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produce in the mind such a sensation, that sensation, when it is produced, cannot but be the effect of that power. So the So the paper I write on, having the power, in the light, (I speak according to the common notion of light) to produce in men the sensation which I call white, it cannot but be the effect of such a power, in something without the mind; since the mind has not the power to produce any such idea in itself, and being meant for nothing else but the effect of such a power, that simple idea is real and adequate; the sensation of white, in my mind, being the effect of that power, which is in the paper to produce it, is perfectly adequate to that power; or else, that power would produce a different idea.
Ideas of sub
§. 13. Secondly, the complex ideas of substances are ectypes, copies too; but not perfect ones, not adequate which is very evident to the mind, in that it plainly perceives that whatever collection of simple ideas it makes of any substance that exists, it cannot be sure that it exactly answers all that are in that substance: since not having tried all the operations of all other substances upon it, and found all the alterations it would receive from, or cause in, other substances, it cannot have an exact adequate collection of all its active and passive capacities; and so not have an adequate complex idea of the powers of any substance existing, and its relations, which is that sort of complex idea of substances we have. 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. For since the powers or qualities that are observable by us, are not the real essence of that substance, but depend on it, and flow from it, any collection whatsoever of these qualities cannot be the real essence of that thing. Whereby it is plain, that our ideas of substances are not adequate; are not what the mind intends them to be. Besides, a man has no idea of substance in general, nor knows what substance is in itself.
Ideas of modes and
relations are archetypes, and cannot but be adequate.
§. 14. Thirdly, complex ideas of modes and relations are originals, and archetypes; are not copies, nor made after the pattern of any real existence, to which the mind intends them to be conformable, and exactly to answer. These being such collections of simple ideas, that the mind itself puts together, and such collections, that each of them contains in it precisely all that the mind intends that it should, they are archetypes and essences of modes that may exist; and so are designed only for, and belong only to, such modes as, when they do exist, have an exact conformity with those complex ideas. The ideas therefore of modes and relations cannot but be adequate.
Truth and falshood properly belong to propositions.
CHA P. XXXII.
Of true and false Ideas.
§. 1. THOUGH truth and falshood belong, in propriety of fpeech, only to propositions; yet ideas are oftentimes termed true or false (as what words are there that are not used with great latitude, and with some deviation from their strict and proper significations?) Though, I think, that, when ideas themselves are termed true or false, there is still some secret or tacit proposition, which is the foundation of that denomination: as we shall see, if we examine the particular occasions wherein they come to be called true or false. In all which, we shall find some kind of affirmation or negation, which is the reason of that denomination. For our ideas, being nothing but bare appearances or perceptions in our minds, cannot properly and simply in themselves be said to be true or false, no more than a single name of any thing can be said to be true or false.
§. 2. Indeed both ideas and words may Metaphyfical be said to be true in a metaphysical sense of truth conthe word truth, as all other things, that tains a tacit any way exist, are said to be true; i. e. proposition. really to be such as they exist. Though in things called true, even in that sense, there is perhaps a secret reference to our ideas, looked upon as the standards of that truth, which amounts to a mental proposition, though it be usually not taken notice of.
No idea, as
ance in the
mind, true or
§. 3. But it is not in that metaphysical sense of truth which we inquire here, when we examine whether our ideas are capable of being true or false; but in the more ordinary acceptation of those words: and so I say that the ideas in our minds being only so many perceptions, or appearances there, none of them are false: the idea of a centaur having no more falshood in it, when it appears in our minds, than the name centaur, has falsehood in it, when it is pronounced by our mouths or written on paper. For truth or falshood lying always in some affirmation, or negation, mental or verbal, our ideas are not capable, any of them, of being false, till the mind passes some judg ment on them; that is, affirms or denies something
red to any
thing may be true or
§. 4. Whenever the mind refers any of its ideas to any thing extraneous to them, they are then capable to be called true or false. Because the mind in such a reference makes a tacit supposition of their conformity to that thing: which supposition, as it happens to be true or false, so the ideas themselves come to be denominated. The most usual cases wherein this happens, are these following:
§. 5. First, when the mind supposes any idea it has conformable to that in other men's minds, called by the same common name; v. g. when the mind intends or judges its ideas of justice, temperance, religion, to be the same with what other men give those names to.
Other men's ideas, real existence, and fuppofed real essences, are what men ufually refer their ideasto. Secondly,
Secondly, when the mind supposes any idea it has in itself to be conformable to some real existence. Thus the two ideas, of a man and a centaur, supposed to be the ideas of real substances, are the one true, and the other false; the one having a conformity to what has really existed, the other not.
Thirdly, when the mind refers any of its ideas to that real constitution and essence of any thing, whereon all its properties depend: and thus the greatest part, if not all our ideas of substances, are false.
The cause of such references.
§. 6. These suppositions the mind is very apt tacitly to make concerning its own ideas. But yet, if we will examine it, we shall find it is chiefly, if not only, concerning its abstract complex ideas. For the natural tendency of the mind being towards knowledge; and finding that, if it should proceed by and dwell upon only particular things, its progress would be very slow, and its work endless; therefore to shorten its way to knowledge, and make each perception more comprehensive; the first thing it does, as the foundation of the easier enlarging its knowledge, either by contemplation of the things themselves that it would know, or conference with others about them, is to bind them into bundles, and rank them so into sorts, that what knowledge it gets of any of them it may thereby with assurance extend to all of that sort; and so advance by larger steps in that, which is its great business, knowledge. This, as I have elsewhere shown, is the reason why we collect things under comprehensive ideas, with names annexed to them, into genera and species, i. e. into kinds and sorts.
§. 7. If therefore we will warily attend to the motions of the mind, and observe what course it usually takes in its way to knowledge; we shall, I think, find that the mind having got an idea, which it thinks it may have use of, either in contemplation or discourse, the first thing it does is to abstract it, and then get a name to it; and so lay it up in its store-house, the memory, as containing the essence of a sort of things, of which that name is always to be the mark. Hence
it is, that we may often observe, that when any one sees a new thing of a kind that he knows not, he presently asks what it is, meaning by that inquiry nothing but the name. As if the name carried with it the knowledge of the species, or the essence of it; whereof it is indeed used as the mark, and is generally supposed annexed to it.
§. 8. But this abstract idea being something in the mind between the thing that such referexists, and the name that is given to it; it ences. is in our ideas, that both the rightness of our knowledge, and the propriety or intelligibleness of our speaking, consists. And hence it is, that men are so forward to suppose, that the abstract ideas they have in their minds are such as agree to the things existing without them, to which they are referred; and are the same also, to which the names they give them do by the use and propriety of that language belong. For without this double conformity of their ideas, they find they should both think amiss of things in themselves, and talk of them unintelligibly to others.
may be false, in reference
to others of the same name, but are least liable to
§. 9. First then, I say, that when the truth of our ideas is judged of, by the conformity they have to the ideas which other men have, and commonly signify by the same name, they may be any of them false. But yet simple ideas are least of all liable to be so mistaken; because a man by his be so. senses, and every day's observation, may easily satisfy himself what the simple ideas are, which their several names that are in common use stand for; they being but few in number, and such as if he doubts or mistakes in, he may easily rectify by the objects they are to be found in. Therefore it is seldom, that any one mistakes in his names of simple ideas; or applies the name red to the idea green; or the name sweet to the idea bitter much less are men apt to confound the names of ideas belonging to different senses; and call a colour by the name of a taste, &c. whereby it is evident, that the simple ideas they call by any name, are commonly VOL. II. K