« AnteriorContinuar »
Crea whts rightly ran these
lat, to ; to be
of, and assent to them; and, by this means, there will be no difference between the maxims of the mathema ticians, and theorems they deduce from them; All must be equally allowed innate; they being all discoveries made by the use of reason, and truths that a rational creature may certainly come to know, if he apply his thoughts rightly that way.
$. 9. But how can these men think the use Itis false that of reason necessary, to discover principles te
vers them. that are supposed innate, when reason (if we may believe them) is nothing else but the faculty of deducing unknown truths from principles, or propositions, that are already known? That certainly can never be thought innate, which we have need of reason to discover; unless, as I have said, we will have all the certain truths, that reason ever teaches us, to be innate. We may as well think the use of reason necessary to make our eyes discover visible objects, as that there should be need of reason, or the exercise thereof, to make the understanding see what is originally engraven on it, and cannot be in the understanding before it be perceived by It. So that to make reason discover those truths thus imprinted, is to say, that the use of reason discovers to a man what he knew before: and if men have those innate impressed truths originally, and before the use of reason, and yet are always ignorant of them, till they come to the use of reason; it is in effect to say, that men know, and know them not, at the same tiine.
$. 10. It will here perhaps be said, that inathematical demonstrations, and other truths that are not innate, are not assented to, as soon as proposed, wherein they are distinguished from those maximns, and other innate truths. I shall have occasion to speak of assent, upon the first proposing, more particularly by and by. I shall here only, and that very readily allow, that these maxims and mathematical demonstrations are in this different ; that the one have need of reason, using of proofs, to make thein out, and to gain our assent; but the other, as soon as understood, are, without any the least reasoning, embraced and assented to. But I withal beg leave to observe, that it lays open the weakness of Vol. I.
* us for the mind
de mari the use
this subterfuge, which requires the use of reason for the discovery of these general truths : since it must be confessed, that in their discovery there is no use made of reasoning at all. And I think those, who give this answer, will not be forward to affirm, that the knowledge of this maxim, “ That it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be," is a deduction of our reason. For this would be to destroy that bounty of nature they seem so fond of, whilst they make the knowledge of those principles to depend on the labour of our thoughts. For all reasoning is search, and casting about, and requires pains and application. And how can it with any tolerable sense be supposed, that what was imprinted by nature, as the foundation and guide of our reason, should need the use of reason to discover it?
$. 11. Those who will take the pains to reflect with a little attention on the operations of the understanding, will find, that this ready assent of the mind to some truths, depends not, cither on native inscription, or the use of reason; but on a faculty of the mind quite distinct from both of them, as we shall see hereafter. Reason, thercfore, having nothing to do in procuring our assent to these maxims, if by saying, that men know and asscnt to them, when they come to the use of reason, be meant, that the use of reason assists us in the knowledge of these maxims, it is utterly false; and were it true, would prove them not to be innate.
• $. 12. If by knowing and assenting to
them, when we come to the use of reato the use of 4 reason, pot son, be ineant, that this is the time when the time we they come to be taken notice of by the come to mind; and that, as soon as children como
to the use of reason, they come also to know maxiins.
and assent to these maxims; this also is false and frivolous. First, It is false: Because it is evident these maxinis are not in the mind so early as the use of reason: and therefore the coming to the use of reason is falsely assigned, as the time of their discovery. How many instances of the use of reason may we observe in children, a long time before they have any knowledge of this maxim, “That it is impossible for the same
thing to be, and not to be?” And a great part of illiterate people, and savages, pass many years, even of their rational age, without ever thinking on this, and the like general propositions. I grant, men come not to the knowledge of these general and more abstract truths, which are thought innate, till they come to the use of reason; and I add, nor then neither. Which is so, beCause, till after they come to the use of reason, those general abstract ideas are not framed in the mind, about which those general maxims are, which are mistaken for innate principles ; but are indeed discoveries inade, and verities introduced and brought into the mind by the same way, and discovered by the same steps, as several other propositions, which nobody was ever so extravagant as to suppose innate. This I hope to make plain in the sequel of this discourse. I allow therefore a necessity, that men should come to the use of reason before they get the knowledge of those general truths; but deny, that men's coming to the use of reason is the time of their discovery.
§. 13. In the mean time it is observable, By this they that this saying, That men know and assenta son now and assent are not dis.
tinguished to these maxims, when they come to the from other use of reason, amounts in reality of fact to knowable no more but this, That they are never truths. known or taken notice of, before the use of reason, but may possibly be assented to, some time after, during a man's life; but when, is uncertain : and so may all other knowable truths, as well as these; which therefore have no advantage nor distinction from others, by this note of being known when we come to the use of reason; nor are thereby proved to be innate, but quite the contrary.
§. 14. But, secondly, were it true, that If coming to the precise time of their being known, and
reason were assented to, were, when men come to the
the time of use of reason, neither would that prove their discothem innate. This way of arguing is as very,itwould frivolous, as the supposition of itself is false.
them innate.. For by what kind of logic will it appear, C 2
hereali procura, that my he lise
me when f by tel CDI COOK! to kno O is tak ent they c of real reason
that any notion is originally by nature imprinted in the
, S. 15. The senses at first let in particular which the ' idcas, and furnish the yet einpty cabinet; mind attains and the mind by degrees growing familiar several truths with some of them, they are lodged in the memory, and names got to them. Afterwards the niind, proceeding farther, abstracts them, and by degrees learns the use of general names. In this manner the mind comes to be furnished with ideas and language, the ma
Ch. 2. No Innate Principles in the Alind. 21 terials about which to exercise its discursive faculty : and the use of reason becomes daily more visible, as these materials, that give it employinent, encrease. But though the having of general ideas, and the use of general words and reason, usually grow together; yet, I see not, how this any way proves thein innate. The knowlodge of some truths, I confess, is very early in the mind; but in a way that shows them not to be innate. For, if we will obserye, we shall find it still to be about ideas, not innate, but acquired: It being about those hrst which are imprinted by external things, with which infants have earliest to do, which make the most frequent impressions on their senses. In ideas thus got, the mind discovers that some agree, and others differ, probably as soon as it has any use of meinory; as soon as it is able to retain and perceive distinct ideas. But whether it be then, or no, this is certain, it does so long before it has the use of words, or comes to that, which we commonly call “ the use of reason.” for a child knows as certainly, before it can speak, the difference between the ideas of sweet and bitter (i. e. that sweet is not bitter) as it knows afterwards (when it comes to speak) that worinwood and sugar-plums are not the same thing.
$. 16. A child knows not that three and four are equal to seven, till he comes to be able to count scven, and has got the name and idea of equality: and then, upon explaining those words, he presently assents to, or rather perceives the truth of that proposition. But neither does he then readily assent, because it is an innate truth, nor was his assent wanting till then, because he wanted the use of reason; but the truth of it appears to him, as soon as he has settled in his inind the clear and distinct ideas, that these names stand for: and then he knows the truth of that proposition, upon the same grounds, and by the same means, that he knew before, that a rod and a cherry are not the same thing; and upon the same grounds also, that he may come to know afterwards, “that it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be," as shall be more fully shown hereC 3
of gener cults, az not thos for the
son aber , by the · acknow 1. It the use of
ire it : ther serie