John Wesley Powell
38 pages (2009/1896); 182KB downloadWOWIO Books
; ISBN: WOWIO-00521
This lecture points out the importance of precise definition when trying to distinguish between certitude and illusion: “Judgment is consciousness and inference, which give rise to ideas, and the illusion concerning idea is called ghost.”
“In the history of philosophy an illusion is discovered concerning matter and each of its factors, which are number, extension, motion, and duration. Another illusion is discovered concerning judgment, which is the special factor of mind and which is always found associated with matter. Bodies are related particles of matter, each one of which has four factors; and mind, considered abstractly, is composed of related judgments, and, so far as we know, always associated with bodies. Thus we have relations, and relation itself comes to be the object of illusion. Matter is the substrate of all bodies. Bodies thus have a substrate, and the illusion concerning matter arises from considering that matter, which is the substrate, has also its substrate, which is sometimes called substrate and sometimes called substance. Classes are orders of number. The illusion concerning number relates to class or kind, and is sometimes called essence. Extensions combined have figure and structure, which produce form, and the illusion concerning extension is an illusion in relation to forms which are derived from extensions, and is called space. Motions, through collisions, are forces, and the illusion concerning motion is also called force. Duration is persistence and change, which give rise to time, and the illusion concerning duration is also called time. Judgment is consciousness and inference, which give rise to ideas, and the illusion concerning idea is called ghost. Bodies are related to one another; hence numbers, extensions, motions, durations, and judgments are related. Certain of the relations of these things are called causality, and the illusion concerning relation is called cause.
“Now it must be clearly understood that the terms substrate, essence, space, force, time, ghost, and cause sometimes refer to real things when properly used in science, and to illusions when they are improperly used, as they sometimes are in science and usually are in metaphysics. In general the term ghost is now used only in reference to an illusion, and this is the sole case where we have a term for an illusion which is commonly understood in that sense, but the term spirit is used in both senses for the certitude and the illusion.
“The seven illusions here enumerated are perhaps the most fundamental and far-reaching of the vast multitude of illusions which appear in the history of error. The words substrate, essence, space, force, time, ghost, and cause are terms of universal use, and their synonyms appear in all civilized languages and perhaps in all lower languages. They have always stood for certitudes and illusions. Here they require definitions, both as certitudes and as illusions, in so far as we are able to define them. Substrate is matter; matter is the substrate of all bodies. Essence is any collocation of units into a unit of a higher order, which makes it a kind or one of a class. Space is any extension or any collocation of extensions; force is any collocation of motions that are related by collisions; time is any duration or collocation of durations; mind or spirit or ghost is any judgment or collocation of judgments; cause is any antecedent or collocation of antecedents of a change. Such are the fundamental mental meanings of the words when used to designate realities. We shall hereafter see what they mean when they are used to designate illusions. . . .
“The seven ghosts of science: the ghost of substance, the ghost of essence, the ghost of space, the ghost of force, the ghost of mind, the ghost of time, the ghost of cause—seven reined words, seven voids, seven nothings. These seven ghosts have haunted scientific men and even tainted the literature of science.”