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after. So that the later it is before any one comes to have those general ideas, about which those maxims are; or to know the signification of those general terms that stand for them, or to put together in his mind the ideas they stand for; the later also will it be before he comes to assent to those maxims, whose terms, with the ideas they stand for, being no more innate than those of a cat or a weesel, he must stay till time and observation have acquainted him with them; and then he will be in a capacity to know the truth of these maxims, upon the first occasion that shall make him put together those ideas in his mind, and observe whether they agree or disagrec, according as is expressed in those propositions. And therefore it is, that a man knows that eighteen and nineteen are equal to thirty-seven, by the same selfevidence, that he knows one and two to be equal to three : yet a child knows this not so soon as the other; not for want of the use of reason, but because the ideas the words eighteen, nineteen, and thirty-seven stand for, are not so soon got, as those which are signified by one, two, and three.
.. $. 17. This evasion therefore of general Assenting as soon as pros
assent, when men come to the use of rea- . posed and son, failing as it does, and leaving no difunderstood, ference between those supposed innate, and proves chemoth
m other truths, that are afterwards acquired not innate.
and learnt, men have endeavoured to secure an universal assent to those they call maxims, by saying, they are generally assented to as soon as proposed, and the terms they are proposed in, understood: seeing all men, even children, as soon as they hear and understand the terms, assent to these propositions, they think it is sufficient to prove them innate. For since men never fail, after they have once understood the words, to acknowledge them for undoubted truths, they would infer, that certainly these propositions were first lodged in the understanding, which, without any teaching, the mind, at the very first proposal, immediately closes with, and assents to, and after that never doubts again.
e comes to
proposition eighteen and e same selle
be equal 18 as the other, use the ideas en stand for?
$. 18. In answer to this, I demand “whe- If such an asther ready assent given to a proposition sent beainark
of innate, upon first hearing, and understanding the
then that terms, be a certain mark of an innate prin one and two ciple?" If it be not, such a general assent is are equal to in vain urged as a proof of thein : if it be three; that
sweetness is said, that it is a mark of innate, they must no then allow all such propositions to be in- ness ;” and a nate, which are generally assented to as soon thousand the
vos like, must be as heard, whereby they will find themselves
plentifully stored with innate principles. cree oli for upon the same ground, viz. of assent at first hear
ing and understanding the terms, that men would have those maxims pass for innate, they must also admit several propositions about numbers to be innate : and thus, that one and two are equal to three; that two and two are equal to four; and a multitude of other the like propositions in numbers, that every body assents to at first hearing and understanding the terms, must have a place amongst these innate axioms. Nor is this
the prerogative of numbers alone, and propositions meretail made about several of them ; but even natural philo
sophy, and all the other sciences, afford propositions, which are sure to meet with assent as soon as they are understood. That two bodies cannot be in the same place, is a truth, that nobody any more sticks at, than at these maxims, “ that it is impossible for the same
thing to be, and not to be; that white is not black; al that a square is not a circle; that yellowness is not
sweetness ;" these and a million of such other propoilette sitions, as many at least as we have distinct ideas of,
every man in his wits, at first hearing, and knowing
what the names stand for, must necessarily assent to.. onli If these men will be true to their own rule, and have
assent at first hearing and understanding the terms, to be a mark of innate, they must allow, not only as many ionate propositions as men have distinct ideas; but as Inany as men can make propositions whercin different
ideas are denied one of another. Since every proposioubts o N ton, wherein one different idea is denied of another,
itied by one,
re of general e use of rea• Paving no da d innate, and irds acquired rred to secur (!s, by saying s'oposed, and the od: seeing a 1 and under 15, they thin' or since mniej id the wors? S, they trous, ass e first lodze teaching, to diately closing
will as certainly find assent at first hearing and understanding the terms, as this general one, “ it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be;" or that which is the foundation of it, and is the easier understood of the two, “ the same is not different:" by which account they will have legions of innate propositions of this one sort, without mentioning any other. But since no proposition can be innate, unless the ideas about which it is, be innate ; this will be, to suppose all our ideas of colours, sounds, tastes, figure, &c. innate ; than which there cannot be any thing more opposite to reason and experience. Universal and ready assent upon hearing and understanding the terms is (I grant) a mark of self-evidence : but self-evidence, depending not on innate impressions, but on something else (as we shall shew hercafter) belongs to several propositions, which nobody was yet so extravagant as to pretend to be innate.
. §. 19. Nor let it be said, That those more Such less general propo.
particular self-evident propositions, which
pa sitions known are assented to at first hearing, as, that before these one and two are equal to three; that green universal
is not red; &c.; are received as the conscmaxims.
quences of those more universal propositions, which are looked on as innate principles; since any one, who will but take the pains to observe what passes in the understanding, will certainly find, that these, and the like less general propositions, are certainly known, and firinly assented to, by those who are utterly ignorant of those more general maxiins; and so, being earlier in the mind than those (as they are called) first principles, cannot owe to them the assent wherewith they are received at first hcaring.
e $. 20. If it be said, that “ these proequal to two, positions, viz. two and two are equal to &c. not gene- four; red is not blue; &c.; are not general noruse- ral maxims, nor of any great use :" I anful, answered
a swer, that makes nothing to the argument of universal assent, upon hearing and understanding, For, if that be the certain mark of innate, whatever
proposition can be found, that receives general assent as soon as heard and understood, that must be admitted for an innate proposition, as well as this maxim, “ that it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be;" they being upon this ground equal. And as to the difference of being more general, that makes this maxiin more reinote from being innate ; those general and abstract ideas being more strangers to our first apprehensions, than those of more particular self-evident propositions; and therefore it is longer before they are admitted and assented to by the growing understanding. And as to the usefulness of these magnified maxims, that perhaps will not be found so great as is generally conceived, when it comes in its due place to be more fully considered.
§. 21. But we have not yet done with These maxassenting to propositions at first hearing
first hearing ims not being
known someand understanding their terms; it is fit times till we first take notice, that this, instcad of proposed, being a mark that they are innate, is a proves them proof of the contrary : since it supposes, 10 that several, who understand and know other things, are ignorant of these principles, till they are proposed to them; and that one may be unacquainted with these truths, till he hears them from others. For if they were innate, what need they be proposed in order to gaining assent, when, by being in the understanding, by a natural and original impression, (if there were any such) they could not but be known before? Or doth the proposing them, print them clearer in the mind than nature did? If so, then the consequence will be, that a man knows them better, after he has been thus taught them, than he did before. Whence it will follow, that these principles may be made more evident to us by others teaching, than nature has made them by impression; which will ill agree with the opinion of innate principles, and give but little authority to them ; but on the contrary, makes them unfit to be the foundations of all our other knowledge, as they are pretended to be. This cannot be denied, that inen grow first
al propi ples;
Crve tind of s are of 15€ 10.
acquainted with inany of these self-evident truths, upon
$. 22. If it be said, “the understanding
Be this, that the mind is capable of understanding and assenting firmly to such propositions. And thus all mathematical demonstrations, as well as first principles, must be received as native impressions on the mind : which I fear they will scarce allow them to be, who find it harder to demonstrate a proposition, than assent to it when demonstrated. And few mathematicians will be forward to believe, that all the diagrams they have drawn, were but copies of those innate characters which nature had engraven upon their minds.