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common fenfe cannot be accounted for, by being called the perfection of reason, nor reafon, by being refolved into common fenfe, will perhaps appear from the following remarks. 1. We are conscious, from internal feeling, that the energy of understanding which perceives intuitive truth, is different from that other energy which unites a conclufion with a first principle, by a gradual chain of intermediate relations. We believe the truth of an investigated conclufion, because we can affign a reason for our belief; we believe an intuitive principle, without being able to affign any other reafon for our belief than this, that the law of our nature determines us to believe it, even as the law of our nature determines us to fee a colour when presented to our open eyes at noonday. 2. We cannot discern any neceffary connection between reafon and common sense: they are indeed generally connected; but we can conceive a being endued with the one who is deftitute of the other. Nay, we often find, that this is in fact the cafe. In dreams, we fometimes reafon without common fenfe. Through a defect of common fenfe, we F adopt
adopt abfurd principles; but supposing our principles true, our reafoning is often unexceptionable. The fame thing may be obferved in certain kinds of madnefs. A man who believes himfelf made of glafs, may yet reafon very juftly concerning the means of preferving his fuppofed brittlenefs from flaws and fractures. Nay, what is ftill more to the purpose, we sometimes meet with perfons, whom it would be injurious to charge with infanity, who, though defective in common sense, have yet, by converfing much with polemical writers, improved their reafoning faculty to fuch a degree, as to puzzle and put to filence those who are greatly their fuperiors in every other mental endowment. This leads us to remark a third difference between thefe two faculties, namely, that the one is more in our power than the other. There are few faculties, either of our mind or body, more improveable by culture, than that of reafoning; whereas common fenfe, like other inftincts, arrives at maturity with almost no care of ours. To teach the art of reasoning, or rather of wrangling, is eafy; but it is impoffible to teach common fenfe to one who
wants it. You may make a man remember a set of firft principles, and fay that he believes them, even as you may teach one born blind to speak intelligibly of colours and light; but neither to the one, nor to the other, can you by any means communicate the peculiar feeling which accompanies the operation of that faculty which nature has denied him. A man defective in common fenfe may acquire learning; he may even poffefs genius to a certain degree: but the defect of nature he never can fupply: a peculiar modification of fcepticism, or credulity, or levity, will to the very end of his life distinguish him from other men. It would evidence a deplorable degree of irrationality, if a man could not perceive the truth of a geometrical axiom; fuch inftances are uncommon but the number of felf-evident principles cognifable by man is very great, and more vigour of mind may be neceffary to the perception of fome, than to the perception of others. In this refpect, therefore, there may be great diversities in the measure of common fenfe which different men enjoy. Further, of two men, one of whom, though he acknowledges F 2
fute but this apology may be perfectly confiftent with fincerity and candor, and with that principle of which Pope fays, that "though no fcience, it is fairly worth "the feven."
Thus far we have endeavoured to diftinguish and ascertain the separate provinces of Reafon and Common Senfe. Their connection and mutual dependence, and the extent of their respective jurifdictions, we now proceed more particularly to investigate. -I ought perhaps to make an apology for these, and fome other metaphorical expreffions. And indeed it were to be wished, that in all matters of science, they could be laid afide; for the indifcreet ufe of them has done great harm, by leading philofophers to mistake verbal analogies for real ones; and often, too, by giving plaufibility to nonfenfe, as well as by difguifing and perplexing very plain doctrines with an affected pomp of highfounding words and gaudy images. But in the philofophy of the human mind, it is impoffible to keep clear of metaphor; because we cannot fpeak intelligibly of immaterial things, without continual allufions to matter, and its qualities. All I need
need to fay further on this head is, that I mean not by these metaphors to impofe upon the reader, and that I fhall do my utmoft to prevent their impofing upon myfelf.
It is ftrange to obferve, with what reluctance fome people acknowledge the power of instinct. That man is governed by reason, and the brutes by instinct, is a favourite topic with fome philofophers; who, like other froward children, fpurn the hand that leads them, and defire, above all things, to be left at their own difpofal. Were this boast founded in truth, it might be fuppofed to mean little more, than that man is governed by himfelf, and the brutes by their Maker *. But, luckily for man, it is not founded in truth, but in ignorance, inattention, and felfconceit. Our instincts, as well as our rational powers, are far fuperior, both in number and dignity, to those which the brutes enjoy; and it were well for us, on many occafions, if we laid our systems afide, and were more attentive in obferving
And Reafon raise o'er Inftinct as you can,
Pope's Essay on Man, Ep. 3. ver. 99. thefe