know at first that it was a fictitious story; and
how did he afterwards lose that knowledge?

He knew, at first, by certain associations; he lost his knowledge,
by losing those associations, and {334} acquiring others in their
stead. When he first told the story, the circumstances related
called up to turn the idea of himself fabricating the story. This
was the memory of the fabrication. In repeating the story as real,
the idea of himself fabricating the story is hurried over rapidly;
the idea of himself as actor in the story is dwelt upon with great
emphasis. In continued repetitions, the first circumstance being
attended to as little as possible, the association of it grows
weaker and weaker; the other circumstance engrossing the attention,
the association of it grows stronger and stronger; till the weaker
is at last wholly overpowered by the stronger, and ceases to have
any effect.

In delirium, madness, and dreams, men believe that what they only
imagine, they hear, see, and do. This so far agrees with the case of
forgetfulness, just explained, that, in both, there is a mistake of
ideas for sensations; but, in the case of memory, it is a mistake of
past ideas for past sensations; in delirium, madness, and dreaming,
it is a mistake of present ideas for present sensations.

How men in sound memory distinguish the ideas remembered, from
sensations remembered, and know that the one is not the other, seems
to be accounted for by the difference of the things themselves. A
sensation is different from an idea, only because it is felt to be
different; and being felt to be different, and known to be
different, are not two things, but one and the same thing. I have a
sensation; I have an idea: if these two are distinguishable in the
having, it is likely that the copy of the sensation should be
distinguishable from the revival of the idea, when they are both
brought up by association; just as when I {335} have two
distinguishable sensations, one, for example, of red, and another of
black, the copies of them, when brought up by association, are
distinguishable. Besides, the accompaniments of a sensation are
always generically different from those of an idea; of course, the
associations are generically different. The accompaniments of a
sensation, are all the simultaneous objects of sensation, together
with all those which, to a certain extent, both preceded and
followed it. The accompaniments of an idea are not the simultaneous
objects of sensation, but other ideas; namely, the neighbouring
parts, antecedent and consequent, of the mental train. A sensation,
therefore, called up by association, and an idea called up by
association, are distinguished both by the difference of the two
feelings, and the difference of the associated circumstances.

It is observable, that the idea of a sensation called up by
association, and recognised as the idea of a sensation, is of course
a remembrance. The recognition consists in that highly complex idea,
consisting of three principal ingredients: 1, the point of
consciousness called the remembering self; 2, the point of
consciousness called the percipient self; 3, the successive states
of consciousness which filled up the interval, between these two

An _idea_ called up by association is not necessarily a remembrance;
it is only a remembrance when recognised as having been an idea
before. And it is recognised as having been an idea before, by the
association of that idea, which connects the self of the present
moment with the self of the past moment, the remembering self with
the conceiving self: in other {336} words, the complex idea is made
up of those two selfs and the intermediate states of consciousness.

Another distinction is here suggested between the memory of a
sensation and the memory of an idea. The complex idea, which needs
to be associated with a mere simple idea, to make it memory, is not
the same in the two cases. There is a specific difference. The self
which is at the antecedent end of the associated train, (in the case
of sensation,) is the sentient self; that is, seeing or hearing; the
self at the antecedent end of the associated train, (in the case of
ideas,) is not the sentient self, but the conceptive self, self
having an idea. But myself percipient, and my self imagining or
conceiving, are two very different states of consciousness: of
course the ideas of these states of consciousness, or these states
revived by association, are very different ideas.

The simplest of all cases of memory is that of a sensation
immediately past. I have one sensation, and another sensation; call
them A and B; and I recognise them as successive. Every man has
experience of the fact, and is familiar with it. But not every man
can tell what it involves.

When a sensation ceases, it is as completely gone, as if it had
never existed.[93] It is, in a certain sense, {337} revived again in
its idea. But that idea must be called into existence by something
with which it is associated. In my two sensations, supposed above,
the one antecedent, the other consequent, how do I recognise the
succession; if the first is gone, before the coming of the second?
It is evident that it must be by memory. And how by memory? The
preceding developments seem to make the process clear. The
consciousness of the present moment calls up the idea of the
consciousness of the preceding moment. The consciousness of the
present moment is not absolutely simple; for, whether I have a
sensation or idea, the idea of what I call Myself is always
inseparably combined with it. The consciousness, then, of the second
of the two moments in the case supposed, is the sensation combined
with the idea of Myself, which compound I call "Myself Sentient."
This "Self Sentient," in other words sensation B, combined with the
idea of self, calls up the idea of sensation A combined with the
idea of self. This we call MEMORY; and, there being no intermediate
link, _immediate_ MEMORY. Suppose that, instead of two sensations,
there had been three, A, B, C. In order {338} to remember A, it is
necessary to step over B. The consciousness of the third moment,
namely, "sensation C, united with the idea of self," calls up the
idea of "sensation A, united with the idea of self," and along with
this the intermediate state of consciousness, "B, with the constant
concomitant self." If the intermediate state, B, were not included,
the sensation A would appear to have immediately preceded sensation
C, and the memory would be inaccurate.

[Bain's footnote 93: This is a statement that should be qualified.
Looking to the change of outward situation, we may say that the
difference between the present reality, and the idea of it when
past, is total and vast: the wide prospect before the eyes at one
moment is gone, annihilated, non-existent. But looking at the mental
process, we must use more moderate language. The mind does not adapt
itself to the new situation with the same rapidity. If one is very
much impressed with a picture, one maintains the rapt attitude for a
little time, after the picture is withdrawn, and only by degrees
loses the hold in favour of the next thing presented to the view. It
is possible for us to resist the solicitation of the actual scene,
and to be absorbed to the full measure of actuality by something no
longer actual. The immediate past may still divide the empire with
the present. The psychological transition follows a different law
from the objective transition: a circumstance in no small degree
involved in the subtle question of our mental continuity or personal

We have thus carried the analysis of Memory to a certain point. We
have found the association to consist of three parts; the
remembering self; the remembered self; and the train which
intervened. Of these three parts, the last has been fully expounded.
The recalling of the successive states of consciousness, which
composed the intervening train, is an ordinary case of association.
The other parts, _the two selfs_, at the two extremities of this
train, require further consideration. The self, at the first end, is
the remembered self; the _self which had a sensation, or an idea_.
The idea of this self, therefore, consists of two parts: of self,
and a sensation, or an idea. The last-mentioned part of this
combination, the sensation or idea, needs no explanation; the first,
that which is called self, does. The self at the other extremity of
the chain of consciousness, is the _remembering self_. Remembering
is associating. The idea of this self, then, is the combination of
self with the idea of associating. And here, too, associating needs
no explanation; it is the other part of the combination that does.
The analysis, then, of SELF, or the account of what is included in
that state of consciousness commonly {339} called the _idea of
personal identity_, is still wanting to the complete developement of

Philosophers tell us also, that the idea of _Time_ is included in
every act of MEMORY; and again, that it is from MEMORY we obtain our
idea of _Time_: thus asserting that the idea of _Time_ must precede
MEMORY, and that MEMORY must precede the idea of _Time_. These
contradicting propositions imply that the idea of Time in the minds
of those who make them, is a very confused idea. Nevertheless, as
there can be no memory without the idea called Time, the exposition
of that idea, likewise, is necessary to the full understanding of

The idea of personal IDENTITY, and the idea of TIME, two very
remarkable states of consciousness, will be very carefully examined
hereafter. But for the more ready understanding of what is necessary
to be adduced in expounding those complicated cases of association,
some other phenomena of the mind will first be explained.

What is to be understood by that BELIEF which is said to accompany
MEMORY, will be seen in the next chapter, where all the different
cases of belief will be resolved into their elements.[94]

[Editor's footnote 94: The only difficulty about Memory, when once
the laws of Association are understood, is the difference between it
and Imagination; but this is a difference which will probably long
continue to perplex philosophers. The author finds in Memory,
besides the idea of the fact remembered, two other ideas: "the idea
of my present self, the remembering self, and the idea of my past
self, the remembered or witnessing self:" and a supposed rapid
repetition in thought, of the whole of the impressions which I
received between the time remembered and the {340} time of
remembering. But (apart from the question whether we really do
repeat in thought, however summarily, all this series) explaining
memory by Self seems very like explaining a thing by the thing. For
what notion of Self can we have, apart from Memory? The fact of
remembering, i.e. of having an idea combined with the belief that
the corresponding sensation was actually felt by me, seems to be the
very elementary fact of Self, the origin and foundation of the idea;
presupposed in our having the very complex notion of a Self, which
is here introduced to explain it. As, however, the author admits
that the phenomenon of Belief, and the notions of Time and of
Personal Identity, must be taken into account in order to give a
complete explanation of Memory, any further remarks had better be
deferred until these subjects have been regularly brought under our



"Cette recherche peut infiniment contribuer aux progrès de l'art de
raisonner; elle le peut seule développer jusques dans ses premiers
principes. En effet, nous ne découvrirons pas une manière sûre de
conduire constamment nos pensées; si nous ne savons pas comment
elles se sont formées."--_Condillac_, _Traité des Sensations_, p.

IT is not easy to treat of MEMORY, BELIEF, and JUDGMENT, separately.
For, in the rude and unskilful manner in which naming has been
performed, the states of consciousness, marked by those terms, are
not separate and distinct.

Part of that which is named by MEMORY is included under the term
BELIEF; and part of that which is named by JUDGMENT, is also
included under the name BELIEF. BELIEF, therefore, instead of having
a distinct province to itself, encroaches on the provinces both of
MEMORY, and JUDGMENT; from which great confusion has arisen.

I take MEMORY first, and JUDGMENT last, from no other principle of
arrangement, than facility of {342} exposition; and I have in this
way found it convenient to treat of JUDGMENT as a case of

[Editor's footnote 95: How is it possible to treat of Belief without
including in it Memory and Judgment? Memory is a case of belief. In
what does Memory differ from Imagination, except in the belief that
what it represents did really take place? Judgment, in its popular
acceptation, is Belief resulting from deliberate examination, in
other words, Belief grounded on evidence: while in its philosophical
sense it is coextensive, if not synonymous, with Belief itself. I do
not know how it is possible to distinguish a judgment from any other
process of the mind, except by its being an act of belief.--_Ed._]

We begin as usual with the simplest cases. These are, the case of a
simple sensation, and the case of a simple idea. When we have a
sensation, we BELIEVE that we have it; when we have an idea, we
BELIEVE that we have it.

But, to have a sensation, and to believe that we have it, are not
distinguishable things. When I say "I have a sensation," and say,
"I believe that I have it," I do not express two states of
consciousness, but one and the same state. A sensation is a feeling;
but a feeling, and the belief of it are the same thing. The
observation applies equally to ideas. When I say I have the idea of
the sun, I express the same thing exactly, as when I say, that I
believe I have it. The feeling is one, the names, only, are two.[96]

[Bain's footnote 96: In the case of a present reality, belief has no
place; it can be introduced only by a fiction or a figure. The
believing state comes into operation when something thought of is
still remote, and attainable by an intermediate exertion. The fact
"I see the sun" is full fruition: the fact that I can see the sun by
going out of doors affords scope for belief or disbelief.--_B._]

[Editor's footnote 97: The difference between Mr. Bain and the
author is but in language and classification. It is necessary for
the reader of the Analysis to remember, that the author uses the
word Belief as the most general term for every species of conviction
or assurance; the assurance of what is before our eyes, as well as
of that which we only remember or expect; of what we know by direct
perception, as well as of what we accept on the evidence of
testimony or of reasoning: all this we are convinced or persuaded
of; all this, in the author's language, we believe. Mr. Bain, on the
other hand, like Sir William Hamilton and many others, restricts the
term to those cases of conviction which are short of direct

{343} It may be alleged that, when I say "I have a sensation,"
I express the simple feeling, as derived from the outward sense;
but that when I say "I believe I have a sensation," I express two
things, the simple sensation, and the association with it, of that
remarkable idea, the idea of myself. The association, however, is
the same in both cases. As I never have the sensation of an object,
the sight, for example, of a rose, without associating with it, the
idea of position, and also that of unity; nor the _idea_ of such an
object, without the same association; so I never have a sensation,
nor the idea of that sensation, without associating with it, the
idea of myself. And in both cases, the associations are of that
remarkable class, which we have denominated inseparable. It is not
in our power to prevent them. Whensoever the perception of the
object exists, the idea of its position is sure to exist along with
it; whensoever one of my sensations exists, the idea of myself
exists along with {344} it; whensoever one of my _ideas_ exists, the
idea of myself is sure to exist along with it.

In the case, then, of a present sensation, and that of a present
idea; the sensation, and the belief of the sensation; the idea, and
the belief of the idea, are not two things; they are, in each case,
one and the same thing; a single thing, with a double name.

The several cases of Belief may be considered under three heads:
I., Belief in events, real existences; II., Belief in testimony; and
III., Belief in the truth of propositions. We shall consider them in
their order; and first, Belief in events, real existences.

I. This is subdivided into three distinct cases: 1, Belief in
present events; 2, Belief in past events; 3, Belief in future

1. Belief in present events, again, is divided into two cases:
1, Belief in immediate existences present to my senses; 2, Belief in
immediate existences not present to my senses.

Belief in existences present to my senses, includes, for one
element, belief in my sensations; and belief in my sensations, as we
have just observed, is only another name for having the sensations.

But belief in the external objects, is not simply belief in my
present sensations; it is this, and something more. The something
more, is now the object of our inquiry. I see, for example, a rose:
my sensation is a sensation of sight: that of a certain modification
of light; but my belief of the rose is not this; it is this, and
much more.

Besides the sensation of colour, I have, for one thing, the belief
of a certain distance, at which I see {345} the rose; and that of a
certain figure, consisting of leaves disposed in a certain form.
I believe that I see this distance and form; in other words, perceive
it by the eye, as immediately as I perceive the colour. Now this
last part of the process has been explained by various philosophers.
There is no dispute, or uncertainty, about the matter. All men
admit, that this, one of the most remarkable of all cases of belief,
is wholly resolvable into association.[98] It is acknowledged, that,
by the sense of sight, we receive no sensation but that of a certain
modification of light. It is equally proved, that the sensations
from which our ideas of distance and figure are derived, are
sensations of the muscular actions and touch. How, then, is the
Belief generated, that we see extension and figure, as well as
colour? After the experience the learner has now had in tracing the
rapid combinations of the mind, this presents but little difficulty.
He knows, that when we are receiving through the muscles and the
touch, the sensations which yield us the idea of extension and
figure, we are receiving the sensations of sight at the same time,
from the same objects. The sensations of sight, therefore, are {346}
associated with the ideas of these tactile and muscular sensations;
and associated in the most perfect possible manner; because the
conjunction is almost invariable, and of incessant occurrence,
during the whole period of life. We are perpetually feeling, and
seeing, the same objects, at the same time; so much so, that our
lives may be said to consist of those sensations in union; to
consist, at least to a far greater degree, of this, than of any one
other state of consciousness.

[Editor's footnote 98: "All men admit." Certainly not all men;
though, at the time when the author wrote, it might be said, with
some plausibility, all psychologists. Unfortunately this can no
longer be said: Mr. Samuel Bailey has demanded a rehearing of the
question, and has pronounced a strong and reasoned opinion on the
contrary side; and his example has been followed by several other
writers: but without, in my opinion, at all weakening the position
which since the publication of Berkeley's Essay on Vision, had been
almost unanimously maintained by philosophers.--_Ed._]

This intensity of association, we know, produces two effects. One,
is to blend the associated feelings so intimately together, that
they no longer appear many, but one feeling. The other is, to render
the combination inseparable; so that if one of the feelings exist,
the others necessarily exist along with it.

The case of association which we are now considering, brings to view
another circumstance, of some importance in tracing the effects of
this great law of our nature. It is this: that in any associated
cluster, the idea of sight is almost always the prevalent part. The
visible idea is that which takes the lead, as it were; and serves as
the suggesting principle to the rest. So it happens in the
combination of the sensations of colour, with those of extension and
figure: the visible idea stands foremost; and calls up the rest. It
calls them up also with such intensity, that both the remarkable
cases of association are exemplified. Whenever we have the sensation
of colour, we cannot avoid having the ideas of distance, of
extension, and figure, along with it; nor can we avoid having them
in such intimate union with the ocular sensation, that they appear
to be that sensation itself. {347} This is the whole of what is ever
supposed to be in the case. Of no phenomenon of the human mind is
the developement more complete or more important. Our belief that we
see the shape, and size, and distance of the object we look at, is
as perfect as belief in any instance can be. But this belief is
nothing more than a case of very close association.

The case of belief by association, any one may illustrate further,
for himself, by recollecting some of the commonest cases of optical
deception. If we look at a landscape with the naked eye, we believe
the several objects before us, the men, the animals, the trees, the
houses, the hills, to be at certain distances. If we next look at
them through a telescope, they seem as if they were brought near; we
have the distinct belief of their proximity, and though a belief
immediately corrected by accompanying reflection, it is not only
belief, but a belief that we can by no means shake off. We can,
after this, invert the telescope, and then we cannot help believing,
that the nearest objects are removed to a distance. Now what is it
that the telescope performs in these two instances? It modifies in a
certain manner the rays of light to the eye. The rays, proceeding
from the objects, are so distributed on the eye, as they would be if
the distance of the objects was less, or greater. Instantly we have
the belief that it is less or greater; because, the sensation of the
eye, by means of the glass, is made to resemble that which it
receives, when objects are seen at a smaller or greater distance;
and each of the sensations calls up that idea of distance which is
habitually associated with it.

We have thus far proceeded, with some certainty, {348} in detecting
the component parts of that which we call our "belief in the
existence of external objects." We have taken account of the
sensation from which is derived the visible idea, of the sensations
from which are derived the ideas of position, extension, and figure;
and we have explained the intimate combination of those two sets of
ideas by association. But these, though the leading sensations and
ideas, are not the only ones. There are, besides, the sensations
from which we derive the idea of resistance, in all its
modifications, from that of air, to that of adamant. There are also
sensations which are not common to all objects, but peculiar to
some; as smell, peculiar to odorous bodies; taste, to sapid; and
sound, to sonorous ones.

Now, though the most remarkable case of the associations among those
feelings, is that between colour, and extension and figure, they are
all blended by association into one idea; which, though in reality a
cluster of ideas, affects us in the same manner as if it were a
single idea; an idea, the parts of which we detect by an analysis,
which it requires some training to be able to make.

With the colour of the rose, the size and figure of the rose,--which
are the predominant ideas,--I associate the idea of that
modification of hardness and softness, which belongs to the rose;
its degree of resistance, in short; also its smell, and its taste.
These associations have been formed, as other associations are, by
repetition. I have had so uniformly the sight, along with the
handling, these, along with the smell, and the taste--of the rose,
that they are always called up together, and in the closest

{349} Now then let us ask, what we mean, when we affirm, that the
rose exists. In this meaning are undoubtedly included the above
sensations, in a certain order. I see the rose on the garden wall,
and I affirm that it exists: that is, along with my present
sensation, the sight of the rose, I have the ideas of a certain
order of other sensations. These are, first, the idea of distance,
that is, the idea of the feelings involved in the act of going to
the rose: after this, the idea of the feelings in handling it; then
in smelling, then in tasting it; all springing up by association
with the sight of the rose. It is said, we believe we should have
these sensations. That is, we have the idea of these sensations
inseparably united one with the other, and inseparably united with
the idea of ourselves as having them. That this alone constitutes
belief, in the remarkable case of the association of extension and
figure with the sensations of sight, has already been seen; that
this alone constitutes it, in many other remarkable cases, will be
seen as we proceed; and in no case can it be shewn, that any thing
more is included in it.

In my belief, then, of the existence of an object, there is included
the belief, that, in such and such circumstances, I should have such
and such sensations. Is there any thing more? It will be answered
immediately, yes: for that, along with belief in my sensations as
the _effect_, there is belief of something as the _cause_; and that
to the _cause_, not to the _effect_, the name object is

This is a case of Belief, which deserves the greatest possible
attention. It is acknowledged, on all hands, that we know nothing of
objects; but the sensations {350} we have from them. There is a
cause, however, of those sensations, and to that we give the name
object: or, rather, there is a cluster of causes, corresponding with
the cluster of sensations. Thus, when I see, and handle, and smell,
and taste the rose, there is a cause of the sensation red, a cause
of the sensation soft, a cause of the sensation round, a cause of
the smell, and a cause of the taste; and all these causes are united
in the rose. But what is the rose, beside the colour, the form, and
so on? Not knowing what it is, but supposing it to be something, we
invent a name to stand for it. We call it a _substratum_. This
substratum, when closely examined, is not distinguishable from
Cause. It is the cause of the qualities; that is, the cause of the
causes of our sensations. The association, then, is this. To each of
the sensations we have from a particular object, we annex in our
imagination, a cause; and to these several causes we annex a cause,
common to all, and mark it with the name substratum.

This curious case of association we now proceed to develop. The word
cause, means the antecedent of a consequent, where the connection is
constant. This has been established on such perfect evidence, that
it is a received principle of philosophy. More of the evidence of
this important principle will appear as we go on. Here we shall take
the proposition for granted.

Not only are we, during the whole period of our lives, witnesses of
an incessant train of events; that is, of antecedents and
consequents, between which, for the greater part, the order is
constant; but these constant conjunctions are, of all things in the
world, what we are {351} the most deeply interested in observing;
for, on the knowledge of them, all our power of obtaining good and
avoiding evil depends. From this, it necessarily follows, that
between none of our ideas is the association more intimate and
intense, than between antecedent and consequent, in the order of
events. Whenever we perceive an event, the mind instantly flies to
its antecedent. I hear words in the street; _event_: some one, of
course, is making them; _antecedent_. My house is broken, and my
goods are gone; _event_: a thief has taken them; _antecedent_. This
is that remarkable case of association, in which the combination is
_inseparable_; a case of so much importance in explaining some of
the more mysterious phenomena of thought. Other instances of this
remarkable phenomenon, to which we have already had occasion to
advert, are, the sight of an object, and the ideas of its distance,
its extension, and figure; the idea of colour, and the idea of
extension; the idea of an object, and the idea of position and
unity; the idea of one of my sensations, and the idea of myself. In
no instance is this inseparable association more perfect, or its
consequences more important, than in that between an event, and its
antecedent. We cannot think of the one without thinking of the
other. The two ideas are forced upon us at the same time; and by no
effort of ours can they be disjoined. So necessarily, from the first
moment of experience, are we employed in observing the constant
conjunctions of events; and so deeply are we interested, in looking
out for, and knowing the constant antecedent of every event, that
the association becomes part of our being. The perception, or the
idea, of an event, instantly brings up {352} the idea of its
constant antecedent; definite and clear, if the antecedent is known;
and indefinite and obscure, if it is unknown. Still, the idea of an
event, of a change, without the idea of its cause, is impossible.
That a cause means, and can mean nothing to the human mind, but
constant antecedent, is no longer a point in dispute.[99]

[Editor's footnote 99: Here again the author takes too sanguine a
view of the amount of agreement hitherto attained among metaphysical
philosophers. "That a cause means, and can mean, nothing to the
human mind but constant antecedent" is so far from being "no longer
a point in dispute" that it is denied with vehemence by a large
numerical majority of philosophers; and its denial is perhaps the
principal badge of one of the two schools which at this, as at most
other times, bisect the philosophical world--the intuitional school
and the experiential--_Ed._]

Of this remarkable case of association, that which we call "Our
Belief in External Objects" is one of the most remarkable instances.
Of the sensations, of sight, of handling, of smell, of taste, which
I have from a rose, each is an event; with each of those events, I
associate the idea of a constant antecedent, a cause; that cause
unknown, but furnished with a name, by which it may be spoken of,
namely, quality; the quality of red, the cause of the sensation red;
the qualities of consistence, extension and figure, the causes of
the sensations of handling; the qualities of smell and taste, the
causes of the sensations of smell and taste. Such is one part of the
process of association in this case. Another is that by which the
ideas of those sensations are so intimately united, as to appear not
several ideas, but one idea, the idea of a rose. We have now two
steps of association; that {353} of the several sensations into one
idea; that of the several sensations each with a separate cause. But
we do not stop here; for, as in a train of events, consisting of
several links, A, B, C, D, and so on, though C is the antecedent or
cause of D, it is itself the consequent or effect of B; and in all
cases, when we have found the cause of any particular event, we have
still to find out what was the cause of that cause. In this manner,
when our habit of association has carried us from our sensations to
the causes of them, the same habit carries us still farther.

As each of our sensations must have a cause, to which, as unknown,
we give the name quality; so each of those qualities must have a
cause. And as the ideas of a number of sensations, concomitant in a
certain way, are combined into a single idea; as that of rose, that
of apple; the unity, which is thus given to the effects, is of
course transferred to the supposed causes, called qualities: they
are referred to a common cause. To this supposed cause of supposed
causes, we give a name; and that name is the word _Substratum_.

It is obvious, that there is no reason for stopping at this
_Substratum_; for, as the sensation suggested the quality, the
quality the substratum, the substratum as properly leads to another
antecedent, another substratum, and so on, from substratum to
substratum, without end. These inseparable associations, however,
rarely go beyond a single step, hardly ever beyond two. The
Barbarian, in accounting for the support of the earth, placed it on
the back of a great elephant, and the great elephant on the back of
a great tortoise; but neither himself, nor those whom he {354}
instructed, were carried by their habits of association any

[Editor's footnote 100: It is a question worth considering, why that
demand for a cause of everything, which has led to the invention of
so many fabulous or fictitious causes, so generally stops short at
the first step, without going on to imagine a cause of the cause.
But this is quite in the ordinary course of human proceedings. It is
no more than we should expect, that these frivolous speculations
should be subject to the same limitations as reasonable ones. Even
in the region of positive facts in the explaining of phenomena by
real, not imaginary, causes--the first semblance of an explanation
generally suffices to satisfy the curiosity which prompts the
inquiry. The things men first care to inquire about are those which
meet their senses, and among which they live; of these they feel
curious as to the origin, and look out for a cause, even if it be
but an abstraction. But the cause once found, or imagined, and the
familiar fact no longer perplexing them with the feeling of an
unsolved enigma, they do not, unless unusually possessed by the
speculative spirit, occupy their minds with the unfamiliar
antecedent sufficiently to be troubled respecting it with any of the
corresponding perplexity.--_Ed._]

Such appear to be the elements included in our belief of the
existence of objects acting on our senses. We have next to unfold
the case of belief in the present existence of objects not acting on
our senses.

Of this Belief, there are two cases: 1, Belief in the existence of
objects, which we have not perceived; 2, Belief in the existence of
objects, which we have perceived.

The first of these, is a case of the Belief in testimony; which is
to be explained hereafter. What we are to examine at the present
moment, then, is, our Belief in the existence of objects, which,
though not {355} now present to our senses, have been so at a
previous time. Thus, I believe in the present existence of St.
Paul's, which I saw this morning.

In tracing the elements of this Belief, it is obvious in the first
place, that in so far as it is founded on my past sensations, memory
is concerned in it. But Memory relates to _past_ events, Belief in
which, is to be considered under a following head. This part of the
development, therefore, we postpone.

But, beside Memory, what other element is concerned in it? There is
evidently an anticipation of the future. In believing that St.
Paul's exists, I believe, that whenever I am in the same situation,
in which I had perception of it before, I shall have perception of
it again. But this Belief in future events, is also a case, which
remains to be considered under a subsequent head. This, therefore,
is another part of the development, which must be postponed.

I not only believe, that I shall see St. Paul's, when I am again in
St. Paul's Churchyard; but I believe, I should see it if I were in
St. Paul's Churchyard this instant. This, too, is also a case, of
the anticipation of the future from the past, and will come to be
considered under the subsequent head already referred to.

Besides these cases, the only one which remains to be considered,
is, my Belief that, if any creature whose senses are analogous to my
own, is now in St. Paul's Churchyard, it has the present sensation
of that edifice.

My belief in the sensations of other creatures, is wholly derived
from my experience of my own sensations. The question is, How it is
derived. That {356} it is an inference from similitude, will not be
denied. But what is an inference from similitude?

I have no direct knowledge of any feelings but my own. How is it,
then, that I proceed?

There are certain things which I consider as marks or signs of
sensations in other creatures. The Belief follows the signs, and
with a force, not exceeded in my other instance. But the
interpretation of signs is wholly a case of association, as the
extraordinary phenomena of language abundantly testify.[101] And
whenever the association, between the sign and the {357} thing
signified, is sufficiently strong to become inseparable, it is
belief. Thus, rude and ignorant people, to whom the existence of but
one language is known, believe the name by which they have always
called an object to belong to it naturally, as much as its shape,
its colour, or its smell.[10*] Thus the perceptions of sight, mere
signs of distance, magnitude, and figure, are followed by belief of
the sight of them. And it is remarked, with philosophical accuracy,
by Condillac, that if our constitution had been such, as to give us,
instead of a different modification of sight, a different
modification of smell, with each variety of distance, extension, and
figure, we should have smelt distance, extension and figure, in the
same manner as, by the actual conformation of our organs, we see
them. Nor can we doubt the truth of the ingenious observation of
Diderot, that if we had seen, and heard, and tasted, and smelt, at
the ends of our fingers, in the same manner as we feel, we should
have believed our mind to be in the fingers, as we now believe it to
be in the head.

[Bain's footnote 101: This is true in by far the greater number of
instances. Nevertheless, there are some of the signs of feeling that
have an intrinsic efficacy, on very manifest grounds. While the
meanings of the smile and the frown could have been reversed, if the
association had been the other way, there is an obvious suitability
in the harsh stunning tones of the voice to signify anger and to
inspire dread, and a like suitability in the gentle tones to convey
affection and kindly feeling. We might have contracted the opposing
associations, had the facts been so arranged, just as in times of
peace, we associate joy with deafening salvos of artillery; and as
loud, sharp-pealing laughter serves in the expression of agreeable
feeling. But there is a gain of effect when the signs employed are
such as to chime in, by intrinsic efficacy, with the associated
meanings. On this coincidence depend the refinements of elocution,
oratory, and stage display.--_B._

[The fact here brought to notice by Mr. Bain is, that certain of the
natural expressions of emotion have a kind of analogy to the
emotions they express, which makes an opening for an instinctive
interpretation of them, independently of experience. But if this be
so (and there can be little doubt that it is so) the suggestion
takes place by resemblance, and therefore still by

[Mill's footnote 10: "It has been very justly remarked, that if all
men had uniformly spoken the same language, in every part of the
world, it would be difficult for us not to think [believe] that
there is a natural connexion of our ideas, and the words which we
use to denote them."--_Brown_, _Lectures_, ii. p. 80. 2d ed.]

The process of our Belief in this case, then, is evidently, as
follows. Our sensations are inseparably associated with the idea of
our bodies. A man cannot think of his body without thinking of it as
sensitive. As he cannot think of his own body without thinking of it
as sensitive, so he cannot think of another man's {358} body, which
is like it, without thinking of it as sensitive. It is evident that
the association of sensitiveness is more close with certain parts of
the complex idea, our bodies, than with other parts; because the
association equally follows the idea of horse, of dog, of fowl, and
even of fish, and insect: and it will be found, I think, that there
is nothing with which it is so peculiarly united as the idea of
spontaneous motion. What is the reason we do not believe there is
any sensation in the most curiously-organized vegetable; while we
uniformly believe there is in the polypus, and the microscopic
insect? Nothing whatsoever can be discovered, but a strong
association which exists in the one case, and is wanting in the
other. And this is one of the most decisive of all experiments to
prove the real nature of Belief.

As, then, our belief in the sensations of other creatures is derived
wholly from the inseparable association between our own sensations
and the idea of our own bodies, it is apparent that the case in
which I believe other creatures to be immediately percipient of
objects, of which I believe that I myself should be percipient if I
were so situated as they are, resolves itself ultimately into this
particular case of my belief in certain conditional sensations of my
own. This, again, as we have seen above, resolves itself into that
other important law of Belief, which we are shortly to consider, the
anticipation of the future from the past.

2. It comes next in order, that we notice our Belief in past
existences; that is, our present belief, that something had a
present existence at a previous time.

Much of the development of this case is included in the expositions
already afforded. Our present {359} belief, means, for one thing, a
present idea; our present belief of an existence, the idea of
something existing. Of what associations the idea of something
existing consists, we have just ascertained. Our present belief of a
past existence, then, consists of our present idea of something
existing, and the assignment of it to a previous time.

There are two cases of this assignment; one, in which the thing in
question had been the object of our senses; another, in which it had
not been the object of our senses.

When the thing, the existence of which we assign to a previous time,
had been the object of our senses, and when the time to which we
assign it is the time when it had so been the object of our senses,
the whole is Memory. In this case, Memory, and Belief, are but two
names for the same thing. Memory is, in fact, a case of Belief.
Belief is a general word. Memory is one of the species included
under it. Memory is the belief of a past existence, as Sensation is
the belief of a present existence. When I say, that I remember the
burning of Drury-Lane Theatre; the _remembering_ the event, and
_believing_ the event, are not distinguishable feelings, they are
one and the same feeling, which we have two ways of naming. The
associations included in Memory we have already endeavoured to
trace. It is a case of that indissoluble connexion of ideas which we
have found in the preceding article to constitute belief in present
existences. When I remember the burning of Drury-Lane Theatre, what
happens? We can mark the following parts of the process. First, the
idea of that event is called up by association; in other words, the
copies of the {360} sensations I then had, closely combined by
association. Next, the idea of the sensations calls up the idea of
myself as sentient; and that, so instantly and forcibly, that it is
altogether out of my power to separate them. But when the idea of a
sensation forces upon me, whether I will or no, the idea of myself
as that of which it was the sensation, I remember the sensation. It
is in this process that memory consists; and the memory is the
Belief. No obscurity rests on any part of this process, except the
idea of _self_, which is reserved for future analysis. The fact, in
the mean time, is indisputable; that, when the idea of a sensation,
which I have formerly had, is revived in me by association, if it
calls up in close association the idea of myself, there is memory;
if it does not call up that idea, there is not memory; if it calls
up the idea of myself, it calls up the idea of that train of states
of consciousness which constitutes the thread of my existence; if it
does not call up the idea of myself, it does not call up the idea of
that train, but some other idea. A sensation remembered, then, is a
sensation placed, by association, as the consequent of one feeling
and the antecedent of another, in that train of feelings which
constitute the existence of a conscious being. All this will be more
evident, when what is included in the notion of Personal Identity is
fully evolved.

The case of Belief in past existences which have not been the object
of our senses, resolves itself into the belief, either of testimony,
or of the uniformity of the laws of nature; both of which will,
after a few intervening expositions, be fully explained.

3. The process which we denote by the words, {361} "Belief in future
events," deserves, on account of its importance, to be very
carefully considered. That it is a complex process, will very
speedily appear. Our endeavour shall be to resolve it into its
elements; in doing which, we shall see whether it consists wholly of
the elements with which we have now become familiar, or whether it
is necessary to admit the existence of something else.

I believe that, to-morrow, the light of day will be spread over
England; that the tide will ebb and flow at London-bridge; that men,
and houses, and waggons, and carriages, will be seen in the streets
of this metropolis; that ships will sail, and coaches arrive; that
shops will be opened for their customers, manufactories for their
workmen, and that the Exchange will, at a certain hour, be crowded
with merchants. Now, in all this, what is involved?

First of all, in the Belief of any future event, there is, of
course, involved the idea of the event. It will be immediately
understood, from what has been already adduced, that there can be
no Belief in any existence, without an idea of that existence. If
I believe in the light of day to-morrow, I must have an idea of it;
if I believe in the flux and reflux of the water at London-bridge,
I must have ideas of those several objects; and so of all other

In the next place; as it has already been shewn, that we cannot call
up any idea by willing it; and that none of our ideas comes into
existence but by association; the idea which forms the fundamental
part of Belief is produced by association. Ideas and association,
then, are necessary parts of belief.

{362} But there can be no idea of the future; because, strictly
speaking, the future is a nonentity. Of nothing there can be no
idea. It is true we can have an idea of that which never existed,
and which we do not suppose ever will exist, as of a centaur; but
this is a composition of the ideas of things which have existed. We
can conceive a sea of milk, because we have seen a sea, and milk; a
mountain of gold, because we have seen a mountain, and gold. In the
same manner we proceed with what we call the future. The ideas which
I have recently enumerated as parts of my belief of to-morrow; the
light of day, the throng in the streets, the motion of the tide at
London-bridge, are all ideas of the past. The general fact, indeed,
is not a matter of dispute. Our idea of the future, and our idea of
the past, is the same; with this difference, that it is accompanied
with retrospection in the one case, anticipation in the other. What
retrospection is, we have already examined. It is Memory. What
Anticipation is, we are now to inquire; and to that end it is
necessary to recall, distinctly, some important facts which we have
already established.

The fundamental law of association is, that when two things have
been frequently found together, we never perceive or think of the
one without thinking of the other. If the visible idea of a rose
occurs to me, the idea of its smell occurs along with it; if the
idea of the sound of a drum occurs to me, the visible idea of that
instrument occurs along with it.

Of these habitual conjunctions, there is none with which we are more
incessantly occupied, from the {363} first moment of our existence
to the last, and in which we are more deeply interested, than that
of antecedent and consequent. Of course there is none between the
ideas of which the association is more intimate and intense.

In fact, our whole lives are but a series of changes; that is, of
antecedents and consequents. The conjunction, therefore, is
incessant; and, of course, the union of the ideas perfectly
inseparable. We can no more have the idea of an event without having
the ideas of its antecedent and *its consequents, than we can have
the idea and not have it at the same time. It is utterly impossible
for me to have the visible idea of a rose, without the idea of its
having grown from the ground, which is its antecedent; it is utterly
impossible for me to have the idea of it without the ideas of its
consistence, its smell, its gravity, and so on, which are its

Of the numerous antecedents and consequents, forming the matter of
our experience, some are constant, some are not. Of course the
strength of the association follows the frequency. The crow is seen
flying as frequently from east to west, as from west to east; from
north to south, as from south to north; there is, therefore, no
association between the flight of the crow and any particular
direction. Not so with the motion of a stone let go in the air: that
takes one direction constantly. The order of antecedent and
consequent is here invariable. The association of the ideas,
therefore, is fixed and inseparable. I can no more have the idea of
a stone let go in the air, and not have the idea of its dropping to
the {364} ground, than I can have the idea of the stone, and not
have it, at the same time.[102]

[Editor's footnote 102: The theory maintained so powerfully and with
such high intellectual resources by the author, that Belief is but
an inseparable association, will be examined at length in a note at
the end of the chapter. Meanwhile let it be remarked, that the case
of supposed inseparable association given in this passage, requires
to be qualified in the statement. We cannot, indeed, think of a
stone let go in the air, without having the idea of its falling; but
this association is not so strictly inseparable as to disable us
from having the contrary idea. There are analogies in our experience
which enable us without difficulty to form the imagination of a
stone suspended in the air. The case appears to be one in which we
can conceive both opposites, falling and not falling; the
incompatible images not, of course, combining, but alternating in
the mind. Which of the two carries belief with it, depends on what
is termed Evidence.--_Ed._]

Where the sequence of two events is merely casual, it passes
speedily away from the mind; because it is not associated with the
idea of any thing in which we are interested. The things in which we
are interested, are the immediate antecedents of our pleasures and
pains, and the ideas of them are all inseparably associated with
constant conjunctions. The association of the ideas of a constant
antecedent and consequent, therefore, has both causes of strength,
the interesting nature of the ideas, and the frequency of
conjunction, both at their greatest height. It follows, that it
should be the most potent and inseparable of all the combinations in
the mind of man.

As we are thus incessantly, and thus intensely, occupied with cases
of constant conjunction, while cases of casual conjunction pass
slightly over the mind, and {365} quickly vanish from our
consciousness, every event calls up the idea of a constant
antecedent. The association is so strong, that the combination is
necessary and irresistible. It often enough, indeed, happens, that
we do not know the constant antecedent of an event. But never does
it fail to call up the idea of such an antecedent; and so
inseparably, that we can as little have and not have the idea of an
event, as we can have the idea of it, and not have the idea of an
inseparable antecedent along with it.--Ignorant, sometimes, of the
constant antecedents of such and such events, we find them out by
subsequent inquiry. Those cases of successful investigation still
further strengthen the association. All that we call good, and all
that we call evil, depend so entirely upon those constant
conjunctions, that we are necessarily under the strongest stimulus
to find them out, and to trace them with greater and greater
accuracy. Thus we very often find a constancy of sequence, in which
we acquiesce for a while; but after a time discover, that though
constant, indeed, it is not immediate; for, that between the event
and supposed antecedent, several antecedents intervene. At first we
regard the ignition of the gunpowder, as the immediate antecedent of
the motion of the ball. Better instructed, we find that a curious
process intervenes. The constancy of the sequence is always more
certain, the more nearly immediate the antecedent is. And so
frequent is our detection of antecedents, more immediate than those
which we have just observed, that an association is formed between
the idea of every antecedent, and that of another antecedent, as yet
unknown, intermediate between it and the consequent which we {366}
know. In no sequence do we ever feel satisfied that we have
discovered all. We see a spark ignite the gunpowder, we see one
billiard-ball impel another. Though we consider these as constant
antecedents and consequents, the idea of something intermediate is
irresistibly conjoined. To this, though wholly unknown, we annex a
name, that we may be able to speak of it. The name we have invented
for this purpose is POWER. Thus, we conceive that it is not the
spark which ignites the gunpowder, but the _power_ of the spark; it
is not one billiard-ball that moves the other, but the _power_ of
the ball. The Power, in this case, is a _supposed_ consequent of the
moving ball, and antecedent of the moved; and so in all other cases.

But the idea of an event does not call up the idea of its constant
antecedent in closer and more intense association, than it calls up
that of its consequent or consequents. I cannot have the idea of
water, without the idea of its mobility, its weight, and other
obvious properties. I cannot have the idea of rhubarb, without the
idea of its nauseous taste, and other familiar properties. I cannot
have the idea of the stroke of a sword upon the head of a man,
without the idea of a wound inflicted on his head. I cannot have the
idea of my falling from a ship into the middle of the sea, without
the idea of my being drowned. I cannot have the idea of my falling
from the top of a high tower, without having the idea of my being
killed by the fall. If I have the first idea, the second forces
itself upon me. The union has in it all that I mark by the word
necessity; a sequence, constant, immediate, and inevitable.

This great law of our nature shews to us {367} immediately in what
manner our idea of the future is generated. Night has regularly been
followed by morning. The idea of night is followed by that of
morning; the idea of morning is followed by that of the events of
the morning, the gradual increase of light, the occupations of men,
the movements of animals and objects, and all their several
successions from morning till night. This is the idea of to-morrow;
to this succeeds another to-morrow; and an indefinite number of
these to-morrows makes up the complex idea of futurity.

But I am told, that we have not only the idea of to-morrow, but the
belief of to-morrow; and I am asked what that belief is. I answer,
that you have not only the idea of to-morrow, but have it
_inseparably_. It will also appear, that wherever the name belief is
applied, there is a case of the indissoluble association of ideas.
It will further appear, that, in instances without number, the name
belief is applied to a mere case of indissoluble association; and no
instance can be adduced in which any thing besides an indissoluble
association can be shewn in belief.[103] It would seem {368} to
follow from this, with abundant evidence, that the whole of my
notion of to-morrow, belief included, is nothing but a case of the
inevitable sequence of ideas.

[Bain's footnote 103: The case that is most thoroughly opposed to
the theory of indissoluble association is our belief in the
Uniformity of Nature. Our overweening tendency to anticipate the
future from the past is shown prior to all association; the first
effect of experience is to abridge and modify a strong primitive
urgency. There is, no doubt, a certain stage when association
co-operates to justify the believing state. After our headlong
instinct has, by a series of reverses, been humbled and toned down,
and after we have discovered that the uniformity, at first imposed
by the mind upon everything, applies to some things and not to
others, we are confirmed by our experience in the cases where the
uniformity prevails; and the intellectual growth of association
counts for a small part of the believing impetus. Still, the
efficacy of experience is perhaps negative rather than positive; it
saves, in certain cases, the primitive force of anticipation from
the attacks made upon it in the other cases where it is contradicted
by the facts. It does not make belief, it conserves a pre-existing
belief. (See Note at the end of the chapter.)--_B._]

This, however, is a part of our constitution, of so much importance,
that it must be scrutinized with more than ordinary minuteness.

Our first assertion was, that in every instance of belief, there is
indissoluble association of the ideas. We shall confine our
examples, for the present, to that case of belief which is more
immediately under our examination; belief in the future. I believe,
that if I put my finger in the flame of the candle, I shall feel the
pain of burning. I believe, that if a stone is dropped in the air,
it will fall to the ground. It is evident that in these cases, the
belief consists in uniting two events, the antecedent, and the
consequent. There are in it, therefore, two ideas, that of the
antecedent, and that of the consequent, and the union of those
ideas. The previous illustrations have abundantly shewn us, in what
manner the two ideas are united by association, and _indissolubly_
united. _These_ ingredients in the belief are all indisputable. That
there is any _other_ cannot be shewn.

{369} Our second assertion was, that cases of indissoluble
association, admitted by all men to be this, and nothing more, are
acknowledged as Belief. The facts (which any one may call to
recollection), in proof of this assertion, deserve the greatest
attention; they shew the mode of investigating some of the most
latent combinations of the human mind.

No fact is more instructive, in this respect, than one, which more
than once we have had occasion to make use of; the association of
the ideas of distance, extension, and figure, with the sensations of
sight. I open my eyes; I see the tables, and chairs, the floor, the
door, the walls of my room, and the books ranged upon the walls;
some of these things at one distance, some at another; some of one
shape and size, some of another. My belief is, that I see all those
particulars. Yet the fact is, that I see nothing but certain
modifications of light;[104] and that all my belief of seeing the
distance, the size, and figure of those several objects, is nothing
but the close and _inseparable_ association of the ideas of other
senses. There is no room for even a surmise that there is any thing
in this case but the immediate blending of the ideas of one sense
with the sensations of another, derived from the constant
concomitance of the sensations themselves.

[Bain's footnote 104: More guardedly--'I am affected by certain
modifications of light.' The word 'see' carries with it too much
meaning for the case put. There is also the omission, previously
remarked on, to take into account the mental elements due to the
movements of the eye--visible forms, magnitudes, and

The case of hearing is perfectly analogous, though {370} not so
exact. I am in the dark; I hear the voice of one man, and say he is
behind me; of another, and say he is before me; of another, he is on
my right hand; another, on my left. I hear the sound of a carriage,
and say, it is at one distance; the sound of a trumpet, and say, it
is at another. In these cases I believe, not only that I hear a
sound, but the sound of a man's voice, the sound of a carriage, the
sound of a trumpet. Yet no one imagines that my belief is any thing,
in these cases, but the close association of the sounds with the
ideas of the objects. I believe, not only that I hear the sound of a
man's voice, but that I hear it behind me, or before me; on my right
hand, or on my left; at this distance, or at that. The indisputable
fact, in the mean time, is, that I hear only a modification of
sound, and that the position and distance, which I believe I hear,
are nothing but ideas of other senses, closely associated with those
modifications of sound. That this state of consciousness, the result
of an immediate irresistible association, is identical with the
state which we name belief, is proved by a very remarkable
experiment, the deception produced by ventriloquism. A man acquires
the art of forming that peculiar modification of sound, which would
come from this or that position, different from the position he is
in; in other words, the sound which is associated, not with the idea
of the position he is in, but that of another position. The sound is
heard; the association takes place; we cannot help believing that
the sound proceeds from a certain place, though we know, that is,
immediately recognize, that it proceeds from another.

We must not be afraid of tediousness, while we {371} adduce
instances in superabundance, to prove that in dissoluble association
(in one remarkable class of its cases, which, on account of their
vast importance, it is found expedient to distinguish by a
particular name) is that state of consciousness, to which we have
given the name of BELIEF.

We are all of us familiar with that particular feeling, which is
produced, when we have turned ourselves round with velocity several
times. We BELIEVE that the world is turning round.

The sound of bells, opposed by the wind, appears to be farther off.
A person speaking through a trumpet appears to be nearer. Our
experience is, that sounds decrease by distance. A sound is
decreased by opposition of the wind; the idea of distance is
associated; and the association being inseparable, it is belief. A
sound is increased by issuing from a trumpet, the idea of proximity
is associated, and the association being indissoluble, it is belief.

In passing, on board of ship, another ship at sea, we believe that
she has all the motion, we none: though we may be sailing rapidly
before the wind, she making hardly any progress against it.

When we have been making a journey in a stage coach, or a voyage in
a ship, we believe, for some time after leaving the vehicle, that
still we are feeling its motion; more especially just as we are
falling asleep.

Nobody doubts, that these, and similar cases of belief, which are
very numerous, are all to be resolved into pure association. What
the associations are, we leave to be traced by the learner; so many
repetitions of the same process, though a useful exercise to him,
would be very tedious here.

{372} The Belief which takes place in Dreaming merits great
attention in this part of our inquiry. No belief is stronger than
that which we experience in dreaming. Our belief of some of the
frightful objects, which occur to us, is such, as to extort from us
loud cries; and to throw us into such tremors and bodily agitations,
as the greatest real dangers would fail in producing. Not less
intense is our belief in the pleasurable objects which occur to us
in dreams; nor are the agitations which they produce in our bodies
much less surprising. Yet there is hardly any difference of opinion
about the real nature of the phenomena which occur in dreaming. That
our dreams are mere currents of ideas, following one another by
association; not controlled, as in our waking hours, by sensations
and will; is the substance of every theory of dreaming. The belief,
therefore, which occurs in dreaming, is merely a case of
association; and hence it follows that nothing more is necessary to
account for Belief.

There is not a more decisive instance of the identity of Belief and
Association, than the dread of ghosts, felt in the dark, by persons
who possess, in its greatest strength, the habitual disbelief of
their existence. That dread implies belief, and an uncontrollable
belief, we need not stay to prove. When the persons of whom we speak
feel the dread of ghosts in the dark, the meaning is, that the idea
of ghost is irresistibly called up by the sensation of darkness.
There is here, indisputably, a case of indissoluble association; nor
can it be shewn that there is anything else. In the dark, when this
strong association is produced, there {373} is the belief; not in
the dark, when the association is not produced, there is no

[Bain's footnote 105: The efficacy of association is not correctly
explained in this instance. The influence of Terror on belief is
unquestionably great; but the operation is more complicated than the
description given of it in the text. Terror, in the first place, is
a depressing passion, and as such impairs the tone of mind suited to
the anticipation of coming good, or in the obverse, increases the
tendency to anticipate coming evil. In the next place, it is the
state most liable to a morbid fixed idea of evil, calamity, or
danger. Thirdly, we have learned in the course of our lives to
expect numerous possible calamities; and are maintained in serenity
only by seeing clearly a good way before us, so as to be sure that
none of these possible evils are approaching. Darkness extinguishes
for the time our assuring fore-sight, and thus, by removing a
counteractive, leaves us a prey to all the demons of mischief.
Fourthly, the emotion of Terror has its corresponding imaginations,
into which are taken up with avidity all the suggestions of danger
that have ever been made to us, including ghosts, hobgoblins, and
other agents of calamity, when we have not natural vigour or express
training to set them at nought.

The mere fact communicated to us, on a few occasions, that ghosts
appear in the dark, and sometimes perform dreadful deeds, would not
by force of association alone produce all that un-nerving effect
which children and weak or superstitious persons are liable to when,
at night, exposed in a lonely place, or passing a churchyard.--_B._]

Few men, except those who are accustomed to it, could walk on the
ridge of a high house without falling down. Yet the same men could
walk with perfect security, on similar footing, placed on the
ground. What is the interpretation of this contrariety? Fear, we are
told, is that which makes the {374} inexperienced person fall. But
fear implies belief. There is nothing, however, in the case, but the
intense association of the idea of his falling, with his sight of
the position in which he is placed. In some persons this idea is so
easily excited, that they cannot look down from even a very moderate
height, without feeling giddy, as they call it; that is, without
having the apprehension; in other words, the belief, of

[Mill's footnote 11: The same account, in substance, of some of the
last of these phenomena, is given by Dr. Brown; and it may aid the
conceptions of the learner, to observe the different modes of
exposition used by two different writers.

"There can be no question, that he who travels in the same carriage,
with the same external appearances of every kind by which a robber
could be tempted or terrified, will be in equal danger of attack,
whether he carry with him little of which he can be plundered, or
such a booty as would impoverish him if it were lost. But there can
be no question also, that though the probabilities of danger be the
same, the fear of attack would, in these two cases, be very
different; that, in the one case, he would laugh at the ridiculous
terror of any one who journeyed with him, and expressed much alarm
at the approach of evening; and that, in the other case, his own eye
would watch suspiciously every horseman who approached, and would
feel a sort of relief when he observed him pass carelessly and
quietly along at a considerable distance behind.

"That the fear, as a mere emotion, should be more intense, according
to the greatness of the object, might indeed be expected; and if
this were all, there would be nothing wonderful in the state of mind
which I have now described. But there is not merely a greater
intensity of fear, there is, in spite of reflection, a greater
belief of probability of attack. There is fear, in short, and fear
to which we readily yield, when otherwise all fear would have seemed
absurd. The reason of this it will perhaps not be difficult for you
to discover, if you remember the explanations formerly given by me,
of some analogous phenomena. The loss of what is valuable in itself,
is of course a great affliction. The slightest possibility of such
an evil makes the evil itself occur to us, as an object of
conception, though not at first, perhaps, as an object of what can
be termed fear. Its very greatness, however, makes it, when thus
conceived, dwell longer in the mind; and it cannot dwell long, even
as a mere conception, without exciting, by the common influence of
suggestion, the different states of mind, associated with the
conception of any great evil; of which associate or resulting
states, in such circumstances, fear is one of the most constant and
prominent. The fear is thus readily excited as an associate feeling;
and when the fear has once been excited, as a mere associate
feeling, it continues to be still more readily suggested again, at
every moment, by the objects that suggested it, and with the
perception or conception of which it has recently co-existed. There
is a remarkable analogy to this process, in the phenomena of
giddiness, to which I have before more than once alluded. Whether
the height on which we stand, be elevated only a few feet, or have
beneath it a precipitous abyss of a thousand fathoms, our footing,
if all other circumstances be the same, is in itself equally sure.
Yet though we look down, without any fear, on the gentle slope, in
the one case, we shrink back in the other case with painful dismay.
The lively conception of the evil which we should suffer in a fall
down the dreadful descent, which is very naturally suggested by the
mere sight of the precipice, suggests and keeps before us the images
of horror in such a fall, and thus indirectly the emotions of fear,
that are the natural accompaniments of such images, and that but for
those images never would have arisen. We know well, on reflection,
that it is a footing of the firmest rock, perhaps, on which we
stand, but in spite of reflection, we feel, at least, at every other
moment, as if this very rock itself were crumbling or sinking
beneath us. In this case, as in the case of the traveller, the
liveliness of the mere conception of evil that may be suffered,
gives a sort of temporary probability to that which would seem to
have little likelihood in itself, and which derives thus from mere
imagination all the terror that is falsely embodied by the mind in
things that exist around.

"It is not, then, any simple ratio of probabilities which regulates
the rise of our hopes and fears, but of these combined with the
magnitude or insignificance of the objects."--_Lectures on the
Philosophy of the Human Mind_. Lecture LXV., vol. iii., p. 345--347.
2d ed.

Notwithstanding this, the ideas of Dr. Brown were so far from being
clear and settled on the subject, that in the same work, Lecture
VI., v. i., p. 115, he seems to affirm, that belief cannot be
accounted for by association, but must be referred to instinct;
though it is necessary to use the word _seems_, for it is not
absolutely certain that he does not by _instinct_ mean
association.--(_Author's Note_.)]

{375} From these illustrations, then, it does not appear that the
anticipation of the future from the past, contains in it any thing
peculiar. So far from standing by itself, a phenomenon _sui generis_
it is included in one of the most general of the laws of the human
mind. When Professor Stewart, therefore, and other writers, erect it
into an object of wonder, a prodigy, a thing falling within no
general rule; and tell us they can refer it to nothing but instinct;
which is as much {376} as to say, to nothing at all; the term
instinct, in all cases, being a name for nothing but our own
ignorance; they only confess their failure in tracing the phenomena
of the mind to the grand comprehensive law of association; to the
admission of which, in its full extent, they seem to have had a most
unaccountable, and a most unphilosophical aversion;--as if that
simplicity, according to which one law is found {377} included in a
higher, and that in a yet higher, till we arrive at a few which seem
to include the whole, were not as much to be expected in the world
of mind, as in the world of matter.[12*]

[Mill's footnote 12: Locke, at a period subsequent to the
publication of his Essay, seems to have become more sensible of the
importance of association. These are his words:--"I think I shall
make some other additions to be put into your Latin translation, and
particularly concerning the connexion of ideas, which has not, that
I know, been hitherto considered, and has, I guess, a greater
influence upon our minds, than is usually taken notice
of."--_Locke_, _Lett. to Molineux_, _April_ 26_th_,
1695.--(_Author's Note_.)

[When Locke wrote the letter here quoted, he had not yet written the
chapter of his Essay which treats of the Association of Ideas. That
chapter did not appear in the original edition, but was first
inserted in the fourth, published in 1690. The intention, therefore,
which he expressed to Molineux, has received its fulfilment; and the
passage quoted further on in the text, is part of the "addition"
which he contemplated.--_Ed._]]

We have now then explored those states of Consciousness which we
call Belief in existences;--Belief in present existences; Belief in
past existences; and Belief in future existences. We have seen that,
in the most simple cases, Belief consists in sensation alone, or
ideas alone; in the more complicated cases, in sensation, ideas, and
association, combined; and in no case of belief has any other
ingredient been found.

In accounting for belief in present objects not acting on the
senses,--it appeared, that a certain anticipation of the future
entered, for so much, into this compound phenomenon; the explanation
of which part we were obliged to leave, till the {378} anticipation
of the future had undergone investigation. We have now seen that
this part, as well as the rest, consists of association. The whole,
therefore, of this case of belief, is now resolved into association.

Mr. Locke, whose expositions of any of our mental phenomena are
almost always instructive, even when they stop short of being
complete, has given the above account of belief precisely, in one
remarkable and very extensive class of cases; those in which the
belief is unfounded; which he denominates prejudices.

"There is," he says,[13*] "scarce any one that does not observe
something that seems odd to him, and is in itself really extravagant
in the opinions, reasonings, and actions, of other men.

[Mill's footnote 13: Essay on the Human Understanding, B. II., Ch.

"This sort of unreasonableness is usually imputed to education and
prejudice; and for the most part truly enough; though that reaches
not the bottom of the disease, nor shews distinctly enough whence it
rises, or wherein it lies.

"Education is often rightly assigned for the cause; and prejudice is
a good general name for the thing itself; but yet, I think, he ought
to look a little farther, who would trace this sort of madness to
the root it springs from, and so explain it, as to shew whence this
flaw has its original in very sober and rational minds, and wherein
it consists."

Mr. Locke affords the explanation, which he thought necessary to be
given, and proceeds as follows.

"Some of our ideas have a natural correspondence and connexion one
with another. It is the office, and {379} excellence, of our reason,
to trace these; and hold them together in that union and
correspondence, which is founded in their peculiar beings.

"Besides this, there is another connexion of ideas, wholly owing to
chance or custom. Ideas, that in themselves are not at all of kin,
come to be so united in some men's minds, that it is very hard to
separate them. They always keep in company; and the one no sooner at
any time comes into the understanding, but its associate appears
with it. And if they are more than two which are thus united, the
whole gang, always inseparable, shew themselves together.

"This wrong connexion, in our minds, of ideas in themselves loose
and independent of one another, has such an influence, and is of so
great force, to set us awry in our actions, as well moral as
natural, passions, reasonings, and notions themselves; that perhaps
there is not any one thing that deserves more to be looked after.

"The ideas of goblins and sprights have really no more to do with
darkness than light. Yet let but a foolish maid inculcate these
often in the mind of a child, and raise them there together,
possibly he shall never be able to separate them again so long as he
lives; but darkness shall ever afterwards bring with it those
frightful ideas, and they shall be so joined, that he can no more
bear the one than the other.

"A man receives a sensible injury from another; thinks on the man
and that action over and over; and by ruminating on them strongly,
or much in his mind, so cements those two ideas together, that he
makes them almost one."

"When this combination is settled, and while it {380} lasts, it is
not in the power of reason to help us and relieve us from the
effects of it. Ideas in our minds, when they are there, will operate
according to their nature and circumstances. And, here, we see the
cause why Time cures certain affections, which reason, though in the
right, has not power over, nor is able, against them, to prevail
with those who are apt to hearken to it in other cases."

After adducing various examples, to illustrate the effect of these
associations, in producing both vicious affections, and absurd
opinions, he thus concludes:

"That which thus captivates our reasons, and leads men blindfold
from common sense, will, when examined, be found to be what we are
speaking of. Some independent ideas of no alliance to one another,
are, by education, custom, and the constant din of their party, so
coupled in their minds, that they always appear there together; and
they can no more separate them in their thoughts, than if there were
but one idea; and they operate as if they were so. This gives sense
to jargon, demonstration to absurdity, and consistency to nonsense;
and is the foundation of the greatest, I had almost said, of all,
the errors in the world."

Such is Mr. Locke's account of wrong belief, or error. But wrong
belief is belief, no less than right belief. Wrong belief, according
to Locke, arises from a bad association of ideas. Right belief,
then, arises from a right association of ideas; and this also was
evidently Locke's opinion. It is, thus, association, in both cases;
only, in the case of wrong belief, the association is between ideas
which ought not to {381} be associated; in the case of right belief,
it is between ideas which ought to be associated. In the case of
right belief, the association is between ideas which, in the
language of Locke, "have a natural correspondence and connexion one
with another:" in the case of wrong belief, it is between ideas,
which "in themselves are not at all of kin, and are joined only by
chance or custom." The ideas of the colour, shape, and smell of the
rose; the ideas of the spark falling on the gunpowder, and the
explosion,--are the sorts of ideas which are understood, by Mr.
Locke, as having "a natural correspondence and connexion." Ideas,
such as those of darkness, with those of ghosts; of the miseries
suffered at school, with the reading of books,--are the kind which
he describes as "not of kin, and united in the mind only by chance
or custom." This, put into accurate language, means, that when the
ideas are connected in conformity with the connexions of things, the
belief is right belief; when the ideas are connected not in
conformity with the connexions of things, the belief is wrong
belief. The ideas, however, which are connected in conformity with
the connexions among things, are connected by custom, as much as
those which are connected not in conformity with those connexions.
And the custom which unites them in conformity, is by far the most
common of the two. It is, in fact, the regular, the ordinary, the
standard custom, the other only constitutes the exceptions.

II. We have divided Belief into, 1, Belief in events, real
existences; 2, Belief in testimony; 3, Belief in the truth of

Though this division, suggested by the ordinary {382} forms of
language, appeared to me didactically convenient, it is not
logically correct. The expression, "Belief in testimony," is
elliptical. When completed, it becomes "Belief in events upon the
evidence of testimony." There are then, in reality, only two kinds
of Belief; 1. Belief in events or real existences; and 2. Belief in
the truth of Propositions. But Belief in events or real existences
has two foundations; 1. our own experience; 2. the testimony of
others. The first of these we have examined, the consideration of
the second remains.

When we begin, however, to look at the second of these foundations
more closely, it soon appears, that it is not in reality distinct
from the first. For what is testimony? It is itself an event. When
we believe any thing, therefore, in consequence of testimony, we
only believe one event in consequence of another. But this is the
general account of our belief in events. It is the union of the
ideas, of an antecedent, and a consequent, by a strong association.
I believe it is one o'clock. Why? I have just heard the clock
strike. _Striking of the clock_, antecedent; _one o'clock_,
consequent; the _second_ closely associated with the _first_. The
striking of the clock is in fact a species of testimony. What does
it testify? Not one event, but an infinite number of events, of
which the term "one o'clock" is the name. At every instant in the
course of the day, a number of events are taking place, some known
to us, some unknown. The term one o'clock, is the name of those
which take place at a particular point of the diurnal revolution. I
believe in them all upon the testimony of the clock. Why? From
experience;--every one would directly and {383} truly reply. I have
found the events constantly, or at least very regularly, conjoined.
From junction of the events, junction of the ideas; in other words,

If proof, only, were wanted, this would suffice. For the purpose,
however, of instruction, tuition, training, a more minute
developement of this important case of belief seems too useful to be
dispensed with, notwithstanding the tediousness which so many
repetitions of the same process are too likely to produce.

The watchman calling the hour, is a case of human testimony. That
the account of our belief, in this case, is precisely the same as
that in the case of the striking of the clock, it is wholly
unnecessary to prove. But if our reliance on testimony in one case
is pure experience, it may reasonably be inferred that it is so in

The forms of expression, which we apply to this case of belief, are
very misleading. We say, "we believe a man," or, "we believe his
testimony." "We attach belief to the man," or, "to his testimony."
In these expressions, the name belief is applied to the wrong event;
to the antecedent, instead of the consequent. What we mean to say
is, that we believe the consequent, the thing testified, not the
antecedent, the speaking of the words. The words the man uses, are,
to us, sensations: belief that he uses the words, is not what is
meant by belief in his testimony. The same form of expression is
perfectly absurd, when applied to other cases. We never say that we
believe the flame of the candle, or we attach belief to the flame of
the candle, when we mean to state the belief, that a finger will be
burnt if it is put into the flame; {384} we never say we believe the
spark, when we mean to express our belief of an explosion when the
spark falls upon the gunpowder.

The only question, then, is, in what manner the words of the
testifier, the antecedent, come to be so united with the idea of the
thing testified, as to constitute belief. And surely there is no
difficulty here, either in conceiving, or admitting the process.
Words call up ideas by association, solely. There is no natural
connexion between them. The manner in which words are applied to
events, I know most intimately by my own experience. I am
constantly, and, from the first moment I could use them, have
constantly been, employing words in exact conformity with events.
Cases occur in which I do not, but they are few in comparison with
those in which I do. It has been justly remarked, that the greatest
of liars speak truth a thousand times for once that they utter
falsehood. The connexion between the use of words, and the idea of
conformable existence, is, of course, established into one of the
strongest associations of the human mind. In other words, belief, in
consequence of testimony, is, strictly, a case of association. That
we interpret other men's actions by our own, no one doubts; and that
we do so entirely by association has already been proved.

In accounting for belief in past existences where it is not memory,
we have found that it is resolvable into belief in testimony, and in
the uniformity of the laws of nature; and the explanation of this we
postponed till the cases of belief in testimony, and in the
uniformity of the laws of nature, should be expounded. A few words
will now suffice to connect the {385} explanations formerly given
with those which have now been presented.

The two cases, as we have seen, resolve themselves into one; as
belief in testimony is but a case of the anticipation of the future
from the past; and belief in the uniformity of the laws of nature is
but another name for the same thing.

I believe the event called the fire of London, upon testimony.
I believe that the stranger who now passes before my window, had a
father and mother, was once an infant, then a boy, next a youth,
then a man, and that he has been nourished by food from his birth;
all this, from my belief in the uniformity of the laws of nature.

After the preceding developments, it is surely unnecessary to be
minute in the analysis of these instances. I have had experience, of
a constant series of antecedents and consequents, in the life of
man; generation, birth, childhood, and so on; as I have had of pain
from putting my finger in the flame. A corresponding association is
formed. If the sight of a stranger calls up the idea of his origin
and progress to manhood, the ordinary train of antecedents and
consequents is called up; nor is it possible for me to prevent it.
The association is indissoluble, and is one of the cases classed
under the name of Belief.

The explanation is still more simple of my belief in the fire of
London. The testimony in this case is of that sort which I have
always experienced to be conformable to the event. Between such
testimony, and the idea of the event testified, I have, therefore,
an indissoluble association. The testimony uniformly calls up the
idea of the reality of the event, so closely, {386} that I cannot
disjoin them. But the idea, irresistibly forced upon me, of a real
event, is Belief.[106]

[Bain's footnote 106: The belief in Testimony is derived from the
primary credulity of the mind, in certain instances left intact
under the wear and tear of adverse experience. Hardly any fact of
the human mind is better attested than the primitive disposition to
receive all testimony with unflinching credence. It never occurs to
the child to question any statement made to it, until some positive
force on the side of scepticism has been developed. Gradually we
find that certain testimonies are inconsistent with fact; we have,
therefore, to go through a long education in discriminating the good
testimonies from the bad. To the one class, we adhere with the
primitive force of conviction that in the other class has been
shaken and worn away by the shocks of repeated

It is in this way that belief in History is to be explained. It is
because I cannot resist the evidence; in other words, because the
testimony calls up irresistibly the idea, that I believe in the
battle of Marathon, in the existence of the Thirty Tyrants of
Athens, in that of Socrates, Plato, and so on.

III. We come now to what we set out with stating as the third case
of Belief; but which, as there are in reality but two kinds of
belief, is, strictly speaking, the second,--I mean Belief in the
Truth of Propositions; in other words, verbal truths.

The process by which this Belief is generated, or rather the
combination wherein it consists, has, by the writers on Logic, at
least those in the Latin and modern languages, been called JUDGMENT.
This, however, is a restricted sense. In general, the word Judgment
is used with more latitude. Sometimes it is nearly co-extensive with
Belief, excluding hardly {387} any but the sudden and momentary
cases. We should hardly say, A man _judges_ there are ghosts, who is
afraid of them in the dark, but firmly believes his fear is
unfounded; or _judges_ the surgeon to be noxious, whom he shudders
at the sight of, from recollection of the terrible operation which
he underwent at his hands. In all cases, however, either of
deliberate or well-founded belief, we seem to apply the word
judgment without impropriety. I judge that I see the light, that
I hear the drum, that my friend speaks the truth, that water is
flowing in the Ganges.

All Belief of events, except that of our present sensations, and
ideas, consists, as we have seen, in the combination of the ideas of
an antecedent and a consequent. The antecedent is sometimes simple,
sometimes compound, being not one event, but various events taken
together. These varieties in the antecedent constitute two
distinguishable cases of belief. The last of them, that in which the
antecedent is complex, is that in which the term judgment is most
commonly applied. Again, there are two cases of complex antecedent,
one, in which all the events are concordant; another, in which they
are not all concordant. It is to this last case that the term
judgment is most peculiarly applied. Thus, it is not usual to say,
that we judge we shall feel pain if we put a finger in the flame of
the candle. But if we saw two armies ready to engage, one of which
had considerable superiority, both in numbers and discipline, we
should say we judge that it would gain the victory. This case,
however, of belief, where the antecedent is complex, will receive
additional illustration farther on. {388} We have now to consider
the case of Belief in the truth of propositions.

PROPOSITION is a name for that form of words which makes a
predication. What Predication is, of what parts it consists, what
end it serves, and into how many kinds it is divided, we have
already explained. It remains to inquire what is meant by the TRUTH
of a Predication, and what state of consciousness it is which is
called the recognition or BELIEF of that truth.

Predication consists essentially in the application of two marks to
the same thing. Of this there are two remarkable cases; one, That in
which two names of equal extent are applied to the same thing;
another, That in which two names, one of less, another of greater
extent, are applied to the same thing. The questions we have to
resolve are, What is meant by truth in these cases; and, What is the
process, or complex state of consciousness, which is called assent
to the proposition, or belief of it.

And, first, as to the case of two names of equal extent, as when we
say, "Man is a rational animal;" here the two names are, "Man," and
"Rational animal," exactly equivalent; so that "man" is the name of
whatever "rational animal" is the name of; and "rational animal" is
the name of whatever "man" is the name of. This coincidence of the
names is all that is meant by the truth of the proposition; and my
recognition of that coincidence is another name for my belief in its

Now, how is it that I recognise two names as equivalent? About this,
there will not be any dispute. I recognise the meaning of names
solely by {389} association. I recognise that such a name is of such
a meaning, by association. I recognise that another name is of the
same signification, by the same means. That I recognise the meaning
of the last, whatever it is, by association, cannot be doubted,
because it is by this that the meaning of every word is established.
There is, however, another fact; that I recognise the meaning in the
second case, as the same with the meaning in the first case. What is
the process of this recognition? The word "Man" is the mark or name
of a certain cluster of ideas. A certain cluster of ideas I know to
be what it is, by having it. Having it, and knowing it, are two
names for the same thing. Having it, and having it again, is knowing
it, and knowing it again; and that is the recognition of its
sameness. It is a single name for the two states of consciousness.
This, then, is all that is meant by our belief in the truth of a
proposition, the terms of which are convertible, or of equal extent.

When of two names, applied to the same thing, one is of less,
another of greater extent, the association is more complex; but in
that is all the difference. Thus, when I believe the truth of the
proposition, "Man is an animal," the meaning of the name "man" is
called up by association, and the meaning of the name "animal" is
called up by association. Thus far is certain. But there is
something further. I recognise, that "animal" is a name of whatever
"man" is a name of, and also of more. In having the meaning of the
name "man" called up by association, that is, in having the ideas,
I recognise that "man" is a name of James, and John, and Homer, and
Socrates, and all the individuals of the class. {390} This is pure
association. In having the meaning of the name "animal" called up by
association, I recognise that it is a name of James, and John, and
all the individuals of the same class, as well as of all the
individuals of other classes; and this is all that is meant by my
Belief in the truth of the proposition. Man is the name of one
cluster of ideas; animal is the name of a cluster, including both
this and other clusters. The latter cluster is partly the same with,
and partly different from, the former. But having two clusters, and
knowing them to be two, is not two things, but one and the same
thing; knowing them in the case in which I call them same, and
knowing them in the case in which I call them different, is still
having them, having them such as they are, and nothing besides. In
this second case also, of the belief of a proposition, there is,
therefore, nothing but ideas, and association.

We have already shewn, under the head NAMING, when explaining the
purpose to which Predication is subservient, that all Predication
may be strictly considered as of one kind, the application to the
same thing of another name of greater extent; in other words, that
Predication by what Logicians call the Difference, Property, or
Accident of a thing, may be reduced to Predication by the Genus or
Species; but as there is a seeming difference in these latter cases,
a short illustration of them will probably be useful.

Thus, suppose I say, "Man is rational," and that I choose to expound
it, without the aid of the word animal, understood; what is there in
the case? The word "man," marks a certain cluster of ideas.
"Rational" marks a portion of that cluster. In the {391} cluster
marked "man," the cluster marked "rational" is included. To
recognise this, is also called believing the proposition. But to
have one cluster of ideas, and know what it is; then another, and
know what it is, is merely to have the two clusters. To have a
second cluster, part of a first, and to know that it is a part of
the first, is the same thing.

The peculiar property of that class of words to which "Rational"
belongs, must here be recollected. They are the _connotative_ class.
Beside marking some thing peculiarly, they mark something else in
conjunction; and this last, they are said to _connote_. Thus the
word "rational," beside the part of the cluster, man, which it
peculiarly marks, connotes, or marks in conjunction with it, the
part included under the word animal

It will be easy to apply the same explanation to all other cases.
I say, the rose is red. Red is a connotative term, distinctively
marking the idea of red. The idea of red is part of the cluster
I mark by the word rose.

Take a more obscure expression; Fire burns. It is very obvious, that
in the cluster of ideas I mark by the word fire, the idea of burning
is included. To have the idea, "fire," therefore, and the idea
"burning," called up by the names standing in predication, is to
believe the proposition.

The Predications, "Virtue is lovely," "Vice is hateful," and the
like, all admit of a similar exposition. In the cluster "virtue,"
the idea of loveliness is included; in the cluster "vice," that of
hatefulness is included. Such propositions, therefore, merely say,
that what is a part of a thing, is a part of it. The {392} two words
call up the two ideas; and to have two ideas, one a part of another,
and know that one is part of another, is not two things, but one and
the same thing. To have the idea of rose, and the idea of red, and
to know that red makes part of rose, is not two things, but one and
the same thing.

Little more is necessary to explain this case of Belief in the truth
of Propositions. Propositions are formed, either of general names,
or particular names, that is, names of individuals. Propositions
consisting of general names are by far the most numerous class, and
by far the most important. The preceding exposition embraces them
all. They are all merely verbal; and the Belief is nothing more than
recognition of the coincidence, entire or partial, of two general

The case of Propositions formed of particular names, is different,
and yet remains to be explained. "Mr. Brougham made a speech in the
House of Commons on such a day." The Predicate, "making a speech in
the House of Commons," is neither general, so as to include the
subject, "Mr. Brougham," as in a species; nor is the cluster of
ideas, marked by the predicate, included in the cluster marked by
the subject, as a part in its whole. The proposition marks a case
either of experience, or of testimony. If I heard the speech, the
proposition is an expression of the Memory of an event; Mr.
Brougham, antecedent, and making a speech, consequent; and the
Belief of the Proposition, is another name for the Memory of the
Event. If I did not hear it, Belief of the proposition, is belief in
the testimony of those who say they heard it.

{393} As all propositions relating to individual objects are, after
this manner, marks either of other men's testimony, or of our own
experience, what belief, in these cases, is, has already been

Propositions relating to individuals may be expressions either of
past, or of future events. Belief in past events, upon our own
experience, is memory; upon other men's experience, is Belief in
testimony; both of them resolved into association. Belief in future
events, is the inseparable association of like consequents with like

It is not deemed necessary to unfold these associations. It has been
already done. It seems enough, if they are indicated here.[107]

[Bain's footnote 107: The author has treated in different places
several questions intimately allied. These are:--

1. The essential nature of the state of mind called Belief, the
mental region whence it springs, or the phenomena that it is to be
classed with--whether Intellect, Feeling, or Will.

2. The belief in the Past, and the belief in the Future; in what
respect they differ from belief in the present. Inseparably
implicated with this, if not prior to it and preparatory to it, is
the difference between ideas of Memory and ideas of Imagination.

3. The nature of our continuous Mental Life, or Identity; or what is
meant by the Permanent Existence of Mind.

The chapters on Memory, and on Belief, and the section on Identity
(Chap. XIV.), all treat of these questions, and contain profound
original views on them all.

As regards the nature of Belief, he errs (in common with
philosophers generally) in calling it a purely intellectual state.
The consequence is to mar the explanations of the other points.

He displays a remarkably just and penetrating insight into the
differences between Memory and Imagination, and between {394} our
own self or Personality, and the personality of others; whereby he
fully accounts for what is involved in Personal Identity.

To resolve the difficult phenomenon of Belief in Memory, of which
the belief in the Permanent Existence of Mind is merely another
expression, we must clear up the foundations of the state of Belief
in general.

The prevailing error on this subject consists in regarding Belief as
mainly a fact of the Intellect, with a certain participation of the
feelings. The usual assumption is, that if a thing is conceived in a
sufficiently vivid manner, or if two things are strongly associated
in the mind, the state of belief is thereby induced.

A better clue to the real character of belief is found in the
connexion between faith and works. The practical test applied to a
man's belief in a certain matter, is his acting upon it. A
capitalist's trust in the soundness of a project, is shown by his
investing his money.

In its essential character, Belief is a phase of our active
nature,--otherwise called the Will. Our tendency to action, under
special circumstances, assumes the aspect called belief; as in other
circumstances, it takes the form of Desire, and in a third
situation, appears as Intention; none of all which are essential to
voluntary action in its typical form.

The state of belief or of disbelief is manifested when we are
pursuing an Intermediate End. In masticating something sweet, the
fruition of the sweetness sustains the energy of the will; there is
no case for the believing function properly so called, any more than
there is for Desire, Deliberation, or Resolution. In going to a shop
to purchase sweets, there is wanting this immediate support of the
voluntary energies; the support grows out of an ideal state, the
anticipation of the pleasure of sweetness; this state is called
Belief. We are said to believe that what we are going to purchase
will impart an agreeable sensation. The state is one of degree; we
may have a strong belief or a weak belief; the strength having no
other measure than the energy of pursuit inspired by it. If we {395}
follow the intermediate end with all the avidity shown when we are
realizing the full actuality, we have the perfect belief that what
we aim at will bring the actuality. If, as often happens, we are
less strongly moved than this, our belief is said to be so much
weaker. Or, the comparison may be expressed in a different form. If
two things are connected together as means and end; and, if on
attaining the means, we feel as much elated (the end being something
good) as if we had attained the end, then our belief is at the
maximum; if less so, our belief is less. The promise made to us by
one man gives all the satisfaction of the performance; the promise
of another man gives a very inferior satisfaction; the comparison
measures our comparative trust in the two men.

So far the matter seems plain. The real difficulty lies in assigning
the mental origin or seat of the believing attitude. The view to be
maintained in this note is, that the state of belief is identical
with the activity or active disposition of the system, at the
moment, and with reference to the thing believed. Now as there are
various sources of activity, so there are various sources of belief.
These are:--First, Spontaneous Activity, or the mere overflow of
energy growing out of the nourishment of the system. Secondly,
Voluntary Action, in the strictest signification, or the pursuit of
pleasure and the avoidance of pain, under the stimulus of one or
other of those states. Thirdly, the tendency of an Idea to become an
Actuality, the degree of which tendency accords with the mental
excitement attending the idea. Fourthly, the addition of Habit to
all the others. Under every one of these four influences, we are
prompted to act, and in the same degree disposed to believe. Not one
of the tendencies is any guarantee for the truth of the thing
believed; which is a somewhat grave consequence of the theory
contended for.

It will now be asked, in what acceptation, or under what
circumstances, does mere activity, no matter how arising,
constitute, or amount to, the state of belief. There are certain
situations where the two states are on the surface the same; the
fact of going along a certain road implicates the belief that {396}
a certain destination will be reached. Nay, farther, a great amount
of natural energy would sustain a vigorous pace, irrespective of the
certainty of the goal; while physical feebleness would make one
languid, however strong the evidence of the distant good. All this
shows that the mental state called believing is of little use
without the active power, and that the active power readily
simulates the believing state, and makes it seem greater or less
than it really is.

Let us now look at the question in another light. Having a natural
fund of activity, with or without the addition of proper volitional
impulses, we commence moving in a certain direction, no matter what.
We are not necessarily urged to move by any prospect of what we are
to find. We act somehow, because action comes upon us; and we take
the consequences. Suppose, however, that we encounter a check, in
the form of obstruction or pain: this stops our activity in that
direction, but does not prevent it from taking another direction.
Now, not only does the actual pain arrest our steps, but also the
memory of it (if the circumstances are such as to give it a certain
degree of strength) is deterring. We avoid that track in the future.
With reference to it there is generated a voluntary activity and
determination, containing the whole essence of belief; namely, the
avoidance of a certain course, before the point of actual pain. This
is, to all intents, belief on the side of prospective harm. Equally
important is it to remark, that wherever we have not experienced any
positive harm, check, or obstruction, we go on as readily and as
energetically as ever. Our natural state of mind, our primitive
start is tantamount to full confidence or belief; which is broken in
upon, only after hostile experiences; by these, the original
condition of implicit confidence is impaired; and in certain
directions, a positive anticipation or determining volition and
belief of evil is substituted. An animal born on a summer morning,
and able to move about from the first, would not anticipate
darkness; it would behave exactly as if light were never
intermitted. A few days experience makes an {397} in-road on this
primitive confidence, and modifies it to suit the facts.

Let us add another circumstance to the foregoing example. Instead of
the individual moving blindly on, by mere exuberance or spontaneity,
let the movement be favoured by bringing pleasure at every step. In
this situation, the whole force of the spontaneity at the time, and
the whole force of the will (proportioned to the stimulating
pleasure), sustain the movements at a more energetic pace; and there
is nothing to counter-work them. The mental disposition is now
equivalent to the highest confidence; there is no hesitation, no
distrust, nothing but exuberant unrestrained activity. Neither
scepticism as to the unknown future, nor a demand for assurance that
the present condition is to last, is entertained by the mind. The
individual does not inquire whether a precipice, or the lair of a
devouring beast be on the track. The ignorance is at once bliss and

Here, then, we may discern the original tendency of the mind as
regards belief. To have gone a certain way with safety and with
fruition, is an ample inducement to continue in that particular
path. The situation contains all that is meant by full and unbounded
confidence that the future and the distant will be exactly what the
present is. The primary impulse of every creature is at the farthest
remove from a procedure according to Logic. In the beginning,
confidence is at its maximum; the course of education is towards
abating, and narrowing it, so as to adapt it to the fact of things.
Every check is a lesson, destroying to a certain extent the
over-vaulting assurance of the natural mind, and planting a belief
in evil, at points where originally flourished only the illimitable
belief in good.

There is thus wrapped up, in the active impulses of our nature, a
power of credulity leading us habitually to overstep the experience
of the present. We believe in the uniformity of nature with a
vengeance. We have to be schooled by adverse encounters, before we
are brought within the limits of the real uniformity. Our natural
credulity is equally excessive {398} on the side of evil and on the
side of good; where we have once suffered we expect always to
suffer. In short, whereas to the logician, there is a great gulf
between the present and future, the known and the unknown, to the
natural man there is not even a break. The early mind laughs the
logician's gulf to scorn. All that science or logic has been able to
do is to show that at certain points the assumed uniformity is
broken in upon; tractable and docile minds learn to respect these
exceptions; but wherever an outlet exists, with no barrier, or
express prohibition, not only is that outlet followed, it is
followed with all the pristine impetuosity of our active nature. The
ordinary logician, over-awed by this force of determination, seldom
asserts the principle that the present can by no logical implication
contain the future, that a present reality holds in itself no
warrant for the unknown past, the distant or the future. The barrier
that this principle would interpose to our inferences has been
carried by assault; the gordian knot is always cut with the sword.

From the point of view of the logician, a serious difficulty
attaches to our belief in the Memory of the Past; the psychologist
can refer it to the incontinence of the mind, in moving freely away
from the present in any direction, in accounting the step next to be
entered upon in the absence of impediment, as secure as the one
actually taken.

Let us consider the process first by reverting to the anticipation
of the Future. That a state of things now begun will continue
indefinitely is what the mind not only assumes but proceeds upon
with a vehemence proportioned to its active endowments and
dispositions, until admonished to the contrary by the experience of
being checked. All instruction, or corroborating information, is
dispensed with at the outset: the burden is always laid upon the
denier. Of this tendency of the mind the examples are innumerable,
and need only to be indicated. In the default of evidence, on one
side, and against what ought to be considered evidence on the other
side, we believe that, as we feel now, so we shall feel always. And
our belief is not simply giving the benefit of any doubt there may
{399} be to the opinion we incline to; it is a powerful impulse,
counteracted only by a severe and protracted discipline. Also, we
believe that our own feelings exactly measure and correspond to the
feelings of every one else. Very few are ever brought within the
limits of the actual truth on this point; the primitive tendency is
not met by a sufficient force of the requisite education.

It is the belief in the future that offers the simplest and clearest
example of the mind's tendency to overleap the actual, to see no
hard line between the present and the remote. The belief in nature's
continuance and uniformity has always been in excess. From the very
same tendency springs whatever belief we have of our own continued
existence and identity. We make light of the difference between the
conceived future and the real present.

Much more subtlety attends the Belief in Memory: the meaning of
which is, that, whereas certain ideas recalled by memory are, _de
facto_, ideas, or mental elements of a kind that imagination might
furnish, they yet carry with them the belief that they represent
what was once actuality, like any sensation of the present moment.

Let us first apply to the case the overweening instinct now fully
set forth. To the logician, the past, however recent, is divided by
a deep gulf from the present: the idea and the actuality can never
be interchanged. It is not so with the mind following its native
disposition. I have a present sensation of thirst; in that present
consciousness, I have the highest attainable assurance; my action
upon it is unhesitating and complete. Let that sensation, however,
pass away for one minute, and there remains only the idea which, as
a mere idea, by virtue of its recency, may be at its maximum
strength. The point now to be explained is, why I believe not merely
that I have the idea, which as a fact of present consciousness I am
entitled to believe to the utmost, but that the idea was lately a
full actuality as much as is my present state of satisfied
sensation. The explanation seems to be, that we really make no
radical difference between a present and a proximate past; {400} the
march of the mind is to and fro, into the past and the future, with
the same tendency to act out both, as to act out the present,
assuming always the absence of a positive check or break. Such is
the inveterate persistence of the natural activity, that the belief
in the thirst when present (shown by action in accordance therewith)
has a continuing efficacy second only to the belief in a still
present state. At the moment of actual thirst, I, in the absence of
corrective influences, (and to some degree in spite of these), would
be disposed to believe that I always was, and always would be
thirsty. The satisfaction that has followed reduces that belief to a
fraction of its former state; and my utmost licence of assumption
would be, (in the absence of contradictory beliefs) that all my past
has been one thirst. The fact is, that, in these moments, when I
give full licence to the sway of the idea, by voluntarily remitting
attention to my new experience, that idea may swell out into a pitch
of mental occupation hardly distinguishable from the real presence;
in which case, my past self and my present self are, as it were, one
and indivisible; they are freely interchanged; the actual
consciousness compounds and contains them both.

Going another step backward, let us consider the state prior to the
thirst; say a consciousness of heat and muscular fatigue. What proof
have I that these penultimate states were present in continuity of
time and in immediate precedence to the thirst, and are not vagaries
of imagination, nor drawn from a remote past, accidentally revived?
There seems no other evidence than that already given regarding the
proximate state. In surrendering our mind to the idea still
remaining, and so imparting a momentary quasi-reality to the state,
we have an experience possessing the characteristic features of
present reality.

Another consideration has to be mentioned. The state of transition
from reality to reality is a distinct and unmistakeable experience.
The transition from a present sensation of thirst to a present
sensation of satisfied thirst is a march of its own kind--unique and
explicit. There are in it attendant {401} circumstances, not to be
confounded with the transition from a present to a past across a
break. The recent and proximate state of thirst has a mode of
continuity, a setting in contact with the present, such as did not
belong to the thirst of yesterday, and still less belongs to the
idea of the narrated thirst of another person. No sensation ever
comes to us alone, or without a group of collaterals; and the
collaterals of the formerly actual, and of the ideal never an
actual, are wholly different. (This point has been well illustrated
in the text, Chap. X. on Memory). The peculiar link whereby a
present actual passes out of actuality into proximate actuality,
when it is barely deprived of existence in the real, is a fact that
remains and attaches to everything that has been actual; and the
unbroken sequence of these is our past life of actuality, clearly
marked out from every aggregate of ideas indiscriminately culled and
united in a whole of imagination. This last process has its own
distinctive collaterals; it is accompanied by numerous shocks of
agreement in difference, under the law of similarity; but we do not
confound these or other accompaniments with the gliding movement of
the mind over the chronological past. Thus to take the extreme
instance. We can assume another person's mental state (to a certain
degree); and yet we do not fuse that with our own identity. There is
a broad line of demarcation between each one's experience that they
term their actual, and the assumption of a second person's
experience, say of thirst, of fear, of curiosity. Our own past has
continuity and fusion, in itself, and a peculiar set of
circumstantial surroundings; in general, too, it is easy to
remember. The other person's experience is received through a
machinery of objective signs, laboriously interpreted, and not
realized with the collaterals of an experience of our own; it is
shorn of all the beams of our own personality, whether in the
present or in the recollected past.

The distinction now drawn, (substantially what is exemplified at
length in the chapter referred to,) is confirmed by what happens on
occasions when memory and imagination are confounded. When a fact is
long past, and all but forgotten, {402} the oblivion overtakes the
evidentiary collaterals, the marks of continuity that link together
what has been one actual state to what has been another actual
state. I remember having had the idea or purpose to say or to do
something on a certain occasion; but I do not remember whether
I actually did or said the thing. The memory of the occasion is
incomplete; the links are snapped that connect that idea with my
remembered acting at the time referred to; it is not in its place in
that authenticated series; and it is not associated with the
collateral circumstances that always attend an actual transaction.
On the other hand, as is well remarked in the chapter quoted,
imagination may simulate remembered reality, when there is wanting
the real memory that would people the occasion with authentic
circumstances, and when the imagination has been excited and
exercised so as to include in its compass the collaterals that go
with an experience in the actual.--_B._]

[Editor's footnote 108: The analysis of Belief presented in this
chapter, brings out the conclusion that all cases of Belief are
simply cases of indissoluble association: that there is no generic
distinction, but only a difference in the strength of the
association, between a case of belief and a case of mere
imagination: that to believe a succession or coexistence between two
facts is only to have the ideas of the two facts so strongly and
closely associated, that we cannot help having the one idea when we
have the other.

If this can be proved, it is the greatest of all the triumphs of the
Association Psychology. To first appearance, no two things can be
more distinct than thinking of two things together, and believing
that they are joined together in the outward world. Nevertheless,
that the latter state of mind is only an extreme case of the former,
is, as we see, the deliberate doctrine of the author of the
Analysis; and it has also in its favour the high psychological
authority of Mr. Herbert Spencer. Mr. Bain, in the preceding note,
as well as in his systematic work, looks at the phenomenon from
another side, and pronounces that what constitutes Belief is the
power which an {403} idea has obtained over the Will. It is well
known and understood that a mere idea may take such possession of
the mind as to exercise an irresistible control over the active
faculties, even independently of Volition, and sometimes in
opposition to it. This, which Mr. Bain calls the power of a Fixed
Idea, is exemplified in the cases of what is called fascination: the
impulse which a person looking from a precipice sometimes feels to
throw himself down it; and the cases of crimes said to have been
committed by persons who abhor them, because that very horror has
filled their minds with an intense and irrepressible idea of the
act. Since an idea is sometimes able to overpower volition, it is no
wonder that an idea should determine volition; as it does whenever
we, under the influence of the idea of a pleasure or of a pain, will
that which obtains for us the pleasure or averts the pain. In this
voluntary action, our conduct is grounded upon a relation between
means and an end; (that is, upon a constant conjunction of facts in
the way of causation, ultimately resolvable into a case of
resemblance and contiguity): in common and unanalytical language,
upon certain laws of nature on which we rely. Our reliance is the
consequence of an association formed in our minds between the
supposed cause and its effect, resulting either from personal
experience of their conjunction, from the teachings of other people,
or from accidental appearances. Now, according to Mr. Bain, when
this association between the means and the end, the end calling up
the idea of the means, arrives at the point of giving to the idea
thus called up a command over the Will, it constitutes Belief. We
believe a thing, when we are ready to act on the faith of it; to
face the practical consequences of taking it for granted: and
therein lies the distinction between believing two facts to be
conjoined, and merely thinking of them together. Thus far Mr. Bain:
and with this I fully agree. But something is still wanting to the
completeness of the analysis. The theory as stated, distinguishes
two antecedents, by a difference not between themselves, but between
their consequents. But when the consequents differ, the antecedents
cannot be the same. An association {404} of ideas is or is not a
Belief, according as it has or has not the power of leading us to
voluntary action: this is undeniable: but when there is a difference
in the effects there must be a difference in the cause: the
association which leads to action must be, in some respect or other,
different from that which stops at thought. The question, therefore,
raised, and, as they think, resolved, by the author of the Analysis
and by Mr. Spencer, still demands an answer. Does the difference
between the two cases consist in this, that in the one case the
association is dissoluble, in the other it is so much more closely
riveted, by repetition, or by the intensity of the associated
feelings, as to be no longer dissoluble? This is the question we are
compelled to face.


In the first place, then, it may be said--If Belief consisted in an
indissoluble association, Belief itself would be indissoluble. An
opinion once formed could never afterwards be destroyed or changed.
This objection is good against the _word_ indissoluble. But those
who maintain the theory do not mean by an indissoluble association,
one which nothing that can be conceived to happen could possibly
dissolve. All our associations of ideas would probably be
dissoluble, if experience presented to us the associated facts
separate from one another. If we have any associations which are, in
practice, indissoluble, it can only be because the conditions of our
existence deny to us the experiences which would be capable of
dissolving them. What the author of the Analysis means by
indissoluble associations, are those which we cannot, by any mental
effort, at present overcome. If two ideas are, at the present time,
so closely associated in our minds, that neither any effort of our
own, nor anything else which can happen, can enable us now to have
the one without its instantly raising up the other, the association
is, in the author's sense of the term, indissoluble. There would be
less risk of misunderstanding if we were to discard the word
indissoluble, and confine ourselves to the expression which the
author employs as its equivalent, inseparable. This I will
henceforth do, and {405} we will now enquire whether Belief is
nothing but an inseparable association.

In favour of this supposition there is the striking fact, that an
inseparable association very often suffices to command belief. There
are innumerable cases of Belief for which no cause can be assigned,
except that something has created so strong an association between
two ideas that the person cannot separate them in thought. The
author has given a large assortment of such cases, and has made them
tell with great force in support of his theory. Locke, as the author
mentions, had already seen, that this is one of the commonest and
most fertile sources of erroneous thought; deserving to be placed
high in any enumeration of Fallacies. When two things have long been
habitually thought of together, and never apart, until the
association between the ideas has become so strong that we have
great difficulty, or cannot succeed at all, in separating them,
there is a strong tendency to believe that the facts are conjoined
in reality; and when the association is closer still, that their
conjunction is what is called Necessary. Most of the schools of
philosophy, both past and present, are so much under the influence
of this tendency, as not only to justify it in principle, but to
elect it into a Law of Things. The majority of metaphysicians have
maintained, and even now maintain, that there are things which, by
the laws of intelligence, cannot be separated in thought, and that
these things are not only always united in fact, but united by
necessity: and, again, other things, which cannot be united in
thought--which cannot be thought of together, and that these not
only never do, but it is impossible they ever should, coexist in
fact. These supposed necessities are the very foundation of the
Transcendental schools of metaphysics, of the Common Sense school,
and many others which have not received distinctive names. These are
facts in human nature and human history very favourable to the
supposition that Belief is but an inseparable association, or at all
events that an inseparable association suffices to create Belief.

On the contrary side of the question it may be urged, that {406} the
inseparable associations which are so often found to generate
Beliefs, do not generate them in everybody. Analytical and
philosophical minds often escape from them, and resist the tendency
to believe in an objective conjunction between facts merely because
they are unable to separate the ideas. The author's typical example
of an inseparable association, (and there can be none more suited to
the purpose,) is the association between sensations of colour and
the tangible magnitudes, figures, and distances, of which they are
signs, and which are so completely merged with them into one single
impression, that we believe we see distance, extension, and figure,
though all we really see is the optical effects which accompany
them, all the rest being a rapid interpretation of natural signs.
The generality of mankind, no doubt, and all men before they have
studied the subject, believe what the author says they do; but a
great majority of those who have studied the subject believe
otherwise: they believe that a large portion of the facts which we
seem to see, we do not really see, but instantaneously infer. Yet
the association remains inseparable in these scientific thinkers as
in others: the retinal picture suggests to them the real magnitude,
in the same irresistible manner as it does to other people. To take
another of the author's examples: when we look at a distant
terrestrial object through a telescope, it appears nearer; if we
reverse the telescope it appears further off. The signs by which we
judge of distance from us, here mislead, because those signs are
found in conjunction with real distances widely different from those
with which they coexist in our ordinary experience. The association,
however, persists, and is irresistible, in one person as much as in
another; for every one recognises that the object, thus looked at,
_seems_ nearer, or farther off, than we know it to be. But does this
ever make any of us, except perhaps an inexperienced child,
_believe_ that the object is at the distance at which we seem to see
it? The inseparable association, though so persistent and powerful
as to create in everybody an optical illusion, creates no
_de_lusion, but leaves our belief as conformable to the realities of
fact as if no such illusive appearance had presented {407} itself.
Cases similar to this are so frequent, that cautious and thoughtful
minds, enlightened by experience on the misleading character of
inseparable associations, learn to distrust them, and do not, even
by a first impulse, believe a connexion in fact because there is one
in thought, but wait for evidence.

Following up the same objection, it may be said that if belief is
only an inseparable association, belief is a matter of habit and
accident, and not of reason. Assuredly an association, however
close, between two ideas, is not a sufficient _ground_ of belief; is
not _evidence_ that the corresponding facts are united in external
nature. The theory seems to annihilate all distinction between the
belief of the wise, which is regulated by evidence, and conforms to
the real successions and coexistences of the facts of the universe,
and the belief of fools, which is mechanically produced by any
accidental association that suggests the idea of a succession or
coexistence to the mind: a belief aptly characterized by the popular
expression, believing a thing because they have taken it into their

Indeed, the author of the Analysis is compelled by his theory to
affirm that we actually believe in accordance with the misleading
associations which generate what are commonly called illusions of
sense. He not only says that we believe we see figure and
distance--which the great majority of psychologists since Berkeley
do not believe; but he says, that in the case of ventriloquy "we
cannot help believing" that the sound proceeds from the place, of
which the ventriloquist imitates the effect; that the sound of bells
opposed by the wind, not only appears farther off, but is believed
to come from farther off, although we may know the exact distance
from which it comes; that "in passing on board ship, another ship at
sea, we _believe_ that she has all the motion, we none:" nay even,
that when we have turned ourselves round with velocity several
times, "we believe that the world is turning round." Surely it is
more true to say, as people generally do say, "the world _seems_ to
us to turn round." To me these cases appear so many experimental
proofs, that the tendency of an inseparable association to generate
belief, even when that {408} tendency is fully effectual in creating
the irresistible appearance of a state of things that does not
really exist, may yet be impotent against reason, that is, against
preponderant evidence.

In defence of these paradoxes, let us now consider what the author
of the Analysis might say. One thing he would certainly say: that
the belief he affirms to exist in these cases of illusion, is but a
momentary one; with which the belief entertained at all other times
may be at variance. In the case, for instance, of those who, from an
early association formed between darkness and ghosts, feel terror in
the dark though they have a confirmed disbelief in ghosts, the
author's opinion is that there is a temporary belief, at the moment
when the terror is felt. This was also the opinion of Dugald
Stewart: and the agreement (by no means a solitary one) between two
thinkers of such opposite tendencies, reminds one of the saying
"Quand un Français et un Anglais sont d'accord, il faut bien qu'ils
aient raison." Yet the author seems to adopt this notion not from
observation of the case, but from an antecedent opinion that "dread
implies belief, and an uncontrollable belief," which, he says, "we
need not stay to prove." It is to be wished, in this case, that he
had stayed to prove it: for it is harder to prove than he thought.
The emotion of fear, the physical effect on the nervous system known
by that name, may be excited, and I believe often is excited, simply
by terrific imaginations. That these imaginations are, even for a
moment, mistaken for menacing realities, may be true, but ought not
to be assumed without proof. The circumstance most in its favour
(one not forgotten by the author) is that in dreams, to which may be
added hallucinations, frightful ideas are really mistaken for
terrible facts. But dreams are states in which all other sensible
ideas are mistaken for outward facts. Yet sensations and ideas are
intrinsically different, and it is not the normal state of the human
mind to confound the one with the other.

Besides, this supposition of a momentary belief in ghosts breaking
in upon and interrupting an habitual and permanent belief that there
are no ghosts, jars considerably with the {409} doctrine it is
brought to support, that belief is an inseparable association.
According to that doctrine, here are two inseparable associations,
which yet are so far from exclusively possessing the mind, that they
alternate with one another, each Inseparable implying the separation
of the other Inseparable. The association of darkness with the
absence of ghosts must be anything but inseparable, if there only
needs the presence of darkness to revive the contrary association.
Yet an association so very much short of inseparable, is
accompanied, at least in the absence of darkness, by a full belief.
Darkness is in this case associated with two incompatible ideas, the
idea of ghosts and that of their absence, but with neither of them
inseparably, and in consequence the two associations alternately
prevail, as the surrounding circumstances favour the one or the
other; agreeably to the laws of Compound Association laid down with
great perspicuity and reach of thought by Mr. Bain in his systematic

To the argument, that the inseparable associations which create
optical and other illusions, do not, when opposed by reason,
generate the false belief, the author's answer would probably be
some such as the following. When the rational thinker succeeds in
resisting the belief, he does so by more or less completely
overcoming the inseparableness of the association. Associations may
be conquered by the formation of counter-associations. Mankind had
formerly an inseparable association between sunset and the motion of
the sun, and this in separable association compelled them to believe
that in the phenomenon of sunset the sun moves and the earth is at
rest. But Copernicus, Galileo, and after them, all astronomers,
found evidence, that the earth moves and the sun is at rest: in
other words, certain experiences, and certain reasonings from those
experiences, took place in their minds, the tendency of which was to
associate sunset with the ideas of the earth in motion and the sun
at rest. This was a counter-association, which could not coexist, at
least at the same instant, with the previous association connecting
sunset with the sun in motion and the earth at rest. But for a long
time the new {410} associating influences could not be powerful
enough to get the better of the old association, and change the
belief which it implied. A belief which has become habitual, is
seldom overcome but by a slow process. However, the experiences and
mental processes that tended to form the new association still went
on; there was a conflict between the old association and the causes
which tended to produce a new one; until, by the long continuance
and frequent repetition of those causes, the old association,
gradually undermined, ceased to be inseparable, and it became
possible to associate the idea of sunset with that of the earth
moving and the sun at rest; whereby the previous idea of the sun
moving and the earth at rest was excluded for the time, and as the
new association grew in strength, was at last thrown out altogether.
The argument should go on to say that after a still further
prolongation of the new experiences and reasonings, the old
association became impossible and the new one inseparable; for,
until it became inseparable, there could, according to the theory,
be no belief. And this, in truth, does sometimes happen. There are
instances in the history of science, even down to the present day,
in which something which was once believed to be impossible, and its
opposite to be necessary, was first seen to be possible, next to be
true, and finally came to be considered as necessarily true, and its
opposite (once deemed necessary) as impossible, and even
inconceivable; insomuch that it is thought by some that what was
reputed an impossibility, might have been known to be a necessity.
In such cases, the quality of inseparableness has passed, in those
minds at least, from the old association to the new one. But in much
the greatest number of cases the change does not proceed so far, and
both associations remain equally possible. The case which furnished
our last instance is an example. Astronomers, and all educated
persons, now associate sunset with motion confined to the earth, and
firmly believe this to be what really takes place; but they have not
formed this association with such exclusiveness and intensity as to
have become unable to associate sunset with motion of the sun. On
the contrary, the visible appearance still suggests {411} motion of
the sun, and many people, though aware of the truth, find that they
cannot by any effort make themselves see sunset any otherwise than
as the sinking of the sun below the earth. My own experience is
different: I find that I can represent the phenomenon to myself in
either light; I can, according to the manner in which I direct my
thoughts, see sunset either as the earth tilting above the sun, or
as the sun dipping below the earth: in the same manner as when a
railway train in motion passes another at rest, we are able, if we
prevent our eyes from resting on any third object, to imagine the
motion as being either in the one train or in the other. How, then,
can it be said that there is an inseparable association of sunset
with the one mode of representation, and a consequent inability to
associate it with the other? It is associated with both, and the one
of the two associations which is nearest to being inseparable is
that which belief does not accompany. The difference between
different people in the ability to represent to themselves the
phenomenon under either aspect, depends rather on the degree of
exercise which they have given to their imagination in trying to
frame mental pictures conformable to the two hypotheses, than upon
those considerations of reason and evidence which yet may determine
their belief.

The question still remains, what is there which exists in the
hypothesis believed, and does not exist in the hypothesis rejected,
when we have associations which enable our imagination to represent
the facts agreeably to either hypothesis? In other words, what is

I think it must be admitted, that when we can represent to ourselves
in imagination either of two conflicting suppositions, one of which
we believe, and disbelieve the other, neither of the associations
can be inseparable; and there must therefore be in the fact of
Belief, which exists in only one of the two cases, something for
which inseparable association does not account. We seem to have
again come up, on a different side, to the difficulty which we felt
in the discussion of Memory, in accounting for the distinction
between a fact remembered, and the same fact imagined. There is a
close parallelism between {412} the two problems. In both, we have
the difference between a fact and a representation in imagination;
between a sensation, or combination of sensations, and an idea, or
combination of ideas. This difference we all accept as an ultimate
fact. But the difficulty is this. Let me first state it as it
presents itself in the case of Memory. Having in our mind a certain
combination of ideas, in a group or a train, accompanying or
succeeding one another; what is it which, in one case, makes us
recognize this group or train as representing a group or train of
the corresponding sensations, remembered as having been actually
felt by us, while in another case we are aware that the sensations
have never occurred to us in a group or train corresponding to that
in which we are now having the ideas? This is the problem of Memory.
Let me now state the problem of Belief, when the belief is not a
case of memory. Here also we have ideas connected in a certain order
in our own mind, which makes us think of a corresponding order among
the sensations, and we believe that this similar combination of the
sensations is a real fact: _i.e._, whether we ever felt it or not,
we confidently expect that we should feel it under certain given
conditions. In Memory, we believe that the realities in Nature, the
sensations and combinations of sensations presented to us from
without, _have_ occurred to us in an order which agrees with that in
which we are representing them to ourselves in thought: in those
cases of Belief which are not cases of Memory, we believe, not that
they have occurred, but that they would have occurred, or would
occur, in that order.

What is it that takes place in us, when we recognize that there is
this agreement between the order of our ideas and the order in which
we either had or might have had the sensations which correspond to
them--that the order of the ideas represents a similar order either
in our actual sensations, or in those which, under some given
circumstances, we should have reason to expect? What, in short, is
the difference _to our minds_ between thinking of a reality, and
representing to ourselves an imaginary picture? I confess that I can
perceive no escape from the opinion that the distinction is ultimate
and primordial. {413} There is no more difficulty in holding it to
be so, than in holding the difference between a sensation and an
idea to be primordial. It seems almost another aspect of the same
difference. The author himself says, in the chapter on Memory, that,
a sensation and an idea being different, it is to be expected that
the remembrance of having had a sensation should be different from
the remembrance of having had an idea, and that this is a sufficient
explanation of our distinguishing them. If this, then, is an
original distinction, why should not the distinction be original
between the remembrance of having had a sensation, and the actually
having an idea (which is the difference between Memory and
Imagination); and between the expectation of having a sensation, and
the actually having an idea (which is the difference between
Belief and Imagination)? Grant these differences, and there is
nothing further to explain in the phenomenon of Belief. For every
belief is either the memory of having had a sensation (or other
feeling), or the expectation that we should have the sensation or
feeling in some given state of circumstances, if that state of
circumstances could come to be realized.


That all belief is either Memory or Expectation, will be clearly
seen if we run over all the different objects of Belief. The author
has already done so, in order to establish his theory; and it is now
necessary that we should do the same.

The objects of Belief are enumerated by the author in the following
terms:--1. Events, real existences. 2. Testimony. 3. The truth of
propositions. He intended this merely as a rough grouping,
sufficient for the purpose if it includes everything: for it is
evident that the divisions overlap one another, and it will be seen
presently that the last two are but cases of the first.

Belief in events he further divides into belief in present events,
in past events, and in future events. Belief in present events he
subdivides into belief in immediate existences present to my senses,
and belief in immediate existences not present {414} to my senses.
We see by this that he recognises no difference, in a metaphysical
sense, between existences and events, because he regards, with
reason, objects as merely the supposed antecedents of events. The
distinction, however, requires to be kept up, being no other than
the fundamental difference between simultaneousness, and succession
or change.

Belief in immediate existences present to my senses, is either
belief in my sensations, or belief in external objects. Believing
that I feel what I am at this moment feeling, is, as the author
says, only another name for having the feeling; with the idea,
however, of Myself, associated with it; of which hereafter.

The author goes on to analyse Belief in external objects present to
our senses; and he resolves it into a present sensation, united by
an irresistible association with the numerous other sensations which
we are accustomed to receive in conjunction with it. The Object is
thus to be understood as a complex idea, compounded of the ideas of
various sensations which we have, and of a far greater number of
sensations which we should expect to have if certain contingencies
were realized. In other words, our idea of an object is an idea of a
group of possibilities of sensation, some of which we believe we can
realize at pleasure, while the remainder would be realized if
certain conditions took place, on which, by the laws of nature, they
are dependent. As thus explained, belief in the existence of a
physical object, is belief in the occurrence of certain sensations,
contingently on certain previous conditions. This is a state of mind
closely allied to Expectation of sensations. For--though we use the
name Expectation only with reference to the future, and even to the
probable future--our state of mind in respect to what _may_ be
future, and even to what _might have been_ future, is of the same
general nature, and depends on the same principles, as Expectation.
I believe that a certain event will positively happen, because the
known conditions which always accompany it in experience have
already taken place. I believe that another event will certainly
happen _if_ the known conditions which always accompany it take
place, and those conditions I can produce when I please. I believe
{415} that a third event will happen if its conditions take place,
but I must wait for those conditions; I cannot realize them at
pleasure, and may never realize them at all. The first of these
three cases is positive expectation, the other two are conditional
expectation. A fourth case is my belief that the event would have
happened at any former time if the conditions had taken place at
that time. It is not consonant to usage to call this Expectation,
but, considered as a case of belief, there is no essential
difference between it and the third case. My belief that I should
have heard Cicero had I been present in the Forum, and my belief
that I shall hear Mr. Gladstone if I am present in the House of
Commons, can nowise be regarded as essentially different phenomena.
The one we call Expectation, the other not, but the mental principle
operative in both these cases of belief is the same.

The author goes on to say, that the belief that we should have the
sensations if certain conditions were realized, that is, if we had
certain other sensations, is merely an inseparable association of
the two sets of sensations with one another, and their inseparable
union with the idea of ourselves as having them. But I confess it
seems to me that all this may exist in a case of simple imagination.
The author would himself admit that the complex idea of the object,
in all its fulness, may be in the mind without belief. What remains
is its association with the idea of ourselves as percipients. But
this also, I cannot but think, we may have in the case of an
imaginary scene, when we by no means believe that any corresponding
reality exists. Does the idea of our own personality never enter
into the pictures in our imagination? Are we not ourselves present
in the scenes which we conjure up in our minds? I apprehend we are
as constantly present in them, and as conscious of our presence, as
we are in contemplating a real prospect. In either case the vivacity
of the other impressions eclipses, for the most part, the thought of
ourselves as spectators, but not more so in the imaginary, than in
the real, spectacle.

It appears to me, then, that to account for belief in external {416}
objects, we must postulate Expectation; and since all our
expectations, whether positive or contingent, are a consequence of
our Memory of the past (as distinguished from a representation in
fancy), we must also postulate Memory. The distinction between a
mere combination of ideas in thought, and one which recals to us a
combination of sensations as actually experienced, always returns on
our hands as an ultimate postulate.

The author proceeds to shew how this idea of a mere group of
sensations, actual or contingent, becomes knit up with an idea of a
permanent Something, lying, as it were, under these sensations, and
causing them; this further enlargement of the complex idea taking
place through the intimate, or, as he calls it, inseparable
association, generated by experience, which makes us unable to
imagine any phenomenon as beginning to exist without something
anterior to it which causes it. This explanation, seems to me quite
correct as far as it goes; but, while it accounts for the difficulty
we have in not ascribing our sensations to some cause or other, it
does not explain why we accept, as in fact we do, the group itself
as the cause. I have endeavoured to clear up this difficulty
elsewhere (Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy), and in
preference to going over the ground a second time, I subjoin, at the
end of the volume, the chapter containing the explanation. That
chapter supplies all that appears to me to be further necessary on
the subject of belief in outward objects; which is thus shewn to be
a case of Conditional Expectation.

It is unnecessary to follow the author into the minute consideration
of Belief in the existence of objects not present since the
explanation already given equally applies to them. My belief in the
present existence of St. Paul's is correctly set forth by the author
as consisting of the following elements: I believe that I have seen
St. Paul's: I believe that I shall see St. Paul's, when I am again
in St. Paul's Churchyard: I believe that I should see St. Paul's, if
I were in St. Paul's Churchyard at this instant. All this, as he
justly remarks, is Memory or Expectation. And this, or some part of
this, is {417} the whole of what is in any case meant by belief in
the real existence of an external object. The author adds, I also
believe that if any creature whose senses are analogous to my own,
is now in St. Paul's Churchyard, it has the present sensation of
that edifice. But this belief is not necessary to my belief in the
continued existence of St. Paul's. For that, it suffices that
I believe I should myself see it. My belief that other creatures
would do so, is part of my belief in the real existence of other
creatures like myself; which is no more mysterious, than our belief
in the real existence of any other objects some of whose properties
rest not on direct sensation, but on inference.

Belief in past existences, when those existences have been perceived
by ourselves, is Memory. When the past existences are inferred from
evidence, the belief of them is not Memory, but a fact of the same
nature as Expectation; being a belief that we _should have had_ the
sensations if we had been cotemporary with the objects, and had
been in the local position necessary for receiving sensible
impressions from them.

We now come to the case of Belief in testimony. But testimony is not
itself an object of belief. The object of belief is what the
testimony asserts. And so in the last of the author's three cases,
that of assent to a proposition. The object of belief, in both these
cases, is an assertion. But an assertion is something asserted, and
what is asserted must be a fact, similar to some of those of which
we have already treated. According to the author, belief in an
assertion is belief that two names are both of them names of the
same thing: but this we have felt ourselves obliged to discard, as
an inadequate explanation of the import of any assertions, except
those which are classed as merely verbal. Every assertion concerning
Things, whether in concrete or in abstract language, is an assertion
that some fact, or group of facts, has been, is, or may be expected
to be, found, wherever a certain other fact, or group of facts, is
found. Belief in this, is therefore either remembrance that we did
have, or expectation that we shall have, or a belief of the same
nature with expectation that in {418} some given circumstances we
should have, or should have had, direct perception of a particular
fact. Belief, therefore, is always a case either of Memory or of
Expectation; including under the latter name conditional as well as
positive expectation, and the state of mind similar to expectation
which affects us in regard to what _would_ have been a subject of
expectation, if the conditions of its realization had still been

It may be objected, that we may believe in the real existence of
things which are not objects of sense at all. We may. But we cannot
believe in the real existence of anything which we do not conceive
as capable of acting in some way upon our own or some other being's
consciousness; though the state of consciousness it produces may not
be called a sensation. The existence of a thing means, to us, merely
its capacity of producing an impression of some sort upon some mind,
that is, of producing some state of consciousness. The belief,
therefore, in its existence, is still a conditional expectation of
something which we should, under some supposed circumstances, be
capable of feeling.

To resume: Belief, as I conceive, is more than an inseparable
association, for inseparable associations do not always generate
belief, nor does belief always require, as one of its conditions, an
inseparable association: we can believe that to be true which we are
capable of conceiving or representing to ourselves as false, and
false what we are capable of representing to ourselves as true. The
difference between belief and mere imagination, is the difference
between recognising something as a reality in nature, and regarding
it as a mere thought of our own. This is the difference which
presents itself when Memory has to be distinguished from
Imagination; and again when Expectation, whether positive or
contingent (i.e. whether it be expectation that we shall, or only
persuasion that in certain definable circumstances we should, have a
certain experience) has to be distinguished from the mere mental
conception of that experience.


Let us examine, once more, whether the speculations in the text
afford us any means of further analysing this difference.

{419} The difference presents itself in its most elementary form in
the distinction between a sensation and an idea. The author admits
this distinction to be ultimate and primordial. "A sensation is
different from an idea, only because it is felt to be different."
But, after having admitted that these two states or consciousness
are distinguishable from each other in and by themselves, he adds,
that they are also distinguishable by their accompaniments. "The
accompaniments of a sensation are always generically different from
those of an idea. . . . . The accompaniments of a sensation, are all
the simultaneous _objects of sensation_, together with all those
which, to a certain extent, both preceded and followed it. The
accompaniments of an idea are not the simultaneous objects of
sensation, but _other ideas_; namely, the neighbouring facts,
antecedent and consequent, of the mental train." There can be no
doubt that in those individual cases in which ideas and sensations
might be confounded, namely, when an idea reaches or approaches the
vivacity of a sensation, the indication here pointed out helps to
assure us that what we are conscious of is, nevertheless, only an
idea. When, for instance, we awake from a dream, and open our eyes
to the outward world, what makes us so promptly recognise that this
and not the other is the real world, is that we find its phenomena
connected in the accustomed order of our objects of sensation. But
though this circumstance enables us, in particular instances, to
refer our impression more instantaneously to one or the other class,
it cannot be by this that we distinguish ideas at first from
sensations; for the criterion supposes the distinction to be already
made. If we judge a sensation to be a sensation because its
accompaniments are other sensations, and an idea to be an idea
because its accompaniments are other ideas, we must already be able
to distinguish those other sensations from those other ideas.

A similar remark is applicable to a criterion between sensations and
ideas, incidentally laid down by Mr. Bain in the First Part of his
systematic treatise. "A mere picture or _idea_ remains the same
whatever be our bodily position or {420} bodily exertions; the
sensation that we call the actual is entirely at the mercy of our
movements, shifting in every possible way according to the varieties
of action that we go through." (_The Senses and the Intellect_, 2nd
ed. p. 381.) This test, like the author's, may serve in cases of
momentary doubt; but sensations in general must have been already
distinguished from ideas, before we could have hit upon this
criterion between them. If we had not already known the difference
between a sensation and an idea, we never could have discovered that
one of them is "at the mercy of our movements," and that the other
is not.

It being granted that a sensation and an idea are _ipso facto_
distinguishable, the author thinks it no more than natural that "the
copy of the sensation should be distinguishable from the revival of
the idea, when they are both brought up by association." But he
adds, that there is another distinction between the memory of a
sensation, and the memory of an idea, and it is this. In all Memory
the idea of self forms part of the complex idea; but in the memory
of sensation, the self which enters into the remembrance is "the
sentient self, that is, seeing and hearing:" in the memory of an
idea, it is "not the sentient self, but the conceptive self, self
having an idea. But" (he adds) "myself percipient, and myself
imagining, or conceiving, are two very different states of
consciousness: of course the ideas of these states of consciousness,
or these states revived by association, are very different ideas."

Concerning the fact there is no dispute. Myself percipient, and
myself imagining or conceiving, are different states, because
perceiving is a different thing from imagining; and being different
states, the remembrance of them is, as might be expected, different.
But the question is, in what does the difference between the
remembrances consist? The author calls one of them the _idea_ of
myself perceiving, and the other the _idea_ of myself imagining, and
thinks there is no other difference. But how do the idea of myself
having a sensation, and the idea of myself having an idea of that
sensation, differ from one another? since in either case an idea of
the sensation is all {421} that I am having now. The thought of
myself perceiving a thing at a former time, and the thought of
myself imagining the thing at that former time, are both at the
present moment facts of imagination--are now merely ideas. In each
case I have an ideal representation of myself, as conscious in a
manner very similar in the two cases; though not exactly the same,
since in the one case I remember to have been conscious of a
sensation, in the other, to have been conscious only of an idea of
that sensation: but, in either case, that past consciousness enters
only as an idea, into the consciousness I now have by recollection.
In what, then, as far as mere ideas are concerned, do my present
mental representations of the two cases differ? Will it be said,
that the idea of the sensation is one thing, the idea of the idea of
the sensation another thing? Or are they both the same idea, namely,
the idea of the sensation; and is the element that is present in the
one case, but absent in the other, not an idea but something else? A
difference there is admitted to be between the remembrance of having
had a sensation, and the remembrance of having merely thought of the
sensation, i.e. had the idea of it: is this difference a difference
in the ideas I have in the two cases, or is the idea the same, but
accompanied in the one case by something not an idea, which does not
exist in the other? for if so, this something is a Belief.

I have touched upon this question in a former note, and expressed my
inability to recognise, in the idea of an idea, anything but the
idea itself; in the thought of a thought, anything but a repetition
of the thought. My thought of Falstaff, as far as I can perceive, is
not a copy but a repetition of the thought I had of him when I first
read Shakespeare: not indeed an exact repetition, because all
complex ideas undergo modification by time, some elements fading
away, and new ones being added by reverting to the original sources
or by subsequent associations; but my first mental image of
Falstaff, and my present one, do not differ as the thought of a rose
differs from the sight of one; as an idea of sensation differs from
the sensation. On this point the author was perhaps of {422} the
same opinion, since we find him contrasting the "copy" of the
sensation with the "revival" of the idea, as if the latter was a
case of simple repetition, the former not. It would have been well
if he had made this point a subject of express discussion; for if
his opinion upon it was what, from this passage, we may suppose it
to have been, it involves a serious difficulty. If (he says) a
sensation and an idea "are distinguishable in the having, it is
likely that the copy of the sensation should be distinguishable from
the revival of the idea." But the copy of the sensation is the idea;
so that, on this shewing, the idea is distinguishable from its own
revival, that is, from the same idea when it occurs again. The
author's theory would thus require him to maintain that an idea
revived is a specifically different idea, and not the same idea
repeated: since otherwise the two states of mind, so far as regards
the ideas contained in them, are undistinguishable, and it is
necessary to admit the presence in Memory of some other element.

Let us put another case. Instead of Falstaff, suppose a real person
whom I have seen: for example General Lafayette. My idea of
Lafayette is almost wholly, what my idea of Falstaff is entirely, a
creation of thought: only a very small portion of it is derived from
my brief experience of seeing and conversing with him. But I have a
remembrance of having seen Lafayette, and no remembrance of having
seen Falstaff, but only of having thought of him. Is it a sufficient
explanation of this difference to say, that I have an idea of myself
seeing and hearing Lafayette, and only an idea of myself thinking of
Falstaff? But I can form a vivid idea of myself seeing and hearing
Falstaff. I can without difficulty imagine myself in the field of
Shrewsbury, listening to his characteristic soliloquy over the body
of Hotspur; or in the tavern in the midst of his associates, hearing
his story of his encounter with the men in buckram. When I recal the
scene, I can as little detach it from the idea of myself as present,
as I can in the case of most things of which I was really an
eye-witness. The spontaneous presence of the idea of Myself in the
{423} conception, is always that of myself as percipient. The idea
of myself as in a state of mere imagination, only substitutes itself
for the other when something reminds me that the scene is merely

I cannot help thinking, therefore, that there is in the remembrance
of a real fact, as distinguished from that of a thought, an element
which does not consist, as the author supposes, in a difference
between the mere ideas which are present to the mind in the two
cases. This element, howsoever we define it, constitutes Belief, and
is the difference between Memory and Imagination. From whatever
direction we approach, this difference seems to close our path. When
we arrive at it, we seem to have reached, as it were, the central
point of our intellectual nature, presupposed and built upon in
every attempt we make to explain the more recondite phenomena of our
mental being.--_Ed._]



"It would afford great light and clearness to the art of Logic, to
determine the precise nature and composition of the ideas affixed to
those words which have complex ideas; _i.e._, which excite any
combinations of simple ideas, united intimately by
association."--_Hartley_. _Prop._ 12, _Corol._ 3.

RATIOCINATION is one of the most complicated of all the mental
phenomena. And it is worthy of notice, that more was accomplished
towards the analysis of it, at an early period in the history of
intellectual improvement, than of any other of the complex cases of
human consciousness.

It was fully explained by Aristotle, that the simplest case of
Ratiocination consists of three propositions, which he called a
syllogism. A piece of ratiocination may consist of one, or more
syllogisms, to any extent; but every single step is a syllogism.

A ratiocination, then, or syllogism, is first resolved into three
propositions. The following may be taken as one of the simplest of
all examples. "All men are animals: kings are men: therefore kings
are animals."

Next, the Proposition is resolved into its proximate elements. These
are three; two Terms, one called the Subject, the other the
Predicate, and the _Copula_. {425} What is the particular nature of
each of these elements we have already seen, and here, therefore,
need not stay to inquire.

The ancient writers on Logic proceeded in their analysis, no farther
than Terms. After this, they only endeavoured to enumerate and
classify terms; to enumerate and classify propositions; to enumerate
and classify syllogisms; and to give the rules for making correct
syllogisms, and detecting incorrect ones. And this, as taught by
them, constituted the whole science and art of Logic.

What, under this head, we propose to explain, is--the process of
association involved in the syllogism, and in the belief which is
part of it.

That part of the process which is involved in the two antecedent
propositions, called the premises, has been already explained. It is
only, therefore, the third proposition, called the conclusion, which
further requires exposition.

We have seen, that in the proposition, "All men are animals," Belief
is merely the recognition that the meaning of the term, "all men,"
is included in that of the term "animals," and that the recognition
is a case of association. In the proposition also, "kings are men,"
the belief is merely the recognition, that the individuals named
"kings," are part of the many, of whom "men," is the common name.
This has already been more than once explained. And now, therefore,
remains only to be shewn what further is involved in the third
proposition, or conclusion, "kings are animals."

In each of the two preceding propositions, two terms or names are
compared. In the last {426} proposition, a third name is compared
with both the other two; immediately with the one, and, through
that, with the other; the whole, obviously, a complicated case of

In the first proposition, "all men are animals," the term, "all
men," is compared with the term animals; in other words, a certain
association, already expounded, takes place. In the second
proposition, "kings are men," the term "kings," is compared with the
term "all men;" comparison here, again, being only a name for a
particular case of association. In the third proposition, "kings are
animals," the name "kings," is compared with the name "animals," but
mediately through the name, "all men." Thus, "kings," is associated
with "all men," "all men," with "animals;" "kings," therefore, with
"animals," by a complicated, and, at the same time, a rapid, and
almost imperceptible process. It would be easy to mark the steps of
the association. But this would be tedious, and after so much
practice, the reader will be at no loss to set them down for

[Editor's footnote 109: This chapter, which is of a very summary
character, is a prolongation of the portion of the chapter on
Belief, which examines the case of belief in the truth of a
proposition; and must stand or fall with it. The question considered
is, how, from belief in the truth of the two premises of a
syllogism, we pass into belief in the conclusion. The exposition
proceeds on the untenable theory of the import of propositions, on
which I have so often had occasion to comment. That theory, however,
was not necessary to the author for shewing how two ideas may become
inseparably associated through the inseparable association of each
of them with a third idea: and inasmuch as an inseparable
association between the subject and {427} predicate, in the author's
opinion, constitutes belief, an explanation of ratiocination
conformable to that given of belief follows as a matter of course.

Although I am unable to admit that there is nothing in belief but an
inseparable association, and although I maintain that there may be
belief without an inseparable association, I can still accept this
explanation of the formation of an association between the subject
and predicate of the conclusion, which, when close and intense, has,
as we have seen, a strong tendency to generate belief. But to shew
what it is that gives the belief its validity, we must fall back on
logical laws, the laws of evidence. And independently of the
question of validity, we shall find in the reliance on those laws,
so far as they are understood, the source and origin of all beliefs,
whether well or ill-founded, which are not the almost mechanical or
automatic products of a strong association--of the lively suggestion
of an idea. We may therefore pass at once to the nature of Evidence,
which is the subject of the next chapter.

I venture to refer, in passing, to those chapters in my System of
Logic, in which I have maintained, contrary to what is laid down in
this chapter, that Ratiocination does not _consist_ of Syllogisms;
that the Syllogism is not the analysis of what the mind does in
reasoning, but merely a useful formula into which it can translate
its reasonings, gaining thereby a great increase in the security for
their correctness.--_Ed._]



"In consequence of some very wonderful laws, which regulate the
successions of our mental phenomena, the science of mind is, in all
its most important respects, a science of analysis." _Brown's
Lect._, i., 108.

BEFORE leaving the subject of Belief, it will be proper to shew, in
a few words, what is included, under the name Evidence. Evidence, is
either the same thing with Belief, or it is the antecedent, of which
Belief is the consequent.

Belief we have seen to be of two sorts: Belief of events; Belief of

Of events, believed on our own experience, the evidence of the
present is sense; of the past, memory; and in these cases, the
evidence and the belief are not two things, but one and the same
thing. The lamp, which at this moment lights me, I say that I see
burning, and that I believe it burning. These are two names of one
and the same state of consciousness.--"I remember it was burning at
the same hour last night," and "I believe it was burning at the same
hour last night," are also two expressions for the same thing.--In
the simple anticipation of the future, from the past, also, the
evidence, and the belief, are {429} not two things, but one and the
same thing. There is a close and inseparable association of the idea
of a like antecedent, with the idea of a like consequent. This has
not a single name, like memory; but, like memory, it is both
evidence and belief.

The case of testimony is different. The Testimony is one thing, the
Belief is another. The name Evidence is given to the testimony. The
association of the testimony, with the event testified, is the

Beside the belief of events which are the immediate objects of
sense, of memory, and of anticipation (the consequence of sense and
memory), and of those which are the immediate objects of testimony;
there is a belief of events which are not the immediate objects of
any of those operations. The sailor, who is shipwrecked on an
unknown coast, sees the prints of a man's foot on the sand. The
print of the foot is here called the evidence; the association of
the print, as consequent, with a man, as antecedent, is called the
belief. In this case, the sensation of one event, the print of a
foot on the sand, induces the belief of another event, the existence
of a man. The sailor who has seen the mark, reports it to his
companions who have not quitted the wreck. Instantly they have the
same belief; but it is a remove farther off, and there is an
additional link of evidence. The first event to them, is the
affirmation of their companion; the second, the existence of the
print; the third, that of the man. There is here evidence of
evidence; the testimony, evidence of the print; the print, evidence
of the man.

The companions of the sailor, having themselves gone on shore,
perceive, indeed, no man, but see a {430} large monkey, which leaves
prints on the sand very much resembling those which had first been
perceived by their companion. What is now the state of their minds?
Doubt. But doubt is a name; what do we call by that name? A
phenomenon of some complexity, but of which the elements are not
very difficult to trace. There is, here, a double association with
the print of the foot. There is the association of a man, and there
is the association of a monkey. First, the print raises the idea of
a man, but the instant it does so, it raises also the idea of a
monkey. The idea of the monkey, displacing that of the man, hinders
the first association from the fixity which makes it belief; and the
idea of man, displacing that of monkey, hinders the second
association from that fixity which constitutes belief.

When evidence is complex; that is, consists of more than one event;
the events may be all on the same side, or not all on the same side;
that is, they may all tend to prove the same event; or some of them
may tend to prove it, some may have an opposite tendency.

Thus, if after discovering the print on the sand, the sailors had
seen near it a stick, which had any appearance of having been
fashioned into a club, or a spear, this would have been another
event, tending, as well as the print on the sand, to the belief of
the presence of men. The evidence would have been complex, but all
on one side. The process is easy to trace. There is now a double
association with the existence of men. The print of the foot excites
that idea, the existence of the club excites that idea. This double
excitement gives greater permanence to the {431} idea. By
repetition, the two exciting causes coalesce, and, by their united
strength, call up the associated idea with greater force.

In the case of the appearance of the monkey, in which one of the
events tended to one belief, the other to another, we have just seen
that the effect is precisely contrary; to lessen the strength of the
association with the existence of a man, and to hinder its becoming

These expositions may be applied with ease to the other cases of
complex evidence, which can only consist of a greater or less number
of events, either all tending to the belief of the same event, or
some tending that way, some another; but all operating in the manner
which has just been pointed out. Thus we may complicate the present
case still further, by the supposition of additional events. After
the appearance of the monkey, the sailors may discover, in the
neighbourhood, the vestiges of a recent fire, and of the victuals
which had been cooked by it. The association of human beings with
these appearances is so strong, that, combined with the association
between the print and the same idea, it quite obscures the
association between the print and the monkey; and the belief that
the place has inhabitants becomes complete. But suppose, further;
that after a little observation, they discover an English knife, and
fork, and a piece of English earthenware near the same place. The
idea of an English ship having touched at the place, is immediately
excited, and all the evidence of local inhabitants, derived from the
marks of fire and cookery, is immediately destroyed. In other words,
a new association, that with an English ship, {432} is created,
which completely supersedes the idea, formerly associated, that of
inhabitants existing on the spot.

The whole of the events, which go in this manner to form a case of
belief, or of doubt, or of disbelief, are called Evidence. And the
association, which binds them together into a sort of whole, as
antecedent, and connects with them the event to which they apply as
consequent, and which constitutes the belief, doubt, or disbelief,
very often goes by the names of "judgment," "judging of the
evidence," "weighing the evidence," and so on.

In these cases of the belief of Events upon complicated evidence,
there is an antecedent and a consequent; the antecedent consisting
of all the events which are called evidence, the consequent of the
event, or events evidenced; and lastly, there is that close
association of the antecedent and the consequent, which we have seen
already, in so many instances, constitutes belief.

We have now to consider, what we call evidence in the case of the
Belief of Propositions.

There are two cases of the Belief of propositions. There is belief
in the case of the single proposition; and there is belief of the
conclusion of a syllogism, which is the result of a combination of

We have seen what the process of belief in Propositions is. The
subject and predicate, two names for the same thing, of which the
predicate is either of the same extent with the subject, or of a
greater extent, suggests, each of them, its meaning; that is, call
up, by association, each of them, its peculiar cluster of ideas. Two
clusters of ideas are called up in {433} connexion, and that a
peculiar connexion, marked by the copula. To have two clusters of
ideas, to know that they are two, and to believe that they are two,
this is nothing more than three expressions for the same thing. To
know that two clusters are two clusters, and to know that they are
either the same, or different, is the same with having them. In this
case, then, as in that of the belief of events, in sense and memory,
the belief and the evidence are the same thing.

Belief of the conclusion of a syllogism, is preceded by two other
beliefs. There is belief of the major proposition; belief of the
minor proposition; by the process immediately above explained, in
which the evidence and the belief are the same thing. These are the
antecedent. There is, thirdly, belief of the conclusion, this is the
consequent. The process of this belief has been so recently
explained, that I do not think we need to repeat it. In this case,
it is sometimes said, that the two premises are the evidence;
sometimes it is said, that the ratiocination is the evidence; in the
former of these applications of the word evidence, the belief of the
concluding proposition of the syllogism is not included; in the
last, it is. The ratiocination is the belief of all the three
propositions; and, in this acceptation of the word, the evidence and
the belief are not considered as two things, but one and the same
thing. This, however, is only a difference of naming. About the
particulars named, there is no room for dispute.[110]

[Editor's footnote 110: This chapter on Evidence is supplementary to
the chapter on Belief, and is intended to analyse the process of
weighing and balancing opposing grounds for believing.

{434} Evidence is either of individual facts (not actually perceived
by oneself), or of general truths. The former is the only case to
which much attention is paid in the present chapter; which very
happily illustrates it, by the case of navigators having to decide
on the existence or non-existence of inhabitants in a newly
discovered island. The process of balancing the evidence for and
against, is depicted in a very lively manner. Let us see whether the
mental facts set down in the exposition, are precisely those which
take place.

When the sailors have seen prints of a foot, resembling those of a
man, the idea is raised of a man making the print. When they
afterwards see a monkey, whose feet leave traces almost similar, the
idea is also raised of a monkey making the print, and the state of
their minds, the author says, is doubt. Of this state he gives the
following analysis: "There is here a double association with the
print of the foot. There is the association of a man, and there is
the association of a monkey. First, the print raises the idea of a
man, but the instant it does so, it raises also the idea of a
monkey. The idea of the monkey, displacing that of the man, hinders
the first association from the fixity which makes it belief; and the
idea of man, displacing that of monkey, hinders the second
association from that fixity which constitutes belief."

This passage deserves to be studied; for without having carefully
weighed it, we cannot be certain that we are in complete possession
of the author's theory of Belief.

There are two conflicting associations with the print of the foot.
The picture of a man making it, cannot co-exist with that of a
monkey making it. But the two may alternate with one another. Had
the association with a man been the only association, it would, or
might (for on this point the author is not explicit) have amounted
to belief. But the idea of the monkey and that of the man
alternately displacing one another, hinder either association from
having the fixity which would make it belief.

This alternation, however, between the two ideas, of a monkey making
the footprint and of a man making it, may {435} very well take place
without hindering one of the two from being accompanied by belief.
Suppose the sailors to obtain conclusive evidence, testimonial or
circumstantial, that the prints were made by a monkey. It may
happen, nevertheless, that the remarkable resemblance of the foot
prints to those of a man, does not cease to force itself upon their
notice: in other words, they continue to associate the idea of a man
with the footsteps; they are reminded of a man, and of a man making
the footsteps, every time they see or think of them. The double
association, therefore, may subsist, and the one which does not
correspond with the fact may even be the most obtrusive of the two,
while yet the other conception may be the one with which the men
believe the real facts to have corresponded.

All the rest of the exposition is open to the same criticism. The
author accounts very accurately for the presence of all the ideas
which the successive appearance of the various articles of evidence
arouses in the mind. But he does not shew that the belief, which is
ultimately arrived at, is constituted by the expulsion from the mind
of one set of these ideas, and the exclusive possession of it by the
other set. It is quite possible that neither of the associations may
acquire the "fixity" which, according to the apparent meaning of the
author, would defeat the other association altogether, and drive
away the conception which it suggests; and yet, one of the
suppositions may be believed and the other disbelieved, according to
the balance of evidence, as estimated by the investigator. Belief,
then, which has been already shewn not to require an inseparable
association, appears not to require even "fixity"--such fixity as to
exclude the idea of the conflicting supposition, as it does exclude
the belief.

The problem of Evidence divides itself into two distinguishable
enquiries: what effect evidence ought to produce, and what
determines the effect that it does produce: how our belief ought to
be regulated, and how, in point of fact, it is regulated. The first
enquiry--that into the nature and probative force of evidence: the
discussion of what proves what, and {436} of the precautions needed
in admitting one thing as proof of another--are the province of
Logic, understood in its widest sense: and for its treatment we must
refer to treatises on Logic, either inductive or ratiocinative. All
that would be in place here, reduces itself to a single principle:
In all cases, except the case of what we are directly conscious of
(in which case, as the author justly observes, the evidence and the
belief are one and the same thing)--in all cases, therefore, in
which belief is really grounded on evidence, it is grounded, in the
ultimate result, on the constancy of the course of nature. Whether
the belief be of facts or of laws, and whether of past facts or of
those which are present or future, this is the basis on which it
rests. Whatever it is that we believe, the justification of the
belief must be, that unless it were true, the uniformity of the
course of nature would not be maintained. A cause would have
occurred, not followed by its invariable effect; an effect would
have occurred, not preceded by any of its invariable causes;
witnesses would have lied, who have always been known to speak the
truth; signs would have proved deceptive, which in human experience
have always given true indication. This is obvious, whatever case of
belief on evidence we examine. Belief in testimony is grounded on
previous experience that testimony is usually conformable to fact:
testimony in general (for even this may with truth be affirmed); or
the testimony of the particular witness, or the testimony of persons
similar to him. Belief that the sun will rise and set to-morrow, or
that a stone thrown up into the air will fall back, rests on
experience that this has been invariably the case, and reliance that
what has hitherto occurred will continue to occur hereafter. Belief
in a fact vouched for by circumstantial evidence, rests on
experience that such circumstances as are ascertained to exist in
the case, never exist unaccompanied by the given fact. What we call
evidence, whether complete or incomplete, always consists of facts
or events tending to convince us that some ascertained general
truths or laws of nature must have proved false, if the conclusion
which the evidence points to is not true.

{437} Belief on evidence is therefore always a case of the
generalizing process; of the assumption that what we have not
directly experienced resembles, or will resemble, our experience.
And, properly understood, this assumption is true; for the whole
course of nature consists of a concurrence of causes, producing
their effects in a uniform manner; but the uniformity which exists
is often not that which our first impressions lead us to expect. Mr.
Bain has well pointed out, that the generalizing propensity, in a
mind not disciplined by thought, nor as yet warned by its own
failures, far outruns the evidence, or rather, precedes any
conscious consideration of evidence; and that what the consideration
of evidence has to do when it comes, is not so much to make us
generalize, as to limit our spontaneous impulse of generalization,
and restrain within just bounds our readiness to believe that the
unknown will resemble the known. When Mr. Bain occasionally speaks
of this propensity as if it were instinctive, I understand him to
mean, that by an original law of our nature, the mere suggestion of
an idea, so long as the idea keeps possession of the mind, suffices
to give it a command over our active energies. It is to this
primitive mental state that the author's theory of Belief most
nearly applies. In a mind which is as yet untutored, either by the
teachings of others or by its own mistakes, an idea so strongly
excited as for the time to keep out all ideas by which it would
itself be excluded, possesses that power over the voluntary
activities which is Mr. Bain's criterion of Belief; and any
association that compels the person to have the idea of a certain
consequence as following his act, generates, or becomes, a real
expectation of that consequence. But these expectations often
turning out to have been ill grounded, the unduly prompt suggestion
comes to be associated, by repetition, with the shock of
disappointed expectation; and the idea of the desired consequent is
now raised together with the idea not of its realization, but of its
frustration: thus neutralizing the effect of the first association
on the belief and on the active impulses. It is in this stage that
the mind learns the habit of looking out for, and weighing,
evidence. It presently discovers {438} that the expectations which
are least often disappointed are those which correspond to the
greatest and most varied amount of antecedent experience. It
gradually comes to associate the feeling of disappointed expectation
with all those promptings to expect, which, being the result of
accidental associations, have no, or but little, previous experience
conformable to them: and by degrees the expectation only arises when
memory represents a considerable amount of such previous experience;
and is strong in proportion to the quantity of the experience. At a
still later period, as disappointment nevertheless not unfrequently
happens notwithstanding a considerable amount of past experience on
the side of the expectation, the mind is put upon making
distinctions in the kind of past experiences, and finding out what
qualities, besides mere frequency, experience must have, in order
not to be followed by disappointment. In other words, it considers
the conditions of right inference from experience; and by degrees
arrives at principles or rules, more or less accurate, for inductive
reasoning. This is substantially the doctrine of the author of the
Analysis. It must be conceded to him, that an association,
sufficiently strong to exclude all ideas that would exclude itself,
produces a kind of mechanical belief; and that the processes by
which this belief is corrected, or reduced to rational bounds, all
consist in the growth of a counter-association, tending to raise the
idea of a disappointment of the first expectation: and as the one or
the other prevails in the particular case, the belief, or
expectation, exists or does not exist, exactly as if the belief were
the same thing with the association. It must also be admitted that
the process by which the belief is overcome, takes effect by
weakening the association; which can only be effected by raising up
another association that conflicts with it. There are two ways in
which this counter-association may be generated. One is, by
counter-evidence; by contrary experience in the specific case,
which, by associating the circumstances of the case with a contrary
belief, destroys their association with the original belief. But
there is also another mode of weakening, or altogether {439}
destroying, the belief, without adducing contrary experience:
namely, by merely recognising the insufficiency of the existing
experience; by reflecting on other instances in which the same
amount and kind of experience have existed, but were not followed by
the expected result. In the one mode as in the other, the process of
dissolving a belief is identical with that of dissolving an
association; and to this extent--and it is a very large extent--the
author's theory of Belief must be received as true.

I cannot, however, go beyond this, and maintain with the author that
Belief is identical with a strong association; on account of the
reason already stated, viz. that in many cases--indeed in almost all
cases in which the evidence has been such as required to be
investigated and weighed--a final belief is arrived at without any
such clinging together of ideas as the author supposes to constitute
it; and we remain able to represent to ourselves in imagination,
often with perfect facility, both the conflicting suppositions, of
which we nevertheless believe one and reject the other.--_Ed._]


(_From "An Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy."_)


WE have seen Sir. W. Hamilton at work on the question of the reality
of Matter, by the introspective method, and, as it seems, with
little result. Let us now approach the same subject by the
psychological. I proceed, therefore, to state the case of those who
hold that the belief in an external world is not intuitive, but an
acquired product.

This theory postulates the following psychological truths, all of
which are proved by experience, and are not contested, though their
force is seldom adequately felt, by Sir W. Hamilton and the other
thinkers of the introspective school.

It postulates, first, that the human mind is capable of Expectation.
In other words, that after having had actual sensations, we are
capable of forming the conception of Possible sensations; sensations
which we are not feeling at the present moment, but which we might
feel, and should feel if certain conditions were present, the nature
of which conditions we have, in many cases, learnt by experience.

It postulates, secondly, the laws of the Association of Ideas. So
far as we are here concerned, these laws are the following: 1st.
Similar phænomena tend to be thought of together. 2nd. Phænomena
which have either been experienced or conceived {441} in close
contiguity to one another, tend to be thought of together. The
contiguity is of two kinds; simultaneity, and immediate succession.
Facts which have been experienced or thought of simultaneously,
recall the thought of one another. Of facts which have been
experienced or thought of in immediate succession, the antecedent,
or the thought of it, recalls the thought of the consequent, but not
conversely. 3rd. Associations produced by contiguity become more
certain and rapid by repetition. When two phænomena have been very
often experienced in conjunction, and have not, in any single
instance, occurred separately either in experience or in thought,
there is produced between them what has been called Inseparable, or
less correctly, Indissoluble Association: by which is not meant that
the association must inevitably last to the end of life--that no
subsequent experience or process of thought can possibly avail to
dissolve it; but only that as long as no such experience or process
of thought has taken place, the association is irresistible; it is
impossible for us to think the one thing disjoined from the other.
4th. When an association has acquired this character of
inseparability--when the bond between the two ideas has been thus
firmly riveted, not only does the idea called up by association
become, in our consciousness, inseparable from the idea which
suggested it, but the facts or phænomena answering to those ideas
come at last to seem inseparable in existence: things which we are
unable to conceive apart, appear incapable of existing apart; and
the belief we have in their coexistence, though really a product of
experience, seems intuitive. Innumerable examples might be given of
this law. One of the most familiar, as well as the most striking, is
that of our acquired perceptions of sight. Even those who, with Mr.
Bailey, consider the perception of distance by the eye as not
acquired, but intuitive, admit that there are many perceptions of
sight which, though instantaneous and unhesitating, are not
intuitive. What we see is a very minute fragment of what we think we
see. We see artificially that one thing is hard, another soft. We
see artificially that one thing is hot, another cold. We see
artificially that {442} what we see is a book, or a stone, each of
these being not merely an inference, but a heap of inferences, from
the signs which we see, to things not visible. We see, and cannot
help seeing, what we have learnt to infer, even when we know that
the inference is erroneous, and that the apparent perception is
deceptive. We cannot help seeing the moon larger when near the
horizon, though we know that she is of precisely her usual size. We
cannot help seeing a mountain as nearer to us and of less height,
when we see it through a more than ordinarily transparent

Setting out from these premises, the Psychological Theory maintains,
that there are associations naturally and even necessarily generated
by the order of our sensations and of our reminiscences of
sensation, which, supposing no intuition of an external world to
have existed in consciousness, would inevitably generate the belief,
and would cause it to be regarded as an intuition.

What is it we mean, or what is it which leads us to say, that the
objects we perceive are external to us, and not a part of our own
thoughts? We mean, that there is concerned in our perceptions
something which exists when we are not thinking of it; which existed
before we had ever thought of it, and would exist if we were
annihilated; and further, that there exist things which we never
saw, touched, or otherwise perceived, and things which never have
been perceived by man. This idea of something which is distinguished
from our fleeting impressions by what, in Kantian language, is
called Perdurability; something which is fixed and the same, while
our impressions vary; something which exists whether we are aware of
it or not, and which is always square (or of some other given
figure) whether it appears to us square or round--constitutes
altogether our idea of external substance. Whoever can assign an
origin to this complex conception, has accounted for what we mean by
the belief in matter. Now all this, according to the Psychological
Theory, is but the form impressed by the known laws of association,
upon the conception or notion, obtained by experience, of Contingent
Sensations; {443} by which are meant, sensations that are not in our
present consciousness, and individually never were in our
consciousness at all, but which in virtue of the laws to which we
have learnt by experience that our sensations are subject, we know
that we should have felt under given supposable circumstances, and
under these same circumstances, might still feel.

I see a piece of white paper on a table. I go into another room. If
the phænomenon always followed me, or if, when it did not follow me,
I believed it to disappear _è rerum naturâ_, I should not believe it
to be an external object. I should consider it as a phantom--a mere
affection of my senses: I should not believe that there had been any
Body there. But, though I have ceased to see it, I am persuaded that
the paper is still there. I no longer have the sensations which it
gave me; but I believe that when I again place myself in the
circumstances in which I had those sensations, that is, when I go
again into the room, I shall again have them; and further, that
there has been no intervening moment at which this would not have
been the case. Owing to this property of my mind, my conception of
the world at any given instant consists, in only a small proportion,
of present sensations. Of these I may at the time have none at all,
and they are in any case a most insignificant portion of the whole
which I apprehend. The conception I form of the world existing at
any moment, comprises, along with the sensations I am feeling, a
countless variety of possibilities of sensation: namely, the whole
of those which past observation tells me that I could, under any
supposable circumstances, experience at this moment, together with
an indefinite and illimitable multitude of others which though I do
not know that I could, yet it is possible that I might, experience
in circumstances not known to me. These various possibilities are
the important thing to me in the world. My present sensations are
generally of little importance, and are moreover fugitive: the
possibilities, on the contrary, are permanent, which is the
character that mainly distinguishes our idea of Substance or Matter
from our notion of sensation. These possibilities, which are
conditional {444} certainties, need a special name to distinguish
them from mere vague possibilities, which experience gives no
warrant for reckoning upon. Now, as soon as a distinguishing name is
given, though it be only to the same thing regarded in a different
aspect, one of the most familiar experiences of our mental nature
teaches us, that the different name comes to be considered as the
name of a different thing.

There is another important peculiarity of these certified or
guaranteed possibilities of sensation; namely, that they have
reference, not to single sensations, but to sensations joined
together in groups. When we think of anything as a material
substance, or body, we either have had, or we think that on some
given supposition we should have, not some one sensation, but a
great and even an indefinite number and variety of sensations,
generally belonging to different senses, but so linked together,
that the presence of one announces the possible presence at the very
same instant of any or all of the rest. In our mind, therefore, not
only is this particular Possibility of sensation invested with the
quality of permanence when we are not actually feeling any of the
sensations at all; but when we are feeling some of them, the
remaining sensations of the group are conceived by us in the form of
Present Possibilities, which might be realized at the very moment.
And as this happens in turn to all of them, the group as a whole
presents itself to the mind as permanent, in contrast not solely
with the temporariness of my bodily presence, but also with the
temporary character of each of the sensations composing the group;
in other words, as a kind of permanent substratum, under a set of
passing experiences or manifestations: which is another leading
character of our idea of substance or matter, as distinguished from

Let us now take into consideration another of the general characters
of our experience, namely, that in addition to fixed groups, we also
recognise a fixed Order in our sensations; an Order of succession,
which, when ascertained by observation, gives rise to the ideas of
Cause and Effect, according to what I hold to be the true theory of
that relation, and is on any {445} theory the source of all our
knowledge what causes produce what effects. Now, of what nature is
this fixed order among our sensations? It is a constancy of
antecedence and sequence. But the constant antecedence and sequence
do not generally exist between one actual sensation and another.
Very few such sequences are presented to us by experience. In almost
all the constant sequences which occur in Nature, the antecedence
and consequence do not obtain between sensations, but between the
groups we have been speaking about, of which a very small portion is
actual sensation, the greater part being permanent possibilities of
sensation, evidenced to us by a small and variable number of
sensations actually present. Hence, our ideas of causation, power,
activity, do not become connected in thought with our sensations as
actual at all, save in the few physiological cases where these
figure by themselves as the antecedents in some uniform sequence.
Those ideas become connected, not with sensations, but with groups
of possibilities of sensation. The sensations conceived do not, to
our habitual thoughts, present themselves as sensations actually
experienced, inasmuch as not only any one or any number of them may
be supposed absent, but none of them need be present. We find that
the modifications which are taking place more or less regularly in
our possibilities of sensation, are mostly quite independent of our
consciousness, and of our presence or absence. Whether we are asleep
or awake the fire goes out, and puts an end to one particular
possibility of warmth and light. Whether we are present or absent
the corn ripens, and brings a new possibility of food. Hence we
speedily learn to think of Nature as made up solely of these groups
of possibilities, and the active force in Nature as manifested in
the modification of some of these by others. The sensations, though
the original foundation of the whole, come to be looked upon as a
sort of accident depending on us, and the possibilities as much more
real than the actual sensations, nay, as the very realities of which
these are only the representations, appearances, or effects. When
this state of mind has been arrived at, then, and from that time
forward, we are never {446} conscious of a present sensation without
instantaneously referring it to some one of the groups of
possibilities into which a sensation of that particular description
enters; and if we do not yet know to what group to refer it, we at
least feel an irresistible conviction that it must belong to some
group or other; _i.e._ that its presence proves the existence, here
and now, of a great number and variety of possibilities of
sensation, without which it would not have been. The whole set of
sensations as possible, form a permanent background to any one or
more of them that are, at a given moment, actual; and the
possibilities are conceived as standing to the actual sensations in
the relation of a cause to its effects, or of canvas to the figures
painted on it, or of a root to the trunk, leaves, and flowers, or of
a substratum to that which is spread over it, or, in transcendental
language, of Matter to Form.

When this point has been reached, the Permanent Possibilities in
question have assumed such unlikeness of aspect, and such difference
of apparent relation to us, from any sensations, that it would be
contrary to all we know of the constitution of human nature that
they should not be conceived as, and believed to be, at least as
different from sensations as sensations are from one another. Their
groundwork in sensation is forgotten, and they are supposed to be
something intrinsically distinct from it. We can withdraw ourselves
from any of our (external) sensations, or we can be withdrawn from
them by some other agency. But though the sensations cease, the
possibilities remain in existence; they are independent of our will,
our presence, and everything which belongs to us. We find, too, that
they belong as much to other human or sentient beings as to
ourselves. We find other people grounding their expectations and
conduct upon the same permanent possibilities on which we ground
ours. But we do not find them experiencing the same actual
sensations. Other people do not have our sensations exactly when and
as we have them: but they have our possibilities of sensation;
whatever indicates a present possibility of sensations to ourselves,
indicates a present possibility of similar sensations to them,
except so far as {447} their organs of sensation may vary from the
type of ours. This puts the final seal to our conception of the
groups of possibilities as the fundamental reality in Nature. The
permanent possibilities are common to us and to our
fellow-creatures; the actual sensations are not. That which other
people become aware of when, and on the same grounds, as I do, seems
more real to me than that which they do not know of unless I tell
them. The world of Possible Sensations succeeding one another
according to laws, is as much in other beings as it is in me; it has
therefore an existence outside me; it is an External World.

If this explanation of the origin and growth of the idea of Matter,
or External Nature, contains nothing at variance with natural laws,
it is at least an admissible supposition, that the element of
Non-ego which Sir W. Hamilton regards as an original datum of
consciousness, and which we certainly do find in our present
consciousness, may not be one of its primitive elements--may not
have existed at all in its first manifestations. But if this
supposition be admissible, it ought, on Sir W. Hamilton's
principles, to be received as true. The first of the laws laid down
by him for the interpretation of Consciousness, the law (as he terms
it) of Parcimony, forbids to suppose an original principle of our
nature in order to account for phænomena which admit of possible
explanation from known causes. If the supposed ingredient of
consciousness be one which might grow up (though we cannot prove
that it did grow up) through later experience; and if, when it had
so grown up, it would, by known laws of our nature, appear as
completely intuitive as our sensations themselves; we are bound,
according to Sir W. Hamilton's and all sound philosophy, to assign
to it that origin. Where there is a known cause adequate to account
for a phænomenon, there is no justification for ascribing it to an
unknown one. And what evidence does Consciousness furnish of the
intuitiveness of an impression, except instantaneousness, apparent
simplicity, and *unconsciousness on our part of how the impression
came into our minds? These features can only prove the impression to
be {448} intuitive, on the hypothesis that there are no means of
accounting for them otherwise. If they not only might, but naturally
would, exist, even on the supposition that it is not intuitive, we
must accept the conclusion to which we are led by the Psychological
Method, and which the Introspective Method furnishes absolutely
nothing to contradict.

Matter, then, may be defined, a Permanent Possibility of Sensation.
If I am asked, whether I believe in matter, I ask whether the
questioner accepts this definition of it. If he does, I believe in
matter: and so do all Berkeleians. In any other sense than this, I
do not. But I affirm with confidence, that this conception of Matter
includes the whole meaning attached to it by the common world, apart
from philosophical, and sometimes from theological, theories. The
reliance of mankind on the real existence of visible and tangible
objects, means reliance on the reality and permanence of
Possibilities of visual and tactual sensations, when no such
sensations are actually experienced. We are warranted in believing
that this is the meaning of Matter in the minds of many of its most
esteemed metaphysical champions, though they themselves would not
admit as much: for example, of Reid, Stewart, and Brown. For these
three philosophers alleged that all mankind, including Berkeley and
Hume, really believed in Matter, inasmuch as unless they did, they
would not have turned aside to save themselves from running against
a post. Now all which this manoeuvre really proved is, that they
believed in Permanent Possibilities of Sensation. We have therefore
the unintentional sanction of these three eminent defenders of the
existence of matter, for affirming, that to believe in Permanent
Possibilities of Sensation is believing in Matter. It is hardly
necessary, after such authorities, to mention Dr. Johnson, or any
one else who resorts to the _argumentum baculinum_ of knocking a
stick against the ground. Sir W. Hamilton, a far subtler thinker
than any of these, never reasons in this manner. He never supposes
that a disbeliever in what he means by Matter, ought in consistency
to act in any different mode from those who believe in it. He knew
{449} that the belief on which all the practical consequences
depend, is the belief in Permanent Possibilities of Sensation, and
that if nobody believed in a material universe in any other sense,
life would go on exactly as it now does. He, however, did believe in
more than this, but, I think, only because it had never occurred to
him that mere Possibilities of Sensation could, to our
artificialized consciousness, present the character of objectivity
which, as we have now shown, they not only can, but unless the known
laws of the human mind were suspended, must necessarily, present.

Perhaps it may be objected, that the very possibility of framing
such a notion of Matter as Sir W. Hamilton's--the capacity in the
human mind of imagining an external world which is anything more
than what the Psychological Theory makes it--amounts to a disproof
of the theory. If (it may be said) we had no revelation in
consciousness, of a world which is not in some way or other
identified with sensation, we should be unable to have the notion of
such a world. If the only ideas we had of external objects were
ideas of our sensations, supplemented by an acquired notion of
permanent possibilities of sensation, we must (it is thought) be
incapable of conceiving, and therefore still more incapable of
fancying that we perceive, things which are not sensations at all.
It being evident however that some philosophers believe this, and it
being maintainable that the mass of mankind do so, the existence of
a perdurable basis of sensations, distinct from sensations
themselves, is proved, it might be said, by the possibility of
believing it.

Let me first restate what I apprehend the belief to be. We believe
that we perceive a something closely related to all our sensations,
but different from those which we are feeling at any particular
minute; and distinguished from sensations altogether, by being
permanent and always the same, while these are fugitive, variable,
and alternately displace one another. But these attributes of the
object of perception are properties belonging to all the
possibilities of sensation which experience guarantees. The belief
in such permanent possibilities seems {450} to me to include all
that is essential or characteristic in the belief in substance. I
believe that Calcutta exists, though I do not perceive it, and that
it would still exist if every percipient inhabitant were suddenly to
leave the place, or be struck dead. But when I analyse the belief,
all I find in it is, that were these events to take place, the
Permanent Possibility of Sensation which I call Calcutta would still
remain; that if I were suddenly transported to the banks of the
Hoogly, I should still have the sensations which, if now present,
would lead me to affirm that Calcutta exists here and now. We may
infer, therefore, that both philosophers and the world at large,
when they think of matter, conceive it really as a Permanent
Possibility of Sensation. But the majority of philosophers fancy
that it is something more; and the world at large, though they have
really, as I conceive, nothing in their minds but a Permanent
Possibility of Sensation, would, if asked the question, undoubtedly
agree with the philosophers: and though this is sufficiently
explained by the tendency of the human mind to infer difference of
things from difference of names, I acknowledge the obligation of
showing how it can be possible to believe in an existence
transcending all possibilities of sensation, unless on the
hypothesis that such an existence actually is, and that we actually
perceive it.

The explanation, however, is not difficult. It is an admitted fact,
that we are capable of all conceptions which can be formed by
generalizing from the observed laws of our sensations. Whatever
relation we find to exist between any one of our sensations and
something different from _it_, that same relation we have no
difficulty in conceiving to exist between the sum of all our
sensations and something different from _them_. The differences
which our consciousness recognises between one sensation and
another, give us the general notion of difference, and inseparably
associate with every sensation we have, the feeling of its being
different from other things: and when once this association has been
formed, we can no longer conceive anything, without being able, and
even being compelled, to form also the conception of something
different from it. {451} This familiarity with the idea of something
different from each thing we know, makes it natural and easy to form
the notion of something different from all things that we know,
collectively as well as individually. It is true we can form no
conception of what such a thing can be; our notion of it is merely
negative; but the idea of a substance, apart from its relation to
the impressions which we conceive it as making on our senses, is a
merely negative one. There is thus no psychological obstacle to our
forming the notion of a something which is neither a sensation nor a
possibility of sensation, even if our consciousness does not testify
to it; and nothing is more likely than that the Permanent
Possibilities of sensation, to which our consciousness does testify,
should be confounded in our minds with this imaginary conception.
All experience attests the strength of the tendency to mistake
mental abstractions, even negative ones, for substantive realities;
and the Permanent Possibilities of sensation which experience
guarantees, are so extremely unlike in many of their properties to
actual sensations, that since we are capable of imagining something
which transcends sensations, there is a great natural probability
that we should suppose these to be it.

But this natural probability is converted into certainty, when we
take into consideration that universal law of our experience which
is termed the law of Causation, and which makes us mentally connect
with the beginning of everything, some antecedent condition, or
Cause. The case of Causation is one of the most marked of all the
cases in which we extend to the sum total of our consciousness, a
notion derived from its parts. It is a striking example of our power
to conceive, and our tendency to believe, that a relation which
subsists between every individual item of our experience and some
other item, subsists also between our experience as a whole, and
something not within the sphere of experience. By this extension to
the sum of all our experiences, of the internal relations obtaining
between its several parts, we are led to consider sensation itself
the aggregate whole of our sensations as deriving its origin from
antecedent existences {452} transcending sensation. That we should
do this, is a consequence of the particular character of the uniform
sequences, which experience discloses to us among our sensations. As
already remarked, the constant antecedent of a sensation is seldom
another sensation, or set of sensations, actually felt. It is much
oftener the existence of a group of possibilities, not necessarily
including any actual sensations, except such as are required to show
that the possibilities are really present. Nor are actual sensations
indispensable even for this purpose; for the presence of the object
(which is nothing more than the immediate presence of the
possibilities) may be made known to us by the very sensation which
we refer to as its effect. Thus, the real antecedent of an
effect--the only antecedent which, being invariable and
unconditional, we consider to be the cause--may be, not any
sensation really felt, but solely the presence, at that or the
immediately preceding moment, of a group of possibilities of
sensation. Hence it is not with sensations as actually experienced,
but with their Permanent Possibilities, that the idea of Cause comes
to be identified: and we, by one and the same process, acquire the
habit of regarding Sensation in general, like all our individual
sensations, as an Effect, and also that of conceiving as the causes
of most of our individual sensations, not other sensations, but
general possibilities of sensation. If all these considerations put
together do not completely explain and account for our conceiving
these Possibilities as a class of independent and substantive
entities, I know not what psychological analysis can be conclusive.

It may perhaps be said, that the preceding theory gives, indeed,
some account of the idea of Permanent Existence which forms part of
our conception of matter, but gives no explanation of our believing
these permanent objects to be external, or out of ourselves. I
apprehend, on the contrary, that the very idea of anything out of
ourselves is derived solely from the knowledge experience gives us
of the Permanent Possibilities. Our sensations we carry with us
wherever we go, and they never exist where we are not; but when we
change {453} our place we do not carry away with us the Permanent
Possibilities of Sensation: they remain until we return, or arise
and cease under conditions with which our presence has in general
nothing to do. And more than all--they are, and will be after we
have ceased to feel, Permanent Possibilities of sensation to other
beings than ourselves. Thus our actual sensations, and the Permanent
Possibilities of sensation, stand out in obtrusive contrast to one
another: and when the idea of Cause has been acquired, and extended
by generalization from the parts of our experience to its aggregate
whole, nothing can be more natural than that the Permanent
Possibilities should be classed by us as existences generically
distinct from our sensations, but of which our sensations are the

The same theory which accounts for our ascribing to an aggregate of
possibilities of sensation, a permanent existence which our
sensations themselves do not possess, and consequently a greater
reality than belongs to our sensations, also explains our
attributing greater objectivity to the Primary Qualities of bodies
than to the Secondary. For the sensations which correspond to what
are called the Primary Qualities (as soon at least as we come to
apprehend them by two senses, the eye as well as the touch) are
always present when any part of the group is so. But colours,
tastes, smells, and the like, being, in comparison, fugacious, are
not, in the same degree, conceived as being always there, even when
nobody is present to perceive them. The sensations answering to the
Secondary Qualities are only occasional, those to the Primary,
constant. The Secondary, moreover, vary with different persons, and
with the temporary sensibility of our organs; the Primary, when
perceived at all, are, as far as we know, the same to all persons
and at all times.




























       *       *       *       *       *

CHAPTER XIV.                                                    PAGE

Some Names which require a particular Explanation                  1

  SECTION 1. Names of Names                                        3

          2. Relative Terms                                        6

               Abstract Relative Terms                            72

          3. Numbers                                              89

          4. Privative Terms                                      99

          5. Time                                                116

          6. Motion                                              142

          7. Identity                                            164


Reflection                                                       176


The Distinction between the Intellectual and Active Powers of
the Human Mind                                                   181


Pleasurable and Painful Sensations                               184


Causes of the Pleasurable and Painful Sensations                 187


Ideas of the Pleasurable and Painful Sensations, and of the
Causes of them                                                   189


The Pleasurable and Painful Sensations, contemplated as passed,
or future                                                        196


The Causes of Pleasurable and Painful Sensations, contemplated
as passed, or future                                             201

  SECTION 1. The immediate Causes of Pleasurable and Painful
             Sensations, contemplated as passed, or as future    201

          2. The Remote Causes of Pleasurable and Painful
             Sensations contemplated as passed, or future        206

    SUB-SECT. 1. Wealth, Power, and Dignity, and their
                 Contraries, contemplated as Causes of our
                 Pleasures and Pains                             207

              2. Our Fellow-Creatures contemplated as Causes of
                 our Pleasures and Pains                         214

                 1.--Friendship                                  216

                 2.--Kindness                                    216

                 3.--Family                                      218

                 4.--Country                                     226

                 5.--Party; Class                                227

                 6.--Mankind                                     229

              3. The Objects called Sublime and Beautiful, and
                 their Contraries, contemplated as Causes of our
                 Pleasures and Pains                             230


Motives                                                          256

  SECTION 1. Pleasurable or Painful States, contemplated as the
             Consequents of our own Acts                         256

          2. Causes of our Pleasurable and Painful States,
             contemplated as the Consequents of our own Acts     265


The Acts of our Fellow-creatures, which are Causes of our Pains
and Pleasures, contemplated as Consequents of our own Acts       280


The Will                                                         327


Intention                                                       *396



       *       *       *       *       *



"Quam difficile sit inveteratas, eloquentissimorumque scriptorum
authoritate confirmatas, opiniones, mentibus hominum excutere, non
ignoro. Præsertim cum philosophia vera (id est accurata) orationis
non modo fucum, sed etiam omnia fere ornamenta ex professo rejiciat:
cumque scientiæ omnis fundamenta prima non modo speciosa non sint,
sed etiam humilia, arida, et pene deformia videantur."--_Hobbes
Comput. sive Logica_, cap. i. s. I.

WE have now seen that, in what we call the mental world,
Consciousness, there are three grand classes of phenomena, the most
familiar of all the facts with which we are acquainted,--SENSATIONS,
IDEAS, and the TRAIN OF IDEAS. We have examined a number of the more
complicated cases of Consciousness; and have found that they all
resolve themselves into the three simple elements, thus enumerated.
We also found it necessary to shew, for what ends, and in what
manner, marks were contrived of sensations and ideas, and by what
combinations they were made to represent, {2} expeditiously, trains
of those states of consciousness. Some marks or names, however,
could not be explained, till some of the more complicated states of
consciousness were unfolded; these also are names so important, and
so peculiar in their mode of signification, that a very complete
understanding of them is required. It is to the consideration of
these remarkable cases of Naming that we now proceed.[1]

[Editor's footnote 1: Under the modest title of an explanation of
the meaning of several names, this chapter presents us with a series
of discussions of some of the deepest and most intricate questions
in all metaphysics. Like Plato, the author introduces his analysis
of the most obscure among the complex general conceptions of the
human mind, in the form of an enquiry into the meaning of their
names. The title of the chapter gives a very inadequate notion of
the difficulty and importance of the speculations contained in it,
and which make it, perhaps, the profoundest chapter of the book. It
is almost as if a treatise on chemistry were described as an
explanation of the names air, water, potass, sulphuric acid,



It is of great importance to distinguish this class of terms; to
understand well the function which they perform, and to mark the
subdivisions into which they are formed. There is not, however, such
difficulty in the subject as to require great minuteness in the

As we have occasion to speak of _things_; animals, vegetables,
minerals; so we have occasion to speak of the _marks_, which we are
under the necessity of using, in order to record or to communicate
our thoughts respecting them. We cannot record or communicate our
thoughts respecting names, as man, tree, horse, to walk, to fly, to
eat, to converse, without marks for them. We proceed in the case of
names, as we do in other cases. We form them into classes, some
more, some less, comprehensive, and give a name to each.

We have one name, so general as to include them all; Word. That is
not a name of any _thing_. It is a name of the marks which we employ
for discourse; and a name of them all. _John_ is a word, _mountain_
is a word, _to run_ is a word, _above_ is a word, and so on.

They are divided into classes, differently for different purposes.
The grammarian, who regards chiefly the concatenation of words in
sentences, divides them into _noun_, _adjective_, _pronoun_, _verb_,
_adverb_, _preposition_, {4} _conjunction_; these words are none of
them names of things. _Noun_ is not a name of a "thing;" it is a
name of a "class of words," as John, James, man, ox, tree, water,
love, hatred; the same is the case with adjective, verb, and so of
the rest.

The philosopher makes another division of them, adapted to his
purposes, which has a more particular reference to their mode of
signification. Thus, he divides them into universal, and particular;
concrete, and abstract; positive, and negative; equivocal, and
univocal; relative, and absolute; and so on.

It is very easy to see that the word "universal," for example, is
not a name of a _thing_. Things are all individual, not general. The
_name_, "man," is a "universal," because it applies to every
individual of a class; for the same reason the _name_ "ox," the
_name_ "horse," the _name_ "dog," and so on, are universals. The
words, "genus" and "species" are synonymous with "universal;" of
course they also are names of names. Such is the word "number."
"One," "two," "one hundred," "one thousand," are "numbers;" in other
words, "number" is a general name for each and all of those other

Beside our names for names singly, we have occasion to name
combinations of names. Thus we have the name "predication." This is
a name for the combination of three words, "subject," "predicate,"
and "copula." We have the name "sentence," which never can be less,
implicitly or explicitly, than a predication, but is often more. The
same is the account of the word "definition." We have the names
"speech," "oration," "sermon," "conversation," all of them names for
a series of sentences. We have {5} also names of written discourse,
such as a "volume," a "book," a "chapter," a "section," a

[Editor's footnote 2: A right understanding of the words which are
names of names, is of great importance in philosophy. The tendency
was always strong to believe that whatever receives a name must be
an entity or being, having an independent existence of its own; and
if no real entity answering to the name could be found, men did not
for that reason suppose that none existed, but imagined that it was
something peculiarly abstruse and mysterious, too high to be an
object of sense. The meaning of all general, and especially of all
abstract terms, became in this way enveloped in a mystical haze; and
none of these have been more generally misunderstood, or have been a
more copious source of futile and bewildering speculation, than some
of the words which are names of names. Genus, Species, Universal,
were long supposed to be designations of sublime hyperphysical
realities; number, instead of a general name of all numerals, was
supposed to be the name, if not of a concrete thing, at least of a
single property or attribute.

This class of names was well understood and correctly characterized
by Hobbes, of whose philosophy the distinction between names of
names and of things was a cardinal point.--_Ed._]



The explanation of Relative Terms will run to a considerable length.
The mode in which they are employed as marks is peculiar; and has
suggested the belief of something very mysterious in that which is
marked by them. It is therefore necessary to be minute in exhibiting
the combinations of ideas of which they are the names.

One peculiarity of Relative Terms, which it is necessary for us to
begin with noticing, is, that they always exist in pairs. There is
no relative without its correlate, either actual or implied. Thus,
we have _Father_ and _Son_; _Husband_ and _Wife_; _Master_ and_
Servant_; _Subject_ and _King_; also _High_ and _Low_; _Right_ and
_Left_; _Antecedent_ and _Consequent_.

In these cases of relative pairs, the two names are two different
words; in other cases, one word serves for both names. Of this sort
are the words _Brother_, _Sister_, _Cousin_, _Friend_, _Like_,
_Equal_, and so on. When we say that John is brother, we always mean
of some one else, as James, whom we also call brother. We call Jane
the sister of Ann, as we call Ann the sister of Jane. When we say
that A is equal to B, we signify, by the same expression, that B is
equal to A; and so on.

It is always to be remembered, that, in speaking, we are only
indicating our own trains; and that of {7} course every word in a
mark of some part of a train. The parts of our trains to which we
give relative names, are either simple, or complex. The simple, are
either the simple sensations, or the ideas of those sensations. The
complex, are either those clusters of simple ideas which we call the
ideas of objects, because they correspond with clustered sensations;
or they are the clusters which the mind puts together arbitrarily
for its own purposes.

If it is asked, why we give names in pairs? The general answer
immediately suggests itself; it is because the things named present
themselves in pairs; that is, are joined by association. But as many
things are joined in pairs by association, which do not receive
relative names, the cause may still be inquired of the
classification. What is the reason that some pairs do, while many
more do not, receive relative names? The cause is the same by which
we are guided in imposing other names. As the various combinations
of ideas are far too numerous for naming, and we are obliged to make
a selection, we name those which we find it of most importance to
have named, omitting the rest. It is a question of convenience,
solved by experience. It will be seen more distinctly hereafter that
relative names are one of the contrivances for epitomising; and that
they enable us to express ourselves with fewer words than we should
be able to do without them.[3]

[Editor's footnote 3: No part of the Analysis is more valuable than
the simple explanation here given of a subject which has seemed so
mysterious to some of the most enlightened and penetrating
philosophers, down even to the present time. The only difference
between relative names and any others consist in their being given
in pairs; and the reason of their being given in pairs is not the
existence between two things, of a mystical bond called a Relation,
and supposed to have a kind of shadowy and abstract reality, but a
very simple peculiarity in the concrete fact which the two names are
intended to mark.

In order to make quite clear the nature of this peculiarity, it will
be desirable to advert once more to the double mode of signification
of concrete general names, viz. that while they denote (or are names
of) objects, they connote some fact relating to those objects. The
fact connoted by any name, relative or not, is always of the same
nature; it is some bodily or mental feeling, or some set of bodily
or mental feelings, accompanying or produced by the object. But in
the case of the ordinary names of objects, this fact concerns one
object only, or rather only that one object and the sentient mind.
The peculiarity in the case of relative names is, that the fact
connoted concerns two objects, and cannot be understood without
thinking of them both. It is a phenomenon in which two objects play
a part. There is no greater mystery in a phenomenon which concerns
two objects, than in a phenomenon which concerns only one. For
example; the fact connoted by the word cause, is a fact in which the
thing which is the cause, is implicated along with another thing
which is the effect. The facts connoted by the word parent, and also
by the word son or daughter, are a long series of phenomena of which
both the parent and the child are parts; and the series of phenomena
would not be that which the name parent expresses, unless the child
formed a part of it, nor would it be that which the name son or
daughter expresses, unless the parent formed a part of it. Now, when
in a series of phenomena of any interest to us two objects are
implicated, we naturally give names expressive of it to both the
objects, and these are relative names. The two correlative names
denote two different objects, the cause and the effect, or the
parent and son; but though what they denote is different, what they
connote is in a certain sense the same: both names connote the same
set of facts, considered as giving one name to the one object,
another name to the other. This set of facts, which is connoted by
both the correlative names, was called by the old logicians the
ground of the relation, _fundamentum relationis_. The _fundamentum_
of any relation is the facts, fully set out, which are the reason of
giving to two objects two correlative names. In some cases both
objects seem to receive the same name; in the relation of likeness,
both objects are said to be like; in the relation of equality, both
are said to be equal. But even here the duality holds, on a stricter
examination: for the first object (A) is not said to be like,
absolutely, but to be like the second object (B); the second is not
said to be like absolutely, but to be like the first. Now though
"like" is only one name, "like A" is not the same name as "like B,"
so that there is really, in this case also, a pair of names.

From these considerations we see that objects are said to be
related, when there is any fact, simple or complex, either
apprehended by the senses or otherwise, in which they both figure.
Any objects, whether physical or mental, are related, or are in a
relation, to one another, in virtue of any complex state of
consciousness into which they both enter; even if it be a no more
complex state of consciousness than that of merely thinking of them
together. And they are related to each other in as many different
ways, or in other words, they stand in as many distinct relations to
one another, as there are specifically distinct states of
consciousness of which they both form parts. As these may be
innumerable, the possible relations not only of any one thing with
others, but of any one thing with the same other, are infinitely
numerous and various. But they may all be reduced to a certain
number of general heads of classification, constituting the
different kinds of Relation: each of which requires examination
apart, to ascertain what, in each case, the state of consciousness,
the cluster or train of sensations or thoughts, really is, in which
the two objects figure, and which is connoted by the correlative
names. This examination the author accordingly undertakes: and thus,
under the guise of explaining names, he analyses all the principal
cases which the world and the human mind present, of what are called
Relations between things.--_Ed._]

{8} I. The only, or at least the principal, occasions, for naming
simple sensations, or simple ideas, in pairs, seem to be these:

1 When we take them into simultaneous view, as such and such;

2. When we take them into simultaneous view, as antecedent and

II. The principal occasions on which we name the complex ideas,
called objects, in pairs, are these four:

{9} 1. When we speak of them as having an order in space;

2. When we speak of them as having an order in time;

3. When we speak of them as agreeing or disagreeing in quantity;

4. As agreeing or disagreeing in quality.

III. The occasions on which we name the complex ideas of our own
formation in pairs, are,

{10} 1. When we speak of them as composed of the same or different
simple ideas;

2. When we speak of them as antecedent and consequent.

Whatever it may be necessary to remark, respecting relative terms,
will occur in the consideration of these several cases.

I. 1. We speak of two sensations, as _Same_ or _Different_, _Like_
or _Unlike_.

These words are Relatives of the double signification; each
individual of the pair has the same name. When we say that sensation
A is the "same" with {11} sensation B, we mean that B also is the
"same" with A; "different," "like," and "unlike," have the same
double application.

Another ambiguity needs to be noted in the word "same." When there
are _two_ things, they are not the _same_ thing; for "same," in the
strict sense of the word, means one thing, and that only. Here it
means a great degree of likeness, a sense in which, with respect to
sensations and ideas, it is very frequently used.

Of two sensations, or two ideas, we, in truth, can only say, that
they are like or unlike; or, that the one comes first, the other
after it.

It is now necessary to attend very carefully to what happens, when
we say that two sensations are like, or that they are unlike.

First of all, we have the two sensations. But what is it to have two
sensations? It is merely to be conscious of a change. But to be
conscious of a change in sensation, is sensation. It is an essential
part of the process. Without it we should not be sentient beings. To
have sensation, and not to be conscious of any change, is to have
but one sensation continued. We have already seen that this is a
state which seems incapable of being distinguished from that of
having no sensation. At any rate, what we mean by a sentient being,
is not a being with one unvaried sensation, but a being with
sensations continually varied; the varying being a necessary part of
the having more sensations than one; and the varying, and the being
conscious of the variation, being not two things, but one and the
same thing. Having _two_ sensations, therefore, is not only having
sensation, but the only {12} thing which can, in strictness, be
called having sensation; and the having two, and knowing they are
two, which are not two things, but one and the same thing, is not
only sensation, and nothing else than sensation, but the only thing
which can, in strictness, be called sensation. The having a new
sensation, and knowing that it is new, are not two things, but one
and the same thing.[4]

[Bain's footnote 4: The author is here endeavouring to express the
most fundamental fact of the consciousness--the necessity of change,
or transition from one state to another in order to our being
conscious. He approaches very near to, without exactly touching, the
inference that all consciousness, all sensation, all knowledge must
be of doubles; the state passed from and the state passed to, are
equally recognised by us. Opening the eyes to the light, for the
first time, we know a contrast,--a present light, a past
privation--but for the one we should not have known the other. Any
single thing is unknowable by us; its relative opposite is a part of
its very existence.

In a former page it is stated that relative names are one of the
conveniences of epitomising. This is a narrow view to take of them.
They are an essential part of language; they are demanded by the
intrinsic relativity of all nameable things. If we have a thing
called "light," we have also another thing but for which light could
not be known by us, "dark." It is expedient to have names for both
elements of the mutually dependent couple. And so everywhere.
Language would be insufficient for its purposes if it did not
provide the means of expressing the correlative (called also the
negative) of every thing named.--_B._]

The case between sensation and sensation, resembles that between
sensation and idea. How do I know that an idea is not a sensation?
Who ever thought of asking the question? Is not the having an idea,
{13} and the knowing it as an idea, the same thing? The having
without the knowing is repugnant. The misfortune is, that the word,
know, has associations linked with it, which have nothing to do with
this case, but which intrude themselves along with the word, and
make a complexity, where otherwise there would be none.

This is a matter which deserves the greatest attention. One of the
most unfortunate cases of the illusions, which the close association
of ideas with words has produced, is created by ideas clinging to
words when they ought to be disjoined from them, and mixing
themselves by that means with the ideas under consideration, when
they ought to be considered wholly distinct from them. Nothing was
of more importance, than that the phenomenon, to which we are just
now directing our attention, the very first ingredient in the great
mental composition, should be accurately understood, and nothing
mixed up with it which did not truly belong to it.

There is no doubt that in one of its senses, knowledge is synonymous
with sensation. If I am asked what is my knowledge of pain? I
answer, the feeling of it, the having it. The blind man has not the
knowledge of colours; the meaning is, he has not the sensations: if
deaf also, he is without the knowledge, that is, the sensations, of
sounds: suppose him void of all other sensations, you suppose him
void of knowledge. In many cases, however, we arrive at knowledge,
by certain steps; by something of a process. The word, know, is most
frequently applied to those cases. When we know, by mere sensation,
we say we see, we hear, and so on; when we know by mere ideas, {14}
or rather ideation, if we could use such a word, we say we conceive,
we think. The word know, therefore, being almost constantly joined
with the idea of a process, it is exceedingly difficult, when we
apply it to sensation, not to have the idea of a process at the same
time; and thus exceedingly difficult to conceive that sensation, and
knowing, in this case, are purely synonymous.

As the knowing I have an idea, is merely having the idea; as the
having a sensation, and knowing I have a sensation; the knowing, for
example, that I have the pain of the toothache, and the having that
pain; are not two things, but one and the same thing; so the having
a change of sensation, and knowing I have it, are not two things but
one and the same thing.

Having a change, I have occasion to mark that change. The change has
taken place in a train of feelings. I call the first part by one
name, the last by another, and the marking of the change is
effected. Suppose that, without any organ of sense but the eye, my
first sensation is red, my next green. The whole process is
sensation. Yet the green is not the red. What we call making the
distinction, therefore, has taken place, and it is involved in the

My names, green, and red, thus applied, are absolute names. The one
has no reference to the other. Suppose that after green, I have the
sensations, blue, yellow, violet, white, black; and that I mark them
respectively by these names. These are still absolute names. Each
marks a particular sensation, and does nothing more. But, now,
suppose that, after my sensations red, green, blue, &c., I have the
sensation {15} red again; that I recognise it as like the sensation
I had first, and that I have a desire to mark that recognition; it
remains to explain what are the steps of this process.

Having the sensation a second time needs no explanation; it is the
same thing as having it the first. But what happens in recognising
that it is similar to a former sensation?

Beside the _Sensation_, in this case, there is an _Idea_. The idea
of the former sensation is called up by, that is, associated with,
the new sensation. As having a sensation, and a sensation, and
knowing them, that is, distinguishing them, are the same thing; and
having an idea, and an idea, is knowing them; so, having an idea and
a sensation, and distinguishing the one from the other, are the same
thing. But, to know that I have the idea and the sensation, in this
case, is not all; I observe, that the sensation is like the idea.
What is this observation of likeness? Is it any thing but that
distinguishing of one feeling from another, which we have recognised
to be the same thing as having two feelings? As change of sensation
is sensation; as change, from a sensation to an idea, differs from
change to a sensation, in nothing but this, that the second feeling
in the latter change is an idea, not a sensation; and as the passing
from one feeling to another is distinguishing; the whole difficulty
seems to be resolved; for undoubtedly the distinguishing differences
and similarities, is the same thing; a similarity being nothing but
a slight difference.[5] As {16} change from red to green, and
knowing the change, or from a sensation of sight, to one of any
other of the senses, the most different, is all sensation; so change
from one shade of red to another, is assuredly sensation. Its being
a different shade consists in my feeling of it, that is, in my

[Bain's footnote 5: More properly Similarity is "agreement in
difference." Difference or discrimination is one thing, one element
of knowledge or cognition; Similarity or agreement in difference is
another thing, the second or completing element of knowledge. The
two work together in closest intimacy, but they should neither be
looked upon as the same fact, nor as merely a various shading of the
same fact. Without difference there would be no similarity; but
similarity is difference and something more. At their roots or first
origins, the two processes lie in almost undistinguishable
closeness; but in their developments they run wide apart. No fact or
attribute is known, or mentally possessed, without the union of many
shocks of difference with many shocks of identity, or agreement in

Passing from red to red, red, red, through a succession of
distinguishable shades, is one train of pure sensation: passing from
red to green, blue, tasting, smelling, hearing, touching, is another
train of pure sensation; that these are not the same trains, but
different trains, consists in their being felt to be so; they would
not be different, but for the feeling: and that a feeling is
different, and known to be so, are not two things, but one and the
same thing. Having two such trains, I want marks to distinguish
them. For this purpose, I invent the words "same," "similar," and
their contraries; by means of which, my object is attained. I call
the parts of a train, such as the first, "same," or "similar;" those
of a train like the last, "different," "dissimilar."

By these relative terms, we name the sensations in pairs. When we
say, same, we mean that sensations {17} A, and B, are the same;
different, that A, and B, are different; like and unlike, the same.
By these words we have four pairs of relative terms.

    A.              B.
  same             same
  different        different
  like             like
  unlike           unlike.

The feeling is perfectly analogous in the case of the _ideas_ of
those sensations; and the naming is the same. Thus the idea of red,
green, and so on, and the ideas of the different shades of red are
distinguished from one another by the ideas themselves. To have
ideas different and ideas distinguished, are synonymous expressions;
different and distinguished, meaning exactly the same thing.

The sensations above mentioned, and their ideas, have the same
absolute names: thus, red is at once the name of the sensation, and
the name of the idea; green, at once the name of the sensation and
the idea; sweet, at once the name of the sensation and the idea. The
relative terms, it is obvious, have the same extent of application.
Same, different, like, and unlike, are names of pairs of ideas, as
well as pairs of sensations.

It seems, therefore, to be made clear, that, in applying to the
simple sensations and ideas their absolute names, which are names of
classes, as red, green, sweet, bitter; and also applying to them
names which denote them in pairs, as such and such; there is nothing
whatsoever but having the sensations, having the ideas, and making
marks for them.[6]

[Editor's footnote 6: The author commences his survey of Relations
with the most universal of them all. Likeness and Unlikeness; and he
examines these as subsisting between simple sensations or ideas; for
whatever be the true theory of likeness or unlikeness as between the
simple elements, the same, in essentials, will serve for the
likenesses or unlikenesses of the wholes compounded of them.

Examining, then, what constitutes likeness between two sensations
(meaning two exactly similar sensations experienced at different
times); he says, that to feel the two sensations to be alike, is one
and the same thing with having the two sensations. Their being alike
is nothing but their being felt to be alike; their being unlike is
nothing but their being felt to be unlike. The feeling of unlikeness
is merely that feeling of change, in passing from the one to the
other, which makes them two, and without which we should not be
conscious of them at all. The feeling of likeness, is the being
reminded of the former sensation by the present, that is, having the
idea of the former sensation called up by the present, and
distinguishing them as sensation and idea.

It does not seem to me that this mode of describing the matter
explains anything, or leaves the likenesses and unlikenesses of our
simple feelings less an ultimate fact than they were before. All it
amounts to is, that likeness and unlikeness are themselves only a
matter of feeling: and that when we have two feelings, the feeling
of their likeness or unlikeness is inextricably interwoven with the
fact of having the feelings. One of the conditions, under which we
have feelings, is that they are like and unlike: and in the case of
simple feelings, we cannot separate the likeness or unlikeness from
the feelings themselves. It is by no means certain, however, that
when we have two feelings in immediate succession, the feeling of
their likeness is not a third feeling which follows instead of being
involved in the two. This question is expressly left open by Mr.
Herbert Spencer, in his "Principles of Psychology;" and I am not
aware that any philosopher has conclusively resolved it. We do not
get rid of any difficulty by calling the feeling of likeness the
same thing with the two feelings that are alike: we have equally to
postulate likeness and unlikeness as primitive facts--as an inherent
distinction among our sensations; and whichever form of phraseology
we employ makes no difference in the ulterior developments of
psychology. It is of no practical consequence whether we say that a
phenomenon is resolved into sensations and ideas, or into
sensations, ideas, and their resemblances, since under the one
expression as under the other the resemblance must be recognised as
an indispensable element in the compound.

When we pass from resemblance between simple sensations and ideas,
to resemblance between complex wholes, the process, though not
essentially different, is more complicated, for it involves a
comparison of part with part, element with element, and therefore a
previous discrimination of the elements. When we judge that an
external object, compounded of a number of attributes, is like
another external object; since they are not, usually, alike in all
their attributes, we have to take the two objects into simultaneous
consideration in respect to each of their various attributes one
after another: their colour, to observe whether that is similar;
their size, whether that is similar; their figure, their weight, and
so on. It comes at last to a perception of likeness or unlikeness
between simple sensations: but we reduce it to this by _attending_
separately to one of the simple sensations forming the one cluster,
and to one of those forming the other cluster, and if possible
adjusting our organs of sense so as to have these two sensations in
immediate juxtaposition: as when we put two objects, of which we
wish to compare the colour, side by side, so that our sense of sight
may pass directly from one of the two sensations of colour to the
other. This act of attention directed successively to single
attributes, blunts our feeling of the other attributes of the
objects, and enables us to feel the likeness of the single
sensations almost as vividly as if we had nothing but these in our
mind. Having felt this likeness, we say that the sensations are
like, and that the two objects are like in respect of those
sensations: and continuing the process we pronounce them to be
either like or unlike in each of the other sensations which we
receive from them.--_Ed._]

{18} 2. The only other relative terms applicable to simple
sensations and ideas, are those which denote them as _Antecedent_
and _Consequent_.

{19} I have sensation red, sensation green. Why I mark them red, and
green, or as "different," has already been seen. What happens in
marking them {20} as "antecedent" and "consequent" comes next to be

A sensation, the moment it ceases, is gone for ever. When I have two
sensations, therefore, A, and B, one first, the other following,
sensation A is gone, before sensation B exists. But though
_sensation_ A is gone, its idea is not gone. Its idea, called up by
association, exists along with sensation B, or the idea of sensation
B. My knowing that the idea of sensation A is the idea of sensation
A, is my having the idea. Having it, and knowing it, are not two
things, but one and the same thing. _Having_ the idea of sensation
A, that is, having the idea of the immediate antecedent of sensation
B, seems, also, to be the same thing with knowing it as the idea of
that antecedent. Having sensation A, and after it sensation B, is
mere sensation; and having the idea of sensation A, the immediate
antecedent, called up by sensation B, the immediate consequent, is
knowing it for that antecedent. The links of the train are three;
1, sensation A; 2, sensation B; 3, the idea of sensation A, in a
certain order with B, called up by sensation B; and after this,

The case appears mysterious, solely, from the want of words to
express it clearly; and our confirmed habit of inattention to the
process. Suppose, that {21} instead of two sensations, A and B, we
have three, A, B, and C, in immediate succession. I recognise A, as
the antecedent of B; B, as the antecedent of C. What is the process?
The idea of sensation A, is associated with sensation B; and the
idea of sensation B, is associated with sensation C. But sensation
C, is not associated with the idea of sensation B solely, it is
associated also with the idea of sensation A. It is associated,
however, differently with the one and the other. It is associated
with B immediately; it is associated with A, only through the medium
of B; it calls up the idea of B, by its own associating power, and
the idea of B, calls up the idea of A. This second state of
consciousness is different from the first. The first is that in
consequence of which B receives the name "Antecedent," and C the
name "Consequent." When two sensations in a train are such, that,
if one exists, it has the idea of the other along with it, by its
immediate exciting power, and not through any intermediate idea; the
sensation, the idea of which is thus excited, is called the
antecedent, the sensation which thus excites that idea, is called
the consequent.

It is evident that the terms, "antecedent," and "consequent," are
not applied in consequence of sensation merely, but in consequence
of sensation joined with ideas. The antecedent sensation, which is
past, must be revived by the consequent sensation, which is present.
It is the peculiarity of this revival which procures it the name.
If revived by any other sensation, it would not have that name.

The Clock strikes three. My feelings are, three sensations of
hearing, in succession. How do I know {22} them to be three
successive sensations? The process in this instance does not seem to
be very difficult to trace. The clock strikes one; this is pure
sensation. It strikes two; this is a sensation, joined with the idea
of the preceding sensation, and the idea of the feeling (also
sensation), called change of sensation, or passage from one
sensation to another. After two, the clock strikes three; there is,
here, sensation, and a double association; the third stroke is
sensation; that is associated immediately with the idea of the
second, and through the idea of the second, with the idea of the
first. It is observable, that these successive associations soon
cease to afford distinct ideas; they hardly do so beyond the second
stage. When the clock strikes, we may have distinct ideas of the
strokes, as far as three, hardly farther; we must then have recourse
to NAMING, and call the strokes, four, five, six, and so on:
otherwise we should be wholly unable to tell how often the clock had

In the preceding pairs of relative terms, we have found only one
name for each pair. Thus, when we say of A and B, that A is similar
to B, we say also, that B is similar to A. We have now an instance
of a pair of relative terms, consisting not of the same, but of
different names. If we call A antecedent, we call B consequent. The
first class were called by the ancient logicians, synonymous, the
second heteronymous; we may call them more intelligibly,
single-worded, and double-worded, relatives.[7]

[Editor's footnote 7: The next relation which the author examines is
that of succession, or Antecedent and Consequent. And here again we
have one of the universal conditions to which all our feelings or
states of consciousness are subject. Whenever we have more feelings
than one, we must have them either simultaneously or in succession;
and when we are conscious of having them in succession, we cannot in
any way separate or isolate the succession from the feelings
themselves. The author attempts to carry the analysis somewhat
farther. He says that when we have two sensations in the order of
antecedent and consequent, the consequent calls up the idea of the
antecedent; and that this fact, that a sensation calls up the idea
of another sensation directly, and not through an intermediate idea,
_constitutes_ that other sensation the antecedent of the sensation
which reminds us of it--is not a _consequence_ of the one
sensation's having preceded the other, but is literally all we mean
by the one sensation's having preceded the other. There seem to be
grave objections to this doctrine. In the first place, there is no
law of association by which a consequent calls up the idea of its
antecedent. The law of successive association is that the antecedent
calls up the idea of the consequent, but not conversely; as is seen
in the difficulty of repeating backwards even a form of words with
which we are very familiar. We get round from the consequent to the
antecedent by an indirect process, through the medium of other
ideas; or by going back, at each step, to the beginning of the
train, and repeating it downwards until we reach that particular
link. When a consequent directly recalls its antecedent, it is by
synchronous association, when the antecedent happens to have been so
prolonged as to coexist with, instead of merely preceding, the

The next difficulty is, that although the direct recalling of the
idea of a past sensation by a present, without any intermediate
link, does not take place from consequent to antecedent, it does
take place from like to like: a sensation recalls the idea of a past
sensation resembling itself, without the intervention of any other
idea. The author, however, says, that "when two sensations in a
train are such that if one exists, it has the idea of the other
along with it by its immediate exciting power, and not through any
intermediate idea; the sensation, the idea of which is thus excited,
is called the antecedent, the sensation which thus excites that idea
is called the consequent." If this therefore were correct, we should
give the names of antecedent and consequent not to the sensations
which really are so, but to those which recall one another by

Thirdly and lastly, to explain antecedence, _i.e._ the succession
between two feelings, by saying that one of the two calls up the
idea of the other, that is to say, is followed by it, is to explain
succession by succession, and antecedence by antecedence. Every
explanation of anything by states of our consciousness, includes as
part of the explanation a succession between those states; and it is
useless attempting to analyse that which comes out as an element in
every analysis we are able to make. Antecedence and consequence, as
well as likeness and unlikeness, must be postulated as universal
conditions of Nature, inherent in all our feelings whether of
external or of internal consciousness.--_Ed._]

{23} II. Having shewn what takes place in naming simple SENSATIONS,
and simple IDEAS, in pairs, both as {24} such and such, and as
antecedent and consequent, we come to the second case of relative
terms, that of naming the clusters, called EXTERNAL OBJECTS, in
pairs. The principal occasions of doing so we have said are four.

1. When we speak of them, as they exist in the synchronous order,
that is, the order in space, we use such relative terms as the
following: high, low; east, west; right, left; hind, fore; and so

It is necessary to carry along with us a correct idea of what is
meant by synchronous order, that is, the order of simultaneous, in
contradistinction to that of successive, existence. The synchronous
order is much more complex than the successive. The successive {25}
order is all, as it were, in one direction. The synchronous is in
every possible direction. The following seems to be the best mode of
conceiving it.

Take a single particle of matter as a centre. Other particles may be
aggregated to it, in the line of every possible radius; and as the
radii diverge, and other lines, tending to the centre, may be
continually interposed, to any number, particles may be aggregated
in those numberless directions. They may also be aggregated in those
directions to a less or a greater extent. And they may be aggregated
to an equal extent in every direction; or to a greater extent in
some of the directions, a less extent in others. In the first case
of aggregation they compose a globe; in the last, any other shape.

Every one of the particles in this aggregate, has a certain order;
first with respect to the centre particle; next with respect to
every other particle. This order is also called, the Position of the
particle. In such an aggregate, therefore, the positions are
innumerable. It is thence observable, that position is an
exceedingly complex idea; for the position of each of those
particles is its order with respect to every one of the other
innumerable particles; it includes, therefore, innumerable
ingredients. Hence it is not wonderful that, while viewed in the
lump, it should seem obscure and mysterious.

Of positions, thus numberless, it is a small portion, only that have
names. Bulk is a name for an aggregate of particles, greater, or
less. Figure is only a modification, or case, of bulk; it is more or
fewer particles in such and such directions.

These things being explained, it now remains to {26} shew, of what
copies of sensations, peculiarly combined, the complex ideas in
question are composed.

The simplest case of position, or synchronous order, is that of two
or more particles in one direction. Let us take the particle,
conceived as the centre particle, in a preceding supposition, and
let us aggregate to it a number of particles, all in the direction
of a single radius, one by one. We have first the centre particle,
and one other, in juxta-position. This is the simplest case of
synchronous order, and this is the simplest of all positions. Let us
next aggregate a second particle; we have now the centre particle,
and two more. The position of the first of the aggregated particles
with respect to the centre particle is contact, or juxta-position;
that of the second is not juxta-position, but position at the
distance of a particle; the next which is aggregated, is at the
distance of two; the next of three particles, and so on, to any

Particles thus aggregated, all in the direction of a single radius
from the first, constitute a line of less or greater length,
according to the number of aggregated particles.

Line is a word of great importance; because it is by that, chiefly,
we express ourselves concerning synchronous order; or frame names
for positions. Now it happens, that Line has a duplicity of meaning,
most unfortunate, because it has confounded two meanings, which it
is of the highest importance to preserve distinct.

We have already remarked the distinction between concrete, and
abstract, terms; and explained wherein the difference of their
signification consists. We have {27} also observed, that though in
very many cases, the concrete term, and the abstract term, are
different words, as good and goodness, true and truth, there are
many others in which the concrete and abstract terms are the same;
and this is the case, unhappily, with the word Truth itself, which
is used in the concrete sense, as well as the abstract. Thus we call
a proposition, a Truth; in which phrase, the word Truth, means "True
Proposition;" and in this sense we talk of eternal truths, meaning,
Propositions, always true. "Property," is another word, which is
sometimes concrete, sometimes abstract. Thus, a man calls his horse,
his field, his house, his property. In such phrases the word is
concrete. He also says, he has a property in such and such things.
In these phrases, it is abstract.

Of this ambiguity, the word Line is an instance. It is applied as
well to what we call a physical line, as to what we call a
mathematical line. In the first case, it is a concrete, or
connotative term; in the second case, it is an abstract or
non-connotative term. Let us then conceive clearly the two meanings.
The purest idea of a physical line, is that which we have already
formed; the aggregate of particle after particle, in the direction
of a radius. When this aggregate of particles in this order is
called a line, the word, line, is connotative; it marks or notes the
_direction_, but it also marks or connotes the _particles_; it means
the particles and the direction both; it is, in short, the
_concrete_ term. When it is used as the _abstract_ term, the
connotation is left out. It marks the direction without marking the

It is here necessary to call to mind, that abstract {28} terms
derive their meaning wholly from their concretes; and that by
themselves they have absolutely no meaning at all. I know a green
tree, a sweet apple, a hard stone, but greenness without something
green, hardness without something hard, are just nothing at all.

The same, in its abstract sense, is the case with line, though we
have not words by which we can convey the conception with equal
clearness. If we had an abstract term, separate from the concrete,
the troublesome association in question would have been less
indissoluble, and less deceptive. If we had such a word as Lineness,
or Linth, for example, we should have much more easily seen, that
our idea is the idea of the physical line; and that linth without a
line, as breadth without something broad, length without something
long, are just nothing at all.[8]

[Editor's footnote 8: This conception of a geometrical line, as the
abstract, of which a physical line is the corresponding concrete, is
scarcely satisfactory. An abstract name is the name of an attribute,
or property, of the things of which the concrete name is predicated.
It is, no doubt, the name of some part, some one or more, of the
sensations composing the concrete group, but not of those sensations
simply and in themselves; it is the name of those sensations
regarded as belonging to some group. Whiteness, the abstract name,
is the name of the colour white, considered as the colour of some
physical object. Now I do not see that a geometrical line is
conceived as an attribute of a physical object. The attribute of
objects which comes nearest to the signification of a geometrical
line, is their length: but length does not need any name but its
own; and the author does not seem to mean that a geometrical line is
the same thing as length. He seems to have fallen into the mistake
of confounding an abstract with an ideal. The line which is meant in
all the theorems of geometry I take to be as truly concrete as a
physical line; it denotes an object, but one purely imaginary; a
supposititious object, agreeing in all else with a physical line,
but differing from it in having no breadth. The properties of this
imaginary line of course agree with those of a physical line, except
so far as these depend on, or are affected by, breadth. The lines,
surfaces, and figures contemplated by geometry are abstract, only in
the improper sense of the term, in which it is applied to whatever
results from the mental process called Abstraction. They ought to be
called ideal. They are physical lines, surfaces, and figures,
idealized, that is, supposed hypothetically to be perfectly what
they are only imperfectly, and not to be at all what they are in a
very slight, and for most purposes wholly unimportant,

{29} What are, then, the sensations, the ideas of which, in close
association, we mark by the word line?

Though it appears to all men that they see position, length,
breadth, distance, figure; it is nevertheless true, that what
appear, in this manner, to be sensations of the eye, are Ideas,
called up by association. This is an important phenomenon, which
throws much light upon the darker involutions of human thought.

The sensations, whence are generated our ideas of synchronous order,
are from two sources; they are partly the sensations of touch, and
partly those of which we have spoken under the name of muscular
sensations, the feelings involved in muscular action.[9]

[Bain's footnote 9: In attaining the ideas of synchronous order,
which is another name for Space, or the Extended World, sight is a
leading instrumentality. It is by sight more than by any other sense
that we get somewhat beyond the strict limits of the law of the
successiveness of all our perceptions. Although we can _distinctly_
see only a limited spot at one instant, we can couple with this a
vague perception of an adjoining superficies. This is an important
sign of co-existence, as contrasted with succession, and enters with
various other signs into the very complex notion of the author's
synchronous order, otherwise called the Simultaneous or Co-existing
in Space.--_B._]

{30} A line, we have said, is an order of particles, contiguous one
to another, in the direction of a radius from one particle. Let us
begin from this one particle, and trace our sensations. One particle
may be an object of touch; it may be felt, as we call it, and
nothing more; it may, at the same time, give the sensation of
resistance, which we have already described as a feeling seated in
the muscles, just as sound is a feeling in the ear. Resistance, is
force applied to force. What we feel, is the act of the muscle.
Without that, no resistance. This state of consciousness is, in
reality, what we mark by the name. It is, at the same time, a state
of consciousness not a little obscure; because we habitually
overlook many of the sensations of which it is composed; because it
is, in itself, very complex; and because it is entangled with a
number of extraneous associations.

We have already remarked the habit we acquire of not attending to
the sensations which are seated in the muscles, of attending only to
the occasions of them, and the effects of them; that is, their
antecedents, and consequents; overlooking the intermediate
sensations. In marking, therefore, or assigning our names, it seems
to be rather the occasions and effects, the antecedents and
consequents, than the sensations themselves, which are named. The
word resistance is thus the name of a very complex {31} idea.[10] It
is the name; first, of the feelings which we have when we say we
feel resistance; secondly, of the occasions, or antecedents, of
those feelings; and, thirdly, of their consequents. The feelings
intermediate between the antecedents and consequents, are themselves
complex. There are two kinds of sensations included in them; the
sensation of touch, and the muscular sensations; and there is
something more. When we move a muscle, we Will to move it. This
state of consciousness, the Will to move it, is part of the feeling
of the motion. What that state of consciousness, called the Will,
is, we have not yet explained. At present we speak of it merely as
an element in the compound. Of what elements it is itself compounded
we shall see hereafter. In the idea of resistance, then, there is
the will to move the muscles, the sensations in the muscles, the
occasion or antecedent of those feelings, and the effects or
consequents of them. And there is the common complexity attending
all generical terms, that of their including all possible varieties.

[Bain's footnote 10: Still, when we apply an analysis to the complex
facts indicated by the name, we come to a simple as well as ultimate
experience, which is correctly signified by the name Resistance. The
feeling of muscular energy expended is in all likelihood an
absolutely elementary feeling of the mind; and the form of this
feeling that is least complicated or mixed up with other
sensibilities is what the word Resistance most usually expresses,
namely, the dead strain, that is energy without leading to movement,
or causing movement in such a slight degree as not to depart from
the essential peculiarity of expended force.--_B._]

These things being explained, the learner will now be able to trace,
without error, the formation of one of the most important of all our
ideas, that of {32} resistance, or pressure. We touch one thing,
butter, for instance; it yields to the finger, after a slight
pressure; that is, a certain feeling of ours. The will to move the
muscles, and the sensations in the muscles, are both included in
that feeling; but, for shortness, we shall speak of them, through
the present exposition, under one name, as the feelings or
sensations in the muscles. As we call the butter yellow, on account
of a feeling of sight; odorous, on account of a feeling of smell;
sapid, on account of a feeling of taste; so we call it soft, on
account of a feeling in our muscles. We touch a stone, as we touched
the butter, and it yields not, after the strongest pressure we can
apply. As we called the butter soft, on account of one muscular
feeling, we call the stone hard, on account of another. The
varieties of these feelings are innumerable. Only a small portion of
them have received names. The feeling upon pressure of butter, is
one thing; of honey, another; of water, another; of air, another; of
flesh, one thing; of bone, another. We mark them as we can, by the
terms soft, more soft, less soft; hard, more hard, less hard, and so
on. We have great occasion, however, for a word which shall include
all these different words. As we have "coloured" to include all the
names of sensations of sight; "touch" all the names of sensations of
touch, and so on; we invent the word "resisting," which includes all
the words, soft, hard, and so on, by which any of the sensations of
pressure are denoted.

Such, then, are the feelings which we are capable of receiving from
the particle with which we may suppose a line of particles to
commence. These feelings, in passing along the line, we should
receive in {33} succession from each, if the tactual sense were
sufficiently fine to distinguish particles in contact from one
another. It has not, however, this perfection. Even sight cannot
distinguish minute intervals. If a red-hot coal is whirled rapidly
round, though the coal is present at only one part of the circle at
each instant, the whole is one continuous red. If the seven
prismatic colours are made to pass rapidly in order before the eye,
they appear not distinct colours, but one uniform white. In like
manner, in passing from one to another, in a line of particles,
there is no feeling of interval; there is the feeling we call
continuity; that is, absence of interval.

The sensations, then, the ideas of which combined compose the idea
which we mark by the word line, may thus be traced. The tactual
feeling, and the feeling of resistance, derivable from every
particle, attend the finger in every part of its progress along the
line. What is there besides? To produce the progress of the finger,
there is muscular action; that is to say, there are the feelings
combined in muscular action. That we may exclude extraneous ideas as
much as possible, let us suppose, that, when a person first makes
himself acquainted with a line, he has the sense of touch, and the
muscular sensations, without any other sense. He has one state of
feeling, when the finger, which touches the line, is still; another,
when it moves. He has also one state of feeling from one degree of
motion, another from another. If he has one state of feeling from
the finger carried along, as far as it can extend, he has another
feeling when it is only carried half as far, and so on.

It is extremely difficult to speak of these feelings {34} precisely,
or to draw by language those who are not accustomed to the minute
analysis of their thoughts, to conceive them distinctly; because
they are among the feelings, as we have before remarked, which we
have acquired the habit of not attending to, or rather, have lost
the power of attending to.

It is certain, however, that by sensation alone we become acquainted
with lines; that in every different contraction of the muscles there
is a difference of sensation; and that of the tactual feeling, and
the feelings of the contracted muscles, all the feelings which
constitute our knowledge of a line are composed.

As, after certain repetitions of a particular sensation of sight, a
particular sensation of smell, a particular sensation of sight, and
so on, received in a certain order, I give to the combined ideas of
them, the name rose, the name apple, the name fire, and the like; in
the same manner, after certain repetitions of particular tactual
sensations, and particular muscular sensations, received in a
certain order, I give to the combined ideas of them, the name Line.
But when I have got my idea of a line, I have also got my idea of
extension. For what is extension, but lines in every direction?
physical lines, if real, tactual extension; mathematical lines, if
mathematical, that is, abstract, extension.

It would be tedious to pursue the analysis of extension farther. And
I trust it is not necessary; because the application of the same
method to the remaining cases, appears completely obvious. Take
plane surface for example. It is composed of all the lines which can
be drawn in a particular plane; the idea of it, therefore, is
derived from the tactual feeling, and the feeling of resistance,
combined with the {35} muscular feelings involved in the motion of
the finger in every direction which it can receive on a plane.

Let us now take some of the words which, along with the synchronous
order, connote objects in pairs. The names of this sort are not very
numerous. High, and low, right, and left, hind, and fore, are
examples. These, it is obvious, are names of the principal
directions from the human body as a centre. The order of objects,
the most frequently interesting to human beings, is, of course,
their order with respect to their own bodies. What is over the head,
gets the name of high; what is below the feet, gets the name of low;
and so on. Of the pairs which are connoted by those words, the human
body is always one. The words, right, left, hind, fore, when they
denote the object so called, always connote the body in respect to
which they are right, left, hind, fore. We have already noticed the
cases in which the objects, thus named in pairs, have each a
separate name, as father, son; also those in which both have the
same name, as sister, brother. We have here another case, which
deserves also to be particularly marked, that in which only one of
them has a name. The human body, which is always one of the objects
named, when we call things right, left, hind, fore, and so on, has
no corresponding relative name. The reason is sufficiently obvious;
this, being always one of the pair, cannot, the other being named,
be misunderstood.

For the complete understanding of these words, it does not appear
that any thing remains to be explained. If one line, proceeding from
a central particle, be understood, every line, which can proceed
from it, is also understood. If that central point be a part {36} of
the human body, it is plain that as the hand, passing along a line
in a certain direction from that centre, has certain muscular
actions, passing along in another direction, it has muscular actions
somewhat different. When we say muscular actions somewhat different,
we say muscular feelings somewhat different. Difference of feeling,
when important, needs difference of naming.

A particular case of association is here to be remarked; and it is
one which it is important for the learner to fix steadfastly in his

We never perceive, what we call an object, except in the synchronous
order. Whatever other sensations we receive, the sensations of the
synchronous order, are always received along with them. When we
perceive a chair, a tree, a man, a house, they are always situated
so and so, with respect to other objects. As the sensations of
positions are thus always received with the other sensations of an
object, the idea of Position is so closely associated with the idea
of the object, that it is wholly impossible for us to have the one
idea without the other. It is one of the most remarkable cases of
indissoluble association; and is that feeling which men describe,
when they say that the idea of space forces itself upon their
understandings, and is necessary.[11]

[Editor's footnote 11: Under the head, as before, of Relative Terms,
we find here an analysis of the important and intricate complex
ideas of Extension and Position. It will be convenient to defer any
remarks on this analysis, until it can be considered in conjunction
with the author's exposition of the closely allied subjects of
Motion and Space.--_Ed._]

{37} 2. We come now to the case of naming OBJECTS in pairs, on
account of the Successive Order.

We have had occasion to observe that there is nothing in which human
beings are so deeply interested, as the Successive Order of objects.
It is the successive order upon which all their happiness and misery
depends; and the synchronous order is interesting to them, chiefly
on account of its connection with the successive.

When we speak of objects, it is necessary to remember, that it is
sensations, not ideas, to which we are then directing our attention.
All our sensations, we say, are derived from objects; in other
words, object is the name we give to the antecedents of our
sensations. And, reciprocally, all our knowledge of objects is the
sensations themselves. We have the sensations, and that is all.
A knowledge, therefore, of the successive order of objects, is a
knowledge of the successive order of our sensations; of all the
pleasures, and all the pains, and all the feelings intermediate
between pleasure and pain, of which the body is susceptible.

Of successions, that is, the order of objects as antecedent and
consequent, some are constant, some not constant. Thus, a stone
dropped in the air always falls to the ground. This is a case of
constancy of sequence. Heavy clouds drop rain, but not always. This
is a case of casual sequence.[12] Human life is {38} deeply
interested in ascertaining the constant sequences of all the objects
from which human sensations are derived. The great business of
philosophy is to find them out; and to record them, in the form most
convenient for acquiring the knowledge of them, and for applying it.

[Editor's footnote 12: This is surely an improper use of the word
Casual. Sequences cannot be exhaustively divided into invariable and
casual, or (as by the author a few pages further on) into constant
and fortuitous. Heavy clouds, though they do not always drop rain,
are not connected with it by mere accident, as the passing of a
waggon might be. They are connected with it through causation: they
are one of the conditions on which, when united, rain is invariably
consequent, though it is not invariably consequent on that single
condition. This distinction is essential to any system of Inductive
Logic, in which it recurs at every step.--_Ed._]

In the successions of objects, it very often happens, that what
appear to us to be the immediate antecedent and consequent, are not
immediately successive, but are separated by several intermediate
successions. Thus, the falling of a spark on gunpowder, and the
explosion of the gunpowder, appear antecedent and consequent; but
several successions in reality intervene; various decompositions,
and compositions, in which, indeed, all the sequences cannot as yet
be traced. Most of the successions, which we are called upon to
notice and to name, are in the same situation. We fix upon two
conspicuous points in a chain of successions, and the intermediate
ones are either overlooked, or unknown.

Thus, we name Doctor and Patient, the two extremities of a pretty
long succession of objects. The Doctor is not the immediate
antecedent of any change in the patient. He is the immediate
antecedent of a certain conception, of which the consequent is,
writing a prescription; the consequent of this, is the sending {39}
it to the apothecary; the consequent of that, is the apothecary's
reading it, and so on; the whole composing a multitudinous train.
Doctor and Patient, therefore, are not only two paired names of two
paired objects, but names of all the successions between the one and
the other. Doctor and Patient, therefore, properly speaking, are to
be considered one name, though made up of two parts. Taken together,
they are the name of the complex idea of a considerable train of
sequences, of which a particular man is one extremity, a particular
man another; just as navigation is the single-worded name of the
complex idea of a very long train, of which the extremities are not
particularly marked. If you say, navigation from the Thames to the
Ganges, you have a many-worded name, by which the extremities of
this long train are particularly marked.

The relative terms, Father and Son, are obviously included in this
explanation. They are the two extremities of a train of great length
and intricacy, very imperfectly understood. They also, both
together, compose, as may easily be seen, but one name. Father is a
word which connotes Son, and whether Son is expressed or not, the
meaning of it is implied. In like manner Son connotes Father; and,
stripped of that connotation, is without a meaning. Taken together,
therefore, they are one name, the name of the complex idea of that
train of which father is the one extremity, son the other.[13]

[Editor's footnote 13: It seems hardly a proper expression to say
that Physician and Patient, or that Father and Son, are one name
made up of two parts. When one of the parts is a name of one person
and the other part is the name of another, it is difficult to see
how the two together can be but one name. Father and Son are two
names, denoting different persons: but what the author had it in his
mind to say, was that they connote the same series of facts, which
series, as the two persons are both indispensable parts of it, gives
names to them both, and is made the foundation or _fundamentum_ of
an attribute ascribed to each.

With the exception of this questionable use of language, which the
author had recourse to because he had not left himself the precise
word Connote, to express what there is of real identity in the
signification of the two names; the analysis which follows of the
various complicated cases of relation seems philosophically
unexceptionable. The complexity of a relation consists in the
complex composition of the series of facts or phenomena which the
names connote, and which is the _fundamentum relationis_. The names
signify that the person or thing, of which they are predicated,
forms part of a group or succession of phenomena along with the
other person or thing which is its correlate: and the special nature
of that group or series, which may be of extreme complexity,
constitutes the speciality of the relation predicated.--_Ed._]

{40} Brother and Brother are a pair of relative terms marking a
still more complex idea. Two brothers are two sons of the same
Father; taken together, they are, therefore, marks of all that Son,
taken twice, is capable of marking. Son, as we have just seen,
always implies Father; and, taken together, they are the name of a
train. The relatives, therefore, brother and brother, are the
compound name; two brothers, are the name of the train marked by the
term, Father and Son, taken twice, the prior extremity of the train
being the same in both cases, the latter different.

The above terms. Father and Son, Brother and {41} Brother, are
imposed on account of sequences which are passed. I do not at this
moment recollect any relative terms imposed on account of sequences
purely future. The terms, Buyer and Seller, are sometimes, indeed,
used in a sense wholly future; when they mean persons having
something to buy and something to sell: but they are also used in a
sense wholly passed, when they signify persons who have effected
purchase and sale. We have, however, many relative terms on account
of trains which are partly passed and partly future. Thus, Lender
and Borrower, are imposed partly on account of the passed train
included in the contract of lending and borrowing; partly on account
of the future train implied in the repayment of the money. The words
Debtor and Creditor are names of the same train, partly passed and
partly future.

The relative terms, Husband and Wife, are of the same class; the
name of a train partly passed, to wit, that implied in entering into
the nuptial contract; and partly future, to wit, all the events
expected to flow out of that contract. Master and Servant are
imposed, on account of a train partly passed and partly future; the
train of entering into the compact of master and servant, and the
train of acts which flow out of it. King and Subject are the name of
a train similarly divided; first, the train which led to the will of
obeying on the part of the people, the will of commanding on the
part of the king; secondly, the trains which grow out of these

Owner and Property are relative terms, or terms which connote one
another. They also are imposed on account of a train partly passed
and partly future. The part which is passed is the train implied in
the {42} circumstances of the acquisition, whether inheritance,
gift, labour, or purchase. The part which is future is the train
implied in the use which the owner may make of the property.

Of the terms which denote objects in successive pairs, several are
very general. Thus we have antecedent and consequent, which are
applicable to any parts of any train. Prior and Posterior, are
nearly of the same import. First and Last, are applicable to the two
extremities of any train. Second, third, fourth, and so on, are
applicable to the contiguous parts of any train.

We have remarked, above, that successions of objects are to be
distinguished into two remarkable kinds; that of the successions
which are fortuitous, and that of the successions which are
constant. Names to mark the antecedent and consequent in all
constant successions, which are things of such importance to us,
were found of course indispensable. Cause and Effect, are the names
we employ. In all constant successions. Cause is the name of the
antecedent. Effect the name of the consequent. And, beside this,
it has been proved by philosophers,[1*] that these names denote
absolutely nothing.

[Mill's footnote 1: Chiefly by Dr. Brown, of Edinburgh, in a work
entitled "Inquiry into the Relation of Cause and Effect;" one of the
most valuable contributions to science for which we are indebted to
the last generation.--(_Author's Note_.)]

It is highly necessary to be apprized, that each of the two names.
Cause and Effect, has a double meaning. They are used, sometimes in
the concrete sense, sometimes in the abstract. By this ambiguity,
{43} ideas are confounded, which it is of the greatest importance to
preserve distinct. When we say, the sun is the Cause of light, cause
is concrete; the meaning is, that the sun always causes light. When
we say that ice is the Effect of cold air, effect is concrete; the
meaning is, that ice is effected by cold air. "Cause," in these
cases, is merely a short name for "causing object," "Effect," a
short name for "caused object." In abstract discourse, on the other
hand, Cause and Effect are often used in the abstract sense, in
which cases Cause means the same thing as would be meant by
causingness; Effect, the same as would be meant by causedness. They
are merely the connotative or concrete terms, with the connotation

As the abstract terms have no meaning, except as they refer to the
concrete, it is in the concrete sense I shall always use the words
Cause and Effect, unless when I give notice to the contrary.

Other terms, pairing the parts of a train, take parts more or less
distant; first and last, take the most distant; father and son, take
parts at a considerable distance; cause and effect, on the other
hand, mean always the proximate parts. It does not, indeed, happen,
that we always apply them to the proximate parts; because the
intermediate sequences are often unknown, at other times overlooked.
They are always, however, applied to the parts regarded as
proximate. For we do not, strictly speaking, say, that any thing is
the cause of a thing, when it is only the cause of another thing,
which is the cause of that thing; still less, when there is a series
of causes and effects, before you arrive at that which you have
marked as _the_ effect, because the ultimate one. In {44} all the
inquiries of philosophers into causes, it is the antecedent and
consequent, really proximate, which is the object of their pursuit.

We have observed, in the case of the relative terms, applied to
objects as successive, that the words, properly speaking, form but
one name,--that of the complex idea of a train of less or greater
length: thus, Doctor and Patient is a name; Father and Son is a
name; each denoting a train of which two individuals are the
principal parts. In like manner, the relative terms Cause and
Effect, taken together, are but one name, the name of a short train,
that of one antecedent and one consequent, regarded as proximate,
and constant.

3. We have now shewn, in what manner the principal Relative Terms
are applied, when we have to speak of objects as having order in
Space, and when we have to speak of them as having order in Time. We
proceed to shew in what manner they are applied, when we have to
speak of objects as differing in Quantity, or differing in Quality;
and first, as differing in Quantity.

We apply the word Quantity, in a very general manner; to things,
which have the greatest diversity. Thus, we use the word quantity,
when we speak of extension; we use the word quantity, when we speak
of weight; we use it, when we speak of motion; we use it, when we
speak of heat; we use it, in short, on almost every occasion, on
which we can use the word degree. Of course, it represents not one
idea, but many ideas, some of which have the greatest diversity.

The relative terms, which we co-apply with {45} quantity, are equal,
unequal, or some particular case included under these more general
terms; as, more heavy, less heavy*; more strong, less strong; whole,
part; and so on.

When quantity is applied to extent, it may be extent either in one,
or more, or every direction; it may mean either quantity in line,
quantity in surface, or quantity in bulk. Accordingly, we can say,
equal, or unequal, lines; equal, or unequal, surfaces; equal, or
unequal, bulks.

Line is the simplest case; the explanation of it will, therefore,
facilitate the rest. We have already traced the sensations, which
constitute our knowledge of a line. We have seen that they are
certain sensations of touch, combined with the muscular sensations
involved in extending the arm.

As the sensations, involved in extending the arm so far, are not the
same with those which are involved in extending it farther; and as
the having different sensations, and distinguishing them, are not
two things, but one and the same thing;--as often as I have those
two cases of sensation, I distinguish them from one another; and,
distinguishing them from one another, I require names to mark them.
The first I mark, by the word, short; the other, by the word, long.
As I call a line long, from extending my arm so far; that is, from
the sensations involved in extending it; I call it longer from
extending it farther. After experience of a number of lines, there
are some which I call long, long, long, one after another, to any
amount; others which I call longer, longer, longer; others which
I call short, short, short; and so on.

When we have perceived the sensations, on account {46} of which we
call lines long, longer, short, shorter, we can be at no loss for
the knowledge of those, on account of which we call them equal, and
unequal. It is to be observed, that in applying the words long,
longer, short, shorter, minute differences are not named. They
cannot be named. The names would be too numerous. A general mark,
however, may be invented, to shew when there is even a minute
difference, and when there is not. When there is not, we call the
two lines equal; when there is, we call them unequal.

We shall presently see, when we come to trace the ideas, which the
class of words, called numbers, are employed to mark, what
distinction of sensation it is which is marked by the words, one,
and two. In the mean time, it is easy to see, that the case of
sensation, when we trace one line, with the hand, and then another,
is different from the case of sensation when we trace one line only,
or even the same line twice; and this diversity needs marks to
distinguish it. It is true, that in tracing one line, and then
another, and marking the distinction, there is something more than
sensation, there is also memory. But to this ingredient in the
compound, after the explanation which has already been given of
memory, it is not, at present, necessary particularly to advert.

When it is seen, what are the sensations which are marked by the
terms longer and shorter, applied to a line, it will not be
difficult to see what are the sensations, which are marked by the
terms, part, and whole.

The terms, a part, and whole, imply division. Of course, the thing
precedes the name. Men divided, before they named the act, or the
consequences of the {47} act. In the act of division, or in the
results of it, no mystery has ever been understood to reside. It is
of importance to remark, that the word division, in its ordinary
acceptation, includes, and thence confounds, things which very much
need to be distinguished. It includes the will, which is the
antecedent of the act; the act itself; and the results of the act.
At present we may leave the will aside; it will be explained
hereafter; and, as it is not the act, but the antecedent of the act,
the consideration of it is not required, for the present purpose.

The act of dividing, like all the other acts of our body, consists
in the contraction and relaxation of certain muscles. These are
known to us, like every thing else, by the feelings. The act, as
act, is the feelings; and only when confounded with its results, is
it conceived to be any thing else. If it be said, that the
contraction of the muscles of my arm, is something more in me than
feelings, because I see the motion of my arm; it is to be observed,
that this seeing, this sensation of sight, is not the act, but one
of its results; the feelings of the act are the antecedent; this
sensation of sight one of the consequents.

In the act of dividing a line, as in the act, already analysed, of
tracing a line, there is a feeling of touch, and there is also a
muscular feeling. There may be more or less of cohesion in the parts
of the line; and thence, more or less of what we call muscular
force, required to disunite them. Of course, what we call more or
less of force, are only names for different states of feeling. The
states of feeling which we mark by the term, force, being
antecedent, all the rest {48} are consequents of this antecedent.
The disunion of the parts of one line is attended with a certain
muscular feeling; I call the feeling a small force. That of another
line is attended with a muscular feeling somewhat different; I call
it a greater force; and so on. This muscular feeling, however, has
various accompaniments; which are closely associated with the idea
of the act, and with its name. Thus there is the sight of the line,
there is the sight of the hands in the act of disruption, and there
is the sight of the line after it is divided. The term division, as
we have mentioned before, includes all; the muscular feeling, the
sight of the line before division, and the sight of it after. I need
a pair of names for the line before division, and the line after.
I call the one whole, the other parts. Like other relative terms,
the one of these connotes the other; whole has no meaning, but when
associated with parts; parts have no meaning, but when associated
with whole. Taken together; that is, whole and parts, used as one
name; they mark a complex idea, consisting of three principal parts;
an undivided line, the act of division, and the consequent of that
antecedent, the line after division.

In the preceding exposition, it is actual division, the actual
making of parts, which has been spoken of. It is observable,
however, that the same language, by which we name actual division,
and actual parts, is applied to conceived division, and conceived
parts. Thus we talk of the parts of a line, when it is not divided,
nor meant to be divided. The exposition of this, however, is easy;
and there is obscurity only when the double use of the terms
confounds the two {49} cases, the division which is actual, with
that which is conceived.

The division of the line may consist of one act, or of more acts
than one. By the first act, it is divided into two parts; by the
second into three; by the third into four, and so on. The parts of
a line are so many lines. These may be equal, or unequal. But the
sensations, on account of which we denominate lines equal, or
unequal, have been already shewn; the equality, and inequality,
therefore, of the parts of a line, need no further explanation.

When the learner conceives distinctly the sensations on account of
which we apply the terms whole and parts to a line, he will not find
it difficult to understand, on what account we apply them to all the
modifications of extension; seeing that all these modifications are
lines combined.

Thus, a plane surface is a number of straight lines, in contact,
in the direction called a plane. It is of greater or less extent,
according as these lines are longer or shorter from a central point;
it is of one shape or another shape, according as the lines are of
the same length, or of different lengths. When they are all of one
length, the surface is called a circle. As they may be of different
lengths in endless variety, the surface may have an endless variety
of shapes, of which only a few have received names. The square is
one of these names, the triangle another, the parallelogram another,
and so on.

Bulk, which is the other great modification of extension, is lines
from a central point in every direction. This bulk is greater or
less, according as these lines are longer or shorter. The figure or
shape of this {50} bulk is different, according as the lines are of
the same or different lengths. If they are of the same length, the
bulk is called round, or, in one word, a sphere; sphere meaning
exactly round bulk. As the lines, when they differ in length, may
differ in endless ways; figures, or the shapes of bulk, are also
endless, as our senses abundantly testify. Of these but a small
number have received names. In this number are the cube, the
cylinder, the cone. We name some shapes by referring to known
objects; thus we speak of the shape of an egg, the shape of a pear,
and so on.

It seems that nothing, therefore, is now wanting, to shew in what
manner the relative terms, expressive of Quantity, are applied to
all the modifications of extension.

After what has been said, it will not be difficult to ascertain the
sensations on account of which we apply the same relative terms to
cases of Weight.

Weight is the name of a particular species of pressure; pressure
towards the centre of the earth. Pressure, as we have already fully
seen, is the name we apply, when we have certain sensations in the
muscles, just as green is the name we apply when we have a certain
sensation in the eye. As green is the name of the sensation in the
eye, pressure is the name of the sensation in the muscles. Pressure
upwards, is one thing; pressure downwards, is another; pressure of a
body, when that body is urged by another body, is one thing;
pressure of a body, when it is not urged by another body, is a
different thing: pressure of a body in altering the position of its
parts is one thing; pressure, when there is no alteration of the
position of its parts, is another thing. Of this last sort is
weight, {51} the pressure downwards, or towards the centre of the
earth, of a body not urged by another body, and not altering the
position of its parts.

In supporting in my hand a stone, I resist a certain pressure; in
other words, have certain muscular feelings, on account of which I
call the stone heavy. I support other stones, and in doing so have
muscular feelings, in one case similar, in another dissimilar. In
the case of similarity, I call two stones equal, meaning in weight;
in the case of dissimilarity, unequal; and so I apply all the other
relative terms by which quantity is expressed.

It seems unnecessary to carry this analysis into further detail. The
words equal, unequal: greater, less; applied to Motion, to Heat, and
other modifications of sensation, have a meaning, which in following
the course so fully exemplified it cannot be difficult to ascertain.

It seems still necessary that I should say something of the word
_Quantus_, from which the word Quantity is derived. _Quantus_ is the
correlate of _Tantus_. _Tantus_, _Quantus_, are relative terms,
applicable to all the objects to which we apply the terms, Great, or
Little; they are applicable, therefore, to all the modifications of
extension, of weight, of heat; in short, to all modifications which
we can mark as degrees.

Of two lines, we call the one _tantus_, the other _quantus_. The
occasions on which we do so are, when the one is as long as the
other. _Tantus_, and _Quantus_, then, in this case, mean the same
thing as equal, equal. They will be found to have the same import as
equal, equal, when applied also to surface, and bulk; and so in all
other compatible cases.

{52} What then, it may be asked, is the use of them? If it should
appear that they were of no use, it would not be very surprising;
considering by whom languages have been made; and that redundancy is
frequent in them as well as defect. In the present case, however, a
use is not wanting.

It is necessary to observe the artifice, to which we are obliged to
have recourse, to name, and even to distinguish, the different
modifications, not of kind but of degree, included under the word
quantity. We are obliged to take some one object, with which we are
familiar, and to distinguish other objects, as differing or agreeing
with that object. Thus, we take some well-known line, the length of
the foot, or the length of the arm, and distinguish and name all
other lengths by that length; which can be divided or multiplied so
as to correspond with them. In like manner, we take some well-known
object as a standard weight, which we call, for example, a pound,
and distinguish and name all other weights, as parts or multiples of
that known weight.

Now it will be recognised, that, in applying the relative terms
equal, equal, or in calling two objects equal, no one of them is
marked as the standard. Both are taken on the same footing. The one
is equal to the other; and the other is equal to that. But when we
say that one thing is _tantus_, _quantus_ another; or one so great,
as the other is great; the first is referred to the last, the
_tantus_ to the _quantus_; the first is distinguished and named by
the last. The _quantus_ is the standard.

It is this which gives its peculiar meaning to the word Quantity,
and has recommended it for that very {53} comprehensive and
generical acceptation, in which it is now received.

Our word Quantity, is the Latin word _Quantitas_; and _Quantitas_ is
the abstract of the concrete _Quantus_. We have no English words,
corresponding to _Tantus_, _Quantus_. We form an equivalent, by aid
of the relative conjunctions; we say, So Great, As Great. But these
concrete terms do not furnish abstracts; we do not say,
As-greatness; in the first place, because it is an awkward
expression; and in the next place, because the relative, "as," is
not steady in its application, since we use "as great" not for
_quantus_ only, but frequently also for _tantus_. As greatness,
therefore, does not readily suggest the idea of the abstract of

On what account, then, is it we give to any thing the name
_Quantus_? As a standard by which to name another thing _Tantus_.
The thing called _Quantus_, is the previously known thing, the
ascertained amount, by which we can mark and define the other
amount. Leaving out the connotation of _Quantus_, which is some one
individual body, _Quantitas_ merely denotes such and such an amount
of body. _Quantitas_, if it was kept to its original meaning, would
still connote _Tantitas_; just as paternity connotes filiality. But
in the case of Quantity, even this connotation is dropped; it is
used not as a relative abstract term, but an absolute abstract term;
and is employed as a generical name for any portion of extension,
any portion of weight, of heat, or any thing else, which can be
measured by a part of itself.[14]

[Editor's footnote 14: After analysing Position and Extension under
the head of Relative Terms, the author now, under the same head,
gives the analysis of Quantity and Quality. To what he says on the
subject of Quantity it does not appear necessary to add anything. He
seems to have correctly analysed the phenomenon down to a primitive
element, beyond which we have no power to investigate. As Likeness
and Unlikeness appeared to be properties of our simple feelings,
which must be postulated as ultimate, and which are inseparable from
the feelings themselves, so may this also be said of More and Less.
As some of our feelings are like, some unlike, so there is a mode of
likeness or unlikeness which we call Degree: some feelings otherwise
like are unlike in degree, that is one is unlike another in
intensity, or one is unlike another in duration; in either case one
is distinguished as more, or greater, the other as less. And the
fact of being more or less only means that we feel them as more or
less. The author says in this case, as he had said in the other
elementary cases of relation, that the more and the less being
different sensations, to trace them and to distinguish their
difference are not two things but one and the same thing. It matters
not, since there the difference still is, unsusceptible of further
analysis. The author's apparent simplification amounts only to this,
that differences of quantity, like all other differences of which we
take cognizance, are differences merely in our feelings; they exist
only as they are felt. But (as we have already said of resemblance,
and of antecedence and consequence) they must be postulated as
elements. The distinction of more and less is one of the ultimate
conditions under which we have all our states of

{54} 4. After tracing the sensations and ideas, which are marked
when we apply relative terms to objects, as agreeing or disagreeing
in _quantity_; we have now to trace the sensations and ideas, which
are marked, when we apply relative terms to objects, on account of
their agreeing or disagreeing in _quality_.

First of all, the learner must take note of what he {55} means by
Quality. We ascribe qualities to an object on account of our
sensations. We call an object green, on account of the sensation
green; hard, on account of the sensation hard; sounding, on account
of the sensation sounding. The names of all qualities of objects,
then, are names of sensations. Are they any thing else? Yes; they
are the names of our sensations, with connotation of a supposed
unknown cause of those sensations. As far, however, as our knowledge
goes, they are names of sensations, and nothing else. The supposed
cause is never known; the effects alone are known to us.

We ascribe qualities to objects, in two cases, which require to be
distinguished: on account of the sensations which we have from them
primarily; on account of those which we have from them secondarily.
The first we call their sensible qualities; as green, hot, hard,
sweet, scented, and so on: the second we more frequently call their
powers; as the power of the loadstone to draw iron, the power of
water to melt sugar. In this latter case, the sensations marked are
not those which are derived from the loadstone, or from water; but
those which are derived from the changes in the iron, and the sugar;
of which changes, we call the loadstone, and the water, the cause.
In the latter case, the train of antecedents and consequents is
longer than it is in the former. When I see an object green; there
is the object, the antecedent; and myself sentient of green, the
consequent. When I see a loadstone draw iron, there is the following
train; the loadstone, antecedent; iron drawn, first consequent;
myself seeing it drawn, second consequent. When I see water melt
sugar, there is the {56} antecedent water; sugar melting, first
consequent; myself seeing it, second consequent. What I call the
powers of an object, then, are its order in respect to certain of my
sensations, the order of antecedence, not proximate, but more or
less remote.

When I say that grass is green, I trace my sensation green, no
farther than to the grass. When I say, the sugar is melting, I trace
my sensations (for they are several) called sugar melting, first to
the sugar, and then to the water. My word green, therefore, is the
notation of a sensation, and connotation of an unknown cause; my
name melting, is the notation of a compound of sensations, and
connotation of two causes, an antecedent and a consequent: the
first, an unknown cause in the sugar; the second, the cause of that
unknown cause, namely, the water.

In speaking of the qualities of an object, it is necessary to take
notice of an inaccuracy of language; which, not only, as Dr. Brown
has well observed, lies at the bottom of many philosophical errors,
but induces men to mistake the very business of the philosopher.

The term, "quality" or "qualities of an object," seems to imply,
that the qualities are one thing, the object another. And this, in
some indistinct way, is, no doubt, the opinion of the great majority
of mankind. Yet, the absurdity of it strikes the understanding, the
moment it is mentioned. The qualities of an object are the whole of
the object. What is there beside the qualities? In fact, they are
convertible terms: the qualities are the object; and the object is
the qualities. But, then, what are the qualities? Why, sensations,
with the association of {57} the object as the cause. And what is
the association of the object as the cause? Why, the association of
other sensations as antecedent. What, for example, are the smell,
and colour, and other qualities of the rose? Is not each of the
names of these qualities, that of the smell, for example, a
connotative name, not only noting the sensation, of which it is
properly the name, but connoting all the sensations of colour, of
consistence, of figure, of position; to which, all combined by
association, so as to form one complex idea, we give the specific
name, rose, the more general name, vegetable, and the still more
general name, object? When the smell of a rose is perceived by me,
or the idea suggested to me, immediately all the other ideas
included under the term rose, are suggested along with it, and their
indissoluble union presupposed. But this belief of the previous
indissoluble union of each of those sensations with all the other
sensations, is all which I really mean when I refer each sensation
to the rose as its cause.

If the learner has fully apprehended the ideas here premised, it
will be easy for him to trace to the bottom the relative terms,
which we apply to objects on account of their agreeing or
disagreeing in _Quality_.

We say, that objects agree or disagree, on account of one quality,
or more than one quality, that is, on account of single sensations,
or combined sensations.

Let us first observe the case of one quality. We say, that a blade
of grass is like the leaf of an oak, meaning, that in the quality of
colour both are green; we say that the leaf of the rose tree, is
unlike the petal of the flower, meaning in colour. By these {58}
words, we name the objects in pairs; first, the pair of leaves, to
each of which, we give the name, like; secondly, the leaf and the
petal, to each of which, we give the name, unlike. We name the first
two objects, "like," on account of the two sensations, green, and
green, one of each object; we name the next two objects unlike, on
account of the two sensations, green of the one, red of the other.
What is done, or rather what is felt, when we give the same, or a
different name, to each of two sensations, has been already so fully
explained, that a bare suggestion of what has been premised, is here
all that will be required.

We have two sensations. A, B. Having two sensations, and knowing
them to be two sensations, that is, not one sensation, is having the
sensations, and nothing more.

Why do I call one sequence of sensations, green, green; another
sequence, green, red? Clearly on account of the sensations. No other
explanation can be given of it, nor can be required. For the same
reason for which I called the sensations of the first sequence
individually, green, green, I call them both, like; and for the same
reason for which I called those of the second sequence, not green,
green, but green, red, I call them, unlike.

Let us next put the case of several sensations. We say, that one
rose is like another. We have only to take the sensations combined
under the name rose, one by one, to see that this, and the former,
case, are in reality the same. The two roses are like in colour,
like in smell, like in consistence, like in form, like in position.
The likeness of the two roses, is a likeness {59} not in one
sensation, but in several. But the likeness of two sensations of
smell, is of the same nature as the likeness of the two sensations
of sight. When I call the smell, therefore, of the two roses like,
it is for the same reason as I call the colour of them like, that
is, the sensations. When I call the shape and consistence, and
position, like, it is for the same reason still; the tactual and
muscular sensations, whence the ideas are derived to which these
names are annexed. In this case, however, the reason is by no means
so clearly seen, first, because the sensations are complex, and
secondly, because they are of that class of sensations which we
habitually overlook.

The Latin words, _Talis_, _Qualis_, are applied to objects in the
same way, on one account, as _Tantus_, _Quantus_, on another; and
the explanation we gave of _Tantus_, _Quantus_, may be applied
_mutatis mutandis_, to the pair of relatives we have now named.
_Tantus_, _Quantus_, are names applied to objects on account of
dimension. _Talis_, _Qualis_, are names applied to objects on
account of all other sensations. We apply _Tantus_, _Quantus_, to a
pair of objects when they are equal; we apply _Talis_, _Qualis_, to
a pair of objects, when they are like.

_Talis_, _Qualis_, however, express the likeness of two objects in a
manner somewhat different from the other pair of nearly equivalent
relatives, "Like," and "Like." When we call two objects Like, the
one is placed on the same footing as the other. No one of them is
taken as the standard. When we apply, _Talis_, _Qualis_, the case is
different. One of the objects is then the standard. The object
_Qualis_, is that to which the reference is made.

{60} This being understood, the extensive meaning which came to be
given to the word Quality, may be easily explained. Quality is the
Latin _Qualitas_, and _Qualitas_ is the abstract of _Qualis_. The
meaning of the abstract is the same with that of the concrete, the
connotation being dropped. When the word _Qualis_, is applied to an
object, it notes something about it in particular, but connotes the
whole object. The _Qualitas_ of that object, is the something noted
in particular, the connotation being dropped. As _Qualis_ is applied
to objects, sometimes on account of one thing belonging to them,
sometimes on account of another, _Qualitas_ comes in turn to be
applied to every thing in them, requiring at any time a separate
notation. _Qualitas_, when first formed from _Qualis_, has the force
of a relative, and connotes the abstract of _Talis_; but in its
frequent use, in marking every thing in objects, which requires
separate notation, this connotation, also, comes to be dropped; and
Quality is finally used as an absolute term, the generical name of
every thing in objects, for which a separate notation is

[Editor's footnote 15: As in the case of Quantity, so in that of
Quality, it is needless to add anything to the author's very
sufficient elucidation. I merely make the usual reserves with
respect to the use of the word Connotation. The concrete names which
predicate qualities (for of abstract relative names the author is
not yet speaking) are said by him to be the names of our sensations;
green, for instance, and red. But it is the abstract names alone
which are this: the names greenness, and redness. And even the
abstract names signify something more than only the sensations: they
are names of the sensations considered as derived from an object
which produces them. The concrete name is a name not of the
sensation, but of the object, of which alone it is predicable: we
talk of green objects, but not of green sensations. It however
connotes the quality greenness, that is, it connotes that particular
sensation as produced by, or proceeding from, the object; as forming
one of the group of sensations which constitutes the object. This,
however, is but a difference, though a very important one, in
terminology. It is strictly true, that the real meaning of the word
is the sensations; as, in all cases, the meaning of a connotative
word resides in the connotation (the attributes signified by it),
though it is the name of, or is predicable of, only the objects
which it denotes.--_Ed._]

{61} III. It was remarked at the beginning of this investigation of
relative terms or names applied in pairs, that we name in pairs--
1, single sensations or ideas; 2, the clusters we call objects;
3, the complex ideas we form arbitrarily for our own purposes. Having
finished the consideration of the two former cases, we shall not
find occasion to speak much at length upon the last.

The clusters, formed by arbitrary association, receive names in
pairs, on two occasions; either,

1. When they consist of the same or different simple ideas; or,

2. When they succeed one another in a train.

1. The ideas which we put together arbitrarily are sometimes less,
sometimes more, complex, for the most part, they are exceedingly

Of the less complicated kinds, are such ideas as that of the
unicorn, which is a horse with one straight horn growing from the
middle of its forehead; the Cyclops, a gigantic man, with a single
eye in the middle of his forehead; a mermaid, of which the upper
part is a woman, the lower a fish; the Brobdignagian {62} and
Lilliputian of Swift, which are men of greatly reduced, or greatly
enlarged dimensions.

Of the more complicated kinds, are such ideas as those which are
marked by the word Science, by the word Trade, by the word Law, by
the word Religion, by the word Faith, by the words God and Devil, by
the word Value, by the words Virtue, Honour, Vice, Beauty,
Deformity, Space, Time, and so on.

Language has not many relative terms, applicable to ideas of this
class. We speak of pairs of them as like or unlike, same or
different, greater or less; and except when their order in time is
to be noted, we hardly apply to them any other marks in pairs.

We say the Cyclops in Homer, and the Brobdignagian of Swift, are
unlike. We do so precisely in the same way, as we say, the rose and
the lily are unlike; and the explanation which we have given of that
which is distinctively marked by those terms, when applied to
objects, is precisely applicable here. In the case of objects, that
which is named, is, clusters of ideas;[16] in the present case, that
which is named, is clusters of ideas. That one cluster has been
formed in one way, another in another, makes no difference in
annexing marks to the clusters when they are formed.

[Editor's footnote 16: Say rather, in the case of objects, what is
named is clusters of sensations, supplemented by possibilities of
sensation. If an object is but a cluster of ideas, what is there to
distinguish it from a mere thought?--_Ed._]

There is as little difficulty in tracing what is marked by the
relatives, different, and same, when applied to ideas of this class.
We say, the unicorn is different {63} from the horse; because, to
the idea of the horse it adds that of a horn growing in the middle
of the forehead. In the case of very complex ideas, it is much more
difficult to say, with precision, what are the added and subtracted
ideas, on account of which, we apply the term, different; as when we
say, the courage of Ajax was different from that of Achilles; but it
is not the less certain, that it is wholly on account of ideas added
and subtracted, that we so denominate the courage of the two men.

Rather more explanation is needed, to shew what is peculiarly marked
by the relatives equal, unequal, greater, less, when applied to the
class of arbitrarily formed complex ideas.

We have already seen, that those terms are primarily applied to what
we call objects, on account of their extension; objects are equal or
unequal, greater or less, in extension.

We have also seen, that in marking the extension of different
objects, we are under the necessity of taking some known object as a
standard, and by that object naming others. Thus, we take the foot,
and say that other objects are two feet, three feet, or the half or
quarter of a foot, and so on.

Having become familiar with what we call degrees of extension, we
are led to employ the same mode of notation, when we come to mark
analogous differences in other cases of sensation. Thus, when we
perceive the weight of different heavy bodies; as the terms equal,
unequal, greater, less, are applied with convenience to certain
cases of extension, it appears they may be applied with equal
convenience, and even precision, to cases of weight. All other
sensations, {64} having distinguishable differences, may be marked
in the same way: thus sounds are more or less loud, and we speak of
equal, or unequal, less or greater loudness of sound; less or
greater sweetness in objects of the palate; less or greater
resistance; less or greater pain; less or greater pleasure.

When the terms equal, unequal, less, greater, had been applied to
simple sensations of the pleasurable kind, and their ideas; the
transference of them to complex ideas, of the pleasurable or painful
kind, was easy. If the less or greater sweetness of the rose and the
woodbine, was a convenient notation, so was the less or greater
beauty of those two flowers, the less or greater beauty of two
women, the less or greater wisdom or folly, vice or virtue, of two

It thus appears, that, as we apply the term unlike to our complex
ideas, on account of the addition and subtraction of ideas of
_different_ kinds, so we apply to them the term unequal, on account
of the addition and subtraction of ideas of the _same_ kind. Like
and equal we apply, when we neither add, nor subtract.[17]

[Editor's footnote 17: In this passage the author has got as near as
it is perhaps possible to get, to an analysis of the ideas of More
and Less. We say there is more of something, when, to what there
already was, there has been superadded other matter of the same
kind. And when there is no actual superadding, but merely two
independent masses of the same substance, we call that one the
greater which produces the same impression on our senses which the
other would produce if an addition were made to it. So with
differences of intensity. One sweet taste is called sweeter than
another because it resembles the taste which would be produced by
adding more sugar: and so forth. In all these cases there is
presupposed an original difference in the sensations produced in us
by the greater mass and by the smaller: but according to the
explanation now offered, the idea which guides the application of
the terms is that of physical juxtaposition.--_Ed._]

{65} 2. We apply the same relative terms to successive ideas of this
class, which we apply to simple ideas, or the clusters called
objects, when successive. We call them antecedent and consequent, or
names equivalent; as prior, posterior; first, second; or even
successive, which is a name including both antecedent and

In speaking of the relative terms applied to objects as successive,
we had occasion to explain the two important terms, Cause and
Effect. We found that Cause and Effect, were only other names for
antecedent and consequent, in a certain set of cases. We do not use
the terms, Cause and Effect, as synonymous with antecedent and
consequent, in those cases in which, though the objects may be
antecedent and consequent to our perception, we know not whether
they are parts of the same series, or parts of two different series.
Within the sphere of our observation, innumerable series of events
are going on; and we are observing, first a part of one series, and
then a part of another, continually. It is thus constantly
happening, that those things, which are immediately antecedent and
consequent to our observation, are not parts of the same series, but
parts of different series; and, of course, in those antecedents and
consequents, there is no constancy; they are accidental, as the
course of each man's attention. This may be illustrated by many
familiar instances. There may be {66} immediately before me, a man
playing on the violin, one series; another man filing a saw, a
second series. My attention may pass immediately from the sight of
the man playing on the violin, to the sound produced by the filing
of the saw. Playing on the violin, and the disagreeable sound of the
file on the saw, are thus antecedent and consequent to my attention.
But, as we recognise such antecedents and consequents, as parts of
different series of events, we do not call them cause and effect.

There are two cases of antecedents and consequents, even when they
are parts of the same series. They may be proximate; or they may be
remote; that is, parts of the series, more or fewer, may come
between them. It is only to the case of the proximate parts of the
same series, that the relatives, cause and effect, are properly and
strictly applied. When the series, however, is the same, the
intermediate links between any two remote parts are constant.
Suppose a series, A, B, C, D; as B is the immediate consequent of A,
C the immediate consequent of B, and D the immediate consequent of
C; when I know A and D as antecedent and consequent, without knowing
the intermediate parts B, and C, there is little inaccuracy in
naming A and D cause and effect; because B and C are surely
intermediate, and the succession of A and D, though not immediate,
is constant. We accordingly do name cause and effect parts of a
series thus removed from one another, in all those cases in which
the intermediate parts are either unknown to us, or habitually

The terms Cause and Effect, thus applied to Objects as antecedent
and consequent, are applied also to {67} Thoughts as antecedent and
consequent. Thus we say, that Evidence is the cause of Belief;
Villany is the cause of Indignation, and so on.

Of objects, antecedent and consequent, we have observed, that
innumerable series are existing at the same time; a separate series,
of vegetation, for example, in every plant, of animalization in
every animal, of composition and decomposition in objects without
number. In the mind, however, there is but one train, not various
trains at the same time; and therefore, according to the sense above
applied to the terms Cause and Effect, each thought in a train is
the cause of that which follows it, and each succeeding thought is
the effect of that which precedes it.

But if thoughts are reciprocally Cause and Effect; that is to say,
if, in trains of thought, the same antecedent is regularly followed
by the same consequent, how happens it that all trains of thought
are not the same? For if the ideas A, B, C, D, &c., constantly
follow one another, every mind into which A may enter, goes on with
B, C, D, &c., and hence all such minds should consist of the same
trains, that is, should be the same.

Supposing the succession of two thoughts to have that constancy to
which we apply the terms cause and effect, trains would still have
that variety which we experience. Our trains consist of two
distinguishable ingredients; sensations and ideas. Sensations depend
upon the innumerable series of objects. They are, therefore, liable
to all that variety which attends the perception of those objects. A
perpetual variety in sensations produces a perpetual variety in the
thoughts which are consequent upon them. The {68} variety of
sensation, is even much greater than is commonly supposed. The most
active of all our sensations is the sight. But in most objects of
sight there are numerous parts. Some of these are more seen, some
are less seen; some not seen at all. Of these, the parts that are
more seen by one man, are less seen by another; whence it is
probable, that from an object of any complexity no two men ever
receive precisely the same sensations. There is a striking
exemplification of this, in the fact, so constantly observed, of the
different manner in which different men are affected by the
comparison of two countenances. To one man there appears a strong
likeness, where another man cannot discover any. Of the minute
particulars, on which the likeness depends, none, or an insufficient
number, is embraced by the vision of the one, while the contrary is
the case with that of the other.

The variety in the sensations, which mix in the trains of men, is
one grand cause of the variety in the ideas, which make up or
complete those trains. The variety in the order of those sensations
is another cause. We have seen that ideas follow one another, in the
order in which the sensations have followed. Thus, a man may be a
kind father to his child. The sight of him to the child is
habitually accompanied with agreeable sensations. The same man may
be a severe master to his slaves. The sight of him to the slaves is
habitually accompanied with painful sensations. A corresponding
difference exists in the case of the ideas. When his image presents
itself to the mind of the child, it is followed by a train of
pleasurable ideas, corresponding to the {69} pleasurable sensations
which the child has habitually enjoyed in his presence. When his
image rises to the mind of the slave, it is followed, from the
contrary cause, by ideas of the contrary description.[18]

[Editor's footnote 18: The author may seem to be anticipating a
difficulty which few will feel, when he asks how it happens that all
trains of thought are not the same. But what he is enquiring into is
not why this happens, but how its happening is consistent with the
doctrine he has just laid down. He is guarding against a possible
objection to his proposition, that "the succession of two thoughts"
has "that constancy to which we apply the terms Cause and Effect."
If (he says) it is by direct causation that an idea raises up
another idea with which it is associated; and if it be the nature
and the very meaning of a cause, to be invariably followed by its
effect; how is it, he asks, that any two minds, which have once had
the same idea, do not coincide in their whole subsequent history?
And how is it that the same mind, when it gets back to an idea it
has had before, does not go on revolving in an eternal round?

Of this difficulty he gives a solution, good as far as it goes--that
it is because the train of ideas is interrupted by sensations, which
are not the same in different minds, nor in the same mind at every
repetition, and which even when they are the same, are connected in
different minds with different associations. This is true, but is
not the whole truth, and a still more complete explanation of the
difficulty might have been given. The author has overlooked a part
of the laws of association, of which he was perfectly aware, but to
which he does not seem to have been always sufficiently alive. The
first point overlooked is, that one idea seldom, perhaps never,
entirely fills and engrosses the mind. We have almost always a
considerable number of ideas in the mind at once; and it must be a
very rare occurrence for any two persons, or for the same person
twice over, to have exactly the same collection of ideas present,
each in the same relative intensity. For this reason, were there no
other, the ideas which the mental state excites by association are
almost always more or less different.

A second point overlooked is, that every sensation or idea is far
from recalling, whenever it occurs, all the ideas with which it is
associated. It never recalls more than a portion of them, and a
portion different at different times. The author has not, in any
part of the Analysis, laid down any law that determines which among
the many ideas associated with an idea or sensation, shall be
actually called up by it in a given case. The selection which it
makes among them depends on the truth already stated, that we seldom
or never have only one idea at a time. When we have several
together, they all exercise their suggesting power, and each of them
aids, impedes, or modifies the suggesting power of the others. This
important case of Association has been treated in a masterly manner
by Mr. Bain, both in his larger treatise and in his Compendium,
under the name of Compound Association, and he lays down the
following as its most general law. "Past actions, sensations,
thoughts, or emotions, are recalled more easily when associated
either through contiguity or similarity, with more than one present
object or impression." (Compendium of Psychology and Ethics, p.
151.) It follows that when we have several ideas in our mind, none
of which is able to call up all the ideas associated with it, those
ideas will usually have the preference which are associated with
more than one of the ideas already present. An idea A, coexisting in
the mind with an idea B, will not select the same idea from among
those associated with it, that it would it it occurred alone or with
a different accompaniment. If there be any one of the ideas
associated with A which is also associated with B, this will
probably be one of those called up by their joint action. If there
be any idea associated with A which not only is not associated with
B, but whose negation is associated with B, this idea will probably
be prevented from arising. If there are any sensations which have
usually been presented in conjunction, not with A alone or with B
alone, but with the combination A B, still more likely is it that
the ideas of these will be recalled when A and B are thought of
together, even though A or B by themselves might in preference have
recalled some other.

These considerations will be found of primary importance in
explaining and accounting for the course of human thought. They
enable us, for example, to understand what it is that keeps a train
of thought coherent, _i.e._ that maintains it of a given quality, or
directs it to a given purpose. The ideas which succeed one another
in the mind of a person who is writing a treatise on some subject,
or striving to persuade or conciliate a tribunal or a deliberative
assembly, are suggested one by another according to the general laws
of association. Yet the ideas recalled are not those which would be
called up on any common occasion by the same antecedents, but are
those only which connect themselves in the writer's or speaker's
mind with the end which he is aiming at. The reason is, that the
various ideas of the train are not solitary in his mind, but there
coexists with all of them (in a greater or less degree of constancy
according to the quality of the mind) the highly interesting idea of
the end in view: and the presence of this idea causes each of the
ideas which pass through his mind while so engaged, to suggest such
of the ideas associated with them as are also associated with the
idea of the end, and not to suggest those which have no association
with it. The ideas all follow one another in an associated train,
each calling up by association the one which immediately follows it;
but the perpetual presence or continual recurrence of the idea of
the end, determines, within certain limits, which of the ideas
associated with each link of the chain shall be aroused and form the
next link. When we come to the author's analysis of the power of the
Will over our ideas, we shall find him taking exactly this view of

Concerning the simultaneous existence of many ideas in the mind, and
the manner in which they modify each other's exercise of the
suggesting power, there is an able and instructive passage in
Cardaillac's Etudes Elémentaires de Philosophie, which has been
translated and quoted by Sir William Hamilton in his Lectures, and
which, being highly illustrative of the preceding remarks, I think
it useful to subjoin.

"Among psychologists, those who have written on Memory and
Reproduction with the greatest detail and precision, have still
failed in giving more than a meagre outline of these operations.
They have taken account only of the notions which suggest each other
with a distinct and palpable notoriety. They have viewed the
associations only in the order in which language is competent to
express them; and as language, which renders them still more
palpable and distinct, can only express them in a consecutive order,
can only express them one after another, they have been led to
suppose that thoughts only awaken in succession. Thus, a series of
ideas mutually associated, resembles, on the doctrine of
philosophers, a chain in which every link draws up that which
follows; and it is by means of these links that intelligence labours
through, in the act of reminiscence, to the end which it proposes to

"There are some, indeed, among them, who are ready to acknowledge,
that every actual circumstance is associated to several fundamental
notions, and consequently to several chains, between which the mind
may choose; they admit even that every link is attached to several
others, so that the whole forms a kind of trellis,--a kind of
network, which the mind may traverse in every direction, but still
always in a single direction at once,--always in a succession
similar to that of speech. This manner of explaining reminiscence is
founded solely on this,--that, content to have observed all that is
distinctly manifest in the phenomenon, they have paid no attention
to the under-play of the latescent activities,--paid no attention to
all that custom conceals, and conceals the more effectually in
proportion as it is more completely blended with the natural
agencies of mind.

"Thus their theory, true in itself, and setting out from a
well-established principle, the Association of Ideas, explains in a
satisfactory manner a portion of the phenomena of Reminiscence; but
it is incomplete, for it is unable to account for the prompt, easy,
and varied operations of this faculty, or for all the marvels it
performs. On the doctrine of the philosophers, we can explain how a
scholar repeats, without hesitation, a lesson he has learned, for
all the words are associated in his mind according to the order in
which he has studied them; how he demonstrates a geometrical
theorem, the parts of which are connected together in the same
manner: these and similar reminiscences of simple successions
present no difficulties which the common doctrine cannot resolve.
But it is impossible, on this doctrine, to explain the rapid and
certain movement of thought, which, with a marvellous facility,
passes from one order of subjects to another, only to return again
to the first; which advances, retrogrades, deviates, and reverts,
sometimes marking all the points on its route, again clearing, as if
in play, immense intervals; which runs over, now in a manifest
order, now in a seeming irregularity, all the notions relative to an
object, often relative to several, between which no connection could
be suspected; and this without hesitation, without uncertainty,
without error, as the hand of a skilful musician expatiates over the
keys of the most complex organ. All this is inexplicable on the
meagre and contracted theory on which the phenomena of reproduction
have been thought explained. . . . . . .

"To form a correct notion of the phenomena of Reminiscence, it is
requisite that we consider under what conditions it is determined to
exertion. In the first place it is to be noted that, at every crisis
of our existence, momentary circumstances are the causes which
awaken our activity, and set our recollection at work to supply the
necessaries of thought. In the second place, it is as constituting a
want, (and by want I mean the result either of an act of desire or
of volition) that the determining circumstance tends principally to
awaken the thoughts with which it is associated. This being the
case, we should expect, that each circumstance which constitutes a
want, should suggest, likewise, the notion of the object, or
objects, proper to satisfy it; and this is what actually happens. It
is, however, further to be observed, that it is not enough that the
want suggests the idea of the object; for if that idea were alone,
it would remain without effect, since it could not guide me in the
procedure I should follow. It is necessary, at the same time, that
to the idea of this object there should be associated the notion of
the relation of this object to the want, of the place where I may
find it, of the means by which I may procure it, and turn it to
account, &c. For instance, I wish to make a quotation:--This want
awakens in me the idea of the author in whom the passage is to be
found which I am desirous of citing; but this idea would be
fruitless, unless there were conjoined, at the same time, the
representation of the volume, of the place where I may obtain it, of
the means I must employ, &c.

"Hence I infer, in the first place, that a want does not awaken an
idea of its object alone, but that it awakens it accompanied with a
number, more or less considerable, of accessory notions, which form,
as it were, its train or attendance. This train may vary according
to the nature of the want which suggests the notion of an object;
but the train can never fall wholly off, and it becomes more
indissolubly attached to the object, in proportion as it has been
more frequently called up in attendance.

"I infer, in the second place, that this accompaniment of accessory
notions, simultaneously suggested with the principal idea, is far
from being as vividly and distinctly represented in consciousness as
that idea itself; and when these accessories have once been
completely blended with the habits of the mind, and its reproductive
agency, they at length finally disappear, becoming fused, as it
were, in the consciousness of the idea to which they are attached.
Experience proves this double effect of the habits of reminiscence.
If we observe our operations relative to the gratification of a
want, we shall perceive that we are far from having a clear
consciousness of the accessory notions; the consciousness of them
is, as it were, obscured, and yet we cannot doubt that they are
present to the mind, for it is they that direct our procedure in all
its details.

"We must, therefore, I think, admit that the thought of an object
immediately suggested by a desire, is always accompanied by an
escort more or less numerous of accessory thoughts, equally present
to the mind, though, in general, unknown in themselves to
consciousness; that these accessories are not without their
influence in guiding the operations elicited by the principal
notion; and it may even be added that they are so much the more
calculated to exert an effect in the conduct of our procedure, in
proportion as, having become more part and parcel of our habits of
reproduction, the influences they exert are further withdrawn, in
ordinary, from the ken of consciousness. . . . The same thing may be
illustrated by what happens to us in the case of reading. Originally
each word, each letter, was a separate object of consciousness. At
length, the knowledge of letters and words and lines being, as it
were, fused into our habits, we no longer have any distinct
consciousness of them, as severally concurring to the result, of
which alone we are conscious. But that each word and letter has its
effect,--an effect which can at any moment become an object of
consciousness,--is shewn by the following experiment. If we look
over a book for the occurrence of a particular name or word, we
glance our eye over a page from top to bottom, and ascertain, almost
in a moment, that it is or is not to be found therein. Here the mind
is hardly conscious of a single word, but that of which it is in
quest; but yet it is evident, that each other word and letter must
have produced an obscure effect, which effect the mind was ready to
discriminate and strengthen, so as to call it into clear
consciousness, whenever the effect was found to be that which the
letters of the word sought for could determine. But if the mind be
not unaffected by the multitude of letters and words which it
surveys, if it be able to ascertain whether the combination of
letters constituting the word it seeks, be or be not actually among
them, and all this without any distinct consciousness of all it
tries and finds defective; why may we not suppose,--why are we not
bound to suppose, that the mind may, in like manner, overlook its
book of memory, and search among its magazines of latescent
cognitions for the notions of which it is in want, awakening these
into consciousness, and allowing the others to remain in their

"A more attentive consideration of the subject will show, that we
have not yet divined the faculty of Reminiscence in its whole
extent. Let us make a single reflection. Continually struck by
relations of every kind, continually assailed by a crowd of
perceptions and sensations of every variety, and, at the same time,
occupied by a complement of thoughts; we experience at once, and we
are more or less distinctly conscious of, a considerable number of
wants,--wants, sometimes real, sometimes factitious or
imaginary,--phenomena, however, all stamped with the same
characters, and all stimulating us to act with more or less energy.
And as we choose among the different wants which we would satisfy,
as well as among the different means of satisfying that want which
we determine to prefer; and as the motives of this preference are
taken either from among the principal ideas relative to each of
these several wants, or from among the accessory ideas which habit
has established into their necessary escorts;--in all these cases it
is requisite, that all the circumstances should at once, and from
the moment they have taken the character of wants, produce an
effect, correspondent to that which, we have seen, is caused by each
in particular. Hence we are compelled to conclude, that the
complement of the circumstances by which we are thus affected, has
the effect of rendering always present to us, and consequently of
placing at our disposal, an immense number of thoughts; some of
which certainly are distinctly recognised, being accompanied by a
vivid consciousness, but the greater number of which, although
remaining latent, are not the less effective in continually
exercising their peculiar influence on our modes of judging and

"We might say, that each of these momentary circumstances is a kind
of electric shock which is communicated to a certain portion, to a
certain limited sphere, of intelligence; and the sum of all these
circumstances is equal to so many shocks which, given at once at so
many different points, produce a general agitation. We may form some
rude conception of this phenomenon by an analogy. We may compare it,
in the former case, to those concentric circles which are presented
to our observation on a smooth sheet of water, when its surface is
agitated by throwing in a pebble; and, in the latter case, to the
same surface when agitated by a number of pebbles thrown
simultaneously at different points.

"To obtain a clearer notion of this phenomenon, I may add some
observations on the relation of our thoughts among themselves, and
with the determining circumstances of the moment.

"1°. Among the thoughts, notions, or ideas which belong to the
different groups attached to the principal representations
simultaneously awakened, there are some reciprocally connected by
relations proper to themselves; so that, in this whole complement of
coexistent activities, these tend to excite each other to higher
vigour, and consequently to obtain for themselves a kind of
pre-eminence in the group or particular circle of activity to which
they belong.

"2°. There are thoughts associated, whether as principals or
accessories, to a greater number of determining circumstances, or to
circumstances which recur more frequently. Hence they present
themselves oftener than the others, they enter more completely into
our habits, and take, in a more absolute manner, the character of
customary or habitual notions. It hence results, that they are less
obtrusive, though more energetic, in their influence, enacting, as
they do, a principal part in almost all our deliberations; and
exercising a stronger influence on our determinations.

"3°. Among this great crowd of thoughts, simultaneously excited,
those which are connected with circumstances which more vividly
affect us, assume not only the ascendant over others of the same
description with themselves, but likewise predominate over all those
which are dependent on circumstances of a feebler determining

"From these three considerations we ought, therefore, to infer, that
the thoughts connected with circumstances on which our attention is
more specially concentrated, are those which prevail over the
others; for the effect of attention is to render dominant and
exclusive the object on which it is directed, and during the moment
of attention it is the circumstance to which we attend that
necessarily obtains the ascendant.

"Thus, if we appreciate correctly the phenomena of Reproduction or
Reminiscence, we shall recognise, as an incontestable fact, that our
thoughts suggest each other not one by one successively, as the
order to which language is astricted might lead us to infer; but
that the complement of circumstances under which we at every moment
exist, awakens simultaneously a great number of thoughts; these it
calls into the presence of the mind, either to place them at our
disposal, if we find it requisite to employ them, or to make them
co-operate in our deliberations by giving them, according to their
nature and our habits, an influence, more or less active, on our
judgments and consequent acts.

"It is also to be observed, that in this great crowd of thoughts
always present to the mind, there is only a small number of which we
are distinctly conscious: and that in this small number we ought to
distinguish those which, being clothed in language, oral or mental,
become the objects of a more fixed attention; those which hold a
closer relation to circumstances more impressive than others; or
which receive a predominant character by the more vigorous attention
we bestow on them. As to the others, although not the objects of
clear consciousness, they are nevertheless present to the mind,
there to perform a very important part as motive principles of
determination; and the influence which they exert in this capacity
is even the more powerful in proportion as it is less apparent,
being more disguised by habit." (Sir William Hamilton's Lectures on
Metaphysics, vol. ii. Lecture xxxii.)--_Ed._]

{70} This, then, is all which seems necessary to be said respecting
the occasions on which we apply Relative {71} Terms, and to show
what it is which they distinctively mark, in the trains of our
sensations and ideas.


From the _Concrete relative_ terms, _Abstract_ terms are formed, in
the same manner as Abstract terms are {73} *formed from other
Concrete terms. Thus from equal, we have equally; from unequal,
unequally; from {74} like, likeness; from unlike, unlikeness; from
friend, friendship; and so on.

{75} After what has been said about abstract terms in general, it
will not be very difficult to mark what is {76} peculiar in the
nature of this species of them. We have seen that concrete, are
connotative, terms; and {77} that their corresponding abstracts have
the same meaning with the concretes, that which is connoted {78}
being left out. White, for example, has a notation, and a
connotation. It notes a quality, and it connotes {79} something
else, that which is white. The abstract whiteness marks what is
_noted_ by the concrete, but not what is _connoted_.

We are now to see, in what manner this applies to relative terms.
I call two things like: two sensations, for example; let us say,
sensations of red. I call sensation A, like sensation B; and, of
course, sensation B, like sensation A. It is here more easy to
observe distinctly what is connoted, than what is noted. What is
connoted are the two sensations. They are clear and simple. What is
noted is what we call their likeness. What is that? We have
remarked, that, in having two sensations, the _distinguishing_ them
one {80} from another is included; it is part of the compound
process: And that in having two sensations--red, red, and two
sensations red, green, the distinguishing the succession red, red,
from the succession red, green, is included; it being part of the
process, which, though in this case compound, and on that account
obscure, is not the less wholly sensation. In the process of
sensation, then, that part which consists in distinguishing one as
one, another as another, and in distinguishing one succession from
another; red, red, for example, from red, green,--is the part which
is noted by the words like and unlike. The thing noted is not a
distinct sensation, it is part of a process of sensation, and a part
which, being never experienced separate by itself, it is very
difficult to make a distinct subject of attention. Even that part of
the process which consists in distinguishing, is to be distinguished
into two parts. There is that part which consists in distinguishing
the sensations from one another, as one, and one; and there is that
part which consists in distinguishing the two, red, and red, from
the two, red, and green. It is this _latter part_ which is _noted_
by the terms like and unlike. What is _connoted_ is all _the rest of
the process_. When, therefore, we make abstracts, from the terms
like and unlike; that is, cut off the connotative part of their
meaning, retaining the notative only; it is the part of the process
which consists in distinguishing, not one and one, but two and two,
which the terms distinctively mark.

We have also seen, and remarked, that having two sensations, one
after another, and knowing them to be first one and then another, is
a process of sensation and association. The pair of relatives, prior
and {81} posterior, or antecedent and consequent, taken together,
names the whole of the process; each pair is in reality a compound
name of a complex idea, that of a certain process, the process of
having two ideas in succession, in which process the being sensible
of the successiveness is part. By all concrete relatives, something
is noted, something connoted. In the process which is marked by the
relatives prior and posterior, part is noted, part connoted; and the
part which is noted, is the part which it is difficult to make a
separate object of attention,--the part which consists in being
sensible of the successiveness, for which we have not a name. By its
notation and connotation, taken together, each of the terms, prior,
and posterior, is a name of something, and that something is very
distinct; prior is a name of the first sensation and something else;
posterior is a name of the second sensation, and something else. It
is by connotation, however, that each is the name of its respective
sensation. Their notative power relates to the something else, and
not to the whole of that; because prior and posterior, beside
connoting, each its own sensation, connote one another. The notation
and connotation, therefore, are divided between them, in a manner
which renders it difficult to shew what belongs to each. We have not
names adapted to the purpose.

The word prior notes something, and connotes something. When we make
from it the abstract term priority; what was connoted by the
concrete, prior, is dropped; what was noted by it is retained. In
the succession of ideas A, and B, priority is not the name of A, it
is the name of that part of the compound process, which consists in
knowing A, as the {82} first of the two; posteriority is not the
name of B, but of that part of the compound process, which consists
in knowing B, as the last of the two.

There is a peculiarity, however, in the abstract terms formed from
the relative concrete terms. These abstract terms are not, as
whiteness, hardness, wholly void of connotation. They have a
connotation of their own. The abstract of one relative of a pair,
always connotes the abstract of the other; thus, priority always
connotes posteriority, and posteriority priority.

This constitutes a distinction, worth observing, between the force
of the abstracts formed from the pairs of relatives which consist of
different names, as prior, posterior; cause, effect; father, son;
husband, wife;--and those which consist of the same name, as equal,
equal; like, like; brother, brother; friend, friend; and so on.
Priority and Posteriority make together a compound name of
something, of which, taken separately, each is not a name;
Causingness and Causedness, the abstracts of cause and effect, make
up between them the name of something, of which each by itself is
not a name, and so of the rest. The case is different with such
abstracts as likeness, equality, friendship, formed from pairs which
consist of the same name. When we call A like, and B like; the
abstract, likeness, formed from the one, connotes merely the
abstract, likeness, formed from the other. Thus, as priority and
posteriority make a compound name, so, likeness and likeness, make a
compound name. But as likeness and likeness are merely a
reduplication of the same word, likeness taken once very often
signifies the same as likeness taken twice. Priority never signifies
as much as priority and {83} posteriority taken together; but
likeness taken alone very often signifies as much as likeness,
likeness, taken both together. Likeness has thus a sort of a double
meaning. Sometimes it signifies only what is marked by the abstract
of one of the pair, "like, like;" sometimes it signifies what is
marked by the abstracts of both taken together. The same observation
applies to the abstracts equality, inequality; sameness, difference;
brotherhood, sisterhood; friendship, hostility; and so on.[19]

[Editor's footnote 19: The exposition here given of the meaning of
abstract relative names is in substance unexceptionable; but in
language it remains open to the criticism I have, several times,
made. Instead of saying, with the author, that the abstract name
drops the connotation of the corresponding concrete, it would, in
the language I prefer, be said to drop the denotation, and to be a
name directly denoting what the concrete name connotes, namely, the
common property or properties that it predicates: the likeness, the
unlikeness, the fact of preceding, the fact of following, &c.

When the author says that abstract relative names differ from other
abstract names in not being wholly void of connotation, inasmuch as
they connote their correlatives, priority connoting posteriority,
and posteriority priority, he deserts the specific meaning which he
has sought to attach to the word connote, and falls back upon the
loose and general sense in which everything implied by a term is
said to be connoted by it. But in this large sense of the word (as
I have more than once remarked) it is not true that non-relative
abstract names have no connotation. Every abstract name--every name
of the character which is given by the terminations _ness_,
_tion_, and the like--carries with it a uniform implication that
what it is predicated of is an attribute of something else; not a
sensation or a thought in and by itself, but a sensation or thought
regarded as one of, or as accompanying or following, some permanent
cluster of sensations or thoughts.--_Ed._]

{84} Among the abstract terms corresponding to relative concretes,
those corresponding to cause and effect, are the only ones which, on
account of their importance, require to be somewhat more
particularly expounded.

Cause and Effect have not abstract terms formed immediately from
themselves. One of the grand causes of their obscurity is, that they
are not constant in their meaning, but are sometimes used as
concretes, sometimes as their own abstracts.

Cause means "something _causing_;" effect, "something _caused_."
Causingness, therefore, is the proper abstract of cause; and
causedness, the proper abstract of effect. Of two objects, A, and B,
we call the one causing, the other caused, when they are not only
prior and posterior, but parts of the same series; and, if we speak
strictly, proximate parts. Of proximate parts of the same series, we
call the antecedent, causing; the consequent, caused. Causingness,
and causedness, therefore, mean antecedence and consequence, and
something more. The ideas are more complex. Causingness and
causedness, mean, not only antecedence and consequence, but also
sameness of series, and proximity of parts.

As we have seen, that priority and posteriority, taken together,
form a compound name of a certain complex idea, so causingness and
causedness, taken together, form the compound name of a still more
complex idea. Having frequent occasion to express that idea, a
separate name for it was found necessary. Accordingly, we have the
term Power, which means precisely what is meant by causingness and
causedness taken together. Causation has the same {85} meaning with
Power, except that it connotes present time; Power connotes
indefinite time.[20]

[Editor's footnote 20: The term Causation, as the author observes,
signifies causingness and causedness taken together, but I do not
see on what ground he asserts that it connotes present time. To my
thinking, it is as completely aoristic as Power. Power, again, seems
to me to express, not causingness and causedness taken together, but
causingness only. Some of the older philosophers certainly talked of
passive power, but neither in the precise language of modern
philosophy nor in common speech is an effect said to have the power
of being produced, but only the capacity or capability. The power is
always conceived as belonging to the cause only. When any
co-operating power is supposed to reside in the thing said to be
acted upon, it is because some active property in that thing is
counted as a con-cause--as a part of the total cause.--_Ed._]

The connotation of _Time_, by abstract terms, is a circumstance
almost always overlooked, but of which the observation is of the
utmost importance to accuracy of thought.

When we have invented a number of marks to be taken in pairs, as
like, like; equal, equal; antecedent, consequent; master, servant;
husband, wife; father, son; owner, property; author, book; cause,
effect; and so on; we have occasion for a name by which to speak of
that class of names. We have invented such a name. We call those
terms "Relative Terms."

The word "Relative," thus belongs to that class of names, which have
been called "Names of Names." As man, tree, stone, are names of
things, of those clusters which we call objects; as red, green,
hard, soft, are names of sensations; as courage, wisdom, {86} anger,
love, are names of complex ideas arbitrarily composed; so adjective
is the name of one class of names, verb the name of another class of
names; syllable, is the name of one part of a word, letter of
another; and so, also, relative is the name of the class of words
which have this peculiarity, that they are taken in pairs. Thus,
father and son, are relative terms; prior and posterior, are
relative terms; like and like, are relative terms; so equal, equal;
unequal, unequal; brother, brother; friend, friend; and so on.

Relative itself corresponds with the names which it marks, in its
being one of a pair; of that species of pairs, which are formed by a
double use of the same word, as like, like. When we say of father
and son, that they are relative terms, we mean that father is
relative to son, and son relative to father.

As _relative_ is the name of all concrete names, taken in pairs,
such as like, like; friend, friend; causing, caused; so the abstract
relation, formed from relative, is the name given to all the
abstract terms formed from the concrete relatives: thus, equality,
inequality, friendship, power, are abstract terms, which we call by
a general name, relation. As Noun is the name of a certain class of
words, so "Relation," is the name of a certain class of words.

It is not, however, meant to be affirmed, that relative and
relation, are not names which are also applied to things. In a
certain vague, and indistinct way, they are very frequently so
applied. This, however, is strictly speaking, an abuse of the terms,
and an abuse which has been a great cause of confusion of ideas. In
this way, it is said, of two brothers, that {87} they are relative;
of father and son, that they are relative; of two objects, that they
are relative in position, relative in time; we speak of the relation
between two men, when they are father and son, master and servant;
between two objects, when they are greater, less, like, unlike,
near, distant, and so on.

What, however, we really mean, when we call two objects relative
(and that is a thing which it is of great importance to mark) is,
that these objects have, or may have, relative names. On what
accounts we give them relative names, has just been explained, and
the explanation need not be repeated. When we say that Socrates and
the Emperor Napoleon are unlike, the men are, each, a man, distinct,
separate, absolute. We only give them a pair of related names, for
the convenience of discourse. In like manner, Charles I. and George
IV. are separate, distinct, absolute individuals. We only give them
the relative names Predecessor, Successor, for the convenience of
discourse, to mark the place which they occupied in a certain series
of events. From this appears also what is meant, when we say of two
objects, that they have a relation to one another. The meaning is,
that the objects may have relative names, and that these names may
have abstracts which we call relation. Thus we say that two brothers
have a relation to one another. That relation is brotherhood. But
brotherhood is merely the abstract of the relative names. We say
that father and son have a relation. That relation is fathership and
sonship. These are merely the abstracts of the two relative names.
We say of two events, a stab with a sword, and death of the person
stabbed, that they have a relation to one another. That relation is
{88} causingness and causedness, the abstract of cause and effect,
or, in one word, power.[21]

[Editor's footnote 21: The application of the word Relative to
Things is not only an offence against philosophy, but against
propriety of language. The correct designation for Things which are
called by relative names, is not Relative, but Related. A Thing may,
with perfect propriety both of thought and of language, be said to
be related to another thing, or to have a relation with it--indeed
to be related to all things, and to have a prodigious variety of
relations with all; because every fact that takes place, either in
nature or in human thought, which includes or involves a plurality
of Things, is the _fundamentum_ of a special relation of those
Things with one another: not to mention the relations of likeness or
unlikeness, of priority or posteriority, which exist between each
Thing and all other Things whatever. It is in this sense that it is
said, with truth, that Relations exhaust all phenomena, and that all
we know, or can know, of anything, is some of its relations to other
things or to us.--_Ed._]



We have already observed, that objects exist, with respect to us, in
two orders; in the synchronous order, and the successive order; and
that we have great occasion for marks to represent them to us as
they exist in both orders. We have also to observe, that the
synchronous order, the order in which things exist together; that
is, as we otherwise name it, the order of position, or the order in
place; is interesting to us chiefly on account of the successive
order. The order in which objects *succeed one another, that is, the
order of the changes which take place, the order of events, depends
almost entirely upon the synchronous order. In other words, the
synchronous order is part of every successive order; it is the
antecedent of every consequent; or as we otherwise express it, the
cause of every effect. Thus the synchronous order, or the order in
place, of the spark and the gunpowder, is the antecedent of the
explosion; the synchronous order of my finger and the candle, is the
antecedent or the cause of the pain which I feel.

In regard to the explosion, also, it is less or greater, according
as the quantity of the gunpowder is less or greater. Of the
synchronous order, therefore, one part which I am particularly
interested in knowing correctly is, the amount of the things. A
certain amount of gunpowder produces one set of effects, another
{90} another: a certain amount of men produce one set of effects,
another another; and so of all other things.

It is of the last importance to me not only to be able to ascertain,
and know, these amounts, with accuracy, but to be able to mark them.

For ascertaining and knowing amounts, some contrivance is requisite.
It is necessary to conceive some small amount, by the addition or
subtraction of which, another becomes larger or smaller. This forms
the instrument of ascertainment. Where one thing, taken separately,
is of sufficient importance to form this instrument, it is taken.
Thus, for ascertaining and knowing different amounts of men, one
individual is of sufficient importance. Amounts of men are
considered as increased or diminished by the addition or subtraction
of individuals. A grain of gunpowder might also be taken; but it is
not of sufficient importance; the quantity, taken as the instrument
of measurement, must have an ascertainable influence upon the
effect, for the sake of which, the ascertaining of the amount is of
importance. In their simple state, men use principally the hand for
their elementary ascertainments. A pinch, or as much as could be
held between the finger and the thumb, was a small amount distinctly
conceived, and formed the principle of measurement where small
additions were important; a handful was not less distinctively
conceived, and was the instrument, where only larger additions were
of importance.

When one addition was made, or needed to be made, after another, and
another after that, and so on, the next point of importance was to
conceive exactly how often the addition was made. A few {91}
additions are distinct to sense. Place one billiard-ball by another,
the sight of the two is distinct. Place three or four, it is still
distinct. Soon, however, it ceases to be so. Place a dozen, and you
will not probably be able to distinguish them from eleven. You must
count them, or divide them. If you divide them by the eye, into two
parcels, you may see that one is six and another six; but to benefit
by this, you must know the art of putting six and six together.

The next step, therefore, necessary in the process of ascertaining
amounts, was, to mark these additions, one after another, in such a
manner, as to make known to what extent they had gone. When men were
familiar with the operation of assigning names as marks of their
ideas, the course which would suggest itself to them is obvious;
they would employ a name as the mark of each addition. They would
say, one, for the first, two, for the second, three, for the third,
and so on. These marks it was very useful to make connotative, that
the other important ingredient of the process, the thing added,
might be made known at the same time. Thus we say, one man, two men;
one horse, two horses; and so of all other things, the enumeration
of which we are performing.

Numbers, therefore, are not names of objects. They are names of a
certain process; the process of addition; of putting one
billiard-ball to another; not more mysterious than any other
process, as walking, writing, reading, to which names are assigned.
One, is the name of this once performed, or of the aggregation
begun; two, the name of it once more performed; three, of it once
more performed; and so on. The words, however, in these concrete
forms, beside {92} their power in noting this process, connote
something else, namely, the things, whatever they are, the
enumeration of which is required.

In the case of these connotative, as of other connotative marks, it
was of great use to have the means of dropping the connotation; and
in this case, it would have been conducive to clearness of ideas, if
the non-connotative terms had received a mark to distinguish them
from the connotative. This advantage, however, the framers of
numbers were not sufficiently philosophical to provide. The same
names are used both as connotative, and non-connotative; that is,
both as abstract, and concrete; and it is far from being obvious, on
all occasions, in which of the two senses they are used. They are
used in the connotative sense, when joined as adjectives with a
substantive; as when we say two men, three women; but it is not so
obvious that they are used in the abstract sense, when we say three
and two make five; or when we say fifty is a great number, five is a
small number. Yet it must, upon consideration, appear, that in these
cases they are abstract terms merely; in place of which, the words
oneness, twoness, threeness, might be substituted. Thus we might
say, twoness and threeness are fiveness.[22] [23]

[Editor's footnote 22: The vague manner in which the author uses the
phrase "to be a name of" (a vagueness common to almost all thinkers
who have not precise terms expressing the two modes of signification
which I call denotation and connotation, and employed for nothing
else) has led him, in the present case, into a serious misuse of
terms. Numbers _are_, in the strictest propriety, names of objects.
_Two_ is surely a name of the things which are two, the two balls,
the two fingers, &c. The process of adding one to one which forms
two is connoted, not denoted, by the name two. Numerals, in short,
are concrete, not abstract names: they denote the actual collections
of things, and connote the mental process of counting them. It is
not twoness and threeness that are fiveness: the twoness of my two
hands and the threeness of the feet of the table cannot be added
together to form another abstraction. It is two balls added to three
balls that make, in the concrete, five balls. Numerals are a class
of concrete general names predicable of all things whatever, but
connoting, in each case, the quantitative relation of the thing to
some fixed standard, as previously explained by the author.--_Ed._]

[Grote's footnote 23: Here the process of numeration generally,
together with the function of numbers carrying their separate names,
are clearly set forth; after which we find the remark, that no
distinction is made in the name of the number, when used as an
abstract and when used as a concrete. Mr. James Mill thinks that it
would have been conducive to clearness if such distinction had been
marked by an inflexion of the name. "The names of numbers are used
in the connotative (concrete) sense, when joined as adjectives with
a substantive, as when we say, two men, three men: but it is not so
obvious that they are used in the abstract sense, when we say three
and two make five: or when we say fifty is a great number, five is a
small number. Yet it must upon consideration appear, that in these
cases they are abstract terms merely: in place of which, the words
oneness, twoness, threeness, might be substituted. Thus we might
say, twoness and threeness are fiveness."

The last part of what is here affirmed cannot, in my judgment, be
sustained. Connecting itself with one among the many arguments
between Aristotle and Plato, it lays down a position from which both
of them would have dissented. In the last book but one (Book M) of
Aristotle's "Metaphysica," this argument will be found set forth at
length; though with much obscurity, which is cleared up by the lucid
commentary of Bonitz. Plato distinguished two classes of
numbers--the mathematical, and the ideal. The first class were the
Quanta of equal and homogeneous units (One, Two, Three, &c.), any or
all of which might be added so as to coalesce into one total sum.
The second class were, the ideal or abstract numbers, Two _quatenus_
Two, &c., represented by Dyad, Triad, Tetrad, Pentad, Dekad, &c.,
the characteristic property of which was, that they could not be
added together nor coalesce into one sum. These were uncombinable
numbers, "[Greek a)rithmoi\ a)su/mblêtoi]--numeri inconsociabiles."--
See Aristot. Metaph. M. 6. 1080. b. 12. Bonitz Comment. p. 540,
541, seq.

Plato regarded these uncombinable numbers as the highest
representative specimens or coryphæi of the Platonic Ideas. In this
character Aristotle reasoned against them, contending that they did
nothing to remove the many objections against Plato's ideal theory.
With the question thus opened, I have no present concern: all that
I wish to point out is the view which Plato originated and upon which
Aristotle reasoned, viz.: That these ideal or abstract numbers could
not be added together, or fused into one sum total. The abstract
term Twoness means Two _so far forth as two_: so also Threeness and
Fiveness. You cannot truly predicate anything of Twoness which would
be inconsistent with this fundamental characteristic: you cannot add
it to Threeness so as to make Fiveness, nor can you subdivide
Fiveness into Twoness and Threeness, without suppressing the
fundamental characteristic of each. Neither of them admit of
increase or diminution. In like manner, a Triangle, or every
particular Triangle, may have one of its sides taken away, or two
more sides added to it: on each of which suppositions it ceases to
be a triangle. But if we speak of a Triangle _so far forth as
Triangle_, neither of these suppositions is admissible. We may say
that its three angles are equal to two right angles, but we cannot
subtract from it one of its sides, nor add to it one or two other
sides. The subject of predication is so limited and specialised,
that no predicate can be allowed which would efface its
characteristic feature--Triangularity.

Bonitz remarks truly that the class of numbers set forth by
Plato--the ideal or uncombinable numbers which could not be either
added or subtracted--were divested of all the useful aptitudes and
functions of numbers, and passed out of the category of Quantity
into that of Quality. The Triad was one quality; the Pentad was
another: there was no common measure into which both could be
resolved (Bonitz, Comment. p. 540--553). _Two_, _three_, _five_, are
quantifying names, designating each so many numerable units: and the
units counted in each list may be added to, or subtracted from, the
units counted in the others. But when we say, Twoness or the
Dyad--Threeness or the Triad--Fiveness or the Pentad--we then
recognise a peculiar quality, founded upon each separate variety of
aggregation or quantification: so that these separate varieties are
no longer resolvable into any common measure of constituent units.
Each quality stands apart from the others, and has its own
predicates. In the view of Plato and the Pythagoreans, the Dekad
especially was invested with magnificent predicates.

I cannot therefore agree with Mr. James Mill in his opinion that,
"when we say three and two make five, we use these numbers in the
abstract sense." We clearly do not mean that three, _so far forth as
three_, and two, _so far forth as two_, make five. But this would be
what we should mean, if we used these names of numbers in the
abstract sense. What we do mean is, that the units constituting
three may be added to those constituting two, so as to make five:
and that this is equally true, whether the units are men, horses,
stones, or any other objects. Two, three, five, &c., are general or
universal terms, capable of being joined with units of indefinite
variety: but they do not become abstract terms, until we limit them
by _quâtenus_, [Greek: katho/son, ê(=|], _so far forth as_, &c., or
by a suffix such as _ness_. Such abstracts would have been of little
use as to the ordinary functions of numbers; and accordingly they
have never got footing in familiar speech, though they are
occasionally employed in metaphysical discussions.--_G._]

{93} It is necessary to observe, that the process, marked by the
names called numbers, though used for the {94} purpose of
ascertaining synchronous order, is in the mind successive; one
addition follows another. {95} Numbers, therefore, in reality, name
successions; and are easily applied to mark certain particulars of
the {96} successive order, when the marking of those particulars is
of importance.

It is of importance, when successions take place all of one kind;
and when consequences of importance depend upon the less or greater
length of the train. It is then of importance, to mark the degrees
of that length, which is correctly done by the enumeration of the

To take a simple and familiar instance, that of the human steps.
They are successions all of one kind. Consequences of importance
may, and often do result from a knowledge of the length of any
particular series of steps. The ascertainment of an aggregate, in
this order, is made in the same way, as that which we have traced in
the synchronous order. An element of aggregation is taken; by its
successive aggregations, the amount of the aggregate is correctly
conceived; and, by a proper mark for each successive aggregation, it
is also correctly denoted. The continued successions of day and
night are all of one kind; and it is of the greatest importance for
us to know accurately the length of a series of those successions;
of the series between such and such events; between the sowing of
the seed in the ground, for example, and the maturity of the crop.
This is done, accurately, by putting a several mark upon each {97}
several succession, one for the first, two for the one after that,
three for the one after that, and so on.

If there be no mystery in one sensation after another, or one idea
after another; and, if having them in that order and associating the
idea of the antecedent with the sensation of the consequent be to
know that they are in that order; then there is no mystery in
Numbers, for they are only marks to shew that one is after another.

That there is no mystery in the ideas of priority and posteriority,
which are relative terms, has been shewn under the preceding head of

The word Number itself, which is only a name of the names, one, two,
&c., nothing being a number but some one of those names, has also
been explained, when the class of words which are distinguished as
Names of Names was under consideration.

In using the terms, one, two, three, four, and so on, the object is
to ascertain with precision, the amount of the aggregate in
question. In some cases, however, it is of importance to ascertain
the order of aggregation, as well as the amount; and that, whether a
synchronous, or a successive, aggregate be the object in view. This
purpose is answered by a set of names, called the ordinal numbers,
which, applied to the units of aggregation in the order in which
they are taken, mark precisely the order of each. Thus, when we say,
first, second, third, fourth, and so on; each of these concrete, or
connotative names, notes a certain position, if in the synchronous
order; a certain link, if {98} in the successive; and connotes the
precise object which holds that position, or forms that link.

As there is no difficulty whatsoever in tracing the ideas, which, on
each occasion, receive those marks, there is no need of multiplying
words in their illustration.



Privative terms are distinguished from other terms, by this; that
other terms are marks for objects, as present or existent; privative
terms are marks for objects, as not present or not existent.[24]

[Editor's footnote 24: The author gives the name of Privative terms
to all those which are more commonly known by the designation of
Negative; to all which signify non-existence or absence. It is usual
to reserve the term Privative for names which signify not simple
absence, but the absence of something usually present, or of which
the presence might have been expected. Thus blind is classed as a
privative term, when applied to human beings. When applied to stocks
and stones, which are not expected to see, it is an admitted

This, however, being understood, there is no difficulty in following
the author's exposition by means of his own language.--_Ed._]

Thus the word Light, is the mark of a certain well-known object, as
existent or present.

The word Darkness, on the contrary, is the mark of the same object,
as not existent or not present. Ask any man, what he means by
darkness; he says the absence of light. But the absence of light, is
only another name for light absent; and light absent, is only
another name for light not present. Darkness, therefore, is another
name for light not present.

It thus appears, that the idea called up by the {100} word light, is
that of a certain object associated with its presence; the idea
called up by the word darkness, is that of the same object
associated with its absence.

After the explanations which have been so often given, what I mean,
when I speak of the idea of an object, as one thing; the idea of its
presence, as another thing; ought not to be obscure. Its presence,
is its existence; its absence, is its non-existence; at least, at a
particular time and place. What ideas and sensations I mark by the
word existent, has already been explained. The word non-existent is
the mere negation of the same sensations and ideas.

We have repeatedly seen, that what we call existence, is an
inference from our sensations. We have clusters of sensations; these
call up the ideas of antecedents, which we call qualities; these the
idea of an antecedent common to all the qualities, which we call
_Substratum_; and the _Substratum_, with its qualities, we call the

When we speak, then, of this _Substratum_ and its qualities, as
present, at a particular time and place: which is what we mean by
its existence; what we affirm is this; that if there be sentient
organs at such a time and place, there will be such and such
sensations. When we speak of it as absent, we affirm, that though
there be sentient organs at such a time and place, there will not be
those sensations. These ideas, then, forming in combination a very
complex idea, are what, in the respective cases, we call the
presence, and the absence of an object. Any further analysis would
be superfluous in this place.

{101} A law of some importance, which has been already explained,
is, that in complex ideas there is very often some one part, so
prominent, as to throw the rest into the shade, and confine the
attention almost wholly to itself. There is a curious
exemplification of this law, in the pair of cases before us. Thus,
in the complex idea of "the object and its presence," marked by the
word Light, the object is the prominent part, and the presence is so
habitually neglected, that it is with some trouble it is recognised.
The case is reversed in the complex idea of "the object and its
absence," marked by the word Darkness. In this, the absence is the
prominent part, and it so completely engrosses the attention, that
it requires reflection, to discover, that the idea of the object is
necessarily combined.

There is something more in these two cases, which it is of great
importance to remember. We have two sets of indissoluble
associations, both exceedingly numerous, the one with the idea of
the object as present, the other with the idea of it as absent; that
is, the one set with light, the other set with darkness. Whenever we
have the perception of light, we habitually have, along with it, the
perception of objects; that is, of all sorts of colours, all sorts
of shapes, all sorts of magnitudes, all sorts of distances, and so
on. With the idea of light, then, are indissolubly associated the
ideas of all sorts of objects; of extension in all its
modifications, colour in all its modifications, motion in all its
modifications; the word light, therefore, serves as a name, not
merely of the fluid which acts upon the eye, but of that along with
its innumerable associations. Such are the perceptions and {102}
ideas, which, when we have the perception of light, we have along
with it. What are the perceptions and ideas, which, when we have not
the perception of light, we have along with that state of privation?
There is, first, the want of all the perceptions, which we have
along with that of light. There is, next, the disagreeable
sensations we experience from not knowing what objects are
approaching us, either by our motions, or by theirs; hence the idea
of dangerous objects approaching; hence, also, the inability to
perform many of the acts which are conducive either to our being, or
well-being. With the idea of darkness, then, are indissolubly
associated a multitude of ideas, of pain, of privation, of weakness;
all disagreeable; with little or no mixture of any of an opposite
kind. And the word darkness, therefore, stands as a name not merely
of light absent, but of that along with all the accompanying
sensations and ideas.

The reader will observe, and it is necessary he should well observe,
that all terms might have corresponding privative terms. We have
already stated, that the ordinary names of objects are names both of
the object, and of its presence or existence, combined in one
complex idea. Thus, rose, horse, are names of the objects as
present or existent. We might have had names of them as absent or
not existent. It is only, however, in a few cases, that the absence
of an object is a matter of first-rate importance. It is only in
those cases that it has been found requisite to have for it a
particular name. The absence of light is obviously a case of the
greatest importance. Consequences of the very first order, and
infinite in number, {103} depend upon it. An appropriate name,
therefore, was of the highest utility.

This explanation will enable