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All researches into the origin The part of biology which of beings and species is useless. treats of these questions is the

most important of all, the others

are only subsidiary. All subjective analysis of our One half of the Principles of ideas is impossible.

Psychology is devoted to a sub

jective analysis. The ideal of government is

The ideal of government to subordinate the individual to ought to be a minimum of gosociety, etc.

vernment, and a maximum of liberty, etc.

We refer the reader for further details of this dissent to the First Principles. Perhaps we have already exceeded the limits of our subject. But the great philosopher of whom we now take leave is so little known in France that we fear we have been too brief.



The Chair of Logic in the University of Aberdeen, a city celebrated in the history of the sciences and of philosophy, is occupied by Mr. Bain, who has been placed in the first rank of English psychologists by his two works, The Senses and the Intelligence, The Emotions and the Will. The most illustrious representatives of the Scotch school, could they return to the world, would not disown their successor. There would be grave disagreement on more than one point, but they would have to acknowledge that he has followed that sure method which led them to sound discoveries, and that he has continued the tradition of the school, better than the metaphysicians, like Ferrier, or than the Kantists, like Hamilton. The Scotch philosophy, which has been by turns too much praised and too much criticised in France, has done real service. The timidity which is its ruling characteristic explains both its merits and its defects. Among the merits of the school I place reserve in metaphysics which has preserved them from a rush into the region of ideas, and from dangerous constructions. This reserve, which was rather an instinct than a system, has permitted them to observe patiently. They have a taste for the small facts, for the curiosities of psychology, for rare cases, for exceptions, without which one cannot get to the bottom of things; and yet they have not had taste enough. Among their defects is an excessive anxiety to be always in accord with common sense,' a horror of doubt, singular among philosophers, and which has often led them on to empty and ridiculous declamation (see Reid on the Human Understanding,

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chap. i. sects. 3 and 6). They have not had sufficient ability for generalization and synthesis ; from whence it arises that their analyses are often made by chance, and that they and their disciples have provided us with an indefinite number of sub-faculties, without having taken the trouble to simplify and reduce all this feudal psychology. Still, everything compared, no school has done more for experimental psychology, in virtue of which principally Mr. Bain belongs to it.

Nevertheless, we should form an erroneous idea of the author, if we saw in him only one of the Scotch school, in the ordinary acceptation of the word. The philosophy of Leibnitz has been defined as 'a Cartesianism in progress and movement. This formula might be applied to Mr. Bain. His is a Scotch psychology which goes with the age, that is to say, much modified, and upon many points. If Reid or Dugald Stewart were, by a miracle, to revisit Edinburgh, Aberdeen, or Glasgow, and to read the books which we are now considering, this is what would probably occur :—First, they would be profoundly astonished upon several points, then profoundly indignant upon others, and Reid would perhaps even contemplate a rupture. But, instead of a hurried reading of these books, let us suppose that the two illustrious resuscitated philosophers had been initiated beforehand into the progress of the biological sciences, and into the metamorphoses of philosophical thought during the last half-century, and we should find their language very different. I cannot help thinking that if Dugald Stewart (born in 1753) had been born sixty years later, he would have written a psychological treatise analogous to that of Mr. Bain.

The Scotch school says that the method of the physical sciences ought to be applied to psychology. Mr. Bain says the method of the natural sciences ought to be applied to it, and in that consists all his superiority.

'The object of this treatise is to give a full and systematic account of two principal divisions of the science of mind,—the Senses and the Intellect. The remaining two divisions, comprising the Emotions and the Will, will be the object of a future treatise.

* While endeavouring to present in a methodical form all the important facts and doctrines bearing upon the mind, considered as a branch of science, I have seen reason to adopt some new views, and to depart in a few instances from the most usual arrangement of the topics.

' However imperfect may be the first attempt to construct a natural history of the feelings, upon the basis of a uniform descriptive method, the subject of mind cannot attain a high scientific character until some progress has been made towards the accomplishment of this object.' 1

We must then expect to find the author frequently speaking as a physiologist. Besides some purely physiological chapters, he has made it a rule from which he never departs to consider all the phenomena which he studies under their double physical and mental aspect. He has thought, rightly, that purely psychological study is abstract and incomplete ; that an agreeable or painful emotion, for example, is so intimately connected with the corporeal conditions which express it, that analysis which separates them is arbitrary, and in many respects erroneous.

‘Mr. Bain,' says Mr. Stuart Mill, ‘has pushed analytical research into mental phenomena, by the method of the physical sciences, to the farthest point which it has yet attained, and has worthily inscribed his name beside those of the successive builders of an edifice to which Hartley, Brown, and James Mill have contributed their share of toil.'

In an article specially devoted to Mr. Bain's work, after having shown that it belongs essentially to the associationist school, which he has helped to popularize, to illustrate, and to reinforce by new proofs, Mr. Mill adds that he has caused associative psychology to advance considerably. This progress consists in bringing the spontaneity of mind into relief.

“Mr. Bain's theory, the germ of which is in a passage cited by him from the eminent physiologist Müller, stands in nearly the same relation to Hartley's as Laromiguière's to that of Condillac. He holds that the brain does not act solely in obedience to impulses, but is also a self-acting instrument, that the nervous influence, which, being conveyed through the motory nerves, excites the muscles into action, is generated automatically in the brain itself, not of course lawlessly and without a cause, but under the organic stimulus of nutrition, and manifests itself in the general rush of bodily activity which all healthy animals exhibit after food and repose, and in the random motions which we see constantly made without apparent end or purpose by infants, and his doctrine, of which the accumulated proofs will be found in Mr. Bain's first volume (pp. 73 to 80), supplies him with a simple explanation of the origin of voluntary power.''

1 Bain's Senses and Intellect, ed. 1855, Preface.

Thus sensation, memory, association, are passive facts; the mind is simply their recipient. A theory of association which stops there seems sufficient to explain our dreams, our reveries, our fortuitous thoughts, but not all our nature; because the mind is active as well as passive. This appearance of absolute passiveness in the theory has helped to alienate from it certain minds who had really studied it. Among them Mr. Mill quotes Coleridge, who was at first attracted by the mechanism of Hartley, but whom it could not finally satisfy.

Activity cannot come forth from passive elements; a primordial active element must be found somewhere. Mr. Bain, who has found it, is therefore greatly in advance of Hartley's theory. In France, adds our critic, the progress made from Condillac to Laromiguière is frequently cited; the first making sensation, a passive phenomenon, the basis of his system, the second substituting attention, an active phenomenon.

“Those who have studied the writings of the AssociationPsychologists must often have been unfavourably impressed by the almost total absence, in their analytical expositions, of the recognition of any active element, as spontaneity, in the mind itself.' :


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