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tc the mind by the power of memory." Every thing one is conscious of, whether internal or external, passions, emotions, thinking, resolving,
ture> till he should first be certain beyond all doubt of a solid foundation. And yet upon examination, we find this foundation to be no better than a (hallow metaphysical argument, viz. "That "no being can act but where it is ; and, consequently, that it can"not act upon any subject at a distance." This argument possesses indeed one eminent advantage, that its obscurity, like that of an oracle, is apt to impose upon the redder, who is willing to consider it as a demonstration, because he does not clearly fee the fallacy. The best way to give it a fair trial, is to draw it out of its obscurity, and to state it in a clear light, as follows. "No ob*' ject can be perceived unless it act upon the mind; but no distant *' object can act upon the mind, because no being can act but "where it is; and, therefore, the immediate object of perception "must be something united to the mind, so as to be able to act up*' on it." Here the argument completed in all its parts seems to be justly stated; and from it is derived the supposed necessity of phantasms or ideas united to the mind, as the -only objects of perception. It is singularly unlucky for this argument, that it con« eludes directly against the very system of which it is made the only foundation. In that system it is supposed, that phantasms or ideas are raised in the mind by things at a distance; and if things at a distance cannot act upon the mind, as is endeavoured to be proved by the argument under consideration, the system must be false. But the solid answer to this argument is, that it assumes a proposition as true, without evidence, viz. That no object can be perceived unless it act upon the mind. This proposition undoubtedly requires evidence, for it is not intuitively certain. And, therefore, till the proposition be demonstrated, every man without scruple may trust to the conviction of his fenses, that he hears and fees things at a distance.
It is true, indeed, that to enable us to perceive distant objects,
willing, heat, cold, &c. as well as external objects, maybe recalled as above, by the power of memory *.
nature employs intermediate means. In order to fee a tree, for example, rays of light must come from the tree to my eye, forming a picture upon the retina tunica: but the object perceived is the tree itself, not the rays of light, nor the picture. In this manner distant objects are perceived, without any action of the object upon the mind, or of the mind upon the object. Hearing is in a similar cafe: the air put in motion by thunder, makes an impression upon the drum of my ear; but this impression is not what I hear, it is the thunder itself by means of that impression.
With respect to vision in particular, we are profoundly ignorant by what means and in what manner the picture on the retina tunica contributes to produce a sight of the object. One thing only is clear, that as we have no consciousness of that picture, it is as natural to conceive that it should be made the instrument of discovering the external object, as of discovering itself only, and not the external object.
Upon the chimerical consequences drawn from the ideal system, I (hall make but a single reflection. Nature determines us necessarily to rely on the veracity of our senses; and upon their evidence, the existence of external objects is to us a matter of intuitive knowledge and absolute certainty. Vain therefore is the attempt of Dr Berkeley and of his followers, to deceive us, by a metaphysical subtilty, into a disbelief of what we cannot entertain even the slightest doubt.
• from this definition of an idea, the following proposition must be evident, That there can be no such thing as an innate idea. If the original perception of an object be not innate, which is obvious, it is not less obvious, that the idea or secondary perception of that object cannot be innate. And yet, to prove this self-evident proposition, Locke has bestowed a whole book of his treatise uponhu. man understanding. So necessary it is to give accurate definitions,
15. The original perceptions of external objects, are either simple or complex. Some founds are so simple as not to be resolvable into parts, and the perception of such sounds midi be equally so: the like with respect to the perception of certain tastes and smells. A perception of touch, is generally compounded of the more simple perceptions of hardness or softness, joined with smoothness or roughness, heat or cold, drc. But of all the perceptions of external fense, that os a visible object is the most complex; because the eye takes in more particulars than any other organ. A tree is composed of a trunk, branches, leaves: it has colour, figure, size. Every one of these separately produceth a perception in the mind of the spectator, which are all combined into the complex perception of the tree.
16. The original perception of an object of sight, is more complete, lively, and distinct, than that of any other object. And for that reason, an idea or secondary perception of a visible object, is also more complete, lively, and distinct, than that of any other object. A fine passage in music, may, for a moment, be recalled to the mind with tolerable accuracy; but, after
and so preventive of dispute are definitions when accurate. Dr Berkeley has taken great pains to prove another proposition equallyevident, That there can be no such thing as a general idea: all our original perceptions arc of particular objects, and our secondary perceptions or ideas must be equally so.
the the shortest interval, it becomes not less obscure than the ideas of the other objects mentioned.
17. As the range of an individual is commonly circumscribed within narrow bounds of space, it rarely happens, that every thing necessary to be known comes under our own perceptions. These perceptions, therefore, and their corresponding ideas, are a provision too scanty for the purposes of life. Language is an admirable contrivance for supplying this deficiency; sot by language, every man may communicate his perceptions to all: and the fame may be done by painting and other imitative arts. The facility of communication is in proportion to the liveliness of the ideas; especially in language, which hitherto has not arrived at greater perfection than to express clear and lively ideas: and hence it is, that poets and orators, who are extremely successful in describing objects of sight, find objects, of the other fenses too faint and obscure for language. An idea thus acquired of an object at second hand, ought to be distinguished from an idea of memory, though their resemblance has occasioned the fame term idea to be apply'd to both; which is to be regretted, because ambiguity in the signification of words is a great obstruction to accuracy of conception. Thus nature hath furnished the means of multiplying ideas without end, and of providing every individual with a sufficient stock to answer, not only the necessities, but even the elegancies of life.
18. Further, man is endued with a sort of creative power: he can fabricate images of things that have no existence.' The materials employ'd in this operation, are ideas ,of sight, which he can take to pieces and combine into new forms at pleasure: their complexity and vivacity make them fit materials. But a man has no such power over any of his other ideas, whether of the external or internal fenses: he cannot, after the utmost effort, combine these into new forms; because his ideas of such objects are too obscure for this operation. An image thus fabricated cannot be called a secondary perception, not being derived from an original perception: the poverty of language however, as in the cafe immediately above mentioned, has occasioned the fame term idea to be apply'd to all. Tiiis singular power of fabricating images independent of real objects, is distinguished by the name imagination.
19. As ideas are the chief materials employ'd in reasoning and reflecting, it is of consequence that their nature and differences be understood. It appears now, that ideas may be distinguished into three kinds; first, Ideas derived from original perceptions, properly termed ideas of memory; second, Ideas communicated by language or other signs; and, third, Ideas of imagination. These ideas differ from each other in many respects; but the chief foundation of the distinction is the difference of their causes: the first kind is