CHAPTER II. IDEAS.
“Haec in genere sors esse solet humana, ut quid in quovis genere recte aut cogitari aut effici possit sentiant prius quam perspiciant. Laborem autem baud ita levem ilium veriti, qui in eo impendendus erat ut, ideas operatione analytica penitua evolventea, quid taudem velint, aut quaenam res agatur, sibi ipsis rationem sufficientem reddant, confusis, aut saltern baud satia explicatia rationibus, ratiocinia, et scientiarum adeo systemata superstruere solent communiter, eoque confidentiua, quo ejua quam tractant scientiae fundamentum solidum magis ignorant.” Schmidt-Phiseldek, Philos. Criticce Expositio Systematica, t. i. p. 561.
“Pour systematiser une science, c’est-à-dire, pour ramener une suite de phenomeues a 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 différents 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 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 sensation.
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, 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 apparent.
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 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 re presentative.
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 ideas.
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 existed.
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 person.
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 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.
[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, we have the same proof of the number and distinct ness 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 N 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 the feelings we have, when we will to contract certain muscles, and feel the contraction impeded. 19 20
[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 out ward effect which it was the tendency, and perhaps the purpose, of the muscular contraction to produce, fails to be produced. Ed.
[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 con sider 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 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 con sequence, 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
[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.
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.]
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 as signed to the change of action in the blood-vessels.
There are states of feeling, very distinguishable, accompanying diseased states of the heart, and of the nervous and arterial systems.
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 dis eases 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 ex pounding 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 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 con sider 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 him self 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)
[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 with drawn, 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 A 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 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 our selves 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. Wei 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 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 sensa tion, 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 for mer 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 recog nises 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.
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 sensa tions.
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 them selves into two distinct kinds, which I shall call impressions and ideas. The difference between these consists in the de grees 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 distinc tion 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 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 pro cesses 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 pre vious 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 im pression and nothing more; or the difference between the 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 sen sation, 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 sensation.
4. Sensation is commonly used to employ the whole of our primary feelings and susceptibilities, as opposed to the Emo tions 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 exer tion of inward force or energy, and those arising under impres sions 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 oMer 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 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 sensi bility. B.
[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: pan 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 remem bering, an object or an event, just as we remember or imagine ourselves seeing one. But in the case of a simple idea of sen sation, 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 com binations 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 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 re membered 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 con trary, 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 it. Ed.]