In like manner, though I hear variety of sounds, yet I cannot be said to hear the causes of those sounds?
Doth the REALITY of sensible things consist in being perceived? or, is it something distinct from their being perceived, and that bears no relation to the mind?
Hold, Philonous, I fear I was out in yielding intense heat to be a pain. It should seem rather, that pain is something distinct from heat, and the consequence or effect of it.
Or can you frame to yourself an idea of sensible pain or pleasure in general, abstracted from every particular idea of heat, cold, tastes, smells? &c.
HYL. I have not denied there is any real heat in bodies. I only say, there is no such thing as an intense real heat. PHIL. But, did you not say before that all degrees of heat were equally real; or, if there was any difference, that the greater were more undoubtedly real than the lesser?
Since, therefore, as well those degrees of heat that are not painful, as those that are, can exist only in a thinking substance; may we not conclude that external bodies are absolutely incapable of any degree of heat whatsoever?
PHIL. Suppose now one of your hands hot, and the other cold, and that they are both at once put into the same vessel of water, in an intermediate state; will not the water seem cold to one hand, and warm to the other? HYL. It will. PHIL. Ought we not therefore, by your principles, to conclude it is really both cold and warm at the same time, that is, according to your own concession, to believe an absurdity? HYL. I confess it seems so. PHIL. Consequently, the principles themselves are false, since you have granted that no true principle leads to an absurdity.
Whereas I should have thus distinguished: those qualities, as perceived by us, are pleasures or pair existing in the external objects. We must not therefore conclude absolutely, that there is no heat in the fire, or sweetness in the sugar, but only that heat or sweetness, as perceived by us, are not in the fire or sugar.
PHIL. How then can sound, being a sensation, exist in the air, if by the AIR you mean a senseless substance existing without the mind? HYL. You must distinguish, Philonous, between sound as it is perceived by us, and as it is in itself; or (which is the same thing) between the sound we immediately perceive, and that which exists without us. The former, indeed, is a particular kind of sensation, but the latter is merely a vibrative or undulatory motion the air.
It seems then there are two sorts of sound--the one vulgar, or that which is heard, the other philosophical and real?
can you think it no more than a philosophical paradox, to say that REAL SOUNDS ARE NEVER HEARD, and that the idea of them is obtained by some other sense?
PHIL. What! are then the beautiful red and purple we see on yonder clouds really in them? Or do you imagine they have in themselves any other form than that of a dark mist or vapor? HYL. I must own, Philonous, those colors are not really in the clouds as they seem to be at this distance. They are only apparent colors.
But a microscope often discovers colors in an object different from those perceived by the unassisted sight. And, in case we had microscopes magnifying to any assigned degree, it is certain that no object whatsoever, viewed through them, would appear in the same color which it exhibits to the naked eye.
Consequently the microscopical representation is to be thought that which best sets forth the real nature of the thing, or what it is in itself. The colors, therefore, by it perceived are more genuine and real than those perceived otherwise.
From all which, should it not seem to follow that all colors are equally apparent, and that none of those which we perceive are really inherent in any outward object?
But the only action of bodies is motion; and motion cannot be communicated otherwise than by impulse. A distant object therefore cannot act on the eye; nor consequently make itself or its properties perceivable to the soul. Whence it plainly follows that it is immediately some contiguous substance, which, operating on the eye, occasions a perception of colors: and such is light.
PHIL. How then do you affirm that colors are in the light; since by LIGHT you understand a corporeal substance external to the mind? HYL. Light and colors, as immediately perceived by us, I grant cannot exist without the mind. But in themselves they are only the motions and configurations of certain insensible particles of matter.
Can a real motion in any external body be at the same time very swift and very slow?
PHIL. And is not time measured by the succession of Ideas in our Minds? HYL. It is. PHIL. And is it not possible ideas should succeed one another twice as fast in your mind as they do in mine, or in that of some spirit of another kind?
To help you out, do but consider that if EXTENSION be once acknowledged to have no existence without the mind, the same must necessarily be granted of motion, solidity, and gravity; since they all evidently suppose extension. It is therefore superfluous to inquire particularly concerning each of them. In denying extension, you have denied them all to have any real existence.
Heat and cold, tastes and smells, have something more vividly pleasing or disagreeable than the ideas of extension, figure, and motion affect us with.
I acknowledge, Hylas, it is not difficult to form general propositions and reasonings about those qualities, without mentioning any other; and, in this sense, to consider or treat of them abstractedly. But, how doth it follow that, because I can pronounce the word MOTION by itself, I can form the idea of it in my mind exclusive of body?
One great oversight I take to be this--that I did not sufficiently distinguish the OBJECT from the SENSATION. Now, though this latter may not exist without the mind, yet it will not thence follow that the former cannot.
The sensation I take to be an act of the mind perceiving; besides which, there is something perceived; and this I call the OBJECT. For example, there is red and yellow on that tulip. But then the act of perceiving those colors is in me only, and not in the tulip.
In plucking this flower I am active; because I do it by the motion of my hand, which was consequent upon my volition; so likewise in applying it to my nose. But is either of these smelling?
But, doth it in like manner depend on YOUR will that in looking on this flower you perceive WHITE rather than any other Color? Or, directing your open eyes towards yonder part of the heaven, can you avoid seeing the sun? Or is light or darkness the effect of your volition?
Since therefore you are in the very perception of light and colors altogether passive, what is become of that action you were speaking of as an ingredient in every sensation?
It seems then you have only a relative NOTION of it, or that you conceive it not otherwise than by conceiving the relation it bears to sensible qualities?
PHIL. Whatsoever therefore you suppose spread under anything must have in itself an extension distinct from the extension of that thing under which it is spread? HYL. It must. PHIL. Consequently, every corporeal substance, being the SUBSTRATUM of extension, must have in itself another extension, by which it is qualified to be a SUBSTRATUM: and so on to infinity.
What more easy than to conceive a tree or house existing by itself, independent of, and unperceived by, any mind whatsoever? I do at this present time conceive them existing after that manner.
from the ideas you actually perceive by sight, you have by experience learned to collect what other ideas you will (according to the standing order of nature) be affected with, after such a certain succession of time and motion.
PHIL. How! Is there any thing perceived by sense which is not immediately perceived? HYL. Yes, Philonous, in some sort there is. For example, when I look on a picture or statue of Julius Caesar, I may be said after a manner to perceive him (though not immediately) by my senses.
Whence comes it then that your thoughts are directed to the Roman emperor, and his are not? This cannot proceed from the sensations or ideas of sense by you then perceived; since you acknowledge you have no advantage over him in that respect. It should seem therefore to proceed from reason and memory: should it not?
It is nevertheless evident that, in truth and strictness, nothing can be HEARD BUT SOUND; and the coach is not then properly perceived by sense, but suggested from experience.
if I understand you rightly, you say our ideas do not exist without the mind, but that they are copies, images, or representations, of certain originals that do?
How then is it possible that things perpetually fleeting and variable as our ideas should be copies or images of anything fixed and constant?
But how can that which is sensible be like that which is insensible? Can a real thing, in itself INVISIBLE, be like a COLOR; or a real thing, which is not AUDIBLE, be like a SOUND?
You make certain traces in the brain to be the causes or occasions of our ideas. Pray tell me whether by the BRAIN you mean any sensible thing. HYL. What else think you I could mean? PHIL. Sensible things are all immediately perceivable; and those things which are immediately perceivable are ideas; and these exist only in the mind.
When, therefore, you say all ideas are occasioned by impressions in the brain, do you conceive this brain or no? If you do, then you talk of ideas imprinted in an idea causing that same idea, which is absurd.
What connection is there between a motion in the nerves, and the sensations of sound or color in the mind?
seeing they depend not on my thought, and have all existence distinct from being perceived by me, THERE MUST BE SOME OTHER MIND WHEREIN THEY EXIST. As sure, therefore, as the sensible world really exists, so sure is there an infinite omnipresent Spirit who contains and supports it.
I, on the other side, immediately and necessarily conclude the being of a God, because all sensible things must be perceived by Him.
They conceive that the soul, being immaterial, is incapable of being united with material things, so as to perceive them in themselves; but that she perceives them by her union with the substance of God, which, being spiritual, is therefore purely intelligible, or capable of being the immediate object of a spirit's thought.
I do not understand how our ideas, which are things altogether passive and inert, can be the essence, or any part (or like any part) of the essence or substance of God, who is an impassive, indivisible, pure, active being.
I shall not therefore be surprised if some men imagine that I run into the enthusiasm of Malebranche; though in truth I am very remote from it. He builds on the most abstract general ideas, which I entirely disclaim. He asserts an absolute external world, which I deny. He maintains that we are deceived by our senses, and, know not the real natures or the true forms and figures of extended beings; of all which I hold the direct contrary.
since I know myself not to be their author, it being out of my power to determine at pleasure what particular ideas I shall be affected with upon opening my eyes or ears: they must therefore exist in some other Mind, whose Will it is they should be exhibited to me.
from the variety, order, and manner of these, I conclude THE AUTHOR OF THEM TO BE WISE, POWERFUL, AND GOOD, BEYOND COMPREHENSION.
I find myself affected with various ideas, whereof I know I am not the cause; neither are they the cause of themselves, or of one another, or capable of subsisting by themselves, as being altogether inactive, fleeting, dependent beings.
And, hath it not been made evident that no SUCH substance can possibly exist? And, though it should be allowed to exist, yet how can that which is INACTIVE be a CAUSE; or that which is UNTHINKING be a CAUSE OF THOUGHT?
All I contend for is, that, subordinate to the Supreme Agent, there is a cause of a limited and inferior nature, which CONCURS in the production of our ideas, not by any act of will, or spiritual efficiency, but by that kind of action which belongs to Matter, viz. MOTION.
I ask whether all your ideas are not perfectly passive and inert, including nothing of action in them. HYL. They are. PHIL. And are sensible qualities anything else but ideas? HYL. How often have I acknowledged that they are not. PHIL. But is not MOTION a sensible quality? HYL. It is. PHIL. Consequently it is no action?
PHIL. And what reason have you to think this unknown, this inconceivable Somewhat doth exist? Is it that you imagine God cannot act as well without it; or that you find by experience the use of some such thing, when you form ideas in your own mind? HYL. You are always teasing me for reasons of my belief. Pray what reasons have you not to believe it? PHIL. It is to me a sufficient reason not to believe the existence of anything, if I see no reason for believing it.
Matter neither thinks nor acts, neither perceives nor is perceived, yet exists.
tell me sincerely whether you can frame a distinct idea of Entity in general, prescinded from and exclusive of all thinking and corporeal beings, all particular things whatsoever.
I still insist upon it, that our not being able to conceive a thing is no argument against its existence.
my inference shall be, that you mean nothing at all;
Truly my opinion is that all our opinions are alike vain and uncertain. What we approve to-day, we condemn to-morrow. We keep a stir about knowledge, and spend our lives in the pursuit of it, when, alas I we know nothing all the while: nor do I think it possible for us ever to know anything in this life. Our faculties are too narrow and too few. Nature certainly never intended us for speculation.
You may indeed know that fire appears hot, and water fluid; but this is no more than knowing what sensations are produced in your own mind, upon the application of fire and water to your organs of sense.
I tell you that color, figure, and hardness, which you perceive, are not the real natures of those things, or in the least like them.
Believe me, Philonous, you can only distinguish between your own ideas. That yellowness, that weight, and other sensible qualities, think you they are really in the gold? They are only relative to the senses, and have no absolute existence in nature.
we are not only ignorant of the true and real nature of things, but even of their existence. It cannot be denied that we perceive such certain appearances or ideas; but it cannot be concluded from thence that bodies really exist.
This makes you dream of those unknown natures in everything. It is this occasions your distinguishing between the reality and sensible appearances of things.
It is likewise my opinion that colors and other sensible qualities are on the objects. I cannot for my life help thinking that snow is white, and fire hot.
That a thing should be really perceived by my senses, and at the same time not really exist, is to me a plain contradiction; since I cannot prescind or abstract, even in thought, the Existence of a sensible thing from its being perceived.
if you can conceive the mind of God, without having an idea of it, why may not I be allowed to conceive the existence of Matter, notwithstanding I have no idea of it?
I do not therefore say my soul is an idea, or like an idea. However, taking the word IDEA in a large sense, my soul may be said to furnish me with an idea, that is, an image or likeness of God--though indeed extremely inadequate. For, all the notion I have of God is obtained by reflecting on my own soul, heightening its powers, and removing its imperfections.
Many things, for aught I know, may exist, whereof neither I nor any other man hath or can have any idea or notion whatsoever.
the being of my Self, that is, my own soul, mind, or thinking principle, I evidently know by reflection.
I have a notion of Spirit, though I have not, strictly speaking, an idea of it. I do not perceive it as an idea, or by means of an idea, but know it by Reflection.
How often must I repeat, that I know or am conscious of my own being; and that I MYSELF am not my ideas, but somewhat else, a thinking, active principle that perceives, knows, wills, and operates about ideas.
What he perceives by sense, that he terms a real, being, and saith it IS OR EXISTS; but, that which is not perceivable, the same, he saith, hath no being. HYL. Yes, Philonous, I grant the existence of a sensible thing consists in being perceivable, but not in being actually perceived.
HYL. But, according to your notions, what difference is there between real things, and chimeras formed by the imagination, or the visions of a dream--since they are all equally in the mind? PHIL. The ideas formed by the imagination are faint and indistinct; they have, besides, an entire dependence on the will. But the ideas perceived by sense, that is, real things, are more vivid and clear; and, being imprinted on the mind by a spirit distinct from us, have not the like dependence on our will.
God is represented as the sole and immediate Author of all those effects which some heathens and philosophers are wont to ascribe to Nature, Matter, Fate, or the like unthinking principle.
It is true I have denied there are any other agents besides spirits; but this is very consistent with allowing to thinking rational beings, in the production of motions, the use of limited powers, ultimately indeed derived from God, but immediately under the direction of their own wills, which is sufficient to entitle them to all the guilt of their actions.
neither can I conceive volition to be anywhere but in a spirit: therefore, when I speak of an active being, I am obliged to mean a Spirit.
The ideas, therefore, of pain and uneasiness are in God; or, in other words, God suffers pain:
that God, though He knows and sometimes causes painful sensations in us, can Himself suffer pain, I positively deny.
God, whom no external being can affect, who perceives nothing by sense as we do; whose will is absolute and independent, causing all things, and liable to be thwarted or resisted by nothing: it is evident, such a Being as this can suffer nothing, nor be affected with any painful Sensation, or indeed any sensation at all.
You mistake me. I am not for changing things into ideas, but rather ideas into things; since those immediate objects of perception, which, according to you, are only appearances of things, I take to be the real things themselves.
men combine together several ideas, apprehended by divers senses, or by the same sense at different times, or in different circumstances, but observed, however, to have some connection in nature, either with respect to co-existence or succession; all which they refer to one name, and consider as one thing.
the more a man knows of the connection of ideas, the more he is said to know of the nature of Things.
as these supposed originals are in themselves unknown, it is impossible to know how far our ideas resemble them;
Are you not yet satisfied men may dispute about identity and diversity, without any real difference in their thoughts and opinions, abstracted from names?
Your difficulty, therefore, that no two see the same thing, makes equally against the Materialists and me. HYL. Ay, Philonous, but they suppose an external archetype, to which referring their several ideas they may truly be said to perceive the same thing.
this serves all the ends of IDENTITY, as well as if it existed out of a mind.
Can extended things be contained in that which is unextended? Or, are we to imagine impressions made on a thing void of all solidity?
My meaning is only that the mind comprehends or perceives them; and that it is affected from without, or by some being distinct from itself.
Upon reading therefore the Mosaic account of the creation, I understand that the several parts of the world became gradually perceivable to finite spirits, endowed with proper faculties; so that, whoever such were present, they were in truth perceived by them.
Is it not, therefore, according to you, plainly impossible the creation of any inanimate creatures should precede that of man? And is not this directly contrary to the Mosaic account?
You will not therefore be able to prove any contradiction between Moses and my notions, unless you first shew there was no other order of finite created spirits in being, before man.
And were not all things eternally in the mind of God? Did they not therefore exist from all eternity, according to you? And how could that which was eternal be created in time?
May we not understand it to have been entirely in respect of finite spirits; so that things, with regard to us, may properly be said to begin their existence, or be created, when God decreed they should become perceptible to intelligent creatures, in that order and manner which He then established, and we now call the laws of nature?
If the latter, then we must acknowledge something new to befall the Deity; which implies a sort of change: and all change argues imperfection.
That a corporeal substance, which hath an absolute existence without the minds of spirits, should be produced out of nothing, by the mere will of a Spirit, hath been looked upon as a thing so contrary to all reason, so impossible and absurd! that not only the most celebrated among the ancients, but even divers modern and Christian philosophers have thought Matter co-eternal with the Deity.
they not pretend to explain all things by bodies operating on bodies, according to the laws of motion? and yet, are they able to comprehend how one body should move another?