Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Titel:
The Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, vol. 3: Ins-Pla
Person:
Todd, Robert Bentley
PURL:
https://digitalesammlungen.uni-weimar.de/viewer/image/lit29464/797/
722z 
PHYSIOLOGY OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM. 
will, to feel, to perceive, to think, are so many 
states of Soul or acts of Mind. 
Mind is, then, the mode of action of the Soul, 
as Life is the mode of action of the Body. The 
latter we distinguish as material, and the phe¬ 
nomena of life as specially belonging to orga¬ 
nized matter; the former we denominate imma¬ 
terial, to mark its essential difference from the 
body, admitting, however, that it exists in a 
mysterious union with the nervous system of 
the body in a manner so intimate that in a 
state of health the smallest change in either 
readily affects the other. 
Such is the doctrine which seems most con¬ 
sonant with reason and experience, and, above 
all, with revelation. But there are those who 
maintain that not only are certain states of 
mind preceded by certain states of body, but 
that all our ideas, our sensations, our volitions, 
are the result of, and as it were generated by, 
certain organic changes. 
This view, which is that of materialism, 
while it necessarily tends to destroy our hopes 
of a future life, by denying even the very ex¬ 
istence of a Soul, and not its immortality only, 
is opposed by the consciousness which we 
possess of a power inherent in the mind to 
direct and control the actions of the brain, and 
by the knowledge that the mind will rise supe¬ 
rior to the fatigue and exhaustion of the body, 
and will survive, unimpaired, even its wreck. 
There are, moreover, some excellent persons, 
who, while they admit the existence of an 
immortal soul distinct from the mind, never¬ 
theless regard the phenomena of the mind 
as functions of the brain, resulting from the 
changes which are continually taking place in 
that organ. The mind, they say, is “ the ag¬ 
gregate of the functions of the brain,” and is 
entirely dependent on its integrity. But the 
adoption of these views involves the advocate 
of them in as great a difficulty as that from 
which he flatters himself he has escaped. If 
there be a soul, what is its relation to the 
mind ? What is its office ? Is it simply asso¬ 
ciated with the body without being affected by 
it or affecting it in turn ? Surely it must have 
some office, and if it be admitted to be capable 
of exercising any influence, either on the mind 
or on the body, then the whole matter in dis¬ 
pute vanishes. If the soul can affect the mind, 
it must do so according to these views through 
the body; and, if this be admitted, why make a 
difficulty about admitting that the will, as a 
faculty of the soul, can influence some portion 
of the brain ? 
On the other hand, if it be denied that the 
soul can affect either mind or body, then must 
we come to the conclusion that the soul is 
inert, or else an entity totally distinct from the 
body, a looker-on as it were, which watches 
the corporeal functions and the mental pheno¬ 
mena, but takes no part in them, and has no 
true sympathy with them.* 
* I beg the reader to peruse with attention the 
following passage from Bishop Butler :—“ Human 
creatures,” says this profound thinker, ‘‘ exist at 
present in two states of life and perception, greatly 
An acute and ingenious writer, Dr. Wigan, 
who has advocated with great zeal and ability 
the docrine of the duality of the mind, seems 
to think that the progress of mental philosophy 
and of cerebral physiology is much hindered 
by the views of those who advocate the spiritual 
different from each other ; each of which has its 
own peculiar laws, and its own peculiar enjoyments 
and sufferings. When any of our senses are affected 
or appetites gratified with the objects of them, we 
may be said to exist or live in a state of sensation. 
When none of our senses are affected or appetites 
gratified, and yet we perceive and reason and act, 
we may be said to exist or live in a state of reflexion. 
Now, it is by no means certain that any thing 
which is dissolved by death is any way necessary 
to the living being in this its state of reflection, after 
ideas are gained. For though, from our present 
constitution and condition of being, our external 
organs of sense are necessary for conveying in ideas 
to our reflecting powers, as carriages, and levers, and 
scaffolds are in architecture, yet when these, ideas 
are brought in, we are capable of reflecting in the 
most intense degree, and of enjoying the greatest 
pleasure and feeling the greatest pain by means of 
that reflection without any assistance from our 
senses ; and without any at all, which we know of, 
from that body which shall be dissolved by death. 
It does not appear then, that the relation of this 
gross body to the reflecting being is, in any degree, 
necessary to thinking—to our intellectual enjoy¬ 
ments or sufferings; nor, consequently, that the 
dissolution or alienation of the former by death 
will be the destruction of those present powers 
which render us capable of this state of reflection. 
Further, there are instances of mortal diseases 
which do not at all affect our present intellectual 
powers ; and this affords a presumption that those 
diseases will not destroy these present powers. 
Indeed, from the observations made above, it ap¬ 
pears that there is no presumption that the dissolu¬ 
tion of the body is the destruction of the living 
agent from their mutually affecting each other. 
And, by the same reasoning, it must appear too 
that there is no presumption that the dissolution of 
the body is the destruction of our present reflecting 
powers from their mutually affecting each other ; 
but instances of their not affecting each other afford 
a presumption of the contrary. Instances of mortal 
diseases not impairing our present reflecting powers 
evidently turn our thoughts even from imagining 
such diseases to be the destruction of them. Seve¬ 
ral things, indeed, greatly affect all our living 
powers, and at length suspend the exercise of them ; 
as for instance drowsiness increasing till it ends 
in sound sleep ; and from hence we might have 
imagined it would destroy them, till we found by 
experience the weakness of this way of judging. 
But, in the diseas'es now mentioned, there is not so 
much as this shadow of probability to lead us to any 
such conclusion as to the reflecting powers which 
we have at present. For, in those diseases, per¬ 
sons, the moment before death, appear to be in the 
highest vigour of life. They discover apprehension, 
memory, reason, all entire ; with the utmost force 
of affection ; sense of character, of shame and ho¬ 
nour ; and the highest mental enjoyments and suf¬ 
ferings, even to the last gasp ; and these surely 
prove even greater vigour of life than bodily strength 
does. Now what pretence is there for thinking that 
a progressive disease when arrived to such a degree, 
I mean that degree which is mortal, will destroy 
those powers which were not impaired, which were 
not affected by it during its whole progress quite up 
to that degree ? And if death by diseases of this 
kind is not the destruction of our present reflecting 
powers, ’t will scarce be thought that death by any 
other means is.” See the admirable chapter, “ Of 
a future Life,” in Butler’s Analogy of Religion, 
natural and revealed.
        

Nutzerhinweis

Sehr geehrte Benutzer,

aufgrund der aktuellen Entwicklungen in der Webtechnologie, die im Goobi viewer verwendet wird, unterstützt die Software den von Ihnen verwendeten Browser nicht mehr.

Bitte benutzen Sie einen der folgenden Browser, um diese Seite korrekt darstellen zu können.

Vielen Dank für Ihr Verständnis.