Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/65
THE GREAT SYSTEMS
ics to physics: the sensible attributes of body (color, tone, etc.) are discovered only by means of sense perception, which involves a new inductive beginning at this point. And the last two main divisions of the system, the theories of the Homo and the Cives, we can establish by direct (psychological and historical) experience, without going through the first main division. Hobbes also wrote his psychological and political works (Elements of Law, De cive, Leviathan) before he had completed his theory of the Corpus.
If everything is motion, all reality must be corporeal. An incorporeal thing is a chimera (Unding). It follows therefore that science can only investigate finite things, since only finite things can be in motion. It is impossible to have any knowledge of the universe as a complete whole. All questions concerning the universe as a totality lead into the inconceivable and can only be determined by faith, not by knowledge. Science can tell us nothing concerning either the origin, extent or destiny of the universe. The highest science, the firstlings of wisdom (primitia sapientiæ), Hobbes remarks ironically, are reserved to the theologians, just as in Israel the firstlings of the harvest were sacrificed to the priests.
b. Hobbes started with sensation; from it he derived the principle of change, and thence the principle of motion. If everything is motion, therefore, sensation must likewise be motion. “Sensation is nothing more than a motion among the particles of the sensing body.” And this applies to consciousness in general. In his criticism of Descartes’ Meditations Hobbes says “Consciousness (mens) is nothing more than a motion in certain parts of an organic body.” Motion is the reality, consciousness is only the form under which it becomes apparent (appari-