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English philofopher refembles thofe ancient navigators, who, fearing to lofe fight of the land, fteered a fafe courfe along the coaft, but made no confiderable voyages. Leibnitz, like the adventurous Columbus, boldly left the coaft, and launched out into an immenfe ocean, with only analogy and logic for his compass.'
Encouraged by this example, M. SULZER penetrates into the dark and unknown regions of the dead, to enquire what becomes, there, of that indeftructible fubftance, which we call the foul, after it has been obliged to quit the body to which it had united during life. This leads him to the third propofition that enters into the conftruction of his system *, even that at death, which feparates the animated molecule from the animal body, all the fenfations and clear perceptions of the foul ceafe, and a lethargy enfues, during which, the foul feems to have loft all its activity, and to be reduced to the state of an atom of dead matter. This our Author endeavours to prove firft by experience and obfervation, alleging the cafes of perfons drowned or fuffocated, who have been reftored to life; for if, in their cafe, even before the total feparation above mentioned, when the vital motions have ceased, all fenfation, and clear perceptions have been annihilated, how much more muft this effect take place, when the organs of fenfe are entirely deftroyed? This fact may be denied, and our Author himfelf, fome paragraphs after this, obferves, that it is not impoffible that the foul fhould think and act even after the destruction of the animal body, though without consciousness +: he acknowledges, also, that he has neither facts
*The Reader will be pleased to recollect that the firft of our Author's propofitions was, that the visible animal body is only the cafe, cover or envelope of a more fubtile organized body, which is the feat of the foul, or, according to the Materialift, the foul itself.-This latter our Author calls the animated molecule;-and that the fecond propofition was, that the fubtile body or animated molecule is indeftructible, and that the diffolution of the animal body only diffolves the union of the two bodies, without introducing any change in the organization of the animated molecule. See Monthly Review, Vol. Iviii. page 522.
† It does not only feem a paradox, that the foul fhould be capable of thinking and acting, without a consciousness of its exerting these operations, or even of its existence, but M. SULZER himself calls it fuch, though he promises to prove it on another occafion. The few hints he throws out here on this intricate fubject are, without doubt, ingenious. He thinks that confcioufnefs depends on the fenfations, or, in other words, is excited by fome modification of the mind produced by external objects,-and that (what he calls) pure thought may exist without confcioufnefs. The cafes of many, who often think justly in long fits of abfence, favour this hypothefis, and our Author alleges feveral facts that render it plaufible.
APP. Rev. Vol. Ix.
nor arguments fufficient to prove that the foul or animated molecule can have no feeling or perception without the affiftance of the body. When therefore he maintains this, his third propofition against the Platonifts (who confidered the animal body as the prison of the foul, which restrains its operations, retards its flight to perfection, and renders dim and dubious its view of truth, and who regarded the separation as the moment that opened light and truth upon it in their purity), he has no means of defence but the fact above mentioned, and conjectures.
His conjectures are, indeed, ingenious, and if they do not administer either evidence, or a luminous probability with respect to what he defigns to prove, yet they unfold by the way interefting views of the operations of nature, and the fupreme wisdom by which they are directed. They are drawn from analogy, but are of too fubtile and intricate a nature not to lose what perfpicuity they have in an abridgment;—we there fore refer the metaphyfical reader to the memoir itself.
If the fuppofition of the animated molecule's lofing all its consciousness and fenfibility by its feparation from the animal body appears uncomfortable, our Academician revives our hopes of a new life, in his fourth propofition, which is, that the animated molecule, when feparated from the animal body, is not confounded and mingled with the general mass of matter, but follows the particular laws prefcribed to the species to which it belongs. In the illuftration of this propofition, our Author obferves, among other things, that in the deftruction of bodies produced by natural caufes, the decompofition is effected in fuch a manner, that the elementary parts of the diffolved body are separated from each other, and return each to the general mass of the substances of its kind, in order to be employed anew in a manner conformable to their destination. This fact we daily obferve in the decompofition of bodies compounded of air, water, and earth. When they are diffolved, either by fire or putrefaction, the particles of air, water, and earth, are reunited to their respective elements; and by this admirable operation of nature there are always materials for new productions.— Now if fuch (fays our Author) is the courfe and procedure of nature in the deftruction of animal bodies, we may conclude by induction and analogy, that animated molecules are fubjected to a fimilar law, and that after the destruction of the bodies to which they were united, they repair to the general assemblage of their species, and remain there until the time comes which is fixed for their vivifying new bodies.-It was thus, probably, continues our Academician, that they found their way to al union with the animal bodies, now living; it is this hypothefis alone (fays he) that can explain the union between foul and body:
for we muft either admit continual miracles, or suppose, that fouls unite themselves to animal bodies by natural means, by laws which refult from the specific qualities of the animal body and thofe of the animated molecule. This is an inge nious dress given to the great ftoical revolution that renews nature at certain fixed periods. Be that as it may-the Author proves by the exiftence of monsters, which arife from accidental caufes, modifying the formation of natural productions, that the formation of animal bodies is produced by natural means under the empire of providence, and not by the immediate operations of the deity, which would have prevented the influence of these causes. But the influence of thefe accidental caufes is much lefs frequent in the Animal than in the Mineral and Vegetable kingdoms; and this furnishes our Author with a farther argument in favour of the prefervation of the animated molecule.
From thefe general confiderations in favour of his fourth propofition, M. SULZER thinks it neceffary to proceed to others more particular and more analogous to his fubject.He is perfuaded that the primitive organized germs, from whence animals are produced, exift fince the commencement of the world, are diffufed throughout the globe, are preserved amidst the revolutions to which all things here below are exposed, and are developed, every one in its feafon, according to regular and permanent laws.
As this fact is analogous to what our Academician has maintained concerning animated molecules, he propofes in a following memoir to exhibit the reafons which have induced him to adopt the hypothefis of pre-exiftent germs, on which modern philofophers differ fo much. To treat this important fubject with the attention it requires and deferves-he proposes,
First, To prove that the formation of organized bodies, fuch as plants and animals, could not be effected by laws merely mechanical or phyfical, and that therefore the hypothefis of the epigenefis is without any foundation: from whence it will appear, that the primitive germs of plants and animals preexist in nature, as the elementary fubftances, above mentioned, exift previoully to the formation of bodies in general.
Secondly, To fhew that the hypothefis of fome modern philofophers, who fuppofe thefe germs inclofed one within the other, is deftitute of all probability, and contrary to palpable facts: from whence he concludes that these germs are difperfed and distributed throughout all nature, in the fame manner as other elementary fubftances.
Thirdly, To prove that there are laws prefcribed to the germs of organized bodies, by which the germ of each plant
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and animal actually exifting must have been conveyed to the place where it has been developed.
From all which it will appear, that there is continually carried on in nature a procefs, fimilar and analagous to that which he supposes with refpect to the animated molecule, before its union with the animal body, and after its separation from it by death.
We fear that this feparation has hindered our learned Academician from executing this plan: if not-we shall give an account of it when it appears.
Philofophical Reflexions concerning Certainty. By M. DE BEAUSOBRE. There are feveral fenfible things in this piece. It is upon the whole judicious and folid, and does honour to its author; but there is nothing in it that requires particular notice.
Concerning the Influence of Natural Caufes on the Mind of Man. By DOM. PERNETY.-An account of this ingenious memoir, as alfo of thofe that belong to the class of the Belles Lettres, will be given in our next Appendix.
Hiftoire de l'Aftronomie Moderne depuis la Fondation de l'Ecole d'Alexandrie jufqu'à l'Epoque de 1730.-A Hiftory of Modern Aftro-nomy, from the Foundation of the Alexandrian School, to the Epocha of 1730. By M. BAILLY, of the Academy of Sciences at Paris. 2 Vols. 4to. With Cuts. 1779.
T is always with pleasure that we review the productions of this agreeable, acute, and truly learned Philofopher, who is inftructive and interesting even when he roams through the fields of fancy; who dreams like a man of genius; but who is peculiarly worthy of all our attention, when he walks in the real paths of hiftorical fact and philofophic fcience. In this refpectable point of view does he appear in the incomparable work before us, where we find the fame vaft erudition, the fame charms of eloquence, the fame elegance and brilliancy of ftyle, that have so much diftinguished his former productions.
The parts of this work, which are purely aftronomical, and thofe difcuffions which are not immediately relative to the history and progress of that noble fcience, the reader muft perufe in the work itself; wherein he will find profound refearches and calculations, which would lofe their perfpicuity, and perhaps their precifion, in an abridgment. We therefore confine ourselves to the hiftorical, which is the principal and the effential part of this work, and which will certainly be moft inftructive and entertaining to the generality of our Readers.
Nor has M. BAILLY loft fight of the lefs learned clafs of readers in the compofition of this hiftory; he has admitted into it no more of the mathematical part of aftronomy than was neceffary to fhew the means by which difcoveries were made in that fcience.
Our Author is lefs bewildered in following the historical thread of this science, in modern times, where the path is beaten, where the facts are ascertained, and the dates are inconteftible, than he was, when he wandered in the devious wilds of ancient philofophical history, in order to view the genuine afpects of aftronomical science, in the early ages. And though we admired the ingenious conjectures, by which he directed his course, for want of furer guides, and the almost magic power, with which he has thrown flashes of light upon the moft dubious objects, yet these flashes gave but a momentary evidence: we were ftill falling back into doubts and difficulties; and we are now very glad to follow him through a tract of time, where the road is as plain and luminous as the objects it represents are interesting and fublime.
The first volume of this excellent work is divided into ten books. The first five exhibit to us, fucceffively, all that is known of the school of Alexandria and of the aftronomers who preceded Hipparchus. This fchool, which was founded by Ptolemy Philadelphus, fubfifted near ten centuries. Though it was erected in Egypt, and that at a time when the fciences, encouraged by the munificence of that prince, and promoted by other concurring circumftances, flourished anew, yet it derived its principal luftre from the Greeks, who seemed destined by nature to bring to perfection what others had invented, and who removed from aftronomical fcience the veil with which it had been covered by the Egyptian priefts. It is certain (we follow the relation of M. BAILLY) that aftronomy appeared under a new aspect at this period. Obfervations of the heavenly bodies were made with inftruments, fufceptible of a certain degree of precifion; hypothefes were formed to explain the motions of the planets; the progreffive motions of the stars were observed; their places were determined; and all these improvements were inferted by Hipparchus in a catalogue, that they might furnish points of comparifon to future ages.
Timacharis and Ariftillus are the first aftronomical obfervers we meet with in the school of Alexandria under Ptolemy Soter, about three hundred years before Chrift. Others there may have been that Hipparchus may have omitted. His work, entitled Almageft, or the Great Work, which contains all the attempts and improvements in aftronomical fcience that had been made in the fchool of Alexandria, was in fuch high efteem, that the fources from which he had taken his informa