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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/472

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

which is not afforded by a ditch; or, 2, that the dog which does not run against lamp-posts affords evidence of the reality of Nature which is not afforded by a man in the same circumstances; or, 3, that "nothing can be more absurd than the criticism of these persons" who reason like Professor Mivart.

While sometimes right and sometimes wrong, like the rest of us, the apostle of tar water was no fool, although the groundwork of Mivart's science, in the book before us, is the assertion that idealists idiotically deny everything which they have not perceived, and hold that the external world has no existence.

It is hard to see how words could be clearer than those in which Berkeley repudiates all nonsense of this sort. "I do not argue," says he, "against the existence of any one thing that we apprehend, either by sense or by reflection. That the things I see with my eves and touch with my hands do exist, really exist, I make not the least question. I am of a vulgar cast, simple enough to believe my own senses, and to take things as I find them. To be plain, it is my opinion that the real things are the very things that I see and feel, and perceive by my senses. I can not for my life help thinking that snow is white and fire hot. And as I am no skeptic with regard to the nature of things, so neither am I as to their existence. That a thing should be really perceived by my senses, and at the same time not really exist, is to me a plain contradiction. Wood, stone, fire, water, flesh, iron, and the like things, which I name and discourse of, are things I know. Away, then, with all that skepticism, all those ridiculous philosophical doubts! I might as well doubt of my own being as of the being of those things I actually see and feel."

Mivart lays great stress upon the opinion of men in general as a refutation of idealism; and as Berkeley also says he is content to appeal to the common sense of the world, it may be well to ask what the verdict of "plain, untutored men "is, even if we doubt whether such a jury is the highest tribunal.

"Ask the gardener," says Berkeley, "why he thinks yonder cherry tree exists in the garden, and he shall tell you, because he sees it and feels it."

Mivart holds it one thing to see, and quite another matter to know that we see, for he says that while we see and feel the "qualities" of things by those "lower faculties" which we share with the "brutes," we perceive the "substance" in which these qualities inhere, by certain "higher faculties," winch, whether represented in the brutes by latent potencies or not, have been "given" to man in their completeness, and not slowly and gradually built up from low and simple beginnings in the brutes.