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God has given them here, they shall accordingly receive their rewards at the close of the day, when their sun shall set, and night shall put an end to their labours.
$ 3. The faculty which God has given Judgment man to supply the want of clear and cer- supplies the tain knowledge, in cases where that can
knowledge. not be had, is judgment; whereby the mind takes its ideas to agree or disagree, or, which is the same, any proposition to be true or false, without perceiving a demonstrative evidence in the proofs. The mind sometimes exercises this judgment out of necessity, where demonstrative proofs and certain knowledge are not to be had ; and sometimes out of laziness, unskilfulness, or haste, even where demonstrative and certain proofs are to be had. Men often stay not
warily to examine the agreement or disagreement of two ideas, which they are desirous or concerned to know; but, either incapable of such attention as is requisite in a long train of gradations, or impatient of delay, lightly cast their eyes on, or wholly pass by, the proofs ; and so, without making out the demonstration, determine of the agreement or disagreement of two ideas as it were by a view of them as they are at a distance, and take it to be the one or the other, as seems most likely to them upon such a loose survey. This faculty of the mind, when it is exercised immediately about things, is called judgment; when about truths delivered in words, is most commonly called assent or dissent: which being the most usual way wherein the mind has occasion to employ this faculty, I shall under these terms treat of it, as least liable in our language to equivocation.
$ 4. Thus the mind has two faculties, Judgment is conversant about truth and falsehood.
presumFirst, knowledge, whereby it certainly ing things to perceives, and is undoubtedly satisfied be so, withof, the agreement or disagreement of any ing it.
Secondly, judgment, which is the putting ideas together, or separating them from one another in the mind, when their certain agreement or disagreement is not perceived, but presumed to be so; which is, as the word imports, taken to be so before it certainly appears. And if it so unites, or separates them, as in reality things are, it is right judgment.
is the ap
Of Probability. Probability
§ 1. As demonstration is the showing
the agreement or disagreement of two pearance of ideas, by the intervention of one or more agreement
proofs, which have a constant, immutable,
and visible connexion one with another; proofs.
so probability is nothing but the appearance of such an agreement or disagreement, by the intervention of proofs, whose connexion is not constant and immutable, or at least is not perceived to be so, but is or appears for the most part to be so, and is enough to induce the mind to judge the proposition to be true or false, rather than the contrary. For example: in the demonstration of it a man perceives the certain immutable connexion there is of equality between the three angles of a triangle, and those intermediate ones which are made use of to show their equality to two right ones; and so by an intuitive knowledge of the agreement or disagreement of the intermediate ideas in each step of the progress, the whole series is continued with an evidence which clearly shows the agreement or disagreement of those three angles in equality to two right ones : and thus he has certain knowledge that it is so. But another man, who never took the pains to observe the demonstration, hearing a mathematician, a man of cre
dit, affirm the three angles of a triangle to be equal to. two right ones, assents to it, i.e. receives it for true. In which case the foundation of his assent is the
probability of the thing, the proof being such as for the most part carries truth with it: the man on whose testimony he receives it not being wont to affirm any thing contrary to, or besides his knowledge, especially in matters of this kind. So that that which causes his assent to this proposition, that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right ones, that which makes him take these ideas to agree, without knowing them to do so, is the wonted veracity of the speaker in other cases, or his supposed veracity in this.
§ 2. Our knowledge, as has been shown, It is to supbeing very narrow, and we not happyply the want enough to find certain truth in every thing of knowwhich we have occasion to consider; most
ledge. of the propositions we think, reason, discourse, nay act upon, are such, as we cannot have undoubted knowledge of their truth: yet some of them border so near upon certainty, that we make no doubt at all about them ; but assent to them as firmly, and act, according to that assent, as resolutely, as if they were infallibly demonstrated, and that our knowledge of them was perfect and certain. But there being degrees herein from the very neighbourhood of certainty and de monstration, quite down to improbability and unlikeness, even to the confines of impossibility; and also degrees of assent from full assurance and confidence, quite down to conjecture, doubt, and distrust: I shall come now, (having, as I think, found out the bounds of human knowledge and certainty) in the next place, to consider the several degrees and grounds of probability, and assent or faith.
$ 3. Probability is likeliness to be true, Being that the very notation of the word signifying which such a proposition, for which there be arguments or proofs to make it pass or be
things to be received for true. The entertainment the
true before H
we know mind gives to this sort of propositions is them to be called belief, assent, or opinion, which is
the admitting or receiving any proposition for true, upon arguments or proofs that are found to persuade us to receive it as true, without certain knowledge that it is so. And 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 connexion; in belief, not so, That which makes me believe is something extraneous to the thing I believe; something not evidently joined on both sides to, and so not manifestly showing the agreement or disagreement of those ideas that are under consideration. Thegrounds
§ 4. Probability, then, being to supply of probabi
the defect of our knowledge, and to guide lity are two; us where that fails, is always conversant conformity
about propositions whereof we have no with our own expe
certainty, but only some inducements to rience,
receive them for true. The grounds of it or the testi
are, in short, these two following:
First, the conformity of any thing with others' experience.
our own knowledge, observation, and ex
perience. Secondly, the testimony of others, vouching their observation and experience. In the testimony of others is to be considered, 1. The number. 2. The integrity. 3. The skill of the witnesses. 4. The design of the author, where it is a testimony out of a book cited. 5. The consistency of the parts and circumstances of the relation. 6. Contrary testimonies.
§ 5. Probability wanting that intuiIn this all tive evidence, which infallibly determines the argu
the understanding, and produces certain
knowledge, the mind, if it would proought to be
ceed rationally, ought to examine all the examined grounds of probability, and see how they before we
make more or less for or against any pro
ments pro and con'
come to a
position, before it assents to, or dissents from, it; and, upon a due balancing the judgment. whole, reject or receive it with a more or less firm assent, proportionably to the preponderancy of the greater grounds of probability on one side or the other. For example:
If I myself see a man walk on the ice, it is past probability, it is knowledge; but if another tells me he saw a man in England, in the midst of a sharp winter, walk upon water hardened with cold; this has so great conformity with what is usually observed to happen, that I am disposed by the nature of the thing itself
to assent to it, unless some manifest suspicion attend the relation of that matter of fact. But if the same thing be told to one born between the tropics, who never saw nor heard of any such thing before, there the whole probability relies on testimony: and as the relators are more in number, and of more credit, and have no interest to speak contrary to the truth; so that matter of fact is like to find more or less belief. Though to a man, whose experience has always been quite contrary, and who has never heard of any thing like it, the most untainted · credit of a witness will scarce be able to find belief. As it happened to a Dutch ambassador, who entertaining the king of Siam with the particularities of Holland, which he was inquisitive after, amongst other things told him, that the water in his country would sometimes, in cold weather, be so hard, that men walked upon it, and that it would bear an elephant if he were there. To which the king replied, “Hitherto I have
* believed the strange things you have told me, because I look upon you as a sober fair man; but now I am sure you
lie.” $ 6. Upon these grounds depends the probability of any proposition: and as the They being conformity of our knowledge, as the cer
capable of tainty of observations, as the frequency riety.
great vaand constancy of experience, and the number and credibility of testimonies, do more or less