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power of artificial language, or his rifibility. Reafon, in this acceptation, seems to be a general name for all the intellectual powers, as diftinguifhed from the fenfitive part of our conftitution. 2. Every thing that is called truth is fometimes faid to be perceived by reafon: by reafon we are faid to perceive, that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles; and we are also faid to perceive, by reafon, that it is impoffible for the fame thing to be, and not to be. But thefe truths are of different kinds; and therefore the energies of understanding to which they are referred ought to be called by different names. 3. The power of invention is fometimes afcribed to reafon. Thus LOCKE tells us, that it is reafon which difcovers and arranges the feveral intermediate proofs in an argument; an office which, according to the common ufe of words, is to be referred, not to reafon, but to imagination. 4. Reafon, as implying a faculty not marked by any other name, is ufed by thofe who are most accurate in diftinguishing, to fignify that power of the human mind by which we draw inferences, or by which we are convinced,
vinced that a relation belongs to two ideas, on account of our having found, that thefe ideas bear certain relations to other ideas. In a word, it is that faculty which enables us, from relations or ideas that are known, to inveftigate fuch as are unknown; and without which we never could proceed in the difcovery of truth a fingle step beyond first principles or intuitive axioms. And it is in this laft fenfe we are to use the word Reafon in the course of this inquiry.
The term Common Senfe is also used in feveral different fignifications. 1. Sometimes it feems to be fynonymous with prudence. Thus we fay, that a man poffeffeth a large flock of common fenfe, who is quick in perceiving remote confequences, thence intantaneously determining concerning the propriety of prefent conduct. 2. Common fense, in certain inftances, feemeth to be confounded with fome of the powers of tafte. We often meet with perfons of strong fagacity in most of the ordinary affairs of life, and who are very capable of accurate reafoning, who yet, without any bad intention, commit the most egregious blunders with regard to decorum; both
both faying and doing what is offenfive to their company, and inconfiftent with their own character: and this we are apt to impute to a defect in common fense. But it feems rather to be owing to a defect in that kind of fenfibility, or fympathy, by which we fuppofe ourselves in the fituations of others, adopt their fentiments, and in a manner perceive their very thoughts; and which is indeed the foundation of good-breeding *. It is by this fecret, and fudden, and (to those who are unacquainted with it) inexplicable, communication of feelings, that a man is enabled to avoid what would appear incongruous or offenfive to others. They who are prompted by inclination, or obliged by neceffity, to study the art of recommending themselves to others, acquire a wonderful facility in perceiving and avoiding all poffible ways of giving offence; which is à proof, that this kind of fenfibility may be much improved by habit: although there are, no doubt, in refpect of this, as well as of all other modifications of perception, original and conftitu
*See Smith's Theory of moral fentiments, fect 1.
tional differences in the frame of different minds. 3. Some men are distinguished by an uncommon acutenefs in difcovering the characters of others: they feem to read the foul in the countenance, and with a fingle glance to penetrate the deepest receffes of the heart. In their prefence, the hypocrite is detected, notwithstanding his fpecious outfide; the gay effrontery of the coxcomb cannot conceal his infignificance; and the man of merit appears confpicuous under all the difguifes of an unaffuming and ungainly modefty. This talent is fometimes called Common Senfe; but very improperly. It is far from being common; it is even exceedingly rare: it is to be found in men who are not remarkable for other mental excellence; and we any often fee those who in other refpects are judicious enough, quite deftitute of it. 4. Neither ought every common opinion to be referred to common fenfe. Modes in drefs, religion, and converfation, however abfurd in themfelves, may fuit the notions or the taste of a particular people: but none of us will fay, that it is agreeable to common fenfe, to worship more gods than one; to believe that one and the fame body
body may be in ten thousand different pla→ ces at the fame time *; to like a face the better because it is painted, or to diflike a perfon because he does not lifp in his pronunciation. Laftly, The term Common Senfe hath in modern times been used by philofophers, both French and British, to fignify that power of the mind which perceives truth, or commands belief, not by progreffive argumentation, but by an inftantaneous, inftinctive, and irrefiftible im+ pulfe; derived neither from education nor from habit, but from nature; acting independently on our will, whenever its object is prefented, according to an eftablifhed law, and therefore properly called Sense; and acting in a similar manner upon all, or at least upon a great majority of mankind, and therefore properly called Common Senfe. It is in this fignification that the term Common Senfe is used in the prefent inquiry.
That there is a real and effential difference between thefe two faculties; that
For the circumflances that characterife a Senfe, fee Dr Gerard's Effay on Tafle, part 3. fect. 1. Note.