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difference but that it is less distinct than formerly.*
* This experiment, which every one may reiterate till entire fatisfac. tion be obtained, is of greater importance than at first view may appear ; for it strikes at the root of a celebrated doctrine,, which for more than two thousand years has misled many philosophers. This doctrine as delived by Aristotle in substance, That of every object of thought there must be in the mind some form, phantasm, or species; that things fenable are perceived and remembered by means of sensible phantasms, and things intelligible by intelligible phantasms ; and that these phana talms have the form of the object without the matter, as the imprellion of a feal upon wax has the form of a seal without its matter." The followers of Aristotle add, " That the sensible and intelligible forms of things, are sent forth from the things themselves, and make impressions upon the pallive intellect, which impresions are perceived by the active intellect. This notion differs very little from that of Epicurus, which is, “ That all things fend forth constantly and in every direction, slender ghosts or films of themselves. (tenuia fimulacra, as expressed by his commentator Lucretius ;) which striking upon the mind, are the nieans, of perception, dreaming," &c. Des Cartes, bent to oppose Ariftotle, tejects the doctrine of lensible and intelligible phantasms; maintaining however the same doctrine in effect, namely, That we perceive nothing external but by means of some image either in the brain or in the mind : and these images he terms ideas. According to these philosophers, we perczive nothing immediately but phantasıns or ideas; and from these we infer, by realoning, the exiftence of external objects. Locke, adopting this doctrine, employs almost the whole of his book about ideas. He holds, that we cannot perceive, remember, nor imagine, any thing, but by having an idea or image of it in the mind. He agrees with Des Cartes, that we can have no knowledge of things external, but what we acquire by reasonirg upon their ideas or images in the mind; taking it for granted, that we are conscious of these ideas or images ; and of nothing else. Those who talk the most intelligibly explain the doctrine thus : When I lee in a mirror a man landing behind me, the immedia aic object of my light is his image, without which I could not see him : in like manner, when I see a tree or a house, there must be an image of theic objects in my brain or in my mind; which image is the immediate object of iny perception; and by means of that image I perceive the external objec.
One would not readily suspect any harm in this ideal fyllem, other gian the leading us into a labyrinth of metaphilical errors, in order. to account for our knowledge of external objets, which is more truly and more simply accounted for by direct perception. And yet fome late writers have been able to extract from it death and delruction to the whole world, levelling all down to a mere chaos otidas. Dr. Berkelev, upon authority of the philosophers named, taking for granted, that we Cannot perceive any object but what is in the mind, discovered, that the reasoning employed by Des Ca:tis and Locke tuinler the exilience of external objects, is iticonclufive ; and upon thai discovery ventured, againit common fense, lo annihilate totally the material world. Andi
This indistin& secondary perception of an object, is termed an idea. And therefore the precise and ac
curate later writer, discovering that Perkelev's arguments might with equal success be applied againft immaterial beings, ventures ftill more boldly to reject by the lump the immaterial world as well as the material ; leaving ncthing in nature but images or ideas floating in vacuo, without affording them a single mind for shelter or support.
When fuch wild and extravagant consequences can be drawn from the ideal system, it might have been expected, that no man who is not crazy would have ventured to erect such a superftru&ure, till he should firf be certain beyond all doubt of a folid foundation. And yet upon inquiry, we find the foundation of this terrible do&trine to be no better than a shallow metaphysical argument, namely, “That no being can act but where it is; and, consequently, that it cannot act upon any fubje&t at a distance.” This argument possesses indeed one eminent advantage, that its obscurity, like that of an oracle, is apt to impose upon the reader, who is willing to consider it as a demonstration, because he does not clearly see the fallacy. The belt 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 subject can be perceived unless it act upon the mind, but no distant subject 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 upon it.”. Here the argument is completed in all its parts; and from it is derived the supposed necessity of phaniasms or ideas united to the mind, as the only obje&ts of perception. It is fingularly unlucky, that this argument concludes dire&tly again the very system of which it is the only foundation ; for how can phantasms or ideas be raised in the mind by things at a dillance, if things at a distance cannot act upon the mind ? I say more, that it affumes a proposition as true, without evidence, namely, That no diftant subject can 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 fcruple may rely upon the conviction of his senses, that he hears and sees things at a distance.
But I venture a bolder flep, which is, to show that the proposition is false. Admitting that no being can a& but where itis, is there any thing more fimple or more common, than the acting upon fubje&ts at a dillance by intermediate means ? This holds in fact with respect both to seeing and hearing. When I see a tree, for example, rays of light are reflected from the tree to my eye, forming a picture upon the retina tunica ; but the objc&t perceived is the tree itself, not the rays of light, nor the picture. In this manner diftant cbjcēts are perceived, without any action of the object upon the mind, or of the mind upon the object. Hearing is in a similar case : the ear, put in motion by Thunder, makes an impression upon the drum of the car ; 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 contriba utes to produce a right of the object. One thing only is clear, that as we have no knowledge of that picture, it is as natural to conceive that it
Curate definition of an idea in contradistinction to an original perception, is, “ That perception of a real object which is raised in the mind by the power of memory.” Every thing we have any knowledge of, whether internal or external, paffions, emotions, thinking, resolving, willing, heat, cold, &c. as well as external objects, may be recalled as above, by the power of memory.
15. External objects are distinguishable into fim. ple and complex. Certain sounds are so simple as not to be resolvable into parts; and so are certain tastes and smells. Objects of touch are for the most part complex : they are not only hard or soft, but also smooth or rough, hot or cold. Of all external objects, visible objects are commonly the most complex : a tree is composed of a trunk, branches, leaves : it has colour, figure, size. But as an action is not resolvable into parts, a perception being an act of fense, is always simple. The colour, figure, umbrage of a spreading oak, raise not different perceptions : the perception is one, that of a tree, col
oured, should be made the instrument of discovering the external object, and nor itself, as of discovering itself only, and not the external object.
Upon the chimerical consequences drawn from the ideal tyfem, I shall make but a single reflection. Nature determines us necessarily to rely on the veracity of our senses; and upon their evidence the exislence of external objects is to us a matter of intuitive knowledge and absolute cere tainty. Vain therefore is the attempt of Dr. Berkeley and of his fola lowers, to deceive us, by a metaphyfical subtility, into a disbelief of what we cannot entertain even the flightest doubt.
* From this definition of an idea, the following proposition must he evident, That there can be no fuch thing as an innale idea. If the orige inal perception of an obje&t be not innate, which is obvious ; it is not less obvious, that the idea or secondary perceprion of that object cannot be innate. And yet to prove this self-evident propofition, Locke has bestowed a whole book of his Trearise upon Human Underlianding. So necessary it is to give accurate definitions, and so preventive of dispute are definitions when accurate, Dr. Berkeley has taken great pains to prove another proposition equally evident, that there can be no such thing as a general idea : all our original perceptions are of particular objects, and our secondary perceptions or idea; must be equally so. VOL. II.
oured, figured, &c. A quality is never perceived sepe arately from the subject; nor a part from the whole. There is a mental power of abstraction, of which af, terward; but the eye never abstracts, nor any other external sense.
16. Many particulars beside those mentioned enter into the perception of visible objects, motion, reft, place, space, time, number, &c. These, all of them denute simple ideas, and for that reason admit not of a definition. All that can be done, is to point out how they are acquired. The ideas of motion and of rest, are familiar even to a child, from seeing its nurse sometimes walking, sometimes fitting: the former it is taught to call motion ," the latter, rest. Place enters into every perception of a visible obje&t: the object is perceived to exist, and to exist fomewhere, on the right hand or on the left, and where it exists is termed place. Ask a child where its mother is, or in what place : it will answer readily, she is in the garden. Space is connected with size or bulk : every piece of matter occupies room or space in proportion to its bulk. A child perceives that when its little box is: filled with playthings, there is no room or space for more. Space is also applied to signify the distance of visible objects from each other, and such space accordingly can be measured. Dinner comes after breakfast, and supper after dinner : a child perceives. an interval, and that interval it learns to call time. A child sometimes is alone with its nurse : its mother is sometimes in the room; and sometimes also its brother and sisters. It perceives a difference between many and few ; and that difference it is taught to call number.
17. The primary perception of a visible object, 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 ob
. A fine passage in music, may, for a moment, be recalled to the mind with tolerable accuracy ; but after the shortest interval, it becomes no less obscure than the ideas of the other objects mentioned.
18. As the range of an individual is commonly within a narrow space, it rarely happens, that every thing necessary to be known comes under our own perceptions. Language is an admirable contrivance for supplying that deficiency; for by language every man's perceptions may be communicated to all: and the fame may be done by painting and other imitative arts. The facility of communication depends on the liveliness of the ideas ; especially in language, which hitherto has not arrived at greater perfection than to express clear ideas : hence it is, that poets and orators, who are extremely successful in describing objects of fight, find objects of the other senses too faint and obfcure 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 occafioned the same term idea to be applied 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 fufficient stock to answer, not only the necessities, but even the elegancies of life.
19. Further, man is endued with a fort of creative power : he can fabricate images of things that have no existence. The materials employed in this operation, are ideas of fight, which he can take to pieces and combine into new forms at pleasure ; their complexity and vivacity make them fit materials : But a man hath no such power over any of his other ideas, whether of the external or internal senses : he can. not, after the utmost effort, combine these into new forms, being too obfcure for that operation. An ima Bb 2