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A chapter of digression and anecdotes, as an
interlude preceding that on the nature and genesis of the imagination or plastic powerOn pedantry and pedantic expressions—Advice to young authors respecting publicationVarious anecdotes of the author's literary life, and the progress of his opinions in religion and politics.
Esemplastic. The word is not in Johnson, nor have I met with it elsewhere." Neither have 1! I constructed it myself from the Greek words, ss E TAATTEIV i. e. to' shape into one;
, εις EV because, having to convey a new sense, I thought that a new term would both aid the recollection of my meaning, and prevent its being confounded with the usual import of the word, imagination. “But this is pedantry!" Not necessarily so, I hope. If I am not misinformed, pedantry consists in the use of words unsuitable to the time, place, and company. The language of the market would be in the schools as pedantic, though it might not be reprobated by that name, as the language of the schools in the market. The mere man of the
world, who insists that no other terms but such as occur in common conversation should be employed in a scientific disquisition, and with no greater precision, is as truly a pedant as the man of letters, who either over-rating the acquirements of his auditors, or misled by his own familiarity with technical or scholastic terms, converses at the wine-table with his mind fixed on his musæum or laboratory; even though the latter pedant instead of desiring his wife to make the tea, should bid her add to the quant. suff. of thea sinensis the oxyd of hydrogen saturated with caloric. To use the colloquial (and in truth somewhat vulgar) metaphor, if the pedant of the cloyster, and the pedant of the lobby, both smell equally of the shop, yet the odour from the Russian binding of good old authentic-looking folios and quartos is less annoying than the steams from the tavern or bagnio. Nay, though the pedantry of the scholar should betray a little ostentation, yet a well-conditioned mind would more easily, methinks, tolerate the fox brush of learned vanity, than the sans culotterie of a contemptuous ignorance, that assumes a merit from mutilation in the self-consoling sneer at the pompous incumbrance of tails.
The first lesson of philosophic discipline is to wean the student's attention from the DEGREES of things, which alone form the
vocabulary of common life, and to direct it to the KIND abstracted from degree. Thus the chemical student is taught not to be startled at disquisitions on the heat in ice, or on latent and fixible light. In such discourse the instructor has no other alternative than either to use old words with new meanings (the plan adopted by Darwin in his Zoonomia;) or to introduce new terms, after the example of Linnæus, and the framers of the present che
, mical nomenclature. The latter mode is evidently preferable, were it only that the former demands a twofold exertion of thought in one and the same act. For the reader (or hearer) is required not only to learn and bear in mind the new definition; but to unlearn, and keep out of his view, the old and habitual meaning ; a far more difficult and perplexing task, and for which the mere semblance of eschewing pedantry seems to me an inadequate compensation. Where, indeed, it is in our power to recall an appropriate term that had without sufficient reason become obsolete, it is doubtless a less evil to restore than to coin anew. Thus to express in one word, all that appertains to the perception considered as passive, and merely recipient, I have adopted from our elder classics the word sensuous; because sensual is not at present used, except in a bad sense, or at least as a moral distinction, while
sensitive and sensible would each convey a different meaning. Thus too I have followed Hooker, Sanderson, Milton, &c. in designating the immediateness of any act or object of knowlege by the word intuition, used sometimes subjectively, sometimes objectively, even as we use the word, thought; now as the thought, or act of thinking, and now as a thought, or the object of our reflection ; and we do this without
; confusion or obscurity. The very words, objective and subjective, of such constant recurrence in the schools of yore, I have ventured to re-introduce, because I could not so briefly, or conveniently by any more familiar terms distinguish the percipere from the percipi. Lastly, I have cautiously discriminated the terms, the REASON, and the UNDERSTANDING, encouraged and confirmed by the authority of our genuine divines, and philosophers, before the revolution.
“ both life, and sense,
PARADISE LOST, Book V. ;
* But for sundry notes on Shakspeare, &c. which have fallen in my way, I should have deemed it unnecessary to observe, that discourse here, or elswhere does not mean what we now call discoursing; but the discursion of the mind, the processes of generalization and subsumption, of deduction
I say, that I was confirmed by authority so venerable: for I had previous and higher motives in my own conviction of the importance, nay, of the necessity of the distinction, as both an indispensable condition and a vital part of all sound speculation in metaphysics, ethical or theological. To establish this distinction was one main object of The FRIEND; if even in a biography of my own literary life I can with propriety refer to a work, which was printed rather than published, or so published that it had been well for the unfortunate author, if it had remained in manuscript! I have even at this time bitter cause for remembering that, which a number of my subscribers have but a trifling motive for forgetting. This effusion might have been spared ; but I would feign flatter myself, that the reader will be less austere than an oriental professor of the bastinado, who during an attempt to extort per argumentum bačulinum a full confession from a culprit, interrupted his outcry of pain by reminding him, that it was “a mere digression !” All this noise, Sir! is nothing to the point, and no sort of answer to my QUESTIONS! Ah! but (replied the sufferer) it is the most pertinent reply in nature to your blows.
and conclusion. Thus, Philosophy has hitherto been DISCURsive : while Geometry is always and essentially INTUITIVE.