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On the Nature of Thought or, The act of thinking and its connexion with a perspicuous sentence   By: (1764-1844)

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ON THE NATURE OF THOUGHT,

OR THE ACT OF THINKING,

AND ITS CONNEXION WITH A PERSPICUOUS SENTENCE.

BY JOHN HASLAM, M.D. LATE OF PEMBROKE HALL, CAMBRIDGE, AND AUTHOR OF MANY WORKS ON THIS SUBJECT OF INSANITY.

London: [Printed by G. HAYDEN, Little College Street, Westminster,]

PUBLISHED BY LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, GREEN & LONGMAN, PATERNOSTER ROW.

1835.

[ PRICE TWO SHILLINGS. ]

Polonius What do you read, my Lord? Hamlet Words, words, words. Act 2d.

MEPHISTOPHELES.

"Im Ganzen haltet euch an Worte! Dann geht ihr durch die sichere Pforte Zum Tempel der Gewissheit ein."

SCHULER.

"Doch ein Begriff muss bey dem Worte seyn."

MEPHISTOPHELES.

"Schon gut! nur muss man sich nicht allzu ängstlich quälen, Denn eben wo Begriffe fehlen, Da stellt ein Wort zur rechten zeit sich ein. Mit Worten lässt sich trefflich streiten, Mit Worten ein System bereiten. An Werte lässt sich trefflich glauben, Von einem Wort lässt sich kein Iota rauben." Goëthe's Faust.

"And when I have enumerated these, I imagine I have comprehended almost every thing which can enter into the composition of the intellectual life of man. With the single exception of reason, (and reason can scarcely operate without the intervention of language,) is there any thing more important to man, more peculiar to him, or more inseparable from his nature than speech? Nature indeed could not have bestowed on us a gift more precious than the human voice, which, possessing sounds for the expression of every feeling, and being capable of distinctions as minute, and combinations as intricate as the most complex instrument of music; is thus enabled to furnish materials so admirable for the formation of artificial language. The greatest and most important discovery of human ingenuity is writing; there is no impiety in saying, that it was scarcely in the power of the Deity to confer on man a more glorious present than LANGUAGE, by the medium of which, he himself has been revealed to us, and which affords at once the strongest bond of union, and the best instrument of communication. So inseparable indeed are mind and language, so identically one are thought and speech, that although we must always hold reason to be the great characteristic and peculiar attribute of man, yet language also, when we regard its original object and intrinsic dignity, is well intitled to be considered as a component part of the intellectual structure of our being. And although, in strict application, and rigid expression, thought and speech always are, and always must be, regarded as two things metaphysically distinct, yet there only can we find these two elements in disunion, where one or both have been employed imperfectly or amiss. Nay, such is the effect of the original unity or identity that, in their most extensive varieties of application, they can never be totally disunited, but must always remain inseparable, and every where be exerted in combination." Frederick Schlegel's Lectures on the History of Literature , ( English Translation , 1818,) page 11 .

TO

MRS. HUNTER, DUNDEE.

My dearest Daughter ,

This Essay on THOUGHT is appropriately dedicated to a lady of whom I am constantly thinking: whose dutiful conduct, and filial affection, have rendered a protracted life the subject of consolation, under all its contingent miseries .

33, Great Ormond Street, June 1835.

ON

THE NATURE OF THOUGHT,

&c. &c. &c.

In our survey of the Creation endowed with life and intellect, we are impelled to the conclusion, that the human mind is, beyond all comparison, the most perfect specimen that the Divine Author has chosen to allot to his creatures... Continue reading book >>




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