there is nothing of notions in the mind but a capacity to know them
I have therefore in most places chose to put DETERMINATE or DETERMINED, instead of CLEAR and DISTINCT, as more likely to direct men's thoughts to my meaning in this matter. By those denominations, I mean some object in the mind, and consequently determined, i. e. such as it is there seen and perceived to be.
by DETERMINED, when applied to a complex idea, I mean such an one as consists of a determinate number of certain simple or less complex ideas,
the greatest part of the questions and controversies that perplex mankind depending on the doubtful and uncertain use of words, or (which is the same) indetermined ideas, which they are made to stand for.
This, therefore, being my purpose--to inquire into the original, certainty, and extent of HUMAN KNOWLEDGE, together with the grounds and degrees of BELIEF, OPINION, and ASSENT;--I
I must here in the entrance beg pardon of my reader for the frequent use of the word IDEA, which he will find in the following treatise. It being that term which, I think, serves best to stand for whatsoever is the OBJECT of the understanding when a man thinks, I have used it to express whatever is meant by PHANTASM, NOTION, SPECIES, or WHATEVER IT IS WHICH THE MIND CAN BE EMPLOYED ABOUT IN THINKING;
men, barely by the use of their natural faculties may attain to all the Knowledge they have, without the help of any innate impressions; and may arrive at certainty, without any such original notions or principles.
If therefore children and idiots have souls, have minds, with those impressions upon them, THEY must unavoidably perceive them, and necessarily know and assent to these truths; which since they do not, it is evident that there are no such Impressions.
If truths can be imprinted on the understanding without being perceived, I can see no difference there can be between any truths the mind is CAPABLE of knowing in respect of their original: they must all be innate or all adventitious: in vain shall a man go about to distinguish them.
either that as soon as men come to the use of Reason these supposed native inscriptions come to be known and observed by them; or else, that the use and exercise of men's reason, assists them in the discovery of these principles, and certainly makes them known to them.
reason (if we may believe them) is nothing else but the faculty of deducing unknown truths from principles or Propositions that are already known?
if men have those innate impressed Truths originally, and before the use of reason, and yet are always ignorant of them till they come to the use of reason, it is in effect to say, that men know and know them not at the same time.
How many instances of the use of reason may we observe in children, a long time before they have any knowledge of this maxim, "That it is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be?"
children commonly get not those general ideas, nor learn the names that stand for them, till, having for a good while exercised their reason about familiar and more particular ideas, they are, by their ordinary discourse and actions with others, acknowledged to be capable of rational conversation.
we shall find it still to be about ideas, not innate, but acquired; it being about those first which are imprinted by external things, with which infants have earliest to do, which make the most frequent impressions on their senses.
no proposition can be innate unless the ideas about which it is be innate, this will be to suppose all our ideas of Colors, sounds, tastes, figure, &c., innate, than which there cannot be anything more opposite to reason and experience.
For, first, it is evident that they have learned the terms, and their signification; neither of which was born with them. But this is not all the acquired knowledge in the case: the ideas themselves, about which the proposition is, are not born with them, no more than their names, but got afterwards.
We BY DEGREES get ideas and Names, and LEARN their appropriated connection one with another; and then to propositions made in such, terms, whose signification we have learned, and wherein the agreement or disagreement we can perceive in our ideas when put together is expressed, we at first hearing assent;
For that a Truth should be innate and yet not assented to, is to me as unintelligible as for a man to know a truth and be ignorant of it at the same time.
But were the number far less, it would be enough to destroy universal assent, and thereby show these propositions not to be innate, if children alone were ignorant of them.
For children, idiots, savages, and illiterate people, being of all others the least corrupted by custom, or borrowed opinions; learning and education having not cast their native thoughts into new molds; nor by inducing foreign and studied doctrines, confounded those fair characters nature had written there; one might reasonably imagine that in THEIR minds these innate notions should lie open fairly to every one's view, as it is certain the thoughts of children do.
Nature, I confess, has put into man a desire of happiness and an aversion to misery: these indeed are innate practical Principles which (as practical principles ought) DO continue constantly to operate and influence all our actions without ceasing: these may be observed in all persons and all ages, steady and universal; but these are INCLINATIONS OF THE APPETITE to good, not impressions of truth on the understanding.
some things that they incline to and others that they fly: but this makes nothing for innate characters on the mind, which are to be the principles of knowledge regulating our practice.
a people in Peru which were wont to fat and eat the children they got on their female captives, whom they kept as concubines for that purpose, and when they were past breeding, the mothers themselves were killed too and eaten.
"Parents preserve your children," is so far from an innate truth, that it is no truth at all: it being a command, and not a proposition, and so not capable of truth or falsehood.
what duty is, cannot be understood without a law; nor a law be known or supposed without a lawmaker, or without reward and punishment; so that it is impossible that this, or any other, practical principle should be innate, i.e. be imprinted on the mind as a duty, without supposing the ideas of God, of law, of obligation, of punishment, of a life after this, innate:
I cannot see how the third, viz. "That Virtue joined with piety is the best worship of God," can be an innate principle, when the name or sound virtue, is so hard to be understood; liable to so much uncertainty in its signification; and the thing it stands for so much contended about and difficult to be known.
Whoever shall receive any of these into his mind, and entertain them there with the reverence usually paid to principles, never venturing to examine them, but accustoming himself to believe them, because they are to be believed, may take up, from his Education and the fashions of his country, any absurdity for innate principles;
Since, if the Ideas which made up those truths were not, it was impossible that the PROPOSITIONS made up of them should be innate, or our knowledge of them be born with us.
The names IMPOSSIBILITY and Identity stand for two ideas, so far from being innate, or born with us, that I think it requires great care and attention to form them right in our understandings. They are so far from being brought into the world with us, so remote from the thoughts of infancy and childhood, that I believe, upon examination it will be found that many grown men want them.
if whole and part are innate ideas, extension and Number must be so too; it being impossible to have an idea of a relation, without having any at all of the thing to which it belongs, and in which it is founded.
have no very strong and clear impressions of a Deity upon their minds,
till some one amongst them had employed his thoughts to inquire into the constitution and causes of things, which would easily lead him to the notion of a God;
Every deity that they owned above one was an infallible evidence of their ignorance of Him, and a proof that they had no true notion of God, where unity, infinity, and eternity were excluded.
such an universal consent as this proves not the idea of God, any more than it does the idea of such angles, innate.
to remember is to perceive anything with memory, or with a consciousness that it was perceived or known before.
What censure doubting thus of innate principles may deserve from men, who will be apt to call it pulling up the old foundations of knowledge and certainty,
When men have found some general propositions that could not be Doubted of as soon as understood, it was, I know, a short and easy way to conclude them innate. This being once received, it eased the lazy from the pains of search, and stopped the inquiry of the doubtful concerning all that was once styled innate.
To this I answer, in one word, from EXPERIENCE. In that all our knowledge is founded; and from that it ultimately derives itself.
These two, I say, viz. external material things, as the objects of SENSATION, and the operations of our own minds within, as the objects of REFLECTION, are to me the only originals from whence all our ideas take their beginnings.
Because, though they pass there continually, yet, like floating visions, they make not deep impressions enough to leave in their mind clear, distinct, lasting ideas, till the understanding turns inward upon itself, reflects on its own operations, and makes them the objects of its own contemplation.
I know it is an opinion, that the soul always thinks, and that it has the actual perception of ideas in itself constantly, as long as it exists; and that actual thinking is as inseparable from the soul as actual extension is from the body; which if true, to inquire after the beginning of a man's ideas is the same as to inquire after the beginning of his soul.
I confess myself to have one of those dull souls, that doth not perceive itself always to contemplate ideas; nor can conceive it any more necessary for the soul always to think, than for the body always to move:
if we take wholly away all Consciousness of our actions and sensations, especially of pleasure and pain, and the concern that accompanies it, it will be hard to know wherein to place personal identity.
For, I suppose nobody will make identity of persons to consist in the soul's being united to the very same numerical particles of matter. For if that be necessary to identity, it will be impossible, in that constant flux of the particles of our bodies, that any man should be the same person two days, or two moments, together.
When the understanding is once stored with these simple ideas, it has the power to repeat, compare, and unite them, even to an almost infinite variety, and so can make at pleasure new complex ideas.
THAT WHICH THUS HINDERS THE APPROACH OF TWO BODIES, WHEN THEY ARE MOVED ONE TOWARDS ANOTHER, I CALL SOLIDITY.
This, of all other, seems the idea most intimately connected with, and essential to body; so as nowhere else to be found or imagined, but only in matter.
our idea of solidity is distinguished both from pure Space, which is capable neither of resistance nor motion; and from the ordinary idea of hardness.
The Simple Ideas we have, are such as experience teaches them us; but if, beyond that, we endeavor by words to make them clearer in the mind, we shall succeed no better than if we went about to clear up the darkness of a blind man's mind by talking; and to discourse into him the ideas of light and colors.
we shall find our ideas always, whilst we are awake, or have any thought, passing in train, one going and another coming, without intermission.
To discover the nature of our IDEAS the better, and to, discourse of them intelligibly, it will be convenient to distinguish them AS THEY ARE IDEAS OR PERCEPTIONS IN OUR MINDS; and AS THEY ARE MODIFICATIONS OF MATTER IN THE BODIES THAT CAUSE SUCH PERCEPTIONS IN US:
Thus a snowball having the power to produce in us the ideas of white, cold, and round,--the power to produce those ideas in us, as they are in the snowball, I call qualities; and as they are sensations or perceptions in our understandings, I call them ideas; which IDEAS, if I speak of sometimes as in the things themselves, I would be understood to mean those qualities in the objects which produce them in us.
After the same manner that the ideas of these original qualities are produced in us, we may conceive that the ideas of SECONDARY qualities are also produced, viz. by the operation of insensible particles on our senses.
There is nothing like our ideas, existing in the bodies themselves. They are, in the bodies we denominate from them, only a power to produce those sensations in us: and what is sweet, blue, or warm in idea, is but the certain bulk, figure, and motion of the insensible parts, in the bodies themselves, which we call so.
Why are whiteness and coldness in snow, and pain not, when it produces the one and the other idea in us; and can do neither, but by the bulk, figure, number, and motion of its solid parts?
if the sensation of heat and cold be nothing but the increase or diminution of the motion of the minute parts of our bodies, caused by the corpuscles of any other body, it is easy to be understood, that if that motion be greater in one hand than in the other; if a body be applied to the two hands, which has in its minute particles a greater motion than in those of one of the hands, and a less than in those of the other, it will increase the motion of the one hand and lessen it in the other; and so cause the different sensations of heat and cold that depend thereon.
distinguish the PRIMARY and REAL qualities of bodies, which are always in them (viz. solidity, Extension, figure, Number, and Motion, or rest, and are sometimes perceived by us, viz. when the bodies they are in are big enough singly to be discerned), from those SECONDARY and IMPUTED qualities, which are but the powers of several combinations of those primary ones,
The idea of heat or light, which we receive by our eyes, or touch, from the sun, are commonly thought real qualities existing in the sun, and something more than mere powers in it.
Hence it is that we are so forward as to imagine, that those ideas are the resemblances of something really existing in the objects themselves since sensation discovers nothing of bulk, figure, or motion of parts in their production; nor can reason show how bodies BY THEIR BULK, FIGURE, AND MOTION, should produce in the mind the ideas of blue or yellow, &c.
For in bare naked perception, the mind is, for the most part, only passive; and what it perceives, it cannot avoid perceiving.
wherever there is sense of perception, there some idea is actually produced, and present in the understanding.
I doubt not but children, by the exercise of their senses about objects that affect them in the womb receive some few ideas before they are born,
For, as itself is thought to take up no space to have no extension; so its actions seem to require no time but many of them seem to be crowded into an instant.
the mind has a power in many cases to revive perceptions which it has once had, with this additional perception annexed to them, that IT HAS HAD THEM BEFORE.
it will to revive them again, and as it were paint them anew on itself, though some with more, some with less difficulty; some more lively, and others more obscurely.
Attention and repetition help much to the fixing any ideas in the memory. But those which naturally at first make the deepest and most lasting impressions, are those which are accompanied with pleasure or pain.
This, if it be to a great degree, is stupidity; and he who, through this default in his memory, has not the ideas that are really preserved there, ready at hand when need and occasion calls for them, were almost as good be without them quite, since they serve him to little purpose.
This, we may conceive, would be no small advantage to the knowledge of a thinking man,--if all his past thoughts and reasonings could be ALWAYS present to him. And therefore we may suppose it one of those ways, wherein the knowledge of separate spirits may exceedingly surpass ours.
JUDGMENT, on the contrary, lies quite on the other side, in separating carefully, one from another, Ideas wherein can be found the least difference, thereby to avoid being misled by similitude, and by affinity to take one thing for another.
therefore, I think, beasts compare not their ideas further than some sensible circumstances annexed to the objects themselves.
useful only to abstract reasonings, we may probably conjecture beasts have not.
This is called ABSTRACTION, whereby ideas taken from particular beings become general representatives of all of the same kind; and their names general names, applicable to whatever exists conformable to such abstract ideas.
Thus the same color being observed to-day in chalk or snow, which the mind yesterday received from milk, it considers that appearance alone, makes it a representative of all of that kind; and having given it the name WHITENESS, it by that sound signifies the same quality wheresoever to be imagined or met with; and thus universals, whether ideas or terms, are made.
For it is evident we observe no footsteps in them of making use of general signs for universal ideas; from which we have reason to imagine that they have not the faculty of abstracting, or making general ideas, since they have no use of words, or any other general signs.
It seems as evident to me, that they do reason, as that they have sense; but it is only in particular ideas, just as they received them from their senses.
4. Ideas of Modes. First, MODES I call such complex Ideas which, however compounded, contain not in them the supposition of subsisting by themselves, but are considered as dependent on, or affections of Substances;--such
First, there are some which are only variations, or different combinations of the same simple idea, without the mixture of any other;--as a dozen, or score; which are nothing but the ideas of so many distinct units added together, and these I call SIMPLE MODES as being contained within the bounds of one Simple Idea.
a combination of several ideas of several kinds: and these I call MIXED MODES.
Secondly, the ideas of SUBSTANCES are such combinations of simple ideas as are taken to represent distinct PARTICULAR things subsisting by themselves;
even large and abstract ideas are derived from sensation or reflection, being no other than what the mind, by the ordinary use of its own faculties, employed about ideas received from objects of sense, or from the operations it observes in itself about them, may, and does, attain unto.
For the idea of two is as distinct from that of one, as blueness from heat, or either of them from any number: and yet it is made up only of that simple idea of an unit repeated; and repetitions of this kind joined together make those distinct simple modes, of a dozen, a gross, a million.
we get the idea of space, both by our sight and touch;
The power of repeating or doubling any idea we have of any distance, and adding it to the former as often as we will, without being ever able to come to any stop or stint, let us enlarge it as much as we will, is that which gives us the idea of IMMENSITY.
it is evident that it can multiply figures, both in their shape and capacity, IN INFINITUM; all which are but so many different simple modes of Space.
though it be true that the word place has sometimes a more confused sense, and stands for that space which anybody takes up; and so the universe is in a place.
If, therefore, they mean by body and extension the same that other people do, viz. by BODY something that is solid and extended, whose parts are separable and movable different ways; and by EXTENSION, only the space that lies between the extremities of those solid coherent parts, and which is possessed by them,--they confound very different ideas one with another;
Motion can neither be, nor be conceived, without Space; and yet motion is not space, nor space motion; space can exist without it, and they are very distinct ideas;
Extension includes no solidity, nor resistance to the motion of body, as body does.
If it be demanded (as usually it is) whether this space, void of body, be SUBSTANCE or ACCIDENT, I shall readily answer I know not; nor shall be ashamed to own my ignorance, till they that ask show me a clear distinct idea of substance.
I endeavor as much as I can to deliver myself from those fallacies which we are apt to put upon ourselves, by taking words for things.
They who first ran into the notion of ACCIDENTS, as a sort of real beings that needed something to inhere in, were forced to find out the word SUBSTANCE to support them. Had the poor Indian philosopher (who imagined that the earth also wanted something to bear it up) but thought of this word substance, he needed not to have been at the trouble to find an elephant to support it, and a tortoise to support his elephant: the word substance would have done it effectually.
substance, without knowing what it is, is that which supports accidents. So that of substance, we have no idea of what it is, but only a confused obscure one of what it does.
And those who dispute for or against a vacuum, do thereby confess they have distinct IDEAS of vacuum and plenum, i. e. that they have an idea of extension void of solidity, though they deny its EXISTENCE; or else they dispute about nothing at all.
those who conclude the essence of body to be extension, because they say they cannot imagine any sensible quality of any body without extension,--I shall desire them to consider, that, had they reflected on their ideas of tastes and smells as much as on those of sight and touch; nay, had they examined their ideas of hunger and thirst, and several other pains, they would have found that THEY included in them no idea of extension at all,
The knowing precisely what our words stand for, would, I imagine, in this as well as a great many other cases, quickly end the dispute. For I am apt to think that men, when they come to examine them, find their simple ideas all generally to agree, though in discourse with one another they perhaps confound one another with different names.
Duration, time, and eternity, are, not without reason, thought to have something very abstruse in their nature. But however remote these may seem from our comprehension, yet if we trace them right to their originals, I doubt not but one of those sources of all our knowledge, viz. sensation and reflection, will be able to furnish us with these ideas, as clear and distinct as many others which are thought much less obscure; and we shall find that the idea of eternity itself is derived from the same common original with the rest of our ideas.
That we have our notion of succession and duration from this original, viz. from reflection on the train of ideas, which we find to appear one after another in our own minds, seems plain to me, in that we have no perception of duration but by considering the train of ideas that take their turns in our understandings.
one who fixes his thoughts very intently on one thing, so as to take but little notice of the succession of ideas that pass in his mind whilst he is taken up with that earnest contemplation, lets slip out of his account a good part of that duration, and thinks that time shorter than it is.
Thus by reflecting on the appearing of various ideas one after another in our understandings, we get the notion of succession; which, if any one should think we did rather get from our observation of motion by our senses,
And this, I think, is the reason why motions very slow, though they are constant, are not perceived by us; because in their remove from one sensible part towards another, their change of distance is so slow, that it causes no new Ideas in us, but a good while one after another.
Such a part of Duration as this, wherein we perceive no succession, is that which we call an INSTANT, and is that which takes up the time of only one idea in our minds, without the succession of another;
all which portions of time were measured out by the Motion of those heavenly bodies, they were apt to confound time and motion; or at least to think that they had a necessary connection one with another.
One thing seems strange to me,--that whilst all men manifestly measured time by the motion of the great and visible bodies of the world, time yet should be defined to be the 'measure of motion': whereas it is obvious to every one who reflects ever so little on it, that to measure motion, Space is as necessary to be considered as Time;
yet there may be other parts of the universe, where they no more use these measures of ours, than in Japan they do our inches, feet, or miles;
But the different measures that may be made use of for the account of time, do not at all alter the notion of duration,
I can add one minute more till I come to sixty; and by the same way of adding minutes, hours, or years (i.e. such or such parts of the sun's revolutions, or any other period whereof I have the idea) proceed IN INFINITUM, and suppose a duration exceeding as many such periods as I can reckon, let me add whilst I will, which I think is the notion we have of eternity; of whose infinity we have no other notion than we have of the infinity of number, to which we can add for ever without end.
There is one thing more wherein space and duration have a great conformity, and that is, though they are justly reckoned amongst our SIMPLE IDEAS, yet none of the distinct ideas we have of either is without all manner of composition: it is the very nature of both of them to consist of parts: but their parts being all of the same kind, and without the mixture of any other idea, hinder them not from having a place amongst simple ideas.
Every part of duration is duration too; and every part of extension is extension, both of them capable of addition or division in infinitum. But THE LEAST PORTIONS OF EITHER OF THEM, WHEREOF WE HAVE CLEAR AND DISTINCT IDEAS, may perhaps be fittest to be considered by us, as the simple ideas of that kind out of which our complex modes of space, extension, and duration are made up, and into which they can again be distinctly resolved. Such a small part in duration may be called a MOMENT,
Amongst all the ideas we have, as there is none suggested to the mind by more ways, so there is none more simple, than that of UNITY, or one: it has no shadow of variety or composition in it:
the most universal idea we have.
by adding one to one, we have the complex idea of a couple; by putting twelve units together we have the complex idea of a dozen; and so of a score or a million, or any other number.
Thus children, do not begin to number very early, nor proceed in it very far or steadily, till a good while after they are well furnished with good store of other ideas: and one may often observe them discourse and reason pretty well, and have very clear conceptions of several other things, before they can tell twenty.
It is a quite different consideration, to examine whether the mind has the idea of such a boundless space ACTUALLY EXISTING; since our ideas are not always proofs of the existence of things: but yet, since this comes here in our way, I suppose I may say, that we are APT TO THINK that space in itself is actually boundless, to which imagination the idea of space or expansion of itself naturally leads us.
As, by the power we find in ourselves of repeating, as often as we will, any idea of space, we get the idea of IMMENSITY; so, by being able to repeat the idea of any length of duration we have in our minds, with all the endless addition of number, we come by the idea of ETERNITY.
For whatsoever positive ideas a man has in his mind of any quantity, he can repeat it, and add it to the former, as easy as he can add together the ideas of two days, or two paces, which are positive ideas of lengths he has in his mind, and so on as long as he pleases: whereby, if a man had a positive idea of infinite, either duration or space, he could add two infinites together; nay, make one infinite infinitely bigger than another--absurdities too gross to be confuted.
When the mind turns its view inwards upon itself, and contemplates its own actions, THINKING is the first that occurs.
Thus the perception or thought which actually accompanies, and is annexed to, any impression on the body, made by an external object, being distinct from all other modifications of thinking, furnishes the mind with a distinct idea, which we call SENSATION;--which
there will always be a train of ideas succeeding one another in our minds) are taken notice of, and, as it were, registered in the memory, it is ATTENTION: when the mind with great earnestness, and of choice, fixes its view on any idea, considers it on all sides, and will not be called off by the ordinary solicitation of other ideas, it is that we call INTENTION or STUDY: sleep, without dreaming, is rest from all these:
But hatred or love, to beings capable of happiness or misery, is often the uneasiness of delight which we find in ourselves, arising from their very being or happiness.
Power thus considered is two-fold, viz. as able to make, or able to receive any change. The one may be called ACTIVE, and the other PASSIVE power. Whether matter be not wholly destitute of active power, as its author, God, is truly above all passive power;
Our idea therefore of power, I think, may well have a place amongst other SIMPLE IDEAS, and be considered as one of them; being one of those that make a principal ingredient in our complex ideas of substances, as we shall hereafter have occasion to observe.
(1) Of thinking, body affords us no idea at all; it is only from reflection that we have that. (2) Neither have we from body any idea of the beginning of motion. A body at rest affords us no idea of any active power to move; and when it is set in motion itself, that motion is rather a passion than an action in it.
The power of Perception is that which we call the UNDERSTANDING. Perception, which we make the act of the understanding, is of three sorts:--1. The perception of ideas in our minds. 2. The perception of the: signification of signs. 3. The perception of the connection or repugnancy, agreement or disagreement, that there is between any of our ideas.
For when we say the WILL is the commanding and superior faculty of the Soul; that it is or is not free; that it determines the inferior faculties; that it follows the dictates of the understanding, &c.,--though these and the like expressions, by those that carefully attend to their own ideas, and conduct their thoughts more by the evidence of things than the sound of words, may be understood in a clear and distinct sense--yet I suspect, I say, that this way of speaking of FACULTIES has misled many into a confused notion of so many distinct agents in us,
the question itself is altogether improper; and it is as insignificant to ask whether man's WILL be free, as to ask whether his sleep be swift, or his virtue square:
I think he will as plainly perceive that liberty, which is but a power, belongs only to AGENTS, and cannot be an attribute or modification of the will, which is also but a power.
I think the question is not proper, WHETHER THE WILL BE FREE, but WHETHER A MAN BE FREE.
I find the will often confounded with several of the affections, especially DESIRE,
Whence it is evident that desiring and willing are two distinct acts of the mind; and consequently, that the will, which is but the power of volition, is much more distinct from desire.
This uneasiness we may call, as it is, DESIRE; which is an uneasiness of the mind for want of some absent good.
But yet, upon a stricter inquiry, I am forced to conclude that GOOD, the GREATER GOOD, though apprehended and acknowledged to be so, does not determine the will, until our desire, raised proportionally to it, makes us uneasy in the want of it.
yet, till he hungers or thirsts after righteousness, till he FEELS AN UNEASINESS in the want of it, his WILL will not be determined to any action in pursuit of this confessed greater good;
If it be further asked,--What it is moves desire? I answer,--happiness, and that alone.
For good, though appearing and allowed ever so great, yet till it has raised desires in our minds, and thereby made us uneasy in its want, it reaches not our wills; we are not within the sphere of its activity, our wills being under the determination only of those uneasinesses which are present to us, which (whilst we have any) are always soliciting, and ready at hand, to give the will its next determination.
I think we might say, that God himself CANNOT choose what is not good; the freedom of the Almighty hinders not his being determined by what is best.
God Almighty himself is under the necessity of being happy; and the more any intelligent being is so, the nearer is its approach to infinite perfection and happiness.
I think, that the philosophers of old did in vain inquire, whether summum bonum consisted in riches, or bodily delights, or virtue, or contemplation: and they might have as reasonably disputed, whether the best relish were to be found in apples, plums, or nuts, and have divided themselves into sects upon it.
These mixed modes, being also such combinations of simple ideas as are not looked upon to be characteristical marks of any real beings that have a steady existence, but scattered and independent ideas put together by the mind, are thereby distinguished from the complex ideas of Substances.
These simple ideas, I say, of Thinking, motion, and power, have been those which have been most modified; and out of whose modifications have been made most complex modes, with names to them.
POWER being the source from whence all action proceeds, the substances wherein these powers are, when they *[lost line??] exert this power into act, are called CAUSES,
not imagining how these Simple Ideas can subsist by themselves, we accustom ourselves to suppose some SUBSTRATUM wherein they do subsist, and from which they do result, which therefore we call SUBSTANCE.
from our not having, any notion of the substance of spirit, we can no more conclude its non-existence, than we can, for the same reason, deny the existence of body;
For my soul, being a real being as well as my body, is certainly as capable of changing distance with any other body, or being, as body itself; and so is capable of motion.
Indeed Motion cannot be attributed to God; not because he is an immaterial, but because he is an infinite spirit.
Sensation convinces us that there are solid extended substances; and reflection, that there are thinking ones: experience assures us of the existence of such beings, and that the one hath a power to move body by impulse, the other by thought; this we cannot doubt of. Experience, I say, every moment furnishes us with the clear ideas both of the one and the other. But beyond these ideas, as received from their proper sources, our faculties will not reach. If we would inquire further into their nature, causes, and manner, we perceive not the nature of extension clearer than we do of thinking.
If I find that I know some few things, and some of them, or all, perhaps imperfectly, I can frame an idea of knowing twice as many; which I can double again, as often as I can add to number; and thus enlarge my idea of knowledge, by extending its comprehension to all things existing, or possible. The same also I can do of knowing them more perfectly; i.e. all their qualities, powers, causes, consequences, and relations, &c., till all be perfectly known that is in them, or can any way relate to them: and thus frame the idea of infinite or boundless knowledge.
how spirits that have no bodies can be masters of their own Thoughts, and communicate or conceal them at pleasure, though we cannot but necessarily suppose they have such a power.
a cause is that which makes any other thing, either simple idea, substance, or mode, begin to be;
in this consists IDENTITY, when the ideas it is attributed to vary not at all from what they were that moment wherein we consider their former existence, and to which we compare the present. For we never finding, nor conceiving it possible, that two things of the same kind should exist in the same place at the same time, we rightly conclude, that, whatever exists anywhere at any time, excludes all of the same kind, and is there itself alone.
That, therefore, that had one beginning, is the same thing; and that which had a different beginning in time and place from that, is not the same, but diverse.
could two bodies be in the same Place at the same time; then those two parcels of matter must be one and the same, take them great or little; nay, all bodies must be one and the same.
it being a contradiction that two or more should be one, identity and diversity are relations and ways of comparing well founded, and of use to the understanding.
permanent beings can at different times exist in distant places;
From what has been said, it is easy to discover what is so much inquired after, the PRINCIPIUM INDIVIDUATIONIS; and that, it is plain, is existence itself; which determines a being of any sort to a particular time and place, incommunicable to two beings of the same kind.
in these two cases--a MASS OF MATTER and a LIVING BODY--identity is not applied to the same thing.
That being then one plant which has such an organization of parts in one coherent body, partaking of one common life, it continues to be the same plant as long as it partakes of the same life, though that life be communicated to new particles of Matter vitally united to the living plant,
If we would suppose this machine one continued body, all whose organized parts were repaired, increased, or diminished by a constant addition or separation of insensible parts, with one common life, we should have something very much like the body of an animal;
For if the identity of Soul ALONE makes the same MAN; and there be nothing in the nature of matter why the same individual spirit may not be united to different bodies, it will be possible that those men, living in distant ages, and of different tempers, may have been the same man:
For I presume it is not the idea of a thinking or rational being alone that makes the IDEA OF A MAN in most people's sense: but of a Body, so and so shaped, joined to it; and if that be the idea of a man, the same successive body not shifted all at once, must, as well as the same immaterial spirit, go to the making of the same man.
it being impossible for any one to perceive without PERCEIVING that he does perceive.
For, since consciousness always accompanies thinking, and it is that which makes every one to be what he calls self, and thereby distinguishes himself from all other thinking things, in this alone consists personal identity, i.e. the sameness of a rational being:
that which seems to make the difficulty is this, that this consciousness being interrupted always by forgetfulness, there being no moment of our lives wherein we have the whole train of all our past actions before our eyes in one view, but even the best memories losing the sight of one part whilst they are viewing another; and we sometimes, and that the greatest part of our lives, not reflecting on our past selves, being intent on our present thoughts, and in sound sleep having no thoughts at all,
he, being not conscious of any of Socrates's actions or thoughts, could be the same PERSON with Socrates?
For this would no more make him the same person with Nestor, than if some of the particles of smaller that were once a part of Nestor were now a part of this man
In this personal identity is founded all the right and justice of reward and punishment; happiness and misery being that for which every one is concerned for HIMSELF, and not mattering what becomes of any SUBSTANCE, not joined to, or affected with that consciousness.
But yet possibly it will still be objected,--Suppose I wholly lose the memory of some parts of my life, beyond a possibility of retrieving them, so that perhaps I shall never be conscious of them again; yet am I not the same person that did those actions, had those thoughts that I once was conscious of, though I have now forgot them?
It is a forensic term, appropriating actions and their merit; and so belongs only to intelligent agents, capable of a law, and happiness, and misery.
Solitude many men have sought, and been reconciled to: but nobody that has the least thought or sense of a man about him, can live in society under the constant dislike and ill opinion of his familiars, and those he converses with.
we see how moral beings and notions are founded on, and terminated in, these simple ideas we have received from sensation or reflection.
if I have the will of a supreme invisible Lawgiver for my rule, then, as I supposed the action commanded or forbidden by God, I call it Good or evil, sin or duty: and if I compare it to the civil law, the rule made by the legislative power of the country, I call it lawful or unlawful, a crime or no crime.
Thus, the taking from another what is his, without his knowledge or allowance, is properly called STEALING: but that name, being commonly understood to signify also the moral gravity of the action, and to denote its contrariety to the law, men are apt to condemn whatever they hear called stealing, as an ill action, disagreeing with the rule of right. And yet the private taking away his sword from a madman, to prevent his doing mischief, though it be properly denominated stealing, as the name of such a mixed mode; yet when compared to the law of God, and considered in its relation to that supreme rule, it is no sin or transgression, though the name stealing ordinarily carries such an intimation with it.
a DISTINCT idea is that wherein the mind perceives a difference from all other; and a CONFUSED idea is such an one as is not sufficiently distinguishable from another, from which it ought to be different.
No one of these mental draughts, however the parts are put together, can be called confused (for they are plainly discernible as they are) till it be ranked under some ordinary name to which it cannot be discerned to belong, any more than it does to some other name of an allowed different signification.
Thus we may observe men who, not forbearing to use the ordinary words of their language till they have learned their precise signification, change the idea they make this or that term stand for, almost as often as they use it.
Some ideas are so complex, and made up of so many parts, that the Memory does not easily retain the very same precise combination of simple ideas under one name: much less are we able constantly to divine for what precise complex idea such a name stands in another man's use of it. From the first of these, follows confusion in a man's own reasonings and opinions within himself; from the latter, frequent confusion in discoursing and arguing with others.
For, being satisfied in that part of the Idea which we have clear; and the name which is familiar to us, being applied to the whole, containing that part also which is imperfect and obscure, we are apt to use it for that confused part, and draw deductions from it in the obscure part of its signification, as confidently as we do from the other.
it not being possible for him to include in his idea of any duration, let it be as great as it will, the WHOLE EXTENT TOGETHER OF A DURATION, WHERE HE SUPPOSES NO END, that part of his idea, which is still beyond the bounds of that large duration he represents to his own thoughts, is very obscure and undetermined. And hence it is that in disputes and reasonings concerning eternity, or any other infinite, we are very apt to blunder, and involve ourselves in manifest absurdities.
when we talk of the divisibility of Matter IN INFINITUM, though we have clear ideas of division and divisibility, and have also clear ideas of parts made out of a whole by division; yet we have but very obscure and confused ideas of corpuscles, or minute bodies, so to be divided, when, by former divisions, they are reduced to a smallness much exceeding the perception of any of our senses;
it returns, as all our ideas of infinite do, at last to that of NUMBER ALWAYS TO BE ADDED; but thereby never amounts to any distinct idea of ACTUAL INFINITE PARTS.
For nothing finite bears any proportion to Infinite; and therefore our ideas, which are all finite, cannot bear any.
The complex ideas we have of substances are, as it has been shown, certain collections of simple ideas that have been observed or supposed constantly to exist together. But such a complex idea cannot be the real essence of any substance; for then the properties we discover in that body would depend on that complex idea, and be deducible from it, and their necessary connection with it be known; as all properties of a triangle depend on, and, as far as they are discoverable, are deducible from the complex idea of three lines including a space.
If any one will say, that the real essence and internal constitution, on which these properties depend, is not the figure, size, and arrangement or connection of its solid parts, but something else, called its particular FORM, I am further from having any idea of its real essence than I was before.
So that all our complex ideas of Substances are imperfect and inadequate.
Whereas, having in our plain idea the WHOLE essence of that figure, we from thence discover those properties, and demonstratively see how they flow, and are inseparable from it.
And, after all, if we would have, and actually had, in our complex idea, an exact collection of all the secondary qualities or powers of any substance, we should not yet thereby have an idea of the ESSENCE of that thing.
since this could never be known, because one man's mind could not pass into another man's body, to perceive what appearances were produced by those organs; neither the ideas hereby, nor the names, would be at all confounded, or any falsehood be in either.
The essence of a triangle lies in a very little compass, consists in a very few ideas: three lines including a space make up that essence: but the properties that flow from this essence are more than can be easily known or enumerated. So I imagine it is in substances; their real essences lie in a little compass, though the properties flowing from that internal constitution are endless.
CUSTOM settles habits of thinking in the understanding, as well as of determining in the will, and of motions in the body:
universality belongs not to things themselves, which are all of them particular in their existence,
it is as impossible that two things partaking exactly of the same real essence should have different properties, as that two figures partaking of the same real essence of a circle should have different properties.
that which was grass to-day is to-morrow the flesh of a sheep; and, within a few days after, becomes part of a man: in all which and the like changes, it is evident their real essence--i. e. that constitution whereon the properties of these several things depended--is destroyed, and perishes with them.
the essences of those Species are preserved whole and undestroyed, whatever changes happen to any or all of the individuals of those species.
some demand definitions of Terms that cannot be defined; and others think they ought not to rest satisfied in an explication made by a more general word, and its restriction, (or to speak in terms of art, by a genus and difference,) when, even after such definition, made according to rule, those who hear it have often no more a clear conception of the meaning of the word than they had before.
The atomists, who define motion to be 'a passage from one place to another,' what do they more than put one synonymous word for another?
And so the general term QUALITY, in its ordinary acceptation, comprehends colors, sounds, tastes, smells, and tangible qualities, with distinction from extension, number, motion, pleasure, and pain, which make impressions on the mind and introduce their ideas by more senses than one.
Which plainly shows that those of one country, by their customs and manner of life, have found occasion to make several complex ideas, and given names to them, which others never collected into specific ideas.
Though therefore it be the mind that makes the collection, it is the name which is as it were the knot that ties them fast together.
I confess that, in the beginning of languages, it was necessary to have the idea before one gave it the name: and so it is still, where, making a new complex idea, one also, by giving it a new name, makes a new word.
Indeed, as to the real essences of substances, we only suppose their being, without precisely knowing what they are; but that which annexes them still to the species is the nominal essence, of which they are the supposed foundation and cause.
Therefore we in vain pretend to range things into sorts, and dispose them into certain classes under names, by their real essences, that are so far from our discovery or comprehension.
it is plain that OUR DISTINCT SPECIES are NOTHING BUT DISTINCT COMPLEX IDEAS, WITH DISTINCT NAMES ANNEXED TO THEM.
Of sensible substances there are two sorts: one of organized bodies, which are propagated by seed; and in these the Shape is that which to us is the leading quality, and most characteristical part, that determines the species.
These are complex ideas designedly imperfect: and it is visible at first sight, that several of those qualities that are to be found in the things themselves are purposely left out of generical ideas.
To mistake in any of these, is to puzzle instead of informing his hearer: and therefore it is, that those words which are not truly by themselves the names of any ideas are of such constant and indispensable use in language, and do much contribute to men's well expressing themselves.
Hence it comes to pass that men's names of very compound ideas, such as for the most part are moral words, have seldom in two different men the same precise signification; since one man's complex idea seldom agrees with another's, and often differs from his own--from that which he had yesterday, or will have tomorrow.
Names, therefore, that stand for collections of ideas which the mind makes at pleasure must needs be of doubtful signification, when such collections are nowhere to be found constantly united in nature, nor any patterns to be shown whereby men may adjust them.
Common use regulates the meaning of words pretty well for common conversation;
Where shall one find any, either controversial debate, or familiar discourse, concerning honor, faith, grace, religion, church, &c., wherein it is not easy to observe the different notions men have of them? Which is nothing but this, that they are not agreed in the signification of those words, nor have in their minds the same complex ideas which they make them stand for, and so all the contests that follow thereupon are only about the meaning of a sound.
Secondly, The simple ideas that are FOUND TO CO-EXIST IN SUBSTANCES being that which their names immediately signify, these, as united in the several sorts of things, are the proper standards to which their names are referred, and by which their significations may be best rectified. But neither will these archetypes so well serve to this purpose as to leave these names without very various and uncertain significations.
I count the properties of any sort of bodies not easy to be collected, and completely known, by the ways of inquiry which our faculties are capable of.
For by what right is it that fusibility comes to be a part of the essence signified by the word gold, and solubility but a property of it?
no one has authority to determine the signification of the word gold (as referred to such a body existing in nature) more to one collection of ideas to be found in that body than to another:
the NAMES OF SIMPLE IDEAS are, of all others, the least liable to mistakes, and that for these reasons. First, Because the ideas they stand for, being each but one single Perception, are much easier got, and more clearly retained, than the more complex ones, and therefore are not liable to the uncertainty which usually attends those compounded ones of substances and mixed modes,
they are never referred to any other essence, but barely that perception they immediately signify:
the names of SIMPLE MODES are, next to those of simple ideas, least liable to doubt and uncertainty; especially those of figure and number,
when, having passed over the original and composition of our ideas, I began to examine the extent and certainty of our knowledge, I found it had so near a connection with words, that, unless their force and manner of signification were first well observed, there could be very little said clearly and pertinently concerning knowledge:
though matter and body be not really distinct, but wherever there is the one there is the other; yet matter and body stand for two different conceptions, whereof the one is incomplete, and but a part of the other.
we should have a great many fewer disputes in the world, if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only; and not for things themselves. For, when we argue about MATTER, or any the like term, we truly argue only about the idea we express by that sound, whether that precise idea agree to anything really existing in nature or no.
The reason whereof is, because the complex idea signified by that name is the real as well as nominal essence; and there is no secret reference of that name to any other essence but that. But in Substances, it is not so.
That which I think very much disposes men to substitute their names for the real essences of species, is the supposition before mentioned, that nature works regularly in the production of things, and sets the boundaries to each of those species, by giving exactly the same real internal constitution to each individual which we rank under one general name. Whereas any one who observes their different qualities can hardly doubt, that many of the individuals, called by the same name, are, in their internal constitution, as different one from another as several of those which are ranked under different specific names.
First, that there are certain precise essences according to which nature makes all particular things, and by which they are distinguished into species. That everything has a real constitution, whereby it is what it is, and on which its sensible qualities depend, is past doubt: but I think it has been proved that this makes not the distinction of species as WE rank them, nor the boundaries of their names. Secondly, this tacitly also insinuates, as if we had IDEAS of these proposed essences.
First, A man shall take care to use no Word without a signification, no name without an Idea for which he makes it stand. This rule will not seem altogether needless to any one who shall take the pains to recollect how often he has met with such words as INSTINCT, SYMPATHY, and ANTIPATHY,
Not but that these words, and the like, have very proper significations in which they may be used; but there being no natural connection between any words and any ideas, these, and any other, may be learned by rote, and pronounced or writ by men who have no ideas in their minds to which they have annexed them, and for which they make them stand; which is necessary they should, if men would speak intelligibly even to themselves alone.
This is very necessary in names of modes, and especially moral words; which, having no settled objects in nature, from whence their ideas are taken, as from their original, are apt to be very confused.
Secondly, but the only sure way of making known the signification of the name of any simple idea, is BY PRESENTING TO HIS SENSES THAT SUBJECT WHICH MAY PRODUCE IT IN HIS MIND, and make him actually have the idea that word stands for.
It were therefore to be wished, That men versed in physical inquiries, and acquainted with the several sorts of natural bodies, would set down those simple ideas wherein they observe the individuals of each sort constantly to agree. This would remedy a great deal of that confusion which comes from several persons applying the same name to a collection of a smaller or greater number of sensible qualities, proportionably as they have been more or less acquainted with, or accurate in examining, the qualities of any sort of things which come under one denomination.
Both which suppositions are false, no names of complex ideas having so settled determined significations, that they are constantly used for the same precise ideas.
But after all, the provision of words is so scanty in respect to that infinite variety of thoughts, that men, wanting terms to suit their precise notions, will, notwithstanding their utmost caution, be forced often to use the same word in somewhat different senses. And though in the continuation of a discourse, or the pursuit of an argument, there can be hardly room to digress into a particular definition, as often as a man varies the signification of any term; yet the import of the discourse will, for the most part, if there be no designed fallacy, sufficiently lead candid and intelligent readers into the true meaning of it; but where there is not sufficient to guide the reader, there it concerns the writer to explain his meaning, and show in what sense he there uses that term.
As to the first sort of agreement or disagreement, viz. IDENTITY or DIVERSITY. It is the first act of the mind, when it has any sentiments or ideas at all, to perceive its ideas; and so far as it perceives them, to know each what it is, and thereby also to perceive their difference, and that one is not another. This is so absolutely necessary, that without it there could be no knowledge, no reasoning, no imagination, no distinct thoughts at all.
Though identity and co-existence are truly nothing but Relations, yet they are such peculiar ways of agreement or disagreement of our ideas, that they deserve well to be considered as distinct heads, and not under relation in general; since they are so different grounds of affirmation and negation,
There is ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE, which is the present view the mind has of the agreement or disagreement of any of its Ideas, or of the relation they have one to another.
This, I think, one may call HABITUAL KNOWLEDGE. And thus a man may be said to know all those truths which are lodged in his Memory, by a foregoing clear and full perception, whereof the mind is assured past doubt as often as it has occasion to reflect on them.
In his adherence to a truth, where the demonstration by which it was at first known is forgot, though a man may be thought rather to believe his memory than really to know, and this way of entertaining a truth seemed formerly to me like something between opinion and knowledge; a sort of assurance which exceeds bare belief, for that relies on the testimony of another;--yet upon a due examination I find it comes not short of perfect certainty, and is in effect true knowledge.
If then the perception, that the same ideas will ETERNALLY have the same habitudes and relations, be not a sufficient ground of Knowledge, there could be no knowledge of general propositions in mathematics; for no mathematical demonstration would be any other than particular: and when a man had demonstrated any proposition concerning one triangle or circle, his knowledge would not reach beyond that particular diagram.
For if we will reflect on our own ways of thinking, we will find, that sometimes the mind perceives the agreement or disagreement of two ideas IMMEDIATELY BY THEMSELVES, without the intervention of any other: and this I think we may call INTUITIVE KNOWLEDGE.
He that demands a greater certainty than this, demands he knows not what, and shows only that he has a mind to be a sceptic, without being able to be so.
In this case then, when the mind cannot so bring its ideas together as by their immediate comparison, and as it were juxtaposition or application one to another, to perceive their agreement or disagreement, it is fain, BY THE INTERVENTION OF OTHER IDEAS, (one or more, as it happens) to discover the agreement or disagreement which it searches; and this is that which we call REASONING.
Those intervening ideas, which serve to show the agreement of any two others, are called PROOFS; and where the agreement and disagreement is by this means plainly and clearly perceived, it is called DEMONSTRATION;
in comparing their equality or excess, the modes of numbers have every the least difference very clear and perceivable:
But where the difference is so great as to produce in the mind clearly distinct ideas, whose differences can be perfectly retained, there these ideas or colours, as we see in different kinds, as blue and red, are as capable of demonstration as ideas of number and extension.
We as plainly find the difference there is between any idea revived in our minds by our own memory, and actually coming into our minds by our senses, as we do between any two distinct ideas.
Fourthly, It follows, also, from what is above observed, that our RATIONAL KNOWLEDGE cannot reach to the whole extent of our ideas: because between two different ideas we would examine, we cannot always find such mediums as we can connect one to another with an intuitive knowledge in all the parts of the deduction; and wherever that fails, we come short of knowledge and demonstration.
Body, as far as we can conceive, being able only to strike and affect body, and motion, according to the utmost reach of our ideas, being able to produce nothing but motion; so that when we allow it to produce pleasure or pain, or the idea of a color or sound, we are fain to quit our reason, go beyond our ideas, and attribute it wholly to the good pleasure of our Maker.
Since, on which side soever he views it, either as an UNEXTENDED SUBSTANCE, or as a THINKING EXTENDED MATTER, the difficulty to conceive either will, whilst either alone is in his thoughts, still drive him to the contrary side. An unfair way which some men take with themselves: who, because of the inconceivableness of something they find in one, throw themselves violently into the contrary hypothesis, though altogether as unintelligible to an unbiased understanding.
The reason whereof is, that the simple ideas whereof our complex ideas of substances are made up are, for the most part, such as carry with them, in their own nature, no VISIBLE NECESSARY connection or inconsistency with any other simple ideas, whose co-existence with them we would inform ourselves about.
Indeed some few of the primary qualities have a necessary dependence and visible connection one with another, as figure necessarily supposes extension; receiving or communicating motion by impulse, supposes solidity. But though these, and perhaps some others of our ideas have: yet there are so few of them that have a visible connection one with another, that we can by intuition or demonstration discover the co-existence of very few of the qualities that are to be found united in substances:
the highest probability amounts not to certainty, without which there can be no true knowledge.
This cannot be thus done in moral ideas: we have no sensible marks that resemble them, whereby we can set them down; we have nothing but words to express them by; which, though when written they remain the same, yet the ideas they stand for may change in the same man; and it is very seldom that they are not different in different persons.
impotent a creature as he will find man to be; who in all probability is one of the lowest of all intellectual beings. What faculties, therefore, other species of creatures have to penetrate into the nature and inmost constitutions of things; what ideas they may receive of them far different from ours, we know not.
wherever we want that, we are utterly incapable of universal and certain knowledge; and are, in the former case, left only to observation and experiment: which, how narrow and confined it is, how far from general knowledge we need not be told.
As the ideas of sensible secondary qualities which we have in our minds, can by us be no way deduced from bodily causes, nor any correspondence or connection be found between them and those primary qualities which (experience shows us) produce them in us;
But the coherence and continuity of the parts of matter; the production of sensation in us of colors and sounds, &c., by impulse and motion; nay, the original rules and communication of motion being such, wherein we can discover no natural connection with any ideas we have, we cannot but ascribe them to the arbitrary will and good pleasure of the Wise Architect.
Mathematicians abstracting their thoughts from names, and accustoming themselves to set before their minds the Ideas themselves that they would consider, and not sounds instead of them, have avoided thereby a great part of that perplexity, puddering, and confusion, which has so much hindered men's progress in other parts of knowledge.
It is evident the mind knows not things immediately, but only by the intervention of the ideas it has of them. Our knowledge, therefore, is real only so far as there is a CONFORMITY between our ideas and the reality of things.
But it will here be said, that if moral knowledge be placed in the contemplation of our own moral ideas, and those, as other modes, be of our own making, What strange notions will there be of justice and temperance? What confusion of virtues and vices, if every one may make what ideas of them he pleases?
Just the same is it in moral knowledge: let a man have the idea of taking from others, without their consent, what their honest industry has possessed them of, and call this JUSTICE if he please.
Indeed, wrong names in moral discourses breed usually more disorder, because they are not so easily rectified as in mathematics, where the figure, once drawn and seen, makes the name useless and of no force. For what need of a sign, when the thing signified is present and in view?
Herein, therefore, is founded the reality of our knowledge concerning substances--That all our complex ideas of them must be such, and such only, as are made up of such simple ones as have been discovered to co-exist in nature.
Whatever ideas we have, the agreement we find they have with others will still be knowledge. If those ideas be abstract, it will be general knowledge. But to make it real concerning substances, the ideas must be taken from the real existence of things.
it would still disturb us in our discourse with others, as long as we retained the opinion, that SPECIES and their ESSENCES were anything else but our abstract ideas (such as they are) with names annexed to them, to be the Signs of them.
Truth, then, seems to me, in the proper import of the word, to signify nothing but THE JOINING OR SEPARATING OF SIGNS, AS THE THINGS SIGNIFIED BY THEM DO AGREE OR DISAGREE ONE WITH ANOTHER. The joining or separating of signs here meant, is what by another name we call PROPOSITION. So that truth properly belongs only to propositions:
For if we will curiously observe the way our mind takes in thinking and reasoning, we shall find, I suppose, that when we make any propositions within our own thoughts about WHITE or BLACK, SWEET or BITTER, a TRIANGLE or a CIRCLE, we can and often do frame in our minds the ideas themselves, without reflecting on the names.
when we would consider, or make propositions about the more complex ideas, as of a MAN, VITRIOL, FORTITUDE, GLORY, we usually put the name for the idea: because the ideas these names stand for, being for the most part imperfect, confused, and undetermined, we reflect on the names themselves, because they are more clear, certain, and distinct, and readier occur to our thoughts than the pure ideas: and so we make use of these words instead of the ideas themselves,
Truth as well as knowledge may well come under the distinction of verbal and real; that being only verbal truth, wherein terms are joined according to the agreement or disagreement of the ideas they stand for;
General truths are most looked after by the mind as those that most enlarge our Knowledge; and by their comprehensiveness satisfying us at once of many Particulars, enlarge our view, and shorten our way to knowledge.
Metaphysical truth, which is nothing but the real existence of things, conformable to the ideas to which we have annexed their names.
Now, because we cannot be certain of the truth of any general Proposition, unless we know the precise bounds and extent of the Species its terms stand for, it is necessary we should know the essence of each species, which is that which constitutes and bounds it.
But in substances, wherein a real essence, distinct from the nominal, is supposed to constitute, determine, and bound the species, the extent of the general word is very uncertain; because, not knowing this real essence, we cannot know what is, or what is not of that species; and, consequently, what may or may not with certainty be affirmed of it.
To suppose that the species of things are anything but the sorting of them under general names, according as they agree to several abstract ideas of which we make those names signs, is to confound truth, and introduce uncertainty into all general propositions that can be made about them.
For if, according to the useless imagination of the Schools, any one supposes the term gold to stand for a species of things set out by nature, by a real essence belonging to it, it is evident he knows not what particular substances are of that species; and so cannot with certainty affirm anything universally of gold. But if he makes gold stand for a species determined by its nominal essence,
For the chief part of our knowledge concerning substances is not, as in other things, barely of the relation of two ideas that may exist separately; but is of the necessary connection and co-existence of several distinct ideas in the same subject,
This is certain: things, however absolute and entire they seem in themselves, are but retainers to other parts of nature, for that which they are most taken notice of by us.
Before we can have any tolerable knowledge of this kind, we must First know what changes the primary qualities of one body do regularly produce in the primary qualities of another, and how. Secondly, We must know what primary qualities of any body produce certain sensations or ideas in us. This is in truth no less than to know ALL the effects of matter, under its divers modifications of bulk, figure, cohesion of parts, motion and rest. Which, I think every body will allow, is utterly impossible to be known by us without revelation.
For, FIRST, The immediate perception of the agreement or disagreement of IDENTITY being founded in the mind's having distinct ideas, this affords us as many self-evident propositions as we have distinct ideas. Every one that has any knowledge at all, has, as the foundation of it, various and distinct ideas: and it is the first act of the mind (without which it can never be capable of any knowledge) to know every one of its ideas by itself, and distinguish it from others.
nor are there to be found very many propositions that are self-evident, though some there are: v.g. the idea of filling a place equal to the contents of its superfluities, being annexed to our idea of body, I think it is a self-evident proposition, that two bodies cannot be in the same place.
In effect, it is something imperfect, that cannot exist; an idea wherein some part of several different and inconsistent ideas are put together. It is true, the mind, in this imperfect state, has need of such ideas, and makes all the haste to them it can, for the convenience of communication and enlargement of knowledge; to both which it is naturally very much inclined. But yet one has reason to suspect such ideas are marks of our imperfection; at least, this is enough to show that the most abstract and general ideas are not those that the mind is first and most easily acquainted with, nor such as its earliest knowledge is conversant about.
Nor after the knowledge, that the whole is equal to all its parts, does he know that one and two are equal to three, better or more certainly than he did before. For if there be any odds in those ideas, the whole and parts are more obscure, or at least more difficult to be settled in the mind than those of one, two, and three.
But it is one thing to show a man that he is in an error, and another to put him in possession of truth, and I would fain know what truths these two propositions are able to teach, and by their influence make us know which we did not know before, or could not know without them.
'The whole is equal to all its parts:' what real truth, I beseech you, does it teach us? What more is contained in that maxim, than what the signification of the word TOTUM, or the WHOLE, does of itself import?
For in particulars our knowledge begins, and so spreads itself, by degrees, to generals
Though afterwards the mind takes the quite contrary course, and having drawn its knowledge into as general propositions as it can, makes those familiar to its thoughts, and accustoms itself to have recourse to them, as to the standards of truth and falsehood.
Because the idea to which he gives the name space being barely the simple one of extension, and the idea to which he gives the name body being the complex idea of Extension and resistibility or solidity, together in the same subject, these two ideas are not exactly one and the same,
yet when these principles, viz. WHAT IS, IS, and IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE SAME THING TO BE AND NOT TO BE, are made use of in the probation of propositions wherein are words standing for complex ideas, v.g. man, horse, gold, virtue; there they are of infinite danger, and most commonly make men receive and retain falsehood for manifest truth, and uncertainty for demonstration: upon which follow error, obstinacy, and all the mischief that can happen from wrong reasoning.
infants and changelings are no men, by this maxim, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE SAME THING TO BE AND NOT TO BE; and I have discoursed with very rational men, who have actually denied that they are men.
And as these maxims are of little use where we have determined ideas, so they are, as I have showed, of dangerous use where [our ideas are not determined; and where] we use words that are not annexed to determined ideas, but such as are of a loose and wandering signification, sometimes standing for one, and sometimes for another idea:
As for our own Existence, we perceive it so plainly and so certainly, that it neither needs nor is capable of any proof for nothing can be more evident to us than our own existence.
Matter, then, by its own strength, cannot produce in itself so much as Motion: the motion it has must also be from eternity, or else be produced, and added to matter by some other being more powerful than matter; matter, as is evident, having not power to produce motion in itself.
if matter were the eternal first cogitative being, there would not be one eternal, infinite, cogitative being, but an infinite number of eternal, finite, cogitative beings, independent one of another, of limited force, and distinct thoughts, which could never produce that order, harmony, and beauty which are to be found in nature.
I would ask them, whether they imagine that all matter, EVERY PARTICLE OF MATTER, thinks? This, I suppose, they will scarce say; since then there would be as many eternal thinking beings as there are particles of matter, and so an infinity of gods. And yet, if they will not allow matter as matter, that is, every particle of matter, to be as well cogitative as extended, they will have as hard a task to make out to their own reasons a cogitative being out of incogitative particles,
If all matter does not think, I next ask, Whether it be ONLY ONE ATOM that does so? This has as many absurdities as the other; for then this atom of matter must be alone eternal or not. If this alone be eternal, then this alone, by its powerful thought or will, made all the rest of matter. And so we have the creation of matter by a powerful thought, which is that the materialists stick at; for if they suppose one single thinking atom to have produced all the rest of matter, they cannot ascribe that pre-eminency to it upon any other account than that of its thinking, the only supposed difference.
Every particle of matter, as matter, is capable of all the same figures and motions of any other; and I challenge any one, in his thoughts, to add anything else to one above another.
it only remains, that it is some certain SYSTEM of matter, duly put together, that is this thinking eternal Being. This is that which, I imagine, is that notion which men are aptest to have of God; who would have him a material being, as most readily suggested to them by the ordinary conceit they have of themselves and other men, which they take to be material thinking beings. But this imagination, however more natural, is no less absurd than the other; for to suppose the eternal thinking Being to be nothing else but a composition of particles of matter, each whereof is incogitative, is to ascribe all the wisdom and knowledge of that eternal Being only to the juxtaposition of parts; than which nothing can be more absurd. For unthinking particles of matter, however put together, can have nothing thereby added to them, but a new relation of position, which it is impossible should give thought and knowledge to them.
This, though it take not away the being of a God, yet, since it denies one and the first great piece of his workmanship, the creation, let us consider it a little. Matter must be allowed eternal: Why?
that frame of particles is not you, it makes not that thinking thing you are;
The knowledge of the existence of ANY OTHER THING we can have only by SENSATION: for there being no necessary connection of real existence with any IDEA a man hath in his memory;
This is certain: the confidence that our faculties do not herein deceive us, is the greatest assurance we are capable of concerning the existence of material beings.
That the certainty of things existing in RERUM NATURA when we have the testimony of our senses for it is not only as great as our frame can attain to, but as our condition needs. For, our faculties being suited not to the full extent of being, nor to a perfect, clear, comprehensive knowledge of things free from all doubt and scruple; but to the preservation of us, in whom they are; and accommodated to the use of life: they serve to our purpose well enough, if they will but give us certain notice of those things, which are convenient or inconvenient to us.
Therefore, as God has set some things in broad daylight; as he has given us some certain knowledge, though limited to a few things in comparison, probably as a taste of what intellectual creatures are capable of to excite in us a desire and endeavour after a better state: so, in the greatest part of our concernments, he has afforded us only the twilight, as I may so say, of probability; suitable, I presume, to that state of mediocrity and probationership he has been pleased to place us in here; wherein, to check our over-confidence and presumption, we might, by every day's experience, be made sensible of our short-sightedness and liableness to error;
herein lies the difference between PROBABILITY and CERTAINTY, FAITH, and KNOWLEDGE, that in all the parts of knowledge there is intuition; each immediate idea, each step has its visible and certain connection: in belief, not so.
it carries too great an imputation of ignorance, lightness, or folly for men to quit and renounce their former tenets presently upon the offer of an argument which they cannot immediately answer, and show the insufficiency of: it would, methinks, become all men to maintain peace, and the common offices of humanity, and friendship, in the diversity of opinions; since we cannot reasonably expect that any one should readily and obsequiously quit his own opinion, and embrace ours, with a blind resignation to an authority which the understanding of man acknowledges not.
ANALOGY in these matters is the only help we have, and it is from that alone we draw all our grounds of probability.
we have reason to think, that what we call HEAT and FIRE consists in a violent agitation of the imperceptible minute parts of the burning matter.
finding in all parts of the creation, that fall under human observation, that there is A GRADUAL CONNECTION OF ONE WITH ANOTHER, WITHOUT ANY GREAT OR DISCERNIBLE GAPS BETWEEN, IN ALL THAT GREAT VARIETY OF THINGS WE SEE IN THE WORLD, which are so closely linked together, that, in the several ranks of beings, it is not easy to discover the bounds betwixt them; we have reason to be persuaded that, BY SUCH GENTLE STEPS, things ascend upwards in degrees of perfection.
of FAITH, and the precedency it ought to have before other arguments of persuasion, I shall speak more hereafter; where I treat of it as it is ordinarily placed, in contradistinction to reason; though in truth it be nothing else but AN ASSENT FOUNDED ON THE HIGHEST REASON.
THE word REASON in the English language has different significations: sometimes it is taken for true and clear principles: sometimes for clear and fair deductions from those principles: and sometimes for the cause, and particularly the final cause. But the consideration I shall have of it here is in a signification different from all these; and that is, as it stands for a faculty in man, that faculty whereby man is supposed to be distinguished from beasts, and wherein it is evident he much surpasses them.
There is one thing more which I shall desire to be considered concerning reason; and that is, whether SYLLOGISM, as is generally thought, be the proper instrument of it, and the usefullest way of exercising this faculty. The causes I have to doubt are these:-- First Cause to doubt this. FIRST, Because syllogism serves our reason but in one only of the forementioned parts of it; and that is, to show the CONNECTION OF THE PROOFS in any one instance,
If we will observe the acting of our own minds, we shall find that we reason best and clearest, when we only observe the connection of the Proof, without reducing our thoughts to any rule of syllogism. And therefore we may take notice, that there are many men that reason exceeding clear and rightly, who know not how to make a syllogism.
no syllogistical reasoning can be right and conclusive, but what has at least one GENERAL proposition in it.
It perfectly fails us, where our ideas fail. It neither does nor can extend itself further than they do. And therefore, wherever we have no ideas, our reasoning stops, and we are at an end of our reckoning: and if at any time we reason about words which do not stand for any ideas, it is only about those sounds, and nothing else.
Thus, not having any perfect idea of the LEAST EXTENSION OF MATTER, nor of INFINITY, we are at a loss about the divisibility of matter; but having perfect, clear, and distinct ideas of NUMBER, our reason meets with none of those inextricable difficulties in numbers, nor finds itself involved in any contradictions about them. Thus, we having but imperfect ideas of the operations of our minds, and of the beginning of motion, or thought how the mind produces either of them in us, and much imperfecter yet of the operation of God, run into great difficulties about FREE CREATED AGENTS, which reason cannot well extricate itself out of.
Thus the existence of one God is according to reason; the existence of more than one God, contrary to reason; the resurrection of the dead, above reason. ABOVE REASON also may be taken in a double sense, viz. either as signifying above probability, or above certainty: and in that large sense also, CONTRARY TO REASON, is, I suppose, sometimes taken.
faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind: which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason; and so cannot be opposite to it.
For words, seen or heard, recall to our thoughts those ideas only which to us they have been wont to be signs of, but cannot introduce any perfectly new, and formerly unknown simple ideas.
For there is nothing more common than contrariety of opinions; nothing more obvious than that one man wholly disbelieves what another only doubts of, and a third steadfastly believes and firmly adheres to.
a blind fortuitous concourse of atoms, not guided by an understanding agent, should frequently constitute the bodies of any species of animals: in these and the like cases, I think, nobody that considers them can be one jot at a stand which side to take, nor at all waver in his assent.
The greater probability, I think, in that case will determine the assent: and a man can no more avoid assenting, or taking it to be true, where he perceives the greater probability, than he can avoid knowing it to be true, where he perceives the agreement or disagreement of any two ideas. If this be so, the foundation of error will lie in wrong measures of probability; as the foundation of vice in wrong measures of good.