Imágenes de página


Of Simple Modes, and first of the Simple Alodes of


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

$. 1. THOUGH in the foregoing part Simple

T I have often mentioned simple Modes,
ideas, which are truly the materials of all our know-
ledge; yet having treated of them there, rather in the
way that they come into the mind, than as distinguishei
froin others more compounded, it will not be perhaps
amiss to take a view of some of them again under this
consideration, and examine those different modifications
of the same idea : which the mind either finds in
things existing, or is able to make within itself, with-
out the help of any extrinsical object, or any foreign

Those modifications of any one simple idea (which,
as has been said, I call simple modes) are as perfectly dif-
ferent and distinct ideas in the mind, as those of the
greatest distance or contrariety. For the idea of two is
as distinct from that of one, as blueness from heat, or
either of them from any number : and yet it is made
"up only of that simple idea of an unit repeated ; and
repetitions of this kind joined together, make those
distinct simple modes, of a dozen, a gross, a million.

s. 2. I shall begin with the simple idea Idea of
of space. I have showed above, chap. 4. space.
that we get the idea of space, both by our sight and
touch; which, I think, is so evident, that it would be
as needless to go to prove that men perceive, by their
sight, a distance between bodies of different colours, or
between the parts of the same body, as that they see
colours themselves; nor is it less obvious, that they
can do so in the dark by feeling and touch.
9. 3. This 'space considered barely in
onsidered barely in


Space and length between any two beings, without extension. considering any thing else between them,

L 2

[ocr errors]

19. 3. This le dark by less of

is called distance; if considered in length, breadth, and thickness, I think it may be called capacity. The term extension is usually applied to it in what manner soever considered.

. $. 4. Each different distance is a diffe

rent modification of space; and each idea of any different distance, or space, is a simple mode of this idea. Men for the use, and by the custom of measuring, settle in their minds the ideas of certain stated lengths, such as are an inch, foot, yard, fathom, mile, diameter of the earth, &c. which are so many distinct ideas made up only of space. When any such stated lengths or measures of space are made familiar to men's thoughts, they can in their minds repeat them as often as they will, without mixing or joining to them the idea of body, or any thing else ; and frame to themselves the ideas of long, square, or cubic, feet, yards, or fathoms, bere amongst the bodies of the universe, or else beyond the utmost bounds of all bodies; and by adding these still one to another, enlarge their ideas of space as much as they please. The power of repeating, or doubling any idea we have of any distance, and adding it to the former as often as we will, without being ever able to come to any stop or stint, let us enlarge it as much as we will, is that which gives us the idea of iinmensity.

5. 5. There is another modification of Figure.

me this idea, which is nothing but the relation which the parts of the termination of extension, or circumscribed space, have amongst themselves. This the touch discovers in sensible bodies, whose extremities come within our reach; and the eye takes both from bodies and colours, whose boundaries are within its view; where observing how the extreinities termi' nate either in straight lines, which meet at discernible ·angles ; or in crooked lines, wherein no angles can be perceived ; by considering these as they relate to one another, in all parts of the extremities of any body or space, it has that idea we call figure, which affords to the mind infinite variety. For besides the vast number of different figures, that do really exist in the

[merged small][ocr errors]


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

coherent masses of matter, the stock that the mind
has in its power, by varying the idea of space, and
thereby making still new compositions, by repeating
its own ideas, and joining them as it pleases, is per-
fectly inexhaustible; and so it can multiply figures it all

0. 6. For the mind having a power to Fiore
repeat the idea of any length directly
stretched out, and join it to another in the same direc-
tion, which is to double the length of that straight line,
or else join another with what inclination it thinks fit,
and so make what sort of angle it pleases; and being
able also to shorten any line it imagines, by taking
from it one half, or one fourth, or what part it pleases,
without being able to come to an end of any such di-
visions, it can make an angle of any bigness : so also
the lines that are its sides, of what length it pleases;
which joining again to other lines of different lengths,
and at different angles, till it' has wholly inclosed any
space, it is evident, that it can multiply figures both in
their shape and capacity, # infinitum ; all which are
but so many different simple modes of space..

The same that it can do with straight lines, it can also do with crooked, or crooked and straight together ; and the same it can do in lines, it can also in super- . ficies : by which we may be led into farther thoughts of the endless variety of figures, that the mind has a power to make, and thereby to multiply the simple inodes of space. 9.7. Another idea coming under this

Place. head, and belonging to this tribe, is that we call place. As in simple space, we consider the re.. lation of distance between any two bodies or points ; so in our idea of place, we consider the relation of distance betwixt any thing, and any two or more points, which are considered as keeping the same distance one with another, and so considered as at rest : for when we find any thing at the same distance now, which it was yesterday, froin any two or more points, which have not since changed their distance one with another, and with which we then compared it, we say it hath kept

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the same place; but if it hath sensibly altered its distance with either of those points, we say it hath changed its place : though vulgarly speaking, in the common notion of place, we do not alivays exactly observe the distance from these precise points ; but from larger portions of sensible objects, to which we consider the thing placed to bear relation, and its distance from which we have some reason to observe.

$. 8. Thus a company of chess-men, standing on the saine squares of the chess-board, where we left them, we say they are all in the same place, or unmoved; though perhaps the chess-board hath been in the mean time carried out of one room into another; because we compared them only to the parts of the chess-board, which keep the same distance one with another. The chess-board, we also say, is in the same place it was, if it remain in the same part of the cabin, though perhaps the ship, which it is in, sails all the while : and the ship is said to be in the same place, supposing it kept the same distance with the parts of the neighbouring land ; though perhaps the earth hath turned round ; and so both chess-men, and board, and ship, have every one changed place, in respect of remoter bodies, which have kept the same distance one with another. But yet the distance from certain parts of the board, being that which determines the place of the chess-men; and the distance from the fixed parts of the cabin (with which we made the comparison) be

ing that which determined the place of the chess-board ; . and the fixed parts of the earth, that by which we de

termined the place of the ship; these things may be
said to be in the same place in those respects : though
their distance from some other things, which in this
matter we did not consider, being varied, they have un-
doubtedly changed place in that respect; and we our-
selves shall think so, when we have occasion to com-
pare them with those other.
. 8. 9. But this modification of distance we call place,
being made by men, for their common use, that by it
they might be able to design the particular position of
things, where they had occasion for such designation ;


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

men consider and determine of this place, by reference to those adjacent things which best served to their pres sent purpose, without considering other things, which to answer another purpose would better determine the place of the same thing. Thus in the chess-board, the use of the designation of the place of each chess-man, being determined only within that checquered piece of wood, it would cross that purpose, to measure it by any thing else: but when these very chess-men are put up in a bag, if any one should ask where the black king is, it would be proper to deterinine the place by the parts of the room it was in, and not by the chessboard; there being another use of designing the place it is now in, than when in play it was on the chessboard, and so must be determined by other bodies. So if any one should ask, in what place are the verses which report the story of Nisus and Euryalus, it would be very improper to determine this place, by saying, they were in such a part of the earth, or in Bodley's library: but the right designation of the place would be by the parts of Virgil's works; and the proper answer would be, that these verses were about the middle of the ninth book of his neid ; and that they have been always constantly in the same place ever since Virgil was printed; which is true, though the book itself hath moved a thousand times; the use of the idea of place here being to know in what part of the book that story is, that so upon occasion we may know where to find it and have recourse to it for use.

§. 10. That our idea of place is nothing else but such a relative position of any thing, as I have before mentioned, I think is plain, and will be easily adrnitted, when we consider that we can have no idea of the place of the universe, though we can of all the parts of it; because beyond that we have not the idea of any fixed, distinct, particular beings, in reference to which we can imagine it to have any relation of distance; but all beyond it is one , unitorm space or expansion, wherein the mind finds no variety, no inarks. For to say, that the world is somewhere, means no more than that it does exist : this, though a

L 4


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »