صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

makes, or is supposed to make, that is true or false. For truth or falshood, being never without some af firmation or negation, express or tacit, it is not to be found but where signs are joined and separated, according to the agreement or disagreement of the things they stand for. The signs we chiefly use are either ideas or words, wherewith we make either mental or verbal propositions. Truth lies in so joining or separating these representatives, as the things they stand for do in themselves agree or disagree; and falshood in the contrary, as shall be more fully shown hereafter. §. 20. Any idea then which we have in our minds, whether conformable or not to the existence of things, or to any idea in the minds of other men, cannot properly for nor false. this alone be called false. For these representations, if they have nothing in them but what is really existing in things without, cannot be thought false, being exact representations of something: nor yet, if they have any thing in them differing from the reality of things, can they properly be said to be false representations, or ideas of things they do not represent. But the mistake and falshood is,

Ideas in themselves

neither true

But are false,

1. When

judged agreeable to man's idea, without being so.


§. 21. First, when the mind having any idea, it judges and concludes it the same that is in other men's minds, signified by the same name; or that it is conformable to the ordinary received signification or definition of that word, when indeed it is not; which is the most usual mistake in mixed modes, though other ideas also are liable to it. §. 22. Secondly, when it having a complex idea made up of such a collection of simple ones, as nature never puts together, it judges it to agree to a species of creatures really existing; as when it joins the weight of tin to the colour, fusibility, and fixedness of gold.

§. 23. Thirdly, when in its complex idea it has united a certain number of simple ideas that do really exist together in

K 4

2. When

judged to agree to real

existence, when they

do not.

3. When judged adequate, with

out being so.


some sort of creatures, but has also left out others as much inseparable, it judges this to be a perfect complete idea of a sort of things which really it is not; v. g. having joined the ideas of substance, yellow, malleable, moft heavy, and fusible, it takes that complex idea to be the complete idea of gold, when yet its peculiar fixednefs and solubility in aqua regia are as inseparable from those other ideas or qualities of that body, as they are one from another.

4. When judged to represent the

§. 24. Fourthly, the mistake is yet greater, when I judge, that this complex idea contains in it the real essence of any

real essence. body existing, when at least it contains but some few of those properties which flow from its real essence and constitution. I say only some few of those properties; for those properties consisting mostly in the active and passive powers it has, in reference to other things, all that are vulgarly known of any one body, of which the complex idea of that kind of things is usually made, are but a very few in comparison of what a man, that has several ways tried and examined it, knows of that one sort of things: and all that the most expert man knows are but a few, in comparison of what are really in that body, and depend on its internal or essential constitution. 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. Ideas, when §. 25. To conclude, a man having no notion of any thing without him, but by the idea he has of it in his mind, (which idea he has a power to call by what name he pleases) he may indeed make an idea neither answering the reason of things, nor agreeing to the idea commonly signified by other people's words; but cannot make a wrong or false idea of a thing, which is no otherwise known to him but by the idea he has of it: v. g. when I frame


I frame an idea of the legs, arms, and body of a man, and join to this a horse's head and neck, I do not make a false idea of any thing; because it represents nothing without me. But when I call it a man or Tartar, and imagine it to represent some real being without me, or to be the same idea that others call by the same name; in either of these cases I may err. And upon this account it is, that it comes to be termed a false idea; though indeed the falshood lies not in the idea, but in that tacit mental proposition, wherein a conformity and resemblance is attributed to it, which it has not. But yet, if having framed such an idea in my mind, without thinking either that existence, or the name man or Tartar, belongs to it, I will call it man or Tartar, I may be justly thought fantastical in the naming, but not erroneous in my judgment; nor the idea any way. false.

More pro

perly to be called right

or wrong.

called right disagree to But if any

§. 26. Upon the whole matter, I think, that our ideas, as they are considered by the mind, either in reference to the proper signification of their names, or in reference to the reality of things, may very fitly be or wrong ideas, according as they agree or those patterns to which they are referred. one had rather call them true or false, it is fit he use a liberty, which every one has, to call things by those names he thinks best; though, in propriety of speech, truth or falshood will, I think, scarce agree to them, but as they, some way or other, virtually contain in them some mental proposition. The ideas that are in a man's mind,. simply considered, cannot be wrong, unless complex ones, wherein inconsistent parts are jumbled together. All other ideas are in themselves right, aud the knowledge about them right and true knowledge: but when we come to refer them to any thing, as to their patterns and archetypes, then they are capable of being wrong, as far as they disagree with such archetypes.


Something unreasonable in most men.


Of the Association of Ideas.

§. 1.


HERE is scarce any
that does not observe something

that seems odd to him, and is in itself really extravagant in the opinions, reasonings, and actions of other men. The least flaw of this kind, if at all different from his own, every one is quick-sighted enough to espy in another, and will by the authority of reason forwardly condemn, though he be guilty of much greater unreasonableness in his own: tenets and conduct, which he never perceives, and wilk very hardly, if at all, be convinced of

Not wholly from self. love.

§. 2. This proceeds not wholly from self-love, though that has often a great hand in it. Men of fair minds and not given up to the over-weening of self-flattery, are frequently guilty of it; and in many cases one with amazement hears the arguings, and is astonished at the obstinacy of a worthy man, who yields not to the evidence of reason, though laid before him as clear as day-light.

Not from education.

§. 3. This sort of unreasonableness is usually imputed to education and prejudice, and for the most part truly enough, though that reaches not the bottom of the disease, nor shows distinctly enough whence it rises, or wherein it lies. Education is often rightly assigned for the cause, and prejudice is a good general name for the thing itself: but yet, I think, he ought to look a little farther, who would trace this sort of madness to the root it springs from, and so explain it, as to show whence this flaw has its original in very sober and rational minds, and wherein it consists.

A degree of madness.

§. 4. I shall be pardoned for calling it by so harsh a name as madness, when it is considered, that opposition to reason de

serves that name, and is really madness; and there is scarce a man so free from it, but that if he should always, on all occasions, argue or do as in some cases he , constantly does, would not be thought fitter for Bedlam than civil conversation. I do not hear mean when he is under the power of an unruly passion, but in the steady calm course of his life. That which will yet more apologize for this harsh name, and ungrateful imputation on the greatest part of mankind, is, that inquiring a little by the bye into the nature of madness, b. ii. c. xi. §. 13. I found it to spring from the very fame root, and to depend on the very fame cause we are here speaking of. This consideration of the thing itself, at a time when I thought not the least on the subject which I am now treating of, suggested it to And if this be a weakness to which all men are so liable; if this be a taint which so universally infects mankind; the greater care should be taken to lay it open under its due name, thereby to excite the greater care in its prevention and cure.


From a

wrong connexion of


§. 5. Some of our ideas have a natural correspondence and connexion one with another it is the office and excellency of our reason to trace these, and hold them together in that union and correspondence which is founded in their peculiar beings. Besides this, there is another connexion of ideas wholly owing to chance or custom ideas, that in themselves are not all of kin, come to be so united in some men's minds, that it is very hard to separate them; they always keep in company, and the one no sooner at any time comes into the understanding, but its associate appears with it; and if they are more than two, which are thus united, the whole gang, always inseparable, show themselves together.


§. 6. This strong combination of ideas, This connot allied by nature, the mind makes in nexion how itself either voluntarily or by chance; and hence it comes in different men to be very different, according to their different inclinations, education, interests, &c. Custom settles habits of thinking in the


« السابقةمتابعة »