Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

no sin or transgression, though the name stealing ordinarily carries such an intimation with it.

§ 17. Relations innumerable. And thus much for the relation of human actions to a law, which therefore I call moral relations.

It would make a volume to go over all sorts of rela. tions ; it is not therefore to be expected, that I should here mention them all. It fuffices to our present pur. pose, to show by thefe, what the ideas are we have of this comprehensive consideration, called relation: Which is ro various, and the occasions of it so many, (as many as there can be of comparing things one to anothier) that it is not very easy to reduce it to rules, or under just heads : Those I have mentioned, I think, are some of the most considerable, and such as may serve to let us see from whence we get our ideas of relations, and wherein they are founded. But before I quit this argument, from what has been said, give me leave to obTerve :

$ 18. All Relations terminate in fimple Ideas. FIRST, that it is evident, that all relation terminates in, and is ultimately founded on those kmple ideas we have got from finfation or reflection ; so that all we have in our thougits ourselves, (if we think of any thing, or have any meaning) or would fignify to others, when we use words standing for relations, is nothing but some simple ideas, oi collections of simple ideas, compared one with another: This is so manifest in that sort called propor. tional, that nothing can be more ; for when a man says, honey is (vecter than wax, it is plain that his thoughts in this rélation terminate in this simple iden, sweetness ; which is equally true of all the rest, though where they are compounded or decompounded, the fimple ideas they are made up of, are, perhaps, seldom taken notice of; v g. when the word father is mentioned; first, theie is meant that particular species, or collective idea, fignified by the word man ; secondly, those fimple ideas fignified by the word generation ; and thirdly, the effects of it, and all the fimple ideas fignified by the word child. So the word friend being taken for a man who loves, and is ready to do good to another, has all these following ideas to the making of it up; first, All the simple ideas comprehended in the word man, or intelligent being ; fecondly, The idea of love ; thirdly, The idea of readiness or disposition ; fourthly, The idea of action, which is any kind of thought or motion ; fifthlý, The idea of good, which fignifies any thing that may advance his happiness, and terminates at last, if examined, in particular fimple ideas ; of which the word good in gederal signifies any one, but if removed from all fimple ideas quite, it signifies nothing at all. And thus also all moral words terminate at lait, though perhaps more remotely, in a collection of simple ideas ; the immediate signification of relative words, being very often other fupposed known relations, which, if traced one to another, fill end in simple ideas. 19. We have ordinarily as clear (or clearer) a Notion

of the Relation as of its Foundation. SECONDLY, That in relations, we have for the most part, if not always, as clear c notion of the relation, as we bave of those simple ideas wherein it is founded ; agreement or disagreement, wiiereon relation depends, being things whereof we have commonly as clear ideus, as of any other whatsoever ; it being but the distinguishing simple ideas, or their degrees one from another, without which we could have no diftinct knowledge at all : For if I. have a clear idea of sweetness, light or extension, I have too, of equal, or more or less of each of these: If I know what it is for one man to be born of a woman, .iz. Semproniz, I know. what it is for another man to be born of the same woman, Sempronia; and so have as clear a notion of brothers as of births, and perhaps clearer: For if I believed that Sempronia dug Titus out of the parsley-bed (as they use to tell children) and thereby became his mother; and that afterwards, in the same manner, she dug Caius out of the parsley-bed, I had as clear a notion of the relation of brothers between them, as if I had all the skill of a midwife : the notion that the same woman contributed, as mother, equally to their births (though I were ignorant or mistaken in the man- ner of it) being that on which I grounded the relation, and that they agreed in that circumstance of birth, let it be what it will. The comparing them then in their descent from the same person, without knowing the particular circumstances of that descent, is enough to found my notion of their having or not having the relation of brothers : But though the ideas of particular relations are capable of being as clear and distinct in the minds of those who will duly consider them, as those of mixed modes, and more determinate than those of substances, yet the names belonging to relation are often of as doubtful and uncertain signification, as those of fubstances or mixed modes, and much more than those of simple ideas ; because relative words being the marks of this comparison which is made only by inens thoughts, and is an idea only in mens minds, men frequently apply them to different comparisons of things, according to their own imaginations, which do not always correfpond with those of others using the saine names. § 20. The Notion of the Relation is the fame, whether

the Rule any Action is coinpared to be true or falfe. THIRDLY, That in these I call moral relations, I have a true notion of relation, by comparing the action with the rule, whether the rule be true or falle : For if I measure any thing by a yard, I know whether the thing I measure be longer or fhorter than that supposed yard, though perhaps the yard I measure by be not exactly the standard ; which indeed is another inquiry : For though the rule be erroneous, and I mistaken in it, yet the agreement or disagreement observable in that which I compare with it, makes me perceive the relation ; though measuring by a wrong rule, I shall thereby be brought to judge amiss of its moral rectitude, because I have tried it by that which is not the true rule; but I am not mistaken in the relation which that action bears to that rule I compare it to, which is agreement or disagreement.

CHAP. XXIX.

OF CLEAR AND OBSCURE, DISTINCT AND CONFUSED

IDEAS.

s 1. Ideas fome clear and distinct, others obscure and

confused. · I TAVING shown the original of our ideas, and

11 taken a view of their several sorts, considered the difference between the simple and the complex, and observed how the complex ones are divided into those of modes, substances, and relations; all which, I think, is necessary to be done by any one who would acquaint himself thoroughly with the progress of the mind in its apprehension and knowledge of things; it will perhaps be thought I have dwelt long enough upon the examination of ideas. I must, nevertheless, crave leave to offer some few other considerations concerning them. The first is, that some are clear and others obscure ; some difinĉt and others confused.

§ 2. C'ear and obscure, explained by Sight. The perception of the mind being most aptly explained by words relating to the fight, we Mhall belt understand what is meant by clear and obscure in our ideas, by reflecting on what we call clear and obscure in the objects of fight. Light being that which discovers to us visible objects, we give the name of obscure to that which is not placed in a light sufficient to discover minutely to us the figure and colours which are observable in it, and which, in a better light, would be discernible : In like manner, our simple ideas are clear, when they are such as the objects themselves, from whence they were taken, did or might, in a well-ordered sensation or perception, present them. Whilst the memory retains them thus, and can produce them to the mind, whenever it has occasion to consider them, they are clear ideas ; so far as. they either want any thing of that original exactness, or have lost any of their first freshness, and are, as it were, faded or tarnished by time, so far are they obscure,

Complex iil:as, as they are made up of simple ones, so they are cl:ar, when the ideas that go to their comporrtion are clear; and the number and order of those lim. ple ideas, that are the ingredients of any complex one; is determinate and certain.

$ 3. Causes of Obscurity. The causes of obfcurity in limple ideas, seem to be either dull organs, or very flight and transient impressions made by the objects, or else a weakness in the memory not able to retain them as received : For to return again to visible objects, to help us to apprehend this matter ; if the organs or faculties of perception, like wax over-hardened with cold, will not receive the iinpression of the seal, from the usual impulse wont to imprint it; or, like wax of a tenper too foft, will not hold it well when well imprinted; or else supposing the wax of a temper fit, but the scal not applied with a sufficient force to make a clear impreilic. ; in any of these cases, the print left by the real will be olfoure: This, I fuppose, needs no application to make it plainer.

♡ 4. Distinct and Confufid, whet. As a clear idia is that whereof the mind has such a full and evident perceprion, as it does receive from an outward object operating duly on a well-disposed organ, so a distinct idea is that wherein the mind percives a difference from all other ; and a confused idea is such an one, as is not sufficiently distinguishable from another, from which it ought to be different.

§ 5. Objection, If no idra be confufed but such as is not sufficiently diftinguishable from another, from which it thould be dif. ferent, it will be hard, may any one say, to find any where a confused idee; for let any idea be as it will, it can be no other but such as the mind perceives it to be, and that very perception fufficiently distinguishes it from all other ideas, which cannot be other, i. e. different, without being perceived to be so. No idea therefore can be undistinguishable from another, from which it ought to be different, unless you would have it different from itself; for from all other it is evidently differentes

« AnteriorContinuar »