Front Page Titles (by Subject) Appendix A: Manuscript Fragments - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume IX - An Examination of William Hamilton's Philosophy
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Appendix A: Manuscript Fragments - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume IX - An Examination of William Hamilton’s Philosophy 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume IX - An Examination of William Hamilton’s Philosophy and of The Principal Philosophical Questions Discussed in his Writings, ed. John M. Robson, Introduction by Alan Ryan (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979).
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of the mass of manuscript Mill produced in drafting, rewriting, and revising the Examination, nothing is known to be extant except the eight fragments printed below, all of which are drafts of revisions for the 3rd ed. Two of them are in the Yale collection, and so presumably derive from the Sotheby’s sale of 27 June, 1927; five are in the Houghton Library, Harvard, in the volume of manuscript material bought by George Herbert Palmer from the Avignon bookseller, J. Roumanille; and one is written on a sheet at the end of Mill’s final MS of the Autobiography, in the Columbia University Library. The five in the Harvard collection, one may reasonably assume, indicate that the relevant revisions were made in Avignon late in 1866; it is quite likely that the two at Yale were simply bundled with papers of more consequence taken back to England by Mary Taylor when she persuaded her aunt, Helen Taylor, to leave the Avignon house in 1905.
In the text above, the placing of these fragments is indicated by superscript letters. Here they are printed with page and line references to the text above, and with variant readings giving the final versions, except for the fifth, which was totally rewritten. Cancellations and interlineations are not indicated.
Fragment 1. Pp. 21.17-22.3 (Yale)
bBut there isb abundant evidence that the relativity which che meant to affirm ofc our knowledge of attributes was not merely relativity to their substances but also relativity to us. dWhenever the occasion presents itself hed affirms of attributes as positively as of substances, that all our knowledge of them is relative to us. eHe asserts this in a passage already quoted.*e “In saying that a thing is known in itself I do not mean that this object is known in its absolute existence, that is, out of relation to us. This is impossible for our knowledge is only of the relative.” fSo that, by the relativity of our knowledge he means relativity to us. Again, when speaking expressly of attributes†—“byf the expression what they are in themselves, in reference to the primary qualities, & of relative notion in reference to the secondary, Reid cannot mean that the former are known to us absolutely & in themselves, that is, out of relation to our cognitive faculties; for he elsewhere admits that all our knowledge is grelative.” To the same effect:‡ “Weg can know, we can conceive, only what is relative, our knowledge of qualities or phenomena is necessarily relative; for these exist only as they exist in relation to our faculties.”§ The distinction, hthen, which he drawsh between our knowledge of substances & that of attributes, though authentically a part of his philosophy, is quite irrelevant here. iFor he unquestionably thinks, &i
Fragment 2. P. 38n.13-27 (Harvard)
as predicated of acts or mental states, & the asame asa attributes of a person. bThe standard of right is indeedb a positive limit, which even ideally can cbe onlyc reached, not surpassed: but ddifferent persons may agree ind exactly conforming to the standard, eyete differ in the strength of their adherence to itf, in so much that influences (temptations for instance)f might detach one of them from it, which would have no effect gon the otherg . There are thus, consistently with hperfecth observance of the rule of right, innumerable gradations of the attribute, considered as in a iperson. This I had overlooked. Buti , on the other hand, jthe extreme limit of these gradations is the conceptionj of a Person whom no influences, knok causes, either in or out of himself, can lmake or induce to deviatel from the law of right. This I apprehend,m, ism a conception of Absolute, not of Infinite, righteousness. The doctrine, therefore, of the first edition, that an Infinite Being may have attributes which are Absolute but not nInfinite, appearsn to me maintainable. But as it is immaterial to my argument, & was only obrought in as an illustration which lay nearo at hand of the meaning of the terms, I withdraw it from pthe present discussionp .
Fragment 3. Pp. 52.14-53.15[*] (Harvard)
This aisa unanswerable if by the Absolute we bareb obliged to understand something which is not only “out of” all relation, but cis incapable of ever coming into relation with anything else: butc is this what any one can possibly mean by the dAbsoluted , who identifies the Absolute with the Creator? Granting that the Absolute implies an existence eofe itself, standing in no relation to anything; the only Absolute with which we are concerned, or in which anybody believes, must not only be capable of entering into relation with things, but must be capable of entering into any fpossible relationf with anything. May it not be known in some at least of those relations, & particularly in the relation of a Cause? And if it is a “finished, perfected, completed” Cause, i.e. the most a Cause that it is possible to be—the cause of everything except itself, then if known as such, it is known as an Absolute Cause. Has Sir W. Hamilton shewn that an Absolute Cause, thus understood, is inconceivable or unknowable? No: all he shews is, that although capable of being known, it
Fragment 4. P. 57.19-32 (Harvard)
the whole of both; & these being conceived as Infinite, to conceive a Being as occupying the whole of them is to conceive that Being as infinite. If thinking God as eternal & omnipresent is thinking him in Space & Time, athen wea do think God in space & time. If thinking him as eternal & omnipresent is not thinking him in space & time, bthen we can think himb out of Space & Time. cIc have already shewn that the ideas of infinite space & time are real & positive conceptions: that of a Being who is in all dtime & spaced is no less so. To think anything emuste be to condition it by attributes which are themselves thinkable; but not necessarily to condition it by a limited quantum of those attributes: on the contrary, we may think it under a degree of them greater than all limited degrees, & this is to think it as Infinite.(a)
Fragment 5. P. 77n.33-41 (Columbia)
aassociations, wea have a natural tendency to disbelieve bit,b but the suggestion to our mind of csome set of possiblec conditions which would be a Sufficient Reason for its dtruthd , takes away its eunbelievability, or in other wordse enables us to ‘conceive it as possible.’ This view of Sir W. Hamilton’s meaning fwould account forf his using the term in its third signification; which Mr Mansel (p. 132) also greducesg to the first, but which may be better identified with the second: for of first truths also it is impossible to assign any Sufficient Reason. hThat for this reason, however, the truths which are the basis of all our conceptions of things should be nicknamed inconceivable, I hold to be an entirely inadmissible abuse of language.h
Fragment 6. P. 118n.32[*] (Harvard)
“is one & indivisible may logically (ratione) be considered as diverse & plural, & vice versa, what are really diverse & plural may logically be viewed as one & indivisible. As an example of the former;—the sides & angles of a triangle (or trilateral) as mutually correlative—as together making up the same simple figure—& as, without destruction of that figure, actually inseparable from it, & from each other, are really one; but in as much as they have peculiar relations which may, in thought, be considered severally & for themselves, they are logically twofold.”
Does Sir W. Hamilton mean to say that the sides of a triangle, & its angles, are really and in themselves one—that there is “identity” between them; & that they only differ as the same thing regarded in a different point of view? If so, the words one, same, & identity, must have changed their meaning. I could understand his expressions if they had been used of the figure itself. That, he might justly have said, is identical, is the same in itself, though it may be regarded in two relations or points of view; in relation to its sides, as a trilateral; in relation to its angles, as a triangle. But it might as well be said that a man’s head & his feet are the same thing regarded in different points of view, as that the sides & angles of a figure are so.
We shall find, in the sequel, that this particular confusion of ideas is habitual to Sir W. Hamilton: it is quite usual with him to overlook the difference between what is implied by a thing, & what is in the thing itself. The principal novelties which he attempted to introduce into the Science of Logic, originated, as we shall see, in non-observance of this distinction.
The following passage, from the “Discussions”, (pp. 47, 48) shews that in calling knowledge & the consciousness of knowledge “really identical” he only meant that they are inseparable. “I can feel without perceiving, I can perceive without imagining, I can imagine without remembering, I can remember without judging (in the emphatic signification), I can judge without willing. One of these acts does not immediately suppose the other. Though modes merely of the same indivisible subject, they are modes in relation to each other, really distinct, & admit, therefore, of psychological discrimination. But can I feel without being conscious that I feel? can I remember, without being conscious that I remember? or, can I be conscious, without being conscious that I perceive, or imagine, or reason? . . . . But
Fragment 7. P. 225n.25-33 (Harvard)
“got directly from the sense of touch”. This is aa good answer to Platner’s conclusion that those notions are obtained by sight alone: but it does not conflict with Platner’s observations, nor with any inference drawn from them by me. It is, on the contrary, exactly what I should expecta . The sense of sight bnot beingb necessary to give the perception of simultaneity c(though it gives that perception more promptly & on a wider scale) is not necessary to the genesis I have suggested of the idea of extension out of the muscular feelings. Nor do I in the least doubt that ac person born blind can acquire, dthough by a much slowerd process, all that there is in our notion of Space, except the visible picture: but he will be much longer before he realizes it completely, & in the case of Platner’s patient, that point does not seem to have been reached.
Fragment 8. Pp. 503.25-504.7[*] (Yale)
A history of philosophy from his hand, unless proposing to himself a new object had altered his point of view, could not have been final; it would not have been a philosophical history of philosophy; but it would have stood in the same relation to such a work—in which accurate & complete annals stand to political history: it would have aprodigiously abridged the labour of subsequent historians & could have been an invaluable protection against their mistakesa . Such, therefore,
[a-a][this fragmentary sentence, which may be cancelled by a vertical line, does not correspond to anything in the final text]
[b-b]67 There is, however,
[c-c]67 Sir W. Hamilton ascribed to
[e-e]67 The passages already quoted apply as much to attributes as to substances. “In saying that we know only the relative, I virtually assert that we know nothing absolute—nothing existing absolutely, that is, in and for itself, and without relation to us and our faculties.”†
[f-f]67 In the following passages he is speaking solely of attributes. “By
[g-g]67 relative.”* “We
[h-h]67 therefore, which Sir W. Hamilton recognises
[i-i]67 He affirms without reservation, that [presumably there was a further difference in this sentence between the draft and the final version]
[a-a]67 same regarded as
[b-b]67 Conformity to the standard of right has
[c-c]67 only be
[d-d]67 persons, though all
[f-f]67 : influences (temptations for example)
[g-g]67 upon another
[i-i]67 person. But
[j-j]67 there is an extreme limit to these gradations—the idea
[l-l]67 deflect in the minutest degree
[m-m]67 to be
[n-n]67 infinite, still appears
[o-o]67 the illustration nearest
[p-p]67 the discussion
[[*] ]Headed in Mill’s hand “p. 50”, i.e., of the 2nd ed.
[a-a]67 would be
[c-c]67 incapable of ever passing into relation. But
[f-f]67 relation whatever, except that of dependence,
[b-b]67 we are capable of thinking something
[c-c]67 Mr. Mansel may make his choice between the two opinions. I
[d-d]67 Space and in all Time
[e-e]67 must of course
[b-b]67 anything which, while it has never been presented in our experience, also contradictsour habitual associations:
[c-c]67 some possible
[e-e]67 incredibility, and
[f-f]67 explains, though it does not justify,
[g-g]67 endeavours to reduce
[h-h]67 [this sentence does not correspond to anything in the final text]
[[*] ]Headed in Mill’s hand “Note (a) continued.” In the printed version, Mill quotes part of the passage with which the fragment begins, but then departs totally from the wording of this draft.
[a-a]67 just what might have been expected, for I am far from agreeing with Platner that the notions of figure and distance come originally from sight.
[b-b]67 is not
[c-c]67 ; but, giving a prodigious number of simultaneous sensations in one glance, it greatly quickens all processes dependent on observation of the fact of simultaneousness. A
[d-d]67 by a more gradual
[[*] ]Headed in Mill’s hand “p. 560”, i.e., of the 2nd ed.
[a-a]67 been an invaluable protection against the mistakes of subsequent historians, and would have prodigiously abridged their labours