Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/455

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439
THE SEVEN WORLD-PROBLEMS.

Recollecting how I have showed the hyper-mechanical nature of this problem, and consequently its transcendence, it may be profitable to consider how Leibnitz does this. He makes the bare assertion in many places in his writings that consciousness can not arise through any forms and movements, or, as we would now say, through any arrangements and movements of matter. In his "Nouveaux Essais sur l'Entendement Humain," he lets his advocate of sensualism, Philalethes, say, almost in the words of Locke, whose views the work otherwise opposes: "It may be proper to lay more stress on the question whether a thinking being can proceed from an unthinking one without sensation and consciousness, like matter. It is tolerably clear that a material particle can never bring about anything by itself, or impart motion of itself to itself. Its motion must either have existed from eternity, or have been imparted to it by a superior being. But, even if it were from eternity, it could not beget consciousness. Divide matter as if in order to animate it, into as small particles as you will; give them whatever figures and motions you will; make them into balls, cubes, or cylinders, whose dimensions shall reach only a thousand-millionth part of a philosophical foot. However small the particle may be, it will produce on other particles of the same order no different influence from that which bodies an inch or a foot in diameter exercise upon each other. We have the same right to expect to produce sensation, thought, consciousness, by the combination of gross particles of matter of the right shape and mode of motion, as by means of the most minute particles. The latter meet, jostle, and resist each other just as the coarser particles do, and they can do no more. But if matter could immediately and without instrumentality, or the help of forms and movements, create of itself out of itself sensation, perception, and consciousness, that would have to be an inseparable attribute of matter in all its parts." Theophilus, representing the Leibnitzian idealism, approves this conclusion as well founded and just, and says that he is of the opinion of its originator, that "there is no combination or modification of the particles of matter, however small they may be, that can beget perception; for, as can be clearly seen, the gross parts can not do it, and all the processes in the small parts are proportional to those in the gross ones." In his "Monadology," Leibnitz says more briefly: "We are constrained to confess that perception and whatever depends upon it are inexplainable upon mechanical principles; that is, by reference to forms and movements. If we could imagine a machine, the operation of which would manufacture thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, and could think of it as enlarged in all its proportions, so that we could go into it as into a mill, even then we would find in it nothing but particles jostling each other, and never anything by which perception could be explained." Thus, Leibnitz has reached the same conclusion as we. Yet we may remark on this point, first, that Locke's demonstration as accepted by Leibnitz has lost its validity through the prog-